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Vol. 9 No. 7 - July 6, 2009


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Palmer Lake Fishing Derby

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Below: Cooper Havenar proudly displays his catch during the Palmer Lake Fishing Derby held June 6. Nearly 500 anglers participated in the derby with over 300 fishing poles distributed to children. Fishing licenses were not required on June 6 and 7 as they were designated as Colorado Free Fishing Days. The fishing derby was sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Photos by David Futey.

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Below: By 9 a.m. on June 6, nearly 200 of the eventual 500 anglers who participated in the annual Palmer Lake Fishing Derby had already ringed the lake and cast their lines. 

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Possible fire district consolidation

By Jim Kendrick

The boards of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District and Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District agreed at their regular June meetings to begin talks that could eventually lead to some form of consolidation. Both boards also agreed that Black Forest’s public information officer, volunteer firefighter Lt. Kathy Russell, would be the primary spokesperson for both districts for any information regarding the progress of consolidation discussions.

After comments by each of the Wescott board members and full-time shift captains regarding their support of these exploratory discussions, the board unanimously approved a motion to move forward with more substantive talks. The Wescott board then went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations.

Russell issued a press release the next day confirming that the two northern El Paso County fire districts have agreed to begin talks that could eventually lead to some form of consolidation.

Wescott serves about 6,500 homes in 20 square miles. The nearby Black Forest district serves approximately 3,500 homes in a 48-square-mile area. The two departments have been fighting fires together under an automatic aid agreement.

Russell wrote in the press release, "After several months of preliminary discussions, subcommittees reported that some form of consolidation might reduce citizens’ tax payments, as well as improve efficiency and flexibility. But they caution that it’s too early to say whether the best solution would be a full merger, or creation of an umbrella authority to oversee the administration of both fire departments."

The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on July 22 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Information: 488-8680.

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Fire damages three businesses

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Photo by Mike Wicklund

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By Susan Hindman

A June 30 fire at the Coffee Cup Café, 251 Front St., in Monument, caused significant damage to the restaurant and the adjacent Prickly Pear interior design store.

Three fire departments responded to the 5:45 p.m. call: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (FPD), Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and Donald Wescott FPD. Tri-Lakes Monument Chief Robert Denboske said it took only 45 minutes "to get it to where people could walk inside the building…. The guys did an outstanding job stopping it."

Smoke, soot, and water that poured from a burst pipe caused damage to each store, although the Coffee Cup took the brunt of the damage. The restaurant was closed at the time, and no injuries were reported. Cost estimates for the damage were unavailable.

"The fire got pulled down in the kitchen through the hood system," said Wendy Diggins, wife of Jeremy Diggins, owner of the café. "We still need to talk to a structural engineer to see what work needs to be done to the roof. We’ll have to inventory equipment. The hood system needs to be replaced entirely. We had to pull out every chair, everything on the walls, every table, the carpet, and everything in the office," she said. She estimates reopening in three to six months.

Typically, the Fourth of July holiday is a busy time for the café. "We had planned on 600 customers," she said.

"We’re going to take care of as much of our staff as possible by giving them hours at our other place," A Second Cup at 13860 Gleneagle Drive. "We certainly would appreciate everyone’s support over at A Second Cup. And we hope that everyone continues to support Tri-Lakes businesses. That’s really important to both of us."

The Prickly Pear received damage from smoke and from water on the floor. As far as merchandise, "We still don’t know what we have," owner Carolyn Mangold said on July 1. The merchandise was going to be removed the next day so cleanup could begin. "It’s too early to know what has to be done yet," adding that she did not have an estimate of when the store would reopen.

Mountain Air Salon, next to the café, received mainly smoke damage and was open, with the fans going, the next day. "We were in here working (when the fire broke out) and thought somebody was barbecuing!" said Meredith Kelleher, an employee at the salon.

The fire originated on the roof, Denboske said. Early reports had blamed a rooftop air conditioner, but he said the cause is still under investigation.

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Monument Board of Trustees, June 1: Mayor Glenn leaves; Dominguez to serve as mayor for now

By Jim Kendrick

On June 1, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) elected Trustee Rafael Dominguez as the new mayor pro-tem to replace former Trustee and Mayor Pro-tem Steve Samuels. Samuels announced that he was moving to Virginia Beach, Va., to take a new job and resigned on May 18. Samuels’ board vacancy has not been filled.

Board Vacancy

Those who have been town residents for at least a year may contact Town Manager Cathy Green at 884-8017 for information on how to apply for appointment by the board to fill Samuels’ vacant seat. The appointment would run through April 7, 2010, the date of the next town election.

Glenn leaves to take job in Alaska ... or Pueblo West

After the June 1 meeting, Mayor Byron Glenn left town on June 8 to take a new job in Fairbanks, Alaska. On June 15, the Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board voted to hire Glenn as the next district manager. He would replace Don Saling, who was fired by the Pueblo West board in March. Glenn has not formally submitted a letter of resignation to Monument.

Trustee Tommie Plank was absent from the June 1 meeting.

The board unanimously approved the town’s 2008 audit as well as three ordinances for a rezone, preliminary/final plat, and preliminary/final planned development (PD) site plan for the Rod Smith Business Park, The mixed-use development is to be built on the former concrete batch plant site on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 105 and Washington Street. The developer and landowner, Santa Fe Trail Business Park LLC, has already completed demolition and removal of all the abandoned concrete batch plant structures.

The board continued its hearing on a proposed amendment to the PD sketch plan for the Hull subdivision on the vacant city block between Grace Best Elementary School and Beacon Lite Road. The amendment proposes changes in permitted uses that would allow the construction of a hotel with up to 60 rooms on the northeast corner of the property. The amendment would also provide an option for a new location for the Monument Library on the south side of the property.

Higby Road cost-sharing negotiations continue

Trustee Travis Easton noted that the planned improvements to the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway had again been discussed at the May 23 BRRTA meeting. The county has not yet agreed to a 50-50 split with the Town of Monument for those costs that BRRTA will not be paying.

The town proposed that BRRTA, Monument, and El Paso County 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 Road. 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 Road is a county road. Jackson Creek Parkway is a town road. The southern portion of Jackson Creek Parkway between Higby Road and Baptist Road is the responsibility of the Triview Metropolitan District. The town is responsible for the northern portion of the parkway between Higby Road and Highway 105. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is responsible for Highway 105.

The required work for the intersection improvement would be supervised by Jacobs Engineering, the firm managing BRRTA’s interchange expansion contract with Lawrence Construction Co. BRRTA Project Manager Bob Torres of Jacobs Engineering estimates 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 will be performed by Jacobs Engineering—paid for by BRRTA.
  • Rotomilling/removing the existing asphalt in the intersection will be performed by Lawrence Construction—paid for by BRRTA.
  • Regrading the intersection will be performed by Lawrence Construction—paid for by the county and/or Monument.
  • Widening Jackson Creek Parkway to three lanes north of the Higby intersection with new asphalt paving will be performed by Lawrence Construction—paid for by BRRTA.
  • Restriping the intersection for the dedicated left-turn and through lane for southbound Jackson Creek Parkway and putting up signs for the revised lanes will be performed by Monument Public Works—paid for by Monument.
  • Recalibrating the timing and positioning for the existing county traffic signals will be performed by El Paso County Department of Transportation—paid for by the county and/or Monument.

The consensus on May 23 was that BRRTA would initially pay for Jacobs Engineering to complete all of these improvements at a cost not to exceed $70,000, with construction scheduled to begin in June after the conclusion of classes at the Lewis-Palmer High School. Jacobs has determined that BRRTA’s estimated share of the costs resulting from the closure of all of Struthers Road north of Baptist Road is about $41,000. BRRTA would then be reimbursed by the town and county, about $15,000 each under the town’s cost-sharing proposal.

However, County Commissioners Wayne Williams and Dennis Hisey did not agree to pay any of the Higby Road intersection costs during the BRRTA meeting on May 23. County Commissioner Amy Lathen was excused from attending this BRRTA meeting.

Easton advised the BOT that "El Paso County is uncommitted to providing the dollars for improving their portion."

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said that the cost for removing the crown, regrading of all the new asphalt, and retiming the traffic signal might not be as high as the initial estimate of up to $30,000 from May 23. He noted, "We think it’s going to be under $20,000. So even if the county does not come across, we may be able to cut it down a little bit more and spend our $15,000 to get that hump at Higby and Jackson Creek fixed."

Baptist Road traffic switched

Easton announced that Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) improvements would require occasional temporary overnight closures of I-25 at the Baptist Road interchange for removal of the existing two-lane bridge. Baptist Road traffic over I-25 will be switched to the new four-lane westbound span so that the new four-lane eastbound span can be built following removal of the old bridge.

Erosion issues persist

Glenn asked Public Works Director Rich Landreth and Kassawara to control weeds on Jackson Creek Parkway, Baptist Road, and Lyons Tail Road and control erosion in the partially developed Monument Ridge center across Baptist Road from King Soopers. Kassawara replied that he had sent a letter in mid-May to the Monument Ridge bonding company "asking them to either pay us the bond money or get it fixed themselves. We sent it certified mail. We got the response back that they had received it but have heard nothing in the interim" from Morley Cos. owner Jim Morley or "Craig Anderson, his partner."

Kassawara said Anderson subsequently asked him for another copy of the town’s certified letter in response to some of his follow-up e-mails but Anderson had still not responded. Kassawara added he had notified Anderson earlier on June 1 that "we will be calling the bond later this week officially" in order for the town to perform the required erosion control work. "If we get no response from either company, then I will turn the matter over to the state and there will be an investigation and heavy fines, no doubt, from CDPHE," the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Water options considered

Glenn said he met with Landreth, Town Manager Cathy Green, and Triview Metropolitan District Board Director Steve Cox to develop four or five options for purchasing supplemental water rights for the town alone or in partnership with neighboring water entities. The plan will include costs, benefits, and probabilities for getting each option approved by Colorado Springs Utilities. The water would be transported north from the Arkansas River reservoir in Pueblo through the recently approved Colorado Springs Utilities Southern Delivery System.

Glenn estimated that the town’s wells could provide water for 30 to 35 years without supplementation.

2008 audit: Tax revenues up, general fund down

John Cutler of John Cutler & Associates LLC gave an unqualified rating to the town in his 2008 audit, the highest rating possible. He thanked Town Treasurer Pamela Smith and her staff for their preparation and assistance.

Cutler noted that the balance of the general fund dropped $965,676, or 19.5 percent, because of construction costs of the new Town Hall and Police Department building. Sales and use tax revenues are the largest source of town revenue, and they increased by 23 percent to $2,821,726 in 2008, due primarily to continued expansion within the Monument Marketplace.

During Cutler’s responses to several technical questions from board members, Cutler also recommended that the town should consider adding a policy to prohibit employees’ use of their town credit cards for personal use.

The board unanimously approved the audit. Cutler will forward the audit to the state.

$120,000 grant approved

The board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a contract between the town and the state Department of Local Affairs for the town’s downtown revitalization project. The state has re-awarded the previously approved $120,000 Community Development Block Grant for the Third Street upgrade project. The project was not completed in 2008. A substantial amount of work has been delayed for approximately one year. Work on Third Street will resume after the Fourth of July parade.

Three new office buildings approved

Kassawara presented an overview of numerous details in the rezone, plat, and PD site plan proposals described in Principal Planner Karen Griffith’s staff reports. He noted that the three proposals were unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on May 15.

Applicant Chad Kuzbek, owner of Westworks Engineering Inc., gave additional details on specific issues regarding the three proposals.

Rezoning: Kassawara said that each of the town properties on Washington Street north of Highway 105 are currently zoned planned heavy industrial development (PHID), which is "an old ‘grandfathered‘ district no longer being used." The landowner, Santa Fe Trails Business Park LLC, requested the zoning to be changed to PD in order to build four buildings for medical, office, retail, restaurant, and light industrial storage/warehouse uses in "conformance with the current zoning code."

Any development standards not shown on the proposed PD site plan will conform to the current C-1 general commercial district zoning code. The proposal meets all municipal zoning codes and the intent of the Comprehensive Plan requirements for industrial uses, due to the "high quality mixed use design that will make a positive contribution to the area."

New plat: Kassawara noted that the landowner will dedicate to the town 25 feet of public right-of-way along its entire frontage for the northbound half of North Washington Street, 0.509 acre. The existing dirt road north of Highway 105 is a 50-foot-wide access easement at the present time. Tri-Lakes Disposal, the landowner of the vacant adjacent property to the west, will also be asked to make a similar dedication of 25 feet of right-of-way to the town for the southbound half of North Washington Street. Tri-Lakes Disposal plans to build a vehicle maintenance facility on its vacant lot.

The new paved road will meet municipal code requirements for curbs, gutters, storm sewers, sidewalks, and have a greatly reduced slope.

All other utility and access easements are shown on the plat as well. A significant issue is the landowner’s need to obtain utility easements from other property owners to connect a sanitary sewer line to a Palmer Lake Sanitation District collection line on the opposite (west) side of the railroad tracks, near the northwest corner of the business park. The industrial area lies between the Santa Fe Trail and the railroad tracks. Use of these utility easements was suggested by Monument Sanitation District and will allow for gravity flow through the easements, avoiding the need for a lift station within the office park that was included in earlier drafts of the site plan.

Kassawara said the plat meets all 12 requirements in the purpose statement in the town’s subdivision regulations. The proposed accesses to Washington Street provide good circulation. CDOT will require the landowner to contribute to a CDOT escrow fund for installation of a traffic signal, as well as add westbound deceleration and acceleration lanes to Highway 105 at the Washington Street intersection as part of the third/final phase of construction.

Griffith’s report recommended three conditions for plat approval:

  • Water rights dedications shall be in a form approved by the town’s water attorney.
  • Any necessary technical corrections shall be made by the applicant and approved by staff.
  • 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.

PD site plan: Kuzbek noted that the proposed preliminary/final PD site plan calls for development in three phases. The Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental studies had been completed before the landowners purchased the property. No cleanup was required before or after removing the concrete batch plant.

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. The buildings are expected to be primarily medical offices using the central roundabout for dropoff and pickup. The highest point of each roof is about 7 feet above the basement floors of the adjacent Century Park homes on the east side of the Santa Fe Trail and would not block mountain views.

Phase 2 is a two-story, 16,000 square-foot building on the south end of the lot. The upper level faces north, is at roughly the same elevation as the two Phase 1 single-story buildings, and is expected to be medical/general offices. There is sufficient slope toward the south to allow for the lower-level spaces to have their own walkout access to the south parking lot. Expected uses are retail, day care, health club, or restaurant for use by other occupants on the site. The highest point of the roof for this two-story building is also about 7 feet above the basement floors of the adjacent Century Park homes on the east side of the Santa Fe Trail.

The architectural theme for all three office buildings calls for natural building materials common to "Colorado Mountain" with elements of "Turn of the Century" detailing. Landscaping matches the anticipated high-end uses. The buildings will meet "Bronze Class" criteria for "Leadership Excellence in Environmental Design" certification.

Phase 3 is a light industrial two-story, 16,000 square-foot office/warehouse building at the north end of the property with a separate access and separate parking lot. The front of the building 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, about 15 feet below the Santa Fe Trail, and would not significantly block mountain views from the trail or homes in Century Park. The highest point of the roof is also about 7 feet above the basement floors of the adjacent homes just across the Santa Fe Trail.

Stormwater and detention water quality ponds at both ends of the property would control drainage.

Key issues: Kassawara noted that there is only enough groundwater available on site for the first two phases of development. The landowner requested a purchase of 3 acre-feet of surplus town groundwater rights to meet the total water requirement for the third phase of development.

The staff has determined that the comparatively plain exterior of the third phase office/warehouse building "does not conform to the criteria for innovative or creative design on all four elevations and does not quite match the architecture which is quite upgraded for the other three buildings." Kassawara added, "We felt that there should be more continuity of design between the medical and office buildings and the industrial building." A separate round of Planning Commission and BOT hearings will be required for architecture and water issues prior to approval of the Phase 3 development.

Referral comments: The applicant has obtained approval from the railroad to bore under its tracks for the installation of a new Monument Sanitation District collection line. The intergovernmental agreement between the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts has been signed.

Mountain View Electric Association requested 10-foot utility easements in the perimeter setbacks and 10 feet of separation between its power lines and landscaping. The applicant reported that an agreement had been reached to keep plants five feet away from the electric facilities.

Primary CDOT concerns about proper sight distances, new turning lanes, and an escrow account for a new turn signal at the intersection of Highway 105 and Washington Street, as well as other concerns, have been resolved. The town has stated that it will not issue a building permit for the start of the second phase or third phase of construction until the applicant submits an updated traffic count study for each phase, unless the Highway 105 intersection already meets CDOT warrant requirements for installation of a new signal. The land owner would expand southbound Washington Street so it will have dedicated left turn, through, and right turn lanes at the Highway 105 intersection.

The county Parks Department has approved the property’s access and landscaping for the Santa Fe Trail.

The town’s water attorney listed several technical requirements that had to be met to ensure a proper dedication of all property water rights to the town.

The town’s water engineer noted that there is only enough water on site for the first two phases of construction – the landowner formally requested that the board approve the landowner’s future purchase of up to 3 acre-feet of surplus town groundwater rights at the time of town approval of Phase 3.

Kassawara said the town’s current minimum groundwater rights requirement for an office/warehouse building (100,000 gallons per year per 1,000 square feet) is the same as for an office building and will likely be reduced before this building is constructed. Kuzbek added that the actual irrigation requirement for the landscaping is also considerably less than the current town code requirement. The amount of additional water required for Phase 3 will be determined during later public hearings.

Kassawara stated that the three office buildings in the proposed PD site plan met all 10 requirements for a preliminary PD site plan and all three additional requirements for a final PD site plan listed in the town zoning code.

Kassawara recommended seven conditions for site plan 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 ($65,000) 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.
  7. No extended nighttime idling of trucks shall be permitted between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Discussion: Trustees Tim Miller and Gail Drumm stated their preference that a bicycle lane be added to the roadway in the PD site plan, even though this is not a through street, so that people can ride their bike to work on a paved road. Glenn said that a bike lane was not needed in an industrial roadway, noting that the Santa Fe Trail was adjacent to the property to the east. Kassawara said there would be enough pavement for a bike lane.

Glenn asked that "nighttime" be defined as 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in condition 7. Kassawara noted that this restriction would be enforced by the town’s code enforcement officer.

Glenn questioned the adequacy of the planned 100-foot right-turn lane. Consultant traffic engineer Chris McGranahan of LSC Transportation Consultants Inc. stated that CDOT had issued a permit for this shorter length in light of existing constraints caused by the Highway 105 bridge, on the east side of the Washington Street intersection, for traffic driving over the Crystal Creek drainage and the underground tunnel for the Santa Fe Trail.

Glenn added that a warning traffic signal may be necessary on the west side of the existing railroad bridge over Highway 105, which is several hundred feet to the west of the Washington Street intersection, due to the curve in the road creating visibility limitations for eastbound traffic after a red light is installed at the Washington Street intersection.

Glenn stated that he "would like to see a note on the plat" that there is to be a separate private agreement for a stormwater easement across the adjacent Tri-Lakes Disposal property to the west and a drinking water easement from the county for new town water pipes that will cross under the Santa Fe Trail from the Century Park looped distribution system to the site. Kuzbek noted that Tri-Lakes Disposal has been "very cooperative, a pleasure to work with."

The existing drainage culverts under the dirt road access easement will be removed and replaced with larger culverts that are better aligned with existing natural flows. Kuzbek will obtain a letter from Tri-Lakes stating the private stormwater drainage easement has been provided in order to protect the town and the applicant.

Glenn added that he would also like to see an upgrade of the exterior designs of the east and west sides of the office/warehouse building.

Kassawara noted that Washington Street, after it is paved, would become a local type 1 road under the town’s proposed "soon to be approved" roadway standards classification system.

The board unanimously approved three ordinances for the rezone, plat, and PD site plan.

No decision made on proposed Hull subdivision hotel

Background: For seven years, developer Jamie Hull of Goldwest II LLC has been making proposals to develop an undeveloped downtown city block that at the start of this proposal process was platted for 16 narrow downtown residential lots, about 50 feet by 150 feet. Although the property was replatted in 2007, only 16 single-family residential water taps are currently available to Hull from the town’s Water Department, for a total of 8 acre-feet per year.

The first proposal Hull made, in early 2005, for the property was to build a new police building coupled to an adjacent courthouse/community center building in the southeast corner. The estimated cost for a 20-year lease-purchase was $2.4 million. The available town budget was $2.5 million. Hull also suggested future options for building a new Town Hall on the northeast corner as well as a Public Works and staff office building on the remaining vacant space. For details see www.ourcommunitynews.org/v5n5.htm#bot0502

Hull then proposed building a 44-unit senior living facility in partnership with developer Tim Irish. The town rejected this proposal due to lack of sufficient available water for such a high-density project and advised Hull that commercial development was more suitable because it would use less water. For details see www.ourcommunitynews.org/v6n1.htm#bot1205

Hull next proposed building a senior living facility with Irish on a town-owned lot on the south side of Highway 105 east of Knollwood Drive, after the town decided not to build a police building on that lot either. Irish recently received town approval to build the Arbor Mountain Senior Living Facility. However Irish is building the senior living facility in partnership with a different developer, also from out-of-state, on the town’s Highway 105 lot.

The town subsequently built a new combined Town Hall and Police Department building for $4.4 million—with a much smaller space for police operations. The new building, at 645 Beacon Lite Road at the intersection with Highway 105, opened for business on May 10.

On Sept. 4, 2007, the BOT unanimously approved the next set of Hull proposals for this site:

  • Rezone of the Hull subdivision parcel from Downtown Residential to Planned Development (PD)
  • A Preliminary/Final Plat
  • A PD sketch plan that called for two- or three-floor storefront multi-use buildings—with different uses on each floor—and high-density residential housing that are consistent with existing "authentic downtown architecture."

(For details see www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n10.htm#bot0904.) 

Approved sketch plan: The PD sketch plan for the Hull subdivision that was approved by the BOT in 2007 contained eight areas of 0.2 to 0.3 acre each. The three areas on the east frontage were designated for storefront buildings with mixed uses and densities: office, retail, restaurant, and residential. The other five areas were solely for high-density residential, with a north-south common area between them.

All eight areas have a maximum building height of 45 feet and maximum lot coverage of 100 percent. The only setback requirement was a 10-foot setback from the exterior boundary of the property. However, 10-foot spacing is required between buildings. The maximum number of dwelling units is 46.

A dedication of a 66-foot-wide, 0.32-acre public right-of-way is provided to create a new segment of First Street that extends eastward from the south end of Adams Street along the north side of the five residential areas.

A 30-foot-wide north-south alley, located on the west side of the three mixed use areas along Beacon Lite Road, connects the east end of this new segment of First Street to the westbound lane of Lincoln Avenue.

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. Two eastbound lanes allowed for left and right turns onto Beacon Lite Road about 250 feet south of the trail crossing. Hull’s originally proposed Lincoln Avenue is aligned with the originally platted right-of-way for Lincoln Street on the east side of Jefferson Street.

The existing school driveway would be converted to a one-way public street, a southward extension of Adams Street. A new 90-degree curving extension from the south end of the school driveway connects Adams Street to the west end of the new Lincoln Avenue and Beacon Lite Road to improve traffic flows for arrivals and departures of Grace Best Elementary School students. The platted location for the curving extension of the school’s driveway avoids the existing fence that protects the northeast corner of the existing School District 38 sports track. Kassawara specifically noted that D-38 stated in pre-hearing meetings that they were satisfied with the traffic flows in both plans that would eliminate the uncontrolled passage of cars across the vacant Hull lot to Beacon Lite Road that had become the norm over several previous years.

The pickup/dropoff zone between the existing curb and the driveway, some portions of the eastern façade of the school, and the northeast corner of the track comprise an area of 0.4 acre, called Tract A. The existing D-38 uses in Tract A encroach on the Hull property.

Town discounted price for surplus water in 2007 …: The town staff advocated selling excess town water rights to Hull at reduced rates to meet the drinking water requirements for these unprecedented densities to start the transformation of the downtown area to a "new urbanism" or "traditional neighborhood" architectural style at this same Sept. 4, 2007, BOT meeting. Town Manager Cathy Green proposed setting aside 44 of the remaining 244 acre-feet of surplus town water rights for sale at a discounted rate of about $4,600 per acre-foot to encourage very high density development in the downtown zone. She also proposed changing the standards for water rights "brought to the table" by developers for single- and multi-family dwelling units.

Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said if high-density development of this type is not proposed, the staff would recommend lowering the minimum water right rules for the downtown area to encourage more very high density development or conversion. He said the town should consider revising the town’s requirement of 0.5 acre-feet per year for each single-family dwelling unit to 0.375 acre-feet, based on current data of actual use from the town’s Public Works Department and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

Kassawara also noted that Hull did not have enough water rights for his development under the current 0.375 acre-feet per year per multi-family residence.

Green added that Hull is "10 acre-feet short" for his proposed sketch plan density. However, no decisions were made on Green’s proposal to set aside 44 acre-feet of town water rights for very high density development at that meeting.

… And discounted it further in 2008: Seven months later, the BOT unanimously approved a resolution on April 7, 2008, to sell supplemental water rights to Hull at a cost not to exceed $2,000 per acre-foot in order to start what Green called the "revitalization of downtown Monument." The resolution would approve the sale of additional town water to Hull at a cost not to exceed $2,000 per acre-foot. However, Hull has not taken advantage of this opportunity to date.

The town staff will track water use during construction of the Hull project and for two more years after completion. Green also said that Gary Barber, director of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, had suggested a discounted selling price of $1,250 per acre-foot.

Westworks Engineering provided the specific consumption rates for each of the uses in its estimate of the annual water requirement for the PD site plan approved the previous year for the Hull development:

  • 46 residential units at .375 acre-foot each—17.25 acre-feet
  • 9,000 square feet of office space—1.71 acre-feet
  • 25,000 square feet of retail space—2.25 acre-feet
  • 0.5 acre of irrigated landscaping—1.25 acre-feet

The lack of sufficient groundwater on the Hull property remains an issue. The staff has continued to advocate the sale of surplus town groundwater rights to Hull and other developers to promote traditional neighborhood design high-density development in downtown Monument.

Request highlights differences in zoning standards: On June 1 Kassawara said, "The advent of the hotel use came from a potential hotel user that would like to participate in the development of the site by building a hotel" in the approved mixed-use area of the original PD sketch plan. He noted that the focus of a sketch plan is to see how the proposal conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and the "intent section of the code" to establish the allowed uses and densities of the property including open spaces, roadways, circulation, and utilities to address significant issues prior to any submittal of a preliminary PD site plan.

Hull requested an amendment to his previously approved PD sketch plan for the 4.6-acre Hull subdivision property to allow two new uses: a hotel that would front on Beacon Lite Road and a "potential" new location for the Monument Library within the new mixed-use area on the south end of the parcel. The amendment calls for a minor reconfiguration of the use areas and a change to the circulation system for the mixed-use development. The sketch plan retains all the previously proposed uses: high-density residential, office, retail, and restaurant.

However, Kassawara also noted that some aspects of Hull’s PD sketch plan criteria that were approved by the Planning Commission and BOT in 2007 still conflict with preferences for downtown development for that area that were listed in the Monument Comprehensive Plan at that time. Several trustees wanted the more restrictive B (business) district standards applied to the whole subdivision even though it is outside of the B district. Now there are also additional conflicts with new architectural guidelines for the downtown district that were recently approved by the Planning Commission and BOT.

Kassawara reviewed the changes in the amendment and these potential conflicts for the board in his opening summary.

Changes listed in the proposed amendment: The proposed sketch plan amendment contains no details on traffic circulation for three areas of development:

  • 1.03 acres for a 60-room hotel with the already approved maximum height of 45 feet on the northeast part of the property
  • 1.58 acres for office, library, coffee shop, retail, and "loft units" on the south end with the already approved maximum height of 45 feet
  • 1.14 acres for a maximum of 34 high-density residential units with the already approved maximum height of 40 feet on the northwest part of the property

The proposal to build a segment of First Street for public use has been dropped. The amendment calls for the town to vacate the 0.32 acre dedicated but never used as town right-of-way in the original two-year-old sketch plan for an as-yet undefined use by Goldwest. A heavy landscape buffer is now proposed for this vacated road right-of-way between the existing homes to the northwest and the proposed adjacent high-density structures now proposed on site.

The paved driveway in front of the east side of Grace Best would become a two-way street, rather than one-way southbound, that connects the existing south end of Adams Street to the west end of the relocated and realigned Lincoln Avenue. A 60-foot right-of-way for a two-lane east-west roadway connects the south end of the upgraded Grace Best driveway to Beacon Lite Road through the center of the property. Areas have been added for dedicated parallel parking on both sides of the new "Lincoln Avenue" roadway.

Although Hull has proposed that the new relocated east-west road still be called "Lincoln Avenue," the new proposed location is about one-half block north of the actual Lincoln Street right-of-way. The Lincoln Street right-of-way within the property would now have to be vacated and replatted prior to being given to Goldwest II by the town for the proposed mixed-use development in the Hull amendment. The vacation would be approved by the town in exchange for the proposed dedication of the new 60-foot right-of-way that would split the Hull subdivision property in half.

The east end of "Lincoln Avenue" is positioned on Beacon Lite Road so that the existing Santa Fe Trail crossing would become the crosswalk on the north side of the new intersection. Making the trail crossing a part of the intersection would improve pedestrian safety. Kassawara said the new location "makes a little more sense from a traffic standpoint with a better access to Beacon Lite Road."

Kassawara noted that the Planning Commission narrowly approved the proposed PD sketch plan amendment by a 3-2-1 vote (one abstention) on May 13. Primary concerns regarding the amendment that some of the commissioners expressed were:

  • The size of the proposed hotel is 60 rooms, well above the 5-20 rooms listed in Monument’s Comprehensive Plan as the preferred size for "downtown oriented," rather than "freeway oriented," bed and breakfast establishments and small inns and lodges.
  • Although the proposed height of hotel and mixed-use areas is no higher than the currently approved maximum of 45 feet for three-story vertical traditional neighborhood design buildings, the ad hoc downtown Architectural Design Guidelines committee has proposed a new, more restrictive maximum of only two stories and 35 feet in height even though the Hull property is not actually in the B Zone (retail area) of the downtown district. The maximum downtown residential height is 30 feet.
  • The proposed realignment of Lincoln Avenue farther north to connect Adams Street to Beacon Lite Road as a two-way rather than a one-way eastbound street might compromise student safety in the parents’ dropoff/pickup area.
  • The safety benefits of making the driveway in front of Grace Best one-way in the 2007 PD sketch plan are lost since the driveway would remain a two-way roadway in the amended plan.
  • Construction of a hotel appeared to increase the risk of sexual predators attacking students as they walk through the Hull Subdivision to the Santa Fe Trail and elsewhere compared to the previously approved retail uses on the northeast portion of the property along Beacon Lite Road.

Kassawara pointed out on June 1 that Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk said a hotel would not be a greater safety risk to students than retail stores. The D-38 "school district supports the proposed amendment and did not express any safety concerns."

Kassawara reported that a 60-room hotel with authentic traditional designs that would blend in with the preferred designs of existing buildings is larger than preferred but "would help to attract people to patronize downtown businesses and provide a positive contribution to downtown Monument." He added that the hotel should have a master signage plan "appropriate to a downtown center rather than highway-oriented signage. Hotels that are close to highways love to have big pole signs, and that’s something we do discourage strongly as staff in site plans."

Kassawara also noted the following building heights for comparison:

  • Tri-Lakes Cares—35 feet
  • Big Red D-38 headquarters—37.5 feet
  • New Jackson Creek Commerce Center office building—48 feet
  • Fairfield Inn Hotel in Monument Ridge center—54 feet

Kassawara said the "staff is recommending the building heights be removed from the sketch plan." The proposed maximum building heights should be evaluated when the actual design of all the proposed building facades are submitted with the preliminary/final PD site plan showing how each building’s height actually affects views and creation of shadows. Receding third stories are now being recommended by the staff to reduce view and shadow impacts.

This proposed reversal of town policy regarding inclusion of building heights in sketch plans to analyze and evaluate proposed uses and densities would reverse the previous approval of maximum commercial building heights of 45 feet in the 2007 PD sketch plan. This would weaken any future argument by Hull that a height waiver for every building on the site had been approved before a change in the town code, particularly for Hull’s proposed hotel and the three-story, mixed-use storefront buildings that the staff has advocated without reservations the past few years. The staff used the Hull project’s PD sketch plan as one vehicle for establishing its preference for a policy of subsidizing much higher urban densities than the Comprehensive Plan recommends, as well as the discounted sale of surplus town water rights as an incentive to maximize downtown densities.

Kassawara proposed three conditions of approval for the Hull PD sketch plan amendment:

  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 the final PD site plan for this project.
  3. The building heights shall be determined at the time of the preliminary PD site plan, when more detailed plans that include building elevations, footprints, and view shadow studies must be submitted. The building heights shall be removed from the sketch plan.

Land Planner John Maynard of NES Inc. provided some additional information as Jamie and Mert Hull’s primary spokesperson:

  • Currently parents drive across Hull’s vacant lot to reach Beacon Lite Road after dropoff or pickup of schoolchildren.
  • Lincoln Avenue is still platted but not developed at the south end of the property.
  • First Street is still platted but not developed at the north end of the property.
  • The first sketch plan attempted to use existing platted street rights-of-way and a one-way restriction on Adams Street to ease existing school traffic circulation issues for student dropoff/pickup.
  • The new alignment of Lincoln Avenue and conversion of "Adams Street to an urban street with two-way circulation" creates "an urban block situation."
  • The additional dedication of right-of-way will provide parallel parking on the east side of Adams in the northbound school bus drop-off area and a dedicated southbound drop-off lane on the west side to reduce stacking of cars, as well as eliminating the current need to go north on Adams Street to return to Second Street.
  • Lincoln Avenue becomes a "downtown or urban street situation" with parallel parking on both sides.
  • The platted First Street right-of-way is now proposed to be vacated and converted to internal circulation, since it cannot be extended to Beacon Lite Road due to the location of the county’s Santa Fe Trail, which runs behind the rear of the Pankratz art building.
  • "The major change is the introduction of a hotel site" and "we want to have a thorough discussion of that with you to see if you’re in support of that type of use."
  • "We’ve done research that indicates that Monument has room for one or two more hotels."
  • "We have a franchise that would like to locate here in this particular location."
  • "It’s the intent of the Hulls to own this hotel and operate it."
  • The hotel would cover only about 40 percent of the 1.03 acre lot, not 100 percent, leaving room for parking and landscaping.
  • To be economically feasible, the hotel has to have at least 60 rooms and be three stories in height, though the height may vary from 40 to 45 feet based on the final design in the PD site plan.
  • The Hulls need to know whether the town is interested in having a hotel of "this bulk and scale" on this site, which is necessary for it to be successful, before spending a considerable amount of money to move forward.
  • The size of the hotel would be comparable to the new Town Hall if a third story were added, but would generate less traffic than mixed-use commercial buildings and the reduced number of single-family homes—34 rather than 46.
  • The location is on "the fringe of downtown" in "a transitional area" between a highway zone open space and the rest of downtown, which is one block north and west of the Hull property.
  • The mix of buildings proposed is a leading design and unique for its size and scale.

Some of the comments made by citizens during the public hearing were:

  • A neighboring property owner from Adams Street said she was in favor of the new library and had changed her mind following Maynard’s presentation and was now in favor of the hotel, if it would not damage her property value because of additional traffic.
  • Another neighboring Adams Street property owner said his views to the west are now blocked by the temporary classroom buildings next to the D-38 headquarters building and that traffic would become worse due to increases throughout the day rather than just during the start and end of the school day.

Discussion

Glenn noted that:

  • Building height is an issue; he was not sure that the board would like a 45-foot-tall hotel building, and he would like to see a sketch of the building.
  • The new three-story Fairfield Inn on Struthers Road has 65 rooms on a two-acre site.
  • Condominium unit density is typically 12-14 units per acre, not 34 per acre as proposed for the residential area, which makes parking in garages for all those residents a problem.
  • The library says it needs 2.5-3 acres rather than 1.5 acres to provide adequate parking and would increase traffic in the area.
  • The board tried to work with Hull on the need for purchasing additional water and allowing taller buildings to promote low-cost housing for D-38 teachers and "help the developer make back his money on this type of use, because it’s something we wanted to see downtown."
  • "My personal opinion is that I don’t think this is what we have for the vision of downtown. Maybe the board needs to come back to make a vision statement."
  • He would prefer that the traffic flow of the original sketch plan with Lincoln Avenue on the southern perimeter be retained.

Dominguez said he was concerned about the proposed high density for the residential area. Maynard said that the proposed residential density was only "up to 12 dwelling units per acre" and that other residential units, apartments and lofts, would be located in the upper floors of the three-story, mixed-use storefront buildings. The actual number would likely be less than 34.

Trustee Gail Drumm said that the new location of Lincoln Avenue cuts the project in half, and a two-way street would be busier. This change defeats the goal of making "the whole area walkable," losing the park between the business and residential area in the original sketch plan, and keeping the plan "user friendly." He said he did not believe that the library could afford to move to the new location Hull was proposing. "The board needs to realize that the motel’s gonna get built and none of the rest of it ever will. We’ve run into that before."

Maynard said that "If the library goes" it would probably be a two- or three-story building, similar to the library in the Briargate Center at Chapel Hills and Briargate Parkway.

Trustee Travis Easton said he preferred the room restriction in the Comprehensive Plan—"60 rooms is a bit much."

Jamie Hull said:

  • He and his father, Mert, were trying to modify the project so that it could be economically feasible in the current economic cycle and still draw traffic to the downtown area.
  • Guests of the Fairfield Inn go to Monument Marketplace on Jackson Creek Parkway rather than downtown Monument.
  • The "Microtel" would have a smaller room and lobby than the Fairfield Inn and be slightly taller than the D-38 "Big Red" building.
  • The new location of Lincoln Avenue would better retain the look of the downtown area’s rectangular grid system.
  • D-38 prefers the new location of Lincoln Avenue, traffic calming with parking on both sides and the additional safety for schoolchildren by having the Santa Fe Trail crossing on Beacon Lite Road become part of the new Lincoln intersection location.
  • D-38 has plans for a plaza in its open space to the north of "Big Red," which would be easily accessed from the townhouses.

The board unanimously continued the proposed amendment until the next board meeting and asked Hull to provide a sketch that would show "exactly what the hotel would look like."

The board unanimously approved annual renewals for Tri-Lakes Liquor, 586 Highway 105, and the Second Street Art Market, 366 Second St.

Staff reports

Green reported that Public Works would start the final construction work for the Second Street railroad "quiet zone" modifications on June 9 and be completed by the end of June. Landreth noted that the cost for street modifications would be about $12,000 of the unused $40,000 remaining in the street repair budget for 2009. Once the work is approved, the railroad will stop sounding the train horn so often as the engine approaches the Second Street crossing.

The board approved a motion by a 4-1 vote, with Drumm opposed, to rent space in the old Town Hall building to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District for temporary administrative office use for $1 per year. Tri-Lakes Fire will pay for all utilities and services plus any upgrades Tri-Lakes desires within the building, such as upgrading the kitchen. The town’s downtown development director will still have an office in the building. The current twice-weekly senior lunches and monthly Monument Homemakers’ meetings will continue to be held there as well.

Green reported that she was appointed as the new Triview Metropolitan District manager, and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith was appointed as the Triview finance director by the Triview board on May 27. These appointments give both the needed authority to speak as the new official staff representatives of Triview, particularly with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority in administering the metro district’s loan of $8 million for upgrades to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, as well as speaking to developers and financial advisors on behalf of Triview. Green said that a draft Memorandum of Understanding was attached to her staff report. She asked the trustees to review the document and to provide feedback at their convenience.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

The regular June 15 board meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

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The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on July 6 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Monument Planning Commission, June 10: Commissioners approve Monument Marketplace plat

By Jim Kendrick

On June 10, the Monument Planning Commission unanimously approved a preliminary/final plat for Filing 18 in the Monument Marketplace. Filing 18 is 0.7 acre located adjacent to the southeast corner of Filing 13—the Texas Roadhouse lot—and the east side of Filing 17—the new Discount Tire Store lot, all of which lie between the Wal-Mart lot and I-25.

Commissioners Ed Delaney and Kathy Spence were absent. No one has been appointed to fill the vacant seat created by the resignation of former Commissioner Tom Martin at the end of the previous meeting on May 13.

Although the intended use for Filing 18 was not discussed at the Planning Commission hearing, Vision Development spokesman Rick Blevins told the Triview Metropolitan District board that Vision is in early negotiations with National Vision Inc. to build a 6,000-square-foot building on the site for optical retail sales.

Principal Planner Karen Griffith noted that the plat conforms to all 12 requirements listed in the town’s subdivision regulations. There were neither public comments on the proposed plat during the public hearing nor any referral comments from any outside agencies on the proposed plat.

The town staff will review the proposed planned development (PD) site plan administratively for compliance with restrictions listed in the Monument Marketplace master plan. If there are any major deviations from the master plan, the town staff will bring the proposed site plan before the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees for public hearings on the proposed major revisions.

Griffith recommended two standard general conditions of approval for the preliminary/final plat:

  1. Any necessary technical corrections shall be made and approved by staff.
  2. All referral agency comments shall be resolved prior to recordation of the plat.

Commissioner Chuck Baker noted that some of the town’s reference surveying monuments, such as the monument for the center of the original Baptist Road, have been lost, buried, or removed and may have made the rendering of specific details within the proposed plat areas noted in the plat less accurate than they should be. However, this is a town staff issue rather than a Vision Development plat issue.

The preliminary/final plat was unanimously approved with the two conditions proposed by Griffith.

The meeting adjourned at 6:59 after Griffith reviewed the results of the June 1 BOT public hearings regarding the proposed Rod Smith Business Park and an amendment to the PD sketch plan for the Hull Subdivision.

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The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on July 8 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday night of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, June 11: Both wells pumping as town awaits plant upgrade

By David Futey

Both water wells were in use in June to keep up with consumption, Water Trustee Max Stafford told the Palmer Lake Town Council on June 11. Meanwhile, work might start on the water filtration plant upgrade by the end of August.

Mayor John Cressman was absent from the meeting. Trustee Nikki McDonald served as mayor pro-tem.

Stafford stated that both wells were in use this month to keep up with consumption. The water from the town’s reservoir is high in silt, which collects in the filters and thus cannot be treated The loan for the replacement of the existing surface water treatment equipment has been conditionally approved, but additional items need to be completed before construction can begin.

Town Clerk Della Gray said that if the final engineering designs for the water treatment equipment upgrade are approved by the state, a request for bids will be issued, and a contract awarded. There are also numerous legal documents that must be completed for issuing the revenue bonds that will pay back the loan.

Construction should start no later than the end of August. The council appointed two authorized officers, Cressman and McDonald, to approve the withdrawal of loan funds to pay invoices submitted to them by Palmer Lake Water Superintendent Steve Orcutt during construction. None of the money from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority loan will come directly to the town or be handled by town staff.

Business licenses approved

By unanimous decision, the council approved the business license for International Stoneworks. Owner Ronald Turenne said the company is relocating from Southern California. The company will lease a building at 200 County Line Rd. and seek an option to buy, dependent upon whether the building could be rezoned as an industrial condo. The company’s 10 employees will manufacture granite countertops for commercial purposes. They will use a water reclamation system during granite-cutting.

The council also unanimously approved business licenses for Body Therapy, 775 Highway 105, suite B, and Skyline Graphic Services, 755 Highway 105, suite 2F. Neither business was represented by their owners, but each owner submitted company information via e-mail to Gray.

After approval of the licenses, Trustee Jan Bristol suggested that the West End Center signage needs to be re-evaluated in order to improve the visibility of the businesses at that location. Bristol suggested that owners of businesses in the building should be consulted to find out what signage might best suit their needs.

Trustees’ reports

Bristol, the Parks and Recreation trustee, reported that she and Gray attended the Community Development Business Association meetings. Bristol said that a purchase of a shed has been approved and will be built for parks equipment on association land. Economic Development Trustee Nikki McDonald has been attending the Fourth of July Fireworks Committee meetings.

Trustee Bristol also has been attending the Community Development Action Board (CDAB) meetings, where the distribution of county block grant money has been discussed. The funding available is $144,000, and over $700,000 in requests were received. CDAB is an advisory board and has been interviewing groups to determine needs in order to make recommendations.

Shawn Cash has agreed to spearhead a "green" recycling effort at the July 4 fireworks festivities with assistance provided by Serteens, "R" Rockyard, and Tri-Lakes Disposal. Several big containers for plastics and aluminum cans will be provided.

Fire Trustee Gary Coleman reported that Palmer Lake volunteer firefighter Shauna Ball graduated from the paramedic course at Pikes Peak Community College. After 625 internship hours, Bell will become a state-certified paramedic.

Roads Trustee Bryan Jack has not yet received a formal response from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) regarding the takeover of Highway 105. Jack recently sent in a revised application that reduced the takeover area.

Jack attended two Community Forums, and a common request was for the rehabilitation of the lake’s north shore to open up space along the shoreline.

Jack also released finance information from the Safe Route to Schools contract. The contract includes $36,925 for design, $14,000 for utilities, and $179,628 for construction.

t was noted that $30,344 of the total design expenditures of $58,000 will be reimbursed. The cost overages are due to addressing CDOT’s hydraulic engineering concerns and related redesigns.

Police Trustee Dan Reynolds reported that the Police Department would receive a grant for an as yet unspecified amount from the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club. It will be used to purchase equipment.

Public comments

Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s Steak Pub, reported that 500 people participated in the fishing derby at Palmer Lake on June 6 and that 375 fishing poles were distributed. Hulsmann raised the concern that more water is needed in the lake so that rainwater will not affect the water’s pH. The lake could not be restocked two days prior to the fishing derby because of the pH. As a result, the fish were placed in Monument Lake.

On behalf of the Awake the Lake committee, Hulsmann presented the council with a $1,000 check collected from public donations. The funds are to be directed toward covering legal expenses in seeking a solution to water issues to be able to maintain a higher water level in Palmer Lake. Hulsmann stated that the committee is pleased with the efforts of the committee’s water attorney.

Trustee Bristol complimented Hulsmann on the bus service provided by O’Malley’s. Hulsmann reported that over 1,000 riders have used the service.

Palmer Lake resident Richard Allen raised concerns about a lack of response on a variety of issues including the police situation and audit. Allen questioned why it took 4-1/2 months for the audit proposal to proceed.

Trustee Jack said there were two different proposals. The initial proposal was to request a broader review from the existing audit firm. The auditor responded with a cost to review additional accounts and transactions beyond what was originally contracted. The second proposal was to seek another auditing firm for next year.

Only one firm has responded to date, and it requested that an extensive survey be completed and returned. This year’s audit, with the additional review, began on June 29. The cost of this year’s audit is $11,000, plus $5,000 for the extended review.

Trustee Max Stafford brought up a request that he received via e-mail from real estate agent Trish Flake regarding an outstanding water bill affecting the sale of a house on Columbine Road. The house is on the verge of foreclosure if the sale does not proceed. A balance of $285 remains after a $105 penalty was waived. Flake asked if the town had a policy regarding such instances and requested that the balance be waived if possible. Flake indicated that given the economic conditions, other instances as this may occur in the future.

The e-mail went on to say that the present homeowner does not have the funds to pay the bill, and the real estate agent also stated that she is legally prevented from paying it.

Bristol said the council should not forgive outstanding bills in instances such as this, because other alternatives exist and approving this would be setting a precedent. Stafford made a motion to waive the balance, but it was not seconded, and the motion died.

The meeting adjoined at 8:29 p.m.

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The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 9 at Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Info: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/index.shtml or call 481-2953.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Board, June 11: District won’t pass on fee to employees

By Harriet Halbig

The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District agreed June 11 to cover a state insurance fee rather than pass it on to employees.

Director Barrie Town was absent from the meeting.

District Manager Jessie Shaffer referred to a letter regarding an assessment to the district levied by the state to cover a shortfall in funds for the Cover Colorado program. Cover Colorado is a state-funded health insurance program that makes it possible for individuals to purchase insurance when they would otherwise be disqualified by pre-existing conditions. The state is levying a fee of about $25 per individual on Woodmoor Water.

The district’s insurance carrier is passing the fee along to the district, and Shaffer asked the board whether the district should cover the fee or pass it on to the employees. He said if it is not paid, insurance coverage for the entire group could be cancelled.

The board approved covering the fee for this year only and then reconsidering the issue. The fee can be changed twice a year by the state, but the board felt that employee morale would benefit if the district covered the fee.

The district’s financial report was approved as submitted, with Treasurer Jim Wyss reporting that revenues were down due to the recent rains.

JUC report

The report on the Joint Use Committee (JUC) stated that the plant continues to operate well, that sludge removal continues, and that the concentration of copper in the water has decreased.

The JUC, consisting of representatives from Woodmoor, Palmer Lake and Monument, continues to review its agreement on general terms of operation. Woodmoor accounts for 65 percent of the water involved, Palmer Lake for 20 percent and Monument for 15 percent. As a result, there was some discussion of financial obligations among the entities. Some felt that expenses should be equally divided, while others felt they should be based on flow rates. Discussion continues on this matter.

Shaffer reported that the Pikeview Protocol considered by the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) involves negotiations between that entity and Colorado Springs Utilities to deliver water to entities outside the city limits as a part of the new Southern Delivery System. Colorado Springs Utilities has stated that this is not a good time to agree to this request. The utility is studying the matter and is expected to make recommendations by November. Shaffer said that he will continue to monitor the matter.

Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that 95 percent of the water pumped in the past month was accounted for, with sales slightly down from last year due to the recent rain. He said that the lake is filling more quickly than expected and therefore none of the water being used is from wells, but from credits purchased from the Donala and Triview water authorities.

Gillette reported that two sewer construction projects, one on White Fawn Drive and one on Deer Creek Road, will go to bidding on June 19 with construction to begin in July. He said that the dam repair project is completed with the seeding done.

Shaffer reported that the district’s contract with Woodmoor Safety is still being negotiated, and the previous contract remains in effect.

Shaffer also reported that he had contacted JKD and Co. Inc., a public relations firm, for help in formulating press releases and other assistance in interacting with the press. Because water issues are becoming increasingly prominent, he said he felt the district should be proactive in this regard.

Shaffer said the PPRWA has also considered this matter and has retained a different firm. He expressed concern that this might result in mixed messages from the various members of PPRWA.

The board authorized Shaffer to execute an agreement with JKD.

Board approves CD agreement with bank

Prior to discussion of financial matters, Treasurer Wyss, who is the president of Integrity Bank, recused himself and left the room.

Integrity Bank representative Eric Davis briefly spoke to the board about the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDRS). He said that Colorado statutes limit how public entities may invest their funds. He said that because federal securities and certificates of deposit are the safest venues for investment, and because federal securities carry a low interest rate at present (less than 1 percent), bank CDs are much more favorable. In order for all funds to be insured by the FDIC, CDs must be purchased from several banks, and CDRS makes this possible by accessing banks in several states.

Integrity Bank is charged a small fee for this access, and the fee is not passed on to the purchaser, Davis said. The program is 15 years old, and none of the securities involved include mortgage-backed securities.

CDs are in the name of Integrity Bank rather than Woodmoor Water and Sanitation.

The board approved an agency agreement between the district and Integrity Bank regarding the CDRS.

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

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The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board usually meets at 1 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the conference room at 1855 Woodmoor Drive. Due to personal scheduling conflicts among the board members, the July meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 16. For further information, call 488-2525 or check www.woodmoorwater.com

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, June 17: Authority prepares for presentation to CSU committee

By John Heiser

At the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority’s (PPRWA) regular monthly meeting June 17, members offered suggestions regarding a planned July 1 presentation to Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC). The UPAC makes recommendations to the Colorado Springs Utilities Board.

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.

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 Utilities Board 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 with the goal of providing recommendations to the Utilities Board in December regarding possible changes to Executive Limitation 13. The UPAC’s recommendations could open the way for use by regional partners of the planned Southern Delivery System pipeline and other CSU facilities.

Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, identified some of the issues UPAC is concerned with in notes he prepared from the June 3 UPAC meeting, which was the UPAC’s first meeting on the issue of regional partnerships. Some highlights:

  • Bruce McCormick, chief of CSU’s water resources, presented its guiding principles in order from greatest to least important: 1) Arrangements must benefit CSU customers, 2) CSU has significant water resources, 3) Any water rate impacts should reduce the cost to CSU customers, 4) Protect the CSU water supply, 5) Build and enhance regional partnerships, 6) Protect the Southern Delivery System, 7) Reduce regional use of non-renewable resources, 8) Comply with the city’s comprehensive plan, 9) Comply with the city’s strategic direction, 10) Promote regional integration of economics, and 11) Maximize regional resources and protect against out-of-region developments. Duthie said McCormick identified the first four as major principles.
  • Gary Bostrom, CSU’s main water planner, reviewed the history of CSU’s water planning. He noted that the current Southern Delivery System partners are allocated water as follows: 70.55 million gallons per day (mgd) for CSU, 2.25 mgd for the City of Fountain, and 1.3 mgd for the City of Security. These figures and a downtime equivalent to 3.9 mgd yield the current requirement for a 66-inch pipe flowing at 5 feet per second. Increasing the flow rate to 6 feet per second would supply an additional 5.8 mgd for growth in eastern El Paso County and 7 mgd for northern El Paso County.
  • CSU water attorney Mark Shea reviewed some of the legal issues. He said perpetual water contracts are legal. Time-limited water contracts are also legal and carry no responsibility for continuing to serve those customers after the contract expires. The city charter allows the city to lease water at rates set by the City Council, but lease or sale of "a substantial part of city property" requires a vote of the electorate. The word "substantial" in this context is undefined. The city codes, which can be changed by the City Council, allow for special contracts and require that water service arrangements must be consistent with the city’s needs, be based on an annexation or pre-annexation agreement, and require that the customer deed water rights to CSU. Shea said that Blue River and other trans-mountain water is limited to the city’s "metropolitan area," which is not clearly defined but might include the Tri-Lakes area.

At the July 1 UPAC meeting, the presentations for the PPRWA and the El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA) will be prepared by PPRWA and EPCWA manager Gary Barber and presented by Kip Petersen, manager of the Cherokee district and president of the PPRWA and the EPCWA.

Some suggestions for inclusion in the presentation:

  • Duthie said, "They want to know who we are and what we need." He said that should include slides showing for each of the members where their water comes from, how many customers they serve, and their projected demand.
  • Rick Fendel, the authority’s attorney, added that the scope of the area’s current water situation and what the PPRWA and EPCWA have done about it should be included. He said the point should be made that revenue from the PPRWA members could help pay for the Southern Delivery System.
  • Duthie noted that Colorado Springs views development outside the city as stealing sales tax revenue from the city, even though a 2006 study by the Bamberger Group found that northern county areas contributed significantly more to the city’s economy than it costs in lost tax revenues.
  • Barber added that the study found that cities that regionalized their facilities grew and became far more important regions than those that did not.

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 July 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the Monument Town Hall, New Monument Town Hall and Police Department Building, 645 Beacon Lite Road (by Highway 105). The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

There is information on UPAC at www.csu.org/about/upac, on the UB at www.csu.org/about/ub, and on the Southern Delivery System at www.sdswater.org

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, June 17: Water court case filed to convert ranch water to district use

By John Heiser

At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting June 17, Dana Duthie, the district’s general manager, reported that the district has filed its water court case to convert the Mount Massive ranch water rights from agricultural uses to district use.

The filing prompted a June 9 article in The Pueblo Chieftain. Duthie said he expects numerous groups, including Colorado Springs and Aurora, to file objections. All objections must be filed by the end of July. The district must file its engineering report in November or December. A court hearing is expected in August 2010.

Duthie said the district plans to purchase a trailer to be set up on the ranch for district workers who will be drying up the ranch by closing and redirecting its irrigation ditches.

Other matters

  • During the three months from March 1 through May 31, the district’s $4.89 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 1.39 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.55 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 4.1 months.
  • Duthie reported that the El Paso County Water Authority has suspended its meetings so members can attend the Colorado Springs Utilities Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC) meetings. He distributed copies of his notes from the June 3 UPAC meeting. Some highlights are included in the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) article on page 15.
  • Duthie reported on the June 17 PPRWA meeting. See PPRWA article on page 15.
  • Copies were distributed of a June 16 article from the Parker Chronicle covering problems the Parker Water and Sanitation District is having paying the $12 million per year cost of the $105 million in bonds issued for the Rueter-Hess Reservoir project. Due to the economic downturn, the number of taps issued has dropped from 1,700 per year in 2005 to almost zero. As a result, the district is considering substantial increases in the residents’ monthly bills. That prompted an attempt to recall the district’s board members. The article is posted at www.coloradocommunitynewspapers.com/articles/2009/06/18//parker_chronicle/news//12_cm_reservoir_pk.txt
  • Duthie said that Trojan, the company whose subcontractor miscalculated the capacity of the open-channel ultraviolet disinfection treatment system at the waste plant and for hundreds of other plants around the world, will deliver the rest of the additional modules needed by mid-July.
  • Installation of the new sludge press and conveyors at the wastewater treatment plant should be completed by early July.
  • After a three-year delay, the state is proceeding with processing of the new discharge permit for the expanded wastewater treatment plant. Duthie said he expects the new permit to be issued no earlier than November. Ongoing issues regarding the standards to be applied to Monument Creek could affect the requirements imposed by the new permit.
  • Duthie said the district is continuing to work with Waste Management to address the radiology issues with the sludge from the wastewater plant.
  • Cathy Green, Monument’s town manager, is now officially the manager of the Triview Metropolitan District.
  • Duthie noted that in commercial areas within Triview, business owners are responsible for maintaining the local infrastructure. He added that this could be a problem for the wastewater treatment plant if the sewer lines are not properly maintained.

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

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The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Tues., July 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held at 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

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

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Monument Sanitation District Board, June 18: Federal stimulus funding for Wakonda Hills still on track

By Jim Kendrick

On June 18, District Manager Mike Wicklund updated the Monument Sanitation District Board on the process of obtaining approval of the district’s application for a $2 million "forgivable" federal stimulus program loan from the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Once final approval is received from the state, the district would award a contract for the "shovel ready" project to install the remaining two phases of its wastewater collection project throughout the western portion of the Wakonda Hills development. Construction would begin by the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30.

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 previously submitted in March to start the stimulus grant application process.

The district’s application had been recommended in sixth place for the 16 Category 1 projects for the approximately $30 million in stimulus funding available in Colorado for wastewater projects through the 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.

The flow of human waste into nearby wells 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 from another source, 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 five 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 has encouraged the district to extend its wastewater collection system throughout Wakonda Hills. Wastewater flows across the surface of many Wakonda Hills lots toward unprotected wellheads have been easily observed and smelled for several years.

The total project cost for the district is currently about $4 million. However, the maximum total amount of tap fees that can be collected from Wakonda Hills property owners is only 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. For example, the Town of Palmer Lake has applied for a State Revolving Fund loan to upgrade its water treatment plant’s capacity to treat surface water from the town’s reservoir.

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

  • The district must hold a public hearing on the project. It is scheduled for July 16.
  • 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 rescinding the Wakonda Hills funding and reallocation to a lower-priority "shovel ready" project.

Agreement with Woodmoor

Steve Witte, the state water engineer, advised Woodmoor and Monument that installation of the Wakonda Hills sanitary sewer system would reroute some of Wakonda wastewater to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility as more and more property owners abandon their septic systems and connect to the Monument collection system. The Tri-Lakes facility discharges its treated wastewater into Monument Creek downstream of the Woodmoor’s uptake point near Arnold Avenue, making the small amount of Wakonda Hills wastewater no longer delivered to the creek by the Dawson tributary aquifer unavailable for Woodmoor’s use.

Wastewater from Wakonda Hills septic tanks is currently being delivered through their attached leach fields to the Dawson tributary aquifer. Wastewater that flows across the surface from failed septic systems also eventually drains into the Dawson tributary aquifer. This aquifer then delivers its water to Monument Creek—upstream of Woodmoor’s uptake point near Arnold Avenue.

The board unanimously approved the intergovernmental agreement that calls for a payment of $57,540 to Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District for any and all future potential loss of the Wakonda Hill wastewater component of surface water that Woodmoor could draw out of Monument Creek near Arnold Avenue. Woodmoor pumps this creek water up to Lake Woodmoor, which Woodmoor is now using as a reservoir. The Woodmoor board approved the amount of the payment and the associated intergovernmental agreement on June 11.

The Woodmoor board has also agreed to provide a letter of support for the Wakonda Hills project to the Monument board, which will be submitted in turn to the state Health Department. Wicklund noted that Woodmoor’s attorney, Erin Smith, drafted the intergovernmental agreement, then incorporated wording changes provided by Roger Sams of GMS and Larry Gaddis, Monument’s attorney. This agreement and Woodmoor’s letter of project support will eliminate the only potential objection that has been raised to the Wakonda Hills project to date.

County agrees to easements for lift stations

Wicklund also announced that El Paso County has agreed to provide easements on the east side of the Santa Fe Trail for access and construction of two lift stations, a connecting 2-inch force main, emergency generator, and electrical vault within county property adjacent to the southwest boundary of Wakonda Hills. GMS has estimated that the district’s total cost for constructing these items, which is not part of the federal grant process, is about $388,000.

On June 23 the Board of County Commissioners formally approved a resolution, proposed and recommended by Tim Wolkien, the director of the county Public Services Department, to provide the needed lift station easements in return for a district payment of $12,170. This easement payment is also not part of the federal grant process.

2008 audit approved

Auditor Mark Gilmore of Bauerle and Co. P.C. presented his final draft of the district’s "clean"/unqualified 2008 audit to the board. The directors asked several technical questions regarding the audit’s references to the district’s bond debt, which was paid off in 2007, and suggested a few minor wording changes for additional clarity. The board unanimously approved the audit as amended. Gilmore will forward the audit to the state.

Gilmore also noted that all federal funding expenditures for the Wakonda Hills project will require a separate "yellow book audit" in 2009.

Amended Joint Use Agreement review continues: The board discussed Facility Manager Bill Burks’ proposed wording changes to the agreement’s current definitions to more precisely distinguish between capital and maintenance projects for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. Capital costs are divided equally among the three special districts that own the Tri-Lakes Facility, while operational costs are divided based on the amount of total flow and treatable wastes each district delivers to the facility.

A final decision on all proposed revisions to the agreement is scheduled for the annual meeting of all 15 directors of the three districts that own the plant: Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

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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, June 24: Park construction contract awarded to Copestone

By Jim Kendrick

The Triview Metropolitan District Board approved two contracts and formally dissolved another on June 24. Director Julie Glenn’s absence was excused.

Two contracts awarded

The Triview Metropolitan District Board unanimously awarded a contract to the Copestone Co. for construction of the Misty Creek Park project in southeast Jackson Creek. Copestone had the lowest of four bids submitted, $158,229. The other three bids ranged from $214,515 to $299,475. Copestone should complete the project by the end of September.

The board also approved a payment of $3,120 to engineering consultant Nolte Associates, Inc. adding project management of Copestone’s work to Nolte’s existing design services contract for Misty Creek Park.

Both approved payments are budgeted for in the 2009 Capital Projects Fund.

Davidson contract canceled

The board also unanimously approved a resolution that would formally terminate a previous resolution approved on Oct. 29, 2008 that appointed "sales delegate" D.A. Davidson to re-finance $47,345,000 in general obligation bond debt for a maximum of 180 days, with an option to extend Davidson’s authorization. The 180-day limit expired on April 27.

Later in the meeting, during executive session, the board considered four proposals from banks and bond agents that were submitted to the board in response to a request for proposals. These companies proposed their plans for refinancing the current short-term variable rate general obligation bonds with long-term fixed-rate bonds now that Triview is sufficiently credit-worthy to issue bonds for the first time since the district was created in 1987.

Kitchener Way landscaping decision postponed

The district received a petition from the owners of 15 Academy View homeowners requesting that Triview finish the greenbelt area on Kitchener Way between Bridle Ridge Drive and Chesapeake Avenue. The petitions stated that Kitchener Way is "an unattractive sight" that "has been unfinished for 4 years."

Monument Public Works Director Rich Landreth noted that no landscaping had been installed on the northwest and southwest corners of this four-way-stop intersection due to previous disagreements between the developer and Triview that were not resolved before the developer’s warranty expired. Also, there is no sidewalk installed on the southwest corner.

Monument Town Manager Cathy Green reported in her background paper that the total cost for completing the landscaping on all four corners would be about $12,000. She suggested this amount could come from the $92,000 in savings that resulted from the surprisingly low Copestone bid.

Triview Superintendent Steve Sheffield said he had discussed the matter again with a representative of J2 Development, the developer of Academy View, and said the firm still refuses to landscape the area in question until the development is completely built out.

Director Robert Fisher objected to using district funds to pay for installing landscaping when that is the responsibility of Academy View. Board President Robert Eskridge agreed. He recommended that landscaping and sidewalk installation should be required of J2 as a condition of issuing the next building permit in the development.

Landreth stated that the cost for only stabilizing the existing curb and sidewalk with rocks, before they are washed away due to worsening erosion, would be about $3,900. The board approved the "rock only" option.

Based on the advice provided by Triview attorney Pete Susemihl and advisor Ron Simpson, the board deferred a decision on how to get the requested landscaping installed. These two consultants will try to determine how a previous legal settlement by the Triview board with J2, after a long litigation regarding J2’s unreimbursed infrastructure construction, would affect any future restrictions the board might be able to impose on issuing future building permits to J2 until landscaping is installed. Eskridge directed the staff members not to do anything that would nullify the conditions imposed on Triview by J2 in the settlement.

Water contract amendment postponed

Rick Blevins of Vision Development provided a brief explanation of the wording changes proposed by Centre Development Co. of Colorado Springs, LLC to Triview in its draft First Amendment to the existing water purchase agreement.

Centre Development is one of many companies set up by Tim and Tom Phelan for development of Jackson Creek along with their creation of the Triview district. Triview never purchased the water rights for much of the water it pumps from district wells. Triview continues to make water lease payments to Centre due to a lack of previously projected tap fee revenues.

Centre’s proposed first amendment calls for the purchase price to continue to increase 4.5 percent annually. The updated base price that has resulted from all the years of previous increases to the original water lease conversion price is $5,567 per acre-foot as of Nov. 1, 2008. The proposed amendment calls for a minimum payment of $100,000 per year towards accumulated interest and principal to be due every year on Dec. 31. There is also a complicated formula that requires a growing proportion of any excess district revenue, initially 25 percent and rising to 75 percent, to be paid to Centre as well.

The proposed amendment will now call this annual 4.5 percent increase "interest." Blevins said that the ongoing cost for Triview does not change but calling the annual increases "interest" from now on will provide a capital gains tax advantage to Centre.

The board continued the water purchase contract amendment until the next meeting on July 22.

Bond refinancing update

Director Steve Remington briefly noted that the district’s request for non-binding proposals from banks and bond underwriters had resulted in five proposals from Wells Fargo, UMB, Compass Bank, and D.A. Davidson, and Piper-Jaffrey. He said that the proposals were very similar with regard to fees but differed in specific terms and the amount of risk the district would incur for a potential reward for Triview constituents that might result from refinancing the district’s $47.3 million bond debt. Further discussion was deferred until the executive session on contract negotiations that was scheduled as the last agenda item for this meeting.

Operations report

The board directed Landreth to initiate a crack sealing program within Triview that will cost about $53,000 and make two asphalt patches that Landreth had also recommended. The single bidder that responded to Landreth’s request for proposals was also the town’s low bidder for crack sealing. Landreth said he would try to get at least two other bids due to the amount of the proposed cost before awarding the contract. Landreth added that he would know in about three weeks what this contractor’s actual costs would be, based on work the contractor will perform for the town on the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. A final decision was continued to the July meeting.

Financial report

Town Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that Triview’s sales tax revenues are down $43,000, which is about 11 percent below the amount projected in the 2009 budget through the end of April. Motor vehicle tax revenues are down about $7,000, about 27 percent below the amount budgeted through the end of May. Smith also noted that in the town’s budget, sales tax revenues and motor vehicle tax revenues are 6 percent and 3 percent higher, respectively, than the more conservative amounts projected in the town’s 2009 budget for the same period.

The Triview board has adopted the town standard that calls for the staff to bring payments in excess of $5,000 to the board for specific approvals. The Triview board unanimously approved five payments over $5,000:

  • $26,787 to Amwest, Inc. for parts for Water Treatment Plan B
  • $11,758 to Siemens Water Technologies Corp. for parts for Water Treatment Plan B
  • $9,250 to Siemens for electronic controls for Water Treatment Plan B
  • $9,850 to Timberline Electric & Control for Well A-8 telemetry equipment
  • $13,090 to Vision Designed Homes for three invoices for work performed in June per their landscaping contract

The board went into an executive session for contract negotiations at 6:47 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on July 22 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Information: 488-6868.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, June 24: Some district personnel getting a new home

By Susan Hindman

After nearly a month of sprucing up the old Town Hall, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District will move its administrative staff into the building sometime in the first week of July. The Monument Board of Trustees voted on June 1 to let the district rent the building on Second Street for $1 a year plus the cost of utilities and upkeep. Since then, the district has spent about $1,500 in upgrades, with the firefighters donating their time to do the work.

New equipment

At the June 24 board meeting, Battalion Chief Mike Dooley and Chief Robert Denboske presented a proposal to purchase a platform truck—a ladder truck with a "bucket" mounted at the top of the ladder—which the board approved. The Smeal truck will cost $807,500. The truck will be paid for in part by selling the district’s 10-year-old ladder truck to Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus for $100,000. That, along with another $300,000 from the sale last year of another fire truck, will provide the down payment; the remaining balance will be financed. The new truck will be built and ready for pick up in March 2010.

In the meantime, the district will be without a ladder truck, but Denboske says, "We have the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs fire departments" as backup. "It’s not an issue" as far as safety is concerned, he said. "It’s not the first piece of apparatus to respond to a fire."

A new ambulance is also en route to the district. Its purchase was approved at the May meeting following a proposal presented by Battalion Chief Greg Lovato and Denboske. It replaces the 2001 ambulance—which "was starting to cost more than what it was worth," Denboske said. The district maintains three ambulances.

Why are they leaving?

At the May meeting, Director Roger Lance asked why firefighters were leaving the district, so Denboske put together a list of how many had left and why, dating back to 2005. In 2009, four firefighters left; in 2008, three; in 2007, two; one in 2006; and four in 2005. Reasons cited varied: Two moved to larger departments, one made a different career move, one moved out of the state, two cited family reasons, and two walked off the job. The remainder were terminated, asked to resign, or took medical retirement.

"We can only go off of what they share with us," Denboske said, in regard to whether or not the employees who quit were disgruntled. The board was satisfied with the presentation.

Looking elsewhere for billing

With the resignation of Denise Brill, administrative assistant for billing, the district has been looking at outsourcing the job. Lovato gave a presentation to the board about the costs of taking this step based on four companies’ responses to questionnaires. Denboske said outsourcing has its benefits, and that even if the company hired is out-of-state, "We’d still have some control over customer service." The board is interested in the idea, and Lovato will put together a "request for proposal" with final numbers and other details, and present it at the next meeting.

In the meantime, Kent Stinson, the district’s human resources employee, has been taking care of the billing, and Denboske expressed his appreciation of Stinson.

Personal, not personnel, problem

A resident came to the meeting to complain about one of the firefighters, who is his neighbor, and to ask if the district had a policy regarding disputes. Director John Hildebrandt told him that this was a personal issue and that as long as the dispute did not affect the firefighter’s job performance, there was nothing the board could do.

Couple commended for support

On June 1, Brad and Kyrsten Dail of High Country Tree were given a Community Volunteer Award for their support of the fire department and the community. In particular, this past winter they helped out with plowing during severe snowstorms, helping to clear trails for emergency apparatus. "If we call them, they’re always there, whatever the season," Denboske said after the meeting. "They’ve got the community spirit."

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The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. The next meeting is July 22. For more information, call Chief Denboske at 266-3367.

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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board, June 18: Four board seats up for election

By Harriet Halbig

Four of the five positions on the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board will be up for election in November. Two of the current members of the board were appointed for two years and must now stand for election, and two others are completing their four-year terms. Board President Dee Dee Eaton announced that she will not run for re-election.

Board members Mark Pfoff and Robb Pike have served two years and will run again. Gail Wilson is completing her four-year term and will probably run for re-election. John Mann’s term expires in 2011.

Any citizen interested in running for a position on the school board should contact Vicki Wood at the district office for information. If there are no contesting candidates for the positions or no candidates for the vacancy, board members are appointed.

Current board members commented that, in addition to the monthly board meetings, each has responsibilities as liaison to one or more committees, participates in work sessions, and attends various other events such as graduations, sports and awards events, school open houses, and so forth.

Retiring President Eaton commented that the Board of Education is a governing body, but delegates detailed supervision of the district to the school superintendent. She said the primary purposes of the board are to connect the schools to the public and to select the superintendent. Those considering candidacy should have the ability to see the big picture in the district, listen before making decisions, have a sense of fairness and sound judgment, and be a leader but not a manager.

Superintendent Ray Blanch commented that recent decisions required of the board have been difficult due to the weak economy and that candidates should realize that the situation will not immediately improve.

All board members and the superintendent offered to speak with anyone interested in running.

The board passed a resolution to give notice of intent to participate in the Nov. 3 election.

1998 mill override bonds refinanced

David Bell of Denver’s Stifel Nicolaus and Co. accounting firm reported that remaining bonds from the 1998 mill levy override have been refinanced, resulting in a savings to the public of $169,000 over the next three years.

Bell reported that he was pleased that the district’s bond rating has held steady while those of many nearby districts have declined. He attributed this to a steady tax base and low unemployment in the district.

2009-10 budget passed

Members of the board held a work session on June 4 to discuss the coming year’s budget. The budget was passed as discussed at that meeting.

Comments by members included a statement that it is always uncertain to know the exact number of students ahead of time.

In response to a question, Blanch said that the budget as passed is a balanced budget, not using reserve funds.

The board voted to allow the use of reserve funds in the short-term in the event of shortages due to low student population or reduced receipts from specific ownership taxes.

Later in the meeting, the board voted to approve participation, if necessary, in the state treasurer’s interest-free loan program for Colorado school districts.

The 2008-09 revised budget for Monument Academy was also passed after a brief discussion. The academy has adopted a more conservative approach and said it is prepared to make additional cuts if necessary.

The academy anticipates going from 550 students to 635 in the coming year, with a capacity of 850 at its new facility.

Committee reports

The board received the annual report of the District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC), presented by committee Chair Mirielle Bock. She said that the high points of the committee’s meetings in the past year included the review of an application for an online charter school, review of the 40 Assets program, a rumor control presentation by Blanch regarding school closings, and presentations on such safety programs as Safe 2 Tell and Isafe.

Bock said that in the coming year the committee may meet in different schools, there will be more presentations on individual School Improvement Plans, and an effort will be made to learn what local businesses can offer as sponsors for various programs and activities. She also said that additional effort will be made to address numerical test scores as a measurement of success in meeting school goals.

Superintendent Blanch commented that since all School Improvement Plans are now created using a common template, it is easier to compare and evaluate them.

Bock also announced that the DAAC will sponsor candidate nights for those running for election to the board.

The board received the quarterly report from the Operations Advisory Committee. Work on Palmer Ridge High School and the district’s athletic stadium have been completed. Improvements at Lewis-Palmer High School continue and should be completed by August. Improvements at LPHS include new flooring in the commons area and security improvements. Blanch said that students participated in the selection of furniture and technology involved in these improvements.

The Operations Advisory Committee then offered a technology report. The committee is composed of volunteers who reviewed the district’s organizational chart, audits, and various other documents as part of its activities.

Last year’s recommendations included the creation of a policy and procedure document regarding staff and student use of technology, including policies on backing up information. Standards for an acceptable speed of repairs were also discussed, as was reorganization of staff to avoid the need for additional resources and positions.

Another accomplishment of the past year was the establishment of a plan to protect confidentiality on mobile devices in the district. Blackberries and similar devices are now password protected.

Goals for the coming year include devising a disaster recovery plan, including safety of data stored off-site; prioritization of projects; improvement of relationships with vendors; and increased standardization of hardware and software within the district.

The committee also requested that the district’s Web site be updated and kept current.

Maria Revak, the district’s director of assessment, offered a report on recent surveys of students, teachers, and parents. The student survey was conducted during the academic year, the staff survey in May, and the parent survey is ongoing during the summer.

Revak reported that the results of the staff survey were disappointing because teachers were asked to complete them at a time of the year when they were overloaded with other tasks. A number of teachers also commented that they desired further anonymity.

Revak recommended that the survey wording be reworked and that this year’s results not be used as a baseline for further study. She felt that the application of a pay freeze and the general mood of the local citizens may have influenced the perceived increase in sarcasm and lack of respect in interactions between teachers and parents.

The board suggested scheduling a fall work session to decide which aspects of the survey results are of primary importance.

The board approved routine matters concerning approval of minutes of previous meetings, resignations, and appointments of staff; a list of substitute teachers and support staff; special-education contracts; payment of dues to professional organizations; notification of automatic renewal clause in the superintendent’s contract; and various other matters.

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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. There will be no meeting in July. The next meeting of the board will be held on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. with a reception at 5:30 p.m.

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June Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

Temperatures averaged more than 2° below normal. The cool temperatures were most prevalent during the first two-thirds of June. Precipitation was above normal.

Cool and wet was the story to start off June, with rain falling each day from the 1st through the 4th. The month started off with some strong storms on the 1st with a few areas of heavy rain around the region. Cold, upslope conditions moved in the next two days, with low clouds, fog, rain, and highs in the 40s and 50s.

Clearing developed the next day, but there was still plenty of moisture around to fuel storms, some if which turned severe during the afternoon of the 4th. These produced some large hail and heavy rain over the Black Forest area around 4 p.m. Drier and warmer conditions moved in the next few days, with highs rebounding into the mid-70s on Friday and Saturday. Overall for the week, many of us picked up 1-2 inches of rain, adding to our above-average amounts and keeping things green around the area.

Summer officially started at 10:45 p.m. on the 20th, and pretty much up until that point we hadn’t experienced much summer-like weather. The week of the 7th saw a continuation of the cool and moist conditions with highs holding well below average, generally in the 60s. Morning lows were also chilly, even touching the freezing mark on the morning of the 4th.

Along with the cool temperatures, each afternoon from the 7th through the 14th brought showers and thunderstorms. A few areas experienced some severe storms as well, including a couple of tornadoes around Denver on the 7th. The strongest storms around here were on the 13th and 14th. Most of us received brief heavy rain and hail—some of it large enough to damage plants.

A severe storm again developed on the afternoon of the 15th just north of the El Paso County line. This storm brought a tornado just north of the county line from just west of Highway 83 through just south of the town of Elbert. Drier and slightly warmer air began to move into the region through Father’s Day weekend. Highs reached back into the 70s from the 16th through the first day of summer on the 21st. There was one exception: Saturday the 20th saw plenty of clouds move in from the south with scattered showers. This weather pattern held highs in the low 60s. But gorgeous weather returned just in time for Father’s Day, with sunshine and highs in the upper 70s.

Warm temperatures stuck around to end the month, with highs holding slightly above average, mainly in the low to mid-80s. This was the product of an area of high pressure building in from the south, the Monsoon High. This Monsoon High brings a rainy season to the desert Southwest and allows for high levels of moisture to move into Colorado. And this was the case during the last week of the month. Afternoon thunderstorms developed each day, some of them strong to severe, with heavy rain and hail the main problems. This wet weather certainly helped keep things green around the region.

The end of June marks the end of the snow season for us, and I will be updating my Web site with a snow season 2008-09 complete summary by July 5. This will include all the fun stats and comparisons against average since July 1, 2008.

A look ahead

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

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

June 2009 Weather Statistics

Average High 71.8°F (-4.1°)
Average Low 43.0°F (-0.4°)
Highest Temperature 84°F on the 24th
Lowest Temperature 32°F on the 8th
Monthly Precipitation 2.93" (+0.31") 10% above normal
Monthly Snowfall 0.00" (-0.1")
Season to Date Snow 131.9" (-4.4") 3% below normal
Season to Date Precip. 26.06" (+3.46) 13% above normal
Heating Degree Days 225 (+52)
Cooling Degree Days 4 (-14)

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

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

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and resident of the Tri-Lakes region.

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: I’m Bo-o-o-o-red!

By the staff at Covered Treasures

Has it hit yet? The kids, so anxious to be through with school just one month ago, are now hanging around, claiming, "There’s nothing to do!" In addition to thousands of wonderful age-appropriate books to take them on imaginary adventures, there are also great activity books for those reluctant readers; here are several—all under $10.

Action! Cartooning
By Bud Caldwell (Sterling), $9.95

Written and illustrated by a former Marvel Comics’ artist with brilliant hand-done images throughout, this graphic handbook to cartooning focuses on superheroes and their atmospheric world filled with speed and movement. "96 pages of How-to Havoc!"

101 Things You Gotta Do Before You’re 12!
Joanne O’Sullivan (Lark Books), $9.95

Packed with 101 ideas for cool things to do and stickers to mark what’s been done or what’s high on the list to accomplish, such as "Way Weird!," "Mission Accomplished," "Top 20," and so on.

Stink-O-Pedia
Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds (Candlewick Press), $5.99

For kids who love to amaze with obscure information, fans can study this funny compendium of wacky facts from Astrocompass to Zzzz’s.

Mad Libs
Roger Price and Leonard Stern (Price Stern Sloan), $3.99

Known as "The World’s Greatest Word Game" for 51 years, these fill-in-the-blanks games offer hours of laughs while brushing up on the parts of speech. Available in many topics, including Peace, Love and Mad Libs and Prehistoric Mad Libs Junior.

Super Crosswords for Kids
Trip Payne (Sterling), $5.95

What can’t Superman’s X-ray vision see through? Who is Garfield’s owner in the comic strip? These puzzles by Payne, who’s been making them since he was a kid, is special because they’re about subjects that interest kids. Great for car or plane trips!

Spot’s Busy Day
Eric Hill (Grosset & Dunlap), $8.98

Remember paint with water? It’s still around, and still the perfect way to let very young children enjoy the mess-free way to paint!

Kids’ Big Book of Games
Edited by Karen C. Anderson (Workman Publishing), $9.95

From the editors of Games Junior magazine, here are 140 mazes, riddles, teasers, and challenging puzzles.

The Book of Cards for Kids and The Book of Card Games for Little Kids
Gail MacColl (Workman Publishing), $13.95/$12.95

Here are two books with the low down on over 30 card games in each book. Cards, included with the books (which are therefore slightly higher in price), are bold, bright, and specially designed for small hands. All you need to do is just "deal ‘em!" and have fun.

The Pocket Guide to Games
Bart King (Gibbs Smith), $9.99

From quiet games to active ones, bean bags to ball games, contests and tussles of all varieties, this is the book to get the kids outdoors and moving, and away from in front of the TV or video games. Each description starts by telling how many players are needed, where it should be played, and whether or not any equipment or an adult is needed. An index in the back regroups them by type, number of players, playing area, and age group.

Backyard Bug Mazes
Roger Moreau (Sterling Publishing), $7.95

The mazes in this volume are colorful, tricky, and just plain entertaining, inviting kids to shrink to "bug size" and go on "a-maze-ing" adventures!

Pocket Flyers: Paper Airplane Book
Ken Blackburn and Jeff Lammers (Workman Publishing), $7.95

Welcome to the world of miniature aviation. For the office, den, hallway, or the great outdoors, here are 12 Lilliputian-size brightly-colored models—with 69 planes altogether—to assemble and fly for hours of enjoyment.

Ed Emberley Drawing Books
Ed Emberley (LB Kids), $6.99

Using a few simple shapes, Ed Emberley shows youngsters how to draw wacky faces, trucks, cars, trains, and animals. His system of drawing, perfected in the ‘70s, teaches that all things in nature can be broken down into simple shapes.

So the next time you hear, "What can we do now?," pull out a couple of these fun-filled activity books and go back to the lawn chair and your own stack of summer books!

Until next month, happy reading!

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High Country Highlights: Making the best use of rainwater

By Kathy Green, Guest Columnist

"Water restrictions," "long-term drought," "rate increases."

These phrases all refer to our water use and our responsibility to use water wisely. According to the Colorado State University Extension, landscape irrigation, which includes the watering of lawns, trees, shrubs, and gardens, accounts for approximately 50 percent of our overall water use. Yet, there are some very simple, legal ways to cut down on irrigation costs, use of treated water, and unnecessary runoff while still having green lawns, healthy trees and shrubs, and lots of flowers in our gardens.

Before we get into the details, it’s important to note that in Colorado, it’s illegal for most homeowners to collect rainwater to store for future use. Utah is the only state besides Colorado that does not allow homeowners to collect rain that falls on their property. The laws regarding rainwater storage go back many decades, and are in place to protect the senior water rights owned by farmers, landowners, and governmental entities.

Currently, these laws are being re-evaluated to determine if they should be changed. In fact, Gov. Bill Ritter just signed into law Senate Bill 09-80, allowing residents who are not connected to a municipal water source to collect water from their rooftops. This law took effect on July 1. There are several requirements to meet, and you must apply for a permit specifying how you will implement your rainwater collection.

If you have a well permit and are interested in more information, please go to the Colorado government Web site and check out what the bill means to you. http://water.state.co.us/pubs/pdf/RainWaterBills.pdf 

So, if we can’t collect rainwater, how do we make the best use of it? There are several ways, the simplest being to divert it into your planting beds, tree and shrub areas, and lawns. This way the rain slowly seeps into the ground before leaving your property, instead of gushing into the sewers and drainage ditches, where it can cause flooding and erosion, and carry excess fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides with it.

Let’s look at two ways to divert the water and design the gardens. You need to know your property and how the water currently flows during a rainstorm. Along the Front Range, we tend to get lots of rain in a short amount of time. This type of rain needs to be slowed in order to make good use of it. Otherwise, it just runs right off the property.

Water runs fastest in a straight line. Watch where the rain flows. Then consider adding curved pathways, winding dry steam beds, depressions around garden areas, or rocks/boulders and small berms perpendicular to the flow. These will slow the rainwater a bit and allow it to be absorbed into the adjoining areas. Finally, plan your plantings to border these channels, and you will get extra blooms, healthier plants, and fewer pests and diseases.

Another way to use the rainwater is to direct your downspouts toward your gardens, trees, and shrubs. You can do this by using extender pipes, French drains, dry streambeds, or gravel paths. The important thing to remember is that you still need the water to drain away from the house. Also, don’t divert this water to vegetable or herb gardens, since the water from the roofing materials may contain chemicals, high concentrations of pollution, or other contaminants.

When choosing plants to take advantage of the extra water, you need to think of those that are adaptable to wet and dry conditions. A high-water-needs plant will not do well in this case, because there will be periods when there is no water available. There are whole books devoted to "rain gardens," which use and filter the water that falls from the sky. By computer searching for "rain gardens," "rainwater harvesting," or "bioswales," you will come up with lots of relevant information.

Rainwater is precious, free, and is worth every drop, so make good use of it!

Kathy Green is a garden designer and garden coach who has gardened in Woodmoor for the past 12 years. She owns All Things in Nature LLC and would love to hear from you at www.allthingsinnature.com

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Prairie falcon

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Below: Drawing of a Prairie Falcon by Elizabeth Hacker. 

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By Elizabeth Hacker

It was wonderful to see a pair of prairie falcons nesting on Monument Rock again this year. I have no way of knowing if this is the same pair, but I believe it is. This is the third year that I have observed a nesting pair on the Rock, and at the time I write this, there are at least three prairie falcon chicks on the Rock.

The prairie falcon is a large raptor found primarily in the western United States, although it has been spotted in the Midwest and as far south as Alabama. It is often mistaken for a peregrine falcon. The peregrine is found worldwide in various habitats. It is often found near lakes and rivers, and at one time the peregrine was called the duck hawk because of its penchant for zooming in on waterfowl in midair.

While both species are similar in size and have a moustache, the prairie falcon is a much lighter brown and its facial markings differ from those of the peregrine falcon. The peregrine’s moustache is solid and resembles a helmet, while the prairie falcon’s moustache is a narrow line that drops below its eye. It also has a light brown spot behind its eye. As with other falcons, the prairie falcon’s wings can be distinguished from those of a hawk because they are pointed, narrower, and appear more streamlined. The prairie falcon’s wings are uniquely different from other falcons’ wings and can be identified by the dark markings where the wings join the body on the underside, which is sometimes referred to as "dirty armpits."

The adult prairie falcon is a little larger than a raven, about 16 to 20 inches in length. The shape of its 3-1/2-foot wingspan is well suited for high-speed dives. It takes birds on the wing, usually while flying low to the ground and surprising its prey as the unsuspecting bird takes to the air. It is a stealth hunter and easily takes birds half its size.

True to its name, this high-flying bird soars in wide-open meadows, like those along the base of the Rampart Range. The prairie falcon eats birds, but it also hunts small mammals and insects. Prairie falcons are thought to develop a preference for one kind of prey and hunt it until the supply is depleted.

Prairie falcons usually begin to breed at two years of age. In late winter or early spring, the female lays three to six eggs in a large crevice on a ledge of a cliff. Eggs are laid on the surface of the rock, not in a soft nest. The female incubates the eggs for about a month while the male brings her food. Both parents take turns feeding the chicks until they fledge about 40 days after hatching. The chicks are born with white downy feathers and grow rapidly. The first flight feathers are dark, and at this writing the adolescents on the Rock are rather scruffy looking with downy patches poking through a few dark flight feathers.

Life is tough for baby prairie falcons. Ornithologists estimate that 75 percent of chicks die. Predation by owls, hawks, and other critters, harsh environmental conditions, as well as competition from the chicks themselves, take a heavy toll. Adults may live 20 years, but the average lifespan is less than three years.

On one of the days I observed the adolescents, the female had just brought what looked to be a chipmunk to the nest. Three of the four chicks aggressively fought over it, and I was concerned that one of them might lose its footing and fall off the cliff face. One chick was obviously dominant. It may have been born first because it was larger and far more aggressive than the others. The fourth chick hung back and did not join the others in their fight for a meal. I wondered if it might be injured. If it were, surely that would be its demise because no mercy or special attention is given to an injured chick.

A few days later I again observed the nestlings, but on this occasion I observed three chicks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one perished, because as the chicks mature, they move away from the nest and it could have been in another location. It will be interesting to see how many chicks survive this year. In 2008 I observed two chicks, and in 2007 only one chick survived. If these are the same parents, they are older and more experienced, which could improve a chick’s chances of survival.

Many hikers around Monument Rock have seen the prairie falcons and heard their loud kik-kik-kik calls. The birds vocalize near the nest, but the prairie falcon is a silent hunter and generally does not make any noise when away from the nest. The parents and nestlings are quite vocal and don’t seem to mind all the activity on the trails below them. In fact, when the parents are away, the adolescent birds will sometimes call out to the people below the rock. When the parents return, they scold the chicks and chase them back into hiding. I estimate that the chicks will fledge Monument Rock between the second and third week of July.

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: The arts play on in Tri-Lakes

By Janet Sellers

As Shakespeare said, "If music be the food of love, play on." We could put in our favorite word—art—as a play on Will Shakespeare. By that I mean in art we respond to the play of light and shadow, the play of our townspeople in the streets of Historic Monument at our artistic and community events, the play of learning to make art, and so on. Perhaps we could call it the play of life in our community, for the arts are a reflection of our lives, most especially where we live and work and, yes, play.

On June’s Art Hop eve at Bella Art and Frame, potter Thad Handrick was there to talk about his work and his muses. He said that his inspiration for the aesthetics are drawn from Asian culture, with the median of modern ceramics deeply rooted in Japanese traditions. His new work is an attempt to put a fantasy spin on the Japanese tea ceremony, but remain true to his own style—ergo the three-spouted teapot a la Alice in Wonderland.

That particular piece was inspired by, of all things, Halloween 2008 and by his Mad Hatter costume he had prepared for it. He told me that his wife had said all he needed was the three-spouted teapot, which got him thinking about how to put that project to life. And so, his three-spouted teapot is now on exhibit at Bella for the June Art Hop and through July. He reports that it will actually pour three cups of tea at once, and we hope he’ll give us a demonstration.

Next door at Second Street Art Market and Wine Bar, Suzanne Jenne greeted guests with a smile and her playful flower paintings, up for the Art Hop event. I do think that the Art Market and Wine Bar is more of a wine garden, or an art garden with wine. Surrounded by lovely paintings, glassworks, ceramics, and wearable art, it really is a pleasant fill for the senses.

Two days after the Art Hop, it was the Saturday for the annual Summer Soul-stice event. Per tradition, they had all kinds of art on the streets in Historic Monument. From kids and families painting the sidewalk in vibrant colors to artists painting scenes throughout, the place was abuzz in activity. (We plein air artists expect to continue the art fun all summer long). The weather was overcast, which gave the plein air artists the best view and full, robust visual saturation of colors to paint. Fellow artist Elizabeth Hacker and I met at Margo’s on the Alley adjacent to the Chapala building and painted for hours.

I’d like to invite everybody to join us artists en plein air (outdoors) this summer in Tri-Lakes. Our view from the sitting circle at the bronze statue there included the backdrop of the green vistas of the Front Range. I could just barely see the red roof and charming windows of Wisdom Tea House above the Avian wood shop. Just taking our photos to remember the scenes gave us a fresh look at our town. All ages of people strolled the Historic Monument area, benches strategically placed, and refreshments were available all over town. One paint-out can change your whole day (perhaps your future) but at least your outlook on where we all live and play here in our town.

Peace posters

How would you change the world for the better? At Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, the Peace Poster art show opened on the Fourth of July. Artists of all ages used their choice of materials to express their notions about world peace. Every participant had to make the art as well as write a blurb on their ideas about world peace. The timely show will be up through July, so join the artists in contemplating and initiating a peaceful train of thought.

A "People’s Choice" vote awarded on the Fourth will be revealed at the Center this week, so get your vote in for your favorite piece, but show up in person to vote and enjoy the show. Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is at 304 Highway 105 (across from the lake) in the town of Palmer Lake.

Upcoming summer classes

Summer is just starting for art classes and outdoor art fun. We have wonderful twilight evenings here in our area, so even after the heat of the day (impossible to paint then as the paint dries before the stroke is made) the time for art is extended into the evening hours. Check out our local art teaching venues such as Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Sharon DeWeese, and more. I have an online map of places where art is taught in the area, and do send me information you may have on your best choices for art venues, teaching, and art events so we can check them out and load ‘em up online at: http://COMOCA.tripod.com (Colorado Museum of Contemporary Art).

Art Hop

The next Art Hop will be Thursday, July 16, 5-8 p.m., in Historic Monument beginning at Beacon Lite Road at Second Street, and going west to Front and Third Streets. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a pleasant evening walk with friends and guests in our town.

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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Below: Colorado Springs Plein Air painter Gary Gore (pictured here) and Palmer Lake Art Group member and painter Margarete Seagraves were the featured artists at Margo’s On the Alley for the June Monument Art Hop. The Art Hop occurs on the third Thursday of the month from May to September with 18 businesses in the Monument downtown area participating in the event and hosting artists. The next Art Hop will be July 16 and information regarding it can be found at www.monumentarthop.org/index.html. Photo by David Futey.

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Below: Renée Malloy, a Colorado Springs native and Creative Director with Kirkland Photography and Design Inc. in Palmer Lake, held an art exhibit in the Lucy Owens gallery of the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts during the month of June. Malloy became interested in art at a very early age and has over 10 years experience in the digital arts. On display was her passion for developing peaceful images through seeing the beauty in the simple. Malloy uses her own photography and then employs layering techniques to create her works. Photo by David Futey.

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A Celebration of Art and History in Monument at the new Town Hall

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Photos by Jim Kendrick.

Below: June 13, Palmer Lake artist Ronny Walker moments after a ceremonial unveiling of her bronze frieze Monument 1879 by Mayor Pro-tem Rafael Dominguez and Palmer Lake Historical Society Museum President Roger Davis. The museum commissioned and donated Walker’s depiction of several important historical factors to the Town of Monument. It will be permanently displayed in town hall just outside the entrance to the Board of Trustees meeting room. 

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Below: Karen Ball of Tri-Lakes Views introducing local artists (L-R) Glenn Hayes, Janet Sellers, and Louis DeAngelis at a "Celebration of Art and History in Monument" June 13. The event was sponsored by Tri-Lakes Views, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, and the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Their two sculptures will be on display for a year at on the west side of town hall. 

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Photos provided by Tri-Lakes Views.

Below: Blade of Grass by Louis DeAngelis. 

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Below: Perception of Freedom by Janet Sellers and Glenn Hayes. 

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By Jim Kendrick

A celebration of years of planning and work by the members of Tri-Lakes Views, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, and the Palmer Lake Historical Society was held at the new Town Hall on June 13.

The artists who were being honored—Ronny Walker, Janet Sellers, Glenn Hayes, and Louis DeAngelis—and the leaders of the three sponsoring organizations circulated through a festive crowd of area residents enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvre in the new Town Hall.

The two sculptures mounted outside by Tri-Lakes Views were pelted with rain and hail by a serious thunderstorm but the bronze frieze donated by the Historical Society was safe from the turbulence in the entryway to the Board of Trustees meeting room. Numerous other pieces of art were on display on walls throughout the new building.

Sky Hall, president of Tri-Lakes Views, welcomed the crowd as the evening’s master of ceremonies. He thanked a long list of people, emphasizing the contributions of:

  • Betty Konarski, Karen Ball, and Wendy Diggins of Tri-Lakes Views
  • Irene Walters and Cathy Green of the town staff
  • Susan Adams and Gail Wilson of Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts
  • Roger Davis and Kim Braun of Palmer Lake Historical Society

Hall also noted the artistry of two items brought from the old Town Hall. The massive hand-carved doors for the board room that were created in 1973 by Tim Weberding feature the 50 states on one side and a woodworker and his family on the other. The very large Indian carved by Kent Bailey that did not fit in the old board room now has plenty of ceiling room in the new Town Hall’s two-story foyer.

Monument Mayor Pro-tem Rafael Dominguez and Trustee Tommie Plank formally accepted Palmer Lake artist Ronny Walker’s bronze frieze, "Monument 1879"—which was commissioned by the Historical Society—from Davis, director of the society’s museum. Davis noted the faces of Henry and Caroline Limbach and David McShane and described the numerous scenes that depict Monument’s early history in this "enduring symbol of their colorful and compelling past."

Dominguez and Hall also introduced and thanked John Nelson, architect of the new Town Hall and new town band shell in Limbach Park.

Phyllis Bonser, president of the Historical Society, introduced Susan Helmich, who made a "permanent loan to Town Hall" of a diptych—a two-panel painting—by artist Lindsay Ray titled "Time Lapse" that depicts shoppers in front of the General Mercantile Store that is now the home of Si and Betty Sibell. Hall noted that the building at one time was called "Art a la Carte."

Ball of Tri-Lakes Views presented the concrete sculpture Perception of Freedom by local artists Sellers and Hayes and silverdale limestone sculpture Blade of Grass by Fort Collins "mountain biker, mason, and artist" Louis DeAngelis. They are now on display for a year at the organization’s permanent art sites on the west side of Town Hall.

Ball said Tri-Lakes Views hopes to raise donations to purchase some of the pieces that will be displayed on loan to create a "permanent collection for our community." Other art sites will be established throughout the community in the next few years.

Ball also invited all those in attendance to participate in Eat for Art, a fundraiser in the parking lot at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts on July 4.

Wilson described the "Artists in Rotation" collection that is on display inside the new Town Hall. Featured artists will be changed every two or three months.

For more information on each of these three sponsoring organizations and their programs, see:

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Snapshots of Our Community

TLCA, June 5: Wendy Woo, 

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Below: (R-L) Prior to her concert on June 5 at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), Wendy Woo was asked how she and Robin Hoch, who accompanied Woo on the viola and also offered lead and background vocals, complemented each other. Woo’s response was "wait till you see us out there (on stage)." It was not very long into their performance that Woo’s answer was confirmed. Woo has played at the TLCA for a number of years, enjoying the sense of community received from the TLCA audiences. After meeting by happen stance and with Hoch leaving her previous band, Woo and Hoch performed for three hours every Tuesday from late last year until spring of this year, developing their chemistry and sound along the way. They have now set out touring and have also released a CD, Saving Grace, much to the delight of those who have followed Woo as well as the many fans that they will attract in their musical journey. Information on Wendy Woo can be found at www.wendywoo.com. Information on the TLCA and upcoming events can be found at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey

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TLCA, June 5: PLAG Show and Sale

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Below: Mark Bierbaum, pictured with his Best of Show work Rhythm of the Woods, was one of 38 artists from the Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG) who displayed their works at the group’s 44th Annual Spring Fine Arts Show and Sale. Bierbaum, originally from Douglas County, recently returned to the area after working as a storyboarder for the Walt Disney Company. While at Disney, he worked on such projects as Darkwing Duck. This art event, held in June at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, is used as a fundraiser to assist the PLAG in providing scholarships to students from Lewis-Palmer High School who will be pursuing degrees in art. This year’s scholarship winners are Kelly Vicars, Chelsea Harline, Kelly Jones, and Lara Schaefer. Information on the Palmer Lake Art Group and how you can support the scholarships can be found at www.palmerlakeartgroup.com/. Photo by David Futey.

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Pikes Peak Feis, June 12, 13

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Below: (L-R) Julie Christian and Karen Fife were among the over 400 adult, teen and children dancers at the Pikes Peak Feis held at Creekside Middle School on June 12 and 13. This is the fifth year the open dance competition has been held at Creekside. The event is coordinated by Aisling Toal-Casey and Shaun Casey of Celtic Steps School of Irish Dance. Dancers from Colorado, Kansas, California, Utah and other western states participated in the competition and were judged on various dances such as the light jig, slip jig, and eight-hand jig. Photo by David Futey.

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Blue Columbine Festival, June 13

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Below: (L-R) Sisters and brother Olivia, Alayna, and Alex Murphy were among the many Palmer Lake residents who took part in the 8th Annual Blue Columbine Festival on June 13. Those attending the event chose from among a total of 500 columbines and pansies, listened to the music of Latigo, sampled free popcorn and sodas, and could select from a variety of free information, from bear awareness to bicycling in Colorado. Photo by David Futey.

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Western Mining Museum Rock Fair, June 20

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Photos by Steve Stanton

Below: Faceter Paul Barry discusses the intricacies of cutting minerals and semi-precious gem stones with Jean Miller. Miller was one of the many attendees of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry’s (WMMI) Rock Fair held June 20. Besides the lapidary demonstrations there were a variety of gem and mineral vendors, a demonstration of the museum’s stamp mill and outdoor equipment, gold panning, and activities for children as part of the event. The Rock Fair was co-sponsored by the museum and the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society.

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Below: Two members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society (CSMS), Maria King and her granddaughter Kari Tamblyn, were fascinated by the petrified wood on display. Maria gleefully acknowledged that, "All my grandchildren are rockhounds!"

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Below: WMMI volunteer Steve Berry demonstrates the operation of a 1906 H. K. Porter compressed air locomotive to attendees. This locomotive, also referred to as a trammer, was used to haul ore cars at the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, South Dakota.

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Monument Concert in the Park, June 24

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Below: On June 24, residents from across the Tri-Lakes filled the lawn of Monument’s Limbach Park to hear local bluegrass band Palmer Divide kick-off the 2009 Concerts in the Park series. The musicians in Palmer Divide are (L-R) Mickey Stinnett, Dick Carlson, Jody Adams, and Greg Reed. A special performer this evening, who took the stage during the band’s intermission, was 11 year old Seth Olson. Olson, a Monument resident, received a rousing applause after singing a song he wrote about war veterans based on his uncle Cliff Echols. This is the eighth year that the Historic Monument Merchants Association has sponsored these free concerts. The concerts are every Wednesday until July 29 and are from 7-9 p.m. Photos by David Futey.

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New Monument Town Hall Ribbon-Cutting, June 27

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Photos by Mike Wicklund.

Below:  (L-R) El Paso County Commissioner Wayne Williams, Monument Trustee Tim Miller, former Monument mayors Leon Tenney and Si Sibell, and Mayor Pro Tem Rafael Dominguez prepare to cut the ribbon formally opening the new town hall and police building at 645 Beacon Lite Road (by Highway 105).

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Below: (L - R) Si and Dorothy Sibell, Wayne Williams, Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk, and Leon Tenney.

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Emergency communications field day, June 27

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 Photo by Bernard Minetti.

Below:  (L-R) Terry Breitenfeldt, a ham volunteer and Elliot Link, a Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Communications Specialist, stand beside the D-Star equipment. The fire district has made this equipment available to the local American Radio Relay League (ARRL). It is the very latest in retransmission equipment that finds the quickest communication link to any desired communication point worldwide. The ARRL is comprised of ham operators who, in time of catastrophe or emergencies, provide emergency communications using their equipment. 

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Right: Scott Seymour, (holding the mic) a ham radio volunteer with the ARRL, explains the operation to several Boy Scouts with Troop 293 from the Classical Academy in Colorado Springs. More than 1,600 sites in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and nine Canadian provinces participated this year.

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June and July library events

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 Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Branch Clerk Patti Powell, Friends of the Library Syble Krafft, June Freyer, and Phyllis Moore, and Branch Assistants Becky Campbell and Janie Williams remember moving the library to its current location 10 years ago. 

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Below: Bob Hall brought his Language of African Drums program to the Monument Branch.

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By Harriet Halbig

Summer is already in full swing at the library, with patrons of all ages participating in special activities and programs.

At the Monument branch, over 1,750 children up to age 12 are enrolled in the Be Creative reading program, over 150 enrolled in the Read to Me Program for ages 3 and under, and over 400 in the Teen Reading Challenge. More than 65 young volunteers are on hand to help enroll participants and give out prizes as they make their way through the programs.

The reading programs end on July 31, so it’s not too late to enroll. Teens can enroll online at the library Web site, ppld.org, and log their books from home. Younger children can come in to register and receive their prizes.

Summer programs continuing through July are Art in the Afternoon, each Monday at 2 at Monument and suitable for ages 6 and up; special programs each Tuesday at 10:30, suitable for all ages; and Stories & Crafts! for ages 5 to 8 on Thursdays at 2 p.m.

For information on specific programs, call the branch at 488-2370.

Another event for our younger patrons is Dewey’s birthday party, honoring our famous fish, with cake, fishy stories and crafts at 10:30 a.m. on July 28.

Monument teens enjoyed a dance at the branch after hours on June 19 and in July will enjoy free skating and free rentals at the Colorado Sports Center (previously Soc-n-Roll) on July 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. Advance registration is required with your library card. Space is limited, so register early.

The ultimate party of the summer is the Monument Summer Reading Party, to be held at Palmer Ridge High School on Friday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be shows, dancing, music, crafts, and treats. A theatrical production featuring young patrons of the library will be part of the show, so contact the branch by July 14 if you are interested in auditioning.

For adult patrons, the AARP Mature Safe Driving class will be offered on Saturday, July 18, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Registration is required and a minimum enrollment of 10 is required for the class to be held. The cost is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. Graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agent for discount rates.

Also during July, Lewis-Palmer High School graduate Wes Cronk will present the award-winning short film, "The Dying Western," about a young actor who is continuously cast as the cowboy who dies in western films. Following the screening, Cronk, who has been involved with over 50 films and was editor, visual effects supervisor, and sound designer of "The Dying Western," will talk about the film and answer questions. This event will be held on Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m.

Also for adults, the Monumental Readers book group will discuss "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen on Friday, July 17, at 10 a.m. New members are always welcome.

On the walls at the Monument Branch in July will be "It’s a Hoot," Laurel Bahe’s watercolors and photography featuring owls and dogs. In the display case will be "Toys for the Grandkids," a display of wooden toys crafted by local woodworker Liman Niblack.

Palmer Lake Library events

The Palmer Lake branch is offering special programs each Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. through July. These programs have been very well attended, with some held on the village green outside the branch.

There are over 125 children enrolled in the Be Creative reading program and 11 for Read to Me at the branch. Forty-four teens are enrolled in their program.

Due to the July 4 holiday, the Paws to Read program at Palmer Lake will be held on July 11, with Goldendoodle Kringle on hand to listen to young readers. The August program will be held on Aug. 1 with Newfoundland Jax. The dogs will be at the branch from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

The Palmer Lake book group will discuss "The Whistling Season" by Ivan Doig on Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome. To reserve a copy or for further information, call the branch at 481-2587.

Looking forward to August, the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library will sponsor its annual Ice Cream Social on the Village Green in Palmer Lake on Saturday, Aug, 8 at 1:30 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the Daytime Singers of the America the Beautiful Chorus. The event is being held as part of this year’s Chautauqua festival.

We hope to see you all at the library!

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, June 21: Historical Society sponsors Fathers’ Day gala

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 Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Below: The Dave Chaliqi family gathered to honor their dad and have pie and ice cream.

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Below: Sally Green and Virgil Watkins on the right serve pie and ice cream to Katie and Kailie Kuss while Palmer Lake Trustee Gary Coleman waits his turn. 

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By Bernard L. Minetti

Fathers’ Day in Palmer Lake was not just another Sunday. The Palmer Lake Historical Society, as they do each year, provided free refreshments of pie, ice cream, and cold drinks for all who came to participate June 21.

Everyone honored dad as they sat and listened to the Jessum Buds group on the Palmer Lake Village Green. The musicians serenaded the attendees with their wonderful mixture of bluegrass, gospel, and just plain ole country music.

The Palmer Lake Historical Society provides this entertainment and refreshments every year so that kids can take their dads someplace to celebrate and have fun.

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Civil War program, July 16; Chautauqua, August 7-9

By Bernard L. Minetti

The Palmer Lake Historical Society will present an informational evening with retired Col. David Hughes of Colorado Springs at 7 p.m. July 16. Hughes will narrate and discuss the Battle of Glorieta Pass, which occurred on March 26-28, 1862. Glorieta Pass is in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in what is now New Mexico.

The battle pitted the Union forces, primarily composed of the 1st Colorado Infantry, against a Confederate force composed of the Texas Mounted Rifles. This is a vibrant part of Colorado history. The presentation is available to all at no charge.

The Historical Society also will sponsor return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly on Aug. 7-9.

When I first heard about the Chautauqua Assembly, my reaction was, "What’s that?" This movement was started during the period 1874-1930. The primary purpose was to provide cultural, educational, teachings, and events to many in our country who had little or no education and were not exposed to the wonderful flavors of America.

Troupes of educators, entertainers, and speakers traveled throughout the countryside and presented these "revival" events to broaden the perspective and knowledge of all who attended.

The Chautauqua Movement came to Palmer Lake in summer 1886 and was held in The Glen. Octavia, which still exists, was the site of the General Store. Nearby was the assembly hall, which no longer stands.

The Chautauqua Movement will reinvigorate its commission and again relive its historical purpose. Everyone is invited and there is no charge. It will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7. The opening ceremonies will be held in the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Y’all come.

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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.

Peace Poster Project opens July 4

Below: Poster by Dan Fraley

During the month of July the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts will host a special art exhibit in the main gallery, the Peace Poster Project, produced by Palmer Lake artist Dan Fraley. All are welcome to the opening reception July 4, 3-6 p.m. The show, which runs through the end of July, includes more than 50 works in various media by D-38 students and other artists on the theme of world peace. Also on display are copies of our country’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Representatives of Veterans for Peace, Iraqi Veterans for Peace, the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, and human rights attorney and veteran Bill Durland are involved with the show and will have handouts and contact information available throughout the show. Those with questions regarding their military service or that of a family member (including desertion and conscientious objection questions) may contact Durland.

Those who attend the show can get involved by submitting comments on the benefits of peace and voting for their favorite works for the Peoples Choice Awards that will be given out at the show’s closing reception July 31, 4-6 p.m. Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is located at 304 Highway 105. For more information, call 481-0475, e-mail dwfraley@gmail.com, or visit www.trilakesarts.org.

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Overlay begins on northernmost paved section of Black Forest Road, July 6-8

Starting July 6 paving work will be done on a 2.3 mile section of Black Forest Road between Hodgen Road and Vessey Road. Watch for flaggers and expect delays. Drivers are reminded to reduce speeds, allow extra time for travel, and follow the direction of flaggers. Weather permitting, the asphalt overlay work should be completed in three days. Construction trucks hauling materials into the work zone will be limited to Black Forest Road to minimize disruption of traffic in the Black Forest area. Motorists may wish to use Vollmer Road as an alternate route June 6, 7, and 8 to avoid the roadwork.

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WMMI’s 27th Anniversary, July 6

The Western Museum of Mining & Industry celebrates its 27th Anniversary! The museum opened in 1982 with a mission to preserve America’s rich western mining heritage. Celebrate with them July 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with a special $2.70 admission per person. Enjoy cake and watch some of the outdoor equipment run. Call 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org or for more information. The museum is located at 225 North Gate Blvd. at I-25 Exit 156 A.

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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 (July 11 and 25), 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.

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Special Screening of The Dying Western, July 9

Wes Cronk, a 2005 graduate of Lewis-Palmer High School and a 2009 graduate of the Honors Tutorial College of Ohio University, will present the award-winning short film, The Dying Western. The film is about a young actor who is always cast as the cowboy who dies in western films. After the screening, Cronk will talk about the making of the film and will answer questions. He has been involved in more than 50 films and was editor, visual effects supervisor, and sound designer on The Dying Western. The screening is July 9, 7 p.m., at the Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. For more information, call 488-2370.

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Free Outdoor Concert and Ice Cream at Fox Run Regional Park, July 10

Come to Fox Run Regional Park (Stella Drive off Roller Coaster Road) July 10, 7-9 p.m., to sample delicious ice cream from Coldstone Creamery and listen to the unique music of Michael and Dawn Moon, a mixture of folk, country and bluegrass. El Paso County Parks will provide recreational opportunities for hikers, bikers, and dog walkers. Visitors can play soccer, discover more about their natural world, or just get away for a while. Anyone who enjoys El Paso County Parks and Nature Centers is invited to this free event kicking off the summer season. For more information, call 520-6387.

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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 address the impact of Proposition 1A on public safety in northern El Paso County. Guest speakers will include 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.

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Fill the Cart Campaign, July 13-17

A food drive to stock the pantry at Tri-Lakes Cares will be held at the Monument Safeway July 13-17, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Regis University student Donna Damphousse is organizing the event. Donations of non-perishable food items are welcome, so come on down! For more information, call 481-4384 or e-mail dmdamphousse@yahoo.com.

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Display your art at a local library art gallery

The Pikes Peak Library District Art Evaluation Committee will jury art this month for future month-long individual shows in library galleries. Interested artists should submit five pieces of two- or three-dimensional art in show-ready format (matted, framed, and wired.) Submissions will be accepted July 15, 10 a.m.-noon in the Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. Pick up art on the same day, 4:30-6 p.m. For more information, e-mail salexander@ppld.org or call 531-6333, x2303.

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Tri-Lakes Community Blood Drive, July 21

Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership will sponsor a blood drive July 21, 3-6 p.m., in the Monument Sanitation District Conference Room, 130 Second St., downtown Monument. The blood collected will go to local Penrose and Memorial Hospitals. Blood drives are also scheduled for Sept. 15 and Nov. 17. For more information, call Jackie Sward, RN, at 481-4864 x23.

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CASA Fall Training Class application deadline, July 31

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Pikes Peak Region seeks volunteers to become "a child’s voice in court" and make a lasting difference in the life of an abused or neglected child. Deadline to apply for the Fall Training Class is July 31. Training begins in September. No experience or legal background is necessary. To learn more about the many fulfilling volunteer opportunities available at CASA, contact RoseMary Jaramillo at 447-9898, ext. 1008, or visit www.casappr.org.

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Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI): Burro Birthday Bash, Aug. 1

WMMI is throwing quite the party for burro mascots Oro & Nugget, Sat., Aug. 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. An old-fashioned hoedown will be held inside one of the museum’s historic barns. Fun for the entire family includes food vendors, beer, birthday cake, bluegrass music by the CountyLine Ramblers, miniature burros from the MJB stables, a horse-shoe throwing contest, games for the kids, gold panning, and running of the outdoor mining equipment. Cost: $5 adults, $2 children. Call 488-0880 or visit www.wmmi.org for more information. The museum is located at 225 North Gate Blvd. (at I-25 Exit 156 A)

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Pikes Peak Library District End of Summer Teen Concert, Aug. 1

Hear local teen bands play at the Chapel Hills Mall Sat., Aug. 1, 3-7 p.m. Get an application to play at www.ppld.org/teens

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2009 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly, Aug. 7-9

The Palmer Lake Art Group (PLAG) presents three days of vaudeville, music, theater, an ice cream social, old-time baseball game, classic Ford car show, and much more–all in Palmer Lake. Watch the August issue for details. For information about PLAG, visit www.palmerlakeartgroup.com.

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Monument Open Chess Tournament coming in August

An open chess tournament has been scheduled for Aug. 22-23, registration 8:30-9:30 a.m., at Sundance Mountain Lodge, 1865 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For more information, e-mail Fred Spell, fspell@gmail.com.

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County launches Prescription Discount Program

El Paso County has begun the countywide Prescription Discount Program sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo). Beginning July 1, the Prescription Discount Program is available to all county residents regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage. There is no cost to the county, county taxpayers or consumers to participate in the program, and no enrollment forms, membership fees or use restrictions apply. In addition to over 80 local participating pharmacies, the RX discount card is accepted at nearly 59,000 locations nationwide — offering card carriers savings on medications averaging approximately 23 percent. Many county facilities have been designated as distribution points for the prescription discount cards, including the Clerk and Recorder Offices, Treasurer’s Office, Assessor’s Office, Department of Human Services, Health Department, and Pikes Peak Workforce Center. A complete listing of participating pharmacies and discount card distribution locations can be found on the county Web site at www.elpasoco.com or call 520-6337 (MEDS).

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Needed: handbell ringers

Looking for experienced handbell ringers, youth and adult, to play in a community choir. If interested, please contact Betty Jenik at 488-3853 or ljenik@comcast.net.

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Library District creates new Job Help on Web site

People looking for employment can now go to Pikes Peak Library District’s new "Job Help" site, a one-stop shop for all PPLD’s job-hunting resources. Go to ppld.org and click on the Job Help link. The new Web page on ppld.org was created in response to growing demand from patrons who are unemployed or underemployed and looking for help with everything from resumes and cover letters to applying for unemployment and searching for new jobs.

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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.

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New thrift shop opens in Monument

Hangers–Your Thrift Shop is now open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m, at 341 Front St., Monument. Shop for 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.trilakescares.org.

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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 are 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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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 by 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.

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Master Gardener Help Desk at 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.

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