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Below: Tri-Lakes View’s Ice Harvest public art project has been installed on the side of the water treatment building on the corner of Beacon Lite and Second Street in Monument. The entire mural was hand-painted in reverse and constructed by artists Lisa J. Cameron and Tim Upham. Ice Harvest is designed to reflect the historical significance of ice harvesting from the lakes in the Tri-Lakes region. The photograph depicted in the mural was provided by the Palmer Lake Historical Society. Photo provided by Tri-Lakes Views. For more information, visit www.trilakesviews.org. For more art news, see our Art Matters column.
By Elizabeth Hacker
Each Saturday about 7:30 a.m., Monument Hill Sertoma meets to share breakfast at The Inn at Palmer Divide, discuss business, and consider issues pertinent to the community. On Oct. 6, Phil Steininger of Woodmoor Water and Sanitation (WWSD) was invited to talk about the area’s water supply.
Member Jim Taylor introduced Steininger and engineer Jessie Shaffer, who provided a presentation on water issues. Steininger, who has worked for WWSD for 23 years, said that it is one of many water providers in the area but that the issues were typical for water districts along the Front Range. He said that by 2020, census projections indicate a 29 percent population increase for the United States, with 49 percent of that growth expected to occur west of the Mississippi River. Colorado’s population is projected to increase to 2.5 million people, with the largest concentrations occurring along the Front Range. For water districts that are reliant on non-renewable sources of ground water, the issue becomes how to meet increasing demand with a diminishing supply of water.
Water districts in the Tri-Lakes area rely on the Denver Basin, surface water exchanges from the Monument Creek watershed and its tributary streams, and treated effluent. Steininger explained that the primary water is supplied from the Denver basin, an underground confined geologic formation. The basin is composed of four aquifer layers formed over millions of years. The most productive wells are in the Dawson and Arapahoe formations, where water is stored in interlocking pockets of coarse sand.
At a depth of about 1,000 feet, the Dawson aquifer is closest to the surface and is the only aquifer to receive some recharge. The second layer is the Denver aquifer, which has a depth of about 1,500 feet but because it is composed of discontinuous pockets of sand, water production rates are low. The third layer is the Arapahoe aquifer, with a depth of about 2,500 feet. It yields the most water but drilling wells to that depth is expensive and as more wells are drilled into the aquifer, yields decline due to water draw down and well-to-well interference. At a depth of 3,000 feet, the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer is composed of interlocking pockets of fine sands and has low yields and poor water quality. Steininger said the water that is currently being supplied to Tri-Lakes residents from the Denver Basin is of good quality and drought tolerant.
Steininger said that ground water has met demand and will continue to be used as a source for residents in Tri-Lakes, but officials were beginning to see production declines. He noted that the demand for water between 1995 and 2020 in the Tri-Lakes region is projected to increase by 280 percent. Steininger emphasized that while water levels are beginning to show a decline, the situation was not dire, and home values were not in jeopardy.
A finite resource
Steininger explained that water providers have recognized for many years that ground water is a finite resource and that the cost to bring it to the surface and treat it will escalate exponentially as it becomes necessary to drill wells deeper into the Denver Basin. In an effort to avoid higher costs or future shortages, Steininger said that water districts are acting responsibly and are developing a "Community-wide Integrated Water Plan" under the umbrella of the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA).
The cost of supplying peak demand
Steininger explained that water districts have the responsibility to meet peak demand for water. Peak demand is based on the day the most water is used, which occurs during the summer when residents irrigate. This use determines the amount of water that must be available all year to meet residents’ needs. Steininger said that the average household uses 243 gallons per day during winter months but during the summer, when residents irrigate, the demand for water more than triples.
In an effort to level off peak demand, area water providers have implemented an "odd-even" demand management program that restricts irrigation to certain days of the week. Because annual average demand is typically one-third of peak demand, reducing high demand will extend the life of the resource and help contain the cost of delivering it. Shaffer said the cost of meeting peak demand includes drilling new wells, installing pipeline, and building additional infrastructure for water treatment that all translates into higher water bills for consumers.
Steininger emphasized that ground water will remain an integral source of water but that it alone will not be affordable or in adequate supply for the future. He said that renewable water is the long-term solution. He showed a graph that indicated the cost relationship of well water versus renewable water that indicated that at some point, drilling and treating ground water will become more expensive than bringing surface water into the area. Steininger said the call for action was to develop and deliver a sustainable and cost-effective water source while maximizing the practical use of existing resources and infrastructure. He said the districts were moving in that direction.
A three-part action plan
Steininger said the availability of Denver Basin groundwater is diminishing and will continue to diminish even without additional growth. He added that supplying future water to meet the area’s needs requires planning as well as the proactive support of the community.
By Susan Hindman
At the Oct. 3 meeting, Jerry Jacobson, the Academy Water and Sanitation District’s operator, reported that the state had informed him that the district’s water exceeded the maximum contaminant level for trihalomethane, a byproduct of disinfectants. However, on Oct. 16, he called OCN with an update from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which had informed him that it erred in its calculations of the annual average and that the district’s water is actually in compliance with state standards.
Trihalomethane is formed when chlorine reacts with organic carbon, Jacobson said. Organic carbon develops from a natural process. The August 2007 levels had spiked since August 2006, triggering the initial concern.
While higher than normal, the numbers must be monitored quarterly for a full year before it can be determined if the amount is in violation of state standards. So the district will begin quarterly monitoring for trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Previously, testing had been done once a year.
The government standard is .080 milligram/liter, or 80 parts per billion, and is determined by calculating a running yearly average. Academy’s August reading was .086 mg/L. However, Jacobson said results for testing done on Oct. 16 indicated a substantially lower reading, .0317 mg/L. That changes the running average to .059 mg/L.
Jacobson said he had suspected the shallow well was where the problem was, because it would be more susceptible to increases in total organic carbon. The level of chlorine residual and the amount of time water is stored in the tanks can also affect the levels.
"We had limited the use of the shallow wells during this time and the (new) test results would indicate that we will continue operating in that way," he said. "The lower test results also indicate that we can expect to maintain compliance through the remaining sampling period."
Though the immediate fix is "to reduce our dependence on the shallow well" and use the deep well, he said that long-term, they would be looking at installing additional treatment.
During the next year, if the levels meet state regulations, the district can then request a reduced monitoring schedule.
Coincidentally, the state Department of Health recently implemented new rules that require districts to continuously monitor residual chlorine. Academy will need to purchase equipment for $4,000 that will test the chlorine in treated water every 2½ minutes. Previously, water has always had to be tested for chlorine residual, just not continuously.
Jacobson said he would need to find out the deadline for compliance. If it can wait until merger negotiations with Donala Water and Sanitation District are settled, then it would save the district $4,000; if not, the board will need to purchase it.
Jacobson also reported that water loss this month was 14 percent, compared to 5.8 percent last month. He wasn’t sure what caused the discrepancy, although flushing hydrants could have contributed to it.
Look for rates to increase
Treasurer Walter Reiss presented the figures for the 2008 budget, and started off by showing a shortfall of around $105,000. After discussion about where to cut back on next year’s spending, the board reduced the shortfall amount to $62,000. But there is still no way to cover costs without rate increases —through service charges or water rate increases, or both. Because of the additional costs in keeping the system operational, both increases "can be justified," said board President Richard DuPont. "There have been increases that we’ve been subsidizing."
The service fees had decreased six years ago, and the only water rate increase has been the creation of a tiered system tied to use, which encourages conservation.
There would likely be a combination of raises in both fee areas. For example, after a $10 service fee increase was suggested, the district’s attorney, Paul Murphy, suggested a water rate increase of $1.50 per 1,000 gallons. By way of comparison, Jacobson noted that currently, for 5,000 gallons per month, Academy residents pay $45 and Donala residents pay $50. "So if our rates go up, we’ll be more expensive than Donala," Jacobson said.
There were no final decisions made on the numbers, but residents should prepare for an increase in rates.
IGA dates likely will be pushed back: DuPont said that if the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Donala is agreed upon, his recommendation is to implement it Jan. 1, 2009, instead of July 2008. "I think we need some time to see what’s best for the community," he said. "I think we need to tell Donala we’re still working on this."
After Jacobson said he still didn’t have an estimate for a new wastewater treatment facility, board members said they needed to get a commitment from someone to provide that estimate. So far, no professional has been paid to provide this information. DuPont recommended that $1,000 be set aside to pay an engineer to provide that figure, and the board approved this motion.
Director Ron Curry said that Donala deserved some kind of answer soon, in order to free that district to set its 2008 budget, as all special districts including Academy must do and submit to the state by mid-December.
Jacobson said, "I would encourage you to meet with Donala and talk with them. There might be things that come to light if we talked. I think we’ve been going for a couple of months without a clear understanding of what’s expected."
The board decided it will try to initiate a meeting with Donala, involving a few members from each board, not the entire boards.
The Academy Water and Sanitation District board usually meets on the first Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Wescott fire station on Sun Hills Drive.
Below: Oct. 17 - Donala board president Ed Houle presents Employee of the Quarter award to Betsy Bray. Seated at the left is board member Dale Schendzielos. Photo by John Heiser
By John Heiser
At the Donala Water and Sanitation District Board of Directors meeting October 17, the board unanimously approved conservation rebates proposed by Dana Duthie, general manager of the district. The rebates are as follows:
The rebates apply to upgrades made by district residents after January 1, 2008. To receive the rebates, residents must submit a letter and documentation to the district.
Board president Ed Houle and board members Dennis Daugherty, Dick Durham, Tim Murphy, and Dale Schendzielos were all present for the October 17 meeting.
Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) seeks water from INVenergy’s proposed well field
Duthie reported that the PPRWA at its meeting October 16 approved a non-binding cooperation term sheet with INVenergy for use of water from their planned well field on land in Douglas County owned by Spruce Mountain Ranch & Cattle. Duthie said the well field would be located about 5 miles north of County Line Road. The adjudicated water rights amount to 1,139 acre-feet (372 million gallons) per year from the Denver aquifer, 1,081 acre-feet (353 million gallons) per year from the Arapahoe aquifer, and 386 acre-feet (126 million gallons) per year from the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer. The total is approximately 2,600 acre-feet (850 million gallons) per year. The water from the well field would be delivered to the PPRWA in the vicinity of Palmer Lake. Which districts would have access to the water is still being debated.
After using the water, the PPRWA would guarantee to deliver an equal amount of water to the point on Fountain Creek where the water would be diverted for use in the combined-cycle power plant to be operated by Squirrel Creek Energy (SCE). According to the term sheet, SCE would pay PPRWA $155,000 for developing an operating agreement and would pay the operating and maintenance expenses associated with the system. The PPRWA would make the needed upgrades to the member districts’ infrastructure and sell SCE reuse water from other sources at cost.
According to the term sheet, the operating agreement is to be finalized by March 31, 2008 with delivery of water by January 31, 2009.
Duthie said, "It’s not a done deal." He noted that one of the Douglas County commissioners is adamantly opposed to the idea and Douglas County might try to block the project.
He added that managing the project would pose administrative problems for the PPRWA.
PPRWA to conduct study with Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District (LAWCD)
Duthie reported that the PPRWA also approved a memorandum of intent with LAWCD to investigate creation of a "super ditch company" to take advantage of unused water rights resulting from fallowing of farmlands. One of the stated goals is to provide PPRWA member districts with up to 15,000 acre-feet (4.9 billion gallons) per year of reliable, renewable water.
Draft 2008 budget discussed
Duthie presented two versions of the 2008 budget for the district: one assuming the proposed merger with the Academy Water and Sanitation District (AWSD) is approved by voters and the other assuming the merger does not occur. Total projected annual revenue without the merger is $11.5 million including $1.5 million from water sales, $790,000 from sewer service, and $1.2 million from property taxes. The merger version of the budget projects $300,000 in additional revenue from AWSD, $100,000 in additional water sales revenue, and $20,000 in additional sewer service revenue.
Donala’s 2008 expenses for operations and administration are projected at $3.7 million without the merger and $3.9 million with the merger.
Capital project expenses are projected at $7.75 million of which $7 million are for the continuing wastewater treatment plant expansion.
The projected ending total fund balance is $10.4 million, about the same as in prior years.
A hearing on the budget will be held at the board’s November 29 meeting.
Irrigation rationing program update
Comparing September 2007, which had 6 rain days, to September 2006, which had 11 rain days, Duthie said, "In every case, those with ET (evapotransporation) controllers used more water this year." Noting that the ET controllers are good for those who want a set-it-and-forget-it system, he added that the system sends the wrong message to other residents because it causes watering on days that are restricted under the rationing program. He added that he wants to wait until after the irrigation season next year before drawing any final conclusions on the ET controller program.
Following the public meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel, negotiations, and water purchase issues.
The Donala board will hold its next regular meeting on Thursday, November 29 at 1:30 p.m. at the Donala office, 15850 Holbein Drive. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month. The district’s Web site is at www.donalawater.org.
By Jim Kendrick
Forest View Acres Water District’s contract management company, Special District Management Services (SDMS), and its contract water operations company, Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI), are terminating their respective contracts with the district effective November 15.
At a special meeting Oct. 19, the board selected Community Resources Services (CRS), based in Aurora, to take over management of the district. The board held an executive session with CRS President Joel Meggers and Senior Manager Sue Blair at the end of the Oct. 25 regular monthly meeting to negotiate specific aspects of the services contract. Prior to going into executive session, the board unanimously voted to continue the meeting to Friday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. at the Monument Sanitation District boardroom, 130 Second Street, in Monument.
The board of the Forest View Acres Water District met four times in October:
The district’s board consists of President Rich Crocker and directors Ann Bevis, Chris Monsen, Barbara Reed-Polatty, and Eckehart Zimmermann.
Lisa Johnson, SDMS district manager, has served as secretary at the board meetings.
Mike Bacon of CSI has served as the district’s contract operations manager.
Sept. 27 meeting
Crocker reported that solicitation for a new operations firm is expected to yield three proposals. He said the deadline for proposals had been extended from October 1 to October 3. Reed-Polatty reported that she had contacted five management firms and talked with two. In order to discuss the anticipated proposals, the board unanimously voted to continue the meeting to Friday, October 5. Zimmerman was absent on Sept. 27.
Oct. 5 meeting
The board reconvened the continued meeting at 9 a.m. in the Monument Sanitation District boardroom. All board members were present. They went directly into executive session on negotiations regarding contracts for district management and water operations at 9:06 a.m. After coming out of executive session at 10:46 a.m., the board unanimously approved a motion to make additional inquiries to clarify the proposals received. They also approved a special board meeting for Oct. 12 and then adjourned.
Oct. 12 meeting
The board held a special meeting at 11:30 a.m. in the Monument Sanitation District boardroom. The absences of Crocker and Monsen were excused. The board went directly into executive session on negotiations at 11:40 a.m. to interview Meggars and Blair of CRS. The board adjourned without taking any actions after coming out of executive session at 12:49 p.m.
Oct. 19 meeting
The board again held a special meeting at 11:30 a.m. in the Monument Sanitation District boardroom. The absence of Reed-Polatty was excused. The board unanimously approved a proposal from Aqueous Solutions, Inc. for removing and replacing two secondary filters at the district’s surface water treatment plant. Aqueous will also install a new manifold and replace the media in all the filters under a contract not to exceed $36,351.
Bevis and Zimmerman presented the results of their previous interview with CRS. The board discussed CRS’ pricing schedule and the experience and expertise of its staff. The board unanimously approved a motion to engage the company in a services contract.
The board then went into executive session on negotiations. After coming out of executive session at 12:25 p.m. the meeting was adjourned with no further action or votes taken.
Oct. 25 regular board meeting
At the start of the meeting, Crocker introduced CRS President Joel Meggers and Senior Manager Sue Blair and said they were there "to see how we run the meetings and talk about transitions." CSI water operator Mike Bacon was absent due to a family emergency.
Reed-Polatty asked Johnson for information on numerous calls two customers had made to SDMS. She wanted to know what kinds of issues were raised by these customers since "there was a lot of time spent" to find the answers. Johnson said she would e-mail her the information since someone else typically answers questions from customers. Reed-Polatty also asked for a list of customers who were delinquent in their payments and nearing "the stage of cutting off water."
The board unanimously approved monthly payments totaling $38,935. Johnson called the list of payments her "preliminary final billing" for the district. The final SDMS billing was $9,491.28 and final CSI billing was $5,262.50. Johnson added that there will be a few more transitional bills submitted by SDMS to the district before Nov. 15 when CRS takes over.
Reed-Polatty noted that accounts receivable for the enterprise fund for the past month were higher than average, about $132,000 versus about $54,000 for July and August. Johnson said she would e-mail the information to Reed-Polatty.
The board postponed approval of the third quarter financial report until the next meeting, when this requested additional information is available. The board unanimously approved scheduling a workshop meeting for Nov. 9 at Monument Sanitation District at 10 a.m.
Bevis distributed an updated third draft of the 2008 budget and asked board members to review and comment on the changes. The board postponed further discussion of the 2008 budget until the Nov. 9 workshop. The public hearing on the 2008 budget will be held at the next regular board meeting Nov. 28.
District resident Genelle Deavenport asked for a discussion of district resident access to the well on Penny Nevins’ property if Nevins arrived at the meeting later in the evening. However, Nevins did not attend.
Executive session discussions of the district management and water operation contract negotiations and the lawyer’s update on the settlement for the Wilde property were deferred to the end of the public meeting.
Resident Alan Longshore advised the board that he still disagreed with the legal advice the board had received on Sept. 27 and the board’s decision to hold him responsible for a bill from the district totaling about $10,000 for repairs to the saddle tap that serves his house. Longshore said the break was 200 feet from his property, he did not own the portion of the pipe that had broken which was in fact district infrastructure, that the "vast majority of El Paso County water providers" take responsibility for all infrastructure between the water main and the customer’s curb stop, and that district residents do not know they are responsible for these types of costs.
The district’s attorney Paul Rufien said Longshore had presented no new facts that would alter his legal opinion that the district has interpreted its rules and regulations in the past to place responsibility on customers to pay for all repairs between the district’s water main and the house. There are clear precedents for this interpretation.
Crocker discussed two previous incidents where the precedent was set for residents to be responsible for repair costs between the water main and curb stop.
Resident Tom Thieme said it had always been his understanding that the regulations state that residents own the entire pipe from the saddle connection to the water main to the house.
Resident Susan Gates noted that 10-12 other residents in Sundance Estates paid for curb stop repairs in the past.
Longshore said the board acted as if it was their responsibility to repair it and should have offered him the opportunity to get three bids for the repair or make it himself.
Rufien advised the board that RG Engineering Consultants had provided a draft exhibit for listing scope of services and the categories of expected performance for a draft contract for the consultant’s comments. Johnson said she would assemble a complete draft agreement and e-mail it to board members for review and approval prior to sending the completed document to RG Engineering. Crocker asked Johnson to e-mail the documents to board members the next morning so a final decision on the amount to budget in 2008 for this contract could be finalized by Nov. 29.
Reed-Polatty said she had completed a draft copy of the amendment required for the modified 1985 water agreement with the Nevins family. She said she would e-mail it to the other board members for review and comment. Reed-Polatty will consolidate these comments, meet with Rufien to finalize the proposal, and then schedule a meeting with Penny Nevins.
Johnson advised the board that the district’s Dawson well permit was to expire on Oct. 30 because no pump is installed in the well. The permit fee is $100. Rufien said that the risk of letting the permit expire was minimal. There was consensus to let the permit expire rather than try to install a pump in the next 5 days.
Crocker reported that three companies had made proposals for the water operations contract:
The operations report for September showed that the district’s surface plant produced 1.45 million gallons, averaging 49 gallons per minute over 19 days. The district’s Arapahoe well produced 1.25 million gallons averaged 117 gallons per minute over 9 days. The net monthly production was 2.7 million gallons.
Water sales for August were shown as 1.9 million gallons, with a 20 percent loss.
The loss for the first nine months of the year totaled 5.8 million gallons or 29.8 percent of the net production of 17.3 million gallons.
The board then unanimously voted to continue the meeting to Friday, October 5.
The regular board meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month. However, due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 29, 6:00 p.m. at Tri-Lakes district station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). Those wishing to attend should check the date, time, and location by calling SDMS at (800) 741-3254 or 488-2110.
The district’s Web site is www.fvawd.com.
By Jim Kendrick
Parker AG, the contractor that de-waters and hauls solid wastes away from the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility every 27 months, offered a lower-cost alternative to building a dedicated sludge storage tank to control the concentration of treated wastes pumped from the sludge lagoon to Parker AG’s filter press.
The Joint Use Committee (JUC) had considered installing a new 150,000-gallon concrete sludge tank in 2008, but may not have to do so if this alternative proves acceptable. Use of this tank would avoid a capital investment of about $300,000 in the draft 2008 facility budget— approximately $100,000 for each of the three owning special districts. There would still be a much smaller cost for hauling and renting the portable Parker AG tank.
The three-member Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Joint Use Committee consists of one director each from the boards of the three special districts that own the facility in equal one-third shares: the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts, and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.
Director Chuck Robinove, the alternate JUC member for Monument, represented Monument Sanitation District. JUC Board Chairman Lowell Morgan was absent. Jim Whitelaw, Woodmoor’s JUC alternate, filled in for Benny Nasser, Woodmoor’s JUC representative who was absent. Todd Bell, Palmer Lake’s JUC representative, presided as chairman during Morgan’s excused absence.
Capital cost avoidance proposed
Facility manager and plant operator Bill Burks said that Parker AG has a portable 18,000-gallon tank that it could bring to the facility at the south end of Mitchell Avenue. Use of this portable tank to hold sludge pumped from the facility’s sludge lagoon would provide an alternative method of controlling the concentration of solids in the sludge at 4 percent for final treatment and disposal.
Currently the dedicated clarifier tank for the northern aeration basin is used to hold treated sludge pumped from the sludge lagoon. The sludge concentration level is adjusted in the clarifier, a process it is not specifically designed to perform, before it is pumped into the adjacent Parker AG portable filter press, mounted on a 50-foot trailer.
However, temporary use of the northern clarifier as a simple storage tank requires Burks to temporarily shut down the northern aeration basin, which significantly changes the balance of the aerobic microorganisms that live by digestion of the wastes delivered to the facility from each of the three districts. Many die and settle to the bottom of the basin and have to be replaced by reproduction when northern basin operations are resumed. It takes some time to grow new organisms to replace those lost during the temporary shutdown.
When the concentration of the sludge is set at the desired amount, the sludge is pumped from the clarifier to Parker AG’s portable filter press. The filter press squeezes nearly all the remaining water out of the processed sludge, leaving a concentrated mixture that is safe to use directly as agricultural fertilizer. This de-watered mixture is dumped into large Parker AG trailers by the filter press and 18-wheelers deliver it to nearby fields.
The north clarifier is used as a receptacle for controlling dilution because it is adjacent to the facility parking lot, which is used for loading Parker AG’s 18-wheel transport vehicles. Before copper concentration became an issue, Burks often operated the Tri-Lakes facility using only one basin during low load periods to reduce electrical costs for the large air pumps that continuously blow air into the lagoons below the surface, similar to a home aquarium. The microorganisms that digest the wastes need the air.
However, Tri-Lakes cannot now meet the new very tight copper restrictions without having both aeration basins operating as close to peak efficiency as possible. It takes 30-45 days for Burks to stabilize the balance of aerobic digestion processes in the north aeration basin and clarifier, after they have been shut down for a month for sludge removal. Several copper samples must be taken to meet state requirements during this period of microorganism regeneration and substantially degraded treatment efficiency.
Burks and consultant engineer Mike Rothberg of RTW Engineering Inc. had previously advised the board that even with optimum performance, the facility may not be able to meet tighter copper removal standards that were supposed to have been put in place in 2007. This period of treatment instability is no longer acceptable due to tighter requirements for copper removal that have been proposed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to meet more restrictive EPA standards. The copper readings would be well above the tighter minimums during this transition period and would generate violations that could lead to fines of up to $28,000 per day.
The facility received a temporary waiver on the tighter standards for 2007 due to problems in accurately testing samples of wastewater and incomplete data on the amount of copper that is toxic to microscopic aquatic life in Monument Creek below the point where treated wastewater is dumped into the stream. However, the state proposed even tighter standards for test results on individual effluent samples and average values as well to begin in 2008 rather than in 2010, when the next five-year permit period begins.
In accordance with negotiations with the state on the copper limit waiver, the facility will have 24 tests performed by ACZ Labs of Steamboat Springs during the rest of 2007 and all of 2008 to determine which method is more accurate for predicting toxicity—potentially dissolved copper levels using the biotic ligand model that has been used since 2004, or some other combination of metals levels. GEI Consulting will assist Burks and RTW engineering with the revised regime of environmental testing and analysis and propose a new toxicity standard to the state prior to expiration of the current facility discharge permit at the end of 2009. ACZ will test for:
Monument will split caustic soda treatment cost
Monument Sanitation District Manager Mike Wicklund reported that the district and Town of Monument had agreed to split the cost (a maximum of $70,000, or $35,000 each) for installing a caustic soda (calcium carbonate) injection system at the town’s water treatment plant at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. Annual caustic soda purchases would cost only a few thousand dollars, though no specific estimate has been obtained to date.
Adding caustic soda, a component of many popular food products and a common water treatment chemical, to water from town wells 3, 8, and 9 may help reduce corrosion of the inside of copper water pipes in homes and commercial buildings. This treatment may also line the interior surface of copper water pipes and reduce the amount of copper ions that leach into drinking water and then into the Monument Sanitation District’s sewer system. The system is projected to be operational by January or February. The town will change its building code to eliminate installation of copper water pipes in new construction.
Woodmoor treats all its water with caustic soda, while Palmer Lake only treats part of its water supply.
If this method of controlling copper concentrations in treated water discharged to Monument Creek is unsuccessful, the next step would be installing far more expensive de-mineralization equipment in 2009 at the Tri-Lakes facility before the current discharge permit expires. The installation cost would be about $2 million, with an annual operating cost of $500,000 thereafter.
The copper level in the facility’s discharged effluent for July was 6 parts per billion (PPB), significantly lower than average, perhaps due to dilution caused by higher flows in the summer. The new state standard calls for a maximum average of only 8 PPB beginning in 2008, but it would be waived for a year until the start of 2009. The current maximum allowable average copper concentration, under a temporary waiver for 2007 and 2008, is 24.8 PPB. If the waiver had not been approved, the permit limit for 2007-09 would have been 8.7 PPB on average.
Burks reported that he had hired Mike Ortiz, an apprentice electrician, to fill the previously vacant third facility operator position. Platt will obtain appropriate licenses for plant operation in the near future. The districts will pay for his education, training, and testing for the required certifications.
The directors approved and signed an easement agreement with adjacent property owners to gain access to the west side of Monument Creek by the plant’s discharge pipe to stabilize the banks of the stream. The stabilization project will cost about $95,000, the lowest of three bids received.
The committee agreed to hold its annual meeting on Dec. 20 at Monument Sanitation District. This meeting is for all the board members of each of the districts. Monument will host a Christmas Party for the directors and all the staff members of each of the districts immediately after this short meeting at the adjacent Shani’s Café.
The next meeting of the JUC will be at 10 a.m. on Nov. 12 at the facility conference room, 16510 Mitchell Ave. Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Information: 481-4053.
By Jim Kendrick
On Oct. 18, engineering consultant Roger Sams of GMS Inc. gave the Monument Sanitation District board and staff an overview of his efforts to date to seek outside funding to help pay part of the costs of extending the district’s collection system into the Wakonda Hills subdivision. District Manager Mike Wicklund discussed the conclusion of negotiations with the Town of Monument to split the cost of adding a caustic soda injection system to the town’s water treatment plant to try to reduce the amount of copper ions leaching from the interior surfaces of copper water pipes.
Director Bob Kuchek’s absence was excused.
Wakonda Hills funding status reviewed
At the direction of the board, Sams had first submitted an application in late 2006 for 2007 state funding to pay for part of the costs for installation of the second and third of three phases of a sanitary sewer collection system in Wakonda Hills. The district paid all costs for installing the first phase of the system, including $375,000 in 2002 for the 12-inch interceptor line along the paved portion of Beacon Lite Road north of Highway 105 and $835,000 in 2006 for 5,000 feet of 8-inch collection line in the eastern portion of the development. No state loans or grants were used for this construction. Sams renewed the district’s application for 2008 in summer 2007.
The application is used by the state to annually determine eligibility for a subsidized loan from the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund or a state grant from the Wastewater Treatment Grant Program. The project is eligible for funding through federal Clean Water Act programs under the category for elimination of documented failing individual septic disposal systems (ISDSs) by connecting to an existing facility or constructing a new facility. The total Wakonda Hills project cost is estimated to be $2,925,100.
Sams said that this documentation had to be in place to be eligible for state grants or loans for the latter phases of the expansion. The application he submitted summarized the scope of the project and justified why the state should include it in its annual list of eligible proposals. These types of applications are typically supported by a study or preliminary engineering reports that document the substandard performance that is to be corrected.
Sams reviewed portions of the "Narrative Project Description" in the application:
The project was included in the state’s Intended Use Plan for these two funding programs as a Category 1 proposal, the highest category. Sams added that many projects are approved, noting that Wakonda Hills was listed on page 9 of a 13-page single-spaced table of approved projects. Within Category 1, Wakonda Hills is favored due to its small size (under 1,000 homes) and the tight copper removal compliance schedule for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility (see JUC article for more details on the copper requirement), but not helped by the relatively low percentage of annual income used by Wakonda Hills property owners to pay for sewer costs if the project is approved. Wakonda Hills’ median household income is slightly above the state average.
The first use of outside funding from the revolving loan program—at 80 percent of the existing interest rate for this type of construction loan—would be used to prepare an environmental assessment, very detailed budget projections and construction documents, and a complete sanitary survey on the failure of the development’s septic systems and the effect on Dawson aquifer wells. These steps would take about nine months, followed by construction of about a year. The latter phases are more complex than the phase completed in 2006 due to the need to construct two lift stations to serve the remaining homes.
Sams suggested that the district ask for a separate planning grant for the project from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He added that none of the expenses incurred by the district for Wakonda Hills before any funding is awarded would qualify for reimbursement. Many of the required documents for future funding may already be available from the county.
Sams also suggested that the board consider conducting an income survey of all the homes in Wakonda Hills and determining whether higher monthly rates are needed in Wakonda Hills to pay for operation of the two required lift stations.
Sams said a loan is a better option for the district than a construction grant due to the differing requirements and constraints of the separate programs. The revolving loan would be paid from sewer service fees collected from Wakonda Hills.
There was a lengthy discussion of numerous technical details of the application, approval, and implementation process as well as a discussion of alternatives for gaining political support for this proposal.
The board unanimously approved $5,000 for Sams to proceed with gathering additional information and documentation for the advance planning grant application and preparation of a preliminary engineering report.
Agreement reached on caustic soda treatment
Wicklund reported that an agreement had been negotiated with the Town of Monument on Sept. 25 to split the costs for installation of a caustic soda injection system at the town’s water treatment plant at Second Street and Beacon Lite Road. This plant treats drinking water from town wells 3, 8, and 9. Operation of the injection system is to begin in January or February. The board approved spending up to $35,000 for its half of the installation cost. The board directed the staff to have the district’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, draft an intergovernmental agreement with the town on future payments of construction and operation costs for the caustic soda system.
2008 budget refined
Wicklund discussed the changes in the latest draft of the 2008 district budget. He highlighted the ambiguity of how to categorize a budget expense in the 2008 Tri-Lakes facility budget for sandblasting the interior of the facility’s clarifiers and recoating them with a new layer of coal tar. The last time the coal tar was applied to the interior surfaces was 11 years ago. The language in the Joint Use Agreement among the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation Districts and the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District does not specifically define maintenance or refurbishment actions.
The cost of taking the clarifiers off line to sandblast and apply a new layer of coal tar is $39,000. If it is called a capital cost due to substantially extending the life of these clarifiers as capital assets, the costs are divided equally among the three districts. However, if the cost is deemed to be a simple operational repair or replacement, then the cost is divided proportionally by the volume of wastewater each district sends to the plant and the amount of treatment required. If this is deemed an operational expense, then Woodmoor would pay roughly 60 percent of the cost and Monument and Palmer Lake would pay roughly 20 percent each. Another complication is that any repair or replacement over $2,500 is defined as a capital cost.
Gaddis advised the staff that the cost could be categorized as a capital or operational cost in the JUC budget, based on the wording in the Joint Use Agreement. Even if it is called an operational cost in the 2008 JUC budget, Monument could categorize it as a capital cost for 2008.
The board voted unanimously to direct Chairman Lowell Morgan to vote to categorize the costs for the coal tar application as a capital cost at the November JUC meeting and to state that the final decision on this specific cost does not set a precedent for these kinds of decisions. There was consensus that the JUC should consider revising the language in the Joint Use Agreement to eliminate this ambiguity to prevent future disputes over inconsistent categorizations of capital and operational costs.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the district conference room, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Information: 481-4886.
Below: Triview district manager Larry Bishop presents plaques expressing the district’s appreciation to Steve Stephenson (1st photo) and Chuck Ritter (2nd photo). Photos by John Heiser.
By John Heiser
At the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors meeting October 23, plaques expressing the district’s appreciation were presented to long-time district engineer Chuck Ritter of Nolte Associates and former board president Steve Stephenson.
Ritter has served as Triview’s engineer since 1998. He is moving to Arizona. His successor in the position is Tom Repp, project manager with Nolte.
Stevenson served on the board from July 2003 until he resigned September 26.
The board unanimously appointed Mark Veenendaal to fill the vacancy created by Stephenson’s resignation.
Board members Joe Belzer, Julie Glenn, Joe Martin, and Veenendaal were present. Board member Bob Eskridge was absent due to travel. Belzer presided.
Board president election postponed
Glenn and Eskridge were each nominated to be board president. Each received two votes. The board decided to postpone the election of officers until all members are present.
Rate increases proposed for 2008
District manager Larry Bishop distributed copies of his draft 2008 budget. The draft budget is based on the following proposed rate increases:
Bishop noted that the Promontory Pointe, Sanctuary Pointe, and Home Place Ranch projects are largely on hold due to slowing of the housing market. Bishop said the draft budget assumes there will be 40 new taps in 2008. This is down from 70 assumed in the 2007 budget and 200 often assumed in prior years.
The 2008 budget and rate changes will be discussed at the November 27 board meeting and approved at the December 11 meeting.
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors normally meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be held November 27 at 5 p.m. in the district conference room, 174 Washington St. in downtown Monument. For information, phone 488-6868.
By Elizabeth Hacker
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District (WWSD) Board of Directors held a special meeting Oct. 15 to discuss the draft of the proposed 2008 budget, which was distributed at the Oct.11 meeting. A budget hearing will be held at the district’s office on Nov. 8
The budget for 2008 includes anticipated revenues of $6,994,902 with anticipated expenditures of $6,919,052, leaving an ending balance of $39,464. The budget accounted for facility improvements including the repair of the Lake Woodmoor dam.
Mill levy decrease
District Manager Phil Steininger reported that the assessed valuation of property had been increased $16 million to $106 million, which lowered the district mill levy from 8.5 to 7.35 percent, resulting in a 16 percent decrease in taxes.
Water and sewer service fees
Steininger reported that a 7.5 percent increase in service fees was proposed to help pay for the future projects needed for supplemental water.
Water sharing agreement proposed
Steininger reported Oct. 11 that the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority (PPRWA) had signed a letter of intent with INV Energy located in Fountain to share ground water mined from the Spruce Mountain ranch. Steininger explained that if an agreement were reached and all the conditions met, it would be a win-win proposition for both INV Energy that needs water for cooling its generators and member districts of the PPRWA that are looking for additional sources of water to meet future demand. He said the water districts would get first use of the water and that INV had agreed to fund the project. Effluent water credits would be exchanged and INV would pick up the water in Fountain. Steininger said that INV wanted to begin as soon as the Douglas County 1041 regulations had been satisfied, suggesting work could begin in early 2008 and wells drilled by 2009.
Steininger reported that there would be no contract until production of the well field was determined, but there was a commitment by WWSD of $5,000 for due diligence. He said that the district was in a good position to benefit. Because of its location, it could easily divert water for treatment, and the district had effluent credits to exchange. Steininger said that INV estimated that it needed 2,400 acre-feet of water per year and that the districts in the PPRWA have 2,200 acre-feet of effluent credits.
Lower Arkansas water
In response to a question from the board Oct. 11 regarding the lease or purchase of water from the Lower Arkansas, Steininger replied that a second term sheet had been presented by the WWSD consultant to the owners for clarification and discussion of terms but that the terms keep changing and the price has increased. The consultant also met with individual farmers who indicated they were interested in selling water and/or property. Steininger said that there was a big price-range variation.
On Sept. 13, district Operations Manager Randy Gillette reported the processes of draining the lake for dam repair were on schedule and that customers are being served a blend of 50 percent lake water and 50 percent well water. He noted that there had been a few complaints regarding water quality and said that some customers seemed to be more sensitive than others as to taste and/or odor.
Steininger reported that Colorado Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) had completed one of two scheduled fish trappings from the lake and had found a substantial population of northern pike, perch, and crappie. Steininger said that it didn’t appear that there were enough fish to make it worthwhile to move them to another location. The CDFW said even if it trapped and relocated the fish, it wouldn’t be able to net all of the fish and there would be dead fish when the lake is drained. Steininger said the district needed to make people aware of this issue.
Gillette reported Oct. 11 that by November, the district would be operating 100 percent on water from Lake Woodmoor and that the lake would be drained completely before May 2008. He said that he expects that water use will decline now that the weather is cooler and people have stopped irrigating.
Steininger reported that after further study, the CDFW is considering using Lake Woodmoor to raise game fish after it is refilled. He said that the district’s fishing restriction and the 50-foot lake depth (even during hot summer months when the levels are lowest) meet the CDFW’s criteria for storing game fish. The agency would like to introduce saugeye fish, which are aggressive and hard to obtain. Feeder fish like minnows would be stocked to feed the saugeye.
He suggested that if this plan were to go forward, it would be a win-win situation for the department and the district. The CDFW, at no cost to the district, would trap the existing fish out of Lake Woodmoor and then restock it. A healthy fish population improves water quality by balancing the pH in the lake. Steininger noted that if the CDFW decides not to go forward with this plan, the district will have to pay a private consultant a substantial fee for trapping fish from the lake and restocking it.
Woodmoor Pines Country Club water
District engineer Jessie Shaffer reported Sept. 13 that the district is temporarily augmenting water for Woodmoor Pines Country Club (WPCC). The District 10 water commissioner has asked WPCC to develop an augmentation plan for the runoff into the ponds on the golf course. Steininger reported that the WPCC had developed a quick plan unacceptable to the district, adding that the country club is a district customer and that the district can be WPCC’s only source of water, and that it is illegal to divert or store water unless it is done through the district.
For many years the district has not reported the diversion, but now that the state has taken a stronger position, the district has to account for all stream flows, and WPCC has the task of developing an augmentation plan. Steininger said he thought the best solution was to let the water flow into Lake Woodmoor and have the district pump water back to WPCC but added that while he is willing to work with WPCC, the augmentation plan was the responsibility of its water attorney. Attorney Erin Smith said that it is the state engineer who is requiring an augmentation plan and the district must act in accordance with its rules and regulations.
Board President Jim Taylor noted that WPCC is a benefit to the community and encouraged Steininger to do what he could to help WPCC develop an augmentation plan. Steininger responded he would help once WPCC came up with a workable plan.
Shaffer said Sept. 13 that the subdivisions are all pretty much status quo. Misty Acres is paving roads and laying service lines. The property on Knollwood and Highway 105 (the former Carl Turse property) is being platted into three commercial lots called Knollwood Village.
Shaffer said Oct. 11 that he had given Misty Acres a conditional acceptance in a walk-through that morning. Village Center 2 is paved out and working on conditional acceptance. Village Center 4 may try to rezone.
Shaffer reported that Palmer Ridge High School is progressing but that there was no commitment to use non-potable lake water for irrigation, and he didn’t think the school district would commit to it even if voters passed the ballot questions. Steininger asked if pressure could be applied to the school district, to which attorney Smith replied that it could be if a district policy was already in place requiring large irrigation users to use non-potable water.
Mike Rothberg of RTW consultants said that basically it would be the same water (out of the lake) and the only difference would be the water treatment cost, which the school district would pay for when it paid potable (treated) water rates and a water tap fee. Over all, School District 38 will pay a lot more for potable irrigation water but its most critical concern is having the money to open the school, so it doesn’t want to commit to infrastructure costs for non-potable water. The impact on residents of the district is that they may eventually have to incur the cost for another treatment facility.
Shaffer said Sept. 13 that plans and specifications are 98 percent complete for the pipeline from Well 20 to the south treatment plant and anticipated the bid opening in early October. The pump house and down hole equipment will bid at the end of October.
Shaffer reported that RTW is developing plans and specifications for the pump house and anticipated a bid opening for the end of October and finished construction in early 2008.
Shaffer said Oct. 11 that the pipeline for Well 20 and the Congressional sewer line replacement bid opening was scheduled for Oct. 12 and the down hole equipment and well house will be bid in November. The proposed driveway access off Fairplay could go before the County Commissioners in November.
Shaffer recommended and the board approved a permanent easement and a temporary construction easement with the Walters estate.
Monument Creek Pump Station
Shaffer reported Sept. 13 that water had infiltrated the bed at the Monument Creek Pump Station and there appeared to be blockage in the north line resulting in a sinkhole. A TV camera was used to determine the extent of the problem, and the district has applied for a 404 permit to repair a coupling on the north side of the creek bed. He suggested it would be a good time to check for any structural difficulties while the coupling is off. Shaffer said he was waiting on a second quote but that the first quote for repairs was around $15,000. In response to the board’s inquiry about additional costs for investigations, Shaffer said he would look into it and report back.
Shaffer said Oct. 11 that the district is in the permit process for repair of the coupling on the north side of the bed at a cost of $14,000. He recommended the board consider additional investigation and pothole repair for an additional cost of $12,000.
Water and sewer line repair and maintenance
Gillette reported Sept. 13 that the district had completed the camera work and cleaning in Zone 1, identified location of spot repairs, and determined that about 12,000 feet of pipe needed some rehabilitation. The camera indicated root problems in back lot main lines, and the district will send certified letters to customers who have roots in their service lines. It will be customers’ responsibility to rid the lines of roots. Recently there was a back-up caused by roots, and the claim was paid by the insurance company.
Gillette reported Oct. 11 that water line flushing will commence in Zone 2 in November. Signs will be posted and a notice will be placed in the Tribune. The lines will be scoured with air pressure, which works well to clean pipes. Customers will be notified not to use water during periods that will affect them.
Gillette reported Sept. 13 that with very little notice the El Paso County Department of Transportation is resurfacing roads. Because there is no coordination, it is necessary for the district to cut into new asphalt to raise valves and manholes, which is costly and will cause an uneven road surface. The county justifies this by stating that the district is a tenant in its right-of-way and it isn’t responsible for coordination. Steininger said he planned to meet with county officials to resolve this issue prior to next year’s paving contract.
Use of copper sulfate banned
The board approved a resolution that prohibits the use of copper sulfate in the district’s sewer system.
The board went into executive session Sept. 13 and Oct. 11 to consider matters of negotiation.
Below: Members of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District at their Open House October 13 during Fire Prevention Week. Over 400 hot dogs were served to members of the community who stopped in to tour the station and learn more about fire safety. Photos by Valerie Marshall.
Below: Firefighter Mike Forsythe teaches a young fire fighting enthusiast the proper use of a hose line. Photo by Valerie Marshall.
Below: Harv Sims (L), a 22-year resident of Woodmoor, was sworn in as a director on the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District board at the Oct. 24 meeting. He succeeds Bob Hansen, who left after moving out of the district. Sims began a second career in emergency management after retiring from TRW. He teaches EMT classes at Memorial Hospital and supervises the EMTs on Pikes Peak during the summer. Photo by Susan Hindman.
By Susan Hindman
This time of year, board discussions for most special districts focus on next year’s budget, and the Oct. 24 meeting of the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board was no exception. The budget needs to be submitted to the state on Dec. 15. Starting Jan. 1, 2008, the Woodmoor and Tri-Lakes Fire Protection Districts’ budgets will be merged into the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority budget, because of October’s vote in favor of consolidating the two districts.
The authority’s board president, Charlie Pocock, thanked all those who helped with the election.
The 2008 budget
Ambulance revenue: Two years ago, Chief Robert Denboske said, the district did a survey of Front Range ambulance companies, looking at those other services and comparing their costs with Tri-Lakes’ for its ambulance service. They then established rates "that put us in the middle of the pack," he said. Last year, no study was done, but rates were raised 5 percent. This year, he said, the district will do another survey, to determine the average revenue for next year.
However, Denboske is recommending that there be no rate increase. Because Medicare payments are "always a year behind," Medicare is still catching up to the previous year’s rate increase. "So we’re not gaining anything because we’re still playing with Medicare," said Denboske, who says he’s "being realistic" in wanting to "give them an opportunity to get caught up with what we’re charging."
Health insurance: Insurance rates will increase 19 percent effective Jan. 1, which Denboske said has triggered discussions about raising co-payments for some things as well as exploring options with other insurance companies.
New tender: Denboske said the current tender (a water hauler) is out of service and needs to be replaced. Although it is not often used — the current one "has gone out twice and never dropped water," he said — the authority is required to have one, not only for emergency purposes but for ISO ratings, which help lower homeowners’ insurance rates.
Denboske said he wouldn’t support buying a tender from a firetruck manufacturer "because the cost in relation to how much it goes out doesn’t balance. But if we can buy a tender from a commercial company that has one and modify it to meet standards at reduced costs, then we come out ahead."
Ken Cox, firefighter/maintenance manager, said the authority has located a 1995 F-8000 single-axle tender that holds 2,400 gallons (1,000 more than the current one) for around $40,000. After he explained the vehicle’s benefits, the board voted to authorize Denboske to negotiate a purchase that will occur after Jan. 1. The board authorized spending $60,000 — around $40,000 for the tender and $20,000 for anything extra that might be involved in fixing it up.
Back to 2007 matters
Replacement vehicles: Because the current Chevy Blazer is in poor shape, Denboske presented an offer they had gotten for two 2007 F-150s for $49,900. The board approved the purchase. The vehicles will be used by the battalion chief and a deputy chief, a new position still in the selection process. (It will be an administrative position to oversee training, fire prevention, and fire inspections — "the go-to guy" — and will start Jan. 1, said Denboske.)
Station 2: Denboske said an attorney had been hired to research a possible lawsuit against the contractor that built the station, because of an inefficient septic system. After paying him a $5,000 retainer, the district was advised that any money that would be recouped would just go to pay legal fees. The attorney returned the $5,000.
Denboske said Thomas Construction has started fixing everything that could be fixed at the station itself, located on Roller Coaster Road. However, "the groundwater issue is still there," he said. "We’re still researching costs" on the drainage problem. The septic field could be moved into a pumping type operation, or "French drains" could be put in on the north end. "For now, we don’t have enough answers to make a decision. But we have a functioning fire station that’s getting busier and busier," he said. (See www.ourcommunitynews.org/v7n4.htm#tlfpd for more information.)
End-of-year party: Firefighter Lisa Frasca and firefighter/paramedic Tracy Cox gave a presentation on their plans for an end-of-year party for the firefighters, which would include an awards ceremony. The district would close for the Dec. 2 event at the bowling alley next to Station 1 (the PinZ bowling alley will not be open to the public that night). Cox said the Larkspur and Wescott fire districts have agreed to cover for the Fire Authority that night. The board approved spending $3,100 for the event.
Financial report: The next installment of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant money, awarded to the district by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, still hasn’t been received. After approval, the paperwork supposedly went to FEMA’s finance division, but nothing is known beyond that.
Expenses are up 10 percent because of one-time expenses and higher-than-anticipated legal expenses and postage related to the merger. Supply costs are high for stations 1 and 2; station 3 is right on budget. Worker’s compensation is $2,320 over budget. The remainder of the expense categories "are in good shape," according to the report by Treasurer John Hildebrandt. Overall expenses are 71.53 percent of the budget year to date.
Miscellaneous: Prior to the Fire Authority meeting, the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District met briefly, mainly in executive session. The board authorized Denboske to pursue negotiations for the sale of Woodmoor’s ladder truck.
The Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority normally meets the fourth Wednesday of each month, following meetings of the Woodmoor-Monument and Tri-Lakes Fire Protection Districts, which begin at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held Nov. 28 at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). The December meeting will be held earlier in the month, on Dec. 12, to finalize the budget. For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.
By Jim Kendrick
On Oct. 15, the Monument Board of Trustees awarded a contract for audit services to low bidder John Cutler & Associates. The board approved new hotel/restaurant liquor licenses for the Texas Roadhouse currently under construction at Monument Marketplace. The board approved a new off-premises liquor license for the Circle K convenience store that also operates the Shell gas station at the King Soopers shopping center at Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. The developer of the Monument Ridge mixed-use center at the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway has asked the town what is required to rezone the approved residential filing next to Chaparral Hills from residential to commercial.
Trustee Gail Drumm was absent.
Town art display completed
At the start of the meeting, Town Manager Cathy Green announced that there would be a ceremony commemorating the now completed Ice Harvest art project erected by Tri-Lakes Views on the east side of the Monument Water Treatment Plant at the intersection of Second Street and Beacon Lite Road on Nov. 5 before the next board meeting (See photo). Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. and there will be a formal "revealing" of the array of display panels at 6 p.m.
Town Treasurer Pamela Smith reported that four bids were submitted in response to her request for proposals, including one from the current auditor, Swanhorst and Company LLC. Smith and Green met with representatives of the other three firms and determined all would offer a similar quality of service. They recommended the lowest bid of $9,500 from John Cutler & Associates. Cutler used to be a partner in Swanhorst & Cutler, the predecessor of Swanhorst and Company, before he started his own firm 15 years ago. Cutler performed two town audits while he was a partner in Swanhorst & Cutler.
The board unanimously approved a five-year contract with Cutler for audits for the period 2007-11. The first two audits will cost $9,500 each and the final three audits will cost $9,000 each, for a total of $46,000. Swanhort’s total bid was $104,000.
The board unanimously approved five payments over $5,000:
Senior Citizen Program update
During public comments, Director Chuck Roberts of the Tri-Lakes Senior Alliance reported that the Tri-Lakes Senior Citizen Program was "officially kicked-off at the Saturday Senior Social held Sept. 29 at the Lewis-Palmer School District Administration Building" with an attendance of 125 people. A services agreement was signed by D-38 President Jes Raintree and Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership President Maureen Poirier. D-38 will provide space and resources for senior use in return for senior participation in the district’s intergenerational activities that will begin on Jan. 21. Roberts noted that 28 seniors have already signed up to participate.
D-38 Superintendent Ray Blanch and Tri-Lakes YMCA Director of Senior Programs Wendy Venturella gave presentations on their programs to the seniors in attendance. Poirier discussed programs to be offered by Penrose-St. Francis Pastoral Nurse Services and Tri-Lakes Cares.
Roberts also reported:
Sign code being revised
Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara reported holding a meeting with local business representatives and owners to receive input on revisions he is drafting to the town’s business sign ordinance. He said banner and sandwich sign restrictions drew the most comments. Kassawara distributed a summary of the revisions and comments received to date to board members. Another meeting was subsequently held on Oct. 25 with members of the Historic Monument Merchants Association. The final draft of the revised sign code will be presented to the Planning Commission on Nov. 14 and to the board in December.
Town Attorney Gary Shupp said that Kalime Masse is continuing to litigate against the town in an attempt to renew the long expired business license for the Rockwell Ready-Mix concrete batch plant at Highway 105 and Washington Street without going through a normal site plan process.
Kassawara reported meeting with the owner of a small medical testing company that wants to build two buildings on the southeast corner of Mitchell and Synthes Avenues. They discussed the approval process, drainage, and access issues.
Kassawara reported meeting with Kyle Campbell to discuss requirements for approval of the Final Planned Development Site Plan for the Fairfield Inn at the Monument Ridge center on the southeast corner of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.
The applicant for the Monument Ridge center met with Kassawara to discuss procedures and requirements to amend the approved Monument Ridge Final PD Site Plan to combine two interior restaurant lots into a single in-line building lot. The applicant also discussed amending the final site plan from mixed use to commercial by converting the planned residential area at the southeast corner adjacent to five-acre Chaparral Hills residential lots by rezoning this filing.
Mark Ritzke of Hammers Construction met with Kassawara to finalize plans for lot 4 of the seven-lot Villani Industrial Park parcel between Synthes Avenue and the railroad tracks.
Police Sgt. Rick Tudor reported a traffic accident requiring air-lift evacuation of one vehicle occupant to Denver by a Flight for Life helicopter sortie. The driver of one of the cars did not survive.
Police Chief Jake Shirk reported:
The meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
The next meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Town Hall, 166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the month.
By Chris Pollard
In the citizens’ comment portion of the Monument Academy Board of Directors meeting Oct. 15, a number of questions were raised over plans for the new Academy school building on the north side of Highway 105 between Knollwood and Lake Woodmoor Drives. The board said that a letter had been sent out to residents a few days before asking how board members could best communicate with residents. The board announced that dirt would start to be moved for construction of the school in the second week of November.
In response to a question on lighting, board members said that most of the lighting would be to the south of the building, away from the residents on South Park Drive. They believed that there would only be security lighting to the north. They also reaffirmed their intention to have access to the south onto Highway 105, but not through the adjacent church parking lot.
Bob Hughes, Operations Committee member and owners representative for the construction of the school, said that he had talked to the Division of Fish and Wildlife about removing some of the brush on the adjacent Dirty Woman Creek to reduce the potential of flooding.
Later in the meeting as part of Mike Wong’s treasurer’s report, the board discussed contingency plans for the new building if construction was not complete by the time school starts. They had a month-to-month lease on the South Campus building on Woodmoor Drive but not on the North Campus. Potentially, the school could take partial occupancy of the new building and were discussing this with the construction company.
For before and after school programs, the board announced that it had reached an agreement with the new YMCA for use of its track and fields from 3 to 5 p.m.
Hughes announced that the bond sale for the construction of the school had gone well and all bonds were sold in less than half an hour with a composite interest rate of 5.96 percent.
Laura Gipson, board president, announced that elections for board members would be held in May 2008.
The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the South Campus, 1808 Woodmoor Drive.
In the October issue of OCN ("Groundbreaking Oct. 12 for new Monument Academy building on Highway 105"), the church to the east of the project should have been identified as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. OCN regrets the error.
Below: Jeff Chamberlin reports to the D-38 school board on the status of the high school construction projects. Photo by John Heiser.
Below: In his report, Chamberlin noted that opening the Lewis-Palmer High School entrance from Jackson Creek Parkway was being held up waiting for a camera mount. The mount was installed Oct. 30. Photo by Mike Wicklund
Below: The Palmer Ridge High School roof courtyard and a photo presented by Chamberlin showing the view from the courtyard. Photos of slides presented by Chamberlin.
Below: More than 30 female gymnasts were in the audience to lend their support for a District 38 high school gymnastics program. Photo by John Heiser.
By John Heiser
At the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting October 18, the board set the procedure for filling the vacancy on the board that will occur because Timothy Bains, the sole candidate for the Director District 4 position, withdrew from the election after the ballots were printed. The results of the election including the existence of the vacancy are to be certified by county clerk no later than November 23. The newly elected board members for Director Districts 2 and 5 will be sworn-in at a special meeting on November 26.
Applicants to fill the vacancy must be residents of Director District 4 and registered voters in the Lewis Palmer School District for at least 12 consecutive months prior to appointment. Director District 4 is approximately bounded by I-25 on the west, Higby Road on the south, Canterbury Drive on the east, and Highway 105 on the north. It includes the Arrowwood, Bent Tree, and South Woodmoor subdivisions. A map showing the district boundaries is posted on the district’s web site.
The board will accept applications through November 16. The application consists of a letter of intent, a resume, and written answers to a questionnaire. The questionnaire is posted at www.lewispalmer.org/media/EDocs/Candidate_Questions.pdf.
The board will conduct interviews and appoint an applicant to fill the position.
High school gymnastics program proposed
Community members Chris O’Hanlon, Don Bryant, and Becky Albright spoke in support of adding gymnastics as a Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) sanctioned sport. They complimented the quality of the program at SunDance Studio, indicated there is a lot of interest in starting this high school program, and stated it would provide a positive and healthy activity for girls. More than 30 female gymnasts were in the audience to lend their support for a District 38 high school gymnastics program.
Later during the meeting, Lewis Palmer High School (LPHS) Athletic Director Sean O’Connor presented a proposal to add girls’ gymnastics as a CHSAA-sanctioned varsity sports program starting next fall. He noted that in a Spring, 2007 survey of middle school girls, 47 eighth graders expressed interest in participating in gymnastics. Under the proposal, the district would have one 5A team for 2008-09 consisting of approximately 12-18 gymnasts who would perform at SunDance Studio through a rental agreement with the district. O’Connor estimated the total cost to the district next year at $5,200-$7,200. He noted that the number of high schools participating in gymnastics has declined but there remain thirty-one 5A teams and fifteen 4A teams. The season runs from mid-August through late October. The board will consider approval of this proposal at their meeting on November 29.
High school construction project update
Jeff Chamberlin of RLH Engineering reviewed this month’s progress at the high school construction sites. Some highlights:
The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education normally meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Learning Center in the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, 2nd and Jefferson. Due to the conflict with the Thanksgiving holiday, the November meeting has been rescheduled to 7 p.m., November 29. A special meeting is scheduled for November 26 to swear-in the newly elected board members.
The district’s Web site is at www.lewispalmer.org.
The Monument Academy Web site is at www.monumentacademy.net.
By Chris Pollard
Manager Phil Steininger and engineer Jessie Shaffer of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District came before the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) board Oct. 22 to present a preliminary site plan for a new well and pump house that would be constructed at the northwest corner of Fairplay Drive and Higby Road. It will be set into the hillside and similar in architectural style to the "house-like" building constructed in South Woodmoor near Lewis-Palmer High School.
The two gave a presentation similar to that reported at the Sertoma meeting Oct. 6 on the problems of future water supplies in the area (see Sertoma article). Steininger noted that originally, Woodmoor relied on wells drilled into the shallow Dawson aquifer, which has some recharge from surface water, and that Palmer Lake was the only local town using surface water. Now the district draws from the Arapahoe aquifer, which, while much larger and deeper than the Dawson, has no recharge.
Because Woodmoor is at the top of the hill, it has higher drilling and pumping costs as the aquifer water level declines. The cost of well water is expected to significantly increase at around an annual rate of 7.5 percent. Well water probably will not be cost-effective in 50 years. The district already had started to use Lake Woodmoor for storage of surface water.
In a question-and-answer session, WIA Executive Director Camilla Mottl said that residents had concerns about the effect emptying the lake for valve repairs would have on wildlife and the riparian habitat at the north end. Steininger said that the lake was now designated as a water reservoir and the level will go up and down for the foreseeable future. Fish will be removed when the lake is emptied for repairs and then will be replaced when it is refilled. He believed that there would continue to be some open ponds for wildlife in the drained lake.
Proposed Monument Academy school
Mottl said that she sent letters to Laura Gipson, president of the Monument Academy Board of Directors, and Wayne Williams, county commissioner, noting WIA’s belief that there was a set of covenants that applied to the land proposed for construction of the Academy’s new school adjacent to Highway 105. Hans Post, WIA president, noted that he had also sent a letter to the county Transportation Department regarding the planned construction. Later in the meeting Steve Malfatti, director of Covenants, volunteered to be in charge of matters relating to the school project.
Highway 105 being undermined
Mottl said the road surface of Highway 105 was being compromised. Water was undermining the road and washing away parts of the surface. She had contacted the Sheriff’s Office, which had written up a road hazard report.
Criminal mischief investigated
Kevin Nielson, chief of Public Safety, reported that his department received 144 calls in September, of which 26 concerned criminal mischief. A few of the reports were near the Woodmoor Pines Country Club. One resident, who reported several problems with his house being egged and damage to his mailbox, installed a video recorder. When his house was attacked again with eggs, the video showed the attackers. The egg carton left behind led the investigation to a local convenience store, where another video recording showed the same people buying the eggs. The people had subsequently been identified and charges were being pursued against at least one person.
Nielson also noted that following earlier discussions with the Lewis-Palmer High School administration, problems with parking adjacent to the school had largely gone away. The school had also lent Public Safety one of its two-way radios to report students leaving campus. The students had caught on to this quite quickly, and the number of kids leaving had been greatly reduced. More recently, Public Safety had its own radios programmed to monitor the school frequencies.
Bears are becoming a major problem and have been seen throughout Woodmoor. Nielson reminded residents not to store dog or cat food outside. They should not feed foxes or other wildlife and make sure bird feeders are well out of the way. Bears that become accustomed to feeding from these sources are likely to become a nuisance and end up being killed. Residents were warned that "A fed bear is a dead bear" and were urged to clean their barbecue grills. Bears have been seen in South Woodmoor all the way to County Line Road, and they have a range of 10 to 250 square miles.
Below: Photo taken Oct. 21 near Highway 83 and Highway 105 by Bill Kappel.
By Bill Kappel
As usual for the Tri-Lakes region during October, we experienced tastes of summer and winter, with a little bit of fall thrown in. Overall, the month was warmer and drier than normal—quite a change from a year ago.
Sunny and mild conditions greeted the region to start off October, with highs ranging from the high 60s to the low 80s during the first week of the month. This mild and dry start was briefly interrupted late on the 6th as a cold front moved through and dropped temperatures by about 20° F on the next day. Temperatures again warmed back up the next day, however, with highs in the 60s and 70s under sunny skies from the 8th through the 12th.
However, this abruptly ended as a storm system moved through on the 13th and 14th, dropping temperatures and bringing plenty of clouds. Sunday the 14th was our first real taste of winter, as highs held in the 30s and snow was present most of the day. However, the warm ground and generally above-freezing temperatures kept the snow from accumulating in any great amount.
This storm served to open the door to the Pacific, as a series of quickly moving storms raced through the region over the next week. Each storm brought its own round of winds, some clouds, and some precipitation. However, two of these systems had a little more to work with than the others.
The first one brought a little bit of everything to the area during the early afternoon of the 17th, as rain, accompanied by graupel, a few snowflakes, and some rumbles of thunder hit the region. This system quickly cleared, however, and plenty of sunshine returned for the next few days. Temperatures again warmed quickly as southwesterly winds kicked in ahead of the next storm, which would prove to be pretty powerful.
The cold front associated with this storm arrived over the region around 9:30 p.m. on the 20th and was soon followed by light snow around 10:30 p.m. Snow increased in intensity during the overnight hours and by sunrise was really coming down. As this storm continued to develop over the eastern plains of Colorado, the pressure gradient tightened, allowing for the winds to kick up. Snow and blowing snow were common for the next few hours, as 6-12 inches accumulated and blew around. Colder air also continued to filter in during the day, with high temperatures only reaching the upper 20s and low 30s. Skies quickly cleared during the evening as the storm moved out of the region, and this allowed temperatures to plummet into the single digits and low teens by the morning of the 22nd.
Temperatures again warmed over the next few days, going through the 50s, 60s, and into the low 70s under clear skies. This helped to melt most of the snow and bring quiet conditions to end the month with one brief exception: One more weak cold front moved through on the 26th, and this brought low clouds and cooler temperatures for the 27th. Sunshine and above normal temperatures again returned through the 30th, before a final push of cooler air moved in on Halloween.
A look ahead
November can be an active weather month for the Tri-Lakes region, with winter conditions often experienced. November often turns out to be one of the snowier months of winter. High temperatures average in the upper 40s early in the month to low 40s by the end, with overnight lows often dipping into the teens and single digits. Most years, the first sub-zero temperatures are recorded in November as well.
The official monthly forecast for November 2007, produced by the Climate Prediction Center ( http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/ ), is calling for above normal temperatures and equal chances of normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://www.thekappels.com/ClimateSummary.htm.
October 2007 Weather Statistics
Average High 62.5° (+3.0°)
For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region, please visit Bill Kappel’s Weather Web page at www.thekappels.com/Weather.htm.
Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Kappel is a meteorologist and Tri-Lakes resident.
School District 38 has certainly had its challenges in recent years. I think we can legitimately criticize the school board for some of its actions and its communication skills.
However, regarding the mill levy override (issue 3B on the ballot), and despite all the rhetoric from both sides, here’s how I see the bottom line: A vote against the override will ultimately hurt the students in the district. A vote for the override shows that we support the kids in our area and that we care about their future.
I think it’s just about that simple.
By the staff at Covered Treasures
Guess what? It’s already time for Christmas shopping. Why not give a gift you can open again and again—a good book? Following are some suggestions for various ages and interests.
A Family Christmas
This is a beautiful volume of charming Christmas tales for families to share. Selected and edited by Caroline Kennedy, stories include "Little Tree" by e.e. cummings, "The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde, and "Christmas to Me" by Harper Lee.
The Pirate’s Daughter
May, the illegitimate daughter of Errol Flynn, belongs neither to the emerging black nation, nor to the white, expatriate society on the island. Her mother, Ida, dreams of a bigger, more glamorous world than that of her small seaside town. Their search for the right way to live their lives reveals the hidden history of a vanished era.
The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist explores the heroism and pathos of the worst American military disaster since Little Big Horn—and the politics that set it in motion.
One Snowy Night
During a fierce storm, Little Hedgehog gives his fuzzy mittens, hat, and scarf to his shivering friends. Tina MacNaughton’s tender, fun-to-touch illustrations add to a delightful story about sharing with others.
Puzzle Quest Board Game Books
These adventurous board game books designed for grades 1-5 feature eight wipe-clean board games, game pieces, and wipe-off markers in a convenient package with storage compartments. Titles include Puzzle Quest Through Space, Puzzle Quest Through Prehistoric Times, Puzzle Quest Through History, and Puzzle Quest Around the World.
William Matthews: Working the West
Featuring 180 stunning new paintings and an essay by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, this gift book offers glorious homage to the last untamed wilderness in America and an almost-vanished way of life.
The Dangerous Book for Boys
This best-selling book for boys from 8 to 80 covers essential boyhood skills, such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, and even answering the age-old question: "What’s the big deal with girls?"
The Daring Book for Girls
The new no-boys-allowed guide to adventure will be available this month for every girl with an independent spirit and a nose for trouble.
In local author Liparulo’s latest thriller, an unscrupulous enemy has stolen an experimental laser weapon and is using it to terrorize the residents of a remote Canadian town. A group of hunters is faced with a moral dilemma. Should they run for their lives—or rescue the innocents of the town?
This is an irresistible new edition of the beloved classic about the irrepressible red-haired, freckle-faced girl who found her way into the hearts of children all over the world. Sparkling new illustrations by Lauren Child and a fresh translation by Tina Nunnaly enhance this loveable story.
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade
The talented, award-winning author of the Outlander saga adds two new volumes to her body of work, each revealing a new chapter in Lord John Grey’s life. This dashing character first appeared in Gabaldon’s blockbuster, Voyager, and readers cheered him in the New York Times best-selling novel, Lord John and the Private Matter.
These beautiful brocaded blank books come in various sizes and classic designs. Lined or unlined, the journals feature magnetic clasps that open and close with a fingertip. Ideal gifts for almost anyone, the selection includes day planners and address books.
For other ideas, see our winter catalog, "Books, the greatest gift," which is available at Covered Treasures and is included in many copies of this edition of OCN. Remember to place special orders as soon as possible so that we can have your gift books for you in plenty of time for Christmas. Until next month, happy shopping and happy reading.
Below: Photo of Dwight Haverkorn provided by the Palmer Lake Historical Society
By Diane Sawatzki
In 1911 Colorado Springs was a tranquil resort town of 45,000, and many of its visitors had spent all summer here. On one of those flawless September afternoons that Colorado is so famous for, Mrs. Ruth set off to visit her sister and do some sewing. Approaching her tiny home at 321 W. Dale, she found it odd that the blinds were drawn on such a sunny day. She knocked, but received no answer, so walked home and returned that evening to the Burnham home.
As she crept in, she saw dirty dishes still on the table from Sunday dinner. She spied the body of a woman, face-down, and blood splattering the walls. Her sister and her two children were dead, their skulls crushed with an ax. Their neighbors were also found murdered—a young couple and their 2 year-old daughter. With horrible precision, their bedclothes had been laid neatly over them.
According to Dwight Haverkorn, a retired Colorado Springs detective who spoke to the Palmer Lake Historical Society on Oct. 18, the murders shocked the townsfolk. Assuming the worst, the police arrested Mr. Burnham, a tuberculosis patient who lived and worked in a local sanitarium. After jailing him for a week, they decided he was too feeble to have trudged 12 miles and murdered his family. Pinkerton and other detective agencies were called in. An ax coated with blood and hair was found in Burnham’s shed, along with an observation hole. Had the murderer watched Mrs. Ruth when she came to find her sister?
Haverkorn said there were many ax murders around this time, prompting him to suspect they were the work of a serial killer. Of the 10 killings reported in Oregon, Colorado, and other states, all but one were performed with an ax, and many occurred near a railroad. In the Springs, five men were arrested, three of them hobos, but all were released. The murderer was never found.
The Palmer Lake Historical Society hosts free programs and refreshments in the Town Hall the third Thursday of most months. Gary Coleman will speak and show a short movie of local trains in "Chuggin’ Through the Divide" at 7 p.m. Nov. 15.
Membership in the society is $10 per year for individuals and $15 for families, and family membership comes with two mugs. (email@example.com or 559-0837) The society maintains the free Lucretia Vaile Museum in the basement beneath the Palmer Lake library across from the Town Hall. Winter hours are Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. www.ci.palmer-lake.co.us/plhs/
Below: Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker of a Flamulated Owl.
By Elizabeth Hacker
Owls are nocturnal and often associated with Halloween. I grew up in the Midwest where barn owls are common. They have a light-colored, heart-shaped face with dark eyes, and when their haunting cries pierce the night air it instills fear into the depths of even the hardiest soul.
As a child, I lived on the edge of a small town and in our back yard there was a storage shed with a loft where my mother stored antiques. On occasions when the shed was devoid of antiques, we could invite friends for a sleep-over in the loft. One fall evening my friends and I were heading to the loft after a basketball game when we were alarmed by a loud screech. We looked at each other under the faint glow of a lone streetlight, and took off running. We opened the door to the shed and immediately slammed it behind us. We breathed a sigh of relief and climbed up to the loft where after a snack we crawled into our sleeping bags and began telling ghost stories in the dimly lit room. We noticed a tapping sound and as we turned to look out the window we saw a white heart-shaped face staring at us. Our screams brought my father, who eventually reasoned with us and convinced us that what we saw was not a ghost but rather a barn owl that lived in the rafters of a neighbor’s barn. On Halloween, I often receive a card from someone reminiscing about that night.
In October I attended a talk on Colorado owls by Donna Ralph, founder of the Ellicott Wildlife and Raptor Rehabilitation Center. The number of owl species that migrate or reside here year-round surprised me. The great horned owl is probably the most common and is the largest owl found here. Donna brought along Hootie, a female great horned owl that had been found tangled in barbed wire. Her wing damage was so severe that she couldn’t fly silently and thus would not survive in the wild. She is used for education, and what a dynamic educational resource she is!
In a slide presentation, Donna flipped through pictures and told stories about the owls at the rehabilitation center. She said that in addition to great horned owls, they had flamulated, burrowing, screech, pygmy, Mexican spotted, barn, and long-eared owls that are all native to Colorado. While many owls may move around their territory or within the Western region, the only true migrant is the flamulated owl.
This insect-eating, dark-eyed diminutive owl has a body size of 6 inches, a wing span of 16 inches and weighs only 2 ounces, and will fit in the palm of your hand. Only the pygmy owl is smaller. Every year it migrates from Mexico to mountain forests of the Western United States. Not a lot is known about the habits of the flamulated owl other than it nests in hollow cavities midway up in trunks of ponderosa pines, and each night it consumes an abundance of insects including crickets and moths. Its sound is a soft low "hoot" similar to the sound made when blowing into a soda bottle.
The female lays two to four eggs in tree cavities or nesting boxes and incubates them for about 23 days. Once the chicks hatch, they are fed by both parents for about a month. The fledglings are thought to be independent of their parents after 5 weeks.
One area where the flamulated owl has been studied and is commonly found is in the forested area north of Woodland Park. In 2002, the Hayman fire destroyed over 130,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat, including that of the owl. Recent sightings of the flamulated owl on the Palmer Divide may indicate that this owl has been forced to look for new habitat or that it was blown off course during migration. One can only speculate on possible reasons for changes in a bird’s behavior.
Donna said that this summer, a man named John from Monument called her to report a sick flamulated owl he had found fluttering on the ground. She cautioned that sick or injured birds should never be handled by anyone who isn’t licensed. John covered the owl with a box before calling her, which is the correct way to deal with a sick bird. After picking up the owl, Donna took it to a veterinarian where it tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). Sadly, each year the number of birds infected with WNV, which is carried by mosquitoes, has increased and the bird loss due to WNV could be compared to the loss of human life from the flu virus of 1919 when millions of people died.
Donna began the little owl’s rehabilitation by first rehydrating it and hand-feeding it live insects every half hour. After a few days the owl was able to lift its head, and within a week it could stand. After a few weeks Donna transferred it to a rehabilitation center in Boulder where other flamulated owls are being rehabilitated. She said it may take up to two years for it to fully recover from this terrible virus. No one knows for sure how long an owl lives, but it could be 30 years or more.
Because the goal of the centers is to care for injured birds and return them to the wild, birds are handled sparingly. Donna enjoys sharing many great stories and laughs about the wild owls that come to visit Hootie at night. She said that Hootie has brooded owlets that lost their parents due to WNV.
If you’re interested in one of her presentations, would like to report an injured bird or other animal, or want to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can contact Donna at ellicottwildlife.com.
Elizabeth Hacker is an artist in the Tri-Lakes area. Her bird prints are available at the gift shop in the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake, with proceeds benefiting environmental causes. E-mail her at OCN with your questions and bird finds.
Below: Teapot, by Glenn Hayes. Hayes work is on display at the Monument Branch Library through November 30. Photo by Glenn Hayes
By Janet Sellers
For all of you art viewers, getting to know the local gallery venues creates a reliable reference of art and artists that will be available to you. Art galleries have their owners and staff to pore over the art they will exhibit for your pleasure. Public galleries of such widely varied venues as local public libraries, courthouses, and educational institutions have jurors and a curatorial staff—frequently, knowledgeable volunteers—to help keep the highest level of integrity for their venues. Getting to know local art galleries and venues is a fun way to experience art each week of the month.
So, what’s your art IQ? Have you watched or studied the arts with interest for years? Are you getting your interest up for the creative artworks you can discover? In artists’ and collectors’ circles, art venues are a vital source for the pursuit. For the artist, assessing the venue is critical to success for shows and sales, since this is the way the artist meets a number of art patrons. And for the collectors, all of the above is a vital and engaging pursuit. So, everyone’s art IQ can grow with every show they visit.
November begins a traditional gifting season for winter holidays of many kinds, including New Year’s celebrations. From fine arts and fine crafts to whimsical artistry and artisan chocolates and other foods, our local galleries are offering a large variety of art and artful items that will please many different tastes, literally.
If you are uncertain of your art IQ, or about what you can choose to give from Monument’s finest, be sure to ask at the different art and craft venues here in town for some ideas. As small businesses, it is their pleasure and specialty to be able to help you make thoughtful choices. Remember that all of the shops can create gift certificates for your needs, some with amazing packaging, so just ask them what they can do for you. It’s nice to have an expert on your team!
A giving spirit of joy can begin with a pleasant stroll in our community to the various art venues, so I’ve collected some names, mostly from the last Art Hop of the year. We have so many places we can visit nowadays; I just can’t get to them all at once and live to tell about it. I did my best as I tasted my way through the art openings recently. Nothing is as much fun as having wine and chocolate truffles for dinner, and fine cheeses and delicacies for dessert. And I hear a new art and tea store is brewing in town, too.
Janet Lee Sellers is an American painter and sculptor. She writes about art for periodicals in Colorado and the West, and teaches art in the Tri-Lakes area.
Below: Sponsored by the Monument Hill Sertoma, the annual Empty Bowl dinner is "an all-out community event!" This year Tri-Lakes Cares, the local social service agency and community resource center, will receive a check for $10,000 from proceeds of the Empty Bowl event held on October 10 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Among the many who gave of their time and resources were the local Serteens. Photo by Roni Fuster
Below Woody Woodworth entertaining. Photo by Roni Fuster .
Below oseph Bohler entertaining. Photo by Benny Nasser.
Below: Bob Tuggle President of Monument Hill Sertoma presents a plaque for Lewis-Palmer District 38’s support of Empty Bowl to Bonnie Irish Catering Manager, Katie Dubois Food Service Manager, and Superintendent Ray Blanch. Photo by Benny Nasser.
Below: Linda Pankratz (center), one of the original organizers of this 15 year-old fund-raiser, is happy to show patrons one of the many donated "empty" bowls they were able to take home. Photo by Roni Fuster.
Photos by Roni Fuster
Below: Hundreds of residents took the time to visit the Tri-Lakes Annual Health Fair on Saturday, October 20 at Lewis Palmer High School. Close to 100 agencies participated this year giving people of all ages more information on how to keep themselves, their families and their community safe and healthy.
Below: Children weren’t quite as happy as parents to see The Visiting Nurses Association administering Flu Vaccinations.
Below: The Gleneagle Sertoma Club provided free hearing evaluations in the Sertoma Mobile Hearing Van.
Below: Amy Dreher, RN and organizer of the seventh annual Health Fair takes time out to administer a lung capacity test to a visitor. Amy works on this annual event for eight months and admits it’s a "labor of love."
Photos by Roni Fuster
Below: Kendell Vliet, Co-Chair of Wine and Roses receives a $500 check from Meagan Olson, Kohl’s Department Store representative and Captain of their "A-Team." Kohl’s participation in Wine and Roses is part of a corporate community involvement program. Also pictured are: Donna Adams, President of Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, Yvonne Jennings, and Kohl’s employees.
Below: Dirk Stamp, Owner of The Wine Seller, (pictured on right) shares a toast with Gov and Jan Vaughn of Vaughn Enterprises. As sponsor for the wine-tasting portion of the event, Dirk recruited over 12 wine distributors who presented fine wines from around the world The Tri-Lakes Womens Club sponsors two major fund-raisers each year. In the past 31 years they have granted over one-half million dollars to non-profit agencies in the Tri-Lakes area. The organization will begin taking grant applications in January. Interested non-profits may apply on line at www.TLWC.net.
Photos by Roni Fuster
Below: High Country Home & Garden hosted festival activities for all ages. Pictured here are Annie and Alison Harshberger working on their pumpkin art. With the help of Janet McKinney they welcomed Fall in a special way.
Below: Jim Sawatzki, Tri-Lakes area historian celebrated Fall by giving tours of his favorite historical haunts aboard a tractor-drawn hay wagon. Everyone agreed it was the perfect way to spend a Fall day in Monument.
Below: Summer Sojourn is Jim Sawatzki’s latest historical documentary featuring Palmer Lake. Jim admits he loves to "turn people on" to our fascinating history. After producing 12 films and being nominated for an Emmy, his enthusiasm for filmmaking continues to grow. Anyone interested in contacting Jim or learning more about future projects may reach him at 719-481-3963.
The Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 celebrated the annual Make a Difference Day by donating food and money to the Black Forest Cares food bank and play ground toys to the Black Forest First Step Pre-School. When the donations were all totaled Black Forest Chapter members had provided ninety pounds of food and $109 in cash to the food bank plus miscellaneous sandbox toys and $25 to aid the non-profit pre-school operation in Black Forest. The annual Make a Difference Day activity is conducted by the Black Forest AARP Chapter every October. The objective of this activity is to make a difference in the lives of local individuals and in support of charitable community organizations.The Black Forest AARP Chapter meets at noon on the second Wednesday of each month at he Black Forest Lutheran Church.? Membership is open to individuals of all ages. For more information call 495-2176 or 596-6787.
Below: The food and toys collected and the checks being presented to Black Forest Cares representatives. The people in the picture are L-R Gwen Burk, Balck Forest AARP, Mickey Cote and Rosemary O’Connell, Black Forest Cares Volunteers, and Edna Eaton, Black Forest AARP.
Below: Children from the Black Forest First Step Preschool holding some of the donated toys and the check being presented to the Director of the Black Forest First Step Preschool, Geanina Brown, (second from left) being presented a check from Gwen Burk, AARP Chapter Project Leader. The other adult in the picture is Dana Lowry, (far right) a First Step Preschool volunteer.
Below: The Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble performed to a packed house at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts on October 14. Log on to www.trilakesarts.org to find out about TLCA’s upcoming cultural events. Photo by Roni Fuster.
On Thursday, 10/31/07, just after 7 p.m., officers from the Monument Police Department arrested three people after an investigation identified they could be attempting to steal large quantities of baby formula from the Monument Wal-Mart located at 16218 Jackson Creek Parkway.
The three are suspected of stealing about $4,400 of baby formula from the Monument Wal-Mart in seven separate incidents since June. Monument Police Chief Shirk commented that thanks to a job well-done by Monument Police Department and Wal-Mart employees, a pattern was identified in the date and time of the thefts. This allowed for a surveillance operation to be set up when the suspects were forecast to strike again. "As demonstrated in this case, it is only with great cooperative efforts between the Monument PD and citizens that strides like this will be made to reduce crime and to aggressively pursue those that commit crime."
After their arrest, over $4,000 of baby formula and other retail products was found in their vehicle, a maroon 1998 Ford Explorer with Texas License Plate 727DBZ. The three suspects were booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center for Felony Theft. Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement have placed a hold on all three suspects.
Juarez, Campos, and Suarez are believed to be part of a large organized group of criminals and are suspected of thefts throughout the region at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Albertsons, Safeway, King Soopers, and Walgreens stores. Any agency or loss-prevention department with cases matching the suspects’ descriptions or M.O. is encouraged to contact the Monument Police Department at (719) 481-3253.
By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus
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.
Crafter-artisans in 120 booth spaces offer creative holiday gifts Nov. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Pine Creek High School, 10750 Thunder Mountain Ave., Colorado Springs. This annual event is a fund-raiser for the Pine Creek High School band program. Enjoy live music, a bake sale, silent auction, and Grandma’s Kitchen! Admission is free. Take I-25 to Exit 151(Briargate Parkway), continue straight (east) to Powers Blvd, then left (north) to Old Ranch Road. For information, call 488-6517 or visit www.geocities.com/pcbazaar.
Palmer Divide will perform their original bluegrass music at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) Nov. 17. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 show. Tickets are $12 for TLCA members and $15 for non-members. Tickets are available at The Wine Seller in Monument (488-3019) and TLCA (481-0475). TLCA is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, visit the Web site at www.trilakesarts.org.
Monument Hill Sertoma will begin the Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell Ringing Campaign Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving. Monument Hill Sertoma and Serteens look forward to seeing you from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Monument Safeway, King Soopers, and Wal-Mart stores between then and Christmas eve Dec. 24. The Tri-Lakes community contributed over $35,000 to the local Salvation Army from the 2006 Bell Ringing Campaign. 100% of the contributions collected by the Monument Hill Sertoma bell ringer volunteers are given to the Salvation Army.
This popular annual fundraiser will happen Nov. 24, 5 to 8:30 p.m., at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent. All proceeds go toward maintenance of the Palmer Lake Star on the mountain, which will be lit at approximately 8 p.m. as part of the Chili Supper festivities. There will be door prizes and a bucket raffle. One lucky raffle winner will be the one to light the star! To donate prizes or for more information, phone the Palmer Lake Town Office at 481-2953.
Book an Adventure. Read eight books in eight weeks, and win fabulous prizes, from free food to coffee mugs and gas cards! Pick up a prize after reading your first four books. Read four more books to get more prizes. Read eight books by Dec. 17 to enter the grand prize drawing. Participants must be 18 years old or older and have a PPLD library card. Register online or at any PPLD library. For more information, visit ppld.org now through Dec. 17 or call the Palmer Lake Branch, 481-2587, or the Monument Branch, 488-2370.
The Tri-Lakes Music Association (TLMA), a non-profit organization, is recruiting singers and musicians once again to create a Christmas concert series, Phil Barfoot’s "The Joy of Christmas," which will be performed at Lewis-Palmer High School Dec. 21 & 22. The proceeds from this event will be donated to Tri-Lakes Cares, a non-profit organization.
There will be two identical vocal rehearsals each week. One is on Sundays at 1 p.m. at The Church At Woodmoor, 18125 Furrow Road. Monday evening vocal rehearsals are at 6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 17750 Knollwood. Anyone wanting to sing and have fun is welcome to come and join this group. In past years, the choir has consisted of 60 to 125 members as well as 20 to 25 orchestra members. For those who can’t make time for a weekly rehearsal, practice CDs allow singers to practice the music in the comfort of their home or automobile. A children’s choir will also be recruited. Also new this year, TLMA is recruiting band members to play in a big/jazz band.
TLMA’s first concert raised approximately $2,600 and the last five raised $4,000 to $5,000 each. This event is funded by several local churches and community members, and the community is encouraged to contribute. For more information, contact Bob Manning at 481-3883 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Web site, trilakesmusic.org.
Share your love of reading. Tutor an adult once a week for two hours. Work with an adult to improve their reading, writing, comprehension, or English language skills. No experience required; free training is provided. For information or to register, call 531-6333, x2223. Next training: Nov. 3, 10, and 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Penrose Library, Colorado Springs.
Lewis-Palmer High School Band Department presents "Treasures: New and Used," a fundraising event, Dec. 1, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Lewis-Palmer High School commons area, 1300 Higby Road, Monument. Admission is free. Come hear music from the band and enjoy home-baked goodies as you shop for treasures. For more information, call Deborah, 648-2855.
The Colorado Trio–Michael Baron, piano; Grace Bahng, cello; and Charles Stegman, violin–will perform Dec. 1, 7 p.m., at Forestgate Presbyterian Church, 970 Northgate Rd., one mile east of I-25 Exit 156. This is the second concert of a four-concert classical music series featuring world-class performers. The public is invited to a free Master Class given by the concert artists at the church at 10 a.m. Concert tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For more information visit www.rmmaonline.org, e-mail TheRMMA@aol.com, or phone Pam, 484-0192.
American Legion Tri-Lakes Post 9-11 is hosting a veterans’ benefits informational program and get-together Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m., at The Place, 13990 Gleneagle Dr., presented by Michael Stone, American Legion Service Officer for Colorado. Come and meet other veterans and learn more about the benefits you have earned by serving your country. Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to be informed or ask questions. For more information, contact Jackie Homa, 332-4841.
Schwan’s is teaming up with Tri-Lakes Cares to make the holidays a little brighter for families in need with their Holiday Ham Drive. Each $28 ham is 4½ pounds and will serve six to eight people. For every four hams donated, Schwan’s will donate one ham. Watch for the flyers at local businesses, or phone 964-2327 for more information.
Help fill the boots for Tri-Lakes Cares. Two Tri-Lakes fire stations are holding a boot drive for needy local families. Station 1, 18650 W. Highway 105 is collecting on Dec. 7, 3 to 5 p.m. Station 3, 1855 Woodmoor Dr., is collecting on Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Children’s Literacy Center offers free one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level. Children are matched with trained volunteer tutors and meet twice a week for an hour each session. Find out if your child is eligible to enroll by contacting Pamela Polke at 471-8672 or send an e-mail to Pamela@peakreader.org for more information.
The Tri-Lakes Community Youth Handbell Choir needs youth handbell ringers. If you are interested and are in the fifth grade or older, call Betty Jenik at 488-3853. Rehearsals are Mondays from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. in Monument.
The Western Museum of Mining & Industry is seeking volunteers to lead tours and programs, help with special events, maintain the grounds, and staff the front desk. The museum appreciates the people who give so much of their time and energy to help enhance visitor enjoyment, educational experiences, and overall appreciation of the museum’s activities, programs, and facilities. The museum is located at 225 North Gate Blvd., just off I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, #156A, across from the north entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Call 488-0880 for more information.
El Paso County recently launched a new Geographic Information System (GIS) Web site that provides mapping and data download services. The site allows the public to conduct parcel and precinct searches, download GIS data, view a zoning map book, and receive information on custom mapping and analysis products. For more information visit the new Web page at www.elpasoco.com/gis/. The Web page can also be accessed by going to www.elpasoco.com and clicking on the link under Popular Pages or Online Services.
The IRS has designed an online newsletter, e-News for Small Businesses, to help small-business owners, self-employed individuals, accounting professionals, and tax practitioners better understand and meet their tax obligations. The weekly newsletter delivers timely, useful tax information to your computer every Wednesday. To start your free subscription to e-News, go to www.irs.gov/businesses/small/content/0,,id=154826,00.html, type in your e-mail address, and submit.
Tune into The Library Channel (Comcast 17) for live simulcasts of programs, videotaped presentations, or a schedule of library events. The Library Channel broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Programs include story times for children, an adult literacy program, El Paso County commissioners meetings, and much more. A community bulletin board of library events is shown between and after programs. Find the schedule online by going to ppld.org, and then click on the link "Happenings @ Your Library." From there, click on the "Comcast 17" link to search the schedule.
Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Authority and Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership, Senior Alliance, have developed a new Senior Safety Program. The free service includes installing and maintaining smoke detectors, a fire department evaluation of seniors’ homes to identify and correct safety hazards and address seniors’ safety needs, and Vial of Life for in-home storage of medical information in case of emergency. For information, call Lisa Frasca, 488-3304, or e-mail email@example.com.
The El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility will now accept household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt) and many types of electronic equipment including computers, printers, small televisions, stereo and video components, and VCRs. More than 40,000 tons of electronic waste is discarded yearly. Some electronics contain lead, cadmium, broken glass, and mercury and can threaten the environment if not recycled. The facility is open year-round and accepts items such as paint, lawn and garden chemicals, automotive chemicals and products, and household products and cleaners. The facility is located at 3255 Akers Drive and is open for drop-off 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more recycling information, please call 520-7878.
Do you wonder how to keep the deer from munching your freshly planted garden, how to get the skunk out from under your deck without getting sprayed, or how to get the squirrels out of the attic? Colorado State University Cooperative Extension in El Paso County has a staff of trained Wildlife Masters to help you. Call the Master Gardener Help Desk, 636-8921, and you will be called promptly with an answer. A fact sheet will be sent to you by e-mail or regular mail. For information, call 636-8921 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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