Correction: In the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees article, Palmer Lake Fire and Rescue Chief Christopher McCarthy is incorrectly referred to as Kevin McCarthy. We sincerely apologize for this error.
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By Jennifer Kaylor
Triview Metropolitan District’s Manager Jim McGrady, Water Superintendent Shawn Sexton, and Parks and Open Space Superintendent Matt Rayno reported on their respective operational activities at the Sept. 16 board meeting. Sexton described a potential new process that the district plans to test to further reduce radium from drinking water.
Staff, board directors, water attorney Chris Cummins, and general counsel George Rowley attended the meeting either online or in person. Director James Barnhart was excused.
The September board meeting packet, including the agenda, may be accessed via https://triviewmetro.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Triview-Board-Packet-for-9.16.2021.pdf.
Triview is a Title 32 special district in Monument that provides road, park, and open space maintenance, as well as water, stormwater, and wastewater services to Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and several commercial areas.
Alternative radium removal system to be tested
During his update about August water activities, Sexton reported that the district would begin a hydrated manganese oxide (HMO) demonstration study in early October. He described the HMO process as combining potassium permanganate or sodium permanganate with manganous sulfate in its groundwater before it is filtered and clarified. Any radium present in the water adheres, or adsorbs, to the HMO whereby it creates a suspension and can be physically removed from the water during filtration. The collected waste must then be transported to a disposal site that can accept radioactive materials. McGrady added that the district would be working with a radioactive waste management company called Rad Pros to develop a disposal plan.
The purpose of the demonstration study is to reduce radium in water to such an extremely low level that, when blended with other sources of water, there is no danger of being close to maximum contaminant level limits, continued McGrady. He described the HMO process as brilliant and relatively inexpensive since the equipment could be installed by district personnel. Anticipated as a 10-week study, district staff expects to have very successful outcomes and to continue the process until the district can draw water primarily from its renewable, or surface, water resources rather than groundwater.
In response to a director’s questions, Sexton explained that the demonstration study would reveal the amount of waste generated and thus provide accurate numbers for calculating the disposal costs. State regulations stipulate that anyone handling technologically enhanced normally occurring radioactive material (TENORM)—material considered to have an elevated level of radioactivity relative to soil—must be licensed. It is also likely that Triview will be required to have on-site personnel trained to ensure radioactivity safety for all personnel.
Sexton also assured directors that, because the HMO process is a physical removal of radium, the taste of the water would not be affected. McGrady confirmed that Rad Pros would be involved in Triview’s waste disposal training and licensing.
Multiple projects move forward
Included among the district manager’s many project updates, McGrady discussed recent progress pertaining to the developing regional renewable water pipeline known as the Northern Delivery System (NDS). Because about 10% of the pipeline will cut through Fox Run Park, Triview has been collaborating with El Paso County and has recently begun survey work in the park.
In response to residents’ questions, McGrady proposed creating an information card with a quick response (QR) code that would direct people to the district’s website, which will address frequently asked questions. Triview also intends to host an open house that will include county personnel and explain the district’s water resources plan and route. A location and date had yet to be determined as of the board meeting.
Director James Otis noted an additional benefit of the NDS is that it would supply the park with water for fire hydrants. McGrady added that the pipeline’s 25- to 30-foot easements would naturally create fire buffers as added mitigation and, because the pipeline’s construction involves creating new trails, the county would gain new trails in the park that it would not otherwise have been financially able to accomplish. President Mark Melville stated that the NDS serves a regional role since it has the capacity and probability to provide water to other districts in the area in addition to Triview.
Related to the Northern Delivery System, McGrady announced that Triview and Donala would partner in a $200,000 Regional Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project grant that they received from the Colorado Water and Conservation Board. The grant is contingent on a 75% to 25% match; therefore, each district must supply $25,000 in additional funds. The project involves pumping renewable water out of storage in locations such as the Pueblo Reservoir through the Southern Delivery System (SDS) and storing the water in the Arapahoe aquifer, which Donala proved several years ago can be artificially recharged or replenished. Not only does this technique provide another manageable form of water storage, but the water in an aquifer does not evaporate, said McGrady.
Another water project, the Pueblo Reservoir Excess Capacity Agreement, has entered the environmental assessment public comment phase, which is a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. The press release and the draft environmental assessment can be accessed on Triview’s website under Water Updates or by accessing https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/#/news-release/3972 and https://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/nepa/triview.html, respectively. The Bureau of Reclamation requests that public comments be submitted by Oct. 4. Depending on comments received, the contract could be finalized in October, McGrady said.
Triview continued to move forward on transforming its Stonewall Springs Reservoir Complex. The next step was to construct an outlet pump at its south reservoir. McGrady characterized the approximated $836,314 expense as realistic due to the pipeline footage necessary, the pump itself which must travel vertically, the electrical complexity, and the gravity outlet works. The district must obtain a 1041 permit from Pueblo County to weave together an agreement that allows Triview’s Stonewall Springs water rights to utilize Pueblo County’s SDS. Weekly meetings between the two entities had been established to help maintain the project’s momentum.
McGrady briefly commented on two additional projects. Due to the uncertainty of development in the district’s territory west of I-25, pipe installation on what is called Segment D of the I-25 bore—a portion of the NDS—had ceased. Any pipe remaining from this part of the installation would be diverted to another segment of the pipeline. McGrady also confirmed that attorneys were drafting an annexation agreement of Triview’s renewable water purchase of the Sailor Investments LLP and Quarter Circle 2 Ranch LLC properties near Buena Vista. See https://www.ocn.me/v21n2.htm#tvmd. The draft was expected to be complete by September’s end.
A-Yard building nears punch-list status
After discussing the newly installed landscape enhancements and a planned retaining wall at the juncture of Leather Chaps Drive and Baptist Road, Rayno updated directors about the A-Yard building’s progress. Current activities were taping and mudding drywall and installing electrical fixtures with the anticipation that the building would have power by the end of September. Next steps included adding plumbing fixtures and painting.
A higher-than-expected asphalt cost precluded the district from paving the A-Yard parking lot in 2021, stated McGrady, but recycled asphalt would be spread in parking areas until paving could be completed in 2022. He further explained the tremendous importance of the A-Yard building in providing a safe and warm place to repair equipment because "crews have been fixing trucks in the mud for years" and confirmed that the building is coming along nicely, with mainly "punch-list stuff that needs to be completed." Expressing a desire to show the new building, McGrady anticipated that the November Board of Directors’ meeting would be conducted in the A-Yard building.
Caption: Triview Metropolitan District’s Parks and Open Space crews completed median landscape enhancements along Leather Chaps Drive near its intersection with Baptist Road. Another landscape enhancement includes a retaining wall that is expected to be finished by the end of October. Photo courtesy of Triview’s Parks and Open Space Superintendent Matt Rayno.
Triview board meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21. The district office is located at 16055 Old Forest Point, Suite 302. Check the district’s website, https://triviewmetro.com, or call 488-6868 for meeting updates and to confirm if the meeting will be in person or online/teleconference. See also "Triview Metropolitan District" on Facebook or Twitter.com/@TriviewMetro.
Jennifer Kaylor can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD) meeting on Sept. 15, the board approved a resolution for a joint exclusion plan, received a "clean opinion" for the 2020 audit, and approved a policy to adopt a wage and leave accrual schedule for future budget years. The meeting was preceded by a volunteer pension board meeting.
Director James Abendschan was excused.
Resolution 2021-06—Joint Exclusion Plan
Fire Chief PJ Langmaid said the following:
• The district received Resolution 2021-06—Joint Exclusion Plan from the City of Colorado Springs on Sept. 10, with the correct list of 660 properties to be excluded from BFFRPD.
• The new list falls in line with previous discussions, but there are some small pockets of properties that the district will still respond to.
• Entire streets were missing from the list received in August, but he had not checked every address against the county assessor’s website since receiving the list on Sept. 10, only the actual streets that were initially intended in this second round of exclusions. See www.ocn.me/v21n10.htm#bffrpd.
Board Secretary Donna Arkowski said that with a project like this, properties can easily be missed, and administrative amendments can be made to add any addresses that are missed during the process.
Background: The total number of properties to be excluded in a phased approach over several years is about 2,200. The board began the exclusion process in July 2018, because Colorado Springs residents were paying taxes for fire protection services to both BFFRPD and Colorado Springs. For more information, visit www.bffire.org.
Langmaid said this is just the beginning of this second phase of exclusions and the board will need to approve the resolution, pending the correction of two dates and a review by the district’s attorney Linda Glesne.
The board approved the resolution, 4-0.
Colorado Springs resident Colleen Murphy said the City of Colorado Springs has been notified of an additional five properties found after she spent about four hours on Sept. 9 combing through the list of 660 properties to ensure accuracy, and hopefully those properties were added to the list the district received on Sept. 10. "The process with the City of Colorado Springs has been slow, but the residents sincerely appreciate the efforts of Fire Chief PJ Langmaid and Colorado Springs Fire Department, Chief Randy Royal," said Murphy.
2020 audit presentation
District Auditor Dawn Schilling of Schilling & Co. Inc., announced the district had received a "clean opinion" for the 2020 audit, and thanked Langmaid, Deputy Chief James Rebitski and the Administrative Officer Rachel Dunn for providing the assistance locating information during the auditing process, and noted the following:
• Due to the turnover at the end of 2020 through early 2021, a lot of searching was required to find invoices and statements to complete the audit.
• Eight adjustments were needed, a few more than recorded in the past, but mainly accrual entries.
• The 2011 general obligation bond was about $200,000 at the end of 2020, and it is now paid in full.
Schilling recommended the board approve an existing policy that had not formally been approved, for the adoption of an annual Wage and Leave Accrual Schedule as part of the annual budget process, and requested the board review the 2020 audit over the next 10 days to meet the state filing date of Sept. 30.
The board accepted the 2020 audit as presented, subject to an adjustment required for the cost of the training center, 4-0.
Langmaid requested the board approve and adopt the district policy of including an annual wage and leave accrual schedule for each employee, as recommended by Schilling. The reconfiguring of the schedule will provide greater clarity to all staff on how they can move up in the organization.
The board approved Policy Manual 401, 4-0.
Stage 2 fire restrictions
Langmaid said after careful consideration of fuel moistures, the weather forecast, and the limited availability of resources for an initial wildland firefighting attack, the district moved to Stage 2 fire restrictions on Sept. 13. For updates and information regarding the restrictions, visit www.bffire.org.
Wildland pre-plan project
Langmaid requested a $5,000 deposit to secure the services of wildland pre-plan developer Dave Reid of the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority, Denver, and said:
• The project could be funded with the money set aside in the budget for wildland mitigation.
• District Training Officer Capt. Chris Piepenburg has been discussing the project with Reid, and the estimate for each pre-plan is about $25,000 to $35,000.
• Reid was deployed to a wildland fire and unavailable to provide an estimate on the scope of work and a contract.
Vice Chairman Nate Dowden requested a wildland pre-plan presentation at the Nov. 17 meeting to set some expectations, and everything is negotiable given the deployment status of Reid.
The board approved the $5,000 deposit, 4-0.
Station 2 remodel consultants—scope of work
Langmaid said a contractor has been engaged to perform the work needed to correct the concrete and erosion problems and elevate the showers at Station 2, as approved at the August board meeting.
The scope of work letter for the Station 2 remodel and expansion was finalized and required board approval before the research and development of the potential renovations can begin, said Langmaid. See www.ocn.me/v21n9.htm#bffrpd.
Dowden requested the deadline for response in the scope of work letter should be Oct. 21, followed by a possible site visit.
Langmaid said the letter would go out Oct. 1, and the results would be presented at the Nov. 17 meeting, but the budget will take priority.
The board approved the Station 2 scope of work letter, 4-0.
The regular board meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Volunteer pension board
The BFFRPD Volunteer Pension Board of Trustees met before the regular board at 7:05 p.m. The seven-member board includes the regular five-member board and former firefighters Lisa Montijo and Jon Strupp.
Chairman Rick Nearhoof requested the board approve the minutes of the Feb. 19, 2020 and the Sept. 3, 2020 volunteer pension board meetings and the financial records for the Volunteer Pension Fund.
The board approved the minutes and accepted the June 2021 financial report as presented, 4-0.
The Pension Board of Trustees confirmed there was no activity to report concerning the retired BFFRPD volunteer firefighters pension fund.
The Volunteer Pension Board meeting adjourned at 7:09 p.m.
Meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday every month at Station 1, 11445 Teachout Road, Colorado Springs. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. For updates, agendas, and minutes, visit www.bffire.org or contact the Administrative Officer Rachel Dunn at email@example.com or call 719-495-4300.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Helen Walklett
At its Sept. 2 meeting, the El Paso County Planning Commission heard an application for a rezoning request for a 20.88-acre portion of the proposed Red Rock Acres development southeast of Palmer Lake. The commissioners also recommended for approval a rezoning request for a property northwest of Monument Lake.
Red Rock Acres rezone
The commissioners heard that the application by JZ’s Land Development LLC to rezone property along the east side of Red Rock Ranch Drive, immediately south of its intersection with Highway 105, had raised numerous neighbors’ objections. John Green, planner II, Planning and Community Development Department, said the county had received around 110 letters of opposition.
The land is currently zoned RR-5 (residential rural), and the applicant’s request is to rezone 5.37 acres on the northern part of the property to RR-0.5 and the remaining 15.51 acres to RR-2.5, with Monument Creek serving as a buffer between the two zones. As stated in the applicant’s letter of intent, the proposed rezoning is intended to facilitate future single-family residential development on the subject property and the 33.69-acre property, also owned by the applicant, that is zoned RR-0.5 and is located directly east. About 37 homes would be built in total.
The land proposed for rezoning is bordered by residential parcels on all sides, not all of which are developed. The parcels to the east, west and south are zoned RR-0.5 although lots on the Cloven Hoof Estates subdivision to the south exceed the minimum and range in size from just under 0.7 acres to 2 acres. Properties to the north are zoned RA (residential agricultural) which requires a minimum lot size of 5 acres.
Issues raised in written objections, at a virtual neighborhood meeting held in March and by the 16 neighbors who spoke in opposition at the hearing, covered traffic and congestion, wildfire risk, wildlife habitat impact, water concerns, the impact on the school district, and overall density compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. Green told the commissioners that while all were very important issues, most were not relevant to the criteria that were used when considering a rezoning application but rather would be addressed at the preliminary plan and final plat stages if the rezone were granted. Lori Seago, senior assistant county attorney, and some commissioners reiterated this guidance during the hearing. No one spoke in favor of the proposed rezoning.
In rebuttal, Ingrid Richter of Olive Real Estate Group Inc., representing the applicant, said, "What I continue to hear from the neighbors is fear, right, it’s fear of preserving this way of life that they’ve had the benefit of having for decades and we understand that. A lot of what you heard today will be addressed in preliminary plan and our goal is to work with these neighborhood associations to make sure that this is done right, that this is responsible growth, that we’re doing this the right way, and that it will comply with all of the requirements from the county and in a way that the homeowners’ associations and the surrounding neighbors can live with."
Ahead of the vote, the commissioners urged those with objections to raise their concerns at the preliminary plan stage, should the rezoning be approved. Commissioner Becky Fuller said, "I think the people against it, your shot is really at the preliminary plan and, you know, the water is going to be a big deal, wastewater will be a big deal, and they’ll have to meet all the criteria. Obviously, they feel like they can, or they wouldn’t bother through the time and expense of coming to this meeting."
Commissioner Tim Trowbridge commented, "Unfortunately a lot of your concerns aren’t really something we can address today. They’re really more appropriate for the next step, which is the preliminary plan, and that’s when all of those questions have to be answered."
Commissioner Jay Carlson said, "A couple of the criteria I don’t think we meet. The first one, I don’t think there’s been a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood at all recently. And then, I believe it’s the third one, it says it has to be compatible to the zoning in all areas, all around the property.… I don’t go along with the idea that a rural road is a buffer so, on those two, I don’t feel the applicant met those two criteria, so I won’t be voting in favor of this."
The commissioners voted 5-3 to recommend the rezoning for approval. Commissioners Carlson, Lucia-Treese, and Merriam were the no votes with concerns about compatibility with the surrounding area and density.
The application was then heard at the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Aug. 24. See BOCC article on page 6.
The commissioners unanimously recommended for approval an application by John Puskas to rezone 3.94 acres of a 74.46-acre property from RR-5 (rural residential) to RR-2.5 (rural residential) and the remaining acres from RR-5 to A-35 (agricultural). The property is located at the southwest corner of the Monument Lake Road and Peak View Boulevard intersection, to the west of Highway 105.
The 3.94-acre parcel has been purchased by neighbors Brian and Tibby Peterson and adjoins their existing property in the Shiloh Pines subdivision, which is zoned RR-2.5. The remaining Puskas property is used for agricultural purposes that are more in keeping with an agricultural zoning. Puskas is not proposing any changes to the existing uses at this time. The Petersons envision one day possibly building another house on the property they have acquired.
The item was heard as a consent item, meaning there was no discussion. The request was scheduled to be heard at the BOCC meeting on Sept. 14.
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Helen Walklett
During September, the El Paso Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a rezoning request for part of the proposed Red Rock Acres development off Highway 105 between Monument and Palmer Lake.
Red Rock Acres rezoning
The Red Rock Acres rezoning application came to the Sept. 14 BOCC meeting with a recommendation for approval from the Sept. 2 El Paso County Planning Commission meeting. See the Planning Commission article on page 1.
The request by landowner JZ’s Land Development LLC was to rezone a 20.88-acre property zoned RR-5 (rural residential) on the east side of Red Rock Ranch Drive, immediately south of its intersection with Highway 105. The application was two-fold with a request to rezone the northern 5.37 acres to RR-0.5 and the remaining southern 15.51 acres to RR-2.5. The applicant also owns property directly east, which is zoned RR-0.5. The intention would be to develop both properties as the Red Rock Acres subdivision with a total of around 37 single-family homes.
John Green, planner II, Planning and Community Development Department, told the BOCC that there have been significant objections by neighbors to the rezoning, with over 100 letters of opposition received ahead of the Planning Commission meeting. At that meeting, commissioners heard concerns centered on density, traffic impacts, wildlife impacts, fire mitigation, and a wish to preserve the rural character of the neighborhood. No one spoke in favor at that meeting.
Eleven members of the public spoke in support at the BOCC meeting, many stating that the development would provide much-needed affordable housing in the area.
A neighbor spoke specifically in support of the 0.5-acre rezone, stating, "I know there have been some concerns about bringing in small properties, half acre, but a half-acre property is hardly small compared to others in the Tri-Lakes area." He continued, "I think this option is the best we can hope for, and I’d like to thank JZ’s Land Development because I know a different developer might be here in front of you today trying to get multi-family housing in there, apartments."
Jason Sanders, a Palmer Lake resident, described the rezoning as important because it would provide continuity with the bordering acres. He said, "there’s multiple eyesores coming into Palmer Lake like commercial, bars, dog grooming, there’s trailer parks like we’ve had mentioned. When you come into the valley of Palmer Lake there is a sea of homes that are on the hillside, so adding these additional homes is not going to cause any ugliness or any downside to the road."
Eleven neighbors spoke in opposition, citing incompatibility with nearby developments and with the surrounding zoning. Martha Brodzick, a nearby resident, said, "I’m not against development. I’m just wanting to have something that fits into an area of this part of El Paso County that is more rural like the rest of it."
Replying to the public comments, Jim Stilltner of JZ’s Land Development said, "During the application process, my team has met El Paso County staff and I assure you that if I thought that this did not conform with the rules and guidelines, that staff right there would [have] told me and I would [have] made modifications to this. This plan does work, and it conforms, and it is really good for this area." He continued, "Many of the residents brought up terrific points we know we need to address at the preliminary and final plat to include traffic, water, sewer, utilities, fire evacuation, and many other items. I understand this."
Ahead of the vote, Commissioner Stan VanderWerf commented, "This is one of the very difficult ones that we’ve had to go through. We’ve had an enormous amount of testimony both in favor and in opposition."
Commissioner Holly Williams said, "I know that traffic is a big concern, and I suspect that we will see some improvements there at the Red Rocks and Highway105 intersection. Acceleration, deceleration lanes as I know that that is typically what comes forward with these applications."
The vote to approve was unanimous. VanderWerf said, "Congratulations to the applicant and we ask you to continue working with the neighbors going forward."
The applicant will now submit a request for approval of a preliminary plan and final plat to subdivide the property into individual lots and rights-of-way.
Monument Hill Business Park
At the Sept. 7 meeting, the commissioners approved the preliminary release of a check for $30,996 following the completion of all subdivision improvements at the Monument Hill Business Park located at the southeast corner of Deer Creek Road and Monument Hill Road.
Helen Walklett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Donala Water and Sanitation District (DWSD) board canceled its regular meeting and instead held a special meeting on Sept. 23 to include a radium informational session to answer community concerns. The board also learned that it was awarded a grant to collaborate with Triview Metropolitan District (Triview) on an Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) pilot project.
Radium informational session
Board President Ed Houle noted that there were representatives from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and both LRE Water (LRE) and GMS consulting firms available to answer questions and concerns.
Houle said that board members live in the district with their families and are committed to delivering the best possible water and to transparency. District Manager Jeff Hodge said the district staff are water professionals who remove solids out of water, starting with bacteria and now including radionuclides. Hodge said that Office Manager Tanja Smith, Christina Hawker, and Victoria Clark-Powell have fielded 90% of customer calls and concerns about radium.
Hodge explained that the district is high on a mesa, and groundwater is harvested from solid rock 1,000 to 1,500 feet deep in aquifers that are millions of years old. Wells introduce air into the aquifer, which speeds up the process of releasing radionuclides. The district’s Holbein Plant recently measured 6.7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which exceeds the CDPHE maximum. Only the Holbein Plant exceeds the limit, and its water is primarily used in the summer for watering. The sampling was taken at the plant before it goes into the tank and is mixed and then sent out to customers. Samples were also taken recently at the street outside of some homes; the results should be back by the week of Sept. 27 and will be posted on the web.
Hodge noted that the physical plant removes some solids using manganese and that the staff is meeting with consultants to determine the blend of well water from both of its plants and the surface water it owns to make the best water for residents. DWSD owns water rights from a 700-acre ranch it purchased in Leadville. Surface water comes from snow melt that contains no radium. The water flows down to Pueblo and then is sent up to DWSD via the Southern Delivery System. The district pays Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to treat, convey, and deliver the water it owns.
Hodge said that, since DWSD has exceeded this rolling annual average, the state gives them five years to comply. The board takes this situation seriously and sent out letters that committed to a two-year timeframe, he said. Although it does take time to address, he said the numbers are dropping, and hopefully the district will have the numbers below the limit much sooner.
During the question-and-answer portion, the following points were made:
• The skin does not absorb radium, so bathing is fine without an osmosis system.
• The effect of radium is chronic rather than acute. It would take decades to have a noticeable effect.
• Steve Brown, a board-certified health physicist for CDPHE, noted that there is a naturally higher radiation exposure in Colorado compared to other states, due to altitude. He said the 5 pCi/L of radium in the water system amounts to 4 millirems or 1% of the 400 millirems of naturally occurring radiation.
• Haley Orahood, water compliance specialist for CDPHE, noted that at 5 pCi/L, the excess cancer risk of drinking the water over a lifetime is one in 10,000.
• Kristy Richardson, state toxicologist with CDPHE, said the amount is equivalent to one chest X-ray.
• DWSD is drought-proofing its system and building a big portfolio of water. Its goal is to get to 90% renewable sources by 2030; it has been working on renewable water for 20 years.
• Triview and Forest Lakes are independent water providers that partner with DWSD on the Upper Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility managed by DWSD.
The session ended with Houle thanking the staff for its work on addressing customers’ concerns. This effort was not unnoticed and was greatly appreciated, he said.
Joint grant for aquifer storage recovery project
In his manager’s report, Hodge told the board that DWSD and Triview worked with LRE to submit a joint proposal that won a $150,000 grant to study aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) technology that allows water to be stored and retrieved from an aquifer rather than a storage tank or reservoir, limiting evaporation.
The grant came from the Colorado Water and Conservation Board (CWCB). This follows a 2011 demonstration by DWSD that injected 8 acre-feet of water into an aquifer and recovered it, demonstrating the feasibility of storing water underground. The team approach is unique and CWCB is very interested in the result, Hodge said.
The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 16 at 1:30 p.m. Generally, board meetings are held the third Thursday of the month and include online access due to coronavirus restrictions; call (719) 488-3603 or access www.donalawater.org to receive up-to-date meeting information. The district office is located at 15850 Holbein Drive, Colorado Springs. See www.donalawater.org for more information about the district.
By James Howald
At its September meeting, the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) board announced the final details of its months-long project to refinance the district’s outstanding debt. The board considered a supplemental water service request from Classic Homes for its Monument Junction development, and an easement agreement with Mountain View Electric Association (MVEA). Finally, the board heard operational reports.
At the end of the regular meeting, the board went into executive session to receive legal advice on potential agreements with JUWI Inc. and Lewis-Palmer School District 38.
Refinancing delivers extra savings, raises credit rating
The district’s 2021 bonds were sold on Aug. 25. The new bonds refinanced the district’s debt from bonds sold in 2011 that were due to mature in 2036. As with a home purchase, some of the financial details of the sale are not known until the day the sale is complete.
Jim Manire of Hilltop Securities, the district’s financial advisor, estimated at the board’s previous meeting that the refinancing would save the district’s customers about $6.8 million. When the sale was complete, the savings exceeded that estimate, coming in at $7.04 million.
The net interest on the new bonds is 0.98%. The coupon rate on the bonds is 5%, allowing them to be sold at a premium, that is, at a price higher than their face value, which generates additional funds for the district.
In addition to those savings, the refinancing delivered another benefit to district customers by raising the district’s Standard & Poor’s credit rating from AA- to AA.
The board chose to reduce the repayment period from 15 to 10 years and was able to do so while lowering the annual debt service payments by about $20,000 per year. Shortening the repayment period eliminates debt service payments of $1.95 million per year from 2032 through 2036.
Monument Junction developer seeks supplemental water
District Manager Jessie Shaffer asked the board to consider a request from Classic Homes for supplemental water service to its Monument Junction development. When complete, the 84-acre development, south of Highway 105 on both sides of Jackson Creek Parkway, will include 554 residences, both single- and multi-family, 7.3 acres of commercial space, a Monument Police Department substation and 37 acres of open space, parks, drainage, and rights of way, all contained in two metro districts.
Shaffer said Classic Homes requested 166.9 acre-feet of supplemental water in addition to its standard water allocation. The request would not exceed the limit the district has planned for, Shaffer said, because other developments are projected to use less water than anticipated. The district has the necessary water treatment capacity, Shaffer added. In response to a question from board President Brian Bush, Shaffer said the district should plan to drill a new well into the Denver Basin aquifer in 2022.
Bush pointed out an acre-foot of supplemental water costs $29,000. Tap fees for the project would be additional revenue, he said.
The board voted unanimously to direct district staff to draft an agreement with Classic Homes that will come back to Bush for approval.
MVEA granted easement for lake pump station
The board voted to grant MVEA an easement needed for electric service to the new Lake Pump Station that WWSD is constructing on the west side of Lake Woodmoor, close to The Barn Community Center. Lake Woodmoor has been drained so that the Lake Pump Station can be built.
Highlights of operational reports
• The Greenland Preserve Lift Station was hit by lightning and was offline for repair to its surge suppressor.
• The Woodmoor Ranch revegetation project is about 43% complete.
• The Central Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) upgrade is progressing, with two of the three filters rebuilt. The CWTP will be shut down for six weeks so that new Program Logic Control circuitry can be installed.
• Construction of the Safe Routes to School Trail is expected to begin next spring.
• In his Woodmoor Improvement Association report, Bush mentioned an agreement had been reached with WOSC LLC, formerly known as the Woodmoor Open Space Committee, to allow homeowners with utility easements on their property to add gates, providing the gates are not affixed over the easements and remain unlocked.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. Meetings are usually held on the second Monday of each month at 1 p.m. at the district office at 1845 Woodmoor Drive. Please see www.woodmoorwater.com or call 488-2525 to verify meeting times and locations.
James Howald can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans and James Howald
At the Monument Sanitation Department (MSD) Sept. 15 meeting, the board met to set dates for public hearings on 2022 rates and fees as well as a workshop and public hearing on the 2022 budget. The board also talked about moving forward on the request for proposal (RFP) for legal services.
Public hearings on rates and budget
The board discussed the public meetings for both 2022 rates and fees as well as the public budget hearing. The 2022 Rates and Fees public meeting will be part of the November meeting.
District Manager Mark Parker said a preliminary 2022 budget would be available for the October meeting after a special Budget Workshop meeting on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 5:15 p.m. in the district offices. The public hearing will be in November, and the board will be asked to vote to approve the budget at the December meeting. Notices are going out to customers, and legal notices are published in The Gazette.
RFP for legal services
Parker provided the board a draft of the RFP for legal services. The board agreed to review the draft by Sept. 17 and add a list of required services. Then the RFP will be updated and sent out to legal firms on the Special District Association of Colorado website (www.sdaco.org).
• Parker reported that Lift Station 1, Pump 2 was plugged by a so-called flushable wipe. The board discussed sending warnings out in the bill or via direct mail using postcards.
• Parker confirmed the new IT vendor has started and was able to access the server and evaluate the status of equipment. The district will be upgrading its storage capacity for backups.
• The board agreed to contact a local vendor to discuss updating the district website.
• The board agreed to dispose of a large, rarely used snow blower they have stored in the shed.
Monument Sanitation District meetings are normally held at 9 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month in the district conference room at 130 Second St., Monument. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. See https://colorado.gov/msd. For a district service map, see https://colorado.gov/pacific/msd/district-map-0. Information: 719-481-4886.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) meeting on Sept. 21, the board discussed some potential stumbling blocks involved with the unification process, planned an increase to the volunteer pensions, and approved roof repairs at Station 1 and an extension of the interim fire chief contract.
The volunteer pension board meeting was held after the regular meeting.
Director Joyce Hartung was excused.
Interim Fire Chief Warren Jones said he met with Hartung for a couple of hours on Sept. 20 and brought her up to speed on district issues.
Unification status update
Jones said the following:
• During a joint conference call with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) Chief Andy Kovacs and Emergency Services Consulting International project manager Dan Qualman, it was revealed that the first draft of the unification feasibility study will be available in mid-October, and the finished product will be presented to both boards by the end of October.
• The decision is coalescing around the concept of an authority first, followed by a merger by inclusion later, when DWFPD will dissolve and merge into TLMFPD.
• A merger by inclusion would involve dealing with the sub-district and require a ballot initiative or a question to the voters on whether to dissolve the sub-district or increase its mill levy. See www.ocn.me/v21n6.htm#dwfpd and www.ocn.me/v21n7.htm#dwfpd and #tlmfpd.
• Two different ballot issues would be required, one for the sub-district and one for the rest of the district, and the mill levy will need to be slightly higher than that of TLMFPD.
• The benefit will happen once the merger by inclusion is complete, and then the mill levy will be lowered to TLMFPD’s 18.4 mills.
• The district’s lack of an apparatus replacement plan and funded capital improvement plan will come out during the analysis of the feasibility study and will need to be discussed during the 2022 budget planning stage.
TLMFPD board President John Hildebrandt said a contract package with the Colorado Springs Fire Department to take over fire protection services for the sub-district would eliminate one of the steps.
District Attorney Emily Powell of Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe PC law firm in Denver said a merger by inclusion is not possible with the way the sub-district is currently structured, unless TLMFPD merged into DWFPD. The district’s mill levy is both lower and higher than TLMFPD’s, and the sub-district "gums up" the transfer.
A joint work session for DWFPD and TLMFPD will be held before Thanksgiving, and a decision will need to be made on whether to move forward in December, said Jones.
Volunteer pension board meeting
The DWFPD volunteer pension board met after the regular board meeting. The board is composed of the district’s regular board members and Trustees Bryan Ackerman and Timothy Hampton.
Ackerman and Director Joyce Hartung were excused.
Hampton said the following about the allocation and pension status report:
• The volunteer pension fund for the second quarter has a $58,000 year-over-year gain so far.
• There have been no moves from retiree benefits to beneficiaries and little change in the markets. When the markets are good, the fund is good.
• The hiring of volunteer personnel was reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the district has stopped hiring new volunteers during the unification process, so there is less potential for liability on the pension fund.
• The actuary study that takes place on a bi-annual basis looks at the viability of the plan, taking market downturns into account, and the fund is solvent and above the state minimum payout, and is funded at 120%.
• The study assumes the district’s existing 11 volunteers would remain with the district for 20 years, but the assumption is not realistic now that one volunteer has flipped to part-time and another one has left.
• Based on a worst-case scenario that is unlikely to happen, there is no reason to sit on an over-funded pension fund year after year.
Hampton requested the board approve an increase to the 20-year volunteer payout from $400 to $450 per month.
Powell said the following:
• The presentation was excellent, and the department has the second-best well-funded plan she has ever seen.
• Once the money is in a pension fund it does not come out, and the only way to retrieve funding is to wait until all the volunteers have been paid up and passed away, and most boards increase benefits.
• The pension board would need to make a motion to recommend the increase to the district board and then approve the benefit increase.
Chairman Mark Gunderman said a lot can happen in a few years, but we should set a precedence just so long as we do not have to put money into the fund.
Secretary Larry Schwarz said, "The community has given a lot of time and money to support the district and we should support the people that have given their time and earned it."
Jones said the volunteer pension fund will keep going during the authority until the merger by inclusion happens, and then the fund will be assigned to the TLMFPD board, and it will be managed separately. If a merger by inclusion happens, the pension fund cannot be left behind, said Jones.
Powell recommended the pension board approve a motion to add an agenda item for approval by the regular board at the next board meeting, for the permanent increase to the pension plan benefit "Plan B" according to the actuary study, from the current $400 to $450 per month for the 20-year volunteers, beginning Nov. 1.
The pension board approved the recommended permanent increase be added to the November board meeting agenda for approval, 4-0.
Note: The regular board could not approve the increase having already met, but before COVID-19 distancing protocols the volunteer pension board met before the regular board.
Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich said hopefully the COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted in time for the April 2022 meeting.
Retired volunteer firefighter Mike Badger thanked Hampton for his hard work and the board for its attentiveness and said, "it does mean something for the retired volunteers, it is not a trivial amount, and the increase does directly affect the volunteers’ way of life."
The pension board meeting adjourned at 5:41 p.m.
Station 1 roof repairs needed
Jones said Station 1 is 20 years old with a complicated roof system, and in September a section of the roof fell in over the bay resulting in water damage. The repair encompasses more than just the bay area, and about $25,000 to $28,000 is needed to make the repairs. Based on the insurance percentage value of the building, the district will need to pay some out of pocket and at least up to the insurance deductible. Jones requested the board approve up to $40,000 from the district reserves for the roof repairs.
The board approved the cost of the roof repair, 4-0.
Interim chief contract extension
Gunderman said the interim fire chief’s contract would now extend until the end of 2021 and required approval.
Jones said there would not be a lot for a permanent fire chief to do other than signing documents during the unification process, and a DWFPD acting chief could be his replacement. He said if the unification proceeds later in the year, it will determine the decision to conduct a search for a replacement permanent chief, as early as the October meeting and certainly in November
The board approved the extension to the contract, 4-0.
• The district has one open position for a driver operator, and a couple of firefighters are taking their state test at TLMFPD.
• An entry-level firefighter will be hired out of the current volunteer program when the driver operator position is filled.
• Should the unification go ahead, DWFPD will build a fire academy with TLMFPD.
• There will be hiring and promotions over the next several months.
Cell tower at Station 2
Jones said the two proposals from cell tower companies could be a lot of hassle but would generate $15,000 per year. See www.ocn.me/v21n9.htm#dwfpd.
Powell said there will be a lot of work negotiating through the issues of the agreement, and the district already has a lot on its plate.
The board unanimously agreed that the chief could tell the cell tower companies that after considering the proposals it is not the right time for the district to pursue a cell tower lease agreement with the pending unification process.
Station 3 update
Jones recommended the board continue to table the discussion on Station 3.
Gunderman said there is too much going on right now in the district, and it would be a distraction from the priority focus of the unification process.
The board agreed with Gunderman.
The regular meeting adjourned at 4:57 p.m.
Meetings are usually held on the third Tuesday of the month at Station 1, 15415 Gleneagle Dr., at 7 p.m. Due to COVID-19 distancing protocols, meetings are held virtually for public attendees. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. For updates, virtual meeting joining instructions, agendas, and minutes, visit: www.wescottfire.org or call Administrative Assistant Stacey Popovich at 719-488-8680.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Barszcz
At the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFPD) meeting on Sept. 22, the board heard the deputy chief was retiring, the board president was recognized for his dedicated service, and the board received a presentation on the proposed 2022 budget, a wildland-urban interface fire emergency planning project, the 2022-26 strategic plan, and numerous other updates.
Treasurer Jason Buckingham was excused.
Deputy Chief/Division Chief of Logistics Randy Trost retiring
Deputy Chief/Division Chief of Logistics Randy Trost announced his retirement after 36 years in the fire service and serving the last seven years at TLMFPD. "TLMFPD is a great place to work, and I plan to remain involved in the community, but I have had a good run and will stay connected to the department," said Trost. He thanked the board, the men and women of the organization for their professionalism, and the community for their trust and financial support to the district.
Dedicated service award
Fire Chief Andy Kovacs and the board applauded board President Dr. John Hildebrandt for receiving the dedicated service award for 23 years of service to the TLMFPD at the Special District Association during its annual conference in Keystone on Sept. 14.
Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Emergency Planning project
Retired Battalion Chief/CEO/Principal Mike Rohde of Rohde and Associates LLC., Orange County, Calif., presented the board with the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Emergency Planning project and said the following:
• Pre-plan fire risk mitigations and wildland pre-plans are necessary to expedite response during a large-scale wildland fire.
• Wildland fire has changed, and climate change has affected the wildland-urban interface.
• The plans provide emergency response preparations, model the potential for fire behavior with limited response, show where teams would have the biggest impact, and provide changes going forward that would reduce risk.
• Each plan will focus on the first six hours of a major incident in a quick reference format and identifies likely critical fire weather, fire behavior and progression, and a look at 50 years of data.
• The plans consider a resource deficient response environment and identify critical safety concerns.
• Evacuation vs. shelter-in-place guidance, defined evacuation travel routes and identified conditions and decision points are provided with the plans.
• A team of 14 experienced consultants do the "heavy lifting" during the collaborative process and that footwork is as important as the finished plan.
Kovacs said the following after the presentation:
• Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District is exploring similar plans with South Metro Fire Authority, Denver, for a lesser cost, but with not nearly as much detail.
• The proposed plans from Rohde and Associates will be evaluated with stakeholders during the project development.
• He has had personal experience using the pre-plans when he worked for the Orange County Fire Authority, Calif.
• Thirteen pre-plans are needed, but due to the expense the three highest-priority areas would be developed initially.
Vice President Roger Lance said it would be more cost-effective in crossover areas to have shared funding from multiple agencies and departments.
Division Chief of Community Risk/Fire Marshal Jamey Bumgarner said it would have been nice to have had a sheet of paper on the first day of the Black Forest Fire in 2013 to help with interagency support, and at least on a bad day they would have something to share with their partner agencies when the project is complete.
2022 budget presentation
Kovacs said there have been a lot of changes in 2021, and the executive staff and managers have spent countless hours looking at the numbers. This year, a lot more responsibility has been delegated to shift managers and budget coordinators, and any board changes and discussion over costs are encouraged. Kovacs, the staff, and department managers proposed many budget increases and additions as follows:
• A 4% cost of living allowance increase is recommended.
• The purchase of property for an eventual move of Station 2.
• Beginning with the 2022 budget, a reserve of $100,000 toward a future fourth station.
• A wildland-urban interface fire emergency planning project.
• A Haas alerting system to provide advance warning of responding agency emergency vehicles during dispatch for an initial cost of about $60,000.
• A Type 3 engine.
• A Ford F250 for district-wide use and a Ford F150 for the division chief of operations.
• A side-by-side (ATV) and enclosed trailer to improve shuttling during rescues and multiple events and situations.
• Upgrades for Station 3, a concrete driveway at Station 1, the training center development and bore for a water line under Highway 105, and about $70,000 in training props that can be used immediately and incorporated into the training center upon completion.
• Multiple increases to the budget were also proposed by the department managers for operations, logistics, EMS, training, and education.
• Multiple uniform additions include Nomex uniforms, wildland deployment clothing and $5,000 for honor guard uniforms (the 9/11 CrossFit7070 fundraiser raised about $1,200 for TLMFPD and for the Monument Police Department).
Kovacs said the district property tax assessment values have increased by $1.5 million for the 2022 budget year, and 84% of the district revenue is generated by property taxes. The district is spending in a responsible way, but it is up to the board to make the final decisions, and the staff can provide more clarification to the board and continue the discussion at the October board meeting, said Kovacs.
2022-26 strategic plan
Kovacs presented the 2022-26 strategic plan that was developed from the 2019 Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) master plan that provided recommendations on how to improve the agency, combined with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, both internal and external, and with all the elements combined and generated from the conversations he had with personnel when he first arrived, and the results from the community stakeholder meeting.
Kovacs noted the following during the presentation:
• The district needs to be prepared for community threats, and its greatest risk is from wildfire.
• The district must provide the most cost-effective service to the community.
• Fire suppression, wildland fire prevention, EMS, and fire inspections for businesses were high priorities for the community stakeholder meeting participants.
• The district received 100% participation from the firefighters during the internal SWOT analysis.
• The strategic plan will continue to be evaluated and updated every two or three years to ensure the needs of the community are being met.
Director Terri Hayes requested a broader community survey be conducted in the future besides a community stakeholder survey that included the response of only 10 selected participants from the May 8 community stakeholder meeting.
Kovacs said a broader community needs assessment would be valuable in the future, and he requested the board review the plan over the next month and discuss adopting it at the October meeting.
Unification process update
ESCI project manager Dan Qualman identified a real deficiency in the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) fleet and the funding that has not been set aside in its capital fleet replacement fund. The boards will be brought together in November to discuss the ESCI feasibility study. See www.ocn.me/v21n6.htm#tlmfpd and www.ocn.me/v21n7.htm#tlmfpd and the DWFPD article on page 12.
Division chief of training update
Kovacs said Battalion Chief Kris Mola will take over as division chief of training in November for two years on a district rotation.
EMS—mutual aid response update
Kovacs said there is not a lot of data yet on how often the Wescott American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance and the Northgroup districts are providing EMS mutual aid, but a nice balance of about three or four calls between the districts occurred in August. The trend will be monitored for several months to see where we stand with AMR and how mutual aid is being provided. See www.ocn.me/v21n9.htm#tlmfpd.
Division Chief of Operations Jonathan Bradley said the battalion chiefs have the right to reserve one ambulance within the district but will provide mutual aid to DWFPD.
Station 1 remodel update
Trost said the Station 1 remodel encountered a few delays in September and the project is now estimated to be completed Oct. 25.
Fourth annual pumpkin giveaway
Engineer Adam Wakefield announced the Fourth Annual Monument Professional Firefighters Local 4319 Pumpkin Giveaway. The event will take place at the Monument Marketplace Clock Tower, 15986 Jackson Creek Parkway, on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Live music, free pumpkins and candy will be featured, and the public will have the opportunity to judge "The Chief’s" pumpkin carving crew competition. A non-perishable food item for the Tri-Lakes Cares food drive is encouraged.
The meeting adjourned at 10:14 p.m.
Meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., downtown Monument. For Zoom meeting instructions, agendas, and minutes, visit www.tlmfire.org or contact Director of Administration Jennifer Martin at 719-484-9011.
Natalie Barszcz can be reached at email@example.com.
By Allison Robenstein
During the Sept. 9 meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees, Darcy M. Schoening was appointed to fill the trustee position left vacant by Jamy Unruh. Rob Rathburn, who has been a supervisor in Public Works for over 35 years, was recognized for his expertise. Two Public Works projects were approved by the board.
Although Town Manager Mike Foreman asked the board members to turn on their microphones, some trustees were completely silent, although it was apparent they were speaking. One of those was Trustee Laurie Clark, so there are no quotes from her in this article.
Trustee Mitch LaKind attended virtually.
Trustee seat filled
Schoening beat out five other candidates to be appointed by a vote of 4-2. Three candidates including Sean White, Kenneth Kimple and Schoening were present. Isabella Matthews and Amy Yocom-Vos failed to attend the meeting.
Schoening told the board she has lived in Jackson Creek for a little over a year after a brief move to Denver. She previously owned Dex’s Diner/Depot with Greg Duncan, a restaurant that operated from 2017 to 2020. She continues to serve on the St. Peter Catholic School Home and School Association as vice president of fundraising. Schoening is also the owner of The Colorado Herald, an online newspaper that claims to support Clark’s campaign for governor.
Acting Town Attorney Joseph Rivera provided a legal review of the requirements for an appointment, noting there is very little guidance provided by statute: a simple majority by a motion can appoint anyone over 18 years of age who has been a resident of town for at least the last 12 months.
After interviewing three of the candidates, Trustee Ron Stephens nominated White, who has been serving on the Monument Planning Commission since 2019. LaKind nominated Kimple, an outspoken resident who is the de facto representative for the Promontory Pointe development. Both of these nominations came without a motion. Rivera recommended that the board make a motion to nominate one of the candidates. Trustee Jim Romanello wasted no time in nominating Schoening. Both Stephens and LaKind voted against the nomination.
Public Works recognizes Rathburn as an exemplary employee
Rob Rathburn, a Public Works supervisor who has been with the town for 35 years, was recognized by the board. Before his work for Monument, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Mayor Wilson said it is a blessing to have an employee like Rathburn, who has received numerous letters from residents touting his professionalism over the years. Public Works Director Tom Tharnish thanked him for all his work.
Design of new Public Works facility; small parcel approved
The board approved a change order to the existing contract for the Public Works building expansion. D2C Architects is contracted to provide design and engineering for the new building. After purchasing a building at 259 Beacon Lite Road, Public Works realized the new space will need to be reworked and so asked for $75,000 extra so that D2C Architects could redesign the new space as well.
The board also consented to purchase a small piece of land adjacent to the well redrill that happened along Beacon Lite Road. Well 3 had to be redrilled, and by state statute the new well must be within 200 feet of the original. "This created an issue for the town, as all the land they own has buried utility lines," according to the board packet. An easement was created with Porchlight Properties, the owner of the property adjacent to the original well. The in-kind exchange means no town funds were used for the purchase. The owner wishes to have roadway access, but their parcel is landlocked.
The well has been completely outfitted. The next step is to install the new pump and motor.
The request was unanimously approved.
Resident Barbara Kennet asked the board to reconsider the minutes from the previous meeting because they didn’t match a full transcript of what was said.
Town Clerk Laura Hogan explained that the meeting minutes do not need to reflect word for word comments during a meeting. For a full transcript of the meeting, Hogan directed Kennet to the town’s YouTube channel where all meetings can be watched.
Resident Steve King thanked Planning Director Meggan Herrington for her communication with the public during the recent Conexus Commercial Metropolitan District service plan review by the board at its Aug. 16 meeting. King said of the potential industrial facility that was planned, or "last mile fulfillment centers" as he called them, would have a negative effect on the community. See https://ocn.me/v21n9.htm#mbot0816.
Kimple spoke of an upcoming emergency evacuation drill and wondered when the emergency plan would be created for the east side of I-25.
Stephens said he was concerned along with the citizens regarding building heights of 90 feet being allowed in zoning. Stephens said this came to his attention at the last meeting, although he attended the June 7 meeting and approved the recent zoning update in which this stipulation was included. No members of the board questioned the building height at that time. See https://ocn.me/v21n7.htm#mbot0607.
The meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.
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 Oct. 4. 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 Kate Pangelinan
The Monument Planning Commission (PC) took two votes at its Sept. 8 meeting: one considering final plats for Home Place Ranch Filings 1 and 2 and another for Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 10 Final Plat. Motions to approve recommendation of these final plats to the Board of Trustees (BOT) passed unanimously.
This meeting was attended by Monument’s new planning director, Meggan Herington, as well as Planner Debbie Flynn and Planning Technician Theresa Rust. In attendance on the Planning Commission itself were Chairman Chris Wilhelmi, Vice Chairman Sean White, and Commissioners Daniel Ours and Martin Trujillo.
Information and relevant links
• This article was written with assistance from the meeting packets available online and a draft of the meeting’s minutes provided by town staff upon request.
• These minutes will later be presented to the PC, and—once they’re approved—posted with other pertinent documents on monumenttownco.documents-on-demand.com.
• Please see that site for PC and BOT agendas and meeting packets.
• Many PC meetings are available to watch in their entirety on the town’s YouTube page at youtube.com/channel/UCdFLo8UcqZfFdkio5jT6GDA. Citizens may find it easier to search for "Town of Monument" or "Monument Planning Commission" in YouTube’s search bar. The Sept. 8 meeting is not available on YouTube.
• According to the town’s website, Planning staff can be contacted by calling 719-481-2954 or sending an email to email@example.com.
Home Place Ranch Filing 1 and 2 Final Plats
Information about the Home Place Ranch Filing 1 and 2 Final Plats was presented by Planner Debbie Flynn, followed by another presentation from the applicant. Representing the applicant were Phil Stuepfert and Ken Huhn of HR Green Inc., along with Vanessa Amoruso serving as legal counsel for Challenger Homes.
• Filings 1 and 2 are part of Phase 1 for Home Place Ranch. Filing 1 is 22.3 acres, and Filing 2 is 16.6 acres.
• According to the meeting packet, Filing 1 "includes … East Lost Pines Drive, Sanctuary Rim Drive, Limbaugh Canyon Loop, Monument Rock Court, Talons Bluff Lane, and Gleneagle Drive," as well as "75 single-family detached lots." "Approximately 29.86% of the total land area" will be used for tracts. Filing No. 1’s "lots range from 4,467 square feet to 10,555 square feet."
• According to the meeting packet, Filing No. 2 "includes East Lost Pines Drive, West Lost Pines Drive, Cattle Creek Court, Basset Mill Way, and Limbach Court, 67 single-family detached lots, and two tracts," with those tracts comprising 17.62% of the space. Filing No. 2’s "lots range in size from 5,292 square feet to 10,437 square feet."
• The meeting packet also notes that "Gleneagle Drive is the main collector road servicing Home Place Ranch, and all lots will be accessed off a local street. The local street will have a sidewalk that will connect to the main sidewalk/trail along Gleneagle Drive, which in turn will connect to the community trail system and parks. The homes will have varying design and façade treatment, which will make each home unique to its neighbor."
• The applicant is listed as "Challenger Homes" and the property owner is listed as "Home Place LLC."
Public comments, as described in a draft of the meeting minutes:
• Ken Kimple expressed concerns regarding emergency plans, sidewalks along Sanctuary Rim Drive and Gleneagle Drive, and building homes before completing the planned roads.
• Val Peterson brought her neighborhood’s concerns before the PC. These included fencing, whether the number of trees by the north and south roads could prove adequate for a snow block, and whether they could be provided more emergency access information.
The commissioners asked several questions, seeking clarity on the project. Here are some, but not all, of the topics addressed, as described in a draft of the meeting minutes:
• The temporary access road
• The nature of tracts and metro districts
• The possibility of bike lanes in the area
• Road construction timelines
• Pedestrian behavior and related signage
Many of these questions and concerns were addressed by town staff and the applicant’s representatives. Please see the minutes that will be posted online for more information or contact town staff.
In the end, Commissioner Ours motioned to approve these final plats for recommendation, with a condition that Tract A be split into two tracts. The motion passed unanimously, 4-0.
Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 10 Final Plat
Details about Sanctuary Pointe Filing No. 10 Final Plat:
• Flynn presented a PowerPoint about this project at the meeting, and Classic Homes Vice President/Project Manager Loren Moreland attended to address any concerns.
• This filing is part of Phase 1 of Sanctuary Pointe, to the west of Baptist Road. It is 5.350 acres in size.
• According to the meeting packet, "The subject area includes Treetop Glory Court, 12 single-family detached lots, and three tracts."
• The packet also discusses the history of this project: Originally, a church was expected to be built on this property, but when plans for that didn’t move forward, the area was divided into 12 single-family lots instead of one large lot. These "lots range in size from 8,400 square feet to 14,416 square feet." The tracts comprise "28.77% of the total land area" of this development.
• The applicant is listed as "Classic Consulting Engineers & Surveyors LLC" and the Property Owner is Listed as "Elite Properties of America Inc."
There were no public comments or questions from commissioners about this proposal. Commissioner White’s motion to approve the final plat for recommendation to the BOT without conditions passed unanimously, 4-0.
If there is a PC meeting in October, it is expected to be held on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Monument Town Hall.
Kate Pangelinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By James Howald and Jackie Burhans
The Palmer Lake Board of Trustees (PLBOT) met twice in September. Regular board meetings were held on Sept. 9 and 23. A workshop meeting scheduled for Sept. 23 was cancelled. The Sept. 23 meeting ended with an executive session to discuss a possible annexation.
The board heard a remembrance of Wilma French from resident Shana Ball. David Green of Green & Associates presented the town’s 2020 audit. There were updates at both meetings on Elite Crane’s move to a new location in Monument. A vacant seat on the Parks Commission was filled by appointment. The board considered the need for a survey to determine the proper location for a fence to prevent people crossing the railroad tracks to reach the lake. The board voted on issues related to properties within the town and established an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Castle Rock concerning fire truck maintenance. Finally, the board granted two special event permits.
Wilma French honored with sign
Ball shared with the board her memories of French, pausing with emotion at times and calling her an "extraordinary woman" who taught Ball how to be humble and the importance of service to community. French expressed her love for her neighbors by cooking for them, Ball recalled. French also cared for the town’s dogs, using her home as a kennel for strays until they could be claimed by their owners, without charge, and in some cases finding new homes for them, continuing her caretaking into her 80s. French embodied faith, humility, and kindness, Ball said.
Wilma Fern French died on Dec. 6, 2020, at age 98. She was a resident of Palmer Lake since 1957 where she started and ran Sundance Kennels for 54 years.
Mayor Bill Bass presented Ball and her cousin Tyson Reese with a street sign that will mark the corner of Prairie and Spring Streets as French’s Hill.
2020 audit documents progress
David Green said his audit of the town’s 2020 finances led to an unmodified clean opinion. The town’s financial controls are improving, he said, with only two areas of minor concern: some record-keeping issues and segregation of duties. Both are common in small organizations, and steps have been taken to correct those issues, leaving the town in a better position for reporting and safeguarding assets, he said.
Elite Cranes move delayed again
At the Sept. 9 meeting, Bruno Furrer, the current owner of the property occupied by Elite Cranes, told the board that Elite Cranes was scheduled to close on its new property in a week and would then need two to three weeks to prepare the ground at the new property to receive the cranes. Local builder Kurt Ehrhardt said the town was being taken advantage of by the repeated failure of Elite Cranes to meet its self-imposed deadlines for vacating its current location and suggested Elite Cranes make a financial donation to the town. The discussion at the Sept. 9 meeting ended with board members observing that Elite Cranes would have missed another deadline to vacate its current location by the board’s next meeting, and that they would decide their next step at the Sept. 23 meeting.
At the Sept. 23 meeting, Sam Lawry, owner of Elite Cranes, told the board that progress had been made although he had not yet closed on the purchase of his new property. He said he expected to close within a week. He was preparing the new location by removing trees and surveying, he said. Hauling dirt to the new location would take three weeks.
Trustee Glant Havenar was skeptical about Lawry’s new timeline and pointed out that there had been many missed deadlines and that Sept. 15 had been a "drop-dead" date for the move. Trustee Karen Stuth said she believed the time had come to begin fining Elite Cranes for its repeated failures to keep its agreements with the town. Lawry responded he was preparing litigation for that eventuality and cited several justifications for the missed deadlines.
In the end, Lawry would not commit to another deadline to leave his current location.
Bass made a motion to give Elite Cranes until Oct. 31 to vacate. The motion passed with Bass, Trustees Darin Dawson, Jessica Farr, and Sam Padgett voting in favor and Trustees Nicole Currier, Havenar and Stuth voting against.
Lindsey Leiker appointed to the Parks Commission
Resolution 41-2021, appointing Lindsey Leiker to a vacant seat on the Parks Commission, was passed as part of the consent agenda at the Sept. 9 meeting.
Fence location debated
At the Sept. 9 meeting, Town Administrator Dawn Collins told the board the agreement between BNSF Railway and the Town of Palmer Lake obligates the town to build a fence to prevent people from crossing the railroad tracks to reach the lake from the town. Collins said the town should have the area surveyed to help determine the placement of the fence. Awake the Lake planned to fund the fence construction, Collins said.
Town Attorney Matt Krob commented that either the town would build the fence or the railroad would build it and bill the town for the cost, adding the railroad seemed to be more concerned with having the fence built as specified in the contract than with the optimal placement of the fence.
Bass instructed the town staff to have the area surveyed and to reach out to the railroad to discuss placement.
Board acts on property management issues
The board took the following steps regarding property issues:
• The board voted unanimously to approve Resolution 43-2021, which authorizes the town to grant well agreements for E-Rock LLC at the old fee of $50 per well.
• The board held a public hearing on and voted to approve Resolution 48-2021, which grants a conditional use permit to Craig and Anna Barragry to convert a commercial property at 11 Highway 105 to a residential duplex. Havenar and Padgett voted no; Bass, Currier, Dawson, Farr and Stuth voted in favor.
• The board voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 49-2021, which approves a minor subdivision at 32 Pineview St. that allows the owner to add a residence for his aging parents.
• The board voted unanimously to approve Resolutions 45-2021 and 46-2021, which formalize drainage easement agreements with Palmer Lake Elementary School and Nikki and William McDonald, respectively.
• The board voted unanimously to approve Resolution 47-2021, which authorizes the town to purchase 4.5 acres of land adjacent to Upper Glenway Street for no more than $9,500. The property is not suitable for a residence, Collins said, but might serve as a site for a water storage tank.
Castle Rock to maintain fire trucks
Fire Chief Kevin McCarthy shared with the board the difficulties he has had finding reliable service for the Fire Department’s heavy equipment, including fire trucks. He asked the board to approve Resolution 44-2021, which establishes an IGA allowing the Castle Rock Fire Department to service Palmer Lake’s equipment. McCarthy said the agreement would allow Palmer Lake to use other service companies if appropriate.
The board voted unanimously to approve Resolution 44-2021.
Special events approved
The board granted a special event permit for the Seventh Annual Palmer Lake .5K Run, scheduled for Sunday Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. until noon. The event is a fundraiser for Awake the Lake, event organizer Cindy Kuchinsky said, and the route was changed this year to begin on the east side of the lake and incorporate the pedestrian bridge.
The race will begin at 10:30 a.m., Kuchinsky said, and there will be a donut station midway on the course. Beer and root beer will be served at the finish line.
Kuchinsky asked the board to waive the usual special event fee.
The board voted to approve the permit. Currier and Dawson abstained, as they serve on the Awake the Lake committee.
At the Sept. 23 meeting, the board reviewed a special event permit for the YMCA Creepy Crawl, to be held on Oct. 30 beginning at 7 a.m. The event includes a 5K run for adults and a Kids Fun Run. Runners are encouraged to come in costume, event organizer Pat McDonough said.
The board voted unanimously to approve the event permit.
Caption: At the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 23, Mayor Bill Bass presented Shana Ball and her cousin Tyson Reese with a street sign that will mark the corner of Prairie and Spring Streets as French’s Hill. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: Wilma Fern French died Dec. 6, 2020, at age 98. French was a resident of Palmer Lake since 1957 where she started and ran Sundance Kennels for 54 years. Mayor Bill Bass presented Shana Ball and her cousin Tyson Reese with a street sign that will mark the corner of Prairie and Spring Streets as French’s Hill. Photo courtesy of Shana Ball.
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to hold three meetings in October, a regular meeting on Oct. 14 and a workshop and regular meeting on Oct. 28. See the town’s website at www.townofpalmerlake.com to confirm times, dates, and locations. While the Town Hall is being repaired, evening meetings will be held at the Palmer Lake Elementary School Library at 115 Upper Glenway and daytime meetings will be held at the Tri-Lakes Chamber Community Meeting House at 300 Highway 105. Meeting times may change. Meetings are normally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Information: 481-2953.
By Helen Walklett
Three Academy School District 20 (ASD20) Board of Education (BOE) seats are up for election on the Nov. 2 ballot. Citizens who are registered to vote and live within the ASD20 boundary will have an official ASD20 BOE question on their November election ballot.
Ten candidates are campaigning for the three open seats. Current board member Thomas LaValley is seeking re-election; the other nine candidates are not currently board members. Each position has a four-year term that begins on Jan. 1, 2022.
The candidates are:
• Thomas LaValley: (email@example.com)
• Michael Riffle: (SchoolBoardMike@gmail.com)
• Jason Silva: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There will be two BOE Candidate Forums ahead of the election to provide the community an opportunity to meet candidates, hear about their positions, and ask questions.
Tuesday, Oct. 5
Eagleview Middle School, Wing Space
1325 Vindicator Drive, Colorado Springs
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 14
ASD20 Education and Administration Center, Atrium
1110 Chapel Hills Drive, Colorado Springs
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Board elections occur every two years, and board members can serve a total of two terms.
Further information can be found on the ASD 20 website: https://www.asd20.org/announcements/2021-board-of-education-elections/
Helen Walklett can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Monument Academy (MA) School Board held a regular meeting on Sept. 9. It spotlighted a staff member, welcomed two new staff, addressed the uniform policy, and heard a public comment on its open records response.
Uniform hoodie policy
Board member Misty McCuen led the discussion on an alternative to hoodies in the elementary and middle school uniform policy. She moved to provide the option for a high quality crewneck sweatshirt with a school crest patch. These sweatshirts, with no hood or pocket, can be ordered from an approved vendor in black, royal blue, or gray.
Board member Chris Dole said MA is a school of excellence and student dress is a big part of that, noting that when the uniform policy is relaxed it shows up in behavior. Dole and board member Megghan St. Aubyn voted no, while McCuen and board members Lindsay Clinton and Ryan Graham voted yes to carry the motion. Board policies 1501ES and 1501MS are at bit.ly/ma-bd-policies.
The board spotlighted Amy Torrance, Communications and Marketing specialist, for her support of MA’s enrollment growth goals. McCuen presented Torrance with a certificate of achievement.
Public comments on open records response
After a lengthy executive session, the board adjourned and then allowed public comments on items not on the agenda. A community member said she had made a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request that should have been filled in three days or up to 10 days under special circumstances. The board’s lawyer replied that the documents would be ready after that deadline. She said she was given a box with 600 pages of wet and wrinkled papers, of which 500 were duplicates and charged $134 per board policy 1512. She expressed shock at the unprofessional response.
These items were highlighted at the regular board meeting:
• The board introduced two new staff members: Tamiko Thomas, East Campus assistant principal, and Chris Hale, athletic director.
• The board voted unanimously to increase the number of board members to seven and agreed to wait until the spring election to fill the seat.
• The board agreed to have lawyer Brad Miller review a statement clarifying MA’s COVID-19 policies, stating the board is not mandated to require vaccinations. See https://bit.ly/ma-covid-stmt.
• St. Aubyn reported that MA continues to work with the county on Highway 105 with a long-term solution of rerouting traffic around the school building. Staff is coming in early to help with the car line, and she is hopeful about working with the church next door that wants to cut off access to its driveway.
Caption: Amy Torrance, left, was recognized by the MA board at their meeting Sept. 9 and presented with a certificate of appreciation by Misty McCuen. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
Caption: At the Sept. 9 board meeting, Tamiko Thomas was introduced as the new assistant principal at MA’s East Campus. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The next regular board meeting has been moved to Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. at the East Campus band room due to fall break. The meeting will be in person only. The MA School Board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. For more information, see https://bit.ly/ma-boe.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
The Lewis-Palmer D38 Board of Education held a special meeting on Sept. 2 and voted to cancel participation in November’s election because only two incumbents filed paperwork to run. Board President Chris Taylor and board Secretary Tiffiney Upchurch will each serve an additional four-year term.
Taylor commented that he was disappointed that he would not be able to reach out to the community during a campaign. Upchurch said she was honored to serve an additional term to maintain the momentum the current board has achieved.
The remainder of the board, including Theresa Phillips, Ron Schwarz, and Matthew Clawson, is serving four-year terms that will end in November 2023.
At the regular meeting on Sept. 20, there were several comments from the public. Three of these were from physicians in the area who said that El Paso County is again in the orange to red zone regarding COVID-19. They urged the board to take action by encouraging all staff to be vaccinated, including by offering incentives. Students should also be masked to avoid quarantine, they said.
Three local parents also urged stronger action by the board, one of them saying that his son was exposed at school and the schools had opted not to receive tests.
Four individuals thanked the board for allowing parents to make the decision regarding masking.
One individual commented on the fact that the board is considering altering its policy regarding the teaching of controversial materials and that this is unnecessary. Others supported this opinion.
In his update, Superintendent K.C. Somers reported that the district’s new executive team went to all schools in August to introduce themselves and encourage feedback.
Teachers and other staff said it was important to them to feel valued and that compensation should be improved.
Other subjects Somers mentioned were the first professional development day on Sept. 1, and the district will relaunch a Financial Advisory Committee soon. This group will consist of eight to 10 community and district staff members, chosen by formal application. The group will be tasked with creating fiscal credibility and stressing transparency.
Regarding the subject of the district reaction to the pandemic, Somers said the district continues to follow the guidelines of the Department of Public Health.
He recognized Anne Icke, Davis Saunders, and Allison Sobers for being named National Merit semi-finalists and Madison Wilson of Palmer Ridge High School for being named a KOAA Athlete of the Week.
Dr. Merlin Holmes, chief operating officer of Monument Academy, presented the school’s annual report and thanked the district for their partnership. He said the school did well through the pandemic, and its enrollment has grown by 100 to 125 pupils annually. The new campus serves grades six through 10. Plans are in place for an additional wing to serve students through 12th grade.
Strategic priority 2
Assistant Superintendent Amber Whetstine moderated a report on district activities in support of strategic priority 2, to ensure high-quality instruction and relevant educational experiences for all students. The focus is on early education and pathways to the future after graduation.
Due to staffing shortages, the Palmer Lake preschool had to be closed, but students were moved to Kilmer and other locations, including Monument Academy and a local private preschool.
There are currently 147 preschool students. Forty-five percent of these are funded through the Colorado Preschool Program or special education, and the remainder are funded by tuition.
Initiatives in the early-learning area include stressing staff training, offering social-emotional support, and monitoring the new department of early childhood education.
In the later elementary grades, there are two new reading resources being implemented at various locations. Both resources are approved by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Forty teachers returned early from summer vacation to undergo training in reading resources.
Assessment Coordinator Michael Brom reported on student learning outcomes over the past year. He reviewed results on CMAS tests, Advance Placement, and the PSAT.
Some tests were not administered last year, and others were done remotely, so results are difficult to evaluate. He said that the district’s scores were better than the state scores.
There was a report on the various pathways to graduation in the district. These included the traditional high school plan, Advanced Placement classes which could yield college credit, Career Start which allows high school juniors and seniors to attend Pikes Peak Community College part time, and concurrent enrollment which involves students attending college courses with credit guaranteed to transfer to college. Recently, some of the college classes have been offered at district locations. These include basic English, American Sign Language and beginning college math.
Other offerings include career and technical education and Project Lead the Way, which includes programs in business, construction, health care, and cosmetology. Some of these programs lead to certification.
There is also the district’s online program, created by Lewis-Palmer staff and approved by the CDE.
For those wishing to enter the military, the district administers the ASVAB Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) twice a year.
The board was presented with a list of policies with suggested changes. Most of the changes were recommended by the Colorado Association of School Boards.
Superintendent Somers said he would like to link policies to the Strategic Plan and have one or more board members review each before approval.
Chief Financial Officer Kitte Overton explained how emergency COVID funding was spent by the district. These funds included the COVID Relief Fund (CRF) and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER). Spending of CRF funds were for preparation for closing and reopening the schools, cleaning, sanitizing, and improving ventilation, distance learning development, and delivery and provision of food during closures.
ESSER funds were for continuing services during closures, coordination of COVID preparedness and response, assessments, improved student engagement, and facility improvement to reduce risk of transmission.
There are two additional ESSER funds that will be made available in the next two years. These will be earmarked for sanitation supplies, planning to implement activities during closures, technology for online learning, and mental health services.
In total, the per pupil funding from these sources equals about $1,000.
Caption: From left to right, seated to standing are Ryan Graham, Monument Academy (MA) Board president, Chief Financial Officer Marc Brocklehurst, and Chief Operating Officer Merlin Holmes. MA administrators and a board representative appeared at the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education meeting on Sept. 20, to discuss MA’s annual report for the school year 2020-2021, at in accordance with the charter school’s contract with the district. Holmes did not show the presentation, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/ma-2021-annual, but asked if there were any questions. Holmes responded that MA’s biggest accomplishment was to survive and thrive during the pandemic. Students are continuing to grow and learn, and enrollment continues to increase, he said. He highlighted middle school athletics and the orchestra program and said he appreciated the partnership with the district. The biggest challenge for MA is that the East Campus almost at capacity, he noted, saying that MA is working on financing for the phase 2 expansion. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
The D38 Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in the district learning center, 146 Jefferson St., Monument. The next meeting will be on Oct.18.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Jackie Burhans
The Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) met on Sept. 25 to hear an owner’s concerns and discuss fee increases.
A resident called the board’s attention to many dead trees behind his property, leading up the hill to the Woodmoor common area known as The Point. He has been mitigating on his property and asked WIA to do the same on the open space. Board President Brian Bush said the board would review the current mitigation projects on the 142 acres of open space it manages. Tom Smith, director of forestry, and Steve Cutler, director of common areas, agreed to go out the following day and look at the issue both from the homeowner’s property and from the trailhead off Four Winds Way that leads to The Point.
The same resident raised a concern about erosion on the common area hill that impacts his property. Bush said this issue is more difficult, and he wasn’t sure what could be done or how much it might cost. Colorado’s water laws make redirecting water problematic. Bush said that staff will investigate the issue and will respond to both concerns in a week or two.
Another resident raised traffic safety concerns about Furrow Road from County Line to Highway 105 and had reached out to Woodmoor Public Safety (WPS), which directed him to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPCSO) because the road belongs to the county. He hasn’t received a response and asked what more he or the board could do. Bush noted that WIA had partnered with a group of HOAs asking for traffic-calming measures for the extension of Furrow from Highway 105 to Higby as part of the Grandwood Ranch development. Once the county implements that, the board can request the same be done to the northern end of Furrow Road.
Fee increases discussed
Vice President Peter Bille has the task of looking at the current covenant violation fee schedule and coming back to the board with recommendations. The current schedule is at www.woodmoor.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Fine-Schedule-Revised-2017.pdf . Bush noted the fines have not been updated in four years and recommended the board consider raising fines for uncut grass, weeds, vegetation, and nuisances to $200 for a first violation and $400 for a second. Third and subsequent violations will be whatever fine the board deems appropriate. He also recommended the board simplify the fines schedule for fireworks to start at $5,000 for any use in Woodmoor. He noted that the board has discretion about imposing a fine or not, if appropriate. The board unanimously voted to accept these recommendations.
A resident said the increases seemed steep and asked if the current structure was not effective. Bush explained that the board has a table of fines but has wide discretion that allows them to suspend or lower fines. He said the board prefers to have compliance over fines but that some of these issues, when related to fire, are a grave danger to the community. Director of Public Safety Brad Gleason noted that there is a defined process, and the goal is not to make money but to have residents take covenant violations seriously.
• The deadline for nominations for board members is Nov. 16. The form is on the website at: https://www.woodmoor.org/wia-board-nomination/. The election will be held at the annual meeting in January 2022.
• Gleason reported that the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) trail design is 95% complete and is waiting for Colorado Department of Transportation approval. The SRTS trail will connect Lewis-Palmer Elementary School with the middle and high school. Construction is estimated to begin in spring 2022.
• Bush presented certificates of appreciation to volunteers Brie Chester and Noelle Garcia.
Caption: WIA Board President Brian Bush opened the meeting with a recognition of two student volunteers, (L to R) Brie Chester and Noelle Garcia. He noted that they generously donated their time to weed the island by the pavilion in front of The Barn. They also donated and installed flowers from Home Depot. This was part of their National Honor Society (NHS) project. Bush said they demonstrated caring for the community and set examples of leadership. Even as part of an NHS project, Bush said, any young adult who volunteers to do weeding is a hero to him. He presented Chester and Garcia with framed certificates of appreciation. Photo by Jackie Burhans.
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 is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Jackie Burhans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Kappel
September can be a month of extremes as we transition from summer to fall. Just last year, we saw record highs immediately followed by record cold and snow. This is not unusual for us on the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region as we often flip back and forth between seasons, and the transition can be quick. This results from our location at a high elevation and in the middle of the continent away from any modifying large bodies of water. We also have direct access to moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and cold air from the Arctic region.
Then add in the extra lift and elevated heat sources provided by our elevated terrain and the Front Range foothills and it all comes together to create widely variable weather conditions throughout the year. Therefore, it’s not surprising that we saw some big swings in the weather this year. The theme for the month was warm temperatures, as we were well above normal overall. Fortunately, precipitation was above average as well, but it all fell on just a few days. We did manage to drop below freezing for the first time this season.
The month started off wet with three days in a row of rainfall. Each day began quietly with afternoon showers and thunderstorms developing during the day and extending into the evening. During the first three days of the month, around an inch of rainfall accumulated, providing some much-needed moisture after a relatively dry August.
Dry and warm conditions took hold over the next week, with highs moving from the upper 70s on the 4th and 5th to record highs in the upper 80s to low 90s on the 9th, 10th, and 11th. As temperatures warmed during the second week of the month, monsoonal moisture began to sneak into the region. This set the stage for some active weather, as moisture levels increased with the warm air to produce higher levels of instability.
The first sign of this was afternoon and evening showers that developed each day from the 11th through the 13th, priming the atmosphere for the main event on the 14th. Strong to severe thunderstorms quickly developed by early afternoon, with heavy rain and hail covering the ground in many locations. This line of thunderstorms moved out of the region fairly quickly by that evening with dry and mainly sunny conditions returning for the next several days.
The pattern again changed quickly between the 19th and 20th as a frontal passage during the early morning hours of the 20th brought a taste of fall to the area. Gusty winds and cooler temperatures that morning were enhanced by cloudy skies and rain showers that afternoon and evening. Cooler air continued to work into with temperatures reaching the mid-30s as the last areas of rainfall moved out. As skies cleared that morning, temperatures didn’t have far to fall to reach the freezing mark, and many areas dropped just below freezing the morning of the 21st. It was the first day of fall and right around the normal time of the year when we first dip below freezing. Highs were held in the upper 50s that afternoon, and mostly clear skies again allowed temperatures to touch the freezing mark on the 22nd. The good news is that temperatures didn’t reach the "hard freeze" category, so instead of ruining our chances of beautiful fall colors, this should help to enhance the process.
Quiet and seasonal conditions returned from the 22nd through the 27th as temperatures warmed from the low 70s to the low 80s through the period. However, one last storm affected the region over the last few days of the month. This was associated with an area of low pressure slowly spinning over the desert southwest and moving through the Four Corners region. This brought unsettled conditions to the region, with some much-needed moisture in the mountains and parts of the Front Range.
A look ahead
October can be an active weather month for the region with our first snowy conditions often experienced. Most years, we seem to get a good snowfall around Halloween, and after a warm and dry September, we could use a wet and cold storm this year. Snow can be heavy at times during any part of October as when over 20 inches of snow fell from Oct. 9-10 in 2005, and 2006 saw over 24 inches of snow fall in less than 24 hours on Oct. 26.
Of course, the big storm some of us remember occurred during October 1997, when nearly 4 feet of snow and blizzard conditions shut everything down for several days. But we are just as likely to get mild and sunny conditions, so enjoy those sunny days when you can.
September 2021 Weather Statistics
Average High 76.3° (+5.4)
100-year return frequency value max 77.5° min 63.5°
Average Low 45.4° (+4.2)
100-year return frequency value max 46.7° min 36.1°
Monthly Precipitation 2.62" (+082")
100-year return frequency value max 4.34" min 0.40"
Monthly Snowfall 5.2" (+4.7")
Highest Temperature 90° on the 10th, 11th
Lowest Temperature 31° on the 21st
Season to Date Snow 0.0" (-0.4", 100% below normal) (the snow season is from July 1 to June 30)
Season to Date Precip. 20.38" (-1.91", 9% below normal) (the precip season is from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30)
Heating Degree Days 150 (-150)
Cooling Degree Days 26 (+19)
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.
No letters were submitted this month.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
"Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move
Have you been waiting for the newest book by a favorite author? Here are some new releases that make great gifts for others or yourself:
Cloud Cuckoo Land
By Anthony Doerr (Scribner Book Co.) $30
Set in Constantinople in the 15th century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthony Doerr’s third novel is an imaginative, soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our inter-connectedness.
By Richard Powers (W.W. Norton & Co.) $27.95
Astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual 9-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He’s also about to be expelled from third grade. As his son grows more troubled, Theo learns of an experimental treatment that involves training Robin on the recorded patterns of his mother’s brain. Powers has created a moving novel of a father and son’s ferocious love.
By R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf) $17.99
The New York Times bestselling author of Wonder is back with an enthralling adventure that will show readers how to choose courage. Twelve-year-old Silas embarks on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as his companion and a mysterious pony as his guide. He will face his fears to unlock the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him. Palacio spins a harrowing yet distinctly coming-of-age story about the power of love and the ties that bind us across distance and time.
Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse through Space and Time
By Torben Kuhlman (Northsouth Books) $22
When an inventive mouse misses the biggest cheese festival the world has ever seen, he’s determined to turn back the clock. With the help of a mouse clockmaker, a lot of inventiveness, and the notes of a certain famous Swiss physicist, he succeeds in traveling back in time. But when he misses his goal by 80 years, the only one who can help is an employee of the Swiss Patent Office, who turned our concept of space and time upside down. Kuhlman, in his beautifully illustrated mouse adventure, explores the question: Suppose Albert Einstein’s famous theories first came into being through an encounter with a little mouse.
Little People, Big Dreams Treasury: 50 Stories from Brilliant Dreamers
By Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Frances Lincoln Ltd.) $39.99
Dive deeper into the world of Little People, Big Dreams with this keepsake treasury featuring 50 dreamers from the critically acclaimed, best-selling series. Learn more about each of your favorite dreamers with new in-depth stories, facts, and figures. Each story is rewritten to be appropriate for an older audience. Divided by profession, the treasury includes profiles of the world’s greatest artists, activists, writers, musicians, TV and film stars, scientists, and sports legends. A timeline, glossary, index, and further reading provide even more to explore. (Available Nov. 9)
Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
By Mary Roach (W.W. Norton & Co.) $26.95
What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? Mary Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and danger tree faller blasters all over the world. Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.
Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide
By Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras (Workman Publishing) $42.50
Created by the ever-curious minds behind Atlas Obscura, this guide transforms our sense of what people around the world eat and drink. Covering all seven continents, it serves up a loaded plate of incredible ingredients, food adventures, unexpected dishes, delicacies, and edible wonders. It reveals food’s central place in our lives, history, science, art, and traditions from historical to recent discoveries. (Available Oct. 12)
Until next month, happy reading.
The staff at the Covered Treasures can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Harriet Halbig
Free math tutoring has returned to the Monument Library! Monday afternoons from 3:30 to 6:30, come to the library for free help with math at all levels. No appointment is necessary. All volunteer tutors are experienced teachers. Tutoring will not be held on library or school holidays.
The community room is available for reservations. Please see the website www.PPLD.org and look under services under meeting/study rooms. Be sure to have alternate dates in mind
Construction on the ADA-compliant ramp at Palmer Lake Library continues.
Please note that all library facilities will be closed on Monday, Oct. 4 for staff training.
Caption: Construction continues on the new ADA-compliant ramp at the Palmer Lake Library. Photo by Lisa Ward, manager of Mobile Library Services.
Harriet Halbig may be reached at email@example.com.
By Sharon Williams
On the evening of Sept. 16, the Palmer Lake Historical Society resumed its monthly scheduled program at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Community Meeting House in Monument. Pikes Peak Trolleys, a fast-paced, photo- and fact-filled program by John Haney, was presented to a captivated, full-house audience.
Trolleys, streetcars, and trams were used interchangeably to describe the same mode of horse-drawn and electric-powered form of urban rail transportation. Early in the 1890s, trolley systems were prevalent in the Colorado towns and cities of Denver, Trinidad, Durango, Aspen, Leadville, and Grand Junction.
The Colorado Springs area was blessed by a streetcar system that was one of the best to be found anywhere. This had much to do with Winfield Scott Stratton, who became the owner of the Colorado Springs Rapid Transit Railway Co.
Haney’s presentation covered the history of streetcar service pre- and post-Stratton, how it affected the lives of residents and what became of it. He reviewed what is happening presently in the trolley world and what we might imagine for the future of downtown Colorado Springs.
In 2018, studies for consideration of re-establishing a trolley system in Colorado Springs were presented to the city administration with no objections.
Haney is a Colorado Springs native whose family has been here since the 1890s. In the 1980s, he helped found what is now the Pikes Peak Trolley Museum and Restoration Shop, located at 2333 Steel Drive, Colorado Springs, 719-475-9508.
Caption: Pikes Peak Trolleys program presenter John Haney. Photo by Wayne Russert .
Caption: Trolley under construction in trolley car barn, 500 S. Tejon St, Colorado Springs, c.1906. Caption by Sharon Williams/John Haney. Photo courtesy Pikes Peak Library District collection.
The Palmer Lake Historical Society monthly programs are presented at 7 p.m. every third Thursday of the month at Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce-Community Rm, 166 Second St., Monument. The Oct. 21 program, The Long Expedition, will be presented by John Stansfield. Info: 719-559-0837, www.palmerdividehistory.org.
Sharon Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Sellers
Stems heavy with seeds
September gave us many warm afternoons and only a few chilly mornings. October looks to do the same, and we can still get our harvests, especially with using the frost cloth as help. I will be putting up the hoops and the frost cloth for autumn and winter gardening. February will be our coldest month, so I still have hope for October, November, December, and possibly January for some crops to thrive. If they are in the ground and growing in October, they’ll keep going for months if protected.
We’ve had some very sneaky varmints in the garden and likely some grasshoppers tasting our delicious food crops. I think I planted about 50 green bean plants, and I got nothing except the "almost" bean pods and then something grabbed them all. Varmints didn’t invade any of the plants I sprinkled with cayenne pepper, but any rain or sprinkler watering washes that off and then the food is up for grabs. Every year is different, and a challenge, but worth the effort if only a lovely time out with nature and the soil to heal the soul.
The apple trees around town have had a bumper crop, with plenty to share, and the pears are everywhere. These late bloomers always thrive despite our late snowy, frosty weather that zaps my March apricot blooms. Driving around town, we see the apple and crabapple trees loaded with fruit, and most of the cherry trees are loaded, too. Chokecherry harvests were record high, and I hear that friends’ chokecherry brandies are in full swing.
Many in our community have reported bumper crops and wonderful harvests especially with the evasive tomatoes. This is quite a coup, because sometimes we get a great crop and sometimes we don’t. Lots to consider. Our annual September frost made a lot of gardeners hurry out to get the green tomatoes yet again for green tomato salsa. I just toss them in the freezer and use them as needed, which is so easy compared to canning. I got just a few strawberries all season and look to have a full bed of them next year.
In October, when most people think that harvesting is key, we can also put in seeds and start some late season, cold weather crops. I have newly planted beans, beets, herbs, peas and the like and they are thriving. I had to let my radishes go to seed pods, but frankly, those taste the best, even better than the radish root. The tender pods are laced with a light, delicate radish flavor. Snow peas also thrive now.
Tell us your local gardening secrets—we’d love to hear from you.
Janet Sellers is an avid lazy gardener, letting Mother Nature lead the way. Send your successes and tips to JanetSellers@ocn.me.
By Janet Sellers
The Art Hop completed its 2021 season on Sept. 16 with beautiful music, artists, poets, and visual art throughout the town. Our community is restoring its conviviality and enjoying our outdoors and local places, and indeed our autumn arts enjoyment will continue with monthly events around town.
At Bella Art and Frame Gallery, poets Tom McGuire, Jessy Randall, and Sarah Nance joined artist Pam Aloisa in the ancient Greek tradition of ekphrasis. Ekphrasis, from the Greek meanings of "telling out," "recount," and "description" can focus on an artifact or a poem describing a visual work of art that could be real or imaginary.
Homer’s description of Achilles’ shield in Book 18 of The Iliad stands at the beginning of the ekphrastic tradition. We are close to ekphrasis in our contemporary culture with lyrics such as those in Don McLean’s song Vincent (also known as Starry Starry Night), where McLean describes many of Van Gogh’s paintings with lyrics about the colors and seasons of flowers, harvests, and snow.
Such intimate descriptions of seasons as McLean creates in Vincent, without actually saying the season, is also indicative of Japanese haiku poems. Often, friends will make haiku poems at a gathering, or create a small painting together with a haiku poem written in calligraphy. This is called "shikishi" haiku painting. I did this with artist friends in Japan. Of course, they helped correct my Japanese, but we had a lot of good times making them. It’s also a fun school project for kids, since haiku are simple and fun to create.
Our rich artful culture is strongly influenced by the ancients in visual art, poetry, song, and more. While much of our thinking in Western education is rooted in ancient Greco-Roman influence, locally we also have our indigenous influences and nature, and these are close by for the discovering, no museum needed.
In the times when few people could read and write, art was an important means of communication. Just as we take photos today to remember special events, the arts of our ancients helped record events in ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome. Our local indigenous culture has recorded special communications through a prolific number of bent trees, known as culturally modified trees, prayer trees, or spirit trees, and rock formations and sacred sites.
One of the biggest and hugely fascinating works of indigenous art we have close by and visible is the Elephant Rock we can see from Highway 105 between Monument and Palmer Lake. Upon close examination, we can see details of the elephant anatomy including the neck, head shape, eyes and eyelids, mouth and more.
Caption: From left, poets Jessy Randall and Sarah Nance, artist Pam Aloisa, and poet Tom McGuire share their creativity in poetry and painting at the last Art Hop event of the season on Sept. 16. Dr. McGuire explained the ideas behind the three poets’ ekphrastic poetry, which is a tradition in describing a visual work of art in poetry. Each poet read their poems and were available along with the painter to discuss their works with visitors throughout the evening. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Janet Sellers is an artist, writer, and speaker living in the Tri Lakes area. Reach her at JanetSellers@ocn.me.
Repairing trails at Fox Run Regional Park
Caption: Volunteers with the Friends of Fox Run Park worked hard in September to repair trails at the regional park. Despite equipment failures and shortages of materials including road base gravel, the volunteers used wheelbarrows and shovels to distribute 15 tons of road base to repair the steep trails. The group welcomes more volunteers and helpers to keep the trails safe and in good shape for the thousands of visitors that come each month. Details on how to help the Friends of Fox Run Park’s upcoming projects are available by contacting FriendsofFoxRunPark@gmail.com. The Friends of Fox Run Park is a 501C3 non-profit organization created to benefit the park and its visitors. Your tax-deductible donation at https://gofund.me/63b741dc would be very much appreciated. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Annual Monu-Palooza draws hundreds, Sept. 4
Caption: The fifth annual Monu-Palooza was held Sept. 4 at Limbach Park in Monument. According to Charlie Searle, who helped plan and organize the festivities, about 500 people turned out for the eight-hour event. Six bands performed, including local groups Ashtonz, Eighty3, Skin & Bones, and Mosquito Pass. Vendors were on hand to provide food and other services. Mark your calendar for Sept. 4, 2022 for the sixth annual Monu-Palooza. Photos by Steve Pate.
9/11 Memorial Ceremony - 20th Anniversary, Sept. 11
Caption: Mark VanderMeer, co-owner of CrossFit 7070; Monument Board of Trustees member Mitch LaKind; 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen; Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District (TLMFD) Chief Andy Kovacs; Monument Police Department (MPD) retired Army Chaplain Col. Phillip F. Wright; MPD Chief Sean Hemingway; Town of Monument Mayor Don Wilson; state Rep. Tim Geitner, District 19; and Town Manager Mike Foreman. State Sen. Paul Lundeen, District 9, (not pictured) also attended. On Sept. 11, 2021, members of the MPD, TLMFPD, the 9-11 Chapter of the America Legion, state and local officials, and members of the public gathered on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to conduct a Memorial Ceremony at Monument Town Hall that continued at CrossFit 7070 to honor the 2,977 people who lost their lives on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Flags were lowered at the Town Hall and a police car/fire engine siren sounded, followed by a moment of silence that began at 6:46 a.m. MDT for the first flight that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City and were repeated at 7:03 a.m. for the South Tower. Both 110-story towers collapsed within an hour and 42 minutes.
Caption: The ceremony continued at CrossFit 7070 for a special "Heroes’ Workout of the Day" to raise funds for Honor Guard uniforms for MPD and TLMFPD. Squad 8 Eagle 8 Air Force Academy Cadets also participated, and AFA Cadet Joshua Coya described the attack on the Pentagon, Arlington County, Va. A moment of silence was also held during the workout at 7:37 a.m. for the lives lost at the Pentagon and at 8:07 a.m. for the lives lost in the Shanksville, Pa., field on a flight that was meant to fly over Washington, D.C., and would likely have targeted either the U.S. Capitol or the White House. The four commercial passenger airline flights were hijacked by 19 terrorists intent on a murder-suicide mission, and the events remain the deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States. The 9-11 Chapter of the America Legion has conducted this ceremony nationwide for the past 19 years to remind the nation’s youth of the events that transpired on that day. For more information visit www.legion.org and www.neverforget.org. Photos by Natalie Barszcz.
Palmer Lake Wine Festival, Sept. 11
Caption: The second-ish annual Palmer Lake Wine Festival (last year’s festival was canceled) was held Sept. 11 in the Palmer Lake recreation area. This turned out to be a great afternoon for friends to socialize and enjoy the smoke-free fresh air. Proceeds from the sold-out event help support Tri-Lakes Cares. Participants sampled local wines, ciders, and other spirits while being entertained by the Monument Jazz Quartet and other musicians. Photos by Steve Pate.
Phil Keaggy at TLCA, Sept. 11
Caption: Phil Keaggy brought his virtuoso guitar playing, formed over a 40-year musical career, to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts stage on Sept. 11. Performing for the fifth time at the TLCA, Keaggy played instrumental, rock, and Christian songs during his performance to a sold-out and appreciative audience. His song list included Shades of Green, Love Broke Through, and Can You See Me from his days with the famed Glass Harp, and the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun and Salvation Army Band. Keaggy created a unique "mix" during each song as he sampled guitar riffs and other sounds, then played lead and rhythms overtop to deliver a full and unique sound. Upcoming events at the TLCA can be found at www.trilakesarts.org. Photo by David Futey.
Monument Junction, Sept. 15
Caption: On Sept. 15, Classic Homes hosted a community meeting in Woodmoor at The Barn for residents near their Monument Junction development on either side of Jackson Creek Parkway (JCP), south of Highway 105. Residents within 500 feet of this development were invited to the meeting which covered phase 1 of the development, in the northwest section of JCP. Andrea Barlow of NES, the project manager for the development said that it would include 204 residences in a mix of densities on about 40 acres. The entire project will comprise 554 residences and four commercial sits on about 84 acres. More information on phase 1 can be seen at https://bit.ly/3mm0alJ. Barlow noted that the developer, Classic Homes, would provide interim improvements to JCP and to Highway 105 in terms of turn lanes and restriping as needed for this phase. The larger project of widening JCP would fall to the Town of Monument with each developer contributing a proportional amount to the project, she said. About 40 residents attended and asked questions about traffic, water, and schools. These questions were fielded by Barlow, Monument town planner, Debbie Flynn, and Classic Homes CEO Doug Stimple and others. Classic Homes video taped the meeting and may post it at some point, said Stimple.Photo by Jackie Burhans
The Last Art Hop of 2021, Sept. 16
Caption: The musical duo Roma Ransom played lively music, drawing in the Art Hop visitors to relax at the Bliss Studios patio, on Sept. 16 for the last Art Hop of the season. They play an eclectic mix of gypsy, jazz, jam, and music inspired by that of distant places in faraway times with violin, fiddle, guitar, saxophone, percussion, and other instruments. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Caption: David Moore stands with his artwork at the Sept. 16 Art Hop while sharing his background in art making and teaching at the local high school. Moore grew up in Colorado Springs and has taught art locally in public schools. He enjoys sharing his passion with others. Photo by Janet Sellers.
Historic former Henry Station Store demolished, Sept. 21
Caption: The historic former Henry’s station store on Front Street in Monument is no more. Only an equipment operator and one other person were on site during the demolition when this photo was taken Tuesday, Sept. 21. Longtime resident Sharon Williams, who saw the demolition in progress, said, "It was important for me personally to pay my respects as the last vestiges of one of our great pioneering families was vanishing before my eyes." According to Lucille Lavelett in Through the Years at Monument, Colorado, the Rio Grande Railroad came through Monument in 1869. In 1872, the railway station was named after "Dutch" Henry, postmaster and proprietor of the dry goods store at that location. OCN hopes to have more coverage of the history of the building in our Nov. 6 issue. Photo by Steve Pate.
Bogguss at TLCA, Sept. 23
Caption: Country-western legend and Grammy award-winner Suzy Bogguss returned to the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) stage on Sept. 23. Bogguss wanted to keep the show "uplifting," let the "audience know they are special" and that they "take away a community spirit." All of those were accomplished during her one-set, sold-out performance, which included a mid-set "meet and greet" from the stage with the audience. Audience members came from as far as Texas to hear her originals and covers. Bogguss started the set with her hit Outbound Plane, followed by other hits including Aces, in celebration of the 30-year anniversary of the same titled platinum album. In honor of Merle Haggard, an early influence in her career, she and her acoustic band performed Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room, Today I Started Loving You Again, and If We Make It Through December. Photo by David Futey.
Cruisers donate to TLC, Sept. 24
Caption: The Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car Club of Monument presented a $5,000 check to Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) on Sept. 24. The funds were raised by the Cruisers’ 18th annual Benefit Car Show. Cruisers President Lon Wartman says this year’s show raised a record amount of money for TLC. Christine Bucher, who coordinated the show arrangements with the Cruisers, said support from groups like this "is critical to the success of our mission." From left are Tammie Octney, Joe Mentek, Pam Frisbie, Christine Bucher, and Joy Hammitt. Photo by Wilson Hitchings.
By Janet Sellers
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. Please notify us if your event listing needs to be updated.
Seniors Driver’s License Electronic Renewal
With the implementation of the Driver’s License Electronic Renewal By Seniors Act (HB21-1139), Colorado seniors now have the permanent ability to renew their driver license or identification card online, but there are new laws to understand. Information is online via www.mycolorado.state.us. Some restrictions apply to drivers aged 21-80, and drivers over 80 need a special doctor’s statement. Coloradans who are concerned about an elder family member’s ability to drive should email email@example.com.
El Paso County—Department of Motor Vehicles online and kiosks
Clerk & Recorder’s Office provides motor vehicle and driver’s license services. 30+ services at www.mydmv.colorado.gov. Renew registration online or at a kiosk. Make appointments. check in for appointments and wait where it’s convenient for you. The DMV encourages Coloradans to skip the trip and use its online services whenever possible. So before your next trip to the DMV, remember to save time, go online. Visit www.DMV.Colorado.gov/Save-time for more information. See www.epcdrives.com.
CO 21 (Powers Blvd.) & Research Pkwy. construction
Work will be completed in fall 2022 and will consist of replacing the current at-grade intersection with an innovative Diverging Diamond Interchange by constructing an overpass for Powers Boulevard/Colorado Highway 21 traffic to move continuously through the intersection over Research Parkway. For many more details and rendering of final configuration, including a video showing new traffic flow, see https://cccpi.net/cdot-powers-research.pdf.
I-25 and CO 21 (Powers Blvd) Interchange updates
The new northbound I-25 exit ramp to Northgate Blvd. is now open. A new interchange and a ¾-mile stub of state highway CO 21 (Powers Blvd.) will soon connect I-25 to Voyager Pkwy. This $65 million project is the first part of a two-part plan. Funding has not yet been secured to connect CO 21 from its current terminus at CO 83 & Interquest Pkwy. to Voyager Pkwy. For a map of the new interchange and connection from I-25 to Voyager Pkwy., see https://i25powers.com.
MVEA scholarships and summer trips
Mountain View Electric Association’s Youth Leadership Trip Contest offers a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C., or be invited to Colorado Electric Education Institute’s Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs. Deadline Nov. 11. MVEA’s college scholarship program deadline is Jan. 17.
MVEA planning broadband service
Mountain View Electric Association is planning to provide reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service to all its 51,000 members in the next six years. MVEA and Conexon Connect teams are now designing and mapping the network. It hasn’t been determined what areas and neighborhoods will be included in the first phase, but members will be updated as those decisions are made. For more information about MVEA and Conexon Connect’s fiber-to-the-home project, visit www.mvea.coop/broadband.
Palmer Lake seeks residents to serve the community
The Town of Palmer Lake continues to seek volunteer residents to serve on upcoming potential seats for the Planning Commission, the Parks Commission, and the Board of Adjustments. The Planning Commission meets once a month on the third Wednesday. The Parks Commission meets a minimum of once a month but also has opportunity to be involved in Work Groups for various Park areas. The Board of Adjustments meets up to once a month on the first Tuesday, as needed. To qualify, you must be a resident of the Town of Palmer Lake for a minimum of 12 consecutive months and be at least 18 years of age. See www.townofpalmerlake.com.
Photos of past Palmer Lake festivities needed
If you have photos to share from past Palmer Lake winter festivities (Winterfest, Yule Log, Star Lighting, etc.), please share them to the town website firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of the timeframe and festivities. The Parks Commission will be gathering memorabilia to assemble an exhibit.
Work around Palmer Lake Town Hall
The ramp reconstruction work on the town museum and library is well underway. Also, Town Hall roof restoration will continue into December. Thus, staff is alerting residents that typically stroll through the town green area to be cautious and respectful of the construction equipment and process in the weeks and months ahead. Furthermore, due to construction crew parking in the area lots, it may be limited parking. Please feel free to contact the office to assist with business that can be conducted by phone or email for your convenience. Phone: 719-481-2953, Email: email@example.com. Unfortunately, the Town Hall will not be available to rent for events through this time. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to celebrating both projects getting completed!
Palmer Lake Vaile Museum to reopen
Plans to reopen soon with several new exhibits upon completion of the improved handicap accessible ramp. We are in great need of volunteers to carry on the work of the society. Visit www.PalmerDivideHistory.org or call 719-559-0837.
Noxious weed removal is our responsibility
As a private property owner, you are responsible for the removal of noxious weeds on your land to keep them from spreading. We often see plants we think are pretty that are really noxious. To see photos to help you identify local noxious weeds and get tips on removal and control, see https://assets-communityservices.elpasoco.com/wp-content/uploads/Environmental-Division-Picture/Noxious-Weeds/Noxious-Weed-Control-Book.pdf.
Area code required soon for local (719) and (970) calls
Colorado customers with numbers in the 719 and 970 area codes should start dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. They will still count as local calls. Beginning Oct. 24, 10 digits will be necessary for all local calls or they will not go through. Check your safety and security alert devices to be sure they are programmed with 10-digit dialing. You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services) and other local three-digit services including 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, dial these codes with just three digits.
Openings on Monument boards
The Town of Monument has openings on its Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments. For more information, visit http://townofmonument.org/261/Available-Board-Openings.
Volunteer for Tri-Lakes Cares
There are many areas within Tri-Lakes Cares that you can help serve. Volunteers interact with clients, stock the food pantry, distribute grocery orders, process donations, pack Snack Packs for local youths, and contribute in many other ways to the success of Tri-Lakes Cares. Becoming a volunteer is easy and fun. For details, contact Volunteer Coordinator Nichole Pettigrew, 719-481-4864 x113, VolunteerCoordinator@Tri-LakesCares.org; or visit https://tri-lakescares.org/volunteer/.
Tri-Lakes Cares needs us
Tri-Lakes Cares is the only food pantry and human services organization located in and serving northern El Paso County through emergency, self-sufficiency, and relief programs. The community-based, volunteer-supported center is a critical resource for our neighbors in need. The best way to help support Tri-Lakes Cares is to make a financial donation. For more information about Tri-Lakes Cares or how you can help, contact Nicole Pettigrew, director of Volunteers and Community Partnership, at 719-481-4864 Ext. 111; firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.tri-lakescares.org.
YMCA Three Race Series
Three races and one great cause: Creepy Crawl, Sat., Oct. 30; Turkey Trot, Thu., Nov. 25; and Jingle Jog, Sat., Dec. 11. See details at www.ppymca.org/raceseries and ad on page 6.
LEAP—help for heating bills
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The eligibility period for LEAP runs Nov. 1-April 30. Application packets will automatically be mailed to residents who received LEAP assistance last year at the address where they were living at that time. To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call 1-866 HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
WMMI seeks volunteers
WMMI has positions for docents/tour guides, front desk, landscaping, and building and maintenance. For more details, contact Loretta, 719-488-0880, or email Volunteer@wmmi.org. See ad on page 14
Free services for seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services offers free transportation and handyman services to Tri-Lakes seniors. Private transportation to medical appointments or a grocery store is now provided by Envida, 719-633-4677. If you need grab bars in the bathroom, a ramp to your door, or repair of stairs or railings, please call 719-488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
Senior Beat newsletter—subscribe for free
Each monthly Senior Beat newsletter is full of information for local seniors, including the daily menu of the senior lunches offered Monday through Friday at the Mountain Community Mennonite Church, 643 Highway 105, Palmer Lake. It also contains the schedule of the classes and events for the month at the Senior Citizens Center and senior-friendly library programs. To subscribe, send an email with your name and mailing address to SeniorBeat@TriLakesSeniors.org. Senior Beat can also be viewed online at www.TriLakesSeniors.org.
MCSS needs driver volunteers to help seniors
Mountain Community Senior Services is in desperate need of drivers to drive senior citizens to appointments. For information on how to help, call 719-488-0076, and leave a message or visit www.coloradoseniorhelp.com.
El Paso County services to veterans
If you or someone you know needs food, housing, transportation, behavioral health counseling, or employment support, Mt. Carmel continues to be a beacon of support for those who served. Please call 719-772-7000 or email email@example.com to be connected to a member of the Mt. Carmel team. For more information, visit www.veteranscenter.org.
Can you volunteer today?
Links to local organizations with an immediate need for volunteers are listed on the county’s website, www.elpasocountyhealth.org/volunteering-and-donations, for groups like Care and Share, Crossfire Ministries, blood donations, Early Connections (volunteer from home opportunity), foster an animal, Medical Reserve Corps of El Paso County, Salvation Army, Silver Key, and United Way (ongoing opportunities).
MVEA tree-trimming services
Tree trimming helps prevent storm-related power outages. For more information, call 800-388-9881 or 719-495-2283, or visit www.mvea.coop/tree-trimming.
I-25 MyWay commuting options website
In another effort to improve traveler and worker safety along the 18-mile-long construction zone of Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock, rush-hour travelers now can take advantage of I-25 MyWay, a new partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Denver Regional Council of Governments. I-25 MyWay is offering transit, vanpool and carpool incentives to commuters willing to try a new mode of transportation between Colorado Springs and Denver. Taking more single-occupant vehicles off the road helps reduce congestion and enhances the environment. Commuters can learn more about eligibility and types of incentives at i25MyWay.org. The site will run through the end of construction in 2022.
Sign up for "Reverse 9-1-1" emergency notifications to your cell phones
The Emergency Notification System (powered by Everbridge), commonly referred to as Reverse 9-1-1, is a tool that can make rapid notifications to specific geographic areas to alert you to emergency situations including manmade disasters, evacuations, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, and more. Reverse 9-1-1 is not the same as Amber Alerts, which are generated by a different system. You must register to receive emergency notifications on any phone other than your landline. You can list up to five locations and up to eight points of contact. Sign up at www.elpasoteller911.org.
Residence vacation check
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office can conduct vacation checks of homes of county residents multiple days. Either a deputy or trained volunteer will visit your home while you’re away and check it periodically. Checks can only be scheduled for a maximum of one month. To add your home to their schedule, visit www.epcsheriffsoffice.com. Info: 520-7151.
Solar Power co-op forming
Solar United Neighbors is a nonprofit 501C3 forming a group in the area. It will help residents and businesses learn about solar energy. The co-op is free to join; for more information see www.solarunitedneighbors.org/ColoradoSprings.
Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments
The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, a voluntary organization of 16 counties and municipalities, offers several programs that may be of interest to our readers. One example: PPLD Partnership Medicare Series. Info: www.ppacg.org, (719) 471-7080.
Tri-Lakes Cares youth internship opportunities
Do you know a youth who wants to improve their technical skills and contribute to our local community in a meaningful way? If so, we want to connect with them! Systems Development Internship & Website Development Internship. See https://tri-lakescares.org/about-tlc/employment/.
El Paso County vehicle registration online or kiosks
Foot Care Clinic
A registered nurse examines your feet and provides foot care advice, toenail trimming. Silver Alliance Senior Center across the street from the Tri-Lakes YMCA, on the Lewis-Palmer High School campus. By appointment only, 303-698-9496. $40 charge unless insured through Kaiser. Info: Nurse Association, 719-577-4448.
El Paso County Hazardous Materials & Recycling Collection Facility
https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/environmental-division/ Appointments required. 719-520-7878.
Lucretia Vaile Museum
Closed for now, 66 Lower Glenway St., Palmer Lake. Free. The museum houses items of local historical significance. Special displays rotate every 4-6 months. Info: 719-559-0837, https://palmerdividehistory.org/.
Reading tutor volunteers needed
Children’s Literacy Center provides free one-on-one literacy tutoring to Tri-Lakes children in grades 1-6 who are reading below grade level! Tutoring is at the Tri-Lakes Senior Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and our Summer Session will run through Aug. 14. For more information, to become a volunteer tutor or to enroll your child, visit www.childrensliteracycenter.org or email Christine Jeffson at Christine@childrensliteracycenter.org.
MVEA planning broadband for rural Colorado
Mountain View Electric Association is planning to provide reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber broadband service to all its 51,000 members in the next six years. MVEA and Conexon Connect teams are now designing and mapping the network. It hasn’t been determined what areas and neighborhoods will be included in the first phase, but members will be updated as those decisions are made. For more information about MVEA and Conexon Connect’s fiber-to-the-home project, visit www.mvea.coop/broadband .
MVEA rebates for outdoor power equipment
Outdoor power equipment rebates from Mountain View Electric Association if you switch from gas to electric powered mower, snow blower, leaf blower, electric bicycle, chainsaw, power washer, pruner, trimmer. Learn more at www.mvea.coop/rebates or 800-388-9881.
By Janet Sellets
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. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with changes and additions.
WEEKLY & MONTHLY EVENTS
Our community calendar carries listings on a space-available basis for Tri-Lakes events that are sponsored by local governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. We include events that are open to the general public and are not religious or self-promotional in nature. If space is available, complimentary calendar listings are included, when requested, for events advertised in the current issue. To have your event listed at no charge in Our Community Calendar, please call (719) 339-7831 or send the information to email@example.com or Our Community News, P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on September 26, 2021. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2019 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
This page was last modified on September 26, 2021. Home page: www.ocn.me.
Copyright © 2001-2019 Our Community News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.