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“In my desperation, I have finally discovered that the only way that I can begin to fill the gaping hole within me is to be thankful for what’s there, and not angry for what’s not.”
– Craig D. Lounsbrough, author  
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 11 November 2017  

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    Kids get their eggs-ercise at annual Easter egg hunt
    Mother's Day tidbits
    Memorial Day tidbits
    Senior care options for Falcon residents
    JROTC paintball tournament
    Progress on Falcon dog park
    Building and real estate update
    Play inspired by Bible stories
    Banning Lewis “Easter Egg-splosion”
 
  Kids get their eggs-ercise at annual Easter egg hunt
  Breeanna Jent

   On the word “Go,” kids of all ages scrambled to collect as many eggs as their hands, Easter baskets and pockets could carry.
   
   For a kid, the stakes were high; as winners were awarded with candy, toys and gift cards. In the end, everyone was a winner.
   
   The Falcon Fire Protection District Station No. 1 on Royal County Down Road in Falcon, Colorado, hosted the annual hunt; and the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District teamed up with FFPD for the event.
   
   Besides hunting for the hundreds of plastic eggs, kids had their pictures taken with the Easter Bunny and the FFPD Dalmatian mascot; they mingled with firefighters, toured a fire truck and took turns on the bounce house. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches provided lunch for the families at no charge.
   
   Ashley Laflamme said the family friendly atmosphere brings her and her children back each year. “The kids always have a lot of fun. Plus, it’s a small town so we come here and we get to see all our friends,” Laflamme said.
   
   Dawn Sprouse, whose children attend Woodmen Hills Elementary School with Laflamme’s children, said she attended based on Laflamme's recommendation. “It’s small enough that kids can still enjoy it,” Sprouse said. “There’s plenty of room, and it’s very organized.”
   
   On the Falcon Fire Protection District Facebook page, the department thanked the following businesses for contributing to the success of the event: Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District and Recreation Center, Thrivent Financial, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Swirly Cow, Papa Murphy’s, Pizza Hut, Great Clips and Chic Nails.
  
Friends Alex Laflamme, age 9, and Vivian Sprouse, age 6, patiently await the Easter Egg Hunt. Photos by Breeanna Jent
 
Zohla Killett (bottom right) poses with the remnants of chocolate candy still on her lips. Joshua Killett, president of the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District, said he was there “as a resident enjoying the event with this family.” Pictured (left to right) Jamie and Sage (back row); Jackson age 4, Joshua and Zohla, age 6.
 
Jacob Gainer, age 6, makes a colorful chalk drawing of a lizard while waiting for the annual Easter egg hunt to begin. Jacob attended the event for the first time this year with his brother, Isaac, age 3, and his mother, Hillary (Isaac and Hillary are not pictured).
 
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  Mother's Day tidbits

   About 133 million Mother's Day cards are exchanged annually in the United States, according to the Greeting Card Association.
   
   According to the Insure.com 2015 Mother's Day Index, the various tasks moms perform at home would be worth $65,284 (up from $62,985 in 2014) a year in the professional world.
   
   More people purchase fresh flowers and plants for Mother's Day than for any other holiday except Christmas/Hanukkah.
   
   In 2016, the National Retail Federation estimated that U.S. consumers would spend $21.4 billion celebrating Mother's Day.
  
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  Memorial Day tidbits

   In 1873, New York was the first state to recognize Memorial Day.
   
   The annual motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C. is expecting 900,000 participants this year.
   
   Each year on Memorial Day, 260,000 graves are adorned with American flags.
   
   In 2000, Congress dedicated the national moment of remembrance on Memorial Day at 3 p.m.
  
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  Senior care options for Falcon residents
  By Lindsey Harrison

   According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2005 and 2015, Colorado witnessed a 53.8 percent population increase of people 65 years and older, representing the third-highest percentage increase in the country.
   
   While there are adequate facilities in the Pikes Peak region to meet the needs of the senior population, eastern El Paso County is limited in the availability of licensed assisted living and nursing facilities, said Joe Urban, director of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging.
   
   “The population in that area, although growing rapidly, has apparently not reached a point where private investors or companies have decided to build facilities,” Urban said.
   
   There are several options close to the Falcon/Peyton area in the eastern portion of Colorado Springs, with varying levels of care. “Senior housing/care is generally divided into retirement, assisted living and skilled nursing, with progressively higher care at each level,” Urban said. “A retirement community may just offer basic services, where a nursing center has significant medical regulation and is required to have nurses on staff 24-hours per day.”
   
   Margo Campbell, community director with Affinity at Colorado Springs, said her facility falls at the lower end of the care spectrum. “We are a 55-plus community and do not offer any care services,” she said. However, they offer an all-inclusive community with amenities like a saltwater swimming pool, hot tub, craft room, private dining room, pub, library, Internet café, movie theater and a workshop, Campbell said. Affinity is located off Powers Boulevard, near Constitution Avenue.
   
   Affinity also includes an independent living option, which is a step above the retirement community level, she said. “For independent living, we add meal preparations and housekeeping,” Campbell said. “That comes with a higher price tag but works for people who want to downsize and not have the maintenance of a house.”
   
   Out of the 154 apartments at the Colorado Springs facility, about 98 percent are occupied and the location has only been open for a little over a year and a half, she said.
   
   Steve Feldman, owner of New Day Cottages, has two assisted living homes; one on the edge of Black Forest and the other near Woodmen Road and Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs, with 16 beds and 11 beds, respectively. Each home employs on-site certified nursing assistant staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.
   
   “Our staff is there 24/7 to assist with their care and needs,” Feldman said. “We help with the activities of daily life, including medication administration, shower and dressing assistance. We can also handle residents with mild dementia, but we do not get into memory care.”
   
   Residents are equipped with medical alert pendants so they can push a button and get immediate help, he said. To avoid tiresome outings to various doctors, Feldman said he has nurse practitioners on staff to deal with medical issues without having to leave the home.
   
   Feldman said his homes are different because they were designed and built specifically for their senior residents’ lifestyles. The homes do not have stairs, but have large hallways and doorways, and they feel more like homes than the larger assisted living facilities, he said. “Our residents have bedrooms but then they can go out and spend time in the living room and dining room with the other residents,” he said. “They feel more like the type of home they have lived in all their lives.
   
   “The bigger places have bigger apartments but a lot of people do not need that space anymore. They do not want to have to go down these long hallways and get in an elevator to go down to a restaurant to eat.”
   
   Residents can choose activities, from events outside of the facility to in-house functions.
   
   The licensing process for New Day Cottages is the same as the larger facilities — they are held to the same standards, Feldman said. As the owner of an assisted living home, he said he understands that people want to stay in their own homes as long as they can; but assisted living centers offer alternatives if someone is no longer safe at home.
   
   Sigvard Bore is founder and chief innovation and product officer for nestCARE, a startup company in Colorado Springs and Milwaukee that provides a new and different level of support for those who need it. Bore said he and co-founder Sanjay Mohan, chief executive officer, saw the need to provide additional support for people who wanted to stay home or for those whose loved ones did not live nearby.
   
   “My co-worker and I found ourselves in similar life circumstances, where our loved ones were not nearby, and we just wanted to figure out how he and I could better take care of the ones we cared about,” Bore said.
   
   According to the company’s website, nestCARE provides the necessary devices to track a person’s health vitals, including a pulse oximeter, scale and blood pressure model. The devices connect to the nestCARE app through Bluetooth technology, which provides the person an avenue to stay connected with others, along with the ability to track the device measurements. Using the data collected, a support network is formed to ensure the person is receiving proper care.
   
   “We have basically created one of the only truly holistic solutions to empower people to take charge of their health and wellness; but, at the same time, through technology we are starting to bring people back together,” Bore said. “They get peace of mind, assistance and support.
   
   Bore said the intent of nestCARE is not to replace in-home care or assistance for someone who needs it; rather, they are adding another layer of support. “We want the individual to feel empowered and take charge but also have all the people who really care about them be on the journey with them and stay informed about their health,” he said.
  
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  JROTC paintball tournament
  Sponsored by Falcon American Legion Riders
  Jeff Bowles

   In April, the American Legion Riders Post 2008 held their third annual Junior ROTC paintball tournament at Dragonman’s military museum and gun range in Falcon. Organizers described the event as an opportunity for young ROTC members —many of whom are graduating this year — to have fun and celebrate their successes.
   
   Frank Serrano, president of the Legion Riders Post 2008, said, “The first year we did this, it was just targeted at Falcon JROTC. It went off really well, the kids really seemed to enjoy it, we got in touch with their leadership, and year after year, the event got bigger and bigger.”
   
   Last year, Post 2008 challenged riders from Post 38 in Fountain to sponsor the Fort-Carson-affiliated Army JROTC program. They responded, and the event has continued to expand. Post 209 in Colorado Springs donated several hundred dollars this year.
   
   The American Legion is the largest veterans’ organization in the country. Now entering its 100th year, the legion was founded on four basic pillars. “First and foremost we’re for veterans and the rehabilitation of veterans after they come home from service,” said Chip Kossow, commander of Post 2008. “Next are national defense, children and youth; and, last but not least, community and Americanism.”
   
   The Falcon American Legion Riders formed in 2008, and named the post after Dane R. Balcon, who attended Falcon High School and graduated from Sand Creek High School. Dane entered the Junior ROTC program in the early 2000s, and later enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was killed defending his country in Iraq in 2007.
   
   George Skender, one of three JROTC instructors from Falcon High School, was enthusiastic about the impact of the tournament.
   
   “We have a cadet corps of 249 cadets right now,” Skender said. “The first two years of the tournament we were for senior cadets, but this year we opened it up to second and third years. We have 35 slots; and, as you can tell, the kids enjoy coming out here.”
   
   Before the tournament got under way, the American Legion chaplain said a prayer and Scott Peterson, committee lead for the event, addressed the cadets. “In order to be a member of the legion, you have to have served in the military during a war time event. We go back a century, so as you can imagine, a lot of very fine people have been a part of our organization.”
   
   The Sons of the American Legion — a separate group formed for the children and decedents of legion members — also participated in the tournament.
   
   “We appreciate the American Legion sponsoring this thing and allowing these kids to come out here and do this every year,” Skender said. “The camaraderie, the experience: It’s a special thing for them to get to do.”
   
   Information on the American Legion Riders Association can be found at http://americanlegionpost2008.org/. The Junior ROTC of Falcon High School hosts a page on the School District 49 website at https://d49.org/domain/442.
  
George Skender, JROTC instructor at Falcon High School; Chip Kossow, commander of the American Legion Riders Post 2008; Frank Serrano, president of the ALR Post 2008 and James Bergmann, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, led the activities at the third annual Junior ROTC paintball tournament at Dragonman’s military museum and gun range in Falcon. Post 2008 sponsored the event. Photo by Jeff Bowles
 
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  Progress on Falcon dog park
  Jeff Bowles

   Last year, Great Outdoors Colorado approved a grant of $45,000 to El Paso County to build a new 10-acre dog park in Falcon. Scheduled to open in October, the park is a $60,000 project, with additional funding coming from the county and the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce.
   
   Elaine Kleckner, planning manager for the El Paso County Community Services Department, said the next step in the process is to sign the grant agreements and then solicit bids for the park’s construction. Initial amenities will include a parking lot, a 5-feet-high perimeter fence, standard regulation and identification signage and sanitation provisions such as trash receptacles.
   
   “We do expect the park to evolve over time, just as our Bear Creek regional dog park has evolved,” Kleckner said. “The Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce and others are interested in being friends to the park. Right off the bat, we have an Eagle Scout group that wants to construct log benches, so we do expect amenities to change and grow as time goes on.”
   
   The dog park will also feature 4,100 feet of linear trail constructed by the Mile High Youth Corps. The trail will be natural-surface-cut, which requires light ground and vegetation clearing.
   
   According to county research conducted before the project got under way, most potential visitors to the park were interested in seeing a loop trail, which allows a user to end up at the starting location, without repeating most portions of the trail.
   
   Kleckner is enthused about progress made thus far, citing the inclusion of community input as a vital aspect of the several-years-long project. The county created a master plan for the park in 2014, holding public meetings and conducting surveys. The community clearly favored a dog park, although the initial plan was for a 4-acre park rather than the finalized 10 acres.
   
   The county hopes to begin construction sometime in July and continue through September. According to grant documentation provided by the county, “The Falcon Dog Park is intended to enhance recreation opportunities in the area, as well as provide a safe and spacious gathering place for residents, visitors and their dogs. Additionally, the Falcon Dog Park will foster pet health and awareness of pet issues.”
   
   Kleckner said a major goal of the project is to encourage local residents to live healthier, more satisfying lives.
   
   “People and animals need to socialize and get proper amounts of exercise,” she said. “There’s got to be a higher benefit to something like this, because we want to improve the area while at the same time offering opportunities for recreation.”
   
   Overall, statistics are supportive of the health benefits of pet ownership. “Psychology Today” published an article in 2014 emphasizing the link between animals and anxiety-free living. According to the journal, being around a dog can significantly lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone commonly linked to depression.
   
   The park will be located along Stapleton Road, about a quarter-mile north of the existing Falcon Regional Park. The Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund is supported by lottery proceeds, and is designed to help construct and enhance communal areas and other environmental education facilities across the state.
   
   “We’re excited to finally get under way,” Kleckner said. “We appreciate the interest from the community and our partners, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing this through to completion.”
  
The future dog park is a blank slate, but won’t be for long. Photo by Jeff Bowles
 
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Settlers Ranch Filing No. 2A
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved the application for final acceptance of certain streets within the Settlers Ranch Filing No. 2A subdivision into the EPC road maintenance system. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   The Reserve at Corral Bluffs Filing No. 1
   The commissioners approved the release of the final letter of credit for public improvements at The Reserve at Corral Bluffs Filing No. 1 subdivision for $8,812, which represents the balance of the required defect warranty. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   The county commissioners also approved the application for final acceptance of certain streets within Filing No. 1 into the EPC road maintenance system. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Nicodemus rural home occupation
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by Julie and Brad Nicodemus for a special use to legalize a contractor’s equipment yard as a rural home occupation. The property is located 2.3 miles northeast of the Hodgen Road and Vollmer Road intersection, on the east side of Black Squirrel Road. The lot is 14.36 acres, zoned residential rural and included in the Whispering Pines Acres subdivision, within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Tanager Way project
   The commissioners approved a resolution to amend a previously authorized grant agreement between the county and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service for the design and construction of emergency watershed protection measures for two major drainage channels: the Bennett Ranch Channel along Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road; and the Tanager Way Channel along Tanager Way and Chamberlin south.
   
   The NRCS provided $387,000 for the Tanager Way project; and, after conducting damage survey reports, additional federal funding has been made available: $26,000 in technical assistant funds and $129,000 for construction channel stabilization. The money is available under the condition that EPC provide $43,000 in-kind matching funds to complete the construction phase of the Tanager Way Project.
   
   County Fairgrounds Owen Livestock Pavilion
   The BOCC approved a change order and contract amendment to Sedlak Electric for electrical work at the County Fairground Owen Livestock Pavilion for $44,455 for additional work required to properly complete the project to meet building standards.
  
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  Play inspired by Bible stories

   In April, members from Meridian Point Church in Falcon performed “Risen: Death Where is Your Sting?” The play was inspired by Bible stories.
   
  
In April, members from Meridian Point Church in Falcon performed “Risen: Death Where is Your Sting?” The play was inspired by Bible stories. The following people are shown on stage: (from left to right) Isaac Scheffler, Adam Baart, Alex Kapral, Chris Stephan, Hunter Adam, Samuel Scheffler, Dan Nassimbene, Kevin Scheffler, Nathan Deis, Ethan North, Christopher Scheffler, Jackson Swift and Kelsey Morris. Photo Submitted
 
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  Banning Lewis “Easter Egg-splosion”
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On April 15, the Banning Lewis Ranch neighborhood partnered with the Bridge Fellowship Church for an “Easter Egg-splosion” event. The church meets in the gymnasium of the Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, and the event was held in the field adjacent to the school.
   
   About 1,000 people attended the event, sponsored by the Bridge Fellowship, the BLR homeowners’ association and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. They sectioned off the field to designate areas for the five age groups that participated, and then they scattered the 39,000 plastic Easter eggs, each filled with candy or toys. Three local food trucks were available so hungry attendees could purchase food; and four different inflatable activity areas provided additional entertainment for the kids.
   
   Steve Farris, pastor of the Bridge church, said the event was a huge success and the church has been invited back next year to coordinate the Easter celebration. Two other neighborhoods in the Falcon and north Colorado Springs area have also requested the Bridge’s help for Easter 2018, he said.
   
   Abby Buljung, age 10, said, “My favorite part was gathering the eggs and seeing what surprises were inside. I would definitely do this again next year, but with my little brother this time.”
  
About 1,000 people from the Banning Lewis Ranch and the surrounding areas attended the “Egg-splosion” event. Photos by Lindsey Harrison
 
Tori Cuellar, age 2, excitedly adds eggs to her bucket during the Easter egg hunt.
 
Naiya Aziz, age 1, shows off her haul during the Easter egg hunt.
 
Brynlee Reese, age 2 1/2, kneels down so she can quickly gather the Easter eggs.
 
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