2022 Year in Review MARCH



Here are some events from the past year which impacted residents of Prowers County

Profile on High School Building

Lamar School Board Works Last Minute Mascot Details

Representatives from the Lamar Re-2 School Board will be given a five-minute opportunity on April 15th to present the mascot and logo alternatives to the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs.  Board members and the mascot committee tasked with finding an acceptable mascot and logo to replace the Lamar Savages themes have approved two suggestions, one of which they hope will remove the Lamar School District from a list of schools using inappropriate mascots/logos as determined by the CCIA.  The accompanying law, SB21-116 which was passed by the Colorado Legislature last year, mandates the changes take place by June 1st or the district will be subject to a $25,000 monthly fine until a suggestion is found acceptable.  A vote on the suggestions is expected by the Affairs Commission during their quarterly meeting on May 19th.

The school board met in special session on Monday, March 28th to discuss a plan of action on how to present the suggestions, either individually with alternative A first, or both with the second as a back-up, either at that meeting or a subsequent one.  The first keeps the name, Lamar Savages, but substitutes an emblem of a bison in place of the Indian in decorative headdress.  Should that not work, the mascot committee suggested using Savage Thunder as the name, while still incorporating the bison emblem.  The emphasis is to offer the term savage not as a verb, but as a descriptive adjective as members of the board stated that the word savage, as itself, does not specify any particular Native American tribe.  An earlier zoom meeting with CCIA members indicated that group will have a problem accepting the term savage in almost any form.

Board members were adamant and unified in its decision to keep student artwork on display at the high school.  Miriles stated, “The student’s artwork will remain as long as it does not depict the artwork of the Native American Indian used as the mascot.”  Other board members agreed with the general comment of, “that’s a line in the sand we will not cross.”  The next regular school board meeting is set for Monday, April 11th.
By Russ Baldwin


Dr. Linda Lujan, LCC President

 Lamar Community College President Dr. Linda Lujan Announces Retirement

Today, Lamar Community College (LCC) president, Dr. Linda Lujan, announced she will step down on December 31, 2022 as part of her planned retirement. Dr. Lujan has valiantly served LCC and Southeast Colorado since 2016.

Dr. Lujan is completing her 40th year in higher education that includes leadership roles at Maricopa Community College District in Arizona, where she served as president and CEO of Chandler-Gilbert Community College and academic vice president of South Mountain Community College.

In a heartfelt message to her campus community, she said that she believed this was the right time for her to step down and expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve others and transform students’ lives through this position.

“Serving students, co-workers, and communities through my various community college roles has culminated into the most rewarding career I could have ever imagined,” said Dr. Lujan. “My only regret is not discovering LCC years earlier so I could have spent more time serving this wonderful college and community. This has been the best place I have ever worked – LCC is truly a community-centered campus that is supported and cared for by the surrounding region. Leaving LCC will be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is time.”

Under Dr. Lujan’s leadership, LCC transformed its approach to promoting student success and the student experience through numerous facilities improvements, technology enhancements, and beautification projects. The college had not seen such an abundance of capital improvements since the original campus was built in the 1960’s. Over the course of several years, Dr. Lujan managed over $12 million in campus projects. Most notably, these have included LCC’s new Student Union, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Building, Library and Tutoring Center, and major enhancements to technology infrastructure and technology-enabled classrooms.


Lamar VA Clinic Recommended for Closure, One of Several in Eastern Colorado

A recommendation has been made to close the Lamar VA Clinic by 2026, according to a review commissioned by the 2019 Veteran’s Mission Act.  Similar clinics in La Junta, Burlington and Salida have also received a recommendation of closure.  The Lamar VA Clinic has been in operation since November, 2014.

The recommendations stemmed from information gathered during a nationwide, four-year marketing assessment of all VA clinics in the country, according to Michael Kilmer, Director of the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System and Jonathan Kerr, the VA ECHCS Strategic Planner.  They and several other VA representatives presented the findings during a meeting held for the general public, local health providers and municipal representatives during an informational seminar conducted at the Prowers County Annex this past Wednesday, March 9th.

Kilmer said the study was conducted in accordance with the VA Mission Act of 2018 to review current and future health care needs and keep veterans at the center of the VA health care services.  The Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) report will be published on March 14th and is accessible through the Federal Register website.

Before any action is taken on a national level, the recommendations will be forwarded to various congressional committees before it heads for a final vote for action by the House and Senate and the President.  However, a Yes or No recommendation will be determined by February 15, 2023, based in part on public response.
By Russ Baldwin

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