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Vol. 7 No. 7 - July 7, 2007


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A Hot Time in the Old Town!

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Independence Day was celebrated with a variety of activities throughout the Tri-Lakes area including a Children’s Carnival and Barn Dance July 3, a 4-mile run in Palmer Lake July 4, the "Biggest Small Town Parade in Colorado" in Monument followed by the Monument Street Fair and Concert in the Park, and concluded with "The Best Small Town Fireworks Show in America" in Palmer Lake. Below: A high school marching band from Litchfield, Minnesota in the Monument parade. Photo by Chris Pollard. 

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Below: Almost 2,000 runners compete at the 26th annual Palmer Lake Fun Run. Photo by Elizabeth Hacker. 

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Below: Elephants from the Larkspur Renaissance Festival. Photo by Mike Wicklund.

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Monument Sanitation District Board of Directors, June 21: Monument Sanitation District performs emergency Beacon Lite Road repairs

Below: Trax Construction Company completes emergency recompaction of newly installed road base under Beacon Lite Road next to Century Place. Monument Sanitation District contracted Trax to repave 414 feet of the southbound lane and patch other failing portions of Beacon Lite Road to the north. Ownership of this section of Beacon Lite has long been disputed by the town and county. Photo by Mike Wicklund.

By Jim Kendrick

District Manager Mike Wicklund informed the Monument Sanitation District board at its meeting on June 21 that he had engaged Trax Construction Co. to perform asphalt repairs and patching of failing pavement on Beacon Lite Road north of Highway 105. Also, the board unanimously approved the 2006 audit.

Trench failure leads to plans for emergency repairs

Wicklund said that dangerous depressions, about 8 to 9 inches in depth, had developed in the southbound lane of Beacon Lite Road between Eighth Street and Highway 105. He noted that the road depressions would inevitably lead to a rollover or head-on accident if they were not repaired.

In 2000, the district had installed a major sanitary sewer collection line under the southbound lane, extending from Highway 105 to the northeast corner of Wakonda Hills. Although the warranty period for the repaved road the district had installed at that time had long expired, Wicklund said that repairing the road was "the right thing to do. It’s our sewer line and our trench."

He noted that he had asked the district’s engineering consultant, GMS Inc., to contract for emergency repairs of the failing roadway. GMS had arranged for the repairs to be performed by Trax Construction, the company that performs all emergency repairs for the city of Colorado Springs.

Wicklund noted that the Town of Monument had contracted recently to replace a storm drain under Beacon Lite Road on the north side of the Highway 105 intersection. That installation was not the cause of the southbound lane collapsing for about a quarter-mile to the north of the town’s repair.

The entire 400 feet of failed asphalt would be ground up by a milling machine. The exposed road base would be recompacted. A geologist had been hired to take core samples to determine if additional stabilization is needed to prevent another collapse. Trax would also perform patch repairs to all the other failed asphalt locations on the county’s portion of Beacon Lite Road north of Eighth Street.

Wicklund said he had consulted Monument Town Manager Cathy Green and Public Works Director Rich Landreth on his plans for the emergency repair. Wicklund noted that Landreth thought the town’s storm culvert may have contributed to the road failure and the town should be paying for part of the repair. Wicklund said the county will not contribute to the project. He said that the district needed to protect its sewer line and protect the public with an emergency repair, whether or not the town eventually contributes to the cost. He said he would have Trax excavate around the sewer line to find the cause of the failure before new asphalt was installed.

2006 audit proves controversial

Auditor Mark Gilmore of accounting firm Bauerle and Company P.C. presented the final draft of his "clean" 2006 audit. "Basically it says that you guys passed," Gilmore told the board.

There was a lengthy discussion of how the district’s one-third ownership of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, which operates as a separate public utility, is reflected in the district’s audit in terms of "profit and loss" for the district using the equity method of accounting. The facility’s differences in operating costs compared to fees collected from Monument Sanitation District, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, and the Palmer Lake Sanitation District, as well as its capital depreciation, are reflected on a pro rata basis in the owning districts’ audits.

Each of the three special districts is an equal owner of the facility. Every aspect of the facility’s audit is also reflected in each of the three special districts’ audits.

Board President Lowell Morgan and Director Chuck Robinove said that the facility does not have profits and losses, and the use of these two words is confusing to the district’s constituents. They asserted that the facility instead has revenues and expenses. The district never receives revenue from the facility. Robinove said calling depreciation a loss might lead constituents to believe that the paper "losses" resulted from mismanagement or inattention by the board.

Gilmore said that calculation of depreciation of the districts and the facility’s capital assets are a requirement of standard generally accepted accounting principles and the state. He said the facility’s accounting credited the cash paid for the new facility administrative building first, then showed this value as an increase in capital assets in the following year, after the building was completed.

Wicklund noted that the method used by Bauerle was the industry standard and necessary for the district to be able to comply with state requirements and to be able to have bond companies issue bonds in the future if they are needed by the district. Robinove said he still didn’t understand how the district could have a profit or a loss.

Robinove also said that the board’s decision to give a $60 credit to each residential and commercial account in 2006 was not a $51,000 loss as reported in the audit. He said the board voted to decrease its revenues, not to incur a loss, and had not lost money.

Gilmore disagreed and said most constituents who might read the audit would conclude that Monument was a healthy district because the board had the funding and foresight to manage its resources well enough to give the $60 credit.

Wicklund said that the $60 credit given for the past several years comes from unplanned motor vehicle tax revenues, not forfeited monthly fees. The board did not reduce the user fees.

After a half-hour of heated discussion on this issue, a motion by Director Bob Kuchek to terminate the discussion of "profit and loss" was approved.

The board unanimously approved the 26-page audit. It will be forwarded to the state.

Gilmore said the district’s financial documentation was readily available and well-organized and that the district is in excellent financial condition. He added that it would be nice if more district audits went as well as Monument Santitation’s.

The meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 19 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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OCN headline makes Leno’s list

Above: OCN headline (page 19 of the June 2 issue) featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno June 25. Photo provided by Sandi Boff.

By Elizabeth Hacker

Okay, I admit it: I’m a Jay Leno junkie. I often end my day by nodding off in front of The Tonight Show. I was doing this again on Monday, June 25, but was jolted awake by what I saw. With all due respect to Jim Moore and his family, we at OCN feel we must acknowledge the national attention that I witnessed that night.

So there I was, sprawled out on the couch, tuned in to his "Headline News" segment, laughing along with Jay as he read the headlines sent to him by his adoring fans. Suddenly, the headline "Jim Moore receives first annual ‘Jim Moore Award’" pops up. This headline seemed all too familiar. I immediately got up off the couch and went over to the bookshelf where I keep a copy of OCN, and sure enough, there it was, on page 19, in bold letters. By the time I phoned publisher John Heiser the next day, he had already received several calls about it.

For those who did not read about the Jim Moore Award last month, it’s an award that was recently established by the Town of Monument and the Historic Monument Merchants Association to annually honor local business leaders. On May 21, they surprised Jim by presenting him with this award in an emotional and touching ceremony.

For many years, Jim has diligently worked to sensitively preserve and enhance commercial buildings in the Historic Monument district. His cohorts consider him a visionary and the spark that ignited the movement to preserve the historic character of old Monument. In recognition of his contributions to the community, this award will be presented annually to a business leader on April 19, Jim’s birthday.

National attention, dubious though it may be in this case, is a first for our six-year-old paper. Who could have ever imagined we’d be featured on The Tonight Show?

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, June 20: Inclusion of Academy W&S into Donala planned

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Below: Concrete was poured June 20 as part of the expansion of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The facility is jointly owned by the Donala Water and Sanitation District and the Triview and Forest Lakes metropolitan districts. Photo provided by the Donala Water and Sanitation District

By John Heiser

At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting June 20, the board reviewed a proposed agreement with the Academy Water and Sanitation District that would shift operations to Donala in January 2008 with potential full inclusion in 2014.

Board president Ed Houle and board members Dennis Daugherty, Dick Durham, and Dale Schendzielos were present. Director Tim Murphy was absent.

Academy district inclusion discussed

Donala General Manager Dana Duthie reviewed a recently-prepared draft intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the two districts. He noted that the Academy district’s board had not yet reviewed it.

Under the IGA, Donala would take over all operations, administration, and maintenance of the Academy district January 1, 2008. The Academy board would remain in place to administer their debt until it is retired in 2014.

Donala would build a new lift station and shut down the Academy wastewater plant in about one year. Until that happens, Academy district residents would continue to pay their present wastewater rate of $15 per month and would pay Donala’s water rates. Once their wastewater is flowing to Donala’s plant, Academy district residents would pay Donala’s wastewater rates.

After the Academy district’s debt is retired in 2014, a vote would be held of Academy District residents to dissolve their district and be included into Donala. Donala residents would not have a vote on that inclusion.

Houle noted that under the IGA, the Academy district’s property tax mill levy funds for operation and maintenance would be transferred to Donala while the Academy district would retain their debt service mill levy funds so they can pay off their debt.

Duthie said that the goal is to complete the IGA by October so installation of the necessary infrastructure can begin.

Duthie noted that the outflows from the Academy District’s wastewater plant go into Smith Creek whereas the outflows from the wastewater plant shared by Donala and the Triview and Forest Lakes metropolitan districts go into Monument Creek. Potential water rights or protected habitat issues are being investigated.

Irrigation rationing program

Duthie reported that the rationing program is "working fairly well." The district has sent 75 courtesy letters to those seen to be violating the restrictions. Those in violation for more than a month will get warning letters.

He noted that some homeowners initially reported as being in violation actually had waivers because they have new sod or have sprinkler systems that cannot be programmed to exactly match the rationing program.

Duthie noted that 10 Rainbird evapotranspiration (ET) controllers have been installed with 15 more scheduled. The ET controllers calculate the amount of moisture needed to maintain optimum root structure. The pager system then broadcasts a signal to switch the ET controllers on or off. Yard signs are available for those with the ET controllers to help explain to neighbors why the sprinklers are running at times when those without the controllers would not be allowed to irrigate.

Rainbird claims the ET controllers are especially effective for large users such as golf courses and parks, and reduce water consumption by 25 to 40 percent when compared with a standard timer-operated system.

Due to problems installing the individual rain sensors, the district has decided to install a second weather station.

Duthie added that the district’s conservation plan is part of a Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) initiative needed to qualify for state funding of water projects.

Portfolio performance

Joe Drew and Scott Pickett of Davidson Fixed Income Management reported that over the three months ending May 31, the yield on the $5.4 million portfolio of fixed income investments they manage for the district has underperformed Colotrust Plus 4.8 percent to 5.17 percent. Since February 2005 when Davidson started managing the portfolio, the average yield has been 3.93 percent while Colotrust has returned 4.24 percent.

Pickett noted that short-term investments are currently outperforming longer-term investments, which has disadvantaged their strategy of maintaining a one to two year weighted average maturity on the investments in the portfolio.

He estimated that the strategy being used should, over the long term, outperform Colotrust while maintaining higher credit quality. He asked the board whether they wanted to stick with the current strategy or change to shorter-term investments. Daugherty noted that previously the district’s Colotrust investments did not pay well. Houle said, "I don’t see changing horse at this stage. We need to be following a long-term stable strategy. I’m comfortable with where we are."

Other matters

  • September 27 and 28, the El Paso County Water Authority is sponsoring a water forum on recharging alluvial aquifers.
  • Based on instrumentation needed for the Transit Loss Model, the state engineer’s office is now requiring daily reporting of outflows from the wastewater treatment plant. With the prior monthly reporting as specified in the court decrees, Duthie said the district can make more efficient use of its resources and use more reuse water and less well water for irrigating the golf course. Duthie said he is continuing to address this issue with the state engineer’s office.
  • The PPRWA survey of infrastructure has identified some issues with interconnecting the local systems. Duthie said, "None of the pipelines are big enough for much more than emergency operations." He said that a "large-capacity backbone is needed." Due to the costs associated with that, the PPRWA is looking at interim solutions.
  • The new well being drilled by Triview into the Arapahoe aquifer is affecting some of Donala’s wells. The new well is within 2,000 feet of one of Donala’s wells and within 1,400 feet of a second well. Duthie projected that in the first year, full-time pumping at the new Triview well would drop the water levels in Donala’s wells by 40 to 50 feet. By the tenth year, he estimated the effect would be 100 feet.
  • The first main concrete pour for the sequencing batch reaction at the wastewater treatment plant expansion was started at 4 a.m. June 20 (see photo on page 6). The next pour is scheduled for June 27. The roof is on the two new buildings. Duthie said, the project is, "pretty much on track."
  • The health department inspection of the wastewater treatment plant found no major issues.
  • The board agreed to resident Gene Pfeffer’s suggestion that meeting agendas and approved board minutes be posted on the district’s web site. After the meeting, Duthie reported that the board subsequently decided to post meeting agendas but not the minutes.

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

**********

The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting Tuesday, July 18 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month. Information: 488-3603.

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Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors, June 26: Violation reported at treatment plant

By Elizabeth Hacker

April’s discharge monitoring report indicated a fecal violation into Monument Creek at the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. Tests indicated that the total suspended solids exceeded the fecal limit allowed by the state Department of Health.

At the June 26 meeting of the Triview Metropolitan District board, district manager Larry Bishop reported that he had immediately notified the state of the violation. He said he followed up with a letter explaining that the district was aware of the situation, had corrected it, and was developing a plan to address the situation. Bishop added that this approach generally works and as long as there were no future violations, they should not be fined. However, if there is a future violation, the state may assess fines up to $25,000 per day.

Board President Steve Stephenson questioned who would be responsible for paying the fine, to which Bishop replied that it was an issue that needed clarification.

District managers seek change in treatment agreement

The following is a letter addressed to the board of directors dated June 4, 2007:

"The district managers of Triview Metropolitan District, Donala Water and Sanitation District and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District believe that it is timely and appropriate to review and consider amending the current Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that governs the operation and funding of the jointly owned Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility.

With the passage of time and events, the IGA may no longer equitably protect each of the owners’ vested interests. For instance, it is highly unusual to fix the funding responsibility for the costs of replacements based on flows to the plant rather the capacities owned by the three Districts.

In addition, it is anticipated that changing and more stringent regulatory requirements will be imposed on the plant and compliance with those changes will be a prerequisite to issuance of a permit to operate the plant and discharge treated water. Each District is expected to share the costs of implementing these regulatory changes and therefore protecting and guaranteeing the use of the capacities owned …."

Bishop reported that as yet, no flow had emanated from the Forest Lakes area because there had been no development yet but that it owned considerable capacity and was beginning to build the first homes this month. Because the current IGA is based on flow, Forest Lakes is not contributing to the cost of expanding the treatment plant even though the plant will begin processing flows from them in a short time.

Bishop and Stephenson reported that they had recently met with Forest Lakes management to discuss amending the IGA to make it fairer to all entities. Stephenson said while they did not get a commitment, the meeting had gone well. Bishop reported that he was going to ask for an engineer’s estimate comparing replacement versus new flow cost in an effort to show Forest Lakes that it would save in the long run by participating in the expansion of the treatment facility sooner rather than later. The board directed Bishop to continue meeting with the other districts to amend the IGA in an effort to get Forest Lakes to participate in the cost for the treatment plant expansion.

Costs keep climbing for plant expansion

Chuck Ritter of Nolte Engineers reported that design changes due to increased user expectations had increased the original budget for expansion of the wastewater treatment facility by $4 million, and the contractor’s estimate was now approximately $12 million to complete the expansion.

Ritter emphasized that the contractor had not significantly adjusted his fee even though there had been record increases in construction materials and many design changes to the original contract, the primary reasons for the cost escalation, and that these were things that the contractor has no control over. Ritter said that the reason the board elected to go with a design-build contract was because there were many unknowns. He reminded the board that it was a difficult site to expand on, they had environmental issues to deal with, and once the expansion was under way, the owners identified additional needs and added on to the original contract, all of which translates into more dollars. As an example, he pointed out the two electrical generators that were added to meet current code requirements that alone increased the contract by a half million dollars.

Stephenson said that he was bothered by the fact that the contractor had previously reported to the board that inflationary costs were largely responsible for the increases whereas it now appears that additional design demands and a change in treatment process were the reason for the overages — all of which may have been avoided if they had been given the right information.

Stephenson added that he didn’t think the increased cost for the change in treatment processes was merited because it only increased the capacity to treat wastewater by 84,500 gallons per day. Stephenson questioned if the contractor bore any liability for the $4 million overage. Director Julie Glenn asked if the electrical additions wouldn’t fall under errors and omissions since they were required by code, suggesting that since it was a design-build contract it should have initially been identified. Stephenson noted that the increased costs were not included in the state loan, so the district is liable for its portion of the overages and is feeling the pinch.

Bishop noted that a design-build contract allows flexibility for a contractor to fix unanticipated problems that become add-ons to the contract. He reported that all of the add-ons since August 2006, although financially painful, were necessary and approved by the board, adding that he thought the contractor was acting responsibly and would not be liable for any of the overages. Bishop said that the contractor would address the board at a future meeting to review the cost overruns.

Glenn asked if there was any way to have monthly budget updates so the board wouldn’t be hit with such drastic increases. Stephenson suggested that the board should be presented with a monthly budget tracking money spent versus percentage of project completed.

Letter to town and developers

Bishop reported that he had sent a letter to the Town of Monument and developers requesting that applications for building permits for commercial projects include square footage of all impervious surfaces, the square footage of building footprints, and square footage of commercial space so that the district could calculate impact fees.

Home Place Ranch to pay Triview for management services

The board approved an intergovernmental agreement to provide office services to Triview Metropolitan District (TMD) #3 (approved by voters for road construction in 2006) for Home Place Ranch. Bishop reported that the district will be paid $40,000 per year to provide organization and office services, including things like preparing agendas, meeting minutes, arranging for audits, and other administrative services. He said Triview also has been asked to provide management services to Promontory Pointe (TMD #4). Bishop emphasized that the $40,000 agreement did not include any maintenance of roads, parks, or landscaping. Stephenson asked if the roads would carry a warranty to which Bishop replied they would have a two year warranty.

Settlement with Miles Grant

Bishop announced that the district had reached a settlement agreement to condemn a small parcel of property owned by Miles Grant that the district needed to complete Jackson Creek. The dispute was over the value of the land and the trial was to begin July 2. A negotiated settlement had been reached, but the board was required to sign the agreement by July 3. Stephenson said he needed more time to review the documents before he recommended approval, and he asked that it be taken up in executive session.

Pumping statistics

Bishop reported that he felt better about reporting drinking water pumping statistics because they were now at 97 percent accountability. He noted that the district can now account for individual uses such as household, commercial, and irrigation. Stephenson commented that they should be getting credit or money for the water that flows down Monument Creek after being treated at the Upper Monument Creek plant.

Status of projects as of June 19

Monument Ridge: The overlot grading plan has been approved. Work on the offsite utilities will begin soon. The three tenants at Monument Ridge are Walgreen’s, Chase Bank, and a Fairfield Inn hotel. McDonald’s is scheduled to submit plans this summer. The site for a second hotel may be revised to include two two-story office buildings with a restaurant parcel.

Copper Heights: Appears to be on hold at this time due to the slowdown in residential construction. Copper Terrace (multi-family development adjacent to Copper Heights) has received preliminary review comments, and the project has currently been put on hold by the developer.

Sanctuary Pointe: Discussions between the town and Classic Homes regarding certain terms of the annexation agreement have recently taken place. The sanitary sewer line in Baptist Road that will serve this development will be installed in the near future to coincide with the roadway pavement construction.

Promontory Pointe: Resubmitted a revised plat and site plans for minor changes. John Laing Homes began initial grading for Phase 1 in April. Utilities for the first phase have been completed. A traffic signal is planned to be installed at the intersection of Gleneagle Drive and Baptist Road later this summer to coincide with the opening of the first models. The installation will be completed as part of the Baptist Road widening project and will be funded by BRRTA and Triview Metropolitan Districts #2, #3, and #4.

Home Place Ranch: Several issues remain to be resolved with the developer and Jackson Creek Land Co. regarding sewer line design, roadway connectivity, and a turn lane on Higby Road. Erosion and sediment control plans are being reviewed by Triview and the town.

Monument Marketplace: G & J Liquor Store is nearing completion and has requested a temporary certificate of occupancy to open the store while the final site-related details are completed. The clock tower and plaza is under construction. The site plan for Carl’s Jr. was approved and construction documents are under review. The lube/oil facility and Checker Auto Parts are under review but the carwash will not be included. Construction is underway on two of the three mid-size box stores that will house a Staples and a PetSmart. A stand-alone building for a tae kwon do facility is under administrative review. Final site plans and construction documents are being reviewed for a Texas Roadhouse and a KFC fast-food restaurant.

Financial report: Dale Hill reported that all expenses were in line and the enterprise payment had been made but added that revenues are sluggish because housing permits have fallen off.

Executive session: The board went into executive session at 5:30 to negotiate property matters. The board resumed its regular session and signed the agreement to acquire the property owned by Miles Grant.

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, June 12: Wastewater facility likely to get reprieve on copper limits

By Jim Kendrick

On June 12, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) learned that the facility may be given more time to address solutions to tighter restrictions proposed by the state on allowable copper concentrations in the effluent the facility discharges to Monument Creek. While copper concentrations have caused the most concern for the past few years, ammonia concentrations in treated effluent are also becoming a higher interest item for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Facility Manager Bill Burks said the facility is doing very well in treating copper and ammonia.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as an independent public utility. It 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.

Several board members from each of the three owning districts attended this meeting due to its substantial financial implications.

Background

On May 1, the state notified the Tri-Lakes facility staff that the facility’s current restrictions on the amount of potentially dissolved copper allowed in treated wastewater might be made far more stringent on Jan. 1, 2008. At the previous JUC meeting on May 8, the members had unanimously approved a resolution giving environmental attorney Tad Foster and consultant engineer Mike Rothberg of RTW Engineering full discretion to respond to the dramatic proposed change to reduce the state’s maximum allowable level of dissolved copper in the facility’s treated effluent. The Tri-Lakes facility was designed and constructed by RTW.

Burks noted that the quality of the effluent substantially exceeds the quality of the creek’s water at the point of Tri-Lakes’ discharge. During the dry portions of the year, there is little creek flow other than this effluent at the point of discharge.

The proposed tighter copper restrictions could require nearly $2 million in new capital investment for purchase and installation of copper removal equipment at the Tri-Lakes facility and about $500,000 per year to operate the new equipment. The allowed concentrations of copper in discharged effluent are already so small that they are difficult to measure accurately.

This tighter copper restriction may also apply to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility after it is expanded. The regional facility serves the Donala Water and Sanitation District and the Triview Metropolitan District, and will serve the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District when its operations begin.

Discharge permits are issued for five-year intervals. The current facility discharge permit expires at the end of 2009. The average and peak concentrations allowed by the state in the first two years, 2005-2006, were a monthly average of no higher than 12.0 parts per billion and a single measurement of no more than 17.6 PPB each month. When the current discharge permit was originally issued, the Tri-Lakes facility’s copper limits for 2007-2009 were to have been an average no higher than 8.7 PPB and no single measurement in any month of more than 13.0 PPB.

There were two single copper readings higher than 17.6 PPB early in this five-year discharge permit period. There were also difficulties in getting accurate, consistent measurements of such small quantities of copper in each of the effluent samples, a problem that has yet to be resolved. Improved sampling techniques and having samples split and tested simultaneously by several testing companies have shown that these two higher-than-acceptable readings may have been erroneous. No excursions above the limits have been recorded since.

Based on this data and other research, the JUC sought relief from the tighter restrictions for 2007-2009. The state granted a three-year waiver for 2007-2009, which increased the facility’s copper maximums to a monthly average of 24.8 PPB and a single reading maximum of 36.4 PPB, roughly triple the original limits for the last three years of the permit.

In return for the three-year waiver, the committee and staff engaged Rothberg and environmental expert Steve Canton of GEI Consultants to perform original research on copper toxicity and treatment options that has cost several hundred thousand dollars to date. Rothberg and Foster had previously expressed their belief that higher limits were warranted by the results of their research. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n6.htm#juc for more in-depth background information on copper limits for Colorado wastewater treatment facilities.)

Surprising state policy reversal

On May 1, the state Health Department reversed its position on the past two years of the Tri-Lakes facility copper waiver and said the new monthly copper limits for 2008-2009 might be as low as 8.0 PPB for the monthly average and 11.7 PPB for a single reading each month. The facility in its current configuration cannot meet this standard and would be subject to fines of up to $10,000 per day.

Current testing methods cannot detect copper concentrations below 5.0 PPB. Calibrated test samples of 10.0 PPB that have been randomly sent by the Tri-Lakes facility staff to state-approved testing labs still return reported results ranging from an undetectable level of less than 5 PPB to as high as 21 PPB. This variability makes the extremely low copper report limits proposed by the state very difficult to comply with, even if the samples never exceed the maximum allowable copper concentrations.

At the May 8 JUC meeting, Canton said that his study results had been determined to be somewhat inconclusive by the state and that the Health Department appeared ready to mandate a different scientific methodology and technical procedure for determining copper toxicity limits in Colorado streams like Monument Creek.

Burks, Foster, and Rothberg presented their case for a waiver for the facility at a Colorado Water Quality Control Commission hearing in Pueblo on June 11. Burks said the preliminary result of this presentation was that the commissioners now appeared to be back in favor of leaving the current waiver’s maximum allowable copper values (24.8 PPB and 36.4 PPB) in place through the end of 2009.

Burks noted, however, that the Tri-Lakes facility’s staff and experts will likely be asked to do more research using different methodologies and conduct more frequent effluent sample testing. Canton will present the results of his redirected toxicity studies to the commissioners at the end of 2007 and 2008 at the commission’s annual "temporary modification review" hearings.

Some good news reported

Burks reviewed the facility’s Discharge Monitoring Report for May. Ammonia concentrations were extremely low for May, with a 30-day average of 1.2 parts per million and a maximum daily reading of only 1.9 parts per million. Burks noted that potentially dissolved copper readings for May were extremely low, with a 30-day average and a maximum daily reading of only 7.0 PPB. The low concentrations were achieved even though one copper test measurement for Palmer Lake influent in May was 285 PPB.

Burks said, "We did a lot of tweaking. It really does help having operators here on weekends. They can make changes as needed" every day of the month now.

Recently, the facility staff was expanded to three certified operators. When there were only two certified operators on staff, the need for someone to be on call 24 hours per day meant that there was no regular weekend coverage at the facility. Significant changes in the dynamic wastewater processing system could occur during weekends when no operators were present. Now the balance of the aerobic and anaerobic digestion treatment processes is monitored daily, allowing more immediate adjustments when conditions and plant loading change, which leads to higher quality effluent being discharged to Monument Creek.

Flows during May, a wet month, averaged above 2 million gallons per day, peaking at 2.85 million. Woodmoor’s flows into the facility were "particularly high" in May, indicating a lot of infiltration of groundwater into the district’s sewer lines and/or stormwater into leaking manhole lids. Burks noted that Woodmoor’s average flows are starting to decline as the rainy season peak appears to have passed.

Lightning strikes twice

Burks reported that lightning strikes had destroyed the transmitters for flow meters that remotely measure the inflows for the southern parts of Monument’s and Woodmoor’s systems. Repairs totaled about $8,000. The data from these flow meters are used to calculate the amounts billed to each of the districts for their proportional share of treatment costs.

A separate lightning strike on a different day damaged the facility’s pH and temperature meter. This meter had already been replaced.

Burks suggested filing insurance claims to cover part of the costs for transmitter repairs and the meter replacement. The deductible for each of the two lightning claims is $2,500. He also suggested upgrading the facility’s lightning protection. The committee approved his suggestions unanimously.

The committee also unanimously approved the final 2006 audit for the facility prepared by Reynolds, Henrie, and Associates of Denver. The final audit will be filed with the state.

The meeting adjourned at 10:46 a.m.

**********

The next meeting was unanimously rescheduled to July 17 at 10 a.m. at the facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, June 14: Board considers plan to drain, maintain lake

By Jim Kendrick

At the June 14 meeting, consultant engineer Mike Rothberg of Rothberg, Tamburini, and Winsor Engineering briefed the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board on the status of the state’s proposal to further modify effluent copper standards for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. District Manager Phil Steininger briefed the board on consultant URS Dam Engineering’s evaluation of the condition of the dam and the staff’s recommendations regarding routine Woodmoor Lake dam repairs. The board unanimously approved a contract for engineering design by URS.

Joint Use Committee report

Director Benny Nasser represents the district on the Joint Use Committee (JUC), which serves as the board for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. Woodmoor and the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts are equal owners of the facility. There is one board member from each of the districts on the three-person committee.

He reported on the administrative actions taken by the committee on June 12.

Nasser noted that Plant Manager Bill Burks had obtained an Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit to shore up the western bank of Monument Creek near the discharge point for the facility as well as a temporary easement from the land owner, Ramona Smith. However, no work can be performed until November because the degraded bank is in protected Preble’s mouse habitat. President Jim Taylor signed the easement agreement. The other two district board presidents had already signed the easement form.

(For more information see the article on the JUC meeting.)

Rothberg discusses wastewater facility permit hearing

Nasser asked Rothberg, who did not attend the JUC meeting on June 12, to discuss what had happened during the June 11 Water Quality Control Commission hearing in Pueblo on the facility’s request for a waiver of tightened copper concentration restrictions proposed by the state. Rothberg, Burks, and the facility’s environmental attorney, Tad Foster, presented evidence to the commissioners on why enforcement of the proposed tighter copper restrictions should be delayed.

Rothberg began his presentation by noting that the original goal of their efforts was to get the "underlying copper standards" changed. On May 1, the Environmental Protection Agency issued rules calling for new technical approaches for determining how much copper could be allowed in Monument Creek discharges without being toxic to aquatic and plant life in the stream. The new standards would not provide the relief Foster had requested to allow the facility to continue operations without expensive modifications and much higher operating costs. The new proposed standards are for 2008-2009, the final two years of the current facility discharge permit.

After the consultants reviewed a number of alternatives, Foster proposed an extension of the existing temporary three-year waiver for another five years to complete toxicity research to the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This alternative to conduct new redirected original research based on the new variant of the EPA’a biotic ligand model was not accepted. Rothberg said Foster was, however, able to negotiate a settlement with the division on June 8. The settlement allows a delay in applying the new EPA standards until the end of 2009, restoring the three-year waiver previously approved in late 2006.

This permit waiver negotiated by Foster and Rothberg last year was to have lasted for the final three years of the permit, 2007-2009. It allowed monthly average and peak copper maximum concentrations to be three times higher than the original tightened standards for the final three years of the discharge permit. The waiver was based on original research for determining higher allowable copper concentrations based on EPA’s approved water effects ratios applied to the biotic ligand model. These water effects ratios were based primarily on how varying levels of pH and water hardness in the stream increases or decreases the toxicity of the dissolved copper compounds added by Tri-Lakes facility effluent. If stream water has a neutral pH level, neither acid nor base, higher levels of copper can be tolerated by aquatic life as the water becomes harder. Multipliers for allowable copper levels based on the relative level of stream water hardness and acidity were being developed by the consultants based on toxicity studies of aquatic life found in Monument Creek.

Rothberg noted that a multiplier of about three times the copper levels originally proposed by the EPA in 2000 were being justified by the Tri-Lakes facility’s environmental expert’s experiments. However, the EPA has now decided to abandon this water effects ratio methodology and impose tighter restrictions at the beginning of 2008. Foster argued that this did not give the facility time to study the validity of the new standards or implement any treatment changes by the end of 2007.

Rothberg said the lowest monthly peak individual sample reading standard that the plant can probably meet at the present time is about 28 parts per billion (PPB) of copper during peak influent loading. The new copper standard proposed by the state is 8 PPB on average and 11 PPB for an individual sample. Copper levels below 5 PPB are undetectable by approved testing methods. Errors in readings up to 100 percent or more by approved testing labs are common for these low concentrations.

Rothberg noted that Foster also argued that the EPA did not follow its own rules for lengthy hearing processes that allow several years of testing and comment by those being regulated before a new standard can be formally imposed.

Repeated testing of Monument Creek water where it crosses Baptist Road could not detect any copper a short distance downstream from the Tri-Lakes and Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facilities. The latter facility has no restrictions on the amount of copper it discharges to Monument Creek because of its considerably smaller capacity. However, after the ongoing expansion of that facility is completed, the state will impose copper limits and require monthly testing of effluent.

Rothberg said he and environmental expert Steve Canton of GEI Consultants will immediately begin a "translator study" on how copper in the facility’s effluent is dispersed in Monument Creek. The study will try to determine why no copper can be found in Monument Creek downstream of the Tri-Lakes facility. Canton has performed all the facility’s toxicity studies and testing since 2004, when copper first became a problem.

Once the multipliers for each type of Colorado aquatic life are determined, Canton can then determine the mix of species in Monument Creek and calculate a multiplier for the region’s slightly hard water that protects all life forms using statistical analysis. This research has cost about $250,000 to date. It will take years and more expense to do new toxicity tests based on the alternative EPA standard model for copper. Rothberg noted that several other Colorado districts – Fort Collins, Boulder, Louisville, and Security – presented similar scientific information to the commissioners on their copper problems as well.

Rothberg said that the Water Quality Control Commission had verbally agreed to accept the two-year waiver Foster had negotiated with the Water Quality Control Division on June 8, but it had not yet "formally approved in writing" the revised language in the settlement. Now that the water quality standards issue appears to have been settled for the short term, Rothberg and Foster must do the administrative work necessary to make sure the facility’s discharge permit is changed before Dec. 31 to reflect the new waiver settlement.

Rothberg said he would begin working with the engineering consultants of the other affected districts to pool their resources, share costs, and conduct coordinated sampling programs and translator studies for their mutual benefit over the next two years.

District President Taylor asked if the water commissioners considered the well-documented accuracy problems testing labs have had in measuring copper concentrations accurately. "Not really, we’re not getting a lot of traction on that issue," Rothberg replied. He said the accuracy problem was a Water Quality Control Division permit-writing and enforcement issue. The commissioners only hear testimony and write regulations. Split samples of calibrated test samples submitted to state-approved labs have produced results with more than 100 percent error rates between the two identical samples.

Nasser, a retired professional chemist, said that Rothberg and Foster still needed to document the extensive research, the high costs borne by Woodmoor, Monument, and Palmer Lake, and the continuing sampling measurement errors for future commission hearings and dealings with the division.

Rothberg stated that no one knows precisely how the facility removes copper. It is very effective in removing 88-92 percent of the copper unless the influent levels are very high or plant treatment efficiency is reduced. Furthermore, no one knows why the influent copper levels from the three owning districts vary so greatly and randomly each month. The current high levels of dilution caused by the wet winter and spring in Woodmoor’s influent don’t appear to help the biological treatment processes used by the facility.

Without relief from the new standards, Rothberg said the facility would have a 30-40 percent violation rate, facing potential fines of $10,000 per day for copper levels that can barely be measured.

There was consensus among the board members that none of the three owning districts can allow new metal processing plants to discharge their wastes to the Tri-Lakes facility. Synthes, for example, has never been allowed to discharge any metallic wastes to the Monument system.

Rothberg said the proposed tighter statewide copper standards will be "a nightmare" in the near future as they begin to affect discharging districts on the South Platte River, Cache la Poudre River, and several high mountain streams.

Steininger noted that removing trace quantities of other heavy metals (such as silver, mercury, and cadmium) will become an issue in the long term, compounding the copper problem. While the source of copper appears to be residential water pipes, dealing with the possible sources for the other heavy metals, natural and industrial, may require more direct intervention by the special districts.

Rothberg said that Woodmoor adds chemicals to its drinking water to control residential copper pipe corrosion. Monument, Palmer Lake, and Triview Metropolitan District do not treat their water for pH, hardness, or corrosion control to help the Tri-Lakes facility meet the copper standard. He suggested that the JUC consider asking these other water purveyors to initiate corrosion control procedures in their drinking water. While adding caustic soda to control the aggressiveness of their drinking water would not help the facility meet an average standard of 8 PPB, it could make the difference in meeting an average standard of 24 PPB — at far less cost to the towns’ and Triview’s customers than installing, operating, and maintaining new copper removal systems.

Taylor said the standards imposed by the EPA and the state Health Department seem to be arbitrary for each wastewater treatment facility. Rothberg replied that each portion of every stream is categorized by several criteria and copper limits are not arbitrary numbers. Each category has its own table of standards for water quality that in turn determine discharge permit restrictions. Frequently, the Tri-Lakes facility’s effluent is the entire flow of Monument Creek, leading to the proposed imposition of new, tighter standards for "effluent dominated waters." Rothberg said the predictions of the new model being proposed "are wrong" and that the consultants need to show that to the state with new research.

Next month, Fort Collins and Boulder will seek the same type of settlement and waiver relief as Tri-Lakes now has obtained. Their copper standards allow much higher concentrations based on these tables for their bigger plants and industrial loads, but those two towns cannot meet their individual standards either.

Nasser concluded the JUC report by noting that Woodmoor’s flows into the facility averaged 1.7 million gallons per day. Palmer Lake’s average flow was 315,000 gallons per day and Monument’s was 259,000.

Proposal for maintenance of Woodmoor Lake dam discussed

Steininger opened the discussion of the Woodmoor Lake dam projects noting that this public presentation was the staff’s first step in sharing information with the community through newspaper coverage regarding planned lowering of the Woodmoor Lake level. Information will also be published on the district’s Web site. He said a public meeting may be held if there is enough citizen interest in maximizing lake storage capacity and the planned routine maintenance of the dam.

Preliminary studies on expanding the lake’s capacity by excavation have shown that it would cost $20,000 to $35,000 per acre-foot (about 326,000 gallons), an amount that is "pretty costly" for the benefit. No decision has been made on excavation.

The district’s drain valve for emptying the lake is in the deepest part of the lake. The discharge pipe runs from the bottom of the lake through the bottom of the dam, emerging at the current spillway. The 40-year-old corrugated discharge pipe is galvanized and is beginning to corrode. He said it was a good time to make routine repairs since the district will now be increasing the use of surface water stored in the lake.

URS had been tasked at the February board meeting to investigate the condition of the dam’s structures and to develop a recommendation for repairs with cost estimates. Board members received a May 31 written report from URS engineer John Sikora that documented URS’s findings and recommendations:

  • Drain the reservoir and replace the slide gate.
  • Install an air vent.
  • Reline the low level outlet pipe with a cured-in-place resin-impregnated fabric sleeve that expands and hardens to seal any cracks or joint failures.
  • Excavate and replace the toe drain, stability berm, and outlet work beneath the stability berm.
  • Replace the terminal outlet structure.

The URS report also contained a proposal for conducting an engineering design study. It did not address increasing lake capacity or providing a hydro-dam "temporary dead pool" for keeping fish. Steininger said that having fish at the bottom of the 50-foot-deep lake might have the undesirable side effect of attracting fishermen.

Steininger also noted:

  • It is best to reline the discharge pipe at a cost of $850,000 rather than replace it at a cost $1.8 million.
  • The discharge valve will be moved from the bottom of the lake to outside the dam.
  • The current discharge pipe cannot meet the state’s requirement to drain the lake 5 feet in five days and will require a variance to use the existing lake pump station to meet this standard.

Shaffer discussed the two-year drainage plan, noting that the lake will be drained in a manner so that it can still provide surface water for the 2007 and 2008 summer peak demand periods before it is completely emptied. The lake, even when full, cannot meet all district demands. If the engineering design plans are accepted by the board, the district will begin draining the lake in a few months.

The district’s attorney, Erin Smith, asked that the construction schedule be amended to allow her time to review the URS design study contract. The engineering study will cost up to an additional $109,500.

Steininger said the staff needed the board’s review and approval before calls from constituents start to come in regarding aesthetics of the drained lake. There will also be safety concerns when a layer of ice forms and water continues to be pumped out, creating a void under the ice that could collapse if people walk on it. Warning signs will be posted to alert residents of the hazard.

Excess effluent credits will be purchased from adjacent Triview, Donala, and Monument in spring 2009 to maximize the rate of refilling the lake with available stream flows after the repairs are completed.

Other matters

The board unanimously approved the final draft of the 2006 audit presented by Tom Jaspers of Reynolds, Henrie, and Associates. The audit will be forwarded to the state.

Treasurer Jim Wyss reported that tap and use fees collected to date in 2007 are running behind the pro rata amounts in the budget and historical payment rates as well. Wyss said that the board may wish to "adjust the budget" in August if fee collections remain below the amount projected. If all fee payments were evenly distributed throughout each month of the year, revenues collected by May 31 should have been about 42 percent of the total. Actual percentages collected versus historical percentages for the first five months that Wyss discussed were:

  • Water and sewer tap fees: 25 percent vs. 30-65 percent historically
  • Water use fees:17 percent vs. 19-24 percent historically
  • Sewer use fees:30 percent vs. 30-40 percent historically

"Next month, I will be providing a revised midyear update on the budget," Steininger said. He added that a few budget adjustments might have to be made, this being a "wet" year and people using less water.

The discussion of Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority negotiations was deferred to the executive session.

Sales of excess effluent to the Town of Monument will be less now that the town has filled its lake. Future sales of excess effluent to the town will be for replacing evaporated water.

Directors Jim Wyss and Elizabeth Hacker said they had observed some instances of slightly brown water. Water Supervisor Randy Gillette said that all constituents should report such episodes to him immediately. The district is using more surface water than in the past, which requires more treatment and makes these episodes more likely. The annual rehabilitation program for sanitary sewer lines has been completed.

Shaffer reported steady progress on design of water and sewer lines for Palmer Ridge High School and the YMCA. The water tap fee for the high school stadium renovations was about $57,000. The water tap for the new high school will be about $238,000.

A final design for the new non-potable water system for irrigating fields at both Lewis-Palmer School District 38 high schools will be determined in the near future. The benefit to the school district will be lower irrigation costs. The benefit to Woodmoor will be lowered demand on its drinking water treatment plant.

Shaffer said that monitoring of the south outfall of the sanitary sewer system for infiltration and inflow with eight sensor systems had been completed. Monitoring of the north outfall lines was under way. Infiltration is groundwater entering the sewer lines through leaks. Inflow is stormwater leaking into loose manhole covers. This additional water has to be treated by the wastewater facility, increasing the costs of treatment to Woodmoor. Shaffer will analyze the data and recommend repair options for the district’s sewer system.

The board went into executive session at 3:15 p.m. to discuss negotiations. After returning to the regular session, the board unanimously approved the URS engineering design contract, subject to Smith’s review of professional liability coverage by URS, and then adjourned.

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The next meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on July 12 in the district conference room, 1845 Woodmoor Dr. Meetings are normally held the second Thursday of the month. Information: 488-2525.

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Forest View Acres Water District Board of Directors, June 28: Residents propose volunteer committees to address issues

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Below:  Ben Lee proposes to the Forest View Acres Water District board of directors formation of volunteer committees. Seated at the table (L to R) Lisa Johnson, SDMS manager and directors Barbara Reed-Polatty, Eckehart Zimmerman, Ann Bevis, Rich Crocker, and Chris Monsen.Twenty-four residents attended the meeting June 28. Photo by John Heiser.

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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.

In May, the water system suffered major failures that left some residents without water for up to five days. During the outage, water delivered to residents may have been contaminated.

The FVAWD Board of Directors consists of Ann Bevis, Rich Crocker, Chris Monsen, Eckehart Zimmerman, and President Barbara Reed-Polatty.

The board held its regular monthly meeting June 28. Toward the end of that meeting resident Ben Lee, speaking on behalf of a group of concerned residents outlined formation of a series of committees to help the board address the many issues facing the district. He said the district’s bylaws and state statutes allow for the formation of citizen workshops or committees to make recommendations to the board. He noted that many qualified individuals live in the district and are willing to help. He proposed that teams be formed in five disciplines: Communications, management, engineering, finance, and contracting. The teams would work under the guidance and direction of the members of the board. He concluded by saying that a kick-off meeting will be held July 10, 6 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes district station 1, 18650 Highway 105 and invited the board members to attend.

Bevis said, "I am so glad to see people coming forward with something positive to contribute."

The board decided to issue public notices of the meeting as a special board meeting so that any number of board members could attend.

Background

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.

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

ASCG, Inc., the district’s engineering firm, determined that the water treatment facilities are in good condition, the water tank is in fair condition, and the distribution system is in fair to poor condition. ASCG 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.

Financial statements

The district’s financial statements showed that as of the end of May, the total of all the district’s funds stood at $324,065, which is up $39,583 from $284,482 at the beginning of the year.

For the first five months of the year, management expenses totaled $26,234 (33 percent of the $80,000 budgeted for the year). Operator expenses totaled $19,996 (33.6 percent of the $59,600 budgeted for the year). Legal expenses totaled $12,634 (84.2 percent of the $15,000 budgeted for the year). As of the end of May, expenses could normally be expected to have reached 41.7 percent (five twelfths) of the amounts budgeted for the year.

Operations report

The operations report for May showed that the district’s surface plant produced 1.6 million gallons, averaging 38 gallons per minute over 29 days. The district’s well in the Arapahoe aquifer produced 147,278 gallons, averaging 51 gallons per minute over 2 days. The net monthly production was 1.75 million gallons.

Water sales for August totaled 1.21 million gallons.

The calculated net loss from the system during May was 28.4 percent of total system use.

The board unanimously approved $1,500 to locate all the remaining valves in the system. Bacon noted that many of the valves are under the asphalt roadways and buried 6-8 inches.

Zimmerman expressed concern that the pipe that broke in May is being operated beyond its specification and is likely to break again. Crocker noted that the pipe was leaking 4 gallons per minute two years ago.

Bacon said the recently repaired transmission line is rated for 100 psi and is being operated at 180 psi. He said it should be replaced with a 200 psi line.

Resident Penny Nevins added that the line is more than 10 years old.

Bevis said, "My concern is that we don’t have a master plan in place."

Crocker said he is also concerned that the tank has not been inspected recently.

Responsibility for hydrants

Reed-Polatty noted that residents have asked questions about the fire hydrants that are served by the district.

Crocker noted that the district rules and regulations say the district is not responsible for the operation of the hydrants. He added that the memorandum of understanding between the district and the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District was never signed by the Tri-Lakes district.

Bacon asked that if the hydrants are to be flushed and tested that the work be done by the water district to ensure it does not disrupt system operations.

Johnson said she would check with the district’s attorney Paul Rufien to see what legal requirements apply.

McCoy added, "If there is a hydrant there, people expect it to work. The district needs to get them operational."

Monument declines invitation to bid

Johnson announced that the Town of Monument declined to bid on the district’s request for a proposal for the town to take over operation of the district’s system. She said she would contact the town to try and learn the reasons for the decision.

Responses given to residents’ June 8 comments

Johnson said the total cost of the supply line repairs in May came to $47,072 including the cost for the water from the Palmer Lake water system.

She said the total cost for the 2006 election was $12,877.

District Web site tabled

Johnson noted that a district Web site could be a simple bulletin board with meeting announcements or could be expanded into something more elaborate. She added that CSI has staff that could do the work for $80 per hour.

Lee noted that www.fvawd.org is currently maintained by volunteer Dave Weber and carries information about the district.

The board decided to postpone a decision and discuss it further at the next work session.

Election of officers

The following slate of officers was unanimously elected: Crocker, president; Reed-Polatty, treasurer; and Johnson, secretary.

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The kick-off meeting regarding formation of volunteer committees is scheduled for July 10, 6 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes district station 1, 18650 Highway 105.

A board workshop is scheduled for July 12, 9 a.m. 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 July 26, 5:30 p.m. at Tri-Lakes district station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). Those wishing to attend should check the date, time, and location by calling the SDMS at (800) 741-3254 or 488-2110.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Rescue Authority Board of Directors, June 27: Authority moves toward merger, achieves lower ISO rating

By John Heiser

At the June 27 meeting of the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority Board of Directors, it was announced that a court hearing would be held July 6 on the proposed merger of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District.

The court hearing offers the public an opportunity to comment upon the proposed dissolution of the Woodmoor-Monument district and inclusion of the area served by the Woodmoor-Monument district into the Tri-Lakes district. If the judge is satisfied that all required procedures have been followed and issues addressed, an election will be scheduled at which residents of the Woodmoor-Monument district can vote on the plan. If voters approve the merger, the boards have agreed to rename the combined entity the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.

Charlie Pocock, president of the Tri-Lakes district, noted that public notices of the hearing have been published and posted and the Town of Monument and El Paso County have approved statements of no objection. He said the election will likely be scheduled for October 2 and, if approved, the merger will be completed January 1, 2008.

ISO rating improved

Chief Robert Denboske reported that the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) has completed its review of the fire authority and improved the authority’s rating to 3 within the Town of Monument, 4 for those parts of the authority that are within 1000 feet of a hydrant and 5 miles of a fire station, and 9 elsewhere. The prior rating was 5 within 1000 feet of a hydrant and 5 miles of a fire station and 9 elsewhere. According to ISO data, only 14 percent of fire departments in the United States achieve an ISO rating of 4 or better. Only 5 percent achieve a rating of 3 or better. Many insurance companies use the ISO rating in determining policyholder’s premiums.

The ISO considers various factors some of which are outside the fire department’s control such as municipal water delivery systems, special district water delivery systems, 911 dispatch center capabilities, and automatic or mutual aid agreements with nearby departments. ISO conducts an in-depth review of the fire department and its capabilities including fire fighting apparatus and fire suppression equipment, daily staffing levels, communication capabilities, station locations, training and equipment maintenance records, and organizational structure.

Denboske added that the authority is looking to address areas where the ISO noted improvements are needed.

Financial Report

Fire Authority Treasurer John Hildebrandt said the authority has received 60.3 percent of expected property tax revenue anticipated for the year.

As of May 31, ambulance revenues were $227,584, which is 60.7 percent of the $375,000 projected for the year. Hildebrandt added that he is projecting that ambulance revenues will reach $450,000 or more for the year.

Specific ownership taxes of $144,759 lagged at 37.8 percent of the budgeted amount for the year. At the end of May, revenue and expenditures would be expected to have reached 41.7 percent (five twelfths) of the yearly amounts.

As of May 31, total revenue stood at $2.1 million or 54.3 percent of the anticipated $3.9 million for the year.

Total expenses stood at $1.4 million, 36.3 percent of the budgeted total for the year. Hildebrandt noted that due to the merger and issues regarding the construction of Station 2, legal expenses totaled $11,806, which is 196.8 percent of the budgeted $6,000.

He said that overall, the finances are "looking pretty darn good."

Authority receives clean audit

Julia Stone of Bondi & Co. presented the results of her audit of the authority’s financial statements. She said, "The authority and the two districts received an unqualified opinion, which is the best you can get."

She noted that there was a net increase in fund balances of $251,461 during the year, all reports were filed on time, and there were no violations of state budget law.

Stone recommended some additional internal controls and other procedural changes. Denboske said that most of her recommendations had been implemented.

Election of officers

The following slate was unanimously elected: Charlie Pocock, president; Tim Miller, vice president; John Hildebrandt, treasurer; and Rod Wilson, secretary.

At the completion of the public meeting, the Tri-Lakes district board members then went into an executive session to discuss legal issues regarding Station 2.

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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 Protections District and the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District. The next meeting will be held July 25 at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley).

For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

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Donald Wescott FPD receives new pumper

Below: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s new 1,250 gallon pumper on the day in mid-June when it was delivered by Central States Fire Apparatus of Lyons, SD, a division of Rosenbauer America. Rosenbauer is the world’s largest manufacturer of fire engines. Local dealer Max Fire Apparatus is currently making final installation of new equipment racks and lettering in Castle Rock prior to the pumper being placed in operation at Station 1 later in July. Photo provided by the Donald Wescott FPD.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Workshop, June 14: Board considers ways to meet PRHS costs and to recruit and retain teachers

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Below: The fact finding committee presented its results to the school board June 14. Clockwise from the left: Superintendent Ray Blanch; board members Gail Wilson, Dee Dee Eaton, Jes Raintree, Stephen Plank, and LouAnn Dekleva; committee member Jim Wyss. Committee member Ken Emry also participated in the presentation. Photo by John Heiser

Click on the photo to zoom in and download the MLO reports

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board workshop June 14, the board received a presentation from a special committee charged with developing alternative approaches for funding operation of Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) and improving teacher recruitment and retention. Committee members Ken Emry and Jim Wyss made the presentation.

Meeting PRHS operating costs

The committee determined that, assuming program elements at PRHS are comparable to those at Lewis-Palmer High School, the additional cost to run two high schools instead of one will be $1.7 million to $1.8 million per year.

The committee was not charged with making recommendations. Instead, the committee prepared a list of possibilities for decreasing costs or increasing revenue. Some of the possibilities presented:

  • Increase high school teacher workload: Savings of $412,500 per year could be realized by increasing teacher workload at the high schools by one additional class for one semester each year. Alternatively, savings of $825,000 per year could be realized by increasing teacher workload at the high schools by one additional class each semester each year.
  • Increase middle school teacher workload: Savings of $270,825 per year could be realized by increasing teacher workload at the middle schools by one additional class for one semester each year. Alternatively, savings of $541,650 per year could be realized by increasing teacher workload at the middle schools by one additional class each semester each year.
  • Increase average class size at the high schools by one student: Savings of $240,000 per year could be realized. Superintendent Ray Blanch noted that increasing average class size may mean that some small classes will have to be cancelled.
  • Increase average class size at the middle schools by one student: Savings of $100,000 per year could be realized.
  • Use the district’s reserves to fund the first year of operations at PRHS: Board member Stephen Plank noted that the district has reserve funds to address unexpected expenses, not to pay for regular operations. He asked, "How do we recoup the reserves?"
  • Pass a mill levy override (MLO) ballot measure: If some cost saving were achieved, $1.5 million per year would suffice for operating PRHS.
  • Reduce co-curricular activities such as sports and after-school programs: Savings of up to $500,000 per year could be achieved. Emry said that would create "a lot of backlash."
  • Reduce transportation costs: Parents could be charged for transporting their students. Buses could be used longer before replacement.
  • Postpone opening PRHS: Costs for utilities and upkeep would be about $286,000 per year. There may be alternative uses for the campus. Repairs and corrections that should have been done under construction warranties may have to be done at district expense. Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering estimated the value of the construction warranties at $286,000.

Ways to improve teacher recruitment and retention

The committee noted:

  • Teacher salaries in the district rank fifth among seven comparable nearby school districts.
  • Over the past four years, moving to other districts is the top reason teachers left Lewis-Palmer.
  • A 4 percent increase would be needed to match Academy School District 20. The additional annual cost in that case would be $774,284. A 6 percent increase would be needed to match pay rates in Douglas County. The additional cost would be $1.1 million per year.
  • District 20 and Douglas County are considering MLO measures that could increase their salaries by 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
  • Harrison School District 2 and Cheyenne Mountain District 12 have passed MLO measures that could increase pay in those districts by 13 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The committee presented some ways to address this issue:

  • Pass an MLO specifically for teacher salaries: The committee estimated the annual amount needed at $1.5 million.
  • Provide additional teacher benefits: These could include housing incentives, family health insurance premiums, and merit pay. Blanch noted that over half of the district’s teaching staff does not live within the district.
  • Redesign the salary schedule for additional compensation in the earlier years: An 8 percent increase would cost $1.5 million per year. A 15 percent increase would cost $2.8 million per year.

MLO cost estimates and alternatives

The committee noted that the average value of a house in the district in 2007-2008 is $362,456. The state mill levy freeze will increase the property taxes paid on the average house during 2007-2009 by $126. Blanch noted that the district will not receive any additional funding from that tax increase. Some examples of the total additional taxes 2007-2009 on the average house:

  • $402 if an MLO is approved in 2007 to raise $1.6 million in 2008 and $3 million in 2009.
  • $219 if an MLO is approved in 2007 to raise $1.5 million in 2008 and 2009.

Blanch said, based on comments from the committee members, staff, and residents, in the current political climate, "the likelihood of passing an MLO is slight."

Board member LouAnn Dekleva said, "If the MLO is just for teacher salaries, there might be a different outcome."

Plank said that due to a change in state law, districts can request voter approval of an MLO for transportation. Other districts, such as the Cheyenne Mountain district have much smaller transportation costs than the Lewis-Palmer district’s $2.3 million per year. Plank added that the intended use for the funds would be clear and, due to the wording of the state law, the tax revenue would automatically increase in step with inflation. Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief financial officer, noted that so far no school district in the state has passed such a measure. Plank requested additional information on the idea from Wangeman and Hal Garland, director of transportation.

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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., July 19.

The district’s Web site is at www.lewispalmer.org.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Meeting, June 21: Board votes to put mill levy override question on the ballot

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

Below: School board president Jes Raintree (center) presents a commendation certificate on June 21 to Lori Greene for her volunteer work writing grant applications. Director of Program Implementation & Evaluation Dr. Susan Adams is on the left. Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief financial officer, is on the right. Photo by John Heiser.

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

Below: Concrete is poured at the Palmer Ridge High School site on June 15 Photo from a presentation by Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting June 21, the board unanimously voted to place a mill levy override (MLO) measure on the November 6, 2007, election ballot; directed Superintendent Ray Blanch to open Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) in fall, 2008; and directed Blanch to research alternatives for how to open the campus should the MLO ballot measure fail.

The specific ballot measure language will be determined in August. Some of the alternatives to be considered were discussed at the board workshop June 14 (see article on page 19).

2007-2008 budget approved

A public hearing was held on the 2007-2008 budget. Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief financial officer, presented the 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.

The district projects a $2.5 million increase in operating revenues next year, bringing the total general fund budget to about $38.4 million. Population growth projections call for 162 additional students in the traditional schools and a decrease of 118 students attending the Monument Academy Charter School. Wangeman said the decrease at the Monument Academy is largely due to the discontinuance next year of the Monument Academy’s high school program. She added that Lewis-Palmer schools are expecting 5,757 students in the fall, with 502 of those attending the Monument Academy. State funding for special education services will decline about $315,000.

The district plans to hire 10 additional classroom teachers, the full-time equivalent of 10 more special needs service providers, 3 bus drivers, and 1 bus monitor. The current teacher/student ratio and average class sizes will be virtually unchanged.

The 2007-2008 budget was based on a 5 percent increase for hourly employees, administrators, and teachers in an effort to stay competitive with nearby school districts.

Wangeman noted that 86 percent of the General Fund budget is expended on staff compensation, an increase of 3 percent over the current year.

Following the public hearing, the board unanimously approved the 2007-2008 budget as presented.

High school building projects reviewed

Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering provided a review of this month’s progress at the high school construction sites. Some highlights of his presentation:

  • Of the $65.1 million in bond proceeds, $5.1 million in invoices have been paid or are being processed and $18.1 million has been committed on current contracts leaving $41.9 million yet to be committed.
  • Two bid packages totaling about $31 million for work on PRHS are being processed. Determination of guaranteed maximum prices for the two packages is scheduled for July 19.
  • Hundred of cubic yards of concrete are being poured at PRHS.
  • Contrary to rumors, no significant rock has been encountered during site grading.
  • Purchase of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment for PRHS would be phased over three years as enrollment increases at the school.
  • Planned PRHS activities for the next month include grading and stabilization of the Monument Hill entry road, rough grading of the staff and visitor parking lot, installation of underground utilities, and the start of structural steel construction in the mechanical room, kitchen and loading dock areas on the south end of the building site.
  • The LPHS stadium project is on schedule.
  • The YMCA needs fill dirt for their building project; The Lewis-Palmer district has agreed to give 1,700 cubic yards to the Y as part of the partnership between the entities.

Blanch thanked Chamberlin and his team for providing extra help on designing improvements for the baseball and softball fields.

The board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District regarding tap consolidation at Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS). Under the agreement, the district will pay $57,615 in additional tap fees and obtain a ¾ -inch tap and a 1½ -inch tap in addition to transferring the existing 2-inch tap.

Other matters

  • Superintendent Ray Blanch has completed his Ph.D. – The board congratulated Blanch on the successful completion of his Ph.D. program.
  • Boundary Committee members commended. – Sonia Cantlebary, Laurie Caves, Kelly Farmer, Hal Garland, Deborah Goth, Betty Hutchinson, Helen Liou, Kelly Kempf-Mobley, Robin Mossman, Tim O’Grady, Amy Owens, Peggy Parsley, Mary Perez, Martha Phelps, Robb Pike, Tim Rector, Linda Sardi, Cathy Wilcox, Becky Yoder, Britney Ghee, Joseph Marcus, Darcy Schmidt, and Eric Uribe received commendation certificates for the work they accomplished in bringing recommended attendance boundary scenarios to the school board.
  • Greene recognized for grant writing. – Lois Greene was thanked for her contributions as a volunteer grant writer for the district.
  • LPHS teacher Mann commended for his work. – Teacher John Mann was commended for his initiative in writing curriculum for new courses at LPHS, bringing real world experiences to the classroom, and for teaching by example. Mann is leaving the district to work at the US Air Force Academy.
  • School meal prices increased. – Meal prices will increase $0.15 to $0. 25 for the 2007-2008 school year. A larger selection of fresh produce and whole grain products will be offered, while some other options will be eliminated. 2007-2008 prices: Elementary Lunch - $1.75; Secondary Lunch - $2.00; Secondary Student Breakfast - $1.50; Milk - $0.50; Adult Breakfast - $2.00; Adult Lunch - $2.50 without milk.
  • Mill levy override information provided. – Blanch provided a review of input received from the MLO Fact Finding Committee and district administrators regarding the challenges of operating Palmer Ridge High School and attracting and retaining teachers. He presented alternative solutions that were explored. (For details, see the June 14 board workshop article on page 19.)
  • Facilities and Enrollment Committee (FEC) quarterly report on the 2006 bond issue/building program and the 1999 MLO – FEC Chair Carl Janssen discussed bond expenditures for high school construction projects. He also presented a brochure detailing how the funds have been spent from the 1999 MLO election, stating the monies have been spent as designated.
  • FEC Annual Report on the district’s technology plan – FEC member Karen Shuman reported on the district’s technology plan that was reviewed by the FEC as part of their charge from the board. The subcommittee reviewed the working plan in relation to student assessment, achievement, and professional development. They will continue to work with the technology department and give quarterly reviews and an annual update to the board. The report will be posted online and shared with staff.
  • Communication Audit progress report – Community Relations Manager Robin Adair discussed actions taken since the board’s receipt of the communication audit. Three major areas of work include prioritizing recommendations, setting goals and objectives, and developing key messages. She listed audit recommendations that have been implemented and made additional recommendations. The goal is to strengthen internal and external communications to build trust in the school board and district.
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLC) report – Director of Program Implementation & Evaluation Dr. Susan Adams presented an annual report evaluating the current status of the PLC program, in which teachers work together to improve student achievement. After surveying three groups of administrators, teachers, and parents in January, Dr. Adams found the program to be "developing" and made recommendations for improvements to the program.
  • District 38 continues participation in Pikes Peak Area School District Alliance. – The board approved the district’s continued participation in the effort to make the voice of local school districts heard regarding Colorado legislative matters.
  • Superintendent’s update – Blanch said he plans to hold discussions with the community regarding a strategic vision of education of the Whole Child for the 21st Century. This discussion would include the importance of visual and performing arts, sports, and a variety of other elements and how the district can address them. He also reported that he has begun investigating how the school district can help provide space needed by community seniors for classes, luncheons, and other activities.
  • Board member comments –Stephen Plank noted that people are the key to an excellent organization and teacher salaries should be looked at in conjunction with a mill levy override. LouAnn Dekleva commended Blanch for his work in developing community partnerships such as with senior groups. Gail Wilson noted that only three school districts in the Front Range have 90 percent or better graduation rates (Cheyenne Mountain, Academy, and Lewis-Palmer). Lewis-Palmer’s graduation rate is 98.5 percent. She commended the staff and administrators on the fine jobs they are doing. President Jes Raintree said she appreciates the level and detail of discussions on policy governance the board held during the week.

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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 at 7 p.m., July 19.

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

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

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 4: Fourth of July parade and street fair permit approved

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) has approved the Monument Hill Sertoma Club’s request for Fourth of July parade permits for the past 15 years. On June 4, the board unanimously approved another annual special-event permit and street-closure resolution to facilitate Sertoma hosting 20,000 people in what has come to be known as "the biggest small town parade in Colorado."

Mayor Byron Glenn and Trustees Gail Drumm and Travis Easton were excused. Mayor Pro Tem Dave Mertz presided.

Past Sertoma President Ted Bauman, past Parade Chair Gov Vaughn, current President Ron Pitt, and current Parade Chair Bill Walsh thanked the board and staff for their support in coordinating the parade plans and answered questions. Some of the points discussed were:

  • Town Clerk Scott Meszaros stated that all affected town departments and special districts had approved the plan, and the appropriate amount of liability insurance had been obtained.
  • Bauman noted that additional trash bins and portable toilets would be distributed throughout the parade route and the street fair on Second Street between Jefferson and Front Streets.
  • Monument Police Sgt. Steve Burke said there would be more no-parking signs and they would be posted starting July 3 to better keep the parade route clear.
  • Trustee Steve Samuels asked for more street sweepers to clean up behind horse and Renaissance Festival animals before the marching groups following the animals encountered problems.

May 21 BOT minutes controversial

Trustee Tim Miller said that he’d like the "Trustee Comments" section of the proposed minutes for the May 21 BOT meeting to be amended. He wanted his three concerns about the "drug issue at Lewis-Palmer High School" added to the minutes.

The proposed minutes said "Trustee Miller brought up the issue of drugs at Lewis-Palmer High. Ms. Green was instructed to follow up with Mr. Ray Blanch to see how the Town could assist in the issue." Cathy Green is the Monument town manager and Blanch is the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 superintendent.

At the May 21 meeting, Miller asked the board to make the drug problem 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 drug trafficking route. Glenn asked Green to initiate discussions with Blanch at her next meeting with him.

Miller said that although the high school is not within Monument, town students go there, and he wanted to make drug use a special concern/issue for the board.

Trustee Tommie Plank disagreed with Miller, saying the board should discuss the issue during the trustee comments agenda item rather than consider making a change to the May 21 minutes.

Miller replied that a Kings Deer parent had brought the drug issue to his attention. Miller added that he had discussed it with his daughters and knew Police Chief Jake Shirk was aware that this problem existed. He asked that all his comments be added to the May 21 minutes. Green suggested that the minutes could be tabled until Miller’s remarks could be transcribed and added. Miller then said he would rather comment on the issue again and moved to approve the minutes for May 21 without amendment. They were unanimously approved without any changes.

Trustee comments

Miller thanked Claudia Whitney for organizing the Memorial Day ceremony and Trustee Steve Samuels for his speech at "a really neat ceremony."

High school drug issue discussed again: Miller reiterated his desire to have the board "look into" the drug issue at Lewis-Palmer High School as a "special interest item if we can."

"I don’t know what authority we have to do anything on it, but I know it affects the town," Miller said. He said his daughters have told him there are drugs in the lockers at the school and he thought "narc dogs" could be used to find them.

The high school lies outside the town boundary in unincorporated El Paso County, under the jurisdiction of the county Sheriff’s Office rather than the Monument Police Department. District 38 is bordered on the north by County Line Road, on the west by the mountains, and on the south by the eastern extension of West Baptist Road, and it extends east of Highway 83. The town of Monument is a small portion of the district geographically.

Plank, a former D-38 school board member before her initial appointment to the Board of Trustees, said she had e-mailed Superintendent Blanch after the May 21 board meeting and confirmed that the "young person who died," the one Miller had specifically referred to in the previous BOT meeting, had been out of school for over two years.

Plank said problems such as "drugs in the lockers" should be reported to the high school authorities because the school district board, not other elected bodies, is responsible for handling its internal drug and alcohol problems. She said it was "irresponsible of us to make the kind of comments that were made without first checking into them." There is a 1 percent expulsion rate, mostly drug-related and alcohol-related. She said there is likely a drug problem in the community, in public and in private homes, "but to say it is a school problem is inflammatory and incorrect."

Miller pointed out that he had not mentioned a drug overdose death at the May 21 meeting. Plank insisted that Miller had started his comments by saying a student had died of an overdose. "That was how you started your comments that night, mentioning that a young student had died of a drug overdose, and in fact that person who died had not been a student for over two years." However, Miller had made no such statement. There had been no discussion of overdoses or of a young person’s death noted in the May 21 meeting. A review of OCN’s recording of the May 21 BOT meeting verified that Miller had made no remarks about overdoses.

Mertz said that he agreed with Plank and that Miller should discuss his concerns regarding high school issues with the school district directly, as a parent rather than a trustee. Miller said "I’m not slamming District 38. I’m not telling them how to run their business. I’ve heard this as an issue. I represent constituents. I’m bringing it up to the board’s attention. So noted, let’s move on."

Town Attorney Gary Shupp said the municipal court deals with a "fair number of people under the age of 21 brought in on minor drug and alcohol problems." More serious issues are dealt with by the District Attorney’s Office. It may be appropriate for the board to host a forum on the issue, but serious problems are beyond the board’s authority and jurisdiction, Shupp said Green asked Miller to call Shirk to discuss the department’s aggressive enforcement of drug and alcohol abuse.

Plank thanked Public Works Director Rich Landreth for street repairs recently completed in downtown Monument.

Water conservation restrictions clarified

Monument resident Roger Mansary asked the board for clarification of town regulations on water conservation. He said he had received conflicting information from members of the town staff on restrictions on watering, use of swimming pools, car and window washing, and town xeriscape landscaping requirements that directly conflict with homeowners’ association requirements for minimum lawn installation and maintenance in some developments.

Green said that town ordinances do need to be updated. Irrigation in Monument is limited to Monday-Wednesday-Friday for odd addresses and Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday for even addresses, but never from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No irrigation is allowed in town on Sundays. Warnings will be given before tickets are issued. Drip systems, hand-watering, and hand-washing of cars and windows are not covered by town ordinances.

Mansary asked the town to distribute a list of the current water restrictions in town water bills, and Green agreed. There was also a discussion of new landscaping restrictions on grass lawn percentages. Shupp told Mansary that no one knows the actual amount of available groundwater in Denver basin aquifers.

Other matters

Truck route ordinance deleted: The board unanimously approved the deletion of the outdated truck route ordinance for vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds that had been superseded by the new ordinance approved at the May 21 meeting.

Third Street project: The board held a public comment session on the $1.3 million improvement project for Third Street stormwater drainage, a requirement for receipt of a previously awarded Colorado Department of Local Affairs Community Development Block Grant. Green advised the board that attempts to increase the amount of the grant from $120,000 to the $250,000 amount requested had not been successful. The board declared Third Street a "blighted area" on July 17, 2006, in order to qualify for the grant. New curbs and gutter will be installed, as well as underground stormwater pipes that will replace the current overtaxed drainage ditches on both sides of Third Street. There was no public comment.

Wal-Mart liquor license renewal approved: The board unanimously approved renewal of the Monument Marketplace Wal-Mart’s 3.2 percent beer liquor license. The owner of Il Fratello’s restaurant was absent a second time, as he was on May 21, and his license renewal was again tabled.

FREX payment approved: The board unanimously approved a subsidy of $20,000 to the Colorado Springs Department of Public Works/Transit for FREX bus service between Colorado Springs and Denver. The buses stop in Monument at the Park’N’Ride lot at the northwest corner of Highway 105 and Woodmoor Drive.

Town manager report: Green reported that during her meeting with D-38 Superintendent Blanch, they had discussed increasing the new construction fee for the school district from $250 per household to $1,200. The new amount would still be in the bottom quarter of such fees charged throughout Colorado. Blanch said D-38 wants the new Palmer Ridge High School to be annexed by the town and would share the facility for seniors programs.

Green said that plans for the new Town Hall and Police Department building to be constructed on the southwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105 are 90 percent complete.

Police Sgt. Burke said Monument Officer Chad Haynes works with Lewis-Palmer High School as an unofficial school resources officer. Haynes supports the county sheriff’s officer assigned to the high school.

The board went into executive session at 7:20 p.m. to discuss real estate negotiations. The board came out of executive session and adjourned at 8:05 p.m. without any votes or discussion taking place.

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 18: Town will share new water tank with Forest Lakes

By Jim Kendrick

On June 18, The Monument Board of Trustees approved an ordinance for creating a new intergovernmental agreement and paying approximately $260,000 to Forest Lakes Metropolitan District for 500,000 gallons of added storage capacity in the district’s new water storage tank. It would cost twice that amount for the town to build a 500,000 gallon tank in Forest Lakes.

Trustee Tim Miller was absent from the June 18 meeting.

Easements for water supply lines swapped

The town already owns groundwater rights within the Forest Lakes district. It had previously obtained an easement within the Forest Lakes district to construct a separate water storage tank and supply lines to transport its groundwater to the town’s treatment plant at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. This original easement was no longer required and was vacated as part of the approved ordinance. The water will be transported through a new realigned town supply line easement from the enlarged joint-use tank.

The Forest Lakes district will be the sole owner of the tank and manage its construction. The town will own the future supply lines between this joint-use tank and the town water treatment plant.

The town also will have to pay for materials and construction of this new supply line and for a pro rata share of continuing operating and maintenance costs for the tank and all such costs for the supply system.

Mayor Byron Glenn suggested that Town Manager Cathy Green and Public Works Director Rich Landreth arrange with Forest Lakes District Manager Ann Nicholls to have the nominal $260,000 payment put in an escrow account so the town could retain the interest on the funds, while the Forest Lakes district negotiates its construction contract and financing. The escrowed payment will show the district’s lenders that the town’s participation in the construction project is guaranteed. Landreth said the funds might be in escrow only briefly as Forest Lakes may have already issued a notice to proceed.

There were no comments from the public during the open portion of the hearing. The board unanimously approved the ordinance, with an amendment for setting up the escrow account for the easement payment.

Street fair resolution approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution for a temporary street closure and special event permit for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce to host its annual Fourth of July street fair. The street closure is for Second Street between Jefferson and Front Streets.

Town Clerk Scott Meszaros noted that the chamber had coordinated all requirements for the resolution, including presentation of a traffic control plan and certificate of insurance.

Chamber spokesman Greg Cook said that sales tax collections are the chamber’s responsibility. Some vendors are not licensed in Monument, so they are covered by the "umbrella" of the chamber’s special event permit, in a manner similar to the Farmer’s Market held every Saturday. The chamber forwards all sales tax revenues collected to the state Department of Revenue, noting that they were generated in downtown Monument.

Trustee comments

Trustee Dave Mertz commented that the Tri-Lakes Cruisers’ car show had been a big success and that judging the many outstanding cars on display had been extremely difficult. (See photo on page 36)

Trustee Tommie Plank commented that Art Hop, which is sponsored by downtown stores, will continue to feature special authors and artists until 8 p.m. on the third Thursday evening each month. She said these are great events for the whole family.

Trustee Gail Drumm reported on a conference he had attended in California sponsored by the Urban Land Institute. A major theme was for small towns to make themselves uniquely appealing to visitors. He noted trends in modern urbanism, buildings and construction, park and recreation design concepts, and evolution of services provided for seniors toward physical fitness training and broadband Internet access.

Mayor Byron Glenn noted a Denver Post article about seniors on the "Silver Tsunami" of services and jobs seniors will be seeking in the future. He also discussed the state’s major shortfall for road building and maintenance, citing a Colorado Department of Transportation 20-year plan that would cost $243 billion, while projected budgets for the next two decades total only $73 billion.

Public comments

Monument resident Steve Meyers, who represents the town on the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Citizen Advisory Committee and the county Department of Transportation Highway Advisory Committee, reviewed progress on a new regional transportation plan through 2035. He asked the board and staff to consider hosting a citizen comment meeting on the plan so that there is Tri-Lakes input in addition to the comments that will be made in a meeting to be scheduled in Black Forest.

Other matters

Liquor licenses renewed: The board unanimously approved annual renewals for Il Fratello’s Restaurant at 1415 Cipriani Loop and La Casa Fiesta Restaurant at 230 Front St.

Five disbursements over $5,000 unanimously approved:

  • $5,130 to Conoco for fuel
  • $5,179 to Mountain View Electric Association for electricity
  • $6,521 to Triview for May motor vehicle tax
  • $12,631 to SEH Inc. for traffic studies on eight projects
  • $80,950 to Triview Metropolitan District for April sales tax

Treasurer Pamela Smith noted that fuel and electricity bills peak in the summer. She also reported that the payment to SEH Inc. was paid entirely from fees collected from the developers of each of the projects rather than from tax revenue.

Smith said the final 2006 audit hearing would be held at the July 16 board meeting. She suggested that the board review water restriction regulations at its retreat on June 23.

Development Services report: Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara noted that residential development has slowed but developers are working on needed infrastructure to be ready for the next upturn. There are several commercial projects "in the pipeline" for approval in the near term.

Police report: Police Chief Jake Shirk said there would be another emergency-preparedness fair at Lewis-Palmer High School on Aug. 1. He noted that Officer Mike Wolfe had begun to write citations for the numerous flagrant uses of residential streets by heavy trucks avoiding the weigh stations on I-25 at Monument Hill. Residents should advise the Police Department at 481-3253 on which streets heavy trucks are using to avoid the state ports. The town roads being used most to avoid being weighed and inspected for safety are Old Denver Highway and Beacon Lite Road.

Town Manager’s report: Cathy Green reported that Public Works has been aggressively removing illegal signs from town, county, and state rights-of-way. Those that are not retrieved at the facility at the north end of Jefferson Street are being thrown away.

Executive session: The board went into executive session to discuss real estate negotiations at 7:22 p.m., then came out of executive session and immediately adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

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The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. July 16 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

Note: The board meeting originally scheduled for July 2 was cancelled on June 27.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, June 14: Bowling alley to be renovated and reopened

By Jim Kendrick

At its regular meeting on June 14, the Palmer Lake Town Council approved a new business license and the boundaries of a survey for a new liquor license for the PinZ bowling alley on Highway 105. The council also approved a new business license for Holiday Fantasies and a grant to the Palmer Lake Historical Society.

Trustees Trudy Finan, Trish Flake, and Jim Girlando were all excused.

New liquor license survey area approved

The council first met as the town’s liquor licensing authority and approved boundaries for a new license survey of the surrounding neighborhood for applicants Gloria McCartan and Al Palmonari. They have purchased the former Bowling Alley @ Palmer Lake building at 855 Highway 105. The previous liquor license for the facility had expired during the months the building was vacant.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said it was "the owners’ burden" to show that "there is a need in the neighborhood and what are the desires of the inhabitants of the neighborhood." The boundaries for this must be set by the council so that these two objectives are met. There must also be an opportunity for valid neighborhood objections to be made, through the survey or the required public hearing.

Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s Pub in downtown Palmer Lake, said, "It would be nice to include license holders in your survey, regardless of the distance" of their businesses to PinZ. Gaddis replied that if another license holder was not in the neighborhood defined by the council, he would have no standing to comment in the survey.

The trustees unanimously approved a survey area of Highway 105 to the west, Westward Lane to the north, and the town boundaries to the east and south.

The authority adjourned at 7:31 p.m. and the council immediately began the regular council meeting.

Approval of payment of bills controversial

Trustee Richard Allen objected to the routine approval of the payment of the previous month’s bills by Town Clerk Della Gray as a consent item. Allen objected to Gray not listing the actual amounts of checks paid to employees after all their individual deductions had been made for taxes, medical insurance, retirement and mortgage payments, etc.. Allen insisted that the citizens of Palmer Lake should be able to see the amounts of each employee’s check.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said the amount of each payroll check is a personnel matter that should not be on the public record because it is a matter of employee privacy, a policy in place for years. Gaddis told Allen he could look at payroll information before the meeting if he felt he had to check Gray’s accounting.

Mayor Max Parker said that if there was to be a discussion of payroll checks, it would have to be in executive session. Gaddis concurred with Parker. Allen replied that he still disagreed with how the bills are listed for the public record.

Allen also questioned the fact that varying percentages of each employee’s salaries are taken from several different town department accounts such as roads, buildings, etc. Gray said the percentages are defined in each year’s budgets based on how much work each employee does for each department as a percentage. The trustees approve these percentages, which are listed in the drafts of each annual budget, when they approve the budgets.

Allen then made a motion to approve the consent items, and they were unanimously approved.

Two new business licenses approved

The new owners of PinZ said that they would be remodeling their bowling alley building. Work will be performed on the exterior and interior. New furniture will be purchased and installed as well. The council unanimously approved the new business license.

Brian and Mary Hutchings of Hutchings Collectibles applied for a retail business license for Holiday Fantasies at 755 Highway 105, Unit H. Mary Hutchings said their store will offer gifts, wedding accessories, pressed flowers, candles, sun catchers, and collectibles for all four seasons from companies like Dept. 56, Midwest, Munro, and Curt S. Adler. She said the store would also feature a large Christmas display. The council unanimously approved the new business license.

Driveway agreement approved on Westward Lane

Kurt Erhardt of Bragghart LLP requested that the town approve a driveway agreement for town land between Westward Lane and Lot 1, Block 1, Elephant Rock Acres. Erhardt said the long narrow strip of town land would also be used for parking. The fee for use of the land is $1 per year. The board approved Erhardt’s request unanimously.

Quit claim deed requested for half of Auditorium Lot

Margaret Burnett, the 83-year-old owner of the Auditorium Lot in Glenn Park since 1975, asked the town to give her ownership of the north half of the lot originally owned beginning in 1923 by the Glenn Park Cottage Owners Association. Burnett’s mother-in-law obtained ownership of the south lot in 1963 and Burnett bought it from her. Burnett’s attorney, Newman McAllister, represented Burnett at this meeting.

McAllister noted that the association, which maintained the large historic 500-seat auditorium on the site, went out of existence in 1952, and the deed called for the town to be given ownership in the circumstance that either half was abandoned. There has been no auditorium structure on the property since 1960.

McAllister asked that the town give the north half to Burnett via a quit claim deed so that lot 10 could be made whole again before she dies. Without the north half, Burnett’s lot is too small to be resold as a residential lot, McAllister said The north lot is too small for the town to use as a public park as called for in the deed. Burnett has paid property taxes on her vacant lot to the town for over 30 years and would like to be able to sell both as a residential lot. The town would benefit by receiving more property tax after 55 years without an owner.

Local historian Jim Sawatski said the town should delay the transfer to Burnett until archeologists could search for historic artifacts from the Chatauqua period. He said this is the only part of Glenn Park that remains from that period that has not been destroyed. The auditorium was the first one built in Colorado, in 1886. Sawatski said the Palmer Lake Historical Society could organize a search of the north part of the lot.

There was a lengthy discussion among Sawatski, the council, and a relative of Burnett’s about how long the society should have to search the lot. The council decided that a reasonable condition for granting the quit claim deed request would be to allow the historical society to search the lots for artifacts until Sept. 1. A motion with that condition was unanimously approved. Sawatski agreed to organize the archeological search.

Other matters

The council unanimously approved a motion to allocate $10,000 of the approximately $30,000 in the Lucy Owens Fund toward a Tri-Lakes seniors center, with the condition that any future contributions to the center would not occur for another year. This interval will allow the town to review progress on developing the center and the amount of other donations made. Current plans are for space to be leased in the West End Center for the new seniors center.

The council also unanimously approved a grant of $1,000 to the historical society for post-processing of Jim Sawatski’s documentary film on the Chatauquas held in Palmer Lake. Sawatski is producing the historical show for PBS.

There was another discussion about how members of the Awake the Lake Committee could interact with the town’s water attorney, Ronni Sperling. The town has authorized Sperling to spend up to $20,000 of the committee’s funds on a filing for town water storage rights within Palmer Lake. Committee spokesmen Jeff Hulsmann and Greg Cook expressed frustration that a month had already passed without them being able to talk to the attorney the committee had hired. The council agreed to have the two representatives join trustees in a conference call with Sperling once she completes the final draft of the filing.

The meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on July 12 in Town Hall, 54 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, June 29: Woodmoor Water outlines plans to drain the lake

By Camilla Mottl

On June 25, Phil Steininger, manager of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, announced to the Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors the district’s plans to empty Lake Woodmoor. The underground drain and drain valve in the lake is 40 years old and, while it is not an emergency, some corrosion has taken place.

While the draining of the lake has already begun, its completion and the repair work will take place over the next two years. The Woodmoor district expects the draining to be complete by September 2008 and to have the repairs done in the two to three months following. If all goes according to schedule, it will begin refilling the lake in January 2009.

One of their concerns is making sure the public is aware that drainage will continue in the winter months. While walking on ice in ponds and lakes is never safe, the work will cause voids under any ice that forms, creating an even greater possible hazard for anyone on the lake.

Steininger also shared the basics of the Woodmoor W&S Water Demand Management Program, which includes water restrictions. While water is a resource we should always conserve, its reason for instituting this portion of the program is to keep down capital costs. Since spring and summer are when we use the most water, its aim is to smooth out the peak demand times. It doesn’t expect water use to go down but hopes to save on capital costs by not having to purchase and install more pump stations and lines only needed during the warmer months for irrigation purposes.

Woodmoor W&S also is educating area youths about conserving water by holding poster contests in the elementary schools. For adults, there are xeriscape education classes. Those interested can contact the offices for dates and times of these classes. Rebates are another part of their program, and eligible purchases are listed in a brochure. Finally, Woodmoor officials informed the WIA board that this fall they will be introducing a new service rate schedule.

Woodmoor W&S engineer Jessie Shaffer then described plans to use a raw water delivery system for irrigation to the elementary school and the new high school off Woodmoor Drive. There will be a pump, floating or buried in the lake, with a pipeline that will feed the irrigation to the two schools.

Steininger stated they hope to make another presentation to the WIA board in August to provide members with more details regarding these issues and their Emergency Preparedness Plan that is now being prepared for state and county agencies.

No fireworks allowed in Woodmoor

There are too many high fire hazard areas in Woodmoor to allow the use of any fireworks. WIA board members and staff are disappointed that, once again, there is a fireworks stand located on Lake Woodmoor Drive. In the past, Peoples Bank allowed WIA to place a banner stating "NO Fireworks Allowed in Woodmoor" on its property. However, the owner of the fireworks stand told the bank he would pull his business if it allowed the sign on bank property. Following discussion, members agreed that WIA will have to purchase more signs to remind people of the rule. There was also discussion of the level of the fines for fireworks, but members agreed to table this item until after July Fourth to decide whether fines need to be raised.

West Nile Prevention Program update

Kevin Nielsen, chief of Woodmoor Public Safety, reported that WIA West Nile Prevention Program was under way and that all the ponds and some of the marsh areas that are accessible were checked for larvae. While none was discovered, all ponds and standing water were treated with larvaecide.

Firewise programs

Amy Smith, director of Forestry, stated that the response to WIA’s two-day Chipping Program the first weekend in June was far greater than expected. In two days, nine full, 30-yard dumpsters were filled with chipping material. Woodmoor owes a tremendous thank you to John Psensky of Tree Masters and Brian Beland of TriLakes Disposal for their generosity in support of this program. Without their initial donations of service and equipment, the program would not have been held.

Donations collected from those who utilized the service also helped offset the cost. However, a minimum donation of $10 per load will need to be collected in the future if we want to make this an ongoing service. Because of the amount of slash and downed trees still in Woodmoor, Smith is making plans to hold another chipping day in early fall. Woodmoor residents are urged to consult their upcoming newsletter for dates and times.

Smith also reported that the first Neighborhood Firewise Meeting had been held in the Silhouette Way area. The Fire Department has listed this area as the one with the greatest fire hazard rating due to the amount of scrub oak, dense pine and flag lots. Five homeowners from the area participated and learned how to reduce fire danger on their lots and in the neighborhood. It was a good community building event, and all who attended signed up to have Firewise Evaluations on their property and homes. Smith stated they hope to hold a total of five of these meetings this year.

Other items

Gary Marner, director of Common Areas, stated they would soon begin spraying for noxious weeds, and mowing will begin after July 4. There is some pond work that needs to be done, especially in the Wild Duck area, but it will be better to have it done in cooler weather in the fall so he will get bids for the work to be performed. Executive Director Camilla Mottl stated that the WIA did have reserve funds for the ponds. Marner is going to check on the availability of a safe herbicide against cattails that can be used when dredging is complete.

The WIA Community Center will again host five concerts in The Barn every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. in October. Vice President Bill Walters is coordinating this effort for the second year in a row.

Secretary George McFadden stated that, as a board member, he has an obligation to the owners to cut costs and requested that the one personal holiday given each administrative employee per year be eliminated. Mottl pointed out that it was her responsibility as executive director to hire and retain an educated and competent staff that will serve the community well. WIA employees do have employee cost-supplemented health care, holidays, vacation and some training funded. However, there is no dental, vision, or life insurance, nor is there short- or long-term disability. There is no cafeteria plan, no flexible spending program or any type of pension or retirement plan. The lack of a good benefit plan for the employees is a major issue in retaining good employees. The board voted not to eliminate the personal holiday.

The board will do a mid-year budget review at its August meeting, and a committee was formed to update WIA’s reserve account. The next board meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 23.

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June Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

After an eventful and wet winter and spring, June 2007 quieted down with below-normal temperatures and precipitation. There were some periods with strong to severe thunderstorms scattered around the region, but most of the action missed the Tri-Lakes. The end of June marks the end of the snow season as well, and what a year of snow it was for the Tri-Lakes. Most of us above 7,000 feet received over 200 inches of snow and well over 30 inches of precipitation. Be sure to check out all the details on my Web site on the Climate page at http://www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm.

Some thunderstorms that developed during the first week of the month became severe, especially over southern Elbert County and along the eastern end of the Palmer Divide where large hail was common along with flooding rains at times. The month started off with five consecutive days of at least a trace of rain and 11 out of the first 13 days with at least a trace of rain. However, none of it accumulated to any significant amount, with most areas totaling around 1 to 2 inches of rain during this period.

The first full week of the month started off quiet enough, with highs in the 70s from the 4th through the 6th. Each day started off sunny, then afternoon clouds developed and a few rain showers fell. The real fun began late on the 6th as the first in a series of strong disturbances moved through, riding the back of a powerful Pacific jet stream. This unsettled weather pattern brought cooler temperatures, clouds, and a little moisture on the 7th and 8th, but the big effect from this storm was the winds. Winds were sustained at 30-40 mph from late on the 6th through the morning of the 7th, with gusts as high as 70 mph (recorded at Lewis-Palmer High School). The reason for the strong winds was the strength and location of the jet stream that moved over the region.

Usually at this time of the year, the jet stream is weaker and farther north because it develops along the Polar Front where cold air from Canada meets warmer air from the Continental U.S. and points south. In the late spring through early fall, this battle zone usually sets up near the Canadian border. Also, the contrast between the two air masses is normally not as strong this time of the year. The stronger the contrast in temperatures across the Polar Front, the stronger the winds will be.

Those factors were in play as usual as this wave of energy moved overhead. But we still had to get those strong winds down to the surface. That’s where the mountains to our west and the strong June sunshine came in. The strength of the June sunshine allowed the atmosphere to be "mixed" to thousands of feet above the surface, helping to transport the strong winds that would have normally ridden harmlessly above the ground down to the surface. Then the mountains helped to break the flow and create "waves" in the atmosphere, much like a rough river bottom creates rapids and rough flow in an otherwise smooth river. The "waves" of wind broke along the Front Range and rushed along the ground as strong wind gusts overnight on the 6th through the morning of the 7th. This is a common scenario during winter, but unusual for June.

Temperatures tumbled during the early morning hours of the 7th and 8th as well, as this unseasonable cool airmass moved in and skies cleared. Lows dipped into the 20s by the morning of the 8th, giving our fast-growing plants a bit of a shock. The weather pattern quickly returned to normal by the end of the week, and highs jumped well into the 70s and low 80s on the 8th and 9th.

Strong to severe thunderstorms rolled through the region to start the week of the 11th, with reports of large hail and torrential rains during the afternoon of the 12th. The storms were strongest over the eastern end of the Palmer Divide and in Colorado Springs, and then they moved eastward toward Calhan. Most areas picked up a good half-inch to 2 inches of rain. Weather conditions quieted down after this excitement, however, as only a few weak thunderstorms developed over the next few afternoons. None of them produced any severe weather. Temperatures also warmed up as we ended the week and headed into the last weekend before the official start to summer. Highs jumped back into the upper 70s to mid-80s from the 15th to the 17th under mostly sunny skies, making for a very nice Father’s Day weekend.

High pressure out of the desert Southwest dominated the weather for the majority of the last two weeks of the month, allowing just a few weak thunderstorms to develop and temperatures to stay normal or slightly above. Highs reached the low 90s on the 25th and again on the 30th, with plenty of 80s mixed in between. However, temperatures were moderated somewhat by persistent south/southeasterly winds that continued to rotate around high pressure off to our east, keeping temperatures from reaching their maximum potential.

A look ahead

July is typically the warmest month of the year and the fourth wettest month of the year, with precipitation averaging just less than 3 inches and highs averaging in the 80s. Morning lows generally dip into the mid-40s to mid-50s, but some nights can remain on the warm side, making it tough to get a good night’s sleep. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are common, generally forming over the high country and moving out over the Tri-Lakes region. Strong, organized storm systems are less frequent and cold fronts not as sharp.

However, monsoonal moisture moving in from the Gulf of California and Gulf of Mexico usually begins to make an appearance by the middle of the month. The thunderstorms associated with this provide much needed relief from hot temperatures and dry conditions. Let’s hope we don’t have a repeat of July 2005, when temperatures soared well into the 90s to near 100 on several afternoons and rainfall was below average. The official monthly forecast for July 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/), is calling for normal temperatures and normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm.

June 2007 Weather Statistics

Average High 73.9°F (-1.6°)
Average Low 42.5°F (-1.5°)
Highest Temperature 91°F on the 25th
Lowest Temperature 27°F on the 8th
Monthly Precipitation 0.82" (-2.22")
Monthly Snowfall 0.00" (-0.2")
Season to Date Snow 208.6" (+69.9")
Season to Date Precip. 33.51" (+11.85)

For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the Tri-Lakes region, please visit Bill Kappel’s Weather Web page at http://www.thekappels.com/Weather.htm.

Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us on the Palmer Divide, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact me at billkappel@ourcommunitynews.org.

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Introduce a child to reading

By the staff at Covered Treasures

It’s never too early to introduce children to the love of reading, and there are so many wonderful books to choose from, and summer, when there seem to be a few more hours in the day, is the perfect time. Following are suggestions for enchanting babies to beginning readers.

The Best Place to Read
By Debbie Bertram; Illustrated by Michael Garland
Random House, $6.99

A young child tries to find the perfect place to curl up with his new book in this hilarious and heartwarming tale. Scampering from his bedroom to the den, from the kitchen to the back yard, the young boy must dodge his baby sister’s messes and a lawn full of spraying sprinklers — all in his search for the best place to read. And where would that be? Mommy’s lap, of course!

Sweet Dreams: My First Taggies Book
Illustrated by Kaori Watanabe
Scholastic, $12.95

For newborns on up, this plush adaptation of the ultra-popular Taggies fleece blankets features colorful looped ribbon tags that babies and kids love to rub. Sleepy bunnies, kitties, and puppies make this the perfect naptime gift for baby.

Sleep Tight, Peter Rabbit
By Beatrix Potter
The Penguin Group, $12.99

This delightful story for young children features the classic illustrations and includes a "moon and stars" night light on the front of the book. Join Peter Rabbit as he gets ready for bed. But where will he sleep? In a nest like Jemima Puddle-duck? Or in his very own bed?

Who’s Hiding?
By Satoru Onishi
Kane/Miller, $14.95

Using fanciful illustrations of 18 different animals, Onishi introduces preschool children to visual discrimination and memory skills in what becomes a fun game for parent and child. In addition to guessing who’s hiding, children compare two sets of pictures to see who’s sleeping, who’s crying and who’s backward.

Dance by the Light of the Moon
By Joanne Ryder
Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99

Based on the chorus of "Buffalo Gals," originally published in 1844, Ryder’s text takes us on a delightful romp, while Guy Francis’s expressive animal illustrations burst with energy. Children from 3 years on up will enjoy this unique picture book.

Russell and the Lost Treasure
By Rob Scotton
Harper Collins, $15.99

Russell the sheep is determined to find the Lost Treasure of Frogsbottom. Equipped with his Super-Duper Treasure Seeker, Russell searches high and low, up and down, in and out, and finds nothing! Discover how Russell finds the most valuable treasure of all through the delightful creations of Rob Scotton, one of Great Britain’s leading illustrators. This picture book is designed for ages 3-7.

Pictures from Our Vacation
By Lynne Rae Perkins
Harper Collins, $16.99

With their new cameras, a brother and sister take pictures of their vacation, but when they look at their photographs, they see: the back of Dad’s head, someone’s feet, and a container of noodles. But what about how it felt to swim in the lake, or the stories their cousins told, and the taste of a just-invented strawberry-and-whipped-cream dessert? For those memories — the memories of family that mean the most — Newbery Medal-winning author Lynne Rae Perkins helps children look someplace else — someplace deep inside. Designed for ages 5-8, this is a delightful picture book to read before, during or after summer vacation.

Give the child in your life the gift of a lifetime — introduce him or her to the wonderful world of books! Until next month, happy summer reading!

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High Country Highlights: How to garden in sun or shade

By Woody Woodworth

Taking time to choose the right plants for specific conditions in your garden will greatly improve your garden’s overall look and feel — and will cut down on overall maintenance and watering requirements.

Determine which areas of your yard receive a lot of sun, or tend to be more in the shade. Especially note the times of day and how long each area remains in shade or how many hours of sun it receives. Try to select plants that fit your garden’s natural growing conditions. Areas of your garden that face west or south naturally tend to be much hotter and receive much more direct sunlight. Taking a little time to choose the right plants for these demanding growing conditions can help save you time, money, and water, as well as improve your overall results.

The amount of sun an area receives is measured in hours. For instance, a "full sun" area would receive five or more hours of direct sunlight per day. Partial sun would be about three to four hours of sun per day. Also, there is a difference between morning sun and afternoon sun. Morning sun areas tend to provide a cooler environment, whereas afternoon sun is generally much hotter. Filtered sun is an area with sun and shade in roughly equal amounts. An example would be areas beneath large trees that have open canopies. Partial shade areas will receive about one to three hours of sunlight per day. Full shade areas are parts of your garden that never receive direct sunlight. The north side of fences or walls, or areas beneath trees with heavy or dense canopies would be considered full shade areas.

Each plant, available at your local garden center or nursery, will have a tag that describes the basic growing and care requirements for that particular plant. Most often, the plant’s tag will include plant name and variety, such as: "Shasta daisy – Alaska. The type of plant: perennial. Height at maturity: 2 to 4 feet. Width at maturity: 18 to 24 inches. Spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart."

"Spacing" is the recommended distance between plants when you first plant them in the ground, taking into account the eventual size at maturity. Spacing plants a little closer together than recommended at the time of planting will tend to give a more immediate fullness to your garden, as well as when the garden matures. This technique works well with flowering plants, such as annuals and perennials.

The plant tag will also include the light requirements, such as "full sun" for the Shasta daisy or "partial shade" for plants that require shade during the hottest part of the day. In general, if the light requirements listed for a plant contain the word "sun" (i.e., "full sun," "partial sun"), the plant requires some amount of direct sunlight per day. If the light requirement uses the term "shade" (i.e., "light shade," "full shade"), then it would be a shade-loving plant such as a caladium.

Now that you’ve picked out the right plants for the right garden areas, be sure to take the following steps to give them a fighting chance in our harsh environment.

  1. Amend the soil when planting by using composted material.
  2. Mulch your plants to prevent excessive evaporation.
  3. Water often to get plants established, then once top growth has developed and plants become accustomed to their environment, water less often, but deeply.

Many plants available today will accept a wide range of growing conditions. Your local garden center will have plant types and varieties that are perfectly suited for your region’s growing conditions.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, June 17: Ice Cream Social

Belwo: Ed Kite from Rocky Ford, Colorado sings along to Archie Archuleta’s piano at the Father’s Day Ice Cream Social June 17 sponsored by the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Photo by Dee Kirby

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: American Coot

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of American Coots. 

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

Colorado summers are a glorious time for birders. Recently, many people have shared fascinating bird stories and for the first time in many years, a pair of bluebirds has built a nest in our yard! As I write this, I’m keeping one eye on the nesting box because judging from the chatter emanating from it, the chicks are about to fledge.

This summer Randy and I have been observing waterfowl that migrate to the Palmer Divide. We are amazed at the variety of birds and generally find them in pairs, which may indicate that they are nesting.

One evening on Lake Woodmoor we spotted three American coots, a species we had not seen before and first thought it to be a rare bird. Our excitement was short-lived after reading that the coot, often referred to as a mud hen, is commonly found in large flocks feeding on open bodies of fresh water in many regions of the country. But that did not dispel our interest, and we truly enjoy watching them.

The coot is a migratory bird that commonly nests in the Rocky Mountain region. To me, its most distinctive quality is its pure white conical beak, which is starkly contrasted by its black head. Its eyes are red, and often there is a red patch at the top if its bill. Its body is dark gray with a white patch under the tail. The male is slightly larger than the female, but otherwise they look alike. Because it is a fast swimmer, I was surprised to learn that its feet are not webbed like a duck’s. It propels itself through the water with its rather long legs and lobed toes with fleshy flanges while rocking its head in the direction it is swimming.

Although it appears weightless, floating like a cork on the water, the coot’s body is heavier than that of most waterfowl. To take flight it must run across the water to gain momentum, but once in the air it is a strong, fast flier. It is often observed squabbling with other coots and it will run across the water to chase off rivals or to flee from a predator like the osprey or bald eagle.

The coot is the only member of the rail family to live in a flock. It doesn’t look much like a rail and is a rather odd-looking bird. It eats surface vegetation and dives down in 3 to 6 feet of water for tender submerged vegetation and small amphibians and fish. While it is rarely observed out of the water, it is just as comfortable on land and in the air.

When it becomes time for the coot to mate, usually in May or early June, the process begins with great show. Both sexes start out displaying themselves in front of the others with loud calls and vigorous splashing to attract attention. While the mating process takes place on the water, copulation occurs on land. We found it odd that there were three coots because if they were nesting, wouldn’t there be only two? Not necessarily. Although the coot is generally considered to be monogamous, the male may breed cooperatively with two females sharing a nest, forming a trio.

The male and female care for the eggs and the young. They work together to build a nest about 15 inches across. The male chooses the location at the edge of the water, well hidden in dense vegetation for protection from predators. The nest may be on land or floating in shallow water, but all nests have a ramp leading into the water so the young have easy access. The female lays 8 to 10 pink eggs with brown spots. The male and female take turns incubating the eggs until they hatch in about 23 days. After the chicks hatch, the parents divide them into two groups and share the job of feeding them and teaching them to swim, fly, and dive. After one month, the young can dive for their own food. The chicks begin to fly in 5 to 6 weeks after hatching and are fully independent after about 2 months, at which time they will join a flock and begin their southward migration.

We continue to watch, but so far have not seen any chicks on Lake Woodmoor. However, it’s still early and they may not have hatched. The coots are still there, so that may be an indication that we will see chicks in the next few weeks.

Other waterfowl that we have observed this year include the wood duck, western grebe, cinnamon teal, mallard, Canada goose, cormorant, great blue heron, and hooded messenger. It is still early in the season and I expect we will find more.

For those of you interested in birds, Randy and I have been invited to the Monument Library at 10 a.m. July 28 to discuss birding. Please join us and bring your bird-watching tips and stories!

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: Art spirit creates community spirit

By Janet Sellers

The June Art Hop was very well-attended. The early evening weather was perfect, and every venue in town seemed to be visited by the happy crowd of art lovers. All along Second Street and on over to Third Street via Front Street, the galleries and shops were humming with patrons enjoying the complimentary cool drinks and munchies along the way. I talked with the Buchmans, the new owners of the Second Street gallery in Gallery Center. Their dream was to some day own an art gallery, and this year they made it come true. Doug Buchman has his colorful watercolor paintings on view — don’t miss those when you go to say hello and visit the gallery. He has scenes of Colorado and his recent California images, too.

Then, I was off to the Third Street side of the Art Hop to check in at the Winter Gallery, which was opening its summer art season showing Lance Green’s recent works. The works are colorful, pleasant and easy-going, just like Green. Lance told me he was born in Denver and has lived in various places in the Southwest. I was happy to learn that we had both worked in art studios in the same neck of the woods: East L.A. We both have appreciated the amazing experiences and art from that unique place, and revere our current ease of place in the Tri-Lakes area.

At Buffalo Blues, there was such a lively crowd inside having fun meeting and talking that I just said a quick "Hi" to owner/artist Sharon DeWeese. I now have my eye on another glasswork there — shiny and colorful. Everybody seemed to be enjoying her art on the walls and meeting new people. Sharon has a sign-up sheet for her flowing watercolors class, by the way.

Wild Heather is the name of the new fiber art shop at 341 Front St., which opened the last week of June. My friend and fiber guru, Liz Kettle, introduced me to the gallery’s owner just in time for this article. Heather Thomas gave me a tour of her quilt, fiber art and photography place — part gallery, part museum for me. Wild Heather is an exquisite mix of gallery walls filled with fine art in fiber, a workshop space, and world- class fabric studio with fabric and specialty patterns for sale. The boom in fiber art and artists has created a need for a hands-on venue for fiber artists in our area. I suspect that our Tri-Lakes area may become well- known for its fiber artists and quilters very soon as the mediums attain greater popularity and we have more access to the artworks. Galleries such as Wild Heather are wonderful venues.

Heather and I talked over the current fiber art scene. Some artists come from a traditional quilting background and move into a more free, final cause as fine art in their constructions of fiber, layered fabric and photography in this novel dimension for creative abstract art. Museums have collected abstract art and constructions for decades. Come to think of it, fiber art may be the earliest, along with cave paintings and pottery. So, we could say these materials in their fine art appreciation are as old as human efforts.

I asked Heather about fiber art in terms of contemporary artists, galleries and shows. She related to me that many places in the world have a great following in the (it is not a genre) visual arts of fiber. Obviously, the weaving and blankets and important fiber work of the Native Americans are well-accepted and revered worldwide. Silk paintings, brocades and fabrics of the Oriental cultures have always been prized. Heather said some galleries are not getting involved with fiber art yet, offering their view that fibers are a part of craft, and craft is not art. Some places even speak the words aloud on the order of, "... fiber is a craft. We sell art here." Again, we may ask the question: What is art?

Artists and collectors today hold a relatively new fine art definition for the fiber arts, and more and more collectors are catching on. Museums have been collecting fiber artists’ works for centuries, as have fine art collectors. While a museum has the luxury of letting us view the artwork for our pleasure, an art gallery has very commercial needs, albeit its purpose is also in fine art. Whether something is for sale or not, whether it creates good sales, is a process of relationships, skills, and the loosely termed "fine art" of salesmanship, which bases itself on the fine art of relationships.

Without the materials of the art as finished product even being mentioned, one could say that each component of the process of art to the world has its important place, and maintenance of the entire process is interdependent. The value of art venues to an art-supporting community is legendary. That said, the bigger community picture is much enriched by having the availability of the art cycle in its locale. Artists and art venues relate very directly to the local cultural quality of life, which is vital to the social health of the community. Northern El Paso County owes nearly 10 percent of its economics to art and culture, and this translates to the wealth of community energy, popularity and success.

So, let’s all get in on the beautiful fun and make some art connections. The next Art Hop is July 19, 5-7 p.m., but the galleries are open almost daily. See you there!

Call for artists

The Pikes Peak Library District Art Evaluation Committee will be jurying wall art to exhibit in library galleries. Artwork is approved based on the quality of individual artists’ talents.

The committee will meet on Thursday, July 12, in the Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. Interested artists are asked to submit five pieces of art — exactly as they would look in a show — between 10 a.m. and noon. Art must be picked up the same day between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Artists whose work is accepted will receive notification within two weeks with details about when and where exhibits will be hung.

For more information, contact cgenato@ppld.org or 531-6333 x2338.

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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.

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 is available until then.

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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Monument Concerts in the Park, Wednesday evenings through Aug. 8

This popular summer concert series is happening Wednesday evenings, 7-9 p.m. at Limbach Park at the corner of Front and Second Streets, Monument. Come on down with a chair or blanket and a picnic, or purchase food and drink at the park. See the Community Calendar for the schedule of musicians. For more information, call Woody, 481-3477.

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2007 Summer Reading Programs for children through July 31

The Children’s Summer Reading Program at Pikes Peak Library District continues in July. 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. For more information, call the Monument Branch, 488-2370, or the Palmer Lake Branch, 481-2587.

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"Through the Looking Glass" opening reception, July 13

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) will hold an opening reception for their Juried Fine Art Photography and Glass Exhibition 2007 July 13, 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will run through Aug. 18. Also, in the Lucy Owens Gallery is "A Splash of Color–Masterworks in oil," acrylic and watercolor by Robert Gray. TLCA is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., and is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, call 481-0475 or visit http://www.trilakesarts.org/events.html.

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Jubilant Bridge Concert at TLCA, July 14

Jubilant Bridge will be performing at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts TLCA July 14. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show. A dulcimer wizard and a pure-voiced poet are the heart and soul of Jubilant Bridge, a harmony-driven acoustic duo with a sparkling sound that is fresh and innovative. Tickets are $12 TLCA members, $15 non-members and are available in Monument at The Wine Seller (481-3019) and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665) and in Palmer Lake at TLCA (481-0475). Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For information, visit http://www.trilakesarts.org/events.html.

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Sheriff’s Office Teen Academy, July 16-20

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will hold its fourth annual Teen Academy the week of July 16-20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Teen Academy is designed to provide young adults with an opportunity to learn about the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and its operations through classroom and hands-on experience. Some of the exciting courses will include Firearms Safety, Jail Operations, Use of Force/Officer Survival, SWAT operations, and Crime Scene Investigation.

To attend the Teen Academy applicants must be between the ages of 14 to 17 by the beginning date of the Academy. Applicants must be residents of El Paso County and regularly attend school in El Paso County. For further information, or to request an application, contact Deputy Matthew Stoneback at 520-7340 or Sgt. Jeanette Whitney at 520-7275. Completed applications must be received by June 29, 5 p.m.

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"Coffee and Conversation" with D-38 Superintendent Ray Blanch

Lewis-Palmer School District Superintendent Ray Blanch invites all interested residents to the "Coffee and Conversation" series of public discussions at the following dates and locations this summer.

  • July 17, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Serranos Coffee Co. in the Safeway Shopping Center;
  • Aug. 3, 10 a.m.- noon at It’s A Grind Coffee House, 15954 Jackson Creek Parkway;
  • Aug. 10, 8:30- 10:30 a.m. at Speedtrap Coffee Bar, 84 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.

Everyone is welcome to share comments, ask questions, and discuss issues related to schools, education and School District 38. For more information or to host a discussion at your location, call 785-4223.

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Woodmoor Community Garage Sale, July 20-22

Don’t miss the big Woodmoor Community Garage Sale, July 20-22, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Over 50 homes are expected to participate.Maps will be available starting July 16th at www.trilakeshome.com and at all branches of Peoples Bank; Wesley Owens Coffee, 1773 Lake Woodmoor Drive; and Keller Williams realty office, 13710 Struthers Road in Gleneagle. Info: 481-1000.

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Volunteers needed For El Paso County boards and commissions

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) is seeking volunteers to serve on several of its boards. Applications are due July 20.

Associate members who serve for one-year terms are needed for the Board of Adjustment. This board hears and decides on issues of physical variances related to the county zoning code.

At-large members who serve three-year terms are needed for the Citizen Outreach Group. This group advises the BOCC on topics of concern, reaches out to citizens and facilitates communication between the BOCC and its constituents.

A 4-H representative and a food and nutrition representative (must have knowledge in food safety and nutrition) are needed to serve three-year terms on the Colorado State University Extension Advisory Committee. Committee members provide a link between extension and current or emerging issues of public concern in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer science, horticulture, nutrition and youth development.

The Highway Advisory Commission needs an associate member to serve a one-year term. Commission members consider highway and road needs throughout the county.

An apartment representative who serves a five-year term is needed for the El Paso County Housing Authority to help promote the availability of dwellings in the county for persons of low to moderate income and advises the BOCC on the issuance of bonds for the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of single- and multi-family residential housing to provide more affordable housing.

The Park Fee Advisory Committee needs a land developer representative to serve a three-year term. Members meet September through December to establish a park fee schedule.

The Placement Alternatives Commission of the Department Human Services has openings for representatives from the following areas: public health (must be a current employee of the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment), probation (must be a current employee of the Juvenile Probation Department), community center board (must be a current employee of the local Community Center Board–Resource Exchange), health care professional (must work in the health care field), consumer (must have utilized the services of the Department of Human Services in the past), an attorney, youth education/employment, private citizen and residential childcare facility.

An associate member to serve a one-year term is needed on the Planning Commission where members review planning petitions and make recommendations to the BOCC on land use requests, and prepare a master plan for unincorporated areas of the county.

The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" link.

Send completed applications and any letters of interest or résumés to:

Board of County Commissioners
Attn: Fran St. Germain,
County Administration Manager
27 E. Vermijo Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-2208

Applications can also be faxed to: 520-6397 or emailed to: webmaster@elpasoco.com.

For more information call 520-6436.

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Teen Writer’s Contest ends July 21

Write an original short story in the style of a myth, fairytale, or folktale. Entry forms are available online on the Teen Zone or at any library. Entries must be double-spaced and no more than 1,600 words. Submit to any PPLD branch by 6 p.m. July 21. High school and middle school winners will receive a $75 gift certificate to a local bookstore. For more information, call the Monument Branch, 488-2370, or the Palmer Lake Branch, 481-2587.

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Town Mountain Bluegrass Concert at TLCA, July 24

Town Mountain will be performing at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) July 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show. Based in Asheville, N.C., Town Mountain produces some of the finest "original bluegrass and roots country" music being made today. The band took first place in 2005 at the RockyGrass Festival in Lyons. Bios, photos, and information can be viewed at www.townmountain.net. Tickets are $12 TLCA members, $15 non-members and are available in Monument at The Wine Seller (481-3019) and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665) and in Palmer Lake at TLCA (481-0475). Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is located at 304 Highway 105. For information, visit www.trilakesarts.org/events.html.

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D-38 Education Summits, July 25 & Aug. 8

School District 38 has scheduled two education summits to create a new strategic vision for the school district. The summits will be held July 25, 2 p.m., and Aug. 8, 6 p.m., at the district administration building, 146 Jefferson St. in downtown Monument. Each session will last approximately 90 minutes. For reservations and information, contact Robin Adair at 785-4223 or radair@lewispalmer.org.

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Summer Reading Party, July 27

Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library is sponsoring a summer reading party for the Monument and Palmer Lake Libraries Jul. 27, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Village Green at Palmer Lake, across from Town Hall. The event will feature food and drink, live animals, games and prizes, face painting, Moon Bounce, and fire trucks. For more information, call the Monument Branch, 488-2370, or the Palmer Lake Branch, 481-2587.

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Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival and Workshops, July 27-28

This annual event opens July 27 at The Wildlife Experience Museum in Parker and continues at Palmer Lake Elementary School (115 Upper Glenway) July 28, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Some of the West’s best storytellers present workshops and concerts for children and adults, with stories reflecting this year’s Festival theme­; "Southwestern Heritage." Full advance registration: adults $44, children $25. Individual events cost $5 and up. For more information and a free brochure, contact John Stansfield at PO Box 588, Monument, CO 80132; 303-660-5849 (Denver metro) or toll-free 866-462-1727. Visit the festival Web site at www.colo-performingartists.com/Festival.

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Care packages for wounded troops, drop off July 27-28

Packages are being sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.Wounded military personnel come to the hospital directly from the war zone with no personal items. They need lounge pants or sweats; grey or black T-Shirts (L or XL); phone cards, CD players, and CDs; lotion, lip balm, deodorant, shampoo; magazines; soup, crackers, and other snacks. Please drop off items at Wal-Mart, 16218 Jackson Creek Parkway, July 27 and 28.

For pickup or additional drop-off locations, call Boy Scout (Troop 524) Michael Nielsen, 487-9544.

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Creative Crafters Show and Sale, Aug. 4 & 5

Creative Crafters’ Summer Showcase invites you to the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI), 225 North Gate Blvd., for the Annual Craft Show and Sale Aug. 4, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Aug. 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find unique, original arts and crafts for home, garden, and gift-giving. Come for the craft show and spend the day touring the grounds of WMMI, with 27 beautiful acres of rolling hills, streams, and trees. Enjoy a day of fun for the whole family, with arts and crafts booths, gold panning, outside mining exhibits, and much more. The museum is conveniently located just off I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, #156A, across from the north entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Cost is $2 with this notice. Does not include entrance into the museum building. For more information call 488-3046 or e-mail ccsshows@earthlink.net.

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St. Peter Community Festival coming Aug. 24-26

Enjoy great food, beer, and entertainment. All events will be held at St. Peter Church, First and Jefferson Streets, downtown Monument. Watch for details next month.

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American Legion Tri-Lakes Post 9-11 receives awards at state convention

The 88th Annual American Legion Department met in June in Longmont. Mike Christensen, the Tri-Lakes Post 9-11 Commander, represented the post at the convention. The post won three awards: the Certificate for Outstanding Service–Americanism for its members’ involvement in Memorial Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, and 9-11 commemorative activities, plus a variety of other Americanism projects; the Operation 25K All Time High Post Award–Membership; and a 100 Percent Honor Ribbon for doubling in membership. In addition, Christensen and Eddie Kinney received certificates of appreciation for their success in increasing membership. There are over 4,000 eligible active-duty and retired military personnel in the Tri-Lakes area. Tri-Lakes Post 9-11 meets on the first Tuesday of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the Depot Restaurant on Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. Come join them!

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Chamber announces new "Golfing for Education" scholarship

The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce has established a "Golfing for Education" scholarship that will be funded through the 2007 Golf Classic. The scholarship will be presented to a student attending Lewis-Palmer High School District 38 to assist in furthering his/her education upon graduation.

The 2007 Golf Classic will be held Aug. 10 at Kings Deer Golf Club. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Individual golfers play at $135 and registration includes a cart, lunch, prizes and professional team photographs by Mark Kirkland Photography. For more information, contact the chamber at 481-3282.

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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 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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County now accepting batteries and electronics at waste facility

The El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility will now accept household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt) and many types of electronic equipment including computers, printers, small televisions, stereo and video components, and VCRs. More than 40,000 tons of electronic waste is discarded yearly. Some electronics contain lead, cadmium, broken glass, and mercury and can threaten the environment if not recycled. The facility is open year-round and accepts items such as paint, lawn and garden chemicals, automotive chemicals and products, and household products and cleaners. The facility is located at 3255 Akers Drive, and is open for drop-off 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more recycling information, please call 520-7878.

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Wildlife Masters in El Paso County

Do you wonder how to keep the deer from munching your freshly planted garden, how to get the skunk out from under your deck without getting sprayed, or how to get the squirrels out of the attic? Colorado State University Cooperative Extension in El Paso County has a staff of trained Wildlife Masters to help you. Call the Master Gardener Help Desk, 636-8921, and you will be called promptly with an answer. A fact sheet will be sent to you by e-mail or regular mail. For information, call 636-8921 or e-mail csumg2@elpasoco.com.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Click here or on the photos to zoom in

Elegant Champagne Brunch

Information and photo provide by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club.

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club Bridge Groups hosted an elegant champagne brunch Sunday, June 24 for 12 lucky recipients at historic Estemere mansion in Palmer Lake, home of Kim (pictured above) and Roger Ward.

The brunch was the bridge clubs’ donation at a silent auction sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club "Wine and Roses" charitable function in the fall of 2006. Shelley Pruett and Dan Franzen, who won the auction, invited 12 of their friends to enjoy the brunch, and a tour of Estemere given by Roger Ward. Proceeds from this gala event went to charitable causes.

All china, crystal, and silver were from Gloria Ingram’s private collection. The brunch was prepared by co-chairmen Gloria Ingram and Sandra Coffee, Marina Nelson, Kim Ward, and Geri Weis. Servers were Ronnie Goldberg and Ruth Higgins. The menu included Midori, eggs Benedict, crab cakes Grand–Mere, chicken strudel, and port-poached pears, all served with appropriate accompanying wines. A cheese board, assorted fruit and demitasse coffee finished the seven course menu.

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club currently has over 200 members and is incorporated as a non-profit organization exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. In the past 31 years, it has proudly granted more than $500,000 to schools, fire and police departments and other non-profit 501(c) (3) organizations that provide services to residents within the boundaries of Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

Click on the photo to zoom in

Below: The Thaddeus White Trio at the 4th of July Palmer Lake Festival. The group was called back three times for an encore. The members are (L to R) Brian Keenan, bass guitar; Jordan "Thaddeus" White, lead guitar and vocals; and Andrew Ludwig-Meola, drums and percussion. They are all 2005 Lewis-Palmer High School graduates. Photo by Patty Meola.

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Below: Cruisers car show in Monument June 10 Photo by Kelly McGuire.

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