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Vol. 7 No. 8 - August 4, 2007


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Baptist Rd./Hodgen Rd. connection opens

Below - Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony July 31: (L-to-R) Carl McClellan - El Paso County Department of Transportation (EPCDOT) Inspections and Survey Manager, Dennis Hisey - Chairman, Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) (District 4), Jim Bensberg - Vice Chair, BoCC (District 5), Beverly Johnson - PPRTA Citizens Advisory Committee, Wayne Williams - BoCC (District 1), Sallie Clark - BoCC (District 3), Jeff Greene - County Administrator, Maria Jindron - Highway Advisory Commission, Brian Wess - Highway Advisory Commission, Dr. Pat Boone - Highway Advisory Commission, Steve Meyer - Highway Advisory Commission and PPRTA Citizens Advisory Committee, and Andre Bracken - EPCDOT Capital Programs Division Manager. Photo provided by Steve Meyer

Click here or on the photo to and view additional photos

Click on the photo to and view additional photos

By Steve Meyer

As one of the many stops on the El Paso County Department of Transportation’s (EPCDOT) Work Session on Wheels, County Commissioners, EPCDOT Highway Advisory Commissioners, and department personnel participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the connection between Baptist Road and Hodgen Road on July 31st. The new section of road connects Baptist Road at Roller Coaster Road to Hodgen Road at State Highway 83 in a direct line as a result of Baptist Road’s curve to the north just east of Tari Drive around the county’s Fox Run Park. It provides a direct route to and from State Highway 83 for drivers from Fox Run, Gleneagle, Jackson Creek, and the other residential areas along Baptist Road.

The connection, which was funded as a Pike’s Peak Rural Transportation Authority project, required over a decade of planning and land acquisition then almost two years of development.

The annual Work Session on Wheels brings together County Commissioners, Highway Advisory Commissioners, and county personnel involved in planning and development on an all-day, circular tour of the county highlighting recently completed roads projects, planned projects, new development, and the maintenance challenges facing the county transportation system. The county departments involved in hosting this tour included Transportation, Development Services, Planning, Parks, and Fleet Management.

Click here for additional roadwork status.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Meeting, July 19: D38 to ask for $3 million mill levy override; board candidate petitions available August 8

Below: New bleachers under construction at the Lewis-Palmer High School stadium. Photo from a presentation July 19 by Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting July 19, the board unanimously voted to set the mill levy override (MLO) measure on the November 6, 2007, election ballot at $3 million with $1.5 million designated to operate Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) and $1.5 million designated to attract and retain teachers. Wording for the ballot issue will be determined at the August board meeting. The MLO measure was discussed at the board workshop July 16.

The board also approved the call for nominations for school board candidates. Three board seats (director districts 2, 4, and 5) are up for election in November. Petitions will be available starting August 8 and must be submitted to the district by August 31. Information on the school board election will be posted at www.lewispalmer.org.

Board president Jes Raintree and board members LouAnn Dekleva, Stephen Plank, and Gail Wilson were present for the meeting. Board member Dee Dee Eaton was absent.

PRHS construction guaranteed maximum price set at $43.9 million

Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering summarized the design and engineering effort that successfully met the district’s $45 million PRHS construction budget:

  • At the completion of schematic design, the cost estimate was $49.4 million.
  • At 50 percent completion of design development, that estimate had been reduced to $47.8 million.
  • At completion of design development, the estimate was $47.2 million.
  • At 95 percent completion of the construction documents, the estimate was $44.9 million.

He announced that Saunders Construction’s guaranteed maximum price is $43.9 million with a commitment for substantial completion in time for the opening of school in August 2008.

Chamberlin introduced Kerry Carothers of Saunders Construction who was instrumental in coordinating the 200 bids received after sending solicitations to 600 subcontractors for this project. Also present at the meeting were Brian Braaten, President of West Electric Group, and Kelly Allison, President of Ute Plumbing & Heating. Braaten and Allison are long-time residents of District 38 and have been involved in many other school construction projects. Their companies have been awarded the electrical and mechanical portions of the PRHS construction project.

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

  • Of the $65.1 million in bond proceeds, $5.1 million in invoices have been paid, $1.6 million in invoices are being processed, and $16.7 million has been committed on current contracts leaving $41.7 million yet to be committed. Through July 16, the proceeds from the bond sale have earned $1.8 million in interest.
  • Rough grading of the north 29 acres has been completed with the building pads, upper parking lot, and access drives from Misty Acres Boulevard and Monument Hill Road graded within one foot of final grade.
  • Planned PRHS activities for the next month include erection of precast panels and structural steel placement, underground plumbing and electrical work within the building, and preparation and review of documentation needed to ensure all building components are shipped prior to the end of the year.
  • A meeting is scheduled next week with representatives of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District to review the design and cost estimate for the project to provide non-potable water for irrigation at PRHS.
  • The Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) stadium project is on schedule. The bleacher foundations and backfilling has been completed. Structural steel framing for the bleachers has been installed. The next task is to install the aluminum bleachers and risers.
  • Improvements to the LPHS softball field have been priced and are scheduled for completion prior to August 3. An estimate for repairs to the LPHS baseball field is expected within two weeks.
  • Work is continuing with the contractor on the Jackson Creek Parkway improvements but due to delays in resolving issues with the bids, the work may not be completed in time for the start of school at LPHS August 16. Alternative traffic plans will be developed in the event the work is not completed prior to the start of school.

The board unanimously approved the final guaranteed maximum price for the PRHS construction project. The board members expressed their appreciation to Chamberlin and RLH Engineering for bringing down the cost while maintaining the quality of the project.

Pay increase for substitute teachers

Teale Kocher, supervisor in personnel services, explained recommended changes to the substitute teacher pay structure. The proposal establishes a three-tiered per diem rate structure that would be cumulative starting over each school year. The starting daily rate would increase from $75 per day to $85 per day. The higher tiers in the per diem rates would be reached at 46 days and 90 days. This structure rewards teachers who teach more days in the district and would make the district more competitive with nearby districts. Kocher added that substitute teachers will receive a new set of guidelines.

The board unanimously approved the new pay structure.

Other matters

  • Monument Academy to place a question on the November ballot – Raintree said the board has received a request from Monument Academy to place a special mill levy question for capital construction on the November election ballot. She added that the board has asked the charter school to draft the proposed special mill levy ballot question for consideration by the board at its meeting August 16.
  • Revised policy manual sections approved – The board approved Sections E (Support Services), G (Personnel), and J (Students) of the revised policy manual as presented. Policy GCGC regarding job sharing was tabled for further review.
  • Board member comments – Dekleva congratulated the students who put together a marching band for the Independence Day parade. Wilson discussed the state legislature’s P20 council; she has been recommended to sit on an early childhood education sub-task force of that council. Raintree announced that the board is continuing to work toward the policy governance model and will be meeting with administrators to discuss that model.
  • Superintendent’s update – Superintendent Ray Blanch announced that education summits will be held July 25 and August 8 for community members to discuss how to prepare students for the future. Blanch also discussed meetings he has had with senior citizen groups about using district facilities to create better inter-generational experiences.

**********

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., August 16.

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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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Workshop, July 16: Superintendent Blanch recommends $3 million mill levy override phased in over 5 years

By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board workshop July 16, Superintendent Ray Blanch and Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Wangeman presented background information on the need for a mill levy override (MLO) to fund teacher salaries and operational expenses at Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS).

Blanch and Wangeman recommended that the board request from the voters $1.5 million for teacher salaries and $1.5 million to operate PRHS. They recommended phasing in the tax increase over five years and using $1.4 million in undesignated reserves to bridge the shortfall during the initial years. To simplify the ballot measure, they recommended not including an automatic inflation adjustment. They noted that in future years depending on inflation, growth in the number of students, and changes in state funding, the district may have to ask the voters for additional funds.

Teacher salaries

Blanch noted that the district needs to increase teacher salaries an average of 7-8 percent to stay competitive with nearby districts. He said that would bring Lewis-Palmer district salaries to 97-98 percent of the average of salaries of the districts south of the Lewis-Palmer district in the Pikes Peak region. He noted that there are various ways the additional funds could be applied to maximize their effectiveness in attracting and retaining top-quality teaching staff.

PRHS operational expenses

At the board’s workshop June 14, the special committee charged with developing alternative approaches for funding operation of PRHS concluded that the additional cost to run two high schools instead of one will be $1.7-1.8 million per year.

Wangeman said the administration reviewed various budget adjustments and concluded that they can save about $250,000 per year without affecting student achievement.

She added that if the mill levy override does not pass, substantial cuts would be required to reduce the budget by $1.8 million. She said those cuts would affect K-12 and would impact student achievement.

Tax impact estimate

If the additional tax were phased in over five years as Wangeman and Blanch recommend, for a home with an assessed value of $362,456 (the average in the district), the effect would be:

2008: $68 increase
2009: $26 increase ($94 total)
2010: $86 increase ($180 total)
2011: Unchanged ($180 total)
2012: $69 increase ($249 total)
2013: $41 decrease ($208 total)

**********

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., August 16.

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

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Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors Meeting, July 25: Board considers $41 million bond issue for renewable water

By Jim Kendrick

On July 25, Triview District Manager Larry Bishop asked the board to initiate a ballot question for a bond issue of up to $41 million to cover future costs of purchasing renewable water resources and other capital requirements. Revenue for the new bond issue would come from fees on growth, not from an increase in property taxes.

The three directors present unanimously excused the absences of Directors Joe Belzer and Julie Glenn.

Ballot issue discussed

Bishop discussed a draft long-term plan for obtaining:

  • 3,000 acre-feet of renewable water
  • Re-use reservoirs
  • Wastewater facility expansion
  • Sewer lines in Baptist Road
  • A future office building
  • Roads
  • Detention ponds
  • Additional water plants
  • Additional water and sewer lines
  • Well-drilling equipment
  • Parks and recreation equipment
  • Landscaping

Bishop also discussed a draft financial plan based on the assumption that the district would put a question on the November ballot to ask the voters to authorize an additional $41 million in debt, of which $19 million is for renewable water.

Bishop emphasized that the authorization for the additional debt would not affect current residents. The payments for the proposed bonds would be made from revenues from "impact and other fees." If there is no significant Triview growth in the future, there would be no need to use all of the debt authorization.

Board President Steve Stephenson said, "Those are absolutely marvelous reasons to go to the public and say we’ve got plenty of revenue and won’t raise your mill levy, the revenue side is solid. We need the authority to issue debt for (new) services and it’s basically (for) water. It’s a nice story. It’s a factual story" and "gets us out of the aquifers."

Director Bob Eskridge said, "We’re issuing the debt for growth" and "laying the foundation for the future instead of trying to play catch-up."

Stephenson asked Bishop to ensure the ballot language would not preclude use of these proposed bond funds for building or widening a road to provide service to existing customers within the district. He said improving an existing road or park is a higher priority and should not have to be called "growth" to qualify. Bishop said he would have the district’s attorney, Pete Susemihl, draft the ballot language to cover improvements to existing roads and parks, while ensuring that the mill levy would not increase.

2006 audit approved

The district’s auditor, Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Co. Inc., gave a short review of his proposed final audit for 2006. Some of his points were:

  • "We did issue an unqualified opinion as we have in past years. That’s the highest level of opinion you can get. We have a clean financial statement.
  • "The records were clean. They were well-organized."
  • General fund revenues from property and sales taxes were up about $500,000 for 2006 due to more homes and stores that were built in the district.
  • Current expenditures, not including debt-service payments or capital outlays, were up about $184,000 due to growth in the district.
  • "Capital outlays increased due to the proceeds from the 2006 A bonds."
  • Net water and wastewater enterprise fund revenues were down, because an increase in total monthly water and sewer service fees, which were up due to increased rates, did not offset a decrease of about $600,000 in one-time tap fees collected when new construction is connected to Triview’s water and sewer systems. (An enterprise fund depends entirely on user fees for its main source of revenue.)
  • "The total net loss for this year . . . was $1.4 (million), almost $1.5 million. A good large chunk of this was due to the loss of the extinguishment of the debt, and that was due to the refinancing of the 2006 A bonds as also increased interest expense for the year. The two of those together are approaching $500,000."
  • "The activity within the enterprise funds is improving while still not quite self-supportive."
  • "The water enterprise fund is getting better as you move closer to capacity."
  • Long-term liabilities for the year are up $16 million. "A good chunk of this is due to the accrued interest which was rolled into the debt that had been accruing since the beginning of time for the district. So that was rolled up into your debt. It was money that you owed but it was just not formalized within bonds." The district also took out a Colorado Water and Power Authority loan to pay for improvements to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Facility.
  • There was $3.5 million in new debt for 2006.
  • The 2006 A bonds retired bonds that had rates as high as 18 percent.

Note: On Aug. 23, 2006, the board approved a resolution to issue general obligation bonds with principal not to exceed $37.9 million with final maturity not later than Dec. 31, 2036. The actual principal issued by closeout on Sept. 26 was $32.61 million. The new bonds, issued by Compass Bank at 3.7 percent, all mature in 2023. Compass Bank had previously financed a $15 million bond issue at 3 percent interest for the district in November 2003. The bonds that were retired, about $26.6 million in principal, had been issued from 1987 through 2003.

The board unanimously approved the 2006 audit. The auditor will send two copies of the final report to the state. He will also send separate federal audit forms, which are a requirement for the Colorado Water and Power Authority loan, to the "federal clearinghouse."

During her review of May financial matters, district administrator Dale Hill reported that:

  • Colorado Water and Power Authority loan payments for 2007 are about $90,000 for principal and $60,000 for interest.
  • The cost to "take out and revamp" the district’s A-1 well was about $126,000.
  • Tap fees collected to date were at 52 percent instead of the expected 58 percent.
  • User fees were up due to drier weather.

Bishop added that Hill’s workload is up considerably this year due to the information required for the extra audit and because of the more complicated monthly financial reports. The May financial summary was unanimously approved.

Car wash service contract approved

The board unanimously approved an application from Robert and Sherry Pepper for a service contract for their proposed Blue Sky Car Wash in the Monument Ridge commercial center, opposite the King Soopers center on Baptist Road. The district would provide a maximum of 2 million gallons of treated water per year and require "reclamation" of at least 60 percent of water used. If the 2 million gallon allocation were to be used up before the end of the year, the district could cut off water service for the rest of the year. The car wash is expected to open for business in July 2008.

Engineering consultant Chuck Ritter of Nolte Associates said that a separate new well would not have to be drilled for the car wash. Bishop said the contract would still be in force if the property is sold but only applies to the specific car wash use, to include the fixed reclamation requirement.

Stephenson asked if there could be a problem if the Town of Monument approved an application for construction of another car wash within Triview in the future, should the board approve the Blue Sky Car Wash contract. His particular concern was producing enough water to meet the district’s total demand during peak irrigation demand in the summer. He also was concerned about liability for damages if the facility used more water than contracted and the district cut off water availability.

The district’s attorney, Jason Downie of Susemihl, McDermott & Cowan P.C., said the requirement to continue serving residential taps during periods of limited water production is different from the requirement for serving commercial users. Downie suggested adding a clause to the contract that would allow the district to limit the amount of water supplied to the car wash during a production emergency.

Bishop said car wash demand was highest in the winter when there is little irrigation. Also, the district’s service agreement provides all control for deciding whether to provide service for new construction within Triview when water supplies are limited. He estimated that the district has a total water portfolio of about 4,400 acre-feet per year. Total projected demand at complete district build-out is about 3,100 acre-feet per year. The car wash would not add a wastewater treatment load that would cause a capacity problem at the Upper Monument Creek facility before the ongoing expansion is completed.

Stephenson said that the car wash contract was a good source of revenue for the district, would provide a service that the people in Triview want and would use, and had a good conservation clause to protect limited district groundwater resources in the future if needed.

A condition was added to the contract saying water would be provided to the car wash based on Triview’s ability to produce water. The board unanimously approved the contract with this added condition.

Fines for water conservation violators tabled

Bishop said that some residents have continued to violate district water restrictions that all member districts of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority have adopted as part of the authority’s water conservation plan. The district also gives developers financial incentives for installing xeriscaping and low-flow toilets.

Bishop proposed a resolution with the following provisions that would apply during the annual irrigation restriction period:

  • First violation — written warning on a blue tag
  • Second violation — written warning on a yellow tag
  • Third violation — $100 fine
  • Fourth violation — $500 fine and termination of service until the fines are paid

Residents could continue to ask for temporary waivers for watering new lawns and landscaping.

Stephenson asked if Town of Monument concurrence on the resolution was required. Bishop said the staff and Board of Trustees would be informed. Downie said that the district could be more restrictive, under Title 32 of the Colorado statutes, to include charging the fines specified in the resolution. Downie said the resolution should be clear that violations are not carried over to the next calendar year.

Stephenson asked if the district was constrained on issuing new xeriscaping restrictions due to conflicting requirements in some subdivision covenants that call for minimum areas of bluegrass that are larger than those now allowed by recently enacted town restrictions on irrigation. Bishop said the district, as a Title 32 entity, can set specifications for maximum amounts of bluegrass that supersede the authority of a homeowners association to fine people for not following the covenant’s minimum requirements. Downie and Stephenson noted that the existing covenant bluegrass requirements put homeowners in a difficult situation. Stephenson cited covenants written by Classic Homes for some of its Jackson Creek homes that require 4,000 square feet of sod. Bishop suggested other covenant problems that could arise after the original homeowners have sold these houses.

The resolution for the fines was tabled so it could be revised to cover the issues discussed.

Promontory Pointe agreement approved

The board unanimously approved the final draft of the subdivision improvement agreement for the John Laing Homes Promontory Pointe development. The agreement requires $4.23 million in performance bonds from John Laing.

Baptist Road update

Bishop said Phase I of the district’s new sewer lines under the new Baptist Road construction for John Laing Homes has been completed. This sewer line is not the cause for delays in the reopening of the Leather Chaps intersection on Baptist Road, he said.

Director Joe Martin said he was frustrated that paving had been completed at the Gleneagle and Desiree Drive intersections in far less time than it has taken the county contractor to work on the Leather Chaps Drive intersection.

Bishop noted that Phase II sewer line construction by Classic Homes for Sanctuary Pointe can begin after the Baptist Road lanes in use are switched to the south side of the construction area east of Gleneagle Drive. The sewer line will be constructed under Kingswood Drive, from Baptist Road to the current entrance to the adjacent Baptist Church Camp facility. The Kingswood development is in the county.

Stephenson asked if the Sanctuary Pointe sewer line would affect Kingswood well and septic systems. Bishop said it could get complicated if the county wanted to enforce the 400-foot rule on connecting to a newly installed sanitary sewer collection line. This standard rule requires property owners with septic systems to connect to a newly installed sanitary sewer line if the home is within 400 feet, to reduce health risks. Triview is prohibited by agreements with adjacent special districts from providing sewer service outside the district’s boundaries. Triview has not included any areas for the sole purpose of providing sewer services.

Stephenson expressed concern about any of the Kingswood individual home wells being too close to the new Triview sewer collection line, should there be a future underground leak or break. The issue regarding how the county would address well and sewer separation from the new Sanctuary Pointe collection line within Kingswood was not resolved.

Ritter reported good progress on the district’s planned 1.5 million gallon pre-stressed concrete water tank in Sanctuary Pointe. Classic Homes has approved the layout of the new water treatment plant as well. The plans for the plant have been sent to the state for approval. Ritter said approval should be obtained within 45 days.

Upper Monument Creek facility update

A letter was submitted to the engineering consultant for the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility expansion asking for the latest construction budget at the August operations meeting at the facility. Triview, Donala Water and Sanitation District, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District share ownership of the wastewater facility, which Donala operates.

The operations committee approved a second facility filter press at the July operations meeting for "dewatering" bio-solids prior to having them hauled off-site for disposal. Costs should be about $165,000-$170,000, said Bishop. Bishop and Stephenson advocated buying a remanufactured press.

Bishop said facility operation in June was very good. Removal of total suspended solids from the effluent in June was 98 percent while removal of the facility’s organic load, called biochemical oxygen demand, was 97 percent. He noted that the state Health Department made its annual inspection of the facility and the results were very good. "A glowing report. Again, kudos to Mr. Duthie and his operators," Bishop said.

Bishop and Stephenson reported good progress by the three wastewater districts on amending the intergovernmental agreement for the facility to add wording for issues that were not foreseen when the agreement was originally written. The agreement must also be rewritten to describe the facility expansion to meet state requirements and clarify new ownership relationships based on new investment for expansion by Donala and Triview only.

Forest Lakes already owned all the capacity it would ever require at complete build-out of its district before the expansion project began. However, Forest Lakes would be obligated to pay its share of any replacement of the newly installed components described in the planned amendment as well as its share of costs for future changes in treatment equipment required by state or EPA regulations.

Bishop reported that accountability for metering-produced water dropped temporarily to 87 percent due to a reporting error in the district’s billing system. The error has been corrected. The amount of water lost to backwashing well pumps was now being accounted for.

Purchased water for the year to date is 169 acre-feet. All other water has been produced from the district’s resources.

Classic Homes to manage Sanctuary Pointe special road district

Bishop noted that Home Place Ranch LLC has formally agreed to have Triview administer operations of its separate Triview special road improvement district (Triview Metropolitan District 3) for a fee. This special road district will pay for construction of Gleneagle Drive within Home Place Ranch as well as widening and the addition of turn lanes on Higby Road.

Classic Homes has told Triview it will also agree to a management fee for Sanctuary Pointe (Triview Metro District 4). This special road district will pay for construction of its major east-west collector road to be built through the center of Sanctuary Pointe from Baptist Road to Gleneagle Drive at the south end of Home Place Ranch.

However, John Laing Homes has chosen to manage its own special road improvements district for construction of Gleneagle Drive within Promontory Pointe as well as widening for turn lanes on the north side of Baptist Road.

Each of the three Triview special road improvement districts was created by intergovernmental agreements with the Triview metro district. The three road districts will charge road use fees for each new structure in their respective developments to pay for the construction bonds they will issue. No management fees have been collected yet. The fees will differ because of differing construction costs for roads within each development and the different numbers of dwelling unit road use fees that can be charged.

Triview is ultimately responsible for construction and maintenance of all roads within the metropolitan district, including those to be built by the three special road districts. The three road districts will be dissolved when their individual transportation bonds are paid off.

Stephenson asked Downie to ask Susemihl, who is the attorney for the creation of all four Triview districts, about the rationale for "… Promontory saying no to our provision that says we’ll manage part of our affairs called that district." Stephenson added, "It’s our birthright. It’s in our district physically. The roads they’re building, they’re really our roads. We’re going to maintain them. I’d just like to squeeze him a little bit to see why they’re reluctant to have us be the manager of our own affairs."

Downie replied, "I would be stupid if I allowed myself to disagree or agree, so I’ll defer to Pete on this. And I’m not sure how Pete answered your questions last night regarding the impact fees and all that stuff. We had conversations about could they or could they not adopt their own impact fees on top of that as they go forward." Stephenson reiterated about Susemihl, "I’d like to see them come around, and he’s in a role to bring them around."

New well is good producer

Well No. 8 was completed and was producing about 400 gallons per minute from a depth of 1,560 feet. The district’s water decree allows it to use only 300 gallons per minute. A chemical analysis of the well’s water had not been completed. Bishop said the district may wish to use more than the 300 gallons per minute limit by having the limits on other existing Denver Aquifer wells lowered to limit the amount drawn from that aquifer.

Meeting schedule changed

The board unanimously approved a change in the monthly board meeting time from the fourth Wednesday of the month to the fourth Tuesday of the month.

The meeting went into executive session at 5:58 p.m. to discuss negotiations.

**********

The next board meeting will be on Aug. 28. Meetings will still be held at 4 p.m. in the district conference room, 174 Washington St. in downtown Monument.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors Meeting, July 18: Irrigation rationing continues to stir controversy

Below: July 18 - Donala board president Ed Houle (L) presents Employee of the Quarter award to Mark Parker. Seated (L to R) are board members Tim Murphy and Dale Schendzielos. Photo by John Heiser

By John Heiser

At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting July 18, the board approved disconnection of water service for customers who repeatedly violate the irrigation restrictions.

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

Irrigation rationing program update

Donala district general manager Dana Duthie estimated that "75-80 percent of the district’s customers are cooperating." He reported that the district has sent 75 first warning letters and three second warning letters to those seen to be continuing to violate the restrictions. He noted that if these violations continue, with the third violation a $25 fine would be imposed. A fourth violation would result in a $50 fine. After some discussion, the board unanimously approved disconnection of service on the fifth violation. The cost for reconnection is $75.

Residents David and Nina Porter urged the board to work harder to explain to the residents the need for the rationing program especially in light of the proposed inclusion of the Academy district.

Houle replied that the district has been using newsletters, the web site, and other means. He added that the board members are residents in the district and must comply with the same restrictions. He said the program is important to preserve residents’ property values and noted that the district is working with the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) to explore regional solutions.

Regarding the inclusion of the Academy district, Houle said, "The Academy district brings their own water, more than their own."

Duthie said the district is preparing a mid-fall presentation on long-term plans and added that he is willing to meet with individual residents or groups.

Resident Warren Gerig noted that groundwater is a finite resource and its depletion will affect property values. He said the board should be congratulated for their efforts.

Resident Gene Pfeffer suggested that a progressive rate structure that charges more per gallon the more water a customer uses can help with conservation.

Houle replied that the district has that type of rate structure but experience has shown that rationing with fines is the only approach that consistently works to reduce water use.

Duthie noted that 19 Rainbird evapotranspiration (ET) controllers have been installed with 9 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.

Duthie noted that according to media reports the actual savings might be closer to 10 percent. He said that at the end of the irrigation season he will do a comparative analysis of the water usage with ET controllers.

Mid-year financial statement

As of June 30, revenue for the year totaled $2.01 million, 48 percent of the anticipated $4.2 million for the year. Some of the principal sources of revenue were property taxes at $644,360, water sales at $531,362, sewer service at $390,728, and interest income at $251,531. The district has a combined property tax rate of 16.296 mills.

Expenses through June 30 totaled $2.41 million. Those expenses included $1.04 million in operations and administrative expenses and $1.38 million in infrastructure projects.

For the first six months of the year, the separate expenses for expansion of the wastewater treatment plant totaled $2.24 million. The 2007 budget for that project is $7.48 million. The total cost of the twenty-month project is projected at $12-14 million. Those costs are split between the Donala district and the Triview Metropolitan District.

In 2006, the Donala district obtained a $4.91 million loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to cover part of the cost of the wastewater treatment plant expansion. The interest rate on that loan is 3.64 percent.

2006 audit accepted

The board unanimously accepted the 2006 audit prepared by Hoelting & Company.

From the end of 2005 to the end of 2006, the district’s net assets increased $4.89 million from $27.99 million to $32.88 million. During that time, the district’s capital assets including land, water rights, plants, and equipment increased from $13.64 million to $15.36 million. The district’s long-term debt increased from $2.13 million to $4.91 million. The district has an unchanged Standard & Poor’s long-term bond rating of AA.

Management’s discussion and analysis noted, "The water level in the Denver Basin is declining rapidly. Therefore we will accelerate our search for renewable water and related infrastructure. Expenses for these projects will be significant."

10 year capital program projections

Duthie distributed a draft list of proposed projects with estimated costs to the district and the years in which the projects would likely be done:

  • Expansion of the wastewater treatment plant, $7 million, 2006-2008
  • Connections to the Triview district, $300,000, 2007
  • Loop Mission Hill/River Oaks, $150,000, 2007
  • Water connection to Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD), $200,000, 2007-2008
  • AWSD lift station, $750,000, 2008
  • Connect AWSD wells to the Donala system, $250,000, 2009
  • Re-drill well 3D in place, $450,000, 2009
  • Regional infrastructure, $2 million, 2009-2010
  • Re-drill well 3A in place, $500,000, 2010
  • AWSD well in the Arapahoe aquifer, $800,000, 2010
  • Re-drill well 7D in place, $450,000, 2011
  • Construct a tank on the Struthers Ranch, $800,000, 2011

The regional infrastructure item could include interconnections with nearby districts and pursuit of alternative sources of water.

Other matters

  • Mark Parker, Donala’s chief water operator, received a certificate as employee of the quarter. Over and above his normal duties, Parker has been working on installation of ET controllers.
  • The El Paso County Water Authority is sponsoring a water forum on recharging alluvial aquifers September 27 and 28 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Colorado Springs. There is information posted at www.agwt.org. Duthie noted that Highlands Ranch has been doing aquifer recharge. He said, "There are a lot of treatment and pumping costs. You get half as much out as you put in but it slows the rate of [aquifer] decline."
  • The PPRWA has signed a letter of intent with INV Energy for a project to obtain groundwater pumped from under Greenland Ranch in south Douglas County. Duthie suggested that there might be issues with Douglas County that could present problems for the project.
  • The concrete slab for the sequencing batch reaction (SBR) at the wastewater treatment plant expansion has been completed. The walls will be poured next with completion scheduled for early October. Duthie projected start of influent in December with SBR starting in January.
  • Negotiations on revising the 1999 wastewater treatment plant intergovernmental agreement are continuing with representatives from Triview and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District.
  • Duthie said he will present recommendations for adjustments to the water and sewer rates at the August meeting.

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

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Wednesday, August 15 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

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Monument Sanitation District Board of Directors, June 26: Beacon Lite Road emergency repairs explained

By Jim Kendrick

Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund briefed the board on July 17 on the successful completion of emergency repairs on several segments of Beacon Lite Road north of Highway 105 in late June. Costs for the extensive repairs were not yet available from the contractors.

All board members were present.

Beacon Lite Road update

Background: After notifying the county and the Town of Monument that portions of the asphalt paving on Beacon Lite Road north of the Highway 105 intersection were collapsing above the sanitary sewer trench, Wicklund recommended at the June 21 board meeting that the district perform the required emergency repairs before the sagging asphalt in the southbound lane by the Century Place intersection caused an accident.

Wicklund also advised the board that the county and town were not going to fix the rapidly deteriorating roadway in the near future and the district had to take steps to protect its main sanitary sewer collection line buried about 8 feet under the collapsing southbound lane. Ownership and responsibility for repairs of Beacon Lite Road north of Highway 105 to Eighth Street has been a topic of dispute between the town and county for years.

The current Beacon Lite paving was installed by Monument Sanitation District in 2000 over a new district sanitary sewer collection line for Wakonda Hills. An investigation of the condition of the district’s main sanitary sewer collection line by a remote-controlled television camera showed no damage or shifting had occurred despite the apparent trench failures.

Costs still not available: Although the paving warranty and the district’s responsibility for the condition of Beacon Lite Road had expired several years ago, the board approved the emergency repair on June 21, not knowing the cause or cost. The work was completed by the end of June.

Wicklund described the work done showing numerous pictures of portions of the project. "We started at the north end and filled in some trench failures up there on the county’s portion of the right-of-way. The county was very appreciative of what we were doing. They knew that this was out of warranty. We’ve always had a good relationship with the county, so they were happy that we were taking responsibility." Most recently, the cooperation has taken place in Wakonda Hills, where the district is installing new collection lines in a three-phase expansion project. The county has said it has no funding for repairs north of Highway 105 at this time.

Wicklund noted that the town’s portion of Beacon Lite south of Eighth Street had a couple of very soft spots under the asphalt that could not be re-compacted. Wicklund said he told contractor Trax Construction to "Just keep digging." Water started rapidly spouting out an old cross-street trench, causing concern that a water main might have been broken. "There must have been 12 people there and everyone at the same time grabbed their cell phones and started dialing numbers." However, the inflow of water subsided a few minutes later. An abandoned 4-inch vitrified clay pipe for an individual sewer service line was unearthed, and after additional excavation of another foot of mud, the clay line, located about 3 feet above the district’s new 12-inch collection line, proved to be the source of the gush of water. Storm and ground water from a sewer line that was abandoned during the 2000 construction project was entering the trench containing the new line, thus causing the trench failure in the southbound lane.

This clay line was not shown on any district records dating back to the early 1960s, nor was there any record of a building being previously located in what is now residential Century Park. An adjacent 8-inch abandoned collection line to the east of Beacon Lite Road and Century Place and two manholes had been sealed with concrete by the district during installation of the new collection line. Wicklund said that groundwater had infiltrated the then-unknown 4-inch clay line where the seals between each pipe had failed over time. Other groundwater flowing around the abandoned 8-inch line had also flowed around the clay service under the road and had eroded the roadbase installed in 2000. Trax workers sealed the broken clay line with dry cement to prevent a recurrence of groundwater diversion under Beacon Lite.

The now 7-foot hole was filled with very large rocks and smaller rocks to fill the gaps, and then compacted. The work was designed to better withstand underground flows from several nearby springs as well as heavy seasonal rains through the area. These flows along the east side of Beacon Lite that were redirected by the clay pipe under the road had washed away the smaller gravel installed in 2000 around the collection line. The loss of this gravel left only mud under the asphalt and caused the collapse that endangered traffic.

Wicklund told the board that the Century Place trench failure was the district’s problem after all. The board’s action to permanently fix the problem regardless of cause and responsibility had been the right decision.

The work performed by Trax included:

  • Rotomilling and removing 414 feet of ground-up asphalt paving in the southbound lane between Eighth Street and Highway 105.
  • Installing and compacting up to 7 feet of new rock where underground water had destroyed the roadbase (described above) under the direction of the soils engineer.
  • Redistributing the ground-up asphalt on top of the existing exposed roadbase and compacting it to bring the grade back up to the proper level, under the direction of the soils engineer.
  • Recompacting all the exposed roadbase.
  • Installing 414 feet of new asphalt in two layers to a thickness of 6 inches.
  • Patching failing portions of the Beacon Lite asphalt north of Eighth Street, including those not related to trench failure.

Director Glenda Smith asked "What was the cost for this?" Wicklund said, "That’s a good question. We haven’t gotten the bill yet." Costs were not known for the Trax construction, the design work performed by engineering consultant GMS Inc., or for the continuous monitoring performed by the soils engineer from HP-Geotech throughout the construction. After this meeting, Trax sent the district a bill for $33,000.

The Town of Monument charged the district a $100 road-cut fee but did not charge the district for the town’s daily inspections of Trax’s work south of Eighth Street.

Wicklund also informed the board that there were several very heavy trucks using Beacon Lite Road to avoid the weigh stations on I-25 every hour throughout the entire construction cycle even though flagmen were routinely stopping traffic for several minutes for single-lane operations. These heavy trucks could be easily seen by the inspectors on the west side of the interstate, yet the flagrant avoidance continued. Numerous tickets were issued by Monument police as well as port officials for illegally avoiding the scales.

Former Watt property annexation/inclusion options discussed

Wicklund said he had met with an engineer and a real estate agent for a Jim Morley development company about the status of the former Watt property. They had informed him that the Watt family had closed the sale of the 234 acre parcel to Morley’s Infinity Land Corporation. Morley will call the development Willow Springs Ranch. The Watt property generally lies between the railroad tracks and the Forest Lake Metropolitan District between the west end of Baptist Road and the south end of Mitchell Avenue. There is also a vacant rectangular section east of the tracks between Trails End, Old Denver Highway, and the ice skating rinks.

The representatives told Wicklund that the town was trying to have Morley include the parcel into Triview Metropolitan District as part of its annexation. Wicklund said he gave them the pros and cons of being included by Monument, Forest Lakes, Triview, or Donala Water and Sanitation District. The developer is also considering forming a water district for the development. The Monument district had not been informed of a final decision on inclusion prior to the July 17 meeting.

The board discussed protected mouse habitat, wetland, road access, lift station, wastewater treatment capacity, and other long-term cost issues should Morley decide to request inclusion by Monument Sanitation District.

Parking issue raised

Wicklund informed the board that he had met with Monument Town Manager Cathy Green that afternoon and she had confirmed that the angle parking in front of the district building would probably be converted to parallel parking and may be eliminated altogether in the near future. The board discussed options for obtaining nearby land for alternative parking spaces to support tenant businesses and protect the value of the district’s building. There was no consensus for inquiring about a purchase for parking.

Note: After this meeting, the town informed the district that Public Works will paint stripes for eight angled parking places in front of the district building, between Washington Street and the alley. This is three more angled spaces than originally striped. There will also be new stripes for five parallel parking slots painted in front of the Chapala building on the opposite side of Second Street.

Counsel, board discuss copper content issue

The district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, attended the meeting at the request of directors who had joined the board since the last election and wanted to meet him. Gaddis said that the board and staff could contact him at his office when issues occasionally come up. Gaddis told the directors his regular attendance at meetings was not required because the staff and board were doing a good job. He said he had been the district’s attorney for more than 20 years and could not recall a time when he had been contacted too late over an issue.

The lawyers for Triview, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor attend all board meetings. Donala’s attorney rarely attends board meetings.

Wicklund gave Gaddis a summary of the Joint Use Committee meeting that had taken place at 10 a.m. that day, after noting that all five board members had attended it. (Click here for details on the July 17 JUC meeting.)

Wicklund also informed Gaddis that several other Colorado sanitation districts will be unable to comply with much tighter standards on copper content in water now being proposed by the state Health Department at the direction of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Each district would have to spend millions of dollars for unproven copper removal equipment and additional millions for operation of the new equipment.

District Chairman Lowell Morgan told Gaddis, "We have two big problems. One is we don’t know how to remove that much copper. And two is the lower limit, only slightly above what’s measurable. So the uncertainty of the measurements is large." Environmental lawyer Tad Foster is representing the facility on permit issues.

Installation of such copper removal equipment at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility — which is owned in equal shares by the Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor sanitation districts — would cost about $2 million, divided equally among the three districts. Annual operational costs for the new equipment would initially be about $500,000. Copper is and has been undetectable in Monument Creek downstream of the facility discharge since the issue arose three years ago.

Wicklund also informed Gaddis that these very high initial and continuing costs might be avoided if the towns were to install new water treatment equipment — which is far less expensive to purchase, install, and operate — in their municipal drinking water treatment plants. Adding caustic soda could better control the acidity of town drinking water and etching of copper from the inside of residential and commercial water pipes. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District has treated its drinking water for acidity for years and has much lower copper concentrations in its wastewater than Monument or Palmer Lake.

The meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors Meeting, July 19: Water restrictions are making a difference

By Elizabeth Hacker

The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors met July 19, a week later than scheduled due to lack of a quorum. The board excused Jim Whitelaw’s absence.

Restrictions ease peak demand

In May, the Demand Management Program for irrigation restrictions went into effect. District manager Phil Steininger reported that permits had been issued for watering new seed and new sod. Customers appeared to be complying with the "no watering" on Mondays. The program has flattened out the daily peak use, but water still has a high seasonal use rate.

The watering restrictions and the draw-down program for lake dam repair were explained at a meeting of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA).

The district had already begun to realize its objective of easing peak demand. According to Steininger, most residents seemed to understand the reasons for the restrictions and were willing to comply. He noted that on Mondays, when no irrigation is allowed, the district has been able to refill its tank, and there had been no big spikes in water demand this summer. Director Jim Taylor asked if there had been many complaints, to which Steininger replied there had been a lot of calls asking for clarification on which days they could water, some calls from residents concerned about the water supply, and a few reported violations.

JUC report

Benny Nasser, Woodmoor district representative to the Joint Use Committee, reported the following:

  • Wastewater plant employee Steve Orcutt gave notice that he will leave the job. Bill Burks will postpone sludge hauling until a new employee is hired.
  • The easement for the Monument Creek Bank Rehabilitation project has not yet been signed. It will cost $125.
  • Palmer Lake Sanitation had an excursion (a copper reading of 290) and will visit Short Circuits to see if the company might have been responsible. Burks will talk to Home Depot people to explain why they should not recommend that copper sulfate be used for root control. The Town of Monument is considering implementing pH control for its water.

Palmer Ridge High School plan approved

District civil engineer Jessie Shaffer offered three cost-sharing options that the board could consider for providing raw water from Lake Woodmoor to Palmer Ridge High School for irrigation of grounds and fields. Shaffer estimated the cost for site work, an above-ground bolted steel water storage tank, a skid-mounted pump, electrical service, and miscellaneous items to be approximately $1.3 million. The following options were presented:

  1. A 50/50 cost-sharing split between the school district and the water district.
  2. Apportion the cost by capacity needs of the parties based upon incremental costs of supplying raw water.
  3. Apportion the cost by capacity and timing based upon incremental costs of supplying and delivering raw water.

Shaffer recommended a cost-sharing approach in which the district would incur two-thirds of the cost, or $882,000 and the school would pay the district one-third of the cost, or $430,800, to fund the construction of the storage and delivery system. He said that the district would benefit from this agreement, one example being the water pressure provided by placement of the storage tank high on the school’s site. The board approved Shaffer’s recommendation.

Steininger noted that it was important to the district that the high school use raw water for irrigation, and it benefited the school because it would realize a 15 percent savings. Director Jim Wyss added that the school district is paying another $184,000 for a potable water tap. The district’s attorney, Erin Smith, advised that the district be paid the school’s portion for the system before beginning construction of the raw water system.

Well 20 update

Shaffer reported that construction of Well 20 was complete but that the district was waiting for the El Paso County commissioners to approve a plat waiver restricting access to the well site from Fairplay. He said that he would ask for an exemption from the Planning Commission and the county commissioners in August. Shaffer explained that the Fairplay access was better because it was more direct and did not have a hill that maintenance trucks would have to negotiate. Mike Rothberg of consultant RTW reported that once the district receives approval for the access, a contract will be let for construction of the lines to the south water treatment facility.

Bond issue presentation shown

Rothberg gave a slide presentation on the Integrated Resource Plan. The program included water resources available and demand management. A version of the presentation will be given at a Sertoma Club meeting and perhaps to some other clubs, and to the WIA. It may be shown to the Monument Board of Trustees, since there is some overlapping jurisdiction. He noted that there was a lot of material to incorporate into a half-hour presentation and thought an hour presentation would be more realistic.

Director Nasser said that the Sertomans need to know that the district is using surface water and suggested that they would be most interested in why there were restrictions, the water supply issues, and how much the bond issue would cost them.

Attorney Smith suggested that the idea of a presentation was good but the focus could be more clearly defined. She questioned if the purpose was to explain demand management or to talk about a bond issue. Rothberg added that the underlying message should be that the district is confident in the recommendations of their long-range plan and is proactively addressing the issues. Steininger said that he would continue to work on the presentation and present it again at the August meeting. He suggested that he would like it to be ready so he could present it at the WIA September meeting. The board recommended that a CD be available for other groups and that the report could be posted on the district’s Web site.

Lake Woodmoor water use

Residents continue to use water from Lake Woodmoor, and there have been few complaints. Operations manager Randy Gillette reported that the district water use statistics were 97 percent accountable and that they were now operating on 50 percent lake water (700 gallons per minute) and 50 percent well water (700 gpm). Gillette reported that while there had been a few sporadic problems, overall the system was working well. The district was now pulling water from the lake’s bottom, and so far it had presented no water quality issues at the treatment plant.

Steininger added that he had met with the WIA and a few of the lake shore residents. The WIA questioned why the lake level was falling when there were water restrictions in place and it has been a wet year. The WIA also wanted to know how the district was addressing mosquito control and the West Nile virus. He added that lake shore homeowners were frustrated that the lake will be drained and wanted to know how long it would take for the lake level to come back after the dam was repaired. Steininger said he understood their concerns because they feel it will affect their property values. He noted that people have become accustomed to high lake levels but added that the lake levels have always fluctuated and will continue to do so even after the repairs have been made because the district will continue to use the lake for surface water storage.

Woodmoor Pines Country Club Adjudication and Augmentation Plan

Steininger reported that under the state’s new transit-loss program, the district must report tributary water flowing into the ponds at the Woodmoor Pines Country Club to the state engineer’s office beginning July 2007. He said the club and the district are working on a legal agreement in which the district would own all the water in the ponds. Currently, water is pumped from the ponds for irrigation at no charge to the club, but once the agreement is in place and the tributary flows are metered, the club will be billed for the water and the district can claim maximum augmentation credits. Steininger thanked Gillette, Shaffer, and Lance Nielson for daily monitoring and preparing reports for the District 10 Water Commissioner.

Study put on hold

Steininger reported that there were too many unknowns regarding the pump-back system of monitoring outlined in the Water Infrastructure Planning Study, so it was put on hold until 2008, at which time the district will review the recommendations.

Sewer line inspection, cleaning continues

Gillette reported that the district was continuing to use a video camera to examine the sewer line infrastructure and look for inflows into the system. He said that staff had been filming an average of 2,000 feet a day of the sewer lines and had been cleaning 3,000 feet a day. A lot of problems in the older lines have shown up on camera, especially the clay pipes in Zone 1 in the lines that dead-end. Gillette said that once the problems are all located, the district would analyze them and target reduction of flows into the system.

Gillette reported that the staff has completed about 85 percent of fire hydrant maintenance and has so far replaced four hydrants. He expected that the staff would complete the inspection, cleaning and fire hydrant maintenance by the August meeting.

Shaffer added that data collection has been completed for the South Outfall Line and the North Outfall line locations and that a wealth of information was obtained and being analyzed.

Mid-year budget report approved

Steininger reviewed the significant changes in the 2007 budget for working purposes. He stated that the 2007 budget as submitted to the state would not change. The mid-year update changes are only to provide a projection as to what the manager thinks the expenditures and income will be at the end of the year. The actual budget would not be formally amended unless necessary at year-end. Director Wyss asked if the tap fees needed to be adjusted to account for the slow-down in the housing market, to which Steininger responded that he expected the district was on line to meet the 2007 budget projections for revenues and expenditures but they could be adjusted if necessary. The board approved the mid-year budget.

Attorney’s report

Smith said the URS Work Order No. 2 for dam repair had been reviewed and an amendment prepared. The amendment increases URS’s risk allocation and adds a broad indemnification for the district. She presented the contract and amendment to Taylor for his signature, reminding the board that it had previously approved the contract subject to attorney’s review. Taylor then signed the contract, which will be sent forward to URS for a signature.

Construction and development update

Planning manager Shaffer reported on the following developments:

  • Knollwood Village is a strip mall planned for the northeast corner of Knollwood and Highway 105. The district issued a commitment letter for a supplemental water agreement. The El Paso County commissioners will consider the plat and must approve it before construction can begin. Shaffer expected that the contractor would break ground in August.
  • Village Center is south of Highway 105 off Knollwood. Richmond Homes is moving forward with Filings 2 and 3 acceptance for residential development. Filing 4, which is zoned commercial, was recently purchased by Mag 2, a development company from Missouri, and it has not yet submitted a proposal for the property.
  • Misty Acres is a multi-use housing and commercial development off the Monument Hill frontage road. Shaffer said there had been a long list of issues, including incorrect location of water and sewer stub-outs and fire hydrants that didn’t work, which needed to be corrected. He said the developer recently hired a new contractor to fix the problems.

Other matters

Gillette reported that there had been three service leaks, mainly in the Blueberry Hill area, and that all but one had been fixed and he was working on that one.

Shaffer reported that residents had been calling about the water running down Higby Road, which they attributed to over-irrigation. He said that the peripheral drain for the condominiums on Magic Lamp running through Walters Commons behind the high school may look like Pulte Homes is over-irrigating, but the source of the water was from the sump pumps used to divert alluvial flows or natural runoff from the site.

Nasser reported that resident Peggy Sayer was confused after she got a letter from the district about repairs she needed to do and told him that she appreciated the district coming out to show her what needed to be fixed.

The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m., when the board went into executive session to consult with its attorney on specific legal questions related to negotiation positions and to receive advice on negotiating strategies. No actions were taken when the board came out of executive session.

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The next regular meeting of the Woodmoor Board of Directors will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Woodmoor office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr.

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee Meeting, July 17: Influent to be tested for levels of acidity

By Jim Kendrick

The Joint Use Committee (JUC), which is the board of directors for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, approved the purchase of a pH testing system on July 17 to measure the acidity of influent wastewater from each of the owning districts, the Monument, Palmer Lake and Woodmoor sanitation districts.

Recent evidence shows that the water distributed by the town of Monument may be more acidic than previously thought and may be causing etching of copper water pipes in houses and commercial buildings. Tri-Lakes facility operators will test the acidity of influent from each of the three districts’ collection systems on a daily basis to provide additional information to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for negotiations regarding new copper limits that will take effect at the end of 2009, when the current state discharge permit expires.

The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by the three districts. The JUC consists of three members, one director from each of the special district boards. The president of the JUC is Monument’s board chair, Lowell Morgan. The other two JUC primary members are Director Benny Parsons of Woodmoor and Director Todd Bell of Palmer Lake. Bell was absent from the July 17 meeting. The three alternate members were present as was the entire Monument district’s board.

Background

When the Tri-Lakes facility’s discharge permit for 2005-09 was originally issued, the copper limits for 2007-09 were to have been an average of no higher than 8.7 parts per billion (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 the permit period. However, the copper concentrations since then have all met the original discharge permit constraints for the final three years.

Through extensive research conducted by the staff, as well as engineering and environmental consultants, the facility’s environmental attorney, Tad Foster, has been able to demonstrate to the state that these limits could not be met due to sample testing errors by state-approved testing companies for potentially dissolved copper readings in the plant’s effluent that often were as high as 100 percent. Also, harm to aquatic life found in Monument Creek near and downstream of the facility could not be demonstrated even at much higher copper concentrations than the proposed state restrictions. The JUC’s cost for conducting this research over the past three years – there is none available from the state Health Department or the federal Environmental Protection Agency – has been more than $252,000.

Based on its own research, the JUC sought relief from the tighter restrictions for 2007-09. The state granted a three-year waiver, 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 current permit.

Tighter copper restrictions proposed: On May 1, the state notified the Tri-Lakes staff that the facility’s current restrictions on the amount of potentially dissolved copper allowed in treated wastewater might be made far stringent on Jan. 1, 2008, even though the quality of the effluent substantially exceeds the quality of the creek’s water at the point the Tri-Lakes facility’s discharge enters the creek. 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.

Foster, Facility Manager Bill Burks, and engineering consultant Mike Rothberg presented their case for a continuation of the existing waiver for the facility at a Colorado Water Quality Control Commission hearing in Pueblo on June 11. The commissioners agreed to leave the current waiver’s maximum allowable copper values (24.8 PPB and 36.4 PPB) in place through the end of 2009. In return, Rothberg and environmental expert Steve Canton of GEI Consultants will redirect their original research on copper toxicity to Monument Creek aquatic life and alternative treatment options to better align with the expected revisions to state testing procedures directed by the EPA. Canton will present the results of his redirected toxicity studies to the commissioners at the end of 2007 and 2008 at the commission’s annual temporary modification review hearings.

Morgan tests town water pH for acidity

Morgan, a professional research physicist who works for a Monument high-tech company, said he had been testing town water as part of his job and discovered that the water is acidic in a pH range of 6.3-6.8 with occasional readings as low as 6.3. Neutral water, neither acid nor base, has a pH reading of 7.0. Monument Public Works Director Rich Landreth reported that the pH of water produced by the town’s water treatment plant at Beacon Lite Road and Second Street typically tests at 7.0.

Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund said he and Morgan had met with Landreth to request that the town treat its water with caustic soda to increase the pH. Landreth was reluctant to add any chemicals to the drinking water that already tests very well for purity and taste. Wicklund noted two instances of aggressive town water creating pinhole leaks in copper pipes at the Domino’s Pizza in Monument Plaza and a home in Century Place. Wicklund said that if aggressive water is causing pinholes it is also causing etching in copper pipes and higher influent levels to the plant, raising the levels of copper in his district’s wastewater delivered to the Tri-Lakes plant.

Wicklund noted that he had asked district engineering consultant GMS to design and price a caustic soda treatment system to be added to the town’s water treatment plant. GMS supervised construction for the town’s recently completed treatment plant expansion. The cost for equipment to treat the drinking water is several thousand dollars as is the annual cost for chemicals — much cheaper for town’s residents than millions to modify and operate the wastewater facility to remove copper.

Wicklund said that he would meet again with Landreth in August or September to review the GMS proposal. Wicklund said his district hopes to have a caustic soda system in place in Monument by the end of 2007. He added that Landreth planned to talk to Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Operations Superintendent Randy Gillette about the district’s experience with treating its "aggressive" water.

Source of high copper level reading to be investigated

The June copper reading for effluent discharged from the facility to Monument Creek was 8 PPB, even though one reading for influent for Palmer Lake in June was 290 PPB. One sample from Palmer Lake in May had a reading of 285 PPB. The other copper levels for Palmer Lake are much lower, leading to speculation about possible dumping of untreated industrial copper waste.

Burks said he would inquire about already-required pre-treatment of wastewater for copper at Palmer Lake electronics manufacturer Short Circuits. Palmer Lake’s alternate JUC representative, Director Dale Platt, said that there may have been employee turnover at that plant and the district will also inquire about copper treatment at Short Circuits. Burks said that possible follow-up actions include regular investigation/testing of the electronics plant. If cooperation is still not adequate to control influent copper levels, the Palmer Lake district could change Short Circuits to a zero-discharge permit that would require the company to capture all its industrial effluent and have it shipped elsewhere for privately arranged treatment. The latter is a common practice for large industrial plants that use metals. For example, Synthes in Monument captures all its metal wastes and has had no incidents under its zero-discharge permit.

Another possible copper source discussed

Each district agreed it should send out a newsletter advising its customers not to use chemicals that include copper sulfate to kill tree roots that penetrate sewer pipes and eventually cause clogs. The three districts will obtain jars of Root-X, which removes roots without using copper for resale to their constituents. A jar that will treat up to 100 feet of pipe will cost about $35.

The meeting adjourned at 10:36 a.m.

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The next meeting is at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 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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Academy Water and Sanitation District Special Meeting, July 26: Problems with early draft of merger plan slow decisions

By Susan Hindman

A "very rough draft" of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) prepared by the Donala Water and Sanitation District showed there are still many questions that need to be answered before the Academy Water and Sanitation District will consider taking any steps to merge services.

At a special meeting July 26, the Academy board and district lawyer Paul Murphy expressed frustration with the document, saying that it was hard to follow, did not address many issues (some financial, some required by statutes), and was missing important attachments.

Academy is being forced to come up with alternatives to its current method of treating wastewater by new federal standards that will become effective when the district’s plant operating permit expires in 2010. Those standards, which the current natural lagoon system cannot meet, will require removing ammonia in the wastewater, which would in turn require Academy to build a new wastewater treatment plant. Given the size of the district – nearly 300 homes – and the expected cost of building such a plant — between $5 million and $8 million — a new plant would be financially impossible. So alternatives are being sought, including a merger with Donala.

If approved by both boards, the IGA would take effect Jan. 1, 2008; the two districts couldn’t be combined until Academy’s bond debt is paid off in 2014.

Further complicating matters, in 2014, at the end of the IGA, the Donala board would vote on whether or not to include Academy into the Donala district. Academy board members noted that there is the chance that inclusion could be voted down. If that happened, the Academy district—which would have been operating on Donala’s equipment from 2009 to 2014—would be in the position of having to restart old equipment that had been sitting idle and that would still not meet federal standards.

Jerry Jacobson, the district’s operator, told the board he has contacted a company representative that sells the wastewater treatment system and an engineer and sent them data, requesting numbers. He’s hoping the numbers they return can be compared with numbers presented by Donala. The possibility of alternatives is attractive to the board, so he will continue to pursue that route. "I think it’s worthwhile to look into other opportunities," Jacobson said.

One board member pointed to OCN coverage of the June Donala meeting that would imply the IGA is a done deal. In fact, Academy’s board members only received copies of the IGA on July 23, four days before this meeting.

President Richard DuPont requested that Jacobson "vigorously pursue alternatives," adding, "We don’t have anything to negotiate with, and they’re calling all the shots."

Meanwhile, Murphy will contact Donala’s lawyer to seek clarification on numerous details in the IGA. DuPont suggested "we start from scratch and write one that’d be appropriate for us and Donala and in such a way that allows for financial accountability on both sides."

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The next regular meeting will be Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Wescott fire station on Sun Hills Drive. After that, the board will resume meeting on the first Wednesday of the month.

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Forest View Acres Water District Board of Directors Meeting, July 26: Board wrestles with the role of volunteer committees

By John Heiser

The Board of Directors of the Forest View Acres Water District held its regular monthly meeting July 26. The board consists of president Rich Crocker and directors Ann Bevis, Chris Monsen, Barbara Reed-Polatty, and Eckehart Zimmermann. All board members were present.

During citizen comments toward the end of the meeting, the board was asked about the difference between the citizen focus groups proposed in a mailing from the board and the volunteer committees proposed by a group of residents represented by resident Ben Lee at the June meeting.

Reed-Polatty said, "A focus group is very different than a committee. A committee is a group of people that comes together to accomplish a specific task. They could potentially be together for a year or six months. A focus group is a meeting one night on a very particular issue we are struggling with."

Lee said, "At the moment, it sounds like [volunteer committees] can’t do anything for you."

Board president Rich Crocker replied, "The board hasn’t come up with any board policy at this time." He added that he expects the board to develop a policy in the next couple months. He noted that on the board, "There are very different opinions. There are a lot of concerns not totally ironed out." He mentioned liabilities, responsibilities, and addressing the whole community.

Lee asked Paul Rufien, the district’s attorney, for his opinion. Rufien replied, "From a legal perspective, I don’t favor the board sanctioning committees." Rufien did not elaborate on what legal issues there might be.

Bevis noted that the impetus to form focus groups resulted from the May meeting before the proposal to form volunteer committees was presented. She added, "Both efforts were initiated in recognition of the need to improve communication. There are lots of ideas floating around. Nobody knows what’s going to work or how it’s going to work. I am very much in favor of using the energy that’s been represented on behalf of the district. I don’t know how to structure that or how to make the relationship effective and manage some of Paul’s legal concerns."

Monsen said, "I support committees if very clear goals are set out. They can be a very useful tool."

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

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

ASCG, Inc., the district’s engineering firm, 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.

Operations report

The operations report for June showed that the district’s surface plant produced 1.8 million gallons, averaging 41 gallons per minute over 30 days. The district’s Arapahoe well produced 39,256 gallons, averaging 72 gallons per minute over 7 days. The net monthly production was 2.5 million gallons.

Water sales for August totaled 1.65 million gallons.

The loss from the system during June was 875,115 gallons or 35.5 percent of net production.

The loss for the first six months of the year totaled 4.0 million gallons or 33.2 percent of the net production of 11.8 million gallons.

Bacon said he is 95 percent complete in locating the remaining valves in the system. Bacon noted that many of the valves are under the asphalt roadways and buried 6-8 inches. He added that the goal is to have the project completed by August 1.

Bacon noted that several line breaks occurred and were repaired during June. He added that the tank will be cleaned and inspected by Liquid Vision.

Bacon said he will prepare an updated Monitoring and Emergency Plan for the district and an updated district inventory. The Arapahoe well and treatment plant has been correctly reclassified by the state as a permanent facility. Bacon said more extensive tests will now be required.

Reed-Polatty expressed concern that the site of recent repairs was not adequately controlled and people could get too close to the excavation.

Rufien said that the contractor making the repair bears the responsibility. He said that if the district were to adopt a policy regarding conduct of repair sites that would shift responsibility to the district to enforce that policy.

Hydrants discussed

Rufien noted that the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District never signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Forest View Acres district.

Rich Crocker said the fire chief told him the fire district did not sign the MOU because the water district had not adequately filled out the forms needed for the fire district’s effort to improve their Insurance Services Organization rating.

Crocker added that the water district’s rules and regulations say the district is not responsible for the operation of the hydrants.

Rufien said that is an overstatement of the situation. He said the district’s water must reach the hydrant. Painting of the hydrants is also a water district responsibility. Testing is the fire district’s responsibility. He noted that there is case law and state standards regarding the requirements to ensure that flow and pressure are "reasonable and adequate."

Crocker said, "This has a big financial impact on the [water] district." He noted that in determining the capital improvement needs of the water district, fire flow was a significant factor is determining pipe sizing.

He added that CSI is contractually responsible for all coordination with the fire district. Crocker asked Bacon to contact the fire district to see if there is a standard agreement the board could review and to see if there is any historical data on tests that have been conducted on the water district’s hydrants.

Crocker noted that painting the hydrants is also a CSI responsibility. Lee volunteered to help with the painting.

Other matters

  • Payment of bills totaling $37,855 was unanimously approved.
  • SDMS will prepare a draft revision of the district’s rules and regulations.
  • The annual review of the SDMS and CSI contracts will be conducted at the August board meeting.
  • A resolution and plaque were unanimously approved thanking the Town of Palmer Lake for its help during the system outage. The plaque will be presented at the town council meeting August 9, 7 p.m.
  • A prototype Web site for the district was reviewed and approved. The site is being prepared by CSI and will be posted at www.fvawd.com.
  • A work session will be held August 3 at SDMS. Topics for discussion at that meeting include possible participation in the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority and alternative methods of notifying customers of outages.

At the end of the meeting, the board held an executive session on legal matters.

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A board workshop is scheduled for August 3, 9 a.m. at the SDMS office, 141 Union Blvd., Suite 150, in Lakewood.

A tour of district facilities is scheduled for August 18, 9 a.m. at the Arapahoe water plant, 18852 Rockbrook Road.

The regular board meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for August 23, 6 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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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, July 11: Townsend newest full-time firefighter/EMT

Below: FF/EMT Derek Townsend was sworn in as a full volunteer member by board president Brian Ritz at the board meeting July 11. Photo provided by the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District

Below: Assistant Chief Vinny Burns pins the badge on Townsend.

By Jim Kendrick

Derek Townsend was sworn in on July 11 as a full-time volunteer firefighter/EMT at the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board meeting by President Brian Ritz. Townsend brings experience gained in Alaska, Iraq, and Kuwait in addition to that gained in serving the district for several years as a part-time volunteer.

Extension sought for audit

Board secretary Ginnette Ritz reported that the auditor had requested that the district get an extension from the state for completion of the final 2006 audit. Ritz advised the board that the district had recently received checks totaling $3,983 as a refund from the federal government for overpayment of FICA taxes paid for retired former Wescott Chief Bill Sheldon in 2004. The district also received a refund of $1,872 from the workers’ compensation carrier because there had been no workers’ compensation claims in the past year.

New front doors to be installed for two engine bays

Assistant Chief Vinny Burns reported that two new garage doors had been ordered to replace the older front doors in the apparatus bay. The new doors will match the new one on the third bay that is part of the Station 1 addition. The price for the new doors should be $8,000 to $9,000 and will include new opening mechanisms. Parts from the removed front doors will be stored and used to replace any broken parts on the back doors of the two through bays.

Director Kevin Gould, who is a professional architect, recommended that the staff also plan for the expenditure of $15,000 to $20,000 for routine roof upgrades for the expanded station in future budgets.

Burns reported that final lettering of the new Rosenbauer pumper as well as the installation of all racks by Max Fire Apparatus Inc. in Castle Rock would be completed by July 20. The district’s other vehicles will be updated to match this engine in the future.

Liability issues may end community service agreement

The district has been cooperating with Front Range Community Service to allow people who had committed minor crimes to perform their community service at Station 1, typically performing general cleaning chores around the station such as washing fire engines. The district’s attorney advised the board that it should sign a "hold harmless agreement" with the agency to avoid liability should a major injury occur. However, Front Range will not sign such an agreement.

The board decided that if Front Range will not sign a "hold harmless agreement," the district would no longer take referrals from them. Referred individuals who have been working with the district and can finish their community service within a reasonable time may finish out that work if they sign a "hold harmless agreement" with the district.

Burns reported that he had received a bid to sort old district records, scan those that need to be archived and store them on DVDs, and shred the unnecessary documents. The board requested that the archiving requirements be researched and verified prior to shredding.

Director Joe Potter gave out information to the other board members provided to him by the chairman of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board. Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District will be holding an inclusion election in the fall to unify the two districts.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:12 p.m.

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The next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Information: 488-8680.

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Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, July 16: 2006 audit, capital improvement program, and mid-year budget restatement approved

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees approved the "clean" 2006 audit on July 16. Several other mid-year financial actions to adjust the 2007 budget for additional revenue were conducted as well. Resident John Klotz asked the board to support the efforts of the Monument Police Department. Five liquor licenses were renewed.

All board members and staff department heads were present. The regular July 2 meeting had been cancelled due to the holiday.

2006 audit approved

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith and auditor Kyle Logan of Swanhorst & Co. LLC presented his findings listed in his management letter that accompanied his 2006 audit. Logan began the presentation on the town’s 2006 audit saying the report was "an unqualified opinion … that’s the best opinion you can receive."

Logan’s management letter listed "recommendations for improvement," which are "a new auditing standard for 2006," regarding adjustments, water billing, financial reporting, journal entries, credit card policy, and grant revenues. He concluded by saying none of the suggestions were a cause for concern. He added that he has been the town’s auditor for seven years, and his reports have shown continuous improvement in the town’s financial management throughout that period.

Smith noted that the town had purchased new water billing software and said she would propose adding staff to her department in the 2008 budget. She added that Town Manager Cathy Green and Public Works Director Rich Landreth review any write-offs and Green signs off on her department’s journal entries.

The board unanimously approved the proposed 2006 audit. Logan will send the required copies to the state.

2007 supplemental budget and appropriation ordinances approved

Smith noted that the completion of the 2006 audit allowed her to now recognize additional revenue that had been received to date as well as estimate the amount of additional revenue that will be received for the rest of 2007. She proposed a supplemental budget and appropriation to distribute the additional sales tax and utility franchise fee revenue to several town fund accounts as well as added appropriations to authorize spending this revenue during the second half of the year. Fees from development are lower than expected but are a small portion of total revenue. The board unanimously approved both of Smith’s proposed ordinances.

Smith estimated that there will be an additional $342,964 in net revenue at the end of 2007. The town will spend an additional $3.8 million over the rest of 2007 in the following funds:

  • $1,960,846 in the general fund
  • $1,389,803 in the water enterprise fund
  • $445,363 in the supplemental funds

Smith noted that over 96 percent of the increased expenditures are for the new Town Hall facility and capital projects.

Ballot issue for parks, recreation, and senior services approved

The board approved an ordinance, 6-1, with Trustee Gail Drumm opposed, for a ballot issue for the November election for four more years of "de-Brucing" excess tax revenues, fiscal years 2008 to 2011. If voters approve the ballot issue, those tax revenues received in excess of the TABOR limits could again be kept by the town and fully spent for supplemental budget items and appropriations as they have been for every year since 1996. The ballot language says that additional revenues may only be spent on parks, recreation, and senior services. Drumm was opposed due to what he felt was vagueness in the proposed ballot issue language prepared by Town Attorney Gary Shupp and Town Clerk Scott Meszaros.

Drumm wanted percentages or a specific list of projects added to the language. Green said that percentages should span the entire four years due to not knowing how much additional revenue would be collected, what the various projects would specifically cost, or where or when a regional park may be approved within the town. Trustee Tommie Plank said that the ballot issue language was already confusing enough. Shupp noted that the language restricts the use of the money for any of the other numerous town requirements that exist.

Change orders for storm drain installation approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution to pay contractor KB Construction Inc. an additional $21,490 for work performed to install a 78-inch stormwater culvert under Beacon Lite Road just north of the Highway 105 intersection. Funding for this additional payment was composed of $9,820 in construction contingency funds in the original contract plus $11,670 from the 2007 supplemental budget Public Works Department capital outlay streets and highways account.

The increased costs of three change orders were for additional asphalt, required by unanticipated additional excavation, and the need to reposition an 8-inch water supply line. KB Construction also proposed elimination of a cut-off wall during the project that saved the town $11,940. Consultant engineering firm Ayres Associates and town inspector Joe Oetken had reviewed the four change order requests and determined that they were reasonable and the costs were within industry standards.

Development Services Director Tom Kassawara noted that KB installed the asphalt over the new storm drain and repaired cracks that developed in the surface of the 5-inch layer. This portion of the repaving was removed and replaced. Kassawara added, "The part to the north of that was done by Monument Sanitation because they had a sewer line problem, so we’ve actually got a fairly good looking road for quite a length now." The removal and replacement of 440 feet of asphalt by Trax Construction in the southbound lane of Beacon Lite Road up to Eighth Street was separately contracted and paid for by Monument Sanitation District.

(See the Monument Sanitation District article for more information on the work done by Trax.)

Trustee Steve Samuels said change orders were a "pet peeve" of his and he "hates bait and switch" by contractors because "we didn’t plan on this." Landreth countered Samuels’ assertion, noting that the changes were caused by difficulties with the utility locations that required the redesign of the excavation and additional cost and they could not have been foreseen or planned for by KB.

Kassawara noted that Nolte engineer Chris Daugherty, who developed the town’s stormwater master plan, had moved to Houston and had been replaced by Dick Smith. During his lengthy defense of his approval of the changes that KB made, Kassawara noted:

  • The project changes were inspected by Oetken, Smith and town water inspector Ron Rathburn.
  • The town no longer allows contractors to hire their own inspectors.
  • Change orders, a part of every construction contract, were negotiated and approved by Kassawara and Landreth before they were performed.
  • KB performed a lot of additional work "on a difficult job" without charging the town.

KB Construction selected for roadside ditch rehabilitation

The board unanimously approved a resolution that awarded a contract to KB Construction for $74,000 to make an emergency repair because of severe erosion and collapse of the stormwater ditch on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway north of Higby Road. The informal KB proposal quoted a price of $64,300. The construction contingency amount was $9,700. Funding for this unanticipated project comes from the 2007 supplemental budget Public Works Department capital outlay streets and highways account. The KB price excluded possible additional costs for contingencies such as surveys, permits and fees, unexpected excavation, blasting, traffic and erosion control, removal or replacement of existing concrete or asphalt, and a 2 percent bond fee.

An informal bid from construction contractor CSI for $182,500 was also received. CSI had equipment already located at the YMCA construction site, and KB had its equipment at Beacon Lite Road, which would have minimized mobilization charges for both companies and assured an expeditious upgrade of the roadside ditch.

Kassawara said that KB wanted to begin construction as soon as the town could get a county permit to tie this work into a county culvert on Higby Road that is underutilized. KB will coordinate with the D-38 contractor building the access to the new high school parking lot from Jackson Creek Parkway. The ditch work must connect to an appropriately sized D-38 culvert under the new driveway. The ditch will eventually be replaced by underground stormwater pipes when Jackson Creek Parkway is widened to four lanes.

Consultant engineering firm Ayres Associates reviewed the KB bid and determined that the price was reasonable and that the costs are within industry standards and below the engineer’s cost estimate. Kassawara said that consultant engineer Chris Doherty of Ayres Associates had determined that about half the excess stormwater comes from the unincorporated county and the other half from the Village Center at Woodmoor at Knollwood and Highway 105 within Monument.

The Village Center developer, WED LLC, was being required to enlarge the development’s stormwater detention ponds to slow drainage flows as well as add restrictor plates to the pond outfalls. The modifications should cut the town’s flows into the Jackson Creek Parkway ditch in half. Excess flows have also affected county ditches along Bowstring Road. The design of the new rip-rap matting in the enlarged parkway will be strong enough to handle current flows until they are mitigated by the work WED is being required to perform.

Trustee Travis Easton, a civil engineer, asked who was responsible for the mitigation costs since the ponds were not designed properly and had not been fixed in a year. Kassawara said the county’s ditches were not designed properly either. The town will bill WED for consultant engineering design costs. WED says it never received correct historic flow data. "We’re stuck with a couple of failures," Kassawara said. "We’re responsible for fixing it."

Mayor Byron Glenn suggested that the town fine WED if the developer doesn’t complete detention pond expansion modifications expeditiously, once the restrictor plates are approved by Kassawara and Ayres and installed. Kassawara will make routine reports at board meetings on this issue with WED until it is resolved

2007 capital plan approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution adopting the town’s five-year capital improvement program. Categories in the plan were:

  • Streets and drainage
  • Water supply and infrastructure
  • Parks and recreation
  • Town facilities
  • Equipment
  • Special area plans and large planning projects

The projects from these categories in the first year of the plan are reflected in the 2007 capital budget. Projects and estimated costs are also listed for each of the other four years of the plan, 2008-2011. The total capital cost of the projects listed in the five-year portion of the plan was $44.7 million. However, $21 million of that total is for the Baptist Road Interchange, which is being paid for by the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority 1-cent sales tax that was initiated on July 1. No town revenues will pay for the interchange improvement.

An additional $18.2 million in projects were not assigned to a specific year for funding. Total project costs were $62.9 million.

Green discussed some of the costs for 2007, using the extra funds from the just approved budget and appropriation restatement. Some of these items were:

  • 4.4 acres of land on the northwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105 that are mostly steeply sloped drainage from the new Beacon Lite culvert. The land may be protected mouse habitat that can be used as open space and a trail connection. Town ownership would ease the problems associated with re-drilling Well 7 near the adjacent Santa Fe Trailhead. The asking price from the property owner is $200,000.
  • 10 acres of potential mouse habitat along the railroad tracks in Santa Fe Trails could be purchased from the homeowners association. The asking price is $50,000.
  • The lot and modular building leased by Triview Metropolitan District are for sale. The asking price is $275,000.
  • A "previously owned" loader versus a new one that should drop the projected cost from about $120,000 to under $100,000.
  • The town will pay all the cost for a new street vacuum truck for $40,000, then get reimbursed for Triview Metropolitan District for their share of the cost, which would be about $20,000.
  • The cost of filing for creation of a quiet zone at the Second Street railroad crossing is about $10,000. The railroad crossings at Baptist Road and a private driveway are in the county, so the town can do nothing about quieting for them.
  • The skateboard park upgrade is part of the regular 2007 budget.

Public comments

Tri-Lakes drug issues discussed: Monument resident John Klotz of Snowwood Drive discussed a party held in the house on Park Trail Drive directly behind his house on the evening of July 13. He said he got no sleep that night due to 15 or 16 young people, some of whom were "drunk." He added that they were mostly over 21 years old, and they set off fireworks until dawn. He said he and three other neighbors called police at 3 a.m. to report the episode to Monument police. Klotz added that no one answered when police knocked on the door. The police came back several more times throughout the night, but all visits led to no one answering the door.

Klotz asked the board to respond to the drug and alcohol problem that he said is quite prevalent in the area. He said the police he talked to were frustrated by the failure of parents to "deal with the problem" and "wake up" to the need to come between their kids and drugs. He said the board and Lewis-Palmer School District 38 should admit there is a problem and deal with it.

Police Chief Jake Shirk told Klotz that he and his department take the problem of illegal drug use very seriously and had joined an El Paso County SWAT team raid on a house at 42 Front St. during the previous week. While the town’s policy is "zero tolerance," it took several months of investigation and preparation to enter the Front Street house in a legal and lawful manner with a warrant. There were 11 people taken out of the house, three were arrested, and narcotics and money confiscated.

Shirk added that there will "be some surprising things coming out" with regard to illegal drug use. Klotz praised the Lewis-Palmer High School’s DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and "Drug-proof your kids" programs.

Samuels noted that parents must have a strict home environment for the school and police programs to be effective. Samuels said, "The focus has to be in the family unit" and that parents can’t blame everyone else for their kids’ problems.

Trustee Tim Miller told Klotz that Plank had contacted D-38 Superintendent Ray Blanch for the board after he advised the other trustees of reported drug problems at the high school earlier this summer.

Shirk said the town was providing a community youth officer to support the county’s school resource officer assigned to Lewis-Palmer High School. People in the community know who the problem people are, Shirk said, and they need to call the police so they also are informed and can conduct more effective investigations. He reiterated that investigations and putting cases together take several weeks. Officers first confront parents to make them aware of the problems.

In response to a follow-up question from Klotz on neighborhood reporting, Shirk noted that Officer Keith Swensen is the point of contact in the Monument Police Department regarding training of community organizations to run their own neighborhood watch programs. For more information, call 481-3253.

Volunteer reporters solicited

Tri-Lakes resident Michelle Sample said she is a community journalist with The Gazette’s Your Hub section and described the regional content of the publication. She offered the trustees, staff, and other area residents the opportunity to voluntarily submit articles and photos on community events. Sample is the editor for the Tri-Lakes, Black Forest, and Briargate editions.

(Anyone wishing to be a volunteer reporter or editor for Our Community News is encouraged to contact publisher John Heiser at johnheiser@ourcommunitynews.org or 488-3455.)

Trustee comments

Trustee Dave Mertz asked Chief Shirk if trains passing through the Town of Palmer Lake could be slowed down or stopped during the late afternoon and evening of July 4 during the peak evening hours of activities leading up to the fireworks show.

Shirk replied that the fireworks committee had investigated this possibility in 2006. The train schedule was and remains so tight that there was nothing that could be done. Stopping trains, which run around the clock, would create a back-up that would spread through many states and generate large financial penalties for late trains.

Drumm, a retiree of the railroad, said that having the trains go slower would worsen the problems of kids trying to jump on trains, because the threat would appear to be less.

Mertz asked about the traffic plan and traffic delays after the conclusion of the fireworks show. Shirk said the Palmer Lake Police Department organizes the traffic plan. He observed that delays this year were half as long as in 2006. The only roads available are Highway 105, Spruce Mountain Road, and County Line Road for outbound traffic. Getting onto those roads was the problem.

Trustee Tim Miller expressed concern about political signs that already were being posted for elections. Green said a summer intern pulls all signs in public rights-of-way. She suggested that Miller call campaign headquarters to register his concerns.

Plank said that the Wednesday night summer concerts at Limbach Park were going very well. Also, the monthly Art Hop nights on the third Thursday of the month were a great success and a great night out for grown-ups.

Samuels said he is serving on the Colorado Municipal League’s Municipal Issues and Trends Committee headed by Sam Mamet. Samuels participated in a recent meeting with Gov. Bill Ritter on finding small stores to join with big box stores in new shopping centers.

The board unanimously approved liquor license renewals for:

  • Safeway, 624 Highway 105
  • Jackson Creek Chinese Restaurant, 1054 W. Baptist Road
  • Tri-Lakes Liquor Store 586 Highway 105
  • Monument Liquor Mart, 15756 Jackson Creek Parkway
  • Chugh Enterprises Inc. & 7-Eleven Inc., 283 Highway 105

The board unanimously approved the treasurer’s May financial report, as well as eight payments over $5,000, including:

  • $97,867 to Triview Metropolitan District for May sales tax revenue
  • $96,716 to KB Construction Inc. for installation of Beacon Lite Road storm drain culvert
  • $34,995 to Centennial Services Inc. for plans and specifications for the new Town Hall building
  • $33,528 to the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency for third-quarter liability and workers compensation insurance
  • $21,054 to Churchich Recreation LLC for recreation equipment in Limbach Park – a climbing wall and "safe fall material" around the base (This payment was supplemented by a Great Outdoors Colorado grant of $14,000)
  • $16,700 to Nolte Associates for engineering work on Third Street widening project
  • $15,063 to Nolte Associates for engineering work on Third Street drainage project
  • $9,130 to Meyer and Sams Inc. for Well 9 equipment
  • $5,312 to Triview for June motor vehicle tax revenue

Trustee Easton, an employee of Nolte Associates, recused himself from this vote.

Staff reports

Town attorney: Shupp reported that there would be another town administrative hearing July 30 on the application for a business license renewal by Kalime Masse for the Rockwell Ready-Mix concrete batch plant. Green will preside over the hearing.

Development Services Department: Kassawara reported that plans for Third Street improvement are 30 percent complete, with a bid announcement scheduled for Aug. 15. The new Town Hall building plat amendment will be ready for hearings soon, and the site plan, 90 percent complete, will be considered administratively. A pre-application meeting was held for the senior center to be built on Highway 105.

Green said that discussions continue with the potential owners of the Outrageous Oasis water park. They have renewed their option for the vacant land southwest of the Baptist Road interchange, but nothing is final. Before they discussed the proposal with Monument, the owners had planned to build the park at the Interquest exit of I-25. The water park was added to the Interquest development master plan. The owners of the Interquest land are now considering building that water park themselves. Green said there is not a sufficient market for both.

Public Works Department: Landreth met with the skateboarders to discuss their progress on planning a new upgraded design for the town skateboard park on Beacon Lite Road.

Police Department: Shirk said he had discussed the plusses and minuses of purchasing H-3 Hummer vehicles — instead of full-size Tahoes — with other Colorado towns that use them. They are not fast enough for pursuits but are the only vehicles that could pick up doctors and nurses during the last Lone Tree blizzard. After some initial negative public responses, he said, the public has accepted Hummers as police vehicles. Shirk again said his department is continually pursuing illegal drug activity, but residents must realize that it takes a while to conclude an investigation that leads to successful prosecutions.

The meeting went into executive session at 8:36 p.m. to discuss real estate negotiations. No actions were taken when the board came out of the session prior to adjournment.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Mondays of the month.

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Monument Planning Commission Meeting, July 11: Three commercial plats, new by-laws, procedures approved

By Jim Kendrick

On July 11, after a month off in June, the Monument Planning Commission returned to action to approve plat applications for three existing commercial developments.

The commissioners also approved formal by-laws and rules of procedure. All six commissioners were present; one seat remained vacant on July 11.

Monument Industrial Park replat approved

Brian Gardiner of Red Rock Investments Company LLC requested that the 4.02-acre Lot 2 in Block 1 of Monument Industrial Park, Phase 2, be replatted into two lots. This lot is at the end of Synthes Avenue between the paved road and the railroad tracks. Gardiner was represented by consultant surveyor Kevin Lloyd of Rampart Surveys Inc.

The northern third of Lot 2, 1.35 acres, is vacant and would be renamed Lot 2A. The southern portion of Lot 2 is 2.67 acres and would become Lot 2B. The northern half of the industrial building on Lot 2B is being rented by Synthes Corp., and the rest is vacant. This building was formerly occupied by American Strategic Metals. The replat of the vacant portion of the property will allow for commercial or industrial use.

Principal Planner Karen Griffith noted that there would be no changes in any applicable land use regulations that would apply to newly created Lot 2A. She said she agreed with Gardiner’s written proposal that creating Lot 2A would provide additional revenue for the town. The replat into two lots was unanimously approved without conditions.

Jackson Creek Commerce Center final plat of Filing 2 approved

Vision Development Inc. requested approval of the final plat for the 2.11-acre Lot 1 of Filing 2 for a future two-story office building. Jackson Creek Commerce Center is on the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive.

Filing 2 is bordered on the east by Leather Chaps Drive, on the west by interior private road Old Forest Point, and on the north by interior private road Broken Timber Drive. Right-of-way from Filing 2 for the two interior roads is 0.87 acre.

The Ent Federal Credit Union building currently under construction on Jackson Creek Parkway is directly west of the vacant Filing 2. The vacant retail lots north of Broken Timber Drive and south of the Ent credit union remain unplatted.

The final plat for Filing 2 was unanimously approved without conditions.

Final plat for Monument Marketplace restaurant approved

Vision Development Inc. requested approval of the final plat for the 0.90-acre Lot 1 of Filing 16 for a proposed KFC restaurant. Filing 16 is adjacent to Leather Chaps Drive, between the Wells Fargo Bank and the new G&J Liquor. The preliminary/final plat for Filing 16 was unanimously approved.

Overnight RV parking issue at Wal-Mart raised

Commissioner Kathy Spence asked the staff to review the planned development master plan and subsequent amendments regarding recreational-vehicle parking on the Wal-Mart lot of Monument Marketplace. She and other commissioners said there had been a consensus on setting aside an area on the east side of the store’s parking lot for overnight RV parking unless and until it might become a problem. Spence noted that RVs are being parked on the west side of the lot near the restaurants and new clock tower on the frontage along I-25. The commissioners agreed that this was their original concern about RVs making the lot look unsightly.

Staff comment letters will no longer be reviewed/approved

Griffith informed the commissioners that many Development Services staff replies to letters from the county asking for the town’s comments on development proposals near the town boundary could not be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission in a timely manner. Often, the staff has less than 15 days to compose and send comments on county land use proposals referred to the town because of their proximity. Waiting for the Planning Commission to review and approve draft comment letters from the staff has resulted in them being submitted to the referral agencies after final county hearings have already taken place.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp said that at meetings, the commissioners could request a revision of the comments sent to referral agencies if they did not agree with staff after their review. He added that the Planning Commission could later reverse the proposed decision to allow the staff to send comment letters administratively.

The commissioners agreed that the staff should send in their comments as soon as possible and provide information copies in the meeting packets.

By-laws and procedures recommended for adoption

Shupp gave the commissioners an overview of the by-laws and procedures he had drafted based on his review of Colorado statutes and town ordinances. Shupp said the creation of the new by-laws and written procedures would fill a void that might cause difficulties if the Planning Commission’s decisions were to be challenged legally by individuals who might not agree with their land use recommendations or Comprehensive Plan decisions.

Shupp and Griffith asked the commissioners if they wanted to create a new section in the standard formal agenda for consent items. Griffith noted that all three items just approved by the commissioners over the course of 30 minutes of discussion would be consent items that take only a minute or two to approve in other towns in Colorado. Shupp noted that any commissioner could request that any specific consent item be discussed and made a routine public hearing. The commissioners agreed that consent items should be added to the standard agenda format.

Shupp and Griffith also asked the commissioners if they wanted to modify the definition of a quorum, which currently requires a minimum of four commissioners for all hearing votes. They suggested that if one of four attending commissioners was called away from the meeting, the three remaining commissioners could still vote on hearing items.

After discussing the issue at length, the commissioners decided not to recommend this alternative to the Board of Trustees. There was consensus that in the lack of a quorum, the hearing would be continued so a quorum of at least four commissioners could be re-established at the next Planning Commission meeting. In matters of urgency or emergency, a special meeting could be called as long as all required time intervals for public notice are complied with.

The commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation that the Board of Trustees formally adopt Shupp’s proposed by-laws and rules of procedure for the Planning Commission, including the addition of a new standard agenda item for consent items. The commissioners will be given copies of Robert’s Rules of Order for their future reference.

The meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 481-2954 or 884-8017.

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Photo of Monument Lake

Below: A photo of Monument Lake taken July 27 by Mike Wicklund.

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

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

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Palmer Lake Town Council, July 12: Emergency access to Lakeview Heights proposed

By Celeste E. Raine

The topic of Lakeview Heights returned to the Palmer Lake Town Council at its July 12 meeting. This time, the topic was emergency access to Unit 2. Attorney Duncan Bremer, representing the parcel owner, asked the council, "Are we willing to further discuss access to this land?" The answer was yes, to the chagrin of residents present at the meeting.

(Click here for coverage of Bremer’s presentation to the Planning Commission on July 11.)

Lakeview Heights Unit 2 is a block of land north of Highway 105 and east of Oakdale Drive and Star View Circle, between the railroad tracks and Ben Lomond Mountain. The land was platted and subdivided into about 300 lots more than 40 years ago. Owner Herb Rea and the others have paid property taxes ever since, but the town has refused to approve building permits for any of the residential lots because of the lack of a second emergency access other than Lake Avenue to Oakdale Drive.. This has been a hotly debated issue that has been presented to the Town Council several times

Bremer defended his client, saying, "This is not the right way to treat land owners."

He said one of the major stumbling blocks to developing this site is access. Palmer Lake Fire Chief Phillip Beckman informed the council that all public parcels are required to have two access points. The existing Oakdale Drive provides one emergency vehicle access point from County Line Road to the site.

Bremer proposed that Santa Fe Trail could serve as the second access. The trail would be used as a temporary/emergency access to generate revenue for the lot owners. Once the first couple of lots are sold, the owners could develop a permanent access point to the east of Highway 105. The owners would also be responsible for the costs associated with providing sewer lines to the lots.

Several residents of the adjacent neighborhoods objected to the possibility of developing this land. Jenny Cox, 114 Oakdale Drive, expressed her concern about the lack of water. "We have a water problem right now," she said. "We don’t have the infrastructure to support more homes." Ann Forsyth, Lakeview Heights Unit 1 resident, was concerned about the use of the Santa Fe Trail for access. "I don’t think this is the town’s problem to fix, the onus is on the property owners that want this developed."

Mayor Max Parker suggested a meeting with El Paso County Emergency Services and El Paso County Parks and Leisure.

Note: A few days after the council meeting, the staff scheduled a meeting to discuss the secondary trail access for emergency vehicles issue for late July with the following participants:

  • El Paso County Fire Marshal Jim Reid
  • El Paso County Parks Department Director Tim Wolken
  • Mayor Parker
  • Interested Palmer Lake Town Council Trustees
  • Palmer Lake Police Chief Dan Gilliana
  • Town Clerk Della Gray
  • Interested Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department representatives
  • Bremer and his clients
  • Lakeview Heights resident Patty Brooks

Officer recognized for rescue

Sgt. Nikki Tezak, a full-time officer for the Palmer Lake Police Department, rescued a 4-year-old boy who reportedly had been kidnapped by a family acquaintance. She followed a vehicle that matched a description provided by the amber alert warning system. As soon as the man stopped the car and exited the vehicle, she placed him into custody. Tezak was recognized by the mayor and Town Council for her successful rescue and arrest, receiving a standing ovation.

Mayor Parker also noted Tezak had developed the successful operational plan for Palmer Lake’s Fourth of July fireworks. This year, Palmer Lake had a record number of visitors for the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Jeff Hulsmann, a member of the July Fourth volunteer committee, added that he estimated 60,000 people came to Palmer Lake to see the fireworks. But what was equally impressive was the number of volunteers who dedicated their time for this event. Hulsmann came up with the idea to illuminate the town star for the event. Colorado Lighthouse donated the light bulbs for the star, and volunteer firefighters hiked up the hill to change the bulbs. Hulsmann said he could not have been prouder, and this was a "perfect example of how a small town should work."

Two new liquor licenses approved

The Speedtrap Coffeebar and PinZ North Inc. each requested a new liquor license from the Town Council. Each request was unanimously approved.

According to owner Peter Kavanagh, the Speedtrap Coffeebar will not shift its focus to only offer alcoholic beverages. He will continue his primary focus of providing coffee to the morning crowd. But he also feels that the town of Palmer Lake "is more active at night … this will provide a more viable money source."

Watering ban lifted

The strict water restriction enacted by Mayor Parker on June 29 was lifted. It is believed that faulty gauges on the A-2 well are to blame for the restriction. Parker said he received a phone call from the water treatment plant operator, who was very concerned about the levels of water in the tank. The gauges were showing a substantial decrease in water in a 24-hour period. Parker explained that because he did not "know the status of the water, (I) put a stage 1 restriction in place." Since the restriction, the staff has determined that the gauge readings may have been faulty. The council members agreed to wait until the town’s water use lowers in the fall to make repairs to the tank.

Change of water rights counsel announced

The Awake the Lake Committee has decided to pursue outside counsel to support water storage rights for Palmer Lake. Hulsmann said he felt the committee needed "to find someone who is proactive for the city and town." The committee is a voluntary fund-raising group but not an official agency of the town’s government. The council decided to direct the town’s water lawyer, Ronni Sperling, to suspend until further notice her ongoing work to file for and obtain town storage rights in the lake from the state water court.

The committee had previously agreed to pay up to $20,000 for Sperling’s efforts to obtain lake storage rights for the town. The amount the committee owes Sperling to date and the amount that it might be able to pay Sperling and/or the committee’s separate water attorney in the future were not announced.

Address signs for emergencies still available

Fire Trustee Gary Coleman urged residents to place house number signs by their driveways so they are visible from the street. The desired quick response from the Police and Fire Departments in an emergency depends on residents’ action, he said. The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department Association has low-cost address signs available for purchase by residents. Information: 481-2953.

Alternative site for Tri-Lakes senior center activities announced

Trustee Richard Allen announced that director Chuck Roberts of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership had informed him that the group’s senior center will now be located in the Palmer Ridge High School under construction on Monument Hill Road. Participating seniors will teach classes to the school’s students in return for the provided space.

The council had approved Allen’s resolution to donate up to $30,000 from the town’s Lucy Owens Fund to support locating the center in the West End Center on Highway 105. Allen said Roberts recommended that he have the council rescind his resolution because rental funds are no longer needed. The grant resolution was unanimously rescinded.

Council members said they will support future requests for funding from the partnership for senior activities from the Lucy Owens Fund as an important town goal.

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The next regular council meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Workshops are normally held on the first Thursday of the month. Regular meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

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Palmer Lake Planning Commission, July 11 and 17: Santa Fe Trail proposed for emergency access

By Jim Kendrick

At its July 11 workshop, the Palmer Lake Planning Commission discussed two requests for vacation and replats within Lakeview Heights Unit 1. They were approved at the July 17 regular commission meeting.

Also approved at the July 17 meeting as a consent item was a new 4-by-16-foot backlit aluminum/vinyl sign by Aspen Sign Co. to be installed on the eastern side of the to-be-renovated PinZ Bowling Center building. The bowling center is at the southeast end of town on the north side of Highway 105.

At the end of the July 11 workshop meeting, there was a preliminary discussion of a proposal from land owner Herb Rea to use the Santa Fe Trail as the second access road to Lakeview Heights Unit 2. The commissioners asked numerous questions of Rea’s attorney, Duncan Bremer of Monument, but made no recommendation on the proposal. Bremer made a similar presentation at the regular July 12 Town Council meeting.

(Click here for details of the Town Council discussion of Bremer’s presentation.)

Sonzogni vacation/replat approved

Landowners Charles and Patricia Sonzogni requested that residential Lots 9 and 10 of Lakeview Heights Unit 1 be combined/replatted into a single residential Lot 9A. These lots are between Lake Drive and the Santa Fe Trail, south of Starview Circle. This request also required a vacation of the empty perimeter utility easements along the edges of the common side boundary between the two originally platted lots. The planned single-family home would be built on top of these vacated easements. The rest of the perimeter easements for the combined 8,525-square-foot lot were not changed.

Consultant Jerry Hannigan of Monument land planning/surveying firm Hannigan and Associates also asked for variances to the required 25-foot front and rear setbacks due to the limited depth of the two lots, similar to front and rear setbacks already approved for adjacent lots to the north and south. The requested front and setbacks were 16.5 feet and 19.5 feet. The footprint of land to be occupied by the house is about 2,500 square feet.

The Sonzognis’ vacation and replat request was unanimously approved at the regular July 17 Planning Commission meeting.

Note: The hearing by the Palmer Lake Board of Adjustment on the requested variances for front and rear setbacks was scheduled for July 26.

Davis vacation/replat approved

A very similar request was made by developer John Bailey for owner Cynthia Davis to combine nearby Lots 4 and 5 into Lot 4A. These lots are also between Lake Drive and the Santa Fe Trail south of Starview Circle. Davis’s vacation and replat request was also unanimously approved at the regular July 17 Planning Commission meeting.

Note: The hearing by the Palmer Lake Board of Adjustment on the requested variances for front and rear setbacks was scheduled for July 26.

Minor subdivision request tabled

A scheduled hearing on a request from Cedar Canyon Investments for a minor subdivision of Lot 2, Block 9 in Elephant Rock Acres at 825 Circle Road, east of Frontier Lane between the PinZ bowling center and the railroad tracks, into three lots was continued until the August commission meetings at Cedar Canyon’s request.

Two new vacant lots (1 and 2) would be created at the northwest end of the property. The remainder would become the new proposed Lot 3 at the southeast end of the 28,740- square-foot property. The sizes of the three proposed lots created by the subdivision of the parcel were:

  • Lot 1 – 6,654 square feet
  • Lot 2 – 6,941 square feet
  • Lot 3 – 15,146 square feet

There is a house on the portion of the property that would become Lot 3.

Lakeview Heights Unit 2 secondary access discussed at workshop

Bremer proposed that the Santa Fe Trail be used as the second access road for emergency vehicles for the vacant Lakeview Heights Unit 2, southeast of Starview Circle, between the railroad tracks and Ben Lomond Mountain. The only current access to Unit 2 is to drive east from the County Line Road intersection on Oakdale Drive, then south on Starview Circle to Lake Drive, which enters the west end of Unit 2. The east end of Unit 2 is northeast of Elephant Rock. Bremer observed that Capella Drive appears to be the closest existing road that could provide a practical access but that would need to be verified by engineering and traffic studies.

Background: Lakeview Heights was platted for numerous residential lots in 1965, and the owners of the various lots have paid property tax since purchasing them. The Unit 2 lot owners have been denied building permits for over 40 years because there is no second access for emergency vehicles. Due to shortfalls in water production over the past decade, the town has also denied drinking water service to the Unit 2 lots. Some of the Unit 2 lots also cannot comply with the town’s hillside ordinance restricting construction on steep slopes.

Bremer requested that the commissioners recommend that the "Council authorize town staff to enter into discussions with El Paso County Parks and Leisure Services about the possible use of the New Santa Fe Trail for emergency access to Lakeview Heights and request that the county staff participate in those discussions with interested land owners such as Herb Rea."

Bremer added, "I believe the land owners will be willing to participate and provide support, such as engineering design for the emergency access, and will probably pay to build it. But to provide such support, the landowners must have some assurance the emergency access will lead to the town lifting the building permit restriction for the balance of Lakeview Heights Unit 2."

The county’s trail is not designed to routinely support the weight of a pumper, tender, ladder truck, or ambulance. Only brush trucks are small and light enough to maneuver up and off the trail for emergency access into Unit 2.

The Unit 2 owners would also have to form a special district to provide potable water since the town will continue to be unable to provide municipal water service due to the limits of its existing water system and revenue generation for the foreseeable future. For example, in 2005 the town pumped groundwater from one of its two operable wells to temporarily fill Palmer Lake. The well ran dry before the authorized amount of groundwater was pumped, and that well has never recovered or been returned to service. All the pumped groundwater was lost when the lake returned to the initial very low level over the following winter. There have been watering restrictions and occasional bans in recent years as well.

Some concerns expressed by the commissioners regarding Bremer’s proposal were:

  • Who would pay for studies, engineering design, right-of-way acquisition and construction of a second access to existing adjacent roads?
  • Would the county agree to use of its trail as an access road given the county’s limited funds for improvements and routine maintenance?
  • How much additional routine residential traffic would be generated on Oakdale Drive and Starview Circle, both town roads?
  • There is still little likelihood of getting county or railroad approval for a new crossing for a second access.
  • Unit 2 would suffer even worse isolation than the existing houses in Unit 1 during snowstorms.
  • The real issue to be studied, in addition to the proposed engineering studies, is the cost and configuration of a permanent second access, rather than the temporary second access the Santa Fe Trail might provide.
  • There is not enough information available at this time for the commission to make a recommendation.
  • Would eminent domain actions be required to create the second access?
  • Creation of the access and utility infrastructure is usually the responsibility of the developer, but there is no developer in this case.

In his replies to these concerns, Bremer said:

  • He was only asking at this time that the town consider participating in a meeting with county staff to determine whether the use of the trail as an access provided a possible basis for the land owners to use their land as intended by the town’s decision to plat Unit 2 in 1965.
  • Approximately 100 landowners of about 300 lots would have to agree to a future development plan.
  • Even though the county has indicated it would be receptive to an access to Capella Drive, "there are two landowners and a holder of a conservation easement that are going to fight that tooth and nail, and it may require eminent domain."
  • The Unit 2 land owners do not have the power of eminent domain.
  • "Everybody in this room hates the idea of taking someone’s land against their will even if you pay for it."
  • Some Unit 2 landowners would provide the seed money necessary to form a special district for water and road improvements.

Bremer also asked for access to town records to research the 42-year history of non-development of Unit 2 after the town approved the existing plat.

Bremer then asked that citizen comments be heard. Some of these were:

  • Oakdale Drive resident Maggie Amato said that the Oakdale and Starview dirt roadways could not sustain additional regular traffic from Unit 2. She noted that many residents park on the street before it snows because they cannot get out of their driveways, hampering effective plowing. She asked the commissioners not to vote in favor of having the town staff request county staff to authorize emergency vehicle access to the trail.
  • Oakdale Drive resident Richard Cooper expressed his concern about the condition of his street if there was additional traffic and asked if the Santa Fe Trail would be converted to a road as a result of this access request. Planning Commission Chairman John Cressman said that would be a county decision.
  • Starview Circle resident Patty Brooks asked the commissioners to be careful not to approve any request that might set a precedent for full development of all 300 Unit 2 lots without proper studies and understanding of the long-term ramifications of temporary or conditional approvals.
  • Oakdale Drive resident Don Kendrick asked the town to come up with a long-term solution for the access issue rather than the proposed "series of band-aids" proposed by Bremer. He noted there would be no secondary access from the trail for emergency vehicles during a snowstorm. He added that there is also no primary access from Oakdale Drive during snowstorms for residents’ vehicles, much less fire engines or ambulances.

The commissioners adjourned the workshop without making a recommendation regarding the Bremer-Rea proposal. The use of the trail as a secondary access was not discussed at the regular commission meeting on July 17 because Bremer had already presented the request to the Town Council on July 12.

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The next Planning Commission workshop meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. The next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 15. The commission workshops are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Regular commission meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

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On the Roads: Baptist-Struthers Road Update

Below: Looking west along Baptist Road east of Desiree. This shows that Desiree (on the left) is now open, the termporary connection to Kingswood Drive (in the center of the photo), and part of the change in the elevation of Baptist Road (on the right). Photo by Mike Wicklund

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

Click on the photo to zoom in and view additional photos

André P. Brackin, P.E.
Capital Programs Division Manager
El Paso County Department of Transportation

The following is a brief status update regarding construction activities on the Baptist Road and Struthers Road projects funded by the Pikes Peak and Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authorities. Weather has been excellent in general and significant progress has been made as a result. Coordination with utilities and adjacent development projects has been very helpful in the last month. This update reflects work progress since April 30, 2007.

Project Progress

  • Work: 32% complete, time count: 62% complete
  • 236 days charged of 380 contract days, with 144 contract days remaining
  • Pay estimate #13 for June totaled $240,672.90
  • $3,250,000 funds expended to date
  • $6,915,715 remains on the original $10.7 million contract.

During the past month, Rocky Mountain Materials (RMMA) has completed the following items:

  • Curb & Gutter in south Struther’s Road
  • Storm Drain systems in Baptist Road
  • Drainage Structures (culverts) in Struther’s Road
  • Completed over 2,000 tons, or one third, of paving in Struther’s Road
  • Partial removal of the drainage structure at Jessie Drive
  • Road base and Curb & Gutter between Gleneagle Drive and Desiree Drive
  • Completed wetlands mitigation work
  • Contractor has completed, and is no longer encroaching in any area of the CDOT parcel, and all environmental permitting concerns are being met.

Utility Relocation Progress

  • Gas main relocations complete except for easement in Monument Ridge
  • Qwest relocations complete in Struther’s Road
  • Mountain View electric relocations complete in Leather Chaps
  • Falcon Broadband relocations complete

Construction Schedule Impacts

Though a time extension on the contract has not yet been approved, it is expected some of the work may extend into 2008 mostly as a result of the weather delays early in the year. However all work in Struther’s Road will be completed and open and most of the paving in Baptist Road should also be completed this year per contract. Items that continue to contribute to construction delays regarding the contracted work include:

  • Utility relocation delays affecting the Jessie Drive detour
  • Utility easement work on the Monument Ridge site affecting the retaining wall
  • New Triview District water line is now being permitted to go in Struther’s Road which will extend the Struthers Road completion to mid-September

Sanitary Sewer Install

The second phase of the Triview Metropolitan District sewer line install is ready to start pending completion of phase 2 construction work in Baptist Road. Once paving of the south lanes are completed, traffic may be switched to these lanes and the sewer extension can continue in the north side of the road. This switch is scheduled to take place July 19, which is when this work can begin.

Road Closures

Jessie Drive at Gleneagle Drive intersection work is scheduled to conclude August 8th. The detour in place through Struther’s Road Leather Chaps (south) is going to receive applications of Magnesium Chloride to control dust. The current schedule would have Leather Chaps opening August 10th.

Scheduled Construction Activities for July-August

Baptist Road

  • Sanitary Sewer (Phase 2) extension north side to Kingswood Drive
  • Road base and curb & gutter, Gleneagle through Leather Chaps
  • Paving: Leather Chaps intersection to Gleneagle Drive
  • Paving: Jackson Creek Pkwy to Gleneagle Drive
  • Electric and power relocations to occur at Monument Ridge

Struthers Road

  • Paving of top mat between Spanish Bit and Air Garden
  • Finish MVEA utility relocations
  • Triview water line and sewer line installation

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El Paso County Planning Commission, July 17: Rezoning of Knollwood parcel approved

Click here or on the map to zoom in and download the rezoning and replat documents

Click on the map to zoom in and download the rezoning and replat documents

By Steve Sery

The El Paso County Planning Commission approved rezoning for Knollwood Village Filing 2 on July 17.

Filing 2 is part of the Knollwood Village Subdivision east of Knollwood Drive and north of Highway 105. The request was for a zoning change from RR-5 (residential 5 acres) to CC (commercial community district). The 26-acre subdivision was split-zoned in December of 2005 from RR-5 to 4.6 acres of CC and 21.3 acres remained RR-5. This is an additional .899 acre being zoned to CC.

The restrictive covenants that applied to the initial rezoning also apply to the new zoning. They include restrictions on hours of operation and specific allowed commercial and retail uses. For example, no fast-food restaurants are allowed.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, July 23: West Nile virus concerns addressed

By Chris Pollard

At the July 23 meeting, Woodmoor Improvement Association Executive Director Camilla Mottl said she had received a lot of phone calls regarding concerns related to the West Nile virus. Kevin Nielsen, chief of Public Safety, had responded to many of these. He had worked to alleviate homeowners’ concerns by checking for the presence of mosquito larvae and, where they were present, putting larvae-killing "donuts" into the ponds.

A number of calls had also been received regarding the open land adjacent to the Pulte town home project in South Woodmoor. Owned by the Walters family and proposed to be protected by a conservation easement, it had not yet been mown to control noxious weeds this year. When contacted, the family had said they hoped to have it mown in mid-August. Gary Marner, director of Open Space, added that mowing of Woodmoor’s common areas was going well but there were some problems with land that was too wet. Because of spraying in previous years, the number of noxious weeds found was significantly reduced.

Noting that 30 homeowners had still not paid their annual assessments, Mottl said she would start to file liens on the overdue accounts.

Mottl also said she was starting to get bids for an engineering survey of the Woodmoor common areas because of some problems in correctly identifying lot lines during the clean-up and Firewise thinning programs.

Bear sightings and other safety issues: Nielsen announced that there had been many sightings of bears again this year. One bear in particular had a habit of trashing barbecues and bird feeders. In North Woodmoor, one very large black bear had been seen on occasion.

The only other ongoing and serious problem was with the destruction of mailboxes in certain areas by unusual explosive devices. Jake Shirk, director of Public Safety and Monument police chief, reminded directors that this was a serious federal offense.

In a related issue regarding a proposal to revisit the fines schedule for the use of fireworks, Steve Malfatti, director of Covenants, noted that there had been no fireworks offenses this year. A number of complaints had been made, but in all 13 cases the devices were "party poppers," which are not classified as fireworks. Because of this success, he announced that he would not propose any changes.

Land options discussed

Vice President Bill Walters said he was interested in reviewing the status of a number of pieces of land within Woodmoor that were originally easements but had subsequently been deeded to the WIA. There were several possible options for them. They could be sold, made into common areas, given some other use, or left alone. It was noted that in order for them to be sold, costs would be incurred for the land to be platted and rezoned.

Amy Smith, director of Forestry, said that she had looked at several of these and found many were heavily treed and in need of maintenance. She suggested that board members have a look at them before further discussion on the matter.

Tree-thinning plan presented

Smith said she had started to look for bids to thin scrub oak in the Fairplay median. The original intent was to apply herbicide immediately after the individual trees were cut down to stop them from regrowing, but so far none of the contractors is prepared to do that. Because the operation had to be carried out within three minutes of felling the trees, it would be difficult for the WIA to coordinate the activity. She was working with the contractors to organize the application by a third party.

The plan had been worked out to conform to parameters agreed to by local fire departments and the state Forestry Service. The scrub oak would be broken up into islands with open areas equal to 2½ times the height of the trees between them. With a normal stand of trees running around 10 feet tall, this would allow a gap of 25 feet. Board members discussed the cost-effectiveness of the herbicide treatment, given that success was not guaranteed, and in the end decided to run this new program. Smith noted that several residents who were concerned about the program had reviewed the plans with her on-site, and the majority had agreed with the plan.

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July Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

July turned out to be about average for most of us. Although we started out warm and dry, cool, wet weather at the end of the month brought us back to normal in the temperatures department and produced enough rain to get us up to average. However, as is typical this time of the year, when the majority of our precipitation falls from thunderstorms, the rain amounts across the Tri-Lakes area varied quite a bit.

The first full week of July was quiet and warm, with only a couple of scattered, weak thunderstorms that didn’t produce much more than some brief showers. This made for nice weather on the Fourth of July for all the festivities, but it would have been good to get some soaking showers. Highs from the 1st through the 9th stayed in the 80s to low 90s through the entire period, with overnight lows in the upper 40s to mid-50s, not making for the best of sleeping weather for those of us without air conditioning.

The second week of July started off with some active weather, as several rounds of thunderstorms developed during the afternoons of the 11th and 12th. Temperatures were held down as well, with highs holding in the mid-70s to low 80s. The storms produced a half-inch to a couple of inches of rain, along with some hail, over the two-day period. This was a nice relief after things had gotten pretty dry over the past few weeks. Weather conditions were quiet over the next several days, with dry and warm weather returning. Highs returned to the 80s and low 90s through the weekend of the 14th and 15th. Skies remained mostly sunny to partly cloudy as well, making for some nice weather to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

Hot and dry weather returned during the third week of the month, with highs holding in the upper 80s to low 90s. Only a few, weak thunderstorms developed to help cool things down a little. A couple locations around the region picked up some decent rainfall, but most of us missed out. Be sure to check out www.cocorahs.org to see who got rain and who didn’t. It’s a great resource this time of the year because afternoon and evening thunderstorms can be so hit-or-miss. Temperatures did cool down to below average levels briefly on the afternoons of the 19th and 20th, dipping into the lower 80s and upper 70s but bounced right back to the low 90s on the 21st.

The final week of the month saw a return to much higher levels of moisture, producing plenty of clouds and thunderstorms. Because these storms were able to tap into the abundant moisture available, heavy rains, more typical of a tropical downpour, were seen across the region, especially from the 26th through the 29th. These are the best types of storms for us, because they rarely produce any damaging hail or severe weather. The storms also held temperatures down during the end of the month, with highs in the 70s to low 80s from the 26th through the 31st.

A look ahead

August is the last true "summer" month for the Tri-Lakes. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, and highs from the mid-70s to mid-80s. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s, making for better sleeping weather. Thunderstorms are still common during the afternoon and evening, as moisture moving out of the desert Southwest helps to add to the activity. August 2004 and 2006 received above normal precipitation for the Tri-Lakes, while August 2005 started warm and dry and ended on the wet side. Hopefully, we will see above average rainfall as we head into fall. The official monthly forecast for August 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/), is calling for an equal chance of above or below normal temperatures and precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm.

July 2007 Weather Statistics

Average High 84.1° (-.5)
Average Low 51.5° (+.4)
Highest Temperature 91° on the 22nd
Lowest Temperature 45° on the 4th
Monthly Precipitation 2.95" (+.15")
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0"
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 2.95" (+.15")
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)

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

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

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident

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Weather Q&A

By Bill Kappel

It is not surprising after last winter’s heavy snowfalls that I have received a few questions on just how unusual the winter weather was.

Randy from Monument asks, "I do have a question about the snowfall this past season versus record snowfall. Do you know what the most snowfall we’ve had in one season is and how did last year compare to that? While it was a lot of snow that we received up in Monument, I’m sure there have been years where we’ve had more total snowfall. Also, what’s the single most snowfall on record?"

As far as this past winter’s snowfall, unfortunately, there are no official records for the Tri Lakes area, so it’s hard to say if we broke any records. However, knowing the history of some of the big snow years in the past 100 years or so, I would say last season was in the top 10%. If we had received bigger amounts of snow in November and/or March, we would have been right at the top. The snowpack (as far as having at least an inch of snow on the ground) was right near the top as far as number of consecutive days goes, lasting for 118 days at my house in the Walden neighborhood ( November 28 to March 25). I have been keeping weather records at my location for the past 5 winters and last winter was by far the snowiest.

As far as heaviest single snowstorm, there have been reports of past blizzards that deposited upwards of 60 inches of snow; again I can’t give an exact amount for us because there were no official records. However, the March 2003 blizzard dropped 44.8 inches and last December I recorded 36 inches and have measured several 20 inch events in the past 5 years.

Also important to note is just how wet it was around here from June 2006 through July 2007. Add on top of the heavy winter snowfall the fact that we had well above normal rainfall last summer and we easily topped 30" of precipitation (melted snow and rain) in that 12 month period, that’s one of the wettest 12 months you’ll ever see around here.

Charles from the King’s Deer area asks, "What I don’t understand is how Colorado Springs and Denver received "around normal" and we on the Palmer Divide received way more than normal. I understand the Palmer Divide averages are higher; it just seems weird that if Colorado Springs and Denver were say for example 10% higher than normal then Palmer Divide would be around 10% higher than normal. If their normal was50 inches and they got 55, and our normal was 100 then it seems odd that we would get 200 or so inches and not say 110 or so inches.

There are a couple of factors, the most important of which is the fact that we are 2,000 feet higher than Denver and 1,000 feet higher than Colorado Springs. This ensures that storms in fall and spring that bring rain or wet snow to Denver and Colorado Springs bring accumulating snow for us (think of last October, April, and May - the storms in those months alone brought 50+ inches that Denver and Colorado Springs didn’t get). Next, because many of the winter storms that affect us come from the north, we get enhanced upslope that Denver and Colorado Springs do not get. This allows the storm dynamics to be more efficient over us, producing more precipitation. Further, because we are at a higher elevation more of what falls from the clouds reaches the ground before evaporating and temperatures are colder allowing more of what falls to accumulate. Finally, Colorado Springs is located in the heart of the downslope (rain shadow) region of the Palmer Divide, so that in a northerly flow pattern there is most of a storm’s moisture evaporates as the airmass descends downhill to Colorado Springs.

The area from Colorado Springs through Pueblo is affectionately known as the "brown hole". This is because on visible satellite pictures after a snow event that region looks brown instead of white because of the lack of snow accumulation. Denver (61.7 inches) of course averages much more snowfall than Colorado Springs (44.6 inches) because they are not subject to the same downsloping affects from a storm coming in from the north.

I have all the climate and weather information you could ever want (at least for the past 5 years) on my web site at www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm and be sure to check out www.cocorahs.org to see that variety of precipitation patterns that occur in the Tri-Lakes region and maybe you’ll be inspired to become a volunteer observer for your area as well.

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident

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Letters to Our Community

Chicken Little in charge in D-38

When I read the July 7 issue, I thought that Chicken Little had taken up residence in District 38’s School Board administration office! All I read was the sky is going to fall if we the voters do not pass a mill levy in the upcoming election. Rest assured that the mighty Chicken Littles on the D-38 School Board will do everything they can to deflect the true cause of the financial issues facing the district. They said that our options to address these problems include: increase teacher workload, increase class size, reduce after-school programs, have parents pay additional transportation costs or postpone the opening of the new high school.

Well, gee whiz – I did not read anything about responsible management of our tax dollars as an item for that list. How about that?

I would like them to admit and list all the mistakes they have made that have cost us taxpayers millions of dollars, but they will never do it. We know the list but they count on us to have short memories. You see the Chicken Littles on the D-38 School Board believe it is all OUR fault that the sky is falling and are asking us to trust them, again, with our money. Tell me please – what has changed since the last election? Nothing, except my taxes have risen dramatically and D-38 has hired a public relations firm to manage its information spin to try and fool the voters.

Well I can tell you one thing that will change – the School Board come this election. No mill levy should be passed until the board regains the public’s trust and proves that it can manage issues and stop whining about how the sky is falling. Say "No" to Chicken Little!!!

Lynn Feldmann

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Manager cites ‘inaccuracies’

After carefully reviewing the minutes of the Triview Metropolitan District Board meeting of June 26, 2007, the following inaccuracies were discovered in the article "Violation reported at treatment plant" published in OCN on July 7.

First, the board meeting was held on Wednesday, June 27, not June 26.

"Tests indicated that the total suspended solids exceeded the fecal limit…." Total suspended solids and fecal testing are two separate analyses. I reported that the seven-day average for fecals had been violated in April and was most likely due to high solids in the decant.

"…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." This is totally erroneous. In response to a question from the board, I responded that the way to report a violation was to notify the state and then follow up with a letter of explanation and a plan to correct the violation and that this is the responsibility of the operator. Triview Metropolitan District is not the operator of the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

"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." Again inaccurate. Mr. Stephenson stated that the increased capacity was 800,000 gallons per day, virtually doubling the capacity from .875 to 1.75.

"Director Julie Glenn asked if the electrical additions wouldn’t fall under the errors and omissions since they were required by code, suggesting that since it was a design-build contract it should have been initially identified." This is not accurate. Director Glenn did ask if the electrical additions wouldn’t fall under the errors and omissions; the rest is pure conjecture on the part of the author.

"Bishop said that the contractor would address the board at a future meeting to review the cost overruns." What I actually stated in response to a question from the board was "that I had asked the engineer to present a budget at the next ops meeting."

"He said Triview also has been asked to provide management services to Promontory Pointe." Actually it is Sanctuary Pointe.

We at Triview appreciate the media and its coverage of our board meetings and welcome attendance of any member of the public. We do encourage accuracy in reporting of the proceedings and would be willing to discuss the proceedings with the media prior to publishing to ensure that what is being reported is accurate.

Thank you for this opportunity to correct the record.

Larry D. Bishop Sr., manager
Triview Metropolitan District

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Don’t forget to pack a book!

By the staff at Covered Treasures

For long car trips and airplane rides, put a good book in your child’s hands and he or she might just forget to ask, "Are we there yet?" Following are some suggestions from the vast store of enticing children’s literature.

My Secret Unicorn Series
By Linda Chapman
Scholastic, $4.99

When her family moves to the country, Lauren Foster’s dream of owning a pony finally comes true. After she reads a story about a normal pony that turns into a snow-white unicorn when his owner reads a special spell, Lauren starts to wonder. Could her new pony Twilight really become a unicorn? Enjoy time with Lauren and her pony as they solve mysteries and go on lively adventures.

Pixie Tricks Series
By Tracey West
Scholastic, $3.99

Violet Briggs just met someone who’s really out of this world. He’s a fairy named Sprite and he has a huge secret! Fourteen fairies escaped from the Otherworld and they’re causing all kinds of trouble. It’s up to Sprite, the Pixie Tricker, to catch the fairies but he needs Violet’s help. Will Violet and Sprite be able to trick the fairies into going home before it’s too late? Each title in this series is full of pixie fairies’ adventures.

Mr. Tucket Series
By Gary Paulsen
Random House, $5.50

Fourteen-year-old Francis Tucket is heading west on the Oregon Trail with his family by wagon train. When he receives a rifle for his birthday, he is thrilled that he is being treated like an adult. But when Francis lags behind to practice shooting, Pawnee Indians capture him. It will take wild horses, hostile tribes, and a mysterious one-armed mountain man named Mr. Grimes to help Francis become the man who will be called Mr. Tucket. Each title in this series builds on the last as the reader watches Francis mature.

Deltora Quest
By Emily Rodda
Scholastic, $4.99

In this series, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine are on a great quest to find the seven lost gems of the magic Belt of Deltora. Hidden in fearsome places throughout the land, the gems must be restored to the Belt before the rightful heir to the throne can be found and the evil Shadow Lord’s tyranny ended. The obstacles faced by the three companions as they venture through such places as The Lake of Tears, City of Rats and Dread Mountain will keep the reader enthralled.

Ghost Horses
By Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson
Random House, $4.99

Our national parks form the settings for this mystery series for young readers. Ghost Horses takes place in Zion National Park, and Cliff-Hanger is set in Mesa Verde. These adventures are written by an award-winning mystery writer (Ferguson) and an award-winning science writer (Skurzynski). This real-life mother-daughter team visits each park to do the research to create their thrilling tales.

Little House on the Prairie
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
Harper Collins, $6.99

This third book in the Little House series is a Newbery Honor Book. The Ingalls family packs up their covered wagon and sets off for the big skies of the Kansas Territory, where wide-open land stretches as far as the eye can see. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict. These real adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder give children a sense of Western history as seen through the eyes of a young girl.

Admiral Richard Byrd: Alone in the Antarctic
By Paul Rink
Sterling, $6.95

In a thrilling tale of danger and survival in the Antarctic, polar explorer Richard Byrd hovered near death in a tiny hut buried in the ice, knowing rescue was months away. Byrd’s courage and determination to survive alone at the bottom of the world is a gripping tale of personal bravery that will inspire young readers.

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs
By Betty G. Birney
Simon and Schuster, $5.99

Eben McAllister’s pa challenges him to find seven wonders in boring and predictable Sassafras Springs that rival the real Seven Wonders of the World. Little does Eben know that what he discovers will give him the adventure of a lifetime. This is one of the new Battle Books for the 2007-08 school year.

Summertime, and the reading is easy. Fill the time between baseball games, hiking and bicycling, with stories of humor, adventure, love, mystery, fantasy and life! Until next month, happy reading!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, July 19: Dr. Colorado gives a history lesson

Below: Tom Noel (L), author and noted historian who spoke to an appreciative crowd July 19 at the Palmer Lake Town Hall with Diane and Jim Sawatzki. Photo by Dee Kirby

By Diane Sawatzki

Dr. Colorado has been serving up doses of our state’s history for decades, and he served up a hefty one at the July 19 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Tom Noel, professor of history at the University of Colorado-Denver, presented a slide show of some of the compelling people and places featured in his new book, "Colorado: An Illustrated History of the Highest State."

Co-written by Debra Faulkner, this recent work highlights some real winners. Like Cripple Creek’s Bob Womack, who sold his priceless claim for $500, and Spencer Penrose, a Philadelphia family’s black sheep who set a Harvard record for beer drinking. After losing an eye in a rowing accident, Penrose commissioned several glass ones with sufficient redness to match his hangovers. Later, his wife, Julie, reformed him from Colorado’s greatest playboy into its greatest philanthropist. Then there was Gen. William Palmer, Civil War Union Quaker, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, and founder of Colorado Springs.

Noel also commented on the convoluted process of land-marking historic buildings: "They must continue in their original use," he said, "which poses a problem with structures like brothels. The next best thing is to install a law office in it."

He showed slides and told tales of early Manitou Springs, Palmer’s Glen Eyrie, Countess Murat’s Eldorado Hotel, the Long Expedition discovery of the columbine, Colorado College, The Broadmoor, and Palmer Lake’s Estemere. There are 606 sites included in the book: all historic, all interesting, all in our fair state.

The author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Colorado writes a column for The Denver Post, teaches, and conducts historical walking tours. He will give a tour of Cripple Creek in September and one of Denver’s Riverside Cemetery in October. Check out his site at www.coloradowebsites.com\dr-colorado.

**********

The Palmer Lake Historical Society hosts free programs and refreshments in the town hall on the third Thursday of most months. Professor Joan Fairchild will present "Chautauqua" at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 . (Palmer Lake hosted the first Chautauqua Assembly in Colorado 11 years before the one in Boulder, and has commissioned Jim Sawatzki to make a video of this one.)

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

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High Country Highlights: Help plants beat the heat

By Woody Woodworth

Record-setting high temperatures over the past couple of weeks have left us wiping our brow and hoping for cooler weather. The promised afternoon rainstorms have mostly missed us but have provided some cloud cover for brief periods of relief.

We humans suffer in the heat, making us tired, thirsty, worn-out and less likely to perform well at our daily tasks. Your plants react the same way. How do you help your plants beat the heat? Here are a few summertime hints.

  • Water plants early in the morning. If your plants are showing distress in the afternoon from the hot sun, many times a good drink in the morning helps. Saturate and water deep to ensure the plants get adequate water to the root systems. Test the amount of water you’re using by digging near a plant and gauging the moisture at the root level. A good rule of thumb is to water to about 3 inches deep for lawns and 3 to 6 inches for most perennials. When you water shrubs and trees longer and less often, you will help roots grow deep and become more drought tolerant. By watering early, you avoid added evaporation loss from your sprinkler system and help conserve one of our precious resources.
  • Add additional mulch to flower beds, shrubs and around trees. By adding mulch, you help the plants retain more of the moisture and reduce transpiration from the hot afternoon sun. As a rule, the finer the mulch, the more moisture will be retained. I use Soil Pep, a small "forest mulch" around most of the perennials and smaller shrubs. I step up to medium-size cedar bark mulch around most of the larger shrubs and trees. Apply mulch about 3 or 4 inches deep around the drip line of trees and shrubs and about 2 or 3 inches deep around most perennials. Keep the mulch 3 inches or so away from the trunks of shrubs and trees to prevent bugs from infesting the bark.
  • Fertilize your plants. The heat robs your annuals and perennials of their color as your plants use the energy to help the leaves and stalks to survive the extreme temperatures. They need to be fed to keep up with the demand to perform well through the hot months. If you used a good time-release fertilizer around the root system when you planted this year or as a top dressing, you may have all of your bases covered. If not, then a quick application of a water-soluble bloom booster will help the plants gain some strength and provide the beautiful blooms you expect – even through the hot months.
  • Clean up in the garden. You know it’s going to get hot, so start early in the morning and work for short periods. Trim dead or dying leaves from perennials. Dead-head the blooms as soon as they are "spent" to ensure the growth energy returns to the plant to make new blossoms. Pluck those weeds that rob the water, fertilizer and space your plants need to grow healthy, strong and vigorous.

Help your plants beat the heat. Conserve as you garden. It’s easy to "be green."

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Common Nighthawk

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of Common Nighthawks. 

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

On warm summer nights, it is not unusual to hear the piercing cry of the common nighthawk shattering the still night air. At one time we thought the cries came from a wounded animal but later learned that it was the forlorn call of a nighthawk tracking insects. A few nights ago, a nighthawk woke all the dogs in the neighborhood. Its shrieking cry led a chorus of howling canines in an ear-shattering concert not too unlike performances by some of the rock groups I rather enjoyed in my youth.

The common nighthawk is a Neotropical migrant that arrives in Colorado around Memorial Day to breed. It is not a social bird and is highly territorial. It is most easily identified in flight when the white wing bar across each long, slender, tapered wing can be observed. The best time to see it is when the moon is bright and lights up the bird’s white wing stripes. It is extremely difficult to spot a common nighthawk when it is not in flight because its mottled gray and brown plumage resembles cottonwood bark. It has large eyes, but it often closes them while on the ground. To complicate matters, instead of sitting perpendicular on a perch like most birds, it sits parallel to its perch and can appear like a notch on a branch or a piece of bark on the ground.

Nighthawks are found on the edges of forests, and its population tends to be larger in regions that have been burnt. That is unusual, because burned-out landscapes are considered to be destructive to most birds and animals. The common nighthawk has also adapted to city life and nests on flat-topped gravel roofs where the lights around buildings attract insects.

The name "nighthawk" is a misnomer because the bird is not a hawk, and while it is nocturnal, it is most active at dawn and dusk, flying erratically to hunt insects when they are most active. Does this sound like a bat? Not surprisingly, it is often mistaken for a bat and is sometimes called a "bullbat." However, it is a member of the nightjar family of birds and it is a close cousin to the whip-poor-will. It is a medium-size bird, about 9 inches long with a wingspan of 2 feet, similar in size to a jay but sleeker and more agile.

The nighthawk’s diet consists only of flying insects that it catches while in the air. Its beak is tiny, but it is surrounded by long, stiff, bristly feathers that point outward and funnel insects directly into the bird’s rather large open mouth. It flies many miles each night searching the sky for its favorite prey, the mosquito. It also drinks on the fly by skimming the surface of the water. Randy and I often see them flying above the trees in our back yard, making a nasal sounding "peeeent" as it catches insects. One night we were startled when a nighthawk swooped up a moth a few inches in front of my face, then sounded a "peeeent" about its catch.

In June, the male will begin to court the female on the ground and in the air. It will soar 60 feet into the air, then suddenly dive to the ground, breaking the dive a few feet above the ground. When it breaks, it makes a loud, hollow booming sound with its wings. The male works long and hard to attract the attention of a female. After his break-neck dive, he lands near her, shaking his long tail from side to side. If she is impressed, she is coy about it and gives the impression that she’s not in the least bit interested in all his silliness. The male continues soaring, diving, booming, and fanning until the female finally takes notice or tires of him showing off, and copulation takes place.

The pair remains together through the summer. There’s no need to build a nest, because the female lays two eggs a couple of days apart in a small depression on the ground or on a flat gravel-roofed building. Interestingly, the first egg is larger than the second.

The female incubates the eggs for about 20 days and only leaves the nest in the evening to feed. The hatchlings are born with their eyes open and are "semi-precocial," or capable of moving about shortly after birth. The chicks are dependent on the parents to feed them partially digested regurgitated insects. They also rely on the mother to brood them for warmth until they develop secondary feathers and are able to fly. After 25 days, the adolescents leave the nest and are independent. The pair only mates once during the summer season.

In September, the birds begin to form flocks in preparation for their long migration. While little is known about the common nighthawk’s actual migration routes, its destination is South America. It will fly 2,000 to 7,000 miles to get there, among the longest migration of any migratory bird in North America. Similar to most migratory birds, it rides the thermal currents, but unlike other birds, it will interrupt its migration during inclement weather and stay on the ground until the weather changes.

Considering the average life span of the nighthawk is 4 to 5 years but it can live to be 9, it may travel up to 100,000 miles during its lifetime, which is amazing when you think about it.

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Art Matters: Painting with light and bubbles

By Janet Sellers

The photograph as expressive art form has evolved from using the hands-on tools of yore to the electronic tools of today. In most of its history, the traditions of photography and the art of traditional printmaking techniques (etchings, lithographs, etc.) were separated by their technology. Neither of them began as an art form, they were illustration tools for books and other print media.

For a good hundred years, photography was limited to the silver gelatin print on paper, and before that, the glass print. Now, our photo artists can use beautiful cotton rag papers, luscious archival inks, and play with their images before, during and after the photo process, moving their art work into a realm of unique approaches, yet staying in the two-dimensional art world.

The photographic artist has begun using all manner of graphical tools to create images. Most photographers these days use a highly technical camera with a specialized lens to make their light paintings. The camera and accessory industry has moved the modern hobby of snapshots from film to digital processes for many.

In contrast, a number of artists are bringing back the medium’s simplest image-forming device. Using an oatmeal box that has a small hole in the lid and film at the opposite end (know as a "pin hole" camera) they take their pictures. The resulting images from these low-tech wonders are ethereal photographs made with a very long exposure.

Terminology for the craft essentially comes to us from the ancient Greek via the French language. The Greek "graphis" (stylus, paintbrush, to draw) and the Greek "phos" (light) moved into the French "photographie," and we now use that word as "photography" for the form of art that uses "drawing/painting with light".

Current techniques in photography still use the film, camera and lenses to prepare for the printing process. More and more, photographers enjoy the use of electronic or digital tools and techniques to record their images of light.

Often, painters of light in the photo/camera realm and painters of light in the pigment and paintbrush realm are one and the same, with many using variations and extensions of the techniques.

A case in point is the current "Through the Looking Glass" art show at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). While many of the works on exhibit in this show are a traditional type of photo work, many are not.

Some have used the traditional silver gelatin developing techniques. Some of the artists have printed their work digitally. A number of the artists have chosen to print their works on artist’s canvas or archival cotton watercolor papers, lending a delicate texture to their images that would be impossible to create without these newest of methods.

How to do some of these unusual methods work? Of course, the best source of information would be to talk to the artists at their show. Some insight into the methods will provide a wealth of information that art collectors and the average computer and digital camera owner can both appreciate.

"I could have done that" is a common statement among modern art viewers, especially of giclee (bubble jet) prints. With that idea in mind, I’ve prepared a way for our readers to learn more on their own about the genre of painting with light.

Being an artist or visual poet is not a requirement for this activity. Attempting these methods will indeed help one to appreciate the artists who use these tools to create their art reliably, professionally, and for exhibition.

Materials you will need for the artwork project include: a digital photo image, printer, and an appropriate weight paper to print on for your art on paper.

What to do: Choose an image and print it via traditional photo paper or a (bubble jet /giclee) printer. Printing on a variety of art papers, canvas, and so on will influence your artifact results.

Use the chosen image as it comes out of the printer, or paint and draw on it by hand after it is printed. (Computer wizards could make changes on the computer with a software program prior to printing).

All manner of tools can be used on the image, including colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, etc. Just apply them to the printed image any way you like. Many artists will adhere ("collage") scraps of other elements or photos to the print.

Consider this activity as a form of art with no mistakes, and it is a lot of fun to do. As a practice, one may find that using photography and handiwork together is creative and relaxing.

A next step would be to seek out this kind of artwork in galleries and museums. We currently have the opportunity right here in our community to enjoy and collect the works ourselves in our local art galleries and each month at the Art Hop in Historic Monument.

I would recommend that you do hurry over to see the show, "Through the Looking Glass" at the TLCA. It is only up through mid-August. I guarantee you will enjoy the rich variety of techniques using photography in the images.

By the way, as promised, I am visiting some of the Art Hop venues each month to keep you posted and entice you to come out and enjoy the fun. So much is going on that we go each month and see a few places at a time. Our July Art Hop visits focused on the art openings at the Winter Gallery and Buffalo Blues Gallery.

Winter Gallery, 43 Third Ave.: Our famous Claudette Beddingfield opened a show of her larger-than-life works of colorful flower and petal imagery. Claudette was busily greeting guests to the show and chatting about her art work and news.

Stephen Weaver also had a wall of his wonderful photography of the natural world at the Winter Gallery opening. He is exhibiting digital work there as well as at TLCA in August. His superb understanding of geological forms informs his color and texture range in his work.

Buffalo Blues, 135 Second St.: Sharon De Weese generously opened her gallery to show off some new artists in the area: her students from recent classes. This show was set among the ongoing exhibit of Sharon’s art work and in the gallery’s ongoing show of sculpture, glass, and pottery.

The next Art Hop event is 5-7 p.m. Aug. 16 in Historic Downtown Monument. See you there! Remember that every day we have many art opportunities for collecting, enjoying, doing and learning about art in our Tri-Lakes community. Bring your friends and have an art date right here in town.

Correction: Last month’s column listed Doug Buchman’s first name as Tom. OCN regrets the error.

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Snapshots of Our Community

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Below: Old Friends - Photo by Kelly Walker from the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts show "Through the Looking Glass

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Below: Back row L to R: Stephen Coleman - Science, Christine Cruz - Social Studies, Gary Gabel - Principal, Pamela Howard - Social Studies, Glenda Hawkinson - Library, Scott Obermeyer- Math, Roy Saye - Language Arts, Paul Numendahl - Natural Science. Front row L to R: Lisa Pate - Math, J. Kathleen Raphael - Language Arts, Carrie Schultz - Language Arts, Raleigh "Butch" Eversole - Instrumental Music, Tracey Lehman - Technology Services. Photo from the Lewis Palmer Web site: www.lewispalmer.org.

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Below: Monument Concert in the Park, July 18: John Adams with Randy Utterback and friends. The concert was threatened by rain but there was a good turnout and a great time was had by all. Photo by ShawNa Schotanus

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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.

Sue DiNapoli Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk, Aug. 4

Sue DiNapoli lived in the Arrowwood subdivision since 1996. She was an active member of the Kilmer, Lewis-Palmer, and Creekside Middle School PTOs. Sue lost her 5½-year battle with ovarian cancer Aug. 5, 2005. All proceeds from the walk will be donated to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Southern Colorado Division, a group that was a great source of strength for Sue and a great resource for others battling this disease. The 3-mile walk begins 9 a.m., Aug. 4, at the Santa Fe Trailhead in Palmer Lake and ends at the trailhead in Monument. The registration fee is $20 per adult and $10 for youth. The fee includes a t-shirt and entry into door prize drawings. Register at www.active.com.

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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, hands-on displays, 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 ad; does not include entrance into the museum building. For more information call 488-3046, visit www.ccsshows.com, or e-mail ccsshows@earthlink.net.

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D-38 Education Summit, Aug. 8

School District 38 scheduled two education summits to create a new strategic vision for the school district. If you missed the one July 25, here is your opportunity to offer your insights. The second summit will be held Aug. 8, 6 p.m., at the district administration building, 146 Jefferson St. in downtown Monument. The session will last approximately 90 minutes. For reservations and information, contact Robin Adair at 785-4223 or radair@lewispalmer.org.

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Chuck Pyle at Monument Concerts in the Park, Aug. 8

The last concert of the 2007 series features Chuck Pyle Aug. 8, 7-9 p.m., in Limbach Park at the corner of Front Street and Second Street, Monument. Come on down with a chair or blanket and a picnic, or purchase food and drink at the park. For more information, call Woody, 481-3477.

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D-38 "Coffee and Conversation" with 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 in August.

  • Aug. 10, 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Speedtrap Coffee Bar, 84 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.

  • Aug. 22, 9:30-11:30 am, McDonald’s Restaurant, 450 Highway 105, Monument.

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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Golf Classic, Aug. 10

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 their 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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Quilt documentation, Aug. 11

The documentation team from Colorado Quilting Council will be at the Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd., Aug. 11 to document quilts. Their goal is to document the quilts in Colorado–old and new. To date, the team has documented over 11,000 quilts in their journeys around Colorado. The team does not appraise quilts but instead they record the fabrics used, the age of the quilt, the maker’s history, etc. The owner receives a copy of the paperwork and a numbered label to sew into the quilt. For more information contact Carolyn Hock at 488-9791.

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Libraries’ Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social, Aug. 11

Enjoy an afternoon at the Village Green in Palmer Lake (beside the Palmer Lake Branch Library) listening to the Daytime Singers of the America the Beautiful Barbershop Chorus, and eating delicious ice cream from the Rock House. This free event on Aug. 11, 1:30 to 3 p.m., is hosted by the Monument and Palmer Lake branch libraries to honor the community’s seniors. Info: 481-2587.

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El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy - Apply by Aug. 15

The Citizens’ Academy will be held 11 Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Aug. 29 to Nov. 7. The academy will offer participants insight into the various functions of the Sheriff’s Office. Participants will learn about the numerous responsibilities facing patrol deputies by accompanying one on a ride-along, the challenges facing detention staff by touring detention facilities, and the intricacies of a criminal investigation. Topics such as use of force, vice and narcotics operations, and emergency services will also be explored.

There is no charge to attend the Citizens’ Academy, however, seating is limited. Applications must be returned by Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. Citizens wishing to attend should contact Sergeant Jeanette Whitney at 520-7275 or Deputy Jake Abendschan at 520-7107 to request an application.

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Black Forest Community Club Festival, Aug. 18

The annual Black Forest Festival takes place Aug. 18, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the corner of Black Forest and Shoup Roads. A pancake breakfast kicks off the event, 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. the parade will commence, progressing west on Shoup Road from the bridge between Herring and Black Forest roads, then turning north on Black Forest Road to White Fire Lane Road. The festival will also feature food vendors, children’s activities, live entertainment, and more. Off-site parking is available at the gravel lot on the northeast corner of Burgess and Black Forest Roads, with shuttle service available to and from the festival site 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the parade site 8:30 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit http://festival.blackforest-co.com/

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Tri-Lakes Cares Grand Opening Celebration, Aug. 18

Come celebrate the grand opening Aug. 18, 10 a.m. at Tri-Lakes Cares’ new 8,000 square foot facility at 235 Jefferson St. in downtown Monument. Tours will be conducted from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The building, which cost about $800,000 to build, has been made possible by donations, grants, and volunteer labor. Tri-Lakes Cares has been serving the needy since 1984.

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Burro Birthday Concert, Aug. 18

The burros at Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) are turning 6 and you are invited to the party Aug. 18, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Museum tours, gold panning, and outside machinery operations will be available during the day, while the Burro Birthday celebration will start in the afternoon. Stay for an evening of music by Coal Creek Bluegrass Band. Food and drink vendors will be on site for this special event. Picnics and lawn chairs/blankets encouraged. Tickets available by calling 488-0880 or at the gate. Cost: $5 Members, $10 nonmembers, Children 15 & under are free. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd., just off I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, #156A, across from the north entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Info: phone 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org.

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Forest View Acres Water District Facility Tour, Aug. 18

The community is invited to tour the District’s facilities Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. The tour starts at the Arapahoe Water Plant that is located at 18852 Rockbrook Rd. From I-25 take exit 161 and head west onto Highway 105. Go past mile marker 7, turn left onto Rockbrook Road, and go to the curve. The plant is a yellow-tan building on the right. For more information, call 488-2110.

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St. Peter Community Festival, Aug. 24-26

Enjoy great food, beer, and entertainment. All events will be held at St. Peter Church, First and Jefferson Streets, downtown Monument unless otherwise noted.

  • Aug. 24, Golf Outing at the Air Force Academy Eisenhower Blue Golf Course, shotgun start at 1 p.m. Casino Night at St. Peter’s Festival Grounds, 8 p.m. to midnight; food, drinks, and prizes.
  • Aug. 25, Pancake Breakfast St. Peter’s Festival Grounds; 5K/10K Run /Walk Santa Fe Trail, race begins at St Peter’s. Children’s Carnival, noon to 5 p.m. at St. Peter’s Festival Grounds. Live music under the tent, 6 p.m. to midnight with entertainment by The Monument Hill Band, St Peter’s Festival Grounds; Dinner, Wine, Beer… FUN!
  • Aug. 26, Champagne Brunch with a live jazz band, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For additional information visit www.petertherock.org

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High Country Chili Cook-off, Aug. 25

All are welcome to this lively annual event that benefits Tri-Lakes Cares, so get out your secret chili recipe, chop some chilies, and fire up the stove! The date is Aug. 25 and the place is High Country Home & Garden, 243 Washington St. in historic downtown Monument. There will be food vendors, music, and fun for the entire family. Set-up time is 7 a.m., the cooks’ meeting is at 8:30 a.m., public tastings begin at noon. All chili entries must be cooked on site that day. For a registration form or more information, call Catherine, 481-3477.

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Library needs volunteers

TALK English! Facilitators: Meet people from around the world. Facilitate weekly TALK English! groups. Provide English language learners a friendly and supportive place to practice informal social conversation. No knowledge of other languages is required. For information or to register, call 531-6333, x2223. Next training: Aug. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

LEARN English! Classroom Assistants: Help an experienced ESL professional teach adults English language and communication skills. On-the-job training provide by classroom instructors. Classes are held at 8:15 and 11 a.m. at Ruth Holley Branch, and at 6:30 p.m. at Sand Creek Branch. Call 531-6333, x2223 for information.

Volunteer tutors: Share your love of reading. Tutor an adult once a week for two hours. Work with an adult to improve their reading, writing, comprehension, or English language skills. No experience required; free training is provided. For information or to register, call 531-6333, x2223. Next training: Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27, and Oct. 4, 5:30 - 9 p.m., Penrose Library, Colorado Springs.

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Slash and mulch site open until Sept. 16

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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IRS starts free e-newsletter for small businesses

The IRS has designed an online newsletter, e-News for Small Businesses, to help small business owners, self-employed individuals, accounting professionals, and tax practitioners better understand and meet their tax obligations. The weekly newsletter delivers timely, useful tax information to your computer every Wednesday. To start your free subscription to e-News, just go to www.irs.gov/businesses/small/content/0,,id=154826,00.html, type in your e-mail address, and submit.

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Help for gardeners at Monument Library

Bring your yard, plant, and insect questions to the pros. Master Gardeners are available Mondays: 2:30-5:30 p.m. and Wednesdays: 2:30-8:30 p.m. 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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