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Sprague unfazed by amputated leg PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kyle Arnoldy   

Life hasn’t slowed down much for 9-year-old Luke Sprague in the 12 months following the July 17, 2013, farm accident that resulted in the amputation of the lower portion of his left leg. He has been pushing his own limits, never once backing down from the new challenges life has thrown his way.

His humor-filled approach to life has never yielded in the past year as he occasionally finds joy in joking with people about how he lost part of his leg. When questioned about the accident, his story ranges from a bear to a shark attack. His mom, Emma Sprague, laughs as she recalls his response to those who stare by referring to them as two-legged freaks.

With a recovery much quicker than anyone expected—doctors included—Luke was back to his old rambunctious ways just weeks after the accident.

“He hasn’t really changed that much,” Emma said. “I actually think he is more happy now. He’s just got a really good attitude toward everything.”

Luke Sprague puts his trampoline skills on display with a one-legged front flip.­  —Enterprise photo

When asked what he can’t do, he shows no hesitation before blurting out, “nothing.” The last year is proof of that. Less than two months after the accident, he was riding sheep in a mutton bustin’ event at Phillips County Raceway.

“It just doesn’t seem to bother him,” Luke’s dad Alan said of the hardships associated with using a prosthetic leg. “It’s just another thing he has to do every day.”

By November, he was looking for a foot that could keep up with his active lifestyle. After getting the athletic foot attachment for his prosthetic leg, he was back on the basketball court relearning how to run.

“Aaron Sprague taught him how to run with the new sports leg,” Emma explained. “He worked with him a lot during basketball. Luke did really awesome. The first basket he ever made, I swear the stands went nuts. Everybody stood up, his teammates jumped on him and everyone was pretty excited.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” Alan said about watching his son. “It is amazing all of the support he gets. Everyone else seems to be rooting for him, too.”

Luke stated that he has to keep reminding himself to step with his heel first as opposed to stepping flat-footed. With the help of those around him, Emma said his limp isn’t as noticeable, and when he is walking in a group it’s hard to point him out as he doesn’t stick out as being any different.

Luke says he has enjoyed all the attention that has come with the injury, relishing the moments when people say they are proud of him and when they cheer him on. Those who pass by while he is jumping on the tramp often honk for him, and the fire department even stopped once to cheer him on, according to his mom.

“They’re so much of the reason why he is how he is,” Emma said. “He has encouragement left and right, especially Sharon Jones. Mrs. Jones is like his mama bear at the school. She is very protective of him.”

With the help of a new athletic foot, Luke was able to compete in basketball, wrestling, soccer, baseball and the 50-yard dash during the school field day. He even managed to score a goal in soccer and bring home some hardware during the wrestling season, including a first-place medal from a tournament in Imperial, Neb.

Nearly a year after having the lower portion of his left leg amputated,
Luke Sprague is still as active as ever as he waits for a ball to be hit
his way during a PeeWee game in June.­  —Enterprise photo

While the tournament didn’t have the most pleasing start—his first opponent forfeited because he didn’t want to wrestle him—Luke’s positive attitude never waned. Luke won his next match by points, giving him the first-place finish. The boy who initially didn’t want to wrestle Luke eventually did, however, with Luke winning by pinning him.

At the season’s end, he was awarded the “biggest heart” award. He may not have always won, but he never gave up.

“No matter what, I kept trying and trying, even if I didn’t win,” Luke said proudly.

Nothing seems to bother the ornery youngster, who says he is just happy to be able to play. He doesn’t have much pain anymore, but is often still worried about his leg. In soccer, his leg flying off and hitting someone is one of his fears, which causes him to be extra cautious, according to Emma.

He has also had to get used to seeing prosthetic feet lying around, noting that he was initially freaked out when he saw his sports foot in his mom’s car.

“Probably one of the biggest changes for our family since that day has been that Alan has never taken the kids back out to the farm,” Emma explained. “Daddy still hasn’t gotten over it. He’s scared to let them near anything.”

The work continues for Luke. One of his goals is to be able to balance with all of his weight on his prosthetic. Through an exercise where he balances on a scale, he has been able to sustain about 35 pounds of pressure.

Now on the horizon for Luke is the possibility of a blade prosthetic. The blade is more geared toward those who participate in fast-action sports. He will have to wait for a while though as he weighs 45 pounds and he’ll have to reach 80 pounds to qualify for one.

Holyoke Enterprise July 17. 2014

Fair Queen Lutze encourages attendance PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

“Right here in our own backyard is some of America’s Best,” said Phillips County Fair Queen Josilyn Lutze in her introductory statement in the 2014 Phillips County Fairbook.

Promoting the year’s Fair theme, “America’s Best,” Lutze encourages the community to participate and attend the numerous activities planned for this year’s Fair.

Events during Fair week begin with the Leland Miller Memorial Gymkhana Sunday, July 20, at 9 a.m. and end a week later with the Sunday, July 27, antique tractor pull at 1 p.m.

In addition to two rounds of gymkhana fun Sunday, July 20, team roping will begin at 5 p.m.

Monday, July 21, Phillips County Raceway will host NASCAR stars Kenny Wallace and Kenny Schrader with 7 p.m. racing, including stock cars, modifieds, sport mods and hobbies. Tuesday, July 22, will see the entry and judging of 4-H general projects and club booths.

Wednesday, July 23, open class and special theme contest entries will be accepted from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The 4-H horse show/gymkhana will begin at 9 a.m. Evening entertainment includes an ATV rodeo at 7:30 p.m.

Youth mud volleyball will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 24, with poultry and rabbit judging at 1 p.m., and goat and dairy cow judging at 4 p.m., followed by swine judging. A pitch tournament and bingo are scheduled at 6 p.m.

Beef judging begins at 8 a.m. Friday, July 25, with sheep judging at 1 p.m. A parade of champions and press time for 4-H/FFA livestock and general projects is set for 4 p.m.

Carnival fun begins at 5 p.m. Friday, as does the barbecue in Homesteaders Park. A 4-H fashion review will be held during the barbecue.

The Jake Gill concert will highlight the Friday evening entertainment at 7:30 p.m. A beer garden and live band music by the Juke Joint Cruisers will close out both Friday and Saturday’s schedules.

Saturday’s parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Interocean Avenue. Other July 26 activities include the pet show at 11 a.m., Orphan Grain Train brat feed at the Event Center at 11 a.m., adult mud volleyball at noon, Bean’ Your Best contest at noon, cow patty bingo at 12:30 p.m., pedal tractor pull at 12:30 p.m., salsa contest at 1 p.m., horseshoe pitching at 1 p.m. and rabbit bingo at 2 p.m.

The junior livestock sale will start at 2:30 p.m., and the evening’s entertainment includes bull riding, bullfighting and mutton bustin’, starting at 7 p.m.

A community church service is scheduled for 9-10 a.m. Sunday, July 27, with round robin showmanship at 10:30 a.m. and the antique tractor pull at 1 p.m.

For full schedule information, go to


Lutze crowned at last year’s Corn Festival

Lutze was named Fair queen at the 2013 Haxtun Corn Festival and will continue her reign through the Sept. 27 Corn Festival this year.

Last January, she represented Phillips County in the Stock Show parade in Denver and also volunteered for a day at the Stock Show.

She rode in the Fourth of July parade in Brush this summer and also plans to ride in Fair parades in Sedgwick, Logan and Yuma counties, and possibly others.

Lutze has invited area queens to both the Phillips County Fair and Haxtun Corn Festival. She is appreciative of her numerous sponsors and noted she will be hosting a luncheon to thank them following the Corn Festival.

One of Lutze’s favorite parts is when she’s wearing her official queen crown and sash and younger kids approach her to take a picture with her or to ask for her autograph.

While being queen carries a lot of responsibility, she admits it is a lot of fun, as well. She said it has also helped her with public speaking and other life lessons.

Lutze takes her role as Fair queen seriously. Citing that the primary role of the Fair queen is to act as hostess for the Fair, she anticipates being at most every event next week.

She will hand out ribbons at the livestock shows, attend and assist as needed with evening programs and in general serve as a role model for younger girls and boys.

She recalls how influential Fair queen Janna Smith was for her and is so glad Smith encouraged her to try out for princess three years ago.

Lutze served as princess when Smith and Alyssa Roll were Fair queen. Last year, she was lady in waiting and there was no queen as she wasn’t old enough to try out for that role.

With the requirement that the Fair queen must be 16 by the Fair, Lutze, whose 16th birthday was in February, was eligible and ready.

Without her family supporting her, Lutze is quite sure she couldn’t fulfill her role as Fair queen. She appreciates all the assistance from her younger sister Janessa, as well as from her parents, Mark and Mendi.

In addition to her responsibilities as Fair queen, Lutze will be showing market lambs and market hogs through FFA and also has a 4-H baking project. She already knows her family will be assisting with her projects when she’s busy with other duties.

Lutze will be a junior at HHS this fall. She’s a member of Raising Ranchers 4-H Club, will serve as FFA treasurer in 2014-15 and has been in the school choir and on the girls’ basketball team.

She also enjoys riding her horse when she gets a chance. She works for her dad on the farm, which currently involves driving grain cart for wheat harvest.

Lutze is sincere as she wishes all contestants the best of luck at the Fair and invites the whole community to attend.

Holyoke Enterprise July 17. 2014

Restoring Colorado to continue petition drive PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

After halting last week, proponents persuaded to proceed with efforts to realign Colorado House districts for equal representation


Due to strong feedback from volunteer petition circulators statewide, Randy Schafer and Joe Kinnie, proponents of Restoring Colorado (Ballot Initiative No. 111) are reinstating the push for 100,000 signatures by Aug. 1.

Just last week, the duo announced that they had suspended the petition drive as the goal seemed insurmountable.

However, hearing from petition circulators that they’re seeing burgeoning bipartisan interest in the ballot initiative to realign districts for Colorado’s House of Representatives, the petition drive has been reinstated.

The proposal would realign Colorado House districts to coincide with county boundaries and give each county one representative in the House of Representatives while leaving the Senate based on population.

The Colorado House of Representatives would mirror the U.S. Senate, wherein states have equal representation, with Wyoming and Vermont having the same voice as California and Texas. The Colorado Senate would remain parallel to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is based on population.

Schafer and Kinnie emphasize that the Founding Fathers created both the People’s House of Representatives and the States’ Senate to make a constitutional republic for fair representation for big and little states alike.

They point out that the Restoring Colorado initiative would do the same for Colorado, but for counties instead of states.

The Restoring Colorado ballot initiative grew out of last year’s secession movement by some counties in response to legislation threatening traditional Colorado rights and freedoms. It focuses, however, on the more pragmatic approach of changing representation.

Since there are 65 representatives in the Colorado House of Representatives and 64 counties, the House is the logical body to change. Changing the Colorado Senate would mean adding 29 senators for a cost-prohibitive addition in salaries as well as a remodeling outlay.

For more information, visit

Holyoke Enterprise July 17, 2014

2 teachers hired; band director resigns PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

Math and social studies teachers were hired for Holyoke JR/SR High for the 2014-15 school year, while the resignation of band director Miko Martinez was accepted at the July 8 meeting of the Re-1J Board of Education.

Martinez’ resignation is effective immediately.

Cristine Mallari will teach JR/SR high math and will be placed on the district salary schedule at BA+15, Step 6.

Mallari is participating in the Volare International H-1B nonimmigrant status for foreign teachers program. She is from the Philippines, where she has spent the past five years teaching math in Quezon City.

Her bachelor’s degree is in secondary education with a major in math, and she has completed half of her master’s degree, also in math education.

Cody Jiru was hired to fill the social studies teacher position and will also be an assistant football coach. He will be placed on the salary schedule at BA Step 2.

Jiru graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., with a B.A. in social science/secondary education. He played football for five years at Benedictine and was named to the All-Conference team three different seasons.

He returned to his home in Sacramento, Calif., where he served as a long-term substitute and then was an alternative school social studies teacher for a year.

Extra-duty assignments for 2014-15 were also approved at last week’s board meeting.

Stipends were set at $3,102 for the head HS football coach, with three assistants at $1,861 each and one assistant at $1,241.

Head HS volleyball, boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, wrestling, boys’/girls’ track, baseball and softball coaches will also receive $3,102. Assistant coaches in those programs will be paid $1,861, as will the HS spiritleader sponsor.

A $1,861 stipend has been set for each of three seasons for an athletic trainer.

A stipend of $1,825 will go to head HS boys’ golf, girls’ golf and girls’ swimming coaches, with assistants receiving $1,241.

Head JH football, volleyball, boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, wrestling and boys’/girls’ track coaches will receive a $1,825 stipend, while $1,241 was allotted for assistant coaches in those sports, as well as the JH spiritleader sponsor.

General extra-duty stipends were set at $3,102 for the band director and play director and $932 each for the choir director and musical assistant.

Extra-duty assignments were made as follows:

John Zilla, head HS football; Merle Powell, Dusty McConnell, Cody Jiru and Nic Balog, assistant HS football; Michelle Vieselmeyer, head HS volleyball; Theresa Tharp and volunteer Vanessa Tharp, assistant HS volleyball; Scott Dille, head HS boys’ basketball; Ben Rahe and volunteer Nick Flaa, assistant HS boys’ basketball.

Arlan Scholl, head HS girls’ basketball; Kia Kassman and volunteer Victoria Timm, assistant HS girls’ basketball; Brady Walter, head HS wrestling; Houston McConnell and volunteers Nate Groshans and Jeremy Dirks, assistant HS wrestling; Cindi Beavers, head HS boys’/girls’ track; Amanda Skinner and Shelby Beavers, assistant HS boys’/girls’ track.

John Zilla, head HS baseball; Marcus Kammer and volunteer Brett Gerk, assistant HS baseball; Sherman Kage, head HS girls’ softball; Kendra Schlachter, ass’t HS girls’ softball; Stefan Betley, ass’t HS boys’ golf; Marcia Dalton, head HS girls’ golf; Adria Colver, head HS girls’ swimming; Aly Brinkema, assistant HS girls’ swimming; Jennifer Philips, head HS and head JH spiritleader.

Clay Christensen, head JH football, assisted by Brady Walter; Jordan Stone, head JH volleyball, assisted by Heather Monett; Jim Yakel, head JH boys’ basketball; Jordan Stone, assistant JH girls’ basketball and head JH boys’/girls’ track; Kendra Schlachter, fall, winter and spring athletic trainer; Marcia Dalton, choir director; Eric Conklin, play director; Pat Wiebers, musical assistant; Karen Ortner, FCCLA; Clay Christensen, FFA; and Roy Derrick, FBLA.


Public conduct policy discussed

New restrictions for offenders were reviewed by the board, to be added to the school district’s Policy KFA on public conduct on school property.

The policy discussion will return to the next board meeting on Aug. 5.

The proposed policy addition notes that the superintendent has the authority to impose additional restrictions for any length of time including, but not limited to, restricted access to the building or staff, not allowed to attend school events, not allowed on school property, not allowed to make a school facility request, not allowed to volunteer in the building or with a school program and/or any other restrictions deemed necessary.

Superintendent Bret Miles confirmed that this policy will pertain to situations in conjunction with any Holyoke School District event, even if it’s at another school district. It pertains to both students and adults.


Amendment 23 suit filed

Holyoke School District is included as a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed June 27 against the State of Colorado. The lawsuit argues that the negative factor is a violation of Amendment 23 in the constitution.

Amendment 23 received voter approval in 2000, requiring schools to receive a predictable and growing source of funding. The past four years, the Legislature has said it doesn’t have the money to fund this.

The difference between the funding a school district was supposed to receive, by statute, and what it actually received is called its negative factor.

Holyoke Superintendent Bret Miles said the lawsuit is not trying to prove a remedy. Rather, it’s asking for a legal interpretation. It’s asking why some constitutional provisions are followed and not others.

Lead plaintiff in this Dwyer v. State of Colorado lawsuit is Lindi Dwyer, who has four students in the Kit Carson School District.

Plaintiffs in the case are five school districts (including Holyoke), East Central BOCES, Colorado Rural Schools Caucus, Colorado PTA and four sets of parents (including Dwyer) with children in three different school districts.


Other business

In other business July 8, the Re-1J board:

—approved second reading of policies and regulations on the topics of alcohol- and drug-free workplace, parent engagement in education and crisis management.

—reviewed activities/athletic handbook changes, as reported by activities director Sandra Rahe.

—heard a construction update from Miles. He noted that new walls are framed and construction is going well in the office remodel projects at both the elementary and JR/SR high schools. Substantial completion is scheduled for July 28.

Holyoke Enterprise July 17. 2014