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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  
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Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    Home of the free because of the brave
    U.S. flags retired in VFW ceremony
    COVID exacerbates food insecurities
    Be responsible with holiday gatherings
    Small Business Saturday
    Students take advantage of free college applications
    Grandview Reserve
    COVID effects on assisted living residents
    Banning-Lewis – the ranch and the subdivision
    Building and real estate update
  Home of the free because of the brave
  By Ava Stoller

   Veterans Day is the day to honor and remember everyone who has served in the military and their willingness to sacrifice for the common good.
   According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov.11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
   After World War II, the U.S. experienced the greatest influx of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the nation’s history. From, Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I; but, in 1954, after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
   In Norse traditions, there is a holiday for the fallen warriors on Nov. 11. From the Viking Chamber of Commerce website, the Feast of the Einherjar (ane-HAIR-yar) is a celebration in which the fallen heroes in Valhalla and in the halls of the other Gods and Goddesses are remembered.
   The Falcon chapter of the American Legion would usually march in the Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade; however, because of COVID-19, the parade was canceled. They are still teaming up with the local Boy Scout troops to place flags at veterans’ gravestones in the Eastonville Cemetery.
   From the perspectives of three Falcon veterans, the military was an opportunity to receive education, economic security and a career. John Oltrogge, an Air Force veteran and a former E-9 Chief Master Sergeant, said, “My military service was an avenue to get an education, to learn a trade, to be able to better myself financially. And now as I look back … I’m still very thankful for that because it gave me a financial anchor that I probably wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t gone into the military at that time.”
   “I joined the Navy nuclear power program, which required a six year commitment and that became my career,” said Bill Alton, previously a Navy Machinist Mate 2nd Class. “Their training set me up for a career that I pursued."
   Joining the military is a two-sided coin. For some veterans, it follows both family tradition and fulfills a sense of duty to their country. For others, military service was a requirement as a result of the draft during wartime. “I knew I was going to be drafted, and I decided if I was going to be in the service I would much rather choose the branch I was going into,” Alton said. “A week after I joined the Navy, I got a draft notice.”
   Dave Emmons, an E-5 Sergeant Marine Corps veteran shared what Veterans Day means to him. “We have so many people serving our country, and it means that we fly the flag, we let them know that we are there for them,” he said. “Whether we like what they are doing or not, even if you are against what's going on in Afghanistan or any place, that doesn’t matter. We have to support our troops and the people who have served. It’s a day that I hope everyone gets out there and says, “Thank you for your service. … I hope everyone really thinks about what these people are giving up, being separated from their families, and things that people don’t even think about. That’s what it means to me.”
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  U.S. flags retired in VFW ceremony
  By Pete Gawda

   Traditionally, organizations such as the military, Boy Scouts, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have retired U.S. flags that are no longer usable because of excessive wear with a ceremony, where the flags are respectfully burned in an outdoor fire. Tender Care Veterinary Center has been hosting the ceremony for the past three years, adding a change to the tradition.
   On Sept. 29, Rick Wildman, a member of Calhan VFW Post 5221, which sponsored the ceremony, was on hand to help retire the flags, using Tender Care Veterinary Center’s crematorium.
   John Amen, co-owner of Tender Care, said he wanted to show people the proper way to retire used flags. With this method, there are no worries about bans against outdoor fires and the toxic fumes from burning flags made of synthetic materials. Also, with this method, the VFW collects the ashes of the flags to present to family members of military men and women killed in action but their bodies were never recovered or they were buried in another state. The ashes give the family members a tangible reminder of their loved one. The grommets are also recovered by the VFW to make bracelets to give to military family members.
   Before the ceremony started, Amen and Wildman loaded five boxes and three bags of folded U.S. flags of different sizes and a few other type flags into the crematorium.
   The ceremony consisted of a prayer by Wildman, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Amen and Clark ignited the crematorium. Amen estimated it would take 90 minutes to two hours for completion of the process.
   Amen has plans to put a collection box for used U.S. flags in the entryway of his veterinary center.
   The Calhan VFW conducts this ceremony twice a year.
Taking part in a ceremony on Sept. 29 at Tender Care Veterinary Center to retire used U.S. flags were (left to right), Amy Clark and John Amen, co-owners of the veterinary center and Rick Wildman of Calhan VFW Post 5221. Photos by Pete Gawda
The crematorium at Tender Care Veterinary Center was used at a Sept. 29 ceremony to retire used U.S. flags.
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  COVID exacerbates food insecurities
  By Stephanie Mason

   The need for food assistance has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, and local food banks have stepped up to help.
   Fresh Start Center, a food pantry that serves Colorado Springs and surrounding areas, completely reshaped the way they served the community.
   When the virus first hit the United States, the pantry took a step back to best address the situation. With the grocery store shelves empty and 40% of volunteers electing to stay at home for their own safety, Fresh Start Center had to make adjustments, said Grant Winger, executive director of Fresh Start Center.
   Fresh Start Center first committed to following all safety precautions. Masks and hand sanitizer are available to anyone who walks inside the building, and a limited number of people are allowed in the lobby at a time. When the pandemic first hit, the food pantry even quarantined the received food for two weeks to ensure it was safe to handle.
   “I think the biggest thing is that we continue learning through all of this,” Winger said. “Recently, we have seen a lot of people come in … we are doing everything we can to keep people safe.”
   To keep everyone as safe as possible, the pantry developed a pullup service so donations could be loaded into vehicles without contact. Although the new safety precautions kept people in their cars, Winger said that human interaction was still an important part of the process.
   “We lost a little bit of human interaction that people enjoy once a month,” Winger said. “So we stand across the parking lot a little bit and chat with people through the car windows.”
   The number of new families requesting donations each week since COVID-19 averages about 60 per month — up from 25 new families a month before the pandemic, Winger said. Any family from El Paso, Elbert or Lincoln counties that has a need for food can visit the Fresh Start Center. New families are required to provide proof of address and fill out an application form.
   Fresh Start Center received fresh produce from farms and help from several food drives put on by local Boy Scout troops. However, they are in need of some monetary and food donations to help fill the shelves. Donations can be made in person, through the mail or through the Fresh Start Center website.
   “You can really feel the community support that everybody wants to be safe but also help their neighbors,” Winger said. “Everyone has been able to maintain some sense of normality through all of this.”
   Overall, Winger is amazed by the amount of support the community has already shown.
   “We are so grateful for the community support,” Winger said. “The one thing that I have seen is the love for the community when things get tough. There is a lot of love and support from people in the area.
   Fresh Start Center is open Tuesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m., and the first and third Wednesdays of each month, from 4 through 6 p.m.
   To learn more about receiving donations, make donations or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit
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  Be responsible with holiday gatherings
  By Stephanie Mason

   The last few months of the year are often associated with gatherings among friends, co-workers and families. But, as the holiday season approaches amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are unsure how to deal with gatherings.
   Dr. Robin Johnson, medical director of El Paso County Public Health, said the holiday season should be met with planning and communication. It is important to make sure that get-togethers should include people with similar health priorities and also take measures to ensure the safety of others.
   If it appears that others at an event will not hold the same safety priorities, Johnson recommended trying to attend remotely or suggesting an alternative to a gathering.
   “We really want to have some independent choices around how we engage,” Johnson said. “We want not only to have physical, but also emotional, social and economic health. It is the effect of our individual choices that give us that freedom. If we stick to the course, then we will be able to keep this virus in check.”
   “Think through the numbers and priorities of your activities,” Johnson said. “You have to think not only about the number of people you are exposed to; but, if you are infected with the virus, the number of people you would expose.”
   For gatherings that would traditionally host a large number of people, Johnson recommended breaking it up into smaller groups.
   “Break it into two or three groups to minimize that exposure and to allow for improved prevention,” Johnson said.
   Johnson said everyone should be diligent about safety this holiday season. She recommended the following:
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay 6 feet apart from other people
  • Wash hands often
  • Disinfect surfaces
  • Stay home if feeling sick
  • Be aware of possible COVID-19 exposures

   To learn more and stay informed about COVID-19, visit
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  Small Business Saturday
  By Stephanie Mason

   After the economic impact of COVID-19 on small businesses across the country, how and where consumers choose to spend their money is important to their communities. With holiday shopping just around the corner, spending money at a small business could greatly help owners recover from devastating losses they faced in 2020.
   “I am a big supporter of shopping local,” said Dave Ahrens, president of the Eastern Plain Chamber of Commerce. “Especially with COVID, there are a lot of businesses that are struggling very hard because they had to close their doors. I would recommend shopping at small shops. When you shop at a small shop and local business, you are supporting the owner of the company. The larger companies can withstand these storms much better than smaller businesses. But for the small business owner, they rely on all the business they can get to stay in business.”
   Small Business Saturday is Nov. 28. The day, nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is an important shopping day for communities.
   “I am supporting the local community because they support me,” Ahrens said. “They are my neighbors. It is important to support those people because they are a huge part of our local economy.”
   Ahrens suggested perusing advertisements in the local paper to find local, small businesses for shopping purposes.
   Here are a few gift ideas.
   There are many local artists in the area. Whether it’s photography, music, paintings or theater, there is something for every kind of art lover. Check out the business card ads in The New Falcon Herald.
   Gifting a gift certificate to a local restaurant is a great way to support local restaurants.
   Not every gift has to be a tangible object. Find a way to gift an experience like guitar or skydiving lessons. Ask around for teachers who offer lessons out of their home or in a studio in the community.
   Consider making a donation in the name of a friend or family member to a cause they believe in.
   Online shoppers rejoice! There are plenty of websites that support small businesses. Etsy comes to mind, but consider browsing Threadless (apparel by artists) or the Facebook Marketplace. Often, local people are using Etsy to promote their wares.
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  Students take advantage of free college applications
  By Stephanie Mason

   On Tuesday, Oct. 13, all 32 public colleges and universities in Colorado and several private institutions allowed all college applicants to apply at no charge.
   Calhan High School took full advantage of this opportunity by hosting an event for their students looking to enter college.
   This Colorado Free Application Day is part of the Colorado Applies Month, which is a five-week campaign that guides high school students and adult job seekers through the college application process.
   Calhan High School Principal Donovan Mitchell encouraged his students to participate in Colorado Applies month by hosting weekly meetings. The meetings were set in place to navigate My Colorado Journey, a tool made available through the state that gives students information about college.
   “It is a great tool,” Mitchell said. “There can be so much information that it can be a little bit overwhelming. We hope to learn from it and be better at the whole process next year.”
   A total of 96% of Calhan seniors either applied to schools or enrolled in the military this year. Many of those who applied to schools did so on the free application day.
   Overall, the free application day was a success, Mitchell said. However, applying to colleges was not the goal. The free application day allowed students access to a multitude of schools, whether their goal is to graduate from a technical school, a university or any other post-secondary education in the state.
   “The push itself is not necessarily for college,” Mitchell said. “College is the way to go if what you want to do requires a degree. So what this was about was keeping options open for students … I told my students that the more options you have available to you, the better off you are going to be on graduation day. Something could happen to you over the next several months that could change your direction. We want our seniors to be armed with as many choices as possible when the day rolls around and they leave us.”
   Although this is the third year Colorado Free Application Day took place, it is the first year Calhan High School hosted an event for the occasion. To encourage participation, the school raffled off a used vehicle to students who participated. Students earned 10 entry tickets for every college they applied to.
   The vehicle, a 1998 Honda Accord, was donated from EDUCar, a used car dealership that is run and operated by Calhan School District. The program was created to foster entrepreneurship, on-the-job coaching, mentorship and job training to repair and sell used vehicles.
   Caylee Waldroop is the high school senior who won the car. Although she applied to seven colleges statewide, she hopes to get into Metropolitan State University in Denver and study psychology. She hopes to one day help others by pursuing a career in social work.
   “This was important to me because I have had a lot of struggles with grades, Waldroop said. “It was nice to apply to multiple colleges without having to pay the fee for every single college. Most people don’t have the money for that. I am really grateful for this opportunity.”
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  Grandview Reserve
  By Leslie Sheley

   On Sept. 22, The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved a 768-acre development sketch plan in Peyton called Grandview Reserve, a development by 4 Site Investments LLC.
   According to the plan, the reserve includes 453 acres of urban density single-family residential development, ranging from four to 12 dwelling units per acre; 134 acres of rural residential (low density) single-family residential development, ranging from one to two dwelling units per acre; 127.1 acres of park land, buffer and open space; 16.4 acres of commercial; 17 acres of institutional land uses; and 20.6 acres of public right-of-way. The 768.2 acre property is zoned RR-2.5 (residential rural) and is located north of Judge Orr Road, adjacent and east of Eastonville Road, and adjacent and west of Highway 24.
   Phil Stuepfert is the planning and architecture group leader for HRGreen. He said 4-Site Investments is their client, and HRGreen is providing the planning, engineering and landscape architecture for the project.  
   Building start dates are unknown because other El Paso County processes have to be completed prior to construction, Stuepfert said. He said construction could start in a year or two if all goes smoothly.
   Stuepfert said the next steps involve the first phase and designing the infrastructure for the project. They are including 17 acres of institutional development, which can be a church or school but nothing is final. Stuepfert said Peyton School District is requesting a school site of about 25 acres, which the developer has agreed to provide. 
   On Oct. 13, the county commissioners voted 4-1 to deny the metro districts proposed for Grandview Reserve. The main problem is that part of the proposed Grandview Reserve district would overlap a portion of the 4-Way Ranch development. The commissioners said they are legally bound under state law not to form the districts because a metro district already exists that could serve Grandview Reserve. Commissioner Holly Williams, lone voter in support of the metro districts, said homes east of Colorado Springs are in high demand.
   Stuepfert said, “We are working towards getting the metro district approved in the near future.”
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  COVID effects on assisted living residents
  By Leslie Sheley

   The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates 811,500 seniors live in residential care facilities and 1.3 million seniors live in nursing homes (statistics from 2015). To protect those who are most at risk of complications from COVID-19, health officials implemented strict rules for facilities with older residents.
   Those rules have created challenges for family and friends to stay connected to the residents.
   Carol Iten and Cameron Gruenberg are directors of sales and marketing at Melody Living in Colorado Springs. Gruenberg said in the beginning, the changes were tough for families, but once they saw that all the regulations were actually protecting their loved ones, they were more understanding. “The morale of everyone is much better now,” Gruenberg said. “We’ve had to figure out ways to keep our residents socially distanced but yet happy and still able to interact with each other. We just had an Octoberfest celebration, and the residents were out on the patio together; we followed the rules and protocols but it was a great opportunity to get them together.”
   They provided patio and window visits for family and friends during the summer. Iten said with window visits, the resident is inside and the visitor is on the other side, both have access to a phone. During outdoor patio visits, residents and visitors wear masks and sit 6 feet apart.
   Presently, visitations take place Thursday through Saturday, with more hours and Sunday visits to start soon. Iten said they had to limit visitation times because it takes time to disinfect after every visit, an aide needs to be available to monitor the visit and visitors’ temperatures need to be taken, and they have to complete questionnaires. She said they make exceptions for out-of-town family members. For example, one resident hadn’t seen anyone for six weeks; when her family came to town on an impromptu visit, they made sure they were able to visit.
   Gruenberg said they started construction on an indoor visitation room, which will have its own upgraded ventilation system and a private entrance for indoor visits this winter. It should be done by the end of October and be in use by early November.
   He said the residents are doing their best to keep each others’ spirits up. They talk with each other about who came to visit and are doing their best to stay connected.
   Steve Feldman is the owner of New Day Cottages — residential assisted living homes in Colorado Springs. He said the families are handling all the changes pretty well. “Different people have different perspectives,” Feldman said. “I’ve had people tell me it’s more important for mom or dad to have contact with their family at this stage of life. It’s tough trying to navigate that and keep everyone happy and healthy. Fortunately, the families have been willing to follow the guidelines even if they don’t agree with them.”
   He said it is hard for the residents because they are scared, but they want to be with family. Feldman said, “We keep an eye on their care and keep them engaged during the day.” If the weather is nice, they have activities in the courtyard and the residents can open the windows in the dining room while social distancing inside. He said the staff is doing a good job of stepping up their interactions and engagements with the residents. “They are trying to make it fun for the residents and have even come to work all wearing silly hats,” he said.
   Visitation times are three days a week — outdoor visits only. He said they screen visitors and take their temperatures; everyone wears a mask and abides by social distance measures during the visit. “We have someone monitoring the visit to make sure another resident doesn’t wander into the area and safe distancing is followed. Touch is so important to the elderly but we can’t hug right now,” Feldman said. The residents also have access to an iPad, which allows for virtual visits with their family or friends.
   One of the challenges seniors face, especially with all the COVID regulations, is loneliness, he said. They address that by encouraging residents to participate in group interactions and activities while socially distancing and wearing masks.
   Dru Wasson is a longtime friend of Jo, who lives at Melody Living, an assisted living facility in Colorado Springs. She said, “Jo has amazed me with her ability to adapt to the circumstances. For someone who is legally blind, can't talk or walk and has the use of only one hand, she just keeps on going. Maybe her strong Christian faith as the widow of a former minister has helped her through this. The facility has done a good job of taking care of their residents and keeping them from being too isolated and alone and have kept us updated on what is happening inside.”
   According to an AARP article on the Iowa AARP website, “Staying in touch with loved ones in nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” they suggested the following: Make sure the facility has the most up-to-date emergency contact information. Verbally communicate with loved ones by phone or video call; play a game of trivia, work on a crossword puzzle together, sing songs or read poetry. For those who are more technologically advanced, consider a video call via various platforms such as FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. Appoint one member of the family to be the liaison with the facility. Utilize your family council as a way to communicate with the facility and advocate for residents. Invite facility staff to present information about virus protection/response and infection control at a virtual family council meeting. Send cheerful cards and notes, not only to your loved ones, but also to other residents and staff. Facilities might be short staffed and dealing with new operating procedures; this is a hard time for them as well. 
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  Banning-Lewis – the ranch and the subdivision
  By Pete Gawda

   Many newcomers to Colorado Springs might think of Banning Lewis Ranch as a sprawling subdivision on the eastern edge of the city. Originally, it was a large cattle ranch of more than 30,000 acres. While a good portion of the original acreage is now occupied by housing, there is still some open land used for cattle grazing.
   The land that became Banning Lewis Ranch was once inhabited by Kiowa, Arapahoe and Southern Cheyenne, according to a transcript by Walter Dennis, who grew up on the ranch. It was also a wintering ground for buffalo. Dennis said that arrowheads, buffalo horns and .45 shells could still be found on the property.
   In 1864, Dennis wrote that some cavalrymen from H Company, First Colorado Calvary stopped for their noon meal on property that would become Banning Lewis Ranch. Their horses were turned loose with a guard. While the soldiers were eating, a band of Southern Cheyenne overcame the guard and stole their horses. The men had to walk 15 miles to Old Colorado City.
   Banning Lewis Ranch came about as the result of the union of two ranching families.
   In 1916, the brother of Ruth Banning, a Colorado Springs native and graduate of Wellesley College, died, leaving her the family ranch and the family's coal and ice business. The ranch was located along I-25 South, where Al Kaly Shrine Mule Team is now located. Raymond Lewis, a graduate of Colorado College, owned a ranch at Fowler. Dennis' father, great grandfather and great uncle worked at the Fowler Ranch. Raymond was friends with Will Rogers and spent time at Rogers' California ranch. Ruth Banning and Raymond Lewis were married in 1921 when Raymond was managing the Banning ranch.
   Banning Lewis Ranch began in 1922 when Ruth Banning purchased 10 prize-wining heifers from the National Western Stock Show in Denver. In 1924, she sold the Banning ranch and the ice and coal company and entered into a partnership with her husband, which they called the Banning-Lewis Ranches. They moved operations to the newly purchased Ord Ranch 10 miles east of Colorado Springs and lived at the Broadmoor Hotel while their house at the ranch was being built. They-gradually purchased numerous surrounding properties until the ranch grew to about 36,000 acres.
   The ranch became famous for Colorado Domino Type Herefords; ranch owners from all over the continental U.S. as well as Alaska and Mexico purchased Banning-Lewis cattle for their own breeding operations. They even sold some of their award winning cattle to John Wayne for his ranch in Arizona. Lewis played polo and was involved in the War Department's Remount Horse Breeding Plan. Raymond and Ruth Lewis were also active in the soil conservation program.
   Dennis told of the cowboys who worked the ranch and their horses. They all lived in houses on the ranch, and Dennis wrote that growing up they were a close knit group and everyone seemed like family to him. In addition to the ranch crew, there was a separate farm crew for raising crops. Dennis said that at some seasons of the year there was work seven days a week, all day long.
   He recalled a time when his father was trying to drive two cows into a corral. The first one went in OK. The other cow turned back and started down the fence. His father ran into her and she turned his horse over. The horse fell into the fence with his father on it, and his father was badly cut; but, he bandaged himself up and then went back after the escaping cow. This time he got her into the corral.
   On another memorable occasion, his father was helping move cattle from one pasture to another and they had to cross a highway. His father was on horseback, stopping traffic. One driver kept inching up even as his father continued motioning for him to stop. Finally, his father's horse, Joker, a black, part Morgan, took action to ensure that the driver got the message. Joker kicked the car's grille with both his back feet.
   In a similar situation on another cattle drive, a long-haired automobile driver kept inching toward the cattle. Finally, one of the cowboys reached into the car's open window, grabbed the driver by his long hair and told him to stop.
   Ruth Lewis had many civic accomplishments, which included serving on the Colorado Springs District 11 School Board and the city council and being the first woman elected to the board of the American Hereford Association. She also helped organize the Girl Scouts in the Colorado Springs area.
   Finally in 2007, residential construction started and the first homeowners moved into the area in January 2008. However, the owner of the property back then was Banning Lewis Ranch Co.; they eventually filed bankruptcy.
   Cision PR Webb reported that on July 21, 2007, Capital Pacific, Classic Homes, John Laing Homes and Todays Homes had model homes under construction at Banning Lewis Ranch. In February 2009, John Laing filed for bankruptcy. In February 2009, the bankruptcy was changed to liquidation.
   In 1988, when Colorado Springs annexed the ranch, the city increased its size by 25 percent, making it the largest annexation in the state at that time. According to the provisions of that annexation, developers were required to pay for police and fire stations and other infrastructure.
   In 2018, the annexation agreement was revised to make it easier on developers The new agreement allowed developers to pay separate impact fees for police and fire stations based on the acreage of the proposed development. In the 1988 agreement, the developers were required to pay 100 percent of the cost of traffic control devices. Under the new agreement, the city will furnish traffic control devices. Under the 1988 agreement, the developer had to pay all costs for street construction. Under the new agreement, developers could be eligible for cost recovery from the city for street construction. Construction of a wastewater treatment plant is no longer required.
   A large portion of the original Banning Lewis-ranch property along Marksheffel Road and Woodman Road consists of subdivisions. However, another-large section of the property on both sides of Highway 24 between Constitution Boulevard and Falcon is open pasture land. This land is leased by Clough Cattle and Fence Co. for cattle grazing.
   Editor's note: Information for this article is, in part, from Banning Lewis Ranches, Records, Special Collections in the 1905 Carnegie Library; Pikes Peak Library District, including an undated typewritten manuscript by Walter Dennis and general description of the records. Information also was garnered from an article in the February 2011 issue of The New Falcon Herald by Kathleen Wallace titled “Banning Lewis Ranch – the development years,” along with and public records of the city of Colorado Springs.
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Paint Brush Hills
   The El Paso County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a request by Aeroplaza Fountain LLC and Heidi LLC to rezone a 55.898-acre property from residential suburban 20,000 to RS 6,000, meaning the lot size would change from a minimum of 20,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet. The property is located in the Paint Brush Hills subdivision, about 1.06 miles west of the Meridian Road and Londonderry Drive intersection at the northwest corner of Keating Drive and Devoncove Drive. It is included within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan and the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   Highland Park
   The EPC Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the final release of funds for Highland Park Filing No. 3 for $173,970.20. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   The commissioners also unanimously approved acceptance of certain streets within Highland Park Filing No. 3A into the EPC road maintenance system.
   Meridian Ranch
   The BOCC unanimously approved acceptance of certain streets within the Windingwalk Filing No. 1 at Meridian Ranch subdivision into the county’s road maintenance system.
   Crossroads Metropolitan District
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by The Equity Group LLC for a Colorado Revised Statutes Title 32 Special District service plan for the Crossroads Metropolitan District Nos. 1 and 2. The 70.46-acre property is located along the north and south of Highway 24 at the intersection with Highway 94. The service plan includes a maximum debt authorization of $52 million, a total maximum combined mill levy of 60 mills and the statutory purposes of the district. Statutory purposes include street improvement and safety protection; design, construction and maintenance of drainage facilities; public water and sanitation systems; design, land acquisition, construction and maintenance of recreation facilities; mosquito control; design, acquisition, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of television relay and translation facilities; and covenant enforcement
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