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By Lisa Hatfield
The 74th Annual Meeting of the Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) Board of Directors met June 4 at the Palmer Ridge High School auditorium. Hundreds of co-op members listened to reports, participated in an interactive poll, won thousands of dollars in door prizes, and enjoyed a dinner prepared by Lewis-Palmer District 38 Nutritional Services. Wayne Hammerstadt and the Palmer Ridge High School Chamber Singers provided entertainment before the meeting. The quorum for the meeting was 50 members, and overall the cooperative has 42,491 members in eight counties.
Board President Joseph Martin from District 1, Milt Mathis from District 4, and Barry Springer from District 6 were all re-elected to three-year terms by a voice vote in the uncontested director elections.
An interactive poll of audience members asked their opinions on topics ranging from global warming, carbon dioxide emissions, Calhan wind farms (which are not part of MVEA), and community solar gardens, to impressions of service reliability.
The annual report noted that the cooperative has 6,000 miles of energized line and covers 5,000 square miles. The cooperatives’ seven districts stretch from Monument and Palmer Lake east to Arriba, Colo. District 7, which includes the Tri-Lakes area, is represented by Donna Andersen-Van Ness, assistant secretary.
Martin’s comments included the topics of new rates, capital credits, financial overview, and Operation Round-Up.
He said after a recent cost of service study, the board decided to make some rate changes to minimize subsidies between rate classes and begin to equalize rate of return among all classes, since "all rate classes should contribute to margins." Beginning with the July 1 billing cycle, rates for municipal water pumping, irrigation, and large power will increase. Residential rates will stay the same. In answer to a member’s question, he said the Board of Directors is the regulating body and so no public review by membership was required for this and other decisions.
This year the co-op paid its members $3.6 million in capital credits. Martin said this year 38,330 checks were sent out to people who were members in 1998, 1999 and 2012. The minimum amount mailed was $10.
Martin said the 2014 audit by CliftonLarsenAllen, LLP was "clean" and that the co-op is in really strong financial condition.
Operation Round-Up is a voluntary program for co-op members to help neighbors pay for their electricity. Martin said 59 percent of members participate in the program so that their bills are rounded up to the nearest dollar each month, for a maximum of 99 cents a month donated to the fund. Over $1.7 million has been distributed since 1999.
Chief Executive Officer Jim Herron’s comments included:
The board will do a study to learn more about how advanced meter (smart meter) technology might be used to improve service and save money. Possible advantages include the ability for staff to read meters automatically, connect and disconnect service remotely, decrease miles traveled and increase efficiency for staff, improve reliability and do outage management, reducing spikes in power, and provide detailed usage data to members so they can see how to use energy more efficiently.
Herron explained the government’s impact on power bills. Local, state, and federal regulations add a required 10-15 percent to costs, he said, and the EPA-proposed "clean power plan" could increase costs an additional 10-50 percent. Herron said members who were interested could contact or join the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) political action committee.
Tri-Lakes area high school students were among the winners of $1,000 scholarships awarded by MVEA, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and the E.A. "Mick" Geesen Memorial scholarship. Martin said 141 MVEA scholarship applicants who met the criteria were then entered in a lottery that chose the 14 MVEA winners. Area winners were:
• Discovery Canyon High School: Rylee McCone, McKenna Rogers
• Lewis-Palmer High School: Connor Larsen, Julie Miller, Isabel Taylor, Daniel Ziegler, Ryan Reich
• Palmer Ridge High School: Courtney Morris, Emily Schuler, Sara Conrad, Ashley Walker
Sandra Luksic of PRHS was the first-place winner of the National Rural Electric Association Electric Cooperative (NRECA) essay contest. She will join the NRECA youth tour to Washington, D.C., this summer.
The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.
The next annual meeting will be held in June 2016 in Fountain. See Colorado Country Life Magazine, MVEA’s Facebook page, or www.mvea.coop for more information.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
The wet weather in the Tri-Lakes area is not causing just a shortfall in available replacement sump pumps as basements flood due to continued saturation of the ground in this alpine desert region. On June 11, General Manager Kip Petersen advised the directors of the Donala Water and Sanitation District (WSD) board of a substantial water revenue shortfall after the first five months of 2015, with water sales at only 21.2 percent of the amount of revenue budgeted for the year.
Donala had only taken in $728,239 of the $3.44 million budgeted for water sales revenue, a shortfall of roughly 40 percent of the amount normally received after the first five months in an average drier year with a higher lawn irrigation demand on Donala water production. He said that total billable water production through this May was 14.6 million gallons compared to 28.7 million gallons through May in 2014 and that some planned capital projects for this year may have to be postponed.
Petersen had already advised the board in April that Donala’s commercial electric utility rate, which will increase by 9 percent on July 1, may require reduced expenditures later in 2015 in other areas of the district budget and that Mountain View Electric Association will raise its commercial rates again in January 2016. See article on page 1.
Petersen’s analysis of low water sales
Petersen said the staff is looking at postponing some large capital projects this year if the "wet year" trend continues through June, based on only receiving about 60 percent of the water sales revenue budgeted to date. For example, installation of a new 12-inch water supply main from the Latrobe Court storage tank to the Holbein Drive storage tanks may have to be postponed.
He said, "You love the rain, but you hate the hit in revenue. Conversely, some of our expenses are being reduced by not producing all this water. Our electrical and chemical costs won’t be as high" in 2015. In the summer, Donala’s electrical power costs are its biggest expense due to typically having to run its 350 and 400 horsepower well pumps almost continuously to meet peak district irrigation demands. The district has other electric utility costs that are year-round and continue, unaffected, without being reduced by the higher rainfall.
Petersen added that Donala’s drinking water treatment plants were currently shut down because Donala is supplying its distribution system with its renewable snowmelt surface water from the district’s Willow Creek Ranch, located near Leadville. This renewable water is being transported from storage in the Pueblo Reservoir and treated by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), which then pumps it to the CSU-Donala connection at the south end of Donala’s distribution system, near the intersection of Northgate Boulevard and Struthers Road.
Petersen stated that supplying Donala customers entirely with renewable water at this time rather than well water is "just about a wash" economically. Donala’s seasonal transport and treatment payments to CSU are currently being offset by no well water production/treatment costs. Being able to currently supply Donala customers entirely with renewable Willow Springs Ranch water will also help further extend the useful production life of Donala’s existing groundwater wells.
Petersen also noted that Arkansas River flows are so high this year that Donala’s excess Willow Creek Ranch flows that are not pumped north this year for distribution to Donala customers may exceed the district’s storage rights in the Pueblo Reservoir. A significant portion of Donala’s much higher than average flows may have to be "spilled downstream" from the reservoir. However, the district may be able to lease some of its spilled water to agricultural users along the Arkansas River downstream of the Pueblo Reservoir.
Donala is not unique. Water sales are lagging at other local water entities such as Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and Triview Metropolitan District as well as the Towns of Monument and Palmer Lake. Donala’s well pumping will resume not later than September when the Willow Creek Ranch renewable water rights for 2015 expire. No raise in Donala water rates has been proposed to offset the revenue shortfall at this time. For more information, see http://ocn.me/v14n10.htm#DWSD0918.
In other financial matters, Petersen noted that the 2014 audit report will be presented to the board on July 16.
Petersen said that the additional runoff from recent heavy rainfall has increased Donala sanitary sewer flows due to stormwater infiltration into manhole lids and increased groundwater intrusion into underground collection lines due to subsurface saturation but has not yet caused significant additional district wastewater treatment costs.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
Petersen noted that the M. parvicella bacteria contamination problem at Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was about 95 percent solved. No permit violations have occurred during this episode.
Petersen said that he and Donala Director Bob Denny attended the June 3 Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA). Petersen reported that most of the PPRWA discussion centered on the residential "rain barrel" bill that the Colorado Legislature had defeated. Colorado is the only state that prohibits the use of rain barrels. This bill may be brought back again for consideration in 2016.
House Bill 15-1259 would have allowed home owners to use rain barrels to capture some rain water from rainspouts for irrigation. The reason for the bill’s defeat was the potential impact on owners of low seniority water rights below the confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River in Pueblo, which can only be used briefly when there are high peak flows due to high seasonal snow melt or intermittent stormwater surges.
Petersen and Donala Director Ken Judd attended the June 10 Arkansas Basin Roundtable meeting. Judd said he was well received at the roundtable meeting since few elected officials from El Paso County attend these meetings. Judd also stated that Donala directors should continue to attend future roundtable meetings.
Petersen noted that he will be scheduling a meeting with Southeastern Water Conservancy District manager Jim Broderick to discuss switching from annual contracts to long-term contracts for storage Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable water in the Pueblo Reservoir.
Petersen will also attend the Vail Colorado Water Congress meeting in August. He led a wide-ranging discussion of the history roundtable discussions and options for developing pipelines to import water from various locations to the Reuter-Hess Reservoir in Parker.
Norvell Construction has completed the repainting of the interior of the district’s Fox Run water tank. The cure time for the paint is seven days, followed by reinstallation of various operational systems within the tank. This tank was scheduled to be back in service by July 1.
Monument Creek flooding causes expensive damage to Donala access road
Petersen updated the board on the May flooding caused by failure of beaver dams in Monument Creek just north of Baptist Road that washed out substantial portions of the original district access road to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility that goes under the adjacent BNSF railroad bridge. His initial rough estimate in May for these uninsurable flood road repairs was $100,000.
On June 4, Petersen met with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state Office of Disaster Preparedness, and the El Paso County staff for a tour of this wastewater treatment facility to assess the damage to the secondary access. If the county is successful in obtaining both a state and federal disaster designation, then the facility will be included in the county’s overall damage assessment. His revised "very preliminary estimate" of the cost of access road repairs with substantial retaining walls to ensure safety and stability of the railroad trestle and the district vehicles driving under it was $200,000. The next step is to commission a design for the needed repair.
The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on July 16 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 488-3603 or http://www.donalawater.org/.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is the Tri-Lakes map so complicated? June 2015 version: Learn about special service districts; prize drawing in July
By Lisa Hatfield and Jim Kendrick
Is this you?
• I thought I lived in Monument (or Colorado Springs), but I just found that is just my mailing address ZIP code and that I really live in unincorporated El Paso County!
• What fire district do I live in?
• What is a "metro district"?
• What rules, ordinances, and taxes apply to me?
• What special districts and other government entities serve my home?
Test your knowledge of municipalities and special districts
The Tri-Lakes area is a collection of government entities that all influence your comfort and your wallet. Our Community News would like to challenge you to locate the organizations in each category that serve your home.
Disclaimer: this is an incomplete list of service entities in the OCN coverage area; for example, we haven’t attempted to list the homeowners associations.
We would like to offer a prize to one of our readers. If you complete the list below, please send an email to email@example.com by July 24 and let us know you did it and what you learned that surprised you, or send a note to OCN at P.O. Box 1742, Monument, CO 80132-1742 no later than July 24. Also please write to us (as well as to these entities) with your questions!
From among those who submit feedback or questions by July 24, we will randomly select a winner of a gift certificate to a local business.
Here are your choices:
Incorporated cities and towns
• Town of Monument
• Town of Palmer Lake
• Unincorporated El Paso County
• City of Colorado Springs
• Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District
• Donald Wescott Fire Protection District
• Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (not a special district)
• Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District
• Colorado Springs Fire Department (some Wescott taxpayers may have been annexed by Colorado Springs)
• My home is not in any fire district service area
• Forest View Acres Water District
• Pioneer Lookout Water District
• Town of Monument Water Department (not a district)
• Town of Palmer Lake Water Department (not a district)
• No water district – pump water from a well
• Monument Sanitation District
• Palmer Lake Sanitation District
• No sanitation district – have a septic system
Combined water and sanitation districts
• Academy Water and Sanitation District
• Donala Water and Sanitation District
• Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District
• No water and sanitation district – have a well and septic system
Bonus question: What is the Joint Use Committee (JUC)?
• Copper Ridge Metro District
• Flying Horse Metro District
• Forest Lakes Metro District
• Lake of the Rockies Metro District
• Misty Acres Metro District
• Morningview Metro District
• Pinon Pines Metro District
• (Remington Hill Metro District – coming soon?)
• The Sanctuary Metro District
• Triview Metro District
• Village Center Metro District
• Willow Springs Ranch Metro District
Bonus question: What is a "metropolitan district?"
• Lewis-Palmer School District 38
• Academy District 20
To help you figure out which districts serve you, please refer to page 26 for various maps of this area. Hint: Property owners, you can also learn a lot by looking at your property tax bill.
We look forward to hearing from our readers and awarding a prize by the end of July.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 9, the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Coordinating Committee (JUC) unanimously approved the final draft of the 2014 audit presented by auditor John Cutler. He noted that the facility was slightly over budget but had collected enough cash from the owner districts and state grants to preserve a $24,000 cash balance at the end of 2014. Cutler said the final report will be submitted to the state and the three owner districts for inclusion in their individual 2014 audits.
Facility Manager Bill Burks gave an overview of the excavation by Aslan Construction at the south end of the property for the new chemical total phosphorus removal clarifier and the problems being created unexpectedly by excess groundwater from the heavy recent rains.
Plant manager’s report
Burks reported that the plant’s April discharge monitoring report was the last report under the facility’s now-expired discharge permit. The new discharge permit limits took effect on May 1. The plant was in complete compliance with both sets of permit limits, despite the high influent flow rates caused by record rainfall. Burks noted that the following discharge limits would be dropped starting in May: manganese, zinc, copper, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfate.
However, Burks said copper results would remain a high interest item for the Tri-Lakes staff in the broad array of samples taken monthly for the Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Rural/Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE) Monument/Fountain Creek basin baseline characterization study to ensure that no discharge permit limits are re-imposed on Tri-Lakes by the state and/or EPA in the future. If there is a high copper reading, several more copper tests will be taken that month to show whether the high reading was an anomaly.
Note: Such occasional high readings in the past have been caused by illegal use of copper sulfate to kill tree roots in private wastewater service lines. However, use of copper sulfate only kills tree roots momentarily, not permanently, and exposes all wastewater district residents to heavy fines from the state and EPA, as well as substantial additional costs to "prove" that the high reading was not a chronic recurring violation, but rather a thoughtless act by a property owner. For more information, see: http://ocn.me/v13n7.htm#juc.
Burks reported that the April total phosphorus influent testing results for flow in millions of gallons per day (MGD), loading (ppd), and percent of loading were:
• Monument – 0.179 MGD, 23.9 ppd, 37 percent
• Palmer Lake – 0.238 MGD, 8.7 ppd, 14 percent
• Woodmoor – 0.626 MGD, 31.3 ppd, 49 percent
Note: The above figures do not yet include the effects of the heavy rains in May or June.
Burks reported that the facility’s April Control Regulation 85 total phosphorus effluent testing result was 3.6 mg/l and 4.75 mg/l for total nitrogen. The April Discharge Monitoring Report total inorganic nitrogen effluent testing result was 3.3 mg/l. The April nitrogen test results for samples taken upstream at Arnold Avenue, from the Tri-Lakes effluent discharge, and downstream at Baptist Road showed small amounts of non-point source total phosphorus and total nitrogen in Monument Creek from other tributaries and/or stormwater runoff, a dramatic drop from the substantially high March results from non-point sources.
Woodmoor’s Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that Woodmoor’s wastewater flows, which "were up considerably" due to the heavy rain flows of early May, had begun to "taper off" to normal. "We have had a lot of sump pumps running" but no water main failures.
Burks reported that the Tri-Lakes facility’s annual cost of reporting data through AF CURE to the state and EPA would increase by $400 for reporting the expanded array of basin baseline study data.
The financial reports were unanimously accepted as presented.
The meeting adjourned at 11:52 a.m.
Caption: Aslan Construction Co. has broken ground for construction of the new total phosphorus chemical removal tertiary clarifier expansion underway at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility at the south end of Mitchell Avenue on the west side of the Monument railroad tracks, near Mount Herman. It is being built in a vacant field at the south end of the facility just east of the ultraviolet light disinfection building shown in the left rear of this photo. On June 19, framing for the base of the two parallel clarifier basins and the reinforcing rebar for the floor and walls of the two basins had just been completed at 4 p.m. The overall project cost was first estimated by the facility’s engineering firm, Tetra Tech, to cost $1.08 million. The cost of the project being built under Aslan’s low bid is now $3.642 million. For more information on costs, see http://ocn.me/v15n5.htm#tlfjuc0414 and http://ocn.me/v15n6.htm#tljuc0512. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 14 at the Tri-Lakes facility’s conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4053.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the June 9 meeting of the Triview Metropolitan District, the directors agreed to join a local water infrastructure engineering study for northern El Paso County and appointed a new board member to fill the position vacated by Missy Franklin, who moved out of the district in May.
District joins infrastructure study
Jessie Shaffer, district manager of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), made a presentation asking the district if they would like to participate in the PPRWA regional water supply infrastructure project preliminary engineering study for Area 3 Facilities. He encouraged Triview to join five other water entities in sharing the cost for the preliminary engineering study for northern El Paso County: the Town of Monument, the Town of Palmer Lake, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Donala Water and Sanitation District, and Cherokee Metropolitan District. The City of Fountain is also participating.
Shaffer explained that the overall cost for this study from Forsgren will be around $165,000, but $126,000 in grant money may be available from the Colorado Water Conservation Board ($100,000) and the Arkansas Basin Roundtable ($26,000) to offset the amount of money the six local participants need to contribute ($39,000.)
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) is not participating in this study since it is already building the Southern Delivery System, Shaffer said.
Renewable surface water will become more a more important water supply as Denver Basin groundwater becomes more expensive to produce and treat. (Search for keywords at www.ocn.me for numerous discussions of this topic.)
Shaffer said the Area 3 engineering study will be done by Forsgren Associates and will be a more detailed preliminary engineering type of study than the recent Regionalized Infrastructure Project (RIP) study, which analyzed the overall feasibility of constructing a regionalized water infrastructure system to bring our area renewable surface water from the Arkansas River and potentially build facilities to store both renewable water and well water pumped in low irrigation demand seasons to smooth out well water peak water supply demands.
President Robert Fisher said Triview had participated in dozens of studies in the last eight years, adding, "I think this one has more foundation to it than just about anything else we have ever talked about." He said the big issue to resolve is that "there is no master plan up here. Everybody is looking out for their own interests, not talking to each other." He hoped that this study would "be a catalyst to larger discussions and better cooperation."
Note: PPRWA would oversee accounting on this regional water infrastructure project if it comes to fruition. However, the decision to actually build any infrastructure or buy renewable surface water rights will not be a specific outcome of this PPRWA study project.
The Triview board voted unanimously to join the PPRWA Area 3 Preliminary Engineering Study and allocate no more than $8,400 toward it.
Eskridge appointed to board
The directors voted unanimously to appoint Bob Eskridge to the vacant board position to fill the remainder of Franklin’s term. He has served as Triview board president in the past. District Manager Valerie Remington said the board vacancy had been posted as required.
April financial report
The directors unanimously approved Remington’s report on checks over $5,000:
• John Elway Chevrolet – Chevy Silverado $27,999
• Felt, Monson & Culichia, LLC – legal counsel $5,844
Remington’s financial report packet stated cash positions as of April 15, 2015:
• General fund $11.3 million
• Enterprise fund $ 3.3 million
• Project fund accounts General/Enterprise $214,000
• Project fund account escrow Sewer/Phase E $405,000
• 2009 Bond Funds – Restricted (except CD interest) $2.3 million
• Total cash – all funds $17.6 million
As of April 30, which is 33 percent through the year, $1.9 million or 43 percent of expected district general fund revenue had been collected. Revenue comes from property tax assessments, various types of tax revenue, and fees.
General fund expenditures as of April 30 were $174,000 or 4 percent of what was budgeted. According to the report, future expenditures will include $3.2 million in debt service payments and $740,000 in payments to other funds (enterprise fund and capital improvement fund). Total expenditures for 2015 were projected to be $4.6 million by year’s end. Over 68 percent of revenue in will be going to the district’s debt payment in 2015.
Remington commented that the district had under-budgeted for pothole repairs this year.
For the "water, wastewater and reuse enterprise fund," water revenue was at 31 percent of budget for 2015. Remington said heavy rains decreased demand, but tap fee revenue had helped some with the shortfall. Enterprise fund expenditures were $744,000 or 37 percent of budget, the report said.
For the capital improvement projects fund (CIP), revenue from water and sewer taps fees was only 23 percent of budget, but anticipated commercial project tap fees coming up should help, Remington said. Expenditures were 21 percent or $279,000, according to the report. The budget for 2014 shows planned future transfers of $1.1 million from the general fund and other financing sources to keep the CIP in a favorable cash position.
After some clarifying questions from newer board members, the board unanimously accepted the April 2015 financial report.
Land purchase for mouse habitat still in progress
The Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is protected under the Endangered Species Act and is listed on the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife. Jackson Creek Parkway was built over prime mouse habitat, Fisher said, and the district is required to purchase other wetlands open space as substitute mouse habitat to resolve this permit issue, under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Remington said she has found a land parcel that the district might purchase that could be more affordable than a previous parcel under consideration, but it must be approved by an environmental engineer as to its suitability for Preble’s mouse habitat.
Remington and Fisher discussed whether there was a $50,000 line item in the budget to pay for this 404 permit assessment. The board consensus was that Remington should proceed and contact the environmental engineer to perform the assessment of the new potential parcel when she located the budget line item.
New move-ins rule reconsidered
In response to a resident request that the board reconsider how it assigns baseline sanitation service rates to new move-ins, the board discussed the topic at length. The consensus was that instead of assigning the previous resident’s rate to the new resident, beginning July 1, new move-ins will be assigned the same baseline rate as that for new homes which is based on winter usage from November to February without irrigation.. Remington and Fisher were not sure of the exact number of gallons of this baseline rate, but Fisher estimated it would be in the range of 5,000-6,000 gallons of wastewater a month. The new resident’s usage clock starts the following March to determine their water usage and by default their sanitation usage, too.
One contractor stealing water
Remington said that the district has been aware of builders who are bypassing water meters during construction. Fisher said this has happened for the last decade. Attorney Gary Shupp said it is cost-prohibitive to sue them to recover costs, and "you can’t put a company in jail." The current consequence has been a warning to the contractors, but next time it occurs, the district will "call the police, since it is theft," Remington said.
Residents should let district replace bushes and trees
Remington said several residents have requested that the district replace sagebrush bushes planted by the district near their homes. Fisher said the district is trying to phase out sagebrush from the future planting palette of the district. If there are dead trees, residents should let the district know, too. Fisher asked residents to let the district do the replacing of any trees or bushes instead of trying to do the work themselves.
At 6:39 p.m. the board went into executive session for the purpose of obtaining legal advice from the district’s attorney regarding specific legal questions and personnel matters.
Triview Metropolitan District board meetings are normally held the second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300 (east of the Ent Federal Credit Union). Information: 488-6868 or visit www.triviewmetro.com. The next meeting is scheduled for July 13.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the June 11 Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board meeting, the board held a public hearing full of comments and questions from residents and then voted to increase the Availability of Service Charge (ASC) applied to vacant lots from $25 a year to $75 a year, which was lower than the maximum the state would have allowed, in order to accelerate the rate the district’s revenue sponsored debt is paid off.
Residents question ASC increase
President Barrie Town and District Manager Jessie Shaffer explained that the ASC is a fee to charge customers who have water and/or sewer services available within 100 feet of their vacant lot and the district has the infrastructure ready to serve that lot. It is applied only to vacant lots in the district that have not already paid tap fees in the past.
Shaffer said revenues from the ASC can only be used for one purpose: paying down debt. Due to the 2011 purchase of the JV Ranch in southern El Paso County, with its associated renewable water rights, the district now holds revenue sponsored debt, he said. Town said that at the current rate, the district’s debt will be paid off in 25 years. The May 31 financial report listed total long-term liabilities at $27.1 million and anticipated 2015 bond interest at $1.2 million.
Residents commented that the legal letter they received about the ASC was not clear. The letter went to every registered elector in the district whether they owned a vacant lot or not. Some residents took offense that the letter came from an attorney instead of the district and that the letter was "confusing." Town and Shaffer responded that since it was a public hearing item, that specific legal language was required.
The current ASC was $25 a year. It was $200 or more in the 1990s, but that general obligation bonded indebtedness debt was paid off in 2011, Shaffer said. Based on a series of averages, the maximum amount the state would have allowed the district to charge for ASC would have been $60.88 a month ($730.56 a year) for vacant lots with both water and sewer access. The district has 334 full-service vacant lots, 20 with water only, and 20 with sewer only.
Shaffer said the Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF) of $45 a month ($540 a year) for lots with single-family homes is also going directly to pay off that debt. Vacant lot owners pay the ASC but do not pay the RWIF. Secretary Beth Courrau said she thought vacant lot owners should be paying RWIF also, to help pay down that debt for a guarantee of future water availability.
Dual-use customers (DUC) are those with a home on one lot which is next to an adjacent vacant lot that they have purchased, Shaffer said. They pay the $45 RWIF fee each month on the main lot and the ASC on the vacant lot. If they have vacated the lot line administratively through either WWSD or El Paso County, then the ASC could be deferred until the vacant lot is sold, when all the back ASC charges would be paid, Shaffer said.
The ASC is primarily assessed to developers, since they own the most vacant lots. Village Center Filing 3, Misty Acres, and Lake Woodmoor developers currently are the top three single ASC payers in the district, contributing about 75 percent of the ASC revenues.
Town said that the single best thing the district has done recently was to buy the JV Ranch and its 3,500 acre-feet of water rights in 2011, since "it assures that the district will have water in the future." Since the district cannot use that water now, it is leasing out the water rights to farmers.
Shaffer explained, in response to residents’ questions, that tap fees are about $24,000 for water and $8,000 for sewer connections. That money goes toward capital improvement projects such as drilling the next well, which will cost around $1 million, said Director Jim Taylor. "We build infrastructure in advance of development and collect tap fees in arrears. We have to have everything in place: water supply, mainline infrastructure, booster stations, water treatment facilities," Shaffer said.
Residents’ comments on the ASC included:
• These water issues are serious. Everyone needs to be held accountable.
• If you live in Woodmoor, you pay $45 a month RWIF before you get any water.
• $25 a year is too little, but an increase of 2,000 percent is too much, even if it is allowed by the state.
• I am opposed to increasing the ASC. There is already inequality between lot owners and homeowners. Lot owners pay 25 percent more on taxes on vacant lots due to assessed values than they do on their homes.
• I see no reason to accelerate paying the debt payment.
• You’ve got to pay off the debt, but you’ve got to do it fairly.
The board consensus was that an increase to the ASC was needed. They discussed a range of options from $25 a year to $100 a year, but did not consider the maximum $720 a year the state would allow based on the average usage data. The board voted 4-1 to raise the ASC to $75 a year, with Taylor opposed, since he said anything over $50 was too high.
Town said the board has been determined to pay off debt as quickly and fairly and equitably as it can. He said there are 12 to 14 partners who all face the same issue when it is time to pay for the infrastructure to get the water here. "As long as I am on this board, everything we can do to save a nickel and guarantee we will have water, we will."
Woodmoor Improvement Association President Jim Hale asked "why everyone is stuck on transporting the water here" when it could be traded with other water districts instead. He offered to host a community information session with WWSD representatives this fall at the Woodmoor Barn.
Hydrant permits for construction water
Shaffer said that in the past, the district has sent developers to Donala or Monument to buy construction water, but that was before the district had renewable water from JV Ranch. "Now we don’t need to send customers away." After a discussion, the board consensus was to issue hydrant permits to developers.
Agreement with Woodmoor Public Safety approved
Shaffer reported that he and Chief Kevin Nielsen of Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) had "reasonable give and take on both sides" and came to an agreement for WPS to continue to provide services to WWSD. The agreement was approved unanimously by the board.
Treasurer Tommy Schwab said "we are still staying above water," but he foresees a problem with revenue in the future since "no one has turned on a sprinkler." Shaffer said the district could be 20 percent short in water usage revenues by the end of the year since the rain had been so heavy this spring.
According to the report, as of May 31, which is 41 percent of the year:
• Total operating income amounted to $451,000 or 47 percent of budget
• Total expenditures $305,000 or 24 percent of budget
• Total cash $17.3 million
Shaffer reported that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) regional water supply infrastructure project preliminary engineering study for Area 3 Facilities had received grant funding of $100,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and $26,000 from Arkansas Basin Roundtable.
Also, he said Triview Metropolitan District had joined the Town of Monument, Town of Palmer Lake, WWSD, Donala Water and Sanitation District and the City of Fountain to share the remaining $39,000 in costs for the Area 3 engineering study for northern El Paso County.
Operations Manager Randy Gillette said Lake Woodmoor is getting so full that the district might need to divert water out of it or let water run over the spillway on Lake Woodmoor Drive. The district is using 100 percent lake water and no well water as of June 11.
Gillette said that sump pumps in homes should not be connected to the sewer system, but instead should pump water outside into the yard.
Shaffer said that the pressured raw water system is ready to use, and Village Center at Woodmoor is interested in discussing become a customer for irrigation.
At 2:16 p.m. the board went into executive session to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators; and for a conference with legal counsel for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions; all related to the Joint Use Agreement and water leases.
Office Manager Marsha Howland reported that after the executive session, the board approved interim funding of the Phase 1 contract for construction and construction management between WWSD and Palmer Lake Sanitation District. The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.
Caption: George Labesky was one of about 20 residents of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District who attended the June 11 meeting to protest the potential increase to the Availability of Service Charge (ASC) on vacant lots in the district. Residents also asked questions about the $45 monthly Renewable Water Investment Fee (RWIF) and tap fees, even though those were not topics planned for the meeting. Woodmoor Improvement Association President Jim Hale offered to host a community information session with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation representatives this fall at the Woodmoor Barn. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
The next board meeting is scheduled for July 9. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Susan Hindman
Dave Frisch of GMS Engineering updated the Academy Water and Sanitation District board June 16 on the timeline for replacing the current lagoon treatment system and connecting to Donala Water and Sanitation District’s system for sewage treatment. Academy’s wastewater permit, issued in October 2013, mandates that plans and funding be in place by October 2016 and that new operations start in October 2018.
The first draft of an intergovernmental agreement between the two districts was sent to Donala in March. Frisch said he expects a reply and comments back from Donala by the end of June.
Frisch discussed the three-step process required for applying for money from the state’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund. He asked the board for permission to start the first step, the prequalification process, which introduces the basics of the project to the funders; the board agreed. Frisch said he would also be looking into interim financing that could pay for work required by El Paso County: the 1041 Regulation and the Site Development Plan submittal.
Frisch said the latest cost estimate puts the total for the wastewater system improvements, plant investment fee, engineering costs, and project contingencies at $3 million.
Director Ron Curry asked Frisch to prepare a simple document "that says, ‘Here’s what we’re doing’" that could be distributed to residents.
Other things that will need to be decided are whether the board will vote to set up an enterprise for the sanitation side, to secure the revenue bond. This is an easier route for getting funding and would bypass the need for an election; the bond would be paid for through user fees rather than property taxes. Curry also asked Frisch to prepare a synopsis about enterprises.
Departing director recognized for his service
In May, Director Jim Weilbrenner informed the board that he would be moving out of state. At the June meeting, he was acknowledged for his 11 years as a director. Weilbrenner was instrumental in the creation of two important documents: the 200-page Contingency Plan, which was used as an example by other Colorado districts; and the Source Water Protection Plan, which led to the district receiving state grant money for projects that might not otherwise have been able to be done and resulted in the district receiving the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Colorado Rural Water Association.
Steve Callicott, a Pleasant View resident since 1998, will be sworn in at the July meeting to take Weilbrenner’s place.
Conflict of interest?
Treasurer Walt Reiss said the district’s auditor asked him if OCN readers are aware that the secretary of the board also writes up Academy’s meeting articles for the newspaper and if that presented a conflict of interest. The auditor wondered if a disclaimer should be published with the article. Director Susan Hindman said that writers are volunteers and sometimes have some connection with the district they are writing about. Reporters can only write about what happens at the meeting, so the only bias that might occur would be the decision over what topics to include in the article.
Starting in July, the Academy Water and Sanitation District board will meet at 6 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of every month at the fire station on Gleneagle and Jessie Drives. The next meeting is July 28.
Susan Hindman can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On June 18, District Manager Mike Wicklund reported to the Monument Sanitation District’s Board of Directors that the district’s notice of a public meeting on July 16 to consider an increase in its wastewater sanitary sewer rates, wastewater tap fees, and plant investment fees was published in the Gazette on page C7 of the June 15 edition. He said these sewer rate increases are necessary to cover the cost of construction and operation of a new total phosphorus removal tertiary chemical clarifier expansion that is currently under construction at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility located at 16510 Mitchell Ave. The new clarifier is being built in a vacant field within the facility property, south of the three existing activated sludge aeration basins and east of the existing ultraviolet light effluent disinfection building. The total budget for this expansion project is $3.642 million.
2014 district audit approved
District auditor Derek Watada of Bauerle & Co. reported that his draft 2014 audit contained an unqualified or "clean" opinion, with no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies found in staff or board management controls. During 2014, about $194,500 of "paper loss" infrastructure depreciation caused a net reduction of capital asset value of about $38,000. The overall net position of the district dropped about $5,000 in 2014.
The board unanimously approved construction of a new roof on the west end of the district building, which is leased to the 2nd Street Hair Studio, 106 Second St.. The roof was scheduled to be installed June 19 through 21, requiring closure of the salon. The cost of the improved replacement roof was about $10,000.
The two rental suites at the east end of the district building have been leased by a furniture restoration company called Estate Salvage. This company will provide estate sales services and also restore furniture and other items from estates for retail sale within the store as well as offer classes on furniture restoration.
At 12:05 p.m. the board went into executive session under Colorado Revised Statutes 24-6-402(4)(a) to discuss matters concerning the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any property interest, as well as C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)(e) for determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators; and C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)(g) for consideration of any documents protected by the mandatory nondisclosure provisions of the "Public Records Act."
The board came out of executive session and immediately adjourned at 12:32 p.m.
The next meeting will include a rate and tap fee increase hearing, as noted above in the first paragraph, and be held at 10 a.m. on July 16 at the at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information for these meetings is available at 481-4886.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Green-Lanchoney
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District volunteer firefighters Jacob Glenn and Russell Krueger were sworn in by district Director Bo McAllister June 16 in the fire engine bay of Station 1 among family and friends. Both Glenn and Krueger received their Wescott badges and are the newest members of the volunteer team. Prior to being sworn in, they completed a probationary period that included training exercises and education for about one year. This probationary period is a required step in becoming a volunteer firefighter.
District Directors John Fredell and Joyce Hartung were present at the swearing in, as was Chief Vinny Burns. District Directors Harland Baker and Greg Gent arrived later, and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings had an excused absence.
May financial statement
At the Board of Directors meeting, Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich explained the state of financial affairs for the Wescott fire district in May. The district has $1.538 million in total funds. This is up from April, with a total increase of $137,265. The district received $199,907 in specific ownership tax revenue, which contributed to the increase.
Both the May and June run report will be discussed at the regular July meeting, when Ridings returns.
Burns said the Summer Safety open house on June 6 was a huge success. He said the community turnout was the best ever, with about 450 people showing up for the event. See photos ion page 13.
This is the first year that the Penrose Blood Bank was on site and the community support was so strong that they ran out of supplies. Future blood banking opportunities could be available at Station 1.
Safeguarding the district’s money
The audit has not been completed because of personnel absences, but it will be done before the deadline, Popovich said, and the auditor plans to be at the July meeting to report on the completed audit.
There were several questions for the auditor on the potential banking transfer. The Wescott Board of Directors is inquiring whether or not to move their funds from a low yield account to a higher yield account.
The legal requirement for public funds is the money must be in a zero-risk account. There is also concern that there will be penalties through FDIC, which insures amounts to $250,000. The combined account will be over that amount and while the interest rate may be higher, the board must have assurance that all monies will be protected if the bank fails.
The auditor was able to answer questions posed by Popovich electronically:
Q. Is there a certain dollar amount that Wescott should not go over to continue to be protected by FDIC?
A. Deposits of the district are covered by FDIC insurance up to $250,000; however the Colorado Public Deposit Protection Act (PDPA) covers any amount over that. Amounts under the PDPA are considered to be just as secure as those under FDIC.
The bank must be certified with the PDPA to hold public funds and must pledge 102 percent of the uninsured funds to cover everything over $250,000 if the bank were to fail.
Q. If the bank that we have our money in goes under, they said that our bank account funds are protected by securities. What happens if the securities aren’t worth anything, then what do we do?
A. The securities that make up the PDPA pool are made up of the highest-rated securities there are. The likelihood of the value of those securities becoming worthless or close to worthless is extremely low. In that unlikely circumstance, your FDIC insurance wouldn’t be worth anything either.
The board agreed that more investigation is needed. The money could possibly be put into interest bearing bonds, but the liquidity would be greatly reduced. The board must consider legal alternatives to safeguard the district’s money.
Burns cited a Colorado Revised Statute to help with guidance on what can be done with extra moneys the stations holds, but are not currently in use:
"Whenever any special district organized pursuant to this article has moneys on hand which are not then needed in the conduct of its affairs, the special district may deposit such moneys in any state bank, national bank, or state or federal savings and loan association in Colorado in accordance with state law."
Fredell encouraged the board to look into the possibilities of diversifying funds a bit further. He also would like some questions answered on the limitations on where the money is placed, if the board can put it into bonds or if they can only put the money into the bank. The board agreed to continue the conversation and look into how other districts invest their money.
Employee Manual revision
The employee manual is being revised to clean up language, flow better, and make it easier to navigate. Burns will have this available for the board to review at the July meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:12 p.m.
Caption: District Director Bo McAllister swears in two of Wescott’s newest volunteer firefighters in the bay of Fire Station 1 June 16. Prior to being sworn in, Jacob Glenn and Russell Krueger completed a probationary period that included training exercises and education for about one year. This probationary period is a required step in becoming a volunteer firefighter. Photo by Jennifer Green-Lanchoney.
Caption: Wescott Fire Protection District firefighter Brian Crawford, explains the fundamentals of car extraction outside Fire Station 1 during the Wescott Summer Safety Fair June 6. Vehicle extrication is the process of removing a vehicle from around a person who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, when conventional means of exit are impossible or inadvisable.
Caption: Wescott Fire Protection District firefighter Gary Manning mans the grill during the Wescott Summer Safety Fair at Fire Station 1, June 6. More than eight vendors supported efforts to inform the public on a variety of safety issues, from MADD to Integrity Health Care.
Caption: Lt. Tim Hampton, a Wescott Fire Protection District firefighter, helps a child drag a safety dummy during the Wescott Summer Safety Fair at Fire Station 1, June 6. Safety dummies weigh about 180 pounds and the uniform is about 30 to 40 pounds with the tank.
Photos by Jennifer Green-Lanchoney.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 21 at Station 1 15415 Gleneagle Dr.
Jennifer Green-Lanchoney can be contacted at Jenlanchoney@ocn.me.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the June 24 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board, one director was honored and another appointed, and a new battalion chief was sworn in. Fire Chief Chris Truty proposed a postponement in the discussion about mill levy override possibilities.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt and Secretary Mike Smaldino were excused.
Appreciation and swearing-in
President Jake Shirk presented departing Director Bruce Fritzsche with a plaque honoring his five years of service on the board. Fritzsche said, "I think in the big picture, things are going very well, and we are moving in the right direction. The support you all give to your leaders within the Fire Department as well as the board is very significant."
Truty swore in new Battalion Chief Michael Keough, while his two boys David and Thomas stood close by, and his wife Andrea pinned on his new badge. "We are looking forward to what your contribution can be," Truty said.
New director Tharnish appointed
The board heard presentations from two candidates to fill the position vacated by Fritzsche.
Tom Tharnish said he had worked for the U.S. Navy, was a nuclear power plant operator, and has worked for the Town of Monument for 15 years, the last three as public works director. He said that his diverse expertise including knowledge of water issues could be a benefit to the district, especially regarding well issues at Station 1. He lives in the Pioneer Lookout Water District directly across the road from Station 1. He said the town is aware of Station 1’s well issues, and the water district he is in "is in a position where they may be of some assistance." He said that he might need to abstain from certain votes regarding legal or government issues that involved the Town of Monument to avoid conflict of interest.
Jason Buckingham said he had extensive experience in fire service, serving four departments in 22 years, and was currently a lieutenant in the Colorado Springs Fire Department. He wanted to volunteer his time and share his background with the community of Monument. He said he did not have as much knowledge of boards and budgets, but he was willing to learn.
The directors did not ask additional questions of either candidate. A third potential candidate, Samuel Stephens, did not attend the meeting. A fourth potential candidate who had submitted a letter of intent was out of town for the June 24 meeting. Four other people had expressed interest but had not submitted letters of intent.
Tharnish was appointed to the board by vote of 4-0. If the board had not voted unanimously with four votes tonight to achieve a majority of the overall board of six, all the candidates would have been invited to special meeting for the vote. Regular board elections will be held in May 2016.
Potential mill levy vote decision delayed; community advisory board recommended
Truty said that over the past months, the discussion of projected revenues and expenditures for capital projects and operations indicate annual shortfalls from $2.1 million to $3.5 million per year, including annual budget increases but excluding a training center.
He said the total mill levy increase required to cover all the projected costs could be from 4.5 to almost 9 mills with an average of about 6.75 mils. The current mill levy is 11.5, and he said the staff mill levy committee did not believe that that level of increase would be acceptable to the public, "at least without extensive dialogue with the community."
Truty’s report said "three levy questions are options: bond, mill or both. Bond levies, which can be used for capital (tangible) equipment, have a higher likelihood of passage and a sunset provision. Mill levies, which are required for operations, do not typically have a sunset, (although it can be added) and are often more difficult to pass. The committee is unanimously leaning towards a bond levy."
Truty and Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner recommended that the board evaluate the use of a consultant that specializes in guiding the district through the community polling, forming a citizen advisory board, evaluating mill levy rates, and other ballot measure processes. Bumgarner has worked with a consultant for this purpose at the Larkspur Fire Protection District.
The citizen advisory committee would be recruited from among actively involved community leaders in the Chamber of Commerce, homeowners associations, the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Corp, and other organizations in order to solicit community feedback about the district’s request, Truty said.
The board consensus was to solicit bids from consultants and to postpone the levy ballot question to May 2016, when the district already planned to conduct a board member election. Elections cost the district $30,000 to $35,000 each, Truty said.
Accountant Frances Esty presented the financial report as of May 31. She said at 41 percent of the year, expenses were 1 percent under budget, and revenues were on track. The district’s cash position was $3.2 million in five different accounts.
Truty’s comments included:
• Various roof leaks, sinkholes, driveway damage, bay door configurations, and electrical problems are under repair at the three stations.
• Instead of a well for Station 1, it might be possible to connect with a neighboring water district, but it would require going under Colorado Highway 105.
• Grant money to help pay for two new ambulances was received.
• The new brush truck has been ordered.
• New battalion chief vehicle specifications are being finalized. It will be a pickup truck style instead of an SUV.
• Three firefighters completed a swift water rescue class.
Truty said that at the June 22 Pikes Peak Fire Chiefs meeting with Sheriff Bill Elder, Elder talked about his plans for joining emergency communications with the whole county including the City of Colorado Springs. He also would like to create an oversight board by an independent agency separate from any organizational issues. Truty said Elder has been a very good individual to work with so far and that he and his staff have been open to ideas and communication on how to make things work better.
District staff is researching options for health care coverage changes that will need to be made by 2016 when the intergovernmental agreement with other area entities is dissolved.
He said in 2017, the Affordable Care Act may change how ambulance billing is handled, and this might result in a 10 percent loss of revenue to the district.
Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin said the firefighters attended seven public events in June, including a ride for Army SPC Matthew Spang and his family to their new specially built wheelchair-friendly home in Monument, courtesy of Homes for Our Troops. See www.ocn.me/v14n12.htm#photos.
She said she had received requests from senior citizens needing help doing fire fuels mitigation around their homes and had recruited two volunteer groups to help them get the work done.
The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at email@example.com.
Caption: At the June 24 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District board meeting, Fire Chief Chris Truty, right, swore in new Battalion Chief Michael Keough, while his two boys David and Thomas stood close by, and his wife Andrea (not pictured) pinned on his new badge. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education conducted several end-of-year actions at its June 18 meeting. Among these was the installation of a new director who will replace Robb Pike, who resigned at the May meeting, until the November election.
The new director is former Palmer Lake Elementary School Principal Julie Jadomski. Board President Mark Pfoff said that the board interviewed four qualified candidates for the position, and felt that Jadomski’s close ties with the district and her 12 years of experience best qualified her.
The board appointed Vicki Wood as its election official and instructed her to notify county officials of the district’s intent to participate in the November election, when four of the five board positions will be up for election due the fact that two of the current members were appointed since the last election.
Before the business meeting, the board held a public hearing regarding the budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). There were no public comments during the hearing.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that the district’s goals for the coming year are to fund the position of director of Technology, maintain class sizes, increase compensation for district employees, and maintain the ability of the district to hire experienced teachers. Teachers come into the district with an average of seven years of experience.
Wangeman said that funding from the state is anticipated to increase by 3.8 per cent from last year, of which 2.4 per cent will compensate for inflation.
Wangeman explained some changes made in the budget since the May meeting. These included an increase in the hiring pool to four teachers if needed to maintain class sizes, an increase in the technology supply budget, and an increase in spending on salaries.
Pfoff commented that the district maintains a balanced budget that meets or exceeds all Colorado Department of Education requirements.
The board approved the budget as presented, noting that the budget is revisited and adjusted throughout the school year.
Wangeman reported that if anticipated enrollment is not achieved, capital improvements may be postponed if necessary to maintain a balanced budget. All contracts must be approved by the board.
The board acknowledged Christian Brothers Automotive as a community partner with the district. The owners of the business said that they have lived here for about a year and wish to contribute to the community by providing jobs and giving back to the school system.
The board also thanked Tri-Lakes Views, the organization which maintains the sculpture park near Big Red, for its partnership with the district. Officials of Tri-Lakes Views were unable to attend the meeting due to the installation of new art works.
Superintendent Karen Brofft reported that the past year was solid and successful with a good team of staff, administrators, and board. She reported that a grant request to fund nurses and counselors was declined for the coming year and will expire in December. In the meantime, a search for alternate funding will be made.
Brofft reported on the success in the use of Reading Plus, a Web-based program, which came into use midyear. She said that the program stresses efficiency and silent reading and is used by all ages and gifted students as well as those who need help. The students seem to love it and have a choice of reading material. Reading scores have improved significantly, and the district approved signing a three-year contract.
Brofft also reported that there is a new assistant principal at the middle school and that a policy review by the Colorado Association of School Boards is underway.
Finally, Brofft reported that she has received preliminary figures regarding participation in recent assessments over all grade levels. She will report final figures when they are available.
Wangeman reported that the district has entered new partnerships with Goodwill, which has offered to partner with Lewis-Palmer Middle School in a recycling program, and the Tri-Lakes Chamber, which requested a representative from the district to serve on its Regional Work Force Group. Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton will serve in this capacity.
The board approved the calendar for the 2016-17 school year.
Staff conduct policy
The board discussed Policy GBEB, regarding staff conduct, at some length. Pfoff requested this discussion saying that it is necessary to maintain high standards of conduct for all staff as well as students. Strong character and integrity are two attributes that should be stressed, he said. The present policy states that staff should behave in a professional manner at all times.
Pfoff said that more specific requirements should be included, among these that no profanity may be used and its use will be immediately addressed.
Director Sherri Hawkins added that the requirements should also forbid use of obscene gestures and that the policy should be in effect not only on campus and during school hours, but also at athletic events and other performance related events hosted by the district, whether at home or away.
Pfoff agreed and stated that if a supervisor were to ignore unacceptable behavior, the supervisor would also be in violation.
The board discussed ways in which the staff could be made aware of the new policy before the beginning of school, including mention at new teacher orientation sessions and revision of the teachers’ handbook.
Pfoff tasked Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster with developing a draft of the new policy for board discussion at its August meeting.
Reports were made on progress in selecting a new financial advisor and a new website provider.
Former Superintendent Ted Bauman, co-chair of the Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame committee, reported that 16 nominations were submitted for this year’s honorees. Of these, five were selected and an additional legacy candidate (deceased) was also selected. The Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held on Sept. 18, from 4 to 5:30, at Lewis-Palmer High School’s auditorium.
Bauman said that further details will be available shortly and that the ceremony will be held on a school day this year to encourage more students and teachers to attend.
Caption: The Board of Education includes, front row from left, Julie Jadomski and Superintendent Karen Brofft, and back row Mark Pfoff, Sherri Hawkins, and Treasurer John Magerko. Vice President John Mann attended the meeting by telephone. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Board of Education of the Lewis-Palmer School District meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month from August through June. There will be no meeting in July. The next meeting of the board will be on Aug. 20 at the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The June 15 Monument Board of Trustees meeting dealt with the town’s enforcement of the current chicken-keeping ordinance, communication from the school district about asbestos, questions about the potential methadone clinic, and art and music events coming to Monument.
Trustee Kelly Elliott was excused.
Chickens still not allowed in PRD areas of Monument
Since the end of 2013, the Monument ordinance about chickens has held that only residents of R1- and R2-zoned properties are allowed to keep chickens. Controversy arose in Jackson Creek in the last two months when two residents of the Homestead at Jackson Creek homeowners association (HOA) installed chicken coops in this Planned Residential Development-4 (PRD-4) zoned area. See www.ocn.me/v15n6.htm#mbot0601.
The question to be answered by the trustees on June 15 was whether or not to lift the stay on the citation those two residents had received from town code enforcement officer Laura Hogan. However, many members of the public thought that the board was voting whether or not to change the town’s chicken ordinance. Over 20 people spoke during the public comments.
Five speakers were in favor of keeping chickens in general and in Jackson Creek specifically. They mentioned their desire to raise their own healthy food, the positive selling feature of homes with chicken coops, how much dirtier dogs and cats can be than are chickens, and First Amendment rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One resident had a petition with 15 more pro-chicken-keeping signatures.
At least 15 people, including the president of Homestead at Jackson Creek HOA, spoke against allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods because of the smell, associated parasites and disease, fights among chickens, attracting predators and rodents, and the fact that chicken coops do not meet the architectural control standards of their HOA.
Many speakers said that first and foremost, the point was that rule of law needed to be enforced, and any chicken ordinance debate could happen in a timely manner later if needed. Asking forgiveness instead of permission was not acceptable to them.
In response, one resident said that when he bought his property, the chicken ordinance was not yet in place, and the rules had changed since he built the chicken coop.
The consensus of the board was to lift the stay on the ordinance violation citation. Hogan planned to talk with the homeowners in person again now that they know the town ordinance, and she will ask for compliance before actually asking for a police summons.
Asbestos and methadone questioned
During public comments, two residents raised issues.
Woodmoor resident Gordon Reichal wanted to bring to the board’s attention an issue about asbestos releases at two local school buildings in the last two years. He said a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment said that in December 2014, Lewis-Palmer District 38 had to ask for help with a major asbestos fiber release at the Grace Best facility. He also had a copy of a Lewis-Palmer Request for Proposal (RFP) for Environmental Services identifying asbestos abatement needs at Palmer Lake Elementary School. He said this was not mentioned at school board meetings, and that the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District was not made aware of it either. He wished for better communication from the school district.
Monument resident Kim Brandon asked for clarification on how to protest the methadone clinic that is potentially coming to Monument. Town Attorney Gary Shupp explained, as he did at the June 1 meeting, that assuming the prerequisites are met by the applicant when the business license application is made, the applicant would have "the right of use" allowed within the district, and it could be approved administratively by the town clerk without a public hearing.
If the business application was to be approved, and residents had concerns or wished to challenge the decision of the town clerk, this issue would be heard by the Monument Board of Adjustment, Shupp said. To see future meeting agendas for the Board of Adjustment, Board of Trustees, and Planning Commission, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com/.
In the meantime, Shupp recommended that residents with questions contact Planning Director Mike Pesicka.
Art and music in Monument
Terri Hayes, executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber was taking over running the free Wednesday night summer concerts at Limbach Park. She said they will start at 7 p.m. on June 24 and run for six weeks. See Our Community Calendar Special Events on page 30 for details.
Sky Hall of Tri-Lakes Views explained about the numerous new art installations coming to Monument (including some created by Our Community News volunteer Janet Sellers). He asked for businesses and individuals to sponsor installations. The sculpture planned for the roundabout at Old Denver Road and West Baptist Road is one example that needs sponsorship.
See www.trilakesviews.org and related article in Art Matters on page 23 for information.
Parking changes at Monument Lake
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said that 44 new parking spots were being created at Monument Lake. However, parking is no longer allowed along the shoreline of the lake, and large boulders have been placed along the shoreline. Police Chief Jake Shirk said that officers will be patrolling the area to enforce the new parking layout.
Town manager’s report
Town Manager Pamela Smith’s written report included:
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) denied the town’s request to use the parcel of land between the Conoco Station and Safeway as a potential new location for the water bulk fill station currently situated on Wagon Gap Trail. "We are working with a local realtor on purchasing private property for this station. We have no firm time that this will be accomplished."
The 2014 audit is due to the state by July 31, and she had hoped to have the draft to the Board of Trustees by June 30. "Ideally the audit would be presented to the BOT in May at the latest. We are running behind this year due to my workload and inability to work on the financials and audit because of time constraints with town manager duties."
Disbursements over $5,000
• Triview Metro District – $143,297
• Lytle Water Solutions LLC $9,831 – engineering on three projects including trial for Monument Lake
• Krassa and Miller LLC $20,358 – legal work on six projects including trial for Monument Lake
• NORAA Construction Corp. – concrete for downtown sidewalks project – about $16,000, according to Trustee John Howe’s verbal addition to the disbursement report
Trustee Becki Tooley invited all Tri-Lakes area residents to:
• Art Hop events on "third Thursday evenings" in historic Monument.
• Parks Improvement Plan open house on July 21 at Bear Creek Elementary School from 4 to 7 p.m.
Howe’s comments included:
• When a resident sends the town an email, town staff should respond promptly before it becomes a Letter to the Editor in the Tribune…. There seems to be a communication problem.… We (trustees) cannot respond to these. It’s the town manager’s job and we presume they are doing it.
• Thank you to Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek for finding sponsors and creating the attractive fliers advertising the Thursday Monument Movie nights. The first movie on June 4 attracted 450 people.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jeffrey Kaiser said representatives of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority planned to meet with CDOT at the end of June to push for a timely repayment schedule of $16 million in privately held construction bond debt that is currently being repaid by the authority’s temporary 20-year one-cent BRRTA sales tax. This private debt financed the expansion of the failing I-25 Exit 158 when the state would not provide funding for this CDOT interchange. The total original privately held bond debt was $21 million, but CDOT will not be reimbursing the authority for any of the overhead costs for bond debt creation nor repayment of administrative costs.
The meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. Call 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org for information. The next meeting is scheduled for July 13.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Wetterer
The June 10 Monument Planning Commission meeting saw the discussion of both Creekside Commercial Replat and Final PD Site Plan proposals, concerning the potential construction of Advance Auto Parts and Brakes Plus facilities in Monument. Both motions were passed by the commissioners, and will therefore now be considered by the Board of Trustees.
The area intended for the auto-repair shops is currently Planned Mixed Development land, which developers intend to plot into two lots—Lot 1 and Lot 2 to serve as the Advance Auto Parts and Brakes Plus locations as well as a separate tract for a water quality and detention pond , all less than one acre in size. Fifty-two new parking spaces are proposed to service these locations, including three Americans with Disabilities Act spaces. A redesigned water quality and detention pond would encompass the south portion of the property.
All facilities would be constructed in Monument’s standard earth tones, which developers assured the commissioners would ensure a "harmonious" looking development. Plans for foliage and landscaping exceed the required 10 percent of the property, coming in at about 25 percent in current plans. Cars would not be permitted to sit on the property overnight. Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick recommended approval of the replat, with Michelle Glover seconding. This motion passed unanimously.
The final PD site plan inspired some discussion, with David Gwisdalla wanting to ensure that prohibitions were put in place to protect the residents of Jackson Creek, whatever becomes of the property in the future, should the auto-repair facilities stay or be replaced by new businesses. Gwisdalla introduced questions such as where the discarded brakes in drums would sit, and whether anything stored outside would be accessible to the environment. It was decided that bay doors should be closed from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., so that even if mechanics continued to work, there would be no noisy activities to bother nearby Monument residents.
Fitzpatrick recommended approval of the final PD site plan, with Glover seconding. This motion passed 3 to 2, with Gwisdalla and John Dick voting against. Dick opposed the plan because it put undue restrictions on business, and Gwisdalla opposed "on principle" because he doesn’t believe Monument requires another auto-repair facility.
The Town of Monument will be conducting interviews to fill the vacant planner position next week. There may also be a new member appointed to the Planning Commission to fill the current vacancy by August.
The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on July 8 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/
Kate Wetterer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Nancy Wilkins
During weeks 3, 4, and 5 of the Monument Citizens Police Academy, topics included traffic stops, sobriety tests, cyber crime, tasers, internal investigations, and a police dog demonstration.
Lt. Steve Burk demonstrated police procedures used when a driver is pulled over for a traffic stop. Police officers in Monument are trained to park their police car a few feet inward toward the center of the road behind the vehicle stopped to create a safer space for an officer and the vehicle’s driver to walk in. Burk said Monument officers usually know and can predict where the safest spot in the immediate area is for a diver is to pull over, and Burk hopes the driver remembers to use their turn signal if turning onto a side road.
If a police officer touches the back of the vehicle pulled over, they are leaving fingerprints as evidence should the driver deny the stop. Monument police officers are also equipped with a recording camera. GPS may also flag where the stop occurs. Should an officer ask to search the vehicle, Burk said the driver has the option to decline the search. However, if the vehicle is impounded, the police must conduct a search of the vehicle and inventory any contents.
Burk demonstrated the tests for sobriety, and volunteers were given the opportunity to put on goggles in the classroom to impair their vision and affect their mobility. Tests included "walking the line," saying the alphabet, and being able to follow one finger across the person’s field of vision in a line from left to right. If you are driving under the influence of alcohol, Burk said it is almost impossible to follow the line smoothly without moving your head and without repositioning your eyes. And a drunk driver may correctly say the entire alphabet but forget to stop at the requested letter. The Monument police station and police cars are also equipped with a breathalyzer test. Burk said Tuesday is the most frequent night for being stopped for driving under the influence in Monument.
Burk also showed an example computer screen from a laptop computer police officers utilize in their vehicles. A Monument officer is able to identify where the other officers are located, learn police history of a specific address, and look up license and insurance information. Burk said insurance information is always verified with the driver, and the police are able to retrieve license information from all 50 states.
Mike Slavick spoke on cyber crime and warned people to remove personal data before selling, donating, or tossing out used computer equipment. Slavick said he helps other police departments and agencies solve cyber crime, including the FBI. Slavick checks his credit card information daily for any activity that may indicate fraud or identity theft, and said, "Monitor your credit cards as much as possible," He recommends not storing passwords on your computer’s browser. At home he uses virtual memory to thwart malware and backs up the information to a hard drive. According to the Citizens Police Academy manual, digital evidence can include the information on computers, laptops, cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs, floppy disks and digital watches.
Taser demonstration … ouch
Officer Jonathan Wilson demonstrated how a taser is used to disable a person when active use of force is deemed necessary to contain a situation where there is reasonable likelihood of danger. Wilson volunteered to be tased along with two adult citizens who gave their written consent before being tased. For safety reasons, a Tri-Lakes fire truck was stationed outside the police station with medial equipment, and trained medical personnel were also present in the classroom. Padded floor cushions were placed in the classroom for the safety of individuals who would fall to the ground after being tased, and a video documenting the events of a person being tased was shown prior to the live demonstration.
According to Wilson, a taser is estimated to travel about 25 feet, and when activated, sends about 50,000 volts of electricity and about 0.0036 amps into a person, through barbs that hook into a person’s skin to conduct and send an electric shock.
Within seconds of receiving the shock, the taser disrupted the stance of each individual, who fell to the floor while being carefully assisted. Similar to the video being shown, all three individuals shouted in pain shortly after being tased. Police procedure is to immediately handcuff the individual being tased and check for any weapons.
Because a taser can be fired from about 25 feet, using one can be an alternative to using a firearm or a baton. It can reduce the possibility of hand-to-hand, weapon-on-weapon, or other close combat situation. Wilson maintains using tasers instead of a firearm or baton has reduced injury to both police officers and citizens, and said, "There are so many bones that are not broken if used appropriately in the right setting."
Burk maintains the responsibility of internal investigations within the Police Department, and said the need for internal investigation is to keep the public’s trust and maintain the internal trust of all the officers. The goal of internal investigations, according to the academy manual, is to find the truth. The policy is for the chief of police to make an informed decision before imposing discipline.
Police dog Amp on the case
Officer Shane Larsen from Fountain brought Amp to the Citizens Police Academy. Amp is an active 2-year-old German shepherd that, by scent alone, was able to retrieve a set of academy student’s keys thrown into a large field. Amp is also trained to sniff out controlled and illegal substances. Fountain’s police department is a "sister police department" and the two share Amp when needed. One academy participant asked what happens to police dogs if they are too old to serve. Larsen said the dogs usually go home with a police office to retire and spend the day happily on the couch.
Caption: Amp, the police dog. Photo submitted by Lt. Steve Burk.
Nancy Wilkins can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Palmer Lake Town Council met on June 11 to vote on a bid to purchase the Vaile House, to begin planning for the retirement of Town Attorney Larry Gaddis, to discuss the status of the Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) grant, to hear reports from the trustees, and to review a business license request. Police Trustee Bob Grado was not present at the meeting.
Council accepts bid to sell Vaile House
The Town Council accepted a bid from Curt Erhart to purchase four lots, which include the historic Vaile House at 118 Hillside Road, from the Town of Palmer Lake for $145,000. Mayor Nikki McDonald, Fire Trustee Richard Kuehster, Parks and Recreation Trustee Paul Banta, Finance Trustee Mitchell Davis and Trustee Judith Harrington voted to approve the bid; Roads Trustee John Russell voted not to approve. The Palmer Lake Art Group will receive one-third of the money from the sale of the property, with the rest going to the Town of Palmer Lake.
Attorney Gaddis announces retirement
Larry Gaddis announced that, after 40 years, he will retire as the town’s lawyer. Gaddis will stay until the end of the year to give the town time to find a replacement and to conduct an orderly transition. Gaddis will continue his private practice as an estate planner.
Council reviews progress of GOCO work on park
Trustee Banta told the council that the seeding work and other tasks they had approved for the Palmer Lake Regional Recreation Area in a previous meeting had not been done by the end of May as planned, due to rainy weather. Some electrical work has been completed, according to Banta. Banta commented that the GOCO project team was providing more information about its progress, and he proposed extending the deadline for the tasks the council had approved until the end of the year. Trustees Davis and Russell argued that the GOCO project team should send a representative to council meetings to report on its progress. A motion to extend the deadline until the end of 2015 passed, with Kuehster, Banta, and Harrington voting in favor, and Davis and Russell voting no.
Trustee Russell details plans for road work
In his report, Trustee Russell discussed three road projects planned for the summer. The first is a repaving effort on Glenway Street at Highway 105, adjacent to the Speed Trap Café, that will run new paving west from Highway 105. The second is at Westward Lane at Highway 105. The third, and largest, repaving effort is at Greeley Boulevard. The three projects together will cost $96,900, and thus will require $75,000 from the 2015 budget for capital improvement of roads, plus funds carried over from the 2014 budget that were allocated for the same purpose. Martin Marietta Asphalt will do the work. The council voted unanimously to approve these three projects.
Council approves business license
Kris and Dennise Wilson requested a business license for Chop Ware Inc. Chop Ware manufactures and sells ChopStir, a kitchen device that helps cooks ground meat. Manufacturing and shipping are done from a location in Colorado Springs. The council voted unanimously to approve the business license.
The meeting adjourned at 6:42 p.m.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. July 9 at 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Larry Oliver
The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) was formed in June 2000 to facilitate communication and interaction among the homeowners associations (HOAs) and residential areas, not yet incorporated as an HOA, within Northern El Paso County. NEPCO exchanges ideas on topics of common interest and develops collective responses to the county and the Town of Monument on issues affecting its members’ quality of life.
An important part of NEPCO’s purpose is to serve as an area-wide point of contact for interaction with various levels of government and others regarding land use and transportation matters. NEPCO addresses these matters through its land use and transportation committees, each of which are focused on activities within the NEPCO geographic area.
NEPCO’s Land Use Committee conducts in-depth reviews of county planning proposals, by working closely with the El Paso County Planning Department and the Town of Monument Planning Department. Committee members review and comment on sketch plans, preliminary plans, and rezoning requests. The most recent committee status report included:
NEPCO’s Transportation Committee serves as an area-wide point of contact for interaction with the county engineer, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA), and the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA). Its most recent committee status report included:
• Baptist Road West Project
• Old SH 105 Project
• Gleneagle Pedestrian Improvements
NEPCO holds general membership meetings every other month. During the two-hour sessions, each committee chairman presents their comprehensive status report (as mentioned above). Meetings also include an informative program presented by a guest speaker, designed to be helpful to NEPCO members. Just a few program examples include:
• An HOA attorney speaking on Covenant Enforcement, HOA Governing Documents, Architectural Control, and legal issues including Colorado State legislative impacts on HOAs
• The District 1 county commissioner speaking on County Issues, Budgets, Transportation, and other items of concern to Homeowners
• An insurance agent speaking on Insurance for Non-profits, and HOAs
• The El Paso County director of planning speaking on the County Planning Process, Zoning, Development, and Water and Roads
• The El Paso County sheriff speaking on Safety Issues in Northern El Paso County
Additional information, including contact information, can be found on the NEPCO website, www.NEPCO.org. All HOAs and residential areas not yet incorporated as an HOA within the NEPCO geographic area are welcome and encouraged to join.
By Jackie Burhans
Highlights of the June 24 Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) meeting included:
• All fireworks are prohibited in Woodmoor. A mandatory fine of $500 will be imposed on those shooting illegal airborne fireworks. Despite recent rains, wildfire risk is a concern due to heavy fuel loads.
• WIA placed an ad for a new homeowners association manager on the Community Associations Institute website. So far there has been one applicant. WIA expects to interview that candidate and make a decision soon.
• Chipping Day will be July 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, 1776 Woodmoor Dr., in the south parking lot. Cost is $10 a load. They will accept organic materials only: large diameter logs, mountain pine beetle wood, pine needles, and firewood. (No metal, nails, concrete, lumber, stumps, construction debris or trash). Call 488-2693 ext. 2, or write to email@example.com.
• Any residents who do minor miscellaneous projects without filling out the proper free paperwork will be charged a non-compliance administrative fee of $50.
The next WIA meeting is scheduled for July 22 at 7 p.m. in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. Call 488-2693 with questions.
Jackie Burhans can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
June was much wetter than normal, continuing the trend from the record rainfall amounts in May. Temperatures were right about average, with highs cooler than normal, but overnight lows warmer than normal. We did not reach the 90-degree mark during the month, but came close on the first day of summer.
The first few days of the month were a little warmer than normal and for the most part dry. We did see some brief thunderstorms during the afternoon. The next three days were mild, with 70s and low 80s. A brief thunderstorm dropped a couple hundredths of an inch of rain during the afternoon of the 4th. But the real "fun" was just to our east. Areas over Elbert and northeastern El Paso County saw severe weather, with large hail and tornadoes, the most severe of which occurred near Simla. This was associated with a cool front and moist air mass moving into the region. This set the stage for heavy rain and thunderstorms to become more widespread over the next couple days.
Temperatures cooled to the upper 60s and low 70s from the 5th through the 7th. Each day saw thunderstorms, heavy rain, and brief hail. For most of us, 1-2 inches of rainfall accumulated during the period. From the 8th through the 9th, a brief break in the active weather arrived. Both days were dry and temperatures jumped into the upper 70s. Of course, this didn’t last long, with more moisture and active weather returning from the 10th through the 12th. Again, 1-2 inches of rain accumulated in most areas over this three-day period, with temperatures in the mid-60s to the low 70s. After a dry day on the 14th, another uptick in moisture and rainfall activity returned from the 15th through the 18th. This time, the heaviest rain was farther south, with parts of southern Colorado Springs and the Fort Carson area receiving several inches of heavy rain in a short time on the 16th.
Finally, a warm up with dry weather moved in for a few days from the 19th through the 22nd. This brought a feel of summer to the region and allowed us to dry out a little. High temperatures finally reached into the mid and upper 80s, maxing out at 89°F on the 21st.
Typical early summer conditions were then common over the next few days, with quiet mornings giving way to afternoon thunderstorms from the 22nd through the 25th. Some of the storms dropped brief heavy rainfall, but nothing unusual. Highs were in the upper 70s on the 22nd, then mid-80s on the 23rd and 24th, and back to the 70s on the 25th.
This "normal" pattern continued through the end of the month, with daily rounds of thunderstorms and brief rain showers. Temperatures remained slight cooler than normal, with 70s each afternoon.
A look ahead
July can be an active weather month around the region as the Southwest monsoon season gets going. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and when they are able to tap into higher levels of moisture, flash flooding can result. Hot, stagnant weather can also take hold for a few days at time, with highs hitting well into the 90s.
June 2015 Weather Statistics
Average High 76.3° (-1.1°) 100-year return frequency value max 82.5° min 66.3°
Average Low 50.0° (+5.6°) 100-year return frequency value max 50.7° min 40.2°
Highest Temperature 89°F on the 21st
Lowest Temperature 42°F on the 7th, 8th
Monthly Precipitation 3.07" (+1.22" 40% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.1" 100% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 116.5" (-6.2" 5% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 33.44" (+13.27" 40% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 88 (-60)
Cooling Degree Days 35 (+7)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Guidelines for letters to the editor are found at ocn.me/letters_guidelines.htm.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer
Thanks to helpful firefighters
The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) went beyond and above their calling to help me move a rather large swing set to my home. I got it at a garage sale in Red Rocks Ranch where a lady was giving it away for free. I knew my kids would love it! So I just had to have it! A few of my friends and I tried to move it but it was too big and heavy. The PLVFD drove by and helped. I live right up the street from the Fire Department and within five minutes of being home, trying to figure out how I was going to get this off a trailer and put together, then there they were. They got if off a trailer, put it together and fixed parts that were broken—then proceeded to play with my very happy kids. Watching a community come and help with such a simple task really touched my heart. I love this town, I love this community, and I am so thankful for all their help that day and everyday.
Thank you for help catching thief
What makes a good community a great community? Having been the victim of a theft at the Tri-Lakes YMCA recently, I experienced what makes our community a really great community. Within minutes of the theft, the thief charged several hundred dollars at Walmart and Conoco with my Discover card and attempted to withdraw from my savings account and cash a personal check at ENT Credit Union using my military ID. This is where quick action led to the arrest of the thief by the Monument Police Department, two weeks later.
The arrest occurred as a result of diligent observation and fact finding based on detailed descriptions and time frames shared by managers and staff at Walmart, ENT, Discover Card, the YMCA and my police report. Even though a significant portion of the stolen items were not recovered, it was very gratifying hearing of the arrest of this person which could only happen when all involved parties worked together.
I cannot thank enough: Destiney and Cindy at ENT for identifying a possible fraudulent transaction and notifying me immediately, Heather and staff at the YMCA, Walmart for their surveillance systems, and Discover Card for their cooperation in identifying time frames etc. Special thanks go to the Monument Police Department for their investigative work which led to their arresting the thief while she was attempting to repeat another theft. This is what makes the Tri-Lakes community a great community seeing all parties working together to a common goal.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
It’s summertime, and the reading is easy. Why not take a look at some packable paperbacks for the airplane, the beach, or the backyard hammock?
By Ruth Reichl (Random House) $16
Billie Breslin travels across the country from California to New York to take a job at Delicious, the city’s most iconic food magazine. When an unexpected turn of events leads Billie to the discovery of a hidden room in the magazine’s library, she finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky 12-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history and inspire her to come to terms with her fears and her ability to open her heart to love.
A Man Called Ove
By Fredrik Backman (Simon & Schuster) $16
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. People think him bitter, and he thinks himself surrounded by idiots. Ove’s well-ordered, solitary world gets a shakeup with the appearance of new neighbors, a chatty young couple and their two boisterous daughters. What follows is a heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unlikely friendships, and a community’s unexpected reassessment of the one person they thought they had all figured out. Backman’s story is an uplifting exploration of the unreliability of first impressions and a gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it is shared with other people.
The Glass Kitchen
By Linda Francis Lee (St. Martin’s Griffin) $15.99
Portia Cuthcart always intended to run The Glass Kitchen restaurant she inherited from her grandmother, but a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy force her to leave Texas to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan. Soon, she finds herself back in a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. Portia discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love and the power of forgiveness and accept the complications of what it means to be family.
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons
By Sam Kean (Little Brown & Co.) $17
After patients suffered strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, and horrendous accidents, scientists were amazed at the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed. Parents suddenly didn’t recognize their children. Some people couldn’t speak but could still sing. With lucidity and razor-sharp wit, Kean unearths the stories behind such neurological curiosities as phantom limbs, viruses that eat patients’ memories and blind people who see with their tongues. He illuminates the brain’s secret passageways as he tells tales of ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible.
Close Your Eyes and Hold Hands
By Chris Bohjalian (Random House) $15.95
Emily Shepard is on the run. The nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown and all fingers point to him. Now orphaned, homeless, and certain that she’s a pariah, Emily hides out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vt., creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When she meets Cameron, a 9-year-old with a string of foster families behind him, she protects him with a fierceness she didn’t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she’s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.
All Fall Down
By Jennifer Weiner (Simon & Schuster) $16
Allison Weiss’s husband has been sleeping in the guest bedroom. Her 5-year-old daughter is having meltdowns. Her father’s early Alzheimer’s has him thinking that Allison is still in college, while her once-distant mother cannot stop calling for help. Her big suburban house sits unfurnished, and the stress from her dream job is unbearable. When she happens upon a magazine article about addiction, she wonders if her use of prescription drugs is becoming an issue. With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, Weiner turns one woman’s slide into addiction and her struggle to find her way back up into an unforgettable tale of empowerment and redemption.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures Bookstore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The library’s Summer Reading programs are in full swing. At the Monument Library, 111 babies, 1,331 kids, and 544 teens are now participating by reading and collecting prizes. Many thanks go to our teen volunteers for their help in registering and rewarding participants and helping with other tasks during this busy time.
The program continues through July, so there’s plenty of time to sign up and participate! All reading since June 1 counts toward your goal. Sign up on line or at any library.
Special programs are set for the first three Tuesdays of July at 10:30. The first, on the 7th, is Tall Tale Heroes. July 14 meet Kathy’s Kritters, a selection of reptiles, hedgehogs, and other critters. July 21 will be a puppet show.
For kids 7 and older, there will be a program July 6 on Optical Illusions. On July 13 will be a program on forensics for kids: solve a mystery using science and forensic techniques. Both programs begin at 2:30.
Every Thursday at 2:30 will be stories and crafts for ages 5 and older. On July 2 make super hero finger puppets and masks. July 9, come and imagine what kind of hero you could be. July 16 will be a craft involving a crocodilian and July 23 will revolve around Reading Super Stars.
Learn to play chess! On Mondays and Wednesdays between July 1 and 22, all ages and skill levels are welcome from 4 to 5:30 to learn how to play chess. Our teen volunteer will teach a lesson at the beginning of the session and then match players for games.
The Legos Club will meet from 10 to 11:30 on July 18. You bring your imagination and we supply the Legos. All pieces remain the property of the library. All ages are welcome.
Teens are invited to a Superhero After Hours Movie Night on Friday, July 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. Bring a friend and watch a superhero movie with us on the big screen. There will be food, drink and superhero trivia.
Wednesday, July 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. join local historian Jim Sawatzki for a free walking tour in Palmer Lake and around the Glen Park Chautauqua Grounds. Meet at the Palmer Lake Village Green gazebo. Registration is required. Call Jim at 481-3963.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, July 17 to discuss Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
The Tri-Lakes Crafters will meet on July 3 and 24 from 1 to 3. Bring your own knitting or other project and enjoy the company of like-minded crafters.
Palmer Lake Library events
The special summer reading programs in Palmer Lake will take place at 10:30 on Wednesdays. July 1 will be a Super Villain Boot Camp. July 8 is Super Hero Training Camp. July 15 is a visit from Kathy’s Kritters, July 22 is Tall Tales, and July 29 will be a Craft Extravaganza.
The Palmer Lake Book Group will meet at 9 on Friday, July 10 to discuss We Are Water by Wally Lamb. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book club.
Come one, come all to the Summer Reading Party
The grand finale to the summer reading program will be a fun party on the Palmer Lake Village Green on Tuesday, July 28 from 10 to noon. Bring the whole family! There will be snacks, games, and activities for all ages.
All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed on Saturday, July 4.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Al Walter
On June 18, local railroad enthusiast Mel McFarland educated and entertained over 60 history buffs at Palmer Lake Town Hall with stories and pictures of trains that plied Ute Pass from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. McFarland focused on the Colorado Midland Railroad, which operated between Colorado Springs and Divide. Using old photographs, McFarland took the audience on a historic ride up the Pass—pausing at each town and tourist hotel to describe the impact of the railroad on local communities. Highlights included the towns of Manitou Springs, Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, Woodland Park, and Divide.
On June 21, the Palmer Lake Historical Society sponsored its annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Although the event is to honor dads, it seems the kids had the most fun, eating ice cream and pie provided free by the Historical Society and frolicking on the Village Green to the toe-tapping bluegrass tunes played by the music group Fox Run. The Historical Society is grateful to the Rock House in Palmer Lake for donating the delicious ice cream and to the Village Inn in Monument for its donation of fabulous pies. Over 200 people enjoyed the food, music, and wonderful Palmer Lake weather.
The Historical Society has several upcoming events promoting local and Colorado history. On July 16, at 7 p.m. at Palmer Lake Town Hall, retired Navy Officer Dick Cooper will discuss the history of the four U.S. Navy ships named for the State of Colorado. These range from an 1800s sailing ship to a modern-day advanced nuclear-powered submarine. This free program is part of the History Series sponsored by the Historical Society on the third Thursday of each month that brings local researchers and historians to Palmer Lake to discuss topics involving regional, Colorado, and national history.
On July 18, the Historical Society presents its Seventh Annual Colorado Springs Native American Powwow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Mortgage Solutions Financial (formerly Freedom Financial Services) EXPO Center at 3650 N. Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs. Enjoy Native dancers, singers, arts and crafts, food (Indian tacos and fry bread—yum!), a live wolf exhibit, birds of prey, an Indian lodge, and children’s activities. Highlights include attendance by members of the WWII Navajo Code Talkers and demonstrations by Aztec Dancers. Admission is $4, with children 12 and under free. Over 3,000 people attended this family-friendly event last year. Please bring a nonperishable food donation to feed the hungry. For more information, visit www.palmerdividehistory.org or call 719-559-0525.
Finally, we are planning the annual Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua to Palmer Lake on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall. We plan to return briefly to the 1890s by presenting old-time music, re-enactors of famous historical figures, an Ice Cream Social sponsored by the Pikes Peak Library District and the Historical Society, the Legendary Ladies portraying famous Colorado women, bus tours of The Glen, and other history-related activities. The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department will fire up the grill to sell hotdogs, chips, and drinks to raise funds to support the firefighters. Bring the whole family to this free event and experience local history up close and personal!
For membership and program information, visit our website: www.palmerdividehistory.org.
Let’s talk about HANG tomatoes
By Janet Sellers
Biodynamic farming takes a holistic approach to agriculture. This type of farming is best described as a give and take. Instead of just constantly taking from the land, biodynamic operations also give back, allowing nature to thrive. The Biodynamic Association describes this approach as a "spiritual-ethical-ecological" way of farming.
Chemicals aren’t welcome on biodynamic farms—instead manures and composts fertilize the soil. Farmers look to the stars to help them know when to sow and plant, and animals, crops, and soil are all treated as a single system.
In June, the Tri-Lakes Gardening Community invited three local gardeners as speakers to share their expertise on high altitude tomato crops. Yep, it is possible. Yep, it takes special care. Yep, the majority of success is with a greenhouse or other accommodation to create the warm nights and warm conditions so tomatoes will grow, fruit, and actually ripen.
Leah Squires shared her tomato starting and growing system of starting seedlings in the small six-pack pots indoors, then later moving them to a 6-inch pot for her greenhouse garden bed where they sometimes grow 6-8 feet tall with plenty of tomatoes. Squires sows seeds in a dedicated seed medium, and she saves heirloom seeds. Her handy hint for tomato success focused on timely sowing and repotting, and adding calcium to the soils.
Sue Rattigan had a handy hint to smear ripe heirloom tomatoes onto a paper towel on the kitchen counter, then let dry, fold up neatly and label the whole thing. Then, the next year, tear off a scrap with five seeds or so and plant them just like that, paper towel scrap and all. Rattigan’s indoor seedling setup for success includes grow lights, which she said are fairly expensive to use but provide protected indoor growing time, and she has 3-foot plants to put out in spring. She starts with small paper cups and graduates to a 5 gallon bucket prepped with bottom and side holes, soil and the plants, and then puts the whole bucket into the ground in a sunny area. Worms move in and out of bucket through the soils, as do roots. If a frost comes, she can grab the buckets and take them indoors, then put the tomato bucket outdoors on an OK day. Rattigan harvests hundreds of pounds of tomatoes with this system, and is most fond of heirloom tomatoes from seed.
Fred McGuire shared that he just goes out and gets plants, or buys them, and does not plant the seedlings himself. His raised bed for the tomatoes is 6 inches deep. McGuire plants the tomatoes in the raised bed with a tomato cage to support the crop, and uses clear trash bags over the tomato cage for a mini-greenhouse until the days and nights are warm enough for the plants to grow and set fruit. McGuire’s secret is to plant the tomatoes deep, with 12-15 inches of soil covering the stalk. He does this to create more roots and a sturdier plant stalk to hold all the tomatoes. Tomato plants can grow from merely putting a portion of the stalk into healthy soil or mature compost. The tomatoes will root from the stalk alone or a leaf embedded in the soil with only the top half of the leaf exposed. McGuire likes the Early Girl tomato plant, which takes only 50 days to harvest the fruits.
Phyllis Head shared at the roundtable discussion that she used an organic brand of soil supplement, which got her 60-75 pounds of tomatoes from one bush last year. It has the added important minerals calcium and magnesium. These minerals are the micronutrients the heavy feeding tomatoes need most. They help build cell walls throughout the plant and increase plant vigor. These nutrients aid plants in their conversion of carbon dioxide and soil nutrients to energy in the form of sugars and starches in the leaves and stimulate soil microorganisms. The microbes in turn help keep plants nourished and healthy.
One guest to the event brought in her HANG tomato solution as a tomato tower from a 5-gallon bucket. She puts a colander mound side up in the bottom of the bucket, adds a water tube, and uses a leak hole about 5 inches above the base to keep from overwatering, then fills the whole bucket with soil and tomato plant. The system is self-watering and only filled with water to the leak hole. She reports little watering is needed all season, and that she maybe watered the tomato bucket four times last summer. The portable bucket can be easily brought indoors if cold or harsh weather threatens, then goes back outside to protected spots with warm days.
Some of the gardeners use crushed eggshells in their soil to add calcium, and Epsom salts for magnesium to promote growth and sturdy plants. All of the speakers there have found ways to create healthy, safe/nontoxic soils and plants that resist bugs and disease because no poisons are used. Poisons weaken the plants and of course are dangerous to us as well as the bugs!
Many local gardeners and small farmers have been working hard to educate our community about safe ways to handle gardening issues of weeds and pests. The threat of losing pollinators such as butterflies and bees is real and imposing on our lives. We won’t have gardens or crops without them, and we won’t eat without crops! And there’s more to that issue of safety versus harm. The threat of toxic noxious weeds in our area is also real and imposing on our lives.
Unfortunately, one safe weed that gets targeted with poison herbicide—but we in turn get poisoned—is the dandelion, which is actually very helpful to the soil, and the flowers are vital to pollinators as these flowers are the first in the spring food source. Removing dandelions with environmental safety is not difficult, but many municipalities turn to cheap herbicides and skip the safer removal methods.
Applying an environmentally safe, thermal electric tool works just as quickly as the poison application, and is used directly over the weed, which is "zapped" for several seconds. Heat kills the weed at the root, without chemicals that could harm surrounding soil, groundwater or plants. It does not ignite mulch, I am glad to say.
A garden event and walking tours are coming up soon in July. Join the Tri-Lakes Gardening Community’s upcoming garden talks, movies and events, dates and info posted on these Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/MonumentCommunityGarden and click the link there for the Tri-Lakes Gardening Community for details.
Janet Sellers is an avid HANG newbie, and welcomes your tips and handy hints to share with others here at our high altitude. She can be reached at: JanetSellers@OCN.me.
By Janet Sellers
The Tri-Lakes Views (TLV) art organization, a volunteer arts group, placed over a dozen new artworks for the 2015-16 public art sculpture exhibit on June 18. The outdoor artworks are on view from Palmer Lake at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts and the map locations go to the Monument Town Hall, along the Santa Fe Trail, and at the Monument Sculpture Park at Second and Jefferson Streets in Monument. TLV will soon publish a location map of the large number of public art sculptures in our area.
The TLV dedication ceremony with the artists was hosted by Jody Bliss at Bliss Studio and Gallery during the June Art Hop evening. Live music, food, and engaging conversations filled the event both outside in the gardens and indoors at the gallery. TLV President Sky Hall and Betty Konarski, both founders of the TLV, presided at the dedication, celebrating with the happy crowd after a long day of supervising the installations throughout our community.
The June Art Hop was a spectacular summer event, and we have more to come each month. Many venues had musicians playing lively music, and the whole art quarter in historic Monument was hopping with locals and visitors shopping and enjoying the free refreshments and conviviality. The area has enormous flowerpots on just about every corner, and many shops have created truly attractive and fun window flower boxes and urns filled with flowers with a glamorous flair.
That, and our public outdoor artworks, have grown nearly 50 sculptures community-wide, and are creating a place to love and bring our family and friends to enjoy our locally owned shops and eateries, a winery, a micro brewery—and I see we also have a distillery, too. Good thing we have plenty of gourmet coffees and teas available all over town!
So, I hope we all get out and enjoy this great summer weather in our community filled with art on any day we can. There is plenty of original art to see and buy to take home. Please visit and share our wonderful art venues with your friends and family. Local art makes a great gift and a great memory of happy times together. When you look at your art from our Tri-Lakes community, you can warmly think of your happy memories again and again.
July art special events
July Art Hop is 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, in Historic Monument between Second and Third Streets. Come early if you can while the best artworks are still available. Many venues invite guest artists for just the Art Hop time. You won’t want to miss out on the paintings, jewelry and functional art pieces—they might just get sold and walk out the door with their new owner. Over 20 venues, and pick up a map at local shops. By the way, many venues have art for sale all the time!
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery will have its annual Summer Art Show—of course with artworks for sale—Aug. 1 and 2. This spacious exhibition space showcases paintings, sculpture, glass art, ceramics, jewelry, and more and is located at the northeast corner of Roller Coaster and Baptist Roads. Please contact the gallery for details: (719) 481-6157.
The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) recently announced a Call for Artists to participate in a juried exhibition in fine woodworking. Artists are invited to submit their fine art in wood for consideration. Wooden wall art is encouraged for this year’s show. Entry deadline is Aug. 1. Details: TLCA (719) 481-0475, 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Caption: On June 18, artist Victoria Patti attends the installation of her sculpture Princess Ayers, (a Catrina Lady Calavera in the manner of Mexican satirical imagery), for the 2015-16 Tri-Lakes Views (TLV) public art exhibition. The sculpture is located in front of Tri-Lakes Center of the Arts. Photo courtesy Sky Hall of TLV.
Caption: Artist Harold Linke attended the Tri-Lakes Views 2015-16 installation of his sculpture Aura at the Monument Sculpture Park June 18, on Second Street in Monument. A dedication ceremony was held at the Art Hop night in Monument at Bliss Studio and Gallery that evening with the artists and art lovers in attendance. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is a local artist and art teacher. Her art and sculptures are on exhibit locally and all over Colorado. Sellers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MVEA linemen offer members rides
Above: At the 74th annual meeting of members of Mountain View Electric Association, MVEA linemen offered co-op members rides in the bucket truck used for line maintenance on overhead "energized" lines. The bucket is 55 feet high when fully extended and is strong enough to lift electric lines that weigh about one pound for every foot of line, said Claud Hugley, Operations manager, who is retiring this year after 42 years of service. Photo by Lisa Hatfield
Bricks4Kidz at WMMI
Caption: Through the end of July, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry is partnering with Bricks4Kidz to bring weeklong Lego-based camps to the museum. From left, Gray Cullen, Matt Cullen, Jaden Cotton, and Quinten Luttrell show off some of the projects they and their fellow campers made at the Bricks4Kidz Mining & Crafting camp at the museum. Among the camp themes guided by Bricks4Kidz staff is Mining & Crafting, Superhero Academy and Remote Control Mania. The format of the camps enables educational play through the building of models and kits. Information on events and upcoming Bricks4Kidz camps at the museum is at www.wmmi.org (see calendar of events). Photo by David Futey.
Firefighters in July 4 parade
Caption: Firefighters received cheers during the 2014 parade.
This year, Monument Hill Kiwanis, the Town of Monument, and the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce present "A New Birth of Freedom" on Independence Day, July 4th. See page 27 for details on this year’s festivities.
Integrity Bank donates $5,000 to Monument Hill Kiwanis
Caption: Integrity Bank and Trust President Jim Wyss (on the left in the photo) presented a $5,000 check to R.F. Smith, 4th of July Parade Director with Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, at the club meeting May 30. In addition, Integrity Bank will provide its Colorado Springs-area employees to staff high school parking lots for parade spectator parking. Brad Crabtree and Nikki Wetzel of Integrity Bank contributed significantly to the planning of the parade. Monument Hill Kiwanis is a community service organization that helps the youths in the Tri-Lakes community and performs various community service projects. The parade is conducted as a nonprofit operation, and its success is due in a large part to the generous contributions of Integrity Bank.
WMMI hosts gem and mineral show, June 5
By David Futey
The Western Museum of Mining & Industry co-hosted the 51st Pikes Peak Gem and Mineral Show with the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society on June 5 to 7. The event attracted over 1,700 visitors who were presented with an array of activities. The activities included gold panning, viewing the operation of the museum’s stamp mill and various steam engines, interacting with the museum’s burros, browsing the many vendor booths looking for that special mineral or piece of jewelry, and enjoying delicious offerings from food vendors. Information on upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org.
David Futey can be reached at email@example.com.
Caption: Gold Prospectors of Colorado member Don Bray demonstrates the technique of gold panning to visitors of the Pikes Peak Gem and Mineral Show. Photo by David Futey.
Caption: Western Museum of Mining & Industry volunteer Steve Berry operates the 1910 Osgood steam shovel. During its operational days, the shovel was used to mine hematite, an iron ore, in Wyoming. The museum operates the shovel on compressed air. Berry also operated an H.K. Porter trammer for visitors of the gem show. Photo by David Futey.
Kids Fishing Derby, June 6
Caption: From left, Alexis Olmstead, Faylyn Brueken, and Victor Spalloni, Key Club members at Palmer Ridge High School, helped as volunteer official observers for the Kids Fishing Derby on June 6 at Monument Lake. They recorded the caught fish sizes and weights to help determine the winners in each category of: ugliest fish, heaviest fish, and longest fish. Over 200 kids participated in the annual event, at which the Department of Fish and Wildlife gave out rods, reels, and bait and educated everyone on fishing skills, nature and wildlife etiquette, and the all important bug biology for successful fishing. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Monument Movie Nights
Caption: Young and old alike joined together for the Town of Monument’s Movie Night Series, presented by Colorado Springs Health Partners at the Jackson Creek Marketplace Clock Tower. June 4 was Back to the Future; June 11 showing was to be E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial, presented by 1st Bank, but was cancelled due to nasty thunderstorms; and June 18 was The Wizard of Oz presented by Springs Pediatric Dental Care and Clinton Callahan, DMD. Sponsors of the movie nights: Colorado Springs Health Partners; 1st Bank; Springs Pediatric Dental Care, Clinton Callahan, DMD; U.S. Taekwondo Center; Borriello Brothers Real New York Pizza; It’s A Grind Coffee House; "R" Rock Yard; Christian Brothers Automotive Monument; Walmart; Cruisers Haircuts for Men. Original caption by Madeline VanDenHoek, Community Relations specialist, Town of Monument. Revised caption by Audrey Burkart. Photo by Audrey Burkart.
Black Forest shreds, June 13
A free shredding opportunity on June 13 took place at the Black Forest Lutheran Church. Taking advantage of the shredding opportunity were 419 individuals from over 30 central Colorado ZIP codes. A total of about 9,500 pounds of obsolete or unneeded personal documents were professionally and safely shredded during the three-hour shredding period. All of the paper will be recycled. Another 900 pounds of cardboard containers that individuals brought their documents in will also be recycled. Those who responded with items to be shredded graciously donated a total of 867 pounds of non-perishable food and $696 to a community food bank, Black Forest Cares. Many who brought items to shred lingered for coffee and pastries or to chat with the volunteer staff.
Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car Show, June 14
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Cruisers held its 14th Annual Benefit Car Show on June 14. Proceeds benefited Tri-Lakes Cares. Countless cars of all sorts—sports cars, muscle cars, antique models, trucks old and new—were shown off by their owners for the public to view and admire. Pictured above, Mie Darweed, left, and Grace Thompson learn to wax a fine Plymouth Road Runner. Activities included food vendors, door prizes, music, falcon shows, and, of course, admiring the wide variety of fine vehicles. Photo by Audrey Burkart.
Caption: Many of the shredding event volunteers pose with the Mobile Record Shredder truck operators at the end of a successful day of community service in Black Forest. Photo courtesy of Black Forest AARP.
Caption: After dropping of the material to be shredded, most vehicles stopped by to drop off a donation for Black Forest Cares before proceeding on to sample some free coffee and pastries or to chat briefly. Photo courtesy of Black Forest AARP.
Caption: A free shredding opportunity on June 13 took place at the Black Forest Lutheran Church. Taking advantage of the shredding opportunity were 419 individuals from over 30 central Colorado ZIP codes. A total of about 9,500 pounds of obsolete or unneeded personal documents were professionally and safely shredded during the three-hour shredding period. All of the paper will be recycled. Another 900 pounds of cardboard containers that individuals brought their documents in will also be recycled. Those who responded with items to be shredded graciously donated a total of 867 pounds of non-perishable food and $696 to a community food bank, Black Forest Cares. Many who brought items to shred lingered for coffee and pastries or to chat with the volunteer staff. Photo Courtesy of Black Forest AARP.
Tri-Lakes Lions Club golf tournament, June 18
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Lions Club held a fundraiser golf tournament June 18 at Monument Hill Country Club. Tri-Lakes Lions Club President David Prejean, left, is shown here with the winners of the tournament. This year marks the second annual golf tournament that the Lions Club has held at the Monument Hill Country Club in Monument. The net proceeds of this tournament will be used in the form of a monetary donation to the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank. Throughout the course, a variety of philanthropic activities and some just for fun were held at the tee boxes, such as a marshmallow chip shot to a bucket on the 10th tee sponsored by Farmers Insurance. Photo by Kathy Rauenhorst Swango. Caption by Janet Sellers.
The Tri-Lakes area is composed of many interleaved layers of jurisdiction and taxation. The well-informed resident should be able to identify which (if any) municipality, metropolitan district, water and sanitation district, fire protection district, school district, and homeowners association collects taxes and fees and provides services to their home. Our Community News invites you, our esteemed readers, to investigate this for yourselves using these maps and the lists on page 5. Send us your resulting feedback to enter a drawing to win a prize. See our website at www.ocn.me for color, digital copies of these maps and more. For even more background, see www.ocn.me/v1n7.htm#taxes and www.ocn.me/v1n8.htm#beggs, and read every issue of OCN to find out more about the government entities were you live. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, CO, 80132-1742 with your feedback to be entered in contest.
INCORPORATED AREAS—This map shows "incorporated areas"; any property outside Monument, Palmer Lake, and Colorado Springs is in unincorporated El Paso County.
METRO DISTRICT—This map shows "metropolitan districts," which are special districts that provide more than two services. (e.g. residents of the Jackson Creek area receive most of their services not from the Town of Monument but from the Triview Metropolitan District: water; sewer; drainage; parks, recreation, and open space; mosquito abatement; and street maintenance.)
SANITATION/WATER DISTRICTS—This map shows water and sanitation districts in the Tri-Lakes area.
The maps are available at http://ocn.me/maps.htm.
Maps courtesy of El Paso County Assessor’s Office
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.
Wednesday Senior Lunch at Big Red
July 1: No lunch (Happy Independence Day)
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.
County needs volunteers, apply by July 3
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on either the Citizen Outreach Group or on the Community Services Block Grant Advisory Board. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
Fireworks and burn ban information from Sheriff’s office
Unlawful fireworks include bottle rockets, firecrackers of any type, mortars, and Roman candles.
Permissible fireworks include fountains, ground spinners, smoke bombs, sparklers, and small cars/tanks with pyrotechnics.
There are currently no fire restrictions in effect but be aware these can change from day-to-day and it is your responsibility to keep abreast of these changing conditions.
Black Forest Together (BFT) needs volunteers, July 11
BFT is searching for team leads, work team members, volunteer work groups, resource center office volunteers, and donations so that they can help residents of burned areas of Black Forest do cleanup and mitigation of their properties. Clearing slash, chipping trees, debris cleanup, reforestation, and erosion control are some of the tasks needed on a weekly basis for hundreds of projects. The next project is July 11: Volunteers are needed to drag branches to the chipper. For more information, please contact Donna, 495-2445, BlackForestTogether@gmail.com, or come by the Resource Center at 11590 Black Forest Rd., Suite 30, in the Forest Plaza Center Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
New men’s a cappella singing group forming
Singers are wanted for a unique men’s singing group that will feature close harmony, a cappella singing, somewhat in the style of the Four Freshmen and Vocal Majority. For more information, call John Hobson at 368-7833.
Volunteer drivers needed for cancer patients
Help transport cancer patients to and from medical treatments. The American Cancer Society provides free rides through its Road to Recovery program. For information about the Road to Recovery program or to volunteer, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Slash-Mulch season is here
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch season is here! Slash (tree and brush debris only) will be accepted until Sept. 13, $2 per load. Mulch will be available until Sept. 26. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. Your first visit of the season requires an information card available at www.bfslash.org. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024; or El Paso County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Monument Academy Summer Day Camps through Aug. 7
Separate themed weeks are planned for children in grades K-6, through Aug. 7. Sign up for full daycare, morning camps, or just the field trips. For more information, contact 481-1950, email@example.com, www.monumentacademy.net.
Monument Hill Country Club 3 Sport All Day Summer Camps
For ages 7-13: Golf, Swim, Tennis, Bingo. Session 2, July 6-10; Session 3, July 20-24; Session 4, Aug. 3-7. Cost: $210 members, $250 non-members. Sign up with Keegan, Keegan@monumenthillcc.com. Information: www.monumenthillcc.com, under Events.
Tri-Lakes Y Summer Sports Camps
Register now for camps for ages 6-14, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Half-day camps also available. Soccer, July 6-10; Basketball, July 13-17; Volleyball, July 20-24. Cost: $132 members, $164 non-members. Financial assistance available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. Information: 481-8728.
Register for fall sports at Tri-Lakes Y
Register through Aug. 4 for soccer, ages 3-14; flag football, ages 6-14; volleyball, grades 1-8. Practices begin the week of Aug. 17. Financial assistance available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. Information: 481-8728.
St. Peter Catholic School enrolling for preschool-eighth grade, 2015-16
The school offers full and half-day preschool, academics, athletics, and more. NCA accredited, state licensed, financial aid available. Call or visit: 124 First St. Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Bustang begins July 13, Park-n-Ride improvements on the way
Bustang, the new interregional express bus service from the Colorado Department of Transportation, will deliver its first passengers to Denver’s Union Station starting Monday morning, July 13. Along I-25, there will be seven round trips per day, Monday through Friday, from Colorado Springs to Denver, with a stop at I-25/Monument Park-and-Ride. Each coach is equipped with restrooms, bike racks, free WiFi, power outlets and USB ports. Coaches offer a 50-passenger capacity and are handicap accessible. Improvements will be made at the four park-n-rides, including Monument. Work consists of new asphalt paving, lighting, striping, signing, and new shelters equipped with lighting and infrared heating units. For more information, visit www.codot.gov/travel/bustang.
New help for Black Forest businesses affected by 2013 fire/flood, apply by July 31
The Recover Colorado Business Grant and Loan program has received a second round of funding to meet needs that were not addressed through other sources of public and private assistance (such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration). The application deadline is July 31. If business owners did not qualify for earlier help from this program, they may qualify now.
For information about important changes in the second round, and to apply online, visit http://dola.colorado.gov/cdbg-dr/content/recover-colorado-business-grant-and-loan-program, or contact Liz Hershberger at 667-3803, 667-3812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers and sponsors needed for charity event
Sundance Mountain Athletic Center and Blue Wave Taekwondo Academy are looking for volunteers to help organize their first-ever winter SMAC Down Dodgeball tournament to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Come have fun and help a wonderful cause. For more information, contact Master Nic, 776-9169, email@example.com.
Host a teenage Spanish student
Become a Host Family for only one month this summer. Family will receive $150 per week to support activities. Students arrive through July 26. Call 481-4412 for details or visit www.xploreUSA.org.
Exchange student host families needed for 2015-16 school year
Welcome a new culture into your home and provide a life-changing experience for a teenager from another country. EF (Education First) High School Exchange Year program offers exceptional and financially secure exchange students. Contact local exchange coordinators Sheryl and Dave Ellis, 208-9739 or sheryl.ellis@EFexchangeyear.org. For more information about the program, visit www.EFexchangeyear.org.
Become a CASA volunteer
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.
Colorado Master Gardener help desk open
Colorado Master Gardener volunteers (CMGs) help residents save time and money by providing research-based solutions to landscape and gardening problems. The help desk hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings 9 a.m. to noon. You can call and leave a message any time at 520-7684. Photos are often very helpful and can be attached to an email and sent to: CSUmg2@elpasoco.com. For online help, visit https://ask.extension.org.
HAP needs volunteers
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that serves and supports seniors in our community. HAP currently needs volunteers, three hours a week; and active board members, eight to 10 hours a month. For more information, call HAP board president, Dave Betzler, at 205-7651.
Donate live trees for Black Forest burn area
If you are doing wildfire mitigation, you might have good live trees to donate to Black Forest burned-out areas. The Black Forest Together (BFT) Tree Donor Program is accepting live trees to be either transplanted in the Black Forest burn area or sold to support the cost of this program. Trees up to 12 inches in diameter (or up to 38 inches around) are ideal. The size of trees is measured at ground level. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Academy North Gate bridge work
Two bridges outside the U.S. Air Force Academy’s North Gate will be under repair through August. 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.
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 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.
Free senior transportation & safety services
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. Call 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.
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 www.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 MCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
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 email@example.com.
Tri-Lakes HAP Senior Center programs
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership Senior Citizens Center is next to the Lewis-Palmer High School Stadium (across from the YMCA) and is open 1-4 p.m., Tue.-Fri., and earlier for scheduled activities. The facility has a lounge, craft room, game room, and multipurpose room. Programs include bridge, 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.
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
For July 4 Events see page 27
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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