BFFRPD 6th Annual Open House at Station 1 on Jul. 13 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Helicopter landings at 10:45 and 12:00 and live extrication demonstration at 1:00 p.m. Free refreshments, hot dogs and hamburgers. For further details visit http://www.bffire.org.
This page contains only the text of the articles and columns in this issue. To see the photos and captions including the Snapshots of Our Community section, view the on-line version above or download the PDFs whose links follow this table of contents.
the PDF file. This is a 37 Mbyte high-resolution file with color photos.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met June 13 to get feedback and provide updates on the planned school, hear results of the parent survey, and hear plans to review the substitute-teacher system. The board held a lengthy executive session and returned to pass four motions. Board members Mike Molsen and J.W. Boyles were absent.
Public pushback and project update
During the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, a resident of the Walden development expressed concerns about the new school location at Highways 83 and 105. She indicated concerns about the traffic and safety for the children, noting there was a bad accident in December and the road has been closed three times in the past six months due to ice. She pointed out a new stoplight had been installed last year in January but said neither cars nor semi-trucks pay attention to it.
Board member Mark McWilliams provided an update on the progress of the project, saying that everything was on track. McWilliams said that there had been a call with the lenders and their representatives that went well. Conversations continue with the county on traffic, and all intentions are to break ground within the next month to month and a half.
Note: In a one-minute, mid-day, special board meeting on May 14, the board voted to approve a bond financing resolution authorizing the board president to execute all agreements necessary to complete the acquisition and construction of the project. The resolution notes that the Monument Academy Foundation desires to finance the new school and indicates that the bonds may not exceed $30 million but does not specify the interest rate or other terms. Monument Academy Foundation is a separate 501(3)C entity founded in 2004 to acquire land and buildings for Monument Academy and to develop and carry out fundraising programs and receive donations.
At the June 13 meeting, the board voted to remove ousted Executive Director Don Griffin from the Monument Academy Foundation. On June 19, Tim Farmer of Miller Farmer Law, MA’s legal firm, submitted documents to the secretary of state replacing Griffin with Nancy Tive, MA’s director of finance, as the registered agent. He also amended articles of incorporation to focus on leasing or holding title to property for use by the Monument Academy Secondary School and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. Griffin remains on the board of Monument Academy Building Corp., a 501(c)3 that serves a similar function for MA’s elementary school since 2007.
Julie Keim, D38 parent and former CPA who focused on taxpayer-funded entities including schools, was granted permission by board President Patrick Hall to make a citizen comment although she arrived late. Keim said her last child just graduated from D38 and she has been involved in both D38 and Douglas County school districts. She noted a statistic in previous board materials comparing MA’s debt service to D38’s per full-time equivalent (FTE) student as about $1,028 vs. $1,197. She pointed out that the number only covered the current year but that if you looked at total debt over the life of the bond, the cost to MA per FTE would be $22,604 vs. $12,476 for D38. She noted that MA’s building has a depreciated value that’s $3.3 million less than the outstanding debt while D38 buildings have equity built up. Keim said her goal was to make sure the MA board has good information as they make large financial decisions which affect the whole community. Hall ended her comments, noting they were out of order and replied that experts have MA bonds at an A rating.
Note: MA’s 2014 bond documents show a "moral obligation rating" by Standard & Poor’s of "A" with an underlying rating of "BBB- ". A moral obligation bond, which does not require voter approval, is issued by a state agency and secured by a non-binding covenant that any amount necessary to make up any deficiency in pledged revenues will be included in a budget recommendation to the state Legislature which may appropriate funds to make up the shortfall.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• McWilliams summarized the traditional slide presentation of the School Accountability Advisory Committee (SAAC). The biggest takeaway was a desire for better communication from teachers, the administration, and the board. McWilliams suggested a communication flowchart; a SAAC member asked the board to use email, social media, and the school app for agendas and to highlight policy changes.
• A grandparent of a student remarked on the difficulty of obtaining documents from MA on the TAGG substitute teacher system compared to other charter schools and raised concerns about conflicts of interest.
• Sherry Buzzell, director of Human Resources, will compare past, current, and other substitute (guest) teacher services to select the best system by the end of June in time for training.
• Deans will work with Quantum Learning (QL) to develop a new character curriculum based on QL’s keys of excellence series.
• Hall swore in new board member Mark Dole, who, along with Meggan St. Aubyn—who is out of the country—will begin their terms in July.
• McWilliams recognized the service of board President Patrick Hall whose term ended June 30.
Post-executive session actions
The MA board made and passed the following motions unanimously unless otherwise indicated:
• Authorize the MA administration to select a guest teacher service based on completion of its research.
• Remove Griffin from the Monument Academy Foundation effective immediately and appoint McWilliams to that board.
• Approve separate charter contracts with D38 for MA’s elementary and secondary schools.
• Engage in a project manager contract with Griffin to supervise and direct the secondary education project, subject to final approval by Hall as sitting board president. This motion was approved 3-1 with Melanie Strop voting no.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 18 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committees, and finances, can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
Public hearing on proposed 2019-20 district budget
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman gave a brief presentation on the next year’s budget. Per pupil revenue is estimated at $8,037. The onetime cost to install modulars is included in this year’s budget, while rental of the units will be in the general fund. The cost of insurance is estimated to increase by 5.5%. District contributions to the Public Employees Retirement Association will increase by 0.25%. There will be a 3% increase in compensation for teachers and 2.5% for administration. There will be an increased revenue of $113,000 from the state for services for Tier B exceptional students. These funds will be added to the individual school budgets. Enrollment is estimated to increase by 175 students, 83 of whom will be new to the district and 92 of whom will result from kindergarten students now being funded as full time.
Wangeman cautioned that transportation is not fully funded by bus fees. See the BOE June 3 article on page 6 regarding an increase in bus fees.
She said that although District 38 is the chartering authority for Monument Academy, the district is not its governing authority but only ensures that the academy act within state law. The district cannot tell the academy how to enter into contracts or whether to supply transportation.
Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch asked whether staff raises are included in the site-based budgeting. Wangeman responded that they are, with the exception of Special Education and English as a Second Language staff.
There was a single public comment on the budget. Derek Araje said the district spent $1.1 million on modulars, primarily to house preschool classes. He said the district used parents as an excuse not to provide a centralized preschool.
Araje said that the district is not required to provide extensive preschool service and that the Pre-K services should have been cut back following the failure of last year’s funding initiatives. He suggested that the community be given the opportunity to vote on the use of the Grace Best Education facility.
Many people attended the meeting to protest the location of the new Monument Academy (MA) school at the intersection of Highways 105 and 83.
Mike Norris said he is part of a group that wants to stop construction at that location. He says he has a petition with over 100 signatures and is concerned that people drive 65 mph on Highway 83.
Stephanie Colgate is concerned with student safety at that location because there will be no security personnel. If, as planned, the YMCA also has a facility on site, she is concerned whether those entering will be screened. She said that memories of the Black Forest Fire evacuation lead to concerns about large numbers of inexperienced drivers in that area.
Allen Zendle commented that the Planning Commission approved the site by 3 to 2. He said that D-38 is the sponsoring entity and should therefore have had a say in the selection of the site. Statute says the charter authority, not the school, should select the site.
Steve Gutman, a resident of nearby Walden and a retired community planner, requested a special meeting between concerned citizens and the board. He said there are processes to seek community input before such a decision. When the district purchased the property, it was for a small school. There was insufficient notice of the single hearing on the subject, he said.
David Conway said that MA represents taxation without representation. It is putting a middle school where it is not needed, and the current high schools are not at capacity. He said Kilmer Elementary is the right school in the right place and that hundreds of anti-MA emails have been sent.
Tom Ryan, a Kings Deer resident, said the Planning Commission meeting was well-attended. He doesn’t understand how MA could claim that the county planned to improve the Highway 105 and 83 intersection when in fact the county had planned to do so in 2035. He fears increased traffic between the two MA locations and said if the construction goes forward, the bond will fail.
Sean Heery, president of a homeowners’ association at the intersection of Highway 83 and County Line Road, said his children attended MA and St. Mary’s High School. Although his children got a good education at MA, he said the sale of the land appeared to be a sweetheart deal.
Others commented on the recent mailer sent to area residents regarding the bond and the necessity to reach the senior population, and one commented that the district is losing teachers due to lack of compensation and overcrowding.
Board members’ comments
Director Mark Pfoff said that the public’s concerns regarding the relationship between D-38 and MA need to be addressed. When the original MA was built he objected to the location, but the school bought the property without consulting the district.
In 2006, Pfoff said, when the district needed a new high school, it rejected the site at Highways 105 and 83 due to lack of water.
The board only voted to sell the land, saying that it didn’t anticipate the need to build a school on the site. See www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#d38board.
Pfoff stressed that building this school will not increase the number of middle school seats in the district but only move them from one location to another. It is important to note that a charter school is no one’s home school, and defeating the bond on the basis of this action would hurt the entire district.
Board Treasurer Chris Taylor said the board voted to sell the land with the stipulation that part of it would be given to MA to build a school. The board offered Grace Best to MA to house its new school and MA declined. This was not a sudden decision and it is hard to understand the sudden uproar. We need to improve our communications, he said.
Board President Matthew Clawson agreed that improved communications are necessary and said that he would have liked to hear the comments sooner.
Brofft spoke of the bond information on the district website (lewispalmer.org) and explained the transition from her to the new Superintendent K.C. Somers. She thanked all staff members who were leaving for whatever reason and for the privilege of working here.
The board approved the 2019-20 budget as proposed. The budget may be viewed at https://www.lewispalmer.org/Page/5230.
The board passed a resolution to authorize the superintendent to borrow available unencumbered cash balances in the Capital Reserve, Insurance, Building, and Nutritional Service funds to continue projects currently underway. It further authorized that unused funds from this year’s budget be carried forward into next year.
Wangeman commented that this is necessary because revenue from taxes is not received until the end of the year and because equipment for the food service must be purchased.
Board Administrative Assistant Kathy Nameika was designated to serve as the district’s representative to the county regarding participation in the November election and placing advertising to seek nominees for positions on the board.
Pfoff said he and Taylor would meet during July to work on wording for the bond issue. He said he hoped they could propose wording in August at a work session.
Board Secretary Theresa Phillips stressed that it is essential that the board present a united front on the subject and appear in public forums to support it.
Executive Director of Personnel and Operations Bob Foster presented a first reading of a number of policies involving students in foster care and treatment of public complaints and concerns. These policies were updated due to input from the Colorado Association of School Boards. No action was taken.
The board then discussed the possibility of creating a dashboard of Colorado Open Records Act requests. Foster said that 50 requests have been received this year. He has discussed the concept with legal counsel and was told it was acceptable.
Foster said that some requests can be settled with a brief phone call, while many take an hour or longer. Some requests involve individuals and contracts. There is a form online for submitting requests.
Pfoff said that putting the requests and responses online reinforces the district’s transparency, and once a request is made it is public information.
Board President Matthew Clawson asked whether some requests come in repeatedly and perhaps the answers could be put on the website. Foster said that he often finds responses in "boarddocs" and that requests do not tend to repeat.
Phillips said the dashboard could allow the board to see trends in what people want to know. Pfoff agreed and said that it is also good to know what information is being sent out.
Upchurch said that personal information should be protected and that names should not be included.
Brofft commented that the requests often seek employee information.
Upchurch said she felt it was fine for the board to have the information but not to put it on the website.
Pfoff said people have asked him for this information, and it could counteract misinformation on social media. He suggested that Foster collect the requests, responses, and time involved and bring the information to the August board meeting.
Pfoff, Phillips, and Taylor voted yes, Clawson and Upchurch voted no.
The board discussed changes in the MA contract to include elementary and secondary schools.
Brofft said any objections should have been raised when MA applied to open its high school.
Pfoff commented that nothing in the contract mentions location. The only thing that changed was to include the middle school with the high school.
Wangeman said the contract stipulates that MA can lease, grant, or purchase facilities so long as they comply with state and federal law.
Brofft said the county Planning Commission took a vote rather than remand the question to the district. Since the Planning Commission has voted, there is no going back, she said.
The board approved the contract.
The board also approved the Colorado Academic Standards. Districts have the option of developing their own standards or adopt the state standards every six years.
Pfoff presented outgoing Superintendent Brofft and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman with framed photos of the board and a commemorative brick from the renovation of Big Red.
Caption: The board expressed its gratitude to Superintendent Karen Brofft and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Wangeman as they leave the district. Pictured, from left, are Tiffiney Upchurch, Mark Pfoff, Karen Brofft, Matthew Clawson, Cheryl Wangeman, Chris Taylor, and Theresa Phillips. 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 the district’s education center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The board does not meet in July. The next regular meeting will be held on Aug.19.
Harriet Halbig can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the June 19 Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) board meeting, interim Chief PJ Langmaid’s position was extended through September. Board members and Langmaid discussed prioritizing long-overdue repairs and the staff increases needed at Stations 1 and 2.
Interim chief extended
Board President Rick McMorran made the motion for PJ Langmaid to continue as interim chief through September to assist during the budget process. The board approved the extension 5-0.
Time to catch up on neglected priorities
Langmaid said that although there are many building maintenance issues, equipment replacement needs, and vehicle repairs pending, they will all require prioritization going forward with safety issues addressed first over cosmetic repairs. "It is a good thing we are finally identifying these issues that existed before and it is not a Chicken Little … sky is falling … scenario," said Langmaid.
Langmaid requested the board consider an immediate repair of the exhaust vent systems at both stations with an outright purchase or with financing.
Langmaid said that while the safety and health of staff who spend upwards of 40 hours a week in the buildings is paramount, residents rent the community room four times a week and are also exposed to diesel exhaust fumes. We need to make this the highest priority, said Langmaid. Treasurer Jack Hinton said, "It is absolutely amazing to me that the building passed the regional inspection—it is time to pull the trigger and get the exhaust system fixed." The board unanimously agreed to approve $120,000 for a new exhaust system from Plymovent for Stations 1 and 2.
Langmaid asked the board to approve the district’s annual participation in the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool repayment agreement. "Firefighters have a much higher rate of cancer and heart disease than the average general population, and the state asks fire districts to assist with costs incurred from the treatment of disease," said Langmaid. The board approved 5-0 the annual review to participate in the repayment agreement.
Hinton said BFFRPD currently has $1.475 million in the bank, and "We are going to address a lot of issues that have been coming for a long time," including:
• Building leaks.
• Outdated bunker/turnout gear replacement.
• Equipment for the new engine.
Hinton suggested adjusting the emergency fund with an increase of $100,000 and said, "I will not vote or make a motion to take the bank reserve down to where loans would be required. That being said, I am aware that grants have been turned down due to the high reserve in the bank."
Hinton asked Langmaid to provide him with a projected budget for the next three years to determine how much spending is needed before he would be willing to spend any of the reserve. Langmaid said that in July he will be asking for vehicle repairs and replacement equipment, and he asked where the treasurer stood on that. Hinton said, "He would consider safety issues first but would prefer to table everything else."
Vice President Rick Nearhoof expressed his frustration with the past leadership problems and said, "He will personally follow up with firefighters to make sure that equipment is ordered and received … there will be no more blank checks."
Langmaid said, "The future chief will need to be held accountable for making sure that purchases are made in a timely manner." He suggested checks and balances be imposed by the board in the future.
The May financial summary was accepted 5-0.
Unstable staffing issues
Langmaid said that when he was board president, the part-time program failed every month to provide minimum staffing levels to keep both stations open 24/7. He recommended hiring six full-time career firefighters in 2020, with a goal of one paramedic at both stations per shift. Three staff members have expressed an interest in training to be paramedics in 2020. See www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#bffire, www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#bffire.
Firefighter/EMT Aaron Clymer was sworn in by McMorran. Clymer had been a part-time employee since August 2016, when he started with the Black Forest Residency Program. Clymer is a Colorado and nationally qualified EMT, with certification in Wildland Fire Fighting and Ice Rescue.
Langmaid reported that the month of May saw 81 responses, of which 62% were rescue/medical, 4% fire-related (up from April), 5% false alarms, and 21% were good intent.
He said the BFFRPD contract with American Medical Response (AMR) for mutual aid calls is being reviewed, and AMR will be informed of the definitive changes regarding mutual aid with them, specifically within the City of Colorado Springs.
Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance to Colorado Springs coverage only works when five personnel are on duty, said Langmaid. BFFRPD will not be sending an ALS ambulance to Colorado Springs effective June 21. "We are keeping our paramedic in district and providing ALS coverage," Langmaid said.
Langmaid asked the board to consider inviting out-of-district homeowners to be annexed into the district to guarantee emergency response, lower home insurance costs and increase district revenue. Coverage of areas that are not officially included in a fire department service area are currently supported where possible as a courtesy, although they do not pay taxes to BFFRPD. The board unanimously agreed to consider a draft invitation flyer for the inclusion of out-of-district homeowners at the July meeting.
Hinton said he met again with County Commissioner Holly Williams to discuss new development impact fees to assist fire districts as they expand to cover new homes. Williams suggested Hinton put together a team to include Langmaid and meet with the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association (HBA) and President of Classic Homes Doug Stimple. Hinton said that asking $400 per new home would not be a huge amount for the developers. If impact fees are approved in the future they will not be retroactive.
Black Forest resident Linda Smith congratulated the board and the department on the arrival of the new engine, adding "it is a beauty, really impressive and wonderful to see."
Sixth Annual Open House
The Sixth Annual Open House will be held at Station 1 on July 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Helicopter landings are scheduled for 10:45 a.m. and noon, along with a live vehicle extrication demonstration at 1 p.m. The new engine will be on display, and free hot dogs and burgers will be served. See www.bffire.org for further details.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
In OCN’s June 1 edition, the BFFRPD article incorrectly reported that Capt. Larry Bell "… left this month." Bell is still a promoted fire officer employed with the district. We apologize for the error.
Caption: Firefighter/EMT Aaron Clymer takes the oath to the Constitution at the BFFRPD board meeting June 19. Board President Rick McMorran officiated in the swearing-in ceremony and thanked Clymer’s family for their support and for all the times he could not make family gatherings due to his commitment to public service. Interim Chief PJ Langmaid said Clymer is a tremendous asset to the community. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. The next meeting is scheduled for July 17. See www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board held a special meeting June 11 to sign easement agreements because its normally scheduled June meeting was cancelled. Director Mark Gunderman was excused and attendees were informed that director Gary Rusnak recently resigned from the board. Neither was in attendance.
Board member resigns
Chairman William "Bo" McAllister told the board members present that Rusnak had sent him an email saying his house had sold, and since he no longer resides within Wescott district territory he must resign. The board will select a replacement to carry out Rusnak’s term until a new election, but no other plans for onboarding a new director were discussed.
The board and its attorney Matt Court worked to create a sign easement for Flying Horse North developer Classic Homes, enabling it to place a sign on district-owned property. See https://ocn.me/v18n12.htm#dwfpd. At the last meeting, Court realized the sign would be placed where a Mountain View Electric box is currently installed. After board approval, McAllister signed an easement for Mountain View Electric to move the box about 150 feet north of its current location to allow the sign to be installed.
Internet company to use space in Station 2
Assistant Chief Scott Ridings told the board Force Broadband, a locally owned internet provider, approached Wescott to use a portion of the land at Station 2 to set up internet services for the soon-to-be developed land next to the station. After discussions, Wescott decided it would be best for Force Broadband to install its equipment inside the station.
Force Broadband agreed to the indoor installation and to give Station 2 no-cost internet access. Ridings said they are in negotiations with Force to provide internet service to the other stations as well. Avoiding the roughly $300 per month Wescott would normally pay for internet is a "win-win" for the district and Force, said Ridings.
The meeting adjourned at 3:21 pm.
The next district meeting is scheduled for July 16 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.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the TLMFPD board meeting June 26, a future Joint Fleet Maintenance Facility was discussed. Monument Chief of Police Jake Shirk, who is the TLMFPD Board President, confirmed his retirement plans and said he will be moving out of the state.
Director Jason Buckingham was excused.
Joint Fleet Maintenance Facility
Chief Chris Truty informed the board of the Town of Monument’s plan to develop a new Public Works facility near the intersection of Mitchell Avenue and Synthes Drive. A portion of the proposed new facility would include a new fleet maintenance section with several garage bays reserved exclusively for TLMFPD with trained mechanics capable of maintaining a variety of vehicles. The town in its planning process has asked TLMFPD to consider joint participation in the venture. Truty reminded the board to consider the following:
• Fleet maintenance is a large expense.
• Repairs are a lengthy process for TLMFPD due to the proximity of repair facilities in Colorado Springs and Denver.
• Emergency Services Consulting International’s master plan recommended the creation of a regional fleet maintenance facility.
The board voted 5-0-1 to direct the chief to pursue discussions with the Town of Monument for the purposes of participating in a joint fleet maintenance facility.
Public Works Director/TLMFPD Board Director Tom Tharnish recused himself from the discussion due to conflict of interest. He is the Public Works director for the Town of Monument.
Board president Shirk announces his plans
Shirk announced that he has officially retired from law enforcement after 44 years and it is now time for a change. His intent is to stay on the TLMFPD board as president until his eventual move out of state and plans to renounce his board position with plenty of notice.
Shirk invites the public to his official Retirement Party at The Secret Window, 47 Third St., Monument, on July 13 from 4-6 p.m.
Town of Monument—annexation of Station 1
Truty informed the board that the proposed Station 1 remodel has run into easement issues with setback requirements requiring approval from the Board of El Paso County Commissioners. It is possible that the proposal could be denied, putting the whole remodeling plan in jeopardy.
Monument Town Manager Mike Foreman has suggested that Station 1 be annexed into the town and, after consulting with the TLMFPD attorney, it appears there are no reasons not to pursue annexation. Tharnish added that typically when the town looks into annexation, it must be for the benefit of the town.
The town is looking at annexation to include fire departments and water districts—a new "public zoning" designation could be advantageous in the future for this station. Fees would likely be waived since the town does not usually charge a nonprofit organization. A motion to approve the request for annexation of the Fire Station 1 property into the Town of Monument was approved by the board, 6-0.
Truty announced that Monument’s Centurion Lodge 195 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Colorado has recognized Lt. Chris Keough as Firefighter of the Year for 2019 for his outstanding efforts during the March blizzard.
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District will continue to respond to southside calls in Monument and has agreed to waive charges on the first call per week.
Truty explained that a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system is now in place at TLMFPD, and it is allowing a more finely tuned accurate and appropriate response to streamline calls from the previous 14 options to 32.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said the new ambulance is in service and its maiden voyage was, ironically, to Colorado Springs. An Emergency Management and Trauma Service (EMTS) grant from the state for $85,000 has been received for the new ambulance. The second new engine is expected to arrive at TLMFPD Aug. 18.
Supplemental funding of $105,000 to purchase a BC1000 chipper and a pull vehicle for the chipper was received. An older battalion chief vehicle will be replaced with a gas truck and used to pull the chipper. This will save on funding, and a separate pull vehicle will be purchased for the chipper in 2020-21.
Chipper in service
Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner said the chipper is in service, and the first planned event will be held at Red Rocks Ranch on July 27. The BC1000 can chip up to 12-inch-diameter limbs and will be a useful tool for homeowner’s associations and large wildfire mitigation projects. The new chipper is housed at the Larkspur Fire Department, awaiting labels and stripes due to limited space in the district.
Treasurer John Hildebrandt thanked TLMFPD for purchasing a chipper to help the community with wildland mitigation. "Pretty darn good fire department … thank you," said Hildebrandt.
The regular TLMFPD board meeting adjourned at 7:39 p.m., and the board entered an executive session pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations with the Town of Palmer Lake. No votes or announcements were made after the session.
Caption: On June 20, the Town of Monument announced that Police Chief Jake Shirk will be retiring after fourteen years of service to the town. At the TLMFPD meeting June 26, Shirk, who is the TLMFPD board president, said he intends to remain on the board until he moves out of state. Photo provided by Town of Monument.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 24 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas see http://tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in June: a monthly council meeting June 13 and a work session June 27. At both meetings, discussion about the future of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) took center stage. The council also approved a number of special event permits for Fourth of July fireworks and for running events. Town Clerk Verla Bruner announced her resignation.
"Our guys know our town"
Nikki McDonald, who served several terms as mayor of Palmer Lake, seemed to speak for many in the audience on June 13 when she said, "Our guys know our town."
Many residents took advantage of the public comments portion of the meeting to voice their support for PLVFD and their preference that the town retain an independent fire department instead of merging it with neighboring Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.
Residents who addressed the future of the Fire Department made these points:
• The current ambulance service, provided by Donald Wescott Fire Protection District, can be slow to respond in emergencies. The resident who made this point said he had recently waited 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
• Ambulance service provided from a station house to the south of Palmer Lake could be delayed by traffic problems on Highway 105.
• PLVFD is part of the small-town culture of Palmer Lake and provides many informal services that residents value, such as tours of the facilities for children and taking Santa to Palmer Lake Elementary School on the town’s fire truck.
• Rather than rushing to put an initiative on the ballot in November, the council should take a year to study the issue completely.
• The larger fire equipment deployed by neighboring fire districts may not be able to navigate through the narrow, unpaved streets in the Glen.
• The mill levies required to pay for fire service in neighboring districts have increased in recent years, and merging PLVFD with one of those districts would obligate Palmer Lake residents to pay those increases.
"Change may be needed"
While most council members did not comment directly on the remarks made by the public, council member Paul Banta shared some of his thoughts. Banta said that although he wants to keep the Fire Department local, things cannot continue as they are: "Change may be needed .... We absolutely want to keep the Fire Department as much as you do. ... We are on the same side as you." Banta said he thought the issue should be put to the voters through a ballot initiative.
PLVFD proposes option to keep department local
Weston Oesterreich, PLVFD station captain, presented a plan he called "Option 5: New Beginnings for PLVFD," which he said would allow the town to retain control over its local Fire Department. The name of Oesterreich’s plan refers to the four options presented at the May Town Council meeting by a consultant. Oesterreich pointed out that merging PLVFD with another fire district would result in loss of local control over the department.
Oesterreich’s plan called for improvements in three key areas:
• Additional staffing.
• Upgrading equipment, including a new fire truck and an ambulance to be housed in Palmer Lake.
• Construction of a new emergency service building that would house the Fire and Police Departments.
Oesterreich emphasized that although the proposed building would be home to both the Police and Fire Departments, those services would remain separate.
Oesterreich proposed adding a fire chief and five additional paid staff to the current staff, which currently consists of three full-time and five part-time firefighters. The new staff would include EMTs, Oesterreich said. He pointed out that PLVFD is currently part of a group that allows resources to be shared among Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD), Donald Westcott Fire Department (DWFD), Black Forest Fire and Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD), Larkspur Fire Protection District (LFPD) and El Paso County, including the Office of Emergency Management.
In terms of equipment, Oesterreich proposed adding an ambulance, pointing out that 75 percent of the department’s calls are medical. PLVFD’s response time is currently four minutes 27 seconds for fire-related calls, and he thought a local ambulance would provide similar response times for medical emergencies. He said other equipment, such as the department’s brush trucks, did not need replacement since they have low miles. The brush trucks also generate revenue for the department when they are rented out to the federal government, he said.
For the proposed emergency service building, Oesterreich said three locations are being considered. The new building would provide more locker room space and an improved location for the Police Department. Based on what recent buildings for other districts have cost, he estimated a new building would cost $1.5 million.
In his presentation of costs for the plan, Oesterreich said he estimated taxpayers would have to provide an additional 7.5 mills to the 10 mills they are already paying, for a total of 17.5 mills.
Discussion continues in executive session and at the work session
The June 13 meeting ended with an executive session "with the Town Attorney for legal advice on next steps related to ballot issues for fire service."
The work session on June 27 was also dominated by discussion of issues related to the Fire Department.
In the public comments portion of the work session, resident Meredith Bromfield said she wanted to address rumors of violations at PLVFD. Bromfield said she was afraid the Town Council would shut down the department immediately. She accused the council of going behind the backs of voters and asked that it stop. She said she would support recalling any council member who wanted to merge PLVFD with TLMFPD.
Resident Mike Bromfield expressed concern about the use of executive sessions to discuss issues related to fire service. He asked if the council was creating a non-existent emergency as an excuse to shut down PLVFD and said that he wanted the issue put to the voters.
Resident and previous council member Rich Kuehster said that he thought some of the liability concerns facing PLVFD could be dealt with temporarily, giving the town time to decide how to keep the Fire Department locally managed. Kuehster mentioned work being done on improving ventilation at the fire house and on locating temporary housing to reduce the overcrowding in the fire station.
The June 27 work session ended with an executive session "for a personnel matter" and to "develop strategies and instruct negotiators on possible intergovernmental agreement."
Event permits approved
At the work session on June 27, the council approved five special event permits:
• A request by Jennifer Coopman for a permit for a fireworks display on the Fourth of July.
• A request by April Fullman to hold a "Try-athlon" on Aug. 3 for participants 10 years and older who will cross Palmer Lake on inflatable donuts, and then go for a short run and bike ride, taking a total of 30 minutes. The permit was approved on the condition that Fullman get approval from the state for the swimming portion.
• A request from Lanette Prosseda of Lewis-Palmer Middle School for a cross-country race on Sept. 4.
• A request from Bill Miller to hold a picnic and fishing day for Wounded Warrior Gold Star Families on Aug. 10.
• A request from Chris Cummins for a .5K race to be held in October.
Town clerk to leave
Verla Bruner, who serves as the town clerk, announced her resignation. Bruner will stay through September, she said.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in July, on July 11 and on July 25 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) reviewed a new water rates structure proposal and approved changes to municipal codes for the Planning and the Police Departments. A new officer took the oath of office for the Monument police. The board heard a presentation from new Finance Director Bill Wengert. Representatives from the non-profit Pikes Peak or Bust rodeo invited people to enjoy the performances and related activities in July, and board members were told about Monument’s 140th birthday celebration.
Trustees Laurie Clark and Greg Coopman were absent.
Consideration of water rates increase continues
At the May 20 meeting, the board agreed to consider an ordinance with new water rates at the June 3 meeting. However, on June 3, water rates were included on the agenda as a discussion item. Public Work Director Tom Tharnish told the board he has been rethinking the proposed water rates since then and wanted to relay the changes and answer questions before the board votes on this ordinance.
He said "Revision 1" of the proposed water rate structure would be more effective in promoting water conservation because it changes the way information is shown on the bill, lowers the base rate, and does not include the first 1,000 gallons of water in the base. Instead, customers will see the cost of each gallon of water, starting with the first gallon they use each month.
The town sent a press release to many media outlets on June 4 explaining the details of the revised proposal. See related June 17 Board of Trustees article.
Municipal code updates continue
The board unanimously approved zoning code changes to the town’s municipal codes for the second consecutive meeting. In 2018, the board stressed the need to update outdated planning and zoning codes. Planning Director Larry Manning asked the board to approve a state Department of Local Affairs grant request in November 2018 for a $100,000 matching grant to update zoning and subdivision ordinances, which are "out of date and have been modified piecemeal." See https://www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#mbot. Although Manning has not said if the grant has been approved, the department pressed forward with code changes. To see the town’s municipal codes, go to https://library.municode.com/co/monument/codes/code_of_ordinances.
New officer takes oath; chief to interview 5
Officer Ryan Koski took the oath of office after completing field officer training in record time, according to Police Chief Jake Shirk. The department intends to hire two more officers after 14 people passed the initial entrance test and five were selected to have interviews with Shirk.
Monument celebrates 140th anniversary
The Town of Monument was incorporated June 2, 1879, and Henry Limbach was the first mayor. It was originally a ranching settlement back in the 1860s but, bit by bit, as storefronts began to pop up, the town grew. Monument Lake was used in winter to harvest ice to keep food cold, and Monument Preserve, or the Mount Herman Planting Station as it was known at its inception in 1907, was a tree farm that provided seedlings to local areas in need of reforestation.
The celebration in Limbach Park included live music, dancing, and sack races on June 15. See photo from town celebration on page 26.
Finances mostly stable for March
Wengert gave the board an overview of the financial state of the town as of March 2019. He made the following statements about the General Fund:
• Revenues, including sales tax collections, have increased $80,000 or 12% since this time last year.
• Expenditures are 24% higher than in March 2018, reflecting increased spending in the Police Department for tactical equipment and in Public Works for winter needs such as salt, sand, and gasoline.
He made the following statements about the Water Enterprise Fund:
• Overall operating revenue is below 2018, which is partially due to water tap fees decreasing by $40,000.
• Expenditures have remained relatively flat, with a slight $6,000 decrease.
Wengert added that all other town funds are stable.
Wengert then mentioned there "was no month-to-month budget prepared for 2019" by Treasurer Pamela Smith, but that he would prepare a summary going forward. Smith was placed on administrative leave March 4. See https://ocn.me/v19n4.htm#mbot.
Annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo
Kayla Summers, Girl of the West, and Makayla Carrico, Aide to Girl of the West, presented the details for the 79th Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, which will be held July 10-13 at 7 p.m. daily, plus a matinee on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The parade will be on July 9 at 6:30 p.m. For information and tickets to the rodeo, held at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, click on http://PikesPeakorBust.org.
Checks over $5,000
The following checks were approved as part of the consent agenda:
• Triview Metro District – Sales tax due for March 2019, Motor Vehicle sales tax for April 2019, Regional Building use tax for April 2019, $142,631.
• Prestige Worldwide Technologies – PRV repairs, $25,985.
• CivicPlus – website renewal, $7,900.
• AECOM – Beacon Lite Road walk improvements, $6,181.
• Common Knowledge Technologies – Warranty Renewal, Fortinet Protection renewal, $5,606.
• CIRSA – Worker’s Compensation Payroll Audit, Workman’s Comp Claim, $6,389.
• Schmidt Construction – Monument Overlay, $10,581.
• Murray, Dahl, Berry and Renaud, LLP – April attorney fees , $14,631.
The board went into executive session at 8:27 p.m. to receive legal advice and negotiation strategies regarding the town’s response to Forest Lakes’ lawsuit against the town. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#mbot and https://www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#mbot0219. Once out of the session, the board made no votes and adjourned at 9:33 pm.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kate Pangelinan
Three major items were approved for recommendation to the Board of Trustees at the June 12 Monument Planning Commission meeting—a Final Plat for Flying Horse MOB Filing No. 1., a Final PD Site Plan/Final Plat for Monument Ridge Apartments, and a Zone Change, Preliminary PD Site Plan, Final PD Site Plan, and Final Plat for the Monument Marketplace North development.
Commissioners Chris Wilhelmi, Melanie Strop, and John Dick were present, as well as Chairperson Michelle Glover, who led the meeting. Monument Town Manager Mike Foreman spoke near the beginning of the meeting, stating that he appreciates the Planning Commission.
Paperwork for the meeting can be found at https://monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com/. Recorded MPC meetings can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdFLo8UcqZfFdkio5jT6GDA/videos.
Flying Horse MOB Filing No. 1-Final Plat
The area being discussed for this movement is a 1.08-acre property at the northeast corner of Washington and Third Streets. Its official address is 77 Third St. This property is currently composed of six lots—Lots 11-16, Block 26—which were platted in the late 1800s. The applicant would like to consolidate these lots into one lot known as "Lot 1, Flying Horse MOB Filing No. 1."
This property was rezoned from residential to B-General Business in April 2018. Having a single lot on the property would allow the area to be more effectively utilized for commercial uses. Under the current rules, no building would be able to cross any existing lot lines.
This proposal was approved unanimously.
Monument Ridge Apartments—Final PD Site Plan/Final Plat
The Monument Ridge Apartments development is located on the southeast corner of Struthers and Baptist Roads, across from the King Soopers. The proposed apartment community would be composed of four buildings with 194 units, including studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Surface parking and garage spaces would be provided along with other residential amenities like a car wash, dog wash, clubhouse, playground, and dog park.
The development is roughly 9.88 acres and allows for 19.6 dwelling units per acre. The currently proposed building structure for this project includes straight lines, earth-tone paint and relatively modern architecture. Improvements to Struthers Road were recommended by the planning staff as a condition of approval. The maximum allowable height in the Monument Ridge Planned Development is 50 feet. The apartment buildings are a bit over 40 feet in height, putting them within the allowable range. The applicant is N.E.S. Inc., and the property owner is Ellsworth LLC.
Terri Hayes, president and CEO of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, spoke during the public hearing section, advocating for the inclusion of housing diversity in Monument’s community. Hayes noted that many people who work in Monument cannot afford to live in the town, and that providing for more variety in housing opportunities will help encourage potential employees for Monument’s businesses. Such housing options could also allow starting families to move to Monument, and those downsizing from larger homes to stay living in the community.
The Planning Commission’s concerns with this proposal included doubts that the modern architecture will mesh well with surrounding buildings and questions about how School District 20 school buses will access the facility.
In the end, this Final PD Site Plan/Final Plat movement was approved for recommendation unanimously, but with conditions. These conditions included the planning staff’s suggestion about improvements to Struthers Road, a submission of designs featuring somewhat less modern architecture, and that School District 20 be asked for an opinion about school buses interacting with the facility.
Zone Change, Preliminary PD Site Plan, Final PD Site Plan and Final Plat, Monument Marketplace North
Monument Marketplace North is an 11.8-acre area north of Walmart. It is currently zoned for Mixed Use, but June 12’s proposed changes would alter its designation to PD, or Planned Development. The list of allowed uses for the development comes from a similar list designed for Regency Park, with a few alterations. Brew pubs will be allowed, for instance, but mortuaries will not. Monument Marketplace North is proposed to be platted into seven lots.
Lot 1 of the development is a 2.03-acre site that will be occupied by Ferrari Films, a film company founded in Monument that has been contracted by the Department of Defense for over 20 years. Ferrari Films would operate out of a 15,732-square-foot building, and extensive landscaping has been proposed for the surrounding area. Ferrari Films currently has 16 full-time employees, but their operations are growing too large for their office. Transferring to Monument Marketplace North is expected to allow for a potential new total of 35 employees. Denise Ferrari, president and CEO, was unable to attend this meeting. Vice Presidents Peggy Moberly and Matt Moberly were in attendance and spoke to the Planning Commission about these proposals.
In the end, the proposals were approved for recommendation but with the following conditions: that "recording studios" be officially defined to prevent unexpected use by future developments and that two options from the list of allowed uses (7 and 8, pertaining to automotive businesses) be made conditional. This means each individual project would have to be approved separately, without being a guaranteed use. This motion passed 3-1, with Commissioner Dick voting against.
Monument was approved for a $100,000 state Department of Local Affairs grant to facilitate for a rewrite and overhaul of the town code. This is expected to clear up confusion regarding consistency and terms.
MPC meetings are generally held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at 645 Beacon Lite Rd. Information: 884-8017 or http://www.townofmonument.org/meetings/.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
At its June 17 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) approved water rate increases for Monument Water customers. The board also approved an extension on the 2018 audit, heard a presentation on the future of broadband and 5G networks in Monument, and narrowly passed a resolution approving processes for disposal of unneeded town property.
Trustee Ron Stephens was absent.
Water rates increase approved but not unanimously
During the May 20 meeting, Public Works Director Tom Tharnish brought his suggestions for water rate changes for discussion. He explained that the Water Enterprise Fund needs an increase in revenues to fund operations, build a reserve fund, and provide financing for capital projects over the next five years. Tharnish asked for a new base rate with a 6.5% increase every year for the next five years. See https://ocn.me/v19n6.htm#mbot0520.
Tharnish said water rates had not been increased since March 2016. See www.ocn.me/v16n4.htm#mbot0307. Monument Water’s over 900 water customers, all on the west side of I-25, will see changes to their bill in which the first gallon used is charged rather than using a base rate that automatically includes the first 1,000 gallons as they previously saw. The base rate for the majority of residential customers with a three-fourths-inch pipe will decrease for 2019, going from the current $31 for the first 1,000 gallons to $23.25 per the first 1,000 gallons, or 8 cents per gallon for the rest of this year.
To encourage conservation, the cost per gallon gets more expensive as the total number of gallons rises. Tharnish said typical residential users average 5,000 gallons per month in the winter and 14,000 in the summer months.
Commercial users and a few residential 2-inch pipe users will take the biggest hit from the changes at first because those rates have been frozen at an artificially low rate for years, Tharnish said.
Before this change, the town used the same bulk water rate for everyone who bought water at the bulk water station south of Safeway. This will change for commercial, government and contractor users. Bulk residential users will still be charged $11/1,000 gallons, but commercial users will pay $20/1,000 gallons. Tharnish said the bulk residential users outside the town actually need this water to live since their private wells have dried up or they never had one. Commercial users, such as developers, take water to suppress the dust kicked up from construction, and will pay more.
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein said he thought the increases were very fair. Nancy Swearengin said as a Monument resident and water customer, she’s happy to pay the increase knowing that the town’s cost to produce water has increased.
Tonight, the board all agreed water rates need to increase to pay for increasing water provision costs but disagreed on how to get this done. Trustee Laurie Clark asked numerous times for a "pro forma" analysis of future costs of projects and asked if Tharnish had made inflationary considerations when developing the new rate schedule. Tharnish explained the rates are based upon an average of the high and low capital costs, but Clark was not satisfied, saying "a big chunk of the process is missing."
Trustee Jim Romanello disagreed with Clark, saying Tharnish’s process seemed "quite detailed." Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Elliott said she trusts Tharnish and his staff’s expertise in designing the rate increases but worried they would take effect during the summer when water use is highest. Tharnish said the new rates would show up on bills mailed in September.
Mayor Don Wilson said, "I agree we need a rate increase, but I don’t agree with the way this one is done" but didn’t specify his complaints.
Trustee Greg Coopman, who ultimately voted against the rate increase, was concerned that the schedule includes five years of planned increases. He agreed the 2019 rate increases should be approved but could not stomach future increases. He reasoned since the one-year increases will bring the water fund to solvency, future water rate increases should be decided by the BOT annually prior to the budget preparation so rates can be changed as needed. He was very upset that the fund would be "more than solvent," saying government shouldn’t take more than it needs to cover costs, stressing "we have set a dangerous precedent tonight."
The ordinance passed 4-2 with Coopman and Clark voting against.
Annual town audit will be late
Finance Director Bill Wengert asked the board to extend the time to report and file the 2018 financial audit because the audit, scheduled for June, is not ready for review by the board at this meeting. Wengert must formally ask the state for a 30-day extension so the board can approve the audit at a July meeting.
Colorado Revised Statute 29-1-606 requires the town to submit its audit to the state six months after the close of the fiscal year.
Clark asked why the audit would be delayed, and Wengert said the town had to reschedule the auditor due to town staffing changes. Clark asked if he was "running into some problems?" Wengert, who became the town’s finance director in May, said it was just a matter of timing.
The board unanimously approved the resolution requesting an extension of 30 days for submission of the audit to the BOT and an extension of up to 60 days to file with the state.
Broadband strategic discussions
The BOT heard a lengthy presentation from El Paso County Chief Information Officer Jeff Eckhart and Dave Zelenok of HR Green Inc. concerning the county’s broadband strategic plan study and fiber optics/broadband/5G opportunities. County Commissioner Holly Williams said at the meeting that she is in favor of the broadband infrastructure plan. She said Zelenok’s firm helped to write a broadband strategic plan in conjunction with Eckhart’s staff and input from the county commissioners.
Through the process of developing the plan, the county decided instead of committing money, it would be best for them to facilitate partnerships between public entities and private broadband companies to eventually cover the entire county with the new technology.
Background: "High-speed broadband" service is typically run over fixed fiber connections, receiving data at a rate of 25 Mbps and sending data at a 3 Mbps rate. When it is available in the U.S., fixed wireless access or 5G will use wireless connectivity at the final connection within a home or business, which will require close in, line-of-sight transmitters set hundreds of feet apart over a street.
The county review and final strategic plan found 46% of county residents are "underserved," relying on digital subscriber lines with speed rates significantly under the FCC "broadband" definition.
Colorado Senate Bill 152, passed in 2005, declared that local governments may not provide subscribers cable television, telecommunications service, or advanced service, including high-speed internet. Neither may local governments purchase, lease, construct, maintain, or operate a facility to provide these services either directly or indirectly.
Before the Town of Monument can consider partnering with a private broadband business, residents must first vote to opt out of SB 152. Zelenok said about 114 Colorado cities and counties have opted out of SB152, and suggested the town make this its first task. El Paso County already accomplished this in 2016.
During public comments, resident and Monument Sanitation District board member Dan Hamilton of local internet service provider Force Broadband asked the BOT to consider the expenses the town would incur if it were in the wireless business including fiber deployments. He said three businesses in Monument are able to provide 100 Mbps coverage to residents if they choose. He said the town should consider partnering with a private entity as the best way for residents and businesses to get broadband.
Zelenok said while average internet speeds in Monument are better than in El Paso County, "The fairy-broadband-mother is not going to show up and fix this. What is the vision for Monument?" He advised using opportunities to put in conduit for future fiber optics "any time a trench is open."
Clark said prior to running for the board she was interested in broadband and spoke to the local developers and water districts who all agreed to install conduit along roadways as they develop—at their own expense. "They are. They are doing this," Clark said. She was also in favor, as were all other board members, to create an SB-152 exemption for future local control.
The board tasked Town Manager Mike Foreman with talking to District Manager Jim McGrady of the Triview Metropolitan District, which is within the town, to ask if it is installing conduit during road construction. The BOT would consider a ballot measure to exempt Monument from SB-152 in a future election.
Property disposal resolution revised
Wengert asked the board to repeal the town’s existing surplus property disposal procedures, approved in 2002, and accept a procedure presented tonight in the board packet. Currently, town staff dispose of property only after the BOT approves anything with an original purchase price of $1,000 or more. The new resolution would allow Foreman to approve property disposals of items less than $25,000. Anything more than that amount would require BOT approval. Property seized by the police would be disposed of using applicable laws.
Bornstein asked who decides when an item is ready for disposal or is at the end-of-life, adding, "nobody’s challenging the authority we gave the" town manager. Clark asked who decided to select the $25,000 figure. Police Chief Jake Shirk said he performed the original analysis on this project and chose the updated price threshold to allow more discretion for the town manager and staff. Foreman said the town is currently storing outdated, extraneous equipment in three storage units that cost $150 each per month and looked forward to being able to dispose of or sell the unusable items.
After an extended discussion about the appropriateness of the $25,000 threshold, especially with respect to vehicles, and the need for the addition of a form documenting the value and reason an item is being replaced, the resolution was approved 4-2 with Clark and Coopman voting no.
The meeting adjourned at 9:19 pm.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next meeting is scheduled for July 15. 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
At a meeting on June 10, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board was scheduled to hear a report based on its most recent audit, but the full audit report was delayed due to ill health on the part of the auditor. District Manager Jessie Shaffer went over highlights of the report with the board. The board also heard operational reports from staff.
Summary audit report has no surprises
Shaffer told the board that John Cutler, of John Cutler & Associates, the district’s auditors, was scheduled to report on the results of the 2018 audit, but due to ill health Cutler had to postpone his report until the July meeting.
Shaffer told the board that Cutler had issued a clean opinion on the district’s finances for 2018.
Shaffer pointed out that the district’s total net position in 2018 was up about $2.5 million from 2017. The district had budgeted for expenditures of $9.4 million, but expenditures came in lower than that at $7.5 million.
The audit report included in the packet of materials given to the board lists the 2018 total net position as $58.075 million for 2018, and as $55.555 million for 2017, an increase of $2.520 million.
The audit report gives this explanation of the district’s financial position: "The District’s net position increased in 2018 by $2,520,088. This was the result of the District’s tap fees collected coupled with its operating revenues exceeding operating expenses over the year. Water and sewer user fees exceeded budgeted expectations while operating expenditures did not materialize to budgeted levels."
Shaffer added that the demand for new water and sewer taps has slowed in recent months.
Shaffer said that from the perspective of the district’s bond holders, the district’s finances are "toeing the line."
The board voted unanimously to accept the audited financial statements.
Highlights of operational reports
• In his financial report, Treasurer Jim Wyss said, "the numbers look good; expenses are under control."
• In the Chilcott Ditch report, Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette mentioned that irrigation had not started at the Woodmoor Ranch because the weather had been cool and wet.
• Gillette said water unaccounted for was at 15 percent, a higher than usual amount. To investigate, meter testing was being done at the district’s well sites, and Wells 15 and 18 were found to be off in their metering.
• Well 20 is out of operation due to pump motor problems.
• Well 9 has been cleaned and is returning to operation.
• At Well 21, site work has commenced, concrete is being poured and construction of the well house will start soon. The design of the transmission pipeline for the well has begun, and the district is studying the use of directional drilling to minimize the impact on backyards in the vicinity. Well 21 should be operational by the end of the year, Shaffer estimated.
• The district’s water reserve it pumps into Lake Woodmoor is increasing due to steady flows in Monument Creek.
• District Attorney Erin Smith told the board that a newly passed law gave the board the opportunity to decide whether official notices should be posted to the district’s website instead of being posted physically in three locations. Smith said the state seemed to favor posting information online. The district currently posts notices at Community Bank, the District office, and at the Woodmoor Improvement Association, she said. Smith said she would draft a resolution to be voted on at the July meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 8 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. See www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times.
James Howald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors focused much of its attention on water-related discussions at the June 18 meeting. District Manager Jim McGrady updated directors on the status of the Jackson Creek Parkway widening project, which is progressing well.
Triview is a Title 32 special district inside Monument that provides road, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas.
All directors, District Water Attorney Chris Cummins and District General Counsel Gary Shupp were present.
Steps to enhance water services, resources
District Manager Jim McGrady and Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton presented historic data showing the "annual rebound" of water pumped by Triview’s Well A7 from the Arapahoe Aquifer. They interpreted the findings to show that water drawn from the aquifer was slightly less than previous estimations. Once all of the district’s seven wells are outfitted with the necessary equipment, it will be able to more fully track water consumption trends and gauge water resources.
Cummins confirmed completion of the May 21 board-authorized contract to purchase 100 additional Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) shares. The next step is to establish certificates for the entities involved, about a 60-day process.
McGrady stated that Triview had dispatched Global Underground, Inc. to begin work on a 4,000-foot drinking water line in the district’s territory west of I-25. This new water line will serve incoming development east of Old Denver Road.
Cummins explained that the district is also assessing how it might augment—reclaim ownership of—20 to 60 additional acre-feet of its Denver Basin Aquifer water by measuring how much lawn water irrigation return flows (LIRFs) percolate back into the soil in certain areas.
During board discussion, President Mark Melville encouraged directors to consider future water rate options to help balance responsible customer water consumption with adequate revenue.
Melville addressed a second water-related issue, water storage. Anticipating that a northern El Paso County renewable drinking water pipeline is a potential reality—as part of the regionalization negotiations with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU)—a wise step is for the district to consider water storage opportunities. Those with junior water rights need to pump more water in the off-season and store it "somewhere" until demand is high in the summer.
The board discussed several factors involved in their research such as determining appropriate storage capacity, assessing the ease of getting water into and out of storage, and measuring water loss from natural impacts like evaporation and percolation. These questions, McGrady explained, are parts of a greater whole that should be incorporated into the district’s Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP). The variables—demand, how to meet demand, renewable/non-renewable water resources, storage—are all connected and need to be integrated.
However, the priority is for CSU to finalize its proposed regionalization so that the other pieces of the puzzle can fall into place.
Jackson Creek Parkway widening
McGrady expressed high praise for Kiewit Infrastructure Co. and its recommendations after an analysis of stormwater infrastructure that is part of the Jackson Creek Parkway widening project. Kiewit’s reconfigured design will save the district substantial costs compared to HR Green’s initial design, McGrady projected. Kiewit remains committed to provide a guaranteed maximum price on July 13, after which construction may begin, as well as a project completion by October 2019. McGrady noted that with oil prices and trucking expenses rapidly on the rise, locking in these costs is imperative to staying on or under budget,
Property taxes, possible extra funds
Melville introduced the topic of potential excess property tax revenue, saying due to the influx of many new residents to the district, Triview will likely receive more revenue than what its bond repayment will require.
Revenue generated by the current 35-mill property tax may only be spent on debt service and the district has not passed the 10-year mark when it can make advance payments without penalty.
Directors considered two options; a temporary residential and commercial property tax reduction for 2020 or placing the additional revenue in escrow for an advance payment after the district’s 10-year bond anniversary. The board did not make a final decision.
Metering system becoming outdated
Current water meters throughout Triview require that the district contract for monthly meter reading services. McGrady explained advanced technology exists that provides water consumption information to service providers and their individual customers via cell phone connection. The cellular technology would allow Triview and its customers to establish alerts for leak detection and monitor water consumption in real time.
Anticipating that current system components will eventually fail and necessary replacement parts are not likely to be available due to discontinuation, McGrady proposed that the board consider including costs for 5G cellular technology water meter upgrades in the 2020 budget and inviting the district’s meter provider to conduct a presentation about its upgrade options. See the article on page 14 covering the June 17 Monument Board of Trustees meeting. Directors indicated interest and requested a breakdown of costs versus savings.
Video recording, sidewalk repair, habitat
The directors voted on three action items. The first, a policy concerning the audio and video recording of meetings by private citizens, was discussed in executive session. McGrady confirmed later that the board adopted a policy not to permit video recordings of meetings by private citizens and that the policy did not pertain to audio recordings.
A second resolution established a discretionary fund and accompanying policy designed to assist homeowners with sidewalk repair in specific circumstances. The policy capped the district’s expenditure per homeowner to $1,000 and the fund’s annual appropriation to be determined at the board’s discretion. See "Sidewalk repairs, past and future", www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#tvmd.
The third item, directors considered for adoption a Permit Co-Applicant Agreement between the district and the Jackson Creek Land Co. (JCLC) to complete enhancements to Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (PMJM) habitat and wetlands area to fulfill remaining Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act obligations. Enhancements in an area west of Jackson Creek Parkway and slightly north of Jackson Creek Senior Living—referred to as the Teachout Creek Riparian Enhancement Area — will cost an estimated $115,000 for Triview and the same for JCLC.
The meeting ended at 7:27 p.m.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District contracted with Martin Marietta to fulfill overlay work in specific neighborhoods as part of its 2019 road overlay project. The expected completion date for the entire project was June 27. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
The next Triview board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. July 16. 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 email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD) supplies drinking water and sewer service to Pleasant View Estates. On June 19, the AWSD board heard more about the water leak near the intersection Becky Drive and Pleasant View Drive that left almost 40 residents without water to their homes from the morning of May 28 to the afternoon of May 30.
As District Manager Anthony Pastorello also noted in regular real-time updates on the district website, the excavation crew had to use extreme caution and take extra safety steps because the driveway near the leak collapsed and the street was also in danger of collapsing. This repair is more challenging and more dangerous than most they have completed in the past, he said, because the pipe was very deep and difficult to access due to proximity to a 50-year-old makeshift culvert that was terrifically unstable.
Pastorello said residents were disgruntled about having no water and didn’t realize the delay was due to safety concerns for the workers.
He warned the board that AWSD’s aging infrastructure would inevitably spring more leaks in the future, and he and the directors discussed prioritizing phases of line replacements over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, certain segments of the system lack enough isolation valves along them, causing more residents to go without water when repairs to a leak are being made.
Mark Morton of GMS Consulting Engineers offered suggestions on how to analyze more components of the system at the same time as routine maintenance is being done, to "get the best bang for your buck." This would help prioritize the capital improvement plan to fix the aging infrastructure of the district, which originated in 1963.
Pastorello had not yet received the bill for this extended-duration water main repair.
Other items discussed during Pastorello’s report included:
• Progress on pumping liquid and biosolids out of the ponds now that the treatment plant is decommissioned and waste is being pumped to Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.
• AWSD wanted to buy its own generator this spring, but unbudgeted repairs to the deep well and other items took priority.
• However, the sewage lift station tap box connections are now compatible with Donala’s generator if needed in an emergency.
• Water fees might need to be reviewed.
• A Town Hall meeting for residents is coming in October.
The Academy Water and Sanitation District board meets at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday each month at the Donald Wescott Fire Station, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Contact Operations Manager Anthony Pastorello at 481-0711 or see the district website www.colorado.gov/pacific/awsd.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors considered recommendations from District Manager Kip Petersen on arsenic discharge limits, the Pueblo County 1041 permit resolution, and participation in a proposed northern potable water pipe at the June 20 meeting.
Director Kevin Deardorff was excused.
Arsenic discharge conundrum
October 1, 2019 marks the date when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) begins to enforce strict limits on wastewater treatment facility discharge. Prior to this time, treatment facilities have only needed to monitor levels of certain materials which are naturally present in aquifer groundwater and directed to the treatment facility before water is sent to consumers. See www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#dwsd.
Donala operates the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) which is owned in partnership by Donala, Triview Metropolitan District, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District. Generally, the discharge is not a concern for the UMCRWWTF partners; however, hot and dry summers can be problematic. Water consumption increases dramatically due to lawn irrigation. Thus, wells are pumped more heavily to meet the demand and more of the naturally occurring groundwater contaminants—such as arsenic, iron, and manganese—are extracted and directed to the wastewater treatment facility. During these times, arsenic levels have the potential to rise slightly above the WQCD’s limit.
In an effort to lower the amount of arsenic directed to UMCRWWTF by Donala, the district had been preparing plans for construction of a $1 million Water Treatment Plant Residuals Dewatering Facility (RDF) to remove the composite of arsenic and other contaminants as solid wastes to divert them from the wastewater treatment facility and ensure that arsenic levels would not exceed the facility’s discharge permit limit.
Concurrently, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has been exploring the feasibility of consolidating wastewater treatment with northern El Paso County wastewater districts into a regional wastewater treatment system. If it is feasible for the owner districts of UMCRWWTF and the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility to participate in regional consolidation, the arsenic compliance burden would rest on CSU’s larger J.D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility. Donala now faces the dilemma of continuing the construction of the residuals management facility or trusting that regional consolidation at the J.D. Phillips treatment plant will solve Donala’s arsenic discharge permit problem soon enough.
Donala and Triview have taken additional measures to reduce the arsenic discharge. Donala deactivated the well that had been subject to the highest arsenic levels and plans to maximize its current connection with CSU to draw as much surface water as possible from its Willow Creek Ranch supply. Triview has implemented a process at its wells that reduces arsenic levels, as well.
Petersen informed the board that Donala sent a request to WQCD to defer implementation of Donala’s arsenic limitation for up to five years. Procedural steps inherent in the deferment request mean that Donala is unlikely to have an answer from WQCD until late spring of 2020. Similarly, sufficient concrete information regarding CSU’s consolidation plans is not likely to materialize until about the same time. Both time frames arrive after the impending tighter Oct. 1, 2019 UMCRWWTF arsenic discharge permit regulation implementation date.
Petersen, expressing confidence that current Donala groundwater arsenic reduction measures should suffice to meet arsenic discharge compliance, recommended that Donala postpone construction of the RDF until such time as feasibility of consolidation for connection to CSU’s J.D. Phillips treatment is determined. The proposed RDF postponement motion was approved unanimously.
Permit meets more delays
Donala’s board was expecting to approve a resolution pertaining to its 1041 permit application with Pueblo County—a necessary step for the district to use the Southern Delivery System as means to transport water from its Willow Creek Ranch to Donala customers—at the June 20 board meeting. However, the permit met yet another delay at the June 13 Pueblo County Board of County Commissioners public hearing. Despite a lack of opposition to Donala’s request, continuing additional questions and a commissioner’s absence led the commissioners to postpone final action until July 11, 2019. Because the permit’s public hearing remains officially open and, therefore, terms and conditions of the permit are still subject to new additional modifications, Petersen recommended postponement of the resolution until the July 18 district board meeting.
$2 million too much
Petersen explained that he has been participating in talks with northern El Paso County water districts about possible potable return flows delivery options and has concluded that the cost-benefit calculation does not meet the district’s budgetary standards. Because of the district’s current connection to CSU, the return flow delivery option being considered would only serve as a secondary backup water pipeline, and $2 million is too much to spend on a "nice to have" project, he stated. He cited some of Donala’s upcoming project demands that will require substantial investment over the next few years, such as possible connection to the CSU consolidated wastewater treatment system or completion of the residuals management facility, whichever is appropriate; water storage for the district’s Laughlin water rights; continued water main replacements; and final renewable water right purchases.
Petersen advised the board to not participate financially in the potable return flow pipeline. The directors unanimously accepted the district manager’s recommendation.
District receives clean audit opinion
Tom Sistare, accountant of Hoelting and Co., Inc. presented findings from Donala’s 2018 audit. He declared an "unmodified or clean opinion" for the district. Comparing 2017 to 2018 figures, the district’s net position increased overall by $2.6 million, operating expenses increased minimally by about $26,000, capital expenditures fell from $4.9 million to $3.8 million, and tap fees, mostly commercial in 2018, boosted revenue from $400,000 to $1.1 million.
Sistare praised the district staff for their consistently professional, timely, and organized work and that it makes the audit a smooth process from year to year. The board approved the 2018 audit and Sistare will forward it to the state by 31 July, 2019.
Manager’s retirement taking shape
Vice President Ed Houle presented an outline for the district general manager succession plan and a draft job description for the board to review. Petersen’s expected effective retirement date is May 31, 2020. The current plan incorporates a 30-day transition period translating to an official May 1 hire date for the incoming district general manager.
The board decided on a Dec. 11, 2019, resume submission deadline. Finalist applicants must be prepared to have their names published and be subject to a background check. Permanent employment is dependent on successful completion of a drug test. Petersen confirmed that the 2020 budget will reflect the additional expenses of the search process.
The meeting moved into executive session at 2:50 p.m. under the provision of CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations; and instructing negotiators. Petersen stated that there would be no decisions made in executive session.
The next board meeting will be held 1:30 p.m. July 18 at the district office located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. 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 email@example.com.
By John Howe and Lisa Hatfield
The Forest View Acres Water District (FVAWD) board approved locating of water lines related to the Dawson Well Rehabilitation project; approved a fee for manual meter reading and an increase to the fire hydrant use fee, discussed logistics and finances related to the Disinfection Outreach Verification Effort (DOVE) and the Dawson well rehabilitation project, both underway, and filled an open board position. At this June 26 meeting, board members talked over each other and did not follow the agenda despite the efforts of Senior Manager Lisa Jacoby of Community Resources Services of Colorado and board President Brad Hogan.
FVAWD was established in 1957 in unincorporated El Paso County west of Colorado Highway 105. It now serves customers of over 300 lots in six subdivisions: Cloven Hoof, Red Rock Ranch, Red Rock Reserve, Shiloh Pines, Sundance Estates, and The Villas.
The board unanimously approved locating of water lines associated with the Dawson well rehabilitation project scheduled to start July 8. It was noted that currently, only 25% of all district water lines are known due to unreliable records inherited by the district, said Engineer John McGinn of JDS-Hydro Consultants Inc.
McGinn explained the details of the Dawson well rehabilitation project, including the possible need for additional steps that were options included with the original proposal from Hydro Resources. It was noted that the well rehabilitation is a very important component of the overall water system and is a top priority of the board, although at the time the district’s budget was prepared the details of the project were unknown and could not be fully understood until a video evaluation is performed.
McGinn discussed the DOVE and the Dawson well rehabilitation project evaluation. He discussed the steps for evaluating the well and options available based upon the outcome of that evaluation, indicating that combining both projects would provide efficiencies and a cost savings to the district. After an extended discussion, the board approved 3-1 to move forward with the Dawson well rehabilitation project, with Wilkins voting no. The DOVE project was approved at a prior meeting. Further, the board voted 3-1 to appoint Eck Zimmermann to approve additional expenses to the Dawson well project between board meetings if the need arose, to avoid the expense associated with holding special meetings. Wilkins voted no.
In a unanimous vote, a fee of $50 per month for manual meter reading and an increase to the hydrant use fee from $8 per 1,000 gallons to $20 per 1,000 gallons was imposed.
District residents Vince Guthrie and Victor McBride applied to fill the board position vacated by Martin Taylor and presented their extensive qualifications. After an executive session, the board voted to appoint McBride.
Wilkins said she researched possible funding by USDA/AWWA of grant money to help FVAWD with expenses, but she found (as anticipated) that the median household income of the area was too high for the district to qualify for a grant.
Wilkins explained new legislation regarding posting requirements. Effective on or after Aug. 2, 2019, official postings on a district website 24 hours prior to a board meeting is sufficient official notice statutorily; however, the district board determined to post on the website as soon as practicable.
The 2018 audit will be presented at the July meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 24 at the Monument Sanitation District boardroom, 130 Second St. Information: or https://colorado.gov/pacific/fvawd. Contact the Board of Directors at BOD@fvawd.com or District Manager Lisa Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
At its June 18 meeting, the El Paso County Planning Commission recommended for approval a vacation and replat request from G & S Development Inc., the owner of the Gleneagle Golf Course Residential Infill Development, to create the final 12 lots on the former golf course.
The request relates to an almost 8-acre section of the former golf course, known as Tract G, which was created in May 2017 when 12 lots and a cul-de-sac were removed from the final plat request to allow the rest of the development to move forward while off-site drainage issues concerning lots on Westchester Drive were resolved. The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the preliminary plan request for 56 single-family lots and the final plat for 44 lots and Tract G. (see https://www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#epbocc)
The county has now approved the drainage plans for this part of the site, which will have one private on-site full spectrum detention pond and a storm sewer system to mitigate the impact of the development. The detention pond will "outfall" to a storm system that runs along the side lot line of an existing home on Westchester Drive. G & S Development has acquired a drainage easement for this private storm sewer from the lot owner. County engineering staff had had concerns about the original drainage plans for this area, which proposed discharging from the pond onto adjacent lots that were deemed inadequate to handle the flow without significant impact to existing homes.
The request was treated as a consent item on the Planning Commission’s agenda, meaning that there was no public hearing, and was unanimously recommended for approval by the commissioners. Ahead of its decision, Kari Parsons, Planner III, Planning and Community Development Department, told the commissioners that the matter could be escalated to a full public hearing because the county had received letters of objection to the application. No member of the public requested a public hearing, and the commissioners decided to continue with it as a consent item. However, Commissioner Kevin Curry made it clear that the commissioners were not ignoring the public’s concerns but that they were either matters the commissioners could not consider or were matters that had already been resolved.
The application is now due to heard at the BOCC meeting on July 9.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved two special use requests at its May 28 meeting. Also on May 28, the commissioners unanimously approved the issuance of an approval certificate relating to the bonds for the new Monument Academy charter school. In June the commissioners made decisions concerning the roundabout project at the intersection of Struthers Road and Gleneagle Drive, the Highway 105 Project, and the Forest Lakes development.
Two special use applications approved
There was a great deal of discussion at the May 28 BOCC meeting concerning two special use applications that had come from the Planning Commission with recommendations for approval. See www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#epcpc.
Special use applications are normally dealt with administratively, but both were elevated to public hearings because the county had received objections from neighbors. The commissioners commented that special use or variance requests were becoming more common and undermining county’s Land Development Code. As a result, when updating the Planning Commission on the BOCC hearing on June 18, Craig Dossey, executive director, Planning and Community Development Department, told the commissioners that the county had scheduled a workshop with the BOCC for June 27 to discuss and receive feedback on the current code with regard to rural home occupations and extended family housing and to consider potential changes. He expected to give feedback to the Planning Commission in early July. Changes to the code require Planning Commission and BOCC approval.
The first application the commissioners considered was a special use request from the Petrick family for a guesthouse with special provisions to allow their mother to live permanently in it. The property is slightly to the north of Pleier Drive and Silverton Road in the Overlook Estates subdivision. The 2,682-square-foot guesthouse would exceed the size limit of 1,500 square feet allowed under the county’s Land Development Code. The Petricks were requesting approval of the current main dwelling as a guesthouse and would build a new, larger primary residence at the property for themselves. The property is zoned RR-5 (residential rural) in which 25% lot coverage is allowed. Dan Sievers, with Design Renaissance and representing the applicant, said lot coverage after the new main home is built would be about 2.3%.
Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez said that requests for exemptions were having fewer special circumstances and if the board wanted to approve such applications in the future as the standard then it would be more appropriate to change the code. He added that he did not believe the size in this particular case was in conformity with the Master Plan or the code, or in harmony with the neighborhood. Commissioner Mark Waller disagreed, stating, "I believe we should applaud people who are willing to take their family members in. I think this fits the spirit of the code." The commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the application. Gonzalez voted no.
The second was an application by Randy and Elizabeth Reimers for a special use permit to allow a contractor’s yard as a rural home occupation at their property at the northeast corner of the Herring Road and Swan Road intersection in Black Forest.
Their application came about through a code enforcement action after complaints were made about a large berm and an illegal contractor’s yard at their property in Black Forest. The berm was not a violation of county regulations, but the yard was illegal because it required a special use approval to operate in an RR-5 zoning district. The Reimers told the commissioners that they were unaware they needed a permit until complaints were filed against them. They explained that the family’s masonry business relocated to their property after the Black Forest Fire when their parents’ home was lost and that they continue to work to improve their property. They plan to build a storage building for the equipment and materials in the future.
Commissioner Mark Waller doubted the Reimers’ story, saying the berm was built to conceal the yard. Randy Reimers countered that the berm was for privacy. Mindy Madden, code enforcement supervisor, Planning and Community Development Department, said that when she visited the property the Reimers had said they were not operating a business. Randy Reimers told the commissioners that at that time he was moving equipment to his property from his father’s for personal, not business use.
Commissioner Holly Williams said she was initially very hesitant to approve the application because she saw a pattern of the problem not being fixed but she acknowledged the fire had hit people hard and that this was a young family that had also had to deal with a bereavement. Gonzalez commented, "I don’t like to see people doing things and then asking for forgiveness because I don’t know the intent when the business was started." Waller stated that he didn’t find the special use to be generally consistent with the Master Plan.
The application was approved 3-2. Commissioners Gonzalez and Waller voted no. The next step is for the applicants to submit a site development plan to the county for approval.
Monument Academy new charter school bond funding
A public hearing was held on May 15 by the El Paso County Economic Development Department with respect to the issuance of the bonds and their financing for the new Monument Academy charter school at the southeast corner of the intersection of Highways 105 and 83. The hearing was officially posted in the Fountain Valley News on May 8. No members of the public spoke in favor of or raised objections to the proposed issuance of the bonds or the overall project.
At the May 28 BOCC meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved the issuance of an approval certificate for the bonds that will be issued for the nonprofit, tax-exempt Monument Academy Foundation for a plan of finance relating to the new school. This item was included in the consent agenda, so the BOCC did not discuss it.
The aggregate principal amount of the tax-exempt bonds will not exceed $30 million.
The foundation will use the proceeds of the bonds to construct the new school, which will be leased to Monument Academy for the operation of its new combined middle and high school, and to the YMCA, which is also a nonprofit. Part of the bond proceeds will be used to establish a bond reserve fund, fund any capitalized interest on the bonds, and meet the costs of issuing them.
Struthers Road/ Gleneagle Drive roundabout plans
At the June 18 meeting, the commissioners took on a number of decisions relating to the planned roundabout at the intersection of Struthers Road and Gleneagle Drive. They approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed, two non-exclusive permanent easements, and two temporary construction easement agreements concerning property owned by GB Ridgepointe LLC at a total cost to county of $58,000. This sum includes the cost of planned landscape improvements.
Work to construct the roundabout is due to begin imminently. It is being built in three phases with the first phase affecting the northeast side of Struthers Road. The intersection will remain open, but drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes.
Monument Hill Road closure expanded
Work on safety and drainage improvements along Monument Hill Road is ongoing—the road has been closed from the intersection of Woodmoor Drive to the south entrance of the Monument Hill Church since mid-October. In the interest of shortening the remaining construction time, work on the second phase will begin in early July before full completion of the first phase.
This means that Monument Hill Road will be closed from Woodmoor Drive to the south entrance of Palmer Ridge High School, eliminating access from Monument Hill Road to Deer Creek Road. The primary detour route will be Woodmoor Drive, Furrow Road, and County Line Road, and alternate access to Monument Hill Church will be provided.
The county expects the project to be substantially complete in August but warns that the schedule remains dependent on weather and resources.
Highway 105 widening project
At their June 11 meeting, the commissioners approved a contract amendment request from the Department of Public Works relating to its contract with HDR Engineering Inc. for the Highway 105 Project A. The contract was originally awarded to HDR in April 2011, and the amendment allows for supplemental final design services at a cost not to exceed $412,908. Project A is the segment of the project from Woodmoor Drive to Lake Woodmoor Drive. Construction is due to begin in fall 2019.
• June 6—The commissioners approved the appointment of Tim Trowbridge as an associate member of the Planning Commission for one year. Trowbridge previously served on the Planning Commission from 2010 to 2017.
• June 11—Approved the preliminary acceptance of parts of Lake Mist Drive, Lakes Edge Drive, and Channel Island Drive in the Forest Lakes Filing No. 2B into the county road system following the completion and satisfactory inspection of public improvements in the subdivision.
• June 18—Approved the application by Black Forest Diversified Services LLC, doing business as Firehouse on the Run 2 at 12480 Black Forest Road, for a fermented malt beverage off-premise liquor license.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met June 26 to hear updates from board directors. Board members Brad Gleason, Lee Hanson, Bert Jean, and Tom Smith were absent.
• President Brian Bush reported for Community Outreach Director Jean that the board is developing scholarships for students and adult residents to use for educational and community service purposes; more information will be available at the July meeting.
• Bush reported for WIA Treasurer Hanson that the budget is in good shape and thanked the staff for holding down expenses. He noted that 30 residents who have not paid dues will have liens placed on their properties, and the WIA attorney will address those with older debts for dues, covenant fines, etc.
• WIA Administrator Denise Cagliaro reported for Covenant Director Smith that there were 16 violations in May with four adjudicated as unfounded and one hearing that reduced the fine. There were 16 homeowners’ association checks which found no issues.
• WIA is working on a high volume of complaints about dead and downed trees, tall grass, and weeds.
• WIA has started the first mowing of common areas and is aware that this is a tough year for grass but reminds residents they are responsible for maintaining their property up to the edge of the roadway and that, besides being unsightly, the tall grass will become a fire hazard when it dries up.
• Kevin Nielsen, Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS) chief, noted that after a period of declining contributions, by adding a reminder that WPS accepts donations on its post-vacation check reports, donations have increased by 48% including 28 new donors and one longtime resident who provided a sizable donation to make up for 20 years of not donating. Typical donations for a one-week vacation check service range from $15 to $25.
• On July 20, the Ascent Church will host a Run for Hope color run in Woodmoor from the Church on Woodmoor and Deer Creek to White Fawn then south to Knollwood before looping back. The organization will apply for county permits for temporary closures but will try to ensure maximum access to residents and will provide notices to homes along the route. All proceeds will be donated to local schools for the prevention of suicide; more information is available at http://run4hope5kforschools.com.
• Forestry Director Ed Miller reported that 102 loads were processed on the first chipping day despite the weather. The next chipping day will be held on July 13 at the Lewis-Palmer High School parking lot.
• Common Areas Director Rich Wretschko reported that the county has approved the location for the Barn expansion for WPS offices; flower planting and a new fountain with LED lighting has been installed; the sprinkler system is now running normally; the mandatory sewer line testing was successful; and bids are underway to replace windows in the downstairs offices as part of the reserve study process.
• Common area noxious weed spraying was done on June 15 using an environmentally friendly herbicide called Milestone that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has assessed to be substantially below all levels of concern for non-target organisms. The work was done by a state and federally licensed technician who provided daily reports.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next regular meeting will be on July 24.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bill Kappel
June was another month of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation. In fact, until the last week of the month we failed to reach the 80-degree mark, with temperatures consistently below normal every day through the 26th. Then summer made a quick entrance and we skipped from cool and wet to warm almost overnight.
The month started with a period of unsettled weather from the 1st through the 4th. Around an inch of rainfall accumulated, with temperatures in the low 70s each afternoon and low 40s overnight.
Temperatures remained below normal through the 12th, but drier conditions were prevalent during that time. The exception was on the afternoon of the 7th when brief heavy rain and areas of hail developed. The coolest day during the period was associated with an area of low clouds and fog on the 9th. Highs only reached the low 50s that afternoon, with low temperatures dipping down to the mid-30s
Another period of unsettled weather returned from the 14th through the 22nd. Periods of rainfall and thunderstorms were a daily occurrence in the region most every day, with 1-2 inches of new rainfall. The most unusual aspect of the period was a strong area of low pressure that moved over the region right at the start of summer. This produced significant snowfall in the mountains and cool temperatures for us. This included highs only in the upper 40s on the 23rd and low temperatures in the mid-30s.
However, after this storm moved out, high pressure began to build in from the west/southwest. This was a sign of change, and true summer-like conditions were moving into the region. Temperatures reached the mid-70s on the 24th and 25th, then 80s from the 26th through the 30th. Highs peaked in the upper 80s on the 28th, reaching 89 degrees that afternoon. This warm weather was welcome for most of us after such a long, cold winter and spring and called for some good old Colorado outdoor activities.
A look ahead
July can be an active weather month around the region as the Southwest Monsoon season gets going. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and when they can tap into higher levels of moisture, flash flooding can result. Hot, stagnant weather can also take hold for a few days at time, with highs hitting well into the 90s.
June 2019 Weather Statistics
Average High 72.5° (-4.9°)
100-year return frequency value max 82.5° min 66.3°
Average Low 44.0° (-0.4°)
100-year return frequency value max 50.7° min 40.2°
Highest Temperature 89°F on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 36°F on the 9th, 23rd
Monthly Precipitation 2.42" (+0.47" 10% above normal)
100-year return frequency value max 6.94" min 0.15"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0" (-0.1" 100% below normal)
Season to Date Snow 163.1" (+40.6" 25% above normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip 11.65" (+0.63" 5% above normal) (the precip season is from July 1 to June 30)
Heating Degree Days 215 (+120)
Cooling Degree Days 16 (-12)
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.
Stop wasting money
About six months ago, D38’s School Board approved six modular buildings at a cost of $708,000. Two of them were for the middle school, but the rest were to be installed at the elementary schools so that D38 could continue providing preschool (which taxpayers aren’t even required to provide).
Why should taxpayers pay to provide site-based preschool? Last year a fact-finding committee that included a board member and the early learning program director formally recommended that D38 should centralize preschool. After the bond failed, however, the elementary school principals were trotted out at a board meeting to say it’s important to host site-based preschool at the elementary schools. Bear in mind that currently two of the five elementary schools do not even have any preschool at their location and these modulars won’t add any, so really how important could site-based preschool be?
Even worse, administrators came out and announced that the modulars were now going to cost $1.2 million instead of the $708,000 that the board agreed to six months earlier. And that’s for only five modulars, not the original six. Did you know that D38 has four modulars that they actually own sitting at the administration building that are not being used? Why would D38 lease five new modulars when they already own four? Is this just to provide parents the convenience of site-based preschool?
There is a pattern here. The district already owns a school in the center of town that it doesn’t want to use, and instead expects $30 million from taxpayers to build a new school. Remember this the next time D38 district boosters complain that the community doesn’t care about kids and teachers. Teachers and students lose when money is wasted.
https://go.boarddocs.com/co/lewispalmer/Board.nsf/files/B7KU576FE5C5, choose dec 2018 mid-term facilities plan 12 14 final.pdf
https://go.boarddocs.com/co/lewispalmer/Board.nsf/files/B7KVS778B394, choose Bond Debt Structure - Audit Committee Recommendation-HTS Edits.pdf
https://go.boarddocs.com/co/lewispalmer/Board.nsf/files/B7LRLA6A2425, choose Options - Create Your Own.pdf
https://go.boarddocs.com/co/lewispalmer/Board.nsf/files/BCT3QD07F4F4, choose Modular budgets - Phipps, CRP and manufacturer actual costs (1).pdf
Options facing the Palmer Lake Fire Department
What are the options facing the Palmer Lake Fire Department?
Option 1: Do nothing.
Our current fire department is woefully unsafe and no longer adequate for our residents’ needs. We also don’t have an ambulance in town. No increase in our taxes.
Option 2: Join Tri-Lakes Monument Fire District and dissolve Palmer Lake Fire Department
• Tri-Lakes has three fire stations for a 52.1-square-mile coverage.
• One station for every 17.3 square miles.
• 45 firefighters for 33,000 residents.
• Palmer Lake proposes 14 firefighters for 2,500 residents.
• PLFD covers 4½ square miles.
• TLMFD 23% of structures in Palmer Lake are 1½ miles away.
• PLFD 71% of the structures in Palmer Lake are 1½ miles away.
• Total costs—18.4 mills (11.5 mills in 2014 6.9-mill increase). Future?
Option 3: Keep our Fire Department
• Additional staffing: One fire chief/fire marshal.
• Six full-time and seven part-time staff; three firefighter/EMTs 24/7, 365 days.
• Ambulance will be located in Palmer Lake.
• Build an Emergency Services Building (fire and police combined)
• 75% of the 911 calls are medical in Palmer Lake.
• Average response time for PLFD is 4 minutes, 44 seconds
• TLMFD is 9 minutes.
• In the event of a heart attack, the brain can only last 7 minutes without oxygen.
Consequences of losing PFLD
• No fire protection presence in town.
• No additional functions and events hosted by PLFD: maintenance of the star, chili supper, reservoir patrols, mitigation and Santa on Patrol.
• TLMFD can increase the mill levy as they see fit (voters’ approval). What increase will be necessary to assume the responsibilities of overseeing Palmer Lake residents?
So, what will this cost the taxpayers of Palmer Lake?
Approximately $316,281 or 7.5 mills to accomplish Option 3.
An additional $53.62 per year for each $100,000 home market value.
For details, please contact Weston Oesterreich, CPT, EMT firefighter, 719-481-2902, email@example.com.
Meredith "Kit" Bromfield
Editor’s Note: See Palmer Lake Town Council article.
20th anniversary reminder to continue investing in our children
In November of 1999, the residents of our area voted to pass a bond in order to build two new schools, Prairie Winds Elementary (PWES) and Creekside Middle School. Few would disagree that neighborhood schools are truly the heart of a community. Kings Deer residents can barely imagine their neighborhood without their beautiful PWES. The same can be said for Palmer Lake, Jackson Creek, the Kilmer area, and Woodmoor. Take any one of those schools away, and their neighborhood would feel a real loss. And yet, that is exactly what happened 10 years ago when during an economic downturn, the district had to take drastic cost saving measures by temporarily closing Creekside Middle School. Many may not realize that Bear Creek Elementary is using a middle school (Creekside) as their home.
Today the economy is rebounding, and the Tri-Lakes area is again experiencing growth. We know that with growth, our schools become fuller. Lewis-Palmer Middle School must accept all seventh- and eighth-graders as they feed in from the five elementaries, and it is running out of ways to accommodate the growing numbers. We need to reopen Creekside and relocate Bear Creek students to a building in their neighborhood that is designed to be an elementary school.
We are grateful that in 1999 the residents of this area willingly invested in our children and their education. They passed the bond the first time it appeared on the ballot. Now, 20 years later, that bond is just about paid off. That works out well because with no change in our school taxes, the district can once again build a needed school. All we have to do is say yes in November.
Today’s children will thank you, and our future community, 20 years from now, will be grateful to you.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by."—Jeannette Walls
Here are some great new reads, all in paperback, to enjoy no matter where you are this summer:
How to Stop Time
By Matt Haig (Penguin Books) $16
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has performed with Shakespeare, explored the high seas with Captain Cook, and shared cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. Unfortunately, the secretive group which protects people like Tom has one rule: Never fall in love. This is a love story across the ages about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. Soon to be a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
By Kim Michele Richardson (Sourcebooks Landmark) $15.99
Troublesome Creek has its own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. She’s the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike anyone else. Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, this is a story of courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere.
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
By Mario Giordano (Mariner Books) $14.99
Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily, intending to while away the rest of her days with good wine, a view of the sea, and few visitors. But Sicily isn’t quite the tranquil island she thought it would be. Soon there’s an investigation when her handyman is discovered murdered. This book will transport you to a Sicily full of quirky characters alongside a protagonist who’s as fiery as the Sicilian sun.
The Word is Murder
By Anthony Horowitz (Harper Perennial) $16.99
She planned her own funeral. But did she arrange her own murder? Best-selling author Anthony Horowitz has yet again reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes, police detective Daniel Hawthorne. It soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own. A masterful and tricky mystery that springs many surprises.
The Orphan of Salt Winds
By Elizabeth Brooks (Tin House Books) $15.95
England, 1939. Ten-year-old Virginia arrives at Salt Winds, a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, to meet her adoptive parents. War feels far away until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh. What happens next sets into motion a crime so devastating it will haunt Virginia for the rest of her life. Seventy-five years later, she finds herself drawn back to the marsh, a chance at retribution and a way to right a grave mistake she made as a child.
By Richard Powers (W.W. Norton and Co.) $18.95
A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
By Michelle McNamara (Harper Perennial) $17.99
For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated 10 sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." This is the book McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death, now updated to include coverage of the killer’s arrest. Soon to be an HBO documentary series.
Twenty to Knit Pocket Pets
By Sachiyo Ishii (Search Press) $9.95
Make your own collection of irresistibly cute knitted animals in beautifully soft, fleecy yarn. This book contains 20 projects for knitters of all abilities, including a baby penguin, a koala bear, a squirrel, and more. All the projects are accompanied by clear, easy-to-follow patterns and photography. There is a useful page of basic techniques at the start of the book.
Until next month, happy reading.
The Covered Treasures staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Summer Adventure program for infants through high school students continues until July 31. The library thanks the many teen volunteers who have helped register participants and award prizes.
As of June 28, 1,244 patrons are participating from the Monument Library alone!
There is still plenty of time to get on board. Stop by your library to sign up and begin accumulating prizes.
The end of summer reading party will be held from 10 to noon on July 31 on the Village Green in Palmer Lake. It is free and all are welcome to attend. There will be games, obstacle courses, face painting, mascots, crafts—and snacks!
Book Break will continue Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 to 11, Toddler Time will be on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30, and Paws to Read will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5. Regular Story Time on Tuesdays at 11:15 is suspended until August due to special programming.
On Mondays, July 15 and 22, from 2:30 to 3:30, there will be creative programs for those 5 and up to make flip books and mini-planets.
On Monday, July 8 from 2:30 to 3:30, there will be a program on astronaut training.
Tuesdays, July 9, 16, and 23 from 10:30 to 11:30 there will be Summer Fun programs involving locomotion, music, and yoga.
Join us from 4 to 5:30 on Friday, July 12 for Coloring for Everyone. We will color themed coloring sheets at a variety of skill levels. Colored pencils, markers, and gel pens will be provided
Build with Legos to your heart’s content at Lego Build, Saturday, July 20 from 10 to 11:30.
All Ages Knitting meets in the study room each Wednesday from 3 to 5. This intergenerational group provides practice supplies, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own projects.
Tuesday, July 9 from 4 to 5 tweens are welcome to mix together their own slime concoction and build a creature.
Tuesday, July 16, tweens will design and create light-up greeting cards and learn about electricity and circuitry.
See above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone, All Ages Knitting, and Lego Build.
The Teen Advisory Board meets at 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, and the Teen Creative Writing Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30.
There will be a teen program on making Cloud Lamps on Thursday, July 11. For ages 12 to 18 only; registration is required. All materials are provided.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, July 25. Enjoy snacks while watching anime, nothing rated above TV-14. All those ages 13 and up are welcome.
Teens, come to the library on Wednesday, July 31 from 4 to 5:30 to make Galaxy Bleach T-shirts. Use bleach and fabric paint to create a unique shirt. Registration is required and all supplies are provided.
Regularly occurring adult programs include Senior Chats each Wednesday from 10 to noon, yoga on Mondays from noon to 1, and two book groups described below.
Please see above for descriptions of Coloring for Everyone and All Ages Knitting.
The Life Circles Writing Group meets from 9:30 to 11:30 on the first and third Mondays of the month. This group strives to write of memories of life experiences.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, July 9 to discuss Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. All are welcome to attend this group sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library.
The new superintendent of the Lewis-Palmer School District, K.C. Somers, will be at the library on Monday, July 15 at 6 p.m. Come and welcome Dr. Somers and share your ideas and concerns.
The Monumental Readers will meet from 10 to noon on Friday, July 19 to discuss Legends, Labors and Loves of William Jackson Palmer by Tim Blevins.All are welcome to attend this monthly book group.
Are you intrigued by the tidying trend? Find out why you can’t keep your house in order and why decluttering room by room or little by little doesn’t work. Come to Marie Kondo Tidying 101 on Saturday July 20 from 2 to 3. Registration is required.
The Monument Spinning Group will meet from 1:30 to 3:45 on Thursday July 23.
The Renaissance Faire is in town! Come to the library on Monday, July 29 from 2 to 4 to make some stylish costume jewelry, Truly Elven leather leaf earrings. For ages 18 and up, all materials are provided and registration is required.
Palmer Lake Library Events
Summer Fun programs at Palmer Lake will be on Wednesdays, July 17 and 24 at 10:30.
A special program on astronaut training will be on Thursday, July 11, from 10:30 to 11:30 for ages 7 and up. Wear comfortable clothes.
There will be a program on papermaking on Saturday, July 20 from 10:30 to 11:30 for kids ages 5 to 12. Use recycled materials to create a new form of artistic paper.
Toddler Time is on Fridays from 10:30 to 11:00.
The Palmer Lake book group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the most recent selection.
Stop by the library for a detailed brochure on all Summer Adventure programming.
We hope to see you at the party, Wednesday, July 31 on the Village Green. Bring the whole family.
Caption: Patrons enjoy treats from the Josh and John’s Scoop Bus. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sigi Walker
June proved to be a busy month for the Palmer Lake Historical Society: On June 16 the annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social drew close to 300 attendees, and four days later the presentation by retired U.S. Ambassador Mary Ann Casey, which included pertinent observations and personal experiences, was enthusiastically appreciated by program attendees.
Casey used slides, including historic, modern, and personal photos, to illustrate her presentation. She began with an orientation to North Africa and its geographic significance, illustrated with maps and photos. She showed photos taken during her tenure as ambassador to Algeria and Tunisia and noted the long history between the U.S. and North African nations. Tunisia was the first country in the world to recognize the newly independent U.S.A. in 1777.
She refreshed our memory on the 10-year battle with Barbary pirates on the coast of Tripoli (remember the Marine Corps hymn) during Jefferson’s presidency and its important legacy, which established the right of the U.S. to militarily defend its interests on foreign soil and seas. Its application today in the Middle East is at the forefront.
Ambassador Casey pointed out that during WWII the Battle of the Kasserine Pass was crucial to establishing a foothold operation for the Allied victory in North Africa and was a prelude to Allied landings in Italy and victory in Western Europe.
The presentation concluded with her personal experiences in the American embassies in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, where she collectively served for 12 years.
Caption (L to R): PLHS VP Su Ketchmark with retired U.S. Ambassador Mary Ann Casey. Photo provided by Su Ketchmark
Mark your calendars for the next upcoming PLHS event. On Thursday, July 18, the PLHS Monthly History Series will sponsor a field trip to the Three Eagles Ranch to learn about the historic American Milking Devon Oxen. Attendees will meet 6 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, to caravan to the ranch. The program begins at 7 p.m. Upcoming on Saturday, Aug. 3: Railroad Days in Palmer Lake. Palmer Lake Historical Society events and programs are free and open to all.
By Janet Sellers
Indigenous science, or permaculture, for restoration of forests, mountains,
land, and water
Zia Parker, a Coloradoan now living in Ecuador, spoke to Tri-Lakes locals in June about permaculture, teaching that local backyard efforts as well as large mountain-scape restorations have a powerful impact on our land and people. Parker, an international permaculture educator, explained that through our daily actions we can change the direction our planet is heading in many ways.
"Observe, design, install" education for water security for families, farms and forests
Parker helped develop in Ecuador the Yupaichani Network, five models of thriving living systems, hydrating the Earth and reawakening humanity’s kinship with the Earth. "Yupaichani" is Quechua for "Thank you Pachamama (All Life on Earth/Mother/Universe)." Parker’s talk and visual aids showed mountain ranges that had been burned to the ground were restored to verdant biodiversity, with trees and plants thriving in just a few years, using only hand tools. Parker showed how this method is used in China with spectacular results for restoration of forests from overworking lands that degraded into barren, deserted conditions.
These ancient restoration systems include swales, shallow channels with gently sloping sides on mountainous and hilly terrain that help manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and help rainwater soak into the land and manage or eliminate runoff. The simple hand tools used by the mingas (traditional community work parties, a tradition throughout South America) on the steep mountainsides and on large farms using ancient permaculture techniques prove that any and all kinds of territory can be restored, rehydrated and heal burned and over-used areas into thriving, vibrant ecosystems. The swale systems have even restored underground aquifers.
Really, really cool: ancient giant refrigerator
Yakhchai (ice pit) dome buildings used in Persia since 400 B.C. stored ice, food, and more in the middle of the desert. The evaporative cooling system inside the domed structures of a mortar called Sarooj, with walls two meters thick at the base, function through air currents and water: Hot air rises out through the conical dome, keeping the inside and underground storage area cold. In the 1800s, Nebraska had similarly made the world’s biggest ice house, and these kinds of places provided ice for keeping foodstuffs cold and viable on their long train ride across the nation. Modern fridge hacks include clay pot and plastic bucket evaporative coolers that can be made in minutes and keep food cool to cold, anciently used for homes and vegetable vendors, currently taught at the World Vegetable Center Eastern and Southern Africa Office.
Handy old (ancient) garden hacks
• Get faster blooms by cloning (cuttings) or grafting.
• High phosphorus stimulates budding and fruit: use sugar and flowers or sugar and greens 1:1; mix with a tool—not hands—then ferment a week. Use 1 tablespoon of mixture per gallon of water.
• Steeped compost tea—Put two or so big handfuls of aged compost in a five-gallon food-grade bucket of water and stir daily. It’s ready in a couple of days to pour on soil of plants. Works in the garden and potted plants.
Caption: From left, Rebecca Duke, Bill Fisher, and Marina la Riva hosted speaker Zia Parker, right, for a public talk on permaculture June 13. Parker shared detailed information for timely restoration of mountain burn areas via soil care, using inclines with swales for water retention, the importance of bio-diverse flora and ancient, traditional "permaculture" systems that support environmental healing that will last into future generations. The talk was held at La Rosa Southwestern Dining in Palmer Lake. Photo by Janet Sellers
Janet Sellers is a gardener, writer, teacher—and speaker—for periodicals, universities, schools, and special events on various topics including nature, gardening, and art. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
Is curating just for art galleries and museums, or is it for living well? And, is travel more important than staying home? Well, I have always loved traveling and took in artful experiences wherever I went. In college days around Europe, I studied art, archeology, and art history, my trusty Kodak 110 camera in hand. I traveled to Japan with my wonderful old Carl Zeiss Exacta camera and pan-x film along (remember those film cans?!) and brought that Kodak 110 for snapshots.
Later, I returned to Japan to live, work, and play, immersing myself in her ancient aesthetics of nature appreciation, living seaside in Atami and in the mountains of Hakone National Forest at their respective art museum grounds, packing in language learning and cultural arts (the heartful way of tea, flower arranging, bonsai, poetry). Being a contemporary art-minded kid, I had to learn to love the mysteries of Japanese ancient artifacts and art history of museum fame by traveling around the country to ancient cultural places and exploring these things on my own terms.
Back then, we flowed along with everything as interns, taking on as much as possible between translations, editing and all-around Western cultural advising for international communication, formal receptions, and conference plans: Americans, Germans and Asians would be on time, Italians and Brazilians would reliably be fashionably very late, and all Westerners needed the comfort of chairs to sit on, coffee at breakfast, forks (not chopsticks) at the table, etc. Daily experiences were unique, and we all eventually returned home to share our discoveries over the years.
Nowadays, curated artful travel is the trending global phenomenon, with people setting up curated travel adventures with artists like me to just "be" and work alongside the artist. Billed as a "renewal vacation," Curated Travel is travel planned by a travel curator agent, with the agency providing "personalised holiday itineraries for travellers seeking unique experiences" around the world. This trend of experience-driven travel is set to continue, and online travel aggregators are gearing up to offer unique tours and activities.
Experience curators are agents that plan insightful and personal experiences for their clients. One of my students, a travel experience curator, has been preparing a wonderful October trip to Southern France this year and asked me to offer the art and photography workshops. I instantly agreed, long having offered local nature and outdoor "art stay-cations" in Tri-Lakes, "elbow to elbow with the artist."
The Pikes Peak region is a beautiful destination, with experience curation an optimal and caring way to share our area’s natural treasures. Bygone days had loads of scheduled tourists getting on and off buses, trains, and airplanes; the Tri-Lakes area has walkable, small-town intimacy filled with contemporary art amid ancient history and nature in every step.
Our very mountains and forests are art-filled with age-old traditions of culturally modified trees and places unique to our planet and to our local and national history. The trees speak to us through the ages with their forms, indicating information for water, navigation, medicinal, and ceremonial purposes—even astronomy—and have much to tell us. We do need to listen with our hearts to get the true stories, and it is vital that we protect our local natural living treasures so they can greet everybody for generations to come.
July art events
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts—curated art show "Texture," opening reception July 12, 6-8 p.m. 384 Highway 105, Palmer Lake.
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery—July 13, 4-8 p.m. "everybody-welcome-workday-after-party" celebrating Friends of Fox Run Park and Wells Fargo Bank volunteers from the Monument Jackson Creek branch. Trail and brush workday 2-4 p.m.—details at 719-357-7454. Southwinds Gallery is headquarters for Friends of Fox Run Park.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, and speaker for art and photo classes and other cool stuff in Tri-Lakes and the whole wide world. Contact her at email@example.com.
Cirque du Monument
Caption: The second annual Cirque du Monument at Gallery 132 held June 1 in historic downtown Monument offered many activities, including watching acrobats, an alpaca petting zoo, pony rides, food, and a music DJ. Kids could get inside a fire truck and a police car and turn on the lights and visit with first responders. Donation buckets at each booth went toward buying special equipment for Monument first responders. Photo by Helen Bagherian. Caption by Janet Sellers.
Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby at Palmer Lake
Caption: Kids enjoyed a sunny day June 1 catching trout and other fish at the annual Kid’s Fishing Derby at Palmer Lake. Prizes, raffles, and support from local businesses were awarded based on age groups ranging from 4 to 14 years old. Many kids released the fish they caught, while some took their catch home for dinner. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Blacksmithing at WMMI, June 5
Caption: Above: Peter McCollum and Ron Hardman from Kilroy’s Workshop teach VIP guests the basic techniques of forging using a coal fire and an anvil June 5 at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. The Blacksmithing Backstage Pass is an opportunity to see and experience the art of blacksmithing as it was done at the turn of the 20th century. For information on future events, visit: www.wmmi.org. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Coffee with town manager, June 13
Caption: Monument Town Manager Mike Foreman held an informal community meeting June 13 at Serrano’s Coffee Co. The manager is working to empower town staff and listen to citizens’ needs. Foreman was asked about water, specifically the plans for water use with all the new developments. Another citizen asked if there are plans for traffic control on Highway 105 between the Gap project construction on I-25 and the Renaissance Festival in Larkspur. Foreman said he and District 1 County Commissioner Holly Williams have been discussing the creation of a new Rural Transit Authority (RTA) that deals only with traffic issues on county-owned roads in Monument and Palmer Lake, such as Beacon Lite Road. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Pikes Peak Celtic Festival, June 15
Caption: The midday opening ceremony at the 22nd Annual Pikes Peak Celtic Festival is pictured June 15 on the grounds of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. Massed pipers and drummers performed the national anthem, Amazing Grace and Scotland the Brave to a large crowd during the ceremony. Blue skies quickly turned gray, followed by a thunderstorm bringing a torrential downpour and a soggy start to the festivities. The festival attracts thousands of visitors with headlining bands such as Swagger, Seven Nations, and the Red Hot Chili Pipers giving live daily performances. The Western United States Pipe Band Association held a Piping and Drumming competition and both male and female athletes were fierce competitors at the traditional Highland games. Whisky tasting and cooking demonstrations were available as folks gathered to discover traditional food and vendors of all things Celtic during the damp June weekend. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Wildland fire mitigation, June 5
Caption: Ed Miller, director of Forestry for Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA), reminds residents of the 2019 Woodmoor Chipping Days. Woodmoor residents gathered information from experts in wildland fire mitigation at the Barn on June 5. WIA held the event in a continued effort to educate residents on the action needed to help prevent the potential spread of a wildland fire in Woodmoor. Chipping days will be held at Lewis-Palmer High School on July 13 and Aug. 3 in the south parking lot from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Non-residents are welcome with a suggested donation of $5 to $10. For more information, visit www.woodmoor.org or contact Matthew at the WIA office at 488-2693 ext. 4. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Barefoot Mile, June 8
Caption: The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery helped raise financial support for Joy International, Bakhita Mountain Home, and the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado by hosting its second annual Walk for Freedom: The Colorado Springs Barefoot Mile. Held June 8 at the Don Breese Stadium of Lewis-Palmer High School, the Barefoot Mile raises not only funds but awareness that poverty—signified by the lack of shoes—is one of the primary forces that drives the commercial exploitation of children and adults worldwide. The featured organizations emphasized the need to prevent human trafficking as well as rescue, restore, and reintegrate survivors into lives of joyful and purposeful living. For more information, see www.bakhitamountainhome.org, www.ht-colorado.org, and www.joy.org. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Bryson’s Chase tournament, June 14
Caption: The Bryson’s Chase Foundation held its first annual golf tournament at the Woodmoor Country Club on June 14. The organization raises money to pay for pediatric mental health treatment costs. Foundation President Lindsey Kangas and her son Bryson were in attendance greeting golfers as they arrived. Their team, wearing neon green T-shirts and colorful knee socks, bustled about registering participants, prepping golf carts, and explaining the shotgun start. Monument duo Go Go Girlzilla also performed a June 2 benefit concert to help raise funds for Bryson’s Chase. To learn more about the foundation, go to http://brysonschase.org or call 719-257-3525. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Monument celebrates 140th, June 15
Caption: On June 15, Monument came together at Limbach Park to celebrate 140 years of incorporation. "Henry’s Station," as Monument was formerly called, was named after Henry Limbach who platted the town in 1874 and served as the first mayor. While Henry Limbach ran his saloon and barber shop, Mrs. Limbach made dresses and hats out of her millinery, both businesses were located along Front Street. After the railroads began coming through, the town name was changed to Monument. Take a wonderful historic walking tour by going to www.palmerdividehistory.org. Many came out to the park to hear live music from Latigo, participate in the pie eating contest and sack races and to dunk town officials in the dunk tank. Early birds got to see Jim Bergeron receive the Spirit of Monument award from Mayor Don Wilson. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Timberedge mitigates, June 15
Caption: The 2013 Black Forest fire was stopped less than a mile from Timberedge Lane, a dead-end street with 16 lots just off Roller Coaster Road. "It was a huge wake-up call for us!" So Timberedge asked Donald Wescott Fire Protection District what residents should do to lessen their vulnerability to wildfires. Together, they created a Community Wildfire Protection Plan to help focus their efforts to reduce the burnable biomass around residences. Every spring and fall like clockwork, the Timberedge Firewise Organizing Team, including Ted Bruning, Tim Rupp and Alan Wright, organizes a Chipper Day with Wescott. Residents work together on everyone’s slash piles, and then residents and firefighters have lunch together. "Your mitigation success is only as good as your neighbors’," they said as they helped each other again on June 15. Photo by Lisa Hatfield
Firehouse tradition continues
Caption: In a time-honored tradition, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District staff "push in" new Engine 2213 at Station 3 on June 17. Early hand-drawn fire engines, ladder wagons, hose carts and so on had to be pushed back into the station by hand. The horse-drawn steam engines that followed could be backed up by engineers, but alignment was difficult, and they were pushed in after the horses were disconnected. All of this became moot when motorized engines came into service, but the tradition pays homage to the past when engines were pushed into firehouses. While doing this honors the old and former members, it is also intended to display unity among the current members. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Art Hop, June 20
Caption: June 20 saw the Historic Monument celebration of the monthly Art Hop. Here, Steffany Boucher, left, and Jodie Bliss ham it up in the spirit of the day next to Bliss’ art in metal and glass work. Art Hop runs monthly on the third Thursdays through September. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Hummingbird festival, June 22
Caption: Monument art teacher Janet Sellers gives an informative talk on hummingbirds. On June 22, hummingbird enthusiasts gathered at Southwinds Gallery to hear all about the delightful summer visitors that populate our region. Guests were welcomed with a yoga class, detailed talks, hands-on bubble and feeder making, face painting, and refreshments. Photo by Elva Wolin.
PLHS hosts Father’s Day, June 16
Caption: The Palmer Lake Historical Society held its annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social on June 16 at Palmer Lake Town Hall. Kids, dads, and families celebrated Father’s Day with ice cream, pie, and, new this year, an antique car show across the street at the outdoor grounds of Bella Panini restaurant. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Getting Ahead class, June 19
Caption: How does a person move from "just gettin’ by" to getting ahead? The Tri-Lakes Cares Getting Ahead class explored the question with class participants, called investigators, through roundtable conversation and presentations by guest speakers. Through mutual support and camaraderie, the investigators discovered the actions that will help them move forward and start achieving their life goals. The Red Paper Clip challenge—an exercise in which investigators were asked to approach a stranger and barter the red paper clip for something more valuable—was especially helpful in building confidence, interpersonal skills, and negotiation competence. The Town of Monument sponsored this year’s class throughout its approximate 10 weeks of investigation. For information about participating in or supporting Getting Ahead, see http://tri-lakescares.org/getting-ahead-in-a-just-gettin-by-world. Classes were managed by Paula Blair and facilitated by Michele Thompson and Dr. Regina Lewis, instructors at Pikes Peak Community College. Pictured from left are Thompson, graduates Kerrie Jones, Denise Jones, Geoff Jones, Vikki Marshall, and Al Wetzel, and Lewis. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Soul Sacrifice at TLCA, June 21
Caption: On June 21, Soul Sacrifice, a Boulder-based band paying homage to Carlos Santana’s music, let the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts audience know from the start the exhilarating musical evening they were about to encounter. The band’s opening prelude and version of Black Magic Woman lasted nearly 25 minutes. That was followed by renditions of Oye Como Va, No One to Depend On, and the instrumental ballad Samba Pa Ti. Guitarist Steve Glotzer started the band 15 years ago after playing his own music at various venues. He thought "it would be fun to put together a Santana band" as "people connect to Santana’s music on many and very deep levels." The band, with Scott Mast (percussion), Will Pinner (drums), Jeff Fournier (bass), and Shelly Davis (keyboard), seamlessly achieved Santana’s many levels of Latin rhythms, undertones, and timing this evening. Photo by David Futey.
Concert in the Park, June 26
Caption: A crowd enjoyed the peppy oldies rock music of the band Soul School on June 26 amid lawn chairs, impromptu dance moves, kids playing, and conviviality all around Limbach Park. The free concerts run every Wednesday, 7-9 p.m. through Aug. 21. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Kim Richey at TLCA, June 28
Caption: On June 28 at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA), singer/songwriter Kim Richey performed with the vocal richness and her expressive, life-experienced lyrics that have become hallmarks of her musical career that began in the 1990s. Her song list included Chase Wild Horses from her latest CD release Edgeland, the title track for her 2013 CD Thorn in My Heart, Absence of Your Company that was used on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, and Just My Luck, her 1995 song that was also her first music video with Mercury Nashville Records. A self-prescribed "serial collaborator," she attributes the diversity in her music over the years to "recording in different studios, working with different songwriters, music producers, and getting studio musicians whom I enjoy playing with and letting them do what they do best." Information on upcoming events at the TLCA is at http://trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Boyce at Black Rose, June 28
Caption: Chris Boyce sings and plays guitar at the Black Rose Acoustic Society concert June 28. Boyce sang his original tunes, including the one he is shown singing here titled Mama, I’m Sorry I’m a Traveling Singer But At Least I’m Not a Magician. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Sertoma plants flags, July 3
Caption: Every year since 2000, flags have adorned Gleneagle Drive from Struthers Road to Baptist Road. Terry Galloway started the tradition and enlisted the help of the Gleneagle Sertoma Club when she joined it in 2003. Volunteers, numbering close to 20 and including local Boy Scout Troop 194, gathered early July 3 to place over 400 flags along the 2 1/2-mile stretch of road. "It is always fun, and it really feels good when the neighborhood starts to wake up and cars begin driving flag-lined Gleneagle Drive. Many [drivers] honk and share their encouragement and joy in celebrating the Fourth of July with this neighborhood tradition," says Gleneagle Sertoma Treasurer Garrett Barton. Sertoma is in its second century of SERvice TO MAnkind. More information about Gleneagle Sertoma and the national organization is available at www.gleneaglesertoma.org or (719) 433-5396. Scouts John Primavera, left, and Nathan Baxter place flags along Gleneagle Drive. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Slash-Mulch season is underway
The El Paso County Black Forest Slash and Mulch program will accept slash (tree and brush debris only) through Sept. 15. Mulch will be available through Sept. 21 or until mulch runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5-7:30 p.m. The mulch loader schedule is Saturdays only, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost for slash is $2 per load. The mulch loader fee is $5 per bucket, about 2 cubic yards. The slash and mulch site is located at the southeast corner of Shoup and Herring Roads in the Black Forest area. For more information, visit www.bfslash.org or phone the County Environmental Division, 520-7878; Carolyn, 495-3127; Chuck, 495-8675; Jeff, 495-8024.
El Paso County Fair Amazing Kids Contest
The talent contest July 17 is open to youth ages 10-17, individuals, or groups. Talents may include playing an instrument, singing, dancing, magic, gymnastics, juggling, or other talents. Apply by July 9, 4 p.m. The application and information can be found at www.elpasocountyfair.com; click on ‘County Fair.’
Meet the new D-38 school superintendent
The public is invited to meet Superintendent KC Somers and offer input. Meetings are scheduled for the following days and locations:
• Tue., July 9, 8 a.m., Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument
• Wed., July 10, 4 p.m., Wesley Owens Coffee, 1744 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument
• Thu., July 11, 2 p.m., Tri-Lakes YMCA (MP Room 2), 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument
• Mon., July 15, 6 p.m., Monument Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument
• Wed., July 17, 10 a.m., Serranos Coffee Company, 625 Highway 105, Monument
• Fri., July 19, 1 p.m., Tri-Lakes Senior Center, across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA
Contact Vicki, 481-9546, to RSVP or for details. See ad on page 8.
Disaster Advisory Board volunteers needed
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners is seeking a community-minded citizen volunteer to serve on the Emergency Management Regional Disaster Advisory Board. Applications are due by July 12. The volunteer application is located at www.elpasoco.com. Click on the "Volunteer Boards" link. For more information, call 520-6436 or visit www.elpasoco.com.
2019 Monochrome Call for Entries
The Monochrome Exhibition is a juried photography exhibit of fine art. Photographers of all levels are invited to submit their original photography black and white photography, shades of gray, and single toned [sepia, selenium, etc.] for consideration. Enter by July 22. For more information, visit www.trilakesarts.org/events/.
Monument Hill Kiwanis annual peach sale
Fresh Colorado Palisades freestone large peaches, hand-picked and specially delivered in two days, are just $36 per 18-pound box. Get your prepaid order in by July 26. Pick up your peaches Aug. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Rd., Monument. All net proceeds go back to the community through projects supported by the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club. Order online at www.monumenthillkiwanis.org or phone Mark Zeiger, 488-5934. See ad on page 12.
Tri-Lakes Y School Supply Drive
Donate your supplies at three Monument locations: Tri-Lakes YMCA, 17250 Jackson Creek Pkwy.; YMCA Day Camp at Bear Creek Elementary, 1330 Creekside Dr.; Tri-Lakes Cares, 235 Jefferson St. July 8-Aug. 12. For more information, call 481-8728. See ad on page 6.
Early childhood teachers wanted
Hope Montessori Academy’s Monument location is currently hiring early childhood teachers to work full and part-time with children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. For more information, contact 488-8723 or visit www.montessorichild.com. See ad on page 20.
MVEA tree-trimming services
Tree trimming helps prevent storm-related power outages. For more information, call 800-388-9881 or 719-495-2283, or visit www.mvea.coop/tree-trimming. See ad on page 14.
Officiate high school basketball
Make the right call and become a high school basketball official. Email the Colorado Springs Basketball Officials Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, for information on training and certification.
Support Palmer Lake Fireworks
Help support a Tri-Lakes tradition. You can still donate to the fireworks fund at www.palmerlakefireworks.org.
Retreats at Benet Hill Monastery
If you need time away for prayer or reflection, rooms are available in the monastery’s retreat houses at 3190 Benet Lane, Colo. Springs. For more information, contact 633-0655 Ext 132 or visit www.benethillmonastery.org. See ad on page 8.
Master Plan Survey input sought
El Paso County continues to seek citizen input in an online survey as it creates the new county master plan. To complete the survey, go online to www.elpasoco.com.
Black Forest Together offers services
Black Forest Together provides the following fire recovery/mitigation services to the Black Forest community summer through fall, weather permitting.
• Volunteer projects: Post-fire recovery includes hauling slash to the slash/mulch site, building erosion control barriers, planting seedlings to reforest the burn scar. Nominal fees may apply to cover equipment expenses.
• Trees 4 Tomorrow: Transplanting of larger local ponderosa pine trees to expedite reforestation of the burn scar. Discount for fire survivors.
• Green Forest Mitigation: Utilizes local tree contractors to mitigate properties to Colorado State Forest Service standards to reduce the risk of another forest fire.
• Community Outreach and Education: Promotion of healthy-forest education and best practices to residents, schools, and organizations to create a fire-adapted, resilient community.
• Phoenix Program Consulting: Consultation and assistance to other fire-impacted communities, providing community leaders the tools to minimize the time needed to implement sustainable recovery operations.
For more information, contact Black Forest Together, 495-2445, or email@example.com.
I-25 MyWay commuting options website
Visit www.i25myway.org and enter starting and ending ZIP codes for personalized I-25 commuting solutions and savings estimates. The website will help you arrange the details and free test commutes, including carpools, van pools, and the Bustang South Line. The site will run through the end of construction in 2022.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on February 02, 2022. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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