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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 11 November 2019  

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    Falcon Dog Park grand opening
    Great Pyrenees Rescue needs volunteers
    MVEA lawsuit against county
    Building and real estate update
    Easter egg hunt in Black Forest
 
  Falcon Dog Park grand opening
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On April 20, El Paso County held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the Falcon Dog Park, located east of the Meridian Ranch subdivision, north of Falcon High School and adjacent to the baseball fields at Falcon Regional Park.
   
   Attendees included Tim Wolken, director of the EPC Community Services Department; Warren Dean, Great Outdoors Colorado Board of Trustees member for Congressional District 5; Mark Waller, EPC Board of County Commissioner representative for District 2; John Amen, owner of Tender Care Veterinary Center and an EPC Partner in the Park donator; Dave Ahrens, president of the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce; and Bob Falcone and Julia Sands de Melendez, members of the EPC Parks Advisory Board.
   
   The dog park covers about 10 acres of the overall 215-acre Falcon Regional Park and has its own entrance and parking lot off Eastonville Road. The park is entirely fenced in and includes benches, picnic tables, a walking path that loops through the property, dog waste bag dispensers and trash receptacles. GTL Development Inc. donated the property, Wolken said.
   
   A $45,000 grant from GOCO (Great Outdoors), $13,500 from El Paso County and $1,500 from the Eastern Plains chamber funded the park. Waller said completion of the space was “truly a community effort.”
   
   Debbie Boston, Falcon resident of 14 years, and her Great Dane, Titus, attended the grand opening. “This is wonderful,” Boston said. “Titus gets to get out and run, and I get to walk and get my exercise.”
  
(From left to right) Dr. Amy Clark and Saint Bernard dog "Bob Barker," John Amen, Julia Sands de Melendez, Bob Falcone, Dave Ahrens, Mark Waller and Warren Dean cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony of the Falcon Dog Park.
 
Debbie Boston and her 20-month-old Great Dane, Titus, take a break from exploring the wide-open spaces at the Falcon Dog Park.
 
Nice weather brought people out of winter hibernation to enjoy the walking loop in the Falcon Dog Park.
 
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  Great Pyrenees Rescue needs volunteers
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Judy Dole and Dr. Michael Heffron, owners of PYRescue (Great Pyrenees Rescue and Sanctuary Inc.) are celebrating the shelter’s 25th anniversary this month.
   
   Dole and Heffron purchased the shelter, then called Great Pyrenees Rescue, about five years ago from John and Linda Kryder. The Peyton-based shelter provides a safe and loving environment for Great Pyrenees dogs awaiting adoption.
   
   PYRescue is a 501 (c) 3 organization that was recently upgraded from a rescue facility to a shelter by the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act program with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Dole said.
   
   Dole said they moved the sanctuary to a former dairy farm and upgraded it to include two large barns on about 5 acres. Each barn has eight indoor kennels, measuring 50 square feet. Each kennel covers 100 square feet and has a raised bed for each dog.
   
   Each kennel opens to one of two 2.5 acre outdoor areas, which can be accessed by the dogs through their outdoor enclosures, she said. The larger area allows the dogs more space to play and socialize, Dole said.
   
   “We only keep the dogs locked up for meals and bedtime,” she said. “The rest of the time, they get to roam.”
   
   The solid construction of the barns keeps the dogs warm and protected from the elements, although Dole said she plans to upgrade to a propane heating system from the space heaters she is currently using.
   
   According to the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act program, her shelter can hold up to 48 dogs, but she prefers not to have that many animals because it becomes too chaotic. She said she tries to keep the limit at one animal in each of the 16 kennels and is currently at that capacity. 
   
   Although donations are always welcome, Dole said the main thing PYRescue needs is more consistent volunteers to clean the kennels, walk the dogs, pick up after them and help socialize them so they can be adopted.
   
   “Great Pyrenees bond really well with people,” she said. “Their whole job is to bond with their flock and keep them safe. They are very good with kids and families because the people become the dogs’ flock.”
   
   Adoptions have been slow in 2019 so far, Dole said. Only six dogs have been adopted; in 2018, the adoptions totaled 253, with each dog staying an average of 19 days at PYRescue.
   
   There are certain traits, however, that can make Great Pyrenees dogs less than ideal for urban settings, such as their propensity to bark throughout the night, when they tend to be more active than other breeds, she said. “They are non-aggressive in general,” Dole said. “They just bark to scare things off.”
   
   They are also big. Dole nicknamed the smaller dogs –- those weighing about 65 to 70 pounds –- “Pocket Pyrs,” since full-grown dogs can weigh up to 200 pounds, she said.
   
   Dole said this breed also struggles to learn tricks or skills that it does not deem necessary. Fortunately, that often works well for people who need service animals for support, like those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, as opposed to physical assistance. “We just started a partnership with Victory Service Dogs in Colorado Springs that train dogs specifically for veterans,” she said.
   
   Dole said PYRescue gets their animals from owner surrenders, various humane societies, including the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, and often from high-kill shelters in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
   
   Overall, Great Pyrenees dogs are one of the most loving breeds of dogs, Dole said. She hopes to find equally loving families for each dog, which is why PYRescue is open Monday through Sunday –- by appointment only –- for anyone interested in meeting the available adoptees, she said.
   
   The adoption fee for a dog from PYRescue is $250, plus a $125 refundable spay/neuter deposit on all unaltered puppies, Dole said. "We return that (deposit) to the adopter when they alter the dog within a specified time frame, per PACFA laws," she said. "However, if the owner does not get the puppy altered, we pay part of that $125 fee to the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund, who, in turn, gives grants to rescues to help with spaying, neutering and microchipping."
   
   Available dogs can be found on the shelter’s website at https://pyrescue.org,; appointments can be made by calling 719-749-2340.
  
PYRescue has two large barns that contain the kennels for each Great Pyrenees; the middle building is the old milking parlor from the days of the dairy farm. Photo by Judy Dole
 
Koda Bear is a 5-year-old Great Pyrenees eagerly awaiting the right adoptive family. Photo by Lindsey Harrison
 
Talley is a 2-year-old Boxer/Great Pyrenees mix — full of vim and vigor. PYRescue also takes in Great Pyrenees mixed breeds. Photo by Lindsey Harrison
 
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  MVEA lawsuit against county
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On March 18, Mountain View Electric Association filed a lawsuit against the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners and the Planning and Community Development Department for encroaching on private property rights based on an interpretation of the county’s Land Development Code.
   
   Dave Waldner, engineering manager for MVEA, said the county has inaccurately categorized the utility lines located within the MVEA-owned right-of-way, along arterial roads in the county, as “minor transmission lines.” Those lines are owned by MVEA and do not meet the industry standard criteria for transmission lines, he said.
   
   “Distribution lines directly link to buildings and houses,” Waldner said. “Transmission lines go directly from one substation to another. The county can only regulate transmission lines so they re-categorized our distribution lines as ‘minor’ transmission lines.”
   
   Jim Herron, chief executive officer for MVEA, said the motivation for the re-categorization is because the county eventually wants to widen arterial roads throughout the county like Meridian Road, Stapleton Road and Hodgen Road, but the county does not want to have to pay to move the existing distribution lines.
   
   If the lines are categorized as distribution lines, the county cannot regulate what happens with them and would have to pay MVEA to have the lines moved, he said. However, EPC created the “minor” transmission line category so they had regulatory power over the lines; thus, the county could require MVEA to pay to move the lines, Herron said.
   
   “The creative manipulation of the language that says, ‘We are going to regulate minor transmission lines,’ is laughable throughout the industry,” Herron said. “No one in the industry would come close to calling these distribution lines transmission lines, even minor ones at that.”
   
   Herron said transmission lines, per industry standards, carry at least 69,000 volts, while the MVEA distribution lines carry 12,000 volts. According to the Public Utility Commission’s definition, a transmission line carries a minimum of 115,000 volts, he said.
   
   Sarah Schaefer, communications supervisor and public information officer for MVEA, said the goal of the lawsuit is to get a judgment of whether EPC can regulate those existing lines by calling them “minor” transmission lines. If the courts agree with EPC’s definition, the county could require MVEA to pay to have the lines moved, which would ultimately affect the pocketbooks of MVEA customers in Arapahoe, Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Lincoln, Pueblo and Washington counties, since the company is a member-owned electric cooperative, she said.
   
   The cost to MVEA is not the only concern. Herron said, in some cases, the distribution lines would need to be moved through existing buildings, which is not practical and unnecessarily burdensome. That is encroachment on private property rights, he said.
   
   The lawsuit is still in the hands of the courts and a decision likely will not be made until late summer, Herron said.
   
   Amy Folsum from El Paso County did not return multiple phone calls.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Tender Care Veterinary Center
   John Amen, owner of Tender Care Veterinary Center, said the clinic is building a 4,200-square-foot expansion to provide more exam rooms and services. The expansion will include a space behind the existing building that can be used for community meetings, physical therapy for the animals and other similar activities.
   
   “We are excited for it to be completed,” he said. “We hope to be finished by the end of July.”
   
   Bennett Channel project
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously awarded a construction contract and purchase order to Frontier Environmental Services LLC, located in Arvada, Colorado, for the Bennett Channel sediment removal project for $450,271. The project is located east of Falcon, near the intersection of Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road.
   
   The general scope of work includes removing and hauling clean sand sediment that has been deposited in the engineered channel south of Highway 24, the Blue Gill Road box culvert and the Bukowski Pond in order to return the channel and pond back to its pre-flooding condition.
   
   Savage Development Inc. property
   The commissioners unanimously approved requests by Savage Development Inc. for the final plat and preliminary plans to create seven single-family residential lots on a 39.4-acre property zoned Residential Rural 5. The property is located immediately north of Hodgen Road and about one-half-mile west of Black Forest Road, and it is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   John and Linda Jennings property
   The county commissioners unanimously approved requests by John and Linda Jennings to rezone 40.67 acres from Agricultural 35 to RR-5, and the preliminary plan and final plat of that same property to create seven single-family residential lots. The property is located at the northwest corner of the Judge Orr and Stapleton Drive intersection and is included within the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   Gary and Brenda Brinkman property
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by Gary and Brenda Brinkman for the final plat to create 14 single-family residential lots on 40.61 acres, zoned Residential Rural 2.5. 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 boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride Improvements project
   The commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement from property owned by CST Metro LLC for $32,000 regarding the Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride Improvement project.
   
   McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road Improvement project
   The BOCC unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement from property owned by Randal W. Slattery and Lori M. Slattery for $3,700 regarding the McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road Improvement project.
   
   Drake Lake improvements
   The commissioners unanimously approved a non-exclusive permanent easement at Drake Lake to complete an embankment repair.
   
   Black Forest Regional Park Forest Restoration and Thinning project
   The BOCC unanimously awarded a construction contract and purchase order to Front Range Arborists Inc., located in Colorado Springs, for the Black Forest Regional Park Forest Restoration and Thinning project for $281,100. All work will be completed within the Black Forest Regional Park, northeast of the Milam Road and Shoup Road intersection and will help restore the park to pre-disaster conditions and/or mitigate damaged areas from future damage. The project is funded by the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program.
   
   Paint Brush Hills
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Aeroplaza Fountain LLC for the final plat to create 158 single-family residential lots in Paint Brush Hills Filing No. 13E on 172.08 acres, located at the northwest corner of the Towner Avenue and Londonderry Drive intersection. The property is zoned Residential Suburban 6000 and RS-20000.
   
   Redtail Ranch
   The BOCC approved a request by Michael Ludwig for the final plat and preliminary plan to create 12 single-family residential lots on 67.9 acres, located about one-quarter mile north of Shoup Road, west of Vollmer Road. The final plat also vacates and re-plats Lots 1 and 2 of the Walker Place subdivision, which is included in the concurrently proposed Redtail Ranch preliminary plan. The property, zoned RR-5, is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   ROI Property Group property
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by ROI Property Group LLC to rezone 824 acres from A-35 to RR-2.5. The seven properties are located at the southeast corner of the Judge Orr Road and North Curtis Road intersection and are included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   C & M Properties property
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by N.E.S. Inc. on behalf of property owner C & M Properties LLC to rezone 16.49 acres from split-zoning of RR-5 and Commercial Community to Commercial Services. The property is located about .3 miles east of the Howells Road and Ridgeway Lane intersection. The commercial usage approved in this request does not need water to be accessible at the site; however, if that commercial usage were to change in the future and water was needed, Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District has agreed to supply that water.
  
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  Easter egg hunt in Black Forest

   Ready, set, go: Parents and kids are in the hunt for Easter eggs at the Black Forest Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the Black Forest Fire and Rescue Department. The event was held at the La Foret Conference and Retreat Center on April 20. Photos by Brad Carroll   
 
 
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