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Vol. 18 No. 12 - December 1, 2018


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This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.

the PDF file. This is a 34 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

individual pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

Monument Sanitation District, Nov. 21: District endorses CSU wastewater connection option

By Lisa Hatfield

At its regular meeting on Nov. 21, the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) board heard a presentation from two representatives of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) about the imminent potential of saving money by connecting smaller wastewater districts with bigger ones in northwestern El Paso County. The board unanimously approved a resolution in favor of pursuing this idea with CSU with the hope that up to six other local sanitation districts will do the same.

MSD maintains a sewer system to collect wastewater from residents and businesses of the Town of Monument west of Interstate 25 as well as some areas outside the town limits. Its collection lines run to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF), which MSD co-owns with Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD) and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD). MSD has been in existence since 1963 and is a separate Title 32 government entity from the Town of Monument.

Chairman Ed Delaney was excused, and board member John Howe ran the meeting.

Earl Wilkinson, CSU Chief Water Services Officer, said that CSU has been looking at a sanitary sewer corridor to the northwestern part of the county for 30 years, but overcoming environmental issues and obtaining easements through the U.S. Air Force Academy made it impractical. However, the academy now has plans to build the Gateway at Falcon Stadium Visitors Center complex at Northgate Road, and they would now like to partner with CSU on wastewater collection and treatment. This has given the North Monument Creek Interceptor project new life in the last few months. The academy wants the visitors center in operation by August 2020. See www.cityforchampions.com/project/gateway-at-falcon-stadium-visitors-center/.

"Everyone is very excited about this project," Wilkinson said. CSU is committed to the first phase of building a sanitary sewer line from the academy’s north gate downhill to the J.D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility on Mark Dabling Boulevard, which, he said, has "significant capacity available." This would allow the academy to tie into this collection line instead of maintaining its own treatment plant. Also, by combining collection system networks, the power of gravity could be harnessed, and many expensive electric lift stations could be decommissioned in CSU’s district and other districts that get involved.

The second phase of the project could stretch north from Northgate Road into the Tri-Lakes area if those six wastewater treatment districts commit to paying for a bigger collection line to be installen the first phase. They would also need to pay for building the additional collection line downhill from TLWWTF, connecting with the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF), to Northgate Road. They would pay rates agreed upon with CSU for ongoing wastewater treatment.

"The state wants to get rid of smaller wastewater plants and create more regional systems with more environmental protection," Wilkinson said. The CSU board initially supports the project, he said, but will still need to approve it after the engineering design phase, intergovernmental agreements, and funding sources are complete.

"We have to make sure we have the participation to help pay for the construction and costs by the different districts associated with the project," he said. Those could independently include MSD, PLSD, WWSD, Triview Metropolitan District, Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, and Donala Water and Sanitation District.

CSU Project Engineer Jenny Bishop said potential stakeholders could decide to participate from the outset or else agree that the second phase could be built later, but she and Wilkinson agreed that getting easements through the academy was a rare occurrence.

If the project were done all at once instead of in two phases, the large size of the overall project would attract better contractors and better prices, Wilkinson said.

Bishop’s comments included:

• It is going to get harder for smaller districts to absorb costs coming with future environmental regulations.

• Regionalization of wastewater would disperse those costs.

• J.D. Phillips has additional capacity because low-flow showers and toilets are reducing the volume of influent per user.

• CSU’s J.D. Phillips and Las Vegas Treatment plants both have the capacity to do this and are already set up to meet those future regulations.

• The engineering design phase could start in January.

• Local districts might still keep a small portion of their plants online.

MSD Manager Mike Wicklund’s comments included:

• Overall the Tri-Lakes community, including the Tri-Lakes and Upper Monument Creek facilities, is faced with millions of dollars of future required wastewater improvements to meet present and future regulations.

• It would be better to spread it over the entire region of 500,000 people.

• Creating a regional wastewater system using gravity alignment and economies of scale would be a win-win for everyone.

• Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972 encourages having fewer lift stations and wastewater plants on the stream.

• The estimated "final build-out" flow of all six Tri-Lakes districts could be collected and treated by the CSU facilities more efficiently than Monument could.

• The cost of building the new interceptor is peanuts compared to the cost of maintaining and upgrading plants in the future.

Another much more complicated issue, separate from the wastewater collection infrastructure, is how districts that include both renewable water and sanitation services would get through the legal maze of water return flows. "The water supply side of this is going to be a longer, more complicated discussion," said Wilkinson. See related Triview article and potential regionalization map on page 10.

The board went into executive session at 10:48 a.m. to discuss negotiations with CSU. Wicklund told OCN that after the meeting returned to open session, the board voted unanimously to approve the Resolution of Monument Sanitation Concerning the North Monument Creek Interceptor, which officially stated its support of building this new interceptor and doing it "as one project."

Also, at the beginning of the meeting, Wicklund read the oath of office to district resident Daniel Hamilton and welcomed him as a new board member. He will replace Secretary Terry Madison, who moved away recently.

**********

Monument Sanitation District meetings are normally held at 9 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month in the district conference room at 130 Second St., Monument. See https://colorado.gov/msd. For a district service map, see https://colorado.gov/pacific/msd/district-map-0. Information: 481-4886.

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Nov. 13: Board considers actions after voters reject ballot measures

By Harriet Halbig

The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 had a lengthy discussion of potential actions following the defeat of its two revenue-producing ballot initiatives. These initiatives, 4A and 4B, would have provided funding for a new elementary school in order to convert Bear Creek Elementary School back to a middle school, construction of an auditorium or gymnasium for Monument Academy, physical security upgrades for all facilities, and personnel for security at all facilities.

An additional ballot initiative at the state level, Amendment 73, which would have altered the state’s tax code and added $9 million to the district annually, also failed.

During board comments early in the meeting, all members thanked those who worked toward passage of the initiatives and thanked citizens for voting.

Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch said that in the interest of transparency and communication, she will schedule monthly coffees where board members and the public could communicate openly.

The need is still real, said Treasurer Chris Taylor, and he asked for a clear communication of the financial need. He said he felt as though the students had been let down.

Board President Matthew Clawson thanked the Long-Range Planning Committee for their efforts.

Superintendent Karen Brofft said that the planning team is regrouping and will be reaching out to the community to learn why people think the issues failed. The need is still there, and district representatives must seek out community input, she said.

As it stands, school boundaries may need to change, and mobile classrooms may be necessary. The most pressing issue is the middle school, which is at capacity.

Later in the meeting, Brofft said that the district will use the Thought Exchange website to seek input online from the community. Due to the impending holidays, she said that she would leave the portal open until January. The intent is to take the data from Thought Exchange and go out again and actively engage with the community.

For those who do not use social media, the link to Thought Exchange will be on the district website.

District officials will also meet with demographers before the Dec. 3 work session to get further concrete statistics on the need for an additional school and solutions in the interim.

Brofft said that the board should consider going out again next year for a bond and/or mill levy override. Construction costs will continue to rise the longer it is delayed, she said.

Secretary Mark Pfoff said he was concerned that the public detected a "bait and switch" when the long-term planning for the elementary school initially did not include funding for the Monument Academy (MA) facility, and then it was added at the last minute. A D-38 Deliberates session asked the public whether to request one school or two. The decision was to ask for one, and MA was not mentioned.

Pfoff stressed that charter schools are in competition with traditional public schools and therefore should not be represented on a single issue.

He pointed out that the charter school could build its new high school without going to the voters for funding through the use of Certificates of Participation. MA has created a separate building corporation which holds the debt, while MA pays a monthly lease fee.

In addition, members of the public complained that, even after a D-38 Deliberates meeting, the board did not decide on what to do with the Grace Best Education Center. Pfoff suggested using funds from the sale of land for the Monument Academy high school to demolish the old part of the Grace Best.

Pfoff said that he felt the board and those campaigned for the issues had let the teachers down by not passing initiatives that would give them better conditions.

Taylor said that the MA proposal was not added at the last moment, and he felt that one reason the initiatives failed was that the blue book that described them didn’t provide a positive argument. He said that construction of the new MA high school will provide some additional seats but that the board should start now to address the issue of a new school because the need persists.

The board needs a longer time frame to draft a simple bond, said Director Theresa Phillips. The board made a good faith effort, but perhaps needs a brainstorming session with the public so that they feel included.

Upchurch commented that the board did well to bring issues to the table and that polling showed support for the charter in planning. How the issue was presented posed the problem, she said. The board needs to reach out to voters, and there was misinformation, she added.

Pfoff said that a previous school board member has offered to chair the committee that will readdress the issue. He stressed again that the bond should only address a new school.

Taylor agreed that only a new school should be included and the plans are already completed.

Brofft said that the committee must be a board-designated committee and wants the board to own responsibility for it by determining how many members it should have.

Pfoff said he wants to continue to move forward on the issues, not start over. Board members need to let the voters know that they’ve been heard, he said.

Brofft said that the district has very real problems to solve in the 2018-19 school year and suggested devoting a Dec. 3 work session to their solution.

Board comments

Other board comments included congratulating the Lewis-Palmer girls volleyball team for their third state championship, and the Palmer Ridge football team for remaining in the post-season competition.

Several board members also mentioned the recent loss of two high school students and how the community, students and teachers came together to support the high schools. District 20, which has experienced similar loss, offered its assistance as well.

Enrollment Dashboard

In preliminary figures, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangemen said that the district superseded its budgeted enrollment but did not reach the demographers’ estimates

English Learner process

English Learner Facilitator Stephanie Johnson and Executive Director of Exceptional Student Services Rick Frampton gave a presentation on the program that serves students from 40 different languages. Students are identified when they register with the district if they say that a language other than English is spoken at home.

The district has won two Promising Practice awards from the state for Adult Literacy and the annual International Dinner and an English Learning Excellence Award for two years in a row for being among the top 10 Colorado districts.

Career and Technical Education

Executive Director of Learning Services Dr. Lori Benton offered a presentation on the district’s participation in the Pikes Peak Business and Education Alliance to take advantage of business-funded opportunities such as internships and on-the-job training for students, many of which result in earning college as well as high school credit.

Benton said that 841 high school students and 431 middle school students participated last year. Such subjects as business, marketing, IT, and a salon and spa academy are offered.

Brofft said that Benton ensured that D-38 teachers were certified so that the district could receive reimbursement for student participation. Last year the district received $60,000 and this year will receive $180,000.

The program supports the goals of postsecondary and workforce readiness for students, she said.

Prairie Winds Presentation

Music teacher Michael Norris and PE teacher Jimel Rushing demonstrated the school’s Fit and Focus flash program, in which students can take a half-hour break from the classroom and go to the gym to engage in various activities which can improve their relaxation and productivity.

Activities include physical exercise, balancing exercises, pedal machines and a tunnel crawl. The school’s occupational therapist participated in creating the program.

Students are asked when they arrive whether they are in a good frame of mind to concentrate and learn, and are asked again when they leave.

The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in the District’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument, The next meeting will be on Dec. 17.

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Nov. 6 Election Local Results

By Jennifer Kaylor

Winning outcomes shown in bold italics.

El Paso County Commissioner – District 1

Frank J. DeLalla, 19,478 (29.77%)

Holly Williams, 45,944 (70.23%)

Town of Monument Trustee

Ann Howe, 1,419 (36.35%)

Jim Romanello, 1,622 (41.55%)

Kenneth W. Kimple, 863 (22.11%)

Town of Palmer Lake Ballot Issue 2A: Retail Marijuana/Marijuana Products Taxation

Yes/For, 950 (62.25%)

No/Against, 576 (37.75%)

Town of Palmer Lake Ballot Issue 2B: Marijuana Sale/License/Regulation Amendment to Municipal Code

Yes/For, 683 (44.18%)

No/Against, 863 (55.82%)

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Ballot Issue 4A: Tax Increase of up to 1 $Million Annually from 2019 through 2025 to Fund Additional Staffing and Security

Yes/for, 7,286 (35.53%)

No/Against, 13,219 (64.47%)

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Ballot Issue 4B: Debt Increase of $36.5 Million Resulting in Tax Increases of not more than $5.2 Million Annually to Fund a New Elementary and Security Enhancements at all Schools

Yes/For, 6,949 (33.89%)

No/Against, 13,556 (66.11%)

Triview Metropolitan District Ballot Issue 6A: Use Current Mill Levy Revenue to Pay Down Debt AND General Operations, Maintenance, and Capital Acquisition

Yes/For, 1,279 (48.76%)

No/Against, 1,344 (51.24%)

Official election results were obtained from http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/63746/183105/Web01/en/summary.html and https://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/El_Paso/91831/Web02.216033/# and posted as of Nov. 21. Colorado has 3.84 million registered voters, 74.46 percent of whom cast ballots; voter turnout for El Paso County was 59.2 percent of 473,469 registered voters.

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Monument Academy School Board, Nov 8: Board sees robot demo, revises 2018-19 budget

By Jackie Burhans

The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Nov. 8 to see a demonstration of new Sphero robots, review election results, and review revisions in next year’s budget. Board member J.W. Boyles was absent.

Sphero robot demonstration

Director of Educational Technology Tracy Trimbach demonstrated one of the newly acquired Sphero Bolt robots for the board. Principal Elizabeth Davis noted that purpose of the robots is to integrate coding and technology into the curriculum to teach students skills they will need for future jobs. Trimbach played a short video showing students controlling the robots via an iPad program. During the demonstration, the robot lit up and said, "Hello MA Board Members," and displayed "Go Lynx!" on its screen. The robot, which is waterproof and unbreakable, contains a compass, a matrix of lights that spell out words, a gyroscope, and can broadcast signals to other robots via Bluetooth, Trimbach said. MA has 36 robots that can be used in two classrooms simultaneously. The robots are charged wirelessly in a custom case that is plugged in, and can hold a charge for up to two hours.

Revised budget shows slight drop in attendance

Nancy Tive, MA Director of Finance, explained that the 2018-2019 school budget is required to be turned in to District 38 by April 15, and is revised up through count day, which was Oct. 3. This revision shows a decrease from 912.82 to 905.98 full-time equivalent (FTE) students. Kindergartners are counted as about half an FTE for funding purposes. The decrease came primarily among fifth-graders, from 119 to 113 students this year.

Per-pupil revenue from the state is up as is the capital construction grant revenue. Expenditures are increased by adding purchased services from the district for special education but decreased by having one fewer teacher and hiring newer teachers. Operation costs are lower as MA has no large projects planned for the year.

The board unanimously approved these revisions to the 2018-2019 budget.

Election results

Executive Director Don Griffin noted that a post-election Gazette headline included the term "Blue Avalanche" and that democrats control the state house and senate, which could have an impact on education though the newly elected governor has a tendency to be pro-charter and pro-education. Griffin also reported that the Lewis-Palmer School District ballot issues 4A and 4B were defeated but said that the margin of defeat at 68 percent was slightly lower than in the past at 75 percent against. MA’s advocates and advisors at the legislature will start weekly conference calls to discuss the agenda going forward, he said. He also noted that there is a projected $1 billion surplus in state revenues.

Highlights

The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:

• An investor visit in December will help finalize who will provide funding for the new high school, Griffin noted.

• Contruction meetings are being held weekly and have recently addressed access, setbacks, and existing fiber optics on the new school site.

• Griffin reported on a successful fire drill that required students to solve the challenge of finding the nearest unblocked exit.

• MA conducted a lockdown drill with a D-38 safety officer in attendance.

• The Curriculum Committee and the School Accountability Advisory Committee are focusing on contributions to this year’s Unified Improvement Plan.

• The board went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

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The next meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month except for July and December. 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 jackieburhans@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Nov. 12: Board mulls strategy for water and sewer rates

By James Howald

At its November meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board worked with a representative of Raftelis Financial Consultants to define a strategy for water and sewer rates over the next few years. The public hearing on the 2019 budget was held at the same meeting, and the board also heard a presentation on the GAP Project Utility Relocation. Finally, the board considered two requests for supplemental water service from local businesses.

Strategy for rates takes shape

Rob Wadsworth, of Raftelis Financial Consultants, presented to the board preliminary results of the analysis of water and sewer rates he has been working on for the district. The changes to the district’s proposed budget made during the budget workshop the previous month had been incorporated into the preliminary analysis, District Manager Jessie Shaffer said. The final version of the analysis will be presented at the December board meeting.

Two broad themes emerged from the presentation and the discussion among the board members that followed: first, the impact that proposed capital improvement projects will likely have on rates over the next few years and, second, how to set rates for non-potable water in a way that acknowledges how that resource is different from the potable water sold to residential customers. The Renewable Water Infrastructure Fee (RWIF) also came up for discussion.

Water and sewer rates will see no increase

Wadsworth recommended to the board that sewer rates remain unchanged through 2029.

In terms of water rates, Wadsworth said one scenario would be to raise water rates 7 percent. The key driver was how the district intends to finance its plans to upgrade the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) to enable water reuse. Shaffer said enabling water reuse would require the TLWWTF to do additional treatment of effluent to bring it up to the standard for potable water using ozone treatment and other methods. This water would then be returned to the potable water system for reuse. The required upgrades to the TLWWTF are expected to cost $30 million over three years at today’s constructions costs, Shaffer and Wadsworth said, assuming WWSD bears the costs for the project alone.

In the past, according to Wadsworth, the direction he received from the board was to calculate rates so that the district could pay cash for capital improvement projects such as the proposed upgrade to TLWWTF. Cash financing to pay for water reuse would require a rate increase of 7 percent until 2025 to build up a cash reserve for the project, which would begin in 2026 and continue through 2028, according to Wadsworth.

Shaffer commented on the uncertainties inherent in this project, and said the board might want to consider funding that would include both cash and general obligation bonds, which would need to be approved by voters, rather than accumulating a cash reserve to fund the work. Revenue bonds that would not need voter approval could also be used, Shaffer said.

Wadsworth said his calculations assumed 40 new taps per year.

Wadsworth told the board that cash financing was not often used for projects of this size. Debt financing is more typical, he said.

Director Brian Bush pointed out that the cost of water produced by the proposed reuse effort would be high, and that the board should also consider how to move water from Woodmoor Ranch to consumers in the district.

Wadsworth recommended that the board consider a combination of cash financing and debt, each providing half the needed funds to finance the effort to reuse water, beginning with a rate increase of 3 percent in 2021, with $10 million in debt issued in 2026 and $6 million in debt issued in 2028.

Board President Jim Taylor and Bush both saw problems with the cash financing approach that the district has used in the past. Bush argued there were many unknowns in the reuse strategy and was not convinced that reuse was the only long-term strategy available to the district. Taylor and Director Lee Hanson both felt a rate increase of 7 percent was too high.

Taylor suggested 2 percent cost of living increases for water and sewer starting in 2019. Director Jim Wyss said he felt that small but steady rate increases would be easier on consumers’ budgets. Shaffer suggested that Wadsworth should incorporate that approach into his final rate presentation in December.

The consensus of the board was that methods to move water from Woodmoor Ranch, in Fountain, should be considered in addition to water reuse as a long-term strategy, and that decisions about rates and project financing should be deferred until a later time.

After a wide-ranging discussion, the board voted not to increase water rates for the next year, and to continue to study the best long-term strategy for the district.

Renewable Water Infrastructure Fee (RWIF) to be reduced

In the RWIF discussion, Taylor said he wanted to lower that charge, currently $41 per month, if possible, to honor the promise made to district’s customers when it was first put in place that it would be retired as quickly as possible. The fee was proposed to pay off $30 million in debt that the district took on to purchase the water rights at Woodmoor Ranch, and which will be paid off in 2036.

The board voted to reduce the RWIF by $1 per month.

Non-potable rates reduced

Non-potable water is not treated in any way before delivery to customers. Used primarily for irrigation, it is not used as drinking water. Lake Woodmoor is the source of all non-potable water sold by the district. The district’s two largest customers for non-potable water are the Country Club at Woodmoor, which uses 20 million gallons of non-potable water per year, and Lewis-Palmer School District 38, which uses non-potable water to irrigate its athletic fields.

Non-potable water customers saw a 7 percent increase in the cost of the water in 2017. This rate change was approved by the board to ensure residential customers were not subsidizing the delivery of non-potable water.

Customers for non-potable water do not pay the costs required to purify water, which reduces the cost of the resource. But portions of the delivery system, such as the pipeline from the Augusta Pit to the country club, were added to the infrastructure solely for non-potable service. In some cases, the non-potable customers paid for portions of the infrastructure, such as pumps, that are paid for by the district in the case of potable water. A fair rate for non-potable water has to incorporate these facts, Wadsworth said. Some costs are recovered only from non-potable customers, some only from potable customers, and some are recovered from both, according to Wadsworth.

In the past, non-potable water has been considered as an integrated part of the overall system, Wadsworth said, because the same wells were used to source both potable and non-potable water.

The "peaking factor"—a customer’s maximum monthly consumption divided by that customer’s average monthly consumption—has also been included in the cost calculation for non-potable water, according to Wadsworth, because it influences the capacity, and therefore the cost, of delivery lines, pumps, and so forth.

At the end of the discussion, in light of the fact that non-potable customers do not contribute to water delivery peaks to the same degree potable customers do, the board decided to remove peaking factor charges from the rates for non-potable water, and reevaluate the rate in a year.

Hearing held on 2019 budget

The board heard a presentation of the second draft of the budget for 2019. A vote to approve the final budget will be held at the December board meeting.

Estimated revenues from the preliminary budget:

• $1.565 million in tap fees

• $3.1 million in use fees

• $1.494 million in sewer fees

• $8.8 million in total revenues

Estimated expenditures from the preliminary budget:

• $2.94 million in construction costs

• $8.7 million in total expenditures

The preliminary budget estimates the district’s reserve funds to be $27.5 million.

The public may review and comment on this draft of the budget before Dec. 10.

I-25 GAP project to protect wildlife

The board got an update from Sarah Zarzecki of Stanley Consultants, the company managing the portion of the Interstate 25 GAP project between Castle Rock and Monument.

Zarzecki said the work will include animal crossings intended to help wildlife cross the expanded I-25 highway safely. The animal crossing north of Monument Hill requires an existing sewer line to be relocated and suspended under the bridge over the highway, Zarzecki said, adding that the Colorado Department of Transportation will pay for this work, which was 90 percent planned at the time of the board meeting.

Zarzecki also said 18 miles of deer fence would be built between Monument Hill and Castle Rock that would guide wildlife to the safe crossing points.

Board approves two supplemental water service requests

The board voted to approve supplemental water requests for Cipriani LLC and Monument Hill Business Park LLC. Cipriani LLC wants to add a building, potentially to be used as a restaurant, at its property on Cipriani Loop. Monument Hill Business Park LLC plans to construct an office building on Deer Creek Road, adjacent to the storage facility at that location.

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The next meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 10. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday 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 jameshowald@ocn.me.

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Triview Metropolitan District, Nov. 13: Priority to connect with CSU wastewater pipeline grows

By Jennifer Kaylor

At its Nov. 13 meeting, the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors discussed the many positive aspects of participating in possible wastewater regionalization with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). District Manager Jim McGrady updated the directors on the district’s bond resolution rating and general operations.

Triview is a Title 32 special district inside Monument that provides road, landscaping, open space maintenance, and water and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas. The Town of Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for Triview’s property owners. Triview Metropolitan District is not to be confused with Triview no. 2, Triview no. 3, or Triview no. 4, which were created solely to pay for road bonds in Promontory Pointe, Home Place Ranch, and Sanctuary Pointe, respectively. The Nov. 13 board packet and agenda are available at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.

Wastewater regionalization: A potential win for many

CSU plans to construct an interceptor called the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI) that would join with and provide services for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s proposed new visitor center and continue north to the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) that is jointly owned by the Triview, Donala Water and Sanitation, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD). The pipeline would then be extended to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF), which treats wastewater from Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD), Monument Sanitation District (MSD), and Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD). CSU and its potential northern project partners are evaluating the best route and estimating costs for the proposed 13-mile pipeline.

If this gravity-driven system is realized, CSU’s more sophisticated and currently underutilized wastewater treatment facility, the J.D. Phillips Water Reclamation Facility, could accept wastewater flows from the six northern sanitation districts, but each district must opt in as a participant. CSU could potentially eliminate at least three lift stations thus reducing energy use.

All wastewater treatment facilities face stricter arsenic wastewater treatment regulations effective October 2019 and many other requirements over the next five to seven years. The UMCRWWTF began developing plans for compliance that involved multimillion-dollar upgrades to the treatment facility. Over the past few months, Triview’s Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton and Assistant Water Superintendent Rob Lewis experimented with an arsenic disposal alternative—utilizing floating pumps and hauling away arsenic-containing sludge instead of directing it to the UMCRWWTF. The simple yet effective option provides a workable solution to the 2019 compliance concerns and saves Triview and Donala more than $1 million each, McGrady said.

McGrady confirmed that the three district-owners of UMCRWWTF agreed not to move forward with facility upgrades at this time. The districts will also need to seek feedback from the Upper Colorado Bureau of Reclamation. An additional benefit of participation in CSU regionalization is the anticipated and substantial cost savings associated with long-term regulatory compliance.

Regionalization creates at least one dilemma for TLWWTF and UMCRWWTF: What do the managers of the respective districts do with their current treatment plants after regionalization with CSU is fully established? The most common options—demolishing, mothballing, or selling—must be decided by the owner-districts of each facility. See related Monument Sanitation District article on page 1.

Joint venture put on hold

Donala—Triview’s neighbor and collaborator on a wheeling agreement (an arrangement for Donala to transport drinking water for Triview) and a joint metering project that would have combined to deliver Triview’s renewable drinking water via Donala’s infrastructure—learned that it was denied a "finding of no significant impact" designation on its 1041 permit. McGrady explained that, due to the denied finding, Donala can’t be in "the wheeling business" thus the two-pronged collaboration has been nixed for now. The two districts can still provide emergency backup drinking water services, however.

Collaboration with CSU may eventually factor into Triview’s drinking water accessibility. Although currently focused on wastewater, CSU regionalization has the potential to include drinking water and consequently provide a delivery system for Triview to utilize its ever-growing renewable, but currently inaccessible, Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) drinking water shares.

McGrady confirmed that after the executive session, the directors authorized another purchase of five FMIC shares and will likely authorize the purchase of 10 additional FMIC shares in December. Adding the two transactions to the district’s current supply, Triview will own 562 FMIC shares or 393 acre-feet of renewable drinking water.

District rated well by Moody’s

McGrady explained that Triview had received an A3 revenue bond rating from Moody’s on bond Resolution 2018-03. The bond refinances current debt from two loans, adds a recent renewable water-shares purchase, and eliminates a balloon payment in 2031 (see www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#tvmd for additional information). The A3 designation is considered an upper-medium grade. The district purchased bond insurance, which is expected to lower the interest rate by about two-tenths of a percent. McGrady anticipated that pricing on the bond would occur on Nov. 19 or 20.

Director James Otis indicated that the rating document represented the district honestly and suggested that it be posted on the district’s website upon confirmation from Moody’s.

Interceptor construction, parkway design progress

Construction of the western interceptor—wastewater infrastructure that is funded by developers, administered by Triview, and intended to serve residential and commercial development within Triview’s territory west of I-25—began mid-November.

Associated with the western interceptor, the directors approved Resolution 2018-04 that amends a 2014 resolution and provides the district a mechanism for recovering infrastructure costs via an impact fee from developers who are unwilling or unable to pay.

McGrady confirmed that the design and ballpark cost estimates for improvements on Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road to Higby Road continue to progress—he stated that he expects 60 percent of the design to be completed by year’s end

New 2019 meeting times and location

The directors approved a change in meeting times and location. Beginning January 2019, Triview board meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. Changes in Triview’s office make it more feasible for the board and visitors to meet in the district’s space. The new location also omits the need for staff to transport meeting materials offsite. The move to the third Tuesday of the month was motivated by accounting needs. The additional time allows the previous month’s financial transactions to close thus the directors receive the most up-to-date financial statements.

The meeting adjourned at 6:49 p.m. after which the board met for an executive session for §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations.

Caption: Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has proposed a plan to build a North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI) (shown in green) to potentially regionalize wastewater treatment with the U.S. Air Force Academy (AFA) and northern El Paso County wastewater districts. If the academy opts to participate, the NMCI would initially connect the treatment facility intended to service the AFA’s new visitors center complex to the high-capacity J.D. Phillips Water Reclamation Facility. A second phase would extend NMCI infrastructure from the AFA treatment facility to northern sanitation districts via the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. The proposed gravity-based system has the potential to eliminate lift stations along its 13-mile length, incorporate economy of scale in addressing regulation compliance, create numerous efficiencies for participating entities, and generate additional revenue for CSU. NMCI construction is expected to begin in 2020. See PDF pages 82 and 83 of Board Packet, Regular Meeting, 11/13/2018 at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments for a CSU synopsis of the NMCI project. Diagram courtesy of the Triview district.

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The next Triview meeting is a public hearing pertaining to the district’s proposed 2019 budget and water and wastewater rate increases. The hearing will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Beginning January 2019, Triview board meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. Information: 488-6868 or visit www.triviewmetro.com. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.

Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at jenniferkaylor@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Sanitation District, Nov. 14: Sewer taps suspended; sewer collection system capacity evaluated

By Lisa Hatfield

On Nov. 14, the Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD) board continued a discussion that began in September and eventually resulted in a temporary suspension of sanitary sewer tap permits in its service area until a system-wide engineering study is complete. District Manager Becky Orcutt said she hoped GMS Engineering would complete its evaluation of the capacity of the entire system of collection lines and the main outfall sanitary sewer line from the town to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) by April 2019.

The sanitation district’s territory includes some parts of the Town of Palmer Lake and some neighborhoods along Highway 105 as far south as the Lake of the Rockies development in Monument.

Note: Our Community News was not present and did not report on the September and October meetings or the sewer tap permit suspension. We were first made aware of the situation by comments made at the October Palmer Lake Town Council meeting about the town’s need to stop issuing water taps since PLSD could not issue any new sewer taps. (See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#pltc.) Below is a summary of the situation taken from meeting minutes provided by Orcutt.

Background: On Sept. 12, Mark Morton from GMS Engineering explained some preliminary capacity calculations he had done based on the district’s flow records. He said preliminary calculations suggested multiple segments of the PLSD sanitary sewer outfall lines are over capacity and areas may be running as much as 94 percent full. Orcutt expressed her concerns about adding additional taps until a complete study could be conducted.

On Oct. 10, the board held a public hearing to consider a temporary suspension of sewer tap permits. Three residents expressed concern about how a moratorium would have a negative effect on the ability to develop some properties they own, especially with the uncertainty of the timeframe. Orcutt advised that everything will depend on the results of the sanitary sewer line infrastructure study. The board unanimously approved a motion to place a temporary suspension of sanitary sewer tap permits effective Oct. 10. The intention was that this motion would be formalized into a resolution in the near future.

At the Nov. 14 meeting, another local builder spoke during public comments asking if a waiting list would be created so that if and when any taps were made available for purchase, they could be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. He handed Orcutt completed plans for a home he is ready to start building as soon as he can and asked to be placed on such a list. The board consensus was that it was all unknown.

Later in the meeting, after the executive session, Orcutt told OCN that the board approved creation of a waiting list for those who may wish to purchase a tap once the suspension is removed.

The board also discussed how Orcutt should handle a legal and technical situation with another builder who had applied for one sewer tap before the Oct. 10 deadline, but eventually would need five more taps in that same development. The question was whether or not he should construct the one allowed tap on a service line or on a more expensive line extension, which is what would be required when and if the other five taps were issued.

The official resolution about the suspension of issuance of sewer taps is yet to come.

What prompted the question to the engineers?

Board member Joseph Stallsmith reminded the public that in 1968, when he was on the town council, Palmer Lake’s homes and businesses all had septic systems. But the state health department said in order to avoid a health and safety issue, Palmer Lake could not allow any more building until a sanitary sewer system was built for the town.

Orcutt said that the current PLSD collection system was built in 1972, and that "this kind of growth was not anticipated, with so many subdivisions and multiple homes, every little piece of property being subdivided. There was no way of ever knowing it would happen like it has. It’s a tough situation. … We are almost at the same point now. You can’t continue if you can’t take care of it."

Recently, Orcutt has had two development proposals within PLSD’s service area, both including 30 or 40 homes, and before she committed to them she asked GMS to do brief, rough calculations. That’s when Morton said the flow in some sections was far above the desired 75 percent level at peak times. "We can’t allow people to continue to tap in and just wait and see what happens," Orcutt said. Septic systems are only an option for lots that are 2.5 acres or bigger, Chairman Mark Bruce said.

When the $60,000 study is done, it will specify if and where there are trouble spots in the system and indicate if sections of lines need to be replaced or reconfigured.

Stallsmith said the goal was to "avoid stuff (raw sewage) upon the ground." Orcutt added, "It is scary. We are trying to do the right thing." Board member Reid Wiecks mentioned that concerns about the suspension of sewer tap permits had been mentioned at the Nov. 9 Palmer Lake Town Council (PLTC) meeting. See related PLTC article on page 16.

2019 budget in discussion

Orcutt has already presented a draft of the 2019 budget, which will be revised slightly to include the final 2019 number owed to the TLWWTF. That draft was approved at the Nov. 13 TLWWTF Joint Use Committee (JUC) meeting, which also includes Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District and Monument Sanitation District. Vice Chairman Patricia Smith attends those monthly meetings and summarized the discussions about the JUC budget. See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#tlwtfjuc.

Orcutt said she has included normal line repair estimates in the PLSD budget but nothing about possible re-piping the town because she has no specifics on when or how much that might cost. After the GMS study is done next year, the board might amend its budget to include costs related to that anticipated infrastructure upgrade work.

The public hearing on the PLSD budget will be held at PLSD’s regular meeting on Dec. 12, after which the board will approve the budget.

At 10:14, the board went into executive session to determine the district’s position on matters that may be subject to negotiations with regard to potential third-party wastewater service opportunities with Colorado Springs Utilities. They did not take any formal action on the subject after the meeting returned to open session.

Caption: Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD) has temporarily stopped issuing new sewer tap permits until a system-wide engineering study is complete. PLSD’s service area (shown in blue) includes parts of the Town of Palmer Lake and other neighborhoods as far south as Lake of the Rockies, which is in the Town of Monument. District Manager Becky Orcutt said she hoped the engineers would be done evaluating the entire collection system’s capacity by April 2019, when possible infrastructure improvements might be recommended. See http://plsd.org for a more detailed district map. Map courtesy of El Paso County Assessor.

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Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m. at PLSD’s offices at 120 Middle Glenway, Palmer Lake. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12. Contact PLSD at 481-2732 or Becky.orcutt@plsd.org with questions.

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Nov. 5: Three trustees avoid special board meeting

By Allison Robenstein

The Monument Board of Trustees scheduled a budget workshop for Nov. 5 to be held at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, which was announced at the Oct. 15 board meeting. The consensus of the trustees that night was that they would each send their top two choices for town attorney to Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith so that a contract might be extended to the top candidate. The town has been struggling with staffing since summer when the board failed to renew the contracts of the town treasurer, town attorney, and town clerk; Town Attorney Alicia Corley resigned on Sept. 4. See www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#mbot1015.

On Nov. 1, the town website officially posted that the Nov. 5 budget workshop would be preceded by a special board meeting. The meeting was intended to approve a resolution appointing Joseph Rivera as special counsel to the town. At their previous meeting, the board heard from four legal firms willing to represent the town as contract attorneys. Rivera, of Murray, Dahl, Beery and Renaud, LLP, has done legal work for the town in the past. He was not present at the special meeting.

However, before the Nov. 5 meeting began, Trustee Greg Coopman arrived in the building, but refused to sit at the dais with Trustee Ron Stephens, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott and Mayor Don Wilson. Instead, he stood in the hallway. When Elliott asked if he was going to join the others at the meeting, he said, "Not for this illegal meeting."

The meeting opened, Town Clerk Laura Hogan took roll, announcing trustees Jeffrey Bornstein and Laurie Clark were absent. When Hogan called Coopman’s name, she waited for him to answer, but when he didn’t she said, "No response." Coopman called from outside the room, "I sent you an email." Coopman did not make any public explanation of his actions.

Because the three trustees who were present didn’t represent a majority of the six current trustees, the meeting was adjourned at 6:01 p.m. Coopman then came in and sat down at the dais after the adjournment to participate in the budget workshop.

A similar protest about what constitutes a quorum vs. a voting majority happened at the May 14 and May 16 meetings that were supposed to deal with staffing decisions, when three trustees were present and so opened and closed the meeting due to the stipulations of the Colorado Sunshine Law but could not take any official actions. See www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#mbot-cx, www.ocn.me/v18n7.htm#mbot.

Caption: Trustee Greg Coopman stood in the doorway of the board of trustee’s special meeting on Nov. 5 at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, refusing to enter, saying he would not attend the "illegal" meeting. After the meeting adjourned without conducting any business due to a lack of a majority of trustees present, Coopman came into the room to participate in the budget workshop. Photo by Allison Robenstein.

Allison Robenstein can be reached at allisonrobenstein@ocn.me.

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Monument Planning Commission, November 14: New Planning Commission members sworn in; three development plans approved

By Kate Pangelinan

Jeremy Lushnat and Chris Wilhelmi were both sworn in to the office of Planning Commissioner at the Nov. 14 meeting of the Monument Planning Commission. Former Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick’s resignation was also announced, and Commissioner Michelle Glover was elected vice chair of the planning commission following David Gwisdalla’s move and subsequent departure from the post. This means she will conduct meetings if Planning Commission Chair Ed Delaney is unavailable.

Topics discussed at the meeting also included the Jackson Creek North Filing 1 Site Plan and Final Plat, along with a zone change and Final Planned Development Site Plan for Cipriani Development, and the Site Plan for an ABRA Auto Body shop. The scheduled Final PD Site Plan and Final Plat for Monument Ridge was postponed. Public notice for future hearing dates will be sent.

This meeting was recorded and can be accessed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKvpEOmjeZs. Additional meeting information, including a Planning Commission packet with project summaries, maps, and additional notes, can be found at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/.

Commission approves Jackson Creek North plan

The Jackson Creek North Filing 1 site location is on the north side of Leather Chaps Drive, just left of Remington Hill Neighborhood, comprising 11½ acres. The project is represented by the property’s owner, Vision Development, Inc. As described in the Planning Commission packet, "The subject area includes the extension of Harness Road, a new public road called Hallmark Trail, 31 residential lots, and three tracts (for the purposes of emergency access, trail, utilities, landscaping, etc.)." Tracts A and B include a "conceptional trail easement" as requested by El Paso County to be used for a future regional trail. The 31 residential lots would be standard rectangular lots, with houses arranged in a circle around about seven houses in the middle. Rock landscaping would be provided between an attached sidewalk and the tract.

Commission members discussed the following concerns regarding the development:

• Glover noted that if these roads were to be plowed completely clear—the way a road expecting more traffic would need to be—the nearby sidewalks would be buried under snow. She said this would prevent students from walking or riding their bikes to the high school. This would force students to commute to school by car or be driven by their parents or guardians. Someone asked if the sidewalks could be moved farther from the road. Glover considered these discussions the one shot the community would have to keep these sidewalks safe during the winter. However, the current plan meets town codes, and those codes are intended by the planning department to be the determining factor for a project’s advancement.

• Vision Development, Inc. owns all the surrounding property, and there are no planned or existent parks or play facilities. Glover noted her concern about this, in large part because the Town of Monument’s Comprehensive Plan expresses the community’s desire for parks and open spaces. A representative of the developer stated that he would not commit to building a park near Jackson Creek North Filing 1, but would be happy to discuss the needs of the area with Monument’s planning staff.

During the public hearing period, concern was noted about the validity of traffic studies and a request to install traffic circles along Harness Road and Bowstring Road. The citizen said that such traffic circles may make roads safer by inhibiting drivers from speeding. Citizens also expressed approval of Glover’s concerns about the sidewalks getting buried in snow. One citizen noted that when she purchased her home on Remington Hill, it was understood that there would be a park and patio homes nearby. Now, she knows that won’t happen. The applicant did not seek to reply to the public hearing.

The motion for Jackson Creek North plan passed 4–3, with Commissioners Glover, Wilhelmi, and Melanie Strop voting against. Strop had expressed interest in making an amendment to the motion but was told by Commissioner John Dick that she could make a new motion if the existent one failed. As this first motion succeeded, the matter has gone to the Board of Trustees with the Planning Commission’s recommendation.

Zone change OK’d for Cipriani addition

The applicant for the Cipriani addition project, Construction Management Group LLC, and the property owner, Cipriani LLC, requested a zone change and presented a Final PD Site Plan for a property west of Knollwood Road and south of Colorado Highway 105. This property is approximately .6 acres, and is currently zoned for planned commercial development. Code requires that it be rezoned for planned development for the applicant to proceed with intended development. As the area is currently platted to be Tract A of Monument Villas Town Homes, planning staff members have discussed the need to replat this area into a lot with the applicant, too.

This property is intended to become host to a restaurant, although there is currently no specific tenant. This restaurant would not have a drive-through component. As there is no specific tenant yet, the project area could still house some manner of office or retail space instead, or become home to up to three separate businesses. Renderings of the proposed building design were provided. The building would be 3,700 square feet, and have 37 parking stalls, a shared trash enclosure, and landscaping on a 25,770-square-foot site, according to the planning packet. It would be designed to fit in well with surrounding establishments.

The motion to approve these requests with recommended conditions passed unanimously.

ABRA Auto Body plan approved

The proposed ABRA Auto Body shop would be located on the north side of Baptist Road, east of the existing 7-Eleven and dental office. The applicant is Oppidan Investment Company, and the property owner is WDG Monument LLC. The property is 1.46 acres, and the auto body shop itself would be an 18,000-square-foot building with 54 parking stalls. The Site Plan discussed describes a new prototype for the business, intended to be modern looking and featuring neutral colors. There would be a rock face, brick, and orange trim. The applicant provided color and material boards for the Planning Commission to consider. There would be an unfenced customer area on one side of the building, and an 8-foot black vinyl privacy fence surrounding the rest of structure. There would also be a retaining wall tapering around the building, with the highest point coming up at just under 15 feet. The proposed traffic volume for an auto body shop was noted to be significantly lower than that of other property types. Construction of the property is estimated at six months.

The Planning Commission expressed concerns, including questions of noise issues and whether this would cause surrounding, raised properties to look down into an auto body parking lot. From neighboring higher properties, the view currently includes King Soopers and its parking lot. Signage was also discussed, although no signs were included in this approval. Signage will be decided in a future discussion. As for noise issues, the ABRA Auto Body shop would be held to the same noise regulations as King Soopers and other surrounding businesses. Abra Auto Body do not currently operate on Sundays, but would like to reserve the right to do so in the future. Whether the shop is operational on Saturday depends on the volume of work. There would be 12–20 people employed at this location, and 98 percent of materials and work would be kept inside the building.

This motion passed 5–2, with Glover and Wilhelmi voting against.

Better plans suggested for roads, sidewalks

During the public comment session, a suggestion was made to put better plans in place for roads and sidewalks before any other projects are approved.

Also, while discussing Reports and Communications, new Commissioner Wilhelmi noted a desire to take extra time to make sure all of the Planning Commission is on the same page in regards to the Comprehensive Plan. He suggested volunteering more time to benefit the community. Glover also discussed a need to rewrite town codes and ordinances in order to truly implement the Comprehensive Plan.

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The next Monument Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 645 Beacon Lite Road. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.

Kate Pangelinan can be reached at katepangelinan@ocn.me.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Nov 19: Still no attorney for the town

By Allison Robenstein

The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) held a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 19, prior to their planned 2A water fund budget workshop. They put off a resolution to hire special counsel, but approved a grant to receive money for zoning and subdivision ordinances, and said farewell to Water Superintendent Nick Harris.

Special counsel appointment postponed

The consent agenda included a resolution appointing Joseph Rivera as special counsel to the town. Rivera, of Murray, Dahl, Beery and Renaud, LLP, has done legal work for the town in the past. However, Mayor Don Wilson requested the resolution be pulled because the town has not yet received a contract from the law firm. At the Nov. 5 meeting, the board was supposed to approve hiring Rivera, but the vote had to be delayed because there wasn’t a quorum of the board to vote. See related BOT article on page 14.

Grant request for ordinance work approved

Planning Director Larry Manning brought a resolution to the board requesting authorization to submit a grant from Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to match budget funds to pay for revisions to the zoning and subdivision ordinances, which are "out of date and have been modified piecemeal." Manning has requested $100,000 in the 2019 budget for the project, but it will cost double that, and he’s hoping to get the difference through the grant.

The board has been interested in updating most of the town’s ordinances, which are out of date and need to match updated laws. Trustee Greg Coopman asked if there would eventually be a plan to update all the ordinances, but Manning said it’s out of scope for this project.

The deadline to submit the grant is Dec. 1, but if it’s not approved there is another grant funding opportunity in April for the same DOLA grant. Trustee Ron Stephens and Coopman asked what happens to the money allocated in budget if the town isn’t approved for the grant. Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith said the planning department could start the project, but probably wouldn’t have enough money to finish it.

Coopman suggested the board could pass the resolution contingent on getting the grant funded. The resolution was unanimously approved.

Water Superintendent Harris recognized

Public Works Director Tom Tharnish recognized Nick Harris, who was the town’s water superintendent for more than 10 years. He recently left the town employment to further his civil engineering education and certification. Tharnish said Harris worked his way from an entry-level position to being the superintendent, taking the lead and sharing his technical knowledge when solving complicated issues.

Building codes passed unanimously

Attorney Virjinia Koultchitzka and Jay Eenhuis, Deputy Building Official for the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD), presented updates to flood plain maps and associated building codes that are based upon a new flood insurance study for 2018. Monument is required, as a condition of continued eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program, to adopt flood plain management regulations. The updates address changes mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to adopt a new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

The PPRBD administers and enforces building codes for the Town of Monument through an intergovernmental agreement. The trustees voted unanimously to adopt the related ordinance. Revised maps will be made available Dec. 7 and will replace the Flood Insurance Rate Map that was already in place. See related Palmer Lake Town Council article on page 16.

Town manager report

Smith presented the board with the third quarter financial statements. They included the following:

• General fund revenue was $127,000 more than budgeted, and expenses were $30,000 less than expected. This category includes the $115,000 legal settlement with the town manager.

• Water fund revenues were $451,000 more than expected in budget, and expenses were $152,000 less than expected. However, Smith said there are still $575,000 in expenses to be spent before the end of 2018. Because capital improvement projects (CIP) were not financed with external loans, money may need to be transferred from the water enterprise fund to augment the CIP water fund.

• The CIP Fund for Water is short $454,000 with approximately another $213,000 to be expended by the end of the year. There is still $345,000 in revenue projected, leaving this fund short by $322,000 due to lack of financing. This is only one of six capital projects that had been scheduled for 2018.

In the town manager report, the Monument police department stated the following:

• Santa on Patrol has started collecting new unwrapped toys, gift cards, and cash. See Notices on page 28 for details on how to donate toys to this cause.

• There was a robbery at a local establishment by three suspects armed with handguns. Because of this incident, the police department is encouraging the town to write an ordinance, fashioned after Commerce City, requiring businesses with a liquor license to report unlawful or disorderly conduct on their property to the police.

• We are seeing an increase in heroin and guns in our town.

Checks over $5,000

Checks over $5,000 written since Nov. 19:

• Triview Metropolitan District—2017 property taxes, $238,014.97

• Triview Metropolitan District—sales tax for Sept. 2018, Motor Vehicle sales tax for October, Regional Building Use tax for October, $181,602.27

• Forsgren Associates—Well #4/5 Phase 4 construction, $ 5,667.06

• Colorado Springs City finance—PPRC radio use fee, 5,940.00

• DBC Irrigation Supply—Dirty Woman park bleachers,
$ 5,128.35

• AECom—engineering for Beacon Lite Road walk improvements, $ 9,507.50

• Jacob’s Engineering—planning retainers, $ 10,596.25

• CASCO Construction—bond deposit for fence, $15,250.00

• Miracle Recreation—playground equipment, $ 6,315.00

• Law Fence, Inc. —fence for PW/Water facility, $ 10,340.00

Former candidate laments lack of water backup

During public comments, Ken Kimple, a recent candidate for the seventh board of trustees’ seat, thanked residents for voting during the recent election, and said he would continue to serve on the town’s planning commission. "Trustees should check the personalities and agendas at the door and not grandstand at the meetings," he said.

He expressed concern and frustration over the lack of any backup for water customers on the west side of town in case of emergency. Lack of approving new developments cost the town $10 million in water tap fees, he said.

Later in the meeting, Coopman responded to these comments, saying the board has pushed for years for an emergency water supply interconnection to an outside water system, but this is never followed up by town staff. Further, he said the board is criticized for not approving water projects when Triview water on the west side is laying pipe "as we speak" next to the Santa Fe Trail. He said the town could partner with them, but this isn’t in the budget for 2019.

Mayor Don Wilson clarified that there have been public works’ interconnects including requests for a reuse facility in partnership with Monument water, which is the closest facility. The interconnect requests have been discussed as part of reuse facility requests, but those have not moved forward since town staff has explained that other courses of action would be a better use of the money, he said. For example, see www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#mbot.

Kimple also commented on a Nextdoor.com post written by Clark questioning board of trustee candidate’s qualifications for public service without any documentation. Later in the meeting, Clark clarified that her post was based solely on her personal opinion and confirmed she was not writing in any capacity for the town.

The meeting adjourned for the budget workshop, which was also open to the public, at 7:15 p.m. The trustees should hold a public hearing and approve the 2019 budget at the Dec. 3 meeting, when newly elected seventh trustee Jim Romanello will also be sworn in.

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The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.

Allison Robenstein can be reached at allisonrobenstein@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Town Council, November 8: Council focuses on budgets for 2018 and 2019

By James Howald and Jackie Burhans

At its Nov. 8 meeting, the Palmer Lake Town Council heard a report on the state of its 2018 budget from Town Finance Officer Valerie Remington. Also on the financial front, the council finalized the budget for 2019 it will submit to the state of Colorado by passing a pair of resolutions. The council also voted on two ordinances, and heard from a group of residents and hikers who requested that the council take steps to improve the access to a trail leading to Limbaugh Canyon.

2018 budget reviewed for the last time

Remington summarized the current status of the 2018 budget as follows:

• The General Fund has 25 percent of its funds remaining.

• Expenditures are within budget.

• The Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) is "near where they need to be."

• The Parks Department is done spending due to the onset of colder weather.

• The Palmer Lake Police Department (PLPD) is "doing well," despite some large planned expenditures for vehicles,

• The Roads Department will not spend all its allocated funds in 2018.

• The Enterprise Fund still has revenues coming in.

• Seven water taps were sold this year.

2019 budget ready to go to state

The council passed two resolutions, Resolution 15-2018 and Resolution 16-2018, that were required to submit the town’s 2019 budget to the state by the legal deadline. The first resolution contains a copy of the 2019 budget with corrections that the council requested previously, primarily in the area of FICA budgeting, and was passed unanimously.

The second resolution addresses the town’s mill levies, and leaves them unchanged at 21.135. It contains language required for the town to remain compliant with Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Council member Mark Schuler abstained from the vote on this resolution, saying he was uncertain about what the language in the resolution actually meant; the other members of the council voted in favor.

Building codes, floodplains maps documented

Following a presentation by Virjinia V. Koultchitzka and Keith Curtis of the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, the council voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 19 of 2018, which amends the town’s building codes and documents the floodplains in the town. In response to a question from Schuler, Curtis said the ordinance doesn’t change the floodplains in Palmer Lake. Rather, it helps to ensure that residents will be able to purchase flood insurance for their properties through the National Flood Insurance Program, and may also affect availability of mortgages.

Ordinance restricting outdoor lighting passed

Schuler summarized the history of lighting ordinances in Palmer Lake, mentioning that a previous ordinance had been proposed but was never voted on, and that the town had begun receiving complaints about the lighting in place on commercial buildings on Highway 105 in the north end of the town.

Town Attorney Maureen Juran explained that the ordinance gave the town’s Board of Adjustment jurisdiction to grant variances relative to lighting. Certain types of lights are prohibited by ordinance, she said, adding that the ordinance requires lights on commercial buildings be shielded so that the light is emitted downward only. Residential lighting is not addressed in the ordinance as long as it does not exceed what is required for security, she said.

The council voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 20-2018.

Parking restrictions near Limbaugh Canyon trailhead protested

Parking near trailheads, and restrictions the town has put on the use of some trails, have been controversial topics at several previous council meetings.

Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard told the council that the town has received complaints from residents on Rock Ridge Road. She said she has discussed the issue of the trailhead at Rock Ridge Road with Oscar Martinez of the Forest Service to try to reconcile the policies of the Forest Service with the town’s needs to ensure emergency vehicles and trash trucks have the access they need. Green-Sinnard said a meeting was scheduled to try to clarify issues such as whether the trailhead is in the jurisdiction of the town or the Forest Service,

Speaking on behalf of a number of residents and hikers, John Johlfs asked the council to remove some boulders that the town had placed at the trailhead that prevented hikers from parking on Rock Ridge Road and to create five parking places adjacent to the trailhead.

Caption: A group of residents expressed their concerns that the Town of Palmer Lake had placed boulders to block parking on Rock Ridge Road which functions as an unofficial trail head that enters public land to connect with trail 715A which goes to Inspiration Point. While acknowledging that recent events had caused issues for local homeowners, this group suggested some solutions to address those concerns while still preserving access to public lands. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

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The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in December, on Dec. 13 and Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.

James Howald can be reached at jameshowald@ocn.me. Jackie Burhans can be reached at jackieburhans@ocn.me.

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Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Nov. 14: Smaller 2019 pay boosts proposed; subdistrict dissolution considered

By Allison Robenstein

At their regular meeting on Nov. 14, the Donald Westcott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board members reviewed changes to the 2019 draft budget, discussed consolidating the district and subdistrict into one legal entity, voted on a land issue, and heard updates about the committee meetings with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD.)

Further revisions to the 2019 preliminary budget

At the October board meeting, Chief Vinny Burns presented the 2019 draft budget to the board. This month, he and Assistant Chief Scott Ridings read some changes they made to the draft since the last meeting. These were:

• Salary increases were scaled down from the October draft. Exempt employee salary totals will increase 21 percent, and nonexempt employee salary totals will increase 11 percent in 2019.

• The budget will not include a wildland reimbursement.

• The administrative staff will receive a pay raise from $40,000 in 2018 to $49,000.

• The Morale and Welfare fund will be decreased to $2,000, down from $7,500 in 2018 because these costs are covered elsewhere.

• The 2019 audit will cost more than in previous years, so Burns is requesting $12,000 to cover the higher fee.

• The cost of health insurance is increasing 14 percent.

• The budget includes $70,000 to replace a command vehicle that is 10 years old.

• The Tinder request suggested at the September meeting wasn’t included in budget. Burns said they may do a budget reallocation to purchase it later in 2019.

The board will hold a public hearing on the 2019 budget at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. The public may get a copy of the draft budget by calling 488-8680. Resident Steve Simpson asked the district to consider putting the draft budget on its website, but the decision was made to provide paper copies for residents to pick up at the station.

Board weighs subdistrict dissolution

Director Gary Rusnak and legal counsel Matt Court discussed the possibility of dissolving the subdistrict and absorbing the associated mill levy into the underlying district. Rusnak said it made sense to have a single legal entity, and wanted to explore the idea as a long-range plan in case Wescott moves toward a merger with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.

Court explained the two legal entities—a district covering the entire Wescott area with a mill levy of 7.00, and a subdistrict superimposed over the northern section with an additional levy of 14.90, which voters approved last year. Because the two are separate legal entities, a full dissolution would require a vote by the community in order to increase the underlying subdistrict’s mill levy to 21.9 so that Wescott can continue with the same level of revenues. Court explained the steps Wescott will need to take to dissolve the subdistrict, which included:

• Petitioning the court

• Holding a court and public hearing

• Bring to a vote the dissolution and increased mill levy for the district. Elections can occur in November of any year, or in May of even years only.

Board Secretary Mark Gunderman wondered about the benefits of this change overall and asked specifically about the southern island section of the district along Old Ranch Road and Highway 83, questioning how a full 21.9 levy would affect them. This part of the district was never included into Colorado Springs Fire District as it acquired territory moving north and has longer response times from Wescott, so they only pay the 7.00 mill levy. Director Larry Schwarz suggested Wescott should have a more formal contract with Colorado Springs Fire Department for this area since Colorado Springs responds to many of their calls. He said the ethically correct thing to do would be for Wescott to continue to collect less from this area because of Colorado Springs’ coverage. See www.ocn.me/v17n9.htm#dwfpd.

This discussion ended without a vote.

Station 2 land decisions move forward

Court explained that the Flying Horse North development behind Station 2 will include 80 to100 new homes in its first phase. The station sits at the intersection of Stagecoach Road and Highway 83, which is also a main access point into and out of the new development. See www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#epbocc.

Easements have been requested by the developer on Station 2 property to put up a sign. The temporary grading easement and permanent slope easement would be exchanged for a parcel of land conveyed to Wescott, which Ridings said could be used as a turnaround for rigs. Court will ask the developer to pay legal fees for review and revision of the easement documents up to $5,000.

A motion passed unanimously to allow legal counsel to move forward with finalizing the easements. A second motion to request legal fees be paid by the developer also passed.

Merger committee talks budget

Burns and Ridings met with TLMFPD Chief Chris Truty and Deputy Fire Chief Randy Trost to compare district budgets. Ridings said TLMFPD has much higher expenses than Wescott. When the chiefs began budget discussion, each was applying their own financial accounting philosophies to the other’s budget, Ridings told the board. He said they need to understand each other’s viewpoints, and apply them as needed.

After the holidays, Rusnak and TLMFPD Treasurer John Hildebrandt will continue the budget discussions. The meeting adjourned at 8:34 pm.

Caption: This map shows the current service area of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District in blue. One vestigial southern section remains from before Colorado Springs annexed land in stages, moving north from Woodmen road but avoiding this one Wescott island. Map courtesy of El Paso County Assessor.

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The next DWFPD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 4. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Meetings are held at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Drive. Please call 488-8680, a nonemergency number, for more information, or visit www.wescottfire.org.

Allison Robenstein can be reached at allisonrobenstein@ocn.me.

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Nov.14: 2019 budget hearing; negotiations with union approved

By Natalie Barszcz

On Nov. 14, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) held a public budget hearing, reviewed a third draft of the 2019 budget, and approved Chief Chris Truty and Deputy Chief Randy Trost to conduct collective bargaining negotiations with the Monument Professional Firefighters Association. They also heard an update on the potential merger process with the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD). Treasurer John Hildebrandt was excused.

Budget round three

Board President Jake Shirk motioned for the TLMFPD board to open a public hearing for the proposed 2019 budget. Shirk asked if anyone was speaking in favor or opposing the proposed 2019 budget. No public comments were made on either question and the board approved closing the public hearing 5-0.

Truty reminded the board of the following additions and changes made in October to the proposed 2019 budget:

• Health care line item was updated to reflect the latest open enrollment information now up to $670,000.

• A complete set of spare turnout gear was added to allow turnaround time for detoxifying gear.

• A $37,000 Stryker Powerload System was added to the new ambulance to help prevent EMT back injuries.

• Specific Ownership Tax of $925,000 was 20 percent higher than expected in October, but 2019 budget projections will not assume this is a trend.

Truty said the revenue assessment for the proposed 2019 budget is based on the voter-approved 18.4 mills and not just on the 18.1 mills certified in 2018. "TLMFPD has been able to accomplish so much due to the mill levy increase that passed in the November 2017 election, and we are not taking risks in light of the current situation with the Gallagher Amendment," he said.

The Gallagher Amendment dictates that Colorado’s total property tax collected must maintain a balance of 45 percent residential and 55 percent nonresidential. The assessment rate for nonresidential properties is fixed at 29 percent, but the residential assessment rate is adjusted to maintain the 45/55 balance. TABOR limits Colorado’s annual revenue growth and mandates that state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval. See http://www.colorado.gov/pacific/treasury/constitutional-provisions-0 and http://www.sdaco.org/2015-legislative-information, for in-depth explanations. Also see www.ocn.me/v17n12.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#tlmfpd.

Union relations and CBA resolution

At the beginning of the meeting, Shirk requested a motion to change the agenda, with a proposal to move the executive session to discuss collective bargaining to begin directly after public comments.

Then TLMFPD board moved into executive session to discuss a potential contract with regard to negotiations pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) to receive legal advice from Adele Reester of Lyons Gaddis Attorneys and Counselors.

When the board resumed open session, Shirk confirmed that TLMFPD board members had decided to pursue negotiations as a result of the executive session. "Chief Chris Truty and Deputy Chief Dave Trost will be our negotiators with union representatives," Shirk said.

Shirk asked Lt. Micah Coyle if he had anything to say to that, since he "looked surprised," but Coyle didn’t make any comments on behalf of the union.

During the budget discussion later on, Shirk asked Truty if there was any follow-up with the union concerning the 2019 wage increases that were such a hot topic last month. "I engaged and talked about the structure with Lt. Franz Hankins, and certainly there was a misunderstanding on who was engaging who," Truty replied. Hankins is president of Local 4319 of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union.

Lt. Micah Coyle was then invited by Truty to speak on behalf of the union. Coyle said, "We did discuss wages and there were some misunderstandings on both sides … We have unanimously agreed that next year we would be better at it and start talking about it in July."

Shirk responded with, "Negotiations are going to go on now that may or may not define that. But my understanding is that differences have been worked out and it is not as dire as originally presented! Good!"

Note: Senate Bill 13-205, the Colorado Firefighters Safety Act, provides for two types of collective employee organizations. Collective bargaining agreements are formal obligations between an employer and an employee group, including policies plus compensation. It requires a vote of the people. However, the statute also allows for the employer to choose to waive this requirement and engage in collective bargaining without a public vote. The meet and confer option is available as an informal choice in which an employer and an employee group must come to the table to talk about policies, but does not include compensation. There are no commitments on either side, so unions lack the power to mandate changes. See www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#tlmfpd.

Wescott merger update

Truty stated that finances are still the main concern with a TLMFPD/DWFPD consolidation. "The level of detail in the questions we asked took Wescott by surprise at both the subcommittee meeting and the Chiefs meeting," he said. "There are still questions to be answered and we are now waiting to hear if DWFPD want to move forward with a merger once they have further discussed finances with their board."

DWFPD board Director Larry Schwarz was present at the TLMFPD meeting "as an interested citizen" and was welcomed by Truty to give his views on the potential merger. Schwarz made the following comments in response:

• I am excited about the idea of working with TLMFPD board and the concept of creating a Fire Authority. It would be good for Colorado, El Paso County, and the firefighters of our community.

• As a newly elected DWFPD board director along with financial analyst Director Gary Rusnak and Secretary Mark Gunderman, we are challenging our board by asking a lot of questions with regard to the budget and how to make it sustainable.

• I am impressed with how the TLMFPD board and your department Chief Truty are run, you are excellent. We all appreciate the communications from Treasurer John Hildebrandt. He has done a tremendous job.

Truty went on to say, "TLMFPD are still open to moving forward and we welcome and value what Wescott can offer our community once all questions have been answered." Vice President Roger Lance added, "A merger would be an asset to El Paso County and both communities. It is good for everybody—it’s a win, win!"

Chief’s report

Truty’s comments included:

• Gallagher legislation to stabilize revenue was remarkably successful across the state with most districts passing by over two-thirds of the margin.

• Mark Young Construction’s enthusiastic bid for the Station 1 remodel was accepted.

• A new ambulance with a Stryker Powerload system is now on order with an expected delivery in March.

• LIFEPAK 15 monitor/defibrillator units have now been received at TLMFPD.

Battalion Chief Lt. Mike Keough updated the board on the progress of the six-member committee tasked to explore upgrading the district’s extrication equipment.

Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner described the implementation of FirstNet, a more reliable public safety nationwide cellular technology, at a cost savings of $350 per month. Truty said, "This is a big deal for us. We are the first in El Paso County to switch to FirstNet."

Peer Support Program available

Administrative Assistant Jennifer Martin announced that TLMFPD Peer Support Program is finally here. Stephanie Soll is the program coordinator and Dr. Judith Long of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will begin the four sessions for all shifts in December. Overtime pay will be available for staff participating in the training workshops. "Small steps right now," said Martin.

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Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.

Natalie Barszcz can be reached at nataliebarszcz@ocn.me.

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El Paso Board of County Commissioners, Oct. 30, Nov.6, 13, and 15: Approval for Mountain Springs Recovery site development plan; updated water and county master plans progress

By Helen Walklett

During November, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the site development plan for the proposed Mountain Springs Recovery facility at the former Ramada Inn site on Woodmoor Drive. The board received an update on the new water master plan and approved the award of the contract for consulting services for the development of the new county master plan. Decisions were also made relating to the Highway 105 project and the Forest Lakes development.

Mountain Springs Recovery site development plan approved

On Nov. 7, El Paso County’s Department of Planning and Community Development approved the site development plan for the proposed Mountain Springs Recovery drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility at the former Ramada Inn site on Woodmoor Drive. Since the property was rezoned to C-2 in 2014, which allows for a rehabilitation facility, there was no requirement for a public hearing for the application at either the El Paso County Planning Commission or the BOCC. Instead, the application was reviewed and decided by county staff.

Speaking at a heated neighborhood meeting about the proposed facility in August, Craig Dossey, executive director of the Planning and Community Development Department, said he thought it "more than likely" that any decision to approve the site development plan would be appealed and that he was working with the county attorney’s office to outline the appeals process. (See www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#rehabfacility.)

The interim procedure for appeals under the county’s land development code, approved by the BOCC at its Oct. 11 meeting, does not allow any party to appeal an approved site development plan. However, it does allow an appeal on a specific determination included within the site development plan approval. Specifically, the county’s determination that the use meets the definition of a "Rehabilitation Facility" as defined in the El Paso County Land Development Code (2018) and which is based on documents submitted by the applicant could be appealed by an aggrieved party.

An appeal application would need to be made within 30 days (by Dec. 7) of the site development plan’s approval and would need to meet the requirements outlined in the procedures manual. Under these procedures, an appeal would be heard by the county commissioners. (See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#epbocc.) As of Nov. 26, the county confirmed that no such appeal had been received.

Sunshine Behavioral Health, the company behind the project, still requires a Colorado license to operate the facility as well as building permits from the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department before renovations can start. Last month, the board of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District voted unanimously to provide the facility with the supplemental water service it had requested. (See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#wwsd.)

New water and county master plans progress

At the Nov. 13 BOCC meeting, the commissioners received an update on the county’s work on developing and adopting a new water master plan from Dossey and Mark Gebhart, deputy director of Planning and Community Development.

The county has been working with a consultant to develop the plan for more than a year, and published its draft master plan online on Nov. 6 for agency and public review. "It’s still in draft form, we’re still taking comments from the public, but we are planning on taking it to the planning commission, which is the final approval authority … in December," Dossey said.

Gebhart explained that getting the plan to this draft stage had begun with an invitation for public input, which received 378 responses and enabled the county to identify important themes. A steering committee then worked on an internal version, and revisions were made prior to an open house that took place in October. Gebhart said the open house was well attended, with about 60 members of the public present, the majority from the northern and northeastern parts of the county.

The plan aims to provide an understanding of current water supply and demand, identify possible efficiency opportunities, and encourage best practice in water demand management and conservation. It will also implement local aspects of the state’s water plan. The draft plan states that its implementation "will help ensure that land use decisions are based on balancing efficient use of limited water supplies with the water needs of current and future residents." Gebhart said that the plan will also enable cooperation with water providers in their water planning efforts.

"The challenge is the county doesn’t own the water supply," he said. "The county can’t really tell the districts how to do it, but we can support those districts that do improve their water efficiency and have water conservation plans."

As the water plan will become part of the new county master plan, which is currently under development, it will ensure the integration of water supply into short- and long-range land use planning. It will also provide the basis for the review of planned water supplies for new development.

Gebhart said he anticipates the plan could potentially trigger some modifications to the land use and landscaping regulations in the future as well as discussions regarding the county’s 300-year water rule. He thought there will likely also be future discussions about whether water sufficiency considerations can be moved to earlier in the planning application process to create a better decision-making process for the planning commission and BOCC. The current planning process considers water sufficiency at the final plat stage of development applications.

Following the presentation, commissioners’ comments centered on the current lack of quantitative data on aquifer levels available to them when determining planning applications. "How do we make a good decision on whether certain areas of the county need to have less density or higher density or less development that draws from the aquifer?" Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez asked. "It seems that we do lack information. Is that going to be addressed in here [the water master plan]? Are we going to be able to direct water districts to do that?" He added, "We get into these discussions and we have no quantitative data on ‘is there enough water to support the growth of the county in certain areas,’ and if we can’t answer that then we’re stuck kind of guessing, and I just want to make sure that we are able to address that in the future."

Dossey responded that one of the opportunities presented by an adopted water master plan being an element of the overall county master plan is that the BOCC would be asked specifically to ensure that an application complies with the water master plan as well as the overall plan when making its determination. He said one possibility arising from this would be the potential for the commissioners to require the applicant to provide well monitoring data as a condition of approval.

Commissioner Stan VanderWerf said that the commissioners rely a lot on the state engineer’s [office] for determining water sufficiency. "I’d be interested in getting a better understanding from the state about what they’re actually doing so that I can have better confidence in addressing the questions about water sufficiency," he said.

Dossey said he intends to have the State Engineer’s Office give a presentation to the BOCC to explain how its review works and how it gets to the point of determining if there is adequate water for a particular development. He said that Cole Emmons, senior assistant county attorney, could also explain how he does his evaluation based upon the county’s 300-year rule.

The draft water master plan is scheduled for public hearings at the El Paso County Planning Commission on Dec. 4 and 18, at which the commissioners will be asked to consider its adoption. It can be viewed here: https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/110995.

The new county master plan will be developed over the next two years. At its Nov. 13 meeting, the BOCC unanimously approved the award of the contract for consulting services for its development to Houseal Lavigne Associates for an amount not to exceed $639,748.40.

Judy von Ahlefeldt, a citizen, addressed the commissioners in the public comment part of the Nov. 13 meeting to encourage them to direct the planning commission and county to follow the procedures within the American Planning Association’s Public Advisory Service document "Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans," when moving forward with the county master plan. The document describes authentic public participation as critical in the plan-making process. Currently, the plan’s Request for Proposals (RFP) states only that the plan should be "generally based upon" this document. "I don’t feel there has been enough public participation with the water master plan or at least in the creation of the RFP for the county master plan," she said.

Highway 105 project progresses

At its Oct. 30 and Nov. 15 meetings, the BOCC approved a number of requests relating to the Highway 105 project. The commissioners approved memorandums of agreement, special warranty deeds, and four further easements that the county Department of Public Works had identified as necessary to allow the project to move forward.

At its Oct. 30 meeting, the commissioners approved two temporary construction easement agreements. The first comes from property owned by Christy Cech and Joseph Warren at a cost of $37,300, and the second from property owned by Kevin and Michelle Meere at a cost of $21,000. Two nonexclusive permanent easements for the project were approved at the commissioners’ Nov. 15 meeting. These came from property owned by the Town of Monument at a cost of $4,300.

Forest Lakes development moves forward

Progress has been made with the Forest Lakes Filing 1. At the Nov. 13 meeting, the commissioners approved the final release of a bond for defect warranty at the subdivision for $578,463.53 following the completion and inspection of all the public improvements. The commissioners also approved an application to accept certain streets within the subdivision into the county road maintenance system.

Other decisions

• Nov. 6–The commissioners approved a public right-of-way access agreement to allow Michael and LaDonna Olson to access the county road system from their property on Lone Scout Lookout in Monument. The agreement enables the Olsons to extend their driveway through the unimproved portion of Lone Scout Lookout to connect with the improved portion of the road.

• Nov. 13–The commissioners approved the final release of a letter of credit for $728 for grading and erosion control at the Monument Hill self-storage facility. This follows the completion and satisfactory inspection of the improvements at the site.

Helen Walklett can be reached at helenwalklett@ocn.me.

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Homebuilder revises plan for Forest Lakes development

By Lisa Hatfield

On Nov. 15, Classic Homes hosted a neighborhood meeting to present a third revision of its plan to develop Phase II of the Forest Lakes development at the west end of Baptist Road. Land Planner and NES Principal Andrea Barlow, Classic Homes executives Doug Stimple and James Boulton, and El Paso County Project Manager Kari Parsons shared the 180-lot proposal with adjacent property owners. Barlow said the revisions were made due to neighbor feedback and technical constraints on the previous proposals.

In 2002, El Paso County approved a site plan including 131 lots for this land, but nothing was built. In February and April this year, the new developers proposed both 231-lot and 199-lot configurations, which adjacent neighbors opposed citing concerns about the urban density next to rural neighborhoods, traffic and safety, hiker access and parking, and water supply. In response, Classic Homes proposed this 180-lot design for this westernmost phase of Forest Lakes. It will be of similar density to Forest Lakes Phase I to the east, with more open space and continuation of the hiking trail, Barlow said.

Stimple said even though neighboring parcels are zoned for residential, rural 5-acre lots, when the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District water and sewer plan was approved (and the two dams were built) in 1986, Forest Lakes officially changed from a rural residential community to a municipal services community. That means it is a planned urban development with water, sewer and roads coordinated by a metropolitan district.

The El Paso County Master Parks Plan requires that the development include a trail with access to the national forest to the west. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the location of the trail with respect to the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat along Beaver Creek. Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District has approved the proposed road configuration. The U.S. Forest Service looks at wildfire mitigation needs. The state engineer evaluates the sufficiency of the water supply. Forest Lakes has "enough groundwater and renewable surface water for other communities beyond Forest Lakes," Stimple said. See www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#flmd.

Parsons asked all residents with questions about a development to look at the "100 percent transparent" El Paso County Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) at www.epcdevplanreview.com. Search for Forest Lakes Phase II PUD (Planned Urban Development) Preliminary Plan Amendment. The site displays all of the development application archives, applications under current review, and more. Call 520-6300, or write to kariparsons@elpasoco.com with questions after reading the multiple review agencies’ comments.

Classic Homes will submit this most recent proposal to the county by mid-December, and Parsons said she will thoroughly review all agency comments. Then the proposal will be heard by the El Paso County Planning Commission, which will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. Stimple said he hoped that if the plan is approved, construction might begin this spring.

Caption: Doug Stimple of Classic Homes, left, talked with Dick Redman about a new Forest Lakes Phase II development proposal, which will be reviewed by the El Paso County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners in December. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.

Lisa Hatfield can be reached at lisahatfield@ocn.me.

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Northern El Paso County Coalition of Homeowners Associations, Nov. 17: Transportation concerns rise as area grows

By Jennifer Kaylor

The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Homeowners Associations (NEPCO) convened to hear Colorado State Representative Terri Carver, District 20, give her perspective on Colorado’s current tolling system at its Nov. 17 regular membership meeting. NEPCO Vice President and Transportation and Land Use Committee Chair Tom Vierzba updated members about growth projections and potential impacts.

Representative proposes toll lane changes

Carver explained that she has a problem with the unchecked authority of the governor-appointed transportation commission, the body that determines which roads are tolled. Similarly, she expressed displeasure with the High-Performance Transportation Enterprise, also governor-appointed, that determines toll amounts. Both entities should comprise elected officials who must answer to constituents, she said.

Noting billion-dollar projects in Denver, she voiced her intention to create uniform statewide parameters to invite public input and ensure that all Coloradans, not just those living in the Denver metro area, reap the benefits of projects funded by tolls. Carver commented on the additional funds made available to the transportation department that resulted from the state’s under-projection of 2018 revenue. A proponent of public transit, Carver proposed increasing the multi-modal portion from its current 10 percent of the transportation fund and separating it altogether from the fund. Carver may be reached at 303-866-2191 or terri.carver.house@state.co.us.

More cars, fewer dollars

Growth statistics and projections continue to concern community leaders about how the community’s infrastructure—primarily roads, water and wastewater, schools, and emergency services—will manage and support the number of people establishing new homes in the area.

For example, Vierzba said that traffic passing through the Higby Road-Jackson Creek Parkway intersection in 2014 totaled about 6,000 cars per day. By 2023, the same intersection is expected to bear more than 34,000 cars per day. The speculated increase along Higby potentially creates deterioration and safety issues, he said. The impacts of sharp curves, additional exit and entrance junctures—Home Place Ranch proposes about five such junctures along Higby—and drivers who speed excessively have the potential to become a volatile mix. Multiple roads throughout the Tri-Lakes region face similar situations.

A significant road repair and maintenance hurdle is that multiple entities can be responsible for a road, Vierzba said. For example, the Town of Monument and Triview Metropolitan District oversee different chunks of Jackson Creek Parkway. Some entities have better funding than others, which can result in a patchwork effect on road maintenance and repair, he said. Collaborating among the different entities can be challenging due to the piecemeal nature of funding road repair projects.

President’s term ends

Secretary Bob Swedenburg presented a token of appreciation to President Larry Oliver, who reached his term’s end as of Nov. 30. Treasurer Greg Lynd stepped into Oliver’s vacant position.

Caption: Colorado State Representative Terri Carver, District 20, explains her idea to change the current toll-determining system of governor-appointed commissions to entities comprising elected officials to provide greater constituent input and broader representation. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.

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The next meeting is Jan. 12, 2019. Meetings are generally scheduled on the second Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Monument Town Hall conference room, 645 Beacon Lite Road off Highway 105. See www.nepco.org for additional information.

Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at jenniferkaylor@ocn.me.

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November Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

For the second month in a row, temperatures were below normal and this time precipitation was well above normal. This has been a good start to the snow season and a welcome change after last season’s near-record low snowfall amounts.

The month started with normal temperatures in the 40s and 50s and dry conditions, ahead of a quick-moving storm that produced periods of snow showers on the 3rd. The heaviest burst of snow and wind blew through between 10:30 and 11:30 that morning, with another round of snow that evening. Overall, about 2 inches of snow accumulated during the period.

Quiet conditions returned from the 4th through 10th, but temperatures remained below normal. Highs were in the 30s and 40s each afternoon, about 10 degrees colder than normal.

A strong storm began to move into the region later on the 10th, and really grew in strength on the 11th. Clouds increased during the night of the 10th, with snow starting around 5 a.m. on the 11th. This storm slowed down and continued to strengthen and pull in moisture. The heaviest snow fell from the evening of the 11th through the morning of the 12th. During the two-day period, 10-15 inches of snow accumulated across the region. Temperatures were also held to well below normal levels during the storm, with highs only reaching the mid 20s. Morning lows dipped to the single digits above and below zero on the morning of the 11th as well, giving us a good early taste of wintry conditions.

After this storm, we had another few days of quiet and dry conditions move in. Highs jumped back to a little above normal from the 14th through the 16th, with low 50s each afternoon. This quiet period was interrupted by a shallow, cold air mass from the 17th through the 18th.

This resulted in low clouds and fog from the 17th to the morning of the 18th. And because the cool air mass was very shallow, there wasn’t enough depth of cold air in the atmosphere to produce snowfall. Instead we received the worst of all conditions, with freezing drizzle and flurries. This produced a coating of ice for much of the area, making for very slippery conditions.

Once this air mass retreated on the 8th, quiet conditions returned. We were greeted with sunshine and mild weather over the next few days through Thanksgiving. High temperatures returned to the 50s from the 20th through the 22nd, providing for some great travel weather and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, this didn’t last through the holiday weekend, with return travel nearly impossible at times during the Thanksgiving weekend as a series of storms moved through the region from the 23rd through the 25th. These storms first produced heavy, wind-driven snow in the mountains, closing Interstate 70 for a time in Summit County. Because this initial surge of moisture was from the west, this mainly effected the mountains and left us windy and dry. This changed, however, on the afternoon of the 24th as a strong cold front rushed through around 2:30 p.m. Light and blowing snow developed behind the front for a few hours later that afternoon. Conditions briefly quieted down that evening as we waited for the heart of the storm to move out of Wyoming and into eastern Colorado. This happened starting around 9 p.m., with a stronger, second push of cold air and moisture. Snow and wind combined that evening to produce blizzard conditions until about 3 the next morning. This storm produced another 2-4 inches of wind-driven snow but moved out quickly leaving behind lots of sunshine to end the weekend.

The last week of the month was generally dry and seasonal. Highs reached into the upper 40s and low 50s from the 27th through the 29th. One last cold front moved through late on the 29th and knocked temperatures back to below normal levels on the last day of the month.

A look ahead

The month of December can be a cold one around the region, when daytime highs often stay below freezing and overnight lows can drop well below zero. The month is generally dry however, with several light, fluffy snowfalls. Gusty winds are also a common nuisance during the month. A white Christmas is fairly common for the area, with either snow on the ground or snowfall on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Let’s hope the pattern shifts from the dry, mild conditions we saw during fall, and we start getting some much-needed moisture.

November 2018 weather statistics

Average High 43.5° (-5.1°)

100-year return frequency value max 55.5° min 38.5°

Average Low 19.2° (-1.1°)

100-year return frequency value max 27.5° min 14.1°

Monthly Precipitation .89" (+0.20")

100-year return frequency value max 3.80" min 0.16"

Monthly Snowfall 19.3" (+8.5")

Highest Temperature 57° on the 2nd

Lowest Temperature 2° on the 12th

Season to Date Snow 29.6" (+7.8") (the snow season is from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30)

Season to Date Precip. 2.53" (+0.11") (the precip season is from Oct 1. to Sept. 30)

Heating Degree Days 1006 (+140)

Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)

Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at billkappel@ocn.me.

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Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore: The Holiday Magic of Books

By the staff at Covered Treasures

"Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic." — J.K. Rowling

The holidays are bursting with exciting new books that make great gifts for the young people in your life.

Genius Lego Inventions with Bricks You Already Have: 40+ New Robots, Vehicles, Contraptions, Gadgets, Games, and Other Fun STEM Creations

By Sarah Dees (Page Street Publishing) $19.99

Use science and engineering to transform your bin of Lego bricks into amazing movable toys, machines, and gadgets. Best-selling author Sarah Dees is back with an all-new collection of projects featuring ingenious designs and simple scientific principles that real engineers use every day. There are step-by-step instructions and photographs.

Red Stocking Society

By Ace Passmore (Changing Lives Press) $16.95

This fast-paced Christmas adventure revives the bighearted legacy of St. Nicholas. Preteen Bub Olney is disillusioned over Santa and upset that his parents can’t afford a coveted bike to put under the tree. Determined to own it, Bub lands a job at mysterious RSS, Inc., where eccentric workers bustle about on a secret mission called the S-Game. Bub is charged to perform three good deeds before the bike is sold at auction. While playing the S-Game through harrowing twists and turns, can Bub overcome his self-centered nature to reignite his family’s Santa spirit? And if so, might he finally learn the identity of S1, the real Santa? Entertaining and inspiring for ages 9-90, this book also serves as a Santa Manual for grown-ups who face grueling questions from doubters. You’ll believe again!

Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid

By Dylan Thomas and Rosemary Mosco (Workman Publishing) $19.95

The team behind the best-selling Atlas Obscura presents a kid’s illustrated guide to 100 of the world’s most mesmerizing and mysterious wonders, both natural and manmade, in 47 countries and on every continent on Earth. Travel the world through common points of interest, from sacred skeletons (Trunyan Tree cemetery in Indonesia leads you to India’s Skeleton Lake, for example) to wild waterfalls (while in Zambia visit the Devil’s Swimming Pool—and then move on to Antarctica’s Blood Falls) to ice caves to bioluminescence.

An Anthology of Intriguing Animals

By DK (DK Publishing) $19.99

This animal encyclopedia with a twist showcases more than 100 animals in close-up detail. Arranged from largest to smallest, the wildlife of the world is revealed with stunning photography and illustrations. The storybook descriptions will delight children and let them discover amazing animal facts, such as why the slow-motion sloth is so sluggish, and how the plodding pangolin protects itself from predators, as well as some of the stories and myths surrounding their favorite beasts. The index is packed with reference information, including the size and location of each species, and a tree of life shows how the animal groups are connected.

Bridge of Clay

By Markus Zusak (Alfred A. Knopf), $26

From the author who gave us The Book Thief comes this breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

Monstrous Devices

By Damien Love (Viking Books) $17.99

On a winter’s day in a British town, 12-year-old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. "This one is special," says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly. Alex and his grandfather flee across snowy Europe, unraveling the riddle of the little robot while trying to outwit relentless assassins of the human and mechanical kind.

"The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think." —Harper Lee

We are loving our new, completely renovated store. Stop in to see it for yourself and to say hello. You just might stumble upon a great read or game for yourself or for a special gift.

Until next month (and next year!), happy reading.

The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at books@ocn.me.

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December Library Events: Enjoy some seasonal crafts and conversation at the library

By Harriet Halbig

The Monument Library will offer some gingerbread-themed entertainment and last-minute gift ideas during December.

Regularly occurring discussion groups and story times will continue through the holidays.

Children’s and family programs

Story Time is offered every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. (with the exception of Christmas Day), Toddler Time is on Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., Paws to Read is on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m., and there is a brief Book Break on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 to 10:50 a.m. All are welcome to these gatherings—bring the visiting grandchildren!

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Palmer Ridge Robotics Team will do a demonstration from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Also on Dec. 8, there will be a gingerbread-themed party from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. We’ll make gingerbread crafts, eat gingerbread cookies, and read gingerbread stories.

Coloring Palmer Lake Historical Society, November 15: History series features Colorado’s only WWI flying ace

for Everyone will be on Friday, Dec. 14, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Join friends and family to color themed coloring sheets. Colored pencils, markers, and gel pens are provided. Come and stay as long as you like!

LEGO Build will be on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. All ages are welcome to come and create.

Teen events

See above for descriptions of LEGO Build and Coloring for Everyone.

Free math tutoring is available every Monday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the library. Experienced adult tutors are on hand to offer help at all levels. AfterMath follows the D-38 calendar and will not be available on Dec. 24 and 31 when the library is closed. It is also canceled if the schools are closed due to weather.

Come to the study room on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. for an all-ages knitting group. Practice materials are supplied, but bring your own if you’d like.

The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet in the study room on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This group is for ages 12 to 18. Meet fellow writers, share ideas, and enjoy tasty snacks.

The Teen Arts and Crafts program for December is Last-Minute Gifts. Come to the library on Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and learn to make fleece hand warmers, bath bombs, and ornaments. Open to ages 12 to 18, registration required.

The Paper Tiger Origami Club will meet on Friday, Dec. 21, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Registration is encouraged but not required. Open to all ages and skill levels.

Adult programs

The Socrates Café discussion group meets on Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m., Senior Chats meets on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. See below for information on the two book clubs.

Please see above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone and All-Ages Knitting.

Beginning Thursday, Dec. 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and each Thursday thereafter, there will be a beginning yoga class at the library. All are welcome and no registration is required.

On Dec. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. we will offer a class on embossing cards and envelopes. We will use stamps, embossing powder, and a heat gun to make our own metallic designs. Registration is required.

Join us on Dec. 13 for our Second Thursday Craft, Fleece Ornaments. We will be making ornaments in the shape of animals, leaves, flowers, and more. Registration is required and opens two weeks before craft day.

The Monumental Bookworms will meet on Dec. 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss Beartown by Fredrik Backman.

The Life Circles Writing Group meets from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 and 17. This is a supportive group that provides discipline and inspiration to accomplish your writing goals.

The Monumental Readers book club will meet from a.m. 10 to noon on Friday, Dec. 21, to discuss The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharine Ingelman-Sunberg. All are welcome and no registration is required.

History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 26. This year’s discussion topic is Origins of Modern Europe (500-1500).

Palmer Lake Library events

The Palmer Lake Book Group will meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7. New members are welcome. Please call 481-2587 for the current selection.

Story Times at the library are on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddler Time is on Fridays at 10:30 a.m.

The Third Saturday at Palmer Lake Library is a paint party! All ages are welcome and the program begins at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 15.

Please note that all Pikes Peak Library Facilities will be closed all day Dec. 24 and 25, and will close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 and remain closed on Jan. 1.

Harriet Halbig may be reached at harriethalbig@ocn.me.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, November 15: History series features Colorado’s only WWI flying ace

By Sigi Walker

The Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Third Thursday Monthly History Series program featured Dr. Charles D. Dusch Jr., Acting Command Historian of the U.S. Air Force Academy. His enthusiastically received presentation focused on the World War I career of Capt. Jerry Cox Vasconcells, a Denver resident and Colorado’s only WWI flying ace. Highlighted were the flight training of that era, the evolving combat strategies, and the difficulties of coordinating missions with other nations. Dr. Dusch drew on materials in the academy’s McDermott Library’s Special Collections, which contain photographs, personal letters, news clippings, and other documents illustrating Vasconcells’ WWI military aviation career. The three albums of materials primarily date from 1916 to 1919.

After completing training in July 1917 in Fort Riley, Kan., Vasconcells joined Canada’s Royal Flying Corps, since the U.S. had not entered WWI at that time. He was later transferred to the American Forces, flying as part of the 27th Aero Squadron. Dusch told of the use of night scouting flights that accompanied troops in night attacks. Just before the end of the war, Vasconcells was made commander of the 185th Aero Squadron, the first night pursuit squadron in the American Expeditionary Forces.

Dr. Dusch said that many of the photographs used in his presentation had not been shown publicly before. They illustrated very well the story of WWI aviation being told, from the tents that served as living quarters in Canada, to the aerial photos of potential targets of night attack against the entrenched German lines in France, to photos of their pet fox in France. Another feature, which was very helpful, was the use of maps to explain military plans being discussed.

Roger Davis, Director of the PLHS’ Vaile Museum, announced that the museum would be open afterward so that attendees could view the special WWI Armistice Day Exhibit currently on display. It showcases a WWI "doughboy" uniform, artwork, postcards, posters, magazines, and circa 1918 photographs. The exhibit will be on display until the end of January 2019.

Caption: The Nov. 15 presentation featured Charles D. Dusch, Ph.D., acting command historian. He teaches world, military, Civil War, and air power history at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Pictured from left, Dusch, Palmer Lake Historical Society President Tom Baker, and Jim Riggins, who spoke about the Palmer Lake Star. Photo by Su Osgerby Ketchmark.

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Mark your calendars for the Yule Log Celebration

While there is no monthly history series program in December, the community of Palmer Lake will be hosting the annual Yule Log Celebration at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. This tradition began in 1934. The venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent Street. The event is free and open to all.

Contact Sigi Walker at mikensigi@comcast.net.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Black-capped Chickadee

By Elizabeth Hacker

With our recent cold weather, snow, and strong winds, do you ever wonder how little birds like the diminutive black-capped chickadee survive?

According to Dennis Paulson, writer for the online site birdnote.org, "For winter survival, chickadees have three things going for them: They’re insulated, they’re active, and they have a good memory.

"Thanks to a half-inch coat of insulating feathers, chickadees maintain their body temperature at 100 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours, even when the air is at zero degrees. At night, their temperature drops to 18 degrees, which reserves their store of fat. Also, chickadees gather food at a terrific rate. In autumn, they stash their winter sustenance all around their territory. Their good memories enable them to find this food when the days are short and cold. It’s not surprising that the part of the brain associated with spatial memory is larger in chickadees than in many other birds."

Supplemental feeding

Did you know that more than 100 species of birds supplement their diet with birdseed, suet, fruit, and nectar? It isn’t necessary to supplement a bird’s diet but it does make a difference in their rate of survival, especially during the winter months. Many people enjoy watching birds come to their feeders. In winter I feed the birds in my yard with black oil sunflower seeds placed in covered feeders, thistle placed in a tube feeder, peanuts placed on a platform feeder, and suet in wire boxes.

I find woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, magpies, jays, and squirrels eagerly flock to the suet I make using the following recipe:

• 1½ cups shortening (look for palm oil-free options)

• ¾ cups nut butter (any kind)

• 3½ cups of wild bird seed (I also add cut pieces of dried fruit)

• 1 cup rolled oats (quick variety is find)

• ½ cup cornmeal (add more if the mixture is too runny)

• Ice cube tray or cooking sheet lined with waxed paper, parchment or aluminum foil.

1. Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

2. Combine shortening and nut butter in a microwave-safe bowl, warm in microwave and mix well before adding dry ingredients. Mixture should be soft but not runny.

3. Spoon mixture into ice cube trays or onto cookie sheet. I store the suet nuggets in the freezer.

4. Place them in suet boxes or net feeders and you’ll have happy birds!

Commercially available suet can be purchased at bird, pet, and hardware stores but since I’ve been making the above recipe, the birds only nibble at commercial suet blocks after all the homemade is gone. Often it goes rancid and must be discarded.

Bird guides

Do you ever see a bird and wonder what it is? Over the years, I’ve used a number of guidebooks but they are bulky and heavy to carry while hiking. I still use them but over the last few years I’ve switched to downloading bird apps on my phone. Apps help me to quickly identify most birds and eliminate the need to carry a heavy guidebook. However, I still keep a few guidebooks in my car that come in handy for birds that are hard to identify.

Download a free bird app

Recently I downloaded the Cornell’s bird app "Merlin Bird ID." It’s free, quick, and easy to use. I keep a list of the birds I see on any given day. Merlin allows me to list the birds I find and track the location, date, and time I recorded them. I can even use the app to report my list to e-bird, Cornell’s site that tracks the reported species and number of birds in a particular area at a given time. Listing birds on e-bird also elevates its user’s status to "citizen scientists."

Unplug and explore the great outdoors!

I’ve read that there is a movement to "unplug," and what better way to unplug than to go out to experience the world around us. In Colorado we are fortunate to have beautiful parks to explore, we are one of the top birding states, wildlife abounds, and although at times the weather can be challenging, if you wait a day or two, the sun will turn gray skies into a brilliant blue, the winds will calm, and temperatures will again invite us to go out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Elizabeth Hacker can be reached at elizabethhacker@ocn.me.

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High Altitude Nature and Gardening (HANG): Plants help improve health, indoors and outdoors

By Janet Sellers

In our community, we enjoy the benefits of our local forest and our healthful forest air. Our ponderosa and other pines offer amazing benefits—known as phytoremediation—including boosting our immune system, improving vision and respiratory health, stimulating circulation, and protecting against pathogens. Now that we are indoors much more every day, let’s take a good look at our indoor air quality. Can plants help us indoors to create better air and better health? Certainly! Indoor air quality is vastly improved with some specific plants that help, offering phytoremediation for our indoor air.

Indoor air chemicals include acetone, found in the off-gassing of particleboard, household cleaners, rubber cement, and paint. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor air is often two to five times worse than the outdoor air that we breathe. Houseplants are beautiful and highly effective air-filtration systems, and budget-friendly as well.

Specific plants remove volatile organic compounds from the air. In August 2016, Vadoud Niri, a chemist at the State University of New York of Oswego, presented his team’s findings on the best houseplants that remove pollution at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. While the idea of using plants to clean indoor air is not new, Niri’s findings showed the results of specific plants and their specific air-cleaning results.

Dracaena removes up to 94 percent of acetone from the air. Bromeliads remove toxic air from six of eight sources in a 12-hour period including toluene, a toxic solvent emitted from popular items such as burning paraffin candles, which also emit benzene. (Benzene is a carcinogen found in automobile exhaust as well as the candles.) The safest candles to burn are unscented beeswax candles.

In chamber testing, spider plant removed ethylbenzene (80 percent), p-Xylenes (92 percent), and o-Xylene (83 percent). Ethylbenzene is a toxic solvent found in inks, paints, artificial elastomers (fake rubber), and in drinking water near fracking operations. It is injected into the ground during fracking operations.

Indoor toxic symptoms are enough to make us run out and get the plants just so we feel better. Symptoms include ailments such as reduced productivity, headaches, fatigue, personality changes, flu-like symptoms, brain fog and more.

Since plastics out-gas, avoid plastic pots and chemical-laden soils. Use clay pots and OMRI-approved soil (approved for organic use)—safe and without harmful chemical additives or pesticides.

And here’s something to think about for what to do with the Christmas tree after the holidays. Pine trees offer health benefits in pine bark tea, pine needle tea, spa bath to relieve arthritis and exhaustion, and used in a steam to relieve sinusitis and congestion.

Crush three to four handfuls of fresh pine needles lightly between your hands and add to two quarts of water. Let this stand for at least an hour. Put the water and needles in a pot and boil for 10 minutes. Strain and add your pine tea to your bath.

Janet Sellers explores forest habitat models and traditional Ethnoecology for local gardening success. She can be contacted at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Art Matters: Holidays, art, and saving lives

By Janet Sellers

Its that gifty time of year. What fun for all of us to give and receive. A lot of gift giving revolves around happy surprises and unique gifts, or totally abandoning stuff and giving the funds instead to a favorite cause.

But a new social sense of gift giving is focusing on sharing meaningful gifts that double their impact by holding on to aesthetic and social awareness via a portion of the cost going to a favorite socially responsible cause.

There are many avenues to make this social giving a success, and we can do this in art as well. Having things and sharing them is good of course, but having the ability to create things ourselves from observation and imagination is downright thrilling—it’s something to share anytime we like. How do we begin on this sharable path to creativity and satisfaction?

Do one thing at a time.

"Focus your awareness on one thing at a time; practice this instead of distraction." — the monk "Dandapani" at TEDx talk

This is very likely the most true thing about art—and other things in life—in terms of starting, making, and finishing the work. Taking an art class is a powerful way to get that habit.

My students tell me that they learn a lot in the classes and that they know they are ready for the next step each time and develop simple or complex works even as beginners. They can take what they have learned and practice it or simply look at what we did in class and they know and remember day by day and are interested in doing so. They are learning focus with the tools of concentration and process with a goal.

How does this happen? It happens in the class because I am teaching one thing at a time, we do it, check for accuracy, and then move on to the next stage until it is complete. In our case it is art, but it is much more, too. Learning in person, in a procedural way, allows us to take the steps necessary to create from our imagination and make a real physical object.

This focusing habit spills out into other areas of life in very positive and constructive ways. There are endless studies, writings and information about how art helps creativity in our lives, but what are these studies really telling us? They are telling us that creativity always follows mastery, and mastery is accomplished by practice and focus.

When the artist John Singer Sargent was asked why he was so good at art, his answer was, "miles and miles of canvas," meaning that he practiced constantly and his work became his practice. He was extraordinary in his art, but very likely more so in his practice and in his focus and dedication to his craft.

We can tell something is of good or poor quality because we know what quality is. We have lots of practice in our daily lives, and visual media offers this visual practice from the best minds in the world.

Fortunately for everyone, drawing and doodling and using the tools of art is very pleasurable and intriguing. We can leave our cares and our worries, watch lines and colors flow, and watch how our pencil or brush makes something that has meaning. We are both creator and observer with artwork.

In this hectic holiday season, let’s not be overwhelmed by the busyness that our society inflicts upon us—let’s do one thing at a time, with focus, and remember to enjoy ourselves and each other. This is a lifesaving effort and we need to do it often!

Here’s to seeing you in art at our local art shows and art classes. Happy holidays my friends!

Janet Sellers is a local artist, writer, and art teacher. Her artwork is exhibited in Colorado galleries, museums, and outdoor public art. She can be contacted at janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Star’s twinkle competes with bitter temps

Caption: The 83rd annual Palmer Lake Chili Supper on Nov. 24 started with cold weather and sleet, which quickly cleared out to leave a beautiful nearly full moon for the lighting of the star. This event benefits the Palmer Lake Firefighters Association, and is used to maintain the Palmer Lake star, and make improvements to living quarters. It is a popular local event attracting visitors from as far away as Greenwood Village. Firefighters and Palmer Ridge High School Key Club members served chili, potato soup, macaroni and cheese, potato soup, and cinnamon rolls. Lemonade and hot chocolate were served as the Palmer Ridge High School Choir sang holiday songs, and kids got to meet Santa in the gazebo on the Village Green. The crowd gathered to sing Silent Night, listen to the history of the star, and count down until the star was lit. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

RRR earns NFPA certification

Caption: Last year a small group of Red Rock Ranch homeowners worked with the Colorado State Forest Service and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District to create a 10-year wildfire risk-reduction plan. As a result, Red Rock Ranch earned National Fire Protection Association certification as a FireWise USA® Community. Their first-year efforts logged thousands of volunteer hours ranging from administrative work to on-site fuel-reduction efforts that created defensible space around 71 homes. As one of seven national FireWise USA® 24-month "Site of Excellence" pilot program participants, Red Rock Ranch actively engaged residents to complete the program’s defined goals and objectives. Sites of Excellence receive special street signage, $1,000 in chipping services, publicity in the National Fire Protection Association Fire Break newsletter and social media, mentoring for local FireWise teams, and an expense-paid trip for two representatives to participate in a two-day Home Ignition Zone training workshop. This highly motivated community’s 2018 year-to-date volunteer efforts qualify Red Rock Ranch as FireWise in 2019 as well. Submitted by Tom Owens, Beth Lonnquist and Dave Betzler.

Kiwanis presents grant to LPMS

Caption: On Nov. 8 Larry Young, president of Monument Hill Kiwanis Club (left), presented a $2,000 grant check to Lewis-Palmer Middle School Assistant Principal Bill Kissell and counselor Amy Sienkowski. The grant was made possible by El Pomar Foundation from the Karl E. Eitel Fund, which was established to improve the lives of at-risk youths. The funds will be used by LPMS to improve the capacity and quality of the Patriot Prep program. This program for selected rising sixth- and seventh-graders, provides supplemental education and learning assistance to improve potential success in transitioning from elementary to middle school. Additional assistance is provided by the Monument Hill Kiwanis Service Leadership Program through local high school Key Clubs. The Service Leadership Program, directed by Max Williams (right), enables student-led clubs at all D-38 school levels to develop leadership through service. Photo by RF Smith.

Historic Monument Merchants Holiday Open House, Nov. 3

At the Holiday Open House Nov. 2-3, Historic Monument Merchants Association members welcomed patrons with decorations, refreshments and early bird gift ideas. Artist studios were abuzz with activities completing projects for a class or for sale. Caption: Margo, of Margo’s on the Alley, welcomed guests with warm beverages and holiday cookies. The history of their iconic shop includes Margo and her husband’s travels around the U.S. visiting historic sites and collecting Americana to bring back to their shop. Their travel and discovery stories are like a history lesson in American lore and art as well as craft. Some of the naïve artists whose work they brought to Monument are now in national museums. Photo by Janet Sellers

Caption: At the a holiday open house Nov. 3, Covered Treasures Bookstore hosted author Jennifer Kincheloe, left, who signed her mystery titles, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc and The Girl in the Camphor Trunk, and Denitta Ward who signed her two titles, Somewhere Still and Prohibition Cocktails. Patrons enjoyed refreshments at the festive event. Photo by Janet Sellers.

Caption: During the Nov. 3 holiday open house, Bliss Studios’ Steffany Boucher, left, works with artists to create the patina for their iron bas-relief sculptures created at the studio. Photo by Janet Sellers.

John Adams at TLCA, Nov. 9

Caption: On Nov. 9, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) and a near capacity audience welcomed the return of John Adams and his John Denver tribute band. Adams’ appearance has become a much-anticipated concert on the TLCA schedule. Given this was his band’s ninth appearance at the center, Adams said he is "amazed at the continuing support we receive for each concert here." Regarding why his band has such a strong following, Adams said people "do not want to miss out on hearing John Denver songs" as they "always have one of his songs that they can relate to in their life, reliving a moment." Adams has not only kept a full concert schedule in the United States but will be playing 12 concert dates in his native Holland in 2019. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.

AARP fills stockings, Nov. 14

Caption: Members and guests at the Nov. 14 AARP Chapter 1100 meeting in Black Forest enjoyed an outstanding catered meal, a program of recognition and prizes for veterans and widows of veterans, a senior injury prevention program, and filling Salvation Army stockings for needy children in the Colorado Springs area. As a community service project, chapter members filled more than a dozen holiday gift stockings with special items for children of specific ages.

Membership in the Black Forest AARP Chapter is open to all. There are no age restrictions. The chapter prides itself in doing community service projects. Those interested in visiting or joining should contact Ray at 495-6767 or visit the chapter website at https://aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com/index.html.

Chapter members who donated filled stockings to the Salvation Army for local needy children are (from left) Herb Guild, Pat Guild, Rosemary O’Connell, Raji Verma, Ray Rozak, Chuck Karlstrum, Bev Schaab, Lori Belk, Sharon Fulton, Patricia Dix, Lavonne Hidy, and Waldo Pendleton. Photo by Stan Beckner

Community involvement

Caption: Madeline VanDenHoek, community relations specialist for the Town of Monument, spoke at the November Outpourings meeting on "Ways to Get Involved Within Your Community." She noted that being involved creates a strong community, grows your network, makes a difference, and is just fun! Some ways to get involved include voting, staying informed, attending community meetings, or joining one of many boards or committees in your neighborhood, school district, town, or county. Another option is to attend or host one of the many community events you can find via local business bulletin boards, school e-flyers, websites, newsletters, newspapers, and social media. Volunteer opportunities abound through the school district, town websites, and various service and social clubs. VanDenHoek also encouraged attendees to take classes, open local businesses, offer services and shop local. Outpourings talks are held on the third Tuesday of each month at Pikes Peak Brewing Company. More information on these talks can be found at http://tlumc.org/outreach/outpouring. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

Veterans Day at MA, Nov. 9

Caption: Today, I will be telling you a little bit about the Monument Academy Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 9. There was one thing that stood out to me more than anything: the POW/MIA table honoring prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, full of important symbols. It is round; this is for the never-ending suffering of the people who have lost someone to war. There was also the rose. And the upside-down glass. And the Bible. And the yellow ribbon. And the white table cloth. And the candle. And the one empty chair, symbolizing that they are missing. And the bread plate with the lemon and the salt. Our veterans, young or old, they are all special. They all mean something to our society. The reason the Monument Academy puts on this cool event is because veterans deserve more recognition than they get. See www.vfwpahq.org/districtpost-tools/pow-mia-table/. Caption by Monument Academy student Sean Perry.

Collecting Monument history

Caption: A group of reporters is gathering stories for next year’s Town of Monument’ 140th anniversary. If you would like to be interviewed for a memorable or historical story, please contact John Howe at 487-1047. Seated left to right: Michael Weinfeld, Susan Miner, Madeline VanDenHoek. Photo by John Howe.

Fraser and Haas at TLCA, Nov. 16

Caption: On Nov. 16, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas brought their unique Celtic sound to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) stage. The duo sounded at times like a Celtic string orchestra with Fraser, known as the "Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling," on fiddle, and Haas, a Juilliard School of Music graduate, on cello. They have been performing together for 20 years. Fraser was searching for a cellist to provide the traditional rhythm for Scottish dance music when he found Haas. Fraser and Haas played traditional Celtic songs, waltzes, and originals including some from their 2017 release Ports of Call such as Moon Over Mono and Keeping up with Christine. For their encore, Fraser announced that "time for sitting is over" as Haas taught the near-capacity crowd a Scottish dance that eventually weaved its way around the center to a lively Scottish jig. Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.

Community pitches in

Caption: Community members came together to help a local family in need on a cold Sunday in November. Karrah Martin put a call out to her network and on Nextdoor.com for anyone who could help her family build a fence that was required for a K9 Buddies placement for her son Andrew. Andrew was recently diagnosed with a neurologically based vision problem, which causes him issues with reading and schoolwork at Bear Creek Elementary. She got a response from Bret Berg, who owns a local company called CPR that specializes in building decks and fences. Other volunteers included the Tri-Lakes Moms Club, which provided food; Cub Scout Pack 17 members and leaders; U.S. Air Force Academy cadets sponsored by the Martins; her husband’s colleagues from the Military Strategic Studies Program at the academy; as well as local friends and neighbors. Martin noted this was truly a community effort of nearly 40 people for which she is most grateful. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

Palmer Lake Lantern Festival

Caption: Despite inclement weather, the Palmer Lake Lantern Festival was held Nov. 24 after the lighting of the Palmer Lake Star. Planned vendor activities were moved indoors and curtailed due to high winds. Attendees’ tickets got them a beautiful paper lantern with a marker for writing their sentiments on the lanterns before launching them from the eastern shore of Palmer Lake. Proceeds from this event go toward Palmer Lake Parks, particularly lakeside improvements like the planned pedestrian bridge. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

Child trafficking widespread

By Janet Sellers

Monument Community Presbyterian Church hosted an informational night about Human Trafficking on Nov. 7 to help raise local awareness of child trafficking in El Paso County and nearby neighborhoods. Attendees learned what human trafficking looks like, its pervasiveness, where it happens (including in the Tri-Lakes and Front Range areas with teens and preteens), how to help, and more. A caveat for all is to learn the "in plain sight" indications of child trafficking and how and what to report to authorities to ensure safety for the child and the informant.

Child trafficking has been found across all socio-economic levels, races, and ages, according to representatives from the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado. Boys and girls are trafficked into Colorado as victims of these coerced crimes. Children are lured into situations and then forced to do things against their will (such as prostitution, labor, crime) and keep it a secret with threats against their personal and family safety.

Colorado has improved from an "F" grade five years ago to a "B" grade in human trafficking response. But the state has failed to pass a Safe Harbor law to protect victims, instead charging these child slaves for crimes they are forced to commit. In the past four years, Colorado law enforcement has rescued 420 children and arrested 146 abusers, with courts handing down sentences ranging from 24 years to 472 years for a Denver-area kingpin trafficker.

Even without the Safe Harbor law that has been stymied by prosecutors, local law enforcement wants to send out the message that "Our children are not for sale," according to the task force representatives. However, Colorado lacks secure restorative treatment facilities, and the courts pay only if the victim is on probation. So children are charged with, for example, prostitution, which turn the victims into criminals.

Safe sanctuary homes allow the children to reclaim their childhood and be loved and cared for in a safe, supported environment with services specific to their needs and ages so they can return to society. There is a severe shortage of these safe homes.

CO-4-kids, which is an awareness campaign organized to get Colorado citizens involved with the issue of human trafficking, notes, "If you see signs that concern you, you don’t have to be the expert or make the determination. If a child needs help, report to (the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline) 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437). If a child is in immediate danger, always dial 911. Your call could be the link to get the child the support they need." Safe2tell.org has phone apps and a phone number operational 24 hours a day to anonymously report anything that concerns your safety or the safety of others.

Citizens can help law enforcement in powerful ways by collecting and reporting information – such as descriptions of people, vehicles and license plates – as well as supporting fundraising.

In a related matter, a local holiday art and gift sale will benefit children rescued from trafficking. Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, 16575 Rollercoaster Road, is conducting fundraising on December weekends, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with generous portions going to child trafficking rescue groups, including Aspire Academy and Sarah’s Home, a sanctuary home for teen girls in Colorado, located in Peyton.

Caption: The Rev. Dr. Becca Jordan-Irwin, left, Monument Community Presbyterian Church, and Patti Neely, Sarah’s Home Volunteer Coordinator, share helpful information at the child trafficking seminar. Photo by Janet Sellers

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Our Community Notices

By Judy Barnes, Events Editor

Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.

MVEA Christmas light roundup ends Jan. 31

Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) wants to help you make the energy efficiency switch this holiday season. Drop off your incandescent C7 and C9 Christmas light strands at an MVEA office and receive a $5 per strand bill credit on up to 10 strands per MVEA member. You could earn up to a $50 credit on your next electric bill. C7 bulbs measure over 2 inches, while C9 bulbs are just under 3 inches, base to tip. These are the large, traditional Christmas lights. The Monument MVEA office is at 15706 Jackson Creek Parkway, Ste. 100. For more information, call 800-388-9881. See ad on page 15.

Toy donations needed for Santa on Patrol

Santa on Patrol will team with the Monument Police Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, and the Palmer Lake Police Department to deliver toys and good cheer to many children in the Tri-Lakes area from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 22. Santa and his elves from the fire and police departments hope to deliver more than 1,000 toys again this year. New, unwrapped toys and gift cards may be dropped off by mid-December to the following locations: Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Rd.; YMCA RAD, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy.; Lewis-Palmer High School and Palmer Ridge High School;

Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Stations 1, 2, and 3; and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department administration offices, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 103. For more information, contact Monument Police Chief Shirk, 481-3253.

LEAP—Help for heating bills

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019. Application packets will be automatically mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.

Kiwanis holiday bell ringing

Look for Kiwanis members and volunteers ringing the holiday bell for Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign at Monument King Soopers, Safeway, and Walmart Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. All proceeds go to Salvation Army in El Paso County. For more information about Kiwanis, visit https://monumenthillkiwanis.org/mhk/. See ad on page 11.

MVEA scholarships

Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2019. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/youth-programs.

Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s 2019 Grant Process, Jan. 15-March 15

Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) grant application for 2019 will be available online Jan. 15 through March 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed. The application package includes the instructions as well as other important qualifying information. For more information, visit www.tlwc.net.

Tri-Lakes Y winter basketball

Registration is now open for winter basketball, preschool through grade eight. The season begins Jan. 19. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org; or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument; or phone 481-8728. See ad on page 6.

Free tutoring in reading

Children’s Literacy Center offers free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. Tutors are volunteers from the community, 14 years of age and older. Tutoring is held every Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the Monument Library. For more information, go to www.childrensliteracycenter.org, call 471-8672, or contact Liz Eden at Liz@childrensliteracycenter.org.

Free grief group forming

The Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Road, Monument, is forming a group for people who have struggled with grief for six months or more. This group will meet for six weeks with a trained leader who will provide a safe place to process the grief resulting from the loss of a loved one, or grief due to a change in health or finances. Participation is limited to 10 individuals on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact Rick Jackson, 488-3200, Rjackson.tcaw@gmail.com.

Prescription drug drop box

Monument Police Department, 645 Beacon Lite Road, has a secure green drop box to safely dispose of medications so the drugs are not stolen, lost, or misused. The drop box is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Accepted items include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, opioid painkillers, tranquilizers, antidepressants, vitamins, heart medicine, liquid medications (sealed in original container), prescription patches, medicated ointments, and veterinary prescriptions. Labels can stay on the containers since all are incinerated. No chemo drugs, marijuana, illegal drugs, or sharps can be accepted. For more information, call the Monument Police, 481-3253, or visit http://Takemedsback.org.

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Our Community Calendar

By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor

Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.

GOVERNMENTAL BODIES

  • Forest Lakes & Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts Board Meeting, Mon., Dec. 3, 6385 Corporate Dr., Suite 200, Colo. Springs. Meets 1st Mon. each month. Info: 327-5810.
  • Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, Mon., Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m., Monument Police Department Conference Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Meets 1st and 3rd Mon. each month in the Town Hall board room. Info: 884-8017, www.townofmonument.org.
  • El Paso County Planning Commission Meeting, Tue., Dec. 4, 9 a.m., 2880 International Circle (off Union Blvd & Printers Pkwy). Meets 1st & 3rd Tue. (if required) each month. Find agendas at https://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com/el-paso-county-planning-commission/planning-commission-2018-meetings/. Info: 520-6300.
  • El Paso Board of County Commissioners Meeting, Tue., Dec. 4, 9 a.m. Centennial Hall, 200 South Cascade Ave., Suite 150, Colo. Springs. Meets every Tue. and Thu. Info: 520 6430, https://clerkandrecorder.elpasoco.com/clerk-to-the-board/board-of-county-commissioners-meeting-agendas/.
  • Wescott Fire Protection District Board Meeting, Tue., Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Normally meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: 488-8680.
  • Forest View Acres Water District Board Meeting, No meeting this month, Monument Sanitation District board room, 130 Second St. Normally meets 4th Wed. each month, 6 p.m. Info: 488-2110, www.fvawd.com.
  • D-38 Deliberates: Community Engagement Opportunity, Wed., Dec. 5, 6-8 p.m., Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, 146 N. Jefferson St., Monument. The Tri-Lakes community is invited to attend this important conversation regarding Preschool: Centralized vs. Site-Based Locations. To assure a seat at a table, RSVP by Dec. 3 to info@lewispalmer.org. See ad on page 9.
  • Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board Meeting, Wed., Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m., TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Hwy 105. Normally meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: Jennifer Martin, 484-0911, www.tlmfire.org.
  • Donala Water & Sanitation District Board Meeting, Thu., Dec. 6, 1:30 p.m., 15850 Holbein Dr. Workshop is open to the public. Normally meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: 488-3603, www.donalawater.org.
  • Woodmoor Water & Sanitation District Board Meeting, Mon., Dec. 10, 1 p.m., 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Now meets 2nd Mon. each month. Info: 488-2525, www.woodmoorwater.com.
  • Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility Joint Use Committee Meeting, Tue., Dec. 11, 10 a.m., 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meets 2nd Tue. each month. Info: Bill Burks, 481-4053.
  • Triview Metropolitan District Board Meeting, Tue., Dec. 11, 5 p.m., Fairfield Inn (Mt. Herman Conference Room), 15275 Struthers Rd., Monument. New date, time, & location in January. Info: 488-6868, https://triviewmetro.com.
  • Palmer Lake Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Dec. 12, 9 a.m., 120 Middle Glenway. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: 481-2732. www.plsd.org.
  • Monument Planning Commission Meeting, Wed., Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m.. Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Livestreamed at http://bit.ly/2uZxjfa. Info: 884-8017, www.townofmonument.org.
  • Monument Academy School Board Meeting, No meeting this month, Normally meets in the school library, 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument on the 2nd Thu. each month except July and December. Info: 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
  • Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, Thu., Dec. 13, 7 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-2953, www.townofpalmerlake.com.
  • Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board Meeting, Mon., Dec. 17, 6 p.m., Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Meets 3rd Mon. each month. Info: 488-4700, www.lewispalmer.org.
  • Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, Mon., Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Meets 1st and 3rd Mon. each month. Info: 884-8017, www.townofmonument.org.
  • Monument Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Dec. 19, 9 a.m., 130 2nd St. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 481-4886.
  • Academy Water and Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Dec. 19, 6 p.m., Wescott Fire Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 481-0711.
  • Woodmoor Improvement Association Board Meeting, Wed., Dec. 26, 7 p.m., Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr. Meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: 488-2693, www.woodmoor.org.

LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS

Please note that all Pikes Peak Library Facilities will be closed all day Dec. 24 and 25, and will close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 and remain closed on Jan. 1.

For information on library events, see the library events column on page 24 and visit www.ppld.org.

  • The Palmer Lake Library hours are Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 66 Lower Glenway. Info: 481-2587, www.ppld.org.
  • The Monument Branch Library hours are Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Info: 488-2370, www.ppld.org.

WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS

  • Buzz n Bagels - Serranos Coffee and Old World Bagels, beginning Sat., Dec. 1, 6 a.m.-6 p.m., 15954 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Info: 481-9445. For 10% discount, see ad on page 32.
  • Monument Hill Kiwanis Club Breakfast Meeting, every Sat., 7:30 a.m., D-38 Admin Building,146 Jefferson St., Monument. Guests are welcome at weekly meetings featuring speakers on a variety of topics and a free continental breakfast. Memberships open to the public. Join the 150+ men & women of the Tri-Lakes area who work together to make a difference for youth and our community. Info: RF Smith, (719) 210-4987, www.MHKiwanis.org. See ad on page 11.
  • Aliyah Congregation, every Sat., 10 a.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake, CO 80133. Visitors are welcome. www.aliyahcongregation.com (719) 330-2382. See ad on page 31.
  • The Wine Seller Free Wine Tastings, every Sat., 1-4 p.m., 2805 Roberts Dr., Monument. Info: 488-3019, www.thewineseller.net. See ad on page 3.
  • Bingo by the American Legion, every Sat., game sales start at 6 p.m., games start at 7 p.m., the Depot Restaurant, in Palmer Lake. Proceeds go to scholarships and other community support activities. Info: 481-8668, www.americanlegiontrilakespost911.com/bingo.htm.
  • Watercolor Painting Demo, most Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Join Janet Sellers’ painting demo, followed by art class at local cultural, gallery, and nature spots. For weekly location: 357-7454, janetsellers10@gmail.com.
  • Fuel Church Sunday Service, every Sun., 9:30 a.m. fellowship with free donuts and coffee, 10 a.m. main service; 14960 Woodcarver Rd. (just west of I-25 off Baptist Road). Non-denominational, spirit-led. Info: info@fuel.org, www.fuelchurch.org.
  • Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Worship Hours, every Sun., traditional services 8 & 11 a.m., contemporary service 9:30 a.m., Sunday school, all ages, 9:30 a.m., 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. Info: 488-1365, www.tlumc.org. See ad on page 3.
  • Black Forest Community Church Sunday Worship, every Sun., 10 a.m., 6845 Shoup Rd. All are welcome to the family friendly services. Info: www.bfcc-ucc.org. See ad on page 6.
  • Cathedral Rock Church Sunday Service, every Sun., 10 a.m., Tri-Lakes YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Info: www.cathedralrockchurch.org. See ad on page 11.
  • Tai-Chi Class, every Mon., 10 a.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Cost: $5. Drop-ins welcome. Info: 481-2953, www.townofpalmerlake.com.
  • Seniors: Tai Chi Classes, every Mon., 11–noon, Silver Alliance Senior Center at Lewis-Palmer High School (across from the YMCA). This soft, slow, and gentle form of exercise has many benefits. Registration required. $3 suggested donation. RSVP & Info: 464-6873.
  • Seniors Monday Movie Matinee, every Mon., 1-4 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center located on Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Free movies and snacks. See the schedule of films in Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Beat.
  • Artfully Speaking Toastmasters, every Mon., 5:45 p.m., DeVry University, 1175 Kelly Johnson Blvd., room 13. Info: Jon Walsh, 640-9428; www.artfullyspeaking.toastmastersclubs.org.
  • Women’s A.A. Step Study, every Mon., 6 p.m. Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 W. Baptist Rd. Info: 481-0431.
  • Yin Yoga Classes, every Mon., 6:30-7:45 p.m., Yoga Pathways Studio, 755 Hwy 105, West End Center, Suite A (3⁄4 mile west of Safeway). A slow yoga practice; all levels welcome. First class always free. Info: Deb Harano, 338-8467; DimensionsYoga@gmail.com.
  • Monument Hill Kiwanis Bingo, every Mon., 7:30 pm, Carefree Bingo, 3440 N. Carefree Circle, Colo. Springs. All proceeds benefit those in need in the Tri-Lakes Community. Info: mark.zeiger@gmail.com.
  • Adult Literacy Class, every Mon. & Wed., 6-7:30 p.m., D-38 Admin. Building, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Open to the public. Info: 488-4700.
  • Senior Citizen Luncheons, every Mon.-Fri., 12-12:30 p.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. See the menu for the month in the Senior Beat newsletter. A $2.25 donation is requested. Stay for bingo the 2nd Thu. each month. Reservations are requested, phone 884-2304.
  • Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI), open Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). Daily guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cost: $10 adults, $9 military/AAA, $8 seniors & students, $6 children 3-12, free to children under 3 & museum members. Info: 488-0880, info@wmmi.org, www.wmmi.org.
  • Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Thrift Store, open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 755 Hwy 105, Suite N, in the West End Center. Seniors 62+ get a 20% discount on Wednesdays. Military & Teacher Appreciation Day, 20% off regular priced items on Saturdays. All proceeds support Tri-Lakes Senior Programs. To donate furniture, call 488-3495 for a pickup. Info: www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
  • Tri-Lakes YMCA Senior Coffee, every Tue., 9:30-11:30 a.m., 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Members and non-members are welcome. Socialize, have coffee and snacks in the front lobby. Free. Info: 630-2604, hbrandon@ppymca.org, www.ppymca.org.
  • Al-anon Meeting: Monument Serenity, every Tue., 7:30-8:30 p.m., Ascent Church (formerly the Tri-Lakes Chapel), 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Info: Kay, 481-9258.
  • Peak Reader Children’s Literacy Program, every Tue. & Thu., 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. To enroll your child or volunteer as a tutor, visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or call 471-8672.
  • Act II Thrift Shop, open Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Proceeds benefit Tri-Lakes area non-profits. Info: 487-3268, cara@mynothlandchurch.org, www.mynorthlandchurch.org/act-ii.
  • Tri-Lakes Church of Christ Wednesday Night Fellowship Meal (Free) & Classes, every Wed., 6-7:30 p.m., 20450 Beacon Lite Road, Monument (Corner of Beacon Lite & County Line Roads). Info: 488-9613, gregsmith@trilakeschurch.org, www.trilakeschurch.org.
  • Al-anon Meeting: Letting Go, every Thu., 9-10:10 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chapel, room 209, 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Info: Kay, 481-9258.
  • A.A. Big Book Study, every Thu., 7 p.m., Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 W. Baptist Rd. Info: 481-0431.
  • Live Music at the Speedtrap, every Thu. open mic 7-9:30 p.m., musicians every Fri. & Sat., 8-11 p.m., 84 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Info: 488-2007, www.speedtrapbistro.com.
  • Peak Reader Children’s Literacy Program, every Tue. & Thu., 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. Meets every Tue. & Thu., 5:30 p.m. To enroll your child or volunteer as a tutor, visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or call 471-8672.
  • Group of Artists (GOA) Meetings at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-noon, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Lively discussions about art topics, general studies on creativity. Meets 1st Sat. each month. Info: 481-0475, info@trilakesarts.org, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Faithful Friends, Thu., Dec. 6, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. A Ladies’ Dessert with an inspirational speaker each month. Meets 1st Thu. each month. Cost: $7. RSVP & Info: Sandi King, 719-237-3359.
  • El Paso County Hazardous Materials & Recycling Collection Facility, Sat., Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 3255 Akers Dr., Colorado Springs. Open the 2nd Sat. each month as well as Mon.-Thu., 7 a.m.-5 p.m., accepts porcelain fixtures, common recyclable items, household hazardous waste, various electronics, and TVs up to 19-inch diagonal. Bring a nonperishable food item for Care and Share. Info: 520-7878, http://adm.elpasoco.com/Environmental_Services/Solid_Waste_Management.
  • Palmer Lake Art Group, Sat., Dec. 8, 9 a.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. A variety of art programs are offered after the social gathering and business meeting. Guests welcome. Meets 2nd Sat. each month. Info: 487-1329, www.palmerlakeartgroup.com.
  • Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group, Sat., Dec. 8, 9:45-11:30 a.m., The First National Bank of Monument, 581 Hwy 105. Meets 2nd Sat. each month. Info: Gail, 481-3711.
  • Palmer Divide Photographers Group, Mon., Dec. 10, 7 p.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Ken Bates will teach area photographers about macro and close-up photography. All are welcome. Meets 2nd Mon. each month. Info: 649-4241, www.pdphotographers.com.
  • Pikes Peak Music Teachers Association Meeting, Tue., Dec. 11, 9:30 a.m., Graner Music, 4460 Barnes Rd., Colo. Springs. Music teachers and students, meet for coffee, a meeting, and program presentation at 11 a.m. Meets 2nd Tue. each month. Info: Susan Marten, skmarten@hotmail.com, www.ppmta.org.
  • Chess Nuts, Tue., Dec. 11, 5-9 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center. Any age, any skill. Learners welcome. Drop in and leave when you want. Bring your own board and pieces if you have them. Meets 2nd & 4th Tue. each month. Info: www.TriLakesSeniors.org/chess.
  • Black Forest AARP Potluck Lunch & Meeting, Wed., Dec. 12, noon, 12455 Black Forest Rd. Catered Christmas meal, reservations requested. Violin concert. All ages welcome. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. RSVP & Info: Stan, 596-6787, www.aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.
  • Foot Care Clinic, Wed., Dec. 12, Silver Alliance Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines your feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Cost: $30 for a 30-min. visit. Meets 2nd Wed. and last Fri. each month, by appointment only. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, 577-4448.
  • Senior Bingo, Thu., Dec. 13, Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake, after the senior lunch. Come for lunch at noon, then stay and play. Free! Prizes! Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: Maggie Nealon, 488-3037.
  • Bridge, Thu., Dec. 13, 1-4 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center located on Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Walk-ins are welcome. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Reservation suggested: call Judy, 626-399-2733.
  • Tri-Lakes Chamber Monthly Education Series: Speed Networking, Thu., Dec. 13, 2:30-5 p.m., 166 Second St., Monument. Free. Be prepared to introduce yourself and your business, bring business cards and a name tag. Register online, www.trilakeschamber.com/events-calendar.htm. Info: 481-3282.
  • Ben Lomond Gun Club, Tri-Lakes Chapter, Thu., Dec. 13, 7 p.m., Tri-Lakes Fire Station 1, 18650 Hwy 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-3364.
  • Silver Alliance Book Club, Fri., Dec. 14, 11 a.m., Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on Lewis-Palmer High School campus. All are welcome to join this new club. Coffee & snacks served. RSVP & Info: Sue, 330-0241.
  • La Leche League Meeting, Fri., Dec. 14, noon-1 p.m., Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Mothers, babies, and mothers-to-be are all invited. Meets 2nd Fri. each month. Info: Kelley, 440-2477, kdghorashi@gmail.com.
  • The Breakfast Club, Sat., Dec. 15, 8:30 a.m., The Ridge at Castle Pines North (Ridge Grill and Bar), 1414 Castle Pines Pkwy. Single people 50+ meet new friends and have fun. This active social group enjoys activities ranging from card games to white water rafting, international/domestic travel to bowling and golf. Meets 3rd Sat. each month. Info: 303-815-8428, www.TBC50plus.org.
  • Monument Hill Farmers Market Winter Indoor Market, Sat., Dec. 15, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Grace Best, 66 Jefferson St., Monument. Many new vendors plus all your old favorites. Meets every 3rd Sat. through April. Info: 592-9420. See ad on page 5.
  • Tri-Lakes Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, Sat., Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-noon, Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 238 Third St, Monument. Come for socializing, discussions on Parkinson’s-related issues including available support, and occasional speakers. Meets 3rd Sat. each month. Info: John Farley, 481-2364, robun2good@gmail.com; or Syble Krafft, 488-2669.
  • Amateur Radio WØTLM (Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association), No meeting in December. Normally meets the 3rd Mon., 6 p.m. social time, 7 p.m. meeting. All amateur radio operators or those interested in becoming amateur radio operators are welcome. Info: Joyce Witte, 661-9824, Joycewitte@gmail.com; www.W0TLM.com.
  • Outpouring: TLUMC Supporting our Community, Tue., Dec. 18, 7 p.m., back Barrel Room at Pikes Peak Brewing Company, 1756 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Everyone is welcome. Meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: LWeber1971@aol.com; for current speaker info go to http://tlumc.org/outreach/outpouring.
  • Gleneagle Sertoma Luncheon Meeting, Wed., Dec. 19, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Liberty Heights, 12105 Ambassador Dr., (off Voyager Blvd in Colorado Springs). Interesting speakers and programs; all are welcome. Meets 1st & 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Garrett Barton, 433-5396; Duane Gritzmaker, 481-2424; www.gleneaglesertoma.org.
  • Senior Bingo, Wed., Dec. 19, 1-2 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center, Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Sue Walker, 464-6873.
  • Drummers! Wed., Dec. 19, 6:30-8 p.m., Yoga Pathways Studio, West End Center, 775 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Free and open to all ages. Bring any kind of drum or other hand percussion instrument. Beginners welcome! Now meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Nan, 466-1257, nananddon@hotmail.com.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7829, Wed., Dec. 19, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. New members welcome. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Post Commander Joe Carlson, 405-326-2588, jcarlson@vfw7829.org, www.vfw7829.org.
  • VFW Auxiliary to Post 7829, Wed., Dec. 19, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. New members welcome. If you are a male or female relative of a veteran who served on foreign soil during war or other military action, you may be eligible. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Kathy Carlson, 488-1902, carlsonmkc@aol.com.
  • Senior Tea, Thu., Dec. 20, 12-1:30 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center at Lewis-Palmer High School (across from the YMCA). Come early to socialize. Volunteers needed. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Reservations required: contact Sue, 464-6873, sue@monumentalfitness.com.
  • Palmer Lake Historical Society: No meeting in December. Watch for Annual Potluck Dinner and Membership Meeting in January. Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: 559-0837, www.palmerdividehistory.org.
  • Foot Care Clinic, Fri., Dec. 21, Silver Alliance Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Cost: $35 for a 30-min. visit. Meets 2nd Wed., 3rd and last Fri. each month, by appointment only. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, 577-4448.
  • Chess Nuts, No meeting Dec. 25. Silver Alliance Senior Center, across the street from the YMCA. Any age, any skill. Learners welcome. Drop in and leave when you want. Bring your own board and pieces if you have them. Meets 2nd & 4th Tue. each month. Info: www.TriLakesSeniors.org/chess.
  • Senior Social, Wed., No meeting in December. Normally meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: http://aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.
  • Foot Care Clinic, Fri., Dec. 28, Silver Alliance Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Cost: $35 for a 30-min. visit. Meets 2nd Wed., 3rd and last Fri. each month, by appointment only. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, 577-4448.
  • Faithful Friends, Thu., Jan. 3, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. A Ladies’ Dessert with an inspirational speaker each month. Meets 1st Thu. each month. Cost: $7. RSVP & Info: Sandi King, 719-237-3359.
  • Group of Artists (GOA) Meetings at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), Sat., Jan. 5, 10 a.m.-noon, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Lively discussions about art topics, general studies on creativity. Meets 1st Sat. each month. Info: 481-0475, info@trilakesarts.org, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Lupus Support Group. If you suffer with an autoimmune disease and want to connect with others, you are welcome to join this group. Info: dmbandle@hotmail.com.
  • Myasthenia Gravis Association of Colorado Support Group. Location varies. Info: Carolyn, 488-3620, www.4-mga.org, 303-360-7080, 4mga@4-mga.org.

SPECIAL EVENTS

  • Monument Hill Kiwanis Club’s Annual North Pole at Tri-Lakes Arts and Crafts Fair, Sat., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Grace Best Education Center, 66 Jefferson St., Monument. Browse hundreds of handcrafted items and Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Cookie Walk. Miguel Dakota, America’s got Talent finalist, and live holiday music by D-38 students and local talent. Admission is free with nonperishable food items, toys, or cash donations for Tri-Lakes Cares. Proceeds fund Monument Hill Kiwanis community granting program. Info: Bob Nissen, 304-8705, bob@mifigroup.com, www.MHKiwanis.org.
  • Downtown Monument’s Small Town Christmas, Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Kids’ activities and crafts, hayrides, open houses, and more. Stop by to see Santa at La Casa Fiesta, 230 Front St. Monument; ride the hay ride through downtown Monument, stop to make a craft at Sew in Tune and come by the bookstore to meet two authors. Tree-lighting 5 p.m. at Limbach Park. Info: 481-2954.
  • Small Town Christmas at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 105 Second St., Monument. Three children’s authors will sign their books: Leah Gilbert will sign A Couch for Llama; Jeannie Mobley will sign her various titles, including Katerina’s Wish; Barb Tyner will sign Rhyaden. Refreshments will be served. Info: 481-2665, www.coveredtreasures.com.
  • Santa Fe Trail Jewelry Darlene Armstrong Show, Sat., Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 106 2nd St., Unit A, Monument. Shop Small Town Christmas with one-of-a-kind jewelry that showcases the beauty and harmony of natural gemstones. Info: 481-0250. See ad on page 2.
  • Monument Tree Lighting, Sat., Dec. 1, 5 p.m., Limbach Park, 151 Front St. Watch for more details. Please bring a canned food item for Tri-Lakes Cares or a new, unwrapped toy for Santa on Patrol. If you or your group would like to perform prior to the Tree Lighting at 5 p.m., phone Madeline, 884-8013.
  • D-38 LPHS Connection & Conversation: Social & Emotional Wellness of our Youth, Tue., Dec. 4, 6-7:30 p.m., Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. All D-38 parents, middle school, & high school students are invited to explore mental health challenges of today’s youth. Info: info@lewispalmer.org.
  • Christmas Crèche Exhibit and Outdoor Live Nativity, Tue.-Wed., Dec. 4-5, 2-8 p.m., live nativity both nights at 6 and 7 p.m., 8710 Lexington Dr, Colo. Springs. Free admission, 700+ crèches. If you would like to display your crèche, email Julee Whaley, kwhaleyj@gmail.com. Info: www.coloradospringscreche.org.
  • D-38 Deliberates: Community Engagement Opportunity, Wed., Dec. 5, 6-8 p.m., Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, 146 N. Jefferson St., Monument. The Tri-Lakes community is invited to attend this important conversation regarding Preschool: Centralized vs. Site-Based Locations. To assure a seat at a table, RSVP by Dec. 3 to info@lewispalmer.org. See ad on page 9.
  • Phil Keaggy Concert at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8, 7 p.m., doors open 6 p.m., 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Tickets & Info: 481-0475, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery Advent Retreat: A Pilgrimage through the Advent Scriptures, Sat., Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 3190 Benet Lane, Colo. Springs. Explore how Advent readings affect your life and your on-going spiritual journey. All faith traditions are welcome. Cost: $45. RSVP & Info: 633-0655 Ext 132, registrations@benethillmonastery.org, http://www.benethillmonastery.org.
  • Holiday Book Signings at Covered Treasures Bookstore, Sat., Dec. 8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 105 Second St., Monument. Susan Mathis will sign her two titles, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and Christmas Charity. Michelle Cummings will sign The Reel Sisters. Refreshments will be served. Info: 481-2665, www.coveredtreasures.com.
  • Annual Tri-Lakes Community Handbell Christmas Concert, Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 238 Third St., Monument. Come and enjoy an evening of special Christmas music, including handbells/chimes, organ, brass ensemble, recorder ensemble, and local vocal musicians. Free; a free-will offering will be accepted. Info: Betty Jenik, 488-3853. See ad on page 5.
  • A Time To Dance presents An American Nutcracker, Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m., Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Rd., Monument. Five dreams inspired by historical doll stories, set to the music of Tchaikovsky. Buy tickets at www.tututix.com at an early bird rate. Info: Jeri, 232-5313.
  • The Church at Woodmoor: Chancel Choir Cantata, Sun., Dec. 9, 10 a.m., 18125 Furrow Rd., Monument. Info: 488-3200, www.thechurchatwoodmoor.com. For more holiday events, see ad on page 10.
  • Chamber Member Orientation, Tue., Dec. 10, noon-1:30 p.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument. Come learn about your local chamber of commerce. Open to the public. Lunch provided. Please RSVP at www.trilakeschamber.com/chamber-orientation.html. Info: 481-3282.
  • The Church at Woodmoor: A Christmas Gathering, dinner and program, Mon., Dec. 10, 5 p.m. Dinner and the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale at Woodmoor Country Club (by reservation), 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. RSVP & Info: 488-3200, www.thechurchatwoodmoor.com. For more holiday events, see ad on page 10.
  • Palmer Lake Yule Log Pot Luck Dinner, Tue., Dec. 11, 6 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Circle. Please bring a potluck dish to share and place settings for your family. Info: 481-2953.
  • Grand Opening Celebration at Jackson Creek Senior Living, Wed., Dec. 12, 3-6:30 p.m., 16601 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Meet the team and learn more about the community, amenities, and wellness programs, take a tour, and enjoy some holiday cheer, appetizers, and entertainment. RSVP & Info: 259-0448, www.JacksonCreekSeniorLiving.com. See ad on page 18.
  • Dakota Blonde Concert at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m., doors open 6 p.m., 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Tickets & Info: 481-0475, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Black Rose Acoustic Society Holiday Show/Singalong Potluck with the Rifters, Fri., Dec. 14, 7-10 p.m. Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. at Shoup Road. Last names A-Q, please bring appetizers; R-Z, please bring desserts. Cost: $10 general, $5 BRAS members, $5 nonmember students with ID. Info: Joe Maio, 528-6119, jrmtn@comcast.net, www.blackroseacoustic.org.
  • St. Peter Catholic Church: The Love of Christmas Concert, Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m., 55 Jefferson, Monument. All are welcome for an evening of holiday music. The concert is free, however, a free-will offering will be collected to benefit Tri-Lakes Cares. Info: www.Petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.
  • Tri-Lakes Music Association Annual Christmas Concert, Fri.-Sat., Dec. 14-15, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Rd., Monument. Christmas favorites for choir and orchestra. Free; donations will be accepted to support Tri-Lakes Cares and student scholarships. Info: trilakesmusic@gmail.com, www.trilakesmusic.org.
  • Gallery 132 Ice Carving Demonstration, Sat., Dec. 15, noon, 251 Front St., Monument. Make your own gifts or shop locally made items at this local artisan cooperative. Info: www.gallery132.com. See ad on page 5.
  • Calhan Country Christmas Holiday Light Display Competition & Bull Riding, Sat., Dec. 15, 6-10 p.m., El Paso County Fair & Events Center 366 10th St., Calhan. Free, except for bull riding. Hay rides, live music plus carolers, Parade of Lights, Santa, and more. Sponsored by Mountain View Electric Association. Info: (719) 520-7882.
  • Annual Palmer Lake Yule Log Hunt, Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Trek up the mountain in search of the Yule Log. Hunt participants should arrive 11 a.m.-noon. The winner will ride the Yule Log back to town and get the first cup of wassail. Non-hunters can stay warm indoors with carols and stories. Info: 481-2953.
  • Holiday Dance Party at Jackson Creek Senior Living Community, Thu., Dec. 20, 4-6 p.m., 16601 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. In partnership with Tri-Lakes Senior Center. Holiday music by singer and pianist Skip Moore. Appetizers and drinks will be served. Free. RSVP & Info: 259-1331.
  • Monument’s Santa on Patrol, Sat., Dec. 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The Monument Police Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, and the Palmer Lake Police Department will team up to deliver toys and good cheer to many children in the Tri-Lakes area. Info: 481-3253.
  • Wescott Fire Department Santa Patrol, Sat., Dec. 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Meet Santa on his fire truck with the Wescott firefighters. See the schedule map at www.wescottfire.org. Info: 488-8680.
  • The Church at Woodmoor: Christmas Eve Services, Mon., Dec. 24, 3 p.m. (children/family), 5 p.m. (traditional candlelight), 18125 Furrow Rd., Monument. Info: 488-3200, www.thechurchatwoodmoor.com. See ad on page 10.
  • Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Christmas Eve Services, Mon., Dec. 24, 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. & 9 p.m., 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. Info: 488-1365, www.tlumc.org. See ad on page 8.
  • St. Matthias Episcopal Church Christmas Eve Services, Mon., Dec. 24, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. 18320 Furrow Rd. (1/2 mi. N of 105). Traditional music and Holy Eucharist. Info: 426-9809, www.saint-matthias.org. See ad on page 5.
  • County’s Annual TreeCycle, Sat.-Sun., Dec. 29-30; Jan. 5-6, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Baptist Road trailhead, Baptist Road & Old Denver Hwy. Recycle your Christmas tree. Trees are ground into mulch that is given away free. Remove all decorations from your tree before dropping it off. Bring your own tools and containers for mulch. Cost: $5, benefits community youth sports programs. Info: 520-7878, www.TreeCycleCOS.org.
  • Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery: Taizé Prayer for Peace, Sat., Dec. 31, 7-8 p.m., 3190 Benet Lane, Colo. Springs. A few words sung over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of prayer. All faith traditions are welcome. Cost: $45. RSVP & Info: 633-0655 Ext 132, registrations@benethillmonastery.org, www.benethillmonastery.org. See ad on page 12.
  • New Parent Night at Monument Academy, Tue., Jan. 15, 6-7 p.m., 1150 Village Ridge Pt., Monument. Info: 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net. See ad on page 11.
  • Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert: Music of Light & Darkness, Sat., Jan. 19, 7 p.m., The Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd., Monument. Pianist Dr. Zahari Metchkov will perform works of Liszt and Messiaen. Tickets: adults $12 online at www.rmmaonline.org or $15 at the door. Students with ID, and children 12 and under are free. Info: Coleen Abeyta, 630-8165, Coleen.Abeyta@gmail.com, www.rmmaconcerts.org.

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 calendar@ocn.me or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.

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