Council Approves Funds to Fix Community Building Bleachers

Lamar Community Building


The Lamar City Council quickly wrapped up business for September during its meeting this past Monday, September 25th.

The drive motors which operate the bleachers at the Lamar Community Building will be replaced at a cost of $15,000. The funds will be taken from the savings the city realized this past summer from the swimming pool liner project.  Rick Akers, Parks and Recreation Director, told the council the old drive motors no longer have the power needed to open and close the bleachers.  The motors were installed in 1991, but despite routine maintenance, are no long able to function properly.  “We don’t expect the repairs to be made until early November and unfortunately, this will have an impact on the volleyball schedule,” Akers explained.  Regarding the contract for construction of the Lamar Loop, Akers said there have been some scheduling issues to get all parties together to review finances, but he expected that to be done soon.

Dr. Linda Lujan, Lamar Community College President, had good news about the college that comprised her periodic update to the council. “We are up in enrollment at LCC for the first time in a number of years.  Overall headcount is up 5.6% and overall enrollment is up 7%.  We have the second highest percentage increase in the community college system in the state,” she explained.  Lujan noted several events on the calendar including the Grand Re-Opening of the lecture halls in the Bowman Building on September 28th from 5:30 to 8pm, the Frontier History Encampment on September 29-30th and the annual LCC Antelope Stampede set for September 29-31 will be at the county fairgrounds.

She offered praise for Cheryl Sanchez, the Vice President of Academic and Student Services who will be retiring after 18 years with Lamar Community College. Sanchez announced her retirement effective January 15, 2018.  Lujan said her replacement will be found through a national search.  She also highlighted student Abigail Conley from Delta Colorado who is enrolled in her second year at the Horse Training and Management Program.  Dr. Lujan said she, “Knocked the socks of our state board this month when she went to Denver to be the student honoree.  “Every month the board celebrates a different college and I might be a little biased, but Abigail was the best I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” added Lujan.  Conley will be featured as this month’s CCCS student profile.

The college will be engaged in its 2017 community service project, the Buffalo Creek Woods clean-up, stated Dr. Lujan. “We’ll be doing preliminary planning and inviting stakeholders including the city to the table to talk with us about our needs and opportunities might be, so stay tuned.”  Lujan also noted the college will receive $1M in a Rural Stabilization Fund from the Colorado Community College System which will be spent on such items as men’s and women’s soccer, Wi-Fi installation in the residence halls and a new computer lab in the Bowman Building, seed funding for the Construction Trades and Equine Science curriculum and various campus improvement projects.

Council member Oscar Riley, who serves as the city’s liaison to the golf board at Spreading Antlers Golf Course noted that from now on, the board will put their policies in writing. He said this will make for more uniform way of running the operation as there was no record of recommendations that could be referred to.  Riley is also liaison to the Lamar Municipal Airport and noted that Phillips 66 will pay to have their sign installed at the airport.  He noted that the new airport manager, Eric McSwan, said plans are underway to have a new ‘Welcome to Lamar’ sign that faces the runway system.   Riley noted that the YAK airplanes will be returning to the airport in the near future and plan a fly-over during an upcoming football game.  The airport is also updating its website and Mayor Roger Stagner asked to make sure that it was linked to the city’s website for cross-referencing and easier access to both sites.

Lamar Airport Sign

City Administrator John Sutherland said he wanted to clarify some issues relating to the recent arrest of former Lamar Police Officer, Todd Cope, adding, “I just want to confirm for everybody that we have had communication with the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation). The Lamar Police Department, anything with the City of Lamar is not under investigation, no current officers with the Lamar Police Department are under investigation. The individual who was arrested was busted for some drug offenses, was a former member of the Lamar Police Department and he’s been gone for about three years from best memory,” said Sutherland, “This has no nexus in the City of Lamar Police Department.” Cope, who was arrested in Lamar by the CBI last week, had been employed by the Lamar Police Department three years ago.

Sutherland detailed the County Health Pool’s 4% rate increase that will apply to health and dental insurance coverage for the employee’s insurance pool. After discussion, the insurance committee decided to follow the directive to have the City’s portion of premiums at a 75%-25% contribution and to continue to have two plans for the health insurance coverage for city employees for 2018.  Sutherland said the small percentage increase was very good for the city and the employees, adding, “It was remarkable” that is was so small.

The council approved the recommendation from the Lamar Library Board to appoint Donald Shelton to fill the remaining term for Roy Gueswel who resigned earlier. That term will expire in 2021.

Sutherland noted future activities on the council’s calendar which includes the Frontier History Encampment at LCC on Friday and Saturday, September 29th and 30th.  The Lamar Library’s Talent Show will be held on the 29th beginning at 5pm at the Cultural Events Center.  Latino Heritage Live will be held on Tuesday, October 3rd at 7pm at the Library, the council’s monthly informal breakfast will be held at Taco Johns from 7am to 8am on Wednesday, October 4th and Moonlight Madness will be held around the community on Thursday, October 26th.

By Russ Baldwin

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