Health, water dominate commissioners meeting

DEL NORTE— The Rio Grande County Board of County Commissioners touched on health and water issues during their public meeting on Wednesday, March 27.
Jody Kern (department of social services) and Emily Brown (public health) provided reports, and Kern is seeking applicants for three positions. Kern described how staff members are cross-trained, but it’s still challenging to cover the work.
“It’s conference season,” Kern explained, so existing employees will be absent as well. “It puts a ringer in my plan.”
Brown followed up with a reminder for celebrating public health week, and she presented a contract for signing. The contract enables nursing staff at the High Valley Community Center leverages to safely deliver medication to children at HVCC.

Potato waste
Motorists who catch a sharp whiff along the drainage parallel to Highway 112 near Center are familiar with the next issue for discussion.
“We are here today to talk about a mess up there,” said Mike Oliver, who lives next to the Idaho Pacific waste settling property. “I’m not here to shut them down. I live on the same corridor. But they need to clean it up.”
Oliver showed pictures of drainage on his property, and he recounted how his wife tried to use a tractor to dam up the flow. The problem has persisted for a few harvests. “Sometimes we can’t open the window in the summer because it smells so bad.”
The potato waste in settling ponds creates a seal over the sediment. When the seal breaks, the odor is pungent. Another neighbor three miles away also noted waste on his property, evidence of dumping gray water. The commissioners agreed to draft a letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regarding compliance with standards.
While Oliver was away last fall, operations changed. When he returned home, waste was coursing on both sides of his house. The drainage now includes three ditches, and it appears that waste is being rerouted from a large pond, passing along a ditch and being dumped back into the canal instead of in the canal closer to Center.
Commissioners received an update on insurance claims as well, and estimates for insurance coverage is likely to be similar to 2015–2017. The landfill compactor that burned up, for example, required $400,000 to replace, an usual cost.

Liquor license
Clerk and Recorder Cindy Hill discussed details for the Kelloff’s Restaurant Liquor License (Tequila Star Restaurant and Bar, LLC). Because ownership has changed, renewing the license became complicated.
“This liquor license is going to drive me to drinking,” Hill said. A targeted public hearing date was set for April 25, but has not been finalized. With a big celebration scheduled for April 27, the deadline is tight.
The next meeting of the Rio Grande County Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24.


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