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"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."
– Mark Twain  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 4 April 2019  

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    Town hall meeting addresses legislation
    Colorado jumps on National Popular Vote bandwagon
    Hemp vs. marijuana
    Increased coyote sightings
    Building and real estate update
    Caring for “our place” on the prairie
    MVEA lawsuit against EPC
    MVEA essay contest
 
  Town hall meeting addresses legislation
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On March 9, local community leaders hosted a town hall meeting at Mountain View Electric Association in Falcon. The leaders included Tim Geitner, House of Representatives member for District 19; Paul Lundeen, Colorado State Senator for District 9; Mark Waller, District 2 representative on the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners; Dennis Hisey, Colorado State Senator for District 2; and Bill Elder, El Paso County sheriff.
   
   About 85 people from the community attended the meeting and listened as each host presented issues they are focusing on in the coming months. Those issues included revenue from marijuana operations; a bill prohibiting a school district’s board of education from restricting the use of a property sold by the district to be used as a school in any form; overcrowding in the EPC jail; and development and its impact on the state’s water supply.
   
   Elder said the No. 1 issue he is concerned about is traffic safety. “We are reinstituting a traffic unit, and by summer we will be in full-blown enforcement mode,” he said.
   
   Also on the agenda was House Bill 19-1177, which proposes to create an extreme risk protection order process to prevent someone’s family or household member from having, purchasing or receiving a firearm if a preponderance of evidence indicates that a person is a significant risk to themselves or others.
   
   Elder said HB19-1177, also known as the “Red Flag Bill,” poses an infringement threat on the right of citizens to bear arms; and the best way to address that infringement is to challenge the bill’s constitutionality. “We will sue on constitutionality issues if this bill goes through and fight it through the courts,” he said.
   
   Lundeen agreed with Elder and said the bill moves away from removing threats, like firearms, from individuals having mental breakdowns and shifts to seizing private property. If such a law is passed, it impacts regular citizens and that makes it a bad law, he said.
   
   Waller said the BOCC planned to pass a resolution on March 12 in opposition of HB 19-1177 and urged the community to contact Leroy Garcia, president of the Colorado Senate, to let him know that if the bill passes, he will be recalled.
   
   Following a question from the audience regarding Senate Bill 19-181, which addresses the conduct of oil and gas operations, Lundeen said the bill is an “echo” of Proposition 112 from the November 2018 election. That proposition would have increased setbacks for new oil and gas operations and was rejected by voters in a 57 percent to 43 percent margin. “It is important that we keep the oil and gas industry going, from an economic standpoint,” he said.
   
   “Senate Bill 181 is recession by legislation,” Hisey said. Not only will it take money from schools and special districts, but it allows other cities like Boulder and Broomfield to put restrictions on the industry since those places cannot place a moratorium on operations, he said.
   
   Waller said SB 19-042, the National Popular Vote Bill, which designates Colorado’s nine presidential Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote, contains a petition clause. “We are going to go out and get signatures to put an initiative on the ballot to get it turned down,” he said.
   
   Geitner agreed with Waller and asked for the community’s help in collecting the necessary signatures.
  
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  Colorado jumps on National Popular Vote bandwagon
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On March 15, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-042 into law, making Colorado part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. However, there is confusion about what the bill does, when it will take effect and the purpose behind it, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Foote of Lafayette.
   
   According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s website, the Electoral College was established “as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.”
   
   The Electoral College consists of 538 members or electors, hailing from each of the 50 states, based on the number of members in each state’s Congressional delegation, the website states: “One (Electoral College member) for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.”
   
   Colorado has nine Electoral College votes, which Foote said gives Colorado about 1.67 percent of the Electoral College votes overall. Through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Colorado’s influence would be about 1.75 percent of the votes in all, allowing the state’s citizens to have a louder voice in the presidential election, he said.
   
   “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact does not do away with the Electoral College,” Foote said. “It keeps the Electoral College but uses the authority in the United States Constitution that says state legislators may allocate electors in any way they see appropriate.”
   
   The current Electoral College method is essentially a “winner-take-all” when it comes to each state’s votes, Foote said. If the Democratic candidate wins in Colorado, all nine of the Electoral College votes go to that candidate, he said. However, under the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Foote said every vote in the country is equal, every vote would be recorded and every vote would matter.
   
   “My view is that the president is our only nationwide elected official and should be elected by the majority of the population,” he said. “The president should be elected by the majority of Americans because the president represents the citizens of the United States. As we have seen in history, the Electoral College allows the person who comes in second place to win the election and this would make sure that never happens again.”
   
   Mark Waller, District 2 representative on the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, is against the bill. “It is a compact created between a bunch of states that says once we get to the magic number of 271 electoral votes, we are going to pool all of our electoral votes together,” he said.
   
   The bill must reach 271 electoral votes committed to voting via the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact by having enough states pledge their Electoral College votes in order for that to become the new method of electing a president — with Colorado joining the compact, there are 181 committed electoral votes, Waller said.
   
   “Once it gets to 271, then all of these smaller states are effectively going to lose their voice, including Colorado,” he said. “It means the candidates will not have to come to swing states or smaller states to campaign. They will just go to the bigger population states. For example, there are 10 million people in New York City. That is twice the population of all of Colorado.”
   
   Waller said there will be no reason for candidates to campaign outside a few states, but Foote does not agree. He said for a candidate to be successful on a national basis, they will have to campaign nationwide.
   
   “The top 100 cities make up about one-fifth of the population in the U.S.,” Foote said. “If a candidate only ran in those cities, they would not have nearly enough votes. Statewide, candidates will not be able to just focus on cities like Denver or Colorado Springs; they will have to focus on all of them.”
   
   Foote said he does not see any scenario where the compact will reach the 271-vote mark before the 2020 presidential election, and it may not be there by the 2024 presidential election.
   
   In the meantime, Waller said there is a grassroots effort to sign a petition to have this issue put on a ballot for the voters to either approve or deny. “It is exciting to see the citizens in Colorado stand up and say we are sick of the Democrats in Denver trying to push things down our throats.”
   
   According to an article posted on the Colorado Public Radio’s website March 25, the petition to repeal Colorado’s participation along with 11 other states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has received more than 1,100 signatures in Mesa County alone. About 125,000 valid signatures are needed to put the repeal question on the ballot in the 2020 election, it states.
   
   “The framers that created the Electoral College did it for a reason,” Waller said. “So smaller and medium-sized states would have an equal voice when it comes to presidential elections.”
  
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  Hemp vs. marijuana
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Dec. 20, 2018, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 was passed into law, legalizing industrial hemp by removing it from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, according to the bill’s text. Hemp should not be confused with marijuana.
   
   Colleen Keahey Lanier, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, said hemp is a plant from the same genus, but it has different properties and uses.
   
   According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website, “The Colorado Constitution defines Industrial hemp as ‘a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of that plant, whether growing or not, containing a Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. Under Colorado State law, any Cannabis with a percentage of THC above 0.3% is considered marijuana.”
   
   The confusion often stems from the leaf structure, which is the same for both varieties of plants because they are both from the cannabis genus, Lanier said. “In this case, we are dealing with a long prohibition of cannabis, the genus overall, without there being a proper designation for the species within that genus, such as hemp, that are not ‘euphoric’ and do not contain that much THC,” she said.
   
   For decades, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program and state and local police have campaigned against the use of drugs with the familiar five-to-seven-fingered plant with a red slash over it, she said. People associate that plant with an illicit or unlawful product, even if the plant is hemp and not marijuana, Lanier said.
   
   “When people see mushrooms in the supermarket, they do not necessarily think that it is an illicit product, even though some varieties may contain substances that are considered illicit or controlled,” she said. “What we hope is that people will stop associating the look of the cannabis plant with it being a controlled substance.”
   
   Hemp can have many uses — as a quality textile material, rope, paper and plastic materials, Lanier said. Additionally, research has shown that the numerous types of cannabinoids found in hemp can be extremely beneficial to the human body through its endocannabinoid system, she said.
   
   The endocannabinoid system is comprised of different receptors throughout the human body that benefit from the roughly 130 types of cannabinoids found in hemp, Lanier said. Our bodies contain hundreds of receptors in various organs, especially the brain, that respond beneficially to those cannabinoids, she said.
   
   “There is a huge market for this,” Lanier said. “There are a lot of people who do not want to get high; and, for the mass population, hemp is the cannabis variety that is perfect for them because it is more of a supplement to our health and not about having a changed experience.”
   
   Hemp farming has been legal in Canada since 1998, putting the United States 20 years behind in terms of hemp cultivation, she said. Additionally, the U.S. has been the biggest buyer of hemp out of Canada, indicating how big the market is for non-psychotropic cannabis in this country, Lanier said.
   
   Hemp is one of the fastest growing industries the U.S. has probably ever seen, she said. The ultimate goal is to help people understand the benefits of hemp, while removing the stigma behind cannabis plants, she said.
   
   “It (prohibiting hemp cultivation and sales) has been essentially taking an entire genus of plants off the market because one subspecies has a certain effect,” Lanier said. “And that is not good.”
   
   Pull quote: The U.S. has been the biggest buyer of hemp out of Canada, indicating how big the market is for non-psychotropic cannabis in this country.
  
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  Increased coyote sightings
  By Lindsey Harrison

   According to the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website, coyote breeding season lasts from January through March and pups are born from April through mid-May, which is likely a contributing factor to an increase in coyote sightings in the Falcon area.
   
   With increased sightings, there are heightened concerns about conflicts between coyotes and humans or pets. Other factors that might be inadvertently attracting coyotes to more urban areas that could be preventable, said Stanley D. Gehrt, Ph.D.
   
   Gehrt is an associate professor of wildlife ecology and an extension wildlife specialist at the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. He said litter-rearing season can be one of the most stressful times in a coyote’s life. “They have really strong parenting instincts, and you will see a spike in dog/coyote conflicts during this time,” he said.
   
   The main reason for increased sightings is that coyotes have moved into more urban development areas, Gehrt said. In some instances, development is encroaching on their territory; in many other instances, the animals have simply moved to a different, more highly populated area, he said.
   
   Sarah Watson, district wildlife manager for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, said although coyotes are typically fearful of people, they adapt successfully and find ways to live alongside humans in urban settings. “In Colorado Springs, there are absolutely coyotes; and, in the Falcon area, with all the agricultural land, there are definitely going to be coyotes out there and even in town there, too,” she said.
   
   Because of the increase in sightings, there is the perception that coyotes are a bigger problem than they really are, especially when it comes to conflicts with humans or domestic animals, Gerht said.
   
   According to a study on the Urban Coyote Research website, published in 2012, called, “Assessment of Human-Coyote Conflicts: City and County of Broomfield, Colorado,” three children were bitten by coyotes in separate incidents during July and August 2011.
   
   According to a Fact Sheet called, “Urban Coyotes: Conflict & Management,” on the Urban Coyotes Research website and co-authored by Gehrt, coyote attacks on humans are relatively rare. “Most attacks on humans occur between May and August (pup-rearing season),” the sheet states. “Coyotes may view small children as potential prey and may also be stimulated to attack children that are running or engaging in playful behavior.”
   
   Often, an immediate reaction to an attack incident is to demand the coyote be removed or destroyed, Gehrt said. “We have been able to document that, if you shoot the coyote, that may take care of the problem, but if the problem was created by something else to make the coyote act that way, removing the individual is not a long-term solution,” he said.
   
   Gehrt said coyotes are quick learners, which is one of the keys to their success and why coyote numbers are still growing. They often watch human behaviors and actions and learn from them, he said. People might inadvertently give coyotes the message they are welcome by leaving out food for a pet, providing a consistent source of food through an easily accessible compost pile or giving up space to the coyotes in their yards, Gehrt said.
   
   “We have had a couple coyotes become more obvious during the day in people’s yards because of the really big platform bird feeders they have,” he said. “There are piles of bird food that the birds knock to the ground. The coyotes are not attracted to the feed, they are attracted to the rodents that come feed there.” People often complain about having a coyote in their yard even though they are not providing a source of food for it, but one or more of the surrounding neighbors might not be doing their part to deter coyotes; and that affects everyone in the area.
   
   Coyotes are generally not a welcome sight in a person’s backyard, but they play an essential role in the ecosystem, Gehrt said. “The number of coyotes that actually come into conflict with people is a very small percentage,” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of them are actually doing other things like eating rodents, eating other things we consider nuisances and performing important ecological services.
   
   “The majority of coyotes will not take advantage of human food. They actually bring a predator role into a city that did not have it before and help to control the population of rodents there.”
   
   There are places where coyotes do not belong, and the best way to handle them is to act aggressive and try to scare them away, Gehrt said. They have a natural fear of humans but can learn to overcome that with enough innocuous contacts with people, he said.
   
   Watson said it is important to keep an eye on small animals and children when they are outside, especially during dawn and dusk. “With little kids, they may have a harder time distinguishing between a coyote and a dog,” she said. Keep animals on a leash to further protect them, Watson said.
   
   Aggressive or fearless coyotes need to be reported, Gehrt said. The CPW website recommends calling their local administrative offices at 719-227-5200 during regular business hours and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office or the Colorado State Patrol after regular business hours.
   
   If someone is thinking about relocating a coyote, live traps like cages or box traps, are the only types of traps permitted by the CPW. To relocate a coyote, a person must first obtain a relocation permit from the CPW.
   
   The bottom line is that coyotes perform a function even in the most urban of areas; while removing or destroying an individual coyote might be the safest option, sometimes the best thing is to learn how to effectively live with them, Gehrt said.
   
   “Coyotes are now part of the urban landscape; whereas they were not before,” he said. “And people should act accordingly.”
  
This “urban” coyote has made his home in a residential area in the heart of Falcon. That low juniper bush is where the rabbits liked to hide — not so much anymore. Photo by Kathy Hare
 
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Drake Lake
   El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a construction contract and purchase order to Sun Construction Inc., for the Drake Lake Embankment Repairs Project for $191,750.
   
   The commissioners also unanimously approved the appropriation of expenditures from the Urban Park Fees to the Community Services Department for improvements to Drake Lake for $125,000. The Community Services Department had $67,764 in funds from ballot measure 1A to go toward the overall project cost.
   
   McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road
   The commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement for a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement for the McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road Improvement Project from property owned by Farmers State Bank of Calhan for $1,600.
   
   The BOCC also unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement for a special warranty deed, non-exclusive permanent easement and temporary construction easement for the same project from property owned by GEB Holdings LLC, for $28,700.
   
   The commissioners also unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement to memorialize the agreement for a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement for the same project from property owned by Sally M. Frost, trustee of the Sally M. Frost Trust, dated Sept. 9, 2014, and Terry J. Tamlin for $1,700.
   
   Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride
   The county commissioners approved a memorandum of agreement for a temporary construction easement from property owned by Farmers State Bank of Calhan for the Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride Improvements Project.
   
   Latigo Open Space
   The BOCC unanimously approved a lease agreement with StableStrides for the use of the Latigo Open Space for grazing purposes. StableStrides, formerly Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Club, requested to use the almost 100-acre area that historically has been used as a pasture.
   
   Paint Brush Hills
   The commissioners unanimously approved the partial release of collateral funds for grading and erosions control in Paint Brush Hills Filing 13E for $184,505.75. A substantial amount of the improvements, equal to the funds being released, have been completed and inspected.
   
   The county commissioners also approved the final release of funds for grading and erosion control of Filing No. 13 C and D for $63,731. All improvements have been inspected and completed.
   
   Janice Newcomb property
   The BOCC unanimously approved a special use request by Janice Newcomb for a guesthouse with special provisions to act as extended family housing on her property. A previous variance for a second dwelling on the property, zoned residential rural 5, was approved in 1993 and expired five years later.
   
   Master Plan Advisory
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request to appoint members to a new Master Plan Advisory Committee to assist Planning and Community Development and the planning commission in creation of the EPC master plan. The commissioners also unanimously approved establishment of the bylaws for the committee.
   
   Wind Farm Project
   The BOCC approved the final release of funds for road damage collateral for the Golden West Wind Farm Project for $426,200. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Solar Energy Project
   The EPC Planning Commission unanimously approved a request by Grazing Yak Solar LLC, and NextEra Energy Resources LLC, for an overlay rezoning for the Grazing Yak Solar Energy Project, which measures about 272 acres. It is located north of Judge Orr Road, south of Funk Road, and is bisected by McQueen Road. It will allow for a nearly 35 megawatt solar energy facility, to include an array site, associated equipment, electrical collection devices, two lay down areas, a minor upgrade to an existing substation and an underground electrical transmission line corridor.
   
   Judge Orr Ranchettes
   The EPC Planning Commission approved a request by John and Linda Jennings for the preliminary plan to create seven single-family residential lots on 40.67 acres. A concurrent application to rezone the area from agriculture 35 to RR-5 was approved. The property is located on the northwest corner of the Judge Orr Road and Stapleton Drive intersection and is included within the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   High Plains property
   The planning commission approved requests by Savage Development Inc. for the preliminary plan and final plat of 39.4 acres for the High Plains subdivision, located within the RR-5 zoning district. The project will create seven single-family residential lots and right of way. The property, located one-half mile west of Black Forest Road and on the north side of Hodgen Road, is included within the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Settlers View
   The planning commission approved a request by Gary and Brenda Brinkman for the final plat of the Settlers View subdivision to create 14 single-family lots and 2.59 acres of right-of-way on 40.61 acres, zoned RR-5. The property is located north of Hodgen Road, south of Silver Nell Drive, east of the Walden Development and west of Steppler Road and is included within the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Colorado Parks & Wildlife shooting range
   The planning commission approved a request by Colorado Parks & Wildlife to create an outdoor shooting range on 158 acres, zoned A-35, located about one-half mile north of the Highway 24 and North Yoder Road intersection.
   
   ROI Property Group
   The planning commission unanimously approved a request by ROI Property Group for the rezoning of 824 acres from A-35 to residential rural 2.5, located at the southeast corner of the Judge Orr Road and Curtis Road intersection.
  
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  Caring for “our place” on the prairie
  From the Falcon Garden Club

   Since 1999, the Falcon Garden Club, a nonprofit social club, has been offering programs and tips for growing gardens on the prairie.
   
   Meetings are held at the High Prairie Library in Falcon almost every month on the third Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon. The meetings feature informative speakers on a variety of topics, such as combating poor soil quality, planting the right seeds and seed exchanges, high-altitude gardening tips, lasagna gardening, mulching and soil amendments, water retention, herbs, native plants, wildlife and much more.
   
   “The New Falcon Herald” lists the topics each month in the community calendar section of the paper.
   
   Several members in the club have more than 30 years of gardening experience in the Falcon area, with many “trial and error” moments. Gardening challenges are plentiful; however, with the right resources, successful gardening is achievable in Zones 4 and 5.
   
   The club hosts an annual plant sale in the beginning of June at the Falcon Fire Protection District Station No. 3 at 7030 Old Meridian Road. Local flowers, herbs, vegetables and small shrubs are among the plants for sale at reasonable prices –- most of the goods are from club members’ own gardens. Those plants are already well-adapted to the area’s climate and altitude.
   
   Every Christmas, the club donates to the Falcon Fire Protection District, the High Plains Library and a local food pantry as part of their contribution to the community.
   
   The club also maintains a flower garden onsite at the library.
   
   Family membership dues are $15 for the year.
   
   The website address for the group is http://www.falcongardenclub.org. The site lists helpful resources as well as events in the Pikes Peak area related to gardening.
  
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  MVEA lawsuit against EPC
  Jim Herron
  MVEA chief executive officer

   Mountain View Electric Association Inc. has filed a lawsuit to halt attempts by El Paso County to undermine MVEA’s property rights and shift costs to the electric cooperative members.
   
   According to the lawsuit, “The Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against the Board of County Commissioners and the County Planning and Community Development Department focuses on the County’s incorrect interpretation of its Land Development Code governing MVEA’s electric lines.”
   
   MVEA, which began providing electricity in 1941, serves customers in Arapahoe, Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Lincoln, Pueblo and Washington counties, and stretches over 5,000 square miles and 6,140 miles of energized lines. We are member-owned, and the decisions made … must always reflect the best interests of all members.
   
   We believe that El Paso County’s interpretation of its Land Development Code oversteps its authority provided in the state statute to regulate utilities such as MVEA. If allowed, the county's interpretation will jeopardize our existing property rights and hurt our members through rate increases.
   
   At issue are MVEA’s distribution lines, low-voltage facilities that run through neighborhoods and provide electricity directly to homes and businesses. In El Paso County, MVEA’s distribution lines often follow roadways and are typically installed in 20-foot easements — vested property rights that are utilized for overhead and buried distribution lines — just outside the current right of ways. Most of these easements were created as part of the county’s development approval process and were negotiated with the landowner, providing MVEA access to that property to operate and maintain its distribution lines.
   
   The county wants wider right of ways along future arterial roadways in eastern El Paso County. In many cases, the county’s new right-of-way measurement would force MVEA to move electric lines into backyards and through existing homes and commercial buildings — taking away MVEA’s current easements and disrupting entire communities. If the county gets its way, it would have to be done at the expense of all MVEA members, including those outside El Paso County.
   
   It only takes a drive through eastern El Paso County to see that moving MVEA’s facilities into people’s backyards isn’t feasible. Based on the county's actions, MVEA would have to move its lines outside of its easements or get a permit from the county to upgrade or replace existing lines. The permitting process is costly, burdensome and time consuming. It’s just not practical; and, more importantly, we believe the county doesn't have the legal right to regulate MVEA’s distribution lines under state law.
   
   MVEA has tried to work with the county to explain why the county's interpretation of its permitting powers is contrary to law. Unfortunately, the county has not responded to our concerns — and then brought in its lawyers, forcing this to become a legal issue. We did not want this to happen, but now MVEA needs the court’s opinion on this matter.
   
   If the county can regulate MVEA’s distribution lines, this will no doubt increase electric bills for all MVEA members, unfairly impacting our members outside of El Paso County. We can’t just let that happen. Providing affordable and reliable electricity has been our mission for more than 75 years, and we will fight to protect members and to continue that vital mission.
   
   If you are an MVEA customer and have further questions, please visit our website at http://www.mvea.coop for additional information and updates.
  
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  MVEA essay contest
  Submitted by MVEA

   Four high school juniors won Mountain View Electric Association’s essay contest. They will receive an all-expense paid leadership-focused trip. This year, the first and second place winners will receive a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in June. They will participate with about 1,900 high school juniors from cooperatives across the nation. The third and fourth place winners will attend the Colorado Electric Education Institute Youth Leadership Camp in Clark, Colorado, in July. They will join nearly 100 students from Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming to improve their leadership skills and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.
   
   First place: Ashley Enghaus attends Falcon High School, where she is active in cheerleading, track,and JROTC. Ashley is also getting a head start on her future career as a nurse through the Health Academy at Falcon High School.
   
   Second place: Isabella Avdem, a student at Falcon High School, is a regular on the honor roll. Isabella excels in academics, having won accolades in math, as well as student leadership roles. After high school, Isabella plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician.
   
   Third place: Lane Wilfong from Peyton Junior-Senior High School is an accomplished student athlete who wrestles for his school and at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. After he graduates from high school, Lane is applying to attend the United States Air Force Academy to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering and a career as a pilot.
   
   Fourth place: Mahalie Owens, a student at Limon Public Schools, is a member of the National Honor Society. Mahalie is active in FFA, softball, basketball and band. After high school, she hopes to attend a college or university out of state.
   
   MVEA’s essay contest encourages students throughout MVEA’s service territory to submit their best response to an essay question. This year’s topic was: “You have just been named CEO of Mountain View Electric Association Inc. As the new CEO, write about what you would do first in your new position. Explain your priorities and values and give the reasons why you feel that way.” The authors of the student essays are not revealed until the winners have been chosen.
  
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