2012 in Review – May and June

May 2012 in Review 

Prowers Medical Center Hospital District voters defeated the proposed $5M Rehabilitation Outpatient Center expansion project on May 8 by a vote of 1,407 opposed to 446 in favor.  The voting also defeats a $1M plan for upgrades to electricity throughout the hospital as well as upgrading the HVAC system, both areas recognized as being needed, but unfinanced for the time being.   Voters also approved two new board members, Andy Wyatt with 1,021 votes and Ronny Farmer with 1,188 who will replace Gene Cruikshank and Joe Spitz.  The new board members are expected to assume their duties with the May 23 board meeting, but prior to that, Andy Wyatt withdraws from the board, citing additional demands on his time that he had not anticipated when he was a candidate.  That opens the second position to a board recommendation which selected Julie Branes from those persons who submitted a letter of interest for the seat.   Branes, who was a candidate in the election, received 793 votes.  Craig Loveless, selected as an interim CEO for the departing James Fairchild, begins his tenure with the hospital on May 23 as well.  Candy Ruedeman is selected as the PMC board chairman. 

Lamar and Prowers County received some well-deserved state recognition on an economic level.  The Economic Development Council of Colorado held their annual awards presentation for the state and selected PCDI Executive Director, Lisa Nolder, as Rookie of the Year. 


Lisa Nolder


Nolder has served as the Prowers County Development Incorporated director since 2009.  Another award presented by the council is presented to Prowers County as the Small Community of the Year for the efforts made by all the communities and regional partners such as SEBREA and OEDIT, to help develop the economic potential of the area. 

Lamar Community College held its storm-delayed graduation exercises on May 14.  Former State Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp was the keynote speaker for the 73rd graduation class.  Norm Arends was honored as the LCC Alumnus of the Year. 

Norm Arends, Being Congratulated by LCC President John Marrin


The Holly Pride Committee completed their task of raising $100,000 for a new, state of the art, digital projector, which helped keep the Holly Theater alive and performing.  The antiquated projector system could no longer keep pace with updated technology and was not equipped to handle the digitally formatted movies from the suppliers. 


Holly Theater, Site of Future Renovations


 It was either find the funds to upgrade or perish.  Kammie Cathcart made the announcement to the community during a community auction on May 5.  Numerous fund-raising events were held throughout the community to generate the needed funds.  It will be an on-going project as the theater still requires other needed improvements. 

June 2012 in Review 

Lamar and Prowers County were under the gun once again when winds in excess of 65mph or ‘gustnadoes’ as they were termed by the National Weather Service, swept through the area on June 2.


Tree on Northwest Corner of Willow Creek Park


  Willow Creek Park was hard hit with numerous limbs snapped from trees; a branch was driven through the roof of the municipal pool building, piercing the ceiling in the men’s locker room.  Power lines came down between Savage and Cedar Streets, gas pumps at Tank and Tummy on South Main were destroyed with their covering roof collapsed, several trailers just west of Walmart lost their roofs, power was lost around Two Buttes and in Baca County and winds tipped a semi at the Wiley Junction.  Again, Light Plant power crews were working around the clock to restore power to portions of Lamar. 

Power Crews on Savage Avenue Sunday Morning


Mother Nature wasn’t done with southeast Colorado or the rest of the nation as within days from the storm, temperatures started climbing into the upper 90s and low 100s where they stayed for most of the month and extended into July.  Our area had 16 consecutive days of 100+ degree temperatures.  Dry conditions ignited numerous fires in the mountain ranges between Colorado Springs and the Front Range, the Governor enacted a fire ban and the Prowers County Sheriff’s office and commissioners conferred several times regarding local fire bans as well.  A check of local retail stores showed a 40 to 50% increase in sales of water and bags of ice and ALCO department store and Walmart conducted a brisk business selling portable and window mount air conditioners. 

Things were heating up on the local political scene as over 2,000 mail-in ballots were sent out for the June 26 primary.  A series of forums were held earlier, hosted mostly by Voices of Southeast Colorado, and they afforded local candidates an opportunity to express their views on matters of concern to area voters. 

In the primaries, incumbent Henry Schnabel defeated challenger Mike Parker to represent the Republican ticket for District One, 749 to 574.  Schnabel would face off against Democrat Don Seufer.  There were two races for District Three and Wendy Buxton-Andrade defeated Roger Stagner on the GOP ticket, 713 to 610.  Jillane Hixson defeated Doug Thrall on the Democratic side which set the scene for the county to have its first woman Commissioner regardless of the outcome on the November General Election. 

The field of candidates was also narrowing for the Lamar City Administrator’s position.  Interim Administrator Steven Rabe informed the city council that the field of candidates had been narrowed to five.  A public meet and greet was set for July and final interviews for the candidates would be held at that time. 

Holly Trustee, Brad Simon, was sworn in as Holly’s new mayor for a two year term.  The Trustees would consider his replacement on the board from submitted letters of interest as well as the need to vote for a new mayor-pro tem during their July meeting.  Holly was also in the news with the recognition of Gateway Products Incorporated.  The family owned business was considered a ‘Colorado Company to Watch’ by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.  The operation employs 31 persons and was created in 1976 by Ted Simon.

by Russ Baldwin  (Editor’s Note:  July and August Summaries will be posted on December 28)

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCollegeCommissionerscommunityEconomyEducationFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarProwers CountyUtilitiesWeatherWiley


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