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By Jim Kendrick
On May 17, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) celebrated the 20-year career and retirement of County Engineer André Brackin, the Department of Public Works’ principal county construction supervisor for every Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) and related Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA) joint project to date. Before joining the county staff Brackin served the nation as an F-14 Tomcat U.S. Naval flight officer and radar intercept officer.
Among numerous speakers who praised Brackin’s 20 years of experience, guidance and leadership, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a former county commissioner and BRRTA board president, stated, "I thought it was important to express my appreciation, as an eight-year county commissioner, as the former vice chair of the State Transportation Advisory Committee and a few other things along the way, for his great work in delivering the promises made to the voters and doing it in a cost-effective manner and making it so that our citizens can actually get from one place to another in a reasonable fashion."
BOCC Chair Amy Lathen said, "He was instrumental in the execution of initiatives that have greatly benefitted the citizens of El Paso County, including: the development of 1041 permit process, the adoption of stormwater drainage and utilities placement specifications and requirements, and the establishment of countywide transportation impact assessments for new development. Your responsiveness, every time I had an issue with a constituent, you were right there, you were there to respond, you were quick to respond. I had trust in your response, which I can’t say enough, how much that matters."
"I want to thank commissioners and county administration for allowing me the opportunity to serve the county this many years. I have no regrets at all. I enjoyed every minute of the last 20 years. It’s been the highlight of my engineering career to serve the county in this capacity," said Brackin.
The next day, the opening of Brackin’s last project was celebrated. It came in $170,000 under budget. The county held a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by 80 people to celebrate the completion of construction for the five-year West Baptist Road expansion project that widened Baptist from I-25 to Forest Lakes Drive and built a bridge over the railroad tracks, greatly improving the safety of everyone living west of the previous dangerous at-grade crossing. Jennifer Irvine, engineering manager for the county’s Public Services Department and chair of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Transportation Advisory Committee, was master of ceremony.
This last BBRTA project was funded by:
• $11.4 million – PPRTA
• $750,000 – BRRTA
• $1 million – Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant
Some details of the key project elements were:
• Three-span 438-foot concrete girder bridge over the existing railroad tracks
• Roundabout at the intersection of Baptist/Old Denver/Woodcarver roads
• Expansion of the adjacent Santa Fe Trailhead
• Extensive utility relocations and drainage improvements
• Removal of the existing Baptist Road at-grade crossing and bridge
• Improvements to the Hay Creek Road and Forest Lakes Drive intersections
• Revision of the Monument Creek floodplain adjacent to Baptist Road
The ribbon-cutting was attended by many representatives for:
• EPC Department of Transportation—project management
• Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig—design
• SEMA Construction—contractor
For more information on these and related projects, see http://adm.elpasoco.com/publicservices/transportation/pages/RoadProjects.aspx
Jim Kendrick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education recognized several outstanding scholars and volunteers and discussed board procedures and policies during its May 19 meeting.
Recognition of scholars
Palmer Ridge Principal Gary Gabel introduced junior Jasper Howald, who earned a perfect score on the ACT test; senior Tanner Bobak, who is a Boettcher scholar, senior Jenna Bethany, who was selected as one of the Gazette’s Best and Brightest, senior Hayden Lingle, Daniels Scholar, and Emily Ng (not present), selected as the recipient of the El Pomar Colorado College Scholarship.
Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl introduced senior Koby Chan, school valedictorian and alternate for the Boettcher scholarship, and Edie Statham, Female Rotary Champion of the Year.
Recognition of students
The Palmer Ridge High School robotics team presented a demonstration of their robot and explained the process of the competition. They reached the quarterfinals at the state level and explained that they are trying to enlarge their membership and are coaching a middle school team so that students may begin earlier in their school career. Lewis-Palmer Elementary School Gifted Education teacher Maria Johnson and Ashley Pollard are coaches of the team.
Recognition of volunteers
Palmer Lake Elementary School parent Jim Riggins was recognized for his Green Panther project focusing on recycling and conservation. He provided an energy audit for the school as part of his activities.
Becky Worthington was recognized for serving as chair of the District Accountability Advisory Committee.
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster presented a first reading of policies regarding rental of district facilities. In addition to a rate scale, Foster recommended that, if the attendance at an event exceeds a predetermined number, a custodial fee should be charged. Also included in the discussion was a policy to prohibit the use of drones at school events.
Two policies were offered for approval. The first involved graduation requirements. Under question was the requirement for physical education credit. Director Sarah Sampayo asked whether a waiver could be offered for students who participated in organized sports.
Director of Assessment and Gifted Education Lori Benton responded that principals have the final word on certification for graduation. The policy was approved.
A policy regarding student use of technology was discussed. Wording of the policy included the fact that students should have no expectation of privacy when using district technology. Board President Mark Pfoff said that this statement means that if the equipment is misused, the district can investigate.
Sampayo suggested that students should not be required to participate in the use of district resources and that anything students create becomes the property of the district.
Board Secretary Matthew Clawson said that parents may now file paperwork opting out of the use of district resources until the policy can be changed.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman commented that there is no insurance against the use of district resources for bullying or fraud.
Superintendent Karen Brofft commented that the existing policy will stand unless new wording is passed. She said that this policy appears in the student handbook, which will be printed soon. The previous policy does not include electronic resources.
Sampayo suggested adding wording regarding specific offenses.
Pfoff suggested approving the policy as written with the intention of making changes after consulting legal counsel.
The policy was approved with a no vote from Sampayo.
Director of Instructional and Informational Technology Elizabeth Walhof told the board that there is now an Educational Technology area on the district home page.
She explained the activities of her department during the past year and plans for the upcoming summer leadership academy, which will offer sessions to strengthen staff skills in the area of technology and to create professional development programs in this area.
The K-12 curriculum will be examined to include technology throughout.
Walhof said that learning partnerships in the 2016-17 school year will include seeking stakeholder feedback on the use of technology by surveying students, parents, staff and the community, and asking business owners in the community about the skills required for future employment.
Walhof also said that Wangeman and she will attend Colorado Department of Education (CDE) meetings regarding the new legislation involving student privacy.
Consent agenda discussion
Sampayo gave a presentation regarding the procedures recommended by the CDE and used in other districts regarding approval by the board of a consent agenda each month.
She defined the consent agenda as a bundling of noncontroversial items to be approved without discussion by the board. She suggested that the consent agenda should include specific information where possible.
Sampayo said that she is concerned that the board is now offering a list of items with no detail for constituents to comment upon. She suggested offering attachments for the review of the public—if not in the detail reviewed by the board, at least in sufficient detail so that the public may understand the possible impact of the items approved.
She said that, since the information is gathered for the board, this change should not involve a great deal of staff time, and other districts in the state offer summaries and historic background to the public. She said that the board packet should be available online 24 hours before the meeting. District 20 posts agenda items a week in advance of the meeting. Abbreviations and jargon should be explained clearly.
Sampayo suggested that the use of transparency in explaining the consent agenda would hold the board responsible for its actions and make the public more likely to trust the board and support financial initiatives in the future. An example would be an explanation of individual student fees and the consequences to parents if the fees are not paid.
Sampayo requested that this issue be placed on the agenda for the next board work session.
Pfoff said that the board is not trying to hide information from the public and reminded the board that any member who has questions about a specific item on the consent agenda may pull that item out of the list for clarification or discussion. He also cautioned that some information, such as a salary schedule, cannot be published until it has been approved.
Public comment discussion
Clawson commented that there seems to be a need for more time to hear comments regarding Monument Academy.
Board Vice President Sherri Hawkins said that people should have a chance to comment, but there should be a limit to the amount of time used for this purpose during a meeting. She said that the addition of a second opportunity to comment is a positive change.
Pfoff said that he has gone to board meetings in Jefferson County where people can sign up online to speak at meetings and the amount of time each individual has to speak is based on the number of people who comment. The present board policy is to allow 30 minutes for public comment. By adding the second opportunity, another 30 minutes is added. (A second comment period began last month.) He wondered whether an individual should be allowed to speak twice and whether the same subject should be addressed twice during a single meeting.
Sampayo commented that some people don’t realize that they need to arrive early to sign up since there is a limit to the number of individuals who are allowed to speak. She suggested that individuals should be able to speak immediately before a vote on subjects of greater public interest.
Pfoff recommended greater use of board coffees as the preferred way for the public to interact with the board. Or perhaps the board could choose specific topics of conversation and invite the public to come to interact with the board separate from their regular meetings.
Board Treasurer John Magerko, attending by phone, suggested that the public should bring any concerns to the superintendent or a board coffee before addressing the board formally. In this way, some concerns can be addressed and solved without involving the board at a meeting, he said.
Budget process review
Wangeman gave a presentation on the process for developing and approving the budget for the 2016-17 school year. She said that the district will operate with $50,000 less in Title 1 funding than this year because the district’s population of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch is not growing at the same rate as that of other districts. District 38 has sufficient reserves to satisfy TABOR requirements.
Goals addressed in developing the budget include the maintenance of present class sizes, maintenance of insurance, the PERA payments, and provision of salary increases.
Pfoff said that the board must also consider the fact that, as the economy improves and more houses are built in the district, there may be a need to build new schools.
Wangeman said that the budget stands at $85 million. The per pupil funding for the coming year is estimated at $7,051. Monument Academy per pupil funding is passed directly to them. The hiring pool for teachers needed to be hired to maintain class size is three teachers. Technology purchases will be from the general fund.
Wangeman is asking for a 2.5 percent salary increase for all employees, which would equal one step on the salary scale for each. Employees whose compensation is lower than that of similar employees in neighboring districts may receive a larger increase.
The board approved the salary schedule.
Pfoff explained that board policy dictates that 10 individuals may speak for three minutes each during the early part of the meeting. He suggested that as many people as wish to speak should be allowed to do so at this single meeting.
Sampayo said that it would be inconsistent to have a different limit for one time only. Pfoff then reversed his suggestion and used the original policy.
Citizen comments can be heard on http://www.ustrream.tv/channel/lpsd-live on the recording of the May 19 meeting.
Subjects included support of the district and its staff, a Lewis-Palmer graduate thanking the district for the quality of its education, a challenge of Pfoff to relinquish his position due to violation of public right to expression, a request that the board not approve further policies involving use of technology, and failure of the district to adequately support Monument Academy.
The board approved a consent agenda of routine matters and went into executive session "to discuss negotiations" at 11 p.m.
Caption: Palmer Ridge High School Principal Gary Gabel, right, introduced Boettcher Scholar Tanner Bobak. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Sandi Brandl, right, introduced Daniels Scholar Hayden Lingle. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: Palmer Ridge High School Principal Gary Gabel introduces Jenna Bethany, one of the Gazette’s Best and Brightest for 2016. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Cation: The Lewis-Palmer D-38 robotics team Palmer Ridge BEARbotics thanked the district for its support, explained the First Robotics Competition (FRC) regional event, described the team organization and demonstrated the FRC 4068 robot that competed in the 2016 Denver regional event. The challenge this year was a Monty Python-esque assault on castle towers with multiple barriers to cross, boulders to lob, and a final attempt to capture and climb the tower as part of an alliance of three robots. The team made it to the quarter finals, repeating last year’s result event though all of last year’s seniors had graduated. From left are Angela Grayson, Shelby Kravchin, Jimmy Gammell, Jasper Howald, Kirk Lobban (kneeling), Christopher Shell, Tommy Upchurch, Brandon Pfoff, and Sean Bowers. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at its Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on June 16.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the May 2 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the Dominguez parcel was annexed into the town. A discussion of the town’s water plans culminated in a vote attempting to rescind the March 7 water rates ordinance with an emergency ordinance, but it failed by one vote. The proposed changes to the town’s snow storm traffic regulations also failed by one vote. At the end of the meeting, retired Air Force Col. Dennis Murphy was appointed to fill the last vacant board position and was sworn in by Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman.
The trustees went into a 45-minute executive session in the middle of the meeting to conduct a teleconference with the town’s land use attorney, Carolynne White of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP. They made no announcements after this session.
Before the meeting, Tami Tanoue, lead counsel for Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), conducted a session called "Do’s & Don’ts of Quasi-Judicial Proceedings."
Town Attorney Gary Shupp was excused due to injuries suffered in a traffic accident, Mayor Jeff Kaiser said.
Dominguez parcel annexed
Principal Planner Larry Manning presented two ordinances that would approve the annexation and Town of Monument R-1 zoning of the 9.65-acre unincorporated county parcel owned by county residents Rafael and Elizabeth Dominguez at 16440 Old Denver Road. Manning said that the annexation was being submitted as two smaller parcels sequentially (Parcel A, Dominguez No. 1 and Parcel B, Dominguez No. 2) so that each could meet the requirement that one-sixth of the border of the parcel was contiguous with existing town boundaries. This item was continued from the April 18 board meeting. See www.ocn.me/v16n5.htm#mbot0418.
On March 9, the Monument Planning Commission held a hearing on just the zoning request, not the annexation request. See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mpc0309. The requested zoning was town R-1, single-family residential low-density, for which development standards would have a minimum of 15,000 square feet per lot. One acre is 43,560 square feet.
Note: This not the same as R-1 established neighborhood single-family low-density residential zoning, which has a minimum area of a lot is 6,000 square feet. OCN reported this incorrectly in April.
There is no development plan for this property now, Manning said. His report said that the property is located southeast of the southern terminus of Synthes Avenue and between the "future Willow Springs residential development and the future Wagons West residential development," both of which are also currently in unincorporated El Paso County. The property is southwest of the Trails End Monument Filing No. 2 subdivision, zoned Planned Residential Development. It is south of the undeveloped portion of Ashton Industrial Park zoned Planned Industrial District located east of the Synthes complex, Manning’s report said.
Note: Although the board had approved annexation and separate town Planned Development zoning for the entire Willow Springs Ranch parcel, including the Dominguez parcel, on Feb. 4, 2008, as well as a controversial PD Sketch Plan on March 3, 2008, the landowner/developer never filed any of these documents with the county clerk and recorder. These prior board approvals for the prior landowner/developer subsequently expired when the property was foreclosed due to the landowner’s bankruptcy. See www.ocn.me/v8n3.htm#bot0204 for details.
The proposed annexation agreement stated that the Dominguez property could not be subdivided (under county regulations) prior to annexation. The approved R-1, single-family residential low-density zoning classification will not become final with the adoption of the annexation and filing of the signed annexation agreement with the county clerk and recorder. Future Monument boards of trustees could rezone the property or any part thereof in the future, the agreement stated.
Manning’s report noted that, if approved, both the applicants and the town staff and mayor would sign the annexation agreement for the parcel. Only when the formal town annexation is concluded would the town then provide the one public service of police protection. The property’s owner(s) will pay the additional 6.255-mill Town of Monument property tax for general operation of the town in 2016.
In Manning’s proposed annexation agreement, the requirements for any future development, utilities, and public services for the Dominguez parcels were noted. All future development would require compliance with the town’s subdivision and zoning ordinances and approval of the development plans.
Manning said the Dominguez property currently has one single-family residence on it. It is served by an existing well and septic system, and the town is not required to provide water to the property. However, the negotiated annexation agreement that the applicants agreed to states that if town water becomes available within 500 feet of the property, and if there were utility easements that would allow the property to access that water, and if the property were part of the town, then this property’s owner(s) at that time would be required to connect to the Monument water system and give their water rights to the town, and the property’s owner(s) would be responsible for paying for that connection.
The only comment from the public was from Nancy Swearengin, who asked if the reason that the town wanted to annex the property was to facilitate a possible extension of Mitchell Road south to West Baptist Road, and if that happened, if the property owner would be paid for the access. Manning said there was no proposal like that being discussed now, that discussions as far back as 2008 only considered going southwest (not southeast) from the south end of Mitchell Road, and that there was a lot of land in other property owners’ control that would also have to be part of that extension if it ever occurred. There was some board discussion in early 2008 of connecting Mitchell to the north end of Forest Lakes Drive. (www.ocn.me/v8n3.htm#bot0204)
With very little discussion, the trustees approved in turn both the annexations for Parcel A, Dominguez No. 1 and Parcel B, Dominguez No. 2. Both votes were 4-2. Trustees Greg Coopman and Shea Medlicott voted no, but gave no reason given for their opposition.
20-year water master plan questioned
On March 7, the previous Board of Trustees had voted 3-2 to approve the first of several suggested annual increases in the newly proposed Town of Monument water rates increase that had been under discussion since October. However, the board did not approve the series of automatic 9.5 percent rate increases through 2021 recommended by town staff to help build the emergency half-million dollar reserves fund as well as help pay back $435,000 borrowed from the town’s general fund. This first water rate increase only applies to drinking water customers in the Town of Monument water service area west of I-25, which has about 1,000 accounts.
On May 2, some of the trustees attempted to enact an emergency ordinance to rescind the March 7 water rates increase until they better understood the reasons for the requested figures. Town staff did not support this attempt. The discussion ended up focusing on components of the 20-year water master plan.
Note: The Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved the town’s 20-year water master plan on Sept. 2, 2014, after discussing it at two meetings in August 2014. It replaced a plan from 2003. It included a long wish-list of proposed storage and distribution capital improvements to the water system in historic Monument, including water quality and treatment improvements, adding one 1.2-million-gallon tank storage, and developing the water reuse project.
For descriptions of water master plan discussions, see www.ocn.me/v14n9.htm#mbot-0804 and www.ocn.me/v14n10.htm#MBoT0902. To read the 75-page 20-year Water Master Plan Final Report including a long list of suggested projects, see p. 72 of Aug. 18, 2014 board packet at http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com.
As requested by Trustee Jeff Bornstein at the April 18 meeting, Public Works Director Tom Tharnish presented an emergency ordinance to rescind the March 7 water rates increase, but add a $5 monthly service charge to each account. Tharnish said if rates went back to the rates approved in 2013, the loss of the expected base rate revenues through the end of 2016 would be about $196,000. He predicted an additional $415,000 in revenue would be lost by the end of 2016 from the reduction of all the separate additional volumetric rates, if they were also reduced back to the prior rates in effect at the start of 2016.
Tharnish, Town Manager Chris Lowe, Town Treasurer Pamela Smith, and other staff members recommended that instead of rescinding the new rates, the rates approved March 7 be allowed to stand until the 2016 end of the year review is completed next year.
Tharnish then referred to a memo dated May 2 titled Effects of Enacting Emergency Ordinance 10-2016 for Water Rate Increase that was not included in the board packet, nor available online to the public for pre-meeting review. He said he had sent electronic copies and given printed copies to all the board members before the meeting. It included:
• It costs $9,830 to produce 1 million gallons of water in the town, but projected revenue from the proposed emergency ordinance would only generate $7,949 per million gallons.
• The town’s proposed water reuse project, which would use surface water instead of well water and is part of the town’s 20-year water master plan, would be at immediate risk of losing a potential financial partner in a neighboring district in the project if rates are overturned. Funding for 50 percent of this imminent vital project is based on the rate structure passed March 7.
• The town’s water system could only add 300 new homes using its current water supply, which comes primarily from aquifers, and no new will-serve letters could be issued beyond that point.
• Aquifer water levels are dropping, and continued pumping of well water could become unfeasible in as soon as 11 years.
• Capital projects would not be able to move forward without funding, including aging distribution line replacement, treatment plant improvements, and pending regulatory requirements.
Trustees Bornstein, Coopman, Medlicott, and Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson asked many questions in the long wide-ranging discussion that followed. Some of their comments in this long discussion were:
• How much revenue would be needed "just to break even" and only pay for the water that is produced right now without borrowing from the general fund?
• Why does the base rate not cover the cost of producing water and also infrastructure projects? (See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mbot0307.)
• Is the unapproved water reuse project a "fait accompli"?
• Generating revenue for a project that has not been approved yet is putting the cart before the horse.
Tharnish said that having no revenue stream in place for a project makes it very difficult to get government loans to start those projects. When the March 7 water rate increase was approved, it was scheduled to be reviewed annually and potentially adjusted each year.
Smith explained to the trustees that since 2014 the town has had money budgeted for the reuse project. "With all respect to the new board, you obviously don’t know what has been ongoing the last several years. This reuse project is a budget has been in the budget (and invoices over $5,000) the last three years. The board has been well aware of it." Trustee Kelly Elliott and Kaiser concurred that they remembered the 2014 decision.
According to Forsgren Associates water engineer Will Koger’s presentation on March 7, the town’s goals for the water rates increase were to fund $1.4 million/year in operations since the water enterprise fund was insolvent, pay $300,000/year in debt service and $1.77 million in repair and replacement capital costs from 2016-2021, and to have paid back 60 percent of the general fund payback by 2021. In his presentation, he mentioned the water master plan project needs and that capital funding for operations and management and reliability improvements would come from customer rates. See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mbot0307.
There were some related citizen statements during public comments:
• The March water rate increases are outrageous.
• No one from the town has responded to repeated requests to allow xeriscaping.
• Money from the general fund should be used for the whole town rather than supporting the water enterprise fund, which does not serve the whole town.
• If you vote to go back to the previous rates, you hurt the town a lot more than if you raise the rates.
• Water has been treated as if it were a cheap commodity; it is probably your most valuable commodity.
• Keeping the current rate increase in place makes sense, since it would be re-evaluated at the end of the year.
The trustees voted on the emergency ordinance to rescind the March 7 water rates increase. The result was a 4-2 vote, with Kaiser and Elliott voting no. Since an emergency ordinance needs to have three-fourths majority, but this was only two-thirds, the motion failed.
Coopman then proposed that the trustees reconsider the same issue as a regular ordinance at the May 16 meeting, so that only a majority vote would be needed to approve it. Wilson asked if the March 7 ordinance had already put the higher rates into effect, and Tharnish said they were in effect but the first meter reading using that rate had not happened yet, so residents had not yet seen the bills reflect the higher rates.
The trustees then voted 3-3 to reconsider the failed emergency ordinance as a regular ordinance needing only a simple majority at a future meeting. Kaiser, Elliott, and Wilson voted no.
Lowe said he would prepare a regular ordinance in case the board was ready to vote on it at a future meeting. Wilson asked for public roundtable discussion to occur as soon as possible too, and Coopman agreed.
No change to snow storm traffic regulations
For the second time, Public Works Director Tharnish presented an ordinance authorizing the revision of the town of Monument snow storm traffic regulations. The purpose of the revision was to make it easier for town snowplows (and those in Triview and Village Center Metro District, which are in the town and therefore fall under town ordinances) to do their work by making sure there were no cars parked on snow routes and residential streets during winter storms.
Trustees Coopman, Bornstein, and Medlicott voiced concerns about enforcement of the changes and how it could potentially hurt "innocent residents," as Bornstein said.
During public comments, two residents spoke in favor of the ordinance. Maggie Williamson and Tammy Barber said it made sense to make it easier for snowplow drivers to do their job.
Police Chief Jake Shirk spoke against it, saying he did not have the administrative capacity to track vehicle warnings, and he did not want the Police Department to be "hamstrung like this."
The motion to approve the revisions to the snow storm traffic regulations failed in a tie vote of 3-3. Bornstein, Coopman, and Medlicott voted no.
Downtown right of way vacations approved
An ordinance approving some downtown rights-of-way on First, Adams and Lincoln Streets was unanimously approved.
Reappointments and CMG payment
The trustees approved the consent agenda unanimously, including a resolution to reappoint Pamela Smith as town treasurer and Cynthia Sirochman as town clerk, and first-quarter financials through March 31, 2016.
Smith’s report commented that the $350,000 methadone clinic settlement check to Colonial Management group had been paid.
The board approved the following invoices over $5,000 unanimously:
• Common Knowledge Technology Inc., Software License upgrade for 60 machines in system − $12,474
• CIRSA Insurance, second-quarter installment of workers’ compensation − $15,397
• CIRSA Insurance, second-quarter installment of liability insurance − $23,609
Recognition from board
Kaiser announced that the board wanted to recognize an outstanding citizen, Jasper Howald, who achieved "a very remarkable record of a 36 on the ACT" college entrance exam. "We appreciate recognizing outstanding students and outstanding citizens in our community, Kaiser told Howald, who is a junior at Palmer Ridge High School.
Former Trustee John Howe said, "I voted no on the March 7 water rates increase as a protest on behalf of my constituents, not because I believed it was not necessary."
He added, "Ask questions of the right people until you understand whatever the project is before the board.
"Our staff have been hired because of their knowledge and expertise.
"You have important decisions to make; be informed and make them wisely.
"I hope you will truly speak for the community at large, not a small section and not based on a personal like or dislike of what comes before you."
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Chief Chris Truty, a town resident, welcomed the new board on behalf of the fire district.
New trustee appointed
On April 18, three residents presented their applications to fill the trustee position vacated by Kaiser when he was appointed to replace Mayor Rafael Dominguez after Dominguez resigned on March 29. These were Planning Commissioner Michelle Glover, Col. Dennis Murphy, and recent board candidate Kevin Sorenson. No additional applicants came forward by May 2. At the end of the May 2 meeting, the board voted to appoint Murphy with four votes. Sorenson received two votes. Glover was not nominated. Town Clerk Sirochman swore in Murphy.
The meeting adjourned at 9:38 p.m.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) school board met on May 17 to review the board self-assessment and listen to the School Accountability Advisory Committee (SAAC) survey results.
MA school board member Scott Saunders reviewed the board self-assessment results. The board self-assessment had 11 questions that were all answered favorably by the board. There were two questions that had more agree vs. strongly agree votes. One was "I believe the board receives good information based upon metrics for monitoring the school’s performance." The other one was "I believe the board has approved current and appropriate mission, vision and strategic plan with measurable objectives and targets for monitoring strategic initiatives." Both questions had two "strongly agree" and four "agree" votes.
In the comments, one suggestion was to implement a better metric around school discipline management. Almost everybody felt the board was committed to being unified with no personal agendas. There were also two comments suggesting improving communication. One comment was about improving communication with parents, teachers, and staff. Another suggestion was to have board members more involved with teachers in the classroom.
Al Brown, a non-parent member of SAAC, presented a report on the 2016 End-of-Year Survey to the board. The SAAC used SurveyMonkey to survey 1,783 parents and got 193 responses (11 percent). The questions were identical to those of previous years to be able to track trends. They also sent 856 iPad surveys with 245 responses (29 percent).
Brown noted that pre-K survey responses were overwhelmingly positive, elementary school responses were mostly positive, and middle school responses were mixed. The iPad survey results recognized some benefits but also had a number of concerns. The 700 comments were all over the map, with both positive and negative comments for given individuals or groups, according to Brown.
Concerns that show up across all respondents include improper use of internet and technology (IT), bullying, and security. The term "improper use" showed up repeatedly. Brown noted that this should be a top priority. He indicated that there are good policies and procedures, but they need to be consistently enforced and continually reviewed.
Brown then reviewed schoolwide recommendations as well as recommendations for pre-K, elementary, and middle school populations. Schoolwide recommendations include updating parent resources when school starts, more communication and transparency, additional physical activity, and improved security and facilities. Many of the recommendations are already being worked on by staff, Brown said. Pre-K respondents want to see more challenging curriculum for math, language arts, and art and would like a weekly e-mail so parents can prepare kids for the week; this will fall to the new director. Pre-K parents also would like to see an improvement in students modeling core virtues. Brown noted that the Character First program is really good, but the issue is that everyone has to walk the talk, including parents, board, administration, and teachers.
Brown reported elementary school concerns around academic improvement. Respondents want MA to look at the Spanish program, use the technology more effectively, continue emphasis on science, and offer more variety in creative arts projects. A lot of these things are already in progress, said Brown.
According to Brown, middle school responses were more polarized with a number of people tremendously positive and a number who wonder who, if anybody, is in charge. A number of questions had to do with the dress code with some disagreement, but most respondents wanted to stay the course and see consistent enforcement. In foreign language, comments asked to continue improving the program. The school is adding French and adding a lead language. Again, respondents said Character First modeling need to be improved. There was a lot of concern about the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) and how it’s being used. There is a new version and new training coming soon. Parents did not think the snow day or weekend homework policy worked very well. Parents want to see improved communication when their child is struggling or falling behind to provide early intervention. Parents want to see the math program strengthened.
The separate iPad survey had relatively low positive scores from students and parents on questions such as using iPads effectively, iPads improving the academic program, age restrictions, communication, helpfulness with homework, assignments, homework, etc. More positive were responses on iPads helping with teacher communication, research, and accessing information. Brown recognized that, in the last several weeks, the administration has been meeting with the technology staff and parents and shifted the emphasis on the program to emphasize the iPad as an academic tool with no more games or personal applications. Tools are in place at the server level to monitor what is on the kids’ iPads. It will be important to compare the results of the survey next year based on these changes, Brown said.
The school board thanked the SAAC for the detailed report and said that a number of the metrics were much improved from previous surveys.
Board report highlights
• The consent agenda was approved along with the meeting agenda and included approval of April and May board meeting minutes, the 2016-17 school calendar, and an administrative action concerning school discipline resulting in an expulsion.
• The candidate forum was held on May 17 just before the school board meeting, with Patrick Hall and Matt Dunston attending. Candidate Mario Ciabarra was absent. Voting was held on May 19-20. The winners of the school board election are Dunston and Hall.
• The board went into executive session for about 90 minutes to discuss positions relative to negotiations to receive legal advice regarding the District 38 contract negotiations per CRS-24-6-402(4)(3). After the closed session, the board unanimously voted to extend contract negotiations until June 16.
Above: Monument Academy (MA) school board candidates Patrick Hall and Matthew Dunston (pictured left to right at the table) answered questions at a candidate forum May 17 ahead of the school board meeting. Not present was current board member Mario Ciabarra, who ran for another term. Hall, who owns a local insurance agency, has one child in kindergarten and one who will be in pre-K at MA. Hall is a current member of the MA Finance Committee. Matt Dunston, who has three children in MA and one who is at Palmer Ridge High School, has a background in construction, real estate, and land development. MA school board elections were open to parents of MA students and were held May 19-20. Hall and Dunston were elected to the board. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 9 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The Monument Academy usually meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances, can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
The May 16 Monument Board of Trustees meeting lasted over three hours and included discussions about water rates, an extension of the moratorium on clinics, approval of liquor licenses, and two presentations.
After the meeting it was announced that a public forum on water rates for the Town of Monument water service area would be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 9 at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road.
Mayor Jeff Kaiser and Trustees Kelly Elliott, and Shea Medlicott were absent. Town Attorney Gary Shupp was also absent. Mayor Pro-Tem Don Wilson ran the meeting.
Most of the trustees’ comments were devoted to the water rates ordinances, both the one approved on March 7 that caused rates to jump for town of Monument water customers, and the emergency ordinance (intended to rescind that rate increase) proposed by Trustee Jeff Bornstein on April 18 and voted on May 2 that did not pass. See the related Board of Trustees May 2 meeting article on page 1.
Trustee Greg Coopman’s comments included:
• The May 2 vote was 4-2 but did not pass since it was drafted as an emergency ordinance and needed 75 percent approval.
• The request directing town staff to redraft the ordinance as a regular ordinance was denied by town staff at the direction of several members of this board even after the intent and political will of the board was demonstrated with a 4-2 vote in favor.
• I agree it would be counterproductive to go back and forth on the water rates and add to the community’s confusion and uncertainty.
• Every day we wait, residents and business owners are being taxed by a rate increase that will inevitably be changed.
• I want to propose we set a date and time to answer the public’s questions and how the numbers came about, what the capital projects are, and how much we are losing.
• If we are going to do a rate increase like what was passed earlier this year, we need to know where that is going and why and see if this is something the community is agreeable to.
• We also need to set a deadline to have multiple options presented to the board in public for accountability.
Trustee Bornstein’s comments included:
• I had a very good meeting with the town manager this week and reviewed all the water rates documents and have a much better understanding.
• First, we have preventive maintenance that needs to be done now or tomorrow; we can’t get around that. Second, a watertight system for the water we currently lose. Third, we need to get a water resource from outside the town, because if we don’t, we are going to have issues.
• This public forum will be very important, because it is not just about a bottom-line number. It’s five, six, seven, eight years from now, with potential growth. It has to be done smartly, but if we don’t have water, we can’t do it.
• I’ve got to be very honest. I’m on the fence. But I won’t vote no.
• It’s time to move on. We have a lot of important things unfortunately related to water to deal with. But I think there are some good options on the table.
Wilson proposed that the trustees vote again on the water rates ordinance at the board meeting following the public forum.
The consensus of the board was to schedule the public forum as soon as possible but allow time for public notification and participation. After the meeting, the town announced the extra meeting would be on Thursday, June 9 at Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. at 6 p.m.
Town Manager Chris Lowe clarified that it might be possible to take a vote on June 20 then, but, "You may make significant changes … and I don’t want to lock us in (for a vote)." He said he has been meeting with each of the trustees. "I think everybody is way more informed than they were. I’ll take ownership of that mistake. We probably should have been pushing that type of information out before we did.…I inherited this situation."
In answer to Trustee Dennis Murphy’s question, Lowe said part of the long-range water plan includes reaching out to other entities involving regional systems and agreements in an attempt to procure water from more sources. Those costs have already been considered and included in the long-range billing structure (such as the one approved March 7) and should impact fees and rates.
The majority of public comments also involved the current debate about the water rates increase approved by the previous Board of Trustees on March 7.
Comments in favor of keeping the March 7 rates included:
• Nancy Swearengin – I’m glad you are offering to have another public forum and put a timeline on this. I’m afraid if it goes too long you are up there fiddling while Monument burns.
Comments vehemently opposed to way town has handled the issue included:
• A.B. Tellez – How much money is being generated and used? It is simple.
• John Dominowski – We know there is a need for a water rates increase. I find it insulting that the town did not think we were intelligent to see all the information in the first place.
Lowe said, "One of the mistakes we made in presenting this whole thing was that we tried to simplify it to explain to the public. We should have gotten this (complete spreadsheet) document out the first time. We won’t make that mistake again." He asked Will Koger of Forsgren Associates to update the spreadsheet, which had been prepared for the October water rates discussion, before the public forum on June 9. Koger said he could have it updated in a week or two.
Other comments included a question about a confusing tax statement from a builder concerning Triview Metropolitan District that indicated that the town of Monument should answer the question. Treasurer Pamela Smith said she would help the resident get in touch with Triview.
Public input on agenda topics
On April 18, Bornstein had requested that staff draw up an ordinance for a more formal process to get items on the agenda. That night, he said, "(During public comments), if a secondary speaker begins to repeat what was already said, then a topic that needs additional attention might be added to the next agenda. A majority agreement is needed to schedule topics for future agendas. It is not the responsibility of the board to initiate topics for the agenda; it should come from the public. This will increase productivity of meetings." Medlicott and Coopman agreed that more avenues were needed so that the community could get items added to the agenda. www.ocn.me/v16n5.htm#mbot0418.
On May 2, Town Clerk Cynthia Sirochman had prepared a draft of an ordinance to cover what Bornstein requested, but he asked that the ordinance be continued because he had not had time to read the whole 125-page board packet.
On May 16, Sirochman presented the ordinance to the board, including guidelines for agenda preparation and formalizing the public comment process. However, Bornstein said while his intent was to make it so that any citizen had an option to get topics on the agenda, he did not mean it to be as formal as this turned out, "even though Cyndi did what we said."
After 20 minutes of discussion, the consensus of the board was to add a quick discussion of possible future agenda items to the end of each meeting instead of trying to use an ordinance.
Lowe said this board only has power when it sits together, and when there is a majority, staff can be directed. "That gives staff a lot of comfort. It means we are not off chasing ghosts," he added, explaining that if one trustee wanted to talk about a topic, it would be added to a future agenda, "not for action, but for discussion."
Moratorium on clinics extended
The trustees unanimously approved an extension to the emergency moratorium with respect to the new establishment or new opening of any business that classifies itself or seeks approval for itself as a "clinic" in the B and C zoning classifications. It will be in place until July 19.
Lowe said, "We are comfortable with 60-day extension to give the new board fresh eyes on the issue options on land use issues. We do not anticipate another extension. We want the town to be protected on this (methadone clinic) issue."
Liquor licenses approved
Code Enforcement Officer Laura Hogan presented four liquor license items. Each was unanimously approved after questions from the board:
• Murphy Oil USA Inc., DBA "Murphy Express," new 3.2 percent off-premises liquor license
• It’s Monumental Inc., DBA "Cork’n Bottle," renewal after violation
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth of July Beer Garden (July 4) and Bines and Brew (Sept. 17), special event liquor permit, Limbach Park
• Trinity Lutheran Church (Aug. 6), special event liquor permit, Limbach Park
Checks over $5,000
The following checks over $5,000 were approved as part of the consent agenda:
• Triview Metro District, March sales tax, April motor vehicle tax, April Regional Building sales tax – not to exceed $155,111
• Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, land use attorney – $8,007
• Kerr Properties, stormwater project easement purchase, offset by developer fees – $120,000
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith mentioned to the trustees that there were also a few additional checks that had come through after the board packet was posted for the public and that she had emailed that information to the trustees and given them a printed copy of the additions. They did not have any questions and approved those as part of the consent agenda. As of May 22, that information was not added to the meeting information posted on the town website.
LPHS art students recognized by town
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish presented certificates of appreciation to Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) art teacher Stephanie Crow and the LPHS Art Group students for the murals they painted on the new retaining wall at Monument Lake. The students named were: Brynnon Elmer, Chantel Keens-Dumas, Katherine Swaim, Kate Lindsay, Lauren Sharp, Jaqueline Vaughn, Hannah Held, Ailsa Young, and Heather Young. Tharnish said, "We look forward to more projects in the future. Thank you for leaving your mark on the town!"
The Girl of the West and the Aide to Girl of the West made a 20-minute presentation inviting the public to the 76th Annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, which comes to Colorado Springs July 13-16. See information at www.PikesPeakorBust.org.
The meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for June 6. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information.
To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for the Monument Board of Trustees, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
In May, the Palmer Lake Town Council departed from its announced schedule and met only once, on May 12. The meeting was divided into two parts: a meeting of the Palmer Lake Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority (PLLMLA), and a meeting of the Palmer Lake Town Council. The PLLMLA considered a request for a medical marijuana dispensary, and the Town Council appointed two new board members, named Nikki McDonald mayor emeritus of the town and heard requests for two special event permits.
New medical marijuana dispensary approved
Brenda Woodward and Curtis Reese of Premier Organics LLC asked the PLLMLA to grant them a license to add medical marijuana cultivation and a medical marijuana storefront to their existing cultivation business.
Trustee Mark Schuler expressed concerns about the license request. Schuler said there was no overall plan for marijuana businesses in the town and he would prefer to table the request until a plan was in place. Mayor John Cressman reviewed the history of medical marijuana in Palmer Lake, arguing that the business was already highly regulated.
Trustee Glant Havenar questioned the appropriateness of a storefront close to residences and bus stops.
Trustee Richard Kuehster pointed out that while the town had a moratorium in place for sales of recreational marijuana, medical marijuana dispensaries were an approved business under the town’s existing statutes.
The board went into executive session to discuss the request with Town Attorney Maureen Juran.
Returning from executive session, the board heard comments from the public. Resident Matt Stephen expressed concerns about the marijuana business’s water usage and proximity to residences. Reese told the board that the business had put in a new well to resolve the water issue, and had also installed filters to address complaints about odor that had been made before Premier Organics moved into the building.
Juran told the board that the application was properly submitted and was in accordance with the town’s statutes.
The board voted unanimously to approve the license, with Cressman abstaining.
Two board vacancies filled by appointment
Although he had declined an appointment to the board in April, Mitchell Davis was appointed to one of the vacant seats on the board on May 12.
Bob Mutu was also appointed to the board. Mutu served in the Air Force and was the chief electrician for the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, he said.
Town Clerk Tara Berreth administered the oath of office to Davis and Mutu.
Nikki McDonald named mayor emeritus
In appreciation of her service to the town of Palmer Lake as mayor, the board gave Nikki McDonald the honorary title of mayor emeritus.
Fishing Derby approved
The Tri-Lakes Lion’s Club told the board about their plans to sponsor a fishing derby for children at Palmer Lake on Saturday, June 4, and requested a special event permit. Three hundred children are expected to attend the event. The board voted unanimously to grant the permit for the derby.
Fireworks proposed for July 4
Jennifer Coopman led a presentation to the board requesting a special event permit to allow her team to put on a Fourth of July fireworks show in Palmer Lake. Her team has raised about $8,000 of the $25,000 required for the show, Coopman said. The group is planning to raise additional funds through a running event, according to Coopman.
Trustee Kuehster pointed out that the town of Monument and El Paso County had told him they would not participate in the event. Kuehster said that the last fireworks display resulted in traffic congestion and raised public safety concerns. Other board members also questioned the group’s plans for security, traffic control, and parking.
After some further discussion with the group, the board requested the group to present a more detailed plan to the board at their next meeting, but did not approve the permit.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45.
The two meetings for June will be at 6:30 p.m. on June 9 and June 23, 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 email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
At the May 10 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC), the three members held an election of officers for the next two-year-term. They also heard reports on E. coli testing and cooperation among state discharge permit holders on suggestions for stream temperature standards and reviewed a draft of the 2015 district audit.
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 was elected president; MSD board Chairman Ed Delaney was elected vice president; and PLSD board Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith was elected secretary/treasurer. 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 Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
Plant manager’s report
Facility Manager Bill Burks reviewed the March discharge monitoring report. While there were a few small issues, all results were well within the required parameters.
Burks reported that construction was going smoothly on the total phosphorus (TP) chemical removal clarifier expansion project. Work in April included cutting a 30-inch core into the foundation of the existing UV building for the separate TP effluent pipe, installing the electrical duct bank for control of the system, tying the non-potable water line into the facility, and receiving the backup generator.
Burks announced that the Town of Monument would continue to participate in Monument Creek E. coli sampling and testing and had worked out an agreement to have TLWWTF perform the town’s E. coli tests. "It’s good to keep them in the loop," he said. There was board consensus that this data-gathering would increase in importance in the future with respect to stormwater and associated regulations.
E. coli water quality issues
Burks and MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick reported on the May meeting of Arkansas and Fountain Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (AF CURE), where two representatives from the Colorado Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) spoke about total maximum daily load allocations (TMDLs) for E. coli that they would be preparing for the Monument and Fountain Creek watershed.
Joni Nuttle, the interim monitor of the division’s total maximum daily load (TMDL) program, said the state recognizes that the source of most E. coli pollution is actually non-point-sources such as horse ranches and pet waste, since stormwater runoff washes these pollutants into streams.
However, she said the state planned to enforce E. coli TMDLs through the discharge permits it issues for point-source dischargers like wastewater treatment plants, because those are the entities the state can actually analyze and control. Nuttle said it was good that one-third of the flow of Fountain Creek is from wastewater treatment facilities because they do have to meet regulations, and because the effluent dilutes the stream. Burks reminded the JUC that TLWWTF already easily meets all required limits on E. coli.
Nuttle also said that in the next few years, the state might attempt to switch from monitoring E. coli as a marker for safe downstream human and agricultural stream uses to monitoring viruses. Kendrick said that virus sampling and testing would be much more expensive and complicated than current E. coli sampling and testing.
Kendrick said GEI Consulting’s presentation at the April Colorado Wastewater Utility Council (CWWUC) meeting provided solid data showing how the temperatures of various types of streams change with the seasons. A GEI biological literature search delineated the narrow ranges of seasonal temperatures that are optimal for fish maturation and reproduction.
TLWWTF contributed $1,000 to the council’s financing of this $23,000 GEI temperature analysis study. The council’s goal was to try to create an alternative maximum stream temperature standard to the two-part standard, arbitrarily proposed a decade ago by the Water Quality Control Commission, that has only summer and winter maximum temperature limits. See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#tlfjuc0308.
Kendrick said GEI’s data summary and analysis "is breaking news!" Because of GEI’s study, and environmental attorney Gabe Racz’s work in the division stakeholder workgroup process for creating a "revised warm winter standards," the division is now reviewing the actual state temperature data set that verifies the smooth rising and falling linear annual temperature progression temperature chart that was previously suggested by Brown and Caldwell, the engineering consultant for the CWWUC, the Colorado Monitoring Framework (CMF), and AF CURE. And, very significantly, Brown and Caldwell’s proposed temperature standard revisions are also now supported by WQCD Standards Unit Manager Sarah Johnson, instead of the originally proposed winter standards, although they have not been vetted yet by the commission, Kendrick said.
Brown and Caldwell environmental engineer Sarah Reeves, who facilitates AF CURE, said the stakeholders’ unity and the support of the division would give the discharge permit stakeholders more leverage at the upcoming triennial review hearing for the Nutrients Management Control Regulation 85 and section 31.17 of the Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Water, Regulation 31. This commission hearing will be held June 13.
Draft 2015 audit discussed
John Cutler of John Cutler and Associates LLC presented the first draft of the facility’s 2015 audit. He said it appeared that he would be issuing an "unmodified," or clean opinion. He and TLWWTF Accountant Jackie Spegele of Numeric Strategies LLC explained some new issues faced by TLWWTF in relation to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) under new federal accounting standards.
Wicklund asked Cutler to change a reference to capital improvement expenses to read "major repair or replacement in excess of $5,000" because capital improvements are not mentioned in the facility’s Joint Use Agreement (JUA). Spegele said she also had questions for Cutler about the beginning balance on the audit.
Strom asked Cutler to submit a revised version of the audit with changes and corrections at the June meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 11:46 a.m.
Caption: The new members of the Joint Use Committee (JUC) board of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment facility elected May 10 are, from left, Monument Sanitation District board Chairman Ed Delaney, JUC vice president; Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board Director at Large Rich Strom, JUC president; and Palmer Lake Sanitation District board Secretary/Treasurer Ken Smith, JUC secretary/treasurer. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on June 14 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.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board met on May 12 to bid farewell to outgoing board President Barrie A. Town and board member Beth Courrau, to welcome two newly elected board members, and to hear reports from staff.
President Town reviews time on board
In his final remarks to the board, Town said his goal in serving was to ensure that "Woodmoor would always have water." He recalled a time in the early ‘80s when water had to be trucked into Woodmoor, and said that the current board "stood on the shoulders of great boards."
Town commended the board on securing adequate water rights to support the district in the future through the purchase of JV Ranch, adding that the means to deliver the water had not yet been found and that the ranch raised the issue of how to maximize the value of the 3,500 acres.
He also mentioned the board’s successful acquisition of the Chilcott Ditch Co., saying that the board had improved the management of the 150-year-old company.
The future of the wastewater treatment plant would remain a challenge for the district, Town said.
District Manager Jessie Shaffer presented Town with a lamp made from a water meter.
Board member Courrau says goodbye
In her remarks, outgoing board member Courrau recalled her 29-year residency in Woodmoor and her six-year service on the board, complimenting the board members she served with, and noting the excellence of the district’s staff.
Two new board members sworn in; new officers elected
Secretary Marsha Howland administered the oath of office to newly elected board members Brian Bush and Jim Wyss.
Board member Jim Taylor was elected president of the newly constituted board by a unanimous vote.
Board member Tommy Schwab was elected secretary by a unanimous vote.
Board member Wyss was elected treasurer by a unanimous vote.
Operational report highlights
Board member Rich Strom, who is also the new president of the Joint Use Committee (JUC), reported that the JUC had recently completed its audit, that its construction projects are on schedule, and that stream temperature at the processing plant is becoming an issue.
Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette reported that water is now flowing through the Chilcott ditch, and that a flume and several culverts had been replaced.
Gillette also stated that the district was delivering only well water at present, and that three of the district’s wells were off-line for a variety of reasons.
In her report, district Attorney Erin Smith reviewed the logistics of the recent election and commented on the low voter turnout. Only 52 votes were cast by approximately 5,300 eligible voters. Low voter turnout could potentially open the board to the criticism that the board is not in touch with its constituency, according to Smith. Planning for future elections would include more emphasis on getting the word about the election out to the community, Smith said.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 9 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.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Triview Metropolitan District meeting on May 17 was brief. Since the election results for the May 3 election were still not certified, the current board approved a resolution extending their terms by one month so that the district could deal with items that needed timely formal action. Directors welcomed the district’s new water operator and approved ballot wording for a TABOR resolution and a bid for the new Sanctuary Pointe water storage tank.
The district’s attorney Gary Shupp was excused.
Triview is a Title 32 special district within the town of Monument that provides roads maintenance, open space maintenance, water, and sanitation services to the residents of Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe.
New water operator introduced
District Manager Valerie Remington introduced Joshua Cichocki, the district’s new water superintendent and operator in responsible charge. Triview has been subcontracting the operations and management duties to ORC Water Professionals Inc. since the district lost its water operator several years ago. Remington anticipated ORC Water Professionals would work through the end of June for a smooth transition with Cichocki.
TABOR resolution ballot wording approved
Remington said the number of people moving into Triview and paying taxes has increased. TABOR rules would require that the money over the "revenue cap" would be returned to residents unless district voters vote to let the district collect, retain, and spend that revenue. The directors voted unanimously to approve the wording for the district ballot measure, which will be on the ballot in November.
Tank bid approved
Mario DiPasquale P.E. of JDS Hydro presented the directors with several bid options for the new 1.1-million-gallon water storage tank in Sanctuary Pointe. After some discussion, they voted unanimously to approve the $955,102 pre-stressed concrete tank bid from DN Tanks.
The next bids to consider will be for the booster station. The consensus was that it was important to get both projects complete before winter interrupts construction.
Checks over $5,000
The directors unanimously approved the following checks over $5,000:
• Kempton Construction, Sanctuary Pointe Transmission line – $25,577
• Applied Ingenuity, well start-up – $21,083
• ORC Water Professionals Inc., March and April contract O&M – $11,000
• Alpine Street Sweeping – $5,220
• Korf Continental, truck – $26,849
• CRS of Colorado, March – $6,478
During public comments, a resident asked for help understanding a confusing tax statement concerning the district. Remington said she would answer her question one-on-one.
The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on June 14 in the Donala Water and Sanitation District Conference Room at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868.
Would you like to help Our Community News report on the Triview Metropolitan District? Please contact Lisa Hatfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The May 18 meeting of the Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD) board included a positive report on the results of the recent district election and an update on progress of the projected $3.1 million project to connect AWSD’s sewer lines to Donala Water and Sanitation’s collection and treatment system. And all four re-elected board members were sworn in.
AWSD is a special district providing water and sewage services to about 300 residences in the Pleasant View neighborhood and the closely surrounding area (but not including the Air Force Academy or Gleneagle). Most members of the district have both water and sewage service, although some have an existing septic tank and use water services only.
Overwhelming support to remove TABOR restriction
Designated Election Official Ron Curry reported that on the May 3 district ballot measure, over 90 percent of the votes cast were in favor of removing TABOR restrictions. A total of 171 voted yes, while 16 voted against the measure, Curry said.
This result means district residents will save money, because AWSD will now be allowed to receive and spend federal grant money that could pay for up to half of the required changes to their wastewater system due to stricter government regulations on wastewater treatment, Curry said. See www.ocn.me/v15n11.htm#awsd1027 for a detailed explanation.
The officers re-elected to four-year terms were President Richard DuPont and Director Ronald Curry, and Secretary Pamela Rezin and Vice President Steve Callicott were elected to two-year terms. Treasurer Walt Reiss is in the middle of a four-year term.
The district mailed out 661 ballots. Curry expressed his appreciation for the hard work of all three election judges.
Wastewater project update
Engineer Dave Frisch of GMS reported on the $3.1 million project underway that will allow WWSD to pump its wastewater into Donala’s system, which will transport it to the treatment plant off of Baptist Road that it co-owns with two other districts. The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is equipped to meet new state standards for ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrogen. AWSD’s current lagoon treatment system can no longer meet these standards.
Frisch said that work that GMS is currently doing includes the Regulation 1041 site development plan, the site application, the project needs assessment for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and final engineering design. When the district’s permanent financing is in place and construction starts, GMS will have a full-time supervisor for the project.
The meeting adjourned at 6:52 p.m.
The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the Donald Wescott Fire Station, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Contact District Manager Anthony Pastorello at 481-0711 or see the district website at www.colorado.gov/pacific/awsd/general-info.
Would you like to help Our Community News report on the Academy Water and Sanitation District? Please contact Lisa Hatfield at email@example.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On May 19, Bill George, in his final act as the term-limited Donala Water and Sanitation District board president, swore in former board Director Ed Houle for a new four-year term and Director Ken Judd for a second four-year term. Judd chaired the rest of the meeting. Director Dave Powell’s absence was excused. General Manager Kip Petersen thanked George for his "fantastic" service "to the citizens and residents of this community." George replied, "The pleasure has been mine."
Election of officers was unanimously postponed until the June 23 regular meeting. The board will be interviewing applicants for appointment to replace the late District Manager Bill Nance, who passed away on April 20. The district solicited letters of interest applications for the empty director position to be submitted by May 26 to allow board members to conduct interviews with applicants and make an appointment at the June 23 board meeting.
A memorial Mass will be held for Nance in St. Peter Catholic Church in Monument.
Petersen said that while 2016 water sales revenues have remained lower than average due to all the snow and rain to date, district plans for capital improvements this year remain in place because of funding from a low-interest Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority loan. The authority’s recent refinancing in its statewide bond issue loan program will result in Donala savings of $320,000 on Donala’s 2006 loan payments. There may be more savings if Donala’s 2007 and 2011 loans are also refinanced by the authority.
The final 2015 audit is nearing completion. The new Forest Lakes contract to provide water collection system operations and maintenance services by Donala staff members is working well.
The funds have been received from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to Donala to help pay for the repair of the secondary access road that goes under the railroad tracks to the side entrance of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. This access was damaged by flooding. The design is almost complete. Donala has Army Corps of Engineering permission to complete the repair, within protected Preble’s mouse habitat. However, the repair must be complete before the winter hibernation period for the habitat. Donala will coordinate with the county’s planned repair of sewer culverts under the adjacent section of the Santa Fe Trail. These culverts were a contributing cause to the flooding and facility’s road damage.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
Petersen noted that an open house attended by 17 Donala property owners was held on May 11 regarding construction of the water pipeline between the Latrobe Court water tank and Holbein Drive tanks. Engineering consultant Dave Frisch of GMS Inc. gave a briefing on planned construction techniques that was well received. Directional drilling for the pipeline will start in the Sun Hills area, and then go north to the Holbein tanks. The total engineer’s estimate for the pipeline project is $1.073 million. Construction is expected to begin in July. The Baptist Road booster project is also nearing completion.
At this time Donala continues to operate entirely with renewable surface water from Willow Creek Ranch, piped by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) from Pueblo Reservoir, then treated by CSU and delivered to the Donala drinking water distribution system at a connection by Northgate Boulevard. Donala may yet lose some or all its remaining 100 acre-feet of stored ranch water in Pueblo Reservoir later this summer if this year’s snow melt flows turn out to be high enough to cause a storage overflow when all entities with full-time reservoir storage contracts would be able to completely fill all their full storage allotments, using up all the reservoir’s available storage capacity. The federal Department of Reclamation had planned to "spill" all water currently stored in the reservoir under existing annual "if and when available" space-available contracts, like Donala’s, around April 15 but that plan has been indefinitely deferred for now due to lower than previously forecast snow melt flows to date.
If necessary, the expected higher flows of irrigation season will be sustained by reactivation of Donala’s groundwater wells and water treatment system. The average amount of Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water being drawn from Donala’s renewable surface water storage in the Pueblo Reservoir during non-irrigation season is about 30 acre-feet per month.
For more information on Donala’s Pueblo Reservoir storage, see:
Petersen added that since CSU’s 1041 permit for the Southern Delivery System (SDS) has now been approved by Pueblo County, Donala water attorney Rick Fendel will renew discussions with that county on Donala’s parallel 1041 permit application that has been stalled since October 2014. CSU plans to begin using the SDS pipeline to transport Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch water to the CSU drinking water treatment plant. Storage modeling by Donala’s engineering firm Leonard Rice for a more permanent higher priority Donala multi-year reservoir storage contract with the Bureau of Reclamation continues, as does the bureau’s Arkansas River modeling project.
Petersen said that Gov. John Hickenlooper had signed the rain barrel bill, House Bill 16-1005. It will take effect on Aug. 10.
Petersen noted a Donala collection line blockage on Desert Inn Way was caused by 8-inch grease ball that was created by "disposable wipes." He explained the difference between soluble wipes and toilet paper that do dissolve and disposable wipes and "Kleenex-type" tissues that don’t dissolve. The latter can snag on tree roots in sewer service and collection lines, creating a complete clog.
The meeting adjourned at 4 p.m.
Caption: On May 19, former Donala Water and Sanitation District board Director Ed Houle, left, and current Director Ken Judd, center were sworn in for a new four-year first term and a second four-year term by outgoing term-limited board President Bill George, right, at the beginning of the regular May board meeting. The other board members are Dave Powell and Bob Denny (not shown). A fifth board member will be appointed for a two-year term on June 16. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on April 21 in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kate Pangelinan
All board members were present for Shaun Leonhardt’s swearing in at the May 17 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board meeting. Leonhardt’s fiancé pinned on his badge.
Steering committee meetings
Fire Chief Vinny Burns explained to the board about two fact-finding "steering committee" meetings that have been scheduled to involve the community in discussions about the potential de-annexation of the Wescott district in the wake of Colorado Springs Fire Station 22 being built so nearby. These meetings are to be held on June 7 and 14 at Wescott’s Station 1, both at 7 p.m. The steering committee meetings are intended for homeowners’ associations and representatives of the public to express to the fire district what level of service is expected by the community. This will allow for discourse about how de-annexation would affect homeowners and provide the Wescott fire district with direction, a chance to know and respond to the community’s wishes. Burns hopes this help in making a decision "with the community’s input" will prevent a "catastrophic lack of service" over the next few years.
The de-annexation, Burns explained, could come into effect as early as Jan. 1, 2017, which would give Wescott tax income until Jan. 1, 2018.
April run and chief’s report
In April, the Wescott fire department ran 180 calls, compared to 272 calls run in April 2015. This is a 30 percent decrease from last year’s numbers.
One fire in April was contained and resulted in no property loss.
Executive administrator Stacey Popovich handed out working drafts of the fire district’s recent audit to the board members. The auditor was out of town and it was explained they would be available at next month’s meeting to properly discuss the audit.
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 21 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Please call 488-8680, a non-emergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org. The district is also on Facebook.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at email@example.com.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, May 25: Board thanks Eagle Scouts, hears request on Firewise fencing
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board presented two Eagle Scouts with certificates of appreciation, heard from the Tri-Lakes Land Use Committee (TLLUC) about a trail proposal, and listened to an owner appeal an Architectural Control Committee denial of their request for a coated steel fence for a dog kennel.
Eagle Scout appreciation
President Erik Stensland presented certificates of appreciation to Lyle Larson and Callum Lyons for their Eagle Scout projects. Lyle Larson created a bench at the southeast side of Wild Duck Pond open space and two benches on the south side of Deer Creek for the Toboggan Hill common area. Lyons’ Eagle Scout project was to build picnic tables and a barbecue pit for the new pavilion at The Barn. The certificates were signed by Stensland and Director of Common Areas Rich Wretschko.
Committee suggests trail
Donna Wood, representative of the TLLUC Open Space and Trails Subcommittee and Woodmoor resident, spoke about potential for creating a trail from Toboggan Hill, past Lake Woodmoor down to the library. She noted that there is a well-worn path, but was not sure if there was an easement. She felt that it would be an excellent use of the space to create a walkway so people would not have to walk along the roadways. People could walk or bike on the trail, and it would fit in with the Tri-Lakes Master Plan of 2003.
Wood noted that trail and greenway use improves health, reduces traffic and parking, promotes an active community lifestyle, increases social interaction, and promotes mobility for youths and seniors. She also noted that there is a large hill that goes down to the library from the dam that people could use as a stair challenge similar to Castle Rock or to the Incline in Manitou.
Jennifer Cunningham, secretary/director of Community Outreach, asked what TLLUC would be willing to invest in terms of time, investigating easements, etc. Wood indicated a willingness to help, saying she was just forming the subcommittee that would be inventorying trail and park and is just beginning to research the issue. Her goal is to research what we have and figure out how to connect it. Stensland indicated that she should talk to Bob Pearsall, the common areas administrator, to help with the inventory. An audience member suggested looking into the National Safe Routes to School program for possible grants to help make trails for kids to walk to school.
Owners appeal for Firewise fencing
Residents Mike and Lynn Welch appealed a decision by the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) that denied their request for dog kennel fencing using power-coated steel. They pointed out the current prohibition in the Project Design Standards Manual (PDSM) of non-flammable fencing contradicts recommendations by the Fire Department, the wildfire action plan on the WIA site, and guidelines found on the www.Firewise.org website in the Firewise Guide to Landscape and Construction brochure.
The Welch family argues that their lot has topography similar to Black Forest where the fire started and is in WIA’s most severe fire risk area. They also note that their neighbors’ lots have heavy fuel loads and that the fence would adjoin their house where there is a low roof soffit. Further they note that the current PDSM (http://bit.ly/wia-pdsm) on page 19 section I, E states "It is strongly recommended to refer to the WIA’s library of Firewise and defensible space literature when developing site plans, landscaping plans and building designs, and when selecting materials for construction on Woodmoor lots" and refers to Appendix H of the same document regarding Firewise construction and defensible space. Appendix H refers to notes that the brochure "Preparing a Wildfire Action Plan" is available at the WIA office or may be downloaded from the WIA website (http://bit.ly/wildfire-action).
The board indicated they would respond in seven to 10 days.
Board report highlights
• The Toboggan Hill parking survey got a 20 percent response rate. Seventy-seven percent of the respondents said something needs to be done to alleviate parking and agreed to expanding the parking lot. The board unanimously approved moving on to the planning phase of this project.
• Residents who did not receive a survey are encouraged to update their contact information online.
• There is a Community Events page on the Woodmoor website under the About section.
• Credit card skimmers are becoming a huge issue in El Paso County and Colorado Springs at gas stations and ATMs. Residents are advised to look for tampering, scratches, bad fit, and excessive movement of credit card readers and to pay inside if they have concerns.
• There have been six reports of bear sightings recently.
• New Architectural Control Committee member Michael Erlich was unanimously approved by the board.
• The board unanimously approved a motion to use $6,500 of reserve study funds to update the sprinkler system at The Barn. This fund had originally budgeted $26,000 for sprinkler maintenance.
• A new rental policy for The Barn and the new pavilion were unanimously approved. Non-resident fees will increase from $37.50 to $50 per hour. Residents will be able to use these amenities at no charge for up to four hours over a six-month period and will then pay a discounted rate.
Caption: On May 25, Woodmoor Improvement Association President Erik Stensland presented certificates of appreciation to Lyle Larson (above) and Callum Lyons (below) in recognition of their Eagle Scout projects Photos 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 June 22. 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 reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Larry Oliver, NEPCO president
Sgt. Mitch Mihalko and Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Merody Broom, both from the Community Relations and Outreach Unit of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO), gave crime prevention presentations to homeowners association (HOA) representatives May 14 at the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) General Membership meeting.
Mihalko spoke about some recent crimes that occurred around Northern El Paso County. These included:
• Monument PD has identified a juvenile that had been "keying" cars at the YMCA and Kohl’s parking lots. EPSO has not had any "reported" cases.
• Mail thefts have occurred in Woodmoor (several suspects were identified), the Black Forest area (Timber Lane, Falcon Drive, and Shoup and Hungate Roads), and community mailbox pries/thefts in Flying Horse just west of Highway 83.
• Fraud cases are being reported countywide. Electronic devices called skimmers are capturing debit/credit card information, having been placed on gas pumps and ATMs. Skimmers capture your debit/credit card information.
• Houses under construction make easy targets for thefts of construction tools, new appliances, etc. Consider game cameras as an option for homeowners/builders.
• A menacing case occurred on May 5 on Struthers/Gleneagle. EPSO is trying to ID a gray Mazda SUV with no tags occupied by a white male in his 30s with blonde or reddish hair and a beard.
• Other sporadic burglaries have been reported in the northern part of the county. Residents should always lock doors and windows, and close garage doors.
Broom presented information on the Sheriff’s Office Neighborhood Watch Program, explaining that Neighborhood Watch is a group of neighbors willing to communicate with each other and pass along information. She further noted:
• Members all live in the same area or neighborhood.
• The group watches for and reports suspicious activity to law enforcement.
• The members meet regularly with each other.
• Members are educated by law enforcement on crime prevention and safety strategies.
• Neighborhood Watch groups build positive community partnerships with law enforcement, between neighbors, and with other public and private organizations.
• Participants learn to use crime prevention strategies in their neighborhoods and how to recognize suspicious behavior.
• Communication flows freely between neighbors and from residents to law enforcement.
The program listed Citizen Resources from the Sheriff’s Office, and a warning to always remember to report criminal activity of suspicious behavior promptly. These include:
• For Emergencies dial 9-1-1
• Nextdoor: Social Networking for Neighborhoods
• El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch (non-emergency crime reporting): 399-5555
• EPSO Telephone Reporting System (for minor crimes without suspect information): 520-7111
• EPSO Traffic Hotline (for reporting problem areas or traffic violations): 520-7192
• EPSO Tipline (for reporting suspicious activity or the location of wanted persons): 520-7777
If your HOA or business is interested in NEPCO membership, go to www.NEPCO.org and click on the "Join NEPCO" link at the top of the homepage.
By Bill Kappel
Overall, May was cooler than normal, with precipitation right about average. This, of course, was in contrast to last year when we had the wettest May on record around the region. As normal in May, we experienced periods of winter weather along with summer weather all within a couple of days of each other.
The storm that brought snow and cold to the end of April continued to affect the region on the 1st, with lingering snow and blowing snow in the morning. Cold air stuck around that day, with high temperatures only reaching the freezing mark, about 30° colder than normal. The next day was a transition day, with colder than normal conditions sticking around, but plenty of sunshine returning. With the strong sun angle of May, the snow started to melt quickly as well.
Temperatures reached about normal levels on the 3rd, with upper 50s and low 60s and plenty of sunshine, with the warm-up continuing over the next few days. Highs reached the 70s from the 4th through the 6th, actually getting to slightly above average levels. Also, the first signs of our transition to a more summer pattern kicked in, as quiet mornings gave way to cloudy afternoon and scattered showers and thunderstorms. This, of course, is a pattern that will be repeated on most days from June through August.
The second week of May saw more normal conditions, with highs ranging from the low 50s to the mid-60s from the 7th through the 11th. Scattered thunderstorms with brief heavy rain and small hail developed during the afternoon of the 7th, with a few similar storms on the 10th and 11th. Warmer and dry conditions moved in late in the week, with highs hitting the upper 60s to mid-70s on the 12th and 13th. Unsettled conditions returned to end the weekend, with a moist, upslope flow moving low clouds and fog into the region by the morning of the 14th.
We had a bit of winter and summer during the week of the 16th around the region. The week started off cold and wet, with wet snow at times on the 16th and 17th. Areas above 7,000 feet accumulated between a trace and a half inch each day, with rain and thunder mixed in a times. Highs only reached to low to mid-40s each day, with overnight lows touching the freezing mark. There were thick low clouds and fog in the area as well, making for a cold, wet start to the week. As this storm departed, a warming trend kicked in. Highs reached the mid- to upper 50s on the 18th, then low 60s on the 19th. Enough residual moisture stuck around each of those days to produce afternoon clouds and a few thunderstorms. Warm, dry air then moved in Friday through Sunday. Highs jumped back to normal and slightly above normal levels each day, reaching the mid- to upper 70s. The drier air also meant sunny mornings and just a few afternoon clouds. The warm, dry weather gave us our first feel of summer weather and after all the moisture this winter and spring, helped to really get the growing season off to a nice start.
The third week of May had a quiet and seasonal start, with temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s from the 23rd through the 25th. Mornings were quiet, with afternoon clouds building. There were a few rumbles of thunder on the 25th as well. This was a signal the pattern was changing, as a series of disturbances moved out of the Southwest and over Colorado during the next few days. Thunderstorms with rain and hail developed the next two days, with well over an inch of precipitation accumulating. As the area of low pressure wound up over eastern Colorado, winds also picked up. Cold air filled in on the 27th, allowing a few flakes to mix in early that morning as the heavy rain fell. High temperatures were also held down below normal, only reaching the low 50s on the 27th.
The storm departed just in time for Memorial Day weekend, with temperatures rebounding to the 60s on the 28th and touching 70°F on the 29th and low to mid-70s on the 30th. Each of those days started with morning sunshine, then clouds began to build by late morning and early afternoon. A few brief rain showers and claps of thunder developed with the passing storms as well, but nothing lasted too long to spoil the holiday weekend. The final day of the month started off with areas of fog and low clouds behind a cold front, but quickly gave way to clearing skies by later that morning. Temperatures were held below normal, with highs back in the mid- to upper 60s.
A look ahead
By June we can usually say goodbye to our chances of snowfall, but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. There are times when we see a little snowfall in June in the region, but most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
May 2016 Weather Statistics
Average High 63.3° (-2.8°)
100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 37.0° (-1.3°)
100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 78°F on the 22nd
Lowest Temperature 11°F on the 2nd
Monthly Precipitation 2.30" (-.34" 13% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 2.2" (-3.4" 62% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 157.8" (+35.6" 23% above normal)
(the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 20.24" (+0.22" 1% above normal)
(the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 499 (+73)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer
Yes on Amendment 69—again
It is understandable that some people and organizations are against passage of Amendment 69, if simply because change is scary. In the May 7 edition of OCN, a letter raised objections against the Colorado Health Initiative. Here I attempt to address those issues.
First issue: Because everyone is forced, employers will move away. Truth: Currently employers pay 17 percent of payroll for employee health insurance (state average), but with ColoradoCare, the same employer will pay 6.7 percent of payroll. So this is a winning change for employers.
Second issue: Payroll includes some benefits. Truth: If you want to determine your cost under ColoradoCare as an employee or business, go to http://www.coloradocare.org and use the calculators. Examples: A worker who makes $60,000 (payroll) under ColoradoCare would pay $1,998 annually or $166.50 per month. With the same income, but from Social Security and a pension (such as PERA) you don’t pay anything. And for that you get palliative and end-of-life care, long-term care, and oral, vision and hearing services for children in addition to the standard benefits of medical insurance.
Third issue: Coloradans who already have federal insurance will not want this. Truth: ColoradoCare provides the supplemental insurance that you would buy with Medicare or VA benefits at a fraction of the cost.
Fourth issue: Military families are forced to pay into this. Truth: As residents of Colorado, we all pay and all benefit from this initiative.
Fifth issue: Other states won’t accept this. Truth: This work like your current insurance when you are out of Colorado.
There is a 52-page guide at http://www.coloradocare.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Green-Booklet-5_5_16.pdf that explains all this and more. Don’t take anyone’s words as fact. Find out yourself. Then vote in November.
Thanks to community for After Prom
We would like to express our gratitude for the wonderful group of community members who helped with the Lewis-Palmer High School After Prom event. The LPHS After Prom is offered as an alternative to private parties or merely driving around on the highways in the middle of the night (see photos on page 25). It is also open to those students who do not or cannot attend the actual Prom, for any number of reasons.
Many school districts do not offer an After Prom event, as the planning and coordination involved takes a substantial amount of time and money. Both District 38 high schools have such a dedicated group of staff, parents, and community patrons that we have been able to make After Prom a yearly tradition.
Much of the financial support comes from fundraising efforts in the fall, followed by a request for donations from the community. We were amazed at the outpouring of support from local businesses, who all understood the importance of keeping the students safe on that night. We would like to specifically recognize the following:
American Eagle, Avery Asphalt, Bees Knees, Borriello Brothers Pizza, Camp Bow Wow, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Coca Cola Refreshments, Costco, Danelle’s Boutique & Bridal / Tuxedo Junction, Dream Jeeps, Deuces Wild Casino Rentals, Enchanted Florist, Espresso Americano, Freddy’s, Hyland Hills Park & Rec (Water World), In the Moo, King Soopers, Luna Hair Salon, Natural Grocers, Pepsi Beverages Company, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Sky Sox Baseball, Sport Clips, Subway, Summit, Tri-Lakes Printing, Uncle Bucks Fish Bowl and Grill, Village Inn, and Wal-Mart, as well as the Barkocy, Davis, Heins, Shuman, and Witt families.
This was truly a community-sponsored event; thanks to everyone who made it happen!
Scholarship winner thanks Kiwanis
On Saturday, May 7 I had a wonderful morning with the Monument Kiwanis organization. I was invited to their breakfast and meeting because they wanted to present me with a scholarship for college. Imagine my excitement to be receiving this award! It also means a lot to me that I am receiving this from a group in my hometown. Statistics today show that young people are graduating college in so much debt and spend many years working to pay this off. This scholarship will help me to not be one of those young people. I am a hard working student with goals and a plan for my future.
Thank you, Kiwanis for your generosity and support in education. I appreciate your choosing me and I hope one day I can be the one to be giving a scholarship to someone just entering college.
Questions for Monument Academy
Regarding the community’s 1999 MLO and the Monument Academy, KOAA now reports that MA is threatening to sue D-38 for $7.7 million as a means to reach agreement. http://www.koaa.com/story/32022087/debate-continues-over-mill-levy-funds-in-monument.
The better approach would be to put the question on the ballot in November. A vote by the district taxpayers would result in a prompt solution, be much less expensive and divisive than a lawsuit, and provide a definitive answer as to taxpayer intent.
But in order for me to support "sharing" the MLO with the MA, I would need several questions answered; here are the two most important:
First, how has MA managed its finances to date? The MA incurred debt of approximately $9.2 million to construct the current building—no problem. But in its most recent audited financial statements, MA reports building debt of $12.9 million (June 2014), and $14.3 million (June 2015). What is that new debt being spent on? Why are long-term liabilities for MA growing so quickly? http://www.monumentacademy.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2014-2015-Final-Audit.pdf. See Note 5.
Second is accountability and compliance. Voters approved the 1999 MLO for specific uses only. By law, money from that MLO must be used for those purposes. But the April issue of Our Community News reports that the MA board intends to use 1999 MLO moneys to give its teachers a 25 percent pay raise. Since teacher pay was not included on the 1999 ballot, that would be a violation of law. Why would the MA board choose this path? http://www.ocn.me/v16n5.htm#ma0414.
Monument Academy is not governed by a publicly elected board; its board is chosen by its staff and parents. That means district taxpayers would have no oversight of the use of their MLO tax dollars by the MA. For me, sound financial management and direct taxpayer oversight are must-haves for any apportionment of MLO tax dollars to the MA.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
As you pack for a trip to the mountains, a family visit, or a faraway beach, don’t forget to include a paperback book. In fact, you may want to keep one handy to read in the security line at the airport these days.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Elsa is 7 years old and different. Her grandmother is 77 years old and crazy—as in firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best and only friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories about places where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of misfits, monsters and old crones, but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
The Wright Brothers
On a winter day in 1903 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—one unquestionably a genius, and the other with mechanical ingenuity few have ever seen—changed history. Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination. With only a public high school education and very little money, they forged ahead, knowing that every time they took off, they risked being killed. This fast-paced, enjoyable tale by noted historian David McCullough shows how two Ohio boys taught the world to fly in what could be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished.
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
Traveling from Missouri to Oregon over the course of four months, Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother Nick, and a dog named Olive Oyl. They dodge thunderstorms, chase runaway mules, cross the Rockies, and make desperate 50-mile forced marches for water. A majestic, uniquely American journey of a lifetime, this is a tale of brotherhood, persistence and history, a tear-jerker at times, while also being a laugh-out-loud delight.
My Sunshine Away
In an idyllic stretch of suburban Baton Rouge, 15-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—is attacked near her home, and it becomes apparent there’s also a dark side of this neighborhood of glorious crepe myrtle blossoms and passionate football fandom. The suspects are numerous, and through the eyes of one of them many years later, we see how a life can be irreversibly transformed by heartbreak, by guilt, and by love.
The Last Bookaneer
In 1890, Bookaneers, or literary pirates, thrived, and Pen Davenport was the most infamous one in Europe. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws allowed books to be easily published abroad without an author’s permission. Yet a new international treaty was about to grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The astonishing story of the literary thieves’ final heist on the island of Samoa involves a dying Robert Louis Stevenson laboring over one last novel. Stevenson’s assistant Fergins, bookaneer Davenport, and his longtime adversary, Belia, soon find themselves embroiled in a conflict larger, perhaps, than literature itself.
The Good Girl
When Mia Dennett’s on-again, off-again boyfriend doesn’t show up for their meeting at a bar, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. Following Colin Thatcher home turns out to be the worst mistake of her life. When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause the family’s world to shatter in this suspenseful thriller.
The titles listed are only a sampling of the many captivating new fiction and nonfiction paperbacks just waiting to delight readers. Why not add one to your summertime relaxation and enjoyment?
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The teen volunteers have all been trained and the prizes are sorted and ready to go. Come to your library to participate in this year’s summer reading program!
There are three programs this year: the baby program for children up to 3 years old involves activities with parents and reading aloud. The children’s program is for those 3 years old up to those entering sixth grade, and the teen program is for those in sixth through 12th grade. Those entering sixth grade may choose to participate in either the children’s or teen program.
Regularly scheduled adult programs will continue during the summer. AfterMath math tutoring, Peak Reader reading tutoring, and yoga have been suspended until school begins again in late August.
Tuesday, June 7 from 10:30 to 11:30 will be a Zumba for kids program for ages 4 to 11 to have a chance to be active with friends. The program is sponsored by My Gym of Colorado Springs.
On Mondays from 2:30 to 3:30 will be art programs for ages 7 and up. June 13 will be Zentangle Scratch Art, June 20 will be painting (wear an old t-shirt), and on the 27th will be Mondrian art.
On the first Friday of June will be a Coloring for Everyone session from 3 to 5:45. We will supply coloring pages, pencils, gel pens, and crayons. Drop in any time.
Tuesday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30, instead of the regular story time, will be a special program each week. June 14 will be a magic show, June 21 will be a juggling class, and June 28 will be a program about Johnny Appleseed.
Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:30 will be Stories and Stuff, a session of stories followed by hands-on activities for school-age kids. June 9 will be Brainiac, June 16 will be a Yoga theme, June 23 will be Robots, and June 30 will be Slightly Scary.
Come play Superfight and other board games in the library community room on Wednesday, June 8 from 3 to 5. This program is for grades six to 12 with no registration required.
The Teen Advisory Board will meet from 4 to 5 on Friday, June 10. Help us plan future events and parties for teens at the library. Meet us in the study room.
Make Smoothies is a program on Wednesday, June 22 from 3 to 5. We’ll talk about healthy choices for making one of the yummiest foods around. Registration is required.
The Second Thursday Craft on Thursday, June 9 from 2 to 4 is Adult Coloring. We will provide all materials. No registration is required. Materials will be located on the tables by our magazines.
Need help with your computer? Come in every second Friday of the month (June 10) from 9 to 10 a.m. for help with your questions. Registration is required and begins a week before the class.
Also on June 10, from 2 to 3, will be Healthy Living: Honoring Caregivers of all Kinds. Thousands of members of our community depend on the services provided by dedicated professionals, volunteers, and family members. But caregivers tend to be unsung heroes, often working in isolation. We’ll learn four skills to enhance your effectiveness, find ways to refill your spirit, and have some fun. Registration is recommended but not required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, June 17 to discuss Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater. All patrons are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Healthy Living: Sensible Exercises on Wednesday, June 29 from 1 to 2:30 will offer tips and strategies for including exercise in your everyday routine. As an added bonus, learn how choosing the right foods can make a difference in your energy, health, and weight. Registration recommended but not required.
On the walls during June will be Transparent Watercolor by Don Van Horn. In the display case will be items related to the Summer Reading program.
Palmer Lake Library events
Summer reading programs in Palmer Lake will be on Wednesdays and Thursdays during June and July.
Wednesdays will be activities such as racing, dancing, and Zumba. Thursdays will be art programs for ages 7 and up such as Zentangle Scratch Art, Painting, and Mondrian Paper Art. All programs begin at 10:30 a.m.
There will be a Family Fun program on Saturday, June 18 at 10 featuring the Heart of the Pines 4-H members with their adult and baby animals. Animals include bunnies, chickens, turkeys, an African goose, Oberhasli goats, and French and Holland lop rabbits.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
On May 19, local author Joyce Lohse presented "Spencer and Julie Penrose: Colorado’s Community Collaborators" to members of the Palmer Lake Historical Society and guests gathered for the May program of the 2016 Monthly History Series. Her PowerPoint presentation was beautifully illustrated with vintage, colorized post cards that she collects.
Lohse has now written a total of eight biographies, mainly of Colorado historical figures including Baby Doe Tabor, Gen. William Palmer, Molly Brown, Emily Griffith, and John and Eliza Routt. In her narrative of Spencer and Julie Penrose, she gave the audience a glimpse into the personal lives of the Penroses as well as their considerable contributions to the community of Colorado Springs and the state of Colorado. While we think of this couple as having a charmed life, Lohse gave us some insight into their personal hardships as well. Spencer lost his mother when he was only 15 years old; Julie Penrose lost her husband and son when she was a young matron. Their losses brought them together emotionally, and this "partnership" was expressed in their many community-oriented contributions.
The Penroses built the Broadmoor Hotel, the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Pikes Peak Highway, and many other important Pikes Peak area resources and attractions. They worked together as partners. Spencer, a colorful pioneer, invested his mining riches in building, developing, and promoting the community, while Julie supported culture, religion, education, and the arts. Their El Pomar Foundation continues to donate millions of dollars to Colorado nonprofit groups. Lohse’s newly published book, Spencer Penrose: Builder & Benefactor, was available for purchase at the presentation.
There will not be a Monthly History Series program in June, but the Historical Society will host its annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social on June 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. This event continues the society’s long-standing tradition of honoring fathers; it is free to the public. Rock House ice cream and Village Inn pie will be served. Singer/guitarist Nick Davey will provide the entertainment. For more information, visit www.palmerdividehistory.org or call 719-559-0837.
Caption: Joyce Lohse is shown with her book table following her presentation. Photo by Mike Walker.
By Janet Sellers
Dessert to surprise your friends? Try dandelion cookies, syrup or jelly. FYI, the dandelion syrup is basically an overnight tea that you then make into a cooked sugar syrup after straining the flowers from the tea. Oh, and put those organic safe dandelion greens into your salads, your quesadillas, and scalloped potatoes or potato salad. Enjoy the dainty flowers in a tea or shortbread cookies, regular or gluten free. Make sure to cut off any green, as that is bitter.
I’m going to try the cookies and other recipes I found online that take honey. The bees’ first honey maker of the year is the dandelion, so keep them safe and let the plants thrive—learn to love them and not poison the neighborhood with chemicals!
Here’s the best hint, "Hold flowers by the tip with the fingers of one hand and pinch the green flower base very hard with the other, releasing the yellow florets from their attachment. Shake the yellow flowers into a bowl. Flowers are now ready to be incorporated into recipes," from Cooking with Dandelion Flowers by Peter A. Gail, Ph.D.
Got voles? Pocket gophers? Varmints? Super kitty cat patrol to the rescue. They don’t just kill, their predator pheromones keep vermin out of the area. I spoke with the reps at our Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region about the new "working cats" program.
The program has already placed a number of working cats in Palmer Lake, Monument, and Woodmoor, and seeks to educate us about how to keep the cats in the specific area, how the program and the cats work, and more. This program is quite different than the TNR/trap, neuter, release feral cat colony program, which is focused on limiting proliferation of cats while availing the areas of the cats’ helpful qualities for vermin control. Ask for more info via our Humane Society, www.hsppr.org.
Gardeners in our area with the varmint problems have been very creative for raised beds, using wire mesh, likely half inch, on the bottom and sides of the raised beds. Even hugelkultur fans have opted for the mesh to protect as much of their raised bed mound gardens as possible. The mesh does not keep out rabbits, but any of the underground critters don’t seem to get into the garden, at least not easily.
My scrub oak trees have announced via flowering and leafing out that we’ll not have any more frost, so get to soaking your seeds overnight and plant them in the garden bed next day. Soaking helps hasten the sprouting process for most seeds. If you remember from last year, I wrote about the hugelkultur, keyhole gardens and worm towers that help create mega-soil health. These are all basically in-ground raised beds with self-composting areas. I have countless directions and information from the Monument Community Garden Facebook page for references for those interested. Enjoy!
Janet Sellers can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
By Janet Sellers
Wow! is my comment for the first Art Hop. I think it may take all summer to visit each venue—there are over 30 venues supporting the event this year. I visited the 300 days of shine, Bliss Gallery, and Bella Art and Frame and sure enjoyed the walk about town as part of the fun. The Historic Monument area was abuzz with activity, people strolling about, buying art and enjoying the shops, and it seems everybody had a shopping bag or two in hand.
Art Hoppers enjoyed art, convivial pursuits and live music all around town, and the event stretches from Palmer Lake at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) south to Historic Monument. Our beautiful outdoor public art sculptures, located throughout the Tri-Lakes community, are on view 24/7 and many Art Hoppers stopped to view and enjoy the artworks on their waltz around town. New outdoor art goes up this month!
June art events
At TLCA, Palmer Lake Art Group 51st Annual Fine Art Show and "Four of a Kind," (Lucy Owens Gallery). Both shows, May 31 to June 25, opening reception was June 3. 304 Highway 105, north end of town in Palmer Lake.
Bella Art and Frame art show June 1-29, featuring Sara Richardson. Reception June 16, 5-8 p.m. at the Art Hop; 183 Washington St., Historic Monument.
Bliss Studios Art Gallery—Owner/artist Jodie Bliss has a lovely art gallery of her works in metal and glass adjacent to her working studio. The Art Hop events promise lots of art and music and fun as well. 243 Washington St.
TLCA Call for Entries—Monochrome Photography Exhibition. Photo show—vision, interpretation and using monochrome photography. Final entry deadline Aug. 6.
Janet Sellers is an artist and art teacher; her paintings and public art sculptures are on exhibit in city and museum venues in Colorado and the Tri-Lakes area.
Sellers can be reached at JanetSellers@OCN.me.
Above: Seen at Art Hop, May 19: Pam Aloisa, the May featured artist at Bella Art and Frame Gallery, is shown here with her "Urban Edge" style of innovative portraits on shaped surfaces. Aloisa is the art gallery director and art professor for the U.S. Air Force Academy and has served there in that capacity for the past 25 years.
Above: Jodie Bliss is pictured with some of her large metal and colored glass sculptures on exhibit now at her studio and gallery, Bliss Studios. Bliss was on hand to welcome guests to her spacious venue that includes outdoor gardens, a splendid gallery, and large working studio on site. Lonnie Dilan and his band played throughout the Art Hop. Photos by Janet Sellers.
After Prom held at the high schools, April 24
Caption: After Prom are annual events that immediately follow Prom at the high schools (pictured left: LPHS, right: PRHS) and provide fun, safe alternatives for kids to play games, eat food, and win prizes by spending points won at minute-to-win-it, carnival, and casino games. Thanks to all the parent, student and community volunteers who organized, decorated, set-up, staffed, and cleaned up. For acknowledgements of the sponsors of the LPHS event see page 23. Thanks for the PRHS event go to the Palmer Ridge Foundation and sponsors who provided food, money, gift cards, and other items. PRHS sponsors included: Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza—Gleneagle, Dr. Norma Longo & Associates Dentistry, Fadooger, First National Bank Monument, Fitness Systems, FSI Direct, Hamula Orthodontics, Home Depot, Jim Taylor, JJ Tracks, King Soopers, Michael Winton and Joan Cunningham, Palmer Ridge Dentistry & Orthodontics, Papa John’s Pizza, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Suntronics, Taco Bell, The Historic Pinecrest, Thomas E. Hughes DDS, and Tri-Lakes Printing. LPHS photo supplied by Karen Shuman. PRHS photo by Jackie Burhans.
Wildfire Preparedness Day, May 7
Caption: May 7 was National Wildfire Preparedness Day, and in Palmer Lake that meant the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) and numerous volunteers worked together to reduce wildland fire risk in the Tri-Lakes area. Volunteers from the local community, the Air Force Academy, and Team Rubicon helped CUSP mitigate fire risk, and the private forestry company Markit! Forestry Management donated its services for the day to help in the effort. Representatives from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) toured both the Palmer Lake and Mount Herman Estates sites with CUSP staff. NFPA is a global nonprofit that developed the FireWise program that helps communities and residents work together to make their home and neighbors safe from wildfire by employing basic defensible space and sound landscaping techniques. For information on how to volunteer next time, contact Rachel Gurfinkel at http://volunteer.cusp.ws or see www.cusp.ws. Photos courtesy of CUSP.
Woodmoor Firewise event, May 7
Caption: Sparky and Dave Root of the Colorado State Forest Service present an award to Sherrie Storey, Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Covenants and Forestry administrator, and Robert Benjamin, board member and director of Forestry, recognizing Woodmoor’s 10th year as a Firewise community. The May 7 Woodmoor Firewise event was held at the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in Monument. The event was co-hosted by the WIA and the church’s Emergency Preparedness Group. The four-hour event included multiple presenters including John Vincent, Tri-Lakes Monument fire marshal, Dave Root from the Colorado State Forest Service, and Eric Gross, volunteer for WIA Forestry. Presentation topics and displays covered defensible space, ember protection, evacuation planning, Community Emergency Response Training, landscaping, construction materials, mitigation, insurance, and more. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Memorial Day Ceremony at Monument Cemetery, May 30
By Jim Kendrick
The Town of Monument Memorial Day Ceremony held at Monument Cemetery on May 30 was attended by World War II veterans Bunny Evans and Jay Hogle (USN) as well as about 200 other people.
Thanks to all the participants who made the ceremony possible, including: Master of Ceremony John Howe; Honored Speaker Brig, Gen, Anthony Trifiletti (USA, retired); Pastor Steve Burford; Reflection Speaker Lt. Col. David Laydon (USA Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Carson); readers of the names of the buried military in Monument Cemetery Karen Hartling (USN, veteran), John Hartling (USN, retired), Maj. Stephanie O’Connors, (US Army, Fort Carson); Eric VanDenHoek (audio); bell ringer Max Williams (USA, Ranger); "In Flanders Field" reader Maj. Darby Kelly (USAF, retired; VFW Post 7829); Memorial Day Verses speaker Sgt. Ron Carlisle (Royal Air Force, retired); U.S. flag presenter Bill Miller (USN, veteran) and POW/MIA flag presenter M/Sgt. Jodie Zwolinki (USAF, retired); flag raisers Lt. Col. Dan Beatty (USAF, retired; post commander of VFW Post 7829) and Capt. Joe Carlson (USA; post commander), and American Legion Tri-Lakes Post 9-11; Lewis-Palmer School District 38 symphonic and jazz band directed by Mike Mozingo and Stephen Hock; Honor Guard/Rifle Salute members of the Monument and Palmer Lake Police Departments and Monument Police Explorer Post; Boy and Girl Scouts; Town of Monument program planners former Trustee John Howe and Madeline VanDenHoek, Community Relations; Greeters Sharon Williams and Terri Hayes; refreshments hosted by the Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 7829 organized by Kathy Carlson. Howe also noted the new cemetery front split-rail fence and the plan to refurbish all the cemetery’s oldest headstones by the town’s Public Works Department. Photos by Jim Kendrick.
Jim Kenrick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption : Honored Speaker Brig. Gen Anthony Trifiletti (USA, retired)
Caption (L to R) : World War II veterans Bunny Evans and Jay Hogle (USN)
Gleneagle Sertoma Spirits of Spring
Caption: More than 250 participants attended the 12th annual Spirits of Spring wine and food tasting event at the Antlers Hilton on May 21. From left, Larry and Carrie Oliver, Brian Dickard, Paul and Jonnye Dickard, Trivian Dickard, and Janet Campbell enjoyed the ambiance. Gleneagle Sertoma Club raised over $10,000 at the event to fund Home Front Cares, Partners in Housing, and other local charities. "This event exceeded club expectations and assures continuation in years to come to benefit our supported charities" said Gleneagle Sertoma Club President Duane Gritzmaker. The next major benefit to be hosted by the club will be the Patriot Golf Tournament on Friday, Sept. 16. This event honors military, police, and fire protection personnel and will benefit selected charities. More information is available at http://gleneaglepatriotgolf.com. Photo courtesy of Gleneagle Sertoma.
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.
Senior lunch now Mon. through Fri., new location
Senior lunches are now served Mondays-Fridays, 12-12:30 p.m., at Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. Lunches are now provided by Silver Key Senior Services Golden Circle Nutrition Program. A voluntary donation of $2.25 is requested. Stay for bingo the second Thu. each month. Reservations are requested; call 884-2304.
Black Forest Slash Mulch site now open
The Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program. Slash drop-off ends Sep. 11; mulch pick up ends Sep. 24. For the schedule and other details, visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; or Jeff, 495-8024.
Volunteer needed for El Paso County Citizen Review Panel, apply by June 3
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve on the Citizen Review Panel. Applications are due by June 3 but there may still be time to apply. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
Volunteers needed for City/County Drainage Board, apply by June 10
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the City/County Drainage Board. Applications are due by June 10. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
Chipper operators needed
Black Forest Together is preparing for the next six months of recovery projects and needs to train more chipper operators. The training is free. If you are interested in helping, email Volunteer Coordinator Donna Arkowski, email@example.com; or call Co-Founder Ed Bracken, 495-9396 or 331-4966.
El Paso County Citizens College, June 11, 18
Get a behind-the-scenes look at county government during Citizens College June 11 and 18. Topics include: County Government 101, Child and Adult Protection and Economic Assistance Programs, Criminal Prosecution and Investigation, Public Health and Safety, Road and Bridge Operations and Maintenance, Land Use and Zoning, Veterans Services, Parks and Recreation, Environmental Services, Property Tax Assessments and Collections, and County Budget and Finance. For more information and to register online, visit www.elpasoco.com/citizenscollege.
Volunteers needed in Black Forest, register by June 15
People are needed to clear dead/burnt trees and limbs July 15-17. Share meals and worship together too. This is a great "local" mission project for ages 14-84. The event is co-sponsored by Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church and Sunrise United Methodist Church. For more information and to register, contact Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County seeks input on cable television services, respond by June 15
Take the online survey to share your thoughts and concerns about cable television and internet services offered by Xfinity Comcast Cable and Falcon Broadband. Public meetings are scheduled June 23 at Falcon Elementary School, 12050 Falcon Highway, and July 12 at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave. Both meetings will start 6:30 p.m. The survey can be found at www.peaksurveys.com/ncprojects/cable/Content/cable_1.htm.
Would you like to honor a member of your family who served honorably in our United States 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.
Tri-Lakes Y Summer Sports Camps, register now
The Y offers weekly camps in various sports and cheerleading from June 6 to Aug. 12, for ages 6-16. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument.
Vendors wanted for Pickin’ on the Divide, June 25
For $25 you can secure a spot for your booth at the Music Festival and Fiddlin’ Competition. For more information, visit www.pickinonthedivide.com or phone Diane at the Church at Woodmoor, 488-3200.
Host a teenage Spanish student for a month
Become a host family for only one month this summer, and receive $125 per week to support activities. Students arrive June 25-July 23. For details, call 481-4412 or visit www.xploreUSA.org.
Monument Hill Foundation Call for Grants, apply by June 30
The Monument Hill Foundation is the granting arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. The foundation provides funds in support of the club’s mission to support youth and the community, with a focus on the Tri-Lakes community. Club fundraising projects include the annual Empty Bowls Dinner that supports Tri-Lakes Cares and the Holiday Red Kettle Campaign collections that go directly to the Salvation Army. The club works on many other activities each year to raise funds that go to the Monument Hill Foundation for direct granting. A list of the latest grant recipients is posted on the website. Interested organizations may submit requests for grants now until June 30. Grant applications and instructions can be found at www.monumenthillfoundation.org.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance (formerly HAP) 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 Silver Alliance at (719) 464-6873 or email admin@TriLakesSeniors.org.
Volunteers are also needed at the Silver Alliance’s Thrift Store to work a 3-hour shift once a week, to move items from storage into the store, or to pick up and transport donated items. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
El Paso 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 Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, in Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mt. Carmel is currently open 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday. Those hours will expand in June. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center (PPWFC) has also opened an office to serve veterans and transitioning military personnel at the Mt. Carmel location. The PPWFC Mt. Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and is staffed with two workforce center employees who specialize in helping veterans with their employment needs. The county Department of Human Services also has an office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence. For more information, contact Dave Rose, 520-6540, DaveRose@elpasoco.com.
Property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans
El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker reminds residents that the Colorado Constitution establishes a property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans. For those who qualify, 50 percent of the first $200,000 in actual value of the primary residence is exempted from property tax. The State of Colorado pays the property taxes on the exempted value. The application deadline for disabled vets is July 1, and for seniors is July 15. For an application or a brochure that explains the exemptions or for questions regarding the exemptions, please call the assessor’s office at 520-6600, email ASRWEB@elpasoco.com, or visit www.elpasoco.com and click on "News Releases."
Become a CASA volunteer
Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). CASA offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Learn more at http://www.casappr.org/volunteer-colorado-springs/ or contact Kelly at 447-9898, ext. 1033 or email@example.com.
Attention Tri-Lakes residents with medical conditions
If you have a medical condition or a physical disability, please contact Jennifer at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, 484-0911, to register for emergency assistance if evacuation is required.
Free transportation and safety services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and safety services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you are in need of grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message.
Free Senior Safety Handyman Services
Senior Safety Handyman Services is a unique program funded by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging. It is designed to help seniors (age 60 and over) in northwest El Paso County with safety-related handyman projects. Dedicated, paid contractors and volunteers install grab bars, wheelchair ramps, railings, steps, etc., to help seniors to continue to live independently in their own homes. For service, call 488-0076 and leave a message for Cindy Rush. For more information, visit www.TriLakes-mcts-sshs.org.
Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service
Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and over. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email MCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.
Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center programs
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.
Senior Safety Program
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District offers a free senior safety program to all Tri-Lakes seniors. The program includes smoke detector evaluations, home safety assessments, vial of life, and fire prevention. For information call 484-0911 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
Free gun-lock kit
The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gunlock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
Note special summer programs for children
WEEKLY AND MONTHLY EVENTS
4th of July Events
Parade spectators are encouraged to come early, park at Palmer Ridge High School or Lewis-Palmer High School, and ride the free bus to and from downtown Monument.
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on February 01, 2019. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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