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By Allison Robenstein
During the Feb. 18 Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, a discussion of radium in the water supply prompted angry comments among the members leading to a public water workshop, Feb. 28 (See page 28). Police Chief Sean Hemingway took the oath of office, Rosa Ooms was named employee of the month for January, and Public Works Director Tom Tharnish updated the board on plans for the new Public Works facility.
Trustee Jim Romanello was noted absent by Deputy Town Clerk Erica N. Romero.
Radium discussion turns ugly
During Trustee Comments, Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein thanked Town Manager Mike Foreman for a letter he sent out to all board members regarding radium in the town water supply. Bornstein stressed the need to fix the problem, and Foreman said, "This is something that has been going on for a long time, not just here, but across the country and is something the town has already addressed based on the state’s requirements." See www.ocn.me/v16n11.htm#mbot1017.
Although it is unclear what was contained in the letter, the discussion became quite contentious. Trustee Laurie Clark asked that the EPA determine whether the town is in compliance and the risk is addressed. Clark was concerned to know from where the radium was coming because her attorney had recently told her about a similar issue in Mesa County that was caused by mining tailings. "we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but should determine the source of the radium," she said.
Bornstein said twice that he wanted to be on the record by saying, "Anybody living in this town, I would not drink the water." He continued, saying he has information from the EPA indicating there are other substances in the water that are out of compliance. When Tharnish, a water professional operator, certified by the Water Quality Control Division within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), asked for the report, Bornstein refused until Tharnish provided him with data first. Clark agreed with Bornstein, saying, "We do need to be sure we are in compliance with EPA guidelines—when I talked with my attorney, he said we are not."
"I would appreciate as a senior certified water professional that you provide me with any information you received," said Tharnish.
Bornstein said, "This should be priority number one with this town. We are not in compliance. Other elements [in the water] are not in compliance," although reports on the town’s website contradict this statement. See water quality reports posted on the town’s website at https://townofmonument.org/373/Water-Quality-Reports.
An ordinance was supposed to be brought to the board during the Feb. 3 meeting for radium reduction, but the meeting was canceled due to weather. In the request totaling $81,360, Tharnish said, "The Town of Monument Water Department has been tracking radium levels being discharged out of Water Treatment Plant (WTP) 3/9 for the last two years as part of [the] CDPHE compliance quarterly sampling plan. The radium levels have been rising slowly on average and we feel it is time to be proactive and pursue a more aggressive approach of removal instead of the current dilution method approved by the state. The town is currently in compliance, but we anticipate that the running average of radium will exceed the Maximum Containment Level (MCL) sometime in this next year." Radium-226 and Radium-228 are the most common isotopes found in water.
The well in question provides 28% of the town’s water. According to the ordinance, Forsgren Associates would experiment with the "EPA’s list of Best Available Technologies and Small System Compliance Technologies for radium removal" to find the best method to reduce or eliminate radium in the finished water product. "These proven technologies include ion exchange (regenerative and single-use), lime softening, electrodialysis reversal, pre-formed hydrous manganese oxide (HMO) filtration, activated alumina, coagulation/filtration and reverse osmosis. Each technology has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages which we will evaluate specifically for the town’s situation, and then help narrow the list to three or four potential technologies for closer evaluation," reads the ordinance language.
Once a plan for radium reduction or removal has been created, the town will need to build the system.
Background: Radium is a naturally occurring element in our Western landscape, referred to as a naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). It can be carried in water as it flows through the ground. Other substances including barium, copper, and lead are also found in water naturally and tested by the CDPHE. Surface water, such as in ponds and streams, can carry contaminants such as disinfectant and pesticides. Mining production can cause radioactive materials such as radium to be overly processed and concentrated through mining processes, referred to as technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM). The maximum allowed radium in drinking water is 5 picocuries per liter.
Monument water is provided by the town’s Public Works Department covering the west side of town. All other local water and sanitation districts, including the Triview Metropolitan District and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation, are dealing with the similar radium issues as the town, although they may have more ability to solve the problem quicker. See www.ocn.me/v19n10.htm#wwsd.
For every year but one, the town has been in compliance with not just radium but also other substances mentioned above. See www.ocn.me/v17n4.htm#mbot. In that case, the town used a dilution process to reduce the amount of radium in the overall water supply.
During the heated discussion, Trustee Greg Coopman suggested the board needs to know more about this long-term problem. Mayor Don Wilson asked why the EPA would tell Bornstein about this concern but not share the information with the town water employees.
Foreman said the town can use $700,000 in the budget to remediate, and he will bring options to the board for review.
Oath of office for new police chief
Chief of Police Sean Hemingway took the oath of office, saying, "I am truly humbled and honored for this great opportunity. I’d just like to say as I get pinned, I reflect on my responsibility to ensure the highest level of service to this community."
Rosa Ooms named employee of the month for January
Finance Director Rosa Ooms was named employee of the month for January by Foreman. He said Ooms arrived during a time of transition in the Finance Department, and in only five months has prepared the budget, saw it through to adoption and sent it to the state, calculated the property tax mill levy, completed year-end payroll, sent filings to the IRS and state, and continues to fix past accounting issues to make records as complete and correct as possible.
New Public Works facility is moving forward
Tharnish told the board the site for the proposed new Public Works facility requires soil testing in several locations. The building will be located along Synthes and Mitchell Avenues. Ground Engineering will perform geotechnical subsurface exploration for $10,900, which is part of the approved budget. A total of 12 holes will be dug to determine the facility footprint as well as out structures including the sand/salt holding structure, cold storage, wash structure, fleet parking, and the detention pond.
Trustee Laurie Clark asked if the testing will affect existing utilities, but Tharnish said there are no utilities on the property yet.
Other items discussed and/or approved
The board discussed changing the time limit for public comments during hearings that now allows them to speak for only three minutes. Wilson said there has been confusion on the issue since a previous board approved a longer time period for people to speak but never codified the vote with a resolution.
Coopman said, "We don’t want to limit public input for or against an ordinance" and asked if Foreman knew the board had instructed staff to create rules around this subject four years ago.
Bornstein supported continued public comments but suggested that repeated comments that might halt the forward process of the hearing should be managed by the mayor. Town Attorney Joseph Rivera told the board during a hearing that the mayor acts as judge and he can do what is necessary to keep things moving along. Wilson said, "We will not stick to a timeline unless it is being abused."
Trustee Ron Stephens was in favor of extending the time from three to five minutes but also didn’t want to give the impression that someone can filibuster this meeting. "I’m in favor of using the mayor’s discretion to continue if the information is new and informative," he said.
Planning Director Larry Manning asked the board to approve a perpetual easement for Porchlight Properties LLC along Second Street and Beacon Lite Road where an existing commercial property now sits. The developer would like to develop more commercial property to the south and requires perpetual access for roadway that is owned by the town. Manning told the board, "Future development will provide additional property tax revenue, sales tax revenue, and impact fees."
Adam Fletcher, representing Porchlight, said they are looking at purchasing the property from Diversity, which owns the existing property that includes a paved driveway that has been crossing town property for about 15 years. The request passed unanimously.
Hemingway told the board the Police Department received a police training grant for $7,400 through POST (Police Officer Standard Training) that will be used to purchase arrest control training materials, tables, chairs and computers in the training room, and Explorer uniforms.
During public comments, Haley Chapin, executive director of Tri-Lakes Cares, thanked the board, town manager and police, delivering certifications of support to the three.
On March 2, the Town of Monument put out the following statement regarding its drinking water: "The Town of Monument’s drinking water is routinely tested and meets and exceeds all standards established by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). All Town of Monument water customers receive Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) each year. These reports provide details on the quality of our drinking water, and they can be found on https://townofmonument.org (or can be obtained at Town Hall). In the most recent CCR, all measured standards are compliant. Colorado’s drinking water standards are higher than those established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Colorado is a "primacy" state, which allows the CDPHE to regulate drinking water standards statewide.
"The town is investing $700,000 to work with the CDPHE to address increasing radium (an element that naturally occurs in well water) levels that have been detected in water tests done since 2017. Any questions or concerns can be directed to our Public Works Director Thomas Tharnish at 719-884-8039, or email@example.com."
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 March 16. Call 719-884-8014 or see www.townofmonument.org for information. To see upcoming agendas and complete board packets for BOT or to download audio recordings of past meetings, see http://monumenttownco.minutesondemand.com and click on Board of Trustees.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education held a work session and a regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 10. The work session centered on discussion of school start times. The regular meeting included the Monument Academy Annual Report and a Safety and Security briefing.
School start times
The Ad Hoc Committee on School Start Times presented a report on its research during the work session. Created in April 2019, the committee consists of 12 members, including representatives of elementary, middle and high schools, parents, and members of the departments of student services and transportation.
Co-chairs Cynthia Fong Smith and Renee Gargasz reported on their research and proposals on the subject.
California has ruled that beginning in 2022 high school can start no earlier than 8:30. In the local area, Cheyenne Mountain District 12 will change its start time in the 2020-21 school year. Academy District 20 has already changed their times.
Studies have shown that elementary school students can begin school at 7:30, but following puberty students tend to go to bed at 11 and would naturally sleep until 8 a.m. In districts where start times have changed, bedtimes have tended to remain the same, allowing an extra hour of sleep.
These studies were based on a national survey titled Teen Sleep Habits Survey, concluding that greater sleep duration resulted in better mental health and fewer substance-use related issues.
Among the obstacles to changing school start times:
• Transportation, including the need to change routes and recruit additional drivers. In District 38 the buses now deliver in two cycles, the middle-high school and elementary school students.
• After-school activities, especially high school sports, could require students to leave class early to participate. Districts that have changed start times have adjusted schedules to compensate. Employers in many areas have reported that delayed release times do not affect a student’s ability to have a part-time job.
• Earlier start times for elementary students could mean waiting for the bus in the dark or being at home alone after school. Some districts have responded to this by creating lighted bus stops.
• People tend to be resistant to change, and this would disrupt long-standing routines. The community could adjust to change if given sufficient preparation time. Inform the community of the research results and that sleep is important to everyone.
• Students may also be resistant to change, but if the benefits are explained in health and psychology class the concept may become more acceptable.
To view the PowerPoint presentation and research results, please see boarddocs on the www.lewispalmer.org website, board of education, meetings, meeting agendas.
Board President Matthew Clawson asked for results of District 20 changing its start time from 7:05 to 7:45.
Board Treasurer Ron Schwarz asked how to ensure that students will actually get additional sleep, assuming that bedtime doesn’t change but waking time does.
Director Chris Taylor asked if Daylight Saving vs. Standard Time is also a factor to circadian rhythms. He also wished to hear about District 20’s experience and whether academic performance improved.
No action was taken.
Monument Academy annual operations report
Representatives of Monument Academy presented their annual report during the regular meeting of the board. Christianna Herrera, chief operating officer, opened the presentation. She stressed that the academy was founded by parents 24 years ago.
A representative of CRP Architects, designers of the new MA secondary school, said that the design was inspired by earth, sky, and pine trees. To add a sense of movement to the building, special dichroic glass is embedded in some of the railings and other features. The glass reflects in several colors as one passes.
A representative of the construction company for the new school showed a construction schedule. He said that, despite delays caused by weather, the school will open in August. The crew is working 10-hour shifts and weekends.
Board Secretary Tiffiney Upchurch asked about traffic concerns.
MA Board President Mark McWilliams responded that the Colorado Department of Transportation has seen no problem, but an official will soon come to evaluate one ingress from Highway 83 and two egresses from Walker Road. In this way, vehicles leaving the site will not have to accelerate quickly onto the highway.
Accountant Matt Brocklehurst explained the financial status of the school and the funding of the new secondary school. He referred to the annual audit and said that the secondary school will be included in next year’s budget.
Financial Advisor Matt O’Hara explained the debt structure for the new building, saying that the original 2019 bond has a 5.5% interest rate, and they are monitoring interest rates for an opportunity to refinance.
Marketing specialists are focusing on recruiting students from Districts 20 and 49, where charter schools stop at grade 8.
To view the detailed report, see boarddocs (Board of Education, meetings, boarddocs on the website).
Safety, security and mental health report
Chief of Security Dennis Coates and Director of Student Services Krystal Rasmussen reported on safety, security and mental health services in the district.
Coates reported that there have been successes in building improvements such as 3M film on windows near entrances (the film prevents breakage of glass), a new security vestibule at Palmer Lake Elementary School, increased trainings and drills, and adding alarms to entrances at the high schools, limiting entrance and exits to two locations at each building. Although the doors are alarmed, they are not locked.
Challenges include the need for additional vestibules at Prairie Winds and Bear Creek Elementary Schools, improved communication to prevent blackouts, community growth near schools, and traffic.
In addressing the mental health aspect of safety and security, Coates said the district is partnering with the Sheriff’s Office and other local, state, and federal agencies. The new police chief in Monument is school-oriented. The district is also applying for grants, such as a Safer Schools Grant to support improved communications.
Coates also said that Safe2Tell, an anonymous reporting program, received 300 calls last year with self-harm the primary subject of the calls. These calls are answered immediately and referred to the Sheriff’s Office when necessary.
Schwarz asked what Coates would do first given unlimited funding. Coates responded that he would address mental health and then the additional vestibules.
Rasmussen reported that the district is addressing mental health through counselors, assistant principals, parent and student input, and systemic practices.
She defined mental health as emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Good mental health enables an individual to handle stress and develop good relationships with others.
The district promotes social-emotional learning to promote self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, self-management, and good decision-making.
She stressed that all students, regardless of age, benefit from this approach. Demonstrating care and concern for all students and supporting the whole child are important factors in promoting mental health and the district partners with many area agencies such as the El Paso County Health Department, Youth Suicide Prevention, Tri-Lakes Cares, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, and Monument Hill Kiwanis.
The primary challenge in improving mental health is the lack of staffing available. Mental health professionals are difficult to find.
The Student Services Department has sponsored parent nights to view films on "Screenagers" (addressing social media and excessive screen time among students), vaping, and a second Screenagers program planned for March.
Staff will be trained in youth mental health first aid and suicidology.
The workload of counselors will be re-evaluated to avoid overload, and grants will be sought to support the district’s efforts.
Asked how the district is coping with insufficient staffing in the mental health field, Coates replied that many teachers have gone above and beyond their regular responsibilities.
The board recognized Georgina Gittins for founding the AdoptD38program, providing a way for community members to donate to schools and the district. During its 10-year history, the program has raised $325,000 for the district. Gittins is now leaving the program and encourages others to volunteer to coordinate it .
The girls’ volleyball team from Palmer Ridge High School was recognized for being finalists for the state championship.
The Palmer Ridge football team was recognized for its third state championship.
An executive session was called to evaluate the performance of Superintendent K.C. Somers. No actions were taken following the executive session.
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on March 16.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) received reports on a number of topics during its Feb. 11 meeting at Ray Kilmer Elementary School.
Kilmer Principal Drew Francis conducted a tour of the school before the meeting and then explained some of the school activities.
The Student Leadership, formerly known as the Student Council, plans and implements events at the school.
The Innovation Station room features various projects and supplies related to science, technology, engineering, and math. It was funded largely by grants and is part of the regular rotation of students of all grades.
Enrollment at Kilmer is now at 381, 50 fewer than projected for this year. Francis said a number of families have moved away due to increased development in the area.
Priorities in the 2019-20 year include maintaining a positive attitude, taking care of one another, teaching as an art, and using everyday math, especially with the digital curriculum.
Kilmer follows the responsive classroom model, where students know and empathize with one another and begin each day with a classroom meeting.
Board liaison Tiffiney Upchurch briefed the committee on legislative activity in the 2020 session. She encouraged everyone to monitor developments on the Colorado Association of School Boards website, CASB.org, under 2020 bills. Some bills involve increased reporting required of districts on such topics as military enlistments by graduates.
Upchurch reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Changing School Start Times reported to the board the previous evening and that the primary stumbling block to a change is transportation. There needs to be community dialogue prior to any change. The most likely change would be to have elementary schools start first each day, with middle and high schools to follow. A decision is unlikely before the 2020-21 schoolyear.
Upchurch encouraged all to attend the community collaboration meetings being held at various locations and times throughout the district.
Gifted education update
Gifted and Talented District Facilitator Annette Bass explained the gifted and talented program to the committee on behalf of the Gifted and Talented Leadership Team.
The state reviews the program every four years, with the most recent review in November 2019. 11.36% of district students are considered gifted. The distribution varies over grade levels because the test to identify qualified students is administered in the third grade.
The budget for the program consists of $96,544 from the Colorado Department of Education and $712,054 from the Lewis-Palmer School District. Some funding is also derived from grants. The district portion of the funding covers such things as supplies, testing, salaries for specialized staff, and programs.
Bass said students who are identified as gifted in such areas as athletics are often referred to other programs such as the Olympic Training Center to develop their skills.
Learning Services Coordinator Davonne Johnson explained the five-year curriculum cycle, including curriculum mapping and alignment to ensure that students at the same grade level at different schools are receiving the same information at any given time.
Each year, curriculum from different grade levels and subject matter are reviewed and new alternatives are proposed. The community is invited to review the new materials before adoption by the board, followed by a period of training for teachers before the materials are introduced in the classroom.
Johnson reported that recent innovations and digital systems allow teachers to tailor material to various learning styles, including audio versions of texts and specialized flash cards. Assignments can be accessed electronically.
One problem is that some schools have more electronic devices than others to access the digital materials. Grants are being sought to solve this problem.
Public Information Officer Julie Stephen encouraged committee members to use their tablets or cell phones to access Thoughtexchange and provide their opinions on the effectiveness of the department’s programs.
Opinions were sought on the website of various methods of notifying parents of closures and schedule changes, and suggestions of new strategies. These opinions would be recorded electronically, enabling the department to compile them for later use.
The same system is being used at the community collaboration meetings.
Student Services update
Director of Student Services Krystal Rasmussen reported on initiatives in her department. For further information, see the article on the Board of Education on page 1 of this issue.
DAAC Co-chair Susan Hunter-Smith reminded the committee that her term will end at the April meeting and encouraged members to come forward to volunteer their services.
The next meeting of the District Accountability Advisory Committee will be at 7 p.m. on April 14 in the district’s Learning Center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held a regular board meeting on Feb. 13 to approve the academic calendar and discuss the uniform policy and the upcoming board election. New board member Susan Byrd was sworn in and Lewis-Palmer D38 board member Tiffiney Upchurch attended as the board liaison to MA.
The board discussed options for the academic calendar, noting that the district’s approved calendar starts Aug. 18. Members also discussed a calendar that starts on the 20th or 31st, making sure to incorporate 167 days of contact. It would mean a longer summer and push the semester to end after Christmas but would ensure extra time for the new building to be finished. Construction has been impacted by the weather but has been mitigated by extending work hours. Many people agreed that a later calendar start was not ideal but was doable and would be a one-year modification to the standard calendar.
There was a lot of discussion on the impact of snow days and the need to build in and communicate alternate days off that could be converted if there are too many snow days. The board, administration, and teachers weighed in on the need to have days off built into the calendar during stretches where there are no holidays in order to mitigate burnout.
The board voted unanimously to approve a calendar with a start day of Aug. 31, adding Oct. 16 as a day off and making sure to highlight school board meetings. The 2020-21 calendar can be seen at: bit.ly/ma-cal-2021.
High school uniform policy versus dress code
The results of the survey came back with resounding support for an open dress policy, including any color shoes and socks with logos for the secondary school. A caveat is that students should dress modestly to honor themselves and the school. The elementary uniform policy would remain the same, though it may be modified to allow a small logo of the opposite color on black and white shoes. The middle school uniform policy would allow more leeway in polo colors.
The board discussed jewelry, piercings, and hoodies and other clarifications and moved to have the Uniform Committee revise the policy in light of their discussion and return for final approval. Current uniform policies can be seen at bit.ly/ma-polices.
The board discussed how to conduct the upcoming election to replace the two board members whose terms are expiring: President Mark McWilliams and board member Mike Molsen. They noted that in the past the election had been handled by the executive director, but Chief Operating Officer Christianna Herrera didn’t think she should drive it because the board functions as her boss. They discussed setting up a candidate forum including pre-written questions, an information packet, and voting over one to two days with ballots put into a lockbox monitored by two people at a time in shifts. Board member Melanie Strop was directed to review the bylaws so that an election could be held sometime in April.
The following items were highlighted at the board meeting:
• The board unanimously approved the formation of a work group to look into teacher compensation.
• During public comment, an MA parent asked if the school board would be expanded with two new board members as had been mentioned by former Executive Director Don Griffin. McWilliams did not recall that discussion.
• Asked about the current enrollment numbers of 21 students for ninth grade, McWilliams said that MA had just started marketing and that he expects to see a big boost in June and July as MA’s open enrollment extends to that timeframe.
• Herrera provided a 90-day report, reviewing the history of MA, expressing gratitude for parents and teachers, and noting that MA’s relationship with D38 is critical.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, March 12 in Lab 312 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 email@example.com.
Three Monument Board of Trustees positions are open for re-election. Ballots will be mailed mid- to late March and are due April 7. Voters may return their ballots by mail, drop them off at the ballot box outside the Town Hall at 645 Beacon Lite Road, or, on election day only, personally deliver ballots to the Town Hall. Call 719-481-2954 for information. See http://townofmonument.org/458/Do-I-Live-In-Monument to determine if you live within Monument boundaries.
The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will host a Monument candidates forum on Tuesday, March 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chamber, 166 Second St., Monument.
Listed alphabetically with their email addresses, the five candidates for the three open positions are:
• Ann Howe, AnnHoweCO@comcast.net
• Mitch LaKind, Mitch@monumentmitch.com
• Jim Romanello, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Allison Thompson, email@example.com
• Jamy Unruh, firstname.lastname@example.org
The following statements are candidates’ responses to two questions posed by Our Community News:
1. What in your background would help you as a Town of Monument trustee?
2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the town, and what solutions would you propose?
My platform emphasizes water, community safety, and budget accountability and transparency. I am a former New Hampshire state representative, Town Budget Committee vice chair, and have over 30 years of professional experience in cost accounting, auditing, and as part of the Executive Leadership team as a risk and opportunity manager (overseeing $218 million in risk). My past professional and elected official experience, coupled with current established relationships with local officials, will enable me to come up to speed quickly to work for you.
I believe once these issues are resolved, the town will thrive, businesses will flock to Monument, and we can shape its growth.
Town turmoil of the past several years has seen progress, but there is still work yet to be accomplished. First, establishment of a secure water supply, especially for those west-side residents effected by the recent spikes in radium. I am working with El Paso Commissioner VanderWerf to unblock the Northern Delivery project which will provide adequate, radium-free water for all residents.
We must support Monument Police. Underfunded for many years, staffing has not kept pace with growth. Police Chief Hemingway and I have spoken, and we agree on how the department needs to grow. Department growth without raising taxes can be accomplished by using money wasted on repeated temporary fixes to the ailing water infrastructure.
Once the Northern Delivery system is in place, the funds devoted to fixing water issues can be spent on neglected infrastructure and on acquiring open space for parks.
I have worked the last several years to bring to light suspicious accounting practices with the town’s finances. Once the towns books are put in order, we will be able to see where all taxpayer funds go and therefore manage it more effectively.
I ask for your vote April 7. Thank you! www.AnnHoweTrusee.com.
Leadership is not about being in charge but taking care of those in your charge. As a veteran of the Navy and Army National Guard, I know about service to others—the most important characteristic needed of any leader. My diverse background in IT, military, management, and service has provided me a servant leadership style that fosters collaboration with all people, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that can help our community reach its peak potential.
With my ability to listen, analyze, and recognize the needs of the people, I’ll be able to create comprehensive solutions while working with residents, developers, business owners, and town management. My plans not only address key issues for the community but serve to attract new opportunities for smart growth in Monument.
The greatest challenges Monument is facing now are economic development and infrastructure. The changing demographic has forced the community to really revisit the direction of the town and alter its methods to ensure we continue and develop valuable thriving communities. Monument needs to attract new businesses, services, and development opportunities to accommodate growing families and increasing population for economic prosperity. Infrastructure plays a key part in our economic development in being able to speed that process up, reduce costs, improve productivity among varying industries, whether that includes the environment, clean water, better roads or telecommunication.
I look forward to the honor and privilege of serving the town of Monument as a trustee. With hard work, transparency, and a commitment to excellence, I know we can work together in making Monument the best place to live, work, and play.
Thank you for your support and learn more about me at www.mitch4monument.com.
I feel that being an incumbent trustee who has experience and has helped bring on board staff for our town is a tremendous asset. Get along well with staff and other trustees and am committed to moving our town forward, now that our town is staffed. I also feel running a financial services business for over 20 years is definitely an asset.
I believe the two greatest issues facing our town is how we grow, and that is by balancing the fact that growth will happen, but that we love our Monument feel.
I also feel that navigating keeping our staff solid and the morale of our town is an issue I want to continue to fight for and keep solid. We cannot move forward if we are continually falling apart from within.
Qualifications as a trustee: The short answer would be that my experiences running my own household uniquely positions me to meet daily town challenges with pragmatic, tested solutions and a steady, consistent approach. The town’s needs are complex, and my life experience has revolved around solving complexities successfully. Being able to work cooperatively as a team player will bring a better sense of unity to the board and security to the town.
What are two issues the town faces and what are my solutions?: The first issue would be the public health and safety issues confronting the town. I see an overall deficit in the board’s ability to address the water safety and police needs effectively, financially, and comprehensively. I would seek to help the board arrive at the processes required to implement a bridge of understanding to accomplish a unified plan to bring the town into the 21st century, affordably. Secondly, it is becoming obvious that the town residents are looking for more comprehensive services within the town boundaries—such as a hospital and companies that can provide jobs for the locals to be able to work and live here. I would implement a positive, attractive representation of Monument publicly to encourage a positive business growth climate for local job creation.
As a consultant in IT systems, I specialize in the finance department and work with companies to implement solutions that best fit their specific finance needs, so acting in the best interest of the company while maintaining legal compliance has been my entire career experience.
Aside from my work experience as an implementation team member, I was also a collegiate athlete, which was excellent practice in facilitating a teamwork effort. I believe it’s essential to be able to work cordially with a group/team of individuals to achieve a desired outcome which benefits the greater good, specifically in this situation for the town of Monument.
Budget accountability: I would advocate for enforcing procedures for funds to be allocated appropriately for a balanced effort in order to achieve reasonable compensation rates for the Police Department, Public Works, and administration.
Infrastructure: Working with the Board of Trustees to present scheduling plans designed to replace our crumbling infrastructure with new underground pipes, utilities, and broadband conduit—no more Band-Aids on failing systems. In addition to fighting for improvement of our streets, better street planning, and better highway access.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Town Council met twice in February: Its monthly meeting was held on Feb. 13 and a work session was held on Feb. 27.
At both meetings, planning for compliance with state regulations on storm water and the future of the town’s Fire Department took most of the council’s attention. The council also heard a presentation from Awake the Lake concerning its plan to raise funds by adding plaques to the pedestrian bridge.
Town strives to comply with storm water requirements
John B. Chavez of Chavez Consulting Inc. LLC presented a proposal at the first of the two meetings to address the town’s need to better manage its storm water runoff. Chavez told the council that Palmer Lake received a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit in 2018 and that the town must provide its own resources to remain in compliance with the state’s requirements. Chavez said the town received some extra time to comply with state regulations, but that his investigation showed the town was about 18 months behind schedule in its compliance efforts. Failure to comply could lead to lawsuits from the state, Chavez said.
The town will need to write a program description document that details its storm water treatment strategy, Chavez said, and would also need to develop and implement six controls for its storm water program:
• Pubic involvement.
• Public education and outreach.
• Illicit discharge detection and elimination.
• Oversight of new construction.
• Post-construction storm water management.
• Municipal Operations pollution prevention.
The state also requires recordkeeping and annual reporting, according to Chavez. He added that the town had done some work on the first two requirements.
Storm water picks up pollution and is not treated, Chavez said, so the state requires storm water to be retained for 72 hours so that pollution can settle out.
Chavez said he could build a plan for the town to address these requirements by July for about $20,000, and that implementation costs would be in addition to that amount. Chavez told the council that grants could not be used to comply with state requirements. He also said if the town did not meet the state’s requirements, the state would step in and develop a plan for the town, which would be less flexible than what the town would develop for itself.
Chavez attended the work session on Feb. 27 to answer questions from the council about his proposal.
At the work session, the council voted unanimously to approve $26,250 for Chavez to begin work on the town’s MS4 permit.
Resources for Fire Department sought
At the Feb. 13 meeting, Shana Ball, speaking on behalf of the committee that is planning the future of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD), brought the council up to date on her efforts to find an ambulance for the town to purchase and her efforts to identify and apply for grants to fund the department.
Ball said Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) has an ambulance for sale, for which they are asking $20,000. Built in 2007, the Type 1 ambulance has four-wheel drive, Ball said, and has been well cared for. New ambulances cost $175,000, according to Ball. Ball said she thought the ambulance could be staffed with existing PLVFD personnel.
During the discussion, Councilperson Susan Miner told those present she recently had to call an ambulance from Donald Westcott Fire Protection District, and it took 23 minutes to arrive.
Mayor John Cressman authorized the PLVFD to investigate the proposed ambulance purchase.
Ball also spoke about several grants that she is pursuing on behalf of the town. Ball said $50,000 was in the PLVFD budget to match a fire mitigation grant that was not awarded. She asked for those funds to be made available to use as matching funds relative to the grants she is pursuing.
Ball said a grant was available from COEMS that could be used to replace outdated radios. She also mentioned a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that could be used to acquire a new fire engine and 19 sets of bunker gear. The FEMA grant would require $138,656 in matching funds. Ball suggested $75,000 of that amount could come from the PLVFD reserve funds, and $63,656 from the town budget.
The council voted unanimously to authorize Ball to pursue the COEMS and FEMA grants.
At the Feb. 27 meeting, Ball asked the council to approve $5,000 to be spent to develop plans for a multi-purpose station to house both police and fire personnel. Building plans were needed before costs could be properly estimated, Ball said, adding that the council could decide which architects would do the plans.
The council voted unanimously to approve the funds requested.
Awake the Lake fundraising plan generates debate
Chris Cummings, representing Awake the Lake, showed the council some examples of plaques that Awake the Lake was planning to add to the pedestrian bridge as a fundraising effort to pay for the project’s completion. His presentation raised a number of issues. Matthew Krob, the town’s interim attorney, said standards should be developed and asked whether the plaques would be considered art or advertising. Questions of liability and maintenance were also raised in the discussion.
The council voted unanimously to ask Awake the Lake to draft standards for the signage that the attorney would review.
The council is scheduled to hold two meetings in March, on March 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.
By James Howald
At a brief meeting of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board on Feb. 10, the focus was on operational reports.
Highlights of operational reports
• Reporting on the last meeting of the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee (JUC), which oversees the joint sewer infrastructure shared by Woodmoor, the Town of Monument, and the Town of Palmer Lake, WWSD Director Lee Hanson told the board that January was the first full month of phosphorus treatment at the wastewater facility. Further details about the TLWTFJUC meeting can be found at https://www.ocn.me/v20n2.htm#tlwtfjuc.
• Assistant District Manager Randy Gillette told the board that the Chilcott Ditch was shut down during February, but he expected flows to begin through the ditch on March 1.
• Gillette said water levels in Fountain Creek, which feeds the Chilcott Ditch, are the lowest he has seen at 25 cubic feet per second.
• Gillette said 8% of the district’s water was deemed unaccounted for, and that the most likely contributing factor to that measurement was infiltration, that is, water entering the system through manholes and other points of entry.
• District Manager Jessie Shaffer said that Well 21, the district’s newest well, was waiting on a filter to be installed before test pumping could begin.
• The pipeline that will transport water from Well 21 to the processing plant is being installed using a horizontal drilling method, Shaffer said, that eliminates the need to dig a trench in which to install the pipeline.
• The water line replacement underway on Scrub Oak Circle is substantially complete, Shaffer said.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 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 email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The combined districts of Forest Lakes Metropolitan District and Pinon Pines Metro Districts (PPMD) 2 and 3 met on Feb. 6 for a special meeting to discuss a 2020 bond issue for PPMD 2 and approve a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) participation agreement related to the Northern Monument Creek Interceptor Project (NMCI). Two residents of the area represented by PPMD 1 were present.
Board President George Lenz, vice president of Classic Homes, told the residents there is a separate meeting for PPMD 1, and the board would not be talking about the area in which they live, but they were welcome to stay. "This is the future phases of the ground that are not underneath your homes," he said.
NEPA participation agreement draft
District Manager Ann Nichols explained that Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) changed the NEPA agreement after participants opposed paying any money upfront. She said, "If we later down the road decide to participate, the pro rata costs will be distributed, which are substantial," noting the costs will be several million dollars.
Classic Homes CEO Doug Stimple, assistant secretary and treasurer of the board, explained a bit about the project. CSU has suggested a long-term, regional provider of sewer and potentially water. That would entail CSU participating with others to access sewer in the area.
Stimple said, "We get out of the sewer treatment game," as would others in the area. "It could be both a financial savings to our residents but also long term get all of us out of the obligation to potentially have to do upgrades based on ever-changing policies of the EPA," he said.
The draft agreement was unanimously approved.
Engagement letters for PPMD 2 bond issue
Nichols said PPMD 2 will hook into the same water and sewer system that PPMD 1 uses.
Stimple explained that PPMD 2 is a new development to the west of the existing PPMD 1 and is just being developed now. He said PPMD 3 is commercial property that includes Pilot Flying J.
Lenz said the bond amount would be $7.190 million, and Nichols explained that the purpose of the bond is to reimburse Classic Homes for a portion of the advanced funds they used to build the existing infrastructure. To get into the bond market, Nichols said there will be three consultants assisting the process. D.A. Davidson Investment Banking is the investment banker, Sherman and Howard LLC will serve as bond counsel, and Simon and Wheeler will do the financial modeling to demonstrate to the bond purchasers that this is a viable bond that can be paid back using the mill levy assessed on the property owners. The letters were unanimously approved by the board.
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m.
PPMD 1 meetings, followed by joint meetings of FLMD and PPMD 2 and 3, are typically scheduled once a quarter at 4 p.m. Official meeting notices are posted on the district website at www.forestlakesmetrodistrict.com. For general questions, contact Ann Nichols at (719) 327-5810 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Lisa Hatfield
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (TLWWTF) Joint Use Committee (JUC) Facility Manager Bill Burks said Feb. 11 that the new chemical total phosphorus removal tertiary clarifier system appeared to be providing more benefits than expected.
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 member John Howe stood in for MSD board Chairman Ed DeLaney, JUC president; PLSD board member Reid Wiecks, new 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.
Discharge Monitoring Report yields good surprise
Facility Manager Bill Burks said the facility was running well in December, and he reviewed all the Discharge Monitoring Report’s testing results as required by the TLWWTF Joint Use Agreement.
He shared serendipitous news that the new chemical total phosphorus removal tertiary clarifier system was removing phosphorus as intended. But it also appeared to be removing arsenic and total recoverable iron from the facility’s effluent. He was hopeful that, after July when he performs the discharge permit-required annual TLWWTF metals testing, he might be able to document even more unanticipated benefits.
Stakeholder meeting updates
Burks reported that the Arkansas River/Fountain Creek Coalition for Urban/Rural River Evaluation (AF CURE) continues to be involved in discussions that cover wastewater treatment regionalization, stakeholder comments submitted regarding Regulation 22 (Site Location and Design Approval Regulations for Domestic Wastewater Treatment Works), and the state’s voluntary nutrient treatment expansion incentive program.
MSD Environmental Compliance Coordinator Jim Kendrick reported that the Colorado Wastewater Utility Council is still concerned with how the recently initiated collection and reporting of measured in-stream concentrations results for so many new and different state in-stream "constituents of concern" are being analyzed and how these comparisons are being reported.
Kendrick pointed out that there are no detailed historical data sets for these suddenly emerging "constituents of concern" like PFOS/PFOA, making it impossible to perform simple comparisons or trend analysis to determine the efficiency or cost-effectiveness of new treatments. These new tests unexpectedly required by the state Water Quality Control Commission are being added to the growing load of required testing for arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals. Several state executives have expressed concerns that these burgeoning expensive, unfunded, and un-subsidized testing demands could rapidly bankrupt many of the state’s smaller wastewater treatment entities, creating an environmental crisis.
Willow Springs Ranch development in review process
Wicklund thanked Gillette for his professional, timely suggestions at a recent Upper Monument Water Quality Management Committee meeting. Gillette made specific recommendations for the developer to improve a new sewer lift station and force main site application for the Willow Springs Ranch planned development parcel located between West Baptist Road and TLWWTF just west of the BNSF railroad track. When the developer, Polo Brown Co., finishes the lift station construction, ownership will turn over to MSD to operate the equipment and the associated new Willow Springs Ranch wastewater collection system
Several local review steps like this are part of the EPA’s extensive federal Clean Water Act 208 Plan review process that leads to final lift station and force main approval, Wicklund said.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors met Feb. 20 to acknowledge and decide on staff transitions and associated policies, hear an appeal to waive a customer water leak, and be briefed on legislative activity.
Director Dennis Snyder participated via conference call.
Petersen’s replacement named
General Manager Kip Petersen, who is scheduled to retire at the end of May, reported that the board had held special meetings on Feb. 5, 6, and 7 to interview the finalists for the open general manager position. The slate of three finalists comprised Donala’s Superintendent of Water Operations Mark Parker, Kevin Niles of Colorado Springs, and Jeff Hodge of California (also a former Coloradan). Directors planned to determine the final candidate at an executive session scheduled to follow the meeting. Petersen confirmed later that the board unanimously voted to offer the position to Jeff Hodge.
Petersen announced that Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur had chosen to move on for "the next adventure in her life." He lauded Ladouceur’s work as exemplary and that everyone would miss her "dedication, knowledge, and smile." Ladouceur began working with Donala in 2004 and accepted chief operations at the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (UMCRWWTF) in 2013. Her final day was Feb. 28.
Waste Plant Operator Aaron Tolman will move into the Ladouceur’s former position. Tolman possesses seven years of experience at UMCRWWTF and will work to earn the requisite licensing in 2020.
In relation to the staff changes, the directors unanimously voted to adopt an amended smart phone and tablet policy. The language modifications clarified the already strict password and information security measures that existed to manage loss, damage, and staff transitions.
Residents seek waiver on mega-leak
Petersen provided background information on David and Kristine Kuenzli’s waiver appeal. The Kuenzlis left town for about two weeks in December and returned to find that—for no known reason—an exterior faucet had been flowing at a rate of up to 260 gallons per hour, and subsequently received an excessive water bill. The Kuenzlis appealed to the board to waive the amount in excess of what a typical water bill would be for their household.
The Kuenzlis argued that, because their house had not yet been outfitted with a cellular meter, they did not have the benefit of cellular technology’s leak alert system, thus the district’s leak policy should be adjusted for owners of non-cellular metered homes. Petersen confirmed that the 10-year phase-in of cellular meters began in 2014 and estimated that 60% of the district’s homes have cellular technology. Yearly software advances make it necessary for some of the early cellular installations to be replaced as well. Parker added that about one-third of the district has current cellular technology.
President Ken Judd defended the 10-year phase-in process from old meters to new. Staff time and funds available make it logistically impossible for the district to replace all meters at the same time.
Petersen explained the district’s leak adjustment policy. On a justifiable leak, he would establish an average water bill from the Kuenzli’s December 2019 water consumption, subtract that average from their December 2020 bill and discount the December 2020 remainder by 50%. He added that proof of a plumber’s assessment and a part’s repair or replacement sufficed as evidence of a justifiable leak and that the district has agreed upon extended payment options in the past.
Judd advised the Kuenzlis that before the leak policy’s adoption in 2014, no adjustment was available to residents and they were obligated to pay for the full amount of any leak. He also emphasized that the board’s decision regarding their request would set a precedent.
The board voted unanimously not to adjust the current leak policy.
Proposed legislation bears watching
Petersen introduced three legislative items that raised concerns: SB20-153, HB20-1233, and HB20-1119. The Senate bill proposes to charge consumers a water resources financing fee of 25 cents per 1,000 gallons after a 4,000-gallon exemption. Concerns focused on how and where the collected funds would be spent.
The first House bill would preempt government control concerning the use or access to public property. Interpretation could allow public access to reservoirs and water supply resources at any time and for any length of time.
The second House bill targets the regulation of firefighting foam as a possible source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, which accumulate in the human body and may cause adverse effects. This bill may impact water and wastewater districts’ data collection that may have financial repercussions.
Collaboration on water transport
Petersen reported that Donala, Triview Metropolitan District, and Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) communicated regarding the potential water transport arrangement between Donala and Triview via conference call on Feb.14. CSU will require Triview to begin the application process for a 1041 permit and obtain space in the Pueblo Reservoir to move forward on its "wheeling" agreement with Donala. Donala received its 1041 permit—a years-long process—in fall 2019. See www.ocn.me/v19n9.htm#dwsd.
This collaboration would provide Triview with a means to receive its leased water from the Pueblo Board of Water Works through CSU’s Southern Delivery System and Donala’s infrastructure. Petersen confirmed that the "meter pit," the shared device that will measure the water delivered to Triview, has been designed and a contractor has been secured.
At 3:32 p.m. the board moved into executive session under the provisions of CRS 24-6-402(4)(f) to discuss personnel matters; CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) determining positions relative to matters that may be subject negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations and instructing negotiators.
Caption: Chief Waste Plant Operator Terri Ladouceur resigned her position at Donala after working for the district since 2004. At Donala’s Feb. 20 Board of Directors meeting, District Manager Kip Petersen applauded Ladouceur’s exemplary dedication and knowledge. Ladouceur’s final day was Feb. 28.
Caption: Petersen promoted Waste Plant Operator Aaron Tolman to fill Ladouceur’s role. Photos by Jennifer Kaylor.
The next board meeting will be held 1:30 p.m. March 19 at the district office located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. The directors meet in the district office conference room. Board meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month, see www.donalawater.org/images/docs/PUBLIC_NOTICE_2020.pdf for the meeting schedule. More information is available by calling (719)488-3603 or accessing www.donalawater.org.
Jennifer Kaylor may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jennifer Kaylor
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors met Feb. 19. Directors received manager and superintendent reports and voted to award a landscape installation contract after an executive session.
Due to the closure of I-25, Secretary/Treasurer James Barnhart’s and Director Anthony Sexton’s arrivals were delayed, and Director James Otis was prevented from attending. The directors participated via teleconference as needed to maintain a quorum. General counsel Gary Shupp was also present.
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 Feb. 19 board packet may be accessed via www.triviewmetro.com/boardDocuments.
Conversion to high-tech water meters begun
District Manager Jim McGrady informed the board that utility crews initiated the conversion from traditional water meters to cellular water meters. The goal is to replace about 600 meters in 2020 and budget for the remaining replacements in 2021. The coinciding software called "Eye on Water" will allow residents to view their water use history to within 15 minutes. This provides valuable feedback for residents who wish to conserve water and reduce water costs. The new meters will also provide leak-detection alerts as well as other types of warnings.
Neighborhoods that are currently under development, such as Sanctuary Pointe, will automatically be equipped with the cellular water meters. Information to educate residents on how to use the technology and to address safety concerns will be forthcoming.
JCP landscape contract awarded
Three landscape contractors submitted proposals for the materials and installation of landscaping in the Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP) median. The bid amounts ranged from $260,322 to $270,536. McGrady reported that he and Parks and Open Space Superintendent Jay Bateman interviewed each contractor and documented the interview responses on score sheets. The contracts were discussed in depth during the board’s executive session.
McGrady later confirmed that the board unanimously voted to award the contract to Landscape Endeavors Inc., citing the contractor’s experience in the northeastern Colorado Springs area as well as the contractor’s responsiveness, price, and specifications as qualifying factors.
Regionalization gaining promise
President Mark Melville, Vice President Marco Fiorito, and McGrady attended a Feb. 19 regionalization presentation hosted by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). Melville and Fiorito confirmed that Triview’s current operations and assets appear to align well with CSU’s regionalization expectations. The district intends to participate in a to-be-determined community event where potential regionalization partners may present their stories.
Later discussion emphasized the benefits of Triview acquiring renewable surface water resources in addition to having wells. This provides redundancy that ensures sufficiency when demand is high or during drought seasons.
Potential mutual irrigation company changes draw concerns
McGrady informed the directors about potential changes in the way that mutual irrigation or ditch companies allocate unused water rights shares. Currently, unused water from water rights holders within a mutual irrigation company can be shared among the company’s remaining water rights holders. Murmurings of proposed changes would require unused water shares to instead be diverted downstream. These changes, if they were to occur, may impact Triview’s shares of Fountain Mutual Irrigation Co. water. This defeats the purpose and has the potential of reducing yields that partners count on, he said.
McGrady had thought that legislation against such changes might be available by the time the board met in February and that directors would write a memo of support. To his knowledge, no legislation had developed to date, but he pledged to monitor the situation.
Keeping a watchful eye on sales tax revenue
A comparison of the district’s 2018 sales tax revenue to 2019 sales tax revenue revealed a decrease of about $15,000. Directors speculated about potential reasons for the decrease. At least one business was known to have dropped in sales in December 2019. McGrady mentioned that the 2019 JCP construction may have deterred shoppers as well. Looking at the district’s longer sales tax revenue history, McGrady expressed that the current difference was relatively minor.
Sales tax revenue is the sole source of funding for Triview’s road repair and maintenance as well as parks and open space upkeep.
Public works and utilities
• Bateman reported that snowplowing and pre- and post-snowstorm activities from at least 10 February snowstorms kept the district’s road crews busy. On warmer days, the district’s parks and open space work included winter cutbacks of perennials and winter watering of new and previous-year plantings.
• The district’s utilities crew repaired a 12-inch water main break at Monument Marketplace near the U.S. Taekwondo Center. The break caused a water loss of about 15 gallons per minute, estimated Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton. Well rehabilitation and water plant preparations for summer are part of the winter schedule. A well casing was restored to like-new condition due to a new acid cleaning process.
• Drilling for wells A-9 and D-9 recently began in Sanctuary Pointe. McGrady estimated that the drilling phase of constructing the wells would take about 60 days.
At 6:20 p.m., the board entered executive session §24-6-402(4)(b)(e)(f) legal advice, negotiations, personnel.
The next Triview board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 18. Check the district’s event calendar at www.triviewmetro.com/home or call 488-6868 for meeting schedule updates. Board meetings are held at the district office, 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 300, Monument. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook, or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allison Robenstein
During the Feb. 18 Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) meeting, the board heard about a recent grant request and received a chief’s report of two donations to the district.
Treasurer Joyce Hartung was excused.
Grant may pay a portion of new defibrillator costs
Lt. Jason Chavez told the board he recently requested a grant to purchase a new defibrillator used on a rig. The manufacturer notified the department their current unit will be discontinued in June. The new LIFEPAK 15 model costs $35,000. The grant, requested through Colorado Public Health and Environment, will cover 50% of the costs if approved. Money will be available in August for the purchase.
The LIFEPAK 15 monitor/defibrillator is a cardiac care response system designed for basic and advanced life support.
Chairman Mark Gunderman asked about purchasing the replacement now and getting refunded if the grant is approved so that the current defibrillator could be put out of commission. Chavez said he would discuss it with the vendor and get back to the board.
Chief Vinny Burns read several thank you cards the Fire Department received. One included a donation in memory of recently deceased William Bo McAllister, who was chairman of Wescott’s board. Another card thanked the Wescott district with a donation of $5,000 to be used for personal protective armor for firefighters. Burns said, "We do have some armor, but it’s coming to the end of its life." During the New Life Church shooting in 2007, Wescott firefighters were first on scene and found themselves assisting victims with police protection, so the district purchased armor in case of a similar event in the future.
Assistant Battalion Chief Scott Ridings said there were 74 calls for service in January. The average time to arrive on scene was seven minutes and 27 seconds, and it took them only one minute and 10 seconds from the time the call came in to leaving the station.
Lt. Brian Ackerson said volunteer training will begin shortly for six new recruits. There will be three EMTs, one firefighter, and a husband and wife who have 10-15 years of firefighting experience willing to volunteer.
Resident Shannon Garrett asked if volunteer and full-time firefighters receive physicals. Ridings said this year, a doctor will be onsite to provide extensive physicals to all members, which will all be paid for by Wescott. Burns said the physicals are geared toward their profession and will include cancer and cardiac risk screening "to make sure we are fit for duty and ready to go to work," he said.
The meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.
Caption: Lt. Shannon Balvanz takes the oath of office in his promotion to battalion chief. Capt. Sean Pearson was also promoted to battalion chief. Drivers Roger Lance and Wayne Krzemien were promoted to lieutenant positions, and Matt Gibbs was promoted to driver. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Caption: Capt. Sean Pearson takes the oath of office in his promotion to battalion chief. Lt. Shannon Balvanz was also promoted to battalion chief. Drivers Roger Lance and Wayne Krzemien were promoted to lieutenant positions, and Matt Gibbs was promoted to driver. Photo by Allison Robenstein.
The next Donald Wescott Fire District meeting is scheduled for March 17 at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. For information, call Executive Administrator Stacey Popovich at 488-8680 or see www.wescottfire.org.
Some information was incorrect in the Donald Wescott article published Feb. 1 in OCN. Here is the correct information:
• Capt. Sean Pearson and Lt. Shannon Balvanz will be promoted to battalion chiefs.
• Drivers Roger Lance and Wayne Krzemien will be promoted to lieutenant positions.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
The Black Forest Fire Rescue/Protection District (BFFRPD) board met on Feb. 19 for its regular board meeting. A pension meeting preceded the regular meeting, during which a volunteer firefighter requested long-term disability benefits after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and hyperparathyroidism. Interim Chief PJ Langmaid told the board they were now testing a cheaper alternative to the mobile data computers they had bought and returned. The board discussed continued questions about fire codes for new developments in unincorporated El Paso County.
Treasurer Jack Hinton was excused.
Long-term disability request under review
A volunteer firefighter who has been with BFFRPD since 2013 requested long-term disability from the pension board because he has been diagnosed with cancer, making him unable to work.
Chairman Rick Nearhoof said a cancer diagnosis requires a medical line-of-duty injury determination and suggested that this firefighter file a worker’s compensation claim. However, the firefighter said going that route would reduce his choices for medical treatment.
Nearhoof said he wants to follow the state statute for fire pensions law (CRS 31-30-1112), which requires a one-year waiting period after the illness is initially diagnosed. In the meantime, the pension board can award short-term disability payments to the firefighter. Any decisions were delayed until the board hears back from its attorney.
The volunteer firefighter requesting disability noted the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recognizes the high risk of cancer for firefighters. He also noted he was initially assigned personal protection equipment that had not been line rated and had constant exposure to diesel exhaust.
Nearhoof said the Fire and Police Pension Association financial report showed the pension fund "was in good shape."
Langmaid said the department had 74 calls for service in January, 64% of which were rescue calls. He also finished interviewing 16 candidates for employment.
Langmaid told the board it was decided to return their standard Panasonic Toughbook mobile data computers following a disappointing installation. Instead, they have purchased one Surface Pro that will be mounted and tested in a vehicle. "Plan B, which is the Surface computer. The Surface and the mount, we can buy three of these for one Toughbook. The rest of the county is moving down that road." These are the devices used to stay in contact with county dispatch. "There’s a lot of other folks saying, 'What are you guys doing? We can save that much money?'" said Langmaid.
Note: Panasonic Toughbooks and the associated mount meet military standards for a range of extreme conditions including temperature changes, but more importantly shock, meaning they can withstand the force of a crash. The military-approved mounts prevent the computer from flying toward firefighters in the cab. Other computers and mounts are not rated as such.
Langmaid said the training division had put together an after-action report on the Christmas morning structure fire on Bridle Bit Road that will be posted soon at www.bffire.org so people’s questions can be answered. As of Feb. 26, OCN did not see the report posted yet. See www.ocn.me/v20n2.htm#bffire for background.
Fire codes in unincorporated El Paso County
In previous meetings, the BFFRPD has discussed the issue of existing fire codes not being enforced by the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) when they approve new land development plans. Apparent inconsistencies in requirements for cisterns or fire hydrants is one of the issues of concern the board has been discussing. See www.ocn.me/v20n2.htm#bffire.
Referring to county codes not being enforced, Langmaid said, "If the developers are not being required to do something why would they put the money into it?"
The board unanimously approved a symbolic resolution to adopt the 2015 edition of the International Fire Codes with local amendments, but noted "a fire code adopted by the district can only be enforced within unincorporated El Paso County if it is first approved by the BOCC." Currently, El Paso County operates under the 2009 International Fire Code. See www.ocn.me/v14n1.htm#bocc.
BFFRPD will await Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner’s request to the BOCC that it adopt the updated codes. Then, Deputy Fire Chief Rebitski will represent BFFRPD at the BOCC meeting whenever it is heard there.
Langmaid mentioned another long-running concern, which is that the county does not collect impact fees from new developments to support fire districts that cover those developments. See www.ocn.me/v17n7.htm#epcbocc.
The meeting adjourned at 7:52 p.m.
The next Black Forest Fire Rescue/Protection District meeting is scheduled for March 18. Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at BFFRPD Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. See https://www.bffire.org/board-meetings.
Allison Robenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Feb. 26 Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) board meeting, members held an executive session at the end of the regular meeting to discuss the search for land. They also approved fire code amendments, adjusted the ambulance billing policy, and heard a presentation on future investment options.
Board President John Hildebrandt and Treasurer Jason Buckingham were excused.
Executive session—land acquisition
The board moved into executive session at the end of the regular meeting to discuss the acquisition of land for future placement of a fourth station/and or an investment option as recommended in the 2019 Master Plan. See www.ocn.me/v19n5.htm#tlmfpd.
After the executive session, the board unanimously approved two motions, approving $15,000 for the investigation of a possible land acquisition and authorization for the board president to execute a land purchase agreement not to exceed $390,000, contingent on the satisfaction of due diligence requirements.
2015 International Fire Code adopted
Division Chief of Community Risk/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner requested the board approve and adopt the 2015 International Fire Code (IFC) and the accompanying TLMFPD amendments before he presents them to the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for final approval. These regulations shall be known as the Fire Code of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, as applicable, hereinafter referred to as the Code.
Bumgarner answered several questions as follows:
• The dates of the International Fire Codes are never going to be up to date, but El Paso County and the BOCC are currently using the 2009 IFC.
• About 45-50 amendments are included in the 2015 IFC.
• The majority of the code amendments are commercial and enforced by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, and most architects and builders are already building their projects in compliance with the 2015 IFC.
• Wildland and mitigation fire codes are expanded in the 2015 IFC version with a comprehensive guide for builders planning to construct in wooded areas.
• Vehicle access routes—fire apparatus to homes are also included in the 2015 IFC.
The board unanimously approved and adopted the 2015 IFC for TLMFPD, 5-0.
Future investment options explored
Brent Turner, vice president of Investment Advisory Services of COLO Trust, presented the board with several options available for the investment of funds in a local government pool with access to $9.3 billion in assets. District accountant Becky Weese suggested that other simpler options could be discussed at a future board meeting, and Secretary Mike Smaldino said, "It is time to start narrowing the options."
Ambulance billing policy updated
Director of Administration Jennifer Martin asked the board to approve Policy 318, which addresses hardships and ambulance billing write-offs when patients are billed for ambulance transportation.
Board Vice President Roger Lance suggested that in addition to transportation fee waivers for TLMFPD employees and their immediate family members, consideration should be given to extend the policy to include all off-duty first responders (firefighters, police officers, and paramedics/EMS) and their spouses and dependents that reside within TLMFPD, and non-resident first responders that are performing professional duties within the district. The board also decided to include retired TLMFPD staff and their spouses and residing dependents within the district, and current board members and their spouses. The board unanimously approved Policy 318 with the discussed amendments.
Chief Chris Truty said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are sending regular information through local EMS providers on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the status on the quantities of the N95 masks that are in short supply. Local preparation is going on with several protocol changes occurring over the past several weeks. Smaldino said, "We may see higher-level precautions at the local hospitals and not so much with EMS staff."
A meeting of the Fire Chief’s Council held on Feb. 24 resulted in a positive position on the implementation of impact fees for new development in unincorporated El Paso County. The council has formed a subcommittee to continue the conversation with the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs (HBA) and developers, with the first meeting likely to occur at the end of March. Impact fees for future development could be implemented within the next three to six months if all groups are in support and the BOCC accepts a proposal agreed by all parties, said Truty. Director Terri Hayes said, "I hope it does not take another six months, since so much development has taken place and we have received zippo in impact fees (from unincorporated El Paso County)."
Truty gave the following updates:
• The two new administrative positions for division chief of logistics and an EMS captain are now closed to applicants, and the interviews will take place during March.
• The window for Self-nomination and Acceptance Forms for nominees seeking a position on the TLMFPD board is closed as of Feb. 28.
• TLMFPD sold two Lifepak monitor/defibrillators to Olathe Fire Department.
Deputy Chief Randy Trost updated the board on the efforts to assess the bridges at Arnold Road and Mount Herman Road for load bearing. Currently, the two bridges need repairs and may not be rated to carry the load of emergency vehicles. The Town of Monument is looking at the Mount Herman Road bridge rating and El Paso County owns the Arnold Road Bridge. Cost sharing for the rating may be required for the Mount Herman Road Bridge and a request to the Colorado Department of Transport (CDOT) for a load rating assessment will be made for the Arnold Road Bridge, which is already approved by the county for repair, but it would require an Emergency Vehicle (EV3) load capacity rating to accommodate TLMFPD Emergency Vehicles.
Director Tom Tharnish reminded Trost that another bridge is being planned for the Willow Springs development and that its load bearing capacity would need reviewing. Hayes asked if a semi-articulate tractor-trailer weighed more or less than the ladder truck. Trost said, "A ladder truck with a tandem axle typically weighs a combined 86,000 pounds, and a loaded semi would typically be less."
Battalion Chief of Training Jonathan Bradley said the following training had taken place in February:
• A successful three-day S215 Wildland Urban Interface course had been held for the second year in a row with the collaboration of El Paso County Wildland, Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District, and the Pike Hotshots—USDA Forest Service.
• The majority of our annual wildland refresher courses have been completed.
• UC Health and Centura Health had provided paramedic refresher courses.
"March is gearing up to be a busy training month," said Bradley.
Bumgarner announced the following:
• Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church’s Emergency Preparedness Group, in bright orange shirts, received national recognition for its mitigation efforts. The award will be presented at the International Association of Fire Chiefs Wildland-Urban Interface Conference in Reno, Nevada in March. See related photo on page 1.
• The Northwest Passage Evacuation Drill 2020 event is scheduled for Sept. 26, with an optional controlled evacuation of residents to Lewis-Palmer Middle School. The event will be operated by Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, and residents will be given the option to participate in advance, with education events throughout the summer. Residents will be required to sign up in advance to be eligible to participate in the event.
The regular meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m.
Meetings are usually held the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 25, and the location of the meeting is subject to change due to construction at TLMFPD Station 1, 18650 Highway 105. For information, contact Director of Administration Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011. For upcoming agendas, see www.tlmfire.org/board.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
During its meetings in February, the El Paso County Planning Commission recommended for approval two minor subdivision requests in the Tri-Lakes area.
Wolff Run Estates minor subdivision request
At its Feb. 4 meeting the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend for approval a minor subdivision request by owners Gregory and Tanya Wolff to create two single-family lots from their 9.7-acre property just east of the intersection of Old North Gate and Silverton Roads.
Wolff Run Estates minor subdivision
The proposed minor subdivision, to be known as Wolff Run Estates, would create one 4.62-acre lot and one 5-acre lot. Before submitting the request, the applicant applied for and received approval of administrative relief to allow the first lot to be less than the minimum 5 acres required within an RR-5 (residential rural) zoning district. As part of the subdivision application, the applicant also requested a waiver of the Land Development Code requirement that lots have a minimum of 30 feet of frontage and have access onto a public road. The applicant’s representative, Dave Gorman of M.V.E. Inc., told the hearing that instead the applicant was proposing a single access drive to serve both lots from Old North Gate Road as one lot was positioned behind the other.
Lindsay Darden, planner II, Planning and Community Development, said there was an existing house, barn and garage on the part of the property that would become Lot 1 and the applicant had stated that these buildings would remain until such time as the lot was sold and redeveloped. The property is across the street from the Colorado Springs city limits, and the applicant had been in contact with the municipality to see if the site could be connected to central services for water and wastewater but had been told they did not meet the approval criteria. Consequently, water supply will come from on-lot wells and an onsite wastewater treatment system.
Darden said the applicant had provided water documentation, and the state engineer and county attorney’s office said there was an adequate water supply in terms of quantity and dependability. She explained that the application was submitted before the Land Development Code being revised to require a finding of water quality. The Code in effect at that time allowed for an assumption of water quality for a minor subdivision.
The county had received three letters in opposition to the application from neighboring property owners. No member of the public spoke in favor or opposition at the hearing.
The application was then heard by the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at its meeting on Feb. 25. See BOCC article below.
Poenitsch minor subdivision request
At their meeting on Feb. 18, the commissioners unanimously recommended for approval a request for a minor subdivision by Tom Poenitsch and Christy Mullings to create three single-family lots on an 18.86-acre parcel of land zoned RR-5 (residential rural). The property is located at the northwest corner of Herring and Shoup Roads.
The three lots will be served by individual wells and onsite wastewater treatments systems. The state engineer and county attorney’s office said there was an adequate water supply in terms of quantity and dependability. Under the Land Development Code in effect at the time the application was submitted, an assumption of water quality was allowed for a minor subdivision.
The application was heard as a consent item at the meeting, which generally means there is no further discussion. On this occasion, the commissioners sought clarification from Cole Emmons, senior assistant county attorney, on water legislation. Before the commissioners voted, Gabe Sevigny, planner II, Planning and Community Development, addressed concerns raised by a neighboring property owner that there was an intention to put a contractor’s equipment yard on the site. He said that such a use was not allowed by right in an RR-5 zoning district. It would require a future application to go ahead, most likely a special use request that would be either decided administratively or elevated to the public hearing process.
The application was approved with a finding of water sufficiency. It is now due to be heard by the BOCC on March 10.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
At its Jan. 28 meeting, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a final plat request for Filing No. 4 at the Walden Preserve 2 subdivision and a minor subdivision request for a property in Black Forest. In February, the commissioners approved a further minor subdivision request and held three executive sessions related to the Highway 105 project.
Walden Preserve 2 final plat request
The proposed final plat for Filing No. 4 of Walden Preserve 2 makes up 45.27 acres of the overall 134.05-acre parent parcel and is zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD). It is east of Highway 83, south of Walker Road, and north of Hodgen Road, along the north side of the Pond View Place and Walden Way/Timber Meadow Drive intersection. The proposed final plat includes 23 single-family residential lots with a minimum lot size of one acre, two tracts for utilities, drainage, open space, and recreation totalling 18 acres, and three acres of right-of-way. The property is within the Black Forest Preservation Plan area.
The El Paso County Planning Commission unanimously recommended the application for approval at its Jan. 7 meeting, where discussion centered on the construction of a regional trail through the development that had been partially built but never fully constructed to county standards. The Planning Commission heard that the property owner had been in discussion with county as to whether they would complete the trail or pay regional park fees instead, but no agreement had been reached. The Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval therefore included a condition that allowed the county to work with the applicant on a resolution ahead of the BOCC hearing. See https://www.ocn.me/v20n2.htm#epcpc.
Before the final plat hearing at the BOCC’s Jan. 28 meeting, the commissioners heard a resolution to amend the county’s Park Lands Agreement (PLA) with Walden Holdings. The amendment would see the developer receive credits in lieu of paying regional park fees for the current recorded filings at the property as an acknowledgement of the work completed on the trail to date. Each future filing of residential lots, that is from Filing No. 4 onward, would be subject to regional park fees. These fees would then be used by county to complete the trail to its standards.
However, on the morning of the BOCC hearing, the property owner proposed a different amendment to the commissioners. Duncan Bremer, attorney for the applicant, said, "We are currently asking that you would give credit for all of the regional park fees as opposed to what was before you in the proposed amendment to the Park Lands Agreement, which is just credit for the first 43 lots out of 116."
David Jones of Land Resource Associates, on behalf of the applicant, said that the real issue being talked about was whether the trail was satisfactory. Describing the trail as "overbuilt," he told the commissioners that it did not meet specifications but that it was a quality product that far exceeded what would be there if it had been built only to county specifications. Property owner and developer Matt Dunston asked the commissioners to acknowledge that the trail, as built, and described earlier by Jones as fulfilling the fundamental purpose and needs of a trail, was sufficient to allow credits to be granted for all 116 lots.
Tim Wolken, executive director of Community Services, said that he was surprised at the $200,000 figure for the trail and stated that it was overbuilt, and that county would not have spent that amount. He explained that from Filing No. 4 onwards, the county would use the regional park fees to complete the trail to county standards. Responding to the developer’s statement that the fees would go into a general fund and not directly to the specific trail, he said that they would go to a fund for that specific area and that "every dime would be spent completing that trail."
Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr. commented, "It comes down to the county will be paying to finish this. It’s just whether or not there would be developer dollars going into that forward or not." Commissioner Stan VanderWerf noted that staff would need time to review the new proposal and asked his fellow commissioners to consider a motion to continue to a date certain, which would also mean the final plat application would need to be continued. Commissioner Holly Williams said she took Wolken at his word that the money would go directly into finishing the trail, stating, "Although I appreciate the efforts to try and negotiate this further, I would rather proceed with the motion that was presented to us in our packet and has been reviewed by staff."
The commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of the original amendment to the PLA. Commissioner Mark Waller was absent. Commissioner Cami Bremer, who had disclosed at the beginning of the discussion that her father-in-law was involved with the project, abstained.
Discussion during the final plat hearing centered on a stormwater violation that had been found at the site, specifically in the area of Filing No. 4, since the Planning Commission hearing. The commissioners heard that county’s stormwater team had issued a stop work order after finding that the contractor had graded a greater area at the site when rough grading a roadway than had been approved by staff. Also, barriers to prevent sediment runoff into waterways had not been installed. Craig Dossey, executive director of Planning and Community Development, told the commissioners that his department took stormwater violations very seriously and did not normally allow new entitlements to go forward where there was an existing violation unless doing so would correct it.
Nina Ruiz, planner III of Planning and Community Development, said that a revised grading and erosion control plan had been submitted but that staff had not yet had time to review it. The applicant told the commissioners that work was underway to install the necessary barriers and added that no waterways had been polluted because the ground was frozen. The commissioners agreed to proceed with hearing the application. A condition was added into the resolution requiring that the violation be resolved, and that the applicant be in conformance with all county standards before recording the final plat.
Gonzalez expressed his concern that there had been problems with the project and urged the developer to talk to county staff and let them know of potential problems early in the process in future so that they could help, stating, "Things need to be done properly or not only are you liable, the county becomes liable for some of these issues if we don’t do an adequate job and make sure projects go forward properly."
The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the application. Waller was excused and Bremer abstained.
Walker Reserve minor subdivision
Also at the Jan. 28 meeting, the commissioners approved 4-0, with Waller excused, an application by Alessi and Associates, on behalf of G3 Investments, for a minor subdivision to create three single-family residential lots on a 40.77-acre property zoned RR-5 (residential rural) in Black Forest. The property is about one mile east of Highway 83, just north of Walker Road. The subdivision will create two lots of just over five acres and a third of 28.52 acres and will include 1.81 acres of right-of-way.
The application was treated as a consent item, meaning there was no discussion.
Wolff Run Estates minor subdivision
At the Feb. 25 meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a minor subdivision request by owners Gregory and Tanya Wolff to create two single-family lots from their 9.7-acre property just east of the intersection of Old North Gate and Silverton Roads. The application was heard by the Planning Commission at its Feb. 4 meeting, where it was unanimously recommended for approval. See article on page 21.
The proposed minor subdivision, to be known as Wolff Run Estates, will create one 4.62-acre lot and one 5-acre lot. Before submitting the request, the applicant received administrative relief to allow the first lot to be less than the minimum 5 acres required within an RR-5 (residential rural) zoning district. The applicant was also granted a waiver for Lot 2 of the Land Development Code’s requirement that lots have a minimum of 30 feet of frontage and have access onto a public road. Instead, this lot will be accessed via a common driveway and easement through Lot 1. An existing house, barn, and garage on the property will remain until the lot is redeveloped.
Although the City of Colorado Springs borders the property to the south, the owners were told that they did not meet the city’s requirements for having services extended to them. Therefore, each lot will have a well and an onsite wastewater treatment system.
No member of the public spoke in favor or opposition at the hearing.
The application was approved with a finding for adequate water supply in terms of quantity and dependability. The code in effect at the time the application was filed allowed for an assumption of water quality for a minor subdivision.
• Jan. 28—The commissioners heard and approved an application by Khanh Vu Corp, d/b/a TK Nails Spa & Bar for a beer and wine liquor license at at 1765 Lake Woodmoor Drive.
• Jan. 28—Approved a resolution to allow disbursement of available revenue in the Black Forest drainage and bridge fund to GEB Investments Group LLC and Larkspur Properties LLC. Each received $16,493. The combined remaining credits are now $91,691 for drainage and $376,392 for bridge.
• Jan. 30, Feb. 4, and Feb. 11—Went into executive session at the request of the County Attorney’s Office to discuss property acquisitions and legal issues related to the Highway 105 project. As is customary for executive sessions, no decisions were made.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board met on Jan. 27 for its annual meeting to elect new board members, recap the previous year and set goals for 2020. The board met on Jan. 29 to reorganize the board positions and again on Feb. 26 to hear an update on the Walters Open Space development, provide board updates, and vote to replace aging vehicles.
Board President Brian Bush kicked off the annual meeting by reviewing the role of WIA, including covenant and architectural control, common area maintenance, and Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS).
Bush listed as 2019 accomplishments the installation of an Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant bathroom on the main floor, building an addition to the barn for WPS while preserving a large tree, partnering with the district on a Safe Routes to School Grant, complying with Colorado water law by augmenting two ponds and draining two others, offering three free chipping days to residents while holding down dues in 2018 and 2019. Dues in 2020 increased by 1.5% to $260 per year.
He said that in 2020, the board will maintain its commitment to being a Firewise community, apply for a $250,000 matching grant for mitigation, continue to develop trails in common areas, remain engaged in Walters Open Space sale and development, renovate the administration offices, continue to digitize WIA records, and work with residents to control tall grass to prevent fires.
Good neighbor awards were given to Linda and Joe Henry and Tish Norman. The Henrys help neighbors by removing snow, assist them with projects by lending them tools, and cooking and sharing food. They will receive a $100 gift card. Norman was recognized for being the driving force behind the Walters Open Space Committee, which has been working to preserve 100 acres of open space while coordinating with developer Proterra, which is interested in the remaining 35 acres.
Norman noted that she is the face of the organization but recognized the vice director, other committee members and Bill Peterson, who is president of Woodmoor Park HOA, which is impacted. They hope to finalize the agreement by April. The Vincent Elorie award will be presented at a later meeting to Eddie Bruck, a forestry volunteer who has worked to inform and educate new Woodmoor owners.
The meeting ended with a round of questions and answers and a review of election procedures, with each candidate in attendance having the opportunity to make a statement. Current board members Brad Gleason and Rich Wretschko spoke of their service in their current roles in public safety and open space respectively. Connie Brown said she has lived in Woodmoor since 2002 and has a 41-year background in business.
At the Jan. 29 meeting, the board provided election results, updated financial account authorization by removing former board member Lee Hanson, and reorganized to the following roles:
• Brian Bush, president
• Peter Billie, vice president
• Bert Jean, secretary and Community Outreach
• Connie Brown, treasurer
• Per Suhr, Architectural Control
• Brad Gleason, Public Safety
• Rich Wretschko, Common Areas
• Ed Miller, Covenant Control
• Tom Smith, Forestry
Walters Open Space update
Bill Peterson, president of the Woodmoor Park sub-HOA, reported on negotiations with Proterra. There are more discussions to come on setback and terracing and development of Walters Point that connects Phase 2 and 3 of Woodmoor Park. Architectural control and design will be deferred to WIA, and water issues will be deferred to Woodmoor Water. The discussion is about a 60/40 split between single-family and two-story units while taking into consideration obstructing views. Proterra is looking to take its proposal to the county in early May.
• The board voted unanimously to replace the oldest WPS Jeep with a 2020 Jeep Cherokee, with a cost not to exceed $34,000 from the reserve account.
• The board voted unanimously to replace an older administrative Jeep with a four-wheel-drive Dodge Ram pickup truck with a toolbox and bedliner for a cost not to exceed $27,000 from reserves.
• Common Area Director Wretschko said 60 trees will be addressed starting March 2 to mitigate, remove limbs, or remove whole trees depending on their condition, in the least invasive manner possible.
The WIA Board of Directors usually meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Barn at 1691 Woodmoor Drive, Monument. The next meeting has been moved to April 29 due to schedule conflicts.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
After a dry, relatively warm, and uneventful January, things changed quickly in February. For the month, temperatures were well below normal and snowfall was well above normal.
However, this change would have been hard to imagine after the first two days of the month as temperatures reached into the 60s both afternoons, peaking at 64 F on the 2nd, a new daily record high. But that was it for warmth for the rest of the month, with temperatures never getting above the low 50s the remainder of the month.
This change started with a cold front passing through just before midnight on the 2nd. The high for the 3rd of 32 F occurred at midnight. Light snow developed as cold air continued to filter in, with 2-4 inches accumulating through the region. The airmass was quite cold with the system as well, with temperatures only reaching the low teens on the 4th and lows dipping well below zero on the 4th and 5th. The next system was quickly approaching the region, and after a quiet and cold day on the 5th, brought snow back to the region from the late afternoon of the 6th through the late afternoon of the 7th. This storm also had a little more moisture to work with, producing 10-12 inches of new snow across the region.
A brief and quick warmup moved in between systems on the 8th with highs briefly jumping back above freezing that afternoon, reaching the mid- to upper 40s before another cold front moved through that evening. This brought a reinforcing shot of cold air and light snowfall. Temperatures were stuck in the 20s each afternoon from the 9th through the 13th, with light snow each day totaling 3-6 inches across the region. Winds were also strong at times, and this created areas of blowing snow and icy roads.
Amazingly, over this nearly two-week period, we were below freezing for 237 hours from Feb. 3 through Feb. 14. This period was interrupted for only about 13 hours from the mid-morning to late evening on the 8th. This is an exceptionally long streak of below-freezing weather in a region that normally experiences wild fluctuations in temperatures, none generally lasting more than a few days.
Temperatures finally rebounded above freezing for a few consecutive days from the 14th through 17th. This signaled the start of a more "normal" period of back and forth between cold and mild and dry and snowy which held through the end of the month.
The brief quiet weather held through the early afternoon of the 17th when a cold front moved through followed by low clouds and light snow that afternoon and evening. Temperatures were once again held below freezing from the 18th through the 20th. During this period, another 4-8 inches of snow accumulated, and temperatures again dipped below zero on the morning of the 20th. However, temperatures quickly warmed the next couple of days with highs reaching the low 50s on the 21st and 22nd and when combined with the stronger sunshine, this helped to melt some of the recently accumulated snowfall.
But this reprieve from snow and cold was short-lived again, with the next storm beginning to affect the region during the early morning of the 23rd. During the next three days, another 4-8 inches of snow accumulated. This period was punctuated with a strong shot of cold air, with the high only reaching the teens on the 25th and dipping below zero on the morning of the 26th. Finally, for the last three days of the month, quiet conditions returned, with temperatures slowly warming through the 40s on the 27th to low 50’s on the 28th and 29th.
Importantly, it wasn’t just the Palmer Divide that received ample snowfall and cold temperatures, but the mountains also benefited significantly. Several locations, especially along and north of the I-70 corridor, received record amounts of snow for the month, with several locations accumulating more than 100 inches during the month. This, of course, is very important for Colorado as we head into spring and summer and will ensure plenty of water doing forward. Of course, we have to hope the spring melt season behaves, with a long, slow melt season so we don’t have any major flooding issues.
A look ahead
March is known for a wide range of weather conditions in the region. We can see 70° temperatures one afternoon and blizzard conditions the next. Many of us remember the blizzard of March 2003 when we received 30-50 inches of snowfall that shut down the region. However, snow that does fall begins to melt quickly this time of the year, providing beneficial moisture for our plants as we head into spring.
February 2020 Weather Statistics
Average High 35.5° (-4.3°) 100-year return frequency value max 51.9° min 32.8°
Average Low 11.3° (-1.7°) 100-year return frequency value max 21.9° min 3.7°
Highest Temperature 64° on the 2nd
Lowest Temperature -9° on the 5th
Monthly Precipitation 1.59" (+1.65" 59% above normal) 100-year return frequency value max 2.10" min 0.02"
Monthly Snowfall 32.9" (+15.2", 54% above normal)
Season to Date Snow 100.1" (+29.6", 30% above normal)
Season to Date Precip. 5.70" (+0.62", 11% above normal)
Heating Degree Days 1164 (+126)
Cooling Degree Days 0
Caption: As temperatures hover near 60 degrees on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, a couple sits on a Fox Run Park bench as the last rays of sun for the day filter through the trees. Only two days later, temperatures plummeted, and snow returned for what seemed the remainder of the month. Photo by David Futey.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed in Letters to Our Community are the responsibility of the letter writers and should not be interpreted as the views of OCN even if the letter writer is an OCN volunteer.
Note: The letters this month are arranged in alphabetical order by the submitter’s last name.
Does D38 still deserve the $4 million in additional MLO funding?
In 1999, voters generously granted D38 an additional $4 million a year in perpetuity from local taxpayers. The funds were supposed to be used for staff funding (teachers’ pay), among other things. In the 12 years I have lived here, district officials have wasted millions of dollars, on occasion flushing a million at a time. Here are a few examples:
They paid $400,000 to dismiss a new superintendent with no observable job performance problems and two years left on his contract. They wasted $1.5 million paying back a Certificates of a Participation loan that they "accidentally" took out with a pre-payment penalty. They spent $1.5 million on architectural plans for a school without voter approval, whose construction voters have since twice defeated because it won’t address growth effectively. They ended up paying a nauseating $600,000 over and above the approved estimate for the (mostly unneeded) modulars that appeared after the last election.
Meanwhile, D38 started charging parents for busing and raised fees for student parking, sports, and school supplies, to the point of forcing parents to furnish copy paper and tissues to their kids’ classrooms. Worse yet, district surrogates and more than a few teachers and staff have subjected our community to insulting campaigns, calling area residents public education haters, student haters, teacher haters, and "the cheapest affluent community they have ever seen."
Let’s face it. This community is now paying for a "public servant" culture of waste and abuse. It’s time to consider repealing that $4 million MLO. We shouldn’t have to pay, only to watch it wasted, just so they turn around and constantly cry for more. At an additional 10% in your real estate tax bill every year, don’t you think that you can spend that money better?
20 years of tail-waggin’ tales!
It is with great sadness that Carnival Cat & Canine Care LLC is closing. Our "bed & biscuit," located in Palmer Lake, has been caring for precious pets for the last two decades.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone in the Tri-Lakes area that has given me and our team the pleasure and privilege of caring for one or more of their fur family.
I recently was diagnosed with ALS, a fast-moving condition that is not treatable or reversible.
I feel blessed that I have 20 years of memories and jolts of joy from so many great times from playing "catch me if you can" … to 5:00 yappy hour to cranking up the music and singing and dancing for the pooches staying overnight—some just stared but most wagged their tails.
As I embark upon this "new journey" please know that 20 years of tail-waggin’ tales will brighten my future days!
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"Reading mysteries: the recreation of intelligent minds."—Donna Andrews
March is a month of basketball and spring break. It’s also a great time to hunker down with some good mysteries, whether you are staying at home or traveling.
Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna
By Mario Giordano (Mariner Books) $15.99
Auntie Poldi is ready for some peace and quiet in Sicily. When the water supply to her neighborhood is cut off and a dear friend’s dog is poisoned (telltale signs that a certain familial organization is flexing its muscles), Poldi knows there will be no resolution without her help. She soon finds a body in a vineyard, tangles with the Mafia, and yet again makes herself unpopular in the pursuit of justice.
An Unwanted Guest
By Shari Lapena (Penguin Books) $16
It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing weekend away. When a blizzard cuts off all contact with the outside world, the guests settle in and try to make the best of it. Soon one of the guests turns up dead. It looks like an accident, but when a second guest dies, they start to panic. Within the snowed-in paradise, something, or someone, is picking off the guests one by one. There’s nothing they can do but hunker down, hoping they can survive the storm, and one another.
The Body in Griffith Park: An Anna Blanc Mystery
By Jennifer Kincheloe (Seventh Street Books) $15.95
It’s 1908; ex-heiress Anna Blanc works for the Los Angeles Police Department. What she really wants is to hunt criminals and be alone with Detective Joe Singer, both of which could get her fired. Anna and Joe discover the body of a young gambler. As Anna’s murder investigation stalls, strange floral arrangements begin arriving from an unknown admirer. Following the petals leads Anna to another crime. Suddenly pitted against Joe, Anna must examine her loyalties and solve the crimes. The historical details of the crimes are taken from actual cases.
How Quickly She Disappears
By Raymond Fleischmann (Berkley Books) $26
Twenty years ago Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now 30-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a young daughter who reminds her of Jacqueline. But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and offers a startling revelation. He knows exactly what happened to Jacqueline, but he’ll reveal this truth only if Elisabeth fulfills his three requests. Doing so means putting herself and her family in danger.
The Woman in the Window
By A.J. Finn (William Morrow & Co.) $16.99
Anna Fox lives alone, unable to venture outside. She spends her days drinking wine, watching old movies, recalling happier times, and spying on her neighbors. The Russells move into the house across the way and seem like the perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble. In this gripping thriller, no one and no thing is what it seems.
The Cuckoo’s Calling: A Cormoran Strike Novel
By Robert Galbraith (Mulholland Books) $18
Published under a pseudonym, J.K. Rowling’s adult mystery series features Detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellicott. Cuckoo’s Calling sets up the relationship between the two, as he investigates a legendary supermodel’s death. The police ruled it a suicide, but her brother refuses to believe that. These fast-paced books inspired Strike, the BBC crime drama series that has captivated millions of viewers worldwide.
By Anthony Horowitz (Harper Perennial) $10
This mystery, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls. Frederick Chase, a senior investigator at New York’s Pinkerton Detective Agency, and Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes’s methods of deduction, join forces. They fight their way through the streets of Victorian London in pursuit of a sinister man, much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty’s successor in London’s criminal underworld.
"Very few of us are what we seem."—Agatha Christie
Until next month, happy reading!
The staff at Covered Treasures can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Winter Adult Reading Program continues through March 31. Any titles read since Feb. 1 count toward your total. Complete eight books by the end of March and receive this year’s handsome commemorative mug.
Lewis-Palmer D38 schools will be closed March 21-29 for spring break. There will be no AfterMath tutoring on March 23.
Regularly occurring children’s programs at the Monument Library include Book Break on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 10:30 to 11, Story Time on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:15, Toddler Time on Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30, and Paws to Read on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5. When registration is required, please call 488-2370.
The Homeschool @ Monument program from 1:30 to 2:30 on Monday, March 9 is Ute Knowledge and STEM Challenge. Home schoolers investigate how the Ute Indians used science, technology, engineering, and math to survive and thrive in the Rocky Mountains. Students will explore hands-on challenges to understand how the Ute people solved problems in the past and the present. Registration required; recommended for ages 6 to 12.
Children ages 5 to 12 are invited to make Sensory Tiles on Thursday, March 19 from 4 to 5. Your child will use process art to create a colorful sensory tile with fun, assorted materials and a vinyl record they can display at home.
Lego Build will meet from 10 to 11 on Saturday, March 21. Come to the library and use our large collection of Legos to build to your heart’s content.
On Tuesday, March 24, from 10:30 to 11:30 there will be a program on Super Snakes. Celebrate our natural environment by visiting a variety of snakes from Nature’s Educators. Discover how to identify which snakes are venomous, learn what snakes eat, where they live, and how they find their prey. This spring break program replaces the regular story time.
Friday, March 27 from 10:30 to 11:30 will be a spring break program on Cool Science. It may be spring break, but there’s still time for one more blast of cold temperatures—liquid nitrogen cold! Find out what minus 322 degrees F is like and what it can do to ordinary things as we demonstrate some really Cool Science. Recommended for ages 5 to 12.
Homeschool @ Monument on Monday, March 30 from 1:30 to 2:30 is about Bees, Bats, and Butterflies. Pollinators, a vital part of our eco-system, are in trouble. In this program, home schoolers will use cheese puffs and model flowers to learn about pollination, explore the lives of pollinators (including bees, bats, birds, butterflies, and lizards) and participate in conservation efforts by creating bee hotels and seed bombs to take home. Recommended for ages 6 to 12.
Teen and Tween programs
See above for description of Lego Build. Every Wednesday from 3 to 5 in the study room, an All Ages Knitting Group meets. Practice materials are available, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own projects.
Teens Make Tuesday on March 17 from 4 to 5:30 features DIY Scrunchies. Become the VSCO girl of your dreams (or court one) and create your very own hand-sewn scrunchie! For ages 12 to 16, registration required.
Free math tutoring is available Mondays from 3:30 to 7 at the library. Experienced adult tutors will help with all levels of math. The program will not be offered on March 23 due to spring break.
Teens ages 12 to 18 are welcome to experience an Escape Room: Bio Doom from 3 to 5 on Monday, March 23. Your ecology club is visiting Biosphere II at the University of Arizona. You get separated from your guide and begin exploring the research facility. All of a sudden, the loudspeaker crackles to life and you realize that you’ve only got one hour to escape the facility before you are stuck there indefinitely. Solve clues to unlock the box and win a prize! Registration is required for this program.
The Paper Tigers Origami Club will meet from 4:15 to 5:45 on Friday, March 20. Teens and adults of all skill levels are welcome. All materials are provided, and registration is preferred.
The Monument Library Anime Club will be from 5 to 6:30 on Thursday, March 26. Come and share anime with others who love it. Enjoy snacks and watch videos with nothing rated above TV-14. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
See above for descriptions of All Ages Knitting and Paper Tigers Origami.
Regularly occurring adult programs include Senior Chats on Wednesdays from 10 to noon and yoga on Thursdays from noon to 1. The yoga session on Thursday, March 26, will feature Chair Yoga and requires registration.
The Monumental Bookworms will meet from 7 to 8 on Tuesday, March 10 to discuss Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. All are welcome to attend this monthly book group sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library.
The Second Thursday Craft from 2 to 4 on Thursday, March 12 is Equali-Teacup Candles. 2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement. We will be celebrating by making some punny candles in teacups! While you wait for your candle to finish, you can also enjoy a women’s suffrage brooch-making craft. Registration required.
Life Circles will meet from 9:30 to 11:30 on Monday, March 16. This group writes of life events.
Patrons are welcome to create a fabric collage that celebrates the beauty of our Pikes Peak region on Sunday, March 22 from 1:30 to 4:30. Attendees will create two collages—one for the community art installation and one to take home. Learn some fun and simple embellishment techniques using fabric markers and hand embroidery stitches to add detail. For ages 12 and up; registration required.
The History Buffs will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, March 25.
The Monument Library Spinning Group will meet on Thursday, March 26 from 1:30 to 3:45. We welcome everyone who wants to spin or learn about spinning. There will be extra spinning wheels and fiber so drop-ins can give it a try. This is a fun way to get to know other spinners, and all levels are welcome.
Our Spring Maker in Residence program is Create Together on Monday, March 30 from 9 to 1. Join Liz Kettle and Ruth Chandler from Textiles West as they piece together textile illustrations of the Pikes Peak region, made by community members from across El Paso County. You can contribute to the community creation by making your own fabric collage. See the entry for March 22 above for the opportunity to learn how to make fabric collage.
Palmer Lake Library Events
The Palmer Lake Book Group meets at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Please call 481-2587 for the latest selection.
Toddler Time in Palmer Lake is at 10:30 each Friday. Family Story Time is on Wednesdays at 10:30.
Homeschool @ Palmer Lake on March 13 from 1 to 3 is Bees, Bats, and Butterflies, a program about pollinators. Please see above for a description of the program. Registration is required at 481-2587.
On the second Saturday of each month from 9 to 10 everyone 12 and up who plays the ukulele is invited to the Palmer Lake library. Bring your own instrument and music stand. For further information, call 481-2587.
The Third Saturday @ Palmer Lake Library Program on March 21 from 10:30 to 11:30 is Gardening Lab for Kids. Get a close look at seeds and discover multiple ways to use seeds. Make cool things for and from your garden. Recommended for ages 5 to 12; registration required.
There will be a special spring break program on Wednesday, March 25 from 10:30 to 11:30 on Rocket Academy. Join us for Rocket Academy and learn all about space, rockets, and what it takes to be an astronaut. After completing our fun, interactive "training" program, you’ll create and launch a rocket of your own.
A class in playing the ukulele for elementary school age children will be offered on Thursday, March 26 from 10:30 to 11:30. The ukulele is a surprisingly easy instrument to learn for children who know how to play as well as those who want to learn. If you have a uke, bring it along. A number of ukuleles will also be available if you just want to try it out. Registration is required.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sharon Williams
On Feb. 20, Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Board Vice President Wayne Russert presented an engagingly diverse and informative program about the history of radio and its many pioneers. This presentation was provided as part of the Palmer Lake Historical Society Series held monthly at Palmer Lake Town Hall.
From the very early spark telegraphy of Marconi to the first voice and music broadcast of Fessenden and finally the invention of FM radio by Armstrong, Russert led the audience through the evolution of radio and the key role it played in mass communication.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, many individuals were theorizing, experimenting, and discovering properties that contributed to what we know as the radio. Ultimately, there was no one person but many individuals who dovetailed into the development of the radio of today.
Before 1910, radio was known as "wireless." The word "radio" was derived from Latin, meaning "radius." In general terms it conveyed a concept of operating by the radiating of energy. This descriptive term was coined by French physicist Edouard Branly.
Jumping ahead to the 1920s, a high-end parlor radio cost more than a brand new Model T Ford. Many who could not afford a new radio could order plans and parts to build their own. Before speakers had been perfected, headphones were essential to hearing the radio through broadcasts that were often compromised by static and garbled voices. Using headphones also saved on the battery power source.
As speakers were improved, they became a household plug-in to the parlor radio. This brought the rage of entertaining friends and neighbors by having radio parties to listen to concerts, political speeches, and other events in the homes of radio owners.
Radios came in many shapes, sizes, and materials. There was the portable and the floor console and cabinet styles such as the cathedral, the tombstone, and art deco desktop models. Materials used to build radio cabinets included fiberboard, metal, bake lite, wood and plastic.
Before licensing in 1912, all radio was amateur (ham). Later as radio stations began to start up, regulation was enacted for station call letters. Call letters were determined by whether a station was east or west of the Mississippi River. Stations west of the Mississippi were designated with the letter K. Therefore, Denver’s first station was identified by call letters KLZ. Radio stations established east of the Mississippi have call letters that start with the letter W, such as WGN Chicago.
Soon radio broadcasting introduced advertising and news reports of local interest, and expanded to significant global events. Pioneering broadcasters Lowell Thomas, Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite became household names.
All this information was further enhanced by Russet’s large display of radios from past decades as well as related radio memorabilia, including magazines, postcards, and advertisements.
Russet captivated the audience with explanations and demonstrations of a spark transmitter and receiver. Crystal radios were explained, and a WWII foxhole radio was shown and described. Among the rarer items on display was a one-of-a-kind homemade, crystal radio from France built inside a jewelry box to hide it from the Nazis during WWII. Various types of vacuum tubes were presented as a visual reference to Wayne’s explanation of vacuum tube theory and its pioneers.
About 30 types of radios from the early 20s to novelty radios from the 80s were exhibited. Today, these radio models of the past have become valued collectibles. For those who have an interest, there are collectors clubs, such as the Colorado Radio Collectors Club, that provide events including vintage voltage shows and radio auctions.
Caption: Above: Wayne Russert, presenter of the Feb. 20 Palmer Lake Historical Society program Radio And Its Unknown Pioneers with some of his radio collection on display. Photo by Bonni Russert.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 19, when the Palmer Lake Historical Society Monthly History Series program, Pikes Peak Trolleys, will be presented by Colorado Springs native, historian, and author, John Haney. He will provide streetcar service history and how it affected lives in the Pikes Peak Region. This monthly series is held the third Thursday of the month with doors opening 6:30 p.m., program 7-8:30 p.m., at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, Palmer Lake, CO 80133. Free admission open to all. Light refreshments served after the program. Info: website at www.palmerdividehistory.org or 719-559-0837.
Sharon Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
For decades, I’ve taught locally about the forest and wetlands habitat as the barometer of our Earth’s health. For my art and nature talks and classes, I go over local habitat issues with doable mitigations at home that have far-reaching results. My art students do detailed research as they participate in the National Junior Duck Stamp design contest, which is grounded in environmental understanding and conservation efforts—our future stewards of the world are indeed our kids.
Birds signal large-scale environmental concerns, but gardeners can be a force to remedy issues, knowing the leading cause of wild bird deaths is traced to human activity. Top on the list are collisions with buildings, windows and towers, followed by predators. Anthropogenic causes of bird mortality also include pesticides and other contaminant sources, and habitat loss. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that millions of acres of habitat are lost due to development, degradation, and forestry practices. These problems can only be mitigated through habitat restoration, and that’s where gardens, by the hundreds, thousands, or millions, can save the day.
"A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions," (U.S. Forest Service, W.P. Erickson) shows findings that possibly over 1 billion birds are killed annually in the United States due to anthropogenic sources, including collisions with human-made structures such as vehicles, buildings and windows, power lines, communication towers, and wind turbines; electrocutions, oil spills and other contaminants; pesticides; predation; and commercial fishing by-catch. Many of these sources would be considered unlawful take under federal law.
Backyard gardens can help
Humans can help change harmful trends with what we plant in our gardens. And, what about the notion of cats and wild birds? The truth is, if they hunt, cats prefer rodents, and are a huge help in controlling that population. Alleycat Allies, a national educational outreach network, reports that there are myriad misconceptions about pet and feral cats and birds. As opportunistic feeders, cats are more likely to go for your garbage, eat bugs, or sit and wait to catch rodents than take their chances chasing birds who can easily spot them and fly away. Cats leave predator pheromones via their footprints, a natural deterrent for vermin. In fact, studies of samples from the diets of outdoor cats confirm that mammals appear three times more often than birds. Birds are consumed only incidentally and not according to a regular feeding pattern.
What everybody can do today
1. Plant native trees, grasses and plants.
2. No pesticides or poisons—use natural, non-toxic.
3. Leave fallen trees if safe to do so—it’s habitat for critters and birds.
4. Drink bird-friendly coffee (Shade-grown organic coffee protects migrator habitats).
5. No single-use plastics trash.
6. Bird feeders—helps in lean times.
7. Suncatchers or decals on windows so birds see it’s not the sky or trees.
8. Talk to everyone you know to do the same. The birds and all of us deserve it.
Potting soil dangers indoors and outdoors
Microbes love dirt! But in using potting soil, beware it’s also a host for pathogens inside the warm, moist bag. Wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly afterward, and while the risk is low for most, cases of lung diseases such as Legionnaire’s disease and others have been contracted via airborne potting soil particles as well as from not washing hands. Inhalation risk is reduced with a mask: Open the bag of potting soil outdoors and pour it out away from the face to avoid airborne particles.
Janet Sellers is an avid ethnoecologist posing as a lazy gardener. Send your garden tips to email@example.com.
By Janet Sellers
Creativity is a topic I must access daily. For millennia, the Greeks considered creativity in the way we think of the internet today: mysteriously cosmic yet having available information to take in and use—they more or less called it a divine attendant spirit, or muse, from the word Mousikē. It was known as the daimon, or daemon, a lesser or divine nature spirit, the tutelary deities guiding the people from the spirit world of the Golden Age.
In researching creativity, I found Penelope Murray’s (Oxford Scholarship) text explaining Western culture generally does not depart from the hitherto standard practice of examining the various components of mousike in isolation, but she investigates the significance of mousike as a whole in the social, religious, and educational practices of the polis. Focusing mainly on classical Athens, her work shows that mousike and culture were deeply intertwined in the lives of the ancient Greeks.
The word daemon is derived from Proto-Indo-European daimon "provider (of fortunes or destinies)," from the root da- "to divide," resembling the Arabic jinni in their humble efforts to mediate the good and ill fortunes of human life. Zeus sent the daimons out in a benevolent effort to help humans as guardian spirits, "good beings who dispense riches … [nevertheless] they remain invisible, known only by their acts." Sounds familiar, as I had to study Proto-Indo-European roots for one of my language degrees, both now ancient history....
The daimones of venerated heroes were localized by the construction of shrines, so as not to wander restlessly, and were believed to confer protection and good fortune on those offering their respects. I do wonder if similar ideas were conferred through the ages in other parts of our world, say, in Native American sacred places and culturally modified tree locations. If so, we might be closer in spirit than we’ve expected via a lens of perceptions through human time.
Given that the Native American tribes such as the Ute have been in our Ta’va (Pikes Peak) region for at least 12,000 years, the Greeks and Romans that heavily influenced the origins of colonial settler culture here in the last several hundred years are relative newcomers in cultural terms. What we have left of Greco-Roman art and sculpture is what they mostly used, the mineral stuff for their mindful efforts into eternity, (stone, mineral paints, or metals) in murals on walls in stones or paint as mediums, but not in living things such as trees as our local Ute and other indigenous peoples on our continent continued to do.
In fact, we certainly have many Native American rock formations with extraordinary imagery created much earlier (and in non-stop, continuous sacred ceremonial relationship) than the Greco-Roman stuff, and ours still communicate to us in real time the creativity and thoughts from back then; in some scholarly research the horse culture is recorded and communicated for at least as far back as 30,000 years on this continent. We have living trees in El Paso County at this moment that are in the forms of mastodons chasing bison. I have personally recorded them in drawings, paintings, and photographs.
The Romans fixated on creativity with outside influence and called it genius, letting us mortals off the hook for creative responsibility, especially if things went haywire and not up to standards. It would be the genie’s fault if it—the project at hand—failed. In the Renaissance, we made creativity the sole responsibility of the creative artist, and artists began their tragic lives of doubt and debauchery in tandem with production … that was 500 years of pain to be creative genius instead of to have it … with no genius or jinni to help!
Art, imagination, and creativity are eternal in human effort. Art plays a role in our memorabilia, in memories, in imagination. Drawings as sketches and clay sculptures as sketches stand in for the real thing in order to move on and materialize the artwork, and to immortalize the idea, then be made into a material form. The word "draw" includes the meanings of attract, provoke, elicit, formulate, portray, all based on imagination and creativity.
Whether we think we draw well or think we don’t, researchers (and artists like me) recommend we draw anyhow to keep our memories available to us. Our selfie culture turns out to have more photos and less mindfulness, with less retrievable, sentient memories of our lives because we use less of ourselves in electronic art moments with screens. You see, the more senses we use, the better we connect to our memories. We stay sharper and can draw on our mindfulness at will.
Janet Sellers is a writer, artist, public speaker and teaches locally. Send her your arts news or arty thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLAG Winter Show, Jan. 31
Caption: Artists Debi Story Maddox, left, and Suzanne Jenne enjoyed visiting the Winter Art Show of the Palmer Lake Art Group on Jan. 31. Photo by Janet Sellers.
State of the Region, Feb. 7
Caption: President Terry Hayes (inset) and staff once again hosted a successful State of the Region luncheon for the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 7 at the Great Wolf Lodge. Monument Mayor Don Wilson and Palmer Lake Mayor John Cressman gave the chamber their yearly reports on the successes of their towns for the last year. El Paso County Commissioners Holly Williams (District 1) and Stan VanderWerf (District 3) gave updates of the budgets and plans for the northern part of the county. The full presentation will be available at www.trilakeschamber.com. Photos by Marlene Brown.
Chain Station at Black Rose, Feb. 14
Caption: Performing for the first time at Black Rose Acoustic Society in the Black Forest Community Center, Chain Station brought the full-house audience to their signature heavy, foot-stomping applause right from the git-go. On Valentine’s Day evening, Feb. 14, this dynamically kinetic, four-piece string band gave a masterfully produced portfolio of mountain music with high vocal harmonies and picking ranges from lightning-fast to mountain mellow. From the Front Range, centered out of Denver, Chain Station members are, from left, Chris "C Bob" Elliot, banjo; Alex Thoele, guitar; Jon Pickett, bass; and Jaret Mason, mandolin. Photo by Todd Ryan, Performance Photography; caption by Sharon Williams.
Winter fun at Fox Run, Feb. 1
Caption: Dogs and hot dogs. About 75 people came to celebrate winter at Fox Run Regional Park on Feb. 1. The fundraiser for El Paso County Nature Centers "was a success," said Mary Jo Lewis, supervisor with the Community Services Department. The Boy Scouts were there to help roast hot dogs, and the dogs came from area dog parks to put on a parade. The weather was warm as was the mood when the sun came out. There were science projects and hiking in the woods, bird seed crafts, and storytelling in the warming hut. Friends of Fox Run Park had a booth and talked to many local people about volunteer projects coming in the spring and summer. For more information regarding events and meetings, email FriendsofFoxRunPark@gmail.com. Photo by Marlene Brown.
AARP hosts fire chief, Feb. 12
Caption: Black Forest Fire and Rescue Protection District Deputy Fire Chief James Rebitski presented a heart disease risk prevention program at the Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 Feb. 12 meeting. Rebitski discussed the latest data regarding the risk factors for heart disease including heart attacks, diabetes, overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Rebitski also addressed basic considerations on how to prevent fires in the home such as maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, annual chimney inspections for homes heated with wood, fire escape plans that incorporate two exits, and fire escape plan rehearsals. For more information on fire safety, see www.bffire.org. For more information about the Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100, contact Candace at 314-330-0411 or visit the website at https://aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com. All are welcome. Above, Rebitski brings AARP Chapter 1100 members up to date on the latest stroke, heart attack detection and heart disease prevention technology, and home fire safety rules. Photo by Stan Beckner.
TLWC at Kilmer, Feb. 13
Members of the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club visited Kilmer Elementary School’s Innovation Classes on Feb. 13. They witnessed the third and sixth grades tackle a problem given to them by their technology teacher. The students created a sled with paper, tape, and pipe cleaners and programmed a Sphero robot to drag the sled through a maze. The club awarded a grant to the school to purchase the Sphero robots and the iPads to program them. The women were impressed with the enthusiasm of the staff, the level of technological expertise of the teachers using the equipment, the inclusiveness of the lessons, and the creativity and level of knowledge of all the children in both classes. Caption: Tri-Lakes Women’s Club Co-President Marki Morison-Gille watches as two Kilmer Elementary School sixth-graders maneuver their Sphero-drawn sled through a maze. Photo by Pam Perry.
Monument Police Chief Hemingway introduced, Feb. 10
Caption: On Feb. 10, newly hired Monument Police Chief Sean Hemingway was introduced by Town Manager Mike Foreman as Hemingway concluded his first week in office. Administrative staff and police were present as the chief outlined his work ethic as three legs, namely "service to the community; to the department’s officers; and to the staff and elected officials." From left are Officer Josh Marks, Cpl. Rob Stewart, Ashley Westfall, Carly Coates, April Dupree, Commander Jon Hudson, Foreman, Mayor Don Wilson, Trustees Jim Romanello and Jeff Bornstein, and Officers Andrew Romano and Timothy Johnson. Photo by John Howe.
Bakhita Mountain Home, Feb. 17
Caption: Initial plans and the $2.5 million fundraising campaign for Bakhita Mountain Home was launched to the public during the third session of the Human Trafficking Prevention Series on Feb. 17 at Pikes Peak Library 21C. This presentation by the charter Board of Directors was led and moderated by Sister Rose Ann Barmann (inset) OSB from a sponsoring community of The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery. The first of its kind in Colorado, this home will address the need for residential resources for women survivors of human trafficking ages 18 and older. Human trafficking is a form of slavery in which persons are exploited through force, fraud, or coercion to perform commercial sex or labor. Bakhita Mountain Home is named after Saint Josephine Bakhita, born in 1869 in Sudan. As a child, she was sold into the Sudan slave market where she endured untold hardship and suffering. For more information, contact Sister Rose Ann OSB, email@example.com or call 719-633-0655. Photos by Sharon Williams.
CERT, Feb. 18
Caption: Regular people learned to make their community safer, better prepared, and more resilient at CERT class (Community Emergency Response Team) the week of Feb. 18 at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church. Training in disaster first aid, search and rescue, fire safety, pandemics, wildfires, and more was provided free by the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management and its partners. Any neighborhood, church, or community organization that is willing to host a CERT class should contact Robin Adair, Community Emergency Preparedness and CERT program coordinator. She will arrange for instructors and materials for up to 30 people. RobinAdair@elpasoco.com, amateur radio KE0MIX, office (719) 575-8858 or see www.epccert.org. Photo by Lisa Hatfield.
D38 Chess Tournament, Feb. 22
Caption: The 14th Annual Chess Tournament was held on Feb. 22 at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School in Monument. The tournament was open to all K-12 students who live in D38 boundaries. All age groups of students participated in a competitive spirit. There were four rounds of playing to win the trophy in each age group. Photo by Sreedevi Vangala.
Parties for Parks, Feb. 27
Caption: The guest speaker for the Friends of Fox Run Park monthly meeting on Feb. 27 held at Southwinds Art Gallery was Todd Marts, division manager of Recreation and Cultural Services, El Paso County Community Services Department. Marts shared the parks master plan progress for parks and an upcoming nature center for northern El Paso County, and then attendees discussed ideas they would like to see included in park plans for a northern region nature center including education, wildlife, culturally modified trees, historic sites, family fun programs, and the nature center site locations currently being considered. After the Friends meeting, the group adjourned to the Parties for the Parks event celebrating county parks, held at the Pikes Peak Brewery community room in Woodmoor Center. The free event was hosted by the Trails and Open Space Coalition and El Paso County Parks, as a meet-and-greet for the community to join dedicated parks groups and staff and learn what’s new in northern region parks, trails, and nature centers that include Fox Run Regional Park, Fox Run Dog Park, Black Forest Regional Park, Elephant Rock Open Space, and Santa Fe Regional Trail. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Michalicek at JCSL, Feb. 18
Caption: On Feb. 18, Jackson Creek Senior Living hosted Dave Michalicek (inset), who played piano renditions to a large group of residents and visitors. Many of the "Musical Memories" were from the 1940s and 1950s, including songs from Errol Garner, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford, Dave Brubeck, and others. When he performed renditions from Jerome Kern and George Gershwin, people joined in singing. Photo by John Howe.
The Village discussed, Feb. 18
Caption: On Feb. 18, Andrea Barlow of NES Inc. held a community meeting regarding The Village, a proposed development that would straddle Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP) from Highway 105 on the north to Bowstring on the south. The proposal for the 83.977 acres owned by Pinetree Properties would be to change the zoning from Planned Commercial Development to Planned Development. This development, formerly called Monument Heights, had been rejected by the Monument Board of Trustees due to a lack of commercial space. See https://www.ocn.me/v15n12.htm#mbot-1116. The current proposal includes about 628 mixed residential units, 18,000 square feet of commercial space, and 14 acres of trails and open space. About 50 people attended and asked questions about water, impact to the school district, and the expansion of JCP. Barlow said there is a traffic study that needs to be fleshed out, and the town has applied for funding for the design, engineering, and construction of the expansion of JCP. Questions were raised about through traffic from the neighborhoods to the west via Knollwood Drive or White Marble Drive. There are plans to connect those streets to JCP but not via a direct route to minimize shortcutting and increased traffic. The next step will bring the preliminary plan to the Monument Planning Commission on March 11 at 6 p.m. at Monument Town Hall. You can see the packet at bit.ly/nes-village-packet and view a video of the meeting at bit.ly/nes-village. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
BOT Candidates, Feb. 25
Caption: Monument Board of Trustees candidates met with the public on Feb. 25 at Bella Art and Frame. All said they wish to serve their community as trustee. See their statements starting on page 9. From left are Jim Romanello, Allison Thompson, Maggie Williamson, Mitch LaKind, Cheri Johnson Hysell, and Ann Howe. Jamy Unruh was unable to attend due to the weather. Photo by Allison Robenstein
Water workshop, Feb. 28
Caption: During a workshop on Feb. 28, Assistant Public Works Director Stephen Sheffield explained how the Monument Water Department works, including the drinking water testing schedule controlled by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Public Works Director Tom Tharnish (shown on left) said the department has been working to maintain CDPHE standards, so when they noticed radium levels trending upward in Well 9, the board approved spending $700,000 in the 2020 budget to reduce or remove radium completely from the drinking water. The workshop came about as a result of the Monument Board of Trustees’ comments during its Feb. 18 meeting. See the Monument Board of Trustees article on page 1. Sheffield said, "As of now the town of Monument is 100% in compliance with the state requirements." He added that Colorado is a primacy state, meaning its drinking water requirements exceed those of the EPA. Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein said, "This is not the Town of Monument’s doing; there has been some documentation about the credibility of the personnel, this has nothing to do with that." Photo by Allison Robenstein.
Pineries hike, Feb. 29
Caption: On Feb. 29, Ross Williams and Theresa Odello of El Paso County Recreational and Cultural Services led a 3.7-mile "preview" hike through the new Pineries Open Space. The Pineries is 1,070-acres of rolling hills, ponderosa pines, grassy meadows, ponds, and wetlands that will be open to the public in mid-June. Trailhead facilities and single-track trails will accommodate hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Habitat is managed for elk, mule deer, a few white tail deer, coyotes, and raptors in the area, which was partially burned in the Black Forest Fire in 2013. The burned areas are being "masticated" and chipped and will be re-seeded with a "Black Forest" seed mix of native vegetation. This property is the county’s largest open space holding. The Trails and Open Space Coalition has also been a key supporter in securing land for public use. Photo by Steve Pate.
Songwriters at TLCA, Feb. 29
Caption: On Feb. 29, the Songwriters in the Round series returned to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. The assembled songwriters were Liz Barnez, the 2020 "Best Singer-Songwriter" for the Fort Collins Musicians Association Peer Awards; national touring artist Rebecca Folsom; Buddy Mondlock, whose songs have been recorded by Garth Brooks, Joan Baez, and Janis Ian; and Mary Huckins, lead singer and a founding member of Dakota Blonde. Each artist performed their songs in turn, often accompanied by one or more of the others. Barnez performed Whiskey Bay, about an interstate exit near Baton Rouge; Folsom performed a homage to her home state, Colorado, along with Wonder; Mondlock performed Cats in the Coliseum, about his visit to the Rome Coliseum and his interactions with the numerous cats who called it home; and Huckins’s selections included Something Simple and I Think I’ll Go Down to the Ocean. Photo by David Futey.
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.
Leave your legacy on the Palmer Lake pedestrian bridge
The Palmer Lake pedestrian bridge will soon be open to foot traffic. You can help "bridge" the funding gap by buying CNC-cut steel engines, cars, and cabooses that will add support and decoration. See the selection at www.awakepalmerlake.org (click on Palmer Lake Bridge Fundraising Project). Sponsor your own locomotive, box car, or caboose and become part of Palmer Lake history.
Monument Academy tours
Choice enrollment is now open. Learn about this growing school; schedule a tour at 481-1950 ext. 1710, www.monumentacademy.net. See ad on page 10.
MVEA Electrical Safety Poster Contest, enter by March 9
All kindergarten through fifth-grade students are invited to enter this poster contest to win exciting prizes. For more information including a submission form and electrical safety theme ideas, phone Erica Meyer, 719-494-2654, or visit www.mvea.coop.
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s 2020 grants, apply by March 16
Tri-Lakes Women’s Club’s (TLWC) grant application for 2020 will be available online through March 16 on the TLWC website, www.tlwc.net (click on Community Support, then Grant Awards). Eligible organizations include nonprofit and public service organizations and public schools that serve the Tri-Lakes area. This year, eligible organizations can apply for small as well as large grants. Special program and project requests are welcomed.
In 2019, TLWC awarded over $45,000 in grants. Recipients included the Monument Police Department, the Palmer Lake Fire Department, Mountain Community Senior Services, Rocky Mountain Music Alliance, Tri-Lakes Cares, WMMI, and numerous District 38 schools. Since 1977, TLWC has granted over $980,000 to nonprofit, public service and public education programs through fundraising efforts. For more information, visit www.tlwc.net.
Sixth Annual Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival
Registration for the festival (May 15-17) begins March 21, 10 a.m. The festival offers numerous activities and field trips including geology exploration in the restricted-access portion of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Some events fill up fast, so register early for discounted festival cost and a spot in your preferred workshops and trips. For details, visit www.pikespeakbirdingandnaturefestival.org.
Seedling Tree Program offers low-cost seedling trees
The Colorado State Forest Service Nursery provides landowners with low-cost container and bare root seedlings to help achieve conservation goals such as restoring land after fires, floods and natural disasters; growing shelterbelts, windbreaks and living snow fences; providing wildlife and pollinator habitats; protecting homes, cropland and livestock; and stabilizing soil and controlling erosion. Order online until March 30 at www.csfs.colostate.edu/southeast/ (click on "Seedling Tree Nursery" at the top, then on "Inventory"). For more information, phone 719-687-2951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers needed for airport emergency exercise, May 13
Volunteer patients, adults, children, people with disabilities (real or simulated), and non-English speakers are all encouraged to participate in the Colorado Springs Airport triennial "plane crash" exercise so local hospitals can practice their "mass influx of patients" plans. The exercise takes place May 13, 5 a.m.-noon. Many local schools include student participation in this exercise for community service hour requirements. Sign up and get details at may13airport.eventzilla.net.
Monument Hill Kiwanis grants, apply by May 15
The Monument Hill Foundation, the charitable arm of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club, has an annual granting program. Grants are awarded to charities as defined by the IRS, to various qualifying youth activities, and to schools for various educational activities and scholarships. Applications will be accepted through May 15. The grant application is available at www.monumenthillfoundation.org (select "Apply for a Grant"). See ad on page 12.
Free admissions with your library card
You can now check out free admission passes with your library card at www.ppld.org/culturepass.
Participating organizations include the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Space Foundation Discovery Center, The Money Museum, and Rock Ledge Ranch Historical Site. For more information, call 719-531-6333 or visit www.ppld.org/culturepass.
Free income tax help, ends April 15
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free income tax preparation assistance to individuals and families with a household income of $56,000 a year or less. To find out if you qualify or to schedule an appointment, call 2-1-1 or text VITANOW to 85511 Mon. through Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friends of Monument Preserve (FOMP) seeks board members
FOMP manages a 1,000-acre hiking/biking/equestrian trail area. The group is recruiting new board members. For more information, visit www.fomp.org.
MVEA board nominations open
The board election will take place during the annual meeting June 4. If you are interested in being a candidate, find application details at www.mvea.coop. For more information, phone 719-494-2528 or email email@example.com. See ad on page 13.
By Judy Barnes, Community Calendar Editor
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
LOCAL LIBRARY EVENTS
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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