DHS Grant Finances New Outdoor Siren for Prowers County

Quail Ridge Area South of Lamar

Quail Ridge Area South of Lamar

Prowers County was recently awarded funds for an outdoor warning siren which will be set up in the area of the VFW Post on Memorial Drive, Spreading Antlers Golf Course and Quail Ridge and The Ridges acreage. Stefan Warn, Emergency Operations Manager for the county, recently told the Prowers County Commissioners the Department of Homeland Security grant is for $23,000.  “The unit has a back-up battery system with wireless control and it matches our current equipment,” he explained.  Warn added that an environmental assessment will be required on the location of the siren along with an historical preservation survey on the project, but, “basically, all we’re doing is drilling a hole in the ground to set the post.”  Warn said a separate portion of the grant will allow ten, 800Mhz hand-held radios to be distributed to command personnel in some of the fire department agencies in the county.

Warn discussed another financial benefit the county should realize in the future as the county’s ISO rating has been lowered to a five category. ISO stands for Insurance Service Office and is used throughout the country as a means of assessing a community’s level of fire protection services which includes equipment, personnel and training.  “We’ve been improving over time,” Warn explained, adding that the past ten years has seen the county go from a six, up to an eight and now down to a five rating.  He said that should help reduce the cost of insurance premiums in the county.

Mounted Thunder Rider

Mounted Thunder Rider

The commissioners approved two requests for the fairgrounds arena next September and April from Axel Thurner, who organizes cowboy shooting competition from a club known as Mounted Thunder. Mounted shootists compete to see how many balloons can be eliminated while riding a set course in the arena, using either a pistol or rifle.  Thurner said the numbers of the southern organization are dropping but that was planned.  “We’re divided between northern and southern groups and recently the northern club has been getting newer members, while the southern club is getting more experienced members.  The people along the Front Range would prefer to remain in their area and not have to travel to Prowers County for competition,” he explained.

Thurner praised the local sports teams who set out the balloons along the arena’s target range. “These kids, in middle and high school, are doing an awesome job for us.  Chad Sailors has done a phenomenal job getting the students organized to help us.  The kids really run, and they’re fast and get the targets set up so we can keep moving through the competition,” he stated.  Thurner said his group paid the booster club $1,300 for their work and the students received $4,000 for four days work recently at a state and regional meet.  They were asked to set up by the CEO of the national organization in Amarillo, but it conflicted with their classes.  Thurner said their work helps take some of the financial burden off local businesses who are asked to contribute or make donations to the local sports clubs.  His group is gaining exposure through the state as well, “We’ve been asked to come to Greeley to help train sheriff’s mounted deputies how to work with horses and exercise their gun control,” he said.

The commissioners met briefly with John Marrin, Lamar Community College President, who stated the school recently received a $50,000 donation which will go to construction costs for the proposed dorm pods. “We’re $187,000 away from what we need to start,” he said, explaining that the initial work will start next spring and the first dorm unit will be available for 24 students for the fall semester.  Marrin added that although the dual credit program has some smaller enrollment numbers right now, the numbers are level from last year.  He did note that there has been an increase comparing first year students this year to last year’s figures. “We have 60 more new students in 2015 compared to 2014 and if we can do that one more year and retain what we now have, that will be phenomenal,” he added.  Cheryl Sanchez, Vice President of Academic Services, noted the college is involved with the observances of National Breast Cancer Awareness for October.  The cosmetology department is currently offering $100 worth of products to anyone who donates eight inches of hair in a cutting.  “The hair is being used by a national group to construct wigs for patients,” she said, and added that a donor doesn’t have to use the college staff, but can bring in hair cut from their own stylist.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionersCountyEconomyEducationEntertainmentFeaturedLamarLaw EnforcementProwers CountyPublic SafetyRecreationSchoolSportsTourismTransportationYouth


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