Commissioners Act on Several Requests

The Prowers County Commissioners had a full and varied agenda for their Tuesday meeting on March 12.  A special events permit was granted to the Lamar Elks Lodge for the annual Lamar Chamber of Commerce Wine Tasting event on March 22.  The Vaqueros Saddle Club received approval for renting the fairgrounds for six events through the rest of the year.  One will occur on March 23 and the last one will be on November 16.  Another permit was granted to LCC for an upcoming FFA judging contest.  Larry Coberly of Frog Productions is continuing to seek a fairgrounds permit for his proposed Monster Truck event, tentatively scheduled for July 20.  His request was tabled pending additional information on the use and clean-up of the fairgrounds arena.  A contract agreement for the application and removal of dirt used in the arena for the event will be reviewed by the county attorney.  The commissioners approved a subdivision exemption for Lawrence and Ruby Schenck.  

Denise Carder, President of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce and Tara Bender, Vice-President, as well as Bobbi Ketels, Office Manager, met with the commissioners to detail some of the chamber’s projects for the year, and to ask for the county’s $500 membership fee, which was approved.  Approval was also granted for a resolution authorizing Jana Coen, County Clerk and Recorder, to conduct the November 5 election by mail vote for all current active voters.  The commissioners approved an earlier request from Alta Vista Charter School to have the county act as a financial pass-thru for a GOCO Grant project.  The grant will secure $100,000 in playground equipment funds for the school.  Alta Vista, as a non-profit entity, could not act as on their own behalf as the agent in the request.  With one abstention, Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade was appointed as a board member to Lamar Partnership, Inc.  The commissioners approved the appointment of Jane Felter to a three year term to the Lodging Tax Tourism Panel Board.  Felter had been a member two years ago.  The commissioners approved a ratifying vote in support of the Town of Wiley in seeking a 2013 GOCO Grant for playground equipment for the community.   

The Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray study will come to a close by the end of the year, pending any funding to continue the program.  Leonard Pruett, local project coordinator, sent a letter to the commissioners asking if they wanted to take possession of a forty foot tower and concrete pad located near the Journey Tower, about ten miles south of Lamar.  The commissioners asked for a complete equipment list, to be gifted from CSU, which will be reviewed by attorney John Lefferdink before they sign off on the university’s request. 

Melody Babbitt and Pam Reed from the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, provided the commissioners with an overview of how their department assists disabled citizens find employment.  Babbitt, a Business Outreach Specialist, works in Pueblo and Reed, a Rehabilitation Counselor, is based in Lamar and serves six southeast counties including Prowers.  Babbitt said she acts as an employment advocate for the disabled, helping potential employers realize the benefits that can be gained from hiring disabled residents.  She also helps businesses find grants which allow them to upgrade their facilities into ADA compliance for workers and patrons alike.  She said, “Good access also makes good business.”  Homebound residents can apply for equipment which aids their relationships with the outside world such as computers for the hearing or speech impaired or those with eyesight problems.  Babbitt said she’d be happy to demonstrate how some of the equipment operates the next time she and Reed visit with the commissioners.  One example was the Agribility program which develops prosthetics for farmers and ranchers, allowing them to continue to work in the field, despite some physical limitations.  Both Reed and Babbitt spoke with Jeremy Miller, the county Veteran’s Service Officer regarding job training and placement for area veterans. 

Local farmer, Ronny Verhoeff, spoke to the commissioners about his options in dealing with adjacent landowners and blowing dust from their fields into his.  Verhoeff said he has several pieces of land along Highway 196 which are being covered with dust from neighboring fields which haven’t been chisled to prevent the erosion.  He presented the commissioners with copies of the Soil Erosion –Dust Blowing – 1954 Act, with which they were already well-acquainted.  Verhoeff said he’s spoken with representatives from the FSA and NRCS and wanted to brief the commissioners on the situation.  Verhoeff was given a newly approved complaint form developed for general events of this nature by the county.  Commissioner Joe Marble said this will allow them to try to deal with the situation before any legal action is taken.  Marble said if the NRCS finds in favor of Verhoeff, but the landowner does not take corrective steps, the county has the option of doing the work, and adding the cost of improvements to the landowner’s property taxes. 

The next Prowers County Commissioner’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 21.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEntertainmentFeaturedLamarProwers CountySchoolWeatherWiley


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