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2016 Year in Review: March and April

March

Triumph Bancorp, Inc. to Acquire ColoEast Bankshares, Inc.

 

Triumph Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:TBK) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ColoEast Bankshares, Inc., parent of Colorado East Bank & Trust, headquartered in Lamar, Colorado.

Stephen A. Sherlock, Vice Chairman and CEO of Colorado East Bank & Trust commented, “We are pleased to join a dynamic and entrepreneurial organization with a track record of strong growth. By partnering with Triumph we will be able to offer our customers the same level of prompt, professional and personal service they are accustomed to along with an expanded product offering in support of local economic and civic development in the communities in which we operate.” The merger has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of the merger agreement by ColoEast Bankshares, Inc. shareholders and receipt of required regulatory approvals.  The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.

 

Plans Develop for Local Corrections Center in Lamar

Old WPA Building

Old WPA Building

After years of lying idle, the WPA Buildings on East Maple Street in Lamar may be put to use. Doug Carrigan, CEO of ATC, Advantage Treatment Center in Sterling, Colorado, addressed the Lamar City Council during a work session and outlined a concept for a 30-40 bed client facility in town. At that time, Carrigan had stated that he was looking at several sites in the area. Carrigan is the executive director of the Sterling facility and informed the council he believes the Lamar community would benefit from a similar program. He described the proposed facility as a type of halfway house which would serve clients from the southeast Colorado region who are on parole or probation and would be housed under strict guidelines regarding their movements in the community. The facility proposed would hold from 35 to 40 clients and provide jobs for about two dozen persons.

wpa-buildings-roof-1

 

New Ambulance Service Proposed for Lamar Area

A private ambulance transport service, Midwest Medical Transport Company, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is looking to establish a branch in Lamar. Representative, Sean DeLancey, the company’s business development director, met with the Prowers County Commissioners to provide an overview of the operation Monday, March 28th.

“Lamar is a larger town than we’re used to operating in, but the community is a focal point for regional coverage in our four state operations,” he explained. “We transport patients from smaller hospitals to larger ones such as Pueblo or Colorado Springs and we’re employed by them on an at-need basis.  We’re not looking to take away anything from a local EMS service, so there would be no 911 calls we’d respond to unless there was a crisis situation such as a tornado or major highway accident where we would assist them,” he added.

He explained that his firm has met with medical providers from Prowers Medical Center and added that a base of operations in Lamar would cut down on waiting time for service to come in from Rocky Ford and would be considerably less expensive that air transport.  “Some situations arise when the wait for ground transportation is so long, the only option for a patient is to be flown to a designated hospital,” he told the commissioners.  Although the facility to headquarter the operation was established on US Highway 50, the building has yet to be staffed for operation.

Jackson Cartage is Coming Down

Jackson Cartage on East Maple Street

Jackson Cartage on East Maple Street

Jackson Cartage, a transportation warehouse established in Lamar in the mid 1950’s is being torn down. Originally owned and operated by A.J. Jackson on East Maple Street, the company delivered for the Red Ball Freight Company from the former Pet Milk Factory. It was one of several freight carriers in Lamar, but not the oldest, but it has seen its days and is now being taken down. Today it is owned by Colorado Mills and is removed because it is no longer safe as a storage area, its present function for Colorado Mills and the site will be used to erect storage silos, according to Rick Robbins, General Manager of Colorado Mills in Lamar.

 

Youth Drug Abuse Concerns HPCHC

The High Plains Community Health Center in Lamar is exploring options to deal with the prevalence of youthful drug offenders in the local community. CEO Eric Niemeyer and Jim Farmer, chairman of the HPCHC’s board of directors, provided an update of current activities for the Prowers County Commissioners during a routine meet in late March.

Niemeyer recapped efforts to join with Prowers Medical Center and Southeast Mental Health for grant applications to finance activities. Monthly meetings among all three medical providers have been scheduled to address the unmet need for youth in-patient detox services or behavioral health services.  “The board expressed a desire to look at recent statistics and see if we can get together for a joint project and maybe building something,”  Jim Farmer said the Center’s clinicians brought to the board’s attention, the need for a program to deal with local youth who are doing injectable drugs.  “These are being seen at the Center and the hospital and they’re dealing with serious wound issues,” he explained.  Farmer stated that a recent visit with Representative Ken Buck’s office in Washington there is pending legislation to help reduce rural drug issues, which has become more prevalent over the past several years.

 

April

 

Lamar Easing Water Restrictions, Police Re-establishing Explorer Post

The Lamar City Council voted to move from mandatory Stage 2 water restrictions, in effect for the past several years, to mandatory Stage 1. The recommendation, according to City Administrator, John Sutherland, is the increased availability of water due to the lessening of the drought in southeast Colorado, as well as the new fee rate structure for municipal water use.  Mandatory Stage 1 water restrictions allow users to water any day of the week except Friday but still curtail watering between 10am and 6pm, a period when evaporation is at the highest due to summer temperatures.

Police Chief Kyle Miller

Police Chief Kyle Miller

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller and Officer Steve Sanger, addressed the Lamar City Council on their plan to reestablish the Explorer Post which was discontinued around 2000. Miller said Sanger had prior experience with the former post and brought up the idea of developing in again for area youth.  “This opens the door for them to become more involved with law enforcement in later life,” Miller explained, adding, “they could become members of the police department and train with us, do ride-alongs with us.  This would be for an older group, 14-21 years.”  Once they turn 21, they’d be eligible to go to the police academy if they wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement.  Miller said the memorandum of understanding would be the initial process and after that, a committee would be formed of adult advisors who, after passing a background check, would guide the Explorer members in training sessions.

 

New Parade Route for Lamar Days

Honor Guard for Lamar Days 2016

Honor Guard for Lamar Days 2016

The Lamar Chamber of Commerce decided to take the annual Lamar Days Parade down a different route this year. Instead of using Lamar’s Main Street as had been the case for so many years, the Chamber altered the route into a more residential setting, traveling south along 2nd Street up to Willow Creek Park, site of the Lamar Days’ activities.  The move was made in anticipation of a prolonged renovation project for Main Street which was delayed ultimately, but after some limited grumbling about the change, the majority of participants, spectators and home owners along the route, found the change to be to their liking.

 

Medina Named New Lamar High School Principal

Allan Medina

Allan Medina

Allan Medina is a principal once again, this time for Lamar High School. By a three to two vote of the Lamar RE-2 School Board, Medina was hired to replace interim principal, Greg Eddy, effective April 25th.  He will also serve as principal for the next school year.  By dint of his new position, Medina was required to resign from the Lamar RE-2 school board on which he had served for approximately six years, most recently as vice-president.  Board members stated they have 60 days in which to find Medina’s replacement.  President Ron Peterson said, “A search for a replacement should begin with advertisements for the opening by May, interviews should be conducted in June and a decision will be made by July.”  Medina said he had a few possible candidates that might be interested in his former seat and are from the district he represented.

 

District Attorney Candidate Announces Intentions

Joshua Vogel

Joshua Vogel

Joshua Vogel of Lamar has accepted the Republican nomination for District Attorney in the Fifteenth Judicial District.  Mr. Vogel has worked as a deputy prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office since 2013, most recently as the Assistant District Attorney.  Mr. Vogel grew up in a small farming community in northwest Ohio and moved to Colorado in 2007. Mr. Vogel received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of Denver.  Prior to working as a prosecutor, he worked as a law clerk to a district court judge in Denver.

PUMA Details 1st Phase of Economic Development for County

Initial ideas for economic development within Prowers County were laid out for the Prowers County Commissioners during an informational meeting with PUMA representatives on Monday, April 11th. “We’ve been developing ideas based upon the feedback we received from our conversations during our tour earlier this year,” said Anna Jones, PUMA, Vice-President of Progressive Urban Management Associates.  The firm was hired by the county several months ago to provide some specific guidelines to help bring jobs to the area and/or develop additional jobs for existing businesses.  The strategies will include several phases of development which will culminate in an action plan tentatively expected for late summer.

Jones said the next phase of the PUMA study will be to get an assessment from the business and municipal sector, the areas they believe will show the most immediate, positive results. From there she said, the program will concentrate on developing the required expertise for action.  That, she told the commissioners, will be what comes out of the study later this summer.  The PUMA representatives visited with other local retailers, PCDI board members and toured several manufacturers in the county.

 

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