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By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education voted on its intention to place a bond issue on the 2019 ballot and heard an update on the ongoing superintendent search at its regular meeting Feb. 11.
Resolution on bond issue approved
Secretary Mark Pfoff read the resolution regarding placing a bond on the November 2019 ballot. See the article about the Feb. 4 board work session on page 4 of this issue for background discussion.
The resolution states that the district recognizes the need to address enrollment, recognizes that the community recently defeated a previous ballot issue due to non-specific ballot language and unclear financing, and that the board, listening to feedback, believes a specific single-issue bond to address overcrowding would be supported by the community. The resolution proposes that the board pursue a cost-effective bond to build a single elementary school next to Bear Creek Elementary School, and the district will convert Bear Creek Elementary back to Creekside Middle School using district reserve funds.
The board will decide on bond financing terms prior to the election.
Treasurer Chris Taylor said that, had the bond passed last year, the district would have pursued an accelerated building plan for the new school so that it would have opened in August 2019. This alternative would have involved working double shifts to meet the deadline. However, now that modular classrooms have been provided to alleviate overcrowding on a temporary basis, Taylor suggested that the district should take more time in order to bring costs down.
Taylor said it was clear that Pfoff opposed including Monument Academy (MA) in last year’s bond and asked whether law required that charter schools be included.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said that in districts that passed bonds in the past few years, charter schools were included.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said that since the proposed bond covered a single issue, MA should not expect to be included and that the board is only required to inform MA of what they are doing.
Board President Matthew Clawson agreed that, since the bond includes only one elementary school, MA should not expect to be included.
Pfoff said that when last year’s bond was complicated by including security improvements at all facilities and an unspecified use by MA, the community became confused. He said he thinks the public will be more supportive of a single issue. He agreed with the use of a normal building cycle and the use of portables for two years.
Director Theresa Phillips agreed that the board needs to align its goals and that is easier when the goals are well defined.
Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch stressed that candor and honesty must prevail during the campaign for the bond. She said that the board is essentially approving a K-8 campus.
The resolution passed unanimously.
Pfoff said that he and Taylor would work together on bond language, presenting their results at the board’s March meeting.
Brofft said that the administration will offer its support as needed, but most successful bond issues are led by the board.
Clawson suggested meeting with members of the District 20 board to learn how they were successful in passing a bond last year.
Superintendent search update
Director of Personnel and Student Services Bob Foster reported that the interview teams have been selected, there have been over a dozen applications (the deadline for applications was Feb. 14), and the board will meet in executive session on Feb. 19 to screen the applications for the new superintendent.
On March 4 the board will announce the finalists (the recommended number is three) and background checks will be begun. Interviews will be on March 15, and the new superintendent will be selected and announced on March 18.
Foster said that informal gatherings of the candidates with community and staff members have not yet been planned.
Budget priorities discussion
In response to a request from Taylor during the Feb. 4 work session, Wangeman presented a comparative list of priorities for spending among various districts, including such issues as size of administration, spending on facilities, community services, and debt financing. Districts examined included those that are nearby and those with a student population comparable to District 38.
Taylor thanked Wangeman for the information and encouraged to board to use the information in formulating next year’s budget.
In her superintendent update, Brofft said there will be a second Thoughtexchange period from Feb. 13 to 24 and the question to be discussed is: How can the district develop trust and inspire confidence? Thoughtexchange is an online survey.
Brofft also reported that CRP architects have notified the district that the cost of the modular unit at Bear Creek Elementary (four classrooms for preschool) was underestimated. Requirements for preschool classrooms are specialized. As a result of the situation, the modular for Bear Creek and that for the middle school are expected to be available as planned, in time for the 2019-20 school year, but those for Kilmer and Lewis-Palmer Elementary may be delayed.
Brofft also said that open enrollment for all K-8 facilities will be closed to out-of-district students. There is still room at the high schools.
Taylor asked why open enrollment is still allowed for MA. Wangeman responded that since MA has no physical boundaries, all students are open enrolled.
Brofft commented that the population of MA is also more fluid than that of the traditional schools.
Regarding structure of the proposed bond, Brofft said she has met with the district’s financial advisor and learned that the residential tax rate will not be determined until April 18.
Wangeman said that the Safe Route to Schools grant, which will support the construction of a trail from Palmer Ridge and Lewis-Palmer Middle School to Lewis-Palmer Elementary, will not be received until 2020. She said progress is slow because it is a federal grant.
Lewis-Palmer High School senior AnneMarie Ackerman was recognized for being selected for the U.S. Senate Youth Program (see the photo on page 1). This program recognizes students with a strong academic record, volunteer activity, and an interest in government. Two students are selected from each state. The students will spend a week in Washington, D.C., meeting with Senate members and learning about the operation of the government.
Some notable alumni of the program are Sen. Corey Gardner, Sen. Susan Collins, and Gov. Chris Christie.
Ackerman plans to major in political science and attend law school. She will also receive a $10,000 scholarship.
Steve Waldmann introduced winners of the recent chess competition. One hundred seventeen students participated, from kindergarten through high school.
Students from Palmer Lake Elementary School presented a performance of patriotic music and a demonstration of learning involving a responsive classroom stressing the use of daily morning meetings to keep students in touch with one another and stressing respect and sharing.
Caption: Lewis-Palmer High School senior AnneMarie Ackerman, second from left, was selected for the U.S. Senate Youth Program, which includes a week in Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 scholarship. Two students are selected from each state. With her are her parents, Tara and Brett, and LPHS Principal Tony Karr, Board President Matthew Clawson, and Superintendent Karen Brofft. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Caption: Steve Waldmann, back row, center, introduced some of the winners of the district chess tournament, held the previous week. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at its Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on March 19.
Harriet Halbig can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
At the Feb. 19 Triview Metropolitan District board meeting, directors received project status reports from JDS-Hydro Civil Engineer John McGinn regarding the western interceptor and HR Green representative Mike Connor regarding the design of the Jackson Creek Parkway expansion. District Manager Jim McGrady presented an expansive financial plan.
Many irons in the fire
For the past several months Triview Metropolitan District has been managing several projects, two of which, if coordinated well, may provide significant time and cost savings. The two projects are the western interceptor and expansion of the two-lane portion of Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP). The western interceptor wastewater infrastructure, in addition to serving district residents and commercial enterprise west of I-25, has been extended under the highway to a juncture at Higby Road and JCP. Because the district and the Tri-Lakes area continue to grow, Triview anticipates that it will avoid unnecessary and costly potential future replacement of a newly expanded JCP by installing the wastewater pipeline prior to the road’s expansion.
McGinn reported that Global Underground Corp., the company contracted to install the western interceptor pipeline, had reached substantial completion—meaning the structure was sealed and ready to use—about three weeks ahead of schedule. The project also finished under budget. Global’s favorable outcome prompted McGinn to recommend that Triview forgo seeking bids for installing the necessary connection at Higby Road and JCP. McGinn explained that Global equipment and manpower were already deployed at the precise site where the separate parts of the infrastructure will connect and estimated that construction could begin 60 days sooner than if bids were sought. He estimated a "soft cost" savings of $20,000 by avoiding preparation of the bidding documents. The net cost established with Global totaled $577,000, which McGinn deemed a reasonable figure.
McGinn advocated executing a change order that would authorize Global to install the pipeline connection and anticipated that construction could start two weeks from the board meeting. The directors unanimously authorized the change order.
Connor updated the board about the JCP expansion design which, he estimated, would reach 60 percent completion by the end of February. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) draft initiated the process of selecting a general contractor with the goal of being under contract mid- to late May. Connor confirmed that HR Green continues to coordinate the taper of the lanes north of Higby Road with the Town of Monument, El Paso County, and Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG), which adds to the complexity of the plan.
Another project, or opportunity, underway for the district is the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI), which has the potential to direct wastewater flows from six sanitation districts north of Colorado Springs—including Triview—to the J.D. Phillips Water Reclamation Facility in Colorado Springs. The proposed Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) gravity-based system has the potential to decommission two wastewater treatment facilities and multiple lift stations, ultimately streamlining services and producing cost savings. CSU and the sanitation districts continue to evaluate financial and wastewater treatment responsibilities, thus there was little discussion of NMCI at the district’s February meeting.
Related to this topic is a correction of an OCN reporter error. In the Feb. 2 Triview article, OCN reporter Jennifer Kaylor erroneously wrote that McGrady 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 met with representatives of WWSD and the Town of Monument.
The district also kicked off its 2019 road rehabilitation plan. The Feb. 19 board meeting doubled as the deadline for contractor bid submission upon which three bids were received. McGrady expressed confidence in the lowest bidder, Martin Marietta, which bid $1.3 million. If approved, Martin anticipated that the work would span April through June, McGrady said. The board unanimously approved the Martin bid.
District manager projects long-term view
McGrady segued into a presentation regarding the district’s fiscal position starting with 2019 and extending through 2040. Speculating on residential and commercial growth, inflation, multiple sources of revenue, and significant capital projects, he prompted discussion about options for long-term planning. Due to tax revenue restrictions, McGrady promoted greater funding support for the Parks and Open Space Department, which is currently funded by 25 percent of the district’s revenue from taxes and impact fees. Calculations show the department would likely suffer diminishing revenue over the long term, especially for capital projects, and McGrady recommended a 34 percent share with the other 66 percent going to the Streets Department.
The board also concurred that attracting commercial business—a substantial source of tax revenue—would carry benefits for residents, the district, and business owners alike. McGrady proposed that the district not pay ahead on debt service but consider temporarily and gradually collecting on fewer mills than Triview’s current cap of 35, thereby triggering a lower tax burden for commercial enterprises as well as residents. He confirmed that debt service payments are locked in and will not change for the duration of the bond.
Using 2018 residential and commercial assessed valuation statistics and an assumed growth rate of 50 additional homes per year, McGrady calculated that the number of mills collected could reach 10 mills or fewer by 2031. Ultimately, while there is continued growth, Triview could scale back on the mills collected to attract commercial development. See https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2019/BoardPacket_attachment_2019-02-19_pt2.pdf for the complete financial projection spreadsheet.
Director creates primer on water
Vice President Marco Fiorito explained that he often receives questions or encounters misunderstandings about the district and water issues. In response, he drafted a "broad and general description of water in Colorado" to educate readers about issues locally, regionally, and statewide called A Primer on Water. Fiorito’s primer defines terms such as surface or renewable water, non-renewable water, return flows, acre-feet, and aquifer, to name a few. He addresses Colorado’s water rights, the rivers that supply Colorado and neighboring states, and the final share received by residents and commerce.
Narrowing the discussion to the Front Range, Fiorito explains the Denver Basin Aquifer System, its range, and the challenge of quantifying its supply. He provides an overview of how some districts in El Paso County obtain their water and regulations pertaining to development, i.e., the 100-year and 300-year rules.
Dropping down to the specifics affecting Triview and other water providers north of Colorado Springs, Fiorito describes their various water sources and, more important, their access to those sources.
Fiorito closes with a discussion about wastewater and the potential collaboration with Colorado Springs to not only improve wastewater treatment efficiency, but eventually develop an arrangement for potable water "return flows." To read A Primer on Water by Marco Fiorito, see pdf pages 29-33 at https://triviewmetro.com/assets/documents/board/agenda/2019/BoardPacket_2019-02-19_pt1.pdf.
The meeting adjourned at 7:59 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.
The next Triview board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer D-38 discussed options for the use or demolition of Grace Best Education Center and showed support for a potential ballot initiative for a bond in 2019 at its special meeting and work session on Feb. 4.
Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch said consideration of safety and program use were foremost in deciding how to proceed concerning Grace Best. She said that the community wants to see a tangible result of the discussion.
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said the newer part of the building is used for the Homeschool Enrichment Academy, the Transitions program, and the district’s robotics program. The old home economics classroom is used for the Transitions program and the gym is rented out frequently. The older part of the building houses the science distribution center, storage, and excess furniture and technology.
Wangeman pointed out that the district offered detailed information on the facility in the local newspapers the previous month. Upchurch wondered how much longer the decision could be delayed.
Superintendent Karen Brofft said the building is inspected by the state regularly, and Wangeman said that there is an asbestos review every six months.
Treasurer Chris Taylor said all architects who were consulted said the building could not be used to increase the district’s capacity and that Monument Academy, after touring the building and consulting with architects, declined to use it.
Board Secretary Mark Pfoff commented that using part of the new section as a magnet school would require relocating the current programs. Brofft agreed, saying that the district would need to rent space elsewhere for the current programs.
When asked whether some classrooms in the old section could be used for online education, Brofft said that the community would expect further mitigation of asbestos.
During the following discussion, the board considered tearing down the old part of the building or selling it. Upchurch said that these were the alternatives favored by the community during a D-38 deliberates session.
Brofft said that, were the board to vote to sell the property, it would have to do so at a reduced price due to the asbestos. Board President Matthew Clawson said that, should the board sell the property, it would lose control over the use of it.
Upchurch said the board should have the estimated cost of demolition at their fingertips. The most recent estimate was $1.3 million. She wants the community to know that the board carefully considered whether to make this investment.
Pfoff commented that the building currently serves a purpose. As a member of the board when Grace Best was moved to the Bear Creek location, he said that there was no intention to make it back into a school. The intention was always to have two middle schools. He said that many parents also were in favor of closing Grace Best at the time.
No vote was taken on action regarding this issue. The consensus was that the property is serving a useful purpose and it would be unwise to invest in its demolition.
Informal support for bond issue in 2019
Taylor commented that the middle school has been at capacity since 2017 and the board took too long to get up to speed on putting a bond on the ballot. If we wait until after 2019, there will be new members of the board to educate regarding the issue he said.
Pfoff said that we need a new school not to address growth but to accommodate the students we now have. He proposed that, if the board chooses to go forward with a bond in 2019, it should be only for one school and the board should vote unanimously to support its passage. He supports a bond that would involve little or no increase in taxes.
Upchurch commented that the middle school is very crowded and asked how the board would go about demonstrating to the community that this is an urgent situation.
Brofft cautioned that the board must not consider the exact wording of the bond at this time, as it would limit their ability to promote it. Instead, she suggested a broad wording of a motion. She agreed that the entire board must be behind the initiative.
Director Theresa Phillips said that she also wants a bond and stressed that the new school should be of high quality, with nothing left out to lower the cost of the building. She also stressed that part of the planning of the building should include provisions for special-education uses.
Clawson agreed that the district needs a new elementary and two middle schools. He also agreed that the board should stress that the funding should be used solely for the new elementary. He would like an estimate of the cost of repurposing Bear Creek Elementary as a middle school.
Wangeman said that she would provide the information.
Brofft suggested that the board limit itself to committing to a bond without specifying the cost of the school or its financing. She said that nine months should be sufficient to educate the public so long as the board is unanimous in its support. She said that the district has a committed group of volunteers who are willing to work toward its passage.
Phillips said that if the bond is pushed back to 2020 it would not serve the students.
Pfoff said that 2020 would be a bad year for the bond as everyone would be distracted by the presidential election.
The board informally agreed to pursue a bond in 2019.
Taylor requested that Wangeman explore the priorities in spending among other school districts as compared with those of District 38. The information can be found on the Colorado Department of Education website. He suggested comparisons based on location and student population.
Wangeman agreed to bring the information to the regular meeting of the board.
Recording work sessions
The board briefly discussed the option of recording work sessions.
Upchurch said that she heard from teachers and others that it would be useful to be able to hear the discussions after the fact. The reason for not recording the sessions was to encourage candor during the discussions.
Pfoff said that he would discourage frequent work sessions because all action is taken during regular meetings.
Clawson said that, were the sessions recorded, the recordings should be available on request.
Phillips said that recording the work sessions would require a change in board policy.
In her superintendent update, Brofft said that the estimate for the installation of the modular classrooms was low. More funds may need to be appropriated or they may need to be installed a few at a time.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee received reports on activities in the exceptional students department, the Safe Routes to School trail, and social emotional learning initiatives in the district.
Lewis-Palmer Elementary School Principal Jenny Day offered an introduction to her school, consisting of 470 students in 18 class sections and two preschool classes.
Day said that art, music, and physical education are offered each day with enrichment opportunities before and after school.
The school received the John Irwin Award in 2018 for its academic achievement and the Inez Lewis Award in 2017 and 2018 for improvement exceeding 10 percentage points in math or language arts.
A foundation of the school’s philosophy is to take care of the emotional needs of the students, teachers and families. The school is creating a community garden.
A modular with two classrooms will be added to the south of the main building for the coming school year. Day said that it is not yet known which two classes will use the modular.
Board of Education liaison Tiffiney Upchurch reported to the committee on the progress of the superintendent search. The deadline for application was Feb. 14, and four applications have been confirmed with an additional 14 pending.
Upchurch said that although the board had decided in January to postpone putting a bond issue on the 2019 ballot, it voted the previous night to proceed with one. The bond will include an elementary school on the same site with a middle school on the Bear Creek campus. No ballot language or financing details were available.
When asked about staffing for the new school and middle school, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman said teachers will follow the students from the elementary to the middle school, and the district will need to hire nurses, janitors, and others.
Wangeman also reported on the Safe Routes to School trail planned to go from Palmer Ridge High School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School to Lewis-Palmer Elementary school.
The district applied for federal funding in 2015, and the process was completed in 2017. It is a federal grant administered by the state with some matching funds from the district. The Woodmoor Improvement Association also contributed. Completion is estimated to be in 2022.
Director of Exceptional Student Services Rick Frampton updated the committee on his department’s activities, including the Special Education Advisory Committee composed of parents and staff and the Transitions program that serves students ages 18 to 21 who have Individual Education Plans. These students are learning life skills to serve them as they enter the community. Some also attend classes at Pikes Peak Community College.
The number of students in the district who qualify for special education services is 661, of whom 80 are severely disabled and need to be transported to receive specialized services elsewhere.
Frampton said that, due to the district’s reputation for offering effective services, a number of families "choice into" the district to take advantage of these services.
Day and Prairie Winds Principal Aileen Finnegan reported on social emotional learning initiatives. They said that it is important to begin teaching social emotional learning at an early age so students are able to control their behavior later. This allows for more effective learning, especially in middle school.
Each school uses its own program such as Path 2 Empathy and Responsive Classroom, where students and teachers greet each other daily.
At the high school level, the preferred approach is Sources of Strength, using peer groups to understand gratitude and a general atmosphere of caring.
Finnegan said that several students at Prairie Winds were adopted from foreign orphanages, prompting the school to learn about problems of students coming from a traumatic situation. Traumas could also include divorce and illness within the family. Counselors and social workers are available in the schools as well.
Day said that another aspect of this program is to minimize the use of suspension as a punishment and instead make it a learning experience when a student is sent to the principal’s office.
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 District Accountability Advisory Committee meets six times a year. Locations vary The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 12 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, 1776 Woodmoor Drive.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Feb.10 to hear about the possible availability of a School Resource Officer (SRO) and updates on state legislation. Board members Melanie Strop and Mike Molson were absent.
School Resource Officer
Executive Director Don Griffin noted that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) has identified money in its budget to fund a new program to put an SRO in each high school and charter school on a cost-sharing basis. SRO’s are EPSO deputies who are assigned to work in and around schools on a long-term basis to provide a triad of functions: teacher, counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer. Monument Academy could have its own SRO by paying $56,000 of the $112,000 cost to cover salary, benefits, equipment, and car. The SRO would be assigned to the current campus and would be shared with the new campus when it opens.
Griffin noted that D38 currently has two SROs, which are shared with MA. A parents group led by Wendy and Josh Brethauer is specifically focused on raising money for security, kicking off a fundraising effort to raise a $50,000 annual endowment. They will also look for corporate sponsorships.
Board member Dwayne Cook said he was excited about the SRO proposal but expressed concern based on his past experience. He noted that deputies who are highly trained in handling violence and de-escalation may need different skills in a school setting, especially dealing with special education students. In the past he implemented a program in the school system to give ongoing training and identification to SROs to help them understand the differences in dealing with special needs kids to be ahead of the curve.
Griffin discussed legislation that MA is tracking at the state capital. He noted that the governor is looking to provide tuition-free, full-day kindergarten, which may impact MA. There is currently enough interest to possibly open a third full-day kindergarten class. Board member Patrick Hall inquired about the new sex education bill and how it might impact MA. Griffin noted that it hadn’t passed yet but had only come out of committee in the House, but it is a piece of legislation he is tracking.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• Principal Elizabeth Davis reported that she and middle school Dean Julie Seymour presented to a packed house at the annual Colorado Council of the International Reading Conference. Eight staff members attended the conference and attended different sessions, bringing back a takeaway that they can share at the upcoming curriculum committee meeting.
• The American Heart Association Kids Heart Challenge fundraiser was successful, raising close to $13,000. In addition, all eighth-graders will be CPR-certified by the end of January.
• MA unanimously approved a change to Board Policy 1512 Open Records Requests. It had a typo that needed correcting to change the rate from $35 to the statute approved rate of $30. MA board policies can been seen at http://bit.ly/ma-policies.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, March 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 www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) completed its transition to a new platform to administer employee benefits at its February meeting. County Commissioner Holly Williams paid the board a courtesy visit, and the board heard operational reports from staff.
Board wraps up benefits updates with Lincoln Alliance
District Manager Jessie Shaffer characterized the final round of changes to the benefit administration platform that Lincoln Alliance provides to the district as "technical corrections." The board began work on this transition to a new benefits platform in 2018. The new platform provides the district with a wider range of investment options for employees and reduces the fees the district pays.
Erin Smith, the district’s lawyer, completed a review of the documents that make up the agreement the district has with Lincoln Alliance, Shaffer said.
The board voted unanimously to approve the changes and corrections as presented by Shaffer.
Commissioner Williams visits board
Holly Williams, elected to Board of County Commissioners to represent District 1 last November, took advantage of the public comments portion of the meeting to introduce herself to the board. Williams mentioned water availability as a topic that concerns her.
Williams said her duties as a county commissioner did not relate directly to the responsibilities of the water district, but that she wanted the board members to reach out to her when necessary.
Highlights of operational reports
• In January, the Biochemical Oxygen Demand measurement of Palmer Lake’s sewage was measured at 82 per cent of its allowable level. In previous months that measurement was higher, causing concern.
• Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette said the project to better protect the district’s augmentation station on Fountain Creek from erosion due to flash floods should be successfully completed by mid-February. The project will be tested on March 15, Gillette said.
• The water level in Woodmoor Lake is low, Shaffer said in his manager’s report, due to issues with pumps and motors.
• The drilling of Well 21 in Misty Acres is complete, and the district is proceeding with pump installation and wellhouse construction.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 11 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Hatfield
The Joint Use Committee (JUC) of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) discussed plant operations, an assortment of ongoing stakeholder concerns, and the Joint Use of Facilities Agreement (JUA) on Feb. 12.
TLWWTF operates as a separate joint venture public utility and is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, JUC president; PLSD Vice Chairman Patricia Smith, JUC vice president, and WWSD board Director Lee Hanson, JUC secretary/treasurer.
Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Manager Jessie Schaffer.
Plant running smoothly
Plant Manager Bill Burks presented the December Discharge Monitoring Report, quarterly Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) test report, nutrient sampling, flow reports, sludge removal reports, and annual metals sampling. All results were well within expected tolerances, and the plant is running well, he said.
Burks asked the JUC about scheduling a future agenda item to discuss the overall future of the plant and its employees. This could help plan for "if and when" the wastewater regionalization plan connecting Tri-Lakes-area wastewater districts to Colorado Springs Utilities’ treatment system comes to fruition. See www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#msd and www.ocn.me/v19n2.htm#tvmd.
However, the consensus of the JUC was that there were multiple nested variables that must be dealt with before the wastewater regionalization idea could actually happen. These include negotiations with the Air Force Academy and complicated water rights concerning potable or non-potable water return flows back to the various Tri-Lakes water districts. Shaffer said it would be "premature to discuss the future" of TLWWTF at the JUC.
Stakeholders group update
Wicklund, Burks, and MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick explained the ongoing topics of concern discussed at the February meeting of Arkansas River/ Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE). These included:
• The nutrient modeling project, AF CURE’s nutrient data, and the Colorado Water Quality Control Division’s plan to collect its own nutrient data.
• The difficulty of choosing one number to summarize the health of a stream in Colorado when there are eight very diverse geographic regions.
• Shortages in state resources and gaps in methodologies.
• Anticipated site-specific required stream temperatures that may require wastewater plants to install effluent cooling towers.
• Environmental Attorney Gabe Racz is concerned about "backtracking on items that were already resolved" in workshops regarding proposed changes to Colorado Regulation 22 - Site Location and Design Approval Regulations for Domestic Wastewater Treatment Works.
Kendrick summarized by saying the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is demanding more and subsidizing less. "Burks and I apologize for only being able to explain very precisely the ambiguity and lack of direction" from the state.
Joint Use Agreement needs revisions
The Joint Use of Facilities Agreement (JUA) governs TLWWTF facility operations and cost-sharing methods among its three member districts. In a continuation of a discussion begun in January, the JUC and managers are striving to find a copy of the 2010 version of the JUA that does not contain formula mistakes and formatting problems that caused whole phrases to be omitted.
Note: OCN noted in 2010 that the final version of the consolidated JUA that incorporated all previous amendments was completed by attorney Tim Schutz and was conditionally approved by the JUC with "a few typographical corrections still to be made." See www.ocn.me/v10n3.htm#juc.
Orcutt said she has boxes of documents from Schutz at PLSD, and she is searching for the "wet ink" original. Once the revisions can be made, the JUC and each of the three member district boards will have to sign it again.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 12 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
At the Feb. 21 Donala Water and Sanitation District board meeting, GMS Inc. Engineers Roger Sams, David Frisch, and Tom McClernan presented information and recommendations pertaining to the timeline, materials, and contractors for the arsenic removal project and proposed an adjusted rate for a new commercial customer.
Engineers recommend early procurement for treatment project
Sams summarized Donala’s current project, which addresses the removal of water treatment waste residuals, such as arsenic, iron, and manganese, generated at the R. Hull and Holbein Water Treatment Plants. The project involves the construction of a Water Treatment Plant Residuals Dewatering Facility (RDF) at a proposed location along Homeland Court that will house a plate filter press to "dewater" liquid waste into dry solids that have been deemed suitable for disposal at a municipal waste landfill.
This new process diverts the water treatment plant residual contaminants from being discharged to the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF), where the arsenic levels may exceed permit limits that will become more restrictive as of Oct. 1. The district expects to use the dewatering facility for about five months out of the year, when its wells are pumped most heavily. The engineers, directors, and staff talked extensively about creating a facility that is aesthetically pleasing
Sams and McClernan explained further that radium, another component of the residual waste, is present at an elevated level and will require a Radioactive Materials License for the RDF. The licensing process, which includes operator training and dose monitoring once license compliance is met and requires that Donala obtain the services of a radiation physicist, adds significant time and expense to the project.
Due to the numerous components involved and an impending deadline, GMS advised arranging for early procurement of equipment and construction services. Sams furnished the district with a supplier’s plate filter press specifications and a proposal from Radiation Pros LLC for radioactive materials licensing and support services.
The board approved a motion to accept the Radiation Pros recommendations for the radioactive materials license application program development for a cost of $34,520 and for the first-year-only training for an additional $6,720 and deferred decision on annual licensing support until a later time. The directors also voted to accept the GMS recommendation to streamline the acquisition process that allows them to bypass some of the typical sequence of design. Petersen reported that he had cleared the Radiation Pros and equipment acquisition options with Donala water attorney Jim Petrock before the meeting.
First hotel poses rate conundrum for district
Frisch presented background information that was used to evaluate and recommend a potential rate adjustment for My Place Hotel. The hotel is the first business of its kind to inhabit the district, thus falling outside of the standard parameters of Donala’s known customer rate structure.
From the outset of the hotel’s opening mid-June 2018, Donala charged the 64-room My Place Hotel a multi-family user rate of 45 family units per meter. This applied a Tier 1 rate and user charge for water consumption up to 450,000 gallons per month.
Frisch cited a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration study’s representative statistics and the hotel’s six-month metered data to evaluate its water consumption. The hotel’s peak consumption of 255,240 gallons in July fell well under its current 450,000 gallons-per-month tier rate. As a result, Frisch presented the GMS recommendation that My Place Hotel be placed on a Tier 1, 24-family-units-per-meter rate. This would maintain the hotel’s Tier 1 rate during non-peak months but lower the consumption cap and bump the hotel into Tier 2 rates when it exceeds 240,000 gallons per month. This change encourages more mindful water use, especially during summer months when landscape irrigation requires the district to pump significantly from its wells. For Donala rate information, see http://www.donalawater.org, Water, 2019 Rates.
CSU wastewater treatment discussions advance
Petersen updated the board regarding the Feb. 7 meeting with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) pertaining to a potential regionalized wastewater treatment system. Tentative terms drafted thus far include an outside-service treatment cost that is lower than the current rate. A conservative estimate of Donala’s construction expense would fall at about $2.4 million. If districts finance their construction expense through CSU, they would need to reimburse CSU within two or three years. Cost estimates for potable water have not been determined.
40-year storage contract official
Petersen confirmed that he had received the finalized 40-year storage contract between Donala and the Bureau of Reclamation. The contract reflects that the bureau allows the district to store its water in the Pueblo Reservoir without having to apply for temporary, short-term contracts.
The district is waiting on a proposed agreement with Pueblo County that is another step that Donala needs to complete to make the Pueblo Reservoir storage a reality.
Criminal activity tightens in-house fiscal procedures
As a result of check forgeries written against the district’s bank account, Petersen informed the directors that internal accounting procedures now include a daily end-of-business treasury monitoring process in which all checks written for the day are reported. Donala received full reimbursement of two of the fraudulent checks that totaled $121,040 and were cashed in Texas and Michigan. Petersen speculated that the perpetrator—likely to still be at-large—is a professional, judging by the level of sophistication of the forgeries.
• Commissioner Holly Williams was scheduled to attend the Feb. 21 board meeting, but a recent injury prevented her attendance. Petersen acknowledged that he will reschedule with the commissioner when full board attendance can be expected.
• Phase one of the Gleneagle water main replacement project is complete except for landscape clean-up, etc. The contractor bid for phase two—from Mission Hill Way to just past Rangely Drive—will likely be awarded in March.
• The Donala board and several staff attended the Colorado Water Congress. It provided a forum to hear from newly elected House and Senate legislators as well as networking opportunities.
• The next Arkansas Basin Roundtable is scheduled for March 13. Directors Ken Judd and Ed Houle plan to attend with Petersen. April 24 and 25 mark the dates for the Arkansas River Basin Conference. All directors are encouraged to attend.
• Petersen reported that G&S Development’s stormwater mitigation plan had been accepted and anticipated final plat approval from the El Paso County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners by late February. This will complete development of the final 12 lots on the former Gleneagle Golf Course.
• The 2018 Statement of Revenues and Expenditures for Donala Water showed that total budgeted expenses and capital projects reconciled within .97 percent of actual expenses and capital projects.
The meeting adjourned at 3:28 p.m.
Caption: The proposed site along Homeland Court for Donala Water and Sanitation District’s Water Treatment Plant Residuals Dewatering Facility. The structure will house a plate filter press to "dewater" liquid waste into disposable solids directed to municipal landfill instead of the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, which faces more restrictive biosolids regulations as of Oct. 1. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor of the graphic presented at the meeting.
The next board meeting will be held March 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
At its first meeting of February, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) reviewed the town attorney’s workload. They also heard disturbing news about the historic Monument arch and listened to department presentations.
Attorney time/work reviewed
Before approving the consent agenda, the board highlighted an invoice to discuss later that was from Murray, Dahl, Beery and Renaud LLP, Town Attorney Joseph Rivera’s firm. The invoice reflected his work for the town for December 2018. The invoice totaling almost 80 hours of work was $15,659.49, exceeding the 2018 budget for legal fees, which had been set at $15,000.
Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott and Trustee Greg Coopman asked for the invoice to be approved in the consent agenda, but to discuss the work done by Rivera. Coopman wanted to be more informed of the work Rivera is doing, while Elliott wondered if there was a way to decrease the requests that board members made of Rivera.
Coopman responded with, "I think we need to be mindful of the budget, but we also need legal advice. No one should be denied legal guidance." During public comments, resident Terry Molnar expressed his concern that the majority might overrule a board member from getting legal questions answered.
At the Dec 17 meeting, Rivera revealed he had been sent many emails from the board to have legal questions answered that could have gone through the town staff and not charged the town for his time. During that meeting, the board agreed to have any BOT questions go first to Foreman for him to discern whether he could obtain an answer in-house.
"I think it’s important that all the trustees know what questions are being asked. We aren’t using this budget smartly and should have a protocol," said Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein.
Foreman agreed with a suggestion from Mayor Don Wilson to add a section to his monthly report to include Rivera’s workload.
Third Street arch concerns
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish told the board the arch over Third Street is structurally unsound and he is concerned it may topple in the wind. After inspecting and filming the arch moving during a recent wind storm, Tharnish said it seems to be swaying at an alarming rate and doesn’t meet construction standards.
He asked the board for permission to deconstruct the arch and perhaps put up a newer model. Coopman asked Tharnish and Foreman to get three bids for demolition before proceeding.
Tharnish said it will take some communication between various entities to take it down because the electricity would most likely need to be shut off near the arch since power lines are only feet away.
Department presentations provide present and future goals
At the end of 2018, the board encouraged department directors to make presentations throughout the year to keep trustees informed. Tonight, the Public Works and Planning Departments presented their current standings and upcoming goals.
Tharnish said his department’s mission is to provide maintenance and service to water, streets, parks, and the cemetery. There are 13 full-time staff members, plus eight seasonal and summer workers, and two part-time employees. Public Works does the following:
• Operates four water treatment plants and nine wells. The upgrade to Wells 4 and 5 were completed in 2018 at a cost of $924,000.
• Supports 208 fire hydrants and over 35 miles of water transmission lines.
• Maintains a million-gallon water tank that supplies the town with drinking water.
• Uses a variety of large vehicles including six plow trucks, a road grader and two street sweepers.
• Maintains all police vehicles.
• Utilizes almost 10,000 square feet of shop and equipment storage space, as well as three outbuildings from the 1970s that are used as office space.
• Maintains over 16 miles of roads, four parks, a trailhead, and a skate park.
In the future, the department intends to:
• Add a secondary water tank.
• Implement a reuse system.
• Build upon its renewable water plan to interconnect with neighboring systems.
• Upgrade the booster station that had been budgeted in 2018 with the intent to get a loan to pay for the project that did not come to fruition.
• Design a new Public Works office and equipment storage facility with money approved in the 2019 budget.
• Install new sidewalks on Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road using matching grant funds.
• Install an aeration system into Monument Lake to improve fish livelihood and prevent algae blooms.
In the Planning Department, Director Larry Manning reported the following:
• There are four employees in Planning including Manning, an engineering assistant, a senior planner and a new administrative assistant for 2019.
• In 2018, there were 330 land use permits issued for a total of $1.29 million in revenue.
• The department received 34 new development requests, nine of which were commercial projects.
• They assist with field design and construction of town projects including paving roads and sidewalks.
• They are currently reviewing the way zoning changes are posted.
Willow Springs annexation hearing set
A request was made for an annexation hearing for the property known as Willow Springs. The public hearing was set for March 18 at 6:30 pm. Manning said the sketch plan will be provided at that time.
Two properties may be annexed. Willow Springs No. 1 consists of 94.8 acres, and Willow Springs No. 2 totals 124 acres. The board voted against annexing the same properties in October 2018. At that time, Coopman and Bornstein were concerned potential water shortages might not allow the town to provide adequate water to all the homes being built. See www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#mbot1015.
At that time, Tharnish explained to the board, the problem is not a question of water availability but of capacity, which could be overcome by one of three options:
• Build a new well with associated updates to the treatment facility.
• Build a reuse station.
• Partner with Woodmoor Water and Sanitation.
Coopman urged Manning to provide as much detail as possible on the current water and school district impacts of this development, saying, "I compel you to provide specifics," so the board can make an informed decision.
Bornstein confirmed with Manning that the 10 acres of Willow Springs that abuts Forest Lakes Drive will be served by Forest Lakes Water and Sanitation.
Treasurer Pamela Smith presented the December 2018 pre-audit financial report to the board, telling them revenues will probably go up from this rough draft. No vote was taken and no questions were asked by the board.
Checks over $5,000
Checks over $5,000 written and approved since Feb. 4 include:
• Triview Metropolitan District – Sales tax due for October 2018, Motor Vehicle Sales Tax for December, Regional Building Use Tax for December, $188,444
• CIRSA Insurance – First-quarter worker’s comp insurance, $ 24,915
• CIRSA Insurance – First-quarter liability insurance, $ 30,295
• Tri-Lakes Silver Alliance Senior Center – 2019 donation, $12,000
• Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce – First-quarter support, $5,000
• Forsgren Associates – Wells 4 and 5 consulting, $6,033.
• Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments – 2019 dues, $5,412
• Murray, Dahl, Beery and Renaud – town attorney fees for December $15,659
• Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority – annual dues and transit loss, $6,169
• Krassa & Miller LLC – 2018 professional and legal services, $5,775
• Velocity Constructors Inc. – Wells 4 and 5 project, $7,037
Caption: Kellyn Bryan, a street/park tech, was recognized for her efforts to help a family in need during the recent snowstorms. Bryan was asked by a resident to help her plow out her driveway as her husband was having a medical emergency. Bryan assisted in getting the driveway plowed and the gentleman was able to receive medical treatment. From left are Tom Tharnish, Public Works director, Mike Foreman, interim town manager, and Kellyn Bryan and her daughter. Photo by Allison Robenstein
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
The Feb. 13 Monument Planning Commission meeting saw the official swearing in of Planning Commissioner Daniel Ours and Alternate Planning Commissioner William Lewis, as well as the election of Michelle Glover as the commission’s chair. Commissioner John Dick will serve as vice chair. Glover was nominated for her new position by Commissioner Kenneth Kimple.
Aside from the changes within the Planning Commission itself, this meeting featured only one brief scheduled item: a zone change and replat for the St. Peter of the Rock Chapel and Ministry Center parking lot.
After the meeting, Senior Planner Jennifer Jones and Planning Director Larry Manning led a training course on the nature of planning and the role of the Monument Planning Commission. Paperwork for the meeting can be located at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com. Recorded MPC meetings can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFLo8UcqZfFdkio5jT6GDA/videos.
St. Peter of the Rock zone change and replat
As stated in the Planning Department’s meeting packet, "The purpose of this proposal is to combine multiple lots into a single lot. In order to combine all the lots together, they must have the same zoning." St. Peter of the Rock Chapel (155 Jefferson St.) is situated on a lot zoned B for business use. The five lots south of this property comprise 1.17 acres and are used for parking. These parking lot spaces are zoned R-2 for residential use. If the proposal is successful, all these pieces of property will be zoned for business use and can then be replatted into one cohesive lot.
The current use of the land will not change at all if this zoning change and replat proposal is ultimately successful.
The St. Peter of the Rock zone change and replat proposal was approved for recommendation unanimously. This topic will now be voted on by the Board of Trustees.
Many subjects were covered during the planning training provided by Jones and Manning after the official meeting. Some points of note included:
• A timeline was provided to demonstrate the planning process, explaining the time it takes to refine a typical project before it is presented to the Planning Commission and after. This also included listing some of the referral agencies contacted to review/comment on the project before the Planning Commission sees it, including the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Triview, etc. as deemed necessary for a specific project.
• The need to amend the town’s municipal code was discussed, as amendments have been made to it over the years without much regard for mentions of the subject being amended still located throughout the code. It was also suggested that the municipal code needs to be updated to reflect new trends. A comprehensive update for this municipal code has been planned pending a state Department of Local Affairs grant. It was suggested that this could be granted during the summer, starting off a potentially 24-month process of updating the code. The town would hire a consultant to review the code should this come to pass.
• Applicable reasons for voting to deny recommendation for a project were also discussed, particularly dealing with adherence to the town’s codes. Only the codes can be used as rationale for a negative vote, and the codes are intended to be objective. An approvable project may not be one that everyone likes—what matters is that it abides by the codes.
• The protocol for leading/participating in Planning Commission meetings in a quasi-judicial setting was discussed. This included expectations for the way the MPC will interact with the public.
• Limits to the Comprehensive Plan were discussed at length. Comprehensive Plans are mostly applicable to zoning, Jones explained, and can prove most useful when planning what to do with "new" land rather than dealing with land that has already been zoned and platted. Plats can be transferred and remain official until a new plat is put in place. Handwritten plats remain from the 1800s, although Jones noted that they are hard to read. The existing town limit of Monument has been zoned, and it is bordered by other areas. The Comprehensive Plan’s conceptual nature can’t currently be utilized the same way as it would be in a place that is still deciding its identity.
• The possibility of receiving a priority list from the Board of Trustees to direct the Planning Commission was suggested.
• When Glover asked whether a neighborhood can request a meeting with a particular project’s applicant, Jones recommended that a notice could be sent to the Monument government to request a meeting.
It was unknown whether there would be a March Monument Planning Commission meeting as of this meeting. If it takes place, the next MPC meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
Before its Feb. 19 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) had a CIRSA workshop. At the meeting, the board heard a presentation by former Secretary of State Wayne Williams regarding election residency requirements. The trustees also approved several resolutions, including an installation of board members to Triview Metropolitan District No. 3, an easement to Lake of the Rockies North No. 1, and a community grant for downtown improvements.
There were a number of presentations, including the Police Department’s annual update and several initiated by the town manager.
Trustees Laurie Clark and Greg Coopman were absent.
CIRSA workshop yields specific advice for elected officials
Before the regular meeting, Sam Light, general counsel for the Colorado Governmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), made suggestions to the BOT for good governance, telling them they now have a commitment not just as town stewards but also to conduct themselves correctly in all areas of business.
Light said elected officials act and vote as a body during public meetings, urging them to honor transparency in their decision-making. He offered the board a list of proper and improper email and technology uses in consideration of open meeting laws.
He encouraged them to maintain role discipline by establishing "policies for the town as a whole" and leave day-to-day operations to the town staff.
Residency concerns for trustees
Trustee Ron Stephens invited Williams to present election residency laws to the board based on Williams’ previous experience as El Paso County clerk and recorder and then secretary of state. Town attorney Joseph Rivera previously provided a confidential memo to the board regarding residency.
Williams said there are two previous cases in Colorado, both involving municipalities in which residency was questioned. Using these as examples, the courts found a person continues to be a resident even if there is an absence from the home once residency has been established. Williams said the long-term residency intent of the individual is an important element.
He suggested the best way to determine residency is based upon income tax reports, voter registrations, and motor vehicle registrations, saying someone does not have to spend every night at their residence, and going away for school or the military does not negate residency. Williams did not specifically name any trustees who might live outside the town.
Ann Howe, who ran for election to the seat Trustee Jim Romanello now holds, was not happy with Williams’ answers and gave a prepared statement during public comments later in the meeting. She cited specific state law about principal residences and Monument ordinances, saying that if a trustee moves out of town, the seat is vacated, and the board is clearly ignoring the law. She has been questioning Romanello’s Monument residency since January. See www.ocn.me/v19n2.htm#mbot.
Triview Metropolitan District No. 3 gets board members
Triview Metropolitan District No. 3 (TMD 3) requested approval of five temporary appointees to its board so that the district could remain active in order to build a road system in the Home Place Ranch development, between Sanctuary Pointe and Promontory Pointe. The appointments would last for six months. Afterward, a special election would be required. The appointees are all employees of Challenger Homes, the developer taking over the property.
Note: TMD 3 is a financing district solely for building roads. It is a separate entity from the Triview Metropolitan District No. 1 that provides water, sewer, and street maintenance services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas
TMD 3 came to the board in September 2018 to make the same request. At that meeting, no motion was made and the request failed. See https://ocn.me/v18n10.htm#mbot.
Background: TMD 3 counsel Russel Dykstra said the Home Place Ranch property, a 431-acre parcel on the south side of Higby Road, was annexed into the town in March 2006. In July 2006, the board approved TMD 3, which included a $5 million loan for road improvements.
After the real estate collapse of 2007, the property went into foreclosure, causing the entire board structure to collapse. The district was almost dissolved, but Challenger Homes is asking the governing jurisdiction, the town of Monument, to help it to remain active.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein asked more about the temporary directors. Dykstra said the law requires someone to either own property or have a contract to purchase property as a tax-paying elector. Since there are no homes in Home Place Ranch, the developer will qualify directors through a contract instead, making Challenger Homes employees eligible to serve until the special election.
The motion passed 4-1 with Bornstein voting against the resolution with no reason given.
Planning Director Larry Manning asked for an easement onto private property to allow developer ProTerra Properties to develop Lake of Rockies North Filing No. 1. Lake Access Road sits on private property but must be accessible in order to build out this six-lot subdivision on the northeast side of Monument Lake. The board approved this development at its April 3, 2017 meeting. See https://ocn.me/v17n5.htm#mbot. The resolution was approved 5-0.
Manning presented a second request to vacate 10 feet of a utility and drainage easement for Monument Villas along Cipriani Loop to build a new restaurant. This project, the Cipriani Loop addition, was approved by the board during its Dec. 3 meeting. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#mbot.
The resolution was unanimously approved.
Community grant proposal
Madeline VanDenHoek, community relations specialist, asked the board to approve a community assistance grant from Community Builders to be used to develop strategies to keep downtown prosperous and create a downtown master plan. The grant asks for in-lieu services as a match to funding. It was passed unanimously by the board.
Third Street arch will be removed
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish told the board the arch over Third Street is structurally unsound and is a safety concern.
The board approved dismantling the arch, and Interim Town Manager Mike Foreman said it would be preserved in case the town wanted to use it somewhere else. See the photo on page 1.
Police Department has strong community involvement
Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk gave his annual presentation to the board, updating trustees on the department’s work. As of January 2019, there are 18 officers, one chaplain, four support personnel, and three officer vacancies.
The police rely on strong community policing efforts to maintain the town. The following are in place:
• Officer-initiated traffic safety
• Neighborhood watch programs
• Gun locks provided to the community
• Safety training for citizens
• School resource officer
Shirk said they partner with many local agencies for training and support. For example, he said, the sheriff commissioned all Monument police as deputies to assist when sheriff’s deputies need help. In return, these partner agencies provide Monument police with support in the form of SWAT or K-9 assistance.
The department has also been training fire paramedics to respond to "warm zones," which are active threat locations. Paramedics enter the scene with police as they secure the location to provide medical attention to injured victims quickly.
Shirk said the town requires a full-time detective because "this is not Mayberry anymore."
He also stressed the department will actively pursue criminals, saying, "If you’re coming here to do your crime, we’re going to come after you."
YMCA Wellness Program for town employees
Human Resources Director Robert Bishop and Foreman presented a "Be Well" program run by the YMCA. The program is intended to increase employee wellness. Foreman has made this Bishop’s main directive after performing an assessment of town employees overall. In it he noted a demotivation due to chaos created from "indecision of political leadership" and a lack of management direction. His intention is for employees to feel respected and to change the culture.
Natalie Kosatschkow, the YMCA’s executive director of membership, shared services and project management, and Jordan Ciambrone, senior director of corporate relations, presented their specialized health management program to the board, noting the YMCA could provide up to a 50 percent match on wellness dollars spent by the town.
Bornstein asked how success of the program will be measured and was told there are data-driven metrics as well as softer success metrics, including anecdotal information from employees conveying changes to how they feel at work.
The board directed Foreman and Bishop to move forward with the project.
Town manager and Forest Lakes water discussed in executive session
The board went into executive session to receive legal advice for a personnel issue regarding the interim town manager. Before adjourning for the session, during public comments, resident and previous Trustee John Howe said in recent months the town has interviewed and hired an experienced town manager, referring to Foreman. He felt the interim town manager’s qualifications are strong and he should be the next permanent town manager.
A second executive session was called to discuss the town’s water rights within the Forest Lakes development. At the Feb. 4 meeting, several trustees were concerned to learn Rivera was preparing and submitting an objection to the Forest Lakes PUD II development approval through the county, but they didn’t know about it.
The objection was a "reservation of rights" with regard to subterranean water beneath the development that had been deeded to the town in the 1980s. Rivera hastily wrote the objection when he was made aware of the situation in late December.
According to Town Clerk Laura Hogan, no actions were taken after the sessions and the meeting was immediately adjourned afterward.
Caption: Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Monument Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 19. Photo by John Howe.
Caption: Left to right, the YMCA’s Jordan Ciambrone, senior director of Corporate Relations, and Natalie Kosatschkow, executive director of Membership, Shared Services and Project Management, presented a health management program to the Monument Board of Trustees. Human Resources director Robert Bishop (not pictured) has been tasked to create the program in partnership with the YMCA. Caption by Allison Robenstein. Photo by John Howe.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for March 4. Call 884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council held a regular board meeting on Feb. 14. A second meeting scheduled for Feb. 28 was too late to be covered in this article.
At the Feb. 14 meeting, the council voted on a special event permit for a 24-hour fun run to be held at the Palmer Lake Recreation Area and considered a resolution to approve the establishment of a group home for the elderly. In its role as the Liquor Licensing Authority, it considered a request to transfer a liquor license. Finally, comments made by residents in the public comments portion of the meeting raised issues concerning recent fundraising events.
24-hour run to take place around the lake
Fun run race organizer Chad Davis asked for a special event permit for a running event he hopes to hold on April 14. Davis described the event as "less a race than a celebration running around the lake." 150 runners are expected to register, Davis said.
Davis told the council the race would be held for 24 hours, although he expected most runners would not run for the entire time. The upcoming race would be the fifth Davis has organized at the lake, he said, adding that in 2018 a runner set a course record of 109 miles.
Davis told the council that he planned to charge an entrance fee of $30 per runner to cover the cost of porta-potties. In response to a question from council member Bob Mutu, Davis said the race would be insured by USA Track and Field Insurance.
The council voted unanimously to approve the special event license Davis requested.
Council approves group home permit
At the request of Shana Ball, the council considered Resolution 3 of 2019, which would provide a conditional permit for Ball to use her residence on Vale Street as a group home for up to five elderly residents.
Council member Glant Havenar spoke in favor of approving the resolution, and Mayor John Cressman pointed out that the residence is within the zoning laws, as it is in a C1 commercial district.
Town Administrator Cathy Green told the council that the Planning Commission had voted unanimously to approve Ball’s request previously.
Ball told the council that parking for the residents and their visitors would be provided on her property.
Council member Paul Banta amended the resolution to include a requirement that off-street parking be provided as part of the project.
The board voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Liquor license request tabled
In its role as the town’s liquor licensing authority, the council heard a request from Gregory Duncan to transfer the liquor license belonging to The Depot to his restaurant, Dex’s Depot, which is operating in the same building previously used by The Depot.
Green told the council that Dex’s Depot had a temporary liquor license from the Town of Palmer Lake, and that the state had not yet granted approval for Dex’s Depot to sell liquor. The town does a background check when these requests are made, and that is not yet complete, she said.
Cressman pointed out that two council members, Mitchell Davis and Mark Schuler, were not present at the meeting, and said he wanted to table the request to make sure they had a chance to vote on the request.
Town Attorney Maureen Juran told the council that, since the request was to transfer an existing license to a new licensee, the only legal issue was the moral character of the person requesting the license transfer.
The council voted unanimously, with council member Paul Banta abstaining, to table the request until Davis and Schuler were present.
Policy for nonprofits debated
Juran raised the issue of how the relationship with nonprofit organizations operating in the town should be managed. She suggested that the council would be wise to put in place a policy making clear that nonprofit organizations raising money for town projects should work through the existing budget process and make sure they have the approval of the council for their work. Projects managed by nonprofits can create legal liabilities for the town and long-term maintenance responsibilities that must be thought through, she said. The town might not want to approve every project, she said, giving the example of a hypothetical donation to the town of a building that contained asbestos. Personal liability could also come into play, Juran said. The town’s Parks Committee raised some of these issues, according to Juran.
Havenar, a member of Parks Committee, said the committee always operated with town approval and worked with the town on all purchases of playground equipment. Havenar pointed out that the committee is not a 5013c nonprofit but really a part of town government. She mentioned the efforts of resident Reid Weicks, who meets with Green on a weekly basis to coordinate the work of the committee with the town. Havenar said, in her opinion, projects done by the Parks Committee are "what Palmer Lake is all about."
Mutu told the council that the current Parks Committee took shape a year ago to address maintenance issues he observed in the town’s parks. He asked the council to re-establish the Parks Committee to make improvements. "We’re not out there on our own," he said.
Council member Banta summed up the discussion by saying committees should operate under the town’s umbrella and not make independent expenditures of money.
The council did not take explicit action following the discussion, but Cressman asked Juran to draft a resolution addressing the issues mentioned.
Public comments give rise to heated exchange
The issue of how fundraising events in the town should be handled led to a dispute between two speakers during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Resident Cindy Graff criticized the way a recent fundraising event, the Lantern Festival, had been handled, pointing out that the money raised had not actually been donated as promised.
One of the organizers of the Lantern Festival, Darcy Duncan, defended the event and said the money would be donated to the town, perhaps going to re-roof the gazebo. Duncan said she decided not to donate the money to the Awake the Lake committee when she discovered that the paperwork establishing its nonprofit status had not been properly kept up to date.
Town Attorney Juran, in a different part of the council meeting, mentioned that temporary lapses in nonprofit paperwork were common and not a cause for concern once addressed.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in March, on March 8 and on March 22 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
By Jennifer Kaylor
Three individuals advocated for their conditional use permit requests at the Feb. 20 Palmer Lake Planning Commission meeting.
Commissioner Bill Fisher was excused.
Sylvia Amos presented her idea to raze the house and store next to the Rock House ice cream shop and construct a mixed-use building. Amos’ concept featured eight studio and four two-bedroom apartments on the top floor and commercial space on the ground floor. Having recently initiated talks with Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC), Amos explained her objective to create an all-in-one culinary training facility. The residential floor would serve as housing for the college’s culinary students, and the commercial floor would house a teaching kitchen run by PPCC as well as business-associated offices. Amos expressed her intent to fully prepare students to run their own food-related business upon graduation.
Town Administrator Cathy Green introduced Richard Willian’s application for a single-family home in a C-1 zone "in proximity of the Spring Street and Highway 105 juncture." Green characterized the commercial zoning as "strange" and that "there’s nothing vaguely commercial" about the land and added that she planned to permanently rezone the property back to residential in the next month or two. Killian chose to apply for the conditional use permit to initiate building a home on the property.
The final request involved a conditional use permit for a daycare center on Walnut Avenue near Glen Park. Maria Arefieva would like to open a nature-focused child care business that encourages children to be outdoors and learn from the sensory stimulation of the environment. Arefieva’s plan includes six to eight kids, ages 2 to 6, under the care of a licensed daycare director. She expressed her intention to expand the plan over time but would keep it small initially.
The commissioners voted to recommend the three conditional use permits.
The next Palmer Lake Planning Commission meeting will be on March 20 at 6 p.m. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent Street, Palmer Lake. Call (719) 481-2953 or access www.townofpalmerlake.com for more information.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During the Feb. 19 meeting, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board discussed amendments to the previously approved 2019 budget and approved firefighter promotions. It also discussed merger options, heard a presentation about the annual audit, and discussed creating board bylaws.
Budget amended without formal procedures; firefighter promotions approved
Director Gary Rusnak used the recently reformatted monthly financial report to point out changes made to the 2019 budget. Before this meeting, the board agreed to transfer $34,000 from committed funds to expenses to pay county treasurer’s fees. Because of additional changes to expenses, Rusnak said, "This is not the budget the board approved in December." Legal counsel Matt Court said he was comfortable with the change without a formal discussion or vote.
A unanimous vote to approve the January financials was substituted for a formal budget hearing for the amendment.
Chairman William "Bo" McAllister requested the board approve moving $62,696 from committed funds for the following:
• $60,000 to non-exempt employee salaries.
• $1,000 to administrative staff salaries.
• $1,696 to pay for legal fees incurred in January.
During budget negotiations, the directors decided to move $61,000 from salary funds into committed funds because they were unsure how the chiefs intended to use the money. Tonight, Director Larry Schwarz asked the chiefs to clarify the benefits to the community.
Wescott Fire Chief Vinny Burns said that historically, the two stations were managed by officers working at Station 1. Firefighters not in-grade, meaning those who were not officers, were taking on leadership roles and making command decisions at Station 2 without the proper certifications or training. These promotional requests are to train, certify, and promote three people to lieutenant, some of whom will be working from Station 2.
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings and Burns said the promotional process will include training, assessment, and interviews. Schwarz said it was "gratifying to know that type of detail" and agreed to approve the promotions.
The motion to approve firefighter promotions passed 4-1 with Rusnak voting no, with no reason given.
TLMFPD merger discussion
Schwarz said he received an email from Tri-Lakes Monument Protection District (TLMFPD) Fire Chief Chris Truty saying his board directed him to write a contract with Wescott but gave no further details. Schwarz said he had been surprised by the email because he said it’s "essentially a takeover" by TLMFPD to adopt Wescott into its organization.
McAllister said DWFPD isn’t looking for a contract for services and was bewildered this had even been extended. Rusnak wondered aloud if TLMFPD had moved in that direction since Wescott had made little effort to communicate its intentions. He and TLMFPD Treasurer John Hildebrandt had been emailing budget questions back and forth. Rusnak said he answered Hildebrandt’s questions, but had sent his response to his board for their approval rather than directly to Hildebrandt. No one had forwarded Rusnak’s responses to Hildebrandt.
Secretary Mark Gunderman said although he doesn’t want to close the door on negotiations, perhaps this isn’t the right time for a merger and discussion should be put on the back burner. He is still concerned about cultural differences between the two districts, saying a merger would be more successful if the two were more culturally aligned.
Schwarz and Burns, along with Treasurer Joyce Hartung, agreed to set up a meeting with Truty to get his thoughts. All agreed it would be beneficial to continue to build respect and trust among the boards.
Station Capt. Sean Pearson said he often works with TLMFPD to hold joint training exercises.
2018 audit gets clean opinion
Tom Sistare of Hoelting and Company Inc. performed the 2018 budget audit, concluding with an unmodified clean opinion.
Burns had previously asked for extra budget money to pay for the audit in 2019, knowing the department had been randomly selected by Fire and Police Pension Association to perform an extended audit, which includes examination of census and payroll data. Sistare said the exam showed the department’s numbers were "spot-on, perfect."
He found that firefighting expenses had increased 26.5 percent, due mostly to overtime. At the end of the year, the district had no outstanding debt.
The only note of consequence from Sistare was that there be more segregation of financial duties since Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich is the only accounting person.
Bylaws and attorney time
McAllister suggested the board work on bylaws in the next year, saying the first one should be that no one contact Court. "None of us on this board have the right to call Matt," McAllister told them.
Rusnak and Schwarz pushed back on this. "If we have a question, I should be able to ask Matt," Rusnak said. Burns said that at one time he was appointed as the board contact, suggesting this would be beneficial since he can determine if a board member’s question could be answered in-house or require legal review.
Ridings reported there had been 90 calls for service in January. He said two fires were put out with no damage to property.
Burns reported the following:
• DWFPD will work toward a better Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating with the intent of lowering homeowners’ insurance rates. Wescott is currently rated a 3 on the ISO classification, which ranges from 1 as the best to 10.
• Wescott plans to make Gleneagle a Firewise community. Because there are many open spaces and trails that could allow fires to spread to homes, educating the community on creating defensible homes and spaces will help to prevent losses.
• A resident wrote a thank you letter after being hospitalized due to an emergency breathing issue. He commended Wescott for its fast response and professionalism in treating and transporting him successfully.
The board went into executive session at 9:34 p.m. to receive legal advice regarding Station 2 property adjustment. According to Popovich, the board came out of executive session at 10:25 p.m. A motion was made to authorize legal counsel to negotiate a Construction Easement Agreement for development on the Station 2 property.
The developer of Flying Horse North has asked for an easement from the department in order to put up a sign. See https://ocn.me/v18n12.htm.
Caption: The board of the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) held its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 20. From left are David Hoffpauir, Rick Nearhoof, Jack Hinton, treasurer, Rick McMorran, vice president, and PJ Langmaid, president. BFFRPD thanked district voters for approving the November 2018 ballot measure 6C, which increased the property tax mill levy from 9.215 to 14.5 mills and also "de-Gallagherized" the district to offset anticipated losses in revenue from an expected reduction in the residential property tax rate assessment. The next meeting will be March 20 at BFFRPD Station 1. See www.bffire.org. Caption by Lisa Hatfield. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
The next Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 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 email@example.com.
Note: The TLMFPD meeting was held Feb. 27 as this issue of OCN was going to press and will be covered in our April 6 issue.
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) made decisions at recent meetings that will see progress in the Highway 105 project and in a housing development in Black Forest.
Walden Preserve 2 development
At its Jan. 29 meeting, the BOCC made two decisions relating to the Walden Preserve 2 development, situated southeast of Monument and east of Highway 83 in Black Forest. It approved a request to accept some streets within the subdivision’s filings 1 and 2 into the county’s road maintenance system and the release of a letter of credit for $32,884 relating to filing 2. Both approvals followed the completion and satisfactory inspection of public improvements at the two filings.
Highway 105 project progresses
At their Feb. 5 meeting, the commissioners approved two requests relating to the Highway 105 project. They approved memorandums of agreement, special warranty deeds and easements that the county Department of Public Works had identified as necessary to advance the project. One temporary easement comes from property owned by Kerri Molly-Benza and Gaetano Benza at a cost of $42,600. A second temporary easement and two non-exclusive permanent easements come from property owned by Cheyenne Village Inc. at a cost of $91,300.
The Highway 105 project will see road improvements from I-25 to Highway 83 completed in phases. The first phase, known as Project A, is federally funded and concerns the section of road from the I-25 interchange east ramps to Lake Woodmoor Drive. It will extend the four-lane section east of Knollwood Drive and include improved shoulders and additional turn lanes and sidewalks. The county is working to complete the designs and acquire the necessary property, and construction is expected to begin in fall 2019.
A future public meeting to discuss the remainder of the project from Lake Woodmoor Drive to Highway 83 is tentatively planned for later in the design process but has not yet been scheduled. Funding for this part is included in the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority capital funding program over the next 10 years. Its phasing and construction are still to be determined.
Special use request for Black Forest equine therapy clinic
At the Feb. 26 meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved without discussion a request for approval of a special use application to operate a commercial stable at 14445 Holmes Road in Black Forest. The property is on the east side of Holmes Road and north of Vessey Road. The application was heard by the El Paso County Planning Commission on Feb. 5 and came to the BOCC with a recommendation for approval. The applicant must now file a site development plan application. (See the Planning Commission article below for further details.)
Update on Monument Hill Road closure
To enable work to be carried out for the Monument Hill Road Safety Improvements Project, Monument Hill Road has been closed from the intersection of Woodmoor Drive to the south entrance of the Monument Hill Church since mid-October. This phase of the work was expected to be completed by early February, but due to weather delays and a shortage of materials this section of the road will now remain closed into April.
Upon completion of this first phase, work will move to the northern section of the road. This second phase will see Monument Hill Road closed from the south entrance of Monument Hill Church to the south entrance of Palmer Ridge High School, eliminating access from Monument Hill Road to Deer Creek Road. Woodmoor Drive, Furrow Drive, and County Line Road will serve as the detour.
The BOCC has approved several easements to allow the project to go ahead, most recently at its Sept. 11 meeting. (See https://www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#epbocc)
Schoolchildren still sought to lead Pledge of Allegiance
The BOCC continues to seek children to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of its meetings. Anyone interested should contact the clerk to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Steiner in the Public Information Office at MattSteiner@elpasoco.com.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
Mark Gebhart, deputy director of Planning and Community Development, updated the El Paso County Planning Commission on work on both the water and county master plans at the beginning of its Feb. 5 meeting.
Gebhart said the water master plan, which the Planning Commission adopted in December, had still not been certified but that it would come to the Planning Commission for certification in due course. This was because the county had not yet received the final version for publication, which would contain the changes agreed during the Planning Commission hearings. He also advised the commissioners that the master plan’s consultants, Houseal-Lavigne Associates, would be in town in March and would like to interview the Planning Commission on March 19 ahead of the regular meeting.
Judy von Ahlefeldt, a long-time resident of Black Forest, addressed the commissioners concerning the development of the county master plan. She said Colorado Springs’ newly adopted comprehensive plan was a good example of a plan that follows most of the best practices set out in the American Planning Association’s document "Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans." Following up, Gebhart said the association’s document would be placed in the upcoming master plan project folder on the county’s online EDARP system to make it accessible. https://epcdevplanreview.com/Public/ActiveList/.
At the Feb. 19 meeting, Commissioner Sharon Friedman was appointed as the primary representative for the Planning Commission on the steering committee for the county master plan. Commissioner Tom Bailey was appointed as the alternate. The commitment is expected to be for one meeting a month for the next year to 18 months, with the possibility that the schedule could become more intensive as the county gets closer to adopting the plan.
Special use request for Black Forest equine therapy clinic
At the Feb. 5 meeting, the commissioners heard a request for approval of a special use application to operate a commercial stable at 14445 Holmes Road in Black Forest. The property is located on the east side of Holmes Road and north of Vessey Road.
Kesti Suggs, the owner of the equine business operating on the site, and employee Erika Bakko explained to the commissioners that the nonprofit corporation, Reigning Hope, provided equine therapy activities in an enclosed outdoor arena and adjacent sensory trail as part of its occupational therapy offering to physically and emotionally disadvantaged individuals. The horses reside at the property. The business operates on an appointment basis with parking provided in the property’s driveway. Suggs said the business was established in Florissant in 2008 and moved to its current location to be nearer to clients. There are potential plans to add a small indoor arena at some point subject to funds being available and a building permit being granted.
The application came about when a code enforcement officer, in the area on other business, noticed the stables. As the county’s land development code makes no allowance for a classification of "equine therapy," the stables were deemed to be a commercial stable operating at a residential property. As the property is zoned RR-5 (rural residential) and only 4.15 acres it was in violation of the code because 10 acres are required for a commercial stable in this zoning district.
Len Kendall, Planner 1 with Planning and Community Development, explained the process that the owners were now going through to remedy the violation. He told the commissioners that no violation notice was sent out because the property owners and business owner began the process to remedy the illegal commercial stable use immediately after being notified by staff of the issue. The special use application was the next step in the process following approval of a lot variance by the Board of Adjustment in June 2018 to approve the smaller lot size. Assuming the application was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, it would then be heard by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). If the BOCC approved the application, then a site development plan application would follow.
Property owner Susanne Hoffman stated that she was unaware of the violation until it was brought to her attention because she had understood the previous owner had given riding lessons at the site. She said that she had received a huge amount of support for the business from neighbors.
Kendall said that of the neighbors notified of the application, two had objected. No one spoke in opposition at the hearing. The Black Forest Land Use Committee had responded that it had "no objection to this Special Use application and commends the applicants for their desire to help disadvantaged and handicapped people with this type of horse therapy."
Commissioner Sharon Friedmann said she is a 5-acre lot owner and found herself "a little split on this one" because, although she saw it as a very noble use, "I can imagine a variety of other noble things that would not necessarily fit into my personal view of rural residential character." Commissioner Kevin Curry also expressed some concerns but felt that they would be addressed by the regulatory process as it progressed.
The vote to recommend the application for approval was unanimous. It was then heard at the BOCC meeting on Feb. 26, where it received unanimous approval. (See the BOCC article.)
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
President Brian Bush chaired the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) annual meeting Jan. 28, which featured guest speakers and provided a review of 2018, a discussion of goals for 2019, board candidate statements, and a question-and-answer session. The meeting was moved from Lewis-Palmer Middle School to The Barn due to a school snow closure. Later that week, a short reorganization meeting was held to assign board roles.
Wildlife—The first speaker was Corey Adler, district wildlife manager for the Woodmoor area from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Adler brought flyers on living with wildlife, including deer, raccoons, coyotes, and bears. He reminded residents not to feed the wildlife. Birdfeeders are OK but he asked that they be kept out of reach of deer and be taken down from April to November to avoid bear activity. He noted that feeding deer is not healthy for them and asked that people take hammocks down to avoid tangling deer antlers. He asked that residents call CPW only if they see wildlife behaving in a way that is unusual so that CPW can harass the animals with beanbag rounds to discourage them from interacting with humans. Adler confirmed there are few foxes due to mange and coyotes. He said there are no wolves in this area and people are probably seeing coyotes in full pelt.
Open space—Tish Norman, co-chair of the Walters Open Space committee, introduced committee members and said the group hopes to purchase the Walters property in South Woodmoor. She noted they have raised 76 percent of their goal. There are 172 homes bordering 100 of the 135 acres up for sale. Local homeowners are encouraged to purchase a portion of the land adjacent to their properties and leave the remaining land as a trail that might be donated to the YMCA or WIA. The Woodmoor Open Space Committee (WOSC) is an LLC working on the deal. She encouraged supporters to grab a sign or flyer and look for the GoFundMe fundraiser under the name Woodmoor Open Space and asked the WIA board to send information to all residents.
School district—This reporter let attendees know about the Strong D38 Community group that supports School District 38. She noted that several speakers referred to all the development in the area that has resulted in overcrowding at the middle school and the imminent installation of modular classrooms. She asked that groups look for Strong D38 on the web (www.strongd38.com) or on Facebook for upcoming informational meetings. A local resident noted her 9-year-old has 30 students in his class at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School. She said crowding is a huge problem at the middle school and at the elementary schools as well due to the growth in the area.
Bush noted that this meeting would serve as both the annual meeting and the January meeting and confirmed that a quorum had been achieved for a valid board election. He noted that WIA is responsible for covenant enforcement, architectural control, and common area improvements and maintenance but is not responsible for road clearing or repairing, which falls to El Paso County authorities. Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) provides security, vacation checks, and more. He noted that the top three income sources are: dues, new construction fees, and Barn/office rentals. Top expenses are common area, forestry, pay for staff, and WPS.
Bush noted that board members are all volunteers and acknowledged the staff including administration, WPS, and board lawyer Lenard Rioth.
Highlights for the year included approving the addition of an American with Disabilities Act-compliant restroom on the main level of the Barn as well as an expansion to provide more room for WPS. WIA has increased mowing of common areas and included the sides of some roads as well. Bush noted that the WIA helped School District 38 obtain a Safe Routes to School grant by providing matching funds that would keep kids safe and be a benefit to residents as well. WIA complied with Colorado water law by augmenting Lower Twin and Wild Duck ponds while draining other ponds. They provided three chipping days at no cost to residents as well as grants for fire mitigation. For the second year in a row, there is no increase in the annual dues thanks to sound fiscal management by staff. The reserve fund is well funded and is used to cover planned maintenance and replacement of such items as vehicles, flooring, etc.
WPS has logged over 13,000 duty hours, driven nearly 71,000 miles and done over 12,000 vacation checks. WPS provided immediate officer response and Sheriff’s Office assists and motorist assists. While helping manage traffic in an incident on Highway 105, a WPS Jeep was totaled, but that probably saved the lives of two firefighters who would have been hit. WPS had been helping to manage traffic during the construction on Deer Creek and Monument Hill Road. WPS appreciates the optional contribution they receive as recognition for their vacation checks.
WIA focuses on covenant compliance over violations and fees where possible. The largest issues have been projects done without Architectural Control Committee (ACC) approval. Nearly 80 percent of projects are approved administratively, of those that go to a committee meeting, 98 percent are approved as is or changes are suggested.
Bush noted that the board sees fire as the single greatest threat, which is why it continues to support the Firewise program, has raised and assessed fines for open fires, has encouraged people to mitigate, and has provided inspections, forestry experts, and mitigation grants. Another three chipping days will be done, with one in south Woodmoor.
The board is committed to developing trails in common areas, completing the additions to the Barn, and remaining engaged with the Country Club at Woodmoor and the North El Paso County Coalition of Community Organizations to keep track of local development.
A Good Neighbor award of a Home Depot gift card was given to three couples. Jerry and Ramona Chavez were recognized for helping neighbors, inviting them to events, lending their lawn tractors, and handyman help. Jonathan and Marcy Deeds were recognized for their work with Real Alternatives to Drinking and Drugs, the YMCA, helping friends and neighbors, involvement with the Cub Scouts and building games for the annual Lewis-Palmer Elementary school carnival. Gordon and Melinda Reichal were recognized for their Random Acts of Kindness organization for Woodmoor and Tri-Lakes, collecting food and toys, visiting residents at the assisted living center, as well as organizing the first responders’ barbecue and setting up a neighborhood watch meeting.
Lisa Hatfield was awarded the Vincent Elorie outstanding citizen award, named after a former member of the Woodmoor Police Department. Hatfield, the managing editor of Our Community News, attends and reports on local meetings, has been involved in Firewise, and has worked with her church on the Black Forest Fire recovery effort.
Board election and reorganization
Ballots were received by mail and at the meeting by League of Women Voters representatives who counted and provided totals to the board on the day after the annual meeting. On Jan. 30, the board held a short meeting to certify the election results and elect officers and designate board directors as follows:
• Brian Bush, president
• Peter Bille, vice president
• Bert Jean, secretary and director of Community Outreach
• Lee Hanson, treasurer
• Per Suhr, director of Architectural Control
• Rich Wretschko, director of Common Areas
• Tom Smith, director of Covenant Control
• Ed Miller, director of Forestry
• Brad Gleason, director of Public Safety
Caption: On Jan. 28, due to snow closures, the Woodmoor Improvement Association held its annual meeting in The Barn instead of the usual location at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. The 2018 board, from right to left, are HOA administrator Denise Cagliaro, board members Rich Wretschko, Robert Benjamin, Ed Miller, Bert Jean, Peter Bille, Lee Hanson, Brad Gleason, Woodmoor Public Safety Chief Kevin Nielsen and, standing, board member Per Suhr looked on as President Brian Bush led the meeting, which included electing the 2019 board as well as highlights from the previous year and goals for the current year. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The WIA Annual Meeting is held each year in January at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. The WIA calendar can be found at: https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at: https://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
Lots of interesting weather around the region during February, with several swings in temperatures between cold and mild and a long dry period interrupted by a week and half of unsettled and snowy conditions. For the month overall, snowfall was right at normal levels, with temperatures ending up slightly above normal.
The first five days of the month were mild and dry, with temperatures averaging 15-20 degrees warmer than average during the period. Highs reached the mid-50s at times with gusty winds off the mountains from the west producing the fabled "chinook" wind patterns. These winds descend off the mountains, warm up, and dry out the atmosphere.
However, a surge of very cold air moved in starting around 10:30 a.m. on the 6th, with temperatures dropping more than 20°F in less than 20 minutes. Fog and low clouds filled in quickly behind the cold front, with snow developing during the early afternoon. Temperatures remained well below normal over the next two days as well. Overnight lows dropped well below zero on the 7th and 8th under clear skies.
Temperatures warmed to around normal levels from the 9th through the 12th, with generally quiet conditions and mostly clear skies. However, the pattern changed again as westerly winds again developed and like earlier in the month produced mild, windy, and dry conditions across the region. Temperatures again jumped well into the 50s from the 13th through the 15th as winds gusted over 70 mph at times west of the I-25 corridor.
Once again, this mild, windy weather was ahead of a major pattern change as cold and snowy conditions were about to move back in. The first signs of change were felt by late morning on the 16th with snow showers and graupel falling just before noon, then several hours of snow and blowing snow during the late afternoon. Temperatures cooled during the day, falling from the mid-40s early in the morning to the singles digits by evening. Temperatures remained well below normal from the 16th through the 24th. Amazingly, temperatures remained below freezing from just after noon on the 16th through just after noon on the 22nd. This is a very long period of uninterrupted cold weather for us, especially later in February. Low temperatures were consistently in the single digits above and below zero during the period as well.
Light snow and blowing snow occurred off and on each day from the 16th through the 19th, with 4-8 inches accumulating throughout the region. Dry air took over on the 20th and 21st, although temperatures remained well below normal. This was ahead of the last push of cold and snow for the month. It was associated with a strong, record-setting snow system moving down the West Coast and through the desert Southwest.
As this storm turned the corner around the Four Corners region, moisture increased in the region. This produced a period of heavy snow during the evening of the 23rd through the early morning of the 24th. This period of snow and wind accumulated 5-10 inches of new snow across the area. Temperatures warmed slowly the next afternoon, before mild air moved in to end the month. Highs reached the upper 40s and low 50s from the 25th through the 28th as light westerly winds kept cold air just to our east. The cold air tried to make a push into the region each evening but couldn’t quite make it to locations above 7,000 feet, so we stayed on the mild side.
A look ahead
March is known for a wide range of weather conditions in the region. We can see 70° temperatures one afternoon and blizzard conditions the next. Many of us remember the blizzard of March 2003 when we received 30-50 inches of snowfall that shut down the region. However, snow that does fall begins to melt quickly this time of the year, providing beneficial moisture for our plants as we head into spring.
February 2019 Weather Statistics
Average High 39.2° (-0.6°)
100-year return frequency value max 51.9° min 32.8°
Average Low 12.9° (-0.1°)
100-year return frequency value max 21.9° min 3.7°
Highest Temperature 56° on the 3rd, 13th
Lowest Temperature -9° on the 7th
Monthly Precipitation 0.84" (-0.10" 10% below normal)
100-year return frequency value max 2.10" min 0.02"
Monthly Snowfall 17.6" (-0.1", 0% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 97.0" (+26.5", 27% above normal)
Season to Date Precip. 6.08" (+1.94", 31% above normal)
Heating Degree Days 1067 (+29)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Awake the Lake is alive and well
As a volunteer with Awake the Lake (ATL aka Palmer Lake Restoration Project), I am concerned with unfounded and disparaging remarks directed at our grassroots organization. Palmer Lake resident Darcy Schoening has recently been spreading outright lies about ATL, both on social media and in communication with Town of Palmer Lake Trustees. We must set the record straight.
Through a prior independent accountant’s error, unbeknownst to ATL, ATL’s nonprofit tax returns for the past three years were filed under an erroneous tax ID number. However, thanks to the efforts of a local Tri-Lakes CPA, the IRS is in the process of merging those files under our correct tax ID number. This accounting error has in no way jeopardized ATL’s tax-exempt status, nor our not-for-profit mission.
ATL has one purpose: fundraising to improve and maintain Palmer Lake and the surrounding parks and amenities. We have organized innumerable events over the years, raising tens of thousands of dollars, ensuring that Palmer Lake remains a viable recreational amenity to the Tri-Lakes region. Just this fall we raised nearly $40,000 through our annual .5K "race," boosting matching funds necessary for the town’s GOCO grant (awarded through ATL efforts) to complete the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. Not one dime raised by ATL has ever gone into the pockets of its volunteers, and our books remain open to all.
I can’t speculate as to Schoening’s motives in trying to damage the reputation of a volunteer group providing such a public service. Indeed, Schoening worked as a volunteer on our .5K event just a few months ago. Regardless, it is vital that Palmer Lake, and the larger Tri-Lakes region, know that ATL remains a hardworking and viable nonprofit entity, and your continued support is both appreciated and tax deductible.
D38 bond election
While I worked in the D38 school district from 2003 to 2010 as principal of Lewis-Palmer Middle School, I just recently moved to Monument. In my brief time living here, I have seen and heard a lot of information and misinformation.
Because the recent D38 bond and mill levy election was so contentious, I decided I needed to find out what is really happening for myself as a taxpayer and citizen of Monument, and while doing so, focus on kids, education, and fiscal responsibility. Because of this, I have attended D38 board meetings and Monument Academy board meetings. I have done a great deal of research on facilities, education, state legislation, etc.
I am a conservative, and very much a fiscal conservative. It was always important to me to manage my school budget responsibly. I don’t like it when my tax dollars are wasted, and I felt the responsibility to utilize D38 taxpayers’ money to maximize their investment. To me, that is a basic expectation.
The D38 school board is charged with providing quality education for all students in a fiscally responsible manner to taxpayers. That does not mean a blank check. It means providing the best opportunities they can with the resources available.
I have not always agreed with the decisions made by the D38 school board over the past 18 years. I’m retired, living on a fixed income. I certainly don’t appreciate how some government entities spend my tax money. Although a graduate from Douglas County and nearly a lifelong resident of Castle Rock, I voted against tax proposals for Douglas County Schools the past few years for that very reason. I want to be an informed voter. I will share what I have learned to anyone who wants to know what the facts are.
Palmer Lake Lantern Festival benefitted whom?
I am a Palmer Lake resident and purchased two lanterns from Dex’s Diner for the Lantern Festival held at Palmer Lake earlier this winter. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend due to poor weather. However, we purchased the lanterns based on representations that the proceeds would be going to the town and support fundraising efforts for completion of the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. The talk around town now is that the town has not seen any of the funds raised, nor has the Awake Palmer Lake committee, whom I understand is involved in the bridge project. What gives? How can an event be billed as charitable, and then none of the money raised actually be donated? I have spoken with folks at Awake Palmer Lake and was told that while they did not participate in the event, they too were told that proceeds would be for the bridge project. I feel misled, let down, and ripped off.
Editor’s note: This topic was addressed at the Feb. 14 Palmer Lake Town council meeting. See the article.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book."—J.K. Rowling
"Books are a uniquely portable magic."—Stephen King
Here are some spring break "portable magic" suggestions for in the car, on a plane, or at home.
The Story Collector: A New York Public Library Book (Story Collector #1)
By Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (Henry Holt & Co.) $16.99
This historical novel is inspired by the real life of Viviani Joffre Fedeler, born and raised in the New York Public Library. Eleven-year-old Viviani, her older brothers, and her best friend Eva try to solve two big mysteries: Is the library haunted? And what happened to the expensive new stamp collection?
A Drop of Hope
By Keith Calabrese (Scholastic Press) $16.99
A well. A wish. And a little drop of hope. Times are tough. Jobs are scarce and miracles are in short supply. But something strange is happening in If Only, Ohio. An old well has suddenly, impossibly, begun to grant wishes. And three sixth-graders are the only ones who know why. As more wishes are made, the well’s true secret gets harder and harder to keep.
By Kenneth Oppel (Alfred A. Knopf) $17.99
The Rylance family is stuck. Dad’s got writer’s block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school, even though he can’t draw. Sarah’s still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom. Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together and then leaps off the page. This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles
By Thomas Lennon (Amulet Books) $17.99
Fourteen-year-old Ronan Boyle is the youngest and lowliest recruit to the secret Garda, an Irish police force that handles the misdeeds of numerous magical creatures. Ronan’s parents are in jail, but Ronan is convinced that they were framed, and he’s determined to prove their innocence. To show he’s got what it takes, he’ll have to confront a fiery leprechaun, a sinister harpy, and a whole world of monsters hidden in plain sight next to real-life Ireland. Fast-paced, action-packed, and completely hilarious, this is the start to an exciting new middle-grade series by actor and writer Thomas Lennon.
A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #4)
By Ransom Riggs (Dutton Books) $22.99
Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and "normalling" lessons are soon interrupted by the discovery of a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe. Clues to Abe’s double life as a peculiar operative start to emerge and Jacob begins to learn about the legacy he has inherited.
By Lillian Clark (Alfred A. Knopf) $17.99
Five teens with bright futures are determined to hack into one billionaire absentee father’s company to steal tuition money. Bellamy is a physics genius admitted to MIT, but the student loan she’d been counting on is denied when it turns out the father who abandoned her, who she’s never known, turns out to be a billionaire. This fast-paced debut is a hilarious and thought-provoking Robin Hood story for the 21st century. At its heart, this is a story of friendship and loyalty, and the lengths they would go to support one of their own.
Incredible Puzzles: 150+ Timed Puzzles to Test Your Skill
By Elizabeth Golding (B.E.S. Publishing) $12.99
This jumbo book is jam-packed with puzzles, including dot-to-dot, mazes, picture puzzles, and spot-the-difference puzzles. There are time challenges with each one, so kids can try to beat the rest of the best. The only question is ... are they up to the test? Encourage them to say yes, and tell them to get ready for hours of stimulating fun. Watch the intensity build as puzzles start easy but get harder along the way. Puzzles will challenge kids (answers are in the back) and get them racing to solve each one. Color them in, too!
Until next month, happy reading.
The Covered Treasures staff can be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
March is National Quilting Month, and the Palmer Divide Quiltmakers will display their creations in the library throughout the month. There will be a display of quilt-related books for those who would like to try their hand at the craft, and related fiction. The Friends of the Library have been saving their donated quilting books and will offer them for sale.
The Winter Adult Reading program also continues until the end of March. Register now to earn prizes (including chocolate and a great coffee mug). Read your choice of books—no meetings are involved.
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 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.
Patrons ages 9 and up are invited to come to the library from 2:30 to 4 on Saturday, March 9 to learn beginning programming with the fun and interactive coding tool, Scratch. We hope to start a Scratch club for those who want to learn programming skills. Registration is required.
There will be a program featuring sand art for kids on Friday, March 22 from 4 to 5. We will make sand art mandalas and sand-filled dolphin key rings.
There will be two special programs during spring break. The first is Meet a Local Firefighter on Monday, March 25 from 1:30 to 2:30. Firefighters from the Colorado Springs Fire Department or Tri-Lakes will teach about safety and answer questions. Recommended for ages 3 to 12. On Tuesday, March 26 from 10:30 to 11:30 there will be a program on Fantastic Flight. Learn how airplanes stay in the air and how rockets blast off to space. Science Matters will help us with the answers to these questions. Recommended for ages 6 to 12.
Coloring for Everyone will be held on Friday, March 8 from 4 to 5:30. Join friends and family as we color themed coloring sheets at all skill levels. 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 in the study room each Wednesday from 3 to 5. Practice materials are provided or bring your own project.
Lego Build will meet from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, March 16. Take advantage of our large selection of Legos and build to your heart’s content.
Teen and tween programs
See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone and All Ages Knitting.
The Monument Library Teen Creative Writing Group will meet in the study room from 6 to 7:30 on Tuesday, March 5. This group for ages 12 to 18 shares ideas, does writing exercises, and enjoys tasty snacks.
Members of the Palmer Lake Art Group will offer beginning/intermediate drawing classes on Thursday, March 7 from 1:30 to 3:30 and on Thursday, March 21 from 1:30 to 3:30. These classes are for individuals 16 and up. Bring paper, but pencils and erasers will be provided. Registration is required.
Is math a challenge for you? Each Monday from 3:30 to 7:00 come to the library for free tutoring by experienced adult tutors. AfterMath follows the D-38 calendar and will not be offered on March 25 during spring break. This service is offered at all levels of math.
The Paper Tiger Origami Club will meet from 4:15 to 5:30 on Friday, March 15. Come learn a new design each month. Open to adults and teens of all skill levels. All materials are provided. Registration is preferred but not required.
Celebrate Pi Day on Wednesday, March 20 by learning to make some simple, no-bake pies. Food waiver required. Please advise the library staff of any allergies in advance. Registration is required. The program is open to ages 12 to 18.
The Teen Arts and Crafts program on Wednesday, March 27 from 4 to 5:30 is piggy banks. All supplies are provided. Get ready to save money with a personalized piggy bank that you paint, decorate, and assemble. Snacks will be provided. This program is open to ages 9 to 15 and registration is required.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, March 28. Share anime with other people who love it too. We will watch videos (nothing rated above TV-14) and enjoy snacks. Help shape the anime club for future months.
Regularly occurring adult programs include Socrates Café 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 on Thursdays from noon to 1.
See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone, All Ages Knitting, Paper Tiger Origami and Palmer Lake Art Group drawing classes.
The Life Circles writing group meets on the first and third Monday of the month (March 4 and 18) to write about memories of life experiences. This supportive group provides discipline, inspiration, and structure to help you meet your writing goals. No registration required.
The Monumental Bookworms book group will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, March 12 to discuss The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This monthly group is open to all.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, March 15 to discuss How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alvarez. All are welcome and no registration is required.
Do you think you know your literature? Test your knowledge at our Literary Trivia event! Come to the library from 1 to 2:30 on Friday, March 15. We’ll provide the trivia and you bring the competition. This program is part of our Winter Adult Reading Program.
Becky Elder will present a class on edible gardening on Saturday, March 16 from 12:30 to 1:30.
Come to the library on Monday, March 25 from 3:30 to 5 to create a no-sew St. Patrick’s Day pillow of canvas and felt. Registration required.
The History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, March 27. This year’s topic of discussion is the Age of Exploration. No registration is required.
The Monument Library Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Thursday, March 28.
Palmer Lake Library events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month.
Family Story Time at Palmer Lake is on Wednesdays at 10:30. Toddler Time is on Fridays at 10:30.
Come to the library at 10:30 on Saturday, March 16 to enjoy a special puppet show: Fractured Fairy Tale starring Piggy Rae.
The spring break program at Palmer Lake is Meet a Colorado State Patrol Officer on Wednesday, March 27 at 10:30. The State Patrol officer will answer questions and introduce your child to our vital community helpers. A patrol car will be on location if available.
Above: Works by the Palmer Divide Quiltmakers will be featured in the library during March. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sigi Walker
On Feb. 21, the Palmer Lake Historical Society heard the unusual story of "Poker Alice"—the adventurous, religious, cigar-smoking woman gambler who never played cards on Sunday.
Dressed in a costume reflecting the Victorian era in which Poker Alice made her living, Liz Duckworth made the story come alive. Telling the tale by having an audience member pick one of four aces representing four aspects of Poker Alice’s life, Liz took the audience back to the mining boomtowns of Colorado, New Mexico, and South Dakota during the 1880s and 1890s.
After the death of her young mining engineer husband, Frank Duffield, in Lake City, Colo., Alice was faced with difficult circumstances, especially how to pay rent and food without her husband’s income. But Alice was educated, had a good head for figures and was able to "count cards." Employment opportunities for young women in the West in the 1870s were limited. There weren’t even enough families with children in Lake City for there to be a school. And so, Alice began to make her living as a professional gambler—a woman in a man’s world.
Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert married twice more during her lifetime, outliving both of these husbands. During this time, she changed her attire from the latest fashion to military-type clothes and a World War I campaign hat.
Over her lifetime, Poker Alice enjoyed financial success, with fine clothes and trips by train or stagecoach to distant places. She also endured very lean times, especially when living on her ranch outside of Sturgis, S.D. Her final gamble was having surgery for gallstones, from which she did not recover. She died at the age of 79 in 1930 and is buried in Sturgis.
Caption: Liz Duckworth as Poker Alice later in life. Photo by Su Ketchmark.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 21, when the Historical Society will present Oh, the Rock Island Line! by Mike and Sigi Walker, PLHS volunteers and railroad history enthusiasts. Hear the story of the Rock Island Railroad in the Pikes Peak area, including its "ups and downs," some surprising "firsts," and the unique AB6 locomotive that brought the Rocky Mountain Rocket from Limon to Colorado Springs. 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.
By Elizabeth Hacker
Nothing signals spring for a birder than the calls of sandhill cranes flying overhead. While it may not feel like spring, sandhill cranes have begun their long migration to their nesting grounds.
Sandhill cranes are believed to be the oldest living bird, having existed for more than 9 million years in their present form. Every year, like clockwork, nearly 20,000 sandhill cranes descend on Colorado’s scenic San Luis Valley for a six-week stopover to rest and refuel before continuing their northward spring migration. The town of Monte Vista and the Friends of the San Luis Valley Refuge host an annual festival to celebrate the crane’s return. This year marks the 36th year for this festival, which takes place March 8-10.
During spring and fall migration, occasionally one or two cranes may be reported here. Generally, when individual cranes are seen, they have fallen out of a flock due to bad weather or injury. The advantage of viewing cranes in their natural habitat, such as the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, provides an opportunity to observe flocks of birds and possibly see their elegant courting displays.
The sandhill crane is a large bird, measuring up to 5 feet tall with wings spanning an impressive 6 to 7 feet. It has a long neck and long legs. Its body feathers are brownish-gray, its neck is white, and both the adult male and female have a distinctive red crown patch. Often cranes are confused with the great-blue heron, but they are separate species and not related.
The best way to differentiate a crane from a heron is to compare their necks. A crane’s neck is a little shorter than the heron’s and a crane holds its neck straight, whereas the heron neck will typically have a curve. In flight, a crane’s neck will stick straight out while a heron’s will always be tucked into an "S" curve. Cranes also have shorter beaks. If not in flight, a crane will always be found standing or walking on the ground. A heron is often seen roosting in a tree. Because of its foot structure, a crane cannot grasp a branch, so roosting in a tree would be an impossibility.
The sandhill crane has a distinctive and loud bugling call that can be heard from a quite a distance. While flying, the cranes continually vocalize to keep the flock together. I often I hear them flying over but rarely see them.
Sandhill cranes are omnivores and feed in open grasslands and shallow marshes. Their diet consists primarily of seeds and cultivated grains but also include berries, tubers, and small vertebrates and invertebrates including grasshoppers, mice, snakes, and frogs.
Mating and nesting
Cranes may begin mating as early as 2, but often wait until 5 years of age. They choose a mate based on elaborate courtship displays. Courting cranes stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance. If they like what they see and are compatible, they choose a mate for life. If one mate dies, the surviving mate will try to attract another mate, and if successful, may return to the same nest.
As flocks of cranes arrive to their nesting region, pairs will separate from the flock to select a site to build their nest. Prime nesting sites are located in bogs with vegetation for cover, but nests also are found in less desirable open grasslands. Available materials such as cattails are used to construct a mound nest about 6 inches in height and 3 feet in width.
The female lays up to three eggs, and once all the eggs have been laid, the pair takes turns incubating them for about a month. Eggs hatch within hours of each other. The chicks are precocial, meaning that once hatched, the chicks can walk, feed themselves, and leave the nest.
In about a month after hatching, the chicks will have grown to the size of an adult but will stay with their parents for about 10 months learning to fly and forage for food. Nesting season is short in the Arctic, and sandhill cranes endure harsh conditions where predators such as foxes, raccoons, gulls, and hawks prey on chicks and injured adults. Crane families will soon rejoin the safety of the flock to prepare for fall migration, which begins in end of July.
According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, the sandhill crane population increased by about 4.5 percent per year from 1966 to 2014. Because many states have worked to preserve habitat, the population is healthy and growing. The Rowe Sanctuary near Kearney, Neb. is a good example of how farmers, ranchers, local communities, and conservationists have worked together to enhance and protect sandhill crane habitat and, in return, have realized an economic benefit from their investment as thousands of people travel to Nebraska each spring to observe this amazing bird.
Caption: Sandhill crane. Photo by Elizabeth Hacker
Elizabeth Hacker can be reached at email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
In the 1960s, we didn’t know to call it Indian Science, but for all my childhood summers, we were willing volunteers and my family helped plant and steward CSA (Citizen Supported Agriculture) nature farms. With the forest as model, we enriched the soil with leaf composting methods. Our Nature Farming CSA group was on a mission to grow food with Mother Nature’s wisdom guiding us away from massive chemical use. At age 11, I won a contest for the most hand-picked snails, but farm ducks sure could have helped clear more slugs and snails!
Here in our area, we have a wealth of Native American sacred sites hidden in plain sight. The culturally modified trees and rock forms exemplify the hundreds if not thousands of years of the highly successful stewardship found in traditional Native American wisdom. Efforts in returning to the abundant wisdom of nature are now on the rise worldwide and show success for commercial organic farms, CSA, and home gardens. The wisdom of nature has been creating the planet since it started, and Mother Nature teaches us if we are willing to learn from her.
Organic gardening methods include animal helpers. A family of barn owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents in one nesting season. Besides their vermin victories, owls are fun to watch using night-vision goggles or a closed-circuit camera nesting box. Traditional old timey farmers have used barn owns as integrated pest management working with nature for hundreds of years. Foxes, ermine, hawks, eagles, and other animals living in our own backyard, including feral and house cats, also help control the vermin populations. Pheromones in predators’ feet inhibit vermin returns, too. But killing vermin with poisons tragically kills our naturally helpful wildlife, poisons our water, pets, and children playing outside, permeates our water and land, and gets into the foods in our gardens. Scary!
[Hip hip] array! Nature and science trivia
1. Kids help save the world: Twelve years ago at age 9, Felix Finkbeiner of Germany started his quest to plant a million trees. Today, the group he founded for kids (and other humans), Plant-for-the-planet.org along with the UN’s Billion Tree campaign has planted nearly 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations. Global reforestation could capture 25 percent of global annual carbon emissions and create wealth in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Trees trigger rain: A new study by NASA JPL’s Carol Rasmussen gives evidence that the southern Amazon rainforest triggers its own rainy season using water vapor from plant leaves, helping explain why deforestation is linked with reduced rainfall.
3. Green again: The magical dandelion is a superfood for humans and animals from root to leaf to flower. Dandelions also help recreate safe soils in ruined deforested areas and habitats, and save us from our toxic mistakes such as oilsands, by hosting symbiotic fungi that eat mining leftovers. The fungi eat these petrochemicals and turn them into a mixture of carbon dioxide and water, and the dandelion can then grow, providing soil restoration as well as food. Weeds as food help biodiverse reforestation, rebuilding soils for the forests that generate rainfall.
Free garden plants
At Monument Community Garden, we’re planning a plant exchange this spring. Just plant your seeds and share some plants! Start your seeds indoors now in pots, egg cartons or eggshell halves and let’s trade. Windowsill greens and closet flowers favoring darkness for germination are perfect candidates. For details and high altitude, snowy springtime tips, visit my info cache: www.Facebook.com/monumentcommunitygarden.
Janet Sellers is a writer, artist and ethno ecologist posing as a nature-led lazy gardener offering talks and garden workshops for successful gardening in local mountain/forest climes. firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
Engaging in art at any age offers fun, stimulation, new experiences, and more, because the creative part of us restores and rejuvenates our mind and our body through the pleasant, enjoyable activities that viewing art and making art provide. We meet new people, make new friends through engaging in art and arts events. For most, it can be a fun hobby, and it can be a fun side job as well.
Making art helps connect the whole mind from abstract imagination to tangible works. Inspiring youths to do art—especially outside of school time free of any pressure of grades—serves them lifelong, giving confidence for communication visually in presentations for simple or complex issues and projects.
Saving the planet through the arts
I’ve been active in conservation through the arts for decades, teaching children and adults alike about wildlife and protecting nature. It is inspiring to learn about wildlife, especially wetlands habitat, which is the barometer of the Earth’s health. The arts contribute greatly to conservation in the United States. Billions of dollars are earned, and U.S. wetlands are bought up and protected via sales of the Federal Duck stamps required for hunters and chosen via a wildlife art competition each year.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp is an American art competition sponsored by the U.S. government for students to draw or paint a duck realistically. The national winner’s design is used to create a stamp that is sold to raise funds for environmental education. The Junior Duck Stamp design contest opens up learning activities linked to biological sciences, visual and language arts, and math. Educating young people and encouraging stewardship at the local level are critical steps toward achieving widespread waterfowl and wetland conservation and restoration.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says in its prospectus, "North America’s fish and wildlife belong to all of us, and we rely on state, tribal, and federal agencies to watch over them. In North America, fish and wildlife are part of the public trust. This means that it is our responsibility to manage and take care of them and the places where they live."
Our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one government agency that manages natural resources, and they rely on us, the public, for involvement and support in turn. The more we understand about our living natural resources, the better we can enjoy and help protect them. Art is a valuable resource for that involvement in terms of education and financial support.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts presents the Visions of Light photography show, which runs through April 26. Its mission is to challenge photographers to go beyond producing a technically correct photographic image and demonstrate their use and control of light to help define the subject. 304 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Caption: Art students Ayanna Lawrence, left, and Aaron Lange learn the vital importance of wetlands habitat and the beauty of waterfowl as they practice their art to create entries for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp design contest. The artwork is essentially a term paper with art as the medium of expression to report about protecting wetlands habitat and creatures. The contest is open to students k-12; more information about the contest is available at www.fws.gov. Photos courtesy of Lawrence’s and Lange’s parents.
Caption: Art student Rocksann Boardman works on her watercolor painting of a local scene of a red fox in February at Southwinds Gallery’s Fox Run Art Studio. Learning about wildlife and habitat through art is intriguing and fun for all ages, and offers an in-depth understanding of the complexity and beauty of where we live. Photo by Janet Sellers.
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. Contact her about local art: email@example.com.
Red kettle bell ringers collect $50K
Caption: On Jan. 26, the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club (MHKC) presented a $50,000.01 check to Erin and David Kauffman of The Salvation Army for the Pikes Peak region. Every year the men and women of MHKC deliver over 700 hours of bell ringing at local businesses at no cost to the Salvation Army. Families, churches, students, the Boy Scouts, the Northgate Community Service Group, and the high school Kiwanis Key Club and middle school Builders Club members assisted MHKC. MHKC thanks the citizens of the Tri-Lakes community for its kindness and generosity. Pictured from left are David Kaufman, Quin Robinson, Erin Kaufman, MHKC Red Kettle Project Manager Mark Zeiger, MHKC President Larry Young, and MHKC Director of Member Recognition Ron Mangiarelli. Quin, a high school student, was given special recognition for serving 23 one-hour shifts this year. Though not a member of the MHKC, Quin set an example of unselﬁsh service. Photo by Warren Gerig.
State of Tri-Lakes, Feb. 1
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce held its annual state of the Tri-Lakes region luncheon on Feb. 1 at Great Wolf Lodge. Several people spoke at the event, including Monument Mayor Don Wilson, Palmer Lake Mayor John Cressman, and District 3 County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf. New District 1 County Commissioner Holly Williams is pictured here telling the audience about some great I-25 Gap communication tips. The tips include texting I25GAP to 21000 for text alerts about the project. She also described a free new app in El Paso County called EPCCitizenConnect that provides up-to-date information on the Gap project. Photo by Allison Robenstein. See page 28 for information about CitizenConnect.
Paws N Hooves meet & greet, Feb. 9
Caption: Volunteers for the Paws N Hooves Black Forest Animal Sanctuary held a special pet adoption fundraiser Feb. 9, sponsored by the Monument Wag N Wash. They will hold meet-and-greet events every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for people to meet and adopt dogs or learn about the sanctuary and foster programs. Animals needing homes are dogs, horses, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits, and more. The adoptable pets have been carefully vetted, observed, tested, and trained and are ready for their forever homes. The sanctuary is also in need of food donations such as hay, dog food, cat food, as well as foster families to help socialize and keep the animals in a loving home while they are up for adoption. More information is at www.bfasfarm.org, or contact them at PawsnHoovesRescue@gmail.com, office: 719-494-0158. Photo by Janet Sellers.
MA presents assessments, Jan. 30
Caption: On Jan. 30, Monument Academy (MA) discussed the assessments it administers and how it uses the data. Assessment Coordinator Marty Venticinque described his role as facilitating assessments while minimizing impact on instructional time by improving efficiency through upgraded infrastructure. He described diagnostic and standardized assessments required for all public schools. Some are used directly to drive instruction, some are adaptive to student performance, some are standardized for all students, and some are aligned to state standards. Teachers have expressed concern that very low participation on some tests and delayed results make it difficult to inform instruction. Venticinque noted that it would be helpful if kids who did take the tests would try their best. Principal Elizabeth Davis noted that MA coordinates with the Lewis-Palmer School District by opting into early reading assessment in order to access grant funds. She also stated that MA has a moral obligation to ensure kids are reading and to provide intervention services. She described her role in maintaining the reliability and validity of assessment results by maintaining the testing calendar. For more information, including information on assessment refusal, see http://bit.ly/ma-assess. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Amateur radio exam, Feb. 2
Caption: Twenty-five students were successful in passing their ham radio exam, qualifying for either a new license or an upgraded license on Feb. 2 at the Monument library. The event was an FCC exam session for amateur (ham) radio licenses, administered by the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association. Volunteer ham operators can provide non-commercial emergency communications during time of manmade or natural disasters. For more information on the association, see w0tlm.com. Photo by Bob Witte.
I-25 gap open house, Feb. 7
Caption: On Feb. 7, the Colorado Department of Transportation hosted a community meeting on the I-25 South Gap project at The Barn in Woodmoor. Stations were set up with information about various aspects of the project including timelines, how express lanes function, project funding, project phases, and alternative commuting options. Representatives from the general contractor Kraemer NA answered questions and demonstrated the technology they use to monitor conditions in the Gap and provide real-time construction and traffic information on portable electronic signs. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Palmer Lake enjoys Winterfest
On a sunny but cold Sunday, Feb. 9, Palmer Lake held its annual Winterfest with free ice skating and hot dogs. The event, which included a silent auction, benefitted Glen Park playground. Skaters clung to one another or skated on their own over the ice-covered lake. Several bonfires were built and maintained by the local Fire Department to stave off the chilly temperatures. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
RRR: Firewise Site of Excellence
In destructive wildfires, at-risk communities that have reduced the number of flammable trees and shrubs survive with much less damage, but neighborhoods that have not managed the number of trees are devastated. Red Rock Ranch (RRR) is one of seven communities across the country selected as a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firewise USA Site of Excellence, which teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire.
After consulting extensively with the Colorado State Forest Service and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District beginning in 2017, the RRR Firewise Committee has a well-coordinated wildfire safety effort in progress, including fuels reduction for 70 homes and counting, wildfire assessments of nearly 40 homes, two community meetings, door-to-door distribution of information, and getting feedback from residents.
A new regular Firewise habit—regularly scheduled neighborhood slash collection and chipping days, has gotten additional support from the Coalition for the Upper South Platte crew and a chipper and the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church’s Emergency Preparedness Group.
When individual homeowners go it alone, they protect their homes, but when the community works as one, the intangible things that brought residents to the woods in the first place, the beauty and sense of community, survive as well.
For information about obtaining Firewise USA recognition or Community Wildfire Protection Plans, contact Forester Dave Root, Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) Woodland Park Field Office, at (719) 687-2921. The Red Rock Ranch Community Wildfire Protection Plan is available on the CSFS website at: https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/colorado-community-wildfire-protection-plans/. Photo by Dave Betzler.
D38 hosts 13th annual chess tournament, Feb. 9
By Jackie Burhans
On Feb. 9, School District 38 held its 13th annual chess tournament at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School. Steve Waldman, who runs the event, said there were 117 chess players at this event, which is the second-largest school district tournament in the state. The event benefits from the support of many teachers and staff members from a number of the schools in the district. Key Club members from Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge High Schools volunteered at the events. The event was open to all kids who live in the school district at all grade levels, including charter and homeschooled kids.
Kids sit at tables as parents observe from the side, and the students work out their issues or ask a referee to mediate. Students learn good sportsmanship, concentration and competition. Award winners were recognized at the Feb. 11 school board meeting. See the D38 article.
Caption: Caleb Landrum makes his first move.
Caption: Ana De Angelis enjoys learning to play chess along with her third-place win.
Caption: Kids play and resolve issues with the help of a referee while parents watch from the sideline. Photos by Jackie Burhans
Jackie Burhans can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Human trafficking awareness
Caption: From left, OCN volunteers John Howe and Sharon Williams, speaker Molly Griffiths, a representative for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), and Sister Rose Ann Barman, OSB of Benet Hill Monastery, chat before human trafficking awareness talks began at Library 21c on Feb. 11. This talk, "Protecting Our Precious Cargo," one in a four-part series, covered transportation agencies with an overview about TAT and "Recognizing and reporting human trafficking," sponsored by the Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery in Black Forest. Experts say that human trafficking is modern-day slavery and is expected to overtake illegal drug activity as the top illicit crime worldwide with nearly 21 million victims annually in what is a $32 billion industry. The internet and social media are fueling the rapid growth by luring victims with various promises of attention, affection, job offers, and false promises. People can call 911 to report suspected trafficking, reporting vital information such as descriptions of the people, vehicles, and license plates. The talks emphasized that there would be no slave industry without buyers, which is the root of the problem. Legislation is underway to convict the buyers of such services as well as those selling human beings for sex or labor or both. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Black Forest Together, Feb. 12
Caption: From left are Dave Root, assistant district forester, Colorado State Forest Service, Woodland Park District, and Linda Rollins of Black Forest Together. At the Black Forest Fire Department, Station 1, on Feb. 12, Jennifer Cowan of Black Forest Together Inc. presented findings of the 2013 Black Forest Fire and discussed ways to mitigate and restore properties in the Black Forest community. Residents also received guidance from Root and Rollins. Resident Chris Ferguson shared her experience as a donor to The Trees 4 Tomorrow program. The transplant program moves trees from donor properties in the Black Forest area to properties in need of reforestation. In 2018, Trees 4 Tomorrow transplanted 1,032 trees around Black Forest. For additional information, visit: http://BlackForestTogether.org or contact: Black Forest Together, 11460 Black Forest Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80908, phone: 719-495-2445 or email: email@example.com. Photo and caption by Natalie Barszcz.
Personal safety seminar, Feb. 20
Caption: On Feb. 20, Monument Chief of Police Jake Shirk presented to a crowded room at the Chamber of Commerce a two-hour seminar on personal safety. The chief showed slides as he spoke and even demonstrated actions everyone should take in the case of an active shooter. Shirk called upon audience members in response to some of his direct questions on what to do in certain cases. Photo by John Howe.
Handbell concert, Feb. 24
Caption: The Sisters of Benet Hill hosted a quartet handbell concert on Feb. 24. Colorado Springs-based Forté performed music primarily written for handbells, playing over 150 bells and chimes at this event. The group played a beautiful version of Meditations on the theme of peace by Hakes. From left are Megan Reishus, Tory Marting, Dillon Ekle, and musical director Luke Nabeta. For more information on Benet Hill concerts, see https://www.benethillmonastery.org/concert-series. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
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.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s 2019 grant process, apply by Mar. 15
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) grant application for 2019 is available online until Mar. 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.
TLWC 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.
Kiwanis Coolest St. Patty’s Dog Contest, vote by Mar. 20
Help fight youth suicide by voting online, $1 per vote. Enter your dog at https://monumenthillkiwanis.org. See ad on page 15.
Monument Hill Kiwanis grants, apply Apr. 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. See ad on page 12.
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.
Lewis-Palmer School District Hall of Fame, nominations accepted through Apr. 19
The community is invited to nominate a person who has made significant, ongoing contributions to the excellence of D-38 schools. More information and nomination forms are posted at www.lewispalmer.org under the Community tab. See ad on page 14.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s Spring into Vintage, Apr. 28-29
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club began its popular Pine Forest Antique Show in 1977, bringing its annual bake sale into that event. The Pine Forest show grew so much that the event had to move from the middle school to the high school in 1986. In the late ‘90s, the club added the home & garden element, which began with the sale of geraniums only, and invited vendors offering additional items for the home that weren’t antiques. In 2015, it added an emphasis on artists. Last year the club invited a couple of vintage vendors and quickly realized this is the future now. So in 2019, it is including more vintage, calling the event Spring into Vintage. The show will be at Lewis-Palmer High School from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Apr. 27 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Apr. 28. Tickets are $6 at the door. All proceeds from the show benefit nonprofits and public schools in the Tri-Lakes area. The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club has given almost $1 million to aid local schools and charities. For more information on the club, go to www.tlwc.net.
MVEA board nominations open, apply by Apr. 29
The board election will take place during the annual meeting June 13. There is a vacancy in District 3, which includes a portion of the Black Forest. If you are interested in being a candidate, find application details at www.mvea.coop. For more information, phone 719-494-2528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad on page 14.
Volunteers needed for new nature trail
Black Forest’s award-winning School in the Woods began work on an extensive nature trail system that will educate students and the community about the plants and animals found in Colorado’s higher-altitude life zones. One of the trails will be handicap-accessible and include signs with Braille symbols. School in the Woods needs to obtain, plant, label, and care for plants throughout the trail system. Volunteers are needed to support the project through public relations, fundraising, donations, assisting on planting and maintenance days, and other resources. If you want to get involved, contact Jon Wuerth, School Coordinator, at email@example.com or 719-234-4330.
Closure of Monument Hill Road continues
El Paso County Department of Public Works continues safety and drainage improvements along the southern portion of Monument Hill Road. Due to weather delays and materials shortage, the road will remain closed from the intersection of Woodmoor Drive to the south entrance of the Monument Hill Church into April. Woodmoor Drive and Deer Creek Road continue to serve as the detour route for access to the northern portion of Monument Hill Road and Palmer Ridge High School. Upon completion of Phase I, work will transition to the north. Phase II will require closure of Monument Hill Road from the south entrance of Monument Hill Church to the south entrance of Palmer Ridge High School, eliminating access from Monument Hill Road to Deer Creek Road. Monument Hill Church will be accessible at its south entrance on Monument Hill Road. Transition from Phase I to Phase II is expected to occur in April. For Phase II, Woodmoor Drive, Furrow Road, and County Line Road will serve as the detour. For more information, visit www.elpasoco.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, see the article on page 20.
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.
Pikes Peak Library District eliminates overdue fines
In February, the library officially ended fines for overdue items. The library will roll out automatic renewals as long as no other patron placed a hold on the material..
Cadet chapel to close June 17
The 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. 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.
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.
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.email@example.com.
Protect pets from coyotes
Woodmoor Improvement Association vice president Peter Bille noted that it’s coyote mating season. He urged residents to be careful with their pets as coyotes are known to lure dogs away from their homes and attack them in packs. He said there are no wolves in Colorado but residents are really seeing very healthy coyotes. .
County launches Citizen Connect
Citizen Connect is a new tool that allows citizens to report problems and put in service requests with the click of a mouse or touch of a button. Citizens can download this app, EPC Citizen Connect, for I-Phone or Android phone. For more information visit www.elpasoco.com/county-launches-citizen-connect.
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.
USAFA 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered 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.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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