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""The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.""
– Lady Bird Johnson  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 4 April 2021  

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  New board member sworn in
  By Pete Gawda

   The swearing in of a new board member and a discussion of construction plans were highlights of the Jan. 20 meeting of the Falcon Fire Protection District Board of Directors. Board member Mike Collins attended via conference call.
   
   New board member
   A vacancy occurred on the board with the recent resignation of Joan Hathcock. The vacancy was advertised and the only applicant was former board member Cory Galicia, who was unanimously elected to the board and sworn in by board president Tom Kerby. Attorney Joan Fritsche advised that Galicia would not be able to vote until his election was recorded by the county clerk. His term will expire in May 2022.
   
   Reports
   “The district is in good shape,” said Chief Trent Harwig, as he addressed finances. He said for 2020, in all areas of the budget, less money was spent than was budgeted. He said that only 92% of the general fund for 2020 was expended, due, in part, to the fact they had overestimated salary and benefits. For the same reason, the ambulance transport fund was at 73% of expenditures. The budget included three ambulances for the entire year. The third ambulance did not become operational until later in the year. The chief said some of the money allocated for capital projects has been rolled over into the 2021 budget. There were 112 ambulance transports in December and 1,089 total transports in 2020. In December, there were 203 fire calls and a total of 3,005 calls for the year, up from 2019.
   
   Some firefighters have declined to be vaccinated for COVID-19. They are generally younger, and some have preferred that vaccines go to the elderly. The chief and the board did not feel compelled to mandate that firefighters be vaccinated. They preferred to make it a personal decision. There are no firefighters on quarantine.
   
   Construction reports
   Harwig reported that he had seen the preliminary architect's drawing for the administration building. Kerby expressed his displeasure at the proposed flat roof, calling it a poor engineering design. The consensus of the board was to use a pitched roof rather than a flat roof. They also expressed a preference for steel rather than wood construction. In addition, Kerby expressed a desire that downspouts be directed to grassy areas when possible rather than pavement. Since they considered the flat roof a poor engineering decision, the board did not feel compelled to pay for that change. However, they authorized the chief to pay an amount not to exceed $8,000 for the change in design from wood to steel.
   
   On the new station 3, Hammers Construction has elected to put up the exterior of the building first and then put in the interior concrete during the winter. The building is expected to be completed in July or August of this year. The board ratified a draw against the budgeted construction amount to Hammers Construction of $205,535. This amount included steel and excavation costs. Harwig stated there was nothing new to report regarding the proposed maintenance building scheduled for construction after the new administration building is completed.
   
   Executive session
   At the conclusion of the public meeting an executive session was held to garner legal advice related to the Shiloh Mesa/Quail Brush exclusion proceeding.
   
   Next meeting
   The next board meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 17. Interested citizens can participate via conference call by dialing 719-495-2681 and following the prompts. Record your name after the tone. Press # (pound) when finished.
  
The framework is up for the new fire station 3 at the corner of Meridian Road and Highway 24. The building is scheduled to be completed this summer. Photo by Pete Gawda
 
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  Safety tip – Falcon firefighter persists in achieving his goal
  By Pete Gawda

   This month's fire safety tip is given by someone who persevered a long time before achieving his goal of becoming a firefighter. As a child, Zach Korte was influenced by his father’s firefighter friends to pursue firefighting. Korte attended a firefighting academy in California in 2012 and then worked briefly for the Forest Service. He spent the next eight years trying to secure a firefighter's position in California. During that time, he worked for a wine company and then spent time as a paramedic for American Medical Response.
   
   Fast forward and he has been with the Falcon Fire Protection District for just under one year. Korte is married and has a 3-year-old son and another son who is a year and a half. During his off-duty hours, he likes to spend time hiking and doing home improvement projects.
   
   Feb safety tip: Always use caution with any kind of heating device, whether it is a fireplace or heater vent or any type of heater. Korte said keep a 3-foot radius around any heating device; make sure it is free from any inflammable material; and establish a kid free safety zone around heating devices.
   
   Feb safety tip: Always use caution with any kind of heating device, whether it is a fireplace or heater vent or any type of heater. Korte advises keeping a 3-foot radius around any heating device free from any inflammable material and also establishing a kid free safety zone around heating devices.
   
   Stay connected with the Falcon Fire Protection District
   Website: http://www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
   NextDoor.com
  
Zach Korte likes spending time with his family and hiking when he is not on duty as a firefighter; left to right, Zach, Patrick, Kim and Matthew.
 
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