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Vol. 13 No. 8 - August 3, 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 20.1 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

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

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, July 26: Voters to decide $4.5 million ballot measure

By Harriet Halbig

At a special meeting held on the morning of July 26, the Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education approved a measure to place a mill levy override on the November ballot. The measure requests a district tax increase of $4.5 million.

Board President Jeffery Ferguson commented that, over the past five years, the district has been coping with an erosion of financing from the state level. In many cases, the state has rescinded funding during a school year, making budgeting and planning even more difficult.

Board Vice President Mark Pfoff commented that, during his six years in office, there has been a major overhaul in the district’s budget. In 2007 the district’s budget was not balanced. During the following few years, many cuts were made that did not affect classroom activities. With the onset of the recession, cuts were made of necessity that resulted in larger class sizes, removal of many support services such as math and reading labs, and fewer technology purchases.

Pfoff said that, as these cuts were made, the superintendent was tasked with tracking their effect on student performance. Over the past year or two, although the district continues to offer an excellent education and retains its accreditation with distinction, the scores in the district’s assessments have begun to slowly decline. The efforts of teachers, staff, and parents have made it possible for the district to maintain its standing, but the situation is not sustainable.

Superintendent John Borman also commented on the removal of an algebra lab and a student assistance center at Lewis-Palmer High School when he was principal there. He added that in the course of many presentations he has held in the community, he is confident that the public is now aware of the need for additional funding and that their trust in the board has been restored.

Ferguson said that there is no way of knowing if this is a good time to place this measure on the ballot, but the board knows that now is when the funding is needed, to use community funds to support the district. He said he is confident that Borman’s efforts to educate the community about the situation have been successful. He emphasized that the district needs these funds immediately.

The board voted unanimously to place on the ballot a tax increase of $4.5 million in 2014 and annually thereafter to be used for educational purposes, including providing students with skills to make them successful in college and the workplace, providing leading-edge instruction and technology, restoring teachers and programs for students needing support, recruiting and retaining high quality teachers, providing funds to restore teaching positions to provide optimal class size, and provide funds to enhance the safety and security of the students and staff.

Board member John Magerko commented that it is important to note that this funding is not to be used for any capital repairs or purchases. He said that the issue is necessary not just to catch up to where the district had been, but to move forward.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, July 24: Black Forest Fire coordination called ineffective

By Bernard L. Minetti

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Chief Chris Truty recommended July 24 that the district revise its response system to improve dispatch capability. He said the present El Paso County dispatching system is currently not configured for a structured tiered response. He explained that a tiered response system is a comprehensive, multiple-agency, fire protection/emergency response system. An operations center dedicated to fulfilling response requests directs and controls the dispatching necessary with predetermined equipment and local agency capabilities.

Truty said the dispatching agency is not capable of accomplishing this rapidly and effectively. Structured tiered response helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of dispatch capability. Its implementation allows the dispatcher to knowledgeably match the fire, other emergency need, or specific patient requirement in the case of a medical emergency, with the right level and adequacy of the emergency response in terms of equipment and personnel.

Truty noted that it took almost 12 hours after the Black Forest Fire started to obtain accurate information of the other agencies and equipment that were involved in the containment process. The overall resource management system utilized in that event was lacking in efficient, accurate, and real-time information dissemination to the agencies involved, he said.

In recommending options, Truty said next year he would budget for an improved dispatching capability to overcome these deficiencies. In responding to a question from a reporter, he said that a more organized system of dispatching should evolve into the structured tiered response system. He added that the North Group fire agencies completely agreed with that coordination concept. The North Group consists of Tri-Lakes Monument, Wescott, Black Forest, Larkspur, Falcon, Air Force Academy, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and Cimarron Hills fire agencies. Truty said he was not acting as a spokesman for these agencies.

Revenues on the rise

Treasurer John Hildebrandt reported that the district had received $3 million or 75 percent of its expected annual income from county property tax revenues. Specific Ownership Tax revenues continued to increase in June, amounting to $183,634 or 73.5 percent of the annual budgeted amount. In answering a reporter’s questions, he said that the property tax annual budgeted income was fixed and that the Specific Ownership Tax income was open ended, meaning that there is no limit on the amount that the district can receive.

Board President Shirk stated in response to another question that the excess of budget funds would be automatically distributed to specific programs. Hildebrandt noted that overall expenses were 0.23 percent over budget. He said that while employee salaries were over budget three months in a row, the amount over budget was trending downward.

Truty said the fire staff had identified ongoing issues that would be compartmentalized into one-, two-, and five-year implementation plans.

Truty spoke about numerous issues involving the district’s information technology, including system connectivity, intermittent equipment functionality, and obsolescence. He indicated that consulting firm Alerio Technology Group is working with the fire staff to identify these problems. He added that the administration of the system is overburdened because of a lack of sufficient personnel to undertake the tasks involved.

On healthcare reform, Truty said the Department of Labor had advised there would be a one-year postponement on implementation for agencies with over 50 employees. He also advised the board that the district was working with IMA, the district health care advisor, and keeping the district updated through ongoing webinars.

Truty said the district had 30 calls in 2012 that would apply to the Penrose-St. Francis Indigent Health Care Program. The program provides a standard reimbursement to agencies that sign on, avoiding potential collection problems.

In response to many requests for fire mitigation inspections, Truty said the district would dedicate two days a month to inspections.

Office Manager Jennifer Martin said the district expressed thanks for donations to its first responders. The Church at Woodmoor gave $100, Papa Murphy’s donated $452, and Harland and Nancy Teskey, local residents, gave $200.

Martin said the district also thanked the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club for donating three rowing machines for fire personnel use.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, July 16: Wildfire mitigation work continues

By Lisa Hatfield

On July 16, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board members moved ahead in the process to request a mill levy increase from voters, approved the 2012 audit results, and learned about continuing fuel mitigation efforts in the district. Tanner Finnicum was sworn in as a new full member volunteer.

The absence of Chairman Scott Campbell was excused, and Director Harland Baker chaired the meeting.

District to request mill levy ballot issue

The Wescott board voted unanimously to approve Resolution 2013-002, authorizing the district to ask the county to include a measure on the November ballot asking Wescott voters to approve an increase in the property tax levy from 7 mills to 11 mills. The wording of the ballot question has not yet been determined.

Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall was unanimously approved as the designated election official.

Chief’s report

"The phone is ringing off the hook" for fuel mitigation inspection requests for residents, Chief Vinny Burns said. Residents along several streets in Wescott have requested use of the district’s chipper to help them deal with the slash from fuel mitigation in their neighborhoods. Wescott volunteers bring the chipper and give a safety briefing to residents who then do the manual labor.

Assistant Chief Scott Ridings explained that Wescott has a 20-year mitigation plan in progress, including the extension of the shaded fuel break that runs through the center of the district. He hopes to find more funds to extend it west of Highway 83 and at the south end of Fox Run Park.

The district is applying for more grant money for residents and encouraged a "community approach to mitigation," helping get residents plugged in with the work already in progress in coordination with several homeowners associations. Grant money awarded to the district assists homeowners paying for contractors to do mitigation with 50-50 matching funds for in-kind work, which can include technical advice on fuels mitigation provided by Wescott as well as homeowners’ hours of work.

Burns said the Black Forest Merger Committee has not met since prior to the Black Forest Fire, but both districts are working to coordinate their standard operating procedures.

Assistant Chief Scott Ridings presented the May and June run reports. Calls increased by 15 percent from last year to 364 calls for May and June. These numbers do not include the Black Forest Fire, for which final numbers were not available, nor a building fire that occurred out of the district. Both were mutual aid calls and will not count as financial losses that occurred within the Wescott service area.

Ridings reported that the ladder truck needs an upgrade to the "jake" brake, a diesel engine braking mechanism, so that it is no longer underpowered and can stop safely on hills. This is an unexpected expense of $7,000 to $8,000, but there was board consensus to take the money out of the periodic preventive maintenance budget instead of reserves.

Financial report

Marshall said the district’s financial balances as of June 30 totaled $1.5 million: Peoples National Bank $65,000, Colorado Peak Fund $179,000, ColoTrust Fund $439,000, and Wells Fargo Public Trust $906,000.

The 2012 audit has been completed and filed with the state. As of Dec. 30, 2012, the ending balance was $1.3 million. Wildland profit from deployments in 2012 was $135,000. The board voted unanimously to accept the audit.

The meeting adjourned at 8:41 p.m.

**********

Note: Due to multiple outside fires in northern El Paso County since the Black Forest Fire, OCN contacted Assistant Chief Ridings for a statement on July 25. "There has been one outside fire in the Wescott district, suspicious in nature. It is under investigation, along with three earlier outside fires within Fox Run Park, which is within the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District. Both agencies are working with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to determine the exact cause. We have called in extra personnel to patrol the area during medium and high fire danger days. The firefighters have been instructed to patrol the Wescott district neighborhoods looking for any new fire starts. If residents see something suspicious, they should call the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office."

Correction: In the July 6 issue, OCN should have attributed the statement, "CSFD are not wildfire-trained; it’s not what they do…. But it was great to have (their) support," to Chairman Scott Campbell, a Colorado Springs city manager, not Capt. Sean Pearson.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive, with a pension board meeting at starting at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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

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Tri-Lakes wastewater plant awarded $1 million state grant

By Jim Kendrick

The Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility has received two state grants: a grant of $80,000 for planning for the new equipment required by the state to improve removal of total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) from treated effluent and a second grant of $1 million for design and construction of this new nutrient treatment equipment. The planning grant requires a 20 percent match by the grant recipient, up to $16,000, or $5,333 per owner district.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the award of the grant to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility on July 19. A total of $14.7 million in state nutrient grants was awarded to 21 wastewater treatment facilities appropriated by the Colorado Legislature in HB 13-1191.

MSD schedules election for one-time TABOR waiver

To receive the grant, a technicality in the TABOR amendment requires Monument Sanitation District to hold a special district election on Nov. 5 to seek voter approval for a one-time waiver to accept this state grant, which far exceeds the district’s current annual maximum grant acceptance limit of $50,000. Under the TABOR amendment to the state constitution, voter approval of a TABOR waiver is required to avoid having to refund all but $50,000 of the funds from the $1 million state grant proceeds that will be provided to Monument Sanitation District.

The district is only seeking a one-time waiver for this particular nutrient treatment construction grant, not a permanent waiver for all future state grants. The $1 million design and construction grant has no restrictions—no matching fund or property taxation requirements.

Final execution of these state grants will require further negotiations and approval by the state Grants and Loans Unit of a specific work plan, scope of work, and budget for the Tri-Lakes nutrient equipment project. These grants are good for three years because of the extended time required to plan, design, and gain local/county/state design approval for the plant expansion, construct the new nutrient removal capital plant additions, and adjust the plant’s unique biological nutrient removal process for optimum performance for final state project approval. All construction and documentation must be completed, audited, and approved by Sept. 1, 2016.

The Tri-Lakes facility is not a special district. The 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. The Palmer Lake district’s current TABOR state grant limit is also about $50,000––10 percent of its annual $500,000 budget. Woodmoor’s current TABOR state grant limit is about $600,000––10 percent of its annual $6 million budget.

Educating the state

Because the Tri-Lakes facility is not a special district and has no constituents and no taxing authority, the state cannot award the planning and construction grants directly to the facility under existing state grant rules. The Monument district staff spent numerous hours in Denver educating the Grants and Loans Unit staffers, the Water Quality Control Division leadership, and the state Legislature staff members who will administer this unprecedented grant program. The Monument staff informed the state about the substantial differences in the various types of unique ownership structures for jointly owned and operated wastewater special districts throughout Colorado.

No one in the Legislature, its staff, or the Water Quality Control Division had considered this type of grant eligibility issue for a facility like Tri-Lakes or how to award a grant to a jointly owned treatment facility until the Monument district brought up these issues at Water Quality Control Division nutrient grant program stakeholder meetings after passage of HB 13-1191.

For example, it took several weeks of education and negotiations to ensure that there would be flexibility in dividing the Tri-Lakes construction grant among the three Tri-Lakes owner districts in a manner that would not create unintended TABOR complications. Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund persuaded the Grants and Loans unit to add a step to the award granting process and to extend the amount of time for every eligible owner district to hold a TABOR waiver election.

While the Monument district board has already approved holding a TABOR waiver election, the Palmer Lake and Woodmoor district boards have declined to hold one. Further negotiations on how reimbursements from the $1 million grant will have to be allocated among the three owner districts for costs incurred over the next three years will be held with the Grants and Loans unit after Monument’s constituents vote on the one-time TABOR waiver for the state nutrients construction grant.

Also, the grant application forms had to be modified by adding separate signature blocks for the board presidents of the Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor wastewater districts and wording that reflected that a treatment facility may be owned by more than one special district and/or town or city.

Four years of meetings and testimony

The award of these nutrient planning and construction grants culminated over four years of work by Wicklund, Lower Fountain Metropolitan Sewage Disposal District Manager Jim Heckman, and Tad Foster, the Tri-Lakes facility’s environmental attorney. Wicklund and Heckman, who is also the district manager of Fountain Sanitation District, ensured that Monument, Fountain, and Lower Fountain sent a representative to over 100 hearings and meetings on nutrient regulations held by the state Legislature, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, the Water Quality Control Division, and numerous types of stakeholder workgroup meetings held by the Colorado Water Quality Forum, the Colorado Wastewater Utilities Council, the Colorado Nutrient Coalition, and the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition.

Wicklund and Heckman were instrumental in creating the Colorado Nutrient Coalition and the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition and gathering voluntary state-wide funding from over 60 state wastewater entities that were members of each coalition. They all worked to oppose the unfunded state mandate created by the Water Quality Commission’s recent approval of the new Control Regulation 85 and Regulation 31.17 in June 2012.

For more information see: www.ocn.me/v12n6.htm#juc and www.ocn.me/v12n3.htm#nutrients.

Over the past three years, Wicklund and Heckman visited Hickenlooper’s office; worked with Colorado Majority Leader Amy Stephens, Rep. Marsha Looper, and Sen. Keith King; and testified at various state House and Senate hearings for the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition on legislation to mandate state funding of the new equipment being required of all 391 state wastewater treatment facilities.

In each hearing and meeting Wicklund and Heckman pointed out that the smaller facilities cannot take advantage of the economies of scale available to facilities such as Metro Wastewater Reclamation District in Denver. They also pointed out that the state’s and EPA’s published long-term nutrient requirements are unattainable with current technology and will bankrupt small towns and small special districts throughout Colorado.

The Tri-Lakes plant’s biological activated sludge treatment process was installed in 1998 and immediately won an EPA award as a state-of-the-art plant, but was never intended to nor expected to remove total phosphorus or total nitrogen at the levels now being demanded by the state’s recently approved Control Regulation 85 nor the far more restrictive interim values in the state’s Regulation 31.17.

To this day, the Tri-Lakes facility’s current discharge permit has no reporting requirement and no discharge permit limit for total phosphorus or phosphates because no requirement existed until now. The current discharge permit limit for total inorganic nitrogen, first imposed in January 2012, is 23 milligrams per liter (mg/l), well in excess of the new Control Regulation 85 limit of 15 mg/l and the new Regulation 31.17 interim value for total nitrogen for Monument Creek 2.01 mg/l in that will take effect in 2022.

No affordable treatment option available would allow any currently operational Colorado wastewater treatment to meet these pending 2022 total phosphorus or total nitrogen limits in Regulation 31.17. Phosphorus is a common ingredient in most multi-vitamins. Nitrogen comprises 78 percent of the earth’s atmosphere and is absorbed at the surface of every water body on the planet. Neither is a pollutant unless it is added to water in highly concentrated amounts.

The Tri-Lakes facility and Lower Fountain’s nearly completed Harold Thompson facility are classified as large facilities because they are rated at over 1 million gallons per day. Both are lumped in the same category as Denver Metro––even though Denver Metro treats about 140 million gallons per day for 1.7 million people, while Tri-Lakes and Lower Fountain each treat less than 2 million gallons per day for only about 5,500 and 2,000 homes respectively. The actual daily flows treated by Tri-Lakes rarely exceed 1.2 million gallons per day and the Lower Fountain facility will not likely treat over 2 million gallons per day in the near future.

The governor’s executive order

As a result of pressure from small facilities through the Colorado Rural Communities Coalition to have the state government comply with its own law against unfunded mandates, one of Hickenlooper’s initial actions on Jan. 11, 2011, his first day as governor, was publication of Executive Order D 2011-005. Some the statements in this order were:

• "For many years, state government has imposed an ever-increasing number of legal requirements on local governments, without regard to the costs such requirements impose on already-strained local budgets, and without providing additional funding to enable local governments to comply. Local governments continue to face difficulties such as funding, complexity, and delay in securing flexibility and approvals regarding state requirements.

• "In order to assist local governments in effectively complying with such requirements, this Executive Order gives direction to state agencies on consulting and working with local governments before imposing new regulations or other obligations.

• "To the extent authorized by law, no state agency shall promulgate any regulation creating a mandate on local governments unless … the state government provides the funding necessary to pay for the direct costs incurred by local governments in complying with the mandate."

For more information see http://statebillnews.com/2011/01/text-of-hickenlooper-executive-orders-issued/

The Legislature then approved Senate Joint Resolution 11-005. This resolution stated that in 1991 the General Assembly enacted section 29-1-304.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which prohibits any new state mandate or increase in the level of service for a previously existing state mandate on any local government without the provision of additional monies from the state to cover the local government’s costs of the new mandate or increased level of service. For more information on SJR 11-005 see www.leg.state.co.us.

The Tri-Lakes facility’s treated effluent that is discharged to upper Monument Creek already complies with the state’s annual median limit for total inorganic nitrogen of 15 milligrams per liter (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm) that was created in the new Control Regulation 85 on Sept. 30, 2012. Subsequently, Hickenlooper delayed enforcement of these limits for a year to give the large wastewater facilities time to plan, design, and budget for the complex and costly plant modifications to meet these new Reg. 85 restrictions.

Costly improvements

However, about $1 million in capital construction, $333,333 per district, will have to be incurred by the three districts that own the Tri-Lakes facility just to meet the new Reg. 85 annual median limit of 1 mg/l for total phosphorus that was also created on Sept. 30. This new total phosphorus limit will be imposed on Tri-Lakes when the facility’s current five-year discharge permit is renewed on Jan. 1, 2017. It will cost an estimated $1 million more to design and build additional nutrient removal equipment to meet Regulation 31.17 total phosphorus and total nitrogen limits that will be imposed on May 31, 2022.

The restrictions in Reg. 85 only apply to the 45 largest publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities in Colorado—those rated at over 2 million gallons per day (MGD) of treatment capacity. The Tri-Lakes facility is rated at 4.2 MGD. Reg. 85 does not apply to the other 345 smaller treatment facilities in Colorado rated at less than 2 MGD, such as the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility and Academy Water and Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment lagoons in the OCN coverage area. There are 391 wastewater treatment facilities in Colorado.

The Tri-Lakes facility’s current five-year discharge permit limit for both total inorganic nitrogen and nitrate is 23 mg/l. These two Tri-Lakes permit limits were put into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, and will remain in effect until the end of 2016. The current Reg. 85 total inorganic nitrogen and nitrate limits will now become effective Sept. 30, 2013, but will not apply to Tri-Lakes until the next Tri-Lakes five-year discharge permit is approved. There is no permit limit for ammonia because Tri-Lakes has already demonstrated in previous discharge monitoring reports submitted to the state that its ammonia removal is more than sufficient to show that there is no reasonable potential for a permit violation.

There is no phosphorus or phosphate limit in the current Jan. 1, 2012, Tri-Lakes discharge permit, which is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2016. Monthly phosphate monitoring, which is now required by Reg. 85, has shown that effluent concentrations are about 3 to 6 mg/l.

The current interim value listed in Regulation 31.17 for total phosphorus in a warm plains stream like Monument Creek is 0.17 mg/l. This interim value will become effective on May 31, 2022, for the Tri-Lakes facility. The total nitrogen interim value in Regulation 31.17 that will become effective on May 31, 2022, for Tri-Lakes is 2.01 mg/l. However, the EPA has still not approved the new language in either of these new state regulations.

The EPA has proposed even tighter and costlier restrictions on nutrients as well as metals and other naturally occurring elements like selenium. The EPA has stated that it would prefer that the state immediately approve EPA’s warm water nutrient criteria—0.067 mg/l for total phosphorus and 0.88 mg/l for total nitrogen—but has not yet made these criteria a federal requirement or a mandate on the state. Neither of these EPA interim nutrient values can be achieved by any existing technology.

Using $1 million of grant money to pay half of the cost of building capital improvements in the next three years that will be designed to meet 2022 nutrient discharge permit restrictions in Reg. 31.17 would significantly reduce the cost of chemicals used to treat total phosphorus from 2016 through 2022, as compared to a previously planned smaller and simpler total phosphorus removal system.

A cost-benefit study was approved on June 11 by the Tri-Lakes facility’s Joint Use Committee to study the best long-term nutrient treatment options that are currently available and have become affordable with the award of the Hickenlooper grant (www.ocn.me/v13n7.htm#juc) The facility’s consultant engineering firm Tetra Tech will conduct this new study using the $80,000 Hickenlooper planning grant just awarded, which has now made this desired but previously unfunded type of study affordable. The facility’s $16,000 match will be paid out of 2013 contingency funds, costing the Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor districts $5,333 each.

Hickenlooper’s announcement

Hickenlooper announced 15 design and construction grants totaling $13.5 million and 15 planning grants totaling $1.2 million. Each of the planning grants requires a 20 percent match by the grant recipient. Eleven treatment facilities received both types of grants, four facilities received only design and construction grants, and six facilities received only planning grants.

Hickenlooper said he wants this nutrient grant program to set a standard for a future grant program for the equally challenging and costly statewide nutrient requirements facing small towns and small special districts. For example, neither the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility nor the Academy Water and Sanitation District were eligible for the HB 13-1191 grant program even though both facilities will eventually have the identical Reg. 31.17 nutrient restrictions as the Tri-Lakes facility.

Several other regional wastewater facilities also received grants. The Lower Fountain Metropolitan Sewage Disposal District and City of Pueblo received both of the available types of state grants—a $1 million design and construction grant and an $80,000 planning grant. The Colorado Springs Utilities Las Vegas Wastewater Treatment Facility received $1 million for design and construction. The Security Sanitation District and Widefield Water and Sanitation Districts each received an $80,000 planning grant. The City of Pueblo received both grants for a total of $1.08 million.

Hickenlooper said, "This grant funding will help communities offset the costs of bringing their systems into compliance. In addition, the grants announced today will help ensure safe and healthy water for wildlife, agriculture, recreation, and drinking water purposes." The Nutrient Grant Program will help wastewater facilities with the costs of planning for, designing, and implementing system improvements. The new nutrient standards apply to about 45 large wastewater treatment systems.

Hickenlooper signed House Bill 13-1191 on May 10. This bill appropriated $15 million over the next three years for state planning grants and state design/construction grants to help finance what otherwise would be totally unfunded state mandates for Reg. 85 and Reg. 31.17 capital improvements to these 45 large state wastewater treatment plants.

The text of HB 13-1191 is available at www.leg.state.co.us/ under this series of links:

• "Session Information"

• "House - Regular 2013 session"

• "Bills and Fiscal notes"

• "Select Bill Range"

• "House Bills 1151-1200"

• "GO->"

• HB 13-1191 "All Versions"

• Final Act

Some details for implementation of HB 13-1191 are available at www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-WQ/CBON/1251640468307 

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

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Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, July 9: Tetra Tech to revise study plan

By Jim Kendrick

On July 9, Facility Manager Bill Burks advised the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) that the final documents for the formation of the Arkansas and Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) had been approved by the board of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). The PPRWA will sponsor AF CURE.

All the wastewater treatment facility boards of the AF CURE members have also individually approved the final documents. The associate member fee for the Tri-Lakes facility to join PPRWA and be eligible to participate in this PPRWA project is $650.

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

The scheduled absences of Whitelaw and Robinove were excused by Smith, who chaired the meeting. No Woodmoor director attended the meeting. Monument Director Don Smith filled in as Robinove’s alternate, creating a quorum of two directors.

Burks said AF CURE will budget an extra $10,000 in 2014 to have GEI Consulting perform environmental studies in Monument Creek and Fountain Creek to gather additional data on the current status of macroinvertebrates as a baseline to evaluate future enhanced removal of nutrients and metals. The budget for engineering firm Brown & Caldwell to manage AF CURE will increase about $5,000 in 2014 to handle this additional administrative load. These costs will be divided evenly by all AF CURE members.

The facilities must take these measurements in order to gather enough data to scientifically evaluate stream health in Monument Creek and Fountain Creek with regard to nutrients, metals, and in-stream temperatures.

Financial report

Some of the payments Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks noted were:

• $1,664 to SGS Environment Testing Corp. for laboratory services for metals and nutrients analysis.

• $4,878 to environmental attorney Tad Foster for legal services for the Water Quality Control Commission’s triennial Arkansas River Basin hearings in Alamosa.

• Three payments to Hach Co. for a total of $3,875 for equipment to analyze phosphorus.

• $3,756 to Tetra Tech for work on a long-range facility plan.

The JUC unanimously accepted the June financial report.

District manager’s reports

Smith reported that Monument was concluding the relining of 632 feet of old vitrified clay collection lines with Insituform in the vicinity of McShane Place. Other repair work had been completed in the alley between the north end of Washington Street and the railroad tracks. Burks noted unusually high amounts of suspended solids at Monument’s south vault on June 11 and June 25. Smith stated that Monument’s line cleaning had been completed before June 11.

There was a lengthy discussion about how well repairs and well screen acid cleaning may add suspended solids, as well as pipe repairs involving a lot of tree root removal and manhole ring repairs may cause surges in suspended solids. This kind of surge rarely causes more than a 1 percent increase in annual treatment costs for biosolids.

Becky Orcutt, Palmer Lake’s district manager, noted that her district would perform its first relining of some of its pipes in the fall. Woodmoor District Manager Jessie Shaffer stated he had no issues to report.

Facility manager’s report

Burks noted the following individual monthly effluent sample readings from the May Control Regulation 85 nutrients data collection report:

• Ammonia nitrogen – 0.22 milligrams per liter (mg/l)

• Nitrite nitrogen – 0.05 mg/l

• Nitrate nitrogen – 4.05 mg/l

• Total inorganic nitrogen – 4.32 mg/l

• Total Kjeldahl nitrogen – 2.10 mg/l

• Total nitrogen – 6.20 mg/l

• Total phosphorus was 5.9 mg/l

Burks also noted the following monthly grab sample readings in this April Reg. 85 report for samples taken in Monument Creek below the mixing zone for stream and effluent flows––where Monument Creek crosses Baptist Road:

• Ammonia nitrogen – 0.13 mg/l

• Nitrite nitrogen – 0.00 mg/l

• Nitrate nitrogen – 0.30 mg/l

• Total inorganic nitrogen – 1.02 mg/l

• Total Kjeldahl nitrogen – 1.50 mg/l

• Total nitrogen – 0.43 mg/l

• Total phosphorus was 1.3 mg/l

Some of the separate nutrient concentrations Burks noted for weekly testing in the May facility discharge monitoring report were:

• 30-day average for nitrogen ammonia – 0.7 mg/l; no permit limit

• Daily maximum for nitrogen ammonia – 1.4 mg/l; no permit limit

• Daily maximum for nitrate – 4.4 mg/l; permit limit is 23 mg/l

• Daily maximum for total inorganic nitrogen – 5.5 mg/l; permit limit is 23 mg/l

Some of the twice-per-month sampling results that Burks noted in the April facility discharge monitoring report were:

• 30-day average for sulfate – 33 mg/l; no permit limit

• 30-day average for chloride – 58.5 mg/l; no permit limit

• 30-day average concentration for copper – 6.0 µg/l; the new permit limit will be 16.0 µg/l, down from

• Daily maximum concentration for copper – 7.0 µg/l; the new permit limit will be 25.0 µg/l

• 30-day average manganese concentration – 43.5 µg/l; no permit limit

• 30-day average zinc concentration – 36.5 µg/l; no permit limit

• Daily maximum concentration for zinc – 48.0 µg/l; no permit limit

• Hydrogen sulfide, lead, selenium, and nonylphenol were undetectable

The average flow through the plant was 1.1 million gallons per day.

Burks noted that he prefers to use ferric chloride to remove total phosphorus because it’s not as sensitive to temperature as alum.

Burks stated that the Water Quality Control Division had started the public comment period for his request have Tri-Lakes’ expensive nonylphenol testing frequency requirement in the facility’s discharge permit reduced from twice per month to once per quarter. All the facility’s test results to date have shown that nonylphenol is undetectable in Tri-Lakes effluent.

Burks also noted that he had completed and submitted the facility’s annual application for eligibility for annual state grants and loans in 2014 from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority.

The meeting adjourned at 11:02 a.m.

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On July 19, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the award of $1.08 million in grants to the Tri-Lakes owner districts to help pay for planning, design, and construction of new Tri-Lakes nutrient treatment equipment for enhanced removal of total phosphorus and total nitrogen from the facility’s effluent. See the article above for more details.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 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 is available at 481-4053.

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, July 18: Pueblo Reservoir storage issues resolved with help from CSU

By Jim Kendrick

On July 18, District Manager Kip Petersen advised the Donala Water and Sanitation District board that the Bureau of Reclamation’s extended delay in starting negotiations with Donala for a long-term storage contract for Donala’s Willow Springs Ranch renewable water in Pueblo Reservoir finally has been resolved. "The biggest issue that we’ve had is the long-term storage contract with the Bureau of Reclamation," he said.

Petersen stated that the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Southern Delivery System (SDS) representative to the bureau, SDS Deputy Program Director Keith Riley, has met with bureau staff and discussed the long-term agreements and the short-term contracts that Donala and CSU already have with each other. Riley has resolved the delay by assuring the bureau that CSU is working with Donala on a long-term delivery contract.

Donala’s long-term issue has been which comes first, the long-term storage contract with the bureau or the long-term delivery contract with CSU. The bureau has demanded assurances that there would be a long-term service agreement between CSU and Donala for SDS transport of Donala’s water before it would even consider beginning negotiations with Donala regarding Donala’s decreed water storage rights in the Pueblo Reservoir.

At the request Wayne Vanderschuere, CSU’s general manager of Water Services, Petersen contacted hydraulic engineer Carly Jerla, the bureau’s representative to Donala, to let her know that Donala now has a one-year CSU contract signed by CEO Jerry Forte that runs through the end of 2014. Donala Board Chairman Bill George signed this contract at this July 18 Donala board meeting.

The bureau will now start work on an environmental assessment of Donala’s decreed reservoir storage of 288 acre-feet that must be completed and approved in order for CSU and Donala to sign a long-term service agreement, which will be very similar to the annual delivery agreements. Vanderschuere remains concerned that the bureau will use Donala’s environmental assessment issue to reopen CSU’s already approved reservoir storage environmental assessment, which he believes is unrelated to Donala’s new storage contract. He asked Petersen to also state to the bureau that the two assessments are independent of each other. Petersen added that Donala must sign a long-term delivery contract with CSU before the SDS system begins drawing water out of the Pueblo Reservoir for transport.

Willow Creek Ranch update

Petersen noted that routine summer maintenance of Donala’s equipment at the ranch had been scheduled and was proceeding as planned. This is important because flows were high from the snow melt and Donala had been able to use all its monthly adjudicated water rights to date. Donala has stored 170 acre-feet of water using CSU’s storage rights in the Twin Lakes Reservoir through the end of June, up from storage of 111 acre-feet through June 2012. He also said it looked like Donala’s surface water rights would stay in priority in July and more water could be stored.

Petersen also noted that storing Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch water in the much closer Twin Lakes reservoir avoided the loss of 10 percent of renewable water to the evaporation that occurs between Willow Creek and the Pueblo Reservoir. Donala’s water can be transported from Twin Lakes by other pipelines to the CSU water treatment plant without using the pipeline that currently transports water from the Pueblo Reservoir to the CSU water treatment plant.

There was a lengthy technical discussion of how much additional water would have to be produced for irrigation this summer and whether there would be a significant reduction caused by restricting irrigation to only two days per week. There was also a discussion of Donala’s options if CSU shifted back to allowing its customers to irrigate three days per week. Under Donala’s current service agreement, when CSU cut irrigation back to two days per week, Donala had to implement the same restriction in order to still be able to buy water from CSU. However, when CSU recently increased the number of irrigation days to three times per week, Donala had the option to continue its Phase 3 restriction. Donala’s Phase 3 restriction was still in place at OCN’s publication deadline for this edition.

Financial reports

Betsy Bray of Accounts Payable gave an analysis of the performance of the various district budget line items for the first half of 2013. Total revenues for the first six months were $3 million or about 36.4 percent of the $8.3 million budgeted for the year. Higher revenues during the irrigation season will bring this percentage up rapidly as they do every year. Total expenditures through June, including capital projects, were $2 million or about 22.4 percent of the $8.96 million budgeted.

Petersen noted that several capital projects would start soon, including construction of a new water line from Struthers Road and Northgate Boulevard ($100,000), design and construction a new water line, with directional boring, through the Gleneagle golf course ($250,000), and $3 million in other long-term capital projects. The projects now can be reprioritized for completion in the next year or two to ensure effective use of the district’s $5.3 million of bonds from a loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority.

The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.

Operations projects

Petersen reported that the district is having little luck in finding a suitable emergency electrical generator due to the high demand for such generators in the many areas where natural gas exploration is underway.

Construction of the new Jessie/Struthers/Latrobe water pipelines began on July 1 and should be completed by mid-August. These new lines will carry Donala’s raw Willow Creek Ranch water, which has been transported to the interconnection with CSU at Northgate Boulevard and Struthers Road, to Donala’s Robert Hull Water Treatment Plant. After all of Donala’s available Willow Creek water has been used, Donala can also use these new lines to transport additional water purchased directly from CSU, if necessary.

There has been an issue with some starters that operate blowers and mixers at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. Replacement motors for the mixers have been installed and spare motors have been ordered.

Petersen noted that he attended a regional water reuse meeting hosted by the Town of Monument that was also attended by representatives from Triview Metropolitan District, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, and consultant engineer Roger Sams of GMS Inc. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss each district’s current water reuse projects and discuss any potential for cost savings through a joint study regarding a regional project that could begin within five years.

Since August 2010, the district has been conducting the Donala Extended Water Supply Study, a $220,000 project, to consider ways effluent from the plant could be captured, extensively treated, and mixed in with the district’s water supply. The district is looking to reclaim about 300 acre-feet per year. Sams gave a presentation on this Donala study at the Town of Monument meeting. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

In other matters, Petersen and George discussed their attendance at the July 9 Triview Metropolitan District Board meeting. They invited members of the Triview board to attend Donala’s board meetings to become familiar with the operations of the Upper Monument Creek facility. They discussed the facility’s 2012 and 2013 budget and the recent rise in the plant’s electricity costs due to rate increases made by Mountain View Electric Association.

The board went into executive session at 4:04 p.m. to discuss personnel and property disposition matters.

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The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 15 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, July 15: Seven disbursements over $5,000 approved

By Jim Kendrick

On July 15, the Monument Board of Trustees had a very light agenda consisting entirely of staff reports. After adjournment, the board held a workshop on the town’s Capital Improvement Plan. All board members were present.

Financial reports

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

• $148,365 to Triview Metropolitan District for May sales tax ($141,030), June motor vehicle tax ($7,000), and June Regional Building Department sales tax ($130).

• $22,662 to CIRSA insurance for the town’s third-quarter installment of workers’ comp insurance.

• $16,643 to CIRSA insurance for the town’s third-quarter installment of liability insurance.

• $19,000 to Streetscapes for downtown wayfinding signage.

• $19,938 to Well Fargo Equipment Finance for capital lease payments.

• $168,092 to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for the town’s annual payment on the Monument Lake dam rehabilitation loan.

• $20,185 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a payment for the town’s 1997 water enterprise fund loan.

Some of the items Town Treasurer Monica Harder noted in her May financial report were:

• General fund revenues were more than budgeted by 17 percent or $260,000.

• General fund expenditures were less than budgeted by 9 percent or $145,000.

• General fund net revenues were more than budgeted by $127,000.

• Water fund revenues were less than budgeted by 49 percent or $266,000.

• Water fund expenditures were less than budgeted by 22.5 percent or $108,000.

• Water fund net revenues were more than budgeted by $95,000.

• Total town net funds increased by $127,457 to $579,915.

• Total net sales tax revenues through May were more than budgeted by 5.2 percent or $57,000.

Staff reports

Some of the items Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara reported were:

• A commercial land use permit was issued to Sundance Studios, Cipriani Loop, for expansion.

• Six new single-family residential land use permits were issued during June, all in Triview. The total number of new single-family residential land use permits issued for the year is now 39, with 29 in Triview.

• He met with Jacobs Engineering to discuss sidewalk locations and issues with the Downtown Sidewalks project. There are some areas of concern regarding existing parking within the rights-of-way and possible conflicts with proposed sidewalk locations. Jacobs is studying these areas and will provide alternatives to the staff, which will ultimately be the topic of discussion with the board.

• He met with Mike Wicklund, general manager of the Monument Sanitation District, and the tenants of the building owned by the district, to discuss the potential transition from diagonal parking to parallel parking in front of their building.

• He met with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District representatives and attended a senior lunch at the old Town Hall with Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Becki Tooley, to discuss the parking and access situations in and around the Monument Sanitation District building.

• Greg Maggard, engineering assistant, has accepted a position as town administrator in Shattuck, Okla.

• He met with Camille Blakely and Adam Farley from Blakely and Co. on June 27 at Town Hall to discuss progress and results to date for the town’s Strategic Marketing Plan.

Some of the items Public Works Director Tom Tharnish reported were:

• He had a meeting with School District 38 concerning the possibility of a building a sidewalk or path on Monument Hill Road for Palmer Ridge High School student use with some funding from a "safe route to school" grant.

• Public Works has taken over all the tree maintenance for the Second Street tree project. The landscape company is still responsible for tree replacement.

• He held an on-site meeting with paving contractors for the repaving contract at the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway, which is scheduled to be completed before the school year begins. Triview Metropolitan District will not contribute any funding for repairs to its half of the intersection. The project will cost $20,000.

• Monument water production for June was 19.4 million gallons, which was 1.8 million gallons or 8.5 percent less than in June 2012.

Some of the items reported Police Chief Jake Shirk reported were:

• The department deployed immediately to the Black Forest wildfire to assist with evacuations, traffic control, interior patrol, and escorting. The department provided four to eight officers per day for nine days for a total of 562 man-hours. Additional hours were worked by other officers to cover the department’s duties for the town.

• The Fourth of July parade coverage was a success with help provided by the Colorado Mounted Rangers, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Springs Police Department bomb squad, and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District medics.

Some of the items Town Manager Pamela Smith reported were:

• A notice was sent out in town water bills that the new town website address now ends with ".org" rather than ".net" – www.townofmonument.org

• Kassawara was appointed chairman of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments’ Transportation Advisory Committee.

• To date, the town has spent $10,000 in support of the Black Forest wildfire for employee hours and supplies and will seek some reimbursement from FEMA.

• The town held a meeting on June 28 with staff and engineers from the Donala, Woodmoor, Forest Lakes, and Triview water districts to discuss each district’s individual plans for implementing water reuse and the possible options for partnering in a more cost-effective joint project.

There was a general discussion of how nice the new "wayfaring" signs are for providing pedestrians and motorists guidance to parks and various types of businesses in the downtown area.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: www.townofmonument.org or 884-8017.

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

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Monument Planning Commission, July 12: Changes in cell phone tower laws approved

By Kate Wetterer

On July 12, the Monument Planning Commission recommended approval of all the proposed code changes dealing with the appearance and safety of cell phone towers.

Some of the changes to Monument Municipal Code Section 17.64 will allow fences up to eight feet tall around wireless telecommunications equipment to act as safety shields for the machinery. Larger fences are now required because equipment has been getting bigger. The changes also specify a list of approved plants to be used for all landscaping around ground-based equipment.

The Planning Commission also agreed that Monument should add a standard abandonment clause to its code, in keeping with those already effective in other areas. This clause would state that any wireless telecommunications service facility found abandoned for more than six months must be removed by the owner of the property or by the town at the owner’s expense. Only two wireless telecommunication towers currently exist in town, one off North Washington Street and the other at the northeast corner of I-25 and Baptist Road. The abandonment clause is meant to provide a procedure in case things fall into disrepair or the town receives complaints, rather than an alteration meant to address a current problem.

The single change to Regency Park Zoning and Development Standards Section 17.43 also has to do with wireless telecommunications services. Up until this point, no wireless telecommunications towers have been allowed in Regency Park, because the technology didn’t exist when the zone was first mapped out. Now, citizens have occasionally lamented the poor reception in the area, and this, among other reasons, inspires change.

Towers still won’t be permitted in residential areas, but the Planning Commission agreed that they should be allowed on a conditional basis in three of Regency Park’s zone districts: the planned commercial development, planned industrial development and planned multi-use development areas. The goal would be to keep the towers as well hidden as possible, hopefully with other cell towers but potentially built into the side of walls to look like rocks, disguised as flag poles/light poles, or built off of buildings. As a last resort, more towers might be built, but only if none of the stealth-tower options work out. The tower is not meant to be noticeable.

A few small alterations were made to the wording of these proposals in preparation to take them to the Board of Trustees, largely for the sake of clarity. All alterations passed unanimously, and are now headed for further voting.

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The next Planning Commission meeting is set to be held on Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Monument Town Hall. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings

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

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Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing and Medical Marijuana Authority and Combined Workshop and Town Council Meeting, July 2: Committee will advise council on marijuana issue

By Jim Adams

On July 2, Palmer Lake Town Council trustees discussed the upcoming deadline to determine the town’s policy on recreational marijuana sales, heard about the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s role in fighting the Black Forest Fire, and approved new business and liquor licenses. Audience members talked about the Awake the Lake project and questioned watering restrictions.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis and Clerk Tara Berreth said the town must opt in or out of local retail sales of recreational marijuana by Oct. 1. The town would lose any capacity to receive tax revenues from the sale of recreational marijuana if it opts out. Current dispensaries are first in line to begin retail sales if they so choose, since the separate medical marijuana regulations are already in place and are very similar to new recreational regulations. They said a town Marijuana Advisory Committee was needed to recommend a decision to the Town Council. As of July 2, only three volunteers had applied for membership on the committee. (See the report on the committee.)

Awake the Lake

Jeff Hulsmann of the Awake the Lake Committee said a benefit in June raised $4,500 for the lake. Four more concerts are scheduled. Awake-Palmer-Lake T-shirts and tickets for concerts are for sale at Palmer Lake restaurants and online at www.awakepalmerlake.com and on Facebook at Awake Palmer Lake.

Rick Pace of the Parks Committee said a Colorado Opportunity Grant (COGO) deadline for requesting lake funds was missed. Subsequent communications with COGO have helped in rephrasing the grant to emphasize that the lake is dry, possibly increasing the town’s chances of receiving state help. A new grant application was being processed.

Liquor licenses

The Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing Authority and Medical Marijuana Authority unanimously approved a request for a transfer of a liquor license for the Palmer Lake Country Store at 56A Highway 105 to new owner Darmi Coon.

The Liquor Authority also unanimously approved a set of boundaries to be used for a survey of the area surrounding a new restaurant that seeks a liquor license. Owner Steve Rice seeks to establish a full service restaurant at the Illumination Point building at 630 Highway 105.

Two new business licenses approved

The council unanimously approved new business licenses for the new owner of the Palmer Lake Country Store, Darmi Coon, and for Trinity Mechanical, a mobile appliance repair service that will operate from Palmer Lake.

Committee reports

Parks and Recreation Trustee Mike Patrizi reported that the town’s crew had cleaned the library area, replaced split-rail fencing at a trail head parking lot, repaired barbecue equipment at the lake, mowed the town area near the lake, and planted 14 trees donated from Home Depot. Credit was given to the Cusack and Bolko families for work on Columbine Park.

The crew working on fire mitigation in Glen Park, was given food and beverages, and poison ivy soap, from many local supporting businesses and individuals.

Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster reported 29 calls in May and 60 calls in June. Five new volunteers finished the fire academy and three attended classes on wildland firefighting. On June 11, the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched for 24 hours to work directly on the Black Forest Fire. After that, the department was the first responder for all local calls in Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District and Wescott Fire Protection District. A few repairs were completed to fire trucks.

A trustee position remains open on the Town Council.

During the public input session, thanks were given to local Eagle Scout James Patrick, whose project was the rehabilitation of the Gazebo in Town Park.

Public comments

Local resident Barbara Downing approached the Town Council for a special permit to water some areas that had recently been hydro-seeded. The areas required watering twice daily each day for four or five weeks. The Town Council denied the request. Attorney Gaddis pointed out that it would require an amendment to the less than two-month-old ordinance. Downing was informed that she could water by hand or by bucket, but that irrigation systems and lawn sprinklers were limited to current regulations.

The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m.

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The next meeting will be on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

Jim Adams can be reached at jimadams@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake debates recreational marijuana options

By Jim Adams

This spring, Palmer Lake Town Clerk Tara Berreth sent out a notice that volunteers were needed for a committee to look at the recreational marijuana choices that the town faces concerning whether or not to allow recreational marijuana retail sales. As of the July 2 Town Council meeting, there were only three applicants for the committee. At that meeting it was revealed that the town has until Oct. 1 to declare its intentions to the state to opt in or out, or to put a moratorium into place.

On July 22, Berreth emailed an announcement of a Marijuana Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for the next day.

More than 20 local residents and business persons attended the July 23 meeting. Mayor Nikki McDonald, Trustee Shana Ball, Trustee Michael Maddox, and Berreth were present representing Town Council and Town Hall staff. Berreth noted that she had recently attended a state roundtable and other functions intended to help local governing bodies deal with Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana sales in the state. There were many verbal challenges from those in attendance during her presentation.

Berreth stated that Palmer Lake can opt out, like many surrounding areas already have. She said she preferred an immediate opt out. Barring that, the following options were presented as acceptable to Berreth. The town could place a moratorium on recreational sales for a year with one of three options. Option 1 is to let the Town Council decide whether or not to put it on the ballot in April 2014 and let voters decide if they want retail recreational sales. Option 2 would be to let the Town Council decide the issue directly. Option 3 would be to create a committee to advise the Town Council, provide for 30 days of public notice of the meeting time and date for the Town Council agenda item, and establish any separate forum for public commentary on the issue before the public hearing and vote by the Town Council.

The option to opt in on retail recreational marijuana sales was dismissed. Berreth stated that this choice would be "impossible" relative to state-required timelines, unreliable as to whether it would predictably generate any sales taxes revenue, and could possibly lead directly to having an unregulated and untaxed pot shop on every corner, near every school, and in neighborhoods.

Berreth stated she would force the various moratorium options so that the option to form a committee would be addressed by the council before the Oct. 1 deadline. Berreth also said that she would push to opt out on recreational marijuana sales if no action were taken by the council or a committee. She said medical marijuana dispensaries are difficult and time-consuming to monitor, and they have brought little to town coffers relative to the problems they cause Town Hall.

Berreth said that the town only receives a 1.5 percent sales tax from medical marijuana sales. A local medical marijuana dispensary owner stated that he was paying far more than 1.5 percent in taxes at his own dispensary, more than the town was receiving and more than the total revenue that the town claims to have received from the two existing medical marijuana dispensaries that are already licensed in Palmer Lake. Berreth said the town had received less than $10,000 in medical marijuana sales tax revenue from these two separate businesses.

Some people signed up to join the committee. Berreth said she would select seven members from the list of volunteers based on geographical distribution and notify them of their selection.

The citizens’ arguments regarding whether the town should opt in or opt out were heated. Some wondered whether or not such a committee was actually needed, or even, by the end of the meeting, whether it would actually be assembled at all. Making the choice a ballot question appeared to be something many people had not considered as a possible option when Amendment 64 was approved.

Numerous issues were raised, including:

• That town citizens had spoken in November by voting for recreational marijuana possession, and that an opt-in was clearly mandated by the will of the voters.

• That even though the citizens voted for legalization, they possibly didn’t vote for recreational retail sales.

• That the town stands to reap a windfall profit from sales taxes as the only local town to allow retail sales.

• That the town would become the laughing stock for legalizing retail sales.

• That property values would fall.

• That recreational users should be content with asking their medical marijuana card holders to break the law and obtain marijuana for them.

• That it is hypocritical to sell large quantities of alcohol for profit tax revenues in public and not allow for recreational marijuana sales at the retail level.

• That surrounding areas had legislated-in the perpetuation of black-market marijuana sales by default, by opting out.

• That many areas in the South and in Texas have dry counties (counties without liquor sales), and it’s no big deal down there.

• That it is already OK to set up shop for retail sales and the town is not following Amendment 64.

• That the town should allow Palmer Lake Wellness Center to open as a retail vendor because it already has two separate store fronts for separate sales of medical and recreational marijuana, and easy access from I-25, which does not take traffic through town.

• That the Green Mountain Falls Town Council faces a possible recall election for opting out.

**********

There was no announcement of further meetings of the committee.

Jim Adams can be reached at jimadams@ocn.me.

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NEPCO, July 13: New laws expected to increase HOA costs

By Lisa Hatfield

At the July 13 meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO), homeowners association (HOA) attorney Lenard Rioth updated HOA representatives on current legislation that will add expenses to HOAs, and members discussed ways to collaborate in fuels mitigation against wildfires.

Rioth explained new laws that will increase costs for HOAs:

• Records Statute for Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) HOAs (HB 12-1237) delineates what records and emails must be retained for possible inspection and what information cannot be disclosed by HOAs.

• Assessments Collection Statutes for CCIOA HOAs (HB13-1276) control what documentation and notices HOAs must provide residents during assessment collection.

• The new HOA information officer (HB13-1134) will report to the state Legislature in December on what his own powers and fees will be. All HOAs not subject to CCIOA must register with this office. The officer will also hopefully be notifying HOAs and associations registered with him about the new laws and their ramifications for HOAs, but so far he has not done so.

• HOA managers now have to be licensed and fulfill other new requirements (HB13-1277).

• Many laws on the books regarding HOAs are being written with imprecise terminology, making it hard for HOAs to understand what is legally required by each law.

• Turf Grass/Landscaping Law for HOAs (SB13-183) prohibits HOAs from enforcing covenants which limit xeriscaping, but it is written in a way that is hard to enforce.

• Electric Vehicle Charging System (SB13-126) may not prohibit an owner from installing such a system.

Rioth said, "The road to doom is paved with good intentions.… It’s very likely that the next legislative session will be even more regulatory.Wildfire mitigation legislation will come along, probably." He said there may be some legal issues raised by wildfire mitigation concerns, such as imposing state standards on materials used in rebuilding homes or on performing mitigation after wildfires.

The Council of Neighborhoods and Associations might represent HOAs in the state Legislature. "NEPCO could combine with that and help out. Get involved in the legislative process. It will affect your lives and your bottom line," Rioth said.

Some of the comments by Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) President Jim Hale about wildfire mitigation were:

• It’s not in any of (WIA’s) governing documents to go in and tell people to clear their lots.

• It may have to move up to the county or state level to come up with a requirement for mitigation.

• A lot of people are doing fuels mitigation, but it’s a problem to get rid of the slash piles.

• We need to get more people to understand how to do their own wildfire mitigation.

• We need to work as an entire Tri-Lakes community and do mitigation as a team.

• We need to engage the county. It cost about $12 million to fight the Black Forest Fire. What if we could take a couple million and put it toward mitigation efforts before there’s another fire?

• Integrity Roofing is trying to organize volunteers through local churches to help people who can’t afford to do their own mitigation.

• Waste Management sells Bagsters at Home Depot that will hold several thousand pounds of slash, and it will haul it away for a fee.

Some audience comments about mitigation:

• Some people still think wildfire won’t happen to them.

• Do real estate companies encourage fuel mitigation on properties that are for sale?

• Property owners living in wildland-urban interface areas covered by a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) can deduct 50 percent of the cost of wildfire fuels mitigation from their reported federal income up to an amount of $2,500 (HB13-1012).

• For resources about defensible space, see www.ocn.me and search "wildfire," or http://www.tri-lakesfire.com/ReadySetGo.php or www.wescottfire.org/wildfire-ready-set-go.

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NEPCO’s mission is to promote communication and interaction among HOAs and residential areas in northern El Paso County. NEPCO currently has about 32 HOA members representing about 7,000 homes, and it hopes for more of the smaller HOAs to become members.

The next NEPCO meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 14 at the Monument Town Hall and Police Building, 645 Beacon Lite Road at Highway 105. County Engineer André Brackin has been invited to speak about transportation issues.

For more information on NEPCO or for details on Rioth’s presentation, visit www.nepco.org or call Bob Swedenburg at 481-2723.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, July 24: Fire mitigation efforts continue

By Harriet Halbig

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) continued its discussion of community action on fire mitigation at its July 24 meeting.

Forestry Director Eric Gross reported that the association’s FireWise Community Day in late June was a great success and generated many requests for fire mitigation lot evaluations. At the time of the meeting, 66 evaluations had yet to be carried out. Gross said that the committee is no longer accepting applications for grant money to aid in funding mitigation, because all available funds have been distributed. The committee will continue to seek additional funding.

Gross said a record amount of fuel reduction had taken place in Woodmoor this summer, and a number of homeowners have requested help in disposing of slash.

The board voted to have the Forestry Committee seek bids for a second chipping day or a drop-off site for slash in the vicinity.

Changing rules for HOAs

Vice President Kirstin Reimann, speaking for President Jim Hale, reported that Hale had attended the recent meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) and learned that some state rules for associations have changed. Homeowners associations (HOAs) may no longer require members to maintain turf grass, and xeriscaping is now encouraged. (See the NEPCO article).

HOA Manager Matt Beseau said that state law will require additional certification for HOA managers beginning next year and that he will need to take an additional class to qualify. Certification requirements vary depending on whether the manager is a professional or volunteer.

Hale also met with Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman of the Lewis-Palmer School District. Wangeman said the district plans to do fire mitigation in the area immediately east of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School and high school students may aid in the effort. Wangeman also offered to work with Woodmoor Public Safety to ease the traffic near the middle school.

Beseau reported that the final printed newsletter was ready to print. The board approved funding the mailing and printing cost. The board also approved the lease of a new copy machine that also serves as a scanner and provides digital backup capability. The cost will be similar to that of the current machine.

Beseau said that state law will require additional certification for HOA managers beginning next year and that he will need to take an additional class to qualify. Certification requirements vary depending on whether the manager is a professional or volunteer.

Beseau said that talks with developer La Plata continue. The area under discussion is The Dunes, just north of the fire station on Woodmoor Drive. No plans have yet been submitted.

Treasurer Tom Schoemaker reported that the association is still 5.5 percent under budget for the year and that a new attorney, Lenard Rioth, has been appointed. Rioth has done work for the organization in the past.

Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that there was only one report of illegal fireworks on July 4. Bear sightings have slowed.

Architectural Control Director Darren Rouse reported that 46 projects were submitted to the committee in June. Primary among these were deck projects, fences, and painting. Rouse said that copies of the new Project Design Standards Manual were being printed for the board’s review. He said he hopes to have the document available for homeowner review by the end of August. Rouse thanked Gross for his input regarding fire mitigation materials and practices in new and improved construction.

Common Areas Director W. Lee Murray reported that planting in front of the Barn is complete, as is mowing in common areas. The wild duck pond has been stocked with trout and minnows. Fishing is catch and release only, and only for residents.

**********

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Aug. 28.

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

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July Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Lots of much-needed moisture accumulated during July as the Southwest monsoon season was very active over several periods. This led to above-normal amounts of rainfall and slightly below-normal temperatures.

Typical weather conditions were in control of our region during the first week of July. Each day started off quiet, with mostly sunny skies and with clouds building by late morning. Scattered areas of thunderstorms developed each day from the 3rd through the 7th. The first couple of days of this period saw very little rain reach the ground because low levels of the atmosphere were still very dry. However, early signs of the North American monsoon and its moisture continued to stream into the region and helped to prime the pump. This allowed areas of heavy rain to occur in thunderstorms over the next couple of days, with some areas picking up a quick half-inch or more of rainfall. Temperatures each afternoon reached to normal and slightly above normal levels, hitting the mid- to upper 80s each day.

The North American monsoon pattern continued to affect the region, sending several plumes of moisture into the area from the southwest. Thunderstorms developed on several afternoons as is typical, but because the moisture available in the overall atmospheric column was high, heavy rain accumulated quickly in many areas. The heaviest rains fell on the 10th, 13th, and 14th. The high levels of moisture were also evidenced by the muggy conditions experienced at times. This was especially the case on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th, as conditions felt more like the Midwest than the Palmer Divide.

Temperatures remained warm, with highs reaching into the mid- and upper 80s each day before the clouds and showers developed. The hit or miss heavy rainfalls meant some areas of the region received large amounts of rainfall while others saw significantly less. Most of us did accumulate 1-2 inches of rainfall, with some areas getting 3-4 inches. Unfortunately, some of this rain fell with extreme intensities, which leads to flash flooding in the highly susceptible areas of the Black Forest burn scars. In these areas that burned last month, it takes far less rainfall to cause flash flooding and overland flow. This occurred a couple times during the week and was most pronounced around Shoup Road on Sunday early evening when 1-2 inches fell in less than an hour. This will continue to be a problem for several years whenever heavy rains occur over the burned regions.

The middle of the month saw a variety of weather conditions. Cool and cloudy weather, with light rain and drizzle at times, started the week of the 15th. Highs managed to reach the upper 60s late that afternoon after being stuck in the 50s most of the day, as some clearing late in the day allowed temperatures to try and warm up. This was about 15-20 degrees cooler than average. Clear skies returned for the next two days, but temperatures were slow to warm, only reaching the low 70s on the 16th and upper 70s on the 17th. This made for some very pleasant afternoons during what is on average our warmest period of the year.

Temperatures started to warm up over the next few days, reaching the 80s and low 90s from the 18th through the 21st. However, only isolated thunderstorms developed each day, with most of us missing out on heavy rain. The exception was over the weekend, when a couple of the thunderstorms dropped some brief heavy rain over a few spots in the region. This was most prevalent on the southeast side of Black Forest on the 20th and central areas on the 21st.

The week of the 22nd started off quiet and warm, with highs reaching the upper 80s to low 90s on the 22nd and 23rd. This is to be expected, however, because this is on average our warmest week of the entire year. The heat was short-lived as clouds and moisture spread over the region on a strong southwesterly flow. This combined with cooler, low-level air moving in from the northeast. This pattern set up almost daily occurrences of rain and thunderstorms across the area. As usual in this type of pattern, some areas were big winners one day, while others saw the most rain the next. For the week as whole, most of us picked up a nice soaking of moisture, generally 2-3 inches. Even more beneficial, there were several days when the low clouds and fog, which produced a nice light, soaking rain, kept temperatures in the 60s.

Thunderstorms and areas of rain continued to affect the region off and on through the rest of the month. These high levels of moisture and areas of clouds helped to hold temperatures at or slightly below average over the last few days of the month.

A look ahead

August is the last true "summer" month for the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings that turn into afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month range from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s.

July 2013 Weather Statistics

Average High 81.8° (-0.8°) 100-year return frequency value max 87.6° min 75.3°
Average Low 50.9° (+0.2°) 100-year return frequency value max 56.2° min 46.9°
Highest Temperature 90°F on the 21st, 23rd
Lowest Temperature 44°F on the 1st
Monthly Precipitation 3.51" (+0.37" 10% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.03" min 0.98"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 3.51" (+0.37" 10% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 32 (+3)
Cooling Degree Days 75 (-16)

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.

Vehicle limit difficult after fire

Dear Woodmoor neighbors,

Our son’s house burned down in the Black Forest Fire. They have been living with us ever since in Woodmoor. A few days before July 10 we received an email from the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) saying that all fire-related excess vehicles must be moved. The family had two vehicles which we were able to save through a wall of flame. My son’s work truck burned. He has since replaced his work truck.

The president of WIA, Jim Hale, told me we violated Woodmoor’s covenants by having the children’s three vehicles parked on our property. He said, "We asked for the vehicle info … so we can respond to complaints which we’ll surely get from the number of vehicles in your driveway." And, "The Woodmoor documents have been in place for over 40 years."

We have only two neighbors that can even see these three vehicles parked near our garage. Honestly, I doubt that they even care. But, if you are offended, please come and talk to us. I have posted the covenant violation notice with its two conditions to qualify for a six-month waiver at the front door so that everyone can see that we reported ourselves. Finally, I fully agree with the covenants on how many vehicles should be parked on a property. However, sometimes life throws situations that require special circumstances, and we should revise WIA covenants to meet the needs of the current community.

Estelle Remington

Editor’s note: To help people who were temporarily displaced by the Black Forest Fire, the WIA suspended violations on excess vehicles until July 10, when people were asked to make other arrangements. WIA Board President Jim Hale said in a phone call on July 22, "We acted on (this situation) right away at the covenant hearing on July 10 and granted her request for a six-month waiver for excess vehicles. (Remington) did not attend the meeting and was notified of this approval via board decision letter."

Vote for the school district’s mill levy override

Before voluntarily parting with funds, we have to see a real need. Is there one?

First, the Lewis-Palmer School District has historically performed very well in educating our kids. Our students have consistently earned very high ratings under the CSAP and the TCAP testing programs.

Secondly, LPSD has consistently achieved the rating of Accredited with Distinction. Undoubtedly the good performance contributes to maintaining relatively high real estate values.

Third, the district has tightened its belt in recent years, cutting $11 million out of its operating budget. LPSD has cut its teaching and administrative support workforce extensively. The question becomes: Can we see any harm done by those cuts?

Our recent testing performance causes me to worry. Our TCAP scores are falling and we are trending toward losing our Accredited with Distinction status. The middle school causes me the greatest concern, as this is where our kids have the highest student-teacher ratio. Their predecessors were educated in better funded elementary and middle schools with smaller class sizes. Until we get back on track with optimal staffing levels, specialists, and appropriate class sizes, our performance may continue to decline.

All this is occurring while China, India, Russia, and Brazil have joined Japan in competing stronger than ever with our domestic manufacturing, service and technology businesses. So I wonder: Are we setting our kids up for the fight for their economic lives by lowering our education performance?

I have seen enough. It’s time to reach into our pockets and help our school district get back on track. Lewis-Palmer doesn’t need the full $11 million annually that it cut, but it needs some of it, and very soon. Thank you for considering our future.

Chris Amenson

Burglary mars store’s anniversary

"Happy Birthday! We’re so glad you’re here!"

Variations on that greeting rang through Covered Treasures during the month of July. Customers old and new celebrated our 20th anniversary with us: We partied, we reminisced, we laughed, and we shed a few tears.

Then, this past Sunday, the "happy" was taken from us.

Paula came to the store about 2 to pick up books that had been dropped off for the Black Forest Fire victims. She was greeted with open doors to the Chapala building and the bookstore. She called out to me, thinking that I was in the store, but when she noticed that the lights were not on and saw the scissors lying on the floor, she realized something was not right and quickly called 911, then me.

For the next three hours we talked with the police and other building tenants and owners, gradually coming to terms with what had happened. The cash drawer was taken as well as the business checkbook and our iPad Mini for processing charge sales. Heartbreakingly, the bank envelope containing cash donations intended for books for the Black Forest Fire victims was also taken—over $700—generously given by members of our caring community for children who had lost their favorite books along with their homes.

We were in shock. But it was not until I glanced over my shoulder to check the time for the police report I was filling out that I noticed that the clock was gone. That did it—the tears began to flow. It wasn’t an antique and not particularly valuable, just a 30-day wind-up oak clock that chimed on the half hours and usually ran five minutes fast or slow, but our customers, particularly the children, liked it. And now, as we automatically glance above the cabinets, maybe 50 times a day, we realize how much we depended on it. And each time we are reminded.

As we do our best to return everything to normal, our friends and customers are grieving with us, angry on our behalf. Some are trying to help us to start the healing. Cathy Green brought in a jar and two bags of Hershey’s Miniatures to replace the plastic box with the candies that sat on the counter.

We know we’ll heal, that this will gradually fade into memory, even though we will never forget. We will celebrate other birthdays. We just wish our Great Big 20th Happy Birthday Celebration hadn’t ended like a popped balloon.

Thank you, all who celebrated, and who now grieve with us,

Tommie Plank

Owner, Covered Treasures Bookstore

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Books that help develop a love of reading

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Put the right book in the hands of a child, and magic happens. With the beginning of school just around the corner, developing a love of reading becomes especially important. Following are suggestions for all ages, from pre-school to teens.

Tea Rex
By Molly Idle (Penguin Putnam) $16.99

When Cordelia invites a very special guest to tea, she feels it’s important to follow the rules—like providing comfortable chairs, good conversation, and yummy food. But that can be a real challenge for special guests when their manners are more Cretaceous than gracious. Introducing Tea Rex, a guest that just about any child would love to have to tea.

123 versus ABC
By Mike Boldt (Harper Collins) $17.99

Numbers and Letters both want to be the stars of this book. And when one alligator, two bears, and three cars (1, 2, 3! A, B, C!) show up, the havoc that ensues is as joyous a romp as a counting book, or an ABC book, has ever been. With vivid illustrations, this fresh and funny picture book plays with numbers and letters in a most imaginative way.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle
By Chris Raschka (Random House) $16.99

This simple picture book gives delightful step-by-step directions for mastering an exciting new skill. With touching illustrations, Raschka includes the falls as well as the successes and encourages children to try again and again to master something they’ll never forget.

The Dark
By Lemony Snicket (Little Brown and Co.) $16.99

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark is not afraid of Laszlo. Lazlo lives in a big house with a creaky roof. The dark lives in the basement. One night, the dark comes upstairs to Laszlo’s room, and Laszlo goes down to the basement. This story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark will resonate with many children, and they will love the clever black illustrations, the flashlight, and Lazlo’s conversations with "the dark."

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
By Chris Grabenstein (Random House) $16.99

Among books for middle readers, Grabenstein offers a thrilling puzzler in his latest laugh-filled tale. When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s most famous game maker has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on the first night, he’s determined to be there. What he doesn’t realize is that getting in is the easy part. Getting out is going to take more than a good roll of the dice, a lucky card, and some smarts.

The Watcher in the Shadows
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Little Brown and Co.) $18

Fourteen-year-old Irene’s family has just moved to the estate of a reclusive toymaker and inventor on the foggy coast of Normandy. Irene is intrigued by the local ghost stories, but when a young girl is murdered, she wonders if there’s more to the stories than the townspeople let on. Thus begins the most terrifying summer of Irene’s life in this thriller with an eerie atmosphere and heart-stopping suspense.

Navigating Early
By Clare Vanderpool (Random House) $16.99

When Jack Baker is suddenly uprooted from his home in Kansas and placed in a boarding school in Maine, he is befriended by Early, a boy who questions the truth about the great Appalachian bear and other legends everyone else accepts. When the two of them set out on a quest for the great black bear, they meet some truly strange characters, several of them dangerous, all lost in some way, and each a part of the pi story Early continues to reveal.

Mister Monday: The Keys to the Kingdom Series
By Garth Nix (Scholastic Inc.) $7.99

In the first book of this spellbinding series for teens, Arthur Penhaligon is thrust into a world of bizarre creatures from another realm. Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to gain the key, which saved Arthur from an early death. Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house in an attempt to unravel the secrets of the key—and discover his true fate.

Monument 14: Sky on Fire
Emmy Laybourne (Feiwel and Friends) $17.99

Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive while working together with 12 other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. When strangers appeared, they destroyed the group’s fragile peace, and brought both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.

Fault in Our Stars
By John Green (Penguin Putnam) $17.99

Sixteen-year-old Hazel more or less accepted her diagnosis of Stage IV terminal thyroid cancer until a chance meeting with a boy at a support group forces her to re-examine her views on love, loss, and life. Green, an author who writes "for youth," rather than "to them," develops authentic characters who are trying to live one day at a time and who will live a long time in the minds of the readers who come to know them.

As end-of-summer boredom sets in, getting kids excited about reading can transport them to another world during a stormy afternoon and give weary parents a respite. Until next month, happy reading.

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

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide by Elizabeth Hacker is taking a hiatus this month.

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Local beekeepers share important buzz on honeybees

By Janet Sellers

On July 25, the Palmer Lake Community Garden group held a special event at Palmer Lake for locals to learn more about local honey and honey bees, and their importance to our community. Beekeepers Rick Squires and Claudia Swensen discussed the basics of bee care while giving a detailed demonstration of how a hive works and how both new and seasoned beekeepers can put together a hive as well as maintain or at least support honeybees throughout the year.

Together the two have over two decades of beekeeping, swarm protection, and management, and they are understandably enthusiastic about protecting and educating others on the importance of the welfare of the honey bee population and the bees’ importance to human quality of life.

The beekeepers said, "It is estimated that about one-third of the human food supply is directly dependant on insect pollination of crops, and most of that is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee." While great numbers of honey bees are transported to orchards and large farming industries, the stress on the bees being transported is tremendous, and that, along with pesticide use by humans, mono-cropping, and lack of flowers, is causing "colony collapse disorder."

Local citizens can help the bee population to thrive by avoiding all pesticides and planning their landscapes with these important creatures in mind. It’s best to plant a wide variety of flowering plants that bloom as long as possible. Some of the plants that support the bees and thrive in our area are, of course, wild native plants, but also Russian sage, alfalfa, borage, clover, and wildflowers.

Janet Sellers can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Art Matters: The citizen artist: making art that is relevant to our lives

By Janet Sellers

In the United States, a model for arts programming in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that was wildly popular and vital to ethnic communities was the idea of the "citizen artist." The movement aimed to support the immigrants in their new country in terms of imaginative capacity to believe in their own potential in their futures, to at least hope for a bright future.

"The settlement arts tradition embraces the notion that the arts are powerful tools that can serve meaningful social purposes, and it assigns great value to engaging communities in making art that reflects and is relevant to their lives. That is the essence of the citizen artist idea."—Nick Rabkin, arts and cultural policy analyst at the Huffington Post.

One such center for the movement was Hull House in Chicago, in 1889. It was established as a social services center, not unlike our own local Tri-Lakes Cares, but it included the arts to help the people keep a connection to their sense of self, in this case their cultural roots and identities, while they moved into a new society and cultural identity.

The concept of an art movement and a social services center that supported the imaginations of the new residents who were poor was not only new, but courageous, since it became a foundation for social reforms. The Hull House was started by Jane Addams and Ellen Starr Gates, and grew to support human rights such as those for labor, women’s rights, public health and education, and immigration issues. It was such a powerful movement that Addams, who was a reformer, was considered by J. Edgar Hoover as "the most dangerous woman in America."

Here in our community, we are lucky have a wide variety of arts venues and artists, artisans and crafters. Our community is home to the summertime monthly Art Hop and the year-round Friday Art Nights as well as special open studio events. In that sense, we have the ability to be exposed to a wide variety of visual art, but it is due to the personal and singular efforts of an artist, his or her studio, or a local gallery or shop.

This creative support by the artists and local merchants is what drives our local art scene, and it is remarkable in that few communities have such venues available year after year on their own dime and not via a public or government entity. Please join me in going out to the upcoming events and fun in art that are so carefully planned and thoughtfully arranged. And yes, by all means, purchase some of the beautiful, original, and fun art that is for sale right here in our town!

August arts events

Monument Art Hop—Over a dozen venues stay open until 8 p.m. Aug. 15. Galleries, restaurants, and boutiques of historic downtown Monument feature art openings, food, and live music. The art quarter is between Second and Third Streets in historic Monument.

Fabulous Friday Art Nights—Aug. 2, 9, 16, 5 to 8 p.m. Local art gallery receptions for featured artists, events, and art shows. First Friday is at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA), 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake; Second Friday is at Bella Art and Frame, 187 Washington St., Third Friday is at Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, corner of Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads, Colorado Springs.

TCLA—Wonders of the West art exhibition celebrates the beauty of the American West. A wide variety of mediums have been welcomed to this show. Exhibition dates are July 30 to Aug. 31, artist reception Aug. 2, 5 to 8 p.m.

Bella Art and Frame—Andy Borden oil paintings. Borden brings many Colorado landscapes to this new show of his work Aug. 1-28, artist reception Aug. 9, 5 to 8 p.m.

Southwinds—Only local artists are the resident artists at this innovative community gallery, and Southwinds artists welcome the community for an evening of art and conviviality.

Heads up for September

Richard Pankratz retrospective Sept. 3-28, TCLA, artist reception Friday, Sept 6. In his artist statement for the show, he says, "As an artist, I never feel that a work is completely finished until it causes a connection with another person...."

Whimsy County Frog Festival and Show of Classic Conveyances—Sept. 6, 1 to 6 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Brewery, 1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive. Frog on a Limb Primitives, of Monument, and the brewery are holding the event as a fundraiser to benefit the many neighbors, artisans, and customers affected by the Black Forest Fire, with artisans’ demonstrations, crafts, a vintage/historic vehicle car show, hayrides, music by the J. Miller Band, and other local music artists. Guests can enjoy food, beer, games, raffles, and prizes.

Janet Sellers is an American artist, art teacher, and writer. She paints every day, makes public art sculptures for Colorado cities, and teaches art locally. 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 23. Below is the text of some short articles and captions that appeared within the Snapshots section:

Barn Dance opens July 4 festivities

By David Futey

On the evening of July 3, Si and Dorothy Sibell opened the Tri-Lakes-area Fourth of July festivities with their annual Barn Dance. Food, music by Reckless, and a silent auction were all part of this community gathering. The dance acts as a fundraiser, with this year’s proceeds going to Wounded Warriors, American Legion Post 9-11, and Monument resident Adam Mittelstadt. Mittelstadt was wounded in Afghanistan as the vehicle he was riding in was hit and flipped by an explosive, killing his team members. From this attack, he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and requires a service dog. However, the cost to acquire and train a service dog is $5,000 to $10,000. Mittelstadt has been working with a German shepherd named Heidi and hopes to secure her for his own once the necessary funds are raised.

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

Photos from the Independence Day parage in Monument (clockwise from upper left): Air Force Academy Band, Pikes Peak Library District,YMCA, Monument Academy cheerleaders, Pike Interagency Hotshot Crew, Palmer Ridge High School Cheer Team, Lewis-Palmer Poms and Dance Team, El Paso County Fair Queen Molly Engelman of Falcon, and Grand Marshal Sheriff Terry Maketa. Photos by David Futey.

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Fun Run preceded annual parade

On July 4, more than 500 runners participated in the 32nd Annual Fun Run. Proceeds from the 4-mile run benefit Palmer Lake Elementary School. Race Director Lindsey Leiker said the funds go toward teacher wish lists, library needs, and field trips. Race results for the age groups can be found at www.july4funrun.com/Results-2013.aspx. Photo by David Futey. Parade photos on this page by Bernard Minetti.

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Black Rose Acoustic Society Concert, July 12

Above: The Black Forest Community Center rumbled with patrons’ foot-stomping approval at the Black Rose Acoustic Society concert July 12.The rustic walls quivered with the force of their enthusiasm. The performance featured the Ruined Nation Boys pictured above from left, Justin Hoffenberg, Dave Richey, Jordan Ramsey, Evan Neal, and Keith Reed. The Colorado-based band carpooled here in Neal’s "veggie bus," fueled by vegetable oil from restaurants. The Ruined Nation Boys are an old-timey, traditional bluegrass affair, their music rollicking and playful. The Black Rose puts on shows at the Community Center on the second and fourth Friday of each month. Information about the Ruined Nation Boys can be found at www.davericheymusic.com, and about the Black Rose at www.blackroseacoustic.org. Photo by Kate Wetterer.

Above: Hannah Gingrich, one of the performers at the Black Rose Society’s July 12 concert, is Colorado-bred, and spent much of her childhood around the Black Forest area. She and her family attended Black Rose performances when she was young, so she said it was a big deal to sing and play there. She sang a handful of her original pieces, including one called Home By the Mountains. She also performed Our House by Crosby, Stills and Nash. There is more information on Gingrich at www.facebook.com/hannahgingrichmusic. The Black Rose Acoustic Society has been organizing performances in Black Forest for 19 years. The society will throw a benefit on Aug. 24 to lend a hand after the fires. All the proceeds will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with nonstop music and children’s activities. Photo by Kate Wetterer.

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Honor Flight trip reprised, July 15

By Lisa Hatfield

On July 15, three World War II veterans spoke about their trips to Washington, D.C., on the Honor Flight of Southern Colorado.

Howard Pease, was a Navy electrician’s mate 3rd Class in the war.

Robert Zecha was a staff sergeant in the Army Air Corps. He said, "(The Honor Flight) is the greatest experience I’ve ever had.… It makes me think about that damned old B-17 I used to ride in."

Navy Wave Sunny Evans had initially requested to be a policeman during the war, but she had to stay stateside because of her gender. "(The trip to Washington, D.C.) made us feel like kids again!" she said. "I’m an American. What a privilege it is to be an American."

Lyall Russell, pictured at the right, learned, along with other audience members, that the Southern Colorado Chapter of the Honor Flight has taken about 43 WWII veterans to Washington, D.C., in its three flights so far, and with more donations, it will be able to escort more of the 23,000 WWII veterans from "The Greatest Generation" in Southern Colorado on their own three-day trip to see the National World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and other significant memorials and museums to honor their service to our country.

The next Honor Flight will be Sept. 13-15. Lana Fore-Warkocz, vice president of Honor Flight of Southern Colorado, said "I will go door-to-door for donations if I have to," to get more veterans on these flights before it’s too late, she said.

To make a donation or to find out more about how to help Honor Flight of Southern Colorado, see www.honorflightsoco.org or call Fore-Warkocz at (719) 287-8890. Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Art Hop, July 18

Above: Bud Ford plays Appalachian dulcimer music during the Art Hop at the Frog on a Limb shop. Owners Jessica and Mike Humphreys offer a large number of Appalachian goods, so they asked Ford to play traditional dulcimer music at every Art Hop. Ford co-owns the Dulcimer Shop in Manitou Springs and plays this traditional music throughout the region at a variety of events. Art Hop is held from 5 to 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month through September. The next one will be Aug. 15. For more information see http://monumentmerchants.com/events.htm. Photo by Janet Sellers.

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Firewise presentation, July 20

Above: From left, Kathy Fox, Barbara Bates, and Steve Moorhead prepare to deliver handouts and make presentations July 20 at the Monument Library regarding Firewise landscaping techniques, while behind them in the community room, Chella Dimanza gives her slide presentation on fire mitigation and landscaping.See the Personal Wildfire Action Plan Bulletin at www.woodmoor.org/pdf-files/forestry/WIA-ActionPlanBooklet_PROOF4.pdf for ideas about home hardening, defensible space, and evacuation planning. Photo by Janet Sellers.

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High impact at brick-breaking fundraiser, July 26

By Janet Sellers

Black belt Tanner VanBebber, an instructor at Freedom School of Martial Arts in Monument, held an extreme sporting performance event called extreme brick-breaking on July 26 at the school arena before a packed crowd. Such performances entertain audiences but also raise money for charity. VanBebber challenged local businesses and individuals to pledge a small donation per brick broken, up to the full attempted number of 100 bricks. He succeeded in breaking 99 bricks in about 18 seconds. The school will donate all of the $1,000-plus raised from this event to a special fund for Black Forest Fire victims through the Tri-Lakes Cares community resource center. Janet Sellers can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me.

Above: Tanner VanBebber takes on the state martial arts record for fastest brick-breaking, an extreme sport in marital arts, on July 26 at Freedom School of Martial Arts in Monument. Photo by Ethan Ahlstrom.

Above: Kurt Frankenberg, left, owner of Freedom School of Martial Arts, and Carrie Pendergrast of Tri-Lakes Cares, center, congratulate Black belt Tanner VanBebber on July 26 after his extreme brick-breaking fundraiser event held at the Freedom School of Martial Arts in Monument. Photo by Janet Sellers.

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July and August library events: Party celebrates summer reading program

By Harriet Halbig

The finale of the summer reading program was the gala party on July 30 on the Palmer Lake Village Green. Thanks to the generosity of the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library, children enjoyed an inflatable obstacle course, songs and stories from Beth Epley, face painting, and many other activities and games. Special treats were the yummy ice cream sandwiches donated by Schwan’s.

By late July, there were 1,558 children, 669 teens, and 138 babies enrolled in the summer reading program at the Monument Library and 139 children, 69 teens, and 25 babies enrolled at Palmer Lake.

We send a final warm thank you to the many loyal teen volunteers who helped us throughout the summer during library hours and during the party.

With August comes a return to our regular schedule of activities.

Children’s programs

Tuesday story times for children ages 3 and up will be at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m.

Toddler Time is on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10 a.m. This is a time for 1- and 2-year-old children and their favorite adult, focusing on nursery rhymes, music, and movement.

Thursday afternoon stories and crafts and Friday’s 7-up programs ended with the summer reading program.

Legos Club is a fun time for all ages on the third Saturday of each month. In August, the program is on the 17th from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Legos are provided—just bring your creativity.

Teen programs

Back by popular demand is the Henna Tattoo workshop on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. Learn about the ancient art of henna and get your own temporary henna tattoo. Registration is required, as is a permission slip.

Adult programs

Bring your iPad and learn basic functions including startup, apps, email, and using your iPad as an e-reader. The iPad Basics Workshop will be taught by Les Molina from Victory Solutions. Register online or at the desk. The program will be on Aug. 3 from 10 to 11 a.m.

In response to many requests, we have scheduled a henna tattoo workshop for adults on Aug. 10 from 9:30 to11:30 a.m. Get your own lovely henna tattoo and learn about the ancient art of henna. Registration is required at 488-2370.

The AARP Mature Safe Driving Program will be offered on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a refresher course designed for motorists age 50 and older. Participants may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agents for a discount. Charge for the four-hour course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Class size is limited and registration is required. To register, call AARP at 203-4972.

The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, Aug. 16, from 10 until noon to discuss Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.

Art by Tri-Lakes artists will be displayed on the walls during August. In the display case will be American Girl dolls and accessories.

Palmer Lake Library events

The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of every month. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.

The Family Fun program for August is the Ice Cream Social on Aug. 3 at 1:30 on the Village Green. Entertainment will be provided by the CountyLine Ramblers bluegrass group.

Story Time for children 3 and older is on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Toddler Time for 1- and 2-year-olds is on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. except for Aug. 16. This program gives an introduction to rhyme, rhythm, and a few special stories.

On the walls is a delightful selection of photographs by Laurisa: Risa’s Rabbits.

Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of Labor Day.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, July 18: Museum a treasure of mining history

By Bernard L. Minetti

Western Museum of Mining and Industry Director Richard Sauers discussed the history, activities, and educational function of the museum at the July 18 Palmer Lake Historical Society presentation. He noted that the building in which it is housed, located at 225 Northgate Blvd. in Colorado Springs, opened in 1982. The museum was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in 1970. Its purpose is to preserve and to provide understanding of the mining history of Colorado and the American West.

During the 31 years that it has been open to the public, the museum has presented many mining-related programs. The three primary sections of the site are the Mine Reclamation Exhibit, the Reynolds Ranch House, and the Stamp Mill. Two burros that live on the grounds represent the animals used to pull the mine ore cars.

The Mine Reclamation Exhibit was designed to provide an understanding of the process utilized by the mining companies to restore the land to productive use after mining it. Sauers noted that environmental science is integral to the reclamation of the mine sites.

The Reynolds Ranch House is the last of the once-thriving community of Husted. The museum intends to restore the home as an 1894 Queen Anne farmhouse.

Sauers said that the Stamp Mill is a set of machinery that provides for ore extraction and was typical of the equipment in use in the 1890s to 1920s. It is still in operation today and is frequently demonstrated for those who come to the museum.

He said the museum building contains many items utilized in the mining industry such as stampers, trams, steam shovels, and panning equipment. There are jaw crushers, amalgamating tables, and other machinery typical of what was used in the Western mills in that era. Their functions and uses are described in detail for visitors.

Sauers also noted that the museum had accumulated much equipment peculiar to the mining industry of those times and was willing to consider disposing of it to other museums or agencies with similar aims. He also briefly discussed the effect of the future Powers Boulevard and I-25 intersection on the museum property and stated that it would have a great impact on the site.

The museum, he continued, is open to all and is especially equipped to provide tours for schoolchildren. It has accommodated classes from the Tri-Lakes area and Denver and has drawn many tourists. He issued an invitation for interested persons and groups to visit the museum.

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The August meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society will feature a free presentation titled "Pikes Peak as Seen in Early Postcards." Mel McFarland will be the presenter. The society invites the public to hear this noted speaker at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake.

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
August Menu

Aug. 7: Turkey, stuffing & salad.
Aug. 14:
Meat loaf, baked potato casserole, and salad.
Aug. 21:
Bratwurst, potato salad, and pickle.
Aug. 28:
Lemon chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and salad.

Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.

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

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Craft Fair Vendors Wanted

The fair is scheduled for Oct. 19-20 at Palmer Ridge High School, Monument. Reserve a 10-by-10 booth for $80. For more information, call 487-7351.

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Tax credit available for wildfire mitigation work

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

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Black Forest Slash and Mulch Site reopens

Tree and brush trimmings accepted, including charred materials

The Black Forest Slash/Mulch site has reopened and resumed normal business hours: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The site is on the east side of Herring Road just south of Shoup Road. Items accepted include tree and bush trimmings (can be charred), pinecones and needles. No stumps, roots, weeds, grass, sod, lumber, trash, etc. Size limitations on tree branches are 6 feet long, 8 inches in diameter. Loads must be securely tied in transit. Free mulch is available for self-loading during normal business hours; for large quantities of mulch, an end loader is available only on Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., charging $5 for two cubic yards. This free program accepts cash donations for the Black Forest Slash and Mulch Committee and food items and checks for Care & Share. For more information, visit bfslash.org or call Ruth Ann Steele at 495-3107, Carolyn Brown, 495-3127, Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024, or the county Environmental Division, 520-7878.

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Free help line for fire victims

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

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Black Forest Trail and Wildlife Habitat Restoration,

The recent Black Forest fire burned 14,000 acres, destroyed 486 homes, and caused $85 million in damages. Black Forest Regional Park was not spared from the destruction and post-fire rains have washed away significant amounts of sediment, sending it downhill towards the athletic fields, playground, and other structures. Volunteers will have the opportunity to help slow water and erosion flows by installing log erosion barriers which will protect the park’s assets downhill of the burn site. The event is Sat., Aug. 10, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Black Forest Regional Park, four miles east of I-25 on Shoup Road. Join Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado as they install log erosion barriers and more. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to all registered volunteers at each event. Free to participate; no experience necessary; minimum age: 10. Info & registration: www.voc.org/volunteer or call 303-715-1010.

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Walking tours with local historian/filmmaker Jim Sawatzki

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

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Gardeners needed 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.

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CDOT front range high-speed rail study in progress

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Division of Transit & Rail hosted an open house at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments May 29 as part of an Interregional Connectivity Study. The study, scheduled to be completed by September, is examining technology, alignment, and funding options for implementing high-speed rail along the Front Range. The study extends from Fort Collins to Pueblo and builds off of past feasibility and technical studies related to high-speed rail options. CDOT has established a website with more detailed information about the study. Residents with ideas and questions should see www.coloradodot.info/projects/ICS or contact Bob Wilson (303) 757-9431.

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Newspaper seeks volunteers

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

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Lupus support group forming

If you are interested in joining a lupus support group in the Monument area, please email Diane Bandle, dmbandle@hotmail.com.

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Multiple sclerosis support group

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

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Colorado Master Gardener Help Desk Summer Hours

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

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Reverse 911

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

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Get volunteer help for your nonprofit

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

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Attention Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions

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

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Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; National Mah-jongg, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m. Also available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For more information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.

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Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free

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

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