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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 12 December 2021  

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    Ballot issues — don’t forget to vote on Nov. 2
    Saddle up at Simla museum
    Free telephone service for hearing impaired
    Eve, Saints, and Souls
    A water solution: The Loop
    Falcon American Legion — a force in the community
    A new vision statement for Black Forest
    Drainage work delays shopping center
    County health department guidelines for school COVID-19 protocols
    Building and real estate update
 
  Ballot issues — don’t forget to vote on Nov. 2

   On Nov. 2, ballot issues for Colorado include the following: ·       
   
   Amendment 78: Requirements for Spending Custodial Money: Transfers the power to appropriate custodial funds (state revenue not generated through taxes) from the state treasurer to the state Legislature
   
   Proposition 119: Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program: Creates an out-of-school education program and a board to govern it and increases the marijuana retail sales tax by 5% to partially fund the program
         
   Proposition 120: Property Tax Assessment Rate Reduction and Voter-Approved Revenue Change: Reduces the residential and non-residential property tax rates; authorizes the state to retain and spend $25 million in revenue above the state's TABOR spending cap, which it would otherwise be required to refund to taxpayers
   
   Issues up for vote in El Paso County include the following:
   Issue 2C: TOPS Tax Extension and Increase: 2C revenues complement road maintenance and provide additional funding needed to stop the trajectory of deteriorating roads
   
   Issue 2D: TABOR Retention: Permits the city of Colorado Springs to retain and spend up to $20,000,000 to create a city wide and regional wildfire mitigation and prevention program to be managed by the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
   
   Issue 6B Proposed Colorado Springs Briargate General Improvement District 2021: The ordinance allows for the assessment of a mill levy on real property in each district for the maintenance of certain public improvements on specified medians, rights of way and open space.
   
   For more information on Election Day, visit https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/ballot/contacts/2021.html, https://ballotpedia.org/2021_ballot_measures#By_state, https://coloradosprings.gov/voterinfo 
  
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  Saddle up at Simla museum
  See 400-some saddles and more
  By Pete Gawda

   A few miles off U.S. Highway 24 on a county road is a museum that houses a man's life-long collection of saddles and a vast assortment of antiques and other items.
   
   Don Bailey got his first saddle when he was 8 years old. He still has that saddle plus about 400 more. A good many of his saddles are on display at his Bailey Ranch Saddle Shop and Museum, housed in the barn adjacent to his house at 20140 County Road 125, about 1 mile from Simla. Other saddles are on display at the Limon Heritage and Railroad Park in Limon.
   
   He has military saddles and saddles from every continent except Antarctica. One of the more unusual saddles is a side saddle, which is an upholstered bench with a back. The back can be removed and attached to the other side of the saddle, allowing the rider to sit with both feet on either side of the horse. There is also a fancy saddle Bailey has ridden in area parades.
   
   The large red barn also contains an eclectic mixture of goods that Bailey said he acquired by “time and chance.” He attends auctions and flea markets, and people call him when they know of unusual objects that could be of interest to him.
   
   He has a collection of soda bottles — the number is unknown because Bailey has never counted them. He said he just likes old soda bottles.
   
   The barn houses a 1937 Cadillac. Bailey proudly shows visitors photographs of him and his son sitting in the car with their brides when each got married. Both Baileys used the Cadillac as a wedding transport vehicle. There is also a 1935 Dodge on display. To complement the automobiles, there is a Texaco service station sign with the familiar red star and an old service station complete with tools. One area contains a chuck wagon as well as several other types of horse-drawn vehicles. Bailey has two miniature circus wagons that were handmade, along with their harnesses, by a friend of his in New York.
   
   Another area is set up to resemble a cowboy bunkhouse, and it contains his grandmother's wood burning cook stove. And one section of the barn resembles a post office, complete with old post office boxes from the Simla Post Office. Photographs and memorabilia from Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy and other cowboy movie stars line the walls and fill glass display cases.
   
   Bailey grew up in a ranching family but spent 38 years teaching school — 37 of those years in Limon. He taught biology and served as assistant principal, coach and athletic director. During his time as athletic director, his teams won 19 state championships in several sports
   
   The museum does not keep regular hours. It is open year-round, but there are fewer visitors during the winter because the barn is not heated. Bailey said potential visitors should call either 719-541-2736 or 719-740-0658 to make sure someone will be home. There is no fee to visit the museum. If they are available, Bailey said he and his family members are happy to open the museum to visitors.
  
Don Bailey owns a museum that has something for everyone, from 400 saddles to antique toys. Photos by Pete Gawda
 
Don Bailey has never counted the number of soda bottles he has collected, but there are plenty!
 
This miniature circus wagon and its harness were handmade by one of Don Bailey’s friends.
 
In this red barn is a diverse collection of one man’s life-long treasures. The museum is open by appointment and located about 1 mile from Simla on County Road 125.
 
These are a few of the 400 saddles owned by DonBailey and displayed at his museum. On the rear wall is a collection of holsters.
 
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  Free telephone service for hearing impaired
  By Pete Gawda

   Caption Call is a special telephone service that allows the hearing impaired to view a caller’s message via a screen.
   
   A handset is attached to the screen, which provides a written transcript of the caller’s words. When a hard-of-hearing person answers the phone, the caller’s words are immediately displayed on the screen and continue to appear throughout the conversation. The transcript can be saved and recalled at a later time.
   
   “It is a service and a phone,” said Alicia Veillon of Caption Call.
   
   The service is for those who struggle to hear, Veillon said. There is no minimum age for the service, and a medical verification is not required. Caption Call does not charge for the special handset or caption service; however, the user must have either a landline or a cell phone and pay the appropriate charge for that service.
   
   According to the website captioncall.com, Caption Call is federally funded from Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
   
   For more information, visit https://captioncall.com. Anyone interested in signing up for the service should call Veillon at 719-358-3798.
  
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  Eve, Saints, and Souls
  By Ava Stoller

   Bonfires, myths, cakes, and prayers — the origins of Halloween gives a much different understanding to the holiday.
   
   The period of Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 is known as Allhallowtide, which encompasses the Eve, and days of Saints and Souls. All Hallows' Eve and All Saints' Day both paid homage to saints ("hallows" equals saints), where All Souls’ Day was dedicated to all those who had passed on throughout the year.
   
   Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (SOW-in). From History.com, the Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter — a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of Oct. 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth.
   
   By the ninth century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted older Celtic rites. History states that in 1000 A.D., the church made Nov. 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse, meaning All Saints’ Day).
   
   Trick or treating comes from a combination of Irish practices called souling and guising. According to History.com, poor people would visit the homes of wealthier families and receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of the homeowners’ dead relatives. Known as "souling," the practice was later taken up by children, who would go door to door asking for gifts such as food, money and ale.
   
   In Scotland and Ireland, young people took part in a tradition called guising, dressing up in costume and accepting offerings from various households. Rather than pledging to pray for the dead, they would sing a song, recite a poem, tell a joke or perform another sort of “trick” before collecting their treat, which typically consisted of fruit, nuts or coins.
   
   In the early 20th century, Irish and Scottish communities revived the Old World traditions of souling and guising in the United States. By the 1920s, however, pranks had become the Halloween activity of choice for rowdy young people.
   
   At the height of the postwar baby boom, trick-or-treating reclaimed its place among other Halloween customs. No longer constrained by sugar rationing, candy companies capitalized on the lucrative ritual, launching national advertising campaigns specifically aimed at Halloween.
   
   Today, Americans spend an estimated $2.6 billion on candy for Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation, and the day, itself, has become the nation’s second-largest commercial holiday.
   Jack-O-Lanterns come from an Irish myth. From the Encyclopedia Britannica, the story is about Stingy Jack who tricked the devil for his own monetary gain. When Jack died, God didn’t allow him into heaven, and the devil didn’t let him into hell, so Jack was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity — given only a piece of coal to light his path. In Ireland, people started to carve demonic faces out of turnips to frighten away Jack’s wandering soul. When Irish immigrants moved to the U.S., they began carving jack-o’-lanterns from pumpkins, as these were native to the region.
   
   Versions of Halloween are celebrated elsewhere, too. In Mexico and Latin American countries, Día de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—honors deceased loved ones and ancestors Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. In England, Guy Fawkes Day, which falls on Nov. 5, is commemorated with bonfires and fireworks.
  
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  A water solution: The Loop
  By Leslie Sheley

   Three El Paso County water district managers came together to brainstorm a long-term water solution for the county. The result is a concept they call The Loop.
   
   Amy Lathen, general manager, Cherokee Metropolitan District, said she met with managers from Woodmoor Water & Sanitation District No. 1 and Donala Water Sanitation District to discuss how to create a use/re-use water plan between northern and southern El Paso County. She said while looking at the map, they realized the area is literally a loop; hence, the name.
   
   Lathen said Cherokee Metro District already has miles of water line in the ground that could be used to provide water to other areas. Formed in 1957 to serve the Cimarron Hills neighborhood, CMD is also a Colorado Title 32 special district; serving water and wastewater to Shriever Air Force Base, plus providing wastewater for Meridian Ranch in Falcon.
   
   In 2011, CMD bought Denver Basin aquifer water rights from the Sundance Ranch in northern El Paso County. Lathen said they proceeded to build a water treatment plant on-site and installed a 17-mile water pipeline called the Cherokee Sundance Line, which travels from Hodgen and Black Forest roads, south to Marksheffel and Tamlin roads. “Since that infrastructure is already in place and ready for use for the potential Loop plan, I think it would be a much better use for all of that infrastructure than the way it’s currently being used to only deliver water into our Tamlin tank,” she said.
   
   The connection from the southern area (the Fountain Creek area) to the Tamlin tank still needs to be built, she said. But once that is complete, thousands of additional customers will be able to be served, particularly in the northern entities, by bringing water up from southern parts of El Paso County.
   
   All of the northern water districts use the Denver Basin; some even own surface water rights in southern El Paso County; but, at present, that water is not accessible, Lathen said. The use/re-use plan would take some of the pressure off the Denver Basin wells, plus take advantage of renewable water instead, she said. Other water districts or entities could also draft water off of that line and use some of the return flows in their own systems, which again takes pressure off the Denver Basin wells.
   
   “The bottom line is non-renewable Denver Basin water is already being produced, treated, collected and discharged,” Lathen said. “The Loop project would allow for the reuse of existing Denver Basin water resources plus access to renewable surface water rights that are currently inaccessible.
   
   “Falcon area entities could benefit from this plan by having access to renewable water. They would have to choose to buy water from the system in some way, which could take pressure off of existing Denver Basin sources and introduce backup supplies for their systems." 
   
   Dave Duran, president of Division 2, Upper Black Squirrel Creek Groundwater Management District, attended the workshop presented to the county about The Loop.  
   
   He said his understanding from the discussion is that the majority of the northern water entities would benefit from this plan if pursued.
   
   At this point, he isn’t aware of any eastern metropolitan districts that are partners in the project or how they would benefit. 
   
   “I was excited at first because I thought maybe they had found water from another source,” he said. “Then I found out they plan to use the water from Fountain Creek.” The creek basically consists of wastewater deposited there from all of the water districts in the area. Duran said, “It’s the ickiest of the ickiest water.”
    
   He said he is curious about their plans to clean the creek water up and how they propose to use the credits. “I will continue to keep an eye on what happens with The Loop and how it is handled,” Duran said.
   
   Lathen said an engineering firm is studying the situation to get a better assessment of what needs to be done as well as a cost study that is due toward the end of the year. The managers also approached the county for financial assistance because they have access to federal funds for this kind of project; they may also invite congressional senate discussions related to funding, she said.
   People should care about water issues because if nothing else, when water infrastructure costs go up, the expense gets passed along to businesses and housing, Lathen said. It costs about $2 million to drill one well in the Denver Basin. Lathen said it’s also important to have access to long-term sustainable water and not deplete what we have. “Water is game, set, match; nothing else matters. You have to have water,” she said.
   
   Lathen said she enjoys working with other districts to figure out how to pull all the water assets together. “We don’t know all the answers, but it’s good to speak openly with other districts,” she said. “There shouldn’t be any political boundaries between the districts, because we’re all just trying to provide water and wastewater services for the long term.
   
   “I really think we can do it. If we can make this work, we’re just a little piece in the puzzle. And if we can add that piece to the puzzle and help make it all come together, that’s a better use for everyone.”
  
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  Falcon American Legion — a force in the community
  By Timothy Page

   They served their country and now they are serving their own community.
   
   The American Legion is a nationwide organization for veterans. Founded almost 100 years ago in 1919 by veterans of World War I, the American Legion welcomes veterans who have returned from deployment or finished their time with the military. The Legion’s veterans support their community and also support their fellow veterans who need guidance or help adjusting to civilian life
   
   Dane R. Balcon American Legion Post 2008 in Falcon currently has 302 members and was founded in 2008. Like all American Legion clubs across the country, Post 2008 is comprised of four different pillars.
   
   According to the American Legion website, the Main Post, which is open to all veterans, is dedicated to supporting community and fellow veterans. With organizations like American Legion Baseball, one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs, or Operation Comfort Warriors, which provides help to recovering wounded warriors and their families.
   
   The Sons of the American Legion, which includes the children and grandchildren of veterans, raises money for the community through an organization like The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. They also volunteer at VA hospitals and offer programs that teach respect for the American flag.
   
   The American Legion Riders is a motorcycle club that sponsors events and fundraising efforts. For example, the Legacy Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001.
   
   The American Legion Auxiliary is a group of military spouses who help and encourage each other and families challenged by a family member on deployment.
   
   All events that the Legion holds in Falcon have been well supported. Legion Post 2008 Commander Sonny Sonnichsen said he has been amazed by how supportive the Falcon community has been of their veterans and the events they have sponsored. Sonnichsen is a U.S. Air Force veteran and has been a member of the Falcon community for the last 15 years.
   
   The Falcon Legion’s recent car show on Aug. 8 hosted double the cars they were expecting, Sonnichsen said. Along with their annual car show, other events throughout the year include a golf fundraiser, an annual peach sale where they partner with local farmers to raise money for veterans and the community.
   
   Every Christmas, they participate in Wreaths Across America, a nationwide fundraiser that raises money for wreaths to be placed on veterans’ graves.
   
   Currently, American Legion Post 2008 is running a Butter Braid fundraiser through Nov. 3. A Butter Bread is a Danish-style, flaky pastry made of 100% real butter, braided by hand, and filled with all kinds of treats like fruit, cinnamon and cream fillings. A portion of the sales of the pastries goes to American Legion Post 2008.
   
   For Veterans Day this year, Post 2008 will be participating in the Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade and placing flags at gravesites at Eastonville cemetery.  
   
   Any veteran interested in more information or joining the local legion, visit https://legionpost2008.com
  
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  A new vision statement for Black Forest
  By Timothy Page

   The Black Forest Preservation Plan is history, but there is a new vision statement that attempts to keep the developers in check.
   
   The BFPP, which had been in effect since the 1970s, helped keep Black Forest less populated and the properties spaced out.
   
   However, that could change with the new El Paso County Master Plan, which has already been approved and implemented.
   
   The master plan could allow the previous 5-acre lots to be cut in half so developers can build more houses and increase the population of Black Forest, said Terry Stokka, treasurer of Friends of the Black Forest. Stokka said he is worried about what this will mean for Black Forest and the community.
   
   Stokka said the former Black Forest preservation plan was always advisory. But, he said, “We clung to that and the county commissioner followed it for a lot of years.”
   
   Today it’s different, Stokka said.
   
   “They’ve gotten careless in the last few years and they’ve made several violations of that,” Stokka said. “We feel the developers are way too strong and have too much power, and we lose most of our battles to be very honest with you.”
   
   The new county master plan encompasses all of El Paso County, but it does not include a specific part of the Black Forest. So Stokka and the Friends of the Black Forest have drafted the Black Forest Vision Statement, which is a guide of what they would like to see land developers abide by as they continue to build in the area.
   
   “We developed what we felt it would be if we were going to update this (master plan), and that is (the Vision Statement) what we would update it with,” he said.
   
   Stokka said they realize the Vision Statement is more of a dream than a potential reality, but they hope that developers will take the community’s view under consideration. The Vision Statement, if followed, would keep properties appropriately spaced and preserve Black Forest as much as possible.
   Under the county’s current master plan, the lots will be smaller and the buildings closer together, Stokka said.
   
   Friends of the Black Forest worry about wildfires and wildlife, he said, adding that the idea of the Vision Statement will be tested when a developer wants to build in the Forest under the county’s new master plan.
  
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  Drainage work delays shopping center
  By Pete Gawda

   The new shopping center, Falcon Marketplace, at the intersection of Woodmen and Meridian roads, has been in the works for some time. Drainage improvement requirements are holding up progress.
   
   The issuance of building permits for some of the lots in the shopping center have been delayed pending Federal Emergency Management Agency approval of the necessary drainage improvements.
   
   Keith Curtis of the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department said much of that area was in a flood zone. The builders had to submit a Conditional Letter of Map Revision to FEMA detailing proposed drainage work and how they expected to change the flood plain. Retention ponds and underground drainage pipes were proposed by the builder and approved by FEMA. The retention ponds are designed to release stored rainwater at the historical rate of drainage prior to construction to prevent flooding to the surrounding area. Curtis said the PPRBD then issued a permit for the drainage work, based on the specifications approved by FEMA.
   
   Jeff Rice, senior engineer with El Paso County Planning and Community Development, is involved in the engineering review of the retention ponds. He said those ponds have not yet received final approval. Rice also said that FEMA is currently in the process of revising the flood plain elevation and the flood plain map for the area.
   
   If FEMA determines the work has been completed according to required specifications, a Letter of Map Revision will be issued by FEMA. Typically, FEMA allows a four-and-half-month period after approval for any appeals. At the end of the appeal period, if there have been no appeals, PPRBD will issue building permits for the lots in the shopping center that were in the flood plain. Some of the lots were not in the flood plain.
  
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  County health department guidelines for school COVID-19 protocols
  By Leslie Sheley

   Now that El Paso County school districts are back in full swing, the health department has set up some guidelines regarding masks, vaccines and COVID-19 reporting for all the districts.
   
   Hewitt, MPH, public health information officer with El Paso County Public Health, said it's important to differentiate between what is required and what is recommended.
   
   Under state statues, COVID-19 single cases and outbreaks are required to be reported to public health departments. Quarantine and isolation practices are required as well.
   
   El Paso County Public Health continues to promote a layered approach to prevention, Hewitt said. Prevention methods include vaccinations for those who are eligible, staying home when sick, getting tested, masks/face coverings in public indoor settings, social distancing, increased ventilation and airflow, good hand hygiene and quarantining if ill or have tested positive for COVID-19. “Our role is to provide education, outreach and technical assistance on layered prevention measures,” she said. “From there, schools have the ability to implement the prevention measures they feel are most beneficial for their unique students, staff, families and communities.”  
   
   EPCPH strongly recommends face coverings in public indoor settings, which includes the school setting, as they have proven to be vital protection, especially in relation to the delta variant wave, she said. According to a recent literature review by Children’s Hospital Colorado, COVID-19 transmission in schools is lower when risk mitigation measures, including universal masking are used.
   
   She said EPCPH contacts schools to notify them when there is a positive COVID-19 test and the individual has been at school. The schools are asked to partner with them to identify close contacts and place those individuals in quarantine, Hewitt said. Some schools opt to perform contact tracing themselves and work with impacted students and families directly regarding quarantine notification; other schools, such as El Paso County Colorado School District 49, choose to have EPCPH perform contact tracing and provide quarantine and isolation notifications as needed, she said.
   
   There is frequent communication between EPCPH and schools regarding these situations, as they are highly complex and evolving, Hewitt said. “In addition to regular meetings and touch points with school COVID coordinators, school nurses and superintendents, EPCPH is also available 24/7 to help answer any questions and assist schools,” she said.  
   
   “El Paso County has a unique school landscape, with 17 public school districts and numerous private and charter schools. While we encourage a wide array of layered prevention measures, we acknowledge there is not a one-size-fits-all solution; mitigation strategies may look different from school to school and district to district.” EPCPH continues to provide clear and consistent information to all schools; they all receive the same definitions, requirements, best practices and recommendations, she said.
   
   “As a whole, schools who are layering their approach and utilizing enhanced mitigation measures are experiencing fewer outbreaks, which are smaller in size,” Hewitt said.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Eastonville Road project
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously accepted a quitclaim deed from Daniel S. Ferguson for property adjacent to the Eastonville Road project, conveying the property to the county.
   
   Norwood Foundation property
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Norwood Foundation to rezone 313.774 acres from planned unit development to residential rural-5. The property is located west of Goodson Road and 1.1 miles northwest of the Meridian Road and Ayer Road intersection.
   
   Pine View Estates
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by Jolene Owens for the preliminary plan to create seven single-family residential lots. The 38.8-acre property is zoned RR-5 and located about 0.5 miles north of the intersection of Hopper Road and Ranch Hand Road.
  
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