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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 6 June 2018  

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Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    El Paso County Fair memories
    Red, white and blue pride: Falcon Freedom Days
    High Plains Little League wins district and state titles
    Concealed carry in El Paso County
    WHMD breaks ground on wastewater treatment facility
    The Shops at Meridian Ranch - more new shops
    Building and real estate update
    Ranch Horse RoundUp a boost for veterans
    Scouts serve up another successful pancake breakfast
  El Paso County Fair memories
  Photos by: Angie Morlan

Her rabbits earned Melanie Sauter, age 13, of Palmer Lake, a Grand Champion in Intermediate for Showmanship.Perrin Hodson, age 13, of Monument, brought her llama, Sayan, for entry in the El Paso County Fair’s livestock show.Kaelyn, age 11, and Jaedyn, age 8, McCarther of Falcon took a spin on one of the rides at the county fair.
Isaac Hasbrouck, age 7, of Colorado Springs, enjoyed the fair’s Butterfly Encounter, which is an organization based in Spring Hill, Florida.Katarin Ludwig, age 13, of Black Forest, entered her baby goat, Ginger, in the fair’s 4H competition.Adelaide Navarro, age 3, and her sister, Charlotte Navarro, age 5, of Calhan, stayed cool and out of the hot sun.Kayla Summers, age 19, of Colorado Springs, is the 2017 El Paso County Fair queen.
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  Red, white and blue pride: Falcon Freedom Days
  Breeanna Jent

   Glittering in the morning sun on July 1 - the first day of the long Independence Day weekend - were bikes (one scooter) decorated in red, white and blue tinsel; complete with American flags, balloons and pinwheels, as the kids and their parents gathered for the Falcon Freedom Days bike parade at the Woodmen Hills Recreation Center East in Falcon, Colorado.
   As they waited for the Falcon Fire Protection District to lead the 3/4-mile bike parade, the kids and their parents cheered on the 5k walkers and runners toward the finish line. The parade, one of three events kicking off the day-long celebration, began at 8 a.m.
   With several new attractions, this year’s 12th annual Falcon Freedom Days was like “Falcon Freedom Days on steroids,” said Angela Maxey, event coordinator. “We’ve added a bunch of new stuff, including a mechanical bull, a blood drive, a Velcro wall, our 5k walk/run event and our bike parade,” Maxey said. “We have popular bands playing music and approximately 30 booths manned by local businesses and people.”
   She said proceeds from this year’s event benefit the Rocky Mountain Childhood Cancer Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that assists families dealing with childhood cancer.
   The organization is one that Antler Creek Golf Course, a Falcon Freedom Days event main sponsor, is familiar with, Maxey said. Golf course general manager Wayne Reorda and his family received assistance from the RMCCF when his child was diagnosed with cancer.
   “It’s a wonderful organization, and we partner with them every year for their big golf tournament, but this is the first year that we are donating proceeds from the Falcon Freedom Days event to them,” Maxey said.
   “We really want to show people that Falcon is not that far away, and that we’re a really close-knit, small town community. It’s a nice place to live! We are growing, and we want to share some fun with our neighbors and residents from all over the area, even if they don’t live in Falcon or they aren’t Meridian Ranch residents.”
   The event also boasted a huge fireworks show. At 30 minutes long, Maxey said it is the largest fireworks show south of Denver.
First-time event-goers Jenna and Vincent Loparco brought their children, Brooklyn, 6, and Jake, 4, along with their dog, Bosco, to the festivities. Brooklyn (dressed as Supergirl) said she was excited for the fireworks later that night, while her brother, Jake (dressed as Batman), was excited to check out the bounce house. Both participated in the bike parade.
Falcon Freedom Days bike parade participants began their trek around the block on Saturday morning, July 1, to kick off the annual day-long celebration.
Joseph Rolf, 6, and his big sister, Elizabeth Rolf, 8, take a break from their bikes to pose for the camera. The siblings decorated their bikes in traditional red, white and blue, decked out with American flags.
Layla Geiser, 7, proudly shows off her American-themed scooter –- the only scooter in the Falcon Freedom Days bike parade. Mom Cara Geiser said, “She’s so excited because hers is the only scooter here.” Layla said she decorated the bike herself, with a bit of help from the adults.
After completing the bike parade, Calee Pickens, 7, and Danni Pickens, 4, pose with Lt. Joe Cosgrove of the FFPD in front of the fire truck. Fireworks, barbecue and watermelon were Danni’s favorite things about the 4th of July, she said. Photos by Breeanna Jent
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  High Plains Little League wins district and state titles

   High Plains Little League has been serving the eastern plains for 11 years, and participating areas include eastern Colorado Springs, Falcon, Peyton, Calhan, Elbert, and Ramah. The League is part of Little Leagues Colorado District 5, which includes the Little Leagues of Academy, Colorado Springs, Tri-Lakes, Arapahoe, Cherry Creek, Dry Creek and Ken-Caryl.
   Starting July 5, High Plains Little League entered five teams in the Colorado District 5 All-Stars tournament. Baseball players ranged from age 8 to 14, and softball from 11-14. By July 9, the High Plains team had won three district championships against larger leagues.
   High Plains Junior Baseball All Stars (ages 13-14)
   The High Plains Little League All-Stars easily got past the best Denver had to offer July 6-8 after defeating Cherry Creek and Arapahoe by a 37-1 margin at the Arapahoe Little League fields in East Denver.
   Coached by Falcon resident Jason Lachermeier, this District 5 championship team of 14-year-old players, advanced to the state competition in Thornton the following weekend, and beat the winners of District 2 and District 4 to win state.
   At the state championships, after a day of rain delays, HPLL faced Sherrelwood Little League from Colorado District 2. With a decisive win over Sherrelwood, HPLL defeated District 4 champion, Cortex, in the championship to earn the state title. Now it’s off to the Southwest Regional Championship August 3-7 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
   The team was undefeated in Little League action this spring, playing other High Plains teams as well as Academy and Colorado Springs Little League squads.
   High Plains Intermediate Baseball All Stars (ages 11-13)
   On July 8, the High Plains Little League Intermediate team faced a well-coached and talented group of players from Tri-Lakes Little League in the Colorado Little League District 5 championship game. This was a rematch set up by Tri-Lakes beating HPLL 25-7 in the first game of the tournament. HPLL then had to beat Ken-Caryl by a score of 14-1 and Colorado Springs 8-2, with a goal to beat Tri-Lakes twice on the same day. HPLL won the first game and set up a winner-take-all game. The High Plains team rallied in the fifth inning with 6 runs and came back to close the game out with 8 runs in the 6th inning for a 21-11 victory. The HPLL Intermediate team then went on to win the Little League Colorado State championship game.
   The team went up against District 2 champions, North Metro Little League, in a two out of three match for the state championship. The Intermediates took game 1 in a back and forth match. In game 2, they defeated North Metro by a 10-run victory to become the Little League Colorado State champions.
   After the win, the team had a quick turnaround. They had to be in Grand Junction July 20 for the start of the Intermediate Southwest Regional Tournament against teams from Texas West, Texas East, Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico and Colorado District 1 champions. The team played hard through the heat and rain delays, and fell to the great teams. They have much to be proud of this season.
   High Plains Junior Softball All Stars (ages 11-14)
   The High Plains Little League Junior Softball team was named the District 5 champions after they beat Arapahoe by a score of 17-7. This win earned them a place in the state tournament.
   The JRs softball team face an unruly crowd during their state tournament. As HPLL preaches sportsmanship from all its players and spectators, the relentless beratement from the Sherrelwood parents was too much to handle. After consulting with the HPLL president and the Colorado District 5 administrator, HPLL decided to uphold the Little League motto of Character, Courage and Loyalty and forfeited the game so they could leave the situation. Although they gave up their chance at a state title, HPLL could not be more proud of these girls and their coaches for putting character first. There will be more softball to be played.
Both of these High Plains baseball teams — Intermediates and Juniors — were District 5 champions and went on to win their individual state championships. The HPPL Juniors will play in the Southwest Regional Championship Aug. 3-7 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photos submitted
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  Concealed carry in El Paso County
  Mark Stoller

   The state of Colorado allows residents, by statute, to carry concealed firearms in public. As one of 45 states with firearm-friendly laws, Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-203 presents residents of Colorado with criteria for concealed carry, and entrusts each county sheriff to administer the legal process to issue permits.
   A February 2017 National Rifle Association media release states at least 11 states have passed laws allowing the concealed carry of firearms without a permit. Another 16 states have introduced legislation to do the same. Colorado is one of 42 states where specific requirements must be met to receive a permit authorizing the concealed carry of a firearm while in public.
   This year, State Bill 17-116, which allows “a law-abiding person to carry a concealed handgun without a permit” was introduced in the Colorado State Senate, and it passed. When presented to the Colorado House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs, in April, it was placed in a “Postpone Indefinitely” status.
   The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office administers the county’s concealed carry program, and Sheriff Bill Elder is the issuer of the permits, which cost $112.50. The sheriff’s office fee is $60, and $52.50 is the fee paid to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to conduct the background check.
   Coordinator Laurie Thomas, of the permit office, said, “By statute, the sheriff’s office could charge $100 for the permit fee instead of $60.” The sheriff wants to keep the permit affordable for those who qualify to receive one.
   The population of El Paso County, as of the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau, was 674,471 people. “There are currently 44,981 active permits in the county,” Thomas said.“If you break that down, you get just over 6-1/2 percent of the county legally carrying a firearm concealed.
   “Definitely more men than women come in for a permit, although the number of female applicants has steadily increased over the last five years. We had a huge increase in applicants after the active shooter incidents in Colorado Springs.”
   There are no expected changes for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Concealed Carry Program. Elder will maintain the program requirements and fees “as is” for the foreseeable future, Thomas said.
   As stated in Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-214, the law authorizes a permit holder to carry a concealed handgun in all areas of the state except those expressly prohibited by the state and federal law (e.g., federal courthouses and other federally owned facilities); public elementary, middle or high schools; and public buildings with permanent security personnel and electronic weapons screening stations at each public entrance (e.g., state courthouses and the State Capitol Building). Weapons at school are allowed, if the handgun remains in a vehicle. Also, when the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun must be kept in a compartment and the vehicle must be locked.
   Denver International Airport has a strict weapons policy. DIA has signs posted
   at the entrance to the terminal, stating the following: “It is a FELONY OFFENSE for any person without legal authority to bring a loaded firearm or explosive or incendiary device into the airport or aboard a commercial aircraft. Violators may be sentenced to imprisonment for five years, or a fine of $10,000, or both.”
   Other public establishments ban weapons as well. According to a December 2015 Colorado Springs Gazette article, “Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Wendy's, Applebee's, Chili's Grill and Bar, Sonic Drive-In and Target also request that customers no longer openly carry firearms on their property. Cinemark only allows law enforcement officers to carry legal firearms in its theaters. Pikes Peak Library District banned open carry in 2003.”
   Beyond the legalities of whether to carry a firearm openly or concealed, there is an even more basic question to answer, “Why carry a gun at all?” The answer could be a matter of profession, personal choice, location or fear that compels one to carry a firearm. There are many articles concerning this question and the answers boil down to constitutional right; protection of self and family; preparedness; and deterrence.
   To carry a firearm as a civilian and not a member of law enforcement takes a certain individual, said retired Army Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. He divided people into three main categories: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs.
   "Most of the people in our society are sheep,” Grossman said. “They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. Then, there are the wolves, and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. Lastly, there are sheepdogs. I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. There are evil men in this world, and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.”
   To inquire and apply for a concealed handgun permit, contact the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at 719-520-7249 or email Visit for more information.
   Next month: Pros and cons of concealed carry weapons.
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  WHMD breaks ground on wastewater treatment facility
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On June 30, the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new regional water reclamation facility, located at the northeast corner of Stapleton Drive and Meridian Ranch Boulevard. The facility will be built by RN Civil Construction from Centennial, Colorado.
   John McGinn, president of JDS-Hydro Consultants Inc and the WHMD engineer, said the process to build the facility began in 2008, so he is happy the plans are coming to fruition. “About 99 percent of the plant will be between the existing east and west retention ponds,” he said. “Construction starts today.”
   “This is a huge event for Woodmen Hills,” said Josh Killett, WHMD board president. “The fact that we are able to undertake this project proves that our finances are in good shape, and it shows that we have our eyes on the future. Woodmen Hills will remain self-sufficient for a long time to come.”
   According to the district’s website, construction on the facility will be completed by October 2018 — providing residents with a new wastewater treatment facility that will be operated by Jerry Jacobson, the district’s wastewater superintendent.
(From left to right) Ronnie Parks, WHMD board director; Walter Porter, treasurer; Anthony “Mike” Pizzi, secretary; and Josh Killett, president, break ground on the new wastewater treatment facility for Woodmen Hills.
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  The Shops at Meridian Ranch - more new shops
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Get Clipped
   Get Clipped is a veteran-owned barber shop moving to 11856 Stapleton Drive at The Shops at Meridian Ranch from its current location near Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Owner Dawn Guggenbiller has been a hairstylist for more than 20 years, and her new business partner, Mark “Bull” Whitaker is a retired major with the United States Air Force, she said.
   “Falcon is just a booming area, and we are excited to bring our hair-cutting techniques, beard-trimming and facial hair expertise out to the area,” Guggenbiller said.
   Aside from the services Get Clipped will provide, Guggenbiller said the shop will also carry Vintage Grooming products for beards. Vintage is veteran-owned and based in Colorado Springs.
   “We are pushing for a soft opening on October 30, although we will hopefully be able to open sooner,” Guggenbiller said.
   The Purple Toad Social Tap & Grill
   Construction is well under way at the Purple Toad Social Tap & Grill, located at 11870 Stapleton Drive. Brothers and co-owners Chuck and Heath Schafer each have more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant and night club industry. They were born and raised in Colorado Springs.
   The Purple Toad will be a family owned and operated business, with plans to provide a high-quality family dining experience and also sponsor the local high school sports teams, Schafer said.
   “We decided to call it a ‘social’ tap because we want people to come and be social,” Chuck Schafer said. “Our focus will be on reasonably priced but really good food, and service is a major priority.”
   The Purple Toad will serve a variety of foods, including gourmet hamburgers, wings, salads, wraps, steaks and pizzas straight from the pizza oven, he said.
   “You will not have to leave the community to get really good food,” Schafer said.
   The restaurant will be open the beginning of September, possibly by the first if everything goes well, he said.
   Haley J’s Boutique
   Located at 11874 Stapleton Drive, Haley J’s Boutique will carry boutique-style clothes in a variety of sizes, from young girls to mature women to plus sizes, said owner Lisa Kane. “I bring a little bit of more of the relaxed Colorado style, bohemian style, comfy style but still stylish,” she said. “It will be a lot of stuff you do not find anywhere else out here.”
   As a Falcon resident, Kane said she understands the need for a different type of clothing store option in the area, which is why she felt The Shops at Meridian Ranch was a good fit for her boutique.
   In addition to clothing, Haley J’s will carry accessories like purses, decorative pillows and other household decor and items, Kane said.
   “We are also going to be giving back to the community,” she said. “We will pick a charity every month to help provide for the women in our community like battered women or women in shelters. We will have a clothing drive for people to drop off their clothes, and we will take them to a different charity every month.”
   Kane said the goal is to open Haley J’s doors at the end of August or the beginning of September.
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Meridian Ranch
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved the first partial release of funds for public improvements to Meridian Ranch Estates Filing No. 2 subdivision for $317,966.29. Ninety-seven percent of the public improvements have been completed and inspected. The remaining 3 percent represents a damaged sidewalk that has not been repaired, as of June 29.
   On July 18, the commissioners approved the release of the remaining funds for public improvements for $9,711.11. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   The board also approved the final release of bond funds for grading and erosion control at The Vistas at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 1 subdivision for $1,541,124.80. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   The BOCC approved the final release of bond funds for public improvements to The Lodge at Stonebridge in Meridian Ranch for $32,878.30. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   Black Forest Brewing Co.
   The commissioners approved a request to obtain a liquor license and establish the survey area for the Black Forest Brewing Co., which plans to open a brew pub at 11590 Black Forest Road. The EPC development services department had no issues or comments related to zoning and subdivision compliance for the location. The hearing to consider the application for the liquor license is Aug. 1.
   Purple Toad Social Tap & Grill
   After an abbreviated hearing, the board unanimously approved an application by CHS Hospitality III LLC for the Purple Toad Social Tap & Grill’s tavern liquor license. The license applies to the following premises: 11868, 11870 and 11872 Stapleton Drive, where the tap and grill will operate.
   Sanctuary in the Pines
   The BOCC unanimously approved the final release of bond funds for erosion control in the Sanctuary in the Pines Filing No. 1 subdivision for $345,525. Seventy percent of the public improvements have been completed, but the project has been inactive for nine years and is currently in foreclosure. Should a new developer resurrect the project, EPC will require new collateral from the new developer.
   Black Forest Reserve
   The commissioners approved the final release of funds for public improvements to the Black Forest Reserve Filing No. 1 subdivision for $100,835, plus accrued interest. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   El Paso County fairgrounds
   The board approved a construction contract and purchase order to Morton Electric Inc. for electrical services and RV pedestals for the 4-H campground at the EPC fairgrounds for $70,840.
   Blue Gill industrial
   The BOCC unanimously denied a request by R & D Enterprises LLC to rezone 7.98 acres from residential rural, general aviation overlay district to heavy industrial, general aviation overlay district. The property is located west of Meadow Lake Airport and southeast of the Highway 24 and Judge Orr roads intersection and is within the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Plan. The applicant proposed to use the property for heavy equipment rental, sales and storage.
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Al Unser
  Ranch Horse RoundUp a boost for veterans
  Janice Tollini

   The third annual Ranch Horse RoundUp was held July 15 and July 16 at the Kit Carson Riding Club in Black Forest, Colorado. The National Versatility Ranch Horse Association in collaboration with KCRC sponsored the event as a fundraiser to support Pikes Peak region veterans and their families, and to continue the tradition of the working ranch horse.
   In a June press release from the NVRH, Dan Yopp, a veteran and president of KCRC, said, “Nothing makes us prouder as an equestrian organization than knowing we are giving back to those who have gone through so much for their country and our continued freedom.”
   The events began with an opening ceremony that included the national anthem and presentation of the flag of the United States. As the riders entered the arena on horseback, their names were announced along with the name of a veteran they were honoring on their ride.
   Four clinicians donated their time and knowledge, and riders were able to learn from some of the big names in ranch horse versatility. After a demonstration ride from two members of NVHRA, showing what skilled and well-trained ranch horses can do; participants were divided into four groups and rotated through the four different clinics: cutting, working ranch, ranch trail and ranch riding.
   A silent auction took place on both days.
   On the second day, a schooling competition was held and riders were judged on their newly required skills. The day ended with an awards ceremony and distribution of prizes.
   Although registration was open to all levels of riders, most participants were returning for their third year. Linda Moneymaker, one of the participants, said, “This is our third year, and we will be back again next year. It is just such a good cause.”
   In past years, the proceeds had been donated to different veterans’ groups such as Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, the YMCA’s Camp Corral and the Warrior Wellness Program (now renamed the Remount Foundation). The Remount Foundation and Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center provide equine-facilitated therapeutic activities for military families while Camp Corral offers summer camp experiences for children whose lives have been affected by the death, illness or injury of a military family member.
   This year’s proceeds were directed toward The Home Front Cares and again to the Remount Foundation. The Home Front Cares is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support to veterans and their families. The program’s mission is to provide emergency financial support for housing, utilities and transportation. The program does not offer loans, but rather grants, which are paid directly to the veteran’s landlord or utility company. In 2016, the organization provided military families in Colorado with more than $400,000 in direct financial assistance, according to a 2016 financial report posted on the website.
   The Remount Foundation continues to provide equine-assisted learning to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other service-related issues. More than 1,000 veterans and their families have worked with Remount. The foundation, located at the U.S. Air Force Academy, also collaborates in clinical research efforts with the Temple Grandin Equine Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, according to the Remount website.
   Despite the late arrival of the steers featured in the clinics and an afternoon rain shower, the event was succesful. Mickey Althouse, media liaison for 2017’s Ranch RoundUp, reported that this year’s event raised almost $10,000, all donated to the Remount Foundation and The Home Front Cares. She said she was pleasantly surprised by the amount raised, as they had limited the number of riders for the clinics to 28, compared to last year’s 60 riders. In donations and silent auction bids, Althouse said, “The community really stepped up this year.
   “Last year’s committee consisted of three people and this year we had 13. We will be handing the reins over to more people.” Organizers for this year’s Ranch RoundUp, Jim Armstrong, member of KCRC, and Dave Currin, NVRHA’s representative, plan to continue the ranch horse tradition next year.
Twenty-eight participants and their horses lined up for the start of the 2017 Ranch Horse RoundUp, sponsored by the Kit Carson Riding Club and The National Versatility Ranch Horse Association.
Dan Yopp, president of the Kit Carson Riding Club, presents the American flag during the opening ceremony for the Ranch Horse Roundup in Black Forest.
Clinician Jeff Barnes teaches Nora McFadden and Duke the art of cutting cattle at the Ranch Horse Roundup in July.
Mary Watson-Cone and her horse, Sterling, returned to the Ranch Horse Roundup for a third year. Photos by Richard Gill
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  Scouts serve up another successful pancake breakfast

(Left to right) Colorado Boy Scout Troop 149 members Carsen Ehn, Luke Gull and Riley Ayotte serve hot eggs and pancakes to patrons at the troop’s 13th annual pancake breakfast fundraiser at Woodmen Hills Recreation Center East July 4. Proceeds benefitted Troop 149, with breakfast followed by a bike parade and a flag retirement ceremony at noon. Photos by Breeanna JentOn July 4, Bella Elder (front left), Megan Seebach (back left), Joseph Flores (front right) and Emmalee Root (back right) enjoyed a hefty breakfast, complements of Boy Scout Troop 149 of Falcon.

Falcon resident Diane DeJong (center) bicycled to the Boy Scouts Troop 149 July 4 annual pancake breakfast event with her children: Jacob (front), Myah (back) and Levi (far right). The event also included door prizes, a monkey bridge, music, a raffle and a bike parade.
(From left to right) Falcon Boy Scouts Troop 149 Assistant Scout Master Darrel Gull; American Legion Post 2008 member Paul Thorhauer; and Boy Scouts Troop 149 parents Katie and Aaron Ayotte cooked bacon and helped serve pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage to the hundreds of people attending the July 4 annual pancake breakfast.
Boy Scouts Troop 149 members (from left to right) Matthew Dubald and Logan Garzaniti serve eggs and watermelon to a line of hungry patrons at the pancake breakfast event.
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