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By Nancy Wilkins
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) Board of Directors held a special rate hearing on Dec. 19 and voted unanimously to approve the rate increases. WWSD residents should see the increase starting in January. Prior to the rate hearing, the district posted the rate increase on its website, www.woodmoorwater.com. As of Dec. 26, this information had been removed, but a copy of Resolution 14-11 and the complete list of rate increases should be available at the district office.
The 2015 rates include the following:
Base sewer charges for residential customers are not to exceed $28.82 per month. The water volume charge for residential users per 1,000 gallons, up to 6,000 gallons use, should not exceed $5.90 per month. However, the Renewal Water Investment Fee is expected to remain at $45 per month for 2015.
For new development in the district, the tap fee for three-fourths-inch multifamily units should not exceed $18,774. The Availability of Service fee for water and sewer is not to exceed $100. Equipment fee and inspection fees are held at 2014 rates of $300 and $200, respectively.
Unanimous vote to file lawsuit
Following an executive session, Erin Smith, attorney for the district, in the open public meeting announced that the board voted unanimously to file a lawsuit involving the Joint Use Agreement (JUA).
The JUA is the agreement among the three owners of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility: Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and WWSD. Smith said the dispute is associated with determining costs. The civil case, if not settled before filing or resolved before trial, would probably be held either at El Paso County Court or 4th Judicial District Court as a public impact case.
The board also voted to accept several changes to the district’s portion of the 2015 budget for the JUA, with Director Jim Taylor abstaining. Director Rich Strom recommended accepting several changes, which include an expectation of reduction in costs associated with not hiring another employee at the wastewater treatment plant, not purchasing a pickup truck, and delaying the decision to build a shed in 2015. According to District Manager Jessie Shaffer, the district had already included these costs in its 2015 budget for the wastewater plant prior to the board’s recent decision to accept the reductions. Shaffer said the implication of the phosphorus removal construction project will not be noted (in Revision 5 amendments to the JUC budget) as construction by thirds. The board voted 3-0 in favor with director Jim Taylor abstaining.
Secretary Beth Courrau chaired the meeting in lieu of Director Barrie Town’s absence. Treasurer Tommy Schwab and Directors Jim Taylor and Rich Strom were present. Also at the meeting was district resident Russ Broshous, who asked the board what WWSD would be charging for tap fees and other services for undeveloped lots. Shaffer gave Broshous a copy of the rates.
The meeting ended at 10:41 a.m. For more information about the Joint Use Committee for the Tri-Lakes facility, see page 4.
Board meetings are normally held at the district office on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. However, the next board meeting is scheduled Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. The district office is located at 1845 Woodmoor Dr. Visit www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 for more information.
Nancy Wilkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 14 years, our volunteers have provided unbiased reporting on important local issues, including real estate development, fire departments, school districts, and water availability. We have provided a platform for advertising local businesses without competition from larger markets. We have published letters to the editor to allow you to express your opinions on events in the Tri-Lakes area.
Now we find that we have more tasks than we have volunteers. Some vital jobs where we could use your help:
• Ad sales coordinator. We are looking for one dedicated volunteer who loves OCN. Commitment is about 45 hours a month and is very busy the second half of each month.
• Bookkeeping assistant.
• Reporting on local meetings, what they talked about and what they decided.
• Counting and lifting tubs of papers to take mailing to post offices and stacks to local businesses once a month.
• People with strong arms and backs to help load and unload mailing tubs from truck at two locations (3 hours a month)
• Driving rental truck to various post offices and printing plant once a month.
• Preparing post office paperwork, tub labels, subscription labels, etc. once a month.
• Backup managing editor, keeping track of content and word counts at the end of month and preparing new content spreadsheet for new month.
The time and skills involved vary greatly from job to job. OCN will provide whatever equipment and training you need.
Please join us today! Meet a group of interesting and committed people. Learn new skills—use your enthusiasm and creativity to benefit your community and celebrate unfiltered information.
Please call John Heiser at 488-3455 or Lisa Hatfield at 339-7831, or email email@example.com to see what you can contribute. Contact us today! We are waiting to hear from you. If you can spare some time to help ensure that OCN continues to provide a vital service to our wonderful Tri-Lakes community, please contact us by Saturday, Jan. 24.
Caption: Our 2014 crop of volunteers included, from left, Nancy Wilkins, Mike Wicklund, Wayne Claybaugh, RaeJean Claybaugh, Lisa Hatfield, Allen Alchian,, James Howald, Jackie Burhans, Harriet Halbig, John Heiser, Chris Pollard, Arjun Gheewala, Janet Sellers, Mark Aggers, Bernard Minetti. Photo by Wayne Claybaugh.
By Nancy Wilkins
At the Dec. 4 meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board agreed to file an application for water exchange rights, heard recommendations from Raftelis Financial Consultants, approved the 2015 budget, and reviewed the manager’s report.
Exchange rights involve water in Monument Creek
Under the recommendation of attorney Veronica Sperling, the board voted unanimously to file a water court application for exchange of water rights. The application includes the exchange of water coming from lawn irrigation return flows and processed water from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility. The treatment facility is jointly owned by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and WWSD.
The source of the new water for exchange is from the Denver basin that Sperling says the district acquired from inclusions. Water from the JV Ranch is another source being considered for exchange.
The district might use the exchange water to divert the equivalent amount of water up through the exchange point in Monument Creek and convey it to Lake Woodmoor. According to Sperling, it’s a way to reuse water recently acquired.
Using more non-potable water may put consumers into higher rate bracket
The district uses block volume rates for non-potable (irrigation only) water users. Using more water for irrigation could put the user into a higher cost bracket. One of the goals of the rate structure for the district is to help customers conserve water, and not use any excess.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer said, "If you want to over irrigate … the rate almost doubles." The district has used the pricing structure for about two years. Shaffer said the district went through this rate structure with every irrigation customer. Once that rate structure was implemented, use declined. Board President Barrie Town said the board anticipated a higher consumption during the summer months, and said he wants to track consumption and use beyond two years. "We’ve had one dry year and one wet year," Town said.
Town suggest creating a small information page, perhaps on the webpage, so that the non-potable (irrigation only) water users understand that rates may increase by block volume. The Brookmoor homeowners association is considering going on a non-potable irrigation system. Town said, "Brookmoor could exceed the lower-cost volume block rate; we don’t want to put them in a situation where they think that using more (potable) water (at the higher cost bracket) will save them money. Shaffer said, "We could put that (information) out."
Raftelis Financial Consultants presented recommendations on district rates, including an increase in the sewer tap fee. The increase to the sewer tap fee is calculated as an "equity buy-in," where the replacement cost of the existing assets in the system was divided by a single-family equivalent, so that any new customers have to pay their proportional share to join in.
Director Jim Taylor asked if the tap fee should include the Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF). Although the tap fee is helping to pay for the infrastructure, and the RWIF is paying for consumable water purchased, for now, the board decided not to add the RWIF to the tap fee.
Board accepts 2015 budget, expects 4 percent increase in revenue
The board voted unanimously to accept the 2015 budget, and expects the increase of fees in 2015 to generate a 4 percent increase in revenue. Treasurer Beth Courrau explained the 4 percent increase in revenue is an "overall" percentage based on various fee brackets.
Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said Operations will have to use a riser ring to bring several manhole covers up to the correct surface level. Gillette said Operations Superintendent Lance Nielson didn’t get any notification from the county when and where the county was going to pave. According to Town, "At some point they covered up some manholes." Gillette said, "There was a time when the county worked with us, and we will put that stuff on the side of the road."
Engineer Zack Collin received a compliment from Gillette who said Collin’s help with training others and outstanding presentations at the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association made a significant contribution to the organization.
The district reported 4.17 million gallons of unaccounted water, representing about 22 percent of the 18.95 million gallons pumped. Gillette said it was difficult getting readings during the holidays. A water main broke on Thanksgiving Day and a second water main broke the following Friday. Gillette said, "There is something about it. We get nailed every year," adding, "The ground movement caused sheers."
The board went into executive session, citing a state statute allowing private discussion related to the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest.
Nancy Wilkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 9, Don Smith, president of the Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility and treasurer of the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) board, formally announced that the MSD board had disapproved the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget at a special MSD board meeting held on Dec. 3.
Don Smith said he had emailed the other two JUC representatives, Palmer Lake Sanitation District Director Ken Smith and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District Director Rich Strom, about this Dec. 3 MSD board action before this Dec. 9 JUC meeting. The final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget was approved by the three-member JUC at the Nov. 11 JUC meeting. (See http://ocn.me/v14n12.htm#tlfjuc1111 for more details.)
Don Smith and Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund each said the final Tri-Lakes 2015 budget was not approved by the MSD board due to unresolved cost-sharing issues that the three special districts that own the facility still have with each other regarding the plant’s planned new total phosphorus removal chemical treatment clarifier expansion. They each said that MSD could not afford several of the items listed in the Tri-Lakes facility budget due to having to maintain a cash reserve of at least $150,000 to defend itself against a lawsuit that it appeared co-owner Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District would file in 2015 to force MSD to pay for a third of the estimated total phosphorus plant expansion cost of $2.32 million.
They also noted that that MSD’s attorneys had advised that the MSD board should not approve the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget because this budget specified that MSD would pay one-third of all new total phosphorus (TP) treatment clarifier expansion costs. MSD’s lawyers advised disapproval because the final percentages of each owner district’s share of Tri-Lakes expansion costs had not been settled and MSD board approval of the one-third cost sharing listed in Note 11 of the JUC-approved 2015 final budget could be used against MSD in court by Woodmoor as evidence of Monument’s willingness to pay a third of the TP costs.
Also, Don Smith stated that Monument cannot afford to pay one-third of the cost for the new TP removal chemical clarifier expansion due to several cost overruns already added throughout 2014 by Tetra Tech RTW, the facility’s engineering consultant firm, especially Tetra Tech’s prediction of yet another 30 percent overrun during the bidding process in 2015.
Tri-Lakes Facility Manager Bill Burks based the 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget on splitting the TP constituent expansion construction costs in thirds for the new chemical total phosphorus removal tertiary clarifier expansion, despite several requests from MSD to also show a split by treatment capacity ownership numbers, which are different because Woodmoor has over three times the number of customers of both Monument and Palmer Lake.
MSD’s position, as stated at several previous JUC meetings, is that each district should pay the same percentage of the cost of expansion for the new facility discharge permit treatment requirement to remove the influent constituent total phosphorus as the percentage amount of each owner district’s currently owned treatment capacity for hydraulic flows and removing biosolid (BOD) wastes, and that each owner district should own this same percentage of the new maximum chemical total phosphorus treatment capacity of 264 pounds per day (ppd) being created by the expansion. This new rated capacity was just recently reduced from Tetra Tech RTW’s initial maximum rating of 280 ppd by Tetra Tech RTW engineer Steve Tamburini.
The existing allocation of owned hydraulic capacity as well as biosolids treatment capacity and any other new constituent treatment capacity is specified in Section 3 of the Tri-Lakes facility’s Joint Use of Facilities Agreement, which controls facility operations and funding of plant expansions for ownership of new treatment of constituents:
• Woodmoor – 64.28 percent
MSD also believes it is fairest to all wastewater ratepayers in the Tri-Lakes facility service area if the three owner districts receive these same percentages of the $1 million state grant for design and construction of the new total phosphorus treatment expansion:
• Woodmoor – $642,800
Woodmoor’s position is that each district should pay one-third of the estimated $2.32 million construction cost of the new total phosphorus treatment equipment expansion for this new state and federal nutrient requirement, even though Woodmoor would still own 64.28 percent of the new total phosphorus treatment capacity of 264 ppd, or 180 ppd. Woodmoor’s position, which is based on Section 7 "Repair or Replacement" of the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement, would require Monument ratepayers to pay $314,128 for 13.54 percent of the 264 ppd capacity (35.75 ppd) that would then be given by Monument’s ratepayers to Woodmoor’s ratepayers.
Likewise, Palmer Lake ratepayers would be required to pay $403,680 for 17.40 percent of the 264 ppd (45.94 ppd) that would also be given by Palmer Lake’s ratepayers to Woodmoor’s ratepayers. Woodmoor’s position is that all three districts would receive one-third of the $1 million state design and construction grant to reduce their equal individual $733,333 costs by an equal individual grant share, $333,333 each. The net district cost by thirds would be $440,000 for each of the three owner districts.
However, if each district pays an equal one-third share of costs, the net cost for each of Woodmoor’s 3,470 customers for the project would be $127, while the net cost for each of Monument’s 1,210 customers would be $364 and the net cost for each of Palmer Lake’s 1,100 customers would be $400.
Wicklund has stated at several recent JUC meetings, and again at this Dec. 9 meeting, that MSD’s position remains that if it has to pay a third of the total phosphorus treatment expansion cost of $2.32 million ($733,333), it should own a third of the new 264 ppd of rated total phosphorus treatment capacity, which is 88 ppd. However, no total phosphorus treatment equipment is being repaired or replaced, a condition for applying cost-sharing by thirds in the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement per Section 7. MSD believes that if it is to own only 19.79 percent, or 52.25 ppd of the new total phosphorus expansion’s rated treatment capacity, rather than 88 ppd (a third), then Monument should only pay 19.79 percent of the estimated $2.32 million construction cost, or $459,128. This amount is $274,205 less than $733,333 each that Woodmoor wants Monument and Palmer Lake to pay. Monument’s 19.79 percent of the $1 million state design and construction grant ($197,900) would reduce its total net cost to $261,228 rather than the $440,000 Woodmoor wants Monument to pay.
At the Dec. 9 meeting, Ken Smith said the Palmer Lake board had approved a 2015 district budget that covered paying a third of the net construction cost ($440,000) even though Palmer Lake would own only 15.93 percent of the new 264 ppd of TP treatment capacity, or 42.06 ppd rather than the 88.0 ppd it was paying for. If Palmer Lake only paid 15.93 percent of the $2.32 million cost, it would only pay $369,576, which would be reduced by 15.93 percent of the $1 million grant, ($159,300) for a net total cost of $210,276 rather than a one-third net cost of $440,000.
If each district paid for the total phosphorus expansion by ownership shares of the TP treatment capacity it will own after construction in accordance with section 3 of the Joint use of Facilities Agreement, the net cost for each of Woodmoor’s 3,470 customers for the project would be $244 rather than $127, while the net cost for each of Monument’s 1,210 customers would be $216 rather than $364, and the net cost for each of Palmer Lake’s 1,100 customers would be $191 rather than $400.
The state’s new Control Regulation 85 mandates that facilities rated over 2 million gallons per day (MGD) for influent wastewater flow be required to meet a treated effluent discharge limit of 1 milligram per liter (mg/l) for total phosphorus after 2017. Tri-Lakes’ rated flow capacity is 4.2 MGD, so Control Regulation 85 applies. Tri-Lakes must expand its treatment plant for this new constituent treatment regulatory requirement for total phosphorus.
Note: The new state Control Regulation 85 discharge limit for total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) is 15 mg/l, which the Tri-Lakes plant already meets because it was originally designed in 1988 to remove ammonia, a constituent of total inorganic nitrogen, as noted in the Tetra Tech RTW proposal to the state Health Department. However, a far more costly plant expansion will be required to meet the Regulation 31.17 total nitrogen discharge limit of 2.01 mg/l that goes into effect in 2022.
The entire $80,000 state nutrient treatment planning grant has already been issued to the Tri-Lakes facility and reimbursed by thirds to Monument, Palmer Lake, and Woodmoor. Under the existing Joint Use of Facilities Agreement, planning costs are shared by thirds.
2015 Tri-Lakes final budget amended
Don Smith specifically asked the JUC to amend the 2015 budget to eliminate:
• Note 11 that specified that each owner district would pay a third of all expenses for treating this newly regulated constituent.
• Construction of a long-planned new storage building.
• Creation of a new fourth employee position in April 2015.
• Purchase of a new additional third staff pickup truck.
Note: Only one of the three hourly wage Tri-Lakes facility operator positions is filled at this time.
Wicklund stated that MSD has no ability to pay the further additional costs added by a subsequent Tetra Tech RTW cost revisions announced in 2014 due to loss of the district’s enterprise status to be able to receive its portion of the $1 million state grant as required by state TABOR amendment restrictions. Any additional Monument Sanitation District borrowing to pay the higher costs added by Tetra Tech RTW since the 2013 loan would have to be approved through a Monument district election, which can’t be held until 2016, the next even-numbered year, under Colorado state law.
Wicklund also noted that at various times Tetra Tech RTW has stated that chemical costs for the total phosphorus clarifier in 2015 would be $150,000 in 2015 and $200,000 in 2016, but Tetra Tech RTW had just backed away from these estimates, saying it has no chemical cost estimate to offer at this time. No chemical costs were listed in the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget nor appropriated. Wicklund said he expected Monument’s annual operational chemical cost would be about $60,000. Wicklund added that he is also budgeting $150,000 for the lawsuit in 2015 and "the lawsuit will settle this."
Burks said the third hourly wage operator is still needed, starting in April. He said purchase of a new third pickup truck could be deferred beyond 2015 with further maintenance of the two existing trucks and the long-proposed storage building was not needed. There was JUC consensus on Burks’ priorities.
There was a lengthy technical discussion about how state law applies to amending an already approved budget for a joint public venture owned by Title 32 special districts like Tri-Lakes. Wicklund stated that Monument cannot and will not pay more than 19.79 percent of the cost of the TP construction project. Don Smith said Monument cannot afford to pay for a third hourly wage operator.
Don Smith made a motion to amend the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget as follows:
• Delete Note 11 that specified that each owner district would pay a third of all expenses for treating this newly regulated constituent.
• Delete the specific line item 22 entry for the expenditure for construction of a storage building.
• Delete the specific line item 26 entry for the expenditure of the purchase of a new additional third staff pickup truck.
• Delete all line item 31 expenditures associated with creation of a new third operator position in April 2015.
Strom seconded the motion and the JUC approved it unanimously.
After Burks reported on successful November plant operations, the meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 13 at the at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4053.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 18, at a public hearing, the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) board unanimously approved a resolution for the district’s 2015 budget as presented and a resolution to appropriate the funds necessary to fund this budget. The board also unanimously approved a letter of engagement with Bauerle & Co. for the district’s 2014 audit with a maximum fee of $8,900.
2015 district budget briefing
Some of the line items Monument District Manager Mike Wicklund briefed to the board about the district’s 2015 budget were:
• Beginning balance - $908,306
No member of the public spoke for or against the budget during the open portion of the public budget hearing.
The board unanimously approved the resolution for adopting the 2015 budget, as presented. Also approved unanimously were the corresponding 2015 resolution for a total general fund appropriation of $1.64 million and the certification of tax levies for non-school governments that stated that there will be no mill levy for the district in 2015.
2015 Tri-Lakes budget amendment discussion
Wicklund also noted that the special Dec. 3 district board meeting included an executive session for the board to receive legal advice regarding negotiations from the district’s litigation attorney Steve Mulliken. Based on Mulliken’s legal advice, the board voted to reject the 2015 Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility budget because the budget’s sole listing of cost sharing by thirds could be used in district court by Woodmoor as evidence of the Monument’s willingness to pay a third of the total phosphorus constituent treatment expansion costs, a total net cost of $440,000. Monument’s total net cost for paying only for the total phosphorus treatment capacity it will own (19.79 percent of 264 pounds per day of removal, or 52.25 pounds per day) would be $261,288, a difference of $178,712.
Wicklund advised the board that Tri-Lakes facility Manager Bill Burks had not listed the design and construction cost shares divided by the existing percentages of flow and biosolids treatment capacity ownership for the three districts that own the facility in the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget, as requested by Monument several times. The hearing for the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget was held at the Nov. 11 Tri-Lakes facility Joint Use Committee (JUC) meeting.
Wicklund also noted that Burks had only listed all the associated total phosphorus constituent treatment capacity expansion costs in a single column, split by thirds, in Note 11 of the final 2015 facility budget. The purpose of Note 11 is to show the amount each district will pay for the year for all its individual Tri-Lakes costs. There are different cost-sharing percentages for various types of costs, such as operating, capital, repair, and replacement costs.
These new total phosphorus constituent chemical flocculation and settling clarifiers will cost an estimated $2.32 million. A $1 million state nutrient treatment grant will pay for part of this new constituent treatment expansion expense.
Wicklund said that he and Monument Sanitation District Treasurer Don Smith had asked at previous JUC meetings for this separate listing of the size of the cost shares proportional to the percentages of owned total phosphorus treatment capacity for each owner district. Smith is Monument’s Joint Use Committee (JUC) representative and the JUC president.
The Tri-Lakes facility is a separate joint venture owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District, and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. The existing allocation of owned hydraulic flow capacity and biosolids treatment capacity percentages has been specified in Section 3 of the Tri-Lakes Joint Use of Facilities Agreement since the agreement was created in 1996. These same percentages also apply to treatment capacity ownership for any new constituent treatment equipment built in a plant expansion to meet a new treatment requirement. They are: Woodmoor—64.28 percent, Monument—19.79 percent, and Palmer Lake—15.93 percent.
This new state requirement to remove total phosphorus from wastewater was imposed on the Tri-Lakes facility in 2013 by the state’s new nutrient Control Regulation 85.
Wicklund stated that at the Dec. 9 JUC meeting that Monument Sanitation District would pay no more than 19.79 percent of the total phosphorus expansion cost because Monument would only own 19.79 percent of the total phosphorous treatment capacity (removal of up to 264 pounds of total phosphorus per day.) He said that he and Smith also advised the JUC that there were three other items in the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget of Nov. 11 that MSD had no money to pay for, since the Monument board now had to preserve and protect a minimum cash reserve of $150,000 in 2015 to defend the district from a lawsuit that Woodmoor said it would file against MSD if MSD did not agree to pay a third of the $2.32 million total phosphorus design and construction cost.
After further discussion, the JUC unanimously voted on Dec. 9 to amend the final 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget as follows:
• Delete Note 11 that specified that each owner district would pay a third of all expenses for treating this newly regulated
constituent total phosphorus.
Wicklund advised the Monument board that he had not received a copy of the amended final 2015 Tri-Lakes budget from Burks with these changes since the Dec. 9 JUC meeting, particularly the change that shows no cost-sharing ratio for the total phosphorus plant expansion, rather just a single capital construction line item with the total construction cost.
Wicklund said, "That’s troublesome to me." He noted that previous JUC minutes show that Burks was "specifically asked to do it, to show it both ways in the budget" by Wicklund and Smith, by both thirds and treatment capacity percentages as two separate options. Wicklund added, "I think it’s odd he hasn’t put together the budget the way it was amended. He’s had plenty of time to do it."
At the board’s request, Wicklund discussed how one-third cost sharing for total phosphorus removal first came up. Initially the Water Quality Control Division stated that Colorado wastewater treatment plants would have to use biological nutrient reduction rather than chemical treatment, to avoid adding aluminum from alum or iron from ferric chloride to the waters of the state. This would have required the addition of flow control baffles to the existing aeration basin, which Section 7 of the Joint of Facilities Agreement, "Repairs and Replacements," defines as an upgrade to existing equipment. This cost of this kind of upgrade to existing equipment is shared by thirds. Tetra Tech RTW determined that this approach was cost prohibitive.
Wicklund said Tetra Tech RTW then proposed removing total phosphorus by adding chemicals to the treated wastewater in the existing secondary clarifiers. The much lower cost of adding equipment to these existing clarifiers would have also been considered an upgrade to existing equipment, and costs would have been divided by thirds under the rules of Section 7 of the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement. However, Tetra Tech RTW later determined in bench tests that this method was not feasible.
The Monument board then discussed another issue that has come up at the Tri-Lakes facility since the Nov. 11 JUC 205 budget hearing. One of the two hourly wage operators was terminated in October. The one remaining hourly plant operator now has to perform mandatory overtime work at the facility every weekend. Burks has not hired a licensed operator to refill the second hourly operator position. This type of overtime would have been eliminated by hiring a third hourly operator and modifying the staff work schedule.
See ocn.me/v14n12.htm#tlfjuc1111 for more details on these staffing and compensation issues. See page 4 for more information on the JUC.
No formal action was required by the Monument District board at the conclusion of this discussion regarding the amendment to the 2015 Tri-Lakes facility budget since all the Monument board’s requirements for its own 2015 district budget were met in the Dec. 9 JUC facility budget amendment.
Wicklund reported that one tap fee of $8,100 had been received since the Nov. 20 regular board meeting. The total for 2014 tap fees received by the district to date was reported by district accounting firm Haynie & Co. as $57,150.
Since the cash summary for the Nov. 20 district board meeting, total disbursements were $61,542 and total deposits were $55,477. Total cash on hand as of Dec. 17 was $815,392, including $244,827 in the First National Bank Capital Preservation Fund account, $403,985 in the ColoTrust Capital Preservation Fund account, and $28,021 in the Integrity Series-2013 Loan account.
Some of the payments Wicklund noted in the Dec. 17 cash summary were:
• $1,832 to Front Range Storage for the district’s annual 2015 storage unit rental fee.
Wicklund also noted that there would be repayment of a $75,000 10-year surety deposit CD to the Trail’s End developer for the Trail’s End lift station in 2015. To date there has been no problem with this lift station so he expected that he would be returning the entire deposit plus the $20,000 in interest that has accumulated when the 10-year CD is redeemed, barring any unforeseen lift station repairs in the interim.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
The board went into executive session at 9:34 a.m. to receive legal advice regarding legal questions and negotiations from litigation attorney Mulliken. The board came out of executive session at 10 a.m.
The meeting adjourned at 10:02 a.m.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 15 at the at the district 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 Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 4, the Donala Water and Sanitation District board unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the 2015 district budget, a resolution to appropriate funds for the 2015 fiscal year, and two resolutions to certify Donala’s two 2015 property tax mill levies, as presented. The 2015 budget includes a 10 percent increase in all district water rates and $1 per month residential wastewater rate increase. There were no changes to the size of the mill levies or to which parts of the districts they apply. The board also unanimously approved the resolution to establish district rates and fees for 2015 as presented.
For more information see:
General Manager Kip Petersen announced that Donala’s Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur passed the state operator certification test to earn her "B" wastewater certificate and license and Water Operator Joe Lopez has passed the state operator certification test to earn his "B" water certificate and license.
Directors Bill George, Dave Powell, Ken Judd, Bill Nance, and Bob Denny were all present.
2015 budget hearing
During the budget hearing, Petersen noted that Donala’s liability carrier, Cincinnati Insurance Co. of Littleton, would likely be increasing its property rates by at least 20 percent. Other liability carriers are raising rates at an average of 50 percent due to the Black Forest wildfire. Many carriers are pulling out of Colorado. If Cincinnati pulls out of Colorado, Petersen said he will switch to the Colorado Special Districts Property Liability Pool for liability insurance coverage.
Petersen noted that the 10 percent water rate increase for 2015 will pay all but $225,000 of Donala’s current operational water costs with fees. Rate increases have been 15 percent per year for the past several years. This board policy to raise rates until they pay for all the costs of service will soon allow the district to re-allocate all property tax revenue to capital reserves for purchasing renewable potable water rights and sources to eventually replace Donala’s deep wells, which are becoming prohibitively expensive to replace with comparable new deep wells. For example, Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch near Leadville is providing about 25 percent of Donala’s potable water demand.
Petersen also noted that significant portions of Donala’s potable water distribution and sanitary sewer collection systems "have been in the ground a long time," 40 to 50 years, and will need to be replaced using the re-allocated property tax revenues.
During the open portion of the public budget hearing, Donala property owner Russ Robinson asked if the 10 rate percent increase applied to both the basic and incremental consumption rates. Petersen said only consumption rates will increase in 2015. Robinson also asked questions about pipeline transport costs for delivering Donala’s renewable water to its service area and objected to the increase of the water availability fee from $300 to $350. Petersen and Bray explained the rational basis for this fee increase. The board concurred with Petersen and Bray.
Because there was no regular board meeting in November, the board unanimously accepted both the October and November financial reports as presented.
The meeting adjourned at 3:06 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 in the Donala District Office conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. However there will be no regular meeting in November. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.
Jim Kendrick can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
Trustee Stan Gingrich resigned from the board at the Dec. 1 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Then the remaining trustees approved the 2015 budget and appropriations ordinances, appointed Pamela Smith interim town treasurer, and received donation of a parcel of land.
Trustee Kelly Elliott was absent.
Trustee Gingrich resigns
Trustee Stan Gingrich tendered his resignation from the board, effective Dec. 1, since he moved to a house outside the town limits, making him no longer eligible to be a trustee. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman said that the town now had 60 days to appoint a new trustee or hold an election.
Gingrich’s parting words included challenges: "To Monument’s citizens, I charge you with holding the Board of Trustees accountable to you. Inform the trustees of the issues you face! To the trustees and town staff, remember our primary objectives: securing our water future, implementing the capital plan, improving the infrastructure, and continuing to amend and create ordinances that are family- and business-friendly, all within confines of the Monument vision and mission statement." Gingrich then thanked his wife, Karen, for her support of him while he was on the board.
2015 budget and appropriations approved
No members of the public commented during the posted and advertised public hearing on the 2015 budget. The trustees had discussed the 2015 budget in detail at the Nov. 15 budget workshop. No new discussion happened on Dec. 1.
The trustees unanimously approved an ordinance adopting the 2015 budget and a second ordinance appropriating sums of money to the various funds in these amounts:
• General Fund $5.09 million
Town Manager Pamela Smith said the town really will not know where it stands financially until March, "when the audit is done and we know" what funds are brought forward, so the amounts listed could change then.
The trustees unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the certification of the property tax mill levy of 6.289 mills to the El Paso County assessor for the budget year 2015. Trustee John Howe said that this amount has not changed in the last 10 years, according to his research. Smith said the town would be allowed up to 6.871 mill levy under the TABOR tax amendment, but that the town has sufficient sales tax revenue to cover its bases right now. Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser said it was good to "hold the line and live within our budget."
Smith appointed interim treasurer
The trustees unanimously approved a resolution appointing Smith as interim town treasurer until a new town treasurer is appointed. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman administered the oath to Smith. The board requested this step after the departure of town Treasurer Monica Harder.
Town Attorney Gary Shupp said that it is not a conflict of interest for Smith to hold both the town manager and treasurer positions as long as it is just an interim step. Smith said she hopes to have a new treasurer hired by early spring.
Parcel donated to town
Planning Director Mike Pesicka presented a resolution to approve a quitclaim deed from Harley Jergensen transferring ownership of a parcel of land to the town northeast of Mitchell Avenue and Santa Fe Avenue west of the railroad tracks. The 0.40 acre is zoned R-2 (residential) but is not developable. The parcel would be useful in any possible expansion of the Mitchell Avenue right-of-way, Pesicka said.
Trustee Becki Tooley asked if the property could be used as a new location for the bulk water station currently at the northwest corner of Old Denver Road and Wagon Gap Trail. Pesicka said it could not, since the parcel has residential development on three sides, and it is not a good access for water trucks because of its location on a hill and near a curve in Mitchell Avenue.
The trustees approved the resolution unanimously and thanked Jergensen for his donation to the town.
Recognition of Martinez
Mayor Rafael Dominguez presented a plaque of appreciation and four restaurant gift certificates to Engineering Assistant Tom Martinez in recognition for his management of the first phase of the three-year downtown sidewalks projects. Dominguez said, "You did a wonderful job. I know that firsthand. It took a lot of coordination. Some people were upset, and you calmed them down. We appreciate what you did down there." Smith said it’s amazing for a town of this size to have an employee of the caliber of Martinez.
Smith presented the disbursements over $5,000, which the board approved unanimously:
• City of Colorado Springs, $6,020 for 2014 radio user fees for police department
Town manager’s report
Smith’s comments included:
• Sirochman was appointed chair of the Colorado Municipal Clerks Association Audit Committee for 2015 and will volunteer her
Public and trustees’ comments
Monument resident Glen Baux expressed his frustration with his experience with both the Development Services department and Monument Sanitation District, which is a separate legal entity from the town, in trying to follow the process to open a catering business in Monument.
Later in the meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Kaiser said he hoped the town is proactive in helping potential businesses figure out how to comply with the regulations and paperwork.
Dominguez said the Monument board members would again make donations to purchase bikes to donate to Santa on Patrol this year. Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Hayes said that the Chamber’s annual holiday business after hours would include a toy collection for Santa on Patrol.
Trustee John Howe said that Mary Russelavage, who had served on the Monument town staff, died on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Russelavage had been a fundraiser coordinator for the Cops for Kids program, played Mrs. Santa Claus at Monument Small Town Christmas, was president of the July 4 Fireworks Committee, worked for the towns of Palmer Lake and Monument, was a founding member of the Tri-Lakes Lions Club, ran for mayor of Monument in 2014, and was a photographer and mailing day volunteer for Our Community News. The meeting adjourned at 7:29 p.m.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nancy Wilkins
On Dec. 10, the Monument Planning Commission voted to approve the final Planned Development (PD) site plan for Service Street Automotive. The commissioners also voted to approve rezoning from Planned Industrial Development (PID) to PD, the final plat, and final PD site plan for Natural Grocers.
Permits conditional upon Triview letter
All motions passed for both Natural Grocers and Service Street Automotive with the requirement that Triview Metropolitan District issues a "will serve" approval letter for both. Planning Director Mike Pesicka said the letters must be submitted to the Planning Department prior to issuing any permits.
Service Street Automotive: overnight parking not permitted
Service Street Automotive plans to build a 4,480-square-foot facility in the Monument Ridge shopping center on the southeast corner of Struthers Road and Baptist Road, on the vacant 1.36-acre lot directly south of the Chase bank. The main entrance will face west on Struthers Road.
Although Pesicka said overnight parking, under the current PD zoning for this site, is not permitted, the commissioners unanimously approved the final PD zoning for Service Street automotive.
This PD zone is currently intended for primarily commercial use, such as a grocery store. A PID is an industrial zone for manufacturing, processing, research facilities, outdoor storage, warehousing, and electrical substations.
Natural Grocers relocating near I-25 and Baptist
Natural Grocers plans to construct a 15,000-square-foot store on the north side of Baptist Road, just east of I-25 and west of Jackson Creek Parkway on 1.69 acres. The new store is expected to have a kitchen for classes and demonstrations as well as a community room. The existing store on Highway 105 is expected to close in June or July.
Left turn onto Baptist near I-25 exit problematic
Natural Grocers is requesting an expansion of the existing cut in the existing median to allow left turns onto eastbound Baptist Rd. from the store’s stub access between Jackson Creek Parkway and the northern on-ramp for I-25 Exit 156. Outgoing traffic from the new store’s location next to the former Foxworth-Galbraith hardware store lot, would turn left after crossing the existing three westbound Baptist Road traffic lanes, then merge with into the left eastbound lane with traffic coming from I-25. Pesicka said the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority "okayed" the left turn, and the county also approved the left turn with a provision to review the turn in the future.
The county must review the left turn for any future development in the area. According to Pesicka, at some point the left turn will probably be closed due to the volume of traffic merging from the I-25 exit ramp. If the left turn from Baptist is closed, Pesicka said future developers will have to build an access road within the vacant property on the northwest corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road that may connect to the Blevins Buckle Trail entrance to the southeast corner of Monument Marketplace (by the O’Reilly Auto Parts store) at the expense of developers or the property owners.
Equity Ventures pays fee instead of dedicating land
Equity Ventures, the applicant for Natural Grocers, indicated it will pay the $7,068 fee as a "replacement" for dedicating .08 acre of land to the town. The report from Pesicka to the planning commissioners indicated the land was part of Regency Park, annexed in the mid-1980s. Either proceeds from the fee or new land is required to be given to Monument to replace open space or parkland being converted into development.
No issue with Preble’s mouse habitat
Because a portion of Natural Grocers’ plat contains a mapped use of protected Preble’s mouse habitat, the Planning Commission required Equity Ventures to submit a biological assessment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS said the property does not contain critical Preble’s mouse habitat that must be preserved.
Store drawings elicit varied comments from commissioners
The commissioners and the public were able to view several architectural drawings of the proposed Natural Grocers store.
Commissioner Kathy Spence made several comments on the stores’ aesthetics: "I’ll be going past that every day and I’m going to have to look at this." "What can we do to make the sides [of the buildings] look better? … I feel like I’m walking into a big box…. I really don’t think it looks like what we’ve got out there. I don’t think its going to look that nice."
Commissioner John Dick commented: "Beauty is in the eye on the beholder, it looks fine to me." Spence continued, "You are an upscale grocery store.… I just don’t see that you reflect what your store really is and what our community is combined." Commissioner David Gwisdalla said, "We want you to meet the same architectural style."
Chairman Ed Delaney suggested growing plants or vines on the sides of the building, saying, "Natural vegetation would be more in tune to what Natural Grocers is all about." Spence commented, "Add some elements on the outside to make it better." Spence suggested adding wood or breaking up the sides with some architectural features, and said, "Ramp it up a bit."
Commissioner Missy Wood asked about the expected performance of the new store, and received this response: "It’s a location that we’re excited about. We think it’s an area that will perform."
All motions to accept the proposals for Natural Grocers passed, with Spence voting no on the final PD site plan. Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick abstained from voting and refrained from participating in any discussion with Natural Grocers after announcing a personal conflict of interest early in the meeting.
The meeting adjourned at about 8 p.m.
The Monument Planning Commission meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. on 645 Beacon Lite Road and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees. Visit www.townofmonument.org for more information, or call 719-481-2954. Meetings are open to the public.
Nancy Wilkins can be contacted at email@example.com
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Dec. 15 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees appointed a new trustee and heard monthly department reports from town staff. Lt. Steve Burk swore in a new police officer.
Two trustee candidates interviewed; Jeff Smith appointed
Two candidates to replace Trustee Stan Gingrich, who resigned Dec. 1, spoke to the board about their experience and reasons for wanting to be appointed as the new trustee. Two other candidates had expressed interest in the position but did not attend the Dec. 15 meeting despite notification from Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman.
Jeff Smith, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel pilot, has lived in Monument for over two years. His responses to trustees’ questions included:
• I love this place. It’s time for me to continue to serve the community.
• I hate change for change’s sake the way they do it in the military.
• It is odd how the system of water distribution functions here. All the intertwined special districts. Hard for citizens to know which entity to approach with questions.
• Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District is a puzzle, an enigma wrapped inside a Russian babushka doll. Recently, unaccounted-for water was close to 25 percent of its total volume. I am paying for this?
• Taxation should be the last resort of the government and used to fulfill the basic needs of the community such as fire, police, and other essential services.
• I don’t believe in blank checks or open authority to increase taxes without accountability through authorized itemization.
• The quasi-judicial process requires that I can’t impose personal opinions on matters that are legal. The past experience I bring to the table is "rational thought" not governed by emotion.
Trustee Jeff Kaiser made a motion to vote on Smith’s appointment. Mayor Rafael Dominguez then told the trustees that there was another candidate, Melissa Wood, whose name had not been listed on the agenda.
Missy Wood, with a career in telecommunications industry field operations, has lived in Monument for over four years and has been serving on the Monument Planning Commission for the last two years. Her responses to trustees’ questions included:
• I want to serve the community, because I have had so much support along the way, it’s time to give back and make sure community is a good place and be a part of it. I want to be a catalyst.
• I’m very familiar with town because of my time on the Planning Commission. I know town codes and how the town operates.
• When voting in Planning Commission, it’s important to remove my emotions and just look at codes in place and the requirements.
• In my leadership experience, I met employees and got to know them, and focused on accountability and integrity.
• We need to consider why someone would come to Monument to shop. Small town feel. Outdoors feel. It’s not a truck stop; it’s a beautiful town. Great family place.
• I stay in my ZIP code for shopping and other services.
• One idea to solicit new businesses would be to make Monument a destination for organic groceries and promoting health.
Trustees Becki Tooley, John Howe, and Kelly Elliott expressed concern that it might be too soon to take a vote if there were more candidates who had not been heard from. The town had a 60-day window in which to fill the position, and the advertised ending date for applications was Jan. 29. A motion to vote on the trustee appointment at this meeting was approved 4-2, with Elliott and Howe voting no. Attorney Gary Shupp said there was no legal reason to go into executive session, so instead the meeting recessed for five minutes for the trustees to have time to consult their notes.
After the recess, trustees voted in a secret ballot to choose the new trustee; the vote was 4 for Smith and 2 for Wood. Sirochman said Smith would be sworn in at the Jan. 5 meeting. Trustee Jeff Bornstein said it was hard to make a choice between the two qualified candidates, adding, "This reinforces the quality of people we have in Monument. You are both A-plus!"
Officer sworn in
Lt. Steve Burk swore in new Monument Police Officer Darion Ives. He said Ives comes from a long line of law enforcement in his family: two cousins, a great-uncle (who was killed in the line of duty working for the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), and his stepfather worked for the Monument Police Department.
Burk said that for Monument to be able to hire three new police officers this year, of whom Ives is the second to be sworn in, it is comparable to CSPD hiring 180 new officers.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Chief Chris Truty thanked Monument for letting TLMFPD house its administrative offices in the town’s building at 166 Second St. for the last five or six years. "It’s been a great partnership," he said. TLMFPD will have its board meetings at Monument Town Hall starting in January 2015 and planned to move its administrative offices to a new leased location then also.
Monument resident and Palmer Lake business owner Jeff Hulsmann spoke to the trustees about the virtues of having a "full" Palmer Lake and about his concerns on how much Monument taxpayer money was being spent on litigation instead of negotiation regarding the current "water change issue." Due to the ongoing litigation, the trustees could not comment. See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#mbot1117.
Business owner Maggie Williamson said that the Historic Monument Merchants Association (HMMA) was collecting funds and printed fliers about Palmer Lake’s water issue.
Mayor Rafael Dominguez congratulated Hulsmann and the Awake Palmer Lake group on being awarded a $349,893 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant for a park around Palmer Lake.
Background: Awake Palmer Lake’s December press release said that the GOCO grant money would be invested in improvements around the lake. Planned improvements include a pedestrian bridge to provide safe passage over the railroad tracks, improvements to the playground, a bandstand, and possibly a soccer field. The GOCO grant money cannot be used to fill Palmer Lake with water, however.
Thanks to Thanksgiving contributors
Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek expressed her appreciation to many local businesses, organizations, and individuals whose contributions make the Community Coming Together Thanksgiving a reality. They included: Rosie’s Diner, Health Advocacy Partnership, Texas Roadhouse, Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, MoZaic, Village Inn, Monument Academy, JJ Tracks, Monument Motors, and the Town of Monument. Trustee John Howe said 141 meals were served that day.
Town Manager Pamela Smith presented November’s disbursements over $5,000, which were all within budget and approved unanimously by the trustees:
• Triview Metro District, $135,519 – sales tax, motor vehicle tax, and regional building sales tax
• Forsgren Associates, $9,452 – waterline looping
• Lytle Water Solutions, $8,110 – water project engineering
• Spradley Barr Ford, $24,944 – new vehicle for Police Department
• National Meter & Automation, $8,495
• Churchich Recreation Inc., $8,000 (Lions Club will donate $5,000 toward this cost) – Lavelett Park gazebo.
Smith said that annual net budgeted sales tax collections earned were 1.2 percent below the expected amount for the end of the year. Net sales tax to general fund for October 2014 was 2.9 percent below budget. Gross sales tax collected through December 2014 was ahead of December 2013 by 2.3 percent and was 2.8 percent, or $69,000, above the expected amount.
Planning Department report
Planning Director Mike Pesicka’s comments included:
• The Planning Commission approved items concerning the proposed new Natural Grocers store and Service Street Automotive that would be heard by the board on Jan. 5.
• Village Center at Woodmoor Filing 3A broke ground a few weeks ago. 75 homes proposed.
• New single-family residential land use permits issued this year: 74 total, 66 in Triview.
• Lake of Rockies finished grading, now is installing utilities.
• Triview is reviewing the first submittal of a Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan for a new commercial development east of King Soopers on West Baptist Road.
• Planning staff attended the HMMA meeting Dec. 3 to discuss clarifications to signage regulations for downtown businesses.
• Held a neighborhood meeting on Nov. 20 at Bear Creek Elementary for input on the sixth amendment to the Regency Park Zoning and Development plan. (The area proposed to be amended is between Higby Road and Leather Chaps Road, and from Jackson Creek Parkway almost to Fairplay Road. This revision realigns roads within the northern area of the development, consolidates parcels along Jackson Creek Parkway, and rezones portions of the PRD-2, PRD-4, PCD and PID parcels to align with current market demands. The proposal will be heard by the Monument Planning Commission on Jan. 14 and the Monument Board of Trustees on Feb. 2.)
• The Development Services department website is being updated so that information is more accessible and the required steps in the permitting process are easier to follow. Pesicka welcomes more feedback from people using the website.
Pesicka explained that parking and striping of nine angled public spaces on Washington Street north of Second Street was complete. The center yellow line in the road was moved to give a few extra feet to west-side parking. On the east side of Washington Street north of the Chapala Building, there is no longer parking on the street, since if cars parked parallel to the new sidewalk, they would block a lane of travel on the road.
Pesicka reiterated that phase one of the downtown sidewalk project was complete and that after a walkthrough with representatives of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on Nov. 19, "CDOT had no concerns with the project, and they gave Tom Martinez a real thumbs up for what he had to improvise on out in the field. He did a great job. They really liked what he did."
Dominquez asked if the issue of railing and benches in front of Monument Sanitation District (MSD) had been resolved. At issue is a new section of sidewalk with a drain pipe embedded in it, creating a step across the middle of the sidewalk on the southeast corner of Washington Street and Second Street.
Smith said that the town met the engineering requirements for the sidewalk and that their engineers and inspector both agreed it was not a safety issue and that the drain pipe would not get blocked or create an icing hazard. Pesicka said the analysis was done by Jacobs Engineering, the town’s contract engineer for the sidewalk project and that it gave the town a written response that was forwarded to MSD Manager Mike Wicklund. See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#msd1120.
Pesicka said a local artist is creating a railing to be installed across the step, hopefully in early January. One bench will remain in place, he said.
Jacobs Engineering will start the second phase of the sidewalks project in late spring or early summer 2015, Pesicka said.
Public works report
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish’s comments included:
• Paving on Old Denver Road was completed.
• The new parks plan is in progress.
• Monument water production for November was 7.6 million gallons, which was 5.7 percent above November 2013.
• Two budgeted waterline looping projects and associated engineering work and design are nearing completion.
• The department is still working with CDOT to get the street lights on the southbound Exit 161 ramp operating reliably.
Chief Jake Shirk’s report included:
• Be aware of phone scams claiming to be from the IRS, utilities, or local police and demanding gift cards to avoid jail time. One scam is using the Monument Police Department phone number on the caller ID.
• Thanks to the Board of Trustees for getting matching money from Walmart for Santa on Patrol board contributions, enabling the town to get nine more bicycles to give away. We are spreading joy for a lot of children in the Tri-Lakes area.
• Toys for Tots is a great program, but those donations go out of our local area; we have a huge need within our community for these toys.
• One arrest for theft was made at Home Depot in December.
• The combined Fountain-Monument SWAT team served a search warrant in Fountain.
Town manager’s report
Smith’s comments included:
• Madeline VanDenHoek was appointed to the Tri-Lakes Cares Board of Directors and will volunteer her time.
• This year’s tree lighting ceremony at Limbach Park included an ice carving, dancers, a fire truck, carolers, and trees lit all over the north end of the park.
• In the 2014 election, the El Paso County Election Voter Service and Polling Center at Monument Town Hall received 463 voters in person and 8,795 mail-in ballots were dropped off at the drop box. The Monument location was one of 25 such voter service centers set up in El Paso County for the election.
Dominguez said he has joined the State Transportation Advisory Committee to represent the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments with the goal of speeding up repayment of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority bonds.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the next Board of Trustees meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Monument Town Hall, 845 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held the first and third Mondays of each month. Check http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com to see future meeting agendas and packets. Information: 884-8017.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Lt. Steve Burk (right) swore in new Monument Police Officer Darion Ives on Dec. 15. Burk said Ives’ family has had a long line of law enforcement members and that Ives put himself through the necessary training, since Monument has no police academy. Many of the new officer’s family and friends witnessed the swearing-in. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
By James Howald
In December, the Palmer Lake Town Council departed from its established schedule of holding its meeting on the second Thursday of the month, opting instead to hold meetings on Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. Town Clerk Tara Berreth published the agenda for the Dec. 4 meeting by email on Dec. 3, but provided no explanation in the email for the additional Town Council meeting or the short advance notice for it. OCN was not able to cover the Dec. 4 meeting.
Budget for 2015 approved
At the council meeting on Dec. 11, the only topic was the proposed budget for 2015. Roads Trustee John Russell moved to approve the budget, and the council voted unanimously to approve it.
Public comment limited to budget discussion
The meeting on Dec. 11 introduced another new twist to procedure, as one of the three agendas published by email specified that the public would not be allowed to comment during the meeting. That decision was not abided by at the meeting, however, and the public was allowed to speak, but only on the topic of the proposed budget.
The meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 in Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Nancy Wilkins
On Dec. 2, Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Directors Greg Gent, Harland Baker, Bo McAllister, Joyce Hartung, and John Fredell reviewed state legislation that adds additional firefighter health coverage, approved the district tax levies, passed the 2015 budget, requested a formal appraisal of Station 3, and appropriated $84,000 for healthy forest fire mitigation. Also, Baker asked Fire Chief Vinny Burns and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings to determine future priorities concerning storage and training facilities.
State forms new firefighters trust
Burns, Ridings, and Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich informed the board of state legislation that creates a trust fund for firefighters. Known as the Firefighter Heart and Circulatory Malfunction Benefits Act, the new legislation protects firefighters who incur a heart or circulatory injury from work on off-duty time. Burns said that if a firefighter fights a fire, doesn’t feel well, finishes his shift, goes home and has a heart attack and dies, everyone knows the firefighting caused the heart attack, but because the firefighter died off duty, he or she might not be covered under the old guidelines.
Ridings said he talked with the district’s insurance agent Dec. 2, and all Wescott health insurance policies will be reviewed to ensure the district meets or exceeds compliance with the new state statute.
To receive benefits, full-time firefighters must be employed five years. But firefighters who smoke a tobacco product within five years of a firefighting work event may have their benefits reduced by 25 percent. The new legislation becomes effective Jan. 1 and can be viewed at http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2014a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/91A7EBF0006A05C087257C9F0057320A?open&file=172_enr.pdf. Ridings said heart attacks are the leading cause of deaths among firefighters.
Wescott continues partnership with AMR
American Medical Response (AMR), the emergency ambulance company servicing Wescott, pays the district to staff the ambulance. Fredell asked Burns and Ridings about this arrangement. Ridings said, "Initially we shortened our response time by being able to have an ambulance" and, "The ongoing arrangement with AMR has been a model for other fire districts." AMR’s projected payment to Wescott of about $80,000 in 2015 is additional income for the district.
Board passes budget with net taxable property value at $252 million
Before passing the 2015 budget, the board waited for the county Assessor’s Office to determine the district’s taxable assessed property value. The board took the county’s net assessed taxable value of $252 million and multiplied this number by 7 mills to project the district’s operating revenue of about $1.77 million. Burns said Wescott’s estimate of the county’s assessed value was very close, so the board only needed to make last-minute adjustments before passing the 2015 budget.
Board approves tax levies, votes to keep balanced budget
The board unanimously voted to approve the certification of tax levies of 7 mills, unanimously voted to keep a balanced budget, and also unanimously voted to approve the lease payment of Station 2.
$84,000 starts healthy forest mitigation
The board approved an expenditure of $84,000 as reimbursement for 43 acres of land to be mitigated for fire safety. Surrounding Benet Hills monastery, in Black Forest opposite the High Forest development on the west side of Highway 83, the fire mitigation efforts should leave a "healthy forest" of various sizes of trees. The work is funded through the $250,000 state grant awarded earlier this year. Ridings said about 33,000 working hours are needed to complete the project, which is expected to be completed in May or June.
Gent withdraws from Station 3 discussion, vote
At the November board meeting, Gent announced an in-law was offering $81,700 to purchase Station 3. Gent volunteered to recuse himself from any discussion of the sale, and also said he would not participate in any vote on this issue.
Baker announces second offer to purchase Station 3
Baker informed the board of a second offer to purchase Station 3. The second offer was obtained from a resident who owns adjacent property to Station 3. Although Baker said the second offer of about $40,000 is significantly lower than the other offer of $81,700, Baker expressed his wish to inform the resident of the higher purchase offer and said, "But I want to figure out if we want to sell it first."
Storage, training needs complicate decision to sell Station 3
Station 3 is Wescott’s oldest station. Located at 15000 Sun Hills Drive, the station is currently being used for storage and has been used in the past for training. With the possibility of selling Station 3, Burns looked at the cost of alternative storage space and provided a quote of $185 per month, and said, "I’m not excited on spending money on storage."
Ridings said he contacted possible contractors for building an alternative facility, but did not hear back. "Apparently, the building business is so good no one calls you back." Ridings was trying to get an estimate for building a facility with equipment storage and possibly truck storage, bathrooms, and a classroom. Adding to the discussion, McAllister suggested the possibility of extending a bay with additional room at fire Station 2.
Moving ahead with appraisal, quantifying needs and priorities
Baker said, "Maybe we look at the needs of the district, and base our decision on that. So if the need of the district is to have a training facility of a certain size or shape, we need to look at the cost of that, and then decide.… Maybe this is two separate items."
Fredell said, "I think we should first decide if we want to sell the property … get a formal appraisal done … advertise, and get bids to obtain the highest price for the district. And we ought to get as much money for the district as possible."
Ridings said, "It’s the cost versus the benefit, and moving 10 or 20 years ahead to see what is best for the district." The board decided to move ahead with getting a formal appraisal, but has not determined if Station 3 should be sold.
Board approves 2015 schedule
Most Wescott board meetings will still be held on the third Tuesday of the month: Jan. 20, Feb. 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, Aug. 18, Sept. 15, Oct. 20, and Nov. 17. The board will meet on the second Tuesday on March 10, adjusting the schedule for St. Patrick’s Day and the school district’s spring break. The board also agreed to meet on the first Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. The pension board meetings are scheduled for April 21 and Aug. 18.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Please call 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Nancy Wilkins can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
On Dec. 10, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board approved the 2015 budget, replaced the annual Palmer Lake Emergency Medical Services (EMS) assessment fee they had approved in September with a per-call fee to include only certain calls, heard presentations from Palmer Lake representatives about possible progress toward its inclusion into TLMFPD, and went into executive session to discuss personnel issues.
Different Palmer Lake EMS fee approved
After a long discussion, the directors voted unanimously to approve a Palmer Lake EMS assessment fee based on a per-call basis, rather than the $75,000 annual assessment they had previously approved Sept. 24. For more background, see www.ocn.me/v14n10.htm#tlmfpd0924.
Chief Margo Humes of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) explained that her total operating budget for 2015 was "only $100,000," so they could not afford to pay $75,000 of that to TLMFPD off the top for ambulance service. So on Dec. 3, she said PLFVD had signed an agreement to receive EMS services from American Medical Response (AMR), since this would not cost PLFVD anything. However, since the nearest AMR ambulance is housed at the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive, she requested permission from TLMFPD to work out details for assistance from TLMFPD’s ambulance just for critical (Code 3) calls.
When and how the TLMFPD ambulances would be requested by PLFVD EMTs would still need to be determined. Ambulance service is not included under the mutual aid agreement between PLFVD and TLMFPD. Secretary Mike Smaldino suggested that "automatic triggers" be used to help identify those critical calls. TLMFPD Chief Chris Truty estimated a fee of $500 per requested call to Palmer Lake and will work with Humes to develop a plan to implement the details, with the approval of the Palmer Lake Town Council at its January meeting.
Director Bill Ingram said it was not fair for the taxpayers in TLMFPD to give any further free support to Palmer Lake, "as it has for years," since TLMFPD has its own expenses and is considering a request for a mill levy increase in 2015. Humes said, "I have told Palmer Lake citizens we need to stop standing there with our hands out expecting others to give you what you think you deserve. It’s time for a new day. It’s time for Palmer Lake to grow up," she said.
Note: If Palmer Lake voters approve inclusion into TLMFPD in November 2015, then they would receive ambulance coverage from TLMFPD automatically, since the costs to cover its overhead would be paid for by the associated mill levy that would accompany inclusion.
Palmer Lake could vote on district inclusion in 2015
Palmer Lake resident Judy Harrington spoke on behalf of the Palmer Lake Town Council asking TLMFPD for help explaining to Palmer Lake voters how important their vote is on inclusion into TLMFPD. In the past, "Palmer Lake has never voted to raise taxes," she told the directors. "We are stuck. We need to work to get the word out (to residents) how important this is."
She said the proposed advisory vote on the inclusion issue was pulled from the November 2014 county ballot "because of a misunderstanding." The next opportunity for the town to vote could not occur until November 2015, according to the rules of TABOR tax amendment.
Humes agreed it would be "fabulous" if Palmer Lake would vote to be included into TLMFPD so that they could have both automatic ambulance and fire coverage, "but we at least have to get it on the ballot next year."
Palmer Lake Fire Trustee Rich Kuehster said that the advisory inclusion survey that should have gone to all Palmer Lake residents accidentally excluded residents of Forest View Estates, who live inside the Palmer Lake town limits but already pay a mill levy to TLMFPD. However, he said, they did receive the survey in their water bills in December so they could then voice their opinions.
At the Jan. 8 Palmer Lake Town Council meeting, the board planned to use those survey results to make further decisions about the three future voting options.
2015 budget approved
The directors voted unanimously to approve the 2015 Final Budget, the Certification of Tax Levy at 11.5 mills, and the necessary budget appropriations to put the money into the line items.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt presented the financial report as of Nov. 30. At 91 percent of the way through the year, the district had received 102 percent of budgeted revenue (not including impact fees), including:
• Property tax revenue – $4.02 million (99 percent of budgeted amount)
• Specific ownership tax – $395,772 (123 percent)
• Ambulance revenues – $540,067 (102 percent)
• Impact fees – $198,666 (265 percent)
Hildebrandt said that expenses, not including capital purchases, were on track overall, at 89 percent of budget or 2 percent below budget year-to-date. However, expenses for medical, administrative, and fire vehicle repair and maintenance, which "you cannot budget for very well," were about $15,000 instead of the $7,500 budgeted.
As of Nov. 30, the total cash assets of the district were $2.5 million, spread among five accounts. The directors unanimously accepted the financial report.
The directors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing its participation in the Colorado Firefighter Heart Circulatory Malfunctions Benefits trust bill. It is designed to provide benefits for firefighters who meet certain eligibility criteria, which is still under discussion at the state level. Because the state Legislature is currently funding this trust, premiums paid by the district would be reimbursable unless grant money is exhausted.
Truty’s comments included:
• TLMFPD will provide residents with a district firewise mitigation form for their property showing whether it is compliant with international Firewise standards.
• All major repairs have been made to the fleet, which is back into preventive maintenance.
• The oldest ambulance, with 165,000 miles on it, will be replaced.
• A chicken coop fire on Beacon Lite Road on Dec. 10 killed eight chickens and destroyed a $1,000 coop.
• Station 3’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) compressors are broken and ought to be replaced in 2016 for $60,000. Meanwhile, air bottles will be refilled at Station 1.
• The district will hire a temporary firefighter to replace one who is on leave of absence.
• The district signed agreements with AMR for mutual aid and with the El Paso County Emergency Services Authority Board to obtain benefits available.
Truty said assessed property value has not increased since the recession. He would like the district to pre-determine what assessment value levels would trigger a need for the board to consider asking for a mill levy increase in 2015. This would allow time to educate the public before an election, he said.
The meeting went into executive session to discuss personnel matters at 7:36 p.m.
After the executive session, Local 4319 of the International Association of Firefighters was allowed to make a statement to the Board:
"In regards to the executive decision made by fire Chief Chris Truty to hire an external battalion chief, the Monument professional firefighters are highly disappointed with the disregard of current policy and lack of consideration for growth and promotion within the ranks of the organization. Our constant goal has been to work together towards consistency and improving the overall department. This decision is reminiscent of past practices that we have all strived to leave behind us."—Franz Hankins, Local 4319 president
There were no comments about the statement from the board, and the meeting adjourned after the statement.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Committee (DAAC) discussed the Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) for Palmer Ridge and Lewis-Palmer High Schools at its Dec. 9 meeting.
The UIP is a document generated by the Colorado Department of Education and includes results from assessments from the previous school year. Principals then use these data as a basis for determining weaknesses in their programs and planning instructional strategies for the coming year.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl reported good progress from the previous school year in the area of growth gaps. In the previous school year, the school had been rated as "approaching" in this category, while in 2013-14, the school was rated as "meets." In all other areas, including academic achievement, academic growth, and postsecondary and workforce readiness, the school was rated as "exceeds," scoring 100 percent in academic achievement and postsecondary and workforce readiness.
The areas in which improvement is needed are reading and math for students with disabilities. In her narrative in the document, Brandl said that students with disabilities were not provided with consistent direct reading instruction and support in learning centers, which are small group resource and support classes. Students with disabilities were also not provided with sufficient support in math.
The proposed strategy is to offer whole staff development in close reading and reading strategies and procure classroom resources for reading instruction. In the area of math, curriculum will be analyzed. Some online resources will be used in addition to traditional curriculum. In both reading and math, students with disabilities will be tested several times during the year to monitor progress. Brandl said that one challenge with growth gaps is that a student must achieve proficiency by sophomore year, according to the requirements of the state.
Brandl explained the recent changes in reading requirements in that students are now required to read informational texts and analyze them rather than reading fiction. Texts are becoming more challenging as well. Questions in books are directly related to texts. In math, Brandl said that an emphasis is on more variety in instructional materials and an attempt to instill confidence before moving on to more challenging material.
Brandl reported that this is the third consecutive year for Lewis-Palmer High School to be named a James Irwin School of Excellence. She also said that in past years the school generally had eight to 10 target areas for improvement, and this year it had only two.
The Palmer Ridge UIP also revealed weaknesses in Academic Growth Gaps. Although all groups (free/reduced lunch eligible, minorities, students with disabilities, English learners, and students needing to catch up) were rated as "meets" or "exceeds" in reading, students with disabilities were rated as "approaching" in math and "does not meet" with regard to postsecondary readiness.
Despite these ratings, students met targets in many categories. Students with disabilities were the only group not meeting or exceeding all targets. It is proposed to add direct instruction in reading and math to help these students to reach all targets.
Teachers are given a list of students who are not proficient or advanced so that they may intervene at the student level as necessary.
Students with disabilities are not meeting graduation requirements because they are taking advantage of the Transitions Program, which allows them to receive services until age 21, Brandl said. Palmer Ridge, as a young school, has not yet established a sixth- or seventh-year graduation rate.
Overall academic achievement and academic growth were rated as 100 percent at Palmer Ridge, with Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness at 95 percent.
About Palmer Ridge
Palmer Ridge High School Principal Gary Gabel gave a brief introduction to his school, which was opened in 2008. During its first year the school housed only freshman and sophomore classes. Gabel said that 2015 will be the first year in which Palmer Ridge graduates will have graduated from college. Palmer Ridge has been doing surveys of students two years after graduation to determine whether they felt prepared for the challenges of postsecondary education.
Among the responses they have received is a desire by students to be held accountable for completing assignments completely and on time. Students also have said that taking advanced placement courses was good preparation. Gabel said that the next round of surveys will be videotaped so that present students can see graduates answering the questions.
Gable said that Palmer Ridge offers a variety of extracurricular activities and that students excel in music and theater activities as well as athletic endeavors. In the past years there have been multiple service academy nominations among graduates, and last year graduates were offered more than $14 million in scholarships. ACT scores are among the highest in the state.
Community Relations Manager Robin Adair briefed the committee on her department’s recent activities involving improvement of the district’s goal of informing all groups, such as students, parents, businesspeople, and other stakeholders of the district’s activities and programs.
Adair said that a survey will appear on the website inviting all parties to register their opinions and offer participation in the district’s activities.
Among the goals of the department is the need to streamline communications by reducing the number of calendars and other sources of information available.
Adair distributed a list of communications channels including social media, postal mail, print and broadcast advertising, press conferences, and other means of informing the public and internal groups of developments and activities.
She emphasized that communication is a fluid process and that it is critical to maintain an ongoing relationship with various focus groups going forward.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Locations vary. The next meeting will be on Jan. 13 at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education celebrated a number of achievements by its schools and individuals at its Dec. 18 meeting.
Superintendent Karen Brofft announced that four of the district’s schools were named James Irwin Schools of Excellence by the Colorado Department of Education. These were Lewis-Palmer High School, Palmer Ridge High School, Prairie Winds Elementary, and Monument Academy. This award recognizes academic achievement.
Among the individuals honored were Stephanie Johnson, English learner facilitator, whose program received the English Learner Proficiency Assessment Excellence Award, which includes a monetary award, and Kathryn Holley, a world language teacher at Lewis-Palmer High School who recently received national board certification.
Lewis-Palmer Middle School Band Director Michael Mozingo was chosen as one of "50 directors who make a difference" by School Band and Orchestra Magazine.
Brofft also announced that the district has been Accredited with Distinction for the fifth consecutive year. She said that the district’s scores were second-highest in the state. She thanked Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton for all of her effort in maintaining this distinction.
Brofft also mentioned that the Colorado Department of Education rated Palmer Ridge High School as one of the top 10 in the state. Lewis-Palmer High School was rated 14th.
Palmer Ridge High School Principal Gary Gabel introduced the school’s cross country coach, Kelly Christensen, who introduced his 4a state championship team.
Brofft reported briefly on the board’s ongoing strategic planning into such matters as curricula, online assessments, and programs. She said that some of the planning was prompted by Palmer Ridge graduates who wished they had more technology experience before attending college.
Among concerns of the board were legislation regarding assessments, school safety, the Public Employees Retirement Association, and protection of digital student data.
Brofft said that she hoped that the governor’s proposed budget would withstand challenges by the Legislature.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported that a safety and security audit is underway. She said that discontinuance of the federal school lunch program at the high school level is going well, with sales of school lunches increasing due to the larger portions.
Wangeman also reported that there is now a map of reunification sites to be used in the event of school evacuations and that custodial personnel will do deep cleaning of district facilities over winter break to avoid spread of flu.
Instructional technology update
Wangeman reported that she, Benton, and Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development Sheila Beving have studied the district’s technology resources with regard to online assessments, the district’s website, and the district’s Internet system.
Wangeman pointed out that the district has not had a technology director for a number of years, and creation of this position is under consideration. An audit firm has been retained to evaluate the situation beginning in January. She said it is hoped that the district’s new website would be online by August.
The district will also purchase a license that will organize all Board of Education information to make it more easily accessible to the public. This information would include background on board resolutions and PowerPoint presentations. In this way everyone could see the information available to the board during its meetings.
New graduation requirements discussed
Beving reported on the development by the state of new graduation requirements. She said that the primary change will be from evaluating readiness by credits to demonstrated competency in math, English, science, and social studies in preparation for entry into the workforce, military or higher education.
Each local board has the authority to establish its own standards providing they meet or exceed those of the state.
Board President Mark Pfoff asked whether there will be a graduation test. Beving responded that the current methods of assessment will continue to be used, including the SAT, ACT, PARCC, and concurrent enrollment (where students receive college and high school credit for a course) records.
Board Vice President John Mann expressed concern that the new system would favor students going to college over those attending vocational schools and those in rural districts.
Discussion of policy on staff’s technology use
The board discussed updating its policy on staff use of technology regarding use of social media by staff to contact students. Brofft said that the district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are monitored. Principals and administrators discuss this issue with staff during their orientations.
Pfoff said that staff needs to be educated about new social media.
The board then discussed a policy regarding avenues for complaints about teachers. Pfoff said that he would prefer that complaints be taken first to the principal involved rather than inserting a board member into the process.
These two policies will be voted on in January.
Wangeman reported that enrollment in the district has increased by 13 full-time students since Oct. 1 and that the number of students on free/reduced-price lunch has increased by 43. She said that diesel fuel prices are declining, but not at the rate of gasoline prices.
The board approved a list of routine matters such as hiring and resignation of staff, minutes of previous meetings, lists of substitute and support staff, and a monthly budget summary.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Jan.15.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
Caption: Members of the 4A Champion Cross Country Team from Palmer Ridge High School are, left to right, Jeremy Meadows, Assistant Coach Larry Rudnicki, Liam Cox, Quinn Tirpak, Drew Lester, Eric Hamer, Andrew Rudnicki, Jacob Tellez, James Espinosa, Coach Kelly Christensen, and Tommy Herebic. Coach Christensen was also named the Gazette Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Colorado Springs Gazette. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
By Jim Kendrick
On Dec. 19, the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) board unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with El Paso County to have county staff take over district management from consultant firm CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, starting in 2015. The IGA will save BRRTA about $53,000 in administration fees.
El Paso County Engineer Andreì Brackin announced that the county now has full funding for improving West Baptist Road from I-25 to Hay Creek Road and building a bridge over the railroad tracks.
The BRRTA board consists of two elected officials of the Town of Monument and three elected El Paso County officials. The current members are Monument Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Kaiser (chair), Monument Mayor Rafael Dominguez, County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, and County Commissioner Dennis Hisey.
Former County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams did not attend this special board meeting. He was elected to become the next Colorado secretary of state on Nov. 4. He has not been replaced yet.
IGA for county takeover discussion
Senior Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago briefed the board regarding the proposed IGA between the county and BRRTA. The county has agreed to make various members of county staff available at no cost to BRRTA to assist with the legal, administrative, and financial functions of the authority. The county may seek reimbursement for any actual "out-of-pocket" costs incurred by the county for services provided other than staff time.
In the event that a legal or financial conflict of interest arises between BRRTA and the county, BRRTA will contract with outside personnel for services necessary to resolve the conflict. Seago said that BRRTA would still have to pay the total of $12,400 listed for four "out-of-pocket" line items in the 2015 BRRTA budget: annual audits, bank fees, insurance, and miscellaneous items.
BRRTA District Manager Denise Denslow, of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, said the current BRRTA road use fees are the only source of revenue in the BRRTA general fund budget for all of BRRTA’s general and administrative line items, including the four line items noted above.
The total amount of revenue in the road use fees line item for the general fund in the final 2015 BRRTA budget is $100,000.
The county imposed a county-wide road use impact fee in 2012 that applies to Baptist Road because it is a county road. The I-25 Baptist Road interchange (Exit 158) belongs to the state and is administered by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT.) Developers are now complaining to the county, BRRTA, and the Town of Monument about the long-standing BRRTA road use fee. Because of the newer county fee, the BRRTA road use fee now appears to be a form of dual taxation for new developments that would use Baptist Road for access.
Denslow stated that all BRRTA sales tax revenue is separately dedicated solely to paying BRRTA’s remaining bond debt. Denslow also noted that the total amount proposed in the draft 2015 BRRTA budget for CliftonLarsonAllen to perform administrative functions had been reduced from $68,000 to $53,000 in the final 2015 budget.
For more information, see: www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#brrta1114.
Seago noted that on Nov. 14, Williams had asked how BRRTA would pay for future litigation costs if BRRTA were sued after collection of BRRTA road use fees was stopped, as proposed by the county. Seago said the county budget officer had suggested that BRRTA place $400,000 of the BRRTA general fund’s beginning 2015 balance of $588,783 in a legal reserve fund contingency line item. The remaining $188,000 would provide about $15,700 per year to cover the $12,400 annual expense for the four "out of pocket" costs noted above over the 12 remaining years of bond debt reimbursement. Seago said the remaining $3,000 per year would make suspension of BRRTA’s road use fee "realistic" at this time. She added that BRRTA could participate in the county’s annual audit to save some more money.
Kaiser stated that insurance costs are rising annually, like a "hockey stick," and that the other costs could "jump" as well.
Denslow said that the BRRTA board from time to time has taken portions of the general fund balance to use as "surplus revenue" to help pay for Baptist Road capital construction, such as some of the West Baptist Road improvements to be constructed in 2015. This $400,000 would no longer be available for that purpose under the county’s proposal. However, the BRRTA board remains hopeful that CDOT will make further state reimbursements, so that more portions of the BRRTA debt can be retired early.
Seago concluded that the county finance office could provide a "closer look" at BRRTA finances to determine whether BRRTA’s road use fee could be eliminated in return for the county providing administrative services for BRRTA operations. The county finance office could also help calculate the minimum road use fee needed to pay for general fund expenses if total suspension of BRRTA road use fees proves to be too risky.
Hisey said, "When the county implemented its road use impact fee we recognized that the BRRTA boundaries were a special problem but we didn’t have a solution. I think this perhaps could be our solution."
Denslow said "This action of entering the proposed IGA does not actually have anything to do with your fee. They are two separate issues." She recommended that the BRRTA board suspend the BRRTA road use fee for the time being to give the board the opportunity to reinstate the fee if needed, with 30 days of public notice, rather than terminating the BRRTA road use fees. The board consensus was to not cash road use fee checks for now until a final decision is made on the future of these fees to not discourage development in the short term.
The board unanimously approved the IGA with the county for administrative services. Seago said the matter could be brought to the Board of County Commissioners on either Jan. 6 or Jan. 15. The board scheduled a special BRRTA meeting at Monument Town Hall for Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. to make a decision on the suspension of the BRRTA road use issue based on the final form of the IGA approved by the county.
Site access to proposed Natural Food Grocers new building discussed
County Engineer Andre Brackin advised the board that the county would conditionally approve the Natural Food Grocers request to convert the existing stub access to the vacant lot south of Home Depot between I-25 and Jackson Creek Parkway from a right-in-right-out-only to a full motion access but only temporarily and only for this single store. Natural Food Grocers’ request for an expansion of the adjacent existing but currently blocked opening in the Baptist Road median was also conditionally approved by the county. There will be no traffic signal at this intersection.
This county approval will allow a vehicle to exit the stub access to the south across all three westbound lanes of Baptist Road and turn left toward the Jackson Creek Parkway intersection using a new acceleration lane to be cut out of the existing concrete median. This acceleration lane will allow vehicles to merge into the far left lane of eastbound Baptist or stop and wait in the center acceleration lane until Baptist traffic in the far left eastbound lane clears up enough to allow a merge from a complete stop. The median is 30 feet wide with room for a vehicle to find refuge after waiting for a gap in westbound traffic to safely enter the acceleration lane, then wait in the median for a second gap in eastbound traffic to finish the two-stage left turn.
Brackin said the Natural Food Grocers traffic count should be low enough to prevent stacking in the far left acceleration lane that will be built after enough of the existing concrete is removed from the median.
The existing eastbound left-turn lane is already designed to be long enough to hold cars stacked up to make a left turn to the north to enter the now-vacant lot using this existing stub access road when this vacant property is developed.
The county’s condition of approval is that there will be no increase in traffic at this intersection with further development. The owners of Natural Food Grocers will have to provide a construction deposit to the county to pay for all the concrete and asphalt work that this county conditional approval requires for both opening the median for the new left-turn acceleration lane, then closing it later as the parcel is further developed. Natural Food Grocers will have to pay for the temporary removal of the existing concrete in the stub access and median and the new paving required for creation the new eastbound center acceleration lane in Baptist Road as well as the subsequent replacement of all this removed concrete when these concrete traffic control structures are restored.
This restoration is a safety condition of approval by the county and will be enforced when other stores are built on this vacant lot. Construction of a second store will require the Town of Monument to mandate construction of an interior road within the vacant lot to connect this parcel to Blevins Buckle Trail at the southeast corner of Monument Marketplace on the south side of the O’Reilly Auto Parts store.
Dennis Menchow of Forest Lakes LLC expressed concern regarding the developer of the property. He said once the intersection is converted to full motion, it will lead to a lawsuit by the adjacent property owner of the vacant former hardware store to keep this access open for use from his parcel as well. Dominguez said the county will close the access to the new left-turn acceleration lane when it is no longer safe, regardless of a lawsuit.
For more information, see: www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#brrta1114.
The meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 in Monument Town Hall. Meetings are normally held on the second Friday of the second month of the quarter. Information: 884-8017.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
December was a tale of two seasons, with the first half of the month dry and mild and the second half cold and wet. Overall, the month was warmer and drier than average, but not by much.
The first day of the month started off with some light snow, fog, and low clouds. Temperatures were a little cooler than normal as well. But mild and dry conditions quickly moved as this storm system moved out of the region. Temperatures jumped into the 50s on the 2nd, then held in the 40s from the 3rd through the 6th. No precipitation fell during this time, with mostly clear skies prevailing. High and mid-level clouds, often enhanced by our common mountain wave clouds, were seen most days.
Mild and dry weather continued during the second week of December as high pressure out of the Southwest continued to dominate our weather pattern. This kept the storm track well to our north and any cold air at bay. Temperatures warmed a good 15-20 degrees above normal, reaching the mid 50s to 60s for highs each day from the 8th through the 13th. Temperatures remained above freezing from midnight on the 11th through 6:45 p.m. on the 13th, an unusual occurrence for December. There was plenty of sunshine during this mild, quiet period, with high and mid-level clouds showing up at times.
Finally a storm moved through during the early morning of the 14th, bringing a much needed change to our weather pattern. This storm was of Pacific origins, so it didn’t have a lot of cold air with it. Also, because the storm moved over several mountain ranges before arriving in the Tri-Lakes, it was somewhat lacking of moisture until it began to tap into some Gulf of Mexico moisture as it wrapped up over the southeastern corner of Colorado. As the area of low pressure intensified during the morning of the 14th, winds kicked up and snow started to fly. Light snow and blowing snow were seen from the morning of the 14th through the early evening hours. Most of us picked up 2-4 inches of snowfall, just in time to make things feel like Christmas again. The clouds and snow also kept temperatures down to just below normal levels, with daytime temperatures in the upper 20s.
The week of the 15th had a cool start, with high temperatures in the low to mid-30s on the 15th and 16th. Another cool push of air moved in late on the 17th and brought some light snow that evening, about a half inch for most of us. Low clouds and fog were around the next morning as well. A general northwesterly wind pattern continued to dominate the next few days, allowing cool temperatures to hang around, with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s from the 18th through the 20th. On the 20th, a major Pacific storm began to impact the high country with heavy snow and strong winds. The westerly flow associated with this storm kept most of the moisture in the mountains. However, by the end of the weekend, the jet stream driving this storm began to move over eastern Colorado. Several bands of snowfall developed in the region under this extra lift, producing about an inch of snow during the evening of the 21st.
Christmas week was lots of cold weather with a couple of good shots of snow. This really helped give everything a nice holiday feel. Monday the 22nd saw a continuation of snowfall that started the night before, resulting in about 3 inches of new snow by that afternoon. Temperatures were below normal as well, with highs in the 20s on that afternoon and again on the 23rd. A brief break between storms moved in from later on the 23rd through the afternoon of Christmas Day. Temperatures reached into the low 40s on the 24th and 25th, providing some quiet weather for any last-minute shoppers.
The next in a series of cold fronts moved in during Christmas evening. This storm dropped around an inch of snow before midnight, making for a nice white Christmas. Light snow continued into the early evening of the 26th, with another 2-3 inches accumulating. A break between the cold and snow followed this storm on the 28th, but the break was short as the next round of arctic air was about to move in.
A very cold air mass, directly from the arctic regions, invaded the area, with the initial cold front pushing through around 6:30 a.m. on the 29th. Temperatures stayed in the low teens throughout the day with light snow and blowing snow. Colder air continued to filter in, and we were below zero by midnight. Most of the moisture with the storm was gone by the next afternoon, but cold air continued to filter in. High temperatures did not reach above zero on the 30th and quickly fell to minus 15 to minus 20°F that evening and the next morning. We did manage to "warm" into the low 20s on the 31st, but it was still about 15 degrees cooler than normal.
A look ahead
January can see the coldest temperatures of the year, but there is often a proverbial "January thaw" when mild temperature make a brief appearance. Precipitation is on the low side, with amounts generally less than an inch. The month experiences numerous sunny and windy days, with quick shots of snow in between.
December 2014 Weather Statistics
Average High 39.8° (+1.6°)
100-year return frequency value max 50.5° min 32.6°
Average Low 15.1° (+3.0°)
100-year return frequency value max 22.4° min 5.4°
Monthly Precipitation 0.88"
(-0.12", 12% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 2.82"min 0.00"
Monthly Snowfall 14.4"
(-3.3", 19% below normal)
Highest Temperature 61° on the 12th
Lowest Temperature -17° on the 30th
Season to Date Snow 23.3"
(-16.8", 42% below normal)
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 11.72"
(+0.43", 4% above normal)
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 1164 (-68)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Guidelines for letters to the editor are on page 31.
Disclamer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter written is an OCN volunteer
Article Contains Misleading Title
I wanted to mention that the article titled "Woodmoor Improvement Associate (sic) Board of Directors, Nov. 10 -- 2015 budget has small dues increase and emergency fund" on page 23 in the December 6, 2014 OCN is misleading. One could infer that the Board intentionally approved a small dues increase, when in fact they approved the maximum dues increase (3%) that they are allowed to in accordance with the By Laws. A more accurate title would be "WIA Board unanimously approves maximum allowed dues increase on its homeowners." In addition to being completely accurate, this title might actually get people’s attention.
Refusing state assessments will not lower district rating
We wish to clarify statements made in the December 6 article "Citizens air concerns about Common Core and assessments." It declares a 95 percent test participation rate is required or the district could lose its current accreditation rating.
However, the Colorado Association of School Board’s site (www.CASB.org) states: "the 95% student participation rate is not required by state law or State Board of
Education rule. Rather, both state law and the State Board rules implementing the Education Accountability Act of 2009 provide only that student participation rates will be factored into the assignment of a school district’s and school’s accreditation ratings"
Accreditation is given yearly and districts may appeal to keep current accreditation under extenuating circumstances, such as a high refusal rate of assessments.
In addition, the CASB states: "Importantly, the state needs to reapply for its federal NCLB waiver in January 2015. CASB plans to strongly encourage CDE to modify the 95% student participation rate requirement in the state’s waiver application to only those assessments required by the NCLB and/or to eliminate the participation rate requirement altogether. In the meantime, CASB will work at the state level to ensure that CDE does not impose the 95% participation requirement on assessments beyond those covered by the state’s NCLB waiver. Finally, CASB will provide support to its members as they seek reconsideration of any accreditation sanctions resulting from a district’s inability to meet the 95% participation rate due to students or their parents opting out of state assessments."
We appreciate efforts to dialogue with parents but we also would like the recognition of full disclosure of the truth. In this area, we are very well informed families.
Melissa Rogers, Angela Leighty, Cheryl Darnell, Kristen McWilliams, and Amy Torrence
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Have you resolved to eat healthier in 2015, lose some weight, or be more creative with your meals? Maybe you and your family are simply ready for some good comfort food during these chilly winter days. Whatever your mood, there’s a cookbook for you.
Soup of the Day
By Ellen Brown (Running Press) $20
Whether it’s a bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick, a thick and hearty gumbo in winter, or a refreshing gazpacho on a hot summer day, soup is a timeless favorite. Most of the 150 recipes in this book were collected from top restaurants across the country. Smoked salmon chowder, tomato and bread soup, curried pear soup, chicken soup with matzo balls, and many more tasty soups are included.
Make It Ahead
By Ina Garten (Random House) $35
For the first time, trusted and beloved cookbook author Ina Garten answers the number one question she receives from cooks: Can I make it ahead? If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, Garten lets you in on her secrets so that won’t happen again. Thanks to her years in the food business, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply making dinner on a hectic weeknight, here are lots of amazing recipes that taste just as good—or even better—when they’re made in advance. Each recipe includes clear instructions and beautiful photographs, plus hundreds of invaluable make-ahead tips.
Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook
By Carrie S. Forbes (Adams Media) $16.95
Slow cookers are lifesavers for busy cooks. But if you follow a gluten-free diet, slow cooking can be a challenge because many recipes don’t thicken properly without flour, noodles, or some other wheat-containing derivative. Complete with an array of gluten-free options, specialized slow-cooking tips, and advice on eliminating wheat derivatives, this fun and fresh cookbook has everything you need to create healthy, delicious meals—without spending all day in the kitchen.
Kale: The Complete Guide to the World’s Most Powerful Superfood
By Stephanie Pedersen (Sterling Books) $14.95
One of the most nutrient-dense vegetables, kale is the versatile "superfood" featured in this book, which includes recipes for every meal to entice, satisfy, and boost your well-being. Kale shows up in soups, muffins, appetizers, smoothies, egg casseroles, sandwiches, and side dishes. A growing guide is also included, along with tips on choosing and storing kale, and a handy list of online resources.
Pizza Night!/Taco Night!
(Oxmoor House) $15.95 each
These colorful books each include 101 recipes from thin-crust to deep-dish pizza, sauces, doughs and sides to quesadillas, burritos, tacos, drinks, and desserts. Each recipe includes a full-page illustration, and the ingredients and directions are in a large, bright, easy-to-read format. "Speed It Up," and "Little Helpers" sections are also included, as well as options for vegetarian and gluten-free recipes.
The Naked Kitchen: Veggie Burger Book
By Sarah Davies and Kristy Taylor (Lyons Press) $19.95
These recipes combine simple, wholesome, plant-based ingredients to create a wide variety of scrumptious vegetable and bean-based burgers and sides, such as a caramelized onion burger, sweet potato beer fries, and crispy sesame green bean fries. Colorful photographs and quick tips for easy preparation are included with each recipe, as well as symbols indicating whether it is gluten free, soy free, and/or grill friendly.
The Southern Living Community Cookbook
By Sheri Castle (Oxmoor House) $29.95
Hailed as the ultimate Southern "community" for 50 years, Southern Living brings the best hometown cooks, recipes, and stories together to create a book with good things to eat and timeless tales to tell. With over 200 recipes and mouth-watering photographs, the book includes prized dishes of the region, such as shrimp and grits, creamy spicy cucumbers, and praline cheesecake.
True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure
By Andrew Weil (Little Brown & Co.) $19
Every recipe in this book is not only delicious, but it also promotes the diner’s well-being. Showcasing high-quality ingredients and simple preparations with robust, satisfying flavors, the book includes more than 125 original recipes from Dr. Weil and Chef Michael Stebner, including spring salad with aged provolone, curried cauliflower soup, shrimp and Asian noodles, chocolate icebox tart, and, for a special treat, a pomegranate martini.
Pick up a new cookbook and enter the kitchen with some exciting new recipes for the New Year. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."—Maya Angelou
Is the MFA, Master of Fine Arts, the new MBA for the corporate minded? As a field in itself, pursuing the MFA points the way to creative problem-solving, which is one of the major needs of the global business realm, according to a recent study by IBM via the PEW Research Center. Can you imagine what they found out across 33 industries, asking over 1,500 CEOs in 60 countries, the single most-needed skill in our complex world? The number one need was not math, not science, not technology, but "creativity".
With over 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 daily for the next two decades, our country is about to see a gigantic a brain drain for experienced creative strength. The surprising findings of this study point to a hugely creative source for filling that void, and it just might surprise you who can do the job.
The arts’ unique position of generating thoughts and producing them, not just memorizing or repeating them, offers its unique and powerful skills and tools for creative problem solving to artists, and in that vein, to business, commerce, and society.
Artists must be good at what they do as well as superb at business skills in order to survive. We cannot say that about every job, but it is a vital factor for artists and craftspeople who live by their creative imaginations. They are adaptable, resourceful, and catch on quickly to what is needed in business and life challenges. They can powerfully think outside the box—even if they are in the box at any given time.
January is a time for new beginnings and new art work to make. So many creative people make their commitment to art at the beginning of the year. Artists of all ages tell me that in the new year, they most happily and consistently get and stay on track for seeing and making art by taking a class or coming together with other artists to rev up their art engines. Winter can be a time to go inward and cocoon and do nothing, or be calm and get a lot of inner work and exploration accomplished.
Let’s pick up a pencil or a brush for a spare hour with friends or in a class and support our own creativity right where we live—it could lead to something amazing! And to get us all in the groove, including kids, I found a number of local and international calls for artists. You don’t have to be a professional to win in the arts, you just have to put your heart into your art and go for it. So, let’s go!
Upcoming art events and calls for artists
Visions of Light Photographic Exhibition call for artists
This is a juried photographic exhibition. Photographers of all levels are invited to submit work. The mission of the Visions of Light Exhibition is to challenge photographers in the vision, interpretation, and use of light in photography. Jason P. Odella, photographer, will judge the entries. Final entries/registration due Jan. 16 to Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts; Exhibition is March 3-28 at TCLA, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Animal Rescue Kids’ Art Contest
Art contest for kids ages 16 and under. Students enter this monthly contest by submitting a drawing of their favorite animal. Winner and five runners-up will receive "animal rescue" prize package. Details online: www.animalrescuetv.com/kids-art.shtml.
Colorado Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest
Call for student artists grades K-12. Time to start getting those great duck stamp artworks going! The 23rd annual student design contest is organized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and each U.S. state. The due date for Colorado postmarked entries is March 15, and details about the program are available online here: www.fws.gov/juniorduck.
Lions Club International Peace Poster Art Contest
The theme for this annual art competition from Lions Club International for 2014-15 is "Peace, Love and Understanding." Children ages 11 to 13 worldwide are invited to participate; deadline is Nov. 15, 2015. Grand prize is $5,000 and a trip to the special awards ceremony; 23 merit winners will receive $500 and a certificate of achievement. Details online: www.lionsclubs.org/EN/our-work/youth-programs/peace-poster-contest/index.php.
Janet Sellers is a local artist and art teacher. Her paintings and art sculptures are on view in local art venues and her public art is on view in Colorado and California cities. She can be reached via OCN at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
Monument Hill Kiwanis Club Hosts North Pole Tri-Lakes Craft Show Dec. 6 and 7
The North Pole at Tri-Lakes Craft Show on Dec. 6 and 7 sponsored by Monument Hill Kiwanis drew an estimated 1,430 people and 58 vendors and yielded over 500 pounds of food, a box of toys, and $150 in cash donations for Tri-Lakes Cares. Vendor participation fees yielded about $5,000 to be donated to the school district. The fair was held at Grace Best Community Center. Program Manager Bob Nissen said that next year’s event will be only one day, but with extended hours. Musical groups from the school district and a local church entertained during the event with holiday music. Also part of the event was a Cookie Walk sponsored by Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, with proceeds to benefit Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Neighborhood Nurse and Colorado flood and fire relief efforts. Nissen reported that over 90 percent of the participants said they intend to return next year.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
Caption: Dennis Daugherty and Steve Hall set up Kiwanis Booth at the Craft Fair. Photo courtesy of Warren Gerig.
Caption: Vendor Booths being set up at the Craft Fair. Photo courtesy of Warren Gerig.
Caption: Singers from Palmer Ridge HS choirs are l-r Sierra Calery, Ari Jenkins (teacher), Savannah Carpenter, Morgan Griffith, Alyssa Premovich and Anna Bugosh. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: From left, Doug, Chris, and Margaret Higgins bought cookies by the pound. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Monument holiday tree lighting event Dec. 6 at Limbach Park
Caption: Festive carolers, dancers, and ice carving entertained everyone until dark at the Monument holiday tree lighting event Dec. 6 at Limbach Park. Then, with the lighting of the holiday lights, Santa listened to kids’ gift wishes and gave out candy canes. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Legacy Sertoma Salvation Army bell ringers
Caption: Sherry Rucker, visiting from Florida, made a donation to a Salvation Army Red Kettle in December. Tony Van Beek, an American Legion member volunteering for Legacy Sertoma, was one of scores of volunteers manning the Salvation Army Red Kettles in December in the Tri-Lakes area. He was joined by crotchety helper "Maxine" who sat on his beautifully restored red 1943 Farmall H tractor. Legacy Sertoma and Monument Hill Kiwanis clubs both provide volunteers for this effort to collect contributions from generous citizens for the Salvation Army so that it can continue to "meet human needs in His name without discrimination." Contact www.legacysertoma.org or http://monumenthillkiwanis.org/mhk/ for more information. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Palmer Lake Yule Potluck Dec. 12
Caption: Friends of the Palmer Lake Yule Log and well-wishers gather Dec. 9 at Palmer Lake Town Hall for the 2014 Potluck Dinner and Yule Log hunt preparation. The 81-year-old tradition started in 1933 with a splinter brought from Lake Placid. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
WireWood Station performs at TLCA Christmas Dinner Dec. 12
Caption: WireWood Station performed at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Christmas Dinner and Concert on Dec. 12. Pictured are Bob Bowker on bass, Michelle Edwards on fiddle, Casey Cherry on guitar, Mark Worthington on drums, and Herb Wetzel on banjotar. Photo by Charlie Searle.
13th annual Tri-Lakes Community Christmas Handbell Concert
Caption: The 13th annual Tri-Lakes Community Christmas Handbell concert was held at Monument Presbyterian Church on Dec. 13. It featured the Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Choir with the Monument Community Presbyterian Handbell Choir. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Tri-Lakes Music Association presented "The Light of Christmas"
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Music Association (TLMA) presented "The Light of Christmas" by Phil Barfoot on Dec. 19-21 at Palmer Ridge High School. The concert featured the TLMA orchestra and several choirs. A free-will offering went to Tri-Lakes Cares and scholarships to two Lewis-Palmer High School seniors. For information for next year, see www.trilakesmusic.org, or call Bob Manning at 232-4114. Photo courtesy of Tri-Lakes Music Association.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection Santa on Patrol Dec. 20
Santa teamed up with the Monument Police Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department, and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday, Dec. 20 to deliver gifts to children in the Tri-Lakes area. Residents and businesses, including teachers at Bear Creek Elementary, Walmart, the Monument Town Council, and hundreds of anonymous givers, donated toys and bikes to the drop boxes around town. Palmer Ridge High School students made hundreds of small wooden-wheeled toys that were handed out by Santa and Mrs. Claus and their first-responder elves. Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk said the look on parents’ and kids’ faces "really cheers us up." Santa on Patrol "spreads joy for a lot of children in our own community. … We have a huge need within our community for these toys," he said. Santa also patrolled the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District on Dec. 6. Photos by Lisa Hatfield.
Caption: Santa and Mrs. Claus
Caption: Monument Police Explorers helped Santa distribute toys.
Caption: Santa distributed about 18 new bikes to children in the Tri-Lakes area.
Caption: This little boy received, and could barely carry, one of hundreds of toys Santa handed out while On Patrol.
Western Museum of Mining and Industry Family Exploration Day, Jan. 3
Caption: On Jan. 3, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) held its Family Exploration Day on Geology. Kids and adults piled into the museum to learn about Colorado’s mineral and mining heritage. The museum held fun and educational activities, guided tours, hands-on mineral identification, and even "Keep what you find gold panning." The event was made possible through the conjoined efforts of WMMI, Florissant Fossil Beds, Pilot Mining, Bricks-4-kids, and many others. Depicted here, Ken "Sarge" Aron explains the machinery that early Western miners used to a group on a guided tour. WMMI hosts frequent events and tours and can be contacted at 719-488-0880. A list of events and information about the museum can be found on its website, www.wmmi.org. Photos by Allison Colburn.
By Harriet Halbig
The Legos Club meets on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 10 to 11:30. You bring your creativity and we provide the Legos. All pieces remain the property of the library.
Learn to make rubber band loom bracelets for yourself or to trade with friends. Fun and easy! For boys and girls ages 9 to 12 on Thursday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 5 p.m. Registration is required.
The AfterMath free math tutoring program will resume on Monday, Jan. 12 and continue each Monday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. through mid-May, except for school or library holidays. All ages are welcome to bring homework and drop in for some help. No appointment necessary.
If you enjoy playing Magic the Gathering, come find others with an interest in the game each Monday evening from 7 to 8:45. Bring your cards and play, trade, and enjoy.
Come to the library on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 11 to 3 p.m. for a day of creativity in the MakerSpace Monument Style. Would you like to learn to sew? Make a blanket or pillow for someone in need? Learn to repair and embellish clothing and accessories? We will bring sewing machines and supplies to the Monument Meeting Room and have teens, tweens and adults together to sew, repair, quilt, and have some fun! You will have the opportunity to learn from experts and ask them questions.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Jan. 16 to discuss Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Are you ready for a Monument blizzard or ice storm? Christopher Schroeder, president of the Meteorological Research Education Organization, will offer a program on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. on what you can do to prepare your home, car, and office for winter weather events. Register at www.ppld.org or call 488-2370.
On the walls of the library during January will be art by students of Palmer Ridge High School. In the display case will be Star Wars Lego creations by Jake and Cole Turner.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Palmer Lake Book Group will meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 9. All patrons are invited to join this monthly book group. Please call 481-2587 for the latest selection.
The Fibernistas meet every Thursday from 10 until noon. Knitters, crocheters, and other crafters are welcome to bring their own projects and enjoy the company of other crafters. All skill levels are welcome.
Palmer Lake’s Family Fun program for January is Raptors! Real hawks, owls and vultures are fascinating wild beings. Meet these magnificent survivors, hear their stories, and make a small raptor puppet to take home. The program is presented by Nature’s Educators of Aurora and will be held on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 10:30.
Artwork on the walls will be provided by Palmer Lake Elementary School.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red January Menu
Jan. 14: Chili, Fritos, salad, dessert
Jan. 21: Lemon chicken, rice, salad, dessert
Jan. 28: Chicken Caesar salad, garlic bread, dessert
Rolls and butter are served with each meal except sandwiches. Dessert is also provided.
Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. at 146 Jefferson St., Monument (the School District 38 Administration Building, "Big Red"). $3 voluntary donation. Entertainment follows lunch. For more information, call Judy, 487-9067. An activity of Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership. Meals are provided by Pinecrest Catering, Palmer Lake; Nikki McDonald, executive chef, 481-3307.
Academy North Gate bridge work through summer
Two bridges outside the U.S. Air Force Academy’s North Gate will be under repair through August 2015. To ease congestion, the academy will make the gate a one-way, entrance-only road in the mornings. From 7-9 a.m., no outbound traffic will be allowed through the North Gate, and travelers exiting the academy during those hours will have to use the South Gate.
County now enrolling students for 2015 Citizens College, apply by Jan. 12
Citizens College participants receive an up-close look at county government functions and services. Elected officials, administrators, and agency partners serve as instructors and tour guides. Classes will be held Jan. 24 and Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. "Field trips" include a tour of the Criminal Justice Center and El Paso County coroner’s laboratories where students can learn first-hand about criminal investigations and criminal prosecution. For more information and to apply online, visit www.elpasoco.com/citizenscollege.
Mountain View Electric Association scholarships, apply by Jan. 15
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) awards 14 scholarships of $1,000 to graduating high school seniors. Requirements and applications are available at both MVEA offices, high school counselors’ offices, or online at www.mvea.coop. For more information, call 494-2622.
Register for D-38 2015 kindergarten and preschool, Feb. 4
Registration events will be held at all D-38 elementary schools Feb. 4. Students entering kindergarten next fall, or anyone interested in reserving a spot in the preschool program, should attend. Times and locations are posted on each school’s website. More information is available online on the preschool page at www.lewispalmer.org or by calling 488-4700.
Choice enrollment now open, tours offered
Choice enrollment for all grade levels is now open through Feb. 20. This is the time for residents and non-resident students to apply to attend any D-38 school. Details and forms are posted on the district website, www.lewispalmer.org. Both D-38 high schools are offering tours for families on the following dates. January tours: Palmer Ridge, Jan. 23, 1:30 p.m.; Lewis-Palmer, Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m. February tours: LPHS, Feb. 13, 1:30 p.m.; PRHS, Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m. Please contact Palmer Ridge at 867-8600 or Lewis-Palmer at 488-6186 to sign up. These tours are intended for district or non-resident students wishing to choice enroll or for new families moving to our area. Check with individual schools for additional open houses and tours.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club announces 2015 grant process, apply by March 15
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) grant application for 2015 will be available Jan. 15 until March 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed. The application package includes the instructions as well as other very important qualifying information. For more information, contact the committee chair, Donna Wagner, at email@example.com. TLWC is proud to continue supporting the Tri-Lakes community.
D-38 receives state awards
The Colorado Department of Education awarded the Lewis-Palmer School District with Accreditation with Distinction and the Colorado Excellence Award for highest English language proficiency and academic growth among English learners. In addition, four District 38 schools were named John Irwin Schools of Excellence for the 2013-14 school year. Lewis-Palmer High School, Palmer Ridge High School, Prairie Winds Elementary, and Monument Academy were all honored for exceeding expectations in academic achievement. Schools receiving this award are in the top 8 percent of all schools in Colorado. For more information, visit www.lewispalmer.org and click on "Announcements."
Awake Palmer Lake receives $349,893 GOCO grant
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. The $349,893 in grant money awarded for Palmer Lake can only be used for improvements around the lake, not for the lake itself. Based on a survey of Palmer Lake recreational users, improvements would include a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks, improvements to the playground, a bandstand, and possibly a soccer field. The Awake Palmer Lake committee still needs $30,000 to complete the work on the lake. Donations can be made to www.Awakepalmerlake.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Robert "RF" Smith selected as Monument Hill Kiwanis Club Kiwanian of the Year
RF Smith joined the Monument Hill Kiwanis in 2011 and has been a dedicated member, managing and serving on numerous projects including the Fourth of July parades, Empty Bowls Dinner, Soap Box Derby program, bingo, and holiday bell ringing. Smith’s dedication, commitment, and concern for the community make him well-deserving of the honor of Kiwanian of the Year.
Emergency Notification System update
If you registered for the Emergency Notification System (reverse 911) prior to July 2013, you may need to create a new account. Go to www.elpasoteller911.org and select "sign up" on the registration page. If you are able to log in in using your existing user name and password, no further action is needed. If you get an error message indicating your email or password is invalid, press the sign-up button and create a new account. If you need assistance, dial 785-1971 and a staff member will return your call.
St. Peter Catholic School enrolling for preschool-eighth grade
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education. NCA accredited, state licensed, financial aid available. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. The number to call is 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you are in need of grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message.
CASA volunteers needed
Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASA offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs/ or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Senior Safety Handyman Services
Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCTS at email@example.com or call the MCTS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs through April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
Donala’s Customer Assistance Program
The Donala Water and Sanitation District offers a Customer Assistance Program in conjunction with Tri-Lakes Cares to help Donala customers in financial hardship, unable to pay their water and sewer bills. Applications can be picked up at the Donala office at 15850 Holbein Dr. in Gleneagle or at Tri-Lakes Cares in Monument. For information call 488-3603.
Monument Marketplace Facebook page
Tri-Lakes residents can sell their used items, trade items, and chat about anything local goings-on at https://www.facebook.com/groups/monumentmarketplace/.
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. 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 on the district website www.lewispalmer.org under the community tab. Nonprofits may list their volunteer needs in the directory free of charge. For information, contact Robin Adair, P.O. Box 40, Monument, CO 80132; call 785-4223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include pinochle, National Mah-jongg, line dancing, tea time, bingo, and more. Ping-pong, Wii video games, puzzles and board games, refreshments, a lending library, computers with Internet connections, and an information table are also available. For information about programs for seniors, visit www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Monument. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center. To subscribe, 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 information call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
County prescription discount program could save you money
El Paso County’s prescription discount program saved 10,000 residents $250,000 in discounted medicines over 18 months at no additional taxpayer cost. People using the card saved an average of 23 percent. There are no eligibility requirements and no strings attached to receive the discounts. You can pick up a free Prescription Discount Card at most county government locations or you can download your own personalized prescription discount card on the county website (bottom of the front page) at www.elpasoco.com. Any county resident without prescription coverage can use this program. Even if you have insurance for prescription medications, the discount card might save you money on prescription medications your existing plan does not cover. For information, visit www.elpasoco.com/ or call 520-6337 (MEDS).
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar 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.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
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 May 06, 2019. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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