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El Paso Board of County Commissioners, Sept. 27, Oct. 6, 11 & 18:Jackson Ranch rezone approved; Soaring Hope litigation on hold
By Lisa Hatfield
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) considered several issues related to the Tri-Lakes area recently, including a rezoning request to increase the density for the new Jackson Ranch development and a list of stipulations for Soaring Hope Recovery to meet if it wants to avoid litigation for its property that is out of compliance with the El Paso County Land Development Code.
Jackson Ranch rezone approved
After a continuation from Aug. 23, the commissioners approved three land use applications regarding the Jackson Ranch development east of Roller Coaster Road, north of Higby Road, and west of Shahara Road. All three items were approved by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Darryl Glenn voted in opposition, stating he was "frustrated with both sides," saying that the developer and the adjoining neighborhood did not use the continuance between the Aug. 23 meeting and this Oct. 27 meeting to have a complete discussion. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#epbocc.
The three items approved were:
• A map amendment (rezone) for Jackson Ranch Phase 2, rezoning 60 acres of land from RR-5 (Rural Residential) to RR-2.5 (Rural Residential), with some 5-acre lots added as a buffer with Canterbury Estates.
• A preliminary plan amendment for eight parcels totaling 119 acres to include 37 dwelling units and 14.7 acres of open space.
• A final plat for Jackson Ranch Filing 2 for three parcels totaling 33.75 acres to include eight single-family lots and a 9-acre open space.
Soaring Hope given Nov. 3 deadline
On Oct. 18, Steven Klaffky, assistant county attorney, and Mark Gebhart, deputy director, Planning and Community Development, presented a request to have the BOCC authorize the county attorney to pursue litigation to bring the property at 18375 Spruce Road into compliance with the El Paso County Land Development Code, which identifies that operation of a rehabilitation facility is not an allowed use in the RR-0.5 (Residential Rural) zone district. The commissioners approved the recommendation, but put a "stay" on it until Nov. 3.
Since August 2015, neighbors have complained regarding the number of residents staying at the Soaring Hope Recovery house and the possible operation of a rehabilitation facility. (Its own website, www.soaringhoperecovery.com/, calls it "sustainable addiction recovery.")
On July 11, the Planning and Community Development director determined that the land use by Soaring Hope Recovery (formerly called Courage to Change) did not meet the definition of a group home for the handicapped or disabled persons but was instead a rehabilitation facility, requiring a Variance of Use application instead of a Special Use permit.
On or about July 12, the executive director of the Planning and Community Development Department advised the property owners that they had until Aug. 31 to appeal the determination, bring the subject property into compliance, or apply for a variance of use, but they did not comply.
A new violation file was opened Aug. 30 and a Notice of Violation issued to the operator and the landowners, John and Joan Green. No application to establish a rehabilitation facility was received as of Oct. 11.
The operator contends that they are presently functioning at the site as a group home for handicapped or disabled persons for five or fewer persons and are no longer operating as a rehabilitation facility at the property.
The Planning and Community Development Department recommended that the BOCC authorize the county attorney to pursue litigation to bring the property into compliance with the El Paso County Land Development Code. The commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the recommendation with the stipulation that the applicant would admit to the violation as a rehabilitation facility in a residential area and will curtail any rehabilitation facility uses immediately and in the future.
In exchange for the stipulation, the applicant would be allowed until Nov. 3 to file a variance of use application and meet a list of other requirements outlined by the county in this resolution, including submitting a detailed list of current uses of the property, allowing unannounced inspections, and limiting parking to the garage and driveway.
Other items unanimously approved by the commissioners:
• Oct. 6 − a variance of use application for Bajwa Roofing. The applicant, Amanreet Bajwa, is now allowed to store contractor’s equipment on the RR-5 (Residential Rural) property Washington Street, one-half mile north of Highway 105.
• Oct. 11 − a resolution to declare a default against Rivers Misty Acres LLC for breach of contract, to authorize county staff to execute on the letter of credit, and to authorize litigation, if necessary, to complete public improvements for Misty Acres Filing 3.
See http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/default.aspx for future BOCC agendas, minutes, and recordings.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 3: More recommendations on procuring renewable water
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Oct. 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, "the future of water" was the main topic of discussion, including an amendment to the water supply section of water master plan, more information about how the town hopes to deal with radium in the water, and words of experience from neighboring Donala Water and Sanitation District General Manager Kip Petersen on its connection with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). The trustees also approved two land use applications for the Jackson Creek Senior Living facility.
Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Trustee Jeff Bornstein were excused.
Water supply section of town’s water master plan amended
Engineers Will Koger and Jonathan Moore of Forsgren Associates and Public Works Director Tom Tharnish presented the trustees with an amendment to Chapter 3 of the town’s 20-year water master plan regarding the town’s water service area west of I-25. This service area has about 1,110 residential and commercial customers now and is almost entirely dependent on well water "mined" from the declining Denver Basin aquifers.
The Forsgren study estimated that demand for water could almost double in the next 20-35 years and made suggestions about the town’s water supply and its short-term, long-term, and emergency options. The trustees did not take any action on the presentation, but they did ask a lot of questions.
Note: Forsgren Associates wrote the new 20-year water master plan that was unanimously approved by the trustees in 2014. See www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#mbot-0804 and www.ocn.me/v14n10.htm#MBoT0902.
The best overall short-term options recommended by Forsgren:
• Purchase renewable water rights, such as water from rivers recharged annually by precipitation.
• Develop the town’s water reuse system, which could double the use of each molecule of water. It would allow the same water to be treated and used repeatedly after it is obtained, instead of being lost downstream after just one use when it meets the wastewater treatment standards for effluent and is discharged from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility into Monument Creek. Forsgren’s reuse plan will come before the board as a feasibility study very soon. Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) is a potential partner.
• Add additional wells as demand increases. But more wells cannot economically supply the needed volume in an emergency condition nor meet the long-term future demand due to cascading reduction in well yields.
The best overall long-term options recommended by Forsgren:
• The completion of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) regional infrastructure project, which could bring much needed storage and allow delivery of renewable water to the Monument area from Fountain Creek by "exchange of water rights" from the Arkansas River. Tri-Lakes-area PPRWA members include the Town of Palmer Lake, Town of Monument, WWSD, Triview Metropolitan District, and Donala. This proposal is separate and different from the existing Southern Delivery System (SDS).
• Keep options open with CSU and the associated SDS to possibly bring renewable water to the town. Besides the cost of purchasing water rights, there would be many other associated costs.
• Water reuse plan.
The best overall emergency connection option recommended by Forsgren, in case of leaks, malfunctions, or water contamination:
• Connect to the WWSD’s reliable potable water system.
• Triview is another feasible option to supply emergency water, since it is already connected to Donala, which is connected to SDS.
Donala’s experiences with CSU explained
Petersen shared information about Donala’s connection to the CSU pipeline. The goal was to give the trustees direct knowledge of another district’s experiences before making a decision regarding CSU or the SDS.
Petersen’s comments included:
• Donala purchased renewable water rights from the Willow Creek Ranch in Leadville for $4.5 million, plus costs for water court and engineering studies. Those rights are vital with regards to connecting with CSU.
• We must get water storage permissions from CSU, Pueblo County, and the Bureau of Reclamation which controls Pueblo Reservoir.
• We also pay extra annual water storage costs, monthly system usage fees, and water delivery charges.
• You must plan for so many contingencies in the timeline to acquire renewable water since this involves arduous federal processes that take many years.
• Proof of stormwater management also becomes a factor when connecting to other utilities.
• I would highly encourage interconnections for you. Without that, all is lost. Triview’s experience opened the community’s eyes to vulnerability from breaks or contamination.
• Donala had to pay a $225,000 bill from CSU the month we helped Triview.
• We don’t want to drill another well! They cost $1.5 million each and produce less water all the time.
• The SDS does have extra capacity now that it did not anticipate.
Note: Donala provided an emergency water connection to Triview for 111 hours in July when Triview experienced an undetected water leak that lost 20-30 million gallons. See www.ocn.me/v16n8.htm#tvmd0712, www.ocn.me/v16n8.htm#dwsd0721.
Details about radium requested
Trustee Dennis Murphy asked Tharnish to include an agenda item at a board meeting soon with an explanation about the status of the plan to deal with elevated levels of radium in the town’s water supply. Murphy knew about it from the town’s Aug. 25 press release but wondered why it had not been explained to the trustees at a board meeting yet. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#water.
Tharnish said he would give more details at the Oct. 17 meeting. However, he explained briefly that the town has been working with Forsgren Associates on plans for dilution using water from Well 8, and an "HMO" chemical treatment to remove the radium from the groundwater in Well 9. He said the town is applying for a grant from the Colorado Rural Water Association to help pay for the HMO treatment process. See related Oct. 17 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 6.
Town Manager Chris Lowe said that in addition to the one sampling site required by local, state, and federal law, the town has also been sampling further down the distribution system. "We are absolutely certain that the radium levels were always under 5 picocuries" by the time it was delivered to customers, he said. "Everyone was safe during that monitoring period."
Mayor Pro Tem Don Wilson asked if the radium present in some of the groundwater would cause a problem if the town were doing water reuse. Tharnish said with reuse, the town would be mixing groundwater originally produced from wells and diluting it with the surface water in Monument Creek, and it would also undergo "environmental scrubbing" in the creek.
Trustee Kelly Elliott asked Tharnish several questions about the difference between Triview Metropolitan District and the town’s water system management and the level of standards required to make sure Triview had the right infrastructure in place. Tharnish said there were differences between the two organizations and that the request for help never came (during the Triview water leak in June and July).
Elliott accused Triview of incompetence and carrying too much debt and worried about the possibility that the town was considering an emergency water connection with them. See related comments by Triview President Reid Bolander at the Oct. 17 Monument Board of Trustees meeting in the BOT article on page 6.
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith said that the town could make capital recommendations to Triview, and that someday, when Triview’s large debt is paid off, it would be absorbed into the town.
Senior living facility approved
Jackson Creek Assisted Living LLC submitted a development application seeking approval of a Planned Development Site Plan and Final Plat for the Jackson Creek Senior Living Center on six acres at the northeast corner of Jackson Creek Parkway and Harness Road, south of Higby Road. It is planned as a three-story senior living facility consisting of independent, assisted, and memory care units in two phases. Principal Planner Larry Manning and Planner Jennifer Jones presented project details to the board.
The application was heard by the Monument Planning Commission on Sept. 14. The planning staff report included in the Board of Trustees packet noted that the Planning Commission "recommends approval with conditions," but it did not specify that the application was approved with a divided 3-2 vote by the commissioners, and it did not include the draft Planning Commission meeting minutes. See www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#mpc.
Note: After the meeting, Manning told OCN that the planning staff now makes recommendations to the Planning Commission, which is a change from past procedures. He said there was "no definitive message from the dissenting (Planning Commission) voters." He also said, "The minutes are not considered accurate until approved by the commission and should not bear weight in the board’s opinion."
Manning told the trustees and the public that the primary entrance would come from Jackson Creek Parkway and that the applicant would add a southbound left-turn lane, but he said no deceleration lane was needed for northbound traffic turning right into the property at either the main entrance or Harness Road entrance.
Triview has provided a will-serve letter for water and sewer service to this project. A separate tract on the property for drainage, open space, a trail, and utilities will be maintained by Triview.
Both the final PD site plan and the final plat were approved unanimously.
Note: Jackson Creek Senior Living Center will be the second senior living facility coming to Monument. The first, Bethesda Gardens Monument, is under construction on Beacon Lite Road south of Second Street. See www.ocn.me/v16n7 26.pdf.
The board went into executive session at 9:05 p.m. to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest, with respect to the water system.
Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman told OCN that no votes or announcements were made after the executive session, and the meeting adjourned at 9:52 p.m.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
El Paso County Planning Commission, Oct. 18:Gleneagle golf course rezone OK’d; Flying Horse North denied
By Lisa Hatfield
The El Paso County Planning Commission considered two items related to northern El Paso County at its Oct. 18 meeting. The application regarding rezoning the golf course land in Gleneagle was approved. The other, Flying Horse North, which is a proposed development between Highway 83 and Black Forest Road, was denied. Both will now be heard by the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).
Gleneagle Development Agreement Dissolution—Map Amendment (Rezone)
The Gleneagle golf course property is north of Northgate Road along Gleneagle Drive. In 2009, the driving range portion was converted to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning district so that 47 patio homes could be built. It included an agreement limiting land use changes within the remaining golf course.
On Oct. 18, Westbrook Capital Holdings LLC requested approval of a map amendment (rezoning) of 10.35 acres from the PUD zoning district to RR-5 (Residential Rural) zoning. The request to rezone the PUD back to RR-5 would nullify the PUD agreement. The applicant wishes to build 56 single-family homes throughout the golf course, instead of the previously planned patio homes just on the driving range area. The remaining open space would likely be re-planned into open space to be utilized by the Gleneagle community, the staff report noted.
The minimum lot size would be 5 acres. "Findings with regard to water sufficiency and wastewater disposal are not required with a rezoning request," the packet stated.
The item was approved by a 6-1 vote and will be heard at a future BOCC meeting. Check weekly for BOCC agenda updates at http://bcc.elpasoco.com/Pages/TuesdayCurrentAgenda.aspx.
Flying Horse North rezone denied
The commissioners considered a new proposed development that would be known as Flying Horse North. It would be west of Black Forest Road and east of Highway 83 on a proposed eastward extension of Stagecoach Road at Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s Station 2.
Note: Flying Horse North is not to be confused with Flying Horse, which is west of Highway 83 at Northgate Boulevard.
Flying Horse North is owned by PRI2 and represented by NES Inc. On Oct. 18, they requested a rezoning of 1,417 acres from the RR-5 (Residential Rural) zoning district to PUD. The development proposed 283 single-family residential lots with a minimum lot size of 2.5 acres, 313 acres of open space including a 199-acre golf course, 92 acres for park uses, and other open space including detention ponds.
After many hours of discussion and public testimony, this item was denied by the planning commissioners in a 5-2 vote. It was then scheduled to be heard by the BOCC on Nov. 15.
See http://adm.elpasoco.com/Development%20Services/Pages/PlanningCommission2016.aspx for Planning Commission meeting agendas, minutes, and recordings.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 17:Water reuse plan and water radium treatment discussed
By Lisa Hatfield
On Oct. 17, the Monument Board of Trustees learned more about how a water reuse system could help the town’s water supply and what options are available for dealing with radium in the town’s water service area west of I-25. The Triview Metropolitan District board president asked that all public officials "take the high road" on issues between Triview and the town.
Trustee Kelly Elliott was absent.
Water reuse advantages explained
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish introduced water engineer Bruce Lytle of Lytle Water Solutions, who explained water reuse from a water rights and supply standpoint and how reuse could fit into the town’s overall water portfolio.
Reuse works by capturing effluent that has already been treated to tightly regulated standards. Instead of then discharging it into Monument Creek south of Monument, where it is currently just lost downstream, "indirect reuse" would instead pipe that water upstream of Monument Lake. This recirculated effluent would then mix with lake water and then be withdrawn again from the lake and treated again to potable drinking water standards at a new water treatment plant. This cycle can be performed several times, though some of the water is lost each cycle.
Lytle’s comments included:
• Indirect reuse more than doubles the use of each water molecule
• Reuse would reduce the rate of decline of the town’s non-renewable Denver Basin water and would increase "peaking capacity" during intense water use times.
• It would allow time for the town to increase its renewable water rights portfolio.
• Woodmoor Water and Sanitation is a potential partner with the town on a reuse plant associated with Monument Creek.
Lytle’s conclusion was that a reuse system is absolutely essential to efficiently and economically provide an ongoing, reliable water supply to the town’s water service area west of I-25. "Of all the projects on the water master plan, reuse should be the priority. It is not cheap but it is a ‘no-brainer,’" he said.
Technical memorandum on Well 9 and radium
Tharnish introduced the fact that Steven Farabaugh, PE of Forsgren Associates, wrote a draft technical memo for the town explaining Forsgren’s recommendations on options for addressing radium levels in Well 9 for the Town of Monument. Recent testing has shown increased concentrations of radium that are above Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits and has prompted the town to issue a notice of violation to its citizens. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#water and related Oct. 3 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 1.
No formal presentation of the contents of the Oct. 11 technical memo was made, but excerpts include:
• Radium concentrations in the water from Well 9 have been detected for many years; until recently these concentrations were within the limits of the Safe Drinking Water Standards (SDWS) set by the EPA.
• Recent testing has shown increased concentrations of radium-226 and radium-228 at over 7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) combined.
The memo outlined four options for the town to consider:
1. Blend Wells 3 and 9 finished water with Well 8 finished water. Dilution would help, but it would not result in a final radium concentration below the level set by the EPA, it may impact distribution pressure zones, and it may leave radium in the backwash filters that would need to be disposed of at an authorized site. Could cost $50,000.
Note: The memo did not address what levels of radium concentration would be rinsed into the backwash water, which was a concern discussed at the Oct. 11 Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC), after the memo was released. Currently, all town water filter backwash water is sent to Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) in unannounced surges during filter flushing, which might lead to radioactive contamination of TLWWTF sludge.
2. Ion Exchange treatment system. This "best available technology" would remove radium to meet EPA limits. It would require pre-arranged disposal plans for all of the various used substances that could contain low-level radioactive material. Could cost $275,000 plus an annual $14,000 in operations and maintenance (O&M).
Note: Radioactive contamination of TLWWTF sludge may occur due to the as-yet unspecified concentrations of radium in the system’s regeneration water
3. Hydrous Manganese Oxide (HMO) Filtration. This technique "adsorbs" the radium into HMO solids, which are then backwashed out of filters, so a large portion of the low-level radioactive radium would end up either in the biosolids or in the effluent from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, which might lead to radioactive contamination of TLWWTF sludge due to the higher concentrations of radium in the backwash water. Could cost $146,000 plus an annual $9,000 O&M.
4. Adsorptive Resin. This option results in the radium being removed from the water system and does not produce wastewater containing radium. It uses a one-use throw-away media that must then be disposed of in a licensed facility. Could cost $360,000 plus an annual $80,000 O&M.
Forsgren recommended the dilution option plus installing an HMO filtration system. The trustees asked questions but did not take any action.
Note: For more details on the sludge contamination questions, see related Oct. 11 TLWWTF JUC article on page 9.
Triview president encourages "spirit of cooperation" with town
Triview Metropolitan District Board President Reid Bolander addressed the trustees during the public comments section of the meeting. He expressed his and the Triview board’s desire for the town and district to work together more closely with the town and find a way to repair some of the distrust and negativism that seemed to have developed between them.
He acknowledged Triview’s historical difficulties, including debt and some questionable past management practices and decisions, but he said the current board and staff are making significant progress now and in the last several years on those fronts.
Bolander referred to recent disparaging comments about Triview made by one town trustee at the Oct. 3 meeting and said it would be better for town representatives to discuss their "possible disdain or anxiety" with the Triview board and staff directly instead of airing grievances at public meetings. "Enmity between us does not serve any of our residents, but working together we will benefit one another."
The consensus of the six trustees who were present was to re-start the semi-annual meetings between the town and Triview and work to build relationships between the two.
Note: Triview, on the east side of I-25, includes two-thirds of the population of the town of Monument. It provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, as well as water and sanitation utility services to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe. Triview’s water system is wholly independent of Monument’s Public Works water system located on the west side of I-25. The Town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for the district. A majority of the current Monument Board of Trustees are residents of Triview.
TLMFPD gets impact fee permission
Tri-Lakes Monument (TLMFPD) Fire Chief Chris Truty presented a request to the town for permission to collect Fire Protection and Emergency Services Impact Fees, and the resolution was approved unanimously. The next step is to secure permission from El Paso County. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#tlmfpd.
Grant application for splash pad at Limbach Park
The trustees unanimously approved a resolution to allow the town to apply for a grant application from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to help pay for a proposed $550,000 project at Limbach Park. Tharnish said the town would find out in April if it earned the $350,000 grant to help build a water "splash pad" playground and other amenities.
Checks over $5,000
• Triview Metropolitan District, August sales tax, September motor vehicle tax, September Regional Building use tax − $229,441
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, fourth-quarter support − $5,000
• CIRSA Insurance, fourth-quarter liability − $23,609
• Forsgren Associates, water master plan amendment per BOT instructions − $9,550
• Forsgren Associates, Well 9 treatment for radium − $11,460
• Schmidt Construction Co., asphalt work − $146,127
• Community Matters Inc., master comprehensive plan − $12,133
The meeting went into executive session at 8:28 p.m. for developing strategy for negotiations, instructing negotiators, and determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, with respect to pending litigation. Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman told OCN that no votes or announcements were made after the session.
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. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Palmer Lake Town Council, Oct. 13:Board hears comments on proposed budget
By James Howald
In October, the Palmer Lake Town Council met only once, on Oct. 13; the meeting scheduled for Oct. 27 was cancelled due to lack of agenda items.
The board heard comments from the public on the proposed budget for 2017, approved two requests for lot subdivisions, and considered appointments to the Board of Adjustments.
The meeting was led by Mayor Pro Tem Rich Kuehster.
Proposed ballot initiatives will affect budget
Nikki McDonald, who previously served as the town’s mayor, spoke in support of several initiatives that will be on the ballot in November, arguing that they would potentially improve the town’s finances. McDonald said the proposed continuation of the 1 percent sales tax for police and public safety could provide $90,000 of revenue to the town. The proposed excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales would also boost revenue, according to McDonald.
McDonald pointed out that the TABOR measure would allow the town to keep tax revenue it is already collecting, and could aid the town in benefiting from grants provided by state agencies. The proposed initiative also could lower the costs of elections by requiring fewer questions to be put to the voters.
McDonald also said the initiative allowing the town to publish only the titles, rather than the complete texts, of proposed ordinances would be a money-saver.
Brenda Woodward, owner of Premier Organics LLC, spoke against the proposed initiative to tax wholesale marijuana sales. Woodward said the initiative would generate less revenue than expected, and would drive jobs out of the community. She also pointed out that it would be fairer to increase taxes on the wide range of businesses that don’t generate tax revenue than to expect marijuana businesses to be subject to more taxes. Woodward cited real estate agents, veterinarians, and auto repair shops as examples of businesses that don’t contribute tax revenues to the town.
The board voted to approve conditionally the subdivision of the lot where the new facility for Facinelli Motors is being built, subject to the builder, Kurt Ehrhardt, providing more detail about layout of parking spaces.
The board voted to approve the subdivision of 52 Walnut St. into two lots.
Havenar appointed to Board of Adjustments
The board voted to appoint Trustee Glant Havenar to the Board of Adjustments, which needs to have one member to represent the Town Council. Previously, Havenar had a seat on the Planning Commission, from which she has withdrawn.
The two meetings for November will be at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 and Nov. 24, at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, Oct. 11:Planning for permits; radium questions
By Lisa Hatfield
The Oct. 11 meeting of the members of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) included information about the continuing struggle to meet changing permit limits and questions about how treatment of radium in Monument’s water could affect the facility.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: WWSD board Director at Large Rich Strom, president; MSD board Chairman Ed Delaney, vice president; and PLSD board and JUC Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD District Manager Jessie Shaffer.
Governmental regulations are a moving target
MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick summarized the results of several governmental regulatory meetings around the state.
Kendrick’s summary of the Sept. 19 Water Quality Forum stated that the state continues to set unnecessary and unattainable permit levels on water temperature and nutrient levels for discharger permit holders. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not taking action to correct the situation.
For example, the EPA took no action on Reg. 31.17 TP or total nitrogen (TN) interim values that they did not agree with and could not scientifically defend but will still be enforced in 2022 when Reg. 31, The Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water, takes effect.
Another example was that state Water Quality Control Division Project Engineer Jon Erickson said due to budget constraints, he was not able to provide detailed cost estimates for various technologies available in the future that dischargers might need to meet standards that have not yet been set. Kendrick quoted Erickson as saying, "Every facility will have to do their own studies and make their own decision on what discharger specific variances to ask for and what technologies they will choose. We did not get very far on this in our study."
However, the deadlines for the new temperature and nutrient limits are getting closer every day.
Relation of the Town of Monument’s drinking water radium to TLWWTF
Wicklund said that the above confusing answers from state and federal officials on future regulations, which make it so difficult for discharge permit holders to plan for funding and make technology decisions, were another reason to work toward developing water reuse systems, with a goal of "zero discharge" of effluent back to the creek and more efficient use of water.
However, he brought up the fact that the town of Monument’s public works water system west of I-25 now has two wells containing Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) in the form of radium (Well 9, and Well 6 that has been shut down, in the mobile home park). See two related Monument Board of Trustees articles on page 1 and 6.
He said that representatives from Forsgren Associates, the town’s consulting engineers who are helping the town make plans to remove radium from the drinking water, have called him twice asking permission to discharge into the MSD collection system. "But we told them no, we don’t want it." If naturally occurring radioactive materials are processed or concentrated as a result of human activities such as water processing, it becomes Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM), which is being studied by the Environmental Protection Agency. Wicklund said he has not had any direct communication from Monument Town Manager Chris Lowe or Public Works Director Tom Tharnish on the issue.
Wicklund’s concern was that if TENORM radionuclides from the Town of Monument’s drinking water treatment plants that are discharged into MSD’s separately owned wastewater collection system got into the TLWWTF biosolids, the facility could be liable for any future regulations regarding TENORM in the sludge, since those treated biosolids are spread on agricultural fields as fertilizer.
He said, "We just went through a lawsuit with the three of us (in the JUC) over phosphorus. Can you imagine what would happen now if the three districts have to deal with radium or any type of radionuclides coming in our biosolids, and the expense? It’s mind-boggling."
The members also discussed:
• The second draft of the 2017 budget.
• Concerns over the final completion date by Aslan Construction for the total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal clarifier expansion, which was originally supposed to have been completed in May.
• Operation plans for the TP clarifier in 2017-19 before the Nov. 1, 2019 total phosphorus limit of 1 mg/l takes effect.
• Water Operator Joshua Watkins earned his State of Colorado Class A Wastewater Operators license. The group’s overwhelming consensus was, "That is a big deal!"
The meeting adjourned at 12:37 p.m.
On Oct. 5, OCN received the following letter from Steven Farabaugh, senior engineer, Forsgren Associates Inc.:
The following are clarifications to the Sept. 3, 2016 edition of OCN article titled "Tri-Lakes Monument Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, Aug. 9: Permitting Process in Flux" subheading "Permitting Issues Continue to Pop Up" on pages 10-11. See www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#tljuc.
• OCN reported that Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) can include potassium, chlorides, sodium, arsenic, chromium, manganese, nitrates and other substances dissolved in the water. This could be misleading, as it follows a reference to TDS in Cherokee Metropolitan District’s (CMD) reclaimed water. TDS is a naturally occurring collection of salts and minerals in water. Constituents of TDS are site specific. Analysis of CMD’s reclaimed water shows it is largely a benign mix of bicarbonate, sulfate, sodium, calcium, and chloride. None of the constituents of CMD’s reclaimed water exceeds drinking water limits.
• The site-specific standard for TDS for the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Alluvial Aquifer is 400 mg/L, not 300 mg/L.
• CMD uses its treated effluent from the Water Reclamation Facility to recharge the UBSC basin through rapid infiltration basins under a permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). This approved method takes advantage of CMD’s effluent and allows for reuse in the UBSC basin.
• The article reported a claim that CMD’s water is contaminating downstream wells and irrigation farther east of Colorado Springs. TDS is not regulated by drinking water standards because there are no known health effects from elevated TDS. The levels of TDS present in CMD’s water pose no impact on crops currently known to be irrigated in the UBSC basin and minimal impacts on crops that could be grown in the UBSC basin. The UBSC basin flows north to south, therefore water recharged into the aquifer by CMD would have no impact on wells to the east.
• There is no petition by Cherokee to pump the treated effluent deep into underground wells and therefore no vote was taken by the state Water Quality Control Commission on this issue.
• The reverse osmosis (RO) treatment plant will treat a portion of the reclaimed effluent to reduce the TDS levels below the 400 mg/L limit, and it would be misleading for this to be described as decontamination of the effluent.
• The brine produced during RO treatment requires disposal through deep-well injection or other brine disposal methods. Due to the concentrated nature of the brine solution, it cannot be discharged to streams or groundwater. The brine should not be characterized as "toxic HAZMAT RO brine."
• Analysis of CMD’s TDS has shown no trace of metals; dissolved metals would have to meet applicable limits for those specific metals.
• The reclaimed water does not exceed any salinity limits.
The next meeting will be held Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings throughout 2016 will normally be held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053 or see www.tlwastewater.com.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Triview Metropolitan District, Oct. 13:District begins to make 2017 budget choices
By Lisa Hatfield
At the Oct. 13 meeting of the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors, the main topic was planning for 2017 and beyond and keeping the district "healthy." President Reid Bolander said members of the public are welcome to make comments at the 2017 budget hearing at the upcoming Nov. 8 meeting that would be posted on the district website about a week prior to the meeting.
Triview, on the east side of I-25, includes two-thirds of the population of Monument and is still growing at a rapid rate. Triview was created as one of the first Colorado Title 32 developer special metropolitan districts within the Regency Park development. Regency Park was annexed into the town in 1987. Triview provides roads, parks, and drainage maintenance, as well as water and sanitation utility services, to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe. Triview’s water system is wholly independent of Monument’s Public Works water system located on the west side of I-25. The Town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for the district’s property owners.
Financial overview of district and 2017 draft budget
Treasurer Marco Fiorito presented a "30,000-foot view" of the district’s finances, based on the 2015 audit, as a precursor to deliberating on the 2017 budget. Bolander invited the public to ask questions during the presentation. Fiorito’s comments included:
• District valuation is $56 million in capital assets, infrastructure, water rights, etc.
• Triview has $53 million in total liabilities. This is mostly debt and accrued interest from late 1980s and early 1990s from what the audit called the "inactive period" when 12 percent interest was accruing but the district did not do anything about it.
• Due to recent refinancing, Triview now pays about $4.2 million in debt service each year at 2 percent interest.
• The 2015 audit said that the district’s financial situation has improved a lot in the last two years.
• Nine individuals plus the board support 4,200 residents, 1,400 residential and commercial taps, nine parks, 56 acres of open space, five miles of trails, 50 lane-miles of road, eight wells, a 1.5-million-gallon tank, a second 1.1-million-gallon tank going into Sanctuary Pointe now, and 105 miles of sewer, water, and storm drainage pipes.
• By improving infrastructure, the district can provide more revenue to service the debt and make living in the area even more desirable.
• The five-year plan includes manpower growth for the district, capital investment, and infrastructure improvements.
• Residents should expect that water rates for all customers and tap fees for new development will steadily rise and be adjusted properly so that the district won’t get behind like the Town of Monument water enterprise fund did.
Director James Otis commented that Triview’s tap fees and rates are much lower compared to everyone else in the area. Vice President Mark Melville summarized by saying, "We need to keep the district healthy and find ways to pay for it," since the lifespan of road and water infrastructure is coming due and needs maintenance.
Bolander and District Manager Valerie Remington said this month’s draft of the 2017 budget included "everything on the wish lists" only so that it would be clear to everyone how much it would all cost and that it can’t all be done right now. The task for the directors in October, including a work session on Oct. 25, was to balance between doing the work that needs to be done while still staying in the black.
Gary Shupp, the district’s attorney, answered a question from a resident who wanted to understand the meaning of the TABOR ballot measure on Triview residents’ ballots. Shupp said if the measure does not pass, and there are refunds that must be made because of "excess—as TABOR defines it" revenues, that would negatively affect the district’s ability to meet its obligations.
Checks over $5,000
• JDS-Hydro, Sanctuary Pointe storage tank − $5,960
• JDS-Hydro, Sanctuary Pointe booster pump station − $25,409
• JDS-Hydro, Sanctuary Pointe 1.1-million-gallon tank, DN Tanks − $313,611
• JDS-Hydro, Forest Lakes Metro District interconnect — $26,620
• Monson, Cummins & Shohet LLC, water attorney, August and September − $16,800
• Northgate Co., second of three annual payments for water rights − $481,500
• Donala Water & Sanitation, UMCRWWTF quarterly − $102,201
• Terracon Consultants Inc., roads study − $45,300
Tap fees discussion coming soon
Melville presented a first draft of a proposed new multi-year increase in tap fees for brand new residential and commercial development. This fee is paid by new homes and business construction to get connected to Triview’s water and sanitation infrastructure.
Water connection with Monument?
Regarding the possibility of building an emergency water interconnection with the Town of Monument, Remington said she had called Monument Public Works Director Tom Tharnish and the town’s engineer but had not heard back from either of them as of Oct. 13.
However, she said, after she read one account of the Oct. 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting in the Oct. 12 Tri-Lakes Tribune, she interpreted it as a "no" from Monument about wanting to build a water interconnection.
Note: To read OCN’s summary of that same controversial meeting, see related Oct. 3 Monument Board of Trustees meeting article on page 1. Or listen to the recording at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com/.
More decisions made
The following items, each with its own discussion, were unanimously approved by the directors:
• Utility billing contract with AmCoBi (American Conservation & Billing Solutions Inc.) starting Jan. 1, pending legal review. Remington said Triview Billing Manager Joyce Levad will be managing this contract.
• Final version of the intergovernmental agreement with Donala Water and Sanitation District regarding the emergency water interconnection between the two districts and how and when it could be used and metered in the future.
• Month-to-month contract with The Hudson Firm for social media services including Facebook and Twitter accounts and a customer e-mail platform, a complete customer emergency distribution list, website redevelopment, customer outreach, NextDoor.com, and regular updating all social media.
At 7:42 p.m., the meeting went into executive session for conferring with the district’s attorney regarding legal advice on specific questions and personnel matters. Remington told OCN after the meeting that no votes or announcements were made after the board came out of executive session.
The next Triview meeting will be held Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.colorado.gov/triviewmetro. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Thank you to OCN volunteer Audrey Burkart for her contributions to this article. Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 20:Board seeks public input on rates and budget
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board met on Oct. 20 to plan public hearings, to consider a request for supplemental water service, to hear comments from residents, and to hear operational reports. Typically, the board meets on the second Thursday of each month, but in October the meeting was held a week later. In November, the board will meet on Nov. 17, again departing from its regular schedule.
Customer comments sought on rates and budget
The board voted unanimously to have a public hearing to present the 2017 budget to district customers, and give them a chance to comment. The hearing on the budget will be part of the board meeting to be held Nov. 17. Details will be posted on the district’s web page (www.woodmoorwater.com).
The board also voted to have a public hearing on rates as part of its scheduled board meeting on Dec. 8.
Mines Shopping Center requests supplemental water
Greg Nagel, owner of the Mines Shopping Center, asked the board to approve supplemental water service to the property. The water was necessary to support the expansion of the Pikes Peak Brewing Co., Nagel said.
The board voted unanimously to approve Nagel’s request.
Resident questions service to new residential developments
Darryl Beckmann, a district customer, asked the board to explain why, since water is a limited resource, the board allows new residential developments to use sod in their landscaping efforts. Using the new residential development at Highway 105 and Knollwood as an example, Beckmann said he found the "optics" of sod along Highway 105 troubling, especially in light of the district’s rate increases in recent years.
Board President Jim Taylor explained that the board does not have any oversight authority concerning land use and planning issues, and can’t control the actions of developers. If the district has water available, it must provide it to developers whose projects have been approved by the municipal and county departments that have that authority, Taylor said.
Interconnect with Monument Water District discussed
District Manager Jessie Shaffer asked the board to consider an interconnect between the WWSD water district and the Monument Water District. The interconnect would be used in emergency situations only, and would allow the two districts to exchange water as needed, according to Shaffer.
District Treasurer Jim Wyss said the needs of the district’s customers would be the first priority for the board but that the district should also be a good neighbor to the rest of the community.
The board decided to investigate the interconnect over the next couple months.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. 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.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 20:First draft of 2017 budget includes water rate increase
By Jim Kendrick
On Oct. 20, Donala Water and Sanitation District General Manager Kip Petersen presented the first draft of the 2017 Donala budget to the board, which included a Jan. 1 water rate increase of 4 percent that is estimated to increase water revenue by $108,000 and a $1 per month increase in the sewer charge that is estimated to increase water revenue by $33,276. These increases are intended to help the district finally meet the board’s long-standing goal of paying for all current water and sewer services with current rates and charges as the district nears buildout and the resultant loss of further significant tap fee revenues.
Note: The 2017 budget hearing will be held at the next regular Donala board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8, to ensure that the approved 2017 budget is forwarded to the state by the Dec. 15 deadline.
At the start of the meeting, Donala resident Phil Book said he wondered about the board’s practice of setting aside property tax revenue for capital growth rather using it to defray the district’s operating and maintenance costs as has been done in the past. Director Bob Denny responded that this practice is "recommended and traditional." Director Ken Judd said this is a "best practice." President Dave Powell noted that property tax is now being used to buy additional renewable water rights and putting in new pipelines.
Petersen added that the district’s property tax revenue, about $1.6 million per year, is now being used to replace older pipes that have been in the ground for 50 years or more and that he plans to replace 10 percent of these pipes per year over the next decade. Office Manager Betsy Bray stated that Donala will no longer be receiving significant tap fee revenues as the district nears buildout and the board had adopted the policy of working toward funding operations and maintenance entirely with service fees five years ago.
Petersen noted that Donala’s budget items remain in line with the 2016 budget through the first three quarters. Summer water sales had increased due to irrigation during the recent dry spell. He expects to complete more capital projects in the fourth quarter that will be financed with a low-interest state loan. There will also be some capital projects completed in the fourth quarter at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF), which Donala operates for itself and the two co-owners, Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts.
Of note was a brief discussion of how to build new water tanks or rebuild existing tanks if the board decides to begin reuse of its treated effluent from UMCRWWTF, which would require a new separate potable reuse water treatment plant and distribution piping for this reuse water supply. No decisions were made on this option.
Petersen stated that the Triview board had provided a full single-payment reimbursement of $151,943 for the emergency water Donala supplied July 4-9. (See www.ocn.me/v16n8.htm#dwsd0721 and www.ocn.me/v16n9.htm#dwsd)
Petersen reviewed the first draft of the Donala 2017 budget. He noted that he had sent individual emails to each of the directors with an electronic copy of this draft 2017 budget as an attachment on Oct. 15, along with a three-page narrative detailing each change from 2016. He recommended that the water service rate, the availability of service fee, and all water and sewer tap charges remain unchanged for 2017.
Petersen said the Latrobe-Holbein water tank connection line construction project was proceeding on schedule. All concerns from Donala customers neighboring the construction have been addressed in a timely and satisfactory manner to date. The contractor estimates that the project will be completed in November.
The board unanimously approved the final draft of the proposed counter offer from the Gray Family Trust for purchase of the Laughlin Ditch Water Right of 324 acre-feet per year that was presented to the district by the trust’s water broker Gary Barber at a special district board meeting on Oct. 5. The purchase price for this "firm water right" was $3.8 million. This renewable ditch surface water could be reused to extinction, adding another potential 162 acre-feet of annual use, 486 acre-feet in all. The trust also offered to provide seller financing for Donala’s purchase.
The Laughlin Ditch is located near Colorado Springs Utilities’ Las Vegas Wastewater Treatment Facility by the U.S. Highway 24 exit on I-25. (See http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5028/pdf/SIR07-5028_plate1.pdf)
Petersen stated that Yocam Construction LLC had completed rebuilding the Monument Creek streambank reinforcements next to UMCRWWTF, and the secondary access road to the facility that goes under the adjacent railroad track trestle, before the Sept. 30 deadline for winter hibernation noise restrictions for the adjacent Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat imposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The streambank and road were damaged by a stormwater event earlier this year. Future flood waters will flow over the reinforced banks, along the new roadway, and back into the channel.
Petersen also reported that El Paso County will not repair the adjacent portion of its Santa Fe Trail in 2016, but plans to perform this work in 2017. He noted that the county’s repairs are critical to prevent overtopping the trail and a recurrence of the damage to the double culverts under the trail that Yocam just repaired.
Petersen said the district’s Holbein and R. Hull water treatment plants would be shut down in turn for annual cleaning and rehabilitation.
There will be no regular board meeting in November due to the board’s traditional annual long-range planning workshop with the district’s engineering and legal consultants, which will be held on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m.
The next regular board meeting will include the final 2017 budget hearing and will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, and Oct. 18:By 2018, district to be cut in half; 2017 budget drafted
By Lisa Hatfield and Kate Pangelinan
The City of Colorado Springs annexed Flying Horse Ranch on Oct. 14, 2003 without opposition by Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s (DWFPD) and had also annexed the land making up the southern half of DWFPD’s current property-tax-paying service area many years ago. Now the district is working on a new 2017 budget that looks ahead to drastically reduced tax revenue in 2018 and beyond as those properties are de-included from DWFPD in two phases over the next two years.
By November 2017, district property owners will likely be asked to vote on a mill levy ballot measure to determine what level of service will be offered to the northern remainder of the district in the long term. Note: The southern half will be served by the new Colorado Springs Fire Department Station 22 on Voyager Parkway.
Note: Colorado Springs has been annexing territory from DWFPD since before 2003. See www.ocn.me/v3n10.htm#dwfpd.
First draft of 2017 budget
The Sept. 20 DWFPD Board of Directors meeting included a first glimpse of the 2017 budget. Chief Vinny Burns indicated that the district was endeavoring to save money compared to the budget for 2016, including notable projected cuts from the Total Firefighting Operations and Administration line items.
During public comments on Sept 20, a civilian asked about how the de-annexation negotiations between the fire district and the city’s lawyers progressed, but Burns said there was nothing new to report. See www.ocn.me/v16n6.htm#dwfpd0517 and www.ocn.me/v16n7.htm#dwfpd-0621.
"Orderly exclusion" options discussed in executive session
On Sept. 20, the board went into executive session at 7:37 p.m. for "Determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations; and instructing negotiations." It was related to current negotiations with Colorado Springs concerning the "orderly exclusion" of the southern half of Wescott’s service area that lies within Colorado Springs.
The meeting came back into open session and adjourned around 11 p.m. Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich told OCN that no announcements were made after the executive session and that the board planned to schedule another executive session soon to finish the discussion.
Preparing to sign the IGA excluding property from district service area
On Sept. 27, the directors continued the executive session. When they returned to open session at about 7:15 p.m., they voted unanimously to approve Resolution 16-9, saying they would indeed sign the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Colorado Springs when that document is finalized by the attorneys.
Chairman Greg Gent said the IGA would cover the exclusion of certain property from the DWFPD service area and the filing of petitions for exclusion of such property.
Educating voters on decisions for the future
Residents attending the Oct. 18 meeting asked for clarification on where the district posts its public meeting notices. Popovich said they are posted on the district website, on the news board in front of station on Gleneagle Drive, and submitted to El Paso County.
Then directors and staff answered questions from Gleneagle Civic Association representative William Lowes (a past president of DWFPD) and Gleneagle North Homeowners Association President Bill Fillion on what Resolution 16-9 meant for the future of the district.
Burns said that the Colorado Springs City Council approved the IGA unanimously on Oct. 11. The next step was for a judge to approve it. The IGA would cover the exclusion of DWFPD between Interquest Parkway and Northgate Boulevard. The overall effect will be to reduce the size of DWFPD by half of its current 22 square miles and reduce its total revenue by 66 percent. The timeline:
• In 2017 DWFPD will still receive 100 percent of previously projected revenue that was generated in 2016 by property taxes.
• Jan. 1, 2017: exclusion of Phase One Property, from Interquest Parkway north to the proposed location of the Powers Boulevard extension with I-25 (north of The Classical Academy).
• In 2018, DWFPD will receive property tax revenue generated in 2017, which will amount to half of recent "normal" revenue.
• Jan. 1, 2018: exclusion of Phase Two Property, extending the rest of the way up to Northgate Boulevard.
• In 2019 and onward, DWFPD will receive no revenue at all from any of the de-included territory south of Northgate Road.
Lowes asked why the district did not discuss this plan with residents and did not request that the city provide fire protection for the remaining northern section of the district since the city is taking away 50 percent of DWFPD’s territory and over 60 percent of the revenue, mentioning a state regulation and an existing agreement with the city written many years ago.
The directors explained that since it was a legal process, it was not possible to make the details public until an agreement with the city was figured out. They also said that their attorney told them there was no way to make the city take over emergency services for the remainder of the district north of Northgate Road.
Fillion said the district needed to explain the current situation clearly to residents who will likely be presented with a mill levy ballot measure in November 2017. Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said now that the timeline is known, the district will be asking the community what they want in fire protection service levels and therefore what mill levy amount might be requested by the district.
Director Harland Baker said, "We need to resize (the district and its services) for what (residents) want to do. We do have a savings account. We have time to deal with this." He said the district will show residents the data so that they can decide what services they will have available in three years.
Gent said, "If our district is cut in half and our taxes cut in half, everything would have to be cut in half," unless resident approved a mill levy increase in 2017. The district will prepare two budgets so there is a contingency plan, he said.
In response to Lowes’ question, Burns said the district’s outstanding $1.2 million in long-term debt, spent to build the new Wescott Station 2 at 15505 Highway 83, would still be the responsibility of the district, not the city, to pay off. "All the trucks are paid for. Station 2 is the only debt," he said.
2017 draft budget revised
Burns said he had reworked the 2017 draft budget now that "we have a known set of circumstances" about the de-annexation timeline and its associated long-term revenue stream. He said he was suggesting cost-saving measures in many areas, including the possibility of not offering any overtime shifts next year unless they deployed firefighters to wildland fires, since those costs would be reimbursed. This move could save the district over $100,000.
However, this could also mean that if a firefighter called in sick or took vacation, and since for safety reasons trucks can’t be dispatched with only one crew member on them, there would be some days when Station 2 might be closed and all operations would center on Station 1 on Gleneagle Drive, Ridings explained.
Station 3 will go back on the market
Gent said that Station 3, on a half-acre of land at 15000 Sun Hills Drive, was recently appraised for $220,000. For several years, the directors have discussed what to do with that property, and the consensus at this meeting was to proceed with trying to sell it. It is currently being used for storage, training, and some meetings.
The meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. For information, call 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Oct. 26:Budget, hiring discussed
By Lisa Hatfield
On Oct. 26, as they had done at their Sept. 28 meeting, the directors of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) discussed the 2017 budget and how to improve the district’s hiring process to avoid this year’s challenges and resolve vacancies.
Fire Chief Chris Truty has proposed a 6 percent pay raise to move TLMFPD closer to the average wage for comparable districts. The directors also tossed around some ideas for long-term plans regarding a permanent location for the TLMFPD administrative offices, which are now in a leased space outside of the district, and possibly combining them with a new fire station.
The next TLMFPD meeting will include a public budget hearing.
Note: The meeting date has changed to Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Truty also said recent team-building discussions and interviews with Peak Leadership and the four TLMFPD chief officers have helped him see some things he is doing that have contributed to lack of leadership, or faith, or trust, and it was very eye-opening to him. He said these discussions next will include all the staff. See www.ocn.me/v16n8.htm#tlmfpd.
The meeting went into executive session at 8:10 p.m. to confer with employment counsel for the district to answer specific legal questions and provide legal advice on an employment matter. (This was despite the fact that the Chicago Cubs were playing in Game Two of the World Series at that time!) No announcements or votes were made after the executive session, said Office Administrator Jennifer Martin.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. However, the next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15 in the Monument Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 719-484-0911 or see www.tlmfire.org/.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
District Accountability Advisory Committee, Oct. 11:Committee sets calendar, discusses charge and teacher evaluations
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) discussed the calendar for its meetings, the committee charge, and the teacher evaluation process at its Oct. 11 meeting.
The committee will meet three more times in the 2016-17 school year. It will meet in January, February, and April at various locations. The February meeting will move from Feb. 14 to Feb. 7 to avoid conflict with Valentine’s Day. During other months, the co-chairmen of the committee and members of the district administration will meet with various building committees to discuss unified improvement plans before their approval at the April meeting.
The committee consists of two co-chairs, a board liaison, an administration liaison, and representatives of parents and teachers from each district school.
Those attending were reminded that although the meetings are held in public they are not public meetings and only members have a vote.
The charge for the committee had its first reading at the Sept. 1 meeting of the district Board of Education.
Elements of the charge include:
• Facilitate communication among district committees and the board by providing a forum for reports from the Special Education Advisory Council and Gifted Education Leadership Team.
• Generate or participate on task forces created to pursue student learning ends related to the district’s strategic vision.
• Facilitate accreditation of schools by monitoring schools via Unified Improvement Plans.
• Assist the board in community engagement through educating the community on public policy issues, participating in Education Summits with the board, and reviewing and providing input to the board concerning feasibility of charter applications.
• Consult with the board as to the fairness, effectiveness, and professional quality of the licensed personnel performance evaluation system.
• Advise the board regarding budget priorities.
The committee engaged in a lengthy discussion of the charge. Several members said that they wished to learn about the details of the teacher evaluation and budgeting processes and would be better able to take action on these measures knowing that they were well informed.
The committee voted to create sub-committees to address these details. The co-chairs agreed to send an email to the membership seeking volunteers to serve on the sub-committees.
D-38 Superintendent Karen Brofft commented that, since the committee also exists under a state charter, it was not critical for the board to vote on the charge at its Oct. 20 meeting.
Teacher evaluation discussion
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster updated the committee on the application of Senate Bill 191 and its impact on teacher evaluation.
Foster said that all teachers are now evaluated annually and that student growth is still 50 percent of a teacher’s score. He explained the evaluation process as continuing through orientation at the beginning of the year, followed by self- assessment by the teachers, a review of goals, observation, midyear review, and final assessment.
Foster reminded the committee that many employees could not be evaluated on the basis of state tests. These include media specialists, instructional coaches, teachers on special assignment, and teachers in such fields as art, music, world language, and physical education and special education specialists. Assessment standards for some of these individuals have been developed by the staff.
Among the developments expected this year are a new data management system.
Board of Education liaison report
Board Liaison John Magerko said that the district Board of Education is continuing to send representatives to various district committees, including DAAC and the Special Education Advisory Council. Board representatives also are participating in long-term planning meetings with the Town of Monument.
Magerko urged all members to read their state blue book and vote in the November election.
Brofft reported that it is critical to maintain focus on the welfare of the kids in the district. This goal is served by ensuring post-secondary preparedness whether in college or in the workforce. This is supported by offering a gifted/talented program, response to intervention (RtI) for those who need extra help, the Transitions program for those who need support through age 21, the Area Vocational Program, concurrent enrollment enabling college credit during high school, the Homeschool Enrichment Academy, and Options 38. Also, the arts have been added to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program because creativity is an important aspect of 21st-century learning.
Brofft reported that the long-term planning process is important because the area is growing and district facilities are aging. There must be constant monitoring of the efficient use of facilities and demographics of the district.
Safety and security in the district is a continuing subject of study, and Brofft reported that D38 is one of a few districts that does not have a director of security with the specialized knowledge to monitor the issue. The job has been posted.
Brofft also touched on funding and the fact that the district is funded at 12.1 percent lower than state law requires. Adjoining states have a higher per pupil funding rate than Colorado, and this could make our students less competitive on the market.
This lack of funding makes partnerships with such organizations as Kiwanis and the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club critical, as well as seeking grants from other entities.
The District Accountability Advisory Committee meets five times a year at various locations. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Monument Academy, 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Academy School Board, Oct. 13:Miscoded tests corrected; salaries increased
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Oct. 13 to hear about revenue adjustments and corrections to PARCC tests and to approve salary increases. Board members Julie Galusky and Andy Gifford were absent.
Treasurer reports one-time income adjustment
Treasurer Patrick Hall said that the treasury report was the best seen in some time with a deposit of nearly $80,000 as a result of the reconciliation of District 38 purchased services for the last fiscal year, a per pupil revenue (PPR) catch-up amount of about $50,000 for July and August, and a $5,500 credit for Exceptional Student Services purchased services. The total income for September was about $163,000, of which $144,797 was a one-time adjustment due to the contract negotiation.
Miscoded tests corrected
Principal Lis Richard reported a correction to her report on the school’s low ranking on PARCC testing. She corrected her original statement that the state had the lowered ranking due to low participation in PARCC. Rather, the problem was that 15 tests had been miscoded by Monument Academy. She noted that the district has been very gracious in working with MA in filing with the state to give an explanation and correct the errors. The corrections will not show in the system until January, which may have an impact during open enrollment. Achievement and performance remain high, Richard noted, and this is just a clerical error. This does not affect the accreditation with distinction ranking.
Salary "true-up" approved
The board unanimously approved a motion for salary increases of $207,734 for staff, with those adjustments to be included in the November 2016 paychecks. This amount includes payments for Medicare and the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA).
Director Don Griffin noted that the board had previously approved new categories for teachers. Using the new hire categories adopted by the board, each teacher was placed in the appropriate category and, based on their number of years teaching at MA, a calculation was done to determine their "true-up salary." This salary number was then compared to their current salary. If their salary was higher, no change was recommended. Of the 56 teachers reviewed, 39 teachers have been recommended for adjustments. This represents an increase for 70 percent of teachers. Those not recommended for an adjustment are the newest teachers.
There was a similar adjustment for certain members of administration. Most administrators work 210-240 days, compared to teachers who work 180 days, so a daily rate was used to calculate salary recommendations for 10 staff. Board President Sonya Camarco noted that this meant MA would have competitive salaries compared with other charter schools for the first time.
Other board highlights
• MA has an approved inductee program for teachers who hold an initial teaching license and are in the process of transferring it to a professional license, which can save teachers $3,000 to $5,000.
• Director Don Griffin reported attending a meeting of the School Coalition for Excellence to hear about upcoming legislation in Denver.
• The board unanimously approved the School Accountability Advisory Committee plan to survey teachers at the beginning of the year in October and at the end of the year in February, presenting reports in January and May.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The Monument Academy usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committees, and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Oct. 11:Board approves boilers for Palmer Ridge, receives grants from Kiwanis
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education approved the purchase of two boilers for Palmer Ridge High School and received grants for eight projects from Monument Hill Kiwanis Foundation at its Oct. 11 meeting.
Palmer Ridge boiler discussion
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman explained the problems with the geothermal system at Palmer Ridge High School and proposed solutions.
When the school was constructed in 2008, this was the largest geothermal field in the state. The primary problem currently is leaks. Although several companies were involved with reviewing the system before use, it was later discovered that there were no air bleeders or strainers in the system and the valves were inadequate.
Consequently, in addition to leaks there was gravel and sand in the water. In response, bleeders were added to remove excess air and strainers were added to remove rocks and gravel. Valves were added to make it possible to close off parts of the system when necessary.
During last summer, Major Geo-Thermal and ME Engineering were hired to locate the source of the leak and purge the sand and gravel. As of September an additional leak was found. Although circulation was improved, there are now pieces of piping in the materials coming from the field, indicating failure due to installation deficiencies.
If all deficient areas were capped, it would remove 20 percent from the field. This would make it difficult to keep the building warm in the coming cold months.
The district has notified its insurance carrier and Saunders Construction Co. and is waiting for more information.
Experts from Major Geo-Thermal and ME Engineering recommend the purchase of two boilers to add to the system. The boilers would only be used on an as-needed basis.
Estimated cost would be $130,000 for the boilers, $15,000 for the engineering, and $5,000 for the piping. Wangeman recommended the use of ME Engineering for the installation and that the proposal be approved immediately.
In the discussion that followed, it was determined that a factor in the failure of parts of the system was that it was installed during a very cold winter and this could have affected the welding joints.
Board Secretary Matthew Clawson asked whether this is a permanent back-up plan and whether the district’s insurance carrier had been notified. He also asked whether there might be a less expensive solution. Wangeman responded that this was the most adequate solution, as it could carry 65 percent of the total load.
Wangeman also pointed out that the cost of gas for heating and cooling Lewis-Palmer High School is $ 80,000 per year when the cost for Palmer Ridge is $5,800. It is likely that the boilers will only be on when the temperature falls below zero outside.
Director Sarah Sampayo asked whether there is glycol in the wells and whether it will affect the groundwater nearby. The engineers said that there is glycol and it may be going out into the area but it is food-grade glycol.
Sampayo asked whether the district had applied for reimbursement for the faulty system. Wangeman responded that the company that installed the system and the bonders are on notification.
Wangeman also said that the budget each year includes $150,000 for use in such emergencies.
Board President Mark Pfoff recommended that the issue be passed, as the savings in the cost of heating and cooling over the years far exceeds the cost of the repair.
The issue passed unanimously.
Monument Hill Kiwanis makes grants to district
Ted Bauman, executive director of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Foundation, said that the organization had granted the district $17,840 to fund eight grants requested by the district.
These included adaptive PE, the district’s Deaf and Hearing program, Bearbotics at Palmer Ridge, scholarships to attend Boys and Girls State, career starter scholarships for Options 38, a sound system for the Lewis-Palmer High School Theatre, STEM programs for Bear Creek Elementary, and the Colorado Preschool Project.
The check was presented by Dennis Beasley, the granting presenter from the organization.
Teacher demonstration of learning
Tyler Dall, teacher of the Principles of Engineering Class at Palmer Ridge, explained how his class is structured and brought three students to explain their projects.
The concept of the class is to use projects that are open-ended, with few rules other than those involving safety. The students explained that they are assigned to build devices that serve a specific purpose, and the devices are then used in sequence.
Examples were a device that sorted marbles of various sizes and materials, and a boat built of non-buoyant materials.
Evan Ochsner, co-editor in chief of the Palmer Ridge High School Bear Truth newspaper, stated that Colorado has a student freedom of expression law. When the paper endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, there was a large response from parents. Due to the freedom of expression law, the editorial is protected from censorship and the editorial board alone is responsible for its content.
Ochsner thanked Principal Gary Gabel, advisor Tom Patrick, and Superintendent Karen Brofft for their support.
Derek Araje said that he had attended a back-to-school event at Palmer Ridge and was concerned about the small pay increases granted to excellent teachers and the fact that there were no merit increases. He questioned the source of decisions in making budget priorities.
Superintendent Brofft thanked the student journalists for their comments and thanked the Lewis-Palmer Hall of Fame Committee for its recent installation of a new class of honorees.
She reported that students attended a recent meeting of the Business Advisory Council to tell local businesses what students need regarding careers.
Regarding security issues, Brofft said that Rep. Terry Carver is working on an amendment to the Clair Davis Act to allow safe harbor from litigation if schools take specific steps to make their facilities safe.
At this time it appears that the district has gained 86 students above the number budgeted. The board will discuss uses for the additional funds at a future meeting.
Wangeman asked for approval for purchases of SmartLab devices for Bear Creek Elementary and Prairie Winds Elementary School.
She explained that the items will be funded by fundraising efforts by the schools, but since the funds pass through the district coffers, the board must approve their use.
The issue was passed unanimously.
The board went into executive session as 8:45 to discuss purchase acquisitions, sale of real property and staff evaluations.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Nov.17.
Above: Representatives of Monument Hill Kiwanis Foundation present a check for $17,840 to fund eight projects in the district. With them are recipients of the funding. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority, Oct. 21:BRRTA might close sooner than previously forecast
By Jim Kendrick and Lisa Hatfield
On Oct. 21, Senior Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago, a member of El Paso County’s Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) transitional shutdown staff, told the BRRTA Board of Directors that "we should be able to dissolve BRRTA, possibly by the end of the year, rather than continuing on for a two- or three-year period for purposes of liability."
This advice is different than what she told the board at the previous Sept. 16 BRRTA meeting. It now appears that the county’s liability insurance carrier would honor its BRRTA liability insurance coverage through the end of the current annual policy in August 2017 to cover potential claims or lawsuits after BRRTA dissolves, since it has been so long since BRRTA’s last construction has been completed. (See http://www.ocn.me/v16n10.htm#brrta)
On the recommendation of Elaine Johnsen, EPC Funding Optimization manager and district manager for BRRTA, the board unanimously approved an audit engagement letter from Biggs-Kofford CPA for the 2016 BRRTA audit at a cost ranging from $7,875 to $8,925. Biggs-Kofford charged $8,500 for the 2015 BRRTA audit.
New IGA approved
Based on Seago’s recommendation, the BRRTA board unanimously approved a new Resolution and Amended and Restated Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between BRRTA and El Paso County. The new IGA replaces the original 2015 transitional IGA between BRRTA and the county.
The new IGA states that all BRRTA funds it holds as of Dec. 31 will be transferred to a county restricted BRRTA road and bridge account to be used only for the following purposes and only within the Baptist Road Corridor from Forest Lakes Drive to Tari Drive:
1. Administrative costs including but not limited to the 2016 BRRTA audit
2. Design, engineering, and construction of:
3. Concrete sidewalks and medians
4. A cul-de-sac at the west end of the BRRTA frontage road that runs west from Leather Chaps Road on the south side of Baptist Road or
5. Ongoing county maintenance of the Baptist Road Corridor.
Note: The total amount of remaining BRRTA funds that will go in BRRTA’s road and bridge fund on Dec. 31 is about $1.3 million.
The new IGA also states:
6. Any future BRRTA funds, including any funds left in BRRTA’s $25,000 sale tax reserve, on or after Jan. 1, 2017 will be deposited in the county’s general fund.
7. The county agrees that until BRRTA is dissolved, various members of the county staff will be available, at no cost to BRRTA, to assist with the legal, administrative, and financial duties and functions of the authority.
8. Lists the specific legal, administrative, and financial services that county staff will perform after BRRTA is dissolved.
9. Lists specific BRRTA responsibilities that the county will assume after Dec. 31.
10. The county staff will provide an annual report on its management and oversight of BRRTA’s assets and responsibilities annually to the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at a public meeting and provide advance notice to the Town of Monument of the date for these annual reports.
Seago said the BOCC will approve the new resolution and new IGA in November.
The BRRTA board also unanimously approved a separate resolution for conveyance of all of BRRTA’s remaining small pieces of BRRTA-purchased but subsequently un-needed right-of-way real property to the county by a special warranty deed, because the county owns and maintains the adjacent Baptist Road.
Seago stated that BRRTA’s final amended 2016 budget will be presented at the next regular BRRTA board meeting, in December, along with a draft joint Monument Board of Trustees and BOCC resolution to dissolve BRRTA.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:06 p.m.
After this meeting, the BOCC scheduled a hearing for approval of the new resolution, new IGA, and the special warranty deed on Nov. 3, after OCN went to press for this edition.
The next regular BRRTA board meeting is scheduled to be held on Dec. 2 or Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the Academy Conference Room of the county’s Citizen Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, rather than Nov. 11 as previously planned. Information: 520-5547 or 520-6386.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, Oct. 26:Mark Smith retires after 20 years with Woodmoor Public Safety
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board, which met on Oct. 26, celebrated the retirement of Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) officer Mark Smith. Smith joined WPS in 1996 and retired from the Army after 20 years of service.
Smith worked in private security in Colorado Springs and, after joining WPS, attended and graduated from the Pikes Peak Regional Law Enforcement Academy with honors. WPS chief Kevin Nielsen noted that Smith spent his entire 20 years working a graveyard shift and once called the Sheriff’s office to report a suspicious minivan that turned out to be related to 54 burglaries in the area. WIA President Eric Stensland noted that Smith is the first officer to retire from WPS, and his tenure represents an impressive accomplishment.
In other reports, the board also noted they have board elections coming up with three open positions. The board encouraged residents to come to the Architectural Control Committee for guidance before they start projects to avoid spending a lot of money having to redo work.
Caption: Mark Smith, left, retiring WPS officer, is presented with a plaque by WPS chief Kevin Nielsen. Photo by Jackie Burhans
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting will be on Nov. 16 due to holidays. The WIA calendar can be found at: https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at: https://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
October followed the same general pattern as September, with temperatures well above normal and precipitation below normal. Normally, we have several nights with low temperatures in the teens and at least a few days of accumulating snowfall. Not this year. Low to mid-20s was the best we could do for cold air, and only a few days of snowflakes, which didn’t accumulate. Instead, most days were mild and dry, with many days reaching well into the 70s.
It’s interesting to note that this is also the same pattern we saw last year, when September and October 2015 were much drier and warmer than normal. Of course, we made up for it in a hurry last year, with a big snowstorm during the middle of November and well above normal seasonal snowfall overall. It’s important to remember because of our location (high elevation, interior of the continent, etc.), we are rarely blessed with "normal" conditions. We are most often at one extreme or another (hot cold, warm dry). So enjoy the dry and mild weather while it lasts, because it won’t last much longer.
The first three days of October were mild with low 70s from the 1st through the 3rd. A change in the pattern moved in from the 4th through the 7th, as temperatures dipped below normal each day. Highs were in the upper 50s to low 60s on the 5th, then upper 40s on the 6th. As the main trough moved over the area right around sunrise on the 6th, we saw our first snow of the season, with most areas on top of the Palmer Divide picking up a trace to half inch. Of course, this all melted quickly, but the day remained cool and breezy. Temperatures warmed back to normal levels over the next few days with lots of sunshine through the weekend. Also, the cooler air mass and clear skies allowed overnight temperatures to consistently fall below freezing, reaching into the mid-20s from the 5th through the 8th.
For the remainder of the month we received no measurable precipitation—very unusual for October. With the exception of four days between Oct. 9th and the 31st, every day was above normal, with some days near record-high territory.
Highs reached into the upper 60s to low 70s from the 9th through the 12th. A weak surge of cooler air and upslope flow made a brief intrusion on the region during the overnight hours of the 11th, leaving behind low clouds, fog, and drizzle all day on the 12th. This also dropped high temperatures by about 30°F between the two days. But this intrusion of cool air was very short-lived, as we quickly jumped back in the 70s over the next few days. In fact, we hit upper 70s from the 14th through the 16th, nearly 20°F warmer than normal for mid October. Overnight lows were mild as well, as a blanket of high clouds and breezy conditions held low temperatures well into the 40s.
Our next brief intrusion of cooler air came on the 18th. Highs were held to about normal levels, in the low to mid-50s. But of course this felt much cooler because we have previously been so warm. Overnight lows were also chilly, bottoming out in the upper teens during the morning hours of the 20th.
However, this was the last cool air we saw during the month, as highs consistently reached the 60s and 70s all the way through Halloween. There were plenty of high and mid-level clouds moving through at times, and gusty winds as well, but the only precipitation we saw from the 13th through the 31st was a brief rain shower during the early evening of the 25th. Given how cold and snowy it can often be around Halloween, I’m sure most trick-or-treaters were happy to have the mild and dry conditions.
A look ahead
November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end, with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.
October 2016 Weather Statistics
Average High 66.8° (+7.3°)
100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°
Average Low 34.9° (+5.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°
Monthly Precipitation 0.11" (-1.62")
100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall 0.2" (-10.8")
Highest Temperature 78° on the 15th, 16th
Lowest Temperature 19° on the 20th
Season to Date Snow 0.2" (-11.2") (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 5.63" (-4.17") (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 438 (-140)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Letters to Our Community
Guidelines for letters to the editor.
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.
Please vote no on 301
The historic "Pogo" comic strip had a famous line: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
For Palmer Lake, this seems to be more real than ever as the town goes for its third vote in the past three years concerning the legalization of the retail sale of marijuana.
Some folks believe that the town needs the tax money, indicated by the proponents to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Maybe it could bring in some money. But we have to ask: Is the capability to raise funds the only criteria for this decision? What other factors might we also consider?
How about Palmer Lake breaking federal law, as retail marijuana sales remain illegal according to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970? The classification was reviewed in 2016 at the request of pro-marijuana folks and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration decided to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule 1 substance, along with heroin and LSD.
How about marijuana being a pathway drug for one-sixth of the users, who unfortunately end up on much more harmful substances? Do we want to expose our citizens to this for some quick cash?
How about the crime which can come with marijuana as harder drug dealers see Palmer Lake as a feeding ground and seek to convert users to more expensive substances? Is our Police Department ready and equipped for this? Are we?
There are many more "How about…?" questions to be asked and answered. Some very useful information can be examined on the website www.CALMPalmerLake.org. Take a look.
Let’s not become our own enemy. Let’s just keep retail sales of marijuana out of Palmer Lake.
Please vote no on 301. Thank you.
"Regulate Palmer Lake"—more to the story
Recently, local marijuana wholesalers sent mail requesting the citizens of Palmer Lake to vote "yes" for petitioned items 300 and 301 in the November election. Please! Before you vote, read this letter.
The petitions want to open a retail marijuana store in Palmer Lake. Please go to their listed website in the mailer and read what it says in detail. Then please go to the Palmer Lake Administration building and ask for copies of the petitions these people have submitted and read them very carefully. There could be lots of problems in them for our town. For example:
A vote of "yes" for recreational MJ would cause Palmer Lake to be limited to one Recreational retail seller per 2,000 citizens. It also says that the all town MJ-eligible wholesalers as of a certain date would automatically become recreational retailers in Palmer Lake unless our population grows over 4,000. Go ask Town Hall how many wholesalers there are in Palmer Lake. This could give one MJ recreational retail store in Palmer Lake a monopoly. Could this mean lawsuits against Palmer Lake from other people who want to open an MJ retail store, too?
In 2014, the Palmer Lake voters declared a moratorium on any voting on establishment of recreational marijuana store(s) in Palmer Lake for three years. That vote passed by 710-634. This petition seeks to nullify that vote of the people. If you vote for this petition, you are voting to nullify the vote that we already passed in 2014.
The federal government says sales of recreational MJ are illegal. The petitioners say the taxes they pay will help fund our town’s needs. Do we really want a major tax contributor in Palmer Lake to be a seller of drugs that are illegal under federal law? If you pass it, then they could become the only recreational retailer between Manitou Springs and Denver. Think about that. What negative impacts can you see for our small town?
The petitioners only have listed one way to protect our children from the increased availability of MJ in our town and that would be to sell the MJ and its products in "childproof containers." Teenagers are also our children! The petitioners have no way to control who ends up using the products they sell. That responsibility falls on your town government and could be very hard and expensive to control.
A thank you and a clarification
Thank you to Janet Sellers in her October OCN High Altitude Natural Gardening article for addressing the efforts that have been made toward noxious weeds eradication. I tend to obsess on noxious weeds, sharing bits of information regarding every plant I see.
In the reservoir trailhead area, knapweed flower head weevils and root weevils are doing an exceptional job eradicating knapweed, the only species they will ever consume. They are migrating to other knapweed areas that are calling for their assistance. Knapweed is allopathic, exuding a toxic substance which inhibits growth of other surrounding plants, and is spread primarily by seed which is estimated to be viable for five or more years. The larvae stage of the flower head weevil consumes the seeds, thereby diminishing the seed bank. The root weevil weakens the plant by feeding on the roots.
Bouncing bet, Canada thistle, Common tansy, Leafy spurge, and Toad flax, also noxious weeds, are spread by rhizomatous root systems, as well as seed, making them difficult to eradicate. Seeds of Common mullein, another Colorado noxious weed, are viable for 100 years.
All noxious weeds are non-native plants which produce thousands of seeds, allowing them to aggressively invade and diminish native ecosystems and biodiversity, are harmful or poisonous to humans and animals, and they increase wildfire potential as ground and ladder fuels. (Poison ivy is a native plant, therefore is not a noxious plant.)
Thanks to everyone who has joined in this effort to protect our native biodiversity by eradication noxious weeds. Additional information is available from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado Weed Management Association. The El Paso County guide to Identification and Control of Noxious Weeds is available in limited quantity at the Palmer Lake Post Office, town office, and library. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vote on principle
In this election, the fate of the Supreme Court and our entire nation hangs in the balance. The most vulnerable and innocent, the unborn child’s fate will rest upon this decision. Beginning as early as 24 weeks’ gestation there is viability outside the womb. Despite this fact there are those seeking laws to allow abortions to birth.
Democrat Hillary Clinton supports access to abortion and is an outspoken defender of Planned Parenthood, which is the largest provider of abortions in the U.S. and also offers other health services.
Republican Donald Trump, who in the past was a supporter of abortion rights, now says he isn’t, although he’s been somewhat inconsistent in his campaign statements on abortion. Numerous anti-abortion leaders, initially wary of Trump, now support him because of his pledge to nominate Supreme Court justices who are open to curtailing abortions and his choice of Mike Pence, a staunch abortion foe, as his running mate. www.yahoo.com/news/why-matters-abortion-054108979--election.html.
On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled its historic Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal in this country.
In June 1969, Norma McCorvey alleged rape, although untrue, to obtain a legal abortion but gave birth prior to a case decision. Years later, she wrote a book titled I Am Roe, declaring she was the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade.
"I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma,’ I said to myself, ‘They’re right.’ Seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo and I said to myself, ‘That’s a baby!’ I suddenly understood the truth—that’s a baby! Abortion—at any point—was wrong," McCorvey said.
Vote on principles! Pro-life!
Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore:New and exciting titles from our regional trade show
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Every year we look forward to the fall and winter new releases at the Mountains and Plains Booksellers trade show. We meet authors, talk with both publishers and authors about their new releases, and we select those that might be of interest to our customers. We’re excited to share some of our discoveries with you.
First, the three winners of the Reading the West Book Awards:
Ladies of the Canyons: A League of Extraordinary Women and Their Adventures in the American Southwest
By Lesley Poling-Kempes (The University of Arizona Press) $24.95
The true story of a group of remarkable women whose lives were transformed by the people and landscape of the American Southwest in the first decades of the 20th century. They share their adventures with the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Lummis, Chief Tawakwaptiwa of the Hopi, and Hostiin Klah of the Navajo. It’s the story of the personal challenges experienced by women and men during the emergence of the Modern Age.
A Series of Small Maneuvers
By Eliot Treichel (Ooligan Press at Portland State University) $14.95
For 15-year-old Emma Wilson, everything is changing. Uncomfortable at home and in school, Emma’s growing up and feels isolated from her friends and family. Things go from bad to worse when Emma inadvertently causes an accident that kills her father on a spring break canoe trip meant to bring them closer together. Suddenly, Emma’s efforts to reconcile must happen without him, and she must confront her guilt and her grief to begin moving forward.
By S.M. Hulse (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) $14.95
Wes Carver returns to his hometown—Black River, Mont.—with two things: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the parole board. The convict who once held him hostage during a prison riot is up for release. For years, Wes earned his living as a corrections officer and found his joy playing the fiddle. But the riot shook Wes’s faith and robbed him of his music; now he must decide if his attacker should walk free. S.M. Hulse shows us the heart and darkness of an American town, and one man’s struggle to find forgiveness in the wake of evil.
My Beer Year: Adventures with Hop Farmers, Craft Brewers, Chefs, Beer Sommeliers, and Fanatical Drinkers as a Beer Master in Training
By Lucy Burningham (Roost Books) $16.95
As a journalist spurred by curiosity and thirst, Lucy Burningham made it her career to write about craft beer, visiting as many taprooms, breweries, and festivals as possible. She decided to make it her goal to become a certified beer expert. As Lucy studies and sips her way to becoming a Certified Cicerone, she meets an eclectic cast of characters, including brewers, hop farmers, beer sommeliers, pub owners, and fanatical beer drinkers. Her journey into the world of beer is by turns educational, social, and personal—just as enjoying a good beer should be.
Rich People Behaving Badly
By Dick Kreck (Fulcrum Publishing) $16.95
Take a trip back in time to revel in the scandal, murders, infidelities, financial misdeeds, and just plain bad behavior from Colorado’s past. Former Denver Post reporter Dick Kreck looks back at Colorado’s history and shows that the foibles of people—rich or poor—remain the same. Included are socialites such as Louise Sneed Hill, who created and ruled over Denver’s "Sacred 36" Circle of society; Jane Tomberlin, who met and fell in love with a "prince" in an elevator at the Brown Palace Hotel; Irene Nolan, who cavorted late into the night with her family priest; and prominent Denver clubman Courtland Dines, who was wounded during a frolic with two silent-screen stars in his Hollywood apartment.
I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids
By Kyle Schwartz (Da Capo Lifelong Books) $19.99
Kyle’s book tells the story of the I Wish My Teacher Knew movement, with dozens of students’ handwritten emotional and insightful responses throughout. Kyle shares real stories from students, teachers, and family members that shed light on how we can all help students tackle challenges and grow as individuals. She shares strategies that can work in classrooms across America, presenting a practical guide to adapt the I Wish My Teacher Knew exercise to suit any classroom’s needs or educator’s teaching style.
Stop by and browse through our new selections. Choose some to enjoy yourself during these cool fall nights, or find some special gifts for the readers on your list. Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
November Library Events:Celebrate National Novel Writing Month at the library
By Harriet Halbig
Please note that all Pikes Peak Library facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and remain closed Nov. 24 in observance of Thanksgiving.
November is National Novel Writing Month. Come to the library to write with a friend or on your own. See below for times.
November’s Fun for the Family program on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 2:30 to 3:30 is a visit from Cool Science and a program about dry ice. Have fun experimenting with blowing foggy bubbles, shooting cloud rings through the air, and adding fizz to apple juice. All ages welcome.
The Lego Build Club will meet on Nov. 10 from 10 to 11:30. We will be in the children’s area this month.
Teen and Tween programs
Celebrate National Novel Writing Month with a variety of programs.
A visit from author Annie Dawid will be featured Saturday, Nov. 5 from 2:30 to 4:30. She will read from several openings in her award-winning novel Beginnings. Registration is required.
The Monument community room is reserved for those who would like to come write alone or with a friend on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 to 1, Thursday, Nov. 17 from 2 to 4, Friday, Nov. 25 from 1 to 4 and Wednesday Nov. 30 from 6:30 to 8:30. Everyone ages 15 and up is invited.
The Teen Advisory Board will meet on Friday, Nov. 11 from 4 to 5. Help us plan future events for teens at the Monument Library. Meet us in the study room for snacks and conversation. No registration required.
Having trouble with math? Come to the library each Monday from 3:30 to 7 for free math tutoring with AfterMath. Experienced tutors assist students of all ages and grade levels. No appointment necessary. AfterMath follows the District 38 schedule. If schools are closed, tutoring will not take place. This includes the Monday of Thanksgiving week, Nov. 21.
The Tween Time program on Friday, Nov. 18 from 4 to 5 will offer the opportunity to build and program a robot. We’ll have Mindstorms and Sphero bots. This activity is for tweens ages 9 to 12. Registration is required at 488-2370.
The Teen Arts and Crafts Open Studio will be offered on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 4 to 6. Come use our meeting room as a space to create. Supplies will be provided as available. However, feel free to bring whatever materials you are currently working with and use the space. No registration required.
See above for details on programs involving National Novel Writing Month.
On the first Wednesday of each month from 3 to 4:30, an intergenerational group of knitters will meet in the community room. Practice materials are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials. Some instruction is provided for those new to the world of knitting. The next meeting will be on Dec. 7.
The first Friday of each month from 3 to 5:30 is Coloring for Everyone. Research shows that coloring is good for your health and a great way for all ages to enjoy time together. We will provide a selection of coloring pages, pencils, gel pens, and crayons. You are also welcome to bring your own supplies. The next meeting will be Dec. 2. Drop in anytime. No registration necessary.
The Second Thursday craft on Nov. 10 from 2 to 4 is Watercolor. Join the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) Artists in Residence Debbie Ross and Ray Brown. Ross was the first PPLD Artist in Residence. Registration is required and opens one week before the class.
Come in every second Friday of the month for help with your computer questions. The Computer Help Lab is available from 9 to 10 on Friday, Nov. 11. Registration opens one week ahead.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 until noon on Friday, Nov. 18 to discuss Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
The display cabinet and walls of the library will feature works in various media by members of the Monumental Readers.
Palmer Lake Library Events
November’s Family Fun program on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 10:30 is Merry Andrew Afoot Presents Stone Soup. This well-known story is retold with unusual ingredients, including a hungry tiger fish and a pickle named Ben. And, of course, rocks! Join Leroy Leonard in his delightful play about goof sticks and soup stones.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, October 20:When the fight against Comanches raged on the Front Range
By Sigi Walker
On Oct. 20, with almost 70 people in attendance, local author/historian John Anderson presented "The Legacy of Juan Batista De Anza" as part of the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Monthly History Series. Anderson began with noting that while De Anza is well-known in California and Arizona, he is almost unknown to residents in Colorado and even New Mexico.
De Anza had founded San Francisco and a number of California missions as well as having fought Indians in California. He was appointed governor of New Mexico by the king of Spain and given the task of ridding the area of the marauding Comanches. The Comanches, led by Chief Cuerno Verde (which translates to green horn), were particularly troublesome to both the settlers and Native American tribes in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. De Anza was supported by both the Utes and Apaches.
Using maps and translations of De Anza’s journal record, Anderson presented the most likely route traveled from Santa Fe through Ojo Caliente and Antonito into southern Colorado. From there, the army traveled north the length of the San Luis Valley, crossed over Poncha Pass, Trout Creek Pass, and Wilkerson Pass, before heading east down Ute Pass into what is now Colorado Springs. The first engagement took place with Cuerno Verdo’s rear party on Aug. 31, 1779, at what is today the intersection of I-25 and Highway 24 near downtown Colorado Springs.
The final battle on Sept. 3, 1779, was fought when Cuerno Verde attacked De Anza’s 600 Spanish troops and 250 Ute and Jicarilla Apache braves with his small band of braves. All 50 were annihilated and Cuerno Verde was killed, ending the Comanche scourge. The mountain that rises over the battlefield off I-25 is named "Greenhorn."
John Anderson is an author, artist, and consultant. He is retired from Lockheed Martin and was the 26th sheriff of El Paso County from 1995 to 2003, after serving as a Colorado Springs police officer. He is known for his extensive research and tours on Ute Indian Prayer Trees. His book, Ute Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region, was published in 2015 by the Old Colorado City Historical Society.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov. 17, when the Palmer Lake Historical Society presents Jack Anthony’s debut of his new program, "A Tale of Two Husteds." Learn about the two adjacent "tank towns" between Palmer Lake and Colorado Springs, which grew into thriving communities until the 1920s, when they went into decline. The development of the U.S. Air Force Academy resulted in the removal or demolition of the remaining buildings.
Above: John Anderson, left, author and presenter for "Discovering the Anza Legacy," and Bob DeWitt, director at large, Colorado, Anza Society International, show a historical map of Anza’s "1779 Comanche Campaign" at Anderson’s presentation in October for the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Photo by Su Ketchmark, caption by Janet Sellers.
For more information, visit our website at www.palmerdividehistory.org or call 719-559-0837.
Western Museum of Mining & Industry, July 15-17:1,600 attend fifth annual Harvest Festival
By David Futey
On Oct. 8 and 9, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry hosted its fifth annual Harvest Festival.
The weekend event is becoming a fall season must-do for the Tri-Lakes and Colorado Springs communities as over 1,600 attended during the two-day event. Festival-goers had their choice of a variety of activities. They could go on tractor-pulled hayrides, watch an old west gunfight performed by the Gold Canyon Gunfighters, work an apple press, pan for gold with the help of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado, wander through a hay maze to select a pumpkin, visit the historic Reynolds Ranch House, learn about animals from the Pals of the Forest, visit with the museum burros, watch a rock crusher demonstration, and see a blacksmith in operation.
Right: A hay maze was used as a fun way to find that special pumpkin to carve and decorate. Photo by David Futey.
Information on upcoming museum events is at www.wmmi.org.
David Futey can be contacted at email@example.com.
Art Matters:Buying from the little guy empowers community
By Janet Sellers
This time of year, we celebrate all kinds of things—we have Thanksgiving this month and lots of parties and other holidays coming up. Festive times cheer us up as the winter cold keeps us indoors more. I know my dog and I will miss some daily walks on cold days—no slip and slide for me outdoors. I do enjoy the arrival of all the "festive stuff" and the colorful fun traditions indoors and outdoors.
For many people, this season includes gifts, both personal and for business. The most common aesthetic things that sell this time of year are decorations, but a growing number of wise givers and getters are clearing the path for meaningful expression through art that lasts.
Do you know how to design and make wonderful gifts? Most people do not, but they love giving and getting them. That is where our local artists and pop-up shops come in. Since the ad hoc venues literally just pop up, here are several places to look for them and get going. Lots of pop-ups use last-minute signs on street corners, and many are pointing the way online and we can search for them just by remembering to use the words "local pop up shops" and your town to zero in on them. Perusing Facebook, nextdoor.com, and even the Etsy and eBay sites offers a glimpse at what is available, and you can ask loved ones and clients for hints or wish lists to help support your search.
One of the best ways to figure this out is to simply ask. Either the personal gift or the corporate gift can be more meaningful and appreciated, so asking what the person’s hobbies or likes are will be appreciated. In art circles, we often help clients create a wish list for a business as well as for spouses, family and friends. This time of year, we can host gift parties with the wish list hints as central to the event while having fun shopping for creative gifts such as art, cards, jewelry, pottery, etc. Wish lists are a thoughtful way to help family and friends get thinking and enjoy their efforts to please.
And, add the personal touch of handmade cards; you can buy them from local artists and add a handwritten note to share your thoughts. Most galleries, many stores, and every artist I know make greeting cards for sale. At my own pop-ups, I even plan the size of the artwork and packaging to fit easily for shipping—so convenient for the patron that that aspect can make the sale.
The impact on the community of buying local, especially with local artists, can be immense. Of course, the artists generate the artifacts and maintain the quality, but the buyers are supporting this and so much more. Buying local creates community, personal interaction and, satisfying experiences and interactions right at home. Buying locally is not limited to giving locally, either, and a quality local gift has tremendous cultural value worldwide. Our community artists and shops participate in the national Small Business Saturday event, too.
The quality of the gift represents the quality of the relationship across all cultures, and that factor is not as much related to money spent as it is to thoughtfulness and appropriateness. And, it’s possible business gifts are tax deductible up to $25 per person for the tax year, but not the wrapping or shipping, so consider delivering the gift personally if possible. That benefits you by keeping you top-of-the-mind with the clients.
Shoppers now care as much about the shopping experience as the gifts they get, according to auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers. This puts holiday markets and small-business owners at an advantage. The statistics for dollars spent shopping on Small Business Saturday may also surprise. According to a study from Civic Economics in Michigan and data from Forbes and PricewaterhouseCoopers:
• If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy. If you spend the same amount at a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy.
• Americans spent big on Small Business Saturday 2015, topping $16.2 billion, a 14 percent increase from the previous year.
Our world is increasingly distant and technical, so the human touch of handmade gifts and thoughtful design is tremendously popular now (a fact proven by data for Etsy and Amazon Handmade). Happily, local artists, craftspeople and small businesses help us define our community and create a powerful social sensibility, an infrastructure known as "love of place."
As new pop-up shops, holiday markets, church bazaars, and trunk shows spring up all over town and in our favorite local brick and mortar shops, our local artists and craftspeople have an advantage over any big box store for thoughtful, beautiful, and fun gifts. I typed in a Facebook search, "local holiday pop up shops" and got a top hit for our local Tri-Lakes.
This season, do seek out and visit these tiny venues of local artists and shops, for you are keeping the dollars local and circulating in our community, a fact that strengthens every dollar you spend with the little guys in town. Besides, it’s such fun to meet the artists and you might just get some tasty treats when you go.
Janet Sellers is a local fine artist, writer, and art teacher. She has public art and sculptures in many Colorado cities, local drawing and painting classes for all ages, and welcomes your art questions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snapshots of Our Community
Caption: Heather Young earned her Girl Scout Silver Award by making 22 embroidered stuffed animals for distribution by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District paramedics when children need to be transported by ambulance. Tri-Lakes Monument firefighters, from left, Robert Thompson, Mike Rauenzahn, William Vogl, and Mo Ayala thanked Heather for her thoughtful contribution. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
TLWC Harvesting Hope, Sep. 22
Caption: On Sept. 22, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) held its new fall fundraiser called Harvesting Hope. Numbers tell some of the story—17 food vendors, 13 beverage vendors, 10 celebrity guests, 299 sold tickets, 200 silent auction baskets, 140 home-baked harvest breads by their very own "Happy Harvesters," and over 350 people in attendance. The Ponderosa Room at Spruce Mountain Ranch in Larkspur was transformed into a fall landscape. The music, line dancing, and square dancing added entertainment. Donations that made the evening unforgettable included those from Front St. Square, The Wine Seller, PieZanos, Eagle Engraving Awards & Trophies, and Purple Mountain Jewelry. The first Harvesting Hope event with so much TLWC and community support added $23,000 to the TLWC’s granting fund. All proceeds benefit qualified nonprofit service organizations and public schools in the Tri-Lakes area. Photo courtesy of Tri-Lakes Women’s Club.
RMMA Concert, Oct. 1
Caption: On Oct. 1, the Rocky Mountain Music Alliance held its 10th Anniversary Season Concert at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church. The audience heard the Mozart Violin Sonata, Ravel-Tzigane, and Prokofiev Sonata No. 1 in f minor performed by Geoff Herd, violin, and Zahari Metchkov, piano. See www.rmmaonline.org. Photo by Barbara Taylor.
Poverty Simulator, Sep. 27
Caption: Tri-Lakes Cares, in coordination with the Pikes Peak United Way, hosted a Poverty Simulator event Sept. 27 at Lewis-Palmer School District 38’s administration building. The simulation enables participants to view poverty from different angles and then discuss the potential for change within local communities. It’s designed to create a broader awareness among community members. As part of the simulation, volunteers took on the role of family members trying to make ends meet and had to try to get to the bank, interfaith services, food-a-rama, mortgage company, pawn shop, school, etc. in a four-week period covered in an hour. Comments afterward about the frustration, trouble with transportation and child care, survival mode instead of parenting, and tension showed how much volunteers immersed themselves in this experience. United Way will offer this simulation to any large group that is interested. Pictured above: Kelly Bryant, left, Tri-Lakes Cares’ volunteer coordinator, played the role of the banker. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
Phil Keaggy at TLCA, Sep. 30
Caption: On Sept. 30, guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy entertained a sold-out audience at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Keaggy’s musical career formally started with the Youngstown, Ohio, based band, Glass Harp in 1968. After five years in this influential trio, he turned toward Christian-oriented music for the next 40-plus years. On this evening, he blended songs from his Christian-oriented albums and a number of instrumentals, along with songs as George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun. For any guitar player, a night watching Keaggy masterfully utilize the instrument and draw out every conceivable note with clarity and variable speed up and down the neck is an opportunity to gain inspiration for how the guitar can and should be played. Upcoming events at the TLCA are at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Palmer Lake .5K Fun Run, Oct. 2
Caption: On Oct. 2, over 600 paid registrants attended the Palmer Lake .5k Fun Run to benefit the lake and lakeside facilities. Short as the "run" was, there was a donut station midway and festively dressed participants with children, strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, and pooches in tow. They crossed the finish line and then enjoyed beverages at O’Malley’s restaurant after the event. Pictured: Samuel Yount. Photo by Sarah Yount, caption by Janet Sellers.
Blessing of the Pets, Oct. 4
Caption: Deacon Doug blesses local pets at the annual Blessing of the Pets at St. Peter Catholic School October 4. From caged geckos and hermit crabs to leashed dogs, cats and birds, the pets and their people received cheerful blessings and many smiles. Photo by Lisa Hawthorne, caption by Janet Sellers.
Empty Bowls, Oct. 5
Caption: Pottery artist Dusty Severn is shown at the pottery bowls table for the Kiwanis Empty Bowls Dinner fundraiser Oct. 5. Bowls were donated by local artists and filled with soup at the kitchen to complete the dinner event. Photo by Bonnie Nasser. Caption by Janet Sellers.
Senior center gets equipment
Caption: Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC) Co-Presidents Millie Town, left, and Charlie Ann Hayes demonstrate new exercise equipment at the Tri-Lakes Senior Center. The equipment was purchased with a grant to Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance from TLWC. New chairs for the facility were also made possible by the TLWC. The Senior Center is located at the campus of Lewis-Palmer High School, next to the stadium. TLWC has provided support for local nonprofit, public service, and educational organizations for over 40 years. Photo courtesy of Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance.
TLC gets PCs and training
Caption: From left are Kim Wisenhut, director of Tri-Lakes Cares, RF Smith, Monument Hill Kiwanis Club president, and Julie Seltz of PC’s for People. Through the coordinated efforts of these groups, local Tri-Lakes Cares clients received personal computers and training Oct. 28 at the Tri-Lakes Cares facility. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Proposed open space
By Janet Sellers
Mary Jo Lewis, of the El Paso County Parks Bear Creek Nature program, led a mid-October hike for the program’s Active Adults Club from the Palmer Lake trailhead along the Santa Fe trail. The two-hour hike brought participants into the candidate open space property known as Elephant Rock Open Space, located near and in view of Elephant Rock, an area the county is working to acquire.
The hike included an informational chat with Drs. Tom Close and Catherine McGuire on the local history of their family’s land, the subject of the hike. Close entertained hikers with geological and prehistoric data as well as written historical accounts, historic ephemera of early advertisements published to create interest in railroad rides to Palmer Lake, and a visual timeline with his own oral legends of the area.
For this potential open space to become part of the county park system, Elaine Kleckner, El Paso County Parks planning manager, added, "... we have a willing seller and it will go through the typical acquisition process with this phase; we also have some funding from the county ballot initiative 18, and we had donations and fundraising from various local groups. We will proceed with the Board of County Commissioners approval to make the offer. "
Caption: From left are Drs. Catherine McGuire and Tom Close, owners of the proposed open space property, and El Paso County Parks Planning Manager Elaine Kleckner. Close shared a timeline relating geologically significant ages to the site as well as advertising ephemera, the oral history and local legends of the area, including Chautauqua events and railroad day trips of that era from Denver to Palmer Lake (originally a watery marsh for a train water stop), which helped create interest in the nature and history of the locale for eco-tourism along that part of the Front Range. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Trunk or Treat events a big hit
Caption: John and Carrie Manny were just one of the large group of families who offered free treats and lots of fun at the St. Peter Church Trunk or Treat event Oct. 28. The event featured a safe place for Halloween-themed fun amid decorated car trunks readied with candy and games for costumed trick-or-treaters. Photo and caption by Janet Sellers.
Caption: At a festive autumn-themed trunk station, "Brenda" the harvest maiden hands out some of the many candies of the evening as an exuberant large crowd milled about the Tri-Lakes YMCA Trunk or Treat event. The event included costumed trick or treaters, games, and the movie It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, all free to the public on Oct. 28. Photo and caption by Janet Sellers.
Our Community Notices
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Major Transportation Corridors Plan public comment period ends Nov. 14
El Paso County is seeking final public input on the 2040 Major Transportation Corridors Plan (MTCP). The county Planning Commission will hear the plan in November. The final public comment period ends Nov. 14. You can review the final document and submit your comments at http://epcroadplan.com.
WIA seeks board candidates
If you are interested in running for the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Board of Directors, call or stop by the office at 1691 Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2693, www.woodmoor.org.
Register for Tri-Lakes Y Youth Sports Camps
Registration is now open for Thanksgiving Break Basketball Camp and Winter Break Volleyball Camp. See the ad on page 6 or website for details. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument.
Would you like to honor a member of your family who served honorably in our U.S. military? Join American Legion Post 9-11 in honoring your family hero by having an 18-by-36-inch banner flown in the Tri-Lakes area featuring his/her photo in uniform with area and dates served on active duty. The banner will be attached to town posts by Palmer Lake Legionnaires and flown from Memorial Day through Veterans Day. The cost to each family is $125. To order or for more information, call post headquarters at the Depot Restaurant, 481-8668.
Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week, Nov. 14-21
More than 14,700 empty shoeboxes will be transformed into gifts filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for children who live in the midst of poverty, war, disease, or natural disaster. You can drop off donations to The Ascent Church, 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument, Nov. 14-17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Nov. 18, 3-6 p.m.; Nov. 19, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Nov. 20, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Nov. 21, 9 a.m.- noon. The First Baptist of Black Forest, 10915 Black Forest Rd., is collecting donations Nov. 14-21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) Essay Contest, apply by Nov. 18
High School juniors can win an all-expense-paid trip to either Washington, D.C., or a week at Leadership Camp at Glen Eden Resort. For more information, contact Megan Morse, 719-494-2622, or visit www.mvea.coop/community/essaycontest/.
Volunteers needed for chipping and mitigation projects
Black Forest Together continues to coordinate service projects to assist homeowners in Black Forest with chipping and forest management projects to reclaim their land from the devastation of the 2013 fire. This is a great community service opportunity for ages 14 and up. For more information about upcoming projects, contact Donna Arkowski at email@example.com or call 495-2892.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1-April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling for the 2016-17 school year
The school offers full and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org.
Help the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary (BFAS) rescue animals
Southern Colorado Animal Rescue needs volunteers and donations to continue its work at the sanctuary in Black Forest. BFAS is an animal rescue and rehab farm that has been helping animals since 1994. The all-volunteer organization has rescued thousands of horses, farm animals, dogs, cats, and various small wild animals and birds. BFAS provides rescue operations, adoption programs, foster and sponsorship programs, a student/horse education program, service dogs to veterans, and local and national rescue efforts. They also work with local schools and scouts. Donations are needed for animal feed and veterinary care, hay, sand for the training arena, a horse stall barn, and office supplies. Volunteers are needed for day-to-day operations. To find out how you can help, call 494-0158, email BFASFarm@gmail.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.
County expands services to veterans
Three El Paso County agencies providing services to veterans are making it easier to receive assistance by opening satellite offices at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle in Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mount Carmel is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and closes noon-1 p.m. for lunch. Call 667-3816 for an appointment. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center (PPWFC) has also opened an office to serve veterans and transitioning military personnel at the Mount Carmel location. The PPWFC Mount Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon-1 p.m.), and is staffed with two Workforce Center employees who help veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has an office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence. For more information, contact Dave Rose, 520-6540 or DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance 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.TriLakesSeniors.org/newletter.php.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance needs volunteers
The Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that serves and supports seniors in our community. The Alliance currently needs volunteers, three hours a week; and active board members, eight to 10 hours a month. For more information, call Program Coordinator Sue Walker, 719-464-6873. Volunteers are also needed to work a three-hour shift once a week in the thrift store, to move items from storage into the store, or to pick up and transport donated items. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
Free transportation and 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. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org. The senior transportation program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076. ■
Our Community Calendar
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
All Pikes Peak Library facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and remain closed Nov. 24 in observance of Thanksgiving.
The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
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