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Vol. 9 No. 6 - June 6, 2009


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Click here to view a page of higher resolution photos from this issue.

the PDF file. This is a 11.3 Mbyte file and will take about 67 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.

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Get ready for a wonderful 4th!

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Below: July 4, 2008. Elephants from the Renaissance Festival in the Monument Parade. Photo by Laurel Bedingfield. 

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Click here to view additional photos from the 2008 July 4th events.

Monument Hill Sertoma and the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce present this year’s Fourth of July Parade and Street Fair. The children’s parade starts at 9:30 a.m. and the main parade will follow at 10 a.m. Bring lawn chairs, hats, drinking water and sunscreen. No squirt guns or water cannons, please.

The street fair follows the parade and will run until 3 p.m. With more than 100 booths offering information, products, and food, this year’s street fair adds a concert in Limbach Park and an Eco-Friendly Area. Limited booth space is still available for the street fair. Call the Chamber at 481-3282.

Ride the bus and avoid the hassle! Parking is available at local schools, with free bus shuttles running 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On the west side of I-25, buses will run between Palmer Lake Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road at Vitamin Cottage. East of I-25, buses will be available at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Monument Park & Ride, Lewis-Palmer High School, and Creekside Middle School to and from Beacon Lite Road and Second Street. Check www.trilakeschamber.com and www.monumenthillsertoma.org for additional details.

Click here for information on July 4th events.

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A Perspective on Our Community: Are we running out of water?

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Below: West-to-east cross-section of the Arapahoe aquifer in Douglas County prepared in 2004 by Dr. Bob Raynolds, a geologist and groundwater hydrologist with the Denver Museum. Raynolds studied about 2,000 local wells. The heavy dotted lines represent the decade-by-decade average levels of water in Arapahoe aquifer wells. The insets show data for two of the wells studied. For those wells, the water level declines were 23 feet per year and 31 feet per year. Click here to view photos of Raynolds' March 2004 presentation.

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a PDF file of Raynolds' presentation. This is a 10.4 Mbyte file and will take about 62 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.

By John Heiser

This is a complicated question. Seeking an answer to it involves a number of related questions.

Who provides your water?

That depends on where you live. The Tri-Lakes area is served by a patchwork of private wells, municipal water departments, water districts, water and sanitation districts, and metropolitan districts. The towns of Palmer Lake and Monument have water departments. Even though Jackson Creek is within the Town of Monument, the Triview Metropolitan District serves that area. A couple of the larger local districts are the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District that serves Woodmoor and the Donala Water and Sanitation District that serves Gleneagle and Fox Run. If you live in the unincorporated parts of El Paso County and outside a district, you probably have your own private well.

Where do the water providers get the water?

While some local water providers have surface water rights, most very heavily rely on water from underground bedrock aquifers that are part of the Denver Basin. The Tri-Lakes area is over the southern end of the Denver Basin, which extends from north of Denver to the northern edge of Colorado Springs and from the foothills of the Front Range east to beyond Parker. Water providers and private well owners in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Jefferson, Morgan, and Weld counties also draw water from the Denver Basin aquifers.

The Denver Basin consists of four aquifers, which, arranged in order of increasing depth, are named the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills. Unlike the common misperception of an underground lake, the water in the aquifers is held in the microscopic pore spaces within the porous rocks.

The right to use water from surface sources or from the aquifers is controlled by a statewide system of water courts whose rulings are implemented by the Colorado State Engineer’s Office. It is important not to confuse the legal right to take water from a particular source with the ability to economically do so. Having a ruling from the water courts does not guarantee the water will be there.

Colorado water law is set up so that, generally speaking, whoever first made a claim for surface water from a particular source has the highest priority for taking water from that source. If there is water left after the holder of the highest priority rights has taken their allowed amount, then the second-highest priority rights holder gets theirs, and so forth. Determining priorities typically involves delving into court records from the 1800s.

Most private wells draw water from the Dawson aquifer. The Dawson is generally considered to be "tributary," that is, it is part of the surface water system. Since rights have been established for essentially all the surface water in the state, any water taken from the Dawson aquifer and not returned to the associated drainage system must be "augmented," or replaced from other sources.

Relatively little use is currently made of water from the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer, the deepest of the Denver Basin aquifers. That is because of the cost of drilling a roughly 2,000-foot well, the pumping costs to bring the water from those depths, and the cost for treatment required for that water—which is typically high in sulfur, temperature, and sometimes sodium—to be brought into compliance with drinking water standards.

Many Front Range water providers, including Tri-Lakes area water districts and municipalities, have historically obtained a high percentage of their water from the Arapahoe aquifer because of its high production rates and the good quality of the water.

How much longer can we get water from the aquifers?

At the Black Forest Community Center on March 14, 2004, Dr. Bob Raynolds, a geologist with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and a faculty member of the Colorado School of Mines, presented data showing that water levels in the Arapahoe aquifer were rapidly declining. Click here to view photos of Raynolds' March 2004 presentation.

Raynolds cited well data showing that, depending on the area where the measurement is taken, the water level in the Arapahoe aquifer is dropping 20 to 54 feet per year. He suggested that if the rate of decline continues or worsens, as is widely expected, many of the 1,000- to 2,000-foot-deep high-volume commercial wells used by Front Range water providers could fail within the next few decades. He added that even now, it is difficult to find water when drilling wells in areas around the towns of Parker and Elizabeth that lie near the eastern boundary of the Denver Basin.

While Raynolds’ presentation included little information about the status and prospects for the shallower Denver and Dawson aquifers that are the source of water for many private wells, he did note, "I can’t find any physical boundary between the Dawson and Denver aquifers." He characterized it as an administrative boundary. He also noted that from his research, the Dawson/Denver aquifer is apparently not connected in any significant way to the lower aquifers.

Raynolds’ research—funded by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the National Science Foundation, and the Parker Water and Sanitation District—examined records of about 2,000 Front Range water, oil, and natural gas wells, with particular focus on Douglas County. The research included the results of drilling the Kiowa well, a 2,000-foot core boring east of Castle Rock near Elizabeth.

Raynolds said the water in the deeper aquifers is tens of thousands of years old and is not being recharged by surface water. He added that the bottom of the Denver Basin, below the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer, is formed by 8,000 feet of essentially impermeable Pierre Shale.

In December 2007, Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, held community meetings to address current and future sources of water. Some highlights of Duthie’s presentation:

  • The district currently pumps from the Denver and Arapahoe aquifers.
  • The static levels in the district’s five Denver wells have remained fairly constant over the years.
  • The levels in the district’s seven Arapahoe wells have shown declines, some as much as 400 feet since 1996, which would translate to about 35 feet per year. Other Arapahoe wells in the area have shown similar or greater water level declines.
  • The declining water levels result in reductions in the subterranean water pressure that assists bringing the water to the surface. That increases pumping costs and reduces water production. When the water pressure drops sufficiently, the aquifer is termed "unconfined." Duthie said the Denver aquifer in much of the Front Range is currently unconfined. The Arapahoe is about to become unconfined in parts of southern Douglas County and has become unconfined in the Highlands Ranch/Centennial area of northern Douglas County.
  • Although the Donala and Woodmoor districts can possibly meet the anticipated demand through build-out in roughly 2030, the Triview district, which serves the Jackson Creek area and currently has about 1,000 single-family home equivalents (SFE) and a demand of about 600 acre-feet per year (an acre-foot is 326,851 gallons), is projected at build-out to need about 3,100 acre-feet per year, which is almost as much water as the Donala and Woodmoor districts combined. As a result, it is anticipated that by about 2020, the Arapahoe aquifer in the Triview/south Woodmoor area will become 80 percent unsaturated; meaning only 20 percent of the water will be left.

Data from the Woodmoor district, shows a similar pattern with the water level in six of their Arapahoe aquifer wells dropping an overall average of 19 feet per year from 1999 to 2009. The water level in one of the wells dropped 222 feet from 1994 to 1999. Another one dropped 219 feet between 1999 and 2004. In each case, that is an average of 44 feet per year

The inevitable conclusion is that the Arapahoe aquifer, which is a significant source of water for most local water providers, is rapidly being depleted. The costs for pumping that water will correspondingly increase and well production will decrease. In some areas, there may be as little as a decade or so of economical Arapahoe aquifer water left. No one knows for sure but since it is not being replenished by surface water, when it is gone it is gone.

If you live in an area such as the Town of Monument, Woodmoor, or Gleneagle that relies in a major way on the Arapahoe aquifer, you can anticipate increasing water bills and an urgent need for water conservation.

If you have a private well and your augmentation plan relies on water from the Arapahoe aquifer, the cost for that augmentation water will likely increase.

What is being done about it?

About five years ago, many of the local water providers formed the Palmer Divide Water Group.

In 2007, that group was reorganized as the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). The current PPRWA members are the Cherokee Metropolitan District, City of Fountain, Donala, Town of Monument, Town of Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. The Cherokee district encompasses roughly 6,300 acres and serves approximately 18,000 customers in unincorporated El Paso County east of Powers Boulevard from Peterson Air Force Base north to Barnes Road.

As one of its first projects, the PPRWA funded a Water Infrastructure Planning Study (WIPS), which was completed in early 2008. Among other things, the study identified infrastructure needed to interconnect the Tri-Lakes area water providers so water could be moved among providers. Construction cost for a backbone pipeline to interconnect the providers was estimated at $15 million to $21 million. That project is currently on hold while the PPRWA looks into sources of renewable water. Where the water is coming from could significantly affect the design of the local infrastructure.

One possible source of renewable water the PPRWA is investigating is the lower Arkansas River. Farmers there are interested in rotating fallowing of fields and selling the excess water. The water would be brought north by constructing a 75-plus-mile-long pipe and associated pumping and water treatment facilities. In addition to daunting political problems facing the project, the construction costs would likely range from $500 million to more than $1 billion or about $70 to $150 per 1,000 gallons of capacity. Depending on how the financing would be done, that would translate into about $4 to $6 per 1,000 gallons transported. Added to that are the recurring operation and maintenance costs that are estimated to run about $8 to $11 per 1,000 gallons transported. Although most of the local water providers have increased their rates in recent years, many are still charging about $3 per 1,000 gallons, compared to the estimated $12 to $17 per 1,000-gallon cost for importing Arkansas River water.

Another proposed project would construct a pipeline from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir in southwestern Wyoming and northwestern Colorado east across Interstate 80 to the Front Range and then south to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, which is three miles southwest of downtown Parker. First proposed by entrepreneur Aaron Million, a similar project is being pursued by Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District. Jaeger, who heads a Colorado-Wyoming coalition of water providers, estimates the project would cost $2 billion to $3 billion and take 10 to 20 years to complete. The resulting costs per 1,000 gallons would likely be similar to the costs for importing Arkansas River water.

As reported in the May 2009 issue of OCN, the PPRWA is also looking at a possible connection to Colorado Springs Utilities and transporting water from the Arkansas River or other sources using excess capacity in CSU’s planned Southern Delivery System pipeline.

It is likely to be 10 to 20 years or longer before any of these possible sources for renewable water would be able to deliver water to the Tri-Lakes area.

What do we do in the meantime?

Some have proposed building a satellite well field east or north of the Tri-Lakes area and piping the water to local water providers. A major problem with those plans is that the wells would draw from the same depleting resources as the districts’ current wells.

Others have suggested using the aquifers like reservoirs and pumping water into them during wet years and pumping water from them during dry years. Highlands Ranch has a current aquifer recharge program, and CSU is experimenting with it. In addition to the hazard of contaminating the aquifer, the problem for Tri-Lakes area water providers is that they do not currently have a source for high-quality, low-cost renewable water for recharging the aquifers.

Another approach is to reuse more of the water we have. There are two wastewater treatment plants in the Tri-Lakes area. One serves Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. The other serves Donala, Triview, and Forest Lakes. The effluent from those plants is currently discharged into Monument Creek and flows south to Colorado Springs. The WIPS report recommended that the effluent be piped north and discharged into Monument Creek upstream of Monument Lake. The local water providers could then withdraw an equal amount of water from the creek or lake, treat it to drinking water standards and feed it into their distribution systems. This reuse of effluent is termed Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR). The WIPS report estimated the cost of the IPR system at about $47 million.

IPR systems are widely used throughout the world and can significantly slow the depletion of groundwater.

Water conservation is something we can all do to help. Planners typically estimate one-third acre-foot of water per year per SFE. That works out to about 109,000 gallons per year. Yet there are some residents in the Tri-Lakes area who regularly use close to 100,000 gallons per month during the summer. OCN has carried several lists of tips on ways to conserve water. See the references at the end of this article.

Many of the local water providers have implemented tiered water rates that charge those who use a lot of water substantially more per gallon than those who use less. Several local water providers also offer classes on low-water landscaping and rebates for installation of water-saving fixtures and appliances.

Since outdoor irrigation is a significant factor in overall water use, several local water providers have implemented summertime irrigation rationing programs that permit landscape irrigation only a few days each week. These programs have the added advantage of reducing the peak demand the districts have to meet. As production from the wells diminishes, peak demand is likely to become a bigger and bigger issue.

What about growth?

Growth is another major factor in water consumption. From an average of about 95 new houses per month across the Tri-Lakes area in 2006, the rate dropped to about 20 per month is 2007 and 2008, and close to zero so far in 2009.

Jackson Creek is one of the local areas with potential for significant growth. The Town of Monument has already approved developers’ plans for a large part of the unbuilt areas in Jackson Creek as well as the Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and Home Place Ranch developments to the east. When the market for houses improves, construction will resume with few additional public hearings required. As those new houses and commercial developments are completed, conservation measures throughout the area will become even more critical. Note that one single-stall car wash can use up to 1 million gallons per month, as much as 100 typical single-family houses.

Conclusions

  • Water levels in the Arapahoe aquifer are dropping, and some experts say they are dropping rapidly enough to become a significant near-term problem.
  • Local water providers are scrambling to find renewable water to offset the depletion of the Arapahoe aquifer.
  • All of the proposed renewable water projects are very expensive, face huge engineering and regulatory hurdles, and are likely to take decades to implement, assuming they are ever approved.
  • Many residents will be faced with significantly higher water bills.
  • Reuse of effluent from the wastewater treatment plants can lower the demand on the wells, extend aquifer life, and reduce the amount of renewable water that must be imported. Although the IPR system proposed in the WIPS report is expensive, local water providers should be urged to promptly pursue it.
  • Widespread implementation of water conservation measures is essential to extend the life of the aquifers and give the water providers time to obtain sources of renewable water.
  • Renewed growth will exacerbate the problem.

To learn more …

"Geologist predicts deep aquifer water shortages within decades," OCN, Vol. 4, No. 4, April 3, 2004. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v4n4.htm#pow

"Water for the future," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 1, Jan. 5, 2008. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n1.htm#water

"Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, March 10: Ag water import cost estimates soar to as much as $1.6 billion," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 4, April 5, 2008. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n4.htm#pprwa0310

"Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority meeting, Dec. 19: Authority urged to join coalition to bring water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir," OCN, Vol. 9, No. 1, Jan. 3, 2009. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/top_stories.htm#water

"Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, April 15: Authority interested in connection to CSU," OCN, Vol. 9, No. 5, May 2, 2009. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n5.htm#pprwa

"10 ways to conserve water," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 5, May 3, 2008. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n5.htm#tips

"10 more ways to conserve water," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 6, June 7, 2008. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n6.htm#10ways

"10 more ways to conserve water," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 7, July 8, 2008. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n7.htm#10tips

"Don’t waste your water," OCN, Vol. 8, No. 8, Aug. 2, 2008. Posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n8.htm#10watertips

John Heiser has been reporting on Tri-Lakes area water issues for the past six years. He can be reached at johnheiser@ourcommunitynews.org or (719) 488-3455.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 4: New summer event narrowly approved

By Jim Kendrick

On May 4, the Monument Board of Trustees held its last meeting in "old" Town Hall on Second Street before the staff moved to the "new" Town Hall and Police Department building on Beacon Lite Road near the Highway 105 intersection.

The board heard a presentation on regional water negotiation strategy, approved three new continuing services contracts with consultant engineering firms, and narrowly approved event and liquor license permits for the first Summer "Soul"stice event that is being organized by downtown merchants.

Trustee Steve Samuels was absent.

New Summer "Soul"stice event approved 4-2

Vicki Mynhier, director of Downtown Development, and the Historic Monument Merchant Association requested an event permit and a special event liquor permit for the first annual downtown Summer "Soul"stice event to be held on June 20. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and include hay rides and several performances by a variety of artists.

Parking on the south side of Second Street will be temporarily prohibited between Adams and Jefferson Streets to ensure the safety of children participating in a chalk-drawing event on the public sidewalk in front of the School District 38 headquarters building. The owners of La Casa Fiesta restaurant have granted permission for use of their adjacent fenced vacant lot on the northeast corner of Second and Front Streets for alcohol control. A beer tent will be set up on this lot.

Trustee Tim Miller objected to the name of the event for personal religious reasons. He discussed the problems he had personally observed at a summer solstice event at Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. He asked Mynhier to try to get the name changed, but she declined.

Trustee Gail Drumm objected to the specific lack of a requirement for the event organizers to remove the chalk drawings at the end of the day. Mynhier said that rain would eventually wash away the chalk, and Rich Landreth, director of Public Works, said he had investigated and confirmed that the washed-off chalk would not violate the town’s stormwater discharge permit restrictions.

The votes to approve the permits were both 4-2, with Miller and Drumm opposed to both the event and special event liquor permits.

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Tommie Plank noted that evening Art Hops would begin on May 21. They will be held in downtown Monument on the third Thursday of the month, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The first of six annual summer concerts will be held in Limbach Park on June 24 at 7 p.m.

Mayor Byron Glenn asked Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara and Public Works Director Rich Landreth to request that the county post signs on westbound Baptist Road prohibiting trucks from using noisy "jake brakes" when descending the 11 percent grade.

Gary Barber, director of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), gave a lengthy presentation on regional water issues and the Pikeview Protocol. This was the same presentation he had given to PPRWA on April 15 regarding how a connection between PPRWA and Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), making use of the Southern Delivery System (SDS), pipeline might be developed.

Barber reviewed the history of PPRWA and its predecessor coalition, the Palmer Divide Water Group. He also described options for water sources, storage, and delivery to members of PPRWA and the current restrictions on CSU’s new 1041 permit for pipeline construction and operation. Barber emphasized that he feels the climate is right for a regional approach, CSU is as ready now as it ever may be to form a partnership with PPRWA, and the Monument board should make a strong policy and financial commitment to negotiations with CSU. He asked the board to decide who should negotiate for Monument and how much the town could realistically spend for attorneys and consultants during negotiations with CSU.

He concluded with this bottom-line quote: "Working together is not easy but could be worthwhile." (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n5pikeview.pdf to view Barber’s Pikeview Protocol presentation.)

Consulting contracts approved

The board unanimously approved three new continuing services consulting contracts with Matrix Design Group Inc., Drexel, Barell, and Co., and J3 Engineering Inc.

Kassawara said he had negotiated another set of substantially similar contracts with the three firms for one year, with an option to renew them annually for up to three additional years. The town’s continuing services agreement with engineering consultant firm Nolte Associates has been renewed as well.

The only significant differences between the new agreements are language regarding indemnification and insurance requirements. The hourly rate table for each company’s various types of employee services has been confirmed to be "equal to or better than the rates each firm charges for their most favored clients, and have been judged to be well within industry standards," Kassawara said. These contracts will "assure uniformity and eliminate needless negotiation of the terms of individual project agreements though the term of the continuing services agreement." Each continuing services agreement has an attachment for a standard fill-in-the-blank project agreement for specific consulting tasks.

The town has been using this type of service arrangement for a few years to minimize costs and simplify quick-turn consultations for Kassawara and his staff. Kassawara is authorized to initiate project contracts with these three firms for amounts not to exceed $25,000. Larger amounts for a specific project still require board approval.

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

  • $9,738 to RMRM Inc. for moving furniture and office equipment from four town buildings to the new Town Hall and Police Department building. 
  • $5,286 to Applied Control Equipment for installation of caustic soda treatment equipment at the town’s drinking water plant. Note: Monument Sanitation District will reimburse the town for half the cost of the caustic soda installation.

The board unanimously approved an annual liquor license renewal for Eagle Wine & Spirits, located in the King Soopers shopping center at Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.

Interest in old Town Hall

Town Manager Cathy Green reported that two organizations had inquired about renting space in the vacated Town Hall building.

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District has offered to pay for any improvements it would make to the building and offered $1 per year in rent. Rick Barnes, a director on the Tri-Lakes board, said the district needs to reallocate space used by its administrative staff in Station 1 on Highway 105 to set up sleeping quarters for female firefighters.

Barnes said use of old Town Hall space would draw customers to the downtown area to support its merchants. The district also is happy to accommodate continuation of senior citizen lunches as well as monthly meetings held by the Monument Homemakers, he said. The Homemakers originally donated use of the building to the town in return for the opportunity to hold meetings there in perpetuity, so the town cannot sell the building.

About two months ago, Christ the King Anglican Church initially offered to rent the building, with the same required offers to continue meal and homemaker services, for about $1,500 per month, but failed to follow up on this offer. No decisions were made by the board, which directed Green to advertise the availability of space in the building in order to see if more revenue could be generated.

The meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, May 18: First board meeting held in new Town Hall

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Below (L to R): At the May 18 Board of Trustees meeting, Richard and Linda Pankratz receive the Jim Moore Award from Town Manager Cathy Green for their long and distinguished contributions to Downtown Monument as artists, entrepreneurs, and founding members of the Historic Monument Merchants Association. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Below (L to R): During the May 18 Board of Trustees meeting, Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara, Town Inspector Greg Maggard, and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith were presented Certificates of Appreciation, a new town award, for their tireless leadership, commitment, and dedication to the town over the past year, and in particular their contributions to the successful construction of the new Town Hall and Police Department Building . Kassawara noted that Chris Alexander, president of Alexandher Building Company was also important to completing the project on time and within budget. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Jim Kendrick

The evening started early on May 18 for the members of the Monument Board of Trustees with a tour of the new Town Hall and Police Department building at 645 Beacon Lite Road, on the southwest corner of the intersection with Highway 105. Then Mayor Byron Glenn and all six trustees took their places at the new dais in new director chairs, a design that is the mirror image of the layout used by the Board of County Commissioners, and quite literally a step up from the previous era of folding utility tables and plastic stackable chairs.

The room had already hosted its first municipal court session, in the same joint-use fashion as at the old Town Hall, which will continue to serve as the site for twice-weekly senior meals, monthly meetings of the Monument Homemakers, and the office of Vicki Mynhier, the downtown development director.

The festive spirit continued as Town Manager Cathy Green presented the second Jim Moore Award to Richard and Linda Pankratz as well as three awards to members of the town staff who were key figures in working with general contractor Alexandher Construction Co. to promptly complete construction of the new building.

Second Jim Moore Award artfully presented: Green gave a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the Pankratzes’artistic pottery manufacturing business, former art gallery (now the Second Street Art Market), and several of their influences and artwork they have contributed to the downtown area. Some of the contributions that Green cited were:

  • Founding members of Art Hop
  • Founding members of the Historic Monument Merchants Association 15 years ago.
  • Many places in Colorado display their ceramic art pieces.
  • Creation of the Second Street Art Mart building
  • Their long history of supporting artistic excellence in downtown Monument
  • Linda Pankratz’s long membership on the town’s Parks and Landscape Committee
  • Their participation on the Downtown Street Light Committee, town Comprehensive Plan development, and architectural guidelines committee.

This is only the second time the award has been given. Jim Moore was the first recipient a few years ago. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n6.htm#bot521 for details.)

Green presented the Jim Moore Urban Achievement Award to the couple along with a dozen roses.

Three certificates of appreciation presented

Green presented a certificate of appreciation to Town Engineering Inspector Greg Maggard for his dedication, commitment, efforts, and scrupulous attention to details during the construction and completion of the new Town Hall and Police Department building. She also gave him a hard hat signed by the members of the town staff and awarded him an administrative day off.

Green presented a certificate of appreciation to Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, for his dedication and effort in the construction and creation of the new Town Hall and Police Department building. Green said his dedication, commitment, attention to details and outstanding project management resulted in tremendous cost savings and the timely completion of the new Town Hall. Green also presented him with a hard hat signed by town staff.

Kassawara noted the excellent leadership and commitment provided by general contractor Chris Alexander—"a good, honest, hard-working individual with a good company"—in completing the project on time and within budget.

Green presented a certificate of appreciation to Pamela Smith, town treasurer, for her dedication, commitment, and extended efforts in the transition into the new Town Hall and Police Department building, and her simultaneous takeover of financial management of Triview Metropolitan District. Green explained that Smith coordinated the phone and IT Systems as well as the move of all items from the Police Department, Finance, and Administration. She put in long hours, and the transition went very well due to her efforts. Green also presented Smith a bouquet of flowers and thanked her for all her heartfelt work.

Part of Forest Lakes annexation "annulled"

When Forest Lakes was annexed into the town in 1989, the vacant lot on the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway was erroneously included within the boundaries. This lot is adjacent to the portion of the Santa Fe Trail directly across Woodcarver Road from the Pioneer Sand and Gravel business and bordered on the east side by Old Denver Road. The board unanimously approved a resolution declaring annexation of the piece of property invalid due to lack of a request from the "actual owner" of the property, returning this part of the Dellacroce Ranch property to its correct status as part of unincorporated El Paso County.

Payments approved

The board approved three payments over $5,000:

  • $66,577 to Triview Metropolitan District for its share of March sales tax ($62,647) and April motor vehicle tax($3,930)
  • $12,479 to Nolte Associates Inc. for engineering work on the Third Street Project
  • $322,818 to Alexandher Building Co. for a progress payment of the new Town Hall and Police Department Building

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Travis Easton, who represents the town as a director of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA), and Trustee Rafael Dominguez reported that I-25 would be temporarily closed at the Baptist Road interchange in June for demolition and removal of the two-lane span, which is being replaced by two four-lane spans. The northern span for four future westbound lanes is nearing completion.

Traffic will be temporarily detoured, starting on June 13 at about 8 p.m., to Struthers Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. I-25 should be reopened sometime on June 14 if all goes according to plan. There will be some other overnight detours from time to time, but the interchange should be open during rush hours after Baptist traffic is rerouted to the new span.

Glenn asked Easton to have BRRTA address the apparent failure of landowner THF Realty to provide adequate erosion control on its former hardware store property on the northeast corner of the Baptist Road interchange. "Taxpayers are paying them, and it’s not working."

Trustee Tommie Plank announced a reception to be held with a display at Town Hall on June 13 at 5-8 p.m. The dedication of the new art and history display is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the three organizations "joining together to put art in Town Hall": the Palmer Lake Historical Society, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, and Tri-Lakes Views.

Trustee Tim Miller reported that he had attended a "town hall meeting" at Palmer Ridge High School with a presentation by Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Superintendent Ray Blanch on the Whole Child Task Force. The goal of the task force is to "create an environment in the community where the kids feel like they are cared for and they care for others" through developing "a sense of volunteering." Blanch had noted at these town hall sessions that there are not enough opportunities for students to participate in volunteer activities. Miller asked the board and staff for ideas on projects that might be suited for assistance from student volunteers.

Trustee Gail Drumm discussed handouts from the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department that showed that new residential construction in Colorado Springs, Fountain, and Monument are about 74 percent below average.

Trustee Steve Samuels provided a letter of resignation to the town clerk. He stated that he had accepted a position in Virginia Beach, Va., and will be relocating there shortly. "It’s a very tough decision to leave this town and leave all of you." He thanked the board and staff "for their leadership and communication," noting that he will always feel as though he is a member of the community.

Mayor Glenn, the trustees, and former Mayor Betty Konarski thanked Samuels for his dedication and service and wished him well in the future.

Public comments

John Res of Mountainside Property Management Inc.—which is the consultant that runs the Knollwood Villas Homeowners Association—asked the board to replace damaged portions of the development’s perimeter fence along the west side of Knollwood Drive between Cipriani Loop and Villa Grove. Res said the damage to the fence, installed in 2006, was caused by a town snowplow that was driving "too fast" during a very wet snowfall of 20-24 inches in mid-April. Res passed out a packet that included:

  • An e-mail exchange between Res and Rich Landreth, Monument’s director of Public Works regarding the HOA’s claim.
  • A letter from Knollwood Villas resident Garrett Wedlick dated April 27.
  • A site plan diagram for Knollwood Villas.
  • Diagrams showing the types of damage to various portions of the perimeter fence.
  • Several photos showing most of the slats of the vinyl fence lying on the ground in the yards of adjacent townhomes, as well as damage to three vinyl fence posts.
  • An estimate from LBG Fence Co. for repair and replacement of damaged fence components for $1,820, dated April 24.
  • An estimate for repair and replacement of damaged fence components for $2,132, dated May 18, based on further inspection of other cracked fence posts, following Res’s receipt of Wedlick’s letter.

Res said that Landreth had told him that the town crew on duty during that storm said they could not have damaged the fence because only a few widely spaced posts were damaged rather than all of them. Also the town’s largest dump truck that was in use on that day due to the heavy wet snow and slush–with a plow blade attached–is incapable of achieving the speeds asserted by Wedlick. Normally the town attaches blades to its pickup trucks for plowing snow.

Landreth also noted that Public Works employees in the town dump truck that was used for plowing that day had observed that a large privately owned truck with big tires was driving up and around the mounds of cleared snow by the fence at the time the town plow drove by. Landreth said that private truck was probably the cause of damage and dislocation to the few widely spaced fence posts. Otherwise every fence post would have been dislocated.

However, Landreth had offered to have the town share fence repair costs with the HOA since there is no conclusive evidence regarding direct cause of the fence damage, based on previous slat displacement—with no actual damage—to the same fence by town plows two years ago. Landreth noted that the plow normally pushes snow to the other side of Knollwood Drive whenever feasible.

Wedlick’s letter said a dump truck snowplow was driving by when he saw the fence being damaged. Wedlick’s letter does not say what kind of dump truck, what color it was, or what logos were displayed.

Res added that the May 18 estimate is higher because LBG subsequently learned that the distribution center for the manufacturer of the replacement fencing materials is much farther away with much higher shipping costs.

During a lengthy discussion between Res, Landreth, and board members, Green said she would turn in the information to the town’s liability insurance provider, Colorado Intergovernmental Risk-Sharing Agency, which is best known by the acronym CIRSA, for an insurance investigation and determination of how to proceed toward a resolution of the matter.

The meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m.

Due to publication deadlines, the article on the June 1 BOT meeting will be in the July edition of OCN .

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 15 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Monument Planning Commission, May 13: Rod Smith Business Park approved

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Below: Chad Kusbek of Westworks Engineering, describes the Rod Smith Business Park. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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a PDF file of Kusbek's drawings. This is a 3.1 Mbyte file and will take about 18 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.

By Jim Kendrick

On May 13, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved the Rod Smith Business Park, which is to be built on the former concrete batch plant site on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 105 and Washington Street. Demolition and removal of all abandoned concrete batch plant structures have already been completed. The town staff has examined the environmental assessment study that was conducted after the demolition to ensure that there are no significant problems remaining on the site.

The Planning Commission also narrowly approved a revision of the sketch plan for the Hull subdivision development on the vacant city block between Grace Best Elementary School, on Adams Street, and Old Denver Highway to allow for construction of a hotel with up to 60 rooms on the east side of the property.

Commissioner David Gwisdalla was out of town on a business trip.

Volunteers sought for vacant seat

Commissioner Tom Martin resigned at the end of the meeting, after three years of service to the town. He plans to return to school for an MBA. Each of the other commissioners praised Martin’s insights and thanked him for his support.

The town staff will advertise for a volunteer to be appointed by the Board of Trustees to replace Martin. Volunteers for the vacant seat should contact Deputy Town Clerk Claudia Whitney at 884-8017 for an application form. Appointments to the Planning Commission are typically for a two-year term.

Rod Smith Business Park hearings

Principal Planner Karen Griffith noted that each of the town properties on Washington Street north of Highway 105 are currently zoned Planned Heavy Industrial Park (PHID), which is "an obsolete zone." The landowner, Santa Fe Trails Business Park LLC, requested the zoning to be changed to Planned Development (PD) in order to build four buildings for medical, office, retail, restaurant, and storage/warehouse uses. Any development standards not shown on the proposed PD site plan will conform to the town code for C-1 General Commercial District zoning.

Griffith stated that the proposed rezoning from PHID to PD would bring the property into conformance with the current town zoning code. The proposed PD zoning also "generally conforms" to the town’s Comprehensive Plan with regard to industrial uses due to the high quality of the proposed buildings and site amenities that would preserve the value of the land and provide more employment opportunities within Monument. One of the four buildings is designed for potential light industrial use. The other adjacent and nearby sites on Washington Street continue to have industrial uses.

Griffith said that the new preliminary/final plat for the property is for a single lot with four new buildings. Sufficient right-of-way is being dedicated to the town to bring Washington Street up to town standards.

Griffith and applicant Chad Kuzbek, owner of Westworks Engineering, both noted that the proposed preliminary/final PD site plan calls for development in three phases.

Phase 1 consists of two single-story 8,000-square-foot buildings, with 2,500 square-foot basements, in the center of the property facing west to take advantage of the views of Mount Herman. This location is the highest point on the site. There will be a direct access to the Santa Fe Trail to the east between these two buildings via a roundabout.

Phase 2 is a two-story 16,000 square-foot building on the south end of the lot with sufficient slope toward the south to allow for the lower level to have walkout access to the south. The upper level faces north and is at roughly the same elevation as the two Phase 1 single-story buildings.

Phase 3 is a two-story 16,000 square-foot office/warehouse building at the north end of the property that faces south with garage doors for warehouse access on the north side of the building. This part of the lot is considerably lower in elevation and would not block mountain views from the trail or homes in Century Park.

Kuzbek also noted that the current steep grade of Washington Street just north of Highway 105 would be regraded to a shallower slope that would meet town code standards for grade, asphalt paving, width, curb, gutter, and sidewalk. In addition, deceleration and acceleration lanes for westbound Highway 105 would be constructed at the Washington Street intersection. The landowner is dedicating a 25-foot-wide strip of land to widen Washington Street to a 50-foot right-of-way, a total dedication of 0.51 acre. There will be three entrances to the common parking lot for all four buildings.

The commission unanimously approved the rezone from PHID to PD with no conditions of approval.

Preliminary/final plat approved: Griffith reviewed how the proposed plat meets all 12 criteria of the town’s Comprehensive Plan and stated that there are no significant unresolved issues.

Griffith noted that there is not enough groundwater under the 4.5-acre site (5.17 acre-feet) to dedicate to the town for the proposed density of mixed uses. The property owner will be required by the town’s water attorney to purchase some of the town’s surplus water rights—a total of 3.27 acre-feet per year—to meet the total demand for the proposed mixed uses. She also stated that municipal water service would be provided by a new looped water main connected to the Century Park distribution system. The new water main connection would run under the Santa Fe Trail between the two developments.

Griffith said that the landowner must dedicate all required easements for public utilities and that the applicant had already obtained a permit to bore under the railroad tracks to the northwest for a new sanitary sewer collection line for the development. This railroad permit will allow all four buildings to be served by a Monument Sanitation District gravity-flow sewer collection line, eliminating the need for the lift station that was originally proposed on the property. The Monument Sanitation District collection line would connect to a Palmer Lake Sanitation District gravity flow collection line on the west side of the tracks. All landscaping plants would be at least five feet from electric utility easements.

The landowner will pay for all road improvements required by the town for Washington Street and for all Highway 105 improvements required by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Griffith proposed four conditions of approval for the plat:

  1. The applicant must receive approval from the Board of Trustees to purchase sufficient excess town water rights to serve the property prior to recordation of the plat with the county.
  2. Water rights dedication shall be in a form approved by the town’s water attorney.
  3. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff.
  4. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the plat, including the dedication of all necessary off-site and on-site utility easements to address Monument Sanitation District’s comments.

The commission unanimously approved the plat with the four proposed conditions.

Preliminary/final PD site plan approved: Griffith reviewed how the proposed plat meets all 13 review and approval criteria of the town’s municipal code and stated that there are no significant unresolved issues. She proposed six conditions of approval:

  1. Prior to construction, a temporary construction easement shall be executed between the Rod Smith Business Park and the Monument Sanitation District.
  2. Submittal of surety for a future traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 105 and Washington Street in the total amount of $235,000 shall be posted prior to issuance of land use permit. $170,000 shall be posted prior to issuance of land use permit for Phase 1 and the remainder shall be posted prior to issuance of land use permit for Phase 2.
  3. Applicant shall obtain approval to purchase water rights to serve Phases 2 and 3 from the Board of Trustees prior to recordation of the site plan, and shall not receive a land use permit for these phases until sufficient water rights have been purchased.
  4. The architectural design of the industrial building shall be enhanced to conform to the review criteria and shall be brought back to the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees for approval at a public hearing prior to issuance of a land use permit for the building.
  5. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff.
  6. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the site plan.

Commissioner Kathy Spence requested that a condition be added that no truck can park in the lot overnight with any engine or refrigeration units running since there is plenty of parking space available at the nearby Conoco and Valero truck stops.

County resident Paul Pasnow expressed concern about the 35-foot maximum height allowed for the buildings. Kuzbek said the peak of the rooflines would be about 7 feet above the base of the adjacent homes in Century Park and would not obscure mountain views from these houses. Griffith reminded Spence and Pasnow that the area is zoned for heavy residential, which normally allows for heavy trucks to be parked overnight.

The site plan was unanimously approved with the seven conditions.

Hull subdivision sketch plan amendment approved

Hull subdivision development land owner Jamie Hull of Goldwest II LLC requested a change to his previously approved sketch plan for his 3.7-acre property site to allow two new uses: a hotel that would front on Old Denver Highway and a library. Land planner John Maynard of NES Inc. gave an overview of the proposed Hull amendment before Griffith’s staff report. The sketch plan retains previously proposed and mixed uses, including high-density residential, office, retail, and restaurant.

The original sketch plan, approved about two years ago, had eight roughly equal areas of 0.2 or 0.3 acres for different uses and densities. The new sketch plan has only three areas:

  • 1.14 acres for a maximum of 34 medium-density residential units with a maximum height of 40 feet on the northwest part of the property
  • 1.03 acres for a hotel with up to 60 rooms and a maximum height of 45 feet on the northeast part of the property
  • 1.58 acres for office, library, coffee shop, retail, and lofts on the south end with a maximum height of 45 feet

The proposed Lincoln Avenue on the original sketch plan was a dedicated three-lane 100-foot-wide right-of-way that ran along the southern boundary of the property connecting a southward extension of Adams Street to Old Denver Highway to improve traffic flows for Grace Best Elementary School.

Now Lincoln Avenue is proposed to be a 60-foot right-of-way that would run from the existing south end of Adams Street straight east to Old Denver Highway through the middle of the property. The 100-foot-wide strip along the south end of the property is now proposed to be vacated for use as an internal public right-of-way for improving access to the existing athletic fields south of the Hull subdivision.

The original sketch plan dedicated right-of-way to the town on the northwest boundary of the property for a 66-foot right-of-way for construction of a short segment of First Street. The amendment now proposes that this piece of land be vacated for use as an internal public right-of-way.

Commissioners Becki Tooley, Kathy Spence, and Glenda Smith expressed concerns about how drop-off and pick-up traffic would be handled at Grace Best Elementary School with the new proposed two-way circulation on Adams Street and Lincoln Avenue. Maynard said that the staff of Lewis-Palmer District 38 has "enthusiastically approved" the revised alignment of Lincoln Avenue. Hull said D-38 was "ecstatic about the quieting" that would result from the new design of Lincoln Avenue.

These commissioners also expressed concerns about building heights, parking density, and the safety of the schoolchildren with respect to the numerous transient occupants of the proposed hotel. Griffith replied that these issues would be addressed when Hull submits a preliminary PD sketch plan.

Maynard noted that the existing maximum height in the downtown district for the proposed uses is 40 feet and said the commissioners should address the issue of the actual proposed hotel height when Hull presents the proposed elevations for the hotel in the preliminary PD site plan. Hull said the maximum height in the original sketch plan for this area was also 45 feet; Griffith concurred.

Tooley, Spence, and Smith continued to have a lengthy discussion with Maynard and Hull. Some of the contentious issues regarded the appropriateness of the proposed hotel at this downtown location, how it would affect two-way school traffic on Adams Street, and the safety of Grace Best children walking to and from school near the hotel, particularly along the Santa Fe Trail to the residential developments to the south.

Maynard stated that the school would be buffered from the hotel by the new residential units and that a franchise hotel was far more likely to be an economic success than would a bed and breakfast.

Griffith said the Comprehensive Plan suggests bed and breakfast uses with 5 to 20 rooms, but a hotel with appropriate architectural design elements could be acceptable based on guidance included in the new architectural design "white paper" that was recently approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees. She added that the commissioners could not evaluate the height of the hotel building or the number of rooms until a specific design is submitted with the preliminary PD site plan. Although the approved white paper called for a maximum height of 35 feet in most downtown situations, Griffith said business owners are "excited" about the hotel bringing new customers to the downtown area.

Hull noted that he had been working with the town for seven years trying to gain approval of a development plan for his vacant lot, and this proposal was "just a simplification of the previous sketch plan," "not a worse plan," and would need no more water than the original sketch plan. Griffith confirmed his statement about additional water. Jamie and his father, Mert Hull, also said they plan to own and operate the proposed hotel and intend to purchase a franchise from Wyndham Hotels.

The Board of Trustees has adopted a policy of selling excess water rights to developers of higher density projects at a discounted rate not to exceed $2,000 per acre-foot. Hull would have to purchase additional water rights from the town for the proposed density of uses.

There was no public comment on the amendment.

Griffith said the town’s traffic engineer said a new traffic study should be conducted for the hotel based on the updated Institute of Traffic Engineers Trip Generation Manual. The traffic engineer also expressed concerns about the geometry of the accesses to Adams Street and Old Denver Highway.

Griffith proposed four conditions of approval:

  1. The applicant must acquire water rights to serve the project in conformance with Town Code prior to receiving a land use permit for the project.
  2. First Street and the existing Lincoln Street right-of-way shall be vacated and replatted prior to recordation of a Final PD Site Plan for the project.
  3. The building heights shall be determined at the time of Preliminary PD Site Plan when more detailed plans that include building elevations, footprints, and view and shadow studies must be submitted. The building heights shall be removed from the sketch plan.
  4. The comments by the Town of Monument’s traffic consultant regarding trip generation shall be addressed to the satisfaction of staff prior to final approval of the Sketch Plan by the town.

The sketch plan was approved by a 3-2-1 vote. Commissioners Ed Delaney, Tom Martin, and Chuck Baker voted in favor of the sketch plan. Spence and Smith voted no. Tooley abstained.

The meeting adjourned at 8:54 p.m. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 10 at the Town Hall and Police Department building, 645 Beacon Lite Road, near Highway 105. Information: 884-8017.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, May 14: Scout does his part to improve town park

By David Futey

A Boy Scout who headed a project to upgrade the benches in Centennial Park gave a presentation to the Palmer Lake Town Council on May 14.

Mayor John Cressman excused Trustee Nikki McDonald and Roads Trustee Bryan Jack from the meeting.

Eagle Scout project

Blake Chambers of Boy Scout Troop 17 delivered a presentation on his Eagle Scout project. The goal of the Eagle Scout projects are to give back to the community the scout lives in. Chambers said that he has enjoyed living in Palmer Lake his entire life and wanted to make Palmer Lake a better place to live. He noted that Centennial Park has new activities available, but the benches were in disrepair. With assistance from others, he replaced all the old wood on the benches and, while doing the repairs, found slats that had engravings dating back to 1901.

The bench repairs took four days, and he organized 12 people that assisted him for a total of 43 hours. He constructed six benches, and a few were placed around the lake. Since this is an all-volunteer project, Chambers needed to seek donations for the needed materials. He received donations from Lazy MC Enterprises, the Town of Palmer Lake, Home Depot, King Soopers, Monument Hill Sertoma, and Pizza Hut. In all, he raised $760 and returned $25 he didn’t spend to Palmer Lake.

Committee reports

Mayor Cressman said the next community forum would be on May 30. He said he was pleased with the outcomes from the previous forum, held on May 7, and that it was well attended.

Park and Recreation Trustee Jan Bristol reported the following:

  • She attended the Fourth of July committee meeting. Donation jars for the fireworks activities will be placed around the community.
  • Bristol showed the T-shirts that will be available for this year’s Fourth of July activities.
  • She met with the "tennis-playing public" to discuss upgrading the courts and the current drainage system.
  • A community garden is planned for the Columbine Park area. The town is assisting in providing a water source, and citizens using the garden will be charged a fee for water use.

Fire Trustee Gary Coleman reported that the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, along with El Paso County Search and Rescue, rescued four hikers in a boulder field about two miles northeast of the lower reservoir.

Cressman said the Safe Routes to School plans are still under review at state and federal level.

Water Trustee Max Stafford reported that issues with the water filtration system continue. The most recent issue is the media leaking out of the filter and getting into the piping. This problem is causing a greater reliance on the wells, which present a higher cost due to associated electrical use.

Stafford said that the town may be able to purchase water from the Southern Delivery System through Monument at some point. This may be the only renewable water system available in northern El Paso County.

Police Trustee Dan Reynolds reported that the Palmer Lake Police Department was on budget for the first third of the year.

Decision on records retention tabled

The council tabled a decision until next month on a resolution for adopting the Colorado Model Municipal Records Retention Schedule. The town presently keeps all documents for seven years. If the new schedule is adopted, certain records could be retained for shorter lengths of time. The Town of Monument recently adopted this schedule.

If the council approves this resolution, Palmer Lake and Monument will combine documents that need to be shredded in order to save on disposal costs. Information outlining the schedule for retaining documents was not available at the meeting. Trustee Bristol raised the concern that the council does not know what is being voted on until it sees the schedule.

Public comments

Palmer Lake resident Sara Ridley has two buildings on a single property. She has a buyer, the owner of a stone-cutting business, interested in one of the buildings, but the property needs to be subdivided so that each building is on a separate lot. The company interested in purchasing the property wants to take possession of it in June unless the sale process becomes too lengthy due to the replat. It is also looking at properties in Colorado Springs.

Two options were proposed to the council:

  • Conversion of the property to an industrial condo. Palmer Lake would need to adopt an ordinance, because one does not exist for industrial condos.
  • Conversion to a minor subdivision, which may take up to three months.

Cressman stated that any process requiring a hearing regarding the property would probably not be completed by the end of June, the purchaser’s cutoff time frame. Also, the Planning Commission needs to be consulted on this matter, and its next meeting will not be held until June 17. At a minimum, the Planning Commission will want to know the maximum noise level—in decibels—for the cutting process, plus the dust level and water use. The building is on septic.

Town Attorney Larry Gaddis suggested that the Planning Commission review the possibility of adding an industrial condo provision to the code, because this will probably not be the last time such a need will occur.

Cyndee Henson, a Department of Wildlife (DoW) volunteer, presented information to council regarding the Bear Aware program. Material from this program will be placed at the post office, Town Hall, the Police Department, and small businesses. Citizens may also get information from the DoW Web site, wildlife.state.co.us/bears

Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s Steak Pub, asked for information on a variety of topics such as the financial update on Sidewalk to Schools. It was noted in the council meeting that no additional information is available from the state.

Hulsmann also asked about the procedure for closing the town office when area schools are closed on snow days. After a brief discussion, Trustee Bristol said there would be a review on the office closing policy.

During the council meeting, Town Clerk Della Gray stated that office staffers Tara Berreth and Kathy Von Tuinenon would be on vacation at the same time. Hulsmann asked why the two would be on vacation at the same time, thus closing the town office. Gray responded that she will be at the maintenance shop and can come to the office to address any needs.

Hulsmann requested that the town audit should be put out to bid for comparison and that the town should seek to get an assessment of managerial strengths and weaknesses. Trustee Bristol said that the audit needs to be scheduled and performed and that Roads Trustee Jack is defining the scope of the audit.

Gray stated that an audit was performed last June and that the state needs results of an audit by the end of July. She also stated that an extension to September is possible. However even with the extension, it might not be possible to put the audit out for bid, given the parameters of that process. The cost of an audit is estimated at $11,000, plus an additional $5,000 for the type of additional managerial review the council had requested at previous council meetings.

Cressman said he would be following up with Jack, who was recently appointed to the new position of budget trustee, on the status of the audit proposal.

Business licenses approved

By unanimous decision, the council approved the following business licenses:

  • Happy Tails—Cyndee Henson, dog-walking and pet-sitting service
  • Satiama LLC—Karen and Susan Stuth, Web-based spirituality site
  • Peak Performance Auto—Christopher Ward, oil change center and light vehicle maintenance

Other matters

By unanimous decision, the council approved a 4-by-6-foot sign request by the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts.

Also by a unanimous vote, the council renewed the lease with the Palmer Lake Sports Riders.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

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The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 11 at Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Check the town’s Web site ( www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/index.shtml ) or call 481-2953 to confirm that the meeting date has not changed.

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Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, May 12: Smith takes over as JUC president

By Jim Kendrick

Palmer Lake Sanitation District appointed Director Dale Smith as its new primary representative to the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to replace former primary representative Dale Platt, who continues to be the president of the Palmer Lake board.

The other members of the JUC, Vice President Lowell Morgan from Monument and Secretary-Treasurer Benny Nasser from Woodmoor, voted Smith in as JUC president, as it is Palmer Lake’s turn to hold the rotating presidency during 2009. Palmer Lake Director Virgil Watkins will continue to be the district’s alternate JUC representative.

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

Operating efficiency remains very high: Tri-Lakes Executive Director Bill Burks reported that the plant continues to operate very efficiently. The copper concentration for March was 9.5 parts per billion (ppb), well below the current waiver that allows the average reading to be below 24.8 ppb instead of the actual permit limit of 8.7 ppb.

After some discussion, there was consensus that Burks should add the cost of installation of an additional aeration basin blower to the facility’s five-year plan. This additional blower is needed in the long term to bring the facility up to its full design organic loading capacity of 9,458 pounds of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) per day. The current limit in the plant’s discharge permit is a maximum organic loading capacity of 5,600 pounds per day with the two existing installed blowers. In April the facility was operating at an average of 1.4 million gallons and 2,347 pounds of BOD per day, so addition of the third blower is not an urgent requirement.

Final copies of the new facility policies, practices, and procedures document were distributed. This revised document was unanimously approved at the previous JUC meeting on April 14, with some additional changes remaining to be made.

Amended Joint Use Agreement review continues

There was consensus on a proposal for some minor revisions to the first four sections of the agreement. A discussion of the next three sections began. The JUC plans to have its list of proposed revisions completed in time for the annual JUC meeting at the end of the year.

The board discussed whether to propose changes in the agreement’s current definitions regarding capital projects for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to the other facility owners, Palmer Lake Sanitation District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The board also discussed whether to propose adding definitions to the agreement regarding maintenance funding. The JUC representatives agreed they should discuss these definitions and related funding policy issues with their respective boards at their regular May board meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

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The next meeting is at 10 a.m. on June 9 in the facility conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, May 20: Authority pursues connection to Colorado Spring Utilities

By John Heiser

At the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority’s (PPRWA) regular monthly meeting May 20, a major topic was potential use by PPRWA members of Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) planned Southern Delivery System (SDS) pipeline.

After six years of sometimes-bitter disagreements, on April 14, by an 8-to-1 vote, the Colorado Springs City Council approved the conditions set by Pueblo County to build the $1.1 billion SDS pipeline north from Pueblo Reservoir. A week later, the Pueblo County commissioners approved and signed a permit for the pipeline. There is SDS information at www.sdswater.org

The 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, and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

At the April 15 PPRWA meeting, authority manager Gary Barber made a presentation called "Pikeview Protocol Process" regarding how a PPRWA/CSU connection making use of SDS might be developed. Barber said he feels the climate is right for a regional approach and encouraged each of the members of the PPRWA to assess their board of directors’ level of commitment to making such a connection.

Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, reported that during a conversation with Gary Bostrom, chief water planner for CSU, Bostrom said that CSU is not interested in the current version of Barber’s Pikeview protocol and will be working the regional issue through CSU’s Utility Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC), which provides recommendations to the Colorado Springs Utilities Board (UB). There is information on UPAC at www.csu.org/about/upac and information on the UB at www.csu.org/about/ub

Concerns in the 1990s that providing water to areas outside Colorado Springs would encourage development in those areas and thereby erode the city’s potential tax base led the UB to adopt Executive Limitation 13, which has had the effect of greatly restricting CSU’s participation in regional projects.

The UPAC is now reassessing Executive Limitation 13 in light of the fact that development outside the city is occurring even without access to CSU’s services and that regional water planning is becoming increasingly important to address watershed problems, water project costs, and environmental issues.

The UPAC is planning a series of meetings over the next six months with the goal of providing a recommendation to the UB in December regarding possible changes to Executive Limitation 13.

Kip Petersen, manager of the Cherokee district and president of the PPRWA, said, "Times have changed. Some type of participation will be allowed. The question is how much at what cost."

Barber said he expects a decision in July regarding the route of the SDS pipeline.

The group agreed that the PPRWA must voice its support for regionalism. Barber was directed to draw up a scope of work and get bids from public relations firms to aid in getting out the message.

Update on legislation

Dick Brown, lobbyist for the authority, reported that prior to the Legislature adjourning May 6, many changes were quickly passed. The final form of some of the bills will not be clear until Gov. Bill Ritter acts on them. He has until June 6 to act.

On May 19, the governor signed Colorado Senate Bill (SB) 09-141, which creates a special district for the preservation and improvement of the Fountain Creek Watershed. The district, modeled on the Denver Urban Drainage District, covers all of Pueblo and El Paso Counties. A number of changes were incorporated that addressed many of the concerns voiced at the February PPRWA meeting.

On April 22, the governor signed SB 09-80, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Isgar, which authorizes the collection of precipitation from up to 3,000 square feet of a roof of a building that is primarily used as a residence and is not connected to a domestic water system serving more than three single-family dwellings, provided the water collected is used for any of the following:

  • Fire protection
  • Watering of poultry, domestic animals, and livestock on farms and ranches
  • Irrigation of not over one acre of gardens and lawns
  • Ordinary household purposes

Those who want to collect rooftop rainwater and snowmelt will be required to file an application and may have to pay a fee.

House Bill (HB) 09-1129, sponsored by state Rep. Marsha Looper, would direct the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to select the sponsors of up to 10 new residential or mixed-use developments that would conduct individual pilot projects over the next 10 years to collect precipitation from rooftops and impermeable surfaces for non-potable uses. The purpose of the pilot projects include:

  • Quantifying the amount of precipitation that accrues to the natural stream system from surface and ground water return flows
  • Evaluation of a variety of precipitation harvesting system designs; measurement of precipitation capture efficiencies
  • Quantifying the amount of precipitation that must be augmented to prevent injury to decreed water rights

The Legislature passed the bill and, as of press time, it was awaiting the governor’s signature.

Brown added that updated state revenue projections will be released June 19. He said those projections will likely determine whether the Legislature holds a special session during the summer to deal with the state budget.

Green River/Flaming Gorge project update

For more information on the proposed project to construct a pipeline from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir in southwestern Wyoming and northwestern Colorado east across Interstate 80 and then south down the Front Range, see "Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority meeting, Dec. 19: Authority urged to join coalition to bring water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir" in the Jan. 3 issue of OCN. The article is posted at www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n1.htm#pprwa

Barber reported that Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, who heads a Colorado-Wyoming coalition of governmental water providers pursuing the project, and entrepreneur Aaron Million, who originally proposed it, appear to be on a collision course.

Both are promoting different variants of the same project. Million proposes taking water from the Green River upstream of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir while Jaeger’s coalition proposes taking water directly from the reservoir. Due to the different locations for withdrawing the water, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers would look at the various impacts of Million’s project while the Bureau of Reclamation within the U.S. Department of the Interior headed by Coloradoan Ken Salazar would evaluate the coalition’s proposals.

Barber said that Million and Jaeger received the same letter of support from Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, but that unlike Jaeger, Million reportedly does not have a letter of support from the Wyoming Department of Natural Resources.

Barber said that Jaeger is now asking those who want to be part of the effort to pay a $20,000 contribution as a sign of interest, up from $10,000 when the project was originally proposed.

Barber noted that the Black Squirrel alluvial aquifer should be considered for storage of the Green River/Flaming Gorge water. He said there is 200,000 acre-feet of storage available there. Duthie noted that the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Groundwater Management District is asserting that they own any water pumped into that aquifer.

Brown said that addressing this issue will require the Legislature to restructure state laws.

Other matters

  • The PPRWA continues to be frustrated as it tries to get responses from the staff of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). The PPRWA has submitted a request for a CWCB grant to develop a regional water conservation plan. Petersen said, "There is a disconnect between policy and implementation. We are being hamstrung by the state." He said he would express his concerns to Rep. Looper. Duthie noted that he distributed a draft water conservation plan he wrote and asked for the other members to comment on it.
  • Rick Fendel, the PPRWA’s attorney, said he is continuing negotiations with the Arkansas River Valley Super Ditch group that, if agreement can be reached, could supply water for transport through the SDS pipeline. Obtaining storage in Pueblo reservoir is a factor in those negotiations. Petersen noted that obtaining water storage is a key element in any regional planning. He said he is currently pursuing storage for the Cherokee district and has a short-term agreement with the City of Fountain.

Following the public meeting, the PPRWA went into an executive session to discuss negotiations and to receive legal advice.

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The next regular meeting of the PPRWA will be held June 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the new Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road in Monument. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

There is information on CSU at www.csu.org and on SDS at www.sdswater.org

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Group monitors issues facing well owners

By David Futey

On May 11, the Protect Our Wells (POW) organization met to discuss issues pertaining to wells and water use in El Paso County and elect new officials.

POW is a nonprofit, citizen-based organization that focuses on water and its availability from four aquifers—the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills—within the Denver Basin. These aquifers serve as a water resource for the majority of the Tri-Lakes area as well as for other areas in northern El Paso County. Of the 50,000 private wells that tap into the Denver Basin aquifers, 27,000 are in El Paso County. POW presently has a membership of 225.

POW monitors and, when appropriate, responds to water-related legislation or action by various entities and organizations. This monitoring occurs at the state level, with the El Paso Board of County Commissioners, the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, and various planning commissions.

At this time POW is monitoring various state bills, including SB 09-216, which would allow the state engineer to increase new and replacement permit fees on private well owners. This is intended to assist with budget deficits at the state engineer’s office. HB 09-1129 is proposing a pilot project regarding the use of collected precipitation for "new real estate developments" and the downstream effects. Related to that is SB 09-80, which seeks to allow the "collection of precipitation from up to 3,000 square feet of a roof of a building that is primarily used as a residence and is not connected to a domestic water system. ..." Waters collected as a result would have defined uses, such as for fire protection, ordinary household purposes, watering of poultry, livestock, and domestic animals on farms and ranches, and irrigation of lawns or gardens less than one acre.

Discussion during the meeting took several tracks, including what options are available to well owners should their water supply run low. POW President Sandra Martin stated that "well owners are essentially on their own." The options available to well owners are to: drill a new well, connect to a water provider, create a community well, or create a cistern. Other discussion points at the meeting included:

  • At this point in time, the focus within the county seems to be on surface water.
  • There does not appear to be an accurate understanding about how much water is available in the aquifers and at what rate the depletion is occurring.
  • POW had been encouraging the county to hire a hydrologist, but with the present financial situation in the county, that position will not be pursued.
  • The Cherokee Metropolitan Recharge Facility might assist with replenishing the aquifer in the southern part of the county, but that will probably have no effect on water availability in aquifers in the northern part of the county.

POW also discussed candidates and then elected four board officials. The officials elected were Sandra Martin, Jack Copper, Duncan Burdick, and Jacques le Clainche. Pam Dawson, whose term expires in 2010, continues on the board. Information about POW, its upcoming meetings, and links to water resource information can be found at www.protectourwells.org

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Monument Sanitation District Board, May 21: Stimulus funding recommended for Wakonda Hills

By Jim Kendrick

District Manager Mike Wicklund announced at the Monument Sanitation District Board meeting on May 21 that the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had recommended approval of the district’s application for a $2 million "forgivable" federal stimulus program loan for its "shovel ready" project to install the remaining two phases of its wastewater collection project throughout the western portion of the Wakonda Hills development.

Under the "principal forgiveness" clause of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the district will not have to repay this loan of up to $2 million due to the very high priority given to the Wakonda Hills individual septic disposal system replacement project by the state and county health departments.

The district also received a separate state grant of $10,000 that helped pay for the $23,000 cost of having engineering consultant firm GMS Inc. prepare the preliminary engineering report, which the district submitted in March to start the stimulus grant application process. All board members were present.

Currently only 15 other state projects are also recommended for funding in the same top-rated category as the Monument project and "shovel ready." Wicklund noted that the district’s application had been recommended in sixth place for the approximately $30 million in stimulus funding available in Colorado for wastewater projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Hundreds of other projects that have been submitted for State Revolving Fund loans in recent years have not yet been funded.

The Wakonda Hills project was given a Category 1 rating because the new Monument Sanitation District collection lines will "remediate a public health hazard." Failing individual septic systems throughout the development are allowing wastewater and waste solids to flow across the surface of numerous individual one-acre lots to adjacent unprotected well heads. This would eventually lead to bacterial and nitrate contamination of the Dawson tributary aquifer, which all the Wakonda Hills residential wells use. If the aquifer becomes contaminated, Wakonda Hills wells would have to be shut down and the residents would have to obtain water by other means, such as annexing into the town of Monument for municipal water service—a very expensive proposition.

Since the Wakonda Hills development plat was approved about 40 years ago, the county has increased the minimum required lot size from one acre to a minimum of 2.5 acres per residential lot, though 5 acres is the minimum lot size preferred by the county Health Department for use of a septic system. There is not enough room on Wakonda Hills lots to replace these failed legally non-conforming septic systems without complete excavation and removal of all contaminated soil, which has to be disposed of as hazardous waste material. The replacements must be engineered mound systems, which are very expensive.

The county first encouraged the district to extend its wastewater collection system throughout Wakonda Hills in 1997. Wastewater flows across the surface of many Wakonda Hills lots toward unprotected well heads have been easily observed and smelled for several years.

The total project cost for the district is currently about $4 million. Total tap fees that can be collected from Wakonda Hills property owners is about $600,000. This difference was a primary justification for granting "principal forgiveness" to the district for its stimulus grant application.

The federal stimulus money will be administered through the Health Department’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund. This fund normally administers low-interest state loans for prioritized projects proposed by special districts, towns, and cities for water and wastewater capital projects,

Some of the remaining milestones that must be completed by the end of September are:

  • The state must approve the district’s final engineering report, final plans and specifications, and final environmental assessment report.
  • The district must provide a full response to any Water Quality Control Division questions and comments.
  • The state must approve the district’s bidding process, which must include provisions for federal requirements such as Davis-Bacon wage rates for project workers.
  • The district must issue a notice to proceed to the winning contractor.
  • The winning contractor must begin construction.

Failure to meet any of these very tightly scheduled milestones can lead to de-obligation of the Wakonda Hills funding and reallocation to another, lower-priority "shovel ready" project.

Amended Joint Use Agreement review continues

The board discussed whether to propose changes to the agreement’s current definitions regarding capital projects for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to the other facility owners, Palmer Lake Sanitation District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The board also discussed whether to propose adding definitions to the agreement regarding maintenance funding. No decisions were made.

Posting location and meeting time changed

The board unanimously approved a change in one of the three public places for posting meeting notices and agendas. These notices and agendas will now be posted in the new Town Hall and Police Department Building at 645 Beacon Lite Road (on the southwest corner of the Highway 105 intersection) instead of the old Town Hall building at 166 Second St. The other posting places are the district’s office at 130 Second St. and the Monument U.S. Postal Service building at Third Street and Highway 105.

The meeting time for the rest of the year was also changed, from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

The board went into an executive session to discuss negotiations.

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The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 18 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are now normally held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Triview Metropolitan District board, May 27: Board appoints new district manager and financial director

By Jim Kendrick

The Triview Metropolitan District board completed its transition to operational management by the Town of Monument by unanimously approving a resolution on April 22 that appointed Town Manager Cathy Green as district manager and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith as district financial director. The Triview board also held its first meeting at the new Town Hall and Police Department building, having terminated the lease to its building at 174 N. Washington St. as of May 15. All the Triview directors were present.

The board unanimously approved a motion to have Smith operate district financial payments in the same way she does for the town. Smith will pay all invoices under $5,000 when received as long as they are routine and within the annual budget. Otherwise, she will bring payments that may cause a problem or be controversial to the Triview board for approval along with any payments over $5,000. Until now, the board has always had to individually approve every check issued, regardless of the amount, as it did for the last time at this meeting.

Simpson retained as consultant

The minutes for the Triview board meeting of April 22 were unanimously approved. These minutes showed that the Triview board had decided during the executive session on negotiations on April 22 to keep former acting Manager Ron Simpson on board as a part-time consultant for at least 40 hours per month. The board unanimously approved a resolution to that effect after ending the executive session at the April 22 board meeting.

Simpson has also been advising the board on bond financing issues, and helping Green and Smith with their transition to managing day-to-day operations issues and moving Triview’s office records to Town Hall. Simpson will also consult on future agreements with developers and subdivision improvement agreements for land use hearings. Green said she and Simpson would continue to work together on day-to-day issues.

Town hires Triview’s full-time employees

Steve Sheffield continues as the Triview superintendent, working at the metro district’s B water treatment plant, under the supervision of town Director of Public Works Rich Landreth. Sheffield had been a member of the Monument Public Works staff before being hired by Triview. He became a town employee again on May 1.

Joyce Levad, former Triview accounts receivable billing clerk, also became a town employee on May 1 and now works with Mary Russelavage, the town’s finance assistant for water, in their new first-floor office at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Sherry Jurekovic, former Triview accounts payable billing clerk, previously became a town employee on Jan. 1. Both are supervised by Smith, who took over the duties of former Triview district administrator Dale Hill on April 1. Hill resigned on March 31.

Triview’s other consultants remain available if their advice is required by the Triview board or town staff, but their formal contracts with the district have not been renewed or will be concluded by the end of this year.

Capital expenditures approved

The board approved two capital expenditures:

  • $12,000 for purchase and installation of four new magnetic water meters for the district’s water treatment plant to replace four analog mechanical meters that are becoming less accurate at the end of their normal operational life span.
  • $6,000 for installing crushed asphalt on the B water treatment plant parking lot and driveway to control mud contamination within the plant and in stormwater runoff that goes into Agate Creek.

Memorandum on operations still not ready for approval

Green noted that the merger subcommittee of Triview Directors Robert Fisher and Steve Remington as well as Monument Mayor Byron Glenn and Trustee Rafael Dominguez, who are all Jackson Creek residents, had not met since the April 22 Triview board meeting. A subcommittee meeting of these four directors was set for June 8 at 8:30 a.m. in Town Hall.

Fisher and Remington were reluctant to set up a joint meeting of the Triview board and the town’s Board of Trustees unless it was just an information meeting on settling issues for a formal memorandum of understanding on the town staff operating the district for the Triview board. Fisher and Remington want a more complete determination of actual savings that will accrue to Triview before formally signing the memorandum. The Triview board agreed to suggest two dates to the Board of Trustees for a joint informational progress review meeting—June 22 or June 24.

Sheffield reported that a formal bid opening would be held on June 5 for installation of the 1.2-acre Misty Creek Park in the existing detention pond between Misty Creek Drive and Baptist Road that stretches from Toreva Drive to Candle Creek Drive. The contract will call for completion within 60 days of breaking ground, with a completion date of not later than Sept. 1 to ensure that the installed landscaping can survive. The park will also include an elevated basketball court, benches, and lighting.

Alternatives for refinancing of $47 million bond debt investigated

Remington reported that he had an initial meeting with a representative of bond consultant Piper-Jaffrey to discuss options for refinancing the district’s $47 million in bond debt. The board had decided on April 22 to abandon negotiations for 30-year bonds or "SWAP" refinancing with current bond issuer Compass Bank through Triview’s current bond representative Sam Sharp of D.A. Davidson. Remington said the best rates available for 30-year bonds are from banks, but banks can issue a maximum of only $30 million under a new federal law to control the ongoing national financial crisis.

D.A. Davidson will continue to issue renewable variable rate one-week bonds for now, since 30-year bond rates are about 6.25 percent. This is much higher than the total financing cost of the $47 million in variable rate bonds that Sharp is currently issuing for Triview every week, which still have interest rates of less than 1 percent. Sharp again recommended at the April 22 meeting that Triview wait until 30-year rates drop to less than 5.25 percent. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n5.htm#tmd for details on Compass Bank.)

The board held further discussions on negotiations at an executive session that began at 6:29 p.m.

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The next Triview board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on June 24 in the new Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are now normally held at 5 p.m. in Town Hall on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Academy Water and Sanitation District, June 3: Expenses, past-due accounts dominate discussion

By Susan Hindman

Academy Water and Sanitation District Treasurer Walter Reiss reported that the district has a year-to-date decrease in revenue of $11,930 and is over budget by $30,000 from the cost of cleaning the lagoons. Engineering expenses of $8,515 have already exceeded the budgeted amount for the year as well. "I recommend looking at opportunities to cut expenses," Reiss said at the June 3 meeting.

He also said the district is owed more than $10,000 in past-due accounts. About $4,000 is owed by homeowners in bankruptcy or foreclosure, and $6,759 is owed by others. The board decided that the $4,000 would no longer be included in the past-due list with the other collections, because those debts are being handled in court.

The board authorized operator Anthony Pastorello to begin shutting off water to homes with significant past-due accounts. "All those we can shut off should be shut off," said Richard DuPont, board president. Customers working with the district on their payments wouldn’t be affected. Pastorello said he has been putting shut-off notices on doors of homes where residents are 90 days behind on their bill.

Credit card payment request

Pastorello said he’s been asked by customers about having the option to pay their monthly bill by credit card. The idea wasn’t embraced by the board, as it would cost the district at least 2 percent in fees to the credit card companies. Reiss suggested that customers look into setting up automatic bill paying through their bank.

Water quality

A resident who was to appear before the board to discuss "dirty water" didn’t show up, but director Ron Curry said he noticed a problem with the water at his home as well. Pastorello said the recent hydrant flushing is likely to blame for water that has a rusty appearance and odor, and it should clear up. Residents who continue to notice a problem should contact him.

Numbers

Pastorello reported that the carbonaceous biological oxygen demand (CBOD) sampling for May was "great" at 6.5 mg/l, and the TSS (total suspended solids) was at 16, signaling that the cleaned lagoons are settling. The number keeps the district in compliance with state regulations.

Cleaning and mapping

Pastorello said that there is not an accurate map detailing the district’s wastewater collection system. So during a recent cleaning of one-third of the system, he had the technician document all the pipe sizes and their material make up, along with manhole locations, and then note that information on the current map, in order to update it. The rest of the collection system will be cleaned over the next two years, so by the third year, he said, he will have a detailed map of the system.

Other work

The two wastewater lift stations have been vacuumed, removing "considerable debris." Treatment with a degreaser has reduced the sludge buildup on the lift station walls.

The district’s water distribution tanks have been cleaned and inspected.

Pastorello has been correcting improper drainage on the hill behind the water plant.

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The Academy Water and Sanitation District board usually meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the fire station on Sun Hills Drive. The next meeting is July 1.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board, May 21: Parents give varied opinions on preschool program

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Below: Superintendent Ray Blanch with (L to R) Ryan Nitcher (7th grade, Creekside Middle School), Megan Nunez (4th grade, Kilmer Elementary School), Angelo Donisi (1st grade, Grace Best Elementary School), Keiran Berry (Kindergarten, Prairie Winds Elementary School), Sean Duncan (3rd grade, Palmer Lake Elementary School), Lara McWhorter (5th grade, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School), Jenna Lewis (3rd grade, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School), Megan Barnhouse (2nd grade, Palmer Lake Elementary School), Rilyn Rivera (1st grade, Prairie Winds Elementary School). All of these students were first place winners in their grade division. Additionally, Lara McWhorter won Best of Elementary Level and Ryan Nitcher won Best of Middle School Level. Photo by John Heiser.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Harriet Halbig

Parents of preschoolers expressed their opinions and offered suggestions to improve the preschool program at the May 21 meeting of the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education.

Although most parents felt that the program is a valuable addition to the district, some felt that the idea of combining preschool with day-care services is undesirable. Another felt that some parents stressed academics over socialization as the primary concern of the preschool, and another was dissatisfied that a single principal had responsibility for the entire program. Board President Dee Dee Eaton commented that the goal of the program was to provide learning though activities.

From the positive side, parents said that the preschool program prepared their children well for kindergarten and were pleased that special-needs students were integrated into the classroom. One mother, who adopted two 3-year-old children and was required by the court to enroll them in preschool, was especially appreciative of the advice offered by the staff and the program’s ability to prepare them for kindergarten.

The subject of funding for the program was discussed at length. When the program was created, it was decided that it should be self-supporting. For this reason, in order for funding to increase, the student population must rise, fees must increase, or an alternate funding source must be identified.

District Superintendent Ray Blanch said that the number of students in the program rose from 75 to 160 over the past year, with two locations added, and that a waiting list exists for participation. He said that research has proven that funding for this age group is worthwhile and regretted that the Colorado Department of Education does not stress this more.

One parent suggested that the program be operated "in the red" in order to attract additional students, including those who may come from outside the district and then decide to stay to complete their education. Blanch commented that the board’s initial decision to make the program self-funded must stand until changed by the board, and that diverting funding from elsewhere in the district would harm other programs. He said he hoped that funding issues will ease once the economy recovers.

Another parent suggested that the district should make a greater effort to publicize the program, perhaps through library programs for the age group, or through the YMCA.

District safety programs

District Director of Auxiliary Services Hal Garland presented a report on safety programs in the district. He introduced the Safe2Tell program, a partnership with the Colorado State Patrol that allows citizens to anonymously report suspicious activity in order to avoid violence and other dangerous consequences.

Garland said that he has spoken to the student councils in the district and plans to train administrators, teachers, and students to administer the program. Posters are prominently displayed in the schools, and students are offered incentives to program the Safe2Tell contact number into their cell phones. The program should be in full effect by the beginning of the next school year.

Garland then described the District Crisis Plan for such situations as fire, tornado, lockdowns, and weather emergencies. He said that the crisis team consists of Superintendent Blanch, Garland, public information personnel, and counselors. Each school had developed its own crisis plan, and each classroom has specific instructions as well.

At the school level, the principal is in charge of a response. For example, in the case of a lockdown, the principal would call 911, police would contact Blanch, and the principal would proceed with the lockdown. The command center for the situation would be the principal’s office.

Garland reported that the district had received a $30,000 federal grant for a risk assessment program in the schools. The funds were sufficient to allow both high schools and a middle school to be examined and a report to be generated. The result of the program is to produce information that would be essential in an emergency, such as floor plans of the building, emergency contacts, photos of the interior, and so forth. This information would be provided to law enforcement officials and rapid responders when necessary, and access to the information would be strictly limited.

An additional safety precaution is monthly school-level exercises such as fire drills, lockdown drills, and tornado drills. At the district level, table exercises to address district-wide threats would be conducted.

Garland reported that the school resource officer, an employee of the Sheriff’s Office, serves all school locations, and that the officer’s contract for the coming year is being finalized with the county. An additional resource is the Palmer Divide Public Safety Group, consisting of local and county rapid responders.

Salary freeze in effect

Superintendent Blanch said that there will be a salary freeze for all district employees next year. He said that federal stimulus funds cannot be used for salaries. The state is putting aside some revenue until January and, if the money becomes available, a single stipend payment may be possible at that time.

Blanch said he had gone to all school campuses in the district to explain the situation. He pointed out that even school districts that passed mill levies last year are receiving less than anticipated.

Board members expressed concern that staff may view this as a decrease in salary expectation and that it would affect the district’s ability to recruit good staff. Board member John Mann commented that the district must ensure that the community understands that the administration had done all in its power to avoid this situation. He said that the quality of the staff is excellent and the situation regrettable.

Board member Gail Wilson expressed concern about retention of teachers and the possible delay of professional development due to lack of funding. She suggested that some in-house experts might offer classes for their colleagues and receive a stipend in exchange for their extra efforts.

Subsequently the board discussed options for freeing funds from non-educational sources to augment the salary budget and strategies for improving the preschool situation by seeking additional space resources and adding art and physical education to the curriculum.

Community recognition

Scholarship awards were presented to students who participated in the annual art contest sponsored by Air Academy Federal Credit Union. Their works will be shown at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Superintendent Blanch expressed appreciation for the credit union’s sponsorship and commented that this program is an example of support for the whole child—part of the district’s strategic vision.

The Pikes Peak Workforce Center was commended for donating $50,000 to the district for the STEM program, supporting science, technology, engineering, and math in the schools. Blanch said that the funds will provide equipment for a pre-engineering program in the high schools. A future goal is to create a similar program for aerospace studies.

Diana Secola presented an award for an adaptive physical education program funded by Sertoma, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, and the Knights of Columbus. Students participating in the program presented the certificates to the sponsors.

Consent agenda approved

The board approved routine matters concerning minutes of previous meetings, course proposals, resignations, staff appointments, student fees, insurance providers, meal price increases, and a monthly budget summary.

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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 on June 18 at 6 p.m. with a reception at 5:30 p.m.

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Lundeen retires

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Below: The student assembly and retirement ceremony May 20 for Monument Academy Principal/Senior Administrator Jane Lundeen. Lundeen started work at MA as a teacher in 1999 and was promoted to Senior Administrator in 2005. A slide show showed several important moments from each year in Lundeen’s tenure. Recent highlights of Lundeen’s career include the opening of the new school building last September and another enrollment expansion of an additional 100 students in the coming school year. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, May 12: School panel looks back at year’s issues

By Harriet Halbig

At its final meeting of the 2008-09 school year, the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 District Accountability Advisory Committee discussed its achievements of the year and plans for the upcoming school term.

Chairman Mirielle Bock conducted a discussion of the highlights of the committee’s activities and a definition of the group’s responsibilities. During the year, such topics as weighted grades, changes in the elementary report card, school improvement plans, a charter school application, and control of rumors about school closures were presented at length. In addition, two safety programs, ISAFE, involving Internet use, and Safe2Tell, regarding anonymous reporting of dangerous situations, were also presented.

Members of the group commented that the school improvement plans, which were distributed early in the year, should be stressed more, with each school required to speak on its efforts, priorities, and outcomes. This year, the school presentations tended to report on one aspect of the school’s plan (such as community involvement). Although Colorado Student Assessment Program statistics are a dry and unentertaining topic, they should be made available to prove whether a school’s goals were met in that area.

A parent in attendance suggested that a way to become familiar with each school’s activities would be for the committee to meet at a different school each month. This would make it possible for members to ask questions of that school’s staff and see firsthand how programs were promoted and executed. This would also ensure that all school improvement plans would be addressed in the course of a year.

Another parent felt that the committee was not acting in an advisory capacity to a great extent, but rather passively receiving reports about district activities. The only case in which the committee offered advice was in examining, discussing, and deciding on the worth of the application for a new charter school in the area.

Other topics that the committee had briefly addressed earlier in the year were improved nutrition of school meals, training in grant writing, and the development of an academic integrity program (a code of ethics addressing such issues as cheating and plagiarism). All of these could offer opportunities for the committee to act in an advisory capacity.

Also during the meeting, the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), represented by Special Education Director Julie O’Brien, facilitator Amy Wasson and board member Ilanit Bennaim, gave a report on their activities for the year. They reported that, of 180 administrative entities in the state, only 17 have local SEACs, and ours is one of the best. The committee is open to parents, staff, and members of the public who have an interest in special education.

Committee achievements of the past year included redesign of the committee Web site, presentation of several parent information programs, and a special education resource fair.

Goals of the committee include increasing parent participation in the committee and increasing availability of information about district programs to area newcomers.

Becky Yoder and Cathy Wilcox presented a report on community involvement efforts at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. The presentation, created by Lewis-Palmer TV students, covered such activities as Walk to School Day (supporting a grant to Palmer Lake to build sidewalks near the school); a Veterans Day program, including a breakfast for veterans and an oral history project; National Junior Honor Society participation in library programs; and efforts to support the Heifer Project, a charity providing livestock to those in developing countries. The Heifer Project is supported through the sale of cookbooks.

Wilcox also reported that Best Buy donated $5,000 to fund equipment for Lewis-Palmer TV. Students came to the store and researched the products available in order to best invest the funds.

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The District Accountability Advisory Committee will next meet at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of September (September 8) in the learning center of the district administration building (Big Red), 146 Jefferson St., Monument.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Special Education Advisory Committee, May 8: Panel evaluates achievements, changes meeting format

Click here or on the photo to zoom in

Below: Special Education Director Julie O’Brien, Someone Who Cares coordinator Suzanne Faber, award recipient Ilanit Bennaim, and SEAC Chair Brent Byrnes selebrate Ilanit’s award. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Harriet Halbig

The Special Education Advisory Committee of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 held its last meeting of the 2008-09 academic year on May 8.

It was reported that the development of the new Web site will continue, to go online sometime during the summer. Delays were caused by a change in the server for the school district. The design work has been completed.

Ilanit Bennaim, who chaired the parent support activities during the 2008-09 school year, said she spoke with all participants in the special education resource fair and all were willing to make presentations before the committee if requested. She asked members of the committee to submit their three top preferences for presentations during the coming year.

Following a brief discussion, the committee voted to change its meeting time from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, and to include parent support activities within the monthly meetings instead of on different nights. It was hoped that this change would encourage larger attendance at the monthly meetings, with the understanding that those in attendance could leave after the program if they wish.

Suzanne Faber reported on the Someone Who Cares award program, reporting that a number of nominations had been received and presentations would be made during the following week.

Faber also announced that Bennaim would receive a Someone Who Cares award for her organization of the community resource fair. The nomination read, in part, "It is so admirable how she has organized so many providers to participate and has been so thoughtful of the needs of our community." The award was presented by Faber, Special Education Director Julie O’Brien and committee Chair Brent Byrnes.

O’Brien gave a brief report on the committee’s presentation to the District Accountability Advisory Committee and mentioned that Amy Wasson, a special education facilitator who has attended many committee events, was moving from the area. She said that the position has been posted.

O’Brien announced that Faber and Sandy Warren would represent SEAC on the Stimulus Funding Task Force, a group tasked with determining how any received funds will be spent. She said that the application process for about $850,000 will be open from June 1 until July 15.

Cheryl Wangeman, the district’s assistant superintendent for operations, gave a brief presentation on the 2009-10 budget. She explained the demographics of the community, with the next senior class numbering 525 and the incoming kindergarten class numbering 230.

The state has altered its budgeting process to now budget on a quarterly basis, Wangeman said. The district expects an increase in funds of 2.5 percent and a reduction of 137 students. Stimulus funds and some competition grants may result in additional funding.

Wangeman praised the district for the highest graduation rate in the state and the highest English Language Learning performance in the state. However, due to the small size of the local at-risk population (6-8 percent qualify for free lunch benefits), the likelihood of much additional funding from the state is reduced.

Wangeman stressed the need for flexibility during this time to maximize the use of what funding is available.

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The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee will be on the second Wednesday of September (September 9) in the learning center of the school administration building at 146 Jefferson St. in Monument.

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El Paso County Planning Commission, May 19: Palomino, Gleneagle proposals advance

By Steve Sery

It had been a long time since the El Paso County Planning Commission had dealt with an issue concerning the Tri-Lakes area, but there were two such items on the May 19 agenda.

Palomino Reserve final plat approved

The proposed Palomino Reserve subdivision is located southwest of the intersection of Highway 83 and County Line Road. It is very straightforward, 88 acres, zoned residential/rural being subdivided into 15 single-family lots with a minimum lot size of 5 acres. This was a consent item, meaning little or no discussion. It was approved unanimously.

Gleneagle amended sketch plan and rezone approved

The commission considered a request to convert 10.35 acres of the 103.78-acre Gleneagle Golf Course to accommodate 47 town/patio homes. The 10.35 acres is currently the driving range. The applicant claimed to have lost $100 million-plus for at least the past three years and needed this development to create new revenue and increase club membership.

A large group of Gleneagle residents was present in opposition. The residents gave a very professional presentation, basing their opposition mainly on incompatibility with the County Master Plan and the Tri-Lakes sub-area plan. The applicant and county staff believed it to be compatible with both plans.

The applicant’s options, if this plan were not approved, are to close the golf course (not an unlikely option as over 120 courses closed last year and 75 so far this year in the U.S.) or to develop the entire golf course as currently zoned, RR5. Many other issues were raised, for and against.

Of particular concern to some of the commissioners were the safety of the homes that would line both sides of hole 6, and traffic issues. After a five-hour session, the proposals were approved 6-1 with at least two commissioners indicating that unless the safety issues were better addressed at the preliminary plan stage, they might not vote in favor. 

Note: The sole no vote was cast by Eddie Bracken. The project will now be scheduled for a hearing before the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The BOCC will make the final decision regarding the project subject only to legal challenge in district court.

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, May 22: Merrifield casts deciding committee vote to eliminate state funds for widening I-25

Below: I-25 Baptist Road Interchange expansion project manager Bob Torres and El Paso County Engineer Andre Brackin present the BRRTA construction update on May 22 in Monument’s new Town Hall meeting room. Torres reported that the interchange project is on time and cost. Brackin reported that the Baptist Road widening project and the Struthers Road extension project are very close to completion. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

By Jim Kendrick

On May 22, County Commissioner Wayne Williams explained why he had to hang up on the previous Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) meeting that he was "attending" via cell phone while he was waiting to testify at the State House in Denver on April 23. Williams had to go testify at a House Transportation Committee hearing, where he spoke in opposition to proposed revisions to House Bill 09-1310 that cut state road improvement funding for El Paso County.

When Williams hung up, the quorum for the April 23 BRRTA meeting was lost and several unaddressed agenda items were continued to the May 22 meeting, the first to be held in Monument’s new Town Hall and Police Department building. County Commissioner Amy Lathen was absent from the May 22 session.

Williams stated that District 18 State Rep. Mike Merrifield of Colorado Springs cast the deciding vote to move the bill out of the House Transportation Committee "on a 6-5 party line vote." The revision eliminated the long-standing "funding source" of internally transferring state general fund revenues to road construction and repairs and "completely eliminates all money for strategic projects in our community." The resulting cuts in state funding for the Monument-Colorado Springs area totaled $600 million, including the planned sources of revenue for:

  • Reimbursing BRRTA’s bond principal for expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange.
  • Widening I-25 from Monument to Colorado Springs.
  • Completing construction of the Powers Boulevard extension project.

House Bill 09-1310 and Senate Bill 1 eliminated the source for a total of $14 billion from the $40 billion Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) long-range budget plan for 28 strategic state corridors through 2035. The bills were subsequently passed and signed by Gov. Bill Ritter. About 20 percent of that long-range plan funding is for projects in the Monument-Colorado Springs area, Williams added. CDOT still intends to repay BRRTA $15 million for the bond principal when funding becomes available, but it will be much harder for subsequent legislatures and CDOT to "find the funding" for the repayment. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n5.htm#brrta for details of the April 23 meeting.)

This budget cut does not affect the expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange. The $21.5 million in revenue bonds used to pay for the interchange project are funded by a temporary 20-year 1-cent sales tax imposed within BRRTA’s geographical boundaries. This sales tax revenue is sufficient to pay off the bonds in 20 years if CDOT never pays back BRRTA for the bond principal as previously promised. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n6.htm#brrta for more details of BRRTA’s financing of the interchange expansion.)

The construction costs for the widening of Baptist Road from the Jackson Creek Parkway eastward past Desiree Drive was paid for by revenues from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) temporary 10-year sales tax. BRRTA road use fees covered the cost of the widening project’s engineering design. The project for widening and realigning Struthers Road to connect to the Jackson Creek Parkway intersection was also paid for by PPRTA funds. Neither project was affected by the CDOT funding cut Williams discussed.

Financial items

Carrie Bartow of accounting firm Clifton Gunderson LLP gave the first quarterly report under the firm’s new CPA contract with BRRTA. Clifton Gunderson is the parent company for BRRTA’s district management firm R.S. Wells LLC and took over from former accounting firm BKD LLP at the start of 2009. Bartow noted that her first report is in draft form until the 2008 audit is completed. BKD will continue to work for BRRTA in closing out the 2008 audit by Dawn Schilling. The audit will be submitted to the state by the end of July. Bartow’s quarterly report was unanimously accepted as a draft.

Bartow suggested that the BRRTA board consider moving cash reserves held by the bond fund trustee, American National Bank, out of the SEI Daily Income Trust account paying 0.13 percent interest and into a Colotrust Prime account that would pay 0.19 percent interest. Bartow said the transfer would yield an increase in interest income of about $48,000 per year. Bartow will provide a statement comparing safety assurance levels of these alternatives.

The board unanimously approved three checks totaling $10,110 and unanimously ratified the payment of three construction requisitions totaling $1,279,206:

  • A check for $750 to American National Bank for banking fees
  • A check for $4,478 to Grimshaw & Harring PC for legal fees
  • A check for $4,882 to R.S. Wells LLC for district management expenses
  • A requisition for $122,108 to Jacobs Engineering for interchange project management
  • A requisition for $2,694 to PBS&J Engineering for interchange engineering design services
  • A requisition for $1,154,404 to Lawrence Construction Co. for interchange construction

BRRTA’s district manager, Denise Denslow of R.S. Wells, reported that the outstanding balance on vendors not paying BRRTA the revenue owed from collection of the authority’s 1-cent sales tax has dramatically dropped from over $100,000 last month to $12,000. The number of non-complying vendors has dropped to just one small vendor. She is also working with the state department of collections to investigate surprisingly low sales tax revenue payments from one "significant vendor" and to conduct an audit before the normal three-year interval. Denslow said that the state’s support of her efforts to bring all of BRRTA’s vendors into compliance is "a huge success story."

Denslow also reported the collection of about $50,000 in back road use fees. She expects to be able to report full road use fee compliance to bondholders in June.

Construction update

Baptist/Struthers Road wrapping up: County engineer Andre Brackin reported that general contractor Rocky Mountain Materials & Asphalt submitted its final invoice for widening Baptist Road on May 12, as well as the release of retainage fees (warranty deposits) to Rocky Mountain.

The sidewalks on Leather Chaps between Baptist Road and Lyons Tail Road have been completed, generating an unexpected and unbudgeted expense of $19,017. A Letter of Map Revision for the new drainage channel at the Gleneagle Drive intersection has yet to be performed by PBS&J. When completed, the revised drainage documentation will be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The remaining unpaid cost for PBS&J to prepare these documents is $15,000

Brackin noted that there were several transfers of leftover money from other PPRTA projects into PPRTA’s Baptist/Struthers project budget to handle unforeseen additional expenses caused primarily by utility relocation delays by Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA). The total additional funding transferred was about $500,000. Several planned project features were eliminated to offset the overruns caused by MVEA delays, including planned paving of the new Baptist Road median to match the new Struthers Road median.

The final PPRTA budget for the two projects was $12,487,599. The Baptist Road project cost was $8,754,244, and the Struthers Road cost was $4,255,927, for a total of $13,010,171. BRRTA contributed a total of $625,449, and developers and the Town of Monument contributed a total of $102,123 for the Gleneagle Drive traffic signal. Another $15,000 will be billed to BRRTA for the remaining work by PBS&J. The final cost from Rocky Mountain was $10,186,932.

There will be about $205,000 left in the combined PPRTA project accounts. This remaining money will be returned for PPRTA for use in its other projects.

Monument Trustee Travis Easton asked that BRRTA install landscaping in the new Baptist Road median to match landscaping in the Jackson Creek Parkway median with some of the remaining PPRTA funds or BRRTA funds. The original county plan for widening Baptist Road called for paving in the median, similar to that installed in the new Struthers Road median. Baptist and Struthers Roads are county roads. Jackson Creek Parkway is a town road.

The town has been making this request for Baptist Road median landscaping for several months in response to citizen complaints about the gravel currently installed in the median washing onto the roadway every time it rains.

Williams replied that none of these remaining PPRTA funds should be used for landscaping or paving the Baptist Road median. Williams also noted that the BRRTA board specifically voted against the installation of irrigation lines for landscaping as well as any paving in the median to stay within the project’s budget. Any landscaping installed in the median now would require watering by a tank truck, an expensive proposition that the county has not budgeted and cannot afford. The county has a long-standing policy of not irrigating its medians.

Easton requested that a discussion of relative costs for installing and watering landscaping or installing paving on top of the Baptist Road median be added to the agenda for the next BRRTA meeting on July 10. Brackin said he could provide cost estimates for these options for that meeting.

Interchange update: Project manager Bob Torres of Jacobs Engineering reported that Lawrence Construction is on time and on schedule for the interchange expansion project. However, there are some potential problems looming that could cause delays and/or cost increases. A new sedimentation basin had to be built behind Home Depot to control higher than expected drainage there. Torres also noted Lawrence’s ability to conclude all earth work that affects Preble’s mouse habitat and wetlands ahead of schedule.

Two potential problems are delays in relocation of electric power lines by MVEA and phone lines by Qwest from existing poles located where future lanes to the bridges and ramps are to be constructed. BRRTA has already obtained new underground easements for these companies to bury their lines. Lawrence has already paid MVEA to bury the lines and remove the poles.

MVEA previously caused several months of delay and excess costs for Rocky Mountain while the company was widening Baptist Road. At one point Rocky Mountain moved all of its paving equipment away from the site to other projects because no work could be performed until the MVEA lines were buried under the new lane locations.

The board briefly noted stalled negotiations for initial construction of a Baptist Road access road to the THF hardware store property on the northeast side of the interchange through the vacant ADK Monument Developers property to the east. Substantive discussions on negotiating positions were deferred to an executive session at the end of the meeting. BRRTA is required to provide a new access road to the THF property now that the Struthers frontage road between Baptist and Higby is closed.

Torres said that Lawrence has been working hard to sustain erosion and storm water control on the construction site during numerous thunderstorms. The original interchange design assumed that storm water improvements to the THF and ADK properties that are required by the project would have already been installed. However, these developers have not built them.

Another significant interchange problem for Lawrence is the failure of the property owners of the Valero truck stop to construct the new service lines that are needed to connect the building to the water and wastewater utilities that the Town of Monument installed to the edge of their property line in January. Valero was obligated to make the connection within 60 days under the agreement with BRRTA and the town.

The truck stop is in the Triview Metropolitan District service area and must pay water and sanitary sewer tap fees to Triview. The new wastewater collection line was installed by Jacobs Engineering for the town and runs along the north side of Baptist Road between Old Denver Highway, and the southwest side of the truck stop property is connected to the Triview interceptor line at the intersection of Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway.

The new BRRTA water main was also installed by Jacobs and paid for by Monument. However, water service will be provided by Forest Lakes Metropolitan District because neither the town nor Triview have any water mains near Baptist Road on the west side of I-25.

The BRRTA board unanimously approved a motion to dedicate this installed water main to Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. Through an agreement with Triview, the metro district will provide warranty service for the new water main if any problems arise.

Construction of the new I-25 southbound off ramp and westbound acceleration lane will require demolition and removal of the truck stop’s failed septic system. The county Health Department condemned the septic system in 2008, requiring the connection to the Triview sanitary sewer system. The curbing required for the acceleration lane will force the permanent closure of the existing entrance to the truck stop. The new truck stop access is located to the north of Baptist Road on the west side of the Valero property. An access road will extend westward to a new north-south access road to be built in the adjacent vacant lot to the west, in the location where the long-abandoned original concrete Denver Highway is being excavated. The vacant lot between I-25 and Old Denver Highway is owned by Phoenix Bell, which also owns the vacant land behind the Monument Marketplace Home Depot, to the north of the THF and ADK properties.

The board directed that BRRTA attorney Jim Hunsaker contact Valero’s attorney to remind Valero that Lawrence Construction will be removing the truck stop’s septic tanks in June to stay on schedule.

Baptist Road Exit 158 closing on June 13: Torres noted that demolition of the existing two-lane Baptist Road bridge over I-25 will most likely occur on June 13-14 starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, concluding Sunday morning or afternoon. I-25 traffic will be detoured to Struthers Road and Jackson Creek Parkway at the Northgate Road and Monument exits, respectively.

The new northern four-lane span will be used for westbound traffic after all construction is completed. A similar new four-lane span will be built for eastbound traffic over I-25 after the existing two-lane bridge is demolished and removed. Both new spans will have two through lanes and two left-turn lanes for a total of eight new lanes.

Torres concluded by saying that he currently estimates 95 percent completion of the interchange expansion by Thanksgiving, barring serious delays due to heavy thunderstorms, utility relocation, or problems with the access road for THF through the ADK property.

Higby Road negotiations continue

There was a lengthy discussion on how BRRTA, PRRTA, Monument, and the county could share the cost for improving the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway now that Struthers Road between Higby and Baptist Roads has been closed along with the west end of Higby. The major stumbling block is Monument’s desire to eliminate the existing high crown in Higby Road. This crown was designed to provide drainage of storm water from Higby Road, long before construction of Jackson Creek Parkway was ever contemplated. There was a disagreement about whether the county or the town owns the intersection now that Jackson Creek Parkway has been built. Higby is a county road.

The required work would be supervised by Jacobs Engineering. Torres confirmed his April 23 estimate that the total cost should be no more than $70,000. There was some initial consensus on what the required items are, who will perform them, and who will pay for them:

  • Surveying and engineering plans for regrading the intersection and constructing an additional southbound lane (Jacobs Engineering—BRRTA)
  • Roto-milling and removing the existing asphalt in the intersection (Lawrence Construction—BRRTA)
  • Regrading the intersection (Lawrence Construction—payer to be determined)
  • Widening Jackson Creek Parkway to three lanes north of the Higby intersection with new asphalt paving (Lawrence Construction—BRRTA change order )
  • Restriping the intersection for the dedicated left-turn and through lane for southbound Jackson Creek Parkway (Monument Public Works—Monument)
  • Putting up new directional signs for the revised lanes (Monument Public Works—Monument)
  • Recalibrating the timing and positioning for the existing county traffic signals (county Department of Transportation—payer to be determined)

Monument Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara again suggested that the county and town split the cost of regrading and repaving the intersection. He added that this intersection is not in Triview Metropolitan District, though the Home Place Ranch developer is obligated to add turn lanes and straighten Higby Road along the development’s frontage according to the approved Planned Development site plan.

Williams replied that the town had experienced more growth in sales and property tax revenue than the county and the town could better afford to pay for the regrading that it was requesting. Brackin said he would see if the county has any funds to offer for the unforeseen regrading of Higby Road. Regrading the county road was not included in the county Transportation Department’s budget.

There was consensus that BRRTA will initially pay for all of these improvements, up to $70,000, and then be reimbursed by the town and county for their shares of the cost. Construction will begin in June after the conclusion of classes at the Lewis-Palmer High School.

Road use fee structure revisions discussed

Hunsaker advised the board of the Fairfield Inn’s threat of a lawsuit over what the property owner, Olive Real Estate Group Inc., believes are unfairly high road use fees for this type of hotel in the proposed expanded commercial fee structure. Olive has already opened for business in the Monument Ridge development on the southeast corner of Baptist and Struthers Roads and paid a much higher road use fee than it would be charged under the new fee structure, so it is also asking for a refund of the difference if a new schedule is adopted, which BRRTA has tentatively agreed to.

Background: At the April 23 BRRTA meeting, Olive representative Jim Di Biase of Fairfield told the board that the "hotel’s opinion" is that the authority’s designation of the inn as a "full service hotel" would lead to it being charged an unfairly high road use fee under the new schedule.

Di Biase added that Olive’s traffic engineering firm had sent supporting documentation from a study conducted by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), which publishes the national industry-standard ITE Trip Generation handbook, to BRRTA’s traffic engineer—Felsburg, Holt, & Ullevig—as requested. Di Biase also stated that the inn does not have "conference facilities, restaurants, bars, etc. This market can’t support that and probably wouldn’t support that type of use for 20-plus years." Di Biase asked that Felsburg and BRRTA use the lower traffic figure for the ITE category for business and limited service hotels rather than the higher traffic generation listed for a full service hotel. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n5.htm#brrta for more background on Olive’s rationale for demanding a lower use fee.)

Williams and Hunsaker noted that the fee for single family homes will not change from $1,500. The fee for multifamily homes may decrease slightly. Hunsaker then asked the board to postpone discussion of this fee schedule issue until he could provide legal advice on the matter in executive session.

Forest Lakes representative Dennis Menchow asked the board to provide an analysis that shows the new fee structure is revenue neutral for future commercial properties to be built in his development. He also suggested applying the new fee structure to the known history of BRRTA fee collections in the past to compare the amount that would have been collected to actual fees collected.

Williams replied that the board’s "instruction" to Felsburg, Holt, & Ullevig was to propose a revenue neutral fee schedule proposal with more categories to increase fairness due to the wide variety of businesses that could be built in the future. However, no analysis can guarantee a revenue neutral outcome without full knowledge of how and when each vacant commercial lot within BRRTA will be developed in the future. No one on the board has any intention to raise residential fees at this time.

County Commissioner Dennis Hisey concurred, stating that the board can only tell each developer that the intent of the new fee schedule is to be revenue neutral and fairer to all concerned. Denslow noted that the kind of analysis Menchow was requesting was not part of the concluded contract with Felsburg.

The board went into an executive session at 4:07 p.m. to receive legal advice and develop negotiating strategies. No votes were taken on the fee structure issue after the executive session was concluded. Hearings on the proposed new road use fee structure will be advertised for the July 10 BRRTA meeting.

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The next BRRTA meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on July 10 at the new Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road, on the southwest corner of the Highway 105 intersection. Meetings are normally held every other month at 2:30 p.m. on the second Friday of the month.

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May Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Temperatures were normal for the month, with highs slightly below average and lows slightly above average. For the second month in a row, we received above normal precipitation, but unlike in April, all the moisture fell as rain. In fact, this was the first May in the last seven years that we didn’t pick up measurable snow.

Overnight lows were consistently above freezing as well, with only two nights falling into the 20s—again very unusual. This was a product of two features. First, no strong Canadian cold front moved in, instead most of the flow was from the Pacific Northwest, so we continually got hit with modified maritime polar air masses. Second, the constant barrage of moist air and clouds meant traditional cooling was limited compared to normal.

Of course, this works both ways, so the moisture and clouds kept daytime highs from getting out of hand. We did have one warm spell, where high pressure out of the desert Southwest provided a warm air mass and sunshine, and temperatures reached into the upper 70s to mid-80s from the 17th through the 20th.

The first full week of May started off a little wet and cool behind a departing storm system. The first three days of the month saw dreary conditions, with low clouds, fog, drizzle, and rain. Temperatures were oh so close to snow, with highs in the low 40s and lows in the low to mid-30s. Right on the heels of this storm, some windy and mild weather moved in as highs reached all the way into the upper 70s on the 6th and 7th. A few areas did touch the low 80s during the afternoon of the 7th. This warmth and sunshine really got things turning green around the area, as plants enjoyed the bountiful moisture left behind during April.

This warmth was ahead of a weak storm system that moved through overnight on the 7th into the morning of the 8th. This dropped the temperature back below normal, with highs in the upper 50s and low 60s. Winds turned to more of an upslope direction as we headed into the weekend of the 9th. This allowed extensive areas of low clouds, fog, drizzle, and light rain to develop, especially on the 9th and 10th.

The 11th through the 17th was a bit of an up and down week temperature-wise but overall pretty pleasant. Temperatures swung from the low 60s on the afternoon of the 11th to the upper 70s and low 80s the next afternoon as southwesterly winds kicked in. This was ahead of a weak storm that moved through and dropped temperatures back down to the 60s the next two afternoons.

Warmth returned again on the 15th, before another cool front brought low clouds, fog, and drizzle on the 16th and kept highs only in the 50s. But the last day of the weekend saw a beautiful rebound as highs jumped back into the upper 70s under sunny skies.

The week of the 18th started off more like summer than spring, as highs hit the 80s area-wide for the first time this season on the 18th and 19th. And, much like summer, afternoon thunderstorms developed each day, dropping some quick one-fourth to half-inch amounts of rain around the region. Cooler unsettled conditions then moved in for the remainder of the week, with temperatures dropping from the 70s on the 20th to the 50s on the 21st, and then holding in the 60s through the holiday weekend.

Each day saw plenty of clouds, fog, thunderstorms, and rain, with most of us picking up and inch or two for the week. Of course, this has helped things get awfully green, and when combined with the abundant moisture since late March, we are now above normal for precipitation for the year and for the snow season. Unfortunately, those who had outdoor plans for Memorial Day weekend didn’t have the best weather, but I guess it could have been worse—at least it wasn’t snowing.

The last week of the month was right about normal, with highs ranging from the upper 50s on the 26th to the low and mid-70s from the 28th through the 31st. Typical diurnal patterns set up as well, with morning sunshine giving way to afternoon clouds and scattered thunderstorms. The strongest of the storms did produce areas of heavy rain on the afternoon and evenings of the 30th and 31st.

A look ahead

By June we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snow but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. There are times when we see a little snow in June in the Tri-Lakes region, but most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

May 2009 Weather Statistics

Average High 66.1° (-1.8°)
Average Low 37.6° (+1.7°)
Highest Temperature 83°F on the 18th and 19th
Lowest Temperature 28°F on the 9th
Monthly Precipitation 2.33" (+0.71" 30% above normal) 
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-6.2" 100% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 131.9" (-4.3" 3% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 23.13" (+2.75" 13% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 402 (-2)
Cooling Degree Days 0

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

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

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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Memorial Day, May 25

Click here or on the photo to zoom in

Below: May 25: Memorial Day Services at The Monument Cemetery. The Scouts raising the flag are A.J. Freeman, Ben Finger, and Derek Emeis. Scouts and adult leaders in the foreground are C.J. Lazarakis, Dr. Dallas Thompson, John Magerko (Troop 6), Mark Emeis, Jeff Freeman, Robin Chambers, and Frank Delalla. Photo by Brandy Evers.

Click on the photo to zoom in

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Letters to Our Community

Cops for Kids’ donation appreciated

Monument Police Department’s Police Cadet Explorer Program would like to thank the Cops for Kids program and their community supporters for a recent donation.

The Police Cadet program is financially supported by fundraising where Cadets work in the community at events to raise money for uniforms and training opportunities, or by donations. Cops for Kids recently donated $300 to the Police Cadet Program for the purchasing of three new cadet uniforms. The program has recently expanded from five active cadets to approximately nine cadets, and two applications are still in the process.

Our Cadets support the community through various community service projects like: trash cleaning detail around the Crystal Creek area at North Washington Street, Youth Fingerprint Identification cards, information tables at Health and other Safety Fairs in town, educating youth at Bike Safety day, and participating in Stranger Danger presentations and in parking details or at the missing youth station at the annual Fourth of July celebrations in the Tri-Lakes area.

Cadets also serve the Police Department by helping records with data entry, as firearms range hands, and in other training assistance to local officers.

This program is open by application for youth between the ages of 14 (and finished with eighth grade) and 21.

Our mission is: To promote and actively involve youth by providing training and insight into all phases of the justice system; to foster personal development in leadership skills through law enforcement as a potential career; and to support an environment for understanding and teamwork between the Monument Police Department and the young citizens.

We want to invest the program in the service of our town through a foundation of good citizenship skills and practices. With these new uniforms made possible through the Cops for Kids donation, we hope to see our supporters at the events and encourage you to introduce yourselves to us.

Thank you on behalf of the program and Cadets.

Chad Haynes
Community Youth Officer,
Program Advisor

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Women’s Club thanks many

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club held their 33rd annual Pine Forest Antiques Show and Sale on May 2 and 3 at Lewis-Palmer High School. The funds raised at this show will be returned to the local D-38 community in the form of grants to deserving public service, educational and nonprofit organizations.

We would like to thank all the Tri-Lakes Community, D-38 school system personnel, our show manager and the antique dealers, our Women’s Club volunteers, our corporate sponsors—Peoples National Bank, The Gazette, First National Bank of Monument, Dr. Larry Adams, Associates in Dental Care, John Eyer, PEAK VALUE$, and Tri-Lakes Printing—and the following individuals/community businesses and organizations for their support of this show: Jim and Donna Maguire, King Soopers, Safeway, Rotelli, Nick-n-Willy’s, Serranos, Taylor Farms, Bubbles Liquor Mart of Castle Rock, Sertoma, the Serteens, and Our Community News.

We are very grateful for the continuing support of our local community, which has enabled us to grant more than $540,000 back to the Tri-Lakes community.

Sherry Sieg, Mary Mills
Co-chairmen, Charitable Events
, Tri-Lakes Women’s Club

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Stop at the Click: Save fuel and the environment

You know that "click" you hear when the gas pump automatically stops filling up your car? That’s your cue to pull out the nozzle, because filling the car any more than that is overfilling, and the vapor from spills is a big factor in air pollution.

"Click" is the term being used by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) in its latest campaign, called "Stop at the Click," to spread the word that overfilling your vehicle’s gas tank is bad for public health and the environment.

June 1 marks the beginning of the summer ozone season, a period of heightened exposure to ground-level ozone that affects everyone’s breathing, particularly asthmatic children and older adults with lung disease. The campaign hopes to prevent higher levels of ozone in the region’s air.

Ozone does not come from a particular source such as the tailpipe of a car. Ozone forms when sunlight causes a chemical reaction between hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. That means that ordinary items like lawn equipment and oil-based paints can combine with sunlight to give off emissions.

Not only do greater concentrations of ozone raise a public health concern, they also can trigger more stringent federal regulations on cars and trucks. So in addition to "stopping at the click," you can take other basic precautions:

  • Avoid long periods of idling in a vehicle—30 seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off your engine and restarting it.
  • Get gas in the early morning or evening.
  • Get the gas cap tested to prevent gas from evaporating.
  • Use water-based paints, stains, and solvents.
  • Use paintbrushes and rollers instead of spray paints.
  • Keep lawn equipment well maintained.
  • Mow the lawn in the early morning or evening.
  • Use a charcoal chimney or electric lighter instead of lighter fluid.

To learn more about the Stop at the Click program and other ozone prevention measures, visit www.ppacg.org

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Summertime, and the readin’ is easy

By the staff at Covered Treasures

On an airplane, in the car, by the pool, at the beach, or even at a soccer game, an amusing, absorbing book provides an enjoyable way to pass the time. A few new releases—and some older ones—that may catch your interest and brighten the summer months are highlighted below.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
By Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon Books), $23.95

The tenth, and latest, installment in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series finds Precious Ramotswe in personal need of her own formidable detection talents. How can she save her tiny white van from the junkyard? How can she divert her assistant’s fiancé from the attentions of an old rival? And how can Precious, who has never even seen a football match, help explain a football team’s dreadful losing streak? A good cup of red bush tea, thinks the traditionally built Mme. Ramotswe, might be the best way to begin finding solutions to these problems.

Busy Woman Seeks Wife
By Annie Sanders (5 Spot), $13.99

When Alex Hill’s demanding mother moves in with her, Alex realizes she needs someone more committed than a maid—what she needs is a "wife." Someone distinctly male shows up, and Alex can’t help wondering if her new "wife" could perhaps have husband potential.

Beowulf on the Beach
By Jack Murnighan (Three Rivers Press), $15

Have you ever felt bad about not reading, or not enjoying, the so-called great books? Maybe it’s because no one ever told you that Anna Karenina is a beach read, that Dickens is hilarious, or that The Iliad’s battle scenes rival Hollywood’s for gore. Professor Jack Murnighan will tell you that and more in this fun-loving field guide to 50 of the biggest (and most skipped) classics of all time. With a little help, you’ll see how the great books can make you laugh, moisten your eyes, and leave you awestruck and deeply moved.

The Lost Continent
By Bill Bryson (Harper), $14.99

This hilarious account of one man’s rediscovery of America and his search for the perfect small town is Bryson at his witty, sensitive best. A melancholy memoir becomes a humorous, biting travelogue that rings true to many who have lived in small towns. You can always spot an Iowa man, Bryson says, because he is wearing a baseball cap advertising John Deere or a feed company, and in New Mexico, towns are so small, you might find only a gas station, three houses, one tree, and a dog.

Where’s Waldo? The Ultimate Travel Collection
By Martin Handford (Candlewick), $12.99

This new, compact and portable collection of five awe-inspiring Where’s Waldo? books will keep any child—or adult—occupied and enthralled during a long, otherwise tedious trip or outing. From the Aztecs and the Middle Ages to Hollywood and Gobbling Gluttons, the book is filled with color, energy, and smiling people.

B Is for Beer
By Tom Robbins (Harper Collins), $17.95

Billed as "A Children’s Book for Grown-ups" and "A Grown-up Book for Children," this is the work of best-selling novelist Robbins, who is internationally known for his ability to seriously illuminate and comically entertain. Characters include a smart, adventurous kindergartner named Gracie; her distracted mommy; her insensitive dad; her non-conformist uncle; and a magical, butt-kicking intruder from a world within our world.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
By Alan Bradley (Delacorte), $23

Whether you are a mystery lover or not, you will enjoy Flavia de Luce, the newest sleuth on the block. She is a chemistry geek, a plucky Nancy Drew, and a wacky Bridget Jones all wrapped up in an 11-year-old body. An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is funny and wickedly clever.

Wherever your summer takes you, don’t forget to pack a book. And until next month, happy reading.

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High Country Highlights: How to attract hummingbirds

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Below: Drawing of a magnificent hummingbirds by Elizabeth Hacker. 

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By Woody Woodworth

If the birding world had a rock star, it would be the hummingbird. Swift, tiny, secretive, and amazing to watch, "hummers" are so hard to spot that catching a glimpse of one can be a summer experience you’ll long remember. But you don’t have to be an avid birder to be thrilled by the sight of a hummingbird.

Hummingbirds can be found across the country, with ruby-throated hummingbirds common along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and a dozen or more species common in western regions. To maximize your chances of seeing a hummingbird this summer, take a few simple steps to attract them to your back yard, where you can enjoy them at your leisure.

In spring, usually around mid- to late April, hummingbirds return from their tropical winter retreats in Central and South America, and this is the best time to attract them to your back yard. Like all wild birds, hummers have three basic requirements to make a place their home: access to food, water, and a good nesting spot. Offering nectar-rich flowers and feeders is a good start. But you also need suitable habitat that provides sheltered perches and good nesting places, encouraging females to raise their young.

Research shows that these tiny birds have a remarkable memory and frequently return to the same hospitable sites on the same day of each year. If you feed consistently, you may have return visitors, especially during spring and fall migrations. If you can get them to nest nearby, too, you’ll have fledglings that also may remember your address in years to come.

Female hummers typically settle in deciduous trees over a clearing or stream. They fashion their nests from sticky spider webbing, using lichen to camouflage the exterior and soft plant fibers to cushion the interior. It’s probably not practical for the average hummingbird fan to stock spider webs and lichens in their yard.

To start attracting hummers, hang a small feeder. Nectar mixes are available, but it’s easy to make your own. Use four parts tap water to one part ordinary table sugar, heated until dissolved. Red colors act as a big red "Food Here" sign, but red coloring in the nectar isn’t necessary. Most feeders already have enough red on them to attract hummingbirds. Increase the visibility of new feeders by hanging red ribbons nearby. The hummingbird’s high metabolism drives it to feed about every 10 minutes, and it examines every square yard in its range for food, experts say. Hang ant guards above feeders to keep ants at bay.

Keeping the feeder clean and the nectar refreshed are critical. Spoiled solutions can turn to alcohol and support mold, both harmful to the tiny birds. In cool weather, fluid can be left for five to seven days, but during hot spells it should be replaced every two days. For easy cleaning, use a feeder brush designed to clean those hard-to-reach spots. Don’t use soap or detergents, which can be hard to thoroughly rinse. A solution of ordinary white vinegar is a good non-toxic cleaner.

Remember: food, water, and a friendly habitat and you will have "hummers" all summer.

Woody Woodworth is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado and owns High Country Home and Garden center in downtown Monument.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Chipping sparrow

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Below: Drawing of a Chipping Sparrow by Elizabeth Hacker. 

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By Elizabeth Hacker

One of the nice things about living in Colorado is that it ranks as high as fourth among the states in the number of bird species found. As many as 350 species have been observed. This number is somewhat speculative, because it relies on annual bird counts. As might be expected, the coastal states of Florida, California, and Texas compete for first place. Colorado competes with Arizona and New Mexico for fourth, fifth, and sixth places.

Changes in temperature, major wild fires, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters cause shifts in migration habitats that influence statewide bird counts. States like Arizona and Texas take advantage of their ranking by attracting birders from around the world.

I enjoy searching for birds along trails and in parks, but often see unusual migrants in our yard. One morning in early May we were enjoying coffee on the deck when Randy asked me if I heard an unusual bird song. Being a visual person, I didn’t notice it until I saw sparrows feeding on the ground under our finch feeder. Upon seeing them, the hard staccato "chirps" and the uniform dry trilling song, often described as the sound of a sewing machine, were clearly identifiable.

Though we were only 15 yards away from them, I wanted a close-up look. As I rose to grab my binoculars and my new National Geographic bird identification book (a recent Mother’s Day gift), the birds flew away. Fortunately, they only flew into the nearby spruce trees and gamble oaks and after a few minutes they were back under the feeder.

There are many native sparrow species that migrate over the Palmer Divide, and at first glance they all appear small and brown. But the bright rufous crown and black eye stripe limited this sparrow to a tree sparrow or a chipping sparrow. This sparrow didn’t have a spot on its breast, so we concluded that it was a chipping sparrow.

The chipping sparrow is a small songbird, 5-6 inches in length with a wingspan of 8-9 inches. Males and females are similar in appearance. During breeding season, the cap is almost a persimmon red and stands out. In addition to the black eye stripe, it has a dusty gray eyebrow, a light gray breast and rump, and black bill. Like most sparrows, the flight feathers are rusty brown and the tail is brown.

Chipping sparrows feed on the ground, take cover in shrubs, and sing from the tops of trees. We noticed small groups of six or seven birds hopping and scratching on the ground foraging for seed while many others were singing in branches. They took turns foraging, perching, and singing, and while they were consistently vocal, they weren’t especially loud.

The chipping sparrow is common across North America where forested areas are interspersed with grassy openings, and the Front Range Flyway shows up on all the maps as a primary migration route. I was baffled that we had never seen it here. According to renowned ornithologist David Sibley, it is a nocturnal migrant. As a novice birder, I assume most birds fly during the day so I don’t watch or listen for them at night. However, experienced birders have documented chipping sparrows’ nocturnal movements by recording their piercing flight calls. These calls differ in intensity because the purpose is to keep the flock united while in flight.

Chipping sparrows remain in flocks until pair bonds form in preparation for breeding. They breed primarily in the mountains among the pines and only sparingly elsewhere.

For more than a week I observed these delightful songbirds in our yard and in open spaces and I thought they might nest here, but alas, the sparrows left as abruptly as they first appeared.

Their mating season begins in April and extends to September. Males stand guard as females spend three to four days building a loose cup-shaped nest from rootlets and dried grasses that she lines with fur or other soft material. The nest is generally located in lower limbs of a pine or in the center of a tall shrub and is said to be so flimsy that light penetrates through it. Females are finicky about placement and often will start to build a nest only to leave it and begin again on another branch.

During the breeding season, the female lays three to five blue to lavender spotted eggs. As she lays the eggs, she plucks a bare patch on her abdomen that fills with fluids so she can transfer her body heat to the eggs. The female incubates the eggs for about 12 days while the male stands guard and brings her food. The chicks are born naked, helpless, and with their eyes closed. But within 14 days, the young chicks develop flight feathers and fledge the nest. The pair may produce two broods during a single breeding season. In late August, flocks reform and return to their winter habitat, which is generally in areas near open water and an ample supply of seed.

As I met fellow birders, I was surprised to learn how many of them had also observed chipping sparrows in their yards for the first time in early May. It has been reported that chipping sparrows adapt to urbanization, but I don’t think that is the reason they were here this spring. They were seen about the same time, so a snowstorm, heavy wind, or cold snap may have interrupted their nocturnal migration and grounded them for a few days. And given that the Palmer Divide is a beautiful place, maybe they took advantage of their situation and extended their stay for a week!

Elizabeth Hacker is an artist and her limited edition bird prints are available at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake. Proceeds from sale of prints benefit the center and habitat preservation. She welcomes comments and questions: www.ElizabethHackerart.com

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Art Matters: Real art for real people: the driving force of success

By Janet Sellers

A fellow creative comrade mentioned at a local artist’s gathering recently,"... I think art and engineering are the two things that separate humans from other creatures." She meant that humans like to change things to suit themselves in their lives, and they do it by art and engineering. (Cathy is an engineer by profession and an artist by avocation).

Her words are meaningful to me—and to creative thinking, progress, and success in action. We humans make stuff up and then make them happen. Good stuff and bad stuff. But we think of it first, and react to our mental activity first. Our feet go where we tell them to, our arms move where we direct the action. So it follows that what we imagine is what we make happen in our lives and in our community.

I would like to posit that community, family, and personal support for success is a driving force for success in any endeavor. By maintaining our love of the arts and supporting the artists here, we have, and can continue to have, a "fulfillment destiny" for our creative community here in Tri-Lakes. The art celebrations are a lot of fun, too. Creating a community and enjoying the life there spans generations, and with art and art events, even the beginners of the movement get to enjoy the efforts and the fruits of the labor.

And so, I give you some art events to put on your agenda for renewed success in your life and future:

Art Hop

The next Art Hop will be on June 19, 5-8 p.m. in Historic Monument (Beacon Lite Road at Second Street, west all the way to Front and Third Streets). You can park where you please, walk the entire district and take in nearly two dozen venues complete with music, libations, and tapas. The May Art Hop was a happy success for event-goers in spite of the drizzling, off and on rain. The flowers are blooming and look gorgeous in that kind of weather, by the way. Three cheers for the Historic Monument Merchants’ efforts in banners, flowers, and a wonderful, monthly event!

Family fun at the TLCA Peace Poster art show

Create a poster for peace by June 15 and submit it for the upcoming art exhibit. All media and all ages of artists are invited to try their hand at a peace poster, so get out your pencils, your paints, wood pile or even get out your quilts and get going!

While I have never seen a sculpture as a poster, photos of a sculpture that you make for the show could eventually become a poster. In my case, I will get out my concrete, since that is my current sculpting medium. Make something in whatever you choose, including recycled items.

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) will exhibit these posters July 1-30. The theme of the poster art exhibition is to encourage a dialog about peace. So, anyone who would like to make a poster for the show is welcome, along with their $5 entry fee. An artist could make a poster with a friend or family member as well.

Submissions are due June 16-20, and all ages of artists are encouraged to enter. The Opening Reception will be on the Fourth of July. The reception will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and it is open to all who submitted entries and their families. The public is also invited. There will be a People’s Choice award at the end of the art show on July 31.

TLCA art salons

The upcoming date for the TLCA art salons is June 19 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These group events focus on artists jump-starting their ideas and finishing up or working out finishes for their artworks in progress. For artists, these sessions are the optimal support in their fine art solutions. Come join the salon ($15 includes wine and tapas for the evening) as an artist or as an interested art lover.

The dialog among the artists is interesting and provocative. Last time, many artists solved their finishing issues and color mysteries. And the evening is not without its drama. At the end, Claudette Bedingfield showed a painting of hers for which she pronounced "no hope" and whack! It was eliminated by the stroke of the mat knife, as she related that some paintings just need that kind of a finish so the artist can move on.

Sculpture celebration

Tri-Lakes Views announced sculptures to be installed on June 13 at 5-8 p.m. at the new Monument Town Hall. A presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sky Hall of Tri-Lakes Views told me he is preparing a program for the upcoming installation at the Town Hall in Monument. Louis DeAngelis and the art team of Janet Sellers (yes, that’s me) and Glenn Hayes will be present as their respective artworks go on public outdoor exhibit for 2009-10.

The art works are for sale. Join us all in the Tri-Lakes community as we celebrate the installation of these two new fine art sculptures. The Tri-Lakes Views public arts committee sponsors the program.

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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Community responds to the energy of Brulé & AIRO

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Below: One of the AIRO dancers performs with a set of hoops as (R-L) Paul LaRoche and daughter Nicole play accompaniment during the Brule & AIRO concert at Palmer Ridge High School on May 22. Photo by David Futey.

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By David Futey

On May 22, over 500 audience members from the Tri-Lakes community and beyond packed the Palmer Ridge High School auditorium to witness the high-energy performance of Brulé & AIRO (American Indian Rock Opera). Brulé & AIRO’s performance combined contemporary and traditional Native American music and dance.

Brulé is a family affair as founder Paul LaRoche (keyboard), his son Shane (guitar), and daughter Nicole (flute) form the band’s nucleus with wife and mother Kathy the manager. Paul, Shane, and Nicole are enrolled as members of the Lower Brulé Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. Paul had been adopted from that reservation at birth and it was not until 1993, just after his adoptive parents died, that he discovered his true heritage.

Since Paul formed Brulé in the mid-1990’s, it has received numerous awards from the Native American Music Academy including Group of the Year for 2007. Nicole received the 2008 Best Female Artist award for her flute playing.

Children from the Bearsheart family of Monument performed in some of the dance numbers.

This event was organized by the Palmer Lake Historical Society (PLHS) and demonstrates a heightened emphasis by the organization to bring cultural and history-related events to the Tri-Lakes area. PLHS Vice President Al Walter cited the organization’s motto, "history should be more than a memory" as he described how this concert signals that emphasis.

He also noted that the PLHS is seeking to further engage the entire Tri-Lakes community in its efforts. This includes their next event, the 2009 Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Revival. This three-day event rekindles the first Chautauqua held in Colorado, which occurred at The Glen in Palmer Lake. The event begins August 7 and includes an ice cream social, old fashioned baseball game, and a dinner-theatre, with the George M. Cohan play, 45 Minutes from Broadway. Information on Brulé & AIRO can be found at www.brulerecords.com

Information on the PLHS is at www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs/index.shtml

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Snapshots of Our Community

Special Education Resources Fair, May 2

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Below: More than 48 local organizations and businesses provided information on their services at a special education resources fair May 2 in the Learning Center at the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 administration building. Groups included family support organizations, schools, equipment manufacturers, and publishers of specialized literature.

Fair Chair Ilanit Bennaim said, "There are many agencies that help people with disabilities learn, and this fair was a way to give the community, in one place, a forum where questions can be asked and answers are readily available."

For information on the vendors at the fair and on participation in the Special Education Advisory Committee, contact Bennaim at ilanit@kw.com

Photo and caption by Harriet Halbig.

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Pine Forest Antique Show attracts crowd, May 2

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Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Authors Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta were on hand to autograph their books.

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Below: Sherry Sieg and Mary Mills, vice presidents of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, co-chaired the event. 

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The 33rd annual Pine Forest Antique Show, sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, attracted nearly 950 visitors May 2-3 at Lewis-Palmer High School.

Co-chaired by Sherry Sieg and Mary Mills, vice presidents of the club, the show featured 52 dealers from several states.

Mills said that most of the vendors attend repeatedly and that most were happy with the public’s response in spite of the fact that the show was postponed due to snow on the originally scheduled weekend. It was the first time the show was delayed due to weather.

A major fundraiser for the club, the show yielded over $14,000 for the group, which donates the proceeds to community organizations.

The club’s next big event is Wine and Roses on Oct. 23 at the Blue and Silver Press Box at the Air Force Academy.

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John Adams at the TLCA, May 9

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Photo by David Futey

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On May 9, a highly-appreciative and near-capacity crowd gathered at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) to hear John Adams and his band play through well-known and lesser known selections of John Denver songs.

It was clear from the start that Adams was rekindling a few memories of Denver’s music from those in attendance as he led numerous sing-a-longs throughout the course of his two-set performance.

Adams, originally from Holland, has his own memories of Denver. Adams followed heavy metal bands such as Uriah Heep and Status Quo before coming upon Denver’s music. He "did a 180" upon hearing Denver’s music and understanding the positive messages within them. This, in turn, compelled Adams to seek ways to help others, which lead him to eventually work for UNICEF. Adams ultimately met Denver after winning a talent contest in Holland where he had played a selection of Denver’s songs. From their first meeting they became friends until Denver’s death in 1997. Upon hearing the news of Denver’s death, Adams decided to commit himself to "keeping his (Denver’s) music alive." On this evening, the assembled audience at TLCA were very glad he did.

Information on upcoming events at the TLCA can be found at www.trilakesarts.org

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Gleneagle Sertoma Spirits of Spring, May 9

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Photos by Bob Keys

Below: Bob Figgie, Gleneagle Sertoma President, left, and Chef Bill Sherman of Amuze Bistro discuss haute cuisine.

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Below (L to R): Dr. Jimmy Stewart and John Bloom.

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The Gleneagle Sertoma Club held its fifth annual charity Spirits of Spring Wine and Beer Tasting and Auction at the Air Force Academy Stadium Press Box on Saturday, May 9.

Highlights included specialties from local chefs, a professional auctioneer, an old-time soft drink and ice cream bar, and the beautiful Blue and Silver Room venue. All proceeds from the annual event go to Tri-Lakes Cares and other charities.

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Gleneagle Spirit 5K Run/Walk, May 16

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Photos by Casey Gent, Snowshoe Studios, www.SnowshoeStudios.com.

Below: The start of the 4th Annual Gleneagle Spirit 5K Run/Walk. All proceeds from the event benefit Boy Scout Troup 194. 

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Above: Participants, with a dog that ran the 5K. Donald Wescott FPD held an open house after the event. 

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Book and Beck at the TLCA, May 29

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Photo by David Futey

During his May 29 concert at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), Travis Book wondered out loud, "I don’t know why I am nervous. I know most of you." And he had good reason to know most of those in attendance as he grew up in Palmer Lake.

Book, on guitar, accompanied by long-time friend Andres Beck on the dobra, played to a highly-appreciative audience of friends, family, and others who heard original music written by Book or friends of the duo.

Book, who now lives in Nashville, did not set out to be a musician even though both his parents were musicians. In college, he played in numerous bands. Next came an audition for the Infamous Stringdusters, which he eventually joined.

But Book has a fondness for his home town and the TLCA and that fondness brings him back from time to time, much to the delight of his hometown fans.

Information on Travis Book can be found at www.myspace.com/travisbook

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May and June library events

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Photos by Harriet Halbig

Below: Debi Reed, Newfoundland Molly, Lab Hula and Tina Jones invite you to Paws to Read on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. in Monument.

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Below: Tri-Lakes Friends president Angela Strecker, Branch Manager Jean Harris and Branch Assistant Becky Campbell celebrate Monument’s honor in the Gazatte’s Best of the Springs magazine.

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By Harriet Halbig

May brought some exciting events and honors to the Monument library.

On May 2, producer/director Bob Garner spoke about his experiences at CBS and Disney Studios, inspiring young patrons to follow their dreams. His anecdotes included stories about working with such famous names as Julie Andrews and George Lucas. He explained how his childhood fascination with the entertainment industry evolved into a satisfying career that still continues.

Another exciting happening in May was the naming of the Monument Branch as the best local library in the Family Fun section of The Gazette’s Best of the Springs magazine.

Regarding continuing activities, each Wednesday through September, master gardeners will be available from 3 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. to answer questions and give advice on gardening in this challenging climate.

Throughout May, preparations for summer reading occupied much staff and volunteer time. Children’s Specialist Julie Simmons and Teen Coordinator Diane Sawatzki, aided by other staff members, visited many local schools to promote the programs. Harriet Halbig attended Cinco de Mayo and Territory Days activities with the same goal.

This year, in addition to the children’s and teen programs, the library will offer a new program for children up to 36 months of age. The program is called Read to Me and, like the others, it offers prizes for reading. Prizes include free books for all ages, coupons for local businesses, and a T-shirt for the teen program.

All programs run from June 1 until July 31. Participants can register online at ppld.org, log their books, and then come in to any branch to claim their prizes. Teen volunteers will be on hand to assist.

During the summer, there will be a number of special programs at the library. Each Monday at 2 p.m. will be Art in the Afternoon for ages 6 and up. Thursdays at 2 p.m. will be Stories and Crafts for ages 5 to 8, and each Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. will be a special program and crafts for younger children. These programs include puppet shows, clowns, and magic. Schedules are available at the branch.

Adult discussion groups will continue at their usual times throughout June. The Monumental Readers book club, meeting on the third Friday at 10 a.m., will discuss "The Girl with Braided Hair" by Margaret Coel.

The AARP Driver’s Safety class will be offered on June 18 and 19 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Registration is required at 488-2370 or on the Events Calendar at ppld.org. The fee for the class is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. A minimum enrollment of 10 is required.

Displays at the Monument Branch in June include Hop Aboard in the display case, a collection of items related to travel on the Rio Grande Southern and Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroads. On the walls will be photographs by Paul D deBerjeois titled "Inquisitive, Mathematical, Unorthodox."

Palmer Lake Branch activities: Special summer programs at Palmer Lake will take place each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. A schedule for June and July is available at the branch.

The Palmer Lake book group will meet on July 3 at 9 a.m. to discuss "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson. Call the branch at 481-2587 to reserve your copy.

Due to the Fourth of July closure, Paws to Read dog Jax will visit the branch on July 11.

We hope to see you at the library this summer.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, May 21: Historical Society hears history of two early preachers

Click here or on the photos to zoom in

Photos by Bernard Minetti

Below: (L-R) Rev. John Snyder and his wife Celia as they prepare to present a brief history of the origins of the Tri-Lakes Presbyterian and Methodist ministries. Rev. Snyder retired from service as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army. Col. Snyder served for 22 years. Following that, he was Pastor of the Monument Community Presbyterian Church for 14 years and then spent two years in service to Faith Presbyterian in Colorado Springs. Celia, his wife of 54 years, founded Tri-Lakes Cares and is still active in this organization. he year by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. 

Click on the photo to zoom in

Below: (L-R) PLHS board member Mary Meyer is honored with a photograph presented by Phyllis Bonser, President of the Society. Meyer was listed as one of the top seven volunteers of t

Click on the photo to zoom in

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Rev. John Snyder provided a fascinating presentation of two early Tri-Lakes area preachers at the May 21 meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society. He talked about "Father" John Dyer, a Methodist minister, and the Rev. Sheldon Jackson, who founded the Presbyterian Church in Monument. While Dyer was known as "The Snowshoe Itinerant," both of these men followed their ministries trudging through the often snow-filled areas of this part of Colorado.

During his time of ministry in Colorado, Dyer became known as "Father" Dyer. It was not an official title. It was a sign of respect by those he ministered to because he acted in such a genuine fatherly role as he provided spiritual facility and hope in the mountain mining communities. He established a parsonage here in Monument in 1872. Later, he was installed as the Colorado Legislature chaplain.

Jackson was a "planter of church communities" and in that role established a hundred or so Presbyterian churches in Colorado, one of which was the Monument Community Presbyterian Church here in Monument, circa 1880. The first church building, the Sheldon Jackson Memorial Chapel, still stands in Monument. Jackson became known as the "Flying Horseman of the Rockies" because of his mode of travel and the area he covered in establishing and serving Presbyterian communities.

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Event for fathers set for June 21

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Palmer Lake Historical Society invites all Tri-Lakes area dads and their families to an event that honors fathers in our community. It will be held on the Village Green at the Palmer Lake Town Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. June 21. This annual event provides free ice cream and pie for all the family.

Last year, the attendees were entertained by The Jessum Buds Bluegrass Trio, which returns this year. The trio plays a mixture of the traditional, the not-so-traditional, gospel, original songs, and the occasional song taken from the folk genre. The group is becoming known for great harmonies, but they haven’t lost the bounce that makes people smile and tap their toes. Their joy in playing for audiences is reflected in their warm and friendly sound.

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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.

Hooked on Palmer Lake Fishing Derby, June 6

The Town of Palmer Lake is having a fishing derby at the lake June 6, 8 a.m. to noon. Children 16 and under are encouraged to participate; there will be many prizes and awards as well as fishing instruction. The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event. Tickets are $2 in advance tickets and can be purchased at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce (481-3282), or $3 at the lake. For more information call Ken Valdez, 650-5992.

Spring Fine Art Show opening reception, June 6

The opening reception for the Palmer Lake Art Group’s (PLAG) annual Spring Fine Art Show opening reception will be held June 6, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. Finger foods will be offered, and many of the artists will be on hand to discuss art matters. More than 40 PLAG member artists will exhibit a wide variety of art works in different media. The exhibit will run through June 27, noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. Funds raised from the show will be used to award scholarships to Lewis-Palmer High School seniors who plan to continue their studies in art. For more information, contact Sue Molick, 303-681-3592, or Terri Erickson, 488-2287.

Farmers Markets in our community

  • The New Monument Hill Farmers Market is open Saturdays, 7 a.m.-1 p.m., at Grace Best School and the D-38 Administration Building at Second and Jefferson St. in downtown Monument. 50-plus vendors offer food, produce, home décor items, crafts, honey, jewelry, furniture, pet products, and more. Sponsored by Hondac Auto (598-6306), servicing and repairing Honda, Acura, and Subaru vehicles. For information, call 592-9420.
  • The Original Monument Farmers Market, every Saturday, June 6-Oct. 10, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Monument Plaza (481 Highway 105, Behind Starbucks).
  • The Market @ Sundance Mountain Lodge, every Wednesday, June 10-Oct. 14, noon till sundown, 1865 Woodmoor Dr. For information, call 213-3323.
  • Farmers market located at the entrance to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, in front of the red farmhouse. Begins June 15, every Monday and Wednesday featuring the finest of Colorado’s fruits and vegetables.
  • Palmer Lake Farmers Market, every Sunday, July 5-Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Gazebo.

Gold! Gold! Gold! June 8

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Colorado gold rush at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) June 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is only $1.50 per person that day! Each visitor will receive a golden railroad spike. Tours begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd., just off of I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, 156A, across from the north entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Reservations and information: phone 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org

Community Closet now open second and fourth Saturdays

The Tri-Lakes Church of Christ is offering free clothing on the second and fourth Saturday of each month (June 13 and 27), 1 to 3 p.m. The church is located at 20450 Beacon Lite Rd. in Monument, at the southwest corner of Beacon Lite and County Line Roads west of I-25. Everyone is welcome to stop in and shop for free clothing items. Donations of clean clothing and shoes in good condition are appreciated. For more information, call program coordinators Bruce and Lyn Eatinger, 495-4137; or the church, 488-9613.

Gleneagle Community Garage Sale, June 12-13

Shoppers get ready and Gleneagle residents start saving your treasures for the Gleneagle Civic Association’s annual garage sale June 12-13, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Neighborhood Cleanup Day is June 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call Bill Carroll, 488-4288, or Bill Bristol, 481-3366.

Palmer Lake’s 8th Annual Blue Columbine Festival, June 13

The Town of Palmer Lake is sponsoring this event, "A Celebration of Community," June 13, 1-3 p.m., at the Palmer Lake Village Green in front of Town Hall. Wear your dancing shoes and enjoy the music of Latigo. Bring a picnic or visit one of Palmer Lake’s restaurants. Please, no beer or alcohol. For information, call the Town Office 481-2953.

Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car Show, June 14

The eighth annual car show, a benefit for Tri-Lakes Cares, will be held June 14 in Historic Downtown Monument, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Come one, come all—fun for all ages! Enjoy classic/collectible cars, DJ oldies music, games, trophy presentation, and more. Each car entrant gets a free breakfast. For more information, contact Dan at dano@process.com or Bill at 481-2465, or visit www.tlcruisers.org

The Tri-Lakes Non-Profit Council meeting, June 17

The Tri-Lakes Non-Profit Council is holding its next meeting June 17, 2 p.m., at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. The program, "Community Essentials–Non-Profits, Business & Government" addresses how these three sectors of our society impact your life in the Tri-Lakes region. A noteworthy panel of guests–Don Johnson, PhD, Colorado College; Michael Hannigan, Executive Director, Pikes Peak Community Foundation; Tommie Plank, Trustee, Town of Monument; and Jim Wilson, Former Business Owner–will discuss these issues and input will be encouraged from the attendees during a breakout session. This is a free event to provide information and partnership opportunities to those who support nonprofits in our community. If you would like to attend, please contact the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 481-3282, or e-mail kstensland@trilakeschamber.com

D-38 to host information session for prospective board members, June 18

Four seats will be open on the Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education for the Nov. 3 election. Director Districts 1 and 3 will be open for a four-year term. Director Districts 4 and 5 will be open for a two-year term (to complete the regular four-year term due to director appointments).

The Lewis-Palmer School District Board of Education will host an information session for prospective new school board members. This session will focus on board policies and procedures, time commitments, election and campaign rules and timelines, and how the business of the school district is carried out over the course of time. There will also be a time for questions and answers.

The information session will be a part of the regular board meeting June 18 in the Learning Center of the administration building at 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Please check the June 18 Board of Education agenda on the district Web site ( www.lewis-palmer.org ) for the time or call 481-9546. A map of the boundaries for the Director Districts can be obtained on the district Web site or by calling Vicki Wood, secretary to the Board of Education, at 481-9546.

Rock Fair at WMMI, June 20

The Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) partners with the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society to present the first Rock Fair June 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This family event includes children’s activities; vendors selling rocks, minerals, jewelry, and food; rock and mineral identification; seminars on rockhounding, and more. The museum will run the outdoor equipment that day, and as an added bonus the Yellow-Jacket Stamp Mill will run at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. This mill is only run one time per year—a special event in itself! Admission is $5 adults, $2 children. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd., just off of I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, 156A, across from the north entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Reservations and information: phone 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org

New Tri-Lakes Cares thrift shop opens in Monument, June 20

Hangers–Your Thrift Shop opens June 20, 10 a.m., in Monument at 341 Front St. Featuring a significant inventory of gently-used clothing, books, and household items, Hangers will provide customers in the region with affordable items much sought after in these difficult economic times. Proceeds from Hangers will be used to promote the
on-going mission of Tri-Lakes Cares, a community-based non-profit. For more information, call 488-2300 or visit the Tri-Lakes Cares Web site, www.tri-lakescares.org

Summer Soul-stice Celebration, June 20

The Historic Monument Merchants Association has planned a summer event you are not going to want to miss! Summer Soul-stice is a full-day community celebration (sunrise to 10 p.m.) featuring special merchant events, wellness demonstrations, hayrides, kids’ art activities, live music, food, and a paint-out done by local professional artists painting in the traditional plein air style. A Chalk Walk for kids, teens, amateur, and professional artists is a highlight of this year’s celebration. Chalk will be supplied–participation is free.

All activities will take place in historic downtown Monument. The "Soul-stice Suds Garden" will serve up Bristol Brewing Company’s finest. Events will include face-painting, balloon art, and many different crafts. The wellness tent, "Soul-stice Sanctuary," will have will free massages, free glucose and blood testing, meditation, yoga, and much more. Bands and musicians will be spread throughout town for your enjoyment. The "Soul Train" (hayride) will transport you to the different venues. For more information, contact Vicki Mynhier, 460-4179, or e-mail vmynhier@townofmonument.net; or Heather Buchman, 488-2506, or e-mail heather@sparrowmarketing.net

Fathers’ Day Ice Cream Social, June 21

The Palmer Lake Historical Society will honor dads and their families, June 21, 2-4 p.m., at its annual ice cream social. Complimentary pie and ice cream will be offered at the historic Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, The Jessumbuds bluegrass band will entertain. For more information, Info: 559-0837, e-mail plhist@aol.com, or visit www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs

Citizen-at-Large Member Sought for Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) Citizen Advisory Committee

The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) Board of Directors is seeking a volunteer to serve as an at-large representative on its Citizen Advisory Committee. The Citizen Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Pikes Peak RTA Board of Directors concerning the Pikes Peak RTA budgets, contracts, and project implementation. Citizen Advisory Committee members must live in one of the Pikes Peak RTA Member communities: City of Colorado Springs, unincorporated El Paso County, City of Manitou Springs, Town of Green Mountain Falls, or Town of Ramah and must be able to attend monthly meetings at 1:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at PPACG’s offices at 15 South 7 St., Colorado Springs. To apply, send a letter of application with a brief resume of experience by June 22 to: Pikes Peak RTA Citizen Advisory Committee/PPACG, 15 South 7 St., Colorado Springs, CO 80905, ATTN: Rick Sonnenburg.

Monument’s free Concerts in the Park begin June 24

Monument’s popular free summer concert series is held in Limbach Park Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy great live music, food, and fun for the whole family! Artist CDs, refreshments, and treats will be available for purchase. June 24 features Bluegrass favorites Palmer Divide with a surprise performance from a very special guest. July 1 is blues artist Russ Chapman, July 8 is blues artist Big Jim Adam, July 15 is Rick Stahl followed by the Mitgards, July 22 is Zen Cowboy Chuck Pyle, July 29 is Sweet Revenge. 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

Woodmoor Garage Sale, June 26-27

More than 50 homes are expected to participate in this shopping event of the summer, June 26-27, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Maps will be available starting June 22 at www.MyFirstClassTeam.com and from these sponsors: Peoples Bank, all Monument and Gleneagle locations; Wesley Owens Coffee, 1773 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument; and the Platinum Group Realtors, 6760 Corporate Dr. No. 300 Colorado Springs. For more information call Event Coordinator Claire Boynton, 481-1000.

Chuck Pyle Concert for the Wild, June 27

Nationally-known singer, songwriter, and recording artist Chuck Pyle (the Zen Cowboy), will present a concert to benefit the public lands protection work of Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition and Wild Connections. The Concert for the Wild will be held June 27, 7 p.m., at All Souls Unitarian Church, 730 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs. Local storyteller and balladeer John Stansfield will open the concert. Tickets are $15 in advance, available at Poor Richard’s Bookstore, 320 N. Tejon. Tickets at the door are $18. For more information call John Stansfield, 303-660-5849, or e-mail him at jorcstan@juno.com, or visit www.ccwcwilderness.org.

Parade of Ponds, June 27-28

The Third Annual Purely Ponds Parade of Ponds is a self-guided tour of more than 30 scenic water features throughout Colorado Springs, Monument, Falcon, and surrounding areas. The event will be held June 27-28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. Purely Ponds will donate all of the net profits from ticket sales to the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region. For 121 years this charitable organization has delivered quality programs and a unique experience for the youths of the Front Range, helping young people succeed in school, stay healthy, learn important life skills, pursue interests in the arts and sports, and explore vocational choices. To learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pikes Peak Region, visit www.bgcppr.org or call 570-7077. Last year, Purely Ponds contributed $3,500 to this organization.

Parade of Ponds tickets and tour map are available at the three Pioneer Sand locations in Colorado Springs, Monument, and Black Forest or by mail. For more information, visit the Web site at www.purelyponds.com or contact Chris Oberg at purelyponds@comcast.net or phone 896-0026.

"Field Day" Public Demonstration of Emergency Communications

Area "hams" will join with thousands of Amateur Radio operators who will be showing off their emergency capabilities this weekend. "Field Day" is the climax of the week long "Amateur Radio Week" sponsored by the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Assn and the Front Range Contesters Club will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1 located on Hwy 105 just south of the PINZ Bowling Alley, Sat., Jun. 27 noon to Sun., Jun. 28, noon. Info: 484-0911 or www.emergency-radio.org

D-38 Operations Advisory Committee seeks volunteers

The Lewis-Palmer School District Operations Advisory Committee (OAC), formerly known as the Facilities and Enrollment Committee (FEC), is seeking new members. The application and information about serving on the OAC are available on the Lewis-Palmer School District Web site (visit www.lewispalmer.org and search for OAC) or from Shelia Pervell at the LPSD Administration Building at 146 Jefferson St., P.O. Box 40, Monument. The application deadline is June 30.

Dotsero concert, July 3

Dotsero will return to perform at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) July 3. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 show. Tickets are $12 TLCA members, $15 non-members, and are available at The Wine Seller (481-3019) and Covered Treasures Bookstore (481-2665) in Monument and TLCA (481-0475) in Palmer Lake. Advance purchase is recommended for this popular smooth jazz concert. TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, visit the website at www.trilakesarts.org

NEPCO meeting on public safety, July 11

The next NEPCO general membership meeting will be July 11, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 Baptist Rd. The program will be public safety in northern El Paso County, and the guest speakers will include the El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa and Monument Chief of Police Jake Shirk. NEPCO is the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations. NEPCO’s Mission is to promote
communication and interaction among the homeowners associations and residential areas of northern El Paso County in order to exchange ideas on topics of common interest and to develop collective responses to the county on issues affecting the quality of life of NEPCO member associations. For more information, visit www.nepco.org or call Bob Swedenburg at 481-2723.

Exchange student host families needed

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 or family members.

Also, AFS needs people 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 should visit www.afsusa.org/hostfamily or call 1-800-876-2377. AFS Intercultural Programs/USA is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. The mission of AFS is to work toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.

Slash and Mulch season underway

The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is here! Slash (tree and shrub debris; no stumps) will be accepted until Sept. 13. Mulch will be available, while supplies last, until Sept. 26. 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 mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The loader fee is $4 per bucket, approximately 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area.

The program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling effort sponsored by El Paso County, co-sponsored the Colorado Forestry Association and the Black Forest Fire Department, in cooperation with Colorado State Forest Service and the State Board of Land Commissioners. The program’s main purpose is 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, visit www.bfslash.org or phone 520-7878 or Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024.

Master Gardener Help Desk at the Monument Library

Master gardeners will be available to assist you every Wednesday until Sep. 2, 3-8:30 p.m. Bring in your questions about gardening in the Tri-Lakes area. Master gardeners can advise you about water issues, pest management, ecosystem characteristics, and plant life that thrives in our local dry area. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. For more information, call 488-2370.

Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance Thrift Store in Palmer Lake

The new store is located at 755 Highway 105, in Unit 9 behind the West End Center in Palmer Lake. Hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Books, sporting goods, furniture, home furnishings, appliances small and large, and more are available at incredible savings. The thrift store is a project of the Senior Alliance in cooperation with the entire Tri-Lakes Community. The project’s mission is to raise funds and resources for Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program activities, provide volunteer opportunities for Tri-Lakes residents, and offer affordable merchandise to all Tri-Lakes residents. For volunteer information call Hope, 481-4640. To donate items call Chaz, 229-5946.

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Fourth of July Community Events

  • Fun Run, 7:30 a.m. Starts at the Palmer Lake Trailhead and finishes at Limbach Park on Front Street in Monument. Cost: $20 ($12 for ages 15 and under). Register online or download a mail-in registration form at July4FunRun.com. Race day registration, $25, begins 6 a.m. at Palmer Lake Elementary School. Proceeds benefit the school. Participants may return to the start point by shuttle bus (yellow school buses). Follow the signs from I-25 exit 161 and Highway 105. Information: Sue, 481-9128 or visit July4FunRun.com.
  • Children’s Parade, 9:30 a.m. Youngsters participating assemble in the south parking lot of St. Peter Church, First Street and Jefferson, by 8:30 a.m. No entry form is required; just show up with decorated tricycles, bicycles, wagons, animals, etc., but please, no motorized vehicles or horses.
  • Main Parade, 10 a.m. to noon, starts at First and Jefferson Streets and ends at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. Parade entry forms are available at the Monument Town Hall, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, or download a registration packet on the Sertoma Web site at www.monumenthillsertoma.org
  • Street Fair in Historic Downtown Monument after the parade. Food, art, crafts, vendors, live music, fun; sponsored by Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Info: 481-3282.
  • After-Parade Open House. Monument Community Presbyterian Church will host its fifth annual Fourth of July Celebration & Open House at 238 Third St. following the Monument parade. All are invited to extend the festivities while waiting for traffic to die down. More than 2,000 people attended this event last year. The church parking lot will feature live music, shady seating, a cool car/motorcycle/truck show, kids’ bounce house, drinks, snacks, and other activities. Indoors, visitors can refresh with free popsicles, air conditioning, restrooms, and a tour and DVD of the 129-year-old Historic Sheldon Jackson Chapel. For more information, call 481-3902.
  • "What a Blast!" at Palmer Lake, 1 p. m. to dusk. Live music, old-fashioned games, inflatable park and carnival rides at a nominal fee, at the lakeside near the baseball field opposite the Rock House on Highway 105. Info: www.palmerlakefireworks.com
  • "The Best Small Town Fireworks Show in America" The fireworks begin at dusk, about 9:15 p.m. The show will be choreographed and broadcast on Peak 92.9 FM. Parking will be allowed on Highway 105 along the north side only through the town of Palmer Lake. Parking will be allowed on County Line Road from Indi Drive to Spruce Mountain Road, but only on the south side (no parking on the Greenland Open Space side). The parking lots at the Santa Fe Trailhead on the east side of the lake will be designated "Special Needs" (handicapped, elderly, etc.) parking. Additional general parking lots will be appropriately marked. Info: www.palmerlakefireworks.com

For additional July 3-5 event information see Our Community Calendar Special Events Section.

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