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Vol. 13 No. 4 - April 6, 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 15.6 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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Families explore marvels of electricity at museum

By Janet Sellers and David Futey

On March 16, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry hosted a Family Day event with a focus on electricity and power. Cool Science, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Thompson Machine Works were among the organizations that provided demonstrations and hands-on activities. Tim Henry also provided a special demonstration, operating two Tesla coils that he had built.

Chris Thompson of Thompson Machine Works exhibited a variety of steam engines and electric generators at the educational event. His Lego steam engines, miniature water turbines, and Lego cars, trucks, and trains were tabletop versions of the real thing, and although these engines are tiny enough to fit within Lego blocks as housings, they are real engines that power the vehicles. Thompson showed kids and adults the wide variety of vehicles and power uses with steam and electric power.

Marc Straub, a physicist who originally worked in automotive engineering, brought his Cool Science lab to the museum. Straub attracted children and adults with his tabletop magnetism exhibit. He showed how the energy of magnets works in various ways. He had a display system with a table full of magnets, showing how they repel each other, how they attract objects, and more. With helium balloons that followed the static electricity field of a plastic tube, he showed the crowd how properties of attraction work and let attendees try it out for themselves.

Janet Sellers can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me. David Futey can be reached at dfutey@ocn.me.

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El Paso Board of County Commissioners, March 12: County OKs possible litigation against Brookmoor HOA

By Lisa Hatfield

On March 12, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) again addressed a staff request to pursue litigation regarding the entrance to Brookmoor Estates at the intersection of Moveen Heights and Lake Woodmoor Drive. This intersection is in violation of the county’s development permit approval that only authorized a split-rail fence. The entry is also in violation of the county’s Engineering Criteria Manual regarding "intersection sight distance" due to the stucco wall that developer Michael Brennan installed to replace the fence without approval by the county.

Commissioner Amy Lathen was excused from the meeting.

Assistant County Attorney Steven Klaffky and Mark Gebhart, deputy director of the Development Services Department, requested that the BOCC authorize the County Attorney’s Office to pursue litigation to bring the property into compliance. This agenda item had been unanimously continued by the commissioners during the Feb. 19 meeting. (www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#bocc)

The pursuit of litigation against the Brookmoor Estates Homeowners Association (HOA) was unanimously approved on March 12, with a stay of 30 days to give Brennan (who is a member of the Brookmoor HOA board) more time to obtain more detailed engineering drawings and cost analyses.

These documents were to be submitted by Brennan to County Engineer André Brackin by March 26, to give Brackin time to review them before the next Brookmoor agenda item at the April 11 BOCC meeting. The stay on the county’s litigation against the HOA will expire on April 11, when Brackin will inform the commissioners whether the developer turned in the required certified information from a private engineer or if they will proceed with litigation.

Brackin has been requesting engineering plans for road realignment and stucco wall relocation cost estimates from the developer since the staff request at the Dec. 20, 2012 BOCC meeting. A traffic engineering study was submitted but was incorrectly based on driveway sight-line criteria instead of road intersection standards. Corrected information had not been submitted by the developer as of March 12.

The county’s goal was to bring the sight distance issue at the intersection of Lake Woodmoor Drive and the Moveen Heights roadway into compliance with the Engineering Criteria Manual so that Brookmoor Estates residents can exit their subdivision more safely. At the end of the March 12 meeting, Brennan said he didn’t think he could get the requested data "in two weeks."

Brookmoor wall timeline • The original Planned Unit Development (PUD) Brookmoor site plan indicated construction of a wrought-iron fence at the Lake Woodmoor Drive grade. This was revised in 1998 to become a split-rail fence on top of a new berm. In 2005, the approved split-rail fence was replaced with a more substantial stucco wall by Brennan, Brookmoor Estates’ developer at the time. The stucco wall was installed at the Lake Woodmoor Drive grade adjacent to the edge of Lake Woodmoor Drive at the the Moveen Heights entrance. However, Brennan did not obtain building permits or a county site plan amendment.

• County Code Enforcement Officer Gayle Jackson’s inspection of the Moveen Heights entrance on July 18, 2012, was done in conjunction with her inspection of another Brookmoor road use violation––converting Brookmoor’s emergency-only access gate at the east end of Symphony Heights to a through street connection to Southpark Drive as a secondary Brookmoor subdivision entrance. The gate was left open because of the "blind curve" issue at Brookmoor’s main entrance at Moveen Heights and Lake Woodmoor Drive.

• Jackson reported on Aug. 3, 2012, that the wall at the main entrance was not constructed in accordance with the PUD and site plan plat.

• The Brookmoor HOA received a letter from Jackson on Aug. 21, 2012, telling the HOA board about two code violations: the use of the emergency-only access gate (as a through street), and the stucco wall’s violation of the approved PUD site plan.

• On Sept, 13, 2012, Jackson received the initial sight distance study that used driveway sight distance standards from LSC Transportation, the engineering consultants hired by Brennan.

• Commissioner Darryl Glenn sent an email to county staff on Oct. 8 inquiring about the proximity of the stucco wall to Lake Woodmoor Drive.

• On Oct. 9, 2012, Jackson was notified that the county Development Services Department (DSD) staff would meet with Brackin to discuss options to correct the sight distance issue and would proceed with enforcement of the violation if the developer did not cooperate.

• DSD forwarded the sight distance analysis to county Public Services Department (PSD) (code enforcement agency) on Oct. 31, which noted an error in the sight distance calculations done by the developer’s consultant. LSC Transportation had used "entering sight distance for driveways" criteria instead of "intersection sight distance" criteria and was notified by the county that it needed to resubmit the intersection sight distance evaluation.

• Brackin sent a letter to Brennan on Nov. 20 detailing the error, the need for his consultant to resubmit the sight distance evaluation using correct data, and the fact that part of the wall needed to be removed to comply with current road safety design criteria and recorded subdivision site plan construction drawings. Brackin also noted that a permit for work in the right-of-way is required for doing the corrective action required.

• On Dec. 3, 2012, Jackson still had not received the PSD review of the traffic report and proceeded with an amended notice of violation to the Brookmoor HOA with regards to the Engineering Criteria Manual.

• On Dec. 4, 2012, Jackson received the PSD review of traffic report.

• On Dec. 10, 2012, Gebhart sent a revised DSD notice of violation to the Brookmoor HOA and scheduled the notice as an agenda item to be heard at the Dec. 20 BOCC meeting. The original violation notice was based upon construction of a wall, which was contrary to the amended PUD site plan depicting a split-rail fence. The amended notice of violation of Dec. 10, 2012, stated that, in addition, there was a failure to comply with the sight distance requirements.

• After Dec. 11, the emergency-only gate at the east end of Brookmoor was relocked, resolving that violation. Brookmoor residents resumed using only the main entrance at the Moveen Heights intersection.

• At the Dec. 20 BOCC meeting, where approval of litigation against the Brookmoor HOA was originally proposed, Brackin instructed Brennan to get engineering road plans and two cost estimates for the staff to review so that a cost comparison between the wall removal/relocation option and the road realignment option could be completed. Brennan was given a continuance of 30 days to get the required information for a subsequent board decision at the Feb. 19 meeting.

• At the Feb. 19 BOCC meeting, the developer did not have the requested cost comparison or engineering data to present and was granted a second postponement to March 12.
Litigation anticipated in April

When the Moveen Heights item came up on the March 12 agenda, Assistant County Attorney Steven Klaffky told the commissioners, "This item has now been before this board, including today, three times, so that is why I’m recommending approval" of the litigation.

Developer Brennan then said he met with County Engineer Brackin for over an hour on March 11, the day before the March 12 BOCC appearance, and roughed out three options to correct the intersection sight distance problem and bring the property into compliance with the final PUD site plan. Brennan displayed sketch plans submitted by Jeff Hodsdon of LSC Transportation. They showed the intersection of Lake Woodmoor Drive and Moveen Heights with the existing sight distance of 200 feet compared to the 240-foot minimum standard in the Engineering Criteria Manual.

Brennan presented the commissioners with three options that could correct the intersection sight distance:

• Option 1 –– realign 38 to 40 feet of the HOA’s masonry wall that Brennan constructed. He estimated a cost of $150 per foot or about $6,000 to $7,000 for the demolition and reconstruction.

• Option 2 –– realign about 24 feet of masonry wall and also realign the asphalt on the north side of Lake Woodmoor Drive. Brennan said Brackin had not specified exactly how much pavement would be involved in this option. Brennan estimated $12,000 to $15,000 for this option.

• Option 3 –– Leave the masonry wall in place and add "about four feet of pavement" along the north side of Lake Woodmoor Drive and restripe the intersection to move both the eastbound and westbound lanes slightly to the north so "the people coming in and out of Brookmoor can see the cars coming" from all directions. Brennan estimated a cost of $12,000 to $15,000 for this work.
Brennan said he preferred Option 3, since it "does not impact any of the property owners as they exist today," and it would create room for a bicycle/pedestrian lane on the south edge of Lake Woodmoor Drive. He also said that Brackin wanted him to share these options with the Brookmoor Board of Directors and "have some correspondence come back from them that would say this would be their desired option."

Brackin stated that the choice was to remove the obstruction or realign the road and that Brennan needed to get "complete public improvement plans certified by a professional engineer," before Brackin could approve any development amendments or work in the county’s right-of-way.

But Brackin then added, "My concern on that is that I can’t support the numbers he’s showing me yet as far as costs. In my opinion we need a better detailed (engineering) plan to accurately assess what the cost is. I’m concerned about what that cost would end up being either for him and/or the HOA, whoever ends up doing these improvements, but I don’t need that answer yet. I think the costs could be higher than what he’s mentioned here earlier."

Brennan later explained that if he gets the county engineer’s permission, he would do part of the road realignment work with his own earthmoving equipment and then "hire a commercial paver like Martin Marietta to do the actual paving. That’s why the cost (estimates) aren’t as high as they would typically be." Brennan would have to obtain a construction permit from the county to alter the county’s Lake Woodmoor Drive, if the county elects to not hire its own contractor.

Commissioner Glenn asked for Brackin’s recommendation about cost-sharing to correct the sight distance problem. Brackin said, "I do not believe the county should have to participate in this. I believe this is an impact that was caused to the public right-of-way, not by the county, but the developer and/or subdivision should be held responsible for it." He said that it didn’t matter what happened 20 years ago or why these problems exist now. "I’m just looking at … how to right an existing condition. Basically it’s an obstruction in the right-of-way that’s got to be corrected," Brackin said. The board made no decisions on cost-sharing on March 12.

Glenn told Brackin he would support the county attorney’s recommendation to approve litigation and asked, "How much time do you think the developer should be allocated to submit that? ... I am requesting we approve some sort of litigation with a potential stay … but we need to draw a line in the sand that shows that we’re serious about this and something has to be done." The other commissioners supported Glenn’s proposal.

Brackin said that a two-week deadline for Brennan to get the construction documents for the road realignment to Brackin was very reasonable. "I think he picked the right firm (LSC Transportation) and (a final plan to do these improvements) could be done very quickly."

However, in his closing comments to the board, Brennan said, "I don’t think it can be done in two weeks."

Klaffky recommended approval of authorization to file a lawsuit with a 30-day stay. County Attorney Amy Folsom recommended that "the county not undertake any financial responsibility" and concurred with Klaffky to give Brennan until April 11 to provide "something substantial." Brackin clarified Klaffky’s statement and said that he needed engineering plans from Brennan in two weeks so that Brackin could review them and prepare a recommendation to the commissioners by April 11.

Commissioner Glenn’s motion to approve the pursuit of litigation, with a 30-day stay, was then approved unanimously.

**********

To listen to audio recordings of El Paso Board of County Commissioners meetings, go to http://bcc2.elpasoco.com/bocc/agenda.asp.

The Moveen Heights/Brookmoor Estates item will be heard next at the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. April 11 in 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 reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, March 14: District hunts for possible water leaks, discusses country club issue

By Candice Hitt

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said March 14 that the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District continued to report a low percentage of water accounted for in February. He said the district is looking into possible water leaks to explain the loss. Gillette stated the Crossroads Development north of Highway105 may be the issue. The district installed a valve in the area, but no leaks have been found. Gillette will continue to monitor the situation.

Gillette stated the district is still pumping water into Lake Woodmoor from all available sources. As of March 14, 75 acre-feet had been pumped into the lake. In response to customer concerns over taste and odor of the water, especially during summer months, the district will perform a 30-day Best Management Practices Study to analyze the water and make suggestions on maintaining healthy aquatics. The results of the study will be presented at the May meeting.

Gillette also asked the board to consider approval of leasing (with an option to purchase) a mechanical reservoir mixer for Lake Woodmoor. The mixer would improve water quality and the health of the lake and help improve taste and odor issues. The board unanimously approved leasing the equipment for one year with an option to purchase.

Dale Beggs discussed a supplemental water reserve agreement with the board for Village Center Filing 3. District Manager Jesse Shaffer stated the district terminated the previous supplemental water reserve agreement with Beggs due to nonpayment. Beggs wants to resurrect the project and build 75 single-family homes. Beggs said he has 75 customers for all 75 lots and a construction start date of April 2013. The board unanimously approved the supplemental water agreement.

Riverside Development Co., the developer seeking to develop Misty Acres Filing 2A, also requested a supplemental water service agreement. The board unanimously approved the agreement.

Country club water rate issue

On March 18, Board President Barrie Town, District Manager Shaffer, and board Secretary Beth Courrau of the Woodmoor district met with the local press to discuss the water rate issue concerning the Monument Hill Country Club. The club has cited high water rates as the reason for not offering golf this season.

Until 2008, tributary water was being used to irrigate the course. But in 2008, the Colorado Water Commission said state law mandates the country club must use a legal source for water and it could no longer use water from various ponds on the course to irrigate. The commission also told the club it must provide records of water use and recorded meter reading to the district.

So in 2008, the club began using non-potable water supplied by the district. This had a substantial impact on the club because it now has to pay for large quantities of water as mandated by the state.

Shaffer said that to resolve the high cost of irrigating the course, district staff and individual board members have met, upon request, with representatives of the country club several times over the past few years to discuss the water issue and to suggest ideas for more efficient water use that could lower the cost for the country club. Several options have been discussed with the club to resolve its water issue, including leasing King’s Deer water and the golf course to pay for the pipeline to distribute the water, but Shaffer stated that this option was deemed economically unfeasible by the country club.

In late summer 2012, the district met with a representative of the club to discuss a leak and water loss of about 8 million gallons during the irrigation season. The water was leaking from the retention pond used for irrigating the golf course. The district also agreed to charge the club a lower water rate. The club also requested a deferral in payment until after the irrigation season and the district agreed to this proposal based on the condition that the club would repair the leak in the pond by December 2012 and conserve future water use.

Shaffer stated that to date, the district had not been notified that the leak has been fixed. He also said that to his knowledge the district has never received a request from the country club to meet about closing the golf course.

**********

The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. April 11 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.

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

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Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, March 12: Long-range planning study approved

By Jim Kendrick

On March 12, Facility Manager Bill Burks received unanimous approval from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) to have engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech conduct a long-range capital improvement planning study for $55,000. This study must be completed before planning to meet expected tighter total phosphorus limits can be completed and an appropriate pilot plant study can be performed.

Tetra Tech would provide a facility plan that includes: • Facility data collection.

• A regulatory outlook for the 10-year planning period regarding nutrients, endocrine disruptors, ammonia, and heavy metals.

• Flow and growth projections for the next 20 years.

• Possible improvements for treating liquids and conducting land application of wastewater biosolids.

• Analyses of the options such as drying bed and mechanical dewatering of biosolids.

• Potential projects that may be required to meet future capacity and effluent treatment requirements, with probable costs for the various options.

Both the capital plan development and pilot plant operational projects must be completed in order for the Tri-Lakes facility to be eligible to receive a grant from the Nutrient Grant Fund that is proposed to be created by Colorado House Bill 13-1191. See the March 21 Monument Sanitation District article for more information on this $15 million financing program that is likely to be approved by the Legislature.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: President Jim Whitelaw, Woodmoor; Vice President Dale Smith, Palmer Lake; and Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Robinove, Monument.

Several other district board members and district managers from each of the three owner districts also attended the meeting.

Financial report approved

Burks noted that the Tri-Lakes facility attorney, Mike Cuculla, appeared to have resolved a concern raised by Integrity Bank regarding the facility’s various bank accounts. The issue was whether the facility’s accounts are "public funds" and may require a change in the bank’s operating procedures. The cost of Cuculla’s review was $1,200.

Note: According to the state website, "The purpose of the Public Deposit Protection Act (PDPA) is to ensure that public funds held on deposit in banks are protected in the event that the bank holding the public deposits becomes insolvent. Not all public funds held by banks are protected under the PDPA. The PDPA protects only public funds place in bank deposit accounts, which include checking, savings, bank money-market, and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts." (www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-DB/CBON/DORA/1251626368870)

The state’s PDPA fact sheet states that the maximum total amount of public funds belonging to a public unit or public entity that can be deposited with an individual bank and be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is $250,000. The fact sheet defines a Colorado special district as a public unit. The $250,000 limit is per bank, not per each branch of the same bank.

The PDPA requires each bank to deliver readily marketable assets (typically securities) to a third party (escrow) institution to be held in safekeeping, pledged to the Colorado Division of Banking, to secure all uninsured public deposits held by the bank. In the event that the bank holding the public deposits becomes insolvent, the commissioner of banking, or a designee (typically the FDIC), will sell the pledged assets of the insolvent bank (if necessary) and distribute the proceeds to the Colorado public entities requiring reimbursement beyond the amount provided by federal deposit insurance. This procedure does not apply to private deposits.

For more information see the state PDPA fact sheet.

For more information on FDIC deposit insurance coverage for public funds, see section 330.15.

The financial report was unanimously accepted as presented.

District managers’ reports

Each of the three owner districts reported that their annual collection line cleaning and inspection projects will begin in April.

Whitelaw said that the Monument Hill Country Club had blamed Woodmoor in a Gazette article for having to close its golf course operations due to the high water cost. He said, "There is more to the story but I’m not going to go into it today, a lot more on our side."

Note: Club owner Tri-Lakes Golf LLC also told the Gazette that closing the golf course will not affect any other club facilities, which include indoor tennis, indoor and outdoor aquatics, a two-story fitness facility, and dining services. The club is located at 18945 Pebble Beach Way, off of the northeast end of Woodmoor Drive. Tri-Lakes Golf LLC bought Monument Hill Country Club, formerly Woodmoor Pines Golf and Country Club, out of receivership in 2010. (www.gazette.com/articles/club-151625-owners-elsewhere.html)

Plant manager’s report

Burks stated that the facility’s January discharge monitoring report inadvertently did not include the "monitor only" measurement for nonylphenols, organic compounds found in many detergents. The effluent samples sent to the SGS Mineral Services lab had exceeded the holding times, and the lab could not perform a valid retest. The preliminary SGS lab report for February shows that nonylphenols were undetectable. There are no requirements for the facility to treat nonylphenols.

Hazardous nonylphenols usually come from dry cleaner discharges and will not be an issue if they remain nondetectable. There are three dry cleaners in the Woodmoor district, and none in the Monument and Palmer Lake districts. Nonylphenol pretreatment discharge prohibitions could be imposed if a future facility discharge permit limit is added and is too restrictive to be attainable.

The total nitrate nitrogen concentration for January was 9.6 milligrams (mg) per liter (l). The facility’s permit limit is 23 mg/l. The total inorganic nitrogen concentration was 10.3 mg/l versus the permit limit of 23 mg/l.

Burks noted that these two nitrogen test results were disappointingly high because the plant’s bacteria had stopped consuming oxygen for a while, which has never happened before. There had been a strange color and higher concentration of microorganisms in the top layer of the sludge lagoon, perhaps caused by a load of oxidizer in the wastewater or extremely cold temperatures.

The influent wastewater turbidity had been over four times higher than normal as well, perhaps also due to extremely low temperatures. It takes several days to correct these unpredictable biological "upsets" that typically have causes that cannot be precisely determined, but have often resulted from cold weather rather than pollutants. These upsets can cause permit violations that are completely beyond the control of the operators.

In treatment plants like Tri-Lakes that use biological nutrient removal, certain types of aerobic bacteria consume the organic nitrogen in the presence of oxygen from air pumped into the aeration basin by large blowers during the nitrification cycle. However, these aerobic bacteria are sensitive to environmental conditions. During denitrification, other anaerobic bacteria reduce nitrates to nitric oxide, nitrous oxide, and nitrogen gas without the use of oxygen––while the blowers are turned off to limit the amount of oxygen that is dissolved in the wastewater.

Total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) consists of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. This TIN value is added to total organic nitrogen to yield a total nitrogen (TN) value. Another nitrogen value that is often used in lab reports, but not for discharge permit limits, is total Kjehldahl nitrogen (TKN), which is total organic nitrogen plus ammonia.

The proposed interim value for total nitrogen for warm streams is 2.01 mg/l. This limit in Regulation 31.17 will become effective on May 31, 2017. This limit is unattainable by the current design of the Tri-Lakes facility. The total nitrogen reading for the plant’s treated effluent for January was 5.35 mg/l. Very specific and expensive plant modifications will be required to meet this new total nitrogen removal requirement.

Similar but separate very expensive plant modifications will also have to be made to try to meet a total phosphorus limit of 0.17 µg/l in 2022. The total phosphorus reading for the plant’s treated effluent for January was 5.4 mg/l, about 32,000 times higher than the new limit. For more information on state nutrient limits, see page 66 of Regulation 31.

The potentially dissolved copper average for January was 8.5 micrograms (µg) per liter. The temporary modification to the permit limit for the average is 24.8 µg/l. The maximum copper reading was 9 µg/l. The permit limit for the peak value is 36.4 µg/l. These two limits in the current temporary modification to the copper limits expire at the end of 2013. In 2014, these limits are scheduled to change to an average of 9.7 µg/l and a peak of 15 µg/l. The plant would currently not be able to achieve these values several times per year.

At the Water Quality Control Commission hearing on June 10, the Tri-Lakes facility will formally request that the commission adopt new site specific permit limits of 16 µg/l (average) and 25 µg/l (peak), the best performance that the plant can currently be reasonably expected to achieve. The facility’s recommendation will be presented by the facility’s environmental attorney Tad Foster. This recommendation is based on nearly a decade of studies that led to creation of a biotic ligand model by the environmental engineering firm GEI Consulting. There were no copper limitations in existence or planned when the plant was constructed in 1998 and won an EPA award as a peak state-of-the-art facility.

The average and maximum flows through the plant were 1.05 and 1.14 million gallons per day, well below the plant’s rated capacity of 4.2 million gallons per day. As usual, Monument had the highest concentration of wastes in its wastewater, due to having the fewest leaks of groundwater into its collection line infrastructure. These leaks dilute the wastewater. Woodmoor had the highest total amount of wastes due to having over three times the number of customers of either Monument or Palmer Lake.

Monitoring report

Eleven wastewater entities are now confirmed members of the new Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AFCURE), from Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility south to the City of Pueblo. These 11 wastewater plants, including Colorado Springs Utilities, have joined the new statewide Colorado Monitoring Framework association as a single watershed member. AFCURE will have only one vote for the Monument/Fountain Creek watershed, rather than each member paying an individual membership fee and having its own vote at Colorado Monitoring Framework meetings.

At this time the other members of the framework will be the wastewater plants that are members of South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SPCURE). SPCURE already collects monitoring data for wastewater facilities in the South Platte River basin and will run the Framework as a separate project for now.

Burks presented a draft nutrient monthly monitoring report spreadsheet for January that included an upstream grab sample taken from Monument Creek at Arnold Avenue, a downstream grab sample taken from Monument Creek at Baptist Road, and a same-day sample of the plant’s treated effluent. The data reported for each of these three locations were time of day and flow rates, plus test results for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, TIN, TKN, TN, and TP. Burks began formally collecting this nutrient data for submission to the state and EPA in February.

The JUC asked Burks to share his draft spreadsheet format with the other members of AFCURE to arrive at a standard format for every wastewater treatment facility to use. These data points can then be used convert the data to a variety of graphical formats for analysis and comparison. These data will be coordinated with data collected.

Burks noted that the preliminary annual administrative budget for operating the Colorado Monitoring Framework in 2013 will be $40,000, but can be amended when unforeseen requirements or costs arise. At this time the other members of the framework will be the wastewater plants that are members of South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SPCURE). SPCURE already collects monitoring data for wastewater facilities in the South Platte River basin.

Both SPCURE and AFCURE will report the sampling data collected by their respective individual wastewater treatment plant members to the industry’s Colorado Data Sharing Network in standard EPA format. The network staff will then convert the statewide nutrient data to the Water Quality Control Division’s own separate data format for the state’s internal water quality analyses that will be required by its own Control Regulation 85.

Industry sampling and analysis plan being finalized

Jim Kendrick of the Monument Sanitation District, the JUC’s representative to the various state water quality stakeholder meetings, noted that the state had formally accepted the Colorado Monitoring Framework’s recommendation for a statewide list of which EPA-approved laboratory tests can be used for measuring nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and total inorganic nitrogen to calculate total nitrogen and total phosphorus readings.

The approved list meets the EPA standards for minimum detection limits and practical quantitation limits. This standardization is necessary to prevent labs from adding numbers with disparate accuracies and reliabilities that would yield questionable reported totals for total nitrogen concentrations.

Burks noted that he had completed the district’s annual sampling and analysis plan and submitted a certification of completion to the state Water Quality Control Division.

Temperature issues raised by the division

Following a prompt from the standards unit of the division, Colorado Springs Utilities discovered that on a few occasions over the past several years the temperature of Monument Creek just below the confluence of West Monument Creek has been higher than EPA standards. These few data points could cause Monument Creek to be put on the state’s 303(d) impaired streams list and require the participation of Tri-Lakes WWTF, Upper Monument Creek Regional WWTF, and Academy Water and Sanitation District in a total maximum daily loading study.

The confluence is at the south end of the Air Force Academy just below a large, dark stormwater detention pond between the railroad tracks and the Santa Fe Trail. The pond could be the source of hot water in the summer during a large stormwater event.

Burks stated that the Tri-Lakes facility had already continuously reported its treated effluent temperatures to the state for four years and the state recently dropped the temperature reporting requirement on the new Tri-Lakes discharge permit. The previously reported data had shown there was no reasonable potential for thermal degradation by the facility of Monument Creek, a shallow, low-flow, high plains, alpine desert, warm water stream. Often, particularly during droughts, the only flow in Monument Creek below the Monument Lake dam is the effluent from the Tri-Lakes plant, which is always much cooler than the state’s and EPA’s maximum temperature limit for this stream segment due to constant aeration.

Burks added that he and his staff will continue to continuously record and report ambient air temperatures for the plant. The average groundwater temperature is about 12 C, or 55 degrees F.

Kendrick added that the state Discharger Specific Variance stakeholder work group has determined that it is preferable for discharge permit holders to ask the Water Quality Control Commission for a five-year temporary modification to a discharge permit when there is uncertainty about the validity or economic/technical feasibility of a proposed stream standard.

The other alternative is to request a discharger or site specific variance that only lasts three years, the length of each state river basin water quality review cycle, and presumes that the proposed river basin standards are valid. However, the supporting documentation required for a variance application is much more time-consuming and costly to complete than the less complex justification package required for a state temporary modification request.

The meeting adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on April 9 at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings will continue to be available at 481-4053.

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

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, March 20: Rate increase contemplated

By Susan Hindman

At the March 20 meeting, Treasurer Walter Reiss asked if, considering all the water restrictions that other districts are putting in place, the Academy Water and Sanitation District board should investigate increasing water rates. While the budget would have to justify the increase, it would serve a secondary role of discouraging high water use. Director Ron Curry said it would be good to build up a reserve on the water side of the budget; such reserves would help pay for issues that come up, such as leaks that occurred last year, costing thousands of dollars to repair.

There is already money being set aside for future sludge removal from the lagoons. In addition, money is being put away for a future replacement vehicle, Reiss said, and TABOR requires that the district set aside 3 percent of its total expenses in escrow; currently that amount is $58,000.

Reiss said that he and Operator Anthony Pastorello would look at the numbers and determine if water rates or service fees should be increased.

Looking for board members

Board President Richard DuPont expressed concern about the need to get people to volunteer to serve on the district board. "I can hang in there as long as I can, but I’m 84," he said.

Curry said that when the next bond issue comes up before voters — which is inevitable considering required upgrades to the sewer treatment facility — he thinks interested people will come forward. Director Jim Weilbrenner wondered where those people would come from. Regarding the bond issue, Curry said it’s "a matter of education. I was just a normal citizen the last bond issue (in 1994), and I was easily convinced that we needed the system: Do you want to have water or not? This next go-round will be, do you want to flush your toilet or not?"

Water quality and more

Operator Anthony Pastorello reported that both the water and sewer systems are in good condition. He noted that he is preparing the annual Consumer Confidence Report — a detailed water quality report — for delivery to customers in June. Included with the report this year will be an update prepared by Director Susan Hindman highlighting what’s happening in the district on both the water and sewer sides.

Among the topics will be a request for a resident with website development experience to help the district set up a site. The district had expected to get free web development help last summer from Colorado’s Statewide Internet Portal Authority, but Curry has not received responses to his emails requesting an update.

Late in 2012, the district paid for debris removal near the lagoons, part of a best management practice identified in the Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP), which was put in place in 2011. Hindman said she received confirmation from the state’s Water Quality Control Division that it will reimburse the district with $3,100 in grant money, which was previously approved as part of the SWPP.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Gleneagle and Jessie Drives. The next meeting is April 17.

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, March 21: New water infrastructure study recommended

By Jim Kendrick

On March 21, District Manager Dana Duthie recommended to the district board that Donala Water and Sanitation District participate in a Regional Water Supply Feasibility Study that was proposed to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority by Cherokee Metropolitan District.

Assistant District Manager Kip Petersen noted that the direct cost to each participating district had not been determined. Duthie added that Cherokee’s project may provide a way to pump water from the north end of the Southern Delivery System to Donala via Cherokee pipelines. Duthie recommended contributing up to $10,000 to this infrastructure study.

The absence of Director Bill Nance was excused.

Petersen reported that the auditors had just visited the district for three days and had not found any problems.

Duthie reported that he had approved the draft of the annual renewal of Donala’s Pueblo Reservoir storage contract with the Bureau of Reclamation. Donala stores its renewable water from the Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville in the reservoir. The drought may prevent Donala from being able to use its full adjudication again in 2013.

The district received a mobile generator bid from Generac that was $10,000 cheaper than previous bids and met all the district’s requirements. The board unanimously approved the $75,809 Generac contract.

Mountain View Electric Association has cancelled its Power Partner program that allowed the district to save money on Donala’s electric bill during peak power demand periods by switching from the utility’s power to the district’s backup generators. This change has encouraged the district to again consider the installation of power factor correction equipment at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility to reduce electric power demands during heavy demand periods.

Duthie expressed his concerns to the board about whether Donala would be able to provide water to Triview Metropolitan District if Triview has another well failure this summer, because the drought might affect Donala’s water supply and infrastructure limitations. There is only one available water main connection between Donala and Triview. Triview has no connections with the Monument’s water system, so the town cannot provide an emergency supply.

Petersen reviewed the legal issues Triview has because it does not own the water rights for Jackson Creek. Duthie reviewed financial limitations Triview might have in repaying the $800,000 owed to Donala for expansion of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The meeting went into executive session at 2:47 p.m. to discuss personnel issues.

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The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on April 18 in the Donala conference room, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603.

Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me

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Monument Sanitation District, March 21: District to pursue state nutrient grant funding

By Jim Kendrick

On March 21, District Manager Mike Wicklund advised the Monument Sanitation District board on the $15 million in nutrient grant funding proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in House Bill 13-1191. When approved, these grants would be available to the 45 public wastewater treatment facilities in Colorado that are rated for wastewater flows of 2 million gallons per day or more. No final vote by the Legislature had been scheduled at OCN’s deadline for this edition.

The district is a one-third owner of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF), which has a rated capacity of 4.2 million gallons per day (MGD), though its average flow is about 1.1 MGD and peak flows rarely exceed 1.3 MGD.

The Hickenlooper grants would be used for planning, design, construction, or improvements required to meet new treatment limits for removal of total phosphorus and total inorganic nitrogen in treated effluent that are contained in the state Water Quality Control Commission’s new Control Regulation 85. These tighter restrictions went into effect on March 1.

Wicklund noted that the district’s persistence in providing testimony to the Colorado

Legislature and directly lobbying Hickenlooper in person, with the help of Fountain Sanitation District Manager Jim Heckman, had led to creation of House Bill 13-1191. For more details on Monument Sanitation District’s and the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition’s lobbying efforts to prevent immediate imposition of the new state nutrient restrictions that cannot be achieved with any currently available or predicted treatment technology, see www.ocn.me/v12n6.htm#juc.

The rules for dividing this grant money among the 45 eligible treatment facilities have not been defined, but any grant money would be welcomed by the district.

The absence of Chairman Ed DeLaney was excused.

Urgency for grant application

Director Chuck Robinove asked Wicklund to have engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech provide Facility Manager Bill Burks planning, design, and cost information for installation of new phosphorus treatment equipment at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility as soon as possible. The information will be necessary for Burks to be able to submit a grant application to the state Water Quality Control Division as soon as possible that shows that this facility is ready to commit funds and initiate a construction contract promptly.

The district expects the Senate to approve the bill as amended by the Appropriations Committee due to the Democratic majority’s support of this Hickenlooper initiative.

Details of the governor’s grant plan

House Bill 13-1191 would appropriate $15 million from the state General Fund to the Water Quality Control Division of the Department of Public Health and Environment for one-time grants to the 45 largest state wastewater treatment facilities, rated at 2 million gallons of flow per day or more, "to award grants from the fund to local governments pursuant to rules promulgated by the Water Quality Control Commission for the planning, design, construction, or improvement of domestic wastewater treatment works owned or operated by a local government that are needed to comply with the commission’s nutrients management control regulation."

The approved House bill states that "the commission shall promulgate rules as necessary to administer this grant including rules defining eligibility and criteria for awarding grants" and that "the criteria must give priority to the applicants that have the lowest financial ability to pay for the necessary construction improvements." Click here.

The original bill’s Joint Budget Committee fiscal impact statement of Feb. 6 listed a required appropriation of $58,588 for funding 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee plus operating and capital expenses for the grant program for the fiscal year starting on July 1. The total dropped to $53,112 for the following fiscal year. The fiscal impact statement said the original bill did not include required appropriations for payments necessary for the staffer’s health and disability insurance and retirement benefits: $9,915 for the first fiscal year and $10,335 for the second fiscal year. Click here.

The amended bill approved by the Colorado House included revisions that allow the division to "retain up to five percent of the moneys in the fund to cover the cost of administering the projects or grants" (up to $750,000). Click here

The Joint Budget Committee fiscal impact statement of Feb. 15 also included an increased allocation of funding up to $79,828 for 1.0 FTE in the clean water program and operating/capital costs to administer the $15 million fund during the state fiscal year that will start on July 1. Click here.

On March 20, the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee recommended two amendments to HB-13-1191 in its resolution that was forwarded to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The first amendment would change the original requirement to re-appropriate the remainder of the $15 million each fiscal year to a one-time continuous appropriation for the life of the fund, which will expire on Sept. 1, 2016.

The Senate Ag Committee resolution also recommended changing the words "five percent" to "$100,000 per fiscal year" for the cost of administration during the three-year life span of this new grant fund. Final votes by the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate had not been scheduled. Click here.

Phosphate study approved

Wicklund noted that alum treatment would cause considerably less corrosion than ferric chloride during chemical removal of phosphorus. Alum treatment costs would be slightly higher but would pay for itself through reduced maintenance and repair costs. There are also very significant differences in applying for a temporary modification and a discharger-specific variance or a site-specific variance to the Tri-Lakes facility’s discharge permit limits on phosphorus and nitrogen compounds.

The facility’s engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech will conduct a $55,000 study this spring to recommend specific feasible cost-effective design options for modifying the Tri-Lakes treatment plant to meet short- and long-term nutrient restrictions.

Temporary discharge permit modifications are used when there is uncertainty about whether a regulatory requirement is valid or appropriate. Temporary modifications normally are put in place for the life of a five-year discharger permit. An associated compliance schedule is agreed upon between the Water Quality Control Division and the wastewater treatment facility on actions to be taken to try to resolve some of the uncertainties that preclude the technical and/or economic feasibility of trying to achieve the proposed permit limits.

A discharger specific variance is normally put in place at a triennial river basin cycle. There are nine river basins in Colorado. The Tri-Lakes WWTF is part of the Arkansas River basin as well as the Monument/Fountain Creek watershed. This is a much more expensive and difficult application process because a variance asks for a judgment by the Water Quality Control Commission that compliance is not expected to be feasible in the foreseeable future, nor are the potential solutions affordable or sustainable for any of the special wastewater districts in the Tri-Lakes region.

Copper sulfate problem

Wicklund noted that he had persuaded the corporate manager of Big R in Pueblo to remove copper sulfate from the shelves of the new store on Struthers Road in the Donala district. Wicklund suggested an alternative product, RootX (www.rootx.com), to Big R that kills roots with foam and is given away by the district to discourage use of copper sulfate. Robinove asked Wicklund to document his Big R request and those he made in the past to Home Depot and other stores for future discharge permit negotiations and comments to the Water Quality Control Commission at future regulatory hearings. Wicklund said he would insert a notice in the district invoices due on May 1 regarding the district’s copper sulfate prohibition.

Wicklund also noted that any customer having problems with tree roots can contact the district office (481-4886) to discuss the problem and methods that can be used to resolve it. Jars of RootX are available at the district office at 130 Second St. Roebic Foaming Root Killer is available at Home Depot. Neither product uses copper sulfate like Zep Root Kill, which can cause permit violations and large fines for the Tri-Lakes WWTF and is no longer sold at the Monument Home Depot, at Wicklund’s request.

The meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 18 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Information: 481-4886.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Feb. 27: Expenses slightly under budget

By Bernard L. Minetti

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Treasurer John Hildebrandt reported to the board Feb. 27 that actual expenses were under budget for January 2013. He noted that the district had received $38 as the first property tax payment, and that a small payment such as this was not unusual for the first part of a new year.

Hildebrandt said the specific ownership tax payment to the district amounted to $23,350, which was 9.38 percent of the annual budgeted amount of $249,000. Ambulance revenues for January were $42,489, which was slightly higher than the budgeted amount.

He also noted that overall expenses for January were 0.31 percent under budget projections. Administrative expenses were high due to one-time insurance and medical expenses. He said these expenses will normalize as the year progresses.

District Secretary Rod Wilson read resolution 13-002 into the record. This resolution contains guidance for the retention and destruction of district records, the length of time for retention, and the process for destruction if warranted. The resolution provided for the district’s adoption of the Colorado State Archives’ Special Districts Records Retention Schedule, 2011, which may be amended and would then become the district’s official records retention and destruction schedule. The resolution passed unanimously.

Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack reported that requests for proposals (RFP) had been circulated among potential providers of liability and health insurance coverage.

Jack said the district was resolving problems with the septic system adjacent to Station 2. He noted that the next phase would be to reach agreement with neighbors and contact an engineering firm to perform a percolation test on the ground, and design a new system. When these occur, the work will be posted for bid.

Jack added that the insurance adjuster had evaluated the roof on Station 3, which had been damaged by wind, and the repairs will be covered.

He reported that all arrangements have been made concerning the prospective fire chief candidates to meet with the staff and the citizens.

Training Officer Mike Keough reported that the training staff had conducted annual wildland refresher classes for district employees. He added that the staff is currently hosting a Wildland Urban Interface and a Wildland Power Saw course for district employees and outside agency trainees. District hourly training statistics, again, were not provided.

Jack also reported that the district legal adviser had provided an outline for a prospective contract to be negotiated with the new fire chief. It was also noted that a circular for a proposal for Accounting Services was being circulated. A copy of this document may be obtained from the District Office at 166 Second St., Monument. Additional information may be obtained by calling 719-484-0911.

Bernard Minetti can be reached at Bernardminetti@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, March 12 and 13: New fire chief selected

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) selected Christopher Truty as the new fire chief at meetings held March 12 and 13. He was the deputy fire chief for the village of Mount Prospect in Illinois, which has a population of 55,000. Truty began his career as a volunteer firefighter and has experience in both combination (paid and volunteer staff members) and career (no volunteer staff members) fire agencies.

Truty was a paramedic for 17 years and an EMT for 30 years. He has advanced certifications in firefighting, hazardous materials operations, firefighter training and instruction, and says he is a subject matter expert in the local application of emergency incident command. He holds a master’s degree in Executive Fire Service and Disaster Leadership and has attended numerous Federal Emergency Management Agency professional development courses.

Truty holds a provisional certification as a Chief Fire Officer. He is also a sitting member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Emergency Management Committee and its disaster response team. Truty is married and has three adult children.

The last three days of the process of hiring a fire chief consisted of a "Citizen Mixer," selection interviews, and the negotiations for pay and benefits. The Citizen Mixer allowed the public to meet and greet the five candidates.

In the interview process, led by TLMFPD board President and Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk, each of the five candidates was allowed 45 to 55 minutes to take questions from the board. Shirk had asked the board prior to the interviews to have a unanimous final vote on the selectee. The results of the voting during an executive session were not announced.

The third and final part of the process was negotiations for pay and benefits that was held privately with the fire district staff. The results of these negotiations were not released.

During the process, Shirk thanked Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack and Office Manager Jennifer Martin for their assistance in the hiring procedure. Jack spearheaded and oversaw the conduct of the process to ensure it was correct. Martin executed the tedious paperwork and confidentiality requirements necessary for the outcome.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, March 27: New fire chief to be sworn in May 13

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Board of Directors declared that May 13 would be the official swearing in date for Fire Chief Chris Truty. An additional public swearing in will be held at the May 22 TLMFPD monthly board meeting.

The completed employment negotiations between Truty and the district contained an agreement for a salary of $90,000 a year. The agreement included a review of the chief’s performance after a six-month period of employment. Following that, an annual review will be completed each year within 45 days of the anniversary date of effective employment. Truty also will receive all benefits that are available to full-time district employees.

Truty would receive employment termination benefits equal to six months’ salary either in a lump sum or on a monthly basis if his employment is terminated within five years and not for specifically noted causes cited in the agreement. Payment is solely at the district’s discretion.

The board unanimously approved the employment agreement.

There was considerable discussion on a report by Battalion Chief Mike Dooley concerning the possible purchase of a vehicle for the fire chief. Six vehicle types were presented by Dooley for the board’s consideration. A motion to purchase a new Interceptor Vehicle from Spradley Barr Ford for $31,549 was unanimously passed. Delivery was expected in six to eight weeks.

The board also unanimously approved a motion that Request for Proposals (RFPs) for medical insurance coverage and accountant services be issued for submission by vendors. The RFPs would provide bids for these services to the district.

The annual audit of the district’s 2012 financial statements was completed and prepared by the firm of RubinBrown, which concluded the audit was "clean." This means there were no significant deficiencies. There were several recommendations concerning "internal control." One was that management should perform annual reviews of all employees. The last review occurred in 2006.

The firm also suggested that all promotions should be documented in the employee file and signed off by the employee and the district chief, and that the district should consider a payroll audit system.

Some of the other discrepancies the auditor noted were:

• No one on the district staff can prepare financial statements using standard Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

• The district’s consultant accountant used a full accrual method rather than GAAP methods.

• The district’s end-of-year operating cash account reconciliation totals did not agree with the district’s general ledger totals.

• There were errors in the depreciation of some district fixed assets.

The auditors concluded that the district’s total net assets were about $1.82 million. This number was the result of subtracting total liabilities of $6.3 million from the total assets of $8.1 million.

Battalion Chief Greg Lovato provided an update on the rewrite of the district personnel manual. This document had been classified as not releasable for public viewing. Following the rewrite by Lovato, the document, following acceptance by the district, will become official and viewable by the public.

Equipment for new chief purchased

In his report to the board, Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack reported that the fire staff was purchasing a cell phone, a laptop computer, uniforms, personal protective equipment, and the chief’s vehicle for the new chief.

Jack noted that the initial budgeted amount that was set aside for the chief’s "procurement" process was $6,675, which didn’t include the cost of the new vehicle. He advised the board that to this point, $5,778 had been spent. He added that the only outstanding invoice was for the background investigation. He concluded that the expenses should be on budget for the process.

Jack advised the board that Lt. Mike Keough, district training officer, had attended a meeting of the North Group Training Officers on March 27. The meeting was called to provide a process for improved communication, cooperation, and coordination between North Group agencies.

Jack reported that the District Training division had conducted several wildland fire courses in February. It was noted that attendees consisted of TLMFPD staff and outside agency personnel.

A new training structure will be constructed in late April at Station 3. This will be utilized for search and rescue training, ventilation exercises, forcible entry training, ladder use, technical rescue, and confined space operations. District fire personnel will construct this training aid.

Jack said nine district personnel had participated in an agricultural burn with Colorado Springs Utilities near the Ray Nixon power plant. He added that other participants included the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Broadmoor Fire Department, and Green Mountain Falls.

Total district training hours by employees were logged at 1,056 for February.

Jack reported that Lt. Franz Hankins had spent time researching at various El Paso County offices for records concerning Fire Station 1 property. Information is needed on platting, zoning, and original well agreements with the intent of eventually placing a well on the site. He added that an engineering firm is drafting the design of the new field at Station 2. Design completion is anticipated by April 6. Once the cost of the project is known, further action in the bidding for the field will begin.

In his equipment report, Jack noted that all fire apparatus was "up and running, with no major issues."

Emergency actions

In his emergency actions report, Jack stated that the district A-shift crews had successfully rescued a dog that had fallen through the ice at Monument Lake on March 17. The event occurred 20 feet from the shore. Battalion 3 responded and made the save.

He also reported that B-shift personnel had received a call to assist at a 15-car accident on I-25. Battalion 1 responded. Personnel successfully extricated a trapped motorist and transported the person to a medical agency. B-shift personnel responded to 13 emergency incidents on March 9.

On March 24, Battalion 2 responded with other agencies to a structure fire in eastern district 2. Crews found heavy fire engulfing the garage and the two vehicles in the driveway. The crews worked to maintain a minimum involvement of the structure. This was done under adverse conditions. There was no on-site hydrant water available and equipment had to be linked together to utilize all the water available, and the area was snow-packed and icy with narrow roads and driveways. It was considered a structure with a "heavy fire load." The cause was under investigation. District crews were on-scene for 14 hours.

Jack continued by advising that structure plan reviews for new construction had been very heavy. Twenty-one permits had been serviced by the fire marshal’s office.

Jack concluded his report by stating that emergency calls for 2013 are now 75 ahead of last year at the same time. The district is averaging 5.5 calls per day. So far this year, the district has responded to 477 calls this year versus 402 for 2012.

Office Manager Jennifer Martin reported to the board that a new crew person had been added to the fire training and education staff. A "Sparky, the Fire Dog" costume has been purchased for $1,585 through the generosity of the Monument Hill Foundation, VFIS of Colorado, and the American Legion. The Sparky costume is utilized to teach children about fire safety.

She said Sparky could be seen on April 27, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the YMCA Health Fair for Kids, on May 11, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the HAP Safety Fair at the Lewis-Palmer School District Learning Center, and at the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Safety Fair at Wescott Station 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 1. Contact "Fire Training Kennel Manager" Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911 for details.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, March 19: Fire mitigation continues

By Lisa Hatfield

Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s firefighters, chiefs, fire marshal, and residents have prepared for the dry wildfire season ahead by thinning pines and scrub oak, creating fuel breaks, and writing grants to help pay for more vegetation mitigation. Chipping Project Day and the Wescott Safety Fair will provide opportunities for Wescott residents to do even more to prepare for wildfire in their neighborhoods. Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall reported at the March 19 district board meeting that the district has "carryover" funds from 2012 that need to be invested.

Director Harland Baker was absent and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings was excused from the meeting.

Safety work applauded

Fire Marshal Margot Humes said she had done many fire safety presentations and private property assessments for wildland fires. She also recently applied to the Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership and to the state Forest Service for grants that could yield a total of $82,000. If awarded to the district, the money would be used for more vegetation mitigation work in Pleasant View Estates and on the Wismer property around Station 2 on Highway 83 to create a shaded fuel break and improve forest health.

Matching funds for the grants require that homeowners put in either their own cash or their own time toward fire mitigation.

Chief Vinny Burns explained that the shaded fuel break could provide a defensible strategic space near Station 2 to slow down the fire in the event of a catastrophic wildfire in the wildland/urban interface. "It could eliminate the potential for a crown fire" near the fire station, he said. Humes added that Highway 83 is a main exit route, and keeping that road open in an emergency, as alternative to I-25, would be vital "so people could get out."

Pikes Peak Wildfire Prevention Partners and the Ready, Set, Go! Firewise program applauded Wescott for the 56,000 hours of fire mitigation work done in 2012, Humes said.

Humes received $1,633 from the International Association of Fire Chiefs for a $1,000 grant she wrote to offset printing costs for "Ready, Set, Go!," a Firewise information brochure about defensible space that she gives to residents at property assessments. The association awarded the district the extra $633 because the grant was "so well-written." The brochure is also available at www.wescottfire.org.

Chairman Scott Campbell suggested that any grant money awarded should be kept in a separate ledger account so that its use could be tracked. Marshall said it will be outside of the general fund in a reserved grant money fund. In addition, Humes is creating photo documentation of some of the mitigation work done with grant money.

Upcoming community events: • Chipping Project Day –– May 4 at Station 3 on Highway 83. DWFPD will provide the wood chipper and the manpower, and Wescott residents should bring slash and trees they have cut. "It’s easier to chop up (the trees) when they’re little. It’s more expensive to take care of it later on," Humes said. Pleasant View Estates’ official Firewise Neighborhood signs will also be presented at this event.

• Wescott Safety Fair –– June 1 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. The Flight for Life helicopter, Monument Police Department, hospitals, veterinarians, search and rescue team, wildland firefighting team, and Pikes Peak Wildfire Prevention Partners are some of the invited guests for the fair.

Burns reiterated the importance of the district’s work on the shaded fuel break. He explained that three-fourths of the personnel have completed the Red Card refresher class allowing them to fight fires on federal lands. Red Card holders must pass the "arduous pack test," a three-mile hike done in 45 minutes with a 45-pound pack.

Financial report

Administrative Assistant Marshall said all outstanding 2012 bills have come in, and she gave copies of the 2012 financial report to the board members for review so they can ask questions at the April meeting to close out 2012 numbers.

Total 2012 income was about $2 million, while total expenses were about $1.8 million. The district has approximately $185,000 in "carryover," since expenses were about $54,000 less than planned, and the district earned extra revenue from volunteering for wildfire deployments outside the district.

Chairman Campbell suggested finalizing the decision in the next few months about what to do with the carryover. The board might decide to use some of the $185,000 to help pay off the annual Station 2 construction loan. The next payment is due July 1.

Balances as of Feb. 28 totaling $1 million: People’s National Bank $425,000, Colorado Peak Fund $179,000, ColoTrust Fund $439,000, Wells Fargo Public Trust $5,000.

Expenses for February were "right on track," Marshall said.

Marshall said that Wells Fargo has completed three payrolls for the district since the transfer from a private payroll service. The first payroll issued was a learning process and required five check corrections to resolve questions about the complicated payroll calculated for the district, which involves pension funds, unemployment tax, overtime, benefits, pre- or post-tax, etc. The next two payrolls went smoothly, Marshall said.

Marshall hopes to have passwords for the Wells Fargo checking accounts soon so that the district can start to use that account.

The chief’s report will be presented by Assistant Chief Scott Ridings at April’s meeting.

The board went into executive session at 7:38 p.m. to discuss personnel matters and "determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations" and did not plan to make any announcements before adjourning.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 16 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive, with a pension board meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. 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 D-38 Board of Education, March 21: Board discusses budget progress, successes in district

By Harriet Halbig

Members of the Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education discussed fiscal matters, plans for the coming school year, and successes among its students during the March 21 meeting.

Board Vice President Mark Pfoff and Secretary Robb Pike were absent and excused from the meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that the district budget is on track for this school year, with utility spending under control with the exception of water needed for playing fields. The number of students on free/reduced-price lunch continues to rise. She said that fundraising on the part of the various schools is very successful and that the resumption of homebuilding in the district will provide unanticipated cash in lieu of land next year. Enrollment also remains strong.

Later in the meeting, Wangeman reported that the Legislature is now considering funding plans for next year and that the district had expected an addition $1.2 million, but that amount is now trending down.

Director of Assessment, Gifted Education and Technology Lori Benton presented a first reading of textbook and technology requirements to bring the district in line with the new state standards beginning in the 2013-14 school year. These requirements include materials for math in k-12, science, social studies, and language arts in 6-12, languages in grades 9-12, and writing in grades k-5. Social studies for grades k-5 will appear in 2013-14 as well.

Benton said that members of staff from various locations meet on a regular basis, review the changes in standards, and determine what areas that might be missing in the curriculum. Vertical alignment of curriculum is analyzed to ensure that all subject matter is covered and there is minimal repetition. Curriculum mapping is also used in the analysis.

Because the district’s standards are higher than that of the state, Benton says that the analysis begins with the state standards and proceeds from there.

Benton said that the proposed purchases of technology, texts, and teacher support materials are included in the district’s 2013 budget.

Home School Enrichment Academy update

Benton reported that the Home School Enrichment Academy was founded to support and extend the learning of homeschooled students by offering enrichment activities in such areas as art, music, and physical education.

The goal for the 2012-13 school year was an enrollment of 25. In March there were 53 students in the program, which offers its services each Thursday from 8:30 to 3:30. The growth in enrollment has necessitated the hiring of additional teachers and a part-time administrative aid. Participation on the second-grade level has enabled the academy to hire a paraprofessional to help that age group.

The academy offers three free field trips per year. Student families may also attend the field trips if they provide their own transportation.

In response to requests for foreign language instruction, the program is offering a world culture class, studying four different cultures a year through their arts, customs, and foods. It was determined that foreign language instruction would not be successful if offered once a week.

An advisory group meets monthly to examine and review the program.

Benton said a recent survey of parents’ opinions found that 91 percent of those who responded were happy with the schedule and offerings of the academy. All families said that the curriculum meets their needs.

The goals for the coming year are to expand to coverage of grades k-7 and a population of 75 students.

The district will advertise its offerings in local newspapers and local businesses and hold open houses from March through August.

When asked whether the academy might expand its services to the high school level, Benton responded that high school homeschoolers might be more likely to prefer online programming.

Benton also reminded the board that, because the district receives partial funding for these students, all programming is free of charge to those who participate.

Approval of new Internet contract

Benton presented a new contract agreement with Comcast to provide Internet services to the district. The contract will include five years of service at about $95,500 per year. The board approved the contract.

Employee benefits package

Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster presented his department’s proposal for a benefits package for the coming school year.

He said that the cost of insurance is anticipated to rise 5 percent and that the district proposed to fund health, dental, vision, and life insurance for its employees. He said that few districts fully fund such insurance.

Online enrollment will be offered to staff members after they receive information about their options in April.

The committee that studied the benefits options included members from all district locations. Meetings will be held in the next few weeks to answer questions from the staff.

Open enrollment update

District Superintendent John Borman reported that the district anticipates welcoming 57 new students next year (as compared to 41 this year), 48 students from out of the district, and nine from Monument Academy into traditional schools.

He said that the number of students leaving the district will not be known until summer.

2013 Year of the Student Resolution

In support of an initiative by the group Greater Education Colorado, which actively supports better school funding, Palmer Ridge senior Eric Marter, Lewis-Palmer senior Brianna McEwen, and Lewis-Palmer junior Michaela Smith read a resolution emphasizing that students are the prime focus of the education system and that the state should do its best to support their achievement by offering sufficient funding to schools.

The 2013 Year of the Student Resolution will be presented to members of the state Legislature.

Board Treasurer John Mann commented that although he agreed with the essence of the resolution, he is concerned that the Legislature’s current proposals on school funding would not benefit this district to as great an extent as others.

Borman commented that the resolution was intended to stress a focus on students when considering funding and to display the fact that our students are interested in participating in the community and legislative process.

Smith commented that she transferred into District 38 from Colorado Springs District 11 while in elementary school and appreciates the value of the education in this area. Marter and McEwen have served as members of the Monument Town Council during this year.

The board voted to approve the resolution.

The board voted to support National Volunteer Month and commented on the value of participation from many members of the community.

Borman reported in the Superintendent’s Report that artist Nelson Tucker, who participated in the recent annual Scholastic Show at the Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design was one of 80 students chosen to have his work displayed in the Denver Art Museum through April 4.

Borman also reported that the Lewis-Palmer High School boys basketball team won the 4A state championship for the second year in a row despite injuries to several key players.

Fourth-grade teachers Jennifer Hayden and Neva Nardone and their students from Lewis-Palmer Elementary School gave a demonstration on a recent activity involving the Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs. The students of each class embarked on a mission into space, communicating with the Challenger Learning Center via Skype. Each student had a specialized role in the mission.

Nardone attended a National Space Foundation event five years ago and used that experience to develop this activity.

Community Relations Manager Robin Adair reported on progress in the district’s communications plan and said that an event for 500 members of the community is planned for April 11. She said that the district had benefitted from a lot of free consultation in marketing and that local businesses are sponsoring the cost of the event.

The board approved a number of routine items such as minutes of previous meetings, hirings and retirements, lists of substitute personnel, ratification of closures due to weather, and other matters.

**********

The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be held on April 18.

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

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District Accountability Advisory Committee, March 12: Committee reviews improvement plans, budget matters

By Harriet Halbig

The District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) of the Lewis-Palmer School District reviewed Unified Improvement Plans from four district schools at its March 12 meeting at Monument Academy.

Drafts of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) document for each school were distributed to the membership, and the principals of each school explained their plans. The committee divided into two groups to receive the reports and reconvened to offer a summary.

Lewis-Palmer Elementary report

Principal Lois Skaggs of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School (LPES) reported that her school exceeds state requirements in academic achievement, growth, and growth gaps with the exception of math and writing for those with disabilities and those on free/reduced-price lunch. LPES is not a Title 1 funded school and therefore does not receive additional funding to overcome weaknesses in achievement among at-risk students.

The school has been successful in its focus on reading over recent years and now is turning attention to support in math, Skaggs said. The need for consistent vocabulary in math and for additional repetition for some students was mentioned. The Every Day Math (EDM) curriculum is sufficient for most students, and LPES has now added the Math Triumphs curriculum as needed. Teachers have undergone additional training and are focused on early identification of students with math difficulties and encouraging them to join a weekly math club. Some students receive an additional three hours of help each week. Teachers may receive additional training during the summer regarding math vocabulary.

Bear Creek Elementary report

Peggy Parsley of Bear Creek Elementary (BCES) reported that her school is meeting state requirements in academic achievement and academic growth and some growth gaps. She has found that the EDM curriculum is insufficient for students with disabilities who require intervention. BCES is also using the Math Triumphs intervention and has introduced Moby Math, a computer-based resource that offers a pre-test to show a student’s weaknesses and allows teachers to assign specific exercises. The program can be accessed from the school library or from home.

Lewis-Palmer Middle School report

Students with disabilities are also rated as "approaching" in the area of reading.

Seann O’Connor, principal of Lewis-Palmer Middle School (LPMS) said his school is meeting state requirements in Academic Achievement and Academic Growth, but seeing weakness in math and writing among those on free/reduced-price lunch, English Language Learners (ELL), students with disabilities, minorities, and those needing to catch up. The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is the program used by LPMS to monitor student progress in the fall, winter, and spring. The daily Academic Enrichment period is a time used to provide help.

O’Connor said in his document that budget cuts over the past several years have severely curtailed support and intervention resources. Professional development for teachers will be sought to help them identify students who require additional support and to monitor their progress.

Monument Academy report

Lis Richard of Monument Academy reported that her school exceeds state requirements for academic achievement and meets requirements for academic growth and many academic growth gaps. NWEA testing is being used as an evaluation and monitoring tool.

She said weaknesses appear in growth gaps in math for free/reduced-price lunch students and those needing to catch up and in reading among free/reduced-price lunch eligible students. All students meet or exceed standards in writing.

The middle school segment of Monument Academy’s student population meets or exceeds standards in academic achievement and academic growth, with weaknesses in reading and math among free/reduced-price lunch eligible students and minorities. Students needing to catch up are rated "exceeds" for reading and "approaching" in math and writing.

Richard said improvement targets proposed by the school for academic growth and academic growth gaps were met in the 2011-12 school year. The plan includes mention of the fact that there has been a large influx of new students who show a lower overall achievement level that will require more interventions and differentiated instruction.

A science fair has been added to the school’s program to respond to the state’s new emphasis on analyzing and problem solving in science.

The district-level Unified Improvement Plan will be presented at DAAC’s April meeting.

Legislative and budget report

Board of Education Liaison John Magerko reported that Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman is working on development of the district’s 2013-14 budget. She has been finalizing enrollment projections and staffing levels. In April she will present an overview to DAAC, including site allocations for principals and compensation and benefits packages. In May the proposed budget will be presented for board and public review.

Regarding legislation, Magerko reported that the Lobato v. State of Colorado case involving constitutionally adequate education was in oral arguments.

Senate Bill 15 allowing electronic attendance of Board of Education meetings was passed by the House Education Committee. This bill allows board members to attend meetings and vote electronically.

The School Finance Act involving an overhaul of the funding formula was under discussion. Some key aspects of the act are:

• Funding would be expanded for at-risk students and ELL students, and consideration of cost of living would be eliminated.

• The funding formula would use daily electronic monitoring of Average Daily Membership.

• A need-based formula based on a district’s assessed property value and the median income of its residents would determine a district’s share of state funding.

• Enhanced special-education funding would be added to satisfy the federal mandate.

• Funding would be provided to education for at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds, and full-day kindergarten would be funded.
Magerko reported that the Colorado Association of School Boards questions the issue of the amount of funding determined to be sufficient and whether the bill would attempt to compensate for the losses of the last several years.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The next meeting will be held on April 9 in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, March 11: Beacon Lite Assisted Living Center approved

the March 4 BOT packet as a PDF file. This is a 15.0 Mbyte high-resolution file. It contains details on the Beacon Lite Assisted Living Center.

By Jim Kendrick

Since May 17, 2004, Jamie Hull had presented numerous development proposals to the Monument Planning Commission and Board of Trustees for his vacant city block between Grace Best Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road. Hull’s proposals included duplex patio homes, a town police and courthouse building, a senior living center with over 40 dwelling units, a high-density, three-story traditional neighborhood residential area, and a hotel plus a library building.

Numerous proposals for various forms of senior housing had also been discussed by the Monument Board of Trustees as well as the Palmer Lake Town Council in the past several years. Then the Board of Trustees formally approved Hull’s site plan proposal for the Arbor Mountain Senior Living Facility in the Village Center development. The Town of Monument donated its vacant lot on Gold Canyon Road near the intersection of Highway 105 and Lake Woodmoor Drive to the Arbor Mountain project. But this project could not obtain sufficient financing and the town took back its lot.

On March 11, the Monument Board of Trustees approved the Beacon Lite Assisted Living Center replat, planned development (PD) site plan, and vacation of some adjacent right-of-way for the 57-bed assisted living facility to be constructed on Hull’s vacant downtown lot. As with every other regional senior living facility proposal, longtime advocate Chuck Roberts was in attendance to support the project and see his goal come to fruition.

Trustees Jeff Kaiser and Rafael Dominguez were absent. This meeting was postponed due to a snowstorm on March 4.

The Monument Planning Commission approved this project on Feb. 13. (www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#monpc)

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reported that the application for this project was submitted by Ron Vaughn of Encore Partners Inc. in Denver. The landowner for the project is Jamie Hull’s Goldwest II LLC. The project engineer is Chad Kuzbek P.E. of Westworks Engineering Inc. in Colorado Springs.

This parcel is the last vacant block in downtown Monument. It was originally rezoned from Downtown Residential to Planned Development and platted as the Hull Subdivision on Sept. 4, 2007.

Some rights-of-way to be vacated

In his overview of the replat and vacation ordinance for this project, Kassawara reported that the application proposed to replat the vacant 3.7-acre property as well as vacate portions of town rights-of-way along Adams Street to the west, First Street to the north, and Lincoln Avenue to the south. A portion of Adams Street right-of-way was dedicated to the town as part of this application. The vacations and dedication provide adequate buffering and drainage for the site. The rights-of-way that were vacated did not contain roads or streets and are not necessary for current or future traffic circulation in the area.

The proposed replat includes some right-of-way dedications on Adams Street, right-of-way vacation on portions of Adams Street, First Street, and Lincoln Avenue, and a small dedication to School District 38.

The adjacent First Street right-of-way on the north side of the Hull property is an isolated section of a 66-foot-wide right-of-way with no roadway constructed within it. The west end of this right-of-way is blocked by School District 38’s Grace Best Elementary School. The east end of this right-of-way dead-ends at the county’s Santa Fe Trail.

The replat and vacation application requested that the southern 33 feet of this right-of-way be dedicated to Encore Partners with a trail and sidewalk easement that could connect Adams Street to the Santa Fe Trail in the future. The property owner of the adjacent single-family home to the north of the First Street right-of-way (108 Adams St.) requested that the town vacate the northern 33 feet of the First Street right-of-way and allow it to become part of his property. Kassawara reported that this homeowner had been maintaining this portion of the town’s right-of-way for the past 10 years and recommended that ownership be transferred as requested. The homeowner plans to use the property for additional landscaping.

The Lincoln Avenue right-of-way on the south side of the site is a dead-end section of right-of-way with no roadway constructed within it. The west end of the Lincoln Avenue right-of-way is blocked by a D-38 athletic field. Encore requested that the northern 50 feet of this 100-foot right-of-way that is contiguous with Hull’s southern property boundary be vacated and transferred to Hull for the main entrance driveway to the facility. The southern half of this 100-foot Lincoln Avenue right-of-way could still be used to build a roadway in the future, if the need arises.

The entire Adams Street right-of-way adjacent to the west boundary of Hull’s property is not currently being used for street purposes. The D-38 athletic field lies in a portion of this right-of-way.

The proposed replat also adds 30 feet to this Adams Street right-of-way’s width. Adams Street roadway currently has a dead-end with no turnaround. This project will dedicate additional right-of-way to create a full 50-foot right-of-way with a cul-de-sac bulb at the south end. The existing 30-foot alley right-of-way south of the proposed new cul-de-sac was proposed to be vacated and dedicated to D-38 to facilitate access from the cul-de-sac into the D-38 maintenance and storage area south of Grace Best Elementary building.

Kassawara reported that the project’s water demand is calculated at 7.83 acre-feet per year, based upon a study of assisted living facilities in the United States, and on the irrigation demand calculated by the project’s landscape architect. The town’s water engineer had determined that the water available for the Hull property is 5.45 acre-feet per year, resulting in a 2.38 acre-foot shortfall. However, this project is within the designated downtown Monument area as identified in Resolution 21-2007, which allows the Board of Trustees to consider discounted fees in lieu of water rights for properties within the downtown area. This resolution states that to be eligible, a project should bring some unique or desirable use to the downtown area for the board to consider discounted water rates.

Water rights assistance

The town code, in Section 13.04.160, allows the town to accept a fee in lieu of water rights in the event the total water rights that the applicant can dedicate to the town for a proposed development are insufficient. Kassawara noted that the town should encourage the development of this essential facility and recommended that the board allocate the 2.38 acre-foot shortfall to the property. Kassawara proposed that the town offer the project the needed 2.38 acre-feet for $1 "to give the assisted living facility all the necessary means it can get to build this."

In the past, town water engineering consultant Bruce Lytle had suggested offering required supplementary water rights to Hull for this lot for $4,800 per acre-foot for a previous Hull project (www.ocn.me/v7n9.htm#bot0820) and town water broker Gary Barber had suggested charging Hull $1,250 per acre-foot for supplementary water rights for a subsequent Hull project. (www.ocn.me/v8n5.htm#bot0407)

Kassawara noted that the entrance to the building itself does not directly face Beacon Lite Road. There are no traffic impacts. There have been some additional architectural features added to the plans to make the facility aesthetically pleasing from Beacon Lite Road.

Additional information on the history and details of this project is available in the article on the Feb. 13 Planning Commission hearing approval at www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#monpc.

The trustees asked Kassawara and Vaughn several questions. Some of their responses were:

• The facility will have no effect on the Santa Fe Trail.

• There will be no resident parking; only employee and visitor parking will be provided.

• Assisted living and memory care patients average 83 to 84 years old and don’t drive.

• "Assisted living" means a residential setting with personal care support.

• Encore also believes there is a market in this area for senior apartments with barrier-free living and elevators in a communal setting.

• Encore is exploring a vacant lot for senior apartments south of the Hull property.

• The start date for construction depends on HUD financing.

• Home health care hospice will be allowed in the apartments, but not nursing.

• A staff nurse will dispense medication but no medical care can be given as licensed.

• The facility will be 100 percent private pay.

• Occupancy is expected to rise to 100 percent within 14 to 16 months.

• No road improvements will be required.
Vaughn and Mayor Travis Easton noted the contributions Chuck Roberts have made toward creation of a senior living facility in this region over the past several years. Roberts corrected Easton, saying it had been "30, 40 years" to much laughter.

There were no public comments in favor of or opposed to the project.

The three proposed ordinances for the replat and vacations of rights-of-way, the preliminary/final PD site plan that included the town’s donation of 2.38 acre-foot town water rights for this desirable downtown use, and the five individual vacations of rights-of-way for portions of First Street, Adams Street, and Lincoln Avenue were all unanimously approved with no conditions.

Water rate increases approved

The new additional charges for actual water use that will become effective on May 1 are: • $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.

The new bulk water monthly service charge of $8.80 is the same as the service fee residents pay. The bulk water service fee is needed to help pay for the installation cost and future maintenance of the new town bulk water station.

The reinstatement of the service rule was also amended, as shown in italics: No water reconnects or disconnects will be done after 3:30 p.m., unless authorized by the Public Works director, because the Public Works Department is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Public Works Director Tom Tharnish advised the board that the proposed water rate increase would not create enough additional revenue to cover all 2013 town water enterprise fund expenses because implementation had been delayed past the original planned starting date.

Trustee Stan Gingrich asked Tharnish when new rates would have to be revisited. Tharnish replied "in about two to 2 1/2 years." Tharnish added that the costs of infrastructure issues may shorten this interval.

Trustee John Howe asked Tharnish to explain town code paragraph 13.08.050—No Use During Fire Alarms: "During all alarms of fire, the use of hose and all outlets where a constant flow of water is maintained is positively forbidden." Tharnish stated that this section could be stricken.

Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked Tharnish if any type of meter could be installed on the bulk water hydrant in the new bulk water station to monitor actual water use. Tharnish stated that a standard hydrant meter would be the only solution. However, a hydrant meter costs over $1,000—more than the hydrant—but is the only option and would be threaded onto the hydrant. Attaching the meter to a hydrant with a steel cable would not provide adequate meter security. Hydrant meters will break in freezing temperatures.

The revision to the town code water rates and charges section was unanimously approved.

Second Amendment resolution approved

The board approved a resolution that Police Chief Jake Shirk said was similar to the Board of County Commissioners resolution regarding defense of the Second Amendment. Trustee John Howe was opposed.

Some of the text of this resolution stated: "Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Trustees of the Town of Monument, state of Colorado, will uphold the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and will act in conformity with our sworn duties as duly elected officials charged with public trust, and will, in conjunction with prior decisions by the United States Supreme Court, not enforce any statutes, edicts, Presidential Directives, or other regulations and proclamations which conflict—and are expressly preempted by—the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings.

"The Board of Trustees of the Town of Monument, state of Colorado, strongly urges that the Colorado General Assembly of the state of Colorado should not entertain consideration of any new legislation that would infringe on constitutionally protected rights under the Second Amendment through any means, including additional restrictions on lawful firearms and accessories; or on the possession, use, sale or transfer of legitimately owned firearms.

"And be it further resolved that the Board of Trustees of the Town of Monument, state of Colorado, calls upon the United States Congress and the Colorado General Assembly to recognize the multitudes of existing laws related to the manufacture, sale and possession of firearms, and acknowledge that in order to combat gun violence, the country must enforce existing laws and more effectively punish and deter those who commit these crimes."
The board also approved a resolution supporting the grant application for a school play yard grant from the State Board of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund and the completion of the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 School Play Yard Initiative. A second motion to approve an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Monument and District 38 pursuant to the grant application requirements was also unanimously approved.

Financial reports

The board approved four disbursements over $5,000: • $5,349 to Slavens Electric Inc. for the generator hookup of well 7.

• $10,000 to CIRSA insurance for the town’s deductible for a 2012 insurance claim regarding YMCA traffic light repairs (CIRSA paid $8,500 of the total $18,500 bill).

• $5,675 to Lytle Water Solutions LLC for engineering work for the town.

• $13,595 to Ace Equipment and Supply Co. for installation of a new two-pole 16,000 vehicle lift installed in the Public Works garage to service town vehicles.

Deputy Treasurer Monica Harder reported that General Fund revenues for January were $79,000, or 2.1 percent, less than the amount budgeted. General Fund expenditures were $20,000 less than budgeted (less than 1 percent.) She noted that the town will receive franchise fees in March that will boost revenues. Water Fund revenues for January were $68,000, or 4.6 percent, less than the amount budgeted. Water Fund expenditures were $51,000, or 3.9 percent, less than budgeted. Total cash decreased by $58,000 in January.

The board accepted the financial report as presented.

Public Works update

Tharnish stated that well 7 had been cleaned and restored and should be operational by March 17.

He said a water main break on March 8 took out the main 8-inch water supply line to the town water tank. Most repairs were completed late on March 8.

Tharnish discussed an unrelated recent episode of discolored town drinking water. He stated that a flow meter in the town’s water treatment plant had failed electronically to the high side, which fully opened a valve incorrectly and caused an overfeeding of potassium permanganate into the drinking water system, resulting in pink/purple water. The Water Department flushed 30 hydrants Friday night to drain all the discolored water from the distribution system. No calls had been received since the morning of March 9. Tharnish stated the chemical release was an aesthetic problem and not a health concern. The alarms have been adjusted to also go off for high meter readings.

Easton asked Tharnish to obtain a ballpark figure on the town’s stormwater infrastructure needs.

Easton asked Interim Town Manager Pamela Smith to develop a notification system for the board regarding town issues and concerns. Smith advised the mayor this had been discussed at the managers meeting earlier this day. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman and town Code Enforcement Officer Laura Hogan are developing an email/texting system.

During public comments, Sirochman stated that a board member had asked to remove one of the two public comments agenda items from the standard board agenda. Sirochman said the town department directors recommended that if a public comment item had to be removed, the first one at the beginning of the meeting might be preferable.

Former Mayor Betty Konarski stated that this would be unfair because citizens are usually scheduled to make their presentation at the start of a meeting during "Discussion Items" and would have to wait through the whole meeting to speak on other matters at the end of the meeting.

Monument business owner John Dominowski stated that citizens fought for both public comment sessions years ago and he does not want to see either session taken away from them again. Easton replied that he was unaware of the issues with public comment in the past and thanked Dominowski for letting the board know.

The board consensus decision was to keep both public comment sessions on the standard agenda.

Board of Trustees’ comments:

Trustee Becki Tooley stated a 5k run/walk to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares will be held May 11. The 5k will take place on the Santa Fe Trail, and further information can be obtained from Tri-Lakes Fitness, www.trilakes-fitness.com/fivekrunform.asp or 481-9021.

Trustee Howe congratulated Mayor Easton on the birth of the Eastons’ third daughter, Marlowe, and announced the annual Memorial Day Service at the Monument Cemetery on May 27.

Mayor Easton stated he received thanks from a citizen who saw the new organizational chart on the website with "Citizens of Monument" at the top of the chart. He also noted that he received an email from a citizen with positive feedback in regards to town staff, mentioning Cynthia Sirochman, Laura Hogan, Mike Pesicka, and Tom Kassawara.

The board went into executive session at 8:15 p.m. for discussion of litigation with the town attorney. The board came out of executive session at 8:25 p.m. and adjourned to begin a Capital Improvement Program workshop.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, March 18: Merchants group shows leadership in town events

By Jim Kendrick

On March 18, Woody Woodworth of the Historic Monument Merchants Association (HMMA) gave a presentation to the Monument Board of Trustees on HMMA special events currently being held in the town throughout the year. Woodworth, the owner of High Country Home Brew on Washington Street, asked that the town keep communications open and include the HMMA in downtown development planning.

The HMMA events he described were: • Easter Egg Hunt—third year

• Art Hop—ninth year, May to September

• Concerts in the Park—since 1999, six to eight summer shows

• Chili Cook Off—12th year, September

• Safe Trick or Treat— ninth year, 600 kids

• Banner Christmas—sixth year, November

• Small Town Christmas—12th year, first three weekends of December
For more information, see www.monumentmerchants.com/events.htm.

Some of the items Woodworth noted about HMMA were:

• Promotes merchant prosperity

• Encourages developing relationships among merchants

• Promotes public awareness of the old downtown business district

• Builds local community

• Self-funded with nonprofit status through dues

• Funds public events

• Provides advertising

• Contributes proceeds from public events to charitable causes

• Concerts in the Park won the 2009 Colorado State Governor’s award for best promotional event in Colorado
HMMA town improvements over the years: • Construction of the band shell, restrooms, and a new sign in Limbach Park

• Street lights along Second Street

• New sign at the entrance to the town from I–25

• Directional signs for businesses

• Landscaping
Trustees Becki Tooley, Stan Gingrich, and Rafael Dominguez were absent from the meeting.

Trustees’ comments

Mayor Travis Easton read a letter he received from Joyce Campbell, the great-grandmother of Ryan Willhite, thanking Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman for her sympathy and kindness. Campbell and Imojene Willhite, the great-grandmother of Scarlett Gallagher, sought Sirochman’s help at Town Hall in selecting a headstone for Ryan and Scarlett after the Town of Monument donated a plot in the town cemetery for the young children’s burial.

The tragic deaths of this brother and sister occurred on Feb. 14 at 9550 E. Woodmen Rd. Ethan Corrau, who stabbed these children, also died of a stab wound he inflicted on himself. (For more details, see www.gazette.com/articles/serious-151001-child-injuries.html.)

Each member of the board expressed gratitude to Sirochman for her thoughtful, caring, and sincere assistance to these ladies.

Mayor Easton stated the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corporation and the Town of Monument would be participating in a joint breakfast at the Fairfield Inn on March 20. Easton said Trustee Rafael Dominguez is helping build this partnership.

Water Q and A

Town Water Attorney Bob Krassa and Town Water Resource Engineer Bruce Lytle gave an hour-long presentation on the complexities of water law, ownership of various kinds of water rights, and the legal and practical pros and cons of purchasing and transporting renewable water to supplement groundwater wells versus investing in reuse infrastructure. Krassa also gave a brief overview of Monument’s water law cases. There was a very technical question-and-answer period for the trustees to ask questions of these consultants who rarely meet directly with the board.

The board unanimously approved the $8,500 consulting contract for town water resource planning proposed by Gary Barber, the town’s water representative and broker. The tasks listed in Barber’s proposal were: • Attend six Board of Trustee meetings.

• Meet with prospective regional partners at four meetings.

• Review prior regional planning efforts with town trustees and staff.

• Meet with partners to prepare draft water strategy for review.

• Revise draft strategy and submit final copy.
Consultant Linda Firth of Water Matters presented the joint Water Conservation Plan she drafted for the Town of Monument, Town of Palmer Lake, and the Triview Metropolitan District. After these three entities agree on the final version, Firth said two more approvals are needed from the Water Conservation Board and the general public.

The planning process included:

• Profiling the existing water supply system for each entity.

• Profiling the water demands and historical demand management efforts of each entity.

• Identifying water efficiency benefits and goals.

• Selecting water efficiency activities for implementation.

• Developing implementation and monitoring plans.
The 40-page Conservation Plan will be posted on each entity’s webpage, advertised in the local newspaper, and made available at the local library and both Town Halls for public review and comment. The public comment period will be 60 days.

Firth stated that all three parties are performing the "foundation activities" for a good plan. She recommended the use of rebates and the educational materials she had included in her plan. Firth reiterated that the reason for adopting a Water Conservation Plan is to ensure state funding. Without a water conservation plan, the town cannot receive state funding.

In other matters, the board unanimously approved: • A change of manager for the liquor license held by the Circle K store at 1190 W. Baptist Rd.

• A change in the town code to allow the board to simplify procedures to be better able to meet state requirements for posting special meetings and to be able to change meeting dates during the summer or when holidays occur on a Monday to ensure a quorum.

• A clarification in the town code that states, "No elected member shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office. Terms are considered consecutive unless they are at least a term apart."

• Changes to the town Cemetery Ordinance to clarify the Public Works Department’s duties regarding the maintenance of the cemetery and the town clerk’s duties regarding recordation of cemetery deeds and cemetery operation.

The board also approved changes to the Special Events Ordinance that will allow special events to be held on private property without obtaining a special event permit from the Town of Monument. This change allows smaller businesses the opportunity to draw in customers and hold events without the financial obligation to the town of first obtaining a $100 permit. Drawing in more business is expected to benefit the town as a whole.

The town will lose about $400 in special event permits per year due to this revision. Most special events are for nonprofit organizations. All four special events where fees were collected in 2012 were held on private property—without blocking roadways.

A paragraph listing many complex procedures for appealing a decision by the town clerk was deleted. The option to appeal a special event permit denial directly to the Board of Trustees was not changed. The option for anyone who submits a written objection to the issuance of a special events permit to also appeal that approved special permit to the Board of Trustees was left intact.

Financial reports

The board unanimously approved a disbursement of $116,727 to Triview Metropolitan District for January sales tax ($109,773), February motor vehicle tax ($6,959), and February Pikes Peak Regional Building sales tax ($35.)

Deputy Treasurer Monica Harder stated she had changed the format for the sales tax reports from bar to line charts. The trustees stated this is the format that they prefer and thanked Harder for her hard work. Net sales tax for January was $30,000 more than the amount budgeted.

Staff reports

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara stated that the town is working on selecting locations for permanent banner boards for nonprofit and charitable organizations, the final design for way-finding signage for downtown Monument, and marketing organization proposals.

Public Works Director Tom Tharnish noted that well 7 had been repaired.

Tharnish also noted that the town’s pavilion at Monument Lake had been damaged severely by a vehicle driving through it. Three of the four support columns were severed. A police report was filed. The Parks and Open Space Division of Public Works is replacing the support columns. The new tiered water rate structure will go into effect on May 1.

Tharnish provided a list of capital project costs for stormwater infrastructure installation projects: • $2 million for Beacon Lite Road from Highway 105 to Dirty Woman Creek.

• $672,000 for Front Street from Third Street to Second Street.

• $522,000 for Jefferson Street from Third Street to Santa Fe Avenue.

• $618,000 for the East side of the railroad tracks draining southward.

• $336,000 for drainage to Monument Lake.
The total storm water infrastructure cost based upon the 2005 Master Storm Water Plan is $4.2 million.

Some of the items Police Chief Jake Shirk discussed were:

• The department’s command staff met with members of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office command staff to discuss inter-agency requests for assistance and the amount of resources that the Sheriff’s Office, such as its SWAT team, can bring to bear on a tactical emergency. The opportunity to train together was also discussed.

• Shirk had been asked to participate on the Lewis-Palmer District 38 safety and security committee.

• Shirk and Officer Jon Hudson attended a training class on safety and security for schools, designed to teach school faculty what to do in emergencies and how to prepare for them.

• The department applied for the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club grant for night-vision devices.

• The Citizens Police Academy is scheduled to start on April 16 from 7 to10 p.m. for eight weeks.

• Advice from the department on crime prevention through environmental design remains available for local businesses.

• Shirk met with training coordinators from the state and the attorney general’s office to discuss grant money for training for police officers.

• Shirk and Sgt. Mark Owens attended a meeting with the South Central Homeland Security grant coordinator and Colorado Springs Police Department to discuss grant opportunities.

• The Records Unit completed its storage unit project, shredding115 boxes and implementing a new system to track retention dates of records.
Some of the items Interim Town Manager/Treasurer Pamela Smith discussed were: • The staff will work on long-term items in the town’s Capital Improvement Program to get current prices and return on investment information to update scope-of-work descriptions and prioritizations.

• The directors are working through their individual lists of transition projects, which each created after the resignation of the town manager, in addition to the group tasks for all the directors.

• Code Enforcement Officer Laura Hogan is working on an Emergency Notification System to distribute blast emails and text messages to board and staff members as well as citizens in the event of emergencies and closures.
Mayor Easton asked the board to consider the next steps for appointing Smith as town manager.

Trustee John Howe reminded everyone that the Memorial Day Celebration will take place on May 27 at the Monument Cemetery.

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

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The April 1 Board of Trustees article will be published in the next edition of OCN due to space limitations.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 15 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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

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Monument Planning Commission, March 13: Promontory Pointe replat site plan amendment approved

By Jim Kendrick

On March 13, the Monument Planning Commission approved the replat and second amendment of the planned development (PD) site plan of Promontory Pointe. Classic Homes proposed changes to the final two phases in the north end of this project that provide a revised layout of some of the lots and streets that Classic believes is better suited to the topography. The new layout will allow the streets to run parallel with the topography and reduce the maximum street grade from 10 percent to 8 percent.

The original Promontory Pointe plat proposed by landowner Landco was approved on Sept. 5, 2006. The original Promontory Pointe PD site plan and associated revised plat proposed by John Laing Homes were approved on March 5, 2007, and had 274 lots. Seven of the 267 previously approved lots were eliminated in a minor amendment proposed in 2011 by Classic Homes, just after Classic purchased the bankrupt property. Tom Kassawara, director of the Development Services Department, administratively approved a minor redesign of streets as well as minor changes in the lot layout to address issues associated with the final grading plan in the 2007 PD site plan. (www.ocn.me/v6n10.htm#bot0905, www.ocn.me/v7n4.htm#bot0305)

Kassawara said latest revisions in Classic’s proposed Replat A and second site plan amendment contained revisions to the street configurations and lot layouts on the east side of Gleneagle Drive that were significant enough for Planning Commission review and approval.

The absences of Commissioners Ed Delaney (chair), Kathy Spence (vice chair), and Dave Gwisdalla were excused. Commissioner Glenda Smith was acting chair for this meeting.

Alternate Commissioner Melissa Wood served as a voting member for this meeting under the recently revised commission bylaws approved by the Monument Board of Trustees on Feb. 4. The board unanimously approved a change in the 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.

Although an alternate commissioner had served on the Planning Commission since July 19, 2004, the position was not formally recognized until Aug. 8, 2007. The commission bylaws were then modified, as recommended by Kassawara, to recognize that there was an alternate planning commissioner. However, the modification only allowed this single alternate 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, this modified participation rule had never been enforced. Alternate Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick was typically a voting member during commission meetings after he was appointed on March 10, 2010.

The alternate position was left unfilled until Melissa Wood volunteered and was appointed by the Board of Trustees on Nov. 5, 2012. However, the very narrow participation rule was subsequently enforced by Kassawara, precluding Wood from "learning by doing" even though at least one commissioner has been absent for each commission meeting after she volunteered to serve. Wood could only watch the proceedings from the audience.

The other commissioners objected to Wood being excluded from the meetings she regularly attended after her appointment and asked the Board of Trustees to change the bylaws to allow Wood to participate whenever any commissioner was absent. The board approved the requested change in the participation rule on Feb. 4 and created a second alternate planning commissioner position.

For more information, see: www.ocn.me/v10n5.htm#monpc, www.ocn.me/v12n12.htm#bot1105, and www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#bot0204.

This was the first meeting attended by the town’s new principal planner, Mike Pesicka.

Applications approved with amended conditions

The two applications were submitted by Classic Homes President Joe Loidolt, who was representing the developer subsidiary, MREC Classic Promontory LLC, and the landowner subsidiary, Promontory Pointe Investors LLC. The Classic Homes applicant was Kyle Campbell, P.E., Classic Consulting Engineers and Surveyors Inc.

Kassawara reported that the streets in the revised areas of the proposed replat would be reoriented to a north-south direction to reduce maximum grades from 10 percent to 8 percent and eliminate some retaining walls in phases 4 and 5 of the PD site plan that the town and staff previously approved. Elimination of seven lots would increase the amount of open space by 0.88 of an acre. Gross open space in this proposed replat is 22.5 acres, or 19 percent of the parcel, composed of 20 tracts.

Kassawara gave a short overview of the staff analysis that, as in previous hearings, showed how this Promontory Pointe plat conforms to all 13 criteria for final plats in the town’s municipal zoning code. He also reported no significant issues with the replat application.

Kassawara proposed two conditions of approval for Replat A: "1. The booster pumps for the potable water distribution system in the upper portion of the development must be approved by the Triview Metropolitan District and operational prior to the issuance of the first land use permit for any home in phase 4 or 5. If existing water pressure problems in the Homestead at Jackson Creek subdivision are not remedied as part of the booster pump installation for Promontory Pointe, this must be addressed by the applicant before any other infrastructure development in Promontory Pointe can take place.

"2. Approval is subject to any necessary technical corrections to be approved by staff."

Kassawara reported changes in the required landscaping in the amended site plan would save 2.3 million gallons of irrigation water per year for Triview, primarily through reduction of turf areas and increased use of xeriscape plantings in landscaped common areas such as trails and open space that Triview has to maintain. The radius of cul-de-sacs was increased from the required 90 feet to 100 feet to facilitate access by snow plows and emergency apparatus.

There were no public comments during the open portion of this public hearing on the replat or the two conditions.

Kassawara also reported one significant issue for major amendment 2 to the PD site plan: "The Triview Metropolitan District has had prior concerns about water infrastructure. The applicant met with Triview officials on several occasions prior to the first amendment in 2011 and developed a plan to address this issue. A series of booster pumps is planned to be installed at the Triview water storage tank site to provide the necessary water pressure to the upper portions of the Promontory Pointe development (including phases 4 and 5) and to a small pocket of existing homes in the Homestead at Jackson Creek neighborhood west of the development.

"A condition of approval for this amendment will be that the booster pump system must be accepted by Triview and operational before any land use permits for homes in phases 4 and 5 will be issued by the town."

Kassawara also reported how this amendment was in conformance with the 14 PD site plan review and approval criteria in the town code.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the site plan amendment with four conditions:

"1. The booster pumps for the potable water distribution system in the upper portion of the development must be approved by Triview and operational prior to the issuance of the first land use permit for any home in phase 4 or 5. If existing water pressure problems in the Homestead at Jackson Creek subdivision are not remedied as part of the booster pump installation for Promontory Pointe, this must be addressed by the applicant (Classic Homes) before any other infrastructure development in Promontory Pointe can take place.

"2. Approval is subject to final approval of engineering plans by staff for the remainder of the development. This includes finalization of the drainage and grading plans, which must be approved prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the first home in phases 4 or 5.

"3. A site plan improvement agreement (SPIA) shall be approved by town staff and executed prior to recording of the final PD site plan amendment.

"4. Approval is subject to any necessary technical corrections to be approved by staff."

Jackson Creek resident Monica Harder stated that her home is one of the Homestead houses with "the water pressure issue." She asked why Condition 1 for both the replat and site plan amendment holds "Classic accountable for our water pressure issue."

Kassawara replied, "There’s an agreement between Classic and Triview regarding the booster pumps" from "a year and a half ago." Classic President Joe Loidolt responded that there is no condition in Classic’s booster pump agreement with Triview that Classic must fix the Homestead problem. Kassawara said, "The condition is that it’s fixed. It’s not that you fix it. Triview will have to make sure that it works because it’s their booster pump system that you’re helping to pay for." He added that Triview had acknowledged that it wants to fix the Homestead problem and Classic had offered to help with that as part of getting approval for this development from Triview.

Commissioner John Dick noted that Condition 1 states that the existing Homestead problem must be addressed by the applicant, Classic Homes. Kassawara replied that Classic has to go to Triview to get this fixed with the booster pump system that Triview is building.

Loidolt responded that this is not Classic’s responsibility and Classic will not be able to build homes even if Triview’s pump works for Promontory Pointe but does not solve the Homestead problem. Triview is the entity that has decided to try to fix Homestead’s problem with the Promontory Pointe booster pumps Classic is paying for, he said.

Kassawara then said the second sentence of Condition 1 should be deleted for both Replat A and amendment 2. "We pretty much know that the booster pumps will fix the pressure problems." He noted that Triview has a booster pump system design that will help with Homestead pressure problems and was part of the decision factors used to administratively approve the first amendment after Classic took over the Promontory Pointe project from bankruptcy.

Harder told the commissioners that her husband Tom Harder is on the Triview board "so I know it’s their responsibility." Loidolt added that the Promontory Pointe project has never been responsible for water pressure problems in Jackson Creek. Low pressure in Homestead existed before the first Promontory Pointe plat was approved for a previous developer. The fact that the Promontory Pointe booster pump system may improve water pressure in Jackson Creek is just a side benefit of ensuring adequate water pressure and fire flows to hydrants in phases 4 and 5, Loidolt said.

A motion for reconsideration to amend the prior motions for approvals, with conditions, for both the replat and site plan by deleting the second sentence of the first condition for each motion were unanimously approved. Loidolt thanked the commissioners for amending Condition 1.

Both the Town of Monument and Triview Metropolitan District approved all the potable water distribution infrastructure engineering designs for the Jackson Creek subdivisions that have always had insufficient water pressure, a problem for many years. Two engineering firms, Applegate Group Inc. and Merrick and Co., had previously promised the Triview board that they could design a viable booster pump system in Promontory Pointe that could also provide sufficient water pressure for all of Jackson Creek. On Aug. 9, 2011 Applegate proposed to design and build the booster pump station for about $100,000.

The cost for the original Merrick design contract of Nov. 15, 2011, was $38,800. The first change order cost was $15,000 for supervision of the construction phase. The second change order cost $47,000 and included an increase of $32,000 for additional design work and an additional $15,000 in time and materials for supervision of the construction contractor during the construction of the Promontory Pointe booster pump system, for a total of $100,800.

In addition, Merrick’s estimated construction cost soared to $350,000 for just the booster pump system plus $90,000 for a backup generator system, well beyond the $267,000 in additional house tap fees Classic agreed to contribute to Triview to ensure adequate water pressure and fire flows throughout Promontory Pointe.

On Feb. 12, 2013, the Triview board approved a motion to relocate the booster pump system to the Triview water tank site in northeast Promontory Pointe, to redesign the system to add sufficient additional pumping capacity to sustain fire flows throughout Promontory Pointe, and to also 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 Triview board also unanimously approved a second motion to terminate the amended consultant engineering contract for the booster station with Merrick & Co. It reassigned this engineering design work for the new Promontory Pointe booster pump and fire flow pump to the existing Sanctuary Pointe water tank design contract with JDS-Hydro Consulting Inc. of Colorado Springs with a change order.

For more information on the booster pump issue, see: www.ocn.me/v12n9.htm#tmd, www.ocn.me/v12n12.htm#tmd, www.ocn.me/v13n3.htm#tmd.

The meeting adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 10 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.net.

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

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Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing and Medical Marijuana Authority and Combined Workshop and Town Council meeting, March 5: Water restrictions possible

By Lisa Hatfield

The Palmer Lake Town Council held a Liquor Licensing and Medical Marijuana Authority meeting March 5 to approve a new liquor license. At the Combined Workshop and Town Council meeting the same evening, Water Trustee Mike Maddox mentioned the possibility of water rationing for town residents this year. The council approved municipal support of a grant application that could potentially provide funds for improvements to the park at Palmer Lake. It also approved a June 8 trail work day and two new business licenses.

The council rejected the donation of an expense-ridden piece of property, discussed the Palmer Lake Art Group’s request to vacate the Lucretia Vaile Gallery, and denied Palmer Lake Historical Society a cost exemption for using the Town Hall. Michael Patrizi will be the new Parks and Recreation trustee.

The meeting originally scheduled for Feb. 14 was cancelled due to heavy snow, so the March 5 meeting covered two months of town business.

Police Trustee Bob Grado and Roads Trustee Jerry Davis were absent from the meeting.

Town approves park grant application

O’Malley’s Steak Pub owner Jeff Hulsmann addressed the trustees as a member of the lake restoration group to ask the town to support the grant application to Great Outdoor Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO). The goal is to renovate the park at Palmer Lake into the "Rockin’ the Rails" Park. This grant must be applied for through a municipality, not through a private entity like the lake restoration group.

Hulsmann said, "Some towns have grant writers. You have a bar owner. I did as good as I could do," which brought a laugh from the trustees and audience members.

Town Clerk Tara Berreth asked if this would be a reimbursement grant, because if so, "I will not have the money to write the checks" if there is a delay getting the reimbursements. Hulsmann said he would ask about this cash flow issue when he turned in the grant application in Denver on March 6.

If the grant were awarded, the town would have to promise to maintain the park in a high quality condition and appropriate funds for maintenance in its annual budget. Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich estimated maintenance would cost about $8,000 to $12,000 per year. The town would also have to prove that a cash match and in-kind match have been raised.

The Parks Committee has raised most of the 10 percent cash match for Phase I already and plans future fundraisers. The 20 percent in-kind match would come from discounts and trades on professional services from merchants and contractors, including Bill Fisher’s donation of the architectural design.

If awarded, the almost $350,000 would pay for Phase I infrastructure, including new parking, lighting, trails, disc golf course, restrooms, and a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks to connect the two halves of the park.

Later phases of the project, for which the town would have to reapply for grants from GOCO, could include soccer fields and baseball fields that could provide revenue from rental fees.

The trustees voted unanimously to sign the governmental resolution to apply for the GOCO grant. The results should be announced in June.

Volunteers needed for June 8 trail work day

Colorado Mountain Club representative Tom Mowle asked the town for permission to proceed on plans to make improvements to the Ice Cave Creek Trail. The goal is to create a sustainable, safe, erosion-free trail. "What the trail will do is create alternatives for people who are up here other than hanging out by the lake," said Bill Benson of the Friends of Monument Preserve.

Mowle asked for a single point of contact with the town to streamline communication. Water Trustee Maddox was chosen because, as Mayor Nikki McDonald said, "That’s not a park up there, guys; that’s our watershed." A motion to give permission for Colorado Mountain Club to organize trail work, as long as the town has no liability issues, was passed unanimously.

Anyone who wants to sign up to help on June 8 should email tommowle@yahoo.com or see the Rampart Range Wildlands Project Facebook page.

New licenses approved

The council unanimously approved two new business licenses and a new liquor license.

• Frank Jones got a new liquor license for Happy Hours on Circle Road.

• Monumental Microderm LLC, an aesthetics business owned by Trina Shook, is now located at 4 Highway 105, Suite A (above Bella Panini).

• Dream Cabin Sales LLC, 707 County Line Road, is owned by Daryl Thompson and makes manufactured cabins. Thompson is hiring a second shift to keep up with demand. Call 719-659-6251 or email dreamcabinsales@hotmail.com for employment information.
Donated property returned to donor

In fall 2012, the town received a donation of property off of Lindo Avenue from Kim Makower. However, as soon as the town took possession, the El Paso County treasurer notified the town that it owed about $21,000 in back taxes and fees. Town Clerk Berreth has since negotiated this cost down to a potential $655 per year starting in 2013, but it would be a continual drain on town finances, and the land is unusable.

Berreth explained that selling the property is not an option, since it’s not big enough for a house, it is in an inaccessible location on the side of a mountain, it has no access road, and it has no water accessibility without adding a pump. After an animated discussion, a motion to give the property back to the donor was passed unanimously. Berreth will void the deed and the land will revert to Makower.

PLAG votes to vacate Vaile Gallery

Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG) representative John DeFrancesco said the group’s membership had voted to vacate the Lucretia Vaile Gallery at 118 Hillside Road. The group is unable to use the building effectively, and ongoing maintenance costs of about $3,500 a year reduce the group’s ability to award as many art scholarships as it would like.

The 1979 deed states that if PLAG decides to vacate the building, the property reverts back to the town, and when the town sells the property, proceeds shall be used for the permanent betterment of the community. DeFrancesco asked the council to agree to the five stipulations in the written petition:

• The gallery will revert to the Town of Palmer Lake.

• The town will take immediate action to sell the property without any cost to PLAG.

• PLAG will continue to use the gallery until it is sold, while continuing to pay for utilities and insurance. If PLAG decides to vacate the property before it is sold, the town will pay for utilities and expenses until it is sold.

• The town will pay PLAG 33 percent of the proceeds of the sale, which PLAG will use for high school scholarships, art education, and art exhibits.

• The town will let PLAG conduct its monthly membership meetings at the Palmer Lake Town Hall for the same price the Palmer Lake Historical Society pays, which will remain at $25 a month.
The board tabled the matter to refer it to Town Attorney Larry Gaddis, who was absent due to an illness.

Historical Society denied exemption

The Palmer Lake Historical Society (PLHS), represented by President Al Walter, asked for an exemption from the $25 use fee for group meetings at the Town Hall each month. Walters explained that PLHS "is a town asset, not a club or a class," and gave numerous examples of how the group attracts visitors and generates publicity about Palmer Lake, such as organizing the Chautauqua and getting the Palmer Lake Star on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties.

All the trustees noted their appreciation for all the work done by PLHS, but McDonald had to deny the request, saying, "It costs about $645 a month to run (the Town Hall). It’s just to help defray some of the costs of the use." Radosevich explained that even the volunteer Fire Department has to pay to use the hall, and commercial classes that use the building pay a higher rate than PLHS, the Fire Department, or PLAG do. A motion to deny PLHS’s waiver request was approved unanimously.

New Parks and Recreation trustee

Palmer Lake resident Michael Patrizi volunteered to be the new Parks and Recreation trustee. The council voted unanimously to accept Patrizi, a physical education teacher in District 20. He will be sworn in at the April meeting.

Christmas Lighting Contest winners

Hulsmann announced the winners of the yearly Christmas Lighting Contest. Out of 40 submissions: 100 for first place - the Clark family’s "way over the top" lighting display on Greeley Boulevard, $50 for second place - the Lempke family on Viola Street, $25 for third place - the Hawkins family on Durango Drive.

Committee reports

Water Trustee Maddox explained that Water Supervisor Steve Orcutt has asked residents to conserve water or the town might need to sharply curb watering this spring and summer. This led to a brief discussion, which will be continued at the April meeting, about the possibility of imposing water restrictions on Palmer Lake residents. Residents used 5.1 million gallons in January and 3.68 million gallons in February, which were high for the time of year.

Berreth presented the police report. In January, there were several traffic violations, domestic issues, and DUIs. Palmer Lake police now has an agreement to use the shooting range three times a quarter with the Monument police. Berreth said the department was "actually under budget" through the end of February.

Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster said that January and February were busy, with 57 calls and 4,000 volunteer hours through the end of February. The department is getting Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) approved and doing training with the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. Because of budget and fuel cost issues, volunteers can’t drive the fire trucks unless going on calls or doing training.

After the March 5 PLTC meeting, OCN learned that Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Marshal John Vincent had been selected as Palmer Lake’s new volunteer fire chief. He is currently scheduled to be sworn in at the April Palmer Lake Town Council meeting.

In the roads report, McDonald said a permanent asphalt planter will be installed on Spring Street at the intersection with South Valley Road near Highway 105. This will replace the plastic poles that are there now. The planter will be 30 feet by 4 feet, centered on the double lines, and will have rebar reinforcement. It will cost an estimated $2,646.

McDonald’s mayor’s report complimented PLHS for getting the Palmer Lake Star on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. In an emotional few moments, Berreth and McDonald told the trustees about a donation of $250 from John and Chris Fitzgerald to be used for maintenance of the Palmer Lake Star; the money was given in memory of Tim Wagner, "our wonderful, wonderful surveyor," McDonald said. Wagner surveyed the star so it could be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

McDonald introduced the idea of buying iPads for all council members as a way of getting committee reports from Berreth before the meetings. McDonald and Berreth have received trainings in "going electronic" as part of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG), McDonald said. Berreth will get a bid to see how much iPads could cost the town.

Economic Development Trustee Shana Ball did not have any news to report.

Regarding the 2013 budget so far, Berreth said she’s only received about half the revenue expected so far from property taxes, but the town was below budget on spending through the end of February.

The council went into executive session to discuss personnel issues related to the Fire Department at 8:20 p.m., and members did not plan to make any announcements when they returned to adjourn the meeting.

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The next meeting will be April 11 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953, then press 0.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, March 27: Board considers updating files, OKs Barn improvements

By Harriet Halbig

On March 27, the Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) received a briefing by Kyle Wood and Keith Berroyer of Konica Minolta Business Solutions regarding storage of decades’ worth of WIA paper files, including oversized items such as blueprints and other plans.

Wood and Berroyer recommended that the association lease a new copier machine that would double as a scanner, enabling office personnel to file information immediately on its receipt. They also recommended lease of an oversized scanner for blueprints and a storage module. This would allow the organization to have digital backup of irreplaceable files in the event of a fire or vandalism. The cost of such a system could vary between the present cost of a copier and several hundred dollars more per month, including service fees.

WIA President Jim Hale thanked Wood and Berroyer for their recommendations and said that the board would have to discuss the human aspect of the project before committing to it. Many hours of work would be involved in the scanning of files.

The contract for the current system expires in 2014.

Homeowners Association Manager Matt Beseau said that it would also be necessary to determine which files could be discarded and not in need of scanning.

Beseau also said that the organization has run out of room for more paper files and needs new shelving and cabinets to continue to store them in the present configuration.

Barn improvements

Common Areas Director W. Lee Murray reported on continued improvements to the Barn. The board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of a maximum of $41,500 to replace the deck of the Barn with fire-resistant material for the decking and metal railings.

The board passed an additional resolution to approve the expenditure of not more than $1,000 to purchase a wall-mounted 55 to 65-inch flat screen television for the conference room. This item will only be used to project materials, because it will not be hooked up to cable or other entertainment access.

Hale gave a brief president’s report in which he addressed community concern about news that the Monument Hill Country Club will not offer golf this summer. He said that a number of residents who live on the course are concerned about its appearance without irrigation. He said that he, members of the country club board and members of the board of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation would meet in the near future to discuss the matter.

Beseau reported that the association’s new phone system had been installed and that work is being done on the website and creation of a Facebook page for WIA.

Beseau also reported that WIA will sponsor a hazardous waste disposal day on June 7 from 9 a.m. to noon.

WIA switches banks

WIA Treasurer Tom Schoemaker reported that the association is transferring its assets from UMB bank to Integrity Bank. At the February board meeting, Schoemaker had expressed concern over excessive fees being charged by UMB. The new arrangement will include interest on checking accounts and increased interest rates for CDs and money market funds.

Public Safety Director Per Suhr said that one of WIA’s vehicles was damaged while pulling a car out of a ditch. The owner’s insurance will pay for the damage.

Suhr reported that all officers have received CPR and firearms training and that Woodmoor Public Safety is considering offering personal protection classes free of charge.

Architectural Control Director Darren Rouse reported that his committee is discussing the inclusion of Firewise materials in the updated Design Standards Manual. In addition, it will revisit a review of multifamily design standards in anticipation of new activity in the area.

Forestry Director Eric Gross commented that the Firewise Committee would like to consult on the matter of fire-resistant materials.

Gross also reported on some upcoming events, including a wildfire prevention workshop on April 6 that will be attended by a member of the WIA committee, an April 17 wildfire preparation panel at Palmer Ridge High School, and a presentation in May on creating defensible space around a home.

Gross said that he has still received no word on the application for a fuel reduction grant.

The board passed a resolution to renew its liability insurance contract with an increase of 6 percent over last year.

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The board 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 on April 24.

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

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March Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

After a cold and snowy February, March continued the trend of below-normal temperatures with about average precipitation. However, as is common as we transition from winter to spring, we saw quite a variety of conditions during the month.

The first few days of March were quiet. Temperatures started off in the upper 30s on the 1st and steadily progressed to the low 50s by the 3rd. The mild temperatures and the stronger March sunshine helped to melt a good amount of snow that had accumulated during February as well. A quick-moving storm then moved through the region during the afternoon of the 4th. This brought a round of heavy snow and wind, causing some slick roads but adding some much needed moisture. Nearly 4 inches of new snow fell in only a couple of hours with this storm, and as skies cleared quickly that evening temperatures plummeted, reaching to below-zero levels by midnight in some spots.

Quiet weather returned from the 5th through the 8th before another powerful storm system rolled through the region on the 9th. Temperatures started off cold, with below-zero values in some spots on the morning of the 5th. Temperatures that afternoon reached the mid-30s, about 10 to 15 degrees below normal. However, the stronger March sunshine over the next few days allowed temperatures to warm quickly into the mid-50s on the 6th and 7th.

Changes began to take place during the afternoon and evening of the 8th as a powerful storm was moving into the Intermountain West. This storm took a favored path over the Four Corners region, then through Southern Colorado. As an area of low pressure began to deepen over Southern Colorado around La Junta, winds turned from a north/northeasterly direction.

Moisture increased and cold air continued to filter in, and by 7 a.m. on the 9th snow began to fall. At first, the snowfall was light to moderate, but as the morning progressed the snowfall intensified and winds began to howl. By late morning, blizzard conditions were common. This continued through the afternoon and into the early evening. Major roadways in the area were closed because of the low visibilities caused by snow and wind. The storm moved away from the region late on the 9th, but winds continued to blow through. Most of the region accumulated 6 to 10 inches of windblown snow, again bringing much needed moisture at a time when our plants really need it.

No major storms affected the region during the second full week of March. Temperatures went on their typical March rollercoaster ride however, starting off on the cold side on the 11th and 12th. High temperatures failed to reach the 30s on the 12th, with fog, low clouds, and flurries. However, sunshine quickly returned the next day and temperatures warmed nicely. Highs reached into the upper 50s on the 13th and low to mid-60s on the 14th and 15th. Cooler and unsettled conditions again moved back in for the weekend. Unfortunately, no organized storms moved through, with most of the snow falling in the mountains. High temperatures were held to seasonal or slightly below those levels, in the 40s and 50s.

A serious taste of winter made an appearance during the first few days of spring as a powerful and cold storm system moved through the region during the week of the 18th. Temperatures during most of the week were pretty close to normal, with mid-40s and mostly sunny skies from the 18th through the 20th. Winds began to kick up a bit on the 21st ahead of the approaching storm, and temperatures warmed into the low to mid-50s on the mild southwesterly breezes. However, the first effects of the storm began to move into the region by early that afternoon, with snow and graupel showers occurring just before 1 p.m. and again around 4 p.m. However, this was just a preview of unsettled conditions ahead of the main storm.

Cooler air behind this first disturbance kept temperatures chilly on the 22nd, with highs only reaching the upper 30s and low 40s, with winds making it feel even colder. The main energy and cold air from the storm began to affect the area late on the 22nd, with light snow starting to fall during the evening hours. Snow continued to increase in intensity overnight and into the next morning. Winds picked up as well, with blizzard conditions in many areas from late morning on the 23rd through the early evening hours. Temperatures stayed cold as well, only reaching into the mid-teens for highs during the 23rd. Most areas received 5 to10 inches of windblown snow during the event by the time the snow ended late on the 23rd.

As skies cleared that evening, a cold air mass combined with fresh snowfall to help temperatures tumble, reaching well below zero for most areas. This was the coldest morning in the region since 1965 for so late in the season. Unsettled conditions and cold air produced brief heavy snow showers during the late morning and afternoon of the 24th as well, with another half-inch accumulating in spots. Temperatures were again cold, with highs only reaching the low 20s. Temperatures so cold at this time of the year are very unusual, especially since we stayed below freezing for several days and reached below zero on several mornings.

The last week of the month saw a return of quiet weather and our first spring-like buildup of clouds. A few light rain showers managed to reach the ground during the afternoon of the 29th and 30th. Plenty of sunshine on the final day of the month led to our warmest day as highs reached into the mid-60s.

A look ahead

April is known for a wide range of weather conditions in the region and is on average our snowiest month of the year. We can see 70° temperatures one afternoon and blizzard conditions the next. Several recent years have seen over 50 inches of snow accumulate during the month. Of course, it also melts very quickly, often adding very beneficial moisture to the soil and helping the vegetation, which is just getting started. We can hope this year will bring abundant moisture and make up for some of the dry conditions we’ve experienced over the last year.

March 2013 Weather Statistics

Average High 46.7° (-3.8°) 100-year return frequency value max 57.9° min 38.0°
Average Low 18.0° (-3.4°) 100-year return frequency value max 27.0° min 12.0°
Highest Temperature 66° on the 31st
Lowest Temperature -9° on the 24th
Monthly Precipitation 1.12" (-0.57", 33% below normal) 100-year return frequency value max 4.29" min 0.22"
Monthly Snowfall 19.9" (-1.3", 6% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 78.0" (-15.4", 16% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 11.07" (-3.18", 22% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1012 (+121)
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.

Stealing is a crime

As a local small-business owner and resident, I was recently shocked to discover eight of my business signs were stolen off Black Forest Road between Burgess and Hodgen.

I filed a police report; the investigator verified my signs were not removed by the county Department of Transportation (DOT). I confirmed with the DOT that I didn’t violate the right-of-way regulations, I didn’t post any signs on private property, and other business signs posted in the same areas were not removed Someone went out of their way to target all of my signs only and steal them.

I often volunteer my services to shelters and provide assistance to lower-income individuals. Having a loss of marketing such as this negatively impacts my availability to help in the community. This is also an issue for home and business owners, because who will be the next victim?

Let’s all help keep our small community safe from thieves. Pay attention and watch out for your neighbors and local businesses.

Patricia Pantazis Hunnybun
Pampered Pets & People

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Spotlight on local authors

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Authors among us have a broad variety of offerings, ranging from science fiction to real life adventures. Following are some samples of their work.

Life, Liberty & Resilience: A Man’s War on Three Fronts
By Steffan Tubbs (Steffan Tubbs) $21.99

Joseph LaNier, a World War II African-American veteran, grew up in Mississippi during an era of deep segregation, hate, and injustice. He joined the Navy, became one of the first African-American Navy Seabees, and was sent to Iwo Jima. This experience changed his life and solidified his hope for a better life. Despite setbacks due to the color of his skin, LaNier became a very successful pharmacist, eventually settling in Denver. This is a true-life story of resilience, hope, and love regardless of the injustice in this world.

Trusting Calvin
By Sharon Peters (Globe Pequot Press) $19.95

This remarkable, touching true story shows how a special dog unlocks the heart of a Holocaust survivor with a lifelong fear of dogs. Captured by Nazi soldiers as a teenager, Max Edelman witnessed a German shepherd kill a fellow prisoner in a concentration camp, and his deep fear of dogs was formed that brutal day. Although Max survived the cruelty and deprivation of the camps, his beating by two guards left him blind. Somehow, he buried the past, married, and thrived in his new life in America. However, when he sought help from Guiding Eyes for the Blind, his fear of dogs prevented him from receiving the assistance offered by Calvin, a dedicated chocolate Labrador retriever. A dramatic event eventually dissolves the emotional shield between man and dog, and a bond of trust and love is formed between them.

The Sinner: Book One of the Dragon Legacy
By Shane Rice and Char Adles (Amazon.com) $8.99

Hazelin, half-dragon and half-elf, is on a mission to reclaim her throne after being kidnapped at the age of 6. After her escape at age 16, she is bent on defeating those who threaten to enslave her once again. With the help of her new friends, her father, and a secret member of the Olde Royal Family, she might reach her goal and meet her real fate. This book is sheer fantasy with nonstop action as Hazelin reacts to the forces of evil wanting to ensnare her.

Keyser Run and Muckross Folly (Evelyn Morgan Series)
By J.L. Austgen, $15.99 each

Evelyn Morgan, who has spent years tracking a world-renowned assassin, is the team leader of one of the FBI’s elite anti-terrorist squads. While investigating the sources of funding for a terrorist cell operating in suburban Washington, D.C., Morgan is ensnared in an international conspiracy more sinister than she could have imagined. One of her agents wants her dead and will stop at nothing to accomplish the goal. In the sequel, Morgan vows revenge against the assassin who planned the operation that destroyed her team. Her investigation uncovers a cunning, deadly new menace that has already struck her family and has her slated as the next victim.

Once Upon Another Time
By Diane Sawatzki (Palmer Divide Productions LLC) $9.95

While out snowshoeing during a storm, Kate MacKenzie finds shelter in a cave and falls down a passage into the 1860s when a bear startles her. She is trapped in territorial Colorado with Victor, a Ute Indian. Kate struggles to survive the harshness of the time and in doing so, she befriends both whites and Indians, finds romance, and maintains hope of returning to the 21st century.

Create a Legacy
By Meredith "Kit" Bromfield (Meredith Bromfield) $18

This practical workbook is a guide to documenting your journey through life; sharing your life with loved ones; and giving them the tools they need to deal with estate matters after your passing. The workbook is made up of four components: value and life lessons; mementos of life lived that we value; assets; and final wishes. Well organized and easy to understand, this workbook is a valuable gift to readers and the families that love them.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, these local author publications include inspiring life stories, page-turning mysteries, helpful advice, and more. Why not give one of them a try? 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: Double-crested cormorant

Click here to view the drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of a double-crested cormorant

By Elizabeth Hacker

The double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus, is a large black water bird that migrates to this region early each spring. Double-crested refers to the feather tufts above its eyes. Cormorants are also called shags, a name that also was derived from the eye tufts that grow longer, sometimes turn white, and appear "shaggy" as the bird ages. Birds in the wild have been known to live to be 17.

Range and habitat

It is found across much of North America on freshwater or brackish lakes, rivers, marshes, and ponds. During the winter when inland waters freeze, the double-crested cormorant migrates to open coastal waters.

Characteristics

The name cormorant comes from the Latin for "raven of the sea," a reference to the inky color of its feathers. Its feathers are dark brown or black, and in sunlight it appear iridescent.

The double-crested cormorant male and female look alike. On land, it holds its long body upright. It can weigh as much as 6 pounds, can grow to be 3 feet in length, and has a 4-foot wingspan.

Often it is seen standing on a rock with wings out-stretched like it’s posing to be photographed. This is the way the cormorant dries its wings, airs its feathers, and in hot conditions, cools itself. The top of its head is flat and its neck is long and curved. Its beak is long and hooked and it has an orange pouch below its beak.

The double-crested cormorant sits low in the water, and often only its neck and head are visible. It does this to wet its feathers, making them heavier and more dense. The added weight reduces the bird’s buoyancy, allowing it to dive to depths of 10 feet or more. Dives can last more than a minute.

Its strong black webbed feet and legs propel the cormorant under water and help it to chase its prey. It grasps a fish by clamping it tightly between its hooked beak. It then swims to the surface where it tosses the fish in the air and swallows it whole. Fish must be swallowed head first to prevent the fish’s tail and scales from being caught in the bird’s throat and choking it.

Diet

A cormorant’s preferred diet is fish, but it is an opportunistic bird that also consumes amphibians, crustaceans, snakes, and insects.

Breeding and nesting

At age 3, the double-crested cormorant is fully mature, its feathers are black, its beak is dark, and it has the characteristic tufts of feathers above its eyes. It is ready to mate.

Cormorants are gregarious birds that gather in large nesting colonies, often alongside other wading birds including herons and egrets. Nests are built in a variety of locations such as trees, on the ground on islands, and on the edges of rock cliffs. The male chooses a nesting site to attract a female. If a female likes the site and accepts the male, a pair bond is formed. The male brings the female nesting materials, and she builds a large platform nest made from flotsam, sticks, seaweed, and any other object he brings to her. As the breeding season progresses, the nest becomes like cement from the accumulation of guano.

The female lays an average of three blue eggs. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs. The eggs hatch in about four weeks, and the parents take turns feeding and protecting the helpless altricial chicks. Parents use their wings to shade the chicks from the hot sun until they develop feathers and are strong enough to venture from the nest.

At about three weeks, the chicks have feathers and venture from the nest to roam the colony with other chicks in groups called crčches. At night they return to their nest and continue to be fed by their parents. At 10 weeks, the juveniles are fully grown, leave the nest, and are on their own.

Folklore and other interesting facts

I’ve always thought cormorants looked ominous. It surprised me to learn that the cormorant is found in Greek mythology and that many cultures consider the cormorant to be a symbol of nobility. Fishermen often carried cormorant amulets, or good luck charms, to attract fish to their nets.

Unlike other waterfowl, the cormorant doesn’t have well-developed oil glands. To protect its feathers and dry its wings, it stands on a rock or tree limb and spread its wings. This posture was depicted in early Christian religious iconography to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice and human salvation.

In China and Japan, humans once exploited the fishing skills of the cormorant by tying a snare to its throat and sending it to sea. The snare allowed the cormorant to swallow only small fish, allowing the fisherman to take the larger fish from the cormorant.

Pine Forest Antique and Garden Show

This year I was honored to be invited by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club to have a booth at the Pine Forest Antique and Garden Show. The show will be held at Lewis-Palmer High School on April 20 and 21. Many of my illustrations will be up for sale, and I will be available to discuss birds and demonstrate the techniques I use to illustrate birds. I 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: Art for peace: Kilim weavings that save lives

By Janet Sellers

Monument’s own Max Hatfield has, with Friendship International, created a kilim tapestry workshop in eastern Turkey where Kurdish girls are trained to weave traditional kilims. Kilims are a form of textile art, historically created as tribal weavings. They are flat tapestries that are used as rugs or wall art, and have become extremely popular decor in the West in recent years. Kilims have a long history, with some dating as far back as the fourth or fifth century A.D.

For over 20 years, Friendship International has worked with and offered friendship to the Kurdish community in eastern Turkey. Due to a lack of education and skills, the girls in this culture are of particular concern to Friendship International because they become prime targets for recruitment by terrorist groups. Friendship International looks to change that scenario with the skills, training, and sales of the kilims at their workshop for the girls.

Proceeds are used to pay for health care and literacy education and to give the girls the possibility of looking beyond their current circumstances. This project has prevented many girls from being recruited by terrorist groups by allowing them to instead dream of higher education and, as educated mothers, pass on the values of tolerance and reason to their children.

Because of the way kilims are intricately woven, they feature a traditional, sharp-etched design that highlights the geometric forms. They are beloved by collectors. Due to the relative delicacy of the kilim weave as compared to a pile weave (which also blurs the design) there are very few kilims over 100 or so years old left in the world.

Friendship International will exhibit and sell kilims at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) April 2 to 15. The exhibit will include hand-woven rugs, some of which are 80 years old or more, that have been purchased from Kurdish families. These purchases make a difference in a young girl’s life and help to support peacemakers in the Middle East. I hope you will join me and take in this extraordinary show, and perhaps you will be the lucky patron who buys a kilim and helps a Kurdish girl live to see her dreams grow.

April art events

The Art Walk will begin at 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 12. The downtown Monument arts district offers an Art Night every month, and a little birdie told me they may be increased up to weekly—so every weekend can be fun again! Usually, the arts district galleries hold their new show receptions to coincide with the Friday Art Night. From Palmer Lake to Baptist Road, the area’s local arts venues are looking to have our whole community get out and enjoy the art and evenings.

It’s like an open house of sorts, with refreshments and the gallery owners and artists on hand to talk with and enjoy stories about the art and how things get made in the creative realm of our local arts district.

Bella Art and Frame will feature its new April art exhibit, Just Hors’n Around by artists Dolly Rickerman and Robert Templin, with the artists’ reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 12.The show runs April 3 to 27.

Black Faced Sheep gallery offers its ongoing exhibit of handcrafted woodworks, notably small, hand-carved wood sculptures for tabletop clusters and walls. The gallery also has home decor items, candles, and heirloom "keepers" for gifts with a rustic, country feel. 16152 Jackson Creek Parkway, No. 120, Monument in the Walmart area.

Southwinds Fine Arts Gallery will kick off the spring/summer art season with the Friday Art Night and will have an exhibit tent at Bella Art and Frame. On May 3, Southwinds Fine Arts will hold a grand reopening of the gallery with a ribbon cutting from 4 to 6 p.m. Leo Huff will be introduced as the director of the gallery.

The annual Southwinds Fine Arts Gallery spring show for member artists will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. May 4 and 5. A ribbon cutting is set for May 3 to kick off the show, and everyone is invited to attend the festivities all weekend. The gallery offers work by owner J. Clark Wider and has a broad range of member artists’ works in ongoing exhibits throughout the spacious grounds and gallery. The gallery is also open by appointment. It is located at 16575 Roller Coaster Rd, Colorado Springs. Phone: (719) 481-6157.

TLCA will feature the Pikes Peak Pastel Society, which will present Springtime in the Rockies, an exhibit of paintings. This juried exhibit will run from April 2 to 13. The opening reception will be held at 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 5. TCLA is located at 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.

Wisdom Tea House will feature artist Kris Lane, who is new to the Wisdom Tea House exhibits. The show runs for the month of April. Wisdom Tea House is located at 65 Second St., Monument. Phone: (719) 481-8822.

Janet Sellers is an American artist, art teacher and writer. She makes public art, puts brush to paint every day, and has a new blogtalkradio online radio show for the best in art, food, and fitness. She lives in Woodmoor, Colo., and can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Click here to view the on-line version. Snapshots of Our Community starts on page 27.

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What are your emergency plans?

By Lisa Hatfield

What did you do when you got the call to evacuate your neighborhood in the middle of the night because of danger from a leaking railroad car? When nearby wildfires put you under pre-evacuation, did you stand lost in the middle of your living room wondering what to pack? Or did you already have a personal action plan in place that told you exactly what to do?

"Be open to the idea that something can happen," said Kathy Russell, emergency preparedness planner for El Paso County, at an emergency planning workshop at the Monument Branch Library in September 2012. She recommended that people plan ahead for the disasters that are possible in our area, such as wildfires, blizzards, toxic chemical spills, and tornadoes.

"Preparedness takes ‘disaster’ and turns it into ‘inconvenience,’" said Russell.

Robb Davidson of Woodland Park would agree. He shared his multiple evacuation experiences with the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness group on March 2, noting: • The things you really need are the people you’re going to drive out of the driveway with.

• It takes some time to get that yard work done. It’s not just trees. Keep the grass short. Clear out the vegetation.

• Plan with your family now, so that when emergencies do occur, you are not arguing or fearful. You’re prepared.

• A close-knit community starts with your family, and then you can reach out to the folks in your community and bring them hope too; you want to give them 100 percent.

Your plan to grab photo albums and mementos will not work if you aren’t home when the emergency happens. What’s the evacuation plan if you are at gone on vacation or at work? • Reverse 911 only goes automatically to "landlines." You must register your cell phone to receive Reverse 911 notifications. To register, see https://elptc911.onthealert.com. Or call 719-785-1971.

• Are you signed up for your child’s school district emergency text or email system? Update your emergency contact information whenever it changes so schools can notify you how they are safeguarding your children in a crisis. Do not just drive to the school if there’s a rumor of a problem.

• Do you have a disabled person in your home that should be registered with your local fire protection district?

• Do you have printed copies of neighbors’ phone numbers to help you if you’re far from home during a crisis?

• Do you have a family communication plan explaining how and where to reunite if disaster strikes? Don’t count on cell phone coverage; your family needs to already know the plan.

• Does each family member (and pet) have a "bug-out bag" packed with essentials in case you have to leave in a hurry?

For more emergency preparedness ideas and "bug-out bag" lists, see: www.fema.gov and www.redcross.org.

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

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March and April library events: Monument Library hours will change beginning in April

By Harriet Halbig

In response to a recent survey of library patrons, beginning April 15, the hours of the Monument Library will change as follows:

• Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Sunday 1 p.m.to 5 p.m.
Thanks to the patrons for their input. The library hopes in this way to provide better customer service.

Despite some cancellations due to severe weather, March was a busy and exciting month at the library, with many taking advantage of the special Spring Break programming and more than 20 teens learning to knit.

Family programs for April

April’s Family Fun program on Saturday, April 13, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. will be Digging Sea Turtles with the Traveling Sea. Come learn about FeeBee, the star of the movie Turtle: the Incredible Journey. The Traveling Sea will tell you all you want to know about sea turtles. You will pretend to rescue a sea turtle, dig a sea turtle nest, act like a hatchling, and make one to take home. Discover sea turtles through real artifacts.

The monthly meeting of the Lego club will be on April 20 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Legos enthusiasts of all ages are welcome to create with their favorite building materials. Please do not bring your own Legos, because all pieces used remain the property of the library district. We are currently asking for donation of much-needed Legos for future use. Any donations are tax deductible, and we appreciate your support.

On Saturday, April 27, at 1:30, enjoy a visit with Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Price Strobridge. His readings will celebrate the joy of the spoken word and the power of poetry in our lives.

AfterMath free math tutoring continues each Monday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. through April. All ages are welcome to sit down with our volunteer tutors to clarify those trouble spots. No appointment is necessary; just drop by!

Teen and Tween programs

April’s Crafty Teens program on Friday, April 5, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., will be Learn to Knit for ages 12 and up. Experienced knitters will get you started on your first knitting project. All materials are provided, but bring your own needles (size 8 or 9) if you have them. Snacks will be offered. Registration is encouraged so we can plan our supplies. For those who attended last month’s session, this is a chance to ask further questions and learn a new stitch.

A representative from the Pikes Peak Workforce Center will come to the library from 3:30 to 5 April 11 to speak to those aged 14 to 21 on the subject of dressing for success and interviewing. Hiring managers make a first impression about a candidate in the first 30 seconds. By dressing sharp, those 30 seconds can make a positive impression that will help you land the job! Do some research on professional dress and come to the workshop in your best interview attire! No registration.

Adult programs

Come to the library on Saturday, April 6, from 10:30 to 11:30 to learn about boosting your immune system. Everyone knows that the best way to stay healthy and feel great is to have a strong immune system. Dr. Victoria Wirtz from 100% Chiropractic Monument is filled with inspiring ideas to help you feel your best. Learn which vitamins will give you the most benefits to kick start your immune system and get the most out of our Colorado lifestyle.

Living Gluten Free is the subject of a program from 10:30 to 11:30 on Saturday, April 13. Facing a gluten-free lifestyle does not mean the end of all things delicious! Learn some of the health benefits, how to adapt recipes, and tips for shopping from Taste of Life experts Annie and Donna. You’ll leave with fresh ideas, inspiration, and samples!

The Leadership Team of the Pikes Peak Library District invites you to a meet-and-greet to celebrate National Library Week. Enjoy treats compliments of our Friends of the Library and tell us what you think about your library and its future. The reception will be on Tuesday, April 16, from 3 to 5.

The AARP Drivers Safety program will be offered on Thursday, April 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a classroom driver refresher course for motorists age 50 and older. Graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agent for a discount. Class size is limited and registration is required. Charge for the four-hour course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers.

The Monumental Readers book club will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 19, to discuss The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. All patrons are welcome to attend.

A program is scheduled for Friday, May 3, from 10 to 11:30 about creating a family legacy with information on such elements as expressing your wishes regarding financial assets, personal possessions of emotional value, and passing on your values and life lessons.

On Saturday, May 4, from 4 to 5:30, gain confidence in pairing wine with your favorite foods while learning about the six Colorado wine regions.

On the walls in April will be acrylics on the theme of wildlife by Nancy Cavins. In the display case will be a miniature German village.

Palmer Lake Library events

Come to the library to read with our Paws to Read dog, Misty the Sheltie, on Thursday, April 11, from 4:30 to 5:30. Read to Misty and select a prize.

April’s Family Fun program will be Ducks Everywhere! Laura Foye will introduce you to real ducks in the library, and you can make your own duck to take home. This program will be on Saturday, April 20, beginning at 10:30.

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

A fresh photographic display, Risa’s Rabbits, can be seen on the walls, and work by Palmer Lake Elementary School students will be in the children’s area. There will be two art show openings on April 4 and April 25, both at 4:30.

The hours of operation at the Palmer Lake Library will remain the same.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, March 21: Women who fought as men in the Civil War

By Bernard L. Minetti

At the March 21 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, Sons of Union Veterans member Benny Nasser presented an overview of the history of women who disguised themselves as soldiers in the Civil War. He said 300 to 400 women participated as male soldiers in this conflict. Many never had their true gender discovered, and some even retired at their wartime rank. In that era, women had no property rights, were not allowed to vote, and could not enter the legal or medical profession. This was a way for them to participate.

Nasser explained that women sought to volunteer to enter the Union Army for several reasons. Some did it for patriotic reasons, while others sought to follow a husband, brother, father, or lover. Others were independent and simply did what they wanted to do. Some wanted to avenge the death of a loved one, while others sought to take advantage of the bounties placed on the enemy. Some were enlisted, while others were disguised as officers. They served effectively and helped to achieve the ends of the Union’s cause.

Monument Trustee John Howe addressed the 63 assembled attendees and briefed them on a new project that he is starting. He stated that for 2 1/2 years he had been studying notes, maps, and documents that were in the town’s files but not organized or verified. He stated that what were claimed to be the first burials in Monument Cemetery did not match headstones and handwritten notes from the 1880 Census. He continued by stating that human error had led to inaccurate mapping of the cemetery.

Howe said that the Town of Monument clerk had done audit work for the past 11 months to try to correct the errors. Early burials sometimes were performed by family members without permits, generally as a result of a flu epidemic. A train wreck in the early 1900s resulted in deaths that also caused the burial of people with no identification.

Howe indicated that he personally would continue the investigative process to correct the errors and at some time would publicly open the task to volunteers.

Lucretia Vaile Museum Director Rogers Davis described the museum’s docent program and stated the need for volunteers. Volunteers interested in participating can contact him at the museum on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He noted that many local historical items are in the museum. Volunteers would learn much about the local area just by being on duty in the museum, he said.

**********

The April 18 meeting of the society will feature the topic "Mining for the Real Baby Doe." Joyce Lohse, author of Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, will give an overview of Colorado’s favorite female mining legend. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. The public is invited to attend.

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

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Events Editor

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

Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red: April Menu April 10–Ham, scalloped potatoes, & salad

April 17–Spaghetti with meat balls & Caesar salad

April 24–Bratwurst, coleslaw, & potato chips
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.

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

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Click It or Ticket 2013, April 1-7

In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives on rural Colorado roadways, the Colorado State Patrol and 18 rural law enforcement agencies in 25 counties (including rural El Paso County) are mobilizing for a Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement period during the first week of April. The enforcement is combined with a seat belt education campaign targeting male pickup truck drivers, as they have the lowest seat belt use in the state. In 2012, 39% of unrestrained fatalities in Colorado occurred in pickup trucks. Pickup trucks are twice as likely to roll over in a crash and drivers of pickup trucks have the lowest overall seat belt use at just 71%, compared to 81% of seat belt use among car drivers. So, no matter how far you are going or what type of vehicle you are riding in, buckle up and make sure everyone else in your vehicle does the same.

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Free income tax filing assistance by AARP, ends Apr. 15

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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Citizens’ Police Academy, April 16-June 4

The Monument Police Department is taking applications for the Citizens Police Academy so that citizens can see firsthand what law enforcement is all about. This no-cost, eight-week program will be held Tuesday evenings, April 16-June 4, at the Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. It is open to all who live or work in the Tri-Lakes area. Participants will learn about criminal law, patrol procedures, use of force, computer forensics, internal affairs, community policing, tactical considerations, and will have the opportunity to shoot a variety of police weapons. For more information or to download an application, visit www.monumentpd.org and click on the Community Services button. Or you can stop by the Monument Police Department and pick up an application. For more information, call the Monument Police Department, 481-3253, or email Officer Jon Hudson at jhudson@townofmonument.net.

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Volunteer needed for Citizen Outreach Group, apply by April 19

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve as an at-large member on the Citizen Outreach Group, an advisory board created by the El Paso County Board of Commissioners to reach out to county residents and encourage open communication between citizens and their commissioners. Applications are due by April 19. 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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Volunteer needed for CSU Extension Advisory Committee, apply by April 19

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve on the CSU Extension Advisory Committee. Two 4-H representatives, a food and nutrition representative (knowledge in food safety and nutrition), two family and consumersScience representatives (experience/knowledge of nutrition and family relations), an agricultural representative, a horticultural representative, and two community-at-large representatives are needed on the committee. Applications are due by April 19. 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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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. Bring in the ad for $1 off one admission. For more information, go to www.TLWC.net.

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Tackle the Trash, April 27

El Paso County invites civic organizations, churches, scout groups, schools, and individuals to participate in this countywide "spring cleaning" event, and one of the cleanup sites is right here: the New Santa Fe Regional Trail at Baptist Road. Check in April 27, 9 a.m., at Baptist Road Trailhead (Old Denver Highway and Baptist Road). County commissioners will greet volunteers and distribute trash bags and safety vests. Volunteers should bring personal gloves and a bottle of water. Ages 16 and under must be supervised by an adult. For more information or to register, visit www.elpasoco.com or call 520-7871.

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LEAP—Help for heating bills, apply by April 30

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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Senior Dental Clinic, May 1

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 (age 60 and up) can receive the services of the Senior Mobile Dental program at a greatly reduced fee schedule. Dental services are available the first Wednesday of each month (May 1 is the next clinic) 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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Slash-Mulch Season, May 4

The annual community meeting (fun, information, and door prizes!) will be April 27, 9-11 a.m., at the Black Forest Community Hall, 12530 Black Forest Rd. (northwest corner of Shoup and Black Forest Roads). The site opens for slash hauling May 4, 7 a.m. Mulch will be available after May 18. The Forest Management Demo Day is June 8 at the Black Forest Fire Dept. Training Room, 11445 Teachout Rd. The Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is co-sponsored by El Paso County Environmental Division and the Colorado State Forest Service in cooperation with the Colorado Forestry Association and Black Forest Fire Department. The Slash and Mulch Committee is the citizen volunteer organization that runs the operations. More than 400 people volunteer for this program to keep it running May through mid-September. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or call Carolyn Brown, 495-3127; Ruth Ann Steele, 495-3107; Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024; or the County Environmental Division, 520-7878.

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Lupus support group forming

If you are interested in joining a lupus support group in the Monument area, contact Diane Bandle, 491-1346, or email dmarie666@gmail.com.

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Multiple sclerosis support group

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

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Colorado Master Gardener Help Desk Summer Hours

Colorado Master Gardener (CMG) volunteers are ready to assist you with your lawn and gardening questions. Starting April 1, CMG volunteers will be in the Colorado State University Extension office Monday through Friday mornings 9 a.m.-noon. You may call and leave a message at any time at 520-7684, or email your questions to CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.

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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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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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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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Senior Safety Program

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For more information, call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

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Check out energy savings at local libraries

Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) recently started a program allowing consumers to check out "Kill-A-Watt" meters, plug-in energy meters, from local libraries and Book Mobiles in MVEA’s service territory. Kill-A-Watt meters can help consumers assess how efficient appliances really are. This program provides a free way to identify the real energy abusers and reduce energy use. People who have used the meters report unplugging appliances that weren’t being used to save energy. For more information, call MVEA, 1-800-388-9881, ext. 2602; or Monument Branch Library, 488-2370.

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