| CraigDailyPress.com

Senior Center has new director; new brand to be unveiled

CRAIG — The Senior Social Center has hired its first executive director.

Krystal Baker began part-time with the Senior Social Center in July.

She returned to Moffat County about 17 years ago to raise her three children and one step-child and enjoy camping and other recreational opportunities afforded in the area.

In addition to her new role as executive director, she will also retain her position with Northwest Colorado Health as its senior services manager for Moffat and Routt counties.

"These positions will certainly complement each other, and we are so very happy to have Krystal at the helm of the Senior Center," the board of directors wrote in a news release.

Baker agreed.

"At Northwest Colorado Health, we have collaborated a lot with the Senior Social Center in aquatics and Geri-Fit. I learned of the opening, and the boards worked together to create a shared position," she said.

Since her start date in mid-July, Baker has been settling in, working on new and different collaborations and grant funding opportunities.

"Baker's duties will be many, and we are certain she can handle both positions with a great deal of dignity, passion, and a caring heart," according to the news release.

One of her goals is to find the center a more permanent home that offers larger space, especially for teh aging well programs.

"It's pretty crowded at the Bell Tower," she said.

Another goal is to further grow the organizations membership to include seniors older than 60, as well as those approaching their senior years, by securing grant funding to expand hours and develop a volunteer program.

To help broaden the appeal of the Senior Social Center and its programs, a new logo will be unveiled during the quarterly membership meeting, set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at Veteran's Hall, 419 E Victory Way.

"Anyone can come," Baker said.

During the meeting, Baker will provide an executive director update, the board will provide an update, board members will reveal the new logo, and Dan Davidson, director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, will talk about the museum and the mill levy designed to help pay for it and the library.

"Our main goal is to keep our seniors active — socially, mentally, and physically — aging in place, so that they can stay in their homes as long as possible," Baker said. "This opportunity has kept me busy the last couple of months, but I feel like I have the best job in Moffat County."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Moffat County Tourism Association invites public to tourism learning lab

CRAIG — The Moffat County Tourism Association CRAFT program meeting on rural tourism and sustainable tourism will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept 27, at Colorado Northwestern Community College, Room 185.

A majority of the MCTA Board of Directors will attend the meeting, and the public is welcome to attend and participate. There are morning and afternoon meeting times, according to MCTA Director Tom Kleinschnitz. The morning meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 11:15 a.m., and the afternoon meeting begins at noon and ends at 3 p.m.

The morning session will focus on how rural communities can play an important role in creating sustainable and viable economy, Kleinschnitz said. The afternoon session will be on sustainable tourism, which is focused on introducing concepts and best practices on sustainable tourism.

For more information, call Kleinschnitz at 970-824-2335

Trapper Mine to receive Good Neighbor Award

CRAIG — The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is recognizing Trapper Mine for its reclamation efforts.

Trapper Mine is to receive the Good Neighbor Award in Washington D.C. later this month. The Good Neighbor Award is given to mining operations for successfully working with surrounding landowners and the community to reclaim land following mining operations, according to an OSMRE news release.

The other mining operation to receive the Good Neighbor Award is Bear Run Mine in Carlisle, Indiana.

Big Sky Mining, in Rosebud County, Montana; and Wild Boar Mine, in Lynnville, Indiana; will receive the National Award for achieving exemplary mining and reclamation in the country for specific aspects of reclamation, such as implementation of sedimentation control practices.

The OSMRE selected Trapper Mine for the Good Neighbor Award based on a range of community activities, including building a soccer field with mine equipment and workers, catering for law enforcement agencies, contributing more that $700,000 to the local communities and projects, creating hunting and outdoors program for people with disabilities, and funding research on the sharp-tailed grouse. Trapper is also maintains up a trust fund to provide grant money for future community activities after mining is completed.

"It's an honor for Trapper Mining to be recognized by the OSMRE.” Trapper Mine manager Michael Morriss said, “Trapper Mine has a proud, 40-plus year history of participating in our local community to enrich the area where our employees work and live. We are proud of being recognized for our excellence in reclamation restoration efforts to place the land we mine back in equivalent — and most of the time better — condition than before we started.”

He added that a significant number of Trapper’s employees are actively engaged in leadership throughout Moffat County and that the mine is proud to call Moffat County its home.

Contact David Tan at 970-875-1795 or dtan@CraigDailyPress.com.

Memorial Regional Health affiliates with SCL Health St. Mary’s

CRAIG — A new affiliation between health care systems promises to preserve the independence of small-town medicine while backing that independence with the power and resources of a much larger medical system.

A new collaborative health care agreement between SCL Health St. Mary’s and Memorial Regional Health formalizes a decades-old affiliation between the two health systems and in less than 24 hours, is already paying dividends for the local medical system.

The agreement was unanimously approved Thursday by the MRH Board of Trustees.

Members of the Memorial Regional Health Board of Trustees pose for a photo with their leadership staff and leadership staff of new affiliate partners SCL Health St. Mary’s.

“Let me assure you that we are not for sale. Decisions for what we do and where we go as an organization are still ours; our Board of Trustees is still governing this institution, and we all remain employees or MRH,” said MRH CEO Andy Daniels in a room filled with staff, board, and invited guests when the official announcement was made Friday morning at The Memorial Hospital.

President of St. Mary’s Brian Davidson, SCL Health President and CEO Lydia Jumonville and Memorial Regional Health CEO Andy Daniels announced a new affiliation between the local and regional healthcare systems on Friday, Sept. 21.

The most immediate result of the new affiliation will be the ability for MRH to replace “our disconnected computer systems” with EPIC — a patient records system — that will be acquired by leveraging SCL Health's investment in the system at a savings of about $5 million dollars through the next five years, according to Daniels.

A leadership steering committee convened after the announcement to consider a long list of additional opportunities that would see the smaller MRH leverage the power of the larger health care system, such as for group purchasing opportunities and reference lab services for “better prices, turn around, and services,” said MRH Vice President of Operations Jennifer Riley.

Patients stand to gain access to a wider range of providers and possibly, using telehealth and other technologies, the ability to receive those services in Moffat County.

“I think patients of these communities want to stay in the community as much as possible. There is a lot of care very appropriate to deliver here,” said President/CEO of SCL Health Lydia Jumonville.

For SCL Health St. Mary’s, the agreement provides “the security to know that we have trusted partners that will work with us to keep those (advanced level) services and referral patterns with us and patient services close to home,” said St. Mary’s President Dr. Brian Davidson.

About a third of SCL Health St. Mary’s patients are from referral hospitals, including MRH, so formalizing partnerships with regional providers should reduce uncertainty for the larger health system and provide the incentive to develop shared services.

Affiliation is also seen as a way for MRH to remain independent in light of pressures on rural health care.

“Rural health care is tough. I firmly believe that this affiliation will allow us to remain independent for a good long time … having a much larger partner behind us to give us some advice and resources when we need it will allow us to be your independent health care system for a long time to come,” Daniels said. “Here is the bottom line message: We are stronger together to serve our community better."

The official announcement was live-streamed on Facebook and may be viewed at facebook.com/memorialregionalhealth/videos/679384245757589/.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Moffat County Fuller Center welcomes new homeowner during Craig Chamber Mixer

CRAIG — “I’m home,” is what Craig resident Lidia Mendoza and her daughter will be saying every day from now on thanks to the Fuller Center for Housing.

The Fuller Center is a nonprofit organization that build homes for families in need with the help of volunteers, according to Moffat County Fuller Center Chapter President Neil Folks, and during a Chamber Mixer held Thursday, the center unveiled its newest home, which came to fruition following a three-and-a-half year project and is now finally ready for support a family.

The house, located on the 700 block of Yampa Avenue, used to be the Simmons Rooming House, Folks said. The owner donated the land to the center, and the materials from the old Simmons house were donated to help with the restoration of the Lay School House. Some of the materials purportedly date back to the 1910s.

“It was a long process,” Folks said. “Trying to find volunteers to take the time building a home is a challenge.”

Mendoza was selected to receive through an application process, Folks said. The process includes background checks and a financial assessment to determine if applicants are able to  support themselves and make payments on the interest-free mortgage.

“We just want to give people a chance to own a home,” Folks said, “especially for people who don’t have much, like some others do.”

Mendoza called her selection a huge blessing. She was at work when she saw a newspaper article about the home and decided to apply. Shortly after, the center asked to interview her and, a month later, asked if she was interested in the home. She acknowledged she wasn’t expecting to be selected and was surprised when she was.

Mendoza, 21, works two jobs to support her 2-year-old daughter, Alalea.

She and her daughter were living in an apartment with her parents. She said being selected to receive the house is an exciting opportunity for her and her daughter.

“I want to thank everyone for giving me a chance and believing in me,” Mendoza said.

Contact David Tan at 970-875-1795 or dtan@CraigDailyPress.com.

Community voices concerns about hospital merger at town hall meeting

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One year after Yampa Valley Medical Center merged with the UCHealth system, CEO Frank May said he frequently hears one question: “Are we still a community hospital?”

"Yes, we are," May said during a presentation in front of about 75 people at a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

“We are part of a bigger system, but there are still a lot of decisions made locally,” he said. “I’m not going to tell you everything is rosy and great. There are challenges, but I will tell you we made the right decision for the good of the community.”

However, during the Q & A following May's presentation, many in the audience expressed concern and doubt about UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center still being a community hospital.

May repeatedly said the hospital board represented the community and acted in the best interest of the community.

“I disagree,” said Paula Cooper Black, a longtime Steamboat Springs resident and a former City Council member.

By all appearances, Black said, everything is labeled “UCHealth,” and “The old hospital was erased in one fell stroke of the pen.”

May said UCHealth did indeed have a “strong rebranding” push, and that being part of a large corporation had its positives and negatives, but if it meant growing services for the community, it was the best path forward.

Black also asked where the estimated $105 million in profits from the sale went.

May said it was allocated in “three different buckets” — strategic capital, $50 million; the Yampa Valley Health Care Foundation, $20 million; IT integration and ongoing routine capital, $35 million.

Gary Haberlan, a former foundation board member, associate administrator and hospital pharmacist for nearly 35 years, began his comments by saying he had the highest regard for the medical staff, but he did not understand the reasoning behind the merger, especially when the hospital had a “healthy and substantial” bottom line in 2015.

Haberlan also questioned whether the $20 million for the foundation would truly benefit the greatest community needs or whether it would be funneled back into the hospital.

May promised it would be used for the benefit of the community.

Another common theme was cost of care and why UCHealth has not taken steps to lower costs.

“We all know it is a problem,” May said.

While some members of the audience said patient costs at the Steamboat hospital were some of the highest in the region if not the state, May countered, saying costs were in line with comparable hospitals.

One person questioned why so many people, including county employees who are incentivized to find less expensive options, leave the Yampa Valley for cheaper health care on the Front Range.

“I agree we’ve got to do something about the cost structure,” May said.

One man in the audience said he and his wife had recently relocated to Steamboat from Littleton, and as he searched for new local health care providers, he heard from a number of people in the industry who shared with him reservations about the direction the hospital was taking.

May said there are many issues surrounding the direction of health care in general, and he shares that discomfort.

Asked about underutilized space in the hospital, specifically the area under the new cancer center, the former Doak Walker Care Center and the old Safeway building in Craig, May said that none of that square footage was sufficient for the new orthopedic and spine center. He said those spaces won’t be wasted and will used for “growth in program development” in the next four or five years.

Some of the most heated comments came around the planned construction of the new orthopedic center. May said the hospital is in the final design stage, with construction anticipated to start in the spring and an opening around May 2020.

Former hospital foundation board member Nancy Spillane asked why the hospital was advertising for new surgeons “to replace our own local physicians.” She argued a joint venture would reduce costs and be more beneficial both to patients and existing local orthopedic surgeons.

May said a business decision was made, and the opportunity he offered to some of the local surgeons was declined. He added that the negotiating parties “chose different paths.”

“I thought my hospital would work harder to find common ground,” Black said.

The last comment, and most impassioned, of the three-hour meeting came from orthopedic surgeon Michael Sisk, who has provided orthopedic care in the Yampa Valley for 19 years.

“You are running local orthos out of town,” Sisk told May. “You are destroying our business.”

Sisk said he and other orthopedists have long been working to drive costs down for patients.

“You’ve blocked us, because it’s all about the money,” Sisk said.

Sisk's comments were met by applause from a majority in the audience. May said he disagreed.

“The whole hospital is becoming a mega-corporation run by a few people in Denver,” Sisk continued. “And they don’t care about any of you. They care about money and power.”

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.

Sunset Meadows receives Community Improvement Award

CRAIG —  The Craig Association of Realtors awarded Sunset Meadows a Community Improvement Award for its new street corner flower garden.  

For more information about the program or to nominate a property, contact any Craig Association of Realtors office.

Yard of the Week Sept. 17

CRAIG — The Craig Association of Realtors selected the yard at 1177 Schrader Ave., owned by Brenda and Dave Lyons, as the most recent Yard of the Week.

For more information about the program, or to nominate a property, contact any Craig Association of Realtors office.

Business Buzz: Economic Development Principles & Practices slated for Monday

Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership is hosting Economic Development Principles & Practices from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

The agenda for the event includes Economic Development 101, presented by Laura Lewis Marchino, CEcD, executive director of Region 9 Economic Development District. CMEDP Executive Director Michelle Perry will present a report overview from the Business Opportunity Toolkit project and host a workshop discussion for implementation steps and local incentives.

Perry said the ideal audience for the event includes elected officials, board members, staff, and community members interested in economic development opportunities in Craig and Moffat County.

“This is a great opportunity to understand the foundational elements that make a strong economic development program and direct our implementation of the steps outlined in our soon-to-be-released toolkit,” Perry said.

The event is free, and lunch will be served. RSVPs are required by Sept. 19 to director@cmedp.comFor more information, contact 970-620-4370 or director@cmedp.com.

Chamber Mixer to be hosted by Moffat County Fuller Center for Housing Thursday

The Craig Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors will hold a business after-hours mixer, hosted by the Moffat County Fuller Center for Housing, from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, to celebrate the completion of a project house at 731 Yampa Ave. The home will also be transferred to its new owner during the event.

Attend to learn more about the Moffat County Fuller Center, mingle chamber members while enjoying fun, food, and prizes.

The event will be held at 731 Yampa Ave. For more information or to RSVP, contact the Craig Chamber of Commerce at 970-824-5689 or info@craig-chamber.com.

Home buyer class slated for Tuesday

A free home buyer class will be conducted by Paul McGilton, of Guild Mortgage Company, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 318 W. Victory Way. The event promises "great information" for both first-time home buyers or the seasoned investor. Soda and water will also be provided.

RSVPs are needed by 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24.

Digital marketing workshop scheduled Thursday

Businesspersons, nonprofit leaders, and community members are invited to "Digital Marketing Fundamentals," from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in Room 185 at Colorado Northwestern Community College, 2801 W. Ninth St.

The event is hosted by Colorado Small Business Development Center and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, with presenters from Animas Marketing of Durango.

The agenda includes how to use search engine optimization tactics to increase customer acquisition and how to leverage social media for business growth.

The cost is $15 and includes lunch.

To register, visit coloradosbdc.org/training. For more information, call 970-620-4370.

Business consultants sought, invited to orientation

Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership is seeking experienced businesspersons to serve as Colorado Small Business Development Center consultants.

Local consultants are paid for their time, and their service allows the organizations to offer free, confidential consultations to start-up and growing companies.

"Serving as a consultant is a meaningful way to make a difference in our local economy," CMEDP Executive Director Michelle Perry said. "We seek to work with local businesspeople with experience in their field and passion for helping others. If that sounds like you, I hope you will consider serving in this rewarding role."

Those interested may learn more by attending an informational session from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Room 185 at Colorado Northwestern Community College, 2801 W. Ninth St.

RSVP to director@cmedp.com. For more information, call Perry at 970-620-4370.

Budget, operating plan, funding decisions scheduled for Moffat County Local Marketing District meeting Tuesday

CRAIG — The 2019 budget and operating plan will be up for discussion and possible approval when members of the Moffat County Local Marketing District board meet Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The board is also set to discuss and possibly approve funding for an application for events.

Board members will also receive a financial report and consider approval of expenses, discuss their procedures for invoices, discuss a date for an event funding discussion, and learn more about the Oct. 1 Sunshine Law workshop, which will be held from 8 a.m. to noon in the library at the college.

The LMD board meeting is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., Tuesday in Room 175, CNCC Academic Services Building Room 255 at 2801 W. Ninth St.

To view the complete agenda and learn more about the LMD visit colorado.gov/pacific/moffatcounty/moffat-county-local-marketing-district-2.