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Proposed treatment center at Moffat County School District Yampa Building expected to attract out-of-town patients

Memorial Regional Health’s proposed substance abuse treatment center would draw patients to Craig from other parts of the state, according to email correspondence about the project.

A new MRH-backed treatment facility called Providence Recovery Services of Colorado, will move into the almost 100-year-old building located at 755 Yampa Ave. if the Moffat County School District Board of Education follows through on a proposal to donate the building to MRH the green light at the board’s Thursday, June 20 meeting.

On May 15, Marlin Eckhoff, Craig and Moffat County regional building official, emailed Donald James “Jim” Blackwood, an administrator for Sunflower Management Group, one of three out-of-state private partners planning to guide the treatment center from an idea to reality, regarding questions the Planning & Zoning department had yet to have answered.

“It says that the facility will “primarily” serve NW Colorado, approximately what percentage of the participants are expected to be from out of town?” asked Eckhoff. 

On May 18, Blackwood responded that the answer is “hard to project.”

Treatment CDP 061919 1 by Andy T Bockelman on Scribd

“Initially, 100 percent will be within an hour or two driving distance from Craig,” Blackwood said. “The number of patients from out of town will increase once the sober living component is fully operational. Of 40 potential patients living in sober living, we believe 50 percent will be from a distance further than an hour or two drive, and hence need living accommodations, which the sober living component provides.”

Eckhoff asked if participants are charged a fee for the sober living rooms, if the rooms excluded children, where the clients will live when they are off-site, and if there is any transportation that will be provided for off-site clients.

The sober living rooms will cost $750 a month, Blackwood said, a cost “typically paid out of pocket by the patient, not paid by insurance.”

Children and spouses will not be allowed to live in sober living residences, he answered. The $750-a-month sober living residences “will likely be a requirement for admission to the program” for patients coming from out of town and those who have been in recovery for only a short time, according to Blackwood. 

Transportation within an hour or two drive would be available through Providence Recovery Services of Colorado, he said. SMG is working on obtaining grant funding for peer recovery coaches to provide rides in their personal vehicles, he said.

Providing the building transfer continues, the treatment center is slated to open this summer, according to a two-page overview of the facility. Providence would provide an “intensive outpatient program,” three hours a day for three days a week; a “partial hospitalization program,” described as six hours a day for five days a week; medication assisted treatment; telemedicine; a “wilderness component,” and “Sober Living” dorm areas to accommodate a maximum of 20 men and 20 women, according to the document. 

In an April 29 email to Moffat County commissioners, Eckhoff described comments he’s received from “several people” regarding the zoning of the treatment center.

“All occupants will be allowed to come and go as they please, and the dorm rooms will be similar to a boarding house where they share facilities,” he wrote. “While we do not have any designation for ‘Rehab Facility’ in our Land Use Code, I believe the proposed use would be classified as a ‘Convalescent Center,’ which according to the sections I attached is a permitted use in this zone. I have done some research and have found that many of these facilities are in residential areas of other municipalities.”

Treatment CDP 061919 3 by Andy T Bockelman on Scribd

Eckhoff commented further on the project stating that the treatment center would be “an allowed use,” with which he believed planning and zoning officials would concur.

Treatment CDP 061919 4 by on Scribd

“The ones I spoke to there at one of the planning and zoning meetings at this time, regardless of their personal feeling about whether it’s a great location, they agreed that that is what that should be labeled as and that it would be a permitted use in that zone,” he said. “From everything we’ve come up with so far it does meet the zoning requirements of mixed-use as far as I’m concerned.”

Treatment CDP 061919 5 by on Scribd

MRH CEO Andy Daniels said he “has no further comment about this topic at this time.”

The Board of Education will decide on the proposal to donate the Yampa Building to Memorial Regional Hospital in exchange for a discount on health-related services over the next three years.

The next public BOE workshop and regular meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Blue skies, soft terrain lend to running conditions for Friends of Moffat County Education’s Wake the Whittler 5K

Harriers of all ages got in motion Saturday morning as part of Friends of Moffat County Education’s Wake the Whittler.

Runners went the distance along a three-mile course at Loudy-Simpson as part of the annual 5K race, sponsored by FMCE and Memorial Regional Health as a fundraiser for area schools.

At a count of about 50, the number of athletes was a dip from previous years, which owners attributed to wet weather the night before.

Though the sun was shining Saturday, the residue from Friday’s rain showers left the trail muddy and forced organizers to rework the course, including taking out the Nature Trail.

A handful of runners also got diverted from the final stretch by passing through the lineup of carvers in the park with Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

Still, Coltyn Terry was well in front of everyone as the first to finish for the day at a time of 19 minutes, 30 seconds.

The incoming Moffat County High School junior said he was keeping pace with several younger runners before taking off himself.

“We pushed as long as we could, and then I just kind of finished,” he said.

2019 Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K winners

9 to 11

Jesse Terry

Mena Tucker

12 to 14

Darby Byrnes

Brook Wheeler

15 to 18

Coltyn Terry

Liberty Hippely

19 to 33

Heather Hamman

34 to 45

Nathan Grivy

Elizabeth Tucker

46 and up

Terry Barber

Mary Campbell

Allan Reishus

He noted that the event served as a good way to keep in shape as he plans to compete in Down Under Sports’ cross country event in Australia later this month.

With Coltyn winning the 15- to 18-year-old division — along with MCHS track and cross country teammate Liberty Hippely, the first female runner to finish — Darby Byrnes took second overall as the top male in the 12 to 14 group, with Brook Wheeler the swiftest girl in the group.

Jesse Terry and Mena Tucker won the 9 to 11 age bracket, while Heather Hamman and Macho Nunez were the quickest among ages 19 to 33.

Allan Reishus took the award for the most seasoned runner, with Terry Barber and Mary Campbell the fastest for ages 46 and above.

For 34 to 45, Elizabeth Tucker and Nathan Grivy were the first to cross the line.

Grivy said he was coming off 13.1 miles a week earlier in the half-marathon of the Steamboat Springs Marathon, ranking 143rd out of more than 700.

“There was a lot of people in that one. Thought I’d try something a little smaller,” he said.

‘Future of Craig’ meeting seeks change at Colorado Northwestern Community College

Craig residents and civic leaders are challenging the Colorado Northwestern Community College and the Colorado Community College System state board to step up their involvement in the local economy.

Memorial Regional Health CEO and Moffat County Affiliated Junior College Board Member Andy Daniels presented an 18-minute plea for change at CNCC’s Craig campus during a “Future of Craig” meeting held Wednesday evening at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. At least 50 people were in attendance.

“Change is never spontaneous,” Daniels said. “You have to start somewhere. It needs a worthwhile goal and I certainly think the economic interest of our community is a worthwhile goal.”

In response to community criticism that the board isn’t doing enough, Daniel’s described a board with limited powers. 

“We can get mad,” he said. “We can jump up and down, but in reality there are only five things that the board of control is allowed to do with the funds that are being provided by the taxpayers in Moffat County.”

The MCAJC board can defray tuition costs for local residents, he said, provide supplemental funding for operating costs of current or future college programs, erect facilities, provide capital funding for technology enhancements, and provide operational funding for facilities owned by the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District.

Daniels critiqued the CCCS state board and CNCC Craig administration for not driving the college to be the economic stimulus it was once hoped to be.

He said the campus needs student housing, a vibrant athletic program and a vision with measurable aggressive goals outlined for the college’s future.  

In October, he said the board’s student housing proposal for a $10 million 50-bed housing complex, equipped with a cafeteria and common area, was rejected at the state level. A counter-proposal to buy the Valley Vista Inn to serve as a student housing solution was rejected by the MCAJC board.

“Our feeling truly is that the growth we have seen in terms of the FTE (full-time equivalent student headcount) is largely due to the actions of the Board of Control and not necessarily because of the leadership at CNCC,” he said. “That’s how we feel.”

In light of community suggestions, Daniels outlined reasons why “breaking away” from CNCC in lieu of partnerships with Colorado Mesa University or Colorado Mountain College is not the best idea.

Such a move, he said, would require many steps: a legislative change, a vote to change the existing mill tax levy; the MCAJC board would have to rework the bonds the entity took out to pay for the auto shop and other additions at the Craig campus; and lastly, they would need to find a willing partner.

Daniels said the concerns “are very valid and frustrating.”

“But the reality is we do not seem to have a willing partner in the community for economic development in the college,” he said. 

Daniels proposed a targeted media campaign, coupled with community pressure at the state and local levels. He presented a large printout of a letter asking for Joe Garcia, CCCS president and system chancellor, to visit Craig and present a plan for change within 90 days, and encouraged audience members to sign it. 

“An open message to CNCC and CCCS leadership from Moffat County Colorado,” he said. “As business, education and government leaders, and on behalf of the citizens of Moffat County, we propose not just changes to operations of CNCC but even more important to restore trust between the citizens of Moffat County and CNCC and CCCS leadership. … We believe that the development and expansion of CNCC Craig is a key element in our longterm economic viability; that CNCC and CCCS must take an aggressive lead in the development of the CNCC Craig campus; that senior leadership at CNCC must be present, active and engaged in this community, leading change with specific measurable and time specific goals; that senior leadership’s priority goal mandated by CCCS must be leading economic development at CNCC Craig campus; that CNCC must take the lead on supporting student housing on campus, the development of athletics on campus and aggressively implementing programs that will grow CNCC Craig into the premier location for students seeking degrees and certifications in allied health, technology, paleontology and art; that CCCS must take immediate and swift changes in the operations at CNCC to accomplish these community goals. They are in fact a community college. We invite Joe Garcia as CCCS president and system chancellor and the CCCS board to engage with this community and to commit, that within 90 days to deliver a public plan with specific measurable and timely goals to this community in support of growth, economic development and positive change. We pledge our names in this oath and message to CNCC and CCCS leadership in earnest hope for our future.”


After his speech, Daniels took questions and comments from the audience. Attendees questioned whether Colorado Mesa University or Colorado Mountain College would be a better fit than CNCC; whether the community should contact Governor Jared Polis due to his previous background on the Colorado State Board of Education; and how to increase community engagement among younger residents and the community at large. 

City Councilor Andrea Camp and former state appointed CNCC advisory council member Dave Fleming voiced their support for aggressive improvements at CNCC’s Craig campus. 

“From my experience one of the top priorities for change is a sense of urgency,” Frank Moe said. “There is a sense of urgency from the hotel owners that we don’t have years for change to happen in the economy. We are talking things need to happen now.”

Moe also referenced the book “13 Ways to Kill Your Community,” while resident Michael Lausin highlighted an underlying issue that sparked laughter from the audience. 

“Does this community really want to change?” Lausin asked. “Very seriously, does this community want to change? Mr. Moe, he brought up 13 ways to kill your community. We do 11 of them, or is it 12?”

Lausin advocated for Craig to look for ways to diversify the economy away from it’s reliance on the energy sector.

“Things are going to change on that hill, jobs are going to go away, and if we don’t diversify what we’re doing people are going to be moving out,” he said.

Addressing a comment about the youth’s lack of community involvement, Lidia Mendoza, with her 4-month-old daughter in tow, added her voice to the conversation.

As you said, you need someone from the younger generation to be here, well we’re here and we’re not any of your kids,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza motioned to a friend in the audience.

“She’s 21 and I’m 22. We’re all homeowners here, we have kids and we want to make it better,” she said. “We went to CNCC and it was — it needs to get better. We don’t care about Rangely, we’re not living in Rangely. Most of our programs need to be here because we need it here, right?”

Mendoza received a loud round of applause. She’s currently studying to become a nurse through an online program at Colorado Mesa University, a program CNCC Craig Vice President of Student Services John Anderson said was proposed to be held at CNCC.

“That was the hospital’s decision, we offered exactly the same classes on the ground here, and they decided to send those students out of our community and our county,” Anderson said. “That was probably $50,000 (in lost funding from the hospital) and we lost out $50,000 from the state. I have kids who come into my office crying because of that decision.”

Anderson added he would have liked the community to have had more notice in advance of the meeting, but, overall, he was supportive of Daniels’ push for greater accountability. 

“This is an excellent meeting,” he said. “It’s a good start to get the community together. Everything the letter up there states — we’re doing everything on that letter. If they want us to present it to the community, my door is already open.”

“We’ve already put a plan in place to grow our community education, our education programs, we just grew our new nursing student cohort from 25 to 40, we hired two new nursing staff members because of that, we hired an extra full-time science faculty member because of that, we hired an extra humanities and arts teacher just this year.”

Anderson said CNCC Craig will have men’s and women’s soccer teams this year for the community to support, with talks of a possible cross country running team in the works. Overall, Anderson remained optimistic about CNCC Craig’s future. 

“The board is doing a wonderful job,” he said. “We’re the only community college that has a board like this that gives us extra funding to do those things. We’re incredibly grateful for the support. I think this (meeting) is a great first start.”

The next public Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 17 at CNCC in conference room 255.

Seniors holding Wii bowling tournament

Senior citizens at Sunset Meadows I in Craig aren’t letting their age stop them from enjoying some digital fun.

Craig’s senior living center will be holding a video game bowling tournament on the Nintendo Wii system at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 at 633 Ledford Street in the second floor library.

Though the group has held tournaments in years past complete with prize money and other assorted swag, this year promises to have at least a dozen bowlers competing. The group will have free pizza.

Any senior citizen is invited to come and learn how to bowl on the Nintendo Wii.  

Boys & Girls Club of Craig to blossom with summer garden project through MRH, CSU Extension Office

Memorial Regional Health received a $2,500 grant this spring from the Colorado Garden Foundation to partner with Boys & Girls Club of Craig and create, plant, and maintain a community garden for Moffat County children during the summer of 2019, according to a news release from MRH.

The local branch of the Colorado State University Extension Office is also serving as a volunteer partner in this project, as are several community members.

Five health care professionals from MRH will assist in the implementation of all project goals, objectives, and outcomes: occupational therapist Susan Jones, physical therapists Jenna Kaspari and Carol Sitlington, speech-language pathologist Jenna Harrison, and registered dietician Madysen Jourgensen.

The team will start working with local club members on June 18, with sessions from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer for eight weeks through mid-August, with one week off for the Fourth of July.

The planters provided by sponsors will feature different vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other plants. Garden activities and lessons will range from hydration and personal nutrition to identifying plants and seeding, watering, and weeding.

“The garden planters will allow for smaller groups and individualized attention,” the release stated, noting the club’s membership of about 90 kids per day. “The planters will also help the project promote hands-on healthy living activities, theme-based monthly foods, eventual samples of fruits and vegetables, and general horticultural-related education, all through the lens of children-focused activities. Further, the project will incorporate all the benefits of regular occupational therapy, including fine motor and visual perceptual skills, visual processing and sensory integration; physical therapy, with work on proper range of motion, balance and coordination, and gross motor skills; speech therapy, with focus on language fluency, word-finding, and social communication; and dietary coaching, including healthy foods and eating habits.”

CNCC offering welding classes for Craig students

Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County High School will be hosting basic welding classes starting Tuesday, June 18.

Learn to weld with professional welder Tanner Claypool, owner of Jack’s Bumpers in Craig.

Registration closes Friday, June 14 for classes beginning June 18.

Take the full course to learn the basics of oxy/acetylene, mig and fabrication, or spend two weeks and focus on one of these three areas of concentration.

Classes meet from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the agriculture shop at Moffat County High School.

Students successfully completing the course will be able to weld on their own, take the next steps to grow their skills, or apply for an entry-level job in welding with employers offering additional training.

Students receive a personal protection kit, completed projects to take home and proof of completion of the course included in the cost of the course. The complete course costs $495, plus $35 supply fee.

Two-week sessions cost $200, plus a $35 supply fee. Similar courses cost over $1,000 elsewhere not including travel and lodging.

To learn more and register visit https://cncc.edu/community-education-registration-form or call 970-824-1109.

Craig dancers bring circus sensibilities to stage with Studio V recital

“The Greatest Show on Earth” may be a bit of an overstatement, but Saturday night was certainly “The Greatest Show in Craig” for the audience of one of the area’s dance troupes.

Studio V presented its summer recital, “Dancing Under the Big Top” Saturday, June 8 in the Moffat County High School auditorium, an evening with all the showmanship of Ringling Brothers with circus-themed sets.

With a cast complete with multiple ringmasters, dancers dressed as animals such as lions and elephants, fire-breathers, clowns and more, the night featured 45 local kids ranging from preschool to high school ages showing fancy footwork.

“The kids worked really hard, and they did a great job,” said Kalee Voegtle, owner and instructor with Studio V, adding that taking inspiration from the circus was a dream of hers for a while.

The Studio V season began in September and featured a holiday performance, with the latest show beginning rehearsals at the beginning of the year.

“It was good to see them put all their effort and enjoy themselves,” Voegtle said.

Studio V will host multiple summer dance classes in the coming weeks starting June 24, as well as a musical theater component that will perform in August.

In keeping with the circus theme, the troupe will be re-enacting scenes from the PT Barnum film “The Greatest Showman.”

For more information, visit dancestudiov.com.

Up and at ’em: Get in early morning run with Friends of Moffat County Education Wake the Whittler 5K

The annual Wake the Whittler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run takes place Saturday, June 15 at Loudy-Simpson Park leading up to the final day of Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

Wake the Whittler, the first in a series of summer running events hosted by Friends of Moffat County Education, starts registration at 7 a.m., with the 5K kicking off at 8 a.m. and the Fun Run following.

All runners will receive a t-shirt and the top male and female runners in each age group will take home prizes. The cost is $20 for adults 18 and older, free to kids.

Funds benefit FMCE’s work with local schools and this year will specifically support area school’s robotics programs and other STEM projects.

For more information, contact info@moffatcountyeducation.org.

Moffat County Rural School reunion June 15

The Moffat County Rural School reunion will take place at 11 a.m. June 15 at the Luttrell Barn, 411 Emerson St.

If you were a student, teacher or just interested in our rural schools you are welcome to attend.

For more information, call 970-824-6455 or 970-824-6761.

David Ulrich: What a year for Moffat County School District

It is amazing to me that another year has come and gone for our students and staff. Before we move too far into the summer, I want to be sure and take an opportunity to thank everyone for a great 2018-19 school year! We have much to celebrate!

• All three elementary schools exceeded their reading goals for the year as prescribed by the Early Literacy Grant! Each school had three goals so they were nine out of nine district-wide!

• Moffat County School District has been awarded an $835,000 BEST grant for a new roof at Sunset Elementary School. The total estimate for the project is approximately $1.6 million. We are going to try our hardest to get this work done this summer, however, it will be contingent upon the availability of companies and a timeline that will not disrupt the educational process.

• Four Moffat County High School seniors earned the first-ever Seal of Bi-literacy endorsement on their high school diplomas. The Seal of Bi-literacy is an award recognized by Colorado Department of Education and acknowledges students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

• In February, we learned that MCSD received a security grant of over $100,000 from CDE to upgrade classroom door locks at Sandrock Elementary School and the high school. The grant will also allow us to significantly upgrade our radio communications in buildings and on our buses.

• MCSD had a Colorado State Teacher of the Year finalist: Amy Jones.

• MCSD had a Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year honoree: Sara Linsacum.

• MCSD had a Colorado Outstanding Administrative Leader in Reading from Colorado Council of the International Reading Association for Sunset Principal Jill Hafey. This award is to promote and recognize administrative support of quality reading instruction in Colorado schools. 

• MCHS’s FIRST Robotics team had a successful inaugural season.

• CMS’s FIRST Lego League team had a successful season as well.

• Project Lead the Way Launch was implemented in MCSD elementary schools. PLTW Launch is a nationally recognized approach to engaging students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math related learning. Students are challenged to implement a “design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them.”

• MCHS and CMS had several students who qualified for state and national competitions in a variety of sports and activities, including state champions in track and rodeo.

While this list isn’t exhaustive of the great things that have gone on this year, you can see, we clearly have reasons to be proud of the work accomplished on behalf of our students and staff. Next year, we will move into year three of the MCSD Strategic Plan. If we keep our focus on this plan and our district mission statement, we will continue to educate and inspire our students to thrive in an environment of change.

I hope each of you have a wonderful, relaxing summer and please know that I’m truly grateful that you choose Moffat County School District.

David Ulrich, Ed.D., MCSD Superintendent