Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation interested in maintaining habitat for deer, elk and pronghorn

The Otero County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, Oct. 2. Appearing before them on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s effort to create a conservation easement through Greater Outdoors Colorado Open Space Grant Program was Susanne Roller. Roller informed the commissioners of the variety of wildlife that exists on the Purgatory Basin Ranch and the wish of the Dorenkamp family that the conservation easement be placed on the ranch so that the 12,154-acre Bent and Otero County property be preserved in its present natural state. The ranch is prime habitat for elk, deer and pronghorn. The commissioners agreed and sent a letter of support.

Department of Human Services Director Donna Rohde asked for and received a Budget Amendment necessitated by a switch in accounting practices by the federal government regarding welfare distribution. The Electronic Benefit Transfer cards are being phased out. She is concerned that the income limit for families receiving aid is too high for two people in minimum wage jobs to qualify for help. The income guideline is very important in determining who is eligible for help in housing.

Lynn D. Horner was contracted to reconstruct the door and surrounding facings and lintel to match the Drivers’ License remodeling which was completed earlier in September. He is completing the project for just over $6,000.

Ballots will be going out in Otero County no later than Oct. 16, said County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy. The overseas ballots have already been mailed.

County Economic Development Coordinator Danelle Berg met with representatives of Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett as well as representatives of Tri-County Housing regarding farm worker housing and who can use it. The factor of income is important in this situation.

Commissioner Kevin Karney brought up an item that was also discussed in the above meeting concerning poor service from Century Tel in rural areas. An area near Timpas Creek has been out of service for 14 or 15 days. In one instance a man was injured in an automobile accident and lay in a ditch overnight because he could not call emergency services. The senators' staffs will look into the situation, and Berg allowed access to her files which contain customer complaints.

The new Health Service District and 1 percent sales tax to allow financing of a nursing home was also discussed. Berg is serving on the committee backing the passage of 5A and 5B on the La Junta ballot. Karney would like to discuss a letter of support for the project at the next meeting of the commissioners. The surrounding area nursing homes are full or nearly full, and the 28 people now at the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center will have no place to go when the facility closes down in March. There is also concern over the length of time necessary to build a new facility - perhaps as long as 24 months, said Berg. Evergreen Assisted Living is not allowed to take persons who cannot lift themselves from their wheelchair to their bed. This type of facility is not licensed for lifting and does not have the equipment or certified staff for lifting.

Otero County Offices, landfills, courts, probation and driver license office will be closed on Monday, Oct. 9, in observance of Columbus Day. The Otero County Board of Commissioners will hold their public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 107.