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“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet service to see who they really are.”
– Will Ferrell  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 2 February 2019  

None Black Forest News   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos   None Did You Know?  
None FFPD Column   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Marks Meanderings  
None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains  
None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    Valentine’s Day 'Tidbits'
    Teens and technology: academic, social, and emotional effects
    Centennial Park - Closed
    Banning Lewis Ranch annexation
    Building and real estate update
  Valentine’s Day 'Tidbits'

   (from “Entrepreneur” magazine, Jan. 31, 2016)
  • More people are buying gifts for their friends than their boyfriends. When people search for “Valentine’s Day Gifts For …” on, 22 percent of people fill in “husband,” 20 percent of people type “friend” and 17 percent “boyfriend.”
  • On average, a single man will spend $71 on Valentine’s Day and a single woman will spend $40.
  • Valentine’s Day sales reached an all-time high of $19.7 billion in 2016.
  • Many people plan to spend money on their pets for Valentine’s Day. In 2016, a reported 19 percent of people bought Valentine’s Day gifts for their furry friends for a total of $681 million.
  • Fifty percent of marriage proposals happen on Valentine’s Day, and on, rings generated the most search traffic during the first seven days of February. In 2016, American consumers spent $4.5 billion on jewelry for Valentine’s Day.
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  Teens and technology: academic, social, and emotional effects
  By Lindsey Harrison

   According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2015, 73 percent of teens age 13 to 17 own or have access to a smartphone. Of those teens, 24 percent reported using the Internet on their cell phones “almost constantly,” while 56 percent reported going online several times a day.
   While online, 89 percent of the teens surveyed said they were on at least one social media site; 71 percent reported using two or more social media sites. With teens spending so much time on social media, many are concerned about the academic, social and emotional impacts.
   Academic effects
   Ana Garcia, whose three sons and daughter, Reina Garcia, attend school in Falcon School District 49, said technology has helped her kids because it allows them to quickly access more resources. “The resources they have now are so much more helpful than what we had with going to the library and trying to find the right book,” she said.
   Lexi Durham, a 2016 graduate from Vista Ridge High School in D 49, agreed and said technology overall can be helpful because it can make turning in assignments and getting work done much easier. The downside is that the phone interrupts her study time, she said.
   “I would have to actively tell myself not to look at it when I was trying to study,” Durham said. “It would disrupt the mindset I had going, and I would get distracted. It would take a bit to get back into it. It made studying and homework take longer. Texting was the biggest distraction.”
   Erinn Rynearson, a licensed professional counselor and junior counselor at Falcon High School in D 49, said even in the classroom, cell phones can dominate a teenager’s thoughts. They rush to the outlets and plug in their phone chargers to make sure they have enough battery life to get them through the rest of the day, she said. “Every outlet (in each classroom) every day is filled with chargers.”
   Parents also text their kids at school. Rynearson said she understands the need for parents to know their kids whereabouts or to let them know of a change in the daily routine; nevertheless, it’s still a distraction.
   In general, grades tend to be a reflection of how students spend their time and how much of that time is spent on their phones or other technology, Rynearson said.
   Amber Soule, a junior in D 49, said it is more difficult for her academically using technology than it is through traditional teaching methods. “A lot of classes have you do the work online, and you do not get to see the teacher face-to-face about it,” she said.
   Rynearson said technology offers positive results when it is used properly, which requires setting boundaries and structuring usage.
   Social effects
   Since the Internet offers so much anonymity, the effects on a teen’s social skills can be positive and negative, Rynearson said. “You can say anything you want and there is no accountability,” she said. “Kids are able to be more vocal, but are they being the person they really are? Is that their true identity?”
   Rynearson said teens will sometimes post on social media sites because they feel it is expected. “If you do not participate in this technology-driven world, you are an outcast,” she said.
   Some teens find that their social life thrives with their access to the Internet, particularly social media. Reina Garcia., a junior in D 49, said she used to be more introverted before she got involved in social media. “I used to be really shy,” she said.
   For other teens, social media exacerbates issues they might have with their peers. Durham said much of the drama she encountered in high school centered on social media. “People would reference a conflict with a friend (on social media) but not actually call them out directly,” she said. “The other person would know it was about them, and it just caused so much drama. It was kind of happening all the time.”
   Soule agreed and said the fact that some sites require permission to participate automatically isolates others, which creates more drama. People go to those sites and talk about their peers who do not have access to the site, which has become a common way to spread rumors, she said.
   “We all went through our teen years, and we got breaks from the rumors and picking on each other,” Rynearson said. “We could go home and forget about the rumor, then go back and deal with it the next day. For kids now, it is constant. They never get a break, and I think that is why we see so much stress and anxiety.”
   Ana Garcia said that, while she noticed her daughter came out of her shell and gained confidence through her access to social media sites, she also noticed physical conflicts resulting from social media posts. Reina Garcia got into a physical brawl because of people arguing and cursing at each other on social media, she said. Additionally, other people who were not initially involved found their way into the conflict, causing it to grow out of proportion, Ana Garcia said.
   Peer relationships are not the only ones to be affected by technology, Rynearson said. Familial relationships suffer when technology is not used appropriately.
   Reina Garcia said her technology usage has affected her relationship with her family because she gets caught up in her phone activity and does not pay attention to her family.
   Ana Garcia agreed. “Any time that we are somewhere doing something, she is always on her phone,” she said. “I think the quality time is not there.”
   Emotional effects
   Rynearson said this generation of teenagers has become skilled at multi-tasking, in large part because of the constant presence of their cell phones. “They do not want to leave their phones, so they are listening to music on their phones while watching TV and texting,” she said.
   But that multi-tasking has led to a host of other issues, including increased anxiety and stress, Rynearson said. Some kids actually have anxiety attacks when their parents try to limit their phone usage, she said.
   Additionally, Rynearson said constant cell phone use among students often correlates to low self-esteem. “The more students are on their cell phones or computers, specifically on social media sites, the lower their self-esteem is,” she said.
   “The majority of the signals the kids are getting are negative, from both their peers and from people they do not even know.”
   Some teens have found that positive feedback from peers online has actually bolstered their self-esteem. “It makes it easier for me to feel good about myself,” Reina Garcia said. “Social media has helped me.”
   Another source of anxiety in teens today is their desire for instant gratification, Rynearson said. Teens will reach out to their friends and get completely devastated if they do not hear back within 20 to 30 minutes, Rynearson said.
   Teens craving nonstop contact with peers is often an indicator that their self-esteem is garnered from endless interactions, Rynearson said. This has led to some teens carrying multiple cell phones, she said. “Sometimes they have two or three phones, like one or two ‘burner’ (disposable) phones and their regular phone,” Rynearson said.
   “It is a weird culture that parents are struggling to keep up with because it happened so fast.”
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  Centennial Park - Closed
  Monument had to be relocated
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Doug and Jen Gesick own the property on the corner of McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road in Falcon, Colorado. Their business, Gesick Motors, is located on that property. A decision to expand prompted the relocation of a piece of Falcon history — the stone monument.
   When the Gesicks planned to pave the way for a parking lot, adjacent to their building, for additional vehicles, they had to deal with the monument. Art and Ann Van Sant, who had strong roots in Falcon, placed the monument with the name Centennial Park on it years ago. Art Van Sant died in 2005.
   “I bought the property five years ago and have been taking care of the space around the monument since then,” Gesick said. “I gave the Van Sant family every opportunity to come out here and move or take the monument, and they chose not to.”
   Gesick had the stone moved to a nearby concrete platform, formerly a well; he plans to level it out, since the stone was cut poorly and leans to the rear, he said.
   “I am going to level the gravel area and probably put down crushed asphalt,” Gesick said. “I plan to build a white vinyl fence around the perimeter. That area has always been a shortcut for everyone, and I do not want people to keep coming through there.”
   He never intended to totally remove the monument, Gesick said. He moved it to a more convenient location to accommodate the expansion. He said community members have mistakenly believed the monument marked a government-sponsored park, since the stone’s plaque states, “Centennial Park.” He said the “park” is part of the property he purchased from the Van Sants, and it has never been used as a park.
The Centennial Park monument, originally placed by Arthur D. (deceased) and Ann Miller Van Sant - longtime supporters of Falcon - is now located atop an old well to accommodate Gesick Motors’ park-ing lot expansion. Photo by Lindsey Harrison
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  Banning Lewis Ranch annexation
  Agreement changes possible
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Jan. 16, the Colorado Springs City Council held its first public meeting about proposed modifications to the agreement that annexed the Banning Lewis Ranch into the city in 1988. The property, located on the city’s east side, spans about 24,000 acres and has about 40 different property owners.
   City Councilman Andy Pico said the goal of the 1988 agreement was to identify service extension, infrastructure and maintenance requirements, such as water and wastewater treatment, and make sure those costs were levied on the developers; not the city.
   Pico said the agreement had been based on a high-density plan of about 180,000 people. Assuming that many people would eventually live in BLR, the City Council at the time required that the infrastructure to sustain that population be figured into the development fees, per the annexation agreement, he said. “A population of 180,000 people drives up infrastructure costs pretty significantly,” he said.
   Those costs were essentially cost-prohibitive for many developers, and the property sat undeveloped for a long time, Pico said. The proposed modifications to the annexation agreement would provide some flexibility, so the builders can work with the market demands, he added.
   Oakwood Homes, which owns about 2,600 acres, is the only developer currently building in BLR. Pico said Oakwood bought the property straight out of bankruptcy and the annexation agreement will essentially not affect them.
   “The new agreement is trying to put realistic requirements on the developers that supports what the expected development will be, which is about 60,000 people versus 180,000,” he said. Using a formula to determine a set of standard fees, Pico said he thinks the council can find a way to work with developers so they bear the cost, but in an equitable manner.
   City Councilman William Murray said he thinks the push to expand development farther east is rushed. “There are 3,500 single family homes already in the pipeline for 2018,” he said. “Do we really need to add 14,000 to that?”
   Murray said the developers want to build as though their property is unique and detached from the surrounding areas, but what they do on their property affects the entire city.
   TischlerBise Inc., a national fiscal, economic and planning consultant, conducted an analysis of the financial impacts of the proposed modifications, and presented the results to the City Council in November 2017.
   According to the results, “Modification of the annexation agreement for Banning Lewis Ranch would spur development and generate $49 million in net revenue for the city over the next 30 years … . Further, the projected growth would add $1 billion to the city’s economy over the same period. The study also indicates that development would bring $434 million in additional net revenue to Colorado Springs Utilities.”
   However, Murray said the projections made by the TischlerBise study are for a specific area, comprising about one-third of the property. The agreement lacks long-term planning, Murray said.
   That lack of long-term planning in the past has brought on problems in Colorado Springs that ultimately resulted in the citizens being “stuck with the tab,” he said. One example is the cost to repair the roads because of an increase in traffic, Murray said. That cost to the citizens resulted in the November 2015 election ballot measure 2C, which allowed the city to impose a .62 percent sales tax as of January 2016, Murray said.
   Pico said the city should be aware that much of the development in unincorporated El Paso County, like Falcon, equates to the requirements and high cost of development in Banning Lewis. Making adjustments will add revenue to the city and prevent the “leap-frogging” effect that has occurred so far, he said.
   Additionally, having BLR tap into the municipal services that Colorado Springs has to offer like water delivery will prevent another small independent water district from helping to drain the Denver Basin Aquifer, Pico said.
   Murray said the council needs to listen to the concerns of the citizens, and said he has three pages of comments that the council has yet to address. One concerns emergency services. “The entire idea is that the first house that is built out there requires police and fire protection,” Murray said. “Where is that protection going to come from? You have to take it from us (Colorado Springs).”
   According to an article posted on the Gazette’s website Jan. 6, “The new annexation agreement would charge developers $2,308 per acre for fire protection and police services.”
   Pico said the council has tentatively scheduled a vote on the modified agreement for the last City Council meeting in February, but that date could change to March.
   “We have to learn from our mistakes or this area will look just like Powers (Boulevard) from Platte (Avenue) to Research Parkway,” Murray said.
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Woodmen Hills tower
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved a request by Centerline Solutions for a variance of use for a 93-foot tall freestanding commercial mobile radio service facility. The new facility will replace an existing CMRS that was constructed without BOCC approval. The property, located east of North Meridian Road and south of Woodmen Hills Drive, is zoned residential rural and included in the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Falcon School tower
   The commissioners also approved a request by Centerline Solutions for a variance of use for a 100-foot tall freestanding CMRS. The new facility will replace an existing CMRS that was constructed without BOCC approval. The 39.08-acre property, located east of Towner Avenue and north of Stapleton Drive, is zoned residential rural and included in the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Sellers agricultural structure
   The BOCC voted to deny a request by Michelle and Jason Sellers to appeal the decision made by the EPC Planning and Community Development Department’s executive director to revoke approval of their application for an agricultural structure exemption from the building code. The exemption was approved by county administration on March 15, 2017; but, since then, county staff has determined the structure is not being used in a manner consistent with the definition of “agricultural structure.” The 5-acre property is zoned residential rural and located on Glider Loop, north of Vollmer Road.
   Black Forest Regional Park Trails
   The commissioners awarded a construction contract and purchase order to Singletrack Trails Inc. for the Black Forest Regional Park Trails construction for up to $85,360.97. The EPC Community Services Department, Parks Division is constructing new soft-surface trails and associated trail drainage structures that were damaged in the 2013 Black Forest Fire. Singletrack Trails is located in Fraser, Colorado.
   Santa Fe Springs auction
   The Santa Fe Springs property will be auctioned to the highest bidder on May 24 at 10 a.m. to settle the foreclosure/lien in the amount of $8,445,112.32.
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