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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 10 October 2017  

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    MVEA dinner focused on renewable energy
    Falcon’s American Legion honors fallen soldiers
    Facebook page unites rural residents
    New housing complex for low-income families
    History of Veterans Day
    Exchange Club craft fair raises money for charity
    Helping Hands second annual banquet
    Colorado ALS “Walk to Defeat”
    Wine culture uncorked
    Favorite wines for Thanksgiving dinner
    Where Falcon's trash gets stashed
    Family uproots for medical marijuana
    Olivia’s good friend and advocate
    Building and real estate update
 
  MVEA dinner focused on renewable energy
  By Jason Gray

   About 200 Mountain View Electric Association customers attended the Lamplighter dinner meeting Oct. 25 in Black Forest. The dinner was the largest of three regional dinners the electric co-operative holds each fall to thank the utility's supporters and update members on legislative issues.
   
   The presentation began with an electronic poll on several political issues and customer satisfaction metrics. Sixty-two percent of the attendees said they didn't believe human caused global warming exists. Seventy-five percent recommended that the utility lobby to oppose carbon-limiting legislation based on cost, and 95 percent said they would not be willing to allow their bill to go up more than $25 per month to meet federal mandates on carbon emissions.
   
   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan has been a recurring topic of the Lamplighter dinners and the summer annual membership meetings for the last two years. Jim Herron, chief executive officer, said the CPP is on hold as states and power companies challenge it in federal courts. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is considering a similar plan at the state level, Heron said. “He is planning on doing this by executive order –- I don't know where he got the idea,” Herron said. “He had a meeting with leaders of the utility industry in the state to rally them to this and didn't get a very warm reaction.”
   
   Despite the negative membership attitude toward reducing electric generation carbon output, many of the questions during the open discussion focused on net metering, community solar gardens and replacing coal generation with natural gas, wind and solar.
   
   “The government mandates that a certain percentage of your electricity is produced by renewable resources,” Herron said. “'Cost-effective' isn't a factor as much as they're required by law. However, they are getting cheaper and cheaper. Solar is getting very close to being cost effective.”
   
   MVEA is considering offering a community solar garden in which co-op members could purchase a solar panel that would be installed along with other members' panels at a central location. “The rule of thumb is one megawatt per 10 acres, so we'd hope to have two megawatts or 20 acres of solar panels near one of our substations,” Herron said. Each panel would cost about $800. “Typically, when you do a community solar garden you want to put it where people can see it, drive by and I guess say hi to their panels,” Herron said.
   
   Mountain View does not generate any of its own electricity. The co-op purchases all its power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Tri-State has agreed to close some of its coal-fired generation units around Colorado under an agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in response to complaints about regional air quality. The generation company is not concerned about immediately building new infrastructure to replace the units. “Tri-State is in a pretty good position capacity-wise,” said Rick Gordon, Tri-State president and chairman. “We have purchased quite a bit of wind energy in the past five or six years, and have two 30-megawatt solar projects in Southern Colorado and New Mexico. We also have been fortunate to buy a natural gas plant, which is very good for working with renewables.”
   
   Information about the possible community solar garden and federal or state mandates on electricity generation will be in the monthly MVEA magazine “Colorado Country Life.”
  
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  Falcon’s American Legion honors fallen soldiers
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Members of the American Legion Post 2008 in Falcon will hold a flag placement ceremony at the Eastonville cemetery at the corner of Eastonville Road and Latigo Boulevard on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. in honor of Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11.
   
   Sonny Sonnichsen, senior vice commander for Post 2008, said the members will place 119 flags at the graves of fallen soldiers dating back to the Civil War. “We do it every year in honor of the sacrifice that they have ultimately paid in service to our country,” he said. “We have been doing this since the beginning (of the Post), so eight years. No other posts do this that I know of.”
   
   The morning of the ceremony, Sonnichsen said the members will go to Bonaventure of Colorado Springs, an assisted living center where they will have breakfast with the residents. “We do that every month to show our support for the veterans living there now,” he said.
   
   Sonnichsen said Post 2008 will also participate in the Veterans Day parade in downtown Colorado Springs on Nov. 5.
  
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  Facebook page unites rural residents
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Denise Livingston wanted to open up lines of communication for people living in the more rural areas of Falcon, Colorado, specifically east and south of U.S. Highway 24, so she created a Facebook page — Southern Falcon Community.
   
   “South of Falcon in the area where I live the houses are pretty far apart,” Livingston said. “Most are on 5-acre plots, and there are sometimes vacant lots in between them. It is not as highly populated as the area on Meridian going north. We are definitely rural and a little more isolated.”
   
   Livingston said she does not have specific boundaries applicable to the “Southern Falcon Community” designation but the page is targeted for people living farther out of town, even to Calhan — residents who might not be connected with the rest of their community because of their location.
   
   Information dissemination is more difficult in the rural areas; and, until this Facebook site, residents did not have an avenue to get information out that could help or alert their neighbors.
   
   “My thought was that I just wanted to make sure that we were taking advantage of anything that could keep us more connected,” Livingston said.
   
   Livingston grew up in a small Colorado town and is more accustomed to the rural life. “I lived in the Peyton Pines area in the mid-2000s and have been in this particular location in southern Falcon for about two-and-a-half years,” she said.
   
   The Facebook page has been up and running for about six months and has about 250 members, she said. In that time, Livingston said she has noticed posts from people looking for their lost pets or trying to find out how to generate ideas, which is exactly what she intended.
   
   “When people lose an animal, like when a dog runs away, we do not have animal control out here so we want to get the word out as quickly as possible,” she said. “I have seen people asking a question for something they need, like the best type of fencing. People had a discussion about it and made referrals for someone who has got experience building a fence.”
   
   Additionally, residents have used the site to sell items like hay or chicken feed and crafts as well. Livingston said she wants to keep sales to small-scale businesses or individuals to encourage residents to support their neighbors’ endeavors.
   
   In the upcoming months, Livingston said she hopes to see more people posting about services they can provide to their neighbors, like snow-plowing or house/pet-sitting. “People do like to have their freedom and their property and do not like to have their neighbors right next to them, but obviously we can still be of more assistance to each other,” she said.
   
   As the site’s administrator, Livingston can approve or deny membership to anyone who requests to be part of the page. “I have had a lot of experience with people issues, and I am a very balanced person,” she said. “I believe in diversity, but I do not want people to be offended so I am being very careful about who is allowed; but there are not too many that I have not allowed.
   
   “This is a way to try to get information out to people that may not have that many avenues to communicate with each other,” she said. “This is for support of the rural community and to keep people informed and connected.”
  
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  New housing complex for low-income families
  By Lindsey Harrison

   A new 240-unit apartment complex at the corner of Woodmen Road and Black Forest Road is under construction — the housing project will cater to low-to middle-income families. Construction began in late October, according to an email from Keith James, development manager for the Inland Group, the project’s developer and long-term owner of the property.
   
   Dan Sexton, senior planner for the Colorado Springs Housing and Community Development Division, said Inland approached the city about the project in the fall of 2015. As part of the land use review process, the developer then held a neighborhood meeting Dec. 16, 2015; and, based on a lack of input from the community regarding the project, Inland moved forward with the plans, Sexton said.
   
   Because the project required a change to the Woodmen Heights Master Plan, Inland had to acquire a major master plan amendment, zone change and planned unit development change, which the city’s planning commission approved May 19, 2016, he said.
   
   Initially, the project was presented to the city as a market rate project but part way through the approval process, Inland changed the status to a workforce housing project, Sexton said. “In terms of land use on the property, there is no distinction between workforce housing, or low-income housing, and market rate housing, like a regular apartment complex,” he said. “Even if they (Inland) had told us it would be a workforce housing project, it would still have gone through the same process with the same outcome.”
   
   On Sept. 20, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved the issuance of a multifamily housing revenue note for $30,000,000 to fund the project. The note, which will act as a private activity bond, will be underwritten and held by Citibank, N.A.; the county is not responsible for repayment of the bond. The revenue note is made possible by the County and Municipality Development Revenue Bond Act.
   
   The project also qualifies for a low-income housing credit, agreed upon by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
   
   According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, the following are 2016 low income limits for El Paso County: a one-person household is $39,800; two people — $45,450; three people — $51,150; four people — $56,800; five people — $61,350. To be eligible to live in the Copper Range complex, a person or family cannot exceed those limits.
   
   Some residents in the adjacent Forest Meadows neighborhood voiced concern about the approval process and the project itself. Earnest Aziz, homeowner in Forest Meadows since 2010, said he never received any notification about the project or related meetings. “I think if they (Inland) had an initial plan that everybody else was aware of, they should have stuck with that plan,” he said. “A lot of people buy these houses and expect to get some kind of return on them someday.”
   
   Sexton said the city did not conduct studies to see if a low-income housing project could negatively impact home values in the surrounding areas because it is not part of their review criteria — adding that property values are market driven.
   
   Steve Schleiker, EPC assessor, said if affordable housing units are well-designed, fit in with the surrounding neighborhoods and are well-managed, they have no negative impact on housing values in the surrounding neighborhoods.
   
   “Copper Range includes a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment homes targeted to the local workforce,” James wrote in his email. “The 13.20-acre site will provide a total of 240 units in 10 buildings, with a central community club house. Each apartment home will include a fully equipped kitchen, individual HVAC, full size washer and dryer, patio/balcony and ample storage throughout; including walk-in closets in most master bedrooms. The clubhouse will feature a resident lounge, business center, game room, fitness center, heated seasonal outdoor swimming pool, playground, sport court and parking to include reserved garages, carports and open surface parking.”
   
   James wrote that Inland chose that particular location because they had been looking for a development opportunity in that area and the proximity to jobs and the adjacent Park N’ Ride made the site more attractive.
   
   Sexton said Inland will make additional improvements to the roads in the area, including installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Black Forest Road and Vollmer Road.
   
   “The first building will be ready to occupy next fall, with overall completion in the spring of 2018,” James wrote.
  
 
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  History of Veterans Day
  By Shelli Mader

   Although Veterans Day has been set apart to honor United States military veterans for almost 100 years, the name and date of the holiday has gone through a myriad of changes.
   
   According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day Day was first celebrated in 1919, in celebration of the implementation of armistice in The Great War (which is now known as World War I). This temporary cessation of hostilities took place between the Allies and Germany at the 11th hour of the 11th day of November, 1918. Although the war did not officially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed June 28, 1919, in France; Nov. 11 is generally regarded as the end of the war.
   
   To celebrate the anniversary of the end of The Great War hostilities, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day Nov. 11, 1919. He said, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
   
   The DVA stated the original concept for the celebration involved a day filled with parades, public meetings and a two-minute suspension at 11 a.m. for all businesses and government entities.
   
   Although it would go through several changes and wouldn’t be an official holiday for many more years, the Day of Armistice was celebrated again in 1920. According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, President Wilson, prompted by church groups, named the Sunday closest to Nov. 11 Armistice Day Sunday, a day that churches should hold services in the interest of international peace.
   
   In 1921, Congress passed legislation to establish the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, and chose Nov. 11 for the ceremony. On Oct. 20, Congress declared Nov. 11, 1921, a legal federal holiday to honor all those who participated in the war.
   
   However, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMA), it wasn’t until 1926 that Congress adopted a resolution for the observance of Armistice Day.
   
   In the 1920s and 1930s, Armistice Day became a legal holiday in most states, but not at the federal level. However, the U.S. president issued a proclamation each year on Nov. 11.
   
   Based on information from the CMA, on May 13, 1938, Congress passed legislation to make Nov. 11 a legal federal holiday called Armistice Day. The day had initially been set aside to honor veterans of World War I; but, since that time, World War II and the Korean War had produced many more veterans.
   
   In 1954, according to the U.S. Department of Public Affairs, Congress, at the urging of veterans’ service organizations, amended the legislation of 1938 by replacing the word “Armistice” with the word “Veterans.” Later that year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose."
   
   In 1968, the Uniform Holiday Bill was signed to give federal employees three-day weekends in celebration of four national holidays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. The federal observance of Veterans Day would be observed the fourth Monday in October.
   
   “It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production,” according to the DVA. “Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.”
   
   To many Americans, celebrating Veterans Day on Nov. 11 had a significant historic and patriotic meaning. On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97, which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. “This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.”
   
   The DVA has reported that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are often confused. Memorial Day is observed on the fourth Monday in May, and honors American military members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or deceased; however, it has become a traditional day of thanks to living veterans who served their country during war or peacetime.
   
   This year, Veterans Day is on Friday, Nov. 11.
  
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  Exchange Club craft fair raises money for charity
  Breeanna Jent

   The Exchange Club of Falcon hosted its two-day craft fair at the Falcon High School gymnasium in Falcon, Colorado, Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. Visitors were able to browse 77 booths, with vendors selling handmade craft items, baked goods, soaps, spices, clothing, blankets, sports gear and more.
   
   Chartered Nov. 20, 2006, the Exchange Club of Falcon is part of a national nonprofit organization focused on child abuse prevention, said Joe Bauer, a founding member and current president. The Exchange Club, founded in 1911 in Detroit, Michigan, has more than 650 chapters nationwide, with 20,000 members. The Falcon Exchange Club is 22 members strong.
   
   Bauer said the Falcon group sponsors about 38 projects a year.
   
   For eight years, the craft fair has showcased local artisans, with all proceeds from the booth sales going to El Paso County nonprofit groups that assist at-risk youth and families in need, said Bob Miller, immediate past president.
   
   The club also collected donations of canned foods and used, gently worn winter coats at the fair.
   
   Falcon residents Kristy Hignite, her daughter Christina Hignite and her mother, Donna Guerra, visited the craft fair Saturday afternoon. “We like to come and look at all the stuff they have,” Kristy Hignite said.
   
   “Now that I have a daughter of my own, it’s fun to look at all the little girl stuff,” said Christina, who brought her 2-month-old daughter, Evelynn.
   
   This year’s event coordinator, Steve Cohen, was happy with the turnout, and said that some vendors made several thousand dollars selling their goods throughout the weekend. “It turned out really great,” he said.
   
   “We are all volunteers and whatever we earn, 100 percent goes to programs in El Paso County,” said Andy Conder, president-elect. “We want to make the community a better place to live,” Miller said.
   
   This month, the Exchange Club will participate in the Colorado Springs Veterans Day parade on Saturday, Nov. 5, with a tribute this year to women in the military.
   The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and proceed south on Tejon Street, starting at St. Vrain street and ending at Vermijo Avenue in downtown Colorado Springs.
  
Exchange Club volunteer Harriet Bauer welcomed visitors and took donations of canned food and coats at the annual Exchange Club craft fair. Photo submitted
 
The Exchange Club of Falcon’s leadership team took time out to pose for a photo at the annual craft fair: (from left to right) Joe Bauer, president, Bob Miller, immediate past president; and Andy Conder, president-elect.
 
Falcon residents (from left to right) Donna Guerra, Christina Hignite, Kristy Hignite and 2-monthold Evelynn Hignite enjoyed their Saturday browsing the Exchange Club Craft Fair, held Oct. 8. and Oct. 9 at Falcon High School.
 
Seventy-seven local vendors marketed a variety of products, from handmade craft items to baked goods, at the Exchange Club annual October craft fair. Photos by Breeanna Jent
 
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  Helping Hands second annual banquet
  Breeanna Jent

   Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado, hosted High Plains Helping Hands second annual Love Your Neighbor banquet Oct. 7.
   
   Dozens of sponsors attended the event, with their donations going to the more than 1,200 individuals High Plains Helping Hands serves every month.
   
   Diana Frazier, Helping Hands volunteer coordinator, said the goal of the fundraising event is to reach out to new donors and inform people about their services, which include a food pantry and other programs for low-income families.
   
   “Last year, we raised about $17,000; and that money all goes back to our organization,” Frazier said. “We have been able to secure enough sponsors that every dollar can go back to us.”
   This year’s fundraiser brought in 15 table sponsors and one event sponsor, Frazier said.
   
   Pastor Scotty Vaughn, this year’s keynote speaker and musical entertainment, is a former member of the Flying W Wranglers, the second oldest western group in the world. Today, Vaughn is a pastor at Church on the Ranch in Colorado Springs.
   
   Vaughn spent 29 years as the resident storyteller and emcee at the world-famous Flying W Ranch, and was a founding member of the Colorado Cowboys for Jesus, a Christian musical group founded 34 years ago.
   
   After a welcome and introduction by Sam Frazier, HPHH board member, Vaughn talked about his time at Flying W Ranch and his dedication to God.
   
   “I am really pleased to be here with you all tonight,” Vaughn said. “There are a lot of friends in this room whom I’ve known for a long time.
   
   “I was hired at Flying W Ranch in 1976. After (the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012), they’ve been working hard and rebuilding. It’s greater than some people think, and we hope in a year or two, with God’s help, to have (the ranch) back,” he said.
   
   The Ranch, which burned in the 2012 fire, is set to reopen next summer, according to a KOAA 5 article, “Flying W Ranch to reopen summer of 2017,” posted June 25.
   
   The evening also highlighted High Plains Helping Hands’ accomplishments.
   
   According to the nonprofit’s website, 13,925 individuals were helped in 2015. Volunteers put in 6,884 volunteer hours, and 181,290 pounds of food were distributed in 2015. As many as 450 families each month receive food from the nonprofit, many of whom are disabled, unemployed and/or elderly.
   
   The organization also provides prayer and encouragement; educational classes in food handling and preparation, nutrition and healthy cooking, budgeting and finance; and spiritual purpose and relationships. HPHH distributes Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to individuals in need; and serves as a Commodity Supplemental Food Program site, which is a USDA program serving low-income seniors age 60 and over.
   
   Speaking about the event, Diana Frazier said, “It was amazing. We had some hurdles to jump over this summer but we were able to get over them. We were very pleased with the number of people who were there and what we were able to accomplish.”
  
Sam Frazier, High Plains Helping Hands board member, welcomed attendees to the second annual Love Your Neighbor banquet at Focus on the Family Oct. 7. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
Pastor Scotty Vaughn, keynote speaker for the High Plains Helping Hands Love Your Neighbor fundraiser, entertained the crowd with songs and stories. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
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  Colorado ALS “Walk to Defeat”
  Falcon’s Leonore Misner top fundraiser
  Staff report

   More than 2,500 people participated in the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Walk to Defeat ALS on Oct. 1 at Sloan Lake in Denver. The family of Leonore Misner, a long-time Falcon Exchange Club member and resident, who has been diagnosed with ALS, teamed up to participate in the walk. They all wore T-shirts with the words “Team Grammy,” made by Deanna Mahone and Tierney Emery. The Exchange Club of Falcon helped out Leonore’s Team Grammy with a donation of $1,000, and Falcon Swirly Cow donated $220 to the cause.
   
   As of Oct. 16, the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter Oct. 1 walk had raised $338,260. Coming in third among top fundraising teams was a Colorado Springs group, the Spirit of the Springs. Leonore Misner was listed No. 4 on the list of top individual participants. Leonore raised more than $4,300.
   
   ALS ((Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. About 6,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year, according to the ALS Association; an estimated 20,000-plus Americans could be living with ALS at any given time.
  
Surgery kept her from participating in the Walk to Defeat fundraiser, but Leonore Misner raised $4,500 for ALS: (from left to right) Deanna Mahone, Dale Misner, Leonore Misner and Kurt Misner. Photos submitted
 
Leonore Misner’s family was well-represented at the Walk to Defeat ALS fundraiser Oct. 1 at Sloan’s Lake in Colorado Springs: (from left to right) Brooke Misner, Kurt Misner, Renée Misner and Sarah Misner.
 
Mandolyn Mahone, Brooke Misner, Sarah Misner, Kurt Misner, Tierney Emery, George Emery and baby Nadine Emery participated in the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Walk to Defeat ALS on Oct. 1.
 
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  Wine culture uncorked
  By Jason Gray

   Colorado is well-known for the state's craft beer industry. Bristol Brewing Co., New Belgium and other popular craft breweries, along with Falcon's own JAKs have been brewing beers that are often compared to fine wines in complexity and creativity. However, in the past few years, wine and high-end spirits are moving in on beer breweries.
   
   Social media meme images showing wine as a cure-all for parenting stress are common on Facebook and Twitter. But the rise of wine in America pre-dates the onslaught of social networks. From 2000 to 2007, the number of wineries in the U.S. roughly doubled, from 2,904 to 5,958, according to the Wine Institute. From 2007 to 2014, the number increased again to 10,417. Over the same period, the average U.S. resident's consumption increased from 2 gallons per year to 2.83 gallons.
   
   “‘Wine-iacs” have always been here; but, somewhere along the line, alcohol mommy-breaks stopped being judged,” said Kathleen Saltmarsh-Voss, owner of Sip and Splatter in Colorado Springs. “Wine is acceptable because people sip and savor; unlike college life and pounding kegs, which is not so acceptable for mommies.
   
   “At Sip and Splatter, men and women get loosened up enough to unleash their inner artist, but not enough to wake up in the neighbors front yard with a bicycle tire print on their forearms, though I'm probably giving away too much of my college experience.”
   
   The wide array of wines on the shelf of the local liquor stores can be overwhelming, but a large number of blogs, magazines and podcasts are devoted to helping people choose the right wine for the right occasion, meal, taste and budget. “Wine Two Five,” one of the leading podcasts on wine, is based in the Pikes Peak region and hosted by Val Caruso and Stephanie Davis, two certified wine educators. The podcast often opens with the hosts explaining what wines they are drinking while recording the show.
   
   “Through social media, availability of wine information is more prevalent than ever,” Caruso said. “They can understand wine better than they could before. It’s not just for the elite. Wine is losing its snottiness.”
   
   Between 60 to 80 percent of wine purchase decisions are made by women. The difference between the reasons men buy wine compared to women is the reason there are no commercials with a bunch of men at a tailgate party drinking a Cabernet, Caruso said. “There's an obsession with pairing wine with Girl Scout cookies or halloween candy or god knows what,” Caruso said. “Whereas, men tend to not think about the occasion value, but the 'impress your buddy' value of the wine.”
   
   For those who may not have time to invest in reading or listening to wine-themed media, there are local resources, from staff at liquor stores to the neighbor who is known for enjoying a good bottle of vino. “My resource is to buy and try, though I love the ratings the stores are putting on the shelves,” said Janet McMonigal, who has become a common social media wine resource on Falcon's Facebook pages. “I just got a private message on Facebook today asking me to help someone pick out a wine for a retiring doctor.”
   
   Demographic changes are also helping to bring beverages with a story to the top of the market, Caruso said. “Even when talking to wine experts in places like Armenia, the 'millennial' demographic is always part of the conversation because of the way they're looking at wines,” Caruso said. “Wine has a story attached to it that can be told. Some people just want the giant glass of wine, but a lot of time millennials want to be able to tell a story about the wine they bring to a party. They're not big on things; they're big on experiences.”
   
   Wine isn't the only beneficiary of the movement toward high-end adult beverages. Craft distilled spirit sales increased in Colorado by 5.4 percent per year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.
   
   Other specialty alcohols are making a comeback, including mead. The fermented honey beverage was once only common at Renaissance fairs. It is becoming more common as hobby beekeepers look for a way to create value-added products with excess honey.
   
   “Mead is very simple to make, and it pairs with foods differently than wine or beer does,” said Doneil Freeman, who keeps bees at his Calhan farm to make the fermented honey beverage. “It's kind of a nostalgic thing as well because it was the drink of the Vikings.”
   
   Home-brew and micro-brew beers continue to be popular because of Colorado's long history in the industry. “I home brew as a hobby to save money over the cost of craft beer, and I can change a recipe to suit my tastes in craft beer,” said Andrew Metzger. “I always like to try new things, I enjoy tinkering and learning new culinary hobbies.”
   
   As social gatherings over wine or craft beers grow in popularity outside the usual bar scene, it is important to remember drinking and driving limits. Wines tend to have about twice the alcohol by volume as beer per ounce. Many craft brewed beers tend to be higher in alcohol content than their mass-produced cousins. While a completely sober designated driver is always the best option, the Colorado Department of Transportation's “R-U-Buzzed” smartphone app can help social wine, beer and spirits drinkers make sure they and their fellow party-goers stay safe.
   
   The app is available on iTunes, Google Play and at http://codot.gov/safety/alcohol-and-impaired-driving.
  
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  Favorite wines for Thanksgiving dinner
  “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” - W.C. Fields

   NFH team members were asked to name their favorite wines to pair with Thanksgiving dinner.
   
   I'm a big fan of moscato (I like sweet!) and Stella Rosa's Moscato D'Asti is one of my favorites! - Breeanna Jent
   
   I like to drink Pinot Grigio while I make the turkey. Then, I switch to ice water for dinner. - Michelle Barrette
   
   2011 Old Vine Zinfandel - Mohr Fry Ranch, Lodi. (Cantara Cellars, Camarillo California) The berries and cooking spices notes pair well with cranberry stuffing and the other seasoned side dishes typical in Thanksgiving dinner. Relatively low in tannins so it is a good fit for Uncle Bob who won't drink anything but cabernet and also Grandma who usually rocks a chardonnay.   From Jason Gray! (Doesn’t he sound like a connoisseur?)
   
   Who said you can’t pair red wine with fowl? Get a little devilish this Thanksgiving with a bottle of Casillero del Diablo Malbec. - Kathy Hare
   
   I love just about any sweet wine, especially a red or pink moscato. They pair nicely with the savory flavors of the dinner and don't make my mouth feel like a desert. - Lindsey Harrison
   
   I’m not a huge wine drinker but my favorite wine is Holy Cross Abbey's Riesling (Canon City). I also like a good moscato wine. - Angie Morlan
  
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  Where Falcon's trash gets stashed
  By Jason Gray

   Each week, Falcon residents drag their trash barrels to the end of the driveway; the trash or recycling materials gets tossed into large trucks; the barrel goes back and it starts all over again.
   
   What happens to the trash and recycling bin contents after it all disappears from the curb?
   
   Southeast of Falcon on a dirt road turn-off from Highway 94 is the Waste Management Colorado Springs Landfill. It is one of three legal places for dumping the region's solid waste.
   
   Household waste and materials for recycling are only part of the stream of debris that end up in the state's landfills and recycling centers. Business and manufacturing waste is 35 to 45 percent of the municipal stream, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Waste Management's commercial recycling center in Colorado Springs and niche companies like TechWears are working to divert more of that waste into reusable or upcycled products.
   
   “I think there's a lot of room for improvement in manufacturing, especially with the total lifecycle of products, so we're not creating so much waste,” said Drew Johnson, owner of TechWears. Johnson worked for Blue Star Recyclers, a Colorado Springs-based electronics recycling firm before he discovered that circuit boards and other electronic components could be crafted into unique jewelry, ties and other accessories.
   
   Disposing of electronic devices in the trash stream has been illegal in Colorado since 2013. Cell phones, televisions, computers and any other “e-waste” must be appropriately recycled. “What I've seen by selling my products is people learn something about recycling at the same time,” Johnson said. “I hear over and over 'oh, I just threw away a computer' — and now people know its all recyclable.
   
   “One motherboard from a PC can make 20, 25 pairs of cufflinks.”
   
   Waste Management's commercial recycling center in an industrial area along North El Paso Road in Colorado Springs is making a dent on the rest of the recyclable waste coming out of Southern Colorado's offices and businesses.
   
   “The New Falcon Herald” toured the facility, although no photos were allowed.
   
   “Residential recycling has a much more complicated sorting process, with hand pickers, gravity screens, magnets,” said Enrico Dominguez, communications specialist for Waste Management. “The material that comes from commercial sources is much cleaner.” The facility housed huge piles of newsprint, cardboard and plastics from Waste Management customers, trash hauling firms and individual companies that bring their recyclable materials to the facility.
   
   To make the process quick and economically viable, large conveyor belts, sorting machines and balers are kept at the facility. However, to protect the machinery and make a usable end product for the firms purchasing the commodities, people have to pick through the stream as it rushes by. “When we're running newspaper and mixed paper, we have to have people on the line sorting the material and pulling off other items before it can be baled,” Dominguez said.
   
   Companies like Waste Management would prefer their customers embrace recycling, because they can sell recycled materials to paper mills and metal companies, in addition to extending the lifespan of their landfill properties.
   
   “We have a lot of pride in our quality in our baled material,” Dominguez said. “From here, we sell it to paper mills, which are interested in different grades of paper products. If it's paper fiber, even scraps can be baled at a lower grade.”
   
   Consumers should not throw everything that could be recycled into the single-stream bins. Contaminants like garden hoses, certain plastic films and wire can dangerously whip around the huge gears and sorting rollers. Contaminants like food waste can be smeared across an entire bale of paper products, rendering it useless for mills.
   
   “In single-stream residential recycling, the amount of contaminants are pretty high,” Dominguez said. “Only 25 to 30 percent of waste that can be recycled is going into single-stream recycling, and then 30 percent of even that is contaminated such that we have to still send it to the landfill.
   
   “The key there is what effort the population puts into it will determine how well things are diverted. If you're throwing a lot of lettuce and sandwich scraps in there, it can contaminate the whole bin's worth of material. But if they're really diligent about putting the items on the list in the recycling bin and keep it clean, it would make it much easier for our facilities. It all starts with the initial user. When in doubt, throw it out.”
   
   Vegetable cuttings, yard waste, food-contaminated paper products and coffee grounds can be composted in a home compost bin or pile to enhance soils. If residents don't want to compost, regional businesses like Don's Garden Shop will take tree and shrub clippings, grass, leaves and even horse manure to make rich compost that will later be sold to gardeners.
   
   Even if the Pikes Peak region has 50 years of capacity (in landfills) remaining, that doesn't mean residents can afford to put off recycling, composting or reducing their waste streams. “It's full circle,” Dominguez said. “If consumers choose to use products that make it easier to recycle the packaging, it will help the whole process, from start to finish.”
  
 
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  Family uproots for medical marijuana
  Breeanna Jent

   In June 2014, Andy and Cara Domer made a huge decision to move their family to Colorado, so their oldest daughter, Olivia, would have legal access to medical marijuana.
   
   At 4-and-a-half years old, Olivia, now age 9, was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, which means that seizures cannot be controlled with treatment.
   
   Doctors in Colorado diagnosed Olivia with a second form of epilepsy known as electrical status epilepticus during slow sleep syndrome (ESES). While she sleeps, her brain shows seizure activity, even when she seems to be peacefully sleeping.
   
   Cara Domer said she and her husband uprooted the family after all of their options for Olivia’s treatment had been exhausted. Cara Domer and their three children — Olivia, Isaac, age 7, and Elise, age 4 — moved to Falcon in 2014 from Clayton, North Carolina. Andy Domer stayed behind to continue working as a physician’s assistant, and he moved to Colorado in February 2015. Cara Domer is a registered nurse.
   
   In Colorado, Olivia could begin a cannabis-based treatment of cannabidiol hemp oil   CBD oil — which is illegal in North Carolina.
   
   A hemp oil containing high-CBD, low-THC hemp; CBD oil is non-psychoactive, Cara Domer said. The hemp oil provides the benefits of the plant but not the “high” usually associated with recreational marijuana.
   
   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not done a controlled study on the effects of the treatment, but the Domers had heard encouraging stories about the positive effects CBD oil has on epileptic patients.
   
   “It was a horrible decision to have to make for something that can have such a huge benefit,” Andy Domer said. “Financially, it was a huge strain, and luckily we were able to do it. The potential benefit was huge. It wasn’t a risk as much as it was a sacrifice.”
   
   The downside to the move is that Olivia did not receive her first dose of the oil, a brand known as “Charlotte’s Web,” until December 2014, almost six months after they had moved to Colorado. At the time, there was a long wait list for the oil.
   
   Currently, Olivia is administered a small dosage of liquid CBD oil under her tongue twice a day, Cara Domer said. Since beginning the cannabis-based treatment, Olivia has shown no side effects.
   
   In North Carolina, Olivia had been taking 14 different types of medication, and none were effective.
   
   The pharmaceuticals caused Olivia “horrific” side effects, including psychosis, fits of rage and agitation, vomiting, vision loss, elevated liver enzymes, headaches, hyperactivity, loss of appetite, poor weight gain and growth, Cara Domer said. Some of her seizures worsened.
   
   Today, besides the CBD oil, Olivia takes just one other drug: Depakote, which is an anti-convulsant medication.
   
   “Olivia’s at that age now where she doesn’t want to — and shouldn’t — be known as the kid with epilepsy,” Domer said.
   
   However, Olivia’s epilepsy had always “defined” the family, Domer said.
   Andy Domer said his wife became proactive; trying to pass legislation in North Carolina to legalize some forms of marijuana.
   
   Even in Colorado, the Domers still face legal dilemmas when it comes to cannabis-based treatments.
   
   “(Marijuana is) still illegal federally, and the government doesn’t want to make a decision so they’ve left it up to the states,” Andy Domer said. “So, we’re in that legal gray area. Yes, it’s legal in Colorado, but we can’t travel. We’re basically stuck in the state.”
   
   The Domers have their “red card,” which allows people to purchase medical marijuana in Colorado. The Domers said they don’t need the red card now to purchase CBD oil, but they renew it as a legal safeguard.
   
   Although marijuana use — for medicinal and recreational purposes — is legal in Colorado, the Domers said their experience has shown that some doctors are still hesitant or unwilling to prescribe it.
   
   The Domers said they want the FDA to conduct studies on the use of CBD oil.
   
   “Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug,” Cara Domer said. “That prevents studies from being done. Every parent I know who’s out here, obviously we want that research done.
   
   “I still wouldn’t call CBD oil a miracle. I’ve seen it do miraculous things, but I wouldn’t say it’s a miracle for us, because Olivia still has seizures. But it has helped her. We want our daughter to live the happiest, healthiest life she can.”
  
Olivia Domer was diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age. Her parents and brother and sister moved from North Carolina to Colorado so Olivia could get medical marijuana treatments. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
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  Olivia’s good friend and advocate
  Breeanna Jent

   Luke McMonigal, age 10, is a close friend of Olivia Domer; the two met as classmates in the second grade at Meridian Ranch Elementary School. Besides watching out for her at school, Luke raised money for the 2015 annual walk, sponsored by Real of Caring, a nonprofit providing support to individuals using cannabinoid therapy. The walk helped raise funds for medical expenses for Olivia. Luke set a goal to raise $100 for Olivia, and asked neighbors, family and friends to donate. Overall, Luke and his mom, Janet McMonigal, estimated they raised between $175 and $200.
   
   “He made all the phone calls,” Janet McMonigal said. Luke added that making those phone calls was the hardest part.
   
   Luke also participated in the walk last October, held at Memorial Park, with Olivia. At that walk, a family who lost their daughter to epilepsy gifted Luke with a pair of socks the family lovingly referred to as “the epilepsy socks.”
   
   Without being asked by a teacher or other school official, Luke said he wanted to look after Olivia and make sure she stayed well.
   
   “I would help her when she had headaches or stomach aches or minor seizures,” Luke said.
   
   His favorite part of their friendship is being there to take care of Olivia when she is feeling ill, he said.
   
   To learn more about epilepsy or donate, visit the Epilepsy Foundation website at http://epilepsy.com.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Vistas at Meridian Ranch
   The El Paso County Planning Commission approved a request from GTL Development Inc. for the planned unit development, preliminary plan and final plat for the Vistas at Meridian Ranch. The 56.10-acre plot, south of where Londonderry Drive and Lambert Road connect, is about one-third of a mile east of Eastonville Road. The site is within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan and will consist of 221 residential lots on 35.23 acres, 12.89 acres of rights-of-way and 7.98 acres of open space.
   
   Sterling Ranch Filing No. 1 – final plat
   The planning commission approved a request from SR Land LLC, SPF Investors LLC and Morley-Bentley Investments LLC for the final plat of Sterling Ranch Filing No. 1, which is zoned residential suburban and commercial service. The 134.38-acre plot is north of Marksheffel Road, east of Vollmer Road, south of the future extension of Briargate Parkway and west of the future alignment of Sterling Ranch Road. The final plat creates 24 tracts for open space, drainage, trail corridors and landscaping; four single-family development tracts; a commercial development tract and rights of way.
   
   Sun Prairie
   The planning commission approved a request from Sun Prairie Land LLC for a map amendment of 26.19 acres from PUD zoning to agricultural zoning in the Sun Prairie Minor Subdivision. The site is located about one-third of a mile northeast of Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road, on the southeast side.
   
   The BOCC has this item on their Nov. 8 meeting agenda.
   
   Honeywood Recreational Vehicle Park
   The planning commission approved a request from Prairie Stone LLC for a map amendment of 39.9 acres from PUD zoning to recreational vehicle park zoning. The site is located about one-third of a mile east of the intersection of Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road, on the north side.
   
   The BOCC has this item on their Nov. 8 meeting agenda.
   
   Coyote Crossing Shooting Range
   The planning commission denied a request from Coyote Crossing Shooting Range LLC for a special use permit for an outdoor shooting range, located about 1 mile south of Highway 24, at the end of Log Road. The 128.05-acre parcel is zoned agricultural, and is included in the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Business Plan.
   
   The BOCC has this item on their Nov. 8 meeting agenda.
   
   Flying Horse North
   The planning commission denied a request from PRI2 LLC, for a map amendment from residential rural to PUD zoning for a development called the Flying Horse North subdivision. The development proposed 283 single-family residential lots with a minimum size of 2.5 acres and 313.5 acres of open space consisting of a golf course, park and other open spaces. Within the map amendment request, PRI2 cited two modifications as follows: access spacing of 725 feet instead of the required 1,320 feet along Black Forest Road; and an allowance of 2,200 average daily trips of vehicles along Stagecoach Road where the current limit is 1,500 trips. The proposal is consistent with the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   The BOCC has this item on their Nov. 15 meeting agenda.
   
   Black Forest Community Wildfire Protection Plan
   The BOCC approved a request for the Black Forest Community Wildfire Protection plan for the benefit of fire protection activities related to fighting fires on EPC land.
   
   New Day Cottages
   The board approved a request from New Day Cottages LLC for a special use permit to expand an existing group home for the aged, from 14 residents to 16 residents. The 5.06-acre property is southeast of the intersection of Howells Road and Arrowhead Drive, within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   The Shops at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 1
   The BOCC approved the partial release of a bond for grading and erosion control and other public improvements for The Shops at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 1 in the amount of $152,547.80. A balance of $18,653.20 will be held by the county for a two-year defect warranty period and will be released upon successful completion of that period.
   
   El Paso County fairgrounds improvements – Phase II
   The commissioners approved a purchase order to TK-Architecture LLC to provide design and construction documents to the EPC Community Service Department for the second phase of improvements to the EPC fairgrounds for $56,950.
  
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