County Updated on Health, Education Developments

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John Marrin, Lamar Community College President, and Deanna Siemsen, LCC Resource Counselor, commented on the turnout for the annual Career Expo hosted by the college Wednesday, April 16.  Marrin provided a briefing of college activities for the Prowers County Commissioners.  “We had about 50 booths focusing on six central types of career employment at the Wellness Center,” Marrin explained.  Siemsen added that 10 area high schools, as well as some college students took advantage of the displays, adding, “We had well over 400 students visit the various booths through the day.”  The categories covered included architecture & construction, health science, criminal justice and public safety, hospitality, tourism and human services, arts, AV technology and communications, management, administration and marketing and ag food and natural resources.  Marrin provided some activity updates including the traditional nurses pinning that will be held on Friday, May 2 at 4pm and Antelope Night, prior to graduation will be at 6pm that afternoon.  Commencement exercises start the following morning, May 3, at 10am.  Marrin also mentioned the college’s welding program is becoming one of the best in the state, given the instructors on hand as well as updated equipment and new teaching facilities.   

Jay Brooke, executive director of High Plains Community Health Center, took time out from a busy schedule during the 4th Annual Community Wellness Expo, hosted by High Plains to provide the commissioners with an update on a newly formed health group.  Brooke discussed the objectives of the Prowers County Health Alliance which he chairs.  It was formed in 2012 to address the top issues identified in the community health needs assessment: obesity and teen pregnancy.  The focus group, Civic Canopy, has been hired to coordinate with Sarah Aguilera, RN, who was hired at the beginning of the year as Health Alliance Coordinator.  Brooke said Civic Canopy will begin to conduct interviews in the county, compiling data on immediate health-oriented needs which will be addressed in future action items before the year’s end.  The Alliance board is comprised of various medical resource groups including Southeast Health Group, Prowers Medical Center, LIveWell Prowers County and Kiowa/Prowers County Public Health & Environment. 

Jeremy Miller, Veterans’ Service Officer, told the commissioners the number of veterans using the vans to transport them to medical appointments has increased the past year, more than had been anticipated in the budget used to compensate drivers.  Miller said that although the fuel used for transportation is taken care of, the drivers who receive a stipend for their services through the year are on a fixed budget, prepared by his department.  He explained that funding is provided by the State’s Veteran’s Trust Fund.   Miller said he’s seeking additional sources of grant funding to provide about $2,000 needed to make it through the year.  Commission chair, Joe Marble, said the VA vans are used to transport veterans from other counties.  Miller said that as far as he knows only Prowers and Otero Counties provide transportation for local veterans, although Pueblo also provides transportation for those area vets. 

The commissioners also approved a letter nominating Miller to receive the annual County VSO Louis Nardini Award.  The award is presented to a Veteran’s Service Officer who demonstrates outstanding knowledge and dedication in providing services to Colorado veterans.  Some of the criteria include the nominees participation in the community of service, performance in obtaining benefits for veterans and the nominees activities in general.


In other action, the commissioners tabled appointments for the Bristol-Granada Cemetery District until a determination of residency is made.  John Golden’s application to serve on the East Prowers Cemetery District Board was approved.  Lance Benninghoff, PCDI Executive Director, was also approved to serve on the Southern Colorado Economic Development District, replacing Lisa Nolder in that capacity.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCityCollegeCommissionerscommunityCountyEducationFeaturedHealthProwers County


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