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“Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”
– Vesta M. Kelly  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 12 December 2018  

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None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos  
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None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors  
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    Tender Care's Halloween party
    Think twice about gifting a pet
    Problem intersections in Falcon –- Part 8
    Crass comment leads to formal complaint
    Pranks versus criminal activity
    Building and real estate update
 
  Tender Care's Halloween party

   
   
   
Of course, all dogs got to be part of the Tender Care Halloween party: The pup in this photo is dressed as a skunk: (from left) Ben and Sarah Johnson; Caden Armen and Clover, the "skunk."

The Yanez family joins Tender Care Veterinary's Halloween party: (from left) Juliana with dog Kaia, Cristian, Adrian, Julian, Annabella and Gabriel.

The costumes were creative and scary at the Tender Care Veterinary Halloween party in October: Marina McDade and Rocko, the dog.

   
  
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  Think twice about gifting a pet
  Leslie Sheley

   Gifting pets at Christmas time can be a gleeful experience. However, that glee can wear off if the recipients are not prepared for the commitment it takes to be a pet owner.
   
   Tracy Berry, one of the founders and co-directors of Paws N Hooves (Southern Colorado Animal Rescue) and the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary, weighed in on the commitment. “A pet is a lifelong commitment and a ‘furever’ home, so we try to match the right person and situation with the right pet,” Berry said. When someone receives a pet as a gift, the initial reaction is excitement but later they might realize they weren’t prepared: A dog might be too big for the apartment; they don’t have time to walk a dog; the budget doesn’t allow for a pet, etc.
   
   Berry said the recipient tries to make it work, but all too often the gifted pet ends up in a shelter. To avoid the awkward situation and devastation to the pet, Berry said an alternative idea is to give someone a gift certificate for an adoption fee or a spay and neuter service. With a certificate, the proper process can be followed if the recipient is interested in bringing a pet into his or her home.
   
   If a friend or family member is uncertain about getting a pet, fostering a pet is another idea. Many rescue groups need foster homes for pets. If it doesn’t work, the group will find another foster home until the pet is formally adopted. More information on Paws N Hooves can be found at http://bfasfarm.org
   
   Theresa Strader, founder of National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton, said having a pet is all about commitment. “A pet is something you have for 15 to 20 years, and people can’t make that commitment for others,” Strader said. “The thought is at Christmas, people tend to have a couple weeks off to take care of the pet, but once everyone goes back to work or school, everything changes. For a family or individual who is thinking of getting a pet, what is the thought process behind wanting a pet, behind the commitment and if it is an impulsive decision, it is almost always going to fail.” Visit http://milldogrescue.org for more information on National Mill Dog Rescue.
   
   The problem with gifting a pet is that the novelty quickly wears off; the kids lose interest — and the pet is neglected, said Michelle Burkhart, director of development for Wild Blue Cats. “Cats are different in that for the adoption to be successful and to have less behavioral issues in the future, they need to choose you; you don’t choose the cat,” Burkhart said. The cat might like the gift giver, but it might not be a good match for the recipient. She said they make sure everyone in the family is part of the adoption process, which helps to ensure a successful adoption.” Check out Wild Blue Cats on Facebook.
  
It might be better to gift a pet calendar from National Mill Dog Rescue for Christmas. It's a safer choice than taking the chance that a dog or cat would be a welcome present. For the calendar, visit http://www.milldogrescue.org/2019-calendar.
 
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  Problem intersections in Falcon –- Part 8
  By Lindsey Harrison

   In March, “The New Falcon Herald” began a series on problem intersections in the Falcon area. The first in the series focused on the intersection of Meridian Road and Londonderry Drive; the second on the intersections of Flower Road and Meridian Road and the intersection of Bent Grass Meadows Drive and Meridian Road; the third on the intersection of Highway 24 and Garrett Road; the fourth on the intersection of McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road; the fifth on the intersection of Rex Road and Meridian Road; the sixth on the intersection of Meridian Road and Woodmen Road; and the last on the intersection of Stapleton Drive and Highway 24.
   
   According to those articles, failure to yield right-of-way and inattentive driving were the lead causes of accidents at each intersection.
   
   This month, the series focuses on all of Londonderry Drive, east of Meridian Road, until it connects with Eastonville Road.
   
   According to the Colorado State Patrol’s statistics team, 55 accidents have occurred along that stretch of road from January 2013 to the present. Nine of those accidents resulted in injuries, one fatal. Five of the nine accidents have occurred since May. The remaining 46 accidents resulted in property damage only.
   
   According to the records provided by the CSP statistics team, 31 of the 55 accidents occurred between 7 and 9 a.m. (before school commute times) and 2 p.m. and 4 (after school commute times) on days when school for El Paso County Colorado School District 49 was in session. Four of the five accidents resulting in injury for 2018 occurred during these times, the statistics show.
   
   Hilary Schwindt with the central records unit of the CSP, wrote in an email, “I spoke to my statistician, and she said they no longer have the bandwidth to continue to do detailed analysis.”
   
   Editor’s note: El Paso County engineering manager Jennifer Irvine and the EPC communications team has been contacted several times over the last few weeks so this article could be published with input from the county. After unmet promises that she would finally return calls the week of Nov. 19, we decided to publish what we have — without the county.
  
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  Crass comment leads to formal complaint
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Oct. 25, the board of directors for the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District held their regular meeting at the district’s Community Center West in Falcon. René Sintas, a member of the Cherokee Metropolitan District Board of Directors, addressed the board about an encounter she had with a WHMD board member that prompted her to file a complaint against him with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
   
   Sintas said Troy Stinson, WHMD board president and an officer with the CSPD, publicly embarrassed her by asking her during the open forum portion of the meeting if he had ever arrested her.
   
   According to the video recording of the meeting posted on WHMD’s website, Sintas stood up to make a comment during the public forum. She told Stinson that he looked familiar, and he responded, “I haven’t arrested you, have I?”
   
   In a separate interview, Sintas said she attended the meeting to inform the WHMD board that CMD plans to try to be annexed into the Colorado Springs Utilities water system.
   
   Sintas said she was mortified by Stinson’s remark and struggled not to cry while she finished her public comment. “The whole place started laughing,” she said. “The way he (Stinson) laughed when he said it was so demeaning. It is amazing because he had no clue who I was. After the meeting, people came up to me and said, ‘Wow, that was pretty awful what he did.’”
   
   Following the meeting, Sintas said she received phone calls at her home from people she knew asking why she had been arrested.
   
   “Now there is this thing out there that I am possibly a convict, and I serve on a board and you are not allowed to be on a board in Colorado if you have a record,” she said.
   
   Sintas turned to the Colorado Springs City Council to report what happened and said the council indicated they would investigate the situation. She also said she filed a complaint against Stinson with the internal affairs division of the CSPD.
   
   The NFH contacted Stinson for an interview, and he responded with a “no comment.” Asked if he had knowledge of the IA investigation about the incident, he said he had no idea.
   
   “This behavior is unacceptable for a police officer and the president of a board,” Sintas said.
   
   Editor’s note: The NFH called Lt. Howard Black, public information officer with the CSPD, for details about the investigation, but the call was not returned.
  
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  Pranks versus criminal activity
   Vandalism in Falcon caught on video
  By Lindsey Harrison

   In the early morning hours on Oct. 28, the Little Free Library at the corner of St. Anne’s Road and Sunningdale Road in Falcon sustained damage from two unknown adolescents who were caught on security video throwing rocks at the structure.
   
   The Little Free Library program allows people to construct a “little library,” register it and then stock it with books that anyone can use. The public can take books to keep, borrow or donate them for use by others.
   
   Falcon resident Jenni Helland is responsible for maintaining the Little Free Library that was vandalized. She reviewed footage of the incident from her home security system.
   
   “There were two teenage boys throwing rocks at the Little Library,” she said. “They pulled up in a dark SUV at 3:30 in the morning. One got out of the back of the car and one got out of the passenger side, so there was one still inside driving.”
   
   Helland said she filed a police report and provided the video from the security camera. The community rallied and had the door repaired within a few hours, she said.
   
   The damage, while frustrating, was not Helland’s main concern, she said. The bigger concern is whether the kids will be held accountable for their actions, she said.
   
   “I am an attorney and used to be a high school behavior specialist,” she said. “Kids are going to be kids and they are going to do stupid stuff; they are going to make bad decisions. But they also need to accept responsibility when they have done something wrong.”
   
   Natalie Sosa, public information officer with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, said incidents like this have been occurring at a steady rate in the area for a couple years. While parents may be tempted to shrug off this type of behavior as “kids just being kids,” there are consequences that can be levied against children as young as 10 years old, she said.
   
   Juveniles 10 years and older can be charged with criminal tampering or criminal mischief, depending on the offense, Sosa said.
   
   According to Colorado Revised Statute, criminal tampering means interfering with someone else’s property “with the intent to cause injury, inconvenience, annoyance or impairment of services.”
   
   “Even though it is something you may consider a prank, like egging someone’s house or putting toilet paper over someone’s house, you can be charged with criminal tampering,” Sosa said. Criminal tampering results in an automatic court summons and, as a Class 2 misdemeanor, could result in three to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, she said.
   
   Colorado Revised Statute states that criminal mischief occurs when someone knowingly damages someone else’s real or personal property. This type of activity is considered vandalism and can be either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the extent of the damages.
   
   “Examples of criminal mischief include destroying a mailbox with a baseball bat, intentionally throwing a rock at a car and breaking the window,” Sosa said. “Even though a kid thinks it is a prank or joke, it needs to be taken seriously because if someone wants to press charges, they can.”
   
   State statute sets penalties for criminal mischief based on the total value of the property damaged, but also mandates an automatic court summons. The possible penalties for the lowest class of misdemeanor –- Class 3 misdemeanors –- are up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $50 to $750. A Class 3 misdemeanor could be levied against someone who damages property with a total value of less than $300. The potential jail time and fines increase as the cost of the damaged item increases.
   
   The penalty for a Class 6 felony –- the lowest class of felonies -– could be 12 to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, according to the statute. A Class 6 felony could be levied against someone who damages property with a total value of $1,000 or more, but less than $5,000. As with misdemeanors, the potential prison time and fines increase as the cost of the damaged item increases.
   
   “Parents need to make sure they let their children know that these are some of the consequences,” Sosa said.
   
   Helland said she is not looking for financial compensation or for the kids who damaged the Little Library to face jail time; she said she wants them to write a public apology and have to perform community service in the Woodmen Hills/Meridian Ranch area.
   
   “If you want to be a stinker in our community, then you can give back to our community,” she said.
   
   As a major influence in her children’s lives, Helland said she plans to take action against the offenders because, if she does not, she feels she is sending the message to her kids that they do not have to be accountable.
   
   The security video Helland submitted is hard evidence of the offenders’ actions. The EPCSO now has a Community Video Partnership program, launched in November 2017, that compiles submitted surveillance videos of crimes into a database of offenders caught on camera, she said.
   
   “If people have cameras, they can register them with us and let us know they have cameras so that if something happens in their neighborhood, we have a database to find the incident on camera,” Sosa said.
   
   Helland said she hopes parents use this as an opportunity to teach their kids responsibility and accountability. “Kids will be kids but that does not make them any less accountable,” she said. “It is small potatoes now, but it could be big potatoes later.”
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Big O Tires
   Construction is underway for the Big O Tires facility at 6985 North Meridian Road in Falcon. Dustin Roberts, owner and operator, said most of the setbacks he and his business partner, David Largent, faced are behind them. “We are shooting for March 1, 2019, to open.”
   
   Pending any additional setbacks, the March 1 date will be the soft opening, with a grand opening planned for a later date, Roberts said.
   
   Falcon Regional Park
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal to submit a local parks and outdoor recreation grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado for improvements to Falcon Regional Park. The improvements include the following: addition of one regular-sized baseball/softball field; addition of a multi-use field; irrigation and functional landscaping; addition of a playground; addition of a pavilion; restroom installation; parking lot expansion; and various site amenities like signage, trash cans and benches.
   
   The proposal designates $400,000 in matching funds from regional park fees and 1A funds, $6,000 worth of in-kind staff time, along with a request for a $350,000 grant from GOCO — a total project budget of $756,000.
   
   Meridian Ranch
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by GTL Inc., for the preliminary plan for the Stonebridge at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 4 and a map amendment to rezone 68 acres to planned unit development. The plan creates 209 single-family lots on the property at the northwest corner of the intersection of Eastonville Road and Stapleton Drive. The parcel is within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   The commissioners also unanimously approved another request by GTL for the final plat of Winding Walk Filing No. 2 in Meridian Ranch. The plan creates 60 single-family lots, rights-of-way and an open space tract on 28.09 acres, zoned PUD. The parcel is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Eastonville Road and Stapleton Drive and is within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
  
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