2012 in Review – March & April

March 2012 in Review 

More hats are tossed into the political ring for Prowers County Commissioner with Jillane Hixson who has long-lived ties to the farming community in the county.  Hixson declares her candidacy for District 3, and several days later, businessman Doug Thrall also announces his intention to run for the seat in that district.  This sets the scene for a democratic primary runoff, pending the required minimum votes in the springtime county caucuses.  

Jillane Hixson


Doug Thrall

 Area voters have more on their plate to consider with the announcement that PMC board members Gene Cruikshank and Joe Spitz will not run for re-election as their terms on the board are soon to expire.  Six persons announce their intention to run for those two seats:  Andy Wyatt, Julie Branes, Ronny Farmer, Vincent Yoder, Wayne Hudson and Diane Broyles.  These seats are all at-large, so the two positions will be filled by a simple majority vote in May.  Also on the May PMC ballot is whether the voters will favor a bond for a $5M physical expansion program for the hospital. 

Julie Branes Responds to Bond Issue Question


Candidates Wyatt, Branes, Farmer and Yoder

 Area voters in Holly favored their own bond issue, balloting in favor of a $28M project to construct a brand new school.  Ground breaking ceremonies are held as excavations get underway adjacent to the current school buildings.   

Ready for the Groundbreaking Ceremony

 Superintendent Carolyn Yokum says the new school should be ready by the fall of 2013. Other school news develops as after consideration, the Lamar RE-2 district school board votes to go with other districts in the county for a four day school week.  Other excavation work is seen in the Lamar area at the Valco properties just north of the Arkansas River.  Over 100 acres of land and four ponds will eventually be deeded to the City of Lamar as a community recreation site.  The initial earth moving work is financed by property owner, Tim Brubaker.  The work concentrates on grading the slopes to the ponds and reinforcement of the river and bridge supports.  Financing for future improvements will be a concern for the council which still has two ball fields at the local Sports Complex to complete. 

Valco Pond Farthest to the West Near Bridge

 The City of Lamar hires Steven Rabe as interim city administrator.   Rabe hails from Canon City and tells the council he will serve only until a new, permanent administrator is selected.  A new face joins the city council as well, with the appointment of Oscar Riley to fill the vacancy left by P.J. Wilson. 

Riley, Being Sworn In as Councilman by Judge Brinkley

 The Lamar Repowering Project has been dormant for quite some time as boiler performance and emissions levels have plagued the project since its inception several years earlier.  Local electric rates, especially those for the Project’s debt service, prompted two representatives from Colorado Beef, a chief power purchaser, to approach the Lamar Utilities Board to express their concerns over the monthly costs.  Jim Mullins and David Morris stated they felt their operation was paying disproportionately high rates compared to with their comparable businesses were in other areas of the state and country.  The representatives request that the board develop some cost alternatives before their rates drive away current business operations or prevent new developments from locating to the area. 

April 2012 in Review 

Springtime came in like a lion for southeast Colorado communities.  Five tornadoes were noted by the National Weather Service the night of Friday, April 27.  Two were reported in Prowers and Kiowa Counties and one in Bent County.  Winds around 115 mph knocked out numerous power lines, destroyed several homes and buildings, including a hog farm south of Lamar, but fortunately no serious injuries were reported in the storms.  A Lamar Light and Power substation was damaged, both local radio stations were knocked off the air and the April 28 graduation ceremonies at Lamar Community College were postponed in the aftermath.  Portions of the Lamar community were without power for the weekend while repair crews worked to replace damaged poles and power lines. 

Hog Farm in Aftermath of Storm

 Some new faces were visible on the Holly and Granada Trustee Boards.  Frank Vazquez successfully ran for re-election and he was joined by the other two top vote-getters, Marty Campbell and Larry Sitts.  Mayor Viola Melcher did not run for re-election and was replaced by Brad Simon as Mayor-pro tem.  

New Trustees at Swearing In Ceremony

 Municipal elections were held in Granada with C.W. DeForest replacing Lesli Baca as mayor.  Martin Jensen, Deb Choat and Glenn Otto were elected to four year terms and Andi Riddle will serve a two year term as a Trustee.

by Russ Baldwin  (Editor’s Note:  May and June Reviews will be featured on December 27)

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityCountyFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarPoliticsProwers CountyUtilities


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