2016 is coming to a close. The annual End-of-Year edition of the Prowers Journal serves to recap some of the more notable highlights of the past 12 months. We’ll review the news in each of those months in our Wednesday publications and on our website at www.theprowersjournal.com, we’re recapping those events which had an impact on the communities in Prowers County and around southeast Colorado.
Chamber Holds Awards Banquet
Four citizens were honored for their service to the community during the Lamar Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Banquet held at the Wolves Den Event Center Thursday, January 28th. The annual meeting served to introduce incoming and outgoing chamber directors for 2015/2016.
Clay Peacock was honored as Citizen of the Year; the Humanitarian Award is not an annual presentation, but is bestowed upon those citizens who have made a major impact on the quality of life for Lamar’s residents. This year, that award was presented posthumously to Jillian Tinnes for her exceptional work in fund raising efforts for the Lamar Area Hospice and heightening awareness of breast cancer in our community. A new award was introduced during the annual banquet. Named the Organization/Business Award, it was created to recognize the efforts on behalf of the community by a non-profit or commercial enterprise. Emily Nieschburg, the executive director of Healthy Places, accepted the award on behalf of the organization and the Honker of the Year award went to member Vic Coberly for his contributions to the chamber group which serves as a public relations committee, welcoming new businesses to the Lamar community and highlighting any related developments such as business expansion or changes in business ownership.
The Lamar City Council Gets in the Game, Helps Fund PUMA Study
While the city council did not allocate $50,000 in funding to Prowers County Development Incorporated for 2016, a request was made to the city late last year by Ron Cook, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, to help fund a county-wide economic study priced at $50,000. PCDI pledged $25,000 to develop strategies to develop business development and the city was asked to help contribute to the balance of payment to PUMA, Progressive Urban Management Associates. After several work sessions and additional consideration during the council’s January 11th meeting, a unanimous vote was taken to provide $12,500 to begin the study.
Angie Cue on Board
Angie Cue, the city’s new Community Development Manager, was hired to help foster economic growth for the community. Cue has various local ties to the Lamar area both through family and as a graduate of Lamar Community College. City Administrator, John Sutherland remarked, “She has already had several meetings with city department heads and has been reviewing some of the accumulated information files from Shawna Hodge.”
Holly Trustees Focus on Water Issues
The State Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are requiring commercial and industrial water lines to be equipped with backflow devices which prevent the spread of contaminated water into a community’s drinking water system. The Holly Trustees were briefed on the development during their monthly January meeting by Mark Hartman, a water circuit rider, representing the Colorado Rural Water Association in Pueblo. The devices need to be installed at a reachable service line or a plumbing fixture and must be inspected annually to maintain their proper function. Holly Town Administrator, Jerry L’Estrange, presented the Trustees with a sample ordinance on the regulations last month for their review.
Granada Renews Atmos Energy Contract
Atmos Energy, the natural gas supplier for Granada, was given a 20 year franchise contract with the community, an extended version compared to earlier agreements. Town Clerk, Jackie Malone, explained that the town will continue to receive a 5% franchise fee of gas sold through the year, and it will be adjustable to reflect any future price increases. The town earns about $4,993 each year from the fee, paid in four quarters. The franchise agreement had no effect on current natural gas rates. An ordinance on the change will be and the agreement went into effect in April.
PMC Debuts New Operating Room
A spacious and more up-to-date operating room has been in use at Prowers Medical Center since the latter part of January. The new feature is part of the renovation and expansion project set to be completed later this spring at the hospital. PMC board members and the media were given a tour of the facility following last Wednesday’s monthly board meeting, January 27th. Craig Loveless, hospital CEO, explained that tours will be available for the new additions to the hospital during the spring grand opening, provided they won’t be in use at that time.
Holly South Well Problems
Holly town Administrator, L’Estrange, told the Trustees that an examination of a valve on the town’s South Well was malfunctioning. “The check valve was bad,” he said, “when it was pumping it was spraying water underneath the ground and that was stirring up the sand we were seeing in the water. Plus, the screen was split which allowed more gravelly material to get in.” Several remedies were attempted on the well until repairs finally fixed the problem by the summer.
Construction Underway for LCC’s New Dorm
John Marrin, Lamar Community College President, welcomed dozens of guests to the February 16th groundbreaking ceremonies. “This will be a large building that will house 30 to 32 students and this will be the future of this college,” Marrin explained. He added, “If we want LCC to continue to be a destination college, the only way for us to do that is to have a place for them to live.”
The LCC Foundation has dedicated its mission for quite some time, to securing donations and funds to finance the construction of the new facility, expected to be open for students by the end of July and the start of the fall semester at the college.
A dozen persons were handed shovels for a traditional moment, turning over the dirt at the work site which will see excavation underway as of Wednesday, February 17th with an anticipated completion date of July 31st.
When is a Sports Mascot Racist?
There have been some changes to team mascots in the sports world, from the pro ranks to high school, mostly because they have been viewed as being unintentionally racist. There have been two public discussions on the Lamar Savages mascot of recent note. One took place this past September during Governor Hickenlooper’s town hall visit to Lamar when he informed local residents that a task force was being formed by the lieutenant governor to look into such matters and the follow up discussion which was held late February, hosted by the Commission to Study American Indian Representations in Public Schools at Lamar Community College. Some fifty residents made up of past and current Lamar students, elected officials, school board members and the general public was on hand to learn about the Commission’s agenda and how their findings might impact the Savage logo which has been in use since around 1910. Lamar is one of 16 schools in Colorado which uses some form of an American Indian representation as their school mascot. Superintendent Tecklenburg said he’d be open to additional visits and dialogue on the matter, but no immediate decision was forthcoming.
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