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Vol. 7 No. 6 - June 2, 2007


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Forest View Acres: Best water to no water

Click here or on the photo to zoom in

Below: Residents’ comments dominated the Forest View Acres Water District board of directors meeting May 24. Seated at the table (L to R) are Lisa Johnson, SDMS district manager; attorney Paul Rufien; and board members Ann Bevis, Barbara Reed-Polatty, Eckehart Zimmermann, and Chris Monsen. Some residents objected to the presence of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy seen at the upper left. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By John Heiser

In February, water produced by the Forest View Acres Water District (FVAWD) won the competition for best tasting water at the Colorado Rural Water Association (CRWA) 26th Annual State Conference held in Colorado Springs.

On May 2, the water system suffered a major failure that left some residents without water for up to five days. On May 21, after almost three weeks of investigation, a 40-foot crack in a major transmission line was found and fixed and the system returned to normal operations.

During the outage, water delivered to residents may have been contaminated.

The FVAWD board of directors held a special meeting May 24 at 6 p.m. in the Lewis-Palmer District 38 Administration Building. Much of that meeting was devoted to listening to residents’ concerns.

Background

The board consists of Ann Bevis, Rich Crocker, Chris Monsen, Eckehart Zimmermann, and President Barbara Reed-Polatty. Crocker was absent. Bevis and Monsen have been on the board about 4 months. Crocker joined the board in April 2006. Zimmerman has been on the board since September 2005. Reed-Polatty joined the board in May 2004.

The district has retained Special District Management Services, Inc. (SDMS) as its administrative manager. Lisa Johnson, SDMS district manager, served as secretary at the meeting.

Mike Bacon of Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI) is the district’s contract operations manager. Deborah McCoy, President of SDMS, is a part owner of CSI. Bacon was absent.

The district 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 then travels through 36,000 feet of distribution lines that vary from one inch to eight inches in diameter.

ASCG, Inc., the district’s engineers, have 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 has 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, 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.

After attending to some routine matters, the board tabled the rest of the agenda items and listened to resident comments.

The district’s attorney, Paul Rufien, moderated the discussion during resident comments. Rufien said there would be a thorough written response to the comments. He added, "Meetings are open to the public. There is no requirement for public comment or for the board to listen. This is a neighborly goodwill gesture."

Resident comments

  • Gil Moore objected to the presence of a police officer, saying "It sets a poor mood and makes me very angry." Moore added that the Monument town manager told him the town would entertain the possibility of taking over water operations and, if necessary, water management of the district.
  • Several residents said Denver-based SDMS and CSI are not close enough or adequately staffed to promptly respond to problems. Pete Pettigrew, who noted that he started the water district in 1971, said, "We made a very bad mistake when we allowed people from Denver to control our district with interlocked companies. We need to have local people who know where the pipes are."
  • Several residents expressed concern that Reed-Polatty had not taken residents’ concerns seriously. Susan Gates said, "The board’s responsibility is to deliver water and represent the citizens of this district. I don’t think you are doing either at this time. You should have had an emergency plan you knew would work." She asked for Reed-Polatty’s resignation.
  • Todd Tillinghast said, "One house without water is an emergency. The bills have gone up but I don’t see any pipes going into the ground." He later added "The pipe at the bottom was broken for two weeks. We shouldn’t have been out of water at all. We’re using water from the surface stream. The filters clog and have to be back-flushed. There has to be water in the tank to back-flush. Well, they let the tank run dry so they couldn’t back-flush. We run out of water every now and then but it’s not ever so bad as this. The folks in Denver don’t seem to have an understanding of how the system works as well as the fact that they are too far away to take any action."
  • Jeff Dull said he arranged to have former FVAWD water operators Randy Gillette and Dan LaFontaine help locate the leak. He said, "The emergency would not have been resolved by SDMS without local help."
  • Several residents said that they did not receive any notice of the outage or the risk of water contamination until they read about it in the newspaper. Others said they didn’t get any information on the situation when they called SDMS. One suggestion was that signs be posted at the entrances to the district when the water is unsafe to drink. Another resident suggested the district use a web site, e-mail messages, and form a phone tree to notify residents.
  • Ben Lee noted that whenever the water pressure drops below 20 psi, it must be reported to the health department and notices must be issued to all the residents. He said the potential water contamination could be a matter of life or death for those with compromised immune systems.
  • Michelle Asher presented a petition calling for Reed-Polatty’s resignation citing a failure to notify the residents of the water crisis and the potential for water contamination, lack of leadership and direction during the emergency, failure to understand or react to the situation as an emergency, and failure to provide accurate information to the residents in the district regarding the emergency. The petition also requested that the board transition district operations to a local water management company.
  • Charlie Pike said, "I was on the board years ago. A lot of the problems identified here today were being talked about back then. Our infrastructure was inadequate. Our cash flow was inadequate to build the infrastructure and people all along the way didn’t want to do it. What I see here tonight are people who want to blame someone. How many of you ran for the water district? How many of you were willing to serve? I applaud some of you for coming up here and making suggestions to make it better not just to criticize. Let’s make this water district better and not just point fingers."

Board comments

  • Attorney Rufien said, "There is clearly a communication problem. This board will undertake efforts to rectify that. There was not an adequate emergency response in place. Efforts are going to be made by this board to fix that. As for the criticisms of the district’s water operator, management, and legal counsel, the board will make those determinations."
  • Monsen said, "There are still a lot of egos in this district, a lot of people who don’t want to talk about getting this water problem fixed, but on Saturday that was put aside. I have questions about why some things weren’t responded to. The Colorado Water Association called me yesterday and said they volunteered to bring people up here and flush our lines. I have not spoken with other members of the board and don’t know why this offer wasn’t taken into account." He later added, "If you lose pressure, call the health department."
  • Zimmermann said, "Thank you for coming out. It’s great to see people show up at a meeting. Normally we don’t have any. We don’t get the residents out when we ask for board members. We’re doing the best that we can. Everyone on this board has a primary concern at all times to provide safe drinking water. I think we have a very capable board. There are many individuals here who have been on the board and know something about some of the lines. Nobody has shown so far that they know where all the lines are and all the valves are. We just don’t have that information. We will continue to try to find them regardless of who’s on the board or running the operations. We’re paying more but just barely covering the costs of operations, much less repair the lines. CSI did a good job in taking precautions with the system. Could they have done a better job in some areas? Sure. We’ll do the best we can to get people back on line. The tank is filling slowly. But we have another problem probably between Forest View Road and the booster station in the supply transmission line from the Arapahoe well to the booster station. We have surface water and backup from Palmer Lake."
  • Reed-Polatty said, "We asked Palmer Lake and Monument for assistance. Josh Holcumb from CSI has been here all day to check if the maps are accurate for those who come in to help." She noted that some good suggestions had been made and expressed concern about the reports of frequently losing water pressure. She added, "I have no interest in SDMS or any political aspirations."
  • Bevis said she had requested the police presence and apologized to the group. She thanked the group for the tone of the meeting and said, "Meetings during the last recall got very colorful. Hence the policeman." She added, "The district has very good water rights, some of the best in the county. The problem is the delivery system. We need to have a full review. There are many places where improvements could be made. Not all at once. We’ll do what we can. Our water is good water."

At 8 p.m., the meeting was continued to June 8 at the SDMS office, 141 Union Blvd., Suite 150, in Lakewood.

**********

The regular board meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for June 28, 5:30 p.m. at Tri-Lakes district firehouse 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.

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, May 4: $21.5 million bond sale for interchange work approved

By Jim Kendrick

At a special meeting on May 4, Mike Lund of Denver bond underwriter Piper Jaffrey & Co. announced that interest rates were lower than expected for the sale of Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) sales and use tax revenue bonds that will finance the expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange. Based on Lund’s ability to substantially reduce interest expenses, the BRRTA board unanimously approved a resolution to initiate the bond sale for the maximum voter-authorized amount of $21.5 million.

The BRRTA board also unanimously approved a resolution for implementation of a temporary 20-year 1-cent sales tax for all vendors within BRRTA, even though no construction contract for expansion of the state’s interchange has been awarded. The lower interest rates have greatly reduced the risk of BRRTA sales tax revenues not being sufficient to pay off the maximum allowable principal and reduced interest within the maximum bond maturity of 20 years.

BRRTA Secretary-Treasurer Dave Mertz, a Monument trustee, was absent.

There will be three series of BRRTA revenue bonds, with separate maturity dates and interest rates:

  • $5.24 million at 4.8 percent, due on Dec. 1, 2017
  • $7.11 million at 4.95 percent, due on Dec. 1, 2022
  • $9.15 million at 5.0 percent, due on Dec. 1, 2026

Previous projections of probable interest rates had ranged up to 6 percent; the average interest is 4.956 percent for bonds that are not rated.

Several sales tax and bond issue documents approved

The board unanimously approved several documents required for the sale of the bonds, including:

  • A resolution to offer $21.5 million of revenue bonds with the three maturity dates and interest rates noted above.
  • A trust indenture agreement with bond trustee American National Bank of Denver.
  • An official statement describing all factors regarding the bonds to be distributed to the bondholders by Piper Jaffrey.
  • A bond purchase agreement with Piper Jaffrey.
  • A continuing disclosure agreement, which includes the appointment of American National Bank as Dissemination Agent and allows sales tax revenue information to be given to the bank for audited and unaudited financial reports.
  • A resolution to initiate the 1-cent sales and use tax to finance principal, interest, and underwriting fee payments for sale of the maximum permitted revenue bond issue of "aggregate principal amount of $21.5 million" once the bonds are issued.

All these documents were signed by the board members after the meeting adjourned.

The "pledged revenues" that are the sole source for securing the bonds include:

  • The net sales and use tax revenues.
  • Any funds that BRRTA may receive through an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), up to the maximum of $16 million, for the cost of the interchange construction contract, if any such funds become available to CDOT for such a repayment.
  • Any interest and investment income from the varying amounts held in the five administrative funds created under the indenture – the facility, bond, revenue, surplus, and reserve funds.

The proceeds from the bond sale will be used to:

  • Finance the costs of design, acquisition, construction, and improvements to the I-25 Baptist Road (Exit 158) interchange.
  • Pay the "capitalized interest" on the bonds until BRRTA’s sales tax revenues are high enough to fully cover the annual principal and semi-annual interest payments.
  • Fund a debt service reserve fund.
  • Pay the costs for issuing the bonds.

The initial specific uses listed in the draft official statement for the bond sale proceeds were:

  • Deposit to the facility fund for payment of the construction contract and up to $1 million for purchase of right-of-way not donated by adjacent property owners – $17.5 million.
  • Capitalized interest in excess of initial sales tax revenue through June 1, 2008 – $1.2 million.
  • Deposit to the reserve fund – $2.2 million.
  • Costs of issuing the bonds – $595,500

The positive effect of lower interest rates

The lower-than-expected interest rates allow a lower required amount in the capitalized interest account, $700,000 less. This $700,000 was transferred into the facility fund, which will pay for the construction contract. This reallocation of bond sale proceeds will help cover higher-than-expected construction costs if the contract cannot be awarded until 2008 due to the lack of promised right-of-way donations by adjacent commercial landowners. The bond funds trustee can invest any amounts within the five bond funds not immediately needed for payments or other purposes of the individual funds.

Temporary investment of such cash in each of the five bond funds will probably offset most if not all of the required interest payments until BRRTA sales tax revenues grow to meet the payment requirements.

The total cost of the bond issue over 20 years is estimated to be $36.7 million if CDOT does not provide any reimbursement to BRRTA for the construction contract. This is $13.3 million less than the maximum allowable repayment of $50 million approved by BRRTA voters in November.

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 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.

BRRTA President and Monument Mayor Byron Glenn has said at numerous Board of Trustees and BRRTA meetings that the town will annex Baptist Road after the improvements have been accepted by the county after the warranty period. However, the Monument Board of Trustees has not yet discussed or passed a resolution stating the board’s intent to annex the widened roadway between Tari Drive and the west end of Baptist Road after they are paid for by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPACG). Nor has the Monument board discussed or stated its intent to annex the two new interchange bridge spans that will be paid for by the BRRTA revenue bonds.

Glenn wants the town to be able to eliminate the county’s current restrictions on additional commercial access and traffic signals for the already-approved Monument Ridge and Jackson Creek Market Village shopping centers that will be adjacent to the King Soopers center to the south and east.

The BRRTA bond counsel, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, P.C., stated that the revenue bonds are exempt from federal and Colorado personal income tax and alternative minimum tax. The bonds are subject to redemption prior to maturity through payment of principal and accrued interest, at BRRTA’s option, with at least 30 days but not more than 60 days notice.

If CDOT makes any construction contract repayments to BRRTA, they will be placed in the CDOT reimbursement account of the surplus fund. However, CDOT cannot make any payments to BRRTA until the interchange project is listed on the state Transportation Improvement Program list of approved projects. The first opportunity for CDOT to add the Baptist Road interchange expansion to this list will be in July 2008. There will be no CDOT repayment for any financing costs for the BRRTA revenue bonds.

The trust indenture allows additional bonds to be issued by BRRTA to pay for facility (interchange expansion) costs, if approved by BRRTA voters in a future election, as long as sales and use tax revenues over the preceding 24 months exceed average annual debt service payments by 25 percent.

Any unused funds in the facility fund at the completion of construction and contract payments will be transferred to the bond fund principal or interest accounts. Any money left in any of the five bond funds – after all bonds are redeemed, any administrative costs are paid, and the BRRTA 1-cent sales tax is terminated – reverts to BRRTA.

BRRTA’s insurance for the bond issue is provided by the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool.

BRRTA sales tax to begin on July 1

Board approval of the bond issue on May 4 was necessary to give Piper Jaffrey enough time to complete the bond sale by May 15. Completion of the bond sale was a condition that had to be met before the board could initiate the temporary 1-cent BRRTA sales tax. The Colorado Department of Revenue has a minimum 45-day notification requirement for the start of a new sales tax. The department can initiate a sales tax only on Jan. 1 or July 1 by state statute. May 15 is the deadline for a July 1 sales tax initiation.

There is a two-month delay between retailers collecting sales tax revenue and the Colorado Department of Revenue forwarding checks for this revenue. The department takes out a small percentage from revenues forwarded to rural transportation authorities, special districts, towns, and counties to cover its processing costs.

Prior to the Nov. 7 election, the board had promised BRRTA voters that the winning construction contract bid would be selected and the total contract cost finalized before the bonds were sold. However, right-of-way and utility easements for the expanded interchange have not been obtained.

Interchange construction delayed

The expansion project to widen the bridge over I-25 from two to eight lanes and widen the single-lane ramps to two lanes will be delayed due to the lack of previously promised donations of right-of-way by owners of the commercial property adjacent to Exit 158. Eminent domain condemnation will likely take a minimum of six to nine months. All of this needed right-of-way must be deeded to the state before CDOT will allow the construction contract for its interchange to be advertised. Contract advertising and award normally takes about three months.

Road-building costs have been escalating dramatically. The estimate for the interchange contract prior to the November election had been $16 million. If the construction bids are too high in 2008 to be paid for by the $21.5 million bond issue, the privately held revenue bonds will be liquidated. The BRRTA sales tax will be terminated after all administrative costs, principal, and interest for bond redemption have been paid off.

During citizen comments, resident Steve Waldmann noted that some Web links on the BRRTA and El Paso County home pages do not lead to the most current agenda and recent meeting minutes information. County Commissioner Wayne Williams said he would e-mail the correct BRRTA links to Waldmann for future reference after the meeting.

Andre Brackin, county Department of Transportation capital projects manager, said the PPACG has authorized $10.7 million for the construction contract with Rocky Mountain Materials and Asphalt for the Baptist Road and Struthers Road improvement projects. BRRTA attorney Jim Hunsaker of Grimshaw Harring P.C. said the BRRTA contribution to the cost of the Baptist Road portion of the Rocky Mountain Asphalt contract was $6.9 million. BRRTA paid $393,000 to engineering consultant PBS&J for design and contract management of the Baptist Road widening project.

Construction delays continue

Baptist Road sewer delays: Brackin said that Rocky Mountain had accepted John Laing Homes’ sanitary sewer subcontractor, Pate Construction Contractors, Inc., as its own subcontractor for installing a new interceptor line for Promontory Pointe under the new westbound Baptist Road lanes currently under construction in November. The Rocky Mountain paving schedule between Gleneagle Drive and Jackson Creek Crossing was altered to allow the very deep sewer line installation to be completed so that new pavement would not have to be dug up. However, Rocky Mountain Asphalt said that Pate Construction had not restored the westbound roadway base to the correct grade. Since then, the two companies have privately agreed on the fee Pate had to pay to Rocky Mountain for subsequent regrading.

Brackin reported that he held a coordination meeting for the county earlier in the day on May 4 with Rocky Mountain Asphalt, John Laing Homes, and Pate Construction. Daily morning and afternoon meetings will now be held by representatives of these four entities to provide and confirm updates on all construction schedule changes.

However, John Laing Homes, Classic Homes, Triview Metropolitan District, and the town have not informed the county of the details of the second phase of the new Baptist Road sewer interceptor construction between Gleneagle Drive and Kingswood Drive for Sanctuary Pointe. There is no plan to avoid tearing up the new westbound Baptist Road pavement to be installed between these two intersections, Brackin added.

Triview District Manager Larry Bishop said he had no information to provide BRRTA or Brackin because Classic Homes was still negotiating with Triview and Donala Water and Sanitation District for water and sewer service. Mayor Glenn asked Bishop to send Classic Homes President Doug Stemple a letter requesting that he make up his mind within 30 days on whether Sanctuary Pointe would be included by Triview or the town would deny any sewer easements under Baptist Road for the development. 

Struthers Road sewer delays: Brackin said that the developers of Monument Ridge had not provided the county any plans for Triview’s water and sewer lines under the northbound Struthers Road lanes currently under construction. Rocky Mountain Asphalt has been allowed to continue construction after the normal April 30 cessation deadline for adjacent Preble’s mouse habitat to the west.

"We have a narrow window of opportunity where it could go in today" before asphalt paving of Struthers Road begins, Brackin said.

Monument Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said he had been asking Monument Ridge project engineer Virgil Sanchez of ESI Inc. for utility plans for three months but had only received the second round of utility plans two days prior to this meeting. Kassawara said he had notified Sanchez the following day that "the plans were ready to go."

Bishop added that he had called Sanchez just before the BRRTA meeting began to reinforce the need for ESI to have a sense of urgency about installing the lines before paving begins.

Bishop promised to call Brackin immediately regarding any Triview construction issues affecting the Rocky Mountain construction.

Williams said that he didn’t want new Struthers and Baptist Road paving "ripped apart for a sewer line and then have cracks that ultimately cause road deterioration relatively quickly." He asked Brackin and Bishop to be more aggressive.

Mountain View Electric Association relocation delays: Brackin also noted that the Monument Ridge development had not recorded the revised plat with easements for Mountain View Electric Association electrical lines. Mountain View will not relocate its lines under the westbound lanes of Baptist Road until the plat is recorded. Bishop said he had requested a separate grant of easement from the developer prior to recording of the plat. Kassawara called ESI and was told the grant of easement to Mountain View had been filed with the county. Kassawara said the original approved Mylar plat was still in Town Hall and he would have it sent to the county as soon as possible during the following week.

Parade of Homes detour request: John Laing Homes has asked the county to provide an access permit for a second major detour to Promontory Pointe during the Parade of Homes this summer in addition to the first detour permit for its construction vehicles. The Gleneagle Drive-Baptist Road intersection will be closed in July and August for construction of new lanes and drainage. Brackin said he has weekly conference calls with John Laing Homes about construction schedules. Brackin noted that Rocky Mountain Asphalt is responsible for all traffic control safety through the construction site, including these two detours.

The revised phasing plans for all intersection closures and detours for Struthers and Baptist Roads construction will be posted on the BRRTA and county Web sites. The Leather Chaps intersection may be reopened in the first week of July. Desiree Drive intersection detours will also be scheduled from time to time this summer.

Click here or on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

Below: Overlot grading of the first phase of Promontory Pointe has transformed the landscape from that in the adjacent county development of Kingswood as viewed from the former tranquility of the cul-de-sac at the end of Celtic Court. John Laing Homes is working against a tight construction schedule to be ready for the Parade of Homes later this summer. Photo by Jim Kendrick

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

Other Struthers Road delays described: The county thought it had Preble’s mouse and wetlands permits and license agreements for its Struthers Road construction. However, the wetlands permit had originally been issued to Jackson Creek Land Co. for widening Baptist and Struthers Roads. Jackson Creek Land had recently cancelled the wetlands permit without notifying the county or transferring the permit to the Transportation Department, resulting in a federal violation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the county verbal approval on April 24 to work on Struthers Road after April 30 and promised a written letter of approval would be provided immediately. On May 1, CDOT notified the county that it was in violation and had to abandon the Struthers Road construction site. On May 2, CDOT reversed its construction prohibition but said it would send the county a violation letter for failure to remove all shrubs on site, with the possible result that the few remaining shrubs might have been used for nesting by protected migratory birds. Brackin added that "On this project, the hills have eyes … someone saw a magpie," and the environmental permits remain a "day-to-day issue."

Approval of substitute mouse habitat near Black Forest Road by the Army Corps of Engineers for the Baptist Road interchange is nearing completion, however.

Mountain View Electric Association had not yet moved its above-ground power lines from the utility poles that run along the center of the new Struthers Road right-of-way to roadside underground easements, preventing final roadway grading. However, Qwest had moved its phone lines.

Mountain View Electric had not yet provided an electric meter nor connected electrical power to the constructed traffic signal at the intersection of Northgate Road and Struthers Road. Power should be installed for this signal before the Gleneagle Drive intersection with Baptist Road is closed in July and August.

Monument development updates

Kassawara reported the following items:

  • The town staff had just received the first construction plans for the Texas Roadhouse in the Monument Marketplace. The restaurant should open in about nine months.
  • While Walgreen’s is anxious to open its new store in Monument Ridge as soon as possible, McDonald’s has not yet submitted plans for town staff review.
  • Preliminary talks had been held with shopping center developer THF Realty regarding its plans to purchase the Timbers at Monument commercial property.
  • There have been no plans submitted to the town staff for Jackson Creek Market Village directly east of the King Soopers shopping center.

County development updates

Williams discussed a county community meeting to be held on May 9 at the Black Forest community club to review preliminary plans to use PPRTA funds in the future to widen Hodgen Road east of state Highway 83 to Eastonville Road. (See the article on page 15 for more details of this meeting.)

Brackin reported on the progress of PPRTA-funded construction to extend Hodgen Road west of state Highway 83 to the intersection of Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads. Rain and snow prevented significant progress throughout April. The soil-cement treatment of the road base cannot be completed until a stretch of drier weather allows the graded soil to dry out. Glenn expressed concern that this segment of Hodgen Road might not be opened before the Gleneagle Drive-Baptist Road intersection is opened at the end of August.

THF Realty fee waiver request unanimously denied

Background: On April 13, the board unanimously directed the BRRTA staff to negotiate an agreement with THF Realty to waive any road-use fees for retail space in excess of the current maximum of 352,000 square feet in the planned development sketch plan for the Timbers at Monument development that was previously approved by the Monument Board of Trustees. The BRRTA staff was also charged with negotiating a donation of all needed right-of-way from THF for widening Baptist Road west of Jackson Creek Parkway and expanding the interchange. THF had an option to buy the three parcels that comprise the expanded Timbers property but had not closed on the sale as of May 4.

Hammers Construction Inc. obtained the initial Monument Board of Trustees approval for development of up to 352,000 square feet within the Timbers commercial and retail center on Feb. 21, 2006. The project is on the northeast corner of the Baptist Road interchange. Hammers later sold its share of ownership to ADK Monument Developers LLC investor Darel Tiegs.

The other current Timbers owner is Phoenix-Bell of Tucson, Ariz. Phoenix-Bell owns the northwest portion of the Timbers parcel, south of the Home Depot next to Struthers Road, as well as the vacant land north of Baptist Road between I-25 and the Santa Fe Trail and most of the vacant land north of the YMCA parcel between I-25 and Jackson Creek Parkway.

The original 73.5-acre L-shaped ADK/Phoenix-Bell parcel is bordered by Monument Marketplace to the north, Jackson Creek Parkway to the east, Baptist Road to the southeast, the hardware store parcel to the southwest, and Struthers Road to the west. This property "wraps around" the north and east sides of BRRTA resident Mike Watt’s former Foxworth-Galbraith hardware and lumber store property.

Foxworth-Galbraith did not renew its lease for the hardware and lumber store after the preliminary Timbers plat and site plan were approved. The entrance to the hardware store parking lot and Struthers Road – between Baptist Road and Higby Road – will be abandoned when BRRTA awards a construction contract for expanding the I-25 interchange. The frontage road portions of Struthers on both sides of Baptist Road will become the new northbound I-25 dual-lane access ramps.

Watt’s parcel was not part of the Timbers preliminary plat and preliminary PD site plan that were unanimously approved by the Monument Board of Trustees on Feb. 21, 2006. The board required ADK to grant Watt a road easement within the Timbers parcel for access to the Timbers Boulevard access to Baptist Road and the intersection of Blevins Buckle Drive and Jackson Creek Parkway after negotiations between the two parties failed, as well as utility easements for service to Watt’s property by Triview.

Tiegs, Watt, and Phoenix-Bell are negotiating separate sales of the three adjacent properties to THF Realty. The THF proposal to double the commercial density has not been discussed at a Monument board meeting. No announcements have been made regarding financial incentives the town may offer THF if it buys the three properties. Monument has already offered tax incentives to landowner Team O2 for development of an indoor water park to be built southwest of the Baptist Road interchange, next to the Air Force Academy’s north runway.

ADK Monument LLC has never recorded the approved preliminary plat and PD site plan for the Timbers property. During town hearings on these applications in 2006, Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said that ADK had already donated the right-of-way to CDOT in return for CDOT allowing the Timbers project to have a right-in/right-out-only at the Timbers Boulevard intersection with Baptist Road. The substantial right-of-way donation was a condition of approval that is listed in the approved but unrecorded site plan. Kassawara also stated at that Sept. 21, 2006 board meeting that there would be no interchange improvements until the Timbers preliminary site plan and plat were recorded with the county.

In many circumstances, an approved plat must be recorded with the county clerk within one year or the approval may be voided by a special district or town. THF has not announced whether it intends to amend the approved ADK plat and site plan or initiate a new Monument application process that integrates the Tiegs, Watt, and Phoenix-Bell properties into a single project.

THF fee waiver approval reversed: County Commissioner Wayne Williams said he and Commissioner Jim Bensberg were unable to attend the April 13 BRRTA meeting due to other meeting requirements and asked THF representative Karen Blumenstein to restate her case on why BRRTA should give up any portion of its only source of revenue for widening Baptist Road after BRRTA attorney Jim Hunsaker presented an overview of his negotiations. Hunsaker said that there had been no agreement reached on setting fixed BRRTA fees THF would have to pay. BRRTA’s road use fees are proportional to square footage but vary substantially by the type of commercial use. The fees are scheduled to increase on Jan. 1, 2008. Hunsaker noted that there was one temporary fee credit approved in the past for Phoenix-Bell right-of-way near the Leather Chaps intersection but no previous waivers.

After giving the same presentation she previously gave on April 13 to Mayor Glenn and Commissioner Dennis Hisey, Blumenstein said that ADK had planned to start the project in 2010, but THF had to complete all its planning and financial evaluation within the time limit of its due diligence option, 120 days. She said that the total fees for development of 600,000 square feet from BRRTA, Monument, and Triview, would be $8 million. "At an $8 million fee level, it is not commercially feasible to develop the center. Nobody will come in at $8 million."

Based on her review of BRRTA’s market analysis for sales tax revenue from the Timbers for 352,000 square feet to be "launched in 2010" in the bond issue documents, Blumenstein said the THF increase to 600,000 square feet to be "launched in 2009" would generate an additional $11 million in BRRTA sales tax revenues and approximately $500,000 to $1.3 million in additional road use fees, depending on what types of businesses purchase space.

Blumenstein said THF needed to lock in the current fee structure through relief on the increase in fees on Jan. 1 and relief on any additional road-use fees above what ADK would have paid on 352,000 square feet to be able to proceed with the project at 600,000 square feet or a possible increase to 700,000 square feet. Blumenstein said that large anchor tenants will demand a locked-in amount for all fees and THF cannot absorb average increases of $1.25 per square foot in 2008 or the risk of future BRRTA fee increases. The THF position is that BRRTA will gain sufficient sales tax revenue to justify the waiver on additional square footage and future road use fee increases.

Williams replied, "The board adopted the change in fees prospectively for several years, so people would know ahead of time what those fees would be." He said granting the THF request would set a precedent for BRRTA having to waive fees for any future developer increasing the initially proposed size of a future development. Expansions of projects would also increase the traffic on all of Baptist Road and the interchange as well as any developer’s profit, Williams said. Neither would be fair to developers who have already paid the fees for road use based directly on traffic, which is entirely separate from the sales tax for the interchange.

Blumenstein said "the fee structure as a whole" of $10 per square foot, not just the BRRTA road use fee, is a disincentive to development of the proposed larger acreage and square footage now, compared to what they might have been in the past.

Blumenstein said that other jurisdictions negotiate risk sharing with THF. Every other Colorado jurisdiction had offered it incentives to create 2,500 acres of commercial shopping because THF is "an exceptional" developer that retains ownership of its centers and does not "flip" its land just to increase its value. The only thing that BRRTA can negotiate is a waiver of impact fees, which is "a normal business transaction."

Williams said BRRTA should not give THF "special privileges" to generate sales tax revenue for the "sophisticated investors" who purchased the bonds, and the THF center does not compare to a "destination resort like Disney World that brings people in."

Glenn said he still resented THF holding the interchange hostage for right-of-way but agreed on April 13 to the THF waiver request due to the tax issue for paying off the bonds. Now that the bond interest rates are lower than expected, he now agrees with Williams.

Williams made a motion to deny the request, which Bensberg seconded. Williams noted that the construction of the interchange will vastly increase the value of the THF property as well as all other commercial properties, and heavier-density commercial projects usually pay higher fee rates, not lower rates as THF was requesting. Blumenstein responded that BRRTA has an obligation to consider its impact on Monument and the Tri-Lakes region, and THF would substantially shorten the time it takes to pay off the interchange bonds.

During citizen comments, Waldmann said there is no huge groundswell in the community to subsidize commercial development by $1.3 million in forfeited fees for future unfunded BRRTA projects such as the bridge over the railroad tracks.

After further discussion, Glenn and Hisey said they had rethought their positions on the THF fee waiver request issue after their April 13 approvals. The board unanimously denied the THF request. Bishop asked Williams to assist him in Triview’s fee waiver negotiations with THF.

Glenn asked the board staff to begin condemnation proceedings against all property owners who have not made right-of-way donations for interchange expansion. Kassawara said that Greg Anderson, owner of Phoenix-Bell, would donate right-of-way for widening if the county would grant him six Santa Fe Trail crossing accesses to Old Denver Highway. Williams said the Board of County Commissioners would approve the six roadway cuts along the Santa Fe Trail.

Forest Lakes Metropolitan District Manager Anne Nichols said the Shuck Corp. would probably make a right-of-way donation for widening Baptist Road west of I-25.

The board unanimously approved cancellation of the regular May 11 meeting because the directors would be signing all the bond sale and taxation documents after adjournment. A special meeting might be scheduled in June or July to deal with utility relocations and right-of-way condemnation issues now that bond funds would be available for their purchase.

The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

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The next regular BRRTA meeting will be held on Aug. 10 at 2:30 p.m. in Monument Town Hall, 166 Second St.

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On the Roads: Baptist and Struthers Road construction schedules

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Below: Relocation of utilities and repaving the intersection of the Desiree Drive intersection with Baptist Road to match the revised grade of the new eastbound lanes has begun. Right: Motorists may use Gleneagle or Tari Drives to detour the temporarily closed Desiree Drive intersection, until this construction is completed. Photo by Jim Kendrick. Map provided by El Paso County Department of Transportation

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By André P. Brackin
Capital Programs Division manager
El Paso County Department of Transportation

The following is a brief status update regarding construction activities by contractor Rocky Mountain Materials & Asphalt (RMMA) on the Baptist Road and Struthers Road projects funded by the Pikes Peak and Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authorities on work completed through April 30.

Project progress to date

  • 190 days charged of 380 original contract days. 190 contract days remaining.
  • Pay estimate No. 10 for March was $349,555, with $7,636,018 left on the original $10.7 million contract.

During April, RMMA completed the following items:

  • Installed the 60-inch drainage structure on Struthers Road and all of the associated drainage structure design changes submitted by Nolte Associates.
  • Established roadway section toes of slope within utility conflict areas on Struthers Road
  • Completed subgrade stabilization and grading of South Struthers Road between Spanish Bit and Air Garden.
  • Established the roadway section on Struthers Road south of Spanish Bit to Air Garden.
  • Installed all inlet structures on Struthers Road.
  • Installed stormwater manholes and laterals for systems 4, 5, and 5a as detailed in the construction plan drawings.
  • Completely constructed the wetland area per environmental drawings including willow plantings.
  • Completed wetland area side slope seeding.
  • Completed potholing for locating all utilities to facilitate their relocations on site.
  • Established final roadway and utility easement grades at the Monument Ridge site.

Four items have contributed to construction delays regarding the Baptist Road corridor:

  • Inclement weather
  • Utility relocation delay
  • Phasing/schedule change to accommodate sanitary sewer installation
  • Environmental permit deadlines on the Struthers Road extension

Upcoming Baptist Road closures

Starting in late May, pending traffic control plan approval, RMMA was scheduled to close the intersection of Desiree and Baptist Road for approximately one month. This closure is necessary to complete the installation of stormwater inlet boxes, stormwater conduit, and curb and gutter in preparation for bottom mat paving and the phase change prior to the Gleneagle intersection closure.

Scheduled construction activities

Depending on utility relocation activities, and weather permitting, anticipated construction activities will be as follows.

Baptist Road:

  • Installation of storm water conduit and inlet at the corner of Desiree and Baptist Road.
  • Bottom mat paving of the Desiree entrance.
  • Completion of final grading activities and preparation for paving between Jackson Creek Crossing and Gleneagle Drive (this includes the Leather Chaps Drive intersection).
  • Installation of the drainage structure across from Kingswood, including manholes, cutoff walls and rip-rap outfall.
  • Rework of area between Leather Chaps and Gleneagle.
  • Installation of signal partials at the intersection of Gleneagle and Baptist Road.
  • Cut/fill on south side of Baptist Road adjacent to Monument Ridge.
  • Reseeding and removal of the drainage structure at the approach section.
  • Begin construction of retaining walls adjacent to Monument Ridge.
  • Seed berms within the wetland area.
  • Stabilization and seeding of the side slopes at the Spanish Bit intersection.
  • After the Qwest conduit installation is complete, stabilization and seeding of the side slopes south of Monument Ridge.

Struthers Road:

  • Final grading and installation of road base in preparation for curb and gutter on South Struthers Road between Spanish Bit and Air Garden. This area should be ready to pave in 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Finish work on all drainage structure items.
  • Mountain View Electric Association utility relocations.
  • Completion of environmental items within the Baptist Road approach section of the project.

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For further information, call the county department of transportation at 719-520-6460.

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Black Forest Community Meeting, May 9: County presents changes planned for Hodgen east of 83

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Below: On May 9, John McCarty, Director of the El Paso County Department of Transportation, presented the county’s plans to modify Hodgen Road east of Highway 83. Photos by John Heiser

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By John Heiser

At the Black Forest Community Club May 9, John McCarty, Director of the El Paso County Department of Transportation, presented initial transportation planning data and findings to a crowd of about 120 residents. The Black Forest Citizens’ Transportation Committee hosted the meeting.

The conceptual design McCarty presented was prepared by URS and covers changes to Hodgen Road over the 10 miles from Highway 83 east to Eastonville Road with possible future extension to Elbert Road. McCarty said the conceptual design will be refined through additional public meetings into preliminary and final designs. The work currently underway to extend Hodgen Road to connect to Baptist Road is a separate project.

McCarty noted that since at least 1987, the county has planned Hodgen Road as a major east-west corridor. The present right-of-way is 60 feet wide. The county wants to expand that to 100 feet. He said the county would negotiate with landowners to purchase the additional 20 feet on each side. If those negotiations fail, eminent domain would be used to obtain the land. He said, "We want this to be a fair and open process."

The improvements include extensive regrading to eliminate hills and valleys, numerous turn lanes at intersections, and limitations on non-intersection access to Hodgen Road. The design calls for two 12-foot traffic lanes, one in each direction, bordered by 10 feet on each side containing a bicycle lane and sloped gravel shoulder.

The planned improvements to the road are projected to cost up to $32 million. McCarty said there is currently about $10 million earmarked for the project from the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority’s one-cent sales tax approved by voters in November 2004. He noted that the priority would be on making safety improvements based on accident data.

In response to suggestions that the improvements would worsen the present problem of speeding on Hodgen Road, McCarty said, "The design of the road, unless we turn it back to gravel, will not slow people. That is an enforcement issue. It’s the sheriff’s job."

Some objected to the current heavy truck traffic on Hodgen Road and said the changes would make it worse. McCarty said, "It’s a truck route corridor, a primary carrier of traffic in the northern part of the county."

In response to concerns that the acquisition of right-of-way could diminish owners’ development rights, McCarty said there are provisions in the county’s land development code that grant the same development rights to property owners even though the purchase of right-of-way reduced the size of their parcel below the required minimums specified in the code.

One resident asked if the county is planning wildlife corridors and another raised concerns about the changes worsening the problem of snow blowing across the road. McCarty replied that wildlife and snow control issues would be considered during the design.

McCarty said the planned project would take 12 to 18 months and is scheduled to start in 2008 or 2009.

**********

The Hodgen Road Corridor Plan documents are posted on the El Paso County Web site, www.elpasoco.com, as two Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) files. To find the files, search for "Hodgen Corridor Plan" and look for HodgenAccessMgmtPlan_1.pdf and HodgenCorridorPreservationPlan_1.pdf.

For further information, call the county department of transportation at 719-520-6460.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 7: Jim Moore honored for downtown efforts

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees on May 7 passed a resolution creating an annual "Jim Moore Award," appointed a replacement planning commissioner, approved an amendment of ordinances on fee payments for development and rezoning applications, and renewed four liquor licenses. Trustee Dave Mertz was absent.

Developers slow road construction, mayor says

Mayor Byron Glenn said the county gave "10, 12, 15 excuses" for not making progress on Baptist and Struthers Roads at the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) meeting on May 4. Glenn, who is also the president of BRRTA, said, "I found out that a lot of the problems" are caused by the developers of the town’s recent annexations on Baptist Road.

The developers of Monument Ridge, SWAT 14 LLC and CAA 2006 LLC, still have not submitted any plans for installing the Monument Ridge water line under northbound Struthers Road, and Classic Homes has not submitted any plans for installing the Sanctuary Pointe sewer lines under westbound Baptist Road. He has told the developers that if they don’t get the lines installed immediately they will have to purchase other utility easements that will not be under the new paving.

Glenn discussed planned Baptist Road intersection construction dates:

  • The Leather Chaps intersection should be re-opened in July.
  • The Desiree Drive intersections will be closed through June.
  • The Gleneagle Drive intersection will be closed from July through September.

Glenn added that he had asked the county to delay opening the new Baptist Road extension –from the Roller Coaster Road intersection 1.25 miles east to the intersection of Hodgen Road and Highway 83 – from June 1 until mid-September, when the Gleneagle Drive intersection is re-opened.

Glenn said he had asked CDOT to proceed with condemnation for all required right-of-way for the I-25 Baptist Road interchange. "To my knowledge, we’re not getting any help from the (adjacent commercial) landowners. It’s disappointing but it is what it is."

The BRRTA board approved and signed all the documents for the revenue bond sale, which will have much lower interest costs than expected, and for initiation of a temporary 20-year 1-cent BRRTA sales tax on July 1 to pay for the privately-held sales tax revenue bonds.

(See the El Paso County Department of Transportation article on page 14 for more information on the schedule for construction, closures, and detours. See the BRRTA article on page 6 for more information on Baptist Road widening, Struthers Road construction, and I-25 intersection expansion.)

Other reports

Trustee Gail Drumm said the Colorado Department of Transportation would provide $350,000 in funding for two studies on freight-line relocation to the eastern plains and passenger service along the Front Range and from Denver to the Utah border. The studies will be completed by the end of 2008. Town Manager Cathy Green added that the membership of the Front Range Rail Authority has grown from 2 to over 20 municipalities in the past six months. Monument was one of the two founding members.

Drumm also said that the state appears ready to make the town’s Energy Star energy efficiency initiative a statewide requirement. Aquila Gas and Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) have joined the town initiative.

Trustee Steve Samuels thanked Public Works Director Rich Landreth for getting the county to patch about 90 percent of the potholes in Old Denver Highway. He and Glenn asked Landreth to call the county again to repair the remaining 18-inch potholes.

Trustee Tim Miller asked Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara when the state’s traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive would be turned on, and said, "It’s a public safety issue and we don’t want one of our kids getting killed." Kassawara said the developer of the Villages at Woodmoor, WED LLC, had finally paid MVEA to provide the electrical connection for the CDOT traffic signal, but the town has no control over this longstanding startup delay.

(Note: After months of delay, MVEA has connected power to and activated the county’s traffic signal at Northgate and Struthers Roads.)

Intersection of 2nd and Washington to be studied

High Country Home and Garden on Washington Street asked the board to make the Washington Street and Second Street intersection a four-way stop due to visibility problems for pedestrians and motorists when crossing Second Street. Planning Commissioner Lowell Morgan "seconded" the request, noting half the problem is speeding drivers.

Glenn asked Police Chief Jake Shirk to have his department monitor the speed limit. Shirk replied, "Writing more tickets, yes sir!" Drumm asked Kassawara to "eliminate that parking" in front of the Monument Sanitation District’s building next to Town Hall.

Kassawara said he would have the intersection studied by a new traffic engineer from Carter Burgess, because the town was phasing out SEH as its consultant. It will take several weeks to generate traffic counts. "Sometimes four-way stop signs aren’t an answer for a dangerous intersection and just make it worse," he said. Glenn suggested adding islands that extend into Second Street to position the new stop signs for greater visibility by motorists.

Developer fees and lien ordinance amendment approved

The board unanimously approved an amendment to the town code that requires developers to pay a cash retainer fee for all staff reviews for each land use application and rezoning application.

Previously, the town staff invoiced developers for payment of fees after the applications had been reviewed and processed, but frequently had difficulty getting reimbursed after the applications had been approved. Now, the development requests will not be looked at by staff until the full payments are made.

If additional unanticipated staff work is required, a supplemental payment must be made by the applicant as well before the application review will be completed.

Overdue payments will be charged 18 percent interest, as will costs for collection and attorney fees. The review fees pay for all costs and salaries of the Developer Services Department.

Cook-Off street closure approved

The board unanimously approved a temporary street closure of a portion of Washington Street between Second and Third Streets on Aug. 25, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the fourth annual High Country Chili Cook-Off held by High Country Home & Garden. Proceeds from the charitable event will again go to Tri-Lakes Cares.

Resolution to support seniors programs approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution to provide financial support later this year for promoting senior services, housing, support services, recreation, and other needs in the Monument and Tri-Lakes region. No specific amount was set for the pledged donation because it is too early in the budget cycle to know what surpluses may be available. No allocation was included for seniors in the original 2007 budget approved in late 2006. The specific contribution will be determined after Town Treasurer Pamela Smith develops the mid-year budget restatement for board consideration in July.

Glenn and Samuels said the town needs to be a regional leader now that it is beginning to have extra revenue to support this kind of initiative. The county will offer no direct financial support to the town’s effort. Drumm said the town does not have unlimited funds and only has one-fifth of the Tri-Lakes population. However, Samuels compared the seniors initiative to Drumm’s high-speed rail initiative in terms of gathering support from other municipalities and entities following Monument’s leadership.

Senior Alliance spokesman Chuck Roberts thanked the board and said he was recruiting new members and contributors and was holding a four-day, four-church country-gospel fundraiser concert series from May 31 through June 2. Roberts said the new town senior housing facility already had 25 of its 60 residences in the Villages at Woodmoor reserved before any plans had been proposed or ground broken. Drumm asked Roberts to "put up signs for the performances since a lot of us don’t read the newspaper."

Smith appointed to Planning Commission

The board unanimously approved Glenda Smith’s appointment to fill the vacancy created when Commissioner John Kortgardner resigned and moved out of Monument. Smith’s appointment runs through January 2009. Her other service to the town of Monument includes:

  • Current secretary of the Monument Sanitation District Board
  • Member of the Board of Trustees, 1996-2004
  • President of BRRTA
  • Member of Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments

Her husband, Don Smith, was recently re-appointed to another term on the Board of Adjustment, which he chairs.

Well No. 9 connection contract approved

Engineering consultant GMS Inc. recommended and the board unanimously approved the award of a construction contract for $195,993 to Friedland Construction Inc. to connect the previously completed town well No. 9 to the town water system. The well was previously drilled on land donated to the town by Jack Wiepking in the Villages at Monument development. It will be connected to the south end of the previously installed town water supply main that runs south along Old Denver Highway from the recently expanded water treatment facility at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. Planning for the connecting pipe, pump house, vault, valves, controls, and electrical service will take two months, followed by two months of construction. Friedland was the low bidder of six companies that competed for the contract award.

Annual Jim Moore Award created

Trustee Tommie Plank and Downtown Community Development Director Lucy McGuire, representing the Historic Monument Merchants Association, presented a resolution to create an annual award for area citizens who have been instrumental in the preservation and enhancement of the Historic Downtown Monument District. They also nominated Jim Moore for the inaugural award and asked that the award be given each year on his birthday, April 16. Plank listed Moore’s qualifications for the award:

  • Advocate for attractive downtown based on restoration and enhancement of existing buildings with a consistency of design.
  • Helped obtain and place the decorative street lights now installed on Second Street.
  • Designed the renovation of the original Stage Coach Stop, which now houses the Bella Casa store.
  • Redesigned and preserved the original Monument post office building at Front and Second Streets.
  • Helped design and construct the existing sidewalk on Third Street with other volunteers.
  • Purchased, designed, and renovated the Higby Mercantile Building as the Chapala building on Second Street.
  • Designed and constructed Chapala North and Monte Verde buildings off Second Street.
  • Designed and renovated the Tri-Lakes Cable building, which now houses the Winter Gallery at Third and Front Streets.
  • Incorporated outdoor sculpture, landscaping, and seating around his buildings to create a pedestrian-friendly and welcoming atmosphere that is attractive from all views of each building
  • Board member of The Friends of Monument Preserve, which oversees the forestry preserve of the original Works Progress Administration nursery surrounding Monument Rock.
  • Offered favorable rents to foster new businesses in historic downtown and donations to community events such as the annual summer concert series in Limbach Park, with numerous other similar but anonymous contributions.

McGuire said this is an ideal time to recognize Moore, noting that many items Moore had performed were not listed in the resolution, and to establish a process to recognize others for encouraging preservation and enhancement of the downtown district to make the town better.

The board unanimously approved creation, presentation date, and title of the new annual town award and selection of Moore as its first recipient. The first award presentation was scheduled for the May 21 meeting.

The board also unanimously approved McGuire’s $54,000 budget for her new position to promote community development through organizations like the Merchants Association and special projects to enhance Limbach Park with new benches that will have plaques honoring Moore as well as a new sound system for the annual summer concerts in the park.

Three liquor licenses renewed

The board unanimously approved liquor license renewals for Eagle Wine & Spirit, 1060 W. Baptist Rd.; Columbine Garden, 481 S. Highway 105; and Monument Inc., doing business as "Cork N Bottle," 351 S. Highway 105. An application for renewal of the Il Fratello’s license was unanimously tabled due to the absence of the owner.

Payments over $5,000 approved

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

  • $44,949 to All Purpose Paving Inc. for general asphalt repairs throughout Monument.
  • $34,903 to KB Construction Inc. for a replacement Crystal Creek culvert under Beacon Lite Road just north of the Highway 105 intersection.
  • $109,816 to Bosco Constructors for partial payment for expansion of the town’s water treatment plant.

The Bosco payment was discussed at length. The roof of the expanded plant building still leaked. Final claims for payment to subcontractors Construction Dimensions, Munson Ditching, and Drywall Specialists have been withheld. There is one more payment to be made to Bosco and the town still is withholding Bosco’s retainer fee, which covers any warranty repairs that might have to be made by another contractor if Bosco does not repair them. Once all repairs have been made and the warranty period has expired, the remainder of the retainer fee will be returned to Bosco.

Staff reports

The board unanimously directed Green to draft a TABOR ballot initiative that requests voters to approve that excess revenue would be retained by the town for another four years and be directed to parks and recreation for seniors and kids. The board also discussed the latest iteration of Green’s draft capital improvement plan at length.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp said that the town had rejected Kalime Masse’s offer of a settlement in her lawsuit regarding the town’s rejection of her request to renew the business license for the long-abandoned Rockwell Ready-Mix concrete batch plant. Shupp said "it was so far off in left field that it is never going to happen." Hope for a settlement is diminished.

Representatives of the town, Triview Metropolitan District, and the Jackson Creek Land Co., as well as numerous lawyers for each, met and agreed to rewrite the intergovernmental agreement created during the annexation of Regency Park in 1987 to more accurately and clearly define the evolved relationship of the three entities over the past 20 years. There was agreement that the original documents governing development in Jackson Creek were inadequate. The new document will apply to as yet undeveloped land in the Regency Park annexation, which includes the current Jackson Creek development east of I-25 and the land north of Higby Road to Highway 105 between I-25 and Jackson Creek Parkway.

The board went into executive session at 7:49 p.m. to discuss real estate negotiations. It came out of executive session and adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 21: Jim Moore receives first annual "Jim Moore Award"

Below: Local businessman Jim Moore (center) was honored with the first annual Jim Moore Award at the Monument Board of Trustees meeting May 21. The Historic Monument Merchants Association teamed with the board to create the award to honor those who help preserve and enhance the historic downtown area following the standard set by Moore. Several generations of Moore’s family joined his friends and tenants in an emotional celebration of Moore’s lifetime of service to the community. Photos by Jim Kendrick

By Jim Kendrick

On May 21, the Monument Board of Trustees and the Historic Monument Merchants Association honored Monument business leader Jim Moore for his many years of preserving and enhancement of commercial buildings in the Historic Monument district.

In an emotional and touching ceremony, Town Manager Cathy Green presented Moore the first award bearing his name. She said she had been working in urban planning for 22 years and "probably the biggest legacy you can leave a town is when you put your time and you investment in taking up roots there." She listed all the buildings he’d renovated in changing the face of downtown with "a great sense of style and attention to detail …. A lot of his heart went into it."

The Jim Moore Award will be given annually on his birthday, April 16, with a plaque in Town Hall to commemorate him and all those selected for this honor. A reception was held before the board meeting resumed so the audience in the packed meeting room could congratulate Moore and his family members.

(See article on May 7 Board of Trustees on page 16 for details of Lucy McGuire’s and Tommie Plank’s unanimously approved recommendation to create this award in Moore’s name and nomination for its first presentation.)

Monument police volunteer Bill Nealon honored

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Click on the photo to zoom in

Woodmoor resident Bill Nealon received an award from Police Chief Jake Shirk for his many years of service supporting three chiefs. Shirk noted that Nealon had said, "I don’t need no plaque." Shirk said the plaque he presented "wasn’t just for you, this is for your family, for your children, and your grandchildren, for their great grandchildren to understand your impact and the appreciation of the Monument Police Department." Nealon moved to Woodmoor 30 years ago after retiring from 33 years of service in the Navy.

High school drug concerns raised

Trustee Tim Miller asked the board to make illegal drug use problems at Lewis-Palmer High School its top special interest item because drug abuse is illegal, a safety issue for area students, and harmful to property values. Miller noted the school’s proximity to I-25, a major route for illegal drug-trafficking. Mayor Byron Glenn asked Town Manager Cathy Green to initiate discussions with D-38 Superintendent Ray Blanch at their next meeting.

Some right-of-way donations to be made

Glenn gave an update on the widening of Baptist Road, the extension of Struthers Road, and the expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange. "It appears as though the right-of-way donations from the Shuck Corp. and Phoenix-Bell are going forward." These donations are for the west end and north side of Baptist Road between I-25 and Old Denver Highway respectively.

However, no progress has been made in obtaining right-of-way from THF Realty for the northeast portion of the interchange. "We’re not having real luck with THF on the east side so I think we’re going to go ahead and condemn the right-of-way," Glenn said. In the worst case, "we’re looking at building the (eastbound) lanes as opposed to the full (eight lanes) of Baptist Road" west of the Jackson Creek Parkway intersection. As the THF "development comes on line, they’ll be responsible to build that" and pay for the westbound lanes, he said.

Complicating the matter, the Foxworth-Galbraith building’s only access is from Struthers Road and a substitute access must be provided within the THF property, Glenn said. Struthers will be demolished and replaced by the new northbound dual-lane on-ramp to I-25. "CDOT wants to be careful that it’s not a future cost to BRRTA," he said.

Background: On May 4, the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA), of which Glenn is the president, reversed its vote of April 13 to waive half the road-use fees for the Timbers at Monument parcel, which would have given THF a break of $1.3 million. THF plans to build twice the current town-approved maximum of 352,000 square feet on the Timbers and Foxworth-Galbraith properties. County Commissioner Wayne Williams convinced Glenn and Commissioner Dennis Hisey to reverse their previous votes of approval on April 13 in favor of the THF road use fee waiver. Williams and Bensberg did not attend the April meeting.

Glenn said he and Green had met with Ann Nicholls of Forest Lakes Metropolitan District and Gary Bostrum and Wayne Bender of Colorado Springs Utilities about the town’s future ability to get water from the Southern Delivery System. He said the Bamberger study has shown the Springs utility that Monument contributes a lot of sales in the city and they are now more ready to treat the water supply from the system as a regional asset. Despite the higher levels of precipitation, Glenn said the town should not ease its water conservation policies on irrigating landscaping.

(See article on the May 4 BRRTA meeting on page 6 for more information on continuing interchange construction delays.)

Art Hop a big hit

Plank noted that the first downtown Art Hop on May 17 had been "extremely well-attended," "a great evening out," and "a nice date night." Art Hops are held by the Historic Monument Merchants Association on the third Thursday of the month through October from 5 to 9 p.m.

Construction noise emergency ordinance approved

In response to comments raised by the new construction at the John Laing Homes Promontory Pointe development at the intersection of Baptist Road and Gleneagle Drive, the board unanimously approved an emergency ordinance defining and restricting the days and times non-emergency commercial construction operations can be performed. There were no time or day of the week restrictions on construction noise in the existing ordinance, as pointed out by Chief Shirk at the April BOT meetings.

Assistant Public Works Director Ron Rathburn noted that this ordinance will not restrict emergency public utility and facility repairs or homeowner maintenance.

The times that construction and deliveries to job sites will now be permitted are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. No construction work is permitted on Sundays or holidays. An exception to these restrictions is necessary around-the-clock dewatering operations at construction sites.

During public comments on the proposed ordinance, Homestead at Jackson Creek Homeowners Association Vice President Steve Meyer said that all the Jackson Creek HOAs will monitor private repair and lawn-cutting activities performed during inappropriate hours. He thanked the town for the quick turnaround to noise problems that had arisen on the John Laing Homes project.

Trespassing ordinance amended

Chief Shirk said the town’s current ordinance "does not adequately address all of the potential crimes of trespass, and in fact does not address the ability of an owner of a property to remove their consent and tell someone to leave" a premises such as a store. The board unanimously approved an amendment allowing police to enforce the lawful request that a person leave the particular location.

Truck route and inspection ordinance created

Shirk said the town was prepared to begin apprehending truck drivers who are damaging town roads as they avoid inspections at the state port on I-25 at Monument Hill.

The board unanimously approved a new ordinance that replaces the previous ordinance on Monument truck routes.

Shirk noted that the new ordinance:

  • Establishes the authority of Monument police officers to enforce commercial vehicle regulations and cite violations in Monument’s municipal court.
  • Allows the town to prohibit the operation of trucks and commercial vehicles on certain roads.
  • Allows the town to establish a specific route for trucks that weigh over 26,000 pounds.

Shirk said that truck inspections typically take one to two hours, too long for an officer on a normal shift given the volume of other calls. Monument Officer Michael Wolfe, who has completed all required training and certification to conduct these inspections, will perform these duties on overtime, with his pay coming from fines collected by the town’s municipal court. Wolfe performed 32 supervised truck inspections at the port as part of his certification.

At the May 10 Palmer Lake Town Council meeting, Police Chief Dan Gilliana had also reported that Palmer Lake Officer Phillip Donner had been similarly trained and certificated for truck inspections.

Shirk said the truck inspections will be performed at the state’s weighing stations on I-25 with the enthusiastic support of state personnel, who will weigh the trucks Wolfe and Donner select for inspection.

The newly approved truck routes are:

  • Highway 105
  • Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road to Leather Chaps Drive
  • Leather Chaps Drive from Baptist Road to Jackson Creek Parkway
  • Lyons Tail Road from Jackson Creek Parkway to Leather Chaps Drive
  • Baptist Road
  • Beacon Lite Road/Old Denver Highway from Second Street to Baptist Road
  • Mitchell Avenue from Second Street to Synthes Avenue
  • Second Street from Highway 105 to Mitchell Avenue

Street closing for festival approved

St. Peter Church spokesman Frank Cheeseman requested the temporary closing of a portion of First Street (no driveways affected) and a special-event permit for a three-day parish festival at the church’s Jefferson Street parking lot on Aug. 24-26. Activities include a 5K walk/run; food/beverages/wine/beer concessions, and other various festival activities. All required documentation of insurance, traffic plans, notification and approval of all adjacent homeowners on Washington Street and overtime town police support had been previously approved by town staff. The hours of the festival are 5 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 24, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Aug. 25, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 26

Cheeseman thanked Shirk and Town Clerk Scott Meszaros for their help in expanding the festival and the temporary liquor license to three days. The board unanimously approved the street closure and liquor license.

Financial reports approved

Treasurer Pamela Smith presented documentation for:

  • May disbursements over $5,000
  • Final financial statement for 2006 that is the basis for the 2006 audit
  • First-quarter 2007 sales tax analysis
  • April 2007 financial statement

All the documents were approved unanimously. The 2007 audit will be presented to the board on June 18.

The payments over $5,000 included:

  • $87,442 to Triview Metropolitan District for its share of town sales and motor vehicle tax.
  • $24,303 to Centennial Services Inc. for budgeted engineering and design fees for the town’s new Town Hall/Police building.
  • $77,842 to AmWest Inc. for budgeted lowering of the well 8 pump.

Smith noted the following items in presenting the final 2006 financial statement:

  • General fund revenues exceeded the amount budgeted by 3.9 percent — $128,000
  • General fund expenses were less than the amount budgeted by 5.3 percent —$55,000
  • Water enterprise fund revenues exceeded the amount budgeted by 8.5 percent — $119,000
  • Water enterprise fund were less than the amount budgeted by 3.25 percent — $141,000

Green presented an interim draft of the town’s capital improvement plan for board member review and comment. She noted that the 2007 capital improvement projects are already included in the 2007 budget. Plank suggested that the board schedule a half-day retreat to focus on finalizing the format and priorities listed in the plan. There was consensus that Green should determine which days trustees are available and propose possible dates for the retreat.

Public works report

Some of the items noted in Public Works Director Rich Landreth’s report were:

  • The town’s skateboard park on Beacon Lite Road has been cleaned up and reopened.
  • A tree was planted on Arbor Day in Limbach Park.
  • The new restrooms at Dirty Woman Creek Park have been opened.
  • Staff have received the recently purchased climbing rock to be installed in Limbach Park.
  • Construction of the water treatment plant expansion is now complete and the staff are awaiting receipt of the final certificate of occupancy.
  • The town’s newly obtained water storage rights have allowed the staff to refill Monument Lake using purchases of excess wastewater treatment facility effluent for augmentation of downstream flows below the renovated dam.

For information on the Police Department’s recent activities, see the very detailed reports prepared by analyst Mariah L. Hudson on the recently reopened town Web site: http://www.townofmonument.net/Police.asp 

Green provided the board with a schedule of required actions for the TABOR waiver election on Nov. 6.

The meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 4 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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Monument Planning Commission, May 9: Four referrals from the county reviewed

By Jim Kendrick

On May 9, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved proposed comment letters from the Development Services Department staff to their county Planning Department counterparts on four land-use referrals for county land near the town of Monument. Before conducting these reviews, the commissioners participated in one of a series of training workshops conducted by Town Manager Cathy Green and Principal Planner Karen Griffith.

All the commissioners were present, including newly appointed Commissioner Glenda Smith, who had been sworn in at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 7.

Workshop continues for commissioners

The hour-long workshop was a continuation of the training that began on April 11. The commissioners are being instructed on their role in reviewing development applications for annexation, zoning (general and planned development), and subdivision (plats, minor subdivisions, re-subdivisions).

Annexations have rules on time limits from initial requests to final Planning Commission and Board of Trustee hearings.

For proposals that do not change the existing zoning (commercial, industrial, or residential) of town parcels, the staff can administratively approve final site plans if they fully comply with town regulations and ordinances without review by the Planning Commission or Board of Trustees. This is typically done for large developments such as the Monument Marketplace, once the planned development guidelines in the master site plan have been approved.

The stages for planned development (PD) applications typically reviewed by the Planning Commission are: sketch plan, preliminary PD site plan, final PD site plan, preliminary plat, and final plat. Annexation of adjacent county land must precede these PD approval steps. Sometimes the sketch plan phase is skipped. The preliminary and final plat and PD site plan hearings may be combined to save time and advertising expenses.

Requests for subdivisions of in-town parcels into several lots—ones that do not have to be annexed first—are reviewed and approved in a similar fashion. The staff can administratively approve a minor subdivision yielding up to four residential lots or up to 10 dwelling units, if the proposal fully complies with town regulations and ordinances. The staff may refer preliminary and final subdivision plan and plat requests to the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees if staff concludes that the changes are not minor.

GarageTown Storage Units comments approved

The first county referral was for GarageTown’s proposed construction of an indoor recreational vehicle storage condominium facility of five buildings—a total of 65,571 square feet—on 4.3 acres of county land on the southwest corner of Deer Creek and Base Camp Roads, between I-25 and the Lewis-Palmer Middle School track on Woodmoor Drive.

The staff’s principal concern with the proposed administrative plot plan for a use by right is limiting the potential unattractiveness of five industrial buildings with very large side-by-side 14-foot-high garage doors, similar to a trucking depot, when viewed by motorists on the adjacent Monument Hill portion of the interstate. Griffith noted that Monument Hill is the scenic gateway to the town.

Griffith requested that the county require the landowner to preserve or relocate as many of the numerous mature ponderosa pine trees on the site as possible for landscape screening, in two rows at least 50 feet wide, to the south and west of the new structures. The vacant lot on the south side of Deer Creek Road is zoned planned industrial district (PID).

The storage units and the land under them will be sold rather than rented. The individual units will be much larger than a typical rental storage unit, because the intended use is for housing Greyhound-bus-size RVs. Storage of these RVs in homeowners’ driveways is usually prohibited by residential development covenants, even though the value of the RVs may equal or exceed the value of the homes. The five buildings will occupy only 35 percent of the lot, a lower density than usual for a GarageTown site, to comply with the county’s land development code. Rectangular units vary from 16 by 48 feet to 24 by 56 feet. The L-shaped units will have one 32- by-48-foot parking space for the RV plus an adjacent 16-by-27-foot space for tow vehicles, refrigerators, battery chargers, and other equipment. The proposal states that the units should be available in December, six months after a planned June start date for construction.

Other comments and concerns in Griffith’s letter were:

  • Sketches of the exterior design of the buildings, as well as the landscape plan, "need to be provided" to the town.
  • The oversized garage doors should face away from the interstate’s view corridor to the east, or be screened by the rows of large pine trees.
  • Preservation of the pine trees is "vital to the scenic quality of the Tri-Lakes area."
  • The town would like more information on the covenants and intended uses regarding the proposed clubhouse within the facility to ensure that it will not support camping or living on site while performing maintenance of RVs.
  • The town "appreciates" GarageTown locating the RV dump and trash enclosures away from the interstate.

More information on this concept is available at www.garagetown.com.

Two Knollwood Village county referrals okayed

Griffith advised the commissioners that the staff had concluded that the town has no concerns regarding the replat and vacation request nor the rezone request of KV Development Co. and Copper Knoll Investments LLC for Lot 1 of Filing 2 of Knollwood Village, on the northeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive.

The zoning request would convert the filing’s zoning from rural residential 5-acre lots (RR-5) to commercial neighborhood (CN). The replat and vacation consists of creating one commercial lot of 1.3 acres while the remaining 15.4 acres are for future development and open space.

American National Bank comments approved

American National Bank has proposed construction of a branch building on the northeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive, which is just outside the town boundary to the east. Griffith’s proposed list of concerns regarding the proposed plot plan included:

  • The site should have considerably more landscaping, with evergreen and canopy trees, on the west and south sides of the lot to match that proposed for the parking lot, as a "gateway" building for Monument.
  • The town needs to see the lighting plan, which was not provided by the county or the developer, to confirm that it is appropriate for a building location that is in an area of transition from urban to rural land uses.
  • The landowner should provide a sidewalk and bike lane along the frontage on Highway 105.
  • The northern and eastern facades of the building are too plain for a building at the entrance to Monument and should be redesigned with a greater variety of materials, more windows, or more articulation to match the standards for town buildings on the other corners of this intersection.
  • The town should be provided the revised, upgraded designs.

The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 13 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Palmer Lake Town Council Workshop, May 3: Building addition, town ordinances proposed

By Jim Kendrick

The Palmer Lake Town Council reviewed and tentatively approved several land use applications and three new town ordinances at its workshop meeting on May 3.

Training Mission International building addition advances

Palmer Lake commercial contractor Mark Ennis, of Access Construction, requested a change to the planned unit development for Mission Training International at 421 Highway 105. Ennis said the proposed building addition would be located underneath the existing deck on the south side of the building that was unanimously approved on April 18 by the town’s Planning Commission. The addition will be on the front of the existing building, but will not be prominent when viewed from Highway 105 due to the existing berm just south of the building. This change would increase the number of people using the facility.

Bollar Cruz Architects, LLC, which designed the original building, also designed the addition. The exterior changes to the property total approximately 1,297 square feet:

  • The president’s office will move to the addition – 649 square feet.
  • A workout room will be added to the building – 306 square feet
  • A classroom will be located adjacent to the workout room – 342 square feet.
  • The depth of the two decks, currently totaling about 963 square feet, will be increased to match the depth of the additions to be built under them.
  • Two colored concrete patios will be placed directly south of the addition.
  • The east patio will include an outdoor fire pit.
  • Patio lighting will be downcast to illuminate the new walkways.
  • A playground will also be added, totaling approximately 300 to 400 square feet.

The council approved a public hearing on Ennis’ proposal, scheduled for May 10.

Alma sheds display approved

Guillermo Moratorio of Alma Construction Corp. requested a conditional use in a Convenience Commercial Zone to sell construction kits for sheds. Moratorio plans to lease the vacant 1-acre site along the east side of Highway 105 just south of the downtown baseball field and place three to five fully constructed model sheds on-site. Potential clients will be able to park on-site, inspect the completed kits, and obtain a sales brochure for purchase of a shed kit. Moratorio said the lot will be regraded to resemble the look of a garden. The vacant narrow lot between the highway and the railroad tracks is owned by Jim Fitzgerald’s Cavalry Capital Management, LLC. The approval of conditional use would only apply to a very similar use in the future; otherwise the zoning would revert to Convenience Commercial if Moratorio’s business vacates the parcel.

Moratorio’s proposal was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on April 18. Commissioner Gary Atkins asked for three conditions on the approval, which the commissioners also unanimously approved:

  • The driveway access to Highway 105 from the vacant property must be widened to 24 feet and must also be raised and regraded with added dirt so it is level with the highway’s road surface and – with an 18-inch culvert installed under the improved driveway that meets all state requirements for drainage within its right-of-way.
  • A split-rail fence must be installed along the frontage of the property to improve the lot’s appearance and "define the property."
  • The trash that has accumulated on the property over several years must be removed.

The council approved the proposal, Atkins’ three proposed conditions, and a public hearing on Moratorio’s proposal scheduled for May 10.

Illumination Pointe issues resolved

Landowner Sharon Smith requested a minor subdivision of the plat for lot 2 of the Meadows Subdivision. Smith’s 6.3-acre Illumination Pointe property is on the west side of Highway 105, opposite the Mennonite Church. Local design/build general contractor Doug Pinney of Frontier Construction LLC, which specializes in pre-engineered metal buildings, presented Smith’s re-plat proposal. No site plan proposal was considered.

The proposed retail lots will have a consistent architectural theme and be landscaped. The parcel would include space for retail and building industry businesses. Smith wants to develop the largest retail lot on the east side of the property as a new location for the Colorado Light House, a lamp and lighting fixture store, which currently leases space in the West End Center. The building would have other units, which she would lease. She plans to sell the three remaining 1-acre retail lots.

Background: Smith’s proposal had been previously presented at the Town Council Workshop on March 1 and the Planning Commission workshop on March 6. The proposal raised numerous long-range questions regarding the town’s comprehensive plan for adjacent properties and the need to update the plan to determine what type of zoning and uses the town prefers for this undeveloped area. However, the Planning Commission and Town Council were supportive of Smith’s request as long as these issues could be addressed.

At the March 1 Town Council workshop, some key points raised during the discussion included:

  • The town’s comprehensive plan does not address commercial development at the southeast end of town.
  • The Planning Commission needs to update the comprehensive plan for expected commercial proposals in this area, including annexations of contiguous county property.
  • Retail zoning would be a better fit for Smith’s parcel because many people prefer not have their home next to a highway.
  • The town must make sure that the three mobile home parks close to Smith’s parcel would not get forced out if many of the nearby vacant sites get rezoned to commercial.
  • The question of whether this rezoning would set a precedent for the entire Highway 105 corridor becoming commercial remained unresolved.
  • Internal road rights-of-way need to be wider to provide access for 18-wheel truck deliveries and large fire trucks. The town’s Board of Adjustment may be able to resolve this issue if the C-2 zoning is approved.

Smith’s request for rezoning from 5-acre residential (R-1) to commercial (C-2) was approved by the Planning Commission on March 6, but her request to subdivide into four lots was tabled until she could get approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation for direct access to the state’s Highway 105. The town’s comprehensive plan currently states the area should remain residential.

Some of the issues raised on March 6 by the commissioners were:

  • The proposed shared access from Highway 105 would be with an adjacent property in the county.
  • There is no direct access to the property from Cloven Hoof Drive.
  • The proposed road through the center of the parcel has only a 28-foot right-of-way without a turnaround, instead of the standard 50 feet for safety and fire and delivery truck access.
  • Setbacks must be large enough to allow for adequate road right-of-way as well as utility easements.
  • A portion of the perimeter utility easements are in a floodplain.

On May 3, Pinney said that a perimeter right-of-way easement for a shared road had been obtained from the adjacent property owner, and this easement had been recorded with the county. Trustee Gary Coleman asked that this perimeter easement and Highway 105 access for both properties be added to the re-plat drawings submitted for the hearing on May 10. Pinney added that a consultant had been contracted to conduct a traffic study for Highway 105. The state Transportation Department has given Smith a partial commitment for the access pending the outcome of the traffic study.

Restaurant consultant business license gets preliminary approval

James Gaita requested a new business license for his home-based consulting business, Optimum Efficiency Restaurant Consulting, at 52 S. Valley Road. Gaita said he would meet with clients at their businesses for on-site discussions on market analysis, efficiency training, and design. The board approved his license as a consent item for the regular council meeting on May 10.

Police propose ordinances

The council discussed a proposal from Police Chief Dan Gilliana for three town ordinances to regulate petty offenses within the town for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by underage persons.

Officer Phil Donner and Town Clerk Della Gray explained that having these local ordinances on petty offenses, with a maximum fine of $100, would allow the town to deal with them in its own municipal court to:

  • Avoid the requirement to have Palmer Lake officers drive to Colorado Springs for court appearances.
  • Allow the Palmer Lake judge to deal with these offenses at the community level with more latitude for local community service.
  • Remove jail time of up to 15 days from the permitted state punishments in each of the three ordinances to avoid the possibility of having to deal with appeals. (Repeat offenses and contempt issues are treated under separate ordinances.)
  • Keep fine revenues within the town.

Other discussion items

Roads Trustee Richard Allen asked that tasking from the Streetscape Committee be kept to a minimum so that Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich can focus on much needed road repairs and equipment maintenance after a particularly harsh winter. He asked that Radosevich serve as the liaison for planned road and sidewalk improvements using the state Safe Routes to Schools grant rather than the principal for design, planning, and implementation.

Economic Development Trustee Susan Miner said to Radosevich that her Streetscape Committee had plenty of expertise for day-to-day planning. "You have a staff of 20" for project management and other duties, and there is "a lot of construction expertise" in town, she said.

Allen’s second issue was use of money from the Lucy Owen Memorial Fund. Longtime resident Owen donated all her assets, including considerable cash, to the town at her death for specific projects that supported her goals in 1998. The Lucy Owen town staff building was paid for by this memorial fund, for example.

Allen suggested that the $30,000 previously set aside from the Lucy Owen fund for the joint $2.5 million purchase of the Ben Lomond property by the town and the state be reallocated to support for the proposed Tri-Lakes regional senior center – in three consecutive $10,000 annual installments. The Ben Lomond negotiations were never completed and the $30,000 was never spent nor reallocated. Allen proposed that the first $10,000 payment be made in 2007 as the fulfillment of the town’s pledge to support the acquisition of a senior center location before the end of this year.

Trustee Miner suggested an alternative use might be seed money for corporate partnerships and required town matching grants for senior housing that may be built within the town’s boundary. She proposed some sort of split of the $30,000 for both goals. Parker agreed with Miner on spreading out whatever contributions are made to the senior center from the Owen fund to every other year.

After a lengthy discussion, the council agreed to have Town Attorney Larry Gaddis review the Owen will and provide legal guidance on June 14 on allowable options to apply the $30,000 toward seniors’ needs while meeting Owen’s expressed desires for use of her estate funds.

Fire Trustee Gary Coleman showed the council one of several ponderosa pine tree branches burned by downed power lines next to Shady Lane to more clearly demonstrate the reason that access was limited during the most recent heavy, wet snowstorm. The burn pattern was distinctive with most combustion under the bark rather than on the surface. Mayor Max Parker had temporarily restricted access to Shady Lane residences on April 23 at the recommendation of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department when it discovered downed power lines near some homes, decks, and driveways.

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The next council workshop meeting is on June 7 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 54 Valley Crescent. Workshop meetings are normally held on the first Thursday. Because workshop meetings are often combined with regular council meetings on the second Thursday, contact town staff at 481-2953 to confirm the final workshop schedule each month.

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Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, May 10: Town joins rail authority, plans to seek water storage rights

Below: Awake the Lake Committee spokesman Jeff Hulsmann demonstrates his assertion, on May 10, that some surface water has spilled over the town’s reservoir dam without being re-directed to refill Palmer Lake, due to the town not having surface water storage rights. The council later unanimously approved a motion to direct its water attorney Ronni Sperling to begin the official water court process for obtaining storage rights for the lake. The committee will provide the first $20,000 of the court costs incurred by the town of Palmer Lake. Photo by Jim Kendrick

By Celeste E. Raine

Catherine Green, town manager of Monument, spoke not as town manager but as an advocate for the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA) at the May 10 meeting of the Palmer Lake Town Council. She explained that RMRA obtained a $1.25 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) after turning the project into a charitable 501(c)3 corporation. The organization is now run by towns, cities, and some special districts. CDOT also required that the authority come up with a 20 percent match to the grant. By April 23, RMRA had presented signed commitment letters totaling $320,000 from its Colorado membership, exceeding the $311,500 required for the match to the CDOT grant.

The proposed passenger rail service would go from Casper, Wyo., to Albuquerque, N.M., and from Denver International Airport to the Utah Border. Utah is currently building a passenger rail line from Salt Lake City to Provo. "I imagine that (Utah) could pick it up at the state border and bring that forward," Green said. The sections from DIA to Rifle and Aspen and from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins are proposed to be high-speed passenger rail, in the range of 125 mph.

The next steps for the authority are to perform a feasibility study of the proposed plan and to gain more support and more members. "What I am asking of you tonight is simply to join," Green said. The members will provide input into selecting a consultant, determining the feasibility of the project, deciding where the stations be located, and choosing an architectural theme for the infrastructure.

Trustee Susan Miner said, "I am willing to donate time and travel to this important opportunity." Miner went on to say, "The long-range economic stability in Palmer Lake is in tourism, because we don’t have the ability to come up with significant growth that will bring us tax dollars. We need to bring people into town …we don’t have a place for them to park … (we need to) get back to the historic way to get to Palmer Lake, come by train."

The council voted to become a member of the RMRA group, bringing the total to 27 members. Mayor Max Parker wanted to look at budgets to determine how much money Palmer Lake would like to donate in support of this authority. Discussion of this donation was deferred to the June Town Council meeting. For more information, see www.rangerexpress.com.

Speaking in support of the project, Awake the Lake group spokesman Jeff Hulsmann said, "If we have the opportunity to bring people to our community, there must be something beautiful to bring them back."

Town to pursue water storage rights

In another matter, Hulsmann stated that the Palmer Lake reservoir was completely full in November and any additional rainfall overflows from the dam can be used by others downstream. Hulsmann demonstrated this by filling a glass full of water representing the reservoir in November, then kept adding water to represent the subsequent rainfalls, and the water overflowed into the punchbowl below it. He stated that 6 acre-feet of stream water overtopped the dam.

Green explained how Monument has dealt with a similar problem with its Monument Lake dam. Monument bought excess effluent water at $50 per acre-foot to replace water recently held behind the dam to refill Monument Lake. Since then, costs have risen to $400 per acre-foot.

Trustee Richard Allen explained the history of attempts to refill Palmer Lake. He said that in 1995, "The lake was in terrible shape." By January 2000, the lake was restored to its original beauty. The restoration had become the "gold standard for projects at that time." Since then, "the spigot has been turned off" and there has been a problem.. "This has been going on for too long" and "we must come up with a viable solution," Allen said.

The council unanimously approved a motion to have town attorney Larry Gaddis and town water attorney Ronni Sperling file for storage rights in the lake. Funding for the town’s water attorney and court fees of up to $20,000 will be paid by the Awake the Lake Committee, though the town is in charge of the effort.

Three land use requests were approved

The following requests were approved by Town Council without comment;

  • Mission Training International requested a change to a PUD to add three rooms under its existing decks.
  • Alma Construction requested a conditional use in a Convenience Commercial Zone to display shed kits it sells on a vacant lot just south of the ball field on Highway 105.
  • Illumination Point Subdivision requested a Minor Subdivision for its 6.3-acre commercial lot on Highway 105 opposite the Mennonite Church.

(See article on Palmer Lake Town Council workshop on page 23 for more complete details of these land use applications. Previous OCN reports on Planning Commission and Town Council hearings in March and April are available at www.ourcommunitynews.org. )

Three ordinances approved

The following ordinances were unanimously approved:

  • Regulation of possession of marijuana in the town.
  • Regulation of possession of drug paraphernalia in the town.
  • Regulation of illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by underage persons in the town.

Parker said Gaddis had advised that the three ordinances had to have the "15 days of jail time" added back to the ordinances because it’s part of the Colorado Revised Statutes, and the town ordinance could not countermand that.

(See article on Palmer Lake Town Council workshop on page 23 for details of these issues.)

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

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The next workshop meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 7 at Town Hall, 54 Valley Crescent. The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 14 at Town Hall. Workshop meetings are normally held on the first Thursday of the month. Regular meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Check for cancellations or combining of the two meetings at 481-2953.

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, May 8: State proposes tightened rules on copper concentrations

By Jim Kendrick

On May 8, the Joint Use Committee (JUC), which is the board of directors for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, unanimously approved a resolution giving its environmental attorney, Tad Foster, full discretion to pursue either of two possible options to respond to a dramatic proposed change to reduce the state’s maximum allowable level of dissolved copper in the treated effluent discharged by the facility into Monument Creek.

The committee also received draft copies of the 2006 audit performed by Reynolds, Henry, and Co. The committee unanimously approved another three-year renewal of the expiring three-year contract with Reynolds, Henry. The firm specializes in audits for special districts. The auditor will finalize all the figures and attachments based on comments on the draft from the committee, Tri-Lakes facility manager Bill Burks, accountant Nolan Gookin, and former facility accounts manager Hope Winkler. The final audit will be presented at the next committee meeting on June 12.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The committee has three members, one director from each of the special district boards.

Major change in testing standards for copper proposed

Over the past two years, the committee has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for data collection and testing on microscopic Monument Creek plant and animal life to validate the use of water effects ratios (often referred to as WERs in technical reports) to adjust the results of the biotic ligand model for determining the limits of potentially dissolved copper in the facility’s treated wastewater that would be safe for the creek’s ecology. The numerous tests on several forms of aquatic life and microorganisms have been conducted without any reimbursement from the state or the federal Environmental Protection Agency for the facility consultants’ original research. These two agencies set the standards for metals and other chemicals, such as ammonia, in wastewater facility effluent.

On May 1, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment notified the Tri-Lakes facility staff that the facility’s current tight restrictions on the amount of dissolved copper allowed in treated wastewater might be made more stringent on Jan. 1. Copper limits have been based on water hardness in various areas of the state, but recent studies appear to show that the high levels of dissolved organic carbon in wastewater may have a larger effect. Hardness is a measure of how many metal ions, particularly calcium, magnesium, and iron, are in the water in the form of carbonates, bicarbonates, and sulfates.

The three special districts – Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor – would have to share the estimated cost of about $1.75 million to acquire and install as-yet unproven technology to remove a bit more of the trace amounts of copper in the effluent as well as spend approximately $500,000 each year thereafter to operate this supplementary treatment equipment.

There are no copper limits on the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, about a half-mile downstream of the Tri-Lakes facility, at this time. Copper discharge permit limits will be imposed when Upper Monument Creek’s facility expansion is completed.

The number of homes served by Triview Metropolitan District will continue to escalate due to numerous recent annexations by the town of Monument. The new urban density residential developments will add thousands of homes to Triview’s sanitary sewer system, as well as several new shopping centers and hotels. Donala Water and Sanitation District is nearing buildout and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District plans to add only about 400 houses to the load on the Upper Monument Creek facility.

Despite the town’s and Woodmoor’s rapid growth, no copper can be detected in Monument Creek two miles downstream from the Tri-Lakes facility where it crosses Baptist Road. Yet, the Tri-Lakes facility could be vulnerable to state fines of $10,000 per day beginning on Jan. 1 when the new standard of no more than an average of 8 parts per billion (PPB) of potentially dissolved copper is proposed to begin. The EPA could also impose daily fines.

The amounts of copper detected in Tri-Lakes test samples that are measured by a consultant laboratory have typically ranged from 8 to 11 PPB over the past year. The current maximum allowable average for the facility is 24.6 PPB. The maximum for a single test sample is 36.4 PPB, a standard the facility has easily met. The facility’s experts say their tests have also shown that this more lenient standard protects all aquatic life and microorganisms in the creek and, until May 1, the JUC had planned on asking for permanent standards of about 24 for the average value and 36 PPB for a single reading, based on this research.

Foster and environmental expert Steve Canton of GEI Consulting reviewed the substantial technical challenges in accurately measuring such small amounts of copper and the potential costs of several response options to the requirement by Foster, Canton, and consultant facility engineer Mike Rothberg of Rothberg, Tamburini, and Winsor Inc. The three district managers were accompanied by several members of their boards to learn of this new challenge on May 8. A response to the state Health Department was required by May 17.

Monument Public Works Director Rich Landreth, his deputy Ron Rathburn, and water foreman Tom Tharnish also attended the May 8 meeting at the request of Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund. Wicklund asked the town to consider adding sodium hydroxide in minute amounts to its drinking water, which reduces acidity and the amount of copper leached from copper pipes in houses. The sodium hydroxide reacts chemically with the interior surface of the pipe to form a thin layer that seals the surface, preventing further dissolving of copper in the drinking water. Woodmoor has used caustic soda in its drinking water for years and has significantly lower copper concentrations in its wastewater than Monument or Palmer Lake.

Wicklund noted that he understood Landreth’s reluctance to add sodium hydroxide to slightly increase the pH and alkalinity of town drinking water, but this method may cost only thousands of dollars per year to Monument residents versus hundreds of thousands to residents in all three of the Tri-Lakes facility’s sanitation districts.

Measurements of the amount of copper in the facility’s discharge fluctuated greatly in early 2004, resulting in two readings, though still small, that exceeded state limits for copper concentrations of 17.6 PPB. The lowest level that can be detected by approved testing methods is 5 PPB.

Because of volatility in the measurements of test samples, Burks later sent calibrated test samples containing 10 PPB of copper to several approved state testing labs. The reported concentrations ranged from 13 to 21 PPB, in excess of the 12.7 PPB average limit, or no copper was detected. These widely varied test results raise significant questions about the validity of the state’s revised copper maximum average of 8 PPB proposed for 2008, the ability to get valid copper concentration test results, and the likelihood of avoiding unjustified fines due to erroneous test results since they tend to be higher than actual rather than lower than actual.

The maximum allowable copper concentration in drinking water is 1,300 parts per billion. However, humans are not as sensitive to copper as some microorganisms and aquatic life may prove to be. The purpose of the Tri-Lakes toxicity testing is to establish baselines on what concentrations kill specific plants, fish, and microorganisms found in Monument Creek, in order to protect them.

The first peak and average copper limits imposed through the facility’s current five-year discharge permit were 12.0 PPB average and 17.6 PPB per individual test for 2005-06. The current permit required these two allowed maximum levels to drop to 8.7 and 13.0 PPB in 2007-09. Due to the widely variant test results reported by several labs and preliminary experimental data on toxicity produced by the facility’s engineering and environmental consultants, the state gave a temporary permit waiver to the Tri-Lakes facility for 2007 for maximum allowed copper concentrations of 24.8 PPB average and 36.4 PPB for a single test.

However, as of May 1, the state and the EPA has proposed single test and average limits of 8.0 and 11.7 PPB for Tri-Lakes in 2008-09, even though copper still cannot be detected at Baptist Road. These are limits the plant clearly cannot meet as currently configured.

Presentation offers options but not solutions

Canton gave a lengthy briefing on the 40-year history of federal, statewide, and Tri-Lakes metals testing issues and restrictions. He discussed how the evolving limits to protect water quality have been applied recently in the Arkansas and South Platte River basins.

Metals were initially measured directly in a total metals concentration, and then testing based on how metals dissolve in numerous compounds was developed. The varying combinations of different dissolved metal compounds were then tested using the water effects ratio method. Several iterations of testing models were developed as were methods for recalculation of test results for varying blends of compounds.

In 2004, the Colorado Water Quality Division first applied water effects ratio standards for metals developed in the South Platte basin to the Arkansas basin. Tri-Lakes began collecting preliminary data at the Baptist Road crossing of Monument Creek to develop its own water effects ratios.

In October 2005, the division authorized Tri-Lakes to develop its own water effects ratio test methodology for copper for the particular blend of dissolved copper compounds and the specific ecology of the headwaters of Monument Creek. For much of the year, the effluent from the Tri-Lakes facility comprises most or all of the creek’s flows toward Baptist Road.

In December 2005, the division asked that Tri-Lakes also take samples from the creek at North Gate Road and Woodmen Road to supplement its development of segment-specific biotic ligand models for the northern portion of the creek.

Two alternative methods were considered by the division for testing for copper.

One method, supported by the affected facilities, would require creation of a water effects ratio for each species of plant and fish life in the creek, and some sort of average maximum would be calculated. However, it is difficult to show a close statistical correlation between the toxicity of copper and hardness in its effect on different kinds of microscopic organisms in the creek.

The other method, now supported by the state division, would use an alternative method called water quality criteria ratios. This leads to much tighter standards. The division has concluded that the effect of water hardness in the stream, the basis of the water effects ratio adjustment, is being overwhelmed by the effects of dissolved organic carbon, skewing the test results that are the basis of the Tri-Lakes request.

However, there is no resolution of the problems of detecting, much less accurately measuring, potentially dissolved copper, no accurate way to measure or predict the effectiveness of more stringent copper standards and processes on creek ecology, or the difficulty of analyzing the cost-effectiveness of requiring expensive copper removal systems at wastewater treatment facilities to remove small additional amounts of copper.

Canton then discussed the difficulties in establishing new state standards based on methods not previously used when the methods have not yet undergone the EPA’s Basic Standards Review.

There was unanimous agreement that the boards of the owning districts are committed to protecting the ecology of Monument Creek and downstream users, but without costly, needless, and unproductive testing and treatment.

Recommendations to the board

Foster recommended that Tri-Lakes pursue a delay in the Jan. 1 implementation of the new standards by asking that these standards undergo the EPA’s standard Recalculation Procedure for a few years. Recalculation would allow the proposed statewide general standard to be adjusted for the specific resident species found in Monument Creek using historic biological monitoring data already collected using the accepted biotic ligand model. The EPA Recalculation Procedure has previously been used throughout Colorado for adjusting statewide standards for specific sites.

Foster recommended a second option to keep the current temporary standards in place beyond the end of 2007 through 2010 until the new water quality criteria ration standards have undergone a basic standards hearing and stakeholder review.

The JUC unanimously approved granting Foster and Canton complete latitude to pursue either option by the May 17 response date and thereafter in continuing negotiations with state and EPA officials.

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

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The next meeting is at 10 a.m. on June 12 at the facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. The meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: Bill Burks, 481-4053.

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Repairs underway at Beacon Lite and Highway 105

Below: The Town of Monument is replacing the failed 36 inch Culvert under Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105 on Crystal Creek. Temporary repairs and an evaluation of the culvert was done in 2006 which resulted in the Town’s decision to enlarge the pipe to adequately handle the storm flows of Crystal Creek. Damage to the culvert was causing road failure and compromising the existing water and sewer lines under the road and above the old culvert. Water and gas utilities had to be rerouted around the new 78 inch pipe. Some delay in the project occurred in May as a result of the local telephone company’s inability to distinguish their working phone lines from abandoned phone lines. The contractor will be out of the Beacon Lite Road driving surface soon and installing the new 78 inch pipe on the east side of Beacon Lite Road. Photo and caption by Mike Wicklund

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, May 10: Woodmoor board considers dam repairs

By Sue Wielgopolan

At its May 10 meeting, the Woodmoor board met in executive session with engineer John Sikora to discuss URS Dam Engineering’s evaluation of the condition of the Woodmoor Lake dam and the firm’s list of options regarding repairs.

URS had been tasked at the February meeting with investigating the condition of the outlet structures and formulating several alternatives for repairs with cost estimates included. Board members received a written report documenting URS’s findings, listing areas of special consideration including conformance to state criteria applicable to dam outlet works, and proposing five alternatives for rehabilitating the outlet works.

When contacted after the meeting, Woodmoor manager Phil Steininger stated that the board had not reached a decision, but that he expected members to announce the selected alternative at the June 14 Woodmoor board meeting.

Copper levels in effluent could require costly treatment

Benny Nasser, Woodmoor’s delegate to the Joint Use Committee (JUC), reported that the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has recently changed the way it uses a computer model to calculate the level of copper that is toxic to stream organisms. The JUC oversees operations of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, and consists of one delegate from each of the boards of the three entities that own the plant (Woodmoor, and Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts).

Wastewater plants discharge into streams and must meet state standards for water quality that limit the concentration of metals, ammonia, and other compounds that effluent is allowed to contain. In 2000, the state set copper concentration limits at 12 micrograms per liter chronic and 17 per liter acute.

After the Tri-Lakes facility began exceeding state-mandated copper limits in 2004, it hired GEI Consultants to investigate alternatives. The consulting firm began conducting copper toxicity testing using a method that had been approved by the state for use on the South Platte. Using preliminary data supplied by GEI, attorney Tad Foster was successful in convincing the state to temporarily relax the limits to 24 per liter chronic and 36 per liter acute until the end of 2007.

Foster had intended to argue for permanent institution of the higher limits with supporting evidence from GEI at the June 8 Water Quality Control Commission hearing.

However, at a pre-hearing in May, the water quality division announced that it had determined that the most recent application of the biotic ligand model alone most accurately predicted at what concentration copper became toxic to stream organisms. The state’s decision means that the method used by consultants for the Tri-Lakes facility to assemble data justifying site-specific adjustments to the model is now considered inappropriate.

The new proposed limits using the biotic ligand model without the adjustments advocated by GEI are 11 per liter chronic and 12 per liter acute. These figures are lower than the original limits adopted in 2000.

If the plant is unable to present evidence to convince the state that higher levels of copper will not appreciably harm aquatic life, it will eventually have to install a process to remove copper from effluent before it is discharged into Monument Creek. Construction alone of the additional treatment area could cost $1 million to $2 million.

The Tri-Lakes facility had until May 17 to respond.

Nasser said Foster received approval from the JUC to ask for a five-year extension of the higher limits. The JUC also gave its authorization for GEI, RTW and Foster to follow whatever course of action they felt was appropriate in regards to the hearings. Foster will argue that:

  • The science involved in use of the updated biotic ligand model has not been peer-reviewed.
  • The impacts to involved agencies have not been assessed.
  • Very low concentrations are extremely difficult to accurately measure, and state copper limits for the plant are set at concentrations just above the level of detection; tests results to date have been inconsistent.
  • GEI consultants used a method previously approved by the state for use on other streams. The recent change does not give the facility time to change the direction of its testing or construct a facility to remove copper.
  • The biotic ligand model uses a list of regional species that ought to be reduced to include only those species that live in Monument Creek. This could alter the limits, as the species present may be more tolerant.

RTW engineer Mike Rothberg reiterated that RTW and GEI would be working with Foster to help prepare the extension request. Rothberg discussed details of the JUC’s other options and possible outcomes of the hearings, which could include denial of the Tri-Lakes facility’s request for extension of the temporary limits. He told Woodmoor directors that if the commission set copper limits at a concentration below 18 per liter, violations were likely.

He said other entities would also be affected by the water quality division’s decision, including the South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation, which had used the same method for adjusting limits as the Tri-Lakes facility. Rothberg said Boulder, Fort Collins, Louisville, and Security, whose hearings would take place in July, might be interested in sharing the cost of further investigations. All have a stake in making sure the new method is reliable and accurate before the entities invest in expensive treatments.

In answer to questions from the board, Rothberg did state that the additional work by RTW, GEI and Foster would result in additional cost to the JUC.

Woodmoor using only surface water

Operations Superintendent Randy Gillette told the Woodmoor board that the district had been operating exclusively on surface water for the past six weeks. The South Treatment plant is performing well. Woodmoor was able to shut down its wells four weeks ago.

Gillette said the switch to surface supplies has not produced a noticeable difference in the taste of the district’s drinking water, although some customers have remarked that it is "softer."

Rothberg told members the use of surface water would result in cost savings to the district. Treatment of surface water uses more chemicals and is more labor-intensive, but pumping groundwater requires much more energy. Rothberg said the district could realistically reduce its power bill by approximately $40,000 per year if one-third of the district’s total consumption is drawn from surface supplies, and as much as $100,000 per year if Woodmoor were able to rely completely on surface sources.

Woodmoor is also exploring its options for upgrades to the Monument Creek exchange system. At present, the South treatment plant switches between creek water and water from Lake Woodmoor. The two sources vary greatly in turbidity, which means that chemical treatment must be rapidly adjusted each time the switch occurs. Woodmoor operators would like to be able to establish a constant mix of the two, minimizing adjustments that must be made to the chemical feeds.

Monitoring program will help prioritize sewer lining

For several years, the Woodmoor district has been rehabilitating its sewer lines — replacing pipes when necessary and lining them when practical. Gillette approximated the length of clay pipe in each of the five zones in the district, and briefed the board on the work that has been completed so far. (Clay pipe was used in the oldest parts of Woodmoor, and generally deteriorates more readily than PVC, which is now the material of choice for most sewer lines.) The information was used to create a color-coded map that shows district sewer lines and their status.

One of the main reasons for lining decaying sewer pipes is to reduce infiltration (groundwater entering the lines through cracks, or leaks around service openings) and inflow (water from precipitation entering mainly by way of manholes). The additional water can drastically increase the volume of flows that the wastewater plant must process. Each district is charged according to the volume of wastewater it generates.

Due to heavy precipitation and subsequent ground saturation, infiltration and inflow is particularly heavy this year. The Tri-Lakes facility experienced a peak flow day of 3 million gallons in April, much of that attributable to Woodmoor.

In the past, Woodmoor has approached rehabilitation and repair from a qualitative standpoint, using age as the primary criteria in deciding which areas to target and inspecting the oldest sections of the district for damage first. Engineer Jessie Shaffer discussed a quantitative approach with the board that could be more effective in targeting I & I. He intends to set up a monitoring system to determine which areas are experiencing the highest levels of infiltration. Woodmoor will concentrate repair efforts in those problem areas.

Shaffer outlined his plans for the board. He said he would begin with the south outfall (southern part of the district) first, and monitor collection mains for about two weeks at a time. He will then be able to compare the average number of gallons per day each residence is generating in different areas and determine which areas are likely experiencing the most serious infiltration problems.

Shaffer said that inflow is more difficult and expensive to monitor, as it is connected to precipitation and involves rain gauges as well as flow monitors. The district will concentrate on reducing infiltration.

Shaffer said the monitoring project will provide Woodmoor with a means to better prioritize renewal and replacement projects. The district will be able to devote in-place sewer rehabilitation to the basins most in need of work first.

He said he expected that working on the infiltration and inflow problem in this way would more quickly reduce flows at the wastewater treatment facility.

Shaffer will go over the project in more detail at the June meeting.

Work on D-38 high schools progressing

Shaffer said that Saunders Construction, which is also renovating the stadium at Lewis-Palmer High School, has begun grading at the site for the new Palmer Ridge High School. The high school is in the plan approval process.

Although School District 38 officials have withdrawn their application for a grant to help with the cost of a non-potable irrigation system for the new high school, the project is moving forward. Woodmoor had agreed to be named as lead applicant for the grant, which is administered through the Energy and Mineral Assistance Program of the state Department of Local Affairs.

D-38 has also applied for a separate grant through the same channels to help fund the new high school’s proposed geothermal heating system. The Local Affairs Department has informed Woodmoor and D-38 that grant dollars are limited. Rather than have two facets of the high school project in competition for the limited funds, the school district decided to drop the weaker application.

Woodmoor is looking at design options for the non-potable irrigation system and will present them to D-38 for input.

Saunders is working on the new concession and field house buildings at Lewis-Palmer High School. The contractor will wait until classes are finished for the summer before demolishing the old stadium.

Construction and development update

Shaffer presented a brief report on construction in the Woodmoor district:

  • Work on the new Tri-Lakes YMCA is proceeding at a rapid pace. Contractors have excavated the foundation hole and are installing water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Misty Acres Filing 1 is still working on conditional acceptance from Woodmoor for its water and sewer infrastructure.
  • JPS engineering has submitted two new development plans to the Woodmoor district. It submitted a subdivision development plan for Knollwood Village, which will be located west of the Latter Day Saints Church and north of Highway 105. JPS also submitted a site development plan for Lot 1 of the Crossroads at Monument, which is near the former BP station.

State declares Woodmoor Pines ponds tributary

The state engineer’s office has decreed that flows into the ponds located on the Woodmoor Pines Country Club golf course are considered tributary, and as such are subject to state rules governing priority water rights and augmentation requirements. In the past, the state has overlooked the flows, which replenished the ponds each spring. The golf course has been using the ponds as an irrigation source for part of the year.

Now that Woodmoor is able to monitor daily flows, the golf course can no longer use the water in its ponds as a free irrigation source. It must buy augmentation flows or purchase non-potable water from the Woodmoor district.

Steininger said the purchase of augmentation water by the golf course to replace what it uses from the ponds will impact the amount of exchangeable water the district has available. He also told the board the state’s decision will result in a substantial increase in water sales to the country club.

The public portion of the meeting concluded at 2:45 p.m. and the board went into executive session to discuss the purchase, acquisition, or sale of water rights; to consult with their attorney on specific legal questions related to negotiating positions; and to receive advice on negotiating strategies.

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The next regular meeting of the Woodmoor board will take place on June 14 at 1 p.m. at the Woodmoor office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Rescue Authority, May 23: Merger efforts proceeding on schedule

By Susan Hindman

Neither the Tri-Lakes nor the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection Districts held their usual meetings, and the Fire Authority — which is the two district boards combined — held only a brief meeting on May 23, with mainly announcements made. Because two members of the Woodmoor-Monument board were absent, the annual election of officers was deferred until next month.

As of the week before the meeting, the District Court had received all but two documents related to the merger of the two fire districts: the Board of County Commissioners’ resolution approving the inclusion (which was subsequently received); and the Woodmoor-Monument treasurers’ certificate showing there is no debt on the part of the district (which was signed at this meeting and would be faxed to the court the following morning).

Battalion Chief Bryan Jack put together a "frequently asked questions" summary on the merger, which he presented to the board. It addresses various details of the merger, such as serving and staffing, the board configuration, and financial issues.

Financial report

Financial numbers "are showing well": So said Treasurer John Hildebrandt, in his report of the period ending April 30. Of the budgeted property tax revenue, 41.37 percent has been received, totaling $1.1 million for the year. Ambulance revenues year-to-date are $232,587.

He said there was no news again regarding the water problems with Station 2.

Administrative expenses were up, with early one-time expenses and higher-than-anticipated legal expenses with the merger: $6,000 had been budgeted for that, but $10,782 has been spent. In addition, Tri-Lakes had to put down a $5,000 retainer for an attorney for the Station 2 problems. Expenses for supplies were high for Stations 1 and 2. The remainder of the expense categories were in good shape, Hildebrandt said.

Update on community relations

Firefighter Lisa Frasca noted several events that firefighters have participated in, including a FireWise event in Woodmoor in May, a Great American Cleanup, and even a dessert-judging contest at Monument Academy. A chipping weekend with the Woodmoor Improvement Association was scheduled for June 1-2.

The Senior Citizen Safety Program, which Frasca developed, has conducted 35 on-site home safety assessments for local seniors.

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The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Rescue Authority board normally meets the fourth Wednesday of each month following the meetings of the boards of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District. The next meeting will be June 27 at Tri-Lakes 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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North Group training burn held in Palmer Lake

Below: A photo taken during the North Group training burn held by the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department on Sunday, May 20. The owners of 93 Hermosa Lane donated the house for training purposes after their home was destroyed by fire on February 24. Firefighters also trained on pump and drop-tank operations and wall breaches before the burn. Photo and information provided by the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department

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DWFPD receives award

Below: The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District has received one of four Member of the Year awards for 2006 by the Colorado Emergency Services Association (CESA) and VFIS of Colorado, the Association’s Broker. The district had no worker's compensation losses during 2006.  Photo and information provided by the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District

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USAFA cadets and firefighters complete service project

Below: Air Force Academy cadets and the Monument Professional Firefighters Association volunteered their time and skills to build a wheelchair ramp for a senior citizen in the community. The volunteers would like to thank Home Depot, who donated $700 in building supplies, and Wal-Mart, Safeway, and King Soopers for their assistance in the completion of this project. Photo and information provided by the Monument Professional Firefighters Association.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education Workshop, May 5: Board to hold further policy governance workshop; communications audit cites lack of trust

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board workshop May 5, the board decided to continue work with Jim Weigel, a training consultant with the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). At the board’s April 23 workshop, Weigel presented an overview of policy governance. Weigel said the next step would be to develop top-level policies starting with templates from other school boards. He estimated that would require about two days in a facilitated workshop. The board agreed to hold a one-day workshop and see how far they get in developing top-level policies for the district.

During the course of the discussion, board member Stephen Plank noted that former Superintendent David Dilley did considerable work on the district’s policy manual. Plank said he thought the board should finish that work first. The other board members disagreed, saying they felt the top-level policies should take precedence and that much of the present policy manual should be viewed as an administrative procedures manual to be refined and maintained by the superintendent.

After the policy governance discussion, the board went to the Learning Center to receive a report on the communications audit conducted by CASB.

Communications audit finds lack of trust within and without

Jennifer Reeve, CASB’s director of programs, and Jessica Gleich, CASB’s director of communications, presented their draft report.

Reeve said that from February through May, 10 90-minute focus group meetings, 27 individual interviews, an on-line survey, and a review of the district’s communications were used in preparing the report. Reeve added that they talked to about 100 people.

She said, "The overarching theme through all focus groups and interviews was rebuilding trust. All focus groups touched on this theme in one way or another, whether it was staff’s lack of trust in the central office, the community’s and staff’s lack of trust in the school board, or the school board members’ lack of trust in each other."

Some other observations and conclusions from the draft report:

  • The community is growing and changing from a small-town to a bedroom community and communication structures must change accordingly.
  • The district was generally described as a high-achieving district serving advantaged students, although many pointed out the increasing diversity as the district grows. Some parent and community focus group participants noted that the district’s long-term reputation of high achievement might have resulted in some complacency among the staff and in the community.
  • The community is highly educated and highly involved, but many do not have children in school, making communication a challenge. National statistics often quoted state that about 70 percent of Americans do not have children in school. It appears that District 38’s non-parent community has a very high level of interest in school district issues. Community members without children in school say they get little to no information from the schools or the district, except for when the district wants to pass a tax election. Those who are longtime residents said they used to get information from presentations made by the superintendent at service clubs, from being part of a key communicators network, and from the district’s quarterly newsletter, which has now become an exclusively online publication. There is a perception among this group and among parents that all three of these communication efforts have been discontinued. Many in the "empty-nesters" focus group desired more personal interaction with the schools through use of the buildings or adult education opportunities. "If you want us to build buildings, let seniors come in and use them," one person said.
  • Multiple leadership changes have unsettled the staff and caused mistrust. The changes in superintendents in a relatively short time, combined with numerous job changes in the central office, have left staff unsure of the direction of the district, where they should obtain information, and what role they have in communicating. Further, the staff described the two prior superintendents as poor communicators and were reserving judgment on how well the current superintendent will communicate with them. Trust is an issue between the staff and upper-level administration. Staff often expressed embarrassment about the district’s current reputation and made comments indicating that they are trying to distance themselves from the central office administration and school board.
  • Principals are key to effective communication and community support for any school district. Unfortunately, District 38 principals do not appear to be performing their essential function as communicators for the district. They said they feel a lack of support and focus from the board and superintendent. They also said they are embarrassed by "the bad PR" the district has exhibited over the past year and a half, and have felt the need to distance themselves and their schools from it. They say they focus only on their schools and rely only on each other for information and support. As principals, they said they feel they should be part of district-level decision-making, but instead they often feel that the board and top administration only give the appearance that principals have been part of the process. Many teachers, classified staff members, and even principals made comments such as, "I just keep my head down and focus on my school and try not to let this affect the kids."
  • When asked to describe the reputation of the school district, the immediate response from almost all focus group participants was, "historically or now?" In all groups, participants described District 38 as a historically high-achieving, well-respected school district whose reputation has been tarnished by numerous recent controversies. Opinions expressed in the meetings ranged from "Let’s stop wallowing in the controversy and get on with educating our kids" to "The school district better get its act together soon" to "We need a new school board."
  • Multiple controversies have eroded people’s faith in the district. In District 38, the school board’s actions have significantly affected people’s image of the school district. Every focus group included some discussion about the school board without prompting from the facilitator. Conversations centered on the board’s role, about whether or not it is able to work as a team, and about whether or not it is effectively performing its governance role. There was also a widespread perception among the staff and the community that the board has stepped too far into the domain of staff. Many expressed the fear that the board will not let the new superintendent do his job.
  • There was also a strong desire that the board and top administration be more transparent in district communications. "Transparency" to focus group participants meant access to information as well as a presentation of the "full picture" around district issues or initiatives. There was a strong desire that the district provide the public easier access to information. In addition, staff and community focus group participants wanted district leaders to better communicate to the public about the challenges the district faces. Facilitators heard many comments like, "Show us what you are wrestling with. Don’t just present the good news."
  • Despite recent controversy, most staff and community members want to move forward. Many expressed optimism that the new superintendent would provide fresh energy and a strong sense of direction for the school district.

Some recommendations from the draft report:

  • The board: Seek training or guidance on the board’s governance role in the district and work toward becoming a governance team. Refrain from public discourse about the relationship among individual board members. Focus the board’s time on engaging the community in developing a strategic vision for the district. Board communications and key messages should center on its strategic vision and goals and board policy matters.
  • Meetings: Convene meetings to listen to the public. Individuals should bring the information gained from significant interactions with the staff or community to the board as a whole. Focus on transparency regarding meetings, agendas and board minutes. Announce meetings as early as possible, and make agendas clearly and readily available on the district’s Web site in a timely manner. Send notice of meetings and a link to meeting minutes directly to staff and key communicators via e-mail. Minimize the number of executive sessions and hold all board meetings in locations that are perceived as public places. Consider publishing a brief report after every board meeting, written in layman’s terms. This report should be available on the Web site as well as distributed by e-mail to staff and key communicators.
  • Communications plan: Develop strategies for communicating school district information to parents and to residents who do not have children in District 38. Agree on an appropriate spokesperson for the board on policy matters; district staff should speak for the district on day-to-day and management issues. Develop a district spokesperson procedure for external communications and communicate it to the board, district-level administrators, principals, and the news media. The community relations manager should play a counselor role and be part of the superintendent’s cabinet. This communications professional will be key to the development and implementation of the district’s communications plan. Assure that the district’s strategic communication plan addresses internal, as well as external communications. Develop priority messages. Start with internal communications. Equip the staff to be ambassadors for the district. Develop methods for listening to the community. Establish a proactive media relations program.

The report also identified many specific recommended changes in the district’s communications including its Web sites.

The schedule set out in the report calls for reviewing and disseminating the findings in May and June, updating and refining the district’s communication plan in July and August, and implementing the communication plan starting in September through November.

Plank said, "This is a good report and rings true."

In response to a question from board member Gail Wilson, Reeve estimated that with sufficient resources and focus it could take a couple of years to rebuild trust.

Board member Dee Dee Eaton said, "Most of the recommendations don’t involve a lot of money." Reeve agreed but added that increasing direct mailings can be expensive.

Board President Jes Raintree said, "We have a responsibility to the community to take an active role in giving and receiving information." She expressed thanks to Donna Wood, the former public information officer, for having the communications audit done by CASB and supporting CASB while they conducted the audit.

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The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education normally holds a regular meeting on the third Thursday of each month at the Learning Center in the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, Second and Jefferson. The next regular meeting is 7 p.m., June 21. Several workshops are held each month as well. For details consult the district’s Web site is at www.lewispalmer.org.

the communications audit report as a PDF file. This is a 543 Kbyte file and will take about 3 minutes to download at 28.8. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education Meeting, May 17: Board accepts communications report, reviews $38.8 million 2007-2008 budget that includes 5% pay raise

Click here or on the photos to zoom in and view additional photos

Below: Construction for the new Lewis-Palmer School District 38 high school between Woodmoor Drive and Monument Hill Road is progressing despite snow and more rain than usual. Photo taken looking north from the "emergency vehicle only" entrance to the property on Woodmoor Drive. Photo by Jim Kendrick

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Below: Chess winners (L to R) Robert Richardson, Andrew Richardson, Braeden Mukpik, Blake Ballentine , Noah Waldmann, and Spencer Shook. Photo by John Heiser

Click on the photos to zoom in and view additional photos

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting May 17, Jennifer Reeve of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) presented highlights of the communication audit report (see the D-38 workshop article on page 31). The board unanimously accepted the report. Board member Gail Wilson said, "This is one of the most important things we can be involved in. We take this with great seriousness." She thanked CASB and the participants in the focus groups and interviews. The district plans to use the report to help determine priorities and next steps in improving communication with staff, parents, and the community.

Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief financial officer, presented the preliminary 2007-2008 budget. Budget information is posted at www.lewispalmer.org/solo/bfo_budgetinfo. Copies of the budget are available for review in the district’s finance office. A public hearing on the 2007-2008 budget will be held June 21.

The district projects a $2.5 million increase in operating revenues next year, bringing the total budget to just over $38.8 million. Population growth projections call for 164 additional students. Lewis-Palmer schools are expecting 5,757 students in the fall. Despite that, state funding for special education services will decline $315,000.

A $150,000 reduction in central administrative cost was realized by realignment of administrative positions that will change some job responsibilities. The district will use the savings to hire 8 additional classroom teachers and the full-time equivalent of 10 more special needs service providers. The current teacher/student ratio will be virtually unchanged.

The budget was based on a 5 percent across the board pay increase for all categories of employees in an effort to stay competitive with nearby school districts. Superintendent Ray Blanch noted that surrounding districts have passed mill levy overrides to increase staff pay so district 38 will still be at a competitive disadvantage.

The board unanimously approved the preliminary 2007-2008 budget, the new salary and wage schedules, and some final revisions to the 2006-2007 budget.

Other matters

  • Parsley selected as principal for Grace Best Elementary School – The board unanimously approved Peggy Parsley as principal of GBES for the 2007-08 school year. Parsley is currently the building resource specialist at Palmer Lake Elementary School.
  • District chess tournament first place winners recognized–Steve Waldmann introduced the first place winners from the 1st Annual District 38 Chess Tournament that was held at Creekside Middle School on April 21: K-Braeden Mukpik, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School; Gr 1-Andrew Richardson, Kilmer Elementary School; Gr 2-Spencer Shook, Monument Academy; Gr 3-Robert Richardson, Kilmer Elementary School; Gr 4-Blake Ballentine, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School; Gr 5-Austin Yordt, Grace Best Elementary School; and Middle School-Noah Waldmann, Creek Side Middle School.
  • Backpack to School for Tri-Lakes Cares–Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) students Maria Johnson and Cassie Yelle described the project they are doing with another student, Eileen D’Amour, to earn a Girl Scout Gold Award. They are seeking donations of various items for students needing assistance for the next school year. They will be advertising this project around the community.
  • LPHS Student Council Report–Student Council officers Rob Shearer, Kate Puckett, and Kristin Hughes gave a year-end wrap up of student council activities and introduced the 2007-08 student council officers.
  • Citizens’ comments – Parent Mary Perez complimented Blanch on his leadership skills. Parent Ilanit Bennaim urged the district to be proactive in serving the growing special needs population.
  • District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) Report–Debbie Leasure and Becky Yoder presented a report on the accomplishments of the DAAC during the past year. Board member LouAnn Dekleva thanked the co-chairs for their work over the past two years on DAAC. Ted Belteau, Executive Director of Personnel and Student Services, presented commendation certificates to Leasure and Yoder for their leadership of DAAC.
  • Commendations–Judy Rinebarger, Patty Anderson, Beth Griesser, and Cheryl Jensen were commended for their assistance with CSAP testing over the past three years. They handled 14,000 test booklets, making sure they were delivered to classrooms, picked up, accounted for, and sent back after test-taking.
  • Gifted and talented program report–Dr. Susan Adams, Director of Program Implementation and Evaluation, presented a summary of the 2006-07 GT program. The report included summaries of each school’s accomplishments. Special Education Coordinator Sonia Bechberger discussed efforts to meet the needs of Twice Exceptional (2e) students.
  • High school building projects–Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering presented a report of this month’s activities, including the cost savings of the final guaranteed maximum price of bid packages 1 and 1A for the Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) site, structure, and utilities compared with the estimates. He explained how a green roof would cost less than the original estimate and would benefit students with an outdoor education area. He said the LPHS stadium project is on schedule and within budget. He also denied rumors of problems with rock at the PRHS site, stating they have identified two small areas of mostly hard sandstone that can be removed without blasting. The board approved as submitted: 1) Service agreement with Mountain View Electric Association for new electrical service with three transformers, in the amount of $160,878 for PRHS; 2) Agreement with the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District for a new 3" potable irrigation tap, in the amount of $184,345 for PRHS; 3) Agreement with the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District for a new 3" domestic water tap, in the amount of $184,345 for PRHS; 4) Agreement with the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District for a sanitary sewer tap fee, in the amount of $227,280 for PRHS; 5) Change Order #1 for LPHS Stadium with a net decrease of $22,238; 6) Daktronics as the supplier of scoreboards at PRHS and LPHS, in the amount of $179,721; and 7) Contract for Jackson Creek Parkway improvements, in an amount not to exceed $550,000 (approximately half of which is District 38’s shared amount).
  • Recognition of departing administrators–Board members thanked departing Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Mark Brewer, Kilmer Elementary School Principal Tanya Carter, and Grace Best Elementary School Principal Alexis Miller Gibbore for their contributions to District 38.
  • Revised policy manual needs further discussion–The board discussed the next steps in moving forward to adopt the new policy manual. They decided by consensus to meet in early June with CASB’s Jim Weigel regarding Policy Governance and to develop a timeline and plan.
  • Board member comments–Wilson provided the minutes of the Audit Committee’s recent meeting at which they reviewed the 2007-08 budget. Board member Dee Dee Eaton expressed her appreciation for the district’s volunteers. Board member Stephen Plank noted that he missed the PRHS groundbreaking because he was at a function with LPHS SERTEENS. Dekleva remarked on the talent and enthusiasm evident at the All District Choir concert. She also clarified that, despite reports in the press, the board has not yet made a decision regarding conducting a mill levy override election in November. Board president Jes Raintree agreed with Dekleva.

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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., June 21.

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 communications audit report is at www.lewispalmer.org/media/EDocs/LPSD_Communications_Audit_Report_052307.pdf.

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

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Woodmoor Improvement Association, May 21: Auditor says reserve fund is healthy

By Chris Pollard

Ken Waugh, representing the external accounting auditors, gave a brief report May 21 to the Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors. The formal audit showed that the association was in excellent financial condition. Of particular note was that a reserve fund set up three years ago to provide for major repairs and replacement of major items like buildings and vehicles now stood at $289,000 and was considered fully funded. While this was a major improvement, Waugh suggested that in the future, plans should be made to set aside a portion of resident assessments to maintain this situation.

He also reminded the board that it is one of only a few tax-exempt homeowner organizations because its common areas and roads are open to the public. Many other homeowner associations end up having significant tax liabilities.

Fence damage, pet waste, and cattails

Residents had raised concerns about what they thought was vandalism to a fence on Toboggan Hill. They had also suggested that Woodmoor Public Safety make more frequent patrols to make sure that people do not park there at night. Kevin Nielsen, chief of Woodmoor Public Safety, pointed out that the damage had been caused by a truck. Repairs were going to be made and the owner of the truck was going to reimburse the WIA.

Executive Director Camilla Mottl said she was in discussion with a resident about the possibility of providing containers for pet waste at some of the Woodmoor common areas. So far, most have turned out to be quite expensive, so more research is being done.

Mottl said that she had a number of complaints about cattails over-running some of the ponds. An assessment will be made of all the ponds and some research done as to what potential solutions are available. Previous experiments involving volunteers removing them by hand had not worked very well.

Mischief, mountain lion, and fireworks

With the coming of spring, Nielsen noted, there was the usual increase in complaints about juvenile mischief, mostly "eggings" so far.

Also, there was one unusual incident with the capture of a mountain lion that had climbed up a tree near a residence. The animal ended up being released in another area well away from Monument.

Nielsen said he would be reminding residents that there was zero tolerance for fireworks in the area and, in the event that they were used, his officers would issue violation notices. He would also be working with his staff to inspect and treat all the ponds to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus.

Fire prevention advised

Amy Smith, forestry director, reviewed the first "FireWise" event held May 5. Even though snow preceded the event, 100 to 150 people showed up to learn about the possible preventative measures they could take to reduce fire risks. Participants included representatives of local fire departments and several tree contractors.

Jim Woodman, the previous director of forestry, will organize neighborhood-action plans and meetings for the highest fire risk neighborhoods.

Smith noted that the last major snowstorm in the area had caused a lot of damage in the common areas. Many trees had been broken, particularly in those areas that had not been thinned. Contractors would remove the damaged trees as soon as they had all been marked. Many piles of slash, both on residential lots and common areas, had resulted from storm-damaged trees and general cleanup. To help remedy this, she said she would try to organize a "chipping" weekend in early June.

Questions about proposed lake-side homes

One of the items for discussion in the executive session that followed had to do with legal opinions regarding the development proposed by Bob Irwin of Colorado Lakeshore Holding LLC for constructing a number of single-family homes on the eastern shore of Lake Woodmoor. A question was raised at the previous meeting as to whether the lot lines were "in the water." There have been previous cases where plat maps have shown lots that were partially covered by the now-lowered lake. In fact the lake was lowered because some houses were built with insufficient "freeboard" to the surface of the full lake.

Despite affirming that this was not a problem, the developers are now talking about "reclaiming" lots from the lake by putting in fill at the edge. Covenants in place for this development discuss changing the level of the "land" by no more than a few feet but don’t mention "water."

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The Woodmoor Improvement Association board normally meets the fourth Monday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for June 25, 7 p.m., at the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive. For information, call 488-2694 or visit www.woodmoor.org.

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May Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

May started off on the mild side, but the first three days of the month did see some active, spring-like weather during the afternoons and evenings. Thunderstorms, with some hail at times, developed each day, with some plain old rain showers as well during the morning of the 2nd. Lows were above freezing for the first three days of the month as well, and highs were in the 50s and 60s. But, as has been the case most of this snow season, winter didn’t want to let go that easily. An energetic series of storm systems rolled off the Pacific and through the intermountain West from late on the 4th through the 7th.

The first two days of this active period brought scattered showers of rain, snow, graupel (soft hail), and hail along with cooler temperatures as highs held in the 50s and lows hit the freezing mark on the 4th and 5th. Then the core of this active weather moved into the region from the southwest on the 6th. Rain and rain mixed with snow began to fall at times during the morning and early afternoon of the 6th, then as temperatures continued to fall and the precipitation intensity picked up, snow began to fall heavily. From around 6 p.m. on the 6th through the early hours of the 7th, heavy, wet snow accumulated. Snow piled up at rates of over 2 inches per hour at times, with most areas in the region above 7,000 feet picking up 6-14 inches of the white stuff.

This was snow with a high moisture content, producing 1-2 inches of liquid equivalent for our growing plants. Unfortunately, the weight of a foot of fresh snow stuck on the trees didn’t help, and several trees and large branches were again taken down. Temperatures were never extremely cold, so the amount of accumulating snow dropped off very quickly from the higher areas of the region to the edge of the tree line.

The sun quickly returned the next morning and the melting began. But as the moisture evaporating into the atmosphere combined with the strong May sunshine, showers of rain and snow again developed during the afternoon of the 7th.

The second full week of May saw a return to quiet conditions, as the atmosphere dried out and temperatures warmed up. From the 8th through the 11th, skies were mostly clear and temperatures rebounded nicely from the low 60s through the upper 70s. This quickly melted the snow that had fallen on the 6th and 7th. Along with the warmer temperatures, a more typical late spring pattern began to set up where we start off sunny in the morning, then build cumulus clouds as the sun heats the atmosphere and gets the air rising. As the air continues to rise, the moisture condenses into clouds and, if there is enough energy, eventually thunderstorms. This was the case from the 12th and the 13th, as thunderstorms developed each afternoon and evening, putting down a quick shot of rain where they moved overhead. Also of note was the fact that most of us experienced our first 80° F high temperature on Sunday the 13th, the first time since last Aug. 31st.

Very typical mid-May weather patterns set up from the 14th through the 21st. No strong cold fronts moved through and no big heat waves developed. We did have several weak thunderstorms develop each afternoon and early evening, but severe storms affected the region. Highs during the week were pretty close to normal, ranging from the upper 50s to mid-60s for the first part of last week to the low and mid-70s by the weekend. Even more importantly, we stayed above freezing for overnight lows.

Just when we thought we could say goodbye to the snow and cold of this season, another blast of winter slammed into the region during the evening of the 23rd. This latest round of snow produced a quick 3-6 inches, covering many of the early growing plants with a mantle of white. But this time of the year, the sun is much stronger. Its energy quickly turned this snow cover into a distant memory by the next afternoon. Temperatures rebounded nicely over the next few days, returning to above-normal levels through Memorial Day weekend. We did have some afternoon and evening thunderstorms each day, but overall it turned out to be a pretty nice holiday weatherwise.

Once again, May was another month of below-average temperatures and above-normal precipitation. We have now topped the 200-inch mark for seasonal snowfall and have received well over 30 inches of precipitation since June 30, 2007. Makes you wonder why we still have water restrictions.

The reality is that even in a year when the amount of precipitation received is so far above normal, we still have water restrictions not because of a lack of precipitation but because of an overall inadequate water management system where the demand on this precious resource far outweighs its ability to supply. This includes aquifers, reservoirs, streams, etc. This situation is termed a socioeconomic and hydrological drought and is one we can be expected to be stuck in for the foreseeable future.

The full definition of drought and its different aspects, as well as the current drought situation across Colorado, can be found at www.drought.unl.edu/whatis/concept.htm. But just remember it’s not Mother Nature’s fault — she has given us more rain than we could hope for in about 99 out of 100 years, so enjoy it.

A look ahead

By June, we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snow, but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Two of the previous three Junes have seen at least a trace of snow in the Tri-Lakes region, but most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms. June 2004 was much cooler and wetter than normal, and we had several days of hail. June 2004 also produced a tornado on Father’s Day, which touched down just north of Hodgen Road and moved through the northeastern section of High Forest Ranch. June 2005 was right on average, while June 2006 started off dry and ended wet. The official monthly forecast for June 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/), is calling for a normal month for temperatures and precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.

May 2007 Weather Statistics

Average High 64.8° (-4.5°)
Average Low 37.6° (+1.3°)
Highest Temperature 80°F on the 13th
Lowest Temperature 26°F on the 6th, 24th
Monthly Precipitation 3.21" (+2.03")
Monthly Snowfall 18.2" (+15.5")
Season to Date Snow 208.6" (+70.1")
Season to Date Precip. 32.42" (+13.65")

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 every day 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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Spirit 5K Run/Walk for Fun held May 14

Below: Runners of all age groups start the Gleneagle Spirit 5K Run/Walk for Fun on May 14. Organized by local realtor Mark Rudolph, the annual professionally timed event is held each year at the Antelope Trails Middle School on Jessie Drive as a fund raiser for Boy Scout Troop 194. Athlete safety is ensured by medical support from the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority. The school’s parking lot becomes a local carnival of food, jazzercize, and massage to live music. Information and race results: 492-3974. Photo by Jim Kendrick

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Thanks, Dad!

By the staff at Covered Treasures

June 13 is the day to let Dad put the lawnmower away and lounge in a lawn chair with a favorite book. The following suggestions may be just right for the dads in your life. If not, come in and browse through our many selections to find the perfect book that says "Happy Father’s Day."

Shanks for Nothing and
Hate Mail from Cheerleaders
By Rick Reilly
Sports Illustrated Books, $14.95 and $25.95

Those who read Sports Illustrated know Rick Reilly’s back-page columns. Since 1998, Rick has adorned the last page of SI with humorous, biting, touching and provocative musings on the subject of sports. Shanks for Nothing is the long-awaited sequel to Missing Links. Reilly’s humor will have avid golfers belly-laughing. Reilly takes a good slice of the sport of golf and life in general. Reilly’s new hardcover, Hate Mail from Cheerleaders is a compilation of some of his best Sports Illustrated columns. In 1998, Reilly wrote an article stating that cheerleading was not a sport, and the hate mail he received for that one column still holds a record after nine years.

The Louis L’Amour Legacy Editions — To Tame a Land
By Louis L’Amour
Bantam Books, $12

For the die-hard Louis L’Amour fan, or a newcomer to his classic frontier adventures, this new series is a treat. These handsome new hardcover editions are perfect gifts to share with every generation. To Tame a Land is a rugged, raw, and uniquely American tale of a young orphan’s treacherous journey to manhood across a wide-open land of Indians, gamblers and gunslingers, where honor is the only badge worth wearing.

The New American Story
By Bill Bradley
Random House, $25.95

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley writes with a sense of freedom about an emotional topic close to his heart. Bradley, best-selling author, former Knicks star, and onetime presidential candidate, disagrees with the notion that the problems facing our country cannot be fixed. "Idealism isn’t dead," he says. "It can be reawakened," and he trusts in the character of the American people to build a better, truer, stronger country at this crucial crossroads in our history. "Politics is stuck," he says, "But politics is the way to get things done in a democracy, provided the necessary changes are made." This book is a call to action, not only for elected leaders and political parties but for everyday citizens as well.

Wisdom of Our Fathers
By Tim Russert
Random House, $13.95

This is a book fathers young and old will embrace. After Russert’s highly successful book Big Russ and Me, he received an avalanche of letters from readers with stories of their own about their fathers and the advice, love, support, and lessons each father gave. Heartfelt, humorous and irresistibly readable.

Best Hikes with Dogs: Colorado
By Ania Savage
Mountaineers Books, $16.95

A great guidebook for the dog lover, this hiking reference has a map, distance, elevation gain and directions to the trailhead for each hike listed. The beginning of the book has a trail summary and tips on hiking with your canine friend.

Biking Colorado’s Southern Front Range
By Debra Acord
Altitude Publishing, $6.95

This slim guide has descriptions of 16 trails along the southern Front Range, including ones for mountain bikes, city trails and country rides. Excursions range from beginner to expert and the book includes a few high-altitude rides such as Barr Trail. Mileage, surface type, and other trail information are listed with each ride.

Colorado Front Range Scenic & Historic Byways
By Nancy and David Muenker
Altitude Publishing, $12.95

Those who prefer to ride on four wheels will enjoy this book of scenic drives along the Front Range. Each drive lists stops along the route, an easy-to-follow colored map, pictures, and a trip-planner information box. A perfect way to spend Father’s Day!

Here are two picture books for the little ones in a father’s life:

Daddy’s Girl
By Garrison Keillor
Hyperion, $16.99

The beloved author and host of National Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion celebrates the sweet, special relationship between daddies and their little girls. Keillor’s signature warmth and wit are evident in this special book.

Me and My Dad!
By Alison Ritchie
Good Books, $16.95

Little Bear and his dad do wonderful things: exploring high mountains, swimming in the rain, and telling stories as the stars come out. Best of all, they do everything together!

Grandfather, Dad or new Daddy, each one is a special person in a child’s life. To all of you good men, "Happy Father’s Day!" And until next month, happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: Get in the zone!

By Woody Woodworth

It’s not easy growing plants in the Tri-lakes region. Many residents who have lived at our 7,000-foot elevation for a few seasons know some of the plants that survive our harsh, dry, windy environment. Many new residents will go through the trials and tribulations of planting gardens that don’t seem to perform well or don’t live at all. How do you get plants to survive here? First, and most important, get in the zone!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and southern Canada into 11 areas based on 10-degree temperature differences. The 1990 revised version shows in detail the lowest temperatures that can be expected each year in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These "average annual minimum temperatures" are based on the lowest temperatures recorded for each of the years 1974 to 1986. Because cold tolerance is so important, it is better to select plants that will be more cold-tolerant rather than less.

There are also island zones that, because of elevation differences, are warmer or cooler than the surrounding areas and are given different zone designations. Because buildings retain heat, many large urban areas carry a warmer zone designation than the surrounding countryside.

Lower-numbered zones are divided into two zones. For instance, think of Monument in a bowl that is surrounded by the foothills and mountains to the west, Palmer Divide to the north and the Black Forest to the east. Monument is rated a Zone 4a, which is a hardiness temperature of minus 20-30 degrees F, but the weather and hardiness zones are different in the higher, surrounding areas. Perhaps colder by only another 5 degrees or so, but that is enough of a difference to a plant’s survivability and that area could be rated a Zone 3b. The Gleneagle area boasts a balmy Zone 4b, and many Zone 5 plants thrive in that area.

Another condition that exists and needs to be considered when choosing plants is called micro-climates. There are micro-climates in many locations in every yard. They are usually locations that offer some protection from harsh winds such as a well-protected area by a fence or a warmer environment near a stucco house that radiates heat. Learn where your micro-climates are and you will increase the choices of plants that will be successful.

Hardiness ratings alone are inadequate to guide you in selecting the most successful plants. Severe winds, water availability, and the amount of attention you give to your newly planted garden all need to be considered. Make sure to list all of your conditions to help yourself be successful, but most important: get in the zone!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, May 17: Denver’s Schoolmarm Saint

By Diane Sawatzki

She never went to high school, yet Emily Griffith has her own stained-glass window in the State Capitol and her own chair at the Central City Opera. Dressed to the nines in period costume, Debra Faulkner portrayed educator Griffith at Palmer Lake Historical Society’s May 17 meeting.

Armed with an eighth-grade education, Griffith moved to Denver in 1894 and taught sixth and eighth grades in Five Points. She was appalled by the immigrant population’s high truancy rate, so she set out to found a school that would meet the needs of working people. She spoke to chambers of commerce, social workers, and women’s clubs, urging their members to help.

When the Denver School Board finally approved her charter for an "opportunity school," it gave her a condemned building to teach in and a yearly salary of $1,800 to serve as its first principal. The school opened Sept. 9, 1916, and 1,400 eager applicants enrolled the first week. Responding to student requests, the school offered practical classes like telegraphy, millinery, sewing, auto mechanics, and English for the foreign-born. It taught them employable skills and interviewing techniques, ran an employment service, and served free meals.

Weary from years of public service, Griffith retired with her sister in 1933 to Pine Cliff to live quietly in a cabin with no electricity or plumbing. But they were later found murdered, and the mystery of their deaths was never conclusively solved. The visionary who spent her life helping countless students was granted honorary degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado, was featured in a Time magazine article that dubbed her "Denver’s Schoolmarm Saint," and was inducted into the Colorado Hall of Fame.

Debra Faulkner, who portrayed Griffith, is an Anschutz fellow with the Colorado Historical Society. She earned a master’s in history from CU-Denver, is a board member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, and wrote Touching Tomorrow, a biography of Griffith published by Palmer Lake’s Filter Press (www.filterpressbooks.com.). The book won the 2006 EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. She also co-authored Colorado: An Illustrated History of the Highest State with Tom Noel.

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The June 17 Historical Society meeting will be at the Fathers’ Day Ice Cream Social at 2 p.m. on Palmer Lake’s Village Green. Archie Archuleta will play piano.

Membership in the Society is $10 per year for individuals, $15 for families, and family membership comes with two mugs. (plhist@aol.com. or 559-0837) The Society maintains the free Lucretia Vaile Museum in the basement beneath the Palmer Lake Library across from the Town Hall. Winter hours are Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs/.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Cinnamon Teal

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of Cinnamon Teals. 

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

Perhaps it’s because song birds are returning to the Palmer Divide that most of my conversations seem to center around birds. I’ve heard many thrilling tales about birds this spring, but one that took me by surprise was that hummingbirds migrate by hitching a ride on the back of larger birds. Not so!

What you may not know is that the OCN has an editor, Gary Houy, who is very good at checking for accuracy. Gary logged onto www.hummingbirds.net/migration and learned, "Although hummingbirds may fly over water in company of mixed flocks of other bird species, they do not ‘hitchhike’ on other birds." While this may not be conclusive, it casts uncertainty on the idea that hummers ride on the backs of other birds. I will look into this further and write more about hummingbird migration in a future article.

Because of the wet spring, Randy and I are scoping out the water birds that migrate here and are impressed at what we’ve seen so far. A few weeks ago, we spotted a pair of cinnamon teals. We had never seen this bird before so when we got home we immediately began researching it and learned that this bird is exclusively a Western species that generally isn’t found east of Colorado. It is considered one of the most beautiful ducks in the Americas and is the only species of duck that has separate breeding populations in North and South America.

The cinnamon teal is a small duck that weighs on average a little less than 1 pound and varies in length from 14 to 17 inches. The male, or drake, has a bright cinnamon-colored head and body with blue wing bars. The back and tail feathers are darker and outlined with white. It has a large black bill and stunning red eyes. As is common in the bird world, the female, or hen, is less flashy than the drake but beautiful in her own right. She is golden brown with subtle blue side bars, scalloped flank feathers, and a faint eye stripe. The hen also has a black beak but unlike the drake, does not have red eyes. She can be drab because she is the one being pursued by the male. Juveniles are similar in color to the hen. The drake and hen have white under wings.

The cinnamon teal is somewhat of an enigma, because while it resembles its cousins the blue and green-winged teals, which it readily breeds with, it also has much in common with the northern shoveler — primarily the shape of its head and beak. It is usually found in pairs but forms small flocks of around 20 birds during migration. It is monogamous but commonly forms new pairs each winter in preparation for springtime mating. The drake we observed was a vivid rusty red, the hen swam in front of him, coyly glancing back to make sure he was still interested, and they preened their feathers — behaviors characteristic of an established pair.

Reportedly, the cinnamon teal arrives here in April and mating begins in May. The hen builds a half-moon-shaped nest out of dried grasses and dead branches hidden beneath low-lying tree branches or in the brush so that it is concealed on all sides and well-hidden from predators. The hen and the drake defend the nest but often the hen is taken by a predator as her strategy is to create a disturbance luring the predator away from the nest. The clutch size varies but on average the nest will contain a clutch of 8 creamy-white eggs, but as many as 16 eggs have been reported.

Copulation occurs in the water, following which the hen begins to lay one egg a day. After the last egg is laid, the hen sits on the eggs for about 25 days. The eggs hatch within hours of each other, usually by mid-morning so their feathers will be dried by mid-day. The chicks now appear like yellow fluff balls with a brownish-gray eye strip. They leave the nest and follow the hen to the water so they can begin foraging for their first meal. Although the chicks never rely on their parents for food, they remain under the care of the hen for 7 weeks, after which time they fledge the nest. After 8 weeks, the eyes of the drake will have turned red. Within a year the drake will have developed its brilliant plumage, at which time it will begin to look for a mate.

Generally, the cinnamon teal feeds in shallow marshes and ponds where it dives for rooted plants. It is an omnivore and ingests a diet of aquatic plants, seeds, flowers, nuts, and leaves but also eats small insects and snails. Its large bill is used to siphon vegetation from the water and dig for food.

Many food critics consider the cinnamon teal to be a delicacy, but its numbers are not threatened by hunting. It is a small duck known for its flight speed and agility. In early fall, often prior to duck-hunting season, the cinnamon teal forms small synchronized flocks that dip and turn their way south to its winter home in Mexico or Central America.

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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Art Matters: The secret of ‘fine art"

By Janet Sellers

It may come as a surprise that fine art has tremendous value yet no inherent measure of quality. Issues that fine art is considered distinct from the applied arts raise eyebrows, mainly among the uninitiated. It seems that specific conflicts began in Britain between proponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement (William Morris) and early modernists (Virginia Woolf, the Bloomsbury Group).

The Arts and Crafts Movement, in its era (late 19th to early 20th century), brought to light a beauty of everyday objects as a way of an artful life, with meaningfulness and high skill level as the determining factor for quality. In rebellion against the Machine Age, they found their patrons in the well-heeled who were sensitive enough to respect hand-wrought originality over repetitive, machine-made "soulless" products. This reaction to mass production is at the core of the debate for affordability and availability versus personal satisfaction.

It also had strong ties to socialist principles that brought the crafts of the general public and their conventional articles into the art realm as a dignifying expression of humanity. In myriad ways, they influence our thinking to this day. This search for authentic and meaningful style is still embraced in architecture, garden design, crafts and decorative elements.

The origin of the term "fine art" comes from Aristotle’s Final Cause philosophy, not from the word "fine"as in "best" quality. The final cause for art in Aristotle’s thinking was the art object. Function did not play a part. It was not a means to an end. It was not a tool, an ornament or a statement. Its purpose was within its own materialization. The only purpose of fine art was, possibly, to please one who beholds and perceives it. Fine art made its way around the idea of creative thinking.

Alas, creative thinking has been getting a bum rap lately as a false friend. Books, movies and lecturers have been making a bundle on the topic in the past few years. I humbly add to this news the observation that it is the main kind of thinking humans do. Our thoughts are what we create before we generate anything else. In art, the creative thinking happens and the art follows. In life, our thinking happens and life follows.

So what makes a great creative thought versus simply a mediocre thought or a boring, dull thought? I think it is based on the kind of energy moving through the thinker. Good, healthy energy begets good, healthy thinking and action.

In art, good energy is expressed well and begets great art. From folk art to what is commonly called "high art," the intent behind the artwork is the real power for the art itself. That special intent is also what truly reaches others who experience the art as a viewer. Form, colors and size aside, the secret to great art is the thoughts behind it and the thoughts that regard it.

I am pleased to report that we have much to behold in art at this moment in our history, and we can pretty much do so whenever we fancy. As eras go, our current one is surely a most fortunate time for art, artists, and beholders. While not everyone will become an artist, if one acts quickly, one could easily become a beholder and a collector. This is a fine time, indeed, to take home some art for art’s sake — and live with creative works for an artful life.

Monument Art Hop report

Yoga Pathways, Monte Verde Building on Second Street, 481-4137: We all had fun at the new Yoga Pathways Studio with African drumming, Ethiopian food, and African art and handicrafts. Nice beadwork and home things with an exotic flavor. Some of us tried out the African drums in the courtyard, while others (me) listened while eating Ethiopian food specialties indoors and admiring the handicrafts. Yoga Pathways will be offering its own version of art with a purpose at every Art Hop event. Each monthly event offers a special theme, with proceeds supporting worthy causes in the world.

Bella Art and Frame, Gallery Center, Second Street: What a nice, eclectic mix of paintings, small sculptures and fiber art. Maryse Levenson weavings were still on display post-Art Hop, where she talked about her lifelong passion to the many fiber art techniques she practices.

Second Street Art Market, Gallery Center, Second Street, 488-2506: Featured glass artist Nancy Bonig presented an extended collection of her works in glass. Hurry, the exclusive collection is only available through June 15. At the Second Street Art Market that evening, I met up with Linda and Richard Pankratz. They just got back from traveling on the East Coast, and Richard told me more about his current works in bronze, his clay and bronze mixed-media sculptures, and his art process techniques. I’ll keep you posted this summer.

Margo’s on the Alley, 215 Chapala Plaza, 487-1406 (go up the alley from Second Street): Featured Bruni Berkowitz paintings in watercolors and some in oils. The home décor shop has plenty of things — kind of a homey country feeling meets art on the alley.

Buffalo Blues, 132 Second St., 481-3720: Sharon DeWeese has her fun gallery filled with her creations. Her unlimited imagination takes form in her bright, cheerful work in living color. Drop by and visit while you watch her paint, or you can take a class there with her.

Santa Fe Jewelry, Chapala Building, Second St., 481-0250: Has some innovative and artful jewelry to enjoy. While we were on our way into the building, Rebecca Massey was playing guitar in the foyer, and we lingered there to enjoy her songs. Then on to enjoying the art of precious metals and gems.

Covered Treasures Bookstore, Chapala Building, Second Street, 481-2665: I met artist Ingrid Burnett as I admired her watercolors. She had lots of cards and prints for sale, and some originals, too. Pleasant, floral and fresh!

Alas, I could not visit every Art Hop venue on Art Hop night, so I will have to start over at the Winter Gallery on Third Street next time and work my way back (how nice!) to Second Street to be able to report on the next Art Hop, which is June 21. I did go and visit other venues after the event, and wish to tell you about them, too. Take a friend on a stroll, and maybe we’ll meet in Historic Monument on an ad hoc art walk.

Janet Lee Sellers is an artist and lecturer in the Tri-Lakes area. Her local landscapes and other art prints are available at the gift shop at http://COMoCA.tripod.com (Colorado Museum of Contemporary Art) with proceeds benefiting local environmental education. E-mail her at OCN with your questions and art news.

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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.

Gleneagle Community Garage Sale, June 2

Shop for treasures at the Gleneagle Community Garage Sale June 1 & 2 from around 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Neighborhood Clean-up Day is June 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call Bill Bristol at 481-3366, or Bill Carroll at 488-4288.

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The Ron and Opal Show benefit concerts, June 2

The Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance, an all-volunteer non-profit senior advocacy committee, has organized a benefit concert series to raise money to help create and operate a Senior Center for residents of the northern El Paso County Tri-lakes region. "The Ron and Opal Show" is a hit country gospel team based in Branson, Missouri. Ron and Opal do more than sing a good song, they entertain. There are two performances on June 2: at Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood Drive in Monument at 2 p.m.; and at Monument Hill Baptist Church, 18725 Monument Hill Road, #1, in Woodmoor, at 7 p.m. The cost is a $12 donation. For more information phone Red Stephens at 487-8070 or 659-6768.

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The 4th Annual Model Engineering & Historic Power Show, June 8-10

Go to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to see hundreds of operating, quality engineered and handcrafted scale models: turbines, airplane engines, trains, and more! See antique stationary engines, historic tractors, and lathe and milling demonstrations. View the magnificent detail of the Pikes Peak "N"Gineers’ model railroads, and see the museum’s multi-ton steam engines and mining equipment including the annual operation of the 1890s Yellow Jacket II gold ore processing stamp mill. Museum tours, keep-what-you-find gold panning, barrel train, and hayrides will be available all weekend, along with displays by School District 20’s Robotic Competition Team. Picnic grounds and food vendor are on site. Admission: $8 adults, $7 AAA/military, $6 seniors/students, $4 children under 12, free for children under 3 and museum members. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd., just off I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, #156A, across from the north entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. For more information, phone 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org.

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7th Annual Blue Columbine Festival, June 9

The 7th Annual Blue Columbine Festival will be held Sat., June 9, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Palmer Lake’s Village Green in front of Town Hall. There will be live entertainment featuring the Monument Hill High Altitude Rock Band. For more information, contact Trish Flake, Parks and Recreation Trustee, 481-4810.

Black Forest Community Dance, June 9

Get gussied up and enjoy a great time at the Black Forest Community Hall June 9, 8-10 p.m. This country western dance will feature award-winning music by Michael Hearne and South By Southwest from Taos, New Mexico. Teens are welcome. The dance is sponsored by Black Forest Community Club and Black Forest News. A limited number of tickets are available. Advance sale tickets are $8 per person at Rock n’ B Feed and Black Rose in Black Forest, and Pack, Ship and More and Farmer Jim’s Feed in Falcon; or call 495-8750. Tickets will be $10 per person at the door. For more information visit www.michaelhearne.com.

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Cruisers car show, June 10

The Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car Club will present their 6th annual benefit car show June 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in historic downtown Monument. This free family event includes a DJ with 50s music, games for the kids, and door prizes. Proceeds from the show will go to Tri-Lakes Cares, a local charity that supports families in the Tri-Lakes area. In the past three years the Tri-Lakes Cruisers have raised more than $8,000 for Tri-Lakes Cares.

This year’s show will feature 225 classic, muscle, street rod, imports, and antique cars from 1900 to 2007. There will be 39 trophies given in 17 categories. Breakfast will be provided for those who register a car. The preregistration fee is $15 per car (postmarked by June 4) and $20 on the day of the show. To download a registration form, log onto www.TLCruisers.org and click on Registration Form. For more information call Bill at 481-2465.

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Iron Sunday Motorcycle Rally Car Show & Shine, June 17

Celebrate Fathers’ Day Jun. 17 at Journey Chapel, 505 Baptist Road, in the north grass parking lot, with live music, free food, prizes, and a motorcycle stunt show by "Deathwish" Dan Elders. Breakfast is at 9 a.m., a service at 10 a.m., check-in and lunch at 11:30 a.m. The show begins at noon, awards are at 2 p.m., and the all-vehicle ride is at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 481-9929, or visit www.journeychapel.org.

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Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Photography and Glass Exhibition Call for Artists

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) is accepting entries for a juried fine art photography and glass exhibition, "Through the Looking Glass," open to all U.S. artists ages 18 and older working in the media of fine art photography and glass. Entries must be postmarked by June 30. The exhibition runs July 13 through August 18. Contact Suzy at TLCA, 481-0475, for an exhibition prospectus or download one at www.TriLakesArts.org/callForArtists.html.

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Volunteer Tutor Training

Share your love of reading. Help adults improve their basic reading, writing, and/or English-language skills. Tutors work individually with an adult learner two to four hours a week. Meeting times and locations are flexible. Participants must attend all five training sessions: Mon., July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 5:30 - 9 p.m. at Penrose Library in Colorado Springs. Call 531-6333, x2223 to register.

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Fourth of July in Tri-Lakes

See the calendar section for a complete listing of Fourth of July and pre-Fourth of July events in the Tri-Lakes area. All holiday events and parking information can be found on-line at www.palmerlakefireworks.com.

4th of July Parade in Historic Downtown Monument - The Monument Fourth of July Parade traditionally is made up of over 100 entries and draws an estimated 20,000 spectators. The parade is known as the "Biggest small town parade in Colorado!" The theme for the 2007 parade is One Nation Under God. The parade sponsors are the Monument Hill Sertoma Club and Integrity Bank and Trust.

Parade entry forms are available at the Monument Town Hall, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, or download a registration packet on the Sertoma website at www.monumenthillsertoma.org.

Ride the bus and avoid the hassle. Parking is available at the local schools with free bus shuttles running 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On the west side of I-25, buses will run between Palmer Lake Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road at Vitamin Cottage. East of I-25 buses will run between Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Monument Park & Ride, Lewis-Palmer High School, and Creekside Middle School to and from Beacon Lite Road and Second Street. For more information, call Mary Martin, 481-1889.

Children’s Parade, 9:30 a.m. Youngsters participating should assemble in the south parking lot of St. Peter Church, First Street and Jefferson, by 8:30 a.m. No entry form is required; just show up with decorated tricycles, bicycles, wagons, animals, etc.

Main Parade, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starts at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Lincoln Street, goes south on Lincoln Street, north on Front Street, east on Third Street, and ends at the intersection of Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road. For more information, contact Bill Walsh, Fourth of July Parade Chairman, at 487-8198 or e-mail to July4parade@comcast.net.

Street Fair in Historic Downtown Monument after the July 4 parade: Food, art, crafts, vendors, live music, fun!

"What a Blast!" at Palmer Lake, July 4, 3 p.m. to dusk: Live music, old-fashioned games, inflatable park and carnival rides at a nominal fee, at the lakeside near the baseball field opposite the Rock House on Highway 105.

"The Best Small Town Fireworks Show in America" The fireworks display will begin shortly after dark, at about 9 p.m. This year’s fireworks show is going to be choreographed and broadcast on Peak 92.9 FM and 740 KVOR.

Parking will be allowed on Highway 105 along the north side only through the town of Palmer Lake. Parking will be allowed on County Line Road from Indi Drive to Spruce Mountain Road, but only on the south side (no parking on the Greenland Open Space side).

The parking lots at the Santa Fe Trailhead on the east side of the lake will be designated "Special Needs" (handicapped, elderly, etc.) parking. Additional general parking lots will be appropriately marked.

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2007 Summer Reading Programs for children, May 26 to July 31

The Children’s Summer Reading Program at Pikes Peak Library District begins May 26. More than storytimes, the program offers delightful discoveries for kids of all ages. Pick up a game card at your library and begin reading! Win prizes, coupons and a chance for $100 in a grand prize drawing. Register at your library or online at ppld.org in May. For more information, call the Monument Branch, 488-2370, or the Palmer Lake Branch, 481-2587.

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Bands needed for Palmer Lake’s July 4 celebration

The Town of Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee is seeking bands interested in playing at the lake for thousands of people on the Fourth of July. Any interested bands can contact Jeff Hulsmann at 488-3134 to reserve their time slot on stage.

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Slash and mulch site open

The Black Forest Slash and Mulch site, located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest, will be open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., and every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The final day of operation this season will be Sunday, Sept. 16. Free mulch will be available beginning June 2.

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling effort. The purpose is to teach and encourage residents to clear adequate defensible space surrounding their structures to reduce the spread of fire. For more information call the El Paso County Environmental Services Department, Solid Waste Management Division at 520-7878, Ruth Ann Steele at 495-3107 or visit http://bfslash.org.

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Help for gardeners at Monument Library

The Colorado Master Gardeners and the Cooperative Extension, El Paso County will offer a help desk at the Monument Public Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Drive. Help will be available Wednesdays 2:30-8:30 p.m. throughout the growing season (April-August). Specific times and dates will be posted at the Monument Branch Library. Gardening can be difficult in our area. The Master Gardeners working at this help desk live and garden in our community and want to help answer questions from local gardeners about how, what, and when to plant. Walk-ins are welcome. Bring in examples of your insects or disease problems, or drop by to brag about your successes. For more information, phone 488-2370.

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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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