2020 Year in Review – March

Municipal Offices in Lamar

 

City Council Conducts Video-Zoom Meeting 

The council adopted Resolution No. 20-04-01 as well as No. 20-04-02 pertaining to measures taken to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.  The first resolution allows for the conduct of all city public meetings to be held by electronic means as a way of maintaining safe, social distancing.  The second resolution is a Declaration of State of Emergency in the City of Lamar due to COVID-19.   The declaration ensures that all units of government maintain the ability and option to any emergency funding from FEMA or other aid that would become available. 

Lance Clark took his oath of office as City Attorney, administered by Judge Lane Porter.  Clark is replacing Garth Nieschburg and is employed at the Steerman Law Offices in Lamar.  Clark’s first charge of duties will be to rework a council motion, initiated by Mayor Kirk Crespin, which is a hardship deferral sales tax program.  It would be a sales tax deferral which would assist those local businesses impacted by the state of emergency measures in Colorado, requesting non-essential businesses to remain closed.  Sales Tax payments for March, April and May may be deferred until the end of the year, with no penalties or interest, if they are paid off before the year ends.  Clark will have a resolution for consideration at the next council meeting.

By Russ Baldwin

 

 

* Lamar VA CLINIC CLOSURE * 

“Dear Eastern Colorado Veteran,

In an effort to reallocate our resources to ensure that we can provide our Veterans with the safest care during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System has made the decision to close the Lamar VA Clinic for all face-to-face appointments beginning April 1, 2020.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We are committed to providing you care and will continue to do so through all available virtual technologies.

During this health crisis, your health care team remains available to provide you with care. Please know that you can contact your Primary Aligned Care Team (PACT) to schedule virtual appointments, contact the call center for triage and assistance, send messages through secure messaging on MyHealtheVet, and access emergency services 24 hours a day at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center located at 1700 N. Wheeling St. Aurora, CO 80045.“

 

 

 

COVID Impacts Felt Locally as Virus Continues 

The Lamar City Council noted that due to the continued response to COVID-19 across the country and the state, decided to cancel the monthly informal breakfast held the first Wednesday of each month and left several scheduled events open for a specific, unnamed date. 

The Prowers Medical Center health fair, set for May 12-14 is on hold.  The annual Lamar Chamber of Commerce Lamar Days for May 15-16 has been postponed at this time and the annual Car Show held in Willow Creek Park may not be held.  The FAA Regional Airport ribbon cutting set for May 21st is up in the air, so to speak as well as the annual Shriner’s Circus set for May 25th.  City offices are closed for Memorial Day on May 25th as well as the regularly scheduled council meeting. 

By Russ Baldwin

 

Granada Complex

 

Granada Cancels Trustees Election in April 

The Granada Trustees passed a resolution during their monthly meeting, Wednesday, February 12th, as the number of candidates equaled the number of open positions. 

Resolution NO. 2020-002 stated that if there were only candidates for the election to the Town Board for the five offices available and no write-in affidavits of intent had been filed with the Town Clerk, it is the desire of the Board of Trustees to cancel the April 7th election. 

On Thursday, February 13, 2020, the following candidates for office of Mayor and Trustees for the Town of Granada shall be hereby declared elected. 

Argie Thrall, Jr. will replace Glenn Otto as Mayor for a two-year term as Otto declined to run for office.  Thomas Sanchez will remain on the board for a four-year term as will new Trustees Tyndan Marquez and Sergio Sigala.  Trustees Kyle Jara, Andria Riddle and Peter Hernandez will remain on the board to finish their regular terms.  Town Clerk, Jackie Malone, said a mayor pro-tem will be selected in April.

By Russ Baldwin 

 

 

Health Officials Caution Against Virus Complacency 

The Prowers County Commissioners conducted their regular April 28th meeting via conference call to determine the safest course of action in light of Governor Polis’, Safer-at-Home regulations which went into effect on April 27th.  The new regulations suggest an easing of some COVID-19 restrictions which will help open general, non-essential businesses to the public through the month of May.  Those taking part in the call included Lanie Meyers-Mireles from the Department of Human Services, Meagan Hillman, Pubic Health Director-Prowers County Public Health and Environment, Prowers County Sheriff Sam Zordel, County Attorney Darla Scranton Specht and Karen Bryant, Prowers Medical Center Chief Executive Officer. 

CEO Bryant offered some sobering facts regarding the hospital’s preparation for a local impact COVID-19 could bring to this region.  “We’re expanding our bed capacity to deal with a surge in patients.  We’re being told we are two to three weeks from a time where we could potentially see a surge.”  She said the Safer at Home transition is very concerning.  Bryant said in her travels around the city, “I am not seeing people being cautious.  I am not seeing many people wearing masks and I noticed multiple people in our park, congregating together.”  She said she noticed people in authority positions that are recognized in public, again, not wearing masks while conversing with others which has her concerned. 

By Russ Baldwin 

Used to be Known as the Gay Way and The Saloon

 

Landmark Coming Down 

The Gay Way, the Saloon, Opal’s…the establishment on the northern outskirts of Lamar had a number of titles and owners over the years, but still a honky-tonk by any other name.  And you know what they used to say, “What happens at Opal’s gets talked about all around the town the next day!” 

Opal’s has been empty for about the past ten years, one of several abandoned buildings on a six acre stretch of land overlooking Valco Pond on the edge of the Arkansas River.  It was said that the parking lot belonged in the city limits, but the front porch was in the county, offering a legalistic conundrum on a weekend when some of the patrons occasioned to get rowdy.  Now it’s being cleared to make way for an up-scale Best Western Inn and Suites.  Ann estimated 60,000 tons of fill dirt is being hauled in to bring the property up to a level grade with the highway.  If you remember the drop-off from the road to the parking lot, that’s a lot of fill.

By Russ Baldwin 

 

Lamar High School Class of 2020:  Graduation Innovations 

The coronavirus has altered how we go about our day and no less the graduation activities for the Lamar High School Class of 2020. 

Realizing the traditional cap and gown procession was no longer viable, the students voted to hold a parade on Sunday, May 17th, which would follow some usual graduation activities including a photo session, receipt of diplomas and scholarship packets.  However, due to social distancing guidelines, these were conducted in a line-up of cars at the school parking lot. 

This year’s salutatorian was Karina Cazares and the valedictorian was Allan Soto-Gonzalez. Head girl Jessica Emmons and head boy Alex Higbee also gave speeches.  A picture station was set up at the high school for students and parents to get their picture taken before the parade which was broadcast over KVAY-FM.  

 

 

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