2012 in Review – September and October


The Former Moni’s Marina Slated for Demolition

September 2012 in Review 

Some changes in the area were noted in September, but not directly in Prowers County.  With the widening of Highway 50 in Bent County, the former business at the Hasty intersection known for years as Moni’s Marina and Mini Mart was leveled. 

Hud’s at the Intersection of Highways 50 and 196 into McClave


Scheduled to follow was Hud’s Campground farther east along the highway, while in Lamar, the former Wallace Gas station and Wally Wash on South Main Street was also leveled.   

Cub Scouts Salute Honor Guard at Courthouse


September 11, 2001 will be remembered in the same vein as Pearl Harbor over 70 years ago.  Doug Harbour and members of Voices of Southeast Colorado organized a September tribute at the Prowers County Courthouse in honor of first responders in New York City as well as those local police, firemen, EMS and other volunteers and professionals who dedicate themselves to our well-being.  A display of flags, a remembrance of the fall of the Twin Towers, certificates of appreciation, an Honor Guard from the VFW Post #3621 and American Legion Post #71 and a fly-by all contributed to a moving ceremony that brought over a hundred residents to the Tuesday afternoon event.


Portions of downtown Lamar started sporting a new look, as Shawna Hodge, Lamar Main Street Director, announced that a branding logo for the city’s retail sector had been selected which will be displayed on the city’s light poles, lining Main Street.   The logo depicts a mix of a yellow sunrise that incorporates orange-hued blades from a wind turbine.  Hodge also mentioned that later in the fall, some of the light poles, street benches flower pots and trash receptacles will be painted an ‘historic’ red color as an additional form of product and historic identification for Lamar for residents and passers-by alike.  The first segment stretches between the railroad tracks south, to the poles in front of the Prowers County Courthouse.  Additional plans call for the project to run north from the railroad tracks, to Building Material Supply, pending availability funding. 

Prowers County Rural Fire Department


Reorganization plans for the Lamar/Prowers County Volunteer Fire Department began when members of the group decided not to renew their contracts with the City of Lamar and Prowers County.  Chris Duffy, chief of the department said there had been no change in membership numbers, but some persons preferred to work for the city department, while others found it more suitable for their schedules to dedicate themselves to the needs of the county.  Duffy said a new contract was being developed for a review by city and county fire representatives and would be in place for the start of the New Year. 

Big R Warehouse on Washington Street


As operational funds earmarked for maintenance of the Big R property on Washington Street continued to be depleted, Prowers County Development Incorporated board members expressed their concern on how best to market and sell the warehouse and office site.  Some interested business developers had viewed the location, but no immediate action had been forthcoming.   All but the most essential utilities and upkeep had been eliminated, and even the Lamar Police Department had expressed interest in relocating to a portion of the facilities, but nothing concrete had developed beyond a cost analysis. 

Members of the Lamar Utility Board met with Jim Miller, owner of the Ports to Plains Travel Plaza regarding the size of his monthly utility bill, approximately $15,000 for August.  Miller said he and other owners of similar power purchasers in the area wanted to know if the board had any information on the status of the light and power plant and its future as a power producer.  Miller explained to a concerned board, that he and several other property owners had expressed interest in finding other power supply sources, perhaps generating their own, if nothing was going to be done beyond a status quo situation.  Board chairman, Don Steerman, explained the board had few options regarding a cutback on rates, but a study on rates classifications was being explored with recommendations from the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool managerial staff who had conducted rates studies on the Repowering Project and Lamar Light Plant.

 October 2012 in Review

 Light Plant concerns continued into the fall for members of the Lamar Utility Board.  A late September ruling from a U.S. District Judge went against ARPA and the LUB regarding the Repowering Project.  The ruling stated that the plant violated portions of the Clean Air Act since 2008 when the plant begin operations and the plant officials allegedly failed to get the required federal clearance for being a potential ‘major source’ polluter.  The judge ordered a hearing to see if or what monetary penalties could be levied against ARPA and the Light Plant. 

The response from ARPA and LUB was swift to reply stating that the district judge had no legal basis to overrule what had been issued from an earlier state court ruling in that the Repowering Project had not been a ‘major source’ polluter and was no longer in violation of the Clean Air Act.  The Light Plant has since been idle as of two Decembers ago with the boiler manufacturer attempting to develop modifications that allow it to operate at full capacity without exceeding air control limits.  Rick Rigel, general manager of ARPA informed the utilities board during an October meeting, that due to current low natural gas costs, the company was looking into seeking a long range power supply contract, and could remain offline for several more years to come, pending cost factors for outside power supplies.  The board did vote to reduce the cost of power purchased per kilowatt/hour for general customers by 7.5%, but the severe heat wave offset most savings as residents made use of their air conditioning systems for most of the summer’s oppressive heat.  Ironically, the heat was quickly forgotten in light of the winter-like temperatures that local residents faced during the annual Oktoberfest sponsored by the Lamar Chamber on October 6. 

Running to Keep Warm, Raise Spirits and Awareness


The warmest persons there were probably the 50 or so volunteers who donned tutu’s and ran a mini-marathon for the ‘Linked in Pink’ campaign, a part of the October awareness campaign to help combat breast cancer.  Several community health organizations held combined awareness seminars and events to raise funds and increase knowledge of breast cancer through the month of October. 

Justin & Charlene Lee


Another new face became a community resident in the fall, as the Prowers County Commissioners selected Justin Lee to replace Jackie Brown as the county health and environment director.  Lee, who has a masters degree in public health and a BS in biology and pre-med studies, was hired over 16 other applicants for the position.  Lee arrived in Lamar from his previous position in Erie, Colorado in mid October and began his new duties by October 22.  He was joined by Charlene, his wife, and their three children. 

Executive Director, Deb Pelley

On another health-related event, the Lamar Area Hospice association held an open house for the grand opening of their headquarters on Saturday, October 27.  It was another chilly weekend as dozens of volunteers, past recipients of the hospice’s assistance and community leaders and the general public came out to view the three story facility on West Olive Street.  Formerly the Lamar Hotel, the vacant building had fallen into disrepair over the years, but with the help of a sizable grant and on-going fund raising events by hospice, the building was renovated top to bottom and outfitted with new and donated office equipment to become a showcase for the hospice organization.   

Gerry Jenkins Voces Unidas President for 2012-2013


Voces Unidas, the Lamar Chamber diversity organization, celebrated the start of their sixth year of operation with an annual banquet at the Lamar Eagles Lodge on October 13.  Keynote speaker for the dinner was Jermaine Stafford, SER Director of Youth and Community Service Division, who recounted the help and focus he received through his years an a noted world-class amateur and professional athlete.  A variety of awards was presented to community members that evening including:  Lifetime Achievement to Joey, the Lamar K9 dog; Business of the Year to Arkansas Valley Diesel Service; Education Citizen of the Year to Shannon Montgomery; Health Services Citizen of the Year to Physical Therapy Group at PMC; Municipal Citizen of the Year to Lamar Streets and Sanitation and Community Citizen of the Year to Doug Harbour of Voices of Southeast Colorado. 

Future Office Site for PCDI at Rodeway Cow Palace Inn


PCDI, in a cost-cutting move, announced they were moving their headquarters from downtown Lamar to office space at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn before the end of the year.  Several thousand dollars in savings would be realized from lower utility and phone bills and general decreased overhead expenses.  The Prowers Lodging Tax Panel announced a contest for a logo that best represents the county at large.  The Lodging Panel, which met at the PCDI offices, would also make the move to the Cow Palace Inn for their monthly meetings.

by Russ Baldwin

Editor’s Note:  The final entries for the year end summer for November and December will be featured online on Monday, December 31.

Filed Under: Prowers County

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