Weather Forecast

Find more about Weather in Holyoke, CO
Click for weather forecast
Featured Articles

Gribben honored with ALS fundraiser PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Fulfilling their obligation to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the HHS football team lined up on the field after Friday’s game with Eaton to honor Tim Gribben with the special fundraiser.

Buckets circulated during the game to see whether coach Nic Balog or Superintendent Bret Miles would take the challenge. At the end of the game, with the buckets holding a combined $186.15, both Balog and Miles were requested to line up with the team as the water began flowing.

Pictured in front, from left, are coach Justin Peters, Balog and Miles. Football players Eli Rojas, Edgar Cruz and Fernando Lopez await the water bucket chain reaction as it comes down the line. Miles started the challenge and looks dry, but he got plenty wet later.

—Enterprise photo

A group of Gribben’s family members, classmates from the HHS class of 1979 and other supporters took a dousing in a second round of the challenge Friday night.

Funds raised from Friday’s challenge will go toward both the Rudy Award in memory of Tim Gribben and the ALS Association. Donations were also given for the football players and coaches to participate. A total of $1,190 has been raised by this special challenge, and an additional $600 has been pledged by HHS alumni via Facebook.

Donations are still being collected for the scholarship fund. Checks can be made out to “The Rudy Award” and mailed to Kimberlee Bennett, 325 S. Morlan Ave., Holyoke, CO 80734-1627.  

Holyoke Enterprise September 11, 2014

Short-staffed police looking at new hires, part-time officers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

With the Holyoke Police Department being down to only two officers, the HPD was the focus of a majority of the Holyoke City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 2.

The council accepted a resignation letter from now former police officer Larry Drake. Even though the council recently voted to increase wages for new and current officers, Drake and his family were unable to remain in Holyoke.

With the department being shorthanded, the council also agreed to allow Police Chief Doug Bergstrom and Sergeant Damon Ellis an extension on their vacation hour cap until the force is at full staff again.

Bergstrom mentioned he is looking closely at two post-certified applicants he has interviewed—one currently working in the Fort Morgan area and the other from the Denver Metro area. He suggested hiring one new officer first, for proper training purposes due to the limited staff availability, and then hiring a second officer closer to the end of the year.

Until new officers are added to the force, the council agreed to the HPD’s request to hire two part-time police officers from Haxtun and to set their wages at $17 per hour.

The Haxtun officers will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Holyoke and will use their own department’s equipment. However, they will be allowed to drive Holyoke Police Department vehicles when on duty in Holyoke.


Officials report

City Superintendent Mark Brown was proud to note that there had been no power outages since the last meeting. Numerous outages had occurred the past few months, caused by everything from wind and lightning to birds and squirrels.

Something else that has been a common occurrence is water main breaks, and Brown had one such break to report from Aug. 20 in the 600 block of E. Gordon Street. The break was promptly repaired.

Brown remarked that the Holyoke Swimming Pool was reopened to the public on Aug. 22 and everything is now in proper working order.

Bergstrom made mention that the operators of the mobile home park west of the airport are waiting to receive notice from a contractor in Ogallala, Neb., for the cost of removal and recycling of the trailers that pose an asbestos concern. Asbestos cleanup permits from the state are still pending.

County Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Olofson reported the current year’s total assessed gross value of the county from the Phillips County Assessor at $15,862,487. Holyoke’s 21.8 mills equates to $345,302, an increase of approximately $24,000 over last year.

Olofson also mentioned that the first draft of the yearly budget will be presented at the Oct. 7 meeting.


Other business

In other business at the Sept. 2 meeting, the council:

—approved a resolution for a Nov. 4 ballot question regarding the elimination of term limits for terms of office for city officials, including council members and mayor.

—adopted a victims’ rights policy for the Holyoke Police Department.

­ —voted 6-1, with Mayor Orville Tonsing casting the single opposing vote, to rescind a previous motion to place a lodging tax question on the Nov. 4 election ballot.

—held a short workshop regarding the abatement process in response to the junk complaints from the Aug. 19 meeting. Discussion included necessary requirements, grace period clarification and determining who will take action on the matter.

Holyoke Enterprise September 11, 2014

2.5-mill override extension to appear on November ballot PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

Holyoke School District Re-1J voters will see a mill levy override extension question on the Nov. 4 ballot. Wording for the ballot issue was approved by the school board at its Tuesday, Sept. 2, meeting.

Without creating any new tax or increasing any current tax, the ballot question asks for 2.5 mills of the district’s 2010 voter-approved override mill levy to be extended for five additional years.

The 2010-approved mill levy override will expire after collection year 2015. If the proposed ballot issue passes in November, the 2.5-mill override will be extended through collection year 2020.

In 2010, voters in the school district approved 3 mills for five years and another 4.5 mills for 10 years. The ballot question asks for 2.5 mills to be continued for five years, which results in a decrease of half a mill as compared to the current mill levy override.

Superintendent Bret Miles said there was good news from their lawyers about the ballot language. The district is able to put forth a question that asks voters to approve a continuation of the 2010 mill levy override rather than the traditional question which includes language, “shall taxes be increased.”

Miles noted this is the result of a 2006 Supreme Court ruling which gives latitude in the ballot language for a previously approved mill levy.

The ballot question asks for the extension of the mill levy override for five years to continue to provide funds for, among other things:

—renovating and repairing existing facilities to extend their useful life.

—upgrading the technology infrastructure of the district.

—purchasing and installing instructional and informational technology.

—restoring and updating instructional supplies and materials.

—attracting and retaining qualified teachers and providing additional staff for essential education programs.


Bond refinance to reduce bond mill levy by 1.84 mills

A parameters resolution for refinancing the Series 2005 bonds was approved at last week’s board meeting. It will involve a decrease of 1.84 mills in the bond redemption fund. The current year’s bond redemption fund of 4.25 mills will reduce to 2.41 next year.

This was a slight change from what had been discussed at the Aug. 19 board meeting when it looked like a 2-mill reduction would be involved.

In final preparations for the refinance, Miles said the investment bankers hadn’t accounted for the 2014 bond payment, which made for the difference.

Board members looked at options, including one that could still drop the bond redemption fund by 2 mills but potentially extend the final payment of bonds into 2022 instead of being done in 2021.

Board member Dennis Herman said it doesn’t seem right to say they’re cutting the mill levy by a certain amount but then add another year to the debt service.

Herman pointed out that 1.84 mills off the bond redemption is still a good deal. It’s just not quite as good as they thought they would get with 2 mills.

Miles noted that the refinance will still have a savings to the district in terms of overall debt and annual payments.


2014-15 assessment calendar is full

A full calendar showing the 2014-15 standardized tests to be given during the school year and the dates of the assessment windows was reviewed in detail by the school board.

Reasons why each test is in place and approximate time dedicated for each test were part of the report.

Miles also reported on the technology impact the assessments have and how they will restrict the availability of computers in the district.


Other business

In other business at the Sept. 2 meeting, the school board:

—hired Victoria Timm as a temporary assistant to Sandra Rahe, who is not only handling her athletic director role but is also teaching math full time until the district’s math teacher Cristine Mallari arrives.

—approved Vanessa Tharp as assistant HS girls’ volleyball coach and Justin Peters as HS football volunteer coach.

—acknowledged a gift of 18 laptops to the sixth-grade classrooms from Cabela’s corporate office. Also, from PC Telcom/RadioShack, the district received four two-way radios and two docking stations for the JR/SR high.

Holyoke Enterprise September 11, 2014

Class of ’15 ACT scores same as previous year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

Every junior in the state of Colorado takes the American College Test in the spring, and results of that testing were recently released.

Holyoke’s Class of 2015, who took the test last April and May as juniors, scored a composite score of 17.6, which is exactly the same score that the HHS Class of 2014 scored when they took the ACT test as juniors.

The Class of 2015 composite of 17.6 compares to the state average of 20.3.

Superintendent Bret Miles reviewed the data analysis for the junior ACT testing at the Sept. 2 meeting of Holyoke Board of Education.

In each area tested (English, math, reading and science), the Holyoke average was lower than the statewide average.

Miles acknowledged to the board that there is concern for the clear downward trend in results over the past eight years. Noting they’ve been struggling for two years in a row, they really need to dig in now.

Miles and Principal Susan Ortner said that the JR/SR high teachers will begin a specific action plan around ACT and will share the plan with the board as it is developed.

They will utilize data-driven dialogue and root cause analysis to come up with an action plan including target goals.

ACT became the statewide assessment for all 11th-graders in 2001. It measures student knowledge and skills in the areas of English, math, reading and science.

A composite score is then provided, which averages the results from all the content areas on a scale of 1-36.

Thirty-six HHS juniors took the statewide ACT test last spring, with 56,510 Colorado juniors.

Holyoke students scored 16.4 in English, compared to the state’s average of 19.7; HHS 17.8 in math, state average 20.1; HHS 17.3 in reading, state average 20.5; HHS 18.6 in science, state average 20.4.

Miles noted the ACT is a college entrance exam. Every junior in the state takes the statewide ACT, even those who are not college-bound.

As juniors, the HHS Class of 2008 averaged 19.6 on the ACT, just under the state average of 19.8. The Class of 2009 was a full point below the state average of 20.2, with a 19.1.

The Class of 2010 averaged 20.4, above the state average of 20.0. The Class of 2011 averaged 18.4, under the state average of 20.0.

The Class of 2012 showed a composite score of 19.8, compared to the state average of 19.9 when they took the statewide test as juniors; the Class of 2013 had an 18.9 composite, compared to the state average of 20.0; and the Class of 2014 had a composite score of 17.6 as juniors, compared to the state average of 20.1.

Miles also shared data comparing the Holyoke core to Holyoke non-core students, and Holyoke core compared to state core scores. Core is defined as college prep, and students self-identify themselves as core or non-core.

ACT scores at end of senior year also reviewed

Additionally, it was noted that the HHS Class of 2014 senior average ACT composite score was 18.3, with the state average composite at 20.6. This score was also the lowest the district has seen for a number of years for the ACT scores recorded as the class graduates.

The graduating class report contains the results of only the most recent test date for each member of the most recent graduating class who listed a Colorado high school.

Miles said they will be eager to bring back draft plans to share their approach to making a change in this downward trend in ACT scores.

Holyoke Enterprise September 11, 2014