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Vol. 9 No. 8 - August 1, 2009


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Independence Day celebration

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Below: An adorable example of what make Independence Day special in the Tri-Lakes area. There are more photos below. Photo by David Futey.

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Grasses and weeds pose fire risk

By Susan Hindman

Copious amounts of rain this spring and summer have brought an abundance of wildflowers, green grass, weeds, and other plant growth. But as summer winds down, the rains will stop and all that lush foliage will dry up and become a tremendous fire danger, which has the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board worried. At the board meeting July 22, director Charlie Pocock called for a campaign to make people aware of what they can do to reduce the potential for fire.

"If we don’t take a proactive approach on this, and we later have a major fire, I think we’re going to be subject to some criticism," he said. "We need to get rid of the ladder fuels and the grass and take a proactive approach to doing this .… Now’s the time to do it."

After the meeting, Fire Marshal Curtis Kauffman talked about steps homeowners need to take to keep not just their homes but their neighborhoods safe. "Due to the unusual amount of rain we’ve had this year, it’s made these grasses grow a whole lot taller than in past years," he said. "When the moisture is gone, they’ll dry out quickly…. I expect problems two to three months from now." He added, "I’ve seen grass fires with snow on the ground." He recommends the following:

  • Keep grasses cut to 6 inches or less year-round, and keep the grass close to the house watered.
  • Keep combustible plant material 10 feet away from the house. He suggests removing scrub oaks that are close to the house and go with other plants that are not as combustible. "Scrub oaks are full of oils and burn hot and fast when ignited." Patches of scrub oaks around trees should also be removed, to avoid creating a "ladder" for a ground fire to reach the trees.
  • Keep tree limbs trimmed about 6 to 8 feet from the ground. Trees should be spaced 10 feet apart. Haul away dead limbs already on the ground.
  • Pine straw can be kept 2 to 3 inches thick, to prevent erosion, but any more than that will encourage smoldering if there is a fire.
  • Keep garden hoses in the front and back yards hooked up until cold weather sets in.
  • Be careful with gas and charcoal pit fires and grills. Keep a hose nearby.

The Fire Department will do free home site assessments. "We’ll walk around the property and give people recommendations as to what should be done," Kauffman said. "Basically, keep the grasses down and the tree limbs trimmed up. That’s going to be a huge, huge help to us."

Kauffman said people should call him at 484-0911 (follow the prompts to "code enforcement") with any questions. In addition, the district follows the Firewise program, which reaches out to homeowners, developers, planners, and others in an effort to lessen the risk of wildland fire. The program’s Web site ( www.firewise.org ) offers much more information.

New billing service

Battalion Chief Greg Lovato recommended that the board approve a contract with Ambulance Billing Systems (ABS), a company based in San Antonio, Texas, but owned by a former Monument resident. While billing will be outsourced to ABS, Lovato will help with troubleshooting, and a to-be-hired administrative assistant will be the local liaison for billing issues as well as handle general office duties and phone calls and questions from the public.

Equipment changes

Battalion Chief Mike Dooley reported that the district received $98,500 for its 10-year-old ladder truck, $1,500 less than expected because of repairs it still needed. Dooley asked the board to sign the proposal for the new platform truck in order to "guarantee us a spot in the manufacturing" of the truck.

New media liaison

Kent Stinson, who has worked in human resources for two years for the district, is the new public information officer. His background is in marketing/media and HR. He will work with the media and be part of the safety team at fire scenes.

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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 Aug. 26. For more information, call Chief Denboske at 266-3367.

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Thompson gets the axe July 10

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Photos by Bernard Minetti.

Below: Firefighter-paramedic Ron Thompson displays the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) commemorative fire axe he received as he celebrates his retirement after serving 20 years in the department. 

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Below: Thompson (center pointing) is surrounded by TLMFPD personnel and well wishers. To his immediate left is Fire Lt. Tracy Cox who organized the farewell get together and TLMFPD Chief Robert Denboske. To his right, is his wife Sheila.

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Below: Thompson cutting his retirement cake. Observing are (L-R) TLMFPD Chief Robert Denboske; Sheila Thompson, Ron’s wife; Will Thompson, Ron’s son; Ron Thompson; Annette Thompson, Ron’s daughter-in-law; and Fire Lt. Tracy Cox who baked the cake, all observing cutting the first slice.

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Patio homes get conditional approval

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Miles Scully, Gleneagle golf course owner, presents his development proposal to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (L to R) Dennis Hisey, Amy Lathen, Jim Bensberg, Sallie Clark, and Wayne Williams. Photo captured from internet broadcast of the hearing.

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Below: View of the proposed patio home building site as seen from the adjacent Eagle Villas complex. Photo provided by Dick Durham.

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By Jim Kendrick

After a five-hour hearing on July 9, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners narrowly approved an amended sketch plan and rezoning from RR-5 (5-acre rural residential) to planned unit development (PUD) with about five dwelling units per acre for construction of 47 patio homes on the 10.35-acre driving range at Gleneagle golf course.

The vote was 3-2 in favor of the sketch plan and rezoning, with Commissioners Sallie Clark and Amy Lathen opposed to both. Several conditions were placed on both of the approvals. This hearing was continued from June 11 at the request of the applicant.

The driving range is adjacent to the back side of the Eagle Villas PUD development to the north and east. The south side of the driving range is adjacent to the full length of the sixth hole of the golf course. The Eagle Villas development is located on the west side of Gleneagle Drive between Sun Hills Drive and Mission Hill Way, and along the south side of Mission Hill Way, which is the primary access to the golf course clubhouse. The segment of Mission Hill Way between the clubhouse and Gleneagle Drive is proposed to be the single access to these 47 patio homes. The area around the driving range is completely built out.

County staff determined that the proposed amendment is in general conformance to most of the county’s review requirements, including several so-called "master plans" created over the past several decades. These plans cover different areas, serve different purposes, and occasionally conflict with each other.

The adjacent Club Villas and Eagle Villas developments have the same density of about five dwelling units per acre. The proposed density for the patio homes is higher than the single-family homes between the sixth hole and Gleneagle Drive to the south, about three dwelling units per acre.

The landowner, Miles Scully, has stated that the conversion of the driving range to a patio home development will raise $1 million to $1.2 million in capital needed to improve the 37-year-old irrigation system for the golf course, which has been losing money for the seven years he has owned the property.

County staff determined that the specific restrictions within this PUD request meet the general requirements of the statutes and code and is not detrimental to the overall health, safety, and welfare of Gleneagle, while recognizing there will be impacts to neighboring properties that cannot be completely mitigated.

Scully has previously stated that if the surrounding property owners agree to support the sketch plan amendment and rezone, he will agree not to begin construction of the patio homes for five years.

Scully discussed his ownership of the course, the $1 million in improvements he has made, the economic environment during the past seven years, and some of the changes he has agreed to at previous community meetings. The allowed number of patio homes in the amendment has been reduced from 73 to 47, setbacks have been increased, and building heights reduced. Another area will be set aside for practicing putting, chipping, and sand shots. A driving area using balls that do not travel very far would also be set up.

Scully noted that converting the course to a public park would take over a year and be subject to a vote of the people. He said a similar proposal was voted down by 68 percent of the voters 15 years ago. He stated that he was willing to stipulate that he would never develop the rest of the course as long as he owns it as a condition of approval to the amendment and rezone, recognizing that closure of a golf course usually drops the value of adjacent homes by about 30 percent.

Scully noted that he has offered to sell land around the perimeter of the driving range to the adjacent homeowners associations at 10 percent below appraisal so they can gain their desired separation from the proposed patio homes. He also offered to change the sixth hole from a par 4 to a par 3 length to lower the risk of people or houses being hit by golf balls.

After a lengthy public comment period, the commissioners discussed possible conditions of approval.

County attorney Bill Louis proposed a draft condition of approval that he said would provide an interim approval of the PUD rezoning with safeguards against consideration of a preliminary site plan or plat until the County Commissioners hold a public hearing on a development agreement before March 31, 2010. The applicant would have the option of asking for a time extension.

Approval of PUD zoning would provide a practical incentive for the applicant to spend time and money exploring options for development and for sustaining golf course operations or a conservation easement for an open space, a goal shared by citizens in Gleneagle. Should this not occur, the zoning would revert back to RR-5.

Scully agreed to Louis’ proposal.

Commissioner Wayne Williams said the board’s job is generally not to ensure the viability of a business or to restrict competition in a free-market system. The board’s role is to make sure the general interest of the public is protected by protecting the rest of the golf course, he said. Williams proposed that the sketch plan revert to the prior version along with the zoning if a solution is not found.

Clark voted against the proposals because, she said, the residents reasonably assumed that the driving range would remain part of the golf course, leading to the heavy opposition. She said she felt the proposed development would not be in the best interest of the general public.

Lathen also voted no, stating the goals of protecting and enhancing the golf course use in accordance with the master plans were not met with this proposed construction project because of issues of compatibility, benefit to the community, traffic, visual impairment, and payment of higher prices to be next to an open space. She also was concerned that there was no written assurance of sustaining the golf course or improving the golf course if it were sold.

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For more information, see the 170-page amended sketch plan application at http://bcc.elpasoco.com/NR/rdonlyres/C6543E26-3D94-4F5E-8E60-8B6CD09B3B65/0/79113.pdf and the 76-page rezone application at http://bcc.elpasoco.com/NR/rdonlyres/2F8A6BA6-6FD9-42EC-AC91-959407B21150/0/79114.pdf

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Monument Board of Trustees, July 6: Glenn resigns; Trustee Easton appointed mayor

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Photos by Jim Kendrick.

Below: (L to R) Trustee Travis Easton is sworn in by town clerk Scott Meszaros to succeed Byron Glenn as Monument Mayor. 

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Below: With Easton in the foreground, Meszaros swears in Rick Squires as a Monument Trustee to fill the vacancy created by Steve Samuels’ resignation. Volunteers are being sought to fill Easton’s trustee position.

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By Jim Kendrick

Mayor Byron Glenn surprised trustees and staff by flying back from his new job in Fairbanks, Alaska, to attend the July 6 Monument Board of Trustees meeting in order to personally read his letter of resignation. Glenn was joined by his wife, Julie, and his sons. Julie Glenn will continue to live in Jackson Creek for now and continue to serve as a director on the Triview Metropolitan District board.

Trustee Gail Drumm was absent from the meeting.

Trustee Travis Easton was unanimously appointed to replace Glenn. His appointment as mayor lasts until the next town election in April 2010. Town Clerk Scott Meszaros formally swore in Easton.

Later in this meeting, the board selected 26-year downtown resident Rick Squires from three volunteers to fill the vacancy created by the May 18 resignation of Trustee Steve Samuels. Meszaros also swore in Squires. His appointment also expires at the next town election in April 2010.

Glenn resigns

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Glenn said, "The next item is a tough one for me. After eight years of being a part of this community, I have to say goodbye." With great emotion, Glenn then read this letter:

The economic bust has upended and hurt a lot of people, businesses and communities throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, I was not immune to the massive meltdown of the housing industry, and I have been forced to accept a position outside of Colorado. I therefore, respectfully submit my resignation as Mayor of the Town of Monument to the Monument Board of Trustees and Town Manager.

It has been a privilege and an honor to serve you all as Mayor. I believe the town has come a long way since I stepped onto the Board of Trustees in 2001. We have seen controlled residential and commercial growth creating a healthy revenue stream. We have been able to construct the Baptist Road and I-25 interchange when everyone else said it couldn’t be done. We have built a new police facility and town hall, and have finally started downtown street and drainage improvements that we have been promising the historic downtown merchants and residents for years. But we have much more to do.

We have worked hard to create good relationships with outside government entities, including Colorado Springs Utilities, El Paso County, Triview Metro District, Donala and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Districts, and Palmer Lake, as well as the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire District and School District 38, in the hope of regional teamwork. As we have witnessed, no one is stronger alone than in a group. But we have more to do.

We have more to do because we cannot afford to get complacent. We cannot afford to stop looking to the future, and we cannot afford to lose our vision—the vision that has created a sustainable and healthy community, as we worked hard to maintain a high quality of life for our residents.

So in departing, I want to thank Cathy Green for being an incredible friend, manager, and leader, for keeping me on track and the ability to express my emotions. I want to thank Tom Kassawara for his preference to detail and working hard to bring our development code up to date, thus helping us maintain our quality of life. I want to thank Chief Jake Shirk for making the Monument Police Department a leader of community safety in the region. I want to thank Pam Smith for keeping us on a financial track and I want to thank Rich Landreth for his willingness to work with the Triview Metro District to ensure quality levels of service. I want to thank everyone involved with the town that has put in precious time to make this region a cut above. I also want to thank Betty Konarski for mentoring me through my early years. But most of all I want to thank my wife for putting up with my ups and downs, and encouraging me to press forward.

May God Bless you and I love you all!!

Glenn received a standing ovation. Town Manager Green presented Glenn with a certificate of appreciation and said, "It’s short and it’s sweet and it’s so to the point." She added that the certificate thanked him for his "valued leadership, vision, and commitment as mayor."

Glenn said, "So with that, it’s time for me to depart. Tomorrow I leave for Alaska." He added that he wanted to spend the rest of the evening with his family. Each of the trustees present took a moment to personally thank Glenn and give him a hug as the Glenns left for home.

Agenda amended

Trustee Tommie Plank asked that the board appoint only one trustee instead of two as scheduled during this meeting. The town had only advertised for volunteers to fill the vacant seat created by the resignation of Samuels. She said the board should advertise separately for volunteers to replace Glenn. This recommendation was approved unanimously.

Squires appointed as trustee

The board interviewed three town residents who volunteered to be candidates: Stan Gingrich from Santa Fe Trails, Jeff Kaiser from Jackson Creek, and Rick Squires from Monument Lake Road. Town Attorney Gary Shupp counted the trustees’ votes in the secret ballot and announced that Squires had been selected. The appointment runs through the next town election in April 2010.

Gingrich and Kaiser volunteered to be considered again when the board votes on appointing a trustee to replace Glenn in August.

Squires has served on several of the town’s citizen advisory boards in the past, including the Police Building Advisory Committee and the Downtown Monument Architectural Guidelines Committee. He also volunteered to help erect the historic Monument sign between the 7-Eleven and the post office and build the sidewalk on Third Street.

Smith reappointed

The board unanimously approved a resolution reappointing Don Smith to the Board of Adjustment for three years, through July 2012.

Third Street improvement project awarded to Pioneer Sand

Kassawara, director of Development Services, offered a resolution for the award of a new construction contract for improvements to Third Street between Beacon Lite Road and Front Street. Bids for the new contract were solicited on May 13. The project includes the installation of new stormwater drainage piping within the existing right-of-way; widening and reconstruction of the roadway pavement; and installation of curb, gutter, and sidewalk along the roadway. The bid documents also called for alternate bids for landscaping, street lighting, and the use of recycled rubber tire asphalt.

Kassawara said that the five bids that were submitted were opened on June 5. The "lowest responsive and responsible bidder" was Pioneer Sand Co. Inc., with a base bid of $959,318. Pioneer has the appropriate references, insurance certificates and bonding capacity for a contract this size. The contract calls for the project to be completed in 120 working days.

The staff recommended an additional $125,000 be approved for contingencies for the project, for a total budget of $1,084,318. Kassawara added that a $120,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs would be used to help fund this project. If things go well, some money may be left over for Pioneer’s "add alternate" bids of landscaping (about $62,000) and street lighting (about $130,000.)

County resident Ernie Biggs asked whether any of the revised storm drainage from this project would flow across his former campground property between Mitchell Avenue and Monument Lake. Kassawara said there would be no outfall across the Biggs property.

The board unanimously approved the contract with Pioneer and the requested contingency funding.

Work began on the project after this meeting and should be completed before the end of December.

Mayor’s project review authority expanded

The board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to personally approve and sign site plan and/or subdivision agreements on behalf of the Board of Trustees, in lieu of having the entire board formally review and approve these agreements as an agenda item at a regularly scheduled meeting.

Kassawara noted that these types of documents are created using standard templates and cost estimates to determine the size of the surety amount that is withheld by the town staff from the final payment to developers and contractors during the warranty period. This amount must be posted with the town in case the town is forced to separately contract for upgrade or repair work to correct contractor work that does not meet town or Regional Building Department code requirements and is not corrected by the developer or contractor.

Well 7 repair contract approved

The board unanimously approved a payment of up to $500,000 to redrill town Well 7 on the north side of Highway 105 adjacent to the Santa Fe Trail. A video inspection showed that well’s casing has failed and cannot be repaired. Public Works Director Rich Landreth stated that the repair is critical because Well 7 is the town’s only Arapahoe aquifer well that can pump directly to the town’s water tank at the north end of Beacon Lite Road.

There is enough room within the town’s property surrounding the well for redrilling. Landreth said the estimate for redrilling in a new location and installing a pump is $477,379. Landreth had not received an estimate for the engineering cost prior to this meeting.

Work has subsequently begun on this project and should take about six weeks to complete.

Agreement with Colorado Mounted Rangers approved

The board formalized a long-standing working agreement for the volunteers of the Colorado Mounted Rangers to assist the Monument Police Department in providing augmented security and crowd and traffic control during public and private events such as parades, car shows, and public emergencies or disasters. Maj. Rob DeVega of the Rangers and Police Chief Shirk discussed issues regarding mobilization, liability insurance, reimbursement, workers’ compensation, and new state legislation affecting the Rangers in response to trustees’ questions. The board unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding.

Monument Marketplace plat for Filing 18 approved

The board 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. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the final plat on June 10. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n7.htm#monpc for more details on the plat.

Currently, National Vision Inc. plans to build a 6,000-square-foot building on the site for optical retail sales.

Hull Subdivision sketch plan amendment narrowly defeated

After a lengthy hearing on June 1, the board voted to continue developer Jamie Hull’s proposal to amend the Planned Development (PD) Sketch Plan that the board had approved on Sept. 7, 2007. The Hull Subdivision is the only original city block within the downtown area of Monument that is still vacant. The 3.7-acre property is located between Grace Best Elementary School to the west and Beacon Lite Road to the east, where the Santa Fe Trail crosses Beacon Lite Road.

The board asked Hull to provide a sketch that would show "exactly what the hotel would look like." However, the June 15 board meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum and the hearing was continued to the next board meeting on July 6.

Note: The background issues regarding the Hull Subdivision are too numerous and complex to repeat in detail in this article. A limited background summary is provided below. The Planning Commission approved the amendment with conditions on May 13 but there were conditions of approval and many concerns expressed by several commissioners. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n6.htm#monpc for more details of the May 13 hearing. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n7.htm#bot601 for more details of the June 1 Board of Trustees hearing.

Background: The original plat for the Hull property, which dates from the creation of downtown Monument, is identical to most of the other existing downtown blocks. There were two north-south rows of eight 50-foot-by-150-foot lots separated by a north-south alley right-of-way. Although this number no longer meets current Colorado standards, each of these 16 lots has "grandfathered" downtown residential water rights of 0.5 acre-feet per year, for a total of 8 acre-feet. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

Over the past several years Hull has proposed to develop this city block as a new municipal center with new buildings for Town Hall, the Police Department, and Public Works. The town rejected Hull’s proposal to first build a new police and courthouse building because the $3.4 million cost for lease-purchase of the new structure exceeded the budget of $2.5 million that was available at that time.

Hull next proposed construction of a 46-unit senior living facility on this property. The town rejected the senior center because of high density and the need for more than 8 acre-feet of water.

In 2006, Hull proposed to build a senior living facility on a town-owned 4.07-acre lot on Highway 105, east of Knollwood Drive. This Hull proposal was rejected.

Since then, the new Town Hall and police building, costing about $4.4 million, opened at Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105.

The recently approved Arbor Mountain senior living facility is planned to have 57 living units. The town donated this lot to a different group of developers. However, the new Arbor Mountain developers still have not arranged for transferring water rights from the town’s surplus to Donala Water and Sanitation District so that they can purchase the rights from Donala. This transfer of town rights is required before construction can begin, because Triview Metropolitan District cannot provide any surplus water service to the lot.

In September 2007, the board unanimously approved three proposals for the Hull Subdivision. These proposals included rezoning from R-2 Downtown Residential to Planned Development (PD), a new Preliminary/Final Plat, and 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."

The PD sketch plan the board approved contained eight areas of 0.2 to 0.3 acre each. The three areas on the east frontage along Beacon Lite road were designated for mixed use for office, retail, restaurant, and residential. The other five areas were designated as high-density residential, with a north-south common area between them. The approved maximum building height is 40 feet for the five high-density residential areas and 45 feet for the three mixed-use areas. The approved maximum number of dwelling units is 46.

The board also approved subsidizing the project by selling "surplus" town water rights at a reduced price of $4,600 per acre-foot to Hull in 2007 to help him meet the total demand of up to 27 acre-feet per year. However, the lot is not actually in the B, or business, zone of the downtown area.

The board further discounted Hull’s price for extra water rights again in 2008—to $2,000 per acre-foot—to encourage other developers to build high-density developments in the B zone located two blocks away.

June 1 hearing continued: At the June 1, 2009, board meeting, Hull was seeking approval of an amendment to add a hotel and library use to the PD sketch plan. The proposed 60-room three-story Microtel building would be constructed on the northeast corner of the property adjacent to the existing Pankratz art building on the southwest corner of Beacon Lite Road and Second Street. The area proposed as a potential future location for the Monument Library was on the west end of the mixed use area, next to Grace Best Elementary School.

One change in the amendment would have eliminated the previously approved 60-foot public right-of-way that was created in the 2007 replat for a new segment of First Street. Hull donated this right-of-way to the town in the replat. This previously approved segment runs along the west half of the northern boundary of the Hull property, just south of the existing houses on the east side of Adams Street.

Hull’s amendment proposed that this right-of-way be vacated by the town and given back to Hull to be used for internal traffic circulation that will be defined later in the preliminary site plan.

Another change proposed in the amendment would eliminate the public road right-of-way in Tract A that was also created in the 2007 replat. A one-way road connects the south end of the proposed Grace Best parking and school bus drop-off/pickup lot along the southwest boundary of the Hull property to a three-lane, east-west public right-of-way in approximately the same location as the dirt path that has been created by parents cutting across Hull’s private property to get to Beacon Lite Road. Hull donated this right-of-way to the town in the 2007 replat.

Hull proposed that this platted right-of-way also be vacated by the town and transferred back to Hull for internal traffic circulation that will be defined later in the preliminary site plan. In exchange, Hull would donate replacement right-of-way for a connector road in a different location.

A third proposed change would create a realigned east-west public road right-of-way that runs through the center of the property, from the south end of the Grace Best parking and bus area to the existing Santa Fe Trail crossing on Beacon Lite Road. This trail crossing would become the crosswalk on the north side of this relocated intersection.

At the end of the June 1 hearing, the board asked Hull to provide additional information at the next meeting. However, the June 15 board meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum and the hearing was continued again to July 6.

Hull hearing reopened on July 6: On July 6, Kassawara first presented "a brief synopsis" of Hull’s proposed amendment and the issues that were raised at the June 1 hearing.

Because of the New Urbanism design in Hull’s development in the 2007 sketch plan, the board "included them in the downtown area even though they’re sort of right on the edge, including the ability to be supplied additional water over and above what is supplied under the property."

The addition of the hotel, moving around the other uses to accommodate the hotel use, and new circulation through the middle of the property "make it sort of a pretty completely different sketch plan, keeping some of the high-density residential and office development on the site."

Kassawara said the board directed the applicant to bring back additional information regarding five issues:

  • A conceptual site plan for the hotel
  • A study of options to relocate the hotel within the property
  • Some conceptual architectural elevations/facades for the hotel
  • Whether the hotel would work with fewer than 60 rooms and/or roof height less than 45 feet
  • Answers to concerns about traffic circulation and volume and an option for adding back the one-way, north-to-south flow through the Grace Best parking area and the three-lane road across the south boundary to Beacon Lite Road.

Some of the points land planner John Maynard of NES Inc. made were:

  • Hull was a member of the town’s Downtown Architectural Design Guidelines Committee and has tried to comply with the restrictions in that group’s white paper that apply to buildings in the nearby B zone.
  • The proposed hotel building exterior is similar to the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 "Big Red" Headquarters building, with a similar red brick base, arched window and doorway articulation, and roofline.
  • The scale of the proposed hotel footprint is about the same as the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church to the north on the southeast corner of Adams and Second Streets.
  • The hotel will not have a restaurant. It will be dependent on downtown services, which will help generate revenue that was lost when the town moved Town Hall to Beacon Lite Road and Highway 105.
  • The rebirth of Manitou Springs is based on the changed downtown streetscape, supplemented by the addition of three new hotels similar to this proposed Microtel in the transition area south of the downtown area, and the refurbishment of the Cliff House, coupled with a vibrant downtown organization for promotion.

Some of the points Green made were:

  • It is "somewhat unusual for a sketch plan" to have as much additional detail as Hull has been asked to provide in addition to land use and density. The details are needed because of the specific requirements for a Microtel franchise.
  • These additional items usually are not defined until a PD site plan is submitted.
  • The back of the hotel faces Beacon Lite to the east, which is not "urban."
  • The suburban design of the hotel’s exterior does not meet the requirements of the Architectural Guideline Committee’s white paper.
  • "This board approved discounted water sales for a vertical mixed use, not for a hotel, so we would ask that they come back to you and ask again that they be given discounted water if they need any."
  • The board approved the 2007 sketch plan and discounted water incentive for a downtown New Urbanism prototype, even though the Hull property is not downtown.

However, none of the documents prepared by the staff for the May 18 Planning Commission or the June 1 board hearing stated that calling the proposal an amendment to the approved PD sketch plan was incorrect or inappropriate. None of the staff members who attended those two hearings said calling the proposal a sketch plan amendment was incorrect or inappropriate. The agendas for both of these meetings call for a hearing on a PD sketch plan amendment.

During public comment, Woodmoor resident Chris Pollard questioned whether the Monument Library, of the Pikes Peak Library District, was really interested in relocating from its current Lake Woodmoor Drive location to the Hull Subdivision and whether library parking would be adequate at this new location. He also questioned why the town is discounting the sale of water rights to developers when regional aquifers are dropping, landscaping irrigation water is permanently rationed, and Tri-Lakes does not have a long-term ground or surface water supply.

Some of the points Maynard’s partner Tim Siebert of NES Inc. then made were:

  • Hull would build a sidewalk along Adams Street to Second Street to provide pedestrian connectivity to the B zone, which is two blocks away.
  • The hotel will not have a restaurant and needs access to downtown restaurants.
  • The county Parks Department has serious concerns about having the hotel front door open to the Santa Fe Trail, in effect making the trail a "downtown sidewalk," which conflicts with its current suitability for joggers and bicyclists. The county wants a fence between the trail and the hotel to protect the joggers and bicyclists.
  • The town’s architectural guidelines call for parking to the rear of commercial buildings, which the county does not want.
  • There is no sidewalk or parking on Beacon Lite Road, which is also inconsistent with the type of small hotel called for in the Comprehensive Plan for the downtown core, limiting the likelihood of success for a 5-20 room bed-and-breakfast hotel or other "front door businesses."
  • Town plans call for Beacon Lite Road to be expanded to four lanes—"it isn’t Main Street." The adjacent vacant land between Beacon Lite and I-25 is planned to be highway-oriented commercial.
  • The brick facades displayed in the new sketches of the hotel’s exterior are 360-degree architecture to make the back of the hotel facing I-25 attractive to motorists driving by.
  • The room count, 60 rooms, is as low as it can be for the hotel to be financially viable.
  • Having the front of the hotel face west is consistent with making the new public road through the center of the property act as the "active core."
  • Storefronts in the mixed-use area will be arrayed along the south side of the new access road. There is parallel parking on both sides for these new stores in the proposed amendment.
  • Hull is asking that a library use be added to the list of optional mixed uses based on his discussion with members of the Pikes Peak Library District board and the board’s real estate broker. The library board likes the relationship of this location to downtown and its access to Palmer Lake and Baptist Road.
  • The east side of Grace Best is actually the rear of the building, a challenge that requires screening within the Hull property.
  • The one-way orientation of Adams Street is more likely to be congested and create backups on Second Street, which occurs now, than the two-way circulation through the center of the property. Retaining two-way traffic on Adams Street provides an alternative route and reduces the load of traffic from the subdivision that must go through the intersection of Beacon Lite Road and Second Street to get to the B zone and back.
  • "We understand the desire to create complementary uses" for downtown.
  • "We believe … the hotel creates more activity to support the downtown businesses, but at the same time respects the location near Second Street in a context of the school." This proposed hotel is atypical for the Microtel franchise model but solves a lot of concerns regarding town’s guidelines with its unique four-sided brick architecture.
  • The final site plan may not use all of the previously approved 27 acre-foot groundwater allocation.
  • "We submitted our water request based upon the water allocation that was our original approval … to bring the density and vitality to the site" that was requested by the staff.
  • "This is the process we were directed to take—an amendment."
  • "What makes a downtown vital is people. The hotel will bring in people who are visiting the area, not the residents who already live here."

Some of the points landowner Jamie Hull made were:

  • "We’ve been trying to hit a moving target, and it’s impossible for us to get anything done."
  • Green’s new comment about the water issue at this stage of the hearing again makes it hard for Hull to develop the property— "At the end, we’ve just been cut off."
  • The amended plan requires about 19 acre-feet of water from the town for the amended sketch plan, the same amount as already approved, for a total of 27 acre-feet.
  • The new proposal is not a different plan because it has only "added a use and made the roadways far better than they were before."
  • Hull said he had to be given some flexibility to work within the economic confines of New Urbanism, based on the economic failures of New Urbanism town projects in the past.
  • There are few "traditional historical buildings in downtown Monument" to complement.
  • D-38’s "Big Red" building is actually 54 feet high on the west side based on D-38’s drawings rather than 37.5 feet as stated by the staff, making the proposed hotel height of 45 feet complementary.
  • "Big Red" has a hip roof like a Microtel hotel, which would make the proposed hotel design complementary to a major adjacent building.
  • The Wyndham Group has a construction model that does not have a lot of flexibility and will not allow for a flat roof like that of Grace Best Elementary School.
  • The hotel would now be the first phase of development of the parcel, instead of the high- density residential in the 2007 sketch plan.
  • "As an owner my biggest concern is, does the town really seek vitality in downtown? I’ll be really frank with you here. When we bought this site, the Post Office was downtown and Town Hall was downtown. The two major traffic generators were downtown. Now what’s happened is they’ve been pulled out."
  • "We used to have a pretty nice piece of property next to downtown with some viability."
  • "Fairfield Inn occupants will not be coming into downtown Monument to shop."
  • "Do the trustees and town merchants want viability or just quaintness?"
  • If the town does not want the Hull property to be developed, what is the basis of the opposition?
  • "I was born about three miles south of here … on Baptist Road."
  • "We live here. We buy here. We pay taxes here. We shop in Jackson Creek and here in Monument."
  • "We’d like to do something that works and will complement the town."

Easton said he appreciated Hull’s "attempts to hit a moving target." Resolving the building height limit of 30 feet to meet B zone standards should not be postponed until the preliminary site plan phase, he said. The introduction of the Microtel building and the Adams Street sidewalk would be a good benefit to downtown businesses. However the other changes are a significant change.

Green reiterated that the proposal is a different plan and the hotel portion is a suburban plan, making the Hull Subdivision ineligible for the previously approved downtown water incentive. She added that if one suburban hotel is approved on the property, the board should prepare for a request to increase the number to four hotels. This amendment is a "major shift" in the Beacon Lite Road-Old Denver Highway corridor.

Mayor Pro-tem Rafael Dominguez said this proposed suburban hotel does not add character to the downtown to attract other downtown businesses. It just adds a place to stay, he said. There is a big difference between Baptist Road—where the Fairfield Inn has just opened—and downtown.

Hull responded that the Hull Subdivision is in a transitional area two blocks from the B zone. Trustee Tim Miller agreed with Hull and added that the hotel would bring people to the downtown area to help keep existing and future businesses "vital."

A motion to approve the PD sketch plan amendment was defeated in a 2-3 vote, with Squires and Trustee Tim Miller in favor and Easton, Dominguez, and Plank opposed.

Other matters

The board unanimously approved annual liquor licenses for:

  • Cork and Bottle, 351 Highway 105
  • Monument Marketplace Wal-Mart Supercenter, 16218 Jackson Creek Parkway
  • La Casa Fiesta Restaurant, 230 Front St.
  • Conoco Circle K Store, 534 Highway 105
  • Monument Liquor Mart, 15756 Jackson Creek Parkway

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

  • $16,735 to Colorado Intergovernmental Risk-Sharing Agency (CIRSA) for the town’s third-quarter workers’ compensation insurance
  • $16,671 to CIRSA for the town’s third-quarter liability insurance
  • $10,709 to Nolte Associates Inc. for Third Street project engineering
  • $12,495 to Black Diamond Excavation for curb removal and replacement for the new Second Street railroad crossing quiet zone
  • $33,228 to John R. Hurley Asphalt for crack filling and overlaying town streets
  • $129,227 to Triview Metropolitan District for April sales tax
  • $3,284 to Triview Metro for May motor vehicle sales tax
  • $176,856 to Alexandher Building Co. for the June invoice for construction of the new Town Hall and Police Department building

Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that general fund expenditures through the first half of the year were 11.9 percent or about $52,000 less than planned. Water enterprise fund expenditures were 15.3 percent or about $206,000 less than planned, but this will be offset by the unplanned $500,000 expense to redrill Well 7. The purchase of Twin Lakes shares of supplemental surface rights water will drop the water acquisition, storage, and delivery fund balance from about $120,000 to about $6,000. However, sales tax revenues have continued to be higher than the amount budgeted throughout this year.

Dominguez asked for a discussion on moving the green Historic Monument sign from Third Street, between the 7-Eleven and the post office, to Second Street where more visitors could see it. Squires and residents Si Sibell and Ernie Biggs explained why it was installed in its present location and why it could not be safely or economically moved. Landreth concurred and said that welders he had consulted had also recommended against moving the sign. Dominguez withdrew his proposal. Landreth said he would arrange for preventive maintenance to extend the lifespan of the sign.

Town Attorney Gary Shupp advised the board that the town’s ordinance regarding open carry of firearms would need to be rewritten. Chief Shirk suggested that the town prohibit open carry within town buildings. The staff will bring a revised ordinance to the board for approval at a meeting in the near future.

Green announced that all requirements for a quiet zone at the Second Street railway crossing are nearing completion. Once they are completed and warning signs are posted for the train engineers, the 21-day compliance period will begin. At the end of that compliance period, engineers can be fined if they sound their horn in conditions other than the exceptions that are allowed for safety.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

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Monument Board of Trustees, July 20: Streamlined building permit process approved

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Below: (L to R) Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk receives Executive Certificate from Aurora Police Chief Daniel J. Oates, President of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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By Jim Kendrick

On July 20, the Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department that will allow more building permits to be handled in a "one-stop shopping" mode for paying fees. Regional Building is also modifying its Web site to make it easier for contractors and homeowners to check the status of permit applications online to avoid waiting in line.

The board postponed the appointment of a volunteer to fill the vacant trustee seat created by former Mayor Byron Glenn’s resignation on July 6.

Trustee Rafael Dominguez was absent from the meeting.

Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, stated that this new agreement authorizes the Regional Building Department to collect the use taxes on building materials for the town when individuals pay for mechanical, plumbing, re-roofing, stucco, and similar minor permits, online or in person at Regional Builiding’s permit counter. Regional Building will charge a 2 percent processing fee to cover its costs for collecting, documenting, and transferring the use tax revenues to Monument on a monthly basis.

This agreement allows the town and Triview Metropolitan District to receive most of the use tax fees without direct involvement of town staff with the applicants. It also benefits the applicants by eliminating the need to visit Town Hall to drop off permit applications, then return later to pick up and pay for approved permits, and then take the town-approved permit to Regional Building. Now these three steps can be combined into a single interaction with Regional Building. Revenues for the town should increase.

However, the town staff will continue to review and approve permits for renovations, basements, or new construction.

Three representatives from Regional Building—Bob Croft, Henry Yankowski, and Curtis Martinell—answered trustees’ questions and provided explanations of the online permit process and expanded features of the permit system, which town staff and citizens may use to expedite permit approvals. For more information, see http://adm.elpasoco.com/Financial_Services/Finance_and_Budget/Use+Tax.htm or www.pprbd.org

Trustees’ comments

Trustee Tommie Plank said the four of five members of the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 board are up for election in November. She suggested that trustees and members of the D-38 board should set up a process for joint meetings of board members, the town manager and treasurer, and that the D-38 superintendent and financial officer share ideas and establish common goals. She also noted that there would be two more Art Hops on Aug. 20 and Sept. 17.

Mayor Travis Easton noted that the eastbound lanes of Baptist Road between the I-25 interchange and Jackson Creek Parkway had been temporarily closed to sharply cut the number of days required to pave all the new lanes by operating round-the-clock.

The Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority’s project remains on schedule for completion in January, though there are again potential problems looming with Mountain View Electric Association in moving its power lines to new easements. Mountain View caused several months of delay in completing the widening of Baptist Road between Jackson Creek Parkway and Gleneagle Drive.

Easton asked the staff to organize a training session on water issues for the board now that there will be two new trustees. Easton noted that the current volunteers, Stan Gingrich from Santa Fe Trails and Jeff Kaiser from Jackson Creek are excellent candidates. Town Manager Cathy Green said no other residents have turned in the applications they picked up for the remaining empty seat. New Trustee Rick Squires was appointed on July 6.

Trustee Tim Miller inquired about the increasing number of farmers markets in the area. Green noted that there have been some difficulties in collecting sales tax, a problem that could be handled more directly if Monument were to become a home-rule town. The town may have to change town ordinances to require a single individual to be responsible for each farmers market and tax collections.

Shirk receives Executive Certificate

Aurora Police Chief Daniel J. Oates, president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, presented Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk with a plaque noting Shirk’s completion of the association’s executive certification program. Oates noted Shirk’s many accomplishments, such as a career of service, dedication to the profession, academic and professional education, demonstrated professionalism, executive growth, leadership excellence, and service to the association. After presenting the plaque, Oates told the board, "I’m very proud to deliver this today to Jake Shirk on behalf of the Colorado Chiefs and tell you that you have a great police chief." Green noted that Shirk is the "best humored staff member" and the town "is so very, very fortunate to have him."

Code enforcement update

Donna Jack has completed her first year as the town’s code enforcement officer and gave her first annual report to the board. Some of Jack’s observations were:

  • Her enforcement motto is "Communications and cooperation creates community" and she emphasizes positive personal contact to the maximum extent possible to foster voluntary compliance.
  • Most people do not know they have a problem when she stops by to see them.
  • She intends to obtain advanced certification in the coming year regarding construction site maintenance and legal training regarding placing town liens on abandoned/foreclosed property.
  • She currently provides services that are not well known, such as child safety seat inspections and VIN verification certifications, plus advice on business license renewals, water restrictions, and noxious weeds.
  • Some town ordinances regarding code enforcement need to be clarified to make it easier to encourage greater compliance.
  • Problem areas are vacant lots, noxious weeds, public right-of-way grass cutting in front of homes, landscape watering issues, removal of trash, unlicensed signs, garage sale signs, landscape materials/equipment left on public roads/rights-of-way, and junk/inoperative/unlicensed vehicles.
  • Only 10 people with code enforcement citations have ended up in court over the past year; all other issues have been resolved voluntarily.
  • Trailer park "compliance has come a long, long way" with the help of the residents.

Green asked the board to give Jack guidance on how to handle violations such as trash and junk vehicles within fenced yards and garage sale signs. The board directed Jack to address any code violations that are visible from the street or that have been formally reported.

Model traffic code adopted

The board unanimously approved an ordinance adopting the 2009 edition of the model traffic code for Colorado municipalities prepared by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Snowplowing agreement renewed

The board unanimously approved a two-year renewal of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Monument Public Works and the county’s Transportation Department on swapping the responsibility for snow removal on each other’s roads. Some of the road segments where responsibility may be swapped are portions of Mitchell Avenue, North Monument Lake Road, Second Street, Beacon Lite Road, Struthers Road, and Mount Herman Road.

Other matters

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

  • $119,376 to Triview Metropolitan District for May sales tax and June motor vehicle tax revenues
  • $7,897 to AmWest Inc. for Well 7, removing pumping equipment from the collapsed well and video surveys
  • $13,380 to All Purpose Paving Inc. for chip sealing Washington Street and Franklyn Avenue
  • $119,089 to Alexandher Building Co. for the final invoice for construction of the new Town Hall and Police Department building

The total payments to Alexandher were $2,991,536, which is $3,307 under budget. Regional Building has issued a permanent certificate of occupancy for the building. The trustees and Kassawara all expressed satisfaction with Alexandher and how smoothly the project was completed.

Tighter Old Denver Highway weight restrictions discussed: Trustee Gail Drumm discussed the effects of heavy truck traffic, particularly Pioneer Sand and R-Rockyard trucks, on Old Denver Highway, Beacon Lite Road, and Second Street. He noted that both businesses are in the county and pay no taxes to Monument while adding significant wear to each of these three roads.

Although Old Denver Highway has been designated as a truck route for some time, no information on its structure and materials has been provided by the county since the town took over ownership of the road. The culvert under Old Denver Highway for Dirty Woman Creek is in danger of collapsing. Beacon Lite Road north of Second Street is restricted to trucks of less than 26,000 pounds.

The board directed Landreth to perform core testing of Old Denver Highway at various locations to evaluate its strength and stability and to evaluate the strength of the culvert. This will allow the board to make better decisions on how to upgrade the highway and how to impose weight restrictions for large trucks.

There was consensus that no tighter weight restrictions should be imposed on these three roads until the I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion is completed to avoid worsening truck traffic through this already congested construction zone.

The Monument Police Department will also train another officer to perform inspections of heavy trucks caught using downtown residential town streets to avoid the weigh stations on Monument Hill. Trucks frequently use Beacon Lite Road between Highway 105 and County Line Road to avoid inspections and fines for being overweight.

Open carry restrictions discussed: Chief Shirk distributed copies of town ordinances regarding "open carry" of firearms from Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Pueblo to provide examples of wording the town could use to improve its own code. Shirk recommended that open carry be prohibited in town buildings. Town Attorney Gary Shupp agreed and noted that it would be difficult to post signs that would restrict open carry in town parks and on the Santa Fe Trail due to multiple access points for each.

The board unanimously approved an annual liquor license renewal for the 7-Eleven at 283 Highway 105.

The meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

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The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 3 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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Palmer Lake Town Council, July 9: Loan for water treatment plant formally approved

By Jim Kendrick

On July 9, the Palmer Lake Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing a loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA) for up to $2 million from the State Revolving Fund to pay for upgrading the town’s drinking water treatment facilities. The ordinance also authorized the loan agreement and issuance of CWRPDA revenue bonds to repay the loan, appointment of town officers to carry out financial matter regarding payment requests from contractors, and declaring a water emergency.

All trustees were present at the meeting.

Water loan approved

During discussion of the water loan paperwork, Town Clerk/Treasurer Della Gray noted that the town’s bond counsel, Blake Jordan, and the town’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, had reviewed and approved the standard CWRPDA language in the loan documents. Moments after the unanimous vote of approval, Mayor John Cressman said, "Wow, that’s pretty exciting!" and noted that Water Superintendent Steve Orcutt was in Town Hall. Cressman added, "There’s Steve back there. Look at him jumping up and down," to much laughter throughout Town Hall.

The state approved the CWRPDA loan in June. The loan was subsequently closed on July 22. Construction should start no later than the end of August. At the June 11 regular meeting, the council appointed two authorized officers, Cressman and Mayor Pro-tem Nikki McDonald, to approve the withdrawal of loan funds to pay invoices submitted to them by Orcutt during construction. None of the money from the loan will come directly to the town or be handled by town staff.

The next step in the project is for the state to review and approve the final engineering report that is being prepared by Tetratech RTW, the town’s engineering consultant firm. Once all the state’s comments have been addressed, a request for bids will be issued and a contract will be awarded. The construction project is tentatively scheduled to begin by the end of August and has an estimated completion date of the end of 2010.

June water expenses higher than normal

During a brief discussion prior to unanimous approval and ratification of payment of town bills for June, Gray noted that there was a "huge expense" for water. Water Trustee Max Stafford noted that the troubled surface water treatment plant produced 10.24 acre-feet of water in June. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.) Groundwater production was 14.01 acre-feet. Revenue was $48,309, while expenditures totaled $113,526. Rainfall has been better than average, increasing the amount of available surface water during the high demand.

Stafford said that an expense of about $50,000 occurred due to a water leak. The funding came from the water operations fund rather than the water capital improvement fund. This may be a problem later this year due to the state’s requirement to keep a minimum cash reserve on hand for at least three months of operations to remain eligible for the $2 million CWRPDA loan.

Stafford also reported that he had attended the first formal Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway Special District meeting. Stafford is a member of the board and fills the seat for El Paso County Small Communities, representing small towns such as Palmer Lake and Monument. The purpose of this meeting was primarily organizational.

For more information on the organization of the watershed district, see www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n1.htm#monbot

2008 audit update

Budget Trustee Bryan Jack and Gray reported that the town auditor had spent four days in the town offices in early July to begin the 2008 audit. Jack discussed performing additional work in response to some citizens’ requests. Jack said the auditor advised that he had "changed to a more randomized style" for all 2008 audits. Jack also stated that he had asked the auditor to review invoices, credit card payments, and the personnel policy manual in more detail, to ensure that there are adequate controls.

Police report

Police Trustee Dan Reynolds reported that the Palmer Lake Police Department with the assistance of the Monument Police Department Tactical Unit served a warrant June 16 in reference to a sexual assault on a child. The suspect, Kim Makower, was not at home. He was arrested on June 18 when he entered the Palmer Lake Police Station.

Reynolds also reported that officer Joe Lundy had arrested three juveniles on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft under $500, and criminal mischief over $1,000. The juveniles were served a summons and released to their parents’ custody, and the property was recovered. Bristol added, Lundy "did a great job and I know people really appreciated it." Reynolds also noted Lundy’s successful foot chase apprehension of a "runaway kid" that only Lundy could have run down because he is "thin, wiry, and fast."

Reynolds asked Gray to add the monthly police statistics to the official council minutes so that citizens can read them on the town’s Web site.

All Palmer Lake officers attended training at the Air Force Academy firearms range for:

  • Firearms qualification.
  • Chemical awareness training.
  • Familiarization training for gas masks and chemical protective suits.

Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk, who is temporarily filling in as part-time acting chief for the Palmer Lake Police Department, asked the council to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Mounted Rangers, a 501C(3) volunteer organization that has been approved by the state to provide official emergency, security, parking, and crowd control assistance for local police and fire departments during large municipal events such as the Fourth of July. Shirk noted that the Monument Board of Trustees had approved the same memorandum on July 6. Jack, a battalion chief of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, endorsed Shirk’s proposal. The memorandum was unanimously approved.

Shirk reported a relatively trouble-free Fourth of July fireworks display, noting that all traffic had left the town within 70 minutes after the completion of the show. Jack noted the additional work performed by the Roads Department in preparing the town for the holiday visitors.

Parks Trustee Jan Bristol noted that "I was amazed by the professionalism of that organization," referring to the town’s Fireworks Committee. Some of the names of leaders that Bristol listed to note the committee’s contributions to the safe and efficient execution of the holiday plans were Town Clerk Della Gray, Mary Russelavage, Carol DeBlois, Allan Goodman, Karen Larson, Rhonda McCauley, Thomas McCauley, Sean Cash, and Bryant Early.

Grant sought for sidewalks

Bristol noted that the town has applied for county Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) grants for sidewalks. She has attended all the board’s meetings in June and July to represent Palmer Lake. Bristol said that CDAB grant eligibility is strongly dependent on the town’s percentage of low- and moderate-income residents, requiring diligence with regard to obtaining accurate and complete census information.

Citizen survey nearing final form

Dale Smith presented an update on a town survey that a volunteer committee would be putting together to solicit citizen preferences regarding town services during the current period of tight budget constraints. The proposed survey has been a topic of discussion during recent town forums held by the council. Several members of the committee also attended the council meeting.

Karen Stuth, a Palmer Lake resident who is a professional market research analyst, gave a progress briefing on survey preparation and a preliminary proposal for survey distribution and collection. Smith and Stuth asked that a trustee subcommittee be formed to meet with the citizen survey committee to finalize objectives for the proposed citizen survey. A return of 200 surveys from the approximately 2,500 adult residents of Palmer Lake would be the minimum for a statistically valid sample, but a return of at least 468 surveys would offer results with at least 95 percent confidence of accuracy. She said that "to be sure that you really have the voice of Palmer Lake," four types of screening questions are needed regarding:

  1. Residency in Palmer Lake
  2. Employment in the town
  3. Age
  4. Employment by the town

Stuth said there might not be "enough people in the town that have Internet, or that would go online, and would be comfortable with taking the survey online. I think you would have to do an in-person intercept, like at the post office." She suggested that committee members set up card tables with a pitcher of lemonade at a few places in town for three days. Responses to multiple choice questions would need to be transcribed by a vendor into digital format to be scanned and tabulated. Responses to two types of open-ended questions could also be transcribed and analyzed by two or three vendor personnel.

After describing other very technical details about analyzing the responses on the survey questionnaires, Stuth said she would donate her time, which would reduce the total cost for conducting the survey to about $900.

There was a lengthy discussion with the trustees asking questions and offering comments about survey length and the number of different topics to ask questions about in a single survey. Reynolds, who is a member of the survey committee as well as the volunteer chief of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, noted that most of the nonresident members of the Fire Department don’t live or work in Palmer Lake, yet want to participate in the survey. Cressman volunteered to join Reynolds and Bristol on the survey committee. Meeting times and dates will be posted due to three trustees being on the committee to comply with the state sunshine law.

Other matters

The council unanimously approved a resolution for the town to adopt the Colorado Model Municipal Records Retention Schedule.

Gray reported that the town had received:

  • Two pictures to hang in the town office building from Betty Konarski of Tri-Lakes Views for the town’s support of its art display programs in conjunction with the Palmer Lake Historical Society.
  • A certificate from the Federal Energy Management Agency for flood insurance participation.
  • A certificate from Lewis-Palmer School District 38 for the town’s support of Palmer Ridge High School and D-38.

The council also unanimously approved a donation of $1,000 from the private Lucy Owen Fund to support this summer’s Rocky Mountain Chautauqua program. The $1,000 donation comes from the total of $10,000 set aside from the Lucy Owen Fund in 2009 for senior citizen programs.

Volunteer Ron Herd briefed the council on this year’s three-day Chautauqua program, which will begin in Town Hall on Aug. 7.

For more information, see the special events notice on page 31, visit www.palmerlakechautauqua.org or contact the Palmer Lake Historical Society at 719-559-0837.

The next town forum will be held Aug. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The council went into executive session at 8:15 p.m. to discuss a personnel item.

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The next Town Council workshop will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 6 at Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. The next regular Town Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Town Hall. Information: www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/index.shtml or call 481-2953. 

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation board, July 16: Sewer repair contract approved

By Harriet Halbig

The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District awarded a contract July 16 to construction firm Twin Peaks Utilities and Infrastructure to complete sewer repair in the area of White Fawn and Deer Creek Drives. The bid of just over $310,000 was approved with a 10 percent contingency in the event of unforeseen expenditures.

The board was pleased with the bid, noting that it fell well below previous estimates by staff. A total of nine bids were received, six of them below estimates.

Twin Peaks is a contractor based in Westminster. Woodmoor staff had examined records of previous Twin Peaks projects and found them to be generally completed on time and under budget. Completion of the sewer repair is expected in early November.

Elements of the project include replacement of 2,200 feet of existing pipe with larger diameter PVC pipe and replacement of manholes. Pipes in this area have been over capacity for some time.

Funding for the project was included in the district’s 2008 and 2009 budgets.

Reports on the Joint Use Committee and Pikes Peak Rural Water Authority (PPRWA) reflected ongoing activity with deadlines in November for decisions regarding the Joint Use Agreement and division of expenses among members of the PPRWA.

District Manager Jessie Shaffer stated that he will report to the board in August regarding a mid-year review of the 2009 budget. Water revenues are far short of anticipated levels due to generous rainfall during the spring and summer seasons reducing the need for irrigation.

Shaffer said that savings from the favorable bid on the White Fawn/Deer Creek project will help to balance the budget.

Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that the water level in Monument Lake is 2 feet below the spillway, an ideal level for this time of year in anticipation of irrigation activity within the district. He said that a few minor repairs to the system were made during June and that 10 manholes had been repaired or replaced.

No new construction is occurring within the district. Most of the tap fees collected for 2009 were used to pay for construction in the southern part of the district that has already been completed.

The board went into executive session at 1:45 p.m. to discuss contract negotiations and emerged to approve the award of the contract to Twin Peaks.

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The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation Board meets at 1 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the conference room at 1855 Woodmoor Drive. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13. For further information, call 488-2525 or check www.woodmoorwater.com

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, July 14: Ranch access issues continue

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Below: (L to R) Donala board president Dennis Daugherty congratulates Mike Lavin for being named employee of the quarter. In the foreground, is board vice president Tim Murphy. Photo by John Heiser.

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By John Heiser

At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting July 14, Dana Duthie, the district’s general manager, reported that a legal action has been filed against the district to stop it from using the access easement across a property near the district’s recently purchased Mount Massive Ranch. The ranch is in Lake County about seven miles southwest of Leadville. The property owner who brought the legal action claims the easement was specifically designated for the use of several adjacent properties but not the Mount Massive ranch.

Duthie added that alternative access routes present other difficulties. Good access to the property would be critical if the district decides to sell it or a portion of it to a developer.

The district is considering ways to respond to the legal action.

Water court case update

Duthie reported that the City of Colorado Springs, the Fort Lyons Ditch Co., and the Hitchcock Ditch Co. have each filed objections with the water court regarding the district’s proposal to convert the Mount Massive Ranch water for district use. Duthie said he expects several more objections to be filed before the deadline.

In the course of preparing the water court case, Rick Fendel, the district’s water attorney, discovered that a 2000 water court ruling regarding the ranch contains a clerical error that must be corrected. Given the amount of time that has elapsed, the only way to correct the error is to file for another ruling. This will delay the process by about a month.

Capital expense projection

Duthie distributed the following list of anticipated capital improvement projects:

  • Redrill Well 3D in place in 2009: $450,000.
  • Ranch water court case in 2009-10: $300,000.
  • Regional infrastructure in 2010-11: $2 million.
  • Redrill Well 3A in place in 2010: $500,000.
  • Add an Arapahoe aquifer well in Sun Hills in 2010: $800,000.
  • Ranch mitigation work in 2011: $200,000.
  • Redrill Well 7D in place in 2011: $450,000.
  • Tank on Struthers Ranch in 2011: $800,000.

Duthie noted that if the district gains access to renewable water, some of these projects would not be needed.

Other matters

  • Mike Lavin was named the employee of the quarter. He is Donala’s primary water treatment operator and customer service representative. In the quarter that ended June 30, along with his normal duties in the water plants and on weekend duty at the wastewater plant, he rebuilt more than 100 water meters and swapped out almost 100 meters that were over 10 years old. As a volunteer, he distributed water bottles to the participants of the Gleneagle Spirit 5K Run/Walk. Duthie said, "Mike is a valuable employee and dedicated to the service of Donala’s residents."
  • During the three months from April 1 through June 30, the district’s $4.9 million in investments managed by Davidson Fixed Income Management showed a yield of 1.27 percent, achieving a goal of beating the Colotrust Plus fund, which yielded 0.50 percent during the same period. The weighted average maturity of the district’s investments is 3.4 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 July 1 UPAC meeting. Some highlights are included in the PPRWA article on page 18.
  • Copies were distributed of a June 2009 draft annexation white paper for the City of Colorado Springs. The white paper recommended relaxation of some policies governing annexation of areas, such as Gleneagle, that are on the periphery of Colorado Springs. If accepted by the City Council, the policy changes would be incorporated into an update to the city’s annexation plan. Annexation to Colorado Springs would guarantee Donala’s customers access to water from Colorado Springs Utilities.
  • Expansion of the wastewater plant is essentially complete. The district scheduled a grand opening celebration for July 24 (see photos below).
  • Thanks to the rain, water use so far this year has been 29 percent less than water use during the same period last year. Even so, Duthie reported that during June, 46 customers used 40,000 gallons or more and one resident used almost 78,000 gallons, resulting in a water bill of $503.
  • The irrigation-rationing program is in place through Sept. 1. Odd-numbered addresses may irrigate only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Even-numbered addresses may irrigate only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The district has sent 25 first-warning letters for violations and three second-warning letters. So far, no fines have been levied this year. Additional information, including the schedule for commercial and multi-unit buildings, is posted at www.donalawater.org/Rationing.html

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 Aug. 19 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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Wastewater plant grand opening celebration July 24

Click here or on the photos to zoom in

Photos by Jim Kendrick.

Below: Grand opening July 24 of the expanded wastewater treatment plant that serves the Donala, Forest Lakes, and Triview districts was attended by more than 100. 

Click on the photo to zoom in

Below: (L to R) Principal engineer on the project, Roger Sams of GMS, receives commendation from Donala board member Dale Schendzielos and Donala General Manager Dana Duthie. 

Click on the photo to zoom in

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Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, July 15: Authority ponders its future

By John Heiser

At the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority’s (PPRWA) regular monthly meeting July 15, members discussed the future of the authority. Kip Petersen, manager of the Cherokee district and president of the PPRWA, said, "We are in the middle of some pretty good discussions with Colorado Springs. I see value, but is it enough?" He expressed frustration that some members of the authority have been slow to provide information needed in discussions with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU).

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.

Larry Patterson, Fountain utility director, stressed the importance of collaboration. He said he felt the CSU discussions were prompted by the PPRWA’s efforts to develop alternatives, including building a pipeline from the lower Arkansas River.

Betty Konarski, former mayor of Monument, said, "Two years ago, the organization was ignored by CSU. Now they invited you as a group to let them know where their policies are inhibiting you."

Dana Duthie, general manager of the Donala district, said, "$25,000 per year (dues) to be notorious is too much."

Patterson stressed the importance for the group to define its goals and have a strategic plan, a vision. He added, "Vision drives everything."

Rich Landreth, director of Public Works for Monument, said there is value in staying together. He added, "I see a small light at the end of the tunnel."

Jesse Shaffer, manager of the Woodmoor district, agreed with Patterson on the importance of a written strategic plan and said he felt the group needs to do that next year.

Petersen said the group should recruit additional members. He said he would write letters inviting additional special districts to join.

Discussions with CSU

Petersen, who is also president of the El Paso County Water Authority (EPCWA), made a presentation July 1 to CSU’s Utility Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC). The UPAC makes recommendations to the Colorado Springs Utilities Board (UB).

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

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

The UPAC is holding a series of meetings with the goal of providing recommendations to the UB 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 (SDS) pipeline and other CSU facilities.

Petersen’s July 1 presentation to the UPAC covered the membership, purposes, and accomplishments of the EPCWA and the PPRWA. For several of the members, he highlighted their current number of taps, anticipated growth, conservation efforts, and needs.

Duthie remarked that the presentation was not very effective because it was too long and came too late in the day.

At the meeting, UPAC Chairman Anthony Elia complained that the presentation lacked information on all the PPRWA members’ needs; that is, what they are looking for from CSU.

In notes he prepared from the July 1 UPAC meeting, Duthie discussed other presentations made at that meeting. Some highlights:

  • City planner Carl Schueler, former El Paso County planner, described the nearby, undeveloped land including areas within the city, in Fountain, and in Monument. Schueler noted that sales tax represents over half the city’s revenue. One big box store can produce $250,000 to $1.9 million per year in sales tax revenue to the city and pays about $19,500 per year in city property tax. Schueler said that policies should stress in-fill development.
  • CSU water attorney David Robbins said that the Arkansas River Compact requires that any new uses be offset with water from elsewhere. As part of the SDS conditions, the 2003 flows through Pueblo must be maintained, which will restrict water exchanges. No service can be provided outside the Arkansas basin. The SDS pipe is limited to a maximum of 78 million gallons per day, which just covers the needs of CSU, Fountain, and Security with no surplus to serve other areas. The SDS Environmental Impact Statement, which cost $17 million to develop and obtain approval, would need to be amended to address regional partners. Regional partners would need to pay the costs for the amendment.

To make up for deficiencies in the July 1 presentation, the PPRWA plans to send a "white paper" to the UPAC. Petersen asked all the members to provide within 10 days the information needed for the white paper.

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The next regular meeting of the PPRWA will be held Aug. 19 at 8:30 a.m. at the new Monument Town Hall and Police Department Building, 645 Beacon Lite Rd (by Highway 105) in Monument. The meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month.

The PPRWA Web site is www.pprwa.com

There is information on:

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Monument Sanitation District board, July 16: Public hearing held for $2 million stimulus loan application

By Jim Kendrick

On July 16, engineering consultant Jason Meyer of GMS Inc. briefed the Monument Sanitation District Board on a new, unexpected requirement that had just been discovered in the voluminous paperwork required by the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding a stimulus grant for expanding the district’s collection system in Wakonda Hills. A "shortfall" in the district’s current operating revenue had to be corrected immediately in order for the district to remain qualified for a $2 million "forgivable" federal stimulus loan under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The district was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a public hearing on the final application. Meyer explained each of the federal hearing requirements to the board and citizens in attendance, including soliciting comments from citizens. Two Wakonda Hills residents spoke in favor of the project. No citizens spoke in opposition.

Director Lowell Morgan’s absence from the meeting was excused.

The total estimated cost of the expansion project is $2.418 million. However, due to the recession the district hopes the bids will be less than that amount. The amount in excess of $2 million would be financed by a separate state loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority at zero percent interest for 20 years. However, if the state will take future Wakonda Hills tap fees and all other district income into account, the district’s user fees would not have to be increased to obtain the second authority loan. The authority also did not take the district’s financial reserves of about $500,000 into account.

The Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority had conducted an analysis of the enterprise fund portion of the district’s budget, which is a requirement for any loan administered by the State Revolving Fund loan financed by the Environmental Protection Agency. This analysis stated that current district fees are not high enough to produce 110 percent of the district’s current operating expenses, which is a basic requirement for a State Revolving Fund loan. The authority’s analysis stated that the district would have to raise rates by $3.28 per month to make up the shortfall.

This fee increase is unrelated to the fee increase approved in a special board meeting on Feb. 6, the first in 15 years, when the district discovered a substantial decline in town water use by commercial users that would significantly reduce revenues throughout 2009. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n3.htm#msd206 and www.ourcommunitynews.org/v9n3.htm#msd219 for details on the unrelated February fee increase.

The board approved the increase Feb. 6 knowing that it might not be high enough to cover operating expenses for the rest of the year and another increase might be required for 2010. This increase was made before the district learned that it might be eligible for a stimulus grant for Wakonda Hills.

After the July 16 board meeting, Meyer asked the authority staff to reconsider its findings on July 17. The staff then indicated that other district revenues could in fact be taken into account and the $3.50 monthly fee increase would not have to be put in place immediately, but could be deferred to 2010 or 2011. A decision on whether the district will have to increase fees to meet the requirements for the stimulus loan will now be deferred until the division and the authority can analyze the district’s 2009 audit.

The resolution to raise fees by $3.50 had to be filed in any case to cover the separate State Revolving Fund loan the district may have to take out to pay for up to $418,000 in construction costs in excess of the $2 million ARRA forgivable loan. The worst-case estimate for this separate loan is $418,000. If the bids are lower than $2.418 million, the required district fee increase for the reduced amount of the separate authority loan can be adjusted downward from $3.50 per month.

Public hearing details

District Manager Mike Wicklund provided a brief overview of the Wakonda Hills project after introducing Meyer to the board. He listed the things that needed to be discussed during the public hearing as a requirement for approval of the stimulus loan:

  • The meeting was advertised and posted 30 days in advance.
  • The sign-up sheet and all documentation provided for the hearing, including all citizens in attendance, must be included with the final engineering report in the formal application.
  • Wakonda Hills residents Bob and Donna Damphousse were the citizens in attendance.
  • All alternative solutions considered and the preferred alternative selected must be discussed at the hearing; construction-related and environmental impacts and required rate increases must also be included with the final engineering report.

Meyer discussed the four alternative solutions for Wakonda Hills that were listed in the preliminary engineering report submitted to the state Health Department by GMS:

  • An expanded gravity system—the lowest-cost and preferred solution.
  • Installing a low pressure grinder pump with a small diameter pipe in each residence that would connect them to the existing Monument Sanitation District collection system.
  • Installing a low pressure grinder pump with a small diameter pipe in each residence that connects to existing individual septic disposal systems or replacements for failed individual septic systems—the district would only collect the water from these septic systems and residents would continue to be responsible for disposing of solids.
  • Do nothing in the short term—an option that has been strongly discouraged by the El Paso County Health Department.

Meyer listed previously completed steps in the application process:

  • The district’s Wakonda Hills proposal had previously been approved by the state Health Department and listed under Category 1, the highest-priority category, in the Water Quality Control Division’s Intended Use Plan as eligible for a State Revolving Fund loan under ordinary EPA loan procedures.
  • The district’s application for ARRA funding had been submitted before the March 23 deadline.
  • The district’s preliminary engineering report had been submitted.
  • All the numerous questions and comments from the division have been answered and resolved satisfactorily, day by day.

Meyer noted that the stimulus loan does not cover all of the GMS expenses for applying for the loan, the cost of obtaining required easements, or the costs for constructing the lift stations and force main.

The time required to obtain formal county and state approvals for the lift station and force main portion of the project would not have allowed a contract to be awarded and construction to begin by the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, the major hurdle for every district, town, and city applying for stimulus loans and grants.

Meyer also noted that the district is eligible for complete "principal forgiveness," which means that the $2 million loan will not have to be repaid if all federal requirements are met during construction. GMS will track all these additional federal requirements as project manager. The cost for GMS’s tracking is covered by the forgivable stimulus loan. Also, the separate $418,000 state loan is a zero-interest 20-year loan. Meyer added, "It doesn’t get any better than that."

There was a very lengthy discussion by board members, Meyer, and Wicklund on the 10-year history of the Wakonda Hills expansion project and the many financing and fee options considered in that period, as well as the series of decisions made by the current and previous boards.

Meyer stated that the state’s financial review regarding the size of the fee increase the district would have to impose for the $418,000 loan was a surprise to everyone in the Health Department. The "coverage ratio" of 110 percent would appear to require a fee increase of at least $3.28 per month. The authority did not consider future Wakonda Hills tap fees and other district income.

Meyer said that GMS had determined that the fee increase required to repay the maximum new debt for the lift stations would be about $1.53 per month. An additional $0.40 per month is required to break even for the rest of 2009 for current operations and maintenance expenses even if the stimulus loan is not received and none of Wakonda Hills expansion is constructed. The maximum fee increase that may be required would be $3.68 per month. However, in the current recession, the actual winning bid is expected to be lower than the worst case.

Meyer added that the board needed to pass a resolution regarding a fee increase at this meeting or a special meeting within a few days. After further discussion, the board approved a resolution for a fee increase of $3.50 for each district customer that would go into effect on Aug. 1 to prevent being immediately disqualified for the $2 million and $418,000 loans. Meyer forwarded the resolution to the state with the final copies of the loan documents.

However, the fee increase will now be postponed until the state analyzes the 2009 audit. The amount may be adjusted downward.

During public comment, Bob and Donna Damphousse stated that they were in favor of the project and the loan applications. Wicklund noted that both had attended the district’s first public meeting on the Wakonda Hills expansion in 1999 along with Director Chuck Robinove. No other citizens attended to oppose or support the project.

After the public hearing was closed, the board approved a resolution by a 3-1 vote for a rate increase of $3.50 per month to take effect on Aug. 1 to prevent being determined ineligible for the $2 million stimulus grant and ensure that the fee increase is large enough to handle any other contingency that may arise during the rest of 2009. Director Kristi Schutz voted no.

Final approval letter received

After this meeting, the district received a letter of final approval for the project on July 27. The remaining items to be completed are:

  • Advertise for bids
  • Make the bid documents available for public review
  • Select the winning bid
  • Issue a notice to proceed
  • Ensure that construction begins before Oct. 1

The board approved a letter of agreement for up to $6,000 for Grimshaw and Harring PC to act as the district’s bond counsel in preparing the resolution and other loan documents for the formal applications for the two state loans.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

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The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.

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Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority board, July 10: Road use fee table amended

By Jim Kendrick

On July 10, the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) board modified its road use fee schedule to add a category for smaller hotels such as the Fairfield Inn based on studies that showed a significantly reduced traffic load compared to full-service hotels. El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey was absent from the meeting.

Fee structure revision approved

Jim Di Biase of property owner Olive Real Estate Group Inc. stated again that the inn does not have the conference facilities, restaurants, shops, and bars like those of full-service hotels such as the new Radisson hotel being built on Interquest Parkway. The full-service hotel category was the only one listed in the proposed expansion of the BRRTA road use fee structure. The board had continued Olive’s request for a new "business hotel" category in the previously approved fee proposal from several previous meetings. See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v8n9.htm#brrta for additional information on the new fee structure.

After a lengthy hearing, the board agreed to reduce the daily trip generation rate for each of the 85 rooms at the Fairfield Inn from 8.17 to 5.63 trips per day per room. The board unanimously adopted the expanded fee structure as amended. The number of road use fee categories will rise from four to 25 when the new fee structure goes into effect on Sept. 1.

Financial matters

The board unanimously approved five checks totaling $18,970:

  • $7,118 to Clifton Gunderson LLP for accounting fees
  • $4,583 to Grimshaw & Harring PC for legal fees
  • $5,458 to R.S. Wells LLC for district management expenses
  • $322 to McGraw-Hill Construction Regional Publications for miscellaneous expenses
  • $1,489 to Grimshaw & Harring PC for legal fees

The board also unanimously approved four requisitions totaling $1,210,077:

  • $1,790 to PBS&J for engineering services
  • $854 to PBS&J for engineering services
  • $96,748 to Jacobs Engineering for project management
  • $1,110,685 to Lawrence Construction for construction costs

The board separately approved a payment not to exceed $4,900 to Smith Environmental and Engineering for monitoring of wetland areas on the southwest corner of Baptist and Struthers Roads. Smith wrote a report listing six corrective actions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for BRRTA’s wetland permit.

District Manager Denise Denslow of R.S. Wells noted that Carrie Bartow, the district’s accountant, had recommended transferring some money from the general fund checking account to a Colotrust Prime Account to earn an additional $2,000 in interest per month. This recommendation was unanimously approved.

The board also unanimously approved a request for an extension of 60 days to file the 2008 audit. Additional time is needed for Clifton Gunderson to work with former auditor BKD LLC.

Median improvement options too costly

County Engineer Andre Brackin advised the board that the cost of improving the appearance of the new Baptist Road median between Jackson Creek Parkway and Desiree Drive would be far more costly than the small amount of unused funding for the widening project.

Patterned concrete paving that matches the Struthers Road median would cost about $681,000. Landscaping that matches the landscaping on Jackson Creek Parkway would not be significantly cheaper and would require tearing up the new asphalt to add irrigation, a new water tap from Triview Metropolitan District, and perpetual county funding of irrigation water and landscape maintenance. The board determined that neither option was affordable.

Interchange expansion

Contract manager Bob Torres of Jacobs Engineering reported that Lawrence Construction was ahead of schedule on many aspects of the I-25 Baptist Road interchange expansion. However, Lawrence had encountered some problems at the Valero truck stop on the northwest corner of the interchange. Valero was late in making the area occupied by the Diamond Shamrock’s failed septic system available for paving the new westbound lanes that connect the interchange to Old Denver Highway.

Access and easement issues are still being negotiated with Mountain View Electric Association and Qwest and the landowners adjacent to the interchange. Lawrence has written a letter to the BRRTA board listing each of the unmoved Mountain View and Qwest utilities and the long-term effect each will have on the current construction schedule if not moved promptly.

Access and easement issues are also still being negotiated with THF Realty regarding the hardware store property on the northeast corner of the interchange. Struthers Road has been closed between Baptist and Higby Roads. BRRTA has proposed to build a temporary access road from the new Baptist Road curb cut west of Jackson Creek property to the east side of the THF property.

Higby Road improvements delayed

Torres of Jacobs Engineering reported that the cost to BRRTA for adding an additional southbound lane to Jackson Creek Parkway between the YMCA traffic signal and Higby Road is still roughly $41,000. The final cost to eliminate the dips in the roadway at the Higby Road intersection, as requested by the Monument Board of Trustees, has not been determined. Torres said that roto-milling 50 feet of Higby roadway to fix the dips may not be required.

Monument will have to pay for the striping and removing the dip, because the county has no funding to contribute to this improvement. In June, the board unanimously approved an expenditure of up to $70,000 for the combined project. Jacobs Engineering still plans to complete these intersection improvements before school opens.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

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The next meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held every other month at 2:30 p.m. on the second Friday of the month. Information: 884-8017.

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July Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

July was another month of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation around the region. This is great news for plants and has really helped to keep down any wildfire concerns.

July started off wet and cool, just like most of June. Thunderstorms and rain developed in some parts of the area every day from the 1st through the 5th. This was a mixed blessing for the holiday weekend, reducing fire danger but making for some soggy barbecues. In fact, some of the heaviest and most widespread rain was on the afternoon and early evening of the 4th, when many areas received around an inch of rain. The warmest temperatures were found on the 1st, when highs hit the low to mid-80s before storms developed that afternoon. Then, as moisture and clouds increased over the rest of the period, temperatures were held down. Highs managed to reach into the 70s each day before storms developed. This is a good 10° below normal for this time of the year. For the week, most areas picked up 1-2 inches of rain.

The week of July 6 started off with a continuation of the wet pattern we’d been seeing for the last month or so as afternoon thunderstorms rolled through and dropped brief heavy rain across the region. Drier air finally worked in for a few days from the 7th through the 9th, as no organized areas of strong or severe thunderstorms developed. This again turned out to be the exception rather than the rule, as high levels of moisture again pushed into the region starting on the 10th.

Each afternoon and evening saw areas of strong to severe thunderstorms, with heavy rain and hail the main problems. Temperatures for the week were well-behaved, with readings at or slightly warmer than normal, as most afternoons reached into the low to mid-80s before the storms developed.

The week of July 13 was a little quieter around the region with more normal temperatures. We did have a few days of afternoon and early evening thunderstorms, but for the most part, weather conditions were quiet and mild. Highs managed to reach into the low 80s on the 13th and the 14th, and then dipped down to the upper 70s from the 15th through the 18th.

Unsettled conditions continued through the end of the month, with highs held to below normal levels with the exception of a couple of afternoons. Temperatures were mainly in the 70s to low 80s, and afternoon and evening thunderstorms were common on most days. There were a couple of exceptions. The 19th and 20th managed to make it to the mid-80s, and the 23rd and 24th hit the mid- to upper 80s. However, again we failed to reach 90°, and haven’t reached 90° yet this summer for areas above 7,000 feet. Now that we are heading into August, this is becoming even less likely. This is highly unusual, and no heat waves are in the forecast.

We have entered the cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. A weak El Nino has been developing. If it is able to last through this coming winter, we’ll most likely see above-average snow.

So why all the moisture so far this summer? It’s not because of the Southwest Monsoon that you hear so much about. Instead, there has been a persistent flow from the southeast across eastern Colorado in response to areas of high pressure (air flows clockwise around high pressure in the Northern Hemisphere) centered over the Great Plains and Upper Midwest. This brings moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico and from a decaying cluster of thunderstorms to our east. Because of this persistent flow, higher than normal levels of moisture have been available most days to help fuel thunderstorms in the region.

But you need more than just moisture to develop storms—you also need lift (rising air). During most of the month, this has been accomplished by two factors: surface heating and frontal boundaries. Normally, the low-level moisture that has been fueling the storms would have been "flushed" out of the region to the east by dry, southwesterly winds and sinking air associated with warm high pressure from the desert Southwest, but this has not happened—not yet anyway. So, until it does, expect more afternoon and evening thunderstorms each day.

A look ahead

August is the last true "summer" month for the region. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant mornings, with afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. Highs during the month range from the mid-80s at the beginning of the month to mid-70s at the end. Temperatures at night get more comfortable as well, often dipping into the 40s, making for better sleeping weather.

August of 2004, 2006, and 2007 received above normal precipitation, while August of 2005 started warm and dry and ended on the wet side. Last year saw copious amounts of rain with temperatures around normal. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm

July 2009 Weather Statistics

Average High 78.7° (-5.4)
Average Low 49.0 ° (-1.9)
Highest Temperature 87° on the 24th
Lowest Temperature 45° on the 21st
Monthly Precipitation 3.79" (+0.95")
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 3.79" (+0.95") (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 53 (+27)
Cooling Degree Days 25 (-83)

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

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

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.

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High Country Highlights: Are your trees thirsty?

By Woody Woodworth

The Tri-Lakes region has received a lot of rain so far this year. To put it in perspective, from January through the middle of June, Monument recorded 13.66 inches of rain. That number is almost double last year’s 6.48 for the same period. It’s been raining all over this high desert state. The statewide storage volumes are the greatest since August 2007 and are already greater than anytime in the 2008 water year.

What does that mean for the shrubs and trees in your yard? Most would agree the moisture is good, and with the rains we don’t have to water, but don’t get tricked into believing we don’t need to provide supplement irrigation. Trees are especially vulnerable during these "wet" times. A typical warning sign a tree gives when it needs water is yellow or "crispy" leaves and/or drooping branches.

It takes about two years to establish a tree or shrub, so if you have planted in that recent time frame, and you’re not supplement watering, your trees are not getting enough water—even if it is raining. A tree requires five to seven gallons of water per inch of diameter twice each week. In other words, a tree with a two-inch diameter would need 10 to 14 gallons twice a week from April through September.

Typically, a watering schedule should include the months of October, November, and December when the days still get up to 50 or 60 degrees and the ground still isn’t frozen. Roots on a tree still grow when soil temperatures are above 40 degrees.

If you think that your sprinkler on your turf area provides enough water for your tree, you are mistaken. Water from sprinklers can definitely help keep the tree cool in the summer and help add to the water it receives from you during its scheduled watering, but it cannot and must not replace the water you would have given it had the sprinkler system not been there. If you rely on the sprinkler system as the sole provider of water for your trees, you must know that you are promoting surface roots. A shallow-rooted tree is a bad tree. Deep-water your tree by letting the water slowly drip down to the root ball. Do not rely on your lawn sprinklers to water your trees—trees need hours of slow dripping to reach the roots.

There are many ways to water a tree; however we tend to promote two ways that produce the best results. For most situations we tend to water with a hose. Or, you can attach a bubbler to the hose and lay it at the base of the tree near the trunk. If you have the means for a drip irrigation system, by all means use it. Just remember that you still need to pay attention to the tree and make sure that the system is working adequately for the tree. We have seen a lot of trees suffer or die because their emitter was clogged. We also ask you to consider the rate at which you water your new plants. Slower is always better.

Try to be efficient with your watering schedule. Water is a natural resource that is precious to us and the flora and fauna that surround us. A good way to remember to water is to be aware of weather conditions in the area and think about your own body. When it’s hot and dry outside, you crave more water and so will your trees and landscape.

A tree that is growing quickly and is healthy will guard itself from many common insects and fungus that may stress a tree. Keep your trees fertilized and watered and if you see any warning signs of stress, consult your local garden center for help. Remember, it may be raining outside, but are your trees still thirsty?

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

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Take a hike!

By the staff at Covered Treasures

This is a great time to enjoy Colorado’s beautiful outdoors, especially this year when wildflowers are gorgeous, and streams and waterfalls are full. Whether you’re interested in a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, there are many useful books to guide you on your way.

Smart & Savvy Hiking
By Kim Lipker (Menasha Ridge Press), $15.95

If you’re a novice, an intermediate, or a seasoned hiker, you can learn a lot from this author’s years of outdoors experience. While imparting useful knowledge, this guide unfolds like a hike with a good friend. Topics range from trail violence and the buddy system to bathroom breaks and journaling. The author will be at Covered Treasures 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the Aug. 20 Art Hop, to discuss and sign her books.

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles
By Kim Lipker (Menasha Ridge Press), $16.95

This clear and entertaining guide helps you know where to hike and what to expect at the trailhead and on the trail. Hikes are grouped according to distance, difficulty, and appropriateness for different age groups and abilities. Hikes along water, good winter hikes, and those recommended for wildlife and geology are also recognized. Each hike comes with detailed directions to the trailheads, trail maps, elevation profiles, and accurate hike information.

Colorado’s Newest & Best Wildflower Hikes
Text by Pamela Irwin; photography by David Irwin (Westcliffe Publishers), $19.95

Covering the areas around Boulder, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Vail, this is the fourth in a series of essential guides for the Colorado wildflower enthusiast. Included are 55 wildflower profiles, 50 easy-to-follow trail descriptions, and clear, legible maps for each trail.

Wildflowers of Colorado Field Guide
By Don Mammoser with Stan Tekiela (Adventure Publications Inc.), $16.95

This guide to 200 of Colorado’s beautiful wildflowers is organized by color and size and includes full-page color, professional-quality photographs. The format is easy to read and follow and uses icons to enhance visual identification.

Rocky Mountain Wildflowers Pocket Guide
By David Dahms (Paragon Press), $6.95

This spiral-bound pocket guide tucks handily into a backpack and includes a color photograph and description on each page. The guide is arranged by color and includes drawings of leaf types, plus an index of common names.

Happy Trails, I, II, & III
By The Gazette (Freedom Communications), $9.95

These handy hike planners are spiral bound for easy reference and are arranged by difficulty. One boot is easy, two boots are moderate, three boots are strenuous, and four boots difficult. Each volume covers a different area of the Pikes Peak region and beyond and includes tips on safety, animals, and gear. Lightweight and easy-to-follow, these guides are a great addition to any hiker’s pack.

Best Loop Hikes: Colorado
By Steve Johnson & David Weinstein (The Mountaineers Books), $16.95

Offering new scenery every step of the way, these 60 loop hikes are accessible from Colorado’s Front Range cities, Central Mountains, and Western Slope. Included are topo maps and elevation profiles for each hike, plus a trail-finder chart that lists hikes by distance, hiking time, elevation gain, best season, and trail highlights. There is also a listing of loop hikes that are great for winter snowshoeing.

Halfway to Heaven
By Mark Obmascik (Free Press), $26

This rollicking, witty, sometimes harrowing, often poignant chronicle of an outrageous midlife adventure will appeal to anyone who’s ever climbed a Fourteener, or thought about climbing one—or even those who haven’t. Fat, 44, and facing a vasectomy, Obmascik can’t resist the chance for some high-altitude father-son bonding when one of his sons is bitten by the climbing bug. After their first joint climb, Obmascik decides to keep his head in the clouds and try scaling all 54 Fourteeners in less than one year.

There is a hiking guide for nearly every interest and skill level, including …

Colorado Lake Hikes
By Dave Muller (The Colorado Mountain Club Press), $24.95

The Best Colorado Springs Hikes
By Pikes Peak Group, Colorado Mountain Club, with Greg Long, $12.95

Walking into Colorado’s Past; 50 Front Range History Hikes
By Ben Fogelberg and Steve Grinstead (Westcliffe Publishers), $19.95

If you’re looking for something that’s invigorating, inexpensive, healthy—and fun—grab a hiking book, a daypack, and a friend, and hit the trail.

Until next month, happy reading!

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Black-headed grosbeak

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Below: A preliminary journal sketch by Elizabeth Hacker of the male and female Black-headed Grosbeak. Her finished drawing will be featured in the September issue of OCN

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By Elizabeth Hacker

Seeing black-headed grosbeaks along the trails in the Mount Herman Fire Center flying among the scrub oaks this summer was truly a delight. Years ago I assumed this species to be common here, but I haven’t seen them for at least five years, about the time I first observed the nesting prairies falcons on Monument Rock.

The previous seven years of drought could also have had an effect on migratory patterns, as do large-scale developments that scrape off vegetation. My excitement at hearing their song was tempered with concern that they could become fodder for the nesting falcons.

At a glance, the orange breast of the male black-headed grosbeak bears a resemblance to the American robin and spotted towhee, but it is uniquely different.

The male black-headed grosbeak is rusty orange on its breast, nape, and rump with a jet-black head, wings, and tail. Patches of white appear on its wings and outer tail feathers. In contrast to the striking coloration of the breeding male, the female is drab. The female has a dark crown, a white eyebrow, tan-streaked body, and brown wings with two white wing bars. She looks a little like a large sparrow.

The black-headed grosbeak is a member of the family Cardinalidae, which include some of the most colorful plumages found among North American birds. Although rarely seen on the Palmer Divide, the northern cardinal belongs to this family as does the rose-breasted and evening grosbeaks, both of which are found here. Buntings are also a member of this family. The lazuli and indigo buntings that nest on the Divide have brilliant blue plumage.

In contrast to these colorful birds, Colorado’s state bird, the lark bunting, is black and white. Well, actually only the breeding male is black and white, the female and non-breeding male resemble a white-throated sparrow. An interesting bit of information I recently learned from a naturalist is that the lark bunting was selected as the state bird in the 1940s because it was black and white and its image could be easily printed on the state’s stationery, which at that time was not in color as it is today. I was relieved to learn there was a reason this bird was selected, because I thought I was the only birder that hadn’t seen it. I learned that many bird watchers haven’t seen it as it isn’t all that common here.

A conical, robust bill is common to this family of seed-eating birds. The bill is used for cracking the tough shells of seeds and nuts in the non-breeding season. During breeding season, the grosbeaks’ diet is primarily made up of insects that supply protein for stamina and carotene for colorful feathers. Interestingly, the black-headed grosbeak is one of only a few birds that eats the poisonous monarch butterfly without meeting a painful demise.

The black-headed grosbeak is generally found in openings at the edge of a forest throughout the western United States. I have observed nests in the scrub oak between 4 and 12 feet above the ground.

The male and female adult grosbeak molt twice a year. The male is not as colorful during non-breeding season. The juvenile male grosbeak molts into breeding plumage only after its first year. Maintaining a drab appearance may help the birds hide from predators like the prairie falcon.

Prairie falcon update

On July 22, we observed four prairie falcons soaring above Monument Rock. Prairie falcons are territorial and do socialize with other falcons, so it may be safe to assume that these were the birds that were nesting on Monument Rock. Generally, the adult is silent when it flies. Given the noise these birds were making, I assumed that at least two were juveniles. The juveniles are now the same size as the adults, so it is also possible that all four of the hatchlings survived and were the birds I observed. The birds all looked alike, so one or two members of the group may have been a parent teaching the juveniles hunting and soaring skills.

Chautauqua walk coming up

On Aug. 9, as part of the 2009 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly ( www.palmerlakechautauqua.org to find the latest), Sally Green and I will lead a mile walk on the Creekside Trail and Glen Park Trail in Palmer Lake. We will talk about the native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees alongside North Monument Creek as well as the birds found on the Palmer Divide (bring binoculars if you have them). I recently learned from Sally that the blue columbine was discovered and named here during the 1820 Stephen Long expedition. Sally is full of interesting facts about this area, so join us for an informative walk.

Following the walk, Sally will give a crafts demonstration on pressing wildflowers, and I will demonstrate my bird painting technique at the Pinecrest Event Center. For more information, check the Web site or call me at 719-510-5918.

As part of this celebration, I was asked to display my bird illustrations and other art at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake. Several illustrations will be displayed from Aug. 3 through Aug. 10. The public is welcome. The TLCA is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

Elizabeth Hacker is an artist whose limited-edition bird prints are available online at her Web site, www.ElizabethHackerArt.com. Proceeds from the sale of her prints are donated to habitat preservation. She welcomes comments and questions at elizabethhacker66@yahoo.com 

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Art Matters: Chautauqua at TLCA: Exhibit for two women artists

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Below: These sketches by Elizabeth Hacker, show her thinking process and quick eye to the natural bird. 

Violet green swallow

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Finished drawing of a bluebird

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Color sketch of the western bluebird

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Below: Detail of Elizabeth Hacker’s painting Rising Phoenix. She has started painting mythical birds and imaginative works for her more personal works of art. Photo by Janet Sellers.

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Below: From her studio, Hacker can watch birds, animals, and one of her many flower gardens amid the age old Ponderosa Pines and Aspens. Every window has a vista of nature and lush native greenery. Her artist’s eye has planned for perfect harmony in the garden views, so it is easy to see how her paintings echo that natural surrounding. She can see her bluebird house and countless bird feeders attract her portrait subjects for her bird and flower paintings. Photo by Janet Sellers.

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By Janet Sellers

The Chautauqua Event’s return will bring its customary social and cultural events back to our area this month. A 10-day art exhibit at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) will feature a special show Aug. 1-10 of two women artists.

They are from different centuries but with similar purposes. Photographic prints from the 1900s of the American Southwest, by Colorado native Laura Gilpin, are on loan from the Pikes Peak Library District collection at Penrose Library. Contemporary paintings and prints by our local artist Elizabeth Hacker are from her work for her upcoming book, "Birds of the Palmer Divide." Both artists have concerned their art visions intimately with the land in terms of how the land affects the people and creatures who live there.

"What I consider really fine landscapes are very few and far between," Laura Gilpin wrote to a friend in 1956. "I consider this field one of the greatest challenges and it is the principal reason I live in the west. I ... am willing to drive many miles, expose a lot of film, wait untold hours, camp out to be somewhere at sunrise, make many return trips to get what I am after."

Gilpin chronicled the landscapes of the American West, and to this day remains the most devoted female American photographer of the genre. While other photographers shot the land, she documented it in a devotion to her love of the climes and the topographic wonders she found there.

Her interest focused on the environment as it shaped human living, which is unlike any other American landscape photographer, male or female.

Gilpin was born in 1891 just outside of Colorado Springs. Her father, Frank Gilpin, had ventured west from Baltimore to find his fortune via ranching, mining, and other escapades. She was well acquainted with Gen. W.J. Palmer, who introduced her to what would become a life-long love of that land. They would go out horseback-riding, and she related that, "he would point to plants, trees and wild life, citing their names. He taught me to know the outdoors, and especially to love it."

In her heart, Gilpin photographed her homeland as only a native-born artist can do. Many photographers from afar had visited the area and recorded their tourist impressions, but this woman knew her subject from birth and lived it.

In researching for this August column of Art Matters as it relates to the Chautauqua event, I was happy to be able to interview Elizabeth Hacker in person. We met in her Woodmoor studio, which is in her home looking out onto the many gardens of their property. Elizabeth and her husband, Randy, are lifelong conservationists, birders, and protectors of nature.

Since her studio is in her home, we talked about personal environmental safety from a homeowner’s standpoint (granite countertops with its radon/uranium toxins as well as other home habitat issues, oh, my!) and from an eco-tourism grand standpoint of an industry that will protect Colorado and its economy by virtue of its greatest natural resource and greatest attraction: its natural living, its outdoor beauty and fresh air, and the mountains and wide-open spaces. We talked at length about her stalwart efforts to conserve the natural lands of Colorado and of local available lands in need of purchase for preservation.

Hacker’s lifelong love of the outdoors and birding began when, as a small child, she hiked with her family through the creeks and woods of her native Minnesota. After college she was a schoolteacher in Mexico and Alaska, and later returned to Minnesota to study landscape architecture. After becoming a licensed landscape architect, she practiced design and planning for 30 years.

I learned that her bird art is for the love of birds and wildlife that she shares with many others. I started to think about our local eco-tourism potential. It appears to be as great or greater than other areas in Colorado, since we are next to the I-25 corridor with easy access. Hacker’s dedication to her bird art has an added dimension of sharing her enthusiasm and helping others to be aware of the birds in our area.

While the birds are what many of us know Hacker for, she told me that her true love is to paint from her imagination. She has a number of large paintings of mythical birds and imagery to her credit as well, so we hope we’ll get a better look at those in the near future. Her paintings and prints of the birds are done to support her conservation efforts here and are earmarked for that with every print sold.

While there may be only one original painting, Hacker makes the image available as unique prints via the giclee process and hand-works on each of those prints. This allows more people to own a work with her personal touch instead of a mass-produced edition. She has numerous shows each year around the area, selling her bird prints and artist greeting cards.

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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Snapshots of Our Community

Independence Day Celebration

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Below: (R-L) Stephen and David Watts of Dotsero brought their 5-piece contemporary jazz band to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) stage on July 3, opening Fourth of July activities for the Tri-Lakes area. At an early point in the concert, Stephen encouraged the capacity crowd to "just have some fun." It was clear from the first song of the first set that having fun would not be a problem for those in attendance this evening. As with previous trips to the TLCA, this fourth appearance by Dotsero further demonstrated how the band draws the audience into its unique sound and takes them for a moving and rhythmic ride. Information on the TLCA and a list of upcoming events can be found at www.trilakesarts.org. Information on Dotsero and their new album release is available at www.dotsero.org. Photo by David Futey.

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Below: (L-R) During July 4th festivities since 1989, Dorothy and Si Sibell have hosted a barn dance to raise awareness and funds for charities that assist those in need in the Tri-Lakes area. The Sibells, who according to Si have been residents of Monument "since we got here and never made enough money to leave," will be donating this year’s proceeds from the July 3 event to the American Legion Post 9-11 and the Rampart Range Sportsmen (RRS). The RRS will be using the funds they receive to assist children in need. This year’s barn dance was sponsored by the Monument Merchants Association with music was provided by Jack Daddy. Photo by David Futey.

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Below: Victoria Aguilar prepares to pass out a wagon full of candy during Monument’s Fourth of July Children’s Parade. Photo by David Futey.

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Below: The 28th Annual Fun Run opened up Fourth of July activities in Palmer Lake. Sponsored by the Palmer Lake Elementary School and coordinated by Sue Walker, over 600 runners, joggers, walkers, and a few pushing strollers participated in the run. The course circled Palmer Lake before heading into town for the finish. Photo by David Futey.

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Below: Boy Scout Troop 17 leads off the Monument Children’s Parade. Photo by Barbara Ball.

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Below: Girl of the West from the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs. Photo by David Futey.

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Below Hillbilly Train from Pueblo. Photo by David Futey

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Top right: Lewis-Palmer High School Cheerleaders. Photos by David Futey

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Below: Robert Tessier and George Griego of the Pikes Peak Detachment of the Martine Corps League drove their fire engine in the parade. Photo by Harriet Halbig. 

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Below: Ford Model A’s in the parade. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Below: The Pikes Peak Rangerettes. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Below. Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Photo by Jim Kendrick.

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Below: Anna Yaussy and Joshua Shoulders were among the young patrons who marched in the Fourth of July parade with library staff and volunteers. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

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Below: Children’s Specialist Julie Simmons, Monument Branch Manager Jean Harris, and volunteer Ashley Pollard awaited the beginning of the Fourth of July parade. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

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Below: The library’s kazoo band, under the direction of Nathan Worthey, was part of the Fourth of July parade. Photo by Harriet Halbig.

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Peace Poster Project at TLCA

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Below: Palmer Lake artist Dan Fraley and Palmer Ridge High School sophomore Kelsey Hemp pose next to one of Fraley’s paintings, Paiute Jim and Mate, on display at the Peace Poster Project event held at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) during July. Fraley’s inspiration for this painting came from the only known photograph taken of indigenous people who lived in the Monument area. Hemp assisted Fraley with assembling the show. She is also active at her school and in the community in promoting peace initiatives. Fraley expressed a hope that shows similar to the Peace Poster Project will be offered around the world. Fraley created a template for making it easily replicated. Works, including entries from Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, lined the walls of the TLCA. The show included a copy of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and other documents. Fraley said, "People are looking for a direction given the state of the economy and other concerns. They are looking for what to do next to help fix things." Fraley believes one way to ‘fix things’ and promote peace would be to lessen the country’s dependence on oil and seek initiatives that promote clean energies and energy efficiency. Fraley is presently proposing concepts to provide clean energy assistance to homeowners. Information on the Peace Poster Project can be found at www.peaceposterproject.org. Photo and caption by David Futey.

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Gift shop makeover at TLCA

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Below: Lauren Chickering, the new Tri Lakes Center for the Arts administrative and events coordinator, peruses the TCLA gift shop. The new gift shop makeover includes floor to ceiling treasures in art:small gems and jewelry, home decor, fun greeting cards and artist prints and paintings. Brilliant wall colors set off the dynamic works in the resort-like setting. Photo by Janet Sellers

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July and August library events

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Photos by Harriet Halbig.

Below: Rachel Hetrick and Kelley Daenzer practiced their painting skills before the young patrons arrived.

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Below: Bunny Daniel Leidenberger patiently completes his costume for Amelia’s Amazing Zoo.

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Below: Riley and Chloe Troy got their faces painted by teen volunteers at the library party.

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Below: The cast of Amelia’s Amazing Zoo posed for photos at the cast party. 

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By Harriet Halbig

July offered much fun and activity at the library, with special programs each week for patrons of all ages.

Library staff, Friends of the Library and many young patrons marched in the Tri-Lakes Fourth of July Parade. It was great fun and provided many new memories.

The summer reading program ended July 31. As of July 24, there were over 2,000 children enrolled in the Be Creative program for ages 3 through 12, and 175 in the Read to Me program for those 3 and under at the Monument Branch. In addition, 475 teens participated in the teen reading challenge. At Palmer Lake, the numbers were 150 for Be Creative and 50 for the teen group.

In keeping with the Be Creative theme, the end-of-program party, Explore the Arts, was held at Palmer Ridge High School on July 24. Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library, it featured life-size puppets by Bob Aiken, craft, dance and music opportunities, face painting, a performance by the Palmer Ridge Poms Dance Team, and a performance of "Amelia’s Amazing Zoo" by nearly 50 of the library’s patrons ages 4 to 12.

Many hundreds of patrons attended the event, admiring the new building while enjoying the entertainment.

The theatrical performance, with young performers as bunnies, tigers, parrots, elephants, and monkeys, was a treat to see, with many young patrons hoping to take part in a similar event next summer.

As summer winds down, activity at the library will decrease and change during August.

Special programs for summer reading have come to an end and regularly scheduled activities will resume, including toddler times on Thursdays and story and craft activities on Tuesday mornings.

The AARP Mature Driving course will be offered on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Registration is required and a minimum 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.

The Monument Readers book group will discuss "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz on Friday the 21st at 10 a.m.

Master Gardeners from the CSU Extension Service will continue to offer their help desk through August on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the study room.

Artwork on the walls during August will be "Art over 50," a showcase of photographs, paintings, and quilts by Tri-Lakes artists. In the display case will be "Fiesta and More," a collection of antique kitchenware.

Palmer Lake Library events

Paws to Read dogs will be at the branch on Aug. 1 and Sept. 5 to listen to young readers. The dogs will be at the branch from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

The Palmer Lake book group will discuss "Kabul Beauty School" by Deborah Rodriguez on Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. New members are always welcome. To reserve a copy or for further information, call the branch at 481-2587.

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, a three-day event in Palmer Lake.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, July 16: Historical Society relives Battle of Glorieta Pass

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Below: Col. David Hughes USA (Ret.) addresses events surrounding the Civil War and The Battle of Glorieta Pass c. Mar 1862 to an overflow crowd at Palmer Lake Town Hall on July 16th, 2009. Col. Hughes is a well-known author and lecturer of Colorado Springs history. He is staunchly advocating preservation of western Colorado Springs history and sites especially along Colorado Avenue. Photo by Bernard Minetti

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Below: Please help find the hat: When he left the Palmer Lake Historical July 16 meeting, Col. Hughes inadvertantly left his prized hat on top of his car. Anyone with any information as to its whereabouts, please contact OCN at 488-3455. Photo by Bernard Minetti.

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By Bernard L. Minetti

Retired Col. Dave Hughes of Colorado Springs gave a detailed study of the Civil War in Colorado and New Mexico to a record attendance at the monthly Palmer Lake Historical Society meeting July 16.

Hughes’ family homesteaded land east of Castle Rock in 1898. He is a graduate of West Point Military Academy and spent 27 years in active service to his country. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and the Korean Conflict and received the Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Stars, and a Bronze Star for his actions.

In his presentation, many historical facts were brought to light. The notion that the Civil War did not exist west of Kansas is inaccurate, Hughes said. There were several battles in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

One of the most famous strategic skirmishes was the Battle of Glorieta Pass, which occurred March 26 to 28 in 1862. It became known by some historians as "The Gettysburg of the West," and was a deciding event in the Western history of the Civil War. The Battle of Glorieta Pass was fought in northern New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The Union forces at first were pushed back through the Pass. Then they overwhelmed the Confederate contingent, destroying most of their pack animals, and subsequently their source of supplies was cut off. As a note of interest, there were 33 West Point graduates fighting with the Union forces, and there were five who had allied with the Confederacy.

The aim of the Confederacy at that time was to establish a stronghold in the Southwest. The intent of the battle was to take the federal stronghold of Fort Union in northern New Mexico and make it a Confederate center of operations. After this failure, the Confederate forces retreated out of New Mexico, and essentially that was the extent of major action in this area. Fort Union still stands and is preserved for viewing.

August presentation

The society will present the Brass Ensemble of the Castle Rock Band at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 in the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Information and history of the instruments they use will be discussed, and they will play familiar standards. Members and guests are welcome to attend.

Chautauqua returns

The Chautauqua returns to Palmer Lake in a weekend-long event Aug. 7 to 9. It will include a vaudeville show, dinner theater, old-fashioned baseball game, history walk, nature walk, ice cream social, church service in the historic Pinecrest Church, Model A and T classic cars, box lunches and much more.

The theme is "The Quiet Decade, 1900-1910." This is a Tri-Lakes event sponsored by the Palmer Lake Historical Society. The opening ceremony and a vaudeville presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, in the Palmer Lake Town Hall.

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Red Cross needs volunteers for emergency shelters

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Below (L to R): Jaici Murcia, Volunteer Emergency Services Director, Pikes Peak Chapter American Red Cross, and Jeanie Ahrens, Tri-Lakes area Red Cross Volunteer and Shelter Manager, stand beside one of the five newly-acquired Disaster Services trailers. These trailers are equiped with 50 cots, 100 blankets, and 50 comfort. The trailers will be used to support emergency shelters in the event of a major disaster. A trailer will soon be located in the Tri-Lakes area to provide support to any of our five approved shelter sites. Walmart provided funds for the purchase of these trailers. Photo provided by the Red Cross.

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By Bernard Minetti

The American Red Cross has designated the following sites as emergency shelters in the Tri-Lakes area: the Monument Hill SBC Church, the Church at Woodmoor, the Monument Presbyterian Church, the Palmer Lake Town Hall, and St. Peter’s Church.

Volunteers are required to operate these facilities in time of need such as a natural disaster (a blizzard with cars from I-25 stranded in the Tri-lakes area) or other exigent disaster situations where temporary shelter is necessary.

Shelters in the Tri-Lakes area have been designated but only partially staffed. Volunteers are needed to man the facilities. To accomplish this, Red Cross Disaster Services sponsors a class to qualify new volunteers in the procedures and background of shelter operations. The next class will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at Monument Hill Baptist Church. To register, and you must let them know that you will attend, call Jeanie Ahrens at 719-481-8128.

Youngsters are welcome to participate with parents and be qualified as junior volunteers. Think about making it a ministry for your church or a family or personal activity that helps your community. Become a part of this national volunteer program and be available to help your neighbors in need. Seniors are welcome to assist by participating, too.

You may also register online by e-mailing Ahrens at erahrens@yahoo.com

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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.

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

WMMI is throwing quite the party for burro mascots Oro and Nugget 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 horseshoe-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)

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

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

Literacy volunteers needed

Share your love of reading! Work with an adult to improve his/her English language skills. No teaching experience required. Next training: Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26, and Sept. 2, 5:30-9 p.m., at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. Call 531-6333, x2223 for information or to register.

Art show reception at WMMI, Aug. 7

Please join Palmer Lake Art Group for a special catered reception Aug. 7, 5-7 p.m., at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI). Five artists will exhibit paintings depicting various buildings and equipment on the grounds at WMMI. John DeFrancesco, one of the exhibiting artists, will demonstrate plein aire painting. Reservations are requested by Aug. 5 to help museum staff plan for this special event. The art show runs until Aug. 27. WMMI is located at 225 North Gate Blvd., just off of I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, #156A. For more information and to RSVP, phone 488-0880.

2009 Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly

The Palmer Lake Community will remember the Chautauqua Assembly of long ago by reliving a bit of history Aug. 7-9. There will be entertainment, cultural events, an old-fashioned baseball game, an ice cream social, a nature hike, a history walk, dinner-theatre, box lunches, Model A and T classic cars, and much more. The weekend begins Aug. 7, 7 p.m., with opening ceremonies and a vaudeville show with minstrels, illusionists, and more in the Palmer Lake Town Hall (28 Valley Crescent). The complete schedule can be found at www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs/events.shtml and www.trilakeschamber.com/tlevents.html

Black Forest Festival, Aug. 8

The annual Black Forest Festival will be held Aug. 8 at the corner of Black Forest and Shoup roads. The festival begins at 6:30 a.m. with the traditional pancake breakfast. The parade, with Jon Karroll of KRDO TV Channel 13 as the parade announcer, commences at 10:30 a.m. The Air Force Academy’s acclaimed country and western group, Wild Blue Country, will entertain. A flea market will feature commercial and neighborhood vendors, food booths ranging from Poblano’s Mexican food to more traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, games for the kids, and many other surprises. The festival runs until 3 p.m. To ease the parking and traffic situation, shuttle service will be available for off-site parking at the gravel lot on the northeast corner of Burgess and Black Forest Roads. For more information, visit http://festival.blackforest-co.com/

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 (Aug. 8 and 22), 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 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.

Annual Palmer Lake and Monument Ice Cream Social, Aug. 8

Families are encouraged to bring their elders as the library honors its senior patrons Aug. 8, 1:30 p.m., at the Palmer Lake Village Green. Savor the ice cream and listen to music from the Daytime Singers of the America the Beautiful Barbershop Chorus. The event is presented in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly, with thanks to the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library and the Town of Palmer Lake. For more information, call 481-2953.

Housing Authority seeks volunteers

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the Housing Authority. Applications for the open positions are due by Aug. 12. The Housing Authority needs representatives from the real estate and apartment industries to serve for five-year terms. The Housing Authority was established to help promote the availability of decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling accommodations in the county for persons of low to moderate income. The Authority also manages the housing trust fund, which provides funding for innovative housing-related programs. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com and can be accessed by clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436.

Sheriff’s Office announces fall Citizens’ Academy

Applications for the fall El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 13. The 12-week Citizens’ Academy will be held Thursday evenings, 6:30-9:30 p.m., beginning Aug. 27 and culminating with graduation Nov. 12.

Participants will learn about the numerous responsibilities of patrol deputies by accompanying one on a ride-along, the challenges facing detention staff by touring detention facilities, and the intricacies of a criminal investigation as detectives take them through the investigative process. Additionally, participants will learn about topics such as use of force, vice and narcotics operations, and emergency services including wildland fire and search and rescue teams.

There is no charge to attend the Citizens’ Academy. Seating will be limited to the first 42 completed applications received. Call Sgt. Jeanette Whitney, 520-7275, or Deputy Matt Stoneback, 520-7340, to request an application.

Monument Open Chess Tournament, Aug. 22-23

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, fespell@gmail.com

Woodmoor SummerFest, Aug. 23

Bring the whole family to the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr., Aug. 23, 1-4 p.m., for games, prizes, face painting, live music, inflated jumping castles, hamburgers and hot dogs, watermelon, snow cones, and drinks. Pet adoptions and Farmers Insurance Free MILK (managing information on lost kids) ID Program, and much more will be offered. Bring a side dish or dessert and chairs or blanket. For more information and reservations, call Kate, 488-2693, ext. 2.

D-38 Operations Advisory Committee seeks members

The Lewis-Palmer School District Operations Advisory Committee (OAC) formerly known as the FEC (Facilities and Enrollment Committee) is seeking new members. The OAC is a standing committee that advises the School Board and administration on capital projects, technology plans, building capacity, and enrollment projections, and oversees bond and mill levy expenditures. The application and information about serving on the OAC are available on the Lewis-Palmer School District Web site, www.lewispalmer.org, under the Board of Education tab on the left; or from Shelia Pervell at the LPSD Administration Building at 146 Jefferson St., P.O. Box 40, Monument. The application deadline is extended to Sept. 4.

County Citizens’ College, Sept. 12 and 19

El Paso County’s Citizens’ College will be conducted in two all-day sessions Sept. 12 and 19, at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center and Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex. The course offers an opportunity to learn first-hand about County government and its varied functions and services. The syllabus includes County Government 101, Criminal Justice and Investigation, Public Safety and Health, Transportation and Fleet Services, Land Use and Development, Tax Collections and Allocations, and more. You must be a high school senior or older to enroll, and some foot travel will be required.

For more information or to apply, visit www.citizenscollege.com and complete and submit the online application. A downloadable version of the application can be mailed to the address provided on the form. Applications are due Aug. 13, and selected applicants will be contacted by Aug. 27. To view other citizen learning events hosted by El Paso County, visit www.elpasoco.com/Get_involved.asp and click on the "Citizen Education Opportunities" PDF link. For more information, call Dave Rose, 520-6540, or e-mail DaveRose@elpasoco.com

Handbell ringers needed

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

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

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.

Slash and Mulch season underway

There’s still time to take advantage of El Paso County’s Black Forest Slash and Mulch season! 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.

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.

Senior Safety Program

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority and Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, Senior Alliance, have developed a Senior Safety Program. The free service includes installing and maintaining smoke detectors, a fire department evaluation of seniors’ homes to identify and correct safety hazards and address seniors’ safety needs, and Vial of Life for in-home storage of medical information in case of emergency. For information, call Lisa Frasca, 488-3304.

Wildlife Masters in El Paso County

Do you wonder how to keep the deer from munching your freshly planted garden, how to get the skunk out from under your deck without getting sprayed, or how to get the squirrels out of the attic? Colorado State University Cooperative Extension in El Paso County has a staff of trained Wildlife Masters to help you. Call the Master Gardener Help Desk, 636-8921, and you will be called promptly with an answer. A fact sheet will be sent to you by e-mail or regular mail. For information, call 636-8921 or e-mail csumg2@elpasoco.com

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