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"New Year’s Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive."
– Jay Leno  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 1 January 2021  

None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?   None FFPD News  
None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness   None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business  
None News From D 49   None People on the Plains   None Pet Adoption Corner   None Pet Care  
None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors   None Wildlife Matters  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    Pierogis on the plains
    Doggie dip closes out summer
    Building and real estate update
  Pierogis on the plains
  By Pete Gawda

   The old and the new merged on a recent Sunday afternoon at St. Mary's Orthodox Dormition Church in Calhan. The church's community hall was filled with third and fourth generation Slavic parishioners gathered to make pierogis and noodles from generations' old recipes for the church's fall Slavic Festival.
   Pierogis are dumplings of Central and Eastern European origin made by wrapping dough around a filling and then boiling them.
   Young and old worked in assembly line fashion making potato pierogis and noodles that will be frozen for the time being. Father Stephen Osburn, rector of St. Mary's, also got into the act. Wearing an apron, he was busily kneading dough. He said his No. 1 rule is “You're always welcome.”
   On this Sunday afternoon, parishioners were expected to make 100 dozen potato pierogis and 30 bags of noodles. They expect to put together 200 dozen potato pierogis, 104 dozen prune pierogis and 104 cottage cheese pierogis. Potatoes and gravy, kielbasa and halupki, an Eastern European stuffed cabbage dish, will also be on the menu.
   From 1880 to 1917, immigrants from Czechoslovakia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire came to the Calhan area because of the railroad and the Homestead Act. Also, the area around Calhan resembled the countryside of their native land.
   The “Church on the Hill,” now called St. Tikon's Chapel, has no electricity or heat and is used only on special occasions. Beside the church and across the road are cemeteries dotted with Orthodox crosses. At the bottom of the hill is the current church, community hall and rectory.
   The original church was destroyed by fire in 1927.
   St. Mary's Slavic Festival will be held Oct. 12 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Oct. 13 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at St. Mary's Orthodox Church, 19485 N Calhan Hwy., Calhan.
Becky Fischer was one of the many parishioners of St. Mary's Orthodox Church who prepared dozens of pierogis for the upcoming Slavic Festival. Photos by Pete Gawda
Father Stephen Osburn, rector of St. Mary's, dons an apron to knead dough for this church's October Slavic Festival.
Parishioners of St. Mary's Orthodox Church spent a recent Sunday afternoon preparing authentic Slavic dishes from recipes passed down from generation to generation. The food will be served at St. Marys upcoming Slavic Festival.
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  Doggie dip closes out summer
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Sept. 8, the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District hosted its third annual “doggie dip” event for residents and their fur babies at the outdoor swimming pool at the Community Center West.
   The dogs were divided into two groups, each with a designated swim time, to separate the larger and smaller dogs. About 50 dogs were expected to participate throughout the day.
   Tender Care Veterinary Center in Falcon provided treats and toys. Hannah Stockdale, certified veterinary assistant, said there was at least one person on hand at all times who is certified in dog CPR in case of an emergency.
   Haley Ratliff, a WHMD resident, said this was her German Shepherd’s first time in a big pool, and the puppy appeared to enjoy the experience.
Six-month-old German Shepherd Kona leaps into the pool to snag a ball thrown by her owner, Brandon Ratliff. Photos by Lindsey Harrison
Four-year-old Golden Doodle Ned swims back to the pool stairs after fetching a ball. DeAnna Skrastins, Ned's “mom,” said her dog is a service/mobility dog for Skrastins’ daughter.
Miley, a 4-year-old black Labrador/golden retriever mix, smiles as she enjoys her third appearance at the Woodmen Hills Doggie Dip.
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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 and a temporary construction easement from property owned by Brian K. Ullom and Kevin Scott Ullom for $1,850 for the McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project.
   The commissioners also unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warrant deed and a temporary construction easement from property owned by the Sedlak Family Trust, Laurie A. Clark and Lisa A. Thomas, trustees, for $4,900 for the project.
   New Meridian/Old Meridian and Highway 24 projects
   The BOCC unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation for construction of the Falcon Park-n-Ride facility at Highway 24 and Old Meridian Road. The project includes lighting, curb and gutter, sidewalks, handicap ramps, parking lanes and landscaping.
   The intergovernmental agreement also includes construction of the extension of New Meridian Road from Highway 24 to Falcon Highway; and improvements to the intersections of Old Meridian Road and Highway 24 and New Meridian Road and Highway 24. Those improvements include removing the traffic signal at Old Meridian Road and Highway 24, converting access control at that location to a right-in-right-out configuration and completing the intersection of New Meridian Road and Highway 24 as a signalized intersection with adequate turn lanes at all approaches.
   These projects will be constructed in conjunction with the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority’s Meridian Road Extension Project, an “A” list project from the list developed in 2004. The contracted cost for all the projects is $3,794,942, with $3,142,661 of federal funds and a $653,281 local match. Construction is anticipated to occur in 2019/2020.
   Meridian Ranch
   The BOCC unanimously approved a parks land agreement with GTL Inc. for credit of urban park fees already paid within The Vistas Filing No. 1 at the Meridian Ranch development. The EPC community services department estimates the fees at $42,432. The agreement requires GTL to do the following: provide the final park design and estimated construction costs for review and approval by EPC prior to recording the property’s final plat; make park improvements of an equal or greater value than the required urban park fees; complete the improvements within two years of the execution of the agreements, or the park fees will be immediately due to EPC; install all park improvements in compliance with applicable EPC regulations, resolutions and standards; and maintain the improvements or ensure that the Meridian Ranch Metropolitan District maintains those improvements.
   Judge Orr Ranchettes
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request for reconsideration of the final plat to create seven single-family residential lots on 40.67 acres, zoned residential rural 5 and located immediately north of Judge Orr Road and west Stapleton Road. The request includes an additional condition that the on-site well be retested for impurities that exceed the primary drinking water standard. In June 2019, the well tests exceeded that standard, and the requirement of a new test will determine if reverse osmosis system need to be installed in each dwelling served by the on-site well before those dwellings receive certificates of occupancy.
   Falcon Market Place
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request to amend a preciously adopted preliminary plan for the Falcon Market Place. The development, zoned commercial regional, is located at the northwest corner of Woodmen Road and Meridian Road and consists of 11 commercial lots, a public right-of-way, a tract for a sub-regional detention basin, a tract for on-site water quality and utilities.
   The Retreat
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by TimberRidge Development Group LLC for a Colorado Revised Statutes Title 32 Special District service plan for the Retreat Metropolitan District No. 1 and No. 2. The districts are located north of the proposed Briargate Parkway/Stapleton Road corridor, east of Vollmer Road and adjacent to Arroya Lane; and are included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   The applicant proposed the following: a maximum debt authorization of $14.5 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: water and sewage disposal services; street improvements, transportation and safety protection; design, construction and maintenance of drainage facilities; design, acquisition of land, construction and maintenance of recreation facilities; mosquito control; covenant enforcement; television relay and translation; and security services.
   Abert Ranch
   The EPC planning commission unanimously approved a request by Black Forest Ranch Trust 2015 for the preliminary plan of the Abert Ranch subdivision to develop 10 single-family lots and 3.82 acres of rights-of-way. The 40.40-acre property, zoned RR-2.5, is located north of Hodgen Road, south of Silver Nell Drive, east of the Walden development and west of Steppler Road. It is located within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   4-Way Ranch
   Brian Matise, an attorney with Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., wrote in an email to “The New Falcon Herald” that the litigation between 30 residents of the 4-Way Ranch Metropolitan district and five board members plus 4-Way Ranch Joint Venture LLC was postponed from the original trial date of Sept. 3 but has yet to be rescheduled.
   Aspen View Homes vs. El Paso County Colorado School District 49
   According to the September issue of the NFH, Aspen View Homes refused to transfer the land title for a 22-acre property in the Forest Meadows subdivision to D 49. The property has been designated as a school site since 2003. Following that article, KKTV 11 News posted an article on their website about the conflict and stated that Aspen View provided the KKTV with the following statement: “With that transaction, we are close to a resolution, it will make good by the community.”
   Prairie Necklace
   Dr. Judith von Ahlefeldt, Ph.D., presented her concept for a “Prairie Necklace” to the Planning Commission on Sept. 17. In it, she asked the question: “Can the Planning Commissions, Planning Departments, Development Community & Decision makers of Colorado Springs & El Paso County work together now –- in 2019/2020 –- to create A Prairie Necklace connecting key patches of ungraded native regional Prairie Grassland in the urban-rural interface of Colorado Springs and El Paso County?”
   Von Ahlefeldt included several maps showing where the “Prairie Necklace” could be located, and proposed implementation of her concept.
   The Ranch
   The BOCC approved a sketch plan request by PRI No. 4 LLC in a 4-1 vote, with Longinos Gonzalez opposed. The sketch plan is for a 610-acre property, zoned RR-2.5 and located north of Woodmen Road, west of Meridian Road, at the end of Stapleton Road and east of Raygor Road. It creates 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 space; 10 acres of institutional (school) land uses; and 46 acres of public rights-of-way. The property is located within the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan and the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   Banning Lewis Ranch
   The Colorado Springs Planning and Community Development land use review division has posted signs along the north side of Woodmen Road, describing a development proposal as follows: “Annexation of Banning Lewis Ranch North, approximately 847.58 acres, establishing a PUD (Planned Unit Development) zone district to allow future development of residential, office, commercial, schools, parks and open space as governed by the proposed Banning Lewis Ranch North Master Plan.”
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