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Vol. 13 No. 3 - March 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 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

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

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Firefighter and paramedic graduates honored

By Bernard L. Minetti

"The call to serve … It has no sound … Yet, I have heard it … In the whispered retelling of honorable sacrifices made by those who have served before me … The call to serve has no form … Yet, I have seen it … In the eyes of men and women infinitely more courageous and more driven than most … The call to serve has no weight … Yet, I have held it in my hands … I will commit to carry it close to my heart until my country is safe … and the anguish of those less fortunate has been soothed … The call to serve is at once invisible, and always present … and for those who choose to answer the call … for their country … for their fellow man … for themselves … It is the most powerful force on earth."

Fire Lt. and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Academy Superintendent Mike Keough read these words in his presentation of the firefighter and paramedic class 01-2013 to those assembled at the Sundance Mountain Lodge for the graduation ceremony. The author is Coby Dillard, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network and a founder of the Hampton Roads Tea Party in southern Virginia. He is a Navy veteran who served in the Middle East and at Guantanamo Bay.

About 250 attended the Feb. 2 ceremony. At the dais were Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack, Assistant Fire Academy Superintendent, Fire Lt. Ryan Graham, and Fire Trainee Matthew Snyder.

Keough provided a dissertation and overview of the schooling process and a brief presentation on the traditions and the nobility of the fire service in general. Jack reminded the assembled of the heritage of the district and the sequence of events that led up to this ceremony. Graham provided a few comments about the training program itself. Snyder provided a jocular overview of his experience in the training process.

The class consisted of six fire trainees who are recipients of the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that provided funding for two years as firefighters. They are William Vogl, Brian Olmos, Cristian Guerra, Adam Wakefield, Padraic Atkinson, and Ryan Grafmiller. The paramedic class consisted of five trainees from inside and outside the district. They are Jennifer Catanach, Nathan Snyder, Michael Webster, Aaron Wood, and Michele Bumgarner. The firefighter trainee’s starting salary is about $36,439 and the paramedic starting pay is $40,787.

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

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El Paso Board of County Commissioners, Feb. 19: Developer given more time on hazardous intersection issue

By Lisa Hatfield

On Feb. 19, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) planned to request authorization to pursue litigation against the Brookmoor Estates Homeowners Association. The goal was to bring the sight distance issue at the intersection of Lake Woodmoor Drive and Moveen Heights into compliance with the Engineering Criteria Manual. However, the developer, who is a member of the HOA board, requested a postponement because the engineering study that had been requested of him at the Dec. 20 meeting was not done. The commissioners asked no questions of the developer. The item was continued to the March 12 BOCC meeting by a unanimous vote of the commissioners.

Another BOCC agenda item pertaining to the Tri-Lakes area was the regional stormwater resolution. This plan will encourage all municipalities in the Fountain Creek basin to cooperate on flood control measures.

Brookmoor wall background

As reported in the Brookmoor article in the Oct. 6, 2012, edition of OCN, the sight distance problem at the entrance to Brookmoor Estates came to the attention of the county commissioners after residents began using a rear emergency gate as a free-flowing intersection to South Park Drive. (www.ocn.me/v12n10.htm#brookmoor)

An automated gate was installed there by the Brookmoor Estates HOA so residents could avoid using the main entrance, since visibility from Moveen Heights to Lake Woodmoor Drive at that intersection is blocked by a stucco front entrance wall. The owners of the adjacent development complained to the county about the traffic on what was supposed to be a cul-de-sac, and the county agreed the thoroughfare did not conform to the use specified in the approved planned unit development (PUD) site plan.

The tall stucco wall built at the intersection of Lake Woodmoor Drive and Moveen Heights created the sight distance safety hazard at this intersection. Developer Michael Brennan, who is a member of the HOA board, built the solid wall to replace a split-rail fence that was falling down. However, the new wall was not in compliance with the county-approved PUD site plan.

The Brookmoor HOA received a letter from El Paso County Code Enforcement on Aug. 16, 2012, telling them about the two code violations, and a homeowners meeting resulted. At the HOA meeting discussing the county’s objections, several options were mentioned to fix the problems. As reported in OCN’s October 2012 article, HOA board President Jeff Zeikus told homeowners at the Sept. 9 Brookmoor HOA meeting that Brennan, as the developer, had agreed to take care of the issue "financially, whatever it needs to rectify that situation." See www.ocn.me/v12n11.htm#brookmoor 

On Nov. 20, County Engineer André Brackin sent a letter to Brennan explaining that the report submitted to the county by Brennan’s engineer, LSC Transportation, was not done correctly due to an error in calculations. Brackin’s letter said, "The private improvements … have encroached on the Lake Woodmoor Drive public Right-of-Way." The consultant needed to review the calculations and resubmit them to the county. The letter informed Brennan that "removal of some portion of the private improvement (wall) is required." LSC Transportation Consultants is a traffic engineering consultant firm with offices in Colorado Springs and Denver. See www.ocn.me/v12n11.htm#brookmoor

The issue came before the commissioners on Dec. 20, 2012, when Mark Gebhart, deputy director of the Development Services Department, sought to pursue litigation against the HOA by the County Attorney’s Office to bring the property into compliance with the final PUD site plan.

At that meeting, Brennan was asked by Brackin to get "(road) plans and an estimate to review," which would require hiring an engineer and doing surveying. By the Feb. 19 meeting, Brennan was to provide a "cost comparison between correcting this with a road plan, as opposed to correcting this with a wall solution," Brackin said. In addition, Commissioner Darryl Glenn asked Brennan to put together "some sort of press release" to make sure the information going out was balanced. See www.ocn.me/v13n1.htm#bocc

Developer asks for postponement

At the Feb. 19 meeting, Gebhart began the discussion. "This item was continued from the board’s Dec. 20 meeting to allow the applicant and the county engineer to get together and discuss some alternatives that would occur. The applicant is present in the audience. He emailed me and (county engineer) André (Brackin) last night indicating that he did not have the information yet to put together those cost estimates or work. The county engineer is also present in the audience. The developer also requested in that email to ask for a postponement, but he is here to address those concerns," Gebhart said.

In response, Brennan told the commissioners, "LSC Transportation is doing my (engineering) work. I actually delivered a map to their Denver office last night at 7 o’clock. We just don’t have it done yet. But it is in the making. What I’m asking or requesting is a 30-day extension so we can get all of our ducks in a row and most importantly get it to André for their review."

The commissioners did not ask any questions of Brennan during this meeting, and there was no mention of the press release that Commissioner Glenn had requested of Brennan at the Dec. 20 meeting.

Assistant County Attorney Steven Klaffky said, "We would have no objection to a continuance." He offered two possible dates, March 12 or April 9, for Brennan to present the engineering information that the county had initially said was due Feb. 19.

Commissioner Glenn immediately made a motion to choose the earlier date, and without any additional comments from the commissioners, the motion to continue this item to March 12 was unanimously approved.

Regional cooperation on flood control measures

Another item on the BOCC agenda also related to the Tri-Lakes area since it is part of the Fountain Creek basin. Brackin submitted a resolution to the commissioners that emphasized a regional approach to stormwater.

The plan was to appoint a steering committee composed of engineers, citizens, and neighborhood organizations. It would represent and educate the community on what needs to be done to improve infrastructure to deal with flood control issues in the Fountain Creek basin, including areas such as below the Waldo Canyon burn scar. With its regional emphasis, the revised resolution invites all Fountain Creek basin entities to participate in a "regional, sustainable approach to stormwater control" but made no financial obligation on the smaller municipalities for doing so.

After some revisions about the wording, the resolution was approved unanimously. It said the Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force requests consideration and approval of a "joint resolution on regional flood control and stormwater management between El Paso County, City of Colorado Springs, and community partners."

The meeting adjourned at 11:21 a.m.

**********

To listen to audio recordings of BOCC meetings, go to http://bcc2.elpasoco.com/bocc/agenda.asp.

The continuance for the Moveen Heights/Brookmoor Estates item will be heard at the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. March 12 at the Centennial Hall Auditorium, 200 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. See http://bcc2.elpasoco.com/bocc/agenda.asp?page=3&selectyear=2013 for updates on the agenda.

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

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Monument Planning Commission, Feb. 13: Senior living facility approved

By Jim Kendrick

On Feb. 13, the Monument Planning Commission approved a preliminary/final planned development (PD) site plan and a related replat and vacation of right-of-way for the proposed Beacon Lite Senior Living Facility on the vacant Hull property between Grace Best Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road, and south of the Pankratz center and the Santa Fe Trail.

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara introduced the town’s new Principal Planner Mike Pesicka, a former senior planner for the City of Centennial.

The absence of Chairman Ed DeLaney was excused.

Background

Monument developer Jamie Hull has made several proposals for use of this property, the last undeveloped full city block within the downtown district.

Hull first offered to develop the parcel in 2004 as a downtown municipal center to centralize all town administrative functions in one location. This proposal was eventually dropped in 2005 when proposed costs for the combined police and courthouse building with cells for inmates far exceeded the town’s ability to issue property tax revenue bonds. (www.ocn.me/v5n5.htm#bot0502)

Note: The town subsequently built a new combined Town Hall and Police Department building for $4.4 million. It opened for business on May 10, 2009.

Hull also offered a pre-application proposal that was presented to the Monument Board of Trustees by Town Planner Mike Davenport on May 17, 2004, for replatting and rezoning the parcel to build 13 or 14 senior citizen one-story duplex patio homes with two bedrooms and two baths and one-car garages between the units. They would have cost about $250,000.

However, the city block had only 16 platted lots with 0.5 acre-feet of water per year per lot for a total of 8 acre-feet per year available. The proposed project would have required a purchase of water rights for an additional 9 to 10 acre-feet per year from the town. A U.S. acre-foot is 325,853 gallons.

The Hull parcel also still had lower density R-2 downtown residential zoning. The higher proposed density also required rezoning to PUD (planned unit development.)

Another complication that still exists today is that Lewis-Palmer School District 38 had built a fence around its track to the south that encroached on lots 6 to 8 of the original city block plat. (www.ocn.me/v4n6.htm#monbotmay17)

Hull made a pre-application presentation for a senior living center on this lot to the Planning Commission on Jan. 12, 2005. This revised proposal included replatting and rezoning for 50 to 52 dwelling units, 44 apartments in a two-story structure and six to eight patio homes. Fifty residences would have needed 18.75 acre-feet of water per year, assuming seniors would only use 0.375 acre-feet of water per year instead of 0.500 acre-feet of water per year.

The consensus of the commissioners was that the parcel was better suited to commercial development due to the limited amount of usable groundwater on the parcel and the very small number of remaining available town water taps, due to Water Department production and storage limitations. Road access was considered too limited on the west side of the property due to traffic for Grace Best Elementary School, which was still open at that time. (www.ocn.me/v5n2.htm#monpc)

This proposal was dropped when the town offered Hull an alternative senior center lot. The other lot was donated to the town by WED LLC when the 140-acre Wahlborg addition on the southeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Avenue was annexed. WED’s donated lot had also been considered as a location for the new police station and courthouse, but costs for the proposed joint facility far exceeded the town’s bonding capacity as well. A site plan for the Arbor Mountain Senior Living Facility was approved on the town’s lot adjacent to Highway 105, but this project was never started.

Hull’s next planned development proposal for this lot was for high density three-story "mixed use" in the new "traditional neighborhood" style to include commercial, office, retail, restaurant, and residential at a density of up to 12 units per acre, presented to the Planning Commission on Aug. 8, 2007. Supplemental water rights that would have to be purchased from the town were still a commission concern. (www.ocn.me/v7n9.htm#monpc)

The Board of Trustees approved Hull’s PD rezone request and PD sketch plan with up to 46 dwelling units on Sept. 4, 2007. Town Water Attorney Bruce Lytle had recommended a discounted price for Hull of about $4,800 per acre-foot per year. However, the rate was discounted to $4,600 per acre-foot per year. (www.ocn.me/v7n10.htm#bot0904)

However, on April 8, 2008, the Board of Trustees authorized the town to provide supplemental water to the Hull Subdivision. The town had excess water rights that total 384 acre-feet of water per year. The proposed Hull project required 27.14 acre-feet per year but still had rights to only 8 acre-feet per year. Town water broker Gary Barber, who was also director of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority at that time, had suggested a discounted selling price of $1,250 per acre-foot. The resolution the board approved allowed the sale of additional town water to Hull at a discounted cost not to exceed $2,000 per acre-foot. The staff was required to track water use during construction of the Hull project and for two more years after completion. (www.ocn.me/v8n5.htm#bot0407)

On May 13, 2009, Hull proposed an amendment to the approved sketch plan to the Planning Commission to allow two new additional uses: a Microtel hotel that would front on Beacon Lite Road with the already approved maximum height of 45 feet on the northeast part of the property, plus a "potential" new location for the Monument Library within the new mixed-use area on the south end of the parcel. The office, library, coffee shop, retail, and "loft units" on the south end still would have been 45 feet high, the already approved maximum height. The 34 high-density residential units on the northwest part of the property still would have been 40 feet high, the already approved maximum height. The Planning Commission narrowly approved Hull’s sketch plan amendment by a 3-2-1 vote. (www.ocn.me/v9n6.htm#monpc)

However, the Board of Trustees tabled the proposal following a lengthy hearing on June 1, 2009. Concerns were expressed about right-of-way changes, having a hotel next to Grace Best, and the hotel’s proposed height of 45 feet. The rest of the downtown B (business) zone had a height restriction of only 30 feet. (www.ocn.me/v9n7.htm#bot601)

During a long and contentious continuation hearing on July 6, 2009, several trustees raised new concerns about the proposed hotel. A motion to approve the site plan amendment failed by a 2-3 vote. (www.ocn.me/v9n8.htm#bot706)

New replat details

Kassawara first noted the project representatives for the proposed Beacon Lite Assisted Living Facility:

• Landowners Jamie and Mert Hull of Goldwest II LLC of Colorado Springs

• Applicants Don Gorsuch and Ronald Vaughn, principals of The Encore Partners of Denver

• Professional Engineer Chad Kuzback of Westworks Engineering Inc. of Colorado Springs

The Hull lot that was proposed to be replatted is 3.7 acres, bounded by Adams Street to the west, First Street to the north, Beacon Lite Road to the East, and Lincoln Avenue to the south.

Vacant unused portions of rights-of-way for Adams Street, First Street, and Lincoln Avenue were proposed to be vacated. A portion of the Adams Street right-of-way was proposed to be dedicated to the town. The purpose of the vacations and dedication is to create adequate buffering and drainage on the site of the proposed facility.

Kassawara reported that none of the rights-of-way to be vacated are paved, used, or needed for current or future traffic circulation in the area.

The First Street right-of-way is blocked by D-38 property (Grace Best) to the west and the county’s Santa Fe Trail to the east. The proposal calls for splitting this right-of-way down its centerline. The north half would be given to the homeowner at 108 Adams St. for additional landscaping and the south half would be given to Goldwest for the facility. The town would reserve a sidewalk and trail easement in the south half of the First Street right-of-way, which may be used in the future to connect the new end to Adams Street to the Santa Fe Trail.

The north 50 feet of 100-foot-wide east-west Lincoln Avenue right-of-way would be donated to Goldwest for the project. The south 50 feet would still be available for a future street if a requirement emerges.

The portion of Adams Street, a 30-foot alley right-of-way south of the home at 108 Adams St., has never been used as a street. The northern part of this non-street portion has been used as the east parking lot for Grace Best. The southern part has been used as part of a D-38 fenced running track that encroaches on the Hull property.

The facility would have 62 beds in 57 apartments. The memory care (dementia/Alzheimer’s) wing would hold 13 of these apartments. Kassawara reported that the total water demand of the facility and its landscaping had been calculated to be 7.83 acre-feet per year, far less than the 18.75 acre-feet needed for Hull’s first proposal. This calculation was based on a study of other Encore assisted living facilities in Wyoming and Utah.

For this proposal, Lytle determined that the water available to the property is now only 5.45 acre-feet per year rather than the 8 acre-feet deemed to be available for Hull’s previous proposals, as noted above. The reason for the change was not reported or discussed by Kassawara. A state law states that this replat, if approved, cannot be recorded with the county until this 2.38 acre-feet "shortfall" issue is resolved.

Kassawara also reported that the facility is in the "Downtown Monument area" and a 2007 board resolution allows the board to sell Hull 2.38 acre-feet of the town’s water rights, also known as "paper water," at a discounted rate to cover the "shortfall." A corresponding ordinance for town code section 13.04.160 was also passed that allows the town to accept a fee for such transferred additional town water rights. He recommended in his staff report that the Board of Trustees discount the cost of this additional town water for Hull to encourage denser developments than currently allowed by existing downtown zoning. The board’s previously approved discounted costs for Hull proposals, $4,600 per acre-foot and $2,000 per acre-foot, were not reported or discussed by Kassawara.

Kassawara explained how the Hull replat proposal met all 13 conformance requirements with the town’s subdivision’s regulations.

New site plan details

Some of the items Kassawara noted about the new site plan were:

• The facility would have four-sided architecture with a "residential feel" similar to that of the newly opened Encore facility in Casper, Wyo., as shown by photos in the site plan staff report.

• The maximum building height is 32 feet, 6 inches; the majority of the building is less than 22 feet high.

• Virtually all the residents no longer drive and would use facility transportation or are driven by family members.

• Visitors would use the Beacon Lite Road entrance.

• Employees and delivery trucks would use the entrance on Adams Street.

• The front entrance would include trees and plantings but a minimum amount of irrigated turf.

• Shrub beds would be covered with decorative rock.

• Sidewalks would have access to the Santa Fe Trail and Adams Street.

• The site plan is in full compliance with the Monument Comprehensive Plan and town site plan review and approval criteria.

• There were no comments or concerns from any other government referral agencies.

Some of the items Vaughn and Gorsuch noted were:

• Encore’s three partners have over 50 years of long-term ownership experience operating assisted living facilities.

• Assisted living and Alzheimer’s care are Encore’s specialties.

• Gorsuch has also worked for the Liberty Heights and Mackenzie Place retirement communities in Colorado Springs.

• Encore has retirement facilities in Fort Collins and Rock Springs and Casper, Wyo.

• Construction is planned to start in summer 2013 or 2014 and would take about 10 months.

• The Monument facility would provide 28 jobs and a $2 million budget for its $10 million building with a focus on being a good neighbor.

• The facility would be pet friendly for residents and visitors.

• There would be about 12 deliveries a week, normally occurring from 10 to 11 a.m.—they wouldn’t interfere with meals or D-38 school bus traffic.

There were no public comments.

After a lengthy question-and-answer period with the commissioners, both the replat and site plan proposals were unanimously approved. The next step for these two proposals is a Board of Trustees hearing. At press time, the hearing had not yet been scheduled.

Kassawara noted that the commission will hold a hearing on a replat to improve grading in the north filings of Promontory Pointe at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on March 13.

The meeting adjourned at 7:46 p.m.

**********

Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Information: 884-8017.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, Feb. 4: Fourth of July fireworks will move to Monument Lake

By Jim Kendrick

On Feb. 4, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved holding the Tri-Lakes Independence Day Celebration fireworks display along the southeast shoreline of Monument Lake. The board also approved an expansion of Sundance Studios, located on Cipriani Loop.

2013 Fourth of July fireworks approved

Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman noted that the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee had proposed moving its annual Tri-Lakes Independence Day Celebration fireworks display on the Fourth of July from Palmer Lake to Monument Lake.

Sirochman said Ernie Biggs had submitted a letter that stated he had given permission to the fireworks committee "to use my property"––the now vacant former Lake of the Rockies campground on the southwest corner of Mitchell Avenue and Monument Lake Road, near the Second Street railroad crossing.

Sirochman said Western Enterprises Inc. of Carrier, Okla., had submitted a letter to the town regarding its planned fireworks display. The letter stated that the proposed firing location at Monument Lake "provides a safe venue for this display" contingent on Western’s requirement that the sponsor of the fireworks display provide adequate security personnel to maintain safe distance factors during Western’s entire fireworks performance.

Mark Kirkland, vice president of the committee, answered board questions. Some of the issues he discussed were:

• The fireworks show is part of a great all-day Tri-Lakes community event that shows people what this area has to offer.

• Palmer Lake is dry and could pose many significant safety problems this year, such as "12 mud rescues of kids."

• The cost of the show will be about $40,000.

• Miss Fourth of July will have a float in the morning Kiwanis parade to hand out business cards with a map for the fireworks display.

• The committee’s application lists an attendance of 30,000 to 40,000, but attendance has never been measured in the past.

• Parking on Biggs property will cost $5, all day, with room for about 1,500 cars.

• Reserved parking will be available for $20.

• Cars parked along Mitchell Avenue must have all four wheels off the road or be towed.

• There will be a VIP area for sponsors contributing $2,500 or more.

• Vendor booths, game booths, rides, and music will be provided at the north end of the Biggs property, with a public viewing area for blankets and lawn chairs on the northeast corner.

• Second Street will be closed.

• The lake closes at sunset.

• Vehicles on the east side of the railroad track will exit via downtown.

• Vehicles on the west side of the railroad track will exit to the north on Mitchell Avenue, west on North Monument Lake Road, then east on Peakview Boulevard to Highway 105.

Police Chief Jake Shirk noted he will have the same crowd control resources that have been used for displays in the town of Palmer Lake in the past, but the fireworks committee will have to prevent vehicles from using the railroad crossing as a safety issue. Snow fencing will be erected along the tracks to prevent pedestrians from crossing them. All requirements for this special event’s application routing slip had been completed, but the plan will continue to be amended.

Trustee Jeff Kaiser thanked Shirk for his "can-do attitude and helping to find solutions to problems."

Sirochman asked that the motion include a statement that in the event of an active fire ban, the fireworks will have to be canceled. The board unanimously approved the special event license for the Tri-Lakes Independence Day Celebration, as amended.

Sundance Studio expansion approved

The board unanimously approved the first major amendment to the Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan for Sundance Studios to construct an addition on the north side of the building for a trampoline area. The expansion had been unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on Jan. 9. For more information, see www.ocn.me/v13n2.htm#monpc.

Some of the items that Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, noted were:

• Three parking places will be added to the studio lot to meet the town code requirement.

• The curbs on either side of the studio driveway will be painted yellow to resolve sight-line visibility issues on Cipriani Loop.

• The studio’s owners have arranged with Integrity Bank to allow parking on the bank’s adjacent parking lot for Integrity’s vacated temporary building.

• CenturyLink, which owns the adjacent commercial building to the west, does not want to share its private driveway connection to Jackson Creek Parkway with the studio.

There was no public comment.

Increase to two voting alternate commissioners approved

The board unanimously approved a change in the Monument Planning Commission Bylaws to appoint a second alternate commissioner and to allow the alternate commissioners to take part as voting members whenever planning commissioners are absent from meetings. The amendment also added the pledge of allegiance to the standard agenda’s order of business.

Background: The commission bylaws were modified several years ago, at the staff’s request, to allow only one alternate planning commissioner for the seven commissioners. This single alternate was only allowed to sit at the dais and to be a voting member when exactly three commissioners were present—for the sole purpose of creating a quorum to allow the commission meeting to proceed. Attendance by exactly three commissioners has been a rare event and has been difficult to predict.

However, the rule had never been enforced on the previous alternate commissioner, Jim Fitzpatrick, who was typically a voting member during commission meetings after he was appointed in early 2010. Conversely, this very narrow rule was then enforced by Kassawara on current alternate Melissa Woods, precluding her from "learning by doing" when at least one commissioner was absent for every recent meeting and she could only watch the proceedings from the audience.

Financial reports

Treasurer and interim Town Manager Pamela Smith reported that town sales tax revenue received through November was $191,000 or 8.2 percent higher than the amount budgeted. The unaudited 2012 excess of revenues over expenses for all town funds was $573,897 more than the excess in the budget. The unaudited actual net surplus for all town funds was $566,264. Net cash available increased by about $476,000 in 2012, with an ending Fund Cash Balance of $1.92 million.

Staff reports

Some of the items Smith noted in her town manager’s report were:

• Town water attorney Bob Krassa had advised her that there is a "settlement in principle" with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation in the Monument Lake water rights court case and that Town Attorney Gary Shupp will present the settlement for the board’s consideration and approval once details are finalized.

• The directors are finalizing the pay for performance and employee job descriptions projects.

• Once the Triview staff moves out of Town Hall to their new Jackson Creek Commerce Center office, the directors will implement a new rearranged office space plan.

• At the March 4 board meeting, Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, will be present "Issues Facing Cities and Towns in Colorado in 2013."

Water question-and-answer session

Town water broker and consultant Gary Barber proposed to advise the town, via a consultant contract for 2013, on the legal, physical, and technical aspects of obtaining and using renewable water rights, as well as how to pay for them. Barber said the OCN article on the Jan. 7 board meeting included "a good chronology all the dialog we’ve had over the years" on town water issues that he had worked on for Monument (See www.ocn.me/v13n2.htm#bot0107).

Barber noted that he is still chairman of the Arkansas River Basin Roundtable and had resigned from his position as president of the Two Rivers Water Co. He is no longer subject to a non-compete restriction with Two Rivers, which will make it easier for him to help the town with formation of regional water partnerships in the future.

Barber said he had also been the first executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District but has resigned from that position. He worked on the Water Infrastructure Planning Study in 2007 that led to the formation of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). While he was the director of the PPRWA, it merged with the El Paso County Water Authority in 2010. Barber then resigned from PPRWA in 2011.

Barber stated that he also helped with the Flaming Gorge task force report presented to the Colorado Water Conservation Board on Jan. 29.

Barber noted that water partnerships will not be approved unless each water entity can show operational efficiencies that they have already initiated or planned to have sufficient "standing."

Barber also referenced the Headwaters Magazine’s Citizen’s Guide to Denver Basin Groundwater. See http://analysis3.com/download.php?id=73744.

The scope of work Barber included in his proposal to provide water resource management services to build on the work to date by the PPRWA included:

• Represent the town in regional partnerships for infrastructure, reuse, and renewable water acquisitions.

• Prepare a water plan focusing on reduction of use, reuse, and recycling of the town’s existing water resources.

• Prepare a financing plan to implement water resource programs using the town’s Acquisition, Storage, and Delivery Fund.

Barber’s proposed compensation was a retainer of $2,500 per month for the first 20 hours of work each month and $125 per hour beyond 20 hours, billed in arrears monthly for Feb. 15, 2013, through Feb. 15, 2014, plus expenses. He added that he would consider a flat fee for a specific tasking.

After a lengthy discussion of several issues with several trustees, Barber said his plan would provide options and analyses of short- and long-term political, financial, and engineering tradeoffs with regard to operations and maintenance costs, capital expenses, permit risks, water quality issues, infrastructure costs, and storage costs.

The board asked Barber to provide a resume, an example of a plan he has developed, a flat fee quote, a list of measurable items he would suggest for the town, and a list of any conflicts of interest of his that might arise when the town attempts to form partnerships with other water entities.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Jeff Kaiser asked Chief Shirk if he had any proposals for using the new all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that the town had just obtained "in a windfall." Shirk said the town now has five ATVs. Four were given to the town by the federal government. Three of the ATVs are assigned to the Police Department and will be used for special events such as the July 4 Kiwanis Parade, Chamber of Commerce street fair, and Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee show. The other two ATVs will be used by Public Works for daily operations.

Public comments

Betty Konarski, the town’s volunteer representative to the PPRWA, advised the board on weather briefings presented at the annual Colorado Water Congress convention in Denver the previous week. She stated that state climatologists are predicting that the current drought will be similar to the drought in the 1950s and 2002. The current transpiration rates are causing dust storms that are taking away top soil from some regional farms. Konarski said she would contact the trustees to meet individually with each to answer their questions and concerns about board decisions for ensuring the town’s water supply.

Resident John Dominowski spoke in support of restoring town rebates for low-flow toilets and the town installing drip/micro irrigation systems to provide leadership by example. He supported education programs for area children and highlighting them in newspapers and the town newsletter, when the town website resumes operation. Resident Nancy Swearingen also spoke in support of low-flow fixtures.

Kassawara stated zoning rules call for a maximum of 33 percent bluegrass and 50 percent fescue in landscapes. He is still working on a water demand study for existing and new developments with new annual irrigation flow limits that he will present in a couple of months. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish stated a consultant has been working for a year on a joint water conservation plan for Monument, Palmer Lake, and Triview that includes efficiency rebates. The town website will be updated with all water saving ideas as well as completed projects as soon as the website conversion is completed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:09 p.m. for a public workshop to educate the new board members on the town’s capital improvement plan.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, Feb. 19: I-25 expansion details discussed

By Jim Kendrick

On Feb. 19, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Project Manager Dan Hunt and Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Design Manager Wes Kindt briefed the Monument Board of Trustees and staff on the I-25 expansion from Woodmen Road to Highway 105. The board also approved a combined residential/commercial rate increase for Town of Monument water customers on the west side of I-25.

Trustee Stan Gingrich was absent from the meeting.

I-25 project summary

Some of the items Hunt and Kindt noted were:

• CDOT selected Kiewit and Parsons Brinkerhoff to design and build this 11-mile project.

• Mike McDonald is the Kiewit project manager.

• The expansion starts at the north end of the new I-25 concrete paving at Pine Creek, north of the Woodmen interchange.

• One lane will be added in each direction.

• Auxiliary lanes from each on ramp to the next off ramp will be built from Woodmen to Interquest.

• The loop ramps at the Northgate Road interchange will be eliminated.

• The Ackerman Overlook by the Air Force Academy airfield will be redesigned and moved to improve safety and traffic flow.

• Two lanes will remain open both ways except for some closures from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

• Speed limits may be reduced by 10 mph in construction zones during daytime hours, with a single lane speed limit of 45 mph.

• There will be a courtesy patrol to provide jump starts for dead batteries and water for overheated radiators during the peak traffic periods of 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

• Kiewit proposed a "capacity completion" to have a new lane completed in each direction by the end of 2013.

• Milling and an additional layer of asphalt will be installed on the existing lanes beginning in 2014.

• The project will cost $66.4 million for engineering design and construction (200,000 man-hours).

• Funding consists of $50.5 million from CDOT, $8 million in federal funds, and $8 million from Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG.)

• Design-build teams have met with environmental agencies to minimize environmental impacts.

• The contract will bring $30 million to the local region in labor, supplies, and materials.

• Construction will begin in mid-March.

• In the first two phases, traffic will be moved to the outside lanes from Woodmen to Northgate to expedite work on the medians, and then outside widening will begin.

• Asphalt will be installed in a 6-inch base layer and a 2-inch stone mastic asphalt top layer.

• There will be a construction trailer materials testing site on the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway.

• The main project office will be in downtown Monument.

• The second layer may be postponed until spring 2014 if weather holds up installation.

• The project hotline phone number is 719-247-8339, and information updates will also available at www.cotrip.org.

Water rates increased

Public Works Director Tom Tharnish stated that the last Town of Monument water rate increase was in 1998, and the town’s water enterprise fund currently is not self-sufficient. The new water rates he was proposing were probably high enough to restore the fund’s self-sufficiency for up to three years and may result in some water use reduction, he said. The new rates were published in OCN and the Tri-Lakes Tribune, and were mailed to water customers as an enclosure with their water bill.

There will be no increase in the current basic service charge of $8.80 per month paid by every customer. The new additional charge for actual water use will be:

• $4.99 per thousand gallons up to 6,000 gallons

• $5.99 per thousand gallons over 6,000 gallons

• $6.99 per thousand gallons over 12,000 gallons

• $7.99 per thousand gallons over 24,000 gallons

In the summertime, about 36.7 percent of the town’s water customers use no more than 6,000 gallons per month, and their bills will remain the same. In the wintertime this percentage would increase to 74.6 percent.

A town water customer using 24,000 gallons per month will see an increase of about $16 per month, and one using 12,000 gallons per month will see an increase of about $4 per month. Tharnish cautioned the board that water consumption may drop initially but may return to the current levels after the first summer season. Questions about meter accuracy will continue to be handled the same way.

Tharnish added that a consultant had drafted a combined water conservation plan for Monument, Triview Metropolitan District, and the Town of Palmer Lake.

Town Treasurer and interim Town Manager Pamela Smith also cautioned the board that the total 2013 water enterprise fund budget has a surplus of about $1,800 and a $30,000 contingency line. However, Public Works is already looking at an unbudgeted $50,000 repair of well 7 at this time. Tap fees from new construction are no longer sufficient to maintain capital reserves. The town’s current water rates are about the lowest in the state and a rate increase is necessary, she said.

Tharnish said the board package for the next meeting on March 4 would contain a five-year water plan.

There was a general discussion on suggestions for conservation education. Smith suggested that the next month’s water bills ask the customers to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The board unanimously approved the new rate structure and directed the staff to prepare an ordinance to enact this rate increase for board approval at the meeting on April 1.

Water broker contract

The board advised Gary Barber it would delay a decision on the draft contract he submitted on Feb. 4 until all board members had a chance to meet with Betty Konarski, the town’s representative to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. Mayor Travis Easton asked that the town’s water attorney, Bob Krassa, and the town’s water engineer, Bruce Lytle, review Barber’s proposed contract as well. The board consensus was to have Barber provide a new draft contract based upon a lump sum payment with specific measurable expectations and objectives for tasks and work products. Barber agreed to the request and stated he would submit the draft contract to Tharnish as a "water consultant" rather than as a "water broker."

Special liquor license approved

The board unanimously approved a St. Peter Church special liquor license for the annual "Hoe-Down" fundraiser event on April 13.

Sidewalk design contract approved

The board unanimously approved a contract for $149,698 with Jacobs Engineering for surveying and design services for the downtown sidewalks project. The total funding available in 2013 for the project includes a grant of $150,000 from PPACG and a town match of $200,000. Jefferson, Washington, and Front Streets, Beacon Lite Road, and Highway 105 from about First Street to Fifth Street will have curb, gutter, and a sidewalk installed on one side of the street with PPACG grants and a town match over the next four years. Construction will begin in 2014 using another grant from PPACG with a similar town match. No bike lanes will be provided because these streets are too narrow.

Financial reports

Smith’s request for approval of three disbursements over $5,000 was unanimously approved:

• $178,368 to Triview Metropolitan District for its share of December sales tax ($172,027), January motor vehicle tax ($6,300), and January Pikes Peak Regional Building Department sales tax ($42).

• $6,107 to Lytle Water Solutions LLC for water engineering consultant fees.

• $31,112 to Spradley Barr Ford for a new Ford police interceptor car ($24,591) and to LAWS Emergency Vehicle Specialists for the purchase and installation of specialized lights/radio equipment ($6,521).

Smith said total sales tax revenue for 2012 was $221,000 (8.5 percent) higher than the amount budgeted for the year. Total town sales tax revenue for 2012 was $4.29 million, with Triview receiving $1.47 million and Monument $2.82 million.

Smith noted that a sales tax audit of a town business had resulted in a payment of an additional $30,000 in revenue.

Kassawara noted that Mike Pesicka, the new town principal planner, started work on Feb. 11. He stated that the El Paso County Department of Community Services is in negotiations with Hillcrest Bank in Kansas to purchase the foreclosed Willow Springs Ranch property for use as a county park. About $200,000 in additional private donations is needed to purchase the land. He reported that the property consists of 117 acres of open space and 66 acres of buildable land.

Tharnish reported that the water level in Arapahoe Well 7, on Highway 105 by the Santa Fe Trail, had been dropping rapidly over the past few weeks. A well repair contractor will pull the pump and motor to allow a video camera inspection of the 1,700-foot-deep well casing to determine if plugged screens are not letting the well refill at a normal rate. The screens possibly could be cleaned with chemicals and brushes.

As noted above, the estimated cost of repair is about $50,000 but there is only $30,000 in the contingency line. However, some sections of the pipe casing are also showing signs of significant corrosion after only 3 1/2 years, a sign of aggressive groundwater.

Tharnish also noted that this is the only well that can pump water to the town water tank at the top of the hill on Beacon Lite Road without the help of a booster station. It is fortunate that this problem is occurring during the lowest water demand period of the year, he said.

Kaiser asked Tharnish to provide the board with information from Krassa on when state ownership of the Monument Lake Dam will be transferred to the town, any studies available on the Laramie Fox Hills aquifer, and any information on stormwater fees, tax revenues, and potential future expenses. Konarski suggested an update on the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District objection to the town’s water rights in Monument Lake. Tharnish said that significant treatment changes would be required to treat Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer groundwater.

The underground decorative wiring used for Christmas lighting of the new trees on Second Street from Beacon Lite Road to Front Street was originally installed in 1999. It will be removed and replaced due to deterioration that is a shock hazard at a cost of about $9,000.

Monument water production for January 2013 was 7.14 million gallons, 179,000 gallons more than in January 2012, a 2.5 percent increase.

Police Chief Jake Shirk informed the board the Police Department is offering two new services: Safety and security inspections for church and faith-based organizations and CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design.) Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked Shirk and Kassawara to look into illegal left turns being made onto northbound Knollwood Drive by cars exiting the new Kum & Go. Trustee Becki Tooley will prepare a resolution supporting the Second Amendment that the board could send to the state Legislature.

Smith advised the board that Finance Manager Monica Harder would receive a new title of deputy treasurer and make the financial reports at future board meetings. Work continues to restore operation of the town website.

Smith stated the town had donated a cemetery plot to Ryan Willhite and Scarlett Gallagher, the two children murdered on Feb. 13 in eastern Colorado Springs. Both children had strong ties in Monument.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Jeff Kaiser thanked the staff for their "can-do attitude" and solutions to problems. He listed three examples: moving the Fourth of July fireworks show to Monument Lake, creating a program for performance-based raises, and finding a 4 percent reduction for staff healthcare costs rather than accepting a 13 percent increase. He also thanked Betty Konarski for taking the time to meet with individual trustees to discuss water issues.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 4 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month.

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

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Triview Metropolitan District, Feb. 12: District moving to Jackson Creek Commerce Center

By Jim Kendrick

The Triview Metropolitan District board and staff continued their preparations for moving out of Monument Town Hall and into an office suite they have purchased in Jackson Creek.

Director Steve Cox was absent from the Feb. 12 meeting.

The board unanimously approved the consent agenda without comment. The names of the documents that were approved were:

• Minutes for the regular board meeting of Dec. 11, 2012

• Minutes for the regular board meeting of Jan. 8, 2013

• Minutes for the special board meeting of Jan. 14, 2013

• Minutes for the directors’ work session of Feb. 4, 2013

• Operations Report—Completed Items of Feb. 12, 2013

• Manager Report—Completed Items of Feb. 12, 2013

Some of the items noted in these documents were:

• At the 17-minute Jan. 14 meeting, the board discussed closing documents for 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300 in the Jackson Creek Commerce Center and approved a resolution authorizing its purchase.

• At the Jan. 14 meeting, the district manager discussed the timeline for the booster pump station that will be installed in Promontory Pointe.

• At the three-hour Feb. 4 meeting, the topics discussed included infrastructure, the booster pump, tank, wells, and pipe under I-25, and the board asked questions of the district manager.

• The pressure relief valve for the A-4 well raw water line was repaired.

• The flow meters for filter 1 and filter 2 at the B water treatment plant were calibrated.

• In discussions with the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding the widening of I-25, the district learned that the elevation of a district water valve box and manhole will have to be modified.

• The district received the draft engineering report on the issues remaining with chip sealed roadways.

• The district received the draft water conservation plan.

• Work on potential new water and sewer rates is being completed.

• Work on new email, phone, IT, and office furniture is being completed.

Financial report

The board discussed one disbursement over $5,000: a Jan. 7 invoice from Donala Water and Sanitation District that was received on Jan. 8 for $123,601 for Triview’s share of the operating cost for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility for the fourth quarter of 2012. The payment was not approved at the last regular board meeting held during the evening of Jan. 8. The payment was due on Jan. 10. The form submitted to the board for this expenditure over $5,000 showed only $51,399 remaining for wastewater operations for the rest of 2013. Board President Robert Fisher said, "I don’t know how you could approve that big of a check if you think it’s quarter one and we’re out of money."

District Manager Valerie Remington noted that the Dec. 31, 2012, Budget Status Report for the district’s general fund showed total revenue of $3.71 million, total expenditures of $3.04 million, and an excess of $672,849. The 2012 ending fund balance for the district’s general fund was $10.2 million.

Remington noted that total 2012 revenue for the district’s water, wastewater, and reuse enterprise fund was $2.57 million, total 2012 expenditures were $1.67 million, and the excess was $902,465.

Remington said that a restatement of the 2012 budget by the district’s CPA would not be required.

After Remington researched the 2013 budget, she stated that the 2013 Triview wastewater budget line item was actually $590,800. The amount for wastewater operations in 2013 was actually the same as for 2012, $385,000. The board then unanimously approved the payment of $123,601 to Donala.

Town office agreement extended

The board approved and signed a new intergovernmental agreement with the Town of Monument for extending its lease of Town Hall office space through March 31. Remington noted that human resources support and insurance coverage that was included in the 2012 agreement were dropped for 2013.

Booster pump station update

Remington reported on the Promontory Pointe booster pump station status. The current plan that has been approved by the board calls for the pump station to be installed in a temporary building in a district easement. The booster pump station as currently approved has no fireflow capability to provide water with sufficient pressure to fire hydrants in the northern filings of Promontory Pointe. She asked if the board wanted to change this plan to add fireflow capability or move the location of the booster pump station.

Fisher stated that the board had investigated using the new second Triview water tank to be installed in Sanctuary Pointe (the former Baptist Camp parcel) as an alternate option to provide pressure for fireflows. However, the second water tank and the associated relatively long water transmission lines to carry water back downhill to Promontory Pointe would take too long to construct and would still be only a fairly expensive interim solution with very little immediate payback other than providing fireflows. The current planned booster station location on the west side of Promontory Pointe has issues regarding agency review and approvals.

After further discussion, the board approved a motion to relocate the booster pump system to the existing water tank site and redesign it to add capacity for fireflows as well as add any necessary additional pumping capacity to allow it to serve as a transfer pumping station for the new water tank in Sanctuary Pointe.

The board also unanimously approved a second motion to terminate the consultant engineering contract for the booster station with Merrick & Co. and re-assign the engineering design work for the new booster pump and fireflow to the existing water tank design contract to JDS-Hydro Consulting Inc. of Colorado Springs with a change order.

The board directed Remington to determine the cost and schedule to install a sleeved water pipe around the existing district piping under I-25 before the roadway is widened from four to six lanes starting in May. Doing this now would save about 10 to 15 percent in boring costs compared to waiting until the district has to begin providing water in about 10 years to the vacant portion of the district between I-25 and the Santa Fe Trail, north of Baptist Road. The rough estimated cost from I-25 construction contractor Kiewit Infrastructure Co. was about $325,000. The amount in the escrow account for providing water to the west side of I-25 is about $600,000.

Remington was asked to get a preliminary bid from JDS-Hydro for comparison to Kiewit’s preliminary bid for a decision at the March 12 board meeting.

Operations report

Operations Supervisor Nick Harris recommended lowering well A-7 168 feet to a new depth of 1,659 feet in order to ensure meeting summer water demands. The board approved the low bid of $10,766 from Colorado Water Well Pump Service & Supply Inc.

The board unanimously approved a meter replacement contract with National Meter and Automation Inc. to change out 330 water meter transponders from at a cost of $115 each.

The board directed that an informal study be conducted by the district’s accounting firm, Community Resources Services (CRS), regarding water and sewer rate increases at an initial cost not to exceed $2,000.

JDS-Hydro has recommended that the district install an air-sap separation between the 20,000 gallon Plant B backwash reservoir and the overflow outfall sewer pipe currently connected to the reservoir. Fisher asked if the reservoir could be drained into a ditch. Harris said the fluid in the reservoir is a sludge that is a pollutant. The state Health Department prohibits dumping of this sludge. Fisher directed Harris to add the recommended $15,000 correction to the district’s capital improvement plan.

|Manager’s report

Remington gave a brief overview of the "2013 Status Update for 404 Permit and Mitigation" memorandum submitted to the district by Grant Gurnée of Ecosystem Services Inc. This document reviewed the status of the district’s protected Preble’s mouse and wetland mitigation issues under the district’s current 404 permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are considering a consolidated approach and coordinated resolution of the Triview 404 permit for compliance with the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. She asked the board to review the report and email her any questions to pass along to Gurnée for him to answer during his 404 permit presentation scheduled for the March 12 board meeting.

She noted that Goodwill is considering building a facility behind the Monument Marketplace Walmart. She provided information on streetlight options for the road to the proposed Goodwill facility.

Remington asked the board to consider providing her with a district credit card. Currently she charges things to her own credit card, but a recent purchase would have required a $700 charge. She noted that Director Steve Cox declined to place the $700 purchase on his own credit card as well. "So here we are," Remington added. She noted that the district would have to have its own credit cards when the existing administrative services agreement with the town of Monument ends on March 31.

Fisher replied, "Do we have a credit card usage and reimbursement policy?" Remington said she could write one for the employee handbook if the board would consider allowing her to have her own district credit card. She said that the CRS consultant treasurer is currently signing and reviewing all her expense reports and original receipts. Remington said she would present a policy and resolution for credit cards for board approval at the March 12 board meeting.

Remington recommended purchase of a 12-foot conference room table, flat file cabinet for large plats and maps, and another file cabinet at a cost of about $3,500. She will need a credit card to purchase a printer. The board approved an expenditure of up to $4,000.

Remington noted that neither she nor consultant treasurer Cathy Fromm of CRS could sign the paperwork for district loan payments, delaying a payment two days until board Secretary/Treasurer Bob Eskridge could sign the documentation. Neither Fromm nor Remington could see any information for these loan accounts because they were not signatories. Town Attorney Gary Shupp recommended that Remington be added as a signatory to these accounts, particlularly for checks that require two signatures, but Fisher did not approve it. He only approved adding Fromm as a signatory.

The board determined that it would hold meetings at its Jackson Creek office starting in April.

Hurd asked Remington to determine the costs for providing each director with an electronic iPad tablet like the ones in use by the Monument Board of Trustees for a discussion at the March 12 board meeting. Remington said she was setting up Triview email addresses and a shared drive they will be able to access to see electronic copies of the board packet.

The meeting went to executive session at 6:37 p.m. to "conference with the district’s attorney regarding legal advice of specific legal questions."

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

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Feb. 21: PPRWA to reconsider water quality sponsorship

By Jim Kendrick

On Feb. 21, District Manager Dana Duthie advised the Donala Water and Sanitation District board that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) had reversed its January decision and will now consider administrative sponsorship of a new nutrient sampling coalition in the Pikes Peak region.

Duthie noted that on Feb. 6 the authority reversed its vote against considering administrative sponsorship of the new Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE). This new water quality monitoring group will create a coordinated nutrient monitoring program from Palmer Lake to south of Pueblo to meet the requirements of the state Water Quality Control Commission’s Control Regulation 85. The authority board will once again consider sponsoring AF CURE as a project at its March 6 meeting.

Duthie also noted that the new Big R store is selling a root-killing product called Roebic K-77 Root Killer that is 98 percent copper sulfate. Donala has written a letter requesting that Big R stop selling this copper sulfate product because it has already caused a copper spike in the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility’s effluent. This kind of copper spike may lead to discharge permit violations and require plant modifications that would cost millions of dollars. Engineering consultant GMS Inc. is writing an amendment to Donala’s sewer regulations to prohibit use of copper sulfate within the district.

Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District have already amended their sewer regulations to prohibit the use of copper sulfate products to minimize copper spikes that have occurred in the effluent of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, leading to two discharge permit violations in the past. The Monument Marketplace Home Depot has removed copper sulfate products from its shelves.

The absence of Director Bill Nance was excused.

Some of the other items Duthie reported on regarding the PPRWA’s Feb. 6 meeting were:

• Cherokee Metropolitan District has proposed that a regional water supply feasibility study be completed with an emphasis on infrastructure to determine if any partnerships could be developed to support Cherokee’s planned pipeline construction for its Sundance Ranch well field on Hodgen Road. It may be advantageous for Donala to participate in the $180,000 study to determine if there is a feasible option for transporting Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable water from the north end of the Southern Delivery System.

• The proposed Senate Bill 23 would increase the amount that governmental entities could be sued for from $150,000 to $478,000.

• House bills HB-1037 and HB-1041 would require a significant increase in the amount of money governmental entities would have to spend to comply with Colorado Open Records Act requests.

• HB-1186 on special district transparency requirements would require more public input to be solicited regarding rate and fee increases. It would also require more information on service plans to be publicized and noted on every property description in a district.

• HB-1044 proposes new rules to allow in-house "graywater" from sinks and showers to be re-used in toilets, but there are public health, water rights, and cost issues for an entirely separate plumbing system. Graywater cannot be used for irrigation. The bill might allow the county to place new restrictions on special districts.

• Water Returns, a water conservation nonprofit company that provides training, landscape design, and workshops gave a presentation that showed it may be able to provide useful xeriscape consulting support to Donala customers.

Willow Creek storage contract renewed

Duthie observed that if the current drought continues, Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch water rights may be nearly unusable this summer. Donala could not withdraw its full quota of renewable water in 2012 due to the drought. After owners of water rights that were more senior than Donala’s and had a higher priority took their water from the Arkansas River, only a limited amount remained available to Donala. Arkansas River flows are expected to be even less this year and in the worst case, no water may be left in the stream that can be used by Donala.

Duthie said he had just received a draft for another one-year renewal of the district’s Pueblo Reservoir storage contract with the Bureau of Reclamation. Donala has been negotiating with the bureau for a long-term contract rather than one-year renewable contracts, but progress has been very slow.

Annual maintenance work on the ranch infrastructure will begin in late April when the snow melts.

Donala’s realtor has not reported any offers to buy the ranch in the past month. Donala would retain all its renewable decreed water rights and necessary access easements as a condition of sale.

Irrigation schedule changes may be coming

Donala is required by its supplemental water service agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to mimic CSU’s irrigation standards. CSU is currently considering whether to impose a three-day-a-week standard, or a more restrictive twice-weekly irrigation standard. If either of these standards is imposed by CSU, Donala will have to impose a similar standard. If the CSU standard is three days per week, Donala will impose its usual odd-even plan for M-W-F irrigation or T-T-S irrigation. If the CSU standard is twice-a-week irrigation, Donala’s odd-even plan would call for irrigation on Monday and Friday only or Tuesday and Saturday only.

Financial reports

The financial reports and the Davidson Fixed Income Management investment report were accepted as presented. Triview Metropolitan District sold four new water taps, which provided some additional funds to help pay off Triview’s $1 million loan from Donala. Donala made this loan to help Triview pay for its share of the cost of expanding the Upper Monument Facility when Triview was unable to get a supplemental loan from any other source.

The board went into an executive session on personnel matters at 3:30 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m. after the executive session.

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After this meeting, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund visited the new Big R store twice to explain to the staff and store managers why copper sulfate root killing products can be so harmful to Monument Creek and costly to the customers of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.

On Feb. 27, Ryan Cousins of the Big R corporate office called Wicklund to advise him that copper sulfate products would be removed from the Struthers Road Big R store and shipped to its store in Colorado Springs and would not be restocked at Struthers Road. Wicklund thanked Cousins for the cooperation and concern for the constituents of these two wastewater treatment facilities. Wicklund will continue to monitor stores like Big R and Home Depot for copper sulfate products for all the wastewater entities in the OCN coverage area.

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The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on March 21 in the Donala conference room, 15850 Holbein Dr. Information: 488-3603.

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

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Monument Sanitation District, Feb. 21: Madison appointed to board vacancy

By Jim Kendrick

On Feb. 21, the Monument Sanitation District board unanimously:

• Appointed Terry Madison to fill its vacant seat.

• Approved a letter of engagement for 2013 with engineering consultant firm GMS Inc.

• Renewed an annual lease with Second Street Hair Studio, a tenant in the district’s building.

District Manager Mike Wicklund briefed the board at length on progress in coordinating stream monitoring for nutrients by all wastewater treatment facilities that discharge into Monument and Fountain Creek, including the City of Pueblo and Pueblo West. The name of the new monitoring group for the Monument and Fountain Creek basins is the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE.) The purpose of AF CURE is to expedite efficient compliance with all the new nutrient monitoring requirements in the state Water Quality Control Commission’s new Control Regulation 85 at the lowest cost.

The current AF CURE plan is to initially organize as a project participant under the umbrella of the Pikes Peak Rural Water Authority for finance, tax ID, and auditing purposes. AF CURE will later determine whether to become a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. AF CURE is being organized to parallel the 13-year-old South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SP CURE, www.spcure.org), which is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. AF CURE is using Brown & Caldwell as its engineering consultant; this firm is also the engineering consultant for SP CURE.

SP CURE has recently formed the Colorado Monitoring Framework to coordinate statewide nutrient monitoring by all Colorado wastewater treatment facilities. Jim Kendrick, Operations, Monument Sanitation District, has been a participant in organizing all the AF CURE and Framework workgroups and subgroups. Currently AF CURE plans to join the Colorado Monitoring Framework as a watershed member rather than having the 14 AF CURE members join individually. A watershed membership costs less than one individual facility membership, but would yield only one vote, rather than 14 votes.

Wicklund also briefed the board on the district’s five-year plan for camera inspections and cleaning of all district collection lines and his options for 2013.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

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

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District special meeting, Feb. 14: $200,000 note approved to bridge budget gap

By Bernard L. Minetti

At a special meeting Feb. 14, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board unanimously approved a $200,000 promissory note for a credit line with Vectra Bank Colorado.

The promissory note was deemed necessary by Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack. The amount was designed to bridge the budget gap in the first quarter of 2013, until property tax revenues are received. Jack said there was a very slim possibility that with careful monitoring of expenses, the money might not be required.

Jack reported that the fire chief hiring process was proceeding and the district had narrowed the potential selectees to five. They are Kevin Hammons of Franktown, Ronald Thompson of Jefferson City, Mo., Glen Levy of Colorado Springs, Wade Stevens of Orange Beach, Ala., and Christopher Truty of Wheaton, Ill. Jack added that 43 people had applied for the position.

The board scheduled a Citizens’ Forum for 6 p.m. March 12 at the District Administration Building, 146 Jefferson St., to allow Tri-Lakes citizens to meet the five finalists. The board then voted for adjournment.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Feb.19: New paramedic sworn in

By Lisa Hatfield

The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District celebrated Valerie Marshall’s swearing-in as a new district paramedic on Feb. 19. The board also unanimously passed a resolution to purchase a new station alert system for Stations 1 and 2. Chief Vinny Burns explained the ramifications of possible changes coming to the ambulance service in El Paso County in 2014.

New paramedic sworn in

Marshall was sworn in as a newly certified paramedic by board Chairman Scott Campbell, and her dad Tom Marshall pinned on her new badge. She thanked the board for budgeting to send her to paramedic school, the chiefs for allowing her to go to school and giving her "the time to study for cardiology tests," her crew that helped her study, and her friends and family for their help. "I can’t thank everyone enough just for the support," she said.

Chief’s report

Chief Burns notified the board about possible impending changes in the way ambulance service is handled for El Paso County. Since 1979, the EMS contract for the county has been held by American Medical Response (AMR). However, the Colorado Springs Fire Department is considering "getting into the ambulance business," said Burns. "It may cause a big shift in how we work our EMS transport."

One of many concerns Burns stated about this possible change is that it might make the county Emergency Services Authority (ESA) "disappear." ESA is the ambulance service regulatory authority in the county. That might mean appointing a new county commissioner and City Council member, he said, implying the need for some kind of oversight. "It could cause a whole cascade of things to happen," Burns said. "The county commissioners are very, very unhappy with what’s going on."

AMR’s current contract expires in June 2014, and after that, the rate structure could become "exorbitantly higher" for people outside the city limits, Burns said. Alternatively, with multiple bidders, some rates could go down due to competition, he said.

"The last thing I want to do if this really does happen that way is get in the ambulance business," Burns said, adding that, "EMS transport is a (revenue) losing business." He wouldn’t speculate about why the city’s Fire Department is proposing this change. Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said, "They won’t disclose information even after being asked by the county commissioners and ESA board."

Campbell mentioned another possible complication if AMR kept the county part of the contract but Colorado Springs got another EMS provider. "The city (dispatch) system is not designed for multiple medical responders. It’s only designed for one contract."

Burns said he will be watching the situation closely.

Ridings proposed that the board purchase new station alert software for Stations 1 and 2 so that calls could be dispatched by unit instead of by fire department. Currently, a crew member needs to "sit up all night listening to the radio," which disturbs the work/rest ratio, and alerts meant for one station are also sent to the other station unnecessarily.

The new system would cost about $15,000. It would select the speakers necessary to alert the individuals that are being dispatched for a particular kind of run. "I’m recommending a good system for what we do for our call volume and for what we do," Ridings said. "We could install it ourselves."

Ridings said this new type of system "is the very standard practice in every fire house across the country except for El Paso County," but he expects the county to start dispatching this way. "By trying it out here, the way we’re dispatching to Wescott and Tri-Lakes at this point will be the county standard, I guarantee you." He said this system is affordable to most fire departments.

The board members discussed which line item in the budget could be used to pay for this new station alert system. A motion to authorize up to $16,000 passed unanimously.

Ridings said the total of 185 calls in January was 33 percent higher than in January 2012, due to more AMR runs, more "good intent" calls, and more calls cancelled by dispatch while en route. He said about 94 percent of in-district, non-AMR calls took less than eight minutes for response.

Finance report

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall reported that she had received the last wildland income expected from the Hewlett Fire, but she advised waiting until March to approve the final end of year 2012 financial statements so that she could account for any last-minute bills for 2012.

For 2012, net income was about $2 million and net expenses were about $1.8 million. A total of 97 percent of the budget was expended, and 23 percent of the reserves designated were expended, "mostly for building Station 2," Marshall said.

Campbell commented on the opportunities presented by sending crews to other wildland fires. "It’s great that we can do that and use the equipment and skills, and it’s great training of course, and certainly valuable from a help perspective on all the fires. I know we had lots of opportunity last year to help out."

Director Harland Baker suggested applying the roughly $187,000 surplus from 2012 against debt for Station 2. "The idea is to free up ongoing expense so you could turn it into hiring people." Marshall said Wells Fargo would also be willing to negotiate a new loan package, and board members agreed to discuss these ideas further after the official 2012 audit is done.

Marshall said that she’s almost through making the arrangements to move the district’s banking accounts to Wells Fargo.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:59 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on March 19 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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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education, Feb. 21: Growth in student numbers expected to continue

By Harriet Halbig

At the Feb. 21 meeting of the District 38 Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that the student count for the district is expected to continue to grow, although at a slower rate than this year. A variable in the count is the increased rate of residential construction in the district, which could bring in new families and students. Also, the construction could increase the district’s access to cash in lieu of land, a provision that allows the district to access funds if a new school building is not required.

The cost of health insurance for district employees is anticipated to increase by about 6 percent. Wangeman recommended that the district absorb the increase rather than requiring employees to decrease coverage to maintain cost. The impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is unknown. It is certain that an employee who works 30 or more hours a week must be offered coverage. The state insurance exchange is already in place.

Wangeman recommended funding replacement of antiquated equipment in the Nutritional Services Department. She said that the district acknowledges and appreciates the success of the department in returning funds to the district as a result of its careful planning.

Wangeman said debt payment costs will decrease as a result of recent refunding and refinancing of bonds used in the construction of Palmer Ridge High School and improvement of the stadium. Anticipated savings to the taxpayer are $235,000 per year.

Other recommendations, reported during a Capital Reserve report, included the purchase of one new bus, maintenance projects to include repair and replacement of roofs, resurfacing of parking areas, a computer lab for Lewis-Palmer Middle School, technology assets to include redundancy of servers, and a $94,000 contingency fund for emergencies.

Wangeman said that the resurfacing of playgrounds may be funded by a grant and that some of the roofing projects may be funded by grants as well.

Safety and Security Advisory Council update

Wangeman reported that 25 applications for membership on the Safety and Security Advisory Council were received from the community. Of these, 20 individuals were selected to serve.

After analyzing the experience and expertise of those selected, the group was divided into four subgroups, each of which will be facilitated by one or two members of the district’s administration. These groups are Facilities Services (including bus safety, grounds, and maintenance), Climate and Culture, Physical Location/Community, and Terrorism/Crime and Violence (structures, alarms, cameras).

Wangeman said that the first step is for the subcommittees to take a detailed tour of the district’s facilities and learn what plans are already in place. The charges for each group have already been determined.

Wangeman said that the district has active partnerships with the Red Cross and police and fire officials. These partnerships were strengthened during the Waldo Canyon Fire emergency.

In her report on capital funding, Wangeman included security requests such as more cameras, new door locks, removal of glass near doors, and man traps (entrances in which an individual enters one door and must be buzzed through the second before entering the building).

The first meeting of the Advisory Council will be held in March.

State assessment mandate update

District Superintendent John Borman reported on changes in staff assessment requirements from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 191.

Implementation of the new evaluation system began last year with training of principals involving preparation of a 23-page document for each teacher, assessing their professional practices and techniques. The second segment of the process, evaluating student growth, is still in development. The difficulty in the second section is to determine the growth of students in areas that are not included in the TCAP test, such as art, physical education, and music. Principals will be evaluated 50 percent on their practices and 50 percent on the effectiveness of their teachers.

A process to evaluate professionals in such areas as physical therapy and occupational therapy is yet to be developed.

The document will be used in evaluating the principals this year and used next year to evaluate probationary teachers, those in their first three years of employment. Beginning in 2014-15 the document will be used to evaluate all teachers, probationary and non-probationary, on an annual basis.

In the past, non-probationary teachers were evaluated once every three years.

The evaluations prepared in 2013-14 will not impact a teacher’s standing, because they will be considered a test of the viability of the process.

Board President Jeff Ferguson commented that he is concerned about the amount of time required to complete the process.

Borman responded that legislators are often concerned about accountability when they pass legislation and charged CDE with implementing the intent of the law.

Borman explained other future assessment requirements. The first of these is evaluation of students for school readiness through the Colorado READ Act (Reading to Ensure Academic Development). This act required teachers to assess literacy in children from kindergarten through third grade. They are assessed in oral skills, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Parents are provided with guidelines to help their children.

Research has shown that reading ability at the third-grade level has great impact on academic success later in life.

How each school performs in READ will appear in the district’s performance framework, on which school Unified Improvement Plans are based.

An additional assessment is designed to determine school readiness for students who attend publically funded preschools or kindergarten. This assessment will be phased in over two years.

Another new development is the Endorsed Diploma, Borman explained. This diploma, involving 17 credits, is awarded with assurance to the state that the student will not require remediation before beginning college. Presence of the diploma may allow students to bypass some requirements for admission to state schools.

Each district may determine its own graduation requirements. Borman said that this is a good development, especially for some rural districts where students may be less likely to pursue college education.

Finally, Borman reported that the present TCAP test will be replaced by the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test next year and there will also be new assessments in science and social studies.

While assuring the board that the administration and principals will do what is required of them, Borman said that this amount of unfunded effort is unprecedented. The goal of the district is to provide each child with maximum appropriate opportunities during their time in district schools.

Borman reported on a visit to Hinckley High School in Aurora to observe a program in medical science. If the district were to develop such a program, it would partner with Memorial Hospital. He said that such a program would aid students in deciding whether to seek a degree in medicine or nursing.

Community Relations Manager Robin Adair reported that the district’s communications plan continues to progress. Thirty-eight of 50 community liaisons have been trained in delivering the district’s message to the public in advance of a possible mill levy override ballot initiative. There will be a stakeholders event sometime in March. Information regarding prior ballot issues has been added to the district website.

Adair also reported that the district’s Home School Enrichment Academy is a solid success and that parents have requested the addition of programs for seventh-graders. Open houses for home school families will be held in March and June. The academy will continue to offer programs one day a week.

The board passed a resolution to accept a memorandum of understanding with Monument Academy that will allow it to accept a larger than anticipated number of special-education students in its program, based on the December count rather than the October count.

The board passed a consent agenda regarding such routine matters as minutes of past meetings, ratification of closure due to inclement weather, appointments and resignations, policy revisions, and other matters.

The board convened an executive session to discuss purchase, acquisitions, lease, or sale of real, personal or other property.

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The Board of Education meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be held on March 21.

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

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District Accountability Advisory Committee, Feb. 12: Principals present student improvement plans

By Harriet Halbig

Lewis-Palmer School District’s District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) continued its review of school Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) at its Feb. 12 meeting.

UIPs are documents required by the Colorado Department of Education. Based on test results from the previous one or three years, each school is required to present plans to improve student achievement. Drafts of the plans are presented to DAAC in advance of their submission to the Department of Education in the late spring.

District 38 is generally strong in academic achievement and is particularly strong in the areas of graduation rate and postsecondary and workforce readiness. Weaknesses appear when discussing academic growth gaps, the difference in achievement scores between the general population and students on free/reduced-price lunch, minorities, English language learners (ELL), and students on an individual education plan (IEP).

The DAAC divided into three subgroups during the meeting to hear the principals of Lewis-Palmer High School, Palmer Ridge High School and Palmer Lake Elementary School present their plans.

Palmer Ridge UIP

Principal Gary Gabel of Palmer Ridge said that his school meets its goals in academic achievement and academic growth and exceeds it in terms of postsecondary and workforce readiness. A particular strength of the school is its position in the 92nd percentile in math. It meets goals in reading, writing and science. Academic growth goals were also met.

The school approaches its goals in Academic Growth Gaps. Those on free/reduced-price lunch, disabled, ELL, and students needing to catch up (those rated unsatisfactory or needing three years to attain proficiency) were approaching the goal in reading and writing. Minority students met the goals for reading and writing and students needing to catch up met goals in math.

The school exceeds goals in graduation rate, dropout rate, and Colorado ACT scores.

Gabel explained that determining growth scores for Palmer Ridge is complicated by the fact that the school has had only two graduating classes thus far, thereby offering fewer data.

He also pointed out that many of the students who are lagging behind lack an IEP or Response to Intervention services and therefore have less academic support than those in the special education program.

Gabel recommended that all teachers be informed of unsatisfactory performance by students entering the school so that they may be more closely monitored during the first semester of high school and provisions may be made to provide extra support.

Gabel also said that some students fail to appreciate the importance of TCAP scores in their academic record. He is encouraging parents to stress their importance and is providing some extra privileges to students who score proficient in various areas of study and granting an extra one-fourth credit. A rating of proficient also appears on a student’s transcript. Special Education students who demonstrate strong growth from one year to the next are also recognized.

As part of Gabel’s action plan for 2012-13, a pilot group of students struggling in math will be placed in a Transitional Algebra class that meets daily. For those struggling with reading, a steering committee will submit a plan to literacy coordinator Caryn Collette for reading across the spectrum of subjects. He also said that teachers need better professional development in the area of reading.

Lewis-Palmer High School UIP

Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl explained the UIP for Lewis-Palmer High School. The school meets its goals in academic achievement and growth and also in academic growth gaps in math. Trends at the school include an improvement among those with IEPs. The school met three of eight targets in growth gaps. Students needing to catch up are the primary weakness in this area.

Brandl said three action plans are in place to improve the school’s scores. The special education program will be restructured and paraprofessionals (paras) will be in classrooms working with general education teachers. The high school math curriculum at Lewis-Palmer will be vertically and horizontally realigned to avoid duplication.

Finally, study halls will be structured in such a way that freshmen and sophomores may receive intervention during study hall. The study halls will be divided into math/science and social studies/English. In this way students may receive any extra help needed without missing class time.

Palmer Lake Elementary School UIP

Palmer Lake Elementary School Principal Julie Jadomski reported on the unique challenges faced by the teachers at her school, where 35 percent of the student body qualifies for a free/reduced-price lunch, up 6 percent from last year. Palmer Lake Elementary is the only school in the district to receive Title I funds because of this, and the additional funds are being used to provide additional literacy instruction.

Teachers at Palmer Lake Elementary are striving to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each student and to create an individual learning plan for each. This plan will follow the student throughout his or her elementary school career and allows for active monitoring and appropriate assistance as needed.

An additional program unique to Palmer Lake Elementary is the Every Child a Writer and Every Child a Reader program, stressing literacy from the earliest age and applying it across all fields of study.

Legislative update

School Board liaison John Magerko reported on actions taken by the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) to influence legislative activity on the state level during this year’s session. Representatives of CASB are working with legislators to construct a new funding formula for schools triggered by the passage of a ballot initiative to provide more funding for K-12 education.

CASB will also continue to encourage funding of the Building Excellent Schools Today grant program in support of capital improvements. Such grants have funded recent improvements to Lewis-Palmer Middle School and Palmer Lake Elementary School.

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The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The March meeting will be held on March 12 at Monument Academy, 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument.

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

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Special Education Advisory Committee, Feb. 13: Committee learns of physical education opportunities

By Harriet Halbig

The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 learned of physical education opportunities for students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Adaptive Physical Education teacher Dena Sikole explained the district’s program in detail. Students have opportunities to participate in equine activities, bowling, ice skating, swimming, and laser tag. All activities are funded by grants. Sikole said that parents had often requested that gymnastics also be offered, and Sundance Studio owner Steve Clowes offered the use of his studio and staff to provide this opportunity.

Clowes said that gymnastics training offers a variety of advantages to special education students. Among these are the improvement of body awareness, strength, balance, confidence, and flexibility. As an individual activity, students also enjoy one-on-one attention as needed.

Clowes showed a slide presentation demonstrating the activities offered at his studio.

The children of a number of committee members have participated in this program. They all found it valuable. Some members suggested that the studio group students by age rather than experience and offer classes with fewer students.

Clowes said that he and his wife, Kathy, who coaches high school gymnastics, find this activity to be very rewarding and will continue to offer it in the future. In response to questions, Sikole said that she has distributed information about Special Olympics activities to district parents in the past, but has not had enough response to initiate a program in the Tri-Lakes area. Individual students may participate if they wish to do so.

She also said that she has had conversations with the local YMCA.

Sikole said that schools rotate according to which students would attend which type of activity.

Inclusion in the classroom

District Special Education Parent Liaison Michelle Nay and SEAC Chair Suzanne Faber spoke of their experiences at a recent conference about inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom. Major themes of the conference were the harm of categorizing students by their disabilities instead of emphasizing their capabilities and the concept of inclusion as a civil right.

Conference presenters spoke of the value of parental support throughout school and the need to self-advocate.

Committee members had recently discussed the presence of paraprofessionals (para) with individual students in the classroom and the value of having the para assist all students in the classroom rather than a single individual. In this way, anyone needing assistance may receive it with minimal disruption of class.

Faber said that former Chair Ilanit Bennaim reminded her that the committee had created a document in 2010 regarding transitions from one grade and one school to another, a major focus of this year’s group. Faber said that she will incorporate the earlier document with the one recently developed and will bring the resulting document to next month’s meeting for discussion.

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The Special Education Advisory Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson Street, Monument. The next meeting will be held on March 13.

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

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, Feb. 8: West Baptist Road improvements progressing

By Jim Kendrick

On Feb. 8, the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) board held its first quarterly meeting for 2013. After the election of board officers for 2013, André Brackin, the El Paso County engineer, gave a briefing on current plans for widening Baptist Road on the west side of I-25 and building a bridge over the railroad tracks. The other main agenda items were staff financial updates.

The BRRTA board consists of three elected county representatives and two elected Monument representatives. The current members are County Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Dennis Hisey, County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, Monument Mayor Travis Easton, and Monument Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Kaiser.

Williams’ absence was excused.

Election of officers for 2013

The board elected Glenn as chair, Kaiser as vice chair, and Easton, Williams, and Hisey as secretary/treasurers.

West Baptist Road improvements

Brackin noted that a new website for the West Baptist Road project had been created at www.baptistroad.com. There are links to the information presented at open houses that have been held to answer questions and solicit comments from the community. Some of items he discussed were:

• The proposed roundabouts at the Hay Creek Road and Old Denver Highway intersections.

• Termination of plans to extend Mitchell Avenue to the south.

• Safety of the at-grade crossing for the Santa Fe Trail if the new roundabout is constructed.

• Listing the numerous long-standing justifications for building this voter-approved BRRTA and Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority project.

• Preliminary geotechnical and engineering design work completed to date.

• Analysis of design alternatives.

• The bridge over the railroad track will have two 12-foot lanes with 6-foot shoulders for bike lanes and a single 10-foot sidewalk on one side.

• There will be a three-lane section west of the bridge with a continuous center turn lane

• A continuous curve connection to Forest Lakes Drive rather than a T-intersection with cost sharing still to be negotiated with the Forest Lakes developer.

• The project will take 5.1 acres from the Willow Springs parcel.

• Preliminary design will be completed in May.

• Coordination with the railroad, the Public Utilities Commission, and environmental agencies is ongoing.

• The county will apply for a state Department of Local Affairs energy grant to help fund the project when the preliminary design is completed.

• The current budget deficit for this $7.5 million project is $3.3 million.

• Final engineering design will be complete in December to allow construction to start in early 2014.

Financial items

The board approved three payments for the fourth quarter of 2012:

• $10,116 to Clifton Larson Allen LLP for sales tax administration, accounting, and district management.

• $21 to Community Media of Colorado for advertising BRRTA’s 2013 budget hearing.

• $13,383 to Spence, Fane, and Grimshaw LLP for legal services.

Hisey remarked that he was surprised how high these costs were, about $4,000 per month, to collect and disperse taxes and only meet quarterly. Attorney Jim Hunsaker replied that the 2013 budget preparation caused a higher than average expense.

The financial claims were unanimously approved.

Clifton Larson Allen accountant Carrie Bartow briefed the board on the draft 2012 year-end statement, noting that December sales tax revenue had not yet been reported. Some of the year-end figures she noted were:

• The general fund balance was $998,687.

• The debt service fund balance was $2.52 million.

• Total assets in the capital projects fund were $13,201

• Total general fund road use fees and interest revenues were $163,049.

• Total general fund expenditures were $87,782.

• Total BRRTA sales tax revenue for bond service was $1.03 million.

• Total interest on the sales tax revenue was $835.

• The first, and still only, Colorado Department of Transportation reimbursement payment for the Baptist Road interchange was $3.0 million

• Total bond principal, interest, collection fee, and bond agent fees expenditures were $4.25 million.

The board unanimously accepted the report as presented.

BRRTA District Manager Denise Denslow reported that negotiations with Pikes Peak Regional Building are continuing on an intergovernmental agreement for providing relevant sales tax collected to BRRTA. Administrative costs for implementation may exceed the total of potential revenues.

The meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on May 10 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Friday of the second month of the quarter. Information: 884-8014.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Feb. 27: WIA to stress fire safety in 2013

By Harriet Halbig

The newly-elected board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association discussed priorities for 2013 at its Feb. 27 meeting.

FireWise Committee report

FireWise Committee chairman JimWoodman reported that his group has developed a 12-page publication entitled Preparing a Personal Wildfire Action Plan that will be mailed to all Woodmoor homeowners in March. The publication, prepared with funds from the 2012 budget, will include information on family preparation for a possible evacuation in the case of a wildfire in the community, what items a homeowner should have prepared to take along, who would administer the evacuation, defensible space and "home hardening," and related information.

The document will include photographs of Woodmoor properties as examples of wise and unwise landscaping practices and suggest fire resistant materials for roofs and decking.

The board approved the mailing of the document.

On April 17, the committee will sponsor a meeting at Palmer Ridge High School featuring a panel from the State Forest Service, El Paso County Emergency Services and the local fire department, moderated by FireWise committee member Bill Lockwood. The panel will discuss preparation of wildfire action plans and field questions from the audience.

On May 1 there will be a class at the Woodmoor barn on how to apply defensible space around your home. Information will be provided on how structures ignite from burning embers and surrounding vegetation and which materials are the most dangerous.

In mid-May there will be a chipping day and in mid-June there will be a FireWise Community Day with displays and exhibits on fire prevention techniques.

New board members introduced

The newly elected members of the board are Tom Schoemaker, treasurer, and Per Suhr, director of public safety. Darren Rouse will serve as director of Architectural Control this year. President Jim Hale (reelected in 2012) and Vice President Kirsten Reimann will serve as directors of covenants. Continuing in their former roles will be director of forestry Eric Gross, director of common areas W. Lee Murray, and Secretary Jeff Gerhart. Anne Stevens-Gountanis will be a member at large.

Treasurer Tom Shoemaker reported that over 90 percent of the members have paid their association dues on time. His primary concern regarding expenditures is a newly charged fee on the association’s checking account. He said that he and HOA Manager Matt Beseau are in discussion with the bank to waive or reduce the fee.

Reimann reported that there were few covenant violations in January, primarily involving parking and barking dogs.

Rouse reported that there are few architectural projects underway, including a deck, a fence, a paint job and one new construction.

Gross reported that the forestry committee now has eight members who are available to conduct lot evaluations and fire mitigation evaluations and they hope to recruit as many more before the spring season begins. He said that the committee has applied for grant funds for fire risk reduction. These funds would be granted to the county and the association would have to apply for a share.

Murray said that his committee is seeking bids for the repair of the barn’s deck area. He also reported that topsoil has been purchased for the planters in front of the barn in preparation for spring.

Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) chief Kevin Nielsen reported that his staff will begin wearing their new green uniforms on March 1. He said that the WPS smart trailer is now working and stored in the new garage until weather improves. He also reported the purchase of a game camera, which is motion activated, for use in preventing recurring vandalism.

If a homeowner reports repeated incidents of vandalism, the camera can be mounted on a house or a tree in an attempt to photograph the suspects.

Nielsen said that he is in the process of purchasing tools for maintaining the WPS vehicles.

Nielsen also reported that there is concern about the safety of Toboggan Hill during periods of heavy snow. Although there is WPS presence during busy sledding days, a number of those who come to park and sled are not Woodmoor residents and there have been a number of accidents.

Beseau reported that the association’s new employees are doing well.

He also reported that it was determined that new cabling of the barn will be required for the new phone system. The board passed a resolution to authorize the expenditure of $3,101 to complete the recabling.

Beseau also reported that a number of homeowners have ratified the declaration of covenants in the last month, with 583 signatures now required.

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The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the association’s barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be held on March 27.

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

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February Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Finally, some much-needed moisture arrived during February, along with temperatures that were well below average for the month. We ended up accumulating a little more than twice the normal amount, with over 30 inches for some of us.

However, the first four days of the month were dry and mild as we slowly melted off the fresh snow that fell during the last couple days of January. High temperatures reached the low 40s on the 1st, then quickly warmed to the upper 40s and low 50s over the next couple of days. Skies started off sunny, then lots of high and mid-level clouds moved into the region from the west on the 3rd and 4th. No precipitation fell during this time, continuing the trend of dry weather.

Our first snowfall of the month arrived during the evening of the 6th as a quick-moving storm brought 3 to 5 inches of new snow to the region. Temperatures weren’t exceedingly cold with this storm as highs still managed to reach the upper 30s the next afternoon. Quiet conditions stuck around for the 8th, as sunny skies led to high temperatures in the mid-40s. However, another cold front was on its way. This time it was from the north and brought with it below normal temperatures and light snow. Over the weekend of the 9th, 1 to 3 inches of new snow accumulated and temperatures stayed below freezing, in the 30s on the 9th and 20s on the 10th.

Unsettled conditions continued to affect the region during the second full week of February, a trend that continued through most of the remainder of the month. The week started off cold with a little snow. High temperatures only managed to reach the upper teens on the 11th, with around a half-inch of snow falling. Clearing skies that evening allowed low temperatures to tumble below zero in several locations around the region. Clear skies the next afternoon allowed highs to reach the freezing mark briefly, still about 10 degrees cooler than normal.

Temperatures continued to moderate under plenty of sunshine the next afternoon, reaching the low 40s, but another quick-moving storm system was headed toward Colorado. This system brought a strong cold front through the region right around noon on the 14th (a good reason to snuggle up with your valentine). Light snow and blowing snow developed that afternoon and turned to flurries overnight. Most of us picked up 1 to 2 inches of fluffy snowfall from this event.

High temperatures were again held below normal on both the 14th and 15th, with low to mid-30s common. Just in time for the weekend, high pressure built into the region, this time from the west/southwest. This brought mild and dry air with it, and temperatures quickly moved into the low 50s both Saturday and Sunday with plenty of sunshine.

It was a cold and snowy week round the region from the 18th through the 24th as several storm systems rolled through. The first storm was a quick mover that deposited less than a half-inch for most of us during the overnight hours of the 18th. Temperatures were held to below normal values that afternoon and the next, reaching into the mid-30s.

However, quickly on its heels was a more powerful storm that combined with a good surge of cold air from Canada. Clouds began to increase with this storm during the late morning of the 20th, with snow beginning to fall by early afternoon. Snow fell most intensely during the evening and overnight hours, and winds kicked up a little as well. Over the 24-hour period anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of new snow accumulated. Temperatures were also chilly, with highs only reaching the upper teens on the 21st.

A brief break of quiet weather moved in behind this departing storm, bringing sunshine across the area on the 22nd. High temperatures responded nicely under the ever-stronger sunshine of late February, reaching the upper 30s even with the fresh snow on the ground. However, this break between storms didn’t last long as the next, even more powerful system was quickly dropping out of the Pacific Northwest and heading straight for the Four Corners region. This storm packed quite a punch, bringing heavy snow at times and very strong winds.

Snow began to fall just before sunrise on the 24th, with the heaviest snow coming during the mid-morning through mid-afternoon hours. This heavy snow combined with very strong winds to produce blizzard condition from late Sunday morning through the early evening hours. This storm dropped 8 to 12 inches of new snow in the region, with higher amounts just to our north and west. Thankfully it was on a Sunday, so the impact on the region was minimal and made for a beautiful end to the weekend.

However, we only had a brief break before the next storm moved in and brought more snow and wind. Sunshine returned for the 25th as we began to melt some of the snow from the previous day. Clear skies stuck around through about sunrise on the 26th, then clouds quickly thickened and light snow began to fall by mid-morning. At first, this snowfall was light with no major issues, but by mid-afternoon snow began to fall at a quicker pace and winds began to kick up substantially. By the evening of the 26th, blizzard conditions again visited the region, with treacherous travel that evening into early the next morning. Another 4 to 7 inches of new snow fell with this system, bringing more much needed moisture to the region.

Quiet weather returned over the last two days of the month, but with the fresh snowpack, temperatures remained cooler than normal, with highs in the upper 20’s on the 27th and low to mid 30’s on the 28th, about 10° below normal.

A look ahead

March is known for a wide range of weather conditions in the region. We can see 70-degree temperatures one afternoon and blizzard conditions the next. Many of us remember the blizzard of March 2003 when we received 30 to 50 inches of snowfall that shut down the region. However, snow begins to melt quickly this time of the year, providing beneficial moisture for our plants and limited inconvenience for us.

February 2013 Weather Statistics

Average High 35.2° (-4.1°) 100-year return frequency value max 51.9° min 32.8°
Average Low 10.4° (-3.0°) 100-year return frequency value max 21.9° min 3.7°
Highest Temperature 53° on the 17th
Lowest Temperature -4° on the 28th
Monthly Precipitation 1.52" (+0.79" 51% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 2.10" min 0.02"
Monthly Snowfall 29.7" (+16.4", 65% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 57.6" (-13.9", 20% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 9.94" (-3.01", 25% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1152 (+66)
Cooling Degree Days 0

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

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Letters to Our Community

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.

Shooters, please clean up after yourselves

I went about 6.5 miles up Mount Herman Road last week on a weekday just to get away from the hustle and bustle for awhile. It was beautiful and I did not hear a shot go off in the two hours I was up there. It was pleasantly weird, as I had forgotten what it’s like not on a weekend.

I was fairly shocked to see what "we all" leave behind in our wake. I am not a "Debby Downer" or a "Tree Hugging Chicken Little Global Warming Advocate." What I am saying is that if "we" don’t start policing ourselves better at the end of our shooting day, then some anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment, pro-big government "person" will get into the "pocket" of the U.S. Forest Service and/or a local politician and have our area closed off. I can guarantee that we will not like it one bit if that happens. We don’t need to give "them" anymore "ammo"—pun intended—for their agenda, and our demise.

I do see many people picking up and packing out the bits and pieces, picking up their shells for reloading, or to sell, or just being "good stewards." There were also a couple of "professional pickers" up there making a living.

I command you all! I myself don’t and won’t pick up my .22s (until they are somehow made magnetic), and my clays I leave to nature. I am talking about the TVs, and the tape recorders, and the computers and the beer cans, and the empty ammo boxes as well as other curious shot-up items.

As of this writing, we still live in America and free speech has only been about 50 percent squashed by the current "regime," so I fully expect and hope that the reaction(s) and feedback I get will be from "both camps," which in my opinion is healthy.

I just know that we can do an even better job then we already are.

Peace and happy chootin!

Dwayne Seibert

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Women in the writing world

By the staff at Covered Treasures

The winds of March are blowing a fresh breeze across the local women’s writing world, with several authors and one local publisher offering a variety of interesting books. We’ll take a look at a sampling of them.

Radical Survivor: One Woman’s Path Through Life, Love, and Uncharted Tragedy
By Nancy Saltzman (WoWo Press) $14.95

Many people remember the small plane crash in 1995 that resulted in the tragic loss of a Colorado Springs man and his two sons; they were author Nancy Saltzman’s family. This heartfelt memoir chronicles Saltzman’s extraordinary saga: how her early life prepared her for adversity, how true love and family deepened her inner strength, and how making a difference in the lives of others helped her heal. We share her struggle as she overcomes despair through a deep sense of purpose, and we learn that through time, friendship, and love, the heart can make room for both loved ones lost and happiness found. Radical Survivor traverses the full spectrum of human emotions, offering a gift of hope for anyone dealing with tragedy or loss.

Toolbox from Heaven: Living by Faith in the Midst of Crisis
By Holly Sly (Tate Publishing) $17.99

When Monument resident Holly Sly’s daughter, Alexandra, suddenly falls ill at school, what they think is probably just a mild stomach bug turns out to be a combination of encephalitis and meningitis, which results in a profound hearing loss in both ears. As Holly and her husband, Larry, struggle to determine what this new revelation will mean for their family—including treatment options, schooling alternatives, and day-to-day interactions with Alexandra—they learn to find a new normal for their family.

Zadie and Plain Vanilla, the Rainbow Alpaca
By Barbara Blount Ziek (Wild Hair Press) $17.99

Young Zadie’s grandfather promises that the next cria (the name for a baby alpaca, llama, or other camelid) born on his farm will be hers! Zadie loves all the alpaca colors: lavender, rose-gray, shimmering black, peanut buttery, and chocolate brown, but hers turns out to be a disappointing plain vanilla white. She is a mischievous cria, though, and because of the Frooty Bright drink fiasco, she becomes a rainbow alpaca. The story is beautifully illustrated by Denise Duker and is followed by a fiber arts project.

The following titles are from Doris Baker’s Filter Press, located in Palmer Lake:

Colorado’s Landmark Hotels
By Linda Wommack $16.95

The 30 historic hotels featured in Wommack’s book have landmark preservation status. All except three are at least 100 years old, and all are in operation today. Hotels played a prominent and often colorful role in the development of mining towns across the Colorado Territory. Built to accommodate the miners, settlers, railroad builders, and businessmen rushing into the area, these hotels often also served as the social and cultural center of these early communities.

Rescue in Poverty Gulch
By Nancy Oswald $8.95

Best friends Ruby and Maude’s humorous adventures are set in the rough-and-tumble gold mining town of Cripple Creek, Colo., in 1896, when the town was in its heyday. Fun, fast-paced, and completely engaging, right up to the heart-pounding climax, this is historical fiction at its best—a great read for kids ages 8 and older.

John Denver: Man for the World
By John Stansfield $8.95

Singer and songwriter John Denver used his musical talents to make the world a better place. He believed that music brings people together and allows them to experience the same emotions, regardless of the language they speak, the color they are, or their politics and beliefs. "Music," he said, "proves we are the same." One of the Now You Know Bios series for young scholars, the book includes black and white photos and stories behind some of Denver’s songs.

Midnight Ride of Blackwell Station
By Mary Peace Finley, $8.95

The heroine of this lighthearted story of the founding of Lamar, Colo., is 9-year-old Raephy McDowell, one of four children who lived with their parents above an isolated prairie railroad station. When Mama, the telegraph operator, and Father, the ranch foreman, learn of the secret plan to move the station and "boom" a town, they have two problems: how to work around the rancher who owns the land they live on, and how to keep the secret from their very curious daughter.

For a cold, snowy night, or a spring break vacation, these local publications could inform, entertain, or enlighten you along the way. Until next month, happy reading.

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

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Illustrating birds

Click here to view the drawings by Elizabeth Hacker of Western Bluebirds

By Elizabeth Hacker

Every month for the past eight years, OCN has run my column about the birds I see on the Palmer Divide. Following the classical tradition of the early naturalists like John James Audubon and Edward Lear, I’ve included an illustration of each bird I’ve written about. Unlike these brave early naturalists who didn’t have high-power optics, field guides, and Google, I don’t have to kill the birds I’m writing about.

Over the years I have taught numerous classes and workshops on illustrating birds and found that anyone who wants to draw or paint a bird can do it. In the beginning, students will tell me that birds are much too complicated and that they couldn’t possibly draw or paint one. By the end of the workshop, students were pleasantly surprised that they could and that illustrating a bird wasn’t all that difficult.

Goal

My goal for illustrating birds is to capture their essence, or that quality that is unique only to that species, and share it with readers. When setting up the illustration, I like to include aspects of the birds’ character, habitat, and private life that would be difficult to photograph.

Media

I use a variety of media, including color pencil, watercolor and acrylic paint, and ink. I find it interesting when students try mediums that I don’t use because the end results vary widely due to individual interpretation and the intrinsic quality of the material being used.

Bird anatomy

If asked, I couldn’t name all the feathers or bones, but I have a basic understanding of bird anatomy that helps me to understand the birds I see and write about. I often refer to anatomical reference drawings located at the beginning of my field guide.

All birds have the same basic bone structure and though their feathers are all similar, they come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. In the bird world, there are huge variations in the size and structure of heads, legs, and feet. A robin is very different from a heron, yet they are both birds and share many similarities. Understanding the similarities as well as the differences is important when both observing and illustrating a bird.

Field observations and research

Watching and sketching birds began for me at an early age. Even today I sketch, photograph, and take notes while observing birds. One day while hiking with my daughter, we came upon a double-breasted cormorant rookery and it was eye-opening. Although I knew cormorants nested in colonies, I’d never seen a rookery and had no idea there would be hundreds of nesting birds and that the interaction between nesting birds would be so vocal and intense. Fortunately my daughter understands my fascination with birds and didn’t mind stopping while I sketched and photographed these observations. I’ve not featured the double-breasted cormorant, but when I do I’ll refer to my field notes.

In addition to my own observations, I rely on field guides, magazines, Audubon meetings, and the Internet for information. Some birds have been well studied while there is limited information on others.

Most people have a favorite bird. Hummingbirds, robins, and chickadees tend to be the most popular birds. When teaching a class, I encourage students to learn about their favorite bird, because knowing about its habitat, diet, and mating behavior provides a better understanding of the subject being illustrated.

Line drawing

Line drawings help me to set up the information I want to include in an illustration. It’s easy to make adjustments to a line drawing, which in the end saves time. It’s easy to see if the bird has proper proportions or if its legs and feet are in proper alignment, and I can explore various ways to illustrate its habitat. In the end, I may transfer the line drawing or redraw it onto the final canvas.

Final illustrations

Watercolor is my favorite medium, but it takes days to explore color combinations, apply paint, and let it dry. Watercolor mistakes are difficult if not impossible to correct, so it takes careful planning to avoid making them. It’s a technique that works well when time allows. When time is limited, I use color pencils on a sanded paper. Sanded paper absorbs many layers of color, which makes changes and corrections easy and fast. For my field sketches, I use pen and ink. If I’m in a pinch for time or don’t have the correct colors, I’ll enhance one of my field drawings.

Free demonstration

I am thrilled to be invited to the Pine Forest Antique and Garden Show on April 20 and 21 at Lewis-Palmer High School. At my booth, I will have many illustrations, greeting cards, and other works of art. During the show, I will also be demonstrating my illustration techniques. Stop by to watch a demo, purchase some art, or just say hello. Hope to see you there!

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

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Art Matters: Follow your joy, learn to make what’s on your mind

By Janet Sellers

Did you ever stop to think about how art could help you in your everyday life? I started to write about some of the things that our local art classes offer for our lives, and it sure makes for quite a lot of good stuff. It seems that many human interest articles start off with "Top Ten" things or "Eight Ways to Improve" or the like.

I found endless items for my list, but I’ve listed a sample of nine ideas here for you:

1. You have a hobby with instant friends at class, at art shows and museums anywhere on the planet.

2. You can talk about it to anyone, anywhere, most any time, and they will enjoy the conversation.

3. It sharpens your observation skills for the art and for every spatial skill you use: sports, driving the car, playing games of skill, more.

4. Art improves fine motor coordination, keeping your fingers, arms and body in tune with your entire nervous system and physical fitness.

5. You use your fingertips—where the most brain stimulation can happen—for optimal brain exercise and keeps your mind tip-top.

6. Keeps your informed sense of perception in good shape.

7. Helps you create—"articulate a vision" whether you end up making it for real or not.

8. Helps you solve problems—both visual/spatial—and frees up your mind to solve problems in a global way.

9. Helps people of any age develop confidence and self-discipline to imagine a project and see it through to completion—hopefully, you will also share it in an art show, too.

For years now, a number of artists and venues have been offering art classes, and some offer movie-making classes as well. Our local visual arts classes are open for your enjoyment, so go ahead and give them a call. This could be the start of something nice, so bring a friend along with you and have a creative good time, or call ahead and see if you can bring a little person for some creative fun.

Art classes

Bella Art and Frame—drawing, painting, special events and art shows, "Second Fridays Art Walks,"183 Washington St., Monument. Call Ethan or Maggie: 719-487-7691

Heritage Art Studio—drawing, painting, sculpture, 18725 Monument Hill Rd., Monument. Call Ermi Knoth: 719-481-9118

Monument School of Fine Arts—drawing, painting, movies, special events, and art shows; Woodmoor and local outdoors "plein air." Call Janet Sellers, 719-387-1890

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts—drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery, special events, and art shows, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. Call the arts office, 719-481-0475

Secret Window Art Gallery—painting classes, special events and art shows, 47 Third St., Monument. Call Anthony Archuleta, 719-481-9600.

***

I also want to mention our newest local art gallery space, Mountain Community Gallery in Palmer Lake. I visited the recent show of photography, sculpture, and paintings. What a joy to see such nice artworks in the beautiful, spacious gallery with its views of the mountains, trees, and other nature.

The gallery directors, Lynn Roth and Linda Pankratz, told me the venue is for both emerging and seasoned artists’ exhibitions. They said the gallery will offer a place for artists to show their work and for the community to enjoy the artists and their artworks, with a relatively small fee percentage. The gallery is located in the upper level of the Mennonite Church at 643 Highway 105 in the eastern part of the town of Palmer Lake.

Tri-Lakes area art shows in March

Bella Art and Frame Gallery—art exhibit, Symphony of Color by Nancy Moeglein, March 1-28. Moeglein will be displaying her works of landscape and still lifes. Artist reception will be held at Bella Art and Frame on March 1 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Mountain Community Gallery—art exhibit, Awakening. The show celebrates the seasons of life and spiritual renewal. This show is scheduled to be viewed in the springtime, a time of renewal for many. Exhibition dates: March 23 to April 12. Mountain Community Gallery, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Mennonite church.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts—photo exhibit, Visions of Light, March 5 to 30. Meet the artists and John Fielder, juror, at the Visions of Light opening reception Friday, March 8, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. In addition to the show, John Fielder will present a slide lecture at the TLCA on Thursday, March 7, and a field workshop on Saturday, March 9. 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, 719-481-0475

Calls for artists

Tri-Lakes Views’ annual call for public art sculptures: entry deadline is March 31 for the annual outdoor sculpture exhibition titled Art Sites. Artworks will be displayed throughout the Tri-Lakes area and at the sculpture park at "Big Red" on School District 38 administration grounds. The juried exhibit will be installed in June 2013. For details, visit the Tri-Lakes Views website at www.trilakesviews.org.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American artist and writer. She does both because she can’t make up her mind which one she likes best. She makes public art sculptures and has her hand in upcoming novels and screenplays. Sellers lives in Woodmoor, Colorado. She 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 starts on page 27.

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Build relationships for effective emergency planning

By Lisa Hatfield

"Camaraderie promotes survival," said Kathy Russell, emergency preparedness planner for El Paso County at a September emergency planning workshop at the Monument Branch Library. "Groups perform as well during a disaster as they performed before it." What does that say about your neighborhood or workplace?

Do you know your neighbors?

"Connected" neighborhoods have social events regularly. Tri-Lakes examples include the winter soup nights in Back O’ the Wind south of Highway 105 and the summer lawnmower races on Early Star Drive in South Woodmoor. Neighbors get to know about each other’s life stories, skills, and special needs. This is a good time to introduce your children to neighbors so they can meet grownups who will help them in an emergency.

Who might need help in a crisis? After the freight train leaked hydrochloric acid in Monument in April 2011, one woman I talked to felt guilty for evacuating that night without a thought of her elderly neighbor. She told me, "Now that I’ve thought about it, I’ll remember to check on her next time."

By building relationships, everyone will feel more like the members of a team who will watch out for each other in a disaster. Some suggestions are:

• Get a blank parcel map of your neighborhood from your town or homeowners association

• Fill in everyone’s names and phone numbers

• Share copies of this contact map with all those neighbors

In addition, if someone in your family has a medical condition or a physical disability that would require extra help to evacuate, register this information with your local fire protection district.

Planning for crises at work

Does your workplace have crisis plans? Do you actually practice them together? Amanda Ripley’s book The Unthinkable describes evacuation drills done by certain companies at the World Trade Center that saved thousands of lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Even more people could have been saved if those drills had been practiced by all the companies in the buildings, she wrote. Ask at your office what the emergency plans are and encourage your coworkers to practice them.

Will you be able to offer help?

Local emergency responders can’t respond to everyone "first" during big disasters. Citizens must be able to help themselves and each other.

CPR/first aid training is available in the Tri-Lakes area through:

• Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District—(719) 495-4300 or www.bffire.org/Classes/CPR%20and%20first%20aid.html

• Donald Wescott Fire Protection District—(719) 488-8680

• Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District—(719) 484-0911 or www.tri-lakesfire.com/public_education.php

Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) for everyday citizens is taught by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Emergency Services Division. To set up a group class, contact Ellen Lacey, administrative emergency coordinator, at (719) 575-8400.

It’s empowering to be ready so that when the crisis inevitably comes, you will be ready to help each other before the emergency responders can get to you and your family or coworkers.

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

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February and March library events

By Harriet Halbig

February was an exciting month at the library. Prince and Princess Day was popular and entertaining and Diane Sawatzki’s book signing filled the community room with interested patrons.

March promises to bring more excitement to the library, with early literacy programs and special spring break programs.

Family programs

March 9 will be a special day packed with exciting activities. The Countdown to Kindergarten Carnival will take place from 10 to noon, with fun ideas to help your child get ready for kindergarten through singing, playing, talking, reading, and writing. Each child will get a free book and snacks and enjoy fun activities. No registration is required.

During the afternoon on the 9th there will be a Dr. Seuss Extravaganza. The Monument Home Depot will bring tools and supplies so that everyone can build an organizer box. The Cat in the Hat and Thing I and Thing II will be making balloon creations. The extravaganza will take place from 1:30 to 3:00 in the afternoon.

The Legos Club will meet on March 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Lego enthusiasts of all ages are invited to come and create. All Legos will remain the property of the library, so please remember to bring your camera. Donations of Legos are always welcome.

AfterMath free math tutoring is provided on Mondays from 3:30 to 7 p.m. All ages are eligible to take advantage of this service. No appointment is necessary.

Spring break programs

Chickens in the Library will open the week on Monday, March 25, from 2 to 3 p.m. Meet some of the friendliest chickens ever, hear chicken stories, and make a gadget that sounds like a chicken. Laura Foye brings her favorite birds for you to pet and will inform you about these interesting animals.

Magic with Science Matters will explore some of the real reasons behind some of your favorite magic tricks. Learn how you can do them at home. The program will be from 10:30 to 11 a.m.

Bring the whole family to enjoy Katherine Dines and Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta music on Wednesday, March 27, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Award-winning children’s songwriter Katherine Dines jam-packs every performance with movement, sign language, sing-alongs, props, and more. You’ll sing and dance and shout and participate on stage as everyone is part of the show.

Teen programs

Teens 12 and up are invited to learn to knit! Experienced knitters will get you started on your first knitting project. Join us on Friday, March 15, from 3:30 to 5. If you get stuck later or just want to knit more, come to the follow-up session at the same time on April 5. All materials are provided, but bring you own needles (size 8 or 9) if you have them. Registration is recommended online, or call 488-2370 so we can plan our supplies.

Adult programs

Life Circles is a supportive writing group providing discipline, inspiration, and structure in writing one’s memories or history. The group meets from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month. No registration is required.

The Monumental Readers book club will meet on Friday, March 15, from 10 until noon to discuss The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. New members are welcome.

March is always a delight at the library because the Palmer Divide Quiltmakers share their skills with fabric and color throughout the library. Small items will be in the display case.

Palmer Lake Library events

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

Meet Olivia the Pig! Come and meet a real piglet, Olivia, and learn about pig behavior and care from Sue, Olivia’s owner. Make a piggy craft of your own to take home. The program will begin at 10:30 on Saturday, March 16.

Read with Kirby, our golden retriever friend, or Misty the Sheltie. Read to these friendly dogs and select a prize. The program will take place on Thursday, March 14, from 4:40 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 30, from 11 until noon.

Our special spring break program will be Magic with Science Matters. Explore the real reasons behind some of your favorite magic tricks and, under the guidance of the Science Matters staff, learn how you can do them at home.

Enjoy nature photographs by local artist Claudia Godec during March. Artwork by Palmer Lake Elementary School students will be on display in the children’s room.

Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Easter Sunday, March 31.

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

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

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

Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
March Menu

Mar. 6–Chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes, & salad
Mar. 13
–Raspberry Chipotle pork, roasted potatoes, & salad
Mar. 20
–Italian sausage sandwich, potato salad, & pickle spear
Mar. 27
–Meat loaf, baked potato casserole, & salad

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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Free income tax filing assistance by AARP

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is offering free income tax filing assistance in the Tri-Lakes area. Trained AARP volunteers will be available to answer questions and to assist filers in completing their federal and state income tax returns every Monday and Thursday, 11 to 7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St. in Monument, until April 15. Free e-filing of both federal and state returns is available. Taxpayers with more complicated returns should seek the advice of a paid professional. Filers are asked to bring their W-2s, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, etc., needed to complete their 2012 tax returns, plus a copy of last year’s (2011) tax return. A photo ID and copy of your Social Security card is also required. Appointments are recommended. For more information or to make an appointment, call 481-4864 Ext. 118. Leave your name and number and someone will return your call.

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Senior Mobile Dental comes to
Tri-Lakes Area, March 6

Senior Mobile Dental and Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) announced a new health service collaboration to bring affordable dental care to low-income senior citizens in the Tri-Lakes area. Dental services include dental exams, preventive cleanings, dentures and partials, denture repair, fillings, and tooth extractions. Seniors who qualify for funding are 60 and older and have a Medicaid number or they qualified for the Old Age Pension Dental Assistance Program. Other seniors can receive the services of the Senior Mobile Dental program at a greatly reduced fee schedule. Dental services are planned to begin March 6 and continue the first Friday of each month at the Tri-Lakes Senior Citizens Center at the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call Senior Mobile Dental, (719) 310-3315. Any dental professionals who have time, instruments, or supplies they would like to donate to this program can call Senior Mobile Dental at (719) 310-3315.

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Library’s adult reading program, through March 11

This year’s theme is "Winter Wonderland" and is open to anyone age 18 and older with a Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) library card. The program began Jan. 14 and runs through March 11, and adults can read any eight books of their choice. Books on CD, audiobook players, eBooks, and eAudiobooks count, too! To register, bring your library card to any PPLD library and sign up at the information desk or sign up online at ppld.org. Reading logs will be available at all libraries, but you may keep track of the books you’ve read using any method. After you read your first four books, visit your nearest library to pick up your first prize. If you read eight books by March 11, you will be entered in the Grand Prize Drawing for a Kindle Fire tablet. The program has great prizes this year! For more information, call 531-6333.

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Tri-Lakes Women’s Club 2013 grant applications due March 15

Continuing its 36-year tradition, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) will once again consider grant requests for special programs and projects from 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public service organizations, and public schools that significantly serve the Tri-Lakes area defined by School District 38. Applications and instructions for the 2013 grant awards will be available on the TLWC website (tlwc.net) from Jan. 15-March 15. Completed applications (which must include certain required documentation) must be postmarked no later than March 15. Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered. Awards will be announced to grant recipients in late May. For information, email Sandi Liston, Grant Committee chair, at santoliston@comcast.net.

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Volunteer needed for Park Advisory Board, apply by March 15

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve as a District 1 representative on the Park Advisory Board. District 1 includes the northwest portion of the county north of the Air Force Academy, including Monument, Palmer Lake, and Black Forest. Applications are due by March 15. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information call 520-6436.

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Kohl’s Cares® accepting nominations for outstanding young volunteers through March 15

Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program will award more than $425,000 in scholarships and prizes this year. More than 2,300 young volunteers who have made a positive impact on their communities will be selected. Prizes range from $50 Kohl’s gift cards to $10,000 scholarships. Nominations for kids ages six to 18 will be accepted through March 15 at www.kohlskids.com. Nominators must be 21 years or older. Two nominees from each of the more than 1,100 Kohl’s stores nationwide will win a $50 Kohl’s gift card, and more than 200 will win regional scholarships worth $1,000 toward post-secondary education. Ten national winners will be awarded a total of $10,000 in scholarships for post-secondary education, and Kohl’s will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization on each national winner’s behalf. For more information, visit www.kohlskids.com.

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Tri-Lakes Cares Blood Drive, Mar. 19

Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership will sponsor a community blood drive Mar. 19, 3-7 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument. License ID required. No appointment is needed, just walk in. For more information, call nurse Jackie Sward, 481-4864 x 103.

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Annual Pine Forest Antiques, Home Décor & Garden Show & Sale, April 20-21

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club will hold the 37th Annual Pine Forest Antiques, Home Décor & Garden Show and Sale April 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and April 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. (I-25, exits 161 or 158). Features include new and returning antiques dealers, "The Bakery," new botanicals, and an a cappella concert Saturday, exhibits, delicious bistro dining, glass repair, and much more. Admission price is $6; proceeds benefit qualified nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools in the Tri-Lakes area. Since 1977, the TLWC has granted more than $700,000. For more information, go to www.TLWC.net.

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LEAP—Help for heating bills

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP continues through April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap to view the most current program application requirements.

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Seniors in need

Seniors who need some assistance with small household tasks can get free help from students at Palmer Ridge High School. This program will continue through May. Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District will coordinate with the high school. Contact Jennifer at 484-0911 or email jmartin@tri-lakesfire.com.

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Clear snow and ice around mailboxes for letter carriers

Letter carriers are instructed to not deliver to mailboxes and locations that are too hazardous or difficult to access. Support your letter carrier in providing safe and timely delivery of your mail. Following snowstorms and other bad weather, please clear a safe path to your mailbox or business.

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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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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 has fun programs!

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; 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 more 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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