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Vol. 14 No. 11 - November 1, 2014


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This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.

the PDF file. This is a 22.2 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

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

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Lewis-Palmer High School math teacher named Colorado Teacher of the Year

By Harriet Halbig

Kathy Thirkell, a math teacher at Lewis-Palmer High School, has been named 2015 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

Thirkell has spent her entire 34-year teaching career at Lewis-Palmer High School. She is well known for her mentoring and support of students and her innovative use of songs to help remember math concepts.

Among those who recognized her talents at a school assembly on Oct. 13 were the state education commissioner, the Colorado Education Association, Adams State College, the Colorado Free Masons, and Blue Bell Ice Cream, which provided ice cream for all students.

In her acceptance speech, Thirkell thanked her students for all their efforts, encouraged them to consider teaching as a profession, and urged them to thank a teacher.

Thirkell will tour the country with other state honorees, visit the White House, and attend Space Camp as part of her title. She is the first teacher from District 38 to be so honored.

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council, Oct 9: Town retains ban on recreational marijuana sales

By James Howard

Whether or not to allow legal sales of recreational marijuana in Palmer Lake was once again the focus of a well-attended and often contentious Town Council meeting on Oct. 9. This time the question took the form of a request from a group named Peaceful Palmer Lake that the Town Council repeal Ordinance 2, 2014, which prohibits the sale of recreational marijuana. Repealing the ordinance would have pre-empted the two ballot initiatives addressing such sales that the town will vote on in the Nov. 4 election, one initiative allowing such sales, and the other prohibiting them for the next three years.

The Town Council invited Marc Snyder, mayor of Manitou Springs, to discuss the results of that city’s recent decision to allow recreational marijuana sales. Nearly 30 residents of Palmer Lake addressed the council on the repeal, including Dino Salvatori, the owner of Palmer Lake Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary in Palmer Lake, who spoke on behalf of Peaceful Palmer Lake. On another topic, the council heard a presentation by ProTerra Properties requesting an augmentation to the plan to provide water for their proposed residential development.

Manitou mayor sees benefits of marijuana sales

Legalization of recreational marijuana sales in Manitou Springs has brought more benefits than problems, according to Snyder, who has been that town’s mayor since 2009. He described himself as having been on the fence concerning such sales, but the majority of Manitou Springs’ Town Council wanted to move ahead with the sales.

Manitou Springs voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized personal use, commercial cultivation, manufacture, and sale of marijuana in Colorado, by a margin of 2 to 1 in 2012, so Snyder felt the will of the voters was clear, although he acknowledged there were voters who would never accept recreational sales. Nonetheless, he wanted an advisory vote to be held on the issue, but could not achieve that.

The Manitou Springs Town Council formed a task force and held six public meetings over seven months to write regulations, finally deciding to allow two stores, only one of which has opened, and neither of which could be located in the town’s historic downtown area. The stores would require two licenses: one for sales of medicinal marijuana and a second to sell recreational marijuana. The store currently open has not created congestion or parking issues, according to Snyder.

Snyder also noted that since legalization of recreational sales in Manitou Springs, marijuana-related arrests are down 45 percent, and the black market, which had been a problem in some parks, has disappeared. Snyder said he has seen little evidence of public consumption of marijuana, due in part to an education effort on the part of the retailers, who are required to give information about public consumption to each customer.

A 5 percent tax was added to existing taxes, for a 10.4 percent cumulative tax on sales. The sales raised $223,000 in tax revenue in the first two months and one week of business. According to Snyder, the sales have not increased problems with transients, and have not led to a need for more police officers. Overall, impacts on other businesses have been positive, and Snyder felt there has not been any impact on quality of life in Manitou Springs.

Peaceful Palmer Lake requests repeal

Speaking for Peaceful Palmer Lake, local business owner Salvatori presented the case for repealing the ban on sales of recreational marijuana in Palmer Lake. Salvatori focused first on the issue of tax revenue, arguing the moral issue had already been decided by state law. Salvatori estimated that if recreational sales in Palmer Lake produced revenue similar to revenue in Manitou Springs, the result would be about $3 million per year in additional tax revenue.

Salvatori proposed that the council vote to repeal the existing ban and vote to legalize sales beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Salvatori also proposed the creation of a five-member committee, with two members appointed by Chris Amensen, the author of the ballot question banning sales, two members appointed by local freelance photographer and videographer Mitchell Davis, and one member appointed by the Town Council. The committee would review all citizen complaints.

Salvatori’s current business is already licensed by the state to sell medical marijuana, wholesale marijuana to other businesses, and marijuana-infused edibles. Salvatori proposed a tax of 6 percent, to be paid directly to the town, be added to existing taxes. According to Salvatori, the advantages would be funds to modernize the Fire Department and elimination of any need to increase property taxes.

Citizen comments favor retaining ban

Following Salvatori’s remarks, almost 30 others spoke, expressing a variety of opinions, but in most cases encouraging the council not to repeal the ban at the October meeting and to allow the voters to decide the issue in the upcoming election. Many of the comments did not address the request to repeal the ban directly, but instead pointed out why or why not marijuana should be consumed.

Chris Amensen argued that the council did not have the legal right to pre-empt the ballot question he had authored, and threatened to sue the council if it repealed the ban. The town’s lawyer, Larry Gaddis, said the upcoming vote is advisory only, and the board has the freedom to repeal the ban if it decides that is in the best interest of the community. Gary Lockwood stated retail sales would hurt his property values, and that if the ban was repealed he would work to arrange for his neighborhood to secede from Palmer Lake and be annexed by Monument.

Karen Stuth argued that the current policies on drugs haven’t worked, and regulation is preferable to prohibition. Jim Adams took the position that civil rights shouldn’t be put to a vote, and alcohol sales create more problems in the community than recreational marijuana sales would do, since alcohol is consumed in bars and restaurants, leading to drunken driving, and marijuana is consumed privately. Judith Harrington encouraged everyone to make sure their voter registration was up to date with their correct address, since the election will be entirely by mail.

Mitchell Davis spoke in favor of repealing the ban, pointing out that 45 towns in Colorado, including tourist destinations like Crested Butte, Breckinridge, and Telluride, already have retail sales, so Palmer Lake would by no means be the first to allow them. He also pointed out that the ballot question prohibiting retail sales for three years would unwisely tie the hands of the council for too long a time.

Council votes to retain ban

Following the citizens’ comments, Roads Trustee John Russell moved that the council deny the petition to repeal the ordinance. Police Trustee Paul Banta seconded the motion. In the discussion of the motion, Trustee Rich Kuehster expressed regrets that the town might have to forgo a benign way to increase tax revenue and that the ballot question forbidding sales would restrict future councils. Kuehster said the only way recreational sales would work was if a majority of voters supported them in the upcoming election.

Trustee Trish Flake asked that the potential for new jobs be considered in the council’s vote and reminded the council that use of marijuana was a right protected by state law. Trustee Banta took the position that the first responsibility of the trustees was to represent the citizens. Trustee Jen Martin said that she would not vote against the will of the people, but added that since her vote against medical marijuana sales in 2012 she has been attacked, harassed, and bullied for that position, and that she now sees some benefits to regulated sales. She ended her remarks by asking for respect from the community and asked that she not be contacted on this subject in the future.

Parks and Recreation Trustee Cindy Allen reiterated Martin’s remarks about harassment and said she would vote her conscience on this issue, despite pressure from some members of the community. The motion passed with Trustees Flake and Allen voting against it and Trustees Russell, Martin, Kuehster and Banta voting for it, allowing the current ban to remain in place.

ProTerra requests augmentation to water plan

Jerry Biggs of ProTerra Properties requested that the Town Council approve further planning to augment the water plan for his proposed development of an 82-acre site on Highway 105 west of the trailer park. The development would consist of 15.5-acre residential lots. The current water plan allows ProTerra to drill wells but prohibits any use of the water outside the residences. The augmentation would allow outside uses only for purposes specified in the updated plan. The council voted to continue the planning process, with only Trustee Allen voting in opposition.

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

*****

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

James Howald can be reached at jameshowald@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 9: Rate increase, budget hearings scheduled

By Nancy Wilkins

At the Oct. 9 Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) Board of Directors meeting, the board endorsed efforts to preserve historic water rights, received a proposal to purchase or lease a vacant lot, discussed how to improve water quality after receiving complaints, approved servicing 28 new homes, and scheduled a rate increase hearing, a budget workshop, and a budget hearing.

Raising rates

President Barrie Town, Treasurer Tommy Schwab, Secretary Beth Courrau, Director Rich Strom, and Director Jim Taylor scheduled a rate increase hearing Dec. 4, a budget hearing Nov. 13, and a budget workshop on Oct. 22. The hearings start at 1 p.m. at 1845 Woodmoor Dr. and are open to the public.

A "first round" draft budget for 2015 was handed out to the board. A copy of the draft budget and approved financial reports dated Sep. 30 from the Oct. 9 meeting should be available at the district office.

Preserving historic water rights

Veronica Sperling from Buchanau and Sperling PC asked the board to endorse her efforts to help preserve and protect ownership rights to historic water claims. Sperling explained: If courts conclude the consumptive use of water has been claimed in subsequent cases, then the holder of unchanged historic shares of water may "get zero." This may affect owners with unchanged shares decreed hundreds of years ago. Sperling said there are about 20 cases pending, and four are appeals to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Sperling’s efforts include proposing new legislation. Sperling asked if she could include WWSD’S name on a current list of supporters. The board voted unanimously to support this cause.

HOA wants unused parcel for park

Representing the Homeowners Association and the Metropolitan District board of Village Center Estates, Forest Hindley asked WWSD if it would sell or lease an undeveloped lot.

Located near the entrance to Village Center Estates, the lot is near fully landscaped residential half-acre home sites and a church. Hindley envisions a park with trees and perhaps a picnic area maintained by the Metropolitan District. Both Hindley and the board suspect the lot is in a flood zone and cannot be commercially developed.

Hindley also expressed his concern that the WWSD would use the land as a booster station, and commented on the lot’s current poor aesthetics. Town said the board would discuss Hindley’s proposal in executive session and address the issue at the next board meeting.

Obtaining better water quality

Julaine and Bill Kennedy, Woodmoor residents for 27 years, spoke to the board about their concerns about water quality. According to the Kennedys, the water in their home smells like spinach, alfalfa, or weeds.

Town said the board reported receiving only 13 complaints so far this year, down from 33 last year. Julaine Kennedy said, "I think I could get you a few more." The Kennedys notified the district with this same problem last year. They said the problem has only occurred for the past two years. Bill was once a member of WWSD Board of Directors, serving for eight years. Julaine said Bill left because of term limits.

According to District Manager Jesse Shaffer, currently the blend of water is a mixture of 50 percent lake water and 50 percent from underground sources. But for a time in August, WWSD was using 100 percent lake water. Shaffer said "That’s really when the problem became more prevalent." The source of the smell and taste is probably algae that decompose late in the summer and produce organic compounds in the water. Through current processing, the algae should be removed, but the compounds may remain.

To track down the problem, Shaffer considers the chlorine concentration and the amount of time water is in the pipes between processing and consumption. Shaffer pinpoints where the complaints originate on a map in his office. Color-coded pins represent the time of the complaints. Town asked Lance Nielsen, operations superintendent, to test or retest the water going to the Kennedys residence and inside their home. "I can’t drink it," said Julaine Kennedy, who brought a sample of the water to the meeting and thought the smell was from algae, not chlorine.

Two tests successful in removing odor

Shaffer said a pilot test at the water treatment facility using ozone to oxidize the water was highly effective. A second test using granular activating carbon also removed the unpleasant odor and smell. But implementing these processes, one or a combination of both, could be expensive for the district.

Lake water is less expensive to process than water from underground aquifers. WWSD has a target goal of how much water from the lake should be used, and Shaffer estimated that goal would be met in late October. The district is also using a water mixer on Lake Woodmoor to dispel algae growth.

Whole home filters successful

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said some customers have successfully used whole home filters with granular activating carbon to improve the water quality. Town said, "We need to address this, each and every complaint. Let’s solve this problem." Shaffer said, "In next year’s budget I have some things that I’d like to propose to the board." The Kennedys were to meet with Shaffer in a subsequent meeting to follow up with their concerns.

Colorado Springs Utilities water resource plan

Water Resource Manager Brett Gracely and Issues Manager Gwen Happ from Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) presented its ongoing Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP), which goes beyond the CSU’s plans for phase one of the Southern Delivery System, (SDS).

CSU is working to finish phase one of SDS by early 2016. When completed, SDS will be able to transport large amounts of water to the Front Range. Gracely believed the permitted pipeline capacity for CSU is roughly 78 million gallons per day, coming north from Pueblo. But Gracely clarified that in any given year, the actual flow volume could be much less.

Gracely said computer simulations can now overlay multiple scenarios, and CSU is trying to look 50 years ahead. Factors affecting future water resource and consumption include climate change, population forecasts, consumer use, government regulation, water rights, potential to expand the non-potable supply, and maintenance of infrastructure. Future plans to provide additional water storage include building the Williams Creek reservoir.

SDS not currently required to manage stormwater

When Town asked about the stormwater initiative on the November ballot, Gracely said the initiative is not currently associated with delivering water through SDS, and SDS is not currently required to manage stormwater from a municipal function. However, from an environmental standpoint, Fountain Creek still needs to be monitored in terms of flow volume to monitor the effects of SDS.

A CSU brochure states that it has one of the largest non-potable water systems in Colorado, using treated wastewater for irrigation use. Shaffer said about 40 percent of WWSD water is used for landscaping, down from 50 percent, and Gracely agreed this is a downward trend seen through out the Front Range.

Possible meeting with other districts

When Gracely and Happ said CSU plans to hold an open house Oct. 15, Town suggested having a meeting of representatives across the community from other water districts, and he volunteered to be a part of future meetings.

Water report

Potable water billed between Aug. 29 and Sept. 30 amounted to about 34 million gallons. Unaccounted water was down to about 1 percent, representing about 181,118 gallons. Shaffer said meters had been installed to monitor unaccounted water and track down possible leaks.

September 30 financial report

The board unanimously approved the financial reports as of Sept. 30. Significant sources of income are the water use fee, $256,873; the renewable water investment fee, $160,372; the sewer use fee, $96,124; and the fee for water and sewer taps, $187,788. The district also shows a $20,940 nutrient grant as income for September.

No lease income from the JV Ranch is shown yet this year, although the district has budgeted $72,000 for lease income for 2014. The supplemental water and inclusion fee shows a year-to-date accumulation of $211,984, which was well over the expected budgeted income amount of $68,000, but no such income was shown for September. Total income was recorded as $732,907, and total expenses were $1.0 million for September.

Long-term liabilities included $27.9 million in bonds payable and a current liability for bonds payable of $695,000. Total liabilities and stockholder equity totaled $71.4 million.

Board approves water service for 28 new homes

The board unanimously approved an agreement to provide service for an additional 28 new homes planned for Misty Acres subdivision. The development is located in northern El Paso County near Palmer Ridge High School.

Chilcott Ditch report

Presenting the Chilcott Ditch Co. report to WWSD, Shaffer said the company cashed in a certificate of deposit of $25,000, bringing the company "in the black." Town reported that Chilcott, working with Shaffer and himself, is working on a four-year agreement with the town of Fountain.

Before adjourning into executive session at around 3:21 p.m., the board approved the content of the quarterly newsletter, pending slight modification to make the included map of the water district more readable.

**********

Board meetings are held at the district office on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. A budget hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13. The district office is located at 1845 Woodmoor Dr. Visit www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525.

Nancy Wilkins can be reached at nancywilkins@ocn.me.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 16: 10 percent increase in water rates proposed

By Jim Kendrick

On Oct. 16, the Donala Water and Sanitation District board approved using a 10 percent increase in all district water rates in the draft 2015 budget presented by General Manager Kip Petersen. The board also approved incorporating a residential wastewater rate increase of $1 per month used in drafting the 2015 budget.

Donala’s goal is to have district rates cover costs of service and provide an operating reserve for the first few months of each year before property tax revenues are received from the county. Donala’s property tax revenues will have to entirely replace tap fees as Donala’s source of capital reserves due to imminent residential build-out, meaning only a few more homes can be built in the district.

There will be public hearings for these two Donala rate increases and the 2015 budget during the next regular board meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 in the Donala District Office conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. It will be the final regular board meeting for 2014.

The Board of Directors will have a work session in the district conference room at 9 a.m. Nov. 20 at 15850 Holbein Drive, and will adjourn at 5 p.m. at the latest. The workshop will be held to discuss issues facing the district and how these issues will shape its future direction.

For more information see http://www.donalawater.org/. Directors Bill George, Dave Powell, Ken Judd, Bill Nance, and Bob Denny were all present.

Presentation of draft 2015 budget

The directors asked numerous questions in a wide-ranging discussion about the issues that the board must address and tradeoffs for each option. The 10 percent water rate increase would help water revenues come closer to covering water operations expenses, freeing some of the $1.5 million in Donala property tax revenue, which currently "subsidizes" water operating costs, to be used instead to help retire bond debt and pay for new renewable water rights.

If drought conditions return in 2015, the district will have to purchase substantially more supplemental water to meet summer irrigation demands and winter return flow requirements.

Some of the other highlights Petersen noted during a lengthy technical discussion about the first draft of the 2015 budget were:

1 Total revenue for 2015 was budgeted at $9.34 million, down from $9.53 million in 2014.

2 Total expense for 2015 was budgeted at $8.89 million, down from $9.61 million in 2014.

3 Savings in 2015 will be achieved by reducing the number of projects scheduled.

4 Water sales revenue for 2014 will be less than budgeted due to a wet year.

5 Part of the loss of revenue from selling reuse water to the defunct Gleneagle golf course for irrigation will be offset by treated effluent sales to downstream agricultural irrigation water ditch companies.

6 Water sales revenue for 2015 may remain lower than previous years due in part to the 10 percent rate increase for 2015.

7 The district’s water tank at Fox Run Park will have to be painted and repaired in 2015, increasing the budget line item for "Capital Projects-Other" from $300,000 in 2014 to $644,000 next year.

8 Negotiations continue with the Bureau of Reclamation for a long-term renewable water storage contract with Pueblo Reservoir.

Financial reports

Petersen discussed the results for the first three quarters of 2014. The financials were approved as presented.

Donala extended a loan of about $1 million to Triview in 2009 to help Triview pay for its share of expansion of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. Under a reimbursement agreement, Triview has been paying off the loan by transferring $1,500 from each new Triview tap fee to Donala. After this Oct. 16 meeting, Triview Metropolitan District paid off Donala’s construction loan with a cashier’s check for $642,406 on Oct. 22.

The board went into executive session at 3:37 p.m. to discuss water rights negotiations strategy. No votes were taken by the board during or after the executive session prior to adjournment.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 in the Donala District Office conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. However there will be no regular meeting in November. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.

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

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Monument Sanitation District, Oct. 16: Draft 2015 budget reviewed

By Jim Kendrick

On Oct. 16, District Manager Mike Wicklund presented the second draft of the 2015 budget to the Monument Sanitation District board. He had no new information to present on Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility expenses from the Oct. 14 facility Joint Use Committee budget hearing due to lack of any construction bid information and no resolution between the three owner districts on how costs for construction, operation, and chemicals for the new total phosphorus removal tertiary clarifier expansion would be divided between Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, the three districts that jointly own the Tri-Lakes facility.

This phosphorus treatment plant expansion for removal of this discharge permit constituent is being required by the state’s new nutrient Control Regulation 85. Currently there is only a rough estimate of costs from Tetra Tech, the facility’s engineering consultant. Tetra Tech’s original rough estimate of $1 million was increased to $2 million in September 2013 and then to $2.87 million in August 2014. Firm bids for the project will not be received until early 2015.

All five Monument board members were present for the meeting.

Financial reports

Wicklund noted a payment of $1,944 to Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning for a new gas furnace for Suite D of the district’s building on the southeast corner of Second and Washington Streets. Black Hills Energy performed gas leak inspections on Suites D and E. Robbins also repaired a leak on the stove gas line discovered by Black Hills.

Since the cash summary for the last district board meeting, total disbursements were $46,349 and total deposits were $50,731. Total cash on hand as of Oct. 15 was $825,409, including $244,692 in the First National Bank Capital Preservation Fund account, $403,907 in the ColoTrust Capital Preservation Fund account, and $28,021 in the Integrity Series-2013 loan account. No tap fees were received since the Sept. 18 board meeting.

The financial reports were accepted as presented.

JUC update

Wicklund stated the Oct. 14 Joint Use Committee meeting was uneventful. No changes were made to the draft 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget. Wicklund asked the directors to attend a JUC budget workshop on Oct. 21 at the Tri-Lakes facility conference room, if they could, for a tutorial by Facility Manager Bill Burks on each line of the JUC budget. Wicklund presented potential options for how costs for design, construction, operations, and maintenance of the new phosphate removal treatment clarifier expansion may be divided between the three special districts that own the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. He said negotiations between the district managers regarding how to share construction, operation, and chemical costs would continue later in October.

Building update

Wicklund said he had asked Hammers Construction Co. to inspect Suites D and E to determine what options to consider for renovating these vacated suites. No decisions have been made regarding renovation because the 2015 budget for the Tri-Lakes facility has not been finalized.

Wicklund briefed the board on inputs he had received from the district’s attorney Larry Gaddis and the district’s engineer, Roger Sams of GMS Inc. on having the town correct the installation of new cement on the corner of Second and Washington that has created severe trip and icing hazards for pedestrians at the entrance of Suite A.

The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

***********

The next meeting will be held on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. in the district conference room at 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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

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Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, Oct. 14: New state discharge permit still not issued

By Jim Kendrick

On Oct. 14, Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Bill Burks advised the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility that the state Water Quality Control Division had still not issued the draft for the new five-year discharge permit for 2014 to 2018 that the division had required the facility to apply for back in 2013, well before the current permit expires in 2016.

At the Sept. 9 JUC meeting, Burks had reported that he had just paid the 2015 annual renewal fee of $11,504 for the facility’s current five-year discharge permit, which runs from 2012 through 2016. This current discharge permit replaced a five-year discharge permit that expired in 2009. However, the division did not issue the current discharge permit until late 2011.

Burks also noted that it was still unknown at this Oct. 14 meeting when the division would issue the draft of the new five-year Tri-Lakes discharge permit for the 30-day public notice review cycle and how the new discharge permit limits would affect the facility’s 2015 budget. The facility budget must be finalized at a public hearing scheduled on Nov. 11, so that each of the three special districts that own the Tri-Lakes facility can also schedule, advertise, and post their own individual 2015 budget hearings and approve these three budgets in December to comply with state law.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD). The three-member Joint Use Committee acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: Don Smith of Monument, Ken Smith of Palmer Lake, and Rich Strom of Woodmoor. Several other members of these three owner district boards, as well as Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund, Palmer Lake District Manager Becky Orcutt, and Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette, also attended the meeting.

Discharge permit publication delayed again

Background: At the five-year Arkansas River basin held by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission in Alamosa in June 2013, the Water Quality Control Division had asked that the commission require all the wastewater treatment facilities in the Arkansas River basin to apply early for new five-year permits that would start in 2014 to re-align all of their permit periods with the five-year Regulation 32 Arkansas River basin hearing cycle. However, the division had routinely not been issuing new replacement five-year discharge permits until two to four years after current permits had expired.

After the Alamosa basin hearing, the division mandated that Arkansas River basin wastewater treatment facilities apply early for new five-year discharge permits. These unprecedented early applications had to be filed with very short notice before the end of 2013, despite all the legal, financial, and regulatory uncertainty that accompanies the issuance of a new discharge permit.

When a new permit is issued, state regulations require that all comments and corrections for the draft discharge permit must be completed within a 30-day public notice review cycle. This very short review cycle length often requires scheduling and posting of special wastewater facility board meetings for the affected special districts and municipalities for review of the draft permits by consultant engineers and lawyers to react to the new, and frequently unexpected, limits and testing requirements that are being imposed by the division.

This brief 30-day review rule will apply to the new Tri-Lakes draft permit despite the division issuing this draft permit a year late. Furthermore, Tri-Lakes and the other affected Arkansas River basin wastewater treatment facilities will also be subject to another early renewal cycle in only four years, at the end of 2018, even though the division has already failed to respond to its demanded early applications in a timely manner.

At the Oct. 14 JUC meeting it was still unknown when the draft of the new Tri-Lakes discharge permit would be issued, after several months of division staff promises that the draft permit would be issued "next month" followed by successive unexplained failures to publish it and the mounting uncertainty that this caused for budgeting as well as delays in obtaining construction bids, despite the state construction grant’s May 2016 deadline for the phosphorus treatment expansion’s completion and certification. Also unknown at the Oct. 14 JUC meeting was how the new discharge permit limits would affect Tri-Lakes’ expanding operations and staffing, and the rising costs they will create in the 2015 budget.

Financial reports

Burks reported receipt of a fifth state nutrient treatment grant payment of $13,981 in September that was divided in thirds and individually credited to the September invoices for each of the three owner districts. Last year the Tri-Lakes facility was awarded a three-year $80,000 state nutrient planning grant and a three-year $1 million state nutrient design and construction grant for a total phosphorus treatment expansion of the facility.

The state’s new Control Regulation 85 mandates that facilities rated over 2 million gallons per day (MGD) for influent wastewater flow would be required to meet a treated effluent discharge limit of 1 milligram per liter (mg/l) for total phosphorus. There were no phosphate limits when the existing Tri-Lakes activated sludge facility was designed and constructed in 1988, nor were there any EPA or state Water Quality Control Division or commission discussions at that time that there would ever be specific organic discharge constituent limits for phosphorus in treated effluent in 1988 or later in 1998 when the Tri-Lakes facility was modified.

The Control Regulation 85 discharge limit for total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) is 15 mg/l, which the Tri-Lakes plant already meets because it was originally designed to remove ammonia.

All of the money from the $80,000 nutrient treatment planning grant has already been issued to the facility as reimbursements, and this fifth payment came from the $1 million nutrient treatment design and construction grant for the total phosphate removal clarifier plant expansion. The state has indicated that it will reimburse all design and construction payments made by the facility as soon as possible to ensure that all of these grant funds are disbursed before they expire in May 2016.

The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.

Draft 2015 budget reviewed

Burks presented the second draft of the facility’s 2015 budget. He noted, as he had at the September JUC meeting, that several parts of the 2015 budget may change based on what new and possibly tighter discharge permit limits are issued by the state. He again estimated that total expenditures for 2014 would be $3.96 million, up from the originally budgeted $2.86 million, and $3.57 million in in 2015. No refinement of this initial estimate can be made until the draft discharge permit is issued by the state. Revenues in 2015 will come from the remainder of the state nutrient design and construction grant and the monthly invoices issued to the three owner districts that will cover the rest of the facility’s actual 2015 costs.

The amount that each of the three owner districts will contribute to pay for their ownership shares of the new total phosphorus discharge permit constituent plant expansion, as well as the method used to determine their separate shares of future phosphorus chemical treatment operating costs, is still being negotiated by the owner districts in separate private inter-district meetings that do not involve the JUC. No results of these private negotiations have been announced by the JUC or the three owner districts.

Monument Sanitation District Manager Wicklund reminded Burks that total phosphorus sampling of each district’s influent wastewater needs to begin immediately to be able to more closely estimate the operation and chemical costs for removing phosphates in the new tertiary phosphate removal clarifier. Allocation of the new phosphate removal capacity percentages between the three owner districts may have to be different than the long-standing current ownership percentages for influent hydraulic flow capacity and influent biosolids organic capacity.

There was a lengthy question-and-answer discussion about JUC options available for various 2015 budget line items but no final decisions were made.

Burks noted that the facility has already paid the state $4,035 for a site amendment application that includes installation of a new a new high speed turbo (HST) blower to supplement the three existing blowers already installed at the facility. The new HST blower, if installed, would provide more control of the amount of air pumped into the existing aeration basins, improving aeration efficiency and electrical efficiency. Tetra Tech has stated that this HST blower would pay for itself within seven years. Burks added that in the future, the JUC could request division certification of additional rated organic capacity in the plant’s permit by sending in a capacity evaluation and a site application report.

Burks said an alternative option would be for the JUC to immediately pay additional fees for Tetra Tech to prepare a separate state site application and separate additional fees to the state for its engineering review and approval of the higher rated biologic oxygen demand (BOD) organic treatment capacity that the new HST blower will immediately create. Burks said Tetra Tech, the facility’s consultant engineering firm, had also advised him, at the request of Wicklund, that it would cost an additional $20,000 payment to Tetra Tech for preparation of a site application for the state’s engineering review and approval process for official certification of the additional 1,600 pounds per day of biosolids treatment capacity that the new HST blower will provide.

The technical term used in the wastewater industry for this biosolids treatment capacity is biologic oxygen demand (BOD) capacity. Biochemical oxygen demand is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological bacteria growing in the facility’s aeration basins to break down organic waste material present in sanitary sewer influent. The term also refers to a chemical procedure for measuring this amount of oxygen consumption. This demand is measured in pounds of waste treated per day.

During a lengthy technical discussion to clear up the confusion caused by the blower proposal for higher BOD capacity unrelated to the phosphorus treatment expansion, Burks said the original activated sludge process site application resulted in a permitted rated plant capacity of 4.2 MGD of hydraulic capacity and 9,000 pounds per day of BOD capacity in 1990. The original discharge permit assumed that two more blowers like those originally installed would be added to the Tri-Lakes facility blower space. The existing blower space already has two unused pads and air pipes installed for installation of these two future blowers.

Burks added that when it became apparent that these two additional blowers would not be needed for current or projected increases in loading, even as backup blowers during construction of the third aeration basin in 1998, the division derated the Tri-Lakes facility’ BOD capacity to 5,600 pounds per day. The division also stated in its 1998 letter that the capacity would be given back when two more blowers were installed.

Tetra Tech is now proposing that one or two newer more efficient and flexible HST blowers be installed on these empty blower pads and connected to the unused air pipes, if financing is available to permit this.

Adding one 2,100 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) HST blower will add approximately 1,600 lb/day of organic BOD/biosolids treatment capacity. This blower expansion would increase the total organic BOD treatment capacity to 7,200 lb/day. If a second 2,100 SCFM HST blower were installed on the second extra blower pad, it would further increase the Tri-Lakes rated BOD organic treatment capacity to 8,820 lb/day. There is a risk that the increases to 7,200 pounds per day or 8,820 pounds per day may not be approved or that the cost for the application and state engineering staff review and approval may cost considerably more in the future.

Burks noted that it would be most cost effective to install a new, more efficient HST blower and apply for that additional rated BOD capacity now rather than later. Wicklund and Burks reiterated that the first new blower would pay for itself within seven years due to electrical energy savings.

Construction bids for the total phosphorus plant expansion will be requested in February. The current "opinion of probable cost" from the facility’s engineering firm, Tetra Tech, is $2.87 million. The original Tetra Tech organic constituent capacity expansion estimate for total phosphorus treatment was $1 million last summer. However Tetra Tech revised the estimate upward to $2.07 million later in 2013.

The Monument Sanitation District board approved a revenue loan of $400,000 based on Tetra Tech’s $2.07 million estimate to cover its share of the $1.07 million not paid for by the state nutrient grants noted above. Furthermore, Tetra Tech more recently stated that actual bid prices could be as much as 30 percent higher than $2.87 million. JUC President Don Smith and Wicklund have advised the JUC that Monument does not have the financial resources to pay its share of the current contract estimate of the $2.87 million cost nor the additional 30 percent cost overrun.

See http://www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#tljuc-0812 for more technical information on this nutrient treatment construction issue.

The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4053.

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

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Monument Planning Commission, Oct. 8: RV storage and Village Center at Woodmoor plans approved

By Kate Wetterer

The Monument Planning Commission meeting Oct. 8 saw the discussion of both Thomas Penewell’s proposed Mt. Herman RV Storage Subdivision and the possibility of turning the Village Center at Woodmoor into a housing development, as opposed to an area set aside for commercial ventures. The replat and preliminary/final planned development (PD) site plan for the RV storage subdivision were both approved, 3 to 1, with Missy Wood voting against. The second major PD amendment for the Village Center at Woodmoor passed 3 to 1, with David Gwisdalla voting against, and the replat passing unanimously.

Both of these issues will be discussed in further detail at the Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 3. There will be public discussion opportunities then.

A concerned property owner also emailed the Planning Commission, noting that the phone number was incorrect on the government mail-out informing citizens of the replat. They advised that the replat be postponed until all citizens receive the information along with a correct phone number. The number included in the mailings was indeed incorrect, but Town Attorney Gary Shupp noted that all legal requirements were fulfilled in the mailing, and that a phone number would have been extra information to begin with.

It was also observed that all contact information for the government of Monument is available online, so even when the number proved faulty the government could have been contacted. The commissioners voted to proceed with the replat discussion as planned. The vote was 3 to 1, with Kathy Spence voting against.

Mt. Herman RV Storage Subdivision

Dave Gorman with MVE represented Penewell in discussing the proposed Mt. Herman RV storage subdivision, which is a lot intended to secure RVs, camping trailers, motorcycles, boats, and all manner of unconventional vehicles. The storage center would be located at the former Mountain Farmer Nursery property at the northeast corner of Mitchell Avenue and North Monument Lake Road, on Penewell’s property. The triangular lot is adjacent to the west side of the railroad tracks between Third and Fifth Streets. It would be accessible only during the day, through one entrance that would be secured with a code.

Wooden fences would enclose the storage center from the east, west and north, and trees have been brought in for landscaping. Most similar RV sites don’t have fences or landscaping. One hundred twenty-eight parking spaces are currently included on the site plan, though Penewell is waiting to see what demand will be like before he sticks to one specific number.

Concerns from the community included the possibility of litter around the site, and the idea of RVs blocking otherwise fairly natural views. Current plans would put the RV storage unit very near downtown Monument’s businesses, with business owners expressing concern about the effects such a development might have on the atmosphere of their stores.

Village Center at Woodmoor plans

The Village Center at Woodmoor’s second major PD amendment, replat and final PD site plan were also approved. This involves transforming plots of land currently intended for commercial plans into a planned residential district. A development company has not yet claimed the land, but these actions intend to rebrand and redistribute the area to make way for potential houses.

Issues taken with this potential housing allotment included the idea that the layout might make bits of Monument look more like Colorado Springs than they currently do, perhaps diminishing the unique charm of the town. Also, citizens advised that there should be two left-turn lanes going from Knollwood onto 105. It is already a problematic intersection, and it would only become more crowded and difficult to navigate with so many new residents needing the road. It was brought up that people might run into difficulty should they need to evacuate.

Again, both of these issues will be discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 3, with periods allotted for citizens to contribute their thoughts and concerns.

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The next Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 6: Police officer position added

By Lisa Hatfield

At the Oct. 6 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees approved Police Chief Jake Shirk’s request to add one officer position to the force, approved the cost of a water reuse study, and got their first glimpse of the 2015 preliminary budget.

Trustees Stan Gingrich and Becki Tooley were excused.

Police to hire an additional officer

During the presentation of the 2015 preliminary budget, Shirk requested that the Police Department be allowed to hire one additional officer. The new position would be a traffic safety position for investigating accidents, dealing with school and construction traffic, handling complaints, addressing roadway hazards, conducting surveys, and educating the public. This officer could also do patrol to relieve other officers. Smith and Shirk said the new position may be self-funded through traffic enforcement and/or "vacancy savings," which is money saved by not filling vacant positions. Two police officer positions were vacant most of 2014.

After a discussion about how overtime may and may not be earned by town staff, Mayor Rafael Dominguez suggested that the town review its overtime policy.

The trustees voted unanimously to approve Shirk’s proposal to add an officer.

Water reuse study approved

Public Works Director Tom Tharnish presented a resolution authorizing the use of 2A acquisition, storage, and delivery (ASD) funds to support a $46,000 Monument water reuse study. It would analyze the technology and infrastructure needed to reuse the town’s treated wastewater that is currently discharged into Monument Creek from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. The final goal of the potential multiphase project would be for the town to diversify its portfolio of water resources beyond the groundwater from aquifers on which it heavily relies now.

 Tharnish said a regional Water Reclamation Facility Concept Study done by engineering consultant Will Koger of Forsgren Associates in July created a plan to reuse treated wastewater from three drinking water entities in Tri-Lakes region—Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Donala Water and Sanitation District, and the Town of Monument. Triview Metropolitan District declined to participate in the July study.

However, the estimated cost for a three-entity joint project was about $50 million. "The numbers showed we could not afford that," Tharnish said, adding that a "much scaled-down version" would suit Monument’s specific reuse objectives.

Koger said the smaller follow-up study for just the town would use data from the previous 2014 regional study as much as possible and would include the possibility of interconnecting other drinking water entities into the reuse system in the future if the project is ever completed.

The revenue for the 2A ASD Fund comes from a 2005 voter-approved 1 percent sales tax on Town of Monument drinking water. Currently, 65 percent of this tax revenue is used for the acquisition, storage, and delivery of new water sources from 2009 through 2016. The other 35 percent is currently being used to pay off the loan for construction of Town Hall. In 2017, all 100 percent of the 1 percent tax will be available for purchasing renewable water rights. See www.ocn.me/v9n4.htm#monbot for more background on the 2A ASD fund’s creation.

 The trustees unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the second Forsgren water reuse study.

Railroad gives access for water line repair

Tharnish presented a resolution approving a pipeline crossing agreement between the town and Union Pacific Railroad Co. to allow access to the railroad right of way to protect a 6-inch water main that has erosion has exposed at the bottom of a stormwater conveyance channel, just inside the right of way. The railroad is charging $3,000 to the town for this access. The trustees approved the resolution unanimously.

Amended 2014 and preliminary 2015 budgets

Town Manager and interim Finance Director Pamela Smith presented the proposed amended 2014 budget.

Smith also presented the 2015 preliminary budget. To see the details of the 2015 preliminary budget, look for the board packet for the Oct. 6 meeting at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com. As required by state statute, the budget presented has no deficit spending, Smith said. She encouraged residents to contact her at psmith@townofmonument.net with questions.

Trustees will conduct budget workshops, the dates of which will be posted on the town website. The first workshop is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Town Hall.

Development services staffing changes

Smith said that Mike Pesicka, who has been the town’s senior planner, is now the new planning director. Development Services Director Tom Kassawara resigned recently and had not been replaced. In addition to Pesicka, Engineering Assistant Tom Martinez and Planner Morgan Hester complete the planning staff.

Pesicka presented a request for a 12-month extension for review and approval of a preliminary/final site plan and replat for Family of Christ Lutheran Church. The trustees approved the resolution unanimously.

Financial reports

Smith, interim finance manager, presented the disbursements over $5,000 for both August and September. The August disbursements had been informally approved already when she polled the board via email after the cancellation of the Sept. 15 meeting. The following were approved unanimously on Oct. 6:

1 Triview Metro District, $145,453.

2 Colorado Water Resources & Power Development Authority—semi-annual loan payment for Well 8, water storage tank, etc. $73,840.

3 Krassa & Miller, $7,866.

4 Nolte Associates, $6,317.

5 4Rivers Equipment $11,007—1997 grader repair.

6 Forsgren Associates, $5,845—waterline looping project.

7 Forsgren Associates, $5,393—stormwater planning.

8 National Meter and Automation Inc. $ 9,116—water meter replacement.

9 CIRSA Insurance, $16,703—workers compensation for fourth quarter.

10 CIRSA Insurance, $18,002—fourth-quarter liability insurance.

11 Colorado Analytical Laboratories, $5,047—water repair and maintenance testing.

Smith presented the financial report as of Aug 31. The town was 5 percent above budget for general fund revenue, she said. However, water fund revenues were 25 percent below budget. "It was not a good year for the water fund, but a good year for rain," she said. The trustees unanimously approved the August financial report.

Town attorney’s report

Gary Shupp, town attorney, said that a federal court recently dismissed all claims against the Monument in a lawsuit involving two Monument police officers, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Human Services.

HAP gets check from chamber

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Hayes presented a check for $1,000 to Dave Betzler of the Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) to help it continue delivering health services to local senior citizens. See related photo on page 23.

Community, business, and government liaison

Community relations specialist Madeline VanDenHoek reported on her first year in this new position, and the trustees and staff praised her accomplishments engaging with citizens and businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, and becoming the de facto "face of Monument government," as Mayor Rafael Dominguez said. "You do a tremendous job, Madeline," Smith said.

VanDenHoek has helped coordinate community concerts, celebrations, fairs, fundraisers, roundtables, arts events, and other gatherings. She has built partnerships with other organizations and towns, researched grants to apply for, updated social media, conducted resident surveys, and helped create a new Monument town map and brochure.

Smith presented VanDenHoek with a certificate of appreciation for Outstanding Community Relations.

Town manager’s report

Smith’s comments included:

1 Code enforcement officer Laura Hogan will now include monthly statistics in the board meeting packet.

2 VanDenHoek will report quarterly now.

3 The second task for meeting regarding the bulk water station adjacent to Trails End subdivision was set for Oct. 14. So far, no alternative locations for the tank have been identified.

4 Town staff has set up a possible $2,000 solution for the AV system in the board room as an alternative to the $11,000-$20,000 bids that had been received.

Trustees’ comments

1 Trustee John Howe said that 300 people and 45 businesses attended the recent at Sundance Monument Lodge ribbon cutting.

2 Howe encouraged the public to find out more about many upcoming events, including three weekends for Small Town Christmas. See www.monumentmerchants.com/SmallTownChristmas.htm.

3 Trustee Jeff Bornstein commended Engineering Assistant Tom Martinez, Pesicka, and Tharnish on the new downtown sidewalks project.

4 Dominguez said he recently attended the District 4 CML Regional Mayors Meeting and CML Mayors Summit.

5 Dominguez said the Colorado Springs Business Journal would be touring Monument on Oct 16.

6 Trustee Howe reminded everyone that the 2014 Community Coming Together Thanksgiving is in need of volunteers. See www.trilakeshap.org/cct.php.
 

Public comments

During public comments, resident Vince Hamm addressed the board regarding a complaint he had with the Police Department. Since he had already talked with Shirk about the issue and it was not resolved to Hamm’s satisfaction, and since it involved specific personnel, Shupp recommended that the BOT meeting was not the correct venue for these complaints. Hamm said he did not know where to turn next in the town management to address his concerns, and Town Manager Smith said she would talk with him the day after the meeting.

The meeting went into executive session at 7:57 p.m. to discuss personnel matters as well as the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 20: Utility easement in park approved

By Lisa Hatfield

The trustees approved a utility easement and discussed several other topics at the Oct. 20 Monument Board of Trustees meeting.

Mayor Rafael Dominguez was excused. Mayor Pro-Tem Jeffrey Kaiser presided over the meeting.

MVEA utility easement for park

The trustees unanimously approved a resolution presented by Public Works Director Tom Tharnish to grant an easement and a right-of-way for Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) to access Park Trail Park. MVEA will construct and maintain an electric transformer and other fixtures and provide electric service for irrigation and future needs of the development at this town park, Tharnish said.

In response to several questions from Trustees Becki Tooley and Kelly Elliot, Tharnish said that he would request a sketch plan of MVEA’s proposed placement of the 3-foot-square electrical box in the 11-acre park. Town Manager Pamela Smith said the installation of the electrical utilities in the park is "not something we can’t do."

2015 budget, sidewalks, land use items

A trustee workshop for the 2015 budget was scheduled for Nov. 1, 8 a.m. to noon at Town Hall. All the trustees encouraged Monument residents to attend.

Planning Director Mike Pesicka said the downtown sidewalks project would wrap up soon. Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked if there were plans to fix traffic and parking issues that have developed since some streets are narrower now than before the sidewalks were installed. Pesicka said there are plans in progress, including moving the yellow lines in the center of a street and revising parking rules, to alleviate those problems.

Pesicka mentioned two land use items that were approved at the Oct. 8 Planning Commission meeting. Kaiser asked about the dissenting votes on both items, but Gary Shupp, town attorney, recommended that Pesicka not elaborate on either topic since both will have public hearings at Nov. 3 trustees meeting. One item was the proposed Mount Herman RV Storage petition for Replat and Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan, at the north end of Mitchell Avenue west of the railroad tracks. The other item regarded the Village Center at Woodmoor 2nd Major Amendment to the Zoning and Land Use Final PD Site Plan, Filing 4A Replat, and Filing 4A Final PD Site Plan. See related article on page 17.

A Parks Committee survey distributed to residents and businesses in the Monument area sought input on the town’s four major parks: Limbach, Lavelette, Dirty Woman Creek, and Park Trail.

Smith mentioned the 2014 amended budget and presented her report on disbursements over $5,000 and the September financial numbers. She said the holiday lights along Second Street will be turned on Nov. 29 and the lights at Limbach Park will go on the following Saturday.

Tharnish said that the parking lot at Dirty Woman Park is complete. The town crews are preparing equipment for winter weather conditions, and a new part-time maintenance employee has started work at Town Hall.

The meeting adjourned at 7:28 p.m.

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The next BOT meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3 at Town Hall, 845 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held the first and third Mondays of each month. Check http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com/ to see future meeting agendas and packets. Information: 884-8017.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Oct. 21: Wescott will participate in world competition

By Nancy Wilkins

At the Oct. 21 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) Board of Directors meeting, Fire Chief Vinny Burns and Assistant Fire Chief Scott Ridings with Directors Harland Baker, John Fredell, and Bo McAllister announced that firefighters will participate in a world competition, reminded residents to call their homeowners insurance company to see if insurance rates can be lowered, announced plans to mitigate 350 acres in El Paso County, and tweaked the draft budget for 2015.

Challenge tests physical strength

Eighteen firefighters from DWFPD will compete Nov. 4-8 at the Scott Fire Fighter Combat Challenge in Phoenix. Named for the Scott breathing apparatus, firefighters will compete over a timed course being tested in skills such as dragging hoses, chopping, hoisting, life rescue, and climbing. Ridings said it is a good competition and that the district last participated in the same contest two or three years ago. Firefighters from other countries, such as England and Canada, will also participate. ESPN is expected to cover the event. Ridings said Restoration Logistics, Classic Cones, and 511 Tactical are sponsoring the team. For more information, see www.firefighterchallenge.com.

Residents may get lower insurance rates

Ridings reminded people to contact their homeowners’ insurance agent to see if they can lower their insurance rates based on a new ISO rating. DWFPD went from an ISO rating 5 to a 3 for areas with hydrants, and Ridings said a drop in two numbers is almost unheard of. The ISO rate for areas without fire hydrants also was reduced slightly. A new ISO rating for Wescott occurs about every ten years. The lower ISO rating is considered a benefit for district residents.

Fire mitigation spans 350 acres

DWFPD will be clearing an area of about 350 acres along the Highway 83 corridor and the southern boundary of High Forest Ranch for fire mitigation. Ridings reported he is using a GPS locater to help determine the area to be mitigated. He said the department has received two grants: one from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources for $90,000 and the other for $257,000 from the Colorado Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The mitigation is to be completed in about the middle of next year.

When Fire Chief Vinny Burns thanked Ridings for the fire mitigation work he has been doing, Ridings received a thankful round of applause from the audience.

Department run report

In September 2013, the district received 168 calls. In September this year, Ridings reported 215 calls. The majority of calls were for emergency medical services. Ridings also reported two "hazardous" calls. Ridings said a hazardous call could be a short circuit that creates heat but doesn’t escalate into a fire.

Financial report

Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich gave the financial report for Sept. 30: Peoples National Bank, $41,711; PNP Colorado Peak Fund, $180,077; Colorado Trust, $439,405; and Wells Fargo Public Trust, $777,126, for a total of $1.4 million.

Wildland deployment compensation

Wescott should receive about $98,593 as compensation for deploying firefighters to California. The firefighters received valuable training on how to protect national forests. The compensation should cover the deployment costs for salaries, travel expenses, vehicle maintenance costs, and provide additional income to the district.

Fine tuning the 2015 draft budget

Noticing large electricity costs for Station 2, Popovich made several calls to Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA). Subsequently, the fire station will now be billed in a lower demand category resulting in about a $2,000 savings to the district in 2015. The electric company will also credit the district for two months. Under the lower rates, Popovich expects a decrease of $250 each month. Popovich, referring to the electricity costs, said "We thought there was something off with our electrical." Popovich also said an additional fax line has been disconnected, saving the district about $500 a year.

Ridings said the district will look at various plans for a lower insurance rate for workers compensation. Ridings said the firefighters attend safety classes every year and have gone a few years without a workers comp incident. The current compensation rate with the existing insurance is expected to increase about 20 percent in 2015, prompting Ridings to search for lower rates.

Both the decrease in electric costs and the current rate of workers compensation will be reflected in the new dollar amount in the draft budget for 2015. Popovich also updated the draft budget line items from MVEA electricity and natural gas company Black Hills Energy to accurately reflect where these expenses were being recorded. The draft budget is still under review, and no motions or votes were taken to accept it.

Boy Scott Troop 93 visits Wescott

Working on the communication badge, Boy Scout Troop 93 attended the public meeting and enjoyed a tour of the building. Introducing themselves to the troop, Harland Baker welcomed the Scouts to the meeting and Burns spoke on how the district is named for Donald Wescott, a firefighter who lost his life after falling through a burning roof. Burns said this is his 35th year as a firefighter, having worked here before the district was formed.

Bo McAllister said he is a police officer for Colorado Springs as well as a volunteer firefighter at DWFPD. McAllister told the troop the district has an American Medical Response ambulance and that you can receive training from the AMR team. Fredell, the newest member of the board, introduced himself as the project manager for Colorado Springs Utilities, Southern Delivery System. Assistant Chief Ridings, in charge of operations, said he works on short- and long-range planning, including training and fire mitigation. He said the district is training and planning different scenarios, and recently the department trained using conditions similar to those seen with the Ebola virus.

Santa Patrol set for Dec. 6

Burns said the date for annual Santa Patrol is Dec. 6. This year the department will be doing things differently, going to designated locations. Burns said their website should have the locations.

Before the meeting ended around 8 p.m., Baker said he would find out more information about a previous request to purchasing the old fire station. Ridings handed out a thank you card from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Burns announced Wescott firefighters will patrol Halloween night, giving out safety items like glow sticks to trick-or-treaters. Burns said "Patrolling the area cuts down on the shenanigans."

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The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board meets the third Tuesday each month at 15415 Gleneagle Dr. at 7 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21. For more information call 488-8680, a non-emergency number, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district also has a Facebook page.

Nancy Wilkins can be reached at nancywilkins@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, Oct. 22: New deputy fire chief sworn in

By Lisa Hatfield

On Oct. 22, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection (TLMFPD) board welcomed new Deputy Fire Chief Randy Trost, agreed to move the administration office to a new location starting in January, and agreed to replace one ambulance a year sooner than mentioned in Chief Chris Truty’s recent five-year plan.

The public hearing on the 2015 budget has been changed from Nov. 12 to Nov. 19.

President Jake Shirk and Directors Larry Smith and Bruce Fritzsche were excused. Vice President Roger Lance presided over the meeting.

Randy Trost joins district

Deputy Fire Chief Randy Trost started work with TLMFPD on Oct. 15 and was officially sworn in on Oct. 22 by Truty.

Fire administration office will move

The board unanimously approved Truty’s recommendation that the TLMFPD administrative office would move to leased space at 15455 Gleneagle Drive, Colorado Springs, no later than Jan. 31. Truty said that this location is the least expensive of the ones available, is almost move-in ready, and will provide "a more professional presentation." The district will sign a three-year lease for the Gleneagle building with the hopes of acquiring new permanent office space by the end of that lease. Currently, the fire administration office is located in a building owned by the Town of Monument, which has asked TLMFPD to move out sooner rather than later. See related article at www.ocn.me/v14n10.htm#TLMFPD0924.

Financial report

Treasurer John Hildebrandt said that as of Sept. 30, overall expenses were under budget by less than 1 percent. Building expenses were 19 percent over budget, and administration costs were 9 percent over budget due to the cost of an unanticipated election May 7 when there were more board candidates than positions available. Administrative vehicle repair was 34 percent over budget, Hildebrandt said. Truty said that delayed or postponed vehicle and building maintenance issues caused them to exceed the budget in those areas.

At 75 percent of the way through the year, revenues were ahead of what had been budgeted for this point in the year, Hildebrandt said. The district has received 98 percent of total expected property taxes for the year, 100.5 percent of specific ownership taxes, 155 percent of expected impact fee revenue, and 84 percent of expected ambulance revenues.

Public budget hearing Nov. 19

Truty made a few adjustments to the proposed budget for 2015, which will have a public hearing at the Nov. 19 meeting. Board members voted on Oct. 22 to change the meeting to Nov. 19 instead of the date previously published by the district.

A lengthy discussion centered on Truty’s suggestion to replace one of the ambulances in 2015 instead of waiting until 2016. Both ambulances need to be replaced, he said, and repairs are needed right away on both of them. The board consensus was that Truty needs to decide which ambulance to sell and then pay for only the repairs that will make it last until it is sold, and do more extensive repairs on the second one. The budget does have enough money to absorb the cost of replacing one ambulance in 2015 with either be a new ambulance or a re-chassied one, Truty said.

He said that he and accountant Frances Esty recently discovered that because of the way schedules rotate, every 14 years there is an extra pay period. This occurs again at the end of December, so this extra $110,000 must be paid either at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. The board consensus was to absorb this cost into the 2014 budget since revenues are high enough to cover it. Esty said she had contacted the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for advice and was told as long as it was noted in the audit, there would be no need for an amended 2014 budget.

Chief’s report

TLMFPD scheduled an optional merger committee orientation session for Oct. 25, with personnel from the Larkspur and Wescott fire districts, Truty said. The goal is to form 12 committees to work over the next 6-18 months to give input on communications, EMS, and other areas to make the best use of all three districts’ resources if a merger should happen down the road. Truty emphasized that it would be best to build this organization "from the ground up" with a vision for a brand new entity covering 160 square miles, having over 80 personnel, and containing seven fire stations.

Truty’s other comments included:

1 The Board of County Commissioners approved the property at Station 1 as a parcel, so now the well permitting process with state can begin.

2 TLMPFD’s new website is up and running at www.tlmfire.org.

3 Firefighters have been training with self-contained breathing apparatus at the Haunted Mines at the Western Museum of Mining. Battalion Chief Dan Davis has been coordinating this training to utilize the "complexities of haunted house layout."

4 EMS Coordinator Lt. Janaka Branden has developed a district protection protocol in anticipation of Center for Disease Control guidelines to protect both EMS personnel and the community from the Ebola virus if it appears in El Paso County.

5 The 2015 EMS assessment fee notice was sent to Palmer Lake, and it includes the ability for the town to pay on quarterly basis.

6 Office Manager Jennifer Martin reported she had found supplemental, reasonably priced health care insurance that would provide group rates to firefighters who want to purchase it for off-duty critical care medical needs.

The meeting adjourned at 7:31 p.m.

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19 in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.

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

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District Accountability Advisory Committee, Oct. 14: Truancy policies, academic standards reviewed

By Harriet Halbig

Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster spoke briefly to the District Accountability Advisory Committee about policies regarding truancy, absenteeism, and retention at its Oct. 14 meeting.

Foster said that any child ages 6 to 17 is required to enroll in school. Upon reaching 18, the individual is a legal adult and may make his/her own decision. Exceptions include illness, physical, mental or emotional disability, and suspended or expelled individuals.

The state considers a student truant if he/she has more than four unexcused absences within a month or 10 within a year. Truancy is considered to be an adult issue, assuming that the parents or guardians of a truant student are behaving irresponsibly. If letters and interventions from the district fail to correct the problem, it may be passed to a magistrate to refer the issue to the Department of Human Services.

Retention of students generally is not effective, especially in middle or high school.

Each school develops its own policy on tardiness. A specific number of classroom minutes are required each school year. If these requirements are not met, credit for class may be denied. A high school student who does not complete the requirements within four years may return to complete the requirements until the age of 21.

Board of Education update

School Board Liaison John Magerko said that Colorado State Standards are about 15 percent more stringent than Common Core and therefore parents need not be concerned that their students will be less challenged than previously. In fact, the Lewis-Palmer curriculum is more stringent than state requirements, resulting in district accreditation as Accredited with Distinction and being honored with the Advanced Placement Honor Roll.

Magerko said that the Colorado Department of Education did not realize the burden caused by the requirement of computerized testing last spring. Districts are now working on ways to return some of the tests to pencil and paper applications.

Magerko assured parents that none of the results of the tests will be personally identifiable.

Curriculum and Colorado Academic Standards

Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Sheila Beving said that Common Core was incorporated into the Colorado State Standards in 2010 and emphasized that the district’s teachers create the curriculum and lesson plans to meet the standards. For example, the state did not adopt the reading lists offered by Common Core. Teachers focus on best instructional practices to achieve best results, she said.

The district will continually review curricula and assessment data and continue to exceed state standards, Beving said.

One new aspect of assessment is that students are expected to read and comprehend informational texts such as the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Magna Carta. This will prepare them for using primary sources in their research. Beving noted that this ability is key to workforce readiness.

Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton said that the number of hours of testing will decrease by three hours in the coming year, but she has not yet learned which tests this change will effect.

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The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. Locations vary. The Nov. 11 meeting will be held in the BEAST Room of Bear Creek Elementary School, 1330 Creekside Drive, Monument.

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

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Oct. 16: Board considers policy changes, recognizes staff and Teacher of the Year

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer Board of Education celebrated the achievements of some of its staff and considered policy revisions at its Oct. 16 meeting.

Superintendent Karen Brofft introduced Kathleen Thirkell, a math teacher at Lewis-Palmer High School and recipient of the title of 2015 Colorado Teacher of the Year. Thirkell has taught in the district for 33 years. Brofft presented her with flowers and a certificate from the board.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman commended Maintenance Supervisor Gary Goodwin and Lewis-Palmer High School Building Manager Bill Feduska for completing the roof replacement at the high school on time and under budget. She also thanked Cathy Wilcox and Sue Huisman for helping to write the grant application for the project.

Assessment update

Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton and Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Sheila Beving offered information regarding the District 38 Unified Improvement Plan and curriculum alignment and the Multi-Tiered System of Support. Director of Exceptional Student Services Mary Anne Fleury demonstrated a website that summarizes school district demographic and financial information and charts district data.

DAAC charge approved

The board voted to approve the charge for the District Accountability Advisory Committee. The committee will facilitate the accreditation of schools by monitoring the Unified Improvement Plan; assist in community engagement; consult with the board regarding the fairness, effectiveness and professional quality of the personnel performance evaluation process; and advise the board regarding budget priorities.

Policy considerations

Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster presented a first reading of policies regarding evaluation of the superintendent, admission and denial of admission, and in-district and inter-district Choice Enrollment.

The board also discussed and approved policy revisions regarding the election and organization of the board based on sample policies provided by the Colorado Association of School Boards.

Budget revisions approved

Wangeman presented revisions to the 2014-15 budget prompted by a shortfall in anticipated student enrollment. These revisions included encumbrances and carryovers from the previous year.

Wangeman also presented a list of recommendations for professional services and contracted services for the year. This list is reviewed annually.

The board approved routine matters such as finances, operations, personnel, and minutes of previous meetings.

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The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 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 Nov. 20.

This summary was based on information provided by the office of the superintendent.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Oct. 22: Insurance concerns, updated documents

By Jackie Burhans

With vice president Jeff Gerhart presiding, the board addressed comments on insurance companies’ increased scrutiny of homeowners property and discussed the updating of board governing documents. President Jim Hale, Architectural Control Committee director Darren Rouse, and Secretary Richard Wretschko were absent.

Homeowners Insurance Concerns

An owner commented that her insurance company had contacted her regarding the need for further fire mitigation of her property or face non-renewal. She asked the board if it was possible for them to work with insurance companies to coordinate mitigation recommendations to ensure that they comply with HOA rules and regulations. She noted that several other residents had confirmed that they had been contacted by their insurance companies.

Matt Beseau, HOA COO, noted that WIA is aware of the conversations and he had spoken with President Hale. There will be a short article in the upcoming newsletter inviting people in similar situations to call the office. Hale wants to raise the issue at the state level with the Insurance Commission and with state representatives. The problem is that some of the insurance company requirements ask homeowners to mitigation that surpasses their property. With Forestry Director Eric Gross involved, the WIA has been handling this on a case by case basis with residents over the past few years. There have been two to five per year but Beseau thinks that it will be more prevalent in the future. He said they want to get some contacts state-wide but in the meantime they have an obligation to let residents know that we have covenants and rules and regulations prohibit clear cutting and removal of trees outside the defensible zone.

Gross added the some homeowners switching insurance companies but that there was no guarantee there would not be future issues with those companies. He said that living in a wildland interface will bring with it increased insurance rates per the state’s insurance commission representative at last year’s forestry meeting for the state. It is up to each insurance company to set their rates and decide on whether or not to continue offering insurance. Beseau reiterated that it is important for insurance companies to understand that they cannot ask homeowners to do something that is outside their purview. Gross suggested homeowners work with their insurance company as best they can but if they are unable to come to agreement look for other insurance until we have a collective group of people with a strong enough voice to have something done about the situation.

Updating Governing Documents

COO Beseau updated the board on the status of revision of the Rules and Regulations (R&Rs) document and how it fits in with the visit from the WIA attorney on the governing documents overall. Most major changes to the R&Rs are complete. The WIA attorney has asked the board to first to look at the revisions of the Articles and Bylaws document and then review the Declaration of Covenants (DOC) and R&Rs to see if they fit. Beseau asked Erik Stensland, director of Covenant Control, if he had any concerns with that strategy.

Stensland asked for clarification on which is the top governing document. Beseau replied that the order is "DAB"—Declaration of Covenants (DOC), Articles, and then Bylaws. Stensland felt it seemed like the wrong order to start with the Articles and Bylaws since he expected that the Declaration of Covenants would be changed. Beseau said that the reasoning was that the Articles and Bylaws had been voted on and the board obtained consent to change them. The lawyer wants to know if the board is going to accept those changes and register those documents with the state. If there are any concerns about those documents, then that should be noted and they will not be registered at this time. Beseau noted that at time of the lawyer’s previous visit about eight months ago, there were no planned changes to the DOC. Stensland indicated that, per his recent meetings, they did plan to modify the DOC to simply it and clarify definitions. Beseau replied that changes could be made as either revisions or amendments. He also clarified that the authorization to revise the articles has no time limit but would have to be renewed if a second round of revisions was to be made. With a goal of accomplishing as much as possible by the end of the year, Stensland agreed to review the articles and bylaws and Beseau offered to provide and email or hard copy to each board member within the week.

Other Business

Highlights from the board member reports include:

1 COO Beseau will attend a seminar on Nov. 11 concerning marijuana in our community and report back to the board.

2 Beseau made a motion to approve spending approx. $22K to start a yearlong effort to digitize and backup documents, lot plans and county files for Woodmoor. The money would be spent on hardware, software, and manpower. The motion passed unanimously.

3 Treasurer Tom Schoemaker reported that the only budget item that was significantly over was workman’s compensation billed by the state. The board underestimated the cost of 2-3 cases and will correct this in 2015.

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Correction
In the October edition of OCN it was incorrectly stated that homeowners would responsible for mowing and snow removal in front of their property. Snow removal will continue to be handled by the county.

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The board of directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. Due to holidays, the next two meetings will be on Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 respectively. WIA Board meeting minutes can be found at: http://www.woodmoor.org/content/admin-bod-meeting-minutes.html once approved.

Jackie Burhans can be reached at jackieburhans@ocn.me.

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October 2014 Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

It was a mild and mainly quiet October, with two periods of unsettled weather. High pressure was in control for most of the month, keeping any sustained cold air away from the region. We were visited by the remnants of a hurricane that had made landfall over the Baja California region. Otherwise, sunshine and mild weather was the norm.

Unlike the majority of the month, the first few days of October were cool and unsettled. Light precipitation fell each day, with a little snow mixing in at times. Conditions were gloomy with fog and low clouds common as well. High temperatures were held in the upper 50s to low 60s from the 1st through the 3rd. Dry and mild weather then took over for the remainder of the first week of the month, with highs reaching into the upper 60s and low 70s on the 4th and 5th.

The week of Oct. 6 started off dry and mild, but ended up wet and cold. High temperatures were above normal on the 6th, reaching all the way into the mid-70s under clear skies. Overnight lows were seasonable cool with 30s to low 40s. The sunny conditions quickly gave way to the remnant moisture associated with Hurricane Simon that had moved into the Baja California region a few days earlier. This remnant tropical moisture combined with a weak system moving in from the Pacific Northwest and a cool front moving in from the north to produce and active and wet weather pattern on the 9th and 10th. Heavy rains fell, with the hardest hit regions along and west of I-25, where 2-3 inches of rain accumulated. Just about everyone received at least an inch of rainfall.

Temperatures were also cool, with highs only in the 40s to low 50s. Not quite cold enough for snow for us, but plenty of snow fell in the mountains above 10,000 feet. Saturday the 11th saw a nice break between systems, with sunshine and high back to around normal in the low 60s.

But this didn’t last long as another quick-moving cold front raced through around noon on the 12th. This brought gusty winds and quite a variety of weather conditions. Rain, ice pellets, and snow showers all fell at one time or another that afternoon and evening. Temperatures were also held to below-average levels during that afternoon, falling from the upper 40s in the morning to the mid-30s by evening.

After an active weather period from the 9th through the 12th, the week of the 13th was quiet and dry. In fact, no precipitation fell from the 13th through the 19th, with scattered clouds at times the only real weather. Temperatures started off cooler than normal with highs only in the upper 40s and low 50s on the 13th, but quickly warmed to normal and above from the 14th through the 16th. Temperatures peaked at near record levels on the 15th, reaching the mid-70s. This pattern is definitely typical of an "Indian Summer" pattern.

Quiet and mild weather was the rule for most of the rest of the month as well, only broken by a brief rain showers during the afternoon of the 22nd and a more organized system on the 27th. High temperatures reached into the 60s and low 70s every day from the 18h through the 26th, well above normal for this time of the year and near daily record high territory on a couple of the warmer afternoons.

The streak of mild and dry weather was briefly interrupted by a cold front that moved through early on the 27th. As high pressure built in that day, upslope conditions continued that afternoon and a jet stream moved overhead. This added some extra lift to the atmosphere, which allowed an organized band of snow showers to develop over the area from mid- to late afternoon. A quick half to one inch of snow accumulated over the region. Sunny and dry conditions quickly returned to end the month, but this time temperatures hovered around normal levels, with 40s and 50s to end the month.

A look ahead

November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.

October 2014 Weather Statistics

Average High 62.4° (+3.0°)

100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°

Average Low 33.5° (+4.2°)

100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°

Monthly Precipitation 2.15" (+0.32")

100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"

Monthly Snowfall 1.1" (-12.4")

Highest Temperature 75° on the 6th

Lowest Temperature 20° on the 28th

Season to Date Snow 1.3" (-12.912.") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)

Season to Date Precip. 10.37" (+1.06") (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)

Heating Degree Days 526 (-102)

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

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Letters to Our Community

Guidelines for letters to the editor are on page 31. Disclamer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter written is an OCN volunteer

Legal marijuana deters illegal market

I write this letter as a former prosecutor and a member of LEAP—Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) (www.leap.cc).

LEAP is made up of members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of existing drug policies to address the problems of juvenile drug use and crime caused by the existence of an illegal black market in drugs.

Center for Disease Control statistics demonstrate that marijuana legalization deters the illegal market: Youth marijuana usage in Colorado went down 2.8 percent from 2009 to 2011 and fell below the national average. Concerning the availability of drugs on school grounds, Colorado decreased 5 percent from 2009 to 2011, while on a national basis, drugs on school grounds went up almost 3 percent in 2011. Colorado was 8.4 percent lower than the national average (25.6 percent to 17.2 percent). This occurred in the presence of more than 500 medical marijuana stores in the same period.

Denver’s crime statistics during the first six months of retail marijuana align with a report recently published in PLOS ONE showing that legalizing marijuana also causes no increase in crime and may be accompanied by a decrease in violent crime, including homicide. In spite of talk about "social cost," there exists little to no resulting cost—no crime, no traffic problems, a diminished black market, significant new revenue for town, increased sales in local businesses, no increase in youth drug usage—when allowing retail marijuana sales, as well demonstrated by the mayor of Manitou Springs in his address to the Palmer Lake Town Council.

Please visit www.coloradocannabiscampaign.com and download a study on the issues.

Please vote yes on Palmer Lake Municipality Issue 300 and say no to the illegal drug trade through legalized sales that will provide a significant and well-documented deterrent to the same. 

Karen Stuth

Vote yes for retail marijuana to move forward

Voting yes for the retail sales of cannabis in Palmer Lake is an important move toward equality and away from double standards, hypocrisy, and repression.

The Town of Palmer Lake has been surviving on the revenues from the sales of alcohol, a known intoxicant. Predominantly, these establishments serve non-residents.

This means that we reject a retail cannabis store and actively promote numerous businesses which engage in getting their patrons high, and sending them out to drive buzzed, or out-right drunk.

I hear much banter about bad perceptions and controlling the "image" of our town. I hear this couched in terms like "protecting the youth," "preserving our small town heritage," etc.

Well, history is made one day at a time. Heritage is what we hand forward to the youth. If we vote yes on retail cannabis sales, then we will begin a new era of equality. We will erase 100 years of double standards directed at cannabis consumers. Our heritage will then include more fairness, more honesty, and more objectivity. Our teenagers will be able to take a sober look at the effects and attractions of both alcohol and cannabis. Cannabis will be demystified. They will see that cannabis use will remain a natural part of the lives of some small portion of the population forever. They will see that cannabis is good for some people, bad for others, and never a good mix with heavy drinking. They will notice that many cannabis consumers are successful people with families and friends that go to church, that give to charities.

I am writing on behalf of our town’s children and youth. Let them see the truth, which is that cannabis consumption is as old as the hills. They will also see, as they become adults, that double standards tear apart communities.

Jim Adams

Vote yes for parks

Please vote yes on 1A in November. 1A is not a tax increase. 1A is the "TABOR surplus" for 2013. El Paso County voters can vote yes on 1A and give county parks and trails $2 million, or they can choose an $8.41 property tax refund. Let’s take care of what we have and support county trails, parks, open space, nature centers, and the county fairgrounds. Help fix trails ravaged by fire and flooding. Vote yes on 1a. For more information: www.voteyesforparks.com.

Susan Davies

Legal marijuana sales revenue needed

Colorado General Election ballot Issue 300 provides the opportunity for Palmer Lake to create a local line of defense against illegal marijuana sales, and to benefit from increased revenue—averaging as much as/more than $148,800 annually! (Colorado Department of Revenue August 2014 actual sales tax distribution to the 40 approving local governments: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/0814%20Local%20Government%20Distribution%20Report.pdf)

*Issue 301 disallows new marijuana revenue, curtails voting rights, ignores the Colorado Constitution, and defaults to one federal law passed in 1970: The Controlled Substances Act, which kicked off Nixon’s failed "war on drugs," costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and imprisoning millions of US citizens.

Since the majority of Palmer Lake voters (and Colorado voters statewide) chose to amend the Colorado Constitution in 2012, marijuana possession cases filed in Colorado declined by more than 77 percent! (Imprisonment rates for possession continue to rise in federal prisons and prisons in states where marijuana is still criminalized.)

Once approved, new marijuana retail tax revenue should be earmarked in Palmer Lake’s ordinance to ensure safety first: A. Law/code enforcement; B. Infrastructure; C. Fire protection and EMS; D. Wildfire mitigation; E. Water— improvements otherwise dependent on increased tax burden. Or minimal maintenance will continue to rely on unpredictable/limited grant-funding and tapped-out volunteers.

No local rules for control? Where is the first line of defense when the new neighbors (who moved in because small-town Colorado is "wide open," is off the beaten path with easy access to I-25/between two major cities, has a minimal/under-funded police department, and has no legal marijuana sales competition) are cooking explosive THC oil in their basement or illegally selling their over-the-limit grow and edibles next door?

*"The constitutional issue is one that is not ripe until the passage of Issue 301." Judge Joe Cannon, hearing officer appointed by the Town of Palmer Lake. (10/22/2014) www.townofpalmerlake.com/category/public-notices/

Judith Harrington

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Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore: Noteworthy books from the Fall Discovery Show

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

Energized from attending the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association’s Trade Show, our staff would like to share a few samples of the exciting new offerings with you.

A Sudden Light

By Garth Stein (Simon & Schuster) $26.95

A family confronts long-buried secrets as it seeks forgiveness and redemption in this breathtaking story of the Pacific Northwest. When 14-year-old Trevor Riddell’s father brings him to the legendary family mansion, Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms. There he discovers a lingering spirit whose agenda is at odds with the family plan to sell the property for development. This spellbinding novel is rich with unconventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth. Stein’s best-selling earlier book was The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Glass Cage: Automation and Us

By Nicholas Carr (W.W. Norton & Co.) $26.95

Digging behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, personalized apps and computerized medicine, Carr explores the hidden costs of allowing software to take charge of our jobs and our lives. He draws on science, economics, and philosophy to make a compelling case that the Silicon Valley ethic is sapping our skills and narrowing our horizons.

Edge of Eternity

By Ken Follett (Penguin Putnam) $36

In Book Three of the Century Trilogy, Follett continues to follow the fortunes of five intertwined families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they make their way through the 20th century. The finale covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, encompassing civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Gutenberg’s Apprentice

By Alex Christie (Harper Perennial) $27.99

This is a story of invention, intrigue, and betrayal highlighting one of the most momentous events in history, the birth of printing in medieval Germany. Johann Gutenberg, a driven and caustic inventor, has devised a revolutionary—and to some, blasphemous—method of bookmaking: a machine he calls a printing press. Fust, a wealthy merchant and bookseller, is financing the workshop, and his son Peter becomes Gutenberg’s apprentice. As Peter’s skill grows, so too does his admiration for Gutenberg and his dedication to their daring venture: printing copies of the Holy Bible. But when outside forces align against them, Peter finds himself torn between his generous father and the brilliant inventor who inspires him to achieve his own mastery.

The Way Life Should Be

By Christina Baker Kline (William Morrow) $14.99

From the author of Orphan Train comes a novel of love, risk, and self-discovery. Single, stuck in a job she doesn’t want and a life that is not what she had dreamed of, Angela decides to pack it up, leaving New York City for the coast of Maine. Her new home doesn’t quite match her fantasy, but she begins to rebuild her life from the ground up and realizes there’s really no such thing as the way life "should" be.

The Year of Reading Dangerously

By Andy Miller (Harper) $14.99

A working father whose life no longer feels like his own discovers the transforming powers of great (and some downright terrible) literature in this laugh-out-loud memoir. Andy Miller had a job he liked, a family he loved, and no time at all for reading. But when he decides to make time for books, he begins a year of reading that transforms his life completely. This account of his expedition through literature: classic, cult, and everything in between, celebrates the abiding miracle of the book and the power of reading.

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: A New Mitford Novel

By Jan Karon (Putnam) $27.95

After five years of retirement, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a trip to the land of his Irish ancestors. While glad to be home, Father Tim begins to wonder if he’s missing the pulpit and ends up dealing with trouble involving his adopted son, Dooley, and his brother Sammy. Fans will relish the chance to spend time in the utterly human presence of these cherished, engaging characters.

Why not take a look at some of these new books? We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. Until next month, happy reading.

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HANG - High Altitude Natural Gardens: Deadly weeds and their autumn seeds

By Janet Sellers.

Our gorgeous October weather was warm and sunny, and the fall colors have been spectacular this year. Often, we have a series of frosty nights and lose all the fall flowers and brightly colored leaves earlier, but this year nature treated us to a long, warm season to enjoy the outdoors.

Even though the time for planting and harvesting our food appears about over, there are vitally important things to do for a safe garden and a safer outdoors for ourselves and our children in the fall, such as weed mitigation.

Recently, I was talking with my gardening friend, Phyllis Head, about noxious weeds. She told me about a small group of concerned volunteers in Palmer Lake that has been eradicating the deadly poison hemlock and other toxic plants from along the recreational trails there. The plants are mostly found on our roadsides, fields and wild lands, with a few instances of infestation in home cultivated gardens.

The imported poison hemlock spreads by seed, but all parts of the plant are deadly to humans, pets, and livestock. Most deaths of children occur when a child finds the plant and picks the flowers, plays with it or tries to make a little flute from the large, colorful hollow stem. Adult deaths are mostly related to mistaking the plant and seeds for the traditional herbal remedy uses of wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace (QAL). QAL, however, has conspicuously hairy stems, and people are warned to remember that "Queen Anne has very hairy legs" while the poison hemlock is smooth but with blotchy colors of green and purple.

Janet Sellers is an avid novice HANG gardener in the Tri Lakes area. Contact her with your garden ideas, tips or questions for the TLGC at janetsellers@OCN.me.

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Art Matters: Art, lighting and the daily impact on us

By Janet Sellers

"When you see a fish you don’t think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water. If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit."
— Constantin Brancusi

A flash of spirit, a flash of true reality, is the gem of art in any form. We feel it, we know it somehow, and when it is absent, we know that, too. When creating a space with art in it, it is important to remember that art has quite an impact. It plays a moderating role with a lasting effect on the memory of the place. Aggressive imagery can be a very counterproductive experience with lasting consequences on one’s memory.

Art provides a window of imagination as we look inside ourselves and respond to it in thoughtful ways. Both wall art and free standing works such as sculptures and hanging works (think: mobiles, fiber art, hanging works) activate the room or viewing area for us. And people remember how they felt, and attach feelings to the memory of that place.

Lighting has a powerful effect: Dark rooms subdue us, often overwhelmingly, while the glare of fluorescent lights is hard on our eyes and physically taxing, and affects how we perceive colors. At our altitude the sunlight also affects us dramatically, so indoors we might get relief from glare and allow natural light with "top down, bottom up" shades that easily solve lighting issues for rooms. This also protects staff and clients alike from glare as well as protecting art fading via harsh UV rays. Our local art galleries and artists can guide you on these issues for your art.

In our area, we have art galleries and artists with vast knowledge to share with our readers via art shows and by appointment. So let’s go ahead and visit them! I know we will all be well received.

Janet Sellers is a local artist and art teacher. Her paintings and public art sculptures are on view in Colorado cities. She can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Palmer Lake Art Group Show and Sale, Oct. 3-5

Caption: Palmer Lake Art Group held its annual show and sale at the Palmer Lake Town Hall Oct. 3-5. The hall was packed with artists’ booths and visitors.

Caption: Local pottery artist Ann Shimek greets visitors to her booth at the annual Palmer Lake Art Group holiday art show and sale, benefiting a scholarship fund for high school seniors.

Photos by Janet Sellers.

Otis Taylor at the TLCA

Caption: Otis Taylor engages the audience with his persona and trans blues style Oct. 3 at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Taylor, a Boulder resident and acclaimed blues artist, brought his four-piece band to the stage. He formed his first band in the early 1960s, being influenced by country blues music heard at the Denver Folklore Center. After performing for a number of years, he retired from the music in 1977 but returned to it in the mid-1990s. He became a Fellow at the Sundance Film Composers Laboratory, which furthered his unique composition and lyric style. Taylor said he seeks a "trans-blues style that is hypotonic through repetition," offering a sound that is "cutting edge and different" than traditional blues. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.

Monument Fall Festival Oct. 4

Caption: Stephanie Bruce helped her son Tra hammer a model car. Photo by Herb Wetzel.

Caption: Wirewood Station played "Americana/folk/bluegrass music with a twist." Photo by Sharon Williams.

Check presented to Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, Oct. 6

Caption: From left, Monument Community Liaison Madeline VanDenHoek and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Hayes present $1,000 in funds raised by the Bines & Brews Festival to Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Board President Dave Betzler at the Oct. 6 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Betzler thanked the Town of Monument and the Chamber of Commerce for their recognition of HAP’s contribution to enriching the lives of senior citizens throughout the Tri-Lakes region by sponsoring activities, including operating a local senior citizens center, hosting a weekly senior luncheon, and offering day trips for seniors. Betzler also noted that HAP provides free and low-cost medical consultation services to Tri-Lakes citizens through its Neighborhood Nurse program. Tri-Lakes HAP is a local, all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been actively serving and advocating for Tri-Lakes seniors since 1996. More information about HAP is available at www.TriLakesHAP.org. Photo by Allen Alchian.

Kiwanis holds 30th annual Empty Bowl event on Oct. 8

Caption: The 30th annual Empty Bowl event on Oct. 8 was held at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument. The Tri-Lakes community came out to support the event, enjoy the dinner and music, and participate in the silent auction. Local musicians and musical groups including the high school and middle school choirs and bands performed music. Volunteers from District 38 staff, Kiwanis Club members from both high schools, and the Jackson Creek Kohl’s Associates in Action group provided the labor, and over $20,000 was raised for the Tri-Lakes Cares organization, which provides emergency assistance, self-sufficiency, and relief programs. The door prize, a 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, was won by Eddie Moore of Monument. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

WMMI Harvest Festival Oct. 10

Caption: WMMI volunteer Lowell Ross demonstrated blacksmithing techniques for attendees of the museum’s Harvest Festival. This was the first demonstration at the museum’s blacksmith building since the 1990s. Photo by Evan Futey.

Caption: In the yard of the historic Reynolds Farm House, attendees of the WMMI Harvest Festival could purchase Halloween pumpkins Above Right: Visitors enjoy a hayride provided by WMMI volunteer Steve Berry as he drives his John Deere tractor. Photos by Evan Futey.

TLWC holds Wine and Roses Oct. 25

Caption: On Oct. 25, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) hosted its annual Wine and Roses event at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. The event serves as a fundraiser for the TLWC so it can continue to assist many Tri-Lakes nonprofit groups, first responders, and educational organizations who rely on grants from TLWC to provide essential programs, as well as an opportunity for members of the community to enjoy and sample wine, beer, and food. A silent auction was held along with the food and beverages. TLWC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has given back over $800,000 to the community. Rafael Dominguez, Karen Brofft and Chris Truty were "celebrity servers" at the event. For more information, see www.tlwc.net. Photo by Allison Colburn.

YMCA holds 7th annual Creepy Crawl fun run

Caption: The Haley Family—Clark Kent, mini-me Clark Kent, Little Captain America, and Bat Woman—raced in the Tri-Lakes YMCA seventh annual Creepy Crawl 5K and Kids’ Fun Run on Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Santa Fe Trail Head in Palmer Lake. The race was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Thrive, McNew & Associates, Penrad Imaging, GE Johnson construction, Fusesport, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Sports Authority, Springs5K, and StacheTATS. Proceeds benefitted families in need of scholarships for YMCA memberships and kids’ sports camps. Adults raced the 5K in crazy costumes, followed by a 1-mile Kids’ Fun Run. Sponsors provided snacks and water for the runners. Multiple prizes were awarded to the winners of age-level race divisions and dressed runners who raced as superheroes, bananas, and even, Mary Poppins. Right: Tri-Lakes YMCA fitness instructors Heather and Wendy led the Creepy Crawlers in a Monster Mash stretch before the seventh annual Creepy Crawl 5K and Kids’ Fun Run on Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Santa Fe Trail Head in Palmer Lake. The race was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Thrive, McNew & Associates, Penrad Imaging, GE Johnson construction, Fusesport, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Sports Authority, Springs5K, and StacheTATS. Proceeds benefited families in need of scholarships for YMCA memberships and kids’ sports camps. Adults raced the 5K in crazy costumes, followed by a 1-mile Kids’ Fun Run. Sponsors provided snacks and water for the runners. Multiple prizes were awarded to the winners of age-level race divisions and dressed runners who raced as superheroes, bananas, and even Mary Poppins. Photos by Michael Justice.

Monument Hill Foundation provides dictionaries to all 3rd graders in D-38

Caption: The Monument Hill Foundation, funding arm of Monument Hill Kiwanis, approved $40,000 in grants to area charitable and youth programs for 2014 and 2015. Among the grant recipients are District 38 and Pikes Peak Community College, each of which received a substantial gift to support career starter scholarships. Over $11,000 goes to assist youth programs, including leadership development. Grants to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Children’s Advocacy, CASA, the Griffith Center and the Equestrian Program are directed at helping young people get on track toward a secure and productive life. The foundation also provided over $100,000 in grants to groups, including the Salvation Army through the annual bell ringing effort, Tri-Lakes Cares from the Empty Bowls Supper, and the third-grade dictionary project. Information is available at www.monumenthillfoundation.org.

Tri-Lakes Cares Donation

Caption: Zach Brown recently made a donation at Tri-Lakes Cares to help sustain the annual Holiday Food program for families in the Tri-Lakes community who otherwise would not be able to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for their loved ones. Cash funding for this year’s budget has been greatly reduced, and TLC is desperately in need of help. "If we are not able to raise the money needed to purchase food, we won’t be able to provide every family with the essential foods needed to cook a traditional holiday meal," said Julie Seeger, program manager at Tri-Lakes Cares. Call 719-481-4864 ext. 104 or visit www.Tri-LakesCares.org if you have questions or would like to help out. Photo provided by Julie Seeger.

Caption: Happy Face from the Monument Fall Festival

7k Skating Open House

Caption: Aaron Dille, 4, anticipates trying his new skills at the 7k Skating Academy open house.

Caption: Coach Anna Tarassova steadies Aidan Dille, 6, as he learns the basics of ice skating Oct. 4.

Caption: Ella Walsh, 4, having never skated before, takes her first steps on the ice with the assistance of coaches open house on Oct. 4. Photos by Lisa Converse

Caption: In mid-October, while pulling noxious weeds, volunteer Mike Gay holds up the toxic myrtle spurge weed; all parts of this weed are poisonous. These volunteers searched trail sides and removed the noxious weeds. The U.S. Forest Service recommends safe removal in hard-to-reach and steep areas by hoeing and hand pulling, tap root and all. Herbicides have a tragic effect on surrounding plant life that is vital to wetlands, soil protection and flood issues; mowing won’t eradicate the plants and can spread seeds. Photo by Janet Sellers.

Caption: Local artists, from left, Linda Close, Paul Mahle, and Terrie spells enjoy the last warm outdoor "plein air paint out" of the year at Monument Lake. Photo by Janet Sellers

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Library events for November: Dress up for Prince and Princess Day

By Harriet Halbig

Children’s programs

Story Time in Spanish will be offered on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, Nov. 5 and 19, from 5:15 to 5:45. English and Spanish speaking listeners are welcome.

November’s Family Fun Program will be Prince and Princess Day on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 2:30 p.m. Princes, princesses, knights, dragons, and all other creatures of the realm are invited to attend in the costume of your choice. The royal activity of the day will be Marshmallow Castle Building. Please note that all future Family Fun programs will also begin at 2:30.

Let’s Make Piñatas! Learn to make colorful, easy piñatas for your next holiday or birthday party. This program is for all ages on Friday, Nov. 14 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The Legos Club will meet on Nov. 15 from 10 to 11:30. Bring your imagination and we will provide the Legos. For all ages.

Teen programs

Having trouble with your math assignments? Need to review for the GED or ACT? AfterMath is a free tutoring program at the library every Monday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. No appointment is necessary and the program is open to all ages.

Adult programs

Learn to crochet a Sashay scarf. Learn to make the popular ruffled scarf from Sashay specialty yarn. Tina Lewis will offer instruction on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 10 to noon. Yarn will be provided, but bring an I crochet hook if you have one. Space is limited. Please call 488-2370.

The Monumental Readers will meet on Friday, Nov. 21 to discuss All the Truth that’s in Me by Julie Gardner Berry. All patrons are welcome to join this monthly book club.

On the library’s walls in November will be watercolors by Kathleen Murray. In the display case will be a Coke collection by Sophia de la Mora.

Palmer Lake Library programs

Palmer Lake’s November Family Fun program will be Cartooning for Kids with the Young Rembrandts. The staff from Young Rembrandts teaches the drawing skills children need while developing learning skills that give children an academic advantage in the classroom. Join us for a fun-filled cartoon lesson while we draw one of our favorite animals! For grades K and up on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m.

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

The Fibernistas meet each Thursday from 10 until noon. Bring a new or ongoing knit, crochet, or other project and join your fellow crafters for a morning of creativity.

On the walls of the library will be Fall Leaves by the Palmer Lake Elementary School third- graders’ printmaking class.

All Pikes Peak Library facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. Regular hours will resume on Friday, Nov. 28.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, Sep. 18: The first sheriff of El Paso County

By Tom VanWormer

Former El Paso County Sheriff John Wesley Anderson provided the members and guests of the Palmer Lake Historical Society with a brief look into the life and times of Rankin Scott Kelly, the first sheriff of the county, at the group’s October meeting. Kelly was in charge back in the day when Colorado City (today "‘Old Colorado City"‘) on the westside of Colorado Springs was the county seat.

The population and the extent of building was considerably less than today and the pursuit of speeders was not a major activity of the Sheriff’s Office because there were neither established roads nor railroads within the county limits. At that time, that included all of what is today Teller County. Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek were still far in the future back in 1861 when Kelly was elected to his position.

Former Sheriff Anderson presented a wonderful word picture of the area before the railroads started to develop the towns we now know along Monument and Fountain Creeks. The only towns in the county at that point were Colorado City, since most of the towns up Ute Pass, along U.S. 24, and along the I-25 corridor were established by the much-later local railroads. Old Colorado City was established in 1859 to support the great "‘Pikes Peak or Bust"‘ gold rush. Anderson provided the audience with colorful stories of the early criminals and characters of the region.

The second sheriff of El Paso County surrendered his badge shortly after his first run-in with one of the local folks, and Sheriff Kelly took back his position to collar the criminal (by shooting him in the early dawn as he awoke) and then went on to be re-elected once more.

Anderson has a book on Kelly to be released this holiday season by the Old Colorado City Historical Society.

On Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, the Palmer Lake Historical Society will present Dave Wallace in his impersonation of mountain man Jeddah Smith with Wallace’s complete collection of guns used by the mountain men of Colorado. Please feel free to join your friends of the Historical Society in this free presentation.

Tom VanWormer may be reached at robsmom@pcisys.net.

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Our Community 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 information number for that event.

Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red

Nov. 5: Tuna on a croissant with chips and avocado

Nov. 12: Lemon chicken over rice, salad.

Nov. 19: Raspberry chipotle pork, roasted potatoes, salad.

Nov. 26: No lunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. at 146 Jefferson St., Monument (the School District 38 Administration Building, "Big Red"). $3 voluntary donation. Entertainment follows lunch. For more information, call Judy, 487-9067. An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership. Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.

Seeking veterans for school history project

The Veterans History Project is a national effort to preserve the oral history of local veterans. Lewis- Palmer Middle School is proud to contribute to this effort every year and is currently seeking volunteers to participate. The project begins Veterans Day, Nov. 11. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Mary Diane Deysher at mdeysher@lewispalmer.org or call 488-4776.

St. Peter Catholic School enrolling for preschool-eighth grade

The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education. NCA accredited, state licensed, financial aid available. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.

Tri-Lakes Cares needs help from the community

Each year, Tri-Lakes Cares runs the annual holiday food program because many families in this community aren’t able to provide a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal for their loved ones. They do this by collecting food from the Harvest of Love food drive that is hosted by the Kiwanis and School District 38, and by purchasing the food that is still needed. Funding for the holiday food program is greatly reduced this year compared to last year, and there is an urgent need for help to raise additional funds. Donated money will be used to buy gift certificates for turkeys so that everyone in our community can enjoy a traditional holiday meal. To donate, call Julie Seeger, Program Manager, 481-4864 x104.

Free Thanksgiving dinner

Rosie’s Diner is again teaming with Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) to offer a free Thanksgiving dinner to those in the community who may not have family to share this special day with, or who may not be able to prepare their own meal. Last year’s event was a great success thanks to the generosity of many local businesses. Financial contributions are sought to offset the cost of publicity, materials, and food. Donations should be made to Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit; receipts for the donation will be provided. Please help make this year’s Community Coming Together Thanksgiving Dinner another big success. If your business or group would like to contribute to this year’s event, please contact Madeline VanDenHoek, Town of Monument Community Liaison, at 884-8013.

Black Forest Community Club invites new and renewal memberships

The Black Forest Community Club (BFCC) invites community families to become members of this dynamic, community-focused organization. The upcoming lineup of programs open to the entire Black Forest area community includes the Veterans Day program, Nov. 15, 7 p.m.; the Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Arrival, Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m.; and the Christmas Potluck Dinner, Dec. 13, 6 p.m. All of these programs take place at the Community Center at 12530 Black Forest Rd. just north of Shoup. To find out more about BFCC and the Black Forest, visit the club’s website at www.bfcommunityclub.org.

MVEA Essay Contest, due Nov. 18

High school juniors can win a trip in June 2015 to Washington, D.C., or a week in July at Leadership Camp in the mountains. Requirements and entry form are available at an MVEA office in Limon or Falcon, or online at www.mvea.coop/community/essay-contest/. For more information, call 719-494-2670.

Meals on Wheels comes to Palmer Lake; volunteers needed

Mountain Community Senior Services and Silver Key of Colorado Springs are starting a Meals on Wheels program in Palmer Lake. Meals will be delivered to Tri-Lakes Cares on Tuesdays and Fridays, then picked up by drivers and taken to clients. For more information or to volunteer, contact Sue Cliatt, 481-3175, es1070@aol.com.

Free transportation and safety services for seniors

Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. The number to call is 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you are in need of grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message.

2015 Colorado Gardener Certificate training program, Apply by Jan. 5

Colorado State University Extension is now accepting registrations for the 2015 Colorado Gardener Certificate training program. Home gardeners and parks department, school district, and golf course maintenance personnel as well as landscape professionals will benefit from this training. Classes will be held Thursdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 22 through March 26 at the El Paso County Extension office, now located at 17 N. Spruce St (near I-25 and Bijou). Space is limited and available on a first-paid basis. For more information, visit the Horticulture page of the website http://elpasoco.colostate.edu or call Julie at (719) 520-7690.

CASA volunteers needed

Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASA offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs/ or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033 or kellyp@casappr.org.

Grant writers needed for Palmer Lake

The Awake Palmer Lake Committee is looking for grant writers to help with the next Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) grant application to improve the park at Palmer Lake. The grant could be worth $300,000. See http://awakepalmerlake.org for more information or contact the Park and Recreation trustee at parks@palmer-lake.org.

Free Senior Safety Handyman Services

Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.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., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For 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. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.

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Our Community Calendar

By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar 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.

GOVERNMENTAL BODIES

Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, Mon., Nov. 3, Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Normally meets 1st and 3rd Mon. each month. Info: 884-8017.

El Paso County Planning Commission Meeting, Tue., Nov. 4, 9 a.m., 2880 International Circle (off Union Blvd & Printers Pkwy). Meets 1st & 3rd Tue. (if required) each month. Info: 520-6300, http://adm2.elpasoco.com/planning/agendas/pc/pc-agn.asp.

Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility Joint Use Committee Meeting, Tue., Nov. 11, 10 a.m., 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meets 2nd Tue. each month. Info: Bill Burks, 481-4053.

Triview Metropolitan District Board Meeting, Tue., Nov. 11, 5 p.m., 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. Meets 2nd Tue. each month. Info: 488-6868.

D-38 Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) Meeting, Tue., Nov. 11, 7 p.m., BEAST room of Bear Creek Elementary School, 1330 Creekside Dr., Monument. Meets 2nd Tue. each month, location varies. Info: 488-4700, www.lewispalmer.org.

Palmer Lake Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Nov. 12, 10 a.m., 120 Middle Glenway. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: 481-2732.

D-38 Special Education Advisory Council, Wed., Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m., Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: 488-4700, www.lewispalmer.org.

Monument Planning Commission Meeting, Wed., Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: 884-8017.

Woodmoor Water & Sanitation District Meeting, Thu., Nov. 13, 1 p.m., 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 488-2525.

Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing Authority & Medical Marijuana Authority and Town Council Combined Workshop and Regular Meeting, Thu., Nov. 13, 6 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-2953 (then press 0) or www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us.

Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, Mon., Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Meets 1st and 3rd Mon. each month. Info: 884-8017.

El Paso County Planning Commission Meeting, Tue., Nov. 18, 9 a.m., 2880 International Circle (off Union Blvd & Printers Pkwy). Meets 1st & 3rd Tue. (if required) each month. Info: 520-6300, http://adm2.elpasoco.com/planning/agendas/pc/pc-agn.asp.

Wescott Fire Protection District Board Meeting, Tue., Nov. 18, 7 p.m., Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meets 3rd Tue. each month, Info: 488-8680.

Academy Water and Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Nov. 19, 6 p.m., Wescott Fire Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 481-0711.

Palmer Lake Planning Commission Meeting, Wed., Nov. 19, 6 p.m., at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 481-2953 (then press 0) or www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us.

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board Meeting, Wed., Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m., 166 Second St., Monument. Normally meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: Jennifer Martin, 484-0911, www.tlmfire.org.

Woodmoor Improvement Association Board Meeting, Wed., Nov. 19, 7 p.m., Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr. Normally meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: 488-2693, www.woodmoor.org.

Monument Sanitation District Board Meeting, Thu., Nov. 20, 10 a.m., 130 2nd St. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: 481-4886.

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board Meeting, Thu., Nov. 20, 6 p.m., Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: 488-4700.

Donala Water & Sanitation District Board Meeting: Budget Hearing, Thu., Dec. 4, 1:30 p.m., 15850 Holbein Dr., Colorado Springs. Normally meets 3rd Thu. each month except Nov. and Dec. Info: 488-3603.

Forest View Acres Water District Special Board Meeting, Thu., Dec. 4, 6-8 p.m. Monument Sanitation District boardroom, 130 Second St. Normally meets 4th Thu. each month. Info: 488-2110, www.fvawd.com.

LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS

All branches close for Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. Nov. 26 & all day Nov. 27

The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.

The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Paws to Read, every Mon. (except Nov. 24), 3:30-4:30 p.m. Let your child practice reading to a Paws to Read dog. No registration required. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Aftermath, every Mon. (except Nov. 24), 3:30-7 p.m. Free drop-in math assistance for students of all ages. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Storytime, every Tue., 10:30-11 & 11:15-11:45 a.m. For ages 3 and up. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Toddler Time, every Thu. , 9:30 a.m. & 10:15 a.m.; & Fri., 10:30-11 a.m. (except Nov. 21 & 28). Rhymes & rhythms for one- and two-year-olds. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Family Fun--Prince & Princess Day, Sat., Nov. 8, 2:30-4 p.m. Dress in costume and build a marshmallow castle. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Let’s Make Pinatas, Fri., Nov. 14, 4-5:30 p.m. Registration required. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. RSVP & Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Family Program–LEGO Club, Sat., Nov. 15, 10-11:30 a.m. Duplos for the littles ones, Legos for the rest. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Palmer Lake Library: Family Fun–Cartooning for Kids with Young Rembrandts, Sat., Nov. 15, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Grades K and up, draw a goofy animal and transform it into a cartoon character. Palmer Lake Branch Library, 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Storytime en Español, Wed., Nov. 19, 5:15-5:45 p.m. For children of all ages. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Pikes Peak Library District’s Kids Web: Kids Web at www.ppld.org features resources for school reports and homework, Tumblebooks––free online read-along books, and a Fun & Games link. A "grown-ups" link has information about local school districts, home-schooling, and more.

Adult Programs

Monument Library: Magic: The Gathering Club Meeting, every Mon. (except Nov. 10 & 17), 7-8:45 p.m. Teens and young adults meet to play Magic in a safe, casual atmosphere. Library: Monument Library - 1706 Lake Woodmoor Drive Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Socrates Café, every Tue., 1-3 p.m. This group focuses on a deeper look into philosophy, religions, spirituality, and the common threads among humanity. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Senior Chats, every Wed., 10 a.m.-noon. All seniors are welcome to share conversation and a cup of coffee in this casual discussion group. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Beginning Computer Classes. Check at the desk for the schedule of free classes Wed. mornings for beginner computer users. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Palmer Lake Library: Palmer Lake Knitting Group, every Thu., 10 a.m.-noon. Knit with other knitters. Palmer Lake Branch Library, 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Life Circles, Mon., Nov. 3, 9:30-11 a.m. Get inspiration and structure for writing your memories or history. Meets 1st & 3rd Mon. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Tri-Lakes Knitters & Crafters, Fri., Nov. 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Drop in to share ideas, get help. Meets 1st and 3rd Fri. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: Clare Wissinger, 481-8442, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Learn to Crochet a Sashay Scarf, Sat., Nov. 8, 10 a.m.-noon. Yarn is provided, but bring an "I" crochet hook if you have one. Attendee must be 18 years or older. Space is limited, registration required. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. RSVP & Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Life Circles, Mon., Nov. 17, 9:30-11 a.m. Get inspiration and structure for writing your memories or history. Meets 1st & 3rd Mon. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Yoga Class, Thu., Nov. 20, noon-1:15, Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Monumental Readers Book Club, Fri., Nov. 21, 10-11:30 a.m. All are welcome to this spirited group. Meets 3rd Fri. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Homeschool Program, Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts, Mon., Nov. 24, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Meets last Mon. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: History Buffs Book Discussion Group, Wed., Nov. 26, 1-3 p.m. Enjoy a trip through history with other history lovers. Meets 4th Wed. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

Monument Library: Tri-Lakes Knitters & Crafters, Fri., Dec. 5, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Drop in to share ideas, get help. Meets 1st and 3rd Fri. each month. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: Clare Wissinger, 481-8442, www.ppld.org.

The Library Channel (Comcast 17) broadcasts 24/7. See live simulcasts of programs, recorded presentations, a schedule of Library events, children’s story times, an adult literacy program, El Paso County Commissioners meetings, and much more. Find the schedule online at www.ppld.org, then click on the link "Happenings @ Your Library," then click on the "Comcast 17" link to search the schedule.

WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS

Monument Hill Kiwanis Club Breakfast Meeting, every Sat., 8 a.m., Mozaic at the Inn at Palmer Divide, 443 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Guests are welcome to the weekly meetings that feature speakers on a variety of topics. Info: Bill Healy, 278-8393.

Free Tai Chi in the Park, every Sat., 9-10 a.m., weather permitting, Fox Run Park, Stella Drive entrance. Minimal instruction. Look for instructors wearing baseball hats, and grass signs posted, "Get your Qi On." Info: 232-1618 or 232-1619.

Bingo by the American Legion, every Sat., game sales start at 6 p.m., games start at 7 p.m., the Depot Restaurant, in Palmer Lake. Proceeds go to scholarships and other community support activities. Info: 481-8668, www.americanlegiontrilakespost911.com/bingo.htm.

Calvary Fellowship Monument: Saturday Evening Service, every Sat., 6 p.m., 238 Third. St., Monument. Info: Pastor Tony Magar, 290-1748.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church Sunday Worship, 8:30 a.m.; teaching & community time (preschool-adult), 10 a.m.; family service with children’s church, 10:45 a.m. 13990 Gleneagle Dr. Info: 505-8021, www.HolyTrinityAnglicanChurch.org.

Tri-Lakes Reformed Church Sunday Worship, 9:45 a.m., Woodmoor Community Center, 1691 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Info: www.trilakesreformed.org.

Fuel Church New Church Service at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, every Sun., Donuts and coffee, 10 a.m.; Main Service, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Non-denominational. Info: info@fuel.org, www.fuelchurch.org.

Women’s A.A. Step Study, every Mon., 6 p.m. Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 W. Baptist Rd. Info: 481-0431.

Monument Hill Kiwanis Bingo, every Mon., 7:30 pm, Carefree Bingo, 3440 N. Carefree Circle, Colo. Springs. All proceeds benefit those in need in the Tri-Lakes Community. Info: mark.zeiger@gmail.com.

Senior Lunches, every Mon. & Thu., except the 1st Thu. each month and holidays, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Administration Complex, 166 Second St., Monument. Arrive 11:30 a.m., dine at noon. Stay for free bingo the 2nd Thu. each month. Cost: $2. Info: Dorothy Myers, 481-4189; Maggie Nealon, 488-3037.

Transmission Meditation: Group Meditations every Mon. & Thu., 7 p.m., in Palmer Lake. The simplest, most potent way to serve humanity and help transform our world. Dynamic aid to personal growth. Info: 303-494-4462, www.TransmissionMeditation.org.

Tri-Lakes YMCA Senior Coffee, every Tue., 9:30-11:30 a.m., 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Members and non-members are welcome. Seniors, come socialize and have coffee and snacks in the front lobby. Sign up to bring snacks. Free. Info: 630-2604, hbrandon@ppymca.org, www.ppymca.org.

Yarny Birds Stitch Group, every Tue., 10 a.m. & 6 p.m., 790 Hwy 105, #C, Palmer Lake. An open group for knitters, crocheters, and fiber arts of any type. Classes starting soon. Info: 377-0403, yarnbirdfibers@gmail.com.

Al-anon Meeting: Monument Serenity, every Tue., 7:30-8:30 p.m., Ascent Church, (formerly the Tri-Lakes Chapel) 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Info: Kay, 481-9258.

Gleneagle Sertoma, every Wed., luncheon meeting at Liberty Heights, 12105 Ambassador Dr., (off Voyager Blvd in Colorado Springs). Interesting speakers and programs; all are welcome. Info: Call Garrett Barton, 433-5396, Bill Bristol, 481-3366, www.gleneaglesertoma.org.

Senior Citizen Luncheons, every Wed., noon-1 p.m., D-38 Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) invites area seniors for lunch & activities. Free blood pressure screening 1st & 3rd Wed. $3 donation requested. Info: 484-0517.

Tri-Lakes Church of Christ Wednesday Night Fellowship Meal (Free) & Classes, every Wed., 6-7:30 p.m., 20450 Beacon Lite Road, Monument (Corner of Beacon Lite & County Line Roads). Info: 488-9613, gregsmith@trilakeschurch.org, www.trilakeschurch.org.

Oakley’s Cafe & Bistro: Live music Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 1865 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. See the ad in this issue for a BOGO coupon. Info: 481-0808.

Al-anon Meeting: Letting Go, every Thu., 9-10:10 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chapel, room 209, 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Info: Kay, 481-9258.

Villa: Martinis & Music every Thu., 5-8 p.m., (weather permitting). 75 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Happy Hour Tue.-Sun., 5-6 p.m. New small plates menu. RSVP & Info: 481-2222, www.TheVillaPalmerLake.com.

Mozaic Restaurant, The Inn at Palmer Divide: Family Night, every Thu., 5:30-8:30 p.m., 443 S. Highway 105, Palmer Lake. Kids eat free with purchase of an adult entree. See ad for coupon. Info: 481-1800, www.innatpalmerdivide.com.

A.A. Big Book Study, every Thu., 7 p.m., Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 W. Baptist Rd. Info: 481-0431.

Craft Club, Sat., Nov. 1, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Fairfield Inn & Suites, Mt. Herman Room, 15275 Struthers Rd. Ages 15 and up; each month features a fun, easy to follow paper craft. All supplies provided. Fee varies by project. Meets 1st Sat. each month. Info: Linda, 375-8991, Lindacarpy@gmail.com.

Lifting Spirits Adult Day Center Open House, Mon., Nov. 3, 1-4 p.m., 755 Hwy 105, Unit C, Palmer Lake. Caregivers, find out how to make your lives easier. Refreshments served. Meets 1st Mon. each month. Info: Sonja Search, 488-1415, liftingspirits@qwestoffice.net  .

American Legion Tri-Lakes Post 9-11, Tue., Nov. 4 6:30 p.m., Depot Restaurant, Hwy 105 & Primrose St., Palmer Lake. New members welcome. Meets 1st Tue. each month. Info: 481-8668, www.americanlegiontrilakespost911.com.

Monument Homemakers Club Monthly Potluck Lunch & Meeting, Thu., Nov. 6, 11:30 a.m., Tri-Lakes Fire Department Administrative Building, 166 Second St., Monument. Meets 1st Thu. each month except Jan. and unless D-38 is delayed or closed due to bad weather. Newcomers welcome. For a ride to the meeting, call Faye Brenneman, 488-0076. RSVP & info: Irene Walters, 481-1188, or Bev Wells, 488-3327.

Palmer Divide Quilt Makers, Thu., Nov. 6, 7 p.m., Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd. Meets 1st Thu. each month. Info: Barb Broshous, 999-5447.

MOMS Club of Monument/Palmer Lake Monthly Meeting, Fri., Nov. 7, 10 a.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 1st Fri. each month. Info: monumentmomsinfo@gmail.com.

Palmer Lake Art Group, Sat., Nov. 8, 9 a.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. A variety of art programs are offered after the social gathering and business meeting. Guests welcome. Meets 2nd Sat. each month. Info: 487-1329, www.palmerlakeartgroup.com.

El Paso County Hazardous Materials & Recycling Collection Facility, Sat., Nov. 8, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 3255 Akers Dr., Colorado Springs. Open the 2nd Sat. each month as well as Mon.-Thu., 7 a.m.-5 p.m., accepts porcelain fixtures, common recyclable items, household hazardous waste, various electronics, and TVs up to 19-inch diagonal. Now accepting documents for shredding, up to two legal paper-sized boxes, from private households. Bring a nonperishable food item for Care and Share. Info: 520-7878, http://adm.elpasoco.com/Environmental_Services/Solid_Waste_Management

• Alzheimer’s Support Group, Sat., Nov. 8, 10-11:30 a.m., Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd. Meets 2nd Sat. each month. Info: LaVonne Putman, 488-2557.

Black Forest AARP Potluck Lunch & Meeting, Wed., Nov. 12, noon, Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Rd. All ages welcome. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: Chuck, 749-9227, or aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.

HAP-py Feet Foot Care Clinic, Wed., Nov. 12, Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines your feet and provides proper toenail trimming. Cost: $30 for a 30-min. visit; limited financial assistance is available for qualifying applicants. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, (303) 698-6496.

Candlelight Yoga at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Wed., Nov. 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m., 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Pause, meditate, and medicate with wine and chocolate truffles after yoga. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: 481-0475, info@TriLakesArts.org, www.trilakesarts.org.

Civil War Roundtable, Wed., Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Monument Sanitation District Conference Room, 130 2nd St., Monument. Open to all, no prior knowledge needed. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: Leon Tenney, lwt1862@comcast.net.

Senior Bingo at Old Monument Town Hall, Thu., Nov. 13, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Administration Complex, 166 Second St., Monument, after the noontime senior lunch. Come for lunch at 11:30 a.m., then stay and play. Free! Prizes! Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: Maggie Nealon, 488-3037.

Legacy Sertoma Dinner Meeting, Thu., Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m., Monument Hill Country Club, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. New members and visitors welcome. Meets 2nd & 4th Thu. each month. Info: Ed Kinney, 481-2750.

Ben Lomond Gun Club, Tri-Lakes Chapter, Thu., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Tri-Lakes Fire Station 1, 18650 Hwy 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-3364.

Little Log Kitchen Free Meal, Sat., Nov. 15, noon, 133 High St., Palmer Lake. Sponsored by Little Log Church every 3rd Sat. Info: 481-2409.

Senior Social, Wed., Nov. 26, 1-4 p.m., Fellowship Hall of the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Rd. Meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.

Amateur Radio W0TLM (Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association), Mon., Nov. 17, 7 p.m., Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1, 18650 Hwy 105. All amateur radio operators or those interested in becoming amateur radio operators are welcome. Meets 3rd Mon. Info: Joyce Witte, 488-0859, Joycewitte@gmail.com.

Drummers! Mon., Nov. 17, 6:30-8 p.m., Yoga Pathways, Suite A, West End Center, 755 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Free and open to the public. Bring any kind of drum or other hand percussion instrument. Beginners welcome! Usually meets 3rd Mon. each month. Verify date & time: Char, 488-3138.

Tri-Lakes Home Educators’ Support Group, Mon., Nov. 17. Meets 3rd Mon. each month for support, information, field trips, and special events. Info: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TLHESGmembers or tlhesgmembers-owner@yahoogroups.com.

Senior Tea, Tue., Nov. 18, 1-3 p.m., Senior Center at Lewis-Palmer High School (across from the YMCA). Come early to socialize, bring a salad or dessert to share. Meat dishes and tea provided. Voluntary donations welcome. Meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: Irene C., 484-0517.

Fibromyalgia Support Group, Tue., Nov. 18, 5 p.m., Police Station, 7850 Goddard (1 block off Academy on Kelly Johnson near Chapel Hills Mall), Community Room just inside main entrance. A DVD will play 5-6 p.m.; meeting starts at 6 p.m. Share concerns and success stories and talk to a D.O. Learn how you can become pain-free. No charge, no products sold. Meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: 481-2230.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7829, Tue., Nov. 18, 7 p.m., Sundance Mountain Lodge, 1865 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. New members welcome. Meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: Joe Carlson, 488-1902.

Ladies Auxiliary to V.F.W. Post 7829, Wed., Nov. 19, 6:45 p.m., Sundance Mountain Lodge, 1865 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. New members welcome. If you are a female relative of a veteran who served on foreign soil during war or other military action, you may be eligible. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Kathy Carlson, 719-488-1902, carlsonmkc@aol.com.

Palmer Lake Historical Society: "Mountain Man Jedediah Smith", Thu., Nov. 20, 7 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Dressed as this legendary pioneer, Dave Wallace will bring to life Smith’s exploits as hunter, trapper, fur trader, trailblazer, author, cartographer, and explorer. Free and open to the public; refreshments served after the program. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: Pat McCarthy, 659-1363; www.palmerdividehistory.org.

Tri-Lakes Lions Club, Thu., Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m. social, 7-8 p.m. meeting, Sundance Mountain Lodge, 1865 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: David Prejean, 434-7031.

NEPCO Meeting, Sat., Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-noon, New Monument Town Hall & Police Building, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. County Commissioner Darryl Glenn will give an update on county issues. All are welcome to this meeting of local homeowners associations. Info: 481-2723 or visit www.nepco.org.

Lifting Spirits Adult Day Center Open House, Mon., Dec. 1, 1-4 p.m., 755 Hwy 105, Unit C, Palmer Lake. Caregivers, find out how to make your lives easier. Refreshments served. Meets 1st Mon. each month. Info: Sonja Search, 488-1415, liftingspirits@qwestoffice.net.

American Legion Tri-Lakes Post 9-11, Tue., Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m., Depot Restaurant, Hwy 105 & Primrose St., Palmer Lake. New members welcome. Meets 1st Tue. each month. Info: 481-8668, www.americanlegiontrilakespost911.com.

Monument Homemakers Club Monthly Potluck Lunch & Meeting, Thu., Dec. 4, 11:30 a.m., Tri-Lakes Fire Department Administrative Building, 166 Second St., Monument. Meets 1st Thu. each month except Jan. and unless D-38 is delayed or closed due to bad weather. Newcomers welcome. For a ride to the meeting, call Faye Brenneman, 488-0076. RSVP & info: Irene Walters, 481-1188, or Bev Wells, 488-3327.

Palmer Divide Quilt Makers, Thu., Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd. Meets 1st Thu. each month. Info: Barb Broshous, 999-5447.

MOMS Club of Monument/Palmer Lake Monthly Meeting, Fri., Dec. 5, 10 a.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 1st Fri. each month. Info: monumentmomsinfo@gmail.com.

Craft Club, Sat., Dec. 6, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Fairfield Inn & Suites, Mt. Herman Room, 15275 Struthers Rd. Ages 15 and up; each month features a fun, easy to follow paper craft. All supplies provided. Fee varies by project. Meets 1st Sat. each month. Info: Linda, 375-8991, Lindacarpy@gmail.com.

Lupus Support Group. If you suffer with an autoimmune disease and want to connect with others, you are welcome to join this group. Info: dmbandle@hotmail.com.

Myasthenia Gravis Association of Colorado Support Group. Location varies. For information, call Carolyn, 488-3620, www.4-mga.org, 303-360-7080, 4mga@4-mga.org.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Haunted Mines at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI), last night Nov. 1, opens at dusk, 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 exit 156A). Don’t miss this terrifying adventure. All proceeds go to WMMI and local charities. Visit www.hauntedmines.org for details. WMMI info: 488-0880, or visit www.wmmi.org.

Black Forest Arts & Crafts Guild 50th Anniversary Fall Show & Sale, Thu.-Sun., Nov. 6-9, Thu.-Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. (just N. of Shoup). The free show offers crafts, baked goods, and more from more than 90 artisans and culinary guild members. A portion of all sale proceeds will benefit the guild’s scholarship fund and the Black Forest community. Wheelchair accessible, but no strollers please due to fire regulations. Info: 495-3035 or www.BFACG.org. Info: 495-3035, http://bfacg.org.

Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI): Heritage Lecture: Steam Shovels and the Panama Canal, Thu., Nov. 6, reception at 6 p.m., lecture at 7 p.m., 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). Historian Noel Maurer, author of Big Ditch, explores the world of the Panama Canal, the importance of steam shovels to its completion, and the future of this once controversial feat. Free. RSVP at 488-0880 or rsvp@wmmi.org.

The Bead Corner Grand Opening, Sat., Nov. 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monument Village Shopping Center, 481 Hwy. 105, Monument. New location! Refreshments, trunk shows, earring making, prizes. Info: 487-9900, www.beadcorneronline.com.

Book Signing at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Sat., Nov. 8, 1-3 p.m., 105 Second St. Vera Dawson will sign her high-altitude baking book, Cookies in the Clouds. Taste some cookies from her recipes! Info: 481-2665, www.coveredtreasures.com.

Poetry Reading & Book Signing at The Open Door Books and Gifts, Sat., Nov. 8, 4-5 p.m., 251 Front St., Suite 8, Monument. Robin Izer will read from Visions of New Being: Meditations and Poems. Info: 487-9076.

How’s The Market? Free Real Estate Forum, Sun., Nov. 9, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Serrano’s Coffee, 625 Hwy 105, Monument. Mark Rudolph will present an overview of the current real estate market, including past sales trends and future projections for key neighborhoods in Northgate and Tri-Lakes Areas. Free coffee. Info: 492-3974, mrudolph@erashields.com.

Free Flu Shots, Mon., Nov. 10, 3-5 p.m., Tri-Lakes Cares at Northland Church, 216 Jefferson St., Monument. For adults and children over 4 years of age. Eligibility requirements include: uninsured/underinsured, those without vaccine coverage. Health care insurance information and enrollment opportunities available. Vaccine is limited and will be available for as long as supply lasts. Info: call United Way 211.

Monument Academy Veterans’ Day Assembly: "Honoring the Honorable," Tue., Nov. 11, 9 a.m., 1500 Village Ridge Point, Monument. Veterans of all service branches are invited to share a special assembly in their honor. Lunch provided for veterans following the assembly. RSVP to Mrs. Amy Madruga, 481-1950 ext. 1240.

Free Rape Prevention & Women’s Self Defense Seminar, three Wednesdays, Nov. 12, 19, & 26, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Bluewave Taekwondo Academy, 630 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Empower yourself; learn tools to keep you and your loved ones safe. RSVP & Info: 776-9169.

Palmer Ridge High School Fall Musical, "Hello Dolly," Thu.-Sat., Nov. 13-15, 7-10 p.m.; plus Sat. matinee 2-5 p.m.; 19255 Monument Hill Rd., Monument. Tickets: www.showtix4u.com and at the door if not sold out. Info: 867-8600.

Black Rose Acoustic Society Open Stage headlined by Barrel House String Band, Fri., Nov. 14, opening act at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m., Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. at Shoup Road. Cost: $10 general, $5 BRAS members, $5 nonmember students with ID. Info: Joe Maio, 528-6119, jrmtn@comcast.net, www.blackroseacoustic.org.

St. Peter Catholic School’s Annual Holiday Boutique, Sat., Nov. 15, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., school gym, 124 First St., Monument. More than 70 vendors! Shop a great selection of jewelry, home, and gift items. Breakfast, lunch, and bake sale items available. Info: Michelle Wagner, 303-681-2619.

Help for the Holidays in the Midst of Loss, Sat., Nov. 15, 10:30-11:30 a.m., The West End Center, 755 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. This free seminar with Annie Campanaro, Licensed Professional Counselor, is for those who have experienced a loss–whether a loved one, a relationship, a job, or your health. Learn how to cope and bring hope back into this season. RSVP & Info: 358-1010.

Book Signing at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Sat., Nov. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 105 Second St. Sharon Gerdes will sign Back in Six Weeks, a book about post-partum psychosis, and Angie Ricketts will sign No Man’s War, about a military wife living a military life. Info: 481-2665, www.coveredtreasures.com.

Black Forest Community Club: Veteran’s Day Program, Sat., Nov. 15, 7 p.m., 12530 Black Forest Rd. (just N. of Shoup). Info: 495-3217, www.bfcommunityclub.org.

Tri-Lakes Community Blood Drive, Tue., Nov. 18, 3-7 p.m., Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St., Monument. No appointment needed, just walk in. Please bring driver’s license or ID. Info: 776-5714.

Tri-Lakes State of the Region, Thu., Nov. 20, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., The Inn at Palmer Divide, 443 Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake. Sam Bailey, with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, will provide an update on economic development efforts at the state level. Joe Raso from the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance and Danette Lilja from the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corporation will provide regional and local updates. RSVP & Info: www.trilakeschamber.com or Julie Matalus, 481-3282.

Lewis-Palmer High School Fall Musical: Oklahoma, Thu.-Sat., Nov. 20-22, 7 p.m., 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. Tickets: www.showtix4u.com. Info: 488-4720.

Gleneagle Women’s Club Art and Crafts Fair, Fri., Nov. 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Holy Trinity Church, 13990 Gleneagle Dr. Info: Tsilla Reyner, 599-9046, tsillareyner@yahoo.com.

Sixth Annual Breakaway Hockey Event Fundraiser, Silent and Live Auction, and Dessert Auction, Fri., Nov. 21, 6-11 p.m., Historic Pinecrest Event Center, 106 Pinecrest Way, Palmer Lake. A fundraiser for Lewis-Palmer D-38 High School Varsity Ice Hockey Team, which is not fully funded by the school district. Cost: $25 per person. Tickets & Info: Susan Fraser, 310-5416.

Buffalo Grass Acoustic Society Open Stage featuring Wayne and Arthetta Long, Americana Folk Music, Fri., Nov. 21, Show starts at 7 p.m., free jam session starts at 5:30 p.m., Cowboy Church of Peyton, 15504 Bradshaw Rd., Peyton. Cost: Adults, $5; Members, $3; Kids under 16 free. Info: (719) 660 8037, www.buffalograssacoustic.org.

Alpaca Holiday Extravaganza, Sat.-Sun., Nov. 22-23; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., Black Forest Community Club, 12530 Black Forest Rd. See alpacas and shop for clothing and accessories as well as fleece, yarn, and more. Info: 495-6693.

Book Signing at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Sat., Nov. 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 105 Second St. Erin Healy will sign Motherless and TR Fischer will sign Prey for Me. Info: 481-2665, www.coveredtreasures.com.

Yesterday in Concert: Acclaimed Beatles Tribute Band from Las Vegas, Sat., Nov. 22, 7 p.m., Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Advance Tickets: TLCA Members $20; Non-Members $25. Door Tickets: TLCA Members $25; Non-Members $30. Info: 481-0475, info@trilakesarts.org, www.trilakesarts.org, .

Free Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at Rosie’s Diner, Thu., Nov. 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 411 Hwy. 105, Monument. Tri-Lakes and Black Forest residents who, for whatever reason, will be unable to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends or family at home, and first responders on duty Thanksgiving day are invited to enjoy a free Thanksgiving dinner at Rosie’s Diner. Reservations are suggested because seating is limited. Reservations must be made by Nov. 21. RSVP & Info: Madeline at the Town of Monument, 884-8013. More information is also available at: www.TriLakesHAP.org/CCT.

Black Rose Acoustic Society Thanks to the Members Concert: The Flying W Wranglers, Fri., Nov. 28, concert at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. at Shoup Road. Cost: $12 BRAS members, $20 non-members. Memberships will not be sold at the door. Tickets available at www.blackroseacoustic.org or 649-1649. Info: Joe Maio, 528-6119, jrmtn@comcast.net.

Book Signing at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Sat., Nov. 29, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 105 Second St. Heather Buchman will sign Linger and her "And Then You..." series and Mary Anthi Diehlmann will sign Angry Haunting. Info: 481-2665, www.coveredtreasures.com.

Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI): The Gold Assay Process: Magic or Chemistry? Sat., Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 225 North Gate Blvd at 1-25 Exit 156A. Discover how ore is processed to extract gold. Crush and classify ore as you learn the basics of gold ore assaying–determining the value of gold in the rock. Explore Colorado’s rich mining heritage from the gold rush days to the 21st century and find out what’s happening in mining today! Cost: adults $8, military/AAA $7, seniors/students $6, children 3-12 $4, free to children under 3 & museum members. RSVP to rsvp@wmmi.org or 488-0880. Info: www.wmmi.org.

Small Town Christmas: Small Town Saturday, Sat., Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Shop small and celebrate the season in Historic Downtown Monument. Info: 425-8889, info@monumentmerchants.com.

Palmer Lake’s Traditional Chili Supper & Annual Star-lighting Festival, Sat., Nov. 29, 5-8:30 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Join the tradition and enjoy chili, potato soup, fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, and more. Cost: $6 adults, $3 children under 12. Proceeds go to the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. There will be hayrides, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, Christmas carols, Santa, bucket drawings and silent auctions, with one lucky winner chosen to light the star! Info or to donate prizes: Jeannine at the Rock House Ice Cream shop, 488-6917; or Lori, 651-3511.

Black Forest Community Club: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Arrival, Sat., Nov. 29, 7 p.m., 12530 Black Forest Rd. (just N. of Shoup). Info: 495-3217, www.bfcommunityclub.org.

Palmer Lake Yule Log Pot Luck Dinner, Tue., Dec. 2, 6 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Circle. Please bring a potluck dish to share and place settings for your family. Info: 481-2953.

Kiwanis’ 9th Annual North Pole at Tri-Lakes Arts and Crafts Fair, Sat.-Sun, Dec. 6-7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Grace Best School, 66 Jefferson St., Monument. Browse hundreds of handcrafted items perfect for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Holiday music by various D-38 school groups throughout the day. Admission is free, but nonperishable food items, toys, or cash donations for Tri-Lakes Cares would be appreciated. Info: www.monumenthillkiwanis.org, or contact Bob Nissen, 351-6481, Bob@mifigroup.com.

Small Town Christmas, Sat., Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Celebrate the season with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus along with activities for children, open houses, and other special events in Historic Downtown Monument. Info: 425-8889, info@monumentmerchants.com.

Psychic Fair and Christmas Sale at The Open Door Books and Gifts, Sat., Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 251 Front St., Suite 8, Monument. Info: 487-9076.

Annual Palmer Lake Yule Log Hunt, Sun., Dec. 7, 1 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Trek up the mountain in search of the Yule Log. Hunt participants should arrive 11 a.m.-noon. The winner will ride the Yule Log back to town and get the first cup of wassail. Non-hunters can stay warm indoors with carols and stories. Info: 481-2953.

Black Rose Acoustic Society Annual Christmas Party with Chuck Pyle, Fri., Dec. 12, opening act at 7 p.m., Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. at Shoup Road. In lieu of snacks from the kitchen, there will be a desserts and holiday treats pot luck; no main dishes. Water, tea, coffee, and apple cider will be available at no cost. Cost: $10 general, $5 BRAS members, $5 nonmember students with ID. Info: Joe Maio, 528-6119, jrmtn@comcast.net, www.blackroseacoustic.org.

Small Town Christmas Holiday Open House, Sat., Dec. 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Celebrate the season with refreshments, music, and holiday open houses in Historic Downtown Monument. Info: 425-8889, info@monumentmerchants.com.

Black Forest Community Club: Annual Christmas Potluck, Sat., Dec. 13, 6 p.m., 12530 Black Forest Rd. (just N. of Shoup). Info: 495-3217, www.bfcommunityclub.org.

Handbell Christmas Concert, Sat., Dec. 13, 7 p.m., Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 238 Third St., Monument. Bells, chimes, organ, brass, recorders, and vocal selections. Free! Everyone is invited! Info: Betty Jenik, 488-3853.

Bethlehem Inn, Sun., Dec. 14, 10:15 a.m., Crossroads Chapel, 840 North Gate Blvd. Experience the night Jesus was born as told by Mary. Info: 495-3200, www.crossroadsgleneagle.com.

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