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Vol. 14 No. 5 - May 3, 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 21.1 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council, April 10: New council members seated; marijuana amendment tabled

By James Howald

On April 10, the Palmer Lake Town Council swore in new and returning council members, delayed an amendment to prohibit recreational marijuana sales, heard from a member of the Planning Commission regarding large signs, and received an update on the community’s fire fuel mitigation project.

New and returning council members sworn in

Mayor Nikki McDonald, who was re-elected in the April 1 election, administered the oath of office to four new trustees: Cindy Allen, Paul Banta, Trish Flake, and Jen Martin. Two returning trustees, Richard Kuehster and John Russell, also took the oath of office.

The newly constituted council reappointed Tara Berreth as town clerk, Jason Vanderpool as police lieutenant, Margo Humes as fire chief, and Larry Gaddis as town attorney. Trustee Allen will head the Parks and Recreation Committee and will also serve as mayor pro tem. Trustee Banta will head the Police Committee. Trustee Flake will head the Economic Development Committee. Trustee Kuehster will continue to head the Fire Committee. Trustee Martin will head the Finance and Office Committee, and Trustee Russell will continue to head the Roads Committee.

Medical and retail marijuana sales debated

The council addressed two issues related to marijuana. The first regarded the growing and selling of marijuana for recreational use. In the April 1 election, Palmer Lake voters rejected the sale of recreational marijuana 538 to 481. This was an advisory vote, so the council was responsible for choosing what actions to take.

In response to the election, the council drafted Ordinance 2, 2014, which prohibited both the growing and selling of recreational marijuana within the town while leaving medical marijuana laws unchanged. Trustee Kuehster pointed out that the proposed legislation actually goes beyond the question the town voted on, because it prohibited both growing and selling while the ballot question addressed only sales.

Dino Salvatori, owner of Palmer Lake Wellness, stated that his state licenses allow him to sell any excess medical marijuana he may cultivate to other businesses with the appropriate licenses—in other words, to sell some medical marijuana on a wholesale basis. The council amended the ordinance to allow these sales and to prohibit all non-medical cultivation and retail sales.

Only Trustee Kuehster voted against the amended ordinance, stating he wanted the ordinance to address just retail sales and not cultivation for non-medical purposes, so that the community would not lose tax revenue.

The second issue related to marijuana involved a proposed amendment to Ordinance 4, 2010 that aimed to prohibit medical marijuana cultivation in M1 (light industrial) zones, restricting it to C2 (commercial) zones. Residents have contacted the council to request this change to keep cultivation farther from parks. Only commercial cultivation facilities, often called "grows," would be affected by the amendment. Trustee Russell expressed reservations that this change might create a de facto monopoly on cultivation, since there would be no spaces available in C2 zones, and that it might limit economic development.

Resident Gary Atkins stated he did not want to see cultivation centralized on the east side of town because that would not be fair to families living there. The council voted unanimously to table the amendment until the next meeting.

Sign ordinances examined

Jim Adams of the Planning Commission spoke to the council about the Planning Commission’s recent approval of three signs that exceeded legal size limitations. Town regulations limit signs to a maximum of 20 square feet. There was little notification to the public before the approval of the signs, and consequently little public input on the required zoning variances, Adams said.

He asked the council to change the ordinance to require more public notification when an oversize sign is proposed, to clarify the ordinances that determine how large a sign may be, and to consider that the council may override decisions made by the Planning Commission. Adams said he will, in the future, vote to approve any sign smaller than 32 square feet, since the Planning Commission has set a new de facto rule by approving a sign that large.

Fire fuel mitigation grant update

Judith Harrington updated the council on the town’s fire fuel mitigation grant project. She expects a decision on funding to be made by the first week of May. The town’s plan is part of a larger effort by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, which improves the town’s position. The coalition plans to inspect town land to recommend next steps. Harrington is looking for volunteers to haul brush.

The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

**********

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

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, April 23: Beseau promoted; water rates explained

By Jackie Burhans

The board promoted homeowners association (HOA) Manager Matt Beseau and hosted a Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District presentation at the April 23 meeting of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Board of Directors.

The board addressed owner inquiries regarding the use of alternate material for split-rail fencing that attaches to a house to mitigate fire danger. Darren Rouse, director of Architectural Control, indicated that homeowners can find other non-flammable material that resembles split rail and request approval for its use from Architectural Control Committee.

Beseau promoted

President Jim Hale announced the promotion of Matt Beseau to chief operating officer of WIA, in charge of all HOA activities including WPS. Kevin Nielsen continues in the role of WPS public safety chief, managing the personnel and safety decisions while the human resources and payroll duties are covered by WIA staff. Hale also noted that Vice President Kirsten Reimann, absent due to school activities, has undertaken the updating of the Employee Handbook.

Beseau requested that the board update rental guidelines for the Barn, which is an owner benefit but has increasingly seen requests for free access for organizations. Website contracts for hosting and design have been renewed and work on cleanup and the addition of Firewise information is under way. Nielsen and Beseau attended a Community Associations Institute (CAI) seminar on community protection and will attend another CAI seminar on May 6 focusing on preparation for flood and fire.

Woodmoor water costs explained

Jessie Shaffer, district manager of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD), gave a presentation covering the structure of WWSD, the renewable water plan and action, and how the cost of water and wastewater handling is determined.

Shaffer emphasized that WWSD is a quasi-governmental agency, not a private sector business, similar to a nonprofit organization. The district includes the area from I-25 to Furrow Road, between County Line and Higby Roads. WWSD has a commitment to provide water and wastewater services to this district in perpetuity and therefore does a lot of long range planning.

The renewable water plan and action discussion covered the needs, current activities, and long range planning, which include the acquisition of the JV Ranch land and water rights. For more information on Shaffer’s presentation, see the WWSD article on page 1.

Shaffer detailed the principles behind the setting of rates and fees for water and wastewater handling. The legal standards that WWSD follows require that rates must be rational, related to the cost of service, non-arbitrary or capricious, and must not create intra-class subsidies. WWSD uses a cash flow model to total the cost of operations, replacement, and capital improvement costs to determine the required revenue.

The rates are proportioned among customer classes based on use. Residential use is 80 percent of the total. Fees are segregated into use fees, tap fees, and the Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF), which goes to debt service for the bond used to fund the JV Ranch acquisition.

The use fee is tiered for residential use where blocks are based on an analysis of use patterns. The base block for indoor residential use is about 6,000 gallons and has the lowest rate. The second block is for lawn irrigation and has a use pattern of about 19,000 gallons. Use above that rate falls into block three and is priced to incentivize conservation.

Due to community feedback from large irrigators, WWSD has implemented a variable block rate based on grass irrigation demand (GID), which varies month by month based on the weather patterns where less water is needed in wetter months and more is needed in hotter months. The blocks vary by month with a goal of meeting 80 percent of demand in block 1, the additional 20 percent in block 2 and setting higher rates for use above 100 percent of demand in block 3 to incentivize conservation.

Most large irrigators follow the GID block pattern, but some have custom blocks based on their unique needs called the modified grass irrigation demand (MGID). There has not been enough data to determine how well this pricing meets revenue requirements, so the pilot will continue for another year.

The RWIF fee is currently set to generate enough revenue to pay off the bond debt. As the community grows and more revenue comes in, WWSD will need to determine what action to take with the additional revenues.

Parking problems

Concerns were raised about people parking for sporting events on the southeast fields of Palmer Ridge High School. Spectators park in the access area despite "No Parking" signs and on both sides of the street on the curved portion of Woodmoor Drive, causing a traffic hazard. Kevin Nielsen, Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) chief, advised that property owners should raise this issue with the Lewis-Palmer School Board, and WPS will work with the Colorado Department of Transportation to get "No Parking" signs posted on the streets as well.

Per Suhr, director of Public Safety, reported that the Coyote and Wildlife Management plan draft is complete and will be reviewed with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. WPS has also written a safety plan to identify common and uncommon safety hazards, which will be reviewed by the WIA board. WPS has a patrol plan to verify by GPS that all roads are patrolled on a consistent basis at random times to avoid detectable patrol patterns.

Suhr noted that residents of Doewood, north of Woodmoor, started a new Neighborhood Watch. Sur and Nielsen attended the meeting, which had excellent turnout. Residents who wish to form a Neighborhood Watch should contact WPS.

Nielsen reported that WPS is looking at placing large, reflective signs that say "Warning: This area is patrolled by Woodmoor Public Safety" at 24 sites. The signs will require approval by the Architectural Control Committee.

President Hale noted that speeding incidents are increasing and requested a review of smart trailer data. Hale also approved Nielsen’s request for approval to sell the old trailer.

Darren Rouse, director of Architectural Control, said that the committee approved forestry signage and the creation of a section of 8-foot split-rail fence to be used for WIA activity and event signage such as banners.

Director of Forestry Eric Gross updated the Tree Service list, which shows companies who have been verified as having insurance and workers compensation. The list is available in the office and on the website at http://www.woodmoor.org/content/res-srv-forest-tree-srvcs.html. Gross discussed the creation of reflective evacuation signs that could be placed during fire and other emergencies once evacuation routes have been determined.

Gross noted that the Firewise Community Day will be held on June 21 at the Barn and will include a panel of community experts. WIA and Anderson Tree Service will hold six Slash Disposal Drop-off Days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Anderson Slash Disposal Site on May 17, June 14, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13, and Oct. 11. The disposal site is located on Washington Street in Monument. The disposal will be self-service and have a fee of $7.

**********

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 May 28.

Official minutes of the WIA board meetings can be found at www.woodmoor.org/content/admin-bod-meeting-minutes.html after they have been approved by the board.

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

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, April 10: JV Ranch purchase explained

By Nancy Wilkins

At the April 10 meeting of the Board of Directors of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD), district Manager Jessie Shaffer gave a detailed presentation on the state of the district for a board critique before making a formal presentation to the Woodmoor Improvement Association meeting on April 23. Director Tommy Schwab inquired about WWSD unaccounted water. The board approved plans to provide water and sewer services for a housing development.

Searching for water

Shaffer said that before considering the purchase of the JV Ranch, the WWSD board conducted a wide search for additional water sources from the Arkansas River basin and tributaries, in Pueblo and as far as Leadville. According to Shaffer, the purchase of JV Ranch water was needed to ensure a renewable and sustainable source of water for the district, in addition to the existing water from aquifers, because the water level in the Denver aquifer is decreasing.

While looking for additional surface water, the board also looked at costs associated with building storage facilities and the transportation necessary for using water from long distances and considered possible partnerships with other districts.

Continued use of existing wells would be increasingly expensive because existing wells would have to be built to reach the water at deeper levels. A new well, according to Shaffer, costs about $1 million.

Shaffer said long-term costs associated with maintaining and building wells were considered to be higher than purchasing the JV Ranch.

While the board was searching for more water rights, according to Shaffer, WWSD received a phone call from the sellers of JV Ranch asking if the district was interested in water and land.

Part of the negotiation process involved purchasing both land and water. According to Shaffer, it was "all or nothing." "Initially we didn’t want the land, but this purchase was a negotiated sale." Eventually the board would ask in the court filing for permission to build more water storage on the land. Currently the land owned by WWSD is being leased to the original land owner.

Shaffer said the board had to make difficult decisions early on in the negotiation process as the sellers would not approve a contingency of sale based on an election. The sellers didn’t want to wait for an election, he said.

However, an election was not needed, because, because the WWSD board was allowed to make the decision to purchase the JV Ranch without voter approval.

See the April 23 Woodmoor Improvement Association article on page 1 for more information regarding district plans.

Unaccounted water

Assistant Manager Randy Gillette reported that 3.7 million gallons of water were unaccounted for from Feb. 28 to March 31. This was 21 percent of the total potable water produced by the district. This number is calculated by subtracting metered water billed from metered potable water pumped into the distribution system by the treatment plant.

The difference could reflect water loss caused by undetected underground water leaks. Errors from meter readings were dismissed by Gillette as a possible explanation for the unaccounted water.

Board approves services for development

The board approved a request from Steven Vasas, representing Rivers Development, to provide water and sewer facilities for 63 single-family homes planned on about 41 acres. The development is located near Palmer Ridge High School and was originally called Misty Acres. Vasas hopes the construction of new homes will start by the end of the year. Rivers Development, associated with Challenger Homes, will pay WWSD about $120,000 upon commencement of the development.

The meeting went into executive secession and adjourned at 3:22 p.m.

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

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Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee, April 8: Bids to be sought for storage building construction

By Jim Kendrick

On April 8, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) authorized Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks to seek bids for construction of a new storage building. The estimated cost of the building is $83,000.

The JUC also approved a modified contract with engineering consultant Tetra Tech that changed the title from "Long-Range Plan" to "Nutrient Engineering Report" at the request of the state nutrient grant coordinators in the Water Quality Control Division so that this wording matched the wording in the grant application, allowing them to proceed with disbursing reimbursements from the state’s $80,000 planning and design grant to the facility.

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.

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.

Smith and Robinove advised the JUC that they would be leaving their boards and the JUC as of the May 6 election.

Financial report

Facility Manager Bill Burks noted a $2,500 payment to J&K Excavating to fix a water leak in the treatment plant. He also noted a payment of $3,958 to the facility’s environmental attorney Tad Foster for legal services supporting the early renewal of the facility’s discharge permit that the Water Quality Control Division requested for all facilities in the Arkansas River basin. A payment of $11,722 was made to engineering firm Tetra Tech, which can now be reimbursed from the state’s $80,000 nutrient grant for planning and design based on the name change in the Tetra Tech contract noted above.

Burks said that he had signed a letter of engagement with John Cutler of John Cutler & Associates LLC for performing the 2013 audit.

The March financials were unanimously approved as presented.

District managers’ reports

Palmer Lake Sanitation District Manager Becky Orcutt reported that district collection line cleaning would begin on April 21 and that her district is holding a mail-in TABOR waiver election on May 6 to be able to accept $360,000 in state grants. The money would 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.

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund and Woodmoor Assistant Manager Gillette each said they had nothing unusual to report.

Plant manager’s report

Burks noted that the plant had been running efficiently and that there were no unusual test results in the February Discharge Monitoring Report.

The average copper concentration was 9.3 micrograms per liter (µg/l) with a daily maximum reading of 9.6 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, which is expected to be issued before the current temporary permit modification expires. The expected copper limits in the new permit are lower than these temporary mod copper limits but still significantly higher than the March test sample results – 16.0 µg/l for the 30-day average sample reading and 25.0 µg/l for the maximum. .

Biosolids were removed at a rate of 98 percent and total suspended solids were removed at a rate of 97 percent. The plant removed an average of 2,513 pounds of biosolids per day and treated an average flow of 1.05 million gallons per day.

The daily maximum for total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) in the discharge monitoring report was 3.2 mg/l. The effluent TIN concentration in the monthly Control Regulation 85 grab sample report was 2.33 mg/l. The Control Regulation 85 limit for TIN is 15 mg/l.

The total phosphorus (TP) concentration in the monthly Control Regulation 85 grab sample report was 4.2 mg/l, higher than the 1.0 mg/l TP sample limit that will be imposed on the facility by Reg. 85 after the new TP removal equipment is installed and certified by the Water Quality Control Division.

Note: EPA Region 8 has verbally advised the division that it will likely disapprove the state’s interim values in Regulation 31.17 that go into effect in 2022 for total phosphorus (0.70 milligrams per liter) and total nitrogen (2.01 mg/l) that will be put in force in 2022 by state water quality Regulation 31.17. The EPA has stated that it would prefer that the state immediately approve its warm water nutrient discharge permit criteria—0.067 ppm for TP and 0.88 ppm for TN—but has not yet made these criteria a national federal discharge permit requirement or a mandate on the state. Neither of these EPA nutrient criteria can be achieved by any existing activated sludge technology like that installed in the Tri-Lakes facility. Preliminary cost estimates for meeting these limits would require a $30 million addition to the $6 million Tri-Lakes treatment plant.

Burks said he had submitted all Reg. 85 data for 2013 to the Colorado Data Sharing Network on April 7 and would be submitting this data to the Water Quality Control Division after this meeting adjourned. He added that filling out the voluminous spreadsheet required by the division would be much simpler now that the process has been finalized.

Burks also noted that the increased use of low-flow toilets is causing higher concentrations of biosolids due to lower average wastewater flows from new homes. Wicklund noted that lower water flows may begin to result in blocked homeowner service lines between the toilet and the district’s collection systems, ironically requiring customers to flush their toilets twice to ensure that solids flow all the way to the collection lines.

Burks stated that the Town of Monument will need six to nine months to get a permit to remove sediment from the Monument Creek streambed while straightening the creek and performing stream bank rehabilitation below the Monument Lake Dam. No analysis was made of the sediment that was recently removed from the toe drains of the dam. Sedimentation is now a high interest item for the state’s 303(d) list of impaired streams.

The meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on May 13 at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4053.

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

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Monument Sanitation District, April 17: Outgoing directors’ service recognized

By Jim Kendrick

District Manager Michael Wicklund presented the district’s traditional "parting gift" to two outgoing term-limited Monument Sanitation Board directors, Kristi Schutz and Chuck Robinove—model outhouses crafted by former district Director Darwin Dimmick. Two new directors, Gene Kreft and Matt Vincent, will be sworn in at the next board meeting on May 15. They were elected by acclamation when the number of candidates equaled the number of empty seats.

A third director, Terry Madison, who was recently appointed to the board, will also be sworn in for her first full term on May 15.

Treasurer’s report

Wicklund noted an expense of $1,132 for new computers and supporting equipment and software that will be able to monitor all the district’s collection system monitoring systems. The district’s accounting software will also be upgraded to match new IRS and state tax tables.

Wicklund also noted the receipt of $5,500 in commercial tap fees, bringing the total to date for 2014 to $9,150.

The amount budgeted for 2014 is $50,000. Total cash on hand was $795,302, which will be used in large part to pay the district’s share of capital costs for the $2.08 million phosphate treatment expansion and a new storage building at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. The facility received two grants from the state for a total of $1.08 million.

Joint Use Committee update

Don Smith will represent the district at the next Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility’s Joint Use Committee (JUC) as the district’s current primary alternate representative. A new primary representative will need to be appointed at the district’s May 15 to replace Chuck Robinove as the district’s primary representative to the JUC.

The JUC serves as the board for the Tri-Lakes facility, owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The other four Monument board members will be appointed as alternate representatives to the JUC. Board President Ed DeLaney stated that directors should attend JUC meetings for a while to learn about the nutrient treatment plant expansion.

Wicklund noted that the EPA Region 8 office has indicated that it will reject the state-approved interim nutrient values for total phosphorus (TP) (0.70 milligrams per liter) and total nitrogen (TN) (2.01 mg/l) that will be put in force in 2022 by state water quality Regulation 31.17.

The EPA has stated that it would prefer that the state immediately approve its warm water nutrient criteria—0.067 ppm for TP and 0.88 ppm for TN—but has not yet made these criteria a federal requirement or a mandate on the state. Neither of these EPA interim nutrient values can be achieved by any existing activated sludge technology like that installed in the Tri-Lakes facility, Wicklund said. Preliminary cost estimates for meeting these limits would require a $30 million addition to the $6 million Tri-Lakes treatment plant.

GIS update

There was board consensus to have Wicklund move forward with upgrading all district collection system data to current state-of-the-art Geologic Information System (GIS) mapping technology. Funding for initial engineering work by the district’s consultant firm, GMS Inc., will come from the district’s $50,000 contingency fund.

Safeway update

Wicklund reviewed the problem created by a bypass valve installed on the Highway 105 Safeway water main without the knowledge of either the Town of Monument, the water purveyor for downtown Monument, or Monument Sanitation District. During an inspection by a Monument Public Works employee, the bypass valve was found to be partially open, causing an unknown amount of water to flow through the associated bypass pipe around the town’s water meter rather than through it. Wicklund stated that the town’s annual metered water use figures for Safeway provided by the town to the district had substantially declined since 2009.

No sewer district can accurately meter individual commercial wastewater service line flows due to the amount of biosolids in the flow, so Monument Sanitation District uses the potable water consumption figures for the past calendar year that are provided by the town after the first of the year. These monthly commercial water meter readings are used by the district to calculate equal monthly commercial sewer service fees.

These equal commercial sewer service fees are updated for each commercial customer annually on May 1 to reflect the average monthly water consumption for the previous calendar year. The 12 equal payments apply through April 30 of the following year. So, commercial wastewater bills are always based on the previous calendar year’s total potable water consumption. For example, the district’s commercial fees that are based on calendar year 2013 town drinking water consumption will be paid from May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015.

All of the wastewater flows from Monument Sanitation District, including Safeway’s, are measured using a high-flow, wide-aperture flume that can measure wastewater containing biosolids without the difficulty that biosolids would create inside a smaller diameter drinking water meter used inside an individual commercial building. The district has to pay for treating all of the wastewater from Safeway because all of it is metered by the Tri-Lakes facility flume, unlike the discovered Safeway water meter with the open bypass valve.

The inaccurately low Safeway drinking water use figures given to the district by the town were less than the actual amount of potable water used by Safeway and less than subsequently delivered to the Tri-Lakes facility and measured by the facility’s flume. These faulty town figures, unknown to both the town and the district, created a faulty basis leading to district underbilling of Safeway since 2010. The district could only bill the store for the amount of water that went through Safeway’s water meter and could not bill Safeway for the water it was using that went through the bypass rather than the meter.

Wicklund said that Monument residents who use town water should not have to pay the extra cost of treating and delivering the unmetered drinking water that Safeway used through higher water rates. Nor should residents have to pay the extra cost for treatment of Safeway’s unmetered drinking water through higher sewer fees.

Wicklund stated that he and the district’s attorney Larry Gaddis had determined that the most reasonable approach for correcting the underbilling of Safeway was to determine Safeway’s average monthly drinking water use for the years 1997 through 2009 as a baseline. Wicklund then subtracted the amount of water use metered by the town each month after 2009 from the average calculated for the 13-year baseline period to determine the amount of water Safeway used that did not go through the town’s water meter. He then calculated the additional fee owed the district for this unmetered town water for each month month since Jan. 1, 2010 plus the resulting monthly late fees.

Wicklund said Gaddis coordinated on Wicklund’s letter to Safeway and the spreadsheet Wicklund used to calculate each month’s underbilling amounts and corresponding monthly late fees that Safeway would be charged.

Wicklund also noted that the district will watch Safeway’s town potable water account for the next five years to determine if any district credits to Safeway appear to be necessary. The district had not yet received a response from Safeway.

Wicklund noted that he could not discuss any specifics of Safeway’s proprietary monthly water use in open session.

Wicklund’s letter and a bill listing each month’s unpaid service fee and late fee were sent to Safeway corporate headquarters and the Highway 105 Safeway store manager. Copies were sent to Monument Town Manager Pamela Smith, Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish, and Monument Utility Billing Technician Connie Paillette. Wicklund noted Paillette had indicated to him that the town would not be seeking reimbursement for the potable water that appears to have been rerouted around the town’s meter by the bypass pipe/valve assembly. Safeway has notified the town that it intends to remove the bypass pipe and valve assembly that was passing water around the town’s meter.

Lift station update

Wicklund noted that J&K Excavating Co. had just removed the existing pump manifolds at the bottom of the wet wells in the Wakonda Hills lift station and installed new manifolds at the top of these wet wells so that repairs could be made without having technicians having to enter the wet well. The invoice for this removal and replacement expense will be listed in a future cash summary and financial report.

Wicklund also noted that installation of new digital pressure transducer control systems for each of the district’s lift stations has been completed as well.

The meeting adjourned at 11:24 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on May 15 in the district conference room at 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, April 17: Board opposes “public trust initiative” ballot issue

By Jim Kendrick

On April 17, the Donala Water and Sanitation District board unanimously approved a resolution opposing a statewide November ballot initiative on the proposed "public trust doctrine" regarding the water of Colorado.

The district also received confirmation in an April 10 state water quality "sanitary survey" inspection report regarding a March 13 inspection by the Water Quality Control Division that there were no "significant deficiencies" or "other violations" found in Donala’s drinking water treatment facilities. The report contained eight comments regarding observations on administrative activities and recommendations for small facility upgrades; none were related to the district’s water production or treatment systems. No response was required for these eight comments.

Donala General Manager Kip Petersen was absent. Office Manager Betsy Bray introduced new water operator Joe Lopez to each of the members of the board.

Resolution details

Some of the items noted in the district’s public trust doctrine resolution regarding Colorado natural resources, including state waters, were:

• This is a new version of previously failed public trust ballot initiatives.

• This initiative will jeopardize Donala’s use of costly critical water supplies, create uncertainty, and hurt the economy.

• It will attack private property, land, and water rights, leading to great expansion of litigation and frivolous lawsuits.

• It will allow uncontrolled access to streams and rivers across private lands, damage sensitive streambeds and banks, could lead to dangerous and unsafe conditions, and cause conflicts with property owners.

• It will stop necessary water storage projects.

• Adoption of a public trust doctrine is unwise, unnecessary, disruptive to the fair and responsible allocation and stewardship of Colorado’s scarce water resources, and an unwarranted taking of vested property interests.

Manager’s report

Some of Petersen’s prepared remarks in his written manager’s report were:

• Chief Water Operator Mark Parker advised him that the April 10 document is the "cleanest" inspection report that Donala has ever received.

• I can’t say enough good things about" Parker and operators Ronny Wright and Troy Vialpando, and Robert Hull, district superintendent, who are responsible for these "outstanding" March 13 inspection results.

• The Donala main office will again be the May 6 district election polling place, open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• District election information is available on the district’s home page at http://www.donalawater.org/ regarding voting details, absentee and mail-in ballots, and a brief statement from each board candidate

• Petersen is working on the 2013 cost of service document that will form the basis for any changes in Donala’s water and sewer tap fee structure.

• Standard Stage 2 water restrictions will begin on May 26 – watering three days a week on a staggered odd/even address basis with no watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

• There are no current plans to implement more restrictive Stage 3 water restrictions unless a situation arises that requires implementation.

• The first Donala staff cleanup of Baptist Road from Gleaneagle Drive to Roller Coaster Road on April 9 filled 15 trash bags with items such as pieces of taillights and bumpers.

• The next staff cleanup will be held in July.

Triview payments

Triview Metropolitan District’s outstanding balance under the current management agreement was $702,814. Triview has issued 13 new taps in 2014 and submitted $1,500 each to Donala to pay off this debt for Donala’s loan to Triview when the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was expanded and converted.

Petersen reported that Triview will be late, up to 45 days, in paying Donala for its share of Upper Monument Creek quarterly expenses. Triview holds its board meetings on the second Tuesday of the month, which is often too soon for final monthly costs to be accurately determined and invoiced. The board members all expressed dismay at these continuing problems that are a "constant source of irritation."

Donala will now send an estimated expense to Triview prior to the monthly Triview board meeting, then provide reimbursement if Triview is overcharged by the estimate or seek a supplementary payment if the estimate is less than Triview’s actual monthly cost.

Status of operations projects

Petersen reported that work continues on making all the necessary repairs to the Upper Monument Creek waste plant resulting from the Mountain View Electric Association power surges in February. One of the blower motors is in the early stages of a major breakdown. The blower has been taken off line so that the motor can be repaired in Denver. A final decision to repair or replace the motor will be made once the extent of the damage has been determined.

A repair of a leak at the joint of the disinfection channel and the equalization basin tank wall will be repaired by Simbeck and Associates at a cost $2,253.

Development updates

Petersen reported that he had advised the consultant for Gleneagle Golf Course to consider using reuse water to irrigate the course with a separate "purple pipe" irrigation system to cut the estimate annual irrigation demand for potable water for the course from 0.61 acre feet to 0.32 acre feet.

The meeting adjourned at 2 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on May 15 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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Monument Board of Trustees, April 7: Newly elected mayor and board members sworn in

By Jim Kendrick

On April 7, Rafael Dominguez was sworn in as Monument’s new mayor along with new Trustee Kelly Elliott and re-elected Trustees Jeff Kaiser and Stan Gingrich. Kaiser and Trustee Jeff Bornstein expressed interest in the mayor-pro Tem position. Kaiser was appointed mayor pro-tem by majority vote of the board members. Bornstein congratulated Kaiser and supported the decision.

Outgoing Mayor Travis Easton recognized and thanked numerous individuals for their help and service to the town during his tenure on the board, including members of the board, town department heads, and staff, and several citizens who support town activities. He thanked his wife, Maggie, for her support saying, "I love you and I could not have done this without you." He told his daughters Sophie, Becca, and Marlowe, "I am looking forward to seeing you guys more."

Easton had previously stated that he would not run for re-election because his children wanted him to spend more time at home with them. He was appointed to the board in 2009 before being elected for his first four-year term in 2010 and still had four years of eligibility remaining.

Town Manager Pamela Smith presented flowers to the Easton family. Dominguez presented a plaque to the former mayor to recognize his years of service and dedication to improve the town.

Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman and Treasurer Monica Harder, to much laughter and applause, presented a clown hat to Easton for his "use while driving his new clown car."

The board recessed to hold a reception for Easton and his family.

Investigator receives commendation

Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk presented a chief’s commendation to volunteer Michael Slavick for his "dedicated and professional service" to the department since 2007 as a computer forensic investigator for cases such as computer ID theft and child pornography. Slavick also volunteered his expert assistance in a number of complex town criminal cases and assisted several federal agencies in completing their investigations involving computer-related crimes.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Kaiser stated the April 1 town election was conducted in a professional manner and credited Easton for his leadership and guidance. Trustee Gingrich thanked Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman for her organization and scheduling of the election.

Sirochman thanked Deputy Clerk and Code Enforcement Officer Laura Hogan, Administrative Assistant Amanda Charlick, and receptionist Shannon Lacey for their assistance with the election. Sirochman stated 19.6 percent of about 4,000 registered voters voted April 1. In 2012, 17.8 percent of about 2,000 registered electors voted and in 2010, 22.9 percent of registered electors voted. See http://www.ocn.me/v14n4.htm#pl0401 for April 1 Monument and Palmer Lake election results.

Gingrich announced that Karen Brofft has accepted the position as Lewis-Palmer School District 38 superintendent and will start July 1. Gingrich said he would invite Brofft to a Board of Trustees meeting.

Trustee John Howe announced that the summer monthly Art Hop events (third Thursday evening of the month) will start on May 15. The Historic Monument Merchants Association will sponsor another summer series of Concerts in the Park in Limbach Park.

Amendment to Creekside site plan approved

An ordinance amending the conditions of approval for the preliminary/final planned development site plan for the Creekside Commercial development on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway, between Leather Chaps Drive and Blevins Buckle Trail, was requested by Vision Development Inc. Two of the conditions of approval for this site plan at the March 3 Board of Trustees hearing were:

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 (wetlands) permit is issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and received by the town.

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara reported after the March 3 hearing that Vision asked the town staff to issue a grading permit to allow limited grading on the site, entirely outside the boundaries of the protected Preble’s mouse habitat, prior to the receipt of the Triview "will serve" letter and amended 404 permit from the Army Corps. This request was made by Vision in response to one of the future occupants of the site, Colorado Springs Health Partners, needing to have its site in the northern portion of the property graded as soon as possible in preparation for the construction of the building pad. This would help Health Partners meet its scheduled opening date late this year.

Kassawara noted that the staff would ensure that all construction activities are conducted outside the mouse habitat boundaries, with appropriate fencing and protection to prevent any encroachment. No other land development permits would be issued for the site until these conditions of approval are met.

The board unanimously approved an ordinance adding the following words to the end of both conditions, noted above, in the March 3 site plan ordinance: "except for a grading permit for earthwork activities outside of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat boundaries."

Mail-ballot box location agreement approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution approving an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the El Paso County clerk and recorder and the Town of Monument regarding the placement of a mail ballot drop-off box at Monument Town Hall. The IGA calls for this box to be installed near the Town Hall flagpole and fixes the minor costs to be paid for by the town and the county for three security cameras, construction, and maintenance.

Triview water and storage agreements approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution approving an IGA by and between Triview Metropolitan District and the Town of Monument for water use and storage. Triview will be able to store up to 75 acre-feet of water in Monument Lake from the town’s Monument Lake storage rights for a one-time cost of $675,000. Triview may use these storage rights to solve any post-pumping depletion augmentation requirements that it may incur.

The board also unanimously approved a resolution approving a related water agreement by and between Triview, Jackson Creek Land Co., Centre Development Co., Vision Development, and the Town of Monument regarding the town’s senior Beaver Creek water rights and storage of these water rights in Monument Lake for the same Triview post-pumping depletion replacement obligations.

In this water agreement, Triview also agreed to pay Jackson Creek Land Co. $1.5 million for Jackson Creek’s water rights as part of settlement of a 2009 dispute over the original water purchase agreement between Triview and Centre Development Co. Monument was not involved in this dispute or this separate settlement. Triview also provided Centre with $1.5 million in tap fee credits that can be used by Vision Development for any water, sewer, renewable water, re-use water, drainage, and road and bridge fees assessed by or otherwise payable to Triview.

The quitclaim water deed transferred listed the following decreed average annual water entitlements from Centre to Triview. (NNT refers to "not nontributary" and NT refers to "nontributary"):

• Dawson aquifer NNT: 387.5 acre feet

• Denver aquifer NNT: 984.9 acre feet

• Arapahoe aquifer NNT: 559.0 acre feet

• Arapahoe aquifer NT: 114.5 acre feet

• Laramie-Foxhills aquifer NT: 416.1 acre feet

Both agreements were to be signed by Mayor Dominguez and Triview Metropolitan Board President Robert Fisher.

Financial reports

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

• $16,703 to CIRSA Insurance for second-quarter workers compensation coverage

• $18,003 to CIRSA Insurance for second-quarter liability Insurance

• $12,403 to Munson Landscaping & Excavation Inc. for Monument Lake Dam rehabilitation

• $ 12,240 to Blakely & Co. for a monthly payment for town marketing services

• $71,598 to Aspen Leaf Cos. for purchase of two Zero Turn Mowers

The board also approved the January 2014 financial reports

Staff reports

Some of the items that Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara noted during his lengthy board-requested presentation on current development were:

• Village Center Filing 4 - single family residential community application under review

• Lake of the Rockies - single family residential community application under review

• Mount Herman R/V Storage application under review

• Beacon Lite Assisted Living Facility site plan approved - owners awaiting funding

• Creekside Commercial - CSHP medical offices and Goodwill store site plan approved – awaiting construction

• Village Center Filing 3A - single family residential community site plan approved - awaiting construction

• MVEA Substation Expansion site plan approved - awaiting construction

• Front Range Animal Hospital site Plan approved - awaiting construction

• Monument Rock Phase 2 and 3 office/warehouse building site plans approved - awaiting construction

• Village @ Monument Phase 3 single family residential community site plan approved - awaiting construction

• Tri-Lakes Community Health Village (medical facility at YMCA) permits issued - under construction

• Colorado Juniors Volleyball Expansion permits issued - under construction

• St. Peter Catholic Church Rectory permits issued - under construction

• Promontory Pointe - single family residential community permits issued - under construction

• Family of Christ Lutheran Church sanctuary addition awaiting resubmittal of plans

• Sanctuary Pointe single family residential community – staff awaiting submittal of application

• Code One parking lot expansion – staff awaiting submittal of application

• Remington Hill single family residential community – last remaining lots under construction

• Valley Ridge - single family residential community – last remaining lots under construction

• Colorado Sports Center fire line installation – awaiting completion by contractor

• Sundance Studio expansion inspections complete; awaiting final approval

Among current projects and programs noted by Kassawara were:

• Downtown Sidewalks Project Design nearing completion as bid documents awaiting CDOT approval – three phases will start each summer, 2014 to 2016

• State Highway 105 Wayfinding Signage Phase 1b installation, scheduled for April 2014

• Downtown Wayfinding Signage Phase 2 scheduled for 2015

• Pilot Program - Downtown Furniture ordered with installation, scheduled for April 2014

• Art/Sculpture Park Phase 1 at D-38 Big Red headquarters building – benches ordered, installation of benches and trees, scheduled for April 2014

• Sidewalk and parking Improvements on Second Street – Bids received, scheduled for April 2014

• Kiosk for town brochures in the design phase - installation scheduled for summer 2014

• Downtown Parking – Striping scheduled for spring 2014

• Acquisition of county property along the Santa Fe Trail Corridor from Second and Third Streets is now complete

• Parks plan inventory complete; conceptual planning underway

• Dirty Woman Park - parking improvements design complete

• Dirty Woman Park historical sign - working with sign company on design

• Second Street/Beacon Lite Road intersection study complete; recommendation is to keep intersection as a four-way stop condition

• Town-wide Future Traffic Conditions Analysis - preliminary discussions with traffic consultant under way on scope of work

• St. Peter School - installation of school zone signage completed

• Water Demand Study/Code Revisions study complete; recommendations approved by consultants

• Water Master Plan – Working with Public Works and consultant to finalize

• Monument Lake Dam Downstream Rehabilitation contract documents and technical support to Public Works - work recently completed

Trustee Kaiser asked that a quarterly project report update be included in board packets for trustee review only.

Public comments

Bella Arts owner Maggie Williamson thanked the board for serving and for all the hours that members spend away from their families.

Mikaela Harvey, Lewis-Palmer High School student body officer, stated the school would be interested in featuring student art pieces during Art Hop.

Mayor Dominguez reminded the board to channel all communications through Smith rather than communicate directly with all the other directors.

The meeting adjourned at 8:42 p.m.

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, April 21: Child abuse prevention effort supported

By Jim Kendrick

El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark, District Attorney Dan May, and Jennifer Brown, county public information officer for the Department of Human Services, spoke to the Monument Board of Trustees at its April 21 meeting on the goals and programs of the Not One More Child Coalition. This presentation was one of a series they were making for Child Abuse Prevention Month. For more information, see www.townofmonument.org/town-notices/child-abuse-prevention/.

Mayor Rafael Dominguez and Trustee Kelly Elliott were absent from the meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Kaiser presided.

Trustees’ comments

Prior to the county presentation, Kaiser noted that the November ballot will include an issue regarding stormwater. Kaiser asked Town Manager Pamela Smith and Public Works Director Tom Tharnish to prepare a presentation for the next board meeting on the staff’s perspectives on the history of stormwater issues with Pueblo; how Colorado Springs and El Paso County factor into the issue; what’s being asked for and the financial impact; and the difference between the tax and the fee. Kaiser handed board members copies of a paper on "A More Sensible Approach to Stormwater."

Commissioner Clark commented that Commissioner Amy Lathen could be made available to the board for a stormwater presentation. Kaiser replied that he would like to hear from internal staff prior to having Lathen make a presentation to the board.

Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation approved

May stated the Not One More Child initiative began in 2011. The initiative empowers people to report child abuse/neglect, support a more proactive rather than reactive stance on child abuse, and offer resources for parents.

In 2014 the Board of Health, City of Manitou, City of Colorado Springs, City of Fountain, El Paso County Board of County Commissioners and now the Town of Monument have adopted a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

May stated the initiative was initially aimed at fatalities involving shaken baby syndrome. Throughout their studies they learned the children involved in the 2011 statistics had not seen a pediatrician, had seen a first responder (police/fire), and had connections with the military. Since 2011, the scope of the initiative has broadened to include training and reaching out to first responders, military, schools, and faith-based groups.

The town was urged to get involved by asking neighboring communities to adopt the proclamation as well as reach out to first responders, schools, and faith-based groups for recognition of child abuse/neglect and training. Brown stated there will be a 1-800 hotline that anyone can call by 2015. Calls will be routed to the appropriate county, city, town, or other agency.

The board unanimously approved the child abuse prevention proclamation.

The board also approved a proclamation declaring April 22 as Earth Day and a second proclamation designating April 25 as Arbor Day.

The purpose of Arbor Day is set aside a day to plant trees, which reduce the erosion of our topsoil by wind and water, clean the air, produce oxygen, provide habitat for wildlife, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify a community. Deciduous trees will be planted at a later date at the south end of Limbach Park to help the town qualify again for Tree City USA designation.

A separate annual Town of Monument Cleanup Days event will be held May 15-18. Dumpsters will be located at 506 Jefferson St. (Public Works Yard). No hazardous material or tires will be accepted. The dumpsters will be manned so no prohibited material will be permitted. Triview Metropolitan District Director Tom Harder said he would inquire about coordinating a similar effort in Jackson Creek during the same period.

New Back East Bar liquor license approved

The board approved a new hotel and restaurant liquor license for the new Back East Bar and Grill Monument restaurant at 1455 Cipriani Loop. Owner/Manager Megan Davis and her attorney Vince Linden stated that Davis has worked for the Back East Bar and Grill Colorado Springs restaurant for eight years.

Davis stated that her husband will take over sole ownership of the Colorado Springs restaurant while she will individually own the new Monument restaurant to keep the two licenses separate.

The board unanimously approved her new liquor license with the standard conditions of approval for a clean fingerprint check by the back-logged Colorado Bureau of Investigation and separate state approval.

Town water use code revised

The board approved an ordinance for revising wording in part of the town code on water use. The proposed revision was based on a four-year study of use rates undertaken by the Development Services Department that provided a new set of water demand criteria based upon actual water meter readings. These new water demand criteria are identical to the demand rates that the Board of Trustees approved on April 7 as a part of the new Town/Triview/Centre Development Water Agreement.

Financial report

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

• $111,488 to Triview Metro District for February sales tax, March motor vehicles tax, and Pikes Peak Regional Building Department sales tax

• $5,000 to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority for town participation a regional water infrastructure feasibility study

• $14,085 to Dell Marketing L.P. for computer equipment upgrades to town police cruisers

• $9,071 to Hart Intercivic Inc. for ballots and envelopes for the town’s April 1 election

• $8,185 to Sieck Contracting Inc. for Second Street Sidewalk removal and replacement in front of the Monument Sanitation District building

Town Treasurer Monica Harder presented the March 2014 financial report, which the board approved unanimously. General Fund net revenue year to date was under budget by $608, and Water Fund net revenue was over budget by $14,000, both of which are not unusual, she said.

General Fund expenditures year to date were $313,000 less than the amount budgeted for this period. Water fund revenue year to date was about $40,000 less than the amount budgeted.

Staff reports

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reported that there were eight single-family residential land use permits issued during March. Six of these were in Triview. The total for the year is now 19, with 17 in Triview.

Replacement of the town’s existing curb cuts and sidewalk in front of the Monument Sanitation District with new sidewalk and curbs has been completed. Part of the painted yellow curb in front of the Second Street Hair Studio was repainted gray to create a fifth parallel parking space in front of the Monument Sanitation District building. This mirrors the long-standing length of yellow curb and fifth Chapala Building parking place in front of the Covered Treasures Book Store on the north side of Second Street.

Delays in administrative approvals of Phase 1 of the town’s downtown sidewalk project grant money (80 percent of the funding) by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the governor’s office, plus a bidding process of up to five weeks, have delayed the start of sidewalk construction until July. Phase 1 construction should take about four months.

Some of the items that Tom Tharnish, Public Works Department director, reported were:

• The staff will start the town sidewalks survey requested earlier this year by the board of trustees.

• town of monument water production for the west side of i-25 in march was 6.8 million gallons—591,000 gallons or 8.0 percent less than for march 2013.

• he is performing an internal water audit of commercial accounts.

• the new town bulk water filling station at old denver highway and wagon gap trail is 95 percent complete.

Police Chief Jake Shirk noted that an accident review along Jackson Creek Parkway was initiated in response to a board request. The review period was March 2013 to March 2014. There were 25 accidents reported, including 19 accidents while the roads were dry and six when there was ice or slush. The primary violations for these accidents were: 11 careless driving, one improper start from stop, one speeding, one improper turn, two failure to obey traffic control device, two following too closely, two weaving, and four with no citation given.

Shirk added that a review by Kassawara indicated that there is no design flaw with the road.

Town Manager Pamela Smith reported that the staff will be conduct an internal review of the marketing contract with PR consultant firm Blakely and Associates prior to renewal. The results and contract will then be brought to the board for review. Several contracts which were reviewed this year resulted in the following changes: new auditors and IT and building cleaning responsibilities will be taken over in-house.

Smith said that the skate park is on the town’s capital improvement plan list for 2015 upgrades. She cited several issues such as vandalism and lack of community involvement to date while responding to trustee inquiries about citizen complaints in going forward with improvements. Possible grants and/or a new location will be looked into for 2015.

Smith stated that the town’s planned Mount Herman run had been canceled. Smith explained that the Forest service has not signed off on the permit and it is too late to continue planning the event.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.

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

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

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Monument Planning Commission, April 9: Code amendments approved; landscaping proposal tabled

>By Kate Wetterer

The Monument Planning Commission approved a variety of amendments to the municipal code at the April 9 meeting, primarily code changes and clarifications, which will be considered by the Board of Trustees. The landscape requirements proposal regarding the removal and replacement of trees was tabled for revision. The following amendments were recommended unanimously.

Preliminary and final plats

The preliminary and final plat review and approval criteria would now reference the most recent version of the town’s water standards, or the Triview Metropolitan District’s water standards.

General provisions

According to the revised code, anyone who owes any money to the town through any sort of delinquent taxes, court fines, or property liens would be unable to obtain any town permit or permission, or be paid consideration from the town.

Definition of rear setback

The rear lot lines of triangular lots would officially be drawn 10 feet from the place where the two side property lines converge. No current regulations exist for such lots.

Removal of signs and temporary signs

If these code changes are confirmed by the board, signs erected in Monument without a permit, abandoned signs, and nonconforming signs, would have to be removed five days after a notice of the violation is received, as opposed to the current 15 days. As before, if the owner of the signs fails to comply, the town would remove the delinquent banners and bill for the cost of doing so. Also, there will now be an additional display area for use by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

Regency Park zoning and development standards

Standard off-street parking spaces and garages/carports in Regency Park could measure 9 feet by 18 feet instead of 9 feet by 19 feet and still meet code.

Landscaping requirement changes tabled

Under the proposed changes, no new commercial properties would be allowed to install sod or grass, but would be required to install xeriscaping with trees, shrubs, mulch, ground cover, and rocks that don’t need as much watering. New residential landscaping would be allowed up to 25 percent sod, decreasing from 33 percent. Also, instead of having to go through the Board of Trustees to remove trees, residents would go to the director of Development Services.

The other staff proposal would require that all trees greater than four inches in diameter that are removed be replaced by trees of an equal diameter to the tree removed, with two such trees planted for each one removed. This doesn’t apply to plants officially deemed noxious, which can be removed at the property owner’s discretion. This item was tabled for future discussion.

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The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. May 14 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/

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

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, April 17: District will take over high school free lunch program

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education voted to opt out of the federal free/reduced-price lunch program at the high school level at its April 17 meeting.

When the federal free/reduced lunch program was first explained to the board in the spring of 2012, members expressed concern that the calorie content would be insufficient for high school students, but they agreed to try it during the 2013-14 school year.

Students have been purchasing fewer lunches at the high schools. The board voted to forgo federal funding, continue to provide free/reduced-price lunches at district expense to those who qualify, and offer an expanded a la carte menu.

Board Vice President John Mann said that this action is a good example of local control over school policy and action.

New principal introduced

Incoming superintendent Karin Brofft introduced Kim Blair, incoming principal of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School. Brofft said that Blair was interviewed by three teams as well as interim Superintendent Ted Bauman and herself. Blair is from the Harrison school district and has been meeting with the Lewis-Palmer school’s teachers.

Exploratory classes

There was extensive discussion of the subject of exploratory classes at the sixth-grade level. An announcement had been made that these classes would no longer be available in the coming year. Two adults and three students urged reconsideration of the decision.

Board President Mark Pfoff thanked them for their input, and especially for the courage of the students to speak to such a group. He acknowledged that, at the time the decision was made to retain sixth-graders in the elementary schools, the board had committed to maintaining a middle school experience for the sixth-graders by offering these classes.

Pfoff said that times have changed in the intervening years and the resources available at the various elementaries are varied. While noting that the superintendent and administrators made this decision, and not the board, Pfoff said that the board would investigate the decision. Pfoff stressed that the board must view the entire district’s welfare as it makes decisions.

Bauman said that he was concerned at the unequal opportunities at the various schools and the ability to opt out of physical education and technology classes. (It was later learned that sixth-graders will now be scheduled to take a music class, art, PE, and technology and still have access to a limited number of other options.)

The costs of new assessments

Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton presented the third in her series of reports about the new assessments beginning this year.

The cost at the district level for these assessments would be about $133,000 for the tests and related software, $7,000 for Mastery Manager, and an annual $20,000 in computer costs.

Additional expenses would include $17,000 for temporary employees to proctor the tests and maintain the computers, $3,000 for substitutes, and many hours of time on the part of the administrative staff.

In addition to dollar amounts, Benton said that there are many ramifications during the testing itself, such as loss of availability of computer labs, loss of instructional time, extensive planning time, and the disruption caused by students being pulled out of class to take the tests.

In an ideal world, Benton said, the schools would have assessment labs, whether mobile or fixed, and state-of-the-art computers that could connect to a wireless system. Also, there would be support personnel who would administer the tests and analyze the results, technological support at each location, and training to bridge the gap between the current pencil and paper teaching techniques in use and the new technological testing techniques.

Current plans call for the use of retrofitted hardware, use of instructional coaches and assistant principals to assist with the testing, creation of a director of curriculum and a professional development position, and increased training regarding testing, scheduling, and computer support.

Benton proposed the development of an "assessment dashboard" including assessments and results, updated quarterly and posted on the district website. There also would be an annual assessment calendar available in August and a September presentation on results of the tests administered during the previous spring.

In response to questions, Benton said the results of the computerized testing will not be available sooner than those of previous tests. She also said that the state requires that a minimum of 95 percent of the students participate in the testing. Were this not the case, the accreditation of the district could be threatened.

Pfoff commented that he felt the students should spend more time in the classroom rather than in assessments. Benton responded that the only way to change the requirement would be through legislation.

Student support system

Director of Exceptional Student Services Mary Anne Fleury reported on the use of the Multi-Tiered System of Support in the schools. This system emphasizes the role of adults in the learning environment, encouraging general education teachers to alter their teaching techniques to include students of all abilities.

Under this system, students would only be pulled out of the general education classroom to deal with behavioral issues or serious deficits in their knowledge.

Fleury said that her team is determining what professional development is needed to ensure that consistent language is used at all levels to describe a student’s needs and accomplishments.

Bauman commented that the use of this system is closing many growth gaps.

The board approved lists of contracts to be renewed and contracts not to be renewed.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman explained the status of a number of minor funds within the district budget in advance of presentation of the budget at the May meeting. These funds included Trust and Agency Funds (which fund such groups as the Student Council), proceeds of fundraising, building reserve fund (consisting of cash in lieu of land payments from the county), the pupil activities fund resulting from gate receipts and sports fees, the bond redemption fund, and the insurance reserve fund.

In planning for the 2014-15 school year, Wangeman said that the district is monitoring the ages of new students and maintaining a list of classes that may grow to a size that would require hiring of a new teacher. About six classrooms at the elementary level would be on the list.

Bauman commented that it’s difficult to set a standard class size, saying that required registration for classes at the middle and high school levels makes it easier to monitor progress. He also said that a minimum number of students must register for each specific advanced placement class in order to support the hiring of a teacher.

Because of the fluid nature of the student count, the board has given the superintendent authority to hire three to five teachers in August to respond to changes in the student count.

Bauman announced that there will be a memorial service for Don Breese, former district superintendent, principal, and coach, at 2 p.m. June 1 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Breese passed away in March.

Palmer Ridge High School business teacher Courtney Bushnell and Lewis-Palmer High School marketing teacher Mike Diamond introduced students who will be competing on a national level for the Distributive Education Clubs of America. They said that 50 to 150 students compete on the state level in each category and only the top 5 continue to the national level. The competition consists of a written test, role playing, and case studies.

Prairie Winds Elementary School Principal Aileen Finnegan introduced members of a gifted education class who performed their original folk tale about why the school’s classrooms have no doors.

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The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on May 15.

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

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D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, April 8: Most requirements met or exceeded

By Harriet Halbig

Assessment and Gifted Education Director Lori Benton gave a final report on Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) at the April 8 meeting of the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 District Accountability Advisory Committee. In previous meetings, the committee had discussed the UIPs of each district school. This final presentation involved the district-wide plan.

The district exceeds state requirements in academic achievement, graduation rate, and postsecondary and workforce readiness. It meets requirements in academic growth, overall academic growth gaps, and English language development and attainment.

Benton said that the district is accredited with distinction, indicating that the district earned more than 80 of a total 100 points in its overall evaluation. During the year ending June 30, 2013, the district scored 86 points, its highest score to date. Contributing to this total were 35 of 35 points for postsecondary and workforce readiness and 14.7 out of 15 points for academic achievements.

Among the few weaknesses were reading and math for students with disabilities, which were rated as "approaching," and writing among students with disabilities, which was rated as "does not meet."

Benton said that within these areas there was still improvement from the previous year, with several categories rising from "does not meet" to "approaching." The purpose of the growth gaps improvement plan is to bring unsatisfactory performance up to grade level within two years, which is very difficult. She said that "growing" a student by more than 60 percent in a year is very challenging. Consequently, goals are set lower so they are more attainable.

Also, she said, the district does not have funding for summer school for all students.

There was an addendum to the plan for gifted education for the first time in this plan. Benton said that growing students who already exceed requirements can be challenging and requires constant attention.

The data upon which the program is based are received in September following the end of the school year addressed. During the year the data are analyzed and a new plan is sent to the Colorado Department of Education by April 15. The committee is required to review the plans and approve their submission to the state.

In a related matter, Benton showed the committee some sample questions from the upcoming assessments that will be administered online later in April. She pointed out that the students will need to learn to use new technology to undergo these tests and that some will be able to attend demonstrations in advance of the testing.

Legislative report

Board of Education liaison John Magerko distributed some written materials regarding discussions and legislation on the state level. Among these was a letter from Paul Lundeen of the state Board of Education regarding whether Colorado should participate in the use of federal Common Core standards in its curriculum.

Lundeen wrote that Colorado’s standards are and have been more rigorous than the Common Core and that the state should continue to adhere to this higher standard. Consequently, legislation known as the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids of 2008 called for development of higher standards in 10 areas. The state board adopted these standards in 2009.

As a condition of becoming a member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and using its tests, Colorado was required to adopt Common Core in English/language arts and math. The state continues to maintain the autonomy to adopt its own curriculum in these and other areas. The development of curriculum in Colorado is the responsibility and right of districts.

The state Board of Education in 2012 requested that the state be allowed to create its own assessments to evaluate the achievement of Colorado students. The General Assembly, however, voted that the PARCC assessment must be used.

Lundeen said that the time involved in administering this assessment is staggering and said that it would be preferable to have Colorado lead the country in its rigorous standards rather than compare itself to other districts nationwide.

Budget and security report

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported briefly on projected revenues and expenses for the 2014-15 school year.

She said that projected district revenues for the coming year would be $2.09 million, which would include $631,000 for a projected 100 new students, an increase in per pupil revenue of $176, and use of current building reserves to complete some projects underway. An anticipated surplus of $772,000 from 2013-14 would complete this total.

Expenses for the same period would include $729,770 for compensation, $250,000 for the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), $57,000 for health insurance, $30,000 for classified positions in the homeschool academy and Lewis-Palmer High School, $768,000 for the addition of several full-time teachers and instructional coaches and to compensate of loss of Title I funding, $118,000 to fund the position of a director of curriculum, $12,000 for a new night security position, and $100,000 for instructional technology, maintenance, grounds, and utilities.

This should allow for a surplus of revenues over expenditures of $33,861.

Regarding safety and security, Wangeman said that the administrative council had determined that communications is the primary weakness in the district’s security system, causing delays in response in crisis situations.

It was determined that there were too few radios in the district and that reception is weak in some areas. Each school now has one or two Command radios used to communicate with the district administration. Schools also have some internal radios, but not all departments are covered. Also, Lewis-Palmer High School is on the VHF frequency, while the district is on UHF.

The board voted at its March meeting to purchase 114 radios and three repeaters (at Prairie Winds, Bear Creek, and Lewis-Palmer High school) to improve emergency preparedness. This would provide sufficient radios to equip custodians, teachers and kitchen personnel. The total cost of the radios and repeaters will be $69,612. Training will be provided to all individuals who will be using the devices.

Wangemen further reported that planning is underway to improve evacuation and lockdown training and to require after-action reports following any security incident.

**********

The District Accountability Advisory Committee usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Due to end of school year activities, however, the May meeting will be held on May 6 at the district Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, April 12: Firefighters help district residents with fire mitigation

By Nancy Wilkins

At the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) April 12 meeting, Assistant Fire Chief Scott Ridings said district-wide fire mitigation efforts continue, board member Joyce Hartung was sworn into office, Ridings asked the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to rate more areas, the pension board considered increasing benefits, and 2013 budget amendments were considered.

Firefighters schedule district "chipping days"

Firefighters continue to work with DWFPD residents to help remove brush and chip wood susceptible to fire. DWFPD’s policy is to coordinate five or more district residents living within a short distance from each other who will work together with firefighters as they clear brush and debris. This service is also provided to homeowners in the district who are physically unable to help.

Director John Fredell, who worked alongside the firefighters with fire mitigation efforts earlier this month, praised firefighters’ efforts. According to DWFPD, several "chipping days" are planned within the next couple of months, because fire mitigation is more effective when implemented on a community-wide scale. District residents living within a homeowners association (HOA) are encouraged to contact their local HOA to coordinate with DWFPD, learn more about fire mitigation, and schedule future events.

Hartung sworn into office

Board Chairman Greg Gent gave the oath of office to incumbent Director Joyce Hartung, who returned to the board by acclamation. Hartung has previously served on the board as treasurer.

Ridings asks ISO to return

After evaluating DWFPD in April, the official report from ISO is expected within six months. ISO can measure how quickly DWFPD can extinguish a building fire by looking at several factors, such as water availability, building size, and response time. Ridings asked ISO to return to DWFPD and separately rate areas that do not have fire hydrants. The report, used by insurance companies to evaluate homeowner insurance rates, can also be used by fire districts to prioritize future purchases of firefighting equipment.

Ridings also said the district should consider purchasing another water tanker truck.

Pension board considers increase in benefits

At the first of two meetings of the Fire and Police Pension Association (FPPA) board scheduled for 2014, volunteer firefighter Lt. Bryan Ackerman requested an increase in benefits to eligible retired volunteer firefighters. Ackerman proposed increasing benefits from $400 to $500 each month for firefighters vested at 20 years. A firefighter vested for 20 years would see an increase of $100 per month, and a firefighter vested for 10 years would receive an increase of $50 per month. Director "Bo" McAllister asked Ackerman to return for the May 20 board meeting with more information.

According to the report provided by Ackerman, the FPPA fund grew by $75,111 after benefits were paid, and had an ending balance of $970,980 in December 2013. This was an increase in the closing fund balance from 2012 despite no matching state or employer contributions recorded for 2013.

Financial report

Fire Chief Vinny Burns presented the financial report for March. As of March 31, the balance for Peoples National Bank was $49,804; PNP Colorado Peak Fund was $174,976; Colorado Trust was $439,393; and Wells Fargo Public Trust $ 869,137, for a total of 1.5 million.

Year-to-date district expenses at the end of March were under budget at 14.8 percent, compared with a projected 25 percent.

The board looked at amending the 2013 budget, but tabled the decision for the next meeting pending further review. Several expense items need to be discussed, including vehicle maintenance. DWFPD had consistent problems with aluminum radiators leaking in fire trucks in 2013. Consequently, in expectation of further expenses, the board has increased the budget for vehicular maintenance in 2014.

Tracking response time by the minute

A new monthly report presented to the board tracks firefighter response time within minutes of arrival and analyzes response times within different areas of the district. For example, the report shows DWFPD responding to five calls in the Gleneagle area within four minutes, eight calls in the Flying Horse area in under five minutes, and six calls in the Flying Horse area in under six minutes. Collectively, the information can be used for training and community awareness.

There were 173 calls recorded in March, compared to 194 calls in March 2013, an 11 percent decrease.

Other matters

The board voted unanimously to enter executive session, and board Chairman Greg Gent cited a Colorado Revised Statute for "determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators."

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m., immediately after the executive succession ended, with no public announcements made.

**********

The next meeting is scheduled for May 20 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. The pension board is scheduled to reassemble at 7 p.m. May 20. Please call 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information.

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

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April Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Overall a pretty "normal" month around the region, with temperatures less than 1/2°F less than normal and precipitation just a little below normal. But, just because the temperatures and precipitation were right at normal for the month doesn’t mean we didn’t see plenty of active weather.

You got to love April on Monument Hill, 70’s one day and snow the next. The month started off cooler than normal, with a nice spring snow storm dropping 6-10 inches of snow from late on the 2nd through early afternoon of the 3rd. Temperatures dropped from the mid and upper 50’s ahead of the storm to the low 30’s on the 3rd. The melting snow over the next couple of days also helped to keep temperatures cooler than normal, as much of the sun’s energy was used to melt the snow instead of heating up the air. This held high temperatures to the low and mid 40’s on the 4th and 5th. Another quick moving cold front came through last on the 6th through the morning of the 7th and made for some slick roads as 1-2 inches of snow fell. By afternoon it was hard to tell anything had happened, as the stronger April sunshine helped to melt most of the snow. High pressure settled in behind this storm and brought some very spring-like temperatures to the region. Highs reached into the 60’s and 70’s from the 8th through the 12th, with plenty of sunshine. Some of the first flowers started to poke through as well during the warm spell. However, the next powerful storms was already taking shape, with one piece moving in from the southwest and another from the north. These combined to produce a good show of snow and wind on the 13th. In addition, the air mass was very cold for mid April, and held temperatures below freezing most of the day on the 13th.

Cold and some snow to start off the week of the 14th, as two storms moved through over the first few days. High temperatures were held in the mid to upper 30’s on the 14th. Temperatures warmed quickly the next afternoon reaching the upper 50’s. This combined with the strong April sunshine to quickly melt the snow and of course add some much needed moisture to the soil. Another storm system moved through from the 16th to the 17th. This produced wet snow starting during the mid afternoon of the 16th and continued to the early morning hours of the 17th. Most areas above 7,000 feet accumulated 2-4 inches of new snowfall. Again, sunshine quickly returned and melted the snow the day. This again added much appreciated moisture to the soil to help our newly growing plants. High temperatures reached into the upper 60’s and low 70’s on the afternoon of the 18th. Highs cooled slightly the next couple of days, with a few scattered showers developing during the afternoons of the 19th and 20th. This was associated with unsettled conditions which moved through the region, this time associated with a much warmer air mass. Therefore, snow levels were much higher and only rainfall fell on the Palmer Divide.

The third week of April started off around normal with high temperature reaching the low 60’s on the 21st. The day started off quiet and sunny, then cloudy conditions developed by afternoon with a brief rain shower. The next day was even warmer, with highs reaching the low to mid 70’s and again brief afternoon showers developing. More active weather began to affect the region the next day, with mild and windy conditions developing ahead of an approaching storm. Rain shower and our first thunderstorms of the season developed that afternoon. A cold front then moved through that evening, producing around a half inch of snowfall. Colder temperatures stuck around on the 24th, with highs only reaching the upper 50’s and low 60’s. Warmer weather returned over the next two days, as highs reached the upper 60’s and low 70’s. However, another powerful storms was moving into the region and began to affect the Palmer Divide early in the morning on the 27th. This brought wind and another round of heavy, wet snow. Unfortunately, the moisture with this storm quickly moved off to the east, leaving us with cold and windy conditions as high temperatures remained in the 30’s that afternoon.

Cool and unsettled conditions returned for the end of the month, as the departing storm from the 27th stalled just to our east. This allowed a cold, northerly flow to take hold of the region through the 30th. Winds were very gusty as the pressure gradient was very tight between this deep low pressure to our east/northeast and high pressure to our west. Winds gusted to over 60mph at times. In addition, temperatures were 15-20 degrees below normal, making it feel more than February than April. Areas of clouds also formed each afternoon, with brief snow showers developing, especially along and west of I-25. The heaviest band of snow showers accumulated just over two inches of wind driven snow on the evening of the 29th to the early morning of the 30th.

A Look Ahead

May often experiences a wide variety of weather conditions in the region from warm, sunny days to severe thunderstorms and hail, and even some snowfall. May 2007 was a snowy May, with over 20 inches accumulating for the month, with the last couple of years seeing about average with just a few inches. However, we can usually expect warmer conditions to finally settle in, with temperatures reaching above 80°F on several afternoon.

April 2014 Weather Statistics

Average High 57.1° (+0.1°)

Average Low 26.4° (-1.2°)

Highest Temperature 74° on the 22nd

Lowest Temperature 10° on the 4th

Monthly Precipitation 2.20" (-0.89", 30% below normal)

Monthly Snowfall 23.8" (-4.1", 20% below normal)

Season to Date Snow 89.9" (-29.3", 25% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)

Season to Date Precip. 18.39" (+0.95", 7% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)

Heating Degree Days 698 (+23)

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.

Wastewater facility manager lauds staff

In the early morning hours of Feb. 15, a windstorm rolled off of the Rampart Range and caused two separate power lines to touch, generating a power surge. This power surge entered the Upper Monument Creek Regional Waste Water Treatment Facility, overwhelming all the safety equipment that should have prevented any damage within this facility. The damage was substantial and resulted in a shutdown of the automated operations of the plant.

I am writing this letter, not to criticize, but to praise. The staff of the facility responded in a fashion that merits acknowledgement of their professionalism, as well as their experience and dedication. It is the result of that professionalism and experience that the facility was able to treat the wastewater that continued to enter the facility. I want to publically acknowledge those staff members of Donala who went more than the extra mile. With most of the automated systems damaged, the staff operated the facility manually, which required around-the-clock staffing until critical equipment was replaced and outside vendors were able to mobilize to the site. There were no discharges of untreated waste water into Monument Creek, and the effluent leaving the facility was well within our permit limits.

Robert Hull, district superintendent; Terri Ladouceur, lead wastewater treatment operator; Thom Waite, wastewater treatment operator; Del Phipps, wastewater treatment operator; Aaron Tolman, wastewater treatment operator; and Troy Vialpando, maintenance operator, all came together and maintained the facility and managed this emergency in an outstanding fashion. I am honored to work with people of this quality. Everyone in the Donala Water and Sanitation District, as well as the Triview Metropolitan District, needs to be aware of the quality of employees who serve you every day.

Kip Petersen
General manager
Donala Water and Sanitation District

Parents key to education

Monument Academy is predicated on parental involvement. Daily, no fewer than 30 parents come to the school to volunteer, assist teachers, or observe their children. However, I, along with so many other MA parents, never heard of the new Common Core initiative until it was actually being implemented. Monument Academy’s resolution to reject the standards helped bring it to light.

The lesson is there for all of us: Implementing such a massive change is a much easier task without parental awareness and debate. The Common Core initiative highlights how quickly and pervasively our children’s education can change without our knowledge or input. And the implementers know it. 

Even Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram, the content experts hired by Common Core, who later refused to validate the standards, highlight this in their 2013 paper Can This Country Survive Common Core’s College Readiness Level?: "We hear no proponents or endorsers of Common Core’s standards warning this country about the effects of the college-readiness level in Common Core’s mathematics standards on postsecondary and post-baccalaureate academic and professional programs. At this time we can only conclude that a gigantic fraud has been perpetrated on this country, in particular on parents in this country, by those developing, promoting, or endorsing Common Core’s standards."

There are other tangible benefits to parental involvement. A 2002 National Education Service study indicated that when parents are involved, students tend to achieve more, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnic/racial background, or parents’ educational level.

According to the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, when parents talk to their children about school, expect them to do well, help them plan for college, and make sure that out-of-school activities are constructive, their children do better in school.

Becoming a more aware, involved parent takes a concerted effort, but the benefits are worth it.

Jim Cunningham

Palmer Lake acquires Makower’s Land

The article by OCN gave an accurate description of the meeting discussing my attempt to donate this land to the town in fall 2012. Basically, Town Clerk Berreth said that the land was unusable and unsellable and would be a continual drain on town finances despite the fact that she negotiated a reduction in back taxes and fees, so the Town Council voted to void the deed and refuse my donation. See the complete description at www.ocn.me/v13n4.htm#PLTC.

We have tried repeatedly to get a response from Palmer Lake officials as to why they did not void the deed but have not yet heard back. As of April 28, the town has still not voided the deed and therefore owns the land as public land.

According to Gina Trivelli, tax compliance administrator at the El Paso County Treasurer’s Office, Berreth did not negotiate any tax liens and town attorney Larry Gaddis simply used State Statute C.R.S. 39-10-114 et seq. to accomplish the establishment of a "political subdivision." The town now has paid no taxes and is tax exempt forever. Berreth has deemed the parcel to be worthless; however, Trivelli again disagrees, saying it has a market value of $28,300, with access from Verano by an alley which is also public land.

I deem this The Jamie Willan Memorial Park and I have already spread the remains of Bree Makower who died on July 3, 2009. My original intent can be found at castlepinesnewspress.net/stories/Land-donated-to-Palmer-Lake-Former-resident-hoping-to-see-a-permanant-memorial-on-land,64570.

Since the Tribune has purged its files of me, for more information on my and Richard Willan’s wishes for the property, please ask Tribune writer Lisa Collacott for her article by writing to lcollacott@ourcoloradonews.comor feel free to contact Willan at your discretion. I am always happy to help at concept@att.net.

Kim Makower
Consulting geologist

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Children’s love affair with books

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Even in this electronic age, nothing comes close to the joy of sharing a special picture book with a young child. We’ve selected a few delightful new ones to introduce to you.

A Little Book About Me and My Mom (… Me and My Dad)

By Jedda Robaard (Barron’s $7.99)

This interactive book is a perfect gift for children to complete for Mother’s Day. It even comes with a precious card that’s blank inside ready for a special greeting. There is a family tree to complete and sentence starters, such as "When Mom was little, her favorite pastime was…." and "Mom’s favorite color is…. My favorite color is...." There is a similar book for dads to keep in mind for Father’s Day in June. Both are accompanied by delightful color illustrations.

41 Uses for a Grandma (40 Uses for a Grandpa)

By Harriet Ziefert with drawings by Amanda Haley (Blue Apple Books) $12.99

For the grandparents on your list, these delightful little books picture grandmas as e-pals, movie companions, and "someone to love you when others may not," among many other roles. Grandpas, for example, can be play dates, cash machines, or taxis.

A Book of Babies

By Il Sung Na (Random House) $15.99

This beautiful book features animal babies, such as ducklings, fish, monkeys, and zebras. Information on how they are carried by their mommies or daddies, how they look, and what they can do when they’re born is described in a simple style.

Have You Seen My Dragon?

By Steve Light (Candlewick Press) $16.99

A small boy asks this question as he travels uptown and down, searching for his friend. Readers will certainly spot the glorious beast, plus an array of big-city icons. Is the dragon taking a bus, or breathing his fiery breath below a busy street? Maybe he took a taxi to the zoo, or is playing with the dogs in the park. Light’s masterful pen-and-ink illustrations, decorated with splashes of color, elevate this counting book to new heights.

Scaredy Kate

By Jacob Grant (Barron’s) $7.99

This book is filled with many things that frighten Kate—a big, grumpy dog, a spooky elevator, and three-eyed, six-legged, big-eared monsters! But the illustrations are so cute, young children will be delighted with the monsters. When Kate learns that they like ice cream with sprinkles, the frightening things don’t seem so scary to her after all.

Mama’s Day with Little Gray

By Aimee Reid (Random House) $16.99

Little Gray can’t help wondering, what if he were the big elephant and Mama the small one? Would he shade her from the sun? Would he take as good care of her as she takes of him? This heartwarming picture book shows a child’s wish both to grow up and to stay close to his mother.

E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm

By Judy Sierra (Candlewick Press) $16.99

Once upon a time, Old MacDonald didn’t have a farm. He just had a yard that he didn’t want to mow. But then, under the direction of the wise Little Red Hen, Mac learns to look at the environment in a very different way, and whole new worlds start to bloom.

Preschool Time

By Mij Kelly (Barron’s) $14.99

When Suzy Sue’s animal friends discover that she’s gone away to preschool, they miss her and hatch a plan to sneak Suzy away and bring her back to the farm. But when they see how much fun preschool is, they may never want to leave themselves! This is a warm and funny story of a little girl going to school for the first time and those who miss her at home.

Love Is Real

By Janet Lawler (Harper Collins) $15.99

"Love is the little things that fill my heart until it sings." So begins this charming story with its sweet celebration of unconditional love. Families of foxes, bunnies, and bears teach one another about the power of love from sunrise to sunset.

Why not bring a smile to the faces of the young children in your life by sharing some new picture books with them? 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: Garden group learns about protecting soil

By Janet Sellers

The Tri-Lakes Garden Community (TLGC) group held a potluck dessert for a screening of Dirt—the Movie on April 28 at the La Rosa restaurant in Palmer Lake. The movie highlights the importance of protecting our Earth’s skin of soil and the persistent ease with which we can all make that happen. The group discussed ways to implement the ideas from the movie and swapped gardening success tips and garden goodies such as seeds and more.

The TLGC events are offered monthly or more all season for the community. Events include garden tours and informative talks as well as movies on gardening, harvesting, and fermenting foods. The events and demos are designed for adult participation, but the activities learned at TLGC are fun, family-friendly and simple to do at home or with your own club or group. An RSVP is recommended.

Upcoming demos for May and June include a flash mob (group activity) workshop for Hugelkultur, an irrigation-free natural gardening method that’s been used in Europe for hundreds of years. This method needs no tilling and little or no watering after the first year, and is catching on for many in arid areas.

Basically, the Hugelkultur (literally "mound culture") method is: bury logs in a trench (or on top of the land for a raised bed), layer with green and brown vegetation and leaves, add compost and topsoil, then mulch with straw or plant fast-growing clovers to keep the soil in place until the garden plants grow. This method works for vegetable, tree, or flower seedlings or seeds, and works with newly cut wood as well as older, rotted wood. It is also thought that the method would allow for creating a lush garden from the stumps, logs, and branches of our local fire mitigation efforts that involve cutting down many local trees and shrubs.

A few TLGC Hugelkultur flash mob demos are planned for mid-May, and details are currently available online at www.facebook.com/MonumentCommunityGarden or contact janetsellers@ocn.me for those details or to get on the email list for updates of events and information. A newsy Facebook page for the group will be up in mid-May, so stay tuned.

Janet Sellers is an American artist, teacher, and high-altitude green gardening enthusiast. Please send your gardening events, questions and handy tips to janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Art Matters: Make your own art and memories

By Janet Sellers

It’s not too early to plan your summer art fun. Think about taking a class from local artists, enjoying the local arts venues, and more. We have traditional art galleries and nontraditional venues as well as public art sculptures throughout the area to round out the artful nature of our community.

Spring into an art fever and plan your summer for some art—it’s a splendid time to take an art class. We seem to have more time and energy to take in all that creative goodness. This is true for both children and adults. The days are longer, and the light is wonderful here in the late afternoons and evenings. It’s just perfect for picking up a pencil, sketchbook, or brush and learning to use them with skill and enjoyment.

We have a plethora of art-making venues available in our area. Whether you take some classes for fun, to get ready for your vacation journal, or to add art to your resume of abilities, it will surely be a welcome treat. Learning to actually make art puts in our mind a new and deeper way of seeing and experiencing the world and nature around us.

We see more and enjoy more of our daily life when we put some art classes in our week. And, for kids and adults alike, having some art skills up your sleeve comes in handy for things like memory skills, spatial skills, sports (yep—the spatial skills and fine motor skills from art transfer to better physicality), planning and design skills for work and pastime events, and more. Put art on your fun to-do list and reap the great life benefits!

Art Hop rides again

Thursday, May 15, starts off the annual Art Hop in Historic Monument, and the events run on the third Thursday of each month from May through September. The happy summer evenings have become a favorite in our community, as art lovers walk around town to see the newest artworks and chat with old and new friends. You can find the listing of participating merchants and their locations on the beautiful free maps available all over town, and online there is even more information: www.monumentarthop.org Some of the Art Hop venues known at press time include the following:

Bella Art and Frame Gallery, 183 Washington St., 719-487-7691. May 5-28. Award-winning photography by resident artist Dave Brandt. Artist reception May 15, 5 to 8 p.m.

Bella Casa, 155 Second St,, 719-559-4133. Featured artist Paul Adelgren graduated from Palmer Ridge High School last year. He enjoys drawing animals and has tried many different mediums, including graphite pencil, colored pencil, and ink. He even paints on turkey feathers.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. An exhibit of the works of Al Feinstein in the Lucy Owens Gallery in May. Feinstein is an architect and painter based in Colorado Springs, and his art is primarily in acrylics, with a wide variety of mediums represented in his oeuvre.

Wisdom Tea House, 65 Second St., 719-481-8822. Art demonstrations: Julian Drummond will be carving an eagle from a block of ice. Artist Carol Losinski Naylor’s students will display and demonstrate the ancient art of watercolor batik. The Tea House will be serving dinner, beverages, desserts, and artisan gelato.

Janet Sellers is an American artist and art teacher. She teaches art locally, exhibits her paintings all over the world when possible, and makes public art sculptures for Colorado cities. 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:

Mine boarding houses

Caption: From left, WMMI historic interpreter Christine Nestlerode, authors Mark and Karen Vendl, and WMMI historic interpreter Audrey Gregg-Solly are shown in the museum’s changing exhibit area. The Vendls presented a talk on life in mine boarding houses as part of the museum’s lecture series. The Vendls along with Duane Smith, authored the recently published book, My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Photo by David Futey. Information on upcoming events at the WMMI is at www.wmmi.org.

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Broncos visit

Caption: The Town of Monument and Tri-Lakes YMCA hosted the Broncos on their Salute to the Fans Tour held Saturday, April 19. This event was well-attended, with lines running out the door and down the sidewalk. From left are: Katie B. (cheerleader), Boyd Williams (CEO of Pikes Peak Region YMCA), Madeline VanDenHoek (town liaison), Malik Jackson (97, defensive end), Dane VanDenHoek, Kendal VanDenHoek, Savannah Bornstein, John Howe (town trustee), Heather Steinman (YMCA executive director), Becki Tooley (town trustee), Virgil Green (85, tight end), Jeffrey Bornstein (town trustee), Miles the mascot, Ben Garland (63, guard), and Emily G. (cheerleader). Photo by Bill Foote.

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Art Show MS fundraiser

Caption: Local artists showcased paintings, jewelry, and handmade candles in a fundraiser for the Colorado Multiple Sclerosis Walk on April 12 at the Sundance Mountain Lodge in Monument. The show was hosted by the MS Walk Team Strength ‘N’ Numbers. Profits from the show and the MS Walk, coming May 3 in Denver and May 17 in Colorado Springs, will be used for research and to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis, which affects over 2 million people worldwide. From left, standing, are Venessa Henman, Kristen Novotny, Nancy Novotny, Judi (Novotny) Havens and Dana Savage (artist). From left, seated, are Kara Novotny, Alletta Poindexter (artist), Vivian Powell (artist) and Alaina Bohler (wife of artist Joseph Bohler). For more information, contact Havens at doublejran@aol.com or see www.nationalmssociety.org. Photo by Tae Jang.

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Easter Egg Hunt

Caption: Tri-Lakes area children had the opportunity to enjoy Easter egg hunts April 19. Palmer Lake hosted its annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Town Hall and on the Village Green. Eggs were concealed around the Village Green, Town Hall, and library areas. Besides a jumping house on the green, children enjoyed a variety of games in the Town Hall and could have photos taken with the Easter Bunny. Pictured above from left, Zachary Flora, D. J. Newberry, Yishak Patton, and Jake Flora have a laugh with the Easter Bunny at the Palmer Lake Easter Egg Hunt. Photo by David Futey.

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Wildfire prevention

Caption: Keith Worley, wildfire mitigation specialist, was one of the experts from a three-county area who presented tips on protecting lives and property at the Pikes Peak Wildfire Prevention Partners (PPWPP) Workshop, “Surviving Wildfire: It Takes a Community,” all day April 12 at the Ponderosa Retreat and Conference Center. Participants saw the 2014 Black Forest Fire video by PPWPP, Protecting our Homes, our Firefighters, and our Forests, with reflections from local emergency responders. You can see this intense 13-minute video at http://vimeo.com/84393594. The PPWPP’s mission is to provide effective reduction of the threat of wildfire through effective and efficient education, cooperation and coordination of available resources by individuals, agencies, and organizations. For information, contact Worley (PPWPP secretary) at 303-681-2492, Randy Johnson (PPWPP president) at 303-681-3284, or see www.ppwpp.org. Photo by Eddie Bruck, volunteer Woodmoor Firewise advisor.

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Pine Forest a big success

Caption: The 38th Annual Pine Forest Antiques, Home Décor and Garden Show and Sale drew an estimated 1,600 people to Lewis-Palmer High School on April 26-27. Pictured above: Vice presidents for Charitable Events Suzanne D’Innocenzo, left, and Diane Zeiger were the organizers of the event. Photo by Harriet Halbig. For information on TLWC membership or to apply for grants, please go to www.tlwc.net.

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Tackling the trash

Caption: Right: From left, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and volunteers Clark Soeldner, Linda Nyman, and Sherry Sagers get ready to remove rubbish from the New Santa Fe Regional Trail between Monument and Palmer Lake on April 26 as part of the second annual Tackle the Trash event organized by the county. See www.tacklethetrash.com for more details, or contact Kathy Andrew at 719-520-7871 (kathyandrew@elpasoco.com) if you or your organization would like to participate in this event next year. Photo by James Howald.

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Wildfire prevention class, May 7

By Arjun Gheewala

On April 25, the Woodmoor Firewise Committee held a "Do It Yourself" fuels mitigation class at the Woodmoor Improvement Association Barn, educating homeowners of the Tri-Lakes area on the importance of wildfire mitigation.

Firewise Committee Chair Jim Woodman explained how reducing vegetation around your immediate property and creating a "defensible space" can significantly reduce the chances of losing your home. According to the Woodmoor Forestry Information Bulletin, homes that adopt this technique are 75 to 90 percent more likely to survive in a wildfire than houses without defensible space and with flammable roofs.

He advised residents to remove all trees, shrubs, and scrub oak in Zone 1, 15 feet from the house. Tree branches should be pruned above the roof line of the residence. In the same zone, Woodman advised to prune large shrubs, store firewood and other combustible material far from the residence, and remove all vegetation and dry needles from under decks and near the foundation. There are more tips for Zones 2 and 3.

An identical "Do It Yourself" class will be held Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in the Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument.

On June 21, the FireWise Committee will host a demonstration outside the Woodmoor Barn. The event is open to all community members who wish to learn more about the dangers of wildfires.

Six Slash Disposal Drop-off Days run by WIA and Anderson Tree Service are scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 17, June 14, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13, and Oct. 11 at the Anderson Slash Disposal Site on Washington Street north of Highway 105 in Monument. The slash disposal will be self-service and cost $7 a load.

Arjun Gheewala can be contacted at arjungheewala@ocn.me.

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May library events: Transition time this month

By Harriet Halbig

May serves as a transition time at the library—the end of school with the anticipation of summer travel and special activities, including, of course, the summer reading program for children and teens.

Children’s programs

Story times and book breaks will stay on their normal schedules through May, with story times at 10:30 and 11:15 on Tuesdays and book breaks on Monday, Wednesday. and Friday at 10:30. Toddler Time is on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:15.

The Family Fun program for May is Lego Mindstorms Robots on Saturday, May 10 at 1:30 p.m. This program is recommended for ages 8 to 13.

The Legos Club will meet on Saturday, May 17 from 10 to 11:30. Bring your creativity and we will supply the Legos. Bring your camera to record your creation, because all materials remain the property of the library.

Teens and tweens programs

Crafty Teens will meet on Friday, May 9 from 3:45 to 5:30 to make summer journals. All materials are provided, but bring photos of your friends to include if you’d like. Ages 11 and up are welcome. No registration necessary.

Having trouble deciding what to give your mom for Mother’s Day? Make her a crochet necklace on May 10 during an intergenerational class at the library! Bring an "I" crochet hook if you have one. Yarn and refreshments will be provided. Registration is required at 488-2370.

See OCN’s Palmer Lake notices section to learn about an intergenerational tea planned for May!

The AfterMath free math tutoring program will continue through May 19. All ages are welcome to drop in and consult our friendly tutors about any level of math issues. Come anytime between 3:30 and 7 p.m. No appointment needed.

The Tech Club for boys and girls in third grade to teens will meet on Friday, May 23 from 4 to 5:30. Registration is required.

Adult programs

Learn to make a distinctive crochet necklace of Ladder Track yarn on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. Spaces are limited and registration required. Bring an "I" hook if you have one. Open to adults and teens. Yarn and refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, May 15 from 1 to 3, participate in Social Media for Your Nonprofit presented by Jewels Burdick, owner of SuperFine Designs. Learn to leverage social media for the betterment of your nonprofit organization.

The Monumental Readers book club will meet on Friday, May 16 to discuss Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors. All patrons are welcome to join this monthly club.

On the walls of the library will be works in acrylic and pencil by Glen Riffe. In the display case will be a collection of bookmarks from the library staff.

Palmer Lake events

Everyone from age 5 to 99 is invited to attend a delightful tea on Saturday, May 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Please wear your Sunday best (hats optional) and bring your own unique tea cup. There will be treats and activities that party-goers of every age can enjoy. Space is limited. Register online or call 481-2587.

On Saturday, May 17 at 10:30, enjoy Denise Gard and her dog Sienna as they tell a story about Betsy Ross convincing George Washington to change the flag. You will make a star like the ones on our flag.

Become a fibernista! Do you enjoy fiber arts? Share and learn new techniques of knitting and other activities with this group, which meets each Thursday from 10 to noon. Start a new project or bring one in progress.

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

Palmer Lake Elementary School art teacher Kelly Blake shares several of her own works in the adult area during May. In the Children’s Room will be a new selection of Palmer Lake Elementary School student art.

Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, April 8: Palmer Lake Star gets its night

By Bernard L. Minetti

Retired Air Force officer, historian, and teacher Jack Anthony hosted the First Annual Star Night celebration at the April 8 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Anthony described his work to have the Palmer Lake Star listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. He described the process that he and Gary and Travis Coleman went about to provide the basis for star’s listing.

Anthony also mentioned the work done by Harry Krueger and Tim Wagner. Wagner, now deceased, surveyed the property and provided all the technical details required. He listed many others that were instrumental in the process of construction, maintenance, and the listing process on the register.

Anthony and Historical Society President Tom VanWormer said the evening was designated as the First Annual Star Night at Palmer Lake. This announcement was greeted by a standing ovation. While there was an overflow crowd in the Palmer Lake Town Hall for this event, Anthony said he hoped that it would grow into a celebration that one day would be the center of a much larger community celebration to honor the star.

He invited those present to make plans now for the Second Annual Star Night at Palmer Lake. He hoped that the streets of Palmer Lake would be filled with attendees for this celebration.

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On Tuesday, May 13, John Putnam will present a commentary on the "Interface with the Insurance Industry." The information might help residents understand the problems and solutions for making insurance claims in a fire or possible fire event.

On Thursday, May 15, the presentation will be "Maggie: She Went West for the Cure," by Mary Ann Davis.

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

May 7: Raspberry chipotle chicken, roasted potatoes, salad.
May 14: Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions, chips, coleslaw.
May 21: Roast pork with apple cream sauce, roasted potatoes, salad.
May 28: Chicken 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.

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 when mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. 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.

Volunteers needed for Community Services Block Grant Advisory Board, apply by May 9

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking two low-income representatives who reside in the county and who have current knowledge of issues and challenges affecting lower-income earning persons. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com . Click on the "Volunteer Opportunities" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.

Registration for Youth Baseball at Tri-Lakes Y, ends May 20

Practices begin the week of June 2. The games are June 14-July 26. Registration ends May 20. Also, check out the sports, swim, dance, princess, and cooking summer camps. Register online at www.ppymca.org/locations/tri-lakes or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument. Financial assistance is available. For more information, call 481-8728 or email www.ppymca.org.

St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for 2014-15 preschool-eighth grade

The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class size, Christ-centered education. Call or visit to enroll: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.

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.

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.

Monument Marketplace Facebook page

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

Help chart Colorado’s transportation future

The Colorado Department of Transportation invites citizens to get involved in planning the future of the state’s transportation system by visiting the website, www.coloradotransportationmatters.com.

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.

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.

Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.

Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free

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

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Parting Shots

OCN would like to thank two volunteers who are moving on to new adventures. Candice Hitt, worked on ad sales and layout as well as reported on Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Town Council, Monument Academy, and NEPCO and assisted with newspaper mailing days and photos of our community. Bernard Minetti has written about the Palmer Lake Historical Society, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, El Paso Board of County Commissioners, and NEPCO, provided snapshots and captions of community events, and helped with ad layout and newspaper mailing days. We thank them for all their help and wish them well.

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