2019 Year in Review, MARCH


Photo in Former Main Street Café Window

The following articles are a recap of various news events which have had an impact on residents of Prowers County this past year.

Lamar Library to Display Moon Rocks

The Lamar Library will have several moon rocks on display for the general public as part of the Summer Reading Program, “Universe of Stories”, June 3rd through July 12th.   The Lamar Police will provide security on Friday, June 14th from 2pm to 4pm when the lunar rock samples will be on display. Lamar Librarian, Sue Lathrop, explained to the council during their March 25th general meeting, that as an integral part of the agreement, the meteorite and rock display, encased in secure “disks” must be stored in a safe area, which the library can provide. “Tammy Sinka from the Library made the arrangements with Amy Schmidt, a teacher from Alta Vista and Chief Miller from the Police Department will provide security for the rocks while they are on display to the general public,” she explained. Lathrop said that the rock display will also be available for viewing by students who visit the library, but not in a general public viewing situation. She said these are the provisions stipulated by NASA and the Johnson Space Center. The council approved the loan agreement.


Lamar Seeking Grant for Main Street Building Purchase

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved the application for an $18,000 DoLA Mini-Grant to purchase the building known years ago as the Main Café at 114 South Main Street in Lamar. The property has been in disrepair although inside demolition work began in 2014 after the property had been purchased in an effort to relocate a business. Because of asbestos content and the overall cost of refurbishing the location, the effort came to an end. Angie Cue, Community Development Manager laid out the options for the Authority members this past Monday, March 11th. Cue told the Board that the building is on the list for a Brownsfield assessment through a grant issued recently to the city for $300,000.

The building was purchased for $20,000 and there was $9,000 worth of demolition done when the project was halted. The DoLA REDI Mini-Grant will help fund the purchase of the building with an outcome plan for the space. After that, steps would be taken for securing historic grant funding for the reconstruction of the front, roof and back of the structure.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, suggested that before any money changes hands, the city needs to develop a working plan for the outcome of the building, “We need to look at what this is going to cost us, if the city is going to maintain the property, or if it would be put on the market once we’ve invested funding for its upgrade.”


Cold Justice TV Program to Highlight 1991 Homicide in Lamar

The Oxygen television network announced recently it will feature an episode on Saturday March 9th, entitled “Golden Years Gone” which highlights the unsolved case of the shooting deaths of Curly and Darlene Culberth in Lamar in 1991.

A press release details how the ‘Cold Justice’ investigator team travels around the country attempting to track new leads into unsolved homicides. The Culberths were found shot to death at the VFW Hall on Memorial Drive in Lamar in August of that year during an apparent robbery.

Investigators spoke with local suspects and although one person had been questioned several times, no formal charge of murder was ever conducted.

Prowers County Sheriff, Sam Zordel, told The Prowers Journal he and a member of his staff met with the Cold Justice investigators for a week this past September during their visit to Prowers County in filming their episode. The Sheriff indicated some headway had been made in the case and that information was forwarded to the District Attorney. Zordel said his department is still in the process of completing the Discovery which will be given to the DA in hopes of bringing charges in the investigation.


CPW News: Colorado and Kansas sign historic agreement for a permanent water supply at CPW’s John Martin Reservoir State Park

John Martin, Peaceful Day

HASTY, Colo. – A 40-year deadlock between Colorado and Kansas has been resolved with the signing of a historic agreement that will provide a new source of water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir.

The long-sought compromise between members of the Colorado-Kansas Arkansas River Compact Administration will allow the Lower Arkansas Water Management Association (LAWMA) to transfer water from the Highland Canal on the Purgatoire River in Bent County into John Martin Reservoir on behalf of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to maintain a permanent pool for fishery and recreation purposes.

The permanent agreement, approved by the Compact Administration on Feb. 14, began as a one-year pilot program in 2017 when CPW was allowed to run 6,000 acre feet into the reservoir. The newly approved agreement will allow water to be delivered each year from the Highland Canal from March 1 through Nov. 15.

The agreement is the culmination of decades of negotiations between a variety of agencies including CPW, the Colorado Division of Water Resources, the Kansas Division of Water Resources, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, LAWMA and the Attorney General’s office. It was brought to fruition through extensive collaboration between the State Engineers of Colorado and Kansas.


Granada Trustees Move Forward on Water Project

The Granada Trustees, following a public hearing Wednesday, March 20th, voted to move forward on water system improvements for the community. A resolution on the project and financing costs will be on the April 10th agenda during their regular monthly meeting.

David Frisch, consulting engineer for GMS, Inc., said, “This is a great opportunity for the town with minimum costs for the residents,” during the meeting. GMS has been working with the Granada Trustees for a number of years, trying to find the best priced project from available grants. A cost for new water mains and replacement tanks was estimated about four years ago as $1.7 million while the new estimate is in the neighborhood of $814,000 which will be paid for in several grants and eventually paid back by residents who will see their bills for water use increase by $2 for a basic monthly rate for 6,000 gallons used and a dollar increase for every 1,000 gallons over that.

The Trustees spent a considerable amount of time taking those residents who are on fixed incomes into account when determining the rates, but also stated that those clients and the elderly usually do not use as much water as a larger family. Mayor Glenn Otto told the Trustees, that the costs should be increased to pay off the funding, but not so high that people won’t water their yards in the summer. “We’d like to be able to keep our lawns green and they won’t if the cost of water is too expensive.” The last time water rates were raised was in 2009.


New Name Coming for Lamar Airport

The Lamar City Council approved a resolution of support to change the name of the Lamar Municipal Airport to Southeast Colorado Regional Airport, which will better reflect the scope of the market area being served. A request had been made of the council earlier in the year and this action, taken during the council meeting March 11th, will begin the process for the name change. A study several years ago indicated that Lamar’s airport serves eight surrounding counties in southeast Colorado as well as from western Kansas for those pilot’s service needs or weather related issues. Because of the broad coverage, the Lamar Airport Advisory Board believes a name change would be more reflective of the regional service provided by the airport and would aid in future funding opportunities with the new name. Council liaison to the Airport Board, Oscar Riley, explained that the name change to a regional status could move the airport up the list for grant funding. The resolution will help begin the renaming process with the FAA and other related agencies.


PEP Annual Meeting Details BEAR Essentials

BEAR, as described by Prowers Economic Prosperity (PEP) President, Aaron Leiker, stands for Business Expansion Attraction and Retention, a series of goals that are hoped to be achieved by the economic development organization.

Leiker addressed the annual meeting of PEP, held Monday, March 4th at the Shore Arts Center in downtown Lamar. “We held a strategic planning session this past January and from that we’ve reduced the original PEP planning document from 78 pages to just five that we mean to put to work,” he explained. “Of these four priorities, we’re going to focus on expansion and retention and instead of trying to find one business that will come to our county to hire 50 people, we’ll be better suited to help 50 local businesses expand their operation where they can add one additional employee,” he added.

PEP Executive Director, Eric Depperschmidt, said he was confident the new BEAR goals that were outlined would help bring more development to the county. He said several roundtable discussions among board members have developed into plans for action that will bring accountability through a specific timetable for finishing some projects that have been outlined in earlier meetings.

by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of LamarFeatured


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