County Beat: Fair board members appointed

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RBC I In work sessions, the Rio Blanco County Board of County Commissioners discussed preparing scoping comments on the proposed revision of the regulations governing the BLM’s grazing program. The Bureau of Land Management is accepting scoping comments in advance of a proposed revision of regulations that govern the BLM’s grazing program. Comments are due back by March 6. The White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts, together with the Board of County Commissioners, are compiling a statement. To learn more or to submit a comment, visit

Economic Development Director Makala Barton asked the commissioners what direction to take at an upcoming meeting with the state’s Just Transition Advisory Committee.

Commissioner Gary Moyer said he would like to see the focus be put on help for communities as opposed to funding for local government. “Government exists because we have a community, not the other way around,” he said.

Public Health Director Alice Harvey said the department is seeing more clients for family planning, prompting her to pursue additional federal funding through Title X. If the funding is granted, the department would contract with a medical provider to be the family planning director and see clients in the public health offices instead of sending them to local hospitals.

Harvey also provided an update on influenza and the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Influenza is still the biggest risk, she said, although numbers of this season’s flu cases and hospitalizations are starting to decline. “We’re still giving flu shots and it’s not too late to get one.”

As for the coronavirus, Harvey said, “The term pandemic is in the news, and we want to keep everyone up to date.”

There are no positive cases reported in Colorado as of Feb. 25.

Public Health is working with local hospitals, where an active screening process is already in place.

Preparation is underway at the state and local level, even though “the risk is currently very low” locally. “We want to ensure people that we’re prepared. We don’t want to incite panic.”

A plan is in place in the event coronavirus makes an appearance. Continue to take the usual precautions–wash hands well and often, stay home if you feel sick and avoid others who are symptomatic.

In the regular meeting, the commissioners:

Appointed Renae Neilson, Clint Shults and Karen Arnold to the Fair Board for terms ending 2023.

Appointed Melissa Dembowski to complete a vacant term on the Fair Board ending 2022.

Appointed Tracy Hayes to the Columbine Park Board.

Awarded bids for the 2020 dust control project to GMCO for $323,822; a culvert cleaner to Rotajetter for $19,245; and a brush beater attachment for a skid steer to SkidPro Attachments for $8,565.

The 2020 herbicide bid was awarded to Van Diest Supply for $114,150, with the option to purchase additional chemicals not included in the bid from a separate bidder.

Approved an agreement with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids for $2,500. The organization helps find permanent placement homes for kids in need of adoption.

After public comment, including a question about broadband access for Piceance Creek residents and a question from Tonya Merz about home studies for foster homes, the commissioners agreed to put both items on the work session schedule in March.

The board went into executive session to confer with County Attorney Todd Starr regarding legal advice and negotiations.