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Vol. 7 No. 9 - September 1, 2007


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Iron Horse visits Tri-Lakes

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Below: Nineteenth Century technology visits Twenty-First Century Tri-Lakes as the 63 year old Union Pacific Iron Horse 844 travels southbound past Ben Lomand Mountain in Palmer Lake. The steam locomotive made a 237 mile round trip from Denver, Saturday, August 25, carrying passengers to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. Photo by Mike Wicklund.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Rescue Authority, August 22: Woodmoor/Monument residents to vote on fire district merger Oct. 2

By John Heiser

At the October 2 election, residents in the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District will decided if their district is to be merged into the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District.

If a majority of voters approve the dissolution of the Woodmoor/Monument district and inclusion into the Tri-Lakes district, only an affirmative vote of the Tri-Lakes board is required, a vote of the residents of the Tri-Lakes district is not required. If the merger is completed, the boards have agreed to rename the combined entity the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. If approved, the merger is expected to be completed January 1, 2008.

At the August 22 meeting of the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority Board of Directors, it was determined that the polling place for the election will be the Woodmoor/Monument fire station at 1855 Woodmoor Drive.

Tri-Lakes district board member Rick Barnes and Woodmoor/Monument board member Bob Hansen were absent.

Charlie Pocock, president of the Tri-Lakes district and the authority, announced that Hansen has resigned because he has moved to the King’s Deer development and so is no longer a resident of the Woodmoor/Monument district.

Regarding Hansen’s service on the Woodmoor/Monument board, John Hildebrandt, treasurer of the Tri-Lakes district and the fire authority, said, "I compliment Bob for stepping up at a time of turmoil in both districts."

Director Si Sibell added, "We wouldn’t have accomplished what we have without Bob."

Financial Report

Hildebrandt said the authority has received 97 percent of expected property tax revenue anticipated for the year.

As of July 31, ambulance revenues were $284,078, which is 76 percent of the $375,000 projected for the year. Hildebrandt added that he is projecting that ambulance revenues will reach $450,000 or more for the year.

Specific ownership taxes of $205,877 lagged at 54 percent of the budgeted amount for the year. At the end of July, revenue and expenditures would be expected to have reached 58.3 percent (seven twelfths) of the yearly amounts.

As of July 31, total revenue stood at $3.3 million or 83.1 percent of the anticipated $3.9 million for the year.

Total expenses stood at $2.2 million, 55.9 percent of the budgeted total for the year. Hildebrandt noted that virtually all of the expense categories are at or below budget.

Chief Robert Denboske noted that they are continuing to have difficulties collecting some of the impact fees on new developments. The fee is $700 per dwelling unit or $700 for each 2,000 square feet of commercial or industrial space. He said he is working with the regional building department and the school district to collect those fees.

Authority retains Bondi & Co. for 2007 audit

The board unanimously approved retaining Bondi & Co. to prepare the audit of the authority’s 2007 financial statements. Bondi just completed the authority’s 2006 audit.

Authority personnel encouraged to prepare wills

Donna Jack of Pre-Paid Legal Services presented a proposal to have the authority pay for one month of legal services so all personnel would have the opportunity to prepare a will. Jack noted that of the 21 employees who have signed on with Pre-Paid Legal Services, so far only 6 or 7 have prepared a will. She said that parallels national statistics that 70-80 percent of people do not have a will.

The board unanimously approved paying the $15.95 per month fee for one month for all authority personnel to encourage them to prepare wills.

Authority applies for a second SAFER grant

In 2005, the authority won a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant totaling $700,000 over five years to assist in covering the cost of hiring seven additional paid staff.

Denboske asked the authority board to approve submission of another grant application asking for $737,000 over five years to hire additional paid staff. Denboske said that if the grant is awarded, the district’s matching contribution over five years would be $944,000.

He added that with the projected growth within the district, the anticipated increase in property tax revenues will cover the additional costs to the district.

The board unanimously approved submission of the grant application.

**********

The Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board normally meets the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will be held September 26 at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley).

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

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Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District, August 22: Board approves questions

By John Heiser

On August 22, the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District board met following the meeting of the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority. Directors Bill Ingram, Tim Miller, Si Sibell, and Rod Wilson were present. Bob Hansen was absent. Ingram presided.

The Woodmoor/Monument board unanimously approved the following two ballot measures to be submitted to the voters Oct. 2 to merge the Woodmoor-Monument district into the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District:

"Question 1:

Shall the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District be dissolved conditioned upon simultaneous voter approval to include the real property currently within the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District into the boundaries of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District?

For dissolution____
Against dissolution____"

 

"Question 2:

Shall the following described area become a part of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District upon the following conditions, if any?

All real property currently located within the boundaries and service area of the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District conditioned upon simultaneous voter approval to dissolve the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District.

For inclusion_____
Against inclusion____"

A majority of voters must approve both questions for the merger to be approved.

Hansen’s resignation

The board also voted unanimously to accept Bob Hansen’s resignation from the board and directed Chief Robert Denboske to advertise the vacancy. Hansen no longer lives within the Woodmoor/Monument district.

Director Rod Wilson, district secretary, was appointed to succeed Hansen as treasurer for the district.

*********

The Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District board usually meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held September 26 at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley).

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

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District celebrates 25 years

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Below: . The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District celebrates its 25th Anniversary, August 5. Photo by Jim Kendrick

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Meeting, August 16: Board approves ballot measure for $3 million mill levy override

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Below: Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board August 16. Left to right: Board members Gail Wilson, Dee Dee Eaton, Stephen Plank, LouAnn Deklvea, and Jes Raintree, Superintendent Ray Blanch, Secretary to the Superintendent Joanne Jensen.

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By John Heiser

At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board workshop August 16, the board unanimously approved the following question for the November 6 ballot:

"Shall Lewis-Palmer consolidated school district No. 38 taxes be increased $3,000,000 annually (the maximum amount which may be collected in any year above 2007 tax collections) for the purposes of providing:

• Compensation to teachers employed by the district (only licensed instructional staff) and

• Operational funds for the second high school (Palmer Ridge High School)

And shall the revenues from such taxes and any earnings from the investment of such revenues constitute a voter approved revenue change and exception to the limits which would otherwise apply under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?"

The resolution passed by the board authorizing the ballot measure said in part, "It is the current intent of the board that any revenues collected pursuant to this authorization will be under the review of a facilities and enrollment committee, which will report on the expenditure of these funds annually at the Board meeting held in January of each year."

The board also unanimously approved a ballot measure submitted by the Monument Academy asking voters for a tax increase not to exceed one mill ($418,237 in the 2008 tax collection year) for up to 10 years for the charter school’s capital construction needs.

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

Upcoming election will fill three board seats

Three board seats - director districts 2, 4, and 5, occupied by Dekleva, Raintree, and Plank respectively - are up for election in November.

Raintree has announced that she will not seek reelection. Dekleva and Plank are seeking reelection.

Citizen comments

During citizen comments, parent Ilanit Bennaim requested that agenda items for special education issues be included on committees making decisions regarding curriculum, adequate yearly progress, and accountability and that the school board agendas include a special education item. Parent Deborah Goth commended the district and Hal Garland, director of auxiliary services, for the improved traffic flow at Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) and Lewis-Palmer Middle School on this year’s first day of school. She also stated her disappointment and concerns regarding board members’ continuing public power struggles.

Students do well on tests

Dr. Marie Revak, director of assessment, reviewed District 38 Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores compared with Colorado averages. The district exceeds the state in Proficient and Advanced categories by 21 percent at the elementary level; 24 percent at the middle school level; and 21 percent at the high school level. One of the district all-time high scores is Fifth Grade Math with 56 percent of the students scoring Advanced. Revak also reviewed American College Test and Advanced Placement scores. Revak will provide a more detailed report of student achievement in the fall.

High school construction project update

Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering noted that the $43.9 million guaranteed maximum price approved last month for the construction of Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS) construction budget could change due to changes in scope or unforeseen conditions such as subterranean rock. Chamberlin reviewed this month’s progress at the high school construction sites. Some highlights:

  • Of the $65.1 million in bond proceeds, $6.7 million in invoices have been paid, $1.9 million in invoices have been processed, and $46.7 million has been committed on current contracts leaving $9.8 million yet to be committed.
  • The geothermal field consists of approximately 214 wells, each about 400 feet deep. The field will provide all heating and cooling for PRHS and is sized to handle the present structures and the additional 66,000 square feet planned for phase 2.
  • Underground electrical conduits are being installed. Using underground conduits will reduce conflicts with overhead structures, ductwork, and plumbing.
  • Site grading is 90 percent complete.
  • Foundations and footings in the first two buildings are 90 percent complete and on average 7-8 concrete wall panels are being erected per day.
  • At the LPHS stadium project, the track subgrade has been prepared for surfacing, grading for the landscaping surrounding the track is completed, the artificial turf base has been installed, concessions, restrooms, and the press box are nearing completion with drywall ceilings, painting, and installation of fixtures remaining to be completed. The stadium project is scheduled for substantial completion by September 13 with early completion of the bleachers, track, artificial turf, and lights as needed to host the season opener football game August 31.
  • Work is continuing with the contractor on the Jackson Creek Parkway improvements but recent thunderstorms have added to problems with silting and erosion. The drainage issues are being worked cooperatively with the Town of Monument and the El Paso County Department of Transportation.

The board unanimously approved payment of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District tap fees totaling $247,120 for PRHS and LPHS.

Proposed housing project raises concerns

The board directed the superintendent to discuss with the Town of Monument the impact of rezoning land for The Meadows proposed subdivision. The project proposes 891 dwelling units on 750 acres just west of I-25 between Second Street and Baptist Road. The land is currently zoned commercial and industrial. Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief operations officer, said that if this subdivision were approved, it would contribute an additional 500-600 students. She recommended that the school district request land from the developer for a future school site. Plank said that the rezoning would create an additional burden on the district, hurt taxpayers, and hurt the district’s bonding capacity. He added, "This is a huge impact."

Other matters

  • Technology Department employees commended - Chris Mack, Daniel Aubain, Jimmy Mathis, Ed Waltman, Ryan Gillis and Lisa Herman were commended by Steve Endicott, director of informational services, for their expertise and efficiencies in handling special projects, such as the new telephone system and wide area network, in addition to the regular tasks required to prepare schools for the new school year.
  • District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) charge for 2007-08 approved – In a split vote (Eaton, Plank, and Wilson in favor, Dekleva and Raintree opposed) the board approved an amended DAAC charge with two components, a district/staff charge and a Board of Education charge. A point of contention was whether the DAAC should monitor the board’s performance relative to its stated policies. Plank said that component could be added if policy governance is approved.
  • Board/Superintendent goals for 2007-08 tabled – After some discussion, the board voted (Dekleva, Eaton, Plank, and Wilson in favor, Raintree opposed) to table approval of goals until next month.
  • Policy Manual work session scheduled – On another split vote (Eaton, Plank, and Wilson in favor, Dekleva and Raintree opposed), the board decided to postpone approval of revised sections A, B, C, and D of the policy manual and instead scheduled a work session for September 6, 5:30 p.m., to discuss those sections.
  • Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) Early Childhood Education (ECE) Task Force resolutions adopted – The board unanimously voted to support two resolutions of the CASB ECE Task Force to improve the quality of early education programs and support specific professional development for developmentally appropriate activities. The board expressed the importance of maintaining local control at this level.
  • Board member committee liaison assignments made – DAAC: The board liaison to the DAAC will change every two years, coinciding with the board’s charge to DAAC in August. Eaton will be the board’s liaison to DAAC for the next two years. Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC): Although not official liaisons, Plank and Dekleva will attend the SEAC meeting September 12. Audit Committee: The board treasurer chairs the Audit Committee. The director for this committee will change in July of even-numbered years. Plank will continue to serve in this capacity until next July. The Facilities and Enrollment Committee: This committee no longer requires a board liaison. Wangeman will update the board on this committee as needed.
  • Board spokesperson to be decided case by case – On another split vote (Eaton, Plank, and Wilson in favor, Dekleva and Raintree opposed), the board decided that for the next two years, whenever the board needs a spokesperson for an event, they will choose one of their members to serve in that role.
  • Board member comments –Wilson expressed her gratitude for the good start to the school year. Eaton said she found the PRHS site tour amazing. Plank stated the board and administration have a lot of work to do in moving students and programs as part of the high school project. Dekleva said she felt privileged to hear the new state Commissioner of Education, Dwight Jones, speak earlier this week and stated he is a great leader for Colorado. Raintree noted that the board continues to work toward becoming a true governance board.
  • Superintendent’s Update – Dr. Ray Blanch announced conversations will continue with educational summits and coffee house visits. He updated the board on an emergency resolution to repeated flooding at the Palmer Lake Elementary School (PLES) preschool facility. He said the building was considered a temporary building 25 years ago. He noted that the staff concluded that the building was not a safe and healthy environment for children. He said an alternative site is being prepared for the PLES preschool program to begin after Labor Day. Blanch thanked the staff for pulling together to solve this situation.

At the conclusion of the public meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

**********

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., September 20.

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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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors Meeting, August 9: Dam repairs on schedule

By Elizabeth Hacker

The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board of Directors were told at the Aug. 9 meeting that Lake Woodmoor Dam repair plans were on schedule.

District manager Phil Steininger reported that contractor Layne Western was taking soil sampling on the Lake Woodmoor Dam. He passed out a draft of a letter that was to be sent to lake-area customers explaining that the lake would be drained for repairs on the outlet drain pipe and valve at the dam.

The board asked if he had received any calls from people living around the lake, to which Steininger replied that there had been some calls regarding misinformation, as residents had heard that Lake Woodmoor would be left empty. He said he told the residents the lake would be refilled after repairs were made but because the lake is functioning as a water reservoir, the level would continually fluctuate.

Following a brief discussion regarding the possible liability of people walking on ice as water levels are lowered and the aesthetic aspects of the lake fluctuation, the board suggested changes be added to the letter and that it be mailed with the September water bills. Steininger said that he would bring the revised letter to the board next month.

Removing and restocking fish

Steininger reported that he had contacted the Colorado Department of Fish and Wildlife and initially had been told that it wouldn’t help with removing the fish in the lake before it was drained. A few weeks later, the department told him it had a place to move the fish and offered to relocate them. The department also suggested holding a fishing derby. Steininger added that when the lake was refilled, fish should be replaced because they help to maintain good water quality by reducing algae and controlling the mosquito population. He added that Fish and Wildlife would work with the district on removing the fish but would not restock it, so he had contacted a private consultant for advice and a proposal for restocking.

County contractor paves over manholes and valve boxes

Operations manager Randy Gillette reported that El Paso County was currently overlaying roads in the district and covering the district’s manholes and valve boxes, which was a problem for the maintenance and repair of its sewer lines. He noted that he called the county’s road division but never was able to connect with anyone before the contract was finalized. He said that once he did talk to someone, he was told that the cost for the county’s contractor to install the rings provided by the district as an add-on would be $200 per manhole and $100 per valve box. Those costs would be too high, Gillette said, especially considering that it would have cost much less if it had been included in the initial contract.

Gillette said that because the new surface will overlay the district’s manholes, the maintenance crew will have to locate all of them, dig up the pavement around the manholes and valve boxes, install the rings, and then patch around them, which creates big dips in the road surface that irritate residents. He said this all could have been avoided if the county had alerted the district.

The board expressed concern that the county did not coordinate with the district and that because the rings would not be installed at the time the pavement is laid, district residents would have to bear the cost of installing the rings and deal with dips in roads that have been resurfaced at taxpayers’ expense. Steininger said district staff would try to get the best results for customers in the area.

Golf club water agreement needed

District engineer Jessie Shaffer reported that an agreement was needed for the district to provide augmentation water to Woodmoor Pines Golf and Country Club so that it could store run-off water in the golf course ponds. He said that currently the district’s water attorney and the club’s attorney are working on an agreement. The board asked Shaffer how inflow from runoff was measured, and Shaffer said they were working on a system to meter it. The information obtained from a flow monitoring device would be coordinated with weather station information located at the fire station.

Well 20 update

Shaffer reported that work is moving forward on site development and the equipment contract. He noted that they had not received access approval from the county at Fairplay Drive but that they would continue to move forward with installing the piping to the south treatment plant and building the well house. RTW consultant Mike Rothberg added that they were working on a design for the well house.

Fire hydrant repair

Gillette reported that the district was continuing to check all of its fire hydrants. He noted that a few had to be replaced and several were repaired. He said that the district was fortunate to have two Boy Scouts, working on their Eagle badges, painting 130 fire hydrants. Gillette asked to be notified of any hydrants that needed painting.

Sewer line repair

Gillette reported that his crew continues to repair manholes and examine sewer lines. He said that Zone 1 should be completed this season, adding that the trunk lines had been completed and that they were now working on lateral lines. He said that the district is on schedule for its 5-year cleaning cycle for all the zones.

Lake provides half of water

Gillette said that the water being delivered to residents is currently a 50 percent blend of lake water and well water, adding that 700 gallons per minute were being pumped from the lake. Even with the recent rain, the lake was drawing down as expected, he said.

Front loader cuts time

Gillette said that the district had purchased a used GEHL all-wheel front loader from Ohio Cat and that it had helped to cut down the time it took to do repairs.

"Evolution of Water" presentation

Steininger reported that he and Shaffer had been asked to make presentations to the Woodmoor Improvement Association on Aug. 27 and to Sertoma on Oct. 6. They presented the slide show that they planned to present at the meetings. They reviewed the 24-year history of the district’s water use, showed current water demand, and projected future demand for water at build-out. Steininger explained how using surface water would one day be more cost-effective than ground water. The slide show also explained the Denver Basin hydrogeology and how it is being depleted along the Front Range. The board complimented Steininger and Shaffer on the presentation and suggested that it be made available on the district’s Web site for any residents who want to see it.

Personnel manual being updated

Steininger reported that the district is updating its personnel policies manual, which has been in effect since 1997, noting that there had been six resolutions that affect policies that had not been added to it. He and the rest of the staff have reviewed the policies, and attorney Erin Smith would complete the final draft. Steininger explained the proposed possible changes to the board, and the board said to proceed with updating the policy manual.

Executive session

The board went into executive session to confer with attorney Smith for legal advice on specific legal questions related to the Palmer Ridge High School non-potable water line and the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority Water Infrastructure Planning Study. The executive session began at 2:32 p.m., and the board returned to regular session at 4 p.m. No actions were taken.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors Meeting, August 15: Donala wins water plant of the year award

By John Heiser

At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting August 15, Dana Duthie, general manager of the district, reported that the District’s Graham-Nance Water Treatment Plant (WTP), co-located with its office on Holbein Drive was selected for the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association (RMSAWWA) Outstanding Water Treatment Plant Award for 2007. The Rocky Mountain section covers Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. The citation reads in part, "The WTP staff was recommended for this award because of their commitment and dedication to providing safe water to their customers. The WTP has high marks from the State of Colorado during the latest inspection. In addition, the WTP has a strong commitment to safety and has had no lost days of work due to injuries." Superintendent Robert Hull and Chief Water Operator Mark Parker will receive the award at the RMSAWWA conference in Keystone, Colorado, September 10.

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

Questions arise regarding ET controllers water use

Duthie noted that the first ten evapotransporation (ET) controllers used about 20 to 25 percent more water during July than those customers used during June 2006, a comparable month in terms of precipitation. He said he is planning to do a longer-term analysis of ET controller water usage. He added that with 26 ET controllers currently installed and only a few weeks left in the irrigation season, he is recommending no more ET controller installations this year.

Duthie reiterated that the ET controllers are not intended as a conservation tool. They are designed to support optimum root structure for Kentucky bluegrass. He added that the controllers, which automate irrigation, are good for people who travel.

Irrigation rationing program update

Duthie said that 65 to 70 percent of residents are complying with the rationing program and are saving, on average, about 30 percent on their water use compared to June 2006. He cited an example of a resident who reduced their monthly water usage by 63 percent and another who reduced their usage by 75 percent.

He reported that the district has sent about 200 warning letters and about a dozen second warning letters. So far, no one has been fined.

Duthie said that there are some residential customers in the district who used more than 100,000 gallons during July. Almost 700 customers used more than 40,000 gallons each. He added that less than 1 percent of Donala’s customers use 10 percent of the water. Duthie said he intends to propose a rate increase for those who use more than 40,000 gallons per month.

At its meeting September 17, the board will discuss tap fees, water and sewer rates, and availability of service fees for next year. The district welcomes public comments.

Fixture and appliance rebate program recommended

Duthie distributed a summary of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District’s Summer Rebate program that pays residents rebates for installing low water use fixtures and appliances:

  • $10 for replacing a 4-gallon per minute showerhead with a 2.5-gallon per minute showerhead.
  • $25 for replacing a 3-5 gallon per flush toilet with a 1.6-gallon per flush toilet.
  • $75 for replacing a higher water use toilet with a toilet that uses no more than 1.28 gallons per flush.
  • $100 for replacing a 45-gallon per load washing machine with a 25-gallon per load washing machine.
  • $35 for purchasing an irrigation controller that sets multiple days and time limits to conserve water.
  • $25 for purchasing a rain sensor that overrides an irrigation system when there is precipitation.

Duthie said that over the past two years, the Woodmoor district has paid about $2,200 in rebates. He recommended that the Donala district adopt a similar program to encourage replacement of indoor fixtures and appliances.

Other matters

  • On September 27 and 28 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Colorado Springs, the El Paso County Water Authority is sponsoring a water forum on recharging alluvial aquifers. There is information posted at www.agwt.org.
  • On July 19, the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority received a presentation from Aaron Million on his proposed Regional Watershed Supply Project to construct a pipeline from the Green River in northwestern Colorado across Interstate 80 to the Front Range and then south to Pueblo. The privately developed project would create 3.8 million acre-feet of storage in Flaming Gorge, include hydroelectric power generation, and pump 165,000 to 250,000 acre-feet of water per year through the proposed pipeline. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. Million estimated the project will take 3-5 years to complete and cost $2-$3 billion. Duthie noted that Million is optimistic and said that others characterize the project as a "pipe dream."
  • Construction of the wastewater treatment plant expansion is continuing. Duthie projected the start of influent in mid-December with delivery of sequencing batch reaction (SBR) equipment in January and SBR operation starting in late February.
  • August 7, the wastewater treatment plant spilled about 2,000 gallons of wastewater on the ground and into Jackson Creek. The spill resulted from operator error in restarting equipment after the plant suffered a lightning strike that damaged control systems. Duthie said that reports were filed, downstream users were notified, and visual inspection of the creek showed "no indication of any wastewater."
  • During recent heavy storms, the wastewater plant has at times received on the order of a million gallons per day of sediment. Duthie is working with the Triview district to find and fix the sources of the infiltration of stormwater and sediment into the sewers.
  • Trenching to install pipes continues to encounter TV cables and other infrastructure in unexpected places.
  • The board has scheduled a wastewater treatment plant tour for September 15, 10 a.m.

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

**********

The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Monday, September 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

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

The district’s September newsletter was used in the preparation of this article.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors, August 16: District still exploring options to merger with Donala

By Susan Hindman

Oct. 1 had been envisioned as the magic date for signing the draft of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the Donala and Academy Water and Sanitation Districts, but little progress has been made to resolve Academy’s questions and concerns about numerous details. Since the last board meeting on July 26, Academy attorney Paul Murphy said he had sent a "summary of concerns" to Donala’s attorney but had not received any response.

The IGA is one avenue Academy could take to deal with impending new federal standards on treating ammonia in wastewater. "The ammonia only shows up in winter when the ponds freeze," said Richard DuPont, board president. But that’s enough to require the district, which serves 300 customers, to make expensive operations changes.

Academy would bring not only wastewater but drinking water to the negotiations, which board members acknowledged is likely more enticing to Donala. "We are only using a portion of the water rights we have," DuPont said.

Murphy discussed the problems with the two options of consolidation/merger and inclusion. "You have to have a mechanism to get the districts together in some fashion," he said. The IGA between the two districts would remain in effect until Academy’s bond debt is paid off in 2014.

At that point, one of two things would happen: inclusion or merger/consolidation. The problem with inclusion is that it would only happen if every property owner in Academy’s district petitioned to be included. In addition, the Donala board would vote on whether or not to include Academy. The IGA would be an inclusion.

Merger/consolidation would involve a vote of the public. Both options leave Academy at risk of being cut off at the end of the IGA period.

Murphy cautioned that the board also needs to look at other state or federal clean water acts that might be coming up. "It’s always going to be something," district operator Jerry Jacobson responded. "And every time will require further refining of our treatment process."

DuPont said, "We need expert help. We need to go out and look and ask and communicate with people in the business."

Jacobson says he is doing that. He is continuing to pursue several leads on ammonia removal systems.

Another looming issue is the $22,000 it will cost Academy for its 2008 membership in the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. Current dues are much lower than that. The membership fee would be coupled with additional costs that all districts would split for various expenses that come up over the year. At this point, Academy had only budgeted $12,000 for dues for 2008. Academy could opt not to rejoin when membership expires in December. But, Jacobson cautioned, "If we don’t rejoin, we’re on our own."

Fees and rates

DuPont noted that the auditor reported the district has been running "right on the edge, at a loss," and that "she’s noticed this for three years." Treasurer Walter Reiss said that part of the problem was the substantial fees generated by the lawyer handling the water augmentation plan, which took several years and is now paid in full. For every gallon of water taken out of the aquifers, a percentage of it has to be replaced in some fashion. This is augmentation, and a plan is a necessary component of that.

This led to discussion about a possible change in water rates. "About 10 or 11 years ago, we reduced our service charges," DuPont said. "We have now gone through more than 10 years of operation and not increased our fees. Maybe it’s time to reinstitute it. Or increase the water rate itself."

The service fee was $10 higher at that time. Water rates now are set on a graduated plan, by use: $4 per 1,000 gallons up to 8,000 gallons; $6 per 1,000 up to 12,000 gallons; and $10 per 1,000 over 12,000 gallons. "We don’t have many 10,000-gallon people," DuPont said.

He said that Jacobson has a list of maintenance items that eventually have to be taken care of and that can’t be done without more fees being generated.

Any rate increase would trigger a TABOR reaction, said Murphy, because even though the money would be used for operations, it’s considered a spending issue.

"We have worked at reducing costs," Jacobson said, "but at some point we reach a baseline where we can’t reduce anymore. We may have reached it."

As directors review needs and costs for the 2008 budget, which must be submitted in November, the issue will come up again, so no decisions were made.

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The Academy board usually meets on the first Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Wescott fire station on Sun Hills Drive.

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Forest View Acres Water District Board of Directors, August 23: District’s administration and operation contracts terminated

By John Heiser

At the August 23 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Forest View Acres Water District, it was announced that Special District Management Services, Inc. (SDMS), which has been performing administrative services for the district, and Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI), which has been operating the district’s water system, have exercised the 90 day termination clauses in their contracts. The terminations will be effective November 15. Deborah McCoy, President of SDMS, is a part owner of CSI. No reason was given for the termination.

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

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

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

District background

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

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

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

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

Operations report

The operations report for July showed that the district’s surface plant produced 1.6 million gallons, averaging 38 gallons per minute over 30 days. The district’s Arapahoe well averaged 101 gallons per minute over 12 days. The net monthly production was 1.7 million gallons.

Water sales for July totaled 2.5 million gallons.

The loss from the system during July was 792,692 gallons or 23.5 percent of net production.

The loss for the first seven months of the year totaled 4.7 million gallons or 31.4 percent of the net production of 15.2 million gallons.

Bacon noted that he added information to his monthly operations report showing the amount of water purchased from Palmer Lake. That total so far this year is 249,000 gallons, all of which was purchased in May.

Bacon said he is 99 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. Recent roadwork has buried some of the valves he previously located.

He said he will complete rerouting the chlorine feed line prior to contract termination November 15.

Fire hydrant update

Bacon reported that a Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District representative said the water district could paint the hydrants any color they want as long as the caps reflect the measured flow available at the hydrant. Initially, the caps should be painted red indicating that no flow test has been done. Bacon said the fire district has flow measurement equipment. Bacon added that he was told the fire district would be willing to share in the cost for flags to increase visibility of the hydrants.

Crocker said that was a different story than he got from fire chief Robert Denboske. He said he would follow up with the fire district.

Other matters

  • The board unanimously approved payment of bills totaling $43,901.
  • Solicitation for a new engineering firm yielded four proposals. The board members expressed their ranking of the four firms but a decision was tabled until Reed-Polatty could present her views.
  • The board unanimously approved purchase of seven 50-foot segments of fire hose for emergency connection to the Palmer Lake water system.
  • The board approved activation of the district’s Web site at www.fvawd.com.
  • Resident Jeff Dull requested access to minutes, financial records, and operations reports from January 2004 to present. Johnson said she would prepare an estimate of the cost for the time to locate the records and make copies.
  • Resident Susan Gates reported that when she attended an August 3 workshop at SDMS, McCoy told her she was not welcome in SDMS offices. When asked by Gates whether she should leave, Bevis recalled saying, "It’s probably a good idea." Gates left the meeting. Gates asked what was discussed after she left. Crocker said they reviewed the expenses relative to the budget. He added that a big issue was the pipe failure in May and the cost of the associated additional meetings and correspondence.

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

**********

The regular board meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for September 27, 6:00 p.m. at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). Those wishing to attend should check the date, time, and location by calling the SDMS at (800) 741-3254 or 488-2110.

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Protect Our Wells Meeting, August 27: Well owners urged to form observation well network

Below: Dr. John Moore discussed the state of the bedrock aquifers at the Protect Our Wells meeting Aug. 27. Photos by JoAnn McNabb.

By JoAnn McNabb

"You need an Observation Well Network" was the driving point at the Protect Our Wells (POW) meeting August 27. The point was made by Dr. John Moore who is retired from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and who has been co-author of a number of books on groundwater. When asked if groundwater in the Dawson aquifer is higher, lower, or the same as it has been, he said he could not answer the question because there is no data. In fact, Moore said he had made the same point to POW three years ago and still nothing has been done. By checking the water levels in designated wells twice a year, it would be possible to identify a trend or a serious problem. He said it would not be that expensive to accomplish but he did not provide an estimated cost.

POW, also called Denver Basin Aquifers Private Well Owners Association, is a citizen-based organization that advocates for residents with private wells in the Denver Basin. Moore addressed an audience of about 50 people at the Woodmen Valley Chapel on Woodmen Road who are concerned about the area’s groundwater. Groundwater is literally water in the ground. There are four aquifers providing groundwater in the Denver Basin. These include the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers. POW may be regarded as a watchdog organization performing an oversight function on water managers. POW operates as a non-profit group.

After Moore stressed the need for an Observation Well Network on the Dawson aquifer, there was audience discussion on exactly how groundwater level measurements could be taken and whether it may introduce a risk of contamination. Julia Murphy, the hydrogeologist who is the consultant for POW, said the state-of-the-art equipment would cost several thousands of dollars. Yet it was pointed out that one piece of equipment could be used to analyze all the wells. Additionally, Moore said that the modern equipment still was not the most accurate. Moore agreed that seasonal variations are also a factor in well monitoring with water being higher in the spring at the end of the recharge cycle.

Moore said there has been data collection for the Arapahoe aquifer although data for the Dawson was lacking. Arapahoe aquifer data was collected by state engineers and has been analyzed by Bob Raynolds of the USGS. Bob Raynolds had been the scheduled speaker at POW but was unable to keep the speaking engagement.

From the measurements on the Arapahoe aquifer, Raynolds was able to calculate the water level in the Arapahoe aquifer is falling about 30 feet per year. That’s an indication that the state cannot rely so heavily on groundwater for longterm sustainability. According to a chart that was shown by Moore, the water table may be dangerously low in the Arapahoe aquifer by 2010.

The rapid decline in available water resources is due in large part to the rapid growth in Colorado. Moore said the number of bedrock wells in Colorado has increased from 12,000 in 1985 to 33,700 in 2001 and there are even more now. Moore said in Colorado about 20% of our drinking water comes from groundwater. Also we are increasing our municipal use of groundwater.

We have also been groundwater mining. Groundwater mining is taking water out of the ground from aquifers that cannot recharge or renew water. This has the effect of

  • Depleting streams
  • Decreasing well yields
  • Increasing pumping costs
  • Degrading the water supply
  • Causing subsidence
  • Drying up wells

Moore explained the difference between the Arapahoe aquifer, which is a confined aquifer, and the Dawson, which is unconfined. The Arapahoe aquifer cannot recharge with new water since a layer of solid rock is impermeable to the water seeping into the ground. On the other hand, the Dawson aquifer is unconfined and can get recharged from the new rain and snows. The Arapahoe aquifer is being mined. Moore warned that people should check water availability when they purchase a home ("caveat emptor").

An interesting aspect of the evening was that Dave Gardner of GrowthBusters was at the POW meeting filming for a documentary about growth. It’s projected title is "Choking on Growth".

**********

For more information on POW, visit www.protectourwells.org.

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Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, August 20: Numerous downtown and Jackson Creek land use applications discussed

Below: At the BOT meeting: .Retired Marine Rafael Dominguez was unanimously appointed to fill the vacant seat on the town’s Planning Commission. He is being sworn in by Town Clerk Scott Meszaros (L). Photos by Jim Kendrick

Below: Eagle Scout candidate Danny Ball of Troop 56said he would be raising about $600 in donations and doing the landscape planting for the concrete and brick patio for the town’s planned art wall display at the expanded water treatment building on the northwest corner of the intersection of Beacon Lite Road and Second Street. 

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) had a very lengthy agenda for its Aug. 20 meeting because it also included all the items deferred from the Aug. 6 meeting that was cancelled due to lack of a trustee quorum. All board members and staff department heads were present.

BRRTA meeting report

Mayor Byron Glenn reported on the Aug. 10 Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) meeting. He said that the El Paso County Department of Transportation planned to have the Leather Chaps Drive intersection completed by the end of September. The rest of the construction for Baptist Road and the new Struthers Road south of Baptist and Jackson Creek Parkway will be finished by December 1. However, the final top coat of asphalt on all of this new widened roadway will not likely be applied until spring according to Andre Brackin, Capital Projects Director for the county transportation department due to winter snows.

Glenn also discussed right-of-way donations for the Baptist Road I-25 interchange expansion. The Schuck Corporation has completed the donation of right-of-way for adjacent Forest Lakes Metropolitan District land south of Baptist Road and west of Old Denver Highway. The donation from Phoenix-Bell, which owns the vacant land on the north side of Baptist Road between Old Denver Highway and the west side of I-25, "is really close so that’s two out of the four." "We’re working with the (Diamond Shamrock) service station," Glenn added. Valero Energy Corp owns this truck stop, which is on the northwest corner of the interchange.

Glenn said the THF Realty right-of-way "on the east side will be the hardest one to get."

This THF property includes the former Foxworth-Galbraith building and lot recently purchased from the Watt family as well as the surrounding Timbers at Monument vacant land to the east down to Jackson Creek Parkway which THF recently purchased from ADK Monument Developers LLC. The Timbers parcel extends north to Monument Marketplace from I-25 east to Jackson Creek Parkway. THF has asked for tax and fee exemptions for the additional density it is proposing for the Timbers project – double the density originally proposed by ADK before "flipping" the parcel to THF– in return for the right-of-way donation along the north side of Baptist Road and the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway.

The substantial amount of interchange right-of-way donation is necessary because the new Baptist Road bridge over I-25 will be eight lanes wide. All four interchange ramps will be widened to two lanes. Currently, Baptist Road and the bridge are only two lanes wide and the existing ramps were designed to be only a single lane. The state transportation department’s policy is not to allow the bid for a contract for expansion of an interchange to be advertised until all right-of-way has been donated.

Financing and supervision of current and future Baptist Road construction contracts, as well as future ownership and maintenance issues are complex.

These two separate on-going construction contracts for the county’s Struthers and Baptist Roads are being financed by revenue raised by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) through its temporary 10-year one-cent sales tax. BRRTA, which is entirely separate from PPRTA, has paid for the engineering design for widening Baptist east of I-25 from collection of traffic impact fees for new construction. The town of Monument is not part of BRRTA or PPRTA, though nearly all of southeast Monument is in BRRTA through separate recent annexations.

All aspects of the expansion of the state’s interchange must be approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation even though the department is not paying for the bridge and ramp widening. The county transportation department will manage and direct the interchange construction project contract while BRRTA will pay the entire cost of the expansion with $21.5 million in revenue bonds financed by a separate temporary 20-year one-cent sales tax.

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

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

Also, Glenn has frequently said at BRRTA and Monument Board of Trustees meetings that the town intends to annex the widened portion of Baptist Road from I-25 east to Desiree Drive at the conclusion of the county’s construction warranty period.

Glenn said the town will add a full-motion traffic signal (left turn lights in all four directions) at the existing Jackson Creek Crossing intersection between the existing Jackson Creek Parkway light and the planned signal at the Leather Chaps Drive intersection. Left turns onto eastbound Baptist Road or northbound into the King Soopers shopping center are no longer prohibited at Jackson Creek Crossing.

The Gleneagle Drive intersection will also have a signal. No signals are currently being planned for the Desiree Drive or Tari Drive intersections on Baptist Road.

Glenn reported that John Laing Homes will be donating 15,000 cubic yards of soil from the Promontory Pointe development for construction at the new Town Hall site in Centennial Office Park on the southwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105. About 6 to 10 feet of the top soil was removed from the Centennial site several decades ago.

Increased code enforcement urged

Trustee Tommie Plank commented that she would like to see code enforcement, and the hiring of a code enforcement officer placed on the board’s agenda. "We’ve got so many violations of different codes in town that it’s getting to be more and more problematic." Glenn asked that it be put on the next meeting’s agenda.

Signal problems

Trustee Tim Miller commented on the traffic signal at the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. "That light has not been working for a while. I know it’s not our issue but I know it’s in Monument and residents think it’s our issue." Glenn asked Public Works Department Director Rich Landreth to request a traffic study from Triview Metropolitan District Manager Larry Bishop regarding the district’s signal operation.

BRRTA tax collection

Trustee Steve Samuels said there is a lot of confusion over which Monument businesses need to collect the BRRTA sales tax. He asked the staff to distribute a letter to the owners on how to comply with the BRRTA tax and the road tax. Treasurer Pamela Smith said that the town tax is 6.9 percent with an additional 1 percent for those businesses within BRRTA.

Landscape project discussed

Betty Konarski, Chair of Tri-Lakes Views, introduced Eagle Scout candidate Danny Ball of Troop 56 in Colorado Springs. Ball, a Monument resident, said he would be raising about $600 in donations and doing the landscape planting for the concrete and brick patio for the town’s planned art wall display at the expanded water treatment building on the northwest corner of the intersection of Beacon Lite Road and Second Street.

Konarski said that the Tri-Lakes Views project has so far received donations of about $20,000 in cash and about $10,000 of in-kind contributions for materials and design from local benefactors. Work will begin when consultant engineer Roger Sams of GMS, Inc. determines the location of the protective posts. Glenn asked Landreth to call Sams to "push this because he’s lollygagging planning and finish this by the middle of September."

Samuels said his company, Robertson’s Landscaping, would give all needed materials for the project not already donated by others. He recommended shredded cedar mulch instead of "metro mulch bark" which blows around too much.

Konarski said the project was fully funded, including the cost for the artist creating the artwork, with the only remaining unknown being the final cost for a bricklayer to install the patio bricks.

Sign code disparities noted

Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center owner and former town Parks and Landscape Committee Chairman John Savage said he has had a "struggle with the town" in complying with several restrictions on signs and variances for sign setbacks in upgrading his building and expanding it for a new car wash. He said he had to hire an attorney to split his business to form a separate car wash business to be able to post a second car wash sign on the side of his building in addition to the front oil change sign. He stated that:

  • Safeway has 3 signs on its building and 2 electronic signs
  • Arby’s has 7 building signs
  • Taco Bell has 3 building signs
  • Home Depot has 7 building signs and 4 pole signs
  • Wal-Mart has 27 building signs and a pole sign

"I just feel that is really unfair for small businesses."

Savage also noted that he was not allowed to have safety signs that were large enough to prevent customers from unsafely backing out into Highway 105. Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara had said that he would be rewriting the sign code in the near future. Savage stated that Kassawara had appointed him to the committee of business owners to help with the code revision. Savage also said he felt there was selective enforcement of the code.

Plank, a Historic Monument business owner, said that the rules are different in downtown than the rest of Monument including Jackson Creek. She added that Savage’s business in on the corner of the entrance of downtown and would prefer that there was no mention of Pennzoil on his building sign. Savage said that Pennzoil is part of his business and Highway 105 is no longer part of historic downtown Monument. She said that was his choice in choosing how he allocated his allowed signage – to have a Pennzoil sign instead of a carwash sign.

Drumm said "John, I understand" and that the town needs to look closer at separate more restrictive regulations for downtown Monument, citing two potential developers who had told him that "they ain’t coming back" to build in downtown because of downtown code restrictions.

Samuels agreed with Savage that it is inappropriate to have rules that are different for the east side and west side of Highway 105 north of Second Street. "It doesn’t make sense." Samuels also said, "Highway 105 is a totally commercial route" and that Highway 105 was nothing but concrete and asphalt and needs to have landscape requirements.

Glenn said the sign rules for a very large Wal-Mart building would always be different than for small private business and the board must strike a balance between the desires of business owners and residents.

Kassawara said he’d never heard of potential business owners being driven away by new enforcement of existing sign and building code regulations. He is now enforcing old code that was not previously enforced. Existing signs built before he started working in Monument that violate the "vague" existing code are "grandfathered." This may appear to lead to unfair enforcement now for requests for new signs for new and remodeled buildings that would seem to match existing signage on the Highway 105 corridor.

Kassawara noted he issued a car wash sign permit, before Savage had created the "multi-tenant building" situation that allowed an additional sign under current wording at Kassawara’s suggestion as a work-around to the existing sign code. The code allows as many directional signs as are required but restricts their size. Kassawara also noted that sidewalks and landscaping buffers are being added to the new building on Highway 105 and those in Monument Marketplace in response to Samuels’ remarks about concrete and asphalt.

There was consensus that code modernization for small businesses would be a staff priority when the current very high workload to review numerous development proposals tapers.

Non-profit seeks town support for municipal bond issue

Ray Marshal, a member of the group that acquired Monument’s Colorado Sports Center ice rink 18 months ago, asked the board for future support for paying off the previous rink owners’ Small Business Administration (SBA) loans with proceeds from tax exempt municipal bonds that would also finance facility expansion for new youth leadership programs for the region. The existence of the SBA loan does not allow Marshal’s group to convert the rink to a 501-C(3) tax exempt entity.

Marshal is negotiating with Mike Watt to buy Watt’s 20 acres of vacant land between the sports center and the Trails End development for expansion of the sports center to support senior, youth, and intergenerational exercise programs.

Brandon Shupp, Director of Marketing & Business Development, and Executive Director Michael Hestermann of the Colorado Springs Youth Foundation discussed how they would partner with Marshal’s ownership group in expanding its programs and refinancing the facility with municipal bonds.

Linda Clark of Piper Jaffrey discussed how the town could be the "conduit issuer" of the bonds for the foundation without incurring any financial risk or legal responsibility for paying off the proposed $5 million municipal bond issue at approximately 6 percent for the partners to pay off the SBA loan and expand the Colorado Sports Center facilities. The foundation cannot issue municipal bonds on its own but would pledge all its receipts and revenues in its indenture of trust and loan agreement with Monument. Clark listed several similar 501-C(3) non-profit and municipality partnerships elsewhere in Colorado.

Clark also expressed concern about BRRTA not being able to collect the sales tax revenue needed to pay interest for the BRRTA bonds that she issued for Piper Jaffrey.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp, who is the president of the foundation, said he would have to recuse himself from having the town issue the foundation’s municipal bonds, but would arrange for another attorney to represent Monument on this matter at no cost to the town. He added that the trustees could reach a decision by the end of the year on the proposed indirect participation in the municipal bond issue for the non-profit hockey rink.

Shupp cited the Colorado Fine Arts Center being financed by municipal bonds issued by Colorado Springs as a conduit issuer. Piper Jaffrey and the substitute lawyer, not town staff, would perform the bond issue work. A community advisory committee will advise the foundation on which programs to offer and how to channel funds back to the community.

Samuels noted that he worked with the previous facility owners on athletic programs and an indoor year-round turf football and soccer field would be a great multi-use addition to the community. Glenn said he looks forward to senior rugby games in the new building.

There was consensus to move forward on development of a specific proposal to the town by Piper Jaffrey to finance the bond issue for the center’s proposed youth leadership proposal. (See www.csyouthfound.org for more information on the foundation.)

Dominguez appointed to planning commission

Retired Marine Rafael Dominguez was unanimously appointed to fill the vacant seat on the town’s Planning Commission. He was sworn in by Town Clerk Scott Meszaros.

Several land use applications approved

Jackson Creek office building plat approved: The board unanimously approved Vision Development’s application for a final plat for Filing 2 of the Jackson Creek Commerce Center on the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Drive. The filing will be for a new two-and-a-half story office building directly east of the new Ent Federal Credit Union building. The building will be administratively reviewed and approved by staff under the previously approved preliminary planned development (PD) site plan design guidelines for the Commerce Center project.

Plank expressed concern about the office building being 48 feet high. Kassawara replied that the board had approved a 50-foot maximum in the original master PD site plan and matched the architecture of the Ent building.

KFC restaurant plat approved: The board unanimously approved Vision Development’s final plat for Filing 16 of the Monument Marketplace, for a new Kentucky Fried Chicken store. This filing is adjacent to the new Carl’s Jr. restaurant.

Synthes Ave. replat tabled: The board unanimously tabled a replat application for Lot 2 in Monument Industrial Park, Phase 2 at the south end of Synthes Avenue, from landowner Brian Gardiner of Red Rock Investment Company, LLC. The application would re-subdivide the 4.02 acre parcel into two lots: Lot 2A to the north (1.35 acres) and Lot 2B (2.67 acres.) The purpose is to allow additional industrial or office development on the vacant north portion of the property.

During the public hearing, Monument resident Lee Kilbourn said that he had previously owned this parcel. He said the covenants within the Monument Industrial Park do not allow construction of buildings on parcels of less than 4 acres, and that development on the subdivided Lot 2A would not be approved by Synthes Corporation.

Kassawara responded that this is a private covenant issue. The Town does not have any knowledge of these covenants nor does it have any ability to turn down the owner’s request because of the covenants. The owner would have to deal directly with the association. Town Attorney Gary Shupp concurred with Kassawara.

Plank inquired if the application should be tabled in case the owners are unaware of this potential covenant problem. Glenn agreed. Kassawara said the re-subdivision could be approved and the owner may elect never to have this action recorded if Kilbourn is correct. A motion to table the application was unanimously approved.

Hull Subdivision applications tabled: On Aug. 8, the Planning Commission unanimously approved subsidizing unprecedented higher densities for the Hull Subdivision through the discounted sale of excess town water rights. This subdivision lies within the "Downtown Development" area of the town’s Comprehensive Plan. The applications from Jamie Hull of Goldwest II, LLC for this vacant city block of 16 lots between Grace Best Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road near the Santa Fe Trail crossing were:

  • Rezone the 3.7 acres from Downtown Residential to Planned Development (PD)
  • PD Sketch Plan
  • Preliminary/Final Plat

There are not enough available water rights on this parcel to support 46 residential units and several stores and restaurants in the proposed commercial units. (See article on the Aug. 8 Planning Commission hearing for details of the three Hull applications.)

Glenn asked the staff if:

  • A traffic study has been completed by Goldwest
  • There are adequate drainage plans
  • There is a letter on file from town water engineering consultant Bruce Lytle stating that the town will provide water to Goldwest
  • The town has sufficient excess water rights to offer developers for sale.

Town Manager Catherine Green said the Town has approved an ordinance establishing the right to sell water and a resolution stating the boundary within which the town will sell water rights. The Hull project falls within this water sale boundary. Furthermore, water can be sold at a discount for preferred projects. The town needs to know exactly how much additional water Hull’s project is going to need. Green said she believes the town has enough excess water rights to meet Hull’s maximum requirements. Lytle had preliminarily recommended a discounted price for Hull of about $4,800 per acre-foot per year.

Kassawara added that Hull had submitted a traffic study and drainage plans and must commit all of the parcel’s water rights to the town before a PD site plan is approved, as a condition of approval for these applications.

Glenn replied that Town Water Attorney Bob Krassa, of Krassa and Miller, LLC, had told the board at a meeting a few years ago that the town did not have water to do multi-use in the Downtown area.

There were no public comments on Hull’s application for rezoning or the sale of excess town water rights to him.

Hull said that his current planning is for only 32 residences, though the application requests approval for up to 46 in the event Hull were to sell the parcel after approval to another developer. Hull said he is planning to build something like the Courtyard development in Castle Rock because it is better for the downtown area. He noted that it would be more profitable for him to put in 16 single family units on the existing 16 residential lots than to create the proposed project with four expensive roads and other more extensive and expensive infrastructure. He said that if the board is opposed to the sale of water rights, the three-story structures, and the very much higher density, he needs to know that before expending money for engineering and design consultants.

After lengthy further discussion, there was consensus that no decisions on Hull’s three applications should be made until the specific amount of excess water rights that the town has can be determined and what the total long-term water requirements would be for similarly subsidized higher density downtown development to complete build out.

Hull, the board, and the staff agreed to table the three applications and schedule a workshop with Lytle and Krassa before the next BOT meeting Sept. 4. All three motions were unanimously approved.

Centennial Office Park rezoned: Although Plank expressed reservations about there being no opportunity for further hearings on the two proposed buildings in Centennial Office Park, the board unanimously approved the rezone application to change the zone from residential to downtown business, instead of planned development. One of the two commercial buildings on Lee Kilbourn’s lot on the southwest corner of Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road is the future Town Hall and Police Department building. The exterior of Kilbourn’s adjacent office building will be very similar. Staff will administratively approve the site plan for the project. Planning Commissioner Glenda Smith had opposed the rezoning because there would be no hearings on the site plan.

Planning commision rules revised

The board unanimously approved a revision, drafted by Shupp, of the town code on the Planning Commission to formally recognize the addition of resident Lowell Morgan as an alternate commissioner two years ago. The code revision also included other "clean up" amendments such as deletion of a section of the code that gave the Commission the authority to appoint employees and contract with consultants

The board also unanimously approved adoption of commission bylaws regarding:

  • The purpose and authority of the Commission
  • Election of officers
  • Powers and duties
  • Terms and limitations
  • Procedures for meetings
  • Addition of a consent agenda to allow non-controversial items to be approved without individual presentations and hearings

The board unanimously approved amendments for several other town code chapters to reflect procedural changes made by the new staff over the past year or two and to "streamline" the language in the code regarding subdivision regulations and more extensive and higher application fees that cover actual costs for application review and approval.

Fourth Triview Metropolitan District created

The board approved the proposed service plan submitted by Pulpit Rock Investments, LLC and Baptist Road Investments, LLC for creation of a special road improvement district to serve the recently annexed Sanctuary Pointe development. The property tax mill levy to be imposed by Triview Metropolitan District #4 will not exceed 35 mills for each residential unit constructed by Classic Homes.

Triview attorney Pete Susemihl said the service plan between the developer, Triview Metropolitan District, and the Town of Monument is essentially the same as that for TMD #2 with John Laing Homes for Promontory Pointe and TMD#3 Home Place Ranch LLC for the Home Place Ranch development. 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.

This new special road district, TMD #4, 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. The three special road districts will share expenses for Baptist Road and Higby Road widening and addition of turn lanes.

The new district was approved by a 6 to 1 vote. Trustee Drumm did not say why he voted no.

Other matters

Mail ballot to be held Nov. 6: The board unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the county for the coordinated mail-in ballot to be held prior to Nov. 6 at a town cost of $3,256.

Willow Springs annexation referral approved: The board unanimously approved referral of an annexation application for Willow Springs Ranch Additions No. 1 and No. 2 from James Morley and Paul Howard to the Planning Commission. The procedural approval only allows the normal annexation process to begin by the board determining that the application was correctly filled out and the parcels are contiguous to the town boundary and does not indicate potential board approval of the applications.

Willow Springs Ranch is the former Watt Ranch property between the railroad tracks on the east and the projected, but unbuilt, Mitchell Avenue right-of-way to the west. The south boundary of the parcel is Baptist Road. The north end of the parcel is aligned intersecting the south ends of Synthes and Mitchell Avenues.

Liquor license renewal approved: The board unanimously approved a liquor license renewal for Su Asian Restaurant, Inc. at 15910 Jackson Creek Parkway.

Payments over $5,000 approved: The board unanimously approved the following payments over $5,000:

  • $15,000 to Monument PRD 10 Development, Inc. for a cash bond refund for grading
  • $5,611 to the Department of the Interior for data collection
  • $5,084, $10,458, and $13,284 to Wells Fargo Brokerage Services, Inc. for vehicle leases
  • $365,598 to Wells Fargo Brokerage Services, Inc. for the new Town Hall building lease
  • $168,092 to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for the Monument Dam refurbishment loan
  • $106,299 to Power Motive Corp. for a used loader with bucket, snow blade, and chains
  • $25,335 to Centennial Services, Inc. for a progress payment on the design of the new Town Hall building
  • $110,667 to Triview Metropolitan District for $105,508 of June sales tax revenue and $5,159 of July motor vehicle tax revenue
  • $5,850 to AmWest, Inc. for lowering the level of the pump in town well #8
  • $86,679 to GMS, Inc. for engineering work for the new building for town well #9
  • $12,240 to Steintech for town computer licensing

Staff reports: Green reported that the developers of the Outrageous Oasis water park on the southwest corner of the Baptist Road I-25 interchange are still arranging their financing.

Kassawara reported that the Town is going out for bid on the Old Denver Highway Water Line. He anticipates having the contract on the September 17th agenda.

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Correction

In referring to the author of the town’s Stormwater Master Plan in the Aug. 4 issue article on the July 17 BOT, the phrase "Nolte engineer Chris Daugherty" should have read "former Ayres Associates engineer Chris Doherty" and also should have noted that Doherty had approved the change proposals KB had requested of the town on the Beacon Lite stormwater drainage repair before Doherty resigned from Ayres and moved to Houston.

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Monument Planning Commission, Aug. 8: Hull Subdivision rezoning, plat approved

Below: Consultant engineer Chad Kuzbek of Westworks Engineering Inc. presents the Hull Subdivision plans to the Monument Planning Commission Aug. 8. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved subsidizing unprecedented higher densities for the "Downtown Development" area of the town’s Comprehensive Plan through the discounted sale of excess town water rights. The area is currently a residential vacant city block of 16 lots between Grace Best Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road near the Santa Fe Trail crossing. The three requests approved by the commission were for:

  • Rezone from Downtown Residential to Planned Development (PD)
  • Planned Development Sketch Plan
  • Preliminary/Final Plat

After discussing the benefits of PD zoning with regard to the Hull Subdivision for an hour, the commissioners then approved rezoning of Centennial Office Park, at the southwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105, from Planned Development to Business, which would exempt the new Town Hall and Police Department building from any routine public land use or development hearings before the Planning Commission or the Board of Trustees. The town staff would review and approve their own proposals internally without a hearing or even a review by either body under the approved business zoning.

In attendance were Chairman Ed Delaney, Kathy Spence, Patricia Metzler, Tom Martin, Glenda Smith, and alternate commissioner Lowell Morgan. Trustee Vince Hamm was absent, and one of the seven seats remained vacant. (See article on Aug. 20 Board of Trustees meeting for information on subsequent final approval of Centennial Office Park and appointment of a new commissioner.)

Three Hull Subdivision requests approved

The Hull Subdivision, named for landowner Jamie Hull of Goldwest II LLC, is the last undeveloped full city block within the downtown district. This 3.7-acre block is bordered by Beacon Lite Road to the east, the undeveloped Lincoln Avenue right-of-way to the south, Adams Street and Grace Best Elementary School to the west, and the First Street cul-de-sac to the north.

This was the third use proposed by Hull for this city block in three years. Hull initially offered to develop the parcel as a downtown municipal center to centralize all town administrative functions in one location from the current three locations for Town Hall on Second Street, the Police Department on Washington Street, and Public Works on Jefferson Street. This first proposal was dropped when proposed costs for the combined police and courthouse building with cells for inmates far exceeded the town’s ability to issue property tax revenue bonds. Since then, the development of Monument Marketplace and other new businesses has increased town sales tax revenues.

The second use proposed by Hull was for a senior living center with over 40 dwelling units. This proposal was dropped when the town offered Hull an alternative senior center lot. The other lot was donated to the town by WED LLC when the 140-acre Wahlborg addition on the southeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Avenue was annexed. WED’s donated lot had also been considered as a location for the new police station and courthouse, but costs for the proposed joint facility far exceeded the town’s bonding capacity as well. Hull is developing the senior center after the town donated the lot on Highway 105 to him in return for perpetual reduced rates on a small portion of the senior dwelling units.

The third proposal by Hull for the 3.7-acre downtown Goldwest city block is for high density (up to 12 units per acre) three-story "mixed use" in the new "traditional neighborhood" style to include commercial, office, retail, restaurant, and residential.

Hull also requested the town vacate its eastern part of the Adams Street right-of-way in front of the elementary school. The remaining western portion of Adams would become a one-way drive-through for morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up of elementary school students. Drivers would then continue in a southeasterly direction to a new section of Lincoln Avenue and exit onto Beacon Lite Road at the southeast corner of the Hull Subdivision.

The northeast corner of the adjacent Lewis-Palmer School District 38 athletic field and track encroaches on the southwest corner of the Hull property. The one-way street would go around the east side of the track. This athletic field is also zoned "medium downtown residential." Hull would give D-38 the area within the encroaching field in return for receiving the eastern 50 feet of the 80-foot-wide Adams Street right-of-way as vacated land. The 30 feet of remaining Adams Street right-of-way would be used for construction of the proposed one-way drive-through lane to the new Lincoln Avenue segment connecting to Old Denver Highway. In a routine street right-of-way vacation, Hull and D-38 would each receive an equal 40-foot-wide strip.

Goldwest would also donate small strips of land for the new Lincoln Avenue cul-de-sac and Old Denver Highway right-of-way. The school district would also donate a strip of land for the new Lincoln Avenue cul-de-sac.

Hull also requested that the town vacate its existing north-south alley easement through the center of the city block (eight blocks each to the east and west).

The proposed PD sketch plan only proposes intended uses and densities for various portions of the 3.7-acre parcel and some other proposed details of development by Goldwest:

  • A maximum of 46 residential dwelling units in attached units or units above stores/offices.
  • Elimination of all interior lot lines for the existing 16 residential lots originally platted in 1874.
  • Creation of three mixed-use "pods" and five high-density residential pods within a single unified lot, sometimes known as a "super block."
  • Internal open space with amenities.
  • Landscaped buffer to the north along First Street right-of-way.
  • Public parking on Adams and Lincoln.
  • Landscaping improvements on all adjacent town road right-of-way.
  • Commercial storefront buildings along Beacon Lite Road with one or two stories of upper office or residential space for a "live-work" lifestyle with a maximum building height of 45 feet, 5 feet higher than in a standard downtown business zone.
  • Residential units fronting on both sides of the narrow strip of proposed open space, with rear alley and driveway vehicle access.
  • Creation of a new alley between the mixed-use and eastern high-density residential pods.
  •  Creation of a new alley between the rears of the western residential pods and Adams Street.
  • A right-turn deceleration lane on southbound Beacon Lite Road at the new Lincoln Avenue may be required as to be determined in a future traffic study for preliminary and/or final site plan.

Proposed uses were:

  • Mixed use -- 0.9 acre (20 percent), three lots of 0.3 acre each along Old Denver Highway.
  • High-density residential – 1.5 acres (33 percent) five pods total of townhomes/condos/apartments
  • Open space – 0.6 acre (13 percent) in a narrow north-south strip between the five high- density residential lots, plus a detention pond on the southwest corner of parcel.
  • Private alley – 0.3 acre (7 percent)
  • Right-of-way – 0.9 acre ( 18 percent)
  • D-38 track/field encroachment donation to D-38 – 0.4 acre (9 percent)

Staff reported no problems with the details of Hull’s sketch plan as presented, noting it meets the intent of the revised Comprehensive Plan for the recently expanded downtown district of Monument.

Street parking on Adams, First, and Lincoln would have to be allowed to meet the overall parking requirement for such a dense residential development. Off-street parking would have to be allowed to meet the commercial parking requirement.

Not enough water available for many proposed uses: Principal Planner Karen Griffith noted that Hull would have to purchase excess water rights from the town, as was the case for Hull’s previous proposal for high-density senior housing on this parcel. Ordinarily the land would support only 10 downtown single-family houses at 0.375 acre-feet per year. The downtown lots are grandfathered for 0.5 acre-feet per year for a total available groundwater allocation of 8 acre-feet per year, but that is still not enough to support the proposed density. Hull said he anticipated a maximum use of 0.2 acre-feet per year for each residential unit due primarily to a lack of lawns – 9.2 acre-feet for 46 units, not counting high commercial water users like restaurants.

Griffith said the staff is encouraging approval and discounted sale of excess town water rights to Hull to create a downtown core of high-density, three-story structures as a magnet for future high-density traditional neighborhood development. This use of town subsidies has been successful on the East and West Coasts for encouraging revitalization of downtown areas as well as in Boulder, Loveland, Fort Collins, and Woodland Park. All of Goldwest’s existing water rights would be dedicated to the town "prior to the approval of a final planned development site plan for this property" as listed in the notes in the plat and sketch plan.

During a lengthy discussion about whether or not the town should sell its limited supply of excess water rights to a single developer for a single project, Hull said he was working with town consultant water engineer Bruce Lytle of Lytle Water Solutions LLC to determine how to approach a sale of additional water rights to Goldwest.

Griffith also noted that the town staff would ask for Board of Trustees support for discounting the cost of water sold to Hull to encourage creation of these much higher densities with higher buildings to "create a downtown feeling." Downtown buildings can be up to 40 feet high.

There was no public comment on this unprecedented proposal or on the discounted sale of excess town water rights, though there were numerous citizens in attendance.

Hull and consultant engineer Chad Kuzbek of Westworks Engineering Inc. said they had met with D-38 representatives on the one-way traffic for morning drop-off and evening pick-up of students. During a lengthy question-and-answer period with the commissioners, they also noted that the alleys would be maintained by a homeowners association.

The commissioners unanimously expressed concerns about not being able to review specific plans about the types, configuration, and arrangement of the proposed buildings and the lack of project definitions in writing in the submitted documents. Griffith said the sketch plan by design does not include these levels of detail in order to allow a developer to determine if a proposed use might be acceptable before spending a lot of money on the engineering designs needed for subsequent preliminary and final site plans.

Griffith added that the Planned Development designation gives the boards and staff needed control over development to make sure developers conform to ordinances, the town’s Comprehensive Plan, and the many negotiated improvements that exceed those required by basic zoning ordinances.

The commissioners unanimously approved all three of Hull’s proposals.

Centennial Office Park rezoning approved

Several residents of Buttonwood Court, adjacent to the Centennial Office Park development, asked about the nature of the project. However, Griffith and Town Attorney Gary Shupp said such a discussion was not pertinent to a proposal by landowner Lee Kilbourn to have the 2.27-acre parcel rezoned from Planned Development to Business. Shupp and Griffith said they would talk to the homeowners about their concerns about the site plan and building elevations after the meeting was adjourned.

Several commissioners expressed their concerns about not being able to review the site plan for the new Town Hall building and the similar adjacent office building to the south. Griffith said the commissioners could visit the staff privately to review the plans.

Several commissioners said the staff was advocating a completely opposite approach to the one it had advocated regarding Hull’s proposal. However, the commissioners subsequently unanimously approved rezoning the parcel to downtown business. The commission will have no further hearings on either building.

The commission unanimously approved a substantial revision of town subdivision regulations to reflect current changes in staff review processes and more comprehensive inspection and enforcement procedures.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m. A half-hour session was held by Centennial Park land planning consultant John Nelson to answer questions of adjacent property owners. Those in attendance expressed appreciation to Nelson and the staff for answering their questions about the project.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month.

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Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, August 9: Two new trustees sworn-in

By Celeste E. Raine

At the regular council meeting Aug. 9, Bryan Jack and Max Stafford took the oath of office to become trustees. They will hold their office until elections in April 2008. They were two of seven candidates that applied for the positions that were vacated by Jim Girlando and Trudy Finan on July 12. Ken Dickinson, Joel Johnson, Kim Makower, Planning Commissioner Jen Martin, and Dan Reynolds also applied for the Trustee position.

Jack has lived in Palmer Lake for two years, but has grown up in the area. He attended Palmer Lake Elementary School and Lewis Palmer High School. Jack works as a battalion chief for the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority.

Stafford is a long time resident of Palmer Lake. He is currently working for the Air Force Academy and is ready to retire after 35 years of service.

On May 2 a transmission water line broke for the Forest View Acres Water District (FVAWD). Richard Crocker and Barbara Reed-Polatty of the FVAWD explained that the underground leak could not be found because it was in a streambed and the secondary source, Upper Monument Creek, was dirty because of the recent rains. Mr. Crocker expressed FVAWD’s anguish when he said, "We had our worst case scenario come true". The FVAWD then found a small note on a map indicating that they had a possible solution. The map read, "Palmer Lake Connection". The Town of Palmer Lake allowed the Forest View Acres Water District to hook up to a Palmer Lake fire hydrant, and buy water during two weekends in May. This purchased town water was able to support the 285 taps until the repair was found and made in late May. The FVAWD thanked the Town of Palmer Lake for their assistance in their time of need.

On another water related issue, the Awake the Lake Committee provided a summary and recommendation to the Trustees regarding possible solutions to the water shortage in Palmer Lake. Jeff Hulsmann asked the council to review the recommendation, then set up a meeting for later in the week. Mayor Max Parker asked that the water attorneys receive the summary and recommendation so that they could provide an informed recommendation to the trustees. Trustee Richard Allen expressed his excitement about a possible solution. "This process has been going on for 10 to 12 years. I think this is all good news if we can execute any of these recommendations…this issue affects the town so deeply."

Hulsmann said the committee recommendation addresses three items that the Town of Palmer Lake can utilize today without waiting:

  1. Exercise the wastewater exchange to use the flow rights to bring water from Denver County and Arapahoe County aquifers. According to Hulsmann, we already have a pipeline above the filter plant from Monument Creek. This method was previously used to fill the Lake and was shut off in late June, 2005.
  2. The committee’s water attorney, Hank Worley, said the town can take its excess flow rights to supply the lake. This water is marked for municipal use only. Hulsmann said that it is the opinion of the water commissioner, State Engineer and Town Water Attorney that a recreational use, such as filling a lake, would fall under the category of a municipal use.
  3. Hulsmann said the town’s surface water reservoir is full from Nov 15 to March 15 and Palmer Lake is not able to store any more water. Palmer Lake can take that water that would otherwise overflow and go downstream to fill Palmer Lake.

Hulsmann also recommended that the town not fill the Lake to capacity right away. He suggested that the lake be filled to the 75 percent level. "This way we can use the 75 percent full as a baseline to determine the amount of evaporation that will occur, and adjust accordingly." For more information visit the Awake the Lake website at www.awakepalmerlake.com.

Two requests for vacation of interior easements and replats of lots 4 and 5 block, and lots 9 and 10 block of Lakeview Heights were unanimously approved.

Three sign requests along Highway 105 were unanimously approved for Salon 105, DARS Supplies, Inc. and Pinz Bowling Center.

The council approved a supplemental budget addition and corresponding appropriation for $110,000 in excess revenue clarified in the 2006 audit process. The council allocated $60,000 of this amount to defray amounts in excess of the amount budgeted for the 2007 Water Capital Improvement to pay for unfunded improvements to the town groundwater filter plant.

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The next council workshop will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 in Town Hall. 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 Town Council Special Meeting, August 16: Council passes resolution to start filling lake

By Jim Kendrick

On Aug. 16, at the conclusion of a three hour special meeting with the Awake the Lake Committee and other interested citizens at the Pinecrest Lodge, the Palmer Lake Town Council passed a resolution to implement a plan to use excess wastewater effluent exchange and excess flows from Monument Creek to begin refilling Palmer Lake from the town’s Glen Park surface water reservoir prior to obtaining storage rights in the lake. The town will also immediately file for junior surface water storage rights in the lake as well as file an augmentation plan with the water court. The vote on the resolution was (6-1) with Mayor Max Parker voting no.

The Awake the Lake Committee has reneged on its promise to pay for Town water attorney Ronni Sperling’s services. The town’s 2007 budget does not include the $20,000 required for Sperling to file for storage rights.

Spokesman Jeff Hulsmann gave the committee’s presentation noting that he had brought a large pipe wrench for alternative outcomes. "First, I brought the big wrench just in case things go well. Then I brought the big wrench just or in case things don’t go well."

Some of the statements Hulsmann made to the council and audience during the meeting were:

  • The town-sanctioned committee’s goal is to get additional water in the lake, to protect the town’s namesake, and determine how to use renewable surface water to maintain the level of the lake.
  • At the previous special town council meeting on the same subject, Water Supervisor Steve Orcutt had recommended using groundwater to fill the lake.
  • At the same previous meeting, Sperling gave the committee a lot of reasons for things it could not do.
  • The committee "decided we would hire our own water attorney who kind of would work our agenda. Attorneys have different opinions."
  • The committee provided its own summary of three options provided in a report prepared by the committee’s water attorney Hank Worley, which was attached. These options were for filling the lake from the town’s stored surface drinking water in Glen Park Reservoir prior to obtaining lake storage rights. Worley’s legal opinion is that the town does not need to file for storage rights at all.
  • Groundwater from the town’s Denver and Arapahoe wells that is used by the residents for drinking water is non-tributary and does not count against the town’s adjudicated rights to take some of the surface water flowing in Monument Creek.
  • Option 1 - In layman’s terms, Worley said the treated wastewater from Palmer Lake Sanitation District that is added to Monument Creek as effluent from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility is "extra water" that "does not need to be augmented." This non-tributary Denver and Arapahoe groundwater can replace the creek water diverted into Monument Lake.
  • Option 2 – When in priority, the town can take up to 6 acre-feet of water per day from Monument Creek, of which only about a half an acre-foot could be processed by the town’s surface water filter plant. Worley’s legal opinion is that the water from the other 5.5 acre-feet of daily flow rights can be diverted to refilling Palmer Lake rather than being lost downstream, particularly in wet summers like this when the creek is deep enough for the town to be in priority for taking some of this surface water nearly every day of the year. Worley’s legal opinion on Option 2 has been backed up by an administrative opinion from the state water engineer and district water commissioner.
  • Option 3 – Use some of the stored water from the town’s reservoir allocation of 142.5 acre-feet per year to fill the lake "seasonally and in moderation" once it is clear it will not all be needed to supply drinking water should there be a problem with the town’s wells. The town has not used any of its reservoir water rights in several years. The water in the full reservoir has gone downstream. The town could use 10 to 20 acre-feet to offset evaporation.
  • These options do not require further legal expense or involvement of the water court and do not require augmentation as long as the town keeps precise flow data. "All that water is now going to someone else. It’s our water."
  • The lake should be filled to about 75 percent of its 90 acre-foot capacity since the lake is rising naturally during this wet season. The town and committee can work with the Division of Water Resources to evaluate how the lake levels vary to determine the most efficient and effective way to increase the lake level without causing a spill due to overflow in the future.
  • Worley’s legal opinion is that filling the lake, a recreational use, with surface water from the reservoir can be considered part of the town’s adjudicated right to municipal use of Monument Creek water.
  • The state has said they will allow diversion immediately.

Some of the observations from Division 2, District 10 Water Commissioner Rich Snyder were:

  • This is the best water year in the past decade, better than 1999 when the town had floods.
  • There have been years in the past decade when the Monument Creek stream depths were too low for the town to be able take any surface water from the creek, because the town’s rights to creek water are more junior than others issued before 1869.
  • The town will have to take more accurate and detailed measurement on every single diversion and every single use now, than in the past. There have been no previous "concerted effort to administer Palmer Lake’s water rights so you guys have been living on Cloud 9 for a long time, and I just started" administering the town’s reservoir levels about three years ago.
  • The town’s augmentation plan allows the town to replace out of priority diversions of surface water with town well water pumped into the creek under the town’s existing decrees.
  • The key issue on the town’s reservoir in the future is that every drop of water that flows into the reservoir when the town is out of priority must be allowed to flow downstream and that the reservoir level must be allowed to drop to reflect evaporation. The town can no longer keep the reservoir full unless the water retained is replaced with augmentation downstream from the town’s wells.
  • "The level of the reservoir will now go down every year." Calculations for evaporation will have to be made every day in the future. Measurements at the reservoir will have to be made daily as well, which may be challenging in the winter.
  • The reservoir is normally only in priority from November 15 to March 15, for the town’s more junior reservoir storage right for 147.5 acre-feet per year.
  • Many downstream water users with more senior water rights have already expressed concerns to water commissioners about the town’s plans to use surface water to refill Palmer Lake.
  • No diversions from Monument Creek can be made until a measurement gage has been installed and calibrated to determine the precise amount sent to Palmer Lake.
  • Without a lake storage right, the town could lose its ability to divert surface water for refilling the lake if the state changes its policy.

Some of the observations made by Town Water Attorney Ronni Sperling were:

  • The town’s reservoir had been administered by the state since the 1980s before Snyder took over his current District 10 position 12 years ago.
  • There are no wastewater credits that can be exchanged at this time for Option 1 because they only apply to the QAL-4 well that was never constructed (Snyder agreed.) The state may not allow effluent future wastewater exchanges if they don’t meet future tightening purity standards.
  • Excess direct flow water rights cannot be stored more than 24 to 48 hours for municipal under state law. There is no exception to this law in District 10.
  • The town only has a storage right for Glen Park Reservoir. The town would have to go to water court to gain approval for storage in an alternate place of storage like Palmer Lake. The town cannot store water in the lake without a pending application for a new storage right.
  • The town only has a right to fill Glen Park Reservoir one time each year. If the reservoir is lowered to refill the lake, the town cannot refill the reservoir until Jan. 1 of the next year and no one can predict if water will be available at that time in the future, "a very risky proposition." There are no guarantees that the reservoir can be filled in subsequent years. The town should have water stored in the reservoir for a bad year or well emergency.
  • Water in excess of that required for the one-time fill of the reservoir does not belong to the town under direct flow rights. That water belongs to downstream users and cannot be stored. They can sue the town for damages as well as stopping the diversion. Having the state agree with the town does not mean the water court will automatically decide in the town’s favor.
  • Use of Denver basin water to refill the lake, a legal process, will mean that water will not be available to residents as drinking water in the future once it’s gone. "There’s nothing free about water ever." There are solutions to filling the lake but they are more expensive than the town has been willing to pay for.
  • Worley’s suggestion to fill the lake in her opinion is illegal based on a Colorado Supreme Court opinion that she provided to the council. Refilling the lake using the town’s pipeline has always been illegal.
  • "The town can file an application for a plan for augmentation with a junior storage right and an augmentation supply. A substitute water supply plan could be approved and start filling the lake after 30 days" for downstream user comments at a cost of $300 for the application. The temporary refilling operation would be approved by the state water engineer after a separate request is filed to start the plan 10-30 days after the water court comment period is completed, if the state engineer does not require town responses to any possible objections. The temporary approval by the engineer would last for one year, but can be renewed until the storage filing case is decided.
  • Storage filing cases go through water court as fast as the applicant wants them to go. The only thing that might hold up this application would be money for Sperling’s services ($20,000) and engineering information on the Palmer Lake dam’s length, height, legal description and location, and how much water the dam holds. Sperling cannot proceed without the engineering information that the town has still not provided.
  • The town is Sperling’s only client and she will not take direction from or provide privileged town information to the committee.

Some comments from citizens in the audience during the lengthy discussion were:

  • The town should purchase excess Colorado Springs Utilities water that the city is selling very cheaply at the present time.
  • If the reservoir is low or empty, the town could run out of drinking water if there is a problem with the town’s wells after the reservoir water has been used to refill the lake and the town is out of priority for Monument Creek water.
  • None of the three options proposed by Worley would have been available during the drought, so residents need to know that the options will not be available at times in the future.
  • The spring that used to fill the lake prior to the recent train accident should be redirected back into the lake under the railroad tracks.
  • The town should refill the lake at night so the attractiveness of Monument Creek is not reduced during the day.
  • A third water operator has to be hired to help perform the additional work to monitor town surface water use.
  • Wastewater exchange cannot be used to refill the lake when the town is out of priority for surface water diversion.
  • The town will owe the Colorado Division of Wildlife about $68,000 for an unfulfilled obligation for a grant for the lake if the level is not sustained.

Some comments from council members during the lengthy discussion were:

  • Trustee Richard Allen asked how there could be such divergence of opinion between Worley, Snyder, and Sperling. Snyder said the historical use of surface water to refill Palmer Lake was considered municipal in the past, though it is now considered recreational. Snyder again noted that this opinion could change and that the town should resume filing for the storage right.
  • Parker expressed concern that the town would attract a great deal of scrutiny for using Worley’s creative interpretation of water law from downstream users that would be relentless in precluding the town from diverting water now or any time in the future.
  • Parker noted that the town council unanimously directed Sperling to file for the needed lake storage rights in February and the Awake the Lake Committee agreed at that meeting to pay up to $20,000 for Sperling’s services. The committee subsequently decided in July to stop paying for Sperling and asked the council to direct her to stop work on filing for junior storage rights and the augmentation plan. Sperling was directed by the council to work on the lake storage filing in July and stop work on the temporary approval application to the state water engineer. The town will now pay for all her expenses for filing for junior storage rights, a new augmentation plan, and a substitute supply plan.
  • The Awake the Lake Committee again refused to pay for Sperling’s services as promised in February. Hulsmann said that the committee had all the information Sperling could possibly want but could not speak to her about it. Sperling said, "Have you tried putting it into the mail? … You could give it to Della." Town Attorney Larry Gaddis recommended that Sperling file for the town rather than Worley. Gaddis added that "Frankly, I’m unimpressed" by the committee’s refusal to keep its promise to pay due to Hulsmann’s claim of "taxation without representation."

Allen made a motion to implement Worley’s proposed Option 1 and Option 2 and file for storage rights and an additional augmentation plan. Parker said he was opposed to immediately diverting water "from a legal aspect" that "leaves us particularly vulnerable to potential lawsuits and this is a cost we have not talked about." He also objected to opening the pipeline from the reservoir to the lake without installing a meter. Parker said the town’s water supervisor will be required "to execute this without any pressure, without any external pressure, incumbent on his judgment." He will decide when to open and close the flow to the lake and would not be subject to negotiation. Orcutt had no comment.

The vote was 6 to 1 with Parker opposed. Sperling said she would file once town engineer Paul Gilbert can provide her with sufficient engineering information and the council appropriates a specific amount of water from the total reservoir’s volume at the town’s next council meeting. Town Clerk Della Gray clarified that the approved motion directly ordered Orcutt to divert water as soon as the meter was put in place or if Orcutt should wait until the storage rights had been filed and the temporary supply plan submitted. The meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

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El Paso County Planning Commission, August 23: Discussion of Hodgen Road improvements to continue

By Steve Sery

The project that generated the most discussion at the Aug. 23 meeting of the El Paso County Planning Commission was the Hodgen Road corridor and access management plans. This was presented by county Department of Transportation and its consultant, URS. The plan provides for safety improvements on Hodgen Road from Highway 83 east to Eastonville Road, a distance of approximately 11 miles.

After much discussion, the project was continued until the Nov. 6 meeting to provide time to involve more of the public — particularly those along Hodgen who would be affected by the improvements — to evaluate other alternatives and explain why they are not the selected ones, and to better explain how the project will be completed.

The project is funded by the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority in the amount of $10 million, which is not enough to complete it. The money would cover only the first two phases, and possibly the third phase, of the six phases of construction. Since the proposed first three phases are not connected, there were questions as to what would happen if additional money were not made available. The discussion will continue at the Nov. 6 meeting.

A second project was for a rezone of 38.2 acres from planned unit development (PUD) to RR-5 (five-acre residential) for a parcel included in the original Cathedral Pines PUD. It had been anticipated that this property would be sold to Cathedral Pines, and including it in the PUD allowed the density the developer required. The sale did not take place, and the owner is requesting the rezone.

The Planning Department recommended denial on the basis that the density of Cathedral Pines would probably not have been approved without this parcel. The Planning Commission agreed with the planners and voted to deny.

The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 4.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, August 27: Resident questions need for Public Safety Department

By Chris Pollard

At the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board meeting Aug. 27, Charles Simmons, a resident of South Woodmoor, said he wanted the board to reconsider its Public Safety Department. He said he was concerned about the economics of the organization and didn’t see the benefits. He also believed that the fees charged for the department could be separated from the regular homeowners’ dues to make them tax- deductible.

Jake Shirk, director of Public Safety, suggested that he look at a copy of the department’s monthly report, which shows a tremendous volume of work that doesn’t need the assistance of the sheriff or Monument police. Bill Walters, WIA vice president, noted that approximately half the homeowners’ dues go to the Public Safety Department and that in 1998 a large majority of the residents voted for the fees to be combined.

Two other residents spoke in high praise of the department’s work, citing the great work the officers do in crime prevention and their quick response to any problems. They added that they felt safer here than anywhere else.

Homeowners’ liens status: As part of the overall financial report, Treasurer Terry Holmes provided details on the status of overdue homeowners’ assessments, which currently total just over $36,000 from 121 overdue accounts. After filing additional new ones, the total covered by liens was $33,800. Twelve of the larger accounts will be turned over to a collection agency. It was noted that residents this year had been given an extra notice beyond the three required by the association rules.

Other directors were concerned about possible losses in the collections process, but Camilla Mottl, executive director, noted that collections are done by the association’s law firm and there is no loss in the process. The WIA will file liens on all delinquent accounts but will not send them to collections until they reach a certain amount or length of delay. This has worked well in the past and all money owed had been collected, even in the cases where properties went into foreclosure.

Attempted abduction reported: Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen noted a report of an attempted child abduction. Two men in a blue van had apparently tried to attract the attention of two groups of girls playing in their yards by asking for directions. Fortunately, the girls were able to run away.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the incident, but no new information was reported. The incident was reported to local schools so that other children were warned of the situation.

With the return of students to Lewis-Palmer High School, there had been many complaints from residents about smoking, trash, and parking. Apparently, because of lack of parking at the school, students had taken to parking in areas to the east, including the visitor area at the Pulte town homes development. Nielsen said that at one point, about 60 students were gathered adjacent to the school.

Nielsen noted that he had arranged a meeting with school authorities and it was suggested that Shirk, who is also Monument police chief, would join him to discuss this and other problems that high school students were causing in the area around Wal-Mart

The only other item of note was that more than 60 stop signs had been painted with the initials "TG" The Sheriff’s Office was investigating and working with the resource officer and the Crimestoppers program at the high school.

Median thinning complete: Forestry Director Amy Smith announced that the work on thinning the Fairplay median was now complete. She had received a lot of feedback from residents on this. As an experiment, herbicide was applied to prevent the scrub oak from resprouting. It will not be possible to evaluate the results of this program until next year. Some other minor thinning work was still continuing in the Twin Ponds area to reduce scrub oak under the ponderosa pine canopy.

It was also announced that the WIA had received $38,000 in grant money from the Forestry Service that can be used in a 50/50 match program by the Forestry program and residents in severe fire-risk areas to reduce fuels. There will be a direct mailing to those residents in the most severe areas to inform them of the program. Another similar amount of grant money has been applied for, but the decision on that has not been announced.

Smith noted that there are still serious mountain pine beetle infestations adjacent to Woodmoor. Owners of the properties had been informed, but remediation had not taken place. El Paso County had not sent notices to the adjoining properties

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Top women golfers come to Woodmoor

Below: Stephanie Ferguson of Broomfield was named champion after four days and over 100 holes of golf. Photos by Roni Fuster.

By Roni Fuster

Woodmoor Pines Country Club recently hosted 50 of Colorado’s best women golfers. They are among nearly 10,000 members of the Colorado Women’s Golf Association.

The association provides many services and sponsors 11 tournaments between May 30 and Sept. 30 for its members. Robin Elbardawil, executive director, explained that Woodmoor was chosen for this Match Play Tournament because it is considered a challenging "tight" course, which is most desirable in "individual match play" where scoring is done hole by hole rather than by rounds. Woodmoor Pines lived up to its reputation when a severe hailstorm resulted in a delay of several hours and proved the course even more of a challenge for opening day qualifying with unusually high scores.

Stephanie Ferguson of Broomfield was named champion after four days and over 100 holes of golf. The match was closely contested by Dawn Shockley, who plays at Estes Park Golf Club. On Friday, Aug. 10, on the 36th hole of the day, Shockley was down by 2 and conceded to her opponent and good friend. Ferguson plays golf for Colorado State University and has been an athlete most of her life. Her mother said that in the ninth grade she played her first golf tournament, much to the chagrin of her softball coach. Carla Shearer, a local resident and member at Woodmoor Pines, won the senior first flight division.

Lee Kelley, volunteer organizer at Woodmoor Pines, was extremely pleased with the event and encouraged any member of CWGA to consider entering association tournament play.

Jan Shoemaker of Longmont entered the senior division for women over 50. She said, "You really don’t have to have a low handicap to play in an association tournament." She enters tournaments because of the great camaraderie and enjoys visiting all the beautiful courses around the state. Many of the college-age women enter the tournaments because it prepares them for fall college play — and they "love" seeing their old friends. For more information on the CWGA, contact Robin at 303-366-7888.

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New Tri-Lakes Cares building is dedicated

Below: (top) - Judith Pettibone, director of TLC, and Rev. Scott Campbell, TLC’s board president. (middle) - Susan’s Closet. (bottom) - Celia Snyder, the original founder of Tri-lakes Cares, was bestowed the honor of cutting the dedication ribbon. Photos by Roni Fuster.

By Roni Fuster

After five years of planning and the diligent vision of a caring community, the new home for Tri-Lakes Cares was dedicated on Saturday, Aug. 18.

With over 200 interested visitors, the Rev. Scott Campbell, TLC’s board president, graciously acknowledged and thanked everyone who helped make this dream a reality. He said, "You believed this could happen. Where there was need, you gave generously – of your professional skills, financial resources, physical labor, and time. The love you have given will be leveraged for the good of many. On behalf of the clients, staff, volunteers and board members of Tri Lakes Cares, we thank you and recognize your love-based patience, kindness, generosity, and humility. See the house that love built!"

Judith Pettibone, director of TLC, outlined the organization’s mission. "We are a community-based nonprofit agency serving the Tri-Lakes area, improving people’s lives by providing over 20 programs such as: emergency assistance, senior supplemental groceries, and many other social services. We’ve come a long way since incorporation in 1985. We are now a top-notch northern El Paso County satellite of the Pikes Peak Workforce (courtesy of a generous grant from Fluke Networks), where all types of programs can come together such as blood drives, CPR classes, parenting classes, and meetings of all types."

Former directors Robin Davis and Penny Houser were introduced, and Celia Snyder, the original founder of Tri-lakes Cares, was bestowed the honor of cutting the dedication ribbon.

Some of the ongoing programs at TLC are: Granny’s Attic, Susan’s Closet, HAP Nursing Services, School Supplies, and Holiday Food Baskets. TLC is located at 235 N. Jefferson. Call 481-4864 for hours or more information.

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St. Peter’s brings community together at festival

By Roni Fuster

Father Bob Jaeger’s prayers were answered on the weekend of Aug 24-26, when Monument’s weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the St. Peter’s Catholic Church Community Festival. The entire event was held outdoors, and festival coordinator Frank Cheeseman was thrilled with community participation.

"Last year, the festival was a one day event," Cheeseman said. "This year it was expanded to three, because we wanted to appeal to children and adults with all different kinds of interests. We kicked things off with a golf tournament on Friday, which was a huge success. Mac McFarland, our golf chairperson, had 68 golfers who enjoyed a day of golf on the Blue Course at the Air Force Academy." Prizes were awarded for longest drive and various other competitive golf skills. A hole-in-one contest was sponsored by Chuck Maher, a St. Peter’s parishioner.

That evening, under a 4,000 square-foot tent, Casino Night lit up the festival grounds. New York-style pizza was served by Boriello Brothers Pizza and the Wine Seller provided the wine.

Saturday morning, 222 runners were up bright and early to participate in the 5K and 10K walk/ run event. The 5K runners started at St. Peter’s and took the Santa Fe Trail south, and the 10K group went north. At the finish line, Robert Efram and Maatje Bernassi crossed first for their respective groups. The men’s 10K winner was Charlie Capek, and Melanie Presuto was the first woman to finish. A complimentary pancake breakfast awaited all the participants.

The carnival began at noon for over 450 kids and their parents. They ate kettle corn and hot dogs, played games, had their faces painted and had a blast with all the inflatable amusements. That evening, the festival grounds came alive once more with a "Big Party" Over 500 people enjoyed dancing to the music of The Monument Hill Band, who played for over five hours. The enthusiastic crowd dined on Paravicini’s award-winning lasagna, Wine Seller wine, and Coors beer.

The weekend festival concluded Sunday morning with a Jazz Brunch. Rosie’s Diner catered and Dirk Stamp from the Wine Seller offered mimosas as the drink of the day. Music was provided by Peneplain Jazz.

"This was no small undertaking," Cheeseman explained. "It took over 235 volunteers and 10 months to plan. It would not have happened without the support of our wonderful local business owners. I can’t say enough about their generosity and cooperation. It was a great way to celebrate our wonderful community."

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Chili Cook-off raises $1,900 for Tri-Lakes Cares

Below: High Country Home & Garden proprietors Woody and Catherine Woodworth, sponsors of the event with this year’s "Best of Show" winner, Lyman Wilkinson of Loveland. Photo above by Roni Fuster. 

Below: Chilli Head booth carried plenty of warnings. Photo by ShawNa Schotanus.

By Roni Fuster

The High Country Chili Cook-off on Aug. 25 raised $1,900 for Tri-Lakes Cares. "This annual event gets more colorful every year," said High Country Home & Garden proprietors Woody and Catherine Woodworth, sponsors of the event "It’s always a fun day, and we love the ‘small town’ feel Washington Street has with all those wonderful aromas stirring in the air and our town folk mingling and tasting."

To add to the atmosphere, Woody Woodworth made sure there was plenty of live music in the air also, which led to a little dancin’ in the street!

This year, 17 amateur chefs entered the competition. Burners and stoves were fired up at 7 am. Hungry patrons paid $5 and made the tour to eat all the chili they could and choose their favorites.

This year’s "Best of Show" winner, Lyman Wilkinson of Loveland, says he’s been competing in chili contests for over 30 years. When asked if he had a secret ingredient, he shrugged and said: "I pretty much use normal ingredients. I do, however, always add Mexican chocolate to my pot."

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Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce hosts 2nd Annual Leadership Conference

Below left (L to R): Lucy McGuire, Father Bob Jaeger, and Tommie Plank. Photos Elizabeth Hacker.

Below right (L to R): Bill Roach, Dee Dee Eaton, and Ray Blanch. 

By Elizabeth Hacker

The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce sponsored the area’s second annual leadership conference on August 29. More that 50 leaders from the community, state legislature, county, city of Colorado Springs chamber, and the region joined together at the Air Force Academy Officer’s Club to consider where Tri-Lakes is headed and what is the best way to get there.

The 4-hour conference began with an opening address by Bill Roach and Barbara Laden from the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Program issues included Economic Development led by the Town of Monument’s director of planning Cathy Greene, an overview of Education led by Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Superintendent Ray Blanch, and Senior Initiatives led by Maureen Poirier. The conference ended with a buffet luncheon sponsored by area businesses.

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August Weather Wrap

Below: August 18: Looking north on Leather Chaps Road between Kitchner Way and Mesa Creek Drive, just south of Creekside Middle School. Photo by Steve Meyer.

By Bill Kappel

After a dry start to the summer with June and the first half of July receiving well below normal precipitation, August saw a return to heavy rain and strong thunderstorms. The rounds of heavy rain erased our moisture deficit, and the Tri-Lakes area is now well above normal for rainfall so far this summer. In fact, we are right at last year’s snow season precipitation pace in which we received over 30 inches of precipitation for the 12-month period. Overall, the month was slightly above normal for temperature and well above normal for precipitation.

Many areas received well over 3 inches of rain during the first week of the month, making up for the deficit a little too quickly. Rain, as heavy as we’ve seen it, at times has caused some problems with flash flooding across the area. During the beginning of the month, the strongest storms developed during the late afternoons and early evenings of the 5th and 6th, when thunderstorms strengthened quickly to our west/southwest and raced over the region. The storms on the 5th dropped heavy rain, especially from Black Forest Road eastward, with 2-3 inches being reported by several of your neighbors. The next afternoon, severe storms moved through between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. These again produced heavy rains, but this time accompanied by wind-driven hail. This created quite a pounding on many of our homes and plants, but fortunately these moved through quickly, limiting any major problems.

Thunderstorms continued dropping localized heavy rain across portions of the region during the second week of the month. The good news with the storms up to this point was that the environment was very "sub-tropical" in that the freezing levels were high and the winds aloft were weak. This was important because it prevented the storms from becoming severe, so we didn’t have to deal with any damaging hail or tornadoes. This changed by the end of the month. Unfortunately, it also meant that the rain came fast and hard, often leading to flash flooding. The storms were accompanied by plenty of lightning, which is always dangerous.

The atmosphere dried out briefly from the 8th through the 10th before moisture returned for the 11th and 12th, dropping another .25 to 2 inches of rain. Temperatures warmed throughout the week as well, with highs a little below normal on the 6th and 7th, only reaching the mid- to upper 70s. Then temperatures jumped to the low to mid-80s from the 8th through the 12th, which is slightly above normal.

Rainfall amounts continued to be above normal for the week of August 13th, with many locations picking up another 1-3 inches of rain. Unfortunately, conditions associated with these storms allowed some severe thunderstorms to develop, especially on the 14th and 18th. These storms produced, hail, strong winds, and flash flooding in several areas around the Palmer Divide. The heaviest pockets of rain were very localized, which is typical with these summer thunderstorm patterns. Be sure to check out the CoCo RaHS Web site at www.cocorahs.org and click on the "Map" tab to see how the rain varied across the area.

Temperatures were normal to slightly above normal for the week, with highs mainly holding in the upper 70s to mid-80s, however, with all the moisture in the atmosphere, overnight lows were well above normal, dropping back only to the 50s for most of us. But don’t worry too much; it won’t be long before we start experiencing our first below- freezing overnight lows, usually around mid-September.

The week of the 20th started off on the dry side, with clear skies bringing a nice relief from the heavy rains earlier in the month. High temperatures jumped up above normal during this time as well, reaching into the mid- and upper 80s. Of course, this weather pattern didn’t last long as more moisture moved into the area with a round of severe thunderstorms just to our east on the 22nd. However, on the 23rd we weren’t quite as fortunate, as the storms that formed that afternoon pounded us with wind, rain, and large-damaging hail in some spots. This time the storms were anchored to a passing cold front, which added extra lift and moisture while lowering the freezing level. These ingredients led to the formation of large hail. The only good thing with the storms on the 23rd was the fact that the winds that steer the storms were moving fast, and therefore moved the storms through quickly, so no one area got hit for too long. The largest of the hail was reported from the Air Force Academy east/northeast through the Gleneagle-Flying Horse area and points east from there. After some rumbles of thunder and brief rain showers early on the 24th, conditions again warmed up and dried out through the weekend, as highs again rebounded into the mid-80s by the 26th.

Cooler and wetter weather again returned to end the month, but things dried out just in time for Labor Day weekend.

A look ahead

September is a transition month for the Tri-Lakes region, with the last tastes of summer mixed in with our first morning freezes. Leaves begin to change as well, and three out of the last four Septembers have seen at least a trace of snow. The overall weather pattern is generally one of tranquility, with our chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid-70s early in the month to the mid-60s later in the month. Our first sub-freezing low temperature usually occurs during the second or third week as well, so prepare those plants. The official monthly forecast for September 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/), is calling for normal temperatures and normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.

August 2007 Weather Statistics

Average High 80.2°
Average Low 51.8°
Highest Temperature 86° on the 13th, 21st, 26th
Lowest Temperature 46° on the 24th
Monthly Precipitation 4.49"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 7.44" (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 every day and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at billkappel@ourcommunitynews.org.

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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Letters to Our Community

Forest View homeowner says contractor violated rights

The residents of Forest View Acres Water District need to be aware of a situation that occurred on Aug. 3, 2007, at the FVAWD Board’s open working group meeting.

Deborah McCoy, president of the Special District Management Services, Inc., co-owner of Community Solutions, Inc., and contractor with the FVAWD board, stated there has been venomous, poisonous, and slanderous talk in the district. In my opinion, the residents of FVAWD have been slandered by being falsely accused in a public forum.

I was the sole member of the general public present on Aug. 3 at the board’s public meeting. I was singled out for verbal abuse and intimidation, and accused of poisonous and slanderous talk. Ms. McCoy stated I could expect legal action for slander if I did not stop talking. Twice she stated that I was personally not welcome in her facility. The meeting was about to be moved to her private offices, and I left fearing an arrest for trespassing.

We have First Amendment rights, including the right to speak and the right of free assembly, rights guaranteed in the Constitution. I now know I could have remained in the meeting legally.

I am outraged by Deborah McCoy’s behavior. After discussing this incident with several appropriate persons, I have these questions:

  1. What was discussed in the afternoon session of this meeting? Ms. McCoy went to extraordinary measures to remove me, the only member of the general public present at the meeting.
  2. Why is the FVAWD board tolerating the abuse of its residents?
  3. We, the rate-payers, are paying both of Ms. McCoy’s companies thousands of dollars each month. Why are we tolerating her treatment? Other companies offer the same services as SDMS and CSI, and may do so at more competitive rates.

I hope all residents of the district are as outraged as I am. The conduct of Deborah McCoy and the FVAWD board shows complete contempt for the public. Were legal boundaries crossed? For more details, please log on to www.rrrhoa.org/cms.

Susan Gates

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Thanks for donations to soldiers

I want to send a big thanks to the OCN community for their response to the July "Help Wounded Soldiers" ad. The Eagle Scout project was a big success. Thanks to the community’s contributions, I will be able to send:

  • More than 100 sweats
  • 200 T-shirts
  • 40 toothbrushes
  • 50 deodorants
  • Over 5,000 minutes of prepaid phone cards
  • Magazines, CD players, socks
  • Lots of snacks and other personal items

Cash was also collected to fill in the rough edges of the project.

Our soldiers will have more comfortable hospital stays because of our OCN community.

Michael Nielsen
Troop 524

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Officials support fire district merger

The proposed vote on Oct. 2, 2007, to merge the Woodmoor/Monument and Tri-Lakes Fire Districts is an example of sound fiscal policy that enhances public safety. It also demonstrates smart planning for the future of the Tri-Lakes area.

The merging of the two districts will consolidate budgets and legal and audit services and create a streamlined board that will be more responsive to the growth needs of the community. Services to the community will be enhanced under this merger – not cut back. Stations and other resources can be allocated based on need rather than patchwork district lines, and the new fire district board can strategically plan with one voice and one budget. This merger will prove to be a savings for district residents while increasing public safety.

Commissioner Williams and I have been impressed with the work both fire districts have done to merge for the sake of better fire service in our community. We support the merger and hope that the residents of Woodmoor/Monument and the Tri-Lakes area will too.

State Rep. Amy Stephens, House District 20
Commissioner Wayne Williams, County Commissioner District 1

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Vote to approve fire district merger

How many times do we get a chance to vote for lowering property taxes and reducing homeowners’ insurance, while improving service in emergency medical response and fire protection?

For Woodmoor and Monument residents, such a chance will be on Tuesday, Oct. 2, when there will be a special election to approve a plan to include the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District into the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, thus forming the new Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Protection District.

This inclusion is a win-win situation for both communities. Woodmoor’s mill levy will be lowered, and the ambulance and fire trucks will cover a larger area for better service, benefiting everyone. Without this merger, sooner or later the Woodmoor mill levy will be raised.

The only way this inclusion plan can fail to be passed is voter apathy. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Oct. 2. Go to the polls and vote for lower taxes and better service. Vote "Yes" to approve the fire district merger!

Ruth Higgins

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Fire authority president urges yes vote on merger

In a special election on Oct. 2 at the fire station on Woodmoor Drive, the voters of the Woodmoor Monument Fire Protection District will have the unique opportunity to vote to eliminate two layers of government and lower their taxes. By voting for dissolution of the Woodmoor Monument Fire Protection District and for inclusion into the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, the voters will endorse the actions of their elected officials and endorse the unprecedented improvements in their emergency services that have been achieved in the past three years.

If both of these two ballot issues pass, there will only be three more events that must occur before the merger is finalized: First, a District Court judge must issue an order of dissolution and inclusion to be effective Jan.1, 2008, thus reflecting the voter’s wishes. Next, the boards of directors of both districts must vote to dissolve the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority to be effective Jan. 1, 2008. And third, after Jan. 1, 2008, a court order must be issued changing the name of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.

Almost three years ago, and after several years of discussions, the two district boards of directors formed the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority to really see what benefits a single fire department might offer to all of the residents of both districts. The benefits brought about by the Fire Authority have far surpassed even the highest expectations with better response times, improved emergency medical care and fire protection, and reduced fire and homeowners insurance rates. It is now time to make this union final and to realize the added efficiencies of a single district. Lower taxes for the property owners of the Woodmoor Monument District will also be a byproduct of the merger.

These improvements were brought about not by the boards of directors, but by the selfless dedication of our firefighters, paramedics and administrative staff all working together for the betterment of our total community. Your affirmative vote on both of these issues will reflect your confidence and appreciation for their efforts.

Since each issue is dependent on the passage of the other, to make your vote count you must vote for both issues. Please make the effort to vote on Oct. 2.

Charles Pocock
President of the board of directors
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Turn a page to a better education

By the staff at Covered Treasures

As a new school year begins, parents might be giving a sigh of relief, but many are also wondering how they can help make this the best year ever for their children. There are a number of good reference books available for the parent and the child, and the following are just a sample:

100 Words Kids Need to Read By (Series)
Scholastic; $12.95

This reading/workbook series helps develop skills that make reading fluent and fun for children. In consultation with Mary C. Rose of the Orange County Public Schools in Florida, Scholastic writers and editors have compiled 100 Word volumes for grades one, two and three. The activities for reinforcing these high-frequency sight words are creative, colorful, cumulative and closely related to school curriculum and standardized testing.

Words You Should Know in High School
By Burton Jay Nadler
Adams Media; $8.95

This easy-to-use book features over 1,000 essential words that arm the high school student with the vocabulary needed to tackle real-world tasks, from debating current events to writing essays for college applications.

The Ultimate Parenting Map to Money Smart Kids
By Linda Leitz
Bright Leitz Publishing, $18.95

This book provides a roadmap for helping children learn to use money wisely. The lessons learned might not only reinforce classroom math, but could also help avoid a financial bind in the future. Colorado Springs author Linda Leitz has a master’s in business administration and is a certified financial planner and an IRS agent. The book is also available on CDs.

The Dorm Room Diet
By Daphne Oz
Newmarket Press, $16.95

Princeton University student Daphne Oz has developed an eight-step program for creating a healthy lifestyle plan. It worked so well for her that instead of gaining the proverbial "freshman 15," she lost 10 pounds and became healthier than she had ever been. With the help of her father and grandfather, both cardiac surgeons, and her grandmother, a nutritional adviser, she figured out a whole new approach to managing her weight, which had always been a struggle for her. This is a great way to empower your college student to stay healthy.

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century
By Oliver Van DeMille
George Wythe College Press, $26.95

DeMille asks, "Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills?" He then presents a new educational vision based on proven methods, making this an important reference for parents, teachers, students, educators and legislators. DeMille is the founder and president of George Wythe College.

C is for Cooking: Recipes From the Street
By Susan McQuillan
John Wiley & Sons Inc.; $16.95

This book is designed to introduce young children to cooking, with help from the Sesame Street gang. It includes over 50 simple, tasty recipes for healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sweets, and treats, including one or more "kids" steps to get children involved in the kitchen. This could be the perfect way to unwind after school while reinforcing skills in mathematics and following directions — and creating mouth-watering snacks or meals.

Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box
By Ann Dunnewold
Health Communications Inc.; $14.95

"So … you missed T-ball tryouts, forgot to buy allergy-free organic snacks, got wait-listed at the top pre-school, and now you feel like the world’s worst mother." Psychologist Ann Dunnewold gives help to mothers who are trying to juggle the crazy fall schedule, as school and all the activities get underway. She offers a practical guide to readjusting the rules of motherhood and, finally, permission to cut yourself and your family some much-needed slack.

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?
By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Scholastic, $16.99

Another delightful book in the "How Do Dinosaurs …." series, this one is for the youngster who is just a little nervous or unsure about the beginning of school. With classic rhyming text and colorful illustrations, the authors romp through a day with various kinds of polite, helpful dinosaurs.

Here’s wishing all of our kids a stress-free, productive school year filled with learning and growing. Until next month, happy reading!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, August 16: The Palmer Lake Chautauqua: A people’s university

Below: Photo provided by the Palmer Lake Historical Society

By Diane Sawatzki

Long before silent movies, radio, and television, rural Americans flocked to hundreds of chautauqua stages for their cultural entertainment. Beginning in the late 19th century and running through the 1930s, these people’s universities provided speakers, music, Sunday school instruction, and outdoor recreation to over 45 million enthusiastic participants. Born in upstate New York, chautauqua was named for an Iroquois word meaning "a gathering together." William Jennings Bryan was the most popular speaker, and Theodore Roosevelt said, "The most American thing in America is the Chautauqua."

At the August historical society meeting, Palmer Lake resident Professor Joan Fairchild spoke on the Palmer Lake Chautauqua, the oldest in Colorado. While sharing tales gleaned from years of research, she showed slides of Victorian ladies rowing on the lake and hikers exploring our mountains.

"The first session was in summer of 1886," Fairchild said. "It was short, and there were no buildings yet, but DU (University of Denver) faculty taught it. They had campfires, songfests, and evening services. By 1887, they had an auditorium that seated 700 people, a dining hall, Verano Lodge, and tent cottages. A 21-meal ticket sold for $6, season tickets for activities went for $2.50, and a round-trip fare on the train from Denver ran $2.25. Pack mules took chautauquans on overnight excursions to Woodland Park. Two intrepid women hiked to the Palmer Lake’s first reservoir but were trapped there by an inquisitive bear until midnight." Sessions expanded to six weeks and included nature walks, athletic events, speakers, and various classes. The chautauqua was the place to go for family summer vacations, and for weeks at a time.

Its demise was caused by the advent of automobiles, radio, and movies. Americans chose others forms of travel, entertainment, and vacations. The chautauqua fell by the wayside and Palmer Lake’s quaint buildings crumbled to dust, but you can catch a glimpse of this phenomenon in an upcoming video. Created by Jim Sawatzki, "Summer Sojourn" documents the Palmer Lake Chautauqua and will be presented in the Palmer Lake Town Hall in October. Joan Fairchild’s garden is featured in one of the scenes.

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The Palmer Lake Historical Society hosts free programs and refreshments in the Town Hall the third Thursday of most months. Sam Defelice will speak of his great-great-grandfather in "John Albert: Mountain Man," at the 7 p.m. Sept. 20 meeting.

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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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Western Grebe

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of Wewstern Grebes.

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

Students have returned to school and summer is coming to an end, the time when migratory birds begin to join flocks in preparation for their long journey to their winter homes. It can be an exciting time for birders, because it’s the time when birds make their way along the Front Range flyway to the Gulf of Mexico. If we’re lucky, we’ll see a few unexpected visitors as they briefly stop to rest and refuel. While it still may be a little early, we are keeping a watchful eye on our feeders and always carry a pair of binoculars as we walk the trails on the Palmer Divide.

The week before our children headed back to school, we drove north to Steamboat Lake for a short camping trip. We arrived just as the sun was setting and heard a bird call echoing from the lake that was reminiscent of the loon we’d heard in Minnesota earlier this summer. My son thought it sounded more like a frog croaking "crricky crricky crricky" than a loon, and we all were curious to learn what it was.

The following day, we kayaked around the lake and noticed many colonies of western grebes. It wasn’t long before we discovered that they have two calls, a long call and a shorter series of "crricky" calls. It wasn’t possible to get close to them, because as we approached they dove under water and resurfaced farther from us.

The western grebe is the largest of all North American grebes, and in summer it is most often found on inland fresh water deep lakes banked by wetlands. Its striking black and white coloration, swan-like neck, red eyes, and long, yellowish-green pointed bill make identifying it easy. Unlike most birds, the sexes are indistinguishable. It is sometimes referred to as the swan grebe because of its long, curved neck. At about 2 feet in height, it is less than half the size of trumpeter swan. Its red eyes can be seen from a good distance, and the black strip down the back of its neck distinguishes it from all other water birds.

The western grebe sits low in the water and dives down to the bottom for its food. It swims with such speed that it pops out of the water when it resurfaces several yards away. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, about 80 percent of its dives are spent searching for schools of fish, which may explain why it spends much of the day diving. It is an opportunist, which means it’s not a fussy eater. Its diet includes a variety of fish, mollusks, salamanders, invertebrates, and insects.

The western grebe arrives in Colorado in early summer to breed. Both sexes take part in an elaborate courtship ritual, which begins with a loud call followed by a dance. Sometime birds perform individually, but often they form a dance line and move in unison with wings spread and beaks pointed upward. The birds move so fast that their bodies are propelled out of the water and they actually run along the surface for several yards before leaning forward and gracefully diving into the water. Monogamous pairs form and continue to dance together for several days until it’s time to get down to the business of building a nest.

The western grebe usually nests in large breeding colonies but may nest in small groups or as a single pair. The nest is built by the male and female and consists of a floating mass of vegetation hidden among the tall wetland vegetation on the bank. The female lays two to five bluish-white eggs with brown spots. Both sexes incubate the eggs until they hatch in about 23 days. We observed a downy chick riding atop one parent while the other parent swam synchronously alongside to protect its mate and the chick. August seemed to be rather late to see a chick, because it must be ready to fly when flocks migrate, beginning in late September.

During migration, western grebes fly in loose flocks but spread out to feed during the day. In early summer, I often get calls from people who have seen a western grebe in an area lake. Because the report is only for one or two birds and the fact that the lakes here are shallow and would not support a colony of grebes, these birds are possibly members of a migrating flock.

Colonies of western grebes winter in Pacific coastal areas where oil spills and insecticides have accumulated. These hazards are thought to have affected the grebes’ breeding success, as their numbers are declining.

Last month I reported the nighthawk to be a solitary bird — information I gathered from a reliable field guide. Randy and I were out walking at dusk a few weeks ago and observed at least 10 nighthawks flying in a circle. It appeared to us as if they may be herding insects before eating them, which didn’t seem like solitary behavior to us. We always find it interesting to observe bird behavior that varies from what we read in guide books.

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

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Art Matters: Hoving’s gift and ‘the Artful Tommy’

Below: Opus I by Barbara Roeming:

By Janet Sellers

Modern art and modern materials are an inspiration for artists and their collectors, regardless of time or place. Here in our community, we have a rich variety of new and newer materials on view nearly all the time. I thought I would write about one of the more expressive media that sometimes goes unrecognized for its versatility and value in common education and even in art books on the subject. From watercolor techniques to thick and heavy mixed media to various pouring techniques, one of the most amazing art media is the artists’ acrylic polymer resin paint.

Use of acrylic paint has been a favorite with artists for the last 50 or so years since its invention, likely since acrylic as a medium lends itself to the greatest range of expression of any painting medium. Acrylic paint is the appellation for a range of paint colors, consistencies, and uses. Art insiders know that the techniques and range of expression vary from delicate, loose watercolor styles to heavy, pasty "impasto" styles, to endless layers of transparent colors in the glazing technique. Glazing is my personal favorite. It is a process by which transparent and translucent colors are carefully laid over each other with each layer more rich and seductive than the last. All of the layers are visible to the surface at once. Smashing!

Oil paintings, some may say, sell better than acrylics, which is an important issue when making a living. Oil painting has a 500-year history of longevity, people know what it is, and lots of art history books have oil paintings in them for study. Remarkably, modern museums and high-end galleries were the first to accept the acrylic painters’ works as art first, medium second. In spite of the high prices the acrylic works command, these venues still avoid the term "acrylic" and frequently write about them as "polymer resin and pigment" or allude to the medium in some other way. Mark Golden, CEO of the artists’ acrylic company Golden Paint, recently posed the question to museums in his online newsletter, "Why don’t museums put the word ‘acrylic’ on the label card?" Golden asked acrylic artists to pursue the answer that would integrate the medium to its rightful place of honor.

In August, at the Extremely Grand Opening of the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Thomas Hoving, aka "the Artful Tommy" about the issue. He is a former head of the Metropolitan Museum of New York and a consultant on art (of course, mostly big-ticket deals in the millions and billions of dollars). He is the man who brought the fine art of all ages from its stuffed-shirt decorum back into our everyday lives for the better. He created the blockbuster style of museum shows, and has written dozens of books revealing the secrets of the zillion-dollar art world.

Famous for his candidness and revealing the secret world behind the international art scene in his books, lectures, and films, Hoving seemed the perfect anti-stuffed shirt to ask about the conflict of terms for acrylics. He is known as "the Artful Tommy" because he dodged into an "easy-A" art history class at Princeton, a move that changed his life path to the fine arts. So, I posed my question to the Artful Tommy. I asked him why museums didn’t just write "acrylic" on the label cards next to the paintings. Ever the quick wit, he replied, "I’ve seen lots of museums put ‘acrylic’ on the cards. I just wish that they would put the price they paid for the paintings on the card as well!"

Hoving is a genius at answering questions that enlighten in numerous directions at once. From his comment, I gathered that: not all museums use the term acrylic, thereby avoiding it; not only are acrylic paintings worthy of acclaim, they command exceptionally high prices and are highly valued; and museums and collectors should take note of this since acrylics are a most venerable and worthy art medium.

Hoving often writes that art is not just in the medium, it is in any material specifically manipulated with intent. In answering my question, he uplifted venues for a lot of acrylic artists’ futures. It is a gift of enlightenment. He knows his respected position in the arts for museums, collectors, and artists translates into the official word on the subject of art, and he still is able to answer questions in public on the subject with his typical flair. His word is taken as law and has often been used to settle billion-dollar disputes in the art world. I think we may count on his word about it, too.

August Art Hop news

Second Street Art Market, 366 Second St. www.secondstreetart.com. The Contemporary Acrylics of Barbara Roeming: Barbara and I talked of using acrylic paint and using the glazing process with layers of color. I asked her about her process and technique in these abstract acrylic paintings of hers.

"I concentrate on color, movement and texture. Movement is evident in my manipulated pours—I enjoy working on very thick heavy canvas, with 30 and 40 layers of paint. The color slowly rises to the surface in a soft, gleaming, mysterious finish …."

Barbara told me something she’s learned about the local art collectors here, in comparison to collectors in, say, beach areas. Here, she’s noticed that many prefer to buy matte surfaced works, layered or not. At sea level, especially on the coast, people like to buy the shiny surfaces. She said it was due to the atmosphere. Our thinner air offers a much different looking experience and is well-suited to the matte finish of the artwork surface.

Yoga Pathways Studio: Raleigh Dove is exhibiting some superb silver gelatin images from her professional photography days. Her yoga students of late may not know it, but she was, in a former current life incarnation, a professional photographer for fine arts and for photojournalism (she was a photo-journalist for The Gazette once upon a time). This show of rich black-and-white images seems to be mainly of a sector of society that is hard-pressed yet vivacious in daily life. The work includes candid shots of children playing cheerfully while the pathos around them goes on; the images are stirring and at the same time, appealing. Raleigh related to me that she had spent some time in Mexico, and the art of her camera speaks volumes of her experiences. Also on exhibit are some of Raleigh’s batik clothing designs.

Leah Squires’ work is also at the Yoga Pathways show. Leah is exhibiting her soft sculpture of manikin-like, talented women from her business "Not Your Granny’s Scarecrows." Very stylish in their appearance, makeup and all, I would have dubbed them "art woman-ikins," but the show cards title them as scarecrows. They are lots of fun to view. Yoga Pathways also has a shop called "Satvic Stuff," where one can purchase not only the art on the walls but also yoga clothes, candles, and an assortment of thoughtful, exotic yoga-related gifts. Smells nice in there, too — incense? Go check it out and smell for yourself.

The Winter Gallery: Opening receptions were held at the August Art Hop for three-dimensional contemporary art works including Book Art in a variety of media: plastic, paper, glass, fabric and wood. Featured artists include Martin Conrad, Lin Fife, Joshua Kemp, Sandra Leighton, Mimi Mitchell, and LuDel Walter.

The next Art Hop will be Sept. 20 and, as always, in Historic Monument between Second and Third Streets west of Beacon Lite Road. Many galleries offer their art show openings during the Art Hop events, so be sure to get out and enjoy the wonderful autumn weather on the Art Hop evenings.

Janet Sellers is an American painter and sculptor. As an artist and educator, she promotes local community enrichment in the arts via her fine artworks, classes, events, and a free monthly newsletter.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Above and left: Chuck Pyle provided lively entertainment at the the last 2007 Monument Concert in the Park Aug. 8. Photos by Mike Wicklund.

Below: August 21 groundbreaking for the new U.S. Taekwondo Center to be located next to Wal-Mart. Photo provided by the U.S. Taekwondo Center.

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Special Events and Notices

By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus

Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.

Slash and mulch site open 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 last 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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Sonora Chamber Ensemble at TLCA, Sept. 9

The Sonora Chamber Ensemble will perform at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Sept. 9. Doors open at 2:30 for a 3 p.m. show. The women of Sonora are free-lance musicians in the Denver area and have played with every major orchestra in the region including the Colorado Symphony and the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Tickets are $10 TLCA members, $12 non-members, $8 seniors 65+ and students. Tickets are available at The Wine Seller (481-3019), Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665), and TLCA (481-0475). TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information visit the Web site at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Brad Bietry Jazz Group at TLCA, Sept. 15

Enjoy an evening of Straight Ahead, Latin and Smooth Jazz with Brad Bietry. Brad Bietry Jazz Group will perform at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Sept. 15. Doors open at 7 for the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $12 for TLCA members and $15 for non-members. Tickets are available at the Wine Seller (481-3019) and TLCA (481-0475). TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, visit the Web site at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Business Expo, Sept. 18

The Front Range Business Expo will be held Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Air Force Academy Press Box, Falcon Stadium, 2168 Field House Dr. The event will feature 70 local businesses offering a diversified mix of top-selling products and services. Informational demonstrations, such as home décor trends, and unique seminars are scheduled throughout the day. Complimentary tickets are available and may be picked up at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce office, 300 Highway 105 in Monument, or printed from the chamber’s Web site, www.trilakeschamber.com. Tickets at the door will be $5. For more information, call the chamber at 481-3282.

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Women’s clubs resume monthly luncheons, Sept. 21

The Gleneagle Women’s Club and Tri-Lakes Women’s Club will begin their season of monthly luncheons Sept. 21. Both groups normally hold a luncheon meeting the third Friday of the month and both have a variety of interest groups as well. If you are new to the area or just want to make new friends, one of these groups could be right for you. For more information on the Gleneagle Women’s Club, call Carol Docheff, 484-0788. For the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, call Billy Healy, 278-8393, or visit www.tlwc.net.

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

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) will present its annual wine-tasting benefit, Wine and Roses, Oct. 19, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Inn at Palmer Divide, 443 Highway 105, in Palmer Lake. The evening will feature live music, a silent and live auction, and dozens of fine domestic and international wines arranged by Dirk Stamp from The Wine Seller. Greg Soukup, the Inn at Palmer Divide’s executive chef, will prepare delicious hors d’oeuvres and decadent desserts. Tickets will be sold only in advance this year for $50 per person. No tickets will be sold at the door. Reservations are limited, so purchase your tickets early. You may order tickets by mailing a check to TLWC, Attn: Wine & Roses 2007, PO Box 669, Monument, CO 80132. Ticket requests received after Sept. 30 will be held at Will Call the evening of the event. TLWC also will be selling tickets outside Wal-Mart Sept. 21, 3 to 7 p.m., and Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.tlwc.net or call Ann at 877-230-6288.

To kick off the TLWC Wine & Roses 2007, there will be a special wine-tasting dinner the evening before, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. Dirk Stamp and Chris Sweetanos will pour Chris’s Napa Valley wines paired with the exquisite cuisine of Chef Greg Soukup of MoZaic restaurant. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. For information and pricing, contact MoZaic at 481-1800. TLWC currently has 200 members and is a nonprofit organization set up exclusively for charitable and educational purposes in the community. In the past 31 years, it has granted more than $500,000 to schools, fire and police departments, and other non-profit 501(c) (3) organizations that provide services to residents within Colorado School District 38.

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Jalan Crossland concert at TLCA, Oct. 6

Acoustic guitarist Jalan Crossland will be performing at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Oct. 6. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 show. Crossland is a talented vocalist, banjo player and songwriter and is an engaging showman. Along with dozens of regional contest awards, his extraordinary guitar work has earned National Fingerstyle Championship honors in 1997 and the State Championship Flatpick Title in his home state of Wyoming in 1999. His music includes traditional folk and bluegrass as well as rock and jazz. Tickets are $12 TLCA members, $15 non-members. Tickets are available at The Wine Seller (481-3019) and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665) in Monument and TLCA (481-0475) in Palmer Lake. TLCA is located at 304 Hwy 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, visit the Web site at www.trilakesarts.org.

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Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert Series begins Oct. 6

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

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Empty Bowl Dinner, Oct. 10

The 2007 Empty Bowl Dinner will be held at the Lewis-Palmer High School Commons Area, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument, Oct 10, 5-7:30 p.m. This popular event is organized by Monument Hill Sertoma and the LPHS Serteen Club to raise money for Tri-Lakes Cares. Entertainment includes Joe Bohler’s piano stylings, Monument Hill Brass Quintet, Woody Woodworth and his acoustical guitar, and the Tri-Lakes Community Adult Handbell Choir. Tickets go on sale Sept. 21 for $16 (which includes a hand-crafted pottery bowl) in Monument at Second Street Art Market (formerly Pankratz Gallery), Covered Treasures Bookstore (at the corner of Washington and Second Street), Tri-Lakes Printing (Woodmoor Center), Tri-Lakes Tribune (47 Third St.), and in Palmer Lake at Rock House Ice Cream & More (24 Highway 105). For more information, phone Chris Otto at 487-8582, or e-mail cjotto@att.net.

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Youth handbell ringers needed

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

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Library needs volunteer tutors

Share your love of reading. Tutor an adult once a week for two hours. Work with an adult to improve 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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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 right to your computer every Wednesday. To start your free subscription to e-News, just go to http://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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