County Beat: October 25, 2018

RBC | Two county departments are “98 percent” relocated from the second floor of Meeker Town Hall to the Fairfield Center as of Monday. Following a lengthy remodeling project of the office space on the east side of the Fairfield Center, once occupied by the library, and later by county offices during the remodel of the courthouse, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Services now occupy the space.
In workshops Monday, director of public health Julie Drake said her department is working on education and prevention regarding tobacco use, including vaping. She also said her department has been in discussion with Rangely District Hospital (RDH) regarding partnering more with public health around immunizations.
“RDH wants to take over the immunizations,” Drake said. “There’s a gap for people who go in [to public health] for immunizations, but don’t get well-child checks.” RDH is hopeful partnering with the county for immunizations would encourage people to have well-child checkups through the hospital at the same time.
Thursday at 6 p.m. RDH will hold a public meeting to discuss the future of the hospital and its current financial situation. A report on that meeting will be in next week’s Herald Times.
Human Services Director Barb Bofinger updated the commissioners as well, saying they currently have 18 children in out-of-home care—some in foster care and some in kinship care.
The department has received a local innovation fund grant that will be used to certify homes for foster care in-county. Sending children to foster care out of county has substantial impacts on families and on the department, she said.
In the regular commissioners’ meeting, Visionary vice-president Evan Biagi requested permission to continue providing service to about 50 addresses that are being serviced off a “dedicated back haul network” that is not connected to the county network. The addresses—on Strawberry, Little Beaver, the Mesa and Baseline—are not within line-of-sight to the current primary towers.
“As we understand it, there have been some contentious issues with this network in the past. We want to make sure we have full transparency,” Biagi said.
The county requested an address list of the customers served by the secondary network, and the commissioners agreed.
“From a communications department standpoint, I think this is a very good thing that Visionary has proposed,” said Communications Director Cody Crooks.
Commissioners Rector and Bolton both attended the Western Interstate Region conference in Arizona this month. Rector was impressed by a biomass power plant tour, and attended last week’s rally in Rangely in opposition to Proposition 112.
Commissioner Si Woodruff said the county is putting together two budgets: one if Prop. 112 passes and one if it fails.

By NIKI TURNER | editor@ht1885.com

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