2022 Year in Review – MAY

Lamar Thunder Mascot

Here are some new events highlighting events which had an impact on residents of Prowers County


Lamar School District Offering Lamar Thunder as Mascot Alternative

The Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs ruled the newly offered Lamar Savage mascot and logo (Savage Thunder) does not meet with the Commission’s approval.  The Re-2 district school board made its most recent presentation to the CCIA on Friday, April 15th via Zoom, during which Superintendent, Dr. Chad Krug used the five-minute allotted time slot to explain how the board and mascot committee decided upon two choices they submitted to the Commission.  At that time, the Commission said they would have a ruling for the district by May 19th.  Last week’s decision resulted in the CCIA making no motion to remove the Lamar School District from their list.

Both artistic representations depicted a charging buffalo or bison which would become the new mascot given the CCIA’s approval.  The board had presented the first recommendation as the Lamar Savages, maintaining the mascot name with the bison image, the second choice depicted the same bison with the logo, Savage Thunder, the name of the bison.

Both were rejected by the Commission, principally on the use of the term, Savage, which had been originally objected to in light of the passage of SB21-116 into law earlier this year.  Basically, it bans schools from having Native American mascots without a tribe’s permission.  Once school board members found the CCIA decided against the changes, and out of executive session during the May 19th, the board passed a resolution to offer a third choice, that of Lamar Thunder as their alternative, eliminating any references to Savages by June 1st.  The CCIA did not act on the last recommendation which was made to them in the chat session, open comment portion during the fifth hour of the meeting on the 19th.

The CCIA took eleven schools off their non-compliant list on May 19th once they retired their mascots or developed partnerships with various tribes which allowed them to maintain their mascots.  The CCIA also added several schools to the list that used the mascot of a Thunderbird and these schools now have a year to find an acceptable mascot or face the same fine.

Dr. Krug said he will be in contact with the CCIA prior to June 1st to learn if Lamar Thunder will be acceptable.
By Russ Baldwin


Luncheon Audience at Granada High School

Historic Amache Pilgrimage Brings Site Closer to National Park Status

A rainy, chilly Saturday didn’t deter visitors from attending the annual Camp Amache Pilgrimage in Granada this past Saturday, May 21st, following a two-year gap due to the Covid pandemic.  The recent passage of the Amache National Historic Site Act by President Biden and an opportunity for an in-person visit, brought a strong attendance of first-time visitors for the annual event.

This year’s pilgrimage was filmed by the National Park Service which is being posted to its website and social media outlets at Amache.org.  News film crews the Front Range were in attendance, however, according to John Hopper, Founder of the Amache Preservation Society, news teams from PBS and CBS in New York were unable to attend due to the spring snow storm that hit the Front Range with over 20 inches of snow.

KUSA’s news anchor, Gary Shapiro, was in attendance and said his tv station plans to air a half-hour broadcast on the significance of Camp Amache the latter part of June.

Mike Reynolds of the NPS explained some of the steps required to bring Camp Amache in the Parks Service domain.  “It will take about a year to go through the process of land ownership documentation required to transfer the acreage over to the Park Service,” he explained, adding that surveys and a study by archeological teams will also be part of the process.  It’s been estimated that from 35,000 to 40,000 visitors will begin to visit the Granada site once Camp Amache receives its official designation.  John Hopper remarked recently, that with the Presidential proclamation, the number of visitors is expected to increase beyond the usual numbers this summer.
By Russ Baldwin


2022 Parade Royalty

Charles and Carolyn Kelley, Lamar Days Royalty 2022

The Kelley’s were asked by The Prowers Journal to offer some thoughts on their lives and times spent in Lamar as they will be honored as the reigning couple for Lamar Days, 2022 this Saturday, May 21st.

“While we both grew up in Kansas, our lives are rooted in southeast Colorado.  We’ve lived in Lamar for 49 years, and reared out three daughters here.  We moved to Lamar so that our Downs Syndrome daughter, Colleen, could be educated at Melvin School (a school totally supported by the community with no state or federal funding).

Over the years we have witnessed traits of the American spirit in southeast Colorado – a compassion for one another, and a dedication to making the community better.  We have experienced a, “Sense of Place” and a connection to one another, and a rallying spirit to help each other.  We believe that the benefits of living in small-town, rural America are what keeps many of us here.  The American spirit is alive in Lamar, Colorado. From Charles & Carolyn Kelley



Ark Valley Conduit on Fast Track

Bill Long and Lee Miller, representing the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, told the Lamar City Council an influx of federal funds has allowed the Arkansas Valley Conduit to move forward on its construction date.  The Conduit, first proposed in 1962, has been treading water for half a century or more until the past few years, explained Long.  “We now expect to break ground by the end of 2022 or early 2023 on the project which will bring potable water from Pueblo to Lamar and we expect the construction time to be cut in half, with completion expected by 2029 instead of 2035,” he stated this past Monday, May 23rd.

Because Lamar is on the direct delivery line and not on a spur, the city will not be subject to extra costs to add its own connection line to the main conduit pipe.  He said the Bureau of Reclamation has a $1.6B budget for various projects and the federal government is contribution $500M to the conduit costs.  “We’re still looking for grants through the life of the project, to keep costs down,” he added.

This will be a complex and complicated task in light of 39 different entities that are on the conduit line and Long and Miller said it’s important that these groups establish a governance structure ahead of the completion date.  “This will be a chance for us to govern ourselves and allow each town to determine how it will address its future water needs,” Miller said.  He explained that the conduit is using Project Water as a primary source and conduit users need to have alternate water sources if the Front Range issues a water call at some point in the future.
by Russ Baldwin

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