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Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education, Aug. 26:Board approves wording of bond issue, discusses local control in light of sex-ed law
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D-38 Board of Education approved the wording of its bond issue for the November ballot, passed a resolution regarding local control of curriculum in response to a new state law regarding Human Sexuality Education, and approved the contracts of three new assistant principals at its Aug. 26 meeting.
November ballot issue
The board passed a resolution to submit to the county clerk final wording of a bond issue for the November ballot.
Following wording that TABOR requires submission of increased indebtedness to the electors of the district, the issue will request "$28.985 million solely for the purpose of construction and equipping a new elementary school in Jackson Creek."
Board and staff are allowed to discuss the bond on their own time but may not express advocacy in an official capacity.
Board Treasurer Chris Taylor said that last year’s efforts were too little too late, and although there are three board positions on the ballot, it is critical to address the overcrowding at the middle school now. Construction of a new elementary would allow the district to once again have two middle schools when Bear Creek Elementary is converted to Creekside Middle School.
Board President Matthew Clawson stressed that the board made a conscious choice to give the community the opportunity to decide.
Kathy Nameika was appointed district representative to the clerk’s office.
Resolution regarding sexuality education
Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a law, HB 19-1032, requiring that schools offer a specific, wide-ranging education in human sexuality.
The board passed a resolution stating that since this legislation violates the constitutional principle of local control, the board does not intend to provide the course of instruction on human sexuality proposed by the Legislature. The wording of the legislation would prevent the district from offering any health education that does not include all aspects of the legislation.
The resolution further requests that the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) investigate a constitutional challenge to the legislation and contact all districts to explore legal action against the State of Colorado concerning violations of the state Constitution.
Colorado Association of School Boards delegate assembly
CASB will hold a delegate assembly in October. Board Vice President Tiffiney Upchurch explained that each district is entitled to one vote at the assembly. In the past year, Upchurch has been the district’s delegate and she offered to attend again this year.
Districts are encouraged to propose legislation to be submitted to the state Legislature. Last year there were about 35 suggested issues.
Community engagement efforts proposed
Taylor told the board that he had recently attended meetings of the Monument Board of Trustees, and Superintendent K.C. Somers did a presentation for the body.
Taylor proposed partnering with the town to use the Monument Town Hall for gatherings regarding the bond issue. Four dates, two in September and two in October, were agreed upon.
Taylor said that the board should decide how many members should attend and he had contacted the architect and engineer for the proposed school as well as financial advisors who could answer questions from the public.
Taylor stressed that these would be strictly informational meetings and could be recorded and placed on the district website for future reference.
Phillips said that a series of tours of the middle school has been scheduled to allow the public to see the effects of overcrowding.
Upchurch said that she likes the idea of town halls as an opportunity to listen as well as present.
Although three or more board members might attend, no official business will be conducted.
New assistant principals approved
The board approved contracts for the following assistant principals:
• Rhonda Spradling at Lewis-Palmer High School.
• Kendra Schleiker at Palmer Ridge High School.
• Amy Sienkowski at Lewis-Palmer Middle School.
Recognition of financial report
The Government Finance Officers Association approved a Certificate of Achievement for Excellent Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending in 2018. Finance Manager Marcy Stedtmann and Director of Financial Services David Crews accepted the certificate.
The board was given a chart comparing enrollment figures at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year and this year.
Taylor noted that enrollment at Bear Creek has declined by 42, Prairie Winds was down by 17, Kilmer by 13, and Monument Academy by 38.
Somers stressed that these numbers were enrollment figures, not physical students. The official count is Oct. 1 and includes a 10-day window.
Bear Creek Principal Peggy Parsley, who was in the audience, said there was a particularly large class leaving for middle school this year, with a smaller incoming kindergarten class. She also said that generally, the enrollment numbers increase by 40 to 50 between October and March.
Director Mark Pfoff commented that the district had closed open enrollment at Bear Creek and perhaps some parents declined to enroll there for fear their students would not be able to stay.
Jackie Burhans thanked all those involved in readying the district for the opening of the new school year.
Jeff Lewis said that HB 19-1032 promotes abortion, teaches gender identity, and there is no requirement of notifying parents regarding the content. He said that the constitution gives school boards the right to determine curriculum.
Cynthia Fong-Smith said the modular classrooms are an eyesore and proposed beautifying them with murals, perhaps enclosing them with a sort of "skin" since the modulars are rented.
Renee Gargasz reported that the ad hoc committee on school starting times met through the summer and has been in touch with other districts. They have spoken with principals and athletic directors within the district. Douglas County decided not to change its schedule.
The board approved CASB-suggested revisions to some policies.
Executive Director of Personnel and Operations Bob Foster listed achievements during the summer to include completion of the modular classrooms, improvements to the kitchen, replacement of the boiler at Kilmer Elementary, and improvements to the technology service space.
Eighty cameras were installed so that all elementaries and other facilities are now covered. By November there will be upgrades to the entries at Palmer Lake Elementary and Kilmer Elementary.
The Board of Education of Lewis-Palmer District 38 meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at its Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Sept. 16.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
Monument Academy School Board, Aug. 8:Board hears leadership, funding, and design concerns
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board met on Aug. 8 to hear concerns and questions from parents and staff on executive leadership and design and funding of the planned secondary school. A follow-up community meeting was held on Aug. 13 with the architect and builder’s representative where additional questions and concerns were raised.
Concerns about leadership, school design and funding
An audience of more than 30 met with the MA School Board for nearly 3 1/2 hours and commented on the following:
• Increased fifth-grade class sizes impacting personalized instruction.
• Needed improvements in recruitment and hiring practices.
• Retaining former Executive Director Don Griffin as a consultant on the new school despite declining to renew his contract and his full-time position in another district.
• A fundraising event for a planned school resource officer.
• Concern that MA’s vision and stakeholders’ interest in the secondary school have been pushed aside.
• Marketing the new building as a high school, though it will include middle school next year and not ease overcrowding in D38 schools.
• Only 16 core classrooms in the new school serving 300 more students, 450 more in 2021, and 600 more in 2022 before phase 2 is funded and constructed.
• Inadequate numbers of restrooms.
• Top-heavy administration over past five years including an executive director, principal/chief academic officer, two deans, etc.
• Lack of a vision update in past 2 1/2 years.
Board members noted they are all volunteers and parents trying to do what is best for the school. Board President Mark McWilliams said board must follow protocol but needs to improve communication.
Community meeting on secondary school
CRP architect Brian Risely and owner representative Kurt Connelly reviewed the current construction plans, promising to put the slides on the MA website. Phase 1 is planned for August 2020 with 16 classes, five dedicated enrichment spaces, and a gym similar in size to the current gym. They anticipate 120 students per grade for grades 6-9 and hope to attract 75 10th-graders for a total of 555. Construction costs are expected to be around $17 million, and the number of restrooms significantly exceed code minimum. Phase 2 will likely open in August 2022 after funding is secured. Construction costs are expected to rise 7-8% annually, and interest rates are also expected to increase. A pool might be added in the yet unplanned Phase 3.
Attendees were split evenly between parents and teachers who raised the following issues among many others:
• Viability of the project if the YMCA does not agree to lease 5,500 square feet.
• Access control between the Y and MA.
• Effectiveness of shared teacher workspaces.
• Lack of space for special education, intervention, and counseling.
• Adequate space for audiences for performances and games.
• How to accommodate 10th-graders in Phase 1 given two-year timeframe to Phase 2.
• Why the bond is for $28.950 million if the construction is $17 million.
• If the land had been donated, why does MA now have to pay $1.5 million for it?
• The role of developer and former MA board member Matt Dunston’s various LLCs: Walden Corp., MA Infrastructure, etc.
• The ability to make changes to the current design footprint.
McWilliams said he thought the designs, which were led by Griffin and former Principal Elizabeth Davis, had accounted for all input but would meet with staff to review. If the YMCA agreement falls through, that space would be available for some of the missing components. He noted that the primary funder of the bond, Fred Kelly of Parker, had insisted that MA retain Griffin as a consultant and had required that they spend $1.5 million "on paper" to purchase the land and then have MA Infrastructure LLC pay for $1.5 million of the expected $3 million to $4 million in infrastructure upgrades that are part of the bond. Connelly said that given the budget and schedule, major changes are unlikely.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• The board unanimously approved a larger fifth-grade class—capped at 27 per four classes.
• The board voted to recruit a chief academic officer and chief business officer, responsible for finance, facilities, and HR, to report to the board. Board member Dwayne Cooke voted no, saying that he did not think it was in the best interest of the school financially, but agreed to support the board’s decision.
• The board changed its public comment process to separate comments on agenda items from those on non-agenda issues. MA is now asking for email addresses and phone numbers to respond directly.
• The board tabled an agenda item to appoint board member Melanie Strop to Monument Academy Foundation pending legal review.
• Board members signed the annual Code of Conduct per Board Policy 1514. See http://bit.ly/ma-policy1514.
• Treasurer Nancy Tive reported that MA received a proportionate share of 1999 MLO money from D38 offset by administrative fees.
• The board announced "topic-based" meetings going forward to include finance, curriculum, counseling, etc.
Caption: CRP Architect Brian Risely and builder representative Kurt Connelly provide updates on the new Monument Academy secondary school and field questions about features, timing, programs, and funding. Attendees included a mix of parents and staff along with two board members. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Monument Academy library at 1150 Village Ridge Point. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Information on the MA School Board, including schedule, minutes, committee and finances, can be found at http://www.monumentacademy.net/school-board.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmer Lake Town Council, Aug. 8 and 22:Council defers ballot initiative to fund Fire Department
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
At the second of its two August meetings, the Palmer Lake Town Council capped a months-long debate about the future of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD), and how to fund it, with a decision not to put an initiative on the ballot for the November election. The suggestion in July that Palmer Lake might sign an intergovernmental agreement with another fire district and disband PLVFD galvanized the community, prompted many expressions of support for keeping PLVFD, mobilized residents to organize efforts to address some of PLVFD’s most pressing problems, brought to the fore the issue of the lack of trust in the council felt by some in the community, and prompted Mayor John Cressman to propose changes to how the council interacts with residents.
The council also voted on two conditional use permits from Jeremy Ferranti to develop two lots at Illumination Point as a mini-warehouse and as storage area for commercial vehicles.
Finally, at the Aug. 8 meeting, in an update on the project to build a pedestrian bridge connecting the lake to the town, a complication involving the location of a water line was debated.
Distrust of council spotlighted
At the Aug. 8 meeting, Trustee Mark Schuler reported on his attendance at a citizens’ meeting. He told the council many at the meeting spoke of their lack of trust in the council, and he asked that this issue go on the council’s agenda for future meetings. Schuler said he wanted more oversight of town administrative staff at the department level.
Trustee Glant Havenar said she thought many in the town wanted to return to the use of council members as commissioners overseeing aspects of the town’s responsibilities.
During the public comments period, resident and former Trustee Trish Flake also spoke about the citizens’ meeting. Flake raised the issues concerning the current role of Cathy Green-Sinnard, who had been the town administrator previously, and of an audit of the town’s finances presently underway to determine if tax revenue intended for the Fire Department had been diverted to other uses. Flake said she wanted to see a criminal investigation of the town’s finances. Flake also asked for clarity on how the town’s portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Vaile House had been used.
At the meeting on Aug. 8, Cressman expressed his support for assigning trustees roles as liaisons with town functions such as roads, fire mitigation, parks, and so forth as a means of better communicating with residents and potentially increasing trust in the council. At the Aug. 22 meeting, Cressman and the trustees implemented this idea, with Schuler taking on the role of liaison for economic development, Trustee Patricia Mettler in the same role for roads, Trustee Paul Banta acting as liaison with police, and trustee Havenar for parks, and Robert Mutu taking on responsibilities for water. At that meeting, Cressman said he would do more to manage the council meetings, including enforcing more strictly the three-minute limit on public comments.
Planning group presents preliminary plan for fire department
At the Aug. 8 meeting, Shana Ball, who was previously the town’s fire chief and has been working with others to plan ways to keep the town’s Fire Department, presented the group’s preliminary plan and costs. Ball said the group proposed that PLVFD continue to receive the 10 mills it is currently receiving and the Police Department continue to receive revenue from the town’s sales tax.
Ball mentioned the following costs:
• $1.5 million for a combined fire and police station.
• $100,000 for land for the new station.
• $112,000 for new equipment.
• $20,000 to purchase a used ambulance or $28,000 to lease a new ambulance.
• $400,000 to replace a fire engine.
Ball said she thought an increase of 13.25 mills would cover the costs the planning group had identified.
Proposals for ballot initiative
At the Aug. 22 meeting, Ball presented her suggestions about what the council should put before the voters in November. She said some information, such as ambulance revenue and funds available from grants, was not available to inform decisions.
Ball initially suggested that a 13.25 mill increase, in addition to the 10 mills already allocated to the Fire Department, would be needed to construct a new station for fire and police, add needed equipment, purchase land, increase salaries, add an ambulance, and replace an aging fire engine
At the second meeting, Ball recommended the council focus the proposed ballot initiative on constructing a new station to house both fire and police, and on funds to increase salaries. Ball revised some of the costs she had mentioned in her presentation earlier in the month. She estimated $1.6 million would be needed for the new station. She also pointed out that an initiative to allow sales of retail cannabis might be on the ballot in November, and, if that were to pass, it might generate revenue that would impact the council’s planning for the Fire Department
Schuler responded that he did not like the idea of having to go back to the voters for additional funding to address issues beyond the station and salaries.
Cressman said the information available at that moment was insufficient to do a bond. He asked for a survey to determine the wishes of residents and pointed out that the proposed plans had increased to 28.5 mills—the current 10 mills plus an additional 18.5 mills. He pointed out that the cost of the plans being considered had risen over two mills in the last few days, and that suggested the plans were still not completely thought through. Cressman also was skeptical about the use of grants to fund the plans.
Town Attorney Maureen Juran suggested the town’s water bills could include survey questions to gather more information about residents’ preferences and expectations.
Council votes not to participate in 2019 election
After their lengthy consideration of these issues, a consensus emerged among the council members that the issue of the Fire Department’s future needed more study than could properly be done before the deadline for defining the ballot initiative language. Banta moved that the town not participate in the 2019 election with a proposal to add a mill levy to fund the Fire Department. Trustee Gary Faust seconded Banta’s motion, and the council voted unanimously to approve it, thereby delaying any ballot question for at least a year.
Council denies conditional use permits at Illumination Point
At the Aug. 8 meeting, Jeremy Ferranti and Jamie Fischer asked the council to grant two conditional use permits. The first, for 640 Highway 105, a portion of the Illumination Point location, would allow the creation of a mini-warehouse and rental storage unit business, and the second, for 650 Highway 105, would allow the creation of a storage area for construction vehicles. Their request was a follow up to a previous conditional use permit request that the council heard the previous month.
Banta responded that the proposed uses did not align with the town’s code, quoting a section that specified developments should "promote the health, safety, convenience, order, aesthetics, environmental quality and general welfare of residents of Palmer Lake." Banta objected in particular to the use of shipping containers to construct portions of the project.
Juran pointed out that the conditional use permits before the council were sufficiently changed from the previous versions that the permits should go back to the Planning Commissions for a second review.
The council voted unanimously to deny both conditional use permits.
Water line discovered under proposed bridge location
At the Aug. 8 meeting, Town Manager Valerie Remington told the council that the engineer hired to oversee the installation of the pedestrian bridge between the lake and the town had noted the presence of a water pipe under the proposed location for the bridge. The water line, which would be 17 feet under the bridge, serves seven businesses and residences. A water line 17 feet underground would not be accessible for repairs, Remington said, adding that the town is responsible for providing water service to those businesses and residences.
She suggested relocating the water line.
Havenar pointed out relocation would add $75,000 to the cost of the bridge.
Chris Dubbins, representing Awake the Lake, said the town was notified about the presence of the water line in the early stages of the project.
Cressman said he had been told the town could find the funds needed to relocate the water line.
Banta said he accepted the judgment of the engineer that the bridge installation would not damage the water line, and that it could be relocated later. Schuler responded that the town would never find the funds in the future, and it was "now or never."
Cressman said the town could be considered negligent if it did not take action to address the issue of the water line.
Trustee Gary Faust moved that the waterline be relocated and the cost be taken out of the bridge fund. Mutu seconded the motion. Havenar and Schuler voted no. Banta abstained. Cressman, Faust, and Mutu voted yes. Since there was not a majority, the motion failed.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in September, on Sept. 12 and 26, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 42 Valley Crescent. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with the second meeting organized as a working session. Information: 481-2953.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monument Board of Trustees, Aug. 19:"Clean" 2018 audit accepted with board questions
By Allison Robenstein
The Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) narrowly authorized Finance Director Bill Wengert to submit the annual audit during the Aug. 19 meeting by a vote of 4-3. The board also approved more money for emergency stormwater infrastructure and road repairs due to a deteriorating stormwater system, discussed the process of hiring a staff attorney, and heard a presentation by Dr. Kenneth C. "K.C." Somers, the new superintendent of the Lewis-Palmer School District.
2018 audit recognized with divided vote
First, Wengert told the board June 2019 revenues are trending 13% higher than expected due to increased sales tax income. Normally, Treasurer Pamela Smith would present the financials, but she was put on paid administrative leave at the March 4 meeting pending the outcome of an ongoing criminal investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the FBI and IRS. Wengert was introduced as the new finance director on May 6. See https://ocn.me/v19n4.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v19n6.htm#mbot.
Then, independent auditor Kyle Logan made his 2018 audit presentation, providing a "clean" or unmodified opinion, meaning the financial statements were fairly presented and conform with generally accepted accounting principles. His opinion finds "reasonable, but not absolute, assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement." It does not express an opinion on the effectiveness of the town’s internal control, his management letter said. "Our audit of the financial statements does not relieve you or management of your responsibilities."
By Colorado statute, the town is required to send an audit to the state annually by end of July, but at the June 17 meeting, Wengert asked the board to approve a request to the state for a 60-day extension to the end of August because he was still getting up to speed after being hired in May.
Logan explained there are two phases to the audit: a sampling of data and internal controls that occurred in November, and a review of the 2017 to 2018 numbers, including communication with third parties such as banks. Logan’s management letter pointed out that the Traffic Impact Fee fund showed a loss of 76% in the last two years and recommended that the town monitor spending in this fund to prevent a deficit position.
Also, his team made 19 adjustments to the town’s accounting records, which "indicate a significant deficiency in the town’s reporting," Trustee Greg Coopman read from the management report. Logan said the adjustments were made "in order to properly report certain assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenditures of the town." They trended toward a turnover in financial personnel, at which time standard practices were not followed, such as not keeping financial records up to date and inadvertently putting numbers into the wrong funds, including the general and water funds.
Coopman said that didn’t sound like a simple fund mix-up and requested time to review the adjustments before putting his stamp of approval on it. Logan said he has discussed this with staff, there were "no material weaknesses" or fraudulent intent associated with the issues, and those issues did not change his "clean" opinion, which he would not have issued if it were not accurate or that he could not support.
Logan said all that is sent to the state is his "opinion," backed up by his license, not the management letter with its internal suggestions for town staff.
When Trustee Laurie Clark asked Logan "if anything gave him cause to have apprehension" in providing an unmodified opinion with the ongoing FBI investigation, Logan said he could not answer questions about the ongoing FBI/IRS investigation of the town’s financial records. "I cannot discuss that because of legal advice."
Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein asked if upon approval of the audit, is there any chance the board can be held liable within the ongoing investigation. Town Attorney Joseph Rivera said the board’s authorization of the audit merely conveys that the board had fulfilled its obligation to hire an auditor and send the completed audit to the state.
Bornstein, Clark, and Coopman voted against the resolution authorizing the town manager to file the 2018 audit, which passed 4-3.
During public comments, Ann Howe questioned the town’s recordkeeping and its inability to respond to her public records request about community development grant records worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Another emergency charge for decaying infrastructure approved
Public Works Director Tom Tharnish asked the board to approve $100,000 for emergency stormwater repairs after excessive August rains caused the disintegration of a No Name Creek culvert, creating a 9-foot crack underneath Old Denver Road. Tharnish told the board someone moved the temporary barricades across the road during the night while the emergency repairs were happening, and it was lucky no one was hurt on the collapsing road. Tharnish said the temporary repairs allowed the road to be reopened to safe travel, but he planned to schedule permanent repairs in a few weeks.
Because there is only $30,000 left in the Stormwater fund, Tharnish said he is working with Wengert to transfer money between funds to pay for the $100,000 request.
Clark asked if this lack of maintenance is an anomaly, but Tharnish said there are issues throughout the town regarding older pipes and culverts. Town Manager Mike Foreman said Public Works staff would present options to the board during the budget process that might create a bigger revenue stream to the stormwater fund and allow Public Works and the BOT to make proactive decisions about repair projects to fund.
Search for full-time attorney begins
At the July 15 meeting, Bornstein suggested the town begin looking for a full-time staff attorney, rather than contracting for legal services, in order to reduce legal costs. Contract attorney fees are currently $70,000 over the expected budget.
Background: In the past, the town has used both on-staff and contract attorneys. Attorney Gary Shupp was the town’s "contract attorney" for at least 15 years. In 2017, the trustees suddenly replaced Shupp with a "staff attorney," Alicia Corley, who was not reappointed. The town had no legal counsel for four months until it finally appointed Rivera as the town’s contract attorney in December 2018. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v18n6.htm#mbot, www.ocn.me/v19n1.htm#mbot.
At the July 15 meeting, the board directed Foreman to identify job requirements for a full-time staff attorney position, which Human Resources Manager Robert Bishop presented tonight. Bishop suggested a methodical process similar to that used to hire the town manager. Board members will be fully involved at each step. Coopman suggested there wasn’t full board involvement or communication during the town manager hiring process. See https://www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#mbot.
Clark asked Bishop to fully vet all candidates by doing background checks, verifying previous employment and reviewing social media accounts. Bishop suggested the board repeat the online survey in which members could rate the candidates to determine who would be interviewed. Clark said she had previously found this method to be unprofessional and didn’t respect the online format. The board directed Bishop to send them the salary range and job description for its review.
New school superintendent presents state of D-38
Somers, a Colorado native and Palmer High School graduate, was hired as the D-38 superintendent on April 8. See www.ocn.me/v19n5.htm#d38. He told BOT members the district had just welcomed almost 7,000 students for their first day of school that morning and noted the district has a new slogan called One Team, Our Team intended to show everyone has value.
In his "high-level" presentation, he noted the district is one of the best in the state but said that at his community meetings, residents have noted the district faces a few challenges, including:
• Meeting the needs of the diverse student population.
• Dealing with increasing class sizes based on population growth.
• Fiscal responsibility.
• Staff retention and morale.
• Civil conversations and respect with one another.
Somers said that at the Aug. 26 meeting, the school board will be voting to put a single-purpose bond of $28.985 million onto the November election ballot to build a new elementary school next to Bear Creek Elementary. Then, Bear Creek would revert back to a middle school for sixth through eighth grades, which will free up more space in every elementary school. See related D-38 article on page 1.
During public comments, resident Amy Shertzer encouraged the BOT to create a town resolution in support of the school’s bond request. D38 Board Treasurer Chris Taylor also asked for more partnership from the town to show how they value education.
Somers pointed to an 11% growth rate over the last five years and cited a Metrostudy report that determined the district will add 1,539 students over the next 10 years as reasons for the bond. Taylor spoke briefly, telling the BOT that last year’s failed attempt to pass a bond was due to "a lack of a pro statement in the (Ballot Analysis) blue book."
Bornstein thanked Somers and asked him to explain his statement that the bond would be cost neutral to the average homeowner. Somers didn’t provide official numbers at the meeting but intended to send a more detailed spreadsheet to the board showing the actual expected tax changes.
Mayor Don Wilson clarified that the bond would just be used to build the new elementary school but wondered if the district already has the operating funds for the new school. Somers said that’s something the district is looking at very closely and will be dependent on funding they receive from the state.
When Bornstein asked about reverting Grace Best Education Center back to a school, Somers said it’s a complex issue that would not be sustainable as a long-term solution to overcrowding and would be an extremely costly conversion.
Town manager’s report
Foreman reported the following in his August report to the board:
• The Economic Development Committee Strategic Plan with Triview is exploring potential new businesses.
• The Finance Department created new budget spreadsheets in preparation for 2020 department budget discussions.
• Four new officers are going through the Police Department’s field training program.
• Planning staff is working to fund the widening of Jackson Creek Parkway from Higby Road to Highway 105 for 2020.
• Human resources and the Police Department are working together to hire a code enforcement officer, a records technician and an evidence technician.
• Police overtime has decreased by 80 hours this pay period.
During public comments, resident Ken Kimple, who is also on the Planning Commission, asked questions about measurable short- and long-term goals and about the town’s strategic plan. His specific concerns included whether the town had its own transportation plan to match its growth.
Employees of the month
Two town employees were recognized at the meeting. Park Foreman James Schubauer was hired in 2010 and continues to take on extra work and lead by example. He helps to plan park projects, supervises landscape projects, and is an experienced snowplow operator. Foreman said Schubauer "gets the job done." Tina Erickson was recognized for her three years of dedicated work to the town as administrative assistant providing front desk support for Town Hall. She confirms compliance in business licenses and developed a searchable database on the town’s website.
Checks over $5,000
The following checks were written and approved through the consent agenda:
• Triview Metropolitan District – town share of cost for the Northern Regional Water Delivery Project Phase I, $8,012.
• Global Underground Corp. – valve repair and maintenance, $99,290.
• Welby Gardens Co. – plants and credit back for return, $6,550.
• Buxton Co. – retail recruitment analysis, $7,500.
• Martin Marietta Materials – asphalt repairs, $148,122.
• Murray, Dahl, Beery & Renaud – legal services, $16,372.
• Krassa & Miller LLC – legal services, $5,747.
• Lytle Water Solutions LLC – engineering services, $5,944.
• AECOM – Beacon Lite Road walk improvements, $9,863.
• CivicPlus – civic clerk software renewal, $5,988.
The board went into executive session for negotiation of legal questions on water use litigation with Forest Lakes Metro District at 8:13 pm. Town Clerk Laura Hogan said no actions were taken after the executive session.
Caption: Due to intense August rains, the No Name Creek culvert disintegrated, creating a 9-foot deep hole on Old Denver Road. Monument Public Works had to close a portion of the roadway to make emergency repairs. During the closure, someone moved the temporary barricades across the road during the night and could have been seriously injured if the road completely collapsed and they drove over it. Workers realized the entire culvert has collapsed, so the road will be closed again at some point to replace the pipe. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The Monument Board of Trustees usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Monument Town Hall, 645 Beacon Lite Road. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16 due to the Labor Day holiday. A special meeting is scheduled to review the 2020 budget on Monday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m.
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.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 12:Budget gets mid-year update
By James Howald
On Aug. 12, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board heard a mid-year update on the district’s budget from District Manager Jessie Shaffer. The board voted on changes to how it notifies the public about meetings. Also, the district’s administrative staff provided operational reports.
Budget gets adjustments
Shaffer told the board that actual revenues were less than anticipated in two areas: tap fees and water use fees. In the case of water and sewer tap fees, $1.565 million was estimated to be collected by the end of 2019. That estimate was reduced to $489,315 in the updated budget, Shaffer said, adding that 48 taps had been anticipated when the budget was developed, but that estimate was reduced to 15 due to some residential developments, such as The Beach at Woodmoor, running behind schedule.
Water use fees were also reduced in the updated budget from $3.1 million to $2.6 million due to relatively wet weather, Shaffer said.
In the area of expenditures, the Equipment Purchase line item was reduced from $399,500 to $85,000 due to eliminating the need for some equipment. The Construction of Facilities line item was increased from $2.094 million to $2.306 million due to unanticipated pump failures, including pumps for the Monument Creek Exchange that transfers water from Monument Creek to Lake Woodmoor for storage.
Other adjustments to the budget were:
• Cross Connection and Meter Expenditures was reduced by $2,100 in 2019, with the expectation meter replacements will be done in 2020.
• Professional fees were increased from $389,500 to $548,500 due to legal costs in water rights cases.
• The Salary line item declined from $1.104 million to $1.029 million due to fewer summer hires in Woodmoor and at Woodmoor Ranch.
In summary, Shaffer said, expenditures dropped from $8.735 million to $8.677 million, and Enterprise Reserve Funds stood at $25.080 million.
Meeting notices to be posted online
Attorney Erin Smith told the board that a new state law gave the district the ability to use its website as an official place to post information about meetings.
The board voted unanimously to post all notices of meetings on the district’s web page (http://www.woodmoorwater.com) 24 hours in advance of the meeting, and also to post meeting notices on the door of the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive, Monument.
Highlights of operational reports
• Shaffer pointed out the district’s utility costs were up due to increased pumping from wells to Woodmoor Lake.
• District Assistant Manager Randy Gillette said the processed water amount had increased from the previous month due to the need to back flush filters for surface water transferred from Monument Creek to Lake Woodmoor.
• A previously unknown manhole had been discovered on Monument Hill Road and would need to be raised to accommodate the construction on that road.
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 9 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.
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee, Aug. 13:Directors agree on baseline testing of radium in wastewater
By Lisa Hatfield
The Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) met on Aug. 13 to discuss regular facility operations, which are going very well. They also agreed on a plan to do baseline sampling in anticipation of future discharge regulations regarding radium. The members also discussed recent stakeholder meetings and approved Facility Manager Bill Burks’ request to ask engineers to do a literature review on new treatment alternatives.
TLWWTF is owned in equal one-third shares by Monument Sanitation District (MSD), Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD), and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD).
The three-member JUC acts as the board of the facility and consists of one director from each of the three owner districts’ boards: MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, JUC president; PLSD Vice Chairman Patricia Smith, JUC vice president, and WWSD board Director Lee Hanson, JUC secretary/treasurer. Other board and staff members of the three owner districts also attended, including MSD District Manager Mike Wicklund, PLSD District Manager Becky Orcutt, and WWSD Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette.
Baseline sampling for radium recommended
Gillette said the radium levels in all Arapaho wells, including those of WWSD, Donala Water and Sanitation District, the Town of Monument, and Triview Metropolitan District, are increasing gradually due to naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). In WWSD’s new Well 21, initial water quality analysis samples indicated 6 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of radium, when the maximum contaminant level allowed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is 5 pCi/L. WWSD plans to use blending with water from other wells to create finished water that can be distributed to customers, although since those other wells are already in the 4+ pCi/L range, he said he might have to use other treatment methods in the future. See related WWSD article on page 11.
Like other water providers, WWSD regularly does water filter backwashing operations, which could send a "slug" of wastewater containing a spike of radium to TLWWTF via the wastewater collection system, Gillette said, and the JUC discussed how the timing of this would affect the facility. Wicklund mentioned that since the Town of Monument water system is also dealing with radium, and its backwash is collected in MSD’s system which flows to TLWWTF, the town might also need to coordinate its backwashing with Burks. See www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#mbot.
A lengthy technical discussion followed. NORM would change to TENORM (technically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material) due to "treatment" by a water provider. Having either TENORM or too much radium in the system could impact TLWWTF in the future for various reasons. However, the rules on dealing with TENORM will not be written by CDPHE until 2020, and there is no sampling and analysis plan set, said MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick.
Gillette said JVA Engineering and the state Health Department "see no real problem" for now.
To be proactive, Gillette told the JUC he was about to perform extra sampling on effluent leaving the WWSD water treatment plant and at other points in the system, to establish a baseline of radium levels headed to TLWWTF after WWSD’s drinking water treatment process. The samples cost $400 each and take six weeks to get the results back.
Gillette recommended that PLSD and MSD, while not water providers, might want to coordinate their backwashes with Burks can so he can capture influent samples at the right times and document a baseline to keep on file for his own facility operations too, to show how well it is working. "You should always plan for worst-case scenario," Gillette said. "Radium levels are going up all over, not just here."
Quick repair accomplished
Burks praised his staff for their efficient work on the clarifier drive that needed replacement. It was out of service for only three days, and the facility still operated well within permit levels during that time since the team balanced vital bacteria levels in the basins in other ways.
The meeting adjourned at 11:43 a.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 10 at the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month and are open to the public from all three owner-districts. For information, call Bill Burks at 719-481-4053.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Donala Water and Sanitation District, Aug. 15:Key permit granted; district seeks long-term CSU agreement
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors met Aug. 15 to close final actions on a 1041 permit request to Pueblo County and receive updates about district projects.
1041 permit step complete!
At the July 18 board meeting, Donala directors approved a resolution that accepted and acknowledged the terms and conditions of Pueblo County’s 1041 permit, a legal and financial step that allows Donala to replace its nontributary well water with imported Willow Creek Ranch renewable surface water through the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Southern Delivery System pipeline (SDS) located in Pueblo County. Subsequently, the Board of Pueblo County Commissioners voted 3-0 at a July 30 hearing to approve Donala’s request for the 1041 permit that’s taken five years to obtain.
Before the July 30 hearing, Pueblo County legal representatives proposed language to add to the resolution. District Manager Kip Petersen confirmed that the language did not add any conditions, so he presented Resolution 2019-2 with the incorporated revisions before the Donala board for ratification. Donala directors approved the changes unanimously.
Petersen described the 1041 permit as the "second leg of a three-legged stool." Donala has been working to achieve a long-term service agreement with CSU for the transport of the district’s Willow Creek Ranch water from the ranch near Leadville to Donala customers. In March 2019, Donala received a 40-year water storage contract with the Bureau of Reclamation, which served as the first "leg." See www.ocn.me/v19n3.htm#dwsd. The contract acknowledged that Donala may store water in the Pueblo Reservoir. The district and CSU have been functioning on one-year, temporary agreements under which Donala pays out-of-district rates that are 50% higher than the rates CSU’s in-district customers pay, even though Donala already owns the water it is receiving. See www.ocn.me/v18n2.htm#dwsd.
The Pueblo County 1041 permit coupled with the Bureau of Reclamation 40-year contract creates the opportunity for Donala to seek a long-term—most likely a 25-year minimum—service agreement with CSU. This would be the third "leg" of the stool. Petersen commented that a long-term agreement could potentially include negotiation for lower out-of-district rates and/or a de-escalation clause that would automatically lower Donala’s rates if out-of-district rates decreased. With his May 2020 retirement approaching, Petersen stated that he would like to achieve a long-term agreement before his departure.
Donala and other wastewater districts feel financial burden of regulation compliance
Petersen confirmed a July 31 meeting between GMS Inc. of Colorado Springs, Donala, and Glacier Construction Co. to begin work on the Water Treatment Plant Residuals Dewatering Facility (RDF). This facility will keep the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF)—partner-owned by Donala, Triview Metropolitan District, and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, and managed by Donala—in compliance when arsenic discharge limits take effect.
Arsenic and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous occur naturally in groundwater and are removed from drinking water before the water is sent to Donala customers for consumption. In the past, Donala had disposed of the extracted substances via the UMCRWWTF and was only required to monitor the various concentrations that the facility discharged. Oct. 1, 2019 marks a deadline for a new regulation that limits the amount of arsenic that can be discharged by wastewater treatment facilities into the environment. It is planned that the new RDF will remove the arsenic as solid waste and prevent the majority from reaching the UMCRWWTF, thereby reducing the wastewater treatment facility’s environmental discharge concentrations to Monument Creek. Essentially, the RDF will serve as an additional—albeit pricey at an estimated $1 million—screening step.
The RDF, however, is not the only additional measure taken by Donala to reduce the UMCRWWTF’s amount of arsenic discharged. The district has also increased its use of renewable surface water from its Willow Creek Ranch source water, which dilutes the arsenic contributed by Donala groundwater after mixing to acceptable levels, below potable water limits, for subsequent distribution to Donala’s drinking water customers. As noted earlier, transport of this water adds significant cost due to Donala’s use of CSU’s SDS and permitting through Pueblo County. Donala pays 50% more than in-district customers for CSU treatment of Donala’s surface water and will also pay total initial mitigation impact fees of $260,000 to Pueblo County and the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District by Jan. 31, 2020. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n8.htm#dwsd for the ongoing mitigation payments schedule.
Additional reports from the manager
Petersen provided his perspective on other activities:
• He did not detect any anomalies in revenue or expenses for either the water or wastewater financial reports. He explained that legal expenses in the water statement were over budget due to the additional activities involved in supporting Donala’s Pueblo County 1041 permit request. Having initiated the budget planning process, Petersen requested director input in anticipation of presenting the 2020 draft budget at the Oct. 15 board meeting.
• One of Donala’s highly valued water operators, Kevin Bolinsky, has resigned. to accept a regulatory position with El Paso County Public Health. The district is actively seeking a water operator and anticipates filling the position by the end of September.
• Discussions regarding the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI), a potential regional wastewater pipeline that may allow northern entities, including Donala, to send wastewater flows to the J. D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility, continue but progress slowly.
• Late spring runoff and reduced water demand created concerns of a "spill" at Pueblo Reservoir, , which will only store 499 acre-feet of water rights owned by Donala, but cooperative movement of water by the entities with storage rights prevented a spill. Petersen expressed gratitude that CSU willingly accounted for one month’s worth of water for Donala and added that he and Superintendent of Water Operations Mark Parker intend to monitor spill factors closely throughout the winter. "The state needs storage …[it] is critical," if we want to take advantage of years of good snowpack,
• G&S Development conferenced with Donala and is positioned to begin installation of the remaining 12-lot cul-de-sac lots and respective utilities at the former Gleneagle Golf Course.
• Donala is coordinating efforts with El Paso County Stormwater Management and multiple construction companies to determine the responsible parties for—and to mitigate—continued runoff and sedimentation onto a private property and public ROW in the district.
• Donala’s new 1041 permit with Pueblo County requires logging all its contact with El Paso County Stormwater Management.
Public comments received
During public comments, Donala resident Steve Hrin thanked Donala’s board and staff for being a "remarkable organization" and expressed appreciation for the district’s communication practices. He also posed questions pertaining to the district’s 40-year carriage agreement for Laughlin water right renewable surface flows. Petersen confirmed completion of the carriage agreement with Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC).
Petersen stated that Donala is in negotiations with the city of Fountain to partner on gravel pit storage along Fountain Creek, but the initial two- to three-year reclamation process must be finished before construction can begin. Referring to the possibility of wastewater regionalization with CSU, Petersen remarked that Donala might also receive return flows from the J. D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility and pick up some of the Laughlin water as part of that potential project. It all depends on CSU’s upcoming decisions about regionalization partnership.
The meeting ended at 2:38 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19, at the district office located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs. The directors meet in the district office conference room. Board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. More information is available by calling (719)488-3603 or accessing www.donalawater.org.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Triview Metropolitan District, Aug. 20:Jackson Creek Parkway widening project ahead of schedule
By Jennifer Kaylor
Kiewit Project Manager Joe Houtz presented a progress report on the Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP) widening project at the Aug. 20 Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors meeting. The board considered action items and received commentary from a district resident.
Director James Otis participated via conference call.
Triview is a Title 32 special district within Monument that provides road, landscaping, and open space maintenance, and water and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas.
The Aug. 20 board packet may be accessed via www.triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Kiewit crews enjoy a productive month
Houtz summarized the month’s progress on the JCP widening project that began July 29. Despite delays caused by the relocation of some utilities, road work from Leather Chaps Drive to Higby Road and the corresponding drainage pipe installation were roughly two weeks ahead of schedule. Houtz expected to enter a new phase and switch traffic to the new northbound lanes by the end of August. The budget was "on track" as well, he said.
The board approved a Kiewit proposal for aesthetic improvements of the median and installation of a sidewalk on the east side of the parkway from Lyons Tail to Blevins Buckle. This extra strip of sidewalk should result in one continuous sidewalk on the east side of JCP from Baptist Road to Higby Road. The overall project might reach substantial completion before Kiewit’s original schedule of Dec. 2.
Correction: OCN Reporter Jennifer Kaylor misstated in the Aug. 3 issue that the section of JCP from Higby Road to Highway 105 was owned by the Town of Monument and El Paso County. Only the Town of Monument owns and maintains this section of road.
Triview possibly largest shareholder of FMIC
Triview water attorney Chris Cummins presented the purchase and sale agreement for 100 shares of Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. (FMIC) and confirmed that Triview was under contract with $50,000 in earnest money deposited. This purchase would increase Triview’s total FMIC shares to 1,047, possibly making the district the largest single shareholder. The board voted unanimously to authorize the $1.25 million purchase.
Director Marco Fiorito proposed having District Manager Jim McGrady represent Triview on the FMIC Board of Directors once an opening became available. McGrady expressed interest in serving in this capacity and stated that he had served on the board several years ago.
Resident tests new "no video recording" rule
Triview resident Ann Howe asked for clarification about the board’s decision not to allow videotaping, since it was not clear in the meeting minutes. From the beginning of the meeting, Howe video recorded the proceedings on her phone. She also requested that the board consider matching cement colors when replacing sidewalk sections. She cautioned that significant variations in color create a patchwork appearance and expressed concern that it might negatively affect property values.
President Mark Melville thanked Howe for her comment and informed her that meeting attendees can’t video tape but can audio tape. The Triview board had voted to approve this measure resolution at its June 18 meeting. See www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#tvmd.
Howe asked for legal justification of the decision and stated that the district’s rule seemed to violate Colorado’s Sunshine Laws which allow videotaping unless it is interfering with the proceedings of a public meeting.
District General Counsel Gary Shupp responded, "It’s a matter of control of the meetings. It’s not unusual to have different rules for the context of the meeting, such as time limit for public comment. This would fall under that same category." He did not agree that the Sunshine Law said what she thought it did. Fiorito added, "Our justification is, we have no control over people who videotape us, and how they modify it, if they modify it, where they post it, and what they do with it; especially in today’s capabilities."
Howe stated that she didn’t find the justification satisfactory and continued to record the meeting. The board did not interfere with her recording.
Board discusses water conservation inducements
Despite heavy rainfall throughout the summer, Triview customers’ water use did not reflect an expected decrease in lawn irrigation, reported Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton in his public works update. Sexton’s report opened board discussion about encouraging water conservation.
Directors considered lifting current water restrictions in favor of encouraging the use of and educating residents on waterwise practices. McGrady praised Castle Rock’s website http://crconserve.com, which promotes a program called "Water Wiser," as the best example for the district to model. Discussion focused on the benefits of rain sensors that automatically engage or disengage sprinkler systems according to current weather conditions and prevent overwatering. In response to discussion of potentially requiring rain sensors, McGrady suggested including a rebate or other incentive as part of the obligation.
Additional decisions and activities
A third vote made during the meeting approved:
• A $21,085 Terracon bid, the lowest of the three bids received, for the installation of seven, four-inch-diameter lawn water irrigation return flows (LIRF) monitoring wells to support the district’s lawn water irrigation decree and provide a means to monitor water quality in the future.
Staff briefed the board on operational activities that included:
• Parks and Open Space Superintendent Jay Bateman confirmed the work of his crews to offset erosion damage to trails, repair lawn irrigation components, coordinate irrigation and drainage with Kiewit, and prepare snow equipment for winter weather.
• McGrady, Sexton, and Bateman proposed equipment purchases that would support in-house maintenance and repair and, consequently, decrease the district’s reliance on the diminishing availability of contractors.
• Revegetation of the surrounding area was all that remained of the drinking water pipeline project west of I-25 and east of Beacon Lite Road.
• The district collaborated with Classic Homes in locating a new site for building the new "A-9" well. The district must first secure a permit, then construction should begin by year’s end.
• Residents living close to the district’s C-plant received a new layover of asphalt and grading on the road leading to the plant. The grade of the road and erosion had caused issues for area residents.
• An inclusion agreement between Triview and Goodwin-Knight pertaining to Home Place Ranch was nearing completion. The agreement was expected to be presented in a hearing at the Sept. 16 Monument Board of Trustees meeting.
At 7 p.m., the board entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e) legal advice, negotiations. OCN confirmed that no actions were taken after the executive session.
The next Triview board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 17. 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.
Monument Sanitation District, Aug. 21:So-called "flushable" wipes clogging lift stations
By Lisa Hatfield
District Manager Mike Wicklund told the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) board Aug. 21 about the continued problems in MSD and nationwide caused by disposable personal wipes that ought to be put in the trash can, not down the toilet. The board also unanimously approved a resolution pursuing its participation in the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI) project.
MSD maintains a sewer system to collect wastewater from residents and businesses of the Town of Monument west of Interstate 25 as well as some areas outside the town limits. Its collection lines run to the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF), which MSD co-owns with Palmer Lake Sanitation District (PLSD) and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD). MSD has been in existence since 1963 and is a separate Title 32 government entity from the Town of Monument.
Please don’t flush those wipes!
Wicklund said "flushable" wipes have become a problem in wastewater systems across the United States. MSD has to pay from $1,200 to $7,000 to repair equipment each time the wipes jam up pumps and lift stations, said MSD Accounts Administrator Erin Krueger.
Put the wipes in the garbage so they go straight to the landfill. Do not flush them, since they do not break down like toilet paper does. Instead, they snarl into long ropes that can clog sewer pipes and machinery, Wicklund said.
Homes with septic systems also need to dispose of wipes in the trash, because if they are flushed, they end up in "clumps the size of a load of laundry" in a septic tank, or clumps that completely plug up leach field pipes. Either can cause sewer backups. Replacing a septic system can cost $30,000 to $40,000.
NMCI support continues
In November the MSD board voted unanimously "in support" of participating in the North Monument Creek Interceptor (NMCI), a plan to consolidate wastewater treatment within the OCN coverage area by sending all individual district sanitary sewer flows to the J.D. Phillips regional treatment facility of Colorado Springs Utilities instead of continuing to maintain several smaller separate local wastewater treatment facilities. Wicklund said the project is moving along but has slowed due to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental permitting process. See www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#msd, www.ocn.me/v18n12.htm#tvmd.
On Aug. 23, the board unanimously voted that Chairman Ed DeLaney sign the Common Interest and Limited Joint Defense Agreement as soon as the document is reviewed and approved by all the participating districts’ attorneys, including MSD attorney Joan Fritsche of Shearer & Fritsche PC. The joint document is being drafted by the lawyers representing all the local wastewater districts planning to participate in NMCI. The agreement’s purpose is to ensure that the members of the group share all information with each other and also present a united public message about the project.
It also indicates that MSD is "all ready to go" with the NMCI. Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick said the other potential partners in NMCI "are still doing information-only meetings. If you don’t sign something like this, you can’t move forward to start to make serious plans or budgeting."
Wicklund said TLWWTF Facility Manager Bill Burks reported on continued smooth operations at TLWWTF and will add composite sampling for baseline levels of radium in the influent coming from MSD, PLSD, and WWSD as naturally occurring levels of radioactive material (NORM) in many Tri-Lakes region groundwater wells are gradually increasing. See related JUC article on page 12, WWSD article on page 11, and www.ocn.me/v17n6.htm#mbot.
Keeping an eye on other issues
The board discussed many other topics, including:
• Financial report through July 31.
• Monthly payment to TLWWTF for MSD’s share of operation costs.
• Wagons West ¬sewer lines and lift stations under construction, tap fees calculated and confirmed.
• Downtown beautification work within the district’s pedestrian area in front of the MSD building on Second Street.
• The first draft of the 2020 budget public hearing will be Dec. 18.
• Watching closely on directional drilling to make sure no sewer lines are damaged as MCI Inc. and Force Broadband are putting in fiber-optic cable along Third Street and up toward Palmer Lake.
Monument Sanitation District meetings are normally held at 9 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month in the district conference room at 130 Second St., Monument. See https://colorado.gov/msd. For a district service map, see https://colorado.gov/pacific/msd/district-map-0. Information: 481-4886.
Lisa Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District, Aug. 20:Interim chief extended again; 2018 audit is "clean"
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) meeting on Aug. 20, the board approved a second extension for the interim chief, gave him more leeway to set some policies, decided to perform bi-annual inspections, and accepted the 2018 financial audit.
Interim chief extended, given more latitude
Board Chairman Rick Nearhoof proposed that interim Chief PJ Langmaid’s term be extended through December before starting the process of finding a permanent chief on Jan. 2, 2020. Nearhoof said that Langmaid is uncovering new problems every day from years past.
Langmaid said it is natural to have growing pains when moving from a small rural agency to a suburban one. "Calls have increased, the types of calls are different, and we are trying to catch up in a rapid fashion to today’s professional standards." The board approved 5-0 to extend Langmaid in the position of interim chief.
Background: Langmaid was the board chairman until he stepped down and was appointed interim chief on May 1. He also continues a full-time firefighter position with the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) during this transition period, working a combined 60-80 hours a week.
Langmaid asked the board to rescind the previous mission and vision statement of 2017 and adopt the new separation of district and department policies. Instead of continuing to have the board set all policies, he wanted to separate the board-set district policies from day-to-day policies decided on by the chief. Treasurer Jack Hinton said the chief will not "be saddled with policies all created by the board." The board voted 5-0 to adopt Policy 104.
Hinton said, "Back when we had a chief change (and Langmaid became interim chief), we found problems with staffing, equipment, and bunker gear. We are having to amend the 2019 budget because of it." He then proposed that two board members appointed by the chairman will inspect both stations bi-annually in January and June to ensure accountability for equipment.
Langmaid voiced his disagreement with bi-annual inspections and argued that an annual June inspection would be sufficient prior to setting the next budget, citing the industry practice is annual and beyond that it becomes cumbersome for the department staff. "Any member of the board is of course welcome on any day to stop by and inspect the department," said Langmaid.
However, the board approved 5-0 for Hinton to write a district policy for the implementation of bi-annual assessments of the district assets for the September board meeting.
2018 audit presentation
Auditor Dawn Schilling of Schilling & Co. Inc. Certified Public Accountants presented the 2018 audit to the BFFRPD directors and gave it an unmodified or "clean" opinion. Schilling commented that there were no difficulties or disagreements and only three insignificant adjustments compared to 10 adjustments last year.
Schilling thanked Administrative Assistant Melissa Bottorff, Finance Director Frances Esty and Langmaid for their assistance during the preparation of the 2018 audit.
The BFFRPD budget information can be viewed at www.bffire.org/financials.
Approval from the state for an Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) ambulance grant of $181,400 will now go toward the purchase of two new ambulances by June 2020, with a total cost to the district of $230,000. Deputy Chief Jim Rebitski is working with staff to decide on the ambulance specifications and will visit Iowa to research the purchase of identical ambulances.
Note: A previous request for a SAFER grant to increase staffing levels was denied in October 2018 by the state due to an excess of funds. Subsequently, Rebitski was successful after re-applying for a state grant in May 2019 for the funding of two ambulances.
Hinton proposed separating the Reserve Fund from the General Fund in January 2020. The reserve fund would be used only for emergencies, and by separating the funds any future rejection of grant applications by the state should be prevented, he said. Langmaid asked the board to define what it would consider an emergency. Hinton agreed to work on defining the emergency criteria for using the reserve fund in time for the September board meeting.
The board approved 5-0 to create a Reserve Fund separate from the General Fund.
Hinton proposed increasing the reserve fund by another $100,000 to include $59,000 plus from TABOR, for a total reserve fund of $259,000.
The board approved 5-0 to increase the reserve fund in 2020.
Hinton announced that the 2019 budget would require amending due to the recent unexpected recommendations made by Langmaid ¬and approved by the board ¬to include the following:
• New staff positions: three newly hired Firefighter/EMT’s and a Training Captain.
• The installation of a new exhaust ventilation system at Stations 1 and 2 for $120,000.
• The purchase of new bunker gear for $21,400.
Hinton said the extra items not previously budgeted for 2019 will push BFFRPD over budget by $202,000, with the best case about $100,000.
Hinton also said 2020 will be the first year revenue from the 2018 mill levy increase will be received, and property taxes are expected to be about $550,000 in 2020. The full mill levy cannot legally be used until 2021 and cannot be implemented until needed. The yearly operating budget is based on the amount of taxes expected, as projected by the El Paso County tax assessor. The mill levy will be set based on the assessed amount.
Note: A mill levy increase of "up to 5.285 mills" passed in the November 2018 election. For more information see www.bffire.org/voter information.
Langmaid said that BFFRPD logged 89 responses to calls with a 50/50 split between both stations in July and noted the following:
• El Paso County is implementing a new Computer Aided Dispatch over the next few months, and the closest resource will then respond to calls, instead of firehouse-based dispatching. BFFRPD residents might see CSFD units responding in the district.
• BFFRPD is applying for grant money to assist in sending staff to paramedic school.
• The new engine is in service, and both engines will be fitted for David Clark Headsets designed for safety in high-noise environments.
• New turnout/bunker gear will arrive in September.
• Genesis Rescue Systems Extrication Tools, previously used for demonstration at trade shows, were purchased for $7,000—50% of the regular cost.
• Engine 712 is being fixed and fitted with extra equipment and will eventually be re-classified as a type 3 vehicle and deployed to wildland fires.
• Internet and phone upgrades will provide a savings of $200 per month.
• Capt. Chris Piepenburg is building relationships with neighboring districts, in particular with TLMFPD, and staff recently took part in active shooter and wildland training. BFFRPD’s investment in hiring the new training captain in July is really paying off.
• State and county wildland teams will visit to discuss staffing models that will allow BFFRPD staff to deploy nationwide.
Since it is so difficult to recruit paramedics, the board will discuss more about the legal details of sending current interested staff to school for paramedic training at the Sept. 25 meeting.
Langmaid also said a pre-annexation agreement for Sterling Ranch to be annexed into Colorado Springs would result in a financial blow to the district with a potential loss of revenue from 5,000 new homes, although BFFRPD would still provide service as dual response. Currently, Colorado Springs has 22 stations but needs 26 to meet its own standards of coverage. However, the potential financial setback could encourage regionalization and interoperability, he said.
The regular meeting adjourned at 8:54 p.m. and the board moved into executive session pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(b), to consider undisclosed employee matters.
Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. However, the board will hold a budget workshop on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., and the next regular board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 25. See www.bffire.org.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Aug. 28:Labor agreement reached; Station 1 remodel approved
By Natalie Barszcz
At the regular Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting on Aug. 28, the board approved a labor agreement resolution "promoting the maintenance of labor relations between the district and full-time firefighters employed by the district." They also voted for a major remodel of Station 1.
TLMFPD announced it is looking for applicants to fill a board vacancy that will be created after Board President Jake Shirk attends his last meeting in September.
Shirk and Director Jason Buckingham were excused.
Chief Chris Truty requested the board approve a resolution for TLMFPD and the Local International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 4319, to begin a one-year Collaborative Meet and Confer Plus Agreement, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Throughout the process the dialogue has been professional and respectful, and overall a good process, he said.
The resolution specifies that "neither the Agreement nor this resolution shall be interpreted, construed, or enforced as a collective bargaining agreement." Contents of the agreement include Definitions, Recognition, No Strikes or Lockouts, Public and Management Rights, Wages and Benefits, and more.
Background: Over the past 20 months, the district has been discussing with union leaders some form of written labor agreement that identifies opportunities for the union to provide input on matters that are important to them. See www.ocn.me/v18n4.htm#tlmfpd, www.ocn.me/v18n9.htm#tlmfpd, www.ocn.me/v18n10.htm#tlmfpd, and www.ocn.me/v18n11.htm#tlmfpd.
The board approved 5-0 a resolution of the board to recognize the IAFF Local 4319 ("Union") and to adopt a collaborative meet and confer-plus agreement with the union.
Station 1 remodel sets its permanent location
Chief Chris Truty asked the board to consider approving one of three plans for the proposed remodel of Station 1’s living areas as part of the 2017 mill levy process of investing funds into the remodeling of the TLMFPD fire stations. Truty introduced Jeff Mitchell and Aaron Philips from Mark Young Construction Inc. to the board, and both parties discussed the following four possible options:
• Plan A—a complete renovation including a dormitory addition of six individual bunkrooms, a revamped workout area, and restructured storage for $1.487 million.
• Plan B—a complete renovation including a dormitory addition of six individual bunkrooms, a framed-out workout area, and no storage area for $1.241 million.
• Plan C—a kitchen remodel, restroom finishes, and a dormitory addition of six individual bunkrooms for $936,748.
• Original plan¬—complete renovation of existing area, no addition for $750,000.
Mitchell and Philips answered the board members’ questions and concerns on cost, design, and timelines.
Truty reminded the board:
• TLMFPD is still awaiting approval from the Town of Monument for the annexation of the property at Station 1 into the town.
• The board previously approved $750,000 for the remodel, and any additional funding would be available from future expected capital reserve funds in 2020.
• The Master Plan presented at the April board meeting recommended that Station 1 should be the least likely to be moved in the future and worth making a longer-term investment.
• Voting for the Station 1 remodel would make that current location permanent.
• Palmer Lake is not having a ballot initiative for its Fire Department this November, and so we will continue doing what we are doing in our planning.
See www.ocn.me/v19n4.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#tlmfpd. The Master Plan document is available for viewing and download at www.tlmfire.org/news.
The board approved 5-0 for TLMFPD to proceed with Plan A for a total cost of $1.5 million
Truty asked the board to consider adopting an investment policy now that TLMFPD has capital to invest. Treasurer John Hildebrandt advised that there are rules for investing government funds and only guaranteed returns on public investments are permissible. TLMFPD’s attorney, Maureen Juran, said it would be wise to adopt an investment policy within the confines of the statutory provisions that govern the management of public funds. Juran offered to work with the district but suggested a financial advisor would be more appropriate.
The board approved 5-0 for the fire chief and the treasurer to evaluate and develop a district policy for making short-term investments with district funds for the purpose of greater financial returns, in time for the September board meeting.
Board member vacancy
Truty said Shirk had announced he will be leaving TLMFPD after the September meeting, so this vacancy will be filled by appointment and the appointee will serve until the next regular election in May 2020.
The required qualifications are listed at http://tlmfire.org/board.
Chief will speak with Colorado Springs
Truty discussed mutual aid between the district and American Medical Response (AMR) with the board. Hildebrandt voiced his concern about the abuse of TLMFPD crews who are often called out for mutual aid on behalf of AMR, only to be cancelled during a response in the middle of the night.
Secretary Mike Smaldino, who is also a Colorado Springs firefighter, said AMR is "not hiring" and instead is using outside fire district crews to ensure it meets requirements that, if unmet, incur a fine of $300 per call. It seems they would rather pay a fine than hire more personnel and are simply stopping the clock, he said. Truty said that to date AMR has paid $325,000 in fines, and Colorado Springs is currently negotiating a contract with Falck, the world’s largest international provider of emergency medical transportation. Vice President Roger Lance said that unfortunately, TLMFPD crews deployed to Colorado Springs are further dispatched and unable to return to the district due to increased call volumes that AMR cannot meet.
Truty said he would speak with the Colorado Springs Fire Department chief with regard to mutual aid calls with AMR. A meeting is scheduled for the end of August with five other transport agencies to discuss a solution to the problems arising with a new ambulance contract service and the existing mutual aid agreement.
Truty also said a new funding stream will soon be available from the federal government whenever TLMFPD transports Medicaid patients. The average Medicaid refund could increase revenue for the next three to four years by $250,000.
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathon Bradley gave the following training update:
• Paramedic training—A six-hour basic EKG course was created by paramedic Jay Bruchis to support the online class version, a pre-requisite for Paramedic Training School.
• A weeklong wildland drill took place west of Jackson Creek Parkway with the entire North Group.
• Chipper training was provided to all three shifts by the manufacturer of the recently purchased chipper.
• Kaiser Permanente Insurance provided training for all three shifts on harassment. During the past month a few incidents involving harassment had occurred within TLMFPD.
• Dr. Timothy R. Hurtado of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services provided medical case reviews to staff online.
• A four-hour workshop on Peer Support Training provided by The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance was hosted by TLMFPD for multi-agencies to cover the warning signs of stress, gain access to help, and provide emotional support to peers. The workshop was made possible with a grant obtained by Lt. Kris Mola.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost said recent suicide data show that the major cause of death for first responders is suicide. A regional program is currently being developed by the Firefighter Behavioral Alliance to create easily accessible information for first responders.
Fire Marshal/Battalion Chief Jamey Bumgarner announced:
• TLMFPD firefighters Dak Damour and Matt Edmunds brought the new chipper to The Timbers neighborhood at Highway 105 and Furrow Road to help them in their effort toward becoming a Firewise community.
• The annual Open House will be held at Station 1 on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include a live extrication demonstration and visitors from the Office of Emergency Management, Wildland Teams, and El Paso County Teller 911. Hot dogs and refreshments will be provided. For further information, see www.tlmfire.org.
Gallagher ballot measure wording still in process
The regular board meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m., and the board moved into executive session pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) to receive legal advice from the district’s attorney, Maureen Juran of Widner & Juran LLP Attorneys at Law, as presented regarding the ballot language to be used in the November coordinated election.
When the board returned to regular session, it voted 5-0 to affirm two possibilities for a "de-Gallagher" ballot question for the November coordinated election—a short version and a long version—on which the final decision will be made based on a few questions staff needed to research.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m. after the executive session.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Office Administrator/HR Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see www.tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
El Paso Board of County Commissioners, July 30, Aug. 6, 13, 20, and 27:Highway 83 safety concerns raised; second dwelling variance approved for Black Forest property
By Helen Walklett
At an El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) work session with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on Aug. 6, Commissioner Holly Williams raised safety concerns about Highway 83. During the BOCC’s regular meetings in August, the commissioners approved an application to allow the use of a second dwelling on property off Highway 83 and made decisions relating to the county Planning Commission and The Dunes at Woodmoor subdivision.
Highway 83 safety concerns raised
Following the regular BOCC meeting on Aug. 6, the commissioners held a work session with CDOT to identify the county’s critical transportation needs and projects to guide funding decisions over the next decade. Commissioner Williams raised concerns about safety on Highway 83. She told the CDOT representatives that a lot of traffic was now using Highway 83 to avoid the I-25 gap work and that this increased traffic was at times making the highway’s intersection with County Line Road hazardous.
She said, "That’s an area where at certain times of rush hour you cannot make a left turn off County Line Road or Palmer Divide to get onto Highway 83. It’s just too dangerous." She added that the highway in general required improvements to cope with growth, saying, "Most of my safety concerns are really [that] we’re behind on our roads and we need to catch up … with our growth." See related Snapshot on page 27.
Second dwelling variance approved
At the Aug. 13 BOCC meeting, the commissioners approved 4-0 a request by the Herbertson Family Living Trust for a variance of use for a second dwelling on a 47.55-acre property on the east side of Highway 83, just to the south of its intersection with Walden Way and within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan. Commissioner Cami Bremer was absent.
There are already two residences on the property, but the existing variance of use for the second residence is considered abandoned and no longer in effect because the property has been unoccupied for more than a year. This new variance allows the second property to be reoccupied, and the property owner plans to use it as a rental property.
The El Paso County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the application for approval at its July 16 meeting. See https://www.ocn.me/v19n8.htm#epcpc.
Appointments to the county Planning Commission
At the Aug. 6 BOCC meeting, the commissioners appointed Tim Trowbridge and Grace Blea-Nunez as regular members of the Planning Commission. Their three-year term runs until Aug. 1, 2022. Both were already serving as associate members when the vacancies arose.
The Dunes at Woodmoor
The commissioners approved the final release of a letter of credit for defect warranty for $67,825 following the completion and satisfactory inspection of all the public improvements at The Dunes at Woodmoor subdivision.
• July 30—The commissioners approved resolutions to enter into Intergovernmental Agreements with Academy School District 20, Lewis-Palmer School District 38, and Monument Charter Academy for school resource officers for July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. School resource officers are provided by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office but funded by the school districts.
• Aug. 13—Approved the issuance of a one-year ambulance permit to the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District.
• Aug. 27—Approved an application by Brewing Ground Investments LLC, doing business as Black Forest Brewing Company, to temporarily extend the area of its liquor licensed premises at 11590 Black Forest Road to facilitate events planned as part of the 2019 Black Forest Oktoberfest Festival.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
Woodmoor Improvement Association, Aug. 23:Board hears from D38 superintendent, updates project standards
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Aug. 23 to hear a presentation by Lewis-Palmer D38 Superintendent K.C. Somers, receive an update from the Woodmoor Open Space Committee, and approve updates to the Project Design Standards Manual (PDSM).
Board member Lee Hanson was absent.
Superintendent Somers’ presentation
Somers talked about his series of six Listening and Learning Tour meetings that had 75 attendees and asked three questions: what people value about D38, what are D38’s challenges, and what advice they had for him. Participants in the sessions value highly successful students and supportive families who make sure students are ready for school. They see challenges from rapid growth in Tri-Lakes and want the district to prioritize what is important while being fiscally responsible. Somers said D38 is committed to the very best educational environment that includes high academic programs as well as addressing the unique needs of 21st-century learners. He said D38 has very committed staff—phenomenal teachers, administrators and support staff—dedicated to making sure every student’s needs are addressed in a very responsive, innovative manner that is continuously seeking to improve.
Somers hopes to re-establish a culture of trust and address concerns about responsiveness. His leadership style is to attend to needs and concerns of constituents and he feels if we had issues in the past we can learn and work toward a process of healing. The district’s new theme is One Team, Our Team—meaning every member of the staff makes a valued contribution to the success of the organization. That extends to the broader community, parents, and families. D38 also values community partners including the YMCA, Kiwanis, business partners, etc.
The D38 school board, by a vote of 5-0, approved ballot language for a single-purpose bond for a new elementary school at the Jackson Creek location. Somers said building this school and converting Bear Creek Elementary School back to a middle school using district reserves will help to address capacity needs. In the next five years, D38 expects an increase of 693 students, per a recently completed study, and expects to see an additional 1,539 students over the next 10 years. D38 has already seen 11% enrollment growth over the past five years and over 20% in the past 10. It is important to address this strategically. The impact to the average homeowner of a $400,000 home is cost neutral. He said with current bond debt being paid off, property valuation increasing, and a growing tax base, the result would be a 10-cent decline in residential taxes for schools. Business property tax would increase by $35 per year.
Enrollment has increased at Lewis-Palmer Middle School (LPMS) to nearly 900 students and modulars have been installed over the summer as a short-term fix. The intent is to remove the modulars in two years from both the middle schools and elementary schools, which would also increase capacity as sixth grade is moved back to middle school. The new school would open in the 2021-22 school year.
Somers pointed out that, while this impacts students, it also benefits the entire community. He said strong home values reflect a strong school district and strong schools create a strong community. D38’s overarching why is to make sure that all students have the support they need to experience a successful future.
Somers then fielded questions from the WIA board and audience. He confirmed that the money would go solely toward building the new elementary school. He acknowledged some take the position we may not see the projected growth. He shared the analysis of why the previous bond and MLO did not pass including the complexity of the bond, objectionable ballot language, lack of positive Blue Book statements, and a lack of alignment by board members. He said the board has taken steps to address those issues and would be hosting town hall meetings in the coming weeks.
Somers said staff from LPMS and the elementary schools would move to the middle school. If this bond does not pass, he said, the district would go back to the drawing board on long-range facilities planning, look at why the community is not in agreement, and have some very significant and difficult decisions to make. Ultimately it comes down to what are we willing to invest to support every student with the quality education they deserve, he said.
Woodmoor Open Space Committee update
Richard Lamb, a board member of WOSC LLC, updated WIA on its yearlong effort to preserve open space in South Woodmoor. The group has raised funds to purchase 100 acres and has partnered with a local real estate development company, ProTerra Properties, to purchase the remaining 33 acres. Lamb indicated that final agreement among all partners is still pending with the timeline unknown.
Director Per Suhr reported that the Architectural Control Committee has reviewed and updated the Project Design Standards Manual. Standards and clarifications were provided for raised gardens, roofing consistency, tree houses, gazebos, and flag poles. Information was updated on playground equipment location. The biggest revision was about Yard Art being limited to 10 objects or structures. Less than 3% of the PDSM was revised. The board unanimously approved the changes, which will be available online at http://bit.ly/wia-acc.
• The board unanimously approved a motion by Community Affairs Director Bert Jean for five trial scholarships of $1,000 each for the 2020 academic year.
• Director Brad Gleason reported on the Safe Routes to School project. The design phase is almost complete, and rights-of-way agreements are in place. There has been delay on the spillway portion due to a planned widening of Lake Woodmoor Drive, but progress continues.
• The board unanimously approved the addition of resident James Kahn to the Architectural Control Committee.
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 Sept. 25.
The WIA calendar can be found at https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-calendar/. WIA board meeting minutes can be found at https://www.woodmoor.org/meeting-minutes/ once approved and posted.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
August was warmer and drier than normal overall as, after a wet start, dry conditions moved in for the second half of the month.
After a clear start to the day, brief heavy rain greeted us on the 1st, with thunderstorms producing pea-size hail around 5 p.m. Generally dry and mild conditions then returned for the next few days, with just isolated thunderstorms most afternoons and early evenings and only brief rainfall. Highs were in the upper 70s on the 2nd, then low to mid- 80s from the 3rd through the 7th.
Unsettled conditions associated with the North American Monsoon returned for the next week. Several surges of moisture affected the region and afternoon and evening thunderstorms were the result. Several of these storms reached severe levels, with brief heavy rainfall and hail.
The most "exciting" period of storminess occurred during the late afternoon on the 8th. This occurred as an area of thunderstorms developed to our north and west and moved into our area from Douglas County. As the thunderstorms developed and moved over the Palmer Divide, they encountered a very unstable environment and were fed by moisture flowing in from the southeast. This allowed the storm to grow into a supercell right over Monument and I-25 then move south/southeast over Gleneagle and the Highway 83 corridor toward the Falcon area. During its lifecycle, tornado warnings were issued based on radar indicated rotation. Fortunately, no tornado actually reached the ground in the areas, but a funnel cloud was spotted as it moved off the Palmer Divide toward Falcon. The storm did produce spectacular wall clouds, heavy rain, and hail.
Thunderstorms continued to develop each afternoon and evening, with hit-and-miss areas of rainfall. High temperatures remained cooler than normal with all the moisture in the air, but overnight lows were also warmer than normal, balancing things out and keeping temperatures right around normal for the period.
The pattern began to shift starting on the 15th, with warmer and drier air moving in. This allowed temperatures to reach the mid- to upper 80s from the 15th through the 20th. Highs peaked in the upper 80s to low 90s on the 19th and 20th. Skies were mostly clear to partly cloudy during the period, with no rain occurring in the area. This heat wave was broken with strong thunderstorms during the early to mid-evening hours on the 20th as the heat from that day allowed a significant amount of energy to build up, waiting for a trigger to release the energy. This occurred as a disturbance moved through the atmosphere and allowed the storms to develop. These produced brief heavy rainfall and lots of lightning.
As these storms eventually moved east into Kansas, they produced strong outflow winds that moved moisture into the area during the overnight hours and produced areas of low clouds and fog each morning from the 21st through the 24th.
High pressure returned to end the month and shut off the moisture and instability needed for widespread thunderstorms and rainfall. The area was generally dry from the 24th through the 31st. This represents a long period for late August to not see any significant rainfall or widespread thunderstorms. Temperatures jumped around from the 70s on several afternoons, then 80s the rest of the time, again peaking in the upper 80s on the afternoon of the 25th.
A look ahead
September is a transition month for the region, with the last tastes of summer mixed in with our first morning freezes. Leaves begin to change by the end of the month, and in some years a little snow can happen. The overall weather pattern is generally one of tranquility, with our chances for thunderstorms dwindling and blizzard conditions not quite ready for prime time. We are often greeted with sunny, pleasant afternoons, with highs from the mid-70s early in the month to the mid-60s later in the month. Our first sub-freezing low temperatures usually occur during the third week of the month, so prepare those tender plants.
August 2018 Weather Statistics
Average High 81.3° (+2.0)
100-year return frequency value max 83.9° min 72.9°
Average Low 52.4 ° (+3.1)
100-year return frequency value max 55.2° min 46.8°
Monthly Precipitation 1.85" (-1.05"), 36% below normal
100-year return frequency value max 6.07" min 0.94"
Monthly Snowfall 0.0"
Highest Temperature 88° on the 19th, 20th, 25th
Lowest Temperature 47° on the 24th
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 7.30" (+1.03", 14% above normal) (the precip season is from October 1 to September 30)
Heating Degree Days 10 (-52)
Cooling Degree Days 61 (+18)
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Letters to Our Community
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.
Move beyond status quo and thrive in Palmer Lake
Citizens for a Better Palmer Lake, a recently organized open-door citizens’ group, is addressing serious concern about our many town issues. We seek the transparency, accountability, and communication Palmer Lake has sought for years from our local government.
This group originated because of the planned closing of our Volunteer Fire Department, which many citizens opposed. Subsequent investigation revealed mill levy tax funds paid by Palmer Lake residents for the Fire Department since 2016 were not all given to the FD! The town hasn’t explained where/why those funds were diverted. But Palmer Lake citizenry have other major concerns, many evidenced by the resident survey conducted by our group.
We are investigating the proposed Fire Department budget, which Palmer Lake taxpayers will be asked to adopt, at a whopping 18.5 more mills, in addition to our current 10, for a total of 28.5 mills—the additional mills are for salaries! The budget claims an ambulance service, which Palmer Lake would need a loan to buy (along with loans for buildings, equipment, trucks) as a profit center, but we have yet to find any town of our size of about 995 households where ambulance service actually turns a profit.
Our town manager has refused our request to make a survey presentation to the council, insisting that she review it first—not required—and won’t allow us a regular place on the agenda. The town government’s message is unambiguous: They are not interested in Palmer Lake citizen concerns. Why are they so afraid?
Palmer Lake is at a critical juncture.
Trish Flake, Jen Martin, and Karen Stuth
Noxious weed control
As the wife of the "irate" beekeeper, I would like to respond to comments made about noxious weed control at the July 9 Joint Use Committee of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility meeting, specifically that "the declining bee population is a worldwide problem, not just caused by three sanitation districts doing weed control." Please tell us, then, how you think the world’s bee population is declining if not one sanitation district, backyard, state/county/city/town roadside, garden, farm, park, railroad right-of-way and driveway crack at a time. Herbicides are certainly not the only contributing factor in pollinator decline, but herbicide use is cumulative, and the solution lies not in convincing ourselves that because everyone else is using herbicides that must be the right thing to do but in learning ways of managing weeds as mindfully and harmlessly as possible. In this case, maybe just mowing several times a season, sans herbicides, would be enough.
And speaking of rethinking weed control, kudos to Monument’s Parks Department on their recent purchase of a pollinator-friendly steam weeder!
Thank you from the beekeeper, the beekeeper’s wife, and the bees!
Time to save our bees
This is in regards to Monument Sanitation’s take on eradicating weeds!
Quote: "The consensus was that mowing and herbicides were the best options for the districts to control noxious weeds and that the declining bee population is a worldwide problem, not caused by three sanitation districts doing weed control. "
It’s this type of narrow ignorant thinking that is driving the decline of honeybees and other pollinators! There are other effective things that can bee done!
The Town of Monument has found one of those ways and I applaud them! Shame on Monument Sanitation for joining ranks with those that have such a narrow perspective on the future!
Editor’s note: The quotation is from www.ocn.me/v19n8.htm#tlwtf.
D38’s bond sabotages taxpayers. Here is why
So often, sensible people in this community are ignored by D38. D38 makes plans and pretends to seek out lots of input. But their "community committees" always come up with the same solution: wasteful, high-cost construction projects.
After extensive research into their bond plan this November 2019 (which is the exact same plan as last year’s), it’s clear to anyone willing to study D38`s own numbers that it’s terrible. Instead of fully renovating and reopening Grace Best for $7 million, they want to turn Bear Creek Elementary (a 900-seat school) back into a middle school and build a new $29 million, 650-seat elementary school, while moving the sixth grade back to the middle schools. What would this accomplish? It would add 500 seats for grades 6-8, and only 100 seats for grades K-5.
How is this sabotage? Well, according to Templeton Demographics’ last report, which was presented at D38’s April school board meeting, the expected growth in the next five years for grades 6-8 is 20 (twenty) students. They want to build 500 seats for 20 more kids. Now, the expected growth in grades K-5 is 350 students. This bond creates only 100 seats for them! Why would D38 create 500 MS seats for 20 more middle school kids, and only 100 seats for 350 more elementary kids?
D38 loves expensive construction projects. They want not just one, but two. Renovating Grace Best would deprive them of that. Make no mistake, two years after this project is done, they and their sanctimonious Facebook foot-soldiers will insist we need another elementary school—costing us another $30 million or $40 million. Sabotage.
Sources of documentation: Templeton Demographics’ report presented at the April 1, 2019 board meeting https://bit.ly/2ZeSfJa. Student enrollment at the end of 2019 school year https://bit.ly/2L2yVda.
How about those portables?
If you’ve recently driven by Lewis-Palmer Middle School, Bear Creek Elementary, or Kilmer Elementary, you’ve probably noticed the new portables that were installed over the summer. Administration’s original facilities plan, presented to the board in December 2018, listed a total one-time cost of $708,800 for all modular units (two at LPMS, two at BCES, one at KES, and one at LPES). The board approved the expense, but to its dismay was later informed that the total price tag had increased over several months to a whopping $1.168 million.
Worse yet, this price was for five portables instead of six. A total of $459,580 over budget, with one less modular.
The now-former superintendent explained that the increase was due to the cost of ramps and other items (April 8, 2019 meeting). She did not explain, however, why the district’s large and optional preschool program, which numerous portables were ordered to house, wasn’t moved to the existing eight-plex modular building that was already sitting empty near the administration building.
But the wasteful spending doesn’t end there. Administrators then tore up the entrance to LPMS so that its two $234,000 portables could be placed front and center, rather than at the school’s south side where they were installed last time. District observers believe that placement was an attempt to both punish voters (who defeated the district’s new-construction bond last fall) and give the mobiles a supporting role in D38’s Urgent Need stagecraft. Sadly, starring roles in this campaign have been given to our teachers, who continue to be egregiously underpaid because they work for people who think it’s acceptable to spend $1.2 million on five portables.
Sources: https://bit.ly/2PcTKaV, https://bit.ly/2ZrSVej, and https://bit.ly/327WoR3
Running for re-election
As the proverb states: "It takes a village to raise a child." In Monument, we have a great village! Thank you!
My name is Matthew Clawson. I am running for re-election to the Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education.
Several years ago, while serving as president, Pikes Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America working with 11,000 youths and 4,000 adult volunteers, I had the privilege of attending Scout and service functions in Monument. While spending time in Monument, I fell in love with the people and community! I was so impressed, I moved my wife, Melinda, and our family to Monument in 2010 after having been a Colorado Springs native. I have three children currently attending school in D-38.
Now the secret is out! Yahoo Finance rated Monument as one of the best suburbs in Colorado. In a survey, the top reason people move to Monument is because of our schools. D-38 is rated third best performing in Colorado. We are also fortunate to have an award-winning charter school. The student successes in Monument are tied to our community support, parents, and the dedicated, hard-working teachers and staff. We are also fortunate to have the support of our Monument mayor and Board of Trustees.
I believe every student deserves a top-rate education. Parents should be permitted to choose the school that best fits their child. Decisions regarding education of our children should be made at the local level.
I am passionate about our youth—so it’s with great satisfaction I can give back to our community by serving! Over the past 20 years, I have served as Boy Scouts Executive Board member, leader and merit badge counselor, and in 2015, I started serving on the D-38 school board in various positions and most recently as board president.
Thanks for your support.
Adam Cupp for D38 school board
I’m Adam Cupp and I am running for election to the School District 38 Board of Education.
I grew up in small-town Iowa and moved to Colorado after college 15 years ago to pursue a career in engineering. What I love about the Tri-Lakes area is that you’ll run into someone you know almost anywhere you go, much like the town where I was raised. I have a growing family with three spirited children. Since moving to Monument, I took an interest in school district matters. As my children become school-aged, that interest has grown into zeal to take action for the benefit of my children and my neighbors’.
I believe the primary purpose of the school and its board is to provide children the opportunity for quality education in a safe environment. Through delivery of education, we build future citizens, leaders, and our community. It takes dedicated staff—from teachers to transportation to maintenance staff—partnered with effective administration and families to make the education journey possible.
In my leadership role as an engineer, I’m experienced at deriving solutions to complex problems. Skills and strategies learned from my Master of Business Administration degree allow me the ability to bring projects from paper to life by leveraging tangible assets with the most valuable resource of all: people. The ability to foster ideas from theory to real-life solutions through collaboration makes it possible to achieve remarkable things.
The future holds great promise. As our community grows, I believe that there are elegant solutions to intricate problems. These solutions require renewed perspective, innovative ideas, and a commitment to serve the community with a holistic approach: students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers.
It’s a future we can build with a balanced approach on a solid foundation—and I believe we can do it together.
Penny-wise but pound-foolish
So now we start our first school year after our failure to pass a school bond, and what are the consequences for this decision?
Operational money went for modulars instead of buses, so now we have fewer, older buses, longer bus rides, and more car pickups. That means more waiting, more dangerous parking lots, and more traffic.
Modulars create classroom space but not common space, so the middle school lunch periods now start at 10:40 a.m. How are kids supposed to learn in class five hours after lunch? Participate in sports on a long empty stomach? Ultimately, you pay sooner, or you pay later. Our school kids are now paying in numerous ways.
Meanwhile, the main alternative school we’re supposed to accept is paying $90,000/year of taxpayer dollars in "consulting fees" to a guy whose contract was not renewed, and who now has a full-time job running a different charter school? An absolute non-starter for my family. We need to be frugal, not waste our D38 dollars where they are subject to nepotism and insider dealing.
The only way to get the education our kids deserve is to invest in the great local public schools that we moved to D38 for. With our growing population, now is the time to invest and keep them great.
Building upon the legacy of Monument Academy
I am privileged to be an active part of the vibrant education community here in Lewis-Palmer School District 38! This academic year at Monument Academy is filled with excitement. Recent administrative changes have provided the opportunity to carefully review our founding principles and ensure we continue to stay the course set before us 24 years ago. Our mission statement says it best:
The mission of Monument Academy is to provide a challenging, content rich, academic program offered within an engaging, caring, and positive learning environment. Established on a solid foundation of knowledge, Monument Academy emphasizes academic excellence, respect, responsibility, character and exemplary citizenship.
The current board at Monument Academy shares my commitment, dedication, and passion to serve our students, their families, faculty, staff, and our community without compromise.
Providing excellence in education and exemplary character instruction through a rich and solid Classical Education curriculum is our absolute focus. Our staff will inspire our children to be leaders of the next generation—that commitment will never change.
We are excited to announce that one year from now we will expand our commitment to excellence by opening a new campus—Monument Academy Secondary School. The new campus initially will serve grades 6-10 and will expand to grade 12 over time, while keeping grades PreK-5 at our current campus. Across both campuses, available seats for grades K-12 ultimately will allow for 826 new students in D38.
We will make announcements in the coming months with respect to our: vision, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, performing arts, and much more! I encourage those of you who are interested in finding out more about Monument Academy to call our office at 719-481-1950 and visit our website at www.monumentacademy.net.
D38—What is the truth?
Each year, D38 manages a budget of millions and earns financial awards above the CDE approved audits. Eighty-three percent of the D38 General Fund is spent on salaries and benefits (including bus drivers, custodians, aides, secretaries, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school security officers, nurses, counselors, special education programs, Gifted and Talented programs, and other support staff, teachers, and administrators).
Then there are the many other costs the district is responsible for paying: transportation costs (buses, gas, and maintenance); technology costs (computers, routers, etc.); curriculum costs (just because some curriculum is online now doesn’t mean textbook companies charge less); student supplies (the state requires a certain amount of the budget be spent directly on student supplies each year); special education costs (with the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Act in 1975, the federal government was supposed to reimburse special education costs at 100%, but has only reimbursed between 12% and 16% of the costs in any one year); maintenance costs (the district has 12 facilities counting the transportation and maintenance buildings, and some facilities are as old as Palmer Lake Elementary School, Grace Best, and Big Red), which include everything from carpet replacement to boilers, painting, plumbing repairs, classroom tile replacement, roof repair, re-waxing gym floors, maintenance of grounds and fields; costs for state-mandated testing; and costs for utilities, water, phones, trash removal, etc. It is an extensive list and I haven’t covered them all.
The truth is that D38 manages your money very well.
LPSD 38—middle school overcrowding
D38 has two educational facilities designed to support the grades 6-8 middle school educational model. Lewis-Palmer Middle School (LPMS), built in 1994, is located at 1776 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. Creekside Middle School (CMS), built in 2001, is located at 1330 Creekside Drive, Monument. In 2011, LPMS was repurposed to serve as a middle school for grades 7-8, and CMS was repurposed to serve as the Bear Creek Elementary School (BCES).
Monument Academy (MA), located at 1150 Village Ridge Point, Monument, presently consists of grades pre-K-8 serving approximately 1,000 students in a charter school educational model. Starting in August 2020, MA plans to transition its current grades 6-8 students from the existing MA location to a new MA High School (MAHS) near the southeast corner of the intersection of Highways 83 and 105, which will be the future home to 500 high school students in grades 9-12 and 350 middle school students in grades 6-8. This transition of the grades 6-8 from MA to MAHS will open an additional 350 seats for elementary grades pre-K-5 at MA.
The 2019 bond being proposed by D38 is for the sole purpose of building a new elementary school at the Jackson Creek site as originally planned in 2000. The new elementary school would open in the fall of 2021. Simultaneously, D38 would restore BCES back to CMS, and all D38 elementary schools would be reconfigured for grades pre-K-5. As a result, the D38 community would again have two middle schools supporting the grades 6-8 middle school educational model beginning in the fall of 2021.
This re-establishes real school choice throughout the D38 school system during the open enrollment process. Thanks!
Between the Covers at Covered Treasures Bookstore:Enjoy fall activities in Colorado
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees."—Henry David Thoreau
Fall is in the air! Dive into these books that will help you explore Colorado and also utilize your garden’s harvest:
Centennial Celebrations: A Colorado Cookbook
By Junior League of Denver (Favorite Recipes Press) $29.95
From Colorado Cache to Colorado Classique, the Junior League of Denver’s cookbooks are some of our favorites, the ones we go back to time and again for reliable recipes to cook at high altitude. The newest, the sixth in the award-winning collection, commemorates their 100th anniversary. Centennial Celebrations includes more than 200 thoughtfully selected and thoroughly tested recipes for every season and occasion—from crowd-pleasing game day appetizers and traditional holiday favorites to light summer fare and winter comfort foods. The creative menus, recipes, and entertaining tips will inspire you to cook, connect, and celebrate Colorado style!
Native American Prayer Trees of Colorado
By John Wesley Anderson (Old Colorado City Historical Society Publishing), $37.95
This is local author and historian John Wesley Anderson’s newest book about the Native American tradition of modifying trees for navigational, medicinal, burial, educational, and spiritual purposes. Working in close association with members and elders of the Southern Ute Reservation, studying the works of previous researchers, and people familiar with these culturally modified trees, Anderson has built a compelling and fascinating work which greatly moves forth the documentation and preservation of these cultural and spiritual landmarks. Included are pictures and illustrations throughout and a foreword by a Ute Reservation elder.
Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails
By Charles A. Wells & Matt Peterson (FunTreks Guidebooks) $34.95
Completely redone, this fourth edition features 100 easy, moderate, and difficult trails grouped into eight key areas in the heart of Colorado’s spectacular high country. All trails are west of I-25 and south of I-70. Many are convenient to Denver and the Front Range. Containing over 520 color photos, it also has an iPhone app designed to work with the book.
Scenic Driving Colorado: Exploring the State’s Most Spectacular Back Roads (5th edition)
By Stewart M. Green (Globe Pequot) $23.95
Pack up the car and enjoy 30 separate drives through the soaring mountains, broad valleys, and endless plains of Colorado. An indispensable highway companion, this guide features full-color photos and route maps for each drive, plus in-depth descriptions of attractions.
Best Dog Hikes Colorado
By Emma Walker (Falcon Guides), $24.95
This new guidebook reveals the 52 best hiking trails in Colorado that are dog friendly. Included throughout are color maps and photos, detailed trail descriptions, trailhead GPS, helpful tips and sidebars, and hike specs for leash requirements. Introductory material includes helpful dog packing and preparation information before you hit the trail.
100 Things to Do in Colorado Springs Before You Die
By Kirsten Akens (Reedy Press) $16
This book offers insider tips and itineraries for enjoying the outdoor adventures, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in Colorado Springs. Kirsten Akens shares a local’s insight from the perspective of both longtime resident and journalist with a skill for digging below the surface.
Putting Food By
By Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan (Melville House Publishing) $18
For more than 30 years, Putting Food By has been the one-stop source for everything needed about preserving foods—from fruits and vegetables to meat and seafood. This fully up-to-date fifth edition includes step-by-step directions for: canning, freezing, salting, smoking, drying, and root cellaring; mouthwatering recipes for pickles, relishes, jams, and jellies; information on preserving with less sugar and salt; and tips on equipment, ingredients, health and safety issues, and resources.
The Harvest Baker: 150 Sweet & Savory Recipes Celebrating the Fresh-Picked Flavors of Fruits, Herbs & Vegetables
By Ken Haedrich (Storey Publishing) $19.95
Let them eat cake—and vegetables, too! Award-winning cookbook author Ken Haedrich serves up 150 delicious baked goods that are full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs and go far beyond zucchini bread and carrot cake. These scrumptious recipes will add nutrition plus flavor to every meal of the day. You’ll be amazed that baked goods this tasty also deliver your daily dose of fresh vegetables.
"Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade."—Rudyard Kipling
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September Library Events:Welcome fall with a library program
By Harriet Halbig
As school begins, the library’s schedule will change slightly. Yoga classes will now be offered on Thursdays at noon rather than Mondays, and AfterMath free tutoring will begin on Mondays starting Sept. 9.
Regularly occurring children’s programs include Book Break on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 to 11, Story Time on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:15, and Toddler Time on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30. Paws to Read is on Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5.
There will be two programs for homeschool families in September. The first, on Sept. 9 from 1:30 to 2:30, is a program on Engineering Feats. This program, for ages 7 to 12, will involve cooperative building in stacking a pyramid of cups without touching the cups. All materials are supplied. The second, on Sept. 23 from 1:30 to 2:30, is a program about birds of all types, what they eat, where they live, and other adaptations. Projects include making a birdfeeder.
A STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for Kids program on Forensic Science will be offered from 4 to 5 on Thursday, Sept. 19. We will explore how detectives use science to solve crimes. You’ll learn about fingerprints, trace evidence, handwriting analysis, and more. This program is recommended for ages 5 to 12.
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2:30 there will be a second MIT App Inventor session. App Inventor is a visual blocks language for building Android apps. Join student instructor Dishita Sharma to review concepts from a session in May and learn additional skills. Registration is required because space is limited. Recommended for ages 5 to 12.
Lego Build will be held from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday, Sept. 21. All ages are welcome to come and build.
Teen and Tween programs
See above for description of Lego Build.
An All Ages Knitting Group meets each Wednesday from 3 to 5 in the study room.
Come to the library for a session of Study Break Bingo on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 3:30 to 4:30. There will be snacks and prizes! No registration required, just drop in and bring your friends!
Are you challenged by math? Come to the library on Mondays between 3:30 and 7 and take advantage of free tutoring by experienced adult tutors. The AfterMath schedule follows the Lewis-Palmer school district schedule and is offered throughout the school year unless the library is closed due to a holiday or weather conditions. No appointment is necessary, just drop in.
Come to the library from 4 to 5:30 on Tuesday, Sept. 17 for Teens Make Tuesday: Banned Books Week Crafts. Create keychain book charms or magnetic bookmarks to recognize Banned Books Week. This program is for ages 12 to18 and reservations are required.
The Monument Library Anime Club will meet from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, Sept. 25. Share anime with others who love it. Nothing rated above TV-14. This group is for ages 13-14 and up.
The Teen Advisory Board meets from 2 to 3 on the first Saturday of each month. Talk about ways to make the Teen Zone better and share ideas for book displays and programs. Participation in the board earns volunteer hours.
The Teen Creative Writing Group meets from 6 to 7:30 on the first Tuesday of each month in the study room. This group for ages 12 to 18 shares ideas, does writing exercises, and enjoys tasty snacks.
See above for description of All Ages Knitting. Regularly occurring adult activities include Senior Chats each Wednesday from 10 to noon, and Beginner’s Yoga on Thursdays from noon to 1.
On Saturday, Sept. 7 from 12:30 to 1:30 there will be a program about World War II Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). Join author Sarah Bym Rickman for a presentation and book signing. WASPs were instrumental in the war effort in the skies—1,102 WASPs flew aircraft from the point of production in the U.S. to training and transportation sites between 1942 and 1944.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8:30 on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to discuss The Girl from Berlin by Ronald Balson. All are welcome to attend this group sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library.
September’s Second Thursday craft will be Fall Leaf Banners. Celebrate fall with a seasonal banner for day-to-day decoration, holidays, or whatever other occasion you might think up! This program is for adults only and requires registration.
The Life Circles Writing Group will meet from 9:30 to 11:30 on Monday, Sept. 16. This group writes memories of life experiences. This is a supportive environment to help with the discipline and structure to accomplish your writing goals.
The History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Discuss history with other buffs. This year’s discussion topic is the Age of Exploration. No registration required.
The Monument Library Spinning Group will meet from 10 to 3:45 on Thursday, Sept. 26. Come explore the craft of hand spinning.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the current title.
Family Story Time in Palmer Lake is on Wednesdays at 10:30.
Toddler Time is on Fridays at 10:30.
Come to the Palmer Lake Library from 1 to 2 on Friday, Sept. 13 to experiment with mechanical assists using an extension grabber you make and experiment with cooperative building as you stack cups without touching them. This program is for home-schoolers ages 7 through 12.
On Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 join us to make wooden spoon puppets using various colorful materials. Make a puppet to take home! Recommended for ages 5 to 12.
Caption: Laney, Jack, and Maura Petrie enjoyed cold treats at the Ice Cream Social on Aug. 3. It was part of the Chautauqua Celebration sponsored by the Palmer Lake Historical Society and the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library. Photo by Harriet Halbig.
Harriet Halbig can be reached at email@example.com.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, Aug. 3:Railroad Days celebrates completion of ‘Transcon’
By Sigi Walker
The first celebration of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad was held on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Point, Utah, at which a "golden spike" was driven to mark the completion. Photographer A. J. Russell took what has become an iconic image of that event. On Aug. 3, the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s "Chautauqua celebrates 2019 Railroad Days in Palmer Lake" commemorated the 150th anniversary of the completion of the "Transcon," joining numerous historical societies and museums across Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California hosting similar events.
In the Town Hall, Palmer Lake’s celebration featured two very special model railroad layouts. One was a model recreation of a German/Austrian mountain railroad, the other a 28-foot-long modular layout depicting various Colorado scenes. Model railroad activities, such as "switching puzzles" in two different gauges, interested both young and old. During the morning, four railroad history presentations were offered. Information tables staffed by the Palmer Lake Historical Society, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR, and area trolley and railway museums provided handouts on their organizations’ activities.
On the Village Green, booths were set up for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Mining Museum’s Gold Panning, Pioneer Arts & Crafts, and Operation Lifesaver along with a vintage railroad baggage cart from the Pikes Peak Trolley Museum and a railroad motor car from the Pueblo Railway Museum. Food was available from Palmer Lake’s own Smokey the Pig Wood Pit BBQ booth.
Highlight of the afternoon was the annual Friends of the Tri-Lakes Library Ice Cream Social accompanied by the velvet sounds of the Velcro Barbershop Quartet. A morning and an afternoon tour of historic areas of Palmer Lake by Jim Sawatzki rounded out the activities.
Above; Charlease Elzenga-Bobo instructs Andrea Nelson-Trice of Gleneagle on proper spinning techniques during the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s "Chautauqua celebrates 2019 Railroad Days in Palmer Lake" held Aug. 3. The Palmer Lake Town Hall housed various model train layouts and displays. The celebration featured presentations about the Transcontinental Railroad, Palmer Lake/Monument ice harvesting, railroads of the Pikes Peak region, and John C. Fremont; spinning, weaving, quilting, tole painting, and gold panning; and many more. The Velcro Barbershop Quartet sang railroad songs and Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library supplied the crowd with a midday ice cream social. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
Caption: The "Fremont Loop" on Slim Rail’s On3 layout was displayed in the Palmer Lake Town Hall. Photo by Mike Walker.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 19, when the Palmer Lake Historical Society Monthly History Series presents Bethany Bonser telling the story of Outlaws and Lawmen of the Wild West. Do you know what infamous outlaws are buried in Glenwood Springs’ cemetery? The venue is the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. Palmer Lake Historical Society events and programs are free and open to all.
Mike and Sigi Walker may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Altitude Nature and Gardening (HANG):Gardens for people and pets; fall plantings
By Janet Sellers
Our gardens: healthy for people and pets
Our home gardens offer significant health benefits and protections for us—and even our pets. We know that veggie nutrients are part of good healthy eating for people, and pets benefit, too. My dogs love carrot and celery—especially dipped in peanut butter—and our holistic vet had me feed the small dog that for mouth and jaw fitness. Studies in the last decades show species-appropriate food for dogs and cats focuses on human-grade meat and veggies (cooked or shredded raw) including kale, carrots, zucchini, ripe tomatoes, cooked pumpkin, etc. I’m not a big game hunter, so I may just go fishing more often and share that (and fresh garden food) with my furry friends.
Pets help protect the garden, too. My cat patrols our landscape, deterring bad guys like voles and vermin, coming in handy when our fox population had dwindled and we didn’t have fox help with an overpopulation of voles, rabbits, and other greedy garden critters. Cats help with residential, warehouse, stable/farm/barn locations, keeping out vermin by hunting, but the key deterrent is in their feet! It’s in predator pheromones left where they walk. Studies showed the vermin skip the places with cats but return to properties that had used traps or poisons (a terrible idea since the poisons can harm other animals, our pets, our children, and our water supply). Our local Humane Society even has a barn/working cats adoption program to help with this issue, and the cats come with vetting and year-round care guidance.
September weather supports some crops from seed: greens, beets, snow peas, radishes—the cool weather crops ready in 50-60 days. I started those and some basil and lettuce to repot, handy at the windowsill when cold weather gets here. Easy spring flowers to plant now include sunflowers, hollyhocks (remember they flower in the second year), and wildflowers.
Fall transplanting tips
Fall is a good time to thin overcrowded plants such as iris and other perennials. After some failures, I discovered this success tip from The Spruce online for watering plants to be transplanted the evening before you dig, ensuring that the whole plant will be hydrated—roots, leaves, and all—deep soaking roots to take up as much water as possible, including leaves, too, then dig up very early in the morning—an overcast day is best—and transplant into a well-watered hole, then amply water again. This works for iris, Russian sage, red poppies, local wild columbine, hollyhocks, yarrow, asters, and more.
Caption: Monument Community Garden is surrounded by giant sunflowers—the huge leaves protect against air-borne pollutants and against hail for plants underneath them; stalks become next year’s trellises. September’s garden changes from beans, herbs, carrots, and squash to planting beet, kale, greens, and radishes. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an avid "lazy" gardener, respecting natural ways for soil and garden health, using heritage garden ways, leaving as much to Mother Nature as possible. Janetsellers@ocn.me.
Art Matters:Fine art and "dolce far niente"
By Janet Sellers
"What is it about the aesthetic sensibility that makes life so fulfilling and what is it about mastery of that medium that helps you achieve a consistently higher quality of life?"—Steven Washer, Visible Authority Videos
"Dolce far niente" is an Italian term for "the sweetness of doing nothing." It is a phrase one hears throughout European countries, in each local language. It is a rite of life, a daily ritual and a lifelong, ancient healing practice.
It’s not about being lazy, but it is taking a stance against "production-ism" as a way of life. The art of doing nothing embraces imagination and creativity for its own sake, for inner renewal. We artists know this. We may be "in production mode" for our shows, but we must have this amazing practice of "doing nothing" for imagination to survive. It lets us disconnect from tech and connect to freedom. It helps us find ourselves amid losing ourselves, resting and reinventing ourselves. Artists do this, and it is a virtual requirement for staying fresh and alert for creating things.
Studio visits with artists are now a worldwide craze, with vacations and stay-cations focused on creative pursuits with practicing artists. People make pilgrimages to famous and not-so-famous artists’ studios to connect to the creativity so many lack in their lives, for a day or for weeks, depending on how the plan is made.
Many art communities have annual studio visits, and ours is no exception. We have, this very month, artist and art studio visits that are especially prepared to share the art, the way it is made, and even making it on site. September begins the "art season" in our Front Range area. From Tri-Lakes south to Colorado Springs, this season is hopping with art fun.
September art events with artists on site
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts
Front Range Open Studios Tour, Sat.-Sun., Sept. 7-8, 10-5 p.m., "sharing the way the art is made," hands-on things to try, drawings for art, fun for kids, as well as art for sale. Tour maps list 16 studios around town, online at www.frontrangopenstudios.com.
Southwinds Fine Art Gallery, September Saturdays Pop Up Shops, Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28, noon-4 p.m. (except Sep. 14: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) Guest and gallery artists show their work, demonstrate their craft, and invite the public to try their hand, fun kids activities, refreshments. 16575 Rollercoaster Rd. (at Baptist Road).
Art Hop—Sept. 19, 5-8 p.m. The last Art Hop of the season, so grab your friends, take in the art and libations, and get in some art hopping while you can! Historic Monument.
Palmer Lake Art Group’s 46th Annual Art Fair, Sat., Oct. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. Original art, artists, art demos, movie screening of Rarefied Air: Artists in the Pikes Peak Region.
Caption: A visitor enjoys the Monument sculpture garden, which currently shows some new Tri-Lakes Views works amid the town’s permanent collection. Tri-Lakes Views 2019-20 outdoor sculpture exhibition ranges from Palmer Lake to Monument at parks, Santa Fe Trail areas, and local businesses. Maps are available at local shops, so grab a friend and explore local fine art every day of the week. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an artist, teacher, public speaker and imagineer…contact her at email@example.com.
Snapshots of Our Community
"TRY-athletes" enjoy a cool Palmer Lake splash
Caption: Awake Palmer Lake held its first "TRY-athlon," complete with an abundance of donuts and silliness, to raise support for the improvement of Palmer Lake and the surrounding park areas. The "race," held on Aug. 3, consisted of an "overly assisted" 50-meter swim, a 250-meter anything-with-wheels ride, and a 250-meter run/walk/hobble. Inflatable donuts provided swim assistance as well as memorabilia. The next Awake Palmer Lake fundraising event is the Palmer Lake .5K, which is scheduled for Oct. 6 and boasts a donut "aid station" at the halfway point. Awake Palmer Lake is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Palmer Lake and its surrounding parkland. See http://awakepalmerlake.org for more information. Pictured, TRY-athlon participants compete in the "overly assisted" 50-meter swim. Photo courtesy of Chris Cummins, Awake Palmer Lake.
TLWC supports MCSS
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Women’s Club (TLWC), named "Non-Profit of the Year" in 2017 by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, has granted over $980,000 since 1977 to nonprofit, public service, and public education programs through its annual fundraising efforts. Recently TLWC awarded Mountain Community Senior Services (MCSS) a grant to help buy a new shuttle bus. MCSS is a nonprofit agency based in Palmer Lake with a mission to enable those age 60 and older living in northwestern El Paso County to remain independent by providing free transportation and handyman services. MCSS volunteer drivers provided over 4,000 rides in 2018. The new bus will ensure that reliable transportation to nutritional lunches and social events continues. Photo by Carrie Commerford.
AARP at the Black Forest Festival
Caption: Summer in Black Forest has been a busy time for AARP Chapter 1100, the only chapter to serve the Tri-Lakes area. Chapter volunteers gave away cold bottled water and potted plants, sold delicious homemade baked goods, and raised funds for Shield616, an organization that seeks to protect peace officers and firefighters, at the Aug. 10 Black Forest Festival. The chapter also hosted a blood drive at the Black Forest Fire and Rescue Protection District and a senior social at the Black Forest Lutheran Church. The monthly senior socials—held on the fourth Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the church—are open to all regardless of membership. If you would like to get involved with Chapter 1100, contact President Ray Rozak at 719-495-6767. All are welcome to the next chapter meeting Sept. 11. Pictured are numerous chapter volunteers who furnished giveaway and sale items and staffed the booth at the Black Forest Festival. Photo courtesy of Stan Beckner.
National Night Out, Aug. 3
Caption: Promontory Pointe Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and the Promontory Pointe Neighborhood Watch teamed up to host the neighborhood’s fourth annual National Night Out (NNO) and Summer Party on Aug. 3. Supported by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) and sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), NNO is designed to increase safety and crime prevention awareness as well as build police-community rapport. From 7 to 10 p.m., neighbors are encouraged to lock their doors, turn on outside lights, and spend the evening with neighbors and local police and fire department personnel. See www.epcsheriffsoffice.com/sections-administrative-support-bureau/support-services-division/neighborhood-watch-program for more information. Police, EPSO, and first-responder participants included Monument Police Department Acting Chief Mark Owens, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLFPD) Deputy Chief Keogh with engine 2213, and EPSO Chief Brad Shannon and EPSO deputies. An estimated 200 or more neighbors attended this year’s event to enjoy fare from Broken Bones BBQ, celebrate summer, reconnect with neighbors, and interact with, and thank, law enforcement officers and first responders. Little ones enjoyed a bounce house, too. Pictured, Lucian Fiorito, age 3, finds TLMFPD engine 2213 irresistible. Caption and photo submitted by Ann-Marie Jojola and Marco Fiorito.
Black Forest Festival, Aug. 10
Caption: The annual Black Forest Festival Aug. 10 was well attended by the Black Forest community. Many spectators lined Black Forest Road in anticipation of the parade and the arrival of the new Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District 711 Engine. The colors were paraded by horseback and the Keepers of the Keys to Black Forest followed in an array of vintage vehicles. Scout Pack 70, High Country Kids 4 H, Stable Strides, and even rabbits were on parade. Many local businesses took part in the parade supplying candy to the crowd along the route. Early risers enjoyed a pancake breakfast and were then able to visit the booth fair, listen to live music and discover a menagerie of assorted animals. Outhouse races, crafts, demonstrations, art, and a 90th Tribute to the Black Forest Community Club were also featured. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
Slash & Mulch program popular
Caption: The El Paso County Slash and Mulch program accepts slash (tree and brush debris only) through Sept. 15. Mulch will be available through Sept. 21 or until it runs out. Hours of operation are: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m.; and 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. Photo by Natalie Barszcz.
YMCA Volunteer Fair, Aug. 22
Caption: Tri-Lakes YMCA, JustServe, and the Town of Monument joined forces to host a first annual Community Volunteer Fair. Held Aug. 22, about 22 organizations shared ways in which volunteers can offer their time and energy. Our Community News (OCN) volunteers, Managing Editor Lisa Hatfield (center) and reporter John Howe (right) discuss the various OCN volunteer opportunities with Deb Muir. Photo by Jennifer Kaylor.
BBQ at Jackson Creek Senior Living
Caption: On Aug. 23, Jackson Creek Senior Living hosted a barbecue for residents, friends, and families. The event was to include a classic car show, but it was canceled because of threatened storms. A sudden downpour moved the dinner indoors instead of in the gardens. Dinner included ribs, burgers, and brats, and everyone praised the work of the chefs. Pictured from left: Carol Baker, Betty Baker, Kristen Carlson, Bruce Baker, and David Carlson. Photo by John Howe.
Tom Rush at TLCA, Aug. 27
Caption: Tom Rush guided a near capacity audience through a symphony of folk music history Aug. 27 at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA). Rush is credited with introducing the singer/songwriter era and promoting musicians through his recordings in the early 1960s. His interest in music began through a cousin who played the ukulele, and he later got his first guitar by trading in a parade rifle that would not shoot. However, it was when Rush was 16 and heard blues legend Josh White that propelled him into his now 57-year music journey. Accompanied by Matt Nakoa, Rush’s two sets included songs from his latest release, Voices, Joni Mitchell’s Urge for Going, as he was the first major performer to record her songs in 1966, a compilation of train songs by Bukka White, local icon Chuck Pyle’s The Remember Song, and Old Blevins by the Austin Lounge Lizards. Photo by David Futey.
I-25 HazMat Survey, Aug. 19
Caption: The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPR OEM) conducted the first-ever "commodity flow survey" at the Monument Port of Entry on I-25. For 15 hours on Aug. 19, volunteers from Pikes Peak Regional CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), including "Dack" Anderson, right, with SMSgt. Matthew Toenniges, helped Hazardous Materials Coordinator Rich Heaverlo and other OEM staff document over 4,000 passing truck and trailer types and what classes of hazardous materials some of them transported. Any people interested in general emergency preparedness should see www.EPCCERT.org for free upcoming CERT classes and other resiliency trainings. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
100’s attend RAD event, Aug. 23
Caption: On Aug. 23, the Monument Police Department and Chick-Fil-A partnered for a movie/fun night for high school students through the Real Alternatives to Drugs and Drinking (RAD) program. See www.lewispalmer.org/domain/4122 and www.ppymca.org/programs/youth/teens/rad-program for more information. Students began arriving at 8 p.m. before the doors opened at 8:15 at the YMCA. When the doors opened, the youths streamed in to have their identification checked before admission to the event. Four hundred students were expected to join in the festivities, including the movie presented by the Town of Monument. The Chick-Fil-A "cow" appeared and mingled throughout the crowd. Photo by John Howe.
New signal on Highway 83
Caption: The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has installed a new temporary traffic signal at Highway 83 and Palmer Divide Avenue/County Line Road; however, there is no protected left turn for drivers headed in either direction on Highway 83 who need to make a left at this intersection. CDOT Communications Manager, Region 2 Michelle Peulen told OCN this is a temporary signal that is being used to ease congestion on Highway 83 during the I-25 Gap project. El Paso County Commissioner Holly Williams said it was "outreach by neighbors" who made CDOT and local representatives realize what a dangerous intersection this had become. There are no separate left-turn lights for either Highway 83 or Douglas County Road 404 at this time. This Aug. 30 photo shows the glare drivers deal with at 5 p.m. during rush hour. Photo by OCN reporter emeritus Jim Kendrick.
Elephant Rock Hike, Aug. 30
Caption: At the new El Paso County Elephant Rock open space, Dr. Catherine McGuire (in white shirt, center of group and former co-owner with her brother Dr. Tom Close, not shown), along with county parks staff, guided a group of about 30 interested hikers on Aug. 30 along the Santa Fe Trail from Palmer Lake to the new open space between Palmer Lake and Monument. McGuire and park staff stopped periodically along the way and talked about the property history and local information and regaled the group with anecdotes. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Monument Indie Fest, Aug. 31
Caption: The Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) hosted the Monument Indie Fest over Labor Day weekend. Twenty bands from across the country performed on stage to benefit Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development and Visitor’s Center and WMMI. The event was organized by Tri-Lakes Radio and Indie On-Air Records. L.A.-based husband and wife band The Dollyrots headlined Saturday’s event, bringing their punk rock sounds to the stage. Fans spread out on blankets and relaxed in lawn chairs while bands like Last Humans and Promise To Myself (PTM) played their tunes. Phoenix-based PTM energized the crowd with their pop-punk sound, ending with the amped track Circles releasing in late September. From left are PTM’s Brad Stockton, Karl Nagy, Tony Galvan, and Zack Bruge. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Our Community Notices
By Judy Barnes, Events Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the information number for that event.
Tri-Lakes AWANA Club,
AWANA is a program dedicated to helping kids ages 5 through high school to know, love, and serve God. Meets Wed., 6-7:45 p.m., at 14960 Woodcarver Road, Colo. Springs. Register online at www.fuelchurch.org. See ad on page 6.
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: Sat., 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m.; Tue. and Thu., 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.
Children’s Literacy Center needs volunteers
Children’s Literacy Center (CLC) provides free one-on-one tutoring to children reading below grade level in our community. If you are 14 years or older and are able to commit to a 12-week tutoring session, contact Children’s Literacy Center today to change a child’s life! Work with one child, two hours a week. All volunteers are trained to use CLC’s Peak Reader® curriculum; no background in education or prior experience in tutoring is required. CLC’s fall session runs from Sep. 4 to Dec. 5. For more information on how to get involved or on how to sign your child up, visit http://childrensliteracycenter.org or call 719-471-8672.
Register for YMCA 5K Race Series and Fun Runs
The three-race series includes the Creepy Crawl Oct. 26 on the Santa Fe Trail in Palmer Lake, Turkey Trot Nov. 28 at the Briargate YMCA, and the Jingle Bell Dec. 14 at Fountain Creek Regional Park. Sign up online at www.ppymca.org/raceseries. See ad on page 6.
Community Website, TLtalks.com
TLtalks.com (Tri-Lakes Talks) provides a forum for community members to communicate and exchange information in a respectful environment. Get information about growth, the bond and its impact on your property taxes, and more. See ad on page 20.
Sisters’ Thrift & Boutique
The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery have a shop full of gently used treasures at 8674 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Springs. Store hours are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The phone number is 719-282-0316. For more information and a $5 off coupon, see the ad on page 10.
MVEA essay contest
High school juniors can enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, or win a stay at the Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colo. Essays must be received by Nov. 14. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/essay-contest. Info: Erica, 719-494-2654, firstname.lastname@example.org. See ad below.
Each year, MVEA awards $1,000 scholarships to 14 graduating high school seniors. Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2020. Apply online at www.mvea.coop/scholarships. See ad below.
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.
Black Forest Together
Black Forest Together provides fire recovery/mitigation services to the Black Forest community summer through fall, weather permitting. For more information, contact Black Forest Together, 495-2445, or email@example.com.
Free senior services
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or the local senior lunches, a volunteer driver will be happy to help you. Call 488-0076 to leave a message for the dispatcher. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call Cindy Rush, 488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
4x4orce is an emergency notification network of 4-by-4 enthusiasts/good Samaritans ready and willing to respond when, where, and how they can. Sending a message to the Facebook 4X4orce Community Rescue & Recovery page is the best way currently to get assistance. However, you can also phone 719-286-9323. If Facebook is not working, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cell phone reverse 9-1-1
The Emergency Notification System (powered by Everbridge), commonly referred to as Reverse 9-1-1, is a tool that can make rapid notifications to specific geographic areas to alert you to emergency situations including manmade disasters, evacuations, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, and more. Reverse 9-1-1 is not the same as Amber Alerts, which are generated by a different system. You must register to receive emergency notifications on any phone other than your landline. You can list up to five locations and up to eight points of contact. Sign up at www.elpasoteller911.org.
Our Community Calendar
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
For information on library events, see the library events column and visit www.ppld.org.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
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This page was last modified on January 24, 2023. Home page: www.ocn.me.
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