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Storytelling is based on the word, being an honorable person of integrity is based on your word.
– Jesse Williams  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 8 August 2020  

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    Remembering veteran’s sacrifice (continued)
    MVEA annual meeting wrap-up
    COVID-19 impacts pets
    Pandemic creates more waste
    It really is Rocket Science
    Fatal rabbit disease — what to do
    Winning big for a big cause
    Building and real estate update
 
  Remembering veteran’s sacrifice (continued)
  By Pete Gawda

   At the time of his death, Sartor was sergeant major, Second Battalion, Tenth Special Forces Group (Airborne) of Fort Carson, where he had been for 14 years. During his career, he was deployed to Germany, Israel, Iraq, Africa and Afghanistan. His military awards include a Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster and National Defense Service Medal. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
   
   The Sartors have lived in Falcon for 11 years.
   
This brick honoring SGM Ryan Sartor, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on July 13, 2019 was unveiled at Dane R. Balcon Memorial Park in Woodmen Hills on June 4. Photo by Pete GawdaSGM Ryan Sartor's son, Garrett, is cutting the ribbon to dedicate the sign to his father. Mom Deanna is hold the ladder, and older brother Stryder is in the background. Photo by Cara Lord-Geiser
The family of SGM Ryan Sartor stands next to his photo at the unveiling of the new sign honoring his memory: From left to right, youngest son Garrett, wife and mother Deanna, daughter Grace and oldest son Stryder Sartor. Photo by Cara Lord-Geiser
  
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  MVEA annual meeting wrap-up
  By Leslie Sheley

   Mountain View Electrical Association held its first virtual annual meeting June 4, because of Colorado directives regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
   
   Joseph Martin, president of the MVEA board of directors, called the 79th meeting to order. He announced the results of the annual election; Rick Gordon won the board seat for District 2 and Jim Riggins won the seat for District 7. The amendments to the Articles of Incorporation were approved by the voting members.
   
   Despite being a virtual meeting, door prizes were awarded, which included 50 - $50 bills, an electric lawnmower, a TV and gift cards. Martin said they held an electric power equipment giveaway this spring; two winners received an electric lawnmower and electric weed eater. The next giveaway will be in November for an electric snow blower. He said members can enter the giveaway on the website or through the Colorado Country Life magazine.
   
   Martin talked about the scholarship program. “Mountain View is proud to give back to the community by supporting future generations through our scholarship program,” he said. MVEA funded 21 of the 23 scholarships totaling $25,000; two were funded through affiliated organizations, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. and Basin Electric Power Cooperative. “We congratulate all of these young people and wish them the best of luck in their future,” Martin said.
   
   He discussed the president’s report, and said there were no rate increases for 2020 and there has not been any since 2017. Martin said their rates are directly influenced by Tri-State, which does not anticipate an increase in the next year.
   
   The board elected to retire $4.3 million dollars in capital credits and more than 40,000 checks were sent out to members at the end of 2019, he said. To date, MVEA has retired more than $67 million in capital credits to their members. Martin said the board thinks it is an important part of being a co-op.
   
   Martin thanked all the employees on behalf of the board for all their hard work through the year and thanked the members for their continued support of the cooperative.
   
   He then turned the meeting over to Jim Herron, chief executive officer. “This pandemic has changed so much in our daily lives, but the one thing that has not changed at Mountain View is we continue with business as usual regarding our priority of keeping the lights on, serving the members … and staying true to our cooperative principals,” Herron said.
   
   Mountain View is in sound financial condition; they had a clean financial audit and met all mortgage obligations in 2019, Herron said. MVEA provides more than 6,000 meters, more than 6,100 miles of energized line and has a service territory of 5,000 square miles in Eastern Colorado. They processed 1,908 applications for new services that ranged from single family homes to large commercial projects and assisted 308 members transition to solar power in their home or business.
   
   They have 23 substations and two new substations; one in the planning stage and one in construction, Herron said. The digital meter upgrade continues to go forward; in 2019, they installed the communication infrastructure for the new meter system; and, in 2020, 56,000 meters will be added or upgraded.
   
   Herron said, “We look forward to next year when we can meet in person and celebrate the annual meeting.”
   
   Visit the website at https://mvea.coop or read Colorado Country Life magazine to view the annual report and find out the winners of the scholarships and door prizes. The next annual meeting is June 3, 2021, in Limon.
  
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  COVID-19 impacts pets
  By Lindsey Harrison

   According to a report posted on the 24Pet ShelterWatch website, at least 294,959 new animals arrived at the 1,191 shelters nationwide monitored by the 24Pet ShelterWatch Report between March 13 and June 12. The report states that the number is expected to increase, but the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is seeing the opposite effect.
   
   Gretchen Pressley, community relations manager with the HSPPR, said they have not seen an increase in the number of relinquished pets since the coronavirus pandemic. Owner surrender numbers are actually below what they were last year; and, overall, fewer animals are being brought to the shelter, she said.
   
   “Our adoption is always based on the number of animals coming in,” Pressley said. “We can only adopt out as many as we can get in. We are seeing fewer animals coming in, but we are still seeing them getting adopted very quickly.”
   
   However, Pressley said the HSPPR is seeing an increase in animals being brought in for medical care. With people losing their jobs or being temporarily out of work, some pet owners cannot afford to get the veterinary care they need for their animals so the HSPPR is helping those families out on a case-by-case basis, she said.
   
   Additionally, June, July and August are considered “kitten season,” and Pressley said that means the HSPPR is seeing many underage kittens being brought in. To deal with the influx, the shelter uses nursing mother cats to help care for the kittens; and more foster families than ever before have stepped up to help out, she said.
   
   “Our ‘Don’t KitNap Me’ campaign is going on, which says do not immediately pick them (kittens) up and bring them to us,” Pressley said. “They have a better chance of survival with their mom, and she might just be waiting for you to go away to come back to her kittens.”
   
   With people returning to work, newly adopted pets and pets who have become accustomed to having their owners home during the day might need help transitioning to being alone more often, Pressley said.
   
   Miguel Gonzales, behavior programs manager at the HSPPR Pueblo location, said there are a few ways to make that transition easier. First, start by getting up earlier, getting dressed and going through the same routine you would if you were going to work, including leaving at the appropriate time for a quick trip out for coffee or to the grocery, he said.
   
   “Many of us like to ritualize our comings and goings by making a big deal of coming home,” Gonzales said. “A better thing to do would be to come home after that short jaunt, have a seat, do whatever you would have to do and make it a no-big-deal sort of thing.”
   
   For others, Gonzales said hiring a dog walker or someone who can provide care that can slowly be scaled back as time goes on might be the best option.
   
   Sometimes, scaling back on taking extra walks with pets is necessary before returning to work, he said. “It is possible that in this time at home you may have found new chances to fit in walks or training or play, and there is no reason not to continue that schedule if you can maintain it,” Gonzales said. “But if it is not something you can maintain after returning to the office or work, start to slowly cut back on it and ease into your old routine.”
   
   Pet proofing your home can also help make the transition more seamless, he said. With everyone home all the time, animals have fewer opportunities to destroy things; so be sure to remove temptations. Doing so can protect your things and your pets, Gonzales said.
   
   On the other hand, creating a play area –- especially for dogs who need stimulation –- can help them remember that fun things still happen even when you are not home, he said. Chew toys and dog food puzzles are good ways to entertain them and help them feel more independent, Gonzales said.
   
   Pressley said this pandemic has been difficult for many people, but she said the community has stepped up to help the HSPPR; and everyone at the humane society is grateful for the assistance.
   
   “We want to thank the community for continuing to adopt,” she said.
  
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  Pandemic creates more waste
  By Leslie Sheley

   The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unexpected results and consequences; one of those is environmental, specifically trash, waste and unwanted junk.
   
   Kathy Andrew, El Paso County Community Services Department Environmental Division Manager, said the El Paso County Household Hazardous Waste Facility closed for six weeks starting in mid-March. She said they don’t track monthly numbers, but will know in August how much waste was accumulated from May (when they reopened) to present.
   
   They anticipated an increase in volume when they reopened since people were quarantined at home and involved in house and yard projects. The department implemented a by-appointment-only drop-off process to deal with the increase. Andrew said they plan to continue with the appointment process, as it is working and prevents long lines. Visit their website to make an appointment: https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/environmental-division/household-hazardous-waste/.
   
   One man’s junk is another man’s treasure
   Bradd Hafer, Goodwill of Colorado Communications Manager, said their retail stores were closed from March 24 to May, but the in-store donation centers were open throughout the quarantine. He said they remained open because donations help fund their programs and services; and, they were concerned that if people didn’t have appropriate places to dispose of their goods, it could cause a public safety or environmental issue. Hafer said the amount of donation drop-offs have now declined, but the volume has almost doubled from what they would traditionally see during the same time period. “Instead of sedans, people were dropping donations off by the truckloads,” he said.
   
   “We’re in a different world with all the state regulations, including limited customer capacity in the store, one-way aisles and social distancing; and that has created other unintended consequences. With doubled volume increases, plus decreased store hours, we are amassing quite a volume of donations. We’re trying as good stewards to get them into retail instead of being backlogged in trailers, trucks and containers.”
   
   They temporarily closed the stand-alone donation containers to allow the workers an opportunity to catch up, but they plan to reopen them again the beginning of July, he said. “Donations are our primary lifeline and launching point for the programs and services we provide for individuals with disabilities and disadvantages,” Hafer said. Visit their website for new phased-in hours and safety measures: https://www.discovermygoodwill.org/open/
   
   One man’s trash is another man’s hazard
   Vicki Gomes, Waste Management Communication Specialist, said, “With people staying at home more during the health crisis, we have seen a large increase in the amount of residential trash.” She said people tackled yard and clean-out projects earlier this year. Trash from the commercial side has slowed and the volume is now from residential areas, Gomes added. “Our teams have stepped up and are doing an exceptional job during these difficult times,” she said. “One way residents can help keep everyone safe is to ensure all trash is bagged and securely tied so that materials do not fall out during service. This practice is always important, but significantly more so if there is a positive case of COVID in a household.”
   
   They encourage residents and businesses to continue to ‘Recycle Right’ during the health crisis. Go to https://www.wm.com/us/en/recycle-right for more information. Gomes said, “Product manufacturing supply chains still need quality recycled raw materials to produce paper products, food packaging and medical supplies.” She said several leading industry organizations have weighed in and are calling for increased recycling to help meet the needed demand during this time. These organizations include
  • The American Forest and Paper Association
  • The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • The Institute of Scrap Metal Recyclables
  • The Recycling Partnership

   “We can all do our part by recycling during these challenging times,” Gomes said.
  
Really? COVID-19 is not an excuse to toss masks, empty sanitizer bottles and gloves on the ground (taken at Target off North Powers Boulevard). Every litter bit hurts. Photo by Leslie Sheley
 
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  It really is Rocket Science
  By Ava Stoller

   On May 30, 2020, SpaceX and Nasa launched the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket with two astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, to the International Space Station (ISS). The historic milestone is the first flight into orbit of American astronauts on American rockets from American soil since the end of the space shuttle era in 2011.
   
   The fully televised launch even included footage from the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9’s landing on the droneship, “Of Course I Still Love You.” A launch of this magnitude hasn't been seen since the first launch of the space shuttle on April 12, 1981.
   
   The Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, after the completion of the International Space Station, plagued by long increasing expenses. From nationalgeographic.com, “The United States began buying seats on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Per seat, ‘They originally charged about $20 million, and the prices have gone up since then,’ said Bill Berry, NASA’s chief historian. Today, NASA pays as much as $90 million per astronaut.” The increasing prices open the door to privately owned companies, like SpaceX or Boeing, to participate in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program — a partnership with NASA.
   
   The majority of the launch cost comes from building the rocket, which historically flies only once, according to SpaceX.com. Falcon 9 (named after the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars) is a reusable, two-stage rocket manufactured by SpaceX to bring both people and payloads (cargo) into space. It has 85 total launches, 46 landings and 32 reflown rockets. While most rockets burn up on their way back to Earth, the Falcon 9 withstands reentry, can autonomously land and refly again. There are three rockets in the Falcon family: Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy — the most powerful rocket in the world.
   
   The Dragon capsule is the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station as demonstrated on the May 30 launch. Prior to the manned mission, Dragon has had 23 total launches, 22 visits to the International Space Station and nine reflown missions. SpaceX.com states that the capsule is capable of carrying up to seven passengers, and is the only spacecraft currently flying that is able to return significant amounts of cargo to Earth.
   
   The launch of the Dragon capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket is only the beginning. The Artemis program will be sending the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. In Greek mythology, Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo the sun god. Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and one of her symbols was the moon.
   
   NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine said, “Many have asked why we’re focused on sending the first woman. And I often say because it is about time! Our astronauts represent the best of us, and to do so, we must be able to see ourselves among them.”
   
   How is Artemis different from the Apollo missions? According to the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Episode 116, hosted by Gary Jordan, “We were in the middle of a Cold War with the Soviet Union, not to mention the hot war in Vietnam, and though there were many interested in the value of exploration and discovery, the driving force was really political in nature. And that driving force defined the parameters of the Apollo mission's structure. We had to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade, those were the driving political forces that put speed at the forefront. This meant that the spot that you would land would be ‘the easiest,’ the trip would be short so you didn't have to bring a lot with you, and that you didn't have to focus too hard on the longevity of the program.”
   
   Jordan also said in the podcast that the Artemis program is designed for more exploratory, scientific and longer missions on the moon. NASA has plans for at least three Artemis missions. The first will be an unmanned test flight; and, as of this month, it is expected to launch in November 2021. Artemis II will be the first manned flight beyond Low Earth Orbit in 50 years and targeted to launch in 2022. Last, NASA hopes to land on the moon with Artemis III by 2024, Jordan said.
   
   Space could be the new frontier for the United States military operations. This includes the creation of a new branch within the Air Force— the Space Force.
   
   From a global topic to a local connection, there are opportunities for students interested in space and/or aviation. Falcon AeroLab is a project based on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program, which offers unique opportunities for students in sixth to 12th grade to experience the excitement of flight through hands-on labs and activities. It is a tuition-free, homeschool, enrichment program with locations throughout Colorado. Local students can attend Falcon Aerolabs classes at the Falcon Legacy Campus and the Meadowlake Airport. The Space Discovery class is held at the Colorado Military Academy next to Peterson Air Force Base.
   
   From falconaerolabs.org, “Our Instructors are highly qualified professionals straight from the industry. These include: engineers, managers, military and airline pilots, drone operators, cyber experts and more. Their cumulative experience and expertise gives students an extraordinary insight.” Mark Hyatt, the CEO, has served as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, squadron commander, and has advised the Secretary of Defense, current White House Administration and previous president on school choice, safety, social climate and culture issues.
   
   To learn more about Falcon Aerolabs visit falconaerolabs.org or email hyattfalcon@gmail.com.
  
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  Fatal rabbit disease — what to do
  By Lindsey Harrison

   An article posted on KOAA News 5’s website June 13 announced that the presence of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 has been confirmed in seven Colorado counties, including El Paso County.
   
   Aaron Berscheid, Colorado Parks and Wildlife district wildlife manager for northeast El Paso County, said the disease is highly contagious only within the rabbit family, including cottontails, jack rabbits, domestic rabbits and pika.
   
   “The disease tends to be more contagious through domestic types of rabbits like those kept as pets or for meat,” Berscheid said. “It is carried more highly through them but we have had it test positive in jack rabbits in El Paso County.”
   
   According to a fact sheet created by the United States Department of Agriculture on RHDV2 found on https://www.aphis.usda.gov, “Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is considered a foreign animal disease, meaning the disease is not typically found in the United States and is of high concern to domestic and wild animal health. … The virus is very hardy and can survive on clothing, plant material, or other items that may be accidentally moved from an infected area.”
   
   Because there are virtually no symptoms of RHDV2 prior to death, Berscheid said the disease can be hard to diagnose. He said anyone who finds three or more dead wild rabbits within a two-week period in a specific area can assume it is due to RHDV2 — and appropriate precautions must be taken.
   
   “Call 719-227-5200, which is the Colorado Parks and Wildlife southeast regional office, and we will come get it,” he said. “We will take it to a chemical digester to dispose of it safely.”
   
   If the rabbits are jack rabbits, the CPW will assume the deaths are caused by RHDV2 but if they are cottontail rabbits, it is important to inform CPW as soon as possible because the carcass can be tested if it is not too decomposed, Berscheid said.
   
   “We have seen a few suspect cottontail deaths, but those have not been tested because the carcasses were too far gone to test,” he said.
   
   If someone has a pet rabbit that has died suddenly for apparently no reason, Berscheid said to treat it as if it had RHDV2, double-bag the animal and then disinfect anything that the rabbit might have come in contact with.
   
   “Disinfect everything with a 10 percent bleach chemical solution, including your shoes and your gloves, after you have handled the carcass,” he said. Additionally, Berscheid recommended contacting the person or store where the rabbit came from to let those people know of the possibility of a RHDV2 infection.
   
   Berscheid said this disease does not carry any health concern for humans or other pets that are not of the lagomorph order.
   
   “We want people to understand that the disease exists; and, if they have pet rabbits, to take precautions,” he said. “Keep your rabbits separate from wild rabbits, and if you find any have died, get rid of them as soon as possible by double-bagging it and putting it in the trash, then disinfecting your hands and gloves and anything else it came in contact with so it does not spread to other rabbits.”
  
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Marylou Doehrman Bride
  Winning big for a big cause
  By Marylou Doehrman Bride

   A big congratulations to Martin (Bud) and Martha Kucera of Elbert for winning the St. Jude house campaign/fundraiser. Their brand new beautiful home is in the Banning Lewis Ranch.
   
   Bud at one time was the fire chief of the Falcon Fire Protection District, and Martha was a member of the auxiliary.
   
   They have been donating to St. Jude’s for many years.
   
   “For the past seven years, we have bought tickets for the raffle, so at $100 each ticket, we bought a home for $700.” And what a home! The 4,400 square-foot home by Covington Homes is valued at $560,000 and has five-bedrooms and four baths and a Chef’s kitchen, featuring Bosch appliances.
   
   “We will be selling the home,” Martha said. They don’t want to give up their 5 acres. The home in Banning Lewis is huge but it has a small lot. “We just hope that someone will love the home as much as we do,” she said. “This home is for someone who wants a beautiful home and a small lot for easy outside maintenance.”
   
   To the Kuceras, the contest is all about the children. They have been entering the drawing from the time St. Jude started the fundraiser. “We fully believe in what they do,” Martha said. “We do it for the children.”
   
   There were 9,250 tickets sold for this house — anyone in the U.S. who is 18 years or older can purchase a ticket. St. Jude’s runs 44 national campaigns for the homes in different areas of the county each year. The next home in Colorado is in Aurora Green Valley Ranch. For more information on the house and to sign up for an alert when the tickets are available, visit https://stjude.org/give/dream-home/denver.html.
   
   The Kuceras are still working with St. Jude’s on the details of the house sale.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Sterling Ranch subdivision
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a request by SR Land LLC for the final plat to create 75 single-family residential lots, rights-of-way, tracts for drainage and public utilities and a tract for a school site in the Branding Iron at Sterling Ranch Filing No. 2. The 30.45-acre area is zoned residential suburban 5000 and is located south of the future extension of Briargate Parkway/Stapleton Road, east of Vollmer Road. It is included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan and the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Estates at Rolling Hills subdivision
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by Meridian Ranch Investments Inc. to rezone 28.9 acres from a conceptual planned unit development to a site PUD, and to approve the preliminary plan of that plat. The plan creates 16 single-family residential lots, rights-of-way, open space and utilities’ tracts. The property is located west of Eastonville Road, at the eastern end of Rex Road and west of the Falcon Regional Park, and is included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   
   Bent Grass subdivision
   The commissioners unanimously approved the final release of bond money for grading and erosion control for Bent Grass Residential Filing No. 2 for $1,200,434.45. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   
   Winsome subdivision
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by Winsome LLC for a construction permit to start pre-development site grading for Winsome Filing No. 1 final plat, in advance of approval of that final plat. The 164.4-acre property is located at the northwest corner of the Hodgen Road and Meridian Road intersection.
   
   Pete Lien and Sons
   On June 2, the EPC planning commission approved a variance of use request from Pete Lien and Sons Inc. for a ready mix concrete batch plant in a 3-2 vote with Becky Fuller and Brian Risley opposed, despite strong opposition from community members who attended the hearing both in person and online. The 92.47-acre property is zoned agricultural 35 and located at the northeast corner of the Stapleton Road and Judge Orr Road intersection.
   
   However, on June 23, the BOCC unanimously denied the request, citing in part the inconsistency with zoning of the surrounding properties.
   
   Falcon Marketplace
   The commissioners unanimously approved a declaration of partial default against LG HI Falcon LLC to allow county staff to execute on the subdivision bond and authorize litigation, if necessary, in order to complete emergency construction of certain public improvements for Falcon Marketplace.
   
   According to an article posted on the “Gazette’s” website on June 17, the action was prompted by the developer’s failure to complete storm water projects at the site, which could prove hazardous for nearby residents and motorists using the adjacent Woodmen Road. Leon Capital Group of Dallas took over the project from the original developer, Hummel Investments, and objected to the decision, citing struggles due to the coronavirus that has delayed work at the site, the article states.
   
   The New Falcon Herald reached out to Leon Capital for comment but was unable to connect with them.
   
   King Soopers is still planning to go in the Marketplace.
  
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