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Vol. 14 No. 4 - April 5, 2014


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Contents

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

the PDF file. This is a 21.2 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 D 38 Board of Education, March 20: New superintendent aboard; debt retirement approved

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education signed a one-year contract on March 20 with Karen Brofft, current assistant superintendent of Englewood schools, as the district’s new superintendent, effective July 1.

Brofft holds an educational specialist degree in administrative leadership and policy studies and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She has worked in education for 23 years, including positions as principal, instructional coach, and elementary school teacher.

Members of the board welcomed Brofft and said that they had called several of her colleagues and all had recommended her highly.

Board votes to retire debt on building leases

Following a work session the previous week and many other previous discussions, the board voted to pay off the two remaining leases on the administration building. Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that paying off the leases would leave a reserve balance of 18 percent and make available additional revenue each year. Board members stated that they would restore the reserves as soon as possible.

Board President Mark Pfoff suggested that any one-time fund increases from the state should go directly into the reserves.

State testing benefits and challenges

Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton presented a second round of information regarding the benefits and costs of state-mandated assessments.

Benton explained that many of the assessments are required to fulfill requirements involving Unified Improvements Plans administered by the state. Although she acknowledged the value of the test results to teachers in their curriculum planning, she stressed that the tests take time away from instruction in the classroom and require the hiring of temporary or substitute employees and the purchase of extensive software and hardware because many of the new tests are taken online.

Tests discussed included the World-Class Instruction Design and Assessment test for English language learners, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success Partnership for the Assessment of College and Careers, state tests of science and social studies, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills to assess reading in grades K-3, ACT, and others.

The primary concerns among the board members were loss of classroom time and unfunded requirements.

The total cost of the tests and software is about $85,000. The cost of additional employees is about $20,000. Not included is the fact that many employees are pulled from their usual duties to proctor or prepare for tests.

Benton said another issue to consider is the need to purchase computers for administering the tests and the need for additional technology staff to ensure that the machines are properly programmed and ready to use when needed.

In some school settings, administration of the tests denies students access to computer labs on testing days, and in some cases the computers need to be set up in a hallway or other temporary space.

Board Vice President John Mann commented that he prefers tests that indicate Lewis-Palmer’s students’ national rather than state standing. Benton responded that the ACT is a national test and many of the others have national equivalents.

Board Treasurer John Magerko said that the Colorado Association of School Boards shares the board’s concern about unfunded mandates and loss of local control over which tests are administered.

Pfoff said that the board would advocate the creation of a technology position.

Purchase of crisis equipment approved

Safety and Security Specialist Laura Vertucci spoke of the need for additional radios for use by district employees in the case of emergency. She said that there are an insufficient number of radios available and that reception is inadequate in parts of the district.

Vertucci recommended the purchase of an additional 114 radios and three repeaters to be located at Prairie Winds Elementary, Bear Creek Elementary, and Lewis-Palmer High School. (Existing repeaters are at Palmer Ridge and Kilmer Elementary.)

At this time, custodians, teachers, and kitchen personnel do not have access to radios, and they could be crucial in the event of a lockdown or other emergency, she said. Bus drivers have radios. The vendor for the radios and the school resource officer would provide training in the use of the equipment.

Vertucci said that the district’s administrative council and the Safety and Security Task Force advocate the purchase. The board approved the use of $69,612 for the purchase of radios and repeaters. Wangeman said that the funds would be provided by the state since the district no longer pays the salary of the school resource officer.

2014-15
preliminary budget

Wangeman provided information on recommended expenditures on technology, grounds, maintenance, and transportation. She said that she would bring individual projects to the board for approval once the preliminary budget was approved.

The board approved the $38.1 million preliminary budget as presented.

Communication plan update

Community Relations Manager Robin Adair outlined the activities of her department regarding engagement and transparency between the district and the public.

She stated six goals for the program:

• Evaluate the effectiveness of communication efforts.

• Enhance internal communication among employees.

• Create an advisory council of business people in the community.

• Reach out to households without students and ask for their support.

• Create a network of ambassadors among employees so that they would represent Lewis-Palmer, its activities and goals in a consistent manner. A citizen academy is in the works, to begin in fall 2015.

• Improve online communication by updating the district website, create a mobile app, and participate in social media.

Superintendent’s update

Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman reported that the elementary schools have 1.5 snow days remaining, the middle school has 2.5, and the high schools 3.5 days.

Bauman introduced a group of National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists.

The Kilmer Elementary School Coyote Choir sang the national anthem under the direction of music teacher Arianne Jenkins.

**********

The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on April 17.

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

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April 1 Election Results: Palmer Lake recreational marijuana ballot issue defeated

Palmer Lake Election

Allow Recreational Marijuana Sales

No 538

Yes 481

Mayor (highest total wins)

Nikki McDonald (W) 461

Randy C. Fritz 384

Meredith (Kit) Bromfield 107

Trustee (highest 6 totals win)

Cindy Allen (W) 611

Richard L. Kuehster (W) 568

Trish Flake (W) 552

Jen Martin (W) 524

Paul Banta (W) 509

John C. Russell (W) 463

Kathy Aldworth 420

Michael L. Maddox 395

Shana Ball 315

Monument Election

Mayor

Rafael Dominguez (W) 597

Mary Russelavage 209

Trustee (highest 3 totals win)

Kelly Elliott (W) 555

Jeffrey A. Kaiser (W) 550

Stanley E. Gingrich (W) 542

Melinda Hall 232

Ron Farley 169

Deana (De) Demeter 130

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Palmer Lake Town Council, March 13: New fire chief sworn in; fire mitigation grant application submitted

By James Howald

The Palmer Lake Town Council met on March 13 to hear an update on the fire mitigation grant project, to swear in a new fire chief, and to address an application by Dino Salvatori to add a medical marijuana-infused products bakery at his facility. The council also accepted a donation from a local Girl Scout Troop and heard from a Palmer Lake Elementary school student representing the Project Green Panthers.

Fire fuel mitigation and wildfire risk reduction grant

Judith Harrington and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) Chief Margo Humes prepared the town’s fire mitigation grant application with input from David Root of the Colorado State Forest Service and submitted it on March 11. The community has pledged $10,000 in mitigation funds to date, to be matched by $16,000 if the grant is approved. The town’s grant will be part of a larger program administered by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte watershed district, or CUSP, which has managed similar large grants in the past.

Residents can initiate an assessment of their property through the Fire Department, and mitigation guidelines are also available. Residents who mitigate their property may qualify for a $2,500 tax credit to reimburse them for time spent, tools, and other costs. Check the Palmer Lake website (www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us) or call Harrington at 719-229-9636 for the latest on grant opportunities.

Humes sworn in as fire chief

Mayor Nikki McDonald administered the oath of office to Humes, the town’s new fire chief. Chief Humes introduced four new volunteer firefighters: Tyler Ruona, Andrew Keene, Logan Noel, and Rachel Shifflet. David Hennessy received a badge, and Salvatori received a certificate of appreciation for his support of the Fire Department.

Application for medical marijuana bakery approved

Salvatori, owner of Palmer Lake Wellness, submitted an application for a (medical) marijuana infused products license to expand his existing business at 850 Commercial Lane to produce edible cannabis products. Salvatori already is licensed by the state to use carbon dioxide extraction to produce the oil used in infused products such as cookies and candies.

He answered several questions, addressing consistency of dosage in the products, ability of the Police Department to handle any increase in enforcement needs, odors produced by the facility, and water use. Salvatori does not anticipate more need for police enforcement, and Police Trustee Bob Grado commented that Salvatori’s existing business is run securely.

Salvatori said he will address any issues about odors from the facility by adding additional charcoal filters, and he noted that his hydroponic operation recycles water, so his water use is very low. His operation is also organic, he said, so there is no danger to the community from the use of pesticides. Salvatori said that eventually, he would like to move his business to the former bowling alley on Highway105. The council voted to approve Salvatori’s application, with two council members voting no.

Troop donates funds for canine mask

Girl Scout Troop 41815 from Monument Academy, donated $95, raised through cookie sales, to the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department to purchase an additional canine oxygen mask, known as a Breath of Air Recovery Kit. The troop was represented by scouts Madison, Morgan, Annalese, Avalon, and Ashley.

A more efficient Palmer Lake Star

Student Tommy Riggins addressed the council on behalf of Project Green Panthers, a group of students at Palmer Lake Elementary that has joined with the Fire Department to make the Palmer Lake Star more energy efficient and easier to maintain. The Green Panthers plan to replace the 91 incandescent bulbs currently in use with highly efficient and longer-lasting LED bulbs. Riggins invited the community to support this project with donations of money or Cree brand 40 watt 450 lumen LED bulbs, which are manufactured in the U.S. Bring your donations to Palmer Lake Elementary School at 115 Upper Glenway or call 719-488-4760.

The meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. April 10 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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District Accountability Advisory Committee, March 18: Head of state school board group urges overhaul of funding process

By Harriet Halbig

Ken Delay, executive director of the Colorado Association of School Boards, told the D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) that the state should completely overhaul the school funding process.

Delay explained that the 1994 School Finance Act and its predecessor the 1988 School Finance Act promise that the state will fund adequate education for all students, regardless of their location or wealth. To do this, the state funds students in smaller rural districts at a higher rate because their communities cannot benefit from economy of scale in their purchasing and would be unable to maintain a sufficient infrastructure of technology, buses, etc., without assistance.

Another goal was that most districts would pay the same mill levy, with per pupil funding adjusted by factors for local conditions and funding split evenly between the state and the local community. At present, the mill levy rates vary from 2 to 27 in the state.

For many years, this balance was maintained, but during the late 1970s an inflation rate near 20 percent, caused rapid growth, a rise in real estate values and exploding property taxes. Both residential and business property taxes were assessed at 29 percent.

The result was the Gallagher Amendment, which required that residential taxes equal 55 percent of revenue and business taxes amount to 45 percent. Business taxes then skyrocketed and caused resistance, which resulted in the passage of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in 1992. TABOR required that any tax increase, including mill levies for schools, must be passed by a popular vote. Any funding increase can only equal the previous year’s revenue plus the percentage of growth for that year. As a result, school districts must lower their mill levies in times of rapid growth.

Consequently, during the rapid growth of the 1990s, school districts had to lower their levies and couldn’t keep the tax money collected without a vote to override TABOR restrictions. Parent activists responded in 2000 by campaigning for Amendment 23, which requires a certain funding level for education but doesn’t provide a source for the funds.

Delay said that the reason TABOR and Amendment 23 do not succeed in providing sufficient funds is that they are based on classroom conditions in the 1980s without the current level of technology, No Child Left Behind, charter schools, and state assessments required for today’s education.

He said that Colorado is the fifth lowest in taxation on the state level and about average on the local level. The state is becoming divided on the basis of local wealth, and a complete overhaul of the school funding process is necessary, Delay said.

Unified Improvement Plans discussed

Principal Chuck Stovall of Kilmer Elementary School said that his school has received the John Irwin Award for Excellence for the third year in a row, indicating its performance is in the top 8 percent statewide.

Under its Unified Improvement Plan, the school rates as "meets" in academic achievement, academic growth and academic growth gaps. Growth gaps in math have improved from "approaching" to "meets."

Stovall said that the stability of his staff is a contributing factor to a "family feeling" in the building. However, a number of teachers are nearing retirement and it is essential that they pass on their practices to their replacements.

Kilmer received some Title I money this year due to an increased population on free/reduced-price lunch. The funds were used to fund interventions.

A number of families have come to Kilmer due to its services for students with significant support needs. Some of these new families have moved to Colorado because of its availability of medical marijuana to control seizure disorders.

Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton reported on the Prairie Winds Elementary improvement plan. Prairie Winds exceeds requirements in academic achievement, meets requirements in growth and meets in growth gaps. Students needing to catch up in math progressed from "approaching" to "exceeds" in the past year. An emphasis on writing for students with disabilities is a focus for the coming year.

School board liaison John Magerko reported on the Palmer Lake Elementary School plan.

Palmer Lake Elementary improved its scores by 10 percent in all areas, with writing scores now rated as "exceeds."

Academic growth is challenging to track due to the small population of the school, with few groups numbering more than 20 individuals. Teachers track individual students to monitor their progress.

The Multi-Tiered Support System is in use to address behavior as well as test scores. An attempt is being made to alter general classroom teaching to benefit all students.

Interim Superintendent Ted Bauman said that newly selected Superintendent Karen Brofft will be present at the March Board of Education meeting to sign her contract. Her employment will begin on July 1, but Bauman said that he hoped that she could attend at least one DAAC meeting and some end-of-year ceremonies.

Bauman also said that the Palmer Ridge High School basketball team has the highest grade-point average in the state and that teacher Mark Ewig from Palmer Ridge has been selected as teacher of the year in economic education.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The next meeting will be on April 8 at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

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

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D-38 Special Education Advisory Committee, March 12: Calming test-taking anxiety

By Nancy Wilkins

While School District 38 students were taking the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) tests in March, the D-38 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) heard about anxiety problems that students might experience during the testing process.

At SEAC’s March 12 meeting, Michael Brom, eighth-grade math teacher at Lewis-Palmer

Middle School, said 40 to 50 percent of all students experience test anxiety at some time. But, he said, a little test anxiety can actually be good because it makes a student more alert and less apathetic. Brom, currently working on his dissertation on test anxiety, also explained how students may experience physiological changes due to test anxiety, and that as the level of anxiety increases, a student’s cognitive function can actually decrease.

Brom advised parents to focus on effort rather than test scores. "Give your best effort," Brom advised parents to say. Negative feedback can make test anxiety worse, he said. Students who have high self-confidence in math attribute their success to effort, and students who know they are given enough time to finish a test experience less anxiety than in a timed test.

According to Brom, students also experience more test anxiety in a "high-stakes test" such as the TCAP tests than on classroom tests. "Test scores need to be speaking the truth to us, because we are assigning a label to that student and teacher," he said. When anxiety lowers test scores, then the test may not be an accurate measurement of the student’s knowledge.

Brom suggested that teachers let the students know the type of test questions they will receive, such as essay, matching, and multiple choice, and what content will be on the test. If a student knows the test protocols, he or she is less likely to have test anxiety. Brom also said teachers could benefit from seeing the results from TCAP tests sooner, before students have graduated to the next grade.

Brom identifies special needs students as one subgroup likely to experience test anxiety, but says generally all students can experience some form of it. Colorado offers parents the opportunity to advocate for their children with special needs by requesting an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan with an accommodation to provide more time for taking tests.

**********

The Special Education Advisory Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the district Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument. The next meeting will be on April 9.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, March 3: Volleyball facility, Creekside commercial development plans approved

By Jim Kendrick

On March 3, the Monument Board of Trustees approved a major planned industrial development (PID) site plan amendment for a 7,725-square-foot indoor sand volleyball court building next to the Colorado Juniors indoor facility at 16815 Mitchell Ave., opposite the Arnold Avenue intersection. The board also approved a preliminary/final plat and preliminary/final PD site plan for the Creekside commercial development on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway, between Leather Chaps Drive and Blevins Buckle Trail.

All board members were present. Mayor Travis Easton introduced two high school students, Julian Claudio and Mikaela Harvey, who will be seated at the board dais as observers for the spring semester. Claudio is student body president and Harvey is student body officer for Lewis-Palmer High School. The trustees welcomed them and asked them to participate.

Expansion of volleyball facility approved

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reviewed the proposal by landowner Aces LLC to add sand volleyball courts in a new building at the rear of the Colorado Juniors Volleyball Facility property. He noted that residents within 500 feet of the facility were notified by the town, and the hearing notice for the proposed PD site amendment was posted on the property, which has Planned Industrial Development zoning, for no less than 15 days.

The existing indoor volleyball facility covers 14,373 square feet. The new sand court building will include new landscaping and 40 new paved parking spaces, for a total of 114 spaces. The new building will use the same materials and colors as the existing facility. There will be no changes to the access to Mitchell Avenue, north of the Arnold Avenue intersection. No improvements to Mitchell Avenue or traffic impact fees are required of the building owners at this time, because there are no "failing" intersections with substandard levels of service, as defined by traffic engineering standards and current town regulations.

The county has abandoned plans to extend Mitchell Avenue south to the west end of Baptist Road across private county property. The current cost estimate for extending Mitchell Avenue to Baptist Road is about $8 million due to extensive protected Preble’s mouse habitat surrounding Monument Creek.

The visibility of the new building from adjacent properties will be limited since it is being constructed on the rear portion of the property. Drainage of the proposed new impervious areas meets all town criteria.

Additional traffic generation is minimal, so improvements to town roads are not required. The access point in the northwest corner of the site will continue to be used and does not need to be modified.

The amended final PD site plan meets the town’s review and approval criteria and was unanimously recommended for approval by the Monument Planning Commission at a public hearing Feb. 12.

Bill Peer, owner of the facility, noted that the sand courts will not cause as large an increase in the number of participants as a similarly sized wood floor facility.

There was no public comment on the proposal during the open portion of the hearing.

The ordinance for the amended final PD site plan was unanimously approved by the board with one condition: Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by town staff.

Plat approved for Creekside Commercial Development

The landowner of the 7.72-acre Creekside Commercial Development property is Jackson Creek Land Co. LLC in Colorado Springs. The applicant was Rick Blevins of Vision Development Inc. in Colorado Springs.

The parcel has never been platted. It was part of the town’s annexation of Regency Park in 1987. The proposed plat called for three commercial lots to be platted. Lot 1, on the south end of the parcel, is 2.1 acres and will be developed at a future date. Lot 2 is 3.3 acres and is proposed to be developed with a 23,522-square-foot Goodwill retail and donation/drop-off facility. Lot 3 is 2.28 acres and is proposed to be developed with a 15,800-square-foot Colorado Springs Health Partners medical office building. The current zoning is planned multi-use development (PMD).

Kassawara stated that the legal property owner must convey all the water rights that are required for the development by deed to the Triview Metropolitan District prior to recording the plat. Negotiations are ongoing to resolve longstanding water issues between the current landowner and the Triview district. A temporary arrangement for water dedication for this project is included in the long-term agreement, since the long-term plan must go through water court for the next several years. The applicant is working on this issue with Triview as part of an agreement for water purchase and transfer to Triview for the entire Regency Park development area.

However, no permits will be issued for this project until the long-term water agreement is executed by all parties.

The preliminary/final plat application is in conformance with the 13 general provisions and purpose of the town’s subdivision regulations.

At its Feb. 12 meeting, the Planning Commission voted 7 to 0 to recommend approval of the preliminary/final plat to the board during a public hearing.

There was no public comment on the proposal during the open portion of the board hearing.

The ordinance for the preliminary/final plat for the Creekside Commercial Development was unanimously approved with two conditions:

1. Prior to recording the plat, the amount of water proposed to be used by the development must be deeded to Triview, or otherwise conveyed to the district by acceptable legal means.

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

The engineering firm for this project is Westworks Engineering of Colorado Springs.

Kassawara noted that since a portion of the property contains protected Preble’s mouse habitat, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must issue an amended 404 permit documenting that an arrangement has been made with the applicant regarding construction within a portion of the adjacent mouse habitat within this parcel prior to any permits being issued for land development on the site. The Denver office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is processing the amendment application.

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act establishes an EPA program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands such as the mouse habitat on both shores of Jackson Creek. For more information, see http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/cwa/dredgdis/.

There was a lengthy discussion of how the potential mouse habitat has to be protected even if a mouse has never been found on the property. Jackson Creek Land Co. will provide substitute mouse habitat at another location so that the proposed construction can be approved on the mouse habitat within the within the development.

Blevins advised the board that the initial 404 permit regarding mouse habitat has been amended and was submitted to the Division of Fish and Wildlife last year.

There will be a south access road on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway opposite the existing section of Blevins Buckle Trail on the west side of the parkway. The median will be removed here to make this a four-way intersection. There will be a second right-in right-out access from northbound Jackson Creek Parkway, south of the Leather Chaps Drive intersection.

The proposal meets or exceeds the town’s requirements for landscaping, four-sided architecture, screening, parking, and lighting. The proposed Goodwill building has a maximum height of 30 feet including a parapet. The proposed medical office building has a maximum building height of 28 feet including the parapet wall. Both are less than the 50-foot height limit for PMD zones. The landscaping on both lots consists of similar plant species and is expected to present an attractive streetscape along Jackson Creek Parkway. There are no wildfire or floodplain issues on the site.

The current PMD zoning allows for commercial, office, retail, recreational, and restaurant uses. The proposed retail building and the medical office building are permitted uses.

The applicant requested a waiver from the parking requirements of the Regency Park Zoning and Development Standards, which require 19-feet deep parking spaces. The applicant is requesting 18-feet deep spaces. The area is part of the Regency Park planning area that was annexed into the town in the 1980s and contains some outdated development standards. The waiver must be approved by the trustees. The town staff supports the request.

Jeff Johnson, director for Retail Expansion and Facilities Oversight, advised the board that the new Goodwill collection and retail building in Monument will not have an outdoor storage area as does the similar Goodwill building on North Academy.

CSHP doctors from Woodmoor will relocate to the Monument office.

At its Feb. 12 meeting, the Planning Commission voted 7 to 0 to recommend approval of the preliminary/final PD site plan to the board during a public hearing.

There was no public comment on the proposal during the open portion of the board hearing.

The ordinance for the preliminary/final PD site plan for the Creekside Commercial Development was unanimously approved with conditions:

1. The town will not issue any land development permits until a "will-serve" letter from the Triview Metropolitan District is submitted to the town.

2. The town will not issue any permits for land development until an amended 404 permit is issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is received by the town.

3. A site plan improvement agreement shall be executed by the owners/applicant prior to issuance of any construction permits for the development.

4. Approval is subject to minor technical corrections to the satisfaction of the staff.

5. Approval of a waiver from the Regency Park Zoning and Development Standards to allow for a parking stall depth of 18 feet where 19 feet is required.

Car show street closing approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing temporary street closures on Second, Front, and Washington Streets for the annual Tri-Lakes Cruisers Annual Benefit Car Show on June 8 from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Disbursements over $5,000

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

• $31,605 to John Elway Chevrolet for a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe for the Monument Police Department

• $5,574 to 4 Rivers Equipment for road grader upgrades for the Monument Public Works Department

Town manager’s report

Some of the items Town Manager Pamela Smith noted regarding the trustee initiative to have the town take over sidewalk maintenance were:

• No money had been budgeted or appropriated for 2014 to provide a revenue stream to pay for the town’s takeover of sidewalk maintenance.

• Any funding for this program will have to be re-allocated/taken from other budgeted, appropriated, and approved programs already planned for and in progress.

• If the Board of Trustees passes a town-wide ordinance to this effect, the board is obligating Triview Metropolitan District and Village Center Metropolitan District to take over these duties with no revenue stream of their own to pay for sidewalk maintenance or staff to carry it out.

• The scope of mandated town sidewalk criteria and maintenance responsibilities needs to be defined.

• An estimate of outsourced cement contractor expenses has to be developed.

• Public Works staffing would have to be increased for unprecedented concrete demolition and removal requirements.

• It’s not clear why the town would not also have to take over sidewalk snow and trash removal.

• All town sidewalks will have to be inspected and documented/photographed to establish a list of near-term and immediate repairs.

• The town staff has received no complaints about the need for sidewalk repairs.

• The proposal creates an undefined scope of liability issues for the town.

• "If it isn’t broken, why are we trying to fix it?"

Board of Trustees comments

Mayor Easton announced there was discussion about stormwater funding at the last Mayors Caucus meeting. He said dedicated funding is being discussed without regard to putting objectives or metrics in place to be sure issues are adequately addressed. It is likely that the Fountain Creek Watershed District will have no authority or oversight on stormwater decisions, and Easton asked Town Treasurer Pamela Smith not pay town dues to the watershed district at this time.

Easton said the stormwater discussion currently surrounds a "fee, not a tax," on the November ballot that will show up on regional property tax bills nonetheless. A pool of money could be formed that several entities would share. The Town of Monument already has a dedicated funding source, so the town wants to make sure it’s not double paying. A question could be included on the November ballot regarding "Should a storm water authority be created?" with no reference to a fee. However, this new stormwater body would have the authority to impose a fee without regard to the voters.

Public comments

The town’s consultant publicist, Cynthia Blakely of public relations firm Blakely and Associates, gave a short progress report on actions taken under the contract for Blakely’s marketing plan. She gave a presentation on the town map and brochure the marketing team has been working on. When finalized, the brochure will be made available throughout the county.

The meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, March 17: Five continuing engineering services contracts approved

By Lisa Hatfield and Jim Kendrick

At the March 17 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees approved continuing services agreements with five engineering contractors, revised the town fee schedule, and applauded a presentation of thanks to Savannah Bornstein for her generosity to the town and Cops for Kids.

Continuing services agreements approved

The trustees approved resolutions renewing agreements with four engineering consultants who do work as needed by the town. A new continuing services agreement for a fifth consultant was approved since the previous agreement had inadvertently been allowed to expire, according to Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara.

The renewal agreement with J3 Engineering Consultants Inc. was approved 7-0 and expires April 1, 2016. J3 may provide consulting engineering services presently planned to consist of preparation of design drawings and construction documents, project management for public works projects, water distribution system inventory and updating of system mapping, assistance in the review of subdivision plans, traffic engineering studies, assistance with on-site inspections of site-related development, development of a GIS mapping system, and other related services.

The renewal agreement with NV5 Inc. (formerly Nolte Associates Inc.), which expires April 1, 2015, was approved 6-0-1. Mayor Travis Easton abstained due to being an employee of NV5. The company is working with the town on developing a GIS system and on a small project for the Public Works Department, and also has an on-call agreement to provide plat review services for development applications.

The renewal agreement with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. was approved 7-0 and expires April 1, 2015. Jacobs is currently acting as the design engineer for the Downtown Sidewalks project and performing traffic engineering consulting services. Jacobs has the resources and capabilities to assist the town in a variety of engineering functions, including water and wastewater, roadways, and drainage.

The renewal agreement with Forsgren Associates Inc. was approved 7-0 and expires April 1, 2015. During the past two years, Forsgren has completed a number of projects for the Public Works Department and is engaged in several other critical projects.

A new agreement with URS Inc. was approved 6-0-1 and expires April 1, 2015. Trustee Stan Gingrich abstained due to being an employee of URS. The town had not entered into any standard project agreements or task orders for engineering work during the initial contract period.

Fee schedule revised

The board approved a revision to the fee schedule by a vote of 6-1, with Gingrich opposed. Trustee Jeff Kaiser asked about the process of water shut-offs due to non-payment and Gingrich asked why the late fee was being raised from $10 to $12.50. Some of the comments made by Tom Tharnish, director of Public Works, were:

• There has been an increase in the number of late water bill payments.

• The increased fee is to cover the cost of postage for late notices.

• The town wants to encourage residents not to wait until the last minute to pay their bills.

• Usually 40 to 50 customers a month receive shutoff notices, and one or two of these actually has their water shut off.

• He will not be able to say whether the increased number of late payments was due to the rate increase for water until a year and half has passed since the rate increase.

• Customers will be notified of the fee changes in a letter enclosed in the next water bill, and the fee changes will also be listed on the town website.

• The after-hours trip fee will increase from $20 to $40 to allow for overtime pay for staff.

• Residents who cannot make their payments are asked to contact the town to make arrangements before the fees are charged.

Financial report

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

• $110,715 to Triview Metro District for sales tax and motor vehicles tax

• $6,334 to Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. for engineering work for the Monument sidewalks project

• $6,490 to Krassa & Miller LLC for professional legal services regarding water

• $75,280 to the Colorado Water Resources & Power Development Authority for the semi-annual loan payment for Well 8, water storage tank, and other improvements.

Town Treasurer Monica Harder presented the January 2014 financial report, which the board approved unanimously. General Fund net revenue was under budget by $9,000, and Water Fund net revenue was over budget by $14,000, both of which are not unusual, she said. Several trustees asked Harder to include year-to-year comparable data for the month Harder is reporting on in future board meetings.

Staff reports

Town Attorney Gary Shupp advised the board that all claims but one in the federal lawsuit involving Monument police officers had been dismissed. The one remaining claim will now go back to the U.S. District Court for review.

Some of the items Kassawara discussed were:

• The striping for parallel parking where the new sidewalks will be installed in front of the Monument Sanitation District will be done immediately upon completion of the sidewalks.

• He commended the hard work Mike Pesicka put into coordinating the new wayfinding signage with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

• The sign at Second Street and 105 will be changed to "Palmer Lake – 3 miles."

• The county has approved the transfer of the county’s land adjacent to the Santa Fe Trail between Second and Third Streets to the Town of Monument.

• Construction has begun on Tri-Lakes Community Health Village at the YMCA.

Some of the Public Works Department items Tharnish commented on were:

• New safety zone signs have been installed on Washington Street on the west side of St. Peter Catholic Church.

• The new town bulk water fill station will become operational in April and now is tied into the town’s water billing system to control the accounts that are not being paid for.

• Water meter change-outs are scheduled for April, May, and June.

• The 7.2 million gallons of water produced for February consumption was 12 percent higher than the February 2013 amount.

Some of the comments Police Chief Jacob Shirk made were:

• Local police and fire agencies conducted a combined training event in regards to handling mental health issues.

• The next free Citizen’s Police Academy will begin April 15.

• He will collect statistics about accidents on Jackson Creek Parkway south of Higby Road and report back to the board.

• Motor boating on Monument Lake is not allowed and Public Works needs to install improved signage that makes that clearer to lake visitors.

Some of the comments made by Town Manager Pamela Smith were:

• She gave kudos to three town employees: Town Clerk Cindy Sirochman, Fleet Manager Robert Enoch, and Police Officer Ryan Schott.

• She noted that the town’s February sales tax revenues were about 5.7 percent higher than last year

• Monument will enter the Colorado Get Movin’ challenge in May and will coordinate with local health businesses and schools. www.getmovinchallenge.org

Teen recognized for generosity

Savannah Bornstein was presented a Town of Monument plaque from Chief Shirk and a "Cops for Kids" thank you certificate from police Cpl. Rob Stewart. For her recent 16th birthday party, she asked for donations to assist her community in lieu of gifts. Savannah donated about $350 each to the Police Department and Cops for Kids in gift cards/cash.

In other matters, the board voted unanimously to proclaim the week of April 20-26 as Administrative Professionals Week and April 23 as Administrative Professionals Day.

Board of Trustees’ comments

Trustee Becki Tooley announced that several upcoming races will be held in the Monument area, including:

• Greenland Trail 50K/25K/8M on May 3 (http://greenland50k.com/)

• Cafe Velo Tri-Lakes GranFondo bicycle race on May 4 (http://coloradospringscycling.com/granfondo/)

Trustee Gingrich announced that Karen Brofft has been selected as the new superintendent for D-38, pending contract negotiations.

Mayor Easton announced that Trustee Tyler Stevens from Green Mountain Falls will be representing small communities on the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department board.

The meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 7 at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/board-of-trustees/

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

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

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Forest View Acres Water District, March 27: Forest View Acres
Water District receives $300,000 grant

By Nancy Wilkins

A $300,000 grant from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) was awarded in January to Forest View Acres Water District (FVAWD) to be used in infrastructure projects. The district board approved the grant Jan. 30, pending suggested revisions by DOLA.

At the Feb. 27 meeting, John McGinn and Teigan Gulliver from engineering firm JDS Hydro Consultants Inc. presented an aerial map showing proposed district water distribution pipe locations. Gulliver recommended purchasing 5-foot easements prior to construction. As of March 27, the board was continuing to negotiate the purchase of easement sections from district residents.

Operations report

Gabby Begeman from ORC Water Professionals reported that the surface water plant produced most of the water for January, February, and March. Begeman also presented an aerial photograph identifying water leaks. The photograph is useful when prioritizing future water line repairs. Director Eckenhart Zimmermann requested monthly reports for water levels in the aquifer, and Begeman confirmed that a report could be created using data collected on a daily bases.

Other matters

• The board unanimously voted to maintain 2014 rates at 2013 levels at the Jan. 30 meeting.

• During the Feb. 27 meeting, a realtor asked the board to reduce the $3,000 per acre tap fee on a 40-acre parcel.

• The board has requested that consultant engineering firm TZA Water Engineers present a conceptual design for the water pressure booster station by April 11.

• Director Karla Thompson presented a detailed spreadsheet with graphs showing FVAWD expenses, to be used as a future management tool.

• District Manager Joel Meggers has updated the district website to include all financial reports for all funds for all months during 2013. Shilling & Co. LLC will perform the 2013 audit.

• Director Anne Bevis expressed the board’s appreciation to all the firefighters who extinguished a fire March 26 in the district.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

**********

Forest View Acres Water District board meetings are normally held at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month in the Monument Sanitation District boardroom, 130 Second St., Monument. Information: 488-2110.

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

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Tri-Lake Facility Joint Use Committee, March 11: Changes in nutrient reporting increase costs

By Jim Kendrick

On March 11, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) approved a voluntary payment of $579 for additional work performed by the Colorado Data Sharing Network (CDSN) to respond to nine changes made by the Colorado Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) to the annual nutrient reporting format required by Control Regulation 85.

The Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Rural/Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE) contract with CDSN standardizes the method for reporting all total phosphorus and total nitrogen monthly testing for every AF CURE member. CDSN has been performing reporting for several years for the 13-year-old South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SP CURE), which served as the model for the creation of AF CURE.

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

Several other district board members, district managers, and district staff from each of the three owner districts also attended the meeting, as well as Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks.

March 4 AF CURE meeting

There was a lengthy contentious discussion of the March 4 AF CURE meeting request from CDSN for an additional $579. Woodmoor’s share of this cost was $193—a cost of 6 cents per Woodmoor customer. Strom objected to the "open-ended process" of state regulators forcing changes resulting in cost overruns by CDSN for training and retraining all the AF CURE wastewater operators several times on how to submit the first annual report on Control Regulation 85 nutrient data. The state and the EPA require reports on the monthly removal of phosphorus and nitrogen compounds from wastewater.

Wicklund replied that this is a new program for CDSN, and it has worked very hard to help AF CURE member facilities meet the new, unprecedented Reg. 85 requirement and there was no contingency funding by AF CURE to pay for this predictable learning curve. The approximate CDSN cost overrun per entity for all the additional wastewater facility staff training is about $1,600 due to the collective intentional Letter of Intent violation by all AF CURE participants.

However, CDSN asked for only an additional voluntary $579 per wastewater entity for 2013 only. The learning curve will be much smaller for final data entry for all of 2014 in the spring of 2015.

Background: CDSN is a project of the Colorado Water Quality Monitoring Council, a statewide association formed by state water and wastewater entities. It operates in much the same way that AF CURE operates as a project of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. The council’s mission is to upload scientifically sound and accessible data available on the web to facilitate an open and informed discussion about water quality in order to facilitate water quality monitoring and seamless data sharing among all interested parties to characterize water quality in Colorado.

For more specific information see:

www.coloradowaterquality.org

www.coloradowaterquality.org/cdsn

www.coloradowaterquality.org/monitoring_datastorage_reporting

There have been nine changes in reporting formats issued by the Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) to date since Reg. 85 was approved in June 2012. Reg. 85 contained nothing but concentration limits for phosphorus and nitrogen compounds—no guidance, no procedures, and no policies. As a result there has been a rather steep learning curve by division staff who knew very little about how such data would be collected or reported and had to develop the requirement in a difficult iterative trial-and-error fashion with many objections and suggestions from CDSN, SP CURE, and AF CURE.

Brown and Caldwell, the engineering consultant firm for AF CURE, had recommended that AF CURE use CDSN staff members for technical assistance since they would be providing the same services to SP CURE and would have better economies of scale. They also made an alternative proposal to provide data formatting, though at a higher cost, as a backup plan if CDSN could not provide data services. There would have been cost overruns due to division changes in formatting whether CDSN or Brown and Caldwell provided the service.

The total 2013 CDSN bill for 2014 is $11,517, with $2,750 previously billed proportionally to the 11 entities. The remainder to be invoiced is $797 per entity. The CDSN estimate was 7.5 hours per group but is actually 22 hours per group at this time due to WQCD changing the rules repeatedly and the unexpectedly high demand from individual plant managers for personal training of other facility staff that did not attend the budgeted group training. The current data template is version 9.

Many treatment facilities, including AF CURE members, decided to fill in their own templates due to the frequent changes that demanded more information without formatting instructions. No data entry training for all these division changes was part of the CDSN contract.

The JUC unanimously approved the requested voluntary payment of $579, but this time only. Strom said he still wasn’t happy to be the subject to the whims of WQCD and "bearing costs needlessly because of people who can’t decide what they really want."

On March 4, AF CURE approved the second annual contract with CDSN for 2014 at $797 per entity. The cost for each of the three Tri-Lakes owner districts is $266.

Financial report

Facility Manager Bill Burks noted a $698 bill from JD Vigil Co. for repairing the boiler in the facility’s building heating system. The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.

Open water meter bypass valve discovered

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund reported that Monument’s Public Works division had discovered the installation of a bypass valve and pipe directing water around the town’s drinking water meter in a major corporate retail store in west Monument. Public Works provided Wicklund with a picture of the bypass valve that was discovered to be partially open, which would result in meter readings lower than actual use.

The existence of the bypass valve/pipe around the meter explained the declining water meter readings that the town had been reporting to Monument Sanitation District over the past several years, resulting in lower billings by the district than in previous years. The district does not meter commercial wastewater discharges, and depends on the town’s drinking water annual meter reports for assessing the district’s wastewater flow charges.

Wicklund stated that he verified with a Pikes Peak Regional Building Department plumbing supervisor that there is no building code requiring a bypass valve. But if a bypass valve/pipe is installed to make it easier for a water purveyor to change a commercial water meter without flow interruption to the business, it would be wise to lock the valve in the shut position with a lock from the water purveyor, the town of Monument in this case, to prevent unauthorized use. However the town did not install the bypass or know of its existence until a few weeks ago. He said the town will install its own lock on the bypass valve or require that the valve be removed.

Wicklund said the district will use water consumption records for this store from 2003 to four years ago to calculate average water use during the years before the declining water consumption reports began to surface to determine how much to bill the store for under-reported water use, in coordination with legal advice from the district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis.

The district and the town are prohibited by law from publicly reporting the specifics of billing for any of its commercial customers, including the name of this store, Wicklund said.

Wicklund also noted the need for each of the three owner districts to periodically make inspection visits to stores to remind them that they cannot dump milk into sewers, which causes an increase in biological oxygen demand at the wastewater treatment plant. One store employee told him recently, "We only pour the milk down the drain one gallon at a time." Wicklund requires all stores selling milk to dispose of the milk through a commercial waste disposal contractor. Old milk can also be sold to be used as feed for pigs.

District managers’ reports

Wicklund said that all three of Monument’s lift stations were being upgraded with digital pressure transducer primary control systems to replace the original float control system. The float system will be left in place as a backup to the digital system. Joe Simcik of I&C Design installed and programmed the new control systems, ending hourly false alarms from the original float systems for the past two months. "It’s great to be off the floats," Wicklund added.

Palmer Lake Sanitation District Manager Becky Orcutt reported that her district is holding a mail-in TABOR waiver election on May 6 to be able to accept $360,000 in state grants to help pay for her district’s share of the facility’s planned $2.08 million total phosphorus removal equipment installation at no cost to the district’s constituents. She also noted that the district is moving forward on approvals of plans for a new collection system that will be submitted by the landowner and developer of the Lake of Rockies vacant residential parcel between Mitchell Avenue and the southeast shore of Monument Lake. The parcel was included by the Palmer Lake district at a public hearing on Feb. 11.

Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that construction by Boldt and Co. is underway for the new Tri-Lakes Community Health Village, a 50,000-square-foot outpatient facility attached to the Tri-Lakes YMCA building. Boldt bought supplemental water rights from Woodmoor for this 50-room addition.

Plant manager’s report

Burks noted that the Tri-Lakes plant had been running efficiently and that there were no unusual test results in the January report on discharged treated wastewater effluent that is submitted each month to the state WQCD.

The average copper concentration was 9.5 micrograms per liter (µg/l), with a daily maximum reading of 10.0 µg/l. The current three-year temporary modification to the Tri-Lakes facility discharge permit increases the copper limit for the 30-day average sample reading to 24.8 µg/l and the peak monthly copper sample reading to 36.4 µg/l. However, Burks has applied for a new five-year permit at the request of the division that is expected to be issued before the current temporary permit modification expires. Biosolids were removed at a rate of 98 percent and total suspended solids were removed at a rate of 97 percent.

The daily maximum for total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) in the discharge monitoring report was 3.9 mg/l; the Control Regulation 85 limit is 15 mg/l. The effluent TIN concentration in the monthly Control Regulation 85 grab sample was 2.33 mg/l. The total phosphorus (TP) concentration in the monthly Control Regulation 85 grab sample was 3.3 mg/liter, higher than the 1.0 mg/l TP sample limit that will be imposed by Reg. 85 after the new TP removal approval equipment is installed and certified by the division.

The committee directed Burks, by consensus, to hold a formal bidding process for the construction contract for a new storage building since the estimated cost of the building will exceed $75,000, the state law maximum for awarding a special district contract without a competitive bidding process. The building structure will include a crane for the plant’s pump gallery that will require a formal engineering review.

The meeting adjourned at noon.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on April 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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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, March 13: Purchase of JV Ranch water rights approved

By Nancy Wilkins

At the March 13 Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board meeting, the board approved the JV Ranch water rights purchase, discussed the new water metering flume, and approved plans for the Tri-Lakes Community Health Village,

JV Ranch water rights finalized

A court decree finalized Feb. 7 gave Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) water rights from Fountain Creek flowing into JV Ranch by way of Chilcott Ditch. Finalizing the court decree at the March 13 meeting, the board unanimously approved adoption of district Resolution 14-06 delegating authority for approving the final JV Ranch water rights purchase documents.

District Manager Jessie Shaffer said the court decree stipulates that the water be shared for agricultural and municipal use, that the water must be measured going into JV Ranch, and that WWSD can only take receipt of water between March 16 and Nov. 15.

Because the court decree requires WWSD to take over responsibility for monitoring ditch water use by the JV Ranch, Shaffer immediately began coordination of the production of a water metering flume, which was budgeted at about $25,000 to $30,000. The flume measures volumetric water flow between an expected accuracy rate of .61 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 50.4 cfs,

WWSD purchased the JV Ranch in 2011 so that the district would own water rights, a reservoir, and storage rights to provide for future water needs of the district, instead of relying on non-renewable aquifers, which are not a reliable source for a long-term supply of water. The cost for the JV Ranch was estimated to be $25 million to $31 million, depending on the size of Woodmoor’s final water court decree.

District residents pay a variable renewable water investment fee to help pay for the purchase of the ranch. However, the district still has no infrastructure to transport its renewable JV Ranch water north. The fee structure is available at: www.woodmoorwater.com/rate-info/rate-information.html.

Joint Use Committee report

Director Rich Strom, representing WWSD on the Tri-Lakes Water Treatment Facility’s Joint Use Committee (JUC) initially did not support paying the Colorado Data Sharing Network $579 for a contract overrun. The extra cost reflected the network’s efforts to adapt to frequent changes in reporting requirements by the state. Strom believes the network didn’t notify anyone in a timely manner. Each entity of the JUC paid the network $579. Strom personally expressed the need for better contracts.

Manager’s report

Shaffer noted that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority joint renewable water infrastructure project is under way.

WWSD approved regional building plans for the Tri-Lakes Community Health Village adjacent to the YMCA. The facility’s tap fee and supplemental water service fees totaled approximately $180,000. The fees from the health village facility are an unanticipated item in the district’s 2014 budget.

Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette said new equipment designed to uncover leaks in underground pipes was demonstrated. This equipment successfully uncovered a pinhole leak in a drinking water distribution line on Scrub Oak Circle that was several feet underground. These kinds of leaks are usually very hard to detect. About 12 percent of the drinking water Woodmoor produces was unaccounted for in March.

Gillette noted that the district has purchased two new motors for two currently inoperative wells, costing a budgeted $50,000 to $60,000 for each well. He also noted that the extensive process of cleaning a clear well at the filter plant was about to be concluded.

Other matters

• The board voted unanimously to accept a total of $1,521 delinquent back taxes owed to WWSD collected by the assessor’s office in 2013.

• The board approved Colorado Water Protective and Development Association annual water lease for 2014 pending legal consideration.

• The board was in favor of a recommendation that the board resume sending a "friendly" district representative to Woodmoor Improvement Association board meetings.

• The board considered sending friendly letters to commercial customers requesting them to refrain from pouring hundreds of gallons of spoiled milk at one time into the sanitation system.

• The board also considered notifying customers to refrain from disposing infant wipes into the sanitation system.

Board Directors Rich Strom, Jim Taylor, and Tommy Schwab will be elected by acclamation as of May 6, and plan to take their oaths of office at the April 10 board meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

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The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. April 10 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.

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

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, March 19: Without survey results, new treatment action remains on hold

By Susan Hindman

It was one step forward, one backward for the Academy Water and Sanitation District board in its efforts to compile the pieces necessary for making a decision on options for its future wastewater treatment.

Director Ron Curry discussed the step forward at the March 19 meeting. Earlier in the month, he and two other board members met with Denver advertising firm Ciruli and Associates to get information about holding a mill levy election in November. Curry said that, while the cost of hiring the firm could be high, "the alternative may be more expensive." He noted different tactics the board would need to take to get the message across. No decision was made about hiring the firm.

However, the message is still unclear because a survey of the several-mile-long terrain where pipes would be laid to connect the district to Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) still had not been done. The board had expected to know the survey results by now. Once the results are known, it will help in finalizing the cost of connecting to CSU.

Numbers have ranged from $3.5 million to $4 million, which would be shouldered by the district’s 300 residential customers. The other options, connecting to Donala Water and Sanitation District or building a new treatment facility at the current location, have not been explored as actively. The cost of those options, however, is roughly the same.

New state wastewater regulations led to the need for options to the district’s current lagoon system that treats waste. The district’s wastewater permit, issued in October 2013, mandates that plans and funding for a new treatment method be in place by October 2016 and new operations start in October 2018.

The board identified a series of action steps that need to be taken, which include more regular conversations with its engineer, GMS Inc., and finding a bondsman. The November election would be to approve a mill levy based on the amount that must be borrowed.

Also part of the permit is a requirement that the district build a dechlorination facility by October 2014, estimated to cost $35,000. The facility would enable the district to meet new total residual chlorine limits in the effluent. At the February meeting, the board approved a letter that GMS had prepared to send to the Water Quality Control Division requesting that the requirement to build that facility be moved to October 2018, which would coincide with the start of the new operations.

If the date isn’t changed, the district will have to pay to build a facility that won’t be needed after 2018, because whatever option is selected (connecting with a neighboring district or building a new plant) will also address dechlorination requirements. As of the March meeting, the state had not responded to the letter.

District receives Source Water Protection Plan award

In February, the district received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Colorado Rural Water Association for its development of a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) and an Emergency Response Plan. Director Jim Weilbrenner, who was instrumental in creating both documents, attended the ceremony and received the award for the district. At the district’s February meeting, Weilbrenner said he publicly thanked Paul Hempel—who led the effort as the association’s source water specialist—for all his work, noting that Hempel continued helping the district even after it had received a $5,000 grant from the state.

That became even more evident at the March meeting. Hempel had asked the district in mid-March if it had ever received a $1,500 payment for a November invoice; the district’s accounting firm indicated it had not. After several emails between Hempel, the district, and the Water Quality Control Division, the division said it would reissue the check.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Gleneagle and Jessie Drives. The next meeting is April 16.

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

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Monument Sanitation District, March 20: Digital lift station control systems installed

By Jim Kendrick and Lisa Hatfield

District Manager Mike Wicklund advised the Monument Sanitation District board on March 20 that it cost $24,588 to install new digital pressure transducer primary control systems and replace the floats for the three mechanical backup control systems for two Wakonda Hills lift stations and the Trails End lift station.

The floats in the original float control systems at one of the Wakonda Hills lift stations had been causing alarms, and the board had previously approved Wicklund’s recommendation to convert all three stations to digital control, before any serious problems developed. The digital control systems are far more reliable and can be adjusted remotely by Wicklund via computer, improving operator safety during bad weather.

Also, several support structures subject to corrosion in the harsh wet well environment were removed and replaced with stainless steel parts. The back-up electric generators were also serviced.

President Ed DeLaney and Secretary Kristi Schutz were absent from the meeting. Director Chuck Robinove chaired the meeting for DeLaney, who was out of state.

Financial report

Wicklund reported that another $413 was paid to Mulliken Weiner Berg & Jovient P.C. for legal services in stopping the town from taking away five of the head-in parking spaces adjacent to the west side of the district building on Washington Street as part of the town’s downtown sidewalk construction program. The total cost to date to district constituents is $6,671for these legal services. He said the legal action preserved the value of the district building and allowed it to continue to generate rental revenue to help prevent further district increases in monthly sewer service fees.

The district donated a 2.5-foot easement adjacent to the west side of its building for construction of a 5-foot-wide sidewalk similar to the sidewalk adjacent to the west side of the Chapala Building across Second Street to the north.

The town plans to eliminate the seven angled spaces in front of the district building on Second Street. Four parallel parking spaces will be striped by Public Works in front of the district building. The town has provided vehicle access to all but one of the on-lot parking spaces for the adjacent town building at 166 Second St. for district, Willow Tree Café, and Second Street Hair Studio customers. This town building has been leased to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District for the past several years for an annual fee of $1.

The district has provided a 10-year license to place town chairs and benches on the asphalt area in front of district conference room to create a public gathering space.

Wicklund noted that the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility had approved an additional cost of $579 for reporting the facility’s 2013 nutrient sampling results by the Colorado Data Sharing Network to the EPA and the Colorado Water Quality Control Division after an hour of discussion by the three-person committee. For more information, see the JUC article on page 15.

Wicklund noted that the board had already canceled the May 6 board election since there were not more than three candidates for the three open seats. The terms of two directors will expire May 6. Director Terry Madison was re-elected by acclamation as were the new directors, Gene Kreps and Matt Vincent.

Commercial billing issue discussed

Wicklund noted that a major town retail corporate store had installed a bypass valve at its water meter which might have caused the meter to under-report the actual amount of water being reported to the Monument Public Works Department. For more technical information on this issue, see the JUC article on page 15.

The Monument board unanimously approved a motion to have Wicklund back bill the store for under-reported water use based on the average of previous use rates before consumption figures significantly declined.

As with any wastewater bill, if these "past due" extra charges are not paid promptly, the district can place a tax lien on the property to obtain the amounts owed. The high fees charged by the county and the district for lien processing are also added to the customer’s annual property tax bill.

Grease trap failure

Wicklund noted that restaurants are required to install grease interceptors during remodeling if they have been using "grandfathered" grease traps installed in the past. He described a recent situation where a grease trap had been removed by a local restaurant when a grease interceptor was installed as part of a remodeling. The bottom of the grease trap was completely deteriorated, meaning it hadn’t been functioning properly for years.

In other matters, Robinove, who will attend his last district meetings in April due to term limits, requested that Wicklund plan and budget for GIS (geographic information system) mapping of the entire district’s infrastructure. In the past few years, all available district resources have been focused on the Wakonda Hills collection system expansion ($2.4 million) and the district’s one-third share of the $2 million cost for new phosphate removal equipment that will be installed at the Tri-Lakes facility over the next year. Wicklund concurred with the need to begin GIS mapping as soon as funding becomes available.

Robinove also asked Wicklund begin work on planning for ways that the Tri-Lakes facility can contribute to re-using the facility’s treated effluent. A study will be conducted by the Town of Monument and Woodmoor and Donala Water and Sanitation Districts on how to design a joint re-use pipe system and treatment plant.

Wicklund noted that he is exploring options on how to control the size of cost increases that will be required for equivalent medical insurance for the district’s full-time employees under the new requirements mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The new, more expensive health benefits insurance policies must be in place by May 1.

The meeting adjourned at 11:21 a.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on April 17 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, March 18: For now, merger talks on hold

By Jim Kendrick

On March 20, Donala General Manager Kip Petersen reported to his board that the district had a successful in-depth state Health Department inspection of all its facilities on March 13. A minor issue regarding chlorine residual concentrations was corrected on the spot. The inspectors even took pictures of the correction to document its resolution.

The chlorine testing point was moved from the testing spot that has been used continuously throughout Donala’s existence, including during every previous inspection. The testing point had never been considered a problem in any of the previous major state inspections.

Of greater interest to the board however, was that this inspection took place during the recovery from the major Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) power surges of Feb. 15. The surges caused widespread, expensive damage to Donala’s wastewater treatment equipment when MVEA transmission and distribution power lines collided with each other at least twice during a windstorm.

Petersen reported that Donala would not be paid by MVEA’s insurance company, Federated Rural Electrical Insurance Exchange. The position stated by MVEA CEO Jim Herron in his March 12 letter to the district is that MVEA is not responsible for wind-caused damage because "extreme high winds are considered an act of nature."

However, Donala’s carrier, Cincinnati Insurance Co. of Littleton, has agreed to cover Donala’s claim. The amount of damage was over $50,000. Since MVEA has stated that it will not provide any additional surge protection, Donala will add additional electrical surge protection of its own, wherever possible.

Petersen noted the superb work of all the staff in repairing the electrical surge damage and restoring full, safe, and effective operations, particularly the continuous 12-hour shifts by Lead Operator Terri Ladouceur, Superintendent Robert Hull, Donala Maintenance Operator and employee of the quarter Troy Vialpando, and former Operator Del Phipps, who has just moved out of state.

Some of the statements Cincinnati Claims Specialist Brian Lord wrote in a follow-up letter on Feb. 28 to Petersen were:

• Your staff is an incredible team of dedicated professionals. From the outset of my meeting with you and Terri, it was readily apparent your team took immediate action to avoid a potentially devastating environmental disaster.

• The team knew what action to take, who would do what, and where to go to effect controls to prevent a system calamity. All this was done in a very short period of time with limited resources and compromised electro-mechanical controls. It was apparent that Terri and the group maintained their wits and set about situational control.

• It seemed as if they ran drills for such an unforeseen contingency.

• They reacted to alarms and fault codes and delegated the work.

• They were able to maintain a safe environment.

Petersen introduced new, though very experienced mechanical systems operator J.R. Vialpando to the board as the latest addition to the Donala staff.

Financial reports

Office Manager Betsy Bray reported that the purchase of two Trimble handheld meters for mid-month meter readings at a cost of $8,950.

Manager’s report

On March 20, the Donala board unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association (AGUA) of Pueblo for AGUA to be able to lease all available excess fully consumable water available at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility at a rate of $125 per acre-foot (or 325,851 gallons), a 25 percent rate increase. A new clause specifies a 4 percent annual rate increase in the future. Donala will report the amount of excess water available.

AGUA will bear all transit losses of water after the treated effluent enters Monument Creek, while Donala will pay all administrative fees for participation in the Fountain Creek Transit Loss Model. The one-year agreement will expire on March 31, 2015. AGUA has been using about 300 acre-feet per year of excess facility water.

Donala’s water attorney Rick Fendel led a lengthy technical discussion regarding the district’s current water rights as well as future water rights acquisition possibilities. Fendel also discussed how water rights are allocated in the Arkansas River basin, district water policies for new development, and district inclusion policies including requiring that included property water rights to be deeded to Donala.

It will be difficult for Donala to include new territory in the future. The district is prohibited from providing services to areas outside the current Donala service area as a condition of the district’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable water decree. Any new development must provide all the water to Donala that will be required to meet their demands for new services. All water and wastewater costs for the development must be paid for by the developer, including any new or modified infrastructure costs as well as the district’s water development fees.

The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority nominated Ann Nichols of Forest Lakes Metropolitan District and Curtis Mitchell to be appointed to the Southeastern Colorado Conservancy District, which exercises a great deal of influence over policies and operation of the Pueblo Reservoir.

Petersen also noted that the authority is opposing a statewide ballot initiative for November that would make all public waters in Colorado "waters of the state for use by all Colorado residents," negating the current system of state water right while allowing uncontrolled access to all public and private waters. All private land owners would be required to allow any person to cross their property to access any stream, river, or lake, particularly for any recreational purpose. An inevitable outcome of this new state policy would be stopping construction of all future reservoirs or other water storage processes.

Development status

Petersen noted that there had been no change in status in the past month regarding the proposed Kum and Go fuel station at Struthers and Gleneagle Drive or contact with the Gleneagle Golf Course owner. As requested by the owner, the district has shut off all water to the golf course.

No tap fees were collected since the Feb. 20 board meeting.

The meeting went into executive session for discussions with Fendel related to negotiations on specific water rights at 3:20 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on April 17 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org – News & Events

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

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Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Organizations, March 8: Homeowners have outlet for HOA complaints

By Bernard L. Minetti

At the March 8 meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Organizations (NEPCO), Colorado Homeowners Association Information and Resource Officer Gary Kujawski described the process for making complaints against homeowners associations (HOAs). He stated that his office is a part of the Department of Real Estate under the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Kujawski said he provides homeowners a process to follow so that problems between HOAs and homeowners may be resolved properly and correctly.

The Colorado Legislature, as a result of consumer concerns regarding HOAs, created his office in 2010. Kujawski also collects data regarding complaints against HOA boards and provides this information to legislators to provide a basis for future legislation. Besides assistance to homeowners, this office provides assistance to boards, declarants, and other interested parties concerning their rights and responsibilities pursuant to the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act.

Kujawski said some of the complaints he receives pertain to:

• HOA managers/management companies

• Board member responsibilities

• Governing documents

• Meetings and elections

• Community maintenance

• Dues, fees, fines, and rule enforcement

• Declarant issues

• Disclosure and production of records

Kujawski disclosed that one of the goals of the HOA Information and Resource Center is to inform homeowners concerning their rights and responsibilities in and with an HOA. All homeowners who have complaints filed with his office receive personal and thorough attention, he said. He does not provide investigative services.

Kujawski reiterated that any homeowner may contact him for assistance, without charge, on any matter concerning a complaint against an HOA or to validate any possible complaint. He also provides direction to process a valid complaint. Kujawski may be contacted at 303-894-2355 or emailed at gary.Kujawski@state.co.us. Another source of useful HOA information is www.dora.state.co.us.

Board President Dave Powell said NEPCO now consisted of 32 HOAs and 7,000 homeowners.

**********

The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 10 at Monument Town Hall.

Bernard Minetti can be contacted at bernardminetti@ocn.me

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Feb. 26: New board members welcomed; coyote and burglary problems reviewed

By Jackie Burhans

The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) discussed community concerns about coyotes, nearby burglaries, and the need to update the WIA website along with other topics at its Feb. 26 meeting.

President Jim Hale welcomed new board members Erik Stensland, director of Covenants, and Mark Ponti, director of Common Areas, and noted the return of Vice President Kirsten Reimann. Treasurer Tom Schoemaker was absent.

Coyote problems

Woodmoor residents Alan Backson and Fred Urban noted that coyotes have been sighted near the golf course and on Lake Woodmoor near common areas. The coyotes are not afraid of people and have approached joggers. Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) Chief Kevin Nielsen said that there had been sightings and signage about missing animals. Chief Nielsen has been talking with the Colorado Department of Wildlife to gather information on what can be done.

The board will research policies, rights, limits, and costs and determine the best options. Actions may include community education, working with licensed animal control specialists, and working with other local homeowners associations through NEPCO (Northern El Paso Coalition of Community Organizations).

Association Manager Matt Beseau reported that the YMCA, having received Architectural Control Committee approval, can start work at any time on the 50,000-square-foot health center expansion on the south side of the YMCA building. The board will conduct weekly or monthly reviews including physical inspections of the property and will communicate with the Town of Monument and the county.

Burglaries investigated

Nielsen sent out an email crime alert for burglaries in the area surrounding Woodmoor. The incidents occurred during the day, with suspects knocking on doors and, if no one answers, breaking in a back door. A good description has been obtained of one of the suspects, and a car believed to be involved has been found by the Sheriff’s Office, which has issued warrants but no arrests have been made. The board discussed the need to communicate such incidents quickly and accurately.

Nielsen indicated that he has a list of 150 email addresses for such notifications. NextDoor.com is a private neighborhood social network but does not have a direct relationship with WIA and is not an official alert system. Nielsen would like to find someone who is active on the network and send them information that can be shared in the future.

Website review

President Hale then raised the issue that the current WIA website (woodmoor.org) was not suiting the needs of the community. The site is currently maintained by Secretary Jeff Gerhart and Beseau. Secretary Jeff Gerhart said the site has old and duplicated information and has a low number of visitors who stay only an average of 30 seconds.

Hale said the board needs to research legal requirements for keeping documents online, review options for hiring someone to update the website, and determine who will maintain it long term. The board met with the current web designer on Feb. 27; another designer wants to meet as well.

Director of Covenants Stensland reported that several illumination complaints noted that the covenant is very subjective. Stensland made a motion to purchase a light meter to accurately measure light output. The board tabled this motion to determine if this specific case can be solved. Members said the WIA should check with NEPCO to see how other HOAs have dealt with this issue and if there are specific guidelines set by other jurisdictions.

**********

The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on March 26.

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

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Woodmoor coyote concerns addressed

By Jackie Burhans

The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Board of Directors hosted a meeting on March 10 to address concerns about coyotes. Several board members attended, along with more than 50 community members. Representatives from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and Alpine Animal Control (AAC) gave presentations and participated in the discussion.

Sabrina Hurwitz of CPW gave a presentation on bears, mountain lions, and coyotes, all of which can be found in Woodmoor. She discussed mountain lion identification and recommended that pets be kept indoors, be supervised outdoors, or kept in a fully enclosed kennel.

Black bears, which can be black or brown, are attracted to food and can open doors and get through screened windows. Hurwitz recommends closing garages, putting cans out only on trash pickup mornings, hanging bird houses rather than feeders, and protecting compost piles. Reports of illegal wildlife feeding can be made to CPW at 719-227-5200. Anonymous reports can be called into Operation Game Feed at 877-267-6648.

Coyotes are active from dusk to dawn, and 70 percent of their diet consists of small animals. Hurwitz said hunting is the best method to control coyotes and instill a fear of humans. However, discharging a firearm (including BB guns and crossbows) is illegal in Woodmoor and could result in a ticket and fine. Sheriff’s officers will consider each case individually, based on immediate danger to a person.

Claude Oleyar of AAC shared coyote attack statistics and recommended that homeowners associations have a coyote management plan that includes education and a coyote watch hotline. Every plan should have a lethal option, but the Colorado Constitution prohibits certain methods with exemptions for human health and safety. AAC could shoot coyotes if it could get a permit through an exemption from the El Paso County Health Department.

Kevin Neilsen, director of Public Safety, suggested that WIA might be able to collect data from residents and provide the information to CPW.

EPSO representatives Sgt. Shane Mitchell, Deputy Keith Duda, and Mikel Baker gave an update on the 12 recent burglaries in the surrounding communities. Six members of a burglary ring were arrested in part due to leads from the community. Mitchell thanked residents for providing descriptions of suspicious individuals and vehicles. He encouraged people to continue to stay vigilant and call if they have concerns.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, March 26: Woodmoor Drive traffic problems

By Jackie Burhans

Traffic issues on Woodmoor Drive were discussed at the March 26 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA).

The absences of Vice President Kirsten Reimann and Secretary Jeff Gerhart were excused.

Kevin Nielsen, WIA Public Safety chief, met with the Lewis-Palmer School District representatives to discuss traffic issues near the middle school, including flashing light placement and traffic caused by parents lining up to pick up their kids after school. The district hopes to address both issues over the summer and is looking into changing the entrance and egress to the parking lot to move traffic off of Woodmoor Drive.

President Jim Hale participated in the county Highway Transportation Commission for county District 1. The meeting focused on tumbleweeds and speed bumps. Hale said the WIA needs to gather information from its area about problems with county roads such as the situation on Woodmoor Drive with parents who line up to pick up kids and block traffic.

Hale said anyone who sees problems such as potholes, curb issues, and berms that are safety hazards should let him know.

NEPCO hears WIA plans

Eric Gross, director of Forestry, attended the meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Organizations (NEPCO) on March 8. There were 32 homeowners association (HOA) representatives from around the area at the meeting. He presented WIA’s slash/disposal plans and invited other nearby communities to participate. Three communities signed up to get more information to provide to their boards for approval to join.

Gross reported that Kip Petersen of Donala Water and Sanitation wants to work with surrounding HOAs to provide education on water conservation. There will be two free workshops on May 10 and 17 at the Donala facility on Holbein Drive in Gleneagle.

Gary Kujawski, Colorado HOA information officer under the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), said his office has no regulatory authority at present. Its purpose is to provide education and to take all HOA complaints and report to the Legislature.

Other matters

HOA manager Matt Beseau and Secretary Gerhart continue to work on plans to update the WIA website to clean up outdated information and improve usability. Per Suhr, director of Public Safety, reported the first burglary in Woodmoor. It was not known if it was related to other similar burglaries.

Forestry Director Eric Gross has submitted a proposal for a $30,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources to reduce wildfire fuel, with an expected response in early April. Gross is also working on a Slash Removal/Chipping Day with a target date of May 17t and has set the Firewise date for June 21.

Mark Ponti, director of Common Areas, made a motion to approve funding of up to $65,000 from the reserve funds for a parking area repaving project to include landscaping, paving, and irrigation. This would cover project funding with the final plans to be approved by the Architectural Committee. The motion passed unanimously.

The board will update the WIA Rules and Regulations document and will issue a call for committee members in the upcoming newsletter. This will be an opportunity to ensure consistency with the Project Design Standards Manual (PDSM.)

WPS Chief Nielsen recapped the recent informational meeting on coyotes. He has been researching coyote management plans from HOAs outside of El Paso County and has begun drafting a proposed plan. President Hale suggested that the plan should go beyond coyotes and talk about general wildlife management.

Tom Schoemaker, WIA treasurer, made a motion to approve the five-year capital reserve expense plan. After a discussion of some of the items in the expense plan and a second motion to approve the 2014 insurance payment, both motions were passed unanimously.

**********

The WIA Board of Directors meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on April 23 and will feature District Manager Jessie Shaffer, who will be available to discuss questions on tap fees, irrigation fees, rate and grid structure, as well as the Woodmoor Country Club.

Official minutes of the WIA board meetings can be found at http://www.woodmoor.org/content/admin-bod-meeting-minutes.html.

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

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March Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

March was a little drier than normal, with temperatures that were about normal overall. Last year, March was much colder than normal. Winds were gusty on several days during the month, as several strong storm moved just to our north, leaving us with strong west to northwest winds but not much moisture.

It was typical March weather for the first few days of the month, with wild swings in temperature. The first day of March was cold, with a little snow, but the bigger story was the persistent fog and rime ice. This covered all exposed surfaces, making for some beautiful scenery. High temperatures only managed to reach the mid- to upper 20s as a shallow layer of Arctic air covered the region. However, as that layer of cold air thinned out the next day, sunshine returned and temperatures warmed to the low 40s. The cold air was fully scoured out by the 3rd, and mild Pacific air moved in on westerly winds. High temperatures jumped quickly to the mid-50s that afternoon, moving to above normal levels.

The roller coaster ride of weather conditions continued for the next few days, and we saw wild swings between winter and spring conditions. Sunny skies and seasonal temperatures in the 50s were common on the 4th. However, the next quick-moving cold front pushed through during the early hours of the 5th, accumulating 1 to 2 inches of snow and producing slick roadways. This was because the road surfaces were warm to start with, melting much of the snow initially, which quickly froze as the colder air continued to move in. This produced a layer of ice on the roadways, covered with some snow.

However, we only had to wait a few hours for conditions to improve significantly as the strong March sunshine quickly worked to melt the snow and ice. Mild air then returned for Thursday the 6th, with high temperatures reaching into the low 60s. This was ahead of another storm headed our way. This storm was of more Pacific origins, and therefore contained warmer air and higher levels of moisture. This produced heavy, wet snow for us, with rain at lower elevations initially. This was a very spring-like storm, with over a half-inch of water equivalent accumulating during the afternoon and evening of the 7th. This is exactly the type of storm system we need as we head into spring, bringing beneficial moisture to the area.

The storm departed quickly however, with quiet and mild weather returning through the remainder of the weekend. High temperatures were held in the upper 30s by the fresh snowfall on the afternoon of the 8th, then quickly reached back into the upper 50s and low 60s on the 9th.

The week of the 10th started off mild and quiet, with sunshine and gusty winds allowing temperatures to soar into the mid-60s. However, this was ahead of an intense but compact storm. The storm rolled through the next morning, and snow and blowing snow quickly developed by late morning. This produced some hazardous driving conditions that afternoon and evening. Another 3 to 5 inches of new snowfall accumulated throughout the region, bringing more beneficial moisture. Skies cleared that evening, and the cold air mass filling in behind the storm combined with the fresh snow cover to produce very efficient radiational cooling. This allowed low temperatures to dip just below zero on the morning of the 12th.

But, as is so common this time of the year, the storm quickly moved out and sunshine returned. Temperatures rebounded that afternoon to the mid-40s and continued to climb back to normal levels, reaching the mid-50s the next afternoon. The next quick-moving storm affected the area on the 15th, but this time did not have much moisture to work with. The storm packed some very strong winds, with gusts over 50 mph common. However, the more northwesterly flow meant that winds did not turn upslope for us and therefore only some flurries developed. Again, high pressure built in behind this storm, allowing temperatures to warm into the mid-50s on the afternoon of the 16th. Gusty westerly winds again developed on the 17th and helped boost temperatures even more, reaching the upper 50s and low 60s.

A cold front moved in late that evening of the 17th, and temperatures the next day were 15 to 20 degrees colder. Light snow fell throughout the morning and afternoon. Although the snow didn’t accumulate much, what did fall was blown around by cold, gusty winds. Temperatures stayed below normal the next afternoon, only reaching the upper 40s, but the stronger March sunshine made it feel a little warmer.

Mild air quickly returned for the 20th, as temperatures warmed back to above normal levels, reaching the low to mid-60s. However, as is usual in March, this mild air was ahead of another fast-moving cold front. This was the first of two cold air surges that affected the region over the weekend. Highs only reached the mid-40s on the 21st, with a few flurries falling. Low clouds, fog, and light snow accompanied the next surge and helped drop high temperatures into the upper 20s on the 22nd. One to 2 inches of snow accumulated that afternoon and evening. Sunshine returned for Sunday the 21st, melting most of the snow and allowing for a quiet day to end the weekend as highs returned back to the low 50s.

The month ended with mainly dry conditions. Winds were very gusty as well, especially on the 26th, 27th, and 30th-31st. During the evening of the 30th through the early hours of the 31st, winds gusted to 60 and 70 mph in areas. This caused some minor damage and lots of inconvenience if you were driving or trying to sleep. The sunshine and gusty winds also helped to boost temperatures to above normal levels for the last week of the month. Highs reached the 50s to 60s each afternoon from the 26th through the 31st.

A look ahead

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

March 2014 Weather Statistics

Average High 50.2° (0.0°)

100-year return frequency value max 57.9° min 38.0°

Average Low 19.5° (-1.6°)

100-year return frequency value max 27.0° min 12.0°

Highest Temperature 65° on the 10th

Lowest Temperature -3° on the 12th

Monthly Precipitation 1.27" (-0.37", 23% below normal)

100-year return frequency value max 4.29" min 0.22"

Monthly Snowfall 14.6" (-6.5", 30% below normal)

Season to Date Snow 66.1" (-25.9", 22% below normal)

(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)

Season to Date Precip. 16.19" (+2.17", 15% above normal)

(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)

Heating Degree Days 936 (+34)

Cooling Degree Days 0

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

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Letters to Our Community

Guidelines for letters to the editor are on page 31.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the view of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.

Single means "single" parent

I appreciate the Board of County Commissioners’ "Single Parent’s Day" proclamation, however it upsets me that military families were specifically highlighted by Commissioner Clark in this way. While I do not discount the fact that military couples can at times feel the burden of being a single parent when the other spouse is deployed, it is still not the same as being a truly single parent with one income and no housing assistance, military insurance, or organized support groups.

A single parent who has been a single parent from the beginning with no support, as the only legally responsible guardian to a child, is isolated from society and often discriminated against by employers due to the fact that single parents will at times have to miss work to care for a sick child or attend a school function. We are not welfare moochers or uneducated members of society who do not make a fair contribution. I fight this stereotype every day. While it was my own choices that put me in the position of being a single parent, society and the legal system do not do enough to enforce the abandoning parent to be financially and emotionally responsible for their offspring.

All that being said, I am grateful for the opportunity to be the mother of a wonderful young lady. She has inspired me every day since the day I knew of her conception to be a better person. And I think I have done an exceptional job of raising a bright, funny young lady who has seen first-hand the struggles I have endured as a single parent. She will continue on my legacy having learned from my trials and tribulations, and her potential in limitless.

A Really Single Mom (name withheld by request)

Talking about mental illness

I’m writing to share my concerns about mental illness and the stigma that it carries. I have suffered from mental illness for more than 30 years and have been on all the meds that are out there; I have gone off my meds most recently for almost seven months and found myself back to my old habits and addictions. I just wanted to be away from it for a while.

I know now that is not possible and found out that if I embrace it and become a survivor that things go much better for me. I also know that by bringing it out in the open and talking about it makes life better. Please understand that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and the more it is written and talked about it starts to become humanized. People like me are all over this world and we tend to not talk about our mental illness or are told by society that we should not talk about it.

My goal by doing this is to start the conversation and hope that the domino effect will follow. I also want to say that I am sorry to anyone that I may have spoken to in a poor manner in the last months. I truly was not myself, but I am back on my meds and doing a lot better now.

Please let’s all try to bring mental illness out of the closet; it will be a much better world if people would stop shaming it.

John D. Wedgewood

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

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Fresh as springtime, Colorado authors present an interesting crop of new books, ranging from light romance and murder mysteries to politics and parenting.

And Then You Dance: Volume 2 in the Crested Butte Series
By Heather Buchman (Createspace) $11.99

Set in the Colorado mountains, Buchman’s latest book centers on the lives of cowboy Billy Patterson and the girl next door, Renie Fairchild. Patterson, a recent national saddle bronc champion, is finding the rodeo circuit difficult, so he buys a ranch and boarding stables. As if those added responsibilities aren’t enough, a dude rancher steps between him and Renie, and his easy life becomes complicated.

Slow Parenting Teens
By Molly Wingate M.A. and Marti Woodward M.S. (Norlights Press) $15.95

This book shifts the focus of parenting from teenagers’ behavior and appearance to the relationship between parents and teens. Fast parenting is a reaction—to a teen’s behavior, or a family situation, while slow parenting is about changing attitudes to create a positive, respectful, and fun relationship. Along with real life examples, the authors discuss how to set limits and reasonable punishments, how to deal with blended families, and how to slow parent teens who already face big problems.

The Ultimate Girls’ Body Book
By Dr. Walt Larimore (Zonderkidz) $7.99

For girls whose bodies are doing crazy things, this book answers all those awkward questions you’d rather not ask—at least out loud. Mixing fun with great advice, you’ll learn about bras, boys, periods, pimples, and so much more. Most importantly, you’ll learn that God made you exactly the way he wants you to be.

The Political Contest in America: Conversations with a Gadfly
By Ronald J. Scott Jr. (Createspace) $14.95

Based on an accumulation of indisputable evidence, this book is meant to sound an alarm about the progressive movement in America from a political perspective. Scott got his inspiration from an 1862 essay by John Stuart Mill, "The Contest in America." As Mill pointed out, contests that use "human instruments in the service of a master degrade them." The book proceeds to illustrate how the current political direction will "degrade" millions of Americans if allowed to proceed unchecked.

Stranger Things
By Erin Healy (Thomas Nelson Publishers) $15.99

Biology teacher Serena Diaz’s life is shattered when a troubled student accuses her of sexual misconduct, and a therapeutic walk in the woods leads her to a ruined house overtaken by criminals where she is assaulted. And that’s only the beginning of Serena’s troubles. Healy uses courageous characters to address the sex trade crisis, and themes of hope and redemption are seamlessly woven with spiritual elements and a touch of the supernatural.

Bloodflow
By Kevin Paul Tracy (Daydreams Industries Inc.) $17.95

The search for an ancient casket leads private investigator Kathryn Desmarais into a feud between a tenacious vampire hunter and a vampire who plans to have Kathryn as his queen. Each of these undead souls is backed with an army ready to wage war, and Kathryn must try to save her loved ones and salvage her own soul.

Spirit Song—Books 1 and 2
By Sherry Janes (Createspace) $16.99 each

This series is packed with suspense, horror, love, magic, time travel, and prophecy. In Book 1: Cape of the Red Jaguar, Christina, an anthropologist searching for the Sacred Cape, is kidnapped by a tribal chief. She is rescued by a shaman/medical doctor, and the two of them make a discovery that could not only solve an ancient mystery, but change lives and shatter beliefs. Book 2: Seeds in the Blood, continues the adventures of Christina, involving a ruthless fallen angel and the ancient Book of Persivann, which contains precious secrets about Earth’s future.

Unfolding the Sun
By Joelle Mueller (Balboa Press) $14.99

When you’re feeling confused, betrayed, victimized, sorrowful, worthless, or just stuck, instead of distracting yourself with food, television, social media, or anything else, Mueller suggests sitting quietly and going inside yourself. Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge what is within, and you can be like the sun, unfolding until you shine.

We are fortunate to have so many talented authors in our area, and these new offerings span a wide range of interests and tastes. Until next month, happy reading.

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

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HANG—High Altitude Natural Gardens

By Janet Sellers

You, too, can get the HANG of bug-free gardens full of food.

Have you tried to grow vegetables here with no luck? Me, too, so it was with great interest that I joined efforts in the Monument Community Garden (MCG) last year. A local group of happy, avid gardeners put together garden walks, talks, and movies so we all can learn to grow things in our unique, albeit short-season, garden climate. We got all food and no bugs or weeds thanks to few a marigolds and spearmint in the High Altitude Natural Garden (HANG).

Palmer Lake Community gardeners and the Monument Community gardeners will combine efforts this year for ongoing education and planting event, and this year’s theme is "soil." Last year, one garden bed at MCG was dedicated to producing fresh food for Tri Lakes Cares, and volunteers are much needed this year to continue this noble effort.

Since our cold nights continue until June/July, April is still a good time to plan for cool weather-loving crops such as snow peas, leafy greens like kale, spinach, chard, green onions, beet greens and the like. We had a big crop of those last year in late June—we actually had planted those seeds at the end of May. (Usually in our clime, seeds and even indoor seedlings have to wait until Memorial Day to go outside in the garden). And, yes, we must keep things like tomato seedlings warm indoors a few more months.

All are welcome to join the local garden group events, sure to go on monthly April through October, and the most current and accurate gardening updates for soil prep, flash-mob garden building and more will be posted at the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MonumentCommunityGarden. A cute "little free library" may soon appear at the Monument Community Garden space on Beacon Lite Road between Third Street and Highway 105. So, please stay tuned!

Janet Sellers is a local HANG gardener, artist, and writer. She just made up the term "HANG gardener," and hopes you’ll get the HANG bug, too. She can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Art Matters: Spring and summer outdoor art fun

By Janet Sellers

April brings us our unpredictable weather, and we artists have learned to work indoors or out depending on Mother Nature’s whims. On a warm day, nothing beats a plein air outdoor setup with a picnic basket and friends so all can paint, picnic, and paint some more. When the weather turns cold, windy, or yucky, we have to zip indoors, into the car or snap a photo quickly and finish the work in the studio.

Still, it’s a delight of spring to be outdoors taking in the air and nature and immortalizing the scene or the portrait in paint, pencil and pen, or chalks. Just about any medium that is easy to pack in and pack out of the scenery works for spring.

The hard core plein air artists start and finish their painting in one sitting (when possible) at the site, braving wind, bugs, the occasional wild animal, and of course, sudden storms. Usually done in oils or watercolors, the work has the immediacy of the moment embedded in the visual experience.

The artists who take home their color sketches and partially done works to finish in the studio also consider their work original plein air, but they can lose that fast pace and momentary urgency in the works—a quality much prized by collectors and viewers. Still, the original thought and joy inform the art, and that energy is there in the painting.

So, let’s get out our pencils and see what we can create this season! Join a class, a workshop, or a vacation art camp—they apply to kids and adults of all ages—or just grab your kids, your family, and friends and go outside and get started. It’s really fun, too.

April art events

Bella Art and Frame Gallery hosts Art Generation. Monument School of Fine Arts (MSFA) presents original work by MSFA students of all ages. Celebrating 20 years in Tri-Lakes with local students and artists who love to make art. Includes top Colorado award winners for the federal Junior Duck Stamp Design competition. Exhibit is April 5 to 30, artist reception is April 11. Bella Art and Frame Gallery, 187 Washington St., Monument.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA)—The Good Word Project by Jean Lamborn, wife of U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn. She calls the works "message paintings." Show runs April 1 to 30 in the Lucy Owens Gallery. Art reception Saturday, April 5, from 3 to 5:30 p.m., TCLA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.

Janet Sellers is an American artist, art teacher, and writer. She makes public art sculptures for Colorado cities and teaches art locally. She can be reached at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Click here to view the on line version. Snapshots of Our Community appears on page 25 and 26. Below is the text of the captions that appeared within the Snapshots section:

TLCA Visions of Light

Caption: Dave Brandt and daughter Mollie celebrate Dave’s first-place award at the TCLA March exhibit Visions of Light. Photo courtesy of Dave Brandt/Visions of Light exhibit.

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MCTS serves seniors

Caption: Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors (MCTS), which provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes citizens age 60 and older, has obtained a 12-passenger shuttle. Funds came from volunteers and seniors themselves, caring community members, the Pikes Peak Area on Aging, and Monument Hill Kiwanis. Faye Brenneman is program director and board chair of MCTS. Jody Richardson (shown helping Nadine Rose attend the senior lunch) uses the shuttle exclusively and coordinates volunteer drivers to take seniors on excursions. Senior Safety and Handyman Services, run by Cindy Rush, provides grab bars, railings, ramps and related items. Jodi Liparulo, director of MCTS, said, "The heart of MCTS is our treasured group of 43 volunteer drivers. They use their own vehicles to take seniors to medical appointments Monday through Thursday." To volunteer or to sign up to receive services, please contact www.trilakes-mcts-sshs.org, 719-488-0076. Photo by Jana Preheim.

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Pi=Pie 3.14 mile run

Caption: From left, Kaitlyn Ketchell, Sarah Hinton, and Zoe Johnson, members of the Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 3107, organized the 3.14-mile fun run called Pi = Pie on Saturday, March 15. The event had over 70 people pre-register as well as a number of race-day sign-ups at Palmer Lake Regional Park. Runners started at the trailhead by Palmer Lake and ran 1.57 miles out and back on this brisk and windy morning for a total of 3.14 miles and the chance for a piece of pie at the end. The girls, who attend Prairie Winds Elementary, organized this fun run as their Girl Scout Bronze Award project. The Bronze Award is the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. The proceeds from the race, which totaled $835, will go to purchase supplies for the Snack Pack Program at Tri-Lakes Cares. Photo by Melissa Hinton, Troop Leader 3107. Caption by Jackie Burhans.

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Recycling options

Caption: Officials from the Environmental Division of El Paso County’s Community Services Department met with a group of Tri-Lakes residents on March 18 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School to explore opportunities to expand recycling options for the area. The recycling rate in Colorado is only 11 percent, compared to the national average of 34 percent. Tim Wolken, director of the Community Services Department, shown here with Palmer Lake resident and avid recycler Terri Watson, discussed recycling needs, potential opportunities, and financial considerations. Kathy Andrew, manager of the Environmental Division, explained that "recycling is not free," and that the county recycling center at 3255 Akers Drive in Colorado Springs offers a "single stream" recycling and household hazardous waste drop-off point. "We can only provide carrots, not sticks," she said. For additional information or suggestions about increasing people’s recycling habits, call Andrew at 520-7879 or email KathyAndrew@elpasoco.com. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.

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Exploring electricity

Caption: The Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) hosted a Family Exploration Day with a focus on electricity on March 15. Representatives from Colorado Springs Utilities demonstrated the impacts and dangers of high voltage and a University of Colorado educator showed how to build simple electrical circuits. Other exhibits demonstrated how Legos could be used to build steam engines to power generators and other moveable devices. Chris Thompson shows a young visitor how a Lego-built steam engine and generator can be used to illuminate a light bulb. Information on upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org. Photo and caption by David Futey.

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Charity poker

Caption: Kevin Hancock, board member of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, is pictured at the organization’s first annual Chamber Charity Poker Classic on March 8 at the Sundance Mountain Lodge. Nearly 90 players from the Denver, Colorado Springs, and the Tri-Lakes areas participated. Celebrity players included Dr. Hans Mueh, director of athletics at the Air Force Academy, and his wife, local radio personalities Jordan Mason of KOAA, Sportsguy Mike of KJME 890, Val Hart of Y96.9 and her husband Jeff Peck, Poker Room manager at Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek. The event was broadcast live by OnTilt Radio, a poker radio social network run by Robin Jones. Proceeds from the event were shared by the Chamber and The Homeless Foundation. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

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Uranium Drive-in shown

Caption: On March 13, Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) Manager David Futey welcomes Director Suzan Beraza to the museum. The WMMI hosted a showing of her award-winning documentary film Uranium Drive-In. The movie follows the debate among residents of an economically struggling and historically mining-based community in western Colorado which is presented with an opportunity to open a uranium processing mill. After the movie was shown, Beraza responded to questions about the film from the audience and shared the issues she encountered while filming for three years. Information on the film is at http://uraniumdrivein.com/. Information on upcoming events at the WMMI is at www.wmmi.org. Photo and caption by David Futey.

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Ham Radio Club

Caption: The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office mobile command post was displayed at the March meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire (TLMF) Radio Association. The TLMF Radio Association is a ham radio club in the Monument area with an emphasis on helping people get started with amateur radio. The club meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. See w0tlm.com or call Joyce Witte, 719-488-0859, for more information. Photo by Dan Oldfield.

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Blood drive

Caption: Dr. Jean Michel Fernand, a Monument resident, donates blood on March 27. He said the Gleneagle Sertoma Blood Drive is "important in benefiting the community," because it helps save lives. The drive, sponsored by Penrose Blood Bank and Gleneagle Sertoma, was held at Antelope Trails Elementary School. It offered people the opportunity to donate blood and enjoy a small meal afterward. For information about the next blood drive, call Bill or Mary Nance at 719-488-2312. Photo by Arjun Gheewala.

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Girl scouts support hometown heros

Caption: Girl Scout Troop 3661 from Monument supported their hometown heroes by delivering boxes of cookies to three fire stations in the area. Many customers decline to buy cookies due to dietary restrictions. In those cases, the Scouts suggest that they could instead buy and/or donate cookies for hometown heroes. The girls selected firefighters as the beneficiaries. Each firehouse received 41 boxes of cookies. From left are Capt. Max Mabry, Lily Goudreau, Katherine Rowland, Madeline Sullivan, Emma Turner and firefighter Mo. Photo by Liz Turner.

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Wendy Woo

Caption: On March 28, longtime Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) favorite Wendy Woo played to an enthusiastic spring break audience. Unlike previous years performing solo, Woo was accompanied by Steve Cox on bass and Robin Hoch on violin. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.

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March and April library events: Summer volunteers sought

By Harriet Halbig

The Monument Library is looking for teen volunteers for the summer reading program. Everyone ages 12 to 18 is encouraged to join us for two-hour shifts each week beginning June 1 and ending in late July. Volunteers help by registering kids and teens for summer reading and awarding their prizes.

If you have vacation plans, that is not a problem—just let us know ahead of time.

At the end of the program, the volunteers can help at the annual end-of-program party at the Village Green in Palmer Lake.

Family programs in April

Learn to make balloon animals at our family fun program on Saturday, April 12 at 1:30. Participants will be introduced to the world of "folding" through an interactive presentation about napkin, paper (origami), balloon, and creative towel folding. Each child will take home his original origami and balloon creations.

The Legos Club will meet on Saturday, April 19 from 10 until 11:30. Bring your creativity and we will supply the Legos. Also bring your camera to capture your creation, because all pieces remain the property of the library.

The April program for homeschoolers will be on Monday, April 28 from 1 to 2:30.

Programs for teens and tweens

Students of all ages are welcome to sit down with our friendly volunteer math tutors each Monday from 3:30 to 7. This program, called AfterMath, is offered each week except on District 38 and library holidays. No appointment is necessary.

Boys and girls in grades 3 through teens are invited to join the Tech Club on the fourth Friday of each month. We’ll explore a variety of fun software programs that will get you started on your way to becoming a computer geek. Registration is required.

Teens ages 12 and up will learn Kumihimo, the Japanese art of braiding colorful cord into bracelets and key chains at the Crafty Teens program on April 9 from 3:30 to 5:30. All materials are provided. Space is limited and registration is required.

Adult programs

Dariel from The Heritage Photo Solution has great tips for making sure your photos can be appreciated for years to come. Learn how to organize and preserve both paper and digital photos for future generations to enjoy. The program will be offered on Saturday, April 12 from 10 to 11:30.

The AARP Smart Driver Course, the first classroom driver refresher course specially designed for motorists age 55 and older, will be offered on Thursday, April 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. Charge for the four-hour course is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers. Preferred payment is in the form of checks made out to AARP, but cash is also accepted. Any older person may attend, but an insurance discount only applies to those 55 and older. Court-directed people who need a class to regain a driver’s license that the court has held are welcome. Class size is limited and registration is required. To register call AARP at 719-358-9580.

The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, April 18 to discuss Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.

On the walls in the library will be photography by Visual Arts for Social Change. In the display case will be paper hats by Nancy Jacobsen.

Palmer Lake Library events

The Heart of Pines 4-H Club will bring miniature horses, chickens, turkeys, geese, goats, and their babies for you to see and touch on Saturday, April 19 at 10:30. You may also come inside the library to meet live bunnies, hear a bunny story, and do a bunny craft.

The Palmer Lake Book Group welcomes new members to its meetings at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.

Drop by the Palmer Lake Library each Thursday for a morning of fiber fun. Join the Fibernistas! Start a new project or bring one in progress. The fun begins at 10 a.m.

Photographer Laurisa displays Beauty from Ashes, a collection of photo vignettes from the Black Forest Fire on the library’s walls. The artist lost three quarters of her belongings in the fire and wishes to offer hope to those who are discouraged or grieving.

In the children’s area will be multi-media student artwork from Palmer Lake Elementary School.

Please note that all library facilities will be closed on April 20 for Easter Sunday.

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

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Doctor was leader in tuberculosis treatment

By Bernard L. Minetti

Popular storyteller and historian John Stansfield portrayed Dr. Charles Fox Gardner, a leader in the early days of tuberculosis treatment in the Pikes Peak region, at the March meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Narrating Gardner’s story in the first person, Stansfield talked about Gardner’s early days in war-torn Europe.

As a child, Gardner saw the horribly wounded soldiers brought in from the battle lines and became inspired to begin a career in medicine.

Gardner came to Crested Butte and Colorado Springs after becoming a doctor. Stansfield briefly discussed Gardner’s work in Colorado Springs with those who had come west to be healed from tuberculosis. He also elaborated on the primitive conditions in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Stansfield is known for his storytelling talent and his work with the Chautauqua Assemblies. He was raised in Massachusetts and is now a resident of Colorado. He has been a teacher and storyteller since 1970 and has told stories professionally since 1979.

Two presentations each month

Palmer Lake Historical Society President Tom VanWormer noted that the Society is now putting on two historical presentations each month—on the second Tuesday and the third Thursday. The additional second presentations will take place in the spring and the fall until further notice.

On April 8 at 7 p.m., there will be a presentation about the history of the Palmer Lake Star. Jack Anthony, a local historian, retired Air Force officer, and author of Jack Anthony’s, the Palmer Lake Star, will be the speaker for the evening. He will talk about the history of the star and his effort to get it listed in the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. Copies of Anthony’s brochure about the star will be available free of charge to attendees.

The third Thursday presentation on April 17 will be "Restoration of Cumbres & Toltec Railroad Cars." Speaker John Eng is leading a team in rehabilitating a car once used on the railroad and still hauls passengers on the scenic narrow gauge run.

Both presentations will take place at 7 p.m. in the Palmer Lake Town Hall at 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake. These events are free and refreshments will be served after each presentation.

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

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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 info number for that event.

Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red

April 9: Ham and scalloped potatoes, salad

April 16: Chicken Dijon, rice, salad

April 23: Brats, sauerkraut, potato salad

April 30: Lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread

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

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

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2014 Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) board nominations now open

At MVEA’s annual meeting on June 5 at Calhan High School, a director will be elected to MVEA’s board of directors from District 7: Monument, Woodmoor, and a portion of the surrounding areas (incumbent Donna Andersen-Van Ness). The procedure for director elections and member voting is available on MVEA’s website, www.mvea.coop. If you are interested in being a candidate, please phone Edward "Kelly" McGuire, 481-9377. A candidate must be a MVEA member and reside in District 7. Candidate applications must be received by the nominating committee by April 7, 5:30 p.m. If you are petitioning for nomination, your candidate application must be submitted to either association office with your petition by April 21, 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 719-775-2861 or 719-495-2283 or visit www.mvea.coop.

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Free income tax filing assistance
by AARP, ends April 14

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is offering free income tax filing assistance in the Tri-Lakes area. Trained AARP volunteers will be available to answer questions and to assist filers in completing their federal and state income tax returns every Monday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St. in Monument, until April 14. Free e-filing of both federal and state returns is available. Taxpayers with more complicated returns should seek the advice of a paid professional. Filers are asked to bring their W-2s, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, etc. needed to complete their 2013 tax returns, plus a copy of last year’s (2012) tax return. A photo ID and copy of your Social Security card are also required. For more information or to make an appointment, call 481-4864 Ext. 118. Leave your name and number and someone will return your call.

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Citizen’s Police Academy,
April 15-June 3

The Monument Police Department is now taking applications for the Citizens Police Academy. This free eight-week program is open to all who live or work in the Tri-Lakes area. Participants will learn about criminal law, patrol procedures, use of force, computer forensics, internal affairs, community policing, tactical considerations, and have the opportunity to shoot a variety of police weapons and much more. Classes will be held April 15-June 3 on Tuesday evenings, 7-10 p.m., at the Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Road. For an application or more information, stop by the Monument Police Department, or call 481-3253, or email Officer Bob Steine, rsteine@townofmonument.net.

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Slash-Mulch Season begins May 3

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is coming soon! Slash (tree and brush debris only) will be accepted May 3-Sept. 27. Mulch will be available May 17-Sept. 27 or until mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn Brown, 495-3127; Chuck Lidderdale, 495-8675; Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024; El Paso County Environmental Division, 520-7878.

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CSU Extension offers Garden Coaching Program

Colorado State University Extension Master Gardeners will meet with you on at your home to coach you and your family in home food production. These one-hour customizable tutorials will provide you with the information you need to grow the garden you want. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a master gardener, call Julie at 520-7690.

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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 Park and Recreation Trustee Mike Patrizi at parks@palmer-lake.org.

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Host a foreign exchange student

Host families are needed for the 2014-15 school year. Create life-changing friendships and see your world through new eyes. For more information, contact Sheryl Ellis, Monument, 321-536-9504; Sheryl.Ellis@EFFoundation.org.

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Monument Marketplace Facebook page

Tri-Lake residents can sell their used items, trade items, and chat about anything local goings on at https://www.facebook.com/groups/monumentmarketplace/.

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LEAP—Help for heating bills

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs now through April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.

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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.

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Reverse 911, re-register by April 15

The El Paso-Teller County E911 Authority is asking residents who have registered for emergency notifications to re-register. The El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority provides an Emergency Notification System (commonly referred to as "reverse 911") to notify you of emergency situations that are a threat to life or property, or situations that are deemed dangerous by public safety officials. All of the contact information (address and phone numbers) that was in the old system was transferred to the new system. However, you will need to create a new account to allow you the ability to log in and keep your information up to date so you can receive emergency notifications. Again, even if you were registered and received alerts last year, if you have not already done so, please re-register by April 15 at www.elpasoteller911.org.

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Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service

Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. It is the only transportation service in the Tri-Lakes area to take seniors to medical appointments, the grocery store or pharmacy, the bank, legal appointments, senior lunches, shopping, and to the many activities offered through the senior center and our community. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email browneyesmlk@hotmail.com or call Mary Ketels, 481-2470, or Faye Brenneman, 481-2527, or leave a message with the dispatcher, 488-0076.

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Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs

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

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Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free

Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. 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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