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Vol. 13 No. 5 - May 4, 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 16.8 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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Colin Hay entertains capacity crowd at TLCA

By David Futey

On April 20, the main gallery of the Tri-Lakes Center of the Arts (TLCA) was filled to capacity to hear a man at work: Colin Hay on his Finding My Dance tour. Throughout the evening, Hay, founder of the 1980s band Men at Work, weaved together songs with comedic and impassioned stories of family, growing up, and his days in the music industry.

Born in Scotland to parents with music backgrounds, the family moved to Australia when Hay was in his teens. It was there his career in music began. Some of his stories and ways he engaged the audience included:

• When introducing a soulful rendition of Who Can It Be Now?, Hay said, "I’m going to play a hit because some people came to hear it even though I have been playing it since 1984 and also so they know they are at the right show."

• His experiences in meeting Beatles legend Paul McCartney on various occasions, including when McCartney once washed Hay’s dishes after a dinner at his house.

• Explaining that his song Gathering Mercury was written about the experience his longtime friend Peter had while "dying" twice during a recovery from a coma.

• Describing how when he moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, it seemed everyone was looking for something. He met Jack Nicholson and learned many were Looking for Jack, which became the song title of his first solo album.

Information on Colin Hay is at www.colinhay.com. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org.

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

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El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, April 18: Doewood Drive name will remain

By Lisa Hatfield

On April 18, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) considered a possible road name change for the portion of Doewood Drive between County Line Road and Chisholm Trail north of the recently removed gate. After a discussion of the options to prevent possible confusion about the lack of continuity between the northern and southern sections of the road, there was board consensus to drop the renaming proposal.

Commissioners Dennis Hisey and Sallie Clark were excused from the meeting.

The E911 system allows the same road name to be used on discontinuous sections of road and approved this as one of the options for Doewood Drive. "The buck stops with E911," County Engineer André Brackin said.

Brackin has a signage plan ready to put into place to make it clearer to drivers unfamiliar with the area that the north section of Doewood Drive is not directly connected to the south section. Brackin will also contact all 39 property owners and ask them to notify BOCC if any problems arise, but the issue is now resolved in the eyes of the board.

Brookmoor intersection issue still under review

OCN asked the county for a statement regarding the current status of the Moveen Heights intersection sight distance issue at the entrance to Brookmoor Estates, since there had been no word on the issue since the March 12 BOCC meeting. Dave Rose, county public information officer, replied in an email on April 18, saying, "In response to your question about the Brookmoor fence issue, the County Engineer has received and will be reviewing a proposed design and its impact on traffic safety with the developer. The outcome of the review and discussions with the developer will determine the next steps."

In a follow-up phone call on April 22, Rose was optimistic that the board would hear more about the issue in June or July. OCN will monitor BOCC agendas for more information.

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

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, April 18: Board recognizes student achievements, approves actions for the coming year

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer Board of Education acknowledged achievements of several students during its April 18 meeting.

• The Lewis Palmer High School Boys Basketball Team was congratulated for winning the state championship for the second year in a row.

• Michelle Chan of Lewis-Palmer High School was recognized by Principal Sandi Brandl for her achievements in competition for the Distributive Education Clubs of America. This was her fourth year as a qualifier at the international level. She said that she values this activity because it provides problem-solving skills useful in the real world.

• Kilmer Elementary School Principal Chuck Stovall introduced sixth-grader Trenton Wesolick, who had recently published a book.

• Winners of the seventh annual district chess tournament were recognized.

• Palmer Ridge High School Principal Gary Gabel and industrial arts teacher David Bedia recognized volunteer Red Stephens for his contributions as a volunteer at the school. Stephens has served on the Land Use Committee, founded the district’s Senior Alliance, has built pitching mounds, cabinets, and other items for the school, and was active in creating the district’s Transitions program. Stephens received a Palmer Ridge High School jacket with his name on it and a plaque.

Superintendent John Borman thanked the transportation and maintenance staffs for their work in plowing parking lots and driveways and for making it possible to smoothly dismiss students early due to snow.

Borman also reported on some upcoming events, including the all district choir concert, a community leader program, and the arts awards show sponsored by the Air Academy Credit Union.

Financial actions

The board voted to approve the expenditure of $147,101 for curriculum materials for math and social studies. Details had been provided last month by Director of Assessment, Gifted Education and Technology Lori Benton. The materials are necessary due to changes in state standards.

The board approved an agreement with American Fidelity Assurance to provide health benefits to district staff. Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster said that the firm offered the best price for disability benefits last year and will now offer disability benefits with no prior approval for a limited time.

The board voted to extend some contracts for certified personnel and administrative staff and to terminate other contracts of licensed probationary staff. Borman reminded the board that a number of teachers were hired last year with no intent of renewal.

Board Treasurer John Mann reported that a new firm had been selected to audit the district’s financial matters. The firm is CliftonLarsonAllen LLC, which has been retained for one year with the possibility of renewal for four additional years. The firm specializes in public sector finance.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that she would like to pursue a Best Grant of $700,000 to support half the cost of a number of capital projects in 2013-14 and a Great Outdoors Colorado Grant to fund repaving of the playgrounds at Lewis-Palmer Elementary.

Other projects include an upgrade to the motor control at Lewis-Palmer High School and electrical work for a computer lab at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. The latter is required for testing at the school.

Monument Academy’s preliminary budget was approved. Wangeman said that the student count is predicted to remain the same next year and the special education budget has been increased to reflect a growing special education population.

Members of the fifth-grade class at Kilmer Elementary performed for the board as the Preposition Posse.

**********

The Lewis-Palmer D-38 board meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on May 16.

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

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Lewis-Palmer District Accountability Advisory Committee, April 11: District improvement plan detailed

By Harriet Halbig

The regular meeting of the District Accountability Advisory Committee was cancelled due to snow. A special session was held on April 11 to present the district’s Unified Improvement Plan (UIP). This session was required because the deadline for submission to the Colorado Department of Education was April 15.

Director of Assessment, Gifted Education and Technology Lori Benton presented the UIP document. The school district exceeds expectations for academic achievement and post-secondary/workforce readiness, and meets expectations for academic growth.

This readiness category includes graduation rate (Lewis-Palmer has a 94.2 percent rate, well above the 80 percent expectation), disaggregated graduation rate (broken down by such groups as free/reduced-cost lunch eligible, minorities, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners), dropout rate (0.4 percent in Lewis-Palmer with an expectation of 3.9 percent overall), and mean ACT composite scores (22.8 with an expectation of 20.1).

Because the district continues to be rated as Accredited with Distinction, the Unified Improvement Plan is required.

The plan reviewed results from the previous school year as well. Growth gaps in math for those students on individual education plans (IEPs) were decreased, with the high school students exceeding their goal, those in elementary school nearing their goal and those in middle school declining.

Success at the high school level was attributed to work by special service providers and general education teachers.

The weakness in middle school reading was attributed to the reduction of services of reading specialists, increased caseloads, and increased class sizes.

Tests show need for support

The general conclusion in the area of academic growth gaps was that the district is not providing adequate support for students scoring partially proficient and unsatisfactory levels. This was determined after examining data from various tests, IEPs and other documents. The determination was that students on IEPs and English Language Learners (ELLs) were receiving inadequate support.

In determining how to improve results, the district will increase monitoring of the progress of students in the target groups and the special education staff will collaborate with the general education staff to provide a new approach, identifying gaps and developing new strategies, Benton said.

At the middle school level, the math department will offer additional help during academic enrichment periods and students will be put in appropriate classes. ELL students will be provided with tutors to assist with vocabulary in high school.

Vertical alignment of curriculum is ongoing to ensure there are no major overlaps of material from one grade to the next.

New reading and math materials and software will be purchased by June 30 to assist those students with high growth gaps. These materials will be used in teacher training for summer and fall of 2013.

The district will advertise the availability of math tutors to students, and some tutors will be hired, Benton said.

The district also will select a writing skills improvement program by August, and training in its use will begin in September.

The district continues to be accredited with distinction, placing it in the top tier of districts statewide.

The UIP document results reflect the fact that recent budget cuts have decreased the amount of support available to those students struggling with specific academic areas.

To view the document, please visit Schoolview.org.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The next meeting will be on May 14 at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

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

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Lewis-Palmer Special Education Advisory Council, April 10: Group prepares for Extended School Year instruction

By Harriet Halbig

Acknowledging that the end of the school year is near, on April 10 the Special Education Advisory Council discussed such issues as summer programs, transition, and communicating about special education students to their teachers.

May Anne Fleury, director of Exceptional Student Services for School District 38, said that she has asked to receive eligibility information for Extended School Year (ESY) programs by April 15. Eligibility is based on need and offers instruction in reading, writing, math, and social skills. The primary goal is to maintain skills over the summer break, although many students advance during this period.

In the past few years, about 150 students have participated in the program, which will be offered at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School for elementary students and Palmer Ridge High School for secondary students. Parents are encouraged to provide transportation, although buses are available when necessary. Classes are offered four times a week for six weeks.

Case managers determine the need for ESY, and Fleury said that students often find participation to be a positive experience because they are among others with abilities and problems similar to their own.

In other matters, Fleury said that the district has received a state grant ($11,000) in support of the RTi program (Response to Intervention) at Palmer Lake Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer High School. This grant supports the offering of a multi-tiered system of support for students who struggle with various areas of academics. Next year Lewis-Palmer Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School will join the program.

The grant funds support the cost of substitute teachers so that staff may receive training. The state provides technical assistance coordinators and has stated a goal of providing such support statewide.

Fleury reported that she is now working on staff allocation for next year by analyzing caseloads over the various grade levels.

Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope

The group heard a presentation on the Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (PATH) program, which involves a conference between a student, his or her family, friends, and those who are paid to provide services. Students decide who will participate during the process.

By producing a large graphic representation of the student’s goals and the means to reach them, families and educators can develop a more well-rounded vision of the individual student than through testing and other quantitative means, according to the presentation.

Special Education Parent Liaison Michelle Nay is a certified facilitator in the production of a PATH and explained the process. The process begins with determining the dreams and goals of the student—such as where they would like to go, what they like to do, and what their personal strengths are.

From this broad beginning, the group works to develop plans to achieve the student’s goals, first by going forward a year and showing steps taken (such as planning a trip, having frequent play dates, and getting to know someone better).

The next step is to look at the present and identify those who could help the student to achieve his or her goals and make concrete short-term plans and assign participants a role in the execution of the plan.

Finally, there is a section on the six-month timeline to see what has been achieved and what is yet to be addressed.

Nay said that this process is very useful in helping family and educators to get to know an individual student in a more well-rounded way. Many special education students have difficulty in communicating and self-advocating, and this process provides a concrete plan worked out among people who care for the individual.

Nay and one other individual in the district are certified to facilitate a PATH, and she encouraged parents to seek one.

Transition document presented

One of the group’s goals over this school year is to improve and standardize the process by which a student transitions from one year to the next, one school and level to the next, and in some cases from one semester to the next.

This problem was approached through a brainstorming session early in the year and study of a similar document produced a few years ago. These suggestions were merged into a document that will be presented to the superintendent of schools.

The committee states that the goal of the district is to ensure that each student has a voice that is heard and respected and that the district goal of ensuring achievement reflecting the greatest potential of every student is met.

The document will be delivered to Superintendent John Borman before the next meeting, and he will be invited to attend and discuss possible changes in procedures.

**********

The Special Education Advisory Council meets at 6:30 on the second Wednesday of each month at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on May 8.

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

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Donald Wescott FPD, April 16: Extra principal loan payment approved

By Lisa Hatfield

On April 16, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board held its semiannual pension board meeting and the regular April board meeting. At the regular meeting, the board approved an extra $185,000 payment on a construction loan.

Lt. Bryan Ackerman, one of two volunteer firefighters who serve as directors on the pension board, was present. The absences of Director Greg Gent and Lt. Tim Hampton from the pension board meeting were excused. The absence of Director Joyce Hartung from both meetings was also excused.

Pension board meeting

Ackerman reported on the 2012 end-of-year financial statement for the district’s Fire and Police Pension Association (FPPA) volunteer pension fund. The fund balance increased by $56,000 during 2012, with an ending balance of $895,000. "The pension fund is self-sustaining right now," Chairman Scott Campbell said. In previous years, the district made substantial employer contributions to the pension fund to take advantage of state matching funds that have been available for several years and better ensure the fund’s actuarial soundness. The district did not have to make a contribution in 2012 and Campbell does not anticipate having to make one in 2013.

Ackerman said that total net benefits paid out increased in 2012 to $38,000. This amount reflects the increased monthly benefits to beneficiaries that the pension board approved at the July 11, 2012, meeting. He estimated that in 2013, about $11,000 more will be paid out in benefits than in 2012.

In 2013, recently retired Battalion Chief Mike Badger was added to the pension beneficiary list, which will add to the total fund payout amount for this year. One more eligible beneficiary may apply for benefits later this year, which would further increase the amount disbursed.

The next pension board meeting will now be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 rather than the previously posted date of Oct. 20 to allow time for pension budget adjustments for 2013. If any adjustments are needed and done at a regular board meeting instead, then both Ackerman and Hampton would need to be there for full firefighter representation.

The pension board meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m., and the regular meeting began at 7:15 p.m.

Regular meeting

The regular meeting began in the Station 1 apparatus bay to make room for the dozens of guests of the two new volunteers taking the firefighter oath of office. Ackerman explained that Charles Ragland and Robert Hurd were the first volunteers to go through "a new and improved volunteer manual" and final test, a process that takes a year to complete. The district now has about 12 volunteer firefighters and will start a new volunteer class in a few months.

Financial reports

Director Harland Baker wanted to "reduce the debt load on this district" by using $185,000 left over from 2012’s budget to make an extra principal payment on the outstanding 15-year construction loan. Wells Fargo requires the district make one payment of about $150,000 each July, but by applying an additional $185,000 as payment to the principal, the duration of the loan would be shortened. "In a few years," money going now to the loan payment could instead be used for "long-term operations like hiring people," Baker said.

The district would still have "plenty in reserves" to pay for unexpected expenses such as roof leaks, said Baker. Campbell said, "It would increase the service level of the district if we could free up that money. The $185,000 comes out of the ‘rollover fund,’ not out of any individual line items" or reserves, Campbell said. The board unanimously approved the motion to make the extra payment to the principal of the loan.

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall stated that Wells Fargo has offered a loan refinance to offset a projected 2 percent drop in the 35 percent rebate from the Build America Bond, which is a federal subsidy of the interest rate. The directors were concerned that refinancing the construction loan to get lower interest rates to make up for the drop in the subsidy would be offset by additional front-loaded closing costs on a new loan. Marshall will request more information from Wells Fargo. The expected drop in the rebate was attributed to the federal sequestration.

Marshall said the district is ready for the official 2012 audit of financial statements. The board will be able to approve the 2012 numbers once the audit is presented.

Bank balances as of March 31 totaled almost $1.5 million: People’s National Bank $327,000, Colorado Peak Fund $179,000, ColoTrust Fund $439,000, Wells Fargo Public Trust $532,000. Marshall said she would present the March financial report at the May meeting because she did not have all the March figures in time for the April meeting.

Marshall advised the board that she was still unable to access the Wells Fargo accounts because it is a "public entity fund." After some discussion, Campbell suggested the best available option was to give Marshall signature access so that she can pay the district’s bills. She will be subject to the same expectations and procedures as the other authorized signers. A motion to add Marshall onto the signing authorization list for the district was unanimously approved.

Chief’s report

Assistant Chief Scott Ridings presented the February and March run reports. February calls increased by 16 percent from last February to 168. No fires or property loss was recorded in February.

In March, calls were up 43 percent from last year to 194, but Ridings attributed this spike in calls to the increase in late-afternoon snowstorms this March compared to last year. Wescott firefighters responded to one mutual aid call from Tri-Lakes to assist with a structure fire.

A total of almost 13 acres of wildfire fuels mitigation has been completed in creating the shaded fuel break around Station 2, Ridings reported.

Chief Vinny Burns asked the directors to consider what should be done with Station 3 on Sun Hills Drive now that the new Station 2 on Highway 83 is complete. Campbell directed the topic to the Strategic Planning Committee to consider the effect of any options on homeowners and the district.

Burns said that the North Group Chiefs Forum has started up again. It includes the contiguous fire districts of Falcon, Cimarron Hills, Wescott, Black Forest, Tri-Lakes, Air Force Academy, Palmer Lake, and Larkspur. Their goal is to work together to avoid some duplication and be "on the same page" by forming committees to discuss operations, training, communications, and administration. "It’s very beneficial that they all start talking to each other," Burns said.

The regular meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 21 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument FPD, April 24: New fire chief to be sworn in May 13

By Bernard L. Minetti

On April 24, interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack told the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board that Chris Truty was on track to assume his duties as the new fire chief on May 13. A special board meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. that day to swear in Truty, who will arrive in the area on May 9.

Jack reported that Truty would like to retain his current medical insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) until his family arrives in the state. He noted that Truty’s fire vehicle had been ordered and will arrive in the first week of June. He continued by reporting that Truty’s district phone, computer, uniforms, and gas and credit cards were being procured.

Financial report

Treasurer John Hildebrandt’s financial report noted that the district had received $1.56 million or 38.65 percent of the budgeted property tax revenue through March. The district had received $87,916 or 35.31 percent of the budgeted specific ownership tax revenue. Ambulance revenues were $119,068 or 0.45 percent less than projected budgeted revenue.

Administrative expenses were high due to one-time insurance and medical exam expenses and will normalize as the year progresses. The major expense line items of salaries, medical equipment, and uniform expenses were all slightly over budget. Hildebrandt noted that the specific ownership tax revenue continued to exceed budget expectations and should be watched to see if this trend continues. Overall expenses were 0.35 percent over budget.

District staff responded to earlier comments by the auditors. The staff proposed district-wide reforms that would strengthen the process and provide documentation for historical and promotion substantiation purposes, including annual employee and payroll reviews that are being formalized. Internal controls are also being strengthened as a result of the audit. Deposit slips and invoices are all now categorized and submitted to the office manager (OM) for execution. The OM then executes the action required.

Interim chief’s report

The interim fire chief’s report noted that the total personnel training hours for the quarter amounted to 3,930.5. This information was provided without a breakdown into categories such as medical, fire specific, and physical training. OCN continues to request these data for public consumption and for an informational overview. The district has provided no reason for withholding this information.

Construction of the well at Station 1 was placed on hold until the projects at Stations 2 and 3 were completed. The insurance agency disbursed a check for roof repairs at Station 3. Fire Capt. Max Mabry was managing the well project.

Cost estimates for the Station 2 septic system project should be received soon, according to the interim fire chief’s report. Following that, the legal council will review the project and agreement negotiated with the landowners on whose land the tank is to be located. No project manager was identified. Fire Lt. Jamaka Branden is managing the Station 2 mold project.

Fire Marshal John Vincent has had 39 plan reviews for new construction to complete so far this year.

The district had113 more emergency calls through March than in the same period last year, according to the report. This amounted to 650 this year compared to 537 last year through March.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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Triview Metropolitan District, March 12: Water rate increase proposals rejected as enterprise fund losses continue

By Jim Kendrick

On March 12, the Triview Metropolitan District board rejected all three proposed water rate increase options to restore the district’s water enterprise fund to solvency. The president of the district’s consultant accounting firm gave a five-year projection on enterprise fund and general fund revenues and expenditures. The board’s environmental consultant presented an interim cost update for protected Preble’s mouse habitat and floodplain mitigation.

District Manager Valerie Remington stated that the staff would complete the move from Monument Town Hall to the Jackson Creek Commerce Center by March 15. The address for the new Jackson Creek Commerce Center office is Suite 300 of 16055 Old Forest Point, which is next to the Ent Federal Credit Union office on the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. Old Forest Point is the private east-west road on the north side of both of these buildings. The new website for Triview is www.triviewmetro.com. The phone number is still 488-6868.

All board members were present for this meeting.

Credit card resolution tabled

The board tabled the staff’s proposed resolution on the procurement and use of credit cards by the district manager and operations supervisor. The resolution was deferred to the April 9 agenda. The board asked Remington to add these policies:

• Items over $25 require submission of the receipts.

• A prohibition against using a district credit card for personal use.

• Late fees, penalties, and interest charges will not be paid by the district if an employee does not submit an expense report with adequate documentation in a timely manner.

• Corrective action, up to and including termination, may be taken against an employee if district policies are not followed.

Remington noted that Colorado PayPort system charges the customer, rather than the district, for the credit card payment transaction fee. The district will purchase the credit card reader machine to be used in the district office for around $50. For more information on making payments to the district by credit card the Colorado PayPort system, see www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue-Payport/RPP/1243429544111

Financial review

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

• $9,369 to the district’s latest engineering firm, JDS-Hydro Consultants Inc., for engineering work performed regarding the Sanctuary Point Water System expansion and installing a new water line under I-25 from Jackson Creek Parkway to the Valero truck stop.

• $13,025 to Redline Pipeline for emergency water repairs.

• $8,078 to John Deere for tractor attachments: a rotary cutter, broadcast spreader, core aerator, and a rotary tiller.

Remington noted that a road repair will have to be made for the emergency water repairs later in the year when the weather gets warmer.

Cathy Fromm, director of Finance & Accounting for the consultant firm, Community Resource Services of Colorado in Greenwood Village, reported that the district’s total available cash dropped $265,000 in January to $14.4 million, due mostly to the first of two semi-annual loan payments to the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, about $252,000, and the purchase of Triview’s new office space in the Jackson Creek Commerce Center. The second semi-annual loan payment will be due on Aug. 1. Property tax revenues will not be available for board review until May.

There was a discussion of the budget report lagging two months behind current expenses, particularly those in the checks over $5,000 report. Remington said an adjustment would be made to reduce this lag.

Director Steve Hurd asked Fromm to review the district’s proposed credit card and expense report policies. Remington noted that the proposed credit card policy was modeled on the Town of Monument policy.

Joel Meggers, president of Community Resource Services, briefed the board on a spreadsheet he had prepared on projected revenues and expenses for the district general fund and enterprise funds. Meggers advised the board that Triview would have the following estimated total annual losses for the district’s water and wastewater enterprise fund:

• 2013 – a loss of $206,000

• 2014 – a loss of $2.7 million

• 2015 – a loss of $255,000

• 2016 – a loss of $265,000

• 2017 – a loss of $101,000

• 2018 – a loss of $108,000

The total annual estimated district losses and surpluses for all district funds were:

• 2013 – a loss of $425,000

• 2014 – a loss of $103,000

• 2015 – a loss of $112,000

• 2016 – a loss of $122,000

• 2017 – a surplus of $42,000

• 2018 – a surplus of $34,000

There was a general discussion about how transferring large amounts of cash reserves into the water and wastewater enterprise fund would cause the district to lose its enterprise status.

Board President Robert Fisher stated, "It’s a perfectly valid decision to make if you need to do something of that magnitude that’s indicated in that capital line item. Losing the enterprise status for a year, depending on what your plans are that year, might not be a big deal." Fisher added, "We have been out of that status previously as a district."

Meggers concurred with Fisher, "Otherwise, you’ve got this money trapped in your general fund if you don’t do that once in a while." He added, "You’ve got to get it out of there somehow."

Water rate increase options rejected

Operations Supervisor Nick Harris noted that total revenues range from $1.8 million to $1.9 million per year over the next five years. Actual operating costs range from $2.0 million to $2.1 million. This deficit of about $200,000 per year would have to be financed by a transfer from the district’s general fund. Harris provided the board a staff proposal with three options for smaller to larger rate structure increases with additional tiers of increased rates for higher use rates.

Fisher stated that he fully supported the idea of balancing the water enterprise budget with a rate structure that would make it self-sufficient. He said the deficit could be corrected with a different rate structure from the three Harris had proposed, based on how future capital projects would be funded. Fisher said an average increase of $181 per account would correct the enterprise fund deficit and that a change in the sewer service base rate should be considered. Remington said that the proposed options would provide a total annual revenue increase of $339,886 for the lowest increase, $518,886 for the middle increase, and $713,662 for the highest increase.

Harris and Remington asked for clear direction from the board on what changes should be made to the three tiers. There was board consensus to reject all three rate increase proposals because they would raise more revenue than needed to close the $200,000 gap. Fisher said customers "will be in here with pitchforks and torches."

The directors asked Harris and Remington to add an increase for the monthly sewer service fee, which is currently $24.48; eliminate the proposed tier for over 30,000 gallons; estimate the use reductions that would occur due to the rate increase, and plan for an annual inflation-based fee increase for the next five years. The board also directed Harris and Remington to not consider tap fee increases for balancing operating expenses and revenues.

Harris given manhole modification approval authority

Remington recommended that the board approved expanding Operations Supervisor Nick Harris’ approval authority to allow him to sign for district approval of construction plan documents, work orders, and the final inspection for the modification of a Triview manhole affected by the widening of I-25 to three lanes by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The manhole is near the Baptist Road interchange.

Remington stated that she and Harris had already negotiated using a less steep slope down to the manhole location by raising the proposed final elevation of the manhole cover four feet higher than CDOT had proposed. The reduced access slope will reduce potential injuries during future Triview inspections and repairs of its manhole. The proposed three-foot workspace around the manhole lid was not changed.

The board unanimously approved Remington’s recommendation to give Harris new authority to inspect and approve CDOT construction that affects Triview infrastructure.

Note: After this meeting, Harris gave notice that he would resign with an effective date of April 19. None of the remaining Triview water operators who left the Town of Monument to join the Triview staff a few months ago are licensed to replace Harris as operator in responsible charge.

Water pressure booster system update

John McGinn, president of JDS-Hydro, gave an update using a revised map of pressure zones within the northern construction area in Promontory Pointe that will be serviced by the new booster pump system.

McGinn said he had eliminated Merrick & Co.’s proposal to boost pressure at the south end of Promontory Pointe because houses at the south end of the development would have had up to 140 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure at the mains, which he said was "excessive." He also changed Merrick’s boundary of the area where fire flows would be less than the minimum 1,000 gallons per minute without construction of the booster pump system. He said this revision would give developer Classic Homes a better idea of which northern vacant lots would be eligible for a building permit and which lots would also be eligible for a certificate of occupancy due to having adequate fire flows from the booster pump system.

McGinn also defined an area near the Triview treatment plant in the northeastern part of Promontory Pointe where it would be beneficial to have Classic build new homes sooner than currently planned. This change would greatly increase the initial efficiency of the booster pump system as well as save money for Triview.

McGinn also suggested that a small stub line be replaced with a loop system for better pressure zone regulation near Split Creek Drive. Building the loop system now, before the road for the affected lots is built, would cut costs by 66 percent.

JDS-Hydro’s revised proposal would consist of three 215-horsepower variable frequency drive booster pumps. Just one of these large pumps will provide sufficient boosting for the whole Promontory Pointe development 95 percent of the time. During the other 5 percent, a second pump would "kick in to help out," said McGinn. The main pumps would be further backed up by three 45-horsepower "soft start" fire flow pumps that would operate when a substantial pressure drop occurs due to opening of a fire hydrant.

McGinn said the Promontory Pointe booster system design would have sufficient valves to allow each large pump and nearly all of the connected equipment to be moved, one at a time, and reused in Classic Homes’ Sanctuary Point development to the east, after Triview’s second water tank is built. Triview’s second tank will be constructed in the middle of Sanctuary Point. This second tank would provide sufficient water pressure by gravity to Promontory Pointe homes for daily use as well as the homes in northeast Jackson Creek that have never had adequate water pressure.

Note: A permanent water distribution booster system will still be needed to provide adequate pressure to the homes at the east end of the Sanctuary Point development. These eastern homes will be at a still higher elevation than Triview’s Sanctuary Point water tank, necessitating a booster pump system to continuously offset the decline of pressure as water flows uphill due to gravity losses.

The three soft start alternate pumps for Sanctuary Point would be 30-horsepower pumps. They would refill the new Sanctuary Point water tank. Each of these small pumps can supply 300 gallons per minute to refill this water tank. The maximum tank refill demand would be 600 gallons per minute.

If a total loss of electrical power occurred, a gravity bypass would provide water from both tanks at a reduced pressure. A mobile backup generator could provide an alternate electrical power to the Sanctuary booster pump system using a manual transfer switch.

The Promontory Pointe booster pump system will be constructed on the southeast corner of the existing water tank site at a cost of $469,000. JDS-Hydro plans to call for construction bids in early May.

McGinn also advised the board on the status of the design of a 12-inch Triview potable water line that would run from the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Blevins Buckle Drive, under I-25, to the Valero truck stop. The initial estimated construction budget for a 2,750-foot line was $605,000. The design budget would be $27,530. JDS-Hydro could ask for bids in mid-May.

Fisher stated that the board was not ready to make a decision on this pipeline at this meeting.

Water was provided to the Valero truck stop by a line installed by the Town of Monument during the I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion. For more information, see: www.ocn.me/v9n11.htm#brrta.

Environmental permit report presented

Various areas within Triview along stream shorelines are considered part of the protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse ecosystem habitat. Since 2008, Triview has been trying to renegotiate two permits for these areas that would enable the district to approve requested development within the mouse habitat boundaries. Mitigation or use of substitute mouse habitat is required, and Triview has asked the developers to either perform the mitigation or provide funds to Triview to perform it. Triview will own the changed ecosystem and be responsible for long-term maintenance of the newly created habitat and/or substitute habitat in either case.

Environmental consultant Grant Gurnée of Ecosystem Services LLC presented a 50-minute status update on the district’s new 404 permit for the mouse habitat from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and for the district’s floodplain permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For more information on these complex 404 permits, see: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/cwa/dredgdis/

Gurnée proposed some options for cost sharing for impact mitigation and final ownership of the mouse habitat and floodplain. The developers involved in this 404 permit partnership proposal were Genesis Homes, Monument PRD, and Jackson Creek Land Co. These developers own land in mouse habitat along Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. Gurnée also noted that a fourth developer, Phoenix Bell, has no mitigation obligation and is offering to sell alternate mouse habitat to Triview for this project. The ratio for alternate habitat substitution for existing habitat could range from 1.5:1 to 3:1, depending on how much of the existing habitat is used for development within Triview along Jackson Creek, No Name Creek, and Teachout Creek.

Gurnée stated that Triview "has a distinct advantage here" with regard to negotiations because the 404 "permit never should have been written the way it was. I’ve not seen a permit where the applicant’s mitigation responsibilities were assigned to other people’s private land. Both of the agencies darn well know that and want to get it off their books." He added that neither agency "will push enforcement. They’re not going to do that because this is, and should be, an embarrassment to them."

Gurnée’s complicated proposal would lead to Triview owning and managing all 108 acres of the affected mitigation land and having complete responsibility for their future protection and maintenance with a new initial five-year 404 permit. The district will negotiate with the three developers noted above about which entity will be responsible for implementing the required mitigation and which entities will make contributions of money, land, or alternative mouse habitat. The money contributions would be placed in an escrow account for the project.

Some of the estimated mitigation implementation costs Gurnée proposed for the 108 acres that will be mitigated, including 4 acres of wetland creation, were:

• $748,252 for installation of seeding, planting of trees and shrubs, mulch, excavation, grading, and hauling.

• $624,400 for five years of watering maintenance.

• $685,340 for five years of weed control maintenance.

The uncertainties that could apply to each of the numerous components of these net estimates were all discussed, but no ranges of potential costs were provided because they remain subject to extensive future negotiations. Gurnée said he was providing worst-case scenarios for the five-year maintenance costs.

The Triview board determined that the developers and Triview should donate the mitigation land to Triview as well as the funds required to complete the project, with Triview managing the escrow account. Unexpended funds in the escrow account would be put toward trails or improvements in the replacement open space. The board deleted the previously proposed option of obtaining a 404 permit approval to build a reuse pond off of No Name Creek on the east side of I-25 as part of this project. The rest of the numerous issues would be resolved in negotiations.

Gurnée noted that his delivery of this report concluded his current contract with Triview. He said the board would have to approve additional funds for additional work in preparing strategies and analyzing the pros and cons of proposals by the various developers during negotiations. He would also be able to provide advice on future negotiations with EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Gurnée was asked to present his proposal for this future work at the April 9 board meeting.

In other matters, the board unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the current state records retention policy and schedule. Remington advised the board that if the state revises this policy after Triview’s adoption, the resolution may no longer provide legal protection for destruction of records by the district after the move to Jackson Creek.

The meeting went into executive session at 8:43 p.m. to receive answers on specific legal questions from the district’s attorney. The meeting came out of executive session at 8:59 p.m. and was adjourned with no further votes taken by the board.

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

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Triview Metropolitan District, April 9: Water and wastewater rates increased

By Lisa Hatfield and Jim Kendrick

On April 9, the Triview Metropolitan District board finalized a new water and wastewater rate structure that was continued from the March 12 board meeting and reviewed applications for an interim operations supervisor. Questions arose concerning the balance that will remain in the wastewater budget line item after the second-quarter payment is made to Donala Water and Sanitation, so this payment was withheld pending accounting clarification.

Water and sewer rates increased

The Triview board unanimously approved a new set of residential and commercial water and wastewater base rates and tiered volume charges. The new rates became effective for the May 1 billing cycle and will first appear on water bills mailed to customers in early June.

The rate increases were designed to help reduce the previously projected annual Triview water and wastewater enterprise fund deficits that ranged from about $101,000 to over $2.7 million through 2018.

The residential volume charges used since 2008 (per www.triviewmetro.com/rates.html) were:

• $2.87 per 1,000 gallons used up to 6,000 gallons.

• $3.60 per 1,000 gallons used from 6,001 to 20,000 gallons.

• $5.25 per 1,000 gallons used above 20,001 gallons.

District Manager Valerie Remington stated that the existing residential base rate was $11 a month for water and $24.48 for wastewater, plus a Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA) fee of $5, for a total base rate of $40.48 per month. She proposed raising the base wastewater fee to $33.74.

These figures only apply to a basic residential 3/4-inch tap, according to the Triview rate chart currently displayed at www.triviewmetro.com/rates.html.

Operations Supervisor Nick Harris added that the base wastewater fee for each size of residential or commercial tap would increase by the same amount, $9.24.

There was a general discussion about how the CWRPDA fee is currently used for a cash reserve in case Triview does not meet CWRPDA loan covenants for the $7 million loan.

Effective at the beginning of May 2013 billing cycle, the new residential water volume charge rates will use five tiers. For a 3/4 -inch tap, use rates will be:

• $3.25 per 1,000 gallons up to 6,000 gallons

• $4.04 per 1,000 gallons from 6,001 to 20,000 gallons

• $5.82 per 1,000 gallons used from 20,001 to 30,000 gallons

• $6.57 per 1,000 gallons used from 30,001 to 40,000 gallons

• $7.32 per 1,000 gallons used above 40,001 gallons

The board decided to eliminate the current $5 CWRPDA monthly fee from the rate structure and raise the monthly residential water base rate for a 3/4-inch tap to $16.

The approved new base rates for a residential 3/4-inch tap are $33.74 per month for wastewater and $16 per month for water, for a total of $49.74 per month.

The volume charge for all commercial, office, and industrial customers will increase from $3.31 to $3.72 per 1,000 gallons. There is just one tier for commercial use.

Director Steve Hurd noted that this increase still does not address the enterprise fund problems that will arise due to using tap fees to pay for operations and maintenance costs rather than for new required water and wastewater infrastructure capital costs or debt reduction. Triview’s water attorney, Chris Cummins of Felt, Monson & Culichia, said the board still needs to address the large remaining portion of the $2.7 million capital fund deficit for 2014 not addressed by this rate increase.

Secretary/Treasurer Bob Eskridge said, "We’re still well below Monument and Palmer Lake." He added, "I’m just astounded at how high Monument’s (rates) are." Vice President Tom Harder said, "You don’t have to water every day, twice a day. Remington noted that Triview will still allow watering three times a week while Monument only allows watering twice per week.

Director Steve Cox stated that the board needs to explain not giving back the $5 CWRPDA fund balance to customers. President Robert Fisher said he would work with staff to write an explanation of the inability to refund the balance of the CWRPDA fee cash reserve to customers. This information, along with a copy of the new rates schedule, will be inserted in Triview water bills for April use that will be mailed at the beginning of May.

The board will discuss the 2014 rate increases as an agenda item during the May 14 board meetings as an action necessary to pay for operations and maintenance entirely from monthly water and wastewater fee revenues, a requirement for a Colorado enterprise fund such as Triview’s.

Financial report

The board approved two disbursements over $5,000:

• $26,380 to JDS Hydro for engineering for the Sanctuary Point water system expansion.

• $10,766 to Colorado Water Well Pump Service to lower the pump in Well A-7 by 168 feet to 1,638 feet.

However, the board withheld approval of the second-quarter wastewater treatment facility payment of $110,130, which was due to the Donala Water and Sanitation District on May 1. The board was concerned since it appeared that after this payment, only about $151,000 would be left in the 2013 budget to make two more payments of about $110,000 each. President Fisher asked District Manager Remington to "clarify the budget" with Donala.

Remington presented year-to-date (YTD) account balances as of Feb. 28:

• Cash position – $14.6 million, up $88,373 from January, mostly due to sales and property tax increases.

• District general fund revenue – $426,000 (10 percent of YTD budget).

• District general fund expenses – $248,000 (6 percent of YTD budget).

• Enterprise fund ­revenue – $306,000 (17 percent of YTD budget).

• Enterprise fund expenditures – $559,000 (28 percent of YTD budget).

Vice President Harder noted that 2013 water/system repair and maintenance expenditures in the enterprise fund were already 208 percent higher than the amount budgeted—$79,043 versus $38,000. Remington and Operations Supervisor Harris attributed this to the repair and maintenance costs arising from the water leak on Talus Road and repairs on Well A-1 at the end of 2012. Fisher questioned why these costs were not assigned to the 2012 budget instead of 2013 and asked Remington to ask the district’s accounting firm, Community Resources Services how to handle this situation with a budget restatement. The restatement would amend the appropriations for unbudgeted increased expenses and corresponding redistribution of revenues.

Harder also noted that the Donala repayment principle line item in the enterprise fund was $9,000, or 300 percent of what was budgeted for all of 2013; Remington said she would check this with Donala.

Triview’s sewer tap fees are used to repay the amount owed to Donala for the expansion of the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility from a capacity of 0.875 million gallons per day (MGD) to 1.75 MGD.

Donala and Triview each originally obtained loans of $5 million from CWRPDA for this expansion. The Triview board imposed a 25 mill property tax to repay its loan. Cost overruns led to Donala and Triview each getting additional CWRPDA loans of $2 million. The Triview board raised the district’s mill levy from 25 mills to 35 mills on Dec. 11, 2007.

Further cost overruns for completing the expansion of the facility added an additional cost of $2.15 million. Triview could not get a third loan from CWRPDA to cover its share, $1.08 million because CWRPDA considered Triview’s overall debt to be too great a risk.

Donala agreed to pay the rest of Triview’s share of the cost of expanding the plant from Donala’s cash reserves. In return, Triview agreed to pay Donala $1,500 of every new Triview sewer tap fee until the debt is paid. Donala will continue to hold 6.7 percent of Triview’s share of ownership in escrow until Triview’s debt is paid off. The percentages of facility capacity that the districts now own following the expansion are:

• Triview—44.0 percent or 0.77 MGD

• Donala—38.9 percent or 0.68 MGD

• Forest Lakes Metropolitan District —17.1 percent or 0.30 MGD

Triview’s 2013 budget line item for the amount of new sewer tap fees is simply far less than the actual amount of new tap fees the district will actually receive, due in part to the success of Classic Homes’ Promontory Pointe development. Triview is contractually obligated to forward every tap fee to Donala whether or not the amount transferred exceeds the estimate in a Triview budget. Amending the 2013 Triview budget to reflect the actual amount transferred is a simple administrative procedure.

For more information on Triview’s tap fee transfer payments to Donala, see:

www.ocn.me/v8n1.htm#tmd

www.ocn.me/v9n1.htm#tmd

Capital projects fund expenditures were only 1 percent of what was budgeted through February, but this is expected to increase when the district begins buying replacement water meters and the new Promontory Pointe booster pump, Remington reported.

Resolutions

The board unanimously approved a resolution to approve use of a district credit card for the district manager and selected staff operators. No personal expenses may be placed on the credit card, and receipts must be submitted for all charges over $25. The board also unanimously approved the district policy as amended by Fisher during the discussion.

Consideration of the draft joint "Water Conservation Plan for the Town of Monument, Town of Palmer Lake, and Triview Metropolitan District" was deferred because consultant Linda Firth of Water Matters was unable to attend the meeting due to weather conditions. The conservation plan is required by the Colorado Legislature in House Bill 04-1635.

Operations report

Harris stated he was seeking board guidance on how to proceed on the cost of a permanent asphalt repair on Talus Road to replace the temporary repair installed after the water main break between Coquina Drive and Lacuna Drive this winter. Fisher noted that the district has budgeted about $300,000 for street repairs in 2013 but has "about $1 million of maintenance backlogged." He added that the district should not spend all $300,000 on that one spot in May.

Harris noted some other problem areas that will require repair in the Gold Creek Drive neighborhood.

Temporary water operations supervisor

Harris had turned in his resignation effective April 19 before this meeting, leaving the district in need of an operator in responsible charge (ORC). The board reviewed applications from three applicants to fill this state-required licensed position until a new operations supervisor is hired. It unanimously passed a motion that Remington could sign a six-month contract with Tom Schubert of ORC Water Professionals LLC "pending favorable legal review," at a rate of $1,830 per month plus costs to perform the duties of ORC, reporting, and general management. The minimum state license requirements are a class B operator and a class 1 for distribution.

Manager’s report

Kiewit Construction, the state’s contractor for widening I-25 from Woodmen Road to Highway 105, submitted a cost estimate of $201,750 for boring under I-25 near the Baptist Road interchange and installing a 30-inch, 175-foot steel casing and 16-inch carrier pipe. These would be used for providing Triview potable water service to the Valero truck stop on the northeast corner of the interchange. Remington noted that the board has decided to postpone this project for now.

The board came to a consensus to contribute $2,500 to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority to sponsor a regional water infrastructure and storage study. Cummins said the scope of work would be based on transporting water from JV Ranch up to the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and from Sunset Ranch down to the Cherokee Metropolitan District. He said, "A small investment to be part of that conversation is probably worthwhile." Cox asked that the results of the study be communicated back to Triview.

The boarded decided to defer approval of a proposed $15,000 contract extension with environmental consultant Grant Gurnée of Ecosystem Services LLC until there is a consensus from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on complex 404 permit requirements for Preble’s mouse ecosystem habitat and floodplain permits. (See article March 12 Triview meeting for some details of his study).

The board deferred a decision on a cost-sharing solution proposed by the Town of Monument with Triview and El Paso County to repair the bump in the center of the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Higby Road, a multijurisdictional intersection, for an estimated cost of $20,680.

The meeting went into executive session at 7:01 p.m. to confer with the district’s attorney regarding advice on specific legal issues.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on May 14 at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868.

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me. Jim Kendrick can be reached at jimkendrick@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, April 16: Action on grant application recommended

By Jim Kendrick

On April 16, Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund advised the members of the Joint Use Committee for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to prepare their individual district boards for a rapid turnaround period in order to be able to apply for a part of $15 million from the state nutrient management grant program initiated by Gov. John Hickenlooper. These grants will help the state’s 46 largest domestic wastewater facilities comply with the tighter nutrient permit limits for phosphorus and nitrogen in Control Regulation 85. For more specific details on this grant award program, see the Monument Sanitation District article.

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. Palmer Lake Director Virgil Watkins filled in for Director Dale Smith, who was excused.

Wicklund advised the JUC members and the other district managers that they needed to prepare their boards for rapid decisions, and perhaps special meetings, in order to submit a Tri-Lakes facility grant application by June 30 under the tight time restraints imposed by House Bill 13-1191. Each of the three districts will co-sign the grant application. Also, all of the districts will have to certify in this application that they have all the funding that is required to complete the project before September 2016––prior to receiving any reimbursement from the grant.

The additional unbudgeted money for this grant application will require a 2013 JUC budget amendment as well as a 2013 appropriation amendment for the additional money to be spent in the remainder of 2013 rather than be deferred until 2014 as originally planned in November 2012.

District managers’ reports

Wicklund and Palmer Lake District Manager Becky Orcutt both reported that DRC Construction was performing annual collection line cleaning. DRC will perform video inspections of 20 percent of the lines, part of a five-year rotating inspection cycle, after the annual line cleaning is completed.

Plant manager’s report

Facility Manager Bill Burks reported on the February discharge monitoring report figures, all of which were well within permit limits. He noted that sulfate or chloride readings will rise when the plant starts chemical treatment to remove phosphates using ferric chloride or aluminum sulfate.

Copper product again found at Big R

Wicklund reported that he had made another monthly visit to the new Big R store on Struthers Road to see if the store manager had removed all the jars of copper sulfate tree root killer from their shelves. The store manager had not done so. Wicklund once again advised the store manager that Big R’s copper sulfate sales could cause wastewater facility permit violations and fines and that Big R’s lack of cooperation had been reported in the April 6 edition of OCN.

While in the store, Wicklund contacted the Big R corporate executive who had promised him that the copper sulfate products would be removed. The executive was surprised that the copper sulfate products had not been removed and said he understood that the EPA fines for copper permit violations are $28,000 to $35,000 per day for Big R customers.

The executive called the store manager, and Wicklund waited to ensure that the executive had directed the store manager to take the copper sulfate products of Big R’s shelves. The store carries a recommended foaming product that effectively kills tree roots without causing permit issues for wastewater facilities.

Tri-Lakes’ February effluent readings for potentially dissolved copper were 7.5 micrograms per liter (µg/l)––or parts per billion––for the 30-day average and 8 µg/l for the daily maximum. The district’s temporarily modified permit limits, which expire at the end of 2013, are 24.8 µg/l for a 30-day average and a daily maximum of 36.4 µg/l. The facility’s new discharge permit’s limits that take effect in January are 9.7 µg/l for a 30-day average and a daily maximum of 15 µg/l.

The Tri-Lakes plant would currently not be likely to achieve these values year-round if they actually become effective, so the facility is seeking another modification of these permit limits at the June 10 Water Quality Control Commission.

Nutrients report

Burks reported that the Tri-Lakes and Upper Monument facilities had agreed on a standardized format for monthly nutrient reporting for participation in the new Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE). The February effluent readings, in milligrams per liter (mg/l), were:

• Ammonia – 0.89 mg/l

• Nitrite nitrogen – 0 mg/l

• Nitrate nitrogen – 0.12 mg/l

• Total inorganic nitrogen – 1.01 mg/l

• Total Kjeldahl nitrogen – 2.50 mg/l

• Total nitrogen – 2.62 mg/l

• Total phosphorus – 4.0 mg/l

The Control Regulation 85 limits that will apply to the Tri-Lakes facility when it is issued its new discharge permit after 2016 are 15 mg/l for total nitrogen and 1 mg/l for total phosphorus.

Watershed nutrient sampling consensus is emerging

There is a general consensus developing among the members of AF CURE to perform stream samples in the same week, if not the same day, in the first or second week of the month. If there are large variances or inconsistencies in the AF CURE members’ in-stream nutrient readings, there may be more agreement on having all these samples taken on the same day.

It is very difficult to predict how either continuous or "grab" sample in-stream nutrient readings will be altered during stormwater events and whether they will be valid. It is even harder to predict what the effects will be of the large-scale debris that will enter Monument Creek and Fountain Creek following the Waldo Canyon wildfire and whether they will render AF CURE’s nutrient readings useless.

Other matters

Burks reported that on March 27, engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech performed its first site visit to the plant for a previously approved study. He will provide copies to Tetra Tech of all the recent statistics that are available for plant operation and other pertinent documentation for this capital improvement plan study.

Burks noted that the cost of a nonylphenol effluent test is $325 per sample. All the nonylphenol test results have been non-detects. The JUC approved Burks’ recommendation that he negotiate with the Water Quality Control Division to eliminate this testing requirement.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on May 14 at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings will continue to be available at 481-4053.

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

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, April 11: Irrigation rate structure analysis authorized

By Candice Hitt

On April 11, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board authorized an analysis of the district’s irrigation-only water rate structure. District Manager Jessie Shaffer stated that after the meeting he and President Barrie Town had with Monument Hill Country Club and Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA), along with some other feedback he had received, it was time to look at the district’s irrigation and non-potable rate structures now in place.

Golf club management has said it might not open the course this year because of high irrigation costs. Town stated that in the meeting, club managing member Vic Harshberger reported that they were using, on average, 79 acre-feet of water per year for the golf course, which is only 65 percent of the water needed to adequately water the course. Harshberger said the course needs about 118 acre-feet of water, but the club cannot afford WWSD’s tier 3 water cost.

Shaffer later talked to Bishop, Brogden Associates, which agreed that the golf course needed 112 to 118 acre-feet of water per year. Town told Harshberger that he would present his findings to the board and look at the entire block structure for all irrigation customers.

Shaffer presented an overview of the block structures to the board. Irrigation-only customers are telling him the WWSD’s block structure is too compressed, and they cannot fully water their grass without hitting the tier 3 rates. Shaffer stated that the tier 3 rate was designed to encourage water conservation. Customers are stating that they need more water in tiers 1 and 2 to achieve 80 percent of their grass irrigation demand (GID). Shaffer stated that you can have decent grass at 80 percent of GID.

Shaffer showed the board that the golf course was not meeting 80 percent of GID. He said WWSD has a revenue target that must be met from each customer class to meet operation demands. Shaffer stated that WWSD should look at the block structure for irrigation-only customers to see if the district is providing enough water in each tier. He explained how the blocks were originally structured and stated that the irrigation blocks were probably "under" what they should be. Shaffer recommended to the board that WWSD hire a consultant to make an accurate analysis of the block structures. The board authorized the expenditure of $8,200 for analysis of the irrigation-only block structure, to be completed by May 2.

New supplemental water pact

Shaffer explained the new supplemental water use and service agreement between WWSD and Vista Ridge Estates LLC and WED LLC. He said WWSD had previously had a supplemental water agreement with WED that included a rider for additional single-family units (SFUs) generated by the sale of supplemental water service and the impact of the additional SFUs on WWSD’s water and sewer systems.

The rider was an impact fee for $2,000 per acre-foot of supplemental water sold. Shaffer recommended to the board that this rider be omitted from the new agreement. He said the old agreement was in 2004 and he was no longer comfortable with the $2,000 per acre-foot calculation. Shaffer stated that the impact fee should be calculated and charged at the time of development. The board agreed with Shaffer and approved eliminating the rider.

Operations report and construction projects

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette gave the operations report, saying he may ask the board to authorize the purchase of distribution system meters that would help in tracking down the locations of any leaks. Lake Woodmoor is continuing to fill, but it was about a foot lower than expected due to dry weather conditions. Gillette reported the new lake mixers will be delivered in mid-May. District staff will collect lake samples to create a baseline for water quality to start comparisons after the mixers are installed.

Well 18 had failed and will be pulled from the ground. Well 11 will also be pulled due to high amp issues.

Shaffer said the board room audio and visual equipment had been installed. The board thanked Gillette for his hard work creating the wood cabinet and designs to the room décor.

President Town suggested that WWSD needs to let customers know what is happening within the district on a regular basis. Shaffer stated the WWSD used to provide a monthly newsletter to the customers. Town stated it would be a good idea to provide the newsletter again on a quarterly basis. Shaffer will bring a draft copy to the board next month.

**********

The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. May 9 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, April 18: Vialpando named employee of the quarter

By Jim Kendrick

On April 18, Assistant District Manager Kip Petersen advised the Donala Water and Sanitation District that the Triview Metropolitan District board had decided not to make the quarterly payment to Donala for its share of treatment costs for the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility even though it had sufficient funds remaining in its plant operations budget to cover this payment.

The new Big R Store on Struthers Road continued to sell copper sulfate tree root killing products even though there is a high probability that use of this Big R product could cause an expensive permit violation fine for the Upper Monument facility from the state or EPA.

At the start of the board meeting, District Manager Dana Duthie announced that Troy Vialpando of Maintenance was the district’s employee of the quarter. Board President Bill George presented the award to Vialpando, and all the board members thanked him for his excellent work.

Director Bill Nance’s absence was excused.

Triview status update

Petersen reported that Donala had received seven payments of $1,500 each for seven new Triview Metropolitan District March taps. This tap revenue is used to reimburse Donala for paying for Triview’s share of the costs of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility that were in excess of the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority’s loans totaling $7 million. The amount remaining for Triview to reimburse to Donala is $787,524, plus interest.

Petersen noted that Triview Operations Supervisor Nick Harris had resigned to join the Town of Monument staff. Triview is hiring an interim contractor with the correct operational wastewater and drinking water licenses to temporarily replace Harris as "operator in responsible charge" for both areas. The Triview board plans to interview candidates and hire a new chief operator in the future.

Petersen stated that Triview District Manager Valerie Remington had advised him that the Triview board would not approve the quarterly $110,130 payment owed Triview for wastewater treatment services at this time, because Remington had not entered a large enough amount in Triview’s 2013 budget to cover all four quarterly payments to Donala. Remington must provide a budget amendment to the Triview board to cover all four payments before the Triview directors will approve Triview’s second quarterly payment to Donala.

Duthie added that the amount to be paid in 2013 by Triview was submitted to Triview last August and had not changed from the 2012 amount. The Triview line item had about $128,000 remaining, so there was no reason not to make this payment on time, by May 1. For more information see the April 9 Triview article.

Petersen said that the new Big R store on Struthers Road had still not cooperated with repeated requests from Donala and Monument Sanitation District to stop selling containers of copper sulfate tree root killer. While the Big R executives in Pueblo state that they will comply with this request, the store manager continues to stock and sell copper sulfate, even though equally effective and less harmful foam products are available. In contrast, the Home Depot store in Monument Marketplace has been very cooperative in taking such copper sulfate products off its shelves.

Financial reports

Petersen reported that he would reduce the number of reports from investment consultant Davidson Fixed Income Management because there are no planned transfers of cash between the district’s accounts until December 2014. Duthie noted that the purpose of the accounts is having a cash reserve, in lieu of insurance, for the two Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority loans totaling $7 million used for the expansion of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Willow Springs Ranch update

Petersen, Superintendent Robert Hull, and Chief Water Operator Mark Parker performed annual work at the district’s Willow Spring Ranch near Leadville from April 14 to 16. There were 4 feet of snow in the ranch’s access driveway and 18 inches of snow on the level ground with waist-high drifts. Petersen noted that metering flume 1 was totally frozen due to a heavy snow. Water was flowing in flume 2.

An additional trip for annual maintenance will be required after the snow melts to help ensure that the flumes are operational. The district soon must be able to claim the maximum amount of renewable surface water that flows from the ranch to the Arkansas River and Pueblo Reservoir from the heavier spring thaw flows, starting in May.

The district is also working with Abby Ortega, the planning supervisor for water supply with Colorado Springs Utilities, in case Utilities’ potable water is necessary in lieu of Willow Springs Ranch water during the higher demand periods this summer. Duthie said the district may get less water from the ranch than last year due to the continuing drought causing low Arkansas River flows.

Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority update

Petersen gave a synopsis of the briefing presented to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) by its legislative consultant Dick Brown on this year’s various state House and Senate bills that may affect water rights sales rules and litigation.

The board considered what level Donala should choose for participation in a regional water supply feasibility study after a report on the March 29 PPRWA technical review committee meeting.

Duthie briefed the board on the state Legislature’s recent passage of House Bill 13-1186, a "transparency" bill that requires addition of a public disclosure notice to every special district property owner’s deed that the property has been included in that district for water and/or wastewater service. Petersen said Donala’s responsibility will be to file all the disclosure notices to the county with accurate information on each property in the district while it will be the county’s responsibility to record this information on each of the affected county property titles.

There is also a new requirement for every special district to provide at least 30 days of notice before a hearing on an increase of district fees, including those increases that are routinely incorporated in each district’s annual budget.

A separate bill that had not passed yet would prevent homeowners associations (HOAs) from requiring any turf grass in covenants or from prohibiting or limiting xeriscaping. The bill would prohibit HOAs from fining individual property owners for not installing green landscape, if the property owner is complying with local water restrictions.

Petersen and Duthie expressed concern that El Paso County may control "graywater" permitting and inspections instead of Donala under a proposed graywater bill. Duthie emphasized that rain water becomes surface water and is not graywater. Therefore, rain water cannot be captured for irrigation like graywater. Graywater is captured shower and sink water that has been sufficiently treated so that it can be safely recycled for use in toilets and irrigation with a separate piping system.

Duthie reported that the drought has affected the Colorado River so drastically that this may prevent the Flaming Gorge water supply project from making any significant progress in the near term. Also, the designation of the Colorado River as the "No. 1 Most Endangered" river in the nation by the American Rivers advocacy group will generate higher scrutiny.

The Upper Monument facility is coordinating with Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility and the U.S. Geological Survey to take nutrient samples in Monument Creek on the same day to better characterize nutrient levels between Monument Lake and the north gate of the Air Force Academy.

Status of operational projects

Petersen reported that Generac has advised the district that it no longer has the backup generator that Donala had agreed to purchase for its water treatment plant. Generac offered to sell Donala a larger used generator with about 100 hours of operational time. Negotiations are continuing.

Petersen noted that the repair in the Holbein water treatment plant that was caused by a pipe leak has been completed. Both the Holbein and Hull facilities are ready for this summer’s peak demand treatment period following these annual repairs.

A pre-construction meeting was held with Upper Monument sludge press extension contractor Aslan Construction, Petersen said. The sludge press extension project is expected to be completed in June and will provide more efficient and cost-effective sludge removal from the wastewater facility.

Weaver Construction, the general contractor for the Upper Monument expansion project, will assist the district in repairing a leak in the channel used for ultraviolet disinfection of effluent. This disinfection is the final stage of treatment before the effluent is discharged from the facility.

The meeting went into executive session for real estate negotiations and personnel at 2:35 p.m.

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After this regular meeting, the Donala board held a special meeting at 9 a.m. on April 26 to approve a resolution for a representative to sign the district’s contract with the Bureau of Reclamation for extending storage rights in the Pueblo Reservoir for the district’s renewable surface water from the Willow Creek Ranch.

The next regular meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on May 16 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org/news-events/board-meeting-agenda.html

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

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Monument Sanitation District, April 18: State grants expected for nutrient treatment equipment

By Jim Kendrick

On April 18, District Manager Mike Wicklund briefed the Monument Sanitation District board on the state’s proposed $15 million nutrient management grant program for the state’s 46 large wastewater treatment facilities. The grants are intended to help facilities like the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility comply with state’s new tighter discharge permit limits for the nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen.

The absence of board President Ed DeLaney was excused.

Wicklund noted that funding for the grant program will be provided by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s initiative, House Bill 13-1191. This bill has been approved by the state House and Senate Review and Appropriations Committees. All three readings in both the state House and Senate review processes were also approved, as amended.

The next step for final approval is House approval as amended by the Senate. The bill is expected to be passed with very little amendment because both the Colorado House and Senate have Democratic majorities that will support Hickenlooper’s initiative.

For more information on the amended wording of HB 13-1191 and its legislative history, see www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2013A/csl.nsf/BillFoldersHouse?openFrameset and select "House Bills 1151-1200" by the "GO" button at the top of the page.

The Tri-Lakes facility meets the four grant eligibility criteria in HB13-1191:

• Domestic wastewater treatment facility.

• Discharges to a high-priority watershed––Monument Creek and Fountain Creek watershed.

• Owned and operated by local government entities––The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility entity and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

• Rated at 4.2 million gallons per day (MGD), well above the 2 MGD limit for having to comply with the new nutrient limits in the state’s new Control Regulation 85.

As currently proposed by the Water Quality Control Division (WQCD), the money from HB13-1191 will provide:

• 34 planning grants for up to $80,000––with a 20 percent match from the facility owners.

• 12 design and construction grants for up to $1 million––no match required.

• $300,000 for administration of the three-year grant program by one full-time employee of the WQCD.

For facilities with more than one owning entity, like Tri-Lakes, the WQCD will use averages of all the eligibility statistics in prioritizing grant applications. The grant award will be distributed between the owners identified on the grant application in the percentages specified by the applicants.

Wicklund stated that he had asked for these modifications at the stakeholder workgroup meetings held in Denver so that the Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor districts, could each apply for the maximum grant amount that they could accept without triggering the 10 percent TABOR cap on accepting state grants. The TABOR grant cap is 10 percent of a district’s revenues, so each of these three districts must ask for a separate grant amount.

For grant eligibility, construction must be completed and approved by the state by September 2016. Applicants must certify in their grant applications that they have the entire project funding in hand and appropriated to be able to pay for the entire project before receiving any reimbursement from the grant.

Monument and Palmer Lake can accept about $50,000 each and Woodmoor can accept about $150,000 to $300,000 under this TABOR restriction. These districts may have to ask voters to override TABOR to be eligible for a full $1 million construction grant. Even though Woodmoor may end up contributing more grant money to the project due to this TABOR restriction, there will be no change in the one-third ownerships or individual ownership of treatment capacities.

Wicklund said he expects the Tri-Lakes facility to be awarded a grant based on Monument’s active leadership in the stakeholder meetings and the division staff’s appreciation of Monument’s expertise in helping it formulate policies that address the complex rules and restrictions that apply to state grant awards. The changes requested by Monument will help ensure successful implementation and expeditious disbursement of the grant funding, he said.

Wicklund noted the pressure put on Hickenlooper last year by Monument Sanitation District and Fountain Sanitation District as they led the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition’s lobbying effort in the Legislature in coordination with then-state Rep. Marsha Looper and then-state Sen. Keith King. The districts also lobbied Hickenlooper directly after making phone calls directly to Hickenlooper on KOA’s Mike Rosen radio show.

The purpose of the new nutrient regulations is to limit nitrogen and phosphorus, which may cause negative ecological impacts to water bodies by stimulating harmful algal blooms. The new effluent limits for existing facilities rated at over 2 MGD in Control Regulation 85 are 15 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for nitrogen and 1 mg/L for phosphorus. These limits will not apply to the Tri-Lakes facility until its current discharge permit expires in 2016.

The grant funds would assist the 46 large state facilities with planning, engineering, design, and construction costs. The wording in HB-13-1191 also places an emphasis on providing assistance to applicants most financially burdened by the improvements or adaptations necessary to achieve compliance with what would otherwise be an unfunded mandate by the state. Hickenlooper’s own Executive Order 5 prohibits the state government from imposing unfunded mandates on local governments like wastewater special districts.

Commission grant hearing on May 13

In anticipation of passage of HB-13-1191, the state Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) will hold a rulemaking hearing at 2 p.m. on May 13 to amend existing Regulation 55 to consider adding provisions to establish project prioritization criteria for the award of grants and consider appropriate implementing regulations. There is a great deal of pressure on the Legislature and the WQCD from Hickenlooper to ensure that all this money is awarded, so the award distributions noted above may be modified before or after the hearing on May 13.

Wicklund said that if there are facilities that cannot meet the numerous state grant technical restrictions and regulations or comply with the time limits in the proposed amendment to Regulation 55, the size of some of the awarded grants may be increased, with priority given to some of those projects that will be completed first.

The next steps in the extremely tight timetable for the nutrient management grant program are:

• May 13 – WQCC expected to approve Regulation 55 and scoring criteria

• General Assembly approves HB13-1191

• June 1 – WQCD will issue request for applications

• June 30 – Request for applications closes

• July 1 – WQCD will begin prioritizing projects

• July 12 – Prioritization complete, fundable list compiled

• WQCD will work with applicants on agreements from the end of July through August

• September – Project start

For more information, click on the state "Nutrient Management Grant Stakeholder Program" link at: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-WQ/CBON/1251596793649

Treasurer’s report

Wicklund noted that he had some work done on the district’s pickup truck, including installation of new tires, at the Discount Tire Store at Monument Marketplace at a cost of $977. The store gave the district a card worth $100 as a rebate. Wicklund stated that he used the $100 gift card to pay for district postage stamps.

The district has not received any tap fees so far in 2013. Some new taps might be purchased later this year for residential and commercial construction within the district and new inclusions for lots with failing septic systems. A large tap fee is expected in the future for the new Beacon Lite Assisted Living Facility to be built next to Grace Best Elementary School.

Wicklund also briefed the board on the district’s policy for homeowners who want to build a dump station in their yard for a personal recreational vehicle. No additional tap fee is required for this limited purpose. However, if a homeowner starts allowing other people to use the dump station and charges them for this, the district considers this a separate commercial tap and the homeowner must pay a separate $4,500 tap fee. Additional fees that would be charged for this illegal use would be $2,000 for connecting a commercial tap without permission and another $1,000 for not paying the tap fee within 10 days of connecting.

In other matters, Wicklund noted that DRC Construction would be cleaning district collection lines in April. Some of the district’s old leaky vitreous clay collection lines will be re-lined by Insituform to prevent further tree root infiltration and backups.

The meeting adjourned at 7:54 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 16 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Information: 481-4886.

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

Correction: The capacity of the plant was stated as 4.6 million gallons per day in this issue of the paper. The correct figure is 4.2 MGD.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, April 29: State hearings in June will impact discharge into Smith Creek

By Susan Hindman

A rulemaking hearing June 10 by the state Water Quality Control Commission on Regulation 32 will have an impact on the discharge permit that the Academy Water and Sanitation District is expecting to receive sometime this year as well as on the creek the district discharges into. Details about the complex issues, which impact all treatment facilities whose effluent (treated wastewater) eventually flows into the Arkansas River, were discussed by the district’s engineer Roger Sams at the board meeting on April 29.

Academy discharges its effluent into Smith Creek, whose flow mainly consists of that treated wastewater. Often very little surface water remains when it reaches Monument Creek around Northgate Road. Monument Creek travels south and meets up with Fountain Creek in central Colorado Springs, which flows into the Arkansas River in Pueblo.

Lacking the strong water flow of larger streams, Smith Creek can’t dilute the ammonia and other nutrients that are found in the effluent and that are now subject to stricter regulations.

Regulation 32 has lumped Smith Creek into a group of "stream reaches" of varying lengths that branch off Monument and Fountain Creeks from Monument south to Pueblo. These streams are all defined as Fountain Creek Segment 4—part of the Fountain Creek Basin—and are subject to the same water quality standards.

The Water Quality Control Division is proposing to remove an important existing designation, called "use protected," along the entire Segment 4. This would make Smith Creek subject instead to review under the "antidegradation regulation," which has more stringent rules. For example, with a use-protected designation, the allowable amount of ammonia in the effluent would range from 2.3 milligrams per liter to 13 milligrams per liter (on a 30-day basis). Under the antidegradation regulation, that amount would be just 1 milligram per liter.

The district’s 2013 permit also will require removing from Smith Creek the chlorine used to treat the effluent. The most common, inexpensive way to dechlorinate is by using sulfate-based chemical products. However, the sulfate standards in the antidegradation regulation would put the district in violation if it used the sulfate.

While the district can’t meet either numeric standard for ammonia—and is facing options that cost more than $3 million to implement—the use-protected designation is still preferable to Academy. Most of the major treatment facilities that discharge into the Fountain Creek Basin are protesting the division’s proposed change to antidegradation standards, Sams said, and he suggested that the board join other dischargers in submitting a statement requesting that Segment 4 be allowed to retain its use-protected designation. The board authorized Sams to prepare that statement.

The division is also adding temperature standards that would make the streams in Pueblo subject to the same standards as those in Monument.

Sams suggested that members of the board consider attending the June hearing, possibly even speaking during the public comment time. He expects whatever regulations that are approved to become effective at the end of August.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at the Wescott fire station, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. The next meeting is May 15.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, April 1: New downtown directional signs proposed

By Jim Kendrick

On April 1, Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, showed the Monument Board of Trustees slides of various options for signs to be installed in downtown Monument to help motorists and pedestrians find their way to various kinds of shops, restaurants, services, and parking. There is $25,000 in the town’s budget this year for the first phase of downtown signage for interior downtown streets. The second phase will include the exterior area. The signs would have a town logo at the top.

Before the regular meeting, the board had a dinner workshop with the board of the Triview Metropolitan District. All of the Monument trustees as well as the Triview directors, including District Manager Valerie Remington, were present.

Downtown directional signage proposed

The larger signs would be installed at the intersections of Second Street and Third Street with Beacon Lite Road. They would be about 3 feet high and 2 feet wide and mounted on existing light poles. The signs in the downtown area would also be mounted on existing streetlight poles, opposite the Art Hop banner locations, along Second and Third Street. They would be about 2 feet wide and 1 foot high and bear lettering visible to both motorists and pedestrians.

The board favored the option for antique bronze rectangular signs with brackets. Former Trustee Tommie Plank, the owner of Covered Treasures bookstore, asked the board to consider a sub-committee of Historic Monument Merchants Association members to work on the project. Plank requested vacant slots on these new sign frames to allow business owners to purchase the slots for promoting their stores.

Kassawara stated that this would congest the poles. He suggested that future signage may include individual store "signs" on benches and planters that would say something like "Beauty Salon" or "Art Shop." The board stated that a subcommittee would not be in the best interest of the project now because a committee was in place and the timeline for completing the project was short.

Kassawara stated that he would brief the Merchants Association on the downtown signage project at the association’s next meeting.

Shirk "honored"

Trustee Jeff Bornstein stated that Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk had been very proactive through his participation in a variety of professional and volunteer community activities. He presented Shirk a framed pair of autographed Sheriff Joe Arpaio pink prisoner undershorts to much laughter. Arpaio is the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona. For more information on this, see: www.fh.az.gov/sheriff-joe-arpaio.aspx

Three land use ordinances approved

The board unanimously approved an ordinance granting a request for an extension for review and approval of the Village Center at Woodmoor Filing 3A major planned development (PD) amendment, replat, and final PD site plan applications. This extension allows time for the applicant to resubmit the project and obtain approval from the Board of Trustees. The project is located at the southeast corner of West Highway 105 and Gold Canyon Road.

The board unanimously approved an ordinance for a replat of the northern portions of the Promontory Pointe development by developer Classic Homes.

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 Triview and operational prior to the issuance of the first land use permit for any home that is served by a fire hydrant located in the specified fire zone.

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

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

PD site plan amendment: The board also unanimously approved an ordinance for a second major amendment to the Final PD Site Plan for Promontory Pointe 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 that is served by a fire hydrant located with the "Fire Zone: as shown on the Triview Metropolitan District Booster Station Pressure Zones Exhibit, attached as part of Exhibit B to the ordinance."

"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 Phase 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."

For more information on the extensive and complicated history regarding these two Promontory Pointe agenda items, see www.ocn.me/v13n4.htm#monpc.

Resolutions

The board unanimously approved four resolutions for:

• Authorizing the temporary closing of a portion of Second Street, Front Street and Washington Street on June 9 from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. for conducting the 12th Annual Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car Show.

• Authorizing the temporary traffic control on Third Street and Second Street at the Trailhead on Sept. 2 from 6:30 to 10 a.m., for the American Discovery Trail Marathon.

• Approving a standard project agreement between the Town of Monument and Forsgren Associates Inc. concerning the revision and updating of the town’s current Water Master Plan with regard to supply, treatment, storage, and solutions.

• Approving revisions to the Town of Monument Fee Schedule.

Financial reports

The board unanimously approved these disbursements over $5,000

• $22,663 to CIRSA Insurance for second-quarter worker’s compensation.

• $ 16,642 to CIRSA Insurance for second-quarter liability insurance.

• $37,193 to Applied Ingenuity LLC for repair and video of town well 7.

The board unanimously approved the February financials as presented.

Staff reports

Town Treasurer and Interim Town Manager Pamela Smith reported that she had completed a budget-neutral staff reorganization change by eliminating the position of accounting clerk and adding a position for a town accountant.

Chief Shirk announced that Monument police were the first on scene at the Tom Clements shooting and assisted the CBI in staging.

Kassawara stated El Paso County is conducting a study in regards to the Willow Springs Sports Complex and the possibility of a secondary location at Powers and Highway 83. Kassawara asked the board for $1,000 to contribute to the study so the town would be targeted as a location. The board approved $1,000 from the contingency fund with the condition that the town would be named in the study.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, April 15: May 5 recreational bike ride approved

By Jim Kendrick

On April 15, the Monument Board of Trustees approved a special events permit for a Recreational Cycling Ride to be held in the Monument area on Sunday, May 5. The ride will start at Limbach Park at 7 a.m.

Chris Witt of Club Café Velo gave a presentation to the board on a Special Event Permit application that was turned into the town clerk too late to be placed on the meeting’s agenda.

Witt stated the event is a Recreational Cycling Ride that will start at Limbach Park at 7 a.m. and end at the park at 2 p.m. Witt stated that El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies have been scheduled to assist in safely escorting riders through intersections and narrow roadways. The board asked Witt to work with Police Chief Jacob Shirk on the town portions of the ride. The board unanimously approved the Special Event Permit.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Becki Tooley asked for all present to pray for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. She also reminded her colleagues that there is a 5k run/walk on May 11 starting at Palmer Lake to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez stated that as the town’s liaison for the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp., he would like the town to share in the cost of events that benefit both organizations. The board agreed to pay half of Dominguez’s current invoices, which were less than $200.

Mayor Travis Easton stated that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is looking to reallocate some of its funding for transportation-related projects. As a result, the Town of Monument may be on CDOT’s list of cuts.

PR presentation

Public relations firm Blakely and Co. presented a strategic marketing plan proposal to the board. Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, received board approval to move forward with negotiations for a proposed Blakely contract for a base amount of $15,000 and a "cafeteria plan" for other recommendations, with proposed costs for each option.

Earth Day and Arbor Day noted

The board unanimously approved a proclamation declaring April 15 as Earth Day.

The board also approved a proclamation declaring April 19 as Arbor Day for the Town of Monument. Citizen Randy Valentine stated he owns Twenty 1 Five, a business that makes furniture with reclaimed wood. He would like to work with the town by planting a tree for every piece of furniture he sells. The board thanked Valentine for his offer and agreed it would be a great idea for him to work with Public Works Director Tom Tharnish to coordinate his tree donations.

Liquor license approved

The board unanimously approved a special event liquor license for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Monument in Motion event that will be held downtown on Labor Day, Sept. 2. This event will feature a kinetic sculpture parade and race through downtown and to Palmer Lake. The street fair activities along Front Street will include food and beverage concessions, vendors, kids’ games, and musical entertainment.

The special event permit allows Front Street between Limbach Park and Third Street and Second Street east to the Santa Fe Trail crossing to be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The chamber’s beer tent will be operated by Pikes Peak Brewing Co.

Financial reports

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

• $102,029 to Triview Metropolitan District for February sales tax ($95,402), March motor vehicle tax ($6,507), and March Regional Building sales tax ($120).

• $30,321 to Medved Ford for a Ford F-250 pickup truck for Public Works.

Deputy Treasurer Monica Harder presented the February sales tax report. Collections through February were $45,000 or 11.7 percent higher than the amount budgeted.

Staff reports

Some of the Development Services items Kassawara noted were:

• Kassawara gave a slide presentation on the traffic circle–vs.-signal issue at the Second Street and Beacon Light Road intersection. Tharnish expressed concerns about the traffic circle being so close to the main water plant building wall.

• Kum & Go has agreed to place signage on their property directing traffic to Cipriani Loop in order to access Highway 105.

• There were seven single-family residential land use permits issued during March, all in Triview. The total for the year is now 16, with 14 in Triview.

Some of the Public Works items Tharnish noted were:

• The new tiered water rate structure went into effect on May 1.

• The town was selected as a "Tree City USA" for the 19th straight year. This award was for 2012. The Tree City USA flag is flying at the I-25/Second Street flag poles underneath the Town of Monument flag.

• Well 7 repairs are complete; production is back up to normal flow.

Some of the Police Department items that Chief Shirk reported were:

• The first July 4 fireworks meeting was held with representatives from multiple agencies to discuss the event.

• The group Cops & Clergy met to discuss community needs, and Chief Shirk did a presentation on the legal issues surrounding guns in churches.

• Chief Shirk met with District 38 Safety and Security Committee to discuss enhancing school safety.

Town Treasurer and Interim Town Manager Pamela Smith reported that she and Harder would begin the 2012 audit prep work on April 29.

Public comments

Business owner John Dominowski asked that the trees on Second Street be examined. Several appear to be dying. Tharnish stated that the trees are under a two-year warranty. Colorado State University Extension will complete a survey by the end of the summer of all trees in Monument regarding health and life expectancy.

The board went into executive session at 9:35 p.m., then adjourned at 10 a.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on May 6 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on 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, April 10: Landscaping and temporary sign codes amended

By Jim Kendrick

On April 10, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved changes to the landscaping and temporary sign codes as proposed by Principal Planner Mike Pesicka. One change removed percentage limits on the amount of nonliving landscaping material that can be proposed for developments in non-residential zoning districts.

The temporary sign code revisions added language for banner boards for nonprofits and charitable organizations as well as updated language for temporary real estate signs, corporate flags, and mounting requirements for ground-mounted banners on private property. A definition was added for nonprofit and charitable organizations.

The absence of Chairman Ed DeLaney was excused. Commissioner Kathy Spence was acting chair for this meeting.

Landscaping limits eliminated

Pesicka noted that the existing landscaping code limited the amount of non-living material, such as rock and gorilla hair mulch, to 20 percent of the landscaped area. The code also allowed a property owner to request approval from the Monument Board of Trustees for up to 50 percent.. He said that the current emphasis on water conservation and use of xeriscaping has led the staff to conclude these percentage limits are no longer appropriate for commercial properties. The requirement to have bushes and trees would remain in place.

The amount of irrigation water that the town is requiring commercial developments to use to keep currently required sod alive will be reduced by allowing elimination of sod from commercial landscaping. This will allow commercial properties to switch to drip irrigation, which uses less water and is sufficient for the other types of required plantings.

Banner and banner board restrictions eased

Pesicka stated that the banner and banner board revisions were a joint effort by the town staff, nonprofits, and charitable organizations. The regulation changes would allow advertising for special events at other places in addition to event sites and an organization’s property. There would be no fee for advertising on these town banner boards. Posting of banners will be on a first-come first-served basis for up to 14 days prior to an event. Banners would have to be taken down within three days after the event has ended.

Each banner board may be up to 6 feet wide, 10 feet high, and 30 square feet in area. There will be two advertising spaces and a Town of Monument logo on each board. The final design of these town banner boards will be presented to the Board of Trustees for final approval at a future date. The final design will be consistent with the design for new directional signs that the town will be installing for the downtown area. Construction and installation of the banner boards will be a partnership between the town and private individuals. The staff will monitor use of the banner boards and maintain them.

The new town banner boards may be placed at:

• The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce at Highway 105 and Third Street.

• Old Denver Highway and Baptist Road.

• On Jackson Creek Parkway near Higby Road.

Commercial banner post rules amended

Under the revisions, the maximum width for a commercial banner is 10 feet. A banner may be 1.5 feet to 3 feet wide. Ground-mounted banners on private property must be attached to four-inch square wood posts or metal posts at least two inches in diameter. Pesicka said the YMCA banner posts are a good example of what the new banner posts would look like.

Temporary sign regulations updated

Pesicka noted that the town code currently has a limit of one temporary real estate sign on the property on each street that is a frontage to the property, plus one sign on each major arterial that serves as an entrance to the property. The current restriction is a maximum of 32 square feet and 8 feet in height.

The wording was changed to eliminate current sign clutter for subdivision entrances by adding a 300-foot spacing limit between real estate signs for a subdivision.

The revision allows one corporate flag up to 24 square feet to be flown beneath the American flag at single-family residential model homes until the last building permit is issued for the subdivision or if the model home is the last residence to be sold.

Group definition created

This definition is created in the revision: "Nonprofit or charitable organization" is a group designed to benefit society or a specific group of people. Its purpose may be educational, humanitarian, or religious. A nonprofit or charitable organization must be recognized as tax exempt by the IRS and the State of Colorado.

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

There was a lengthy technical discussion among the commissioners about potential concerns and abuses of the new rules before the commission unanimously approved all of the revisions as proposed.

The meeting adjourned at 7:46 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on May 8 in Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Information at: www.townofmonument.net or 884-8017.

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

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Palmer Lake Combined Workshop and Town Council, April 11: Watering restrictions in works

By Lisa Hatfield

On April 11, the Palmer Lake Town Council discussed ideas for an outdoor watering restrictions ordinance. Water consultant Linda Firth reported on progress regarding the town’s joint water conservation plan. New Fire Chief John Vincent and Trustee Mike Patrizi were sworn in, and the council approved four new business licenses, a conditional use permit, and a vacation/replat.

Palmer Lake Historical Society representative retired Air Force Col. Jack Anthony presented a certificate to Mayor Nikki McDonald commemorating the star’s placement on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties.

Watering ordinance to be presented

The last time Palmer Lake enacted watering restrictions was in 2002, and there was "no outside watering at all that year," said McDonald. This year’s restrictions are more likely to allow residents to do outside watering for limited periods on two designated days each week. After the watering restrictions ordinance is approved and posted, "there will be somebody watching and writing citations," said McDonald. Even homes using well water will have to follow the outside watering restrictions, Town Clerk Tara Berreth explained.

The trustees used Colorado Springs Utilities’ watering restrictions, enacted April 1, as a reference. After some discussion among the trustees, Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said he would write a draft ordinance. Later, it was announced that the ordinance will be discussed at the regular council meeting on May 9.

End in sight for water conservation plan

Water consultant Firth gave an update on the joint Water Conservation Plan for the combined entities of the Town of Palmer Lake, Town of Monument, and Triview Metropolitan District. She will finalize the plan, send it to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and bring it back for public approval in the fall. The plan’s recommendations will be implemented in 2014, and the three entities will then be eligible to apply for state funding to help implement more water conservation initiatives such as rebate programs to replace toilets with low-flow models.

The Water Conservation Plan will be posted on the town’s website. For a detailed explanation, see the Monument Board of Trustees article at www.ocn.me/v13n4.htm#bot0318.

New businesses and other items

The council unanimously approved new business licenses for:

• twenty1five LLC at 685 County Line Rd. #F and #G. Co-owners Randy Valentine and Josh Mabe make reclaimed artistic wood furniture.

• Glow Skin Center at 701 County Line Rd. Jessica Stanford is a licensed esthetician and does microderm abrasion and skin facials.

• Sophia’s World LLC at 755 Highway 105 Suite L. Owner Nancy Rower will retail women’s clothing and accessories and children’s clothing.

• Adventure’s Haven at 790 Highway 105 Unit C. New owner Phillip Rhodes Jr. rents U-Haul equipment and provides strategic board games to play and buy.

The council unanimously approved items that had already been approved by the Planning Commission:

• A conditional use "motor" application for co-owners Mike and Lynn Tucker on Illumination Point, 650 Highway 105. They are moving R&R Small Engine Plus to Palmer Lake and will do auto repairs and sell parts and supplies.

• A vacation and replat request to vacate the inner lot lines for the lot at 125 S. Valley Road. The request was made by Mark Bruce of Harlan homes so he can build one house on the combined eight lots and have just one water meter and sewer connection.

Committee reports

Mayor McDonald announced:

• The town is searching for a new roads trustee to replace Jerry Davis, who has resigned.

• Students willing to do fire mitigation work this summer should apply to Town Clerk Tara Berreth; grant money will pay for the work.

• The Parks Committee will host a fundraiser on June 23 at The Villa.

• Builders who have extra fill dirt available for landscaping in Palmer Lake Park should contact Jeff Hulsmann.

New Parks and Recreation Trustee Mike Patrizi asked residents to send him suggestions. Palmer Ridge student A.J. Freeman from Boy Scout Troop 17 in Monument volunteered to do his Eagle Scout project in Palmer Lake and coordinate it with Patrizi.

Police Trustee Bob Grado had "good news," because the department is still "in the black so far this year." He said there were 15 citations, three DUIs, 149 priority 1 calls, 42 urgent calls, and 66 non-emergency calls in March.

Resident Dave Bresnahan questioned why the Police Department didn’t spread the word about recent car break-ins. Trustees and audience members made several suggestions about options for communication.

Water Trustee Mike Maddox said in the water report that, "We’re still not conserving water the way we should, so we do need these restrictions." In March, the town used 3.9 million gallons of surface water, with an average of 128,000 gallons a day, "which is still high for winter."

Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster said, "I’m so happy that John Vincent has agreed to be our fire chief." He said there are three new probationary firefighters. Five firefighters have gone to the training academy, and "three or four" signed up for officers training.

In public comments, Bresnahan questioned the town’s idea to buy iPads considering the limited money supply for the town. Berreth said, "It’s not off the table."

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

**********

Correction: OCN has incorrectly identified Bob Radosevich’s job title in previous articles, most recently in the March 5 Palmer Lake article last month (www.ocn.me/v13n4.htm#pltc). His title is Palmer Lake deputy town clerk.

The next meeting will be May 9 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, April 24: Board discusses new management of golf course

By Harriet Halbig

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) discussed concerns about the local golf course and many seasonal activities at its April 24 meeting.

In his president’s report, President Jim Hale said that he had met with representatives of the Monument Hill Country Club and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation regarding the club’s announcement that it would not offer golf this season due to the high cost of irrigating the course.

Following that meeting it was announced that the management of the club was transferred to Touchstone Golf until a buyer could be found for the club. Hale said that he hoped that the new management could come to some agreement with the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and that the appearance of the course could be maintained for the sake of those whose homes are directly adjacent to it.

The golf course area of Woodmoor is zoned residential but not divided into lots. Hale said that he hoped that the club could survive so that the golf course area would not be developed.

Hale also said that the change of management impacts WIA directly because the club had been paying for the printing of the WIA newsletter. There was a brief discussion of whether the association should change to an email newsletter, publish the newsletter less frequently, and other alternatives.

Allan McMullen of Tri-Lakes Views spoke to the board about the possibility of placing a sculpture in front of the Barn as part of a program encompassing the Tri-Lakes area. Sculptures rotate on an annual basis at the cost of about $600 per year to the association. If WIA chooses to participate, the Barn would be included on Tri-Lakes Views’ map of the area. The sculpture suggested depicts a burro tied to a post.

Hale commented that, although he liked the idea of supporting art in the community, such an expense was not considered when this year’s budget was created in October. Homeowners Association Manager Matt Beseau said that perhaps the plans for landscaping the area around the Barn could be altered to make funds available.

The board decided to explore the possibilities in the near future. McMullen said that, for this year, a decision would be needed by early June.

Treasurer Tom Schoemaker reported that the association was 3.5 percent under budget at the end of the first quarter.

Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that there had been two bear sightings in the previous week. He also said that WPS would make its annual road survey the following Monday and report its findings to the county Department of Transportation.

Architectural Control Director Darren Rouse said that a subcommittee has completed its initial review of the Design Standards Manual and it will now be discussed by the entire committee before submission to the board.

Forestry Director Eric Gross reported on upcoming events regarding wildfire preparedness and fuel mitigation. He said that Firewise Committee Chairman Jim Woodman would offer a program at the Barn on May 1 that would explain how to create a defensible space around a home.

Gross said that there has been no word on the availability of grants for fuel mitigation. Efforts to assess common-area forest had been delayed by the late snows, but he hopes to begin in mid-May.

Common Areas Director W. Lee Murray reported that work to replace the deck of the Barn would begin on April 29. In the process of seeking county approval for the work, it was learned that the Barn is considered a commercial rather than a residential building, and therefore the structure was required to be more substantial than thought. The board approved the expenditure of an additional $3,500 to bring the structure to code.

Murray also said that top soil for the planters in front of the Barn would be delivered soon and that bids were being sought for such services as noxious weed mitigation.

Gross said that Woodmoor Water has a xeriscape demonstration garden in south Woodmoor and suggested that Murray look at its grass samples before reseeding.

**********

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on May 22.

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

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April Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

It was a cold and somewhat snowy April around the region. Temperatures averaged more than 5° F below normal for the month, even with the mild temperatures during the last week. Three major storm systems rolled through and deposited lots of snow in many areas but, unfortunately, each missed us with the brunt of the snowfall. Because of this, precipitation and snowfall for the month was well below normal.

The first two days of April were a bit unsettled as a weakening area of low pressure moved through the intermountain West. This storm was of Pacific origins, so there wasn’t a lot of cold air. However, because it was April, the atmosphere was much more unstable. Therefore, showers of rain and snow developed Monday afternoon and evening. Deep easterly flow continued to bring in high levels of moisture and produced low clouds and fog across the region on the 2nd. Areas of drizzle and flurries kept things gloomy and cold.

This air mass was replaced quickly on by the afternoon of the 3rd, with mild conditions remaining in place through the remainder of the week. However, there was enough moisture around that each afternoon saw a buildup of clouds. A few showers of rain and graupel briefly developed during the afternoons of the 6th and 7th. Temperatures were in the upper 50s to mid-60s through the period, a little warmer than normal.

It was a cold and unsettled week around the region from the 7th through the 14th, with several rounds of light snow, record cold, and a couple of mild days thrown in. The week started off with slightly warmer than normal temperatures on the 8th as highs reached the low to mid-60s. This quiet and mild weather didn’t last long, however, as a strong cold front blasted through around 6:45 p.m. that evening. Temperatures dropped quickly behind the front, and light snow and flurries occurred that evening. Temperature continued to fall, with the low for the day occurring just before midnight.

Snow continued to slowly increase that morning and winds began to pick up. As temperatures continued to fall, snow and blowing snow began to become a problem, with blizzard conditions briefly met during the mid- to late morning hours. The high temperatures for the day occurred at midnight, with temperatures barely reaching the low teens that day. This is extremely cold for April but, unfortunately, as has been the case so often this winter, most of the snow and energy with this storm just missed us to the north. We managed to pick up a couple of inches of windblown snow and, as skies cleared that evening, temperatures quickly fell to record levels. By the morning of the 10th, temperatures were below zero. This set records and equaled record low temperatures last seen in 1959. Temperatures struggled to warm that afternoon, and with the stronger April sun, clouds and snow showers developed at times. The high temperature on the 11th only managed to reach the low 20s, again a record low high for the date.

Quiet conditions returned just in time for the end of the week and into the weekend. Highs reached into the low 50s on the 11th, then back to normal in the upper 50s on the 12th and a little above normal mid-60s on the 13th. Another quick shot of snow provided a welcome surprise during the early hours of the 14th as a quick-moving storm moved across the state. This dropped an inch or two of heavy wet snow and produced a beautiful scene that morning. Sunshine that afternoon managed to melt most of this, but the moisture was very welcome.

The 15th started off quiet, but snow showers developed that afternoon and a cold front pushed through. Low clouds and fog filled in and temperatures were chilly into the next day. The freezing drizzle associated with these cold, upslope conditions put down a layer of ice on many surfaces and produced some treacherous travel conditions on the morning of the 17th. Temperatures were cold that day as well, with highs only reaching the upper 20s, way below normal for the middle of April.

Another storm began to affect the region on the 17th, with snow falling from late morning through early afternoon. This produced around 3 inches of new snowfall, but the real fun was still to come. As the storm became more organized, winds picked up and snow began to fall again that evening. This continued through the early hours of the 18th, producing another 3 to 6 inches of snowfall. The windblown snow and cold temperatures continued to make travel difficult. Temperatures stayed below freezing for a second consecutive day on the 18th, only reaching the upper 20s and low 30s. Morning lows were in the upper single digits, near record territory for the date.

Once this storm moved out, quieter conditions returned for the weekend. Temperatures warmed into the 40s on the 19th and well into the 50s on the 20th and 21st, quickly melting the snow. This snow was very welcome for our plants, but the succession of storms with near-record cold has certainly put a delay on the start of the growing season.

A brief break bringing sunshine and mild temperatures moved in over the next couple of days, with highs reaching the upper 50s and low 60s from the 20th through the 22nd. Again, this was short lived, as another quick-moving, cold and powerful cold front headed our way. This front blasted through during the late morning of the 22nd. Temperatures dropped from the low 60s to the low 30s in only one hour behind the front! Clouds continued to thicken and lower through the day, with steady snow falling by late afternoon and into the evening. Another 2 to 4 inches of snow accumulated with this system.

The remainder of the month was quiet and generally mild. High temperatures moved from the low 50s on the 24th, through the 60s from the 25th through the 27th, to our first 70s of the season to end the month.

A look ahead

May often means a wide variety of weather conditions in the region—from warm, sunny days to severe thunderstorms and hail, and even some snowfall. May 2007 was a snowy May, with over 20 inches accumulating for the month. Just a few inches have fallen in May in the last couple of years.

April 2013 Weather Statistics

Average High 52.8° (-4.2°)
Average Low 21.9° (-5.7°)
Highest Temperature 77° on the 29th
Lowest Temperature -3° on the 10th
Monthly Precipitation 1.10" (-2.28", 67% below normal)
Monthly Snowfall 16.7" (-12.3", 40% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 94.7" (-27.3", 22% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)Season to Date Precip. 12.17" (-5.36", 30% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 830 (+155)
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.

Thanks for making After Prom possible

We would like to express our gratitude for the wonderful group of community members who helped with the Lewis-Palmer High School After Prom event. The LPHS After Prom is offered as an alternative to private parties or merely driving around on the highways in the middle of the night. It is also open to those students who do not or cannot attend the actual prom, for any number of reasons.

Many school districts do not offer an After Prom event, as the planning and coordination involved take a substantial amount of time and money. Both District 38 high schools have such a dedicated group of staff, parents and community patrons that we have been able to make After Prom a yearly tradition.

Much of the financial support comes from fundraising efforts in the fall, followed by a request for donations from the community. We were amazed at the outpouring of support from local businesses who all understood the importance of keeping the students safe on that night. We would like to specifically recognize the following:

ABC Landscaping, American Furniture Warehouse, Anytime Fitness, Big R, Borriello Brothers Pizza, Brunswick Zone, Champ’s, Chipotle, Coca Cola Refreshments, Dickey’s BBQ, Domino’s Pizza, First National Bank, Floyd’s Barbershop, Freddy’s, HP, In the Moo Frozen Yogurt, It’s a Grind Coffee, KFC, King Soopers, LPHS Student Council, Mountain View Electric Association, Papa John’s Pizza, People’s National Bank, Plato’s Closet, Qdoba, Rosie’s Diner, Safeway Corporation, Serrano’s Coffee, Sinton Dairy, Stellar Styles Salon, Tri-Lakes Printing, UCCS, and Wal-mart, as well as the Bame, Caves, Coleman, Commerford, Conner, Kadlubowski, Mallette, Morrison, Pavlick, Shuman, Smiley, and Witt families.

Additionally, we partnered with the Air Force Academy, which provided 20 cadets to help with the games that evening. This was truly a community-sponsored event, thanks to everyone who made it happen!

Karen Shuman and Deanna Smiley
LPHS After Prom Co-Chairs

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Country club can’t afford water costs

Recent coverage in local newspapers has only served to distract from the primary reason golf operations were suspended at Monument Hill Country Club. The reality is simple: Irrigation costs and renewable water investment fees are too high. The club in its current configuration cannot support the charges levied by Woodmoor Water and Sanitation (WWSD).

The purchase of the JV Ranch by WWSD places an enormous burden of $2 million in additional annual fees on Woodmoor, and is even more significant. WWSD intentionally avoided voter approval of this massive expenditure. And Jesse Shaffer, district manager of WWSD, said they were planning to spend $138 million over a 10- to 12-year period. On an acreage basis, the golf course’s representative share would be over $10 million.

I believe that actions taken by WWSD threaten the value of Woodmoor. My partners and I know that the financial costs imposed on the country club by Woodmoor Water are unsustainable without significant changes in the business model and rate structure of the country club and WWSD. After nearly four years, this is a struggle we can no longer afford. In exchange for certain releases, we are forfeiting our financial interests and significant personal investments in the Monument Hill Country Club to the bank now holding its loans. As homeowners with a house on the golf course, my family and I are heartbroken. As residents in Woodmoor, we are very concerned about its future.

It is now up to the new owners, Woodmoor Water, and the community to determine the prospects of the golf course. The future of Woodmoor is dependent on a community united in finding reasonable and cost-effective solutions to water.

Vic Harshberger
Managing member, Tri-Lakes Golf

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Good neighbor policy overlooked

During the snowstorm of April 17, my wife was stuck in her car on the hill near Pinecrest Event Center in Palmer Lake. Gracious neighbors helped her out, but she was still unable to crest the hill so she parked the vehicle in the Pinecrest parking lot and was taken home by a neighbor.

While the snowstorm was still underway, Pinecrest had her car towed. The next morning the fee to recover the vehicle was $250 after it was towed about two miles.

We have lived above Pinecrest Event Center for over a decade and have frequently recommended it for weddings and other events. We have attended numerous events there. Needless to say none of this will occur in the future.

Had she parked there during an event when parking was at a premium I would have understood, but during a snowstorm?

I guess the good neighbor policy does not apply!

Gary L. Shupp

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Bring on the bestsellers

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Benediction, the latest book by Colorado’s own Kent Haruf is among the current bestsellers. Many readers fell in love with Haruf’s down-to-earth characters and steady, unstrained prose in Plainsong and Eventide, the first two books in the Holt trilogy. A glimpse at this and other recent titles follows.

Benediction
By Kent Haruf (Alfred A. Knopf) $25.95

It is the last summer for 77-year-old Dad Lewis, the local hardware store owner, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. As his family and friends do their best to make him comfortable, readers wander through Dad’s touching remembrances and the lives he influenced for better or for worse, while trying to do what he thought was right. In revisiting Holt, a fictitious town on the high plains of Colorado, we can feel the ever-present winds and the suffering, the compassion, and the humanity of its inhabitants. Holt, an ordinary small town, resonates with anyone who has experienced small town America, and Dad Lewis, an ordinary man spending his last days with grace and dignity, speaks to all of us in this sad, sweet story, which casts its own blessing. Benediction was a National Book Award finalist and the No. 1 pick of the Independent Booksellers’ March 2013 Indie Next List.

The Burgess Boys
By Elizabeth Strout (Random House) $26

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown and found success as New York City attorneys. When their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—desperately needs their help, the brothers return to the landscape of their childhood where long-buried tensions surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever. Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for her earlier book, Olive Kitteridge.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg (Alfred A. Knopf) $24.95

Why do men still hold the vast majority of leadership roles in government and industry? Sandberg suggests that women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers and encourages them to "sit at the table," seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto. Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth, destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple (Little, Brown and Company)$14.99

Worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Bernadette is on the brink of a meltdown. As disaster follows disaster, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces—which is exactly what her 15-year-old daughter Bee does. Weaving together emails, invoices, and school memos, she reveals the secret past that Bernadette has been hiding for decades.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
By Michael Moss (Random House) $28

With the obesity epidemic reaching a total economic cost approaching $300 billion a year, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss shows how we got here. Featuring examples from some of the most recognizable (and profitable) companies and brands of the last half-century, Moss’s explosive, empowering narrative is grounded in meticulous, eye-opening research.

The Orphan Master’s Son
By Adam Johnson (Random House) $15

In Johnson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a "lost" mother and an influential father. As he rises in the ranks of the North Korean state, he navigates the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human could endure, Pak boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves. This is a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.

Why not take a look at a new bestseller? It may be interesting to see if you can spot the treasures that make these books appeal to so many. 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: Northern flicker: Colaptes auratus

Click here to view the drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of a Northern Flicker

By Elizabeth Hacker

It’s that time of the year when northern flickers are looking for a mate, and don’t we know it! April’s unusually cool, wet weather may have delayed the flickers’ quest a week or two, but if they haven’t yet been drumming, it won’t be long.

Identification

Of the four woodpecker species found on the Palmer Divide, the flicker is the one most often seen and heard. The male and female look similar. The flicker is a medium-size bird about 12 inches long with a 15-inch wingspan. It is a handsome bird that is grayish-brown in color with horizontal barring across its back. It has a distinctive black bib or crest on its upper chest. Its breast is a lighter tan with small dark spots. The adult male has a red malar stripe, or mustache, that extends from the base of its beak to its cheek. Its beak is slightly curved. Even from a great distance it’s easy to spot the flicker’s conspicuous white rump patch.

Habitat and range

Five species of northern flicker can be found across much of North America in a variety of woodlands. The flickers that reside on the Divide are the red shafted species. A salmon-red tint appears on the under wings and tail of flickers here. Occasionally, a yellow-shafted flicker is reported in El Paso County, but it’s rare. In bordering states like Nebraska, both the red- and yellow-shafted flickers are common and interbreeding occurs.

Northern flickers have adapted well to human habitation and can be found in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Their numbers are decreasing, probably due to reduction in habitat and poisons used to kill ants, their favorite food.

Diet

The northern flicker’s favorite food is ants. It is the only woodpecker that hunts for food on the ground. It uses its beak and long tongue to probe for tasty morsels in trees and on the ground. It is an insectivore but will sometimes eat nuts, seeds, and berries, and in the winter it is attracted to suet cakes.

Woodpeckers have exceptionally long tongues that when retracted, wrap around the inside of its skull. When extended, the tongue will reach a few inches. The tip of a woodpecker’s tongue is barbed and coated with sticky saliva.

Nesting

During courtship, flickers hammer on dead, hollowed-out tree limbs or anything that will make noise. When drumming, the flicker makes the loudest noise possible to attract a mate or warn other flickers to stay away from its territory. Flickers look for surfaces that generate a loud noise. I once observed one hammering on a metal stop sign. It’s hard to imagine that drumming doesn’t harm the bird, but they have strong necks and can hammer away for hours at a time.

Once a pair bonds, they work together to build a nest in a dead or dying tree, telephone post, or birdhouse. The birds will pound on a tree and carve out a cavity about 15 inches deep. Wood chips from the excavation are used to line the nest. The female lays about eight eggs over a two-week period. Both parents brood the eggs for about two weeks. Often only two to four eggs hatch.

When the chicks hatch, the parents brood and feed them. Chicks fledge in about 18 days. For about a month, the parents continue to feed and teach them how to forage for food. Even before the chicks leave the nest they are probing around the nest with their long tongues for insects and larvae.

Juvenile birds must leave the adults’ territory and establish their own. The red-shafted northern flicker does not migrate long distances. Many do not leave and stay to defend their territory. Due to limited food supply, not all flickers can remain in their territories during the winter. Some must leave the region to survive.

Friend or foe?

I think the northern flicker is a most interesting and beautiful bird. I’m often told that people don’t like the fact that flickers pound holes in their cedar siding. I understand that flickers are hard on siding, but living in the woods means sharing the habitat with the creatures that live there. Generally, flickers only peck holes in rotten wood. Most siding that is pecked on is old and worn. Flickers eat large quantities of ants and termites that can damage houses, so in some cases they may alert the homeowner that there is a problem.

Several years ago we re-sided our house with stucco because our cedar siding had weathered and the flickers and nuthatches were attacking it. Stucco was slightly more expensive than repairing and painting the wood siding, but it updated the look of our house and meant we would never have to paint again!

Pine Forest Antique and Garden Show

I enjoyed meeting many readers and birders at this year’s 37th annual Pine Forest Antique and Garden show. I would like to thank the people that stopped by my booth and all the incredible volunteers that worked to host this fabulous event. I had so much fun that I want to do it again next year.

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: Plenty of art to enjoy during May

By Janet Sellers

A triple crown of artful Fridays for Tri-Lakes should brighten your evenings in the coming weeks.

Three art galleries have joined forces to create an entire month of arts events right here in our community. The galleries represent 50 to 75 local artists and artisans, and each gallery has a dedicated gift shop with jewelry, greeting cards, prints, and home decor items. Events will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays.

The First Fridays Art Night will be hosted by Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). This month, however, will be a bit different. The main gallery will exhibit the show Bloomin’ Art for May, with the artists’ reception on May 11, 6 to 8 p.m. This juried exhibit will offer works from a wide variety of artists on a springtime theme.

The TCLA’s Lucy Owens Gallery will have artist Kristy Reid’s solo exhibition of representational artworks in May. Reid’s work ranges in scope from landscapes to creatures in nature. Reid describes her style as "a colorist with impatient realism." The artist reception will be May 11, 6 to 8 p.m. TCLA is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake.

The Second Fridays Art Night will be at Bella Art and Frame. For May, the gallery special exhibition will be digital paintings by artist Tony M. Fowler, with the opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 10. The artist uses digital imagery and computer digital painting to create works of art in light on the digital screen, then the works are printed for hard copy and purchase. The gallery also has many spacious showroom nooks for their resident artists. Bella Art and Frame is located at183 Washington St., Monument.

The Third Fridays Art Night will be held at Southwinds Fine Art Gallery. This month, Southwinds will spread its May 3 big event of their grand reopening over that entire weekend and will participate in the Third Fridays open house style of shows for its many resident artists on May 17. Southwinds is located at the corner of Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads in Colorado Springs.

Art Hop will begin May 16

The Art Hop rides again on May 16 for the 2013 season. The event will continue on the third Thursday of the month all summer. The Art Hop is an early evening art event in Historic Monument offered from 5 to 8 p.m. and sponsored by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. Many arts venues as well as local stores not usually purveying art open their doors and walls to artists and art lovers—some for the day, some for a month-long art show. Historic Monument Merchants is located in the Arts Quarter between Second and Third Streets and Beacon Lite Road and Front Street, Monument. Details for these monthly events can be found at www.monumentarthop.org/news.htm.

Secret Window Art Gallery will begin to showcase some unique arts events with A.T. Archuleta, events that he calls Art in Motion. Archuleta will paint artworks live and in color while people watch, and in some cases guest artists will get in on the painting as well. This month the live action painting is slated to occur on May 10, 5 to 8 p.m. Secret Window is located at 47 Third St., Monument.

PLAG show set for June

The Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG) will hold its June art show and sale at the Heritage Art Studio this year. The show will run June 7 to 15, with the artist reception on June 7, 5 to 8 p.m., with refreshments, music, and raffle ticket drawings. Winners will receive an artistic gift created by member artists. Over 30 artists will exhibit, and their work will include paintings of all mediums, sculptures, photography, fiber art, and jewelry. This show will be judged by Archuleta, owner of the Secret Window Gallery.

I spoke with Ermi Knoth and Margarete Seagraves recently about their many years of volunteering to help make PLAG events successful. PLAG creates scholarship monies for local high school seniors with proceeds from events and shows. But more than that, PLAG members put in many hours making their paintings and drawings, preparing the frames and presentations, and creating knockout art shows to entertain the entire community. This year the show at Heritage Art Studio will showcase the PLAG artists’ efforts as the highest-altitude art venue on the Palmer Divide. Heritage Art Studio is located at18725 Monument Hill Rd. Monument.

Keep kids happy all summer with art classes and camps! A variety of kids’ art classes and art camps will be available this summer. Venues for these fun summer art experiences include Bella Art and Frame, TLCA, Heritage Art Studio, and the Monument School of Fine Arts.

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

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Snapshots of Our Community

Click here to view the on-line version. Snapshots of Our Community starts on page 28. Below is the text of three short articles that appeared within the Snapshots section:

PRHS presents Midsummer Night’s Dream

By Janet Sellers

On the evenings of April 11 to 13, students from Palmer Ridge High School portrayed Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for their spring theater event. The elaborate stage included a forest scene with rock ledges and a two-story cascading waterfall that flowed into a pond on stage, with the actors nestled among the rocky ledges or ambling through the forest paths in the fantasy story scenes.

The students captured the classic timing and hilarity of the romantic comedy play. At once a random infusion of Greek comedy, fairy tale enchantments, courtly love, and a confusion of silliness, the play revealed that the dynamics of love and its misconceptions ring true for any age. With great amounts of laughter and applause, theater-goers showed they were entertained in a most professional way.

LPHS presents Alice in Wonderland

By student Mollie Brandt

On Friday, April 26, the first of two showings of the whimsical play Alice in Wonderland was performed by the students at Lewis-Palmer High School, with the opening night of the spring play sold out. The magic of the classic childhood story and movie came to life. Each of the characters was played by the students and touched everyone in the audience.

Alice, played by freshman Cassidy Ogden, made her trip through Wonderland, including scenes such as Alice meeting the caterpillar, her attendance at the Mad Hatter tea party, playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts, and the trial of the Queen’s stolen tarts. The cast, consisting of about 30 students (most of them freshmen), put the audience in that make-believe world.

The costumes were colorful, accurate, and very well made. The acting was impressive. The students had skillfully developed their characters and seemed to become their characters as well. The brightly lit set filled the stage—just what one would expect in a place called Wonderland. The play seemed to be enjoyed by all and went off without a hitch on its opening night. Photo by Janet Sellers.

Pine Forest show draws a crowd

By Harriet Halbig

The 37th Annual Pine Forest Antiques, Home Décor and Garden Show drew an estimated 1,600 people to Lewis-Palmer High School on April 20-21.

The show featured 60 vendors from several states offering garden materials, furniture, antique jewelry, toys, and decorative items.

The show is sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization of residents of Lewis-Palmer School District 38. This show and the Wine and Roses and More wine tasting each fall generate revenue that is granted to nonprofit and educational entities in the district, such as the schools and fire departments.

For information on membership or to apply for grants, please go to www.tlwc.net.

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April and May library news: Meet some ducks at the library

By Harriet Halbig

April celebrations of National Library Week and National Volunteer Week were very successful.

We are very thankful for the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and its daily efforts to maintain the Friends Book Sale and its support at activities throughout the year. We also appreciate the tutors who have come to the library each Monday for AfterMath and all of the volunteers who come in on a weekly basis to perform many tasks.

Our sincere thanks to all of you—and to the many teens who help during the summer reading program, as well!

Family programs for May

Come celebrate Duck Day at the Monument Library on May 4! Laura Foye will introduce you to real ducks in the library, and you can make a duck craft to take home. While here, don’t forget to take a cup of corn outside to feed the ducks in the pond! Program begins at 1:30 p.m.

There will be two programs on May 11. From 10 a.m. until noon, come to the Countdown to Kindergarten Carnival. Get ideas for helping your child prepare for kindergarten through singing, playing, talking, reading, and writing. There will be free books, free snacks, and lots of activities. No registration required.

At 1:30 p.m., magician Bruce Black will take you on a magical journey where books can make your dreams become reality! See this amazing family show with audience participation and comedy for all ages.

The Legos Club will meet on Saturday, May 18, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. We’ll provide the Legos, and you can bring your creativity. Be sure to bring a camera to record your creation, because the pieces used remain the property of the library. We are currently having a drive for donation of Legos for future use. Any donations are tax deductible and we appreciate your support.

AfterMath math tutoring continues on Mondays from 3:30 to 7 p.m. It’s open to all ages, and no appointment is required. The program continues until the end of the school year.

Programs for teens and tweens

The Pikes Peak Workforce Center will offer a free workshop on "Resume Writing and Filling Out Applications: How to Stand Out from the Rest" on Wednesday, May 8, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. This workshop, open to ages 14 to 21, will help young people to create a resume based on current activities and the application of experience to marketable job skills. Learn what words to use on the resume and know what to include. No registration is required.

Adult programs

Paula Mitchell, author of Exploring Colorado Wineries Guidebook and Journal will give a program on wine and food pairing on Saturday, May 4, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Only good ideas will be served.

Have you recently bought an iPad? Come to the library on Thursday, May 9, to learn iPad Basics. Bring your device and learn to set it up and how to download library materials onto it. This free class is taught by Les Molina, owner of Victory Solutions LLC. Space is limited. Register at the library or call 488-2370. The class will be repeated on Saturday, June 8, at 9:30 a.m.

Life Circles is a writing group that provides discipline, inspiration, and structure during the process of writing one’s memories or history. The group meets on the first and third Monday of the month from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Please note that this is a new time.

The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, May 17, at 10 a.m. to discuss The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.

On the wall in May will be watercolors by Carol Naylor. In the display case will be pottery by Glenn Hayes.

Palmer Lake Library events

Come read to Misty, our Paws to Read Dog, on Thursday, May 9, from 4:30 to 5:30. Read to Misty and select a prize.

Palmer Lake’s Family Fun program in May is Stories and Songs with You and Cathy Kelsay on Saturday, May 18, at 10:30. Kelsay tells tales about birds and ducks and everyone gets to have a turn with a puppet or prop.

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

A new selection of photographs by Laurisa: Risa’s Rabbits will be on display. Artwork by Palmer Lake Elementary School Students is on display in the children’s area. There will be art show openings on May 4 and May 25, both at 4:30. All are welcome!

Summer reading begins on June 1! Please join us for a summer of exciting programs and prizes!

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

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Western Museum of Mining & Industry, April 11: Company’s products curb coal pollution

By David Futey

A Colorado Springs company’s development of pollution-control technologies was explored April 11 at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI).

Neumann Systems Group (NSG) is a Colorado Springs-based engineering, manufacturing, and research and development company that develops technologies for pollution control, in particular emission scrubbing systems for coal-fired facilities.

Business Development Manager Jacob Kershman described how NSG’s Neustream products, which had their beginnings in the federal government’s "Star Wars" project, can be designed to convert pollutants, such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and particulates, into industrial products. For example, at Colorado Springs Utilities’ Drake Power Plant, NSG is installing a system that will convert sulfur dioxide from the emissions into gypsum. The gypsum can then be sold for use in building materials and fertilizer. Kershman said this process improves air quality and could aid the U.S. coal industry, which produces coal primarily for power plants.

Related to the WMMI’s current focus on rare earth elements (REEs), Kershman described a NSG design technology that will enable certain REEs to be extracted from fly ash. REEs are critical for military applications and are used in a variety of consumer products. China presently controls 97 percent of known REEs and is gradually reducing their export.

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

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

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Colorado State Historical Site Certificate presented to the town

By Bernard L. Minetti

On April 11, Palmer Lake Historical Society member and retired Air Force Col. Jack Anthony read a short history on the Palmer Lake Star and the evolution to its listing on the Colorado State Registry of Historical Sites and presented the certification to Palmer Lake Mayor Nikki McDonald. The certification process took more than a year.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, April 18: The legend of Baby Doe Tabor

By Bernard L. Minetti

Joyce B. Lohse, author and lecturer, gave a presentation on Colorado legend Baby Doe Tabor at the April 18 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Lohse began her presentation by discussing a brief history of the relationship and marriage of Augusta Pierce and Horace A.W. Tabor.

The Tabors were married in Maine and came west to engage in business in Leadville. They opened a business that allowed Horace to "grubstake" miners of the region. If miners were unable to pay for equipment and supplies, he would agree to finance them in exchange for a share of the mine production should they be successful. These deals and his purchase of mines in the region made the Tabors very wealthy. Horace also became mayor of Leadville and built an opera house in 1879. They had a son named Maxcy Tabor.

Lohse said Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt married Harvey Doe in Oshkosh, Wis., in June 1877. They came west to Central City in 1877. While there, the locals began to call Elizabeth "Baby Doe." The name stuck. Baby Doe met Horace Tabor at a chance meeting in a local restaurant. He became infatuated with her.

Elizabeth Doe eventually divorced Harvey in 1880 after she had a stillborn child. Harvey had not wanted a child, and his attitude precipitated their divorce. Horace Tabor eventually was divorced from Augusta. Eventually, "Baby Doe" became Elizabeth Tabor. They lived an extravagant life and became the talk of the town.

Lohse said Congress repealed the Sherman Silver Mining Act in 1893 and the bottom fell out of the silver industry, leaving the Tabors penniless. Colorado went into a deep depression for several years. The Sherman Act had propped up the price of silver.

The Tabors tried to go back into mining but Horace was too old and the work required was too much for him to handle. He eventually died on April 10, 1899, from appendicitis.

Baby Doe stayed in their Matchless Mine Cabin as a recluse. She died from unknown causes in 1935.

**********

The next meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society will feature the topic, "Colorado Ice Houses" at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2013, at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Bill Reich will speak about the railroad ice houses in Colorado, including the local Doyle ice house. There was a strong tie between icehouses and the railroads. This event is free, and refreshments will be served after the presentation.

Society board member John Snyder announced that the previously cancelled Chief Manitou presentation has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. June 20 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. He also said that the Father's Day social with free ice cream and pie would be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 16. Members and nonmembers and their children are invited to this free event.

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
May Menu

May 8: Bratwurst, cole slaw, chips
May 15:
Lasagna, garlic bread, salad
May 22:
Ham, scalloped potatoes, salad
May 29:
Tuna on a croissant, avocado, 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.

Slash-Mulch Season begins May 4

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is here! Slash (tree and brush debris only) will be accepted May 4-Sept. 15. Mulch will be available May 18-Sept. 28 or when mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area.

The program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling effort sponsored by El Paso County, co-sponsored by the Colorado Forestry Association and the Black Forest Fire Department, in cooperation with Colorado State Forest Service and the State Board of Land Commissioners. The program’s purpose is to teach forest management practices and to encourage residents to clear adequate defensible space surrounding their structures by thinning trees and shrubs to reduce the spread of fire. Spreading mulch on the forest floor holds moisture, delays the spread of weeds, and provides nutrients to the forest. For more information visit bfslash.org or call Ruth Ann Steele 495-3107, Carolyn Brown, 495-3127, Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024, or the county Environmental Division, 520-7878.

Walking tours with local historian/filmmaker Jim Sawatzki

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

Monument Hill Foundation accepting grant applications, apply by June 30

The Monument Hill Foundation invites community-oriented organizations in the Tri-Lakes region to submit grant requests by June 30 for the October 2013-September 2014 granting year. Request forms can be obtained from the foundation’s website at www.MonumentHillFoundation.org or by sending an email request to Granting@MonumentHillFoundation.org. The foundation is the granting arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. Its mission is to provide financial support to the Tri-Lakes community of northern El Paso County and its youths. In 2012-13 the foundation approved giving out $40,000 to 26 recipient organizations and expects to give out a similar amount for the 2013-14 granting cycle. Grant recipients have included District 38 special needs children, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, the District 38 Robotics Team, the Rocky Mountain Youth Leadership Conference, and the Emily Griffith Center. For more information, visit www.MonumentHillFoundation.org or email Scott@rosses.me.

Gardeners wanted for Monument Community Garden

The community garden is located in Monument’s Lavelett Park on Beacon Lite Road. One garden bed is available to a gardener for personal use. The other bed’s harvest will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares as it has for the last two years. Help is needed with planting, maintaining, and harvesting that bed. Also needed are donations for the purchase of short-season seeds for the Tri-Lakes Cares bed. For more information, contact Leah Squires, 488-5902, leahssquires@gmail.com; or Carol Crossland, 661-1476, cdcland@yahoo.com.

Colorado State University Extension seeks public input

Colorado State University Extension is conducting a survey to identify the education needs of vegetable gardeners in the Pikes Peak region. All El Paso County residents are invited to participate in a short 10-question survey. To respond, please type the following URL into the address box of your search engine: www.surveymonkey.com/s/BCSMFVJ. No personal or contact information is required.

Lupus support group forming

If you are interested in joining a lupus support group in the Monument area, contact Diane Bandle, 491-1346, dmbandle@hotmail.com.

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/.

Colorado Master Gardener Help Desk Summer Hours

Colorado Master Gardener (CMG) volunteers are ready to assist you with your lawn and gardening questions. CMG volunteers are available at 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.

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 the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District will coordinate with the high school. Contact Jennifer at 484-0911 or email jmartin@tri-lakesfire.com.

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.

Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., 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.

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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