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Plans for new Mini Park begin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

As many have probably noticed, the Lions Club Mini Park at the stoplight in Holyoke has been largely deconstructed. Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, city workers began the removal of the long-standing structure that had been declining in appearance as well as safety.

Structurally, the old wood construction of the park had been warping over the years, along with the concrete foundation settling underneath.

It was simply time for a new design.

Remaining as the only remnant of the old Lions Club Mini Park is the Liberty Bell display. Barricades surround the largely demolished site on the southeast corner of the stoplight after city workers removed most of the structures and trees Tuesday, Jan. 20.  

—Enterprise photo

Plans for the new Mini Park include a gazebo area, similar to the previous one, but outlined with iron fencing rather than wood. A major difference in the design is a solid steel roof that will measure nearly 78 feet long and canopy a majority of the park.

City Superintendent Mark Brown said the city does not have the new roof yet, but the structural steel to support the gazebo design is all on hand.

However, some concrete work will need to be done first, which Brown said might not occur any time soon.

“Unfortunately, the concrete will have to wait until warmer weather, which isn’t likely to occur for a while now,” Brown said.

The ramps flanking the center structure will remain, as they are built into the brick wall that is next to Scheunemann’s Department Store.

Due to their causing disruptions in the pavement, the two trees that occupied the park are also being removed. Workers were able to remove a majority of the trees Tuesday, and the trunks and roots will be completely taken out as the project progresses.

An overhead view of the new plans for the Lions Club Mini Park is pictured. The project is planned to continue when warmer weather allows for concrete and structural support work to be done.

Brown mentioned the raised concrete section sits on top of what used to be the basement of a bank that was located on the site. Records show it was the Phillips County State Bank, which opened Dec. 3, 1910.

On Feb. 15, 1978, the building, which was then Ralph’s Bar, was lost to a fire. The basement was filled in, and Brown said it is believed that the contents left in there have settled, causing the issues that have occured on the surface over the years.

“We’ll have to drill holes for the new pylon supports,” Brown said. “And we’re not sure what we’ll run into down there.”

Holyoke Lions Club purchased the space in 1981, and the original Mini Park was dedicated Nov. 20, 1983.

As part of the Holyoke centennial in 1988, the Liberty Bell display was added to the park and dedicated at the centennial program held July 30 of that year. A time capsule was placed underneath the bell structure and still remains sealed.

Additions to the park following completion of the new structure are uncertain. Lions Club members are considering picnic benches and water fountains, among other functional and aesthetic features.

Holyoke Enterprise January 29, 2015

Worley resigns as PCED director PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

Phillips County Economic Development board president Nici Akey addressed the Holyoke City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 20, announcing that PCED executive director Julie Worley has resigned from her position.

According to Akey, Worley will remain working with PCED through its new director transitional period. Akey noted PCED will postpone its next strategic planning meeting until they assign a new director.

Akey also discussed PCED’s interest in joining the council, along with Phillips County commissioners and the Town of Haxtun, in splitting the cost of advertising in an upcoming issue of Colorado Life Magazine. Varying ad sizes were suggested by the different groups, and more discussion is to follow.


Council seeking new member

Following councilmember David Churchwell’s resignation at the Jan. 6 meeting, the council continues to seek a new member to fill the vacant position.

The council’s charter states it has 30 days to appoint someone to fill a vacancy. That time frame allows the council until Saturday, Feb. 7, to choose a new member.

However, the next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 3. If no appointment is made by that date, the council will hold a special meeting Thursday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. to make a decision.

Applicants must be a Holyoke resident for a minimum of 12 months and need to submit a letter to the council detailing their background and interest in becoming a member.


Officials report

City Superintendent Mark Brown told the council that he received a draft contract from Western Area Power Administration for renewing services for another 30 years.

He said that the fencing for the library restoration project has been received, and he plans to have workers begin the installation soon. However, some of the fence will need new concrete poured, which will have to wait until warmer weather.

Brown also noted that the Mini Park “looks a little bare.” City workers removed a majority of the old structures and trees earlier Tuesday. The project is expected to progress when suitable weather allows.

Holyoke Police Chief Doug Bergstrom reported that he has received seven résumés for the officer position the police department is looking to fill. He said he planned to run tests on all applicants Saturday morning, Jan 24, and would then interview them that afternoon.

Other business

In other business Tuesday, the council:

—approved a wage proposal for city employees. A majority of city employees are set to receive roughly a 3 percent increase in wages in 2015.

—agreed to pay officer Dan Coontz overtime for more than 45 hours worked in a week on a temporary basis starting Jan. 1.

—approved a travel request for Lennie Fisbeck and Jeremy Thompson to attend Colorado Rural Water Association conference in Denver, April 12-16, at a cost of $1,020.

—approved a travel request for Kathy Olofson to attend a grant writing class hosted by Denver Regional Council of Governments, March 2-3, at a cost of $1,082.

—approved a request for Mike Roll, Arley Krueger, Duane Werner, Bill Johnston, Troy Kent and Jason Redman to attend MSHA training Jan. 22 at the Phillips County Event Center at $8.50 each.

—paid 2015 contribution of $1,330 to Northeastern Colorado Association of Local Governments.

—paid 2015 membership dues of $100 to High Plains Highway.

—chose not to pay membership dues for High Plains Highway to join the Ports-to-Plains alliance.

—held two executive sessions for a total of 34 minutes. The first session was for legal advice from City Attorney Al Wall, and the second was to discuss personnel matters.


Holyoke Enterprise January 29, 2015

Holyoke joins BOCES districts for louder voice PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

Emphasizing its belief in the value of coming together with area school boards to take a formal position on statewide graduation requirements and state assessments, the Holyoke School District Re-1J Board of Education finalized some position points at its Jan. 20 meeting.

Noting that both these issues will have negative impacts on the N.E. BOCES school districts and are contrary to the direction set by the local board, members reviewed a position statement for local board member Jon King to share at the Jan. 26 BOCES board meeting.

As a result of the Nov. 24 BOCES board meeting and retreat, the Holyoke board is ready to participate in the development of a N.E. BOCES position paper outlining the districts’ views on graduaiton requirements and appropriate amounts of state assessments.

The Holyoke board would like to join a group of N.E. BOCES boards to present the position paper to the State Board of Education and to meet with legislators on these issues.

Inviting legislative representatives to the districts to discuss these issues was mentioned, as well. The local board cited that this will also build stronger relationships so that future school issues can be acted upon quickly.

The board also noted that it’s ready to direct the superintendent to work closely with colleagues, associations and legislators to develop potential solutions and also with Colorado Department of Education staff to include potential changes to CDE rules for these issues.

Attendance at the Jan. 28 Region I Colorado Association of School Boards Day at the Capitol was also on the position paper for King to take to the Jan. 26 BOCES board meeting.

Should these efforts not be enough to change laws and/or rules, the board will call for another meeting of the N.E. BOCES boards to convene to look for additional actions to be taken collectively.

It was noted that the Holyoke board is in favor of using the Innovation Act to address these needs as well as the development of a community awareness campaign on the issues.

The local board pointed out that it will be ready to hear ideas for additional strategies and feels there will be value in approaching the next phase, if necessary, as a region.


Superintendent search process moves forward

Moving forward with the superintendent search process, the school board held a one-hour-and-15-minute work session after the board meeting Tuesday night.

With discussion led by vice president Dennis Herman, the board worked to finalize the screening tool and approved a letter to be sent for staff and community leaders on school committees to seek interest for serving in the candidate interview process.

Details about a meet and greet session for the community on Friday, Feb. 27, were further discussed and will be finalized at the next superintendent search work session following the Feb. 3 board meeting.

Additionally, the board worked on interview questions for the finalists. They also discussed timelines for board-member access to completed résumés for the Feb. 16 finalist selection meeting.


Other business

In other business last week, the Re-1J board:

—acknowledged gifts for a donation toward the sound system for the old gym from the Holyoke Lions Club and for a donation toward the backpack program from Challengers 4-H Club.

—hired Kia Kassman as the JH head track coach.

—accepted the resignation of fourth-grade teacher Nicole Churchwell at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

—approved the 2015-16 budget timeline.

—learned that applications are still being accepted for the second technology position in the district.

—heard from King, who sits on the Colorado High School Activities Association Legislative Council, and from athletic director Sandra Rahe about proposed items that the Legislative Council will be addressing.

—noted from the quarterly financial report that at the halfway point in the year, there are no large unforeseen expenditures, revenue is coming in as expected and the cash balance will be sufficient to get the district to the point when revenues start coming in at a greater amount.

Holyoke Enterprise January 29, 2015

Conklin 5th in state VOD speech contest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

At a special presentation last weekend, Anastasia Conklin was awarded fifth place in the state competition for her Voice of Democracy speech.

As a top-five finalist in the state, Conklin participated in a fun weekend in the Denver area Jan. 23-25, which was covered by the Colorado Veterans of Foreign Wars. Activities included Boondocks, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum and the Hammond Candy Factory, in addition to the VOD banquet.

The HHS senior earned a $250 scholarship for her fifth-place finish.

“Why Veterans are Important in our Nation’s History and Future” was the theme for this year’s essay/speech contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Prior to the state event, Conklin read her essay at a banquet Jan. 18 in Fort Morgan after earning first place in the District 4 competition.

Holyoke Enterprise January 29, 2015