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Vol. 7 No. 10 - October 6, 2007


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Groundbreaking Oct. 12 for new Monument Academy building on Highway 105

Click here or on the drawings to zoom in and download drawings

Below: View of the Monument Academy building from the southeast. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints bounds the parcel on the east. The planned Knollwood Village development bounds the parcel on the west. Drawing provided by the Monument Academy.

Groundbreaking for the project will held October 12, 12:30 p.m.

Click on the drawing to zoom in and download drawings

Below: View of the Monument Academy building from the north west. Highway 105 bounds the parcel on south. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints bounds the parcel on the east. The planned Knollwood Village development bounds the parcel on the west. Composite of a building elevation provided by the Monument Academy and a photo by Chris Pollard of a slide presented Sept. 24.

Click on the drawing to zoom in and download drawings

Below: Monument Academy parcel and nearby parcels.

Click on the drawing to zoom in and download drawings

By Chris Pollard

About 70 people attended a special meeting called by the Monument Academy Board of Directors on Sept. 24 to announce details of a proposed new school that has caught most residents by surprise.

The school will be located to the north of Highway 105 between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Knollwood Drive. About 10 to 15 of those present at the meeting were residents who live adjacent to the proposed site.

Bob Hughes, director of development and the owner representative, said the Academy had been looking for land for the past few years. Then in summer 2006, after reviewing the problems of finding suitable land, the Academy decided to build a K-8 school instead of a K-12 school. Not long afterward, they learned that 15 acres adjacent to Highway 105 was available.

The Academy then selected architect Paul Hutton of Hutton Architect Studios and contractor J.E. Dunn to design and build the school. In addition, studies and research were conducted regarding traffic, the requirements related to the property’s Preble’s jumping mouse habitat area, and various other environmental issues.

Laura Gipson, board president, said the school had obtained bond funding with a maximum limit of $13 million. The funding would go to a separate, newly formed Monument Charter School Corp., which would build the school and then lease it back to Monument Academy. Russ Caldwell, an investment banker with D.A. Davidson, explained how the bond structure works and announced that the construction financing loan would close on Sept. 28.

Hughes said that the school gets the bulk of its operating funds from the state of Colorado. He said repayment of the loan was structured so that it would not exceed 15 percent of the school’s operating funds without the mill levy override, scheduled to be on the November mail election ballot. If the mill levy override passes, then the repayment will be reduced to 6.5 percent.

He added, "The building will happen." They will acquire the proposed 15 acres and although they can never use the 8 acres of mouse habitat for construction or other permanent use, that portion would provide a "buffer" for homes immediately adjacent to the tract on South Park Drive.

Access to the school remains unclear. While Hughes said that the property would be entered from Highway 105, all maps seen so far show the main entry to be on the east side of the school, going through the parking lot of the adjacent church.

Hutton has been working on this project since March and is most of the way through design and documentation. He estimated he had about a month to go before the drawings would be handed over to the contractor. He added that he has been working with the contractor on cost estimates to ensure that the school could be built to budget.

The school would be built on the available 7 acres of the lot, and Hutton pointed out that this was a difficult site because of the steep slope away from Highway 105. The building would be partially built into the side of the slope. There would be two parking lots. The only other construction of note would be a small playground to the northeast and a smaller kindergarten play area to the west.

Stu Schmoker of J.E. Dunn said he thought he would have a completed bid package at the end of October to present to the board. He added that the landscaping was on a tight budget and suggested that this would be an opportune area for people to make donations. He also suggested that parents keep an eye on the construction site as they drive by, to aid site security. He would also leave a set of plans at Monument Academy so that people can bid on parts of the school building project.

Hughes noted that while they originally thought it would cost $10 million to construct, estimates have been lowered to about $9 million. Grants or donations would allow them to restore options that had to be cut. Despite the upcoming groundbreaking, a more detailed construction schedule hasn’t been announced.

A question-and-answer session followed; written questions from meeting attendees were sorted and aggregated into relevant subject areas.

Q. How many spaces for cars would there be in the parking lots and teacher parking?

A. There will be 50 spots adjacent to the roadway for faculty staff and visitors, and 30 spaces in a parking lot to the east. There was also the possibility of allowing for other parking on a temporary basis along the street that goes past the school.

Q. What is the proximity to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to Highway 105?

A. The church will be about 200 feet from the gymnasium, and the school is about 30 feet from Highway 105.

Q. How far is the school from neighboring houses and Dirty Woman Creek?

A. The larger playground will be within 220 feet of the houses and the creek that borders them. The playfield, which will not be lighted, will only be used during school hours.

(At a later point, a resident who lives adjacent to the creek asked if kids would be protected from access to it. The creek occasionally runs out of its banks and has a high flow rate. The architect said that he didn’t know if it would be classified as a hazard.)

Q. Is there money in the budget for new furniture?

A. Not at this time. (Furniture will be moved over from the old building.)

Q. What is the entrance from Highway 105?

A. The junction with Highway 105 is tied in with the planned development to the south. It is planned to be a lighted intersection, but there is no agreement yet with the developers or the church to the east.

Gipson added that she thought this was a work in progress and that charter academies generally encounter problems with carpools. Local residents commented that they thought there were already problems with the nearby Highway 105 and Knollwood intersection, with traffic backing up almost to Interstate 25. They felt that, with this kind of backup, drivers leaving the school would be tempted to devise other methods of getting onto Highway 105. Gipson said they will get back with El Paso County and work on the matter.

Q. What measures will be taken to control runoff?

A. The architect said that the building was designed with a "blue roof" that will hold water temporarily up to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and slowly release it. There will also be a detention pond.

Q. Will the site’s extreme slope be a problem for cars in winter?

A. The road had been designed with added length over a circuitous route to minimize the slope.

Q. Will the school be operating by August 2008?

A. The Academy is aiming for that date.

**********

Upcoming events related to this development include:

Oct. 12 , 12:30 p.m., Groundbreaking for the project.

Oct. 15, 6 p.m.: Monument Academy Board of Directors, at the Monument Academy North Campus.

Oct. 22, 7 p.m.: Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, at the Woodmoor Barn on Woodmoor Drive

Other points of note

  • Between the school’s site and Knollwood Drive is a commercial development called Knollwood Village, which is currently at the stage of site clearance. It will be the site of a bank, a printing company, and other proposed offices and restaurants. The county Assessor’s Web site lists the owner of the proposed school site and Knollwood Village as KV Development. On documents published by county Development Services in July 2007, William Herebic is listed as owner and president of KV Development.
  • In March 2007, the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board was presented with maps showing Knollwood Village Filing 2; the school will sit on "Proposed Tract A Filing 2." At that time, the documents noted compliance with a limited set of covenants. When contacted about the proposed school, however, the WIA representatives said they were unaware that a school was planned for that location.
  • In the past few years, control of school building projects and the granting of certificates of occupancy have passed to the state Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Oil and Public Safety. A statement from Cher Haavind of that department noted that a school must submit an application to the public school construction program four to six weeks prior to construction. She said that, as of this writing, Monument Academy had not filed such an application.
  • The land is in an unincorporated part of the county. As a school, it is not subject to review by the county’s Regional Building Department or the county Planning Commission. Any access to Highway 105 to the south would have to be permitted through the county Department of Transportation, as responsibility transfers to that office Oct. 1. Meanwhile, no traffic plan is in place.
  • District 38’s administration apparently played no role in the decision-making for the charter school. The district was asked to comment because of the surprise nature of the announcement. Robin Adair, Community Relations manager for District 38, said: "Under Colorado law, charter schools may have minimal involvement with their school districts regarding school site selection and construction. Monument Academy leaders have chosen to move ahead with their plans with basically no participation from the district administration or Board of Education, as is their right. Questions or requests regarding the project should go directly to Monument Academy."

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Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District dissolution and inclusion measures pass, Oct. 2. 181 For, 8 Against on each of the ballot measures. The merger into the Tri-Lakes FPD will take effect January 1, 2008.

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Gleneagle residents surprised and angered by plans for golf course

Below: September 25 - Parry Thomas & Jan Doren present a development plan for the Driving Range.

By Bill Carroll

At a sometimes unruly meeting held at the Gleneagle Golf Club on Sept. 25, Gleneagle residents were faced with the possibility of another new development in their back yards. According to representatives from Thomas & Thomas Co., a private planning and design company in Colorado Springs, the club is looking to eliminate its existing driving range and build up to 50 townhomes or patio homes in its place. Additionally, the club wants to eliminate all the gold tees (used for pro and championship play) on the golf course and build up to four new single-family homes on one-third-acre lots.

According to Thomas & Thomas, the club needs the money to finance some necessary changes to the course and clubhouse, namely:

  • Install a new irrigation system
  • Renovate the existing clubhouse and pool area
  • Build a new golf practice area for chipping and putting

Audience asked to listen to the presentation

From the very beginning, Thomas & Thomas never had control of the meeting. Representatives essentially ignored the questions and sometimes loud outbursts of local residents and continued to push forward with the agenda. They told residents they wanted to form a core group of individuals to help them create a planning and development group. This core group would help the company to refine the initial plan so that they and the club could come up with a final application for rezoning that would be submitted to the El Paso County Planning Commission.

Several residents stated that the agenda was putting the cart before the horse and that it seemed the elimination of the driving range was a "done deal" by the golf club owners. Jan Doren, the club representative at the meeting, stated that no application had yet been submitted. She asked residents to listen to the company’s pitch and then join the core group to help come up with a good development plan. Once again, the crowd lashed out, saying they wanted to know why the club was contemplating this development and how they arrived at the intended plan being presented.

Parry Thomas, president of Thomas & Thomas, said that he and/or golf club pro John Brockman would address all the residents’ questions after they were allowed to present their full plan—which they then did.

Thomas & Thomas was hired by the club in January to come up with a development plan that would help it raise the funds necessary to make needed improvements. During the initial meetings, three options were developed:

Option 1:

  • Convert the existing 18-hole golf course into a 9-hole course.
  • Eliminate the driving range.
  • Eliminate half of the existing fairways and greens and build 85 new homes on one-third-acre lots.

Option 2:

  • Convert the existing 18-hole golf course into an executive 9-hole course.
  • Eliminate the driving range.
  • Eliminate half or more of the existing fairways and greens and build 99 new homes on one-third-acre lots.

Option 3:

  • Maintain the club as an 18-hole golf course.
  • Eliminate all the gold tees used for pro and championship play.
  • Eliminate the driving range.
  • Build 72 new homes on one-third-acre lots on the former driving range and gold tee land.

After further discussions, Option 3 was selected, with the following modifications and provisos:

  • Only 50 new townhomes or patio homes would be built on the driving range.
  • Up to four single-family homes would be built on those areas large enough for one-third-acre lots after the gold tees were eliminated on holes 6, 8, 11, and 13.
  • All the townhomes/patio homes would be 1,500-square-foot single-level homes, sandwiched in between the existing fairway of hole 6, the existing Eagle Villas homes, and the existing clubhouse.
  • No fairways, greens, or any of the existing blue, white, or red tees on the 18-hole course would be changed or eliminated in any way.

Addressing property values, water, and traffic

Following the presentation, Eagle Villas residents complained that they had paid a premium for their lots and homes for being adjacent to the driving range and having views of the mountains, and the plan would eliminate those attributes. Many of the same residents complained that putting 1,500-square-foot townhomes or patio homes next to 4,000-square-foot homes would severely and adversely affect the value of their homes and asked if the club would reimburse them for this loss. Presenters had no response.

Regarding questions about water availability, Thomas & Thomas said that they were told by Donala Water and Sanitation that sufficient water supplies exist to allow the development to move forward. Many residents complained that considering Donala’s current watering restrictions, they doubted there was enough water for the development.

Other residents complained that when the Bethesda Corp. built Gleneagle, the golf course and its driving range were intended to be Gleneagle’s only open space; without these, a good portion of this open space would be eliminated.

In response to questions about traffic, Thomas & Thomas said that a traffic study had been completed and that the single-entry roadway to the new development off Mission Hills Way could support the increase in traffic without any modifications or improvements to that street. A representative of LSC, the company that performed the traffic study, advised that there would only be a 4 to 5 percent increase in traffic.

Thinking this figure seemed low, one resident asked the LSC representative to clarify his figures and calculations. The representative said that this increase in traffic flow was based on the increase in traffic at the intersection of Struthers and Gleneagle Drive. When asked how much extra traffic would be seen on Mission Hills Way itself, the LSC representative stated that about double the existing flow would be generated by the new development.

At the conclusion of the presentation, Parry Thomas advised that they were about nine months away from finalizing and submitting a development plan to the Planning Commission (following approval there, it would go before the Board of County Commissioners for final approval).

Sprinkler system is the biggest need

Most residents were opposed to joining any core group to help the company improve on plans for a development they didn’t want to see implemented. Brockman then made a presentation that essentially answered the original queries of the assembled group: Why are we here, and how did the club come to this point?"

Brockman advised that the main reason for the planned development was to help pay the estimated $1.3 million it would cost to replace the club’s aging irrigation system — an old pneumatic-type sprinkler system for which parts are essentially nonexistent. In fact, Gleneagle is the only golf course in the state that still uses this kind of system; the parts supplier is currently seeking spare parts nationwide, without much success. So a new system is desperately needed soon.

Brockman further advised that it’s not a matter of just borrowing the money to pay for a new sprinkler system; it’s paying back the money. Since the course only generates revenue for a six-month period annually, and because of the general downward trend in the number of people playing golf—as well as golfers preferring not to join a club but rather "pay as you go"—doubts were raised about the club’s ability to pay back a loan. The matter is further complicated by an overabundance of golf courses in this area.

Currently, the club has only 70 full-time golf memberships, a few social memberships, and about 120 pool memberships. In order to better pay back a sprinkler system loan, the club would need close to 300 full-time golf memberships.

Several residents asked Brockman if the club would consider selling the entire course to a community group. He stated that the owner might consider that. Also discussed was the possibility of residents buying an equity share in the club, using those funds to help pay the debt service on the loan rather than build homes. While Brockman said this was an interesting idea, he doubted sufficient funds could be raised through such an activity.

Residents commented that if the club owners thought eliminating the driving range was the only viable method of financing a new irrigation system, and since business is down, it’s only a matter of time before the owners decide to sell the entire course. Residents said they were not satisfied the owners had exhausted other means of financing an irrigation system and said they felt betrayed at not having been informed of this dilemma earlier.

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Monument Board of Trustees meeting, September 4: Hull Subdivision rezoning approved

By Jim Kendrick

At the Sept. 4 meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees, developer/landowner Jamie Hull’s application for rezoning the last vacant downtown block was approved.

Hull’s sketch plan calls for mixed-use development of the vacant block between Beacon Lite Road and Grace Best Elementary School at uniquely high densities. The plans call for retail, office, and up to 46 multifamily dwelling units on 3.74 acres.

The town staff advocated selling excess town water rights to meet the drinking water requirements for these unprecedented densities at reduced rates to start the transformation of the downtown area to a "traditional neighborhood" architectural style.

All seven board members were present.

Senior Alliance report

Chuck Roberts, director of the Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance, said that rather than seeking to build a central services building, the Alliance will coordinate an array of services at numerous locations. Funds that had been designated for lease or mortgage payments for a central Alliance building will be used for subsidizing fees paid by seniors with limited incomes for a wider variety of programs as well as paying the costs for some senior programs.

Roberts said the alliance has "partnered with Lewis-Palmer School District 38 for sharing space and other school resources for senior services and activities at various schools in return for seniors’ participation in the district’s intergenerational activities." The first such social event was held Sept. 29 at the district headquarters’ "Big Red" building on Jefferson Street. Roberts said the flagship building for D-38 senior activities will be the new Palmer Ridge High School.

The Alliance will coordinate with the Tri-Lakes YMCA to ensure that the Y’s senior activities at their new facility "complement rather than compete" with the various Senior Alliance programs. Roberts added that the Alliance will also coordinate with Tri-Lakes Cares regarding senior programs at the new Tri-Lakes Cares facility. Both will provide senior services at no cost to the Alliance.

Roberts asked if the Town Hall building would remain available for senior lunches and other meetings when the staff moves to the new Town Hall and Police Department building to be built on the southwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105. Roberts said the alliance was ready to firm up an arrangement for leasing the entire building for senior services.

Mayor Byron Glenn said that the town had always intended that the Town Hall meeting room and kitchen would remain open to seniors. Town Manager Cathy Green said that "other people have expressed interest" in leasing some of the offices. Trustee Tommie Plank said that Roberts could negotiate for office space with the exception of offices that would be set aside for the town’s Downtown Development Office staff that would not be moving to the new building. The town staff will develop a plan over the next few months for leasing the current Town Hall building after most of the staff moves out.

Store liquor tastings proposed

Eloy Arellano, owner of the Cork-N-Bottle liquor store on Highway 105, asked the board to consider allowing his business to sponsor tasting sessions for beer, wine, and liquor products in locations other than a restaurant or bar. Arellano would provide all products for such tasting events at his own expense.

The state Liquor Enforcement Division has very specific policies regarding such events but control, as well as approval of such requests, are local decisions requiring an ordinance. Some of the state code restrictions are:

  • Liquor suppliers cannot donate products or manpower, nor reimburse liquor store owners for wages of employees conducting tasting events.
  • Serving sizes are 1 ounce of beer or wine or a half-ounce of liquor.
  • Servings must be free to patrons.
  • Tastings may be conducted only between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and may not last longer than five hours.
  • Patrons cannot carry unconsumed samples off the premises of the liquor store.
  • All open and unconsumed products must be destroyed at the conclusion of the tasting event.
  • The maximum number of samples per event is four per person.
  • Suppliers may not offer inducements or free products to suppliers to hold tasting events or favor their products during any tasting event.
  • Liquor store owners cannot solicit inducements to include particular products in a tasting event.

Police Chief Jake Shirk said the new state legislation that allows tastings would not "cause us any grief." Shirk said that if several liquor stores held tastings at the same time, people could go from store to store, which might be a problem.

Arellano said the "biggest benefit is to the consumer" unwilling to buy a bottle of wine to try it without tasting a sample. He said tastings at his store would be held no more often than once a month and would be by invitation only. Arellano said two other liquor store owners he contacted had no interest in joining him in seeking approval.

Glenn asked Arellano to meet with all town liquor store owners and formulate policy proposals on what kind of workers, in addition to the owner, would be on duty at the time of tastings to control distribution of samples. Assistant Town Clerk Claudia Whitney said that tastings could be limited to wine and beer only. Trustee Dave Mertz said the board needed to be careful in setting precedents that would apply to every liquor store, since samples are already being offered by restaurants.

Excess town water rights discussed

Green presented information on the total amount of water rights owned by the town in response to Jamie Hull’s request to purchase excess water for his very high density Hull Subdivision multi-use planned development (PD) rezoning request at the Aug. 20 board meeting. The Hull Subdivision is planned for the vacant city block between Beacon Lite Road and Grace Best Elementary School. (For more detailed information on this issue see: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n9.htm#bot0820)

Green said that the total available water is 990 acre-feet per year, and 373 acre-feet are currently in use. About 248 acre-feet are planned for future use in approved subdivisions in Villages at Monument, Trail’s End, Synthes, Wolf Business Park, Lake of the Rockies, and Valley Ridge. The town has dedicated 125 acre-feet to Forest Lakes Metropolitan District as a 3-inch tap in negotiations for storing water in a new Forest Lakes water tank.

Green proposed setting aside 44 of the remaining 244 acre-feet of town water rights for sale at a discounted rate of about $4,600 per acre-foot to encourage very high density development in the downtown zone. She also proposed changing the standards for water rights "brought to the table" by developers for single- and multi-family dwelling units.

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said the town should consider revising the current requirement of 0.5 acre-feet per year for each single-family dwelling unit to 0.375 acre- feet, based on current data on actual use from the town’s Public Works Department and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. He expected that three other very high density developments of comparable size would be proposed in the future. If development of this type is not proposed, the staff will recommend lowering the minimum water right rules for the downtown area to encourage more very high density development or conversion.

Kassawara also noted that Hull did not have enough water rights for his development under the current 0.375 acre-feet per year per multi-family residence. Green added that Hull is "10 acre-feet short" for his proposed sketch plan density.

Trustee Gail Drumm said the town did not have good numbers on how costly it would be to pump and treat Laramie Fox-Hills aquifer water in the future. No decisions were made on Green’s proposal to set aside 44 acre-feet of town water rights for very high density development.

Creation of code enforcement officer position considered

Green said that the town receives 5-15 code violation complaints per week for things like:

  • Tall weeds
  • Signs in town rights-of-way
  • No landscaping at new homes, causing erosion into gutters and drains
  • Landscaping materials stored on town streets, clogging gutters and drains
  • Excessive numbers of signs and banners
  • Toys, RVs, and boat trailers cluttering yards
  • Daytime watering during periods of restricted watering

Green added that code enforcement has usually been delegated to summer interns as a seasonal issue. She suggested creating a permanent full-time position that would report directly to her. Green then led a lengthy and wide-ranging discussion of options and needs.

Donna Jack, a former code enforcement officer for five years in Fountain as well as a former town clerk for Monument, suggested enforcement policies encouraging voluntary compliance. She said her experience led her to believe that a non-confrontational approach as an "ambassador" for the town and an educator works best. She also suggested several types of code restrictions that had proven reasonable and enforceable over time on weeds, tall grass, inoperable vehicles, and animals. She suggested notifications of violations before levying fines and fees and a clear definition of responsibilities of tenants and landlords of rental properties.

Palmer Lake Trustee Susan Miner proposed that the two towns share the cost of a full-time inspector. She suggested providing financial aid or free labor support for seniors on limited incomes who could not afford to upgrade their properties to meet previously un-enforced ordinances.

Rich Landreth, Public Works director, noted that Triview Metropolitan District would also contribute to the cost of a permanent full-time code enforcement officer for Monument.

Lucy McGuire, downtown director of development, stated the business community would like to see more uniform code enforcement. Promotion of "beautiful Downtown Monument" is being compromised by large expanses of "waist-high weeds."

Trustee Gail Drumm opposed aggressive enforcement. He said Monument should not become like Boulder. The town should not start strict enforcement after 30 years of little or no enforcement. He said that if people don’t like the equipment and vehicles he has stored in his yard, "It’s none of your business."

Trustee Travis Easton said the town had grown enough to start code enforcement in Jackson Creek. Mertz concurred.

Glenn asked each trustee to review the code to suggest appropriate revisions that would be consistent among the two towns and Triview.

Sign restrictions reviewed

Kassawara reviewed a lengthy document showing the history of discussions and negotiations between the town and Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center owner John Savage during the past three years. Savage added a car wash and renovated his business on the northwest corner of Highway 105 and Second Street after several hearings before the Board of Adjustments, Planning Commission, and Board of Trustees. Kassawara also presented 19 photos of Savage’s signs, banners, and variable blinking messages that are distracting to drivers at the town’s busiest intersection.

At the Aug. 20 board meeting, Savage asked the board to reconsider sign restrictions imposed on his business that he said were inconsistent with those on other Highway 105 businesses and throughout downtown Monument. (For more detailed information on this issue see: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n9.htm#bot0820)

Kassawara noted that revisions to the sign code should be considered by the board for the business corridor that will likely differ from properties immediately to the west. After a lengthy discussion by the board and staff, there was consensus that the town’s sign code should be updated, particularly regarding inconsistencies on banners for special events.

Industrial area replat approved

At the Aug. 20 board meeting, the board had unanimously tabled a replat application for Lot 2 in Monument Industrial Park, Phase 2, at the south end of Synthes Avenue. (For more detailed information on this issue see: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n9.htm#bot0820)

The application from landowner Brian Gardiner, of Red Rock Investment Co., LLC, would re-subdivide the 4.02-acre parcel into two lots: Lot 2A to the north (1.35 acres) and Lot 2B (2.67 acres.) The purpose is to allow additional industrial or office development on the vacant north portion of the property. Kassawara reported that no conflict existed between town ordinances and covenants in the industrial park. The board unanimously approved the requested replat.

Hull Subdivision land use applications approved

On Aug. 20, the board had discussed and then tabled three applications from Jamie Hull of Goldwest II, LLC, for:

  • Rezone of the 3.7-acre parcel from Downtown Residential to Planned Development (PD)
  • PD Sketch Plan
  • Preliminary/Final Plat

The applications were tabled so that the staff could analyze Hull’s request for sale of excess town water rights to supply the number of commercial and residential units in his proposal for very high density development of this property. The results of that discussion were noted above in this article. (For more detailed information on this issue see: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n9.htm#bot0820)

The rezoning application and preliminary/final plat were unanimously approved with no discussion by citizens during the open public hearing or the board. After confirming most of the items discussed Aug. 20 again with engineering consultant Chad Kuzbek, P.E., of Westworks Engineering, the board unanimously approved the PD sketch plan for the property.

Jackson Creek access open

Trustee Tim Miller noted that access to Jackson Creek from the Leather Chaps intersection had opened. Miller also noted that I-25 off-ramp traffic was still backing up to the through lanes at the Baptist Road interchange (Exit 158) during rush hours.

Financial decisions

The board unanimously approved several payments over $5,000:

  • $63,014 to K.B. Construction for work performed on the Jackson Creek Parkway Drainage Project between the new YMCA building and Lewis-Palmer High School.
  • $21,274 to Nolte Associates for design work performed on the Third Street capital improvement project.
  • $40,000 to Donala Water and Sanitation District for purchase of a used Jet Vac truck.
  • $6,003 to Meyers & Sams Inc. for work performed reviewing the contract for the well No. 9 capital improvement project.
  • Up to $10,000 for purchase of a John Deere mower.
  • $27,291 to Stantec for work performed on a roadway and water line design contract for Old Denver Highway.

The board unanimously approved the creation of a new full-time finance assistant position in the town Treasurer’s Department. Treasurer Pamela Smith said the person hired will perform "higher end" accounting duties. There are already four well-qualified applicants for the position, so it won’t be advertised.

Smith distributed a document projecting sales tax revenues for the next five years to the board members and a second document analyzing sales tax revenues for the first half of 2007. The board unanimously approved her treasurer’s report for July.

Staff Reports

Second Masse appeal also denied in town hearing: Town Attorney Gary Shupp reported that Green had presided over a town hearing on Kalime Masse’s most recent appeal of a denial of her request for renewal of a long expired business license for the abandoned concrete batch plant on the northeast corner of Highway 105 and Washington Street. Shupp said that there would likely be further discussions between Masse’s attorney and the town’s litigation attorney before Masse decides whether to appeal Green’s second denial to the District Court. Masse’s first town appeal hearing on Feb. 12, 2007 also resulted in a denial by Green. (See article at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n3.htm#bot0220 for more details on the factors in Green’s previous decision which are very similar to those for this appeal.)

Green held a second appeal hearing on July 31 on Masse’s second request for renewal of a 1984 building permit for the former Rockwell Ready-Mixed Concrete Inc. batch plant property. Masse’s lawsuit against the town for denying renewal of the 1984 building permit for the plant, which was abandoned in 1985, was remanded back to the town by the Colorado Court of Appeals. The property has been zoned Planned Heavy Industrial development since before the batch plant was initially constructed in 1952. However, a 2001 revision of the town zoning ordinance made concrete batch plants a non-conforming use.

Masse purchased the property at a tax foreclosure sale for $113,000 in April 2002. Her deed is dated March 17, 2003. Masse’s first application for a business license renewal was denied by the town in a special hearing on March 12, 2003. (For details, see: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v3n6.htm#rockwell)

Masse’s intent in her third application for renewal was to "submit revised plans to the Building Department for their review, in effect circumventing all of the town’s current land use regulations and procedures," Green said. Green found that the building license and building plans and the approval of both in 1984 are null and void due to abandonment of the property in 1985 and failure to continue construction for over a year.

Green determined in this appeal that Masse was asserting that the town must approve the license based on unseen development plans and building applications. Green concluded, "I find that appellant cannot change at her whim the issues to be decided in quasi-judicial hearings, especially where the Court of Appeals has ordered the hearing to be held on a specific issue."

The board went into executive session at 9:20 p.m. to discuss real estate negotiations. The board came out of executive session at 9:40 p.m. and adjourned.

Below:  Rockwell Ready-Mixed Concrete Inc. batch plant near Highway 105 and North Washington Street as seen from the Santa Fe Trail. Photo by John Heiser.

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Monument Board of Trustees meeting, September 17: Contract for water line along Old Denver Highway approved

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees had a light agenda on Sept. 17. They approved a construction contract to extend the town’s water distribution system farther south along Old Denver Highway and a matching grant contract for improvements to Third Street. They also renewed the liquor license for King Soopers and the contract for Town Attorney Gary Shupp. Trustees Gail Drumm, Travis Easton, and Dave Mertz were absent.

Water line extension approved

The board unanimously approved a contract to Nelson Pipeline Constructors Inc., one of six bidders to offer to extend the Old Denver Highway 12-inch water main from Wagon Gap Trail to the Colorado Sports Center. Nelson submitted the lowest responsive and responsible bid, $134,039.25. The board approval included a separate contingency in the amount of $15,960.75 for the project, for a total appropriation of $150,000.

Shupp’s contract changed to a fixed monthly payment

Treasurer Pamela Smith noted that Shupp’s monthly invoices over the past several years have been relatively constant, never exceeding $4,990. She proposed that the town’s renewal contract with him take a different form, with fixed monthly payments to avoid the need for him to prepare detailed invoices and for her staff to have to review and approve them individually. The monthly installments in the new contract with The Law Offices of Gary Shupp P.C. are for $4,990 per month for basic services from Sept. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2008, a total of $58,000. The board unanimously approved the proposed contract.

"Basic services" includes the following:

  • Attendance at all public town meetings.
  • Training as requested by town departments.
  • Drafting and review of contracts, ordinances, resolutions, and other pertinent documents.
  • Legal research as required to advise town elected and appointed officials and staff.
  • Response to inquiries from town elected and appointed officials and staff.

Other services are supplementary and billable at $100 per hour, for example, appearances in court or before other agencies. Separate invoices will be submitted for:

  • Investigation costs
  • Court filing fees
  • Long distance telephone call charges
  • Duplication costs
  • Costs of expert witnesses if required

Grant contract approved

The board unanimously approved a contract between the town and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the downtown revitalization project. The Community Development Block Grant from the state is for $120,000. The town will pay all other costs, estimated at $350,900, for a total of $470,900. The project must be completed within one year. The purpose of the state grant is to "Prevent or eliminate slums or blight." Specific allocations in the contract are:

  • Storm drainage — $237,500
  • Utility relocation — $25,000
  • Curb, gutter, sidewalk — $38,400
  • Asphalt — $120,000
  • Engineering — $50,000

Financial report

Smith reported that a request for proposal for audit services for 2007 through 2011 was sent to 13 auditing firms. Smith and Town Manager Cathy Green will select the top three responses to the board for a contract award at the Oct. 15 meeting.

Smith gave the trustees a report on sales tax revenue through July 2007. Revenues are ahead of budget by 72 percent and up 50 percent over the same seven-month period in 2006.

The board unanimously approved a one-year renewal for a liquor license for King Soopers at 1070 W. Baptist Road.

Payments over $5,000 unanimously approved included:

  • $113,942 to Triview Metropolitan District for $107,219 for July sales tax and $6,723 for August motor vehicle tax.
  • $122,461 to Amwest Inc. for town well 9 water line expenses.
  • $7,419 to GMS Inc. for town well 9 expenses.
  • $11,543 to Layne Christensen Co. for town well 1 pump replacement expenses.
  • $14,624 to K B Construction for Beacon Lite culvert replacement.

Development Services report

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reported on projects discussed at several Technical Review Committee meetings for the month.

Kassawara reported a request by developer Jerry Biggs to amend the approved preliminary planned development (PD) site plan for Lake of the Rockies between Mitchell Avenue and Monument Lake. Biggs is negotiating for the new home builder to "modify the approved traditional neighborhood development site plan for the northern portion of the project by eliminating the rear-loaded garages, the alleys, and the boulevard cross-section for the main entrance to the lake, due to marketability and economic viability issues."

The new proposal’s homes "would still be in the affordable range and would have some of the ‘front porch feel’ of traditional developments." The median along the main entrance road would be eliminated and trees moved to buffers by the curbs on both sides of the road. The number of homes would be "approximately the same." No action has been taken on this project. Classic Homes withdrew its commitment in late 2006.

Kassawara said he had discussed plans for a preliminary PD site plan for Wolf Business Park on the north end of Beacon Lite Road with Jeremy Hammers of Hammers Construction. Kassawara stated that the town preference is for an office or office/warehouse use for this property and other vacant lots along that portion of the I-25 corridor.

Kassawara also discussed plans for a sketch plan, a preliminary PD site plan, and the conditions for the approved plat for Villani Industrial Park on Synthes Avenue, first with Hammers and then at a later meeting with Hammers and potential buyers of the seven lots. Staff advised them on the town’s requirement that the developer prepare design guidelines for common architecture, access, landscaping, and tree removal and relocation for staff approval prior to recording the final plat with the county.

Kassawara discussed plans for a minor amendment to the existing PD site plan for a warehouse property on Eighth Street between Beacon Lite Road and the weigh stations on I-25 for Brooks Brothers Cabinetry, including required access and landscaping under current regulations.

Kassawara said he had also discussed plans for the patio home portion (Filing 3) in the center portion of the 140-acre Village Center at Woodmoor development at the southeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive with project developer Dale Beggs and John Vallejos of builder Integrity Custom Homes of Colorado. The builder plans to decrease the proposed number of homes from 80 to 72, all detached.

Public Works report

Director Rich Landreth reported that the town’s portion of the Jackson Creek Parkway drainage project north of Higby Road is complete. Work by contractors for Lewis-Palmer School District 38 and the YMCA continues, with the addition of turn lanes and curbs.

The Komatsu wheel loader purchased by the town has been delivered.

The staff is installing truck route signs throughout town. Second Street is a designated truck route.

The staff will have to replace the control system for well 8.

Brian Rigaud transferred from the streets staff to water, and the latter is now fully staffed.

Town manager report

Cathy Green distributed copies of the language of the November ballot question seeking voter approval for the town to again retain and spend all tax revenues in excess of TABOR limits for another four years. The ballot initiative will be voted on by mail. Three similar four-year TABOR waivers have been approved. The amount to be retained by the town is estimated to be between $100,000 and $300,000.

Green also passed out copies of an article by Brad Segal and Jamie Lico on progressive urban management titled "Top 10 Global Trends Affecting Downtowns and How to Respond at Home."

Green proposed four tentative dates in 2008 for quarterly joint meetings between the boards and staffs of Monument and the Triview Metropolitan District. These are public sessions under the Colorado sunshine law and must be advertised once there is consensus on the individual meeting dates.

The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, October 1: Board holds open house for TABOR waiver ballot initiative

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees had a light agenda on Oct. 1. After the short business session, the board hosted an "open house" meeting regarding the November ballot question to renew the town’s long-standing waiver on excess tax revenues for another four years. If the question is approved, the town would be able to retain an estimated $100,000 to $300,000 in sales tax revenue in 2008 that would exceed the current limit on revenue growth in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment to the Colorado constitution. One citizen commented on the question — Jackson Creek resident Steve Meyer spoke in favor of passage.

Trustees Gail Drumm and Travis Easton were absent.

Water use proposal discussed

Public Works Director Rich Landreth briefed the board on a request from Squirrel Creek Energy LLC, in a "Cooperation Term Sheet" agreement, for the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority to operate and maintain the company’s water system for a new electrical power plant to be constructed at a location south of Fountain that has not yet been determined. The company will dig a well field in Spruce Mountain Ranch in Douglas County, between Monument and Larkspur, and use water rights it has already purchased and closed on.

Landreth said that under the agreement, the town could use some of the company’s water from this well field as a first use. The town’s excess wastewater would replace the water drawn out of Monument Creek by the town, and the excess wastewater would be used in the power plant. The water authority’s support is required for Squirrel Creek Energy "to get their permits approved for the power plant." The plant will require 2,400 acre-feet of water annually.

Landreth said the Cooperation Term Sheet is not binding on the town or the water authority. The period of the proposed agreement is 40 years, but no costs have been incurred yet. Landreth added that the town would gain a benefit from its excess wastewater.

Landreth also reported that the authority’s water infrastructure planning study was a month behind schedule and will now be completed by Dec. 1 by all the engineers working for the member towns and water districts. The study is very important in establishing an accurate database for planning and choosing between joint alternatives for obtaining, storing, and using renewable water by authority members in the future when groundwater sources become less productive. He added that a possibility exists that the town would not be able to pump any of its excess effluent from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility back upstream to be recycled and treated to become drinking water, an option proposed for all the water authority members.

Town water representative Betty Konarski discussed her attendance at a regional water conference sponsored by the El Paso County Water Authority on aquifer storage and recovery. This authority is doing a demonstration research project on the Black Squirrel basin. She said a state study shows that of all the aquifers in the Arkansas Valley those in the Black Squirrel basin have the best potential for successful recharging. The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority is studying future use of the Black Squirrel basin to store any renewable water supplies it can obtain in the future. The stored water could be pumped at a later time from the Black Squirrel aquifers back to the various towns and districts of the Pikes Peak authority.

Konarski added that the Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Water Conservation Board will do a peer review of the study results to determine the policies that should be developed on aquifer storage and recovery.

Easement for Monument Lake access road approved

The board unanimously approved a temporary easement granted by property owner Delores Wilson for a small portion of her land that is part of the dirt road used to access Monument Lake from Mitchell Avenue just south of the Second Street intersection. A condition of the Wilson offer is a review every three years prior to renewal of the temporary easement, which relieves Wilson of legal liability for vehicles entering the town’s lakefront property. The town will continue to maintain the road, including the portion that belongs to Wilson. The board unanimously approved a payment of $10 for the easement and payment of all of Wilson’s costs for attorney’s fees and court costs.

New service plans amended

The board unanimously approved three resolutions correcting typographical mistakes in the service plan documentation for the three special road improvement districts created to pay for main roads through the Promontory Pointe, Home Place Ranch, and Sanctuary Pointe developments. The phrase "Gallagher adjusted" was missing in the paragraphs on a maximum mill levy of 35 mills for each special district and the name of the town was not capitalized in a paragraph in each of the three plans.

Financial report

The board unanimously approved the August financial report prepared by Treasurer Pamela Smith and payments over $5,000, including:

  • $5,410 to Ace Equipment and Supply for snow plow maintenance
  • $46,456 to GMS Inc. for town well 9 expenses
  • $5,700 to Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority for 2007 dues

TABOR presentation

Town Manager Cathy Green gave a slide presentation to the trustees and audience on possible uses for the excess sales tax revenue that will be kept and spent if voters approve a TABOR waiver for 2008-11. The $100,000 to $300,000 expected for 2008 could be used only for projects for town parks, recreation, and senior services.

Green suggested using some of the revenues to upgrade the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 fields adjacent to Grace Best Elementary School and the "school bus barn" with artificial turf. Town Hall is becoming too small for senior lunches and some funds could be used to help with programs at D-38 schools. She also noted that other important capital improvement projects such as stormwater master plan improvements on Third Street will place heavy demands on available revenues in 2008. Approval of the TABOR waiver would ensure funding is available for these three types of programs to meet requests from concerned citizens.

The meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, September 13: Town has new plan to fill lake

Below: Photo of Palmer Lake by Jim Kendrick.

By Celeste E. Raine

In a special meeting Aug. 16 the Palmer Lake Town Council voted 6 to 1 to open a valve to a pipeline from Monument Creek to Palmer Lake. Against the guidance of city water attorney, Ronni Sperling, Palmer Lake took action to "Awake the Lake." The water meter was ordered, and as soon as it arrived flow tests were to begin.

But on Aug. 23, Mayor Max Parker received a letter from Colorado Division of Water Resources Engineer Steve Witte. Witte, of the state’s Water Division 2 in Pueblo, notified Palmer Lake that the state did not support the decision to begin flow from Monument Creek. Council members later admitted to voting with their emotions. Now that plan has been put on hold. Trustee Richard Allen told Awake the Lake Committee member Jeff Hulsmann, "I am gun-shy. Do you know any hidden mineshafts?"

But now there is a new plan: Palmer Lake will buy 10 to 20 acre-feet of water from the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District at $40 per acre-foot. Mayor Parker was able to secure this deal.

A second part of the plan is to use the water exchange credits from Woodmoor Water and Sanitation to fill the lake. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis reminded the trustees and the Awake the Lake Committee that they need to "make sure that they are ‘our credits’ and not the sanitation district’s. If there are water restrictions in the future, it will look as if we filled the lake at the cost of our drinking water."

In other action, GNR Communications filed for a business license request. The business, operated by Gary and Ruth Anne Rohrbach, will provide DirecTV with 100 channels of HDTV. The building will have a showroom and will provide consulting services.

Residential lot subdivision request continued

Owners of Lot 2, Block 9, of Elephant Rock Acres, filing No. 3, better known as 825 Circle Road, requested a minor subdivision. Currently, a single-family home is located on the east side of the lot. Judy Newton of Masterworks LLC spoke on behalf of the owners, Cedar County Investments and Forest Charles, asking for the lot to be divided into three lots. Newton argued that several of the surrounding lots have been subdivided and the owner is not requesting any variances.

Trustee Susan Miner was not in favor of dividing the land into three lots and suggested only two lots. Trustee Gary Coleman was concerned that a notice sign was not posted to alert people to the Town Council meeting. Newton assured Coleman that the sign was posted previously and she was unaware it was not currently posted. The trustees asked that Newton come back to the regular October council meeting after the proper paperwork is filed with Town Clerk Della Gray. Trustees also voted 5 to 2 to ask that Newton present an option of subdividing the lot into two parcels. Trustee Trish Flake and Bryan Jack voted no.

The council directed the town attorney to look into the business license of the towing company. There was concern that vehicles were being sold on the property, without the proper business license to do so. Council members were unsure whether the vehicles belonged to the towing company or other local residents.

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The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Workshops are normally held on the first Thursday of the month. Regular meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, September 9: New proposal clarifies financial expectations of a merger

By Susan Hindman

A "substantially different" intergovernmental agreement (IGA) proposal has improved the possibility for dialogue about a merger between the Academy and Donala Water and Sanitation districts. However, although Donala’s new version of the IGA was dated Aug. 28, not every Academy board member, or the district’s lawyer, had received copies of it, so not everyone was familiar with the details.

"There are figures that Donala has come up with as to what our costs would be," board President Richard DuPont said. It is estimated that the cost to Academy would be $800,000: $400,000 to help build a new lift station and put in the pipeline to hook in to their system; $200,000 to connect Donala’s water system to Academy’s; and $200,000 for retiring the current wastewater plant, which would include filling in the existing lagoons and pulling out the equipment there.

Donala’s portion for building the new lift station, which would service both entities, would be close to $600,000. The station would service 196 Academy district homes and 300 Donala homes.

The IGA notes that upon agreement by the Academy board, an election of Academy district residents would be held in May, with implementation (if approved) on July 1 at the earliest.

Operator Jerry Jacobson is still researching ammonia-removal systems operated by other districts. One in particular is a sequencing batch reactor run by another private water and sanitation district in El Paso County. He estimated it would cost about $500,000 to put a similar system in place. He is awaiting permission to get a sample from that system and have it tested to see how effectively ammonia is being removed.

"It’s very possible that we could treat our wastewater to effectively remove ammonia for about a half-a-million-dollar upgrade, without significantly increasing our operating costs," Jacobson said. "But I would add that ammonia removal isn’t the end of the road."

Operation and maintenance costs run as high as $10,000, he said. Another thing to consider is the fact that since Donala recently drilled a new well at Fox Run Park, any future well that Academy would want to drill would have to be done half a mile south, on residential property. "Before, we would have drilled the well next to our plant," Jacobson said. That can’t be done now, and "not many areas are suited for wells," he said. So any future well drilling would involve significant costs.

Director Ronald Curry requested that once Jacobson gets the test results back on the samples, the board get an engineering report on the cost estimates for putting in a batch system, before voting on whether to pursue it or to go with Donala.

The board decided to hold a special meeting Sept. 27 to discuss the IGA and the 2008 budget, which is complicated by the various uncertainties.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District Special Meeting, September 27:  Board wonders where merger money will come from

By Susan Hindman

Board members spent around two hours hashing out some of the realities and complexities of the proposed intergovernmental agreement (IGA) submitted by the Donala Water and Sanitation District, which would absorb the operations of the Academy district. This revised IGA, received in early September, gave more specifics about how much it would cost Academy to join Donala. This was the first time the board had seen these numbers, and the amount had not been anticipated. Discussion centered on figuring out how the district would be able to satisfy Donala’s requests.

Issues include:

  1. Donala has estimated it would cost Academy $800,000 for infrastructure improvements: first, $200,000 to connect the two water systems; then $400,000 for Academy’s share of building a wastewater lift station; and, in a few years, $200,000 for dismantling Academy’s current wastewater plant. Considering this money is over and above Academy’s current budget, "I don’t understand how we can come up with that kind of money," said Operator Jerry Jacobson.

    In addition, Academy still has a bond to pay off. Once the IGA takes effect, the Academy board must stay operational in order to administer the bond payoff, which comes from all but 4 mills of Academy’s current mill levy.

  2. To get a portion of the money for Donala’s requested payment, the board had initially budgeted $200,000 for 2008. However, the district’s attorney, Paul Murphy, reminded the directors that such spending "would trigger TABOR (the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Amendment)" because the 2008 budget would differ substantially from the 2007 budget. Even if the sum were taken out of the Enterprise Fund, which has enough money to cover the initial $200,000, voters would still have to approve this spending increase.

    So, in order for the district to free up the money needed to pay Donala, a TABOR election would need to be held in May.

  3. Donala has insisted on being the water supplier as well as the wastewater supplier. Yet, "We have a water system that works fine," said Jacobson. "Why spend $200,000 to connect to Donala’s water system?"

    He pointed, however, to the advantages of going with Donala. "We’d tap into a larger resource, a larger customer base to spread out the costs. We’d get rid of our obligation of treating our wastewater (per the changing governmental standards)." What Donala gets from this, he said, is the ability "to build a lift station on our site" and potentially have a new well site in the Academy district. "So we have interest and so does Donala."

  4. Murphy said he has a running list of the costs that the IGA will impose upon Academy: election costs, audit costs, bond administration costs, board payments, insurance costs, surety costs, publication costs, water rights (which Academy would be responsible for protecting), accounting costs, legal costs, bank fees — "ongoing stuff through 2014," the year Academy’s bond would be paid off, freeing the district to merge with Donala. Considering Academy would have no other income during that time to pay these fees, he recommended the IGA have Donala assume those costs.

  5. Director James Weilbrenner was adamant that the time has come for face-to-face discussions about this — whether it’s just the Donala and Academy board presidents or the entire boards. So far, correspondence has been through e-mails and documents. "We need to negotiate," he said, "and see what kind of give and take there is."

Director Ron Curry reminded board members that "We want to make this work. We have one operator, is one reason. Another reason is, we don’t know what will break next or how we will pay for it. It’s the robustness of belonging to a bigger organization." While "it’s nice to be independent," he said, the district faces, in addition, membership fees to the Pikes Peak Water Authority of $25,000 for next year — too pricey for the small district, but membership is considered essential.

President Richard DuPont said that Jacobson doesn’t have a good cost estimate yet on the other treatment processes he has been exploring. The figure of around $500,000 for a new facility is still assumed, but added to that would be the costs of operation and maintenance of that facility and of hiring another person down the road to help Jacobson.

As it stands, the IGA would have Donala taking over all operations in July 2008. Engineering work on the lift station would be started at that time, with building beginning around November and completed around February 2009. At that time, Academy’s current lagoon system would be idled. Jacobson would become a Donala employee when that district takes over.

Curry will be collecting comments from board members and then work those into a position paper, which, after a review by Murphy, will be discussed at the Oct. 3 meeting.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board usually meets on the first Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Wescott fire station on Sun Hills Drive. Lately there have been meetings in the middle of the month to discuss the IGA, so check the board outside the fire station for postings of special meetings, which are also open to the public.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, September 17: Donala to consider water rate increases

Below: Wastewater plant tour Sept. 15. Photos provided by the Donala district.

Below: Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, offers a bottle of effluent from the plant. Photo by Mike Wicklund.

By John Heiser

At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting September 17, Dana Duthie, general manager of the district, proposed increasing the water rates and creating a new higher rate category for residential customers using more than 50,000 gallons per month. The proposed residential water rate changes are summarized below:

Water Rate per 1,000 gallons
Range (gallons) Old rate New rate Increase
0-10,000  $     2.60  $    2.75 6%
10,001-20,000  $     3.45  $    3.60 4%
20,001-30,000  $     3.70  $    4.00 8%
30,001-40,000  $     4.50  $    5.00 11%
40,001-50,000  $     6.00  $    7.00 17%
Above 50,000  $     6.00  $    8.00 33%

For townhome developments, a new special rate is proposed of $6.50 per 1,000 gallons for all usage over 40,000 gallons per month. Since townhome developments provide water to multiple residences, their usage would otherwise put them into the new highest rate category. A top rate of $5.50 per 1,000 gallons applies to townhome developments that have eliminated at least 25 percent of their water-intensive landscaping.

Availability of service fee for undeveloped lots would be increased from $250 to $300 per year. This fee has not been increased in 10 years.

These proposed changes will be discussed at the board meeting October 17.

Board president Ed Houle and board members Dick Durham, Dennis Daugherty, Tim Murphy, and Dale Schendzielos were all present for the September 17 meeting.

Irrigation rationing program update

Duthie said that comparing August 2007, which had 14 rain days, to August 2006, which had 16 rain days, overall usage was about 10 percent less with 80 more customers in 2007 than in 2006.

He reported that the district has sent about 250 warning letters. So far, no one has been fined.

Duthie said, "The ET (evapotransporation) controllers have worked pretty well." After comparing the ten ET controller-equipped residential customers who used the most water with residential customers without ET controllers but similar sized lawns, Duthie said he found the average savings in water use from August 2006 to August 2007 was 12 percent for the ET customers while the non-ET customers average use increased 1 percent over the same period.

Duthie said there are some residential customers in the district who used more than 60,000 gallons during August. He added that the number of customers who used more than 40,000 gallons declined from almost 700 in July to 48 in August. He said that residential customers who are using more than 40,000 gallons per month are probably not abiding by the rationing program or may be watering more during their allotted days to make up for the days they do not water.

Duthie said, "We’re going to be in this for years. We’re looking at spending a humongous amount of money to bring in water from outside to replace this source we have. The less we need, the less we have to buy. When we’re talking many millions of dollars, conservation is going to be a huge part of that. The goal for all of us is at least 15 percent reduction. We’re getting 10 percent right now."

Other matters

  • Colleen Abeyta and Phil Book from the Sun Mesa Townhome development discussed with the board on-going issues regarding billing for water used by their townhome development. Ronald Pierce, President of the Sun Mesa board, in a letter to the district, suggested that the rates applying to their development should take into account that there are 87 units in their development even though it is billed as two accounts. Duthie noted that the proposed new rate structure would cap their rate at $6.50 per 1,000 gallons. He added that he has proposed that if they reduce their irrigated area by 25 percent they would realize an additional saving of $1 per 1,000 gallons. Book replied that the Sun Mesa board is considering that proposal.
  • Duthie reported on the Colorado Water Congress Annual Conference held August 23-24 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The theme of the Conference was global warming, or climate change, and its effects on water supplies. Higher temperatures and increased atmospheric dust lead to earlier and more rapid melting of the snowpack requiring greater storage capacity. Higher temperatures also exacerbate the pine beetle problem that results in heightened fire hazard and deforestation, which in turn causes more rapid snow melt, mud slides, and lower quality water in the reservoirs. Duthie noted that pine beetle damage is a huge problem. He added that efforts have turned from largely ineffective attempts to stop the spread to preparing for anticipated forest fires.
  • The El Paso County Water Authority’s Transit Loss Model is complete and now must be administered including maintenance of gauges and filing paperwork. Donala’s share of the annual cost is $12,000. The county water authority is debating how the model will be administered.
  • The county water authority received a presentation by representatives of the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District on their proposed Yampa Diversion Project. The project, estimated to cost about $4 billion, proposes construction of a dam on the Yampa River near Maybell, Colorado to divert 300,000 acre-feet per year. The project is looking at inclusion of a hydropower component and three alternate pipeline routes. Duthie said a primary purpose of the project is to bring water to farms in northern Colorado. He noted that the demand there is for 410,000 acre-feet per year so it is unlikely there will be much water left over to address the Tri-Lakes areas’ needs. He added that the project, which is estimated to take about 15 years to complete, may run afoul of efforts to designate all rivers in Colorado "wild and scenic."
  • Duthie said the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) is planning meetings on water in the Tri-Lakes area for late November or early December. PPRWA’s engineering study on local infrastructure needs should be completed in about 6 weeks.
  • Duthie reported that about 20 people attended the wastewater treatment plant tour September 15.
  • Construction of the wastewater treatment plant expansion is continuing. Duthie said the last concrete pour for the first sequencing batch reaction is scheduled for September 26.
  • Donala has applied for an additional $2 million loan to cover its portion of the costs of the wastewater plant expansion. Duthie said the total cost for the plant expansion is still expected to be about $14 million.
  • The board reviewed a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD). The new agreement would have the merger election held at the beginning of the process rather than after 7 years when AWSD’s debt is paid off. If the AWSD board decides to proceed, the election could be held in May 2008. The estimated cost to AWSD to accomplish the merger would be about $600,000. Duthie said, "So far, we have spent over $20,000 on engineering and legal services for this and I don’t plan to spend any more until we hear from the Academy district board that they are heading for an election in May."

Following the public meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel, negotiations, and water purchase issues.

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Wednesday, October 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month. The district’s Web site is at www.donalawater.org.

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Forest View Acres Water District, September 27: District seeks management and operations companies

By John Heiser

As reported last month, Forest View Acres Water District’s contract management company, Special District Management Services (SDMS), and its contract water operations company, Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI), are terminating their respective contracts with the district effective November 15.

At the September 27 meeting of the Board of Directors, Rich Crocker, board president, reported that solicitation for a new operations firm is expected to yield three proposals. He said the deadline for proposals has been extended to October 3. Board member Barbara Reed-Polatty reported that she contacted five management firms and talked with two. She said the deadline for submitting proposals is October 1. In order to discuss the anticipated proposals, at the end of the September 27 meeting, the board unanimously voted to continue the meeting to Friday, October 5, 9 a.m. at the Monument Sanitation District board room, 130 Second Street, Monument.

The district’s board consists of Crocker and directors Ann Bevis, Chris Monsen, Reed-Polatty, and Eckehart Zimmermann. All board members were present except Zimmermann.

District background

The district’s water supply consists of a surface water plant and two wells, one in the Arapahoe aquifer and one in the Dawson aquifer. Only the Arapahoe well is currently being used.

The water is treated with chlorine, pumped through 750 feet of 6-inch water line, and stored in a 250,000-gallon steel storage tank. The water is then distributed through 36,000 feet of distribution lines that vary from one inch to eight inches in diameter.

ASCG, Inc., the district’s former engineering firm, determined that the water treatment facilities are in good condition, the water tank is in fair condition, and the distribution system is in fair to poor condition. ASCG prepared a list of proposed improvements. (For the detailed cost breakdown see OCN June 3, 2006 "Forest View Acres Water District, May 25: Board ponders financing $6.2 million for improvements" posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v6n6.htm#fvawd).

In November 2006, residents voted down a ballot measure that would have permitted the district to impose a property tax of up to 32 mills and issue bonds to pay for improvements to the system. At the same election, voters approved a ballot measure authorizing a property tax of up to 5 mills for administrative and operational expenses.

Lisa Johnson, SDMS district manager, served as secretary at the meeting.

Mike Bacon of CSI is the district’s contract operations manager.

Report on American Water Works Association (AWWA) seminar

Crocker reported on his attendance at a 2-day AWWA seminar on distribution system assessment and rehabilitation. He said that the distribution system is often the most neglected part of water systems. He added that the district’s loss figures are on the high side although some operators report losses greater than 50 percent of production. He noted that the losses includes the results of uncalibrated meters, unauthorized use (i.e., theft), and leaks. He added that parts of the district’s system are 50 years old and there are doubtless many leaks that never surface. He said the seminar stressed the use of a hydraulic model so the water operator can compare the operation of the system to the ideal performance to help identify problems.

Audit report

Dawn Schilling, an independent CPA, reported on her audit of the district’s financial statements. She concluded that the statements fairly presented the financial condition of the district and issued an unqualified opinion. Copies of Schilling’s audit report will be available after it is finalized October 1.

Operations report

The operations report for August showed that the district’s surface plant produced 1.2 million gallons, averaging 37 gallons per minute over 22 days. The district’s Arapahoe well averaged 62 gallons per minute over 10 days. The net monthly production was 2.1 million gallons.

Water sales for August were shown as 2.1 million gallons.

The loss from the system during August was shown as -50,994 gallons or –2.4 percent of net production. Reed-Polatty asked Bacon to find out why the report is showing a negative loss.

The loss for the first eight months of the year totaled 4.7 million gallons or 27.2 percent of the net production of 17.3 million gallons.

Other matters

  • The board unanimously approved payment of bills totaling $37,001.
  • Bevis noted that she has prepared a rough draft 2008 budget for discussion at a work session. The 2008 budget will be the subject of a hearing at the November board meeting.
  • The December board meeting is tentatively set for December 20.
  • Resident Alan Longshore protested a bill from the district totaling about $10,000 for repairs to the saddle tap that serves his house. Longshore said the break was 200 feet from his property and noted that other water providers take responsibility for all infrastructure up to the customers curb stop. Bevis replied that the district’s rules and regulations place responsibility on customers to pay for repairs up to the connection to the district’s water main. Reed-Polatty urged Longshore to work with SDMS to resolve the issue prior the end of the SDMS contract November 15.
  • The board unanimously approved up to $8,000 for purchase of a chlorine analyzer and installation of the analyzer, a two-pen recorder, and a 4-inch discharge pipe in the Surface Water Plant.
  • The board also unanimously approved up to $6,000 for replacement of the medium in the pressure filters.
  • At the August meeting, resident Jeff Dull had requested access to minutes, financial records, and operations reports from January 2004 to present and was told he would be given an estimate of the cost for those records. At the September meeting, Johnson said it would take 6-8 hours to locate the records at a cost of $118 per hour. She said that for any records Dull wants copied, the cost is $0.25 per page. Crocker noted that some of the records are already posted on the district’s Web site.

The board then unanimously voted to continue the meeting to Friday, October 5.

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The regular board meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for October 25, 6:00 p.m. at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). Those wishing to attend should check the date, time, and location by calling the SDMS at (800) 741-3254 or 488-2110.

The district’s Web site is www.fvawd.com.

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, September 11: New treatment tank could help Monument Creek

By Jim Kendrick

Plant Operator Bill Burks proposed construction of a new 150,000-gallon sludge holding tank in 2008 to help the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility continue to most effectively minimize the amounts of copper remaining in the effluent discharged to Monument Creek. He said the wastewater facility continues to do a very good job of treating copper in the wastewater from the Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor sanitation districts.

Burks presented his draft 2008 budget to the Joint Use Committee board members on Sept. 11. There was consensus that the total cost for purchase and installation of the tank would be no more than $100,000 for each district.

Copper treatment issues drive decisions

Burks proposed building the new holding tank in 2008 so that the facility could continuously use its aeration basins and secondary clarifiers that treat wastewater. Biannual sludge removal is being performed now. Construction of the proposed storage tank in 2008 would allow a change in the method currently used to remove sludge from the facility.

The secondary clarifier, next to the sludge storage and treatment lagoon at the north end of the facility, has been temporarily shut down every 27 months and used to store treated sludge. Sludge in the clarifier is pumped to a mobile filter press and "dewatered." After the water is removed from the treated sludge in the clarifier, the sludge resembles solid compost and can be trucked to farms as fertilizer. Building the new storage tank would allow the plant to operate normally while the EPA-required sludge removal is under way.

Burks and consultant engineer Mike Rothberg of RTW Engineering, the firm that designed and built the facility in 1986, have performed extensive research, including testing how to best use the facility’s aerobic-anaerobic treatment process to remove the maximum amount of copper. The facility works best at removing all contaminants, including copper, when both aeration basins and secondary clarifiers operate continuously. The aeration basins were not designed to remove copper and the mechanism that eliminates the copper is not well understood, but using both basins and clarifiers maximizes copper removal. Failure to remove enough copper to meet state requirements for three months in a row could lead to state and federal fines totaling up to $28,000 per day.

Before copper became a problem in 2004, the facility could far exceed all its effluent standards with a single basin and clarifier for extended periods. After the A basin is turned off for sludge removal and then turned back on, it can take from 30 to 40 days to restore the proper microscopic biological balance to optimally remove wastes, including copper. This is too long a period for stabilization, given current pressures to achieve sample readings for the facility’s effluent that are lower than the typical range of 8-10 parts per billion (PPB) in 2007.

New proposed copper standards in 2010 would reduce the currently allowed copper concentrations in the plant’s discharge to about one-third of what they are now — 8 PPB on average versus the current temporary requirement of 24.8 PPB on average. The plant must operate at maximum efficiency to minimize the number of copper violations that will inevitably occur even with both aeration basins in operation, if the facility’s appeal for slightly higher standards is denied. The board agreed that the facility cannot afford to have higher copper numbers in late 2009, the next sludge removal period, while it is petitioning the state Health Department and Environmental Protection Agency to loosen the standards.

For example, the August copper sample was found to have 10 PPB after several months of only 8 PPB. A second sample of 6 PPB or less could offset this result, but there have been no sample results that low in recent months. Split samples sent to different testing labs have produced widely variable results with over a 100 percent difference for portions of the same sample, demonstrating how hard it is to measure these amounts of copper.

Burks also noted that the 2008 budget contains funds for extensive copper testing. Techniques used by the staff for obtaining and handling effluent samples, in addition to test results, will continue to be monitored by Rothberg and environmental expert Steve Canton of GEI Consulting. Burks said that copper testing on Monument Creek would continue to be performed by ACZ labs in Steamboat Springs instead of SGS Mineral Services in Denver because ACZ has a lower copper detection limit method. Rothberg and Canton will redirect their original research on copper toxicity to Monument Creek aquatic life and alternative treatment options to better align with the expected revisions to state testing procedures directed by the EPA. Canton will present the results of his redirected toxicity studies to the commissioners at the end of 2007 and 2008 at the commission’s annual temporary modification review hearings.

Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund reported that he would hold a meeting at the facility between Monument town staff and representatives of the three owning sanitation districts and the Palmer Lake water department to discuss initiating treatment of Monument water with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), which has proven to be effective in lowering copper concentrations in the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and other systems nationwide.

Adding minute amounts of caustic soda to aggressive domestic water improves water quality by creating a thin barrier between the copper pipe and the water, preventing the water from removing copper and other metal ions, which contaminate domestic drinking water. The treatment also prevents pinhole leaks in copper water pipes in homes and businesses.

Woodmoor has used caustic soda for a variety of reasons unrelated to copper concentrations over the past several years to treat its drinking water system. Copper testing at the Tri-Lakes facility over the past three years has shown that copper levels in Woodmoor’s wastewater are significantly lower than those for Monument and Palmer Lake. However, there are also significant differences in the mix of Denver Basin aquifer and surface water used to provide drinking water among Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. The science of the copper problem is still incomplete, requiring continued testing and research in the facility’s 2008 budget.

Wicklund also reported that local hardware stores had agreed to stop selling tree root killing products such as Root Kill that depend on copper sulfate as the active ingredient. The districts will have their lawyers analyze whether to consider banning use of copper sulfate in their wastewater systems. There are other equally effective products such as RootX that use no copper sulfate.

Similar problems may emerge for removal of other heavy metals and ammonia prior to issuance of a new five-year facility discharge permit for 2010-14.

These issues are not as significant for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is smaller. However, planned expansion of the plant to handle growth in the Donala Water and Sanitation District, Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, and Triview Metropolitan District will lead to similar closer state and federal scrutiny in the next decade.

The meeting adjourned at 11:27 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 9 at the facility conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. JUC meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

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Monument Sanitation District Board of Directors, September 13: 2008 budget proposal reviewed

By Jim Kendrick

District Manager Mike Wicklund presented the first draft of the Monument Sanitation District 2008 budget to the Board of Directors on Sept. 13. New items in the budget were capital costs for the district’s share of a proposed sludge storage tank at Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility and operational costs for inclusion of the Willow Springs Ranch parcel.

Wicklund noted that the worst case cost for the tank would be a maximum of about $100,000 each for the three districts that own the wastewater facility. Palmer Lake Sanitation District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District are the other owners. All board members were present. (See JUC article for details of the sludge storage tank proposal.)

In addition to the projected $100,000 payment for the tank in 2008, Monument’s final bond payment for the 1988 expansion of the wastewater facility, which will be made at the end of 2007, is also about $100,000. These two payments would leave the district with a total capital reserve of $536,000 in 2008. Because the Monument district will be debt-free, it will no longer receive any motor vehicle tax revenues, which have been about $15,000 per year recently.

Willow Springs Ranch

James Morley and Paul Howard will apply for inclusion of Willow Springs Ranch Additions No. 1 and No. 2 as part of their request for annexation by the town of Monument. Willow Springs Ranch is the former Watt Ranch property between the railroad tracks on the east and the projected, but unbuilt, Mitchell Avenue right-of-way to the west. The south boundary of the parcel is Baptist Road, and the north end is adjacent to the south ends of Synthes and Mitchell Avenues. A large portion of the property is wetlands and mouse habitat along Monument Creek, which will be preserved for open space.

A lift station, which will be built and paid for by the developers, will be required to pump some of the Willow Ranch wastewater uphill to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility. Monument owns more than sufficient excess capacity for the 450 single-family residential taps proposed for the development, a 50 percent increase in the district’s total number of taps. The district has one other lift station at the southwest corner of the adjacent Trails End development between Old Denver Highway and the railroad tracks.

The board discussed and decided not to purchase the lot and building leased by Triview Metropolitan District on Washington Street. This commercial property is adjacent to the district building to the south. The property could provide parking for the district’s building if parking becomes an issue on Second Street and if Triview decided to move away from the parcel.

Wicklund reported that he would meet with Monument staff a third time on Sept. 25 to make a decision on the district’s proposal to install equipment in the town’s recently expanded water treatment plant at Beacon Lite Road and Second Street to treat the town’s drinking water with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). He reported on the reasons he had again given to the Joint Use Committee on Sept. 11. (See JUC article for details of the caustic soda proposal.)

When board members asked about the status of the district’s application for grants to help pay for the addition of sanitary sewer lines throughout Wakonda Hills, Wicklund said he would have engineering consultant Roger Sams of GMS Inc. brief the board at the next meeting.

After further discussion of the proposed budget, the meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Information: 481-4886.

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Triview Metropolitan District Board meeting, September 25: Board changes impact fees

By Jim Kendrick

At the Triview Metropolitan District board meeting held Sept. 25, consultants from Red Oak Associates of Colorado Springs proposed a revised impact fee structure for the types of services provided by the district. The impact fees for roads and bridges, drainage, and parks and recreation were last changed in April. (For details on the impact fees approved April 11, see: www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n5.htm#tmd0411).

Rick Giardina and Kevin Burnett of Red Oak Consulting discussed their research on financial projections and rate analyses to determine the "maximum supportable level" for impact fees that Triview should charge in Red Oaks’ professional opinion. Their approach was to look at previous investments in district assets as well as look "at what the district plans to invest in" for roads and parks as the basis for setting specific equitable impact fees for new residential, commercial, office, and industrial construction.

Giardina said the appropriate levels for drainage fees had gone down due to lower costs per lot. The level for parks and recreation impact fees had gone up with increased costs. He added that the parks and recreation impact fee should only be charged to new residential construction because these amenities are not used by businesses. The maximum roads and bridges impact fee went down for residential but went up for non-residential lots. Overall district costs have gone up even though the improvements to Jackson Creek Parkway and Higby Road have been removed from further consideration. The road and bridge fee depend on actual vehicle trip traffic counts that each type of residential and business building will generate. Office parks generate less traffic than a supermarket. Specific parameters for calculating the number of vehicle trips a new building will generate is found in the Institute of Traffic Engineers traffic manual that is the national standard. The fees recommended would meet the goal of "growth pays its own way," Giardina said, as well as helping to pay the interest on bonds previously issued by Triview for infrastructure that was built before any houses or stores were constructed.

Burnett discussed his cash flow analysis of how to cover construction and interest expenses for variable future growth patterns for infrastructure and buildings within Triview. He evaluated cash flow for three percentages of the maximum supportable fee – 100, 88, and 60 percent of the calculated maximum.

Burnett concluded that 100 percent of the current parks and recreation impact fee is needed to break even for capital improvement and interest payments and recommended that this fee not be changed. Only 88 percent of the roads and bridges impact fee is needed to build the fund balance to generate interest revenue during rapid district growth, and then draw the fund down during slow growth to make interest payments that exceed revenue without running out of cash reserve completely. If only 60 percent of the maximum was charged, overall district reserves would be drawn down so low that the district would only have 45 to 60 days of working capital left in the capital reserve account, a situation that Red Oaks said they could not responsibly recommend to the district.

District president Steve Stephenson noted that the district had operated under the latter scenario for most of its history because there were no impact fees from 1985 to 2005.

Regarding the fees charged by a special district, Pete Susemihl, the district’s attorney, said, "The test in the law is whether there is a rational nexus between the fee and the impact."

Stephenson replied, "The answer is yes" as their analysis "has proved."

Susemihl added that the percentages of the maximum supportable fee can be different for roads and parks as long as they are "fair and equitable" and specific fees don’t discriminate against one group over another.

Burnett presented several more slides for differing growth scenarios and choices that would help keep the district solvent in each case.

District manager Larry Bishop said another factor for considering impact fees on non-residential uses should be whether businesses would choose to build just outside of Triview in the unincorporated county, Woodmoor, or west or north Monument to avoid paying any Triview impact fees. There was consensus that there is no actual competition for commercial development from Colorado Springs.

Stephenson said that developers "offer more than they should" to potential commercial clients that are too low and then ask the district to waive fees to keep these clients from withdrawing their purchase offers. He added that the district must build the entire infrastructure needed to serve every lot and the money must be obtained through fees or sales and property taxes. He noted that "The free ride falls on the rooftops" and homeowners have to make up the lost impact fee revenues from increased property taxes. "We don’t want to run businesses out of here" either.

Bishop said the district is attempting to pay long-term future infrastructure costs of $108 million through impact fees rather than property taxes. He added that the November ballot initiative for $41.7 million of bond authority for infrastructure and water only extends through 2016.

Susemihl said that if the fees are not competitive with Monument’s, commercial developers will go elsewhere and the district will lose the sales tax and commercial property tax, which is 3.5 times higher than residential property tax. He added that a balance is required.

Stephenson said, "My personal view is that we have some room to lower the fees, especially in the commercial, office, and industrial to something less than the maximum supportable and satisfy some of their concerns that we aren’t competitive and at the same time help them with some of the commitments they’ve made, which they can’t back up financially, to the retailers. There’s an opportunity to do that with this data. From 1985 to 2005 we gave this place away. It has been given away by the boards that preceded us and we’re suffering because of it."

Susemihl disagreed. "The game was to try and get anything in here to get this thing going. This thing sat dead for 10 years. Nobody would even touch this district." He added the tax rate "was 3000 mills." Stephenson replied, "I don’t disagree with you Pete in concept, but there’s a limit to how much you can give away and still pay your bills and we’re on the cusp of that right now." Bishop added, "That’s exactly my quandary as the manager. Based on our service plan and all our agreements, we have infrastructure that we’re responsible for putting in and I have no revenue stream to pay for it."

Burnett recommended lowering impact fees temporarily and raise them to the maximum supportable level over a 3-5 year period providing builders an incentive to build sooner than later. "Do it now, don’t wait."

An alternative incentive is to offer a sales tax rebate once businesses meet their high sales tax revenue generation projections, Burnett said. This approach "insulates the district from being a banker or financer and you’re not in the high risk development business so why should you waive fees hoping that they generate sales tax in the future. So you get them to come in and pay the full fee and if they hit their projections of sales tax generation, they’ll get some of the fees rebated back to them in the form of sales tax." The rebate would go to the current property owner at the time the rebate is paid, rather than the original owner if a property is sold.

Susemihl said that once the "rooftops start coming in" the district could retire the district bonds early. Bishop expressed concerns about deep discounts not being recovered by rapid buildout to avoid having to pay bond debt with property taxes. "They’re not going to vote for any increase in tax. That’s not going to happen in El Paso County."

Director Julie Glenn said a reduction was necessary to motivate developers to build commercial, office, and industrial growth in Triview instead of in the Villages at Woodmoor at Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive, which is in Monument but outside Triview.

Bishop added that charging the maximum impact fees for the recently annexed Promontory Pointe, Home Place Ranch, and Sanctuary Pointe developments are reasonable. He urged the board to make a decision on immediately lowering the fees to 60 percent of the maximum to keep developers from abandoning their Triview projects because of the current high impact fees or buy in at lower impact fees that would be grandfathered indefinitely, costing the district sales and property tax revenues. Susemihl said the board could table a decision on how the fees increase to 100 percent of the recommended maximum.

After further lengthy technical and procedural discussion, the board unanimously approved a motion to immediately lower all three impact fees for new non-residential construction to 60 percent of the maximum supportable fee recommended by Red Oaks. The board will determine a fee increase schedule – step size and interval between these increases to reach the 100 percent level – in the future.

The board also unanimously approved changes in the three residential impact fees to 100 percent of the recommended maximum supportable fees from Red Oaks with no discounting. Property owners who paid higher residential impact fees before Sept. 25 will not get refunds. Giardana said there is no legal precedent for refunds. There is new data now to justify changes in maximum supportable but the higher previous fees were based on the best information available in April.

Other matters

  • Dale Hill, Triview’s administrator, reported that the unplanned "revamp" of the A-1 well had cost $130,000 that was not budgeted for. Two water and sewer taps were purchased by Goetzmann Custom Homes in the past month in Remington Hills on north Leather Chaps. The developer of the Carriages West patio home development has purchased seven taps. The total number of taps sold year to date is 28.
  • During the lengthy discussion of standard agenda items, Stephenson observed that capital costs for expansion of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility will only cover growth through 2013 to 2015. The final expansion of the facility must be paid entirely by Triview because Donala and Forest Lakes will have all the capacity they will ever need with the expansion currently under construction. The final expansion must be large enough to handle the entire demand of Triview at complete build out of the district and will be paid for out of the proposed bond authority in the November ballot initiative for a total of an additional $41.7 million through 2016.
  • Bishop noted that in his first draft of the 2008 budget, the deficit of roughly $752,000 in the water and sewer enterprise fund is offset by a surplus of $752,000 in the rest of the district’s funds. Overall, income exceeds expenses by $89 in the first draft. The enterprise has only had a profit during one year. He asked the board members to study his draft and present their questions at the next board meeting.
  • Stephenson presented a letter of resignation effective Sept. 26. He noted that he had served as his HOA’s president for two years and had been president of the district board for four years. He said he had stayed on the board a year longer than he had originally planned so he could help Bishop through the first year of his tenure and it was time to give someone else a chance to serve. Triview resident Mark Veenendaal, who attended the meeting, said he would submit a letter indicating his willingness to be appointed to fill the vacancy. The members of the board and staff each thanked Stephenson for his service.

The meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 4 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the Triview conference room, 174 Washington Street in downtown Monument. Meetings are normally held on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

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Triview Metropolitan District Ballot Issues

By Jim Kendrick

After the Sept. 25 board meeting adjourned, outgoing Triview Metropolitan District Board president Steve Stephenson shared with OCN his views on the district’s ballot issues for the Nov. 6 election.

OCN was unable to report on the Aug. 28 Triview board meeting, including the four ballot issues approved on that date. This report provides that information. It also provides Stephenson’s personal views on the four ballot issues.

Stephenson first reviewed the resolution for the ballot issues that were unanimously approved by the Triview board on Aug. 28. The reasons for the ballot issues as stated in this resolution are:

  • The District was formed in order to design, construct, maintain, and finance municipal improvements in order to serve the properties within its boundaries, which boundaries are also included in the Town of Monument.
  • There is public infrastructure needed, not only to serve residential properties, but also to complete the infrastructure necessary for the build-out of long-planned commercial property.
  • The completion and build-out of all public improvements is in the best interest of the taxpayers and residents of the District because this increases the sales and property tax revenues (without increasing individual and business taxes) which in turn enables the District to reduce and/or pay off its bond obligations sooner, and eliminate the mill levy on residential property for debt, and also enables the District to have adequate revenues for operations and maintenance of its public infrastructure.
  • In particular, the District resident taxpayers benefit greatly from the commercial development within District boundaries as a commercial property in Colorado pays far more in property taxes than does a comparable residential property of the same value and provides a convenient, quality set of services.
  • The District was formed in the early 1980’s and at the District formation election certain debt was authorized and it was felt at the time that this authorization would be sufficient to finance all District infrastructure; however, due to the passage of time, the increase in construction materials, and other cost increases due to inflation, the original debt authorization is insufficient to meet the above-stated purposes.
  • The District is in need of additional debt authorization in order to complete the municipal infrastructure for which the District was formed.

The District has scheduled an election on November 6, 2007 in order for the resident electors to vote on additional questions authorizing debt for water, wastewater, roads, and park and recreation improvements to include but not be limited to:

  • Payment for District’s current contracted water supply, The Denver Basin Aquifer,
  • Completion of District’s water treatment plants, wells and lines,
  • Completion of water re-use program for irrigation water to assist in conserving the Denver Basin water and renewable water,
  • Purchase of renewable water source to conserve Denver Basin Aquifer water,
  • Construction of roads and streets to complete District’s transportation plan,
  • Acquisition, construction and equipping of planned District Parks,
  • Planned phase III of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and construction of new sewer interceptors and related equipment,
  • And Storm Water Management and Control to meet Federal, State and local requirements;

By this request for debt authorization, the District does not intend to increase the District mill levy on any property in the District.

The adoption of this Resolution will serve a critical public purpose and will promote the health, safety, prosperity, security, and general welfare of the residents and taxpayers of the District.

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The four ballot issues are summarized below and shortened for clarity. The conditions are identical and only shown for issue 5B:

5B - Water Improvements

Shall Triview debt increase by $19,900,000 with a repayment cost of up to $56,415,150 and

Shall Triview taxes be increased up to $2,475,168 annually (which amounts to the maximum annual repayment cost) as a guaranty for payment of the bonds in the event that the board determines other revenues of the district are not sufficient to pay the debt service of the bonds, subject to the following limitations, for, but limited to, the following:

  • Payment for district’s current contracted water supply, the Denver basin aquifer
  • Completion of the district’s water treatment plants, wells, and lines
  • Completion of water re-use program for irrigation water to conserve Denver basin aquifer or renewable water sources
  • Purchase of renewable water sources to conserve Denver basin aquifer water
  • Debt shall be payable first from other available district revenues, and if needed from a mill levy that may be increased in any year without limitation as to rate but only in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and the premium, if any, and interest when due on such debt or any debt issued to refinance such debt
  • Such debt shall have such terms and conditions as the district may determine, including provisions for redemption prior to maturity with or without payment of a premium of not to exceed 3%
  • The district shall be authorized to issue debt to refund the debt authorized in this question, provided that the total debt principal does not exceed the maximum principal amount set forth above [$19,900,000] and is issued on terms that do not exceed the authorized repayment cost [$56,415,150]
  • Shall the proceeds of such debt and taxes, any investment income therefrom, and all other district revenue be collected and spent without limit or condition as a voter approved revenue change under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado constitution or any other law?

5C - Wastewater Improvements

  • Shall Triview debt increase by $9,090,000 with a repayment cost of up to $25,769,125 and
  • Shall Triview taxes be increased up to $1,139,060 annually … for:
  • Planned Phase III expansion of the wastewater treatment facility
  • Construction of new sewer lines and related equipment
  • Storm water management and control to meet federal, state, and local requirements

5D – Road Improvements

  • Shall Triview debt increase by $8,410,000 with a repayment cost of up to $23,837,925 and
  • Shall Triview taxes be increased up to $1,047,800 annually … for:
  • Road improvements to the district to complete the district transportation plan

5E – Parks and Recreation Improvements

  • Shall Triview debt increase by $3,600,000 with a repayment cost of up to $10,203,225 and
  • Shall Triview taxes be increased up to $449,225 annually … for:
  • Constructing, acquiring, and equipping of planned district parks

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Stephenson provided these personal observations on the ballot issues:

  • The voters are voting for authorization, not to create $41.7 million in debt right away.
  • Because nothing was built for the first 10-11 years after Triview was formed, its initial debt authority of $50 million was reduced about 75 percent by inflation and was inadequate for the district’s requirements
  • Debt authority has a maximum lifespan of 20 years in Colorado.
  • The original $50 million in debt authority has expired.
  • Triview is about 25 percent through a normal developer special district life span.
  • Half of the debt authorization for water is to pay for the remainder of the aquifer water under Triview not yet consumed.
  • The wastewater authority pays for the final expansion of Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Facility – all the capacity added in Phase III will belong to Triview – the capacity grows from .875 million gallons per day (MGD) for Phase I, to 1.75 MGD in phase II, and 3.0 MGD in Phase III.
  • The board has no intent to raise taxes to pay any of the debt created by these four ballot issues.
  • If some of the debt authority in these issues is not needed, it will not be used to create unnecessary debt.
  • All the debt will be paid for by impact fees – the phrases on increasing taxes are a worst-case method to pay the debt if no impact fees are collected.
  • The debt pays for infrastructure that Triview is compelled to build by intergovernmental agreements regardless of where the funding comes from – building it is not optional.
  • Triview’s revenue is much healthier than ever before and will pay for the debt without having to raise property taxes.
  • This type of debt is the most cost effective way to finance the infrastructure with the lowest interest due to exemption from federal and state taxes on bond interest with rates of about 3.75 percent.
  • This type of debt is comparable to a homeowner’s mortgage where annual payments are affordable due to favorable rates at this time.
  • The bonds would not be underwritten if potential buyers thought they would not be repaid.

Stephenson resigned from the Triview board effective Sept. 26.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board meeting, September 26: 2008 Budget may include hiring of three additional full-time firefighters

By Jim Kendrick

The board of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection Board started their meeting on Sept. 26 with an hour-long executive session to receive advice from the district’s attorney Tim Schutz on legal matters. After a five-minute recess, the board reviewed the first draft of the 2008 budget. An option that the board will analyze and decide upon in coming months is adding three full-time firefighter/emergency medical technician (FF/EMT) positions, one for each of three shifts.

The assignments for the four full time personnel on each shift would be three district FF/EMTs on the engine and one district FF/EMT on the American Medical Response ambulance, accompanying that company’s full time paramedic. Additional costs for increasing the full time district staff will be determined if an increase in shift staffing for 2008 is approved by the board. Operating revenues are expected to increase by about $350,000 in 2008 due to significant construction within the district’s coverage area over the past year.

The board reviewed the last chapter in the final draft of the district’s new personnel policy manual. Schutz will review the document and provide comments to the board. Director Dave Cross noted that the district’s manual will be used by several other districts as a standard to update their manuals.

Assistant Chief Vinny Burns discussed lessons learned in the deployment of three FF/EMTs to California for a month of wildland firefighting training. All costs for the deployment, about $16,000, will be reimbursed by the Forest Service.

The district will hold its annual open house at Station 1 at the intersection of Gleneagle and Jessie Drives on the morning of Oct. 13 with lots of educational displays and activities as well as a wide variety of fire and rescue apparatus for children and their parents to examine. Those wishing to drive to the open house via Baptist Road should remember to use the Desiree Drive detour, due to the temporary closure of the Gleneagle Drive intersection for ongoing Baptist Road improvements. For more information on the open house, call 488-8680.

The board went back into executive session to discuss personnel issues at 8:32 p.m. and adjourned after that without any further votes.

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The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Station 1. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month.

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Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority, September 26: If no one steps forward, county will appoint new board member

By Susan Hindman

No one from the Woodmoor-Monument community has volunteered to replace Bob Hansen, who resigned as treasurer of the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District board in August after moving out of the district. The position has been advertised locally, but there has been no response. Despite the Oct. 2 merger election, the position must be filled voluntarily by Oct. 24, or the county commissioners will appoint someone.

The Fire Rescue Authority is made up of the Woodmoor-Monument and the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection Districts. The authority’s board comprises both districts’ boards.

Impact fee collection troubles

Collecting impact fees — imposed in 2006 on all new residences and businesses in the Tri-Lakes district area — has posed a challenge when it comes to new schools. Chief Robert Denboske said that District 38 has been unresponsive to requests to pay the impact fee for Palmer Ridge High School, and Director Rick Barnes said he anticipates the same from the proposed charter school soon to break ground at Highway 105 and Knollwood.

"We need to let them (the charter school) know of the impact fee," he said. Denboske assured him that he has, as he has done with Palmer Ridge.

It’s budget time

Denboske passed out a proposed 2008 budget for board members to review so that questions can be addressed over the next month, prior to the next meeting. In anticipation of the ballot measure unifying the districts passing, he prepared one budget instead of separate ones for each district. The final budget needs to be submitted to the state before the December meeting.

In response to questions about the proposed pay package, Denboske said a 5.5 percent increase is being proposed, but it isn’t a 5.5 percent total, across-the-board pay increase or an increase in benefits; it incorporates raises and equalizes pay grades. Pay for the same positions hasn’t been equal in some cases; this would fix that.

Upcoming election

Denboske reported that everything was on track for the Oct. 2 election. "Our guys have been out knocking on doors," he said. He has been gathering information about paperwork and other details that would need to be changed post-election. Other than some election signs having been stolen, no one has heard any negatives or concerns regarding the merger. The results will be posted at the Woodmoor-Monument station.

Jack receives award

Battalion Chief Bryan Jack thanked the board and all those in attendance for nominating him for an Outstanding Manager Award. He received the award — opened this year to mid-level managers — at the Special Districts Association conference in September in Steamboat Springs.

Other matters

Denboske reported that all the equipment is up and running except for one of the fire engines, which has been out of service for six weeks due to engine problems. Much time had been spent trying to verify that the problem was a warranty issue. Once that was proved, repairs were able to begin.

Janaka Branden, a firefighter paramedic, has been hired full time to replace a firefighter who had been dismissed.

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The Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority normally meets the fourth Wednesday of each month, following meetings of the Woodmoor-Monument and Tri-Lakes Fire Protection Districts, which begin at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held Oct. 24 at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

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Safety Fair helps locals prepare for emergencies

Below: Some of the emergency equipment on display Sept. 15. Photo by Janet Sellers

By Janet Sellers

Did you know that in our area of northern El Paso County, the local emergency response time in catastrophic conditions is 72 hours or more? What would you do if you needed to survive for three days without services, heat or utilities, and the stores were all closed?

At the safety fair on Saturday, Sept. 15, emergency agencies from the Tri-Lakes area exhibited vehicles and equipment outdoors at Lewis-Palmer High School. Indoors, a number of booth exhibits provided suggestions on emergency food and water supplies, first aid kits, and storage information. Sharing their expertise with visitors to the Safety Fair included Flight for Life, Tri-Lakes Fire Authority, American Medical Response, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Springs police helicopter unit, Monument Police, Woodmoor Safety, search and rescue teams, and several local service groups such as the Boy Scouts and local church members with handy tips from their own emergency storage solutions.

Local training for volunteers to become a part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is offered periodically in our area, and citizens are urged to get to know more about CERT and/or become CERT members to assist the community in a time of emergency.

Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk explained to Safety Fair visitors that the area’s emergency services would be on a 72-hour response in the case of catastrophic conditions. He mentioned that he would like local citizens to be ready with water, food, and first-aid kits, as well as warmth protection and clothes. At every exhibit at the fair, representatives stressed the importance of local people being prepared via supplies and emergency practice for basic needs of survival without professional help at hand.

By far the most dramatic part of the fair was the helicopter landing and take-off demonstrations. The Flight for Life (FFL) airships are virtually flying emergency rooms. Each helicopter has just enough space for the pilot, one paramedic, one nurse, the patient, and the emergency equipment. They primarily respond to scenes and inter-facility transfers. Scene response could be a mountain rescue or an urban emergency. An all-terrain ambulance in the FFL signature orange safety color was also on hand for visitors to inspect.

While the minimum preparation for disaster is 72 hours, it would be optimal for households to be prepared with water and food for at least two weeks, since supermarkets may be out of essentials in a disaster. That means that a household of four people needs to put aside 6-8 gallons of fresh drinking water for three days, or 10-15 gallons for one week, and 30 gallons for two weeks. Remember that without heat or a way to cook, food should at least be edible right out of the package.

Camping aficionados would do well to have their equipment ready, whether they’re heading out to escape danger (such as a fire or flood) or staying at home for safety (in the case of a blizzard or other weather catastrophe). A sleeping bag makes a warm place to rest if there is no heat. Likewise, non-campers might want to have a few camping tools and protective comforts that would be well worth their space, for safety’s sake. Many of the exhibits at the fair showed these kinds of kits.

The Red Cross recommends five actions for emergency preparedness: 1. Make a plan; 2. Build a kit; 3. Get trained (in CPR, etc); 4. Volunteer; 5. Give blood. For more information on disaster preparedness, there are online sources such as these:  www.fema.gov/areyouready/; www.redcross.org, and www.72hours.org.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Meeting, September 20: Superintendent presents contingency plans for opening Palmer Ridge High School

Below: Jordann Zbylski, Lateefah Young, Niki Taylor, and Britney Ghee were selected among the Colorado Springs Mayor’s 100 Teens. They were commended by school board president Jes Raintree and LPHS principal John Borman. Photo by John Heiser.

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting September 20, Superintendent Ray Blanch, presented a contingency plan for opening Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) in Fall 2008 if the mill levy override ballot measure does not pass November 6.

He noted that without the proposed mill levy override, another $1.5 million will be needed from existing sources to open PRHS. This is in addition to cost reductions that are already proposed to support PRHS operations. He said that several options are being considered, including all or part of the following items in combination with other cutbacks:

  1. Use additional operating reserve funds for the first year of high school operations.
  2. Reduce staffing district-wide by the equivalent of 15 full-time employees – including administrative staff, support staff, specialized teachers, and other positions.
  3. Cut services or increase fees for some transportation services such as athletic transportation and field trips.
  4. Reduce training opportunities and professional development for teachers.
  5. Increase class size.
  6. Increase student activity fees and athletic fees.
  7. Cut some class offerings.

He said the administration is considering these as primary options should the mill levy override issue fail. He added that other alternatives may be considered.

Board member Dee Dee Eaton noted that a second part of the ballot measure is an additional $1.5 million to attract and retain teaching staff.

Blanch noted that, due to the district’s pressing needs, if the mill levy override ballot measure fails, the district would place a measure on the ballot for the November 2008 election.

Citizen comments

During citizen comments, resident Chris Pollard said the Monument Academy is apparently well along in planning for a new school building on Highway 105 near Knollwood Drive and yet the governmental agencies he contacted including the Town of Monument, El Paso County Development Services, Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Lewis-Palmer Administration knew little or nothing about the project. He noted that there has been very little public discussion of this project. Pollard said he has several concerns regarding the project, including the potential traffic impact on Highway 105.

High school construction project update

Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering reviewed this month’s progress at the high school construction sites. Some highlights:

  • Of the $65.1 million in bond proceeds, $8.6 million in invoices have been paid, $12.2 million in invoices have been processed during the latest month, and $39.3 million have been committed on current contracts leaving $5 million yet to be committed.
  • At the PRHS site, grading of the upper parking lot has been completed, the curb and gutter have been placed, and the area is ready for asphalt. After it is paved, it will be used to store equipment during the winter.
  • Grading of the PRHS athletic fields has been completed.
  • Some areas of the PRHS site will be seeded in the next few weeks to help with erosion control.
  • Pre-cast concrete wall panels for the PRHS gymnasium have been placed along with interior masonry block walls.
  • Structural steel framing and decking at the PRHS upper commons dining area is continuing as is structural steel framing, joists, and decking in the music and band classrooms.
  • Footings in the PRHS academic wing are 90 percent complete with foundation walls and finished board form walls on schedule.
  • Final coordination is underway on the paving and turn lanes at Misty Acres Boulevard.
  • Work is winding down at the LPHS stadium project. The stadium hosted an estimated 4,000 fans at the first event August 31. The remaining tasks include final soil preparation with hydro-seeding and sod installation, additional fencing to enclose the underside of the bleachers and line the pathways along the home bleachers, and site demobilization with restoration of the construction staging area, which will be cleaned, graded, and covered with gravel to serve as additional student parking for the balance of the school year.
  • Jackson Creek Parkway has been paved and the traffic signal is being tested. The new entry to LPHS is scheduled to be operational by October 1.

The board unanimously approved PRHS change order 1, which includes 49 items, totaling a contract reduction of $124,548, which lowers the current total contract amount to $43,759,953. The board also approved LPHS change order 3 at an additional cost of $301,877. It brings the total cost of that project to $4,586,778. LPHS change order 3 includes $193,981 in improvements to the baseball and softball fields. Change orders 1-3 for the LPHS project have included 65 improvements.

Other matters

  • Four teens honored - John Borman, principal of Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS), introduced the four LPHS students who were named among the Colorado Springs Mayor’s 100 Teens this year, which is the tenth anniversary of the program. The teens were honored at Armstrong Hall in Colorado Springs in mid-September. They were recognized for their service to others, achievements, accomplishments in spite of adversity, setting good examples, and being role models for others. School board president Jes Raintree read the citations for Britney Ghee, Niki Taylor, Lateefah Young, and Jordann Zbylski and the entire board congratulated each student.
  • Many commended for contributions to the relocation of the Palmer Lake Elementary School (PLES) preschool program - Julie Jadomski, PLES principal, noted that when flooding made the old PLES preschool facility unsafe for students, many people helped refurbish and move the PLES preschool program into the former Sunshine Village building. Those commended were Kim Smoot, Noelle Berry, Norma Brough, Kathy Dinges, Barbara Sansome, Eileen Morgan, Laura Johnson, Julie Jadomski, Julie O’Brien, Gale Hasselbach, Raimere Fitzpatrick (El Paso County Zoning), Jim Carter, Jim Kerby, Mike Ford, Sam Pierce, Larry Hester, Ricky Vestal, Jeff Wagoner, and Gary Russman. Jadomski also thanked Cheryl Wangeman, Chief Financial Officer, and Shirley Trees, Executive Director of Elementary Education, for their help.
  • Agreement with Senior Alliance approved - The board unanimously approved an agreement with the Senior Alliance. A senior social is being held September 29 as a kick-off for the partnership, which will benefit seniors and district 38 students.
  • Report on Community Schools – The agreement with the Senior Alliance is an element of Blanch’s community schools initiative, which envisions shared use of school facilities, offering community classes, and coordination of volunteer services using the schools as anchor sites. Blanch has formed a task force with Robin Adair, community relations manager, Hal Garland, Director of Transportation, and Wangeman. Blanch said that as part of this initiative he is planning to offer the first classes in January.
  • LPHS Student Council – LPHS Student Council officers Joseph Marcus and Alex Colvin reported on planned projects for this school year. The largest of the projects is the replanting of the Hayman burn area. This work will be done with the sponsorship of Coleman Foods. Other activities include planning homecoming and the Harvest of Love Food Drive.
  • District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) report – Betty Hutchinson reported on the September DAAC meeting. The committee defined the roles of DAAC, reviewed the charge from the board and administration, and discussed highlights for future meetings.
  • Facilities and Enrollment Committee (FEC) report – FEC Chair Carl Janssen presented an overview of the committee’s work. The FEC concluded that money from the bond fund and 1999 mill levy override are being spent in accordance with the ballot measures approved by the voters. Janssen thanked Raintree and board member Stephen Plank for their contributions to FEC while the committee was being established.
  • FEC report on the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) – FEC member Marilynn Edwards presented a review of the CIP. This committee analyzed a building maintenance survey conducted on each district facility to determine overall building condition and needs. They found that some schools are in very good condition while others need a considerable amount of work. They recommended shifting priorities or re-budgeting some items, placing safety issues before other needs, and including all future needs, such as maintenance items for PRHS, in the CIP.
  • Audit Committee report – Board member Gail Wilson reported on the August 31 meeting of the Audit Committee. Wilson noted that Wangeman is implementing internal controls recommended by the auditors. The auditors will submit a management letter to the board again this year and will make a presentation at a board meeting.
  • Status of Lewis-Palmer Education Foundation (LPEF) – Raintree reported that the LPEF balance is $21,848. She said that after ten years that is still not enough principal to achieve the goal of earning enough interest to provide financial assistance to needy students. Blanch said he plans to hold a family fun walk/run next fall as a fund-raiser for the LPEF. He added that members of the business community will be sought to serve on the LPEF board. To increase the LPEF’s presence in the district, information about it will be added to the district’s website.
  • Early Childhood Education (ECE) report – Dr. Shirley Trees reported that the ECE task force will meet monthly to analyze the district’s current preschool program to determine the vision and future for the program. In April or May 2008, the committee will report their recommendations to the board.
  • Board/Superintendent goals for 2007-08 tabled –This item has been tabled until the board works with the superintendent to align goals with the strategic plan.
  • Revised Policy Manual section approved – The board unanimously approved the policies in the Fiscal Management section of the revised policy manual.
  • Board Member comments – Board member LouAnn Dekleva noted that she attended school open houses and the Special Education Advisory Committee meeting September 12. Plank thanked the volunteers on the FEC for their contributions to the district. Eaton reported that she attended the Tri-Lakes Chamber Leadership Conference at the Air Force Academy and complimented Blanch for his presentations on the Twenty-First Century Child and the Senior Alliance. Wilson shared an article from Kristie Kauerz of the Lt. Governor’s office regarding staffing the P-3 committee. She will act as the board’s delegate at the Colorado Association of School Boards Delegate Assembly and requested input from board members regarding the proposed resolutions. Raintree announced that the board’s work on policy governance has been suspended until after the election and she encouraged the board to continue with it as soon as possible.

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The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education normally meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Learning Center in the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, 2nd and Jefferson. The next meeting is 7 p.m., October 18.

The district’s Web site is at www.lewispalmer.org. Meeting highlights from the district’s Web site were used in preparing this article.

The Monument Academy Web site is at www.monumentacademy.net.

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New partnership brings opportunities to senior citizens

Below (L to R) At the Senior Social Sept. 29, Ray Blanch, Maureen Poirier, and Jes Raintreejoin in formally signing the new Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program Partnership.  Photo by Roni Fuster.

Below: America the Beautiful Barbershop Singers entertain over 150 attendees at the Sept. 29 Senior Social held at D-38’s "Big Red" administration building. Photo by Roni Fuster.

By Roni Fuster

Ray Blanch, superintendent of Lewis-Palmer School District 38, unveiled plans Sept. 29 for a "partnership" involving senior citizens, the school district and the YMCA.

"We realize that seniors are one of our most valuable resources, and we want to capitalize on that," Blanch said. "Therefore, District 38 is entering into a new partnership with the YMCA and the Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance. Together we are going to leverage all of our resources, such as buildings, classes, health-care providers, and professionals in a variety of fields which will enable us to provide tremendous opportunities for those interested in taking advantage. In return, we hope that seniors will volunteer in all of our school programs, bringing their valuable talents and wisdom; thus creating an intergenerational experience for our 6,000 students. It’s a win-win for everyone."

Maureen Poirier, Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) board president, and Chuck Roberts, chairman of the Senior Alliance, have worked for over three years to make this partnership a reality.

"When Chuck and I began this journey, it was slow going. But then Ray Blanch entered the picture and things began to happen," Poirier explained. "My one charge to all the seniors who are present at our ‘kick off’ is to spread the word to all your friends. We are listening to you, and we are responding. Come take advantage of all we have to offer."

Wendy Ventura, a volunteer who will be responsible for senior activities at the Y, explained how the new "warm" pool, the physical fitness areas, the walking track, and a variety of classes will be available to seniors. A conference room will also be open for use by outside clubs.

The hope of this group is that seniors will have things to do and places to go every day of the week. In addition, a scholarship program has been established so that no senior will be turned away from an activity for financial reasons.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, a lunch and social hour will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Learning Center at "Big Red," the District 38 Administrative Building on Jefferson. The cost will be nominal. Organizers hope this will be the beginning of a weekly happening at this site. Robin Adair, community relations manager for D-38, says the plan is to have a variety of classes and events available for seniors by the end of January. Input from everyone is welcome. To volunteer or to find out more about the Senior Citizen Program, contact Robin at 488-4700. For more information on the luncheons, call HAP at 481-4864, ext. 23.

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D-38 Candidate Statements

The November coordinated election is being conducted by mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed to voters between Oct. 12 and Oct. 22. The county clerk must receive completed ballots no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Three four-year positions on the five-member Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board are up for election. Each position on the school board represents one of five geographic director districts within the school district’s boundaries. Voters in the school district vote for one candidate for each position.

The three positions up for election are director districts 2, 4, and 5, which are currently occupied by LouAnn Dekleva, Jes Raintree, and Stephen Plank, respectively. Board positions for director districts 1 and 3, occupied by Dee Dee Eaton and Gail Wilson, will be up for election in November 2009.

There are four candidates, two each for director districts 2 and 5. The sole candidate for director district 4, Timothy Patrick Bains, withdrew from the election, although his name will still appear on the ballot. After the Nov. 6 election, the director district 4 position on the board will be vacant. The other four board members will appoint someone to fill the vacancy.

OCN asked each of the four remaining candidates to respond to the following two questions in 500 words or less:

  1. What in your background would help you as a D-38 school board member?
  2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the school district and what would you propose the school district should do to deal with them?

The answers provided are listed in the order the candidates appear on the ballot.

Director district 2 candidates

LouAnn Dekleva

1. What in your background would help you as a D-38 school board member?

My volunteer experience and leadership in D-38 is broad and varied. From working concessions for Booster Club, parent of two LP graduates, chairing Building and District Accountability Committees multiple times, and having chaired or been a member of every bond/mill levy override committee since I moved to this community, it has been an educational 20 years. I believe this provides knowledge, experience and district leadership opportunities not available to those coming to a board position without any active experience and understanding in the district.

My professional experience, D-11 central administration employee (20 years), provides me a unique perspective. I have a working knowledge of school finance, state standards and administration of human resources. I have dedicated my professional career to developing and linking community resources (time, treasure, talents) for the enrichment of student’s educational experience.

As a citizen of this community, I believe it is my civic duty to contribute to the greater good by applying my passion for public education and my love of life-long learning to the service of District 38. My commitment is documented by my attendance – only board member with perfect attendance, and my work ethic, coming to each meeting prepared, ready to discuss agenda items with my own research and homework completed.

2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the school district and what would you propose the school district should do to deal with them?

  1. Preparing students, with limited shrinking resources, for a changing economic and societal shift. Today’s world requires workers to interact in a more global economy, and perform work while adapting to new standards and expectations. Because we are a public school district, we accept and prepare all students who come to us regardless of their abilities and skills. One size fits all is not an acceptable solution. Student assessment data provides an opportunity for prescriptive instruction interventions. Our educators will have information identifying the needs of individual students while designing curriculum and aligning assessments. My responsibility is to engage in conversation with community members about how we prepare students of this community, and translate their wishes and desires into outcomes based on cost-effective priorities that allow our district to reach those outcomes for every student.
  2. Recruiting and maintaining a highly qualified teaching staff. The prescriptive instruction I mentioned previously will require a professional teaching staff trained to collect data, and utilize the data in determining how to best meet the educational needs for each student. D-38 teacher compensation is below neighboring districts. It is in our best interest not to slip farther behind. The teacher core of D-38 has established the foundation and reputation Lewis-Palmer School District 38 currently enjoys.

As part of the Board of Education team, I encourage monitoring resources for teacher compensation, with a focus on measurement against outcomes reached by students. Teacher compensation is a priority when determining utilization of available resources.

 

John Mann

1. What in your background would help you as a D-38 school board member?

I have two distinct career experiences that will combine to make me a highly effective D-38 school board member. First, I gained invaluable experience and skill in leadership and management positions throughout my 24-plus years as a USAF officer. Over the years while assigned at squadron level, I held every key squadron management position and advanced to flight lead, instructor pilot, and mission commander, eventually leading combat mission in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. I concluded my flying career as a squadron commander of a fighter squadron stationed in Germany where I was responsible for over $600 million in fighter aircraft and the 260 personnel assigned to operate and maintain them. As a senior officer, I attended the National War College and served as a senior staff officer and executive officer for the commander of U.S. Space Command.

The second major experience in my professional career has been to be a classroom teacher in both math and physics for the past nine years at Lewis-Palmer High School. I have taught all levels of academics, from pre-algebra to AP physics, and coached both girls’ and boys’ sports. I have come to appreciate the quite distinctive nature of working in public education. I have learned the value of developing a solid and communicative relationship among three key sets of people—the student, his/her parents or guardians, and teachers/administrators. I have also learned that the business of education must be very diverse and flexible if it is to meet the needs of every child in the district. However, that reality is sometimes in conflict with the mandate from the Colorado Department of Education that requires schools to apply a "standard" education for all children across the state. So those in public education have a most difficult and often under-appreciated job.

2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the school district and what would you propose the school district should do to deal with them?

A very important challenge to the district, both for the near term and beyond, is that of accommodating the rapid growth in our population. District leadership has struggled in addressing this growth, especially as it applies to solutions for the overcrowding at Lewis-Palmer High School. Though we are now building a second high school, the issue of growth in D-38 is far from over, and the district must start now to develop a long-range plan for building new schools to address this growth. The district must maintain positive communications with the public and build a consensus and support for its strategic growth plan.

Perhaps the single biggest challenge for the district is to restore a sense of trust and confidence in the leadership of D-38. The aforementioned difficulties solving overcrowding at the high school were not trivial. It seemed the district couldn’t decide on the best solution, and there were many acrimonious communications and negotiations attempting to acquire land. Recently, staff turnover, including the position of superintendent, has been much too great. Leadership is all about relationships, and district leadership must re-establish a positive relationship with the people it serves—students, parents, staff, and the community.

Director district 5 candidates

Jeff Cantlebary

1. What in your background would help you as a D-38 school board member?

My formal education is in engineering. This background helps me make decisions based on facts versus emotions and will drive decisions which best meet the needs of all stakeholders within the education community.

In addition to an engineering background, I have been in a management role for the last 15 years which has broadened my skills in two areas. The first area in which I have grown is in the financial aspect of business. I have managed annual budgets in excess of $60 million. The second and more critical skill is the importance of negotiating and relationship building. These two skills are imperative for successful leadership in any governing body, such as the school board.

2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the school district and what would you propose the school district should do to deal with them?

The two greatest issues I see for our district are fiscal stability and a lack of trust between the community and school board. The most important fiscal issue at hand is the retention of highly qualified teachers within D-38. Although D-38 has many plusses from involved parents, great students and wonderful facilities, we risk losing these teachers to better-paying districts in our area.

The second concern is the rebuilding of trust within our community. The new school must make this their number one goal. To be successful, the board must focus on completing the governance policy manual, streamline the board meetings to get more community involvement and finally hold informal Q and A sessions that encourage open communication with the board, school administration, and community.

 

Stephen C. Plank

1. What in your background would help you as a D-38 school board member?

My education in economics and 30 years of business management have been helpful in understanding the organizational, business, and legal side of school district operations, as well as the decision-making processes necessary to make team-based decisions. Nothing in my background fully prepared me for the emotional political environment of a public school board position. I was certainly not politically astute when I started on the board four years ago. I am still not as politically astute as professional politicians, but I have had enough personal experience with difficult and contentious public issues requiring timely solutions that I am no longer politically naïve.

For me, the experiences of the last four years in working with a set of dedicated educators, involved and supportive parents, and some really fine students has been an education in itself. In addition, the interaction with the community as a whole has given me a better perspective of being an elected member of the school board. It is easy to get caught up in the school’s goals and ignore the rest of the community’s thoughts. To be an effective elected representative, it is necessary to work with every group and balance the opinions and values of the entire community.

2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the school district and what would you propose the school district should do to deal with them?

The challenge of two high schools is the most critical issue, but since it is entirely within our control I think the following two issues are the greatest.

First, I think the national and state vision for public schools needs to be solidified. The continuous and contentious rhetoric-based, one-size-fits-all legislation we see every year is generally reactive rather than pro-active. Our school board needs to lead this excellent district through these legislative mandates in a manner that reflects the community’s values and goals for our own distinct student population. In doing so, the board needs to recognize that 21st-century students require a broader educational philosophy. We need to incorporate community and regional assets for relevant student learning in an integrated, cost-effective and comprehensive plan.

Second, I think the design of educational finance in Colorado, coupled with cross-purposed citizen initiatives, will continue to have negative impacts on our community’s ability to finance schools in a fiscally prudent manner. In the short term, we need to pass the Mill Levy Override request this election because that is the only financing available to operate Palmer Ridge High School and keep us competitive with surrounding districts in hiring and retaining quality teachers. In the long term, we need to be proactive in the conversations to restructure educational finance in Colorado. Education is an advantage to society as a whole in providing the foundation for long-term economic growth, in protecting our position in the world, and in avoiding the higher costs associated with an uneducated society. Financing options for education need to be borne by society as a whole and not by increased taxation of local property owners for the general benefit of the state. Education financing needs to be audited on a school-by-school basis for reasonable costs and reasonable results.

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority special meeting, September 24: Baptist Road project delayed; contract extended

By Jim Kendrick

The Baptist Road project will not be completed by Nov. 27 as called for in El Paso County’s construction contract with Rocky Mountain Materials & Asphalt. The final layer of asphalt along the entire length of the Baptist Road project will not be poured until spring.

Andre Brackin, county Department of Transportation Capital Projects director, reported these delays—which have been caused by the Monument Ridge developer and Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA)—at the BRRTA meeting Sept. 24.

The delays have increased the funding shortfall for the Baptist and Struthers Road projects from about $1.5 million to about $2 million. Available Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) and Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) funding will probably run out about the time winter starts to delay construction again.

The specific purpose for BRRTA’s special meeting was to approve a contract extension for PBS&J, the engineering consultant that designed the widening of Baptist Road and the extension of Struthers Road to the intersection of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.

The cost of contract amendment No. 9 was $92,138 for inspections and other final "as built" documentation work that will now extend to spring 2008. BRRTA pays for the work performed by PBS&J on Baptist Road, while the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) pays for PBS&J’s similar work on Struthers Road.

The BRRTA board unanimously approved the PBS&J contract extension.

County Commissioner Dennis Hisey and Monument Trustee Dave Mertz were absent.

Baptist Road completion date postponed to Spring 2008

Monument Mayor Byron Glenn noted that the developer of Monument Ridge, on the southeast corner of Baptist and Struthers Roads directly across from the King Soopers shopping center, had still not finished the grading required by MVEA to move its underground electrical power lines southward, away from the right-of-way for the two eastbound lanes of Baptist Road. This, along with several other utility movement issues, has delayed completion of the Baptist Road project by several months.

Brackin reported that until these buried MVEA electrical lines are moved, grading, preparation of the road base, and paving of the lower layer of asphalt for the eastbound lanes cannot be completed. The county provided all the construction plans and easement documentation required by the utility months ago. The delays caused by the Monument Ridge developer and MVEA now mean that the Baptist Road project will not be completed by Nov. 27.

Brackin reported that all the lanes of the Struthers Road extension will be completed to connect to the Jackson Creek Parkway intersection as planned now that the water lines under the northbound lanes have been installed. New poles have been installed for the traffic signals at this intersection. However, the full functionality of the intersection will not be available because Baptist Road remains only two lanes wide to the west of the intersection.

Gleneagle Drive traffic signal

The BRRTA board deferred approval of a proposed payment for half of the additional costs to install a traffic signal at Gleneagle Drive and Baptist Road until final signal installation costs could be determined. The town of Monument is responsible for the other half of the signal costs, plus all the costs for underground wiring and conduit for the signals and controls. This signal will be activated when the first house in Promontory Pointe is sold, regardless of whether the intersection meets county warrants for activation per an agreement between Monument and the county.

BRRTA attorney Jim Hunsaker, of Grimshaw & Harring P.C., noted that the boundaries for BRRTA had expanded due to numerous inclusions of parcels outside the boundaries of the town that are also subject to PPRTA taxes. BRRTA had been entirely contained in Monument when the temporary 1-cent BRRTA sales tax that will finance the I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion was proposed.

The Monument Board of Trustees voted not to participate in PPRTA or to receive PPRTA sales tax revenues. Since the PPRTA and BRRTA sales taxes each increased total taxation on their then-separate constituents to the state maximum of 7.9 percent, the citizens subject to BRRTA and PPRTA taxation cannot be doubly taxed.

Acquisition of I-25 interchange right-of-way continues to stall construction

Background: The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) policy on interchange construction requires that all right-of-way must be obtained before a construction bid can be advertised. Expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange by the county, although paid for by BRRTA sales taxes, must comply with CDOT policies and regulations.

The substantial interchange right-of-way donation is necessary because the new Baptist Road bridge over I-25 will be eight lanes wide. All four interchange ramps will be widened to two lanes. Currently, Baptist Road and the bridge are only two lanes wide and the existing ramps were designed to be only single lanes.

The state will not accept ownership for the new interchange bridge after construction is completed due to a lack of projected highway maintenance funds. While the state will continue to own and maintain the I-25 through-lanes and the widened interchange ramps, the county will become the owner of the new bridge over the interstate and will have to pay for future maintenance of the two new four-lane spans. The state’s existing two-lane bridge will be demolished to make room for the county’s eastbound span after construction of the county’s westbound span is completed.

The county owns the rest of Baptist Road, including the extension between Roller Coaster Road and the Hodgen Road intersection with Highway 83. The county plans for Hodgen and Baptist Roads to become a truck route from I-25 past Eastonville Road to Highway 24 have not yet been approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

The Shuck Corp. has donated its portion of the right-of-way on the southwest side of the Baptist Road interchange to CDOT. Valero Energy Corp., Phoenix-Bell, and THF Realty have not donated the other required right-of-way.

Phoenix-Bell owns the commercial land north of Baptist Road, between I-25 and Old Denver Highway, with the exception of Valero’s Diamond Shamrock truck stop. Phoenix-Bell will provide access to the truck stop after the existing entrance is eliminated by the additional westbound lanes and curbs for the new southbound two-lane off-ramp. Phoenix-Bell has agreed to negotiate a donation soon, but Valero is not yet ready to finalize its donation.

THF Realty purchased the former Foxworth-Galbraith property at Baptist and Struthers Roads on July 9 from Mike Watt. THF has not donated any of the former Watt property to the county for interchange right-of-way.

THF has not yet purchased the adjacent vacant Timbers at Monument property that surrounds the former Watt parcel to the east and north; THF may close on the ADK parcel in October.

The portion of Struthers Road south and west of the former Watt parcel up to the entrance to the closed hardware store will be used to build the new northbound I-25 on-ramp. The former Watt parcel will have no access to any road until THF purchases the Timbers parcel from ADK Monument Developers LLC, because all of Struthers Road between Baptist and Higby Roads will be abandoned.

THF is asking the town of Monument not to charge any additional taxes or impact fees for doubling the proposed density that was approved in ADK’s planned development (PD) site plan. THF has asked the town to raise the approved 352,000 square feet of commercial and office space to up to 700,000 square feet at no increase in a variety of town fees. The town has declined to agree to these incentives, worth millions of dollars, in return for these two strips of right-of-way.

Neither of these two properties will have any access to Baptist Road, between the small Baptist Road Bridge over Jackson Creek and the northbound portion of Struthers Road, unless the county and CDOT conclude a memorandum of understanding with THF that was previously negotiated with ADK, but not signed, when the ADK site plan was approved by the town.

ADK had agreed to give up considerable land on the south side of its property for several new lanes when Baptist Road is widened from two to eight lanes along the ADK frontage. In return for the right-of-way donation, ADK received an access to Baptist Road that includes a dedicated westbound right-turn lane into the parcel, a dedicated westbound lane leading to the two-lane northbound I-25 on-ramp, and a left-turn lane from eastbound Baptist into the ADK property. Baptist Road will be at least eight lanes wide between the new bridge spans and the existing traffic signal at Jackson Creek Parkway.

BRRTA Chair Byron Glenn asked Hunsaker to initiate appraisals and documentation for eminent domain condemnation, with immediate possession, of the remaining right-of-way that has not yet been donated. Hunsaker said the condemnation process would take a minimum of four to six months to be completed and that care must be taken to make sure that the right-of-way purchase budget is not exceeded. Award of a contract for expansion of the interchange will most likely not begin until summer 2008 at the earliest.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 a.m.

**********

The next scheduled BRRTA meeting is at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 in Monument’s Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are held irregularly and alternate between Town Hall and the County Commissioners building at 27 E. Vermijo in downtown Colorado Springs. Information: 884-8017.

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El Paso County Planning Commission: Hodgen plan will be reviewed again

By Steve Sery

There were no Tri-Lakes area items on the El Paso County Planning Commission’s agenda in September, but the Hodgen Road Corridor Plan generated a lot of discussion. The Planning Commission reviewed it in August. This is the portion of Hodgen Road east of Highway 83 to Eastonville Road.

The Hodgen Road plan was continued until Nov. 6 to allow the county Department of Transportation (DOT) time to review alternatives with the public and come forward with more specifics. The county attorney determined that it was not necessary for the Planning Commission to hear this item and the DOT could proceed directly to the County Commissioners for approval. This created quite a stir from the residents and members of the Planning Commission.

It was formally withdrawn by the DOT from the Planning Commission at the Sept. 18 meeting and went to the County Commissioners on the 24th. The County Commissioners, after reviewing the full transcript of the Planning Commission proceedings, sent DOT back to the Planning Commission, where it will be heard again at the Nov. 6 meeting.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, September 24: Residents concerned over plans to lower Lake Woodmoor

By Chris Pollard

At the Sept. 24 meeting of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Board, resident Richard Hicks said he was concerned about plans to lower the level of Lake Woodmoor. He said he had discussions with the environmental agencies and the El Paso County Development Services division and determined that Woodmoor Water and Sanitation would need to comply with environmental regulations in proceeding with its plans. He said he is concerned about the effect that draining the lake would have on the riparian habitat and wetlands at the north end of the lake and on the wildlife that use the lake.

Hans Post, president of the WIA, asked if Hicks had talked to Woodmoor Water and Sanitation and suggested he attend its next board meeting. Post said he knew that they had talked to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the removal of fish and that the priority of Woodmoor Water was to repair the failing valve to ensure drinking water storage.

Hicks’ wife, Rebecca, asked if the WIA had any oversight in this matter. Post said that Woodmoor didn’t own the lake but did have a health and welfare obligation and suggested that Woodmoor Water be invited to update the board on the status of the project and address the habitat issue.

Other issues

Drainage: Executive Director Camilla Mottl said that one of the biggest problems has been with regard to drainage issues in the area where Woodmoor meets the Montessori School and Timberview properties. County Development Services was contacted and was expected to discuss with the developers and engineers responsible for those two areas to check what drainage system was planned versus what was built. She expected to get a summary report in a few days.

Praire dogs: County agents have also checked the health of prairie dogs in one of the large open areas, and it is probable that the county will take no action because agents didn’t see any evidence of ill health among the animals.

Littering: Mottl noted that since Jake Shirk, director of Public Safety, and Kevin Nielsen, chief of Woodmoor Public Safety, had contacted the Lewis-Palmer High School officials, there has been good feedback from local residents, indicating an improvement in student behavior. Additionally, the high school Serteen group had volunteered to clean areas affected by littering.

Mail theft: Another major problem was revealed when Mottl received a high number of calls from residents about mail being stolen from mailboxes. The problem appeared to be confined to the central area around the Woodmoor Country Club. Six complaints had been filed so far, and the Postal Inspector was investigating the problem. The inspectors initially thought that kids were involved and it wasn’t related to identity theft, as mail was found lying on the ground. Post suggested people be reminded not to put checks in outgoing mail and to promptly pick up received mail.

Charter school site: Another item for which Mottl received a significant number of calls concerned the new charter school. She had spoken with the owner of the school site, who had stated that the land under consideration was not covered by the WIA covenants negotiated for the Woodmoor Village development. The school would be built between the Knollwood Village development and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints adjacent to Highway 105.

Confusion: Mottl had also received two calls about rumors that the WIA was going to disband. Post said the board would definitely let owners know if that happened. (Editor’s note: This rumor may be related to the fact that the disbanding of the Woodmoor Monument Fire Department was proposed in the October election.)

General mischief: Nielsen said that there had been a lot of general mischief problems in the last two weeks on Saturday nights, with driveway lights being destroyed and trampolines being moved into the roadway. It was believed to be the work of two teenagers. The problem with street signs being painted with the initials "TG," which was announced previously, was still being worked on by the county Roads Department. More than 60 signs had been replaced with clean ones.

There was also a problem with stolen stop signs. The culprits removed the stop signs, the posts and the warning signs before them. Nielsen noted that the county has been "fantastic" about quickly replacing them.

High school access to be opened: Bill Walters, vice president, announced that the new north-end access to the high school on Jackson Creek Parkway would open during the following week.

Aggressive animals: The board discussed how to deal with the problem of aggressive animals. The board’s counsel had been asked to come up with comments as to whether the current rules were sufficient.

Shirk, who is also chief of Monument Police, said that he was concerned about the WIA becoming involved with this issue, which can involve a criminal violation. The board members noted that residents have generally expected the WIA to be involved in dog-related issues, particularly barking dogs. Shirk said barking dogs could be a criminal violation too. Concerning vicious dogs, he suggested that residents should be reminded that they should complain to the county rather than WIA, adding that the board might consider banning such animals. The board agreed that they would still be involved with barking dogs and pet waste problems, but vicious dog issues should be directed to the county. Amy Smith, director of Forestry, said that she thought the directors of Covenants and Public Safety should get together and come back to the board next month with a response.

Chipping program successful

Smith reported that a very successful chipping session had been held for residents, raising over $500 and handling over 100 loads of slash. Three local tree contractors, Treemasters, Davey Tree, and Tall Timbers, had volunteered crews and equipment for the day and even supplied food. Additional help came from the local fire departments. With this success, Smith said the chipping session proposed for next spring would be busier but may be the only one necessary for the year. She said that it had been a very positive community event with the tree services, which are competitive businesses, working very well together.

A Firewise neighborhood meeting in the Top of the Moor area was planned to inform neighbors about grants available for tree thinning and other activities to reduce fire risk. It is one of the neighborhoods with a severe fire hazard problem.

Concerts scheduled

Bill Walters reminded the board of the planned free "Concerts in the Barn" showcasing local talent. These were scheduled for Tuesday nights from 7 to 8 p.m. throughout October. The Al Kaly Shrine German band is scheduled for Oct. 9, the Lewis-Palmer High School jazz band for Oct. 16, the Tri-Lakes Community bell choir for Oct. 23, and the Exit 161 jazz choir for Oct. 30.

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September Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Temperatures were right on average for the month, but for the first time since June precipitation was well below normal, with less than an inch falling in most locations. As usual, we experienced our first below-freezing temperatures as we headed into the first days of fall.

September started off on the mild side, with highs reaching into the low 80s from the 1st through the 4th. Scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms continued to develop each day, with the heaviest rain occurring during the late afternoon and early evening of the 3rd. Temperatures cooled over the next few days, reaching the 70s from the 5th through the 8th. Overnight lows began to show what time of year it is as well, dipping into the upper 30s and low 40s on the mornings of the 7th and 8th. Low clouds and fog developed on the morning of the 9th behind a cold front, giving a nice feel of fall to the region.

Quiet conditions were prevalent for most of the second week of September, which is typical as we transition from a summer pattern to a fall pattern. Many mornings were chilly, followed by pleasant afternoons. However, the week started off on the cool and cloudy side, as a cold front brought upslope conditions behind it. This led to the usual low clouds, fog, and light rain/drizzle from the 9th through the 10th. The moist air mass soon left the region and the 11th through the 13th was dry and clear. Of course, with the longer nights and the already chilly start to the evening before, the morning lows on the 11th were downright cold. Many areas experienced their first freeze of the season, but the temperatures never got much below 32°F and were not cold for too long, so most plants survived just fine. Temperatures warmed over the next few days, reaching back into the mid- to upper 70s by the 13th. A weak cold front then pushed in some cooler air for the 14th, knocking highs back down to the low 60s. Once again, however, this didn’t last very long, as westerly winds kicked in across the region on the 15th and 16th, bringing above-normal temperatures back, with highs reaching the low 80s both afternoons and making for a warm last weekend of summer.

The last week of summer ended with quiet and dry weather, with the exception of some rain on the 17th. Highs rebounded from the 60s on the 17th to the low 80s by the 21st with plenty of sunshine for the majority of the week. Winds also kicked up through the week, signaling a change in the seasons, as the jet stream gets stronger and closer to Colorado. This often allows stronger winds to be felt at the surface, especially during the afternoon when the sun mixes up the air. The first weekend of fall turned out to be more like summer, with highs well into the 70s and mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies.

The month ended much the same as it began, with lots of sunshine and seasonal temperatures. Morning lows did dip below freezing on several nights from the 25th through the 30th. The most "exciting" weather period occurred from the afternoon of the 29th through the morning of the 30th, when a storm system raced through central and northern Colorado. Ahead of this storm, the jet stream moved over us and brought with it very strong winds. As the storm approached, wind gusts reached as high as 71 mph around the Air Force Academy. This storm quickly moved through, bringing a dusting of snow to the mountains and left behind clear, cool weather for us on the last day of the month.

As we head into the last few months of the year, we can expect temperatures to begin to take a substantial dip, and chances for snow will be in the forecast through at least next April, so enjoy the last days of mild, quiet weather we often see in early October.

A look ahead

October can be an active weather month for the Tri-Lakes region, with winter conditions often experienced during the month. In fact, for three of the last four years, weather around Halloween has been cold and snowy. Remember the 6-15 inches of snow that fell during 2004 from Halloween night through Nov. 1st, then over 20 inches of snow fell Oct. 9-10th in 2005, and just last year over 24 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours on Oct. 26th. Of course, the weather can also be very dry and mild, so enjoy those days while you can.

The official monthly forecast for October 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center ( http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/ ), is calling for equal chances of normal temperatures and better than normal chances of below normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.

September 2007 Weather Statistics

Average High 70.6° (-0.9)
Average Low 39.6° (0.0)
Highest Temperature 82° on the 3rd, 15th
Lowest Temperature 28° on the 26th
Monthly Precipitation 0.51" (-1.38")
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.8")
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (-0.8") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 7.95" (+0.25") (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)

For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region, please visit Bill Kappel’s Weather Web page at http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/Weather.htm.

Remember, weather affects all of us everyday and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at billkappel@ourcommunitynews.org.

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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Letters to Our Community

Thanks to Safeway

Recently, my wife, Tina Lewis, requested a donation of various items to help our son’s Marine unit as they prepared to ship out to Iraq. I wanted to share with you the good news that Kristine Staaf of Safeway shared with us

recently: As part of the "Because Safeway Cares" initiative, Safeway’s Denver Division provided a $250 gift card, which will be used to buy much-needed items for Daniel Lewis’ unit.

Thank you, Safeway! You’ve made it a little more comforting for our son and his fellow Marines, and for us to send him out to serve his country.

Gregory A. Lewis

Vote no on the MLO

A very important ballot is being mailed Oct. 10 to residents of School District 38, with proposals to vote for new school board members. Also on this ballot is the request of the present school board for a $3 million mill levy override to raise principals’ and teachers’ salaries and fund the new Palmer Ridge High School. This amount would be phased in over a few years, after which it would become a permanent $3 million non-reversible homeowners’ tax every year, year after year — forever.

Since there is presently enough available money to fund teachers’ and principals’ salaries and maintain the new school for more than a year, one might ask why is this tax burden — which could raise taxes approximately $400 on an average home — being foisted on the district residents at this time? What is the urgency?

Why put the cart before the horse? Why not wait until after the election of a new board, who, hopefully, would be more fiscally responsible than the present board, and who could better determine what funds would be needed?

There has been bickering on the school board, extremely wasteful spending, and community disapproval of it over the past few years. A petition with over 1,000 voters’ signatures calling for the resignations of Jes Raintree and Louann Dekleva is proof of the voters’ disgruntlement. I hope residents say "No" to this board’s exorbitant $3 million mill levy proposal.

There will be no other opportunity to vote on these issues, other than the mail-in ballot. If residents don’t want to see their district taxes skyrocket needlessly, the only practical thing to do is vote no at this time, adopting a wait-and-see attitude. This mill levy override does not need to be passed now. School construction will continue. Teachers will receive their raises.

Vote no on the mill levy override! Give the incoming school board a chance to work on and present a more acceptable request for funds in the future. And be sure to mail the ballot before the Nov. 6 deadline!

Hub and Ruth Higgins

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Get spooked with a good mystery

By the staff at Covered Treasures

October is the month of ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night, so why not curl up with a good mystery when the blustery winds blow?

Tokyo Year Zero
By David Peace (Alfred A. Knopf), $24

This electrifying novel revisits a series of shocking crimes committed in post-World War II, bombed-out, American-occupied Tokyo. Narrated by the irreverent, despairing yet determined Detective Minami of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Tokyo Year Zero tells a fictionalized story of the real-life hunt for "the Japanese Bluebeard"—a decorated imperial soldier who raped and murdered at least 10 women amid the bleak turmoil of post-war Japan.

Lean Mean Thirteen
By Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s Press), $27.95

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum encounters new secrets, old flames, and hidden agendas on her most outrageous adventure yet. With Evanovich’s flair for hilarious situations, breathtaking action, and unforgettable characters, Lean Mean Thirteen shows why her books continue to entertain readers.

Sweet Revenge
By Diane Mott Davidson (William Morrow), $25.95

Goldy Schulz is thrilled to be catering a holiday breakfast for the Aspen Meadow Library staff. But little does she know that on the menu, alongside the Great Expectations Grapefruit, Chuzzlewit Cheese Pie, and Bleak House Bars, is a large helping of murder. Colorado author Diane Mott Davidson delivers her 13th knockout mystery featuring caterer Goldy Schulz, along with a little humor and even some recipes.

Under Orders
By Dick Francis (Berkley Books), $9.99

Former champion jockey Sid Halley is drawn deeper into the dark side of the race game when he discovers jockey Huw Walker with three .38 rounds in his chest. Only a few hours before, Walker had won the coveted Triumph Hurdle, and just moments before, Halley had been asked by Lord Enstone to make discreet inquiries into why his horses seemed to be on a permanent losing streak. Are races being fixed? Are bookies taking a cut? Halley explores these and other questions and becomes involved in a life-or-death power play—both on and off the track.

Echo Park
By Michael Connelly (Warner Books), $7.99

In 1993, Marie Gesto disappeared after walking out of a supermarket. The 22-year-old was never found, but more than a decade later, a man accused of two heinous murders is willing to come clean about several others, including the killing of Gesto. Taking the confession of the man he has sought—and hated—for 13 years is bad enough, but discovering that he missed a clue back in 1993 that could have stopped nine other murders may be the last straw for Detective Harry Bosch.

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
By Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon Books), $21.95

In the life of Precious Ramotswe, there is rarely a dull moment, and in the latest installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, there is much happening on Zebra Drive and Tlokweng Road. Cases involving an errant husband, an unexpected series of deaths at the Mochudi Hospital, and missing office supplies at a local printing company keep Precious busy.

The Greek Symbol Mystery
By Carolyn Keene (Grosset & Dunlap), $6.99

For young mystery readers, The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories promise cliff-hanging suspense and thrilling action. In this volume, Nancy has two mysteries to solve, and the answers lie in the beautiful and exotic country of Greece. A poisonous snake in a basket of apples and a strange symbol stamped on a rare Byzantine mask are the clues that lead Nancy and her friends to a ring of art smugglers.

Mommy?
By Maurice Sendak, Arthur Vorinks & Matthew Reinhart (Scholastic), $24.95

For the very young, this clever pop-up book is filled with adventure, suspense and delightful 3-D illustrations. In searching for his mommy, Sendak’s little boy encounters a group of characters straight out of a Halloween party.

We hope everyone enjoys October, one of the most beautiful months in Colorado. It promises falling leaves, thrills and chills time, and good weather for a page-turning mystery. Until next month, happy reading!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, September 20: Descendant tells of escape from Taos Massacre

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Below: John David Albert. Photo provided by the Palmer Lake Historical Society

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By Dee Kirby

John David Albert, a mountain man who traded in furs and later became a Colorado rancher, was one of two men to escape the Taos Massacre in 1847.

In an interview before his appearance at the Sept. 20 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society, Sam DeFelice talked about his great-, great-, great-, great-grandfather’s narrow escape from Turley’s Mill with only his gun, shooting bag, a knife, and the clothes on his back, for he had forgotten his coat and lost his hat to a bullet. DeFelice said that before Albert could reach safety, he faced having to cross 140 miles of mountain roads in the dead of winter. Albert’s flight over the mountains is a harrowing story of bravery, determination, and an indomitable will to live.

On the morning of Jan. 19, 1847, in Taos, in what is now New Mexico, Mexicans and Pueblos went on a murderous rampage to kill Gov. Bent, all Americans, and American sympathizers.

The word of troubles in Taos reached Turley’s Mill about mid-morning.

The men had scant time to think or act before the hoard of assailants topped the ridge and descended upon the mill. In an interview after the massacre, Albert said that the men collected in the distillery, a two-story building of considerable size with thick walls. He said bullets rattled against the building like hail. That night, the men attempted their escape.

Albert dodged a rain of shots fired at him. While he hunkered down in a fenced garden with his gun, he listened to the dying screams of one man caught, hacked by knives and scalped.

"I alone in the world of snow, without a human soul on whom I could depend, and with no provisions and no hope of getting any unless I could kill some animal while I was traveling," Albert said, "I never look back to the dark hours of that day and to my sufferings in the days following, but the devil gets in me bigger than a wolf."

Albert lived to age 93. He and Jim Baker, also a mountain man, were close friends. They were two of three men who led the parade of Denver’s Festival of Mountain and Plain in 1895.

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The old boathouse at Palmer Lake

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Below: Photo by William Hook c.1880’s - Paul Idleman Collection, Lucretia Vaile Museum.

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By Jim Sawatzki

Back in the heyday of the Chautauqua era of the late 1880s, there was a boathouse on the western shore of Palmer Lake near the train depot.

It was a concession owned by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad for visiting tourists who came for the day or a weekend excursion. For a fee, one could rent a boat to row about and enjoy the scenic mountain backdrop, maybe do some fishing, or court a young lady at a leisurely pace. For a little excitement, one could row around or even through the 60-foot-tall fountain spray near the center of the lake.

Several years ago, when lake levels were at dramatic lows, the skeleton of a rowboat appeared in the shallows on the northeastern shore. One could only imagine what stories it could tell of its last outing before it sank to the murky bottom. The early railroad structures such as Judd’s Eating House, the large dance pavilion, and the boathouse are all pleasant memories of Palmer Lake’s colorful past.

Learn more about the Chautauqua era at the world premiere of Summer Sojourn on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Free showings will be at the Palmer Lake Town Hall.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Warblers

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Below: Drawing of MacGillivray's Warbler by Elizabeth Hacker

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Below: Drawing of Wilson's Warbler by Elizabeth Hacker

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By Elizabeth Hacker

The sun rises a little later and sets a little earlier each day, and the air is cool. The scent of burning wood permeates the air like aromatic incense burning in a temple. It’s the transitional season when once-green foliage turns multiple shades of amber. Leaves no longer nourished by the branches they’ve clung to for so many months give off a glow before crisp mountain winds blow them to the ground.

The landscape is rapidly changing and the songbirds of summer swiftly head south before winter catches them in its grip. The western tanagers and yellow warblers no longer fly between the trees and shrubs of the Palmer Divide. Bluebirds are still flocking, but they are hardier birds and often stay through October, and sometimes during a mild year will over-winter.

Out of curiosity and perhaps because we missed the songbirds, Randy and I headed down to Cheyenne Mountain State Park to see if any still lingered in the region. We arrived early in the morning, and as we stepped out of the car the first thing we saw was a western tanager dart across the parking lot. We thought this must have been a sign for what proved to be a great day for birding.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park is 1,600 acres of stunning transitional landscapes that range from a high-plains plateau to mountainside. I recently learned that the top of Cheyenne Mountain will be added, and this is good news indeed! This park provides an incredible diversity of minimally disturbed wildlife habitat. In the past, the park had been a ranch, but the owner quit ranching the property after the water table fell due to the blasting when the NORAD facility was built.

In an effort to reduce the stress on the native flora and fauna, dogs and horses are not allowed on the trails in the park. While we missed having our dog Rocky hike with us, the number of birds we saw was amazing.

We hiked six miles through four vegetation zones and observed five species of warblers, along with wild turkey and other birds and animals. Quickly we realized how special this park was, as we had never before seen more than one species of warbler while walking in an area.

As we climbed above the prairie grasses up to the transition zones between the oak savannah, ponderosa forest, and firs, we observed a yellow bird that we first thought was a goldfinch but recognized from its song to be a warbler. Usually warblers shy away from people, but when we stopped to get a better look, the warbler turned its head to watch us and didn’t fly away. While warblers have a distinctive head and eye, individual species vary greatly and can be difficult to identify. Some warblers have a line above the eye, while others do not. Warblers are small birds but some are much smaller than others, so size isn’t always an indicator. All warblers have strong legs, which aids in identification if a bird will stay in place long enough to let me see its legs.

Because identifying a specific warbler species is challenging, we rely on bird guides. On this particular day, we were carrying Fisher’s Birds of the Rocky Mountains. Of the 19 warbler species listed, we thought this bird looked most like the Wilson’s warbler, which was not among the six species of warblers listed on the park’s bird list. Before we add a bird to our list, it must be on another list or we have to spot it at least twice on different days. We haven’t been able to go back to the park, and given the rapid pace at which the birds are migrating, I don’t know if we will be able to add the Wilson’s warbler to our list this year. While disappointing, it gives us something to look forward to next year.

One of the benefits of writing this column is that I often have the pleasure of talking to other bird enthusiasts. Frank Hamer and his family attended a talk Randy and I gave at the Monument Library. While we were billed as bird experts, I believe the participants knew as much as us, and we had a great time sharing bird stories. Frank told us of a bird he was having trouble identifying, and I always think "warbler" when I hear someone is having trouble identifying a bird. He e-mailed me pictures of a bird that had been stunned by flying into a window.

After consulting a number of bird guides, my best guess was a MacGillivray’s warbler. The bird’s distinctive white crescents above and below the eye helped limit the choices, but the coloring of the bird in Frank’s pictures was not exactly the same as the pictures in the guides, so I began a search on the internet. To make identification even more difficult, I learned that coloration might vary depending on location and sex of the bird, as well as time of the year.

On another occasion, I had the pleasure of talking to a real expert. Judith Snouwaert, who has traveled around the globe to see different birds, had some great stories about filming her favorite bird, the albatross. While visiting her at her home, she showed me a few of her rare books, including one by John James Audubon, which to a fellow birder is a rare treat.

Elizabeth Hacker is an artist in the Tri-Lakes area. Her bird prints are available at the gift shop in the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake, with proceeds benefiting environmental causes. E-mail her at OCN with your questions and bird finds.

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The arts in Palmer Lake celebrated and demonstrated, Sept. 8

Photos by JoAnn McNabb

Below: Lorraine Watry at work.

Below: Rock Island Reflections by Lorraine Watry.

Below: Reveille Kennedy enjoying a pause.

Below: Sharecropper’s Wife by Reveille Kennedy. 

Below: Sonny Hood in front of two of his photographs. 

By JoAnn McNabb

The old engine meandered slowly around the bend. Back in the day, the engineer used to wave, and back in the day the boxcars didn’t have gang grafitti all over them. Parking was at a premium Saturday night, September 8. Those who came a little late found themselves parking across the street from the Kaiser-Frazer building and getting the benefit of the Burlington Northern Sante Fe providing a spectacle in itself as it slowly made its way around Palmer Lake.

This certainly didn’t look like the right address for an art exhibit. This old relic of a building looked more like a Studebaker museum. Lack of parking indicated that there was something going on here, though.

The opening reception for the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society and the opening reception for the Sonny Hood Photography Show were a hit. Palmer Lake apparently supports the arts.

People bustled in wearing their Sunday’s best a little early. Inside, colorful pictures in the entrance greeted them. Across the room there were whole walls full of paintings. The paintings were illuminated with soft monopoint lights that highlighted the details. Soft drapes on the ceiling dulled the glare.

And what do you do at an Art Exhibit by the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society? Paint, of course. That’s what Reveille Kennedy and Lorraine Watry do. It gave everyone a chance to see how it’s done. But then, most people were too dressed up to dabble with paintbrushes.

Undaunted by the crowd, Watry donned her apron, sat down with a large pallette of colors, and painted as though she were comfortably seated at home. She was painting a small, colorful nature scene. Meanwhile, across the room Reveille Kennedy was painting a portrait amid a crowd of art affectionados. No stress. It would seem that painting may indeed be the answer to anxiety.

It was a beautiful, relaxing evening. Everyone unabashedly having a good time enjoying the beautiful works that had been presented for display. Were we really in Palmer Lake and not New York?

Did you miss the gala? Sorry, but guess what? The exhibit by the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society will be on display until Oct 6. And don’t forget the Sonny Hood photography show in the Lucy Owens Gallery, also open until Oct 6. The paintings and photographs may be purchased.

Events at the Tri-Lakes center are posted at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Below: Authors Cindy Landsberg (L) and Judith Pettibone (R) signed their newly released book The Hero Within at The Winter-Helmich Gallery during the September Art Hop. Art Hop 2007 will conclude Thursday October 18. Photo by Roni Fuster.

Below: On Sept. 11, the Tri-Lakes American Legion Post 9-11 Commander, Mike Christensen, was officially presented their American Legion permanent charter by the American Legion Department of Colorado Commander, Tim Grabin. 16 of the 48 charter members were present to sign the historical document, which will hang proudly on the wall of their temporary post home. 1st row: Ed Kinney- Manuel Munzo. 2nd row: Thomas Grisbaum- Dave Hershberger- Don Johnson- Tom Weyer- Alicia Gatti- Bob Lowes- Jim Ring- Terry Bennett. 3rd row: John Stearns- Mike Christensen- Charles Kunkler- Harold Lovin- John Schumaker- Cedrick Shatteen. Photo provided by Post 9-11.

Below: Port of entry employees conduct truck inspections on Palmer Divide Avenue just west of Highway 83. El Paso County Deputies and Colorado Springs Police officers assisted. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

Below: The Tri-Lakes YMCA is shown under construction Sept. 25. This photo shows the Clerestory, an architectural term denoting an upper level where the walls rise above the roof line and are pierced with windows. This area is a passageway that runs north, south, east, and west throughout the building. Merv Bennett, President/CEO of the Pikes Peak YMCA said the entire building has been oriented to view Pikes Peak and will have a major presence on the Monument landscape. "We’re very excited about being in Monument and the support we’ve had. Construction is on schedule and depending on the weather we are still planning for an early April grand opening. The ball fields should be in by the end of the year," he explained. Photo provided by the YMCA.

Below: The U.S. Air Force Academy Press Box was the venue for this year’s Front Range Business Epo. Ron Arrington, Interim Executive Director of the Chamber is pictured here with representatives from Ent Credit Union, Title Sponsor for the Sept. 16 event. Ron explains, "This is a major undertaking that we couldn’t have done without our sponsors of which there are twelve. Our mission is to provide leadership in supporting, improving and promoting existing and new business. The Expo is just one way we accomplish this." In addition to organizing the trade-show they offered seminars of interest throughout the day and a first-class four-color program/advertising book. Steve Kirwan, owner of Monument Computers commented, "As a small business owner I thought the event was fabulous! I met so many outstanding business owners and interested visitors. I was able to get my name out there and I know it was beneficial both professionally and personally. It’s a wonderful day of networking, sharing and learning." Future Chamber events include a Member Luncheon on October 11 and "Business After Hours" at Casa Fiesta on October 16. For more information or to make reservations call 481-3282. Photo by Roni Fuster.

Below: In an continuing effort to promote the musical arts in addition to the visual, TLCA hosted The Brad Bietry Jazz Group on September 15. Lisa Phillips, Event Coordinator encourages members and non-members to come enjoy these musical performances that take place in the Tri Lakes’ own backyard . October events include: Jalan Crossland on October 6th. Jalan’s music draws on traditional folk, bluegrass and relatively contemporary genres of rock and jazz. The Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble will be appearing on October 14th. Suzy O’Banion, Manager of TLCA explains that Dotsero, a Colorado favorite appears on October 27th and will be a "sellout". For more information or reservations call 481-0475. Photo by Roni Fuster.

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

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.

Historic Downtown Monument Potato Festival, Oct. 6

This first annual Monument Potato Festival, Oct. 6, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., features a Potato Pancake Breakfast, fire truck tours and free popcorn, Potato Cook-off, Potato Croquet, Spuds n Duds Potato Decorating, and Halloween Fashions for Pets. Check out the scarecrows all over town! See the Community Calendar for details or visit www.monumentmerchants.com.

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Flu shots in Palmer Lake, Oct. 6

Flu and pneumococcal shots by Front Range Flu Shots, LLC, are available Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Palmer Lake Town Office, 42 Valley Crescent Rd. The cost for a flu shot is $25, FluMist nasal spray is $30, a pneumococcal shot is $42. For more information call 481-2953.

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Christmas Crafts Festival, Oct. 6 & 7

The 34th Annual Christmas Crafts Festival, sponsored by the Palmer Lake Art Group, will be held Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, just off Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. A wide variety of items will be available for purchase, including pottery, glass, wood, metal, jewelry, basketry, pinecone and fabric items, plus a wide selection of baked goods. Proceeds fund art scholarships for Tri-Lakes area students. For more information, call 597-6367 or 487-1329.

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Jalan Crossland concert at TLCA, Oct. 6

Acoustic guitarist Jalan Crossland will perform at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Oct. 6. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 show. Crossland is a talented vocalist, banjo player, and songwriter and is an engaging showman. His music includes traditional folk and bluegrass as well as rock and jazz. Tickets are $12 TLCA members, $15 non-members. Tickets are available at The Wine Seller (481-3019) and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665) in Monument and TLCA (481-0475) in Palmer Lake. TLCA is located at 304 Hwy 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, visit the Web site at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert Series begins Oct. 6

The first concert of this exciting four-concert classical music series features James Houlik, renowned tenor saxophone virtuoso, and Michael Baron, award-winning concert pianist. The concert is Oct. 6, 7 p.m., at Forestgate Presbyterian Church, 970 Northgate Rd., one mile east of I-25 Exit 156. In addition, there are free Master Classes at the church given by the concert artists at 10 a.m. on the mornings of the concerts. These classes are free and open to the public. Concert tickets are $15 for adults or $50 for a season ticket, and $10 for students and seniors, or $35 for a season ticket. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rmmaonline.org, e-mail TheRMMA@aol.com, or phone Pam at 484-0192.

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Meet the School Board candidates, Oct. 8 & 15

Interested voters will have two opportunities to hear the candidates for the D-38 School Board. The first meeting is Oct. 8, 7 p.m., at the Lewis-Palmer High School Auditorium, 1300 Higby Rd. The candidates will tell about themselves and their ideas and will answer written questions from the audience. Candidates will present themselves again Oct. 15, 9 a.m., at The Barn, 1791 Woodmoor Dr. This meeting will include information about the mill levy override question on the November mail-in ballot. For more information, call Deborah Goth, 488-3410.

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Empty Bowl Dinner, Oct. 10

The 2007 Empty Bowl Dinner will be held at the Lewis-Palmer High School Commons Area, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument, Oct 10, 5-7:30 p.m. This popular event is organized by Monument Hill Sertoma and the LPHS Serteen Club to raise money for Tri-Lakes Cares. Entertainment includes Joe Bohler’s piano stylings, Monument Hill Brass Quintet, Woody Woodworth and his acoustical guitar, and the Tri-Lakes Community Adult Handbell Choir. Buy tickets for $16 (which includes a hand-crafted pottery bowl) in Monument at Second Street Art Market (formerly Pankratz Gallery), Covered Treasures Bookstore (at the corner of Washington and Second Street), Tri-Lakes Printing (Woodmoor Center), Tri-Lakes Tribune (47 Third St.), and in Palmer Lake at Rock House Ice Cream & More (24 Highway 105). For more information, phone Chris Otto at 487-8582, or e-mail cjotto@att.net.

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Pikes Peak Library District: Call for Artists

Would you like to see your artwork on display at a library? Artists are invited to bring five framed artworks–as they would appear for a potential show at the library–to Penrose Library, Carnegie Room, Oct. 13, 10 a.m. to noon. For drop off and pick up details, contact Cathy Genato, 531-6333 x2338, or e-mail cgenato@ppld.org.

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Monument Library: Oh Zorro, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oct. 13

The Manitou Art Theater presents its version of The Legend of Zorro, the All Pikes Peak Reads 2007 selection. Jim Jackson, Birgitta DePree, and Benjamin Pratt bring their trademark style of physical comedy, puppetry, live music, and melodrama to their special comic adaptation. Especially designed for the kindergarten to fifth-grade student level, the show features heroes and villains locked in an action-packed struggle. The performance is Oct. 13, 10:30 a.m., at the Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. For more information, phone 488-2370.

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Volunteer singers and musicians needed

The Tri-Lakes Music Association (TLMA), a non-profit organization, is recruiting singers and musicians once again to create a Christmas concert series, Phil Barfoot’s "The Joy of Christmas," which will be performed at Lewis-Palmer High School Dec. 21 & 22. The proceeds from this event will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares, a non-profit organization.

There will be two identical vocal rehearsals each week beginning Sunday, Oct. 14, 1 p.m., at The Church At Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Road. Monday evening vocal rehearsals begin Oct. 15, 6 p.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood. Anyone with a desire to sing and have fun is encouraged to come and join this group. In past years, the choir has consisted of 60 to 125 members as well as 20 to 25 orchestra members. For those who can’t make time for a weekly rehearsal, practice CDs allow singers to practice the music in the comfort of their home or automobile. A children’s choir will also be recruited. Also new this year, TLMA is recruiting band members to play in a big/jazz band.

TLMA’s first concert raised approximately $2,600 and the last five raised $4,000 to $5,000 each. This event is funded by several local churches and community members, and the community is encouraged to contribute. For more information, contact Bob Manning at 481-3883 or e-mail rwgmanning@comcast.net or visit the Web site, trilakesmusic.org.

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Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Oct. 14

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) and The Wine Seller Concert Series presents Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble – The Eternal Feminine: Nine Centuries of Music by Women. The concert will be held at TLCA Oct. 14. Doors open at 3:30 for a 4 p.m. show. The Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble is primarily an a cappella chamber ensemble. Founded in 1992 by Artistic Director Deborah Jenkins Teske, the ensemble is dedicated to traditional choral works and innovative programming. Tickets are $12 TLCA members, $15 non-members, and $10 for seniors 65-plus and students. Tickets are available at The Wine Seller (481-3019) and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665) in Monument and TLCA (481-0475) in Palmer Lake. TLCA is located at 304 Hwy 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, visit the Web site at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Community meeting with Sheriff Maketa, Oct. 16

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa will host a community meeting for the Woodmoor and Gleneagle area residents Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m., at the Woodmoor Pines Country Club, 18945 Pebble Beach Way. Sheriff Maketa, along with members of his staff, will discuss crime patterns and statistics for this part of the county. All residents of the area are welcome to participate and ask questions. For more information, call Katie Polavin, Crime Prevention Coordinator, at 520-7151.

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Student art on display at Art Hop, Oct. 18

The last Art Hop of the year, Oct. 18, 5 to 8 p.m., features artwork by Lewis-Palmer art students on display in the businesses in downtown Monument. Art Hop is a celebration featuring art openings, food, live music, and special events. They are normally held the third Thursday, May through October. Maps are available all over town, especially in Historic Monument. For more information, visit www.monumentmerchants.com.

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"The Event to Attend"–Wine and Roses 2007, Oct. 19

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) will present its annual wine-tasting benefit, Wine and Roses, Oct. 19, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Inn at Palmer Divide, 443 Highway 105, in Palmer Lake. The evening will feature live music, a silent and live auction, and dozens of fine domestic and international wines arranged by Dirk Stamp from The Wine Seller. Greg Soukup, the Inn at Palmer Divide’s executive chef, will prepare delicious hors d’oeuvres and decadent desserts.

Tickets will be sold only in advance this year for $50 per person. No tickets will be sold at the door. Reservations are limited, so purchase your tickets early. You may order tickets by mailing a check to TLWC, Attn: Wine & Roses 2007, PO Box 669, Monument, CO 80132. Ticket requests received after Sept. 30 will be held at Will Call the evening of the event. TLWC also will sell tickets outside Wal-Mart Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.tlwc.net or call Ann at 877-230-6288.

To kick off the TLWC Wine & Roses 2007, there will be a special wine-tasting dinner the evening before, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. Dirk Stamp and Chris Sweetanos will pour Chris’s Napa Valley wines paired with the exquisite cuisine of Chef Greg Soukup of MoZaic restaurant. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. For information and pricing, contact MoZaic at 481-1800.

TLWC currently has 200 members and is a nonprofit organization set up exclusively for charitable and educational purposes in the community. In the past 31 years, it has granted more than $500,000 to schools, fire and police departments, and other non-profit 501(c) (3) organizations that provide services to residents within Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

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Tri-Lakes Health Fair, Oct. 20

The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will present the 7th Annual Health Fair Oct. 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. The event features flu shots, childhood vaccinations, vision and hearing evaluations, oral and dental health, financial and legal information, and more. For more information, call the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 481-3282.

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Alaskan Adventure, Oct. 23

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) will present an Alaskan Adventure lecture Oct. 23. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. presentation. In August of 2006, six adventurers trekked, climbed, and paddled to a place in the Arctic Sea that few have ever seen. Watch their amazing story of perseverance, strength, and awe-inspiring beauty as they stood on the edge of North America. Discover the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge–America’s wildest wilderness. Amazing raffle prizes at the end of the presentation include sleeping bags, backpacks, sunglasses, and more. Tickets are $5 at the door; proceeds benefit the Colorado Cancer Foundation. TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. For more information, call 481-0475.

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Dotsero concert at TLCA, Oct. 27

Dotsero will perform at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Oct. 27, sponsored by Bee Vradenburg Foundation and The Wine Seller. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show. Named best jazz band in Denver for a record number of years, Dotsero plays smooth jazz full of energy and spontaneity. Tickets are $15 TLCA members, and $18 non-members at the door. Advance purchases are $12 for TLCA members and $15 for non-members. Tickets are available at The Wine Seller in Monument (488-3019), and TLCA (481-0475) in Palmer Lake.

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"Stories in the Dark" at the library, Oct. 27 & Oct. 31

Come if you dare! In a dark room, lit only by candlelight, hear spooky stories that will send chills and shivers up your spine and tickle your funny bone. This program is suggested for children 8 and older. At the Monument Branch, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr., the event is Oct. 27, 7 to 7:45 p.m. For more information call 488-2370. At the Palmer Lake Branch, in Palmer Lake Town Hall at 28 Valley Crescent, the event is Oct. 31, 7 to 7:45 p.m. For more information call 481-2587.

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Trick-or-Treat and Halloween Carnival, Oct. 31

Bring the kids to Historic Downtown Monument for safe trick-or-treating, 4 to 6 p.m., as Monument merchants provide treats, activities, and show off their creative costumes. The Monument Police Department will patrol the streets to help insure the safety of our goblins. Following trick-or-treat there will be a free Halloween Carnival at the Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 238 Third St., open to all children. For more information, visit www.monumentmerchants.com.

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Film premier at Palmer Lake Town Hall, Nov. 2

The Palmer Lake Historical Society invites the community to view the premiere showing of "Summer Sojourn," a history of Glen Park and the first Rocky Mountain Chautauqua. The Chautauqua helped establish our area as a destination cultural/health resort in the late 19th century. The film will be shown at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Oct. 21 at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Local filmmaker/historian Jim Sawatzki wrote, produced, and directed the film, his 12th documentary on Colorado history. His work has been seen on PBS affiliates and nationally on the A&E Biography Channel. For more information, phone 481-3963 or visit www.palmerdivideproductions.com.

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WMMI’s Annual Gold Party, Nov. 2

The Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) will hold its Fourth Annual Gold Party, Nov. 2, 6 p.m. Join the WMMI for an evening of sweets, appetizers, whiskey tasting, and more. This annual celebration features a special presentation by Beth Barrett, author of High Drama. Beth gives a wonderful overview of Colorado’s theatrical legacy, as rich as its fabled mining history. Not surprisingly, the two are related! This event is the museum’s annual fundraiser, with all proceeds benefiting the museum. Tickets are $50 per person; please make reservations by Oct. 29. For more information and reservations, phone 488-0880.

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Coming up! Volunteer tutors wanted!

Share your love of reading. Tutor an adult once a week for two hours. Work with an adult to improve their reading, writing, comprehension, or English language skills. No experience required; free training is provided. For information or to register, call 531-6333, x2223. Next training: Nov. 3, 10, and 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Penrose Library, Colorado Springs.

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Youth handbell ringers needed

The Tri-Lakes Community Youth Handbell Choir needs youth handbell ringers. If you are interested and are in the fifth grade or older, call Betty Jenik at 488-3853. Rehearsals are Mondays from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. in Monument.

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Palmer Lake Fire Department wins grant

Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) received a grant of $2,650 for new gas detector. PLVFD was one of 11 departments selected by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company from more than 1,249 proposals. The grant is part of the "Into the Fire" grant program.

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The Library Channel

Tune into The Library Channel (Comcast 17) for live simulcasts of programs, videotaped presentations, or a schedule of library events. The Library Channel broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Programs include story times for children, an adult literacy program, El Paso County commissioners meetings, and much more. A community bulletin board of library events is shown between and after programs. Find the schedule online by going to ppld.org, and then click on the link "Happenings @ Your Library." From there, click on the "Comcast 17" link to search the schedule.

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Senior Safety Program

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority and Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, Senior Alliance, have developed a new Senior Safety Program. The free service includes installing and maintaining smoke detectors, a fire department evaluation of seniors’ homes to identify and correct safety hazards and address seniors’ safety needs, and Vial of Life for in-home storage of medical information in case of emergency. For information, call Lisa Frasca, 488-3304, or e-mail lfrasca@tri-lakesfire.com.

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