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Above: At FireWise Community Day at the Woodmoor Barn on June 29, Jim Woodman, left, with hazard rating map, Dick Green, and other FireWise volunteers shared information with over 220 Tri-Lakes residents on how to create “defensible space,” a 100-foot-wide area with graduated fuels reduction around the house. Residents should remove pine needles 15 feet from the house. The goal is to reduce vegetative fuels so that a wildfire can’t reach the home. Scrub oak and junipers are particularly flammable “ladder fuels” that should be removed 30 feet from homes and away from any pine trees. See the Personal Wildfire Action Plan Bulletin at www.woodmoor.org/pdf-files/forestry/WIA-ActionPlanBooklet_PROOF4.pdf for ideas about home hardening, defensible space, and evacuation planning. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
By Harriet Halbig
In the wake of the Black Forest Fire, the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board invited Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Marshal John Vincent to attend its June 26 meeting.
The board had discussed fire mitigation in previous meetings, with special presentations by the chairman of the Firewise Committee and the Forestry Committee and a mailing of information about emergency preparedness and fire prevention. There had also been two public meetings on the subject. The Black Forest Fire proved that a fire could happen suddenly and that preparedness and prevention could help save homes and lives.
Vincent said that Woodmoor is much more similar to Black Forest than it is to the area of the Waldo Canyon Fire. The area is heavily wooded and populated with flammable, wood-sided homes with trees over roofs and brushing against decks.
When asked what precautions homeowners could take to preserve their properties, Vincent had a few basic suggestions:
• Reduce fuels on the property. Remember that flames can move up from low, dry brush to tree limbs to the canopy. Once the flames reach the tops of trees, little can be done to slow the spread of the fire.
• Create a defensible space around the home. Remove highly flammable materials within 30 feet of the home. Junipers and scrub oaks are especially dangerous.
• Place reflectors at the end of your driveway. In Black Forest, the power was out and it was difficult to find driveways in the dark and smoke when mailboxes were absent. This is especially important in cases where the house is not visible from the street.
• Have a plan for your own evacuation. If you are separated from your family, know where you will meet in case of an evacuation. If you own animals, have a plan for their care in case of evacuation. Have your necessary documents (insurance and bank information, passports, marriage license, etc.) gathered in one place. Be sure to have necessary medications at hand.
• Work with your neighbors for mutual support.
Vincent said that firefighters made an initial sweep of Black Forest to do triage, deciding which homes were defensible and which would be passed over in the event that the fire was sweeping toward them. He said to keep this in mind when deciding whether fire mitigation is worth the time and expense.
Prevention work necessary
Board President Jim Hale commented that much work is needed in Woodmoor and that he is noticing many homeowners are thinning trees and eliminating fuels. He said that the association is willing to work with homeowners if they need to leave slash on a property for a few days before disposal. However, he reminded homeowners that the slash piles are a fire hazard in themselves.
Hale and other members of the board discussed possible ways to encourage action on the part of homeowners, such as offering an additional chipping day and whether it would be feasible to determine a maximum number of trees per lot. The concern with a maximum number of trees is that the expense of removing large numbers could be prohibitive. Insurance companies sometimes limit the number of trees they would remove. Other companies are now requiring homeowners to thin their trees in order to retain coverage.
Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen said that his officers have been proactive in enforcing the covenant against parking on the street. They have notified 40 homeowners of this offense and recorded several as covenant violations. The major concern is that hot exhaust systems may ignite dry grasses and start a fire.
Nielsen also reported that his officers have identified 30 intersections where vegetation interferes with visibility and will report this finding to the county. He said that when trees or shrubs are in the road easement, the county is responsible for their removal.
Treasurer Tom Schoemaker reported that the association is still under budget.
Common Areas Director W. Lee Murray reported that spraying for noxious weeds has been completed and mowing has begun.
Hale reported that there were 122 covenant violations May, primarily for excess fuel, signs, exterior maintenance, and projects begun without Architectural Control approval. Architectural Control Director Darren Rouse reported that the subcommittee is doing its final review of the design standards manual and that the committee hopes to have the document completed and in use by the end of the summer after a period of comment by residents and the board.
Forestry Director Eris Gross said that there have now been 114 lot evaluations this year, primarily for fire concerns. He said that mountain pine beetle flying season is from July 1 to Oct. 1 and stressed that fresh pine slash should not be left on a property during that time.
The board of the Woodmoor Improvement Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the association’s Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on July 24.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported to the Board of Education that a few changes were made to the budget since the board’s May meeting. Half-time instructional coaches were added to the staffs of the elementary schools, and $50,000 was added to the technology budget.
Wangeman projects a full-time student population of 5,830 for next year. The district now is 122 students short of that number, but registration generally increases between July and the Oct. 1 student count date.
The district will receive an additional $1 million next year on a one-time basis due to increased funding from capital gains on the state level.
The board passed the 2013-14 budget as presented.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 celebrated achievements of some of its supporters at its June 20 meeting.
Dr. Marie Revak, former director of Assessment for the district, and Nina Zubiel were recognized for founding AfterMath, a free math tutoring program at the Monument Library. One hundred twenty students from third grade through college age took advantage of the program during the 2012-13 school year, during the fall and again during the spring semester. Students from School District 20, Pikes Peak Community College, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs also participated.
Revak said that she contacted people she knew from the Air Force Academy, while Zubiel contacted those on the list of tutors from Lewis-Palmer High School. The number of tutors participating grew from eight to 20 during the course of the year. Many were retired teachers.
Zubiel said that many Advanced Placement math students came every week, sometimes with two or three from a class meeting with a single tutor. She suggested that the district post the program on the campus website. She also said that certain aspects of math seemed to be weak spots and offered to meet with Superintendent John Borman and others to discuss them.
Revak said that she has requested a grant from Monument Hill Kiwanis for the purchase of several small tables for the use of the tutors.
Zubiel said that the East and Rockrimmon libraries have requested help in setting up similar programs.
The board also recognized the efforts of Cathy Wilcox, Jim Carter, and Sue Huismann for their success in obtaining a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant to fund 45 percent of the cost of reroofing Lewis-Palmer High School. The team had success in acquiring two previous grants as well by creating a good relationship with the Colorado Department of Education and keeping a comprehensive list of funding needs.
Borman reported on the activities of the district during the Black Forest Fire. He commended Wangeman and the maintenance staff for their quick action to set up a Red Cross shelter at Palmer Ridge High School, adding that, once the New Life Church shelter closed due to smoke, the Palmer Ridge shelter was quite full, including pets as well as people.
Borman also said that last year’s experiences during the Waldo Canyon Fire aided in determining how to remove files from Kilmer Elementary during its time under evacuation, and from Bear Creek Elementary and Lewis-Palmer High School during their pre-evacuation status.
Borman said that the school district has developed a close relationship with Tri-Lakes Cares during such times.
Report on Exceptional Student Services
Director of Exceptional Student Services Mary Anne Fleury reported on a recent survey of her department’s staff. Half of the staff responded to the survey and reported that they are generally satisfied with funding for conference attendance, feel that special education students are accepted by the general education staff and students, and that parents are generally respectful and supportive of them.
The staff said that the primary problems in the department are lack of funding, poor attendance by students, lack of planning time, and the time burden of assessments.
Fleury said that school psychologists will act as liaisons between individual schools and the director’s office in the coming year. They will meet bi-weekly.
Fleury reported that special education is shifting its emphasis from what is wrong with special education students to what teachers can do differently in the classroom to help them succeed.
Communications plan update
Community Relations Manager Robin Adair reported that the district continues to connect with community groups during the summer to familiarize them with the state of the district. The district and several schools will have floats in the July 4 parade in Monument. The Home School Enrichment Academy will hold several open houses during the summer as well.
Adair said that an effort is being made to see who is viewing the district’s website, and it appears that a number of military families are accessing it.
Borman’s contract renewed
The board voted to renew the contract of Superintendent Borman for another year, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. Members said that his appointment as superintendent was one of the best decisions they had made.
The board voted to notify the county clerk of its intention to participate in the November 2013 election to elect two members and possibly add an additional item. The board designated Vicki Wood as its election official and directed her to place a paid ad in the Tri-Lakes Tribune calling for nominees for the board positions.
The board approved a list of routine items such as the minutes of previous meetings, resignations, retirements, contracts, budget revisions, advertising agreements and similar matters.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month during the school year at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St. in Monument. The board did not schedule a July meeting.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the June 18 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District meeting, board and audience members listened to accounts of Wescott crews assisting in the fight against the Black Forest Fire that started on June 11 and was 85 percent contained by the night of the board meeting a week later. In executive session, the board approved Chief Burns to work with the county to put a mill levy increase issue on the next ballot.
The absences of Director Greg Gent and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings were excused.
Steps begun for mill levy increase ballot issue
The board entered an executive session after the regular meeting to "determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators."
In an email to OCN on June 20, Administrative Assistant Cheryl Marshall wrote, "After executive session, the board reconvened into a regular board meeting at 10:33 p.m. (Director) William McAllister made a motion to proceed ahead with the necessary actions and steps to increase the mill levy from 7 to 11 mills. (Director) Joyce Hartung seconded the motion. After several months of strategizing, there was a final discussion regarding raising the mill levy. A vote was taken and the motion passed. The Board directed Fire Chief (Vinny Burns) to "begin the necessary actions with the county to present this on the next ballot issue."
Since a possible consolidation or merger with the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District is being discussed, the two fire districts would like to have equal mill levy rates to simplify voters’ decisions in a possible public vote on a merger.
Black Forest Fire synopsis and chief’s report
Some of the comments Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District Chief Bob Harvey made during public comments:
• I want to tell the board and all the members of the district what an exceptional performance that the Wescott members did on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 11 and 12), especially when we held the fire at High Forest Ranch. It was absolutely remarkable.
• We all drew together… I saw cohesiveness. I saw intelligent decisions. I saw determination.
• The Wescott crews really came out shining on top.
• It was the best collaborative effort I’ve seen in a long, long time. You have some officers to be extremely proud of.
• Chief (Vinny) Burns, (Assistant Chief Scott) Ridings, and Capt. (Sean) Pearson will be receiving a medal of commendation from Black Forest.
Some of the highlights Burns shared were:
• There is no comparison (with the Waldo Canyon Fire). At Waldo, they had three days to figure this out, make decisions, pre-position equipment. We had literally 10 minutes to figure this out. (Black Forest) had more vegetation to carry (the fire); nothing would stop it. Like an avalanche of fire. It was a firestorm, a crown fire.
• We tried to make a quick attack on it…. The wind took it, and it was gone.
• What carried this fire was the trees. The trees are stressed. There’s 12 years worth of drought in those trees. And that’s why that fire took off. The trees are dying.
• On Wednesday at High Forest Ranch, the big players were Tri-Lakes Monument FPD, Black Forest FRPD, Donald Wescott FPD, and Colorado Springs FPD.
• The strategy was ‘Not one more damn house. It’s not going to get out of this neighborhood. Because if it does, if it crosses 83, we’re screwed.’ That count would have gone to 1,500 homes or more.… It’s thicker trees, denser housing. I was terrified.
• Some houses had needles and duff right up to the walls of the house. Ridiculous.
• They must have done some mitigation right behind that house (where the crown fire stopped in High Forest Ranch); there were big enough gaps in the trees that they couldn’t continue to carry the fire. The house was stucco, thank God, and asphalt roof. The deck melted, and the back of the house was scorched.
• We didn’t want it to go up (north) because the next stop is it gets in the back side of Woodmoor. That’s going to be as equally bad a disaster.
• I can’t say enough about how hard everyone worked.
• We had no water (hydrants). Just a couple of tenders (water trucks) from Black Forest.
• Incident Commander Rich Harvey is an absolute joy to work with. I can’t say enough good about that guy…. It was seamless between the feds and our operation.
• Some of the lessons that were put out at Waldo were not learned. Those issues were not in North Group, but with others: a lack of transferring of information.
• We didn’t lose a house in Wescott.
• The corridor going into Monument, from Highway 83 to I-25 is the next concern. People need to do more fuels mitigation.
Some of the points Captain Sean Pearson made were:
• Colorado Springs Fire Department sent good people and really helped (even though) CSFD has a lot less wildland knowledge. There were zero issues.
• We made our stand. We had a flare up at Hidden Rock Road—a hundred yards’ worth of crown fire coming toward us. It sounded like a freight train.
• When it got in the trees (at High Forest Ranch), I thought for sure … we weren’t going to catch it again until Hodgen Road where there’s a break in the trees. I don’t know what stopped it.
• We’re grateful for training to go to wildfire academies and do deployments to get experience. The biggest benefit is experience.
After the meeting, Fire Marshal Margo Humes told OCN, "Mitigation does work. I saw it work many times. That’s why so many homes were saved. There were thousands of homes that didn’t burn. Along Highway 83 where we had done mitigation, that’s why the fire didn’t jump. But it takes a whole community to save a community." Humes gives firewise defensible space evaluations to homeowners and will also advise homeowners associations on fuel mitigation strategies. See www.wescottfire.org for more information.
Marshall said the district’s financial balances as of May 31 totaled $1.6 million: People’s National Bank $216,000, Colorado Peak fund $179,000, ColoTrust Fund $439,000, and Wells Fargo Public Trust $844,000.
The board unanimously approved credit limits on new Wells Fargo credit cards that will replace Bank of America cards previously used by district staff. Chief Burns’ credit limit will be raised to $15,000 from $10,000, and the limits for the rest of the card limits for staff will stay the same.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 16 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the month. Residents are always welcome to attend. Information: 488-8680.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bernard L. Minetti
Through the generosity of the El Pomar Foundation, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District added a Polaris Crew Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) to its fleet of fire and emergency vehicles. The district announced at the June 26 board meeting that it received a $10,000 grant from El Pomar for the vehicle, which allows firefighters or emergency personnel to rapidly reach their destination in rough terrain. It has a crew capacity of four.
Fire Chief Chris Truty praised the versatility of the vehicle and expressed thanks to El Pomar.
Truty said the board was not required to undergo an update briefing on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as had been discussed at the May board meeting. He stated that this type of briefing was required for personnel who had direct access to personal records.
Truty said the district will work with the present bookkeeper to adjust requirements and to update the financial methods utilized. At the previous meeting, it was noted that there was some difficulty in obtaining an accounting firm that met the district’s standards.
Revenues continue to rise
Treasurer John Hildebrandt said there was a continued upsurge in income from the various tax sources to the district. He confirmed that this was now accepted as an ongoing trend for the Specific Ownership Tax section of the budgeted 2013 income. The year-to-date total property tax revenue received was $2.5 million or 62.35 percent of the annual budgeted amount. The Specific Ownership Tax income level was at 60.3 percent of budget, or $152,634. Ambulance revenues were also slightly ahead of schedule at $223,128 or 46.01 percent of projections. Overall expenses amounted to 40.27 percent or 1.39 percent under year-to-date budgeted projections.
The board voted unanimously to accept a contract proposal from Penrose-St. Francis Health Services to participate in the Colorado Indigent Care Program. This program allows the district to participate in a collective reimbursement process that provides an estimated 6 percent of billed charges to be allocated to the district. It simplifies collection and standardization of income for services rendered. Board President Jacob Shirk and Director Bill Ingram were not present to vote.
Truty advised the board that he was well pleased with the cooperation received from the fire staff in his work in identifying issues that require adjustment or correction. He noted that standardization of policies and procedures was the primary deficit area with some of the "residue from the merger five years ago" making up the majority of the remaining areas requiring oversight. He added that at this time there was one firefighter/paramedic vacancy due to an individual transfer to another department.
Black Forest Fire
Truty said district personnel had spent 400 to 500 man-hours on site at the Black Forest Fire. They had been there from the start and worked tirelessly to save structures from destruction. He also stated that they successfully stopped the advance of the fire on the north side. He stated that at no time was the district lacking in internal fire/emergency service protection. He did note that if additional personnel had been dispatched to the fire scene, the district has arrangements with the fire agencies to the north and the south to effect coverage.
Truty advised the board that there were still district fire personnel deployed out of the area because of their specific talents. Firefighter Elliot Linke, because of his communication skills, was presently deployed out of area, as were Rudi Gillette, Mike Rauenzahm, and Tony Tafoya because of their technical fire skills.
Melinda Reichel thanked the district for saving her home in the Black Forest Fire. Her husband, Gordon Reichel, representing the Family of Christ Lutheran Church, stated that the church members wanted to show their appreciation for the heroic efforts of the district firefighters by inviting all fire personnel and their families to an Appreciation Picnic. Details will be provided.
Office Manager Jennifer Martin reported that the district had again won the Premium Cost Containment Certificate from the State of Colorado. This is the second year that the district received this award due to internal administrative efficiencies. As a result, the district was awarded a 5 percent reduction in insurance premium costs. Truty added that he attributed much of the effort to Martin and the fire staff. He also advised that the Colorado Emergency Services Association and VFIS F & W Insurance Co. of Colorado had awarded the Emergency Services Association "Member of the Year" award to the district for no claims filed for the year 2012.
Martin also noted that the district firefighters had received a $135 donation from the children’s bible school camp at the Church of Woodmoor. This gift was in appreciation of their work at the Black Forest Fire and in recognition of their efforts to save so many homes.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, in the Administration Center at 166 Second St. in Monument. For further information regarding this meeting, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 11, consultant engineers Steve Tamburini and Mark Maxwell of Tetra Tech in Denver briefed the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) on their revised study proposal regarding how the facility can best comply with new tighter state regulations for total phosphorus and total nitrogen by using newly available separate state grants for planning ($80,000) and for design and construction ($1 million.)
The JUC had approved development of a 20-year capital investment master plan by Tetra Tech for the facility earlier this year, but that study has now been put on hold. At this meeting, the JUC reallocated the unused remainder of this study’s funding to a separate new Tetra Tech treatment study for more effective removal of total phosphorus and total nitrogen in the next 10 years to take advantage of the availability of the new state grant program approved on May 10.
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 Whitelaw, Woodmoor, Vice President Dale Smith, Palmer Lake, and Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Robinove, Monument. Several other district board members and district managers from each of the three owner districts also attended the meeting.
Background: The Tri-Lakes facility’s treated effluent that is discharged to upper Monument Creek already complies with the state’s annual median limit for total inorganic nitrogen of 15 milligrams per liter (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm) that was created in the new Control Regulation 85 on Sept. 30, 2012.
However, about $1 million of capital construction expense will have to be incurred by the three districts that own the Tri-Lakes facility just to meet the new Reg. 85 annual median limit of 1 mg/l for total phosphorus that was also created on Sept. 30. This new total phosphorus limit will be imposed on Tri-Lakes when the facility’ current five-year discharge permit is renewed on Jan. 1, 2017. The initial estimate for the total additional cost for additional capital equipment to meet Regulation 31.17 total phosphorus and total nitrogen limits that will be imposed on May 31, 2022, is another $1 million.
The restrictions in Reg. 85 only apply to the 45 largest publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities in Colorado, those rated at over 2 million gallons per day (MGD) of treatment capacity. The Tri-Lakes facility is rated at 4.2 MGD, though the average flow rarely exceeds 1.1 MGD. Regulation 85 does not apply to the other two smaller treatment facilities in the OCN coverage area, Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility and Academy Water and Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment lagoons, which are both rated at less than 2 MGD. There are 391 wastewater treatment facilities in Colorado.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 13-1191 on May 10. This bill appropriated $15 million over the next three years for state planning grants and state design/construction grants to help finance what otherwise would be totally unfunded state mandates for Reg. 85 and Reg. 31.17 capital improvements to these 45 large state wastewater treatment plants. The 34 available planning grants would provide $80,000 each and require a wastewater treatment facility match of $16,000 (20 percent). The 12 $1 million design and construction grants do not require a match from the facility. All planning, engineering, or construction financed by either of these grants must be completed and approved by the state Water Quality Control Division by Sept. 1, 2016. The Legislature approved an annual appropriation of $100,000 for each of the three program years to pay for administration by state employees.
HB 13-1191 is available at: www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/1E95DAB0015B3FFB87257AEE005853C0?open&file=1191_enr.pdf
Details for implementation of HB 13-1191 are available by clicking on the "Nutrient Management Grant Program" link on the Water Quality Control Commission "What’s New" page at: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-WQ/CBON/1251596763746
The link for the Water Quality Control Commission’s Nutrients Management Control Regulation 85 is available at: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-Main/CBON/1251595703337
Even though the HB 13-1191 program was designed to provide grants directly to wastewater treatment plants, the Tri-Lakes plant is not a separate special district and has no taxing authority, which renders it ineligible to receive a grant directly. If awarded, these grants must be awarded to Monument, Palmer Lake, and/or Woodmoor, which are each special districts with taxing authority.
The method to be used to accept the grants has not been determined yet. Each of these three districts has an individual annual TABOR limit on how much state grant money each can accept due to their enterprise status. The annual TABOR limit for both Monument and Palmer Lake is about $50,000, while the annual TABOR limit for Woodmoor is about $600,000.
Revised Tetra Tech study proposal approved
The Tri-Lakes facility’s current five-year discharge permit limit for both total inorganic nitrogen and nitrate is 23 mg/l. These two Tri-Lakes permit limits were put into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, and will remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2017. The current Reg. 85 total inorganic nitrogen and nitrate limits became effective Sept. 30, 2012, but will not apply to Tri-Lakes until the next five-year discharge permit is approved. There is no permit limit for ammonia because Tri-Lakes has already demonstrated in previous reporting to the state that its ammonia removal is more than sufficient to show that there is no reasonable potential for a permit violation.
There is no phosphorus or phosphate limit in the current Jan. 1, 2012, Tri-Lakes discharge permit. Monthly phosphate monitoring, which is now required by Reg. 85, has shown that effluent sampling results are about 3 to 6 mg/l and significantly lower in Monument Creek at Baptist Road, well below the plant discharge mixing zone.
Maxwell noted that applying for either the planning or the construction grant would not cause an immediate review of the existing Tri-Lakes discharge permit or imposition of costly tighter nitrogen or phosphorus limits by the state. Maxwell also stated that he had been assured by Michael Beck, unit manager of the Control Division’s grants and loans unit, that the current Tri-Lakes discharge permit would not be re-opened as a condition of being awarded either grant.
The current interim value listed in Regulation 31.17 for total phosphorus in a warm plains stream like Monument Creek is 0.17 mg/l. This interim value will become effective on May 31, 2022, for the Tri-Lakes facility. The total nitrogen interim value in Regulation 31.17 that will become effective on May 31, 2022, for Tri-Lakes is 2.01 mg/l.
Maxwell recommended that the Tri-Lakes facility push hard to have its next two permit renewals take effect on time––Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 1, 2022––to minimize the near-term effect of rules imposed on those dates by Reg. 85 and state water quality regulation 31.17 respectively to minimize the costs that will become mandatory on May 31, 2022.
Note: In recent years the state’s Water Quality Control Division permit section has fallen well behind schedule, only renewing five-year permits every seven or eight years. The current Tri-Lakes permit was issued after only a two-year extension of the previous permit due to the urgent requests of Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund to the Water Quality Control Division for a new permit. The resulting renewal of the facility’s permit in 2012 has prevented any further difficulties in meeting previously issued copper limits that were impossible for the plant to meet. For further information, see the 38 citations that are available by searching the exact words "copper limit" at the top of the www.ocn.me home page.
There was a lengthy technical discussion regarding the cost-benefit tradeoffs and risks of using $1 million of grant money to pay half of the cost of building capital improvements that may meet 2022 restrictions by 2016. Building all of the improvements required for 31.17 permit restrictions would significantly reduce the cost of chemicals used to treat total phosphorus from 2016 through 2022. These tradeoffs will be analyzed in the new Tetra Tech study.
Also discussed was the effect of phosphorus treatment chemicals on the chemical composition of the biosolid sludge that is currently being treated for 27 months in the existing facility sludge lagoon and whether the treated sludge could still be directly applied to agricultural fields or have to be disposed of as a hazardous material at much greater expense. Some of the other issues discussed were potential changes in metals concentrations in the treated sludge and the bio-availability of the additional phosphorus in the treated sludge that will still be used as agricultural fertilizer.
Ferric chloride or aluminum sulfate will be used to remove total phosphorus. The current Tri-Lakes discharge permit requires Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks’ staff to test for and report 30-day average readings each month for sulfate and chloride concentrations. Chloride and sulfate readings in Tri-Lakes effluent are being reported to the Control Division in the monthly discharge monitoring report to establish a baseline for the current concentrations before the planned pilot plant is built and becomes operational. The planned chemical treatment of total phosphorus will likely increase sulfate and chloride concentration in treated Tri-Lakes effluent.
Maxwell noted that all Tetra Tech costs, such as those for presenting this briefing, that are incurred before the grant is awarded in September would not be eligible for reimbursement from the grant. Tamburini noted that $15,000 of the $55,000 appropriated had already been spent on the 20-year master plan. Some of the remaining $40,000 would still have to be used before September for grant application and administration.
A motion was made to apply for an $80,000 planning grant with a $16,000 match from the facility and to apply for a $1 million design/construction grant. There was a lengthy technical discussion of how the three districts could accept the $1 million grant within TABOR limits after the grants are awarded in September. The motion to apply for both grants was unanimously approved.
The JUC then assigned the completion of the applications for both the planning and construction grants by the end of June to Tamburini and Maxwell using some of the remaining $40,000 in study funding. No decisions were made about how to resolve TABOR issues. Wicklund noted that the Monument Sanitation District would hold an election for a specific TABOR waiver in a November election to be able to accept nutrient grant money in excess of its current TABOR limit. Palmer Lake and Woodmoor have stated that neither is interested in holding any such TABOR waiver election.
Some of the May payments were:
• $1,000 for the final 2012 audit was made to John Cutler & Associates LLC.
• $2,100 to Universal Acoustics & Emissions for blower system filters.
• $8,030 to environmental attorney Tad Foster for numerous submissions to the Control Division regarding the use of the new biotic ligand model in Monument Creek.
• $1,126 to GEI Consulting Inc. for studies of copper concentrations in fish flesh submitted to the Control Division regarding the use of the new biotic ligand model in Monument Creek.
The JUC unanimously accepted the May financial report.
After the JUC June 11 meeting adjourned, the Water Quality Control Commission unanimously approved the recommendations of Foster and GEI for new copper stream standards in Monument Creek and new copper permit limits for the Tri-Lakes facility at the commission’s triennial Regulation 32 hearing for Arkansas River basin, which includes the Monument Creek and Fountain Creek watershed.
The previous three-year temporary modification to the Tri-Lakes facility discharge permit increases the copper limit for the 30-day average sample reading to 24.8 micrograms per liter (µg/l) and the peak monthly copper sample reading to 36.4 µg/l. This temporary modification had been scheduled to expire at the end of 2014. The Tri-Lakes copper limits had been scheduled to change to a monthly average of 9.8 µg/l and a monthly peak of 15 µg/l on Jan. 1, 2015, for the last two years of the five-year permit.
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 2015 copper permit limits.
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 that led to GEI’s creation of a biotic ligand model as well as GEI’s fixed monitoring benchmark statistical analysis, in accordance with EPA’s new 2012 guidance document, of copper concentrations in fish gills.
This is the first fixed monitoring benchmark standard that has ever been approved by the EPA. GEI will present these study and regulatory results at a national Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference in Nashville in November as a success story for seeking regulatory change based on ecological toxicity studies and performing risk assessment using computer modeling. The savings to the constituents of the Tri-Lakes facility are literally incalculable because no biological nutrient removal technology exists for meeting the copper standards that were to be imposed on Jan. 1, 2015, under the current permit.
The commission also formally approved new site-specific permit limits of 16 µg/l (average) and 25 µg/l (peak) for the rest of the permit period, through 2016. This is the best performance that the plant can currently be reasonably expected to achieve. 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 noted above after the effluent copper is diluted by the essentially copper-free Monument Creek flows coming from Monument Lake, upstream of the Tri-Lakes facility discharge location.
All the commissioners praised the precedent-setting work done by the Tri-Lakes facility staff, the owner districts, and their consultants, Foster and GEI after passing these two rulings.
District managers’ reports
Mike Wicklund, Monument’s district manager, reported that the Monument board had approved a new policy to help limit the potential for illegal use of copper sulfate in leaking customer-owned sewer pipes that have tree root infiltration causing backups. Monument will offer 15-year interest-free financing for district replacement of damaged privately owned vitreous clay sewer service pipes. Such a loan would only be available if the district’s contractor performs the repair and if the Monument district has sufficient cash reserves to pay for the repair of a customer service line. The collection line repair loan would be subject to the same property tax liens that currently apply to similar district tap fee loans and delinquent monthly service fee payments. Collection line repair loans would only be available at the sole discretion of the district on a case-by-case basis based on the prevailing service line and district financial circumstances at the time of the tree root infiltration.
For more information on the Monument Sanitation District board’s approval of this new policy, see "New district financing policy approved" in the May 16 Monument Sanitation District article at www.ocn.me/v13n6.htm#msd.
Wicklund noted that the use of a jar of copper sulfate is sufficient to cause a very high copper concentration in the district’s domestic wastewater that enters the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. A high concentration of copper is very difficult for the plant’s activated sludge treatment process to remove. The high remaining concentration of copper in the treated wastewater that is discharged to Monument Creek can cause a Tri-Lakes facility discharge permit violation due to the tight restrictions being imposed by the EPA on the state of Colorado.
The danger to all the district’s customers is that these copper violations can lead to an EPA fine of as much as $28,000 per day, which must be shared by all district constituents—about 1,000 homes and about 100 commercial businesses.
Whitelaw endorsed Monument’s new policy. He stated that Woodmoor had just spent over $500,000 for the replacement of its vitreous clay main collection lines. He also noted that he had previously directed installation of asbestos cement and plastic pipe to replace "crappy" vitreous clay lines in New England before he retired and moved to Woodmoor.
Becky Orcutt, Palmer Lake’s district manager, reported that the recent damage caused by contractors boring holes through her district’s main collection lines had been repaired. Woodmoor Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that Woodmoor’s annual line cleaning and video inspections were underway and the district will line some of Woodmoor’s vitreous clay pipes later this summer.
Facility manager’s report
Burks noted the following individual monthly effluent sample readings from the April Control Reg. 85 nutrients data collection report were:
• Ammonia nitrogen – 3.75 milligrams per liter (mg/l)
• Nitrite nitrogen – 0.51 mg/l
• Nitrate nitrogen – 1.19 mg/l
• Total inorganic nitrogen – 5.45 mg/l
• Total Kjeldahl nitrogen – 5.10 mg/l
• Total nitrogen – 6.80 mg/l
• Total phosphorus was 4.4 mg/l
Burks also noted the following monthly grab sample readings in this April Reg. 85 report for samples taken in Monument Creek below the mixing zone for stream and effluent flows––about a mile south of the Tri-Lakes discharge location where Monument Creek crosses Baptist Road, just west of the railroad tracks:
• Ammonia nitrogen – 0.72 mg/l
• Nitrite nitrogen – 0.00 mg/l
• Nitrate nitrogen – 0.30 mg/l
• Total inorganic nitrogen – 1.02 mg/l
• Total Kjeldahl nitrogen – 1.50 mg/l
• Total nitrogen – 1.80 mg/l
• Total phosphorus was 2.1 mg/l
Some of the separate nutrient concentrations Burks noted for weekly testing in the April facility discharge monitoring report were:
• 30-day average for nitrogen ammonia – 2.2 mg/l; no permit limit
• Daily maximum for nitrogen ammonia – 4.1 mg/l; no permit limit
• Daily maximum for nitrate – 8.3 mg/l; permit limit is 23 mg/l
• Daily maximum for total inorganic nitrogen – 9.5 mg/l; permit limit is 23 mg/l
Some of the twice per month sampling results that Burks noted in the April facility discharge monitoring report were:
• 30 day average for sulfate – 34 mg/l; no permit limit
• 30 day average for chloride – 67.5 mg/l; no permit limit
• 30 day average concentration for copper – 8.0 µg/l
• Daily maximum concentration for copper – 8.0 µg/l
• 30 day average manganese concentration –39.5 µg/l; no permit limit
• 30 day average zinc concentration – 54 µg/l; no permit limit
• Hydrogen sulfide, lead, selenium, and nonylphenol were undetectable
Gillette reported that the final revisions for the intergovernmental agreement for formation of the Arkansas and Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) will be distributed to all 11 wastewater entities for final approval later in June. The board presidents for Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor will then sign the final document for the Tri-Lakes facility. The associate member fee for the Tri-Lakes facility to join Pikes Peak Regional Water Association (PPRWA), which will sponsor AF CURE, will be $650.
Gillette also reported that the Board of County Commissioners approved a proposal on June 6 to create a new 1041 environmental permit process for county utilities, railroads, highways, and stormwater. County approval will have to be sought for any new plant construction or modifications in addition to the current 208 Plan approval process run by Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
At the request of PPRWA attorney Rick Fendel and several wastewater district representatives, the threshold for county 1041 review was changed to any improvement involving more than 250 homes rather than 25 residents and any well with a capacity greater than 500 acre-feet per year rather than greater than 100 acre-feet per year. The county now has total discretion in the amount it charges for a county 1041 review and there is no appeal process beyond the Board of County Commissioners to a district court for any county Development Services Department administrative decision or costs charged.
The 1041 approval vote was taken only 30 days after the proposal was announced. None of the El Paso County wastewater entities that will all be affected by this new rule have budgeted for county review and approval of new nutrient plant expansions or modifications that will begin in September when the Hickenlooper grants are awarded.
The meeting adjourned at 11:17 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 9 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Candice Hitt
At the June 20 Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board meeting, Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said 24 percent of the district’s water was unaccounted for. The district has been experiencing a water loss of about 100 gallons per minute, which equates to about 3 to 4 million gallons of water unaccounted for. Employees have walked the district looking for surface water that could be caused by a leak.
Gillette stated a fire hydrant with a leaky valve accounted for 30 to 40 gallons per minute of the water loss. The hydrant has been repaired and the district will evaluate the overall water loss with the next meter reading.
The Monument Hill Country Club had dug up the retention pond and was installing a liner to fix a leak. The district has agreed to service the course with potable water, at a rate of 377 gallons/minute during installation of the liner due to the stress on the grass. The club will be on non-potable water once the liner is in. The club has a season permit to water 24 hours per day.
Purchase of new server approved
District Manager Jessie Shaffer told the board that the district computer system server was experiencing a lot of problems and needed to be replaced. Shaffer stated the cost to replace the server is $11,000. The board approved the purchase of a new server.
Gillette stated the lake mixer had been installed but was having some mechanical issues and would be examined. An update will be provided at the July meeting. Wells 11, 15, and 18 have experienced equipment failures with an expected cost of $75,000 each to repair. Shaffer will look at the budget to find the money to repair the wells.
Recreational uses explored
Matt Beseau of the Woodmoor Improvement Association said the group is looking at useful recreational areas around Lake Woodmoor. Beseau will survey Woodmoor residents for feedback on the level of interest. Shaffer stated he will work with Beseau on developing a plan and report back at the next board meeting. The district’s attorney, Erin Smith, will look into liability issues and report back to the board at the next meeting.
The next regular board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. July 11 at the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. For information: 488-2525 or www.woodmoorwater.com.
Candice Hitt can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 20, the Monument Sanitation District board approved holding a district election for the limited purpose of seeking voter approval for a one-time TABOR waiver to allow the district to accept a $1 million state grant to design and construct new nutrient treatment equipment at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The grant would be used for the treatment of total phosphorus to meet the new water quality restrictions in state Control Regulation 85 and state Regulation 31.17. No matching funds are required for this $1 million state grant from the $15 million grant program signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on May 10. These grants are good for three years, through Sept. 1, 2016. The preliminary estimate for constructing all the new nutrient treatment equipment necessary for the Tri-Lakes facility to comply with both regulations is $2 million.
TABOR, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, places restraints on the tax revenue that governmental entities can accept.
Under current restrictions in the TABOR amendment to the state constitution, the district cannot accept a state grant larger than $50,000 per year––10 percent of Monument’s annual operating fund revenues of about $500,000––without losing its enterprise fund status and the related TABOR simplification benefits of this status. If the Monument Sanitation District accepted the entire grant for the Tri-Lakes facility in a single year without a voter-approved waiver, $950,000 of the grant would be considered ordinary income under the TABOR amendment and that amount would be subject to being refunded to Monument’s customers.
The Monument board determined that its constituents would see the benefit of accepting $1 million from the state to help pay for construction of the new equipment and unanimously approved scheduling a Nov. 5 election for voter approval of a one-time TABOR waiver that only applies to accepting these two specific HB 13-1191 nutrient grants. The boards for the other two co-owner districts of the Tri-Lakes facility, Palmer Lake Sanitation District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, have rejected the option to hold TABOR waiver elections to help Monument solve this potential TABOR refund problem. Under TABOR, Palmer Lake can accept a total of annual state grants up to $50,000 and Woodmoor can accept a total of annual state grants up to $600,000.
The Tri-Lakes facility cannot accept this state grant as a separate entity because the facility is not a state entity with constituents or taxing authority. Only the three wastewater special districts that own the facility have their own separate constituents and individual taxing authority, making them eligible to accept the grant money under state law.
The same grant acceptance eligibility constraints apply to the $80,000 state planning grant now available to the Tri-Lakes facility through July 3. The planning grant requires $16,000 (20 percent) in matching funds, or $5,333 from each owner district.
District Manager Mike Wicklund said he had arranged to have the law firm Kutak Rock LLP assist with drafting the ballot question and the procedures required for conducting the Nov. 5 election.
Wicklund reviewed the presentation made to the Tri-Lakes Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) by engineers of the Tri-Lakes Facility’s engineering consultant firm Tetra Tech board regarding starting a new study of design options available for constructing new equipment now required by the state to treat total phosphorus and total nitrogen. The JUC unanimously approved having Tetra Tech complete and submit a planning grant application for the three districts that own Tri-Lakes to help pay for this new design study by the July 3 deadline. The JUC also approved having Tetra Tech complete and submit a design-construction grant application for the three owner districts by July 3.
For more details on the grant program, treatment option, and the other items that Wicklund briefed, see the JUC article.
2012 audit approved
Mark Gilmore of Bauerle & Co. presented the final draft of the district’s 2012 audit. Gilmore gave the district an unqualified, or clean, opinion. The board also unanimously approved the 2012 audit as presented and amended. Gilmore will submit the final audit to the state by July 31.
Some of the items Wicklund noted in discussing the financial report were payments of $13,370 to DRC Construction for collection line cleaning and about $3,000 to J&K Construction for manhole maintenance.
The district received $11,500 in new tap fees since the May 16 meeting. Wicklund reviewed potential construction that may occur in the district in the near term.
The board unanimously accepted the financial reports as presented.
The board unanimously approved a proposal from Insituform Technologies LLC to line the six-inch vitreous clay collection line in the alley west of Washington Fourth Streets and to line an eight-inch vitreous clay collection line along McShane Place. The cost for rehabilitation of these district collection lines was $21,886. The contract was unanimously approved.
The board unanimously approved the final draft contract prepared by the district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, for district financing of customer-owned wastewater service lines that are in disrepair. The term of the interest-free loans is 180 months. These loans are subject to the same lien process available to the district for unpaid sewer fees. The loan must be completely paid off no later than closing if the property is sold before all the loan payments have been made.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 18 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 14, Kip Petersen stepped up to replace retired District Manager Dana Duthie, who served the board and constituents of Donala Water and Sanitation District for 20 years. Petersen takes his place as Donala’s district manager as the special district nears buildout in a challenging period of declining Denver basin aquifer production, escalating renewable water costs, and soaring treatment costs mandated by unprecedented EPA-driven water quality demands and tighter wastewater discharge permit requirements that will exceed the limits of available technology. And he did so with a warm welcome from the Donala board.
Petersen asked the board members to sign documents at the June 20 board meeting to inform a variety of entities that Petersen had replaced Duthie as the point of contact for such items as district loans, financial accounts, and intergovernmental agreements. All were approved unanimously.
The absence of Director Bob Denny was excused.
2012 audit forwarded to state
Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Co. presented his final 2012 audit, which included an unqualified, or "clean," opinion for the year, with no management issues to report. Board President Bill George noted that Donala’s audits had steadily improved during his tenure on the board, since 2008. The board unanimously accepted the audit. Sistare has forwarded the audit to the state.
The board unanimously accepted the financial reports for May as presented.
New surface water transfer issues surface
Petersen briefed the board on a problem that has arisen in the record-keeping required for transfers, both on paper and actual, of Donala’s renewable surface water from Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville being held in the Pueblo Reservoir.
Petersen first noted that Willow Creek Ranch had been in priority for producing surface water for Donala at a rate greater than they could actually claim under the district’s adjudicated quota for May. Flows will inevitably decline with the end of the snow melt, but yields had been about twice those for 2012 to date. Petersen provided a new spreadsheet with a format designed for board members to be able to track flows themselves. He also reviewed a number of competing issues and trends that make water management and cost control a day-to-day balancing act.
However, the state Bureau of Reclamation, which runs Pueblo Reservoir, had decided that there had been significant enough confusion among some bureau employees regarding the record-keeping for Southern Delivery System transport of Donala water by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to withhold further work on a long-term multi-year storage and transfer agreement with Donala. Petersen said some of the individuals involved in resolving this situation are starting the summer vacation cycle, so it may be a while before this new problem can be solved. In the interim, Donala’s Willow Creek water is being stored by CSU in Twin Lakes Reservoir, independent of any Bureau of Reclamation jurisdiction or control, so that it can be transported through Rampart Reservoir to CSU’s water treatment plant, then piped north to Donala.
Petersen also touched on a number of technical issues for minimizing icing and landscaping issues at Willow Creek Ranch that can negatively affect day-to-day operations, and he described potential solutions for each.
Petersen reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) is considering what level of participation is appropriate in Cherokee Metropolitan District’s proposed regional water supply feasibility study. The following water entities have agreed to participate to date: Donala, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Triview Metropolitan District, and the towns of Palmer Lake, Monument, and Fountain. The authority will seek $25,000 from the Arkansas Basin Roundtable and $75,000 from the Reserve Fund of the Colorado Water Conservation Board to help fund the study.
Petersen also reported on two draft options proposed for governance of a proposed regional stormwater task force. As with all stormwater issues, the ones facing the task force are complex and politically and financially challenging, particularly passing any kind of tax for revenue generation to pay for treatment and protective infrastructure.
The PPRWA unanimously approved a participation agreement for the new Arkansas/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) water quality monitoring group. This approval will make AF CURE a long-term project of PPRWA. AF CURE will coordinate the monitoring of Fountain and Monument Creek to gather water quality data to help water entities in the Arkansas River basin better understand regional aquatic ecosystems and foster realistic, affordable, and achievable wastewater discharge permit limits.
Petersen reported that PPRWA attorney Rick Fendell was successful in persuading the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to raise some thresholds such as the review restrictions on wells and water/wastewater infrastructure projects to realistic levels in the new county 1041 regulations approved on June 6. But the BOCC did not heed the request of all stakeholders to delay the hearing and adoption so that they could have time to read the new rules and analyze their impacts. Most 1041 approvals will now be administrative reviews by county staff. At this time it is difficult to predict how time-consuming and costly this additional layer of review of all new utility construction and facility modifications will be.
Note: The 1041 environmental regulations are wide-ranging and give the county’s Development Services Department much greater authority than most state agencies have at this time. Utilities and other public entities such as railroads and pipeline companies can appeal a negative decision by the department staff only to the BOCC. As approved, there is no option in the new 1041 regulations to further appeal a BOCC appeal to a district or federal court. There is widespread stakeholder concern that the county staff does not have the expertise to effectively analyze so many diverse projects in a timely manner.
Petersen reported that Triview had six new water taps and the resulting $9,000 payment to Donala had reduced Triview’s debt to $778,002. He also noted that he had met with Triview’s current interim contractor in Castle Rock who is the performing "operator in responsible charge" for operation of Triview’s water treatment and distribution system a few hours per week. This long-distance temporary arrangement could cause a health and safety issue by delaying the contractor’s response to a sewage spill.
Note: If Triview were to have a water emergency, Donala is the only water entity that can provide an emergency supply of potable water to the district. Triview lies entirely within the town of Monument, but there is no connection to the town’s water distribution system to help mitigate a Triview emergency.
The only two connections between Triview’s and Donala’s water distribution systems are at the intersections of Baptist and Struthers Roads and Baptist Road and Gleneagle Drive. The Triview water pressure at the Struthers Road connection is too high to allow any transfer of Donala water into the Triview system. Pumping water from Donala uphill against gravity to Triview from the Gleneagle connection would require a major reduction in Triview’s water pressure and substandard performance throughout most of the Triview water system.
Triview has never agreed to meet with Donala to set up installation of water meters to measure emergency flows from Donala to Triview or to even share the cost of having Donala install such meters for an emergency. Triview has never discussed or agreed to any operational procedures for a Donala water transfer during a Triview emergency. No agreements have been discussed with Donala for support for most other water or wastewater emergencies despite numerous offers by Donala.
CSU contract extended
The board unanimously approved a water service contract extension with CSU to remain eligible to purchase potable water to supplement Donala’s well production as well as receive its Willow Springs Ranch water after CSU treats it.
Petersen noted that the recent collapse of oil and natural gas exploration in the region may make it easier for Donala to obtain its own replacement portable electric generator sometime later this year, but not this summer.
Petersen noted how many extra hours Donala employees had put in during the Black Forest wildfire pre-evacuation and the emergency procedures that had been established with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District in case the Donala service area was evacuated.
Petersen recommended that the board accept the low bid of Wildcat Construction Inc. to construct the first phase of the Jessie/Struthers/Latrobe pipeline water transmission and distribution system improvements. The board unanimously approved the $98,376 contract.
Aslan Construction has completed the sludge press extension for the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, and it is operating successfully. This will greatly increase the efficiency of loading treated biosolids into appropriately sized disposal trucks for more cost-effective transport to a landfill.
The meeting went into executive session at 3:02 p.m. to discuss property disposition and to receive legal advice. No board actions were expected to be taken after the executive session was concluded.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on July 18 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
At the start of the June 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman formally swore in Pamela Smith as town manager. Smith had been serving in the position for several months with the word "interim" in front of her now-permanent title. The board unanimously approved Smith’s new contract. The board then formally promoted Deputy Treasurer Monica Harder and she was sworn in as town treasurer by Sirochman. Smith and Harder work directly for the Board of Trustees.
Mayor Travis Easton recognized recent achievements by Trustee John Howe and Town Gardener Sharon Williams. They were presented with a plaque and a gift card for all the hard work they did organizing and conducting the town’s Memorial Day Celebration at the Monument Cemetery. Smith praised Sirochman for her efficient and effective efforts in creating a new town website.
The Girls of the West, Amanda Summers and Kate Watson, gave the annual invitation to the board for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days. Board President Ted Servern discussed the history and mission of the Pikes Peak Range Riders and their annual ride "Round the Peak" to their historic campsite at Gillette. The rodeo parade will be held in downtown Colorado Springs on Tejon Street, from St. Vrain to Vermijo, on July 9 starting at 6:30 p.m. The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo will be held July 10 through July 13. For more information, see www.pikespeakorbust.org/.
Monument water representative Betty Konarski briefed the board on her attendance at the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Konarski also noted that Tri-Lakes Views, a local organization for arts and historic interests, would install its new outdoor public sculptures for the year around the Tri-Lakes area.
Monument water consultant Gary Barber gave a slide presentation to update the board on town water supply issues. Barber discussed such topics as groundwater, the Arapahoe Aquifer, the Denver Basin Study, the Water Infrastructure Planning Study (or WIPS), and the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority 2009-10 Recommendations and Suggestions.
The board unanimously approved a resolution to "memorialize" the completion of a settlement by the town of a 2008 water court case with objector Sally Beck regarding her previous water rights in land the town condemned using eminent domain to build a street. Some of the items of note in the resolution were:
• The town agrees to reserve water for development of Beck’s property for a period of 10 years from the date of the approval of this resolution.
• Beck, or her successor in interest, will receive credit for the water under her property plus credit for water under the street that the town acquired by eminent domain.
• The water under Beck’s property will be formally decreed (or granted) to Beck in Water Court case 08CW45.
• When Beck or her successor in interest is ready to develop, a qualified person will do a demand analysis and Beck or her successor in interest will be responsible for paying for water in excess, if any, of the water credits decreed in the water case.
• Tap fees and other charges will be paid by the developer in the usual manner at the appropriate stage of development.
• Beck agrees to stipulate to the present form of the water decree.
The board also unanimously approved the addition of $504,012 for lease/purchase budgeted 2013 capital projects to a lease with Wells Fargo Brokerage Services. The new items to be acquired by this lease/purchase will be used by the Police Department, the Public Works Department, and the Water Department. The total amount to be financed on the three-year lease will be $131,806 with an interest rate of 2.14 percent. The total amount to be financed on the five-year lease will be $372,206 with an interest rate of 2.34 percent.
The board unanimously approved two disbursements over $5,000:
• $6,000 to John Cutler & Associates for partial billing for the 2012 audit.
• $6,040 to Velocity Plant Services for repairs to town wells 3 and 9.
Town Attorney Gary Shupp stated that the town had been served with a lawsuit against the Police Department, and its insurance company, CIRSA, will handle the case.
Some of the items Smith reported were:
• The town’s Memorial Day ceremony was larger than ever, attended by about 200 people, and will have to be budgeted for in 2014 to cover employee holiday pay due to its larger scope.
• Public Works Director Tom Tharnish will study the cost of installing town fuel tanks to determine if any fuel cost savings may be available.
• The town has already paid the entire cost ($1,200) for surveying and engineering to repair the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway, and Triview Metropolitan District has "declined" to pay its half of the repair costs, estimated to be $20,000 to $25,000.
• Tharnish will post signs at Monument Lake advising citizens not to go on or around the dam’s spillway.
• Tharnish has arranged a meeting with Woodmoor, Donala, and Forest Lakes regarding a joint reuse water infrastructure project, but Triview has declined to respond to its invitation to this meeting.
• Smith forwarded Tharnish’s letter of concern to the Triview board and Triview district manager regarding Triview’s summer operations of its water and wastewater systems, but there has been no response from either.
• The town is pursuing an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation to have the town reimbursed for care and maintenance of the state "park and ride" lot on Woodmoor Drive, which is now an unmaintained "eyesore."
• Tharnish is working with D-38 Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman to obtain a "Safe Routes to School" grant to help protect Palmer Ridge High School students who walk along the county’s Monument Hill Road without benefit of county sidewalks or trails.
• Woodmoor has offered to purchase some of the town’s wastewater effluent, and town water attorney Bob Krassa will draft an intergovernmental agreement.
• The town has agreed to be a local polling place of El Paso County in all of its elections for the northern part of the county.
• The costs for an election or a shared election will probably be greater than before due to having to both provide mail-in ballots and staff a polling place for each election in accordance with House Bill 13-1303, which was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on May 10.
For more information on this election law, see http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-clerk-says-colorados-new-election-law-will-be-costly/article/1501068.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 17, Town Manager Pamela Smith announced that because of the county-wide fire ban, the Fourth of July Kiwanis parade and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce street fair would not be followed by Monument’s inaugural fireworks display.
Trustees Stan Gingrich, John Howe, and Becki Tooley were absent from the meeting.
Trustee Jeff Kaiser thanked the Police Department for its efforts regarding the Black Forest Fire. Trustee Jeff Bornstein thanked Public Works for its with the Black Forest Fire in assisting the Red Cross with traffic control at Palmer Ridge High School. Trustee Rafael Dominguez thanked the Tri-Lakes Fire Department for its efforts during the fire. Mayor Travis Easton thanked staff for the new town website.
Recently appointed Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Chief Christopher Truty introduced himself to the Board of Trustees.
Smith noted that the state had granted her request for a 60-day extension for submitting the town’s 2012 audit and she expects to present the final draft audit to the board by the end of July. Audits are due on July 31.
The board unanimously approved three disbursements over $5,000:
• $120,288 to Triview Metropolitan District for April sales tax ($114,781), May motor vehicle tax ($5,244), and May Regional Building sales tax ($263).
• $9,278 to Jacobs Engineering for engineering work on the Monument sidewalks project.
• $5,902 to Krassa and Miller LLC for legal services.
• $10,116 to Forest Lakes Metropolitan District for the town’s one-third share of repair costs for the Forest Lakes water storage tank roof.
April general fund revenues were more than budgeted by $185,000, or 15 percent. April general fund expenditures were less than budgeted by $160,000, or 13 percent. Through April, general fund revenues exceeded expenses by $361,013.
April water fund revenues were less than budgeted by $247,000, or 56 percent. April water fund expenses were less than budgeted by $83,000, or 22 percent. Through April, water enterprise fund expenses exceeded revenues by $110,063. All three water enterprise debt payments totaling $208,339 remained to be paid in 2013.
For 2013, capital project debt and debt service payments totaling $95,218 have been made, and $467,266 remained to be paid in 2013.
The net surplus of all town funds through April was $452,458.
Through April, sales tax revenues were more than budgeted by $37,000 or 4.4 percent.
The board unanimously approved a special events liquor license for the Starlight Children’s Foundation Monument Fireworks Celebration for July 4, in the vacant lot behind Serrano’s Coffee to the west at 490 Beacon Lite Road from 5 to 9 p.m.
The board unanimously approved an annual liquor license renewal for the 1st and 10 Sports Bar and Grill at 1455 Cipriani Loop.
The board unanimously approved a "Permit Application and Report of Changes" for La Casa Fiesta at 230 Front St. to use the southwest parking lot as a cocktail garden on Sept. 2.
Tom Kassawara, director of Development Services, reported that the new town banner boards had been completed and installed. Kassawara thanked Monument business owner John Dominowski for organizing the volunteer effort to help create and complete this project. He also noted that 33 single-family home building permits have been issued so far this year for Monument.
Police Chief Jake Shirk briefed the board on the participation of the Monument Police Department in support of fighting the Black Forest wildfire.
Director Tom Tharnish reported that Public Works had taken possession of the new F250 pickup truck with the plow assembly and the new F450 pickup truck with the plow assembly and sander attachment.
Tharnish said he was scheduled to meet with representatives School District 38 to discuss options to make a safer route along the county’s Monument Hill Road from Woodmoor Drive up to Palmer Ridge High School. Currently kids walk on the road during the school season, which creates safety issues for drivers and the students.
Tharnish is working with Timberline Landscaping to resolve beetle issues in the new "Christmas" trees installed along Second Street and resolving replacement of dead and dying trees under warranty.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has decided not to relinquish the old Monument I-25 interchange cul-de-sac property between the Conoco truck stop and Arby’s to the town as a possible bulk water fill station site. The town will look for other sites for a new fill station.
Tharnish reported that the town had leased a portable temporary generator for powering Water Treatment Plant 7 due to the possibility of a sustained power loss during the Black Forest Fire.
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) lent a 4,000-gallon water buffalo pumping system equipped with firefighting nozzles for potential use by the Black Forest wildfire Incident Command structure. Smith thanked Bill Davis from CSU for bringing a water tanker truck to Town Hall for standby use during the Black Forest Fire.
Smith stated, "Our undying gratitude goes out to the hundreds of personnel who are working to contain the fire. We have been blessed with professionals locally, statewide, and even nationally who have come to save our lives, home, and town. Their herculean efforts in keeping the fire east of Highway 83 have saved hundreds of homes both in the county and the town. Our hopes and prayers are with them all."
She added, "Our policemen and policewomen have come in from vacation and days off so that Chief Shirk could offer our entire law enforcement staff to assist with patrols and evacuations. Jake has supplied six to seven officers working 12-hour shifts since Tuesday."
Smith noted that other town officers are still working town patrols and shifts to keep the town safe during the evacuations and firefight. Public Works staff assisted in shelter operations at Palmer Ridge High School and the use of Forest Lakes Metro’s Bristlecone Reservoir for refilling dipping helicopters.
The town donated $500 to Tri-Lakes Cares for emergency food supplies.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
The July 1 board meeting was cancelled. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 15 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month. Information: www.townofmonument.org or 884-8017.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On May 30, the Monument Board of Adjustment rejected an appeal of the downtown Monument zoning code concerning the parking of a recreational vehicle on a single-family residential lot.
Homeowner Tommie Plank, 63 Washington St., appealed an administrative review decision by Development Services Director Tom Kassawara that allowed next-door neighbor George Case, 53 Washington St., to continue to park a "fifth-wheel" 26-foot recreational vehicle on the portion of his newly installed crushed asphalt front-yard driveway that is parallel to the side yard lot line between their two houses.
Two of the five seats on the Board of Adjustment are vacant. Those in attendance were sitting board Chair Don Smith, Planning Commissioner Kathy Spence, and Trustee Jeff Bornstein. Smith nominated Bornstein to be president and Spence as vice chair for 2013. They were elected unanimously.
Plank had filed an appeal stating that the town is allowing a violation of the code that says a recreational vehicle, if parked in the side yard, shall not extend past the house’s front building line.
The board upheld Kassawara’s decision that Case’s new driveway and parked RV met the criteria for compliance with Section 17.60.070.C of the code concerning the parking of a recreational vehicle on an R-2 district single-family medium density residential lot.
Rules for parking RVs on residential lots are available on the town website at www.townofmonument.org/departments/community-downtown-development/ceo-links/
Principal Planner Mike Pesicka reported that the Case property was issued a notice for a code violation on March 14 for illegally parking a recreational vehicle on the grass in his front yard. Shortly thereafter, Case asked the town what needed to be done to legally park the recreational vehicle on his property. Town staff reviewed his proposed location for a new driveway.
On April 12, the town issued a permit to the owner to install a new driveway. The only code requirement for a single-family residential driveway is that it be constructed of asphalt or concrete material. According to Section 17.60.070.C, a recreational vehicle can be parked adjacent to the driveway and must be on a hard surface such as, but not limited to, asphalt, concrete, rock, gravel, or pavers. Case’s driveway plan includes this space for parking his recreational vehicle.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Adams
On June 19, the Palmer Lake Planning Commission discussed potential changes to an existing Planned Use Development (PUD) to include residential facilities for the developmentally disabled.
The commissioners considered a request for preliminary review of changes proposed for the PUD for the Inn at Palmer Divide and the MoZaic restaurant on Highway 105.
Inn owner Allen Fritz and David Bohn of Thrive Communities presented the proposed changes. Thrive Communities is described as a financial/philanthropic entity interested in establishing a community prototype for the nurturing of the developmentally disabled as well as providing community programs and institutional services for them.
The proposal would add six duplexes, a 16-unit residence for assisted living, a 12-unit supported living unit, and a 12-unit apartment complex.
The commissioners raised concerns about traffic, drainage, detention ponds, fire codes, project funding, zoning, water source, and general merit. They approved a preliminary endorsement of the proposed changes. There were no immediate objections to the inclusion of residential property in the PUD. The amended plan would require Planning Commission review and Town Council approval.
As of June 28, there were no items regarding this matter scheduled on the July agenda for the Planning Commission. A 30-day period is required for an item to be placed on the agenda. Major changes to a PUD require notice to the public in general, and to neighbors within 500 feet in specific.
The commission voted unanimously to approve a sign permit for a new business called Happy Hours at the Villa Toscana complex on Highway 105.
The next regular meeting will be held on July 17 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month. Information: 481-2953, then press 0.
Jim Adams can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
On May 28, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to approve a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning amendment, preliminary plan, and vacation and replat for Misty Acres 2A, which was originally platted for 42 patio home or townhome units. Nextop Holdings requested the replat to Misty Acres 2B in order to construct a development of 43 detached single-family lots and six tracts for trails, drainage, and utilities.
The property is within the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan Area and is east of the intersection of Misty Acres Boulevard and Painter Drive, in the area north of Palmer Ridge High School.
This zoning amendment, preliminary plan, and vacation and replat request was first approved by the El Paso County Planning Commission on May 7 with votes of 4-3, 5-2, and 5-2 for the three items. At that meeting, Planning Commissioner Jerry Hicks cited concerns about the density of the development. Planning Commission Chair Steve Hicks said the reduced amount of open space was not appropriate. Hicks and Planning Commissioner Tim Trowbridge did not see the need for a cost analysis. Planning Commissioner Jim Egbert was concerned that altering the grade of the steep streets to improve the landings (approaches to intersections), in an attempt to upgrade them to county road standards, would cause other grades farther up the street to become steeper and could actually degrade safety.
The county commissioners asked many of the same questions on May 28 that had already been asked at the Planning Commission meeting. The minutes from the Planning Commission were not provided to the county commissioners before the May 28 hearing. The minutes were finally emailed to the county commissioners an hour after the discussion of these contentious items began.
Conditions approved by the planning commissioners:
• The county attorney’s Conditions of Compliance shall be adhered to at the appropriate time.
• The developer shall comply with federal and state laws, regulations, ordinances, review and permit requirements, and other agency requirements, including, but not limited to, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Endangered Species Act, particularly as it relates to the protected Preble’s meadow jumping mouse as a listed species.
• Outstanding technical issues shall be corrected prior to plat recordation.
• As identified by the Development Guidelines, careful siting of the home sites is to be incorporated by the builder so that the natural features such as drainage ways and vegetation can be preserved.
• School fees in lieu of land dedication for one lot will be paid at time of recordation of the final plat.
• Lots in excess of the original 42 are subject to the Transportation Impact Fee.
• No direct lot access to Misty Acres Boulevard will be allowed during construction.
• A cost analysis to improve the landings up to county road standards should be done prior to the May 28 BOCC meeting.
• Private roads shall be designated private by conspicuous signage on each road and a notation in the plat.
• According to the El Paso County Land Development Code, approval of the Preliminary Plan will expire after 24 months unless a final plat has been approved and recorded or a time extension has been granted.
• The Countywide Transportation Fee resolution does not require this development to pay any additional transportation impact fees because it was platted prior to the fee program’s implementation.
The site has already been graded and roads constructed as 24-foot-wide curb and guttered private roadways in an uncompleted project started by a previous developer. There will be no grading by the current developer other than the completion of a detention pond south of the site.
County Engineer André Brackin rejected the applicant’s request to convert the roads to county maintenance, since they are not constructed to county standards for public streets. They are too steep in some places and are too narrow for on-street parking, and the multiple deviations cannot be upgraded in an economically efficient way for the developer.
The developer created the Misty Acres 2B Homeowners Association (HOA) to do road repair and snow removal for these private streets. The developer will pull out of this HOA as soon as there are enough residents to take control. Residents of Misty Acres 2B will pay dues to that HOA as well as to the Misty Acres Metropolitan District, which will maintain drainage and buffer tracts, although several homeowners requested that those remain in private hands.
The development will be served by Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, Mountain View Electric, and Black Hills Energy Inc.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kate Wetterer
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners approved the reassignment of Monument Hill Country Club’s hotel and restaurant liquor license to Touchstone Golf LLC on June 11. Touchstone Golf filed the application on behalf of the country club, serving as receivers for the company.
The liquor license is now under new ownership, as are the premises. This transfer was approved without contention. The applicant is in good standing, filling all requirements.
The golf course is up and running again, having been temporarily shut down due to lack of funding for the amount of water required for maintenance. All other member services remain available at the club despite changes in management. The club is located at 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument.
Kate Wetterer can be reached at email@example.com.
By Joel Quevillon, El Paso County budget and information coordinator
El Paso County has established a Long Range Recovery Planning Committee for Black Forest. The committee will oversee the county’s participation in the long-range planning of the recovery, restoration, and rebuilding efforts within the Black Forest burn area.
Commissioner Darryl Glenn will chair the committee and Commissioner Amy Lathen will be the co-chair.
"We are now entering a critical planning stage in the recovery process," Commissioner Glenn said. "The county is committed to establishing a collaborative process with our citizens to assist in the recovery, restoration, and rebuilding process within the Black Forest burn area."
Glenn added, "Information from this group will be disseminated via our normal communications channels and through the recently established HOA/neighborhood communication network."
The committee includes representatives of both of the state’s U.S. senators, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, state Sen. Kent Lambert, state Reps. Amy Stephens and Dan Norburg, and the county Sheriff’s Office.
The following is a preliminary list of community members assigned to the committee: Edward Bracken, Donna Arkowski, Carolyn Brown, Judy von Ahlefeldt, Leif Garrison, Laura Carno, and Sean Perkins.
For more information, contact Dave Rose, county public information officer. Phone: 520-6540, cell: 337-9239, DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
By Bill Kappel
Overall, it was a hot and dry June around the region, as temperatures averaged around 3 degrees warmer than normal and precipitation was about 50 percent of normal. These hot, dry, and at times windy conditions played a major role in the devastating Black Forest Fire and the many other wildfires across the region during the month.
Temperatures during the first couple days of June were actually cooler than normal, but unfortunately this cool air wasn’t accompanied by moisture. Highs started off well below normal on the 1st with mid-60s, then warmed into the mid- and upper 70s on the 2nd. Also, our last freeze of the season occurred on the morning of the 1st, as low temperatures dipped all the way into the upper 20s.
Temperatures warmed quickly on the 3rd, with highs reaching the mid-80s. Unsettled conditions moved in over the next few days, with areas of morning low clouds on the 4th and afternoon rain showers. Low clouds and fog and some light rain continued to affect the region on 5th. This held temperatures down to well below normal levels, with upper 40s to low 50s common on the 5th. Mild and dry weather then returned for the remainder of the week. Highs were in the mid 70s from the 6th through the 8th, with morning sunshine and partly cloudy skies by afternoon. Warm weather ended the weekend, with mid-80s common again on the 9th with plenty of sunshine.
Hot, dry, and windy weather led to the worst of all situations during the second week of June. Temperatures reached into the mid-80s on the 9th, then the upper 80s and low 90s on the 10th and 11th. These hot temperatures combined with gusty winds and very low relative humidity to produce extreme fire behavior. These conditions continued over the next two days, allowing the Black Forest Fire to become devastating and very difficult to control. Some relief finally moved in over the remainder of the week, first in the form of lighter winds and afternoon thunderstorms on the 14th. The storms put down a quick shot of moisture across the area. Temperatures cooled over the next two days, with low 80s for highs, and relative humidity levels rose. Winds again were much lighter. All these factors allowed firefighters to get the upper hand on the fire and just in time, as hot and dry conditions again took hold of the region for most of the rest of June.
Highs consistently reached into the upper 80s and low 90s from the 19th through the 28th. The hot weather peaked from the 26th through the 28th, with highs in the low 90s—near record territory. Fortunately, winds were generally well behaved over this period. No rain fell during this time, which is fairly unusual for June, because we would normally expect afternoon and evening thunderstorms to develop on at least a couple of days. An anomalously strong ridge of high pressure centered right over us, keeping low-level moisture to our east and north and allowing the heat to build as very little energy was used to evaporate moisture from the parched ground.
By the end of the month, this area of high pressure finally began to move to the west. This allowed moisture to sneak in from the northwest aloft and east at the surface. This sparked several rounds of thunderstorms starting during the evening of the 28th and again each afternoon on the 29th and 30th. The storms on the 30th produced brief heavy rain and hail just under severe levels. Temperatures were also much cooler to end the month with upper 70s and low 80s on the 29th and 30th.
A look ahead
July can be an active weather month around the region as the Southwest Monsoon season gets going. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and when they are able to tap into higher levels of moisture, flash flooding can result. Hot, stagnant weather can also take hold for a few days at time, with highs hitting well into the 90s.
June 2013 Weather Statistics
Average High 82.3° (+5.5°) 100-year return frequency value max
82.5° min 66.3°
Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact me.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Wake up people!
Land with few trees means hotter weather, and less snow, therefore less water. It is 119 degrees today in Phoenix, a cement city with no trees.
The recent fires should be construed more in the context of reality. The reality is not that we have too many trees or natural land. We need to pay attention to what nature is telling us: Keep the open space and the trees, and stop paving over every inch of land.
As developers and homeowners associations tell us trees are the problem, please take a few moments to think about reality: The trees around here are 60-100 years old. It is a recent phenomenon to have fires of this magnitude. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the relationship here. Community leaders, who are business people, act as whores to developers and love feeding into the paranoia so they can develop more land.
We should not fear nature, we should embrace. As we lose nature, we lose our mental and physical health, as abundant research strongly shows. People who live in this area are shooting themselves in the foot being brainwashed by developers and so-called community leaders. Not to mention our quality of life is decreasing due to uncontrolled growth, and ugly apartments that increase traffic and crime, and decreased school test scores.
Your community leaders voted to let developers cut off the top of a mountain to build 500 homes. Wake up!
Now, State Farm Insurance states it will not insure homes unless the trees are 100 feet away from the house, and other companies will have the same requirements.
Fellow residents, it is time to be an activist and protect nature and ourselves. What is happening is unconscionable.
LeAnna DeAngelo, Ph.D.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Whether your summer plans include a road trip, airplane travel, lounging at the beach, or simply relaxing in the backyard, be sure to keep an engrossing paperback handy. A few possibilities ranging from mystery to romance are described below.
The Dog Stars
Hig and his dog, Jasper, seem to be the only ones left after the flu pandemic killed every known person. Following the voice of a random transmission on the radio of his 1956 Cessna, Hig risks everything to see if there’s a better life out there somewhere. He finds something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for. This is a dark survival story, but it is also poetic and humorous, a story of friendship and hope that makes the reader focus on what is important in life.
For outdoor enthusiasts who are also mystery lovers, Groundwater, a popular Colorado author, offers the latest in her Outdoor Adventures Mystery series. Mandy and Rob are experienced guides leading an off-season rafting-climbing trip in Utah’s remote Canyonlands when one of their group appears to become bear bait. Walled off from the outside world with 11 shell-shocked clients and miles of Colorado River whitewater ahead, Mandy’s nerves threaten to unravel when she learns that Alex’s death was not the work of a homicidal grizzly. Whether it was a crime of passion or the random act of a psychopath, Mandy fears that if they don’t root out the river rat among them, another camper will be running the rapids in a body bag.
Marina, the owner of a charming seaside hotel in England, is struggling with the potential loss of her business, her tumultuous relationship with her stepdaughter, and the lingering repercussions of her mysterious past. She hires a dashing Argentine artist to teach her guests how to paint, not knowing that he will be the one to unveil her true self and change the course of their lives. Spanning four decades and alternating between Tuscany and Devon, this is a story of pain, loss, and the healing power of love.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story
Ellen O’Farrell, a professional hypnotherapist, works out of an eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except that she longs for something long term in place of the tumultuous relationships in her past. She’s optimistic about Patrick, who’s single, employed, and best of all, interested in her—until he suggests they have a talk. Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised that their talk isn’t about her past, but is about the ex-girlfriend who is stalking him. Engrossing, humorous, and romantic, this is a warm summer read.
A Good American
This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Mo., where his German grandparents, Frederick and Jette, settled after emigrating across the Atlantic. The family’s loves and losses are alternately funny and heartbreaking, tragic and tender. But most of all, the story is about the music in Frederick’s heart, a song that began as an aria to the beguiling otherness of this new land, was jazzed by ragtime, and became an anthem of love for his adopted country.
Live By Night
Set in Boston during Prohibition, Live By Night follows the dizzying journey of Joe Coughlin up the ladder of organized crime. Joe’s career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. This is a riveting epic layered with loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream.
May your summer be rich in relaxation, warm in memories, and suffused with good friends and great books. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Elizabeth Hacker
In May, my brother from Mississippi and I had a brief opportunity to go birding. Jack has a sharp eye and knows his birds. We only had a few hours so in an effort to see the most birds in this short time, we headed to Fountain Creek Nature Preserve.
Fountain Creek attracts a variety of birds because it is a primary north-south migration route for many birds that nest in Colorado. It is in a narrow corridor with many vegetation types and is a great place to bird.
In a little more than an hour we’d logged 23 species. Jack had never seen a blue grosbeak so we looked for it, but it was a little early in the season for that species and we didn’t find it. Of the many birds we did see, one that surprised us was the eastern kingbird.
The eastern kingbird is a member of the Tyrant Flycatcher Family, named for their habit of catching flying insects in midair, usually in a short dart from a perch. Their flight is strong, buoyant, and agile with quick turns and abrupt movements. They perch upright while and intently watching for prey.
In May of 2010, I featured the western kingbird, another member of this family that nests on the Palmer Divide, but this was the first time I’d seen an eastern kingbird here. My bird guide indicates that its range includes much of North America, including Colorado, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise to see it here.
This small, conspicuous white bellied bird has the largest distribution of any North American kingbird. Adult male and female are similar but males are slightly larger. They are strikingly beautiful with a rich black crested head and a white chin. Backs are black and their charcoal gray wings are outlined in white. Their flat beaks, legs, and claws are black and their posture is erect.
Because I wasn’t expecting to see an eastern kingbird this far west, it didn’t occur to me what it was until my brother pointed out the white band at the end of its tail. Juvenile birds are similar to adults but are gray with light brown or tan under parts, and the white edge on their tails is barely noticeable.
It is an aggressive bird that stands its ground. It isn’t flighty like many other species of migrating songbirds. An eastern kingbird will chase off or kill any bird that enters its territory. When we were children growing up in Minnesota, Jack and I observed an eastern kingbird literally tear apart a bluejay at one of our bird feeders. We were awestruck that this cute little bird could overpower and kill a bird more than twice its size. Later we surmised that the bluejay may have raided the kingbird’s nest and angered the little bird.
Eastern kingbirds are found in open areas at the edge of a forest in scrublands, wetlands, or open grasslands. Unlike the western kingbird that tends to nest in scrub oaks, the eastern kingbird nests in deciduous trees usually near water.
In spring and summer when breeding and nesting, the eastern kingbird consumes a diet high in protein from insects. Insects provide the protein needed for courting, mating, and egg laying. Chicks are fed insects to help them grow. There are only a few short weeks after the chicks fledge the nest before they begin preparation for a long migration to their winter home in South America.
Migration begins in early September and to prepare for it, flycatchers add fruit to their diet to build up the fat reserve necessary for a long flight. When migrating, kingbirds fly during the day, which requires more energy than flying at night.
Eastern kingbirds are considered monogamous because a pair will stay together for at least one breeding season. The male attracts a female by singing and showing off his ability to fly in a zigzag pattern.
In late May, females begin building nests from twigs, bark, and grasses and lining it with softer materials to protect the eggs. She will lay two to five cream-colored eggs with reddish spots and broods them for about three weeks. Both parents feed and tend to the chicks until they are ready to fledge the nest, which is about three weeks after hatching.
A late spring and wildfires
The unusually late spring may have influenced the timing of migration for many birds. Palmer Lake resident Herman Spielkamp, who is an avid birder and volunteers at the Monument Fire Center caring for 25 bluebird boxes, noticed that there have been fewer bluebirds and swallows nesting this year.
I am a bird enthusiast but not an expert so I rely on more knowledgeable birders for their opinion of this kind of behavior. Ken Pals said that birds will have off-years and didn’t think it was that unusual for birds to pass up historical nesting areas. He added that weather does play a role in bird reproduction and the late spring could have affected nesting numbers of bluebirds and swallows.
When asked how the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires would affect birds, Pals said any nests in the path of the fires would be destroyed and smoke could kill many birds. He added that birds that survived may move and try to nest again in another location. Fires change the species balance, with some species such as the Steller’s jay becoming more abundant while other species like gold finches, bluebirds, and other songbirds could be reduced for many years to come. As the habitat rebounds, it is likely that most birds will return to historic nesting areas and pre-fire numbers will eventually be re-established.
Elizabeth Hacker is a writer and artist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share bird pictures and stories.
By Janet Sellers
"Creativity takes courage." —Henri Matisse
Public art is making a compelling presence beyond the usual town plaza as venue. In neighborhoods, back streets, and vacant lots, in suburban hinterlands, rural villages, and remote virtual realms, a compelling kind of art has been taking shape, one that questions the very nature and experience of the commons.
Driven by the likes of artists, local/regional government planning, curators, and, more rarely, nonprofit organizations, these design projects treat public space as more than an outdoor gallery. The artwork, both indoors and outdoors, might be temporary or permanent public art, but in any case it creates a community space for both art and life.
Indicators for outcomes of public art include measurable changes in a variety of areas, particularly in how people think about civic and social concerns, and expanding to understanding the complexities of the various stakeholders in a community. Ultimately, both residents and businesses benefit from public art on view.
Understanding social impact indicators and outcomes is a primary goal of Americans for the Arts in their national Animating Democracy program, and their recent published studies show that public art enhances neighborhoods and cultural action. Public art also greatly increases the value of love of place, real estate desirability, and other advantageous influences. In this study, small and large merchants nationwide reported that in areas where public art and activities are supported, commerce is up, crime tends to go down, and more.
Here in our Tri-Lakes area, we are extremely fortunate to have what few communities ever have for creating cultural strength: Our public art is supported by private citizens, local businesses, some of our local nonprofit groups such as Tri-Lakes Views, and the Town of Monument. Elsewhere, most public art is completely dependent on the government for funding for placement, pedestals, art, and upkeep, and thereby reflects government planning directed toward official activities.
Here in our community, we have a more personal approach with important civic support and cooperation. Our local nonprofit, Tri-Lakes Views, and local citizens have been stepping up to the plate with their efforts to put art throughout our community. We now have artwork in the Monument Sculpture Park, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), Monument Town Hall, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and a number of local businesses and art galleries.
Just one example of community spirit in cooperation is the Town of Monument supporting the Sculpture Park through the upkeep of the grounds, so the school district land is thereby beautified and cared for in ways that our community did not have before. The beautiful, groomed grounds invite a pleasant stroll or seated respite from the heat under the enormous ponderosa pine trees on the Lewis-Palmer School District grounds at the corner of Second and Jefferson Streets.
Other public and fun art activities in our area are events that occur on a weekly basis at our local art galleries and merchants, mostly in summertime. On the third Thursdays of the warmer months, the Historic Monument Merchants Association sponsors our Monument Art Hop. The festive mood permeates the town’s art quarter between Second and Third Streets, and many merchants offer a chosen artist space for an art show for the evening—sometimes all month.
July art events
Monument Art Hop—Over a dozen venues stay open until 8 p.m. July 18. Galleries, restaurants and boutiques of historic downtown Monument feature art openings, food, and live music. The art quarter is between Second and Third Streets in Historic Monument. www.monumentarthop.org.
Friday Art Night—July 5, 12, and 19, 5 to 8 p.m. Local art gallery receptions for featured artists, events and art shows. First Friday is at TLCA, 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake; Second Friday is at Bella Art and Frame, 187 Washington St., Third Friday is at Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, corner of Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads, Colorado Springs.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts—July 1-27, TLCA has extended the current shows by artists Leila DeMello (Lucy Owens Gallery) and Kristy Reid (main gallery) until July 27. For more information: 719-481-0475. www.trilakesarts.org.
Bella Art & Frame—July 12, 5 to 8 p.m. A double treat is featured with the photography of Walter Chambosse and a special artist from The Thoughtful View Studio. Ongoing, their large gallery space also exhibits for sale works by over a dozen local artists. 487-7691. www.bellaartandframe.com.
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery—July 19, 5 to 8 p.m. Local artists’ works are featured. Corner of Baptist and Roller Coaster Roads. 719-481-6157. www.southwindsfineart.com.
Mountain Community Gallery—July 1-31. The gallery will exhibit the show, Tranquility, an exhibition of paintings of three local artists: Rikki Stiltner, Nikki Sheridan, and Cindy Tafil. The show will be open for viewing through July. Located on the second floor of Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake.
Janet Sellers is an American artist, as well as a local art teacher and writer. She makes public art sculptures, puts brush to paint every day, and teaches art locally outdoors (and indoors). Sellers lives in Woodmoor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
Since June 1, our cheerful teen volunteers have been on hand during all library hours, registering children and teens for summer reading and awarding prizes to celebrate their success. We are proud to have such a responsible group of teens to represent the library.
As of June 27, the teens have registered 1,417 children, 604 teens, and 124 babies into the program in Monument, and 128 children, 64 teens, and 24 babies in Palmer Lake.
There will be many more special programs during July, ending with our spectacular party on the Palmer Lake Village Green on July 30 from 10 to noon.
Each Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. we offer a different program related to the children’s summer reading program, "Dig into Reading." These programs include African folk tales, Digging Animals, and a fantasy play about digging for treasure.
Thursdays from 2 to 3 p.m. feature a read-aloud of stories followed by a craft for ages 5 to 8.
Friday, July 12, from 2 to 3 p.m. is a program on painting with tempera paints. Wear an old shirt because this will get messy! This class is for children age 7 and older.
The Legos club will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 20. Legos fans of all ages are welcome to bring their creativity. Please do not bring your own Legos, but bring a camera to capture your creation!
Flyers for all programs are available at the circulation desk.
The teen summer reading program, "Beneath the Surface," presents a visit by the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Zoomobile on Saturday, July 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. Please register at the desk or call 488-2370.
Registration is open for the very popular Henna Tattoo Workshop for those in fifth to 12th grades on Aug. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. Registration and a permission slip are required. Register early to ensure a space!
There will be a Henna Tattoo Workshop for adults on Aug. 10 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Learn about the ancient art of henna, practice the technique, and get your own temporary henna tattoo! Space is limited and registration is required.
The Life Circles group meets on the first and third Mondays of the month. Life Circles is a support group to provide discipline and structure for those writing their memoirs. The group meets at 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the community room.
As part of its Library Outdoors! program, the Monument Library is sponsoring a walking tour of historic Monument. Local historian/filmmaker Jim Sawatzki makes the "days gone by" in Monument come to life with his colorful stories and facts about Monument’s early history. Participants will receive a brochure about the sites he discusses on the 1-mile stroll. Register your contact information at the library in case of inclement weather or call 488-2370. The tour will take place on Thursday, July 18, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.. Meet at Limbach Park (151 Front St.).
The Monumental Readers will discuss The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield on Friday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to noon. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.
On the walls of the library in July will be oil paintings by Sharon Tymes. In the display case will be the many hats of Daisy Quackers.
Palmer Lake Library programs
Special summer reading programs will be presented at the Palmer Lake Library on Wednesdays at 10:30. See the library newsletter or flyers for program information.
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of every month. Please call 481-2487 for the current selection.
A new display of photographs, Risa’s Rabbits by Laurisa, will be on the walls of the library in July.
Everyone is invited to the Monument and Palmer Lake Library Summer Reading Party July 30 from 10 to noon! We’ll have a gigantic inflatable obstacle course, a Frisbee-playing robot, a live falcon from the Air Force Academy, face painting, a soccer challenge, a bean bag toss and water balloon throw, crafts, a toddler area, cool treats, and more. Don’t miss the fun!
The whole family is welcome to attend our Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social in Palmer Lake on Saturday, Aug. 3, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. This year there will be live bluegrass music by the Countyline Ramblers and free ice cream from the Rock House. This is an event our seniors love, too. Families are encouraged to bring their elders and step back to a time when an ice cream cone was all you needed for a perfect summer afternoon.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bernard L. Minetti
Researcher and lecturer Robert Cronk presented an evening of history and information concerning Pedro Cajete, commonly known as Chief Manitou, at the June 20 Palmer Lake Historical Society presentation. This session had been postponed from February. About 66 history devotees attended.
Cronk became interested in Chief Manitou while exploring a cave known as Pedro’s Cave near the Cave of the Winds in the Colorado Springs area.
Cajete came from Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, an area known for its poverty. Eventually he migrated to the Manitou Springs area and entertained tourists with his dancing and story telling. In the early 1900s, he became a highlight of the area and was a well-known tourist attraction in his own right. Cronk displayed many photos and discussed events in the life of Cajete.
Society Board President Al Walter discussed the upcoming "One Nation Walking Together" powwow to be held July 20 in the Colorado Springs Freedom Financial Expo Center. Walter said Native Americans from all tribes will join in dancing, singing, and other cultural expressions. It will be co-sponsored by the Palmer Lake Historical Society.
Local historian and author Jim Sawatzki said the Chautauqua will be held Aug. 2 to 4. For more information on this annual event, call Sawatzki at 719-481-3963.
The next meeting of the Palmer Lake Historical Society will feature a presentation about the Western Mining Museum. Owner Rick Sauer will explain the origins of the museum and its history. The public is invited to the meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake.
Bernard Minetti may be contacted at email@example.com.
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: July Menu
July 10: Raspberry chipotle chicken, roasted potatoes, and 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.
Free workshop to answer insurance questions for Black Forest fire survivors, July 8
El Paso County has invited United Policyholders, an experienced non-profit consumer group, to host one of its nationally recognized "Roadmap to Recovery" workshops to help residents get started on clean up and recovery from the Black Forest wildfire. The workshop will held July 8, 6 p.m., at Woodmen Valley Chapel, 8292 Woodmen Valley View, Colorado Springs. This is a non-profit educational event; no commercial solicitations are permitted. The workshop will cover what to expect during the claims process, common problems and how to avoid them, and where to look for and how to identify trustworthy help and support. Attendees will receive free Roadmap to Recovery organizers, handbooks, and flash drives to help them organize and move forward toward recovery. Mountain Shadows resident Steve Price will share strategies that were helpful as his family began the rebuilding process following the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire. The workshop is free and open to the public, and will be followed by survivor-only support group "break-out" sessions that will allow neighbors to connect in an informal and confidential setting. For Black Forest Fire Assistance Information, visit www.bffassistance.com. For more information about United Policyholders, visit www.uphelp.org/BlackForestFire. For more information about this event, contact Dave Rose, 520-6540, DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
County Assessor warns of imposters posing as county employees
The El Paso County Assessor’s Office has received reports that residents in the Black Forest fire area have been contacted by imposters who claim to represent the El Paso County Assessor’s Office. Residents should not provide information to anybody without proper identification. County appraisers have completed property inspections and will only go out again at the request of a property owner. Employees of the County Assessor’s Office have county ID’s and business cards and drive official vehicles marked with the words "Assessor’s Department" on the doors. Impersonating a public official to gather information for personal benefit is a felony. For more information, contact: Dave Rose, 520-6540, DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
Stage I Fire Restrictions are in effect
Stage I fire restrictions are in effect for unincorporated areas of El Paso County. The following activities are prohibited during Stage I restrictions:
• Open burning (except in permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds), charcoal grills and wood burning stoves (except at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials), the use of explosives, outdoor welding or use of acetylene or other torch with open flame other than in an area cleared of all flammable materials. Fires contained within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves are permitted.
• The sale or use of fireworks of all kinds.
• Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, in a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Violation of Stage I restrictions can result in a fine up to $600.
Tax credit available for wildfire mitigation work
Taxpayers with property located in a wildland-urban interface area can receive 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 about the tax credit, check www.taxcolorado.com.
Black Forest Slash and Mulch Site re-opens
Tree and brush trimmings accepted including charred materials
The Black Forest Slash/Mulch site has re-opened and resumed normal business hours: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The site is on the east side of Herring Road just south of Shoup Road. Items accepted include tree and bush trimmings (can be charred), pinecones and needles. No stumps, roots, weeds, grass, sod, lumber, trash, etc. Size limitations on tree branches are 6 feet long, 8 inches in diameter. Loads must be securely tied in transit. Free mulch is available for self-loading during normal business hours; for large quantities of mulch, an end loader is available only on Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., charging $5 for two cubic yards. This free program accepts cash donations for the Black Forest Slash and Mulch Committee (SAMCOM) and food items and checks for Care & Share. For more information visit bfslash.org or call Ruth Ann Steele 495-3107, Carolyn Brown, 495-3127, Jeff DeWitt, 495-8024, or the county Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Covered Treasures book drive, through July
The Black Forest fire destroyed 511 homes. Some families lost all their possessions, including their children’s home library. Covered Treasures Bookstore, located at 105 Second St., Monument, is holding a book drive during July with a goal to collect 600 books. These books will be distributed at Edith Wolford Elementary School during the school’s ice cream social at the start of the school year in August. Please drop off gently used, nearly new, or new children’s books at the store anytime this month. The store has a huge selection of books in its children’s room and can special order any book. Thank you for helping with this project and supporting your local community. For more information, call 481-2665.
Free Help Line for fire victims
Optum, a leading health and behavioral health services company, is offering a free emotional-support help line to those affected by wildfires. The service is free of charge 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.
Walking tours with local historian/filmmaker Jim Sawatzki
Walk in the footsteps of early Monument pioneers. Stroll through Old Town Palmer Lake or visit the Chautauqua grounds and cottages in Glen Park. Journey north to neighboring picturesque Castle Rock. Each tour is 1 1/2 hours. For details, call 481-3963 or visit www.palmerdivideproductions.com.
Gardeners wanted for Monument Community Garden
The community garden is located in Monument’s Lavelett Park on Beacon Lite Road. One garden bed is available to a gardener for personal use. The other bed’s harvest will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares as it has for the last two years. Help is needed with planting, maintaining, and harvesting that bed. Also needed are donations for the purchase of short-season seeds for the Tri-Lakes Cares bed. For more information, contact Leah Squires, 488-5902, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Carol Crossland, 661-1476, email@example.com.
CDOT front range high-speed rail study in progress
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Division of Transit & Rail hosted an open house at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments May 29 as part of an Interregional Connectivity Study. The study, scheduled to be completed by September, is examining technology, alignment, and funding options for implementing high-speed rail along the Front Range. The study extends from Fort Collins to Pueblo and builds off of past feasibility and technical studies related to high-speed rail options. CDOT has established a website with more detailed information about the study. Residents with ideas and questions should see www.coloradodot.info/projects/ICS or contact Bob Wilson (303) 757-9431.
OCN seeks volunteers
Would you like to volunteer with Our Community News? You can help with mailing day, write articles, take photos, write captions, and more. We’ll teach you! Text or call Lisa at 339-7831 to find out more.
Lupus support group forming
If you are interested in joining a lupus support group in the Monument area, contact Diane Bandle, 491-1346, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Master Gardener Help Desk Summer Hours
Colorado Master Gardener (CMG) volunteers are ready to assist you with your lawn and gardening questions. CMG volunteers are available at the Colorado State University Extension office Monday through Friday mornings 9 a.m.-noon. You may call and leave a message at any time at 520-7684, or email your questions to CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.
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.
Get volunteer help for your nonprofit
Due to popular demand, the Lewis-Palmer School District is adding a list of volunteer opportunities to its Youth Activities Directory online. Many students are required to participate in community projects for credit and others are just looking for ways to serve. If your nonprofit has a need for volunteers for a one-time project or an ongoing effort and can use volunteers under age 18, obtain a directory listing form at http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101174229838-940/YAS+directory+form.pdf. Nonprofits may list their volunteer needs in the directory free of charge. For more information, contact Robin Adair, P.O. Box 40, Monument, CO 80132; call 785-4223 or email email@example.com.
Attention Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions
If you have a medical condition or a physical disability, please contact Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, 484-0911, to register for emergency assistance if evacuation is required.
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. Monday 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 more 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.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For more information, call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
Check out energy savings at local libraries
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) recently started a program allowing consumers to check out "Kill-A-Watt" meters, plug-in energy meters, from local libraries and Book Mobiles in MVEA’s service territory. Kill-A-Watt meters can help consumers assess how efficient appliances really are. This program provides a free way to identify the real energy abusers and reduce energy use. People who have used the meters report unplugging appliances that weren’t being used to save energy. For more information, call MVEA, 1-800-388-9881, ext. 2602; or Monument Branch Library, 488-2370.
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 02, 2022. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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