New LCC Dean of Academics Meets Commissioners, West Nile Found in Prowers County

Fred Hampel, Academic Dean at LCC

Fred Hampel, Academic Dean at LCC

Lamar Community College President, John Marrin, introduced Fred Hampel the college’s new Dean of Academics to the commissioners.  Hampel hailed from Kansas and had an agricultural background from having farmed and ranched in his early adult life.  He returned to college to become an economist, employed by corporations before he moved into higher education, teaching and working in colleges and universities for almost two decades.  His most recent posts were in C.U. Denver and most recently Colorado Mountain College.  He said it will be a change to move from the teaching classroom to more administrative duties at LCC, but he is looking forward to his new career.

As the fall semester gets underway at LCC, President Marrin said the college will take an assessment of some sections of the curriculum.  “Over the years we’ve added degrees and courses, but we need to take a hard look at what works for us, and not to get rid of any programs… one program may have one or two, three or four different degrees and that isn’t necessary.  We need one degree and then multiple certificates to get to that degree.  We need courses that will work for required courses in any program of study, but can also work for elective courses in another program.  Fred is great at organization and this is one of the things we have asked him to do,” Marrin explained.

Marrin said that although the fall semester enrollment is flat compared to last year, there’s another week of registration left for LCC and of the 13 community colleges in the state, Lamar had the highest summer enrollment.  “The key to future growth is the new dorm pods we’re proposing and the college hopes to see ground broken on the first one by January or February at the start of the new year,” he stated.  He said he’d provide the commissioners with constant updates on the planning and construction progress.   Another means of higher enrollment could come through a bachelor’s degree program at Lamar Community College.  Marrin said that under certain circumstances, the state legislature is allowing community college to provide the higher degree.  “That’s a project I’m excited about and there’s probably some pent up demand out here is southeast Colorado for bachelor’s level education.  We’re going to pursue that and see where it takes us,” he said.

West Nile mosquitoes have ben detected again in Prowers County for this summer and Tammie Clark, Director of Prowers County Health Services said there has been one case reported from the Holly area.  Clark was providing a health update from her department for the Prowers County Commissioners during one of their monthly meetings this past Thursday, August 21.  Clark added that the public should be aware and take precautions to prevent contact with mosquitoes through the remaining warm months of the season.  Mosquito spraying continues in the area and residents have been asked to make sure they have no areas of standing water on their property, from discarded tires to open containers which are ideal mosquito breeding grounds.

Clark also stated that Hepatitis C-Chronic has also been reported recently with six cases noted in the county so far this year.  This disease is transmitted by the sharing of body fluids, via needles or sexual intercourse.  She said the general belief for the spread, according to her conversations with other public health directors, is that it can be attributed to our high incidence of drug users.  In other news, the building that was used by the public health office in Kiowa County has been sold to Weisbrod Hospital as part of their expansion plans.  The new location, which should be open in October, is next to the Department of Social Services.

Jay Brooke, Executive Director of High Plains Community Health Center met with the commissioners to discuss progress being made by the Prowers County Health Alliance group, composed of local health providers in the county.  “We’re holding community meetings in Holly, Wiley, Granada and Lamar to input on how best to combat youth obesity and to promote an active, healthy lifestyle,” he noted.  Brooke said he was happy to see that on-site ESL translators will be available in the Holly community due to the large number of non-English speaking residents who want to become involved in the projects.  Brooke said Granada is already looking at grant funding to develop an outdoor volleyball court at the town park.  The director said there was a good turnout out for the GoCO Listening Tour held this past week in Lamar, with tour trails topping the list of interests.  This falls into the proposed seven mile Lamar Loop that has been included in the community’s Master Plan which will be unveiled during several activities set for this Saturday at Willow Creek Park and the Sports Hub meeting near Merchant’s Park.

Commissioner Joe Marble expressed concerns about the $12M price tag for the projects listed on the Master Plan, especially the cost of maintaining the upgrades once the projects are complete.  Brooke replied that the grants being sought to cover the project costs will have the maintenance features included in the budget.  He said that’s one of the items that Lamar Parks and Rec Director, Rick Akers, always stresses as soon as funding comes into the conversation.  Commissioner Schnabel said he’s spoken with CDOT officials about safety concerns for kids crossing Main Street near the Lamar Middle School.  Kids west of Main Street who use the proposed skateboard facility at Bicentennial Park will have to cross the busy road, especially during future highway construction next year.

Victoria Montana Ryan, Conservator AIC Fellow, gave the commissioners an initial assessment of the art restoration project for the third floor courtroom ceiling.  Ryan’s first estimate to repair flaking paint and falling plaster was less than the commissioners had anticipated.  A build up of moisture from an earlier ventilation project, apparently caused leaking to occur, damaging the ceiling.  The cost of repairs has not been budgeted, but the commissioners hope to secure a grant based on historical preservation to pay for the project, around $50,000 as a rough estimate.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCityCollegeCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEducationEntertainmentFeaturedGranadaHealthHollyHot TopicsLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyRecreationSchoolSportsTourismTransportationWileyYouth


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