Governor Accepting Invitation to Discuss Prowers County Drought Impact


Governor Hickenlooper

Governor Hickenlooper

The Prowers County Commissioners and representatives for Governor HIckenlooper are working to firm up details for an August visit by the governor to Prowers County, a follow-up of an invitation by the commissioners to view first-hand, the effects of the long-standing drought in Prowers and other southeast Colorado Counties.   

The Prowers County Commissioners, during their Thursday, July 11 meeting, said, former State Agriculture Commissioner and Prowers County farmer, John Stulp, who now serves on a statewide water information board, mentioned August 13 or the 14th, are the possible dates.  The governor’s representatives will be in Lamar on Monday, August 12 to review some of the specifics of the drought impact-based visit.  The Commissioners said other county commissioners have been invited to the meeting, so they too, can address the economic and environment impact the drought has had on their communities.  A meeting site for the governor’s visit has yet to be determined.  

Several concerned farmers and ranchers stated several weeks ago that it would benefit the region if upper level representatives in the state and even the federal government paid a visit to this part of Colorado and the region in general.  Local Prowers County property owner, Jillane Hixson had expressed that view to U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner when he inspected several southeast Colorado wheat fields and made a luncheon visit to farmer Steve Shelton’s property just south of Lamar.  She said national figures are on television at sites hit by tornadoes, hurricanes, fires or other disasters, but a drought can be just as harmful when stretched over years, not just days or hours. She said this area shouldn’t be ignored when the economic consequences are almost identical.  The congressman said his department would act on it and has sent a letter of invitation to Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsak.  Hixson and Don Turner of Crop Risk Advisors also met with the commissioners urging a similar invitation to Governor Hickenlooper and others to come and view first-hand, just how hard-hit the area has been affected by the long-running drought.   

The commissioners sent an original and a follow-up invitation letter to the governor which also carried the similar wishes and signatures of other area county commissioners.  It is not certain what manner of meeting will be held in August, whether a tour of the region is planned or a face-to-face meeting with farmers, ranchers, business owners and other local representatives who can give a first-hand description of how this region’s economy has been hit.   Some of those details will probably be reviewed with the governor’s representatives when they come to Lamar. 

Prowers County Clerk and Recorder, Jana Coen, said that House Bill 1303 is switching all future voting to mail in ballots, covering general, primary, municipal and odd-year elections.  A Voting Center will be established to cover registration, accepting ballots and general information, and the usual polling places will no longer be needed.  Coen added that the Center may be located at the County Courthouse, but she is still weighing options.  A public hearing on the location will be scheduled.  Coen said the bill will also allow a resident the ability to register to vote for the first time on an election day, eliminating the 30 day requirement to register.  If the courthouse is chosen as the Voting Center site, the commissioner’s meetings will be held at the SOS Center on East Olive Street from October 24 to November 21 this year.    

In other action, a public hearing for comment on the county’s new marijuana ordinance may be set for July 25.  County Attorney John Lefferdink said this would be a part of the process in the ordinance adoption.  The commissioners, basing their decision on the results of the past two general elections in the county, are prohibiting recreational marijuana use on county property.  This ordinance, in effect, cancels locally the statewide go-ahead for marijuana sales and use when Amendment 64 passed in Colorado during the November general election.  An official notice of the public hearing will be published. 

Bill Dutro, Director of the Small Business Development Center for southeast Colorado, provided an update on activities for the commissioners.  Dutro said results for job growth and job retention are ahead of predictions for this part of the state.  He mentioned that there are several individuals interested in overhauling the Gateway Racetrack in Holly that has been vacated for over a decade and attempting to bring horseracing back to the area.  The annual spring race schedule that was held in Holly years ago attracted numerous visitors to the area, as well as local residents who attended the weekend events.  Dutro didn’t offer any specifics at this time, pending public notification by the interested parties.  He said a feasibility study and financial plan would be required from them, the same as for any other potential business development in the area.  Dutro noted that the federal government cut has budget by $5,000 for the next year and asked the commissioners to take that into consideration in for future funding. 

Commissioners with Judy Whitman

Commissioners with Judy Whitman

The Prowers County Commissioners recognized July Whitman for an error free case Adult Financial Audit performed last month.  It was reported to be the first and only error free case reviewed this year so far state wide.  The commissioners expressed their appreciation at the care of detail performed by Ms Whitman. 

As use of the county fairgrounds continues to grow through the year, Jack Martin of the Rolling Hills Cowboy Camp meetings, set a date in 2014 for the annual event with the commissioners.  Lacey Mann, CSU Extension Agent and Wilma Trujillo, CSU Southeast Area Agronomist requested permission to advertise for a replacement for Melanie Haslam who is resigning from the Extension office effective, August 15.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedLamarLaw EnforcementPoliticsProwers CountySportsTourismWeather


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.