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Our Community News - Home Vol. 19 No. 2 - February 2, 2019

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Contents

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 35 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.

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

Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, Jan. 15: 2019 salary decision fallout

By Allison Robenstein

The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board discussed the 2019 salary decisions and possible subdistrict consolidation at its regular meeting on Jan. 15. The directors also discussed the ongoing talks with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) for a possible consolidation, and minimum staffing on calls for service.

Chief Vinny Burns was excused.

2019 salaries squabble; strategic plan discussion

Finances, including the budget and firefighter salaries, took up most of this meeting. Chairman William "Bo" McAllister was absent from the Dec. 4 meeting but said he was shocked to learn about the salary changes the board ultimately approved for the 2019 budget that night.

McAllister said he left for vacation on Dec. 3 assuming the board members were all on the same page regarding salary increases, with plans to make them close to those of TLMFPD. Instead, three of the members voted to give all paid Wescott staff a 10 percent raise, with Treasurer Joyce Hartung voting against, saying firefighters deserved a bigger increase. This decision was different from what was discussed the previous two months.

In October, when Burns first introduced the 2019 budget, he recommended offering large pay increases for the firefighters in an effort to make their salaries comparable to TLMFPD in case there is a merger with that district. At that time, the chiefs suggested a 52 percent pay raise for basic firefighters and similar upgrades for all others with the exception of the chief positions, saying their salaries would not increase as much as the firefighters’ pay because a merger would mean fewer chiefs are needed. See https://ocn.me/v18n11.htm#dwfpd.

At the November meeting, Burns and Ridings scaled down all their salary requests, saying the administrative assistant would receive a $9,000 raise, exempt employee (supervisors) salaries would increase 21 percent, and non-exempt employee (firefighters) salary totals would increase 11 percent. See https://ocn.me/v18n12.htm#dwfpd.

Finally, at the December budget public hearing the chiefs offered a third iteration of salary increases. They asked for the administrative staff to receive a 25 percent salary increase and the non-exempt line item to increase by $50,500 shared among three chiefs (two full-time and one part-time). At that meeting, resident Steve Simpson said he calculated that would mean the firefighters would receive only a 2.2 percent raise. None of the board members was comfortable with the inequality of the newest salary increase and, after much discussion, they settled on giving a 10 percent raise across the board. The board members pulled $61,000 from the total of the three salary line items—exempt, non-exempt, and administrative staff—allowing the chiefs to decide which line items should be the source of the total.

Note: The final 2019 budget shows the non-exempt line item representing firefighters’ salary was decreased by $60,000 and there was $1,000 removed from the administrative assistant line. The chiefs retained their total increase in the exempt employee line item. The money removed by the board was put into the committed funds as promotions that can be spent only after board approval. To see the 2019 budget, see http://wescottfire.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2019_budget.pdf.

When McAllister questioned the board’s motives, Director Larry Schwarz said although they had been apprised of the salary increases, none of the board members felt they had information for specific rank increases. McAllister asked why they didn’t ask questions about their concerns sooner. Assistant Chief Ridings said he had provided the breakdown of salary increases for all staffing levels via email, saying, "I wish I could have answered the pay scale questions," at or ahead of the meeting.

In the meantime, TLMFPD employees were approved for a 2019 pay raise, while our teams have nothing, said McAllister. And he continued, "their firefighters union is moving toward collective bargaining because they are not pleased with their salaries," noting he’s never heard that from any of the Wescott firefighters. See https://ocn.me/v19n1.htm#tlmfpd and https://ocn.me/v18n12.htm#tlmfpd.

McAllister called out Schwarz’ comment during the December meeting when he said Wescott was a "stepping stone" agency. Wescott firefighters took offense, McAllister told Schwarz, saying he has seen nothing but professionalism from this district. Schwarz defended his previous statements, saying he was not questioning the firefighters’ dedication but said a 10-square-mile community just can’t provide the same amount of salary increase as other districts with larger areas covered and more corresponding revenue.

Schwarz said he hopes the board can figure out a way to increase Wescott salaries and hire more firefighters, even suggesting selling some equipment to make money to pay for salary increases. Minimum staffing levels for engine and ladder trucks are a big concern for him. Schwarz saw a unit that should have four people onboard leave on a call for service with only two people, which is unsafe and not up to National Fire Protection Association standards.

Ridings and Schwarz agreed to discuss these concerns. DWFPD’s 10-year strategic plan acknowledges staffing increases are needed, Ridings said, adding that with conservative spending they should be able to hire three more paid firefighters in 2019, although this was not specifically a budget request. For the past month, Ridings said, they have been able to train volunteers so that one of the four staff on engine and ladder trucks is a trained but unpaid volunteer, saving the community money while providing good service.

To review DWFPD’s strategic plan, see http://wescottfire.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Strategic-Plan_2018.pdf.

TLMFPD merger discussion

Schwarz and Rusnak said they have been communicating with TLMFPD Treasurer John Hildebrandt, emailing questions about budget and operations back and forth. Although Rusnak was initially to contact Hildebrandt directly, he felt it was better to go through the merger committee for answers to some of the questions. Schwarz said he was asked by TLMFPD why the DWFPD board decided not to approve salaries that would be comparable to TLMFPD’s, and also wondered why they didn’t seek to de-Gallagherize in the 2018 election.

The Gallagher Amendment is a voter-approved measure requiring 45 percent of the state’s total property tax burden to be paid by residences and the other 55 percent paid by nonresidential (commercial) property. A Colorado General Assembly committee is reviewing the amendment to determine how it will change over time. The outcome could noticeably reduce the amount of property tax revenue all special districts receive. See https://www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#dwfpd.

Secretary Mark Gunderman said that at some point cultural differences between the two districts would have to be discussed. Hartung was concerned because in her discussions with TLMFPD committee members, she found they are not interested in volunteers and worried this would be a problem going forward. "The volunteers make this station what it is," she said.

McAllister said he is proud of the Wescott volunteers who train without pay. Ridings said the zero cost of volunteers is a bonus that provides the community with great service.

The board eventually decided to meet with TLMFPD in the next few weeks to work toward the March decision deadline as to whether to move forward with merger discussions.

Long-range planning for possible subdistrict dissolution

Since being elected to the board, Rusnak has been trying to persuade the other directors to consolidate the sub-district and district to eliminate one level of government and to equalize mill levies among homeowners. None of the other board members commented during the discussion, but at a previous meeting, Schwarz said he isn’t comfortable charging homeowners in the southern district the same higher mill levy as the northern subdistrict when they don’t receive the same level of service.

The overall district mill levy is set at 7.0 mills. The northern sub-district pays an additional 14.9 mills after voters in the northern sub-district approved it in November 2017 to make up for a 65 percent reduction in property tax revenue when the City of Colorado Springs annexed more of Wescott’s territory. See https://ocn.me/v17n10.htm#dwfpd.

In a lengthy technical discussion with Rusnak, Wescott legal counsel Matt Court recommended equalizing taxation through district or subdistrict elimination to make it easier to merge with TLMFPD in the future, but said none of the potential scenarios is straightforward.

During public comments, Simpson said that over 10 years, the revenues lost from the southern portion of the district could total hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said he would suggest moving forward with the consolidation.

The board did not make any further decisions. To read more information about the district, see http://wescottfire.org/about-wescott-fire/.

Treasurer’s report format trial agreed upon

Rusnak rolled out a new, more generalized treasurer’s executive summary to be shared with the board monthly, in addition to Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich’s more detailed monthly expense report. Rusnak said it is important to segregate the reserved capital from the revenue and expenses, confirming the board must vote to spend the reserves.

Popovich said this report can’t be produced in QuickBooks, so she would need to manually type the numbers into Excel. Rusnak said he could prepare it if he received the budget numbers soon enough. Instead the board, with Ridings’ approval, decided Popovich would try creating the report for one month to see how much time it takes.

Gallagher updates

McAllister suggested that after the Colorado Assembly committee on Gallagher has met and made a decision, the board should revisit firefighter salaries and perhaps pull that from reserves.

Court said it’s rumored the committee may recommend a 6.11 percent residential property assessment rate. The residential assessment rate is currently set at 7.2 percent.

The meeting adjourned at 8:34 pm.

**********

The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb 19 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org.

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

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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Jan. 23: Emergency response times rise along I-25 gap; "full staffing" achieved

By Natalie Barszcz

At the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting on Jan. 23, directors heard that response times along the I-25 Gap were increasing and directed the fire chief to continue studying the possibility of a merger with Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD). TLMFPD celebrated as the most recently hired EMS/Paramedic was sworn in, achieving the goal of "full staffing."

President Jake Shirk and Director Jason Buckingham were excused.

I-25 response times

Deputy Chief Randy Trost stated that since the commencement of the Gap widening project between Monument and Castle Rock, a problematic nightmare now exists on I-25 that changes week to week depending on which ramps are closed. Lanes have been reduced to 8 feet or less in some areas, which is simply not wide enough for engine access.

Trost is meeting every two weeks with Larkspur Fire Protection District (LFPD) and Castle Rock Fire and Rescue Department (CRFD), Kramer Construction engineers, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to identify and resolve problems. "TLMFPD may need to become the primary response agency due to access issues during the widening of the gap—with an ongoing effort to reduce response times," said Trost. TLMFPD has an agreement with the Larkspur Fire Department to cover calls in the Larkspur, Douglas County area, he said.

EMS/Paramedic hired

After many months of searching for the right EMS/Paramedic candidate to fill the 15th slot on third shift, TLMFPD has finally filled the position with EMS/Paramedic Nathan Boyce. Boyce was sworn in during the meeting by Truty with the new oath now required by state law. TLMFPD has been using required overtime to fill shifts until all the positions were filled, and one of the five reasons cited for needing a mill levy increase was to increase the district’s wage schedule. See www.ocn.me/v17n5.htm#tlmfpd, www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#tlmfpd, www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#tlmfpd.

Donald Wescott Fire Protection District merger process

Early in the meeting, Vice President Roger Lance welcomed Chairman Bo McAllister of the DWFPD board who was visiting the TLMFPD board meeting. The TLMFPD board moved into executive session at 7:35 p.m. pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) to instruct negotiators on the possible future arrangement with DWFPD. When the TLMFPD board returned to open session, it approved 5-0 a motion directing the fire chief to provide a detailed plan to the Board of Directors in 90 days that is a contract-for-service type agreement with DWFPD that is financially sustainable to both communities.

Gallagher amendment update

Chief Chris Truty updated TLMFPD directors on the current draft proposal from the Colorado Legislative Committee to the Colorado State Legislature suggesting the drop in the Residential Assessment Rate (RAR) be decreased from 7.2 percent to 6.78 percent and not 6.11 percent as originally predicted, which would have caused a catastrophic loss in revenue. "It is a mixed blessing and makes the urgency a little less in terms of talking to the community," said Truty.

Financial report

Treasurer John Hildebrandt updated the TLMFPD board with the most recent financial report of revenue and expenses through December 2018 as follows:

• Property tax revenues received were $7.54 million or 99.71 percent of the budgeted amount.

• Specific Ownership taxes received were $918,231 or 180.05 percent of the budgeted amount.

• Ambulance revenues were $847,980 or 106.0 percent of the budgeted amount.

Hildebrandt noted that Specific Ownership tax revenues were up $188,450 over the last two months. Since it is a tax levied on motor vehicles, it is unknown if Specific Ownership tax will remain high and therefore it is not a guaranteed revenue, particularly if economic growth slows in the future.

Impact Fees are at $178,711 or 238.28 percent of expected revenue of $75,000.

Overall revenue was 108.22 percent of the budget.

Hildebrandt stated that vehicle expense was the only category that was significantly over budget with a breakdown as follows:

• Firefighting vehicle repair and maintenance was 192 percent over budget.

• Medical vehicle repair and maintenance was 234 percent over budget.

• Administration vehicle repair and maintenance was 151 percent over budget.

This all adds up to 157 percent of the budgeted dollars for the category, or $80,750. "You cannot plan on maintenance—you have to fix vehicles when they break," said Hildebrandt.

In the other 11 budget categories, only three were over 100 percent for the year, totaling $3,388.

Hildebrandt noted that overall expenses were 5.3 percent under the budget for 2018.

Truty provided a summary of capital expenses for 2018 as follows:

• Building Capital was budgeted for $410,000, and the actual expenditure was $9,286. $400,000 was budgeted for the Station 1 remodel and $10,000 for the replacement generator at Station 2

• Fire Vehicle Capital was budgeted for $100,000, and the actual expenditure was $118,666.

• Medical Vehicle Capital was budgeted for $100,000, and the actual expenditure was $257,947. This includes the complete cost for the purchase of Castle Rock’s ambulance at $45,000 once equipped. $110,000 for 50 percent of a new ambulance (to be received). A state grant will reimburse about $87,000.

• Administration Vehicles Capital was budgeted for $150,000, and the actual expenditure was $162,000 to equip all three chiefs’ vehicles.

• Communications Capital Outlay was budgeted for $23,142 and actual was $353,114. A large purchase toward complete radio replacement. Complete cost was $342,895, of which $332,544 was reimbursed by FEMA.

• Medical Equipment Capital Outlay was budgeted for $37,080 and actual was $124,955. The original budget was to replace one Lifepack 15 monitor. With a 50 percent matching grant from the state to be reimbursed, four Lifepack 15 monitors were replaced.

• Suppression Equipment Capital Outlay was budgeted for $175,000 and actual was $148,519.

• Vehicle Replacement Outlay was budgeted at $245,000 and actual was $10,537 to upgrade three ambulances to Powerlift systems.

• Replacement Funds Outlay was budgeted at $261,396. No funds transferred and recorded to savings yet.

The TLMFPD board approved the November and December 2018 financial reports unanimously.

Chief’s report

Truty gave brief updates on the following:

• Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department—No progress on the study yet since Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) is still completing its field study. ESCI provides impartial organizational audits detailing an agency’s capabilities, limitations, support programs, and services. Visit https://esci.us.

• The intention is to have the ESCI plan for TLMFPD presented to the board at the February meeting.

• Santa on Patrol—Truty thanked all those who participated and contributed to the awesome success of the annual toy distribution event founded by Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk.

• Collective Bargaining Agreement contract—progress is being made, but it has been slow due to the need to cancel several meetings.

• The Office of Emergency Management of Colorado Springs and El Paso County are combining into Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management—this will be a great resource and asset for TLMFPD for the planning of exercises in Northern El Paso County.

Evacuation planning

Administrative Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner continues to help local communities with mitigation efforts and is working on evacuation planning routes with an area-wide evacuation drill potentially planned for spring 2020. "Homeowners are encouraged to find multiple ways in and out of their community in the event of an emergency situation and this may include unpaved roads—think ahead!" said Bumgarner.

A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is now in place for Higby Estates. Canterbury Estates has requested assistance with more work toward obtaining its CWPP, while efforts continue to get a CWPP for the district.

The Annual Wildfire Awareness Day is planned for April with the time and place to be determined. "The continued moisture over the past few weeks is definitely helping, but it is not enough to prevent wildfire danger," said Bumgarner.

Training update

Battalion Chief Jonathan Bradley updated the directors on recent training to keep the firefighters up to date on their skills.

During board comments, Lance thanked Battalion Chief Mike Keough and TLMFPD on their professional response throughout two emergencies that Lance was personally involved in over the past month.

Caption:  New hire EMS/Paramedic Nathan Boyce, right, is pictured during the swearing-in ceremony carried out by Chief Chris Truty, left, during the Jan. 23 TLMFPD board meeting. Boyce received a warm welcome and was congratulated by those in attendance. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.

**********

Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see http://tlmfire.org/board.

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

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Our Community News needs your help!

This paper’s unbiased reporting, favorable advertising opportunities, and platform for expressing opinions on Tri-Lakes events appears in over 20,000 area mailboxes every month due to volunteer time and energy. If you can spare a little—or a lot of—time, here are some vital jobs that can help you build skills and enjoy the camaraderie of new friends:

Ads Coordinator

This role involves significant phone and email communications with advertisers. This volunteer must be comfortable using (or learning) Excel, working at a computer, and explaining the detailed benefits of advertising in OCN. Expect to commit at least 75 hours per month with a concentration of work at the end of the month.

Ads Sales

This volunteer will enjoy engaging potential advertisers about the many benefits of reaching potential customers through OCN’s distribution from the mountains to Black Forest Road, and from County Line Road to Northgate Boulevard. The time commitment varies widely from 15 to 40 hours per month.

Mailing Day

Volunteers are needed for various tasks such as inserting flyers, counting papers, loading and unloading tubs of papers for delivery to post offices, and delivering stacks of papers to local businesses. A typical time commitment is generally two to five hours on the Friday before the first Saturday of the month.

Technology & Equipment Assistant

We need another volunteer to learn how to maintain computer hardware and software. Ability to work one on one to train new reporters how to install and use digital recorders and digital cameras. Familiarity with computers, Windows XP and beyond, Sony SX-68, PX-333, Fuji FinePix 6000 is necessary. Hours per month vary.

Graphic Layout

This is a long-term commitment that involves learning the layout and design process using an InDesign application and working with the Managing Editor to determine content. Volunteers can expect to work 20 to 30 hours during the final three to four days prior to print day.

OCN will provide whatever equipment and training are needed. Come, use your enthusiasm and creativity to benefit our community and celebrate unfiltered information. Join us today! Call Managing Editor Lisa Hatfield at (719) 339-7831 or email editor@ocn.me.

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Caption correction

OCN published an incomplete caption accompanying the photo on the right on page 16 in our Jan. 5, 2019 issue. Below is what the caption should have said. OCN regrets the error.

Caption:  Ed Delaney’s last meeting as Monument Planning Commission chairman was Nov. 14, 2018, due to a new town term limit for planning commissioners. He has volunteered in numerous capacities for our community for 38 years and counting. He began serving on the Monument Planning Commission in 1981, joined the Landscape Committee in 1985, and served on the Monument Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2010, where he was mayor pro-tem for eight years. He took a year off and then returned to the Planning Commission, and he also has been serving on the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) board since 1992 and has represented the district on the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC). He is currently both the MSD board chairman and the Tri-Lakes Facility JUC chairman.

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Monument Board of Trustees, Jan. 7, Jan. 22: Traffic connection required for Sanctuary Pointe

By Allison Robenstein

The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) had a lengthy discussion about traffic issues near the Sanctuary Pointe development and approved one more sub-phase of its construction at its Jan. 7 meeting. Town staff came to the board with information about their 2019 plans as the trustees had requested of them. The board also made plans to discuss the town’s landscaping ordinance again and agreed to create three committees that will meet quarterly.

Sanctuary Pointe Phase 2, Filing 5 final plat

Planning Directory Larry Manning introduced an ordinance for the final plat of Sanctuary Pointe Phase 2, Filing No. 5. This request, called subphase C, near the center of Sanctuary Pointe, will be 15.7 acres built into 53 residential lots, one right-of-way and three tracts for open space, a park, and trails. It is part of the 600-lot development being built on the north side of Baptist Road.

The final planned development (PD) site plan for Phase 2 was approved unanimously by the board at its March 19, 2018 meeting, dependent upon the condition that this subphase requires Sanctuary Pointe developer Classic Homes to extend Sanctuary Rim Drive west and build out Gleneagle Drive north of its current termination point in the Promontory Pointe development. The Sanctuary Rim Drive extension will meet up with Gleneagle Drive in an undeveloped property called Home Place Ranch (HPR). Classic Homes is allowed to request 40 building permits from Pikes Peak Regional Building before these roads must be extended.

The developer of HPR, Goodwin Knight LLC, previously agreed to either extend the roads as it began the fifth phase of its development or provide an easement to Classic Homes if it gets to this subphase. In November 2018, HPR granted the easement to Classic Homes.

After answering many questions about traffic, Manning reminded the trustees, "The town was the one that pushed the connection to Gleneagle Drive." See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#mbot0319.

The Monument Planning Commission heard the Phase 2, Filing 5 Final Plat request at its December 2018 meeting. The commissioners debated more about potential construction traffic on Gleneagle Drive than they did on the final plat in question, which was approved by the commission in a 3-2 vote. Commissioner Ken Kimple asked when construction of the Gleneagle Drive extension to Sanctuary Rim Drive would begin. Senior Planner Jennifer Jones said the paperwork had been reviewed and was ready to be signed at the end of that meeting. See www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#mpc.

Background: The 2006 Sanctuary Pointe sketch plan called for the west end of Sanctuary Rim Drive to connect with a to-be-built section of Gleneagle Drive in the HPR development, north of Promontory Pointe. It had been anticipated that HPR development would have been wholly completed before the Sanctuary Pointe development had begun. See www.ocn.me/v6n9.htm#monpc, www.ocn.me/v6n12.htm#bot1120, www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#mbot0319.

Manning’s comments included:

• Gleneagle Drive is designated as a major residential collector on the 2016 El Paso County transportation map and is built to the standards required by the town for heavy use.

• Speeding and weight limits ordinances will be enforced by police.

• HPR is in discussions with both the town and the county, which oversees Higby Road.

• El Paso County says Higby Road isn’t improved enough to handle as much traffic as Baptist Road is, so it can be used only for emergencies, not a way to divert construction traffic through the undeveloped land.

Manning also said HR Green did a traffic study for Triview Metropolitan District traffic on May 31, 2018, which concluded there were minimal traffic issues in Promontory Pointe but identified several recommendations for Gleneagle Drive including:

• Providing digital speed readout displays.

• Building longitudinal rumble strips along bike lanes to let drivers know they are crossing over the driving lane.

• Installing pedestrian crossing signs.

During public comments, the board heard an extended presentation by Promontory Pointe resident Adrian Limon. His comments included:

• Homeowners are concerned about Sanctuary Pointe construction traffic that may go through their development via Gleneagle Drive, which has blind curves, a very steep grade, 10 bus stops, eight pedestrian crosswalks, and two neighborhood parks along the road.

• In 2006, when the board began the Promontory Pointe planning process, it was suggested there should be more than the two existing access points for emergency evacuation.

• Wildfire evacuation could be slowed down with the addition of Sanctuary Pointe traffic on Gleneagle Drive.

• The town should require the completion of the Gleneagle extension all the way north to Higby Road through Home Place Ranch much sooner than HPR’s Phase 5. Two hundred Promontory Pointe residents signed a petition in support of this idea.

• The town should require Classic Homes to redirect all construction traffic east on Sanctuary Rim Drive to Baptist Road, avoiding Promontory Pointe.

Classic Homes President Joe Loidolt said Classic also developed Promontory Pointe and all 259 homes were built with construction traffic traveling through the development with no issues.

Loren Moreland, vice president and project manager for Classic Homes, spoke briefly confirming with Trustee Greg Coopman that the developer would continue to communicate with all homeowners who live adjacent to the Sanctuary Pointe property and said the connection to Sanctuary Rim Drive would create a third egress point for Promontory Pointe residents, along with Gleneagle Drive and Lyons Tail Road.

Trustee Ron Stephens said homeowners should notify the police if they see traffic problems. Monument Police Commander Steve Burk said Gleneagle Drive has had some traffic complaints through the years, but could not recall any extenuating circumstances.

The trustees had a lengthy discussion about possible ways to restrict certain types of traffic on town roads and what could be mandated to Triview Metropolitan District, which maintains the roads. The board directed Manning to continue communicating with District Manager Jim McGrady.

The Sanctuary Pointe Phase 2, Filing 5 Final Plat ordinance was approved 6-0-1, with Bornstein abstaining since he resides in Promontory Pointe.

Romanello’s town residency questioned

Ann Howe, resident and BOT candidate in the November 2018 election, read a prepared statement questioning newly-elected Trustee Jim Romanello’s residency in the town of Monument, claiming he lived outside the town limits. She said she filed a complaint with Town Clerk Laura Hogan, who said there was no reason to investigate.

Howe cited Chapter 2.04.020–A of the Monument ordinance, which reads "each (Board of Trustees) candidate shall have been a resident of the town for a period of at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the election. If any elected board member shall move from, or become, during their term of office, a nonresident of the town, they shall be deemed thereby to have vacated the office." She called on the trustees to make a motion for Romanello to resign immediately.

Later in the meeting, Trustee Laurie Clark said she lacked the ability to understand the ordinance and persisted in asking Romanello about his residency. Stephens seemed upset by this and said there is no reason a trustee can’t own or rent property outside the town. Although public comment was over, Howe continuously interrupted BOT members who were speaking, yelling comments from the audience, but there was no appeal for order. Bornstein said the line of questioning is "crazy and it’s nuts that we are talking with attorneys" about the issue.

Town attorney Joseph Rivera said, "Mr. Romanello has submitted to the town under affidavit documents stating his residency." The board did not take any action.

2019 meeting schedule and municipal judge approved

The board unanimously approved two housekeeping ordinances. The first sets the BOT regular meeting schedule as the first and third Mondays of each month, unless those are holidays, in which case the meeting will be held the following Tuesday. All meetings will be held in the Monument Town Hall board room beginning at 6:30 p.m. According to ordinance, the mayor may convene special meetings at any time and provide no less than 24 hours of public notice. See https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/ for posted meeting agendas and board packets.

The second ordinance was to appoint municipal judge, John Ciccolella, for another two-year term.

Town manager report and BOT committees request

Interim town manager Mike Foreman had the following to report:

• The town is cooperating with authorities, taking advice by the town attorney and CIRSA during an investigation into town finances.

• Foreman is working with Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk to promote an existing officer to corporal to have more patrol supervisors out in the field and to develop a statistical program to provide BOT members with important public safety information.

• Public Works Director Tom Tharnish and Foreman are forecasting public works projects 10 years into the future.

• They both attend meetings with Colorado Springs Utilities for a regional wastewater plan that could indirectly provide the town with additional renewable sources of drinking water.

• They are reviewing water rates and will present trustees with options soon.

• Staff is working to put a new well in Forest View Estates and on rewriting ordinances for PD zoning.

• Manning and Foreman are working on Lake of the Rockies tap fees and a right-of-way easement.

• The public notification review process is under review to identify better ways to engage the community.

• Foreman and Town Treasurer Pamela Smith are reviewing Wells 4 and 5 financing, and purchasing procedures.

"The goal is to be transparent with you and the public and to give you many opportunities to understand the needs of the community and give you options on how to address them," the report said.

Foreman suggested creating three separate committees composed of two trustees per committee plus applicable town staff. The three committees—Budget and Finance, Public Works and Parks, and Public Safety—would meet quarterly at a minimum and the meetings would be open to the public.

Background: In February 2018, the trustees and Town Manager Chris Lowe had discussed creating budget-related committees that included trustees and town staff. However, OCN did not hear any more about this after Lowe went on administrative leave and then left town employment. See www.ocn.me/v18n2.htm#mbot.

Landscape ordinance review and Monument Lake outlet valve

At the Dec. 3 board meeting, Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein asked for a review of the landscape ordinance from Manning. The current ordinance can be found at https://library.municode.com/co/monument/codes/code_of_ordinances, Chapter 17.52 – Landscaping.

Manning gave a presentation on the landscaping ordinance and asked that the board provide him with either big-picture goals or specific changes. Manning said the ordinance was revised in 2014, before he began working for the town, as a way to conserve water. The revision decreased the amount of turf grass that could be used in residential landscaping and eliminated turf from commercial areas while increasing the number of required shrubs, ornamental grasses, and trees per square foot. Manning said he felt this caused the landscaping to look less green with the addition of more mulch. He also said the excessive number of shrubs may have used more water than the turf grass.

After Manning arrived in 2016, the Planning Department revised the ordinance to reverse/fix the issue of the mandatory excessive number of shrubs and groundcover plants. Manning said they worked with the Planning Commission and developer Vision CSI to create the current version of the ordinance.

The trustees had no comments other than to say they would provide feedback at the next meeting.

Tharnish said the first public works project of the year will be the addition of a second outlet valve in Monument Lake. The current water release valve is only 17 or 18 years old but lets out too much water because it is difficult to control the throttle. The new valve will provide finer control.

Executive session regarding Forest View Estates water tank

The board went into two executive sessions at 8:30 p.m. Both were for "receiving legal advice on a specific legal question" with the first relating to the town’s plans to build a water storage tank in Forest View Estates and the second to review a litigation hold letter received in relation to Forest View Estates. Coopman asked for the second executive session to be added during agenda approval because they had just received the letter.

Background: In 2016, Forest View Estates Neighborhood Association – Filing IV Inc., which is in El Paso County, filed suit against the town asking for temporary and permanent injunctions preventing the town from constructing a tank at 744 Forest View Way. The verbiage cites restrictive covenants meant to ensure lots were used only for residences. The town has been endeavoring to use eminent domain to remove those covenants. See www.ocn.me/v17n1.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v17n5.htm#mbot0417,

Upon its return to public meeting, Hogan said the board made no further votes or announcements.

Checks over $5,000

The following 2018 checks over $5,000 were written by Jan. 7:

• CIRSA Liability Insurance—deductible portion of hail damage repairs to Police Department cars, $5,000

• H & E Equipment Services—stump grinder, $7,515

• H & E Equipment Services—skid steer mower attachment, $3,750

• H & E Equipment Services—portable light towers, $6,453

• Aspen Leaf Companies—shouldering attachment, $7,229

• Dewberry Engineers Inc.—Monument public works site development plan, $10,863

• Velocity Construction Inc.—portable light towers, $8,508

The Jan. 22 BOT meeting was cancelled due to the weather. No reschedule date has been given.

Caption:  The map shows the newest phase of building in Sanctuary Pointe in the blue oval. Once 40 building permits are pulled from Pikes Peak Regional Building, the developer must extend Sanctuary Rim Drive to connect with Gleneagle (Called Old Post Road here) shown in the pink circle. Map courtesy of Town of Monument.

 

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council, Jan. 10 and 24: Fire safety program presented

By James Howald and Jackie Burhans

The Palmer Lake Town Council began 2019 with two meetings in January: a regular town council meeting on Jan. 10 and a work session on Jan. 24. At the first meeting, the council heard a presentation on fire safety from representatives of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), filled a vacant seat on the town’s Planning Commission, approved two housekeeping resolutions setting rules for 2019, and discussed a street vacation. At the work session, in its role as Liquor License Authority, the council approved a special-event liquor license. Finally, they discussed raising some of the town’s fees.

"Ready, Set, Go" fire safety program presented

Fire Chief Chris Truty and Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner, both of TLMFPD, advised the council and the residents at the meeting about preparing for wildfires and about how to make the community more fire-adapted. Bumgarner listed recent fires in the area, seven of which threatened Palmer Lake directly.

The "Ready, Set, Go" program is a collaboration between TLMFPD and the community, Bumgarner said, adding that mitigation efforts must start with homeowners.

Bumgarner said to be ready for fires, homeowners should reduce the vegetation in a 30-foot zone around their home and should aim to reduce ignitability from embers by removing pine needles and other debris from their roofs and gutters. He recommended a 5-foot zone around homes with gravel and no vegetation. Juniper trees are especially to be avoided, Bumgarner said. Trees should be trimmed and fuel beneath trees should be removed so that fire is prevented from climbing higher into the trees and firewood should be kept away from homes, Bumgarner added.

The "Set" portion of the program asks homeowners to be aware of the situation when fire is present and to use local means of communication such as Reverse 9-1-1, social media, and red flag warnings. Bumgarner recommended having a "go kit" with supplies, documents, and medications prepared. See Notices on page 27 to find out how to sign up for Reverse 9-1-1 emergency notifications.

Discussing the "Go" portion of the program, Bumgarner said homeowners should know appropriate escape routes, should have a meeting place for family members decided in advance of need, should know how to open their garage doors if electric service fails, and should understand that cell phones will likely not work during a fire due to a high volume of attempted calls. Most schools have evacuation plans and parents should ask about them, Bumgarner said.

Truty wrapped up the presentation by pointing out that communities should have formal evacuation plans that define escape routes, and that mitigation efforts should be focused on those routes. Truty commended the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department on its response to recent fires.

Planning Commission vacancy filled

The council unanimously appointed Patricia Mettler to a vacant seat on the Planning Commission.

Mettler has lived in Palmer Lake for 12 years, she said, and served on the Planning Commission in Monument before moving to Palmer Lake. Mettler recalled her experiences with planning issues that arose from the arrival of the community’s Walmart store. She also worked on road access and other issues for the Promontory Pointe development in Jackson Creek. Mettler said she would focus on aesthetic issues where new developments were concerned.

Annual housekeeping resolutions passed

The council passed two resolutions that set rules for how the council will perform its duties in 2019. Resolution 1 of 2019 specifies that meeting notices will be posted at the Palmer Lake Town Hall and the Palmer Lake Post Office. (Meeting notices are also posted, unofficially, on the town’s web page at https://www.townofpalmerlake.com/calendar.) Resolution 2 of 2019 specifies two council meetings each month: a regular session and a work session, both to begin at 6 p.m.

Street vacation considered

Town Attorney Maureen Juran asked the board if they would be willing to vacate a small portion of Spring Street. She said the property owners involved requested a preliminary opinion before proceeding with their efforts. The vacation would allow Richard Willem to divide his property into four parcels, Juran told the council.

The council did not vote on this issue but indicated they would be willing to consider the vacation request if it is put to them in the future.

Special event liquor license approved

At the work session on Jan. 24, the council voted to approve a liquor license for a fundraising event to be held by Awake the Lake at The Historic Pinecrest on Feb. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will raise funds for fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Council considers raising fees

Also at the working session, the council discussed raising a number of town fees. Town Administrator Cathy Green-Sinnard pointed out that the town has never had a fee for food truck vendors, and that the council might want to consider changing that. Palmer Lake charges $50 for a business license, she said, while other towns charge $75. Rental fees for the Town Hall itself are not enough to cover the costs of cleaning after an event, she said. Rental fees for the pavilion at the lake were also considered. Green-Sinnard said she thought water rates would need to be raised soon, and that the council should consider charging for demolition permits and grading permits.

The board did not vote on changes to the fees but was open to considering raising them in future.

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The next two meetings are scheduled for Feb. 14 and on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.

James Howald can be reached at jameshowald@ocn.me.

Jackie Burhans can be reached at jackieburhans@ocn.me.

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Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Jan. 14: Board moves forward with four-day work week

By James Howald

The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) took a step forward in its implementation of a four-day work week for district staff at its first meeting of 2019 on Jan. 14. The board also took final votes on three supplemental water service agreements that had been requested by local businesses in previous meetings and adopted a pair of resolutions, the first of which addressed some annual administrative issues, and the second of which updated the district’s backflow prevention policy. Finally, the board heard reports from district staff.

Board leaves four-day work week in place

District manager Jessie Shaffer summed up for the board the results of two surveys the district used to evaluate the four-day, 10-hour work schedule that the district has been experimenting with for the last six months. The first survey was given to customers to assess their degree of satisfaction with the new schedule and the second survey went to district staff to get their thoughts on the issue.

Fifty-one customers were surveyed at random, Shaffer said. Customers were asked if they were aware of the new schedule, if the schedule made it easier or harder to work with the district, and if they were in favor of keeping the new schedule.

Shaffer reported the following replies from customers:

• 38 of the 51 survey participants said they were aware of the schedule.

• When asked if the schedule made it harder to work with the district, 49 said no and two said yes.

• When asked if the schedule made it easier for customers, 21 said yes, four said no, and 25 were neutral.

• When asked if they were in favor of keeping the new schedule, 32 said yes, 12 were neutral and one was opposed

Shaffer said he received 11 anonymous responses to his survey of district staff, who were asked if they preferred the new schedule, if it improved their home and family life, if fatigue was a problem with 10-hour work days, if they found the new schedule enjoyable, and if they wanted to keep it.

Shaffer summed up the 11 responses as follows:

• 10 said they preferred the new schedule and one was neutral.

• Eight felt the schedule made no difference where home and family were concerned, while three saw improvement.

• 10 felt fatigue was not an issue with the longer work days; one said it was.

• Eight said the new schedule made their jobs more enjoyable while three saw no difference.

• 10 responded they would like to keep the new schedule.

Under the new schedule, overtime was consistent with what it had been in 2017, Shaffer said. Absenteeism and turnover did not seem to be impacted by the schedule, according to Shaffer. The longer work day helped staff complete projects in one day, he said.

Over all, Shaffer said he thought the new schedule increased job satisfaction for the district staff, helped the district attract and retain staff, and did not inconvenience the district’s customers. He recommended that the district go forward with it.

The board voted unanimously to continue with the new schedule.

Supplemental water service agreements approved

In previous meetings, the board heard requests for supplemental water service from three local businesses: FHAM LLC, the company that is building drug and alcohol recovery center at 1865 Woodmoor Drive; Monument Hill Business Park LLC, which is planning a commercial building on Deer Creek Road; and Cipriani LLC, which is planning a new restaurant at its Cipriani Loop location. For details about the request from FHAM LLC, see the November issue of OCN (www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#wwsd); for details about the requests from Monument Hill Business Park and Cipriani LLC, see the December issue of OCN (https://www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#wwsd).

The board voted unanimously to approve all three requests.

Two resolutions passed

The board unanimously passed Resolution 19-01, a housekeeping resolution that specifies the Tri-Lakes Tribune as the official medium for legal announcements, sets the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. as the time for board meetings, names the election official who will oversee elections for the district, and requires the board to retain audio tapes of meetings for 90 days.

The board also unanimously adopted resolution 19-02, which aligns district policy on backflow prevention with requirements of the state. Colorado requires the district to have a written policy on this issue and specifies that commercial customers can be tested for compliance with the policy. The state does not require WWSD to test residential customers for compliance.

Highlights of staff reports

• The financial report for the previous month indicates requests for new taps have declined over the highpoints in 2018.

• Main breaks were more frequent than is typical in December and January. District Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said poor installations in previous years contributed to this.

• Well 21, the district’s new well in Misty Acres, has been tested and has shown it will deliver 250 gallons per minute. A pipeline to transport the water to the treatment facility will need to be completed before customers will have access to the water.

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The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 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 jameshowald@ocn.me.

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Triview Metropolitan District, Jan. 15: Water and wastewater ideas advanced

By Jennifer Kaylor

The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors approved forward movement on a $2.3 million renewable water shares purchase Jan. 15. District Manager Jim McGrady updated the board about the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) wastewater and potential water pipelines. Directors welcomed Parks and Open Space Superintendent Jay Batemen and discussed ideas for various improvements throughout the district.

Director James Barnhart was excused.

Triview is a Title 32 special district inside 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 Jan. 15 meeting agenda and two-part board packet are available at https://triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.

Water and wastewater aspirations gain ground

McGrady reported that he had met with representatives from the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) and Monument Sanitation District (MSD) to discuss participation in a cost-share agreement for a four-phase drinking water pipeline study that would include a pipeline routing and feasibility study, 30 percent design plans, permitting, and final design and bidding. McGrady stated that Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (FLMD) had also been invited to participate in the study, but it had not expressed interest thus far.

The significance of the regional pipeline is that it would allow renewable water resources, such as the Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) shares that the district purchases, that are currently unavailable to the districts due to lack of transport from the southern end of the state to become available. The importance of establishing the number of participants in the pipeline project lies in the size of the pipe that is eventually used. Too small of a pipe limits the amount of water that can be transported and too large of a pipe negatively affects velocity, chlorination, disinfection, and other factors. Subsequently, although the cost of the pipe is small comparatively speaking, choosing the correct size is imperative to preventing costly construction to upsize the pipe in the future.

McGrady added optimistically that a water line could be operational by April 2021, just prior to the more demanding summer months.

Regarding the CSU wastewater plans, McGrady confirmed that work continues to progress. The proposed route is expected to eliminate need for the area’s two wastewater treatment facilities— Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) and Upper Monument Creek Region Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF)—and numerous lift stations that burden districts with energy costs. The plan is expected to incorporate gravity and render pumping entities unnecessary. Construction would begin at the south end, near the J.D. Phillips Water Reclamation Facility, travel through the U.S. Air Force Academy to serve the proposed Visitor Center Complex and, ideally, reach north to the Tri-Lakes area by August 2020. See also www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#tvmd.

Districts that have expressed interest—MSD and Triview have done so formally—in participating in the wastewater pipeline expect to learn the financial obligations at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 7.

District poised to substantially increase water shares—eventually

District water attorney Chris Cummins outlined a potential water shares purchase agreement stating, "The high-altitude view of the agreement is Triview purchasing from Comanche Resources LLC a total of 410 shares in FMIC, 244 of which are under a lease to the Fountain Valley Power Co. (FVP)." Cummins explained that Triview would serve as lessee to FVP until plant operations cease—during which time the 244 shares would be unavailable as "wet" water. Wet water is determined by the priority status of a water user among other users and a stream flow’s physical availability to be diverted when in priority (www.water-law.com/water-rights-articles/water-rights-due-diligence/#VIII). The lease would provide revenue of no less than $155,000 per year with an escalation rate, or an increase in revenue, of 5.5 percent per year to the district. The remaining 166 shares are part of a change case—litigation to remove the shares from existing augmentation plans and make them available for other uses—that Comanche has filed (case #16CW3010) and to which Triview is already a party.

The complex purchase agreement positions Triview to become a signee of FVP’s and Comanche’s interests and be inserted as an applicant in the case. Cummins reminded the board that the agreement is a work in progress and is still under legal review. If Triview is assigned the contract, the district’s renewable water could potentially reach 1,072 shares once the change case and lease are resolved.

When asked about the price of the shares, Cummins noted that a straight calculation of the currently available 166 shares totals a price-per-share of $13,855, slightly more than the current FMIC per-share cost of $13,000. However, adding the 244 leased shares, which Cummins stated may be available as soon as 2030, and incorporating the lease revenue would reduce that calculation to less than $5,000 per share.

After modifying a first motion, the board directed McGrady to not sign the agreement until FVP has signed its consent to assign the contract. See pp. 25-79 of BoardPacket¬_2019-01-15_pt1.pdf

Parks and open space supervisor copacetic

McGrady introduced newly hired Parks and Open Space Supervisor Jay Bateman to the board. Bateman provided an update of activities since his first day, Jan. 2. Projects included tree watering throughout the district, grading and other types of maintenance of parks, and assessment of trail conditions to determine grading and drainage needs. Bateman deemed the safety upgrades to the swing park in Promontory Pointe 85 percent complete. McGrady commended Bateman on his availability to coordinate the work in the Public Works and Street Departments.

The trail portion of Bateman’s report triggered a general discussion of the district’s overall trail system. Comments from directors included questions about which entities are responsible for maintaining trails within the district, a proposal to develop a district-wide standard to create uniformity from one neighborhood to the next, and a suggestion to prioritize safety concerns and prevention of equipment destruction.

Other projects updated

• McGrady read a report submitted by Mike Connor of HR Green concerning the Jackson Creek Parkway widening project. The design for a water main that will be installed along with the road-widening project—the simultaneous work is intended to minimize expense and traffic disruption—is primarily complete. HR Green continues to work with the Town of Monument, El Paso County, and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to plan and prepare the taper extension from the Jackson Creek Parkway and Higby Road intersection to the YMCA signal.

• The western interceptor, an extension of wastewater services to Triview residential and commercial customers west of I-25, is under construction with substantial completion expected by late February. As part of the revocable license agreement with El Paso County, the district will provide a wastewater connection to the restroom facility at the Santa Fe trailhead. Director Marco Fiorito proposed that the district provide a water connection as well for potential installation of a water bottle filling station and other amenities if the county should plan to make these upgrades.

• The directors supported McGrady’s recommendation to continue contracting with Ground Floor Media for public relations services and communications projects.

The meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m. Directors entered an executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations.

The board made no additional decisions or actions following the executive session.

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The next Triview board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 19. Board meetings are generally scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. Information: 488-6868 or visit www.triviewmetro.com. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.

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

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Donala Water and Sanitation District, Jan. 17: Future brightens for long-term renewable water contracts

By Jennifer Kaylor

The Donala Water and Sanitation District’s Board of Directors received operations reports and status updates from District General Manager Kip Petersen. The Jan. 17 meeting also marked a change in board officers.

Next steps for water storage, delivery

The Bureau of Reclamation, a division of the U.S. Department of Interior, approved the district’s request for a 40-year contract for water storage, the application for which Donala initiated in 2011. Petersen confirmed that he had received the signed Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact but awaits the signed final contract that required minor typing corrections.

This contract is one of two critical pieces of information that Donala needs to begin the application for a long-term water delivery agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). The second piece that currently eludes the district is a 1041 permit from Pueblo County. Donala’s permit application makes an unprecedented request for the use of the Southern Delivery System to wheel, or provide a system of transport of, Donala’s Willow Creek Ranch water to its customers.

Pueblo County Planning Director Joan Armstrong denied an exemption, or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), that Donala requested as part of the 1041 permit application process. Initially, Petersen intended to apply for reconsideration of the FONSI denial, but Pueblo representatives indicated that a more efficient, effective and less costly option would be to submit a full application. The reconsideration process would not recognize new material, but completion of a full application—Donala has fulfilled 90 percent of the application requirements—would allow Donala to work with the county in crafting permit goals of stormwater mitigation and water transport. Petersen added that the district could also amend the previously requested water storage amount from 499 acre-feet to no more than 1,000 acre-feet.

Water and wastewater operations reviewed

Water production for 2018—840 acre-feet—exceeded production for 2017—790 acre-feet. The district suffered two spills in 2018, "which resulted in us drawing down our storage account as much as possible to avoid losing our water (stored in Pueblo Reservoir)," Petersen reported. Warm and dry fall weather as well as commercial construction added to water demand.

The Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF), owned in part by Donala, operated within established standards; however, Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur continues work to eradicate M. Parvacella bacteria which thrives in fat-, oil- or grease-based foods. The bacteria did not cause problems, but staff was monitoring it closely.

Petersen announced that plans to prepare the R. Hull Water Production Plant for treating arsenic are moving forward. Although the stricter arsenic regulations become effective in October 2019, Donala has requested that engineers work to achieve the new standards by September 2019 to provide a buffer on the timeline. The additional structure at the water plant will allow Donala to remove almost all arsenic from the Donala source water before it is sent to the UMCRWWTF. The estimated cost to implement this change is $969,000.

Discussions of CSU’s project of creating a single wastewater interceptor and treating wastewater flows from districts in the Tri-Lakes region continued. Districts that have southern Colorado water resources but no way of transporting the water seek to negotiate return flows of potable water with CSU. Donala directors approved a three-year water transport contract with CSU on Dec. 6, thus making such negotiations unnecessary for the district. Petersen commented that the district’s current position should result in a reduced cost of participation. CSU scheduled a meeting for Feb. 7 to discuss financial projections with participating districts. See www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#dwsd.

New director sworn in and officers appointed

President Ken Judd led newly elected Director Kevin Deardorff in repeating the oath of office in a brief installation ceremony. Deardorff was one of three candidates who applied for the vacant position and will replace former Vice President Bob Denny who resigned due to an out-of-state move. Deardorff’s current term lasts until May 2020.

Director Ed Houle nominated Wayne Vanderschuere for vice president. Director Dennis Snyder nominated Secretary/Treasurer Ed Houle for vice president. The final vote resulted in Houle being elected to vice president and Snyder being elected secretary/treasurer, the newly vacated position due to Houle’s election to vice president.

Additional items

• Petersen announced that public notice of the district’s 2019 board meetings and November budget workshop had been posted.

• The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority entered its 2019/2020 legislative session. This marked the end of Petersen’s two-year tenure as president of the authority.

• The next Arkansas Basin Roundtable is scheduled for Feb. 13 in Pueblo.

• Referencing the U.S. Drought Monitor, Petersen informed the board that the Front Range experienced a reduction in drought classification, but the southwest portion of the state remains in exceptional drought status.

• Petersen reported that G&S Development’s stormwater mitigation plan had been accepted, and he anticipated final plat approval from the El Paso County Planning Commissioner and Board of County Commissioners by late February. This will complete development of the final 12 lots on the former Gleneagle Golf Course.

• In his financial review, Petersen noted that 2018 water revenue fell within 4.83 percent of the budget projection and the district retained 5.54 percent of funds for 2018 expenditures, including capital expenses. Wastewater income fell short by 45.87 percent, but 33.71 percent of the 2018 expenses remained unspent.

The meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.

Caption:  Kevin Deardorff repeats the oath of office as it is read to him by President Ken Judd at the Jan. 17 Donala Water and Sanitation District meeting. Deardorff was appointed to replace former Director Bob Denny who resigned due to an out-of-state move. Deardorff’s current term lasts until May 2020. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.

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The next board meeting will be held Feb. 21, 1:30 p.m. 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 jenniferkaylor@ocn.me.

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Wagons West Metropolitan District, Jan. 24: New metro district holds first meeting

By Allison Robenstein

Wagons West Metro District (WWMD) held its first ever meeting Jan. 24 for the purpose of electing officers, appointing consultants, and approving its 2019 budget.

The special district was approved at the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) Aug. 6, 2018 meeting for ProTerra Properties LLC, the developer. The associated service plan provides initial improvements to the land including roadways, stormwater infrastructure, and construction of a sewer system lift station. The service plan also includes ongoing maintenance of the open space, detention pond, and the park. Once the metro district builds the assets, all will be gifted to existing service providers, because this plan does not provide ongoing services associated with the improvements. See https://ocn.me/v18n9.htm#mbot.

The property, on the west side of Old Denver Road, north of the Monument ice rink and south of Trails End, was annexed into the town by the BOT on Dec. 4, 2017. See www.ocn.me/v18n1.htm#mbot1204.

The land will eventually hold 54 duplex-style homes and 77 townhomes on 34 acres to be built by JM Weston Homes. The northern 14 acres of the property will remain natural as open space, and there will be a 2.5-acre park. Visual representations of maps of the property are available at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/Document/cd956052-42bf-e711-80bf-001fbc00ed85/Packet110817.pdf.

Conducting the meeting was legal counsel to the district Jennifer Ivey of Icenogle Seaver Pogue, with representatives from ProTerra Properties, LLC, JM Weston Homes, and CliftonLarsonAllen present. Because this is the first meeting of the district, most of the time was spent going through state-required procedures for a Title 32 district.

Those present elected district board officers for 2019. Scott Smith, CEO of ProTerra Properties, was named chairman, Joe Desjardin, ProTerra director of projects, will be the board secretary, and John Bissett, president of JM Weston Homes, will be treasurer.

Ivey was named as general counsel and Carrie Bartow of CliftonLarsonAllen will be the WWMD’s accountant. Ivey recommended the board not appoint a manager or engineer at this time although some special districts do so, but they may do that at a later date as the development moves forward.

The 2019 budget for WWMD will be $25,000 for expenses to include accounting and legal services, as well as membership and indemnification through the Special District Association of Colorado.

The meeting adjourned at 11:41 am.

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The next meeting, a public hearing for the 2020 budget, will be held on Nov. 7 at noon at the ProTerra Properties offices at 1864 Woodmoor Drive, Suite 100, Monument.

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

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education Special Meeting and Work Session, Jan. 7: Board discusses superintendent search, potential bond issue, statement about rehab facility

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education discussed its superintendent search, a resolution regarding the addiction treatment facility in the district, and possible next steps to placing a bond on the 2019 ballot at its Jan. 7 special meeting and work session.

The board decided at its December meeting to utilize the services of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) to implement a search for a replacement for Superintendent Karen Brofft, who will be leaving the district at the end of this school year. CASB was instrumental in previous searches.

CASB representative Randy Zila first explained a potential timeline for the search, recommending that there be a 30-day window for applications. Should the board wish to interview and select a finalist by mid-March, Zila stressed that it was imperative to create and distribute a flyer describing the position by mid-January. He distributed copies of the flyer used in the search when Brofft was hired.

Zila then asked several questions that would be posed to each of the focus groups that would participate in the search. These questions include:

• How do you describe the D-38 community?

• What do you see as the district’s strengths?

• What are the district’s challenges?

• What qualities and experience do you seek in a candidate?

• If you have one-on-one contact with a candidate, what is one piece of advice for success here?

Answers from the board included a small-town feel where students feel valued, academic excellence, committed and active parents who are engaged with the district, challenges such as space and funding, and problems with getting information out.

Qualities sought in a candidate are the ability to communicate effectively, sharing the district’s core values, superintendent or assistant superintendent experience, viewing their leadership as a service, and general educational experience.

Advice for the candidate included a stress on listening skills, treating others as they wish to be treated, and seeking a mentor from among former superintendents.

Following a brief discussion, the board recommended that there be three basic focus groups: the district’s staff, parents, and community members. Zila said that he would ask each of these groups the same questions. When asked how the district hoped to reach community members without children, board President Matthew Clawson said that the Chamber of Commerce could be involved. Progress of the search would be available on the district website.

Brofft also said that such groups as Kiwanis could help to get the word out and it should be possible for community members to express opinions online.

Board Secretary Mark Pfoff said that in the past there were four finalists and four interview panels. Zila said that he prefers three panels. Pfoff said that each panel should include a district administrator who would report to the board.

Zila said he would set up meetings with focus groups the following week. He said the board would receive a running count of applications and when the deadline is reached the board would receive a rubric for screening applications. When semi-finalists are chosen, extensive background checks and reference checks will be done. Names of applicants are not made public until finalists are chosen. The board will meet in executive session to discuss the applications.

During interviews each team will get an hour with each applicant. The teams will be assembled by Executive Director for Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster.

Brofft stressed that the interview teams set the tone of the experience, because the applicants are also interviewing the district.

Part of the application process involves answering essay questions. Following a brief discussion, the board also decided to require a brief video clip of each candidate to see how they communicate verbally.

Clawson suggested asking the candidates what they would like the district to know about them, what qualifications they bring, and how they would handle growth.

The board and Zila agreed that they would prefer but not require candidates to have a superintendent’s license. Brofft said the license has different names in different states, but that the board should require central office experience, not just as a teacher or principal.

Another suggestion by Zila was to request at 100-day entry plan of finalists.

Resolution regarding addiction treatment facility

The board considered a resolution opposing the opening of an addiction treatment facility on Woodmoor Drive, near Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, and Palmer Ridge High School.

After brief discussion it was decided that passing such a resolution would achieve nothing, because the Board of County Commissioners had determined that the facility was allowed based on zoning laws. Those with addiction problems are considered to be disabled, so preventing the facility would go against the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The board agreed that they disapprove only of the location and not of the need for treatment.

The board voted to table the resolution indefinitely. Board Treasurer Chris Taylor voted no.

Next steps for possible bond issue

During its work session, the board discussed whether to place a new bond issue on the 2019 ballot.

Pfoff said that the board had voted at its December meeting to lease modular classrooms and voted to spend money on this. He suggested that the district should use them for a while to demonstrate their need. Another concern, he said, is that the district is in the process of choosing a new superintendent and three positions on the board will be up for election, causing distractions from a possible campaign.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that the portable classrooms are leased on an annual basis, and their installation is the primary expense.

Director Theresa Phillips said that the teachers, staff, and students are now crowded and that delaying the bond issue until 2020 would mean that the earliest there would be a new school is 2021.

Upchurch agreed with Pfoff that there are too many distractions this year and if a second bond failed it would be demoralizing to all involved.

Clawson said that he was concerned about the morale of students. He suggested that members of the board attend staff meetings in the schools to listen to teachers and their concerns. He also expressed concern about the economy, referring to the mill levy overrides that were proposed to build and staff Palmer Ridge High School, when only one of the two succeeded.

Brofft said that the board must be unanimously behind the next bond and that education of the public will need time.

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

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Monument Academy School Board, Jan. 10: Board hears plans for assessment season, Saxon math replacement

By Jackie Burhans

The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Jan. 10 to hear about plans for assessment season, possible replacement of the Saxon math curriculum, and an update on the new school.

Assessment season

Principal Elizabeth Davis reported on assessment season in public schools in general and MA’s plans to host a parent night titled "Data & Testing" on Jan. 30 to demystify the topic. Scheduled speakers included Karen Michael, director of Intervention and Literacy and Marty Venticinque, assessment coordinator. Topics included the Colorado Measure of Academic Success, the Northwest Evaluation Association, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and how MA uses the results from these assessments.

Davis noted that there is assessment every day as a result of good instruction that leads into state and national assessments. MA is slated to have selected eighth-graders participate in the NAEP assessments this year. Parents of selected students have been informed and provided with information including their rights with regard to this testing.

For more information, see the respective websites at www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/cmas, www.nwea.org, and http://bit.ly/naep-assess.

Saxon math curriculum replacement

Board member Melanie Strop expressed concern about elementary math scores. Davis indicated that MA is looking to see if the current curriculum is serving all of MA’s kids. She noted that the curriculum committee had significant concerns and is looking at options other than Saxon that may augment or replace the current curriculum. She noted that MA is seeing more students come in at lower levels of math ability who need more remediation and that Saxon math is oriented toward computation and getting the right answers. However, assessments are looking to measure math reasoning and while students may get the results correct, they were not talking about how they got those results. Davis thinks that being able to do so is important and it will continue to be part of future assessments.

New school update

Director Don Griffin reported that progress is being made on multiple parallel tracks for the new high school such as financing, infrastructure, etc. MA is looking at bonds and bank loans and plans to close financing in the spring in time for groundbreaking with an August 2020 planned opening. Griffin noted that MA is planning a three-phase project and said discussions with the YMCA do not include an aquatics component in phase 1.

Highlights

The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:

• Board members responded to a question by this reporter that they had no idea former board President Scott Saunders planned to place an ad in OCN requesting the district give MA $2 million toward its new school but would not object to receiving the money.

• Davis reported that MA expects to receive the National Association of Education of Young Children accreditation a half-year in advance of the original projections.

• Board President Patrick Hall asked Davis about a report showing counselors had seen a spike in suicide issues. Davis noted that holidays can be hard in contrast to assumptions and that MA had done a number of threat assessments in December.

• MA opened its second semester with an assembly featuring Reggie Dabs, who was very well received.

• The board approved the 2019-20 school calendar unanimously, moving fall break away from the student count window, coordinating spring break with parent conferences, and building in a break in April at the end of the testing window. See the calendar at: http://bit.ly/ma-2019-20.

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The next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 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 except for July and December. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.

Jackie Burhans can be reached at jackieburhans@ocn.me.

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education Regular Meeting, Jan. 15: Board recognizes district achievements, hears Monument Academy Annual Operations Report

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education recognized many of its schools and the district for awards received in the past school year, and the Monument Academy Annual Operations Report was reviewed at the Jan. 15 regular board meeting.

Recognitions

The school district received a number of awards for the previous school year.

Once again, the district was Accredited with Distinction because it achieved 80 percent or more points in all aspects of its Performance Framework, which encompasses academic achievement, academic growth, growth gaps, and post-secondary and workforce readiness.

Lewis-Palmer Elementary School and Prairie Winds Elementary School were awarded the state John Irwin Award for exceptional academic achievement.

The district’s Inez Lewis Award to recognize growth for showing an increase of 10 or more percentile points in English Language or math was awarded to Ray Kilmer Elementary School, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, Prairie Winds Elementary School, and Lewis-Palmer High School.

Superintendent Karen Brofft also acknowledged National School Board Member Month by thanking the board for its time and effort and presenting gifts from some of the schools.

Monument Academy Annual Operations Report

Executive Director Don Griffin of Monument Academy Charter School presented the Annual Operations Report to the board.

Griffin reported that the school has 905.98 students, of which 353 are in the middle school. There are currently 85 gifted students, 49 exceptional students, and 51 English Language Learners at the school.

Regarding the proposed high school at the intersection of Highways 105 and 83, Griffin reported that planning continues with a goal to open in 2020. He said the academy is receiving 23 acres of donated land.

Regarding financing, the academy is considering a bond or a bank loan. The decision will be made in the spring.

Soil testing has been done on the site, and the academy is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding ingress and egress to the site, with a possible roundabout.

Negotiations continue regarding a partnership with the Y. Griffin has visited other locations where the Y partners with schools.

Director Theresa Phillips asked when the proposal changed from a high school to a middle/high school. Griffin responded that the academy originally applied to the board for a high school and later renegotiated to include grades 6 through 8.

Asked if he was confident he could complete construction of the school in 14 months, Griffin responded that the 14 months is the construction phase.

Superintendent search update

Executive Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster reported that work with the Colorado Association of School Boards has resulted in approval of a timeline for the superintendent search, the job has been posted, and a flyer describing the position has been approved.

Focus groups were scheduled to meet the week of Jan. 21. There will be three interview teams consisting of board members, teachers and staff, and community members.

For further details on the search, please see the article on the Jan. 7 special meeting on page 14 of this issue.

Budget goals

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman reported on the procedure for developing a budget for the next school year.

She said that the board will examine a few funds each month in order to not be overwhelmed with numbers.

She said that the district will continue to use site-based budgeting with each school allowed to carry over remaining funds from one year to the next.

Any increased funding for vocational education will be used for those programs.

Two BEST grant (Building Excellent Schools Today) applications are pending for a roof at Prairie Winds and a boiler for Kilmer elementary.

Board Treasurer Chris Taylor said that he would like to discuss deferred maintenance funding at a future work session.

Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch asked whether the board was trying to remain competitive in compensation. Wangeman responded that if the board would like to change compensation, the decision will need to be made soon. She recommended a one-time bonus.

Brofft said that they would bring a proposal to the board.

Upchurch asked when the board will discuss the use of Grace Best. Wangeman said that the district has gotten estimates for use of the building.

Taylor commented that a decision on Grace Best should be part of the discussion of a future bond.

The board approved calendars for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

Caption:  Pictured from left are teachers Danielle Holmes, Cynthia Eversole, Monica Kaler, Julianne McDaniel, Beth Kenny, Pam Kern, Lewis-Palmer Elementary School Principal Jenny Day, Lewis-Palmer School District Superintendent Karen Brofft, and Lewis-Palmer School District Board President Matt Clawson. Lewis-Palmer Elementary School earned the John Irwin Award and the Inez Lewis Award. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

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The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education usually meets on the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Due to a conflict with Presidents’ Day, the board will meet on Feb. 11.

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

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Clarification of Board of Education article, page 10 of Jan. 5 issue of OCN

Parents indicated their preference for site-based preschool at the D38 Deliberates event on Dec. 5, not through Thoughtexchange. Thoughtexchange, an online response program, was a mechanism to determine why the two ballot initiatives on the November ballot were defeated.

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Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee, Jan. 15: Committee hears about portable classrooms, alternative education opportunities

By Harriet Halbig

The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) heard updates on the superintendent search and alternative education opportunities for high school students, and sought volunteers for a nominating committee for a new co-chair at its Jan. 15 meeting.

School board Vice President and Board Liaison Tiffiney Upchurch mentioned activities since the November meeting of the DAAC.

She said that a D-38 Deliberates function learned that the community prefers site-based preschools to one centralized location. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#d38-1205.

She said that principals from many of the district’s schools came to the Dec. 18 board meeting and told the board that, although not ideal, the use of portable classrooms will serve to ease overcrowding in schools now at capacity. The board voted at the December meeting to have two portables at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, one at Kilmer Elementary, one at Lewis-Palmer Elementary, and two at Bear Creek Elementary.

Each portable will house two classrooms with a restroom for each classroom.

The board voted to invest $708,000 in the installation of these classrooms with security additions such as outdoor lighting and cameras. The portables will then be leased on an annual basis. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#d38-1218.

Because of this investment, the board decided against putting a bond issue on the November 2019 ballot to get some use out of the investment. The portables should manage growth sufficiently until the 2021-22 school year, at which time Kilmer may need an additional portable.

Upchurch said that all schools except the high schools will be closed to out-of-district choice enrollment this year, although out-of-district students who have been attending previously will be allowed to stay. The district is required to accept applications but is free to reject them on the basis of space.

She said board members had been attending staff meetings at the schools to hear teachers’ opinions, and there was a board coffee earlier in the month in the morning. The next board coffee will be held in the afternoon to allow a different demographic to attend.

Upchurch said the discussion of steps to react to growth continues. She told the board that the DAAC had recommended a bond on this year’s ballot, but with a new superintendent and three potential new board members it was decided it would be difficult to give the campaign enough attention. (See article on the board special meeting.) One problem addressed is getting the community to see the urgency of the need for a new school.

The Strong D38 group continues to meet and is viewed as a resource by the board. The group was to meet later in the week and was keeping the community informed of its activities on Facebook and in OCN.

In answer to a question about whether choice-in students could stay, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said yes, but that no out-of-district preschoolers would be admitted.

Upchurch briefed the committee on the superintendent search. The intention is to have a finalist by March 18, at which time negotiations on a contract will begin.

Executive Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster said that the flyer advertising the position would be on the district website within 24 hours, and the district would begin to enlist community members for the focus groups and interview teams.

Upchurch said that the 2019 state legislative session began a few days earlier and that over 100 bills involve education including mental health, income tax credits, BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grants for technology, and free full-day kindergarten.

The committee approved the school calendar for the 2019-20 school year.

In response to a question from a committee, Foster said that there are always problems regarding student athletes’ ability to attend graduation as the baseball season continues into that time frame.

Alternative education opportunities for secondary students

Lewis-Palmer High School Principal Tony Karr and Palmer Ridge High School Vice Principal Kim Sandoval enumerated various alternative opportunities for secondary students in the district.

They said that such opportunities make it possible for students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes and sports to adjust their schedules to meet graduation requirements. Among the alternatives are:

• Advanced Placement classes taught by certified teachers in D-38 schools may earn college as well as high school credit.

• Career Start and Work-based training earn credit toward post-secondary and workforce readiness. Work-based training equates a certain number of hours on the job with high school credit. Students in the career-start program can earn credits toward associate degrees in such areas as zookeeping, firefighting, welding, and construction trades.

• Online classes make it possible for students to take classes that fit into their individual schedules. Students can still be on campus part time and online part time.

• Students can take classes at district schools part time and at local colleges part time.

• Project Lead the Way is a problem-oriented program. Lewis-Palmer High School offers biomedical training, and Palmer Ridge offers engineering training.

DAAC Co-chair Deb Goth asked whether the district pays the tuition for programs involving college attendance. The answer was yes.

Karr and Sandoval said to consult with guidance counselors for further information on these programs.

Nominating committee

Goth said a nominating committee for a new co-chair needs to be formed. She offered a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in serving.

The committee should create a slate for co-chair, Goth said. Law requires that a DAAC co-chair may not be on a Building Advisory Committee and may not be an employee of the district.

One of the co-chairs must be a parent.

Goth cautioned that this is a two-year commitment as one of the co-chairs cycles out each year.

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The next meeting of the District Accountability Advisory Committee will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument.

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

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El Paso Board of County Commissioners, Jan. 8, 10, 15, 17, and 22: New commissioners sworn in; I-25 gap funding progresses

By Helen Walklett

January saw the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) welcome two new commissioners and vote for its new leadership. The commissioners also voted to formally accept the federal government grant that will partially fund the expansion of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock.

New commissioners take office

Ahead of the first BOCC meeting on Jan. 8, newly-elected Commissioners Cami Bremer and Holly Williams took the oath of office at a ceremony in Centennial Hall. Commissioner Williams represents District 1, which encompasses much of the northern part of El Paso County, including Black Forest and much of Monument. This area has been represented for the last eight years by outgoing Commissioner Darryl Glenn.

Later that day, the commissioners voted unanimously to change the title of the president and president pro tempure of the board to chair and vice chair and to appoint Commissioner Mark Waller as chair and Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez as vice chair. Waller said, "I appreciate the trust my colleagues have placed in me to lead this board.…This board, with ongoing help from our partners, both public and private, will continue to grow the community in a positive direction."

I-25 gap project funding

At their Jan. 22 meeting, the commissioners voted 4-1 to formally accept the $65 million federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant that will partially fund the I-25 gap project between Monument and Castle Rock. The grant application was approved in 2018 and construction on the project has already begun. The commissioners’ decision finalizes the legal agreement between county and the U.S. Department of Transportation and allows the county to accept the funds.

Commissioner Stan VanderWerf voted no, voicing concerns that the county is the only local public agency to sign the agreement when other public agencies are also to contribute to the $35 million in local match funding for the project. He said he would have preferred to have seen something in writing from the other agencies acknowledging that they are fiscal partners in the project ahead of the vote. Lori Seago, senior assistant county attorney, said it was her interpretation that the county was under no obligation to make up any shortfall if funding was not forthcoming from other entities.

The county will now work with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to develop an intergovernmental agreement between the two to set out their responsibilities regarding county funding and project management.

The Jan. 22 vote followed an executive session on Jan. 15 where the commissioners received legal advice regarding the award of the INFRA grant award and intergovernmental agreements with the federal highway authorities and CDOT. As is custom, no decisions were made during this session.

Final report on Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority

At the Jan. 17 BOCC meeting Elaine Johnsen, funding organization manager with Financial Services, and Jennifer Irvine, county engineer, fulfilled a requirement to give the commissioners a final report on the work completed by the county to close out the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA).

Johnsen began with a brief overview of the authority, which was created in 1997 by the county and the Town of Monument to fund and carry out improvements to Baptist Road. She said the work was completed in 2015 and the county then entered into an intergovernmental agreement to manage BRRTA’s financial and legal affairs and to repay the outstanding bonds. She explained that following the settlement of the bonds, $1.3 million remained, which was appropriated to county’s Road and Bridge Fund. The county then sought public input to prioritize how the remaining money was spent.

Irvine said three priorities were identified: additional sidewalk on the north side of Baptist Road, some median covers, and increased aesthetics. The work had cost slightly more than the amount remaining, and the county had made up the shortfall from its Department of Public Works budget.

Minor subdivision approved southwest of Highway 105

The commissioners approved a request by Richard and Amy Yarbrough for a one-lot minor subdivision to legalize an existing parcel of land. The 1.72-acre parcel is zoned RR-0.5 (residential rural) and is located southwest of Highway 105 and west of I-25 at the terminus of Rock Brook Road in the Hudson subdivision. The county Planning Commission heard the request in December 2018 and recommended it for approval.

The parcel was created in February 1982, after the July 1972 implementation of the subdivision standards, and was therefore an illegal subdivision. The Yarbroughs purchased the land in April 2006 as a ready-to-build parcel, but it remained vacant because the previous owner had not completed the minor subdivision.

The BOCC’s approval legalizes the parcel of land and allows the county’s Planning and Community Development Department to approve a site development plan and authorize a permit for construction of a single-family dwelling in the future.

Northgate Estates development

At their Jan. 15 meeting, the commissioners approved the final release of a check for $2,488 (plus accrued interest) for grading and erosion control at Northgate Estates Filing No. 3. This follows the completion and satisfactory inspection of all the improvements at the development situated off North Gate Boulevard.

Schoolchildren sought to lead Pledge of Allegiance

The BOCC has introduced a new program that invites schoolchildren to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of its meetings. Waller urged any child interested to get in touch with the board so that they can be put on the schedule. Please contact Kristy Smart, clerk to the board manager at 719-520-6432 or email kristysmart@elpasoco.com for further information.

Cap[tion: The new Board of County Commissioners are, from left, Commissioner Stan VanderWerf, Commissioner Cami Bremer, Chair Mark Waller, Vice Chair Longinos Gonzalez, and Commissioner Holly Williams. Courtesy of the El Paso County Public Information Office.

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

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Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations, Jan. 19: County’s Water Master Plan presented

By Jennifer Kaylor

After a snow delay Jan. 19, the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) hosted El Paso County Planning and Community Development Deputy Director Mark Gebhart, who presented the county’s recently developed Water Master Plan (WMP) and the County Master Plan (CMP). President Greg Lynd outlined proposed boundary changes in NEPCO’s area of influence and Vice President and Transportation and Land Use Committee Chair Tom Vierzba updated members about the committee’s recent land use reviews.

Process and policies explained

Gebhart explained that the Water Master Plan is one of several topical elements used to develop the County Master Plan. The process for creating the WMP involved community engagement that encompassed a steering committee, a web-based program called MetroQuest in which individuals could submit feedback, an October 2018 public open house, and two public hearings in December 2018. The Dec. 4 hearing marked the plan’s adoption and at the Dec. 18 hearing, the plan received final Planning Commission approval contingent upon changes stipulated in the resolution. See http://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/110995, Water Master Plan, 11/6/2018 12:42:49 PM for the third draft of the plan, which is the most current. Due to the modifications, publication of the final plan is anticipated to occur mid-February.

Gebhart reported that many small areas throughout El Paso County have developed master plans specific to their geography and unique needs—most of which are 20 to 30 years old. Tri-Lakes and Black Forest are two small areas that have master plans. The absence of plans in some small areas and boundary overlap among others, the age or near obsolescence of existing small area plans, as well as the scope and complexity of updating those existing plans, led the project team to essentially eliminate the small areas in drafting the CMP, Gebhart explained. Gebhart confirmed that the CMP would include something akin to sub-chapters to acknowledge the unique needs that small area plans originally addressed. See page 34 of the WMP for the distribution of small areas into regions.

The project team used the major transportation corridor plan, another of the topical elements of the CMP, state demographer statistics, and survey results from most of the county water providers—there are over 50 providers, but some did not respond to the survey—to project population growth through 2040 and 2060. The data led to the recommendation that water providers secure renewable water resources to supplement groundwater supplies. See page 35 of the WMP for a list of providers by region.

Gebhart outlined the next steps for developing the CMP. Currently at step one—the project initiation and outreach phase—the county’s Planning and Community Development Department secured Houseal-Lavigne Associates, a firm that specializes in community planning, urban design, and economic development. Gebhart anticipated that Houseal would meet with the county commissioners and the Planning Commission by the end of February to determine ground rules and establish a framework or general understanding of the county. The next step, community outreach and engagement, is not likely to begin for several months but is expected to include aggressive implementation. By using a train-the-trainer model, the consultant will likely enlist citizen-liaisons to represent their communities and provide feedback to department staff.

Certain challenges are inherent to the WMP, remarked Gebhart. The county doesn’t own or supply the water for which it is projecting and planning. Currently, county master plans are advisory, not regulatory, and generally utilized at the last stage of development—the CMP project team intends to move this step earlier in the approval process. If a subdivision or lot falls under the jurisdiction of the county, the development is referred to the Colorado Division of Water Resources and must comply with the county’s land use regulation that requires a 300-year water supply for new subdivisions. See http://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ProjectDetails/110995, 300 Year Water Article.

Within city limits, the onus for approval or disapproval rests on municipalities, special districts, and private water suppliers. Water providers face the reality that wells are finite water sources and they must balance development demands that include landscaping considerations, difficult-to-project water needs, and alternate water sources—such as renewable water provided by snow pack in the Arkansas River Basin—to manage water needs into the future.

Board calls for input on NEPCO focus area, provides land use update

Lynd described two options that the board is considering regarding possible expansion of the coalition’s area of influence. The action is in response to requests for information by El Paso County, an effort to include the entirety of School District 38, and better representation of all NEPCO members’ interests.

Vierzba reviewed some NEPCO development updates that included:

• Winsome, formerly know as McCune Ranch, sold its deep aquifer rights to Sterling Ranch.

• Land north of the U.S. Air Force Academy and west of I-25 will be leased for development as True North Commons.

• Sterling Ranch, filing 2, is in the review process for 49 lots on 50 acres.

• The developer of Grandwood Ranch—a proposed community north of Higby Road and east of Fairplay Drive—confirmed the plan to build 48 2.5-acre lots. See map above. This developer tentatively plans to extend Furrow Road to Higby Road, but this work is dependent on the road network proposed by the developer of Home Place Ranch—a new community south of Higby Road.

Caption: El Paso County Planning and Community Development Deputy Director Mark Gebhart presented details about the community input, research, process, decisions, and challenges that the project team encountered in developing the county’s Water Master Plan to the member associations of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations on Jan. 19. The Water Master Plan is one of many elements that will be used to develop the overall County Master Plan that the Planning and Community Development Department recently initiated. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.

Caption: Map provided by NEPCO Vice President Tom Vierzba.

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The next meeting is March 9. Meetings are generally scheduled on the second Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Monument Town Hall conference room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd. off Highway 105. See www.nepco.org for additional information.

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

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January Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

An active weather pattern affected the region for most of January, with several rounds of wind-driven snow causing lots of travel problems while also bringing beneficial moisture. Both temperatures and precipitation were well above normal for the month. In fact, the nearly 40 inches of snow and over 2 inches of liquid equivalent are both far greater than the 100-year recurrence interval levels for the month and were almost as much as some areas received for the entire winter last year.

The new year started on the cold side as an Arctic air mass lingered in the region. Temperatures were below zero for most of the day before some slightly warmer air moved in during the evening. Temperatures reached just above 10 degrees that evening, marking the high temperature for the day. Temperatures warmed over the next few days, reaching the mid-30s on the 2nd, then upper 40s on the 3rd, and upper 50s on the 4th and 5th.

Temperatures stayed above normal through the 11th, with one exception as a quick shot of cooler air moved in on the 8th. No precipitation occurred from the 2nd through late on the 10th. However, these dry and mild patterns were about to change significantly as the area of high pressure and westerly flow that was dominating the region was replaced by an unsettled and cold flow from the north.

The first sign of the changes was felt late on the 10th as scattered snow showers developed just before 11 p.m. that evening. Moisture continued to increase, with steady snow developing the next morning and continuing through the late morning of the 12th. During the two-day period, 8-12 inches of new snowfall accumulated. Interestingly, this storm was relatively warm, especially for January. Therefore moisture levels were high, with a half to an inch of liquid equivalent. This was also shown as snow levels remained high, with very little accumulations below 7,000 feet and rain for most locations below 6,000 feet.

Once this storm left the region, the weather pattern took a few days to reload, with quiet and mild conditions returning through the 17th. However, the next storm quickly approached the area, gaining intensity right over the region during the morning of the 18th. This resulted in heavy, wind-driven snow across the area from around 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. on the 18th. The heavy snow and strong winds resulted in poor driving conditions and closed roads in the area. Again, this storm was relatively mild, so the main impacts were areas above 7,000 feet. Although only about a 12-hour storm, it managed to drop 6-10 inches of snow and nearly three-quarters of an inch of liquid equivalent. Once the storm left, sunshine returned for the next two days and temperatures warmed up nicely, reaching the low to mid-50s from the 20th-21st.

Yet another quick-moving and intense storm affected the region starting in the mid-evening hours of the 21st and lasting through the afternoon of the 22nd. Unlike the previous two storms, this one was accompanied by a cold air mass. The high temperature on the 22nd was reached at midnight, with temperatures falling throughout the day. But more problematic were the very strong winds associated with this storm. Blizzard conditions quickly developed, causing drifts of 4-6 feet across the area. This shut down many roads and reduced visibilities significantly. A brief break after this storm allowed clear skies to return on the 23rd, but temperatures remained cool with the high just touching 40 degrees.

The next quick-moving storm raced through the region from the north along with a strong cold front during the morning of the 24th. This band of snow lasted only for a few hours, but snow and wind caused problems during that timeframe. Temperatures were held below freezing that afternoon and the next as cold air continued to filter into the region. Temperatures slowly warmed on the 26th and 27th, reaching the upper 40s by the afternoon of the 27th, but once again this was ahead of another strong storm system.

The first effects of this storm were felt just after midnight on the 28th, with snow developing around 4 a.m. Cold air, snow, and wind continued to develop through the morning before the storm moved out by early afternoon. This last storm of the month produced 4-6 inches of wind-driven snow and another day of tough driving in the area.

The final few days of the month saw a return of dry conditions, with temperatures starting out below normal on the 29th, then reaching to above normal levels by the end of the month.

A look ahead

February is often a dry and cold month for the region as we move toward the snowy and unsettled conditions of March and April. Precipitation averages less than an inch, with average high temperatures in the 30s. It can get very cold in February with Arctic air making brief pushes into the region. However, days begin to get a little longer, which leads to some nice, sunny days and the snow that does fall begins to melt faster.

January 2019 Weather Statistics

Average High 40.8° (+0.7°)

100-year return frequency value max 48.4° min 30.8°

Average Low 15.7° (+3.1°)

100-year return frequency value max 26.6° min 6.6°

Highest Temperature 59° on the 5th

Lowest Temperature -6° on the 1st

Monthly Precipitation 2.32" (+1.61" 326% above normal)

100-year return frequency value max 1.56" min 0.01"

Monthly Snowfall 38.6" (+25.3", 290% above normal)

Season to Date Snow 79.4" (+26.6", 150% above normal)

Season to Date Precip. 5.24" (+1.10", 126% above normal)

Heating Degree Days 1137 (+40)

Cooling Degree Days 0

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

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Letters to Our Community

Guidelines for letters.

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.

Publisher’s note

Some readers have expressed concern that since James Howald is an OCN volunteer, his letter ("Don’t be fooled by deceptive ‘solution’") in our Jan. 5 issue was based on inside information he obtained regarding the content of the ad that appeared on page 10 of that issue.

In the second paragraph of Howald’s letter, he notes that the ad was posted on social media. He only knew about the ad and its content because Scott Saunders posted the ad on Facebook on Dec. 6 and stated that he was running it in OCN.

Any member of the public could have seen Saunders’ post on Facebook and written a letter about it in time for publication in our Jan. 5 issue.

I am the only person in OCN who worked on the ad and I did not circulate it to anyone inside or outside OCN.

I want to assure our advertisers that advance information on ad content is not available to the general public or to OCN staff members other than those working on the ads.

John Heiser, OCN publisher, johnheiser@ocn.me

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Isolating the effect of school quality on property values

Post-election time and once again our community did not pass a bond issue.

Many said, "I don’t have kids in the district anymore, why should I spend more money when I have a fixed income?" but that argument is not valid, because whether you have a job, or are on retirement, we all have a "fixed" income.

Next, the facts. There are some great articles on the effect of school district mill levy/bond increases and home values. Paramita Dhar, The Connecticut Economy, fall 2011, (www.ncef.org/content/isolating-effect-school-quality-property-values) wrote a perceptive article that surmises there is a way to compare home values and education spending using a couple of different statistical methods: OLS (ordinary least squares) data, and a DID model, to look at test scores from standardized testing and correlate these with changes in home values.

"The bottom line effect" from their research on Connecticut homes show that for Connecticut towns, school quality’s effects on property values are indeed significant. I propose we in D-38 are not much different than those in Connecticut demographics.

To our community: Be "forward thinking" about your property values, whether you have children in school or not. Do you think people rush to buy property in Harrison School District? No. Lewis-Palmer is known nationally as one of the best school districts.

To School District 38: Please make the ballot wording concise and focused. Then educate the community. Why do you need the money? Offer tours so the community can come to the schools and show them the overcrowding problems. Educate us on why we should give more of our income.

I believe that as a community we truly want to help, but help us help you.

Bill Normile

Neighbors band together to save open space

Most of us chose to live here in beautiful Monument on purpose and for many of the same reasons: beautiful scenery, wildlife, hiking, sunshine, open spaces. Three of those four items are currently threatened in the community of Woodmoor (south side, behind Lewis-Palmer High School). There is currently a swath of open space, owned by the Walters family, which was originally intended to be a golf course, but then informally decided to be left as a conservation easement. Now, the family has put this land up for sale.

A group of homeowners in South Woodmoor has been working very hard for months to stop the land from being sold to a developer. Many residents in the area enjoy this open space: walking themselves and their dogs, biking, running, and just looking at the views and wildlife out their windows. Isn’t enough of Monument’s land up for sale? Why can’t we leave some of it open, especially existing land like this that is already in the middle of a neighborhood?

Will you help us save our open space? Go to www.gofundme.com/save-south-woodmoor-co-open-space for more information and to donate today! If we can acquire this land, we have plans to improve the trail and possibly make it more accessible for more of the Monument community to enjoy. Most of our residents who border this property have pledged large amounts of money, but it’s still not enough to meet our goal to acquire the land so that we can keep it open forever. Thank you to those who have donated so far!

Walters Open Space Committee

Most of us chose to live here in beautiful Monument on purpose and for many of the same reasons: beautiful scenery, wildlife, hiking, sunshine, open spaces. Three of those four items are currently threatened in the community of Woodmoor (south side, behind Lewis-Palmer High School). There is currently a swath of open space, owned by the Walters family, which was originally intended to be a golf course, but then informally decided to be left as a conservation easement. Now, the family has put this land up for sale.

A group of homeowners in South Woodmoor has been working very hard for months to stop the land from being sold to a developer. Many residents in the area enjoy this open space: walking themselves and their dogs, biking, running, and just looking at the views and wildlife out their windows. Isn’t enough of Monument’s land up for sale? Why can’t we leave some of it open, especially existing land like this that is already in the middle of a neighborhood?

Will you help us save our open space? Go to www.gofundme.com/save-south-woodmoor-co-open-space for more information and to donate today! If we can acquire this land, we have plans to improve the trail and possibly make it more accessible for more of the Monument community to enjoy. Most of our residents who border this property have pledged large amounts of money, but it’s still not enough to meet our goal to acquire the land so that we can keep it open forever. Thank you to those who have donated so far!

Walters Open Space Committee (see ad on page 32)

Commissioner Williams reaches out

I am honored to represent the citizens of Commissioner District 1 on the El Paso Board of County Commissioners. I am always interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions and wanted to share my email address with you. For most communications, I prefer emails and can be reached at hollywilliams@elpasoco.com. This is especially important for land use matters as I can then forward your comments to the Planning Department, so your comments are an official part of the county record. I am also available by cell phone at 719-374-0856 or by contacting me on my office phone at 719-520-6411. I look forward to working with you.

Commissioner Holly Williams

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Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore: Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs

By the staff at Covered Treasures

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."—Mortimer J. Adler

"The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries."—René Descartes

Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs are like conversations with the finest men and women of both the past and present. How many can get through to you?

My Own Words

By Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams (Simon & Schuster) $18

In this collection Justice Ginsburg discusses gender equality, the workings of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, and the value of looking beyond U.S. shores when interpreting the U.S. Constitution. This book’s sampling is selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, who introduce each chapter and provide biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews.

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

By Liza Mundy (Hachette) $16.99

This award-winning bestseller documents the contributions of more than 10,000 American women who served as codebreakers during World War II, detailing how their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and enabled their subsequent careers. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history. Now, through research and interviews with surviving code girls, Liza Mundy brings to life this vital story of courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.

Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard

By Laura Bates (Sourcebooks) $15.99

A female professor, a super-maximum-security prisoner, and how Shakespeare saved them both: a testament to the transforming power of literature. Just as Larry Newton, one of the most notorious inmates at Indiana Federal Prison, was trying to break out of jail, Laura Bates was trying to break in. Now, a decade later, her Shakespeare in Shackles program has been lauded by academics and prison communities alike. But it’s not just the prisoners who are transformed.

A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir

By Kurt Eichenwald (Ballantine Books) $28

The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and bestselling author’s ongoing struggle with epilepsy—his tortuous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive. Ultimately, this is an inspirational story, one that chronicles how Eichenwald transformed trauma into a guide for reaching the future he desired.

Alone on the Wall (Expanded)

By Alex Honnold with David Roberts (W. W. Norton & Company) $16.95

This expanded edition includes two new chapters on Alex Honnold’s free solo ascent of the iconic 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. In 2017 Honnold became the first person to free solo El Capitan—to scale the wall without rope, a partner, or any protective gear. Alone on the Wall recounts his most astonishing achievements of his extraordinary life and career, brimming with lessons on living fearlessly, taking risks, and maintaining focus even in the face of extreme danger.

Way Out There: Adventures of a Wilderness Trekker

By J. Robert Harris (Mountaineers Books) $18.95

Harris, a distinguished member of The Explorers Club, shares seven decades of surprising adventures. His travels have taken him from the Arctic to the Andes, through mountain ranges across North America and Europe, into Tasmania, and across Australia’s outback. By turns funny, suspenseful, and uplifting, his stories reveal how he has been immeasurably enriched by the beauty, the wildness, even the unpredictability, of a life "way out there." The foreword is by the late Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr., one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilots during World War II.

Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

By Heather Harpham (Picador USA) $18

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, this moving memoir follows a family after the birth of a daughter whose health and life are on the line. Happiness radiates in many directions—new, romantic love; gratitude for a beautiful, inscrutable world; deep, abiding friendship; the passion a parent has for a child; and the many unlikely ways to build a family. Ultimately, it’s a story about love and happiness, in their many crooked configurations.

Until next month, happy reading.

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

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February Library Events: Enjoy Valentine crafts and discussions at the library

By Harriet Halbig

Come to the library during February for Valentine activities and continuing discussion groups. Join us for the 2019 Winter Adult Reading Program continuing until March 13. Read books and attend library activities to earn prizes!

Children’s programs

Regularly occurring children’s programs include Story Time at 10:30 and 11:15 each Tuesday for children 3 and up, Toddler Time for 1- and 2-year-olds with an adult on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30, Book Break (a short read-aloud session) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30, and Paws to Read (children reading to dogs) on Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5.

Saturday, Feb. 9 from 10:30 to 11:30 come to the library to make candy with pretzels. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we will be making candy-coated pretzels. Please register by emailing syates@ppld.org.

Come to the library on Monday, Feb. 11 from 1:30 to 2:30 for Madi Ort’s Unique Pets. Madi will introduce her pet rats, lizards, snakes, and tarantula and explain where they live, what they eat, and efforts to conserve them in the wild. This program is designed for homeschoolers, but preschoolers are also welcome.

On Wednesday, Feb.13 from 4 to 5 there will be a program to make felt-laced Valentines.

Family programs

Coloring for Everyone will be held from 4 to 5:30 on Friday, Feb. 8. We will make color-themed coloring sheets. Colored pencils, markers, and gel pens are provided, and you are welcome to bring your own as well. Drop in and stay as long as you like!

All Ages Knitting meets each Wednesday from 3 to 5 in the study room. Practice supplies are provided or you may bring your own project.

Lego Build will meet from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, Feb.16. All ages are welcome to create with our bins of Legos.

Teen and Tween programs

The Monument Library Teen Advisory Board meets at 2 on the first Saturday of each month. Teens can earn volunteer hours for creating programs and decorating the teen area of the library.

Is math a challenge for you? Come to the library on Mondays from 3:30 to 7 to meet with experienced adult tutors free of charge. No appointment is necessary. AfterMath is offered on the D-38 schedule and will not be available on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 18.

The Paper Tiger Origami Club is open to teens and adults of all skill levels and will meet from 4:30 to 5:30 on Friday, Feb. 15. We learn two new designs each month. Registration is suggested but not required.

The Monument Teen Creative Writing Group will meet in the study room on Monday, Feb. 5 from 6 to 7:30. This writing group is open to ages 12 to 18 and offers the chance to meet with fellow writers, discuss ideas, do writing exercises, and enjoy snacks.

The monthly teen arts and crafts program will be from 4 to 5:30 on Thursday, Feb. 27. We do a different craft each month. Call the library at 488-2370 or watch for flyers for details on this month’s offering.

Adult programs

Regularly occurring adult programs include Socrates Café discussion group on Tuesdays from 1 to 3 and Senior Chats on Wednesdays from 10 to noon. No registration is required for these groups. Free beginner yoga classes are offered each Thursday from noon to 1.

See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone, All Ages Knitting, and Paper Tiger Origami Club.

The Life Circles writing group meets from 9:30 to 11:30 on the first and third Mondays of the month. This group writes memories of life experiences.

Colorado Springs author and fiber artist Mary Madison will tell stories of plantation slave weavers and textile artists, including a slide program and former slave oral histories. Copies of her book, Plantation Slave Weavers Remember, will be available for sale. The program will be from 2 to 3 on Friday, Feb. 15. No registration is necessary.

The Monumental Bookworms book club will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Feb. 12 to discuss Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. This group, sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library, is open to all patrons.

The Second Thursday Craft for February is Book Spine Bookmarks and Book Page Greeting Cards. Join us each month for a new craft. This is the perfect craft for book lovers and uses old book pages. This class counts as an activity for the Winter Adult Reading Program. Registration is required and all materials are provided. Registration opens two weeks before craft day, which is Thursday, Feb. 14, from 2 to 4.

The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, Feb. 15 to discuss Radical Survivor by Dr. Nancy Saltzman. All are welcome to attend and no registration is needed.

The library is offering a Medicare 101 class on Wednesday, Feb. 20 from 5:30 to 7:30. This class will teach you how Medicare and private insurance can help you through your or your parents’ later years. The program is presented by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments and covers Medicare A, B, and options such as supplemental insurance. Registration is required.

The History Buffs discussion group will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, Feb. 27. This year’s discussions are about the Age of Discovery. No registration required.

The Monument Library Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Friday, Feb. 28.

Palmer Lake Library Events

Family Story Time at Palmer Lake is each Wednesday at 10:30. Toddler Time is on Fridays at 10:30.

The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2487 for the current selection.

Susan Permut, volunteer naturalist at Castlewood Canyon State Park, will make a presentation called Skins and Skulls on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10:30. She will bring skins and skulls from animals of the eastern plains of Colorado and speak of the diets and habitats. She will also describe what they eat and suggest where they can be found.

All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed on Monday, Feb. 18 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

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

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Palmer Lake Historical Society, Jan. 17: At annual meeting, group looks back

By Sigi Walker

On Jan. 17, the Palmer Lake Historical Society held its annual Potluck and Members Meeting. In addition to the ham and rolls furnished by the Society, there was more than enough of everything—many delicious side dishes, salads, and desserts of all kinds. Outgoing President Tom Baker presented a slide show recounting the Society’s activities in 2018 and reported on the Society’s financial status. He spoke of the original mission of the Society when it was organized in 1956 and how, over the ensuing years, that mission has continued to guide Society officers in planning future programs and events. Of particular interest was how closely the 2018 programs paralleled those of 1961.

Topics presented in 1961 programs included the history of Basset’s Mill, located southeast of Monument; the life of William Jackson Palmer, founder of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad; color slides of the ghost towns of Colorado; an illustrated lecture on the Major Long expedition of 1820; the story of the first white group of record to pass through the Palmer Lake region; for railfans, an audio presentation of the last run of the Colorado Midland Railroad; a presentation on pioneer photographer William H. Jackson by his son; and a paper on the history of Custer County and the Wet Mountain area.

Program topics in 2018 included biographical, historical, and film presentations as well as an innovative docu-concert, while events included the traditional Father’s Day Ice Cream Social and the Return of the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua. Average attendance at the monthly history series programs was over 60 people.

The evening included election of 2019 officers: president—Michele Lawrie-Munro; vice president—Su Ketchmark; secretary—Patricia Atkins; and treasurer—Melissa Robohn.

Caption: The new 2019 Historical Society officers are, from left, front row: Rodger Voelker, Su Ketchmark, Pat McCarthy. Middle row: Barbara Morehead, Melissa Robohn. Back row: Michele Lawrie-Munro, Patricia Atkins, Susan Kuehster. Photo by Mike Walker.

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Mark your calendars for Thursday, Feb. 21, when the Historical Society will present Poker Alice Tubbs: The Straight Story portrayed by Liz Duckworth. Hear the story of a professional, cigar-smoking lady gambler in the mining boomtowns of Colorado, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Poker Alice Tubbs, a self-proclaimed religious woman who never played cards on Sunday, will come alive through the performance. Duckworth, who lives in Colorado Springs, is a freelance copywriter and editor as well as the author of several books. The venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Palmer Lake Historical Society events and programs are free and open to all.

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Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

By Elizabeth Hacker

A few weeks ago, Shyla Tant forwarded a photo she took of two bald eagles perched on an overhead electric line near Lewis-Palmer High School, and it caused quite a buzz on Nextdoor as many people observed them.

The eagles I’ve observed here before were single and I didn’t see them during mating season, so I assumed they were migrating. Because Shyla observed two eagles during mating season, this could very well be a mating pair that has built a nest in this area.

Bald eagles’ numbers have increased from an estimated 450 in 1970 to about 150,000 today. At one time seeing just one eagle would have been a rarity but fortunately today they are easier to spot. To survive, they must expand their range to establish new territories. It is a remarkable turnaround story due to environmental actions taken to protect our national bird.

Eagles

Worldwide there are 59 species of eagles. Our nation’s symbol, the bald eagle, is one of 10 species of fish eagles, characterized by scales rather than feathers on their lower legs and feet. Fish eagles plunge their legs into water to grab prey, and wet feathers would weigh them down.

While the bald and golden eagles are both endemic to North America, the bald eagle is the only eagle that lives exclusively in North America. The golden eagle is also found on other continents. I have observed both eagles on the Palmer Divide and previously written about them in OCN.

Description

A bald eagle is not bald, but at one time the word "bald" meant "white," not hairless, thus the name.

A female bald eagle’s body length varies from 35 to 37 inches with a wingspan of 79 to 90 inches. The smaller male bald eagle has a body length of 30 to 34 inches with a wingspan ranging from 72 to 85 inches. An eagle’s average weight is 10 to 14 pounds.

Immature bald eagles have a mixture of brown and white feathers, with a black beak and brown eyes. It is easy to confuse an immature bald eagle with the golden eagle, but the golden eagle is not a fish eagle and will have feathers on its legs. A bald eagle’s legs have yellow scales and are featherless.

Adult plumage develops when a bald eagle become sexually mature. It takes five years for a bald eagle to attain solid white head and tail feathers. For the first five years they gradually change. The beak turns from black to yellow, the eyes from brown to pale yellow, body feathers from mottled to dark brown, and head and tail feathers from mottled to solid white.

Habitat and diet

Bald eagles live near bodies of water where they feed mainly on fish. They are opportunistic birds and will eat mammals, snatch a catch from another bird or animal, and scavenge for carrion. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen an eagle grab a fish from the talons of an osprey.

An eagle’s eye is almost as large as a human’s, but its sharpness is at least four times greater. Bald eagles can see fish while flying several hundred feet above the water. This is quite extraordinary since most fish are counter-shaded, meaning they are darker on top and thus harder to see from above. In November I was leading a bird walk and we were standing next to a pond. To our surprise, an eagle swooped down, grabbed a fish in its talons, and flew up to a branch in a nearby tree. It took less than a minute for it to consume its prey and fly away. I was happy there were witnesses because it’s a story that might very well have ended up in the tall-tale bin.

Nesting

In the fall, eagles begin courting, forming pairs, and building nests. As early as December the female may begin laying egg, usually three. The pair goes through a hormonal change that cause feathers on a small part of their breast to fall out, leaving a bare patch of bare skin referred to as an incubation patch. The pair take turns "wiggling" as they settle upon the eggs to keep them warm until they hatch in about 35 days.

When the chicks hatch, they are totally dependent on the parents to feed them and keep them warm. The parents must also keep them safe from predators including other birds such as the red-tailed hawk and mammals. The chicks grow rapidly and in a little more than a month, they are size of an adult. They stay near the nest for about three months learning to fly, hunt, and fend for themselves. Survival in the wild is tough and rarely more than one chick survives to fledge and mature into an adult. Eagles have been known to live up to 30 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity.

What to do if you see an eagle or a nest

When viewing eagles, unless visiting a manned eagle observation deck, your car acts as an excellent blind and the eagle will not be threatened and fly off if you view the bird from inside it. Eagles require a lot of energy to survive in cold winter temperatures. If they are nesting, they need even more energy to care for their mate and brood. When humans get too close, the stress may cause a nesting pair to abandon their nest.

Thanks to citizen scientists like Shyla, we are learning more about the birds that live here, and I look forward to readers sharing their stories, photos, and sightings.

Caption: Bald eagles. Photo by Shyla Tant

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

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High Altitude Nature and Gardening (HANG): Earth: It’s rescued by lazy gardening

By Janet Sellers

Most of us keep away from bugs except for the favored butterflies and ladybugs. But we have a whole planet full of necessary creatures that we need to keep us going and keep our planet healthy. I’m not an entomologist, but I do know a thing or two about bugs and balance, and when the little guys are out of balance, that starts a reaction for everything else. Small as they are, bugs and microbes make the world go ‘round. And when they suffer, we suffer. Our pollinators are in view now for many of us to take stock of and consider, because we’ll be out of the food they help produce if we don’t take stock of what we can do on their behalf.

Insect decline is at an all-time planet-threatening high. Our overzealous gardening efforts have had a big hand in thwarting nature’s smallest garden workers. Native bees and other superstars of nature have declined up to 60 percent in some areas like Germany and Puerto Rico. I thought maybe the culprit was mostly pesticide toxins that are harming our good bugs, but there is more to the story. Our bugs have lost their homes, and it’s humans that have raked them away. Habitat loss eliminates the bugs’ ability to continue life, of course.

Old wood and leaves are where home is for our insects and microorganisms. We’ve come to realize that our insect populations are declining, and the source of the decline is loss of habitat caused by excessive tidy gardening. Lazy gardening to the rescue!

The insect advocates at the Xerces Society recommend keeping leaves intact to maximize their value as invertebrate habitat. Shredded leaves may contain more dead insects than live ones!

Whole leaf mulch helps keep the soil from freezing, even under a blanket of snow. So, fallen leaves can save this situation, helping garden bugs and micro-organisms survive the winter season and support the gardens and nature in springtime. Some gardeners use an empty bed and cover it with leaves and then burlap to keep things in place. Gardeners at http://Growveg.com recommend using "... stored leaves to pave over packed ice or to relieve muddy conditions near the bird feeder in winter. When tightly packed and stashed in a dry place, leaves stored in paper bags stay autumn-fresh for months .…"

In our busy lives, we often think that a super-tidy garden, lawn or clipped trees will show we care about where we live, but these overzealous actions have actually destroyed where we live and beyond. We may need to bag up some leaves to keep walkways safe and ditches from clogging, but the more we know about how to keep the garden and its creatures healthy, the better. Some municipal recycling programs that rely on composting now require paper bags so everything can compost, because plastic bags ruin the composting process, turning into ragged pieces that have to be sorted out or the compost is unusable.

Each year, usually starting in February, I teach my art studio students, especially grades k-12, about the importance of wetlands habitat, how the wetlands are the barometer of the Earth’s health. We study the habitat of wetlands for many reasons; the kids think they would like to be winners in the National Junior Duck Stamp Design contest, and the artwork is due postmarked in March.

Most of my students win ribbons and awards for the Colorado state contest. (I do make them work hard, but they don’t realize that because it is fun and rewarding to do!) But the real win is the knowledge they gain and can share with others about how things thrive in nature and how we as humans depend on nature to survive. When we care for nature, it cares for us.

Back to the garden, then. Leaving habitat intact over the winter is relatively safe, and it is nicknamed "lazy gardening" because it stays as undisturbed as possible. Under our snow blanket here, there is plenty of life happening. That life is part of the chain of events that keeps our land and forests and the needed balance healthy and safe for us. Come the warm months, after the bugs and birds and critters don’t need their nests the same way as in winter, we can tidy up and compost what’s left.

Indoor winter gardening

Saving eggshells and coffee grounds helps enrich our soil to help our plants grow indoors or outdoors. Most potted plants love a good shot of ground eggshells (I dry mine out and "dry blend" them in my blender). Three cups of eggshells turn into just a few spoonfuls of eggshell powder, and it is chock-full of calcium and minerals the plants love, so in the pot they go.

Next month, we’ll look at what to start indoors for our gardens—some for windowsill crops, some to go outdoors. I’ve had good success with raised garden beds that were covered in leaves, too. Volunteer lettuce and greens had their seeds sprout and peek out from their leaf cover, and on warm sunny days they grew up to 6 inches. Shhh, don’t tell them, but that’s good for a salad.

Janet Sellers is a writer, artist, and ethno-ecologist posing as a nature-led lazy gardener giving talks and garden workshops for successful gardening in our forest ecology. janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Art Matters: The extraordinary benefits of living with art

By Janet Sellers

Art is one of the few things we can buy, own, and leave as inheritance that has not been engineered by a marketing committee and mass-produced in a factory bereft of any heartfelt connection.

I was recently asked to explain, "How does owning art change the way that you feel about it?" The questioner wanted to know what owning original art can do for a person. My fellow artists and I live with original art all our lives at home and at work—we live that way every day—but lots of people might not realize the power of living with art and its support for daily life.

Being able to be with original fine art changes the very environment that we are in by virtue of proximity. It is an influence with a pulse of creativity and imagination and originality. Just like being out in nature and being with real trees, real grass, real plants, real outdoors, and real sky, being with original art has an impact that nothing electronic or artificial can offer. Real art materials are made with tactile materials such as charcoal and pigments dispersed with water or oil onto the substrate as real materials we can physically relate to. Our very eyesight experiences the light and perception of the art as made by the artist. Our mind interprets these light waves and visuals, and when the art is good art, especially uplifting artworks, all these combine to have a good influence on a person, especially children.

Art enriches our world view. The creative juices of artists and their art seem to share a basic human resonance worldwide. As an artist, the main source of not only inspiration but genuine life enrichment is based on optimal thinking and creating. Artists must constantly hone their skills of looking, interpreting, discerning, and transforming materials from a blank canvas or stone into a physical triumph of their vision. This effort comes through to the viewer, too, lifting up and enriching others’ thoughts, a kind of tuning in to each other.

I was pen pals with a Japanese student from grade school through college. Her dad was the director of a famous museum in Japan, and he often came to the U.S. where I got to meet him and visit with him sometimes. My pen pal wanted to improve her English and visited the U.S. one year, so I showed her around. I shared my beloved homeland of then-pristine California beaches, Laguna Beach art galleries and the plein air artists as they were painting. She delighted in the gentle breezes, art, palm trees and orange groves.

Later, I was a visiting student in Japan and lived near her dad’s museum. It was filled with National Treasures, and I could see those world class artworks every day. Those daily art experiences were profound, albeit just a few minutes in each day. In about two years, my awareness to many other things beyond art was much richer than I ever expected.

Something happens when we appreciate art. We appreciate much more of all of life—the people, places, and our thirst for learning become broader, deeper, and more satisfying. My enjoyment of art and those artworks in Japan had increased incrementally, yet steadily and powerfully, and it gave me an enduring ability to enjoy what life offers ever after.

Just as reading good books improves our minds and relationships with others, so does living with good art. Studies show a person’s awareness and willingness to grow and learn in many ways includes visual and spatial awareness via viewing and investigating art, and solving all kinds of life’s problems is easier to do. Mental challenges are easier to work with, and mental clarity and health stay optimal. Some medical schools give art classes and museum visits to improve observational skills, thereby improving a person’s awareness when they become a doctor.

Columbia University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College focus on art specifically using Anna Willieme’s annual six-week course "Observation and Uncertainty in Art and Medicine." Resident physicians and students convened weekly for two hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Willieme guided them through a series of exercises that involved looking, sketching, and sharing their thoughts about specific works of art. The exercises and subsequent discussions helped residents improve communication skills between doctors as well.

Studies also show that keeping the mind alert, growing, and stimulated by creating new neural pathways from learning new things lowers the chance of mental decline. Benefitting from the simple stimulation of creative ideas in visual art and visual thinking is optimized by what we keep around us. Being with excellence is how we learn excellence, and the sooner the better, most assuredly for children. Good art is simple and enjoyable for this.

My own children were art-influenced every day of their lives. I was making art and my friends were making art, and they were also influenced by the art classes and students I taught in my studio. My kids didn’t seem to be overly impressed with art enrichment back then. Often, kids don’t know how good they have it until much later in life. But that close, early art influence showed up powerfully as they went out into the world. They’ve easily been able to enjoy meeting new friends and discussing their views and the cultural influences of places they visit. Thankfully, that’s the just reward of inoculating art and world culture into kids—to help them become better people and make them into who they are. These good things go in effortlessly by close contact to good art.

Caption: Barefoot and Pregnant, an image by Cas Foste from her life series, People with Big Heads. Foste will present Put on Your Best Display at the Palmer Divide Photographers Group, Mon., Feb. 11, 7 p.m. at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Cas Foste will share insider tips about how to show your work in galleries. All are welcome. The group meets the second Monday each month. For information call 649-4241 or visit www.pdphotographers.com. Provided by Palmer Divide Photographers Group.

Janet Sellers is an artist and writer. She teaches drawing and painting to all ages at her local art studios, and her public art sculptures are on view in Colorado cities and parks. janetsellers@ocn.me.

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Snapshots of Our Community

Not just kids enjoy snow days

Caption: District 38 students received an extension to their holiday weekend when snow drifts and icy winds closed schools Jan. 22. Students weren’t the only residents to appreciate the extra play time and capitalize on powdery snow drifts, however. Lumi, friend and family member of Don and Renee Borchelt, romps along a snowy but familiar path—a most suitable place for a dog of her breed. Photo provided by Don and Renee Borchelt. Caption by Jennifer Kaylor. See page 21 for Weather Wrap, OCN’s monthly weather column by meteorologist Bill Kappel.

WMMI Geo Day, Jan. 5

Caption: From left, Dr. Steven Wade Veatch and students Jonathan Hair, 15, and Ben Elick, 14, share information with visitors about Earth Science programs, activities, and field trips on Geology Day at the Western Museum of Science and Industry on Jan. 5. They represented Pebble Pups, a rock hound group for kids that meets monthly in Teller County. Pebble Pups kids conduct research that is published in periodicals, work with lab equipment, and go on field trips. Remarkably for their young ages, Hair will speak at a Kansas meeting of the Geological Society of America in March and Elick will speak at the New Mexico Mineral Symposium on the campus of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, presenting a paper on the Cresson Mine of Cripple Creek.

Caption: Presenters show various ways of prospecting for gold and other minerals. Photos by Janet Sellers.

Strong D38 Community, Jan. 17

Caption: On Jan. 17, the Strong D38 Community group hosted a community event at The Barn in Woodmoor. The theme was "Continuing the Conversation" and had a goal of listening to attendees’ top concerns about issues related to the D38 School District. About 30 attendees, facilitated by resident Matt Vineyard, wrote their top concerns on Post-Its, which were placed on sheets around the room. Each participant read aloud their concerns and answered questions from the audience. These Post-Its were then collated into larger groups with a goal of using them to drive future meetings exploring each topic in order of priority. Strong D38 Community is an independent, all-volunteer group that believes we have a strong community because we have strong public schools in D38 and we have strong schools because we have a strong community. The group is focused on educating the community about the issues related to the school district. For more information, see http://strongd38community.com. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

Crime and safety, Jan. 16

Caption: Brent Ambuehl, crime prevention coordinator with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, provided a Crime and Safety briefing at Wesley Owens Coffee on Jan. 16. Nearly 45 people attended the event, which was organized by local resident Gordon Reichal. Local responders from fire and safety organizations in the community also attended and weighed in during the discussion. Ambuehl spoke about the Neighborhood Watch program. There are two active groups including one in the Promontory Pointe area with 265 homes. The sheriff and Monument Police are working on increasing participation. To find out more or start a Neighborhood Watch, email neighborhoodwatch@elpasoco.com. Ambuehl gave a quick recap of some of the recent incidents in our area. The primary problems are property crimes such as burglaries. He suggests contacting the sheriff with any reports of concerns so that they can look for patterns. Additional resources on Crime Prevention and the Community Video program are available at http://bit.ly/epcso-cp and http://bit.ly/epcso-video. The non-emergency number for the Sheriff’s Office is 719-390-5555. Photo by Jackie Burhans.

Pinewood Derby, Jan. 26

By Jennifer Kaylor

Cub Scout Pack 17 hosted its annual Pinewood Derby on Jan. 26 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. This family-oriented event draws a crowd of 50 or more Scouts, family members, and friends to a morning of fun and innovative competition. Racing is not exclusive to Scouts—parents and siblings may race their own pinewood creations and compete in the subjective categories: paintwork, uniqueness, patriotic décor, and best cub-built (a category exclusive to the Scouts).

Cars registered for the digitally timed race met weight, rolling accuracy, and calibration specifications that were established during a check-in process conducted the previous evening. Some of the physical restrictions included: A 5-ounce maximum weight, a 2 3/4-inch maximum width, a 7-inch maximum length, a 3-inch maximum height, a 4-inch ground clearance, and a 4 3/8-inch wheel base. During check-in, Scouts and others enjoyed the movie Down and Derby, a campy story about dads who just can’t resist the allure of pinewood derby competition.

Racers competed in four consecutive heats and had the least favorable of the four race times eliminated. Scores reflected the lowest cumulative total time. Pack leaders used a rotation system—each car raced each of the four lanes of the derby track to prevent unfair track lane advantages—to help prevent ill will among the fierce competitors.

Camaraderie, snacks, door prizes, and good-natured fun remained the focus of the event. Initiated by Don Murphy in 1953 in Manhattan Beach, Calif., the Pack 17 Pinewood Derby of Monument continues to flourish in popularity. Top pack winners were: first place, Jeremy Newmaker with his car Grim Reaper; second place, Beckett Urban with Red Reflector; and third place, Ryan Clark with Da Gren Bananana.

Caption: Racers and their supporters rally for their cars as they approach the finish line at the Pinewood Derby race held by Pack 17 Jan. 26. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor

Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at jenniferkaylor@ocn.me

Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert, Jan. 19

Caption: Dr. Zahari Metchkov, president of the Rocky Mountain Music Alliance (RMMA), played piano selections for a packed crowd Jan. 19. Hosted by the Church at Woodmoor, Metchkov began the evening with Messiaen’s Twenty Visions of Infant Jesus. He followed with two pieces from Claude Debussey, including the lovely Clair de Lune. Metchkov finished the show with two piano compositions by Liszt. The next RMMA concert is at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Lewis-Palmer High School. See http://www.rmmaconcerts.org/. Photo by Barbara Taylor. Caption by Allison Robenstein.

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CERT teaches people how to be prepared and helpful in emergencies

By Lisa Hatfield

Anyone interested in making their community safer, better prepared, and more resilient? Citizens who take CERT class (Community Emergency Response Team) will learn basics about how to respond to a disaster or emergency in their community through training provided free by the El Paso County Office of Emergency Management and its partners.

The week of Jan. 22, 26 people spent 20 hours with volunteer CERT instructors learning about how to identify and anticipate local hazards, extinguish small fires, set up medical treatment areas, practice family emergency preparedness, and many other topics.

These students might next choose to organize a "Ready and Resilient Neighborhood," or they could volunteer for the El Paso County CERT Team to participate in additional training. This could include emergency communications, traffic and crowd control, flood safety, advanced preparedness kits, animals in disasters, staffing emergency call centers, and wildfire risk reduction for homes and property. CERT members also can volunteer at special events, evacuation exercises, or actual emergency activations.

The Jan. 22 class series was hosted by the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness Group. Any neighborhood, church or community organization that is willing to host a CERT class should contact Robin Adair, Community Emergency Preparedness and CERT program coordinator. She will arrange for instructors and materials for up to 30 people. RobinAdair@elpasoco.com, amateur radio KE0MIX, office (719) 575-8858 or see https://publicworks.elpasoco.com/office-emergency-management/cert/.

Caption: Volunteer CERT instructor Gary Nelson taught units on general emergency preparedness, terrorism awareness, and search and rescue principles. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.

Caption: Tall snowbanks didn’t deter students learning to use fire extinguishers. Ricky Swanson, left, practiced the correct technique with the help of William Reeve and the CERT instructors. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.

Caption: Ricky Swanson, center, and Jason Ward practiced "Stop the Bleed" wound-packing techniques under the supervision of Robin Adair, Community Emergency Preparedness and CERT program coordinator. Photo by Andre’ Mouton.

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

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Our Community Notices

By Judy Barnes, Events Editor

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

County Parks looks at rule changes, comment by Feb. 4

El Paso County Parks is exploring several changes to the county’s Park Rules and Regulations to address safety and security concerns. The first suggested change includes changing the operational hours for Regional Parks from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. to open one hour before sunrise to closing one hour after sunset. The second potential change will require that dogs and domestic animals be on a leash in a county park outside of designated dog parks. The current rule allows dogs and domestic animals to be off-leash provided they remain under control. County Parks is accepting public comments on these proposed changes through Feb. 4 by emailing toparks@elpasoco.com or calling 520-7529. The Park Advisory Board will consider the potential rule changes at its meeting Feb. 13 at 1:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade. Interested citizens are encouraged to attend. If the rule changes are supported, final approval will be required by the Board of County Commissioners.

Volunteers needed for County Community Development Advisory Board, apply by Feb. 15

The El Paso Board of County Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the Community Development Advisory Board. Applications are due by Feb. 15. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.

Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s 2019 grant process, apply by March 15

Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) grant application for 2019 is available online until March 15 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net/a-tradition-of-philanthropy/grant-awards. The application package includes instructions and other important qualifying information. Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations as well as public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. Special program and project requests are welcomed.

In 2018, TLWC awarded nearly $45,000 in grants. Recipients included the Monument Police Department, the Palmer Lake Fire Department, Tri-Lakes Cares, and numerous District 38 schools. Since 1977, the organization granted over $940,000 to nonprofit, public service, and public education programs through fundraising efforts.

The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club was named the 2017 Non-Profit of the Year by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Go to www.tlwc.net to join or click on the donate button to help make a difference.

Sign up for "Reverse 9-1-1" emergency notifications to your cell phones

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 man-made 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.

Monument Hill Kiwanis grants, apply April 1-May 15

The Monument Hill Foundation, the charitable arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, has an annual granting program. Grants are awarded to charities as defined by the IRS, to various qualifying youth activities, and to schools for various educational activities and scholarships. Applications will be accepted April 1 through May 15. The grant application is available at www.monumenthillkiwanis.org/forms/mhf_grants.

Tri-Lakes Y Youth Spring Sports, register now

Practices begin April 1 for indoor/outdoor soccer, volleyball, and flag football. Financial assistance is available. Register at www.ppymca.org or at the Y, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway, Monument. See ad on page 6.

Pikes Peak Library District eliminates overdue fines

In February the library officially ends fines for overdue items. Additionally, the library will roll out automatic renewals as long as no other patron placed a hold on the material.

County launches Citizen Connect app

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 I-Phone or Android phone. For more information visit www.elpasoco.com/county-launches-citizen-connect.

MVEA board nominations open, apply by Apr. 29

The board election will take place during the annual meeting June 13. If you are interested in being a candidate, find application details at www.mvea.coop. For more information, phone 719-494-2528 or email candidate@mvea.org. See ad on page 14.

Got spare trees to share with Black Forest?

Do you have too many tree seedlings sprouting close together in your yard? Please consider donating them to www.Trees4Tomorrow.com, a new mission of Black Forest Together. Trees that would have been lost to development or mitigation can now be transplanted to devastated areas within the burn scar. For more information, contact 495-2445 or email ResourceCenter@BlackForestTogether.org.

Cadet chapel to close June 17 for renovation

Air Force Academy Cadet chapel renovation has been delayed, giving the public until June 17 to visit the iconic landmark before it closes for four years. Visitors can see the chapel from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the June closure. To get there, take exit 156 off Interstate 25 and head west. Visitors need valid ID and vehicle documents and can expect a search. For more information, visit www.usafa.edu/academics/facilities/cadet-chapel/.

Roundtrip bus service to Denver Tech Center on Bustang

Bustang, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) interregional express bus service, began service between Colorado Springs and the Denver Technological Center (DTC) in December. The new circulator route will run four times each weekday, twice in the morning from Colorado Springs to the DTC and twice in the afternoon from the DTC to Colorado Springs. It will stop at 16 locations between Arapahoe Road/Yosemite Street and the RTD Light Rail Belleview Station. A one-way fare between El Paso County and the DTC will be $9. For more information, including route schedules and fares, and to purchase tickets, visit www.ridebustang.com or download the Bustang mobile app, JustRideBustang, for iOS or Android.

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 through April 30. Application packets have been automatically mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.

Free tutoring in reading at the library

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

Tri-Lakes Y now hiring

The Y has a variety of job openings in Monument and other locations. For more information, stop in at 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument, or visit www.ppymca.org/careers.

Free grief group forming

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

Monument Academy now enrolling

Monument Academy is a free public school of choice and features academic excellence, award-winning programs, and more. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 481-1950 or visit www.monumentacademy.net.

St. Peter Catholic School now enrolling

The school offers full- and half-day preschool, Core Knowledge Curriculum with small class sizes, Christ-centered education, athletics, and more for preschool-eighth grade. Call or visit: 124 First St., Monument; 481-1855; www.petertherock.org. See ad on page 2.

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. See ad on page 7.

Volunteer in 2019: Tri-Lakes Meals on Wheels needs drivers

Meals on Wheels in the Tri-Lakes area needs regular and substitute drivers to deliver meals Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. Volunteers will have to complete an application with Silver Key and then undergo a background check. For more information, phone Sue Cliatt, 481-3175.

Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance 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.

Prescription drug secure drop box

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

Black Forest fire cleanup volunteers still needed

Teens, adults, families, and volunteer groups looking for meaningful community service work? Black Forest Together is still looking for volunteers to help families restore their land after the 2013 Black Forest Fire. Also looking for chipper operators, truck driver volunteers, team leads, and administrative help. For more information, contact 495-2445 or email ResourceCenter@BlackForestTogether.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/.

Happy birthday Monument

June 2, 2018, was Monument’s 139th anniversary of incorporation. In 2019, Monument will celebrate 140 years as a town. Volunteers are needed to help plan the main event on June 1, 2019, and for kids’ activities, historical walking tours, and reporters to collect stories from longtime residents. Please contact Madeline at 884-8013 for more information and to join a committee.

Resources on living with Tri-Lakes wildlife

In the Tri-Lakes area, we really do have rattlesnakes, bears, coyotes, mountain lions, skunks, porcupines, etc. in our very own backyards. We also have fawns that do not need rescuing; they are just waiting for their moms to return. Never feed any wildlife! See "Too Close for Comfort" at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx and more at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeComfort2.aspx for many ways to educate ourselves. Learn how to react correctly when someone is bitten by a rattlesnake at www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Rattlesnake-Bite.

Free services for Black Forest seniors

Did you know that Silver Key will provide transportation to and from medical appointments for Black Forest area residents? Call 884-2380 for appointments. Did you know that Silver Key will provide Meals on Wheels to Black Forest area residents over age 60? Call 884-2370. Did you know that Silver Key will provide case management guidance and other services to residents in the Black Forest area? For more information about Silver Key and its services, visit www.silverkey.org or call 884-2350.

Yoga classes at Woodmoor Barn

Raleigh Dove is now teaching three weekly yoga classes at the Woodmoor Barn. Classes are open to everyone, and each class is a different level. For more information, visit www.yogapathwaysstudio.com. See ad on page 4.

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, urikos@casappr.org or visit www.casappr.org.

AFA construction project at South Gate Bridge through June 2019

The New Santa Fe Regional Trail will remain open through the construction site; all trail users must use the metal connex box tunnel. All bicycle and horseback riders must dismount before entering the tunnel. Periodic trail closures at the South Gate Bridge will be scheduled and posted in advance; the trail will be blocked and closed only at the South Gate Bridge. For more information, contact Construction Superintendent Fred Langan, 213-1332 or Fred.langan@Tepa.com; or El Paso County Project Manager Jason Meyer, 520-6985 or jasonmeyer@elpasoco.com.

Free transportation and handyman services for seniors

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.

Volunteer drivers needed for seniors’ transportation service

Mountain Community Transportation for Seniors is a nonprofit, grant-funded organization that provides free transportation to Tri-Lakes seniors 60 years old and older. The program needs additional volunteer drivers. For information, email Mountain Community Senior Services at mcseniorservices@gmail.com or call the MCSS dispatch hotline at 488-0076.

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.

Volunteer weather observers needed

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network is seeking volunteer weather observers in this area. The nationwide network is made up of volunteers who help measure and record precipitation in their areas. Learn more and sign up on the network’s web page at www.cocorahs.org.

County Planning and Development’s new website

The county’s new Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) allows immediate access to documents and development application processing. This is part of an ongoing countywide effort to give residents easier access to data and improve transparency. EDARP is an internet-based platform that uses cloud storage through Microsoft Azure and allows users access to all county development applications dating back to 1947. The public, consultants, and developers can see and download electronic copies of applications for rezoning, subdivisions, and more. The program also allows electronic submittal of development-related applications, which will reduce costs to applicants and the county. For more information, visit www.epcdevplanreview.com.

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.

Help Black Forest Animal Sanctuary (BFAS) rescue animals

Southern Colorado Animal Rescue BFAS is an animal rescue and rehab farm that has been helping animals since 1994. The all-volunteer organization has rescued thousands of horses, farm animals, dogs, cats, and various small wild animals and birds. BFAS provides rescue operations, adoption programs, foster and sponsorship programs, a student/horse education program, service dogs to veterans, and local and national rescue efforts. They also work with local schools and scouts. Donations are needed for supplies, and volunteers are needed for day-to-day operations. To find out how you can help, call 494-0158, email BFASFarm@gmail.com, or visit www.bfasfarm.org.

County launches new community website

Check out all the interesting county data available for you at http://community.spatialest.com/co/elpaso/.

CSU Extension launches "Your Energy" website and blog

The Colorado State University Extension now has a "Your Energy" website to help Coloradans make more informed energy decisions. The site includes decision tools, fact sheets, and a blog. The decision tools can help you figure out energy savings from using more efficient lighting, low-flow showerheads, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and more. Other tools can help you understand how much you spend on heating, cooling, and baseload electricity, and your bottom line if you install a wind turbine or solar array. Visit the site at http://yourenergy.extension.colostate.edu/.

Free gun-lock kit

The Monument Police Department is offering free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program. Each kit contains gun safety information and a cable-style gun lock that fits most types of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Police Department administrative offices at 645 Beacon Lite Road are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by during those times to pick up a free gun-lock kit. For information, phone 481-3253.

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Our Community Calendar

By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor

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

GOVERNMENTAL BODIES

  • Forest Lakes & Pinon Pines Metropolitan Districts Board Meeting, CANCELED. 6385 Corporate Dr., Suite 200, Colo. Springs. Usually meets 1st Mon. each month, 10 a.m. See www.forestlakesmetrodistrict.com to confirm meeting location/dates. Info: 327-5810.
  • Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, Mon., Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall Conference Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Meets 1st and 3rd Mon. each month in the Town Hall board room. Info: 884-8017, www.townofmonument.org.
  • El Paso Board of County Commissioners Meeting, Tue., Feb. 5, 9 a.m. Centennial Hall, 200 South Cascade Ave., Suite 150, Colo. Springs. Meets every Tue. and Thu. Info: 520 6430, www.agendasuite.org/iip/elpaso.
  • El Paso County Planning Commission Meeting, Tue., Feb. 5, 9 a.m., 2880 International Circle (off Union Blvd & Printers Pkwy). Meets 1st & 3rd Tue. (if required) each month. Find agendas: https://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com/el-paso-county-planning-commission/2019-meetings/. Info: 520-6300.
  • Woodmoor Water & Sanitation District Board Meeting, Mon., Feb. 11, 1 p.m., 1845 Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Now meets 2nd Mon. each month. Info: 488-2525, www.woodmoorwater.com.
  • Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board Meeting, Mon., Feb. 11, 6 p.m., Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Normally meets 3rd Mon. each month. Info: 488-4700, www.lewispalmer.org.
  • Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility Joint Use Committee Meeting, Tue., Feb. 12, 10 a.m., 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meets 2nd Tue. each month. Info: Bill Burks, 481-4053.
  • D-38 Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) Meeting, Tue., Feb. 12, 7-8:30 p.m., Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Meets 2nd Tue. each month, location varies. Info: 488-4700, www.lewispalmer.org.
  • Palmer Lake Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 13, 9 a.m., 120 Middle Glenway. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. Info: 481-2732. www.plsd.org.
  • El Paso County Park Advisory Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 13, 1:30 p.m., Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade. The board will consider the potential rule changes described in the Notices section of this issue. Info: 520-7529.
  • Monument Planning Commission Meeting, Wed., Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m.. Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Normally meets 2nd Wed. each month. Livestreamed at http://bit.ly/2uZxjfa. Info: 884-8017, www.townofmonument.org.
  • Monument Academy School Board Meeting, Thu., Feb. 14, 6 p.m., school library, 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
  • Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, Thu., Feb. 14, 6 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-2953, www.townofpalmerlake.com.
  • El Paso County Planning Commission Meeting, Tue., Feb. 19, 9 a.m., 2880 International Circle (off Union Blvd & Printers Pkwy). Meets 1st & 3rd Tue. (if required) each month. Find agendas: https://planningdevelopment.elpasoco.com/el-paso-county-planning-commission/2019-meetings/. Info: 520-6300.
  • Triview Metropolitan District Board Meeting, Tue., Feb. 19, 5:30 p.m., Triview Metro office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. Meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: 488-6868, https://triviewmetro.com.
  • Monument Board of Trustees Meeting, Tue., Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall Board Room, 645 Beacon Lite Rd., Monument. Normally meets 1st and 3rd Mon. each month. Info: 884-8017, www.townofmonument.org.
  • Wescott Fire Protection District Board Meeting, Tue., Feb. 19, 7 p.m., Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Normally meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: 488-8680.
  • Monument Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 20, 9 a.m., 130 2nd St. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 481-4886.
  • Academy Water and Sanitation District Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 20, 6 p.m., Wescott Fire Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 481-0711.
  • Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 20, 7 p.m., Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. Normally meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: 495-4300.
  • Donala Water & Sanitation District Board Meeting, Thu., Feb. 21, 1:30 p.m., 15850 Holbein Dr. Workshop is open to the public. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: 488-3603, www.donalawater.org.
  • Forest View Acres Water District Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 27, 6 p.m., Monument Sanitation District board room, 130 Second St. Meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: 488-2110, www.fvawd.com.
  • D-38 Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC), Wed., Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m., Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Info: 433-5672, MNay@lewispalmer.org.
  • Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m., TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Hwy 105. Meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: Jennifer Martin, 484-0911, www.tlmfire.org.
  • Woodmoor Improvement Association Board Meeting, Wed., Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr. Normally meets 4th Wed. each month. Info: 488-2693, www.woodmoor.org.

LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS

Please note that All Pikes Peak Library facilities will be closed on Monday, Feb. 18 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

For information on library events, see the library events column on page 23 and visit www.ppld.org.

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

WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS

  • Monument Hill Kiwanis Club Breakfast Meeting, every Sat., 7:30 a.m., D-38 Admin Building,146 Jefferson St., Monument. Guests are welcome at weekly meetings featuring speakers on a variety of topics and a free continental breakfast. Memberships open to the public. Join the 150+ men & women of the Tri-Lakes area who work together to make a difference for youth and our community. Info: RF Smith, (719) 210-4987, www.MHKiwanis.org. See ad on page 11.
  • The Wine Seller Free Wine Tastings, every Sat., 1-4 p.m., 2805 Roberts Dr., Monument. Info: 488-3019, www.thewineseller.net. See ad on page 3.
  • Bingo by the American Legion, every Sat., game sales start at 6 p.m., games start at 7 p.m., the Depot Restaurant, in Palmer Lake. Proceeds go to scholarships and other community support activities. Info: 481-8668, www.americanlegiontrilakespost911.com/bingo.htm.
  • Watercolor Painting Demo, most Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Join Janet Sellers’ painting demo, followed by art class at local cultural, gallery, and nature spots. For weekly location: 357-7454, janetsellers10@gmail.com.
  • Fuel Church Sunday Service, every Sun., 9:30 a.m. fellowship with free donuts and coffee, 10 a.m. main service; 14960 Woodcarver Rd. (just west of I-25 off Baptist Road). Non-denominational, spirit-led. Info: info@fuel.org, www.fuelchurch.org.
  • Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Worship Hours, every Sun., traditional services 8 & 11 a.m., contemporary service 9:30 a.m., Sunday school, all ages, 9:30 a.m., 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. Info: 488-1365, www.tlumc.org. See ad on page 3.
  • Black Forest Community Church Sunday Worship, every Sun., 10 a.m., 6845 Shoup Rd. All are welcome to the family friendly services. Info: www.bfcc-ucc.org. See ad on page 5.
  • Cathedral Rock Church Sunday Service, every Sun., 10 a.m., Tri-Lakes YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Info: www.cathedralrockchurch.org. See ad on page 11.
  • Tai-Chi Class, every Mon., 10 a.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Cost: $5. Drop-ins welcome. Info: 481-2953, www.townofpalmerlake.com.
  • Seniors: Tai Chi Classes, every Mon., 11–noon, Silver Alliance Senior Center at Lewis-Palmer High School (across from the YMCA). This soft, slow, and gentle form of exercise has many benefits. Registration required. $3 suggested donation. RSVP & Info: 464-6873.
  • Seniors Monday Movie Matinee, every Mon., 1-4 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center located on Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Free movies and snacks. See the schedule of films in Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Beat.
  • Artfully Speaking Toastmasters, every Mon., 5:45 p.m., DeVry University, 1175 Kelly Johnson Blvd., room 13. Info: Jon Walsh, 640-9428; www.artfullyspeaking.toastmastersclubs.org.
  • Women’s A.A. Step Study, every Mon., 6 p.m. Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 W. Baptist Rd. Info: 481-0431.
  • Monument Life Recovery Group, every Mon., 6:30-8 p.m., The Ascent Church, 1750 Deer Creek Rd. This faith-based support group is for those seeking freedom from all hurts, habits, and hang ups. Find support seeking freedom from addictions and family members with practical tools for change. Daycare provided for children under age 11. Info: 481-3600.
  • Yin Yoga Classes, every Mon., 6:30-7:45 p.m., Yoga Pathways Studio, 755 Hwy 105, West End Center, Suite A (3⁄4 mile west of Safeway). A slow yoga practice; all levels welcome. First class always free. Info: Deb Harano, 338-8467; DimensionsYoga@gmail.com.
  • Monument Hill Kiwanis Bingo, every Mon., 7:30 p.m., Carefree Bingo, 3440 N. Carefree Circle, Colo. Springs. All proceeds benefit those in need in the Tri-Lakes Community. Info: mark.zeiger@gmail.com.
  • Adult Literacy Class, every Mon. & Wed., 6-7:30 p.m., D-38 Admin. Building, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Open to the public. Info: 488-4700.
  • Senior Citizen Luncheons, every Mon.-Fri., 12-12:30 p.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. See the menu for the month in the Senior Beat newsletter. A $2.25 donation is requested. Stay for bingo the 2nd Thu. each month. Reservations are requested, phone 884-2304.
  • Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI), open Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). Daily guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cost: $10 adults, $9 military/AAA, $8 seniors & students, $6 children 3-12, free to children under 3 & museum members. Info: 488-0880, info@wmmi.org, www.wmmi.org.
  • Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Thrift Store, open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 755 Hwy 105, Suite N, in the West End Center. Seniors 62+ get a 20% discount on Wednesdays. Military & Teacher Appreciation Day, 20% off regular priced items on Saturdays. All proceeds support Tri-Lakes Senior Programs. To donate furniture, call 488-3495 for a pickup. Info: www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
  • Tri-Lakes YMCA Senior Coffee, every Tue., 9:30-11:30 a.m., 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy, Monument. Members and non-members are welcome. Socialize, have coffee and snacks in the front lobby. Free. Info: 630-2604, hbrandon@ppymca.org, www.ppymca.org.
  • Al-anon Meeting: Monument Serenity, every Tue., 7:30-8:30 p.m., Ascent Church (formerly the Tri-Lakes Chapel), 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Info: Kay, 481-9258.
  • Peak Reader Children’s Literacy Program, every Tue. & Thu., 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. To enroll your child or volunteer as a tutor, visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or call 471-8672.
  • Act II Thrift Shop, open Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Proceeds benefit Tri-Lakes area non-profits. Info: 487-3268, cara@mynothlandchurch.org, www.mynorthlandchurch.org/act-ii.
  • Tri-Lakes Church of Christ Wednesday Night Fellowship Meal (Free) & Classes, every Wed., 6-7:30 p.m., 20450 Beacon Lite Road, Monument (Corner of Beacon Lite & County Line Roads). Info: 488-9613, gregsmith@trilakeschurch.org, www.trilakeschurch.org.
  • Al-anon Meeting: Letting Go, every Thu., 9-10:10 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chapel, room 209, 1750 Deer Creek Rd., Monument. Info: Kay, 481-9258.
  • A.A. Big Book Study, every Thu., 7 p.m., Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 675 W. Baptist Rd. Info: 481-0431.
  • Overeaters Anonymous Big Book Study, every Thu., 7-8 p.m., Natural Grocers, 1216 W. Baptist Rd., Monument. Info: Beth, 773-682-1223; or Nancy, 640-3343.
  • Live Music at the Speedtrap, every Thu. open mic 7-9:30 p.m., musicians every Fri. & Sat., 8-11 p.m., 84 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Info: 488-2007, www.speedtrapbistro.com.
  • Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), every Fri., 8 a.m., Monument Chamber of Commerce, 166 2nd St., Monument. Info: Terry, 684-4912, or visit www.TOPS.org.
  • Group of Artists (GOA) Meetings at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Sat., Feb. 2, 10 a.m.-noon, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Lively discussions about art topics, general studies on creativity. Meets 1st Sat. each month. Info: 481-0475, info@trilakesarts.org, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Tri-Lakes Chamber Monthly Education Series: Developing and Optimizing Your Business Website, Tue., Feb. 5, 11;30 a.m.-1 p.m., 166 Second St., Monument. Free. Register online, www.trilakeschamber.com/events-calendar.htm. Info: 481-3282.
  • Faithful Friends, Thu., Feb. 7, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. A Ladies’ Dessert with an inspirational speaker each month. Normally meets 1st Thu. each month. Cost: $7. RSVP & Info: Sandi King, 719-237-3359.
  • Silver Alliance Book Club, Fri., Feb. 8, 11 a.m.-noon, Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on Lewis-Palmer High School campus. This month’s book is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. All are welcome to join this new club. Meets 2nd Fri. each month. Coffee & snacks served. RSVP & Info: Sue, 330-0241.
  • La Leche League Meeting, Fri., Feb. 8, noon-1 p.m., Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Mothers, babies, and mothers-to-be are all invited. Meets 2nd Fri. each month. Info: Kelley, 440-2477, kdghorashi@gmail.com.
  • El Paso County Hazardous Materials & Recycling Collection Facility, Sat., Feb. 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 3255 Akers Dr., Colorado Springs. Open the 2nd Sat. each month as well as Mon.-Thu., 7 a.m.-5 p.m., accepts porcelain fixtures, common recyclable items, household hazardous waste, various electronics, and TVs up to 19-inch diagonal. Bring a nonperishable food item for Care and Share. Info: 520-7878, http://adm.elpasoco.com/Environmental_Services/Solid_Waste_Management.
  • Palmer Lake Art Group, Sat., Feb. 9, 9 a.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. A variety of art programs are offered after the social gathering and business meeting. Guests welcome. Meets 2nd Sat. each month. Info: 487-1329, www.palmerlakeartgroup.com.
  • Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group: Put on Your Best Display, Sat., Feb. 9, 9:45-11:30 a.m., The First National Bank of Monument, 581 Hwy 105. Meets 2nd Sat. each month. Info: Gail, 481-3711.
  • Palmer Divide Photographers Group, Mon., Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Cas Foste will share insider tips about how to show your work in galleries. All are welcome. Meets 2nd Mon. each month. Info: 649-4241, www.pdphotographers.com.
  • Pikes Peak Music Teachers Association Meeting, Tue., Feb. 12, 9:30 a.m., Graner Music, 4460 Barnes Rd., Colo. Springs. Music teachers and students, meet for coffee, a meeting, and program presentation at 11 a.m. Meets 2nd Tue. each month. Info: Susan Marten, skmarten@hotmail.com, www.ppmta.org.
  • Chess Nuts, Tue., Feb. 12, 5-9 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center. Any age, any skill. Learners welcome. Drop in and leave when you want. Bring your own board and pieces if you have them. Meets 2nd & 4th Tue. each month. Info: www.TriLakesSeniors.org/chess.
  • Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) Speakers’ Bureau, Mining High Grade Ore by Calvin Johnson, Tue., Feb. 12, 7-8:30 p.m., 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). Johnson’s presentation will tell of his "experience of a lifetime" in the recovery of a quartz vein that assayed at 2281.7 ounces per ton containing crystalline (93.887 fine) gold wires. Cost: $5. RSVP & Info: 488-0880, RSVP@wmmi.org, www.wmmi.org.
  • Black Forest AARP Potluck Lunch & Meeting, Wed., Feb. 13, noon, 12455 Black Forest Rd. Fire Safety in the Home by Black Forest Fire & Rescue. Come early for U.C. Health paramedic presentation, Stop the Bleeding--Save a Life (9:30-11 a.m.). All ages welcome. Meets 2nd Wed. each month. RSVP & Info: Stan, 596-6787, www.aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.
  • Foot Care Clinic, Wed., Feb. 13, Silver Alliance Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines your feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Cost: $30 for a 30-min. visit. Meets 2nd Wed. and last Fri. each month, by appointment only. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, 577-4448.
  • Northern El Paso County Nonprofit Council, Thu., Feb. 14, 8-10 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Community Room, 166 Second St., Monument. Kim Adams and Ashley Nielsen with JustServe are the speakers. All nonprofit organizations are welcome to join. Meets quarterly. Info: Rich Strom, 481-0943, rsappraisals_6@msn.com.
  • Senior Bingo, Thu., Feb. 14, Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake, after the senior lunch. Come for lunch at noon, then stay and play. Free! Prizes! Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: Maggie Nealon, 488-3037.
  • Bridge, Thu., Feb. 14, 1-4 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center located on Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Walk-ins are welcome. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Reservation suggested: call Judy, 626-399-2733.
  • Ben Lomond Gun Club, Tri-Lakes Chapter, Thu., Feb. 14, 7 p.m., Tri-Lakes Fire Station 1, 18650 Hwy 105 west of Monument near the bowling alley. Meets 2nd Thu. each month. Info: 481-3364.
  • Foot Care Clinic, Fri., Feb. 15, Silver Alliance Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Cost: $35 for a 30-min. visit. Meets 2nd Wed., 3rd and last Fri. each month, by appointment only. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, 577-4448.
  • The Breakfast Club, Sat., Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m., The Ridge at Castle Pines North (Ridge Grill and Bar), 1414 Castle Pines Pkwy. Single people 50+ meet new friends and have fun. This active social group enjoys activities ranging from card games to white water rafting, international/domestic travel to bowling and golf. Meets 3rd Sat. each month. Info: 303-815-8428, www.TBC50plus.org.
  • Monument Hill Farmers Market Winter Indoor Market, Sat., Feb. 16, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Grace Best, 66 Jefferson St., Monument. Many new vendors plus all your old favorites. Meets every 3rd Sat. through April. Info: 592-9420. See ad on page 5.
  • Tri-Lakes Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, Sat., Feb. 16, 10 a.m.-noon, Monument Community Presbyterian Church, 238 Third St, Monument. Come for socializing, discussions on Parkinson’s-related issues including available support, and occasional speakers. Meets 3rd Sat. each month. Info: John Farley, 481-2364, robun2good@gmail.com; or Syble Krafft, 488-2669.
  • Amateur Radio WØTLM (Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association), Mon., Feb. 18, 6 p.m. social time, 7 p.m. meeting. All amateur radio operators or those interested in becoming amateur radio operators are welcome. Meets 3rd Mon. Info: Joyce Witte, 661-9824, Joycewitte@gmail.com; www.W0TLM.com.
  • Outpouring: TLUMC Supporting our Community, Tue., Feb. 19, 7 p.m., back Barrel Room at Pikes Peak Brewing Company, 1756 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Everyone is welcome. Meets 3rd Tue. each month. Info: LWeber1971@aol.com; for current speaker info go to http://tlumc.org/outreach/outpouring.
  • Gleneagle Sertoma Luncheon Meeting, Wed., Feb. 20, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Liberty Heights, 12105 Ambassador Dr., (off Voyager Blvd in Colorado Springs). Interesting speakers and programs; all are welcome. Meets 1st & 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Garrett Barton, 433-5396; Duane Gritzmaker, 481-2424; www.gleneaglesertoma.org.
  • Senior Bingo, Wed., Feb. 20, 1-2 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center, Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Sue Walker, 464-6873.
  • Drummers! Wed., Feb. 20, 6:30-8 p.m., Yoga Pathways Studio, West End Center, 775 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Free and open to all ages. Bring any kind of drum or other hand percussion instrument. Beginners welcome! Now meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Nan, 466-1257, nananddon@hotmail.com.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7829, Wed., Feb. 20, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. New members welcome. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Post Commander Joe Carlson, 405-326-2588, jcarlson@vfw7829.org, www.vfw7829.org.
  • VFW Auxiliary to Post 7829, Wed., Feb. 20, 7 p.m., The Country Club at Woodmoor, 18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument. New members welcome. If you are a male or female relative of a veteran who served on foreign soil during war or other military action, you may be eligible. Meets 3rd Wed. each month. Info: Kathy Carlson, 488-1902, carlsonmkc@aol.com.
  • Senior Tea, Thu., Feb. 21, 12-1:30 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center at Lewis-Palmer High School (across from the YMCA). Come early to socialize. Volunteers needed. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Reservations required: contact Sue, 464-6873, sue@monumentalfitness.com.
  • Palmer Lake Historical Society: Liz Duckworth presents Poker Alice Tubbs: The Straight Story, Thu., Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. All are welcome, refreshments served. Meets 3rd Thu. each month. Info: 559-0837, www.palmerdividehistory.org.
  • Chess Nuts, Tue., Feb. 26, 5-9 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center, across the street from the YMCA. Any age, any skill. Learners welcome. Drop in and leave when you want. Bring your own board and pieces if you have them. Meets 2nd & 4th Tue. each month. Info: www.TriLakesSeniors.org/chess.
  • Senior Social, Wed., Feb. 27, 1-4 p.m., 12455 Black Forest Rd. Meets 4th Wed. each month except Nov. & Dec. Info: www.aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.
  • Foot Care Clinic, Fri., Feb. 22, Silver Alliance Senior Center located across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. A registered nurse examines feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Cost: $35 for a 30-min. visit. Meets 2nd Wed., 3rd and last Fri. each month, by appointment only. Info & appointments: call the Visiting Nurse Association, 577-4448.
  • Group of Artists (GOA) Meetings at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), Sat., Mar. 2, 10 a.m.-noon, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Lively discussions about art topics, general studies on creativity. Meets 1st Sat. each month. Info: 481-0475, info@trilakesarts.org, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Lupus Support Group. If you suffer with an autoimmune disease and want to connect with others, you are welcome to join this group. Info: dmbandle@hotmail.com.
  • Myasthenia Gravis Association of Colorado Support Group. Location varies. Info: Carolyn, 488-3620, www.4-mga.org, 303-360-7080, 4mga@4-mga.org.

SPECIAL EVENTS

  • Art after Hours at Gallery 132, dates and times vary, 251 Front St., Suite 8, Monument. Check the website for low-cost two-hour classes in the Art after Hours series; enjoy refreshments and hors d’oeuvres while creating a unique piece of art. Info: 375-8187, info@gallery132.com, www.gallery132.com. See ad on page 5.
  • The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery Human Trafficking Series: A Call to Action: What the Military Can and Should Do About Sex Trafficking, Mon., Feb. 4, 6:30-8:15 p.m., PPLD 21C, Venue Room, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr., Colo. Springs. This series on human trafficking offers powerful information, education, and tools for prevention of this crime. Free. RSVP & Info: 633-0655, ext. 132, www.benethillmonastery.org.
  • High Altitude Gardening, Tue., Feb. 5, 5-6 p.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 2nd St., Monument. A free class on best practices and plant selection to handle wildlife and wild weather. Repeats Feb. 19, 10 a.m. Sign up at www.townofmonument.org/Calendar.aspx. Info: Cassie Olgren, 481-2954, colgren@tomgov.org.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family-to-Family, Wed., Feb. 6-May 1, 6:30-9 p.m., Monument. A free 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals with mental illness. Meets once weekly. Registration required: call 473-8477 or email info@namicoloradosprings.org.
  • Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery: Aging Gracefully, Aging Gratefully, Thu., Feb. 7, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 3190 Benet Lane, Colo. Springs. People of all faiths and cultures are welcome. Repeats Mar. 14. Cost: $45. RSVP & Info: 633-0655 Ext 132, registrations@benethillmonastery.org, www.benethillmonastery.org.
  • Landscape Design Principles, Fri., Feb. 8, 10 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 2nd St., Monument. A free class helpful for new home builds. Sign up at www.townofmonument.org/Calendar.aspx. Info: Cassie Olgren, 481-2954, colgren@tomgov.org.
  • CASA Volunteer Informational Hour, Fri., Feb. 8, noon-1 p.m., 418 S. Weber St., Colo. Springs. CASA volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children in the community and in the courtroom. Learn more about volunteering for CASA over a free Jimmy John’s lunch. RSVP to Uriko Stout, ustout@casappr.org, www.casappr.org.
  • Black Rose Acoustic Society: The Sweet Lillies, Fri., Feb. 8, 7-10 p.m. Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. at Shoup Road. Cost: $10 general, $5 BRAS members, $5 nonmember students with ID. Info: Joe Maio, 528-6119, jrmtn@comcast.net, www.blackroseacoustic.org.
  • Free D-38 Chess Tournament, Sat., Feb. 9, 8-8:30 a.m. onsite registration, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. tournament; Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, 1315 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument. Open and free to all K-12 students who attend D-38 schools or live within the D-38 boundaries. Chess sets provided. Participants may bring their own snacks. Pizza and sodas will be available for purchase at lunch. Pre-registration is encouraged; pre-register each student at http://bit.ly/2VATSQV or you may register the morning of the tournament, but we can’t guarantee a medal. Info: 488-9887, huskerco@gmail.com.
  • Heartsaver CPR/AED/First Aid Certification Course, Sat., Feb. 9, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. American Heart Association course. Reservations required. Wear comfortable clothes, bring a sack lunch. Info: epg@tlumc.org.
  • Hearth House Hiring Event, Sat., Feb. 9, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 192 Front St., Monument. This new event venue seeks employees, including housekeeping, servers, event managers, grounds and maintenance. Info: 465-1418, info@HearthHouseVenue.com. See ad on page 13.
  • Palmer Lake’s Winterfest, Sun., Feb. 10, noon-3 p.m., Palmer Lake. Free ice skating, hot dogs, hot chocolate. Buy Winterfest hoodies at Dex’s Depot. Proceeds help fund the Glen Park playground. Info: 481-2953.
  • The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery Human Trafficking Series: Protecting Our Precious Cargo, Mon., Feb. 11, 6:30-8:15 p.m., PPLD 21C, Venue Room, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr., Colo. Springs. Free. RSVP & Info: 633-0655, ext. 132, www.benethillmonastery.org.
  • Wildfire Presentation by Black Forest Together, Tue., Feb. 12, 6 p.m., Black Forest Fire Department, 11445 Teachout Rd. Info: Jen Cowan, 495-2445.
  • Emmet Cahill Concert, Wed., Feb. 13, 7-8:30 p.m., The Church at Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Rd., Monument. Ireland’s leading tenor. Tickets & Info: www.emmetcahill.com/tour-dates.
  • Winter Stroll at Fox Run Regional Park, Sat., Feb. 16, 9–11 a.m., 2110 Stella Dr. Enjoy the beauty of winter while you hike through the ponderosa pine forests of Fox Run. All ages. $3 per member/$4 per nonmember. Info: 520-6387.
  • 7th Annual Castle Rock Bull Riding Challenge, Sat., Feb. 16, 7-9 p.m., Douglas County Fairgrounds indoor arena, 500 Fairgrounds Dr., Castle Rock. Two shows: a 2 p.m. matinee and 7 p.m. show. Visitors will learn about bucking bulls, how they are cared for, training, and much more! Vendors, food concessions, a mechanical bull and pony rides, and free parking. Cost: $20 Adult, $15 Youth (ages 6-12), youngsters under the age of 5 are free. Riders and stock contractors interested in entering should contact Ty Rinaldo at TZ Bucking Bulls. Info: tntevents@msn.com or 719-641-3233.
  • High Altitude Gardening, Tue., Feb. 19, 10-11 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 2nd St., Monument. A free class on best practices and plant selection to handle wildlife and wild weather. Repeats Feb. 19, 10 a.m. Sign up at www.townofmonument.org/Calendar.aspx. Info: Cassie Olgren, 481-2954, colgren@tomgov.org.
  • Monument Police Department: Active Threats and Personal Safety class, Wed., Feb. 20, 6-8 p.m., 166 2nd St., Monument. Open to anyone age 16 and older. Learn how to survive an active shooter/active threat situation and basic personal safety habits and strategies. RSVP & Info: 481-3253.
  • Parent Education Night at Monument Academy, Wed., Feb. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m., 1150 Village Ridge Pt., Monument. Info: 481-1950, www.monumentacademy.net.
  • Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) Exhibit Opening & Lecture: Our Report Card in Mining, Mon., Feb. 21, 7 p.m., doors open 6:30; 225 North Gate Blvd. (I-25 Exit 156 A). To kick off the opening of WMMI’s newest exhibit on "Mine Lighting," Joe Samek will speak on the importance of safety in the mining industry. Info: 488-0880, info@wmmi.org, www.wmmi.org.
  • Black Rose Acoustic Society: Braithwaite, Uveges, & Sokol, Fri., Feb. 22, 7-10 p.m. Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Rd. at Shoup Road. Cost: $10 general, $5 BRAS members, $5 nonmember students with ID. Info: Joe Maio, 528-6119, jrmtn@comcast.net, www.blackroseacoustic.org.
  • Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert: Beethoven Extravaganza, Sat., Feb. 23, 7 p.m., Lewis Palmer H.S., 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. Chamber music, chorus, & orchestra. Info: www.rmmaconcerts.org. See ad on page 2 and photo on page 27.
  • Fuel Church 5th Anniversary Celebration, Sun., Feb. 24, 9:30 a.m. free donuts and coffee, 10 a.m. Celebration Service begins, noon free buffet lunch and children’s activities; D-38 Administration Building, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. Info: www.fuelchurch.org. See ad on page 11.
  • Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery Chamber Concert Series: Forte Handbell Quartet, Sun., Feb. 24, 2:30 p.m., 3190 Benet Lane, Colo. Springs. People of all faiths and cultures are welcome!. Cost: $20. RSVP & Info: 633-0655 Ext 132, registrations@benethillmonastery.org, www.benethillmonastery.org. See ad on page 10.
  • Screenagers, Sun., Feb. 24, 5 p.m., Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument. A free screening about growing up in the digital age; one-hour film followed by dinner and discussion. Childcare available. RSVP & Info: www.TLUMC.org/screenagers. See ad on page 21.
  • Water-wise Gardening, Tue., Feb. 26, 10 a.m., Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 2nd St., Monument. A free class for smart design and plant selection. Repeats Mar. 5, Mar. 15. Sign up at www.townofmonument.org/Calendar.aspx. Info: Cassie Olgren, 481-2954, colgren@tomgov.org.
  • 2nd Annual Purse Party, Wed., Feb. 27, noon-2 p.m., Silver Alliance Senior Center, Lewis-Palmer High School campus. Free. All attendees receive a purse loaded with goodies & surprises. Lunch served. RSVP & Info: Sue, 330-0241.
  • Judge’s Seminar: Exploring Colorado’s Fall Landscapes, Thu., Feb. 28, 7-9 p.m., Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 CO-105, Palmer Lake. Visions of Light judge Wendy Gedak hosts a seminar on photographing Colorado’s fall colors. Cost: $30. RSVP & Info: 481-0475, www.trilakesarts.org. The Vision of Light photography exhibit’s free opening reception is March 1, 6-8 p.m. The show runs through April 26.
  • Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute Free Film: Buck, Fri., Mar. 1, 6:30 p.m., 3190 Benet Lane, Colo. Springs. RSVP & Info: 633-0655 Ext 132, registrations@benethillmonastery.org, www.benethillmonastery.org. See ad on page 10.
  • Visions of Light Photography Exhibition Opening Reception, Fri., Mar. 1, 6-8 p.m., Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake. Celebrate the opening of the annual juried photography show; runs through Apr. 26. Info: 481-0475, www.trilakesarts.org.
  • Chamber Member Orientation at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Tue., Mar. 5, noon-1:30 p.m., 166 Second St., Monument. Come learn about your local chamber. Open to the public. Lunch provided. RSVP & Info: 481-3282, www.trilakeschamber.com/chamber-orientation.html.

Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to calendar@ocn.me or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.

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