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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 2 February 2020  

None Black Forest News   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?  
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Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    El Paso County Fair celebrates 113 years
    Paint Brush holds fourth water meeting
    Safe driving tips
    Finally, a proper headstone
    Problem intersections in Falcon – Part 6
    Building and real estate update
  El Paso County Fair celebrates 113 years
  By Lindsey Harrison

   The 113th annual El Paso County Fair was held at the county fairgrounds in Calhan, Colorado, in mid-July. The week-long fair hosted various events for entertainment, including a carnival, petting zoo, livestock shows, bull riding, a demolition derby and concerts, plus vendors of all kinds who sold their goods along “vendor row.”
   A first at this year’s fair was the Elephant Extravaganza, which featured two African elephants and one Asian elephant. The extravaganza provided entertainment but also educated the audiences that gathered at various times to see the elephants.
   Also on the list of entertainment opportunities was the Salida Circus, a traveling entertainment group, founded in 2007, that featured aerialists, jugglers, acrobats, stilt-walkers and magicians, and the Butterfly Encounter that provided an interactive walk-through exhibit where attendees could watch a video about the butterfly life cycle and feed the butterflies.
Dacey Harrison (left), age 10, and her brother, Declan, age 8, are ready for the first of many carnival rides they enjoyed at the fair.
This Asian elephant, along with two African Elephants, made their El Paso County Fair debut this year.
The Butterfly Experience allowed visitors to travel through a flower-filled exhibit, while butterflies fluttered around them. This butterfly is taking a break to snag a sip of nectar.
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  Paint Brush holds fourth water meeting
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On June 28, the Paint Brush Metropolitan District, in coordination with the Colorado Rural Water Association, hosted the fourth in a series of stakeholder meetings at the district office in Falcon, Colorado, to continue developing a source water protection plan.
   According to the April issue of “The New Falcon Herald,” the purpose of the SWPP (source water protection plan) is to determine what risks exist for the district’s source of water.
   Leon Gomes, district manager for PBHMD, said participants finalized the list of source water threats. “We identified things like something seeping into the well, terrorist acts, vandalism, hazardous waste spills and what kind of threats they pose to our source water,” he said. “We designated them with a one, two or three, with one as a high threat, two being somewhat of a threat and three being the lowest threat.”
   Gomes said the participants used specific criteria to assign each threat to a specific level. With that done, the SWPP draft was circulated to the participants for comments, he said. Once all comments have been submitted and any changes have been made, the SWPP will go to the PBHMD board of directors for their approval, Gomes said. Once the document has been approved by the board, it will be a public document, he said.
   “The board and I will work together on what the items in the plan are that call for action, what the priority of each item is and what the board decides on for where to start,” Gomes said. “We may start in pieces to address specific threats individually or we may do the full thing at once.”
   Actions to address identified threats include installing cameras at each well site, intrusion alarms at the pump houses, and electronic access to the pump house buildings so there is no chance for a key to end up in the wrong hands, Gomes said.
   PBHMD received a $5,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to begin work on the SWPP, but the need for additional funding is likely, he said.
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  Safe driving tips
  By Lindsey Harrison

   School is back in session for students in El Paso County Colorado School District 49, and driving with the students in mind is important. Of course, driving with other drivers in mind is equally important.
   Avoid panic
   According to the Colorado Driver Handbook, “Stopping suddenly is dangerous and usually points to a driver who was not paying attention … .Try to avoid panic stops by seeing events well in advance.”
   The handbook recommends the following to avoid panic stops: “Look down the road at least 10 seconds ahead of your vehicle (city = one block, open road = one-half mile). By looking well-ahead and being ready to stop or change lanes if needed, you can drive more safely, save on fuel and help keep traffic moving at a steady pace.”
   According to the website, driving the same route every day can cause drivers to become less attentive to happenings or things around them on the road. To avoid getting complacent while driving, the website recommends the following: “Don’t text and drive, don’t eat and drive, don’t GPS and drive … . Keep your focus on the road and what you’re doing and you’ll be prepared for anything.”
   Watch speed
   Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1101[3] states: “No driver of a vehicle shall fail to decrease the speed of such vehicle from an otherwise lawful speed to a reasonable and prudent speed when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.”
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  Finally, a proper headstone
  By Mark Stoller

   After 129 years with his name etched into a simple stone to mark his gravesite, Sgt. William S. Coon of Company C, 1st Volunteer Colorado Cavalry received a proper headstone commensurate for a veteran who served his country in two wars.
   On July 4, members of the American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008, American Legion Riders, American Legion Auxiliary and Danielle Pieper, the vice president and program chairwoman of the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society gathered at the Eastonville Cemetery and dedicated a new headstone for Sgt. Coon.
   “This has been the culmination of great perseverance,” said Doreen Bronner of the American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008 and director for this initiative. “I am a history buff and this two-year project has been near and dear to me.”
   The effort to provide a proper headstone for an American war veteran has not been without its frustrations and disappointments. “Post 2008 petitioned the Veterans Administration to provide the headstone only to have the agency lose the request,” Bronner said. “After resubmitting the paperwork, the VA required Post 2008 to identify any known heirs of Sgt. Coon. The heirs would have to grant permission for a new headstone to be procured for their family member.”
   The search for heirs brought the Post together with the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society and Danielle Pieper. For the last six months, Pieper has been instrumental in researching Sgt. Coon’s life history and service to his country.
   During the dedication ceremony, Pieper relayed historical information on Sgt. Coon. “Sgt. William S “Billy” Coon was born in New York in 1822 to German immigrants before moving to Michigan to become a distiller. He was 5 feet, 5 inches tall with blue eyes and auburn hair. In 1847, he enlisted in the 1st Michigan Infantry and served for eight and a half months during the Mexican War. Following his discharge, he moved to Colorado, possibly chasing the dream of adventure and gold. In September 1861, Coon enlisted in the Colorado 1st Volunteer Calvary, Company C, in the gold camp at Buckskin Joe, Colorado. Coon traveled over the northwest corner of Colorado where he served in multiple capacities for the quarter master, payroll teamster between the post and Denver; provost marshal duty in Denver, Fort Garland and American Ranch on the Overland Trail; and nurse duty in Fort Collins. In 1864, Coon was sent with Company D to Valley Station to protect ranchers and travelers on the Overland Trail following the Sand Creek Massacre that created heightened tensions between natives and white settlers. Following his discharge from active duty in 1865, Coon married an Irish lady named Mary and purchased land in Eastonville, Colorado. He was a resident of Eastonville until his death on April 18, 1889.”
Sgt. William “Billy” Coon received a new grave headstone compliments of the American Legion Dane R. Balcon Post 2008. Sergeant Coon is a veteran and served during the Mexican War (1848) and the Civil War (1861-1865).
Danielle Pieper, vice president and program chairwoman of the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society, shares information about the history of Sgt. William Coon with members of the American Legion who came to support the dedication of the new grave headstone. Photos by Mark Stoller
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  Problem intersections in Falcon – Part 6
  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 focused on the intersection of Flower Road and Meridian Road and the intersection of Bent Grass Meadows Drive and Meridian Road; the third focused on the intersection of Highway 24 and Garrett Road; the fourth focused on the intersection of McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road; and the last focused on the intersection of Rex Road and Meridian Road.
   According to those articles, failure to yield right-of-way and inattentive driving were the leading causes of accidents at each intersection.
   This month, the NFH focused on the intersection of Meridian Road and Woodmen Road, specifically to address an email from a concerned citizen. According to the email, the citizen sent a request to El Paso County asking that they replace the speed limit signs removed after Meridian was widened southbound on approach to Woodmen. She stated in the email that the signs indicated a reduced speed ahead and then designated the speed limit from 55 mph to 35 mph.
   She indicated that she received the following email response: “A review of 2014, 2015, and 2016 CDOT [Colorado Department of Transportation] crash data files did not reveal any crash records for southbound Meridian Road approaching Woodmen Road that indicated the current Meridian Road 55 mph speed limit was a contributing factor.
   “Similarly, there was only one apparent speed-related crash for the southbound Meridian Road approach and included a driver that was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit at 2350 (11:50 p.m.) at night who struck a fence.”
   The response also states that the lane geometry, which changes to include double left turn only lanes, represents a significant and obvious change and drivers are “on notice” well in advance of the approaching intersection. Additionally, the traffic signal at Woodmen is highly visible, the response states.
   Jennifer Irvine, El Paso County engineer, said she reviewed the EPC department of public works files, which indicated that there has not been a 35 mph speed limit sign for about 10 years. She said the Meridian Road improvement project, which took place in 2012, also did not list the speed limit signs in the construction plans. The signs were not present when the project started; thus, they were not replaced after the project was completed, she said.
   According to the Colorado State Patrol’s statistics team, 21 of the 69 total crashes at that intersection since 2013 were caused by inattentive driving, while “disregarding other traffic control device” and following too closely caused 12 and 11 crashes, respectively.
   Trooper Josh Lewis said, “Speed was the main factor in only two crashes at this location since 2013.”
   Irvine said the county uses certain criteria to classify each roadway during the signal improvement phase. Meridian Road, at that time, was classified as an arterial road and that classification comes with a set of design criteria, like the speed limit, she said.
   “Typically, we post speed limits 5 miles per hour lower than what the classification says we can post,” she said. “After that, we monitor it and can always make adjustments from there.”
   There are plans for two new traffic signals along southbound Meridian: one at Bent Grass Meadows Drive and one at Eastonville Road, which will eventually extend across Meridian and continue west, Irvine said.
   “I believe when those developments come in and the signals are going up, we will have to take a look at that road to see what needs to happen,” she said. “Those intersections are going to be pretty close.”
   Jim Reid, executive director of the EPC department of public works, said the bottom line for this intersection, as with all the rest, is that drivers need to be safe and adjust their speeds based on their surroundings and the road conditions.
   “If drivers are not paying attention to the road, they probably are not paying attention to the road signs,” he said.
   Both Irvine and Reid said they encourage community members to use the county’s Citizen’s Connect website to report concerns or make service requests for both roads and parks within the EPC public works and community services jurisdiction. “It only takes one complaint,” Reid said. “We look at all of them; the volume of complaints for one thing does not matter.”
   The Citizen Connect website is
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Peak Gymnastics and Fitness
   According to Peak Gymnastics and Fitness's website, the company purchased the 2-acre plot of land south of their current location at 10610 Maltese Point in Falcon, Colorado. The new facility will be about 15,000 square feet and should be ready to open by spring 2019.
   Black Forest Brewing Co.
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an application by Brewing Ground Investments LLC, doing business as Black Forest Brewing Co., for a modification of its premises at 11590 Black Forest Road.
   Meridian Ranch subdivision
   The BOCC approved the final acceptance of certain streets within Meridian Ranch Filing No. 11A into the El Paso County road maintenance system, and released $7,896, representing the funds held for those public improvements. Additionally, the commissioners approved the final release of a bond for $551,439.60 for those improvements. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   WindingWalk subdivision
   The commissioners approved two park lands agreements with GTL Inc., developer of WindingWalk Filings No. 1 and 2. The agreement allows GTL to grant urban park fee credits in exchange for constructing urban park improvements in each filing. The agreement addresses the specifics of the developer’s urban park construction, refund of the urban park fees in exchange for the urban park improvements and maintenance of the urban park improvements by the owner. The agreements also require that the trail network and urban park amenities be accessible to the public.
   Stonebridge subdivision
   The BOCC approved a park lands agreement with GTL, Inc., developer of the Enclaves at Stonebridge Filing No. 4. The agreement allows GTL to grant urban park fee credits in exchange for constructing urban park improvements in that filing. The agreement addresses the specifics of the developer’s urban park construction, refund of the urban park fees in exchange for the urban park improvements and maintenance of the urban park improvements by the owner. The agreement also requires that the trail network and urban park amenities be accessible to the public.
   EPC Water Master Plan
   The commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to the contract with Forsgren Associates Inc. for changes to the tasks outlined in the contract related to the development of the EPC Water Master Plan for $34,000.
   Falcon dog park
   Jason Meyer, project manager II with the EPC community services department, wrote in an email to “The New Falcon Herald” that construction of the Falcon dog park is planned for the fall and should be completed by the end of 2018.
   Falcon Marketplace
   Ben Hummel, owner of Hummel Investments LLC, wrote in an email to the NFH that King Soopers is taking the necessary steps to get approval of the location at the northwest corner of the intersection of Meridian Road and Woodmen Road. “We feel good about our chances,” he wrote.
   Largent subdivision
   The EPC planning commission unanimously approved a request by Hammers Construction Inc., on behalf of D and D Management LLC, to vacate and replat the Largent subdivision to create one commercial lot. The property is 1.17 acres, with a .05-acre tract dedicated to EPC for a future right-of-way. The property is currently zoned commercial community and is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Highway 24 and Meridian Road. It is included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Plan.
   Flying Horse subdivision
   The planning commission approved, in a 4-1 vote, a request by PRI 2 LLC for the preliminary plan to create 283 single-family residential lots and 324.1 acres of open space, to include a golf course, a park and other open spaces in the Flying Horse North subdivision. Kevin Curry, planning commission member, voted against the request due to concerns about traffic and safety during emergencies. The property totals 1,418.5 acres and is zoned planned unit development. Located west of Highway 83, south of Hodgen Road and east of Black Forest Road, the property is within the Black Forest Preservation Plan area.
   The commissioners also approved, in a 4-1 vote, a request by PRI 2 LLC for the final plat of the Flying Horse North subdivision to create 80 single-family residential lots and 21 tracts to be used for a golf course, open space, drainage and other uses. The property, totaling 557 acres, is zoned PUD and located west of Highway 83, south of Hodgen Road and east of Black Forest Road. It is within the Black Forest Preservation Plan area.
   Reserve at Corral Bluffs
   The planning commission unanimously approved a request by Corral Ranches Development Co. for the final plat of the Reserve at Corral Bluffs Filing No. 2 to create six single-family residential lots. The property is zoned residential rural 5 and is located north of Highway 94, south of Blaney Road, east of Meridian Road and west of Hoofbeat Road. It is included within the boundaries of the Highway 94 Comprehensive Plan area.
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