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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 7 July 2020  

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

    East meets West in Calhan
    Voting issues
    MVEA annual Lamplighter dinner
    Food pantry gears up for the holidays
    County holds master plan advisory meeting
    World renowned animal behaviorist speaking in Colorado Springs
    Tender Care Veterinary expansion grand opening
    Building and real estate update
    Building and real estate update - EDARP
  East meets West in Calhan
  By Pete Gawda

   Eastern European dress and Western American cowboy hats met at the Seventeenth Annual Slavic Fest held Oct. 12 and 13 at St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Calhan.
   In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many immigrants from Eastern Europe came to the Calhan area. The transcontinental railroad provided easy transportation from the Eastern seaboard. The immigrants were lured by scenery similar to what they were familiar with in their homeland, where many were farmers and ranchers. Also, the Homestead Act promised clear title to 160 acres. Many of their descendants still live in the area, working the same land for three or four generations.
   Every year, they gather to celebrate their rich heritage with food, music and cultural features. The menu consisted of hefty Slavic dishes such as halupki (stuffed cabbage), kapusta (potato noodles), pierogi (stuffed boiled dumplings) and bandurtky and matchanka (potatoes and gravy). For those with a sweet tooth, there was a table loaded with mouth-watering homemade pastries such as poppy seed bread, cherry rings, triple fudge cake and strudel. Alan Polivka, of Czech descent, played the accordion and was accompanied by Richard Clark on drums. When asked to play a polka, Polivka said polka is in his name, just remove the “iv.”
   Items connected with Eastern European culture, some handmade — like crosses, jewelry, icons, toys and Christmas decorations — were for sale. Tours were offered at St. Tikhon's Chapel, the site of the original “Church on the Hill,” which has no electricity and is used only on special occasions. Many of the early settlers are buried in the adjoining cemetery. There were also tours of the newer church at the bottom of the hill.
   Father Stephen Osburn, rector of St. Mary’s, expected 90 people for the weekend event. However, he said he had hoped for 1,000.
Slavic fest baked goods: Jennifer Tressler presides over a table of homemade jellies and jams and homemade pastries such as nut bread, cinnamon rolls and cherry rings — all for sale at St. Mary's Orthodox Church Slavic FestRichard Clark, left, on drums, and accordion player Alan Polivka provided polkas and other traditional music for the Slavic Fest held at St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Calhan in October.
Eastern Europe and western United States cultures come together with Ryleigh Tunink, left, in traditional Eastern European dress, and Trevor Hendrix, in cowboy garb, at the Slavic Fest.Father Stephen Osburn, rector of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Calhan, represented the West at the Slavic fest, with his cowboy hat.
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  Voting issues

   Two major voting issues to think about:
   Proposition CC is asking for voter permission to end the limits on state tax revenue determined by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. 
   If voters agree, the state would be allowed to keep an additional $542 million to $1.7 billion more in the next three years and split the money evenly between K-12 education, higher education and transportation. 
   If voters say no, money would be returned to taxpayers as a TABOR refund, and likewise in any years when tax collections exceed the limits.
   Proposition DD: A U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 struck down a federal prohibition on sports gambling in most of the country, allowing states to move forward with legalization. The taxes the state would impose on sports gambling would generate between $6 million and $15 million annually in the first three years. 
   The revenue from taxing sports bets would go toward covering the cost of the state’s regulation of gambling; among other benefits, the revenue also would go to programs for gambling addiction and a crisis-support line. The remaining money would go toward projects on the state’s water conservation plan.
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  MVEA annual Lamplighter dinner
  By Leslie Sheley

   October is National Co-op month, and Mountain View Electric Association Inc. celebrated by holding an annual Lamplighter dinner meeting for their co-op members on Oct. 22. This year, The Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center in Black Forest hosted the event.
   Donna Anderson-Van Ness, MVEA assistant secretary, reported on capital credit retirement funds. Co-op members receive a share of the retired capital credits every year, which is determined by the MVEA Board of Directors. The total retired this year is $4,308,015. Members are invited to visit their local MVEA office to learn about capital credits — and receive a free pie.
   Jim Herron, MVEA chief executive officer, introduced Rep. Tim Geitner and his wife Carrie Geitner, candidate for the El Paso County District 2 Commission seat. Herron also acknowledged MVEA retirees, Operation Round Up Board Members and other employees in the audience. Herron said, after 31 years of service, Jack Wolfe, MVEA attorney, will retire at the end of 2019.
   Herron discussed the Operation Round Up program, where members have the option to round up their bill to the next dollar. Herron said the average yearly total for members who participate equals $5.50 and the maximum amount is $11.88. The money is used to provide assistance to members who are dealing with disastrous situations that prevent them from being able to take care of their basic needs.
   MVEA is still seeing growth, Herron said. They are currently at about 57,000 meters and have been adding about 2,000 meters a year. He said they are looking at the infrastructure needed to build or upgrade in the future years, and they contributed $20 million toward growth this year.
   MVEA has been using digital meters for more than 20 years, and they are in the process of upgrading those meters, Herron said. Members will have more insight into their electric usage by being able to monitor daily and hourly usage, plus they have the ability to see patterns to help budget for future bills. MVEA will be able to respond to outages faster and know when everyone is back online.
   Herron said the upgrades were launched in August 2019 and will take an estimated 18 months to complete.
   He said one of the things people always ask him is how their bills will be impacted in the future. “One of the things we don’t have control over is legislation,” he said. “There was legislation passed this year, House Bill 19-1261, Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution, and what concerns us about this bill is that the Air Quality Control Commission is going to develop regulations to achieve the House bill goals, which is an unknown, and could affect your bills.” He also said the roadmap to 100 percent renewable energy and bold climate action was also passed by Gov. Jared Polis this year, and they have yet to see how that will affect them.
   Herron talked about the LED Energy Efficiency Rebate Program that Tri-State Generation and Transmission offers to members. He said this is the last year Tri-State will be offering the program. The deadline to get rebates in is Dec. 30, 2019.
   The dinner meeting ended after a question and answer session.
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  Food pantry gears up for the holidays
  By Lindsey Harrison

   At the start of 2019, High Plains Helping Hands Food Pantry began the process to transition to the Fresh Food Center with the intent of being a more full-resource center rather than just a food pantry, said Grant Winger, interim executive director. With the holidays approaching, the FSC needs help from the community in some new ways, he said.
   The pantry opened in 2008; and, according to the June 2018 issue of The New Falcon Herald, the Fresh Start Center began as a related but separate entity in 2017. Although the pantry and the FSC have merged, the organization is still located at 7375 Adventure Way in Colorado Springs, Winger said.
   According to the FSC website, the organization’s mission is the following: “By delivering targeted, sustainability programs that address hunger, poverty and joblessness, we are building a model for transformative change in individuals, families and communities.”
   “We want to help enrich the lives of the people we serve,” Winger said. “It is mostly business as usual but we are trying to add to that with a fresh food initiative. We are trying to grow what we can so we have produce that is first-pick for our clients instead of picking through the not-so-good stuff.”
   The FSC grows produce, including lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss chard, radishes and zucchini, and is working to educate its clients on how to have their own fresh produce, he said. “Our food program is 17 percent fresh food compared to the 4 percent that is the national average,” Winger said.
   Because the FSC also provides health cooking classes, job training, personal finance coaching in addition to education about farming and gardening, Winger said the center needs to bring on a client intake person, possibly as a paid position and someone with a counseling background to provide additional support to the clients.
   “We also need food like peanut butter and jelly, cereal, pasta and pasta sauces, cake mixes, canned goods and dog and cat food,” Winger said. “People can also donate money and for every dollar that we get as a donation, we are able to turn that into 5 pounds of meat through our partnership with Care and Share (Food Bank).”
   The FSC serves more than 40 new families each month in 20 different zip codes in El Paso, Lincoln and Elbert counties, he said.
   “Our need for support is definitely growing as we try to serve the local families that come to us as best we can,” he said.
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  County holds master plan advisory meeting
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Oct. 1, the El Paso County Master Plan Advisory Committee held a meeting in conjunction with the EPC Planning Commission to discuss progress on the county’s master plan development process. The county hired Houseal Lavigne Associates, a professional consulting firm specializing in community planning, urban design and economic development, to help create the plan.
   Seven of the 10 members of the advisory committee attended the meeting, including Andrea Barlow, committee chair; Tom Bailey, Sarah Brittain Jack, Becky Fuller, Tim Trowbridge, Mark Volcheff and Ryan Wanner. Various members of Houseal Lavigne and EPC staff, as well as 15 members of the community also attended the meeting.
   John Houseal, Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and principal planner at Houseal Lavigne, said the planning process consists of multiple phases: project initiation and outreach; community outreach and engagement; market and demographic analysis; existing conditions analysis; vision, goals and objectives; community wide plans and policies; implementation strategies; and plan document and adoption.
   “We are at a pivotal point in the planning process,” he said. “We are in the existing conditions analysis phase, which frames the context of what is going on now.”
   The existing conditions analysis produced a report that included detailed market, economic and demographic analyses, resulting in a series of goal categories.
   Houseal said the county should focus on those goal categories, which include land use and development; economic development; housing and communities; transportation and mobility; community facilities and infrastructure; military coordination; recreation and tourism; community health; environment and natural resources; and resiliency and hazard mitigation.
    “These goals are not meant to be an exhaustive inventory of everything we can think of for El Paso County,” Houseal said. “This is just a snapshot of the existing conditions in the county right now.”
   Each goal and the priorities contained therein were created from community input, Houseal said. Based on the identified priorities, the county can then begin to formulate an action plan. After the action plan is determined, the county can begin to discuss how to financially achieve the goals, he said.
   “The master plan will never supplant the need for a more robust transportation and mobility plan or a housing plan or a parks and recreation plan,” Houseal said. “If development does not happen in a way that is planned, infrastructure growth will not be sustainable.”
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  World renowned animal behaviorist speaking in Colorado Springs
  By Leslie Sheley

   Acclaimed author, speaker and professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, Dr. Temple Grandin, will be in Colorado Springs in December to speak on “Understanding Animal Behavior.” Her presentation will also cover dealing with different minds.
   Diagnosed with autism as a young child, Grandin has authored a number of books and many articles on autism.
   Grandin will present at both Falcon High School and Hotel Elegante Conference and Event Center in December.
   At Falcon High School, she will speak to students, 4H members and Future Farmers of America (it is a closed session); her focus will be on handling cattle and stock.
   “I teach about things that make the cattle stop and refuse to go through a chute, such as a coat on a fence, a hose on the ground or parking a shiny vehicle alongside a facility,” Grandin said. “I also talk about the importance of cattle temperament and weight gain.”
   On Dec. 14, at the Hotel Elegante Conference and Event Center presentation, which is open to the public, she will “do a more general animal behavior talk about dogs, cats and wildlife.” Grandin said she will also talk about how people’s minds are different in the area of visual, word and math thinkers.
   Her speeches also include her thoughts on hands-on training in the schools like wood working, car mechanics, cooking, sewing and theatre. Grandin said kids growing up today don’t always have a chance to use tools or do hands-on tasks, so they don’t know if they would want a skilled trade.
   “They think they can teach all of this with virtual reality, but they can’t,” Grandin said. “I am concerned that people with autism will be thought of as not capable. Many famous musicians, scientists, artists and politicians would probably be diagnosed with autism today. Look at Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs; what would happen to them in today’s school system?”
   The two Temple Grandin events were set up by Pamela Leland, owner of the Colorado Springs Dog Training Center. Leland said, “I’m trying to set up events, seminars and workshops regarding animals, and especially as a dog training center, that redirect the focus on Colorado Springs, rather than Denver or other cities up north. … Temple has a unique and rare insight into the behavior of animals, and I wanted to set up a forum where she could share that with us.”
   Grandin’s claim to fame is seeing things from the animal’s point of view, and she is a worldwide consultant on designing feed lots and slaughter houses, Leland said. “Grandin doesn’t say we shouldn’t eat meat, but believes when an animal goes to the end of its life, it should be humane and not unnecessarily stressful; and if we can do it better, then why not,” Leland said.
   Also, if there is less chaos and less stress on animals, Grandin said chances are the meat will be better.
   Grandin lived on a cattle ranch with her aunt when she was a young teenager, and spent hours observing how the cowboys handled the animals and the reaction of the animals to their handlers, Leland said. “She would get down on the ground in the middle of a herd of cows and try to see things from their point of view, and that’s how she has become this living legend of seeing things from the animal’s point of view,” she said.
   Leland has worked with all sorts of animals, but her focus today is on dogs. “I use very positive methods in training, which I think is really important,” she said. She has held animal CPR classes, reproduction and puppy intensive care classes; and, in February, she will have a weekend seminar on competitions.
   Students are excited to hear Grandin speak, Leland said. Dave Kranz, leader of FFA at Falcon High School, has invited other FFA students from Ellicott, Calhan, Limon and Miami-Yoder to join them. “It is really going to be something to hear Temple Grandin talk,” Leland said. “She is truly a living legend.”
   Visit for more information.
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  Tender Care Veterinary expansion grand opening
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Oct. 12, the staff at Tender Care Veterinary Center held a grand opening celebration for the expansion onto the east side of the facility. Terryn Hodges, certified veterinary technician and center administrator, said the expansion has been in the works since March, although it became clear shortly after TCVC opened in 2015 that an expansion would be necessary.
   The grand opening celebration included bounce houses and face painting for the kids and snacks for everyone to enjoy. Throughout the event, staff members took attendees on tours of the facility to show them the updated features.
   The newest portion of the facility houses a rehabilitation space and allowed the center to upgrade from four exam rooms to eight rooms, Hodges said.
   The facility also boasts upgraded technology like a specialized oxygen room that controls temperature and humidity for animals that need monitoring, she said.
   The emergency entrance will be updated in the near future, and there is a small bed so staff members can stay overnight and keep critical patients close at hand, Hodges said.
   The grooming facility is three times larger and the waiting room has been expanded as well, she said.
   “We went from a doctor staff of two to six and a support staff of four to 30,” Hodges said. “We are really excited with how everything is going.”
Rader demonstrates the underwater treadmill located in the new rehabilitation portion of the Tender Care Veterinary Center. Photo by Lindsey Harrison
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Hadden Heights
   The El Paso County Planning Commission unanimously approved a request by Jose and Mary Contreras to vacate and replat Lot 18 of Hadden Heights Subdivision to legalize the division of the lot into two single-family residential lots. The 5.1-acre property is zoned residential rural-5 and is located north of Eggar Drive, about 0.5 miles west of Meridian Road.
   Quarter Circle/Three Quarter Circle Lazy J property
   The Planning Commission unanimously approved a request by the Quarter Circle Lazy J and the Three Quarter Circle Lazy J Trusts for a variance of use for a second dwelling on a 10-acre property, zoned RR-5 and located on the south side of Crosslen Lane, about 0.25 miles east of the intersection of Crosslen Land and Howells Road.
   McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project
   The EPC Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement and a temporary construction easement from property owned by LaRon and Renee Bartlett for $820 for the McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project.
   The commissioners also unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, special warranty deeds, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construct easement from property owned by Bare Enterprises Ltd. for $64,000 for this project.
   The BOCC also unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a special warranty deed, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement from property owned by Cygnet Land LLC, and they accepted a real property donation from the corporation for this project.
   Fox Run Regional Trail
   The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to ratify the submittal of a Colorado Parks and Wildlife non-motorized trails planning grant application for Fox Run Regional Trail to provide residents and visitors with a safe, accessible non-motorized route to residential, recreational and commercial areas from Baptist Road to Fox Run Regional Park. The project budget includes the requested CPW planning grant amount of $30,000, EPC funds of $20,000 from regional park fees and a $2,967 in-kind match of staff time for a total budget of $52,967.
   Calhan Highway Bridge Replacement Project
   The BOCC unanimously approved a purchase order to Alfred Benesch & Company for design services for the Calhan Highway Bridge Replacement Project for $239,595. The project will consist of replacing the existing two-lane bridge with improved infrastructure design, including drainage, transitions, shoulders and a guardrail.
   Abert Ranch
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by BF Ranch Trust 2015 for the preliminary plan to create 10 single-family residential lots on 38.2 acres of the 40.4-acre parcel, with 3.85 acres of right-of-way zoned RR-2.5. The property is located about 0.75 miles 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 area.
   The Nor’wood Foundation property
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by The Nor’wood Foundation for reconsideration of a previously approved final plat to create 60 single-family residential lots. The property is 319.34 acres, zoned PUD and located north of Shoup Road and east of Vollmer Road.
   Aspen View Homes vs. El Paso County Colorado School District 49
   Aspen View Homes has 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. On Oct. 17, the district released a statement indicating that D 49’s legal counsel heard from Aspen View homes on Oct. 3 with a request for the district to “reverify the fee in-lieu-of-land calculation” for the property.
   According to the statement, “Although not explicitly stated, we would interpret this as an indication Aspen View Homes wishes to eventually meet with administrative staff of D 49 and discuss a resolution to the impasse that is delaying our efforts to move forward on building a new middle school to serve students, staff and families of School District 49.”
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  Building and real estate update - EDARP
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) projects at
   Banning Lewis Ranch North
   On Sept. 19, N.E.S. Inc., on behalf of Nor’Wood Development Group, submitted applications to the El Paso County EDARP system for the following: annexation of the Banning Lewis Ranch North property; a master plan for BLR North; a zone change from County Zoning to Planned Unit Development; and a concept plan for BLR North. The property is about 807 acres, located east of Mohawk Road, along the north and south side of Woodmen Road, south of the proposed Sterling Ranch development.
   The property is a mix of RR-5, agriculture-5 and PUD zoning designations. The application includes a project description that indicates the land will contain a mix of uses, including residential, office, commercial, school and open space/park areas. The residential areas have a proposed maximum residential density cap at 2,800 units in total.
   The property is under a single ownership so the annexation can be implemented at the time the utility connections through Colorado Springs Utilities are available, the application states.
   Sterling Ranch
   On Sept. 25, SR Land submitted an application for the final plat for Branding Iron at Sterling Ranch Filing No. 2, a replat of the Sterling Ranch Filing No. 1 final plat, to create 75 single-family lots and one tract for drainage, landscaping, public improvements and public utility purposes on about 18.88 acres of the 182.26-acre Sterling Ranch. The property is zoned residential-5000, with all proposed lots greater than 5,000 square feet.
   Edgewood subdivision
   On Sept. 2, M.V.W. Inc. submitted an application for a minor subdivision of an approximate 12.228-acre plat in Edgewood Subdivision Filing No. 1, owned by Karen and James Marten. The proposal would create two new rural residential single-family lots on a property zoned RR-5, with each lot area exceeding 5 acres. The property is located on the north side of Poco Road, west of Vollmer Road, north of Woodmen Road and south of Burgess Road.
   Falcon Field Metropolitan District
   On Oct. 11, Falcon Field LLC submitted a letter of intent for a service plan in accordance with the provisions in Title 32 of the Colorado Revised Statues. The 58-acre property encompassed in the district’s boundaries is located south of Rio Land and east of the Woodmen Road and Highway 24 intersection. The project will include 274,000 square feet of commercial use with one large box retailer –- anticipated to be a home improvement store — and 12 pad sites for a mix of retail shopping and restaurants.
   The district’s proposed debt mill levy cap will be 30 mills and the proposed operations and maintenance mill levy cap will be 5 mills. The proposed debt capacity limit is $20,000,000.
   Falcon Meadow RV Campground
   On Oct. 4, Element Engineering LLC submitted a letter of intent on behalf of James C. and Delia L. Ozburn for a lift station on a portion of the 16.9-acre property, zoned RR-5 and located near the existing Falcon Meadow RV Campground. The proposed facility will include a buried concrete structure for a wet well for the lift station and submersible pumps to convey wastewater to the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District collection system. About 1,600 feet of buried pressure pipe, above-ground access hatches and electrical/control equipment are included in the plans.
   Falcon Marketplace
   On Sept. 6, Galloway & Company Inc. submitted an application on behalf of King Soopers for a commercial site development plan in lots 2 and 3 of Falcon Marketplace Filing No. 1. The property is located at the northwest corner of the Woodmen Road and Meridian Road intersection.
   Meridian Ranch
   In August, N.E.S. submitted a letter of intent on behalf of GTL Inc. for the Estates at Rolling Hills Ranch, located north of the intersection of Rex Road and Sunrise Ridge Drive and consisting of 28.9 acres zoned PUD. The application requests the following: a PUD development/preliminary plan for the subdivision, consisting of 16 single-family dwelling lots, landscaping, open space and trails; and a final plat of the subdivision.
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