PMC Selects Ty Rushton as New Board Member
Holly resident, Ty Rushton, was selected to replace Kevin McGrath on the Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors Wednesday, February 25. The PMC monthly meeting was held at Shorty’s Café in Granada as part of a community outreach plan initiated by the hospital. Rushton will serve the remainder of McGrath’s term, until May 20, 2016 which is the next board election cycle for PMC.
Multiple Drug Arrests Nab Prowers County Residents
On Thursday, February 19, 2015, several Prowers County District Court felony warrants were served within Prowers County, and one in Pueblo. All the warrants were for Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance, between 14-225 grams. Those arrested were:
Eddy Huerta – Bond $50,000; located in Ulysses, Kansas, William Gregor – Bond $40,000; Miguel Reyes- Bond $40,000, Javier Garcia AKA Raul Gutierrez- Bond $40,000, who also had approximately one (1) ounce of cocaine on his person, packaged for distribution, when arrested, Sergio Alvarez Sr. – Bond $50,000, Fernando Montez-Bond $40,000, Odilon Diaz- Bond $50,000, also had approximately 1 gram of Methamphetamine on his person when he was arrested. Another Prowers resident, Guillermo Casillas, was arrested on the same charges, only his stemmed from the arrests of these individuals. Casillas was held on $50,000 Bond.
Sisto Medina- Bond $75,000; located and held in Pueblo.
These warrants were a joint effort between the DEA, Prowers County Sheriff’s Office, and the 15th Judicial District, District Attorney. These arrests were also related to the arrest of Lamar resident, Victor Linares, earlier in the month. Linares was charged with Federal charges from drug activity between Colorado and Kansas, as well as Prowers County District Court charges stemming from the same drug activity. Linares was released from Federal custody after posting bond, and then taken into custody in Denver on the Prowers County warrant.
Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan Adopted
The Lamar City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan. Two areas of the Plan head the list for first completion. One is the Lamar Loop, eight miles of pathways which will surround Lamar and connect various parts of the city, north-south-east and west to each other with a multi-purpose hiking trail. Another smaller and less costly project is the Pocket Park development for the parking area between Daylight Donut and the Shore Arts Center in downtown Lamar. A rough estimate of eight various projects in the Master Plan runs to $9,730,000, much of which is hoped to be grant funded.
Old Overpass Being Updated Between Granada & Holly
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) began a multiple bridge replacement project on U.S. 50, east and west of Granada, on Monday, Feb. 23. Three bridges are being replaced at the following locations: Nine miles east of Lamar over a dry gulch (Carlton), built in 1937, about three miles east of Granada over Granada Creek, built in 1933 and about 3 ½ miles east of Granada over the BNSF Railroad tracks, built in 1933. In addition to replacing the bridges and detour construction, the project includes improved embankments and erosion control, new guardrails, topsoil, signing and striping. Work is scheduled for completion in spring 2016. This $10 million project is funded by the Colorado Bridge Enterprise (CBE), a government owned business entity within CDOT.
Doug Harbour, Lamar 2014 Citizen of the Year
Doug Harbour was honored by the Lamar community as Citizen of the Year for 2014 during the annual Lamar Chamber of Commerce banquet, Wednesday, February 4, at the Lamar Elks Lodge. Harbour thanked the Chamber for its recognition, remarking how, several years ago, the idea of a tribute to 9/11 victims and first responders brought just 245 people to the steps of the Prowers County Courthouse for a 90 minute ceremony. The concept caught on, mostly through the continued efforts of Harbour and a dedicated committee and grew to an annual parade featuring dozens of patriotic themes, marching bands and various honor guards. Day long activities were held at the Prowers County Fairgrounds including guest speakers and a free BBQ to area First Responders and past and present veterans.
Prowers County Development Incorporated set its annual meeting for Friday, March 27 at the Holly School District. The economic development organization had two featured speakers for the dinner/meeting event: Kari Linker, Executive Director, Morgan County Economic Development and Emily Nieschburg, LiveWell Coordinator.
Three Director positions were open, each with a two-year term. Terms were expiring for Lawrence Brase and Larry Lusher and neither sought re-election; Rick Robbins, PCDI President decided to seek re-election to the board.
Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development, Inc. (SECED, INC) Announced Gonzales as New Director.
The Board of Directors for Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development, Inc. (SECED, Inc.) in Lamar announced that Stephanie Gonzales of Granada accepted the position of Executive Director for SECED, Inc. and will commence her duties on March 2, 2015 replacing Dan Tate. Gonzales has 16 years of experience working for SECED in the capacity of finance and management. She has served as the Finance Officer/Director since 1998 and has been involved in the application, management, and financial reporting of the programs managed by SECED.
Public Hearing Set for New Wind Turbine Construction
A proposal to add 38 more wind turbines to the 108 south of Lamar has been reviewed by the Prowers County Planning Commission ahead of a public hearing. Pacific Wind Development, LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, LLC, is submitting a special use application for 11,000 acres of land 23 miles south of Lamar to the east of Highway 287.
The Pacific Wind Project, known as Twin Buttes II is currently zoned non-irrigated land, A-2. The project calls for the installation, operation and maintenance of up to 38 wind turbine generators with the capacity to generate 76MW of energy. Mary Root, County Land Use Director, said Pacific Wind was granted a permit for special use from Prowers County in 2005, two years after the completion of the first wind turbine project around Gobbler’s Knob. There was a slow market following construction of the turbines for several years, but there has been renewed interest in additional development. Because of that, Pacific Wind is requesting that a new permit be granted. The project would be adjacent to current wind generation projects, including the Colorado Green project in Prowers County and will not deviate from current land usage in the proposed area.
Vazquez, Sneller and Robbins Voted to PCDI Board
Holly resident, Kenia Vazquez and Lamar resident, Ryan Sneller were voted to the Prowers County Development Incorporated board of directors during the annual meeting, Friday, March 27. They are first-time members. Rick Robbins, currently PCDI President, was re-elected with the others, from a field of five nominees. Vazquez and Sneller are replacing Lawrence Brase and Larry Lusher on the board and assumed their directorship at the April PCDI meeting. Vazquez is employed by Colorado East Bank and Trust in Holly and Sneller is employed by the Prowers County IT Department and Southeast Networks and Support.
More Power for High Plains Public Radio
High Plains Pubic Radio in Garden City, KS held a launch party Thursday, March 12, at the Lamar Cultural Events Center, to celebrate the expansion of their coverage in the Prowers County region. KCSE FM, one of several translator relay stations that broadcasts locally at 90.7 on the FM dial, has been operating in Prowers County for several years at 250 watts which had limited coverage of only 20 miles from its transmitter site. The occasion celebrated the increase in power to 4,000 watts which will broaden the coverage area for Prowers County, east to the Kansas line, north towards Eads and west to the outskirts of Las Animas.
Growth at Lamar Airport
Hangar construction at the Lamar Municipal Airport has helped reduce the lack of adequate storage for airplane owners. The two most recent T-hangars which were constructed through private funding are owned by Peter Page and Dean Reed and are located on city-owned land. “With a tight squeeze, we can fit three planes in each hangar,” explained Page. The new ones are on a 60 by 60 foot pad and are insulated and come equipped with electricity. The others, orange and white in color, were built about 12 years ago and are located west of the terminal, along with the newer ones. Older hangars are on the eastern side of the terminal.
Page said having around 30 planes in storage does help the revenue of the airport and Lamar Flying Service which provides everyday maintenance and supplies for the aircraft and owners. “The planes have to have an annual inspection and general repairs as needed,” he stated. One airplane owner estimated the annual inspection for his aircraft to be around $1,500.
Holly-Granada Forming Joint Economic Development Task Force
Holly and Granada decided to pursue an economic assessment study for both communities following a joint REDI Grant meeting in Granada March 3. The initial meeting helped provide a broad overview of how primary and secondary dollars and jobs contribute to a community’s economy. Each of the 40 participants took part in the discussion, offering suggestions on ways to improve the economies of both towns.
The discussion was led by Darcy Owens-Trask, the (REDI) Rural Economic Development Initiative Program Coordinator from (OEDIT) Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Lee Merkel, Southeast Region Representative from the Department of Local Affairs provided information for the audience as well. Tuesday’s meeting was initiated at a suggestion made late last year by Lance Benninghoff, the former Executive Director of Prowers County Development Incorporated. Both towns were awarded the grants from the state REDI program.
PCDI Developing New Directions?
What is Rural Economic Development, what is its purpose and how does it influence economic change and what steps can be taken to accomplish these goals? Those were topics addressed by Kari Linker, Economic Development Director for Morgan County. Linker was invited by Prowers County Development Incorporated to host a program called Economic Development 101, geared specifically for economic development in rural areas. Two dozen representatives from Prowers County, the City of Lamar, Wiley, Granada and Holly attended the two hour evening seminar at the Lamar Community Building on March 11. Rick Robbins, PCDI President, told the audience the program will help to focus future efforts on the direction PCDI should develop before beginning a search for a replacement executive director.
PMC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremonies
Construction crews were at work, removing slabs of concrete from one of the parking lots at Prowers Medical Center, even as the groundbreaking ceremony for renovations and expansion began Monday, April 13, adjacent to the Emergency Room entrance.
Craig Loveless, hospital Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the audience and was joined by several community leaders and Julie Branes, PMC board chairman, in addressing the gathering on what the $12M, 18 month expansion project will mean for the community, staff and patients.
Branes explained that the renovation project was the result of a collaboration of ideas, brought together in a common goal, “This started with team members, with board and community members, as many people we could draw into this process as possible. This group effort is going to benefit our community for years to come.” She thanked current and past board members for their work in laying the groundwork to begin the expansion process. Loveless also recognized the hospital’s Foundation Board members for their continued fund raising efforts.
Loveless said he was thankful to see the community support for improved health care in southeast Colorado, adding, “We need the support of all our health care providers, High Plains Community Health Center, Southeast Health, the County’s Public Health Department and all them contribute to the support of your hospital.” He added that the input from the hospital staff was imperative in bringing the expansion project to life. “It began several years ago during a board meeting when we knew we needed to talk to our employees about the project’s needs, what they were hearing from our patients on how we could improve. Karen Bryant began our employee committee to explore those needs and those results are what we will see over the next year, all from the input of patients, staff and the community.”
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