This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.
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Above: Photo from 2005 by Jim Kendrick.
Above: Susan Bichel, center, lights the Palmer Lake Star on Nov. 30 to begin the 2013 Christmas season. Also pictured are Susan’s husband Wayne, left, and fire volunteer Abby Vierling. Photo by Bernard Minetti.
Above: Chili was prepared and served by some of Palmer Lake’s finest fire volunteers Nov. 30. From left are Courtney Dalton, Alex Donnell, Chris St. Claire, Lori Forman, and Chris Richey performed the kitchen duties. The money raised supports the maintenance of the Palmer Lake Star by the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department led by Fire Chief John Vincent. Photo by Bernard Minetti.
By Harriet Halbig
Lewis-Palmer District 38 Superintendent John Borman announced his resignation at a special meeting of the board on Nov. 14. His final day will be Dec. 31.
Borman said that he has enjoyed his career in education and intends to continue to be active in district affairs after beginning work in a new field.
Borman has been with the district for over six years, first as principal of Lewis-Palmer High School and as superintendent since 2011.
The board discussed the process of seeking a new superintendent and decided to use the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) to administer the process. CASB was instrumental in the 2011 search.
Board Vice President John Mann said that the board sees an advantage to seeking a replacement in Colorado due to the state’s recent and upcoming changes in the teacher assessment process and student assessments.
The board passed a resolution to accept the services of former Superintendent Ted Bauman to serve as interim superintendent from the time of Borman’s departure through the rest of the school year. It is hoped that a new superintendent can be selected by March and participate in hiring and budget decisions going into the 2014-15 school year.
Bauman served as school superintendent from 1998 through 2003 and as interim superintendent from August 2010 until Borman’s tenure began in 2011. He is very active in many community organizations and has been active in district affairs.
The board discussed the process of appointing a new board member to replace Dr. Jeffery Ferguson, who has retired. No one ran as his replacement during the November election.
Ferguson’s district encompasses the Palmer Lake area, and the new member must also represent that area. The state requires that the board interview candidates and vote to choose one to appoint to the position.
A public notice seeking applications for the open seat will be published. The board will meet in mid-December to interview applicants following a Dec. 11 application deadline.
The new member of the board will be a director. The remainder of the board for this year will be Mark Pfoff, president; John Mann, vice president; newly re-elected John Magerko, treasurer; and Robb Pike, secretary.
The board presented former President Jeffery Ferguson with a plaque and Broadmoor gift certificate in recognition of his long service to the district. Ferguson served on the board for over 20 years, 10 of them as president. He has received the McGuffey award from the Colorado Association of School Boards twice during that time.
In his comments, Ferguson said that he was blessed to have served the district and is especially proud of the academic and athletic excellence achieved, with several schools chosen as John Irwin Schools of Excellence, accreditation with distinction, and placement on the AP Honor Roll for a fourth year.
The AP honor roll is national recognition of districts that expand their advanced placement offerings while maintaining high achievement levels. Lewis-Palmer is the only district in the state to have been on the honor roll four consecutive years and the only district in El Paso County to receive the honor this year.
It was later stated that Lewis-Palmer is one of only 14 districts in the nation to be on the honor roll for four consecutive years.
Fund balance controversy
Mann and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman presented a discussion of fund balancing and liability planning for the district.
A number of individuals have criticized the district for the size of its fund balance while at the same time seeking support through a mill levy override. Two of them, Sandra Maurer and Scott Bonser, read letters during the citizen comments section of the meeting, seeking Wangeman’s resignation due to lack of leadership. Pfoff stated that the Board of Education is not the hiring agent for the district and therefore such comments were not appropriate in this setting.
Wangeman said that the district’s fund balance is a median amount for district’s of its size.
Mann and Wangeman explained that the $11.76 million fund balance as of June 30 includes funds required by state law and others to fulfill such commitments as funding for early retirement for those who have taught in the district for over 20 years and health care for retirees.
In response to comments that the board erred in refinancing the administration building, Mann stated that the board had always intended to pay off the financing early. In so doing, the board would gain added cash flow of about $600,000 annually.
Board Secretary Robb Pike explained that the board initially determined the size of its reserves based on a decision to complete each year without any cuts to programs in the event of state funding cuts. The board is still reluctant to assume that funding is ensured.
Also, the precarious state of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) requires that the district contribute $250,000 per year to its funding, and that amount may increase depending on the recovery of the economy.
Mann said that the district’s auditors are satisfied with the district’s financial planning. The district’s auditors and other financial officers admire Wangeman and her stewardship. He said that the early retirement portion of the fund is a best guess amount and suggested that it be placed in a trust and thereby removed from the balance sheet.
Mann said that he doesn’t want to create a five-year plan for the district and thereby encumber future boards. He requested that Wangeman meet with the board’s financial advisor and bring alternatives to the next meeting. Pike requested that the options be rated by degree of risk.
Attracting new students
Community Relations Manager Robin Adair reported on her department’s continued efforts to publicize the district and attract new students. She said that there are five new bus advertisements and that the program has yielded $4,000 to the district.
The choice enrollment period during which students from other districts may choose to come to District 38 begins Jan, 3 and continues through late February. The district has purchased radio and television spots and ensured placement in various relocation guides for the military and corporations. District ads in movie theaters, including the Hollywood Theater on Interquest Parkway, are planned.
Pfoff commented that advertising is very cost effective. Many people visit the district website after seeing advertisements, and the enrollment of one student from another district funds several ads.
Adair said that print media coverage is also good, with the Tri-Lakes Community Living magazine devoting space to a student of the month and publishing articles on various programs in the district.
The district’s new mobile app, which is outside funded, includes all videos from each school and calendars of events An interactive district guidebook is now online.
Wangeman reported that the October student count showed an additional 128 full-time equivalent students, when only 64 were forecast. The resulting added revenue is $405,973. The homeschool enrichment academy has grown to 70 students.
During the citizens’ comments segment of the meeting, Ray Kilmer thanked the board for including him among the first group to be initiated into the Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame.
Gordon Reichal said that Magerko should file conflict-of-interest papers with the state because his wife is a teacher in the district and Magerko votes on the compensation of faculty.
Traci Burnett spoke of her concern that the use of a core curriculum might be affecting test scores and concern about the use of biometric scanning.
The board approved a list of routine items, including minutes of past meetings, contracts, hiring and resignations of staff, policy revisions, and high school course requests.
The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Dec.19.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) discussed recent election results and future student assessment processes at its Nov. 12 meeting.
School board liaison John Magerko said that when the board made the decision to run a mill levy override (MLO) on the November ballot, the appearance of constitutional Amendment 66 on the ballot had not been finalized. He assured the committee that despite the defeat of both financial ballot issues, District 38 is still afloat and a high-achieving district.
Magerko said that he felt the most positive aspect of the campaign was the number of contacts made between the district and its citizens. The board plans to determine which precincts were most in favor of the issue, and he suggested that if the board would move its meetings around in the district perhaps more members of the public would attend and be continuously informed about district actions.
An alternative might be to hold a quarterly briefing to a targeted group of individuals from various segments of the community, he said.
Magerko also stated that business owners were particularly resistant to the MLO because their tax assessments are a much higher percentage of property value than residential properties as a result of passage of the Gallagher Amendment in 1982. That amendment required that commercial properties provide 55 percent of tax revenue while residential properties provide 45 percent. Commercial properties were required to be taxed at 29 percent. Over time, the value of residential property has increased at a much greater rate than commercial properties, causing residences to be taxed at a much lower level to maintain the balance.
DAAC Chairman Chris Amenson said that El Paso County and District 38 were within a percentage point of one another on Amendment 66, with very high voter participation. He said that he will closely monitor the unified improvement plans of the district and individual schools to see if failure of the MLO has measurable consequences.
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton spoke at length about the district’s performance framework (DPF), which encompasses all state standardized test results as well as academic growth and growth gaps, graduation and dropout rates, and assessments of postsecondary and workforce readiness.
District 38, which has an overall score of 86 percent proficient or advanced performance by students, has been accredited with distinction for the past few years.
The DPF is divided into elementary, middle school, and high school sections. In the area of academic achievement, the general population is separated from English Language Learners and those with disabilities who are unable to keep up without intervention.
Benton explained how the district is rated as "does not meet," "approaches," "meets." and "excels" in each category. She reported that the middle school is improving quickly due to the previous year’s weak scores and the requirement of more closely monitoring progress. Math has improved significantly and the focus is now on reading.
Benton summarized the evolving assessment process for the next few years. In 2013, the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) will continue to be used, as well as the Access test for English Language Learners and Coalt for disabled individuals. There will also be a reading assessment for those in kindergarten through third grade.
Beginning in 2014, the TCAP math, reading, and writing assessments will be replaced by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to assess math and English language arts. All juniors will take the ACT test.
Benton said that anyone who wishes to see a sample of the online tests that will be administered may go to pearsonaccess.com/co. The practice tests are called ePAT. The DPF will appear on the district website (lewispalmer.org) beginning in December.
Lewis-Palmer Elementary School
Benton summarized the achievements of Lewis-Palmer Elementary School (LPES) in the absence of Principal Lois Skaggs, who was ill. She said it is a very high-achieving school, especially noted for its large selection of after-school activities, most offered by teachers. One LPES teacher gained support for the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and brought a space station commander to speak at the school.
There is a support program for emotionally disabled individuals on site and a growing at-risk population as well as a general population of high achievers.
The faculty is working on implementing the multi-tiered system of support in an effort to incorporate all students into the general classroom. They have successfully provided intensive support when needed. Benton reminded the committee that students requiring behavioral intervention may also be gifted.
A member of the committee asked whether the district has a reputation for addressing behavioral problems. Benton said that it does have a reputation for that and many successful programs. The district has 13 to 14 percent gifted students and about 10 percent in special education. There can be an overlap between the two populations.
Benton said that the funding for special education and gifted education is partially from federal and state sources, but largely a result of the priorities of the administration and the desire to provide the best possible education for all. The district’s growing Advanced Placement program also attracts students from elsewhere.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The Dec. 10 meeting will be at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Special Education Advisory Committee viewed a video of a presentation by author and public speaker Jonathan Mooney at its Nov. 13 meeting. Mooney is a noted advocate of inclusion in education. He himself is dyslexic and was unable to read until age12, yet is a published author and a known advocate of accepting all children in school environments.
Mooney’s philosophy is based on three principles. The first is that schools are obligated to be inclusive of all kids. He said that the No Child Left Behind legislation narrowed the definition of acceptability in the classroom setting. Children were required to be attentive and sit still throughout the school day. Those who were unable to sit still were removed from the classroom, often to a hallway or the principal’s office.
The stereotype developed that an intelligent student is one who reads well. Mooney said that this is not the teachers’ fault, but an unfortunate policy generalization. He stressed that everyone should be valued for his or her own talents, whatever they may be. He said that many scientists and technology experts had difficult school years, and yet contribute a great deal to society.
The second principle is that, when we meet people, we should assume some competency on their part. Look for what is right about them. In today’s education system, only shortcomings are tracked, not achievements, he said.
The third principle is to conceptualize the struggle for inclusion through the lens of civil rights. Each individual has the right to be different and the right to be accepted. When viewed as a civil right, it follows that the solution to the problem of lack of inclusion may be found through legislation.
Mooney advocates against the importance of standardized testing in education. He said that the concept of higher education is evolving in such a way as to enable a broader spectrum of students to achieve their goals as more free online college programs become available to all. Formal classes will no longer be necessary to enable an individual to reach his or her goals.
Director of Exceptional Student Services Mary Anne Fleury said that there is a lot of pressure from the state on teachers regarding emphasis on academics. This pressure will only increase as the new system of evaluating teachers partially on the basis of their students’ test scores is implemented in the next few years.
Special Education Parent Liaison Michelle Nay said that Mooney’s lectures are available on Facebook and other sites and suggested that those present might wish to view them.
Classes for parents
Stephanie Johnson of the Language, Culture and Equity Department spoke briefly about plans to offer classes to parents. Her department, formerly known as English Language Learners, works with students and parents for whom English is not a first language. In some cases, English is not spoken in the students’ homes.
Parents of this population have requested instruction on such things as the Infinite Campus website and how to successfully raise children who were adopted from orphanages and have difficulty assimilating into the American culture. Johnston said that she will bring a survey to the next meeting to ask about other subjects she may address.
The Special Education Advisory Committee meets at 6:30 on the second Wednesday of each month in the district Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument. The next meeting will be on Dec. 11.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Donald Wescott Fire Department board learned at its Nov. 19 meeting that Wescott EMT Jared Whitely and AMR paramedic Robert Good earned the Gold Honor for risking their own safety to extricate a victim from a car wreck. The directors also discussed the 2014 budget and plans for continued merger discussions with Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District. They went into executive session twice to discuss personnel issues at the Nov. 19 meeting.
Gold Honor for Saving Life
Whitely and Good were awarded the Gold Honor for Saving Life by the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Nov. 9, because of "their willingness to put service above self with their act of courage."
Good and Whitely discovered an accident that had just occurred in the early hours of May 16, 2012. A vehicle had hit a light pole head-on at high speed, the engine was on fire, and the single occupant was trapped and severely injured. The Gold Honor recognizes those who display significant heroism and face substantial risk to their own life in saving or attempting to save a patient, according to Assistant Chief Scott Ridings.
Chief Vinny Burns said that the Black Forest merger committee still had not met due to various scheduling issues, but they hope to "kick it up" in January to discuss merger options, budget items, and a possible timeline. He said the safe route to discuss was the fire authority model, since there is no risk. The two staffs are already working together on operations training, and it’s going well, Burns said.
Burns acknowledged the "good work" of the firefighters and staff who spent money out of their own pockets for signs and brochures in an effort to pass the mill levy increase, and spent their off-duty hours canvassing neighborhoods. "I’m proud of them. They took this to heart. It just didn’t work out so well."
Chairman Scott Campbell said, "We have a job now to do with the budget that we have for next year." The final results for Wescott’s mill levy ballot issue for an increase from 7 to 11 mills were 2,813 yes votes and 3,287 no votes. For all election results see: www.elpasoelections.com/2013Coordinated/results.html.
Burns said that the chief’s new vehicle purchase had been postponed.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said calls increased 2.7 percent from 182 in October 2012 to 187 calls in October 2013. AMR took 47 of those calls, and 29 were mutual aid calls.
2014 budget discussion
The board began discussing next year’s budget two months ago, and a final zero-balance 2014 budget will be decided on at the Dec. 3 board meeting. By that time the final projected 2014 property tax numbers should be available, Campbell said.
The directors suggested reallocating $200,000 from the building construction reserve line item to the fire equipment line item to replace the self-contained breathing apparatus and firefighting gear that should have been replaced in 2011 and is now falling behind on current safety standards. The old gear can be traded in for some credit, Ridings said.
Baker asked if it were possible to buy this gear in stages so that it’s not so much money at once, but Ridings said it’s better to have all the same batch for maintenance and standardization of operational and safety features firefighters need. Ridings said the staff will write grant proposals to try to reduce this proposed equipment purchase line item.
The budget will most likely include an increase in the line item for vehicle maintenance. Ridings said that health insurance costs increased 20 percent and that the district will be shopping around again for the best plan.
Treasurer Joyce Hartung presented the financial reports in the absence of Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall. As of Oct. 31, the total was $1.5 million: Peoples National Bank $56,000, Colorado Peak Fund $180,000, ColoTrust Fund $439,000, and Wells Fargo Public Trust $872,000.
Hartung and Ridings said that Fire Marshal Margo Humes organized a two-day course on Assessing Home Ignition Zones funded by grant money. Pat Durland, an instructor from National Fire Protection Association, taught 42 participants how to make science-based fuel mitigation recommendations to homeowners who want their homes and properties to be "firewise," Humes said in an email to OCN after the meeting.
Extra vehicle maintenance expenses that had been discussed in July and August, and unanticipated extra Social Security expenses associated with extra part-time firefighters during the Black Forest Fire, put expenses about 2 percent above budget to date.
The district has received payments for all its outstanding wildland incident deployment, for a total net profit of $70,000 after expenses such as fuel and overtime costs, Burns said.
The board went into executive sessions at 7:28 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m. to discuss personnel matters. Chiefs Burns and Ridings were excused for the second executive session. No announcements were made after either session.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-8680.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bernard L. Minetti
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Treasurer John Hildebrandt reported Nov. 13 that through October, the district had received 98.66 percent of the expected annual property tax revenues. Furthermore, it had received 130.03 percent of projected Specific Ownership Tax receipts. October represented 83.3 percent of the budget year.
Hildebrandt also said ambulance revenues showed a significant increase—to 96.18 percent of the annual budget. He did not state whether this percentage was the amount billed to date or the percentage of actual payments received to date,
The district does not report the district cash savings and checking bank balances and securities breakdown, which other governmental entities such as Donald Wescott Fire Protection District and the Town of Monument report monthly. Fire Chief Chris Truty has been asked twice to report that figure and Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack also was requested by Our Community News to provide these figures at the monthly district board meetings.
District administration building
A Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District representative was expected to attend the Nov. 18 Monument Board of Trustees meeting to discuss the use of the town’s building at 166 Second St. as the district’s Administrative Complex. Chief Truty said the district might have to increase the $1 annual fee it pays to the town for rent.
Countywide mutual aid efforts have begun
Efforts have begun to develop a countywide firefighting mutual aid plan. A presentation was planned for the next meeting of the Pikes Peak Fire Chiefs. This presentation is only to solicit interest in participation, with hopes of including Colorado Springs in the plan.
Septic field at Station 2
The district has presented a proposed easement agreement for Station 2 to the Simpson family. The family would utilize a portion of their property for a septic field.
Well project at Station 1
The state had not yet responded to proposed options for the acquisition of on-site water at Station 1. Water is presently being obtained from an offsite source.
District personnel participated in a joint drill with Wescott, Falcon, Black Forest, and the Colorado Springs Fire Department . Unit coordination with multiple jurisdictions requires an extensive amount of joint training. .
No monthly hours totals for fire, emergency medical service, and physical training were provided. Our Community News has requested this information several times from both Chief Truty and former interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack. This information was regularly reported to the public by previous Fire Chief Robert Denboske.
Battalion chiefs’ replacements sought
Chief Truty is seeking replacements for Battalion Chiefs Greg Lovato and Mike Dooley, who were removed. No public report was made by the board about the reasons for their removal. No explanation was made about why the search period had not been previously announced.
Insurance vendor accepted
A representative of the Emergency Services Insurance Program made a presentation to the district board concerning several areas of liability and other insurance that were being replaced or renegotiated. The written specifics of the insurance presentation were made available to everyone except the press, even though the OCN reporter asked for a copy of the document from the fire district office manager and the vendor representative.
The representative noted that the new coverage would cost 40 percent less than the previous provider’s. Emergency Services was selected as the new provider.
The district’s 2014 proposed budget was reviewed for a second time and will be presented for final approval at the Dec. 4 board meeting.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact the district Fire Administration Office at 719-484-0911.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Nov. 12, Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Manager Bill Burks presented the final draft of the facility’s 2014 budget to the Tri-Lakes facility’s Joint Use Committee (JUC.) This budget included additional costs for an application for an early renewal of the facility’s five-year discharge permit to start in 2014. The facility’s current discharge permit expires at the end of 2016. The JUC unanimously approved the 2014 budget resolution and 2014 appropriation resolution as presented, including the additional costs for the new discharge permit application.
The Tri-Lakes facility’s budgeted total revenues and equal total expenses will increase from $948,785 in the 2013 budget to $2.8 million in the 2014 budget due primarily because of the $2 million cost for the state-mandated total phosphorus treatment expansion. However, the estimated actual total revenues and total expenses for 2013 were $859,990, due primarily to the postponement of construction of an $83,000 storage building until 2014. Repairs and maintenance costs will increase next year from $29,780 in 2013 to $55,748. Chemical costs will increase from $58,328 in 2013 to $66,500.
The facility has no revenue source other than the three special districts that own it and pay its invoices monthly. The facility will receive $1.08 million from an $80,000 state planning grant and a $1 million state construction grant. The entire $2.007 million planning/design/construction cost was budgeted and appropriated for 2014 because of the grant requirements. The grant money will be spent first before the rest of the costs are paid by the three owner districts, with the exception of a required $16,000 match for the planning grant.
The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: President Jim Taylor of Woodmoor, Vice President Dale Smith of Palmer Lake, and Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Robinove of Monument. Several other district board members, district managers, and district staff from each of the three owner districts also attended the meeting with Burks.
Major changes in copper limits
Tri-Lakes’ environmental attorney Tad Foster had advised the JUC at its Oct. 8 meeting that agreeing to the state Water Quality Control Division’s unprecedented early permit renewal request may make it easier to negotiate more realistic long-term copper limits for Tri-Lakes’ treated effluent in the next facility discharge permit. Foster had also recommended that the JUC agree to the division’s request for early permit renewal only if the division agrees to an appropriate phosphate removal compliance schedule for the Tri-Lakes facility—one that allows sufficient time to determine the optimum operational protocols for this untested equipment. Changes to the 2014 budget would be required to pay for the permit renewal process.
The Tri-Lakes facility will also request that the division eliminate the current permit’s requirement to test for selenium, lead, and hydrogen sulfide since none of these has ever been detected in Tri-Lakes’ treated effluent. The current discharge permit would require costly monthly testing for these potential constituents to continue for another three years, through the end of 2016, even though there is no further apparent purpose.
Background: The Tri-Lakes facility has been extremely vulnerable to violations of the copper limits in the previous and current discharge permits over the past decade due to the aggressive nature of Town of Monument groundwater, which leaches copper from the inside of potable water lines. The plant’s activated sludge treatment process installed in 1998 was never intended to nor expected to remove copper. No copper limitations existed or were planned when the plant was constructed in 1998. No affordable treatment option is available that would meet these pending 2016 copper permit limits in the facility’s current discharge permit.
All three owner districts banned the installation of copper water pipes after the Town of Monument terminated caustic soda injection into its drinking water to control pH and line the interior of copper water pipes to help prevent leaching. The districts also banned the use of copper sulfate for killing tree roots in property owners’ sewer service lines. The Tri-Lakes facility’s activated sludge treatment process is vulnerable to the large slugs of copper in root-killing products that are little more than large jars of copper sulfate. The extended time it takes for the plant to mitigate slugs of copper can cause permit violations and expensive fines from the state and EPA, up to $25,000 per day.
The Tri-Lakes facility is operating under a temporary modification of its copper limits. These require a maximum average concentration of 24.8 micrograms per liter (µg/l) and a maximum individual test concentration of 36.4 µg/l. This modification in the current discharge permit expires at the end of 2015. The new copper limits in 2016 for the current discharge permit would be lowered to an unattainable maximum average of 9.8 µg/l and a maximum individual test reading of 15.0 µg/l.
On June 11, the Water Quality Control Commission formally approved Tri-Lakes’ request for site-specific dissolved copper standards of 17.4 µg/l on average and a peak of 28.4 µg/l on the sub-segment of Monument Creek from immediately above the discharge of the Tri-Lakes facility down to the North Gate Boulevard Bridge (Exit 156 on I-25.) This recommendation was based on nearly a decade of studies for Tri-Lakes by the environmental firm GEI Consulting Inc. The cost over the past decade for developing this new copper evaluation procedure was about $500,000.
GEI created a biotic ligand model to evaluate fish absorption of copper at various stream concentrations as well as a fixed monitoring benchmark statistical analysis of copper concentrations in fish gills, in accordance with EPA’s 2012 guidance document. This is the first fixed monitoring benchmark standard that has ever been approved by the EPA and sets a national precedent.
On June 11 the commission also formally approved new site-specific discharge permit limits for copper––16 µg/l (average) and 25 µg/l (peak)––for the rest of current Tri-Lakes’ permit period, through 2016. This is the best performance that the plant can currently be reasonably expected to achieve. The savings to the constituents of the Tri-Lakes facility are incalculable because no biological nutrient removal technology exists for meeting the copper standards that would be imposed on Jan. 1, 2016, under the current permit.
Actual in-stream concentrations below the mixing zone will be much less than either the new Monument Creek segment standards or new Tri-Lakes effluent standards just approved by the commission, because the effluent copper is diluted by the essentially copper-free Monument Creek flows coming from Monument Lake, immediately upstream of the Tri-Lakes facility discharge location just south of Arnold Avenue.
Foster told the JUC that the Tri-Lakes facility’s victory at the commission’s basin standards review hearing in June regarding creation of a new process to define more scientifically valid and economically attainable dissolved copper stream standards for Monument Creek should be reflected in more reasonable long-term copper limits in the next Tri-Lakes facility’s discharge permit. Negotiations on these limits will take place after the new chemical removal equipment is constructed and tested to determine how much total phosphorus can actually be removed at altitude in an alpine environment with large daily temperature changes.
Unprecedented changes for discharge permits
The announced purpose of the state Water Quality Control Division’s recent request for an early Tri-Lakes permit renewal is to align all wastewater treatment facility permit renewals in the Arkansas River basin with the five-year basin standards review cycle in state water quality Regulation 32 that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. However, economic and technical risks are inherent with the issuance of any new effluent discharge permit to a wastewater treatment facility. Every existing limit in the permit is subject to tightening and other costly testing procedures and new limits, along with their attendant costs, that may be added by the division with as little as one month’s notice.
An unannounced division purpose of these unprecedented permit renewal requests, which became apparent to Foster during permit negotiations over the past month, is to accelerate the implementation of Control Regulation 85 nutrient limits without any prior notice at the Arkansas River basin hearings last June. Foster advised Burks and the JUC that any Arkansas River basin wastewater treatment facility that "voluntarily" applies for an early permit renewal is tacitly agreeing to incur the additional costs for new additional treatment processes necessary to comply with Control Regulation 85 total phosphorus and total inorganic nitrogen limits that would not ordinarily apply until 2017 at the earliest. The Tri-Lakes facility already meets the Control Regulation 85 limit for total inorganic nitrogen––15.0 µg/l––so this is not an immediate threat.
Tri-Lakes facility funding from a $1 million state nutrient grant expires on May 1, 2016, requiring prompt completion of construction and successful operational testing of new phosphorus treatment equipment before that date. The expansion at the $6 million Tri-Lakes facility will cost $2.007 million. As a result, new operating expenses will increase total facility costs to the Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor districts’ customers well before the Control Regulation 85 limits would be imposed in 2017, after the current discharge permit expires.
It will not be clear for several years what the additional total life cycle costs will be for immediate construction and operation of the new phosphorus removal equipment. Nutrient treatment equipment construction will be completed in early 2016.
Another new rule
In recent weeks, the division staff has been saying during permit negotiations that the 2017 rules will be put into effect immediately and there will be no further traditional compliance schedules for construction and testing—another unannounced major change in policy that was not part of the Arkansas River basin standards hearing process.
Burks stated at the Nov. 12 JUC meeting that the division had agreed to the JUC’s requested total phosphorus permit limit implementation postponement as a condition for the facility submitting a "voluntary" early permit renewal application. The division has agreed to include a five-year compliance schedule (2014 to 2018) in the new discharge permit for meeting the nutrient requirements in Control Regulation 85 that will ensure three years for construction of the new $2 million expansion while complying with the various conditions of the $1 million state construction grant.
Tri-Lakes may be able to perform sufficient experimental testing over the following final two years of the new permit to determine the correct operating procedures for the new equipment in high altitude alpine desert conditions with much higher than average daily temperature swings than the locations where this type of equipment has been installed previously. Previous long-term facility plans had called for the five-year compliance schedule to start when the division issued a replacement five-year discharge permit in 2017, when the rules in Control Regulation 85 are actually supposed to take effect.
The Tri-Lakes plant uses a biological nutrient reduction process where microbes consume waste products aerobically and anaerobically. This process is far more sensitive to temperature changes and other potential upsets, but is far more efficient and less costly to operate than traditional chemical treatments and other biological nutrient reduction processes. The Tri-Lakes facility won an EPA award when it was built in 1998 for setting a national precedent for successful activated sludge treatment. The biosolid wastes produced by the Tri-Lakes treatment plant and sludge lagoon are of high enough quality to be directly applied to agricultural fields. In contrast, the vast majority of wastewater treatment facility wastes must be hauled to landfills for disposal.
However, the EPA now considers the Tri-Lakes plant inadequate rather than revolutionary and is compelling the state to force the construction of costly total phosphorus removal modifications as a state mandate. The facility received the $1 million state grant because the state cannot legally impose these kinds of unfunded mandates. The Monument Sanitation District staff has spent the past five years participating in stakeholder meetings and lobbying the Legislature and governor on behalf of the facility owners to become eligible for this grant. The Monument staff has worked with the division grant staff at numerous meetings to ensure that it drafted rules that would apply to Tri-Lakes’ unique ownership structure so that the facility would be able to accept the grant even though it is not a taxing entity. The Monument staff also worked with its TABOR attorneys to hold a successful election on Nov. 5––question 5C was approved 739 to 281––so the district could receive its $360,000 share of the state grants.
The Monument staff is working with the Palmer Lake staff so that town can hold a TABOR waiver election on May 6 to also become eligible to receive its $360,000 of the state grants. Woodmoor’s operating budget is large enough for the district to be able to accept $360,000 and remain under TABOR’s 10 percent grant revenue limit.
The second year of operational testing under the proposed Tri-Lakes compliance schedule is necessary to build a valid one-year operational nutrient testing record for its treated effluent. The time is also needed to experimentally verify the procedures developed during the first year of operational testing in a new geographical environment. At the end of the second year of testing the Tri-Lakes facility will have gathered the minimum 12 months of valid total phosphorus data at the end of the "voluntary" new discharge permit’s five-year timeframe to be prepared to negotiate a new five-year discharge permit. The new rolling annual median permit limit for total phosphorus in the new discharge permit will apply in its first month to all the testing results for these preceding 12 months. As a point of comparison, all other testing limits in the current Tri-Lakes discharge permit, other than quarterly whole effluent toxicity tests, only apply to the previous month.
This proposed compliance schedule for the new permit’s total phosphorus limit is necessary to preclude otherwise inevitable and far more costly civil penalties for nutrient violations. Each month, nutrient compliance depends on the testing results from each of the previous 12 months; hence a nutrient violation will result in a fine based on a violation for a full year. A plant upset caused by copper, for example, will distort median results for several more months at a minimum, resulting in even heavier fines. All other permit violations would only depend on the testing results for the previous month and would result in a much smaller one-month fine.
Foster stated on Oct. 8 that two years of experimentation is the minimum time required to establish and validate actual plant performance capabilities for this new type of treatment and establish treatment protocols that protect the environment and financial solvency of the special districts that own the Tri-Lakes facility.
While the division has stated that compliance with its request for an early permit renewal is voluntary for all the wastewater treatment facilities in the Arkansas basin, the head of the division’s permits section, Janet Kieler, has stated in the past month that she may make new more restrictive permits mandatory for facilities in the Monument/Fountain Creek Watershed. Arkansas basin facilities must apply for a permit renewal by the end of 2013 for Kieler to consider them voluntary.
The state Water Quality Control Division has never before discussed revoking discharge permits before they expire. The division is under a great deal of pressure from the EPA, which provides 75 percent of the division’s funding via annual performance partnership agreements, to set a national precedent for tighter nutrient restrictions, despite the continuing scientific controversy over the effectiveness of simultaneously imposing tighter total phosphorus and total nitrogen constraints.
The Tri-Lakes facility does not have the ability to meet the requirements that the commission imposed in June 2012 for total phosphorus and total nitrogen when it created the state’s new Regulation 31.17. There is no currently available treatment technology to meet the new state limits that will now take effect in 2022, due to this sudden division policy change, rather than just become long-term goals that year. The nutrient limits that the EPA is demanding of the state are even more restrictive and unattainable with currently available and very expensive state of the art technology.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 10 at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4053.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bernard L. Minetti
During the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) Nov. 14 board meeting, District Manager Jessie Shaffer proposed a 4 percent-plus increase in residential water rates, while a consultant suggested the need for a 6.8 percent increase.
John Gallagher, a representative of Raftelis, a financial consulting company, emphasized the need for a 6.8 percent rate increase.
Shaffer said that rates "must go up!" He later said that only residential ratepayers should experience an increase of about 4 percent-plus, but he emphasized that the increase would exempt commercial water users. He did not explain why commercial users would be exempt. Later, board members discussed the possibility of dividing the increase into two parts across 2014 and 2015. No decision was reached at this meeting.
New medical facility to serve "underserved population"
Jake Garro, a representative of the Boldt Co., a Milwaukee-based real estate developer, said the company was planning the construction of a 50,000-square-foot medical office building adjacent to the Tri-Lakes YMCA. The Tri-Lakes Community Health Village would provide medical care to the "underserved population." He noted that the services to be performed extended from "pre-op" to "post-op" and associated procedures and disciplines. The structure would be physically connected to the YMCA facility. Garro came to the meeting to answer any board questions concerning his company’s request that the WWSD provide the water needs for this structure.
The company seeks an additional 4 acre-feet of potable water a year, with an option to purchase another 7 acre-feet on an annual basis. The proposed facility would increase drinking water demand for the expanded building to more than the adjudicated amount of groundwater available for the lot. The additional water rights would come from currently unused WWSD groundwater or renewable water reserves that the Boldt Co. would have to buy from Woodmoor to get district and Town of Monument approval for the project. The board asked many questions regarding the facility, but there was no resolution to the additional water request.
Ratepayer calls for "fairness" in fees
A ratepayer who wished to remain anonymous requested a "fair and equitable" application of the Renewable Water Investment Fees (RWIF) to ratepayers. The RWIF is a fixed fee that is applied to all ratepayer bills to finance a bond issue for transport and treatment of the district’s renewable water for use by Woodmoor’s customers. He noted that the fees were determined by the type of a ratepayer’s structure rather than proportionate water use. He stated that it would be fairer to ratepayers to apply the RWIF on a water-consumption basis.
Board President Barrie Town said he would take the matter under advisement. The anonymous ratepayer asked how the board arrived at the present RWIF rate payment structure. Town responded that their "consultants" advised them to do it this way. The explanation by Town apparently did not satisfy the anonymous ratepayer.
Monument Country Club might be sold
Don Uhl, who said he was the Monument mayor from 1978 to 1982 and part owner of the Monument Country Club, advised the board that the club might be sold to an investor who was willing to put a considerable sum of money into the site providing there was a workable contract for water. He asked the board to consider this request. Town was noncommittal in his reply but indicated that the request would be examined.
September water report
WWSD provided 25.2 million gallons of potable water in September. "Unaccounted water" amounted to 3.2 million gallons. A net water amount of 19.7 million gallons was billed to ratepayers. No explanation was provided to justify the "unaccounted water," which is part of the cost of water production and is part of each ratepayer’s bill.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, in the WWSD building located at 1845 Woodmoor Drive in Monument. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of each month. For further information regarding the meetings, contact the WWSD office at 719-488-2525, Extension 0. Email updates may be obtained by signing up at www.woodmoorwater.com.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Nov. 21, the Monument Sanitation District board unanimously approved issuing $400,000 in revenue bonds to pay for the district’s one-third ownership share of the $2 million planning/engineering/construction cost ($669,000) for installation of new phosphorus removal equipment at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Construction of this chemical treatment expansion will start in 2014 and must be completed, including operational testing, by May 2016 as a condition of the state’s $1.08 million in nutrient grants for this project. Monument’s share of the state nutrient grants is $360,000. The district’s revenue bonds will be issued in December while the district still retains its enterprise status. The grant total of $360,000 exceeds the district’s TABOR grant limit of 10 percent of its $500,000 annual operating budget revenues––$50,000.
This facility expansion has been mandated by the state Water Quality Control Commission’s new nutrient Control Regulation 85 that the commission approved in June 2012. Regulation 85 created an unprecedented statewide wastewater treatment facility discharge permit limit of 1.0 milligram per liter (mg/l) for total phosphorus starting in 2017 for all eight geographic regions in Colorado. The Tri-Lakes facility already meets the total inorganic nitrogen discharge permit limit of 15.0 mg/l in Regulation 85 starting in 2017.
Financing options for new requirements
The Tri-Lakes facility operates as a separate public utility and is jointly owned, in equal one-third shares, by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The Tri-Lakes facility is not a taxing entity and cannot receive the grants directly per Colorado statutes.
The state Water Quality Control Division staff, with the help of the Monument district’s staff over the past several months, had to create procedures, forms, and contracts with multiple signature blocks in order to divide the facility’s $80,000 nutrient planning grant and $1 million nutrient engineering and construction grant among the three owner districts, which are taxing entities. Monument’s board unanimously approved the state nutrient grant contract for a planning grant ($80,000) and a design/construction grant ($1 million) on Oct. 17.
Each of the three owner districts will receive $360,000 in state grants in 2014 to help pay their one-third share of $669,000 each for the total cost of the $2 million phosphorus treatment installation project. The $80,000 state planning grant requires a 20 percent match, or $16,000. Each district will have to contribute $5,333 to receive its one-third share of the planning grant, or $26,667. No matching funds are required by the $1 million design/construction grant.
Monument’s voters approved TABOR waiver ballot question 5C in the Nov. 5 coordinated election to allow the district to accept its full one-third share of the Tri-Lakes facility’s $1.08 million in state nutrient grants as well as any future state nutrient grants in excess of 10 percent of operating budget revenues awarded to the Tri-Lakes facility to help it meet the even tighter nutrient restrictions in state Regulation 31.17 that will take effect in 2022.
The Tri-Lakes facility already meets the statewide Control Regulation 85 total inorganic nitrogen discharge permit limit of 15.0 milligrams per liter that will apply to the next Tri-Lakes discharge permit. However, the interim statewide value for total nitrogen discharge permits in Regulation 31.17 that will become effective in 2022 for the Tri-Lakes facility is 88 times smaller––170 µg/l.
No cost-effective and environmentally acceptable treatment equipment exists at this time that can meet this 170 µg/l effluent limit for removal of total nitrogen from wastewater plant effluent. This will require Tri-Lakes and all other similar biological nutrient removal process plants to pay for the considerable administrative, consultant, and legal expenses of applying for discharger specific variances for total nitrogen discharge permit limits for every discharge permit until cost-effective treatment equipment is invented.
See the JUC article for other details regarding the issuance of Tri-Lakes’ next discharge permit.
Monument Creek is classified as a warm stream. The statewide warm stream discharge permit limit "interim value" in Regulation 31.17 that will be considered by the Water Quality Control Commission for total phosphorus that will become effective in 2022 for the Tri-Lakes facility is 2.01 mg/l. The removal equipment that will be installed may be able to meet the Regulation 31.17 limit of 2.01 mg/l.
Palmer Lake Sanitation District will hold a special election on May 6 to seek voter approval of a TABOR waiver to accept its $360,000 share of the Tri-Lakes facility’s $1.08 million in state nutrient grants. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District does not have to hold a TABOR waiver election to be able to accept its $360,000 share of these state grants.
Revenue bonds selected to finance expansion
Two district consultants briefed the district board on Nov. 21 on ways for paying the district’s one-third share of the $2 million Tri-Lakes phosphorus expansion not covered by state grants. Bond attorney Tom Peltz of Kutak Rock LLP in Denver, who had prepared the documentation required for the district’s successful Nov. 5 TABOR waiver election, discussed the legal and timing constraints regarding the loss of the district’s enterprise status for accepting $360,000 in grant revenue. Investment banker Michael Persichitte of George K Baum & Co. in Denver discussed various options––revenue bonds, certificates of participation, and mortgaging the district’s building––for financing the district’s individual cash payment requirement for the phosphorus treatment expansion.
Persichitte stated that revenue bonds have the lowest interest and costs of issuance, the least legal and title work, and most investor interest.
After a lengthy technical discussion about state law regarding revenue bonds, grant contracts, and enterprise status exclusions under the TABOR amendment, the board unanimously approved a motion to have the consultants move forward with preparations to issue up to $400,000 worth of revenue bonds for a term of 15 years to cover project and bond overhead fees. Bond payments will be interest-only for the first three years to provide flexibility in paying for any contingencies that may develop during the construction project. The escalating repayment schedule will also help the district postpone an increase in the monthly user fee at this time. A tentative bond closing date was set for Dec. 23.
The board unanimously approved holding a special meeting with Persichitte and Peltz on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. in the district conference room to vote on the required resolutions.
Wicklund noted that the district had paid $35,790 for its final share of the Tri-Lakes facility’s annual payment to Liquid Waste Management Inc. to have treated biosolids removed from the Tri-Lakes sludge lagoon. This sludge was dewatered by a mobile Liquid Waste Management filter press and then hauled by trucks to be directly land-applied as fertilizer on nearby agricultural fields. The amount of sludge removed this year was 346 dry tons versus the planned amount of 350 dry tons. The total cost for the year was $126,709, which was $116 under budget.
The total amount collected for tap fees so far this year was $65,600. The amount budgeted as tap fee revenue in the 2013 budget was $50,000.
The district had $386,307 in total cash assets through Nov. 21.
Wicklund updated the board on his latest changes to the draft 2014 budget to reflect the revenue bond matters noted above. The public hearing for the 2014 budget will be held at the next regular board meeting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19 in the district conference room.
The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
The next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19 in the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Nov. 4, the Monument Board of Trustees had as much trouble as the Monument Planning Commission had on Aug. 14 reaching consensus on a zoning code amendment arising from an emerging desire from some citizens to keep chickens within the town boundaries. The town code livestock regulations did not cover chickens.
The Planning Commission tabled the chicken amendment and later approved it on Oct. 9. On Nov. 4 a motion to approve the staff’s proposed amendment, with a reduction to the chicken permit fee, failed by a 2-2 board vote. The trustees then continued the amendment hearing until the Nov. 18 board meeting to allow trustees to further consider the controversial change.
Trustees Jeff Bornstein, Rafael Dominguez, and Becki Tooley were absent. Mayor Travis Easton noted that Tooley had been in a traffic accident earlier that day with no injuries and that her absence was excused.
Code amendment continued
Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, stated that "this ordinance is a bunch of catch-up things that we’ve been trying to do for a while. It took two hearings at the Planning Commission because they had some questions about chickens." Before discussing the controversial chicken changes, he noted the other catch-up items for amending the town code.
The incorrect language regarding the definition of side yards––which was the same as the definition for front yards––was replaced with: "Side yard" now "means an open space between a main building and the side lot line, extending from the front yard to the rear yard, the width of which is the horizontal distance from the nearest point of the side lot line to the nearest point of the main building."
The wording on parking in the "temporary uses" code was amended to remove what the staff had determined to be an unnecessary parking requirement for temporary use permits. This parking language is now the same as the language for parking requirements on private property for special events permits.
The wording on minor changes to exterior building elevations in Final Planned Development Site Plans was changed. It now will allow the director of Development Services to administratively approve a minor amendment to a plan without holding formal Monument Planning Commission and Board of Trustees hearings on items such as moving a back door or changing the size of a kitchen sink window.
Wording was added in the nonconforming use code to create regulations for nonconforming buildings and structures. The existing code did not have a provision for alterations or expansions to nonconforming buildings or structures. This is typical language found in zoning codes across Colorado and the country. This language allows municipalities to manage nonconforming buildings and structures that may fall into disrepair, are no longer occupied, or do not meet local zoning and building codes. In some instances a nonconforming building or structure can become a life-safety issue. An exemption provision is also proposed for nonconforming parcels created by public action at the federal, state, or local level.
Chicken-keeping changes tabled
The proposed code change would regulate the keeping of chickens within the town in residential areas. Kassawara said the change was drafted in response to several inquiries in the last six months from residents interested in keeping chickens for private use. The proposed regulations were written to allow for a use that is expanding in popularity, but at the same time to avoid creating an arduous permitting process for residents.
Kassawara also noted that former Trustee Rick Squires had asked for creation of the ordinance since the town code did not include chickens in the current code on keeping and grazing of livestock.
Kassawara provided a spreadsheet in the staff report that listed limits in chicken regulations for similar size towns in Colorado. He stated this ordinance would cover all citizens and protect the rights of neighbors. The amendment would treat current chicken owners on a complaint basis only and the town code enforcement officer would not go looking for violations. Kassawara reported that the staff had proposed a nominal fee of $25 to partially cover the cost of staff time for the review of coop plans, and a permit to verify that the proposed regulations are complied with.
Some of the items listed in the new municipal code section titled "6.04.110 – Chickens" were:
• Chickens are allowed in Planned Developments that contain language allowing them as permitted or accessory uses.
• Chickens are permitted in the R-1 and R-2 zone districts.
• The maximum number of chickens permitted on one lot is four.
• Roosters and other types of poultry including but not limited to ducks, turkeys, geese, pheasants, and guinea fowl, are prohibited within the town limits.
• Chickens must be kept in the rear yard.
• A chicken coop and run are required to be constructed to keep chickens. The chicken coop and run must be predator proof.
• The maximum size of the chicken coop/house is 120 square feet and the maximum height is seven feet at the highest point of the roof.
• The chicken coop/house must be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the side and rear property lines.
• The minimum size of a coop is four square feet per chicken.
• The minimum size of a chicken run is six square feet per chicken.
• The chicken coop and run must be fully screened from view from public right-of-way and adjacent properties by a six-foot opaque wood fence.
• Chickens can only be kept for personal use or enjoyment. The retail sale of eggs or chickens is prohibited.
• Breeding of chickens is prohibited.
• Raising chickens for slaughter is prohibited.
• The area and building(s) used for keeping chickens will be kept in a clean and sanitary condition at all times.
• The keeping of chickens requires a permit to be issued by the director of Development Services.
• The director of Development Services can revoke the permit at any time for cause.
County resident and local business owner John Dominowski asked the board to eliminate the chicken fee if the chickens were being raised for food due to an existing hardship. Trustee Stan Gingrich replied that the ordinance specifically states that chickens cannot be slaughtered and that chickens may only be used to produce eggs for home use. Retail sale of chickens or eggs is prohibited.
Town Manager Pam Smith said she was not in favor of any fee waivers because it would be a bad precedent. Kassawara added that the Development Services Department is paid for through fees rather than general revenues.
Gingrich made a motion to approve this ordinance with an additional change to the wording of section "6.04.090—Poisoning domesticated animals" on the poisoning of dogs. It would delete the words "dog or dogs" to ensure that the section applies to poisoning of any and all domesticated animals. Gingrich also included a reduction of the chicken fee to $20 in his motion. Gingrich’s motion was seconded by Trustee John Howe.
Kaiser offered a motion for another change that would allow the director of Development Services to administratively waive the fee for economic hardship. Gingrich expressed concern about the precedent for a total fee waiver without compensation for the time required for staff review. He also objected to the difficulties of having the director make administrative decisions that could be contentious. There was no second for Kaiser’s motion.
Gingrich amended the motion by changing the proposed fee reduction from $20 to $15. Howe seconded that. The motion failed by a 2-2 roll call vote. Gingrich and Howe voted "yes," and Kaiser and Mayor Easton voted "no."
Gingrich then made a motion to approve the non-chicken sections of amendment ordinance. This passed 4-0.
However, due to the entire ordinance having failed in the previous roll call, Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman later advised the board this motion could not be accepted. Sirochman recommended that the staff bring the matter back to the board at the next meeting by separating the chicken amendment from the other amendments in two separate ordinances. There was board consensus in favor of Sirochman’s suggestion.
The board unanimously approved a resolution to reappoint John Dick as town representative to the county Community Advisory Committee for a second three-year term.
The board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the town clerk to appoint election judges for the April 1, 2014, regular municipal election.
Town Treasurer Monica Harder presented the September financial report. Some of the items she noted were:
• General Fund revenues through September were $142,000 or 4.25 percent more than budgeted.
• General Fund expenditures through September were $163,000 or 4.99 percent less than budgeted.
• General Fund net revenues through September were $305,000.
• Water Fund revenues through September were $368,000 or 33.47 percent less than budgeted.
• Water Fund expenditures through September were $21,000 or 2.19 percent less than budgeted.
• Water Fund net revenues through September were a loss of $347,000.
• The total net cash available from all town funds increased by $138,000 in September.
• The net total cash surplus through September rose to $371,000 more than budgeted.
Shupp reminded the board of previous discussions in regards to the town logo. The board had agreed that the tagline would not be used on the logo. Shupp asked board members to decide if they want the trademark to be statewide ($300-$500) or national ($3,000). Easton suggested that a full board should be present for further discussion of this cost.
Smith stated that the county has asked the town to take over ownership of the downtown portions of the Santa Fe Trail from where it crosses Highway 105 south to First Street. There is a 25-foot-wide strip by the trail that would remain county property and restricted for trail use and maintenance only. The rest of the land, about 9 acres, on either side of the trail would be divested to the town for its use in return. The town would absorb the cost of mowing, maintenance, and erosion control for all of this land. The board advised Smith to go forward with negotiations with the county and inform the board of further restrictions and/or concerns.
Smith stated that town well 9 needs an estimated $52,000 in repairs. Other water items can be postponed until 2014 to help pay for this repair.
Mayor Easton thanked Smith for purchasing the Christmas lights for the trees along Second Street at a much reduced cost compared with previous years. The cost was $3,444, or $82 per tree. The staff will place the lights on the trees. Leasing the lights would have cost about $6,500 per year.
Mayor Easton and Howe agreed to attend the town Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Limbach Park on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.
Mayor Easton said he had received a request from the Army to assist them in sharing "Hometown Heroes" postings on the town website. The Army link will be placed on the town’s website.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:16 p.m. After a recess, the board met informally with the staff for a 2014 budget workshop.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Nov.18, the Monument Board of Trustees agreed that the proposed ordinance regulating the keeping of chickens in town residential zones should be tabled again until the next board meeting so that other revisions to the animal code could be included.
Code amendment on chickens continued again
Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, stated that the ordinance regarding chicken-keeping, a side yard definition, parking requirements for temporary uses, and repairs/improvements to grandfathered nonconforming buildings and structures that was continued on Nov. 4 had been split into two ordinances. One ordinance contains residential chicken regulations and the other ordinance includes the rest of the amendment items. See the Nov. 4 board article for more details on the issues discussed at that meeting.
Kassawara stated that the second ordinance required another vote because it had initially been part of the originally proposed ordinance that the board did not approve on Nov. 4. There was no public comment on this ordinance, and the board unanimously approved the second ordinance with no discussion.
Kassawara repeated his presentation on the chicken-keeping regulation proposal for the three trustees who were absent on Nov. 4. Kassawara said he had brought back two options as directed by the board at the previous meeting. One option would reduce the fee to $20 and allow the director of Development Services to waive the fee for hardships. The other option would reduce the fee to $15 with no waivers.
Trustee Becki Tooley said that she rejected the idea of passing a chicken ordinance because other towns have passed such an ordinance. She said that having a coop was like having a garden, and chicken fee revenue would be negligible.
Trustee Jeff Bornstein asked how many complaints or issues have been reported regarding chickens. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman stated that there is nothing in the code that specifically prohibits chickens, and there can be no code enforcement officer action.
Smith said complaints about chickens seldom occur.
Kassawara asked Town Attorney Gary Shupp whether the town is legally obligated to approve an ordinance amendment regulating chicken-keeping when there is nothing in the zoning code regarding chickens at the present time. Must the code authorize chickens before they are actually allowed?
There was a very lengthy technical discussion about a number of issues, including concerns about creating needless regulations for a non-existent problem versus protecting the rights of neighbors against unsanitary situations.
Shupp said the board would need to specify a limit in the code to make any regulation of chickens possible. For example, the town code has to specifically prohibit junk automobiles to perform code enforcement that leads to removal of junk vehicles. Kassawara added that the board should say it is all right to have chickens at a minimum and perhaps make regulations later if a problem arises.
Sirochman said the town’s code enforcement officer cannot do anything legally about chicken complaints unless there are written regulations that are being violated and a complaint has been forwarded by Development Services. She added that the town’s animal code was now being rewritten to parallel the rules of the Humane Society, which enforces animal violations under an annual contract with the town. The Humane Society has a limit of four dogs in its rules for residential housing areas.
Kassawara had provided a spreadsheet in the staff report that listed limits in chicken regulations for similar size towns in Colorado, and most set a limit of four chickens. The town would administer the regulations on a complaint basis only and the town code enforcement officer would not go looking for violations.
After further contentious discussion, the chicken ordinance was continued again to the next regular board meeting. There was consensus to retain all the zoning code regulations in the original draft ordinance regarding chickens but eliminate the fee. The other wording to directly coincide with Humane Society rules will be added to the chicken ordinance to avoid having to pay fees for filing two separate ordinances.
Old Town Hall discussion
Town Manager Pamela Smith stated that the board had requested a discussion of the issues regarding the town’s former Town Hall building at 166 Second St. during the last capital improvement program workshop. Offices in the building are currently leased to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District as its administrative complex. Smith said the board needed to decide if it wanted to change the lease agreement after the district had already approved its 2014 budget assuming that the rent would continue to be $1 per year, including the cost of upgrading flooring and ceiling tile in the conference room. A new roof for old Town Hall is listed in the 2014 budget.
Smith noted that the Tri-Lakes district pays for its utilities and repairs to the offices it uses under the current lease agreement. The district uses the conference room only once a month for its board meeting. Smith said the Monument Homemakers Club also holds meetings in conference room/kitchen area. This is a permanent requirement due to the Homemakers’ donation of the building to the town. Also, senior lunches are served in the conference room/kitchen area twice a week.
Smith said the former town manager and the board when the Tri-Lakes lease was initiated believed that a downtown presence of some government entity would be in the best interest of the town so the building would not sit empty. The question is what the word "repairs" means in the lease. There is no rent income listed in the 2014 budget for old Town Hall. She added that she thought it was "unreasonable" to expect Tri-Lakes to repair the roof.
Trustee Rafael Dominguez stated that the town is spending thousands of dollars on that building and not receiving any rents to maintain the building. He said he would like to see a five-year plan for building improvement costs and potential revenues. Smith concurred on the need for a five-year plan to determine a fair rent.
Tri-Lakes Monument Chief Chris Truty stated there are no safety concerns at this time due to roof leaks onto the conference room carpet because the district maintains a close watch for any safety hazards. He confirmed that the fire district takes care of any issues that occur in the offices and have made repairs in the back room for the safety of seniors as well. The carpet lessens noise during meetings.
Smith said vinyl flooring would cost a minimum of $9,000, and she didn’t want to invest in good carpeting until all the roof leaks, plumbing leaks in the restrooms, ruptured water heaters, and sewer backup problems are solved.
Trustee Jeff Kaiser noted that the no rent lease was offered when the fire district had financial difficulties and could not raise its mill levy to help out the town. Now that the fire district has a higher mill levy, the board is less inclined to continue not charging rent. Truty replied that the district provides service to the public. Charging Tri-Lakes constituents instead of Monument constituents just shifts the cost from "one pocket to another." However, Truty acknowledged that the area served by Tri-Lakes is much larger than the town. As a result, town residents are subsidizing Tri-Lakes’ county constituents to the north up to County Line Road and from Woodmoor east to several developments on the east side of Highway 83, such as Hawk Ridge and Walden.
Easton asked Smith to come up with a final list of building repair requirements and begin negotiations with the fire district on what the rent for Tri-Lakes/Monument should be.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said he had started a prioritized list of old Town Hall repairs. He had estimates for roof replacement and new vinyl flooring. His staff was investigating the leaks in the restrooms. He suggested a separate budget line item for old Town Hall repairs.
Maximum municipal court fines increased
Shupp asked the board to approve a new ordinance that would amend the town code’s general municipal court penalties to increase the maximum level of fines to match those in current state statutes recently approved by the state Legislature. The board unanimously approved raising the maximum fine from $1,000 to $2,650.
The board unanimously approved six disbursements over $5,000:
• $135,010 to Triview Metropolitan District for September sales tax ($127,378), October motor vehicle tax ($6,456), and October Regional Building sales tax ($1,176)
• $5,600 to Pikes Peak Regional Communications Network for 2013 Monument Police Department radio user fees
• $20,062 from the town’s water enterprise fund to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a 1997 town semi-annual water loan payment
• $6,450 from the water enterprise debt service fund to Berkadia Commercial Finance for an annual payment of a 1979 general obligation water bond
• $22,433 to Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Inc. for a quarterly payment for lease 401 of Public Works and water enterprise equipment and vehicles
• $39,072 to Wells Fargo Equipment Finance for a quarterly payment for lease 402 of Public Works and water enterprise equipment and vehicles
Town Treasurer Monica Harder reported that the town’s net earned sales tax through September was $65,000 or 4.7 percent more than budgeted, for a total of $2.19 million.
Some of the Development Services Department items that Kassawara reported were:
• There were 11 single-family home permits issued in September (eight in Triview) for a year to date total of 73 permits (55 in Triview).
• Two Planning Commission meetings will be held in December due to the large volume of applications (Dec. 11 and Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall).
• A new rectory for St. Peter Church at Lincoln Avenue and Jefferson Street is being reviewed administratively.
• A new Front Range Animal Hospital to be built on vacant land in the Monument Plaza shopping center on Highway 105 is being reviewed administratively.
• The speed limit on Highway 105 east of Jackson Creek Parkway has been raised to 45 mph.
• Water and sewer permits for Village of Monument Phase 3 were issued.
Some of the items that Tom Tharnish, director of Public Works, reported were:
• Well 9 repairs were underway
• October water production dropped 908,000 from 2012, or 8.7 percent.
• New equipment for the planned automated bulk water station will arrive in December.
Some of the items Chief Jacob Shirk reported regarding the Monument Police Department were:
• The department assisted the county on a double homicide and was investigating check fraud by the suspect.
• The department had performed a welfare check that resulted in the discovery of a deceased male with a non-active methamphetamine lab in the home as well two officers being exposed to the lab’s chemicals.
• The Take Back Drugs program was successful in collecting 40 pounds of prescription drugs that were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for destruction.
• Two significant fires were reported: one in the county on the west side of the railroad tracks south of the Synthes industrial center and the other in Sanctuary Pointe; both fires were under investigation.
• The department’s Santa on Patrol event will be held on Dec. 21 and will be supported by Donald Wescott Fire Protection District. Donations of new, unwrapped toys/gift cards can be dropped off at Town Hall and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District buildings.
Trustee Howe reminded everyone about Small Town Christmas on Dec. 7. See www.monumentmerchants.com/SmallTownChristmas.htm for more information.) Howe noted the opening of two new businesses, 1492 Chocolates, 174 N. Washington St., and The Posh Pineapple, 251 Front St. Suite 9. He congratulated JJ Tracks for being in business for 27 years.
Trustee Dominguez noted the opening of DeVine Restaurant at 366 Second St. Suite D.
Mayor Easton commended Kassawara, saying two businesses had made positive comments to him in regards to working with the Development Services staff.
The board went into executive session at 8:15 p.m. to discuss contract negotiations.
The meeting was immediately adjourned after the conclusion of the executive session at 8:47 p.m. After a recess the board met informally with the staff for a 2014 budget workshop.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 2, the Monument Board of Trustees approved an amendment to the municipal code regulations on animals in residential zones R-1 and R-2 that allows the keeping of up to six chickens, with appropriate coops, and six dogs, despite the urging of the Humane Society to use its standard limits of four chickens and four dogs.
The board eliminated the originally proposed $25 fee that was to pay for a portion of the Development Services Department staff’s time required for the new amendment’s required review of the now-mandatory coop construction plan in accordance with the board’s policy that Development Services pay for itself through fees. The chicken amendment was expanded to include a number of other recent Humane Society enforcement rule and policy changes in a single town document to reduce filing fees with the county.
The board also approved the 2014 budget, appropriation, and mill levy certification as presented.
Trustee Stan Gingrich was absent from the meeting.
Code amendment on chickens approved
Joe Stafford, director of Animal Law Enforcement for the Pikes Peak Humane Society, attended this board meeting to encourage the board to adopt the state ordinances used by the Humane Society to allow for more streamlined enforcement for dogs and cats as well as chickens that would be consistent throughout El Paso County. Town code enforcement officer Laura Hogan and Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman supported his request.
The ordinance for this amendment regarding chickens was continued by the board on Nov. 4 and18. The ordinance proposed at this meeting had been extensively revised to adopt the same statute provisions in the Humane Society’s standard regulations. The Humane Society performs animal regulation enforcement for the town under an annual contract. See the Nov. 4 BOT article on and the Nov. 18 article for more details for all the issues discussed.
The following additions, deletions, and modifications to Title 6 of the town’s municipal code proposed by Hogan were intended to serve the following purposes:
• To allow the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to effectively provide animal control services in Monument as contracted.
• To allow residents to possess chickens under certain conditions.
• To limit the number of dogs over the age of four months to four per premise in order to mitigate potential noise and sanitation issues.
• To restrict the keeping of wildlife as household pets in accordance with Colorado law.
• To remove language authorizing the town clerk to license cats when such licenses are not required by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Some of the specific new statutory state language statements added to the town "Animals Generally" sections of the town’s municipal code were:
"The maximum number of dogs kept on the premises shall not exceed four after attaining the age of four months, except in properly zoned and licensed kennels."
"The keeping of chickens is allowed pursuant to the following standards:
1. Chickens are permitted only in the R-1 and R-2 zone districts. Chickens are prohibited in any other zone district.
2. The maximum number of chickens permitted on one lot is four.
3. Roosters and other types of poultry, including but not limited to ducks, turkeys, geese, pheasants, and guinea fowl, are prohibited within the town limits.
4. Chickens must be kept in a chicken coop and run in the rear yard.
5. The required chicken coop and run must provide all chickens on the lot with adequate shelter against the elements and be reasonably predator proof.
6. The size of the chicken coop and run combined is limited to 120 square feet in area and 6 feet in height. The coop must be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the side and rear property lines.
7. The coop must provide a minimum area of 4 square feet per chicken. The chicken run must provide a minimum area of 6 square feet per chicken.
8. The coop and run must be fully screened from view from public right-of-way and adjacent properties by a 6-foot opaque wooden fence.
9. The retail sale of eggs or chickens, the breeding of chickens, and/or the slaughter of chickens is prohibited.
10. The area and building(s) used for the keeping of the chickens shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition at all times."
After a lengthy discussion, the proposed ordinance was approved with the exception that the maximum number of dogs and chickens per lot was increased to six.
2014 budget items approved
Trustees Jeff Kaiser and Becki Tooley thanked town Treasurer Monica Harder for the hard work in developing the budget in several workshops. Harder thanked former Treasurer and current Town Manager Pamela Smith for her guidance.
A few of the figures from the 47-page 2014 budget were:
• General fund total net revenues will increase from $3.88 million in 2013 to $4.02 million in 2014.
• General fund total expenditures will increase from $3.55 million in 2013 to $3.93 million in 2014.
• The 2013 ending general fund balance budgeted to rollover as the starting general fund balance for 2014 is $1.08 million.
• The 2014 ending general fund balance budgeted to rollover as the starting general fund balance for 2015 is $664,230.
• Net total sales tax revenues will increase from $1.97 million in 2013 to $2.10 million in 2014.
• Total personnel and benefits expenses for 2014 will be $2.57 million for 45.91 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff members, up from 44.66 FTE staff members in 2013.
The staff proposal called for the town’s property tax mill levy to be kept at 6.289 mills. Smith noted that the board always has the option to raise the mill levy slightly under TABOR, or hold a mill levy override election if deemed necessary. Keeping the mill levy constant is starting to cause the town to lose a significant amount of revenue that it could gain without seeking voter approval.
The board unanimously approved an ordinance for the 2014 budget, an ordinance for the 2014 appropriation, and a resolution for the 2014 mill levy certification as presented.
Trustee eligibility constraints added to town code
Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman proposed the addition of new wording to the town code intended to bring the language regarding election of trustees into compliance with state statutes. The changes would include a statement making trustee candidates and trustees ineligible to serve if they were involved in litigation against the town due to a conflict of interest.
The ordinance was unanimously approved.
Health Village final site plan approved
President Dan Dummermuth of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region, Project Manager David Landin of developer The Boldt Co., and architect Kevin Gould of RTA Architects answered a few questions from the board about the proposed planned development site plan to add the 52,000-square-foot Tri-Lakes Community Health Village addition to the south end of the 45,500-square-foot Tri-Lakes YMCA building.
In particular, the applicants noted that the additional vehicle traffic for healthcare patients visiting the new medical office building wing will not change the level of service category for the adjacent segment of Jackson Creek Parkway nor require any road building.
For more details, see the Planning Commission article.
The trustees all expressed their enthusiasm for this project and desire to have it constructed and opened as soon as possible. The final planned development Health Village site plan was unanimously approved.
Town manager contract amended
Town Attorney Gary Shupp requested that the board approve an addendum to the board’s contract with Town Manager Smith. The single change in the contract was: "The town may only terminate the agreement, for its convenience without cause or for cause, by the action of a super majority of the Board of Trustees of the town, which shall be defined as the action of not less than five members of the Board of Trustees."
The addendum to raise the number of votes needed to terminate the contract to five trustees was unanimously approved.
Renewable water proposal advances
Gary Barber of WestWater Research Inc. presented a two-phase research proposal regarding renewable water.
The proposed scope of work included this statement: "Phase I includes an analysis of the town’s alternatives for a transition to renewable water. This study will provide an in-depth examination of appropriate alternatives, an application of the town’s acquisition, storage and delivery finds, economic analysis and recommendations for implementation. Phase II will be determined based on the findings of the initial analysis," including a final report.
Barber stated his goal would be to have phase I completed by February/March 2014. Smith stated that the funding will come from the 2A Water Acquisition Fund of the town’s water enterprise fund. She added that the continuity of the project over 20 years can be attained due to restrictions on the use of 2A funds. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish added that the Water Master Plan will also help ensure the continuity of the project. The board agreed to move forward with the proposal. Barber will prepare a letter of engagement to be presented to the board Dec. 16.
The board unanimously approved two disbursements over $5,000:
• $8,988 to Forsgren Associates for engineering work on the town’s water master plan
• $18,248 to Jacobs Engineering for engineering work for the town sidewalk project
Smith asked the board to consider moving forward with the Goodwill Project, because it would create no negative financial impact for the town and will bring in jobs for citizens. She noted the legal opinion from the Kutak Rock law firm that confirms this legal separation. The board directed the staff to move forward on the Goodwill Project.
The new Goodwill Building will be located north of the Walmart building on the west side of Jackson Creek Parkway.
Smith stated that the Pikes Peak Workforce must move out of the Tri-Lakes Cares Building because Tri-Lakes Cares needs to take back this space for its own use. The Workforce wants to retain its satellite office in Monument and will look for office space in another location.
Trustee Tooley commended the staff for all the Christmas decorations along Second Street and reminded everyone that people can shop in Monument every day, not just during Small Town Christmas on Dec. 7.
Mayor Easton thanked the town staff for assisting with the free Thanksgiving dinner at Rosie’s Diner. Trustee John Howe thanked schoolchildren for decorating the tables for this free dinner.
Easton also commended the town for its many volunteer efforts for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 in Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Monument Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the Final PD Site Plan Major Amendment for the proposed Tri-Lakes Community Health Village at the Nov. 13 meeting. The medical office building would be a 52,000-square-foot addition on the south side of the Tri-Lakes YMCA at 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway.
Commissioners David Gwisdalla and Kathy Spence and Alternate Commissioner Melissa Wood were excused from the meeting.
The plan was approved by the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board at its Oct. 23 meeting. The plan will next be reviewed for approval by the Monument Board of Trustees and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. Construction, estimated to take about nine months, could begin in January 2014.
YMCA Chairman Dan Dummermuth said that the proposed healthcare village would be a prototype for similar developments throughout the country due to the holistic nature of its health care and wellness services. See www.ocn.me/v13n11.htm#wia and http://trilakeshealth.com for more details.
Jake Garro of the Boldt Co. in Fox Valley, Wis., described how the Health Village would provide "a full circle of care" for medical care and rehabilitation.
Architect Kevin Gould of RTA Architects answered numerous technical questions from the commissioners.
Town Principal Planner Mike Pesicka presented the staff’s recommendation to approve the proposed project. The proposal conforms to the town’s comprehensive plan and the 12 review criteria in the town’s municipal zoning code.
The WIA required the applicant to receive approval of a variance to the WIA’s 35-foot height restriction on this property. The WIA Board of Directors unanimously approved the variance for the expansion’s 40-foot building height on Oct. 23. Gould noted that the screening on the roof increases the overall height to 48 feet.
Pesicka said the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District would require the applicant, in conjunction with the YMCA, which owns the 12-acre property, to purchase more supplemental water to serve the building. Pesicka listed this as a proposed town condition of approval as well.
No public comments were made either for or against the project during the open portion of the public hearing.
Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick recommended approval of the Final PD Site Plan Major Amendment with the following conditions that must be met prior to final approval by the Monument Board of Trustees:
• Provide to the town written proof of supplemental water services for WWSD.
• The site plan improvement agreement shall be executed by the owner applicant prior to the issuance of any construction permits for the development
• Approval is subject to minor technical corrections to the satisfaction of the staff.
The proposed major amendment was unanimously approved. Chairman Ed DeLaney said, "We have fought for this for a long time.… This is going to be an addition that is going to be great." Fitzpatrick added, "This looks like a great plan, and you are going to bring a lot to the community."
The meeting adjourned at 7:09 p.m.
Due to a packed December agenda, the next Planning Commission meetings are scheduled for Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Monument Town Hall. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Palmer Lake Town Council approved its 2014 water and town budgets at the Nov. 7 meeting. Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Vincent and resident Judith Harrington talked about Palmer Lake working toward becoming a "firewise" community. Awake Palmer Lake committee representatives described the new disc golf course that opened Nov. 17. And Mayor Nikki McDonald announced that the Palmer Lake Town Hall may now be rented by private parties who wish to bring their own alcohol.
Economic Development Trustee Shana Ball was excused from the meeting.
Town and water 2014 budgets approved
Town Accountant Linda Ousnamer and Town Clerk Tara Berreth presented drafts of the 2014 town and water budgets.
The trustees unanimously approved the 2014 budget for the Water Department, which is an enterprise fund. No questions were asked about the water budget. The total projected water enterprise fund revenues and expenses for 2014 are both $835,000.
There was considerable discussion of the town operating budget as trustees and residents asked several questions for clarification, since some wages had been reallocated to new line items. As had occurred in the 2013 budget, the various actual 2014 operating budget column totals were not listed as separate line items.
Overall, the town operating budget would shrink by a projected $30,000 or 2 percent from 2013 to 2014. Ousnamer said the departments "have really excelled in keeping track of your expenses and not overspending" to date in 2013 and need to continue doing so, since revenues are not coming in at the rate they had budgeted for 2013. Berreth said she hopes they receive more revenue than what she has anticipated, but she used conservative revenue estimates for the 2014 budget.
Some of the major line item totals for the approved 2014 Palmer Lake town budget were:
• 2013 estimated actual total general fund revenue* – $1.33 million
• 2013 estimated actual total general fund expenses* – $850,000
• 2013 estimated general fund ending balance* – $ 856,000
• 2014 total budgeted revenues (including emergency reserve funds) – $2.14 million
• 2014 total budgeted expenses (including emergency reserve funds) – $2.14 million
• 2014 net total budgeted revenues (excluding emergency reserve funds)* – $1.16 million
• 2014 net total operating budget (excluding emergency reserve funds)* – $1.10 million
• 2014 budgeted beginning total general fund balance – $ 978,000
* Calculated totals: No estimated values were listed or presented in the 2014 budget for these specific line items, so these numbers were calculated by OCN.
After Harrington made a presentation about the need for the town to support firewise programming efforts for residents and increase the possibility of winning fuel mitigation grants, $2,000 was reallocated from the Conservation Trust to a new firewise line item in the Parks budget. The town budget was then approved unanimously with that amendment.
Firewise community discussion
Harrington said that according to the Colorado State Forest Service website, Palmer Lake is "smack dab in the middle of a Red Zone," which is being used by insurance companies to require wildfire assessment and audits and threaten homeowners with loss of insurance. She recommended that residents ask the Fire Department for free firewise assessments if they have questions about how to do mitigation.
Vincent agreed with Harrington that Palmer Lake needs to become a firewise community. His comments included:
• Our forests are not healthy, and our fuel load is getting heavier and heavier.
• An explanation of the masticated scrub oak fire breaks recently cut into Ben Lomond.
• When you mitigate scrub oak, you’re not done. It’s a lifestyle.
• Homeowners really need to get serious; if you give me defensible space and an area to work in, I can do that. But I am not going to die to save your house.
• Reduce your home ignition possibilities.
McDonald said that early in 2014, the Fire Department and the town will organize informational firewise meetings for residents.
In the mayor’s report, McDonald said that private parties will now be able to rent the Palmer Lake Town Hall for events where they would like to bring in their own alcohol. No alcohol can be sold, nor can admission be charged for these events, Town Attorney Larry Gaddis said. These events will be subject to more regulations and a higher deposit than for regular renters, since it will require a special event liquor license.
McDonald also said that the Haunted Lake event was a success and raised $650 raised toward the Awake Palmer Lake Committee. She said she’s been asked many questions about how this money will be used. Funds raised by Awake Palmer Lake and the Restaurant Association all go into one account to be saved to use as matching funds when the committee applies for grant money to improve the lake and its environs.
Trustee Mike Patrizi turned the Parks and Recreation report over to residents John and Christie Ramshur who have installed a new railroad-themed disc golf course around the lakebed. Ramshur said the Pikes Peak Flying Disc Golf Club designed the course and donated $1,000 to help build it, with the cooperation of the Awake Palmer Lake Committee. The town paid for warning signs for pedestrians on the Santa Fe Trail. In the spring, the committee will look for people or businesses to sponsor a sign with a map of the course.
Water Trustee Michael Maddox said Water Supervisor Steve Orcutt has finished fixing leaks in the town’s water distribution lines. Average water use for October was 140,000 gallons per day, dropping significantly since the summer months.
Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster said that in October there were 30 calls, for a total of 342 for the year to date, with 1,857 volunteer hours and 562 hours of training. The department will fill a full-time position in December.
Kuehster showed the trustees one of the 19 sets of new firefighting gear (helmets, jackets, pants, boots, gloves, etc.) donated to the department by Honeywell Corp. (www.ocn.me/v13n11.htm#pltc.)
Honeywell employees from around the world made donations through the Honeywell Humanitarian Relief Fund to support the Colorado Springs community in the aftermath of both major wildfires. Donations include $255,000 in Honeywell Personal Protective Equipment to six volunteer fire departments and direct cash donations to six additional fire companies. The equipment—Honeywell gloves, boots, and hoods and Morning Pride turnout gear and helmets—will go to volunteer fire departments in Cascade, Crystal Park, Palmer Lake, Simla, Ellicott, and Calhan. The cash donations will be directed to El Paso County Sheriff Wildland Fire Operations and fire departments in Stratmoor Hills, Divide, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, and Black Forest.
Roads Trustee John Russell said that the newer dump truck has been acquired, and the concrete ditching project has been completed on High Street to prevent further erosion. He plans to meet with roads staff to work on long-term maintenance plans.
Fountain Creek Watershed resolution
The trustees unanimously approved Resolution 2013-004 to pay $1,250 for the town’s 2014 membership in the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District. See www.fountain-crk.org for more information. There was consensus that this membership might generate federal funding that might be dispersed to member municipalities.
New business licenses
The trustees unanimously approved new business licenses for:
• Academy Overhead Door, owned by James McGuffey, at 526 Highway 105, Illumination Point. This service company will have a garage door showroom and supply house.
• Precision Light Fabrication Inc., owned by James Profitt, at 115 Highland Rd. This Internet-based business uses a laser to make interiors of balsa wood model airplanes.
McDonald commented that some recent new businesses opening in town are not generating the sales tax revenue the town initially expected, since the products are being shipped elsewhere to be sold, so they are generating "point of delivery" sales tax there instead of "point of sale" tax for Palmer Lake. She asked citizens in attendance to go to Palmer Lake restaurants, noting that these restaurants are the town’s best source of revenue.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 12 in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board approved its 2014 budget and discussed progress on other activities at its Nov. 20 meeting.
WIA President Jim Hale announced that dues for homeowners would increase 2.63 percent to $234 for 2014. This step was justified by an increase in utilities expenses, increases in bids for such services as mowing, and a 1.7 percent pay increase for association employees, he said.
The budget will be available on the WIA website (woodmoor.org) in the near future.
HOA manager Matt Beseau reported that the December newsletter with information on board candidates and the annual meeting was being prepared. He said that there are four declared candidates.
Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) Chief Kevin Nielsen reported that there have been no further thefts of mail or sightings of bears since the last meeting. He introduced new officer Les Mulligan, formerly with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Architectural Control Director Darren Rouse reported that he has had no response from the association’s attorney regarding the Project Design Standards Manual, but hopes that all will be settled and submitted for resident review soon so that copies of the manual could be made available at the annual meeting in late January.
Forestry Director Eric Gross reported that all fire mitigation evaluations for 2013 have been completed and reminded residents to water their trees in the event of two or three weeks without moisture. He also reported that Firewise Chairman Jim Woodman has spoken with representatives of other associations about sharing the expense of offering slash removal throughout the year.
In a related matter, Chief Nielsen requested the purchase of a cordless chainsaw for removal of fallen branches across roadways during windy weather. It would be carried by a WPS officer.
Common Areas Director W. Lee Murray reported that four benches had been installed in common areas and that the association had mowing done along Augusta Drive, where vegetation was causing poor visibility.
The Board of Directors of the Woodmoor Improvement Association normally meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. Due to the Christmas holiday, the next meeting will be on Dec. 18.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig.ocn.me.
By Lisa Hatfield
District 1 Commissioner Darryl Glenn and County Engineer André Brackin addressed the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Homeowners Associations (NEPCO) on Nov. 9 about the need for regional stormwater management and hazardous tree removal. Glenn’s message for El Paso County residents was, "Fire, floods, and recovery are the new normal we are facing."
Regional stormwater management needed
Brackin said county crews responded to several post-Black Forest Fire flood events by:
• Closing flooded roads.
• Providing over 9,000 sandbags.
• Sweeping debris/sand off roads after water receded.
• Repairing washed-out gravel roads and public rights-of-way.
• Clearing culverts and ditches so they can handle the next precipitation.
• Continuing engineering analysis of critical culvert locations.
He showed photos of flooding and repairs on Shoup Road and Casey Lane as examples of the challenges his staff faces from the repercussions of the Black Forest Fire.
Current county stormwater program problems Brackin mentioned included:
• Unfunded government mandates and regulations.
• Deferred county maintenance on clearing sediment and trash from detention ponds and drainage ditches.
• Infrastructure deficiencies, such as undersized culverts, due to lack of regional planning.
• Funding shortages: The county has only $200,000 a year when it could readily use $10 million to repair roads and continue maintenance on drainages.
• The need to find a steady source of funding for stormwater management issues, such as the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) that was approved by voters for specified road and bridge projects.
Brackin described the risks of poor stormwater management, which included:
• Public health safety and welfare risks due to water quality problems.
• Erosion that threatens homes, bridges, roadways, utilities, and other infrastructure.
• Insufficient funds to repair and maintain existing drainage infrastructure or fix damage from floods.
• Negative impacts on water quality and natural resources/ecosystems.
Brackin stated it is vital that stormwater management have three components:
• Drainage policy and regulations for long-term goals.
• Master regional plans for drainage.
• Dedicated funding mechanism.
Brackin said, "There is no property in Colorado that should not consider flood insurance, even if you’re on a hill." And Glenn said, "If you don’t fix your stormwater problem, you will not have reliable drinking water." He said solid drainage infrastructure, not a new downtown baseball stadium, is what will bring more people to El Paso County.
Brackin said hazardous trees damaged by fire need to be removed so that they don’t fall and block evacuation routes.
• Residents should call El Paso County Public Services at 719-520-6460 to report areas of concern for hazardous trees.
• FEMA is funding removal of trees considered to be safety hazards to the public as a result of the disaster declaration.
Glenn said he wished that the county response to emergencies such as the Black Forest Fire could be like the military model, "more streamlined" to make it easier for officials to give reliable information to homeowners. He is collecting contact information from homeowners associations (HOAs) and neighborhoods for future communications needs. Community leaders should email their contact information to Glenn at email@example.com.
Glenn said that the Board of County Commissioners scheduled a work session on county fire codes for Nov. 21 and will make its final decision on proposed county fire code requirements amendments on Dec. 10.
The meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
NEPCO’s mission is to promote communication and interaction among HOAs of northern El Paso County in order to exchange ideas on topics of common interest and to develop collective responses to the county on issues affecting the quality of life of NEPCO member associations.
All formal and informal HOAs in northern El Paso County are invited to join NEPCO and should call Bob Swedenburg at 481-2723 or see www.nepco.org.
The next NEPCO meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 11 at the Monument Town Hall and Police Building, 645 Beacon Lite Road at Highway 105.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
As usual, November was dry and sunny for the most part, with one wintry visit just before Thanksgiving. Temperatures ended up slightly cooler than average for the month and precipitation also came in slightly below normal.
The start of November was a bit up and down, with cool temperatures on the 1st and 4th and mild weather in between. A few light flurries developed during the late morning of the 1st, with clear skies quickly following. This was on the heels of another storm system that moved by just a little too far to our north to have much of impact on the Palmer Divide.
Behind that system, clear and quiet weather moved in under a ridge of high pressure. This led to highs reaching into the upper 50s and low 60s. Cool conditions, with low clouds and fog, moved back in behind a cold front on the 4th. Highs were held in the 30s that afternoon, and many areas up in the trees received a nice coating of rime ice.
As is typical in November, normally one of our driest months of the year, the first full week of the month, was, well, dry. After a brief taste of winter on the 4th and 5th, sunshine was abundant, with temperatures hovering from normal to warmer than normal levels. The warmest day was the 8th, when west/southwest winds helped highs reach into the mid-60s. Overnight lows started off on the chilly side to start the week, hitting the low teens and upper single digits on the mornings of the 5th and 6th.
It was another dry and mild week from the 11th through the 17th. High temperatures were consistently at or above average for the week with the exception of Sunday. Highs reached into the 50s for the most part, reaching as high as the low 60s on the 13th. A storm system out of the Pacific Northwest affected the state over the weekend. The path of this storm meant snow and wind for the mountains, but just wind for us. As the storm passed by, a quick shot of snow fell on the evening of the 16th, and the cooler air behind the storm kept temperatures slightly below normal on Sunday the 17th.
Winter finally made a sustained appearance just before Thanksgiving, with a strong cold front moving through just after midnight on the 21st. Temperatures cooled significantly that morning and through the afternoon, ending up 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the previous few days. Snow developed as well, with 2 to 3 inches accumulating around the region. Light snow stuck around through the morning of the 21st, and the cold air stayed in place. High temperatures only reached the low 30s on the afternoon of the 22nd and 23rd.
The region was dry on the 23rd before the rest of the storm moved through over the next couple of days. As the storm moved over Colorado on the 24th and 25th, areas of light snow and snow showers developed each day. Another inch of snow accumulated over the two-day period and temperatures stayed below normal, as highs struggled to hit the 30s each day.
Quiet and sunny conditions then moved in behind this departing storm for the remainder of the month. Sunshine helped temperatures rebound to normal and slightly above normal over the next few days, ranging from 38°F on the 26th to 54°F on the 29th.
November 2013 Weather Statistics
Average High 48.3° (-0.8°) 100-year return frequency value max
55.5° min 38.5°
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the view of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
Like many of you, I bicycled or walked to school almost every day until my junior year of high school when it wasn’t cool" anymore—even in Wisconsin. For most students in D-38, that’s not a safe option. But what if it were? We’d have healthier kids, less congestion on roads before and after school, plus more time and less stress for overscheduled parent-chauffeurs.
Recently, residents had the chance to share their vision for improved trails and sidewalks for the Tri-Lakes region. Only 30 people attended the "Walk Bike Connect," PPACG’s regional non-motorized transportation meeting held in Monument in November. But you’ll get another chance. Public comments are welcome at www.walkbikeconnect.org. Another public meeting will be held in our area next spring. Perhaps a few elected officials and community leaders will attend.
We all need to weigh in. If you ride a horse, bicycle or walk/jog, your opinion matters. Where do we need bike lanes? Where does trail connectivity matter most? That wisdom will become our regional roadmap for years to come. The Master Plan will be used as money becomes available. And it’ll be up to organizations like mine and trail/sidewalk users like you to demand that public money be spent on these projects as an investment in our region. The squeaky bike wheel almost always gets greased, eventually.
Susan Davies, executive director, Trails and Open Space Coalition and South Woodmoor resident
Two weeks ago I attended the November meeting of the D-38 Board of Education to hear former Superintendent Ray Kilmer’s acceptance of his installation into the Lewis-Palmer School District Hall of Fame. His remarks were as memorable as the man himself must clearly have been during his active service with the school district.
Less memorable though was a succession of speakers following Ray who paraded to the microphone calling for the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman. This display was not at all memorable; it was a travesty.
I have known Ms. Wangeman for many years. From that point to the present I have been highly impressed with her integrity and work ethic. In fact, during my own 34 years of service in the public sector, I have never known a public servant more capable of performing assigned duties, more dedicated to the job and to the organization, or more level-headed in exercising judgment. She is a selfless financial pro, a tireless worker for the benefit of the district, and a walking encyclopedia of district operations. Would that all of my public sector subordinates years ago had exhibited the extraordinary characteristics Cheryl Wangeman brings to the table in abundance.
Rather than taking unfair and inappropriate personal potshots at district employees, wouldn’t it be better for these individuals to offer constructive ways for the district to cope with a shrinking set of financial resources? D-38 will need all the help we residents can give it.
Here we go again: another Lewis-Palmer School District 38 superintendent search. In the past eight years, this revolving door position has been filled six times and now Ted Bauman has been chosen again as the interim following the sudden resignation of Mr. Borman, effective Dec. 31. The most recent superintendent search cost the district $10,000, expended enormous amounts of time for then interim Superintendent Bauman, district personnel, and volunteers from the community to sit on interview committees.
Two of the three finalists brought solid experience at the highest levels of school district administration, while John Borman was a well-liked and seemingly competent principal who had served at Lewis-Palmer High School for several years. In the end, the Board of Education and Bauman hand selected Borman after dismissing most of the committees’ input. The board’s favorite, Borman, did not even meet the published qualifications and was not the first or second choice for the position by the community committee members, yet the school board members overwhelmingly chose him.
Interestingly, of the three finalists, only Borman said he would support an MLO at that time. Also recall that the primary justification the board members gave in the selection of Borman over two far more experienced finalists was the "he knew the district," which was not one of the published criteria for the position.
Who was it who said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over
and over again and expecting a different result"? Shouldn’t the current process
include a panel made up of school district patrons who either have proven
business, education, or leadership expertise? How will the board redeem
themselves and prove to the community that this selection process will indeed
honor the voices of diverse community members in this important leadership
By the staff at Covered Treasures
As the shopping days wind down, are you still looking for the ideal gift for the "hard to buy for" entries on your list? Or do you need some stocking stuffers or hostess gifts? Following are a few unique, new, and interesting titles to consider.
The Bully Pulpit
In her distinctive ability to combine scholarly rigor with accessibility, Goodwin offers a dynamic history of the Progressive era. The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination. It is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform, and is founded upon a wealth of primary materials, including letters and diaries.
No Plan B
On the practice field, Peyton Manning can be a perfectionist, while on the team plane he becomes a comedian who has teammates rolling in the aisles. To get inside football’s most beautiful mind, Kiszla takes readers from raucous locker rooms to quiet film rooms for a behind-the-scenes look at Manning’s release from the Colts and his remarkable revival with the Broncos. New details emerge, such as whom, among the management team, first suggested that the Broncos recruit Manning after this celebrated MVP was cut by Indianapolis.
Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop and became the most famous person on the planet. Babe Ruth began his assault on the home run record, and Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business. All this and more transpired in the epochal summer of 1927, which Bryson describes in narrative nonfiction of the highest order.
In a wise, gentle and wry road map, Hoffman gives directions on how to reclaim your life, with ways to envision everything—from relationships with friends and family to the way you see yourself—and how to find beauty in the world even during your toughest times. Hoffman reminds us that our lives are made up of equal parts of sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other. This insightful little book will fit into some Christmas stockings.
Pocket Pals Trail Guides
When Vasilakis, an avid hiker, first moved to Colorado Springs, he was excited about all the national forest trails to explore. He soon found, however, that the trails weren’t well-marked, and he felt the scale was too large on most available maps. With a background in geographic information systems and computer mapping, Vasilakis began making his own hiking maps with the help of a GPS device. The results of his efforts are a series of pocket-size, waterproof, tear-resistant maps of 14 Pikes Peak region trails, plus maps for five fourteeners. Hikers will be thrilled to find these handy little maps in their stockings.
When life lurches out of balance, we collect the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sew them back together, one stitch at a time. Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times—where we start again after personal and public devastation, how we recapture wholeness after loss, and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. Using her witty humor and faith in God, Lamott helps us understand how to cope with loss, as well as with love and laughter.
How to Tie a Scarf: 33 Styles
From designer silk squares to chunky homemade knits, this guide is filled with inspired ways to style your scarves. It includes step-by-step instructions for square, oblong, and embellished scarves and styles for summer, fall, winter, and spring. Add a scarf to this attractive little book, and you have a perfect gift.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a holiday season filled with love, laughter, family and friends. Until next year, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
Optimism is alive and well in the art world, and last month was an indicator of robust art buying enthusiasm. Prestigious Post War and Contemporary art had the best auction total in recorded history just in November. The result was $691 million in sales at the famed Christie’s auction house in New York.
The Contemporary art sector has held its place in the world art market since the Contemporary movements of Post War Art and Pop Art appeared, and Contemporary artist Jeff Koons is now the highest paid living artist, since his Balloon Dog (Orange) fetched $52 million at the auction.
I have found making balloon animals to be a fun, novel medium for sculpture that anyone can enjoy. Artfully, these forms are pleasing, pure abstracts of real things and animals that must be created with enough imagination to represent their essence. Koons’ balloon animals are made using purchased toys as maquette, then fabricated into gargantuan size in stainless steel. While some critics laud his insights to common culture, others rail against the works as "kitschy" and self-merchandising.
Koons established himself as an artist in the 1980s in New York while working at the Museum of Modern Art. He also became licensed broker in the commodities market for a number of years at the prestigious Smith Barney and others. As an artist, I find that his commodities career move was rather brilliant, seeing as how art is the last high end (yet completely unregulated) commodity that exists—and he likely made many contacts at that job in the high-end financial arena that could facilitate the sales of his works of art at that level.
The artist has said, "I think art takes you outside yourself, takes you past yourself .… And if the anxiety is removed everything is so close, everything is available, and it’s just this little bit of confidence, or trust, that people have to delve into."
His paintings are done in a "color by number" process so that the result appears to be made by a single hand, but in reality he has over 100 artisans at work in his factory. In sculpture, he designs multiples of high-end products that sell for millions of dollars each. In any case, Koons can smile all the way to the bank. Becoming the artist with the highest price tag for his sculpture is an art form, or at least a magical feat, in itself. While not our usual concept of art as a personal statement, that is pretty rich.
December events for art around town
Bella Art and Frame Gallery and Wisdom Tea House continue co-hosting of a Contemporary art photo exhibit with the works of 45 photographers on view. The works range from ethereal imagery complete with fog and mysterious atmospheres to very graphic, impressionistic images. All of the works are on the subject of A Tree, which is the title of the show. The show runs through December. Bella Art and Frame, 183 Washington St., and Wisdom Tea House, 65 Second St., are across Second Street from each other in Monument.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TCLA) opened its Contemporary art show Who Done It on Dec. 6. Artists created exhibition pieces on 12-by-12-inch canvases. The sale also was open to the mediums of glass, wood, and others. Artists did not sign the front of their works to keep an air of intrigue for the show. Signatures and contact information are on back of each piece, but viewers will not know who created the work until after it is purchased. Each piece sells for $250. Show runs through December. TCLA is at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake.
Our local art venues and galleries will participate in the annual shopping events for the annual Small Town Christmas Saturdays on Dec. 7 and 14. Mr. and Mrs. Claus and perhaps some elves and more will greet you and your loved ones. We may even see the Cinderella Carriage again, so keep an eye out.
These events are truly the efforts of the artful imagination of a small town at holiday time, so be sure to join the local merchants and celebrate the season in a fun way as well as buy gifts. And it is so enjoyable to go walking in our town, taking in its festive air as we greet others and make lifelong memories of this special season. Let’s bundle up because it’s winter, and make some fun and warm memories for life.
Janet Lee Sellers is an American artist, teacher and writer. She makes public art sculptures in concrete, and paintings in oils and watercolors. Sellers lives in Woodmoor,and looks for sightings of wildlife while being protected by her tame pets on the back deck. So far they sound the alarm to … mostly other pets. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Click here to view the on-line version. Snapshots of Our Community appears starting on page 25. Below is the text of the captions and articles that appeared within the Snapshots section:
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7829 of Monument awarded Colton Baroni the post’s award for achieving first place in the local Patriot’s Pen Contest for his essay on patriotism. With Baroni are Post 7829 officers, from left, Joe Martin and Jerry Lollar, and their wives on the right, Patty Lollar and Diane Martin. Caption: The post’s Teacher of the Year award was given to Prairie Winds Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Gwen Shindel, shown being congratulated by her school Principal Aileen Finnegan and Lewis-Palmer Middle School Principal Seann O’Connor. The post annually recognizes the area’s top classroom teacher who teaches citizenship education topics at least half of the school day and promotes America’s history, traditions, and institutions effectively. Shindel distinguished herself in this role in 2013. Photos by Bernard Minetti.
By David Futey
Jeff Hart, general manager-international operations with the Layne Christensen Co., faced a critical situation three years ago, knowing that about 2,300 feet below him were 33 trapped miners at the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile. Hart, a Colorado native, described his experience, the drilling process, and rescue operation from August to October 2010 in a Nov. 7 lecture at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI).
Hart was thousands of miles away in Afghanistan, drilling water wells for the U.S. Army and watching the news about the trapped miners, when he received word that he and his team were being called upon to assist with the rescue. All entryways into the mine had collapsed as a result of over 700 tons of rock shifting, perhaps due to recent earthquakes in Chile.
Three drills were used to reach the trapped miners, but out-of-date mine maps made pinpointing their location difficult. Contact with the miners was eventually made on the 18th day of the rescue, but efforts to enlarge the hole proved difficult.
Hart and his team arrived on the 35th day of the rescue. It took another 21 day to enlarge the initial 5-inch hole to 12 inches and then to 28 inches. The final diameter of the hole allowed for a rescue pod to be lowered and bring up the miners on day 69.
Through the efforts of Hart, his team, and Layne’s Latin American affiliate Geotec, the rescue was completed two months ahead of estimates.
The replica shown of the rescue pod is on permanent display a the WMMI.
Information on upcoming events at the WMMI is at www.wmmi.org.
David Futey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bernard Minetti
A unit of the Young Marines, a national organization that is congressionally chartered, is now operating in the Monument area. The Young Marines focus on character building, leadership, and a healthy and drug-free lifestyle for the youths who participate. The Young Marines unit is made up of boys and girls who desire to learn these traits.
If you have a child who would like to volunteer with the Young Marines, contact U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Loman, an active-duty Army volunteer and the unit commander of the Monument Unit. He may be contacted at 719-471-3527 or 719-220-0563 for further information about participation in the Monument unit.
The Young Marine units are community-based programs lead by adult volunteers. Many of these volunteers are former, retired, active-duty, or reserve Marines who believe that the values they learned as Marines had a positive effect on them. Prior military experience is not required to become a volunteer with the Young Marines.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at email@example.com.
Caption: The Monument Unit of the Young Marines is composed of (from left, at rear) unit Adjutant Sharon Beck, Unit Commander U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Loman, Master Sgt. Rebecca Beck, Pvt. John Cerato, and unit Paymaster Deanna Rose. From left, front, are Pvt. Bryson Browning and Pfc. Rylan Wood. Photo by Bernard Minetti.
By Lisa Hatfield
The 2013 Community Coming Together Thanksgiving Dinner was organized by the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) and offered a free dinner for Tri-Lakes and Black Forest community members who were unable to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends or family at home, and to local first responders who were on duty.
The event took place at Rosie’s Diner on Nov. 28 and was made possible by many anonymous donors and volunteers as well as Sysco, Monument Vision Clinic, Safeway, JJ Tracks, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, 1st Bank, Trinity Lutheran Church, Town of Monument, Rock House Ice Cream and More, O’Malley’s Pub, First National Bank, Tri-Lakes Printing, Peoples Bank, Texas Roadhouse, Integrity Bank and Trust, Village Inn, Tri-Lakes Cares, Yolanda’s Wellness and Spa, Mountain View Electric Association, the Kiwanis Club of Monument Hill, Lions Club International of Monument, Monument Motors, Monarch Merchandising, Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, Big Opposable Thumb, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Frank Bittinger, John Debonowski, Sue Extner, Leonard Himes, Don and Robin Moconahy, Pam Smith, Denny and Dorothy Myers, and Nikki McDonald.
For more information about HAP or to volunteer to help with next year’s Community Coming Together event, businesses and individuals can visit www.trilakeshap.org/cct or email admin@TriLakesHAP.org or call HAP at 464-6873.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Volunteers, from left, Bob Nissen, Jeannine Engel, Terry Hayes, Marianne Black, Robin and Don Maconachy, helped serve the Community Coming Together Thanksgiving meal. Photo by Allen Alchian.
Caption: Local authors Beth Groundwater and Michael Madigan signed autographs and chated with customers Nov. 30 at the Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument as part of Small Business Saturday, which is a part of "Three Saturdays of Holiday Fun." Events continue Dec. 7 and 14. Information can be found at www.monumentmerchants.com or by emailing email@example.com. Photo by Kate Wetterer.
Caption: Chef Courtney, left, and patron Su Ogersby Ketchmark enjoy talking about chocolates over samples at 1492 Chocolates, one of the newest small-town stores in Monument. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Shirley Karlstrum honored AARP Chapter 1100 veterans on Nov. 13 in Black Forest. The tribute was primarily directed to the 18 chapter veterans, including two from WWII, plus eight veterans’ widows. All five branches of the U.S. military were represented: eight Army, five Air Force, two Navy, two Marines, and one Coast Guard. A traditional White Table was provided during the chapter Thanksgiving luncheon to commemorate all those military members who are listed as Missing in Action (MIA) and to honor their sacrifice for this country.
Retired Air Force Maj. Robert Apodaca described the moving ordeal of growing up without his father, an F-4 pilot who was MIA in the Vietnam War. He also recounted how his Air Force Academy friends and classmates rallied together during very difficult times to assist his "bringing home" his father’s remains once they were identified many years later.
Jim Tackett from the El Paso County Veterans Services office updated the membership on the latest benefits available to veterans and their widows. He also fielded questions on veterans benefits from the chapter membership and guests.
Black Forest AARP Chapter membership is open to all ages. For meeting information, call Chuck at 749-9227 or visit http://aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com/index.html.
Photo and information provided by Stan Beckner.
Caption: Black Forest Chapter veterans present at the Nov. 13 meeting were: from left, front row, Carol Billiard, Charles Karlstrum and Nick Kneebone (Army), Electa Beckner and Royce Brown (Air Force), Martin Brauns (Army), and Charles Eaton (Navy); rear row, Raymond Rozak and Donald VonGunden (Army), Stanley Beckner (Air Force), Howard Pease (Navy), Edward Lunacek (Marines), Waldo Pendleton (Coast Guard), and Howard Tilton (Air Force).
By Harriet Halbig
As the holidays approach, the library offers many entertaining programs and activities to enjoy with friends.
Relax in the library while enjoying a seasonal concert by young harp musicians. Everyone is welcome on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. for Holiday Harps.
The Palmer Ridge High School Robotics Team presents Explore STEM Day. Come drive a Frisbee-throwing robot or try your hand at an underwater rover. Explore the opportunities with a Lego Mindstorms demonstration on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1:30 p.m.
Decorate holiday cookies in the children’s area of the library on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 11 to 3.
Also on Dec. 21, the Legos Club will meet from 10 to 11:30. It’s open to all ages. The library provides the Legos and you bring your creativity. Be sure to bring your camera to record your creation, as all pieces used to make projects remain the property of the library.
The December homeschool program is about cookie decorating. Take a break and join your homeschool friends to do some decorating. We’ll supply the cookies, frosting and sprinkles on Monday, Dec. 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Teens and tweens
December’s Crafty Teens program on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. is an opportunity to make various holiday ornaments. The program is open to ages 12 and up and requires no registration.
Is math homework getting you down? Do you need to brush up before the GED, ACT, or GRE? Students of all ages are welcome to sit down with our friendly volunteer math tutors to smooth over those trouble spots. No appointment is necessary, just drop in on Mondays between 3:30 and 7 p.m. Tutoring will not take place in D-38 or on library holidays.
Don’t just play video games—create one yourself! Learn how to use software programs to make your characters, games, and animated cards work. We’ll explore a variety of software in future sessions that will get you started. Registration is limited to 20 boys and girls from third grade to teens on Friday, Dec. 27, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
The AARP Mature Safe Driver Program will be offered on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is the nation’s largest classroom driver refresher course designed for motorists age 50 and older. Graduates may present their course completion certificate to their insurance agent for a discount in premiums. Charge for the four-hour course is $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Class size is limited and registration is required. To register call AARP at 203-4972.
The Monumental Readers will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, to discuss Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. All patrons are welcome to join this monthly book club.
On the walls during December, Lynn Lee displays her watercolor and colored pencil creations. In the display case will be a collection of presidential ornaments. Each year since 1981, the White House Historical Association has designed an ornament specifically for the White House Christmas tree.
Palmer Lake Library programs
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. New members are welcome. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.
Kids of all ages are invited to combine icing, sprinkles, and holiday cheer to decorate colossal cookies on Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Become a Fibernista! Share and learn new techniques of knitting and other fiber arts at the library, each Thursday from 10 to noon. Bring a new project or one in progress.
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library District facilities will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25. In addition, they will close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 and remain closed on New Year’s Day.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
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.
Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
Dec. 11: Chicken Dijon, rice, & salad
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.
An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership. Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.
PPLD Seeks Photos, Videos of Black Forest Fire
Pikes Peak Library District wants to preserve the record of the historic Black Forest Fire and its effects on our community. The district is collecting images for an online photo gallery, which you can send to email@example.com. Feel free to include any personal accounts associated with each image, which will be used as a caption. For details on how to submit your photos, video, and high-resolution photos, visit www.ppld.org.
Donate personal hygiene products, ends Dec. 10
Wescott Fire Department is accepting donations of personal hygiene products (toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, laundry detergent, diapers, baby wipes, etc). The items will be taken to Partners in Housing, which supports members of the community who need a hand up. Bring your donations to Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr., by Dec. 10. For information, see the website www.wescottfire.org.
Donations and volunteers needed for Feed the Children, Dec. 14
El Paso County’s 13th annual Feed the Children event occurs Dec. 14, 8 a.m-3 p.m., at Springs Church, 1515 Auto Mall Loop, Colorado Springs. It is a one-day event just before Christmas where the families already receiving help from the Department of Human Services are able to enjoy a day of celebration and receive food, toys, books and toiletries. To donate money, contact Rebecca Jacobs, 444-8191 or RebeccaJacobs@elpasoco.com. To donate new and like-new infant and children’s clothing, contact the Music Evangelism Foundation, 591-7481. To volunteer, sign up online, http://dhs.elpasoco.com/Pages/FeedTheChildren.aspx and click on the Volunteer Signup Form. For more information, email FTC@elpasoco.com.
Santa on Patrol toy drive, ends Dec. 20
Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department will deliver toys to children in the Tri-Lakes area Dec. 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and they need the community’s support. Please drop off new, unwrapped toys or gift cards by Dec. 20 to Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd.; Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department fire stations 1, 2, & 3 or the department’s administration building, 166 Second St., Monument. Any family in need or with questions may call Jennifer, 484-0911.
Colorado Gardener Certificate training program, apply by Jan. 3
Colorado State University (CSU) Extension is now accepting registrations for the 2014 Colorado Gardener Certificate (CGC) training program. Classes will be held 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 15 through March 12, at the El Paso County CSU Extension Office. CGC students may also attend up to three "Plus" classes, which are offered March 18 to April 4 on various days and in various Front Range counties. Space is limited and available on a first-paid basis. Registration form and payment must be received at the county CSU Extension Office by 5 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2014. Gift certificates are available. For more information, visit www.cmg.colostate.edu/ or call Julie, 520-7690.
MVEA Scholarships, apply by Jan. 15
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) awards 14 scholarships of $1,000 each to graduating high school seniors. Applications are available at either MVEA office, high school counselors’ offices, or online at www.mvea.coop under ‘Community.’ For more information, call 719-494-2670.
CASA seeks volunteers
Give the gift of a voice to an abused or neglected child. CASA volunteers are an amazing force for good, but we need more! Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Visit our website for an application, training schedules, and frequently asked questions. You can also contact Kelly at 447-9898 x1033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Rockin’ the Rails Disc Golf Course opens
Palmer Lake’s nine-hole disc golf course is now open. Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, but instead of a ball and club, players use a Frisbee-like flying disc. Like traditional golf, the object is to complete each hole in the fewest number of "strokes." The disc golf course is at 198 County Line Rd., Palmer Lake, at the park just east of the railroad tracks. For more information, visit www.awakepalmerlake.org.
Dog park at Fox Run Regional Park now open
The new facility is a five-acre fenced area for dogs to roam off-leash. The dog park was added to Fox Run Regional Park’s Master Plan at the request of citizens who wanted a safe place to let their dogs run and play off-leash. Heuberger Motors donated to the dog park through the successful Partners in the Park program. Volunteers with Friends of Fox Run Regional Park raised $2,500 for the project. The parking lot for the dog park is located near the Stella Drive entrance in southeast Fox Run Regional Park. Stay to the right as you enter the park. For more information, contact Dana Nordstrom, 520-6983.
Help chart Colorado’s transportation future
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) invites citizens to get involved in planning the future of the state’s transportation system by visiting the website, www.coloradotransportationmatters.com. Website visitors will discover what opportunities and challenges face Colorado’s transportation system. It allows the public to provide comments and take online surveys and examine the financial practices and organizational policies used by CDOT to stretch resources and meet statewide needs. Local planning processes, upcoming events, and data on the state’s economy, environment and transportation system are available on the site. For more information, visit www.coloradotransportationmatters.com.
Monument Academy looking for Walk-a-thon sponsors
Monument Academy is still seeking sponsors for the Middle School Walk-a-thon scheduled for Feb. 21, 2014. Monument Academy receives the lowest level of per-pupil funding of any school in the state, making fundraising essential. Sponsorship can be given at any amount, but a company’s logo will be placed on all event-related signs, banners, and T-shirts for those who donate $100 or more. Sponsors can also donate goods and services that support the event expenses. Sponsors can contact Julie Galusky at email@example.com through January for more information or to help sponsor the upcoming Walk-a-thon. All donations are tax-deductible.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs now through April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
Free Senior Safety Handyman Services
Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Tax credit available for wildfire mitigation work
Taxpayers with property located in a wildland-urban interface area can receive a tax credit up to $2,500 for performing wildfire mitigation measures. Information regarding community wildfire protection plans and wildfire mitigation measures can be found online at www.wescottfire.org and www.csfs.colostate.edu. For information, check www.taxcolorado.com.
Free help line for fire victims
Optum, a health and behavioral health services company, is offering a free emotional-support help line to those affected by wildfires. The service is free and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters. The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary.
OCN seeks volunteers
Would you like to volunteer with Our Community News? You can help with mailing day, write articles, take snapshots, and write captions, and more. We’ll teach you! Text or call Lisa at 339-7831 to find out more.
With the heightened concern for fire danger along the Front Range, many people want to sign up their home or cell phone for reverse emergency notification. The El Paso-Teller E-911 Authority Emergency Notification System is used to notify residents of any potential emergencies in their neighborhood. To sign up, go to https://elptc911.onthealert.com.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m.; National Mah-jongg, Fridays, 1-4 p.m.; line dancing, first and second Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m.; tea time, third Tuesday, 1-3 p.m.; bingo, third Wednesday, 12:30-3 p.m. Also available at the center are ping-pong, Wii video games, various puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. There are articles and notices of events geared toward senior citizens. To subscribe to the free newsletter, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesHAP.org.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on February 01, 2019. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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