Special Events and Notices
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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Aug. 22:
Board examines funding, enrollment, and ballot measure
By Harriet Halbig
The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District
examined its financial state and plans for the future at its Aug. 22 meeting.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman requested that $1.4
million in capital reserve funds be carried over into the 2013-14 school year.
Of this amount, $400,000 is a matching grant to replace the roof at Lewis-Palmer
High School and $600,000 is insurance funding for the roofs at Kilmer Elementary
and Lewis-Palmer Elementary School.
Additional projects that have been completed or are under way
are correction of water seepage in the Lewis-Palmer Middle School gym, a new gym
floor at Palmer Lake Elementary School, and various smaller projects.
Wangeman explained that in the past few years, the carryover
amount has been in the $100,000 to $300,000 range and pointed out that the
difference results from grants received and insurance checks. She also said
that, before the economic downturn, annual expenditures on infrastructure and
buses was about $2.4 million.
The board approved the carryover of funds.
District financial process explained
Wangeman said that state auditors were visiting the district to
examine finances, record keeping, and various other aspects of the district.
District finances are overseen by several external groups,
including a CPA firm, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the state
auditor’s office. The audit committee also includes two members of the Board of
There is an individual responsible for each facility within the
district, Wangeman said Bus drivers and mechanics must be licensed. Each
facility is inspected daily for safety issues.
The district has consistently received the highest scores for
Wangeman said that the balance in the district’s general fund is
now $11.06 million, about 26 percent of its operating budget. This percentage is
about average among districts of the same size in the state.
An auditor said, however, that this amount may need to be
re-examined in the event that school districts are required to take on more
liability as a result of a shortfall in the state Public Employee Retirement
Association. The district should learn early next year whether the fund balance
needs to be reviewed.
Wangeman said that the district’s budget and all audits are
Mill levy override effort detailed
Superintendent John Borman said that the board voted in an
earlier meeting to place a mill levy override (MLO) on the November ballot.
Borman’s secretary, Vicki Wood, has been designated as the district’s
representative to work with the county commissioners and the Clerk and
Recorder’s Office to ensure that the measure appears on the ballot.
Borman emphasized that the district’s budget is now over $11
million less than it was five years ago, and much of the decrease is a result of
cutting support services for students who struggle in various areas, such as
reading and math. Cuts in faculty have resulted in increased class sizes, and
the district has held back on spending on infrastructure and technology in an
effort to support classroom activities. Fees have been raised in an effort to
provide funding. The number of at-risk students in the district is growing and
the population in general is on the increase.
Borman said that the district still excels in many ways. It is
accredited with distinction, has five John Irwin Schools of Excellence, is on
the Advanced Placement Honor Roll for increasing AP offerings and the number of
students who participate, has high ACT scores and little need for remediation
for its graduates as they enter college. Lewis-Palmer also boasts award-winning
music programs and athletic programs.
However, there has been a slight downturn in test scores over
the past few years, attributable to a lack of support for students who are
struggling in their studies. Class sizes are increasing, resulting in less
individual attention. The at-risk population is rising and there have been cuts
in gifted/talented education programs as well. The result is a decline in
opportunities for students as they enter college and the workforce.
Borman said that, following the announcement of the MLO,
individuals have asked him to break down the use of the $4.5 million in funds
that would result from its passage. He explained as follows:
• $1.3 million would be used to fund 22 teaching positions
to create a solid educational foundation and help in reduction of class
• $900,000 would be used to restore the safety net of
support services for students who are having difficulty, librarians,
technology teachers, and summer school teachers and to restore gifted and
• $1 million would be used to recruit and retain the best
• $130,000 would be used to fund the safety and security of
• $450,000 would be used to restore technical support and
• $720,000 would be used by Monument Academy, based on the
proportion of its student population in the district, to provide equal
funding for all students.
None of the funds will be used on administrative staff.
A citizen oversight committee will review and report on the
progress of the campaign.
Borman reported that enrollment in the district appears to
exceed the forecast number by 50 students. Unlike previous years, the growth in
enrollment is across the spectrum from kindergarten to high school. As a result
of the enrolment increase, a number of sections have been added at various
Borman said that the district will most likely not need to build
a new elementary school for several years. Although Jackson Creek is still the
fastest-growing area, there are also new families moving near Monument Academy
and the middle school.
Hall of Fame special event
Borman reported that he and Board President Jeff Ferguson have
discussed the idea of honoring the history of the district by creating a
Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame to recognize individuals who have contributed to the
district’s present levels of achievement.
An event is planned for late September to recognize the first
group of inductees.
Thereafter a committee will be formed to receive nominations for
Other information items
Katy Dubois of the Nutritional Services Department explained the
nutritional requirements for school breakfasts in the coming year. Each meal
will consist of four components, including milk, fruit and two grains or a grain
and a protein. Flavored milk must be skim and plain milk may be 1 percent fat.
Examples of the formula include a breakfast burrito with the
tortilla as the grain and beans or meat as the protein, or a muffin serving as
As in the past, students may purchase additional food at
Dubois said that it is very challenging to stay within federal
guidelines for sodium and other requirements while serving what the students
A new software system allows parents to put money in a student’s
account and allows parents to monitor the student’s purchases.
District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) Chair Chris
Amenson spoke briefly to the board, confirming the committee’s functions in the
coming year to include monitoring progress by the schools in administering their
Unified Improvement Plans.
Amenson said that, due to reduced funds from CDE, increasing
fees, and reduction in support staff, there has been a drop in scores on
standardized tests. He is concerned that the district might not be able to
retain its standing unless these scores can be improved.
Amenson said that DAAC will meet with principals and Building
Accountability Committee chairs to monitor progress. Instead of reviewing scores
once a year, they will be revisited more often.
Amenson also offered the help of DAAC to host a candidate debate
in the event that several individuals choose to run for the vacancies on the
Board of Education.
Stan Walsh of Boulder energy firm Sundolier reported that he and
Wangeman have discussed the possibility of purchasing natural gas from a firm
other than Black Hills Energy. They solicited proposals from five firms and at
this point favor Tiger Gas in Oklahoma, which could save the district up to
$35,000 per year. In the first year there would be an upfront cost of about
$11,000 to set up meters and other monitoring equipment and software.
The district will be obligated to purchase a certain amount of
gas per year, but the requirement can be adjusted on a monthly basis to reflect
The board approved a number of routine items such as contracts,
minutes of previous meetings, lists of substitute teachers, and the monthly
The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District meets
at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center,
146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Sept.19.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board, Aug. 20:
Outdated county fire codes discussed
By Lisa Hatfield
On Aug. 20, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board
discussed the possibility of stronger county fire code recommendations and
learned more about its options to consolidate with Black Forest Fire Rescue
Protection District. The board also approved the wording of a ballot question
for the Nov. 5 election to raise Wescott’s mill levy from 7 mills to 11 mills.
This 4-mill increase would raise an additional $982,567 in 2014.
The second of Wescott’s two semiannual pension board meetings
was held before the regular monthly Wescott board meeting. Lt. Bryan Ackerman,
one of two volunteer firefighters who serve as directors on the pension board,
was present for both meetings. The absence of volunteer firefighter Lt. Tim
Hampton for the pension board meeting was excused.
The absence of Chairman Scott Campbell from both meetings was
excused. Wescott board Secretary Greg Gent chaired both meetings. Director
Harland Baker was absent.
County fire code recommendations discussed
Fire Marshal Margo Humes said that El Paso County is still using
the 2003 county fire codes, but "I don’t think the Board of County Commissioners
(BOCC) has seen the light," even though it asked for input on this topic again
now that homes are being rebuilt after the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires.
After the board meeting, she said, "Counties all over the country are adopting
the 2012 fire codes, and here we are stuck" with weaker codes that don’t account
for new knowledge about home "hardening" and sprinkler systems.
This year, the North Group, including the contiguous fire
districts of Falcon, Cimarron Hills, Wescott, Black Forest, Tri-Lakes Monument,
Air Force Academy, Palmer Lake, and Larkspur, will submit their suggestions to
the BOCC as a group. Burns said the staff needs to have its recommendations
approved by the Wescott board soon.
Note: In 2012, the BOCC considered this topic but did
not approve any new county code recommendations from the various county fire
districts. On March 27, 2012, the BOCC approved a resolution for an elimination
of all automatic sprinkler system requirements, which was requested by the
Housing and Building Association and the Regional Building Department. "The
Housing and Building Association was a big adversary to the cause and got
commissioners on their side to say no," Humes said. She added later, "Even the
national organization of HBA endorses residential sprinklers, but the local HBA
The biggest change to the current recommendations from the 2012
recommendations to the BOCC has to do with water available to fight structure
fires. Instead of requiring a sprinkler system for a new home that is 6,000
square feet or larger, the recommendations will now likely say that all new
homes need to meet a certain fire-flow requirement inside the home that depends
on the size of the home. This change would allow residents to include not only
indoor sprinkler systems but cisterns, tie-ins to hydrants (where available),
and ponds to meet the fire-flow requirement.
Some of the other comments Humes made were:
• An uncontrolled house fire can spread into a catastrophic
• Inside sprinklers can stop structure fires from spreading
outside the home.
• The BOCC has shot us down on upgrading the fire codes so
many times.… But none of them are fire experts.
• Insurance companies are making insurance coverage
decisions "based on your ZIP code."
• She has done many homeowners association presentations
about fire mitigation and countless homeowner lot evaluations.
• A lot of the people have dug in their heels for many
years, saying, "That’s why I moved to the forest; I love the trees." They
don’t understand what a healthy forest is.
• Property values have dropped 30 percent and more in Black
Forest since the fire.
• Any building materials that are "fire rated," which likely
will include some wood products, will be allowed in the codes the North
Group plans to recommend.
Some of the comments Burns made were:
• The lessons learned about home hardening and fuels
mitigation from the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon Fires need to be included
in new home building code requirements.
• Residents who rebuild similar-size homes wouldn’t have to
meet the new requirements, but if a home is being doubled or tripled in
size, it will have to meet higher fire-flow requirements by including
sprinklers, cisterns, or ponds.
• Firefighters can only deliver 500 gallons of water a
minute in a wildland area where there are no fire hydrants.
• We don’t want big differences between Wescott, Black
Forest, Tri-Lakes Monument, and Falcon on fire codes. That would be a
Some of the statements Gent made disagreed with the recommended
code revisions others had discussed:
• Limiting what kinds of materials could be used to build
new homes will make homes all look the same.
• I would rather give people information and let them make a
choice rather than to "tell people what to do" when they are rebuilding a
Some of Ridings’ comments were:
• It’s important to have building codes reflect current fire
safety information so that residents building new homes have enough
guidelines to make informed decisions.
• Studies done over the last 20 years show which materials
survived fires best.
• There are ways to have a tree next to your house without
your house burning down.
The Wescott board will vote on these new recommendations for the
BOCC at a future meeting.
Mill levy ballot issue language approved
The board unanimously approved Election Resolution 2013-003,
which included the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) wording and the wording of
the mill levy ballot question for the Nov. 5 election.
The approved ballot language states in part: "Shall taxes be
increased by $982,567.46 annually or by such an amount as may be raised by the
imposition of a mill levy increase of 4 mills (for a total mill levy of 11
mills) upon taxable property in the district, commencing with the tax collection
year 2014 … with such proceeds to be used for general operations, which may
include, but are not limited to: funding the general fund of the district,
defraying operating expenses and/or other lawful purposes."
Designated Election Official and Administrative Assistant Cheryl
Marshall said, "There is a price tag for the election: $20,000 is our portion"
for inclusion by the county in the coordinated election mail-in ballot. Costs
are evenly divided among all entities with issues on the ballot.
Black Forest Merger Committee report
Treasurer Joyce Hartung and Director Bo McAllister reported
briefly on the second Black Forest Merger Committee meeting they had attended.
They noted that these meetings are still in the exploratory phase. They asked
the staff about current merger issues.
Wescott’s merger with Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection
District is being considered to determine if both districts can make more
efficient use of their resources through combined operations. The currently
available options for combining operations are:
• Fire authority—the least binding commitment possible
between the two districts because "It can be undone," Burns said. Its
creation does not require a vote of the citizens, and the funds of both
districts would remain separate. Both districts would retain their boards. A
separate/third authority board would also be created and hold its own
• Inclusion—the district with the lower mill levy is
absorbed into the other district. No public vote is required.
• Merger (also known as operational consolidation)—would
require a vote of the public to approve the merger, a uniform certified mill
levy, and a new board to replace the two existing boards. "Hopefully the
voters will not vote to merge the districts (and) vote not to fund it, as
happened in Durango," Burns said.
Some of the questions Hartung and McAllister asked the staff
• Will the boards or the chiefs make the decisions and run
• How many boards will there be for each option?
• How much money will the chiefs and firefighters get?
• Who decides what color the uniforms will be?
• Who selects the chief?
Burns said, "We are nowhere close" to answering some of these
questions. At a meeting with Black Forest Fire Rescue Chief Bob Harvey on Aug.
19, Burns told him, "a January 1 deadline is 100 percent unrealistic" for making
a decision on the next step, but next June or July would be a reasonable target
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings suggested forming working groups
about the fire codes as well as the various merger questions.
Ridings said that a natural vegetation fire at the corner of
Stagecoach and Rollercoaster Roads is still under investigation by Humes,
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Marshal John Vincent, and Sheriff’s Office Fire
Investigator Rich Heaverlo. It had similar characteristics to fires set in Fox
Run Park in July.
Ridings presented the July run report. Calls decreased 6
percent, from 197 in July 2012 to 186 this July.
Ridings received permission from the board to get price quotes
on a new vehicle, possibly a mid-size pickup truck in the $35,000 to $45,000
range, to replace the chief’s current vehicle. After a purchase, the older
vehicle would be handed down to Humes as a utility vehicle.
Green Belt Turf farms donated dirt, sod, and sprinklers at
Station 2 to say thank you to Wescott firefighters for their help on the Black
Forest Fire, Ridings said.
Fire marshal helps with local wildfire education video
Humes announced that she, Falcon Fire Protection District
Marshal Vernon Champlin, Larkspur Fire Protection District Marshal Randy
Johnson, the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District, and Pikes Peak
Wildfire Prevention Partners are collaborating on a professionally produced
video demonstrating the need for increased wildfire efforts and mitigation
The video, which will be shot using local landmarks, roads,
homeowners, and firefighters, will explain not only how to do mitigation but why
it needs to be done. They are still searching for funding so that the video can
be viewed by the most people.
Marshall said that bank balances as of July 31 totaled $1.8
million: People’s National Bank $59,000, Colorado Peak Fund $179,000, ColoTrust
Fund $439,000, and Wells Fargo Public Trust $1.1 million.
The district expended 63 percent of annual budget as of July 31,
but at this point in the year it should have spent 58 percent, so expenditures
are "a little ahead," she said.
Ridings and Marshall mentioned these recent expenses:
• Information Technology costs such as iPads and apps for
the officers and upgrades to preplanning, GIS, and incident management
capabilities "really helped during the Black Forest Fire."
• A sinkhole in the front pad of Station 1 will cost about
$4,500 to repair.
• Sealing the driveway will cost $2,500 more.
• The air conditioning unit on the roof of Station 1 failed
and will cost $1,500.
The board consensus was to pay for the repairs out of the
regular budget and reconcile expenses at the end of the year.
Pension board meeting
As decided by the board in December 2012, the second pension
board meeting was being held in August instead of October to allow time for
earlier pension budget adjustments to the district overall budget, which funds
the pension budget. No changes were made at this meeting, however, since the
actuarial study is not due until October/November, said Ackerman. The results of
the previous actuarial study said the plan was solvent, based on projections for
the next three to five years, he said. The results of the mill levy ballot issue
might also affect the decisions the board will make later this year.
Ackerman and the board discussed three options for the Fire and
Police Pension Association volunteer pension fund:
• No increase in district contribution to the pension fund.
• Increase district contributions enough to take advantage
of state matching funds to pay for potential increases in payouts if all
three new eligible volunteers start drawing pensions.
• Make a larger increase in district contributions to
pension fund beneficiaries.
Chief Vinny Burns asked Hampton to investigate a fourth option:
Find out what Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District pays into its pension
fund for each volunteer and try to get Wescott’s to more closely match this in
anticipation of some form of merger.
If any adjustments are needed and done at a regular board
meeting, both Ackerman and Hampton would need to be there for full volunteer
firefighter representation during Wescott board discussions.
Ackerman reported on the financial statement for the volunteer
pension fund at the end of the second quarter. The pension fund is "still ahead,
although paying out more." At the beginning of the first quarter, the fund
balance was $985,000. At the end of the second quarter, the balance was $911,000
after accounting for both payouts and investments.
Ackerman said 12 retired volunteers are currently drawing from
the pension fund. One more volunteer is eligible to request pension retirement
payments this year but has not yet applied, and there are two potential
volunteers who would be eligible to apply for payments in 2014.
The pension board meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m. The regular
meeting began at 7:22 p.m. and adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Station 1,
15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the
month. The public is always welcome. Information: 488-8680.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board, Aug. 28:
Tax revenue continues to rise more than expected
By Bernard Minetti
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Treasurer John
Hildebrandt told the board Aug. 28 that the district’s share of the Specific
Ownership Tax revenue increased another 5 percent in July, to $183,634. He added
that these taxes were ahead of budget expectations for the year by 28.86
percent. The Specific Ownership Tax refers mainly to auto registrations. The
district’s revenue from this source now stands at 73.75 percent of the annual
Hildebrandt also noted that county property tax evaluations are
forecast to drop by about $800,000 next year. This, he stated, will cause
district revenue from this source to be adjusted proportionately. Through July,
the district received $3.9 million or 96.74 percent of the annual budgeted
amount of property tax revenue.
Ambulance revenues amounted to $485,000 or 2 percent less than
the budgeted amount.
He added that administrative expenses were high and will
normalize as the year progresses, with the exception of General Expense and
Public Relations, which together were 300 percent over budget. The fuel expense
was at 95.53 percent of budget when it should be not more than 58.33 percent at
this point in the calendar year.
District Fire Chief Chris Truty presented a "Brainstorming Idea
List," which listed the various ideas that were either being worked on or in the
process of completion. There were 80 items on the list, which ranged from the
"Palmer Lake Relationship" to "Conference Room Chairs." Of the 80 items, 36 have
"actions already taken for implementation." His memo also asked for additional
items to be submitted.
In another memo, Truty said his staff had voted to remove a
tender (water tanker) from active service. It was considered obsolete and had no
useful purpose in the district’s operational needs, nor was there staff
available to assign to it. Director Roger Lance questioned the need for this
item to be brought to the board as long as the equipment was not being disposed
of. The directors and Truty agreed that the equipment would be taken out of
service and held in reserve.
Truty noted that the district had received many requests for
assistance with fire mitigation inspections from Black Forest-area homeowners.
The requests were refused because the properties were not on the district’s fire
protection tax rolls. Since these requests have been submitted, Black Forest
Fire Rescue and the district have pursued formal actions to provide inclusion of
these properties into the district for fire protection services. There is an
informal agreement with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to provide first
responder services to cover these properties.
In his Fire Chief’s Report, Truty advised that the information
technology (IT) "connection problems" with the Internet and data transmissions
were still difficult at best. Truty stated, "From a technical perspective, all
the resources for the station, or for the district, are out at Station 2, on
Roller Coaster Road. The existing infrastructure for moving corporate or
commercial data back and forth is now out there. The reason it was moved out
there was primarily for cost purposes. There are residential connections to this
station where we should be having commercially established connectivity to that
and that was not cost effective."
He said he was "pushing" IT consultant Alerio Technologies for a
plan for a more effective infrastructure. Director Lance stated that the
district should get bids from other companies in order to get communications
"where they should be, and we’re paying Alerio to provide this service and it’s
not being provided…." Lance added that "it should be incumbent" on Alerio to
make a suggestion or proposal on how to improve service. In an answer to a
question from Lance, Truty stated that he did not know of any documentation from
Alerio that indicated previous recommendations had been refused due to cost
In discussing the health insurance situation for district
employees, Truty said that IMI, which is the health insurance consultant for the
district, is in continuous contact with the Internal Revenue Service. He said
that with the onset of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, costs
would have to be adjusted. The district was still waiting for actionable
information from IMI.
Station 1 drainage
During a tour of Fire Station 1, which was part of the meeting,
Truty said that the ramp leading up to the firehouse was inclined so that during
a rainstorm, water from Highway 105 flows toward the firehouse. He showed the
directors the small drains at the entrance to the building, which were
insufficient to handle intense rainfall. It was also noted that the asphalted
area on the west side of the building was not on district property. He also
added that the asphalted area in the rear of the building, which bordered the
property line, was so small that equipment could not use it to enter the
building from the rear.
Inside the building, Truty showed the directors that the
insulation on the ceiling was deteriorating and required replacement. He also
advised them that the two office spaces had to be utilized as bedrooms.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept.
25, at Fire Station 2 on Roller Coaster Road. Directors and others will take a
tour of the station. For further information regarding this meeting, contact
Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at
Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, Aug. 13:
TABOR waiver elections necessary for nutrient grants
By Jim Kendrick
On Aug. 13, Facility Manager Bill Burks advised the Tri-Lakes
Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) that the facility had
received a state planning grant for $80,000 to help pay for a study by the
facility’s engineering firm, Tetra Tech, to plan the design and construction of
new Tri-Lakes nutrient treatment equipment.
The equipment would provide enhanced removal of total phosphorus
from the facility’s effluent to comply with the new state nutrient Control
Regulation 85.The Tri-Lakes facility already meets the new total inorganic
nitrogen limits in Control Regulation 85.
This planning grant requires a $16,000 match from the three
districts that own the facility. Tetra Tech has suspended the long-range capital
improvement study it was conducting for all aspects of the Tri-Lakes facility to
focus on this nutrient equipment planning study.
Burks also informed the JUC that the Tri-Lakes facility would
receive a $1 million grant to help pay for design and construction of this new
state-mandated nutrient treatment equipment. No match is required for this $1
million grant. This award of $1.08 million provides a total of $360,000 to each
of the three wastewater special districts that own the Tri-Lakes facility. Both
state grants are good for three years. Neither grant requires any reimbursement
to the state.
These two grants were announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper on
July 19. For more information, see www.ocn.me/v13n8.htm#grant.
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.
Monument Sanitation District has scheduled an election on Nov. 5
seeking approval from voters to be able to accept its entire $360,000 share of
the state nutrient grant award. Monument’s annual TABOR limit for state grants
for its enterprise fund is about $50,000. Palmer Lake Sanitation District has
not taken any steps at this time to be able to accept its entire $360,000 share
of the state nutrient grant award. Palmer Lake’s annual TABOR limit for state
grants for its enterprise fund is also about $50,000.
Woodmoor’s TABOR limit for its enterprise fund is $600,000, and
no action is required for Woodmoor to be able to accept its entire $360,000
share of the state nutrient award.
Whitelaw resigns from Woodmoor board
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.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Director and alternate
JUC representative Jim Taylor noted that Whitelaw had just moved out of the
district and had resigned from the Woodmoor board. Taylor said he would
represent Woodmoor as its alternate JUC representative until the Woodmoor board
selects a new primary JUC representative. Smith replied that all who have
attended JUC meetings had learned "a thing or two" from Whitelaw and appreciated
his service, and that he would be "sorely missed."
TABOR constraints discussed
The preliminary estimate for the construction cost for
Tri-Lakes’ Control Regulation 85 nutrient project is $2.007 million––$669,000
each for Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. If all the grant money can be
accepted by each district, the remaining cost for the new phosphorus treatment
equipment would be only $309,000 each.
However, Monument Sanitation District and Palmer Lake Sanitation
District must have successful TABOR waiver elections before they can each accept
their entire $360,000 share of the $1.08 million award. If their voters do not
approve a TABOR waiver ballot question, these two districts can accept no more
than $50,000 per year in state grants—10 percent of their annual operating
budgets of about $500,000 each. The state would take away the portion of the
$1.08 million award that these two districts could not accept due to TABOR
limits and award the remainder to another eligible large state wastewater
Woodmoor does not have to hold a TABOR waiver election to accept
its $360,000 share of the state’s $1.08 million award. Woodmoor can accept up to
$600,000 per year under TABOR because it has an operational budget of $6 million
There was a JUC discussion about what TABOR options might be
available to the three districts that own the facility.
Note: Section 20 (2) (d) of Article 10 of the state
Constitution regarding the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights states the following: "
‘Enterprise’ means a government-owned business authorized to issue its own
revenue bonds and receiving under 10% of annual revenue in grants from all
Colorado state and local governments combined." (Italics added) Special
districts are local governments authorized by Title 32 of the Colorado Revised
Statutes. Title 30 authorizes town and city governments.
Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund said that Woodmoor could
accept the entire $1.08 million award by itself during a two-year period if this
award were split into two portions and if each portion were less than Woodmoor’s
current $600,000 annual TABOR limit. However, Wicklund added, Woodmoor could not
accept the entire $1.08 million and then simply give/grant $360,000 each to
Monument or Palmer Lake to avoid each district’s annual state grant TABOR limit
of $50,000 for both state and local government grants. Monument’s and Palmer
Lake’s "gifts" from Woodmoor under this scenario would still be considered local
government grants subject to the annual 10 percent TABOR limit on all grants
received in a single year.
Furthermore, the ownership of this new capital equipment would
still be divided in one-third shares between Tri-Lakes’ three owner districts,
and would immediately become depreciable equity in the Tri-Lakes facility on the
Monument Sanitation District and Palmer Lake Sanitation District balance sheets
for accounting and auditing purposes. The source of this new $360,000 in equity
for each of the three districts would still be the state award.
Wicklund stated that the Monument district will hold a TABOR
waiver election on Nov. 5 in an effort to receive its entire $360,000 share of
this award and any future state nutrient grant. Even tighter state-mandated
nutrient limits for total phosphorus and total nitrogen are scheduled to take
effect in 2022 under the new state Regulation 31.17. If the Monument electors do
not approve the proposed TABOR waiver on Nov. 5, they will forfeit most of
Monument’s $360,000 share of the state’s $1.08 million award after the Monument
staff worked four years to obtain this award for all three Tri-Lakes facility
Wicklund added that Monument’s bond attorney, Kutak Rock LLC,
has prepared the ballot question for the TABOR waiver for the Monument district
board to certify in early September. He also noted that if Monument’s voters
approve this TABOR election question, the Monument Sanitation District board
would be unable to write a revenue bond—a board option currently available due
to the district’s enterprise fund status—once the district starts receiving its
$360,000 share of the three-year grant award.
If the Monument electors don’t approve the TABOR ballot
question, the Monument board will have to approve a larger revenue bond of about
$700,000 to cover Monument’s entire share of the project cost. Monument does not
have sufficient cash reserves to pay for its share of the project. The revenue
bond would have to be in place before the district could sign a design and
The district cannot sign a contract unless the full amount of
its share of the contract, including a supplemental amount for contingencies, is
on hand, with or without the grant money, and the full contract amount including
contingencies has been appropriated in the 2014 budget.
Palmer Lake Sanitation District Manager Becky Orcutt and Smith
stated that the Palmer Lake Sanitation District board had chosen not to hold a
TABOR waiver election on Nov. 5 to become eligible to receive its full $360,000
share of the $1.08 million state grant award. If the Palmer Lake district board
does not hold a TABOR waiver election, it will forfeit most of Palmer Lake’s
$360,000 share of the state award.
There was consensus that each of the three owner districts would
meet with their individual bond attorneys. The three district managers will then
meet to make further plans on how to manage the construction schedule and how to
collaboratively accept the $1 million grant in a manner that conforms to TABOR
state grant requirements.
Pay as you go
Wicklund stated that the state Water Quality Control Division
staff now expects to make interim monthly progress payments from the $80,000
planning grant for Tetra Tech’s planning study rather than making a single
reimbursement payment at the end of the study. Likewise, the division staff now
expects to make interim monthly payments from the $1 million design and
construction grant for Tetra Tech and the selected general contractor. As
originally proposed by Hickenlooper, the design and construction grant proceeds
would become available only after all design plans and all construction had been
completely approved and certified by the division engineering staff. For more
information, see www.ocn.me/v13n8.htm#juc.
During several stakeholder meetings with the division staff,
following passage of House Bill 13-1191, the Monument staff had pointed out
repeatedly that the Tri-Lakes facility’s owner districts and very few of the
other facilities that won design and construction grants would have been able to
pay all of these costs while awaiting a single possible, but not fully
guaranteed, grant payment three years after grant and engineering approval and
certification for operation of the newly installed capital equipment. If, for
some reason, the division’s engineering staff were not to approve the full
unrestricted operation of the new equipment until after Sept. 1, 2016, Tri-Lakes
would have lost the funding from the $1 million grant entirely under the
originally proposed procedures.
Wicklund said the Monument staff proposed the pay-as-you-go
process for this unprecedented nutrient grant process to the division staff
because the state already uses this process for disbursing multi-year federal
construction grants, and pay-as-you-go would minimize the financial risk of not
getting any of the grant money before the grant program expires in 2016.
Wicklund told the division staff that Monument and many other applicants would
not apply for the state nutrient grants unless this financial risk was
eliminated by a pay-as-you-go system. The division then amended the invoice
reimbursement procedures for all applicants.
The Monument staff also met with the state division several
times to deal with the unforeseen problem of how to distribute grant funding to
local government entities such as Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility that
are not special districts and therefore ineligible to directly receive a state
grant. The legislative and division staffs did not anticipate that several of
the eligible wastewater treatment facilities were owned by several special
wastewater collection districts. Likewise, no thought had been given by the
state to how the grants would be divided if the facilities were not owned by a
single special district or municipality.
Under the latest division grant reimbursement proposal, Tetra
Tech’s planning study invoices would be forwarded to the state for approval and
payments to a special Tri-Lakes facility account.
Wicklund added that the latest water division proposal—although
also still not approved and finalized—would use this same pay-as-you-go
procedure for making progress payments to Tetra Tech and the selected contractor
from the $1 million design and construction grant. He noted that the division
used this procedure for disbursing the $2 million federal American Reinvestment
and Recovery Act funding that Monument Sanitation District won for construction
of the Wakonda Hills collection system.
Burks spoke about the long-planned facility storage building that had been
postponed in 2011 and again in 2012 due to owner district budgetary constraints.
Then construction was postponed again to fall 2013 so that Tetra Tech could
finish its long-range facility plan it started in March, 2013 (www.ocn.me/v13n5.htm#juc). This facility plan was supposed to
include a review of long-range uses for this building.
The JUC suspended this long-range study on June 11 because of the state
nutrient grant award (www.ocn.me/v13n7.htm#juc). Burks said
Tetra Tech had just stated that this storage building’s proposed design and
location will not have to be modified to provide storage for the proposed new
phosphorus removal equipment. As a result, construction costs for this storage
building will not be eligible for reimbursement from the nutrient grants.
Burks stated that he wanted to proceed with seeking construction
bids for the storage building, as budgeted. He proposed reallocating the unused
portion of the suspended long-range study funding to help pay for storage
This building can now be paid for in part from the unused
remainder of the 2013 funding that was budgeted for the facility planning study.
The JUC unanimously approved construction of this new storage
building this fall at a planned cost of $85,296. Each owner district’s one-third
share of this budgeted cost will be $28,099.
The building is planned to be completed by the end of 2013 as
The JUC also unanimously approved the July financial reports as
District managers’ reports
Wicklund gave an update on the district’s annual collection line
rehabilitation project, noting that good progress was being made. The one June
suspended solids reading of 2,040 milligrams per liter in Monument’s south vault
wastewater influent was not repeated in July. The maximum reading for July was
478 milligrams per liter. The high June reading was determined to be an anomaly.
Wicklund also noted that a subcontractor of Insituform had been performing
inspections of the collection lines that Insituform will rehabilitate with new
liners without notifying him that the subcontractor would be opening Monument
Orcutt reported that Palmer Lake was conducting a few small line
repairs and Woodmoor District Manager Jessie Shaffer reported no issues.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:08 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 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
Monument Sanitation District, Aug. 15:
Election agreement with county approved
By Jim Kendrick
On Aug. 15, the Monument Sanitation District board unanimously
approved the intergovernmental agreement with the El Paso County Clerk and
Recorder’s Office for the district’s Nov. 5 election as well as the county’s
$3,500 fee. The board also scheduled a special meeting for Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. in
the district conference room to approve the final wording of the ballot question
prepared by the district’s bond attorney, Kutack Rock LLC, and the district’s
attorney, Larry Gaddis.
The Nov. 5 district election seeks voters’ approval for the
limited purpose of a TABOR waiver for Monument Sanitation District to accept its
share of state nutrient grants such as the $1.08 million state award announced
by Gov. John Hickenlooper on July 19. That award provides funds for design and
construction new nutrient treatment equipment at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater
Treatment Facility for the treatment of total phosphorus to meet the new water
quality restrictions in state Control Regulation 85 and state Regulation 31.17.
For more information, see www.ocn.me/v13n8.htm#grant.
No matching funds are required for the $1 million state design
and construction grant. The separate $80,000 planning grant requires a 20
percent match of $16,000, or $5,333 from each of the three districts that own
the Tri-Lakes facility. These grants are good through Sept. 1, 2016. All
requests for reimbursements and construction/operation approvals from the state
Water Quality Control Division’s engineering staff must be received by May 1,
2016, to allow final payments by Sept. 1. The preliminary cost estimate for the
new Tri-Lakes nutrient treatment equipment project is $2.007 million.
Under current restrictions in the TABOR amendment to the state
Constitution, the district cannot accept a state grant larger than $50,000 per
year––10 percent of Monument’s annual operating fund revenues of about
$500,000––without losing the operational flexibility of its enterprise fund
District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that the Tri-Lakes facility
cannot accept this state grant as a separate entity because the facility is not
a state entity with constituents or taxing authority. Only the three wastewater
special districts that own the facility, a joint venture, have their own
separate constituents and individual taxing authority, making them eligible to
accept the grant money under state law.
The total state nutrient grant award of $1.08 million will be
divided by the state in equal shares of $360,000 each between Monument, Palmer
Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, the three
wastewater special districts that are one-third owners of the Tri-Lakes
facility. Each district will pay its remaining share of the $2.007 million
design and construction cost, $309,000 each from district reserves and user
If the Monument district electors do not approve the ballot
question on Nov. 5, the district board will need to look at other financing
options, such as a revenue bond, to cover the funds it would have received from
the state grant. The board will need to appropriate this money in the 2014
budget for its portion of design and construction of the phosphorus treatment
facilities at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. Having to finance the
money not received from the grant award would likely require the district board
to raise user fees again to cover the debt service on the revenue bond.
For more details see the JUC article.
Wicklund reviewed the TABOR issues discussed regarding these
state grants at the Aug. 13 JUC meeting. He noted that Woodmoor could not accept
the full $1.08 million state award to the Tri-Lakes on behalf of Monument and
Palmer Lake. Woodmoor would still be giving a $360,000 grant to Monument. Local
government grants such as this count as state grants under TABOR. Wicklund
stated that he did not know how Palmer Lake will be able to accept its $360,000
share of the state grant at this time, because the Palmer Lake board does not to
want to hold a TABOR election.
For more details see the JUC article.
Wicklund noted a payment of $8,500 to auditing firm Bauerle &
Co. for the district’s 2012 audit. Gilmore gave the district an unqualified, or
clean, opinion. No tap fees were collected since the last meeting. The total
cash balance on hand was about $379,000.
Wicklund presented the first draft of the 2014 district budget
to the board. He asked the directors to review the figures and bring questions
to the next board meeting.
The board unanimously accepted the financial reports as
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 26 in the
district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third
Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Sanitation District, Sept. 3:
TABOR election question certified
By Jim Kendrick
During a special meeting Sept. 3, the Monument Sanitation
District board unanimously approved a resolution for a Nov. 5 election asking
voters to waive the TABOR amendment’s limit on state wastewater nutrients
management control grants. The district seeks approval of the ballot question so
it can accept available state grants to aid district compliance with state
wastewater nutrient regulations.
All members of the board were present.
The board also unanimously certified the single district
question that will appear on the ballot for the coordinated election of Nov. 5:
"Shall Monument Sanitation District be authorized to
collect, retain, and extend state grants awarded to the district (and not
required to be repaid to the state) for wastewater treatment facility
planning, design, construction or improvements needed to comply with the
state wastewater nutrients management control regulations and, during any
calendar year in which such state and local grant moneys exceed 10% of
annual district revenue, shall the district be authorized to collect,
retain, and spend all amounts received by the district annually from all
revenue sources as a voter-approved revenue change without regard to any
spending, revenue-raising, or other limitation contained with Article X,
Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution?"
For more information, see the Aug. 13 JUC article on page 9 and
the Aug. 15 Monument Sanitation District article on the facing page.
Sept. 19 meeting date changed to Sept. 26
The board unanimously approved changing the date and time of the
board’s next regular meeting from Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. to Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. The
meeting location is unchanged—the district conference room at 130 Second St.
The meeting adjourned at 10:16 a.m.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at
Donala Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 15:
Office manager Sipes retires
By Jim Kendrick
At the Aug. 15 board meeting, District Manager Kip Petersen and
the Donala Water and Sanitation District board celebrated Jackie Sipes’ pending
retirement as Donala office manager. Sipes formally retired Sept. 6. Former
bookkeeper Betsy Bray has moved up to the office manager position. New employee
Sharon Samek has taken over Bray’s bookkeeper and accounts payable
The absence of board President Bill George was excused. Vice
President Dave Powell chaired the meeting.
Upper Monument budgets forwarded
Petersen noted that he had provided a summary of the Upper
Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility budgets for 2011, 2012,
and 2013 to the Triview Metropolitan District board and its district manager,
Valerie Remington, on Aug. 8. This information was requested when Petersen and
George attended the July 9 Triview board meeting. He offered to attend a Triview
meeting this fall to review the preliminary 2014 Upper Monument facility budget.
A copy of that preliminary 2014 facility budget will be forwarded to Triview as
soon as it is completed.
The total annual Upper Monument facility budget expenditures in
this report were:
• 2011—$1.07 million
• 2012—$1.04 million
• 2013—$1.20 million
The Upper Monument facility is owned by Donala, Triview, and
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. The Donala staff operates the facility and
bills Triview and Forest Lakes for their share of facility expenses on a
quarterly basis. The approximate average shares for the owner districts in these
three recent budgets were: Donala, 59 percent; Triview, 41 percent; and Forest
Lakes, 0.01 percent.
Power Authority loan information clarified
Petersen said he spoke with Finance Director Keith McLaughlin of
the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA) regarding
the revised withdrawal schedule from Donala’s 2011 loan of about $5.3 million in
CWRPDA revenue bonds. Petersen advised McLaughlin that since the original loan
documents were prepared in 2010, Donala’s underlying conditions had changed,
resulting in changes in demand for Donala’s water system and design and
Petersen reported to McLaughlin that the U.S. Department of the
Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation determination in late 2012 that Donala’s Brown
Ranch property lies outside of the northern boundary of Arkansas River basin and
could not receive renewable water from the Pueblo Reservoir had nullified
Donala’s planned use of the ranch for construction of a new large Donala water
storage tank. This new water storage tank was a large component of the
infrastructure list that was to be funded by most of the 2011 CWRPDA loan.
The Brown Ranch had been included by Donala in early 2004. The
ranch was the best location in the Donala service area for a new reservoir to
store renewable water. Reclamation stated that the ranch drains north into
Cherry Creek, which is part of the South Platte Basin, rather than south into
the Arkansas River Basin. This northward drainage flow prevents return flows of
Donala’s renewable surface water from its Willow Creek Ranch property, which
flows down the Arkansas River from the Leadville area to the Pueblo Reservoir
for storage, from returning to the Arkansas River via Monument Creek and
Donala has adjudicated water rights to use up to 280 acre-feet
of renewable Willow Creek surface water per year when flows are high enough for
Donala be in priority. Its renewable raw water is transported north from the
Pueblo Reservoir by Colorado Springs Utilities for use by Donala customers.
On Dec. 6, 2012, following Reclamation’s determination that the
Brown Ranch could not receive renewable water from the Pueblo Reservoir, the
Donala board approved the language in a proposed exclusion agreement with the
current owners of Brown Ranch, Randy and Margaret Scholl of Randal Construction.
The cost to create an isolated water supply system for residential development
on Brown Ranch that was entirely within the South Platte River basin was
prohibitive for Donala. The exclusion agreement with the Scholls was signed at
the next Donala board meeting on Jan. 17. For more information see:
The revised estimated cash disbursements Petersen proposed to
McLaughlin on July 29 for Donala capital projects were:
• $200,000—fall 2013
• $275,000—spring 2014
• $250,000—August 2014
• $4.538 million—July 2015
The project for July 2015 is still planned to be a new water
tank. However, Peterson advised McLaughlin that Donala is now looking at water
reuse and water reclamation options for use of CWRPDA funds. A final decision on
whether to use the planned new large water tank for raw water, treated water, or
a hybrid of treated water and reuse water has not been made. The reuse project
is proposed to incorporate the use of highly treated effluent that will be mixed
with Donala’s existing water sources to further reduce the district’s dependency
on non-renewable groundwater and the load on its wells.
In a reply email on Aug, 8, McLaughlin stated that the CWRPDA
bond counsel had reviewed Petersen’s information and was "comfortable with the
revised schedule and pace of fund withdrawals." McLaughlin asked Petersen to let
him know if "you come across any additional delays that may cause the district
to fall behind the revised schedule."
Petersen stated that McLaughlin and his staff had been very easy
to work with.
Xeric landscaping services approved
Petersen and Steve Moorhead of Water Returns
(firstname.lastname@example.org, 534-9960) briefed the board on their plans for
providing information on providing xeric landscaping services to Donala
customers. Water Returns is a nonprofit Green Legacies program with about 30
professional partners that help with assessing, planning, and implementing
sustainable water resource programs.
Petersen said he was working with Moorhead to expand this Donala
program to assist commercial customers such as owners of townhouses and
apartments. They noted that the best time for commercial entities to plan for
xeric landscaping and water conservation is in the irrigation "off season"
because of the time needed to analyze individual lots and needs, then design and
install irrigation systems before the irrigation season begins.
The board unanimously approved an initial contribution of $4,200
to Water Returns to be "strategic client partner" through March 31, 2014.
Willow Creek Ranch update
Due to monsoon rains, all of the creek water flowing on Willow
Creek Ranch was still available for Donala’s use. Petersen said this
availability this late in the winter run-off season was unusual for mid-August.
Donala has already taken all the renewable surface water allowed by its water
rights for one of the two metered creeks on the ranch. He estimated that a net
total of 279 acre-feet of beneficial flows would be taken by the end of August
after accounting for required return flows. Donala’s adjudicated water rights
can average no more than a net total of 280 acre-feet per year of beneficial
flows over a 30-year period.
Petersen noted that he had been working with Carlie Ronca, chief
of the Resources Division of the Eastern Colorado area of Reclamation on
drafting Donala’s long-term storage contract to schedule a face-to-face meeting
between Ronca and Southern Delivery System representatives from Colorado Springs
Utilities to move Donala’s long-term contract negotiations forward.
Petersen stated that the Donala staff has completed all summer
maintenance work on the ranch and complimented them on the amount and quality of
the work that was done. Petersen and Chief Water Operator Mark Parker will make
monthly visits to observe stream flow characteristics and the success of the
stream bank stabilization project in ensure that stream water does not flow into
the ranch’s pastures and freeze.
Regional water supply study report
Petersen noted that Donala, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation
District, and the Town of Monument had arranged for a regional water
reuse/reclamation system concept study by the Tetra Tech engineering firm. The
second phase of the Tri-Lakes region study would analyze implementation and
administration alternatives. Triview has been invited to participate but has not
responded to the invitation yet.
The Tetra Tech study would evaluate how treated effluent from
the Upper Monument and Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facilities would be
conveyed to each water entity for reuse, how discharge permits and preliminary
discharge would be written for transport and further treatment of the reused
effluent, what types and levels of treatment are required for this project, and
alternative conceptual designs for water reclamation facilities.
Following the completion of the conceptual design phase of the
study, a workshop will be held at the Woodmoor office for Tetra Tech to present
its findings. Tetra Tech would then distribute a draft report to the entities
for review and comment. These comments would be used for preparing a final
presentation at entity board meetings. Final written reports and electronic
copies would incorporate board inputs.
The cost for the scope of work proposal for the Tetra Tech study
is about $76,000. This cost would be divided evenly between the Town of
Monument, Donala, and Woodmoor. The Triview board will not consider this
proposal before Sept. 10 and currently plans to reuse only treated effluent for
irrigation. Triview has not indicated whether it will participate in the Tetra
Donala’s engineering consultant, Roger Sams of GMS, recommended
participation, noting that the study is needed and would cost about the same
amount for Donala to do a similar study on its own for its own use.
The board’s consensus was that all the participants should be
required to commit to pay the full amount of their share of the contract cost
"up front" when the Tetra Tech contract is signed. There was also board
consensus to continue seeking purchase of usable surface water rights and
expediting the long-term contract for Pueblo Reservoir storage with Reclamation
and CSU while monitoring for new tighter inter-basin water transfer constraints
that may be incorporated in the draft statewide water plan due for state
Legislature adoption by 2016.
The board unanimously approved spending up to $25,500 for this
Petersen answered a few questions about specific technical
terminology with regard to the district’s new website software and the digital
readout of a chlorine pump in the drinking water treatment system. The financial
reports were unanimously approved as presented.
In other matters, Petersen reported:
• Triview issued nine additional taps and forwarded a
$13,500 payment ($1,500 per tap), reducing the outstanding balance Triview
owes Donala in its Upper Monument management agreement to $72,102.
• GMS found a new 240 kVA generator with a base cost of
$74,110. Donala has not settled on all the options that are needed, so a
final purchase price is not yet available.
• The Jessie, Struthers, and Latrobe pipeline projects are
• The Upper Monument biosolids conveyor belt system was
modified to extend its discharge by four feet to facilitate more efficient
discharge of dewatered biosolids into 18-wheel trucks for transport to a
The board went into executive session at 3:25 p.m. to discuss
personnel and property disposition matters. No votes were taken after the
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 in the
district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at
Monument Board of Trustees, Aug. 5:
Board restricts trustees’ employment by town
By Jim Kendrick
On Aug. 5, the Monument Board of Trustees approved an ordinance
amending the town code to prohibit a board member from being a salaried employee
or contractor of the town in order "to prevent any tangible or perceived
conflicts of interest in regards to dual office holding." The board also
approved an ordinance amending the town code and the Regency Park Zoning and
Development Standards that apply within the Triview Metropolitan District
Trustees Jeff Bornstein and Stan Gingrich were absent from the
Dual office holding rules amended
Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman proposed an amendment to the town
code regarding dual office holding by town trustees that included this
restriction: "No elected official shall hold any other elective and/or appointed
public office or be an employee of the Town of Monument."
During the public comment portion of the open hearing, town
business owner John Dominowski asked that the board to consider adding a time
period from when a town board member’s service ends to when the member can be
employed by the town. During trustees’ discussion, a revision was proposed to
respond to his request. Another proposed revision would prevent a trustee from
becoming a town contractor.
There was unanimous approval to replace the proposed statement
above with these two statements:
• No elected or appointed official shall hold any other
elective public office, be contracted or employed by the Town of Monument.
• Former elected or appointed officials may not, within six
months of their term limit or resignation, be contracted or employed by the
Town of Monument.
The proposed resolution on dual office holding was unanimously
tabled until the next board meeting on Aug. 19 so that the paperwork could be
revised to reflect these wording changes.
Cell phone tower code amended
Tom Kassawara, director of the Development Services Department,
proposed an amendment to the town code that included these changes:
• Allow fences up to 8 feet in height around Wireless
Telecommunications Services (WTS) ground-based equipment, require
landscaping to be from the town’s approved plant list, and add an
abandonment clause when WTS facilities are abandoned for more than six
• Allow WTS facilities as conditional uses in the Planned
Commercial Development (PCD), Planned Industrial Development (PID), and
Planned Multi-Use Development (PMD) zone districts in the Regency Park
Zoning and Development Standards.
A proposed cell tower abandonment clause, which is not currently
in the town code, and is standard language in most zoning codes, would require
the owner and/or property owner of the WTS facility to dismantle and remove the
WTS facility when it has been abandoned for six consecutive months or more after
a determination has been made by the director of Development Services that the
WTS facility is no longer in use. The town will also have the ability to
dismantle and remove the WTS facility at the owner’s and/or property owner’s
Kassawara reported that in March 2013, the staff was approached
by a representative from a wireless provider inquiring about locating a WTS
facility on a property within a Regency Park zone district. Regency Park
comprises the vacant land between the west side of I-25 and the Santa Fe Trail,
north of Baptist Road as well as most of the portions on the east side of
Two more recent town annexations on the east side of I-25 were
not part of the Regency Park annexation: Monument Ridge shopping center
development on the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Struthers Road and the
adjacent Family of Christ Lutheran Church lot to the east.
The staff researched the Regency Park permitted uses and found
that WTS facilities were not currently permitted in any of the Regency Park zone
districts. The wireless representative expressed concern that this limitation
impaired the ability to provide wireless service in this particular area and
requested an amendment to the code.
The town staff had also received two calls from residents who
live in Regency Park asking why cellular service coverage was spotty in the
I-25-Baptist Road area. The staff determined that it was best for the town to
propose a more comprehensive amendment to allow WTS facilities within certain
zone districts of Regency Park instead of the wireless provider applying for an
amendment for just one property. The proposed amendment will allow wireless
providers reasonable access to the east and west sides of Interstate 25 within
the Regency Park area.
The Regency Park area was first zoned in the mid-1980s under
Triview Metropolitan District, prior to annexation into the Town of Monument.
When the Regency Park zone districts were established, WTS technology did not
exist. The Regency Park Zoning and Development Standards have not been changed.
Currently, WTS facilities are not permitted anywhere within the Regency Park
Under the current town code, WTS facilities are allowed as
conditional uses within five zone districts in the town: the Planned Business
Development (PBD), Planned Commercial Development (PCD), Planned Industrial
Development (PID), Planned Heavy Industrial Development (PHID), and Planned
Commercial Development Highway (PCDH) Districts. Kassawara stated that the staff
is recommending that WTS facilities not be allowed in residential developments
in the Regency Park area.
Staff research of the federal Telecommunications Act found that
not amending the town code as requested by the wireless provider could leave the
town vulnerable to legal challenges by telecommunications providers who want to
locate facilities in the Regency Park area. Allowing WTS facilities may provide
opportunities for better service through updates in technology on sites where
wireless services are currently not permitted.
On July 10, the Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 to recommend
approval of the revisions.
During board discussion, Trustee Jeff Kaiser inquired who would
pay for the removal of a tower if it were abandoned. Kassawara stated the entity
would more than likely be taken to court. Town Attorney Gary Shupp added that a
lien could also be placed against the property.
Trustee Becki Tooley inquired about the number of towers
allowed. Kassawara stated that the town cannot restrict the number of towers
when there is a coverage issue. However, zoning regulations would prevent towers
from being placed throughout certain areas of the town.
The code amendment was unanimously approved.
Higby "hump" repair approved
The board unanimously approved a resolution for award of a
$21,533 construction contract to Rocky Mountain Materials and Asphalt to
eliminate the high crown in the center of Higby Road where it crosses Jackson
Creek Parkway. Although half the intersection is owned by Triview Metropolitan
District, the Triview board refused to pay any share of the construction cost as
requested by the town staff. Their request of a "fair share" from Triview was
half the cost.
Startup of construction was planned for Aug. 12. Although the
maximum project duration in the contract was two weeks, the contractor planned
to complete the work in two days, before the beginning of the school year at the
adjacent Lewis-Palmer High School.
The board unanimously approved one disbursement over
$5,000—$365,598 to Wells Fargo Securities LLC for annual payment seven (of 10)
for the lease/purchase loan for construction of Town Hall.
Town Manager Pamela Smith reported that the town had received a
loss prevention award from its insurance company. The town was recognized by the
CIRSA Workers’ Compensation Pool for its outstanding management of its loss
control program for 2012 with a 97 percent score on its audit and a loss ratio
of less than 20 percent.
Police Chief Jacob Shirk gave an extensive detailed presentation
of department policies, programs, and initiatives as part of the annual
department briefings prior to 2014 budget development by the board.
In other matters, Kassawara and representatives of public
relations firm Blakely and Associates gave a short progress report on actions
taken under the contract for Blakely’s marketing plan.
Dominowski stated he did not care for Blakely’s proposed new
town tagline: "Nestled Away From the Everyday." Smith stated the new tagline
would be used for marketing purposes only, and the town logo and motto would not
change. The board discussed it but made no decisions regarding use of the new
The meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at
Monument Board of Trustees, Aug.19:
Revised wording for dual office holding rules approved
By Jim Kendrick
On Aug. 5, Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman proposed an amendment to
the town code regarding dual office holding by town trustees that included this
restriction: "No elected official shall hold any other elective and/or appointed
public office or be an employee of the Town of Monument."
The proposed resolution on dual office holding was unanimously
tabled until this board meeting so that the paperwork could be revised to
reflect wording changes regarding trustees seeking town employment after leaving
office. On Aug. 19, Sirochman presented the rewritten ordinance to the board for
The ordinance was revised to include these two sentences:
• No elected or appointed official shall hold any other
elective public office, be contracted or employed by the Town of Monument.
• Former elected or appointed officials may not, within six
months of their term limit or resignation, be contracted or employed by the
Town of Monument.
The revised ordinance was unanimously approved.
Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Becki Tooley were absent from the
Mail ballot ordinance approved
The board unanimously approved a request from Sirochman for an
ordinance to amend Chapter 1.12 of the town’s municipal code to authorize that
all future elections held by the Town of Monument will be mail ballot elections.
This will save time by not having to prepare any more resolutions or post public
notices for hearings on holding a mail ballot election. She said the town has no
choice but to comply with new mail ballot mandates for coordinated elections
that are now required by the passage of House Bill 13-1303. This bill requires
that all general, primary, odd-year, coordinated, presidential, special
legislative, recall, and congressional vacancy elections to be conducted by mail
Sirochman noted that the town will have no items on the Nov. 5
ballot and will not incur the higher mail ballot costs that will now be required
for a coordinated election with the county. The town can avoid these higher
coordinated election costs by holding its own separate elections in April.
New escrow agreement for
Village Center at Woodmoor approved
Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, proposed a
resolution approving an escrow agreement to install remaining landscaping and
irrigation in the common areas at the Village Center at Woodmoor Filings 1, 2,
and 3. The original approval for the Village Center Preliminary Planned
Development (PD) Site Plan, composed of four filings, was approved by the Board
of Trustees in November 2004.
Since the original developer of the land, WED LLC., still has
some obligations for the installation of landscaping pursuant to the original PD
site plan approval, the town staff has required that an escrow agreement be
executed between WED and the town to ensure that these required landscaping
improvements are constructed within a reasonable time period.
The resolution provided a guarantee to install landscaping in
these three filings that should have been installed at the time the other public
improvements were constructed about eight years ago. If the developer fails to
install the required landscaping and irrigation by the due date, the town can
contract to complete the work using the funds in the escrow account. A 25
percent contingency was added to the estimated cost of the improvements to
account for unforeseen conditions if the developer defaults on this condition of
site plan approval. The total amount placed in escrow by WED was $53,259.
The current scheduled completion date in the escrow agreement
for WED to finish the landscaping is Nov. 30 is included, with a contingency of
July 2014 if installation is delayed by an act of nature.
The board unanimously approved the resolution for the new escrow
The board unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an
application by the City of Colorado Springs for funding under the Colorado
Regional Tourism Act to the Colorado Economic Development Council. The "City for
Champions" project described in the application includes four elements: a U.S.
Olympic Museum; a downtown stadium and event center; the U.S. Air Force Academy
Gateway at Falcon Stadium Visitors Center; and a Sports Medicine and Performance
Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
There was no implied financial impact or cost to the Town of
Monument due to the board’s endorsement. This resolution also included a Board
of Trustees request that the Economic Development Commission approve the
application for funding submitted by the City of Colorado Springs.
Mayor Travis Easton presented a Monument Board of Trustees
certificate of appreciation to former Tri-Lakes Tribune reporter Lisa Collacott
recognizing her for her commitment to the community. Easton, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff
Kaiser, and Trustees Jeff Bornstein and John Howe each thanked her for her hard
work, dedication, and service to the town. Collacott said she had enjoyed her
work in the Tri-Lakes and Black Forest communities more than any other jobs she
The board unanimously approved four disbursements over $5,000:
• $149,557 to Triview Metropolitan District for June sales
tax ($141,291), July motor vehicle tax ($8,000), and July Regional Building
Department sales tax ($266).
• $61,865 to Joseph R Hurley Asphalt LLC for asphalt repairs
to Old Denver Highway.
• $11,322 to Jacobs Engineering for Monument sidewalk
project engineering work in June.
• $12,911 to Jacobs Engineering for Monument sidewalk
project engineering work in July.
Some of the items Town Treasurer Monica Harder noted in her June
financial report were:
• General fund revenues were more than budgeted by 7.2
percent or $161,000.
• General fund expenditures were less than budgeted by 11.7
percent or $255,000.
• General fund net revenues were more than budgeted by
• Water fund revenues were less than budgeted by 41 percent
• Water fund expenditures were less than budgeted by 16.9
percent or $110,000.
• Water fund net revenues were less budgeted by $103,000.
• Total town net funds increased by $149,237 to $729,152.
• Total net sales tax revenues earned through June were more
than budgeted by 5.2 percent or $57,000.
There was a brief discussion about water issues. Public Works
Director Tom Tharnish said that water production levels have been 9 to 12
percent less through mid-August than in the summer of 2012, but he still expects
the water department to be under budget for expenses versus revenues again this
year by postponing a few projects until 2014. There have been very few
complaints about the town’s water rate increases due to the amount of public
notice, he said. Collection of delinquent accounts had been an emphasis item
over the past six weeks. Some of the largest residential users have cut back
from 50,000 gallons per month to 40,000 gallons per month.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
Some of the items Kassawara reported were:
• He reviewed and issued final administrative approval for
Monument Rock Business Park
Phase III Final PD Site Plans.
• Design of the town’s downtown sidewalk, curb, and gutter
construction project should be completed by Jacobs, using a $50,000 grant,
by the end of the year and go out for bid in early 2014.
• The specific date for the September sidewalk project open
house had not been set.
• JT Mesite began work as the department’s new engineering
Some of the items Tharnish reported were:
• There were two separate graffiti incidents at the Monument
Lake dam spillway and the ladies bathroom at Limbach Park; both sites were
fixed and painted over.
• The damage from these two incidents was investigated by
the Monument Police Department.
• Connie Paillette began work as the new water billing
Some of the police items reported Detective Joe Lundy reported
• Sgt. Rick Tudor will retire on Sept. 3.
• A new police officer will be hired to fill the vacated
Some of the items from Town Manager Smith’s report were:
• The town’s share of the cost of a northern El Paso County
water reuse study by engineering firm Tetra Tech will cost $80,000, which
will be divided equally between the town, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation
District, Donala Water and Sanitation District, and perhaps Triview
• Tetra Tech is Woodmoor’s engineering consultant, so
Woodmoor will manage the study.
Two liquor license requests approved
Owner Melissa Niswonger briefed the board on her business plans
and liquor license needs for the new Social Spark Community Center, located at
251 Front St. No. 8, Monument. There were no public comments during the open
portion of the hearing.
A background check had been conducted by the Monument Police
Department. Her fingerprints had been sent to the Colorado Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) but not been reviewed and approved by this hearing date.
The board unanimously approved the new license contingent upon
the CBI fingerprint check and approval by the state Department of Revenue Liquor
The board also unanimously approved a special event liquor
license name and date change from the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. The event
name was changed from "Monument in Motion" to "Monument Fall Festival." The
event date was changed from Sept. 2 to Oct. 5.
The board also unanimously approved similar name and date
changes to the special event permit previously issued to the Chamber of Commerce
for this now rescheduled event.
The meeting adjourned at 7:44 p.m.
Because of the Labor Day holiday, the next meeting was scheduled
for Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 6:30 p.m. in 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
Monument Planning Commission, Aug. 14:
Code changes approved;
chicken-keeping issue delayed
By Kate Wetterer
On Aug, 14, the Monument Planning Commission agreed unanimously
to recommend four municipal code changes regarding the definition of side yards,
expansion of the kinds of architectural revisions that can be approved
administratively, requirements that trigger the need for a temporary use permit,
and rules concerning nonconforming uses. These recommendations will be presented
to the Monument Board of Trustees for consideration.
The Planning Commission also debated a fifth code revision
which, if passed, would enable chickens to be kept in some parts of Monument.
Due to the need for further discussion, particularly concerning the impact
keeping chickens might have on communities, the commission has decided to table
this fifth revision for the time being.
The approved proposals included a clarification of the
definition of "side yard" and a move to eliminate the rule that temporary use
permits should be necessary if a temporary use reduces available public parking
spaces. The temporary use code revision matches recent changes to special event
permit requirements and is intended to ease the permitting process for temporary
uses such as construction activities, temporary sales offices, business
promotional events, and seasonal uses outside a permanent structure.
A third recommendation by the commissioners was an adjustment to
section 17.40.220, minor amendment requests, which would make it possible to
process changes to architectural features—like altering the color of
something—as minor planned development amendments instead of major amendments.
This would allow the director of Development Services to approve them
administratively, which would be quicker than presenting them to the Planning
Commission for review and approval.
Finally, the Planning Commission approved the recommendation to
adjust section 17.68, pertaining to nonconforming uses, which Principal Planner
Mike Pesicka said allows the town control over nonconforming buildings that do
not meet codes or have fallen to neglect. This code adjustment also offers
protection to property owners in the event that some public action should reduce
or change their land so that it no longer meets requirements. An example of this
would be a new road encroaching on someone’s property so it no longer meets
standards. Since this change wasn’t the homeowner’s fault, he or she would be
protected from repercussions under this adjustment.
In response to community interest, the Planning Commission also
considered the possibility of adding a clause to municipal code section 6.04,
permitting Monument residents living in R-1 and R-2 single-family residential
zone districts to keep up to four hens in their yards for private use. Planned
developments, such as Jackson Creek, Village Center and Promontory Point would
not be included in this decision, because individual site plan agreements vary
and might not allow keeping chickens.
Keeping chickens would be treated very similarly under the
tabled proposal to caring for other forms of livestock—one would have to secure
a license to house chickens and adhere to a variety of rules regarding the
upkeep and housing of fowl. Owning roosters would not be allowed, nor would
selling any eggs for profit.
The next Planning Commission meeting is set for Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in
Monument Town Hall. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the
month. Information: 884-8017 or
Kate Wetterer can be reached at
Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing and Medical Marijuana Authority and
Combined Workshop and Town Council meeting, Aug. 8:
Retail sale of recreational marijuana prohibited
By Lisa Hatfield
The Palmer Lake Town Council approved an ordinance prohibiting
the retail sale of recreational marijuana in the town on Aug. 8. Over an hour of
public discussion preceded the trustees’ 4-1 vote to approve the new ordinance.
The council allowed Palmer Lake residents and owners of
businesses in Palmer Lake to speak during the public discussion. However, except
for a representative of a nonprofit group from Denver who had obtained
permission by phone the previous week, nonresidents were not allowed to speak.
According to Amendment 64 to the Colorado State Constitution,
adults over 21 years old may possess up to one ounce of marijuana for
recreational use. However, the law left the decision to each local government to
regulate or prohibit retail sales of marijuana. Oct. 1 is the deadline for
localities to choose to either "opt out," impose a moratorium as a wait-and-see
measure, or to "opt in" to retail marijuana sales by taking no action at all,
Town Attorney Larry Gaddis explained.
About 30 citizens spoke during the public discussion and were
evenly divided in their opinions on this issue. The limitation of speakers to
only town residents and business owners was announced by Mayor Nikki McDonald at
the beginning of the public discussion but was not noted on the speaker sign-in
sheet nor when Town Clerk Tara Berreth told latecomers and people who had not
seen the signup sheet, "Whoever wants to sign up can come sign up right now."
Due to bad acoustics in the Town Hall, some audience members
from Monument, Larkspur, and the county were not aware until the end of public
discussion that they would not be allowed to voice their opinions.
Some of the comments made in favor of allowing retail marijuana
• We should not opt out of a potential revenue source,
especially since other towns have declined to take advantage of it.
• Possession of cannabis is not a crime in Colorado, and we
should not be treated like second-class citizens.
• A majority of voters in Palmer Lake voted in favor of
Amendment 64 to regulate marijuana the same way as alcohol.
• It would be better to have the security and quality
control at regulated grow centers than to go to the local black market or
have to drive to Denver to buy marijuana.
• Regulations are already in place to control alcohol, and
cannabis would not require new regulations.
• Children are not more vulnerable to marijuana than to
alcohol or cigarettes.
• Medical marijuana in Palmer Lake has not reduced home
Some of the comments made by people speaking against retail
marijuana sales were:
• We can’t afford to be the guinea pig for a new industry.
• It is still a federal crime to possess marijuana.
• We are worried about ruining our town’s family-friendly
• Revenue from taxes would not be enough to pay for even one
new police officer.
• We could lose sales tax from other businesses that don’t
want to locate near pot shops. Property values will go down and businesses
might leave town.
• Marijuana is bad for your health and is a gateway drug.
• We don’t want to be the marijuana center for the whole
• Colorado Springs and other areas that have "opted out"
have good reasons for doing so.
Economic Development Trustee Shana Ball made a motion to approve
the ordinance creating Chapter 5.40 of the Town of Palmer Lake Municipal Code
Regarding Commercial Growing and Selling of Marijuana for Recreational Use and
Prohibiting Same, also known as "opting out" of Amendment 64.
Some of the comments made by trustees during discussion of
Ball’s motion were:
• Ball said, "I work in emergency care. To say that
(marijuana) is harmless is not accurate. To say the police have not been
involved is not accurate."
• Water Trustee Mike Maddox said, "Today’s marijuana is
stronger… The Dutch classify marijuana as a hard drug now." He gave numerous
citations from medical research about its harmful effects.
• Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster said, "I think we would be
remiss if we don’t pass a moratorium to see how other towns do it."
• Police Trustee Bob Grado said, "I’ve been a police officer
27 years.… We cannot support something that is federally illegal.… The money
stream coming in will be smaller than what it costs the town. Police in
Denver do not support any of this."
• Park and Recreation Trustee Mike Patrizi said, "I am a
family man, and I love what this town stands for. I’d rather our town be
broke … than get money from this source."
• Mayor McDonald said, "I think there’s a lot of questions
about this entire issue. I do believe with Rich that it should be put to a
vote of the people."
The final council vote was 4-1 to "opt out" of retail
recreational marijuana sales. Kuehster voted against the motion because he
preferred the moratorium option, and McDonald did not vote.
Grado announced that the Police Department was "still in the
black and right on target," and town bookkeeper Linda Ousnamer reported that
while revenue was "not coming in as fast as we would like, expenses are way down
and everyone is maintaining their budget."
The council unanimously approved a new liquor license
application, submitted by Steve Rice and Skip Morgan for Illumination Café, 630
Highway 105. Of 80 people surveyed in the neighborhood, 32 approved of the
license and 48 had no opinion.
McDonald introduced John C. Russell, who will become the new
roads trustee when he takes the oath of office at the next meeting. "Of course I
have no time to spare … but I think Palmer Lake is worth living in and working
for," Russell said.
After the roll call vote, the meeting ended at 8:03.
The next meeting will be Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall, 42
Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally the second Thursday of the month.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Aug. 28:
School district ballot initiative explained
By Harriet Halbig
Assistant Superintendent of Lewis-Palmer School District 38
Cheryl Wangeman and Now’s The Time D-38 representative Deb Goth spoke to the
Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board at the Aug. 28 meeting about the
mill levy override (MLO) initiative on the November ballot.
Wangeman explained that the Lewis-Palmer school district
continues to display excellence in many ways, including accreditation with
distinction, AP Honor Roll recognition for increasing Advanced Placement
offerings and participation, John Irwin Schools of Excellence, high ACT scores,
award-winning music and athletic programs, and STEM (science, technology, energy
and math) certified high school teachers.
However, during the past five years, the district budget has
been cut by over $11 million. These cuts resulted in a reduction in teaching
staff and elimination of many programs that aided students who struggle in
subjects such as reading and math. Gifted and talented programs have also been
curtailed, and spending on technology has been reduced.
As a result, test scores are slowly declining, causing concern
that the district may lose its excellent standing as a result of lack of support
for its students in their early years of school.
Funding from the state has been erratic over the past few years,
with the state often taking back part of its promised funding at midyear.
District officials and community supporters decided, after many
months of meetings, that it would be preferable to have a local source of
The district has placed on the November ballot a proposal for an
MLO that would provide $4.5 million to be used for:
• Restoring 38 positions, including teaching positions,
counselors, librarians, technology teachers, and elementary summer school.
• Replacing and upgrading technology.
• Ensuring safety and security of school buildings.
• Recruiting and retaining high quality teachers.
• Providing funding to the Monument Academy in an amount
proportionate to its student population.
Wangeman said that the emphasis will be on grades K-3 to provide
support for the younger students.
For detailed information, please refer to the Board of Education
article on page 1 of this issue, and the district website lewispalmer.org.
Woodmoor resident Gordon Reichal said that the ballot wording
includes the words "but not limited to," implying that the board would have the
option of using the funds for other things.
The ballot wording no longer includes those words.
Goth said that the district may not promote the MLO with public
funds, so the committee requested that the WIA board endorse the measure. She
said that details were available at the group’s website, nowsthetimeD38.org.,
and on the district website.
Goth also reminded the board that home values in the area are
enhanced by the success of its schools.
WIA Forestry Director Eric Gross said that, while he supports
the district and its activities, he hesitates to vote an endorsement without
reading the wording of the ballot measure. He also said he was encouraged by the
fact that the measure says there will be a community group to oversee the use of
In response to a question, Wangeman said that the issue
proposing to raise $1 billion in income taxes to benefit schools would not
benefit the district to a great extent because most of the funding would be
allocated to districts with a larger population in poverty.
Another audience member said that, while supportive of the
district’s children and teachers, she does not support the MLO because the
district used public funds to determine whether it was necessary and that there
are still trust issues to be addressed based on past performance of the board.
She cautioned the board against advocating the measure, saying
that they represent over 3,000 people and suggested holding a debate with both
sides of the issue represented.
Board President Jim Hale said that perhaps the board should not
vote to advocate the measure due to its controversy.
Fire mitigation efforts
Hale said that he had met with the school board the previous
week regarding fire mitigation in the Woodmoor area, especially in the area due
east of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School and near the middle school. He also met
with Wangeman and FireWise Chairman Jim Woodman to discuss the project.
Wangeman said that she, Woodman, and the district’s grounds
chairman walked the property east of the elementary school to determine what
needs to be done. Work will be done during the winter months. Upon completion,
the area will include a trail with signs offering advice on fire mitigation.
She also said that she has been speaking with the developer of
property near Lake Woodmoor regarding potential walkways that could provide new
residents with a safe way to walk to the elementary and middle schools while
avoiding the streets.
Treasurer Tom Schoemaker reported that the association remains
under budget for the year.
Hale reported that covenant violations for the past month were
largely due to excess slash and dead trees. While he thanked the homeowners for
their efforts, he reminded them that the slash itself poses a fire hazard.
Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that traffic near the
middle school is very heavy and that bears are being seen in all parts of
Woodmoor, especially where people put out their trash the night before it is
Nielsen also said that there have been isolated incidents
regarding Drano bottles—homemade explosives involving plastic bottles with Drano
and aluminum foil. He said that such devices have been used in the past to blow
up mailboxes and cautioned anyone who sees a bottle with liquid and aluminum
foil to call Woodmoor Public Safety. One such device has been found in Monument
and several in Gleneagle.
Forestry Director Gross said that homeowners can drop off slash
at Anderson Tree Service, on Washington Street north of Highway 105, on Sept. 7
and 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a charge of $5 per load. For further
information, please see the website www.woodmoor.org.
Gross also thanked Forestry Committee members Lisa Hatfield and
Dick Green for their efforts in completing most of the requested site
Community Affairs Director Anne Stevens-Gountanis expressed
concern about excess vegetation on August Drive that is limiting visibility.
There was discussion about the possibility of having the county remove the
vegetation and whether it impacts the Dirty Woman Creek watershed.
Hale said that the board must begin planning for the
association’s annual meeting in January. He suggested that, instead of overlong
presentations about the activities of each committee, there be displays and
representatives to answer questions.
There was a brief discussion of ideas such as a raffle or
drawing to encourage attendance at the meeting.
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 Dr., Monument. The next meeting will be on Sept. 25.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at
August Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
For the second month in a row, much above average rainfall
accumulated throughout the region. Most areas around the Tri-Lakes received 4 to
7 inches of rainfall, with a few spots accumulating even more. This was about
twice as much as normal. Of course, much of this rain accumulated in a short
time and caused problems with flash flooding. Temperatures for August averaged a
little warmer than normal, however we did not reach 90° during the month.
August continued the July trend of an active Southwest monsoon
season. This led to several days of rain, heavy at times, during the first few
days of the month. As usual in these situations, some areas received high
amounts of rain, while others received much less. The strong storms caused more
flash flooding and some damage around the Black Forest burn scars on Aug. 4, as
1 to 2 inches of rain accumulated in less than an hour. The high levels of
moisture helped to hold temperatures down to average and slightly below average
levels through the period, with highs reaching the low to mid-80s early each day
before the storms developed.
The persistent flow of monsoon moisture continued to affect the
region from the 5th through the 11th. This led to several rounds of afternoon
and evening thunderstorms and periods of heavy rains. Most of the flash
flooding, however, was at the Waldo Canyon burn scar/Manitou Springs region
instead of at Black Forest. The active monsoon pattern has made up a large
amount of the precipitation deficit we built up over the last few years, with
some areas around the region receiving more than 10 inches of rainfall since the
beginning of July. In addition, the high levels of moisture and persistent
clouds helped to keep temperatures below average. Highs during the week were
generally 5 to 10 degrees cooler than normal, ranging from 65°F on the 7th to
the low 80s on the 5th and 6th.
Above normal levels of monsoonal moisture continued to bring
heavy rains to the region during the early part of the week of the 12th. Heavy
rains brought more flash flooding issues on the 12th and 13th. Temperatures also
held below normal, with mid- to upper 70s each afternoon. The monsoon pattern
began to shift over the next few days, with the plume of moisture shifting back
to the west. This allowed the region to dry out for most of the remainder of the
week and temperatures to warm. Highs reached into the 80s from the 15th through
the 18th. No storms developed from the 15th through the 17th, a rarity for the
middle of August.
The week of the 19th was an up-and-down week, starting quiet for
the first few days, then very active during the middle, and quiet again on the
end. Temperatures were well above normal from the 19th through the 21st, with
highs reaching into the mid- to upper 80s. A couple of short-lived storms popped
up, but limited moisture meant very little rainfall. The monsoonal plume then
moved back over the area over the next few days, adding lots of available
moisture to the atmosphere. This primed the pump just waiting for a trigger to
release the energy and moisture.
This happened most significantly from the afternoon the 22nd
through the morning of the 23rd. A wave of energy moved over Colorado and added
some extra lift, which combined with the heating of the morning and afternoon.
This allowed several rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms to develop and,
because the steering flow in the atmosphere was very weak, many of these storms
remained over the same area for several hours. Heavy rain, hail, and flooding
resulted in many locations from Teller County through most of El Paso County.
Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches in an hour were common, with
some areas receiving nearly 5 inches. These rainfall amounts were equivalent to
a storm having a 1 percent chance of occurrence in a given year (a 100-year
storm) or less-pretty rare events. Once this area of unsettled weather moved out
by the morning of the 23rd, conditions dried out significantly. Sunshine was
abundant through the weekend, with temperatures again reaching into the low 80s,
slightly warmer than normal.
Mild and dry conditions were in control for most of the rest of
the month. High temperatures consistently reached into the low and mid-80s,
about 5 to10 degrees warmer than normal. A few isolated to scattered
thunderstorms developed over the last couple days of the month, but only light
rainfall amounts were seen for most of us.
A look ahead
September is a transitional month for the region, with the last
tastes of summer mixed in with our first morning freezes. Leaves begin to change
by the end of the month as well, and three out of the last five Septembers have
seen at least a trace of snow. The overall weather pattern is generally one of
tranquility, with our chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard
conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny,
pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid-70s early in the month to the
mid-60s later in the month. Our first sub-freezing temperatures usually occur
during the second or third week, so prepare those tender plants.
August 2013 Weather Statistics
Average High 81.1° (+2.0) 100-year return frequency value max 83.9° min 72.9°
Average Low 49.6 ° (+0.4) 100-year return frequency value max 55.2° min 46.8°
Monthly Precipitation 4.49" (+1.64", 30% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.07" min 0.94"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Highest Temperature 87° on the 1st, 20th
Lowest Temperature 44° on the 14th
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 8.00" (+2.02", 35% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 37 (-31)
Cooling Degree Days 49 (+8)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
Letters to Our Community
Click here to view 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.
Continued need for food donations
at Tri-Lakes Cares
We at Tri-Lakes Cares have been overwhelmed by the generosity of
our community in response to the needs of those impacted by the Black Forest
Fire and want to express our gratitude to those who have donated toward this
cause. We have been able to assist over 160 families affected by the fire with
food, gift cards, clothing, and essential services due in large part to the
kindness of Tri-Lakes residents.
We are currently in need of donations of food, hygiene products,
and cleaning supplies to meet the ongoing needs of the Black Forest Fire
families while we also continue our regular assistance to local families. Our
shelves are always a bit bare during the late summer, but coupled with the
demands presented by the fire, they are particularly lean this year.
We would be very grateful for donations of these needed items:
pancake mix and syrup, soups, pasta sauce, cereal, canned meats, chili, beef
stew, crackers, juice, tea bags, condiments, toilet paper, paper towels and
facial tissues, feminine products, diapers (especially sizes 4-6), dish soap,
and laundry detergent.
Thank you for your help. This is such a wonderful community of
neighbors and we are privileged to be in partnership with each one of you.
Diane Brown, Programs manager, Tri-Lakes Cares
Making the investment: Support D-38 MLO
"Ignite, engage, encourage and expect excellence." Though this
is the motto of Palmer Ridge High School, these words very much capture the
passion and spirit evident throughout the Lewis-Palmer School District. We all
embrace and appreciate the worthiness of "excellence" as an ideal, but in
reality, the pursuit and attainment of excellence requires adequate resources.
Excellence does not come cheap. Is the additional investment in our schools via
a mill levy override worth it?
Homeowners recognize that keeping up on the maintenance and
repair of our homes helps preserve property values. Realtors will tell you that
excellent community schools likewise have a significant positive impact on home
values. Supporting the MLO and restoring funding to our schools is worth it in
this regard, as passage will help preserve and enhance our property values.
When we are facing a serious health issue, we recognize the
importance of seeing excellent doctors with the best training; highly competent
nurses, technicians, and support staff; the latest and greatest in technology
for diagnosis and treatment; and of undergoing treatment in modern,
well-maintained facilities. Our health is worth it. Should we not have the same
expectation for our educational system?
The time has come to provide the funding the Lewis-Palmer
District requires so that it may be restored to good health and continue its
proven tradition of excellence in education. For several years now, the mantra
in D-38 has been "Do more with less." It is becoming apparent, however, that the
reality has simply become "less." It is time to give our schools the resources
they need to maintain the level of excellence we expect. The children of the
Tri-Lakes community are worth it; they deserve the very best education we can
give them. Please join us in voting "yes" on the mill levy override question.
Tom and Tricia Patrick, Palmer Lake
When is enough really enough?
In the August OCN a citizen stated reasons to support the
upcoming D-38 MLO: property values and declining test scores.
I agree that property values and quality school districts
parallel each other. Besides good schools, many people look for areas to live
where taxes are manageable. A 10.5 mill increase will give D-38 one of the
highest mills in Colorado, which may in turn hurt our property values. Many
constituents in District 38 are retired seniors who chose this area for its
views, character, and small-town feel. Most are on fixed incomes and a 20.8
percent increase in their property taxes, combined with the possibility of an
increase in income tax, would be devastating.
The issue with declining scores refers to Lewis-Palmer Middle
School. Members of our current school board ignored teachers and parents who
accurately predicted the negative impact on academics. The board voted to
reconfigure the district to one 7-8 middle school and the dire predictions have
come to fruition! Are we really supposed to trust a school board who made that
radical decision to the detriment of our students with a "never ending" $4.5
million per year?
The June edition of the OCN reported that Cheryl Wangeman,
District 38’s CFO, stated that the school district would receive an increase of
$185 in per pupil funding (approximately $1,017,500), which is enough to hire 20
new teachers. If Amendment 66, a state proposal, passes, an increase of $307 per
pupil is expected (approximately $1,688,500). The district also currently has
over $11 million in their bank account to offset other costs and still maintain
a healthy savings. With the state amendment in the offering do we really need
this MLO at this time? When is enough really enough?
Jody Richardson, D-38 constituent since 1986
Preserve our educational excellence
As we start another school year, I want to thank our great
teachers and staff for another year educating our most valued treasures: our
children. They have worked hard during trying times to maintain an educational
experience second to none. Due to the state budget cuts and increased costs, we
are spending $10 million less on our children than we did just five years ago
and we have more students to educate. We have been forced to cut programs (cut
teachers), increase classroom sizes (cut teachers) and increase fees (instead of
cutting teachers). As a board member, I am concerned these cuts are starting to
impact our students, and even worse, some might slip through the cracks.
Lewis-Palmer (District 38) is known for providing a quality education to all our
students which is a reason many of us live here.
Our community has the opportunity to help. The mill levy
override (MLO) on the ballot this November will help ensure new students receive
the same educational opportunities of past graduates, restore some resources for
our struggling students, and provide additional funding for much needed security
The facts concerning the challenges facing Lewis-Palmer and the
plan for using additional funding are posted on the district’s website. (Select
the Mill Levies and Bond Issues button on the left).
Please join me at Maguireville on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.
to show our support for our teachers, our community, and our kids. Don’t miss an
opportunity to socialize with friends while getting a chance to walk through
Maguireville and see all the history on display. There will be snacks, drinks
and live music. Maguireville is located at 18110 Knollwood Blvd. just north of
Visit www.nowsthetimeD38.org to obtain more information about
the MLO and how you can help.
MarkPfoff, Parent of two students and Lewis-Palmer D-38
School Board member
High teacher turnover at Palmer Ridge
Out of the original 44 hand-selected, "Dream Team" teachers that
opened Palmer Ridge High School in 2008, only 14 remain. There are 11 new staff
members at PRHS this fall. This turnover rate in these professional positions
would be devastating in any business and would indicate the need for immediate
investigation into its cause.
One example that could provide insight is an email that was sent
to all staff from the principal’s secretary: "TEACHER CONTRACTS: Your contracts
will be in your mailbox later today. Be sure to sign the WHITE original and
return to me, by May 24, 2013 otherwise the District may open the position and
offer a contract to another candidate as provided by law."
The tone is not collegial but threatening, and it is actually
untrue. Teachers have until July 1 to sign their contracts. Why would Principal
Gabel threaten to replace his current teaching staff without a personal
conversation as to why a contract has not been returned with the teacher’s
signature? Also, past practice has established that teachers are assumed to be
returning under contract, even if they do not sign by July 1. This email was
brought to the attention of the district superintendent in June. It was
anticipated that the district’s director of Human Resources, if not the
principal, would have issued an apology to all staff for the tone and erroneous
information in this communication as a misstatement or misunderstanding, but
none was forthcoming.
LPSD has a teacher turnover rate of 42 percent, one of the
highest on the Front Range. The public has not been made aware of this nor if it
is even being addressed by a director of HR in whom the district invests $82,000
a year plus benefits.
Stephen Boyd, MA Ed, Larkspur
Seeking a mirage
The good folks of Palmer Lake have a better chance in recreating
an image of a lake rather than filling it with precious water. All they have to
do is contact Christo, the world renowned artist who still awaits his OK on
draping the Arkansas River. He could work his magic by stretching a tough,
reflective Mylar over the now weed-infested lakebed, creating a mirage. He’d
then take it down once the water rights were secured.
Jim Sawatzki, artist/historian, Spruce Mountain, Douglas
Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore:
By the staff at Covered Treasures
As the leaves start turning, our thoughts turn to new
beginnings—and maybe some new adventures. If you’re planning to get outdoors and
enjoy some sunny September days, or if you’d like to preserve some of your
garden produce, tour some Colorado wineries, try your hand at home brewing, or
break out the crock pot and find some new recipes, there are good books to guide
you on your way.
Hiking Waterfalls in Colorado
By Susan Joy Paul (Falcon) $21.95
From the Front Range to the Western Slope, Colorado boasts
hundreds of waterfalls, spilling over crags and cliffs, splashing off boulders,
and slipping over slabs. This guide provides driving directions and hike
descriptions, maps, and color photos for 150 of the most scenic waterfalls,
leading you through state and national parks, forests, monuments and wilderness
areas, and from popular city parks to the most remote and secluded corners of
the state. There are hikes suited to all abilities with mile-by-mile directional
cues, approximate hiking times, and maps.
Preserving Made Easy
By Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard (Firefly Books) $9.99
This is the perfect book for busy cooks who want to prepare and
enjoy the homemade goodness of fresh fruits and vegetables year round. These
recipes—all thoroughly tested and perfected—were selected for their delicious
taste and ease of preparation. Each recipe offers something special—an
innovative twist to an old favorite, an inspired way to mix and match flavors,
or a new tip to make the whole process easier and more fun.
Exploring Colorado Wineries: Guidebook & Journal
By Paula Mitchell (Summit Mesa Publishing) $23.95
With colorful pages and detailed information, this guide
introduces you to the state’s 125 wineries and tasting rooms with precise maps
and written directions. Other amenities are listed for each winery, and space is
left for your own notes.
Home Brew Beer
Bob Bridle, senior editor (Dorling Kindersley Limited) $22
Find out how to brew a wide range of ales, lagers, and wheat
beers—as well as a thirst-quenching collection of herb, spice, and fruit beers.
The book includes 100 recipes from around the world, with brewers’ tips and
full-page photos of the finished beers. Detailed step-by-step photographs show
you what to do at every stage of the process, and a comprehensive equipment
section is included.
Putting Food By
By Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan (Penguin)
This classic book on preserving foods—from fruits and vegetables
to meat and seafood has been fully updated for 21st-century kitchens. It
includes instructions for canning, freezing, salting, smoking, drying, and root
cellaring; mouthwatering recipes for pickles, relishes, jams, and jellies;
information on preserving with less sugar and salt; and tips on equipment,
ingredients, health and safety issues, and resources.
The Homebrewer’s Recipe Guide
By Patrick Higgins, Maura Kate Kilgore, and Paul Hertlein
Magnificent pale ales, ambers, stouts, lagers, and seasonal
brews are included in over 175 original beer recipes along with tips from the
master brewers. There are also recipes for foods featuring homebrew as an
ingredient, like red-hot rack of ribs, frijoles borrachos, and classic oatmeal
beer bread. Rich quotations from Hemingway, Shakespeare, Joyce, and others
celebrate memorable libations, special drinking spots, and other bits of beer
and tavern lore and legend.
The Paleo Slow Cooker: Healthy, Gluten-Free Meals the Easy Way
By Arsy Vartanian (Race Point Publishing) $27
Tender, herb-packed and satisfying dishes will appear on the
table almost magically and with just a little effort from your slow cooker. From
traditional stews and pot roasts mingled with wholesome vegetables to more
exotic flavors from around the world, Paleo takes on dishes served in the best
restaurants in this truly gourmet array of 125 recipes. Full-page color
photographs illustrate each recipe, and ingredients and instructions are listed
side by side on the facing page, making this an easy book for the busy cook to
Kids are back in school, a new season is beginning, and maybe
it’s time to try something new in the kitchen, outdoors, or on the road.
Whatever you do, enjoy this beautiful season in colorful Colorado. Until next
month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be contacted at
Motorists should take extra care in migration season
By Kate Wetterer
Imagine how cars must look to forest creatures—hulking beasts
with stiff pelts that glint in the light, barreling along at breakneck speeds,
not even stopping to devour their prey.
We in the Tri-Lakes area live in a region blessed with thriving
animal populations; we live side-by-side, our worlds brushing. In our cars, we
pose quite a threat to these wild neighbors, so it is vital we should look out
for wildlife that might fall victim to us on our thundering roads. This is
especially important to consider when animals are migrating, like they will be
as winter approaches.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) warns drivers
that October and November bring with them the highest number of reported
animal/vehicle collisions, not even considering those left unreported in the
street. Migration season stretches from Oct. 1 to June 1, so it is wise to be
extra cautious during this time lest some poor creature should chance their luck
on the road at just the wrong moment.
Because animals are most active from dusk to dawn, some roads in
other parts of the state have reduced speed limits at night, and fines are
doubled for speeding after the sun has set. El Paso County doesn’t house any of
these designated areas, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wary when driving
in areas with lots of animal life. In fact, according to CDOT, the county has a
comparatively high number of animal/vehicle collisions.
Other regions are having fences, wildlife escape ramps, and
other handy accident-prevention devices added to their roads, but we are not, as
yet. Couldn’t it be said this only increases our responsibilities, driving such
that we leave the inhabitants of the woods safe to dart and scavenge another
As Colorado State Patrol Capt. Rich Duran has said, quoted in a
CDOT news bulletin: "In our state, it just makes good safe sense to slow down
and drive with extra caution in wildlife areas, particularly at night. If you
live here, you know. Wildlife are always present and when it’s dark, they are
moving and we cannot see them as clearly—slowing down gives all motorists that
extra protection necessary to avoid a collision." Something to keep in mind when
hurtling down the road in the evening, or even with the stars out and about.
On the whole, animal/vehicle collisions in Colorado have been
decreasing since 2006, CDOT says. Many factors are potentially involved in this
decline, of course, including weather shifts and fluctuating animal populations,
but it is very possible driver awareness has helped bring about this encouraging
news. That doesn’t mean we should let our guard down during this year’s coming
migration season, though, by any means. This is a shared land, and we humans
comprise only a percentage of its population. Drive safely!
More information can be found about the CDOT and its doings at
www.coloradodot.info. To learn more about wildlife migration and
Colorado’s roads, search for "Wildlife on the Move!" on this site.
Kate Wetterer can be reached at
Art as home remedy
By Janet Sellers
"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to
change them yourself."—Andy Warhol
The current craze of wine and painting workshops is proof that
people want to get out and do creative things together in a fun way, and this
venue idea provides everything but the artist: you! Along the Front Range in
Colorado, studio visits, drop-in art studios, wine bar studios and wine or tea
art parties are becoming very popular.
Of course, the hunt and purchase of a new painting or sculpture
for you home or office is always a cure for the blahs. It can even become a
magnificent obsession, in a good way. But what I’m talking about here is
actually making some art for you. It is possible, under the guidance of a good
artist as teacher, for you to make a good painting—good enough for you to hang
proudly on your wall.
Recently, I held an art and wine event for some newbie
artists—some had never painted before, and most had not put paint to canvas
ever, or at least not in a long while. I had a prototype prepared, a sample
painting, and as I demonstrated the techniques with the brush and paint onto the
canvas, the participants did the same moves, exclaiming happily about the
greens, purples, and so on that they were mixing up and brushing onto their
At the end of the session, no two paintings looked the same, but
all were fun and good looking. The artwork will be their keepsakes of that day
together, and a work of art that will bring joy lifelong. Well, that’s what art
does, you know.
Many art collectors say that they get renewed pleasure from
their art collection whenever they look at the works. Art can increase in value
over time, it is true, but it’s still a good idea to buy what you like and die
happy. Even just chatting about art at a gallery, or about one’s art collection,
whether it’s museum quality or just something that makes a good fit for
pleasure, creates a happy feeling. And you can always join a group or a one-shot
artist night and make your own to enjoy!
I hope you will join me this month for the festive events in art
that many local venues have prepared just for you.
September arts events
Whimsy County Frog Festival and Show of Classic Conveyances—Sept.
7, 1 to 6 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Brewery, 1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive. Frog on
a Limb Primitives of Monument and the Pikes Peak Brewery are holding the event
as a fundraiser to benefit the many neighbors, artisans, and customers affected
by the Black Forest Fire. Guests can enjoy food, beer, games, raffles, and
Monument Art Hop—the last Art Hop of 2013 is on Sept. 19,
when over a dozen venues stay open until 8 p.m. Galleries, restaurants, and
boutiques of historic downtown Monument feature art openings, food, and live
music. The art quarter is between Second and Third Streets.
Fabulous Friday Art Nights—Sept. 6, 13, 20, 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.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery—Sept. 13, artist
reception for new exhibit and sale of art by Julia McMinn Evans, 5 to 8 p.m.
Show runs Sept. 2 to 27. The main gallery hosts over a dozen local fine artists
in the media of paintings, photography, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and mixed
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery—A special event as a sendoff for
departing gallery Director Leo Huff, this show and sale for the end of summer
will be held on Sept. 14 and 15, 10 to 6 p.m. The gallery has only local
artists at this innovative community gallery, and Southwinds artists will be on
hand to welcome the community for an event of art and conviviality.
Richard Pankratz retrospective—Opening night has already
occurred, but throughout September you can still enjoy the show of local art
legend, Richard Pankratz, even with some work from his college years. TCLA, 304
Highway 105 in Palmer Lake.
Front Range Open Studios—Local artists studio event Sept. 14
and 15. A self- guided tour of the studios and workshops of the Tri-Lakes
region. Free to the public and for visitors of all ages. Artists will be
demonstrating and showing their work. For a map to all locations, go to
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snapshots of Our Community
Gleneagle Sertoma blood drives total 564 pints
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:
By Dean Jones, Gleneagle Sertoma Club
Thirty-eight donors signed in for Gleneagle Sertoma Club’s 17th
biannual blood drive on Aug 1. Club volunteers and medical personnel from the
Penrose Hospital Blood Bank collected 32 pints of blood from qualifying donors.
A total of 564 pints have been collected since the program’s inception in 2005.
The blood drive is held twice a year at the Antelope Trails
Elementary School in Monument. The blood is drawn by donor phlebotomists from
the Blood Bank and benefits the Penrose-St. Francis Hospital blood resources.
Caption: Sherri Wells of the Penrose Hospital
Blood Bank reviews and approves qualifications of Kelly Gauck to donate blood.
Donors Bart Jones and Nannette Anderson receive careful attention by donor
phlebotomistsTara Stewart and Laura Davis of the Penrose Hospital Blood Bank.
Young donors Tyson Alcom and Brendon O’Connor give blood under the care of donor
phlebotomists Rhoda Bell and Tara Stewart. Sertoma volunteers Wanda Jones, Bill
Nance, and Rae Berg sign up and instruct potential donors to give blood for the
Penrose Hospital Blood Bank. Photos provided by Dean Jones.
2013 Chautauqua, Aug. 2-4
Caption: Storyteller and writer John Stansfield introduced the 2013
Chautauqua to the attendees on opening night in Palmer Lake. The Chautauqua is
sponsored by the Palmer Lake Historical Society and was directed this year by
Jim Sawatzki, author, historian, and DVD producer and director. The evening was
highlighted by the presentation of Sawatzki’s latest DVD, The Sojourn. It
is a short, informative history of the Chautauqua.
Contestants in the period costume event at the 2013 Chautauqua
line up for judging. They are, from left, Chuck and Cathy Leoffler, John Snyder,
Phyllis Bonser, Bonnie Allen, and contest coordinator and storyteller John
Stansfield. Cathy Leoffler won first place, Chuck Leoffler was second, and
Bonser was third.
On the last day of the Chautauqua, Jim Sawatzki, local
historian, author, and DVD producer and director, front left in the white
jacket, conducted a tour of several prominent historical sites in Palmer Lake.
Sites visited included the Palmer Lake Firehouse, the Old Jail, the Lucretia
Vaile Museum, the Santa Fe Section Foreman’s House, and the First Proper
Schoolhouse. Photos by Bernard Minetti.
See also the ice cream social photo on page 26.
Tri-Lakes Y Back-to-School BBQ, Aug. 16
Caption: Zach Franklin, 4, played on the turf after having his
face painted at the Tri-Lakes YMCA Back-to-School Barbecue on Friday, Aug. 16.
This free community event included face painting, bounce houses, food, games,
and music. For more information on the Tri-Lakes YMCA, visit
www.ppymca.org. Photo by Emma Gaydos.
Taste of Palmer Lake event Aug. 24 raised money for the lake
By Bernard Minetti
The Palmer Lake Restoration Committee organized the Taste of
Palmer Lake restaurant-sponsored event on Aug. 24.
Highway 105 through Palmer Lake, also known as Restaurant Row,
was lined with tents and tables in front of each eating establishment to provide
an opportunity for sightseers to taste their wares. The taste treats that were
provided were varied at each table.
Committee head Jeff Hulsmann stated that proceeds for the event
would go to the Palmer Lake Restoration Committee. This 501(c)(3) committee was
revitalized to provide a vehicle to obtain a Go Colorado lottery grant of
$450,000, which the group is pursuing. The grant would provide funds to
re-establish the park-like setting around the lakebed area.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at
Captions: The Save the Lake effort in Palmer Lake Sunday,
August 11. The campaign which is the brainchild of Ron Heard, is being sponsored
by the Palmer Lake Historical Society in order to get grant assistance from the
State of Colorado. The lake known now affectionately as the Palmer Lake Mud
Flats, has dried up. This effort by the residents of the area is an attempt to
rectify the situation. Photo by Jennifer Nasser.
Bonnie Tinker, a volunteer for the Palmer Lake
Restoration Committee, stands beside a sign that demonstrates the zeal and
direction of this group. She and many other volunteers helped to produce the
Taste of Palmer Lake fundraising event in Palmer Lake on Aug. 24. Photo by
On Aug. 31, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) hosted a
music festival at the Lake of the Rockies Campground at Monument Lake. The
Charlie Daniels Band headlined the daylong festival, bringing the audience to
its feet on a number of songs including his iconic The Devil Went Down to
Georgia. Though in his mid-70s, Daniels performed with youthful energy
while displaying his well-known fiddle and guitar playing. Local acts The Lucci
Music Band, Dakota Blonde, Chuck Pyle, Wire Wood Station, The Dinettes, and The
Flying W Wranglers preceded Daniels. Photo by David Futey.
Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at
www.trillakesarts.org. David Futey can be reached at
August and September library events
By Harriet Halbig
The library’s annual Ice Cream Social, part of the Return of the
Rocky Mountain Chautauqua, was held Aug. 3. Despite the gloomy weather, the
event was enjoyed by many, and the CountyLine Ramblers bluegrass group added to
the festivity. Our thanks go to the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the
Palmer Lake Historical Society for their sponsorship of this event.
There are two schedule changes for regularly occurring
The Paws to Read dogs will be in the library on Wednesdays from
4:15 to 5:15. They will continue to be here on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30.
Toddler Times on Thursdays will now be at 9:30 and 10:15.
On Sept. 5, there will be a special Toddler Time with Pikes Peak
Music Together. Fun and active music especially for toddlers! There will be two
sessions as usual, at 9:30 and 10:15.
Meet hedgehogs and tenrecs on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 1:30 to 3
p.m. Kathy of Kathy’s Kritters will bring real hedgehogs and their miniature
versions, tenrecs. Learn about their behavior and care and make a hedgie craft
of your own to take home.
Join us for the Legos Club on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 to
11:30 a.m. Legos enthusiasts of all ages are welcome. We will provide the Legos
and you bring the creativity. Please do not bring your own Legos, but be sure to
bring your camera to record your creation—all pieces remain the property of the
Programs for teens and tweens
Create a notebook as part of the September Crafty Teens program.
Get together with your friends, eat snacks, and create a notebook. We’ll provide
the materials, but you can personalize your creation by bringing your own
artwork, magazines, and photos. The program will be on Friday, Sept. 6, from
3:30 to 5 p.m. No registration necessary.
Is math homework getting you down? Are finals freaking you out?
Do you need to brush up before the GED, ACT, or GRE? Students of all ages are
welcome to sit down with our volunteer math tutors to clarify those trouble
spots. No appointments are necessary. Come in on Mondays between 3:30 and 7 p.m.
The program will continue every week from Sept. 16 to May 19, excluding District
38 and library holidays.
Programs for adults
Camilla Wetzel, the Geriatric Navigator, will offer a program on
Wednesday, Sept. 11, to learn tips and techniques for assisting a loved one with
a diagnosis of dementia. What is dementia and how is it different from
Alzheimer’s? How does one adapt to this ever-changing life? Join us for this
The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, Sept. 20, from 10
until noon to discuss The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. This is one of
the titles in the 2013 All Pikes Peak Reads program. All patrons are welcome to
attend this monthly book club.
Explore options for publishing your work with author Meredith
Bromfield. Do you need an agent? What about self-publishing and small publishing
houses that charge to publish a book? These are some of the interesting topics
that will be discussed on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
On the walls of the library in September will be photography by
David Vessey. In the display case will be a patriotic display by the Daughters
of the American Revolution.
Palmer Lake Library programs
Palmer Lake’s Family Fun program for September will be Music and
Puppets from Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. Join Allison Flannery,
local author and music teacher, as she introduces you to Grieg’s beautiful and
familiar music through the story in her book. You will create your own puppet to
act out the story and enjoy familiar melodies and lots of movement. The program
is suitable for all ages and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:30
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday
of every month. New members are welcome and no registration is required. Please
call 481-2587 for the current selection.
The art exhibit in the library will be a charming photographic
collection called Risa’s Rabbits.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, July 18:
A history of Pikes Peak through postcards
By Bernard L. Minetti
Mel McFarland, engineer and chief conductor on the Manitou and
Pikes Peak Railway in Manitou Springs, presented "Pikes Peak as Seen in Early
Postcards" at the August meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. He
painted a picture of history through the use of historic post cards of Pikes
Peak. He started by giving some background of the railroad and noted that the
person who crafted the original idea of a railroad to Pikes Peak was Zalmon G.
Simmons. Simmons was also the founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Co.
This all began in 1889.
McFarland noted that the postcards of that era, of which he had
collected many, sometimes did not necessarily agree with fact. For example, the
railroad cars usually were red in the postcards of that time, while they
actually were green. He also noted that sometimes localities were not identified
correctly, and he displayed a card that was labeled Pikes Peak but actually was
an image of Cheyenne Mountain.
Some photographs of trains on the cards were tilted to make it
look as if they were going up to Pikes Peak, when actually they were going down,
he said. Also, sometimes images of people were placed in photos when there were
none in the original prints. Buildings were also placed in photos that were not
actually on the spots shown. He showed cards that were "Photoshopped" to insert
an airplane into a photo of Pikes Peak. He speculated that these techniques
probably were used to make the cards more saleable.
McFarland showed many cards that portrayed the history of the
cog railway that climbed to the top of Pikes Peak. The cards themselves defined
and portrayed the actual progression of the railway to what it is today. He
showed many of the locomotives and railcars that hauled passengers to the peak
and stated that many, while not in use, were still stored on the railway grounds
in Manitou Springs. In the beginning all were steam powered, but they were
gradually replaced by gasoline and then diesel-powered engines. McFarland was
given a huge round of applause for this presentation by those present, many of
whom were railroad devotees.
Society President Al Walter advised the group that the Palmer
Lake Town Council had approved restoration of the historic jailhouse located on
the grounds in front of the Town Hall. He noted that the society would bear the
cost of this project and that the council had also transferred management and
control of the jail to the society. Walter said effort to place the Palmer Lake
on the Colorado list of Endangered Places was originated by Ron Heard and was
administratively sponsored by the society. Other local groups were assisting in
the overall effort to "save the lake."
The September meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society will
feature a presentation on "Forgotten Tales of Colorado." Stephanie Waters, owner
of Colorado Ghost Tours, will be the presenter. The society invites the public
to this free presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Palmer Lake Town
Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake,
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at
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 - September Menu
Sep. 11: Spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad.
Sep. 18: Raspberry chipotle chicken, roasted potatoes,
Sep. 25: Grilled shrimp, Caesar salad, rolls.
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,
Volunteers needed for Black Forest Regional Park Fire
The Rocky Mountain Field Institute seeks volunteers age 16 and
up, or 13 if accompanying a parent volunteer. Work includes spreading native
seed and building erosion control structures. The work days are Thursdays and
Fridays Sept. 12, 13, 26, 27, Oct. 1 and 2, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at
the parking lot at the Black Forest Regional Park off Milam Road. Contact Liz
Nichol, 471-7736 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information or to sign up.
Volunteers needed for
brush and tree thinning
Volunteers are needed to cut scrub oak, junipers, and pine trees
for residents who need help with fire mitigation. Two more volunteer fire
mitigation workdays will be scheduled in September and October for residents
identified by Wescott Fire Marshal Margo Humes as needing help getting work done
on their properties. Volunteers may contact Julia at Integrity Roofing,
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District seeks board member, apply
by Sept. 13
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District No. 1 is seeking
applications from qualified district residents to fill a vacant seat on the
Board of Directors, completing the remaining term of the vacancy, which will run
through May 2014. The application is available at the district office, 1845
Woodmoor Dr., Monument, or at www.woodmoorwater.com. The completed applications
must be received at the district office by Sept. 13. For more
information, visit www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 ext. 0.
Volunteer needed for 911 Emergency Response Center Board, apply
by Sept. 13
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a
community-minded citizen volunteer to serve as an At-Large representative to the
911 Emergency Response Center Authority Board. Applications are due by Sept.
13. Applicants must have knowledge of emergency response by police, fire,
and EMS. Also essential is an understanding of telecommunications systems and
computer-based telephony. The volunteer application is located at
www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information,
Volunteers needed for Board of Adjustment, apply by Sept. 13
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking
community-minded citizen volunteers to serve as associate members on the Board
of Adjustment. Applications are due by Sept. 13. The Board of Adjustment
hears and decides on issues of physical variances related to the county zoning
code. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the
"Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.
PPLD Adult Reading Program Logo Contest, enter by Sept. 15
2014 will mark the 10th anniversary of the library’s Adult
Reading Program. Each year there is a different theme and logo and the library
wants you to come up with their next design! One theme/logo will be chosen for
use on program materials such as tote bags and coffee mugs. Email your design to
email@example.com by Sept. 15. Also include your name, address, phone number,
and email address. Info: www.ppld.org.
Volunteer needed for CSU Extension Advisory Committee, apply by
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking
community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the CSU Extension Advisory
Committee. Applications are due by Sept. 27. A 4-H representative, two Food and
Nutrition representatives (knowledge in food safety and nutrition), two Family
and Consumer Science representatives (experience/knowledge of nutrition and
family relations), and two Community-at-Large representatives are needed on the
committee. The volunteer application is located at
www.elpasoco.com. Click on
the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.
Register now for fall basketball
and swim classes at the Y
Tri-Lakes YMCA Fall Basketball for ages 3 years old-8th grade is
scheduled for Oct. 21-Dec. 14. Also, swim classes are available for ages 6
months to adult. Register at www.ppymca.org or at 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy,
Monument. Info: 481-8728.
Wine, Roses and More, Oct. 20
The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) will present Wine, Roses and
More, its fall fundraising event, Oct. 20, 5-8 p.m., at the Colorado
Springs Marriott, 3580 Tech Center Dr., I-25 exit 148. The evening features
celebrity servers, delicious delicacies from wonderful local restaurants,
on-site chefs, more than 200 fine wines, spirits and beers, a coffee bar,
raffle, an amazing live auction, plus a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the
Tri-Lakes community. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased on line at:
www.tlwc.net until 1 p.m. the day of the event or at the door. All proceeds from
Wine, Roses and More will go to assist local nonprofit and educational
organizations. For more information, visit www.tlwc.net.
Craft Fair vendors wanted,
reserve by Sep. 28
The Merry Bear Craft Fair is scheduled for Oct. 19-20 at
Palmer Ridge High School, Monument. Reserve a 10-by-10 booth for $80.
Reservation deadline is Sep. 28. For more information, call 487-7351.
MVEA Essay Contest, enter by Nov. 18
High School Juniors can win an all-expense-paid trip in June to
either Washington, D.C., or a week in July at Leadership Camp in the mountains!
All you have to do to enter is write a 500-word essay on "What is your opinion
on the War on Coal, and how do you feel it may impact electric cooperatives?"
Requirements and contest entry form are available at either Mountain View
Electric Association office or online at www.mvea.coop. Info: 719-494-2670.
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
Black Forest Slash and Mulch Site,
slash drop-off ends Sept. 15
The Black Forest Slash/Mulch site is still open 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. Slash drop-off ends Sept. 15. 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. Mulch pick-up ends Sept. 28 (or when mulch runs
out). 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,
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.
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
Gardeners wanted for Monument Community Garden
The community garden is located in Monument’s Lavelett Park on
Beacon Lite Road. One garden bed is available to a gardener for personal use.
The other bed’s harvest will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares as it has for the
last two years. Help is needed with planting, maintaining, and harvesting that
bed. Also needed are donations for the purchase of short-season seeds for the
Tri-Lakes Cares bed. For more information, contact Leah Squires, 488-5902,
firstname.lastname@example.org; or Carol Crossland, 661-1476,
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.
Lupus support group forming
If you are interested in joining a lupus support group in the
Monument area, please email Diane Bandle, email@example.com.
Multiple sclerosis support group
A multiple sclerosis (MS) group is forming for the Tri-Lakes and
surrounding areas. If interested, please email Susan,
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center
is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is
open 1-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and earlier for scheduled activities. The
facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs
include pinochle, Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; National Mah-jongg,
Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; tea
time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m. Also
available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and
board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet
connections, and an information table. For more information about programs for
seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of
information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches
offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the
schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center.
There are articles and notices of events geared toward senior citizens. To
subscribe to the free newsletter, send an email with your name and mailing
address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat can also be viewed
online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior
safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector
evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For
more information, call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.