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Autumn teaches us a valuable lesson. During summer, all the green trees are beautiful. But there is no time of the year when the trees are more beautiful than when they are different colors. Diversity adds beauty to our world.
– Donald H. Hicks, "Look into the stillnes"  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 9 September 2020  

None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos   None Did You Know?  
None Editorial   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   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 Wildlife Matters  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

    World's largest steam locomotive World's largest steam locomotive stops by Limon
    Autosock: an alternative to chains
    County holds meeting on master plan policies
    Local family on the History channel
    Building and real estate update
  World's largest steam locomotive World's largest steam locomotive stops by Limon
  By Pete Gawda

   It wasn't the Polar Express; however, it was another one-of-a-kind train that people flocked to see at the old Limon train station, which is part of the Limon Heritage Museum and Railroad Park.
   On Saturday, Nov. 23, the clock was turned back to the Golden Age of railroading as the world's largest steam locomotive, Union Pacific's Big Boy No. 4014, pulled into the station hissing from steam, blasting a whistle and clanging a bell. Many members of the large crowd lining the track were armed with cameras.
   At the throttle was engineer Ed Dickens, a 27-year veteran with Union Pacific and manager of the railroad's vintage equipment. He said driving a steam locomotive is not as complicated as people think. “It's easy to do,” he said. But the steam engine is more complicated to operate than a modern diesel electric locomotive because everything is manually operated, Dickens said. He compared driving a modern locomotive to driving a car.
   Dickens became involved with steam locomotives because, as he said, “I just like them.” He called the Big Boy the railroad's public relations ambassador.
   It takes a crew of 11, including Dickens and fireman Curt Clark, to operate the Big Boy. The locomotive was pulling five vintage passenger and baggage cars plus 10 modern grain cars to provide added weight for braking.
   There were 25 Big Boys built exclusively for the Union Pacific. They were used to haul freight between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Only eight are known to still be in existence; No. 4014 is the only operating Big Boy.
   The Big Boy is 17 feet tall and has two sets of 68-inch driver wheels. Most steam locomotives have one set of smaller driver wheels. At 132 feet long, the Big Boy is articulated or jointed to make going around curves easier.
   A plaque on the No. 4014 states that it was built by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York, in November 1941. In the mid-20th century, steam locomotives were replaced by modern diesel electric locomotives. The 4014 was retired from service in 1961, with 1,031,205 miles; and ended up in the RailGiants Train Museum in Pomona, California. In 2013, the No. 4014 was re-acquired by the Union Pacific and spent 2 1/2 years being overhauled at the Union Pacific steam shop in Cheyenne. Originally, the Big Boy burned coal. However, as part of the restoration, the fuel was changed to oil. As head of vintage equipment, Dickens supervised that restoration.
   It was a thrill for this reporter to climb into the cab and sit in the engineer's seat. Numerous valves took up the front wall of the cab. In front of the engineer on the right and the fireman on the left was an impressive array of levers and gauges. The cab of a steam locomotive is noisy and dirty. No wonder railroad workers wear overalls and gloves. It was exhilarating to lean out the engineer's window and gaze down the length of the monstrous Big Boy.
   The Big Boy is on a 60-day tour billed as “The Great Race Across the Southwest” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.
   “Weighing in at 1.2 million pounds, the Big Boy makes a big impression in communities it visits reminding us of bygone days and the important role the railroad continues to play in the global economy,” said Scott Moore, Union Pacific's vice president and chief administrative officer, in a press release.
On Nov. 23, the world's largest steam locomotive, Union Pacific's Big Boy 4014, was on display at the Limon train station, which is part of the Limon Heritage Museum and Railroad Park, on Nov. 23. Photos by Pete Gawda When the world's largest steam locomotive, the Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 pulled into the old Limon Train station in November, the locomotive pulled five vintage passenger and baggage cars plus 18 modern grain cars added on the end to provide additional weight for braking.
The crowd waited inside the old Limon train station for the Union Pacific Big Boy to arrive.Fireman Curt Clark helps bring the Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 into the old Limon train station.
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  Autosock: an alternative to chains
  By Pete Gawda

   On Oct. 13, Big O Tires of Peyton, the only retail distributor of the autosock in the area, hosted a workshop on Colorado's new tire laws, along with demonstrations of how the autosock works.
   As for installing the autosock, Bethany Loftis of Big O Tires said, “It is the easiest thing I have ever done. I like the idea they form fit to your tires.”
   While 5/32 inch is still the minimum tread required on dry roads in Colorado, a new law went into effect Aug. 2 that requires 6/32 inch of tread on snowy roads. If a tire does not have enough tread for snowy roads, one can still be in compliance with the new law by having either chains or an alternative traction device such as the autosock.
   During severe winter storms, the Colorado Department of Transportation will implement a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, also known as Code 16, which means the chains or an autosock must be installed. This is the final safety measure before closing a road.
   From Sep. 1 to May 31, all vehicles traveling on I 70 between Dotsero and Morrison must have either snow tires, tires with mud/snow designation or four-wheel drive. Depending on weather conditions at other times and on other roads, CDOT could enact the same tire requirement, known as Code 15 or Traction Law.
   Aldo Diaz, equipment specialist with McGee Co., a distributor of the autosock, compared the autosock with a fitted sheet. He installed one in about two minutes. “They love snow and ice,” he said. “This is added safety.” He said the autosock passes all CDOT certifications.
   The autosock is installed on each drive wheel. The fabric device is placed around the tire; the car is moved slightly forward to allow the rest of the autosock to be pulled over the tire. Each set comes with a pair of gloves to make installation easier on the hands. Elastic on the back of the device causes it to automatically shape to the tire. It is easily removed by tugging on the straps on the outside of the device, then driving the car slightly forward to remove the remainder of the device.
   One advantage of the autosock as compared to tire chains is that there is no danger of putting it on too tight, and the autosock will not break like chains sometimes do. The cost of the autosock ranges from $90 to $135, depending on the size of the tire. The autosock will provide about 250 miles of service. However, they will not work in gravel or off-road conditions; and, if necessary, they can be washed.
The autosock is an alternative to tire chains and provides the same traction on ice and snow.
Aldo Diaz, equipment specialist with McGee Co., a distributor of the autosock, demonstrates how easy it is to install an autosock on a car tire.
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  County holds meeting on master plan policies
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Nov. 13, the El Paso County Master Plan Advisory Committee held a meeting to discuss progress on the county’s master plan development process and review policies that might be included in the master plan. The county hired Houseal Lavigne Associates, a professional consulting firm specializing in community planning, urban design and economic development, to help create the plan.
   Nine of the 10 members of the advisory committee attended the meeting, including Andrea Barlow, committee chair; Tim Trowbridge, Becky Fuller, Sarah Brittain Jack, Mark Volcheff, Matt Carroll, Doug Stimple, Ryan Wanner and Tom Bailey. Wanner and Bailey were present via conference call. Various members of the EPC staff and about five members of the community also attended the meeting.
   Mark Gebhart, deputy director of the EPC Planning and Community Development department, said the ideal goal of the meeting would be to incorporate the goals and policies from the seven different area plans into one master document. However, there is little consistency from one plan to another, and his department is trying to match up policies that are the same but labeled differently, he said.
   Barlow said there are consistent themes in the plans that can lead the committee in a direction people want.
   Community members will have a chance to provide input on the master plan’s vision at a workshop on Dec. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the EPC Regional Development Center, Gebhart said. A PowerPoint presentation will explain the visionary process with a live phone poll allowing people a chance to provide immediate feedback from their cell phones, he said. Additionally, the workshop will be live-streamed and an online polling option will also be available.
   A video of the meeting will be available online along with the survey and will remain active for one month to allow other community members to provide feedback, he said.
   The committee discussed the timeline for creating the plan, including when and how the committee itself should weigh in on the visionary process and how to integrate the policies from each plan into the master plan.
   Volcheff said he was surprised none of the plans addressed the local military institutions; Craig Dossey, executive director of the planning and development department, said they should definitely be addressed in the master plan.
   Barlow said ultimately in the upcoming weeks the committee needs to figure out how to simplify the policies from the various plans to prevent redundancy, which the members agreed was a large task.
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Bill Radford
  Local family on the History channel
  By Bill Radford

   People tuning in to the History channel's "Forged in Fire" on the night before Thanksgiving got to see a Falcon man and his daughter display their bladesmithing skills.
   Ron Hardman and daughter Jessica, along with a father and son from Texas, competed on a special "Family Edition" of the competition series. Hardman owns Kilroy's Workshop, where people learn blacksmithing, bladesmithing and welding. Jessica, age 20, is a sophomore at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood and is an instructor at Kilroy's Workshop when she is home from college.
   If you missed the show, you can catch it during a viewing party and open house, 5 to 7 p.m., Dec. 14 at Kilroy's, 7358 Cole View, on the far east side of Colorado Springs. Hardman and Kilroy’s were the focus of a profile last year in The New Falcon Herald.
   Hardman and his daughter applied separately for the TV show; they found out at the end of June they would be on it together, competing against the other team and each other for $10,000 and the title of "Forged in Fire" champion. Filming was at the end of July and early August. Matt Waters, another Kilroy's Workshop instructor, appeared on the program in June.
   Kilroy's is the only bladesmithing school in the western United States approved by the American Bladesmith Society. It offers both youth and adult classes. To learn more, visit
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Falcon Regional Park
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously ratified a submittal of a local parks and outdoor recreation grant application to the Great Outdoors Colorado for improvements to Falcon Regional Park, including playing fields, playgrounds, restrooms, equestrian trailhead and parking. The grant application requires a 25 percent local grant match, and the ratification requests $430,500 in local matching funds. Those funds will come from several sources, including $210,000 from regional park fees, $140,000 from the Ballot Question 1A tax refund, $15,500 in local fundraising and $65,000 from in-kind support. The remaining $350,000 will come from the GOC grant, for a total project budget of $780,500.
   McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project
   The BOCC unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement on property owned by Terry J. Tamlin for $4,100 for the McLaughlin Road/Old Meridian Road Improvement Project.
   Sterling Ranch
   The commissioners unanimously approved the final release of funds for the Colorado Springs Utilities wastewater line connecting to Sterling Ranch for $212,712.13.
   New Meridian Road/Old Meridian Road and Highway 24 projects
   The BOCC unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a non-exclusive permanent easement, a temporary construction easement and assignment and assumption of memorandum of agreement from property owned by Edna Holdings, LLC for $3,750 for the Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride Improvement Project. A previous MOA was approved with the original grantor, Animal Hospital of Falcon, but that property was conveyed to Holdings and a new MOA was required for the county to use the property.
   Hadden Heights
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Jose and Mary Contreras to vacate and replat 5.10 acres that was illegally conveyed from a 10.21-acre lot, designated as a “park area dedicated for public use” on the original plat. The request includes removal of a note restricting use of that property to a park for public use only. Additionally, the “fees in lieu of park land” dedication for that property will be required when the new plat is recorded. The property, located north of Eggar Drive, about 0.5 miles west of the Eggar Drive and Meridian Road intersection, is zoned residential rural-5 and located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Quarter Circle/Three-Quarter Circle Lazy J property
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by trustees of 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 lot zoned RR-5. The property is located on the south side of Crosslen Lane, about .25 miles east of where it intersects with Howell Road, and is located within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   New Meridian Road 
   Natalie Sosa, public information officer with EPC, said the county is advertising for a contractor to finish New Meridian Road out to where it will intersect with Highway 24, but there is no firm time frame for when construction will begin. The construction contract needs to be secured first; there will be a public meeting when that happens, she said. A PIO specific to that project will be assigned at that time to keep the community informed of the progress, Sosa said.

   Electronic Development Application Review Program projects at
   Holloway property
   On Oct. 16, Brian Holloway submitted a letter of intent to the El Paso County EDARP system for a special use permit to allow an existing 50,000-square-foot agricultural building on a 30-acre parcel, located south of Jones Road and west of Slocum Road.
   4-Way Lift Station
   On Nov. 14, JDS-Hydro Consultants Inc. submitted several documents, including construction plans, site development plans and lift station construction drawings for a wastewater pumping facility and access driveway. The property, located on the north side of Stapleton Drive between Eastonville Road and Highway 24, is within the approved Waterbury planned unit development area and will include a 600-square-foot building that stands about 19 feet tall.
   Bent Grass subdivision
   On Nov. 4, Challenger Homes Inc. submitted a letter of intent for the final plat of the Bent Grass Residential Filing No. 2, part of the PUD approved in 2014. Bent Grass Metropolitan District is proposing to construct 181 single-family lots on 50.8 acres north of Woodmen Road and west of Meridian Road.
   On Nov. 20, Challenger Homes submitted a letter of intent for pre-development grading approval for the same filing.
   Cunningham property
   On Nov. 13, Breck and Timothe Cunningham submitted a letter of intent for a special use permit to allow construction of a 1,728-square-foot barn and a 9,600-square-foot adjoining indoor riding arena. The property, zoned residential rural-5, is 12.38 acres and located south of Walker Road and east of Black Forest Road. It is located within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   Cathedral Pines
   On Aug. 26, Compass Surveying and Mapping LLC submitted a letter of intent on behalf of Nancy L. Piasecki Revocable Trust and BRIJ Family Trust to vacate lots 6, 7 and 8 in Cathedral Pines Filing No. 3 and replat the property to create two lots from the three. The 9.7-acre property, located on Fox Chase Way, is zoned PUD.
   Pine View Estates
   On Nov. 6, Alice Owens submitted a letter of intent to subdivide a 38.8-acre property into seven single-family residential units measuring 5 acres each, known as the Pine View Estates. The property, located about 8 miles north of Peyton, west of Red Barn Road, is currently zoned A-35.
   Poenitsch subdivision
   On Sept. 26, Oliver Watts Consulting submitted a letter of intent to subdivide an 18.86-acre property into three residential lots as follows: Lot 1 will be 7.97 acres; Lots 2 and 3 will be 5 acres each. The property, known as the Poenitsch Subdivision, is located at the northwest corner of Shoup Road and Herring Road and zoned RR-5.
   Rollin Ridge
   On Oct. 30, Land Resource Associates submitted a letter of intent for the final plat of 57.01 acres, including predevelopment grading, in the Rollin Ridge Filing No. 1 subdivision. The property is located at the southwest corner of Highway 83 and Hodgen Road, and the request will create 16 single-family residential lots on a minimum of 2.5 acres each.
   Rolling Hills Ranch
   On Oct. 21, N. E. S. Inc. submitted a letter of intent on behalf of Meridian Ranch Investments Inc. for the PUD development, preliminary plan and final plat of the Rolling Hills Ranch Filings 1-3. The 251-acre property is located southeast of the intersection of Rex Road and Sunrise Ridge Drive and is comprised of 725 single-family residential lots and about 66 acres of open space tracts. Rolling Hills Ranch is zoned PUD and located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Sanctuary of Peace Residential Community
   On Sept. 16, Benet Hill Monastery of Colorado Springs submitted a letter of intent to create 27 single-family residential lots and four tracts of open space on about 49.58 acres, known as the Sanctuary of Peace Residential Community. The property, currently zoned A-5 and RR-5, is located west of Highway 83, south of Benet Lane and east of the Black Forest Park subdivision. The applicant proposes to rezone all 49.58 acres to PUD.
   Woodmen Heights Commercial Center
   On Nov. 4, the city of Colorado Springs submitted the final plat drawings for an outside agency review for the Woodmen Heights Commercial Center. The 22.9-acre property is owned by All Pro Marksheffel LLP and located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Woodmen Road and Marksheffel Road.
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