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Vol. 8 No. 7 - July 8, 2008


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Monument Academy short $1.2 million on funding for new building

Click here or on the photos to zoom in

Below: Two views of the new Monument Academy building under construction near Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. In June, it was disclosed that the funds available for project are $1.2 million less than what it will cost to complete it. Photos by Chris Pollard and David Cruz.

Click on the photo to zoom in

Click on the photo to zoom in

Below: June 27: (L to R) D-38 board members Mark Pfoff, Gail Wilson, and Dee Dee Eaton; Ray Blanch, D-38 Superintendent; Cheryl Wangeman, D-38 Chief Financial Officer; Shirley Trees, Executive Director of Elementary Education; Monument Academy board members Jay McKeown, Mike Wong, Diana Helffenstein, and Laura Hannon; and Brad Miller, attorney for the Monument Academy. Photo by John Heiser.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By John Heiser

The Lewis-Palmer District 38 School board held a special meeting June 27 to review the latest information on the Monument Academy budget. During the course of the meeting, it was stated that the Monument Academy is $1.2 million short of funds to complete the new building that is under construction on Highway 105 just east of Knollwood Drive. According to district Superintendent Ray Blanch, the Monument Academy has known of the shortfall since at least the first quarter of the year; however, they did not inform district administration until June 10. Blanch reported that JE Dunn, the building contractor, has said it will stop work if additional funds are not found by the third week in July.

Present for the meeting were District 38 board members Dee Dee Eaton, Mark Pfoff, and Gail Wilson; Monument Academy board members Laura Hannon, Diana Helffenstein, Jay McKeown, and Mike Wong; and Brad Miller, attorney for the Monument Academy. District 38 board members John Mann and Jeff Cantlebary and Monument Academy board members Bob Bowker and Will Cochran were absent.

Blanch presented background on the issue. Some highlights of his presentation and the associated discussion were:

  • Blanch said the district learned June 10 that construction commitments exceed cash funds by at least $1 million. The district held meetings with Monument Academy representatives on June 12, June 20, and June 27.
  • Blanch said the funding shortfall may be a violation of state law that prohibits public schools from entering into a contract unless appropriations have been made to cover the costs. The Monument Academy’s response is that the Monument Academy Building Corporation (MABC), a separate non-profit corporation, is building the school and has made the contractual commitments.
  • Blanch noted that Laura Gipson, who at the time was president of the Monument Academy board of directors, signed a contract with JE Dunn January 22. The Monument Academy’s response is that Gipson signed the contract as a member of the board of directors of the MABC.
  • The contract’s guaranteed maximum price for the construction is $9.394 million. Blanch said that when the costs for the land, architect’s fees, and reserves are included, the total exceeds the bond proceeds by about $1.2 million. Monument Academy has reported that attempts to obtain loans from two local banks to cover the shortfall have not yet been successful. Additional fundraising efforts are being pursued.
  • Blanch said that even though the contractor is hoping to meet a "target date" of August 21 for a temporary certificate of occupancy, the contractual completion date is October 22. School is scheduled to start September 8. Enrollment numbers per school as of October 1 determines state funds. Blanch reported that the Monument Academy currently has no contingency plan to house students in the event the school is not completed in time for the start of the 2008-09 school year. He added that the district is preparing a contingency plan to absorb the students in the event the new school is not ready in time.
  • The Monument Academy submitted requests to the District 38 board to transfer operating and capital reserve fund balances for 2007-08 and 2008-09 to the MABC to help pay for the school construction. Blanch said the resulting 2007-08 ending fund balance would be very close to the 3 percent minimum Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) reserve requirement. He added that the 2008-09 budget shows little improvement and no usable reserves would remain. The Monument Academy’s response is that the 2008-09 request to transfer funds was made in error. Pfoff said, "It is our responsibility to be sure they obey TABOR."
  • The Monument Academy says their enrollment is 551 full-time equivalents (FTE). Blanch said current enrollment figures in the student information system show 526 FTE. The Monument Academy’s response is that not all 2008-09 students have been entered in the student information system. Blanch said the reduction in state funding due to the 26-student difference could potentially bring the 2008-09 budget below the TABOR reserve limit. Blanch added that the Monument Academy’s 2008-09 budget is based on an assumption of significantly increased enrollment whereas the overall enrollment in the district is projected to decline 70 FTE (1.2 percent) to 5,575 FTE.
  • Blanch asked when the Monument Academy board first knew of the shortfall. Miller replied that due to potential litigation regarding possible criminal conduct associated with the shortfall, the board was not informed until sometime in March. Miller added that MABC was "reluctant to disclose to stakeholders."
  • The first public meeting at which the Monument Academy disclosed the funding shortfall to the building contractor, families, and other stakeholders was held June 25. Blanch said that meeting was attended by 25 to 30 people.
  • Blanch said state open meeting statutes had been violated by the Monument Academy board. In response to a question from Eaton, Wong acknowledged that the required notices of this meeting of the Monument Academy board had not been posted.
  • Blanch expressed concern that since a non-profit corporation is constructing the building, the project should have gone through El Paso County planning with public hearings before the planning commission and Board of County Commissioners. Since it was characterized as a construction project by a school district, approval was obtained instead from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Oil and Public Safety, which oversees school construction projects.
  • Blanch noted that since the November 2006 D-38 ballot measure designated that bond issue as specifically for work on the high schools, any surplus funds from those projects can not be used to cover the Monument Academy shortfall. Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief financial officer, said the district does not currently have other funds available it could loan to the Monument Academy to cover the shortfall.

At the end of the meeting, Wilson expressed disappointment that the problem has to be addressed in a "tight time frame." She said, "Always keep in mind that we are dealing with public dollars and we have an obligation to keep the public informed as to how we are spending those dollars and why we are spending them that way." She thanked the Monument Academy for working with the D-38 board and providing clarifications.

Pfoff said, "I have absolutely no desire for Monument Academy to fail. I want them to be successful. I think they bring a great deal to the table that our district needs. I am extremely upset about how it is being run. This is huge and affects everyone in the district. I am confident that Dr. Blanch can do contingency planning and make this work in the worst-case scenario. I’m hoping and praying that something can be done to work this out and make sure every student in the district gets an education."

Wilson read a written statement from board member John Mann, who was absent. In it Mann said, "I’m a proponent of school choice. I’m very concerned with the Monument Academy’s financial management and that the construction of a new school has been underfunded for quite some time. I’m also very concerned that it has taken so long for the Monument Academy board to inform us, and apparently its stakeholders, of the status of its finances and to seek remedies for this serious situation. There is not as much opportunity to find a solution as there might have been. Nonetheless, it is my sincere hope that the Monument Academy’s board will be able to find the funding needed to complete construction of its new building in time for school to start. I would like to reassure everyone that in the event that the Monument Academy board is unable to find the funding resources required, District 38 will welcome all district students and will place them in some of the most outstanding schools in the state of Colorado."

Eaton added that the District 38 board is supportive of the Academy as has been shown over the past 12 years. She said, "We are asking really hard questions because we are concerned and we want to see it fixed and need to be informed because of our position in the district and the fact that these are all our kids." She expressed appreciation to the Monument Academy board for their help in clarifying the situation. She concluded, "We are looking out for the kids. That is our bottom line and I believe that is true for the Monument Academy as well."

**********

The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education normally meets on the third Thursday of each month at the District’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next regular monthly meeting of the board will be held July 17 at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at 5:00 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. for those receiving commendations.

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

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

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Decision delayed on gas drilling proposal

On June 25, U.S. Forest Service Pike National Forest, Pikes Peak Ranger Brent Botts announced that more information has been requested from Dyad Petroleum before an Environmental Assessment (EA) can be completed for the El Paso County project. No decision on the exploratory drilling proposal is expected prior to the Spring 2009.

According to Botts, "We asked Dyad Petroleum representatives for additional information about the site, roads, air and water quality and they responded favorably. It will likely take at least another six months to evaluate the information and prepare the environmental analyses."

Following receipt and evaluation of the additional information requested from Dyad, the Forest Service will prepare a formal scoping statement and solicit public comment.

Beginning in 1997, Dyad Petroleum (Dyad) of Midland, Texas began showing interest in leases on National Forest System lands in the Pikes Peak District. Since 1997, Dyad has successfully acquired leases on approximately 21,879 acres of federally owned lands west of Monument, Colorado that are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service. The lease process began with Dyad submitting an Expression of Interest to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on lands that they considered to have potential for oil and gas development. The Forest Service worked with the BLM to prepare the lease packages prior to competitive bidding. The BLM has responsibility for the management of subsurface leasable minerals, whereas the Forest Service has responsibility for the management of the surface resources on National Forest System lands.

After Dyad successfully acquired leases to lands west of Monument, they submitted Applications for Permits to Drill (APD) two natural gas exploratory wells on lands located on the Pike National Forest-Pikes Peak Ranger District. The company has proposed to drill the Mt. Herman Federal No. 1-19 and Rampart Federal No. 1-18 wells in search of hydrocarbon deposits believed to be located under the Rampart Overthrust in El Paso County.

The initial proposed well locations would have required several miles of new road construction to locate the drill pads directly above the areas of interest. The new road construction would have occurred in undisturbed, pristine areas west of Mt. Herman that are also prime habitat for many wildlife species.

In collaboration with the Forest Service, Dyad agreed to relocate their proposed drill pad locations into areas that would minimize the need to build new roads. They can accomplish this by directionally drilling into the target zone at an angle from the alternate drill pad locations. According to the Forest Service, the alternate drill pad sites would not require nearly as much disturbance because existing roads would be used as much as possible. Botts said the Forest Service is highly supportive of not having to construct new roads into the area, but the proposed drill site locations are not popular with some people who live in residential areas in close proximity to the drill sites.

Based on a press release from the U.S. Forest Service.

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, June 18: Private funding being considered for pipeline

By John Heiser

At the June 18 meeting of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), a plan was discussed for potential private funding of the 80-100 mile-long pipeline to bring water to the Tri-Lakes area from the lower Arkansas River. The rate required to cover the cost of transporting the water and repaying the $500 million to $1 billion construction cost would be about $4 to $6 per 1,000 gallons. That figure does not include the costs for leasing the water, storage, and advanced water treatment. When those factors are included, the total cost for the water would substantially exceed what local districts are currently charging their customers for water. For example, the Donala district currently charges $2.75 per 1,000 gallons for a customer’s first 10,000 gallons per month.

Background

The current members of the PPRWA are the Cherokee Metropolitan District, the City of Fountain, the Donala Water and Sanitation District, the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, the Triview Metropolitan District, and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

At the March 19 meeting of the PPRWA, the group decided to form two committees: One to pursue a source of renewable water and one to look at ways of coordinating local operations.

The renewable water committee, also known as the big picture committee, consists of representatives of Cherokee, Fountain, Monument, and Woodmoor.

The local operations committee, also known as the northern collaboration committee, consists of representatives of Donala, Monument, Palmer Lake, Triview, and Woodmoor.

At the June 18 PPRWA meeting, each of the committees reported on their progress.

Big picture committee report

Kip Petersen, Cherokee’s General Manager, reported that the committee has been discussing the report prepared by financial consultant Alex Brown on funding alternatives for the proposed pipeline from the lower Arkansas River.

Alex Brown’s analysis assumed PPRWA would use operational alternative 3 from the Boyle Engineering study; that is, water storage in the Tri-Lakes area and at Stonewall Springs with treatment near Stonewall Springs.

The analysis estimated transmission costs based on financing using a traditional 30-year municipal bond issue or using a 65-year private bond issue in a concession arrangement similar to that used to construct and operate the Northwest Parkway.

The Northwest Parkway connects I-25 and E-470 in the North Metro Denver area with U.S. 36 and State Highway 128 in Broomfield. It was entirely privately funded and is operated by Northwest Parkway, LLC. The Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority, which manages the road, has representation from the City and County of Broomfield, the City of Layfette, and Weld County. There is more information on the parkway at www.northwestparkway.org

The Alex Brown report presented the estimated transmission costs for 15,235 acre-feet per year and for 50,000 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot is 326,851 gallons. 15,235 acre-feet per year would address Tri-Lakes area needs and the needs of the City of Fountain and the Cherokee district. 50,000 acre-feet per year would provide additional capacity to serve other areas as a way to share the cost of construction and operation.

Here is a summary of the results of Alex Brown’s analysis:

Transmission Cost ($ per 1,000 gallons)

Funding\acre-ft. 15,235 50,000
Public             7.61             4.86
Public/Private             5.92             3.80

Note that these estimates only cover the cost for transmission and do not include required operational expenses such as leasing water, storage, and advanced treatment.

In the public/private concession arrangement, the investors are reportedly seeking 8 percent to 11 percent return on investment.

Rick Fendel, attorney for the PPRWA, said Alex Brown listed 30 issues that would need to be addressed to move forward with the concession arrangement. He said one of those is the issue of exclusivity and non-competition. In the case of the Northwest Parkway, Broomfield was prevented from making significant improvements to surrounding roads because that might diminish traffic on the parkway. In the pipeline case, the local districts would have to agree not to pursue water from other sources even if those other sources offer water at a lower cost.

Gary Barber, PPRWA manager, reported on a meeting he had with representatives of the "Super Ditch" group that, if agreement can be reached, would supply the water for the pipeline. He said both sides at this point are trying to assess the seriousness of the other side.

Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, noted that in a dry year some estimates are that the group may only have 15,000 acre-feet of water available for pumping through the pipeline.

Northern collaboration committee report

Woodmoor civil engineer Jessie Shaffer reported that although the committee did not meet this month, work is continuing. He said he is awaiting the last couple questionnaires. The committee’s questionnaire solicits from each authority member an assessment of its strengths, assets, financial condition, expectations, risks, fears, and the sorts of joint projects the various boards and councils would support or oppose. Due to the sensitivity of the answers, Shaffer said he will keep the responses confidential. He plans to collate the results and identify common ground and roadblocks. Out of that analysis, he said he hopes to identify potential joint projects.

As a follow-on to the PPRWA Water Infrastructure Planning Study (WIPS) that was completed in March, Duthie reported that Donala contracted with Leonard Rice Engineers to prepare a refined water availability projection for the district. The refined study assumed a 12 percent demand reduction due to conservation by customers, revised demand projections based on the recent decrease in development in the Tri-Lakes area, and looked at using water from other aquifers in addition to the Arapahoe aquifer. Duthie said the new study projected significantly more time is available to address the coming shortfall than was estimated by the WIPS.

Duthie expressed disappointment at the lack of progress the PPRWA has made in implementing the WIPS recommendations. He said, "A consolidated well field management plan, which requires a trunk pipeline, was the first step we needed to take."

Rich Landreth, Monument’s Public Works Director, said, "I admit that we are in a wait and see mode right now." He added, "When money is tight, we want to try to spend the money in the best way possible."

Phil Steininger, PPRWA president and Woodmoor general manager, said, "There are some big unknowns right now such as what is happening with SDS. We don’t know if that is an option or not." SDS is the Southern Delivery System, a regional water delivery system to bring water from the Arkansas River to Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security, and Pueblo West. Note: There is more information on the project at www.sdswater.org

**********

The next regular meeting of the PPRWA will be held July 16 at 8:30 a.m. at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second Street in Monument. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. Most of the meetings are held at Monument Town Hall; however, the meeting October 15 will be held at the Cherokee Metropolitan District office, 6250 Palmer Park Blvd. in Colorado Springs.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

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10 more ways to conserve water

Here are this month’s 10 tips for conserving water, from www.wateruseitwisely.com 

  1. Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops of water and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
  2. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  3. Listen for dripping faucets and toilets that flush themselves. Fixing a leak can save 500 gallons each month.
  4. Install an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats. This will also reduce heating costs for your household.
  5. Insulate hot water pipes so you don’t have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.
  6. Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don’t water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
  7. Bathe your young children together.
  8. Wash your car on the grass. This will water your lawn at the same time.
  9. If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to a flowerbed, tree, or your lawn.
  10. Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water-conscious community.

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Tri-Lakes Joint Use Committee, June 9: Creek reclassification could cost the area $25 million

By Jim Kendrick

Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Manager Bill Burks informed the board members of the Joint Use Committee (JUC) that he had recently learned that the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission reclassified the upper segment of Monument Creek in June 2007. This decision may lead to much tighter water quality restrictions on the facility’s effluent when the current discharge permit for Monument Creek expires at the end of 2009.

Rather than being faced with a $1.5 million expansion to treat only copper, the JUC may now face a $25 million plant expansion to meet the much more restrictive constraints that may be imposed by the EPA’s anti-degradation policy. Operating costs would go up dramatically in either case.

Note: The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by the three owning special districts: Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

Monument’s alternate representative, Director Chuck Robinove, filled in for Lowell Morgan, who was out of town.

JUC officers elected

New officers were elected for the next two years: Palmer Lake’s new primary JUC representative, Dale Platt, is the new president; Woodmoor’s continuing primary representative, Benny Nasser, is the new secretary-treasurer; and Morgan, Monument’s continuing primary representative, is the new vice president.

The new alternate representatives are Palmer Lake Director Kathleen Williams and new Woodmoor Director Barrie Town.

Possible $25 million cost is a surprise

Burks stated that the reclassification of upper Monument Creek was learned only recently in response to an application by the Woodmoor district. Woodmoor applied to the state for a second discharge permit to return water to the creek to replace water taken out farther upstream as an alternate source of drinking water. Woodmoor was informed in May that the creek’s category had been changed from "use protected." This change, made over a year ago, was unknown to the three owning special districts until it was revealed in the response to the application.

This "use protected" status was based on the fact that most of the time, the amount of water discharged by the Tri-Lakes facility into Monument Creek, between Monument Lake and the west end of Baptist Road, was much more than the naturally flowing surface water coming from upstream. This ratio of high-flow rates of effluent to low-flow rates of natural surface water made Monument Creek "effluent dominated." This dominance has always resulted in a stream being automatically categorized as "use protected" until now.

The removal of this "use protected" status means that federal and state anti-degradation standards will now apply to the northern segment of Monument Creek, and the standards for discharged effluent will be much tighter for the Tri-Lakes facility and the adjacent Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility used by Donala Water and Sanitation District and the Forest Lakes and Triview Metropolitan Districts.

On learning of the redesignation in May, Burks gave the facility’s discharge volume and creek flow data for the past 10 years to engineering consultant RTW Inc. for further analysis. The facility’s environmental lawyer, Tad Foster, also reviewed this data and concluded that the district may not be able to demonstrate that this creek segment is in fact "effluent dominated"—and, therefore, no longer "use protected"—due to current limitations in existing flow measurement equipment in Monument Creek that is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The new copper limit for the plant’s discharged effluent may drop to 1.35 parts per billion (ppb) over a two-year period, a maximum that the facility cannot meet with the existing equipment. However, current testing procedures cannot even detect copper when it is less than 5 ppb. No copper can be found in Monument Creek where it crosses Baptist Road above the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Facility. It is unclear at this time if a new more costly copper testing method will be required of Tri-Lakes.

There are no treatment standards for numerous pharmaceuticals and hormones that are routinely flushed down toilets and cannot be treated by the Tri-Lakes facility.

The original expansion cost estimate was $1.5 million for single-purpose equipment to remove additional dissolved copper by the facility’s wastewater system to meet the proposed standard of 8 ppb to be imposed in January 2010. Before the stream category issue had been raised, the Water Quality Control Division staff had told Burks that the new average copper limit for 2010-14 would likely be raised to an average of 9 ppb and a single measurement maximum of 13 ppb. Even this standard would be hard for the facility to meet without expensive modifications.

Burks and consultant engineer Mike Rothberg said meeting the anti-degradation standards would cost about $25 million for a reverse osmosis tertiary filter. However, the waste brine produced by these filters is a toxic hazardous material that presents significant problems for disposal.

Foster felt that the state’s Water Quality Control Commission and Water Quality Control Division had not notified Tri-Lakes or asked the staff or board for comment as required, Burks said. Foster said he would use that lack of notice at the next commission hearing on July 15 to appeal the unannounced change in category from "use protected."

In addition, the Water Quality Control Division has now begun to claim that the creek has never been "effluent dominated" and should never have been "use protected," despite fully acknowledging and accepting this categorization in all previous discharge permit negotiations with Tri-Lakes.

Burks said Foster and Rothberg would present an update at the July JUC meeting, including a determination of whether the facility could or should be reclassified from a major to a minor discharger. Burks will find out additional information on changing from a secondary to a tertiary treatment plant.

Rothberg then called and discussed his findings with the JUC by speakerphone. He said that the document listing the preliminary estimated discharge limits, in response to a proposal regarding return flows from Woodmoor’s proposed potable water treatment facility at a location upstream of the Tri-Lakes facility, had noted that the creek was no longer "use protected." The more restrictive anti-degradation water quality limits were applied in the preliminary estimates. They had never applied to Monument Creek facilities before now.

He had asked Foster, when he read the preliminary limits documents, if the anti-degradation limits would also apply to other facilities under the new "review designated" classification. Foster said he was unaware of the changes.

Rothberg said Foster determined that the state pushed through the new designation for Monument and Fountain Creeks with significant impacts to all dischargers in El Paso County. Rothberg added that the state now considers the creek to be roughly equivalent to "distilled water," so new limits apply to every dissolved material. For now, the burden is on Tri-Lakes to measure the concentrations of over 20 compounds in the stream to demonstrate that the stream is not pure water, as well as to demonstrate that the creek is still effluent dominated.

Because standards for all metals and other materials like ammonia will also be much stricter, consultant engineer Rothberg told the JUC that the methods required to remove a much higher percentage of all these constituents from the facility’s effluent would require far more expensive technology.

Foster will try to arrange coordinated joint negotiation as the environmental attorney simultaneously representing the Monument, Upper Monument Creek, Colorado Springs, and Security wastewater facilities. The legal and engineering consulting costs for trying to negotiate a compromise that will still result in a "swimmable, fishable stream are well worth it" in the short run, said Rothberg.

The JUC unanimously approved a motion to authorize spending by Foster and Rothberg on negotiations at their discretion (but not to exceed $10,000) until they give a more formal report at the July 8 JUC meeting

Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund noted that the JUC and the Town of Monument had spent a combined total of about $400,000 on solving the "emergency" copper problem that the state had been asking the JUC to solve. The state no longer seems to care about this problem, and this expenditure appears to have been unnecessary. "We’re now at the silly factor of bureaucracy when they throw a number like (1.35 ppb) at us," he said. "The districts should not do any more or spend any more money for now. We need to wait for notification from the state on precisely what it is that they want instead of us spending another $400,000 trying to anticipate their next move."

The districts should not pay for collection of data or experiments when it’s the state’s responsibility, Wicklund said. Any construction plans should include direct recycling of the effluent for re-use as drinking water within the area rather than letting it flow downstream in such a pure state.

Director Robinove said that rather than being a specific copper research problem, "This one is a bureaucratic and semantic problem about what the designations actually mean." He added that it would be hard to persuade taxpayers to vote for a new property tax to make the facility’s effluent 1,000 times purer than the water they are currently drinking without plans for re-use.

Nasser and Platt said that a significant public relations program, "mind prep," will be required to make the re-use concept acceptable. Robinove added that the public needs to decide how much they are willing to pay for the EPA’s definition of "clean water." He added that the district’s sanitary sewer rates will have to go up to solve either problem. Burks noted that the effluent under the new state standards would be cleaner than their current tap water and would still be processed by a drinking water treatment plant.

In other matters, the JUC unanimously approved:

  • A resolution that formally defines procedures for soliciting professional consultant services for the facility in anticipation of continuing issues on possible plant expansion to meet changing discharge permit limits.
  • An expenditure of not more than $3,700 for a new computer to provide backup computer support for the facility’s automated control systems should the primary computer continue to have intermittent problems recording flows and controlling plant operations.

Monument continued to have the highest copper readings in wastewater delivered to the facility from the southern part of the Monument collection system. Average copper concentrations in the southern Monument wastewater have ranged from 125 to 144 ppb. However, the remaining dissolved copper in the effluent discharged from the facility has ranged from a minuscule 7.8 to 8.1 ppb, well below the recently adjusted monthly average discharge limit that was increased by the commission recently back to the original limit of 24.8 ppb through the end of 2009. The commission also increased the upper limit for a single daily copper concentration test back to the original limit of 36.4 ppb at the same time.

The commission approved these increased copper limits for Tri-Lakes last summer, at about the same time it was removing the "effluent dominated" and "use protected" designations, in a separate hearing, that will result in a new average limit of 1.35 ppb.

The meeting adjourned at 11:20 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 10 p.m. on July 8 at the facility conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board, June 12: YMCA financing may be jeopardized by easement dispute

By Jim Kendrick

On June 12, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board received a request from Jackson Creek developer Vision Development to be more flexible in reaching a compromise on providing Woodmoor with an easement for an existing sanitary sewer line in the vacant lot adjacent to the new YMCA building.

Woodmoor had stated it would not provide water and sewer service to the vacant lot to the north after Vision balked at the amount of land Woodmoor wanted for utility easements. The plat for the tract cannot be recorded until this issue is resolved, which is preventing the YMCA from getting a permanent certificate of occupancy from Monument.

All board members and staff were present at the meeting.

Vision Development representative Rick Blevins asked the board to consider changes in Woodmoor’s requirements for utilities easements within the recently approved replat of the Woodmoor-Placer Tract A parcel on the northwest corner of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway, between I-25 and Lewis-Palmer High School.

Background: The replat created three lots within this mostly vacant 32-acre tract. The middle lot, occupied by the new YMCA facility, is 12 acres. There is a vacant 11.6-acre lot north of the YMCA and a vacant 8.4-acre lot to the south. The center lot was donated to the YMCA by Vision Development, which is also the developer of Jackson Creek to the south. The other two lots are still owned by Vision Development.

New utility easements were created in the replat by vacations at the common boundaries of each of the new lots. Separate gas (15 feet) and electric (20 feet) utility easements run the full length of the western boundary of the entire parcel, next to I-25.

A 30-foot-wide Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District easement runs the full length of the southern boundary of Lot 3, along Higby Road. A 20-foot utility easement runs the full length of the eastern edge of the parcel along the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway.

The previously platted 16-foot telephone access easement near the dividing line of Lots 2 and 3 and the 50-foot electrical easements near the east side of the parcel were vacated.

The Woodmoor district requested an additional utility easement along the western boundary of the subdivision that overlaps the existing Mountain View Electric Association easement and a 20-foot public utility easement across the northern boundary of Lot 1. These easements were not shown as part of the replat.

Vision Development expressed concerns at the Monument Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 13 and the Board of Trustees meeting on March 3 that these additional Woodmoor easements in Lots 1 and 3 may not be needed to provide utilities to the subdivision. The town staff recommended that these referral requests be further evaluated when development proposals for Lots 1 and 3 are submitted to the town. If any of the requested additional easements are needed, they can be dedicated as part of the final site plan approval.

Woodmoor requested that a note be added to the replat documents stating, "The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District shall not provide any service to Lot 1 until the owner/developer dedicates utility easements to the District. Such easement alignment(s) shall be dedicated to the District in a configuration and form of legal instrument satisfactory to the District." Woodmoor’s request was made a condition of approval and listed as a note on the replat and vacation documents.

Woodmoor had also asked for another condition of approval: a new 30-foot water and sewer easement to be dedicated along the northern part of Lot 1 in the approximate location of the existing sewer easement prior to recordation of the replat. They were also made a condition of approval and listed as a note on the replat and vacation documents.

Discussion: Blevins said that the existing Woodmoor sewer line is not located in the existing district easement that cuts diagonally across the north end of the northern vacant lot, from the northwest corner to about one-quarter of the way down the eastern boundary along the parkway. He said the district is asking for another easement in the same area that would prevent development of about 25 percent of the lot.

Blevins said that Vision Development and the Town of Monument had agreed to move the existing northern easement to align with the existing Woodmoor sewer line. He added that the list of conditions in the draft easement Woodmoor had recently provided to Vision Development was "really not acceptable" because it "really confined what we could or could not do" with the north lot. His negotiations with Woodmoor’s civil engineer, Jessie Shaffer, and Woodmoor’s attorney, Erin Smith, to amend the legal description for this easement had not resolved the dispute. As a result, the replat had not been filed.

The town cannot issue a permanent certificate of occupancy for the completed YMCA building until the replat is recorded with finalized wording on Woodmoor’s additional and amended easements. The YMCA has not been able to finalize its financing agreements for its completed building without a permanent certificate.

Smith said the district already had made several refinements to the easement documents. The district is obligated to make sure no permanent structures are built on top of its water and sewer lines.

Blevins said that any trail, garden, or other landscaping would not be restored by Woodmoor if the district had to excavate to repair an existing line or install another new line within its easement. Blevins also objected to the district’s language that absolves itself of any obligation for abatement of eroded or contaminated easements after they are vacated. "I don’t think that’s very neighborly," Blevins added. However, this is common for all special districts under Colorado statutes.

Tom Kassawara, Monument’s director of Development Services, stated that it was very important that the town give the YMCA a permanent certificate of occupancy as soon as possible. However, the replat cannot be filed until the easement issue is resolved and Woodmoor has promised in writing that it will provide service to all three lots. He wanted to help reach an acceptable compromise as soon as possible.

Kassawara also noted that the existing sewer line cuts across the northeast corner, which makes it difficult for the town to ensure that Woodmoor’s access for maintenance is protected while still enabling Vision to develop the north lot without undue difficulty. At this time, neither Vision nor Woodmoor know what will be built on the north lot.

Kassawara asked what maintenance might be required to keep the line operational. Blevins added that Woodmoor has short-term plans to add new water lines throughout the tract. District Manager Phil Steininger said that there would definitely be excavation in the disputed easement since the sewer line is made of clay and will require maintenance or replacement at some point.

Blevins noted that Shaffer had recently sent him a letter saying that Woodmoor will not provide service to the north lot, which prevents Vision from recording the replat. Kassawara again asked that this issue be resolved before the town has a problem with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department for repeatedly issuing one-month temporary certificates of occupancy to the YMCA by statute.

Board President Benny Nasser said the board would address the issue expeditiously and start discussing its legal and negotiating options in executive session at the end of the meeting.

Creek water quality redesignation discussed

Nasser reported on the discussions at the Joint Use Committee (JUC) June meeting, particularly the issues created as a result of the Water Quality Control Commission removing the "use protected" stream designation from Monument Creek. Woodmoor’s consultant engineer, Mike Rothberg of RTW Inc., gave a lengthy presentation on the issues that were discussed at the JUC meeting. See the JUC article for details of this issue and the others that were discussed.

Rothberg stated that the much tighter anti-degradation water quality limits that will likely be imposed on the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility will lower the allowable amounts of heavy metals and ammonia so much that only a tertiary reverse-osmosis filtering process will be able to meet the new state restrictions. This kind of filtering would cost about $25 million to build. This is more than three times the total investment in the current facility.

The allowable level of dissolved copper will drop from an average of 24.8 parts per billion (ppb) to 1.35 ppb under the new "use review" process for negotiating the limits of new facility discharge permits that will go in effect in January 2010.

The rest of the discussion was deferred to the executive session at the end of the meeting to receive legal advice on negotiating positions.

Manager’s report: Steininger reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority had started discussions with Colorado Springs Utilities regarding participation in the proposed Southern Delivery System that will bring water into this region from the Pueblo reservoir. No offer will be made by Utilities to the authority or any individual water district until it completes its environmental impact study in early 2009.

The authority is also conducting a financial study on how large a project can be financed via general obligation or revenue bonds. The authority is meeting with representatives of the Lower Arkansas River Conservancy Group to discuss possible purchase of surface water in the future.

There has been a lot of discussion by authority members on safe disposal of pharmaceuticals. There is no consensus yet on procedures to meet regulations on safe disposal of schedule 2 drugs other than placing them in landfills. Only law enforcement officers can move significant quantities of this class of narcotic drugs.

All other water issues were deferred to executive session.

Some of the other issues reported were:

  • The state Department of Wildlife has rescued the fish from Lake Woodmoor.
  • After dam infrastructure is repaired or replaced and the lake is refilled, the department will restock the lake.
  • There might be a water quality issue when the lake level drops to 25 acre-feet due to summer heat before this remaining water can be completely drained by pumping.
  •  Repairs and upgrades of all district systems, except for Well 20 construction, are generally on schedule.

The board went into executive session at 2:30 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on July 10 at the district conference room, 1845 Woodmoor Drive. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 488-2525.

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Monument Sanitation District Board, June 24: Pollution control costs could increase from $1.5 million to $25 million

By Jim Kendrick

The possible changes to the classification of Monument Creek below the Monument Lake dam that were first revealed at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) meeting on June 10 were further clarified at the Monument Sanitation District Board meeting on June 24.

The reclassification of Monument Creek by the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment occurred in mid-2007. The three special districts that own equal shares of the Tri-Lakes facility—Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District—were unaware of this change until the past month. The cost of meeting tighter new purity standards in effluent could soar from $1.5 million to about $25 million.

Director Lowell Morgan was out of town, and his absence was unanimously excused.

JUC report on possible reclassification

Background: Woodmoor recently asked the Water Quality Control Division for a review of its tentative preliminary plans to take some water from Monument Creek above Monument Lake to store in Lake Woodmoor for treatment as potable water. Woodmoor would return an equal amount of water to the creek a few hundred feet above the effluent discharge of the Tri-Lakes facility or as excess effluent from the facility.

The division’s comments on Woodmoor’s proposal in May revealed that the creek had been redesignated.

Throughout the life of the Tri-Lakes facility, Monument Creek had been considered to be "effluent dominated," which means that for most of the year more than half of the flow in Monument Creek downstream of the Tri-Lakes facility consists of treated wastewater. In June 2007, the Water Quality Control Division asked the Water Quality Control Commission to no longer consider the creek "effluent dominated."

As a result of that decision a year ago on this particular criterion—one of several that are applicable—much more stringent federal Environmental Protection Agency restrictions may be applied in the facility’s new five-year discharge permit that begins in January 2010.

The three districts were unaware of the category change that took place a year ago until early June 2008. These three districts will formally appeal that redesignation at a commission rehearing on July 15. The change may drastically increase the potential capital cost to meet the tighter new purity standards of the facility’s effluent. The cost could jump from $1.5 million for removing only more of the current minuscule amounts of dissolved copper in the facility’s effluent to about $25 million for removing all known metals and other trace chemicals such as ammonia.

Monument Sanitation District Director Mike Wicklund first discussed the facts of the creek redesignation that were discussed at the JUC meeting on June 10. (See the JUC article for the details of that meeting.)

New Monument Creek water quality issues

After this JUC meeting, Wicklund asked the district’s consultant engineering firm, GMS Inc., to provide more complete information. He reviewed a memorandum on Monument Creek water quality issues that will be reviewed at the Water Quality Control Commission hearing on July 15. The memo was written by professional engineer Roger Sams on June 17. Some of the points in Sams’ memo were:

The state’s Water Quality Control Division has determined that there may have been "the appearance of a faulty notice and due process when the water quality classifications and numeric standards were presented at the triennial hearing conducted in 2007" by the Water Quality Control Commission regarding the Arkansas River basin, which includes upper Monument Creek.

Note: The Palmer Divide separates the Arkansas basin from the South Platte River Basin. There is only a very short segment of Monument Creek that is upstream of the Tri-Lakes facility, the first wastewater facility on the creek, about a mile south of Monument Lake. The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Facility that serves Donala Water and Sanitation District and the Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts is a few miles farther downstream, between Baptist Road and the Air Force Academy; it will also be similarly affected by the change in the designation of Monument Creek.

"Prior to the effective date of the water quality designations adopted by the Commission as a result of the June 2007 hearing the Monument Creek segment was designated as ‘use protected.’" This "use protected" status was removed by the commission’s action.

The division has not changed its stance and is now proposing that the commission sustain the year-old removal of the "use protected" status of upper Monument Creek at the rule-making July 15 hearing by continuation of the new "undesignated" status.

The state Health Department standards that had long applied to the effluent discharged by the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility into the affected Monument Creek segment—which is officially called Fountain Creek segment 6—when the segment was designated as "use protected" and "effluent dominated" are called "table value standards." The applicable portion of the table value standards was based on these "designated stream use classifications":

  • Recreation Class E
  • Aquatic Life Warm Class 2
  • Agriculture and Water Supply

Each of the numerous restrictions in the facility’s five-year discharge permit were negotiated with the Water Quality Control Division to ensure that the creek continued to meet the table value standards for these three uses, the basis of the previous "use protected" designation.

Now that the stream segment is "undesignated," the negotiations will be based on the federal EPA "anti-degradation review process in the basic standards regulation." These criteria are listed in the state Water Quality Control Commission Regulation No. 31, page 14, paragraph 31.8, which can be found at: www.cdphe.state.co.us/regulations/wqccregs/wqccreg31basicstandardsforsurfacewater.pdf

This review "process starts with an evaluation of existing water quality in the stream segment. There is a definition of what/how existing water quality will be determined. There are several criteria applicable to the review process which governs the regulation of so-called degradation, many of which are subjective but have some basis in current regulation and application of the regulation."

The effluent from the Tri-Lakes facility, the wastewater discharge, must not degrade the water quality of the stream segment. There are no significant wastewater or runoff discharges into Monument Creek upstream of the Tri-Lakes facility or Monument Lake. This could result in far stricter effluent restrictions on the facility.

Sams, the engineer, believes that the data from the existing stream gauge at Northgate Boulevard can show that the Tri-Lakes facility provides most of the flow in Monument Creek and remains "effluent dominated," which would be a significant factor in restoring the previous "use protected" designation and the previous applicability of the table value standards that governed the facility’s discharge permit. However, the stream gauge data from Southgate Boulevard and Woodmen Road do not support the "effluent dominated" designation.

Sams also reported another discovery. In a 2005 decision, the Water Quality Control Commission had reversed the previous automatic designation of "use protected" for stream segments that were also designated as a "Class 2, warm water aquatic life segment."

Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District learned of the drastically tighter preliminary effluent limits for this segment of Monument Creek by the Water Quality Control Division in May. Woodmoor asked the division to assess the constraints and opportunities for reuse of Woodmoor’s nontributary water that is presently discharged to Monument Creek.

The new constraints on Woodmoor and the Tri-Lakes facility dictate that "there would need to be a significant level of advanced wastewater treatment to attain those limits prior to discharge."

As a result of these two recent findings, the facility’s environmental attorney, Tad Foster, has appealed the creek segment’s redesignation based on the other applicable technical criteria in the state’s regulations.

Note: The facility’s consultant engineer, Mike Rothberg of RTW Inc., told the Woodmoor board on June 12 that the cost for new capital equipment to meet the much tighter preliminary effluent limits proposed by the Water Quality Control Division would be about $25 million. (See Woodmoor article for more details.)

2007 audit accepted

District auditor Mark Gilmore of Bauerle & Co. presented an unqualified finding, the highest rating possible, for the district’s 2007 accounting and financial activities. Gilmore noted that he had no concerns or recommendations regarding the staff’s internal financial controls, policies, or procedures. The board unanimously approved the 2007 audit.

Zero discharge permit program update

The board previously approved the development of a zero discharge program for industrial plants within the district based on the recommendation of the state and federal pre-treatment coordinators that assist and coordinate with Monument Sanitation District on meeting state and federal industrial discharge standards.

Wicklund reported that he had finished his review of the EPA Pretreatment Ordinance and had developed a final draft of a district zero discharge regulation. Only domestic sanitary waste from restrooms would be allowed to be discharged to the district’s collection system.

Wicklund asked the board if he could have Foster look it over before sending a copy of the new regulation to the state for review. The board agreed to have the document reviewed by Foster. The board also concurred with Wicklund’s recommendation to share this discharge permit documentation with the JUC, Woodmoor, and Palmer Lake.

Grant application submitted

Wicklund informed the board that he had sent in the renewed grant application to the state for supplementary funding to help pay for extension of the district’s collection system northward into the Wakonda Hills subdivision. The eastern third of the subdivision currently has collection lines installed under its residential streets. The capital costs for the remainder of planned extension have risen dramatically, far above the rate of inflation, as have all other construction material and installation costs.

Wicklund said the updated grant application included the letters from the El Paso County Health Department that asked the district to voluntarily help address the health problems caused by the numerous failing septic systems in Wakonda Hills.

The minimum size lot for a septic system was increased by the county Health Department to 2.5 acres after Wakonda Hills was completed. The lots in Wakonda Hills average only 1 acre, so in most cases, the legally non-conforming systems cannot be replaced without a very expensive total excavation of all contaminated soil within the leach fields. The excavated soil must be treated and disposed of as hazardous material. Voluntary connection by homeowners to the district’s sanitary sewer collection system—once it is installed—would be far more cost effective. However, tap fees will not cover the total cost of installing the district’s collection system. The state has provided grant support to other state sanitation districts that have helped solve similar problems.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on July 17 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, June 18: District offers to buy ranch for the water

By John Heiser

At beginning of the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting June 18, following an executive session, the board unanimously voted to hire water attorney Harvey Curtis to make an offer to purchase a ranch for its water. Dana Duthie, Donala’s general manager, said the deal, if successful, would provide about 20 percent of the district’s total water use. A water court ruling would be needed to convert the water rights from agricultural uses to district use. No further details of the proposed property purchase were disclosed.

Board President Dennis Daugherty presided. Board members Dick Durham, William George, and Dale Schendzielos were present. Director Tim Murphy was absent.

Water returns project and irrigation rationing update

Duthie said the reports coming back are that the three water returns workshops held so far have been very well done. Many of the participants are underway on their projects.

The irrigation rationing program began May 26 and runs through Sept. 1. Odd-numbered addresses may irrigate only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Even-numbered addresses may irrigate only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Additional information including the schedule for commercial and multi-unit buildings is posted at www.donalawater.org/Rationing.html

Duthie said most customers are following the rules; however, the district has issued several warning letters and a couple second warning letters. He also noted that the Ridgepoint apartment complex had a significant leak from one of its irrigation systems, and for several weeks the water was flowing across Struthers Road.

He added that at the July board meeting he will present an analysis of June water use this year compared to June 2007 and June 2006. The rationing program was started in 2007.

Other matters reported by Duthie

  • The governor has signed Colorado HB08-1141, which requires developers to identify a sustainable water supply for their developments. Duthie noted that, in response to developer objections, the bill was weakened to the point that "it is not even as strong as El Paso County’s 300-year water rule." 
    PPRWA Lobbyist Dick Brown's analysis of HB08-1141 as a PDF file. This is a 721 Kbyte file and will take about 4 minutes to download using a dial-up modem. Click here for help with PDF downloads. To view and print the file, you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader Program.
  • The governor has signed SB08-119, which originally would have authorized the use of cisterns to collect rainwater from up to 3,000 square feet of roof on a single-family primary residence. He said the bill was amended to conduct a test to assess potential impacts to water rights holders.
  • The state of Kansas has filed suit alleging that the farmers on the Arkansas River have been using water governed by senior water rights held in Kansas. Duthie said that in an earlier suit, Kansas successfully showed that the farmers’ alluvial wells were in fact extracting river water. There was a multi-million dollar settlement, and the farmers must meter their use of well water and are limited to their adjudicated water rights. Duthie said water issues have been one of the reasons for the failure of some farms along the Arkansas River.
  • Colorado Structures, parent company of Jackson Creek Land Co. and Vision Development, the developers of Jackson Creek, has been cited by the federal government for storm-water runoff issues at some of their construction sites, including Wal-Mart stores.
  • During the three months from March 1 through May 31, the district’s $5.7 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 4.13 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 2.74 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 5.2 months.
  • Duthie reported on the Pike Peak Regional Water Authority meeting June 18. For more information, see the PPRWA article.
  • The regulatory agencies that control Monument Creek water quality are tightening the standards for effluent discharged into the creek. Duthie said the two local wastewater plants would have difficulty meeting the proposed standards. For more information, see the Joint Use Committee article.
  • Academy Water and Sanitation District asked for a cost estimate for Donala to supply wastewater service to Academy’s customers. Duthie said Donala has proposed to do that for $34 per month per customer. He said that figure includes an $8 per month per customer surcharge since the residents are not paying a tap fee to Donala. In addition, Academy would have to build and operate a lift station to connect to Donala’s system and abandon its existing wastewater plant.
  • El Paso County owns three lots next to Roller Coaster Road adjacent to Fox Run Regional Park. They range from about 5.6 acres to about 6.7 acres. One of them has a rental house on it with a Dawson aquifer well. By intergovernmental agreement, the district owns most of the groundwater under the park. Due to its budget crisis, the county has decided to sell the lot that has the house on it. The board agreed to deed the Dawson aquifer water for that lot to the county so it can sell the house and lot.

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Wednesday, July 16, at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held at 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. The district’s Web site is at www.donalawater.org

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Triview Metropolitan District, June 24: Board discusses shifting administration to Monument

Below: Board president Bob Eskridge expressed appreciation to former board member Joe Martin. Photo by John Heiser

Below: Eskridge also expressed appreciation to former board member Mark Veenendaal. Photo by John Heiser

By John Heiser

At the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors meeting June 24, the board discussed the possibility of shifting administration of the district to the Town of Monument.

Board president Bob Eskridge and board members Steve Cox, Robert Fisher, Julie Glenn, and Steve Remington were present.

Cathy Green, Monument’s town manager, said consolidating the administration of the district with the town’s administration could "save a lot of duplication." She added, "This is not about taking revenue and spending it outside Triview."

District manager Ron Simpson noted that the district was originally set up to deal with the debt involved in constructing the infrastructure.

Pete Susemihl, attorney for the district, said the intent was always that once the debt was paid off the district would dissolve and the town would take over operation and maintenance. He stressed the importance of working out the details of who is going to do what. He said that once all that is resolved, the district board would focus on conducting its elections, developing an annual budget for the district, holding a budget hearing, and conducting annual audits of the district’s books. The town would handle all the administrative details. He said the cost savings have been estimated to be as high as $500,000 per year.

Glenn remarked that the savings could be used to pay off the debt sooner.

Fisher asked for details on the cost savings. Simpson noted that it might be difficult to quantify the additional costs to the town.

Green said most of the decision-making would be transferred to the town board of trustees.

Simpson added that a majority of the current town board members live in the district and so would be sensitive to district issues.

Fisher asked if there might be some middle ground so "we can walk before we try to run." He added, "The debt will be here for 25-30 years. We want to get service levels up. Are the cost savings worth pursuing?"

Remington said he is not opposed to the concept but he is skeptical and wants to see a cost/benefit analysis.

The meeting was continued to July 15, 5 p.m. at Monument Town Hall. Green said she will prepare answers to the questions posed by the district board and would ask town public works director Rich Landreth and treasurer Pam Smith to attend the meeting to answer questions.

Other matters

  • Mark Veenendaal and Joe Martin were recognized for their service as board members.
  • Resident Craig Glass expressed concern about maintenance issues along Lyons Tail Road. Triview operations manager Steve Sheffield said he will look into it.
  • Mike Hussey, landscape architect with Nolte, presented a landscape plan for Misty Creek Park, which is a detention pond bordered by Misty Creek Drive and Baptist Road that stretches from Toreva Drive to Candle Creek Drive. The original plan prepared in 1999 called for a half basketball court, benches, and landscaping. Hussey said he will prepare some alternatives based on the comments received from the board and present them at the July 22 board meeting.
  • Stan Keringer and Jim DiBiase requested that the tap fees for the 85-unit Fairfield Inn be based on a 2-inch tap calculated from the number of fixtures rather than requiring a 4-inch tap. The change would reduce the tap fee for the Fairfield Inn by about $300,000. After some discussion, the board unanimously approved a change in district policy to add a hotel/motel category and base the required tap size on the number of fixtures.
  • The board unanimously approved a bid from Redline to do work on well A4. Sheffield said the work will allow water from the well to be sent to water treatment plant A or plant B. It will provide redundancy and eliminate staining from irrigation.
  • The pump in well A2 has failed one month after the warranty expired. The district is hoping to get the $35,000 pump replaced under the warranty.

At the end of the public meeting, the board went into executive session.

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This meeting was continued to Tuesday, July 15, 5 p.m. at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second Street in Monument. The purpose of that meeting is to continue discussing the possibility of shifting district administration to the town.

The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors normally meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The next regular meeting will be held July 22 at 5 p.m. in the district conference room, 174 Washington St. in downtown Monument. For information, phone 488-6868.

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Jacobson resigns from Academy Water and Sanitation

Jerry Jacobson, operator for the Academy Water and Sanitation District for the past 11 years, has resigned to take a job with CH2MHill doing operations at the Air Force Academy.

The Academy board had a special meeting June 25 and went into executive session to discuss personnel issues. There were no announcements following the meeting.

Jacobson will continue to operate part-time until someone is hired. The district’s other employee, Don Deboodt, who also is part-time, will continue to serve the district in his current position.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, July 2: Clogged pumps will require a closer look

By Susan Hindman

Twenty new meters for the new meter reading system have arrived, and installation in homes will begin once the handheld reader arrives, according to Academy Water and Sanitation District Operator Jerry Jacobson. At the July 2 meeting, he said he will likely install them first in houses in outlying areas and in those with broken meters.

Jacobson reported that pump 2 in the lower wastewater lift station has been plugged up, and pump 1 had been plugged up for a while on the day of the meeting. "So there must be something in the wet well," he said. "The last time this happened, I pulled a dead rat out of there." After that, the problem was solved, he said, so he assumes that’s the problem. "If it’s something that’ll break up and clear, that’ll be fine. Other than that, I’ll have to try to poke around in there."

He said that water production "has picked up considerably. We’re averaging close to twice what we normally do in winter," he reported.

Jacobson also said the Colorado Rural Water Association has made a $5,000 grant available for the district to use to help put into effect the Source Water Protection Plan, which is "all but finalized." The money can be used to help defray costs of meetings, publications, and anything else related to the plan.

Treasurer Walter Reiss reported that the auditor said the audit was not ready to be presented, so the board will hold a special meeting on July 23, 7 p.m., to review and approve the final audit. Location will likely be the fire station but will be posted when that is confirmed.

Reiss reported that $14,000 of $21,000 in expected property tax revenues has been received. In addition, he said there was a net increase in revenue of $3,000 for the month and that "we’re up $1,400 for the year."

The board went into executive session to interview Anthony Pastorello, a resident of Gleneagle, for the operator position. Jacobson, who began a new full-time job at the end of June, had agreed to stay on as operator part time until someone is hired. After the session, the board announced it had agreed to make Pastorello an offer.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Sun Hills Drive. The next meeting is Aug. 6.

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 16: Residential variance fee reduced

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees started the meeting early on June 18 with a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Town Hall and Police Department building on the southwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105. During the regular meeting, the board approved a reduction in the fee for an application for a residential variance from $750 to $350.

Trustees Rafael Dominguez and Tim Miller were absent.

Variance fee reduced

The trustees also unanimously approved a resolution establishing a new separate fee of $350 for applications for residential variances. The fee for all variance applications had been raised to $750 in February. Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, said this revised fee was based on an analysis of the average expenses and staff time required for a typical commercial variance application. Since most residential variances are limited to setback issues, they do not require as much staff time.

Kassawara noted that the revised residential figure was based on analysis of a recently completed residential variance application. The retainer for commercial and residential variances continues to be $150.

Board approves appointments

Kassawara stated that Laura Tuel had applied to serve on the Planning Commission, and the board approved her appointment. She has been a resident of Monument since March 2007 and has a background in environmental science and law. She will fill a vacant position on the Planning Commission, and her term would run through January 2009.

The board also approved three appointments for the Board of Adjustment. Trustee Tommie Plank was reappointed as the Board of Trustees member of the Board of Adjustment. Planning Commissioner Kathy Spence was appointed as the Planning Commission member of the board. Deputy Town Clerk Claudia Whitney was also reappointed to the board.

The board unanimously approved a resolution that authorized the temporary closing of Second Street for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July Street Fair that is held in conjunction with the town parade. The chamber’s event coordinator, Rob Carrigan, said there would be only two rows of booths this year to ease pedestrian congestion that has occurred during peak attendance in the past.

Financial matters

The board unanimously approved seven payments over $5,000, presented by Town Treasurer Pamela Smith, for a total of $190,705:

  • $98,581 to Triview Metropolitan District for April sales tax
  • $5,143 to Triview Metropolitan District for May motor vehicle tax
  • $5,771 to Krassa & Miller LLC for legal fees regarding water issues
  • $25,970 to Forest Lakes Metropolitan District for the town’s share of water tank expenses
  • $10,440 to Friedland Construction Inc. for the final payment on the new Well 39 building
  • $26,500 to All Purpose Paving Inc. for repairs to three sections of Old Denver Highway
  • $18,300 to Monument Sanitation District for the sanitary sewer tap fee for the new town hall building

The board also approved Smith’s May financial report. Net sales tax revenues through April dropped below the budgeted amount for the first time, by $598. However, total collections remain ahead of 2007 by $26,611 for the first six months of 2008.

Staff reports

Kassawara reported that Classic Homes had submitted an annexation agreement for Sanctuary Pointe for staff review. Greg Maggard, the town’s new engineering inspector, began work on June 2.

Town Manager Cathy Green reported that the town has a permanent code enforcement officer with the recent hiring of Donna Jack, effective July 7.

Senior facility update

Chuck Roberts, Monument resident, director of the Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance and member of the board of directors of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, discussed the status of the Tri-Lakes Senior Program and recent progress on the Arbor Mountain senior living facility to be constructed on Highway 105 east of Knollwood Drive. He said plans for the building were delivered to the town staff the first week in June along with documentation on the purchase of supplemental water for the high-density project.

The meeting went into executive session to discuss real estate negotiations at 7:20 p.m. The meeting adjourned with no further votes at 7:55 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 21 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month.

The Board of Adjustments will meet at 6:30 p.m. on July 9 at Town Hall. The Board of Adjustments meets irregularly, when a variance application is submitted and considered ready for a hearing by the town staff.

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Monument Planning Commission, June 11: Commercial filing of Village at Monument rezoned to residential

Below: Jack Wiepking explains his proposal to replat the former commercial section at the south end of the Village at Monument development. Photo by Jim Kendrick

By Jim Kendrick

On June 11, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved the rezoning of the southern Phase 3 commercial filing of Village at Monument from commercial to residential planned development (PD) to create 22 new residential lots. The commission also approved an associated major PD amendment for the Trails End development along the common boundary with the Village filing. Six of these new lots will now have driveways through what was previously a 20-by-140-foot strip of Trails End common open space along the north side of Wagon Gap Trail. These lots will be purchased by Jim Morley, one of the owners of the Trails End development.

All the commissioners were present.

Principal Planner Karen Griffith gave a short overview of all aspects of the 8.5-acre Village project before the commission made four separate votes on each aspect of the proposal. The new site plan contains:

  • Residential lots—6.39 acres, 75.9 percent
  • Right-of-way—1.06 acres,12.3 percent
  • Water quality pond—1.09 acres,11.8 percent

The lots will range from 7,000 to 27,000 square feet, with an average density for the whole development of 2.5 dwelling units per acre. Home prices will range from $200,000 to $500,000, for a total assessed value of over $9 million.

The development’s homeowners association will take over ownership and maintenance of the water quality pond from the town.

Village rezoning

The Village at Monument developer, Wiepking Real Estate Investments LLC, was unable to find buyers for the lots in this previously approved commercial filing due to lack of sufficient vehicle traffic on Old Denver Highway and stiff competition from other available commercial lots in the downtown area with more traffic and better access.

Griffith said that the application meets all rezoning requirements and criteria in the town’s comprehensive plan and municipal zoning code. There are a sufficient number of remaining commercial lots available in the downtown area. All referral comments have been addressed or have been made conditions of approval for the rezoning.

Griffith noted that Director of Public Works Rich Landreth had recommended as a condition of approval that a 6-foot sound wall be constructed around the new Well 9 building and the electrical transformer that powers the pumping infrastructure.

The Air Force Academy asked that notes be added to the site plan, zoning document, and plat that disclose the noise that may be generated in the area by the academy’s training aircraft. This was recommended as a second condition of approval. The town’s standard condition that any technical corrections have to be made by the applicant and approved by staff was also recommended by Griffith.

Preliminary/final PD site plan

Griffith said that the site plan application meets all of the town’s review and approval criteria. The two conditions on the transformer sound wall and site plan note on noise from Air Force Academy training aircraft also apply to this application. The sound wall must be completed before the town will issue a building permit for any of the three new adjacent lots.

Mountain View Electric Association asked for its standard requirement that no trees or shrubs will be planted within 7 feet of future electrical facilities.

The staff added a condition that the developer post a surety deposit with the town for completion of a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along the west side of Old Denver Highway. Another condition was that final off-site improvements will address comments from the town’s traffic consultant regarding the construction of turn lanes and expanded pavement on Old Denver Highway. The town’s standard condition that any technical corrections have to be made by the applicant and approved by staff was also recommended by Griffith.

Town water consultant Lytle and Associates noted that some of the lots are larger than average and the staff might want to consider an additional restriction on irrigated landscape area. Currently the town restricts bluegrass to only 33 percent of the yard or drought-tolerant fescue to 50 percent of the yard. The rest of the yard must be covered with rock, mulch, and/or native grasses. Griffith said the staff felt no additional restrictions were necessary.

The staff has begun to require a new separate site plan improvement agreement, with surety deposits to ensure completion of the improvements. The site plan improvement agreement will supplement the standard subdivision improvement agreement.

There was a lengthy inconclusive discussion on what material makes the best sound barrier. Commissioner Dave Gwisdalla stated that a sound wall is not suitable for a residential area and that an earthen landscape berm should be required to separate the residential lots from the well buildings. Griffith said that the Public Works director must determine whether a landscaped berm would accomplish sound mitigation and how much manpower and resources would be required for the Public Works staff to maintain such a large berm.

Final plat

Griffith said the Village proposal conforms to the final plat criteria of the municipal zoning code.

Gwisdalla asked Griffith if Wiepking could be required to provide rear access for four lots on the northeast corner of Phase 3. She asked landowner Jack Wiepking to address that question during applicant comments.

Four conditions of approval for the final plat were recommended:

  • Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by the staff.
  • The applicant shall execute a subdivision improvement agreement that will be recorded concurrently with the final plat.
  • The applicant shall dedicate any required utility easements in the configuration requested by the utility provider, including a 15-foot utility easement along the front lot lines on Buffalo Valley Path.
  • The applicant shall post surety for the cost of constructing a 5-foot-wide sidewalk adjacent to the subdivision along Old Denver Highway.

Third major amendment to Trails End final PD site plan

Trails End landowners Five Y Eyes Guys LLC and James Morley, requested that their 20-by-140-foot strip of common open space on the north side of Wagon Gap Trail be removed for the development of driveways to the six adjacent residential lots they have purchased from Wiepking. Trails End would still have 28 percent open space, exceeding the 20 percent minimum requirement. Morley’s houses will have two-car garages.

Griffith said the application conforms to the town’s PD amendment criteria.

The single recommended condition of approval for the site plan amendment was that the rezoning and final plat for Village at Monument Phase 3 be approved.

Village developer’s comments

Jack Wiepking gave a lengthy presentation on the history of the Village project and the changing economic situation that led him to convert Phase 3 from commercial to residential. Some of the factors he discussed were:

  • "Several of the commissioners and staff have seen me many times over the past 10 years as both the developer and the builder, Masterbilt Homes, of Village at Monument."
  • The vision was a development where people lived, worked, and played in the same traditional neighborhood development (TND) community.
  • Front porch versus front garage/driveway dominance was preferred, with a lot of additional landscaping.
  • There is not enough traffic on Old Denver Highway to convince commercial developers from national chains that commercial businesses could be sustained in Phase 3.
  • Office-warehouse space was requested but likely would not have been approved by the staff.
  • "I could not take the risk of building spec office buildings or restaurants."
  • People who have already purchased houses in Village at Monument are not at this hearing because they are pleased with what we did.
  • "People in the industry warned me, I have their arrows in my back, but I’m proud of the extra 100 trees that exceed the requirement and cost $70,000."
  • "There is no place in the county that I feel better about."
  • "The climate up here is a little rougher than in Colorado Springs."
  • "The concept I tried to develop may work in another 10 years when all the shopping centers fill in."
  • "I’d like to finish this project in my lifetime and have sold Masterbilt Homes."
  • The lots have to be 170-200 feet deep and therefore have to be wider than 50 feet, which makes them expensive, but there is plenty of room for extra trees, particularly along Old Denver Highway.
  • Rear access lots significantly reduce the size of back yards, a drawback that doesn’t sell well for single-family homes.
  • The current housing depression is bad and will last until 2010 at a minimum.
  • Most traditional neighborhood developments in this region have fallen on their face here as shown by Gold Hill Mesa being taken back by its lenders—it’s not pretty.
  • There is not enough water available for the density required for TND development.
  • Masonry walls are 10 times as costly as a solid wood panel sound wall and screening landscaping.
  • The noise from the "tire hum" and air brakes on I-25, a quarter-mile away, and the cars on Old Denver Highway at rush hour will make it impossible to hear the transformer hum from Well 9 in the adjacent homes.
  • A landscaping berm would have to be 36 feet wide and would require such extensive irrigation and landscaping maintenance that it would be too costly for the town or a homeowners association, in addition to eliminating enough lots to prevent Phase 3 from being profitable.

Griffith added that only a very tall berm would be effective as a sound barrier. Martin agreed with Wiepking on the marginal utility of the proposed sound barrier.

Gwisdalla said he liked the Masterbilt houses when he was house hunting for his family’s move to Monument. However, the Village at Monument neighborhood was too noisy for him. Gwisdalla lives in Jackson Creek.

After considerable further discussion about building trends and housing preferences, the commissioners approved all the applications with the proposed conditions.

The meeting adjourned at 8:02 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. The July 9 Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

Note: A Board of Adjustment meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 9 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. due to the cancellation of the Planning Commission meeting.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, June 12 and July 2: Vacant trustee seat filled

By David Futey

Three candidates were interviewed to fill the trustee position vacated by Richard Allen. On July 2, Jan Bristol was selected and will be sworn in at the council meeting on July 10. Bristol will also be assigned her trustee position at that meeting. At the time of his resignation on May 23, Allen was assigned to the Community and Economic Development trustee position.

Grant agreement with county approved

The council voted unanimously July 2 to join the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with El Paso County for 2009-11. Communities that enter into such an agreement with the county will set project goals with the county. However, only the county will apply for and administrate the federal block grants. This item was originally tabled at the June 12 council meeting.

Fire Department celebration set

The celebration recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department will be on Sunday, Aug. 17. Details will be forthcoming.

Replatting approved

By a vote of 3 to 2, a replatting request by Robin Grunder and Gary Welty for Block 9, Elephant Rock Acres, was approved. They want to divide the 28,000-square-foot property into four lots averaging 7,000 square feet, with lot sizes of 6,400 to 9,000 square feet. Driveway access would be on Circle Drive. These parcels would be served by private wells.

Grant application approved

The council unanimously approved submitting a grant application to Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER. The grant would provide a volunteer coordinator for the Fire Department.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

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The council meeting on July 10 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall will be combined with the workshop because of the July 4 holiday. The workshops are normally held the first Thursday of the month. The regular council meetings are normally held the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.

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The best small-town celebration in America!

Sibell’s barn dance, July 3

Below: The band Jack Daddy entertains the Barn Dance crowd at Si Sibell’s barn July 3. Photo by David Cruz.

Palmer Lake Fun Run

Below: Sue Walker the event coordinator said the fun run drew a new record of 834 runners. The results are posted at www.july4funrun.com. Photo by David Cruz.

Pancake Breakfast

Below: (L-R) Patrick Henry, Chuck Maher, George McFadden, and Ed Paulovich lend their culinary expertise to the July 4th, St. Peter Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast. Chaired by Grand Knight Jim Rech, 1200 hungry diners were expected to sample the pancakes, eggs, and sausages prepared by members of the Knights of Columbus and Monument Hill Sertoma. Proceeds from the breakfast went to charity. Photo by David Futey.

Monument Parade

Below: Children's parade. Photo by David Futey.

Below: Lewis-Palmer High School band. Photo by Brett Newcomb.

Below: Lewis-Palmer High School Cheerleaders. Photo by Brett Newcomb.

Below: Anna Yaussy was a reading Bug with the Library float. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Photo by David Cruz.

Below: The Colorado Springs Muzzle Loaders shot their thundering cannon during the parade. Photo by David Futey.

Below: Children of all ages collected the many candies distributed by parade participants during the Fourth of July parade. Photo by David Futey.

Below: Group of Actors publicizing the New Chatauqua in August in Palmer Lake. See the Chatauqua article. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Below: An elephant from the Larkspur Renaissance Festival joined the parade. Photo by David Cruz.

Below: Two members of the Pikes Peak Rangerettes wait their turn to parade. Photo by Harriet Halbig. 

Below: The following four photos are by Laurel Bedingfield.

Monument Street Fair

Below: Excellent weather made for huge crowds, many partaking in the abundance of food and entertainment at the July 4th Street Fair in Monument. Photo by Ray McCoy, Life Long Photography, www.lifelongphotography.com

Palmer Lake Fireworks, July 4

Below: Photo by Ray McCoy, Life Long Photography, www.lifelongphotography.com

Olde Town Fair in Palmer Lake, July 5

Below: Cameron Klien (age 8) of Highlands Ranch and Dominique Cruz (age10) of Woodmoor enjoy the big slide at the Palmer Lake Fair July 5. Photo by David Cruz.

Palmer Lake Tractor Pull, July 5

Below: The top three winners in the 6 A, 5501 to 6500 lb. class tractor pull July 5. All three drove 1938 John Deere Model "G" tractors. (L to R) Winner of the class Bob Followell, second place Slim Loop, and third place Bob Baker. Photo by David Cruz.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board, June 18: Community wildfire protection plan to be created

By Jim Kendrick

On June 18, Dave Root, assistant district forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, gave the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board a presentation on how to prepare a community wildfire protection plan (CWPP) to help mitigate fire risks in the community. New district administrative assistant Cheryl Marshall was introduced as the board’s new recording secretary. She replaces Ginnette Ritz, who is retiring from her long-held position as the board’s recording secretary and the district’s executive assistant.

Director Dennis Feltz’s absence was excused.

Wildfire plan development approved

The community wildfire protection plan is a tailor-made plan that assesses fire hazards, prioritizes areas for treatment, and recommends actions to reduce structural damage. These plans must be approved by three agencies: the State Forest Service, the local Fire Department and the county’s Environmental Services.

With a plan in place, a community can qualify for cost-sharing agreements to help reduce the cost of fire mitigation, such as disposal of slash and community chipping programs. The plans work best when there is involvement through homeowners associations. Root said that Palmer Lake is preparing a plan, and the following districts have completed plans: Black Forest, Southwest Highway 115, Ute Pass, Woodmoor, and Crystal Park.

Director Greg Gent stated that this was a win/win situation and helps to tie the community to Wescott. The board unanimously approved development of a district plan.

Service runs rise 20 percent

Chief Jeff Edwards reported a total of 122 runs in May and 575 runs for the entire year, a 20 percent increase from 2007.

Edwards informed the board that the auditors were at the district for two days and collected all of the information they need to complete the audit.

Edwards also recently met with representatives of the district’s liability insurer, VFIS, to perform a "loss survey." The representatives made a few recommendations regarding compliance with the district’s Standard Operating Procedures, which will be implemented in the future. He expected a letter within two weeks with more specific details and instructions from VFIS.

Edwards said it was recommended that the district’s firefighters and volunteers submit to a health screening. Edwards also suggested that the district pay the co-payment for full-time employees.

Also, Chief Edwards received a $2,400 check from VFIS for four years of accident-free operations.

Ritz reminded board members to plan for the upcoming statewide Special District Association conference in September, and that there is a potential conflict with the Sept. 17 board meeting.

The board thanked Ritz for her hard work and her years of service to the department.

The meeting ended at 9:10 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 16 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.

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Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board Meeting, June 19: Retired teachers concerned about change in retiree health benefits; Staff recommends $2.7 million ballot measure

Below: School board members John Mann, Gail Wilson, and Dee Dee Eaton hold a conversation June 19 with the principals of the district’s nine schools. Photo by John Heiser.

By John Heiser

During citizen comments at the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School board meeting June 19, attorney Lisa Welch Stevens representing retired D-38 teachers spoke in opposition to a proposed change in the district’s policies.

Stevens said the former district employees were told and given a written agreement prior to retirement that if they chose to retire prior to age 65, they could continue to be covered by the district’s health insurance provided they took over payment of the standard group monthly premium that was being paid by the district. Some of the retirees have been paying the premiums for the past 7 years.

Stevens said the availability of continuing health insurance coverage was a significant factor for some of retirees in their decision to retire. She said the retirees have been told the district no longer intends to continue that policy. She said the new policy incorporated in the 2008-09 budget and included among the board’s consent agenda items will mean that if the retirees want to continue the same insurance coverage they will have to pay 175 percent of the premium paid for employees.

Stevens reported that the district’s legal counsel has said the Tax Payer Bill of Rights precludes the board from entering into contracts that have fiscal implications over several years. Stevens cited a 2001 Colorado Supreme Court decision in which she said a school board was found to be liable to honor the offer they made to retirees to continue health benefits.

Later in the meeting, the board unanimously approved the proposed 2008-09 budget as submitted and unanimously approved all the consent agenda items without any further discussion of this item by board members.

Board member Jeff Cantlebary was absent. Board member Mark Pfoff arrived about 3 hours into the 4.5-hour meeting.

Mill levy override (MLO) recommendation

Superintendent Ray Blanch presented the administration’s recommendation regarding the MLO question to be placed on the ballot for the November election. He said results from a recent phone survey of registered voters in the area indicate that 75 percent of those surveyed clearly value investing in quality education, including world language instruction for elementary­-aged children. 73 percent expressed support for increasing teacher compensation. 68 percent said they feel there is a connection between strong schools and high property values.

He said the survey showed only marginal support (53 percent) for a ballot measure requesting $3.6 million and stronger support (66 percent) for a request for $1.5 million.

Blanch said the staff recommends the following as critical priorities and estimated the associated costs totaling $2.7 million:

  • Increase teacher compensation approximately 7 percent ($1.5 million).
  • Add 3 FTE elementary world language staff and provide instructional materials ($200,000).
  • Preserve elementary reading intervention teachers ($300,000).
  • Improve student access to technology and technology instruction including Internet safety ($200,000).
  • Prevent further increases in student fees ($500,000).

Blanch said voter approval of a ballot measure requesting $2.7 million would still require further cuts in 2009-10 totaling about $384,000, which would result in an increase in some class sizes. He noted that approval of the $2.7 million request would not permit restoring cuts made in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and would not reverse the student fees adopted for 2008-09.

He added that although the district could use more than $2.7 million, "there is marginal voter support for a larger amount."

The final ballot question is scheduled to be determined in August.

2008-09 budget approved

Following a presentation by Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s chief financial officer, and a public hearing, the board unanimously approved the 2008-09 budget with a total appropriation amount of $89.9 million including $45 million in the general fund.

Wangeman said the major points of focus of the budget were to increase teacher compensation by $1.1 million, open Palmer Ridge High School (PRHS), ensure that ending fund balances meet board requirements, enact increased fees for student activities, and improve food choices for students. She noted that there will be a 3.28 percent average increase in pay for hourly employees, administrators, and teachers. Compensation including wages and benefits will continue to make up 86 percent of the district’s budget.

She noted that the budget incorporates $330,000 in savings through central office reductions, $715,000 in savings through reductions in teaching staff, and $200,000 in savings in the budget for supplies at the schools. Wangeman said the district is projecting a 1.2 percent decline in enrollment or 70 full-time equivalents (FTE) to a district total of 5,575 FTE.

Approximately $1 million is budgeted for building maintenance with $514,288 budgeted for Grace Best Elementary School and $112,211 budgeted for Lewis-Palmer High School.

The district expects to start the year with $5.5 million in spendable reserves and end the year with $1 million in spendable reserves.

Other matters

  • Commendations - John Camber of Tri­-Lakes Disposal was commended by Palmer Lake Elementary School principal, Julie Jadomski, for partnering with the school in recycling efforts. Camber presented Jadomski with a $711 check as payment for recycle materials recently collected at the school. Jadomski also commended Home Depot for donation of materials and labor to complete a special landscaping project at the school.
  • Community engagement with principals - As part of the district’s implementation of the policy governance model, principals from all nine district schools engaged in a discussion with board members. The principals answered questions regarding teacher compensation and the impacts they have noticed at their buildings related to budget issues, such as reductions in programs and positions. They also discussed the possible effects on car and pedestrian traffic that may occur at the schools if a transportation fee were to be adopted.
  • PRHS construction project update - Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering said the project continues to be on schedule and within budget. The site is being prepared for delivery of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. The board approved purchase orders to date for start­up expenses totaling $723,531 and purchase orders to date for technology expenses totaling $610,020.
  • District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) annual report - Co­-chairs, Betty Hutchinson and Mary Perez, presented highlights of the committee’s work for the 2007-­08 school year. The committee collaborated with Dr. Shirley Trees, Executive Director of Elementary Education, to create a template for the School Improvement Plans (SIP) to aid reporting and monitoring. Each school’s SIP aligns with the district’s strategic vision in the areas of student achievement, the whole child, and community engagement. Perez will be stepping down from her position on the committee and elections for her replacement will be held in July.
  • Facilities and Enrollment Committee (FEC) annual reports on technology and bond expenditures - The FEC makes recommendations to the board on the utilization and remodeling of existing facilities, construction of new facilities, and assistance in planning for capital reserve projects. FEC member Roy Graves reported on the district technology plan to identify long­-range funding needs. Wangeman presented the quarterly update from the FEC regarding bond expenditures. The committee tracks the Palmer Ridge High School construction project and the improvements to Lewis-­Palmer High School.
  • Consent agenda items - The board unanimously approved several matters concerning students, personnel, and finances, including a resolution regarding post-­employment liability. This resolution addresses healthcare insurance benefits available to retirees
  • Monument Academy budget items - The board tabled two motions related to the Monument Academy Charter School budget pending a special meeting to discuss the items in more detail. (See the article on the Monument Academy.)
  • Superintendent’s update - Blanch gave an update on the capital improvement projects throughout the district this summer. These include the installation of modular units at Grace Best Elementary School. He said a community room has been set up in the administration building. There will be no rental fees associated with the use of this room, which will typically be available on a first come­-first served basis between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Board member comments - Board member Gail Wilson suggested the board receive further training in policy governance. Board members decided to observe other school boards before committing any more money to training. Board member John Mann thanked the superintendent and district leadership for their team work. Board member Mark Pfoff said attending the LPHS graduation ceremony energized him, stating that distributing diplomas to the seniors was an "absolute thrill." Mrs. Easton read highlights from a letter from CDE regarding the recent audit and approval of data submitted by the District. She also read a letter from the El Paso County Sheriff’s office stating that due to County budget shortfalls, the SRO (School Resource Officer) position may be considered for elimination. Board president Dee Dee Eaton acknowledged the Tri­-Lakes Women’s Club contribution of over $15,600 in grants to the district during the 2007­-08 school year.

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The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education normally meets on the third Thursday of each month at the District’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument. The next regular monthly meeting of the board will be held July 17 at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at 5:00 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. for those receiving commendations.

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

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

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, June 13: Condemnation of interchange right-of-way authorized

Below: At the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority meeting June 13, André P. Brackin, P.E. who is the Capital Programs Division Manager for El Paso County Department of Transportation explains how a proposed sign at the intersection of Leather Chaps Drive and the new frontage road on the south side of Baptist Road will help screen headlight glare on the adjacent house of Chaparral Hills property owner Linda Silviera. Silviera said Brackin’s design would provide the screening she had requested. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

By Jim Kendrick

The Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) board decided June 13 that it was time to finally condemn the needed right-of-way that has still not been donated on the northeast corner of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange so that the expansion project can be put out to bid.

While the eminent domain process will further delay initiating construction, there has been no evidence to date that the two affected landowners, THF Realty, owner of the former Foxworth-Galbraith hardware store, and ADK Monument Developers LLC, owner of the vacant Timbers at Monument property surrounding this vacant store, would respond to any other type of offer from BRRTA.

County Commissioner Dennis Hisey was absent.

Interchange project bid update

Consultant engineer Gary Heckman of Carter, Burgess, Jacobs Inc. reported that Valero Corp. had given the deeds for the donated right-of-way on the eastern and southern sides of the Diamond Shamrock truck stop to BRRTA. They have been forwarded to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for recording.

Phoenix Bell and the Schuck Corp. had already donated right-of-way to the west and south of the truck stop. The deeds for the Phoenix Bell right-of-way had not yet been forwarded by El Paso County to CDOT.

BRRTA attorney Jim Hunsaker said the county thought it best that BRRTA, rather than CDOT, accept the temporary construction easement, because BRRTA is performing the construction. The easements have been rewritten and are being reviewed.

The land on the southeast corner of the state’s Baptist Road interchange is already owned by CDOT.

However, the needed right-of-way on the northeast corner of the Baptist Road interchange has still not been obtained.

Heckman stated that a BRRTA consultant appraiser, TRS, has completed its appraisal of the THF hardware store right-of-way and it has also been submitted to CDOT, but THF has made no move toward donation or sale of right-of-way. The THF appraiser also has completed his report, which soon will be submitted to CDOT.

Monument Mayor Byron Glenn said an ADK partner wanted to modify the previously approved location for the Timbers at Monument access to Baptist Road, west of Jackson Creek Parkway. This ADK partner wanted to move the approved access 100-200 feet farther west. Glenn added, "I told him fat chance if it’s 100 feet or greater. He said how about 25 feet?" The current approved location is about 300 feet east of the corner of the hardware store fence.

Glenn told him that ADK would have to pay all BRRTA engineering design costs to revise the plans and all other additional approval and construction costs for moving the access 25 feet to the west. However, Glenn recommended that the BRRTA board proceed with eminent domain condemnation of the ADK right-of-way to obtain initial possession and use.

Hunsaker said he would contact Larry Johnson of CDOT Region 2 right-of-way services to get the needed appraisals completed for the condemnation process, which would take about 45 days. Hunsaker will write a letter notifying ADK of the condemnation. There was consensus that ADK should be required to place the entire estimated cost of redesign in escrow before work on relocating the access begins. Glenn said, "I’m tired of being held hostage on this land for six stinking years."

The board also approved beginning the installation of new Monument water and sanitary sewer lines to the Diamond Shamrock truck stop immediately so that it can be completed by Dec. 31. The work had been held off so that it could be completed at a lower cost in combination with other construction to widen Baptist Road from the interchange to Old Denver Highway.

Valero is facing stiff fines from the county Health Department if it does not comply with a cease and desist order regarding its failed septic system. Monument is paying for the installation of the lines. Negotiations for the sewer line and various construction easements in the right-of-way have delayed the donation for about a year.

Board vacates easements for properties

The board unanimously vacated construction and use easements for the new Chase Bank and McDonald’s properties in the Monument Ridge commercial center opposite King Soopers. The vacations of the easements will now allow these two buildings to be built over the eliminated temporary BRRTA easements, now that all of BRRTA’s rights have been voluntarily waived.

Revenues exceed expenditures

CPA Wanda Bynum of BKD presented the financial statement for the first quarter of 2008. Debt service fund revenues were $213,793 from the BRRTA temporary 1-cent sales tax and $164,849 from bond interest. Expenditures for the $21.5 million in revenue bonds were $9,402 for amortization, $13,253 for investment fees, and $265,241. Revenues exceeded expenditures by $90,746, increasing the fund balance from $173,105 to $263,851. Bond interest revenue will drop significantly once construction payments for the interchange begin.

Vision asks for economic incentive

Rick Blevins of Vision Development requested that the BRRTA board consider waiving part or all of any fees it might charge as an economic incentive if the Colorado Department of Corrections agrees to lease a building for about 300 staff members from Vision for 10 to 20 years.

The department needs larger facilities than it occupies in Colorado Springs and is looking for the best package it can find between Pueblo and Denver along I-25. The one-time BRRTA road use fee is payable when a developer obtains a building permit from the Town of Monument. In this case, the BRRTA fee would be $3 per square foot for a 100,000 square foot facility or about $300,000. Office space is in the "other uses" category, which is the lowest non-residential rate. There would be at least 600 commuting vehicle trips per day generated by the office space; however, no traffic study has been completed.

Some of the points made in the lengthy discussion were:

  • The new office would be an economic boon to Monument and the Monument Marketplace.
  • All future commercial developers would ask for a similar fee waiver as an economic incentive.
  • Pueblo has $50 million in economic development funds and would likely donate land to the department.
  • The Triview Metropolitan District had tentatively pledged a waiver of five years of Triview property taxes as an incentive.
  • The department has not provided a traffic study for the three Monument locations that Vision is going to offer.

The corrections office space would grow from 85,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet during the initial lease. There was consensus that BRRTA could consider a modification to a more graduated fee schedule for office buildings, based on traffic studies for each type of office rather than a one-time incentive for Vision Development.

Frontage road sign approved

Andre Brackin, capital programs division manager of the county Department of Transportation, briefed the board on his design of a street sign for the new frontage road for the churches just east of the Monument Ridge center. The sign would be a visual screen for headlights sweeping across the home owned by Linda Silviera immediately to the south. The BRRTA board had agreed to work with Silviera on a visual screen a few years ago.

Silviera said that she agreed with Brackin’s design, then asked questions about how the sign would be constructed and maintained. There was consensus that the sign should be owned by the Family of Christ Lutheran Church, which had agreed to maintain it. Hunsaker was assigned the task of drafting a legal agreement on what the sign could and could not say, with regard to religious messages. The agreement must also address any future sale of the church to another organization.

Brackin said that progress was being made on the westbound lanes of Baptist Road between Leather Chaps Drive and Jackson Creek Boulevard. Work was to commence in late June on construction of the sound wall on the south side of Baptist Road between Gleneagle and Desiree Drives. The sound wall should be completed by Aug. 15.

The board unanimously approved seven payments for a total of $37,868:

  • $750 to American National Bank for service fees
  • $1,100 to BDK LLP for accounting services
  • $7,551 to Carter, Burgess, Jacobs Inc. for construction management
  • $75 to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for miscellaneous expenses
  • $7,839 to Grimshaw & Harring PC for legal services
  • $13,631 to R.S. Wells LLC for district management services

The meeting adjourned at 4:01 p.m.

**********

The next meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are held bimonthly on the second Friday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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MVEA meeting electrifies membership

Below: MVEA General Manager Jim Herron addresses the annual meeting June 12 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Photo by David Futey.

By David Futey

Electricity: It’s something we do not think too much about until we flip the switch and the light does not come on or the electric bill arrives in the mail. However, changes are occurring as to how that electricity will be generated to turn on the light and, as with other utilities, how increases in the cost of generation will occur.

This and other information was presented along with board elections, recognition of scholarship winners, and door prizes as part of the Mountain View Electric Association’s (MVEA) 67th annual member meeting held June 12 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Of the 37,000 MVEA members, over 220 members attended this meeting.

MVEA General Manager Jim Herron framed the forthcoming predicament facing electrical generation and distribution services as forces coming together for the "Perfect Storm." The forces involve the need to increase the supply of electricity, meeting projected demands from population growth and increased per capita use, and the effects of managing power-generated emissions related to climate change and other environment impacts. Predictions and recent legislation attempts lend to these concerns.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) projects a 60 percent increase in electrical energy needed for Colorado by 2025. Mainly through a housing boom, per capita consumption has increased 14 percent in the past 15 years. There is also legislative action taking shape, such as the recent Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act that offered a cap and trade solution along with an emphasis for nuclear power (the act died with a Republican filibuster in early June), which will most likely provide guidelines and regulation on emissions. This in turn may impact the type of generation resource—nuclear, green (wind, solar), or natural gas—to be used.

In general there is a turning away from coal and oil due to the expense in building new electrical generation facilities and, more so, the concern over carbon dioxide emissions. On that latter basis, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment rejected an air permit for a coal-burning electricity generating plant. This marked the first time a government agency rejected a permit based on a concern for carbon dioxide emission. (See www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/18/AR2007101802452.html)

Cooperatives like MVEA make up 28 percent of energy sales in Colorado, according to the PUC. MVEA is one of 44 cooperatives in a four-state region, (Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and New Mexico) that owns and receives its electrical power distribution from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. MVEA’s largest expense is the acquisition of wholesale power: For every dollar spent on expenses, 64 cents is for power, and that figure may go up.

In late 2007, Tri-State announced a rate increase of 11.8 percent for 2008, reflecting the increasing costs of fossil fuels and how it has gone from having excess generation capacity to needing to acquire generation to meet demand.

Tri-State and its cooperatives like MVEA are looking into alternatives, but all seemingly have their limitations at present. Solar power is predictable, though Colorado has limits on sunlight year round, but it is expensive when compared to costs of wind power. Wind power has limitations of generation and is not predictable. Presently, MVEA reports that 420 of its members purchase over 12,000 100-kWh blocks of green power each month. However, Colorado House Bill 1281 states that by 2020, 20 percent of energy generation must come from renewable energy, 4 percent of that from solar power.

Two elected to board

As part of the meeting, two board positions were available. MVEA received over 4,000 ballots for the elections in Districts 2 and 7. Rick L. Gordon was the only candidate for District 2 and was elected by voice vote. District 7 had three candidates. Gary L. Martin was elected.

22 scholarships awarded

At each meeting, MVEA also announces scholarship winners. There were 132 students, representing 31 schools in the MVEA territory, who applied for the scholarships. MVEA was able to award 22 scholarships this year for a total of $21,000. The scholarships included the E.A. Mick Geesen Memorial Scholarship, 16 MVEA scholarships, the MVEA Vocational/Technical Scholarship, one scholarship through Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and two scholarships from Tri-State.

The meeting opened with a dinner and music provided by Woody Woodworth. Those in attendance were in a drawing for numerous door prizes. Nearly everyone went home a winner with a good dinner, perhaps a prize, and valuable information on the state of our electrical service.

**********

For more information

Mountain View Electric Association www.mvea.coop

Colorado Rural Energy Association www.coloradorea.org 

Colorado Public Utilities Commission www.dora.state.co.us/puc/projects/NewEnergy/PathForward/PF10-30-07RBinz-COPUC_Background.pdf 

Grant, Nancy S. and Taylor, Jennifer, "Running Out of Power," Colorado Country Life, April 2008.

North American Electric Reliability Corp. 2007 Long Term Reliability Assessment (2007-2016), ftp://ftp.nerc.com/pub/sys/all_updl/docs/pubs/LTRA2007.pdf 

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June Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

The end of June marks the end of the snow season for us here on the Palmer Divide, and I will be updating my Web site with a 2007-08 snow season summary. This will include all the fun stats and comparisons against average that occurred since July 1, 2007. Be sure to check it out at www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

Overall, June was dry, with temperatures averaging around normal. This was the second June in a row where average precipitation was less than 50 percent of average. High temperatures for the month were above average by 2.2°, however, the dry, clear nights led to maximum radiational cooling, so overnight lows more than made up for that as the average low temperature for the month was 40.7°, 2.3° below average. We started off the month on the cool side, then right about mid-month, temperatures warmed to above average levels. There were several days with strong to severe thunderstorms, but most were isolated in nature so the majority of us didn’t benefit from the rain (but at least most of us didn’t get hit by large hail or tornadoes).

June started off warm and dry, with highs reaching well into the 80s on the afternoon of the 2nd. Changes moved into the region on the 3rd, as higher levels of moisture allowed areas of strong to severe thunderstorms to develop. Large hail was the main issue with these storms, as half-inch to 1.5-inch hail was reported around parts of the Palmer Divide. More moisture allowed another round of storms to develop during the afternoon of the 4th, and then the main storm moved over the region on the 5th. This brought cooler air and upslope flow, which kept us cool and cloudy all day. Highs on the 5th only reached the upper 40s to low 50s. Clear skies returned for the next few days and temperatures rebounded into the 70s. However, with the clear skies and dry air, overnight lows were chilly; reaching into the 30s each morning from the 6th through the 9th.

The main weather story for the second week of June was dry conditions. However, with the dry air in place, each evening was able to cool down considerably, with overnight dropping into the 30s every morning from the 10th through the 15th, with one exception: Many of us woke up to lows in the 20s on the morning of the 13th. This late freeze was a little unusual with the average last freeze of spring occurring around the end of May. High temperatures reached the low to mid-80s on the 10th, but a cool front pushed through during the afternoon of the 11th. This brought high temperatures back below average as they held in the upper 60s to mid-70s from the 11th through the 13th. Temperatures warmed again on Saturday and Sunday, rising well into the 80s and making for a great Father’s Day weekend.

An active weather week around the Palmer Divide started on the 16th, as several rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms affected the region. Temperatures started off well below normal, with highs holding in the 60s on Monday the 16th and lots of low clouds and fog, but warmer air quickly moved back in. High temperatures rebounded to the upper 70s and 80s through the rest of the week and into the weekend. Thunderstorms formed each day, with the strongest storms hitting the eastern areas of the Palmer Divide, from Black Forest through Peyton and Calhan. Areas farther to the west had drier air to work with, which kept the heaviest rains and large hail out of the area—for the most part. As usual, most of the storms were hit and miss, with some of us picking up brief heavy rain while others picked up very little. Be sure to check out www.cocorahs.org to see the wide variety of rainfall amounts that occur with these late spring/early summer scattered thunderstorm scenarios. Also, they are also looking for new volunteers, as we can never have too many rain gauges reporting out there.

The last week of the month was warm and dry, with one interruption. Temperatures hit the 80s and low 90s every afternoon from the 21st (first day of summer) through the 30th, except for the 28th when a surge of cool air and clouds held highs in the 60s. The 90° highs on the afternoon of the 25th marked the first 90° or above temperature for us since July 25, 2007, and was about a week ahead of when we see our first 90° high in a typical year. Our last freeze of the season occurred just 12 days earlier when we hit the upper 20s throughout the region. This was a little later than normal, as our average last freeze occurs about the last day in May.

A look ahead

July is typically the warmest month of the year and the fourth wettest month of the year, with precipitation averaging just less than 3 inches and average highs in the 80s. Morning lows generally dip into the mid 40s to mid-50s, but some nights can remain on the warm side, making it tough to get a good night’s sleep. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are common as moisture from the Southwest monsoon sneaks into the region and helps to enhance our chances for thunderstorms and rain. These thunderstorms provide much needed relief from hot temperatures and dry conditions. Strong, organized storm systems are less frequent and cold fronts not as sharp.

Let’s hope we don’t have a repeat of July 2005, when temperatures soared well into the 90s to near 100 on several afternoons, and rain was below average. The official monthly forecast for July 2008, 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 region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

June 2008 Weather Statistics

Average High 78.1°F (+2.2°)
Average Low 40.7°F (-2.3°)
Highest Temperature 90°F on the 25th
Lowest Temperature 27°F on the 13th
Monthly Precipitation 0.53" (-2.09") 20% of normal
Monthly Snowfall 0.00" (-0.1") 
Season to Date Snow 129.2" (-7.9") 94% of normal
Season to Date Precip. 16.95" (-4.97) 77% of normal

For more detailed weather information and climatology of the 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 on the Palmer Divide, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at billkappel@ourcommunitynews.org

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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Letters to Our Community

Contribute to police officers’ memorial

My name is Cpl. Rob Stewart, and I am employed with the Monument Police Department. During this past year I have been involved with a regional committee, representing our department for the Pikes Peak Region Peace Officers’ Memorial, which will be built in Colorado Springs.

This memorial will honor peace officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the various communities within the Pikes Peak Region. The success of the memorial project is dependent on individuals and organizations that believe in the mission and will support our endeavor. The committee is seeking support from individuals and the many businesses within the region in order to reach the goal of completing the memorial.

I would like to urge all of you to contribute to this worthwhile cause to show your support and respect for the brave men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives to safeguard your communities. All contributions are tax deductible.

If you or your organization would like to make a contribution, or would like a presentation made to your organization, you may contact me at (719) 481-3253, or Lt. Skip Arms (Colorado Springs Police Department) at (719) 332-2759, or Lt. Brian Mattson (El Paso County Sheriff’s Office) at (719) 492-3907. In addition, you may visit our Web site for more information at www.peaceofficermemorial.com

Pikes Peak Region Peace Officers’ Memorial Committee
P.O. Box 50712
Colorado Springs, CO 80949-0712 
pprpom@ci.colospgs.co.us
  

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Thank you!

This is a big "Thank You" to Monument Trustee Steve Samuels and Robertson’s Landscaping for installing the Donor Patio for "Ice Harvest," our community’s first piece of public art. Thanks, too, to Ron Rathburn and the Monument Public Works Department for building the sign platform, and to Sky Hall for designing the platform and plaque describing the history of ice harvesting on Monument Lake.

Thanks to their efforts, you can walk up onto the Donor Patio at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road and view the art work. There you can read about the historic photograph depicted by the art, and you will also see the names of individuals and companies who made the art piece possible. Their sponsorship demonstrates that they have a Tri-Lakes View.

Thanks to all of you who made this possible!

Tri-Lakes Views Steering Committee

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Why the Farmers Market moved

This market, which has become a tradition of Monument for some 10 years, the last five years at "Big Red" School District 38 yard, was forced to move its location, and here is why:

Near the end of March, I received a letter from school official Hal Garland who declared that it is a safety hazard to use propane or other combustible fuels. This eliminates kettle corn, hot dogs, hamburgers, chili roasting, and generators for music and electricity. Even though I carry more than sufficient liability insurance.

The school official, Garland, also wants to charge $30 per hour for every hour that someone from the market is on the field. I usually arrive at 3:30 a.m. to set up and work until about 4:30 p.m. cleaning up and taking down. This adds up to $360 to $400 per day. This comes with the promise to raise the rates to an unknown amount again on July 1.

All and all, the bottom line about the school and the Farmers Market is the school official thought that he could run the Farmers Market out of town and then take over. This is really strange in that Garland has never visited the Farmers Market and doesn’t realize how important the market was to downtown. Actually, Garland doesn’t really know much about Monument in that he doesn’t live here, he lives in Colorado Springs. When he and his wife were invited to visit he replied, "We don’t associate with those kind of people." This was said with two witnesses present.

I made four attempts to meet with Superintendent Ray Blanch to discuss this, but he wouldn’t meet with me.

The Monument Farmers Market is a Monument family tradition which will carry on in spite of such obstacles that have been put into place by the local school administration of District 38. After all, the community makes the market, not any individual. We love our new location in Monument Plaza (that has been generously donated by Steve and Danielle Marks). Please come and visit, there is something for all ages.

Diana Dickson

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Summertime, when the reading is easy

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Summer is a good time to stock up on paperbacks for those airplane trips, beach outings —and for just plain relaxing. Following are suggestions for lighter reading with some substance.

Loving Frank
By Nancy Horan (Ballantine), $14

Though a novel, this is a work of historical significance, painting a glimpse of life at the turn of the last century. As Mamah Borthwick Cheney struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Horan makes her into an enigmatic Everywoman—a symbol of the freedoms women yearn to have and of the consequences that may await them when they try to take them. The story tells of the familiar conflict in the duty and honor of being a wife and mother while seeking true fulfillment as a woman apart from those titles. This book is very much about culture, influence, vocation, and what we could possibly gain or give up in our quest for such things.

McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland
By Pete McCarthy (St. Martin’s), $14.95

Despite the many exotic places Pete McCarthy has visited, he finds that nowhere else can match the particular magic of Ireland, his mother’s homeland. The book chronicles his journey from Cork to Donegal, and while traveling through spectacular landscapes, he obeys the rule, "Never pass a bar that has your name on it." He encounters McCarthy’s bars all up and down the land and meets fascinating people. Written by someone who is at once an insider and an outsider, McCarthy’s Bar is a wonderfully funny and affectionate portrait of a rapidly changing country.

The Friday Night Knitting Club
By Kate Jacobs (Berkley), $14

Six very diverse women become unlikely friends as their lives unravel faster than the sweater they’re knitting during their Friday night meetings. At the center is Georgia, the knit shop owner, a single mother who is overwhelmed with juggling the store and raising a teenage daughter. When the man who once broke Georgia’s heart shows up, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, her world is shattered, and she’s thankful for the support of her friends. When the unthinkable happens, these women discover that what they’ve created isn’t just a knitting club; it’s a sisterhood. Knowledge of knitting is not a requirement for this story of strength and friendship.

Moral Disorder and Other Stories
By Margaret Atwood (Anchor), $13.95

This novel of a young woman who ends up becoming the caretaker of a great aunt she never knew existed is a compelling story about family, mental illness, aging, forgiveness (or not), and much more. The book is a collection of short stories that follows the life of a single character as a young woman in the ‘50s and ‘60s and, in the present day, as half of a couple, no longer young, reflecting on the state of the world. At times funny, lyrical, incisive, earthy, shocking, and deeply personal, Moral Disorder displays Atwood’s celebrated storytelling gifts and style to their best advantage and offers many themes for discussion.

Five Skies
By Ron Carlson (Penguin), $14

Three men, all strangers and all wounded by their pasts, come together in the Idaho wilderness to work on an elaborate construction project. The giant, silent Arthur Key flees from a spectacular betrayal and lands alongside shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli and rage-filled Darwin Gallegos. As they build, they also create a family and begin to heal. This is a beautiful story about the power of male friendships and the power of the wilderness.

Christine Falls: A Novel
By Benjamin Black (Picador), $14

John Banville, a Booker Award winner writing under a pen name, has written a solid, dark, absorbing mystery set in 1950s Dublin that is full of the history and Catholic influence of the time. This well-written thriller introduces an intelligent, stubborn hero, a surly pathologist who discovers a plot that spans two continents, implicates the Catholic Church, and may involve members of his own family.

If you’re heading to the mountains, or the beach, or just to the hammock this summer, be sure to pack an enticing paperback book. Until next month, happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: Help plants beat the heat

By Woody Woodworth

Higher temperatures over the past couple of weeks have left us wiping our brow. The beginning of summer temperatures will have us hoping for cooler weather. The promised afternoon rainstorms have mostly missed us recently but have provided us some cloud cover for brief periods of relief. We humans suffer in the heat; it makes us tired, thirsty, worn-out, and less able to perform well at our daily tasks. Your plants react the same way. How do you help your plants beat the heat? Here are a couple of summertime hints.

Water plants early in the morning. If your plants are showing distress in the afternoon from the hot sun, many times a good drink in the morning helps. Saturate and water deep to ensure the plants get adequate water to the roots. By watering early, you avoid excess evaporation from your sprinkler system and help conserve one of our precious resources.

Add additional mulch to your flower beds and shrubs and around trees. By adding mulch, you help the plants retain more of the moisture and reduce transpiration from the hot afternoon sun. As a rule, the finer the mulch, the more moisture will be retained. I use Soil Pep around most of the perennials and smaller shrubs, but step up to medium-size cedar bark mulch around most of the larger shrubs and trees. Apply mulch about 3 or 4 inches deep around the drip line of the trees and shrubs and about 2 or 3 inches deep around most perennials.

Fertilize your plants. The heat robs your annuals and perennials of their color as your plants send the energy toward the leaves and stalks to survive the extreme temperatures. They need to be fed to keep up with the demand and able to perform well through the hot months. If you used a good time-release fertilizer around the root system when you planted this year or as a top dressing, you may have all of your bases covered. If not, then a quick application of a water-soluble bloom booster will help the plants gain some strength and provide the beautiful blooms you expect—even through the hot months.

Clean up in the garden. You know it’s going to get hot, so start early in the morning and work for short periods. Trim dead or dying leaves from perennials. Dead-head the blooms as soon as they are "spent" to ensure the growth energy returns to the plant to make new blossoms. Pluck those nasty weeds that rob the water, fertilizer, and space your plants need to grow healthy, strong, and vigorous.

Help your plants beat the heat. Conserve as you garden. Be a part of the "green industry."

Woody Woodworth owns High Country Home and Garden

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: The bald eagle, symbol of the nation

Click here or on the drawing to zoom in

Above: Drawing of a bald eagle by Elizabeth Hacker.

Click on the drawing to zoom in

By Elizabeth Hacker

This year marks our country’s 232nd birthday. The bald eagle was officially declared the national emblem of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1782. The bird that has come to symbolize strength, courage, freedom, and immortality is one of four eagle species that grace our shores but the only one unique to North America.

Its selection was controversial and a powerful debate lasted six years. Ben Franklin argued that the bald eagle took prey from lesser birds and thus was of bad moral character. He suggested the honest, hard-working wild turkey more aptly symbolized our nation’s spirit. Ultimately the magnificent bird with powerful talons was selected and the regal eagle has come to symbolize our freedom, spirit, and pursuit of excellence.

The bald eagle is a very large brown hunter with white feathers on its head, wing tips, and tail. It soars on thermal currents when not roosting in tall trees near the water’s edge. It can fly at up to 40 mph and dive at speeds of 90 mph. It catches fish by flying just above the water, lowering its massive talons into the water to grab a fish. While it prefers a diet of fish, it is an opportunist and will scavenge for carrion, small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

It is found in every state except Hawaii and is most abundant in the Pacific Northwest where salmon spawn. Several years ago I lived in Alaska and found it odd that natives often called the bald eagle a "garbage bird" until I observed large numbers of them scavenging at the landfill.

At maturity, the bald eagle can stand an impressive 3 feet tall with a wing span of 7 feet. It weighs 6 to 15 pounds. The sexes look alike and similar to most birds of prey; the female is about 25 percent larger than the male. An eagle is much larger and broader than a hawk or a falcon, and when it takes off or is in flight it lumbers under its weight, which makes it easy to identify.

While it may be easy to differentiate an eagle from lesser birds of prey, it is difficult to discern a juvenile bald from a golden eagle. The distinctive white head of the bald eagle does not emerge until after the second year and a juvenile bald eagle looks a lot like a golden eagle, a species more common here. Both eagles are big and brown, the bald eagle being slightly larger. Generally, if an eagle is near water, it is most likely a bald eagle, but if it is far from water, it’s probably a golden.

With its superior vision, the bald eagle can easily spot a fish near the surface of the water from a great distance. When hunting for a meal, it raises its great wings and slowly rises from its tall perch. It descends gradually to the surface and skims across the water until it grabs a fish by plunging its powerful sharp talons into the water. It can carry prey in flight but only if it weighs less than half of its own body weight. It devours the fish by ripping it apart with its massive yellow hooked bill. Hunting techniques are refined as the eagle matures, and often a juvenile must scavenge for prey until it becomes a proficient hunter.

The bald eagle sexually matures around age 4 or 5 and often returns to the area where it was born to search for a mate. Bald eagles mate for life. However, if one member of a pair disappears, the other will choose a new mate, or if a pair repeatedly fails in breeding attempts, they separate and look for new mates.

Courtship lasts several weeks and involves vocalization and flashy flight displays that include the pair locking talons in a free fall, separating just before hitting the ground. The eagle’s size might suggest that it would have a loud piercing cry, and this myth is perpetuated by TV commercials that dub the echoing shrill of the red-tailed hawk with the image of a soaring bald eagle. In reality, the eagle generally chirps, squeaks, or grunts unless its nest is under siege, when it will issue a distress call and aggressively chase off the intruder.

An eagle’s nest, or aerie, is a giant collection of sticks. Every year the pair cleans out the debris and re-engineers the nest by strategically placing sticks to strengthen it. Over the years the birds continue to use it, and the nest can grow to be 9 feet across, more than 10 feet deep, and weigh in excess of a ton. To protect the eggs and chicks, the nest is lined with leaves and smaller sticks. The female produces one to three eggs per year with an average of a 50 percent survival rate. The male and female take turns incubating the eggs for about a month while the alternate parent hunts for food. One parent always stays close to the nest and fiercely protects the eggs or chicks from predators like the black-billed magpie, raccoon, black bear, hawks, and other eagles.

As fall approaches, the offspring are the size of the adult. Learning and perfecting hunting skills takes many years. The adults coax the juveniles out of the nest, forcing them to learn to fly. Once the juveniles fledge, the parents leave and the juveniles must fend for themselves.

In centuries past, the bald eagle was hunted for sport and was killed off in large numbers to "protect" lakes for fishermen. The once commonly used pesticide DDT concentrated in fish and ultimately weakened the eggshells of fish-eating birds like the bald eagle and osprey. To ensure the survival of our national symbol, in 1967 the bald eagle was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The use of DDT was banned and hunting except by native tribes was prohibited.

The bald eagle has made a remarkable recovery, and in 2007 it was delisted. It is still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles or eagle parts, nests, and eggs without a permit. Only Native Americans are able to possess these traditional emblems of their culture. Wondering what to do with that dead eagle found on the side of a road? Leave it; the fine for possession could run up to $10,000!

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 habitat preservation. Contact her at www.elizabethhackerart.com with questions or bird stories.

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Art Matters: "Green" and "greener" art

Below: Sharon DeWeese, artist and owner of the Candy Box ‘n Gallery. Photo by Janet Sellers.

By Janet Sellers

Protecting our resources has recently been given a simple label of "green." Once upon a time, every American endeavor was what we now call green. Our daily lives focused on local, renewable resources because that is what we had available. Historically, we were pretty darn green every day.

Green art and design these days connotes sustainable and renewable resources and ways of living and working that keep our planet healthy and green. American public and private art nationwide is "going green" by design, materials and transport, as are architecture and business. Knowing how much each part of the manufacture, transport, and use of a product is in the green zone is a big part of making a wise choice.

For example, what the art work or product is made of and how it is made affects our lives every day. Common materials such as paint or metals can be safe—or terribly toxic—in its production and use. Start to finish, it’s best to learn if the art work is made from renewable, Earth-friendly materials. Likewise if the stuff was mined from a hillside that will continue to mudslide for generations. A single art experience connects many things besides how pretty it is. While the point of art is to exist outside of utility in the realm of pure ideal creation, how pure is its existence from start to finish?

As you appreciate art, look into its creation process, ask questions, and become knowledgeable. Refuse to trade with artists and galleries that do not understand the effects of these processes. A reliable rule of thumb is that a worthwhile venue knows its product, its process, and most importantly, its value to you. Even if you don’t understand such things before you walk in, the venue personnel should cheerfully educate you for a most enjoyable experience. This goes for any purchase. Even art from a green manufacturing process can become a terrible polluter due to transport issues. Staying local is looking greener all the time.

We will find our treasures. They may be in offbeat or common places. The first step brings wonder and curiosity. It is our purest reference for art. Curiosity impels us to act on a hunch. That hunch can begin as an ordinary moment in time, within a familiar place close to home, or whenever a bright idea hits. It becomes a revitalizing and rejuvenating experience.

Speaking of going green for the planet, our local Art Hop makes for ongoing opportunities to enjoy the greening of America on a summer evening. Now that our weather is a true pleasure for evening walks, let’s get out and walk the Monument Art Hop route with our family and friends. Begin a collection of memories with our Tri-Lakes art venues and find your favorite route. Along the way, there will be pleasant stops with flowers, benches, and refreshments, too.

Sometimes I visit the Art Hop starting at the Beacon Lite side of Historic Monument, since it is the point of entry from my home in Woodmoor. Usually I bring friends, and we walk most of the Hop. (I admit I drive my car to get there, but soon I’ll be in shape to walk the whole thing). We often take that part of Second Street to the many other venues. At the last Art Hop, I went to Washington and Second and began my adventure starting at the Chapala Building.

A few doors down, at the Candy Box ‘n Gallery, owner Sharon DeWeese was giving a demonstration of painting a night sky—complete with fireworks—to a group of Art Hoppers. Of course, the candy and fudge part of the store was also open and doing a brisk business as well. I waved a hello, patted the doodle dogs, and made my way through the chocolate-scented gallery out to the perfect summer evening again.

Next door up, I took in Bella Casa. The patio embraces a festive garden setting of pretty plants and garden art. Story goes that this patio has a long history of festive events and joyful gatherings, so those good vibes continue.

Along the alley between Candy Box ‘n Gallery and Bella Casa is Margo’s on the Alley. There, I met Glen Luther, furniture maker/wood art adventurer, on Margo’s porch as I was walking into the cottage. He was talking to guests about his finely crafted chairs featured at Margo’s for June. Over a nice glass of wine, sitting in those very comfy chairs, we chatted about fine woodworking, hobbies vs. careers, and how one thing leads to another in life.

He told me that he once traded some of his reject chairs with a friend for their folk-art birdhouses. When the friend’s wood-crafting business was featured in Country Living Magazine, so were Luther’s chairs. Actor Michael Keaton bought a set of Luther’s chairs for his home in Colorado. Architectural Digest Magazine recently featured the home and had a great photo spread with the chairs. Luther is big on making furniture. He started hand-crafting Windsor chairs upon reading a book about them years ago. He makes historically accurate Windsor chairs, milk paint and all, with a special addition. He makes them so they are big enough for modern targets: our larger fannies.

Speaking of keeping up with history, a jubilant celebration is coming up for us here in Tri-Lakes. Ten big years of impressive cultural enrichment will be celebrated this month! The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is having a 10th Birthday Party for the public from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 12. Enjoy birthday cake and see the "Proud to be an American" art exhibit, the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee 2009 contest winner, and the Resident Artist Open House. Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is at 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, CO 80133, 719-481-0475.

Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter, sculptor and writer working in the mediums of canvas, concrete/mixed media and paper. Her work supports natural habitat for rural and urban wild (and human) life.

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Palmer Lake Art Group show displays works of 50 artists

Below: (L-R) Suzanne Jenne, Chair, and Margarete Seagraves co-Chair, with two of the many works on display at the Palmer Lake Art Group-Spring Fine Art Show. Photo by David Futey.

By David Futey

The Palmer Lake Art Group’s (PLAG) 43rd Annual Spring Fine Art Show and Sale at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts offered works from 50 featured artists along with two scholarship winners from Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

The collection of works attracted the eye and touched the heart through the effective use of textures, color, and values by the respective artists in their chosen media. The media represented at the show included oils, acrylics, watercolors, mixed-media, drawings, photography, 3-D sculptures, jewelry, and glass, with works filling nearly every bit of floor and wall space that the center had to offer. PLAG member works were judged by Victoria Kwasinski, with first-, second- and third-place awards along with honorable mention recognition presented.

Proceeds from sales and the silent auction went toward funding scholarships for D-38 students who will be continuing their art studies. This year’s scholarship winners, as judged by members of the Palmer Lake Art Group, were Brandon Hoogenboom and Alex Mikulas. Also on exhibit in the center’s Lucy Owens Gallery were works by Nuance. This art group, consisting of 12 members from the Tri-Lakes and Colorado Springs area, is a collection of friends who possess a common interest and passion for watercolor painting.

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June and July events at the library

Below: (L to R) Susanna Gray and Catie Gray, teen volunteers for summer reading; Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Gail Sohns with a miniature campfire. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

By Harriet Halbig

The month of June offered many diversions for library patrons. The summer reading programs, Catch the Reading Bug for those younger than 12 and Summer Tour 2008 for those in middle and high school, have over 2,000 participants.

The younger children can get credit for reading books or being read to in increments of 15 minutes to earn such prizes as coupons, Sky Sox ticket vouchers, and free books. They also can enter a drawing to win bonus prizes by reading for an additional four, eight, or 12 hours. The older group is credited for the number of books completed, and those children receive a custom-designed T-shirt after 10 books are read.

This volume of activity would not be possible without the help of 60 teen volunteers who register youngsters and award their prizes. It’s great to see them encourage the younger group to participate and keep reading until the young ones reach their goal. The volunteers are on hand many hours each week.

For those who would like to register, the programs continue until July 31, so there’s still plenty of time! Come to any branch to register.

Many special programs visited the library during June, including live music and storytelling. One event, called Small Stuff, featured a craft in the form of a miniature campfire composed of pretzel sticks, chocolate frosting, and candy corn. Children were also shown microscopic photos of various objects and were challenged to guess what they were.

Another program, Going Underground, explained how bats use "echolocation" to find their prey and suggested a number of book titles involving characters who find themselves underground and what they encounter there.

On the evening of June 27, a teen dance was held after hours at the Monument Branch with prizes for the best, worst, and craziest dancer. A disco ball and strobe lights lent atmosphere. The event was planned by teens for their peers. Any teen wishing to participate in planning future events is encouraged to contact teen coordinator Diane Sawatzki.

In keeping with tradition, the employees of the library and various volunteers and friends also participated in the Fourth of July Parade through Monument.

Special programs will continue throughout July. Tuesdays will continue to be the day for special guests. Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective of Motham City will be featured at 10:30 a.m. July 8. July 15 will offer the chance to get up close and personal with a variety of bugs and reptiles from the Mountain Aire Reptile Rescue and Sanctuary. July 22 will feature various bug-related stories and audience participation.

Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. will be the traditional toddler times, and Thursdays at 2 p.m. will offer stories and crafts for those 5 to 8 years of age.

In addition, there will be two parties in July. The first and most exciting, the Catch the Reading Bug Summer Reading Party, will take place at the new Tri-Lakes YMCA on the soccer field from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 25. There will be live animals, face painting, games, a moon bounce, food, and drink. The party, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, is being offered as a joint effort by the Monument, Palmer Lake and Briargate branches of the library.

Tuesday, July 29, patrons are invited to celebrate the birthday of Dewey, Monument’s popular beta fish. The party will be held at 10:30 a.m. and feature cake, fish stories and crafts.

At the Palmer Lake Branch library, Jax, the Newfoundland Paws to Read dog, will be on hand July 19 at 10:30 a.m. to listen to anyone who would like to share a book.

For those Monument patrons who enjoy spending the summer learning new skills and improving existing ones, the Literati and Beyond Writer’s Circle will meet on July 23 at 7 p.m. to continue sharing experience in writing.

The Tri-Lakes Knitters group will meet on July 10 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to share their craft. Knitters of all skill levels are welcome.

The popular AARP-sponsored driver’s safety course will be offered at Monument on July 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is a fee of $10, and advance registration is required. Those who complete the course receive a certificate that can be redeemed for discounts on auto insurance.

Art displays at the Monument Branch in July include "Kit: An American Girl from 1934," a display featuring a doll from the Dust Bowl era. On the wall, Al Schwecke’s photographs of hill towns of Tuscany will be an inspiration to all.

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Chautauqua returns to Tri-Lakes

By Jim Sawatzki

After nearly 100 years, the chautauqua experience will return to the Tri-Lakes area on Sunday, Aug. 3, at the Pinecrest Event Center in Palmer Lake. This quaint Victorian village hosted the very first Rocky Mountain Chautauqua in Glen Park beginning in the summer of 1886 and continuing there annually until 1910.

The chautauqua was an important cultural movement in the 19th century, beginning on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in southwest New York state, and eventually captured the imagination of the American people. At its zenith, by 1900, there were over 400 permanent assemblies that furthered an educational experience to the aspiring middle class. They also provided the platform for the important speakers of the day, long before the advent of radio or TV. President Theodore Roosevelt called it "America at its best." When the movement finally faded from our national landscape in the early 1930s, it had attracted over 45 million people, a third of the population.

The Front Range can once again witness and discover what it’s all about by attending this free event, which offers a full day of entertainment and discourse. Be a part of history and attend the return of chautauqua at historic Palmer Lake, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Pinecrest Event Center. It is sponsored by the Town of Palmer Lake, Pinecrest, and our local historical society. For more information, call 487-1030 or 481-3963.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Big Red Market, July 5

Below: Taylor Produce offers a variety of goodies at the Big Red Saturday Market July 5. Photo by Brett Newcomb.

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Wendy Woo and Rob Drabkin at the Tri-Lakes Center, June 5

Below: Wendy Woo and Rob Drabkin played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts June 6. This is Wendy’s sixth visit performance at the TLCA. Photos by Ray McCoy, Life Long Photography, www.lifelongphotography.com

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Monument Farmers Market, June 7

Below: Shoppers browse the many vendor booths at the June 7 opening of the Monument Farmers Market. Photo by David Futey.

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Cruisers car show, June 8

Below: Cool overcast conditions may have kept a few people away, but the classic cars, street rods, and race machines were in top shining conditions. Photo by Ray McCoy, Life Long Photography, www.lifelongphotography.com

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Be on the lookout for beetles

Below: Pine beetles devastate church property: The Church at Woodmoor has taken down 450 pine trees on its 12-acre lot at the northeast corner of Highway 105 and Furrow Road. They were discovered to be infested with pine beetles when inspected by the county environmental services department. The department asked the church to voluntarily remove them by July 15 to prevent further spreading. Several members of the congregation have helped coordinate volunteers, including a Black Forest Boy Scout troop. The church plans to replant the area with white fir and cedar trees. This photo serves as a reminder for everyone to thin their Ponderosa pines to reduce the hazard of wildfires and increase the remaining trees’ resistance to infestation and disease. Photo by Jim Kendrick

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Palmer Lake goes for the Fishing Derby, hook, line, and sinker, June 7

Below: Ian Kirkland casts his lot into Palmer Lake during the Palmer Lake Fishing Derby June 7. Photo by David Futey.

Below: Jake Babbitt (foreground) waits patiently for a nibble. Photo by David Futey.

By David Futey

On a sunny June 7 morning, nearly 400 anglers cast their lines and hopes into Palmer Lake as they participated in the annual Palmer Lake Fishing Derby. The derby, chaired by Ken Valdez and with the assistance of numerous volunteers and the Colorado Department of Wildlife, provided the young and old, first timers and the more experienced anglers with fun, fishing education, and a stocked lake.

Children who registered for the derby received a goodie bag, containing items from various sponsors of the event, and a fishing starter kit. Staff from the Colorado Department of Wildlife provided instruction on casting, fish identification, fishing etiquette, and fly casting.

Should you have been fortunate enough to have hooked one or two, there was even a cooking station to enjoy your catch on the beach.

Prior to the event, the Colorado Department of Wildlife stocked the lake with 500 to 600 brown and rainbow trout. However, it was also possible to reel in catfish, blue gill, and, an interloper of sorts, Northern Pike.

The day concluded with a raffle for a fishing kit among other prizes. Commemorative plates were awarded for the ugliest fish caught, which could have included an old rubber boot, the biggest fish caught, and the dirtiest fish or child.

This community event could not have been possible without the generous support of numerous sponsors including the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Radio Shack, American National Bank, JJ Tracks and Tire Auto Center, Ken Valdez Insurance Agency, U.S. Taekwando, Integrity Bank, and Wal-Mart.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society Ice Cream Social, June 15

Below: Current President for the Historical Society Phyllis Bonser, enjoys the company of her grandchildren. (L to R) Jayson, Bethany, Aiden, and Carver dig in while Andreas with his 14-month old son Luke get in on the action. This was the 4th year the Historical Society held the Ice Cream Social on Father’s day and the first time they had a band play live music in the gazebo out on the lawn. Entertainment was provided by the the bluegrass band, Jessum Buds, the brain child of Greg and Sherri Ramsay with Kelly Lore and anyone of their "Buds" that wants to join in. Photo by Ray McCoy, Life Long Photography, www.lifelongphotography.com

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Angels don’t just come at Christmas

Below: (L-R) After an afternoon of packing the donations received for Children’s Village, Mary Little Deer, Mat Matsapto, Bob McGuffee, Ann Marie McGuffee, Jim Clemens, Teresa Cartwright and Howard Miller, can now take a rest. Photo by David Futey taken June 23.

By David Futey

As many in Palmer Lake and Monument know, Mary Glen Little Deer and Anne Shimek, also known as the Tri-Lakes Angels, have coordinated the delivery of Christmas presents to children on Pine Ridge reservation for over 15 years. Because the time of year has little to do with need, Little Deer and Shimek also organize donations delivered during the summertime and, as it always seems, the local community has once again responded to their call and the needs on the reservation.

Donations and financial assistance, which assisted with gasoline costs, were received from many residents of Palmer Lake and Monument, the Gleneagle and Monument Hill Sertoma groups, and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. On June 24, donations of clothing, food, toys, a picnic table, furniture, bicycles, sporting goods, and other items made their way to Children’s Village, the only emergency placement program on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It took a van, the back of a truck, and a flat bed to carry all the items. This effort would not be possible without the community’s support, and Little Deer and Shimek expressed their appreciation and thanks.

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Museum provides sights and sounds of power

Below: Brad Poulson, museum director of education, operates the museum’s Osgood Steam Shovel for visitors to the Model Engineering and Historic Power Show. Photo by David Futey.

By David Futey

Whhiirrll, chuga-chuga, toot-toot, clickity-clack, clickity-clack, bam-bam-bam. These and other sounds were heard as various devices were powered into operation during three days in June at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry’s Fifth Annual Model Engineering & Historic Power Show. Mining machines, trains, and engines large and small, constructed with materials from Legos to hardened steel, were on display and in action throughout the event.

Brad Poulson, museum director of education, operated various steam-powered machines in the museum’s collection. These included the 1927 Osgood Steam Shovel, an 1890s H.K. Porter high pressure, compressed air locomotive, and the earth-shaking Yellow Jacket II Stamp Mill. Once you made your way through the demonstrations of the museum’s collection, you could take part in other activities and observe the operation of other equipment on display.

Inside the museum’s main structure, handcrafted scale models of engines, such as a walking beam engine, provided a unique perspective on how a full-scale version operates. Pikes Peak "N" Gineers set up an N-scale (9mm) gauge railroad display in the museum’s library while the Slim Rails HO Model Club displayed an HO gauge railroad.

Volunteer Chris Thompson demonstrated a Stirling engine powered by the temperature difference between dry ice and ambient room temperature. Stirlings are heat engines, using the expansion and contraction from a gas heating and cooling to cycle a piston, and have been used to power submarines because of their quiet operation. Thompson also displayed a number of engines he built with Legos and small motors. There was also a demonstration of a Tesla coil in the museum’s theater.

Boy Scout Troop 194-Gleneagle set up camp on the museum property for two days of the event. The troop offered demonstrations on Dutch oven cooking and knot tying while also performing flag ceremonies at the event’s opening and closing on Friday and Saturday.

The Rocky Mountain Robotics Team 662 displayed a few of its robots. Beth Ritz, a Pine Creek High School student and member of the team, explained that the team consists of 50 to 60 District 20 students from all high school grade levels. They enter a Colorado robotics regional each spring and have come away with a variety of awards, including first place, over the years. Visitors could end the day with a farm tractor pulling them gently on a relaxing hay ride around the museum grounds.

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Information on the museum and upcoming events can be found at www.wmmi.org

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Over 200 attend Safety Awareness Day

By David Futey

To increase their awareness on certain dangers and how to prepare for them, over 200 participants took part in the Safety Awareness Day held at the Monument U.S. Taekwondo Center on June 21. Organized by Master Jay Lee, the center partnered with the Monument Police Department and Tri-Lakes Fire Department to provide demonstrations and information on home and personal safety.

The two-hour program offered overviews on fire safety, how to react to encounters with strangers or others who might present a personal danger, and self-defense.

The numerous children in attendance were the primary focus of the program. A Tri-Lakes firefighter gave a demonstration of how a firefighter looks and sounds vocally when in a firefighting suit, providing children with an understanding of who would be coming to assist them in the event of a fire.

This was followed by firefighter Kristina Topp, who discussed fire safety planning and awareness at home, described the stop-drop-roll procedure if one is on fire, and fielded questions from the inquisitive children. Next, Chad Haynes, community youth officer with the Police Department, discussed how to respond if approached by a stranger, described how a stranger might entice a child to come with them, and provided guidance on other safety matters as he also answered questions from children.

The program concluded with Master Lee providing demonstrations on kicking, eye-gouging, and other self-defense techniques.

This program is expected to be an annual event, and U.S. Taekwondo is also looking to set up a similar program in Colorado Springs. The event was sponsored by the YMCA and Monument Reprographics. A number of local businesses, including Rosie’s Diner, Wells Fargo Bank, It’s a Grind, Taste of Life, Big City Burrito, American National Bank, provided a plethora of raffle prizes for participants. The Police Department was also a big winner as the $5 donations from participants raised over $1,000 for the department.

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Emergency preparedness takes to the airwaves

Below: Members of the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association participate in the Amateur Radio Relay League’s Field day. Photo by David Futey.

Below: Boy Scout Parker Babcock, from Troop 503, learns the proper way to communicate when a ham radio operator from Rick Brown (far right) as (L-R) David Moore and Mike Luginbuhl look on. Photo by David Futey.

By David Futey

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District and members of the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association teamed up for the Amateur Radio Relay League’s Field Day conducted on June 28-29. The Field Day is a 24-hour, national demonstration of emergency communication preparedness using amateur (ham) radio communications. This yearly event requires the testing of various ham radio communication capabilities on a local, regional, and national level.

During the event, a conference room in the district’s Fire Station 1 was converted into an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that utilized the Incident Command System, which provides a managerial structure for emergencies. An EOC such as this would be set up if an emergency occurred in Colorado Springs that disrupted or made normal communications unavailable. This Monument location would be a first responder and relay point in such a situation. Though the local ham operators were in the confines of the fire station, the anticipated 30,000 operators across the country and in Canada could be in any location as part of the test, such as parking lots, parks, and homes, as would be the case in the event of an emergency. They would also use alternative forms of power, because normal power sources might be affected during an emergency.

For the exercise, the radio association set up high-frequency, VHF/UHF, and digital communication systems. The systems included High Frequency Single Side Band, in which the signal bounces off the ionosphere, D-Star (Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio), a communications protocol that enables digital voice and text messaging, satellite tracking, and communication, and high-frequency digital mode.

Elliot Linke, paramedic, firefighter and communication specialist for the fire district, coordinated the day’s activity with the association. This is not the first time these ham radio operators have teamed up with the Fire Department to manage communications for this event or a local emergency, in practice and in reality. Radio association members have assisted with a variety of emergencies in and outside the community, including fires in remote locations such as the Hayman fire, weather spotting, and assisting with Katrina efforts. In these and other emergencies, ham radios were the only available form of communication.

Linke values the partnership between the department and the operators as they provide an effective communication tool to support the community. Operators participate with Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services in support of El Paso County emergency services The operators use their own equipment and, as volunteers, receive no reimbursement while providing this valuable service.

The true origin of the term "ham," referring to communication operators, seems to pre-date Morse code operators. Any person with a radio receiver or scanner can listen to ham radio communications. But to transmit, a ham radio operator must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. The communication frequency range is above AM broadcast (1.6 MHz) to microwave range at several hundred gigahertz. However, as some members of the community like Boy Scout Troop 503 learned, ham radio operation is really not for amateurs, given the breadth of technology and expertise on display at Field Day.

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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 season under way

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash (tree debris) and Mulch season has begun. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5 to 7:30 p.m. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. Dump off your tree debris and pick up free mulch.

The program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling effort sponsored by El Paso County in cooperation with the Colorado State Forest Service, the state Board of Land Commissioners, and many volunteers. The program’s purpose is to teach forest management practices and to encourage residents to clear adequate defensible space surrounding their structures by thinning trees and shrubs to reduce the spread of fire. Spreading mulch on the forest floor holds moisture, delays the spread of weeds, and provides nutrients to the forest. For more information, call the El Paso County Environmental Services Department at 520-7878 or visit www.elpasoco.com.

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Summer Reading Programs for children and teens

Win prizes for reading! Enjoy special programs including shows, films, storytimes, arts, and more. Register online or at your library. Summer Reading has begun and continues through July 31 at all Pikes Peak Library District locations. See the Community Calendar for details of special programs at the Monument and Palmer Lake branches.

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District 38 offers Big Red Saturdays for the summer

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 is offering a new community event this summer called Big Red Saturday. It will be held each Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Sept. 20, on the north side of the administration building at 146 Jefferson St. in Monument. The event features vendors, food, performances, a flea market, and fun! Student groups wishing to raise funds or perform may do so at no charge. For-profit vendors may participate for selected weekends or the entire season at a nominal cost. Those wishing to take part in Big Red Saturday may contact the district at www.lewispalmer.org

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Free tutoring in reading at Monument Library

Children’s Literacy Center offers free one-on-one tutoring to help children improve their reading skills. If your child is reading below grade level, call Sue Kana, 337-3430, to find out how to get your child enrolled in the Peak Reader program. The summer session is from June 17 to Aug. 5, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., or 6 to 7 p.m., at Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr.

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Monument Concerts in the Park begin July 9

This popular free summer concert series is held in Limbach Park Wednesdays in July and August, 7 to 9 p.m. Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy music and fun for the whole family! Come see the new band shell provided by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. Artist CDs, refreshments, and treats will be available for purchase. July 9 features Chuck Pyle, July 16 is Sweet Revenge, July 23 is Bob Turner, July 30 is Jim Adam, and Aug. 6 is Palmer Divide. Take Monument exit 161 and head west on Highway 105, which becomes Second Street. Continue straight on Second Street past Front Street and Limbach Park will be on your left before you reach the railroad tracks. For more information, visit www.monumentmerchants.org.

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The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts birthday party, July 12

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) is having a 10th birthday party for the public July 12, 5 to 7:30 p.m. Come enjoy birthday cake and see the opening of the center’s "Proud To Be An American" art exhibit. The Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee’s July 4, 2009 brochure cover contest winner will be displayed as part of the gallery exhibit. Also, there will be a Resident Artist Studio Open House during the party. TLCA is located at 304 Colorado Highway 105, Palmer Lake. For more information, phone 481-0475, e-mail info@trilakesarts.org, or visit www.trilakesarts.org.

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Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival and Workshops, July 25-26

Some of the West’s best storytellers and past RMSF favorites will present workshops and concerts for children and adults. The event, sponsored by Douglas County Libraries, begins July 25 in Kirk Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, Castle Rock. It continues July 26, 9 a.m. (registration begins at 8 a.m.) to 9:30 p.m., at Palmer Lake Elementary School, 115 Upper Glenway, Palmer Lake. Featured storytellers and musicians this year include Joe Hayes, Dan McCrimmon, Bailey Phelps, Bonnie Phipps, Opalanga Pugh, John Stansfield, and more Rocky Mountain "storyfolk." Come tell your own story at one of the Story Swaps. Full advance registration: adults—$55, children—$30. Save $5 on event pre-registration received by July 22. Individual events: $7 and up. For more information and a free brochure, contact John Stansfield at PO Box 588, Monument, CO 80132, or phone 303-660-5849, or e-mail jorcstan@juno.com.

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Tour of Estemere Mansion, July 26

The Estemere is an elegant 19th-century Victorian mansion in Palmer Lake at 380 Glenway St. July 26 is the only day until summer 2010 that the public will be invited to tour the mansion and its grounds. The Palmer Lake Historical Society organizes the event as a fundraiser, and the owners, Kim and Roger Ward, are your hosts. Guides dressed in period costumes will lead tours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be live music on the grounds, food and drinks to buy, and art and historical books for sale. Dr. Dan Edwards will present his new book with new revelations on Dr. Thompson, the founder of the Estemere.

Tickets for the tour will be sold only at the door July 26. The cost is $5 for members of the Historical Society, $8 for non-members. Membership forms will be available. It is regretted that wheelchair access is not possible. No shoes in the house; please bring slippers or socks. For more information, call 487-1086 or e-mail history@ci.palmer-lake.co.us. Information on the Estemere is available at www.estemere.net

The Historical Society serves the Tri-Lakes region with a museum, a newsletter, and monthly events. The society recently provided the statue of Dizzy the Dog, who helped build the Palmer Lake star, and commissioned the Summer Sojourn video on the Chautauqua in Palmer Lake. The society is currently developing a historical bronze for the new Monument Town Hall.

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Volunteer tutors needed!

Share your love of reading. Tutor an adult once a week for two hours. Work one-to-one with an adult to improve his or her English language skills. No teaching experience required. Free training is provided. Call 531-6333, x2223, with questions or for application information. Training is Wednesdays, July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Penrose Library in Colorado Springs.

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Palmer Lake Farmers’ Market starts July 6

Bring the family for a fun, relaxing time in Palmer Lake featuring rides and activities for the kids plus local crafts and produce. Open next to the lake every Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, call Diana, 213-3323.

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Host an exchange student

AFS, the leading international high school student exchange program, needs families in our community to host high school students for an academic year or six months. Students arrive in August. All kinds of families can host—two-parent households with young children or teenagers, single-parent families, families with adopted children, foster parents, as well as couples and single people who do not have children or who have grown children. One of the most important characteristics of a host family is being eager and excited to share your life and activities while providing the same kind of care, support, and comfort as you would to your own child.

AFS students come from more than 40 countries and represent many cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Local AFS volunteers enroll students in high school and support students and their families to help both gain the most from their experience. In addition to host families, AFS needs people who are interested in becoming volunteer liaisons to work locally with families and their hosted students. Anyone interested in learning more about hosting or volunteering with AFS may visit www.afs.org/usa/hostfamily or call 1-800-AFS-INFO.

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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.

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Gardener Help Desk at Monument Library

Volunteer master gardeners from Colorado State University will be available to help Tri-Lakes gardeners Wednesdays, 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., May 14 through Sept. 3. They welcome questions about water issues, pest management, and plants that thrive in our area. Stop by Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr., to discuss your landscape problems or to brag about your successes! For more information, call 488-2370.

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Library District’s new Kids Web

Pikes Peak Library District now has an exciting new Web site for children. To access the new site, go to ppld.org and click on Kids Web. Kids Web features a wealth of resources for school reports and homework, as well as links to local historical information and biographies of people of interest in the Colorado Springs area.

Kids Web also has links to Tumblebooks, free online read-along books; a children’s blog; YouTube videos of storytellers; library program and event information; and book reading lists. On the site’s Fun & Games link, children can access a variety of free online games and learning activities, coloring book pages, and Summer Reading Program information. Parents and teachers will find the new site helpful as well—a "grown-ups" link provides information about local school districts, home-schooling, and more.

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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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County now accepting batteries and electronics at waste facility

The El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility accepts household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and nine-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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