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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 5 May 2020  

None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?  
None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Letters to the Editor   None Marks Meanderings  
None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains  
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Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    El Paso County Fair celebrates 114 years
    Green Beret honored in Falcon
    Golf tournament a success
    Blue Gill Drive — big change
    Winsome subdivision approved
    Falcon Landing under construction
    The demise of social graces
    Pet Peeves relative to social graces
    Eight necessary social graces
    Building and real estate update
    Memorial ceremony at Dane R. Balcon park
  El Paso County Fair celebrates 114 years
  By Lindsey Harrison

   The 114th annual El Paso County Fair was held at the county fairgrounds in Calhan in July. The week-long fair featured several different forms of entertainment, including livestock shows, a demolition derby and various auto races, a carnival and vendors selling their goods along “vendor row.”
   This year, the fair brought a new experience for attendees in the form of “Camel Kingdom,” presented by America’s Show Camels. The “Camel Kingdom” experience combined educational and entertaining events in the only attraction in the world that brings together several rare varieties of dromedary camels.
   Additionally, the EPC fair featured Danny Conner’s Reptile Adventures. Conner brought a variety of reptile species, including an albino Burmese python named Apollo, to wow the audience with his more than 30 years of experience.
Dacey Harrison, age 11 and her grandmother, Jeannie Wellmann, take a ride on the Ferris wheel at the El Paso County Fair.
Livestock of all shapes and sizes, including this pygmy goat, got their shot at impressing the judges at the fair.
"Camel Kingdom," a new attraction at the fair for 2019, represents the only show in the world to combine these rare varieties of camels.
Dacey Harrison, age 11, and her brother, Declan, age 9, prepare for a fast-paced spin on one of the many rides at the El Paso County Fair.
Unusual guest
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  Green Beret honored in Falcon

   Green Beret Sgt. Maj. James G. Sartor, a resident of Woodmen Hills, served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was killed July 13 in Afghanistan. Sartor, age 40, was on his seventh tour.
   His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. His posthumous awards include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
   Sgt. Maj. Sartor was honored with a procession and candlelight ceremony in Falcon.
Sgt. Maj. James G. Sartor
Peyton Geiser, age 3, Karrington Kate Geiser, age 2, and Brighton Geiser, age 3, of Falcon hold their flags in front of a sign for the family at the July 16 procession in honor of Sgt. Maj. Ryan Sartor.
Folks lined the highway to pay tribute to Sgt. Maj. Ryan Sartor.
Julie May and daughter Sami May stand with their signs of support for Sgt. Maj. Ryan Sartor.
The community tree was the gathering spot for the July 17 candlelit vigil for Sgt. Maj. Ryan Sartor.
Honor this loss
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  Golf tournament a success
  Thanks to all sponsors
  Chip Kossow

   The Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 of The American Legion in Falcon hosted its 11th annual golf tournament July 20 at the Antler Creek Golf Course in Falcon. The tournament is the fundraiser for the majority of the Post’s operating funds for the year. The Post programs support local veterans, their families and the Falcon community.
   A few of those programs are veterans in need of financial, physical and emotional support; Falcon, Sand Creek, and Vista Ridge JROTC; funeral honors and flag support to honor the fallen; local food banks; VA claim support; and junior shooting, to name a few.
   Many local businesses and individuals supported the golf tournament with donations of cash, prizes and raffle items. Several local businesses sponsored holes on the golf course. The major supporters include the following:
   Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District
   Resilient Financial
   Ryan Glass
   Patterson Custom Diesel
   Tire King of Falcon
   Rock Solid Chiropractic
   Liberty Tax
   Swirly Cow
   Lakeside auto brokers
   Sun City RV
   Westside Tax
   Reichert Mortgage
   Property Mill Real Estate Group
   Dry wash and Guard
   Coffee Shack Brew and Q
   Mesiah’s Glass
   The tournament did well and the golfers had a great time supporting a worthy organization.
The Dane R. Balcon American Legion Post 2008 of Falcon hosted its 11th annual golf tournament: (left to right) Sharon Wickliff, Rackel Haskell, Bettina Kossow, Brandon Cabalar, Tanya Cabalar, Dana Ware, Rob West, Jennifer Kendig (kneeling).  Photo by Cara Lord-Geiser
Various community members and businesses donated items for the golf tournament raffle. The tournament also featured door prizes, a luncheon and an award ceremony. Photo by Cara Lord-Geiser
Golfers enjoyed a beautiful Colorado day at the annual Legion Post 2008 golf tournament. Photo submitted
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  Blue Gill Drive — big change
  By Lindsey Harrison

   In January, the Colorado Department of Transportation installed flexible temporary delineators between the eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic on Highway 24 at Blue Gill Drive, near Judge Orr Road in eastern El Paso County.
   Michelle Peulen, CDOT communications manager, said the delineators were installed to prevent traffic headed westbound on Highway 24 from turning left onto Blue Gill Drive.
   “When people were making left-hand turns before the delineators were put up, it was actually an illegal left-hand turn,” Puelen said. “When they would stop to turn, it would back up traffic. That was a big safety concern, and it was causing quite a bit of congestion.”
   According to the Model Traffic Code for Colorado posted on CDOT’s website, a left-hand turn is permitted in such an area and also over a double yellow line, when such a move can be made safely and without interfering with, impeding or engendering other traffic lawfully using the highway.
   When it was constructed, the intersection was originally designed to be a right-in-right-out only, meaning they never intended to allow left turns from the westbound lanes of Highway 24, Peulen said.
   Dave Rolenc, a resident of the county who lives east of the intersection, said he is concerned for the businesses along Blue Gill Drive. Their customers heading into Falcon from the east have no way to reach them. “These businesses do get hurt; and if they end up going under because of it, it is a loss to our community,” he said.
   The businesses along Blue Gill include Tire King, Reptile Food & More and Smith Farms.
   Peulen said CDOT is sympathetic to the concerns of the business owners in the area, and is working with them to figure out a solution and potentially change the configuration of that intersection. However, the department does not have the funding to undertake such a project at this time, she said.
   Rolenc said he is also concerned that confusion about how to get to those businesses is causing additional safety issues. “People either have to go into Falcon or they slow down and pull over to try to figure out how to get to those businesses,” he said. Some drivers make an illegal U-turn beyond the delineators, which is dangerous as well, Rolenc said.
   Peulen said CDOT worked with the county and the Colorado State Patrol prior to installing the delineators, and determined it was the best course of action to address the congestion and potential for accidents.
   According to CDOT’s website, the department conducted a Planning and Environmental Linkages study from April 2016 through March 2018 to plan for potential improvements to Highway 24 between Powers Boulevard in Colorado Springs and the town of Ramah. That study identified two potential alternatives to the current road alignment in the area: realign Blue Gill to intersect with Judge Orr Road and remove where Blue Gill intersects with Highway 24.
   Funding for those potential improvements and many of the others identified in the PEL study has not yet been secured, Peulen said.
   “We do not want to inconvenience anyone, but as drivers, we are all accountable to following the rules of the road to keep everyone safe,” she said. “We are still working with Colorado State Patrol and the county for ways to enhance that intersection in the long term.”
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  Winsome subdivision approved
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On July 9, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved three requests by McCune Ranch LLC that lay the groundwork for the eventual development of the Winsome subdivision. The property is located at the northwest corner of the Hodgen Road and Meridian Road intersection and is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   One request sought to rezone 7.88 acres from the agricultural-35 zoning district to the commercial community zoning district. Another sought to rezone 350.26 acres from the residential rural-5 and A-35 zoning districts to the residential rural-2.5 zoning district.
   The property now consists of the following: 7.88 acres of commercial community zoning; 350.26 acres of RR-2.5; and 408.52 acres of RR-5.
   The final request sought approval of the preliminary plan to create 143 single family residential lots –- with an overall density of one dwelling unit per 5 acres — one commercial lot, 151.238 acres of open space and rights-of-way on 766.66 acres.
   According to the application, “The applicant is proposing to preserve areas having floodplain, wetlands and other significant natural features in an open space tract.”
   On July 23, the BOCC unanimously approved a request by ProTerra Properties LLC, for a Colorado Revised Statutes Title 32 Special District service plan for the Winsome Metropolitan Districts No. 1, 2, 3 and 4. As part of the service plan, the districts are allowed the following: a maximum debt authorization of $20 million, a debt service mill levy of 55.277 mills, an operations and maintenance mill levy of 10 mills and 5 mills for covenant enforcement.
   Those special districts would provide the following: street improvements and safety protection; design, construction, financing and maintenance of drainage facilities; design, acquisition, construction and maintenance of recreation facilities; mosquito control; and covenant enforcement.
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  Falcon Landing under construction
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Construction is well underway for a new 11,042-square-foot commercial facility located at 7344 McLaughlin Road, adjacent to the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District lift station.
   The property is owned by Falcon Properties LLC, and the letter of intent submitted to El Paso County in September 2018 states that the owner plans to proceed with construction per the plans approved by the county in 2008, with minor modifications driven by changes to the proposed building.
   The letter of intent also states that the building will be 100 percent retail, rather than the mixed use of retail and medical spaces previously approved.
   Kari Parsons, planner II with the El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department, said the owners put in an application in mid-July for approval of a liquor outlet in the new space. If approved, the liquor outlet will only occupy a portion of the overall facility; no other applications for other retail businesses have been submitted, she said.
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  The demise of social graces
  By Lindsey Harrison

   A survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, conducted between March 17-21 and posted on their website on April 15, 2016, states that 74 percent of Americans think people’s behavior and manners nationwide have deteriorated over the past 20 to 30 years. The same study states that people generally agree about what is considered unacceptable behavior.
   According to an article posted on PsychCentral’s website on Oct. 8, 2018, written by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor, “As we teach our kids the words and rituals, the manners of our culture, we are laying down the foundation for genuine empathy later on.”
   Empathy requires a person to be able to “walk in another’s shoes” and treat people in a kind manner because there is a genuine understanding of other people’s feelings, the article states.
   According to an article posted on the Wiley Online Library’s website and published on Feb. 22, 2016, written by Omri Gillath and Lucas A. Keefer, there is a correlation between the way people view objects and the way people view relationships. If objects are disposable, which they increasingly are in today’s society, relationships are likewise disposable.
   Daniel Buccino, director of the Johns Hopkins Civility Initiative, said a “disposable” attitude flies in the face of everything the Civility Initiative represents. Its intent is to teach people relational competence, the ability to relate to others and how to successfully navigate social interactions.
   “We work for civility when we are smart enough to imagine its rewards,” he said. “The challenge is that we need to stay civil, not because others are but because we are.” In essence, treat others how you want to be treated, he said.
   The Civility Initiative was founded by his late colleague, Pier Massimo “P.M.” Forni, a professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. In 1997, Forni realized he wanted to help people develop relational competence, civility and social graces, Buccino said.
   He and Forni gave lectures and spoke to various businesses and schools about how to be more civil; Buccino said some people and organizations have seen a positive impact from the lectures. People have found that businesses that put a premium on customer service can distinguish themselves in the marketplace, he said.
   “Civility is really very important, and there are real public health implications associated with that,” he said. “The quality of our relationships affects the quality of our health. That may seem like pretty old-fashioned stuff, but developing social competence and rapport is good for you and it is good for business.”
   Amber Costa, owner of Costa Seamless Gutter Services Inc. in Falcon, agreed and said civility and customer service are crucial to the success of their business. However, she said she has noticed that the high level of customer service people used to expect no longer exists. Not only that, but customers seem to have forgotten how to be courteous, too, Costa said.
   “A lot of times, a customer is too harsh and they forget the person on the other line is a person as well,” she said.
   Since offering high quality customer service is part of the fabric of Costa’s company, she said it hurts her business when people use anonymity to give the company a poor rating online for something petty, or out of spite, or for turning down a job.
   “Not every customer and company are a good match for each other; and, if that is the case, I want to make sure to let the customer know that as soon as possible and help them find a better fit,” she said. “We have a great relationship with two other gutter companies in town because we turn down some of the more gnarly jobs. That kind of customer service used to be normal — and now it is a surprise.”
   Buccino said he thinks the younger generations might not be learning the proper social graces and manners because parents are no longer gathering around the dinner table to eat together and impart those lessons to their kids. “It is possible that if families are not having dinner together as much, with people working multiple jobs and families dispersed around the country, it may be harder to teach those lessons,” he said. “It is not impossible, and there are still people who do that.”
   Buccino said he also attributes much of the decline in courteous behavior to people spending less time in face-to-face interactions.
   “Anonymity is one of the key drivers of incivility,” he said. “That, and stress. As more and more of our lives are lived online — texting, using Twitter — we forget that we are dealing with other human beings that might bruise as easily as we do.”
   The ability to put something out there on the internet that a person might not say to someone in person can quickly escalate things, Buccino said. Often, that behavior manifests itself through social media, he said.
   “One of the things we are continuing to learn about social media is that we do not even know what is real anymore,” Buccino said. “Lots of online platforms put things that are the most controversial and full of contention and argument to the surface. We are in some ways being manipulated to respond to the most provocative things in the most provocative ways.”
   Buccino said civility might be a rarity in our society, but change has to be inward before pointing the finger at someone else.
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  Pet Peeves relative to social graces

   The NFH team was asked to submit a paragraph or two about their pet peeves related to human behaviors.
   Restaurant lingering
   My husband and I managed to snag the last empty table at a popular Falcon restaurant on a busy evening. At about the same time, a couple of women at the next table had finished their meal and were paying the bill. They continued to sit and chat as we placed our order and waited for our food. Meanwhile, I watched a growing line of hungry people waiting to be seated.
   We received our food. We ate. The women continued to talk. A few incoming customers were seated as other diners left, but the backlog at the door remained. Forty-five minutes after we sat down, we paid our bill and departed.
   The two women were still gabbing away, seemingly oblivious to the fact they were keeping someone else from sitting down to enjoy their night out.
   Laws, rules and general etiquette are in place for a reason. We don’t get to pick and choose which protocols to follow based on what is most convenient in any given moment.
   - Robin Widmar
   Always late
   One of my pet peeves is when people are late and don’t notify me so I can rearrange my schedule. I think it shows a real lack of consideration. More than once, I have waited in a parking lot for various amounts of time. I only let it happen one time and after that, I have them text or call me when they are leaving, so I know when to meet them.
   - Leslie Sheley
   Have patience will travel?
   I have to wonder why some people act like their time is more valuable than others. Maneuvering through airport TSA can often be a stressful time. On a recent return trip from visiting my daughter in Seattle, I witnessed a traveler heckle the TSA agents who were instructing passengers through the screening process. "Yada, yada, yada, we get it. Can we just get this line moving? I have a flight to catch." Really, YOU have a flight to catch? Why did he think the rest of us were in line? What purpose did it serve for this man to shout out his opinions to the agents who were doing their jobs? It was easy to see that he had no respect for those workers or the passengers around him.
   - Michelle Barrette
   Cell phones
   Many people are attached to their cell phones like babies clinging to their pacifiers. But one thing cell phone users do is inarguably rude. Those are the people who continue to talk on their cell phones while they are at the checkout lines of grocery stores, clothing stores, whatever. They might acknowledge the cashier with a nod but they can’t hang up or call someone back to actually greet the person behind the register. That behavior is dismissive and discourteous. The majority of people I see doing this: women.
   - Marylou Bride
   Excuse me & thank you
   My biggest pet peeve is when someone needs to get past me in a stadium, auditorium or meeting to get to seats farther into the row, and I move my legs for them but they don't say "thank you." Recently, a mother and her two children not only didn't say "thank you" when I moved my legs, but also they didn't make eye contact or even acknowledge that I was there. I moved my legs when I realized they intended to walk past me, but there was no attempt to acknowledge my actions, which I felt were kind because I didn't WAIT for her to ask me to move. In this situation, I feel like that clearly shows why children may have trouble with manners; their mom clearly didn't have any so why would they?
   - Lindsey Harrison
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  Eight necessary social graces
  By Jacquelyn Youst

   Jacquelyn Youst is the owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, a company specializing in social polish coaching for children, teens and adults. Jacquelyn serves clients in the United States and as far away as the Philippines. She is a regular source for major television and news outlets, including NBC News, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, etc.

   "Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." - Clarence Thomas
   Hold the door for everyone
   Don’t let the door hit someone behind you.
   Be on time
   No one wants to wait around because some people think their time is more valuable.
   Shake hands
   If you are sitting, stand up to shake hands with someone. Make eye contact.
   Put the cell phone away
   When you are constantly checking your phone, you send the message something else is more important than the person in front of you.
   Answer the telephone politely –- every time
   Smile when you talk on the phone. It is possible to hear a smile over the phone.
   Say excuse me and thank you
   Believe it or not, people respect you for doing so.
   Use good table manners
   Put the phone away. Put the napkin on your lap. Eat only when everyone has been served.
   Write thank you notes
   Using Facebook or Twitter to thank people for a wedding, birthday or baby gift, etc., is atrocious etiquette.
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement agreement from property owned by Douglas Gesick for $42,339 regarding the McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project.
   The commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed and a temporary construction easement agreement from property owned by FKJ Properties LLC for $69,250 for the same improvement project.
   Paint Brush Hills
   BOCC unanimously approved an application for the final acceptance of certain streets within Scenic View at Paint Brush Hills subdivision. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   Bent Grass
   The commissioners unanimously approved the final release of defect warranty bond money for the Bent Grass Residential Filing No. 1 subdivision for $209,388.80. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride Improvements Project
   The BOCC unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement and a temporary construction easement agreement from property owned by Thomas and Linda Hungerford, trustees of the Hungerford Living Trust, for $280 regarding the Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ridge Improvements Project.
   Pineries Open Space
   The commissioners unanimously approved the termination of a temporary access easement with the San Miguel Valley Corp. for a public access road into the Pineries Open Space from Vollmer Road. Per the agreement, the county established a non-exclusive permanent easement agreement with SMVC for construction and maintenance of that road.
   The BOCC also unanimously approved a temporary construction easement with SMVC to construct a drainage outfall and modify surrounding slopes to accommodate runoff from an adjacent road.
   Rex Road at Meridian Road Intersection Project
   The commissioners unanimously approved a design purchase order to AECOM Technical Services Inc. for civil engineering design services for the Rex Road at Meridian Road Intersection Project for $291,195. The services requested primarily consist of project coordination, project management, traffic study update, concept update and the preliminary design, but could include the final design, property acquisition and/or engineering support during construction.
   Norvell property
   The BOCC approved a request by Rodney Norvell in a 4-1 vote, with Longinos Gonzalez opposed, for a variance of use to permit three existing dwelling units to remain on a single parcel, located about 0.66 miles south of Highway 24 and the North Peyton Highway intersection. The property is zoned residential rural-5.
   Meadowlake Ranch
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Daniel Ferguson for the sketch plan for 307 acres, which includes 89 acres of urban density single-family residential lots, 69 acres of rural residential single-family lots, 27 acres of open space, 25 acres of commercial space and 97 acres of industrial land uses. The property is zoned agricultural-35 and is located at the northwest corner of the Judge Orr Road and Highway 24 intersection; it is within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Saddlehorn Metropolitan District
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by ROI Property Group, LLC, for a Colorado Revised Statutes Title 32 Special District service plan for the Saddlehorn Metropolitan District No. 1, 2 and 3. The districts are located at the southeast corner of the Judge Orr Road and Curtis Road intersection and included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   The applicant proposed the following: a maximum debt authorization of $45 million, a debt service mill levy of 50 mills, an operations and maintenance mill levy of 10 mills and 5 mills for covenant enforcement.
   Statutory purposes of the districts include the following: street improvements and safety protection; design, construction and maintenance of drainage facilities; design, land acquisition, construction and maintenance of recreation facilities; mosquito control; covenant enforcement; and design, construction and maintenance of public water and sanitation systems.
   The Ranch
   The EPC Planning Commission approved a request by PRI No. 4 LLC for the sketch plan for 610 acres, zoned RR-2.5 and located north of Woodmen Road, west of Meridian Road where Stapleton Road dead ends and east of Raygor Road. The vote was 4-2, with commissioners Tim Trowbridge and Allan Creely opposed. The sketch plan includes the following: 389 acres of urban density single-family residential lots; 52 acres of rural residential single-family lots; 109 acres of parkland, buffer and open space; 3 acres of commercial land uses; 10 acres of institutional (school) land uses; and 46 acres of public rights-of-way. The property is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan and the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   Hunsinger subdivision
   The planning commission unanimously approved a request by Hunsinger Development Corporation to vacate and replat three residential lots to create a total of five residential lots on the site in the following sizes: Lot 1 — 3.33 acres; Lot 2 — 2.67 acres; Lot 3 — 2.53 acres; Lot 4 — 3.12 acres; and Lot 5 — 3.52 acres. The property is zoned RR-2.5 and is located about 0.4 miles east of the Voyager Parkway and Old Ranch Road intersection.
   Herbertson property
   The planning commission unanimously approved a request by the Herbertson Family Living Trust for a variance of use for another dwelling unit on the 47.55-acre property, zoned RR-5 and located on the east side of Highway 83, about 0.33 miles south of the Highway 83 and Walden Way intersection. Two residential dwelling units are currently located on the property, but the second unit requires a variance of use to be used for a rental structure.
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  Memorial ceremony at Dane R. Balcon park
  By Leslie Sheley

   On May 11, the names of 53 fallen soldiers from Colorado or connected to Colorado in some way were added to the memorial wall at the Dane R. Balcon Memorial Park in Falcon.
   Angela Anderson, committee chairman for the ceremony, worked with members from the Gold Star Wives and Mothers to collect the names. Anderson is a member of the American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008.
   “We had the names on the bricks laser edged, and there is room for more names to be added in the future if needed,” said Chip Kossow, junior vice commander of the Dane R. Balcon Post 2008. He said there were about 85 people from Gold Star families and the community who attended the ceremony.
   The Dane R. Balcon Memorial Park was named in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Dane R. Balcon, who was killed in action in Iraq on Sept. 5, 2007. The Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District agreed to a memorial wall in the park. Residents, businesses and the Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 donated money, time and services to build the wall, Kossow said.
   The first dedication ceremony was held Nov. 11, 2007.
The American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 members hold a flag line during the memorial ceremony. Submitted photo
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