Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weather Preparedness

 WEATHER PREPAREDNESS CLASSES COMES TO LIMON
By: Christopher Schroeder

Are you prepared for a Severe Thunderstorm? What about a Tornado? Do you have a plan for when the Tornado Siren sounds again? All of these questions and more will be answered with the new Meteorological Research and Education Organization’s Classes coming to Limon. 

In 1990 an F3 tornado tore through downtown Limon. The tornado took two lives and injured 14 more. Not only did the tornado leave physical scars in the town, but it left emotional scares in the community. It has been almost 25 years since this tornado took a chunk of Limon History, and it is still a possibility for it to happen again. 

The community has had a longing desire to learn more about storms, and how to better prepare for when the next big one hits. Our classes will take time to answer all the questions you have about severe weather in the Limon area, and will also give a helpful look at what you can do to prepare your home, and your family. 

New Code Enforcement Technician

By Will Bublitz

After growing up here and moving away, Greg Tacha has returned to Limon to become the town’s new building inspector.

“My official title is Code Enforcement Technician,” Greg said. “I started March 2 after moving here from Colorado Springs.”

Greg is learning his new duties from Trevor Williams who has been Limon’s Code Enforcement/Building Inspector for more than a year. Williams plans to retire at the end of March.

“For the past two weeks, I’ve been working with Trevor and learning how the office operates,” Greg said.

As the Code Enforcement Technician, Greg’s job is to oversee the town’s building permit process.

“People come into the office here at the Town Hall to apply for the building permits and we issue them,” he said. “Once the construction begins, I’ll go out to inspect certain aspects of the new building to ensure it’s being done within the town’s building codes. Some of the code requirements include using rebar to reinforce concrete construction and specific types of wooden framing, and ensuring roof shingling is put on appropriately.”

Greg not only inspects the construction of new buildings, but is also tasked with inspecting any remodeling of existing residences or businesses to ensure they comply with the town’s building codes.  
“I’ll also be involved other code enforcement,” he said. “This summer, I’ll be doing weed enforcement and enforcing other municipal codes around town.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Foreign Trade Zone progress

The Town of Limon was notified the hold placed on the Limon Foreign Trade Zone application on December 24, 2014 by the Foreign Trade Zone Board (FTZ Board), U.S Department of Commerce, has been lifted, allowing the federal review process to resume.

The hold was placed on the application when the FTZ Board received a letter from the Port of Denver, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), dated December 17, 2014 stating CBP did not believe that the Service Area defined in the application met the regulatory adjacency requirement of being within 60 miles or 90 minutes of the Port of Denver.

In cooperation with the CBP, the Service Area mapping and description was revised. These revisions did result in a few areas that were previously included being not included in the revised mapping. The new Service Area no longer includes the Towns of Akron and Simla as well as some rural portions of the counties of Morgan, Lincoln, Elbert and Washington. These areas would still be eligible for subzone status when the application is finally approved.

The Service Area now includes all of the counties of Adams and Arapahoe and portions of Elbert, Lincoln and Morgan.

On March 10, 2015, CBP informed the Town of Limon that the Port Director LaShanda Jones had agreed the revised maps met the regulatory adjacency requirement and that Limon should submit revised materials to the FTZ Board.

Limon submitted the revised Service Area mapping and description to the FTZ Board and received notification that the hold had been removed on March 11, 2015. This action allows the formal federal review to continue towards approval.

If you have questions about the application, please contact Dave Stone or Joe Kiely at the Town of Limon by calling Limon Town Hall at 719‐775‐2346.

Friday, March 20, 2015

PARCC impacts Badger Students

Math teachers express concern about PARCC testing at School Board Meeting

Charles W. Hoffman

Math teacher Stacy Larson was at the school board meeting on Monday, March 16 to address the Board of Education about the new math curriculum.

Larson handed out a chart showing how the new curriculum will need to shift to meet state-mandated standards and to prepare students for PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing.

Having just finished the math portion of PARCC testing, Larson expressed grave concerns about the test.

The challenges of having a totally computer-based assessment, is that students must figure out how to explain their work, which is traditionally done on paper by showing formulas. Another problem with the test is the standards seem to be two years advanced from current curriculum.

Larson said the fields of algebra are being muddled together for testing purposes. Some of the questions on the Algebra I test are closer to Geometry, and the Algebra II test has questions ranging from trigonometry to stats and differential equations.

“Some of the things on the Algebra II test are not currently being taught until college statistics class,” she said.

Larson explained that the presentation of the test is mostly in story form, citing a few examples where students were required to read several paragraphs, decipher what was important to the equation and then explain in paragraph form the answer.

Anette Andersen, an elementary school teacher, expressed additional concern citing that the tests for third-grade students was very similar. Adding to the problem is the fact that current third-graders have barely been introduced to the keyboard and have no typing skills.

Mardell Martin, school librarian, added her frustration stating that she thought it was sad to see the frustration coming from children who do not possess a high level of typing skill. She said that even if the children know how to do the math, they have a very hard time trying to express it one letter at a time.

In order to prepare the students for this level of computer and typing experience, the school would need a significant number of additional computers in classrooms, which the district simply cannot afford.

Larson addressed the need for a complete course correction by shifting most of the math back approximately two full grade levels. That would put an introduction to Algebra at the end of the sixth grade and beginning Algebra at the seventh grade levels.

The first problem with this idea is the lack of textbooks that teach to the test standards.

Monsanto Funds benefit local fire department

By Will Bublitz

The Hugo Fire Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a cash donation Monday, March 16 by a local rancher through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

 BIG CHECK – The Hugo Fire Department was awarded a $2,500 check from the Monsanto Fund by local rancher Jim Bledsoe on Monday. Pictured here (l-r) are: Assistant Fire Chief Justin Carter, Fire Chief Clayton Hale, Bill and Jim Bledsoe of the Bledsoe Ranch, and Micah Seyler, Monsanto representative.

Jim Bledsoe of the Bledsoe Ranch presented a $2,500 check for the department to Fire Chief Clayton Hale and Assistant Fire Chief Justin Carter during a brief ceremony at the Hugo fire station.

“The Hugo Fire Department has helped our ranch in the past with prairie fires,” Bledsoe said. “So I wanted them to get this donation. Every community needs a good fire department. I know our community can always depend upon this fire department in a fix.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pastor Judith Wascher

By Will Bublitz

Zion Lutheran Church of Limon has a new minister, but Pastor Judith Wascher wants everyone to know that she will be staying for only a few months.

“I’m an intentional interim pastor, so I’ll be here for only about a year,” she said. “I’ll be helping the congregation get ready for its new resident pastor.”

Wascher began her pastoral duties at Zion Lutheran on February 1. She said her task as the church’s interim pastor is help guide its congregation through the transition from one resident pastor to the next.

“But I’m not here just to fill a spot,” she said. “I’ll be helping this congregation get ready to select their new resident pastor. Part of the process is determining what it is that they are looking for in a pastor.”

Wascher explained that congregations, like communities, change over time. Part of the process of finding a new pastor is defining the wants and needs of each congregation.

“They have to ask themselves where they are going as a congregation and where their community is going,” she said. “It’s important for them to ask these questions to determine what kind of pastor they want.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Farmer takes math to the Capitol.

Last week I had the opportunity to take the 6th grade math test most states require called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (better known as PARCC).

Now I consider myself higher than average when it comes to math.  As a farmer, on a regular basis I am calculating costs, production and profit, and quite often, loss.  Problem solving with numbers is a skill required for most of us in agriculture, and most of the time we calculate our figures while sitting on a tractor or driving a truck. 

So when I was taking the PARCC test, I was shocked that even though I chose the correct answers, I lost almost half my score because I didn’t “show my work” the way that PARCC requires in their grading rubrics.

I had some trouble understanding how to maneuver within the software and was told that a teacher cannot help during the testing.  Hmmm… so how do the students figure this out?

It appears teachers waste valuable time teaching kids how to use the software, and then how to “show their work,” which is acceptable according to the rubrics.  There is no better example of “teaching to the test” and what the students are learning during this instruction time is worthless information for their future.

When I got frustrated with a silly question I was tempted to just hit the forward arrow and skip the rest of the test.  If an adult taking this test wants to skip a problem, I can only imagine what a 6th grader would do if they became annoyed.