September 2023 Year in Review

Back Out on the Road



Cannonball Endurance Converges on Lamar

Lamar is almost at the halfway point on the 3,800 mile, 2023 Cannonball Endurance Run for motorcycles.  Around 80 bikers, between the ages of 23 and 81 road their machines into Lamar for a brief stopover which included a hamburger fry with all the trimmings, some cool shade from the trees in the Enchanted Forest and an opportunity to meet and greet some of the citizens of Lamar who turned out for the event.

Jason Sims, Director of Operations for the cross-country venture, said this run had a 50-50 split on newcomers and return riders.  “Our oldest rider, at 81 is making his seventh cross-country trip on his motorcycle, so for him, this is a true endurance test,” he explained, adding that none of the bikes used can be newer than 1933.

The journey began in Virginia Beach, VA on September 7th and will finish up on Oceanside, CA on the 24th.  The bikers mid-point in Lamar was between Garden City, KS where they spent an overnight and on to Colorado Springs for another evening.  Whether it was a daily requirement or just a mechanical need, but some of the older bikes required a one or two-person push along East Beech Street before their engine caught and they were about to maneuver on their own power.

“We stay off the large highways and concentrate on mostly two lane roadway systems.  This gives us an opportunity to see more of the countryside and come in contact with residents in smaller towns that are happy to turn out and learn about us and share some of their town’s history with the riders,” Sims offered.
By Russ Baldwin


City Development Projects Outlined

Community Development Director, Anne-Marie Crampton, provided an overview of new and on-going projects her department is undertaking, about 30 in all, during the September 11th Lamar City Council meeting.  Some highlights included a visit from Brownsfield Group in October which is coordinating with engineering firm, Ayers Associates, to review asbestos and lead content in various public buildings under consideration for refurbishment.  This includes the former Main Café and second floor apartments.  “We’re working with neighboring Home and Season which owns 50% of the second floor. The city will benefit from a donation of the floor space to complete any future abatement at the site.”  Prowers Economic Development is considering development plans for the local airport.  “We feel there are opportunities for new business ventures at that site and additional signage around the city will be a key element,” she explained.  North Fork Farms owner, Tim Hume, has leased the coal domes from the ill-fated repowering project and Crampton said one hurdle regarding ownership of the rail spur has been settled which will allow grain storage to develop on site, working with Colorado Mills.  There is a new start for members of the Historic Preservation Committee which will begin listing priorities for development.  LPI, Lamar Partnership Incorporated is working with DoLA for funding for future projects for the city’s Main Street Program.
By Russ Baldwin


Governor Polis Declaring a Weather Disaster Emergency

Jared Polis, Governor of the State of Colorado, issued an Executive Order declaring a state of disaster emergency due to the June 2023 Severe Weather and Flooding in Baca, Jefferson, Kiowa, Prowers, and Teller Counties, enabling State and Federal agencies to coordinate for response, consequence management, mitigation, and recovery efforts.

Beginning June 8, 2023, and continuing through June 24, 2023, Colorado experienced a destructive and disruptive summer flood, flash flood, tornado, and severe weather season. The above average precipitation caused an increase in flash flooding to well above normal. Heavy rainfall, combined with saturated soils, caused washouts on county roads in multiple counties.

Excess rainfall created numerous washouts of roadways, hiking trails, and retaining walls. The massive amount of rain created sinkholes in multiple counties across the State, resulting in detours on major transportation routes. Drainage ditches became overwhelmed with water carrying debris into ponds, lakes, and rivers.

Over the course of two weeks, Colorado experienced at least 41 tornadoes of varying intensities, including two rated EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Rate Scale, causing extensive damage to trees and structures. Tornadoes were identified along the Front Range and on the Eastern Plains. Tornadoes in Baca and Prowers Counties destroyed homes and damaged electrical infrastructure. High winds in Kiowa County damaged electrical infrastructure. The same weather system that created these tornadoes and high winds also caused hail damage to historical structures in Jefferson County.A disaster emergency order was included to address severe weather impacts, including high winds, flooding, hail, and tornado damage in Baca, Jefferson, Kiowa, Prowers, and Teller Counties. These counties have sustained significant infrastructure damage from the severe weather events in June 2023. A roadway in Teller County was damaged by flooding. Baca, Prowers, and Kiowa Counties have sustained damage to electrical infrastructure, and Jefferson County buildings have sustained approximately $3 million worth of uncovered hail damage.


McClave Elementary School Named 2023 National Blue Ribbon School

The McClave School District announced the elementary school was named as a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School. Tuesday, September 19th U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona made the announcement introducing the 353 schools who made the national list. McClave joins only three other schools in Colorado to earn this prestigious distinction.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments. These schools demonstrate what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives.”

McClave Elementary School will be represented by Mrs. Brianne Howe, Superintendent and an elementary teacher at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC. According to the National Blue Ribbon Schools press release, “The 2023 cohort represent public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools, including traditional, charter, magnet schools, parochial and independent schools in 46 States, the District of Columbia, and a Department of Defense Education Activity school in Italy.”

The McClave School District is extremely proud of our staff, students, and entire community who support our students in striving to uphold our Four Core Values of Excellence, Honesty, Integrity and Respect. Our dedicated staff and teachers have put in countless hours alongside our students to make this award a reality for our school. It is GREAT to be a Cardinal!




Sparrow House Victory Garden Offers Many Benefits

Victory Garden for Sparrow House

Although the idea for a produce garden had been planned for several years for the Sparrow House Food Pantry at 907 South 3rd Street in Lamar, it took 18 months, donations, volunteer work and some on-the-job training for the garden to come to fruition.


Opening day was this past Saturday, September 16th, and all the efforts paid off in a bountiful harvest that will continue to offer fresh produce to local residents for years to come.

As Veronica Jacoby expressed recently, “The garden is not a community garden, but more of a victory garden – in the original sense that it is established to help make food rations go further, with an emphasis on volunteerism and as a morale booster.

Since April, our serving has doubled, going from 800 people per month to over 1,600 currently.  Unfortunately, we have always lacked fresh produce, but with the garden, over the past few weeks, Sparrow House has distributed hundreds of pounds of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and some herbs.

The garden was funded in part, by a major grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation last year in which they select only one in the entire state of Colorado per year.  A grant from the Rawlings Foundation and local funds also assisted.  Funds spent on the garden were appropriated especially for that purpose which did not take away from the food program.  It has been a challenge to obtain bulk food since COVID, and we are glad to be able to be proactive in a solution for fresh produce in the future.”

Most of the playground equipment that was still serviceable was removed and repurposed, plus tree stumps and tons of concrete, plus a chain link fence had to be dug up and removed and that was done with the help of the City of Lamar, Prowers County and Dewitt Excavating which provided the proper slope for drainage.  All of the 31 foot growing beds were assembled indoors and moved to the garden area to be connected to four individual drip lines, covered with prepared dirt and seeded and planted. Joel said the planting was done a little later than they would have liked, but there has been substantial growth over the last month.

A lot of planning was required to space the planters through the area, from laying the irrigation system, setting aside a future greenhouse site, literally creating dirt that would be used and tons and tons of gravel, all strategically placed and strengthened on the acreage for best growing results and drainage.

Veronica and Joel Jacoby would like to see the garden used as a learning experience for students/adults that desire to learn gardening and tours can be arranged by reserving a time and date for a viewing.
By Russ Baldwin

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