The article, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Oct. 14: Water line replacement planned, incorrctly identifies a water line replacement planned for Scrub Oak Way. The correct location is Scrub Oak Circle, which intersects Scrub Oak Way but is a different road. We apologize for any confusion this error might have caused.
The article, Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District, Oct. 23: Part-timers become full-time; Flying Horse North lacks hydrants, has an incorrect statement in the section on the 2020 proposed budget. It incorrectly states, "BFFRPD operates on 59.75% of the budget to ensure revenue is available in the first quarter of the year." It should have read, "The total compensation (wages and benefits) for employees is 59.75% of the entire budget." We apologize for any confusion this error might have caused.
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 45 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Oct. 23 to present a lifesaving award, discuss services for residents holding estate sales or attending funerals, and provide director updates. Board members Lee Hanson and Per Suhr were absent.
Officer saves lives
Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) Chief Kevin Nielsen and Public Safety Director Brad Gleason presented a plaque and token of appreciation to Officer Karl Schill. In the early hours of Sept. 24, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) was dispatched to a local residence for a possible cardiac arrest. Schill arrived within two minutes and took over CPR. When paramedics arrived, the patient was not breathing and had no pulse. Schill continued with CPR and, as the paramedics were about to cancel efforts, the patient took a deep breath and regained a pulse. Due to Schill’s immediate response and actions, the patient survived. TLMFPD also recognized Schill with a lifesaving coin for his actions.
Safety during estate sales, funerals
Gleason encouraged residents to contact WPS if they or family members are having an estate sale in Woodmoor. He recounted an attempted break-in the night before an advertised estate sale and said such sales are considered easy targets because the houses are usually unoccupied. WPS will put the house on a directed patrol in the time leading up to the sale, similar to a vacation check.
Similarly, he noted that WPS will have an officer positioned to keep an eye on the homes of residents who are attending funerals, which are also publicly advertised.
• President Brian Bush apologized for the WIA email system being down for several days in October and encouraged residents to resend emails sent between Oct. 21 and 24 if they do not receive a response.
• Bob Pearsall, WIA architectural control administrator, noted that the recent hailstorm has increased project requests that now exceed last year’s numbers.
• The board unanimously approved Vice President Peter Bille’s motion to instruct the board attorney to seek a default judgment from the court in case 833.2.121.
• Homeowners’ Association Administrator Denise Cagliaro said WIA has received two nominations for the three open board positions. Nominations are due by Nov. 30.
• The draft 2020 budget will be available on the website at http://www.woodmoor.org/budget-statements ahead of the next board meeting, where it will be presented for approval.
Caption: WIA board Director of Public Safety Brad Gleason, left, and WPS Chief Kevin Nielsen, right, present a Life-Saving Award to WPS Officer Karl Schill, center, for his quick response and successful CPR on a Woodmoor resident. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting has been moved to Nov. 20 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) approved, on Oct. 21, an extension to the existing moratorium on kratom sales with the intent to sign an ordinance to ban its sale entirely at the next regular meeting. After an executive session, the board agreed to transfer property interests to Forest Lakes in exchange for the rights to two well sites. The trustees also approved stormwater impact fee increases and heard a presentation about the I-25 Gap project.
Trustee Greg Coopman was absent.
Trustees want to ban kratom sales soon
Acting Police Chief Mark Owens had planned to ask the board to approve an emergency ordinance prohibiting the sale of substances containing kratom to minors and adoption of a new chapter 8.34 to the Monument Municipal Code titled Kratom Regulations.
In Owens’ absence, Acting Police Commander Sgt. Jonathon Hudson presented Owens’ request, providing additional information for the BOT to consider, saying last Wednesday night that the town of Parker banned all sales of kratom. He said Denver city and county noted it is legal but "not intended for human consumption."
Background: During the May 20 BOT meeting, the board approved a 180-day moratorium on the sale of kratom at the request of then Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk. The original moratorium expires on Nov. 15.
The board packet explained that kratom includes any products made from mitragyna speciose, mitragynine, or 7-hydroxymitragynine or their derivatives. As of 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency has called kratom "an imminent hazard to public safety." This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement providing evidence of 91 deaths, from July 2016 to December 2017, where kratom was listed as a cause of death.
An additional ordinance was handed out to the board by Town Clerk Laura Hogan, and was available online after the meeting as a secondary board packet, extending by 60 more days the existing mortarium on "the submission, acceptance and issuance of business licenses to businesses selling kratom pending the survey for, development, and adoption of potential regulations."
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein asked if in Hudson’s opinion the substance should be banned fully, to which Hudson replied, "In my opinion, from what I have read over the last four days, yes," but he noted he was unaware of Owens’ opinion.
Hudson said there are numerous studies including one done by the Tri-County Health Department in which the chief doctor strongly recommended a ban on sales.
Trustee Ron Stephens wanted to amend the request and made an immediate motion for an emergency ordinance to ban all kratom sales in Monument. The motion eventually failed because in order to approve emergency ordinances, "yes" votes by six trustees are required, but Mayor Don Wilson voted against. Two motions were unanimously approved to continue the moratorium for new businesses selling kratom indefinitely and directing the attorney to draft an ordinance fully banning the sale of kratom to both minors and adults that will be heard at the Nov. 18 meeting.
Forest Lakes water resolution
After a brief executive session to discuss the settlement of recent litigation with Forest Lakes, the board returned to the public meeting to approve an emergency ordinance transferring interests in real property in exchange for two well site easements to be used by the town in its acquisition of water. This means the town will vacate its blanket easement for portions of the property known as Forest Lakes PUD II development.
Background: The board was first told of the issue at the Feb. 4 meeting when Town Attorney Joseph Rivera said he had to write a hasty objection regarding "reservation of rights" to subterranean water beneath the development that had been deeded to the town in the 1980s. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#mbot0219.
Trustee Jim Romanello made a motion to instruct the town manager to cause the town to enter into a stipulated dismissal under terms discussed in executive sessions, but he did not elaborate.
I-25 Gap project updates are positive
Paul Neiman, resident engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), gave an update on the I-25 Gap project.
Neiman delivered two new pieces of information. First, the southbound truck acceleration lane will extend up and over Monument Hill all the way to the port of entry. This will require the current County Line Road bridge to be removed. Next, he said an addition to the project will be redesigning that bridge to include four lanes with protected left-turn lanes. Town Manager Mike Foreman asked if the town could have input into the design of the bridge since it’s an entry point into the town of Monument. Neiman said he would request architectural improvements.
Neiman said during large snow events, CDOT will stage equipment where possible, and speeds through the gap will be reduced using portable variable speed limit signs.
Neiman said a big goal of the project is to increase the size of the shoulders on either side of driving lanes to provide access to emergency vehicles. The left shoulder will be 15 feet wide and the right will be 12 feet wide. He said buses will be allowed to use the express lanes to improve their chance of on-time arrivals.
He said 8-foot-high deer fencing has been installed along 24 miles of roadway to funnel wild animals to one of four wildlife crossings that go below the road rather than having them cross over the roadways.
To install one of the four 100-foot-wide spans for wildlife crossings, portions of Monument Hill Road near Palmer Ridge High School will be inaccessible for six months starting in 2020.
Trustee Laurie Clark asked if more cameras will be added to the interactive maps. Neiman said the area is very well covered, and anyone can access them through cotrip.org, so only two new cameras will be installed.
Romanello said, "I understand the toll lane, but as a businessman and a citizen, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous there aren’t three full lanes."
For more information on the Gap Project, text I25Gap to 21000 to get alerts or visit their Facebook page @I25SouthGapProject.
Stormwater drainage fees updated
Planning Director Larry Manning asked the board to impose higher stormwater drainage fees to replenish the Stormwater Impact Drainage Fund, which was established to make improvements to the drainage systems. Background: See section on decaying drainage infrastructure in www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#mbot.
Clark asked if developers with previously approved annexation agreements should be grandfathered in and pay the lower amount to which they agreed in their annexation documents. Manning said the signed annexation agreements already note developers agree to pay any increased fees.
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said the town was able to use El Paso County’s studies rather than having to pay for studies itself. Foreman said the last time these rates increased was 2002, and commended Manning for setting the fees comparable to towns around Monument.
ProTerra Properties Director of Development Charlie Williams asked for a "delay on voting on these increases for stakeholder input." ProTerra is the developer of Wagons West. He added that normally fees are based on the impervious area of a development including the home and streets, and not based upon the cost to build each house as Manning had suggested this ordinance will do.
The ordinance was approved 5-1 with Clark voting no.
Jackson Creek North approval
Senior Planner Jennifer Jones requested approval of a Site Plan and Final Plat for Jackson Creek North Filing No. 2. The 85-lot subdivision will include detached single-family homes on 26 acres.
The Monument Planning Commission heard the request at its Oct. 9 meeting where several members of the public and Commissioner Chris Wilhelmi expressed concern over the additional traffic on Bowstring Road when it is connected to Higby Road. Jones told the board the extension of Bowstring Road will be in a future filing and shouldn’t be considered tonight. See the Planning Commission article on page 9.
Jones told the board the filing had been presented to the Development Review Team, a newly formed group intended to streamline projects by bringing all the stakeholders into one room.
The ordinance passed unanimously.
The meeting went into executive session at 8:11 p.m. and resumed at 8:35. The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Caption: Nathan Asiu was recognized as August employee of the month for his initiative in gathering data. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish said Asiu is collecting data to create a water-system distribution map that will be available to town staff and the public. From left are Tom Tharnish, Mike Foreman, and Nathan Asiu. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Caption: Senior Planner Jennifer Jones announced the recognition of Theresa Rust in the Planning Department as September employee of the month. Rust handles administrative tasks and all planning permits and has led a cooperative effort with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. Town Manager Mike Foreman said she is a great example of improved customer service. From left are Jones, Foreman, and Rust. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Nov. 18. There is no meeting scheduled for Nov. 4 because of election processing at the Town Hall.
Call 719-884-8014 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 email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
During October, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a preliminary plan for the Abert Ranch subdivision in Black Forest. The commissioners also held initial hearings for the 2020 preliminary budget.
Abert Ranch subdivision
At the Oct. 8 BOCC meeting, the commissioners approved 4-0, and without further discussion, a preliminary plan request for the Abert Ranch subdivision. Commissioner Mark Waller was absent. The 40.0-acre property, zoned RR-2.5 (residential rural), is north of Hodgen Road, south of Silver Nell Drive, west of Steppler Road, and east of the Walden development. It is within the Northern Grasslands portion of the Black Forest Preservation Plan area.
The approved plan authorizes the development of 10 single-family lots and 3.85 acres of right of way, with a minimum lot size of 2.5 acres. Lots at the eastern boundary will be a minimum of 5 acres. Access will be via the Grandview and Settlers View developments. The developer will make a financial contribution toward the cost of paving Steppler Road north of Silver Nell Drive.
Now that BOCC has approved the request with a finding for water sufficiency and adequate public improvements at the preliminary plan stage, amendments to the county’s Land Development Code, which came into effect on Sept. 1, allow the executive director of Planning and Community Development to approve all subsequent final plat requests. This means that there will be no final plat public hearings for this subdivision.
The BOCC’s decision echoed that of the El Paso County Planning Commission, which voted unanimously to recommend the application for approval at its Sept. 17 meeting. See www.ocn.me/v19n10.htm#epcpc.
Preliminary balanced budget
The El Paso County Financial Services Department presented the preliminary balanced budget at the Oct. 3 BOCC meeting.
The $385.6 million budget includes $127.8 million in discretionary revenue that the BOCC will distribute to provide core services such as public safety and infrastructure. The remainder goes to projects and programs set by state or federal law or other restrictions that the commissioners cannot alter.
Highlights of the preliminary budget include critical facility infrastructure maintenance and increased funding for the county’s Veteran’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, and Pre-Trial Services. It includes an approximate $4 million TABOR refund to property taxpayers.
El Paso County Controller Nikki Simmons said, "Even though the economy is doing well, we have a very tight budget in 2020. We will be focusing on the TABOR refund and covering basic services."
As part of the budget setting process, county departments and offices presented their critical needs to the commissioners at the Oct. 15 and 17 BOCC meetings. Further budget hearings are scheduled for Nov. 14 and Dec. 10, and members of the public are encouraged to attend these meetings to express their views on the budget allocations. The preliminary balanced budget can be viewed on the county website at https://admin.elpasoco.com/financial-services/budget-finance/county-budget/.
Struthers Road/ Gleneagle Drive intersection project
At their Oct. 8 meeting, the commissioners approved a memorandum of agreement, a non-exclusive permanent easement, and a temporary construction easement agreement for the Struthers Road/Gleneagle Drive intersection project. The easements are coming from property owner MPCOS LLC at a cost of $35,016.
The project, which will see a roundabout constructed in place of the current four-way stop, also includes drainage work and pedestrian improvements, both at the intersection and along the northeast side of Struthers Road. County is funding the project. Work began in late June and is due to be completed this December.
• Oct. 1—The commissioners approved a purchase order to Michael Baker International Inc. for civil engineering design services for the Beacon Lite Road Improvements Project at a cost not to exceed $407,196.
• Oct. 8—The commissioners ratified submittal of a grant application to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for $30,000 toward the planning of three miles of new trails at Fox Run Regional Park. The total project budget is $52,967. The county plans to contribute $20,000 from regional park fees, with the remaining $2,967 coming as an in-kind match of staff time.
Caption: The Struthers Road/Gleneagle Drive intersection project. Map courtesy of Crystal Peak Design.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
At the Oct. 7 Monument Board of Trustees meeting, the board agreed to continue the hearing on the same proposal regarding Home Place Ranch that failed due to a lack of a motion last month. Also, Town Manager Mike Foreman announced the town is searching for a police chief, and the board approved a land annexation petition for Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) and made final preparations to hire a staff attorney.
Home Place Ranch second hearing, same topic
Town Attorney Joseph Rivera asked the board to continue the hearing presentation by Home Place Ranch developers Goodwin-Knight for possible approval of a Preliminary/Final PD Site plan for phase 1.
Background: At the Sept. 16 BOT meeting, the board heard a lengthy request by developers to approve the Preliminary/Final PD Site Plan for Home Place Ranch Phase 1, which would be a 130-acre, 300-home development. The trustees asked many questions of the developer that indicated several areas of concern with the project as proposed. No trustees made a motion on the proposal, so Mayor Don Wilson said it failed due to lack of a vote. See https://ocn.me/v19n10.htm#mbot.
However, Rivera told the board that in its quasi-judicial role, it must make clear the reasons it is rendering decisions and the basis upon which it was decided, and based on town code 2.04.030 the board is required to either vote to approve, approve with conditions, or fail (vote against).
Rivera gave the board two options: explain why there was no motion at the Sept. 16 meeting or reopen the hearing at the request of the developers.
Trustee Greg Coopman asked, "The questions this board asked during the public hearing didn’t give a clear enough picture of the concerns these trustees had?" Rivera replied, "Reasonable people could disagree as to the disposition at the last meeting" and suggested making the record clearer with a vote. Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein said the topic was tabled because of issues with drainage and emergency exits that the board felt were impeding the safety of the future residents and those in neighboring communities.
Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott asked if they would be hearing anything new from the developer, or would it be the same presentation, but Rivera said he couldn’t say for sure. She expressed hope that the developers would consider public and board comments from Sept. 16’s meeting.
Trustees Laurie Clark and Ron Stephens voted against allowing the rehearing, with no reason given, but it passed 5-2. The new hearing is set for Nov. 18.
TLMFPD land annexation process begins
TLMFPD is requesting the land where Station 1 is located to be annexed into the town. Fire Chief Chris Truty told the board the Fire Department plans to construct an addition to the building and renovate the crew’s sleeping quarters. The fire station sits on one acre, one-half mile west of Beacon Lite Road on the north side of Highway 105. The land is contiguous to the town on the north and east sides.
On Aug. 9, the Petition for Annexation was filed with the town. Mayor Don Wilson asked about the benefits to the town in annexing this land, but Planning Director Larry Manning said the town is only obligated to annex and did not see any benefits to the town.
Truty told the board the process of approving permits with the county is complicated. "In the past few years, since we’ve worked to improve relationships, I would rather work with the town with regard to this expansion and future projects," he said.
The request for the annexation hearing was unanimously approved and was set for the Nov. 18 regular board meeting.
Town attorney staff position posting should be out soon
During the July 15 regular meeting, the board had suggested the town begin looking for a full-time attorney because using contract legal services is putting them $70,000 over budget. Foreman said an attorney who works onsite is more effective for the staff, so the board directed him to put together the requirements for a full-time attorney position.
Background: In the past, the town has used both on-staff and contract attorneys. Attorney Gary Shupp was the town’s "contract attorney" for at least 15 years. In 2017, the trustees suddenly replaced Shupp with "staff attorney" Alicia Corley, who was not reappointed. The town had no legal counsel until it finally appointed Rivera as the town’s "contract attorney" in December 2018. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#mbot.
Since then, Foreman directed HR Director Robert Bishop to develop the position’s job description in conjunction with the board. The process now is complete, and they can begin looking for a full-time position to start in 2020.
Steve Fleisher expressed concern over acting Police Chief Mark Owens’ possible wrongdoing during a recent call for service to his home. Referencing an Aug. 29 article on KKTV 11, Fleisher said El Paso County Sheriff’s officers responded to a domestic dispute call at Owens’ home, which sits outside the town of Monument. When the sheriff’s deputies arrived, on- and off-duty Monument police officers were present. Fleisher was concerned that Mrs. Owens may have been "denied the protection she needed when she called 911." Fleisher encouraged the board to review the situation and urged the town to take the matter seriously.
Volunteers receive recognition
Town Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek headed up a project for the town’s 140th birthday party June 15 in which volunteers interviewed longtime residents about their memories of Monument. John Howe, Sharon Williams, Michael Weinfeld, Susan Miner, and Linda Case collected stories, while volunteer Sandy Coyne gave historic tours of downtown.
Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) Executive Director Haley Chapin recognized Monument as the 2019 Community Collaborative Partner award recipient. She said the "Town of Monument has stepped up and helped us in a variety of areas," including packing snack bags, moving equipment, and Spanish interpretation. Foreman recognized all the staff who volunteered their time to TLC.
Jennifer Cunningham, owner of Gallery 132, told the board the second annual Cirque de Monument was held on June 2. The free event included a variety of local vendors and public arts. It raised money for the Fire and Police Departments in Monument. Acting Police Chief Mark Owens was presented with a check for $1,200 to purchase equipment. Cunningham said money was already donated to TLMFPD.
Checks over $5,000
• Common Knowledge Technology Inc.—managed services, $10,000.
• Mountain State Recreation Inc.—Monument Lake aeration system, $20,865.
• National Meter & Automation—residential water meters/transponders, $7,529.
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce—sponsorship, $5,000.
• Martin Marietta Materials—asphalt repairs, $21,000.
At 7:30 p.m., the board went into executive session to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of real, personal, or other property interest and CRS 24¬6¬402(4)(e). According to Town Clerk Laura Hogan, no votes were taken after the board returned to the regular meeting.
Caption: Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek (far left) recognized six volunteers who recorded stories of Monument for the town’s 140th birthday. From left are Michael Weinfeld, Susan Miner, Sharon Williams, and John Howe. Absent were Linda Case and Sandy Coyne. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Caption: Tri-Lakes Cares awarded the town its Community Collaborative Partner award for the time and effort put in by staff with the nonprofit. From left are Tri-Lakes Cares Executive Director Haley Chapin, Monument Town Manager Mike Foreman, and Community Relations Specialist Madeline VanDenHoek. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Caption: Gallery 132 owner Jennifer Cunningham presented the Monument Police Department with a check for $1,200 to purchase equipment. From left are acting Police Chief Mark Owens and Cunningham. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
One item was approved at the Oct. 9 Monument Planning Commission meeting: a Site Plan Application and Final Plat for Jackson Creek North, Filing No. 2. This proposal was considered by the Board of Trustees during the Oct. 21 meeting. See related Oct. 21 Monument Board of Trustees article on page 1.
Chairperson Michelle Glover and Commissioners Kenneth Kimple, Jeremy Lushnat, and Bill Lewis were absent from the meeting, which was led by Vice Chair John Dick.
A packet for the meeting can be located at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/. Recorded MPC meetings can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFLo8UcqZfFdkio5jT6GDA/videos.
Jackson Creek North, Filing No. 2 is located directly east of the Jackson Creek Senior Living facility and north of Harness Road. It comprises about 26 acres and will include 85 residential lots. A 1.3-acre park site is included in this filing, which has been approved by the Triview Metropolitan District and will be maintained by the Triview, along with all included roadways and tracts.
Questions from the MPC included the location of the park tract, how sidewalks are arranged throughout the development, and the future plans for surrounding roads. Public comments mainly focused on concerns about traffic, particularly surrounding school areas. A citizen also asked whether the Police Department had been notified about this project, and planner Jennifer Jones answered that the police were aware of all planning projects. Local agencies and schools are also alerted and offered the chance to comment.
When it came time to vote, Commissioner Steve King left a comment for the board: He understands that this project is consistent with adjacent properties, but he would like a minimum lot size to be instated in the future, preferably featuring lots larger than some of the ones in this filing. Commissioner Chris Wilhelmi requested that the public’s traffic concerns be relayed to the board. This item was approved unanimously, 5-0.
During the discussion of items not on the agenda, the same citizen who spoke about traffic concerns stated that consultants and developers are likely to think about how best to use the land and roadways for profit, but that it is the MPC’s job to shape that property for the community.
Later, Senior Planner Jennifer Jones offered announcements: first, that the board has proclaimed October "Community Planning Month," as is celebrated in other towns, and that it thanked the MPC in its public proclamation, and secondly that there is business planned for the Nov. 13 MPC meeting. Commissioners were encouraged to attend. Jones is also working to appoint some additional commissioners to serve in 2020, due to Dick’s term being up shortly and Lushnat potentially having to relinquish his place on the commission for employment reasons. Commissioner Melanie Strop will be moving out of Monument’s town limits, too, likely between April and June 2020. The new appointees will effectively join the MPC on Jan. 1, 2020. Applications for the MPC are online on the Town of Monument’s website.
Following the Oct. 9 meeting, there was a work session with the consultants that will help the town write its Land Development Code.
MPC meetings are generally held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
In October, water issues—both supply and drainage—demanded the council’s attention. At the Oct. 10 meeting, the council considered an application for a well and a proposal for a land swap that involved water rights issues. At the Oct. 24 meeting, the council briefly took up the drainage study that was begun following torrential rains that flooded parts of the town. At the same meeting, concerns were raised about the need to drill an additional well. The council also approved a bid to move a water line that is underneath the proposed location of the pedestrian bridge that will connect the town to the lake.
The council also considered a potential property donation to the town, started work on the 2020 budget, and proceeded with a long-term effort to update the town’s codes.
Well application approved
Town Manager Valerie Remington presented a well application from Louis and Mei Sass to the council. The application was out of the ordinary because the Sass residence is within town boundaries, which obligates the town to provide water, but outside the area served by the pipelines managed by Palmer Lake Water Department (PLWD). The State Engineer required the town’s consent before approving the Sasses’ application because the town has the right to use all groundwater under the Sasses’ lot.
Trustee Mark Schuler asked if the town was giving away water and Remington responded yes. Trustee Paul Banta summed up the issue by saying, "a pipe or a well; it’s that simple."
The council voted unanimously to approve the well application rather than extend the PLWD pipeline to service the Sasses’ property.
Proposed land swap raises issue of water rights
In September, resident Dean Couture proposed donating to the town four lots adjacent to Glen Park in return for land owned by the town. Remington pointed out in September the town’s land included water rights for an alluvial well. The council decided to ask the town’s water attorney if the town could retain the water rights if the exchange were to take place.
Banta told the council he felt the town’s water attorney and water engineer had both raised red flags about the water rights issues. He also said he was generally opposed to the town giving away land and that the proposed exchange provided little benefit to the town.
Trustee Gary Faust pointed out that the alluvial well, if drilled, has the potential to supply 100 gallons per minute and argued that amount of water justified further examination by the town’s water attorney and water engineer to resolve any disagreements.
Remington suggested having the water lawyer and water engineer attend the council’s first meeting in November to investigate the issue further.
Drainage study reviewed
At the Oct. 24 meeting, Remington reviewed for the council the drainage study that was prompted by torrential rains the town experienced in the spring. The study covered only one of the town’s four drainage basins, Remington said, adding that implementation of the recommendations was not included in the study.
Mayor John Cressman said implementation would cost $1 million, and those funds were not available. Cressman pointed out that easements to address drainage problems were not in place and that the project would require the use of eminent domain.
Remington said matching grants might be available from Colorado Department of Local Affairs to work on drainage issues but that those grants would require a storm water drainage fee to be assessed on the town’s residents.
The council decided to set up a workshop to continue the discussion.
Town may need additional well
In his comments at the Oct. 24 meeting, Banta expressed concern that the town may need to find $700,000 for an additional well. Schuler said that amount would have a "big impact" on the town’s finances. Banta asked Remington if it would be possible to use a bond to meet this need, and finance it by raising water fees.
Remington said she was looking at potential loans.
In response to a question from Banta, Town Attorney Maureen Juran said water fees could be raised at a Town Council meeting without the need to put the issue to the voters.
Bid approved to move water line
At a previous meeting, the council learned that a water line supplying some Palmer Lake businesses was underneath the proposed location of the pedestrian bridge that will connect the town to the lake. The council thought moving the pipeline could cost up to $75,000.
At the Oct. 24 meeting, the council approved a bid from Bradley Excavation for $16,997 to move the pipeline. Remington said the bid was lower than expected because the company was already working on a project nearby and would spend less to move the equipment needed to the work site.
The council voted unanimously to approve the bid.
Potential donation of property requires due diligence
Remington told the council that Living Word Chapel had proposed donating six acres of land near Highway 105 to the town. The land contained two structures, Remington said. She asked for direction from the council on this, and for funds to be allocated for due diligence on the donation.
The council asked Remington to get an offer in writing before proceeding.
Budget work session scheduled
At the Oct. 10 meeting, the council decided to hold a budget workshop on Oct. 22. Remington told the council that not all the financial data was available but that there was enough information to begin a discussion.
Update of town code underway
The council worked on updating the town’s codes at both the October meetings. The council is updating the code one chapter at a time and will vote to approve the entire code once the process is complete. Where the town’s code conflicts with state law, state law takes precedence, Juran said.
At the Oct. 24 meeting, the council changed the code to specify that mayors will serve for four years instead of two.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in November, on Nov. 11 and 25, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
By Allison Robenstein
On Oct. 9, the Citizens for a Better Palmer Lake group held its third meeting and hosted Palmer Lake Trustees Gary Faust, Glant Havenar, and Mark Schuler. Many topics were discussed, including statutory town requirements, municipal code updates, the new consultant fee reimbursement agreement, and budget concerns.
D38 school board member Chris Taylor also attended the meeting since he represents District 1, which covers Palmer Lake.
Flake told the trustees the town is frustrated by what they perceive as the lack of transparency by the board, saying, "We feel like you’re not listening."
Flake said the citizens’ group perceives the town manager and the town attorney to be running the town, which doesn’t reflect statutory town government requirements. According to Flake, the town is required to have a clerk, but they have not had one since Verla Bruner resigned. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#pltc. The town is in the hiring process, but Schuler said he worried the salary may be too low, indicating Mayor John Cressman had unilaterally reduced the salary for the clerk position.
The citizens’ group members wondered whether Town Attorney Maureen Juran had been advising the board in a way that doesn’t encourage citizens’ trust. Their issues included the following:
• The group asked if Juran had advised the board to start using Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency for their insurance.
• Because Juran is also the attorney for the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), the group asked if she had been the impetus for the possible Fire Department consolidation with TLMFPD.
The trustees told the group they are updating older municipal codes. Faust said the board can decide whether to enforce the codes if they don’t apply anymore, to which a number of people expressed unease. Resident Karen Stuth was concerned about codes being ignored, but as she spoke, Faust began chuckling. "You could be arrested. Do you think this is funny?" she asked. Faust answered, "I do a little bit."
The town recently began charging a $5,000 consultant fee for new home builds as well as for remodeling projects. Schuler said because the town doesn’t have a planning department, drainage and other issues weren’t identified until after the build was complete. He said the money will be used to pay for an engineering report. Currently, all builds whether new or a remodel, so Faust suggested the board might need to consider a fee schedule.
The group expressed concern over how the budget is maintained. Former Mayor Nikki McDonald was specifically worried the town’s budget only has one general fund, although it collects a fire mill levy that she felt should be in its own fund. Flake said it seems like Town Administrator/Manager Valerie Remington has all the power, even creating the budget.
In the end, the group asked for the following:
• A formal forensic audit.
• A hiring committee including some of the public.
• Town clerk.
• Personnel manual updated.
Caption: At the Oct. 9 meeting, Citizens for a Better Palmer Lake was visited by Palmer Lake Trustees Gary Faust, Glant Havenar, and Mark Schuler. Although no decisions were made, the citizens and trustees had a chance to discuss ongoing issues. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
On Oct. 14, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board discussed how to proceed with a project to replace a portion of a water line on Scrub Oak Way and heard a request from a resident to purchase some land belonging to the district. The board also began work on the 2020 budget and heard operational reports.
Water line replacement more costly than expected
District Manager Jessie Shaffer told the board that poor quality pipe was used when the original water line was installed in Scrub Oak Way, a residential street north of Higby Road and east of Fairplay Drive, leading to an excessive number of breaks in the line.
Shaffer said that replacing 1,000 feet of the original water line, which has been planned for some time, would cost more than the $150,000 budgeted for the project primarily because the work would affect other utility lines installed above the water line. Shaffer asked the board to allocate $395,000 for the engineering and construction and a 15 percent change order contingency fee.
Richard A. Hood, senior project engineer with JVA Consulting Engineers, advised the board that prices for the work had gone up since the project was first planned because material costs are higher, contractors are busy, and the project is a smaller one.
Hood said three bids were received and he recommended the bid from Redline Pipeline be accepted. Shaffer agreed with the recommendation, adding that Redline Pipeline had done other work for the district that was completed satisfactorily.
Shaffer said the district had considered two methods to replace the line: pipe-bursting, where the new pipe is installed inside the old pipe without digging a trench, and open cut, which does involve digging a trench. Open cut was the less expensive method, Shaffer said.
The board voted unanimously to proceed with the work.
Board considers sale of land
Resident David Easton told the board he would like to purchase or lease land owned by the district that is northeast of Monument Academy and south of South Park Drive and adjacent to his home. Easton said that Monument Academy parents are dropping their children off on South Park Drive and having them walk through the land to avoid going through the Monument Academy car line on Highway 105.
Easton said when he bought his home 16 years ago he was aware there were utility easements on the land in question. Three years ago, one of his neighbors made a trail through the land in question to allow children to walk to Monument Academy. More children are now using the trail, and it is now used by bike riders as well, Easton said.
In a previous conversation about the land, Shaffer told Easton the district wanted to retain ownership. With that decision in mind, Easton asked the board to consider restricting access to the land and adding a sign explaining the access issue, with the goal of reducing foot traffic through the land. Easton offered to pay for the fencing and sign.
The board agreed to consider the matter in an executive session following the meeting. No decision was announced concerning Easton’s request.
Work on 2020 budget begins
Shaffer presented a first draft of the 2020 budget to the board at the Oct. 14 meeting. The board scheduled a four-hour workshop on Oct. 28 to continue work on the budget.
The public hearing on the budget will be part of the November board meeting, scheduled for Nov. 11 at 1 p.m.
Highlights of operational reports
• Water use is down 7 percent for the year, and fewer tap fees than expected have been sold to date.
• Irrigation for the revegetation effort is winding down for the year at Woodmoor Ranch, and winterization efforts are underway.
• The state of Colorado inspected WWSD’s sewer operations and found no issues.
• The Calhan Reservoir dam has developed leaks, and vegetation will be removed in November to allow the leaks to be found
• The Beach at Woodmoor is expected to begin acquiring taps for new construction.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
Working from an agenda absent of action items Oct. 16, the board received an update on the Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP) widening project from Kiewit Project Manager Joe Houtz and progress reports from staff.
Triview is a Title 32 special district within Monument that provides road, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas.
The Oct. 16 board packet may be accessed via www.triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Ahead of schedule and under budget
Houtz reported that, except for minor median work and the addition of a sidewalk northbound from Lyons Tail Road to Blevins Buckle Trail, the south section of JCP—from Leather Chaps Drive to Baptist Road—was completed. He confirmed a request from Director James Otis for Kiewit to paint a solid line at the right turn-lane line from southbound JCP onto eastbound Baptist Road to alert drivers to the dedicated "right turn only" lane. For all intents and purposes, the eastern side of the JCP north section—from Leather Chaps Drive to Higby Road—was also done, evidenced by the redirection of traffic to the east lanes and completion of the sidewalk and other concrete work on the east side of the road.
Kiewit crews had commenced shoulder work and drainage pipe installation on the west side of this section. Houtz emphasized the value of completing the concrete work prior to the onset of quality-degrading cold temperatures. He estimated that construction was about a week ahead of schedule.
The Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) contract model chosen by the district was running smoothly, Houtz said. He attributed much of the project’s success to the sound and timely decision-making on field adjustments, or "tweaks," by District Manager Jim McGrady and Monument Planning Department Engineering Assistant Tom Martinez. If cost certainty continues to hold steady, the project may conclude with a savings of about $45,000. The contract sum dated Oct. 11 was $6.8 million.
Houtz and McGrady continue to refine the aesthetics of the median. McGrady commented that establishing preliminary landscape work during the winter may save some expense prior to the spring planting. Seasonal lighting for median landscaping would likely be included in the 2020 budget, he added.
Houtz stated that Kiewit has a tradition of offering community service in each of its projects and would install four public benches along the north section of the parkway between Harness Drive and the north entrance of Jackson Creek Senior Living.
The district has tentatively scheduled an end-of-project ribbon-cutting ceremony for mid-morning of Dec. 11 at the JCP-Higby Road juncture.
Manager’s report incorporates resident’s questions
Triview resident Ann Howe posed questions that dovetailed well with McGrady’s monthly manager’s report. In response to her request for an update on Home Place Ranch, he explained that because the Monument Board of Trustees did not vote on the Home Place
Ranch preliminary/final PD site plan, the development’s hearing was continued. See Monument Board of Trustees, Oct. 7, on page 6.
Howe asked about progress on the northern water delivery system. McGrady explained that the potential northern water delivery project was separate from the wastewater transport and treatment project known as the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI). Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), the lead organization for both projects, has chosen to address the projects consecutively, rather than simultaneously, to avoid unnecessarily complicating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process because the water delivery system—essentially a pipeline to transport drinking water—would not be subject to the NEPA process. CSU is addressing the wastewater NMCI project first, and the required NEPA process is expected to take two to three years. During the next few months, McGrady explained, CSU plans to educate its Board of Directors regarding the wisdom of providing regional water service with the goal of having clear direction by May 2020.
Another question from Howe pertained to justification of the district’s rule of no video-recording of board meetings. District General Counsel Gary Shupp requested Howe’s phone number.
McGrady reported on his meeting with Hydro Resources, a groundwater exploration company, in preparation for drilling wells A-9 and D-9. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n10.htm#tvmd. Once the requisite easement is obtained, McGrady expected to apply for a drilling permit with the goal to begin drilling in January 2020. Triview sold over 41.5 million gallons of water in September—an "all-time record" estimated McGrady. Referring to the district’s recent water sales statistic, he added, "We need the wells [A-9 and D-9], there’s no question."
Directors discuss high-consumption customers, sales tax decline
District water consumption reports revealed that a small number of residential consumers are using more than 40,000 gallons of water per month. The average Triview resident consumes 10,000 to 20,000 gallons per month, depending on the season. Discussion centered on how the district should work with residents to assess potential leaks and other sources of water loss. McGrady advocated for the 5G cellular technology that provides customers with real-time data transmission, a subject he had broached at the June 18 board meeting (see www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#tvmd).
Concerns over an overall trend in declining tax revenue continued to pester the district. Recent receipts confirmed that local purchasing by residents might not keep up with the district’s growing responsibilities and expenses. The district relies solely on tax revenue to support its maintenance of roads, parks, and open space. New development within district boundaries added to the Public Works Department’s maintenance burden. The simultaneous dip in anticipated tax revenue pinches maintenance pennies even more.
The full scope of the district’s online sales revenue, however, is not yet fully realized and may provide relief to the diminishing funds. McGrady confirmed that he continues to communicate with the Town of Monument regarding online sales tax revenue.
Superintendents provide updates
Parks and Open Space Superintendent Jay Bateman reported on the removal of several dead ponderosa pines in Sanctuary Pointe. Many of the trees died due to improper planting, and Bateman expressed concern over the hazards of falling trees. Public Works crews also worked to correct weak spots in the irrigation system and winterize it, seek additional water conservation methods, assess winter watering needs, and complete work on Sanctuary Pointe’s swing park. Bateman confirmed that Kiewit also provided milled asphalt to be repurposed as traction material on the trails.
Water Operations staff member Rob Lewis worked continuously to update the backflow prevention (BFP) commercial inspection program and bring the district into 100% FOG (fats, oils, and grease) compliance, reported district Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton. This was the first time he had seen the district reach the 100% BFP standard, Sexton remarked. Lewis’ son, Dean, completed the GPS mapping of valves and sewer lids that will be overlaid into a multi-layered electronic map to enhance infrastructure maintenance and repair.
At 6:32 p.m., the board entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations. OCN confirmed that no actions were taken nor decisions made following the executive session.
The next Triview board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20. The December meeting has been changed to Wednesday, Dec. 11 to accommodate the state budget submission deadline of Dec. 15. Check the district’s event calendar at www.triviewmetro.com/home or call 488-6868 for meeting schedule updates. Board meetings are held at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors met to receive operational status reports and to consider adoption of Supplemental Budget Resolution 2019-03 at its Sept. 19 meeting. At the following meeting on Oct. 17, District Manager Kip Petersen provided a detailed line-item review of the district’s preliminary 2020 budget.
Mystery dye inspires waste education
The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) has been operating within permitted parameters, but the plant had been receiving a large amount of green dye in September, reported District Manager Kip Petersen. The dye was water-based and would therefore "dilute out" as it was processed by the wastewater treatment facility. Donala asked its UMCRWWTF partners—Triview Metropolitan District and Forest Lakes Metro District—to research potential sources of the dye within their boundaries.
The presence of the dye, despite its relative harmlessness, reflected the ongoing struggle that the district faces due to inappropriate materials being flushed down toilets or the wastewater system being used as general disposal for materials it was never intended to process. So-called flushable wipes, for instance, should never be flushed down toilets. They attach to impellers, blades, and other equipment resulting in clogs and subsequent equipment repairs that are costly and time-consuming. "Something as innocuous as dental floss can build up into a major clog in the system. Even facial tissue should not be disposed of in the toilet as it is manufactured not to break down when wet or damp," Petersen emphasized.
At the October meeting, Petersen referenced the added concern of FOG (fats, oil, and grease) with the advent of the holiday season and its accompanying fat-laden cooking. The district will be working to educate customers on what not to put down their garbage disposals. "Oils and grease should never be put down the drain but should be placed in a container, or combined with kitty litter, and placed in the trash," he said.
Arsenic levels plummet
In reference to other permit parameters, Petersen stated that the arsenic levels discharged from the UMCRWWTF into the environment had fallen to 4.6 µg/L in July and, most recently in September, to 2.5 µg/L. Arsenic, one of several naturally occurring contaminants found in groundwater, is removed by a treatment process before water is sent to customers for consumption. The contaminants are then sent to the wastewater treatment facility for disposal. Effective Oct. 1, the permit compliance standard that wastewater districts must fall under is 8.7 µg/L.
Petersen attributed the much lower arsenic levels to Donala’s increased use of renewable water from its Willow Creek Ranch resource near Leadville. This drinking water passes through the Colorado Springs Utilities Southern Delivery System (SDS), which removes contaminants before sending the water to Donala’s treatment process. Donala’s screening also removes arsenic and other contaminants and disposes of them through the UMCRWWTF. CSU’s pre-screening consequently reduces the amounts removed and discharged by the partner-owned Donala-Triview-Forest Lakes facility.
Donala pays 1.5 times the rate that CSU’s in-district customers pay, making the Willow Creek Ranch solution to arsenic discharge compliance an expensive one. Petersen estimated it costs an average of $304,000 per month for the district to buy its water back from CSU.
In the next several weeks, Donala plans to have an automatic composite sampler operational to individually monitor the arsenic levels coming from Triview and Forest Lakes.
Donala and Triview may also continue to pursue an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that was halted in the fall of 2018 due to Donala’s 1041 permit application that met several postponements (see https://www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#tvmd). The IGA would establish legal and cost parameters between Donala and Triview to transport, or "wheel," Triview-owned renewable water through Donala’s infrastructure based upon the available capacity of Donala’s system.
As previously noted, renewable water naturally contains less arsenic than well water and Triview’s Fountain Mutual Irrigation Company Inc. (FMIC) shares would also be subject to treatment by CSU, which in turn would lower arsenic levels in Triview’s wastewater flows to the UMCRWWTF. This arrangement is now possible because of Donala’s recently approved 1041 permit (See https://www.ocn.me/v19n8.htm#dwsd and https://www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#dwsd).
2020 budget explained and available for public review
In presenting the district’s preliminary 2020 budget, Petersen explained that he had incorporated the cost of service analysis recommendations provided by civil engineering firm GMS Inc. Budget numbers in the draft included a 2.4% water rate increase across all tiers, a $1 addition to the current monthly water service charge, and a 5% wastewater rate charge that would increase the monthly sewer service payment from $35 to $36.75.
Weather affects both consumer water consumption and the district’s management of water resources, which in turn makes estimating the budget very challenging, stated Petersen. Consequently, conservative forecasts for the budget included a decrease in operating revenue by 3.9 %, a decrease in operating expenses by 10%, and a general fund capital projects increase of 62.3%. The primary capital projects focused on continuing or completing arsenic mitigation through the residuals management building at the R. Hull water plant and water main replacement along Huntington Beach, Candlewood, and Westchester Drive.
The Donala Board of Directors and staff are scheduled to discuss the tiered rate structure and the 2020 budget in greater detail at a workshop on Nov. 21. Final consideration will be made at the regular board meeting on Dec. 12. This meeting falls earlier in the month than typical so that the district may submit its budget according to state requirements.
2019 budget amended to reflect delayed expenses
At the September meeting, Petersen presented the Resolution for Supplemental Budget and Appropriation 2019-3 to the directors. This resolution accounted for two capital projects, a screen unit and railing around equalization bins. The projects were expected to be completed in 2018 but met extensive material and equipment delays and, consequently, were pushed into 2019. Because most of the projects’ expenses were incurred in 2019 instead of 2018, the 2019 budget needed to more accurately reflect the projects’ funding.
Petersen explained that the project costs remained the same. The resolution was simply shifting money from 2018 to 2019, added Vice President Ed Houle. The board unanimously approved the appropriation of the Operations and Management Capital Projects fund from $240,000 to $410,307.
The next board meeting will function as a budget workshop and begin 9 a.m. Nov. 21 at the district office located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs. The directors meet in the district office conference room. Board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. More information is available by calling (719)488-3603 or accessing www.donalawater.org.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D38 District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) heard introductory summaries of the new superintendent’s activities, a legislative review, and an update on the teacher evaluation process at its Oct. 8 meeting.
Superintendent KC Somers introduced himself to the group on the 100th day of his tenure. He said his theme for the year is One Team, Our Team, consisting of students, staff, and community. He summarized his Listening and Learning Tour during July and spoke of staff surveys during August through October and his plans to listen to student views as well.
Somers said that he has been attending Parent Teacher Organization and Building Accountability Committees meetings at various schools and has reached out to such community groups as Kiwanis, Tri-Lakes Cares, the Monument and Palmer Lake town governments, and the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
He celebrated the fact that the district has been named Accredited with Distinction by the Colorado Department of Education for the 11th year in a row.
Somers spoke briefly about the proposed bond issue on the November ballot, stressing that it addresses growth and can be cost neutral due to decreasing debt as two bonds are retired in a few years (Palmer Ridge High School and Prairie Winds Elementary), an increase in assessed property values, and a growing tax base.
Executive Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster summarized the evaluation process for teachers in the district. Originating in 2009 as a result of Senate Bill 191, which required that teacher evaluations be based in part on student performance, the process evaluates teachers on several standards including professional practices. Over time, a process has made it possible to evaluate staff in such areas as music and physical education and such specialties as speech and occupational therapy.
Evaluation schedules vary with the seniority of the teachers. Probationary teachers are evaluated twice annually with additional observations. All others are evaluated annually. Before SB 191, tenured teachers were evaluated every three years.
All teachers are probationary when first employed regardless of experience in other districts.
Executive Director of Learning Services Lori Benton explained that teachers who have students with severe to moderate needs are given credit for this fact.
Board Liaison Tiffiney Upchurch spoke of activity at the board level, including "onboarding" of Somers, the upcoming election for three positions on the board, and the bond issue.
Regarding the bond, she said that the use of modular classrooms will address overcrowding only for two years. She also said that the Grace Best Education Center is not the appropriate place to address overcrowding because it is now used to house the Transitions program, the Homeschool Enrichment Academy, and the Robotics program. She said that open enrollment has been halted at all levels except high school due to capacity use of existing buildings.
The committee reviewed and approved its bylaws. The only change involved the removal of the Committee for Political Activity and the addition of the Parent Community Technology Advisory Committee.
The committee reviewed and approved its meeting schedule for the coming year.
The Lewis-Palmer D38 District Accountability Advisory Committee meets six times a year at various locations. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held a regular board meeting on Oct. 10 with an overflow audience at Wesley Owens Coffee Shop. They provided an update on the secondary school and introduced and questioned the sole finalist for MA’s chief operating officer (COO) position.
Termination of Griffin contract and naming of COO finalist
The MA board held a special board meeting on Oct. 2.. After an executive session, they unanimously voted to terminate former Executive Director Don Griffin’s secondary school consulting contract due to nonperformance. The also declared Christianna Herrera as the finalist for their open COO position and began a period of 14 days for due diligence.
Secondary school update
Board President Mark McWilliams said construction of the new school was still on track, with perimeter foundations in and walls going up. He noted that plans added access to the administrative offices that doesn’t go through the nurse’s office. MA plans to have events with teachers and students at the new location, with JHL Constructors supervising. McWilliams said his latest understanding was they were back to planning for a roundabout at the intersection with Walker Road rather than a T-intersection. It will be one of three ways to get onto the property.
Responding to speculation about the land purchase, McWilliams noted that 69 acres of land had originally been purchased from D38 by Matt Dunston, who planned to donate about 20 acres to MA. Monument Academy agreed to pay a $3 million share of the infrastructure cost for the whole property. The bond purchaser set a cap on infrastructure at $1.5 million but, as a solution, allowed MA to "purchase" the land for the remaining $1.5 million. Dunston then donated the property to MA Infrastructure LLC, which would receive the $1.5 million purchase price from MA and apply that money to a portion of the $3 million worth of infrastructure. MA’s share of the infrastructure cost is now determined to be much more than $3 million, partly due to the interchange modifications. However, Dunston is not requesting more money from the Phase One construction budget. McWilliams said that MA has effectively obtained the land "better than free."
COO finalist interviewed
The MA nominating committee interviewed the top four candidates and selected Herrera to recommend for the position of COO of Monument Academy. Herrera spoke about her background teaching in Arizona for three years, heading a parochial school in Colorado Springs, and moving on to the position of headmaster at Rocky Mountain Classical Academy until May of this year.
She spoke of her background in art and work as an author and illustrator. Herrera answered questions from the board on her philosophy of Exceptional Student Services, goals, technology integration, overcoming budget difficulties, teacher evaluations, handling employee dismissals, team building, and how she liked to work with the School Board.
She indicated that a school should be open to and serve every child, she would start by getting to know the community, and that students have to know how to use technology to express their ideas and innovations. She spoke of being a good steward and working with parents to stretch resources while saving for future purchases. Herrera shared her experience being evaluated and said teachers are professionals who should have the freedom to take risks. She preferred to be proactive with employee situations and honor an employee’s needs over the organization. She enjoys breaking bread with her team and occasionally stepping in to teach.
A parent asked about iPads use and parental involvement on the curriculum committee. Herrera acknowledged the challenges of technology but also felt that you should allow and trust children to use it appropriately but have a system to deal with violations. She feels a curriculum committee with administration, teachers, faculty, and parents lets parents learn what expert educators believe is a good curricular choice and how to support students at home.
After a special board meeting on Oct. 25, MA issued a press release announcing the hiring of Herrera as COO.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Josh Brethauer reported on the Oct. 24 banquet to help fund MA’s new SRO Officer Josie Haag.
• The School Accountability Advisory Committee (SAAC) met on Sept. 23 to discuss last year’s performance, testing participation levels and how testing scores are evaluated and communicated. Dean Charlie Richardson led the review of SAAC bylaws, and SAAC positions of chair, vice chair, secretary, and public member were filled.
• Chris Dole spoke on the launch of the Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students) program intended to get male role models involved with the school.
• Mark Brocklehurst was introduced as the new finance director, taking over for Nancy Tive.
• After the meeting, comments were made regarding screen time and its relationship to mental health as well as concern about the terms of the bond to pay for MA’s secondary school.
Caption: Monument Academy held its October board meeting at Wesley Owens Coffee shop where Chief Operating Officer finalist Christianna Herrera (pictured at right) answered questions from board members and attendees before an overflow crowd. From left are board member Dwayne Cooke, COO finalist Christianna Herrera, and board member Mike Molsen. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 14 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The October meeting of the Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education was held on Oct. 28, which was after the deadline for articles in Our Community News.
The November meeting of the board will be on Monday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. See the December issue of OCN for details about both meetings.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board held a very speedy meeting on Oct. 15 after seven firefighters were promoted. The board scheduled the 2020 budget public hearing for the Dec. 3 meeting. A new officer academy was discussed, the board’s bylaws are nearly ready, and the chiefs gave updates on call volume and calls for service during red flag days.
Board Chairman William "Bo" McAllister and Treasurer Joyce Hartung were excused. Attorney Michelle Ferguson filled in for the district’s attorney, Matt Court.
2020 budget hearing scheduled for December 3
During the Sept. 17 meeting, Chief Vinny Burns had provided the board with a preliminary look at the 2020 budget, and tonight board members asked a few questions about details, but Burns said he will give them a more in-depth review at the November meeting. When this reporter asked for a copy of the draft budget, Burns said it would be available to the public in November since it is still a work in progress.
DWFPD will hold the public budget hearing at the Dec. 3 meeting.
Seven crew members were promoted before the meeting and then sworn in during the regular session. Eric Bogenrief was promoted to lieutenant. As the highest-ranking person on shift, he will be responsible for all the crew members on duty, lots of paperwork, and, according to Burns, the most important question of all, "What’s for dinner?"
Three new driver engineers, Shawn Ballard, Brian Kirkpatrick, and Lucas Owens, will be responsible for all apparatus for their 48 hours on duty. This includes not just truck maintenance but ensuring all other components required to fight a fire are working properly. "They own it," said Burns.
Three new full-time volunteer firefighters, Chris Bricker, Josh McDonald, and Brett Rubidoux, all passed their promotional testing and hold the values of this Fire Department, according to Burns.
Capt. Sean Pearson said the staff has been working to create an officer academy intended to teach proper techniques for filling out reports, training logs, and human resources-related documents. Pearson said there will be leadership and tactical modules, as well as guest speakers who are subject matter experts. He said all the newly promoted officers would attend the Colorado Officer Leadership symposiums at the Colorado State Fire Chiefs Fire Leadership Challenge in Keystone on Oct. 22-25.
Burns said the Fire Department had raised over $5,500 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association during Fill the Boot in September.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings said the 74 calls for services in September were an increase of 41% over September 2018.
Director Larry Schwarz asked the chiefs how they run calls when there are continuous red flag "high fire danger" days. Both chiefs said they are careful to include additional equipment on calls so they are prepared to fight a wildfire.
Burns said the county is in Stage 1 burn restrictions due to the extremely dry conditions, which means the following are prohibited:
1. Open fire and open burning except fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, or 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 of and cleared of all flammable materials.
McAllister had tasked the board with creating board bylaws since none exist currently. Over the last few months, they have been working with Court to define the document, and tonight Schwarz said he felt it was ready for a final review and a vote at the November meeting.
During public comments, resident Steve Simpson requested a copy of the draft board bylaws before the board votes on it.
"The more transparent you can be, the better public investment," said Simpson. Director Duane Garrett asked if public comments would be considered and if that would extend the timeline. Secretary Mark Gunderman said in the spirit of transparency, he was willing to allow for public review now that the draft has been worked on so much by the board and attorneys.
Ferguson suggested the staff decide either to provide a copy upon request or put the document on the website. The consensus was that, instead of asking the public to make a CORA request to see it, the draft board bylaws will be posted on the Wescott site under the Board of Directors and board member tabs. It is there now for review.
Caption Just before the October board meeting, Eric Bogenrief was promoted to lieutenant. Chief Vinny Burns holds an officer helmet destined for Bogenrief, right. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Caption: Volunteer firefighters (from left) Chris Bricker, Josh McDonald and Brett Rubidoux are sworn in as full-time volunteers by board Secretary Mark Gunderman. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Caption: Driver Engineer Shawn Ballard said it best as he thanked his family for allowing him to endeavor in "this crazy, wild dream I’ve been chasing!" He is standing to the left with Brian Kirkpatrick, center, and Lucas Owens to his right. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The next DWFPD meetings are scheduled for Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. For information, call Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) board meeting Oct. 23, the board received a request to convert two part-time firefighter/paramedics to full-time, learned that fire hydrants were not requested or installed at Flying Horse North, and discussed expenditures and the 2020 proposed budget.
Director Jim Abendschan was excused.
Full-time firefighter/paramedic positions
Interim Chief PJ Langmaid requested a motion to turn two current part-time firefighter/paramedic positions into two full-time positions starting Nov. 10. "There is a strong possibility of losing them to another district and they are very excited about working here," he said. See ocn.me/v19n8.htm#bffrpd.
"We are playing catch up with hiring and 2021 will be significantly better," said Treasurer Jack Hinton.
Note: A nationwide shortage of paramedics exists, and retention is an ongoing problem for all departments and commercial ambulance services.
The board unanimously approved the immediate conversion of the two positions.
Flying Horse North has no hydrants
Langmaid commented on his concern that there are no fire hydrants in Flying Horse North. "I discussed the issue with Classic Homes and they just hemmed and hawed. The service agreement is unfortunately already signed, but in the future the fire chief needs to be more proactive and make sure those missteps do not happen again (on new development proposals). Literally hundreds of thousands of square feet of residential are going to require us to shuttle water in." See www.ocn.me/v18n8.htm#epcpc, www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#epbocc, https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/22868.
2020 proposed budget
The BFFRPD board, led by Hinton and Langmaid, did a line-by-line discussion of another draft of the 2020 budget, which they had already worked on extensively in September and October. Langmaid said there are several topics of concern that are not yet included in the proposed budget:
• An Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) for $400,000 worth of radios. Langmaid said he would like to secure the AFG before the 2020 budget is finalized.
• A new operations manager position to relieve the burden of extra duties that are being shared by the administrative staff.
• Four additional Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) devices.
Langmaid said money is set aside in the proposed 2020 budget for significant staffing additions, providing three extra firefighters for each shift at both stations through 2020, increased employee health insurance and benefits for a growing list of firefighters, command vehicles, replacement bunker/turnout gear, apparatus and equipment, a training budget, and facility repairs.
Langmaid said he has several contingencies in case an emergency arises, and funding needs to be cut on some line items. BFFRPD operates on 59.75% of the budget to ensure revenue is available in the first quarter of the year. This is well under the national average of 71% of the budget. "We are still being fiscally conservative, and the employees are going to see better benefits," he said.
Note: Revenue from property taxes for the first quarter of the fiscal year is not received until March 31.
Langmaid commented that the district did not get the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER) grant to increase EMS staff for the second year in a row, most likely due to the wrong language in the grant applications. "Going forward, we need to find someone who can crush that grant writing for us, who knows the whole system inside and out," said Langmaid. Deputy Chief Jim Rebitski said, "The federal system is super-competitive and you need all the key phrases to receive a grant." See www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#bffrpd.
Hinton said further adjustments to some line items still need to be made before the budget is balanced and available for public viewing at the Nov. 20 meeting.
Hinton said finances in the General Operating Fund are becoming depleted by the day with $1.4 million in the bank as of September, and it is estimated that $680,000 to $700,000 will be remaining by the end of the calendar year. Vehicle repairs last month were $19,000, and that was followed by $93,600 for parts, and the labor will add an additional $27,000. "Ambulance repairs and motor failures are expensive, and I hope that the district will catch up with vehicle repairs soon," said Hinton.
Property taxes received for September were lower than expected at only $5,300, and Special Ownership Taxes continue to be consistent at $16,000 to $17,500 per month.
The financial report was accepted as presented, 4-0.
Langmaid said $166,380 is requested to secure two chassis for the new ambulance project that were previously selected by Rebitski. The ambulances would have an expected delivery in April 2020 ahead of the state mandatory purchase deadline of July. See www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#bffrpd.
Langmaid gave the following update:
• September had 88 calls with one significant structure fire, but an aggressive interior attack was possible due to the available staffing that helped save a great deal of the property.
• Part-time Firefighter/Paramedic Breana Deming is now part of the BFFRPD team as another EMS staff member. AMR transport regarding dual response with Colorado Springs is an ongoing project.
• New bunker/turnout gear has been issued to the staff members who required a replacement set. A provision for purchasing additional bunker gear will be included annually in the budget to avoid shortfalls when replacement is due.
• He located and ordered appropriate vehicle chains—the engines have drop chains that are only good up to several inches of snow and then manually applied chains are required. Note: Lack of apparatus tire chains were a problem during the March bomb cyclone. See www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#bffire.
• Training has increased throughout the district and we are becoming a pro-active agency instead of a reactive agency.
• Three staff members are receiving training at the Premier Live Fire Education Center in Indiana, and reports from the center’s education staff confirm they are performing well.
• The Type 3 brush truck is almost outfitted. Deployments to wildland fires will generate both revenue and experience.
Health insurance change
Rebitski explained the proposed new health insurance package. After the district received multiple bids, The Shultz Group offered the best overall plan at the lowest cost. The new plan would include an optional family plan. Neighboring fire districts Falcon, Cimarron Hills, and Wescott also have The Shultz Group plans. See www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#bffrpd.
The board voted 4-0 to adopt health insurance with The Schultz Group starting in November.
Many district/department policies adopted
Hinton requested the board adopt his policy 909 for protecting district assets with bi-annual inspections, carried out by board members in January and June. The board unanimously adopted the policy to ensure accountability for district assets.
In August, the board gave the fire chief the go-ahead to develop department policies. See www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#bffrpd.
Langmaid requested the board adopt multiple department policies he had drafted using a policy manual supplied by the district counsel in conjunction with state policies. Director Nate Dowden said, "He would like staff to know that the board is not trying to create burdensome bureaucracy."
"The staff are looking forward to these standard operating procedures, and they will be able to view the policies later this week," said Langmaid. Dowden made the motion for the board to adopt policies 102, 104, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, and 209. The board unanimously approved the new policies for the department.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Caption: From left, Firefighter/EMT Taylor Kurtz, Lt. Ben Rackl, Firefighter/EMT Carlos Pittman, EMT Heather Heath, Firefighter/Paramedic Ashley Triplett and Firefighter/EMT Daniel Grodman take the oath administered by Vice Chairman David Hoffpauir (not pictured) and receive their badges at Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District’s Station 1 during a ceremony on Oct. 4. Photo by David Bottorff.
Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. However, the next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 20 and will include a public hearing for a petition for inclusion. See www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting on Oct. 23, the board approved amendments to the 2019 budget and discussed the draft 2020 budget in great detail, including possibly adding new administrative positions. They applauded the national award honoring the work of a local neighborhood to reduce its wildfire risk. The board also filled the vacancy created when former Police Chief/board President Jacob Shirk resigned and moved out of the district in September.
Treasurer Jason Buckingham was excused.
National Fire Protection Agency Firewise USA recognition
Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner announced that Red Rock Ranch Homeowners’ Association (HOA) had received national recognition as a Firewise USA Site of Excellence for its tremendous effort in wildland fire prevention and mitigation. He explained that on Oct. 10, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) President/CEO Jim Pauley visited Monument to congratulate this neighborhood for its progress.
Speakers included Tom Welle, NFPA Wildland Division officer; Dave Betzler, the HOA Firewise lead; Bumgarner; state Rep. Terri Carver; Pike National Forest Ranger Oscar Martinez; and other wildfire prevention partners. All who attended acknowledged TLMFPD’s efforts in assisting to reduce the wildfire risk and helping homeowners with mitigating their property. OCN has reported on Red Rock Ranch’s accomplishment. See www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#photos, www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#photos.
"It’s a great feather in our cap," said board President John Hildebrandt.
Public hearing on 2019 budget amendments
Hildebrandt opened a public hearing on the 2019 amended budget but received no public comments. Chief Chris Truty said the amendment reflects the increased revenue from the sale of Engine 3 and the reallocation of reserve funds. This was reported in www.ocn.me/v19n10.htm#tlmfpd.
The TLMFPD board will vote on the amended 2019 budget at its November meeting.
Draft 2020 budget revisions could include new administrators
Truty continued last month’s discussion by requesting the board consider two additional 40-hour per week administrative positions for the 2020 budget. The positions would fit into the current organization structure as follows:
• Addition of a Division Chief of Logistics—to relieve administrative responsibilities that are spread across multiple staff members
• Addition of an EMS captain—due to the "substantial" increase in numbers of ambulance runs. Currently, shift personnel and administrative staff are spending an excessive amount of time handling medical paperwork, resupplying ambulances, scheduling mandatory training with local hospitals, and coordinating with Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley.
Truty added that staff members are spending too much time on additional tasks, and their primary roles are not being carried out as efficiently as needed. The new positions might be filled from within the department, creating two vacated positions that could be filled within 30 to 60 days. Additional overtime would be necessary until such positions are filled.
Truty also suggested changing the Battalion Chief of Administration/Community Risk to Division Chief of Community Risk and include Assistant Emergency Management responsibilities. At present, the Fire Marshal/Administrative Battalion Chief is covering building inspections and interacting with the community about wildfire information and other fire prevention education. The Office Administrator/HR would become Director of Administration overseeing the district accountant.
Secretary Mike Smaldino said he was concerned two years ago when the Training Battalion Chief position was created, which was supposed to handle both fire and EMS. There are too many positions being created on the top side, and the current 20% increase of runs should be supported by a 20% increase in boots on the streets. Consideration should be given to additional staff at the bottom, on the safety side, before he could approve an increase in administrative positions. See www.ocn.me/v17n8.htm#tlmfpd.
In this extended discussion, Director Terri Hayes, Vice President Roger Lance, Director Tom Tharnish, and Hildebrandt asked many additional clarifying questions about Truty’s plans.
Truty answered the board as follows:
• The Master Plan study recommended extra staff to support the shift personnel on the street who are also handling administrative tasks.
• An additional ambulance or engine is going to happen to get more operational staff out there as the organization grows with the community, but we’re not quite there yet.
• We are trying to do it all—apparatus, wages, stations, and putting an extra person on shift—and we really haven’t given the support staff the ability to focus on narrowly defined job descriptions.
• This is not about more chiefs.
Wage increases suggested
Truty said that after his last meeting with Lt. Franz Hankins, president of the Local International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 4319 and their discussion over the potential loss of staff to higher paying departments, Hankins had indicated that he would prefer to see at least a 4% increase in wages to help combat the district’s vulnerability and because the district is now receiving higher revenues. Therefore, Truty asked the board to consider a 3.75% wage increase for the proposed 2020 budget rather than the 3% he suggested at the September board meeting.
Truty said the union and the district are using different definitions of "comparable" competitive wages with neighboring districts. Director Terri Hayes said, "It is a bad rabbit hole to go down, constantly comparing TLMFPD with Denver Metro and Colorado Springs—we are a much smaller district and we will always lose people." Lance said, "That’s our competition. We have gone from a hemorrhage to a slow leak, but I would prefer to have happy firefighters."
Truty said the district has lost only one person in the last two years, to Boulder Fire Department, which is one of the highest-paying districts in Colorado.
After much deliberation and disagreement over the appropriate percentage for a 2020 wage increase (each 0.25% equates to $18,000), the board voted 3-2 for a 3.75% wage increase. Hayes and Smaldino voted no because they were in favor of a 3% increase.
Truty also proposed an annual longevity bonus for staff serving beyond 10 years. He said employees currently receive $8 per month of additional pay once employed for 36 months, which increases per year up to 12 years with a final cap of $100 per month. The current longevity formula rewards employees from three to 12 years and stops rewarding beyond that, which is not much of a reward for longer commitments, said Truty. The board unanimously agreed that the new longevity proposal should be included in the 2020 budget for an additional cost of $25,548.
Truty also asked the board to approve compensation for staff serving in acting positions higher than their current pay grade for 12 hours or longer (at the equivalent rate of the position) for the remainder of 2019 and throughout 2020. The board approved 5-0 for an additional $3,000 per month for 2019 and $12,000 for 2020 for acting position compensation. The compensation would come out of the current shift overtime allocation that is currently only at 43% of the budget.
Hildebrandt read the financial report and noted the following as of the end of September:
• Ambulance revenues were at 89.7% of the budget and have surprisingly jumped, with a 20% increase in calls.
• Revenue from impact fees year to date were only $94,290 or 62.86% of the expected $150,000 anticipated in the 2019 budget.
• Building maintenance expenses were 11.84% higher than last year.
Despite administrative expenses, building expenses, and firefighting equipment being over budget, overall yearly expenses are 7.79 % under budget so far, said Hildebrandt.
The board accepted the financial report 5-0.
Truty gave the following update:
• The Station 1 remodel is moving ahead, and final layout plans will be available for staff to view at all three stations.
• The process for the annexation of Station 1 into Monument was approved by the Monument Board of Trustees on Oct. 7. The hearing on the annexation will be in November. See Monument BOT article on page 6.
• AMR is in negotiations with the City of Colorado Springs, and it is Truty’s intent to make sure nothing is accepted by the Colorado Springs fire chief that TLMFPD does not agree with.
President refutes misinformation about ballot measure 6A
Hildebrandt discussed a letter to the editor of The Tribune published in the Oct. 23 edition, claiming that TLMFPD’s ballot measure 6A is an attempt to increase taxes without future public approval. He said that the measure was not a tax increase and that he planned to respond to the letter. A full explanation of the Gallagher Amendment and the proposed ballot measure 6A can be found on the district’s website at http://tlmfire.org/issue-6a.
New board director selected
At the end of the regular meeting, the board discussed candidate questions and the format of the interview process. Candidates Michael deBettencourt, Heather Jacobson, Tom Kelly, David Pheteplace, and Jon Voyles were asked five identical questions by the board members individually. The board ranked the candidates and the votes were tallied by Deputy Chief Randy Trost and Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin.
Woodmoor resident Kelly was selected and will serve through May 2020. Hildebrandt administered the oath for newly appointed director. All of the directors individually thanked the candidates and encouraged them to continue seeking ways to volunteer in the community.
TLMFPD will have five open board director positions in May 2020.
The meeting adjourned at 9:11 p.m.
Caption: TLMFPD board President John Hildebrandt administers the oath to newly elected Director Tom Kelly at the Oct. 23 board meeting. Chief Chris Truty and Vice President Roger Lance are in the background. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. However, the next two meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see www.tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
After a record warm September, the pattern changed dramatically in October. Of course, that’s what makes living in Colorado so wonderful—the weather is never boring around here. Temperatures were well below normal, with new all-time record lows set, and snowfall was well above normal for the month.
The month started off with normal conditions, with upper 50s to upper 60s each afternoon, except on the 3rd, when low clouds and fog hung in long enough to hold temperatures in the low 50s. Skies cleared that afternoon and, with the cool start and longer night, low temperatures dipped below freezing for most areas for the first time this season. Drizzle and light rain occurred during the morning hours on the 2nd and 3rd as well, making things feel even more fall-like. Also, during the first week of the month, smoke from the Deckers wildfire was a common occurrence, providing for some beautiful sunsets.
A drastic change was headed our way over the next couple of days as a record cold air mass was about to move in. The initial frontal passage occurred just before 7 p.m. on the 9th, with stratus clouds quickly filling in. A few flurries also began just before midnight as the cold air deepened over the area. There were fog, flurries, and a beautiful coating of rime ice on the trees. Snow began to fall harder and accumulate from mid-morning through midafternoon on the 10th, with 1-3 inches for most of us. The bigger story was the cold. High temperatures were reached just after midnight and held in the low to mid-teens during the day. As skies cleared that evening, the record cold air mass combined with the fresh snow cover and allowed temperatures to plummet overnight. By the morning of the 11th, many areas were in the single digits above and below zero, setting records for cold so early in the season and only a few weeks after the record September warmth.
Quiet and generally mild conditions returned from the 12th through the 18th, with highs ranging from the upper 50s to the low 70s each afternoon and plenty of sunshine. Each morning saw temperatures dip into the low 30s and 20s, providing the nice feel of fall over the region.
Cooler and unsettled conditions then returned to the area, with highs dipping back into the 40s and 50s from the 19th through the afternoon of the 22nd. At the same time, a storm system was dropping out of the Pacific Northwest and through the northern Rockies. The first signs of this storm began to affect the area by the early afternoon of the 23rd as clouds increased and temperatures dropped. Light snow began to develop around 2:30 p.m., with heavier snow filling in that afternoon through evening. The heavy snow continued through the early hours of the 24th and by the time the storm moved out, anywhere from 6-12 inches of new snow had accumulated. This produced some treacherous driving conditions as well because a layer of ice had developed on most of the roads when the snow started.
The fresh snow and cool air mass held temperatures just below freezing all day on the 24th, then a return to sunshine allowed 50s to return on the 25th. Another even colder air mass was heading our way and would arrive late on the 26th, but ahead of the cold push, warm, southwesterly winds kicked in. This pushed high temperatures back well into the upper 60s and low 70s on the 26th. But that was the last time we were above freezing for the remainder of the month.
The next strong cold front moved through at around 8 p.m. on the 26th, with low clouds and fog filling in. The cold air mass was fairly shallow through the morning of the 27th, allowing areas of freezing drizzle to form and causing some slick surfaces. As the cold air mass continued to fill in, the moisture deepened and light snow began to fall by the late morning and early afternoon of the 27th. Light snow turned to heavier snow by evening and continued into the early hours of the 28th. Temperatures continued to drop during the period as well, with highs only reaching the upper teens to low 20s on the 28th. Along with this cold, 4-8 inches of new snow accumulated through the morning. This system quickly departed by early afternoon, but the break until the next storm was very short.
Another surge of cold air moved in on the morning of the 29th, with snow quickly developing again. Another 2-4 inches of snow accumulated from the 29th through the 30th. The air mass associated with the final push of cold air for the month was some of the coldest air to arrive in Colorado in October. New monthly record lows were set, with many locations reaching below-zero levels Wednesday and cold temperatures continuing into Thursday morning. Finally, sunshine returned by Halloween afternoon, but temperatures remained cold for the trick-or-treaters.
A look ahead
November is generally dry and cool around the region. We usually get several light snowfalls interspersed with sunny skies. Gusty winds commonly develop on a couple of days as the jet stream becomes more active and more directly affects Colorado. Our first sub-zero morning low temperatures often occur during the month as well. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits.
October 2019 Weather Statistics
Average High 53.3° (-6.2°)
100-year return frequency value max 67.7° min 50.7°
Average Low 23.6° (-5.7°)
100-year return frequency value max 36.8° min 26.4°
Monthly Precipitation 1.64" (-0.09")
100-year return frequency value max 4.63" min 0.18"
Monthly Snowfall 26.6" (+15.6")
Highest Temperature 75° on the 8th
Lowest Temperature -4° on the 30th
Season to Date Snow 26.6" (+15.6") (the snow season, October 1 to September 30)
Season to Date Precip. 1.65" (-0.08") (the precip season, October 1 to September 30)
Heating Degree Days 827 (+299)
Cooling Degree Days 0 (0)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
The letters this month are arranged in alphabetical order by the submitter’s last name.
Why I support Matthew Clawson
As 20-year educator at Lewis-Palmer High School, I would like to voice my support for the election of Matthew Clawson to the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board.
I have seen many significant changes throughout my tenure in D-38: the opening of a new middle school, the opening of a new high school, a very painful recession which froze teacher salaries for more than five years, and the closing of Creekside Middle School. Through it all, educators have continued to care for and put the needs of students first, even when the budget and staffing did not allow us to do so easily.
There have been times in District 38 that teachers have not felt like a priority or have endured teaching conditions that were less than optimal for both teacher and student achievement; however, teachers have continued to be warriors for our students in the classroom.
I can honestly say that Matthew Clawson’s quiet leadership and integrity have been among the primary reasons that our esteemed school district has experienced a positive change in priorities and culture. Under Matt’s leadership and direction, teachers have been fairly compensated by returning those of us who were frozen on the pay scale to our correct years of service, and the Salary Schedule has been updated to make teacher pay more competitive and livable. Most importantly, however, students continue to be the number one priority for all district staff.
There is still much work to be done in our school district. Kids still need to be priority. Teachers need resources and pay to continue to do what we love. School buildings need attention and to be less crowded. Matthew Clawson is the leadership our district needs to keep moving forward. Please help Matt continue to make kids a priority
Adam Cupp—candidate’s 4A "no" position
Since last year, the bond demonstrates improvement on ballot language and cost. I believe a more fiscally responsible financing plan is possible to minimize waste. The board has opted for an easier "sell" to voters than to manage each taxpayer dollar efficiently. The current plan does not provide a new elementary school as described by proponents; rather, it moves a current elementary (900 seats) to a much smaller building (650 seats) and converts Bear Creek to a middle school. The outcome is the addition of one middle school and no elementary school, where the greatest capacity issues reside. Enrollment numbers this year and the next several years render adding an additional 900-seat middle school premature. Excessive middle school vacancy over the next several years will place significant financial strain on the district.
The largest portion of the district budget, derived from "per pupil revenue" based on enrollment, is the primary resource for teacher pay. While the bond provides funds to build, it does not furnish monies to operate two middle schools with empty seats. This leaves the district with two options: 1) Boost enrollment with out-of-district recruitment 2) Return to taxpayers for another MLO tax.
In last month’s OCN, teacher Mr. Bergmann suggested taxpayers dismiss concerns about operational funding since an MLO "is not in front of us right now." He stated that lacking funds to pay teachers is not a problem because, we are assured, "we’re (teachers) not demanding more compensation at this time." Build now and pay later? Calm and reasoned people know this is not a responsible, balanced plan for district growth. We need plans that consider building and operating schools and that compensate teachers competitively as a basic standard. We have time—let’s develop a comprehensive plan.
D38 School Board candidate
A good way to control speech
Wanted to hurry to get this letter in, to be one of the first 12, and get printed, in the November 2019 issue. When I read that you are considering limiting "letters to the editor" (to the first 12 received each month), I thought, wow that is a good way to control speech.
For example, when the D38 School Board bond issue comes up for vote again next year (hopefully it will be defeated again this year) you can just say that 12 pro-bond letters came in first (how can we prove you wrong), and those are the only letters printed, giving the impression that this is the consensus of the voters.
Many of us in the community think that your paper is biased and that you try to tilt the news in certain ways. This new policy on "letters to the editor" will just help to confirm that. Please reconsider.
Editor’s note: The focus of Our Community News is to inform the public regarding the deliberations of the area’s governmental bodies. Each month, OCN volunteers are challenged to fit print material and graphics within a 32-page limit. On the rare occasions that OCN may receive letters to the editor that equal or exceed the 30-plus letters published in the Oct. 5, 2019 issue, OCN layout volunteers must strike a balance without diminishing the newspaper’s focus. OCN’s editorial policy to possibly limit the number of letters published to the first 12 received provides guidelines for future extenuating circumstances.
Misleading "con" statements published in voter guide by Strong D38 pro-bond issue committee
Many refer to their El Paso County Voter Guide to read the reasons to vote for and against issues. This year, the comments against LPSD 38’S 4A bond measure are meant to confuse voters and look like reasons to vote for it. How could this happen? D38’s "Yes on 4A" Strong D38 Community only turned in statements against the bond in order to water down and belittle legitimate against statements from reaching the community.
Actual con statements were also submitted and documented by another community member, but most of his legitimate reasons to say no were excluded from the Voter Guide due to the total allowable word count. An open-records request to D38 (10/4/2019) showed that most of these legitimate reasons to vote no on 4A were forced out by the misleading comments submitted by two prominent Strong D38 Community members. One person is listed as the designated filing agent for Strong D38 on TRACER with the secretary of state. Both individuals have been promoting the bond since last year, even setting up pro-bond tables inside of school buildings during back-to-school events.
Misleading voters through the Voter Guide is unethical and tears down our country’s fair electoral process many have put their lives on the line defending. The community deserves to know the truth. Demand ethics in D38. Just say no on 4A!
Why we favor Mathew Clawson for District 38 School Board
We have known the Clawson family for a number of years, and during that time have interacted in a variety of events and functions. Mathew and his beautiful wife Melinda are model parents who pose a real passion for raising children to take responsibility for their actions, and to be respectful and kind to everyone they meet; qualities that are missing in much of today’s youth. The entire family is refreshing to watch interact and to see how they celebrate their family unit. Raising kids to take individual responsibility and to treat others kindly requires strong parental leadership that is dedicated and willing to consistently invest into each child’s life; the Clawsons are remarkable in this area. Having that same type of leadership on the District 38 School Board is vitally needed as our students are on a short path to adult hood. The board is responsible for ensuring quality instruction, opportunities for success within the classroom or on a sporting field, and a safe school environment that promotes and respects student differences. As our young people prepare to launch into their future scholastic pursuits, careers, and eventually their own family units, they need to have a solid educational foundation and an understanding of how they can influence the world they live in.
Being able to provide focused oversight and a quality learning environment requires a person with strong personal values, understanding of the law, full understanding of budget development and implementation, and the willingness to stand strong when opposition surfaces. Matt Clawson has shown over the past two years that he possesses those skills and many others and is prepared to lead District 38 now and into the future.
Please cast your vote for Mathew Clawson.
Real estate and schools
From a real estate professional’s perspective, data supports the correlation between school district success and its associated area property values. From the National Association of Realtors to various organizations with interest in real estate investment, much time and money have been spent researching this relationship.
Buyers know they’re buying into a community, not just a home. Per a Realtor.com survey completed in 2016, 75% factor school district as a primary concern for purchase with student/teacher ratios on top. Many syndicated property searches have a search option by school district for this reason. As a realtor in the area, I and my associates can attest to the attention by consumers to school performance and opportunities for their children.
The National Association of Realtors has found that those under 36 years form the largest home buying group, of which 49% have at least one under 18 living under their roof. This demographic tends to buy in suburbs such as ours. This affects Tri-Lakes in two ways. One, we can reasonably assume that our school-age child population is growing at a similar rate to our county, which is the fastest-growing in the state. Many of our area buyers are coming from our northern neighboring cities for lower-cost homes and great schools. Secondly, even if you’re someone who does not have a school-age child, if you have current or future plans of selling your home, it would be beneficial to market it to those with kids.
D38 has done a good job communicating the capacity shortfall and continues to engage the community in solutions. No one solution is perfect, but I believe a "yes" vote on 4A is the best way to give schools and community what’s needed. To invest in schools is to invest in community, and likewise, our own homes.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
It was the annual bookseller’s trade show time for us. We relish our time meeting authors and publishers and discussing their new releases. We always come back with great books. Here is just a sampling (and they make great gifts!):
The Giver of Stars
By Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books) $28
Set in Depression-era America and based on a true story about Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library and five extraordinary women who became known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to them—and to the men they love—becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to bringing books to people who have never had any and sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives. It’s a novel of women’s friendship, true love, and what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants
By Bill Bryson (Doubleday Books) $30
Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body—how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular.
The Reading Life: The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Others’ Eyes
By C.S. Lewis (HarperOne) $19.99
Cultivated from Lewis’ many essays, articles, and letters, as well as his classic works, The Reading Life provides guidance and reflections on the love and enjoyment of books. Engaging and enlightening, this well-rounded collection includes Lewis’ reflections on science fiction, why children’s literature is for readers of all ages, and why we should read two old books for every new one. A window into the thoughts of one of the greatest public intellectuals of our time, this collection reveals not only why Lewis loved the written word but what it means to learn through literature.
Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition: 52 Mouth-Watering Recipes and the Everyday Science That Makes Them Taste Amazing
By Liz Lee Heinecke (Quarry Books) $22.99
You will find 52 delicious ways to explore food science in your own kitchen. Physics and chemistry come into play each time you simmer, steam, bake, freeze, boil, puree, sauté, or ferment food. Knowing something about the physics, biology, and chemistry of food will give you the basic tools to be the best chef you can be. Divided by course, each lab presents a step-by-step recipe. The Science Behind the Food section included with each recipe will help you understand the science concepts and nutrition. There are plenty of fun, edible decorations included for the art lovers in the crowd. For those with food allergies, all recipes are nut-free and other allergens are clearly labeled throughout.
By Randy Cecil (Candlewick Press) $19.99
When Iris Espinosa goes to the cinema, she doesn’t expect to meet a small mouse. And she certainly doesn’t expect that mouse to stow away in her sweater pocket. At home, Iris is delighted by the mouse’s daring, which reminds her of the actor Douglas Fairbanks. And so begin the adventures of a sweet, plucky mouse name Douglas, who must overcome obstacles aplenty, from hungry cats to broom-wielding humans, as she journeys across the tall rooftops of Bloomville to return to her movie-theater home. Full of high-stakes chases, clever escapes, and valiant rescues, Randy Cecil’s story is a celebration of courage and friendship.
The Crayons’ Christmas
By Drew Daywalt (Penguin Workshop) $19.99
This special book has letters, games, ornaments, a poster, and even a pop-up Christmas tree. ‘Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wish lists; but everyone—even the crayons—know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays.
Stop in and browse through our new selections. Find special gifts for the readers on your list and choose some to enjoy yourself during these cool fall nights.
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
It’s November and the holidays are right around the corner! Learn a new craft at the library to help with gift ideas. Children will learn to make scratch art magnets, teens to make custom T-shirts, and adults will make ladder yarn necklaces. See below for details.
Regularly occurring children’s programs include Book Break on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 to 11, Story Time on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:15, Toddler Time on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30, and Paws to Read on Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5.
Ages 5 to 12 are welcome to make scratch art magnets from 4 to 5 on Thursday, Nov. 7. We will create a design with special scratch art paper to make colorful, creative magnets.
Monday, Nov. 11 from 1:30 to 2:30 will be a Homeschool @ Monument program on the Five Senses. All ages can enjoy using their five senses in this hands-on, family friendly activity.
All ages are welcome to come to Lego Build on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 10 to 11:30. Enjoy building with our large collection of Legos.
A second Homeschool @ Monument program, on Monday, Nov. 18 from 1:30 to 2:30 will be Yarn Paintings. Learn to paint without paint! With yarn and a few other supplies, kids can create a tactile, mesmerizing piece of art. Recommended for ages 5 to 12.
Teen and Tween programs
See above for a description of Lego Build.
On Mondays, Nov. 4 and 18 from 3:30 to 7, stop by the library for free math tutoring. Experienced adult tutors are available to help with all levels of math. No appointment needed.
Each Wednesday from 3 to 5 in the study room, all are welcome to attend All Ages Knitting. Practice materials are provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own projects.
The Teen Creative Writing Group will meet from 6 to 7:30 in the study room on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Ages 12 to 18 are welcome to attend this group, where you will do writing exercises, exchange ideas, and enjoy snacks.
Come right after school on Tuesday, Nov 12 to enjoy an hour of Study Break Bingo! Snacks and prizes provided! No registration needed, just bring your friends.
The Paper Tigers Origami Club will meet from 4:15 to 5:30 on Friday, Nov. 15. Connie Stanton teaches this monthly class with new designs every month. Open to adults and teens of all skill levels. Registration recommended.
Teens Make Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 on Nov. 19 will teach teens to make customized T-shirts. You will learn to create your own design and transfer it to a T-shirt. Supplies are provided, but feel free to bring your own shirt or cloth. Registration is required and limited to ages 12 to 18.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, Nov. 21 (a week early due to the Thanksgiving holiday). Share anime with those who love it. Enjoy snacks and watch a video rated TV14 and below. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
See above for descriptions of All Ages Knitting and Paper Tigers Origami. Free beginning yoga classes are held each Thursday from noon to 1. See below for information about two book groups.
Senior Chats meets every Wednesday from 10 to noon. This is an informal discussion group and open to all.
The Life Circles group will meet from 9:30 to 11:30 on Mondays Nov. 4 and 18. This group works on writing life’s memories. All are welcome and no registration required.
Wednesday, Nov. 6 there will be an APPR Breakout Room program from 3 to 4:30. Open to ages 16 and up, the program will be based on the All Pikes Peak Reads selections with hints from all of the books. Work together to search for clues to the code to open a locked box before time runs out. Registration is required.
The Monumental Bookworms book group will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to discuss Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (this year’s most popular fiction book in our library district). All are welcome to attend.
The Second Thursday Craft, on Nov. 14 from 2 to 4, is Witty Gloves. Are your gloves getting boring? Learn how to hand sew witty words onto your gloves to make a statement. Registration is required.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Nov. 15, to discuss The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. All are welcome to attend this monthly group.
Learn to crochet adjustable ladder yarn necklaces on Friday, Nov. 22 from 10:30 to noon. Make one for yourself and one for a gift! All supplies are provided. Knowledge of how to crochet a foundation chain is useful but not required. Registration is preferred.
The History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Discuss history with other buffs!
Palmer Lake Library Events
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.
Family Story Times are on Wednesdays at 10:30; Toddler Time on Fridays at 10:30.
On Friday, Nov. 8 there will be a Homeschool @ PA program called For the Birds. This program will describe several birds, where they live, what they eat, and their adaptations. Projects include making a bird feeder and dissecting owl pellets. This program is recommended for ages 5 to 12.
On Saturday, Nov. 16 from 10:30 to 11:30 kids ages 5 to 12 are invited to make Name Banners.
Schedule changes for November
Monument and Palmer Lake Libraries will open at noon on Friday, Nov. 8. All Pikes Peak Library facilities will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and remain closed all day on Thursday, Nov. 28 for Thanksgiving.
Schedules will return to normal on Friday the 29th.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
On Oct. 17, the Palmer Lake Historical Society was pleased to welcome Jack Anthony as the evening’s presenter. A full house was treated to a full program, presented in four parts.
The first was the announcement that the Palmer Lake Town Hall had just been designated a State Historical Property and is now listed on the State Register—a project that Jack, his wife Margo, and several Historical Society members have worked on for the past several years. Congratulations, and thanks to all for their hard work! A decorated cake celebrated the event.
The second part of Jack’s presentation concentrated on information on the pioneer families and the location of their homesteads on what is now Air Force Academy property. When the railroad built through this area (first the Denver & Rio Grande and later the Santa Fe), towns grew up to support the facilities needed to service the steam locomotives of the time, in particular towns such as East and West Husted and Edgerton. Photos showed Edgerton had a hotel and later a gas station. The only remaining "Husted" structure is the Reynolds Ranch House, which is under restoration on the grounds of the Western Museum of Mining & Industry. Two other structures that are now homes in Monument and Palmer Lake also survive. Generously illustrated with slides, Jack spoke about the archaeological work required to document what remains of pioneer homesteads on the Air Force Academy. Jack called on members of the audience to briefly tell the story of their family’s experience in the mid-1850s.
In the third part of the presentation, also generously illustrated with slides, the audience learned how early area pioneers "signed" their names on Cathedral Rock. Surprisingly, the formation has layers of soft volcanic clay between the harder layers of sandstone, allowing area families to easily inscribe their names on these softer layers for all who followed to see.
In the final part of the program, Jack reviewed the history of the Palmer Lake Star, noting that it is the other Palmer Lake property on the State Historical Register, which is quite an accomplishment for a small community. A few interesting facts about the Star: It was erected during the Great Depression to lift the community’s spirit, a dog named Dizzy helped with its construction, and it is the largest structure of its kind in the world.
Caption: Historical Society Vice President Jack Anthony presented information about pioneer families, inscriptions on Cathedral Rock, and the Palmer Lake Star. Due to Anthony’s work and the efforts of his wife Margo and other PLHS members, the Palmer Lake Town Hall now joins the Palmer Lake Star on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. From left are Su Ketchmark, Anthony, Vaile Museum director Roger Davis, and Darren Schubarth. Photo by Mike Walker.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov. 21, when the Palmer Lake Historical Society Monthly History Series presents well-known author and railroad historian Mel McFarland as he takes us on a ride on the Colorado Midland Railway’s Wildflower Excursion. Did you know the train’s purpose was not originally to see wildflowers? Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Doors open at 6:30; the program begins at 7 p.m. Palmer Lake Historical Society events and programs are free and open to all.
Mike and Sigi Walker may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
We had a hard time in the Monument Community Garden this year. We started early—February seedlings—to get going and have strong plants by springtime. What we didn’t expect were some of Mother Nature’s weather and critters that affected our harvest for the first time in six years.
Every year, I surround the deer-fenced garden with giant sunflowers. Their huge leaves protect plants from roadside and neighboring toxic blow-over, hail, and even deer. The local deer can’t see what’s in the garden and walk on by. This year, with our cold rainy spring and early summer, our plants just stayed small, needed more sun and warmth, and then got going. We were happy the sunflowers protected the underneath plants from hail, although the sunflower leaves were battered. What we did not expect were the deer attacks. In one small, 3-foot area at the fence, we had planted short flowers, but the rest of the garden was camouflaged thickly with sunflowers.
Those pesky deer, for the first time ever, jumped the 5-foot deer and rabbit fence in that one spot and ate their way through the garden. They ate the kale and lettuce after it had peeked over the top of the raised bed. The next week they devoured the sunflower leaves, but only up to where they could reach, so the 12-foot flower stalks were safe above 6 feet. Then, with the rest of the garden on view like a peep show, the deer returned, ate zucchini leaves then the actual squash, and the following week they came back and took out the pumpkins!
Now I know how other gardeners feel with deer attacks. Many heartbroken Pikes Peak region gardeners completely lost their first and second chance garden efforts to the onslaught of multiple hailstorms that decimated flower, food, and perennial gardens this past summer, and the deer were the last straw for me. Next year, triple rows of gorgeous giant sunflowers will be on guard. Their sturdy stalks should do the trick against would-be jumpers.
I did find a happy first-time gardener with safe, successful harvesting at the end of summer. Tara Lloyd, who recently moved to Black Forest from Florida, shared her first summer gardening experiences with me. She had been leery of what would actually grow in the middle of mountain forests but was happy with her results and looks to increase her summer garden plantings and size of the garden for next year.
Year-round, Lloyd also grows "micro greens" which are the sprouts of seeds used as food. These can be grown in any room, using special hydroponic system devices or just a set of grow lights and simple flat containers deep enough to hold the seeds as they grow.
Lloyd grows certain veggies all year round, especially in the winter months, with an Aerogarden, a hydroponic indoor growing system. I had seen these devices in various gardening and big box department stores, so I asked her some questions about hers to learn more.
Pros: Grow indoors year-round. Takes up little space. Comes with light and container so it’s already put together for you to start growing right away. Also comes with seeds and pods to pop right into the holes and you are good to grow. It also has a display screen that tells you exactly when to water and feed the plants. It has a timer to allow you to program the amount of light your plants receive as well.
Cons: Can only grow a small amount of food—mainly only greens, herbs and small plants like dwarf or micro dwarf cherry tomatoes.
Be lazy and save the world at the same time
This time of year, let’s also remember our tiny garden critters that live in our pine straw and fallen leaves. We can optimally wait until spring to clear out these things, as they are home to our biodiversity from micro to macro creatures. With these areas intact and protected, our next year’s gardens and landscapes can thrive. Even mulching the leaves will shred the tiny helpers we need so much for healthy environs, and our birds and animals rely on the seeds, plants, and micro animals that live in our landscapes.
Caption: Black Forest avid gardener Tara Lloyd used some found (restaurant castoffs) Styrofoam containers to start her plants, and these were good for protecting the plants from weather, too. Her harvest in the garden was remarkable, especially given the cold, rainy summer start and hot, dry finish. Photos courtesy of Tara Lloyd.
Caption: Mario and Sue Carrillo "just tossed the white clover seed out all over" in late spring at their Northgate home, and in a couple of months had a thick carpet of clover as lawn. With the good summer rains this year, they didn’t water and only mowed twice all summer. Clover supports pollinators, with a soft, welcoming habitat that kids and pets love to play on. Before the widespread use of herbicides, most lawns contained white clover. As it grows, clover ensures healthy turf by adding nitrogen to the soil and choking out weeds. Dutch white clover is well suited to lawns because it is low-growing and has good drought resistance. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid ethno ecologist posing as a lazy gardener. Send your organic forest lands and garden tips to: email@example.com.
Bee positive, low water, cushy green lawns
By Janet Sellers
"F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that the test of a first-rate intelligence is ‘the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind and still retain the ability to function.’"—Graeme Sullivan
The word algebra comes from the Arabic al-jabr, "the reunion of broken parts." Our imagination takes pieces and parts of experiences and ideas, fits them together, and voila—we adapt an idea and make it into something. In art, we sometimes keep what we make as two-dimensional ideas, as in a drawing or painting, and sometimes we put the idea into more dimensions, such as a sculpture or video. We adapt our ideas to the medium and the technology of the medium.
From bacteria to plants to animals to people to small or large businesses, adaptability is the single most important quality needed to thrive. Where do adaptability and imagination come from? Likely from the algebraic thinking of outer and inner experiences that we hold somewhere in between those experiences via our mind. The arts and humanities give us the intelligent ability to hold more than two ideas in the mind and make a variety of choices for optimal outcomes on a problem or project.
We rely on our mind’s imaging using our vision for basic survival, for navigation on a daily basis walking, driving, or riding a bike. Our visual memory is basic to our life, and we rely on it for survival and for entertainment. We play with what we see via imagination—that’s how we experience our lives and our memory. Yet we discount this vitality repeatedly—are we blind to it?
We hear every day about the cultural calamities of crime, disaster, and loss. I have to wonder if our stress-filled lives are the way they are because we don’t avail our days by refreshing ourselves with imagination via the arts, especially visual art. This time of year, when we are stuck indoors more (and Coloradans are among our nation’s top outdoorsy people) we need the full support of art as cultural imagination to thrive. But how will we grasp our intuition, our imagination, and actually use it to our benefit unless we have it practiced and at the ready?
Our education curriculums focus is on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), but STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) creates the life and culture within which to make our lives, and it is the most cohesive. Art making activates the basic abilities of observation (science) technology (understanding the of materials) engineering (putting ideas and materials together for a projected outcome), and math (the geometry of visual understanding, the algebra of visual composition).
Yet, without artistic inquiry, we are burying our intelligent imaginations into test-taking machinery. Our work/screen lives have become visual entrapments. In Art Practice as Research, Second Edition, the author Graeme Sullivan presents a compelling theory that, "the creative and cultural inquiry undertaken by artists is a form of research. Sullivan argues that legitimate research goals can be achieved by choosing different methods than those offered by the social sciences. Artists emphasize the role of the imaginative intellect in creating, criticizing, and constructing knowledge that is not only new but also has the capacity to transform human understanding.
"Research parallels between the visual arts and the sciences are clearly evident when we consider that in scientific research the process of replicating existing phenomena precedes the introduction of a variable during experimentation. In other words, the development of new knowledge in the sciences is predicated on repeating and challenging existing assumptions and paradigms with variables that then enable critical deconstruction processes to occur, which casts existing knowledge into a state of uncertainty and reconsideration."
People are becoming dangerously inured to visual screen drama and seek greater and greater stimulation or at least shock value to alleviate mental or emotional torpor. Joan Miro’s grandson warned at a Miro exhibit a few years ago, "If art has not changed you in some way, hopefully major, that art is worthless." I would add "education" to that statement as well. Miro lamented the fact that art, artists, and museums have been promoting art that does not awaken the heart-mind, and thereby re-create meaning in our lives.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, thinker and speaker, but not a mathematician. That, she will tell you, she leaves up to her mathematician offspring. She makes: public art sculptures that require her knowledge of engineering, algebra, chemistry, physics, and true grit, paintings that require a vast knowledge of chemistry, engineering, and the effects of chroma in the electromagnetic spectrum; and for her murals, also great fortitude. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: On Sept. 4, a group of citizens/stakeholders met to showcase one of the Town of Monument’s floral displays and Monument Sanitation District’s new walls as part of the town’s encouragement to beautify historic downtown on Second Street. From left are, front row, Jodi Bliss of the Historic Monument Merchants Association (HMMA), Monument Economic Development and Marketing Manager Madeline VanDenHoek, and Lyndy Gerard, Mary Morris, and Vicki Mynheir, all of HMMA. Back row, Marylee Reisig and Sean Morris, both of HMMA, resident Michael Weinfeld, Tommie Plank of HMMA, and resident Jay Burgan. Photo by John Howe.
D38 Board Candiates Forum, Oct. 3
Caption: The League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region (LWVPPR) hosted a forum for Lewis-Palmer Board of Education candidates on Oct. 3. Jane Ard-Smith, LWVPPR moderator (left). Candidates (seated L to R) Matt Clawson and Adam Cupp (District 5), Theresa Phillips (District 2), and Ryan Graham and Ron Schwarz (District 4). Candidates gave opening and closing statements and answered questions about the most pressing issue facing the district, their views of the 4A bond issue, plus overcrowding, added operational costs, and more. For more information on LWVPPR, click www.lwvppr.org. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Black Forest Together, Oct. 5
Caption: 125 residents gathered in the Black Forest Community Center on Oct. 5 to enjoy supper from Carrabba’s Italian Grill and dance to classics from the piano jazz trio All In Jazz at the annual Black Forest Together dinner and silent auction fundraiser. The event raised $3,600 for Black Forest Together Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to wildfire risk reduction and forest restoration through education and replanting Black Forest with its exchange tree program. Local residents started the group to help the community recover after the devastating 2013 Black Forest Fire. For more information, visit www.blackforesttogether.org or call 719-495-2445. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Empty Bowls, Oct. 2
Caption: From left, Julie Wagnon, Susan Hunter-Smith, Tammie Oatney, and Cathy Fish-Wilcox display their chosen artisan ceramic bowls at the Annual Empty Bowls Dinner and Silent Auction before enjoying soup, bread and desserts in the Lewis-Palmer High School Cafeteria on Oct. 2. The annual event is organized and staffed by the Kiwanis Club of Monument Hill with all proceeds benefitting Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC). Donations from more than 218 statewide businesses, including restaurants, ceramic bowl artisans, and students, make this event possible every year. Over 650 people attended the 2019 dinner, raising $14,500 from ticket sales and the silent auction. TLC is a community-based, volunteer-supported resource center whose purpose is to improve people’s lives through emergency and self-sufficiency programs. It operates the only food pantry in Northern El Paso County and relies solely on donations to operate. For more information, visit www.tri-lakescares.org or 719-481-4864 and www.monumenthillkiwannis.org or 719-488-2327. Photo courtesy of Jackie Burhans.
Songwriters at TLCA, Oct. 4
Caption: On Oct. 4, attendees of the Songwriters in the Round at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts learned a bit about the inspiration behind and techniques involved in songwriting from four renowned artists. Songwriters Dana Cooper, Rebecca Folsom, Templeton Thompson, and Sam Gay performed their songs and provided background on each to give the audience an understanding of the songwriting process. Photo by David Futey.
Take a Kid Mountain Biking
Caption: Kids of all ages turned out on Oct. 5 to learn safety tips and enjoy mountain biking with El Paso County Park staff and volunteers in Fox Run Park. The national event helps get kids enjoying the outdoors and includes learning about trail riding, a guided trail ride, prizes, and lots of fun. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Creek Week, Oct. 5
Caption: Nathan Robinson, supervisor for Northern El Paso County Parks, explained the various fire mitigation tasks for the Oct. 5 Creek Week event at Fox Run Park. Creek Week is a nine-day, watershed-wide litter and debris collection event that takes place at the end of September and the beginning of October. The event is also a chance to raise awareness about the watershed, our water supply, littering, and harmful landscaping chemical issues to make our communities cleaner, safer, and more beautiful. Members of the newly formed Friends of Fox Run Park were also on hand to help educate members of the community about the park and ways to help keep it clean and safe, and to invite people to join the group to learn more about Fox Run Park volunteering, events, and more. Photo by Janet Sellers.
North EPC Nature Center, Oct. 7
Caption: Todd Marts, Recreation & Cultural Services division manager for El Paso County, convened a meeting of interested citizens Oct. 7 to view the results of a feasibility study by Jeff Webb of Altitude Consulting. The study narrowed the options for building a nature center in the northern part of the county to Fox Run Regional Park or Black Forest Regional Park. The center would offer programs for local students, wildlife rehabilitation, and learning opportunities for all visitors. Participants in small groups evaluated the two proposed sites in terms of natural environment, existing infrastructure, accessibility, and in the case of Black Forest, the chance to observe wildfire recovery. A site decision will be made by year-end and the project could take two or three years to implement. The meeting was held at Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Station 1. Photo by Steve Pate.
D38 Hall of Fame, Oct. 12
Caption: Lewis-Palmer School District 38 held the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to honor this year’s five nominees on Oct. 12. An appreciative audience listened as Tommie Plank and Ted Bauman introduced each inductee, who then came to the stage to accept their award. One after another, the inductees told wonderful and humble stories of their years in D38, and a tapestry of some of D38’s history unfolded. From left are Max Williams, Emma De Kler, Mark Ewig, Ron Phillips, and Don Lash. Photo courtesy of Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Public Information Officer Julie Stephen.
100+ Women Who Care, Oct. 16
Caption: The Tri-Lakes 100+ Women Who Care group met on Oct. 16 at The Barn in Woodmoor. The meeting, led by President Heather Buchman, heard brief presentations from local nonprofit groups and voted to donate $100 from each member. The next meeting will be on April 15, 2020 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. To join and contribute $100 two times a year to local Tri-Lakes charities for a total of $20,000 annually and make a big impact without a big commitment, see http://www.100womenwhocaretrilakes.com. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Palmer Lake 0.5K,
Caption: Awake Palmer Lake again sponsored The Run for the Rest of Us, a .5K "Run" on Oct. 6. Over 850 people participated in the event, which featured a "rest" stop for donuts after 800 feet and a complimentary beer or soft drink at O’Malley’s upon finishing. According to Chris Cummins, a key volunteer with Awake Palmer Lake, all proceeds support the preservation and restoration of the natural beauty of Palmer Lake parks and surrounding recreation areas. Funding is also provided for the new pedestrian bridge over the railway. The span is expected to be delivered in November or December. Discovery Canyon High School’s Pep Band and the Pie Corner Band provided entertainment. Information on Awake Palmer Lake can be found at www.awakepalmerlake.org. Photo by Dave Futey, caption by Steve Pate.
TLWC awards Silver Alliance
Above: Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, www.tlwc.net, a local charitable nonprofit of over 200 area women, awarded Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance, a local community-funded nonprofit, $710 to purchase exercise equipment for its senior center on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Silver Alliance is an invaluable resource for area senior citizens and is beginning a fundraising campaign to build or relocate to a new senior center. "The continued increase in seniors to this area warrants another location dedicated to seniors to socialize, attend workshops, meet their special needs plus have a community to break isolation," stated Melissa Bagnall, Silver Alliance Board of Directors. To learn more about this valuable community collaboration, go to www.trilakesseniors.org. Pictured are Silver Alliance Board President Melissa Bagnall, Tri-Lakes Women’s Club Co-Presidents Pamela Perry and Marki Morison-Gille, and Silver Alliance board member Penny Hauser. Caption by Pamela Perry and photo by Silver Alliance Program Coordinator Sue Walker.
High Country Kids 4-H, Oct. 13
Caption: High Country Kids 4-H Club had a 4-H event on Oct. 13. It was very fun. It was a trip to Diana’s Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze. We went through a corn maze, played corn hole, went down a ginormous slide, chose pumpkins, and went on a tractor ride. We also had our first meeting of the year on Oct. 15, and we welcomed new members to the club. The 4-H meeting was very fun, and we elected our officers. High Country Kids meets in Monument and serves families throughout El Paso County. See https://elpaso.extension.colostate.edu/4-h/, or contact the Extension Office at 719-520-7698 or email@example.com for more information about 4-H. Caption and photo by Allie R.
Business Expo, Oct. 17
Caption: The Tri-Lakes YMCA and Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce joined efforts to host the second annual Tri-Lakes Business and Community Expo on Oct. 17. More than 100 local businesses filled the YMCA’s main gym, auxiliary gym, and adjacent corridor to showcase their products and services for interested visitors. A passport-style information booklet encouraged visitors to acquire signatures from at least 50 vendors to be eligible for prize drawings. Many businesses offered free samples and at least one offered free massages. The Black Forest Chew Chew food truck sold culturally diverse meals and snacks. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Petra at TLCA, Oct. 25
Caption: Christian rock band Classic Petra Revival (CPR) rocked a sold-out Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts on Oct. 25. CPR is the reunion band of Petra, which formed in 1972 to become the first nationally recognized Christian rock band. Petra acquired many accolades before disbanding in 1993, including four Grammy Awards and being the first rock band inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. On this evening, lead singer Greg X. Volz stated, "Jesus loves a jam." CPR jammed mixing music with ministry, inspiring those in attendance while highlighting the instrumental talent of Kirk Henderson (guitar), Greg Bailey (bass), Louie Weaver (drums), and John Lawry (keyboards) coupled with Volz’s dynamic vocals and stage presence. Among the songs performed, with energetic similarity to Journey, Styx, and Foreigner, were Petra hits God Pleaser, Judas Kiss, and Clean along with a spiritual rendition of Aerosmith’s Dream On. Photo by David Futey.
Pumpkin give-away, Oct. 19
Caption: Locals flock to the Monument Marketplace Clock Tower to receive free pumpkins on Oct. 19. The third annual event was organized by Monument Professional Firefighters Local 4319 and sponsored by Trusted Home Loans-Mutual Security Mortgage, Ryan Graham Homes at Platinum Group Realtors, and Skyline Moving Co. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Trunk or Treat, Oct. 25
Caption: YMCA Teen Program Coordinator Annie Vaganay and Madi Vasconcellos hand out treats with a trunk decked out in a Superhero theme at the annual YMCA Trunk n’ Treat on Oct. 25. Many local businesses, members of Cathedral Rock Church, and the Monument Police Department and Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District took part in the annual event. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Caption: On a chilly Oct. 25, the St. Peter church parking lot was host to hundreds of children dressed up for a fun "Truck or treat" night. Volunteers’ car trunks and truck beds were transformed into miniature display stages for Halloween and Day of the Dead/All Souls Day (shown here) where children got candy treats in a safe place. Promptly at 7 p.m., the church held the voting for favorite displays and a raffle of a free new truck. Proceeds from the raffle benefited St. Peter Catholic School. Photo by Janet Sellers.
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.
LEAP—Help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1-April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
MVEA Christmas Light Roundup
Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA) wants to help you make the energy efficiency switch this holiday season! Drop off your incandescent C7 and C9 light strands at an MVEA office and receive a $5 per strand bill credit. The Monument MVEA office is at 15706 Jackson Creek Parkway, Ste. 100. For more information, phone 800-388-9881. See ad on page 32.
MVEA essay contest, enter by Nov. 14
High school juniors can enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, or win a stay at the Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colo. Essays must be received by Nov. 14. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/essay-contest. Info: Erica, 719-494-2654, firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad on page 32.
Bell Ringing volunteers needed
Look for Kiwanis members and volunteers ringing the holiday bell for Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign starting Nov. 29. All proceeds go to Salvation Army in El Paso County. To volunteer or for more information about Kiwanis, visit www.MHKiwanis.org. See ad on page 11.
Pikes Peak Y Black Friday Sale
Get 50% off the joining fee and/or 50% off your third month of personal training. Runs Nov. 28-Dec. 2. The Tri-Lakes Y is located at 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument. For more information, call 719-481-8728. See ad on page 6.
Christmas crafts at the Monastery
Shop holiday gifts through Dec. 15 at the Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery, 3190 Benet Lane, Colorado Springs. The hours are Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays after 10:15 mass. For more information, call 719-633-0655. See ad on page 10.
MVEA Scholarships, apply by Jan. 15
Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2020. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/scholarships. See ad on page 32.
Call for artists, enter by Jan. 17
Palmer Lake Art Group’s winter show exhibition dates are Jan. 29–Feb. 22, at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. See eligibility criteria and terms of submission at www.palmerlakeartgroup.com.
Become a CASA volunteer
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) offers a volunteer opportunity like no other. As appointed representatives of the court, CASA volunteers are empowered to make a lifelong difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. To learn more, contact Uriko Stout, 447-9898 ext. 1060, email@example.com; or visit www.casappr.org.
Officiate high school basketball
Make the right call and become a high school basketball official. Email the Colorado Springs Basketball Officials Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, for information on training and certification.
Home-delivered meals 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.
Children’s Literacy Center needs volunteers
Children’s Literacy Center (CLC) provides free one-on-one tutoring to children reading below grade level in our community. If you are 14 years or older and are able to commit to a 12-week tutoring session, contact Children’s Literacy Center today to change a child’s life! Work with one child, two hours a week. All volunteers are trained to use CLC’s Peak Reader® curriculum; no background in education or prior experience in tutoring is required. CLC’s fall session runs through Dec. 5. For more information on how to get involved or on how to sign your child up, visit http://childrensliteracycenter.org or call 719-471-8672.
Citizen input sought on County master plan
El Paso County continues to seek citizen input in an online survey as it creates the new county master plan. To complete the survey, go online to http://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com. For more information, phone 719-520-6300.
Sisters’ Thrift & Boutique
The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery have a shop full of gently used treasures at 8674 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Springs. Store hours are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The phone number is 719-282-0316.
Volunteer drivers needed
Mountain Community Senior Services is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 and older. The program needs volunteer drivers. For more information, visit the website, http://coloradoseniorhelp.com, email email@example.com, or call the hotline, 488-0076.
Thrift Store needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed for various tasks. The store is located at 755 Highway 105, Suite N, in the West End Center and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To volunteer, call 488-3495.
Free transportation and handyman services
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
MVEA tree-trimming services
Tree trimming helps prevent storm-related power outages. For more information, call 800-388-9881 or 719-495-2283, or visit www.mvea.coop/tree-trimming.
There is now a website, www.TLtalks.com, for local articles, podcasts, and much more. TLtalks.com is dedicated to providing a platform where you can write about what is important to you and where the Tri-Lakes community can exchange ideas, thoughts, and information. Visit www.TLtalks.com to see the mission statement, submission guidelines, and terms and conditions.
I-25 MyWay commuting options website
Visit www.i25myway.org and enter starting and ending ZIP codes for personalized I-25 commuting solutions and savings estimates. The website will help you arrange the details and free test commutes, including carpools, van pools, and the Bustang South Line. The site will run through the end of construction in 2022.
County launches Citizen Connect
Citizen Connect is a new tool that allows citizens to report problems and put in service requests with the click of a mouse or touch of a button. Citizens can download this app, EPC Citizen Connect, for iPhone or Android phone. For more information, visit www.elpasoco.com/county-launches-citizen-connect.
Sign up for "Reverse 9-1-1"
The Emergency Notification System (powered by Everbridge), commonly referred to as Reverse 9-1-1, is a tool that can make rapid notifications to specific geographic areas to alert you to emergency situations including manmade disasters, evacuations, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, and more. Reverse 9-1-1 is not the same as Amber Alerts, which are generated by a different system. You must register to receive emergency notifications on any phone other than your landline. You can list up to five locations and up to eight points of contact. Sign up at www.elpasoteller911.org.
County assessor launches enhanced website
The newly redesigned site with the Property Record Card and Citizen Comper (value comparisons) makes parcel and property searches more informative, easier to use, and accessible on mobile devices as well as desktops. Find the enhanced website at https://property.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/.
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.
Monument text alerts
Text "Monument" to 41411 to receive updates and news of meetings, weather alerts, openings and closings, as well as other important town information to your phone or personal mobile device.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Monday through Friday at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
El Paso County expands services to veterans
Three county agencies providing services to veterans now have satellite offices at the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, 530 Communications Circle, Colorado Springs. The Veterans Service office at Mount Carmel is open Monday through, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and closes noon-1 p.m. for lunch. Call 667-3816 for an appointment. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center Mount Carmel office is open Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon-1 p.m.) and is staffed with two Workforce Center employees who help veterans with their employment needs. Call 667-3729 for an appointment. The county Department of Human Services also has a Mount Carmel office open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY & 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on December 04, 2019. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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