50th Anniversary Celebration at Big Timbers Museum & 9/11 Memorial Groundbreaking
The Prowers County Historical Society issued an open, community-wide invitation to the Big Timbers Museum on Saturday, October 1st, for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.
The events featured displays in the museum and a silent auction in the Transportation Museum. Food vendors will be on hand and the Alta Vista Choir and Take Five performed.
That afternoon the Tri-State 9/11 Tribute committee will conduct the memorial groundbreaking ceremonies on the south side of the Big Timbers Museum property.
Buxton Company Hired to Analyze Local Marketing and Buying Trends
The Lamar City Council, working with Angie Cue, Community Development Director, hired a Texas marketing firm, Buxton, to recruit new retail outlets to our community based on local marketing research on demographic needs and buying trends. It also provides information for local businesses to increase their sales potential to the general buying public. The $60,000 study is funded in part by the City, PCDI/PEP and a state REDI grant which will contribute $35,000. Lamar is contributing $15,000 and PCDI.PEP is picking up the balance. The city council authorized the funds during their September 12th meeting with Buxton representative Parker Key and Angie Cue.
County to do Fact Finding for Marijuana Discussion
Prowers County Sheriff, Sam Zordel, met with the Prowers County Commissioners to discuss revamping the ordinance pertaining to regulations for growing, cultivating and processing marijuana in the county.
Amendment 64, passed several years ago, legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use and amendment 20 pertains to the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Sheriff Zordel is asking the commissioners to review a new ordinance which has been adopted by Douglas and Lincoln counties that close some ‘loopholes’ for the use of marijuana not specifically covered in amendments 64 and 20. The sheriff added, “Kiowa County is also looking at these new regulations and this ordinance is a copy of what has been used in Lincoln and Douglas at this point.” The new proposals cite that some circumstances, “has resulted in a proliferation of non-licensed and unregulated marijuana grow operations that present significant health and public safety concerns with multiple and persistent violations of County building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire codes…”
County Attorney, John Lefferdink, said that the commissioners should consider that at some future point, the county may be subjected to a lawsuit to open the doors to commercial sales. “The state already has a marijuana attorney in the attorney general’s office,” he stated, adding that the medical marijuana loopholes left gaps in the legal process so law enforcement rarely enforces the laws because of them and there’s a potential that if a deputy shuts down a grower’s operation, they stand a chance of a lawsuit because the defense attorney will try to make a case of not having any probable cause to make an arrest. Lefferdink said there may be some privacy issues about using marijuana in your own home. He suggested, “If we try to pass this, it’ll probably be challenged at some point.” The commissioners took no action, but asked attorney Lefferdink to review the language in the ordinance and discuss the ramifications with other county legal representatives on how they dealt with the new regulations.
Explorer Police Post Program
The Lamar Police Department announced the establishment of the Explorer Post Program. This program is designed to give hands on training, practical experiences, information, and awareness of the criminal justice system and individuals who are interested in law enforcement as a career. The program is open for young persons between the ages of 14 and 21 that are interested in learning about and job skills that make up police work and what the program has to offer. The Post meets every Sunday at the Lamar City Council Chambers.
PMC Open House Showcases Renovation Project
The end result of yearlong renovations to Prowers Medical Center was on display, Thursday, September 22nd, during the hospital’s open house. Residents were taken to each of the five areas in groups of ten by hospital employees where they viewed the expanded facilities and were given an explanation of how the renovations will help provide improved medical services for the surrounding communities. Although visitors to the PMC campus could witness how the outside structure of the hospital was altered and expanded during construction, most of the renovation was taking place inside the buildings with a goal of creating more working space for medical staff and patients. The renovation project which began the April before last and estimated to cost $10M, was self-funded by Prowers Medical Center through its general fund revenues. Additional improvements to the facility included a new boiler and RO system as well as a major overhaul to the HVAC and electric system. Prowers Medical Center is also employing a new logo which will be on display through the hospital district.
Expanded PEP Board Holds Initial Meeting
More new faces were seated around the table as the PEP Board of Directors met October 18th to discuss progress on their search for a new executive director for Prowers Economic Prosperity. Members also discussed the salary range for the position, between $55,000 and $75,000, as well as a benefits package, including health, which will stay within the financial parameters of the budgeted salary.
Specht Selected as Interim Attorney for Prowers County
John Lefferdink is retiring from his position as attorney for Prowers County and local attorney Darla Scranton Specht will serve as the county’s interim attorney pending steps to appoint a new, full-time legal representative. Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade said a permanent attorney will need to be appointed, by at least January and Commission Chairman Ron Cook added that will give the board time to determine the process by which they will seek a new one. Lefferdink is also retiring from his position at attorney for the Lamar Utilities Board, as confirmed by Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh. Hourieh noted that candidates are being interviewed to fill the vacant attorney’s seat.
Granada Residents Deliberate November Electricity Vote
The issue to sell Granada’s electricity distribution assets to SECPA, Southeast Colorado Power Association, will appear on the November 8th General Election ballot. A similar vote was defeated in a town wide election in April of 2014 by a vote of 53 to 30. The sale price two years ago was $475,000 and has increased to $600,000 for a single cash payment for 2016. In the new offer, residents will also receive a one-time bill credit from SECPA, broken into residential and small and large commercial categories. An electricity franchise fee would also be paid to Granada for general administrative costs. The town currently purchases its power from SECPA and resells it to local customers. The Granada town government derives its operating expenses from the proceeds of the electric sales. If the sale of the assets is approved, the town’s annual operational expenses will be maintained by the $600,000 lump sum. Pros and cons for the sale were discussed during a public work session at the Granada Complex prior to the October 12th Trustee monthly meeting. Trustees also discussed which areas of the town budget might be reduced in the event the utilities are sold
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