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 38 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 28 29 31 32
By Harriet Halbig
Monument Board of Trustees, May 7:Newly-seated board’s grudge match mystifies public
By Allison Robenstein
At the May 7 Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, the newly seated trustees disagreed on many of the items before them for decisions. From town employee appointments to committee appointments, the trustees were at odds with one another.
Town staff appointments vote fails
Town Attorney Alicia Corley presented one resolution to appoint a town clerk, town attorney, and town treasurer, but Trustee Greg Coopman immediately began questioning the verbiage of both the associated statute and the proposed resolution. Corley said according to Colorado law, the BOT needed to appoint these three positions 30 days after the election of a board. Town Manager Pamela Smith said that historically, these appointments have been purely administrative and routine.
Note: CRS § 31-4-304 imposes a 30-day deadline after the April 3 election for appointed officers of the town, including the clerk, treasurer, and town attorney, to be reappointed.
However, Coopman expressed concern that the appointments were grouped together in one resolution, insinuating that he would like to reappoint some staff but not others.
Bornstein said the town manager investigation had been going on too long, amounting to financial irresponsibility for Chris Lowe to be on administrative leave since Feb. 5, and Bornstein blamed town staff for the delay. See www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#mbot and a town press release about the investigation.
Smith said the board did not set a completion date for the investigation, is responsible for the hiring and firing of the town manager and should not put the responsibility of an elongated investigation on staff. She added that she believed the investigation results would be presented at the next board meeting. See related May 21 BOT article on page 6.
Smith said, "Even if the board did not want to reappoint us, we are still town employees.…There is a lot of frustration between the board the staff right now."
Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott seemed genuinely surprised by the discussion, saying the board is pleased with staff performance and wondered why there is a dilemma now. Later in the discussion, she said if there are problems with staff performance they should have been stated earlier, in writing, rather than being brought out at the time of their appointment.
Trustee Laurie Clark said she had consulted with an outside municipal attorney who told her new appointments happen all the time when a new board is seated. She suggested new staff should accompany the new board to reduce the new BOT members’ risk from possible previous work issues. Smith shot back that Clark should have spoken with the town attorney, and that staff is bonded and insured by the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency so that board members bear no responsibility for their actions. Clark said she didn’t have enough access to information from Town Attorney Alicia Corley.
The appointment resolution failed by a tied 3-3 vote, with Coopman, Bornstein, and Clark voting against it.
During public comments later in the meeting, three people came forward to express their frustration that the board has so much drama, and that several are following their own personal agendas. Nancy Swearengin summed up by saying the board should all be ashamed of themselves for not appointing the three town staff members that night.
Trustee appointment process continues
Mayor Don Wilson had previously held one of the trustee seats before being elected mayor, leaving his seat as trustee vacant. State statute grants the board the power to fill the vacancy by appointment or by ordering an election. At the April meeting, the trustees agreed to solicit letters of intent from prospective candidates. Four people—James Romanello, Jeff Lampman, Kenneth W. Kimple, and Laura Kronick—responded to the request. Romanello and Kronick were present on May 7 and gave brief descriptions of themselves and their interest in a trustee position.
The board voted 5-1 to continue their final decision until the next meeting to give Lampman and Kimple a chance to answer questions. Wilson voted no on the continuation.
Responding to board direction given in December and January, Town Attorney Alicia Corley presented a discussion item on a draft resolution creating budget and facilities committees that suggested there be two trustees, two residents, and two staff director positions on the committees. The purpose of the committees would be to prevent late changes to the budget as happened in 2017. See www.ocn.me/v17n12.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n2.htm#mbot.
Clark asked if this was a paid position for staff, but Smith said the directors are salaried and this would fall under their job descriptions. Corley was given direction to create a draft resolution she will bring to the board’s next meeting.
CDOT I-25 Gap presentation
John Hall, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) resident engineer, gave a presentation on the environmental assessment (EA) completed as part of the I-25 South Gap Project. The project is intended to enhance safety, reduce delays, and improve travel reliability for the 18-mile stretch between Monument and Castle Rock. Hall explained that anytime federal aid funding is used for a project, CDOT is required to perform this assessment.
Based on the EA, there were three possibilities for the gap:
• No action
• Express lane alternative (with toll just in that lane)
• General purpose alternative
CDOT’s preferred alternative is one express lane in both directions. At the community Listening Sessions Feb. 8 at the Monument Library, there was strong opposition to any toll lanes. See www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#cdot. Hall said he couldn’t promise a specific toll fee but suggested $2 to $5 per use. Vehicles traveling in the toll lane with three or more occupants would be free. The two general use lanes would be free all the time.
The cost for the project is estimated at $350 million. Although several entities have promised funding, nothing has been solidified. The state has conditionally approved $250 million. A federal grant of $65 million has been requested but has not yet been approved. Hall said the project could be done by 2021 if construction began this summer. See i25gap.codot.gov for more information.
During public comments, Ann Howe said CDOT is not listening to public comments against a toll lane and asked people to sign a petition called "Fix our Damn Roads." Terri Hayes, president and CEO of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corp., and the Visitor Center, spoke against CDOT’s decision to not include a fourth general lane in the I-25 gap project. She wished they would consider a truck climbing lane but commended them for including wildlife crossings. She also suggested CDOT or police officers working an accident, or during inclement weather should be able to turn off the toll to give commuters more room.
Jackson Creek Market Village Replat and Willow Springs Eligibility Hearing
Jennifer Jones, town planner, presented a motion to replat and create an additional lot at Jackson Creek Market Village, a 4.4-acre parcel located on the north side of Baptist Road east of Jackson Creek Parkway. The proposed replat of Jackson Creek Market Village No. 1 will reduce the size of lots 1A and 4A, extending the access easement to the edge of the property. The Planning Commission held a public hearing for the proposed replat at its April 11 meeting and voted unanimously in favor of the change. There were no questions from the trustees and no public comment. The motion passed unanimously.
Willow Springs is 224 acres north of Baptist Road/Forest Lakes Drive, west of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. On March 19, the board passed Resolution No. 10-2018 establishing the annexation petition for the area, where it was determined that Willow Springs was in substantial compliance and set the hearing for May 7 to determine if the area is eligible for annexation and could be considered for annexation in the future. Annexation of land must satisfy the requirements and limitations of both CRS § 31-12-104 and CRS § 31-12-105.
Several trustees began asking Jones detailed questions that pertained to the future zoning and sketch plans, but these were continued until the actual annexation hearing occurs sometime in late summer. Bornstein opposed the idea of annexation, but the resolution setting forth findings of facts and conclusions concerning the proposed annexation passed 5-1.
Increase in crime complexity described, water restrictions begun
Police Chief Jake Shirk described an increase in "felony-based crime and mental health types of calls" in Monument in the last several years. He said it is still a safe place to live and work, but the police force is short-staffed, will be losing several more officers soon, and is now doing forced overtime to cover immediate patrol needs. This puts criminal investigations, traffic complaints, commercial vehicle inspections, and community resource officer programs on the back burner, he said.
"We are in a critical situation. It may take longer to investigate criminal cases, but we have to staff patrol," Shirk said.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish talked about a pre-arranged agreement with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District to be able to use local bodies of water for wildland firefighting and said that town water customers west of I-25 were now on outdoor watering restrictions. See http://www.townofmonument.org/157/Water-Restrictions.
Planning Director Larry Manning and Smith also reported to the trustees on progress in their departments. Their reports can be read in the board packet available to the public online.
Checks over $5,000:
• Integrated Voting Solutions, mail ballots − $7,390
• Blue Earth Products, well 7 filter rehab − $13,757
• Velocity Constructors Inc. wells 4 and 5 upgrade − $88,770
Property decision made but not revealed
The May 7 meeting went into executive session to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property. Corley told OCN that when the meeting returned to open session, the decision was approved unanimously. However, during the final minutes of the meeting, it was not disclosed to which property this pertained.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
An important message to our readers:Our primary mission: Accurately report what was discussed and decided at public governmental meetings
Unlike papers that try to figure out what the "story" is and then get quotes on each side to presumably lead the reader to conclude what the "truth" is, the role of Our Community News is to report in detail on public deliberations of local governmental entities. We report what was discussed and what was decided at the meetings. By reading OCN, a reader can find out what he or she would have learned if they had been present at those public meetings. OCN volunteers do not do investigative reporting. The facts we report come from the meetings and associated documentation; they are not copied from other news outlets, outside interviews, or social media.
The all-volunteer staff of Our Community News strives to give Tri-Lakes area residents and businesses:
• Accurate, objective community-based and area-wide news
• A forum for the free exchange of ideas and opportunities. This is accomplished through Letters to the Editor and the publication of Snapshots—photos and captions of various local community events that are free and open to the public
• A venue for local businesses to advertise their goods and services, through inexpensive ads in our paper, mailed to all mailboxes in the area from the mountains to Highway 83 and from County Line Road to Northgate Road.
• Our Community Calendar, on page 28, lists the meetings of governmental bodies occurring each month. We encourage residents to attend meetings that affect them.
What we ask of you
• We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, CO 80132-1742. For Letters to Editor guidelines, see page 31 or www.ocn.me/letters_guidelines.htm.
• This is your community, and your voice matters. You can make a difference by working to ensure that we hold onto the things we love about living here.
• We ask that you support our advertisers. Their willingness to advertise in Our Community News makes free distribution of this newspaper possible.
• The success of this newspaper depends on its volunteers. If you can spare a little time each month to help a worthwhile effort, we would love to hear from you. See www.ocn.me/help_wanted.htm.
OCN Managing Editor Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com or (719) 339-7831 text/cell.
Monument Board of Trustees cancelled special meetings, May 14 and May 16:Special meetings yield criticism but no results
By Allison Robenstein
Two attempts to hold a Monument Board of Trustees special meeting related to the town staff appointments failed due to a lack of quorum. Trustees Jeff Bornstein, Greg Coopman, and Laurie Clark were absent for both.
A special meeting was posted for May 14, and the agenda for that meeting was to have included several items: an executive session to receive legal advice from Marni Kloster of CIRSA, one resolution to appoint the town clerk, attorney, and treasurer in one motion, and three separate appointment resolutions dealing with those same three staff members. But this meeting was canceled since it was known beforehand that a quorum of four trustees would not be reached.
A special meeting was held briefly on May 16 at the District 38 Administrative building. The agenda included five separate executive sessions. The first was for the purpose of "receiving legal advice on specific legal questions related to Town Ordinances and state statute and potential claims related to investigation." The agenda included four additional executive session requests relating to personnel matters for the town manager, clerk, attorney, and treasurer, requiring four separate votes of approval. Finally, four resolutions for the appointment of staff were included. This was a change from the May 7 meeting, where three positions were listed within one resolution, and the town manager was not included.
Mayor Don Wilson opened the May 16 meeting as required by the Colorado Sunshine Law for public meetings. On Town Attorney Alicia Corley’s advice, he quickly adjourned because a quorum wasn’t present to make decisions. After the meeting, the three trustees apologized to the staff for the behavior of the three absent members. Town citizens harshly criticized the absent trustees during an informal comments time. Some citizens suggested a recall election. The employment status of Smith, Corley, and Hogan was never clarified. See May 16 photo above and related Board of Trustees article on page 6.
Caption: Trustee Ron Stephens, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott, and Mayor Don Wilson attended the May 16 Monument Board of Trustees special meeting called to approve town staff appointments that were not done May 7, but the meeting could not take any action without a quorum. During the informal comments time that followed, none of the three trustees present knew why the absent members were acting in this manner. All said this personal vendetta is causing undue stress and employee angst, and they apologized to staff for the political move. Treasurer and acting Town Manager Pamela Smith read a portion of an email from Trustee Greg Coopman stating his thoughts that the town treasurer, clerk, and attorney can continue to be employed with the town until successors are appointed and that the three should still report to work the day after the special meeting. Photo by Allison Robenstein
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of Town of Monument Public Notice, May 17: "Rumor control"
By Allison Robenstein
On May 17, Monument acting Town Manager Pamela Smith issued a "rumor control" message regarding the current investigation of Town Manager Chris Lowe. At the Feb. 5 Board of Trustees meeting, after an executive session, the board had unanimously passed a motion to have Town Attorney Alicia Corley "arrange an investigation into the town manager, in cooperation with CIRSA." Lowe was put on administrative leave following an accusation by Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk. See www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#mbot-0215.
Smith’s memo explained that, at the direction of the board, an investigation was done by an independent attorney retained by the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), and the board requested a presentation of the findings as soon as possible. The investigator completed the report and gave it to CIRSA on Monday, May 14, but a special meeting scheduled for that night was cancelled shortly before it was to begin as a quorum of trustees could not be present. The second special meeting was held May 16, and Mayor Don Wilson, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott, and Trustee Ron Stephens were the only trustees present. Two CIRSA attorneys were there to present the report, but because there wasn’t a quorum, the presentation of the report couldn’t happen.
CIRSA attorneys were not available to attend the regular May 21 meeting.
"The town staff has had no access to the report, nor knowledge of what’s in the report," Smith wrote. The report will be presented "only to the mayor and Board of Trustees" at either another special meeting or at the next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting, which is scheduled for June 4. This is dependent on the availability of the CIRSA attorneys.
Smith said anyone with questions or comments should contact her at her office, 719-884-8023, or cell, 719-675-0648.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Board of Trustees, May 21:Trustee governance crisis continues; public demands answers about four staff positions
By Allison Robenstein
Town staff appointment disagreements and stalemates have created two sides on the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT), with disparities in four key staff positions: manager, attorney, treasurer, and clerk. Also, on May 21, it became evident that the trustee vacancy that was to be dealt with as an appointment may require a separate public election instead, since the trustees did not appoint anyone from the three applicants.
Meanwhile, presentations by Girls of the West and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments were the shining lights of the night.
All six current trustees attended the May 21 meeting, as did Pamela Smith in her role as acting town manager. However, Town Attorney Alicia Corley and Town Clerk Laura Hogan were not present, and Smith said she is not coming to work as "treasurer" (her former position). The three were not appointed within the required deadline, but they have not been fired and so are still town employees, and this is the "legal conundrum," Smith explained.
Town staff appointments nil; two sides square off
The topic of staff appointments continued to be contentious.
Colorado statute imposes a 30-day deadline after the April 3 election for appointment of officers of the town, including the clerk, treasurer, and attorney. At the April 16 meeting, the vote to reappoint the three via one combined resolution was continued until the newest trustees could come up to speed on the process. However, at the May 7 meeting, Trustee Greg Coopman expressed concern that the appointments were grouped into one resolution rather than being broken into three. The vote to reappoint the three officers failed at that meeting 3-3, and no voting could occur on May 16. See www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#mbot and related May 7 and May 16 Monument Board of Trustees articles on pages 1 and 4.
On May 21, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott immediately requested the meeting agenda be amended to remove the resolutions appointing the town clerk, treasurer, and attorney, since the town did not have legal counsel present at the meeting. Smith said that Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA) attorneys had been present on May 14 and 16, but they could not attend on May 21.
Note: The May 21 agenda no longer listed any resolutions about the town manager.
During board comments, Coopman suggested this issue has put people on different sides of the 3-3 failing vote that occurred at the May 7 meeting. According to a letter Coopman wrote on May 16 and circulated via email and social media, and via paper copies available at the May 21 meeting, he had requested separate appointments for all three ahead of the May 7 regular meeting rather than voting on a combined resolution, but his request was denied without public knowledge of the discussion. He said he feels villainized by other members for his vote and said he is being asked to re-vote on an issue that has already been closed, creating a precedent of changing outcomes of previous votes.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein also said he believed he is being bullied to change his vote.
Note: The request for separate appointment resolutions was incorporated into the May 14 and May 16 special meetings that ended up being canceled due to lack of a voting quorum when Trustees Bornstein, Coopman and Laurie Clark did not attend.
Mayor Don Wilson asked, "Who is asking you to change your vote?" He said they are not being asked to revote but are being asked for clarity on why they voted as they did. During public comments, seven town citizens berated the three board members who voted against the appointments, saying staff lives were affected and asking them to have empathy in their decision making, or else to "just resign and go away."
Trustee Ron Stephens said he wanted open dialogue and was not happy that three people had been dismissed with no discussion. Elliott said she is concerned that there was no documentation of disciplinary action for the three staff members prior to the failed appointment vote. She added that legal counsel during an executive session would have given them a clearer understanding of the implications of the board’s vote.
Town Human Resources Director Robert Bishop recommended an executive session item to discuss personnel issues and how to go forward with the search to fill the positions. Smith said she would add this to the June 4 meeting.
Coopman said this is not a reappointment phase anymore and the board has an obligation to fill the positions, implying the three have lost their jobs. He suggested either using a temporary agency or by posting the staff positions. Speaking as the acting town manager, Smith said if the board’s intent is not to reappoint the three individuals, they need the courtesy of being told that is the case and go through all the standard termination administrative procedures.
Smith said Coopman was wrong when he assumed that the three town staff members who were not reappointed would continue doing their jobs because they are no longer covered by CIRSA. "It’s a muddy mess with no clear answers," she said, adding that even though she is acting town manager, CIRSA won’t talk with her because she is also one of the three staff members involved in this situation.
Accusations and different interpretations of the situation continued throughout the discussion, with both contingents of trustees getting heckled by the public factions in the audience.
Additional trustee may be elected, not appointed
Because Wilson was elected mayor, his trustee position needs to be filled, either by appointment by the trustees or by ordering an election. On April 16, the board decided to reach out to the community to find someone to appoint. Four applicants—James Romanello, Jeff Lampman, Kenneth W. Kimple and Laura Kronick—responded to the request.
Romanello and Kronick came before the board at the May 7 meeting. Lampman, the "next highest vote-getter" in the April 3 board election, withdrew his application just before the May 21 meeting. Kimple, who is currently on the Monument Planning Commission, spoke about his concerns for Monument and asked to be able to continue to serve the people in this capacity. Elliott made a motion to appoint Romanello, but it failed 3-3 with Clark, Coopman and Bornstein voting against.
No trustee offered another motion to vote on one of the other two remaining applicants. Colorado Statute says, "If a vacancy in the board … is not filled by appointment or an election is not ordered within sixty days after the vacancy occurs, the board shall order an election.…" Assuming the vacancy occurred the day Wilson was sworn in as mayor, the board has until June 15 to select a seventh trustee or an election will be required at a minimum cost of $11,000.
During public comments, county resident Lisa Dominguez asked Clark how she could run on a "fiscally responsible" campaign but still choose to vote down the motion to appoint a seventh trustee.
Town Manager investigation results
In February, Town Manager Chris Lowe was put on administrative leave after charges were filed by Monument Police Chief Jacob Shirk. At the Feb. 5 BOT meeting, after an executive session, the board made a motion to "authorize the Town Attorney to arrange an investigation in cooperation with the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA) concerning the Town Manager." The motion, which did not specify a deadline, passed unanimously, including votes from Bornstein, Clark, and Coopman. See www.ocn.me/v18n3.htm#mbot.
Coopman formally asked for a presentation of the findings from the town manager investigation requested by the board. Coopman said he thought the results had been completed weeks ago, and he wanted the trustees to be able to read and digest it in private, before it was presented at a meeting. Smith said they were ready last Monday, that no one on town staff had seen the report yet, and it will be presented at the next regular meeting June 4.
Clark asked if CIRSA represents the town manager or the town and was told by Smith it only represents the town. Bornstein said his biggest concern is that CIRSA is an insurance company that wants to pay out as little as possible, and he doesn’t want them to mediate the results of the independent investigator. He loudly exclaimed at Smith, "CIRSA does not represent the town!"
CIRSA used an independent investigator, Marilee Langhoff, and Smith said she would ask her to present her report to the board directly at the next regular meeting, instead of having CIRSA deliver it.
Loss of police officers discussed
During public comments, Terry Molnar, whose wife is a Monument Police detective, told the board the police force will probably lose four officers this year. During Board Authorizations, Clark asked for a discussion to hire not just two but all five officer candidates currently going through the lengthy hiring process in anticipation of losing more officers. Clark said 2,000 registered voters expressed concern to her for an increased police presence. She said since a separate Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Protection District special district mill levy increase was approved in the last election, she didn’t see why it can’t be considered for the police, too.
Smith said the process of hiring officers was a job for the town manager and the police chief, not the BOT. She continued by saying the 2018 budget would have to be amended if five officers were added to the police payroll and that she had already sent emails to the board about retaining police officers, but no trustees had responded. Shirk said he would present more information about this at the June 4 meeting but that he had not seen Smith’s email.
Clark said people are screaming about safety and that not enough police officers are available. She said she would bring a plan to the June 4 meeting on a way to hire these officers.
Presentations by Girls of the West and Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments
Corliss Palmer, director of Girls of the West, spoke about the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo happening July 11-14 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. 2018 Girl of the West Sierra Silva and 2018 Aide to Girl of the West Kayla Summers educated the crowd on the history of the event, which is in its 78th year. Proceeds from the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo help support service members and their families in the Pikes Peak Region.
A kickoff parade is scheduled for July 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Colorado Springs. For more information and online ticket sales, see www.pikespeakorbust.org.
Andy Gunning, executive director of Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, gave a presentation on the organization, which represents a three-county region and 16 member governments. They have four main areas of responsibility:
• Office of the Aging
• Environmental planning
• Joint military planning
For more information, see http://www.ppacg.org.
Liquor license application continued
The trustees considered a resolution to permit Pilot Travel Center, under construction on West Baptist Road, a new 3.2 percent off-premises liquor license application. But the trustees wanted to ask the applicant questions about previous Pilot liquor license suspensions, and the applicant was not present, so the vote was continued to the June 4 meeting by a 5-1 vote. Elliott voted no.
Checks over $5,000
• Triview Metro District—$157,436
• Forsgren Associates Inc.—$12,136
• Tri-Lakes Cares—$5,000
First-quarter 2018 Financial Impact SummariesGeneral Fund (GF) budget year-to-date March 2018:
• GF revenues were more than the budgeted amount by $85,000
• GF expenditures were less than budget by $338,000
• Net GF to budget was under budget at $423,000 – This is mainly due to not expending revenues until it is easier to predict what these GF revenues will be for the rest of 2018.
Water Enterprise Fund (WEF) budget year-to-date March 2018:
• WEF revenues were more than budget by $110,000
• WEF expenses were less than budget by $136,000
• Net WEF to budget was under budget at $246,000 – This is mainly due to not expending capital line items yet.
Ancillary Funds (AF) Budget year-to-date March 2018:
• Net AF are positive $394,104. These funds are budgeted for specific fund projects in 2018.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:22 p.m.
Caption: Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith and Town Human Resources Director Robert Bishop sit in seats normally taken by Town Clerk Laura Hogan and Town Attorney Alicia Corley on May 21. Because Hogan and Corley were not reappointed to their positions, and thus not insured through the town’s risk management agency, they were not present. The Board of Trustees is still muddling through the legal ramifications of not appointing these positions, as well as town treasurer, because it’s not clear if these folks have been fired. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 pm on the first and third Monday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for June 4. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Town Council, May 10 and May 24:Council considers updated fire ordinance and trailhead parking
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in May, on May 10 and 24. A rewritten fire ordinance and a discussion of how to manage parking at the Palmer Lake Reservoir Trailhead were the main topics of discussion. The council also took up two requests to subdivide lots in the town, approved a contract to install a water line, and expressed their gratitude to an intern.
After lengthy debate, council votes down updated fire ordinance
At both meetings, the council considered an updated fire ordinance, drafted primarily by new council member Gary Faust in consultation with the town’s attorney, Maureen Juran, that sought to define what types of outdoor fires would be permitted in the town. Several residents commented on the ordinance as it took shape.
The version of the ordinance presented in the May 10 meeting tied the town’s burning restrictions to the fire danger assessments in place from El Paso County. This version specified that no open burning would be allowed when the county has declared either a Stage 1 or Stage 2 fire alert, which, according to Faust, meant that open burning would never be permitted in the town during the alerts.
Recreational fires would be permitted during Stage 1 fire alerts. Fires in fire pits on permanent pads would be permitted during Stage 1 alerts, with the provision that the fire pits be inspected by the Palmer Lake Fire Department (PLFD) on an annual schedule. During Stage 2 alerts, recreational fires would not be permitted.
Outdoor cooking in gas-fueled grills, charcoal grills, or liquid-fueled camp stoves would be allowed during Stage 1 alerts, but only gas-fueled grills would be legal during Stage 2 alerts, because they do not create sparks and embers.
Outdoor smoking at private residences would be allowed during Stage 1 alerts but forbidden during Stage 2 alerts.
Sale or use of fireworks would never be allowed, with the exception of fireworks displays permitted by PLFD.
Outdoor use of explosives or welding torches would be allowed during Stage 1 alerts but not during Stage 2 alerts.
The version of the ordinance presented at the May 10 meeting provoked many comments and concerns from council members and residents who felt the ordinance was too restrictive. These concerns, among others, were raised:
• The ordinance would not allow outdoor fires even if there was snow on the ground.
• The ordinance would not allow outdoor cooking on a wooden deck, since such decks are combustible.
• Enforcement of current ordinances is uneven.
• PLFD would be over-burdened with the required inspections.
An updated version of the ordinance, which proposed that the town have Stage 1 restrictions in place on a default basis, was presented by Faust at the May 24 meeting. This version relaxed the restrictions on use of gas grills on decks. Juran pointed out that these changes would require a formal amendment to the ordinance, and she also recommended that the rules be publicly posted once, and that the responsibility for understanding the rules be placed on the residents.
On a roll-call vote, council members Paul Banta, Mark Schuler, Glant Havenar, Bob Mutu, and Mitchell Davis voted against the ordinance, with only Faust voting in favor.
Residents raise concerns about congested parking conditions
At the May 24 meeting, a number of residents voiced concerns about the congested parking at the Palmer Lake Reservoir Trailhead, which was described by one resident as "horrendous." These concerns were raised:
• Hikers are parking inside the park at the trailhead.
• Old Carriage Road is impassable because of parked cars.
• Parked cars are blocking access for emergency vehicles.
• A fire hydrant adjacent to the parking area is at risk.
A number of remedies were suggested by town staff, council members, and residents, including:
• Investigating paid parking options
• Creating an overflow parking lot by the Town Hall
• Adding signs to clarify were parking is not permitted
Banta said he felt promoting Palmer Lake as a recreational venue is causing the problems with parking. He got a lengthy round of applause from those present when he said, "I’m generally opposed to more people coming here."
Two requests to subdivide lots considered
The council voted unanimously to approve a request from Tom Demody to subdivide the Palmer Lake Technology Center into three lots, with the condition that access to the property be permitted only from adjacent streets.
The council voted to table a request to subdivide the property at 312 Buena Vista St. until its first meeting in June.
Water line replacement approved
The council voted to approve a contract for about $60,000 to replace a water line that runs from the southern boundary of Douglas County along Academy Road.
Contribution of intern lauded
The council gave a plaque to Sarom Tiev, an intern who volunteered with the town’s administrative staff, to thank her for her contributions to the town.
The two meetings for June will be at 6 p.m. on June 14 and 28 at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com. Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District and Pinon Pines Metro Districts 1, 2, and 3 combined Board meeting, May 7:Wastewater rates increase and watering restrictions OK’d; two residents elected to PPMD 1
By Lisa Hatfield
On May 7, the combined boards of Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) and Pinon Pines Metro Districts 1, 2, and 3 (PPMD 1, 2, and 3) approved an increase in wastewater rates and voluntary outdoor watering restrictions. The next day, residents voted to add two of their own to the PPMD 1 board.
Forest Lakes is a Title 32 service district in El Paso County. FLMD is the half-acre operating district that collects property taxes and is responsible for the public infrastructure for the residents of PPMD 1 and PPMD 2, which are in unincorporated El Paso County, and PPMD 3, the commercial section, which lies mostly within the southwest town limits of Monument. For background, see www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#flmd.
Election adds residents to PPMD 1 board
Until the May 8 election, Classic Homes executives have served as the four members of these five-member metro district boards of FLMD, PPMD 1, 2, and 3: President George Lenz, executive vice president of finance of Classic Homes; Secretary James Boulton, vice president/project manager of Classic Homes; Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Doug Stimple, CEO of Classic Homes; and Assistant Secretary Joe Loidolt, president of Classic Homes. There is one vacancy on each board.
But starting in June, PPMD 1 will have two residents on its board: Mike Hitchcock and Mike Slavick, and Boulton will not serve on PPMD 1. See https://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com/blog/.
Wastewater rates increased
FLMD held its publicized public hearing on approval of rate increases for its wastewater customers. District Manager Ann Nichols explained that even a rate increase from $30 to $35 per month for residential customers was still insufficient to cover operational costs, and she would keep analyzing the situation to see when more increases might be needed. She also said she had not correctly stated the commercial rates and fees, and so those were being increased also. See www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#flmd.
Nichols said it costs extra money to remove clogs from the lift station that moves wastewater from the residential area, east over the hill, to the Upper Monument Creek Wastewater Treatment facility. It would save residents money if they would stop putting fats, oils, grease, disposable wipes, and dental floss into the sewer system, but put all that in the trash instead.
The board voted unanimously to approve the increase, which will take effect July 1.
Stage I watering restrictions in effect
Nichols said that while flows in Beaver Creek are up slightly, the National Weather Service forecasts a very hot and dry summer, and she expects a deficit in flows into Bristlecone Lake.
The rules and regs include water shortage provisions, and she recommended that the board implement Stage 1 water restrictions for residents, which means they can water only three days a week. This stage is completely voluntary, "but it will get people’s attention," she said.
The board voted unanimously to activate Stage 1 restrictions. See https://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com/blog/.
Irrigation systems may need adjustment
Loidolt said that after the first year of lawn establishment, residents need to change irrigation system settings so they don’t turn on every day.
"The roots grow deeper if you water only every other day. Just because the landscaper set it for every day does not mean it should stay that way after one year," Loidolt said.
Surface water treatment plant progress
Tom Blunk of CP Real Estate Capital said that the next phase of work on the surface water treatment plant in Bristlecone Lake would involve a large barge with an excavator to build the lake intake portion. Also, the treatment basins were almost done, so next would be the foundation, walls, and roof of the building. Nichols said the whole surface water treatment plant could be done by the end of December.
The board also unanimously approved an agreement with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District for emergency use of water from Bristlecone Reservoir.
The meeting adjourned at 10:41 a.m.
The next joint meeting of FLMD and PPMD 1, 2, and 3 is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 4 in the Classic Homes office at 6385 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs. Meetings are usually held the first Monday of each month. Official meeting notices are posted on the district website http://forestlakesmetrodistrict.com, at 3625 Mesa Top Drive, Monument and at the Forest Lakes mailbox kiosk. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at 719-327-5810 or at email@example.com.
Lisa Hatfield can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Triview Metropolitan District, May 15: Board transitions and continues work
By Jennifer Kaylor
At the May 15 Triview Metropolitan District board meeting, directors bade farewell to President Reid Bolander, welcomed new Director Anthony Sexton, and established board officers. Water Manager and Independent Conservation Consultant Evan Miles of Conservative Waters Inc. reported on the centralized irrigation system’s installation progress. The board considered seeking Firewise Communities/USA certification and finding an evapotranspiration program for residents to learn efficient watering techniques. District Manager Jim McGrady and Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton updated the board on operations, the road rehabilitation project, utilities, and public relations efforts.
Board packets for 2018, including the May 15 board meeting packet, are posted on the district’s website at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments. In response to resident and former Director Steve Remington’s request, board packets will be posted online prior to board meetings.
District General Counsel Gary Shupp and district Water Attorney Chris Cummins also attended.
Triview is a Title 32 special district in Monument that provides roads, landscaping, open space maintenance, and water and sanitation services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas. However, Monument provides land use planning, police, and general governance for the district’s property owners.
The Town of Monument (organized under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 30) provides land use planning, police, and general governance for residents and in the whole town, which includes Triview. Residents of Triview should call the town with questions on those topics.
Leadership transitions, president receives honor
President Reid Bolander swore in Directors Mark Melville and Anthony Sexton for four-year terms "to faithfully support the Constitution of the United States … Colorado and … to faithfully perform the duties of the office of Director of the Triview Metropolitan District." The new board elected Melville as president, and he similarly swore in James Barnhart for a four-year term. Barnhart arrived later due to an anticipated delay. The board elected Director Marco Fiorito as vice president and Barnhart as secretary/treasurer.
Prior to Bolander’s departure, Melville presented a gift to him commemorating his leadership and wisdom in serving Triview. Bolander credited previous directors and previous District Manager Valerie Remington for building the district’s strong foundation over many years.
Unexpected inventory problems delay irrigation system improvements
Miles stated that the process of documenting an inventory of the district’s current landscape irrigation system has taken much longer than anticipated. Crews discovered five additional controllers that required extra time for staff to gather data, synchronize clocks, and make system adjustments. Miles also found inoperable or inaccessible hardware that exacerbated the delay. He stated that his priority is to activate all controllers to get the entire irrigation system running and address dry spots in the district’s landscaping—slit-seeding in park areas has already produced results. Once the initial greening efforts have taken root, he will finely tune the system to maximize watering efficiency. Due to the unforeseen delays, Miles pushed the completion date of late April or early May to late May or early June.
The centralized irrigation control system is a cloud-based system that provides sophisticated monitoring of landscaping needs. Moisture and temperature sensors adjust watering times according to weather conditions, and flow sensors notify work crews of system malfunctions and automatically shut off watering to prevent excessive water loss.
Directors consider progressive measures
Fiorito proposed that Triview pursue a Firewise Communities/USA designation to reduce fire risk in the district and possibly reduce homeowners’ insurance rates. He speculated that collaboration between Triview and the Town of Monument might increase the likelihood of receiving a U.S. Forest Service grant to fund efforts in obtaining and maintaining the designation. McGrady agreed to explore the requirements. For more information about the Firewise Communities/USA program in Colorado, see https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/colorado-firewise-communities.
Dovetailing from Miles’ irrigation status report, the directors noted that some communities promote highly efficient residential watering methods through ET, or evapotranspiration, programs. Evapotranspiration refers to moisture lost through soil evaporation and plant transpiration. The programs teach the most efficient times and frequencies for watering that may conserve water better than current watering restrictions and schedules. The district currently follows level two water restrictions whereby irrigation is permitted from midnight to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight. Odd-numbered addresses can irrigate Monday, Wednesday, Friday and even-numbered addresses can irrigate Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Additional information regarding hand watering and new sod permits is available at https://triviewmetro.com/conservation/waterRestrictions. McGrady will research ET programs in other communities.
Infrastructure steps move along
West Interceptor negotiations—discussions about building and financing a regional wastewater pipeline west of Interstate 25—progressed more positively in recent weeks. The cost recovery agreement between participating developers and Triview is closer to materializing. Triview, the managing entity for building the west interceptor, may carry interest-earning costs for at least one developer, Challenger Homes, due to the anticipated two-year Town of Monument approval process.
McGrady confirmed that Schmidt Construction Co. was slightly behind schedule on the road rehabilitation project, but crews expected to complete remaining work by the second week of June. During public comments, Remington requested an opportunity for conversation prior to future road repairs being made.
Other activities and resident input
Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton reported on several utilities issues that included:
• Installation and testing of the C-plant emergency generator that supports specific homes in Sanctuary Pointe during power outages are complete.
• The A-plant Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition project should be complete by the end of May to mid-June. Sexton invited the board to "come and see."
• Crews are working on the district’s water distribution system to isolate regulators into pressure zones, check valves, and decrease regulator deterioration.
Additional district manager and board discussions included:
• Triview, Woodmoor, and Donala met recently to discuss possible Colorado Springs Utilities water and wastewater regionalization.
• The Raftelis rate study report was postponed until the June board meeting.
• McGrady suggested that Sanctuary Rim’s design provides an opportunity for Triview to "upsize" the water pipe when the road is built.
• Triview and Mountain View Electric Association finalized arrangements for building the A-yard wall, which will provide an aesthetic screen around the substation on Jackson Creek Parkway.
• Design is complete for the Donala-Triview interconnection meter.
Other board discussion included:
• The directors considered converting current lightbulbs to simple LEDs—not the kind with solar panels or batteries—as the most feasible and economical means of reducing energy costs.
• The directors discussed delivery methods and frequency of future newsletters. Education on special districts continues to be a newsletter theme.
The directors reviewed the financial report and disbursements. McGrady called attention to the separation of income and expenses in the district’s General Fund into public works/streets, parks and open space, debt service, and capital projects categories and the Enterprise Fund’s breakdown into water, wastewater, debt service, and capital projects categories.
The financial report and the following disbursements over $5,000 were approved unanimously.
• Conservative Waters LLC, $8,500
• Walker Schooler, $6,524
• Brightview Landscape Services, $5,992
• Brightview Landscape Services, $5,656
• Brightview Landscape Services, $8,275
• Ground Floor Media, $6,772
• Schmidt Construction Co., $91,295
• Timberline Electric and Control, $18,851
• Monson, Cummins & Shohet, LLC, $8,055
• Conservative Waters, LLC, $8,850
The meeting adjourned at 6:53 p.m., after which the board met for an executive session for §24-6-402(4)(b)(e)(f) legal advice, negotiations.
No additional decisions or actions were announced following the executive session.
Caption: The new Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors as of May 15 is, from front left, Vice President Marco Fiorito and Director James Otis; from back left, Secretary/Treasurer James Barnhart, President Mark Melville, and Director Anthony Sexton. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
The next Triview meeting will be held June 12 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, Mt. Herman Conference Room, 15275 Struthers Road, Colorado Springs. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 488-6868 or see www.triviewmetro.com. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at email@example.com.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, May 17: Two directors sworn in; officers elected
By James Howald
In May, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board delayed its meeting, typically held on the second Thursday of the month, by a week to accommodate the schedules of the directors. Two directors—one new and one returning—were sworn in, and board officers were elected. The board named a director to represent WWSD on the Joint Use Committee (JUC) and voted to accept the application of a local resident to fill the board’s vacant seat. After these issues were addressed, the board heard a presentation from consultants on the district’s long-range plan and approved a pilot project for a four-day workweek.
Directors sworn in; new roles assigned
The district’s attorney, Erin Smith, administered the oath of office to Jim Taylor and Lee Hanson. Taylor was returning to the board after a term as the board’s president. Hanson was new to the board. Their terms will end in May 2022.
Taylor was elected president of the board by a unanimous vote. Brian Bush was elected board secretary and Jim Wyss was re-elected as the board treasurer, also by unanimous votes.
The board elected Hanson to serve on the JUC. Director Rich Strom, who is no longer on the board, had played that role for the previous four years. The JUC, made up of representatives from WWSD, the Monument Sanitation District, and the Palmer Lake Sanitation District, is responsible for ensuring the output from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility’s sewage treatment plant, shared by the three communities, meets state requirements. WWSD is responsible for 62 percent of the input to the treatment plant.
The newly sworn-in directors were given signature authority on the district’s bank account.
The board also voted to contact resident Tom Roddam, who had applied to fill the board’s vacant seat.
District’s long-range plan addresses supply and demand
Four consultants—Daniel Niemela of Bishop-Brogden Associates, and Jorge D. Hinojos, Hannah Jones, and Ben Johnson, all of Tetra Tech—presented their work on the district’s long-range plan to the board. The plan is updated every five years.
The first topic addressed was the possibility that the district’s boundaries might be expanded to include the property owned by the Wissler family, which is northeast of the district’s current boundary, and the Home Place Ranch property, which is southeast of the district’s current boundary. No decision has been reached about expanding the district’s service area.
Hinojos said WWSD was currently serving 6,337 single-family equivalents, and at ultimate build-out that number would rise to 7,801. He also pointed out that water use by the typical residence had declined slightly from 305 gallons per day in 2012 to 293 gallons per day in 2017, due to the success of conservation efforts such as rebates for low water use fixtures, mandatory outdoor watering schedules, and the district’s tiered rate structure.
Currently, wells provide most of the district’s water supply, Hinojos said, with 58 percent coming from the Arapahoe aquifer, about 13 percent coming from the Dawson and Denver aquifers, and the remaining 29 percent coming from the exchange with Monument Creek. All three of the aquifers are becoming less productive, he said, although there has been somewhat less decline in the last five years.
Johnson told the board that he anticipated demand for water to exceed supply from current sources by 2031.
Johnson also reviewed some of the planned capital improvements to the water and sewage systems. In 2018, the Southern Water Treatment Plant will need additional filtering equipment to increase its capacity to 3.3 million gallons a day, at a cost of $790,000, he said. From this year to 2025, the district will need to spend about $10 million on new wells, and starting in 2019 the district will need to begin moving forward with plans to re-use the water it diverts from Monument Creek. In 2021 the Central Water Treatment Plant will need upgrades to convert it to surface water treatment.
Water re-use will entail treating the effluent from the sewage treatment plant to bring it to a higher standard of purity than at present, Johnson said, before returning it to Monument Lake. He described a method that included treatment with ozone, then filtration with bio-active carbon, and finally purification with ultraviolet light.
The Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment plant will need a $14.3 million investment to decommission the existing headworks and solids lagoon, to add additional treatment for phosphorus, to add aerobic digesters, to construct a solids handling building, to improve odor control, and to build a new headworks facility.
Trial of compressed work schedule approved
District Manager Jessie Shaffer asked the board to approve a pilot project to move the district to a four-day work week, with the district employees working Monday through Friday. Shaffer said he thought a compressed schedule would increase job satisfaction, make employees more productive, and save the district a small amount of money. Commuting costs for employees would also decrease, he said.
Shaffer proposed testing this new schedule from June 21 through Oct. 17. The district office would be open from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and the new schedule would be communicated through the district’s newsletter, through email, and through printed bills, he said. On-call operations would not change, he said.
Shaffer said the success of the pilot project would be determined by tracking overtime hours required, customer complaints, and by surveys of employees and customers.
The board voted unanimously to allow the pilot project to go forward. See notice on page 22.
Highlights from operational reports
• The board will consider leasing a portion of the Woodmoor Ranch (previously called the JV Ranch) to JUWI Inc., so that JUWI can install a solar array.
• The board voted to provide the Maguire family with six years of augmented water for their pond in return for the Maguires’ returning pre-paid taps for water and sewage to the district.
• The project to secure the Fountain Creek augmentation station on the Chilcott Ditch will go to bid in July; a loan for the work has been obtained from the state.
• The unaccounted water, which had been high in previous months, is back in line with historical measurements after a leak at Higby Road and Cloverleaf Road was addressed.
• Lewis-Palmer District 38 has finalized its Safe Routes to School grant, and WWSD is working with the district to design the portion of the trail that runs along the southern end of Lake Woodmoor and will cross the lake’s spillway.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 14 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, May 17:New board officers sworn in and updated on summer drought
By Jim Kendrick
On May 17, term-limited Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board President Dave Powell conducted his last official act of swearing in three directors, including new Director Wayne Vanderschuere, retired general manager of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Water Services; re-elected Director Bob Denny, who is entering his second four-year term; and newly-elected Director Dennis Snyder, who was appointed on Aug. 19, 2016. Powell noted the tremendous progress the board has made in the past eight years by obtaining 80 percent of the renewable water it needs to provide all the district’s potable water demand at buildout.
The new board was updated on drought predictions, irrigation restrictions, and revenue and expense projections for an active infrastructure construction summer. Engineer Mark Morton of GMS Inc. briefed the board on the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) arsenic removal pilot plant and full-scale plant expansion construction project.
Director Ed Houle’s absence was unanimously excused.
Election of officers
Director Ken Judd was unanimously elected board president. Board Secretary/Treasurer Denny was unanimously elected board vice president. Director Ed Houle was then unanimously elected secretary/treasurer.
District Manager Kip Petersen presented the most recent weekly drought report of May 10 from the U.S. Drought Monitor website. He said areas of "exceptional drought," which is the worst of the five ratings, had appeared in the May 10 map for the first time this year in southwest Colorado. The "scary" exceptional and extreme drought areas are moving north toward El Paso County. This drought will increase the amount of irrigation water Donala will have to provide this year.
Note: These U.S. Drought Monitor maps are also available to all OCN readers for download in JPG and PDF format at:
The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map is shown on the left.
Petersen noted that Tony Anderson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave a "depressing" drought presentation to the May meeting of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable that he, Judd, and Denny attended. Petersen distributed a meeting summary for this event to the directors. He noted that Arkansas River Forum has discussed making the movie From Leadville to Lamar: The Story of the Arkansas River available via web-based media. He will provide information on accessing this media in a future monthly district newsletter to Donala constituents.
Judd and Vanderschuere will attend the June 13 joint Front Range roundtable meeting at the Parker Event Center for Donala.
Petersen also showed a May 14 photo of the district’s Willow Springs Ranch in Leadville, which provides renewable surface water. The photo showed a complete absence of snow as well as the existing drought conditions on the ranch. The amount of remaining snow in the adjacent mountains is typical of mid-July in a non-drought year. Repairs were to be made on the ranch flume that measures the amount of water taken from Donala’s ranch surface water right.
In the financial report, Petersen noted that the summer peak demand for water due to the expected drought had not shown up in the April revenue report. However, billable water production increased from 13 million gallons in March to 16 million gallons in April, which will result in higher revenues for May. He said tap fees and auto tax revenues will also increase later this year.
Blower repairs for bearing failures at UMCRWWTF will be a continuing operating expense. There are spare blowers on hand, and the failed blowers can often be rebuilt.
Three UMCRWWTF plant improvements underway
Petersen reviewed progress on the design and construction at UMCRWWTF for a new influent screen unit, a new walkway at the top of the treatment plant, and a pilot plant for determining the final design for a new arsenic removal process.
Petersen said the made-to-order replacement plant influent wastewater screen unit will be installed first to handle about 40,000 gallons per day of Academy Water and Sanitation District sanitary sewer wastewater flows into UMCRWWTF that will start in September, when Academy’s new lift station and force main are completed. This additional 40,000 gallons per day would cause the UMCRWWTF headworks to overflow without prior installation of the required new higher influent flow capacity screen unit.
The custom-made walkway installation requires construction worker scaffolding that is 25 feet in the air. This work will be completed for construction worker and plant staff safety before fall and winter inclement weather begins. The new arsenic removal pilot plant will be installed separately.
Consulting engineer Mark Morton of GMS briefed the board on improvements that have been designed for the UMCRWWTF arsenic pilot plant. He discussed progress to date on determining treatment options, potential costs, and timelines. He reviewed new state arsenic regulation requirements and the facility’s new compliance schedule for meeting the new UMCRWWTF arsenic effluent discharge limit of 8.7 micrograms per liter by Sept. 30, 2019.
During a lengthy and wide-ranging technical question-and-answer session with the board, Morton said the current GMS plan is to build an ion exchange pilot plant unit to specifically treat and remove the naturally-occurring arsenic in district Arapahoe well groundwater. There are a number of technical challenges, as this new treatment process may interfere with existing treatment plant methods for sulfate removal, for example. Morton said the pilot plant will be a "science experiment" to determine the best design that balances all the necessary compromises for this $2.2 million arsenic project. Performance data will be collected on options constructed from various mature treatment technologies to determine the best full-scale option for cost-effective arsenic removal.
Morton and Petersen also discussed various future treatment challenges that may emerge regarding new or tighter restrictions on a variety of metals and other emerging contaminants in both drinking water and treated wastewater plant effluent. Morton said GMS is an active participant in state Health Department stakeholder outreach and regulatory work groups for all its clients to know what the state Water Quality Control Division is thinking about before the division starts taking actions regarding new discharge permit limits.
Petersen reviewed the history of investigations into potential sources of UMCRWWTF influent arsenic, to include apple juice, which is high in arsenic content, and the potential that marijuana grow operations could be impacting the discharges. He also reviewed the history of cost-sharing procedures that are prescribed in the UMCRWWTF intergovernmental agreement between the three owner districts: Donala, and the Triview and Forest Lakes Metropolitan Districts.
Petersen, who is also the president of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA), said the Authority had written a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper asking him to veto state Senate Bill 18-167 that was passed by both houses. This bill would require Donala to hand over all the underground locates, which it now performs for its own underground utilities before underground construction, to the state’s Colorado 811 System and pay the system a new and substantial fee for every required locate action. Petersen said Donala will always do a better job locating its own underground infrastructure than the state. (See http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb18-167) There will be no June PPRWA meeting.
Status of operations/projects
Petersen reported that both the groundwater and surface water district treatment plants are producing water to meet higher spring and summer demands due to the expected drought. A new pump and new motor was scheduled to be operational in district well 2-D by the end of May. Petersen added that the UMCRWWTF is working well and operating within established discharge permit limits.
He reported that the district’s Gleneagle Drive 12-inch water main replacement project would go out for bid on May 28, with a contract award expected at the regular June 28 board meeting. Construction should start in mid-July with expected completion by the end of September. Donala will hold an open house for affected district residents before construction starts on this project. Several other smaller district capital projects will also be completed this year.
Petersen reported that the Gleneagle golf course redevelopment had begun, with contractors moving dirt for infrastructure to service 12 to 20 houses for which construction is expected to begin this year. Construction grading for a new storage unit business is underway north of the CPA office building on the west side of Struthers Road. The plans for the new Seven-11 business are under review by the district. A new office building north of Community Banks of Colorado on the east side of Struthers Road is still under review by El Paso County. The Struthers Road-Gleneagle Drive roundabout is still scheduled to be completed during this construction season.
Petersen reiterated that Donala’s only concerns within Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) are operation and maintenance of the metro district’s water and sanitary sewer systems. Donala has no land use authority regarding any of the FLMD construction projects nor any responsibility for oversight of the new Pilot truck stop that lies within both the Town of Monument and FLMD service area.
Judd noted that El Paso County is creating a new 20-year water master plan and asking for comments on the county website. Petersen noted that he is a member of the county’s steering committee for this new master plan.
Former Donala board President Bill George congratulated Vanderschuere for his election and strong participation in this and previous board meetings throughout this year. Guest Lisa Hatfield thanked the board for her being able "to experience a nice, orderly, and functional meeting and I’m so grateful you’re all here today."
The board unanimously approved a motion to go into executive session at 2:56 p.m. under CRS 24-6-402(d) to discuss details of security arrangements or investigations. After the board came out of this session, it immediately adjourned with no further votes or actions taken.
Caption: On May 17, term-limited Donala Water and Sanitation District Board President Dave Powell swore in new Director Wayne Vanderschuere, who is the retired general manager of Colorado Springs Utilities Water Services (left); newly-elected Director Dennis Snyder, who was appointed on Aug. 19, 2016 (center), and re-elected Director Bob Denny, who is entering his second four-year term (right). Photo by Jim Kendrick.
The next board meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on June 28 (instead of June 21) in the district conference room at 15850 Holbein Drive. Information: 488-3603 or www.donalawater.org. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month.
Jim Kendrick can be reached at email@example.com.
FVAWD Meeting, May 23
Caption: At the Forest View Acres Water District board meeting May 23, four members took the oath of office as directors. Brad Hogan was elected chairman and Nancy Wilkins was named treasurer. From left are District Operator Clyde Penn, Martin Taylor, Hans Zimmerman, District Manager Joel Meggers, Wilkins, Hogan, and Eckehart Zimmerman. Photo by John Howe.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, May 23:Board members sworn in, goals outlined
By Natalie Barszcz
At the May 23 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting, recently re-elected directors were sworn in and goals and financial issues were discussed.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt and Director Jason Buckingham were excused.
Board members continue
Office Administrator Jennifer Martin read the oath of office for President Jake Shirk and Secretary Mike Smaldino for another four years on the TLMFPD board in their previously held positions. The board then voted unanimously for Vice President Roger Lance to continue a further two years in his current position and Hildebrandt to continue a further four years as treasurer. For complete results, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost updated the board, stating that legislation to freeze the Gallagher Amendment had stalled at the state capitol. Efforts at the state level are now underway to develop an off-setting mechanism called "de-Gallagherization." This term is now being used to indicate voter-approved mill levy rate increases that offset the losses caused by the reduction in the residential property tax rate assessment. The rate increases do not produce any additional revenue; they just help prevent any losses from existing revenue, he said. Frequent community meetings to help with long-range planning at a district level are the next step to prevent future losses.
Smaldino added, "We should absolutely go after (a possible ballot issue looking for voter approval to de-Gallagherize.) It is how districts survive and for safety issues." For more information regarding the Gallagher amendment, visit: http://tlmfire.org.
"Good energy" at Firewise training
District resident Lisa Hatfield stated that the Firewise Training Day held on May 12 at Station 1 assisted about 60 local residents who heard presentations from regional experts on how to reduce risk of wildfire destroying their homes and how to help whole neighborhoods work together to make progress. "There was a lot of good energy there," she said.
Trost said that based on feedback comments from Robin Adair, the Community Emergency Preparedness coordinator for El Paso County, it was a very successful day. See related wildfire defense tactics information on page 27.
Trost stated later in the meeting that pre-approval is now complete for future dipping with "Bambi Buckets," in the event of a wildland fire, from Woodmoor, Monument, Bristlecone Lakes, and Palmer Lake to include the Town of Palmer Lakes two drinking water reservoirs.
Equipment status report
Trost announced that delivery of the new engine is expected in early February 2019. A team of three committee members will take a tour of the Pierce Manufacturing Plant in Appleton, Wis. to go over the specifications of the new engine and experience how an engine is built. See www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#tlmfpd.
Trost listed the future projects to upgrade the stations and equipment:
• Station 1 bay floor to be painted.
• Bay floor lighting to be replaced in all three stations.
• New ambulance purchase.
• New driveway with turn-around facility for Station 3.
• Generator for Station 2.
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley reported that on June 1, TLMFPD will welcome five new graduates for an orientation of the department. Graduates will begin shifts on June 14, focusing on ambulance orientation for the first two months and then they will be fully functioning members of the department.
• TLMFPD is anticipating receiving six acting company officers over the next couple of months.
• A wrecked RV donated by Tri-Lakes Collision was used for stabilization training during May, and it has been cut into pieces and hauled away by Tri-Lakes Collison.
• TLMFPD has been rotating crews through the Colorado Springs Utilities driving track, for training in class six engines.
• Future training in July will involve a multi-agency format focusing on EMS trauma skills.
TLMFPD is under budget on salary in part due to five members plus one training instructor absent at the training academy.
TLMFPD has three open positions and, in conjunction with assisting on recent wildland fires, the cost of overtime is 12 percent over budget for the year to date, Trost said.
Smaldino inquired about the possibility of obtaining a second set of gear for all personnel to allow contaminated equipment to be cleaned. Trost replied it was not budgeted for this year. TLMFPD uses an ambient air dryer to assist with drying contaminated gear. For more details on the budget, see http://tlmfire.org.
Future agenda items and goals
The board agreed that at the June meeting, discussions would include:
• The potential for a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or a Collaborative Working Agreement, and the similarities and differences between the two.
• The implementation of de-Gallagherization.
• Impact fees and the prioritization of projects will be discussed.
Caption: Members of the Pikes Peak Firefighters Association Emergency Incident Support (EIS) group received a donated brush truck at the April 25 board meeting from TLMFPD. From left are George Steinfeld, Jason DeVries, Janny Jarvis, Don Dietrich, Sue Dietrich, Bill Eckert, Robert Liebl, Kim Roseland, Don Burgess, Terry Sapp, Jeff Force, Ted Sayer, John Hildebrandt, Roger Lance, Jason Buckingham, Tom Tharnish, and Chief Chris Truty. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 27 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Jennifer Martin at (719) 484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, May 29:Three new firefighters, four board members sworn in
By Lisa Hatfield
Three new career Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) firefighters were sworn in on May 29 by outgoing Chairman Greg Gent. This hiring was approved in April, using the savings from paying off the Station 2 loan early to pay salaries and benefits. See www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#dwfpd.
Chief Vinny Burns presented Gent and outgoing Secretary Harland Baker with appreciation awards. Outgoing Director Rachel Dunn did not attend the meeting.
Then, the newly-elected board members were sworn in. Treasurer Joyce Hartung won re-election, but Mark Gunderman, Gary Rusnak, and Larry Schwarz unseated Baker, Gent, and Dunn in the May 8 election. Election results should be posted on http://wescottfire.org.
Rusnak accused DWFPD of making errors in its 2018 budget and spending more money than it has, but Burns said he has never operated under deficit spending, and the consensus was to discuss it more at the next board meeting.
Two other concerns that Rusnak hoped the board would discuss soon included when public comments are allowed at meetings and how to consolidate the district into one single district with one tax rate.
The meeting lasted almost two hours and then went into executive session to consult with DWFPD’s attorney, Matt Court, but no announcements or votes were made afterwards.
Since this meeting happened so late in May, more details about the rest of this extensive meeting discussion will be included with the June 19 meeting article in the July issue of OCN.
Caption: Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s new board as of May 29: From left, Director Gary Rusnak, Director Larry Schwarz, Secretary Mark Gunderman, Chief Vinny Burns (standing), Treasurer Joyce Hartung, and Chairman William "Bo" McAllister. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Caption: At the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Safety Fair and Blood Drive on May 12, residents participated in hands-on activities and received safety information while exploring Station 1 in Gleneagle. Attendees experienced an Army medevac Blackhawk helicopter and Flight For Life Colorado landings at Antelope Trails Elementary School. Many children met Smokey the Bear, participated in 911 drills, and obtained a cycling proficiency and safety test certification. Photo shows Callen Steppenbacker receiving instruction from EMT Cory Trottier on how to use a fire extinguisher in the 911 Mobile classroom. Photo and caption by Natalie Barszcz.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, May 17: Facilities and growth discussion continues; individuals and district recognized
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education continued its discussion of how to accommodate a growing number of students, considered a bond issue on the November ballot, and celebrated the achievements of several staff and students at its May 17 meeting.
District growth and facilities
Representatives of the District Accountability Advisory Committee reported the response of committee members regarding accommodation of growth in the district. The representatives were Co-chairs Anne-Marie Hasstedt and Deb Goth and subcommittee Chair Amy Shertzer. Their suggestions were:
• Retain the sixth grade in the elementary school.
• Parents do not want fifth-graders in the middle school.
• Request funding for two new elementaries now.
• There may be a negative pushback from voters if the district requests only one school now and seek another within a few years.
The board later discussed a planning update with Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman and architect Brian Risley.
Wangeman commented on new data from Metrostudy regarding estimates of growth in enrollment. Metrostudy is a firm that confers with developers regarding plans for new construction, the price points for the proposed homes, and the likelihood that a family with children will purchase the homes. She said that Metrostudy estimates for growth are a bit higher than those provided by RTA, the firm which first worked with the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee.
Projections suggest that the district will reach full capacity by the 2023-24 school year, discounting the possibility that Monument Academy (MA) may increase its number of seats. MA Executive Director Don Griffin said that the Academy would likely increase its capacity by one classroom (24 students) at each grade level.
There followed a discussion of options for preschool services. One of these is to centralize preschool services in its own building, which would free up classroom space at Bear Creek, Kilmer, and Lewis-Palmer Elementary Schools. (The Palmer Lake preschool services are already located in a separate location.) The negative factor to this option is that it would add needed funding to the proposed bond.
Board Secretary Mark Pfoff commented that if we were to request funding for two new schools, the centralized preschool would be necessary.
Wangeman responded that the need would not be immediate.
District Superintendent Karen Brofft said that 10 years from now, a third school may be needed.
Pfoff said that the advantage of decentralized preschool is that the students would stay at the same school as they transition to kindergarten and beyond.
Another option to add capacity is to repurpose spaces in existing schools. Some schools, such as Lewis-Palmer Elementary and Prairie Winds Elementary, have large spaces that could be subdivided into additional classrooms.
Brofft commented that such repurposing would rob the schools of creative uses for these spaces.
Risley said it is more expensive to remodel a school than to build new. He said that the basic decision to be made now is whether the board wants to expand immediately or view options first. It may be wise to stagger the construction of two schools and consider the fact that the current rate of growth may not persist indefinitely.
Brofft spoke of her experience in Douglas County to deal with the rapid growth there. At one point, a school that was built to accommodate 500 students was being used for 900. As a result, scheduling lunches was very difficult and other accommodations had to be made. As a result, some families decided to have their children attend school elsewhere.
Board Treasurer Chris Taylor said that he would like to see a new elementary school in the Jackson Creek area in 2019. He said that if the district builds two schools in 2019-20, it will have excess capacity.
Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch asked how MA would affect capacity.
Wangeman said that MA would offer only 125 seats at the elementary level.
Pfoff said that he would be willing to discuss the band-aid approach of repurposing spaces but would prefer to discard it. He said that he would like to make a final decision regarding one versus two schools.
At first he thought that one school and the conversion of Bear Creek Elementary into a middle school would be sufficient but was concerned that fifth-graders would have to attend middle school until a second elementary could be built.
Pfoff reminded the board that in 2008 an elementary school, Grace Best, was closed and not reopened. He suggested asking for a bond to cover two new schools, reminding the board that the bonds that funded Prairie Winds and Creekside Middle School will be paid off in 2024-25, which would take some pressure off of taxpayers.
Taylor warned that it would be unwise to emphasize the idea of the cost declining if the district needs to ask for a third school at that time. He recommended seeking a bond that would fund two schools, but not issue the bonds for the second until needed.
Brofft reminded the board that building two schools would not double the cost of one, as the infrastructure for a school at Jackson Creek is already in place.
Upchurch suggested the option of building a second middle school in Jackson Creek so that the large population of Bear Creek, excepting the sixth grade, could stay in the current building while the new elementary was built.
Risley said that it costs about a third more to build a middle school than an elementary, due to the additional technology, labs, and so forth required. He also said that at the Bear Creek campus, there is not enough land or utilities for an additional middle school.
Taylor said he wanted more data before making a final decision and suggested waiting until the board receives information from the polling now underway. He asked if there is a downside to going for a second bond issue in a few years.
Brofft said the board could go for two separate bond issues on the same ballot.
Pfoff said that he would prefer to be able to build two schools back to back and that everyone should be prepared to make a decision at the June meeting.
Brofft reminded the board that the second school would not be built as quickly as the one at Jackson Creek because the infrastructure would not already be there.
Timeline for selection of new board member
Secretary to the Superintendent Vicki Wood outlined the timeline for selection of a new member of the board to replace recently resigned Sarah Sampayo.
She said that the deadline for applications is noon on Wednesday, May 23 and that the board will interview prospective candidates at a special public meeting on Tuesday, May 29 from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Individual and district recognitions
The board recognized the coaches from Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High schools for their achievements during this year. They are:
• LPHS boys basketball Coach Bill Benton, who is the Pikes Peak Area Boys Basketball Coach of the Year and Gazette Preps Boys Basketball Coach of the Year
• LPHS boys soccer Coach Brian Barkey, Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Boys Soccer Coach of the Year
• LPHS girls tennis Coach Paul Kardel, PPAC Girls Tennis Coach of the Year
• PRHS cross country Coach Rob Collins, 4A Cross Country Coach of the Year and Gazette Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year
Brofft was selected as the Colorado Schools Public Relations Association Communicator of the Year. The award acknowledges her communication and public relations work in every aspect of public relations planning, implementation, and evaluation. The organization especially recognized Brofft’s promotion of district accomplishments at board meetings and through the media.
Lewis-Palmer Elementary School students Caleb Landrum and Andrew Deeds were recognized for their efforts to raise money for Shield 616, an organization that provides tactical gear for law enforcement personnel. Together they raised over $10,000, enough to outfit the Monument and Palmer Lake police departments.
Lewis-Palmer Middle School Band Director Mike Mozingo announced that D-38 is one of three districts in the state to win a Best Communities for Music Education award from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. The district offers musical education in grades beginning at the kindergarten level including choir, band, and clubs. The district includes ensembles that do and do not require auditions and that have received national recognition over the past years. The district answered a detailed questionnaire regarding funding, class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the program and community music-making programs. District graduate Isabel Taylor, now a student at Colorado State University in Pueblo, spoke of her appreciation for music education in the district.
Caption: Caleb Landrum, left, and Andrew Deeds were congratulated by Superintendent Karen Brofft for their fundraising for the Shield 616 organization. Photo by Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets once a month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Beginning in June the board will meet on the third Monday of the month. The next meeting will be on June 18 at 6 p.m.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Academy School Board, May 10:Parents speak out on new uniform policy, phasing out of National Junior Honor Society
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on May 10 to hear parents’ concerns about the new uniform policies and the phasing out of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), hear highlights of a teacher survey, and to vote on a builder’s representative and architect for the new high school.
Board member Mike Molson was absent, and Matt Dunston has resigned from the board.
Uniform policy concerns
Four of the five parents speaking at the board meeting indicated concerns with the new uniform polices 1501-ES and 1501-MS (see http://bit.ly/ma-bd-policies). One parent felt that there was an unwelcome shift coming with the new high school being positioned as a preparatory school. She said there was already a rift with the community, which sees MA as elitist and very militaristic and she felt the uniform changes would widen the rift. She expressed concern about the financial burden of purchasing new items for the uniform rather than being able to use hand-me-downs. She noted that there was concern with kids hiding vaping pens in sweatshirts but felt it was harsh to punish the entire student body for the acts of a few. She indicated that skinny pants were the only ones that fit her daughter and asked that the board consider softening the policy or grandfathering in middle schoolers.
Another parent was able to find compliant shoes at a discount but asked why this was a concern for the teachers and felt it didn’t make sense that their shoes would prevent students from focusing.
A third parent, who claimed to represent 20 other parents, expressed support for the new policy but had some suggestions to alleviate parents’ concerns. She suggested adding two additional colors, voted on by students, for middle school students with clear guidelines. She felt that teachers were not as concerned that the soles match the shoes and that changing that policy would address 70 percent of the complaints. She understood the concern about hoodies but felt it was a financial burden to parents who just purchased items in January to now have to buy a $35 jacket along with $200 in fees and the cost of school supplies. She suggested grandfathering the requirement until the 2019 school year and confiscating sweatshirts for a quarter if students are caught with phones or vape pens.
Finally, a parent agreed that shoes were his biggest concern, and changing the policy to read "mostly" gray, black, etc. would help. He was concerned that his kid’s need for wide shoes might increase his costs or leave his child with ill-fitting shoes. He asked what the new rules were trying to accomplish and if the board felt that they were working. He also asked about the right place to have a dialogue about his concerns. The board suggested he speak to the dean and then to the principal. It was noted that the dean suggested they come to the board meeting. The board said that there had been an extensive process to get a lot of input and collaborate on problems and solutions, and that a number of stakeholders had been involved. The purpose of comments at this board meeting was to give the board input, and board members agreed to circle back with the administration to discuss this issue. This parent noted that there were a lot of parents who did not know changes were being considered for the uniform policy. He reiterated his concerns that the new policies might not solve the problems—that kids could have phones or vape pens in pockets or socks.
Phasing out of National Junior Honor Society opposed
Three parents spoke about the phasing out of the National Junior Honor Society, expressing that NJHS was a better fit for their kids, that the scheduling conflicts could have been avoided, and that parent volunteers might be able to pitch in to continue the program.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Principal Elizabeth Davis highlighted the positive results of the anonymous, third party Teaching and Learning Conditions Colorado Report administered by the Colorado Department of Education. Respondents would recommend MA as a good place to work (90 percent) and as a good place for students to learn (100 percent). More information can been seen at http://bit.ly/ma-tlcc18.
• The board unanimously approved the Letter of Intent from Inline Management to be the builders representative for the construction of the new high school. Director Don Griffin knows Kurt Connelly from Inline Management very well and says Connelly makes MA’s bond counsel extremely confident of the numbers. Costs are still being negotaited.
• The board unanimously approved CRP Architectural and its principle, Brian Risely, as the architect of record for the new high school. Griffin noted that CRP is the architect for D38’s new schools and that Risely has been involved with the proposed property for 10 years and is very pro-MA.
• Teachers representatives Tiffany Alexander and Kelly Beard were recognized with certificates for their attendance and advocacy at the board meetings.
• Board member Mark McWilliams reported that the board self-assessment shows that the board works well together and is unified in support of MA’s mission.
• Board elections were held on May 14 and 15 with three candidates vying for two open seats. A candidate’s forum was held ahead of the May 10 meeting. Melanie Strop and Dwayne Cooke have been elected and will be given the Oath of Office at the June 21 board meeting and begin their three-year terms on July 1.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 21 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. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
El Paso Board of County Commissioners, May 1, 8, 15, 17, and 22:Commissioners urged to oppose "urban" development density at Forest Lakes
By Helen Walklett
A resident urged the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at its May 15 meeting to vote against a proposed development at Forest Lakes when it comes before the board. The commissioners also approved a rezoning and subdivision request for a Wakonda Hills property during May. Other decisions made related to current development at Forest Lakes, appointments to the El Paso County Planning Commission, and the Highway 105 Improvement Project.
Forest Lakes development
Speaking during the public comments session of the May 15 BOCC meeting, local resident Ami Lennon urged the commissioners to vote against an upcoming proposal for further development at Forest Lakes. Lennon said, "I’m here to ask the commissioners to vote against the proposal that Classic Homes will be requesting in the near future to put an additional 68 homes, for a total of 199 homes, in Forest Lakes at the base of the foothills. This may not seem like a lot of homes compared to Flying Horse, but putting 199 homes in this valley is setting a precedent because it would be essentially disregarding the Twin-Valley land use and master plan that was created." The Twin-Valley is a sub-area of the Tri-Lakes Planning Area.
Lennon continued, "This property in Forest Lakes sits on the very edge of the aquifer at the very edge of the foothills and at the edge of a wildlife sanctuary. Nothing about this area is typical for a place for a high-density planned use development. When the NES representative for Classic [Homes] was asked at the town meeting how a cul-de-sac longer than 500 feet was allowed in a rural setting, she said it was because ‘it was not a rural setting; it will be an urban setting.’ That concerned a lot of us."
She explained that the 2000 update of the Twin-Valley land use plan states that the sub-area should remain primarily rural residential with lot sizes averaging 5 acres and large clustering options using minimum 2.5-acre lots being considered only if there is strict adherence to this overall density approach. She said that over half of the lots being proposed for this new development are between 7,200 and 10,000 square feet in area.
Lennon ended by saying, "I believe the proposed "Forest Lakes to be" plan does not coincide with the public health, safety, and general welfare in El Paso County. Who’s liable for those deaths that result from a fire when the two roads that lead out of that development go in the same direction? I live on that mesa top, and that road is so steep that when the weather is inclement, I fear there will only be one way out and one way in."
In response, Commissioner Darryl Glenn explained that the commissioners could not make any comment at this time. He said, "We actually have to hear it as an advisory board and we will be making a formal decision, but we do appreciate the input and we would want to make sure that you know that all your comments … are going to be part of the official record [and] they do get forwarded to our Planning and Community Development Department."
Residents attended a neighborhood meeting in February to discuss this proposed Classic Homes development. See www.ocn.me/pdf/v18n3%2027.pdf. Classic Homes hosted another neighborhood meeting on April 26 to present the revised proposal that Lennon referred to on May 15. The plans will come before the Planning Commission and then be heard at the BOCC at a future, as yet undetermined, date.
At its May 22 meeting, the BOCC approved the partial release of two bonds relating to current development at Forest Lakes. These were for public improvements in the Forest Lakes Filing No. 2A subdivision. The release of $495,825 and $513,973 followed the completion of 80 percent of the public improvements and their satisfactory inspection. The balance of the two bonds will be held for a two-year defect warranty period and will be released upon successful completion of the outstanding improvements.
Wakonda Hills property rezoning and subdivision approved
The commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning and subdivision request for a Wakonda Hills property at their meeting on May 8. The request, from Matthew and Jenna Arvidson, related to a 5.45-acre parcel of land located west of Beacon Lite Road and north of Wakonda Way to the north of Monument. The rezoning was from RR-5 (Residential Rural) to RR-2.5 (Residential Rural). The subdivision divides the parcel of land into two family lots and dedicates a right-of-way-along Beacon Lite Road and Wakonda Way.
The requests were heard by the Planning Commission in April and came to the BOCC with a recommendation for approval. See www.ocn.me/v18n5.htm#epcpc.
Highway 105 Improvement Project
At the May 15 BOCC meeting, the commissioners ratified a resolution to approve a memorandum of agreement, a temporary construction easement agreement, and a special warranty deed with 1180 Village Ridge Point LLC for the sum of $33,100. These relate to the first stage of the Highway 105 Improvement Project, which is due to start construction this summer. This first segment, from the I-25 interchange east ramps to Lake Woodmoor Drive, will extend the four-lane section east of Knollwood Drive and will include improved shoulders and additional turn lanes and sidewalks.
• May 1—approval of the appointment of Peter Aurich, Thomas Bailey, and Grace Blea-Nunez as associate members of the Planning Commission for one-year terms ending May 1, 2019.
• May 22—resolution to approve two amended license agreements to accommodate access to lots 1 and 2 of the Grant subdivision Filing No. 1 via the driveway located off Walsen Road.
El Paso County has recently revamped its website. See https://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com/el-paso-county-planning-commission/planning-commission-2018-hearings/, and then https://bocc.elpasoco.com for county commissioner meeting information.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
El Paso County Board of County Commissioners District 1:County Commissioner Candidate Statements
Ballots will be mailed beginning June 4. All ballots are due by 7 p.m. on election night, June 26. Please review the primary election information the county has posted at www.epcvotes.com.
OCN asked each of the candidates to respond to the following question: "In no more than 150 words, describe the specific skills, knowledge, and perspective that qualify you to make informed decisions for the future of El Paso County."
For over 35 years I served customers in the defense and intelligence communities, developing and supporting complex weapon systems. I successfully led large organizations that answered to multiple stakeholders, including end-users, their acquisition agents, corporate leadership, and employees. This taught me how to work within and manage large organizations and to negotiate successful outcomes that addressed competing interests.
My engineering background provides the discipline to analyze and solve complex problems. I was accountable for a diverse portfolio in excess of $400 million per year, so I know how to analyze and manage significant financial resources like our county budget.
My skills, knowledge, and experience give me unmatched ability to:
• Prioritize the concerns of county citizens;
• Manage our county’s financial resources; and
• Listen and build consensus among diverse interest groups.
I am a proven leader, not a life-long politician, so I bring a fresh and innovative perspective to the Board of Commissioners.
A commissioner is elected, not appointed, because my primary responsibility is to represent the citizens of our district. My neighbors, my community, deserve a passionate, local representative who will champion our priorities at every level of government. Every decision must honor my constituents and the priorities of our county, which are public safety, infrastructure, and wise use of water resources. We need a commissioner who can build relationships with anyone and everyone who values liberty, a prosperous economy, and a peaceful civil society. I am a front-line conservative who has the policy knowledge and political experience essential to serve as the next commissioner. I know the district, the people, and the policies we need to ensure a bright future for all of us. I am ready to lead because I am ready to serve. Please connect with me personally to learn more at http://CalandraForColorado.com, thank you!
I strongly believe in and have lived a life of public service and dedication to our community. I served as public trustee of El Paso County, a political appointment by Gov. Bill Owens, from 1999 to 2007. I quadrupled net revenues for our county from $281,000 in 1999 to more than $1.2 million in 2005 and slashed the operating cost per transaction of the office from $26 to $10 while improving customer service.
I earned a Master of Public Administration from UCCS focusing on local government and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). I have demanded and provided efficient and fiscally conservative government. As a property owner myself for more than 25 years, I am committed to keeping taxes low while funding roads, supporting public safety, and protecting and enhancing our quality of life. I am the utmost responsive and accessible—my website is http://www.HollyForColorado.com and my cell is 719-385-0722.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board of Directors, May 24:Residents ask for options for Hidden Pond
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on May 24 to hear residents’ concerns about the draining of Hidden Pond, consider ways to improve fire mitigation, and authorize funds for a new phone system and designs for an upstairs bathroom and possible addition for Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS).
Hidden Pond options
More than 15 residents attended the May meeting to discuss the recent draining of Hidden Pond and to request that the board revisit the issue, research other options, and provide cost information. President Brian Bush provided the background on this discussion. In December 2017, the board received a letter from Doug Hollister, District 10 water commissioner for the Colorado Division of Water Resources, requiring the board to provide an augmentation plan for the six ponds owned by WIA or face legal action. Similar plans have been required previously of the golf course and the Air Force Academy and will be required going forward of any entity that owns ponds. Each organization will have to determine whether to maintain their ponds and pay an augmentation fee based on the surface area to account for evaporation, which would deprive someone downstream of their senior water rights, or to drain the pond to avoid those fees.
The board determined that two ponds (Wild Duck and Lower Twin) usually retained water, two ponds (No Name and Greg’s Pond) never retained water, and two ponds (Hidden Pond and Upper Twin) seldom retained water. The board agreed to pay $2,500 and $2,200 per year respectively to augment the water evaporated from Wild Duck and Lower Twin and decided to install culverts to drain Hidden Pond and Upper Twin to bring them into compliance.
Residents asked the board if other solutions that were considered, if the cost to augment Hidden Pond had been calculated, and whether WIA covenants required a two-thirds vote for this decision. The board explained that it decided to drain the pond based on the best information it had on its lack of water retention and did not price alternatives. Board members also noted that the covenants only require a vote of two-thirds of property owners to acquire or expand the common areas but that projects for the common areas are voted on in open board meetings held monthly.
Residents also expressed frustration at the communication sent out, asked if there had ever been plans to line the pond, whether the pond could be made smaller to limit the augmentation costs, and inquired about well depths and impacts as well as the possible diversion of Deer Creek. The board had sent a postcard to residents around the pond, but many felt those were easy to miss or misunderstand. Architectural Control Committee and Common Areas Administrator Bob Pearsall indicated that he had never seen a reserve study discuss the possibility of lining Hidden Pond; Bush indicated that it would be a very expensive project. Bush said it was possible to consider modifying the size of the pond, and all noted that some of these questions were better answered by Woodmoor Water and Sanitation.
Residents suggested that it might be feasible to fundraise to maintain the pond similar to the Awake the Lake organization in Palmer Lake. Many residents spoke of how important Hidden Pond was to them, their kids and grandkids as a resource for playing and catching crawdads and other fish. Residents are not concerned with the depth, and the augmentation costs depend on the surface area. The board asked that residents provide any photos they have showing the pond at various points to help gauge how much water it retains and agreed to revisit this issue. It will have staff do some research on options and costs and report on their findings at the next WIA board meeting on June 27.
Improving fire mitigation
Forestry Director Ed Miller reported that there were six Firewise evaluations, one general Forest Health request, one general thinning inquiry, and one report of possible mountain pine beetle infestation. There have been 10 Firewise evaluations so far this year in a community of 3,000 homes. The board noted that the covenants don’t require evaluations or mitigation and asked for any ideas on suggestions on how to increase the number of people who mitigate their properties. Changing the covenants would require legal review and a vote of two-thirds of property owners, which is a very high bar to meet. The board agrees that it is important to increase participation as the estimate is that at most 10 percent of properties are mitigated.
Board report highlights
• WIA has done landscaping work in front of The Barn, restarted water fountains, and reactivated the sprinklers for the season. Initial mowing of the common areas will be done the week of June 5, weather permitting.
• The board unanimously approved spending $2,000 to replace the antiquated phone system.
• The board unanimously approved spending $5,000 of design funds for plans for an upstairs bathroom to better serve all residents and a possible addition for Woodmoor Public Safety. These designs will be used to ascertain true costs of these projects.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next regular meeting will be on June 27.
The WIA calendar can be found at www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
May Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
May was another month of below-normal precipitation, making it the eighth month in a row of drier-than-normal conditions. The major controlling factor of the dry conditions that began last fall is the strong La Nina pattern that set up over the tropical Pacific. This pattern, when combined with other favorable atmospheric patterns, results in a stronger-than-normal area of high pressure of the southwestern United States. This pushed the storm track to the north over the West Coast and allowed cold air to dive into the northern Rockies/upper Midwest.
Unfortunately, that leaves our region on the dry and mild side of the pattern. This has been especially pronounced this season, with record snowfall and cold extending from Montana through the upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Colorado was basically split along the I-70 corridor, with areas to the north progressively cooler and wetter and areas to the south progressively warmer and drier. So, although we were dry and mild along the Palmer Divide, it was much worse as you progress farther south toward New Mexico.
The month started with some favorable weather, as cool, cloudy, and moist conditions were in place on the 2nd and the 3rd. Upslope flow allowed areas of fog and drizzle to form, along with rain and snow showers at times. The cloudy conditions also held temperatures down, with high ranging from the 60s on the 1st to the upper 50s on the 2nd and low 40s on the 3rd. During the period, much needed moisture accumulated, with anywhere from a half to 2 inches of precipitation.
Unfortunately, after this storm departed, dry and mild conditions moved in for the next week and half. High temperatures rebounded in the 70s and touched the low 80s on the 10th. Plenty of sunshine returned as well, with no measurable precipitation from the 4th through the 12th.
A late, spring-like pattern began to affect the region starting on the 13th, when morning sunshine gave way to afternoon thunderstorms and brief rain showers. This pattern repeated for the next two days. Quiet and mild conditions then returned from the 16th through the 17th, with highs again touching the low 80s on the 17th. Cooler conditions arrived on the 19th, with upslope flow returning fog, low clouds, and showers to the area from the 18th through the 20th. Unfortunately, again less than a half-inch of rain accumulated.
Mainly dry weather returned for the remainder of the month, with temperatures warming to around record levels over the start of Memorial Day weekend. Highs were in the 70s from the 20th through the 24th, then low to mid-80s from the 25th through the 27th. Finally, on Memorial Day weekend, morning low clouds helped to keep temperatures down and added enough moisture to allow thunderstorms to develop that afternoon. Unfortunately, these were fast-moving storms, so most areas didn’t receive significant rainfall. The exception was the Palmer Lake area, where up to a half inch accumulated.
Typical late May weather stuck around for the last few days of the month, with quiet morning weather giving way to afternoon cloud and scattered thunderstorms on the 30th and mainly sunny and warm weather on the 31st.
A look ahead
By June we can usually say goodbye to our chance of snowfall but hello to frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Most of the time we can expect warm, sunny days with afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
May 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 71.6° (+4.5°) 100-year return frequency value max 75.7° min 57.9°
Average Low 42.9° (+4.6°) 100-year return frequency value max 43.2° min 32.5°
Highest Temperature 85°F on the 26th
Lowest Temperature 32°F on the 3rd
Monthly Precipitation 1.11" (-1.53" 25% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 6.94"min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 0.5" (-5.2" 60% above normal) Season to Date Snow 59.7" (-62.7" 52% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 6.01" (-3.06" 44% below normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 240 (-186)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to Our Community
Guidelines for letters to the editor.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
To Charles Ashford
I just read your Letter to Our Community, "To Paul Lundeen," regarding his proposal to "jail" those who "exercise their First Amendment rights" regarding their employment. You seem to know a lot about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Perhaps you could help me understand some things about them.
The U.S. Constitution is a federal law, yet Paul Lundeen is a state representative, so wouldn’t it be more appropriate to judge him against the state Constitution, which has lots to say about education. I’m sorry, but where in the federal Constitution is education directly addressed?
Many schoolteachers, at the behest of their labor union, abandoned their students and classrooms to go protest in Denver the other day. Teachers are public employees, with a trust we give them: our very children. Two entire school districts had to shut down in El Paso County as a result of the teacher walkout. Do they actually have a First Amendment right to do that?
We are a nation of laws, and every law must have an enforcement mechanism to be meaningful. So why are we surprised that a suggested law to keep teachers where they should be would have jail time associated with it?
Here’s an idea: If low teacher salaries are their gripe, why don’t they go through the proper channels that already exist for education funding? The state Constitution has created an inviolate public school fund. And who has the authority to administer those funds? You guessed it, the state General Assembly, of which Rep. Lundeen is a member. So wouldn’t it be more effective to entreat the very accessible Rep. Lundeen instead of acting like children and walking out or pillorying him in the newspaper?
In a word (or two): Grow up.
The big board coverup
We lost a remarkable leader on our school board. As her resignation reveals, Sarah Sampayo couldn’t continue serving on a board that willingly violates law and acts deceitfully and abusively.
Sarah Sampayo, thank you for your selfless service to our children, schools, and community. You exemplified honest, professional, transparent, moral leadership, and you offered our community hope that our school board could be trusted again. You tirelessly fought for what is best for children. Your professional skills and experience, character, and your service on PTO, BAAC, DAAC, and the school board were invaluable. You advocated before the state for local control and against Common Core, helped secure children’s data privacy and regulate surveys administered to minors, pushed for parental consent on the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, supported school choice, helped increase teacher salaries, protected taxpayer dollars, provided public access to supporting documents/agendas prior to board meetings, and helped include all student athletes in National Signing Day. You valued differing viewpoints and suggested collaborative strategies. You genuinely listened to parents, teachers, and community members, and you brought transparency to the board—all without compromising your character, and despite being disrespected and harassed.
D38 board, you’ve been asked to release executive session recordings from 1/18/18 and 1/30/18. Sampayo’s minutes from these meetings were manipulated and changed by someone before public disclosure. Alleged law violation and emotional abuse occurred in these sessions. The state board confirms that you can vote to release the tapes, providing transparency and settling conflicting claims of what happened behind those "closed doors." Why do three of you still refuse their release?
How long must we tolerate a board that prioritizes protecting private interests, even at the cost of truth and ethics? Let’s get more leaders like Sampayo at the helm.
Aliorum De Awards
One of the most memorable and impressive evenings ever to take place at Big Red occurred on April 24, 2018, when D38 recognized the Aliorum De Award winners. The Aliorum De Award recognized individuals that had gone the extra mile to support students with disabilities. These individuals were school staff, students, and community members. The award truly honors acts of kindness, goodwill, hard work, success and charity towards individuals. There were numerous stories shared expressing gratitude from parents, students, and teachers. It was very heartwarming to learn of support and love shown to families caring for those with disabilities. The undeniable and selfless gift to reach out to those in need truly exemplified benevolent character. We were reminiscing about the many years our children have been in this district and felt that no other more significant event has ever occurred at Big Red. The number of students recognized for selfless giving was truly impressive. Teachers, students, and community members worked hard to support those overcoming challenges and resulted in bringing forth many miracles.
Tiffiney Upchurch, D38 school board member, helped to promote and was on the selection committee for the award nominations. The SEAC along with others created an evening to forever cherish and remember. We personally recognized Aileen Finnegan, principle of PWES for her ability to always exemplify charity towards all that enter through the doors of the elementary school. Many others, such as PWES teacher Jennifer Rowedder and Dr. Brick of Erikson Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, were honored. We would like to publicly thank the Special Education Advisory Committee, Michelle Nay, and Rick Frampton for overseeing such a memorable evening.
High school physical education
D38 requires physical education credits for high school graduation. In August of 2015, I asked the school board to create a policy allowing competitive athletes to count their training time in their sport to be substituted for the required PE credits (via a training log signed by their coach).
My rationale was: 1. According to the Colorado Department of Education, PE is not mandated at any grade level. The decision is completely up to local districts. 2. D38 gives credit for a "walking" class (the final consists of walking from LP to Walmart, buying a snack, and then walking back). 3. D38 gives credit for an "online" PE class through BYU for $150. 4. The basic reason for PE is to ensure kids live a healthy, active lifestyle. 5. Competitive athletes put in more hours of activity than their peers in PE classes. 6. Overtraining can lead to injury. 7. Teenagers require more sleep. 8. By allowing competitive athletes to receive credit for their sport instead of requiring them to take PE, they would have more time available for academics, training, and sleep.
To date, there is still no policy on this matter to be found in D38. I hereby request publicly, once more, that this school board refer to policy BG (policy adoption) and accept my official request for a policy proposal as a parent on the issue of substitutions for high school PE credits. Please add this item to your agenda.
As a parent, taxpayer, and former teacher, I will continue to encourage the board to do what’s in the best interest of our kids. I am also hopeful that other community members will reach out to the board on this topic. Please email them and share your thoughts on behalf of our student athletes. CTaylor@lewispalmer.org, TUpchurch@lewispalmer.org, MClawson@lewispalmer.org, and MPfoff@lewispalmer.org.
Have we become part of the problem?
Can anyone reasonably deny that social upheaval exists in our national discourse—lack of civility, no appetite for compromise, lies, unwillingness to admit mistakes? While I don’t think so, I do worry that this condition has begun to creep into our community. Take for example the turmoil in the D38 school board activities (resignation of Secretary Sarah Sampayo), the disorder in the Monument town government (Monument Town Manager Chris Lowe and Chief of Police Jacob Shirk placed on paid administrative leave), proposed legislation to prohibit teachers from striking, and letters to the editor (some of which contain vitriol and personal jabs). To my way of thinking, the signs of social turmoil in the Tri-Lakes area, while not ubiquitous, are present and worrisome.
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to stop and take a long look in a mirror—then ask, am I part of the problem? If so, am I willing to compromise with those I disagree with, could the positions of "others" have merit, am I civil and respectful when discussing controversial subjects? If not, you might want to rethink your approach.
We live in a wonderful area with many equally wonderful people. Our school district is one of the best in all of Colorado; we work diligently to take care of those in need; smiles abound; while driving, we see many "hand waves." Let’s strengthen our community by seeking solutions to problems and interacting with those we disagree with in a civil, genuine, and respectful manner— and do so in a good-faith manner so that our efforts lead to reasonable and lasting solutions.
LPHS After Prom thanks
Thanks to our great community of parents, Lewis-Palmer High School staff, and students, After Prom was a huge success! We had approximately 400 students attend the event.
Many school districts do not offer an After Prom, as the planning and coordination involved take a substantial amount of time and money. Both District 38 high schools have such a dedicated group of staff, parents, and community patrons that we have been able to make After Prom a yearly tradition.
Much of the financial support comes from local businesses and families. We would like to recognize the following: Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area, Bass Pro Shop’s Uncle Buck, Briargate Qdoba Mexican Grill, City Rock, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Community Banks of Colorado, Costa Vida, Costco (Nevada), Danelle’s Boutique & Bridal/Tuxedo Junction, Denver Museum of Science and Nature, Deuces Wild Casino Rentals, Dion’s Pizza, Elitch Gardens, Gravity Play, Hamula Orthodontics, Home Depot, Horseshoe Donuts, Hyland Hills Park & Rec, Loveland Ski Area, Luna Hair Salon, MOD Pizza, Borriello Brothers, Columbine Gardens Restaurant, Jimmy John’s, King Soopers, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-A, Rock House Ice Cream, Santa’s Workshop/North Pole, Sky Sox Baseball, Sports Clips, The Summit Interquest, Tri-Lakes Printing, and Village Inn, as well as the Barkocy, Davis, Ferguson, Gross, Kadlubowski, Larsen, Lewis, Limas, Shook, Shuman, and Witt families.
We had over 100 volunteers who helped with everything from mailing invitations to building props, doing artwork for invitations, posters, and tickets, selling tickets, decorating, working on the night of the event, and cleaning up the day after.
A very special thank you goes to the After Prom committee of Lynne Asman, Laura Barkocy, Melanie Davis, Gretchen Donisi, Marcy Hudson, Kristin Merrill, Melanie Oliver, Nicole Pritchard, Lauralyn Purdham, Chele Randell, Karen Tucker, and Joanna Witt.
Caption: After Prom activities. Photo provided by Karen Shuman
LPHS After Prom Chair
Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore:Celebrate dads
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Celebrate Dad this month with some great books!
"A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there but a guiding light whose love shows us the way."—Anonymous
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century
By Kirk Wallace Johnson (Viking), $27
This true-crime adventure takes the reader into an underground world of fanatical fly-tiers, a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice. The British Museum of Natural History was full of rare bird specimens whose feathers were worth staggering amounts of money. Some of the bird skins were collected 150 years earlier by Alfred Russel Wallace who’d risked everything to gather them. In 2009, these were all stolen. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson’s fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation.
Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America
By James Fallows and Deborah Fallows (Pantheon Books), $28.95
For the last five years, James and Deborah Fallows have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane, visiting small cities and meeting with the people. Our Towns is the story of their journey and an account of a country busy remaking itself. It reflects the energy, generosity, and compassion, dreams and determination of many who are in the midst of making things better.
Principles: Life and Work
By Ray Dalio (Simon & Schuster), $30
Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles he’s developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of "radical truth" and "radical transparency," include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams.
Gold Panning Colorado: A Guide to the State’s Best Sites for Gold
By Garret Romaine (Falcon Guides), $25.95
This reference source contains accurate, up-to-date prospecting information for all known panning areas in Colorado. The write-ups for each locale include driving directions, GPS coordinates, historical information, land ownership restrictions, full-color photos, and geological background.
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
By Jon Meacham (Random House), $30
Our current climate of partisan fury is not new. In this inspiring and encouraging book, Jon Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the "better angels of our nature" have repeatedly won the day. Meacham brings turning points in American history vividly to life. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear.
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
By Alan Alda (Random House), $17
This is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alan Alda found new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. He reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through how communication can be improved in all areas, but especially with the hard stuff. Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others.
By John Hart (St. Martin’s Press) $27.99
Johnny Merrimon is 10 years removed from the shattering events that killed his twin sister and tore the rest of his family apart. He has since become a prickly recluse, living in self-imposed isolation in the forbidding swampland of Hush Arbor, 6,000 acres he alone knows how to traverse. His best friend Jack, now a local attorney, is his only invited guest, and others who attempt to conquer the Hush often meet inexplicably violent ends. The property has belonged to the Merrimons for centuries but is haunted by the souls of the freed slaves who once lived there, and one of the descendants believes the land is rightfully hers.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at email@example.com.
June Library Events: Summer Adventurebegins
By Harriet Halbig
The summer reading program for youngsters through age 18 began on June 1. Summer Adventure will continue through July 31, offering special programs and prizes.
More than 50 teen volunteers have been trained and scheduled to help with registration and granting prizes. We thank them for their offer to help.
This year’s program brings back the game card so each child can chart his or her own progress and can choose between reading and activities (or both) to earn points.
Join us for this exciting and rewarding activity!
To view the programs during Summer Adventure, go to the library home page, http://ppld.org, click on programs at the top and choose by library and choose your branch. A calendar will appear. If you hover over the name of a program, a description of it will appear.
If registration is required for the program, it will be indicated by a square with a pencil. To register, call the library, or click on the event to register yourself.
Fliers will also be available to take home as a reminder.
On Mondays, June 11, 18, and 25 from 2:30 to 4 there will be a 7up program each week featuring programs on art and engineering themes. These programs are recommended for kids ages 7 and older.
On Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:45 each week, a technology program for elementary school kids will be offered. On Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:30, Summer Fun programs for ages 3 or 5 to 11 will be held. These programs will include puppet shows, the science of sound, alpacas, and a variety of critters. Please call the library or check the website for age recommendations.
The first three Wednesdays of June from 2:30 to 4, there will be a different craft program each week, suggested for elementary school kids.
The Lego Build program will be on Saturday, June 16 from 10 to 11:30. All ages are welcome.
Toddler Time will continue at its usual times of 9:30 and 10:15 each Thursday during the summer. Story Time on Tuesday morning is suspended, to be replaced by the Summer Fun programs.
The Paws to Read dogs will be at the library from 4 to 5 on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Teen and Tween programs
An intergenerational knitting group meets each Wednesday from 3 to 4:30 in the study room. Practice materials are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own projects. All are welcome.
The Monument Teen Creative Writing group will meet from 6 to 7:30 on Tuesday, June 5 in the study room. This group for ages 12 to 18 offers a chance to meet fellow writers, share ideas, and do writing exercises. Snacks included!
A teen Summer Adventure program on Taiko drumming will be on Thursday, June 7 from 3 to 5. The Taiko Society will be teaching a workshop. Registration is required. We recommend that you dress comfortably and be prepared to remove your shoes.
Other teen programs will be offered on Monday, June 11 (sketch and play instruments), Thursdays June 14 and 21 from 3 to 5, and Wednesday the 27th from 4 to 5:30.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, June 28.
See above for a description of intergenerational knitting.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, June 12 to discuss Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. All are welcome to attend and no registration is required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, June 15 to discuss Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. All are welcome to attend.
Local firefighters will offer a free fire mitigation workshop on Saturday, June 23 from noon to 1. They will offer tips to keep us safe and protect our property during fire season and all year. No registration is required.
In honor of Pet Week, there will be a program from 2 to 4 on Friday, June 29 to make simple dog and cat treats and no-sew pet toys. Drop in and join us! No registration necessary.
All regularly occurring adult discussion groups will meet as usual during the summer. These include Life Circles (June 4 and 18 from 9:30 to 11), Socrates Café (Tuesdays 1 to 3), Senior Chats (Wednesdays, 10 to noon), German Conversation (Tuesdays from 3:15 to 4:45 in the study room) and History Buffs (June 27, 1:30 to 3:30).
In the display case during June will be a replica of the Magna Carta owned by Dale Condit.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Library will offer programs for young children on Wednesdays at 10:30. These include plays, a makerspace for ages 5 to 11, and a zoo program and a wildlife program for ages 3 to 11.
On Thursdays at 10:30, a different program will be offered each week for kids 7 and up. These include programs on origami, engineering, and planet art. Registration is required. Please call the library at 481-2587 or go online as described above to register.
Toddler Time at the Palmer Lake Library is on Fridays at 10:30.
The Palmer Lake book group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the latest selection.
Palmer Lake Lego Build is on the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30. All ages are welcome.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, May 17:Pioneer woman’s tale sheds light on massacre motive
By Sigi Walker
On May 17, the Palmer Lake Historical Society welcomed Pikes Peak Community College history Professor Katherine Scott Sturdevant as the monthly history series presenter. She told the story of Sarah Chivington Pollock Girardin, a Colorado pioneer woman and daughter of Col. John Chivington, Methodist preacher and hero of the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Compiling family recollections and the work of local women historians, Sturdevant unlocked a particularly troubling family skeleton, bringing new understanding of Colorado massacre motives.
In 1860, Sarah Chivington was only 16 when she married 31-year-old Tom Pollock in Denver. Shortly after their marriage, they joined the large Baker Party seeking gold in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Supplies ran short when they reached the San Juan Valley, so Tom Pollock and a friend struck out for Santa Fe, where they knew supplies were available. Sarah was left behind, and it is thought she was the only female in the party, which might have been either attacked or taken hostage by the Utes. Sarah’s first child, a girl named Jesse Fremont Pollock, was born after the parties abandoned their gold quest and returned to Denver. Tom and Sarah adopted a Navajo boy and had two more children. After the Civil War, they returned to the San Juan Mountains, where Tom died of a heart attack. Sarah subsequently married William Girardin, with whom she had two more children. She is buried in Hermosa Cemetery north of Durango.
Katherine Sturdevant uncovered substantial reasons to believe that Jesse Fremont Pollock was half Native American, although it was not publicly acknowledged by family members. Both "Captain Jack" and Chief Ouray were suggested as the girl’s father. Sturdevant spoke with Jesse’s descendants, examined photographs of her children, and consulted DNA tests that confirmed Native American heritage. She dispelled the myth of Sarah’s rescue by her father, Col. John Chivington. But she acknowledged that Chivington’s massacre of mostly Cheyenne and Arapahoe women and children at Sand Creek may have been related to Sarah’s experience. When Chivington was criticized for the massacre, he apparently said "nits make lice"—thought to be a reference to Sarah’s experience with the Utes.
Caption: Presenter Katherine Scott Sturdevant told the story of a Colorado pioneer woman. Photo by Su Ketchmark.
Mark your calendars
June 17—Free Annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social on the Village Green, 2-4 p.m.
June 21—Mike and Sigi Walker will present the story of Otto Kuhler, famous for industrial etchings, streamlining of steam locomotives, and paintings of locomotives and landscapes. Why then, at age 54, did he leave the East Coast and buy a ranch in Colorado? This program is free and open to all. The venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the program begins at 7. Light refreshments will be served after the presentation.
Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide:Ecosystems of northern El Paso County and the birds that live in them
By Elizabeth Hacker
For many years, OCN has printed columns on the birds found on the Palmer Divide. Often, the birds featured in these articles have specific habitat requirements and don’t frequent feeders, so they can be difficult to find. Knowing their habitat preferences is often the key to locating them.
In 1991, the Denver Museum of Natural History classified Colorado into eight ecosystems: riparian, grasslands, semi-desert shrubland, pinyon juniper woodland, montane shrubland, montane forest, sub-alpine, and alpine tundra.
Consider a 10-mile cross-section beginning at the top of Mount Herman extending east through Monument, across I-25, through Woodmoor, passing by Prairie Winds Elementary, and ending just east of Highway 83 near Ray Kilmer Elementary School. Of the eight defined ecosystems, four exist along this cross-section. Very few areas in Colorado, or the world, can claim four major ecosystems in a 10-mile area.
The museum defines riparian habitats as areas near rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. These are zones where the greatest biodiversity is found. Colorado has fairly distinct low-, medium-, and high-altitude riparian zones.
Monument Creek drops about 2,000 feet in elevation as it flows from the top of the Palmer Divide (elevation about 8,000 feet) to where it merges with Fountain Creek in Colorado Springs (elevation about 6,000 feet). According to the Museum’s definition, this would classify it as a medium-altitude riparian zone, but as with any broad definition there can be variation and exceptions.
Low-altitude zones, below about 6,000 feet, are defined as riparian habitats that include grassy underbrush mixed with cottonwoods and other deciduous trees. Characteristic birds include the downy woodpecker, screech owl, white-breasted nuthatch, black-capped chickadee, house wren, catbird, yellow warbler, yellow-breasted chat, blue grosbeak, song sparrow, barn swallow, Bullock’s oriole, and many others, most of which can be seen here.
Medium-altitude riparian zones occur between 6,000 and 9,000 feet and are often lined with narrowleaf cottonwood, river birch, alder, willows, and the state tree, Colorado blue spruce. Typical birds of this habitat include American dipper, hermit thrush, and yellow-rumped and Wilson’s warblers. Butterflies include Weidemeyer’s admiral and several species of swallowtail.
Perhaps the arid conditions that exist in Southern Colorado, the shape of the valley floor, and the stream flow of Monument Creek contribute to it being more like that of a low-altitude riparian ecosystem than that of a medium-altitude zone. Those who have tried to grow a blue spruce or river birch tree in this area can attest to many challenges and more often than not, they lose them to a bad winter or insect infestation. I have yet to see an American dipper or catbird here, but I commonly see the yellow and Wilson’s warblers.
Montane forest ecosystem
The name "Montane Forest" is a very broad designation that applies to several forest types that grow between 6,000 and 9,000 feet. Many forest types exist along our cross-section, including aspen groves and fir trees found on the slopes of Mount Herman and the ponderosa pine forests found in Woodmoor. Although the lodgepole pine of the Black Forest is farther south from our cross-section, it too exists in this region.
Ponderosa pine is typically the dominant tree from about 6,000 to 8,000 feet. A few species of birds, including the pygmy nuthatch, Steller’s jay, and black-billed magpie, are so strongly associated with the ponderosa pine forests in this region that they are rarely found elsewhere. The Abert’s squirrel was once common here, but I haven’t seen one in years. The common gray squirrel has taken over, which often happens in areas that have been developed. Common understory plants include kinnikinnick, lupine, and yarrow along with many wildflowers.
Stands of quaking aspen grow on the slopes of the Rampart Range, and aspen is one of Colorado’s most unmistakable trees. Many mammals, birds, and insects rely on cavities in aspens for nesting, and it’s a great place to look for woodpeckers and other cavity nesting species.
Montane shrubland ecosystem
The museum defines montane shrublands as large areas of the foothills in the southern and western parts of Colorado that are covered by a mix of deciduous shrubs, including 10- to 15-foot-high scrub oak, manzanita, serviceberry, mountain mahogany, skunkbrush, snowberry, and bitterbrush.
Many remnants of shrubland still exist in the Tri-Lakes region. Because of unstable loose granitic soils associated with shrublands, they are often challenging to develop and unsuitable for agriculture. A largely untouched stand of shrublands exists near Monument Rock in the National Forest Preserve. Here it is possible to observe nesting western scrub-jays, blue-gray gnatcatchers, spotted towhees, various flycatchers, western tanagers, and prairie falcons.
Grasslands in the Tri-Lakes region have been or will at some point be developed. For generations, ranchers in northern El Paso County grazed cattle and coexisted with the wildlife native to this region. Small grassland remnants remain but are not of a size suitable to support most of the birds and animals that once thrived here.
According to the museum, Colorado’s native prairie once covered nearly half the state. Plants and animals on the eastern plains of Colorado thrived under good grazing practices. At one time, private landowners provided habitat for more than 70 percent of the wildlife species in the state. Today, with the exception of a few commercial enterprises, bison have disappeared, but other animals including pronghorn, mule deer, and jackrabbit are occasionally seen here. For some reason, coyotes abound.
A few prairie dogs still exist but generally are considered to be varmints and eradicated. As the prairie dog habitat disappeared, so did habitat for the mountain plover and burrowing owl.
Also included in the grassland ecosystem, but not along our cross-section, are spiky yucca plants found in dry and rocky areas along I-25 between the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs, where breeding Cassin’s sparrows can be found.
The residents of northern El Paso County are fortunate to have great biological diversity and a number of places to see the abundant wildlife. One of my favorite places to look for birds is along the Santa Fe Trail. As the trail ascends in elevation from Colorado Springs to Greenland Ranch, it is possible to see great variation in landscapes, soil types, vegetation, and wildlife. I also enjoy driving the back roads and am often surprised at what I find. I probably need to plaster my car with those bumper stickers that warn "I stop for birds"!
Caption: Black-billed magpie: Resides in Montane forest. Illustration by Elizabeth Hacker.
Caption: Blue-gray gnatcatcher: Nests in the Montane shrublands. Illustration by Elizabeth Hacker.
Caption: Mountain plover: Once seen on grazing land in association with prairie dogs. Illustration by Elizabeth Hacker.
Elizabeth Hacker can be reached at email@example.com.
High Altitude Nature and Gardening (HANG):Trees use their forest wisdom; two-week compost for gardens
By Janet Sellers
What do trees eat? Mother Nature’s forests have a wonderful history (millions of years) of creating soil just right for the local trees and species. Growth and decay are the cycle of life: The trees drop branches, wood, leaves, and sticks, and all manner of things begin their decay cycle on the forest floor and create not only mulch but the soil and specific nutrients that the forests’ trees and plants will need, as well as the helpful interspecies support for wildlife.
We’ve had free wood-chipping days after local fire mitigation efforts—you can make a garden from this! First, put down some cardboard or newspapers—even on top of grass—in the area that you want to get growing, layer wood chips 3 to 4 or more inches thick, and add aged compost (store-bought soil is pretty sterile, so amend it with overnight compost teas: compost soaked in water, banana peel tea, etc.). Then plant seeds or plantlets and nestle with a thick pine straw (needle) mulch. Water as needed.
Start seedlings of squash, cucumbers, and corn, using 60-day seed-to-crop varieties. "Spank the stalks" with a stick to get corn to pollinate (also good for tomatoes), strengthening the stalks and roots like summer breezes would. I always seem to get more and bigger tomatoes when I do this. Works great for container crops, too, and helps pollinate flowers and set fruit.
Fill up a wheelbarrow or container with green clippings ("green nitrogen manures") and add orphaned potting soil, live compost, leaves or paper micro shreds or shredded cardboard ("brown carbon manures"), and veggie kitchen scraps; turn the concoction every other day. Keep it out of hot sun and rain, but sprinkle water so it’s slightly moist. If it gets cool, add grasses to start up microbes again. A good use for non-noxious green weed mitigation, too.
Microbes work in the decomposition process, multiplying with cellular action, creating soil via many generations of microbes. Wood chips/layerings allow for oxygen, facilitating microbe activity while keeping the system moist and aerated. Using only greens or kitchen scraps turns the ingredients into an anaerobic, stinky slime, requiring helpful materials like the carbon of leaves or newspaper to beget fungi for creating soil.
Stay tuned for my garden tips and demos at the new weekly Farmers/Artists Market on Southwinds Fine Art Gallery’s forested grounds; log in to Facebook’s Monument Community Garden page where I share these and other seasonal high-altitude gardening resources.
I’m helping with the Monument Community Garden on Beacon Lite Road this year. We’re demonstrating square-foot gardening, vertical gardening, sunflowers as a chemical barrier, and the ancient Southwestern Olla watering system of terracotta pots submerged in the soil. Come on by and say hi!
Warnings: Caption: The poisonous (chartreuse green) myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) is appearing locally again. This is a List A noxious weed and is designated by the Colorado Noxious Weed Act for eradication. If it’s growing in your yard, you are required to remove it. The plant contains a milky sap that can blister your skin and is poisonous if ingested. Wear protective clothing—rubber gloves are recommended; pull out the weeds by hand to best delete them. Do it upon seeing the plant—seeds last eight years in soil, and the plant can spew the seeds up to 15 feet. Caption: Also, beware of deadly poison hemlock: smooth green and purple blotchy hollow stems that grow 2 to 6 feet tall. It looks a lot like Queen Anne’s lace. To differentiate, remember, "Queen Anne has hairy legs."
Janet Sellers is an avid lazy gardener, aka permaculture and food forest models for gardens. Send in your handy HANG tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art Matters:Art and nature: how we shape our wellbeing
By Janet Sellers
Every pinecone, every pine needle, and every tree has the wisdom of life and the will to thrive within it. The common pinecone is a time-traveling vehicle and carries within it the past, present, and future in its seeds; there is a wisdom and knowing within this life form.
In botanical illustrations, artists attempt to show what they see and what they think is the gist of the nature of their subject as accurately as possible. In fine art, we know we cannot create the natural life form and cannot even effectively "copy" it, yet the inspiration nature offers as the spirit of life in our rapport with her is what engages artists to make something. In fine art, artists strive to feel and portray the spirit of their impulse with a deep response to it.
Visual attention is the foundation for imagination and ideas, and thereby involvement with ideas, planning, and fulfillment of plans. Visual attention and ideas are even considered the new social and financial economy by industry and advertising. Visual art, as attention holder, is the basis for billions of commerce dollars in digital visual industries via games, photography, software, movies, and printed matter.
At Stanford University, the visual studies programs have changed to include visual culture and the relationship of ethnicity and cultural impact and their impact on local and global society from visual media in terms of art, film, and media. This change from art history as a study of archaeological or mere object interest to a much more lively spirit of ethnic visual awareness indicates a change of heart in academia as well as contemporary society, and of course commerce.
In this current social awakening, we now understand that both our ethnoecology (the study of human knowledge, perception, classification, and management by people in their environment) and our cognitive awareness are shaped by our environment. We have educated our minds and learned to recognize manmade environments and their influence upon us. Still, our neurology is made to relate first to the influences of nature all around us, and it is nature that balances and helps mend our neurological and mental health.
Our ancient cultures in Europe and the Americas understood this and used nature for all manner of health practices, from breathing the forest air to days of forest living and engagement. We are seeing a return to this powerful mending of the spirit and body in the ever-increasing interest in forest bathing, or forest atmosphere immersion as a health therapy known by the Japanese term "Shin-rin-yoku." It is not walks and hikes or other exercise but people visiting the forests and nature for this restorative purpose.
We can benefit from this practice in our local forests amid the culturally modified trees (CMT) of which many were created to show the way to the natural mending of our minds and bodies. We are especially fortunate to live amid these Native American ancient living treasures that are hidden in plain sight, in our own backyards for some. We can go out locally and see amazing culturally modified trees and rock formations, forms of extraordinary beauty. They are not just aesthetically beautiful, they provide connectedness to nature through our five senses connecting us via our senses to the natural world and thereby actually changing and improving our physical and mental health. Our local Native American heritage ceremonial landscapes include rock formations with deep meanings regarding Native American sacred sites.
June Art Events
Let’s get off the couch and support our local art at these local venues, too:
Art Hop is June 21 and on third Thursdays all summer long in downtown historic Monument, 5 to 8 p.m.
Bella Art and Frame Gallery offers an exhibit of its member artists, 183 Washington St., Monument.
Bliss Gallery features sculptures by Jodie Bliss and guest artists, 243 Washington St., Monument.
Palmer Lake Art Group 2018 Color Splash Art Show, May 29-June 22, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105 Palmer Lake.
Janet Sellers is a local artist, writer, and public art sculptor. Her artworks are exhibited in Colorado museums, galleries, and at the university level. Contact her at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Snapshots of Our Community
Memorial Day Traditions
Caption: Annabelle Abair places a flag in the Monument Cemetery. The auxiliary to the MSG William J. Crawford Post 7829 of Monument has an active Youth Group that is dedicated and eager to help military veterans. Seventeen kids, ages 16 and under, took time May 26 to learn about the traditions of Memorial Day. The group placed 112 flags in the Monument Cemetery in preparation for the Monument Memorial Day Ceremony. Then on May 28, hundreds of family and community members attended the Memorial Day service at the cemetery. Many of the Youth Group members also help during Buddy Poppy Days to raise money for various programs the auxiliary holds throughout the year to honor veterans. Photo by Chrystal Abair.
Higby Estates Firewise
Caption: Higby Estates residents attended a Firewise demonstration and barbecue lunch at a homeowner’s property on April 28. The demonstration was conducted by Dave Root of the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) as he led the group in a walk around the property, explaining Firewise guidelines for homeowners to reduce wildfire risks to their home and surrounding property and to improve the wildfire preparedness and safety for the entire community. Also, John Anderson presented information about Ute Prayer Trees in the area, urging residents to avoid damaging or removing these trees when mitigating if possible. Higby Estates has been a recognized Firewise USA Community since 2014, and the community’s Firewise programs are coordinated by its Wildfire Mitigation Team. Besides the Firewise demonstration, other Firewise programs include an annual inspection of the Higby Estates forest by CSFS for insects, disease, and mitigation progress, and a slash chipping day every May. Contact David.Root@colostate.edu for information. Photo by Sherry Saye. Caption by Higby Estates Wildfire Mitigation Team.
Caption: Every year, the Thunderbirds arrive in the skies over Colorado Springs for the Air Force Academy graduation. Locals flock to the nearest parking lot to watch them zoom by faster than the speed of sound. The AFA graduation was May 23, and "America’s Ambassadors in Blue" flew in a few days prior to practice for the show. The team is made up of 12 experienced fighter pilot officers and a slew of enlisted and civilian personnel on the ground. Six F-16 aircraft fly over our skies, performing amazing aerial maneuvers in formations with planes flying a foot away from one another. In the solos, two planes fly toward each other, turning in mid-air and pointing the noses straight up, trapping the powerful sound and rumbling feel of the afterburners and sending the sound into the valley below. Photo by Allison Robenstein
Palmer Lake chipping day
Caption: Local Palmer Lake citizens brought their slash wood cuttings, including fire mitigation cuttings, to the Palmer Lake chipping day, a free event in Palmer Lake on May 5. The wood chips were available after the chipping day for use in gardens as free mulch, which not only keeps out unwanted weeds but helps hold in moisture and recreates soil in situ via the natural method of the forest. This event was sponsored and chipping work done by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, whose mission is to protect the water quality and ecological health of the Upper South Platte Watershed. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Taste of Tri-Lakes Cares
Caption: Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) held a Taste of Tri-Lakes Cares benefit May 9 at the Flying Horse Ranch Event Center. Local chefs and restaurants cooked tasting meals for the hundreds in attendance. Each chef was given a list of basket ingredients and asked to make a meal using all of them, ala Food Network’s TV show Chopped. The foods—spaghetti, potatoes, canned green beans, and others—all came from what the TLC pantry offers to its customers. People waiting in lines at the various stations happily ate offerings and chatted about their favorites. Photo by Jackie Burhans. Caption by Allison Robenstein.
Wildfire defense tactics
Caption: The Neighborhood Wildfire Preparedness meeting at Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Station 1 on May 12 asked, "Are you ready?" Speakers organized by the El Paso County Office of Emergency Management explained how residents must do things differently because we live in the "wildland-urban interface."
To protect homes, we prevent natural wildfires from cleaning forests. Property owners need to do that forest management work now, including brush clearing and tree thinning. Michelle Connelly, operations director of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, said, "The ponderosa forest we have right now, with 300 trees per acre, is not natural or sustainable." Instead, a healthier number would be 50 trees per acre.
TLMFPD Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner warned of the severe drought and wildfire risk forecast for the next few months and asked everyone to make their properties more defensible against wildfire. He reminded everyone to register each of their cell phones for "reverse 9-1-1" notifications at elpasoteller911.org. See related 2018 drought map with Donala article on page 13.
Community Emergency Response Training volunteers explained "defensible space" (see diagram) and how it can improve a home’s survivability after the occupants have evacuated from an area with an active wildfire. They explained how to "harden" their homes against blowing ember storms by making educated choices on roofing and other building materials.
Dave Root of the Woodland Park Field Office of the Colorado State Forest Service informed people how to organize their neighborhoods, create Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and obtain grants and new strategies to cut back flammable vegetation and reduce fuel. Contact him for support at David.Root@colostate.edu.
For all the workshop information, visit https://publicworks.elpasoco.com/wp-content/uploads/OEM/EventMaterials/Wildfire-Workshop-Further-Information.pdf.
Questers donate to WMMI
Caption: On May 11, the local Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Questers chapter presented a $5,000 check to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry to be used for the windows restoration in the Reynolds House. This historic 1890s Victorian farmhouse is undergoing a major renovation project, funded in part by the Colorado State Historical Fund. The museum is responsible for 25 percent of the funding; the Questers donation is part of the museum’s dollars for the work. Front row, from left: Cindi Ryan, Marlene McGrath, J.T., Phillis Bonser, and Rick Sauers. Back row, from left: Geri Becker, Andi Harris, Sara James, Millie Townes, Paula Johnson, and Cindy Deem. Photo courtesy of WMMI.
Gleneagle Sertoma Hearing Expo
Caption: Gleneagle Sertoma partnered with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Colorado Springs chapter, for the second year offering their Hear It Here Expo at Library 21C in Colorado Springs. It featured audiologists, hearing assistive device providers, and hands-on experience with equipment available for personal use. Sertoma and HLAA share the common goal of volunteer community service with an emphasis on hearing health. Photo courtesy of Gleneagle Sertoma.
Mother’s Day Purse Party
Caption: Local senior ladies enjoyed a day out May 18 with a variety of games and prizes that rounded out the Mother’s Day Purse Party luncheon event. It created a fun opportunity to share laughs and surprise gifts in honor of moms and Mother’s Day. Photo by Janet Sellers.
WMMI hosts Machinery Days
On May 19 and 20, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) hosted the Pikes Peak Antique Machinery Days in collaboration with the Arkansas Valley Flywheelers, Front Range Antique Power Association, and Pikes Peak Model A Ford Club. Visitors saw the operation of a variety of small to rather large machines powered by gas, diesel, and compressed air. Caption: A tractor pull along with the museum operating its Osgood steam shovel, H.K. Porter trammer, and Yellow Jacket Stamp Mill were the highlights of the event. Visitors could also tour the historic Reynolds Ranch House to learn about present and future renovations to the structure and its importance to local history. Information on upcoming events at the museum is at www.wmmi.org. Photo by David Futey.
Caption: Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm spring weather and inspired by the Downtown Monument Revitalization project, Marylee Reseig and John Howe created a colorful combination of columbine, geraniums, delphiniums, petunias and pansies to enhance the budding perennials they planted last year. Downtown Monument Revitalization is a collaboration of local representatives from the town, chamber, small and large businesses, and other participants to build a stronger community and improve economic development. Many events are planned this summer to bring more residents downtown. To learn more, go to www.facebook.com/DowntownMonument/. Photo by Mike Wicklund.
New Palmer Lake dock
Caption: On May 28, Palmer Lake dedicated a new launch dock for paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks at the lake’s north end, convenient to the north parking lot, which boating visitors are requested to use. Boaters and floaters are required to have a life jacket for each person. The next day, Paddle for Parks held a "Whatever floats, not a boat" celebration, including auction items and a flotilla of paddleboards, kayaks, and amusing floaties, to commemorate the new dock and do fundraising for Town of Palmer Lake parks, which are undergoing major improvements. See http://awakepalmerlake.org for more information. Photo by Janet Sellers.
First 2018 Art Hop
Caption: Wood turner Rick Squires, left, and sculptor Jodie Bliss greet gallery visitors on the first Art Hop evening of the year May 17 at Bliss Studios in historic Monument. The summer season event held on the third Thursday of each month from May through September (i.e., June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20) is sponsored by the Historic Monument Merchants Association. More Information is posted at www.monumentarthop.org. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Caption: On May 15, Stuart Coppedge, lead architect for RTA Architects, spoke about the future Summit House at Pikes Peak in an Outpourings event. The summit, which sees around 600,000 visitors per year and this project required coordinating among a large number of stakeholders. June 4 is the official groundbreaking for the new complex, with construction expected to last three to four years.
He talked about the design team’s effort to improve the visitor experience, preserve the beloved high-altitude donuts, and meet the unique construction challenges and resource strategies to provide services at 14,115 feet above sea level. The design goes beyond the LEED environmental design rating system with a goal of meeting the Living Building Challenge, which focuses on net zero water and electricity use and focuses on restoration. Coppedge considers his role as a career-defining challenge and a true honor. The general contractor for the project is local company GE Johnson.
The project has coordinated with other events such as the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent and the Hill Climb to make sure that those events can continue during the construction process. Most summit visitors will use a new free mandatory shuttle service while the parking lot is being used for construction vehicles. Existing services and trails will remain available. More information on the progress of this project can be found at http://bit.ly/pp-summit.
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 and caption by Jackie Burhans.
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.
Slash-Mulch season underway
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) until Sept. 9. Mulch will be available through Sept. 8 or when mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost for slash is $2 per load. The mulch loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024; or the County Environmental Division, 520-7878.
Stage I Fire Restrictions
Continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for continued dry and warmer-than-normal conditions have resulted in very high to extreme fire danger ratings. Stage I Fire Restrictions are now in effect for all the unincorporated areas of El Paso County, effective immediately. The following are prohibited:
1. Open burning, excepting fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
2. The sale or use of fireworks.
3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Violations of Stage I Restrictions may result in a fine of up to $600. For more information, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. The mayor of Palmer Lake has imposed Stage II fire restrictions, which appear to be the same, except that violations of Stage II fire restrictions may result in a fine up to $1,000.
Town of Monument water restrictions
For customers of Town of Monument Water, restrictions are in place through Sept. 30. While restrictions are in place, please adhere to the following watering schedule:
• Even numbered buildings: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
• Odd numbered buildings: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
• There is no watering on Sundays.
• Watering is allowed only before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Sod permits are available by calling 884-8037.
If you do not reside within the town of Monument, check with your water district about specific restrictions.
Children’s Literacy Center needs volunteers
The Children’s Literacy Center is seeking 20 volunteers (age 14+) to do individual tutoring for six weeks this summer, helping children across Colorado "build a life of success through a foundation of literacy…ONE child at a time." All volunteers are trained to used CLC’s Peak Reader® curriculum – no background in education is required. June 19 through July 26, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Monument Library. Contact Program Director Pamela Polke, 719-471-8672 ext. 1.
Black Forest Together needs your vote
Black Forest Together is still helping the community recover from the catastrophic fire of 2013, and with the help of John Deere and Black Forest resident Neil Behnke, they hope to win a skid steer that will assist in both removing burned trees and transplanting trees for reforestation and wildlife habitat restoration. The Black Forest project video has made it to the top three community recovery projects. Everyone is encouraged to view the video and vote for Neil and Black Forest Together. Winning the contest will significantly help in the recovery of the Black Forest. One vote per email address per day will be accepted between June 4 and June 18 at http://deere.com/Impact.
Tri-Lakes Y Summer Swim Camps
For children 6-12 years old, Mon.-Thu. sessions through Aug. 2, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost: $95 members/$120 non-members. Financial assistance is available. For more information, call 481-8728 or stop by the YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument. See ad on page 6.
2018 Monochrome Photography Show Call to Artists, apply by July 23
The 2018 Monochrome Photography show is sponsored by the Palmer Divide Photographers Group and the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Entries for the juried show will be open through July 23. Entry forms, rules, and a complete calendar of events for the show can be found at www.pdphotographers.com.
Recycle old phones and tablets
Legacy Sertoma is collecting old smart phones and cell phones, and old iPads for recycling. Collection boxes are located at the Palmer Lake Post Office, Serrano’s Coffee Company, the Air Academy Federal Credit Union in Monument, and the Community Banks of Colorado (formerly Peoples) branches in Gleneagle and downtown Colorado Springs. This program is not only a fundraiser for Sertoma but is designed to keep all those rare-earth metals out of landfills. Call Denny Myers at 481-4189 for pick up.
County seeks nominations for Veteran of the Year, nominations due Aug. 15
El Paso County is seeking nominations for the Second Annual Veteran of the Year Award. Nominees should have demonstrated exemplary military service, community service, and support for veterans in the community. Full nomination guidelines and forms can be found at www.elpasoco.com/county-seeks-nominations-veteran-year.
Perform with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, enter by Oct. 17
Pikes Peak Music Teachers Association (PPMTA) of Colorado Springs and Gary Nicholson, Colorado Springs Youth Symphony director, have created a new Piano Concerto Competition for students living in the Tri-Lakes, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo areas. The winner will perform with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony in its Winter Concert in 2019 and may be eligible for a $500 summer camp scholarship to either Lamont School of Music, Denver, or the International Summer Academy of Music in Ochsenhausen, Germany. For more information, contact Barbara Taylor, competition chair, for entry forms, repertoire, and competition information at 648-3844, BarbaraTaylor.PPMTA.President@gmail.com, www.PPMTA.org.
Meals on Wheels by Silver Key
If you’re a homebound senior age 60 or older, you might qualify to receive meals delivered to your home through Silver Key. To register or volunteer, call 884-2370.
Free services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. Call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Residence vacation check
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will conduct vacation checks of homes of county residents who are on vacation. This is a great way to add security to your home when you’re away for multiple days. Either a deputy or trained volunteer will visit your home while you’re away and check it periodically. To add your home to their schedule, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. Info: 520-7151.
Our Community Calendar
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
For information on library events, see the library events column and visit www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Home About Advertise Archive Calendar Contact Donate Help Links Maps Subscribe Topics Updates
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2023 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.