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"If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get."
– Frank A. Clark  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 11 November 2018  

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    The American Legion Riders Pony Express
    Veterans honored with flags
    PPACG holds joint land use study meetings
    The Vistas at Meridian Ranch
    Drake Lake improvements follow-up
    Building and real estate update
 
  The American Legion Riders Pony Express
  Bringing scholarship funds
  Mark Stoller

   The once frenzied cadence of horses being ridden to their maximum capacity has been replaced by the roar of motorcycle engines as the American Legion Riders revived the Pony Express throughout Colorado.
   
   On June 10, American Legion Riders covered four routes originating in the north from Greeley, east from Manzanola, central from Denver and southwest from Montrose and Durango.
   
   Handing off from one rider to another at designated locations, the handmade leather pouches, full of donations for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund, were delivered to Falcon and the Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 American Legion Riders.
   
   Frank “Poncho” Serrano, American Legion Riders statewide committee chairman, was on hand at the Purple Toad to receive the riders as they delivered their pouches. “The fire in Durango didn’t stop our riders from making the run,” Serrano said. “The donations are from our Colorado American Legion Family, which includes the American Legion posts, American Legion Riders, Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion.”
   
   The American Legion website states the Legacy Scholarship is a needs-based scholarship designed to fulfill a financial gap remaining after all federal and state educational grants/scholarships available to an eligible applicant have been utilized. Eligible recipients are children of U.S. military members who died while on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and children of post-9/11 veterans who have assigned a combined disability rating of 50 percent or greater by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each needs-based scholarship provides up to $20,000 in aid for undergraduate or post-graduate college.
    
   “This is the second year we have made the Pony Express run,” Serrano said. “The scholarship is a great cause, and it brings cohesion to the Colorado American Legion posts with rider programs. Last year, we brought in just over $8,000; and, this year, we surpassed that by collecting $9,001. We operated on the state level for this project and delivered the proceeds to the state convention on June 23 at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs. From there, the funds will be funneled to national.”
   
   The American Legion Rider coordinators for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Pony Express style fundraiser were CJ Baker from American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 and Barry Bateman from Security American Legion Post 38.
  
Freddie Strickland arrives at the Purple Toad to present the Pony Express pouch of donations.
 
Members of the American Legion Post 38 and 2008 gather to celebrate the return of all four Pony Express donation pouches, which go to the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund. Photos by Mark Stoller
 
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  Veterans honored with flags
  Mark Stoller

   On May 26, more than 50 members of the American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008, American Legion Riders, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Boy Scout Troops 228 and 149 and Cub Scout Packs 169, 231 and 159 gathered at Eastonville Cemetery to honor the buried veterans by placing an American flag at each gravesite.
   
   “Can anyone tell me the meaning of Memorial Day?” asked Jeff Houchin, American Legion Post 2008 coordinator for this event. After a brief discussion, Houchin asked for a moment of silence to reflect on the sacrifice all veterans and their families make to serve the country. Following the moment of silence, Houchin led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance while facing the American flag flying at the cemetery’s entrance. James “Farmer” Kendig of the American Legion Riders offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the nation’s military.
   
   Separating into small groups, everyone received a map with historical data about each of the veterans and a handful of flags to place at each grave. “I’ve been doing this for about 10 years,” Houchin said. “We started with just a handful of people and now look how much support we have.” He has been the primary organizer, and has invested many long hours researching old newspapers and obituaries. The Pikes Peak Genealogical Society also helped to identify each of the veterans buried at Eastonville Cemetery.
   
   “There is a veteran from every war since the Civil War buried here. At least two died while on active duty,” Houchin said. “The oldest grave marker is for Billy Coon. He was a Coloradan who fought in the Civil War. You can just make out the ‘LLY’ in his first name and most of his last name. American Legion Post 2008 has funded and ordered a replacement headstone for him.”
   
   Houchin said the American Legion purchased the flags they were placing that day. With help from the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, they place the flags the Saturday before each Memorial Day and Veterans Day. “We then collect the flags on the following Tuesday,” Houchin said.
   
   “In all, there are 117 veterans buried at Eastonville Cemetery.”
  
Members of the American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008, American Legion Riders, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Boy Scout Troops 228 and 149 and Cub Scout Packs 160, 231 and 159 gathered to place flags on the gravesites of veterans on May 26. Photos by Mark Stoller
 
The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts place a flag at the gravesites of veterans buried at Eastonville Cemetary.
 
Civil War veteran Billy Coon's grave marker is the oldest at the cemetery, and the name is barely visible. American Legion Post 2008 has funded and ordered a replacement headstone for Billy.
 
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  PPACG holds joint land use study meetings
  By Lindsey Harrison

   During the last week of June, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments held a series of public meetings about the council’s ongoing joint land use study. The purpose of the study is to identify common community interests and ways to support partnerships that benefit the military and civilian communities.
   
   Brian Potts, PPACG director of the JLUS (joint land use study), said there have been 120 studies like this conducted across the country, but this is the first in Colorado.
   
   “Given the extensiveness of military operations and the number of installations located in our area, as well as their significant contribution to the region’s economy; it is imperative that citizens and community organizations work in collaboration with the installations,” Potts said.
   
   Based on community feedback gathered during the last 18 months of the study, he said the council has identified several common concerns, including noise, flight operations, trail closures and military communications with civilians.
   
   “We hope that this plan will be a useful tool to understanding what is going on in the community and how military operations fit into that,” Potts said. “We want to identify compatibility issues and create strategies to deal with those.”
   
   Potts said the study started in the fall of 2015, and a draft should be ready for public comment late this summer. Additional information on the JLUS, plus a way to submit comments, can be found at http://ppacg.org/military/jlus.
  
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  The Vistas at Meridian Ranch
  By Lindsey Harrison

   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved preliminary acceptance of certain streets within The Vistas at Meridian Ranch Filing 1 subdivision into the county’s road maintenance system, bringing the total miles of county-maintained roads from 2190.78 to 2192.52 miles.
   
   The BOCC also approved the release of a bond for public improvements for this subdivision for $4,111,139.80. Eighty percent of the improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Judge Orr Road
   The commissioners approved a resolution to recognize federal funds and appropriate expenditures for $389,537 to the 2018 road and bridge budget for construction of the Judge Orr Road permanent repair project. The project will replace the corrugated metal pipes with a concrete box culvert, and is located along Judge Orr between Eastonville Road and Highway 24.
   
   The BOCC also approved a construction contract and purchase order to K.R. Swerdfeger Construction Inc. for $874,955 to provide all labor materials and equipment necessary to install a new double box culvert and associated wing walls, extend the existing sheet pile along the culvert entrance and roadway improvements on and around the culvert.
   
   Black Forest Brewing Co.
   The commissioners approved a request by Brewing Ground Investments LLC to waive the survey area for a modification of the premises at 11590 Black Forest Road, Suite 50. The BOCC also approved the hearing date for the company’s modification application for July 3.
   
   Meridian Ranch
   The county commissioners approved an application for final acceptance of certain streets within Meridian Ranch Filing No. 4B subdivision into the county’s road maintenance system.
   
   Additionally, the commissioners approved the final release of bond monies for public improvements in this subdivision for $124,165.80. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Winding Walk at Meridian
   The BOCC approved a request by GTL Inc. to rezone a 139-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the Eastonville Road and Stapleton Drive intersection to planned unit development. The request also sought approval of the preliminary plan for the parcel for 405 single-family residential lots, rights-of-way and utility and open space tracts on the site. The parcel is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   District 49 public hearing
   Several members of the EPC planning commission attended a special meeting of the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education June 27 to conduct a public hearing on the location of the Liberty Tree Academy Charter School. The proposed site is at 8579 Eastonville Road, near the intersection of Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road; and consists of 10 acres, with 3.4 acres proposed for construction of the school. No action was taken.
   
   Master plan for tourism
   The BOCC unanimously approved a proclamation supporting the 2018 Destination Master Plan for EPC. According to the proclamation, a “Destination Master Plan develops a clear, action-oriented, 10-year plan that focuses on infrastructure, facilities, services, attractions and events that need to be developed to improve overall visitor offering and experience.” The county financially supported the development of the current DMP for tourism in the Pikes Peak region, and a steering committee with representatives from EPC oversaw the 2018 DMP, along with input from the BOCC.
  
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  Drake Lake improvements follow-up
  By Lindsey Harrison

   El Paso County held two community meetings in June to discuss the ongoing repairs for the breach in the embankment at Drake Lake. The breach occurred in mid-July 2017; and, since then, EPC has made temporary repairs until it obtained the funds and a design for a permanent solution. Additionally, cadets from the Civil Air Patrol have adopted the lake to help maintain it, said Tim Wolken, director of the EPC community services department.
   
   With about 12 community members in attendance, the first meeting June 12 included a presentation from Josh Armstrong with GMS Consulting Engineers about the plans for the repair. The plans include the installation of a rip rap spillway, concrete cutoff wall, an auxiliary grass-lined spillway and improvements to the overflow channel located downstream of the spillway.
   
   Funding for the project comes from the voter-approved 1A ballot measure from November 2017. According to the December 2017 issue of The New Falcon Herald, the measure allows EPC to retain and spend $14,548,000 of excess 2016 revenue to invest in infrastructure projects, including the Drake Lake repairs.
   
   Wolken said the county still needs to secure some channel easements on private property to make the repairs. He said they hope to bid the project in early fall with construction to immediately follow.
   
   Because community members voiced concerns about impacts to the wildlife in the area, Wolken said the county held the second meeting June 26 to specifically address those concerns. He said the county has been working with a consultant to obtain monthly bird counts to determine if there has been a dramatic change in the number of birds in the area since the breach occurred.
   
   “We looked at the current bird counts, and there has been no dramatic drop at this point, which is good,” Wolken said. The county will continue the counts and receive quarterly updates, he said.
   
   Aaron Bershcheid, a representative from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, attended the meeting and agreed to provide wildlife templates for improvements so the county can make a three-year plan.
   
   “Our next step is to get those templates, and then we will have a better understanding about whether or not we will need help when the lake is refilled and we start making improvements to the habitat,” Wolken said.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   The Vistas at Meridian Ranch
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved preliminary acceptance of certain streets within The Vistas at Meridian Ranch Filing 1 subdivision into the county’s road maintenance system, bringing the total miles of county-maintained roads from 2190.78 to 2192.52 miles.
   
   The BOCC also approved the release of a bond for public improvements for this subdivision for $4,111,139.80. Eighty percent of the improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Judge Orr Road
   The commissioners approved a resolution to recognize federal funds and appropriate expenditures for $389,537 to the 2018 road and bridge budget for construction of the Judge Orr Road permanent repair project. The project will replace the corrugated metal pipes with a concrete box culvert, and is located along Judge Orr between Eastonville Road and Highway 24.
   
   The BOCC also approved a construction contract and purchase order to K.R. Swerdfeger Construction Inc. for $874,955 to provide all labor materials and equipment necessary to install a new double box culvert and associated wing walls, extend the existing sheet pile along the culvert entrance and roadway improvements on and around the culvert.
   
   Black Forest Brewing Co.
   The commissioners approved a request by Brewing Ground Investments LLC to waive the survey area for a modification of the premises at 11590 Black Forest Road, Suite 50. The BOCC also approved the hearing date for the company’s modification application for July 3.
   
   Meridian Ranch
   The county commissioners approved an application for final acceptance of certain streets within Meridian Ranch Filing No. 4B subdivision into the county’s road maintenance system.
   
   Additionally, the commissioners approved the final release of bond monies for public improvements in this subdivision for $124,165.80. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Winding Walk at Meridian
   The BOCC approved a request by GTL Inc. to rezone a 139-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the Eastonville Road and Stapleton Drive intersection to planned unit development. The request also sought approval of the preliminary plan for the parcel for 405 single-family residential lots, rights-of-way and utility and open space tracts on the site. The parcel is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   District 49 public hearing
   Several members of the EPC planning commission attended a special meeting of the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education June 27 to conduct a public hearing on the location of the Liberty Tree Academy Charter School. The proposed site is at 8579 Eastonville Road, near the intersection of Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road; and consists of 10 acres, with 3.4 acres proposed for construction of the school. No action was taken.
   
   Master plan for tourism
   The BOCC unanimously approved a proclamation supporting the 2018 Destination Master Plan for EPC. According to the proclamation, a “Destination Master Plan develops a clear, action-oriented, 10-year plan that focuses on infrastructure, facilities, services, attractions and events that need to be developed to improve overall visitor offering and experience.” The county financially supported the development of the current DMP for tourism in the Pikes Peak region, and a steering committee with representatives from EPC oversaw the 2018 DMP, along with input from the BOCC.
  
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