Prowers County Board of Commissioners Work Session of April 23, 2024


Meagan Hillman, Director of Prowers County Public Health and Environment department, shared with the Board a recent press release from the Colorado Office of Communications regarding a recent sharp increase in congenital syphilis cases.  The State of Colorado is organizing an all-government, comprehensive response to save the lives of babies.  From 2018 to 2023, cases have increased more than 7 times in our state (7 cases in 2018 to 50 cases in 2023).  So far in 2024, there have been 25 reported cases, including five stillbirths and two neonatal deaths.  Several state agencies have been directed to take swift action.  The Department of Public Health will assist healthcare and correctional facilities by providing technical support and staffing as well as meeting with providers and community groups to talk about syphilis and strategies to reduce cases.  Public Health Order 24-01 expands access to syphilis testing during pregnancy.  Medical providers must offer testing at greater frequency through pregnancy and correctional facilities must provide testing.  According to the CDC, 40% of babies with untreated congenital syphilis may be stillborn or die from the infection.   Testing is covered without copays for the vast majority of Coloradans with commercial insurance, as well as for citizens with Medicaid coverage through Health First Colorado.  Testing is recommended in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy; at the time of birth; if there is a miscarriage after 20 weeks or a stillbirth; at ERs and urgent care centers if a pregnant woman presents there, as well stating that prisons and jails must also provide testing.

Kathy Scranton, Big Timbers Museum Curator, gave the Board an update about the museum.  Summer Hours for the museum begin June 1st and will be Tues-Sat. from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Numbers of visitors have steadily increased since 2021.  Recent events include the Feb. 1, 2024 “Remembering Oscar Noble & A History of Green’s Jewelry” presentation.  58 persons attended the program which featured a display of items from the store.   The SE Colorado Regional Science Fair visited the museum on Feb. 28, 2024 with 19 attendees.  An indoor picnic was set up for students as well as a scientific scavenger hunt.   The “Merchants Park Across the Years” program was held April 18.  There were several baseball-related displays including a Scott Elarton display.  The event had 32 attendees.  Ms. Scranton read an excerpt from the 5280 Mile High Magazine that stated that Colorado’s private aging organizations are at the forefront of the field of providing services for the state’s aging population.  Of great local pride and interest is the new Bristol Community Center, which is the only community center for older adults in the area.  Big Timbers provided information and photos of Bristol for the project’s murals and digital repository.  More info at   She reminded the Board of the upcoming Genealogy Fair at the Senior Center April 27 from 1-4 pm.  The museum and the Prowers County Historical Society will have a table with information about the museum and a history of Lamar’s founding fathers.   In July, the Historical Society will have their annual “Night at the Museum” with an appreciation BBQ.  More information on this event will be forthcoming here in The Prowers Journal.

Dr. Rosana Reyes, LCC President along with Larry McLemore from the college gave updates about the Prowers County EMT Scholarship funds.  In October of 2022, the Board of Commissioners granted $100,000 to LCC to provide scholarships to help boost the level of certified Emergency Medical Technicians in the county.  To date, the Prowers County EMT grant has funded seven students for a total of $16,841.15 in awards, leaving $58,158.85 remaining for scholarships.  At the current average award per student, LCC believes that approximately 24 more students can be served under this grant.  A major challenge faced in awarding these funds lies in the eligibility requirements that students “must have established Prowers County Residency” which is defined as “a permanent address located within Prowers County, Colorado, that is not the dormitories or temporary housing provided by Lamar Community College”.   Dr. Reyes noted that area EMTS do not always come from Prowers County residences; some live in McClave or Hasty.  Other challenges encountered have been with the college’s traditional schedule of course offerings, as area high school students express difficulty in managing sports and activities within the EMT course schedule.  Therefore, LCC is continuing to look at changes to the course catalog and schedule that may encourage more entry points into the EMT program and increase community involvement. Updated plans will be available at

Other updates were presented by Sam Zordel, Prowers County Sheriff; Judy Wittman, Prowers County Treasurer; Staffon Warn, Office of Emergency Management; Jack Goble, GM of LAVWC and Karen Bryant, CEO of PMC.

The next meeting of the County Commissioners is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7.

By Barbara Crimond 

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