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Vol. 13 No. 11 - November 2, 2013


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Contents

This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.

the PDF file. This is a 17.4 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

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Creepy Crawl 5k and Fun Run YMCA fundraiser

Below: Penn Grow and her sons Rider and Turner made their costumes out of plastic trash cans so that they could run the 5k race as Minions from the movie Despicable Me, and they won the prize for most creative family costume. Photo by Rita Brown.

Below: Linda van Noordt, left, with faerie wings, Olwyn Doyle, wearing a large grin, and Morph Man William van Noordt did their part for charity by adding to hilarity of the morning. Photo by Hilda Nic Chárthaigh.

The fifth annual Creepy Crawl 5k and 1-mile Fun Run started and ended at the Palmer Lake Santa Fe Trailhead, where over 500 runners and walkers in Halloween costumes congregated on Oct. 26.

The top male and female runners each earned a free weekend at the Estes Park YMCA.

Before the run, some entrants danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and The Village People’s Y-M-C-A.

This annual event helps raise money to support the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region’s Annual Community Support Campaign. Funds raised stay in the community and provide opportunities for lower-income families to enjoy the benefits of Y membership, child care, sports, and camp programs.

Race Director Beth Christman was thrilled at the support from local businesses that donated prizes as well as the tremendous support from the community.

This was the first year strollers were allowed in the race, so the youngest "runner" was 5 months old. A whole track team came from Denver, and runners traveled from Wisconsin and even Alaska to participate, Christman said.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Oct. 23: YMCA healthcare building plan approved

By Harriet Halbig

Representatives of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Area and RTA Architects presented their plans for a new healthcare facility to the board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) at its Oct. 23 meeting.

Because the YMCA is located within the boundaries of Woodmoor, its building plans must be approved by the Architectural Control Committee and the board. The plans also must be approved by the Town of Monument.

YMCA Chairman Dan Dummermuth said that the present YMCA facility in the Tri-Lakes area opened in 2008 and currently has 10,500 members, confirming that such a facility was needed in the area.

Dummermuth said that the proposed healthcare village would provide preventive medicine, wellness training, and treatment and post-treatment services. The Penrose-St. Francis Centura Health organization would occupy 25,000 square feet of the facility, offering imaging, pediatric, ob/gyn, and behavioral counseling services. There would also be an urgent care facility on site.

Dummermuth said that this facility would be a prototype for similar developments throughout the country. It was felt that there was a lack of healthcare services in the Tri-Lakes area. The Y and Penrose-St. Francis are actively recruiting doctors from the Colorado Springs area to open offices here.

The training area of the existing building would also be enlarged and there would be additional child-care facilities. The new training area would have a panoramic view of the Front Range.

The present soccer field would be moved to the east to provide parking space. The stone facing of the two buildings would match.

The YMCA approached the Architectural Control Committee for approval of a height variance for the new building. The height limit in Woodmoor is 35 feet. The new building would be 40 feet tall with an 8-foot-high utility screen. Because Lewis-Palmer High School is across the street to the east of the proposed facility, homeowners’ views would not be obstructed. The YMCA and the Health Village will share a lobby.

The board approved the proposal to construct the healthcare village with an administrative fee of $672, a refundable compliance fee of $15,000, and a legal recording fee not to exceed $500.

Pending approval by the Town of Monument, construction could begin in early 2014.

Homeowners question rules

Homeowners Association manager Matt Beseau reported that many members of the WIA sent emails in response to last month’s invitation to express opinions about the association’s rules and regulations, particularly those limiting the number of vehicles allowed in a driveway and the storage of utility trailers in driveways and other areas of lots.

Several community members came to the meeting to express their opinions.

One said that because she has several children with their own vehicles and frequent visitors from out of town, she had attempted to obey the limits by having visitors park in public lots nearby and shuttle them to her house. She said that she had been reported to the association twice by neighbors and is considering selling her house to avoid further aggravation.

Board President Jim Hale said that she should call the office and explain her circumstances. Then if neighbors complain they can be told that the association is aware of the situation.

Two homeowners commented that they own utility trailers that are kept on their property out of sight of the street. They said that their neighbors have often made use of the trailers to move slash and other materials from their property. The trailers are in good repair. Both said that they would be willing to pay a small fee to keep the trailers.

Hale said that perhaps there would be a way to construct a storage shed for the trailers to conceal them from sight. He commended the speakers for helping their neighbors.

Another homeowner said that she objected to commercial vans parked in her neighborhood. Hale responded that commercial vehicles are prohibited overnight, although they must often be parked during the day while services are being performed.

Former board Treasurer Nick Oakley objected to any loosening of rules, because many people choose to live in Woodmoor because of its covenants. He said that the lack of fences lends a spacious atmosphere to the community and people appreciate the lack of clutter of vehicles in driveways.

Hale responded that the rule limiting the number or vehicles on a property is a rule rather than a covenant. He also observed that lifestyles have changed significantly since the founding of Woodmoor in the 1970s, with more intergenerational households requiring vehicles to get to work and school.

Hale said that he feels that the conversation about rules will continue.

Vandalism, mail theft reported

Public Safety Director Per Suhr reported that there had been reports of vandalism and mail theft in north Woodmoor. The postal inspector is investigating, and it is suspected that kids were going through mail hoping to find checks. Two benches on common area property were destroyed.

Forestry Director Eric Gross reported that work continues to rid the common areas of scrub oak. The board passed the appropriation of an additional $1,880 to complete the work.

The association remains 6.1 percent under budget in expenditures.

Hale said that he would like to begin outreach to other nearby communities to make slash removal services available throughout the year.

Hale also said that the membership meeting in January will have a new format, with a State of Woodmoor presentation followed by opportunities to speak to board members about their responsibilities. The food will be better and there may be door prizes to encourage attendance, he said.

Finally, Hale said that the association’s new attorney, Leonard Rioth, suggested that WIA not attempt to change its covenants because the organization evolved from three small areas to one large one and combining them may result in legal difficulties. The board approved abandonment of the new covenants.

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The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the board will instead meet on the third Wednesday, Nov. 20.

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

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Oct. 17: Safety council makes recommendations

By Harriet Halbig

The Oct. 17 meeting of the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education was divided into two parts—the first to receive the report of the Safety and Security Advisory Council (SSAC) and the second a public forum about the upcoming vote on a mill levy override.

The SSAC, formed in March, consists of 20 community members with expertise in safety and crisis management and 10 district staff members. The group is divided into four subcommittees:

• Terrorism/crime prevention/building safety

• Physical location/community/natural disasters

• Facilities services/bus safety

• Climate and culture

Each subcommittee visited all district facilities and developed a list of recommendations to improve the security of the students and staff.

The terrorism subcommittee examined adding camera monitors and alarms, inspected ease of ingress and egress at each building, and discussed methods of evacuation, reunification, and lockdown in the case of an emergency.

The subcommittee recommended that the addition of inexpensive monitoring devices would provide a good deterrent. It also recommended the use of fire doors to partition a building in the case of an emergency, the purchase of radios for communication, revision of entry doors so that entry is a two-step process, and the hiring of more security guards.

The physical location group is concerned with the effects of flooding, wildfire, high winds, hail, wildlife, blizzards, and excessive snow drifting. Each classroom has been provided with an emergency backpack containing such items as flashlights, whistles, and other trauma supplies. This group focused primarily on the exterior of facilities.

The group recommended increased staff training on emergency procedures, increased exterior camera coverage, improved lighting, utilities fencing, and refined evacuation procedures to alternate sites.

The facilities services subcommittee focused on transportation resources, the administration building, Grace Best Elementary, the Lewis-Palmer High School food services facility, and the Palmer Lake Elementary Child Care facility. Primary concerns were ease of access to each of these facilities, security of transportation resources, and the danger of food contamination.

Recommendations of the subcommittee included the addition of a door camera at the entrance to Grace Best, where the Home School Enrichment Academy holds classes; purchase of panic buttons for each facility; improved security at the district’s central office; and the provision of radios for communication between facilities. The addition of intercoms at the entrance of each high school was also recommended.

The subcommittee also recommended the purchase of Zonar radios for all buses so their location could be easily monitored.

The climate and culture subcommittee concerns itself with threat assessment, staff and student climate, and mental health programs and procedures. They also examined procedures for monitoring students whose behavior becomes threatening.

The subcommittee’s recommendations included active use of the Multi-Tiered Support System, a process of evaluating the severity of a student’s ability to control his actions, a survey of the overall well-being of students, and a possible survey of staff and community to identify concerns.

School resource officer trains staff

The district’s school resource officer, Dennis Coates of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, spoke briefly about training the staff to be empowered to be proactive in crisis situations. The Palmer Ridge High School staff and school administrators have undergone the training through the use of tabletop drills and role playing. Staff at remaining schools will be trained throughout the year. Coates said that staff members were very grateful for this training.

Coates said that since the Columbine High School shootings, school staff is no longer instructed to wait for the arrival of law enforcement personnel, but instead is trained to respond immediately, because a crisis situation often lasts just a few minutes.

He suggested that, because schools perform required fire drills, perhaps they could also perform emergency drills involving isolating areas of a building.

Coates also commented that the appropriate response to some situations, such as breaking a window to escape, is often counterintuitive. He said that the district may purchase some salvage windows to practice with in order to make staff members aware of the amount of force needed to completely remove glass and make it safe for students to escape.

The district will also examine procedures for securing facilities during after-school events.

Board Vice President Mark Pfoff commended the advisory council for its findings and suggested that the board discuss funding for the various provisions during its November or December meeting.

Board member John Magerko announced that Board President Jeffery Ferguson has been selected by the Colorado Association of School Boards for its McGuffey Award, which honors board members who have demonstrated the head and heart of committed and passionate service. Ferguson also received this award in 2000.

Woodmoor resident Gordon Reichal commented that the school board should not express its favor or disfavor of ballot initiatives and said that he had heard only negative comments regarding Amendment 66. Pfoff responded that board members may express an opinion while staff members may not. He said that the board had provided factual information rather than opinion.

The board passed a list of routine matters such as minutes of past meetings and personnel, finance and district operations.

Mill levy override discussion

Following a short break, the board met with members of the public regarding the upcoming mill levy override (MLO) ballot initiative. Superintendent John Borman presented an overview of district finances and the impact of budget cuts over the past few years. He also explained the proposed use of funding provided by the MLO if it is successful.

Several citizens expressed their opinions in favor and opposed to the measure and asked specific questions of the board.

The live stream of this briefing may be viewed at www.ustream.tv/channel/lpsd-live, LPSD Board Meeting 10/17/13 Part 2.

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The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District 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 on Nov. 21.

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

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Lewis Palmer School District Accountability Advisory Committee, Oct. 8: Committee learns about Palmer Lake Elementary, discusses ballot issues

By Harriet Halbig

On Oct. 8, the Lewis-Palmer School District’s District Accountability Advisory Committee heard about the history and achievements of Palmer Lake Elementary School (PLES) and briefly discussed two ballot issues that would affect district funding.

PLES Principal Julie Jadomski presented a slide show about the history of the town of Palmer Lake, founded as a health resort in 1882, and the history of its schools, the first of which was built in 1888.

The Lewis Consolidated School District was formed in 1919, followed in 1920 by the construction of the Lewis School, now known as Big Red, which served grades 1-12.

The first section of the present elementary school was constructed in 1934 and served grades 1 through 8. Palmer Lake District 33 joined Lewis District 5 to become the Lewis-Palmer School District in 1948.

Palmer Lake Elementary closed in 1980 and underwent major remodeling, adding a lobby, classrooms, and a gym in 1986. A cafeteria was added in 1992 and a conference room in 2004.

Jadomski listed several annual activities at the school, among them a July 4 run, a Santa breakfast, a senior Thanksgiving lunch and Walk Your Child to School Day.

The student population is 355, with two sections for each grade except for three sections of second grade. Students engage in such programs as Every Child a Writer, Every Child a Reader, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) engineering programs, the Cat’s Meow Choir, and a band.

Jadomski said that she is most proud of the fact that the school was rated as "approaching its goals" in the 2011-12 school year, and was rated as "meets" in 2012-13. This rating applies to student achievement, academic growth, and academic growth gaps. In the area of academic growth gaps in writing, the school exceeds its goal.

Review of ballot issues

Board of Education liaison John Magerko reported that the official bluebook explaining ballot initiatives had been mailed to district voters and encouraged everyone to read it carefully to make an informed decision before casting a ballot.

Magerko said that the intention of Amendment 66 is to bring all districts up to a certain level through the use of personal income tax funds. The mill levy override (MLO) would use increased personal property tax funds to improve local schools, thus keeping the funding in the district.

The board is communicating with all segments of the district to inform voters about the possible impact of passage of either or both initiatives, Magerko said.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman further explained the ballot initiatives, saying that the state currently has a flat income tax rate of 4.63 percent. If Amendment 66 were to pass, the first $75,000 of income would be taxed at 5 percent, while anything over $75,000 would be taxed at 5.9 percent. The hope is to generate about $1.1 billion for K-12 education at a time when school funding is losing ground to increased spending on Medicaid and other programs.

The intention is for these dollars to be allocated based on a number of factors, including percentage of at-risk students, English Language Learners, and free/reduced-cost lunch participants. At-risk students would be provided with free preschool services and free all-day kindergarten to help prepare them for first grade.

Wangeman said that due to the relatively small number of disadvantaged students in the district, for each $1 of additional taxes paid by residents, the district would receive about 42 cents. District 38 would be the second-lowest funded district in the state, but the funding per pupil would increase by about $350 per year.

Magerko commented that receiving increased funding through Amendment 66 would rob the district of local control, because the state would determine to which schools and which programs the funds would be allocated, whereas an MLO would guarantee that all funding would remain local. He also pointed out that the district is not required to utilize the entire maximum MLO funding each year.

Committee for Political Activity Chair Cori Tanner encouraged everyone to inform themselves thoroughly before voting.

Tanner provided a first reading of the amended bylaws for the committee, to include assessments and evaluations of Universal Improvement Plans (instead of School Improvement Plans) and assessment of the district evaluation system for teachers and principals. One principal will be added to the committee for the latter activity.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The next meeting will be held on Nov. 12 in the library of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Oct. 15: Newer fire code approved with local amendments

By Lisa Hatfield

On Oct. 15, the Wescott Fire Protection Board approved the adoption of a more recent update of the International Fire Code (IFC) plus local amendments that will create a more standardized fire code across seven county fire districts. If all seven districts approve it, the proposed code will be sent to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for approval.

Director Harland Baker chaired the meeting. Chairman Scott Campbell and Secretary Greg Gent were absent.

2009 IFC resolution approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution that adopted the 2009 IFC and the district’s local amendments. After the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires, Commissioner Dennis Hisey wrote a letter asking fire districts to resubmit new fire codes for approval by the BOCC, Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said. If and when this new code is approved by the BOCC, it would replace the 2003 IFC, which was approved by the district and the BOCC and has been in place since 2006.

Ridings said that because the international building codes intermingle in certain sections with the international fire codes, the fire districts are trying to keep fire codes consistent with current building codes in use. If the county operates on the 2009 international building code, districts would not want to adopt the 2013 IFC, because it would be inconsistent, he said.

Ridings said the goal is to have a common fire code across most of the North Group fire agencies. Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District, Cimarron Hills Fire Department, Wescott Fire Protection District, Falcon Fire Protection District, Security Fire Department, Hanover Fire Department, and Peyton Fire Protection District have been working together on this initiative.

Falcon Fire Marshal Vernon Champlin has served as the group’s point of contact for the last two years of negotiations between the districts and the Housing and Building Association (HBA) to create a standardized fire code across a bigger geographic area. These districts will jointly submit one fire code to the BOCC for approval once they have all approved.

The biggest change between this 2009 IFC with local amendments and the one adopted in 2006 is Amendment K, the "hardened structures requirements," Ridings said. This section gives details on building materials and in which cases sprinkler systems would be required in new home construction.

Chief’s report

Chief Vinny Burns reported that he and firefighters Jonathan Urban and Justin Chavez earned their national Fire Officer 1 certificates.

Ridings presented the September run report, which said that calls decreased 6 percent from last year, from 179 calls in September 2012 to 168 in September 2013. The district assisted with five mutual aid calls to Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. One fire, at Fox Run Park, is still under investigation.

Ridings said that he is still researching a new station alert system. The board approved purchase of new system in February. However, there may be a change in operating procedures by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center. To meet National Fire Protection Association standards, the district would like to make an arrangement with the county dispatch/E911 office and all the county fire districts to purchase a system they all agree on.

The Black Forest Merger Committee has not met since August, but Burns said the plan will now be to set a consistent meeting date the week before the board meetings of both fire districts. However, Burns and Black Forest Chief Bob Harvey have been meeting regularly for operations discussions, and the two districts’ firefighters have participated in joint training exercises to get to know each other as well as their equipment and procedures, Burns said.

The Wescott district is waiting for the results of the mill levy ballot issue on Nov. 5. Lt. Bryan Ackerman said that Friends of Wescott volunteers, off-duty firefighters who are not in uniform, distributed mill levy information fliers to most homes in the Wescott district before the ballots were mailed out in mid-October. No district funds were used to advertise or campaign for any of the election issues, Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall said.

Financial reports

Marshall said bank balances as of Oct. 30 totaled $1.5 million: Peoples National Bank $57,000, Colorado Peak fund $178,000, ColoTrust Fund $439,000, Wells Fargo Public Trust $909,000.

Some of the budget items mentioned by Marshall included:

• The district is "a little bit ahead" of where it should be for this time of the year, with expenses at 81 percent instead of 75 percent of the total 2013 budget. This higher than expected spending is due to station and vehicle maintenance that was discussed during recent board meetings.

• To date, the district has received $40,500 in reimbursements from the state for fighting four wildfires this year. The conservative budget estimate for total 2013 reimbursements was only $5,000.

• The High Forest Ranch community picnic fundraising contributions added an additional $10,700 to the district’s revenue for the year.

• Annual health insurance costs have increased $35,000 this year.

The meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Oct. 23: D-38 teachers designated as first responders

By Bernard Minetti

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board President and Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk announced that police are training School District 38 teachers to be first responders in the event of school shootings.

"For years we have grown up with the concept of ‘duck and cover’ and where have we been finding all the dead kids?… under desks … and so we have been instructing teachers through a formal program … on letting them know that they are the first responders ….," Shirk said. "Instead of following the old chain of command, checking with an administrator on what to do … we’re giving them training on how to react …."

Deputy chief position contemplated

During the first review of the 2014 budget, Fire Chief Christopher Truty explained his plans for adding a deputy chief position in the operational staff lineup. He stated that the occupant of this position would answer directly to the chief, and the battalion chiefs would answer directly to the deputy chief. This position would require future annual budgets to allocate a half-year wage of $45,000.

Bi-annual medical exams planned for firefighters

Truty announced during his 2014 budget preview that he was planning to have all firefighters undergo bi-annual physical exams. This would require that $11,000 be a part the 2014 budget, which would be a 292.9 percent increase in this line item. There was considerable discussion on this item, but staff and directors agreed that this was a reasonable and necessary item.

Office manager to receive pay raise

Truty explained that a pay raise was necessary for the position of district office manager because of the amount and the level of assignments that the manager performs. The tasks performed include projects related to insurance, financial, personnel, and administrative tasking levels. The annual wage for the position is projected to rise from $39,000 in the 2013 budget to $45,000 in the 2014 budget.

Employee pay increase included in 2014 budget

Included in the proposed 2014 budget is a pay increase of 2 percent per employee. Truty noted that it had been a long time since district employees received a pay increase. Our Community News archives show that a 3 percent pay raise was instituted Jan. 1, 2011.

SAFER hirings will have impact in 2015

Truty explained that there would be no budgetary impact from the employees who were hired under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants during the 2014 budget year. But in 2015, there would be a significant impact of about $350,000 on personnel expenses. The federal SAFER grant pays for the first three years of the hiring of these employees. After that, the district bears that responsibility.

Operating fund and capital improvement fund status

The operating fund would face a 2014 shortage of $592,085 in Truty’s requested balance of $1.3 million, he said. The capital improvement fund would face a shortage of $539,045, which Truty said would have an adverse impact on the possible planned reconstruction of Station 3.

Uniform allowance and wages

Truty advised that the uniform allowance line item would be reduced by 28.8 percent in the 2014 budget. He proposed that all firefighters receive a $400 annual lump sum to use as they wish. They would then be required to pay for uniform needs out-of-pocket. The 2014 budget would provide a total of $3.2 million in wages. That would amount to an 11.2 percent wage increase for district employees.

Treasurer’s report

Treasurer John Hildebrandt reported that the September budget level represented 75 percent of the budgetary year. Property tax revenues had exceeded that amount and were at 98.49 percent of projected budgetary income. The Specific Ownership Tax was 115.72 percent of budgeted projections, or 37.72 percent of projected revenue. Ambulance revenues, he noted, were at 83.55 percent or 8.55 percent ahead of projected revenues. He reported that expenses were high and will normalize as the year progresses. He noted in his report that expenses were 1.25 percent over the projected budget.

Expanding fire coverage

Resolution 13-003, which orders the assimilation of certain Black Forest properties for fire coverage, was approved again at this meeting. This resolution will now go to the voters for final approval.

Healthcare proposal

In a memo to the board, Truty noted that the healthcare insurance quote from Kaiser Permanente was nearly identical to the preliminary rate increase of 7.7 percent that was expected in the budget. "The final number is a 7.8 percent increase," he said. He also stated that no change in the carrier (Kaiser Permanente) was contemplated and advised that the dental plan would not be changed.

Station 3 driveway reconstruction

For rebuilding the driveway along the north side of Station 3, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) submitted a quote of $21,722. The fire district is allowed to use that driveway so that fire district vehicles may access the rear of the station as well as use it as a turnaround. WWSD is asking for a contribution from the district to assist in the payment for the project. Since the estimate submitted was for a 2-inch asphalt bed, Director Roger Lance recommended that the district pay the cost of about $2,000 to add another inch to the drive surface to increase its strength and viability. The board agreed.

Board of Directors meeting schedule

The meeting schedule for 2014 for the Board of Directors directs that all meetings take place on the fourth Wednesday of the month with the exception of November and December. In those months the meetings will take place on Nov. 12 and Dec. 10 to accommodate the holiday season. All meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m. at 166 Second St., Monument This schedule was approved by the board.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact the district Fire Administration Office at 719-484-0911.

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

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Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, Oct. 8: JUC will seek new discharge permit, with conditions

By Jim Kendrick

On Oct. 10, Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility environmental attorney Tad Foster and Manager Bill Burks recommended that the facility’s Joint Use Committee (JUC) approve an application for an early renewal of the facility’s five-year discharge permit to take effect at the end of 2013 rather than amend the copper limits in the current permit scheduled to expire at the end of 2016. The purpose of the state Water Quality Control Division’s request for an early Tri-Lakes permit renewal is to align all permit renewals in the Arkansas River Basin with the five-year basin standards review cycle.

The JUC unanimously approved seeking a new permit, but only if the state agrees to an adequate compliance schedule for meeting the nutrient requirements in Control Regulation 85 that will ensure enough testing time for new phosphate removal equipment. The JUC wants to avoid otherwise inevitable costly civil penalties for discharge permit violations.

While the division has stated that compliance with the request is voluntary for the wastewater treatment facilities in the Arkansas Basin, the head of the permits section, Jane Kieler, has also stated that she may make new, more restrictive permits mandatory for facilities in the Monument/Fountain Creek Watershed. Arkansas basin facilities must apply for permit renewals by the end of 2013 for Kieler to consider them voluntary.

The division has never before discussed revoking discharge permits before they expire. The division is under a great deal of pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a national precedent for tighter nutrient restrictions, despite the scientific controversy over the effectiveness of simultaneously imposing tighter total phosphorus and total nitrogen constraints. The EPA provides 75 percent of the division’s funding via annual performance partnership agreements.

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: President Jim Taylor of Woodmoor, Vice President Dale Smith of Palmer Lake, and Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Robinove of Monument. Several other district board members and district managers from each of the three owner districts also attended the meeting.

Foster said that agreeing to the division’s unprecedented early renewal request now—but only under the condition that the division agree to a negotiated phosphate removal compliance schedule for the Tri-Lakes facility—may make it easier to negotiate incorporation of a new process to define more scientifically valid and economically attainable dissolved copper stream standards into the facility’s discharge permit. Tri-Lakes’ cost for developing this procedure over the past decade was about $500,000.

The Tri-Lakes facility will also request that the division eliminate the current permit’s requirement to test for selenium, lead, and hydrogen sulfide, since none of these has ever been detected in Tri-Lakes’ treated effluent. The current discharge permit would require costly monthly testing for these potential constituents to continue for another three years, through the end of 2016, with no further apparent purpose.

Note: The facility just received approval to stop having to test for nonylphenol, a toxic surfactant found in most detergents as well as dry-cleaning fluid. This testing requirement had been mistakenly added to the new five-year discharge permit for 2012 through 2016. The division had initially billed Tri-Lakes for a permit amendment fee of about $2,800 for correcting its own nonylphenol error, but Burks got the division to cancel the amendment fee invoice.

Foster recommended that the JUC agree now to accept the economic and technical risks inherent with issuance of any new effluent discharge permit, wherein every existing permit limit is subject to tightening, and other costly testing procedures may be added. Agreeing now, he added, may give the facility more leverage in negotiations with the division to relax current copper permit limits to reflect the new relaxed stream standards for Monument Creek. The new standards were approved by the Water Quality Control Commission in June using the Tri-Lakes facility’s new science-based procedure for setting copper standards––after the EPA concurred at this hearing and said it would accept use of the Tri-Lakes procedure nationwide.

$2 million in improvements

Nutrient treatment equipment construction at the $6 million Tri-Lakes facility will be completed in early 2016 at a currently contracted cost of $2.007 million. Foster noted that the facility staff would use the remainder of 2016 to accurately determine how to operate the new equipment efficiently and effectively. The facility must meet the requirements of Control Regulation 85 with a margin of safety during the warranty period as well as determine the size of rate increases that will have to be imposed to pay the substantial additional operational costs required to comply with this new state mandate.

The facility will ask for a compliance schedule that includes a minimum of two years, 2017 and 2018. During 2017, the facility staff would experiment, adjust, and maximize the efficiency of the new phosphate removal technology throughout all seasonal influent wastewater and weather conditions. In the past, extremely cold weather has drastically reduced the facility’s ability to remove dissolved copper.

The plant received a temporary modification that relaxed copper limits from 2005 through 2014 to conduct the research noted above. However, the copper excursions during this research period would likely result in permit violations in 2015 and 2016 under the copper limits in the current permit when the temporary modification expires at the end of 2014.

In 2018, the Tri-Lakes facility staff would conduct further seasonal experimentation while establishing the first one-year statistical base of plant performance before being required to meet a rolling one-year median requirement in 2019. This rolling median standard looks backward at the previous 12 months of facility discharge monitoring reports and uses the median of this data set as the basis of compliance for operation of this new supplementary phosphate removal treatment equipment. The total phosphorus removal technology that will be installed is new, and there is significant risk associated with how well it will actually operate at altitude with the larger temperature swings that occur on Monument Ridge, the highest point in the country east of the Front Range.

Much bigger fines a danger

Foster noted that any fine imposed for violation of the rolling one-year median nutrient standards in the future would be for the entire one-year look-back period and would be much higher than for any of the more traditional one-month average standards in the facility’s current permit, a much greater risk with unproven, albeit state-mandated, technology.

"Your civil penalty could be horrendous," he said. "That’s why two years of practice before you really have to meet the limit are important. It would give you time to figure out how to dial in your operation under all kinds of weather events and figure out how to make it work."

Foster stated that there has been no discussion by the division regarding what new effluent discharge limits may be imposed on the Tri-Lakes facility for the chemicals that may be used— aluminum, sulfate, iron, or chloride—to remove total phosphorus. The facility has to report the concentrations of sulfate, iron, and chloride for the first time under the current permit. The division may add limits on these constituents in a new permit, increasing operational risks for the new treatment equipment.

The award-winning Tri-Lakes facility, although not designed or required to treat nutrients or copper when it was built in 1998, already meets the total inorganic nitrogen requirements of Control Regulation 85 and the new Monument Creek copper standards. However, the facility does not have the ability to meet the requirements imposed for total phosphorus and total nitrogen in 2022 when the commission created the state’s new Regulation 31.17. There is no currently available treatment technology to meet the new state limits. The nutrient limits that the EPA is demanding of the state are even more restrictive and unattainable.

The three special districts then jointly received a state planning grant ($80,000) and a state design/construction grant ($1 million) to help build the new total phosphorus removal equipment mandated by Regulation 85, but only after Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund and Fountain Sanitation District Manager Jim Heckman protested what was an unfunded state mandate at several hearings of the state Legislature and directly to Gov. John Hickenlooper at his office.

Hickenlooper responded to these protests by proposing a $15 million statewide grant program, which the Legislature approved earlier this year. Monument and Palmer Lake will have to gain voter approval through district elections for a TABOR waiver to be able to accept their one-third shares of the $1 million design/construction grant. The state design/construction grant statute requires that the Water Quality Control Division must approve full operation of the new nutrient equipment by May 1, 2016.

After a lengthy detailed technical discussion of the pros and cons of amending the current permit or requesting a new permit with an appropriate nutrients compliance schedule, there was JUC consensus to start negotiations for a new permit with the condition that the division agrees to the compliance schedule noted above that runs to the end of the new permit. Foster said he would ask for a meeting with the division permit staff to present the JUC’s conditions for requesting a new permit. If the division permit writers support this request, Burks will formally submit an application for a new permit.

Discharger specific variance procedures reviewed

Foster also briefed the JUC on state discharger specific variances that the commission will award to an individual discharger—such as the Tri-Lakes facility—rather than approve a temporary modification for an entire stream segment. During a public hearing before the commission, a discharger must meet one of three tests to receive a variance:

• The treatment equipment necessary to meet the state standard is beyond the limits of technology.

• Modifying the treatment equipment to meet a standard will result in a new environmental impact that is worse than the one being treated by the existing equipment.

• Paying for the treatment equipment needed to meet a new permit requirement will cause a substantial and widespread social and economic impact, because monthly fees would be greater than 2 percent of median household income for a district.

The first and third tests will apply to the new total nitrogen and total phosphorus effluent limits that will be required by Regulation 31 in 2022. Foster stated that the facility will have to conduct nutrient studies on both phosphorus and nitrogen, similar to those already completed, for several years to prove that the effluent copper concentrations don’t cause any of the damage or adverse impact to Monument Creek aquatic life that had been presumed by the EPA and the division for over a decade.

Burks added that the facility has been limiting nitrogen for years and will study the effect on aquatic life of also limiting phosphorus when the new phosphate removal equipment becomes operational.

Financial reports

Burks advised the JUC that there had been an error in the formulas used in his previous 2013 spreadsheet invoices to compute individual district shares of treatment costs for flow and biosolid waste. During the first eight months of 2013, Monument was under-billed by $3,281 and Palmer Lake was under-billed by $2,533. Woodmoor was overbilled by $5,814. Burks stated that each of his three September invoices to the owner districts contained an additional line item to correct these billing errors with equivalent extra charges for Monument and Palmer and a credit for Woodmoor. The financial statements were unanimously accepted as presented.

Burks reviewed several line items in his final update to the facility’s draft 2014 budget. He said the architect had lost the plans for the new facility storage building while switching to a new computer. There was JUC consensus to postpone construction of the building another year and add the capital construction cost to the 2014 budget. He also proposed adding $8,268 to the 2014 capital budget for a spare bar screen grinder and postponing the $3,000 rehabilitation of the South Woodmoor metering vault until 2014.

There was JUC consensus on all of Burks’ proposed 2014 budget changes. Burks said he would make these changes and distribute the final draft to each district by the end of the day.

Burks provided copies of the state contract for the two nutrient grants noted above to each of the districts to be signed by the three board presidents.

District managers’ reports

Wicklund gave an update on Monument lift station repairs for the past month. Palmer Lake District Manager Becky Orcutt and Woodmoor District Manager Jessie Shaffer stated that they each had no issues to report.

Facility manager’s report

Burks noted that the plant had operated very efficiently since the last JUC meeting, with all discharge monitoring report results being well below permit limits. The various August nutrient readings for the plant’s effluent and in-stream readings above and below the discharge pipe were consistent with those reported to the state under Control Regulation 85 over the past several months. He stated that he believed sludge removal from the sludge lagoon for use as agricultural fertilizer would be completed in a few more weeks.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.

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

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

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 10: District repairs leaks

By Candice Hitt

At the Oct. 10 Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board meeting, District Manager Jessie Shaffer reported that the district had repaired several leak problems over the last several months. The leaks began late last fall when the water report began showing inconsistencies between water produced and water consumed.

The district began a thorough investigation of the water system and treatment facilities. The repairs were performed by the district staff at minimal cost using supplies on hand, Shaffer said. The unaccounted water percentage is back to normal, at around 5 percent. Shaffer stated that he will continue to monitor the water report to be certain the leak problems have been fixed and will be able to provide more information in a few months.

Operations report

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette gave the operations report, stating that this year the district has not had any taste and odor issues with its water, and it will hold off on the taste and odor pilot study. Gillette reported that due to Monument Creek flowing so well, the district didn’t have to use as much lake water to keep up with the summer demands. The district has stopped taking water from Monument Creek and has switched back to Lake Woodmoor to test the difference in water quality between the two sources. Gillette will bring the results to the board when the testing has been completed.

Public relations

Shaffer stated that plans for a walking trail around Lake Woodmoor are on hold. Shaffer was waiting to hear about the Woodmoor Improvement Association’s plans, and will report to the board when he has more information.

Shaffer presented the draft Pipeline newsletter to the board. The final version will be mailed to district customers next week.

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The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 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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Academy Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 16: New permit signals start of big changes for district

By Susan Hindman

While past arrivals of new wastewater discharge permits might not have triggered much concern, the latest one has, because it details the steps the Academy Water and Sanitation District must take to comply with new state regulations that it currently cannot meet. Called a compliance schedule, it sets the dates when the district must meet stricter total residual chlorine (TRC) limits and new total ammonia limits in its effluent.

Dave Frisch of the district’s engineering consultant firm GMS Inc. discussed the compliance schedule at the Oct. 16 district board meeting.

New TRC limits must be met starting Oct. 1, 2014. Chlorine is added during the process for treating effluent, but then needs to be removed before the effluent is released into Smith Creek. The district is meeting the current daily requirement of 0.5 milligram per liter (mg/l). Until now, there has been no permit requirement to meet any maximum 30-day average. The new discharged effluent limits dramatically reduce the amount of TRC allowed to a daily maximum of 0.019 mg/l and institute a maximum 30-day average of 0.011 mg/l, numbers that can’t even be measured by currently available testing procedures.

"This limit that they’ve given us is lower than what you can actually detect," Frisch said. "With TRC, the lowest limit you can measure to is 0.5 mg/l. You can’t even measure to 0.011 mg/l." The permit allows for this, he said, noting that the district just has to be able to report that the numbers are below 0.5 mg/l.

Meanwhile, new limits on the amount of ammonia in the effluent will have to be met by Oct. 1, 2018. Those numbers can’t be attained with the current lagoon system, he said. The district has known about this, and GMS detailed options in its 2012 Preliminary Engineering Report for the district: Either connect with another district for wastewater treatment or build a new treatment facility.

Meeting the TRC limits will be the easier of the two to accomplish. GMS will design and construct a 6-foot-by-6-foot building to house dechlorination equipment and place it near the lower lagoon so that it removes the chlorine before the effluent is released into Smith Creek. The cost of construction is estimated at $7,000, while the cost of all the required paperwork — including the site approval amendment, plans, specifications, and design report — will be around $28,000. Treasurer Walt Reiss said the money is available in the draft 2014 budget, but the board will wait until next month’s meeting, when that budget is finalized, before formally approving the expense.

Meeting the ammonia limits has much greater financial repercussions. The 2012 engineering report had noted that the cost for either of the two options would be around $3.5 million. Frisch said he will be in touch with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to initiate a discussion about the option of connecting.

Every year for the next five years, according to the permit, specific goals must be met and that progress documented in letters to the state. Central to those goals is assuring the state that the district is actively pursuing and securing funding. The district will look for grants and low-interest loans, but a bond election will be required soon.

The district will ask voters to approve a heftier mill levy than the one it is about to pay off — which will lower property taxes in 2014 for the first time in two decades. Selling the public on an election that is crucial to meeting state requirements will likely require a good PR campaign, said Director Ron Curry. Board members are limited as to how involved they can be in the election. "It’s going to take an educated citizen to form a group to get out there and knock on doors and come to meetings," he said.

One step closer to a website

Curry emailed board members earlier in the month requesting feedback on the district’s new website, which is finally operational but not yet public. He is working to get new information on the site and hopes to make it available to customers soon.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Gleneagle and Jessie Drives. The next meeting is Nov. 20.

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 17: 2014 budget hearing scheduled for Dec. 5

By Jim Kendrick

On Oct. 17, Donala General Manager Kip Petersen gave an overview of the draft 2014 district budget. There was board consensus that the budget was ready for final review at a public hearing in the district conference room at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 5.

The Donala Water and Sanitation District board recognized Office Manager Betsy Bray’s 20 years of service to the district with a bouquet of roses and a cake.

2014 budget highlights

Petersen briefed the board on the several pages of diverse assumptions he made in preparing the draft 2014 budget. He noted that estimating water sales is the most difficult aspect of the budget because water sales are so heavily dependent on the weather. Some of the items Petersen noted were:

• Property taxes will be used to make bond payments and if there is any amount left over, that money will help pay for services.

• Previously programmed rate increases over the next 10 years will not generate enough revenue to pay the full cost of operations until 2016.

• All tiers of the water rate structure will increase 20 percent and sewer rates will increase $1 per month.

• Total revenues will be $9.54 million.

• Total expenses, if there are no contingencies, will be $9.51 million, a 3 percent decrease.

• Electricity costs will rise by 10 percent.

• The cost of water purchased from Colorado Springs Utilities during the summer irrigation season will increase by 7 percent.

• A prolonged drought in 2014 would greatly increase the cost of even more water that will have to be purchased from Colorado Springs Utilities.

• Willow Creek Ranch produced 290 acre-feet of renewable water in 2013, significantly reducing the amount of water purchased from Colorado Springs Utilities.

• If the Gleneagle Golf Course does not purchase Donala reuse water next year, this water could be sold as exchanged effluent to Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association.

An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons.

Manager’s report

Petersen reported that the Willow Creek Ranch had been placed in "winter mode" during the final Donala staff visit for the year. The staff has been working on annual maintenance of facilities now that the higher water demands of irrigation season have ended.

Peterson’s planned meeting with the staffs of Colorado Springs Utilities and federal Bureau of Reclamation regarding a long-term storage lease in Pueblo Reservoir had been cancelled due to bureau employees being placed on furlough. Peterson will try to reschedule this meeting by the end of November.

Petersen reported that Gleneagle Golf Course had closed operations. He said there was no firm information available as of this meeting on long-term plans for the golf course. Director Dave Powell said the golf course property is not amenable to housing development due to limited access. He suggested that Donala, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, and the Town of Monument consider purchasing the course if it becomes available and use it for open space for joint recycling of water for re-use.

Petersen read a note from the Tarno family thanking Donala water operator Ronny Wright for the assistance he provided during their sewer back-up problem. Board President Bill George said this note speaks highly of all the district’s employees.

Triview status

Triview Metropolitan District, a co-owner of the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility with Donala and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, issued five new taps in September leading to five $1,500 payments to Donala. This $7,500 reduced the balance that Triview owes Donala through a facility management agreement to $751,725. Donala lent about $1.3 million so Triview could pay all its share of the Upper Monument Creek facility expansion costs when Triview did not have enough credit to borrow this money from any other source.

Petersen also reported that Triview expects the construction of a Colorado Springs Health Partnership building by the YMCA and a new Goodwill outlet building.

Triview has plans to drill a new Denver aquifer well north of the electrical power substation on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway adjacent to the new Vistas at Jackson Creek apartment complex. This new well should have less of a negative impact on Donala well production than Triview’s heavily used wells that are farther south.

Petersen reported that Triview District Manager Valerie Remington noted at the quarterly Upper Monument Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility operational meeting that the Triview board had seen the proposed 2014 facility budget and had no questions or concerns about the budget to date.

Financial reports

Peterson noted that Donala had received $150,000 for water rights from Randy Scholl, the owner of the Brown Ranch. The ranch was included by Donala in early 2004 and Donala paid the owners of the Ranch, Randal Construction Inc., Randy Scholl, and Margaret E. Scholl $400,000 for all the groundwater rights for this property.

The board unanimously approved an exclusion agreement for the Brown Ranch property from the district on Dec. 6, 2012 because it drains into Cherry Creek, which is part of the South Platte Basin rather than the Arkansas River Basin. This drainage condition prohibits the use of any Donala Arkansas River Basin renewable water from the district’s Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville in the reservoir that Donala had planned to build on the Brown Ranch. The cost of creating a separate ground water supply system to provide potable water service to the housing development that the Scholls had planned to build on this property is prohibitive.

Under the exclusion agreement, Donala retains all rights to ground water in the Arapahoe aquifer underlying the Brown Ranch and the well site. The Scholls paid Donala $150,000 for the return of all groundwater rights in the Dawson, Denver, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers. Donala’s well site will be platted as a separate lot when the Brown Ranch is subdivided and conveyed by the Scholls to Donala by a warranty deed.

The board went into executive session to discuss property disposition at 3:48 p.m. No other matters were voted on when the board came out of executive session to adjourn.

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The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the district conference at 15850 Holbein Drive. This will be the last regular board meeting for 2013 and will include the 2014 budget public hearing.

Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603.

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

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Monument Sanitation District, Oct. 17: $1.08 million grant contract approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Oct. 17 the Monument Sanitation District board unanimously approved the state nutrient grant contract for a planning grant ($80,000) and a design/construction grant ($1 million) to help pay for new total phosphorus removal equipment at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. The equipment has been mandated by the state’s new nutrient Control Regulation 85 and will cost a total of $2.007 million. Board President Ed DeLaney signed the contract for the district.

The board also scheduled its public hearing on the 2014 budget for 7 p.m. Dec. 19 in the district conference room, 130 Second St.

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. Each of the three owner districts will receive a one-third share of these two grants, which is $360,000. The planning grant requires a 20 percent match, or $16,000. Each district will have to contribute $5,333 to receive its one-third share of the state planning grant, which amounts to $26,667.

Monument will have to gain voter approval through its Nov. 5 district mail-in ballot election for a TABOR waiver to be able to accept its one-third share of the $1 million design/construction grant, which is $333,333. This amount is well in excess of Monument’s current annual $50,000 state grant acceptance limit––10 percent of its enterprise fund annual operating budget of about $500,000. No matching funds or reimbursements are required by the state grant contract for accepting one-third shares of the $1 million design/construction grant.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

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

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 7: Dominowski named Citizen of the Year

By Jim Kendrick

Mayor Travis Easton presented John Dominowski with the Citizen of the Year award for his "outstanding efforts" on constructing the town’s new banner boards and improving the town’s special event permit process during the Oct. 7 Monument Board of Trustees meeting.

Downtown sidewalks, parking plans approved

Tom Kassawara, director of the Development Services Department, discussed the status of the town’s sidewalk and parking project plans, current downtown parking practices, and safety issues. The project has received grant funding under an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Monument and the Colorado Department of Transportation for downtown sidewalk improvements.

The trustees approved the agreement on May 6. The state funding to be provided for the project will be $791,858 over a four-year period. The town match over these four years will be about $183,142. Jacobs Engineering is the contractor for project design.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez recused himself from the discussion, noting that he owns downtown commercial property directly affected by this project.

Kassawara briefed the board on where new sidewalks, curb, and gutter would be installed on Beacon Lite Road, Jefferson Street, Washington Street, and Front Street. Due to limited funding, new sidewalks will be installed only on one side of these streets in the downtown area. Wherever necessary, mountable ("drive-over") curb will be used to maintain current access to on-site parking. The new sidewalks will be 6 inches thick where they are adjacent to on-site parking to withstand the weight of vehicles driving over them without causing damage.

Kassawara reported that the town staff had identified that the seven angled parking spaces on the south side of Second Street between Washington Street and Jefferson Street create several potential public safety hazards, such as driver and pedestrian sight-line visibility limitations and partial or complete sidewalk obstructions for pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities. The town proposes to replace the parking spaces with four parallel spaces that would be 9 feet wide and 23 feet long to meet code requirements. "No Parking" yellow curbs that are 20 feet long would be striped on both ends of these four parallel spaces.

Kassawara reported that the town would remove the two existing curb cuts built by the town to provide access to the town-mandated on-site asphalt parking lot between the sidewalk and the front of the district building and replace them with sidewalk, curb, and gutter at the town’s expense. This could result in an additional outdoor seating area becoming available just west of the outdoor seating of the Willow Tree Café, the tenant in the east end of the Monument Sanitation District building.

Kassawara also noted that the Monument Sanitation District has expressed an interest in working with the town to develop the current on-site parking lot in front of the district’s conference room, just east of the Second Street Hair Salon, as a gathering area for residents and visitors.

The Second Street Hair Salon is the tenant in the west end of the district building. The existing yellow-striped "No Parking" curb in front of the salon is currently much longer than 20 feet due to the existing angled parking.

Kassawara also proposed eliminating the six head-in spaces on the west side of the Monument Sanitation District property, adjacent to the Second Street Hair Salon. These six spaces are in town right-of-way between the east edge of the northbound Washington Street traffic and the district’s western lot boundary.

The head-in spaces in front of Dominguez’s west-facing commercial building at 174 Second St. are also located in town right-of-way between the east edge of the northbound Washington Street traffic and Dominguez’s western lot boundary. His building is adjacent to the rear of the sanitation district building. Dominguez’s head-in spaces, which are adjacent to the six district head-in spaces proposed for elimination, will be converted to two parallel spaces.

Kassawara said the town would make available on-street parking more apparent to the public with striping 23-by-9-foot spaces. He noted the new signage that directs people to the town’s 29-space parking lot, also on the east side Washington Street, between First Street and Second Street.

Public sidewalk meetings held

Kassawara reported that Trustees Becki Tooley and Dominguez, and members of the town staff, attended the Senior Lunch on June 27 in the old town hall building at 166 Second St., which is adjacent to the sanitation district building. They proposed the restriping plan for the seven angled spaces in front of the district building and solicited input from the senior community. About 45 to 50 people attended this lunch. Kassawara also reported that a consensus was reached that restriping the parking in front of Willow Tree Café parallel parking would be an improvement, and the current situation had been a safety concern for some time.

Kassawara said the staff held a public open house meeting on Sept. 9 to obtain public comments on the plan. He sent written invitations to every business owner in town. He said public response to the proposed project had been positive. There had been positive discussions at this meeting that was attended by about 20 citizens and business owners. Several suggestions made at this meeting have been incorporated into this design plan, which amounts to 30 percent of the work to be done.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp advised the board about an issue regarding parking adjacent to the Monument Sanitation District building. Shupp suggested that the board not make any decisions on the parking issue for the district building location until he meets with the Monument Sanitation District attorney and district staff to see if there is a solution to the district’s objections. Shupp would then bring that issue back to the board for a separate decision.

Dominowski asked if the town planned to eliminate all downtown angled parking, including that on Front Street in front of his shopping center. Kassawara said only the angled parking on Second Street in front of Monument Sanitation District would be eliminated. He added that there are no visibility or encroachment issues concerning vehicles parked in front of Dominowski’s shopping center into the driving lane of Front Street.

Trustee John Howe asked Dominowski if he wanted angled parking places striped in front of his shopping center. Dominowski agreed to have the town paint angled parking stripes. He complimented Kassawara for meeting personally with him on his parking issue and for working so hard to accommodate the concerns of downtown business owners. He also praised Kassawara for obtaining grant money for this project.

Steve Mulliken, attorney for the Monument Sanitation District, stated that the district is clearly not opposed to the project but would like to present a few options regarding parking next to the district’s building in a staff-to-staff meeting.

Mulliken noted that the town had asked the original building owner to move the proposed building location from flush with the sidewalk to the rear of the lot to provide off-street parking in front of it, rather than behind as the owner had preferred. The original owner complied with this request and on-site parking was used by the tenant business customers for many years. The Chapala building across the street is adjacent to the front sidewalk. The town installed the existing curb cuts for this off-street parking on the asphalt between the sidewalk and the front of the building to facilitate its preference for off-street parking on this property.

The town’s traffic engineering firm recommended creation of nine angled spaces in 2000 in an analysis of the available options. The town created the nine spaces based on this recommendation, one of three parking changes that the district has agreed to. The town subsequently eliminated two of these angled parking spaces.

Mulliken stated that eliminating nine of the 20 existing parking spaces adjacent to the district building would hurt the district’s two business tenants and probably put them out of business. He noted that the district is amenable to discussing conversion of its off-street asphalt parking area to a public courtyard seating area as part of a formal arrangement that includes adequate district parking. He stated that the district feels it is being treated a little bit differently.

The angled parking spaces on the east of Washington Street adjacent to the Covered Treasures Bookstore at 105 Second St., in the Chapala building, will not be eliminated. These spaces are directly across the street from the six sanitation district head-in parking spaces proposed for elimination on the east side of Washington Street adjacent to the Second Street Hair Studio at 106 Second St.

Roughly 20 angled gravel business parking spaces on the west side Beacon Lite Road between Second and Third Streets will not be affected by this plan because the new sidewalk for this block will be installed on the east side of the road.

Kassawara asked the board to give him direction to proceed with the sidewalk designs and locations and striping of existing on-street parking as presented in this 30 percent plan, while excluding the sidewalk and parking changes in front of and adjacent to the west side of the sanitation district building. There was board consensus to approve Kassawara’s request for direction, as well as Shupp’s, and to approve Mulliken’s proposal to exclude the district parking proposals and the proposal for a town/district meeting to discuss other options.

2014 preliminary budget narrative

Some of the items Town Treasurer Monica Harder and Town Manager Pamela Smith noted in the preliminary budget informational narrative were:

General fund revenues for 2013 through September were about 25 percent higher than budgeted. Water enterprise fund revenues for 2013 through September were about 16 percent lower than budgeted.

The proposed increase in general fund revenues for 2014 is 5 percent, or $211,000, for a total of $4.1 million. New water tap fees and higher billing rates should produce an increase of about $150,000 to a total of $1.3 million in 2014.

Town health insurance costs are expected to rise by 8 percent in 2014, a total of $24,500. A 1 percent cost of living allowance increase coupled with performance pay increases up to 2 percent will cost an additional $77,546.

The total for 2014 capital improvement projects is about $1 million.

Promontory Pointe site plan amendment approved

Classic Homes President Joe Loidolt represented the applicant, Classic subsidiary Promontory Pointe Investors LLC. Loidolt sought approval for the third major amendment to the final Promontory Pointe planned development site plan. The only purpose of the amendment is to adjust the side setback requirement for 75 lots east of Gleneagle Drive, recently replatted with the second major amendment that was approved by the Board of Trustees on April 1. Loidolt proposed reduction of the side setback for these 75 lots from 10 feet to 7.5 feet, while maintaining a minimum separation of 15 feet between homes. Loidolt noted that the length of these 75 lots had been increased by 5 feet to make the lots more desirable.

Jackson Creek resident John Burgess expressed concern about the various impacts of having all these houses located closer together.

The board approved the site plan amendment by a 5-1-1 vote. Tooley voted "no" and Trustee Jeff Bornstein abstained, noting that he lives in Promontory Pointe.

Financial reports

The board unanimously approved the August financial report and four disbursements of $5,000 or more:

• $17,943 to CIRSA Insurance for fourth-quarter worker’s compensation insurance

• $16,643 to CIRSA Insurance for fourth-quarter liability insurance

• $5,000 to CIRSA Insurance to pay the deductible for provision of a legal opinion

• $5,995 to Streetscapes for downtown wayfinding signage

Public comments

Former Lewis-Palmer School District 38 board candidate Gordon Reichal made a lengthy statement about what he called false information about state standardized test scores in a letter to the editor from D-38 Treasurer John Mann in the Sept. 7 edition of OCN. Reichal said that a district report showed declining scores for Lewis-Palmer Middle School.

Mann’s letter (www.ocn.me/v13n10.htm#mann) in the Oct. 5 edition had stated that a letter to the editor from Jody Richardson (www.ocn.me/v13n9.htm#richardson) that was in the Sept. 7 edition of OCN contained an inaccuracy regarding declining standardized state test scores in Lewis-Palmer Middle School.

D-38 Vice President Mark Pfoff then countered Reichal’s statement about the district’s data analysis by saying Reichal had not cited the report with the most recent year of data for the middle school. Pfoff stated that the newest edition of this series of reports shows an upward trend in the school’s test scores last year.

The link in Mann’s letter to the editor in the Sept 7 edition for the most recent report is: https://edx.cde.state.co.us/SchoolView/DataCenter/reports.jspx?_afrWindowMode=0&_afrLoop=13973192377438413&_adf.ctrl-state=17lf2ek1ay_9

D-38 constituents Hilary Brendemuhl and Ana Konduris presented their opinions on the D-38 mill levy override election.

Board of Trustees comments

Tooley thanked the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Hayes for organizing the Monument in Motion Kinetic Sculpture Derby event. She also recommended attendance at Retro Scary Movie Nights at Monument Market Place on Thursday nights.

Trustee John Howe thanked the Public Works Department staff for work performed in Limbach Park and Dirty Woman Park.

Mayor Travis Easton thanked the board and staff for their attendance at the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. (http://trilakesedc.com/) meeting during the previous week. He also thanked Terri Hayes for her work for the Monument community. He said he was attending stormwater meetings between the staffs of El Paso County and Colorado Springs.

Staff reports

Shupp noted that the town has two lawsuits pending with support from its insurance company, the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (www.cirsa.org.)

Smith noted that Triview has opted out of participating in the Regional Stormwater Taskforce being led by the Board of County Commissioners and the City of Colorado Springs. She read a card from a local citizen praising the work performed on public flower gardens by Town Gardener Sharon Williams.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:31 p.m.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 21: Officer Melikian sworn in

By Jim Kendrick

Officer Gregory Melikian was sworn in at the Oct. 21 Monument Board of Trustees meeting by Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk. His new badge was pinned on by his wife Jenarae.

Mayor Travis Easton stated that Trustee Jeff Bornstein was out of town on business.

2014 preliminary budget presented

Town Treasurer Monica Harder and Town Manager Pamela Smith presented the preliminary 2014 budget to the board for its review and comment. They answered numerous questions about individual line items. Harder stated that a budget workshop will be held during the next regular meeting of the board at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Trustee Jeff Kaiser encouraged the public to attend this budget workshop. He asked if there had been any negative consequences from switching health insurance providers last year. Harder and Smith said there were no negative consequences.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez recommended that the staff take another look at the $1 per year lease agreement the town has with the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. He stated that the fire district should help pay for costly planned building maintenance and renovations such as the new roof and new meeting room carpeting in the old town hall. Smith said she had discussed sharing the carpeting expense but not the roofing expense.

Kaiser and Trustee Stan Gingrich asked for justification for the two new employees added to the staff. Smith said one employee was for additional work to be performed by the Public Works Department and the other is the administrative assistant for Smith who will also be the town’s grant writer.

Mayor Easton noted that the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire District lease was originally set so low to help prevent property tax increases. Since then, district voters have elected to increase the fire district mill levy. Easton asked for a long-term plan for town road maintenance and capital improvements at the Nov. 4 workshop. He asked that Harder and Smith ensure there is some money added to the 2014 budget for the town’s potential obligations to the regional stormwater project.

Smith said she would provide Easton with the results of her ongoing survey of 32 municipalities regarding pay and benefits policies and programs.

Financial reports

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

• $141,373 to Triview Metro District for August sales tax ($134,571), September motor vehicle tax ($6,692), and September Pikes Peak Regional Building Department sales tax ($111)

• $172,412 to Triview Metro District for Triview’s share of property tax

• $12,990 to Forsgren Associates Inc. for the town’s water master plan

• $8,085 to Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. for the Monument Sidewalk Project

Harder also distributed copies of the August sales tax report as an information item. Net collections were 8 percent or $93,000 more than the amount budgeted.

Staff reports

Public Works Director Tom Tharnish reported that a large tree in Limbach Park sustained damage from high wind. He outlined steps the town has taken to mitigate potential danger to the public and further injury to the tree. Tharnish also described the town’s response to a water main break Oct. 14.

Chief Shirk advised the board that the Monument Police Department received an award from the Palmer Ridge High School student body for the department’s response to the Black Forest Fire. Chief Shirk stated that the department has been doing tactical training in conjunction with the Fountain Police Department and that has been a success. Chief Shirk, Lt. Steve Burk, and Officer Robert Steine are obtaining certifications to teach school safety classes.

Smith reported that the town’s first Business Breakfast at Town Hall on Oct. 9 was a great success, including the initial presentation on the town’s new community development programs.

Board of Trustees comments

Trustee John Howe congratulated The Love Shop for being in business in Monument for nine years and La Casa Fiesta Restaurant having completed 17 years of operation.

Trustee Kaiser noted that he and Mayor Easton attended the latest Regional Stormwater Taskforce meeting. He discussed some of the similarities and differences in the county’s and Colorado Springs Mayor Bach’s proposals, such as how to finance stormwater capital projects. The county proposed a new stormwater tax, while Bach proposed using city staff and current funding for up to three years.

Mayor Easton encouraged the staff to contact Planning Commissioner John Dick to firm up Dick’s reappointment to the Citizens Advisory Committee.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

**********

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

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

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Monument Planning Commission, Oct. 9: Chicken-keeping permits recommended

By Lisa Hatfield

On Oct. 9, the Monument Planning Commission agreed unanimously to recommend Amendment 6.04.110 to the town code to allow residents of R-1 and R-2 single-family residential zoned areas to apply for a permit to keep chickens for personal use. The Monument Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the amendment at its Nov. 4 meeting.

Commissioners David Gwisdalla and John Dick were excused from the meeting. Alternate Commissioner Melissa Wood served as a voting member for this meeting under the recently revised commission bylaws approved by the Board of Trustees on Feb. 4.

Provisions of the recommended amendment include:

• Four hens is the maximum number allowed.

• The coop and run must be behind a six-foot predator-proof solid fence in the rear yard.

• Architecture of coop must be compatible with that of the main house.

• Minimum and maximum size and placement of both runs and coops are specified.

• The permit will cost $25.

• The director of Development Services can revoke the permit "for cause" at any time.

• No retail sale of chickens or eggs is allowed.

• Renters applying for a permit also need to obtain permission from their landlord.

Planned developments in Monument such as Jackson Creek, Village Center, Promontory Point, and many of the developments along Old Denver Highway still will not be able to keep chickens due to their stricter homeowners association standards and limits on fencing, so Principal Planner Mike Pesicka didn’t include those areas in this amendment.

Any residents of the town of Monument who have chickens right now are in violation of the current code on animals and will need to apply for a chicken-keeping permit when and if the Board of Trustees approves the amendment.

The meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

**********

The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in Monument Town Hall. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, Oct. 10: Revenue shortfall threatens budget

By Lisa Hatfield

On Oct. 10, the Palmer Lake Town Council reviewed its budget status, approved purchase of a replacement dump truck, and learned about fuel mitigation options to reduce wildfire risk.

Water Trustee Mike Maddox and Economic Development Trustee Shana Ball were absent from the meeting.

Revenue falling short of budget

Town accountant Linda Ousnamer told the council that while the departments were operating "within budget," tax revenue was falling below projected amounts. For example, she explained that although the Police Department’s expenses to date matched the amount budgeted, these expenses were 111 percent of actual revenue as of Sept. 30. Ousnamer emphasized that the town must continue to be cautious with expenses.

Committee reports

Mayor Nikki McDonald reported that the Awake the Lake Committee and the Restaurant Association sponsored a haunted hayride on Halloween to raise money for the lake and the park around the lake.

McDonald stated that the Chili Supper to be held on Nov. 30 is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) and will include the lighting of the Palmer Lake Star, hay rides, a visit from Santa, and raffle prizes. Proceeds go mainly to keeping the star lit, she said.

Parks and Recreation Trustee Mike Patrizi said that the Awake the Lake Committee, John Ramshur, Michael Schuette, and the Pikes Peak Flying Disc Club were building a nine-hole disc golf course on the trail around the lake. Any volunteers who want to work on town projects can write to Patrizi at parks@palmer-lake.org.

Police Trustee Bob Grado said the Palmer Lake Police Department accepted two police cars in excellent condition donated by the Monument Police Department. The Palmer Lake department plans to sell some of its old equipment to pay for matching striping for all of the Palmer Lake police vehicles.

Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster said there were 38 calls in September and 1,918 PLVFD volunteer hours for the month. He welcomed new Assistant Chief Bruce Roman and new probationary member Alex Donnell. The department received a donation of 19 sets of Morning Pride bunker gear from Honeywell employees as thanks to three small local fire departments that helped during the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire. In September, six volunteers attended live burn training, and PLVFD did a prescribed burn to help a resident dispose of a large amount of fuel mitigated from his property. Kuehster encouraged residents to attend the Chili Supper fundraiser on Nov. 30.

Roads Trustee John Russell said repairs due to rain washouts had to be done before the department could get back to programmed work and that the "employees are doing more with less and doing it with pride." Money is budgeted for a replacement dump truck, and the council unanimously approved his motion to purchase a 2001 International dump truck for no more than $28,500. The town will also keep using its 1987 dump truck a few more years and then sell it.

Fuel mitigation advocated

Resident Judith Harrington presented ideas about fuel mitigation to the council in hopes of getting the town and the community to thin pine trees and cut down excess Gambel oak to increase defensible space in town. She shared information about two organizations, one that rents goats to landowners wanting to clear out scrub oak, and the State Wildland Inmate Fire Team program that does fuel mitigation with chippers and chainsaws (see www.coloradoci.com/serviceproviders/swift/.)

Town Clerk Tara Berreth said it was unlikely that the town can find the money to pay for fuel mitigation right now since "we are down 10-15 percent on revenue" and the town cannot get involved in private efforts. She suggested Harrington could share information at the library, the post office, and public functions.

Palmer Lake has a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) on file with the state (see www.csfs.colostate.edu). Property owners living in wildland-urban interface areas covered by a CWPP can deduct 50 percent of the cost of wildfire fuels mitigation from their reported federal income up to an amount of $2,500 (HB13-1012).

New business licenses approved

The council unanimously approved two new business licenses:

• Fuse Salon and Boutique LLC, a hair salon and boutique, is owned by Erika Perry and located beneath The Depot restaurant at 11 Primrose St., Suite C.

• Beautiful & Beloved Boutique LLC has a storefront at 21 Lower Glenway. Owner Amber Newberry will sell products made by survivors of human trafficking who are now learning a trade and starting a new life.

The meeting adjourned at 7:08 p.m.

**********

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

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. State of the Region, Oct. 2: Efforts to bolster regional economy

By Candice Hitt

Speakers at the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp. (TLEDC) annual State of the Region luncheon on Oct. 2 provided a glimpse of efforts to improve the regional economy.

The mission of the TLEDC is to expand the Tri-Lake region’s economic base to achieve sustained growth and prosperity for the local community. The TLEDC works with local and regional stakeholders to identify, recruit, and relocate new businesses to the area as well as help existing entities in expansion efforts.

Board President Mike Law explained the TLEDC’s 2014-15 focus, saying that its efforts have been influenced in part by meetings with local-area businesses and governing bodies such as CodeOne, Synthes, and the towns of Palmer Lake and Monument, to learn what they would like to see in terms of area business development.

The TLEDC is also working to facilitate collaboration among other area stakeholders, including the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, real estate brokers, and local utilities, to ensure that the community as a whole is involved in attracting and keeping primary employers in the Tri-Lakes area.

Economic recovery

Guest speaker Paul Rochette, senior partner with Summit Economics LLC, discussed the U.S. and local economies, stating that recovery periods following recessions are taking longer. "Consumer confidence is the best indicator of the U.S. economy," he said, and that indicator is now at about 80 percent. He said this confidence drives economic recovery.

Rochette also said that the best-performing Colorado industries include finance, construction, and manufacturing.

Guest speaker Joe Raso, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, explained how his organization is working with the TLEDC to create synergy and drive the Pike Peak region’s economy and is meeting with the area’s top businesses to ensure that they flourish and remain local. Raso explained that retaining businesses, from an economic impact standpoint, is more important than bringing in new organizations.

Raso said 60 to 65 percent of the local economy is associated with the aerospace and defense industries.

For more information: www.coloradospringsbusinessalliance.com.

**********

The next regular TLEDC meeting will be held at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 14 at the Fairfield Inn, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs, 80921. Information: www.trilakesedc.com.

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

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El Paso Board of County Commissioners, Oct. 1 and 22: Variance approved for Tri-Lakes business

By Lisa Hatfield

The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) accepted funds for wildfire mitigation in Fox Run Park and approved a variance of use request for Monument Small Engine Repair.

Fuels mitigation grant appropriated

On Oct. 1, the BOCC unanimously approved a resolution to appropriate $30,000 in grant money to the county Community Services Department/Parks Division 2013 budget. The funds from the U.S. Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program will support wildfire mitigation efforts in Fox Run Regional Park.

Engine shop’s variance of use request approved

At the Oct. 1 El Paso County Planning Commission meeting, David Hellbusch, owner of Monument Small Engine Repair, received a unanimous recommendation for a variance of use to allow the continuance of his small engine repair, retail sales, and vehicle repair business in the Residential Rural (RR-5) zone district. Three conditions and four notations were part of the recommendation to the BOCC. Planning Commissioner Jerry Hannigan recused himself from this vote. The 3.86-acre property is located at 137 Monument Lake Road, Monument. This parcel is within the Tri-Lakes Small Area Plan.

Then on Oct. 22, the item was unanimously approved as part of the consent agenda of the BOCC.

This parcel and several adjoining parcels, including those west of the railroad but within the town of Monument, were used for the Mountain Farmer Nursery landscape business owned by David Hellbusch’s father Norm Hellbusch, which was started in the 1970s and has since closed. David Hellbusch operated the small engine repair part of the landscape business, but after the landscape business closed, his business didn’t conform with zoning.

The parcel lies in unincorporated El Paso County and is not included in any sanitation district. Hellbusch has been operating his small engine business within the Mountain Farmer property for about 25 years without public water or sanitary sewer service. This business relied solely on a rented portable toilet until a septic system was recently installed.

Several county health code violations were identified on these parcels in 2010. The required cleanup is now done, and the approval of a use variance to accommodate the remaining small engine business is the last code compliance item to be completed.

Conditions:

1. Approval is limited to the variance of use for small engine repair, retail sales of residential landscaping equipment, and a one-bay auto repair business.

2. No subsequent enlargement, expansion, or modification of the use shall be allowed unless the proposal is re-evaluated and goes through the public hearing process in accordance with the requirements of the El Paso County Land Development Code.

3. The proposed use will comply with all requirements of the land development code and all county, state, and federal regulations.

**********

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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North Gate under I-25 reopens with roundabouts

Download tips for traveling through roundabouts

Provided by Bob Wilson, CDOT public relations

Roundabout construction is now complete at the North Gate Boulevard interchange with I-25. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) removed three outdated loop ramps and made improvements to North Gate Boulevard while adding the roundabouts. The two roundabouts, one at each point where the I-25 on- and off-ramps intersect North Gate Boulevard, are designed to improve traffic flow and increase safety at the respective intersections.

Tips for traveling through the roundabouts:

• Drive in a counterclockwise direction.

• Since these roundabouts have multiple lanes, choose your entry lane based on your destination.

• See diagram for more tips on navigating roundabouts.

More @i25expansion project information is available by visiting www.southi25expansion.com. Call the project hotline at 719-247-8339 to have comments and questions addressed by the project team. To receive project updates via email or text, register at www.coloradodot.info and click on the green cellphone in the upper-right corner of the page.

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October Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Several storms moved just to our north during October, providing near misses in the snow department and left us drier than normal. However, the prevalent north to northwest flow meant temperatures were well below normal. So, in the end, we experienced lots of sunny, cool fall days, with a few brief touches of wintry weather.

We’ve experienced both summer and winter conditions during the first week of October, which isn’t too unusual when you consider how the seasons transition from one to the other so quickly on the Palmer Divide. The first three days of the month were sunny and mild, with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s.

However, a powerful storm rolled through the region starting late on the 3rd and continuing into the 4th. Rain changed to graupel and snow during the early morning hours of the 4th, with a trace to a half inch accumulating. Temperatures were cold, with highs only hitting the mid-40s, and the clear skies that night allowed temperatures to tumble well below freezing. The colder areas around the region managed to reach the mid- to upper teens.

As this storm moved through Wyoming and South Dakota with its full force, several snow and cold records were broken. Rapid City, S.D., accumulated more than 30 inches of snow over two days, with some areas in the Black Hills accumulating nearly 60 inches. If only this storm would have wound up a few hundred miles more south and west, we would have been talking about a historic blizzard in our back yard. Sunny skies returned over the next few days and temperatures slowly moderated. Highs were in the mid-50s on the 5th and mid-60s on the 6th.

Quiet and seasonal conditions returned from the 5th through the 9th. Temperatures warmed from the mid-50s on the afternoon of the 5th, to the mid-60s on the 6th, then to above average levels from the 7th through the 9th. Sunshine was abundant as well, making for nice "Indian summer" weather. Unsettled conditions returned to the region starting on the 10th, as a series of storm systems moved through the region from the Pacific Northwest. Storms moving in from the west are depleted of moisture by the time they reach the Front Range and don’t have a ton of cold air. Snow fell in the mountains and temperatures dropped to average and slightly below normal levels. With did squeeze out a few showers at times, but nothing significant.

Chilly conditions prevailed during the first part of the week of the 13th as a shallow layer of cold air pushed into the Front Range. As this weak cold front moved through, a few showers of rain, snow, and graupel developed. Low clouds hung around for most of the 14th, keeping temperatures about 20 degrees below normal, as highs only managed to reach the mid-30s. All the moisture in the air and breezy conditions made things feel even colder. Temperatures stayed cooler than normal over the next few days as well, with high temperatures barely reaching 50° F on the 16th and 17th. Another cold front and quick-moving storm moved through during the morning hours of the 18th. This produced 2 to 4 inches of snow around the area and held temperatures down in the 30s that afternoon. Sunshine returned to end the weekend and temperatures rebounded to the mid-50s that afternoon.

Another quick shot of cold air and moisture moved through during the day of the 20th and produced around an inch of snow through early that evening. Quiet and sunny weather dominated until just before Halloween. Temperatures reached normal to slightly above normal levels from the 21st through the 27th as highs rebounded from the low 50s to the low 60s.

The final storm of the month once again moved just to our north over the last few days of October. This allowed a shallow layer of cold air and upslope conditions to affect the region from the 28th through the 29th. Fog and low clouds were common, with heavy frost and rime ice on the 29th. Unsettled conditions developed on the 30th as the final piece of the storm moved through producing some areas of snow and rain/snow showers during the evening. After a chilly start, plenty of sunshine returned just in time for Halloween.

A look ahead

November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end, with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.

October 2013 Weather Statistics

Average High 55.9° (-3.5) 100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°
Average Low 27.5° (-1.8) 100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°
Monthly Precipitation 0.61" (-1.22") 100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall 4.6 (-8.9")
Highest Temperature 71° on the 7th
Lowest Temperature 17° on the 5th, 31st
Season to Date Snow 4.6 (-9.6") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 12.49" (+3.16") (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 721 (+93)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)

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

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Letter to Our Community

Click here for guidelines for letters to the editor.

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

Let’s be even more proactive

I just read an online article about Gov. Hickenlooper’s task force proposals regarding Wildland Urban Interface issues, insurance, audits, etc. (Search the web for "Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health Task Force Report.") In the Tri-Lakes area, we’ve already done a lot of the legwork that’s on the governor’s to-do list, just by having in place our own Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP): (http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/documents/PalmerLakeCWPP_000.pdf) and by having available an Individual Home Owner FireWise Assessment audit (see www.firewise.org, or call the local fire department). However, at least in Palmer Lake, right now there’s no clout. Before long, the state and insurance companies will require, not recommend, compliance.

A fireman recently told me that where road factors prohibit safe fire engine access, an entire neighborhood could be considered undefendable in the event of a wildfire there. Could a wildfire in such a generally undefendable area, where numerous homes are situated close together, ignite the entire town? Yes, there are multiple fire hydrants strategically placed throughout Palmer Lake, but hydrant system water pressure would be questionable during extensive demand. Private property owners ought to find out exactly where evacuation plans only are being made by local police and firefighters.

Of course, there’s more than one area of grave concern: The entire western edge of Palmer Lake abuts Pike National Forest. How much can the Forest Service help us if fire comes from that direction? I’m worried and I will do everything the FireWise audit recommends for our property up here on Viola Street. Fortunately, there are income tax credits for fire-fuel mitigation (up to $2,500 of costs—see www.taxcolorado.com). Plus, there are useful grants available. But grant writing takes time and grants are competitive.

In the meantime, wildfire knows no boundaries. We’ve been on evacuation alerts during Hayman, Waldo Canyon, and Black Forest fires; the Tri-Lakes area has been in the eye of the firestorm for years. How long can we expect to live charmed lives in our Wildland Urban Interface?

Judith Harrington

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We are partners

Recent editions of OCN news coverage of the Tri-Lakes Monument FPD board meetings have mischaracterized my identification of an area for improvement within the district as a criticism of the management of the Black Forest Fire. The intention of my comments to the board have been to point out, as one area for improvement, how Fire Department resources are deployed and organized, mostly in the first hours of an incident, using the Black Forest Fire as an example. However, the OCN news has been characterizing these observations about a single element of the response as a criticism of how the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office managed the incident as a whole.

The observation that we (TLMFPD) and the fire service can be better at resource management was recently affirmed when the Colorado Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) created a taskforce (which I will be a member of and have a deep background in) to address this issue. By setting this as a multiyear goal, the CFCA recognizes the complexity of local, regional and statewide changes that will need to be made.

While the improvements that I have identified locally and the options that the task force will consider will involve local communications centers, to represent this as a criticism of how the local fire chief, county sheriff, the state, or U.S. Forest Service managed the incident is an inaccurate portrayal.

The correct portrayal is the Tri-Lakes Monument FPD recognizes that the provision of public safety to its residents of northern El Paso County is a joint effort of multiple organizations and that there will always be ways that we can improve the quality of service and stewardship of tax dollars.

Chris Truty, Fire Chief, Tri-Lakes Monument FPD

Editor’s note: The primary way Our Community News serves the Tri-Lakes area is by focusing on the deliberations of local governmental entities. While this differs from the approach of many community papers, this policy was adopted at the founding of OCN in 2001 to inform residents so they can better fulfill their role as citizens and aid them in participating in the democratic process of self-government. Articles in OCN are based upon our digital recordings of the meetings.

We are volunteers and do not do investigative research. Our goal is for those who couldn’t attend a meeting to understand what happened there. We report on what was discussed and what was decided, and we do that as objectively as possible.

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Yes on 3A

When voters approved TABOR some 20 years ago, there was an implied promise: People would be willing to vote themselves a tax increase if it was defensible, transparent, and served the public good. 3A is all of those things.

Thinking adults understand that costs generally increase over time. Groceries, utilities, fuel for your car, all are higher than they were 20 years ago. Today too many Americans have bought into the myth that they shouldn’t have to pay taxes. Period.

This is unrealistic and short-sighted. D-38 produces students who are good, solid citizens that can and do make significant contributions to our community. Consistently voting against school issues (the new high school being an exception) sends a message to our young people that you don’t value them. Many go off to college and don’t come back. Who wants to live in a community that doesn’t support something as fundamental as education?

Allow me to address the demands of the "no" voters. They say they "must know where our money goes." Well, it’s all public record. You can look it up. If you care.

They say someone "must earn our trust." I’ve been hearing this same, sad song since I moved here nine years ago. If you don’t trust your school officials, there’s a simple solution: Run for a seat on the board. Roll your sleeves up, get in there and get to work. If you think you can do a better job, go for it.

"No" voters say "Taxes are too high already." Really? My property taxes are lower than when I moved here in 2004.

What confounds me is that so many people don’t seem to understand that their property values are directly tied to the health and quality of our school system. Do the math.

Bill Beagle

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No on 3A

Northern El Paso County Lewis-Palmer School District 38 is asking its citizens to approve a $4.5 million property tax increase that will be in perpetuity without a mill cap or sunshine clause. This tax increase would be a hefty burden on both retired citizens and business owners. School leadership failed to do a financial impact study on our community businesses. This increase will not only strangle some local entrepreneurs, but could also leave many of our senior citizens with little choice but to relocate.

Several weeks ago, hundreds of signs and banners encouraging voters to check "yes" on the 3A box of the current ballot began to appear in the Tri-Lakes area. No connection was made to 3A being the mill levy override property tax increase. The signs and banners are sponsored by a group called "Now’s the Time D38," which was specifically founded to support the property tax increase in the Tri-Lakes area. The 10.5 mill levy monies would go to the school district with little additional oversight.

In the past, the district has had oversight committees; however, when those committee members made recommendations that challenged the plodding course of the district leadership, the committee was soon disbanded and recommendations ignored (the OAC, for example). What guarantees does the community have that this major tax increase will indeed go directly to benefit students (smaller class size, teacher wages that attract fine experienced teachers, reward those who continued to do more and more during the multi-years of pay freezes, increase the number of para-educators and intervention teachers to benefit the neediest students, etc.)?

Those of us who oppose the 3A property tax increase are not blindly anti-tax. We are anti-waste!

Stephen Boyd

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Favorites from the book trade show

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Surrounded by enticing books and their enthusiastic authors, booksellers at the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers’ Association Trade Show are like kids in a candy store. Having just returned from the show, we’re excited about some of the featured titles and would like to share a few with you.

Wilson
By A. Scott Berg (Putnam) $40

One hundred years after his inauguration, Woodrow Wilson still stands as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. Handsome and charismatic, he ruled more as a prime minister than as a traditional chief executive, passing a progressive agenda that had been stalled for a generation. Berg was the first biographer to gain access to two recently discovered caches of papers, which added countless details—and several unknown events—to the most personal and penetrating biography ever written about the 28th president.

The Signature of All Things
By Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking) $28.95

This sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge comes from the author of Eat, Pray, Love. The story spans continents and decades as it follows Alma Whittaker, a 19th-century botanist and curator of mosses, on her life’s journey, including exquisite details regarding all kinds of plant life.

The Rosie Project: A Novel
By Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster) $24

An international sensation, The Rosie Project is a charming, big-hearted romantic comedy about a socially challenged genetics professor relying on scientific methods to find true love and the totally unsuitable, completely incompatible, gloriously winning woman who captures his heart.

Spider Woman’s Daughter: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel
By Anne Hillerman (Harper) $25.99

Legendary tribal sleuths Leaphorn and Chee are back. The talented daughter of bestselling mystery author Tony Hillerman continues the popular series with this fresh new Navajo Country mystery. Her debut novel is filled with captivating lore, startling suspense, bold new characters, vivid color, and rich atmosphere.

Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow
By David Sorman and Jacky Davis (Dial Books) $17.99

As Lulu and her basset hound Bingo play in the newly fallen snow, Lulu discovers that it is difficult to walk through deep snow, make a fort where the walls don’t crumble, or keep wet snow from falling on her head. When she remembers that Ladybug Girl can do anything, she uses her imagination to turn her frustrated feelings into positive ones, and, suddenly, she has lots of new ideas for a snowy day adventure.

The Snatchabook
By Helen Doeherty (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) $16.99

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? This delightful, sing-song read-aloud celebrates the love of reading as the animals of Burrow Down search for the Snatchabook, a little creature who becomes a misunderstood book thief, because he has no one to read him a bedtime story.

Theft: A Novel
By BK Loren (Counterpoint Press) $16

In this remarkable debut, lyrical prose gives voice to the wildlife and land surrounding beautifully flawed characters struggling to piece together the fragile traces of what has been left behind. Willa Robbins is a master tracker working to reintroduce the endangered Mexican wolf to the American Southwest. But when Colorado police recruit her to find her own brother, a confessed murderer, she knows that skill alone will not sustain her. She must reconcile her desire to reunite with her brother with her own guilt about their violent past. Theft has been awarded Mountains & Plains’ Reading the West Award for fiction for 2013.

Songs of Willow Frost
By Jamie Ford (Ballantine Books) $26

From the author of Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful tale of two souls—a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past—both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness. Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s lifeless body was carried from their apartment when he was 7. When William glimpses an actress on the silver screen, he is convinced that the movie star, Willow Frost, is his mother, Liu Song, and he escapes from the orphanage on a quest to find her.

As the nights grow longer and colder, it’s a good time to settle in with a new book. Until next month, happy reading.

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

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Art Matters: A portrait of picture framing as art

By Janet Sellers

Beautiful art as paintings, fiber art, memorabilia, and some sculptures, are most often housed in a picture frame or shadow box to protect them and show them to best advantage, offering greater stature to the work in the process. It is not only a tradition but a necessity in most situations to keep out dust, moisture and wear and tear.

Picture frames have been around for over 2,000 years, the earliest found being one in Hamara, at an Egyptian burial site. That one was likely a mummy portrait of a loved one, included in the important effects for the afterlife of the owner of the art. Historically, fine art was usually only for the royalty and wealthy, and special craftsmen created frames consigned for them at their castle grounds or cabinet shop.

As an artist, I had to learn to do picture framing decades ago for my own artworks and for galleries. As I began my art career, and to make ends meet, I worked at a gallery/frame shop preparing literally thousands of mats and frames. To this day, I still love to watch the framing process. For me, it’s like a custom home for the art.

I recently spoke to Maggie Williams, owner of our local Bella Art and Frame Gallery in Monument, about the importance of framing artworks and the art of picture framing. It was captivating to hear her ideas about the wide variety of artworks and images that are framed, especially those at her shop.

When I asked what got her started in framing after a long career in accounting, she said she just loves to make things, to build things. "I can’t build skyscrapers or bridges, so I like to make the picture frames. There is always a creative solution for the art."

As she helps the patron plan a project, the possibilities are endless. "I just love to do fillets. I put the fillets (small decorative liners) in the frame—or in the mat. And I love to make the frames. I love the fine work of crafting them. The art just looks so finished, so polished, when it’s done," she said.

I asked her what her personal favorite thing to frame might be, in the abundance of frames she has created, if something stands out in her mind. She said it is when "someone brings in the mother’s or the grandmother’s picture and we do the frame for that picture."

Maggie said the most active times of the year for picture frames are spring and fall, when people are updating their homes, or for holidays, weddings, and graduations. She said picture framing is active and popular all year, since people like to update their home decor or strengthen the corporate presence at the office.

November art events

Friday Art NightsNov. 1 and 8, 5 to 8 p.m. Local art gallery receptions for art shows. First Friday is at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA), 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake; Second Friday is at Bella Art and Frame, 187 Washington St., Monument.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA)—"Resident and Member Artists" in the main gallery, and a solo exhibition by Pam Pappas in the Lucy Owens Gallery. Reception for the show is Nov. 2, and the shows run through Nov. 30.

Bella Art and Frame Gallery and Wisdom Tea House will co-host a photo exhibit, Trees, for November and December. The exhibit features a group exhibit of photographers, and the work centers on the aesthetic, and often mysterious, visions of trees. Bella Art and Frame, 187 Washington St., Monument, and across the street is Wisdom Tea House, 65 Second St., Monument.

The Bead Corner offers day and evening jewelry crafting classes for all ages. You can make things for yourself or for gifts, and there is always staff on hand to show you the skills for it. Classes, parties, and more for your creative self in beading and jewelry. 251 Front St., Monument, 719-487-9900.

Small Town Christmas—Our local art venues and galleries will participate in the annual small town shopping events for innovative gifts at all prices and a variety of refreshments, with special attention to gift displays for Saturdays in November and December. The annual Small Town Christmas will be on the Saturdays of Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 and 14. You can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and more, as well as buy gifts. Or just drop by and enjoy the art. Let’s all shop our local "artzone" places and support the arts in this fun, "family art outing" way!

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter, teacher and writer. She makes public art sculptures and is an avid kayaker—but only on waters calm enough to float along with a tasty cuppa. Sellers lives in Woodmoor and can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Click here to view the on-line version. Snapshots of Our Community appears on page 24. Below is the text of the captions and articles that appeared within the Snapshots section:

Kinetic Structure Derby, Oct. 5

Caption: Amy Mirocha and Phil Nowicki pose by their entry vehicle Oct. 5 at Monument’s Kinetic Structure Derby. The derby is a fair in which contestants parade their contraptions from Second Street all the way to Palmer Lake. Mirocha and Nowicki represented the Space Foundation, advertising the organization’s Discovery Center, an educational exhibit focusing on subjects including astronomy, mathematics, and engineering. The Space Foundation also hosts an annual Space and Science Fiction Halloween Ball, which fell on Oct. 26 this year. The Space Foundation’s other events and announcements can be found at www.spacefoundation.org. Many other organizations set up booths at the Kinetic Structure Derby, peddling merchandise and spreading information about their respective causes. The streets were lined with cheery signs and free samples.

Caption: Bill Crowley, a local illustrator and caricature artist, sketches a souvenir picture Oct. 5 for patrons of Monument’s Kinetic Structure Derby. Booths stretched down the road, set up by charity organizations, school clubs, and craft merchants. Near the park, food stands offered hot dogs, shaved ice, and other snacks. Live music was also featured, along with the parade of homemade vehicles after which the event is named. Contestants drove their creations from Monument to Palmer Lake. Photos by Kate Wetterer.

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Fox Trot 5k and Art Expo, Oct. 5

Caption: Healing Artists Responding to Trauma (He.A.R.T.) of Colorado hosted the Fox Trot 5k and Art Expo at Fox Run Regional Park on Oct. 5. Theresa Vera, left, is a co-founder of He.A.R.T., and Hondo, right, is from Hope Animal Assisted Crisis Response. This community event featured chainsaw artists, faeries with magic bubbles, an art expo, and a silent auction. He.A.R.T. of Colorado was created to promote healing from disaster by integrating trauma therapy with the arts. It is a nonprofit project of the Pikes Peak Arts Council and is made up of mental health professionals and artists who combine fine arts and small group seminars to help the survivors of traumatic disasters in Colorado. To learn more, see www.heartofcolorado.org or www.facebook.com/ColoradoHEART or contact Director Andrew Van Dyke at (719) 659-6228. Photo courtesy of Tammy Hammond Photography.

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Red Cross Training at TLC, Oct. 19

Caption: From left, Yvonne Shaw, Max Stafford, and Kim Whisenhunt, and 10 others learned Oct. 19 at Tri-Lakes Cares how to set up a Red Cross shelter when the need arises and got an overview of the disaster services provided by Red Cross volunteers. Instructor Larry Cornett, Pikes Peak Area Red Cross training lead, is looking for more volunteers to train to run shelters, act as case managers, drive emergency supply trucks, help with communications, and many other critical tasks. Interested volunteers can reach him at 719-321-0832 or Larry.cornett@redcross.org. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.

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More than 800 attend Empty Bowls Dinner, Oct. 9

Caption: The Lewis-Palmer High School cafeteria was filled to capacity with the more than 800 who attended the Empty Bowls Dinner, Oct. 9.

Caption: The Lewis-Palmer Middle School Choir provided entertainment. The Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Brass Band, the Lewis-Palmer Middle School Jazz Band, and Lewis-Palmer High School Trombones also performed.

Caption: From left, Anne Shimek, Corky Watt, Steve Watt, and John Haines were among the many potters who contributed their works to the Empty Bowls Dinner. Shimek originated the idea for the event that is now in its 21st year. Photos by David Futey

By David Futey

More than 800 people attended the 21stAnnual Empty Bowls Dinner on Oct. 9 at Lewis-Palmer High School. The dinner is the major fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC), with nearly $20,000 collected from admissions alone. TLC is a community-based resource center that provides emergency assistance, relief programs, and social services for those in need living in northern El Paso County.

TLC Executive Director Haley Chapin was very appreciative of the support from the community. She said she was "worried about donor fatigue because of the Black Forest Fire, but the community continues to support us and this event." Chapin said TLC "added over 190 families affected by the Black Forest Fire above our normal caseload, and these families had very different needs" from their usual clients.

More than 20 potters and pottery groups contributed the wood, stoneware and ceramic bowls, with attendees selecting one for their own. Thirty-seven food establishments contributed the soup, bread, and drinks, and local churches contributed desserts. In addition, there was a silent auction with a wide range of items for bidding.

The event was sponsored by the Monument Hill Kiwanis and supported by Lewis-Palmer School District 38. Information on Tri-Lakes Cares is at www.tri-lakescares.org.

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

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WMMI Harvest Festival, Oct. 11-12

Caption: Museum volunteer Douglas Ducote drives a tractor pulling festival visitors on a hayride at the Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival. Festival visitor Evan Futey, left, and museum staff member Audrey Gregg-Solly have a seat on some straw just outside the pumpkin patch near the Reynolds Ranch House. Photos by David Futey.

By David Futey

On Oct. 11 and 12, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry hosted its second annual Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival. Over 900 visitors attended the two-day event. Joseph and Sara Reynolds built the farm house, located at the front of the museum property, in 1892 along with two barns and other buildings. The Reynolds Ranch was a large dairy farm and sawmill.

Visitors to the festival could go on a hayride, select a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and decorate it, take a daylight tour of the Haunted Mines, hear spooky stories told in the museum’s mine drift, enjoy a warm beverage or something to eat from Coffee-on-the-Go and other food vendors, listen to bluegrass music performed in the historic barn, and see the operation of a variety of museum equipment.

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

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

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Dressed to Give, Oct. 12

Caption: The first annual Dressed to Give fashion show was held at the Secret Window Fine Art Gallery on Oct. 12. The event raised $1,000 for the Military Artistic Healing program, a joint effort between the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Aspen Pointe, which uses art therapy to teach soldiers afflicted with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder how to express emotions and find a new way of healing. The soldiers’ artwork was showcased at the Secret Window Fine Art Gallery and is available for sale. Claudia Swenson (shown here) volunteered to be one of the runway models for this fashion show, which featured the fall 2013 collections from Sophia’s World, Margo’s on the Alley, and Peak Ranch Alpacas. Custom-made jewelry from Purple Mountain Jewelry and Santa Fe Trails Jewelry complemented the apparel. The Dressed to Give Charity Fashion Show is a collaborative effort of the Tri-Lakes business community to support a social cause. Sponsors included: Colorado Corvette Corral, DARS cleaning supply, The INN at Palmer Divide, Kathy Davis (an independent Mary Kay beauty consultant), My Door Co., Monumental Microderm, The Mozaic Restaurant, Peak’s Ranch Alpaca Boutique, The Secret Window Fine Art Gallery, The Wine Seller, and Women’s Edition magazine. Photo by Rhonda Archuleta.

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Wine & Roses, Oct. 20

Caption: The 12th annual Wine and Roses event on Oct. 20, sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, raised ­­­­­­funds to support local nonprofit organizations. The event at the Colorado Springs Marriott featured wine tastings, beer and spirits tables, and on-site chefs offering samples of such specialties as cupcakes and chocolate in addition to main courses. The raffle included a specialty designed jewelry piece by Purple Mountain Jewelry and a mini wine cellar, complete with 12 wines. Several celebrity servers offered samples of over 200 wines and spirits provided by The Wine Seller. Proceeds from the event support activities of local schools, fire districts, police departments, and other nonprofit groups.

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club is a nonprofit 501c3 organization that was founded to further charitable and educational programs. The group holds two large events each year, the Pine Forest Antique Show in the spring and Wine and Roses in the fall. For membership information, please visit the club’s website at www.tlwc.net. Pictured are Silent Auction Committee chairs were Joanne Quinn, left, and Diane Zeiger. Courtesy photo.

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Kiwanis Club’s Dictionary Program, Oct. 29

Caption: Each year, every third-grade student in Lewis Palmer School District 38, Monument Academy Charter School, the Home School Enrichment program, and St. Peter Catholic School receives a Scholastic Children’s Dictionary from the Advisors of the K-Kids, a Kiwanis Youth Service Leadership Program.

Pictured from left, Chloe Hart, Ava Zallar, and Caroline Richardsondove right into their new dictionaries at the Bear Creek Elementary School program, where Ray Kessler, Bill Healy, Barb Broshous, Tom Van Wormer, and the Bear Creek K-Kids Board handed out the prized books.

Aligning with the theme of serving youths and building community, the primary mission of Kiwanis International is to "change the world, one child and one community at a time."

The Dictionary Program began in 2008, and since then the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club has distributed more than 2,400 dictionaries, retailing at $20 each, for a total value of $48,000. Funds are donated by the Monument Hill Foundation at no cost to students or the schools.

If you would like to learn more about joining the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, contact Membership Chair, Geri Smith 719-233-6754 or visit www.monumenthillkiwanis.org. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.

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October and November library events

By Harriet Halbig

October brought us National Friends of the Library Week and our annual Halloween traditions of Scary Stories in the Dark and Pumpkin Day. We always welcome members of the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and encourage all interested patrons to join their group and participate in activities they sponsor.

Please join us for some fun activities as we approach the holidays.

Children’s programs

Musical Fairy Tales is the Family Fun event for November on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Join musicians from the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and a storytelling narrator for a musical journey through The Tortoise and the Hare, Three Little Pigs, and The Big Red Barn, while enjoying Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and more. Children will learn about the string section of an orchestra and have an opportunity to experience a violin, viola, and cello up close. Sponsored by the Chamber Orchestra.

The Legos Club will meet on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 to 11:30. Open to all ages. We’ll provide the Legos and you bring the creativity. Be sure to bring your camera to record your creation—all pieces used to make projects remain property of the library.

On Monday, Nov. 25, from 1 to 2:30 join us for our monthly program for homeschoolers. This month the theme is A Cellist’s Voice. In honor of All Pikes Peak Reads selection Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, enjoy a children’s story related to this event in history, The Cello of Mr. O, by Jane Cutler. Join cellist Pam Chaddon from the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and learn about the cello and its different "voices." Find out how this amazing instrument is so much like the human voice that it can convey many human emotions.

Programs for teens and tweens

Be a Crafty Teen at an Altered Books Workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 3:30 to 5:30. With a little imagination and lots of glue, damaged and discarded books can be transformed into works of art. Come to this hands-on workshop and create an altered book to take home. Supplies will be available, but you can bring old photos, magazine pictures, swatches of fabric, ribbons, etc. to personalize your creation. Snacks provided. Ages 12 and up. Registration is necessary at 488-2370.

If your math homework is getting you down, if finals are freaking you out, or if you just need to brush up on math before a test, students of all ages are welcome to sit down with our friendly volunteer math tutors to clarify those trouble spots. No appointments necessary, just come in between 3:30 and 7 each Monday, except when the library or District 38 schools are closed.

Don’t just play video games—create one yourself! Join the Tech Club to learn how computer programs are built using a software program that allows you to put together blocks of code that make your characters, games, and animated cards work. Registration begins Oct. 28 and is limited to 20 boys and girls in grade 3 through teens. The program will be on Friday, Nov. 22, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Adult programs

The Monumental Readers will meet at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, to discuss The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.

On the walls in the library will be Digital Photography by John Jenks. In the display case will be crafts showcasing the skills of the Monument Library staff.

Palmer Lake Library events

The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. New members are welcome and no registration is required at this monthly book club. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.

Meet the Fibernistas, a new group who share a taste for fiber fun. Share and learn new techniques of knitting and other fiber arts. All interests are welcome! Start a new project or bring one in progress each Thursday (except Nov. 28) from 10 until noon.

The Family Fun event for November on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 10:30 is Skins and Skulls, a program about mammals found on the eastern plains of Colorado. You will learn what they eat and how to look for them. Skins and skulls from these animals will help identify them and their habitat. You will learn what kinds of things the animals eat and whether they are predator or prey. It’s presented by Susan Permut, volunteer naturalist at Castlewood Canyon State Park and a resident of Red Rock Ranch.

All Pikes Peak Library facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Nov. 27 and remain closed Nov. 28 to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, September 19: The tale of the Douglas County ghost

By Bernard L. Minetti

The subject of the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s October meeting was ghosts in Colorado, especially in Douglas County and the surrounding area. Historian, writer, and lecturer Shaun Boyd described some of the well-known "ghosts" of the late 1800s.

She told the story of Michael Fagan, whose purpose for being in this area was not known. His burial site is on the Platte-Arkansas divide beside the Cherokee Trail in central Colorado in the vicinity of a navigation point for the Colorado gold rush called "Point of Rocks." The grave is covered with rocks and is still there today.

Fagan was a teamster, driving horses and oxen for groups of people moving west during the Colorado gold rush era, around 1859. In April 1859, he froze to death after he was caught in a snowstorm. During that period, four others died in the same area from various reasons, all with names unknown.

Following his death there were many reports of people seeing Fagan riding his horse across the prairies. There were those who claimed to have seen Fagan "riding with the wind" on the backs of buffalo or wild horses. Part of the motivation for his ghostly sojourns was that, as the story goes, he had been buried alive. Boyd talked about several other ghostly mysteries during her talk.

Creating period costumes

Society Vice President John Snyder introduced Cathy and Chuck Leoffler, who had both won costumes awards during the recent Chautauqua. Cathy told the attendees, "I am a longtime Tri-Lakes area resident, and have extensive sewing experience with a special interest in period costumes. In order to encourage more people to attend the annual Chautauqua in period costume, I am offering my services and advice free of charge to anyone who is interested in making their own costume." She added that she would help create a period costume for anyone with "some basic knowledge of sewing and a sewing machine." Cathy can be reached at (719) 488-2458.

Snyder asked for assistance with the January potluck. Volunteers should contact him at (719) 488-2019. He also asked for candidates to be nominated to the Society’s Board of Directors.

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The November meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society will feature a free presentation titled, "Who Killed Officer Burchfield?" Retired Colorado Springs Police Officer Dwight Haverkorn will be the presenter at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake.

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

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Our Community Notices

By Judy Barnes, Events Editor

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

Nov. 6: Ham, scalloped potatoes, & salad
Nov. 13:
Raspberry chipotle chicken, roasted potatoes, & salad
Nov 20:
BBQ pork sandwich, potato salad, & pickle
Nov 27:
No lunch (Happy Thanksgiving!)

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.

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Volunteers Needed for Citizen Review Panel, apply by Nov. 8

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve on the Citizen Review Panel, an extension and continuation of the grievance (appeal) procedure established through the Department of Human Services’ Quality Assurance Program. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.

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Singers and musicians needed for Christmas production

Tri-Lakes Music Association seeks singers, orchestra musicians, and anyone who would like to help in any way. Be a part of this exciting Tri-Lakes Christmas tradition. Performances will be at Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Rd., on the weekend of Dec. 21. There will be three performances, and exact dates and times will follow. All proceeds from the show go to Tri-Lakes Cares and two $500 college scholarships. For information contact Bob Manning, 719-232-4114, or email rwgmanning@comcast.net.

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PPLD Seeks Photos, Videos of Black Forest Fire

Pikes Peak Library District wants to preserve the record of the historic Black Forest Fire and its effects on our community. The district is collecting images for an online photo gallery, which you can send to photos@ppld.org. Feel free to include any personal accounts associated with the image, which will be used as a caption. For details on how to submit your photos, video, and high-resolution photos, visit www.ppld.org.

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Register now for fall basketball and swim classes at the Y

Tri-Lakes YMCA Fall Basketball for ages 3 years to eighth grade is scheduled for Oct. 21-Dec. 14. Also, swim classes are available for ages 6 months to adult. Register at www.ppymca.org or at 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. For information, call 481-8728.

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MVEA Essay Contest, enter by Nov. 18

High school juniors can win an all-expense-paid trip in June to Washington, D.C., or a week in July at Leadership Camp in the mountains. To enter, write a 500-word essay on "What is your opinion on the war on coal, and how do you feel it may impact electric cooperatives?" Requirements and contest entry form are available at Mountain View Electric Association office or online at www.mvea.coop. Info: 719-494-2670.

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Operation Christmas Child, Nov. 18-25

Donors can drop off shoeboxes packed with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for needy children overseas Nov. 18-25 at The Ascent Church (formerly Tri-Lakes Chapel), 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Hour of operation are: Mon., Tues., Thu., 9 a.m.-4 p.m; Wed., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. & 5-7 p.m; Fri., 3-6 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-noon; Sun., 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Mon., 8 a.m.-noon. For information call 488-6926 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

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Donate personal hygiene products, Nov. 1-Dec. 10

Wescott Fire Department is accepting donations of personal hygiene products (toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, laundry detergent, diapers, baby wipes, etc). The items will be taken to Partners in Housing, which supports members of the community who need a hand up. Bring your donations to Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr., Nov. 1-Dec. 10. For information, see the website www.wescottfire.org.

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Monument Academy looking for Walk-a-thon sponsors

Monument Academy is still seeking sponsors for the Middle School Walk-a-thon scheduled for Feb. 21, 2014. Monument Academy receives the lowest level of per-pupil funding of any school in the state, making fundraising essential. Sponsorship can be given at any amount, but a company’s logo will be placed on all event-related signs, banners, and T-shirts for those who donate $100 or more. Sponsors can also donate goods and services that support the event expenses. Sponsors can contact Julie Galusky at pto@monumentacademy.net through January for more information or to help sponsor the upcoming Walk-a-thon. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Free Senior Safety Handyman Services

Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.

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Ranger Legacy Fund distributes first grants to Lewis-Palmer district students

The Ranger Legacy Fund has distributed its first annual grants, the culmination of a two-year project that began with a fundraising effort by the Lewis-Palmer Class of 1992 in celebration of its 20-year reunion. The mission of the Ranger Legacy Fund is to provide annual grants to enterprising district students to pursue extracurricular activities. To date, the fund has raised nearly $12,000 in donations from former LP students through its LP20x20 initiative. All donations are earmarked to fund future grants. Its first grants, totaling $2,000, were awarded to the Lewis-Palmer High School Band to purchase new sheet music and repair instruments; Palmer Ridge High School Student Council to fund homecoming week activities; and Palmer Ridge High School Ink Literary Magazine to help offset printing and marketing costs. Donations to the Ranger Legacy Fund can be made on its website, www.rangerlegacyfund.org. All donations are tax deductible. More information can be found at the website, or contact Matt Schroeder at 761-9672 or grants@rangerlegacyfund.org.

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Tax credit available for wildfire mitigation work

Taxpayers with property located in a wildland-urban interface area can receive a tax credit up to $2,500 for performing wildfire mitigation measures. Information regarding community wildfire protection plans and wildfire mitigation measures can be found online at www.wescottfire.org and www.csfs.colostate.edu. For information, check www.taxcolorado.com.

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Free help line for fire victims

Optum, a health and behavioral health services company, is offering a free emotional-support help line to those affected by wildfires. The service is free and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters. The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary.

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Walking tours with local historian/filmmaker Jim Sawatzki

Walk in the footsteps of early Monument pioneers. Stroll through Old Town Palmer Lake or visit the Chautauqua grounds and cottages in Glen Park. Journey north to neighboring picturesque Castle Rock. Each tour is 1 1/2 hours. For details, call 481-3963 or visit www.palmerdivideproductions.com.

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Newspaper seeks volunteers

Would you like to volunteer with Our Community News? You can help with mailing day, write articles, take snapshots, and write captions, and more. We’ll teach you! Text or call Lisa at 339-7831 to find out more.

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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 on the district website www.lewispalmer.org under the community tab. Nonprofits may list their volunteer needs in the directory free of charge. For information, contact Robin Adair, P.O. Box 40, Monument, CO 80132; call 785-4223 or email radair@lewispalmer.org.

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Multiple sclerosis support group

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

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Reverse 911

With the heightened concern for fire danger along the Front Range, many people want to sign up their home or cell phone for reverse emergency notification. The El Paso-Teller E-911 Authority Emergency Notification System is used to notify residents of any potential emergencies in their neighborhood. To sign up, go to https://elptc911.onthealert.com.

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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 needs 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 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.

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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.

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Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center 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., Tuesday 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.; National Mah-jongg, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 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 information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.

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Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free

Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. There are 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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