Fremont County Public Health now offers livesaving measure for overdoses

Fremont County Department of Public Health & Environment (FCDPHE) began distributing Naloxone to the local community on Feb. 8. Distribution and screening is on a confidential, appointment only basis. Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a safe and effective prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose, which can be caused by prescription analgesics (e.g., Percocet, OxyContin), and heroin. Naloxone will only reverse an opioid overdose, it does not prevent overdose deaths caused by other drugs such as benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax®, Klonopin® and Valium®), bath salts, cocaine, methamphetamine or alcohol. However, naloxone is effective for multi-substance overdoses such as a combined opioid and alcohol overdose. It cannot be used to get high.

The appropriate and intended use of Naloxone is to save lives. Area law enforcement officers routinely carry Naloxone which they credited with saving numerous lives. Individuals interested in the program may contact FCDPHE at (719) 276-7450 to schedule an appointment, screening and training (M-Th 7:30am-5:30pm). All information is kept strictly confidential.

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Officials Meet with Colorado Attorney General

Four Fremont County elected officials met with Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and members of her staff to discuss addiction issues in rural communities. The Feb. 7 meeting also included other community leaders from the court system, treatment agencies, and medical personnel.

General Coffman said they were on a “listening tour” and asked to hear local concerns and successes surrounding addiction, particularly the rise in opioid and other prescription addiction.

Sheriff Jim Beicker, who organized the meeting, said the Fremont County Detention Facility works closely with the state to provide treatment to offenders beginning during incarceration, and then moving that treatment into community-based agencies. He also described the use of new treatments to save lives and said the protocols, including Narcan, have saved at least six people locally.

County Coroner Randy Keller said his office deals with the end result of serious addiction. He is seeking to help reverse that trend.

County Clerk and Recorder Katie Barr said she has a general interest in addiction issues. She attended to offer her assistance in the ongoing efforts.

County Commissioner Debbie Bell described the current ongoing efforts to bring some sort of detoxification facility to Fremont County. She said the collaboration is an uphill battle, because although the facility would save time, funding, energy, and resources, ultimately similar services around the state are closing.

General Coffman and her staff took copious notes and pledged to work with agencies and organizations on local initiatives, rather than try to push through new statewide programs. She said she was pleased to see the community working together strategically to address the local issues.

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Detention Center Renovations Complete

BEFORE: The kitchen space at the Fremont County Detention Center before renovation.

AFTER: The kitchen space at the Fremont County Detention Center after renovation.

Commercial laundry facilities replaced old, worn-out appliances at the Fremont County Detention Center. Photos courtesy Sarah Mattot, Cañon City Daily Record

New kitchen and laundry facilities at the Fremont County Detention Center have replaced worn-out, 30-year-old appliances, plumbing, and more.

The renovations, at a cost of about $2.5 million, were paid for by the voter-approved sheriff’s sales tax. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 3, Sheriff Jim Beicker specifically thanked the voters for their support.

Undersheriff Ty Martin was instrumental as county project manager in seeing the renovations to completion. Overseen by general contractor Nunn Construction of Colorado Springs, the project included demolition to the dirt and then all new flooring, some new walls, plumbing, refrigeration, new appliances, and commercial laundry facilities. The space was expanded to make room for the processes necessary for the safe and secure operation of the detention center.

Renovations were required because standing water had destroyed much of the flooring and caused mold and rust problems throughout the kitchen. Many of the appliances were worn and unable to keep up with the demand to feed up to 230 inmates three times a day. In addition, thousands of pounds of laundry are cycled through the jail each day.

Sheriff Beicker also thanked the City of Florence, which provided kitchen facilities, and the Colorado Department of Corrections, which provided laundry services during renovations.

The Sheriff and his staff now are making preparations to update the jail security systems including cameras, doors, and control rooms.

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Vital Statistics Registrars Receive Five Star Performance Award

From left: Rick Miklich, Fremont County Public and Environmental Health Director, recognizes his team of Registrars, Christina Taylor, Paula Spurlin, and Matthew Kay, office manager. The team received recognition for their exceptional work with the 2016 Vital Statistics Five Star Performance Award from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

For the fourth year in a row, Fremont County Public and Environmental Health brought home a Five Star Performance Award for its outstanding work in Vital Statistics. The honor is given annually by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Director Rick Miklich shared the 2016 award during the Jan. 24 Board of County Commissioners meeting. He introduced the team that earned the honor, Registrars Matthew Kay, office manager; Paula Spurlin, and Christina Taylor.

Miklich said the department must excel in a demanding audit to earn the Five Star rating. He explained that vital statistics records, including birth and death certificates, are issued to qualifying people at the office located at 201 N. 6th St., Cañon City, for any birth or death in Colorado, not just Fremont County. People from across the state travel to Fremont County’s Vital Statistics Office to enjoy the prompt, efficient service the registrars offer, Miklich said.

The Fremont County Commissioners congratulated the honorees and said they particularly enjoy recognizing employees for a job well done.

In other business, the Commissioners:

-       Heard an Arkansas River Roundtable report from Gary Barber, Project Coordinator.  He explained several different fire restoration projects that are ongoing.

-       Appointed Jay Adamic to the Fremont County Weed Advisory Board to fill a vacancy with a term expiring Dec. 31, 2019.

-       Reappointed Dave Boden and Rich Thatcher to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for an additional three-year term ending Feb. 28, 2020.

-       Appointed Craig Mayle to the John C. Fremont Board for a five-year term ending Dec. 31, 2021.

-       Heard a report from County Manager Sunny Bryant on recent activities. She said she met with the Commissioners on Jan. 17 for their annual goal-setting session.

-       Heard positive news from Bryant in her monthly Fremont County Sales and Use Tax Report.

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Sheriff’s Office Deputy Saves Woman’s Life

Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Amendola is credited for saving the life of a Cañon City woman on Jan. 17.

The 18-year-old woman reportedly was in custody and about to be transported to the Fremont County Jail, when Deputy Amendola noticed she was slumped over in the patrol car and appeared unresponsive.

Deputy Amendola immediately removed her from the car and attempted to wake her. Because she was unresponsive and has a history of suspected drug use, Amendola immediately administered Narcan to her, a nasal spray that is a reversal agent for heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. Seconds later, she woke up, advised that she had taken a large amount of heroin minutes before her arrest, and was taken to the hospital. The woman was monitored and later deemed safe by medical staff before being transported to the Fremont County Jail.

Fremont County Sheriff’s Office deputies carry Narcan with them daily.

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Board Approves MMJ License Renewals

The Fremont County Commissioners approved three renewals of medical marijuana licenses during a special meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16. Those licenses include Fremont Cannabis at 1505 Elm St., Canon City (Medical Marijuana Center-Pharmacy); Today’s Health Care at 934 C St., Penrose (Optional Premises Cultivation-Commercial Greenhouse); and High Mountain Medz at 3000 County Road 103, Florence (Optional Premises Cultivation-Commercial Greenhouse).

The Board also held a public hearing for a Today’s Health Care modification that requested four new greenhouses and the replacement of another, as well as a new framed building for storing, curing, and processing. Seven Penrose residents testified against the expansion during the hearing, objecting primarily to the odor and lights from the current facility. Natalie Romolt, representative for Today’s Health Care, said the modification would provide better odor and light mitigation as well as security for the company. The Commissioners tabled their decision until the Feb. 14 regularly-scheduled BOCC meeting at 9:30 a.m.

Also on the agenda, the Board adopted a resolution stating formal findings and justification of the Fremont County Board of County Commissioners regarding the 2017 budget request of the District Attorney for the 11th Judicial District. Board Chair Debbie Bell noted similar findings by the county never had been done in conjunction with a budget, but the Commissioners hoped to clarify their decision with the resolution.

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Jana Rapetti Named 2016 Weed Coordinator of the Year

Fremont County Noxious Weed Manager Jana Rapetti was named 2016 Weed Manager of the Year by the Colorado Weed Management Association. The award was presented by the Board of County Commissioners. From left are Commissioner Dwayne McFall, Jana Rapetti, Commissioner Debbie Bell, and Commissioner Tim Payne.

Jana Rapetti, Fremont County Noxious Weed Manager, was named 2016 Weed Manager of the Year by the Colorado Weed Management Association. The award was announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, during the Board of County Commissioners meeting.

“This award goes to an individual working in any facet of weed management who has done an outstanding job to further weed management in Colorado,” CWMA said. “The individual selected is one who has best achieved success without regard to obstacles.”

Following the award presentation, Rapetti gave her annual update to the Commissioners. She started by thanking the partners her department works with throughout the year, and said without them, her job would not be possible. She announced her department treated 425 acres of noxious weeds in 2016, slightly above the annual average of 400 acres.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board took care of annual matters by appointing Brenda Jackson as County Attorney; designating four official depositories for the county, including Sunflower Bank of Cañon City, Surplus Asset Fund Trust, ColoTrust, and Bank of the San Juans/Glacier Bank; continued official meetings at 9:30 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month; and named the Cañon City Daily Record as primary official newspaper for legal notices and Florence Citizen as secondary.

Official posting places for notice of public meetings is two bulletin boards, one outside Commissioner offices at 615 Macon Ave., Room 105, and the second just outside the main (south) entrance for the building. Board Chair Debbie Bell noted meeting agendas as well as minutes also are posted on the county’s Web site, www.fremontco.com.

In other business, the board:

-          Re-appointed Gardner Fey to the Fremont County Planning Commission for an additional three-year term.

-          Re-appointed Gina Grisenti to the 4-H Sales Committee for an additional three-year term.

-          Re-appointed Paul Garrett and Steve Oswald to the Fremont County Weed Advisory Board for an additional three-year term.

-          Appointed Edward H. Norden to the Fremont County Weed Advisory Board to fill a vacancy for a term ending Dec. 31, 2018.

-          Appointed Matt Koch as County Surveyor for a term ending Jan. 8, 2019, and

-          Approved a resolution terminating Conditional Use Permit 98-3 for Energy Fuels Southfield Mine.

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Commissioners Take Oath of Office

Commissioner Dwayne McFall takes his oath of office from Municipal Court Judge Richard Mandel while his wife, Kendra, looks on.

Fremont County Commissioners Tim Payne and Dwayne McFall took official oaths of office Tuesday, Jan. 10, in a special ceremony officiated by Municipal Court Judge Richard Mandel. Families of both men attended the event, which was held in Commissioner Chambers at the County Administration Building.

Commissioner Payne was re-elected to his second term in District 1, the central part of Fremont County including most of Cañon City, in November 2016. At that same time, Commissioner McFall was elected to represent District 3, the western part of the county, following his first campaign for public office. He replaced retiring Commissioner Edward H. Norden, who chose not to seek re-election following three terms and 12 years in office.

Following the official ceremony, both were seated for the first Board of County Commissioners meeting of 2017. Commissioner Debbie Bell was named Chair of the Board for the year, while Commissioner Payne became Chairman Pro Tem.

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Commissioner Edward H. Norden Chairs Final Meeting

Commissioner Edward H. Norden, center, accepts accolades at his final official board meeting. Fellow Commissioners Debbie Bell, right, and Tim Payne help give him an emotional standing ovation. (Photo courtesy Cañon City Daily Record)

Business turned personal – and emotional – when Commissioner Chair Edward H. Norden conducted his last regularly-scheduled official Board meeting on Dec. 27.

Norden was recognized by Commissioner Debbie Bell with a gavel plaque and a prepared speech. “It’s difficult to find the right words for a send-off that has been, for Fremont County, 12 years in the making,” she said. “Commissioner Norden has meant so much to so many in this county.”

Having served three terms, or 12 years, Commissioner Norden attended 287 regularly-scheduled board meetings and 39 special board meetings. The single meeting he missed was to present a grant application before the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. That application was successful, and the DOLA funds enabled a collaboration to finally offer regional dispatch service throughout Fremont County. He served as chairman of the board for five years. His final gavel plaque included all five years of his service – 2007, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016.

“When Commissioner Norden walks out the door for the last time, he will be taking an incredible amount of institutional knowledge with him,” Bell said. “He also will leave with his own particular brand of leadership, standards, values, and so much more that we will miss.” She said future county commissioners would do well to model work habits and ethics after his for the benefit of the entire county.

Accepting the plaque, Norden said the Bible has guided his path throughout his time in office. In particular, he quoted Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

In an emotional final statement, Norden said, “Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.” He received a standing ovation from the entire room.

Norden’s final official day is Jan. 9, 2017. A public reception for his retirement is scheduled Thursday, Jan. 5, 3 to 5 p.m. in the atrium of the Administration Building, 615 Macon Ave., Cañon City.

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Commissioners OK Amendment to Dispatch Agreement

In preparation for an application by the Fremont E 9-1-1 Authority to seek an increase in 9-1-1 telephone surcharge fees, the Fremont County Board of Commissioners approved another amendment to the Intergovernmental Agreement which created the new combined dispatch center.    The Fremont County Commissioners eventually plan to seek repayment of $100,000 which the county added to matching monies from all the entities in order to secure a higher grant amount from the state to build the dispatch center.   But so far the cities of Cañon City and Florence, the Cañon City Fire District, and the E 9-1-1 Authority have not agreed on language in the agreement of how the $100,000 should be repaid.

To move beyond that obstacle so an application can proceed to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) the Board of Commissioners approved amended language proposed by the City of Cañon City.   The amendment states that the members acknowledge that Fremont County contributed the $100,000 as matching funds and that the entities are currently in negotiations to reimburse the county.   Once all the partners approve the amendment they can approach the PUC in a unified position to request an increase in the Emergency Service Surcharge.   The E 9-1-1 Authority is seeking an 80 cent increase in the surcharge to help fund day to day operations of the new dispatch center and to begin building reserve funds to pay for future capital equipment replacement.

At their December 13th regular meeting the Board of Commissioners also ratified the Chairman’s signature on a pair of change orders for the kitchen and laundry renovation at the Fremont County Jail.   One change order added a cost of $2,826 for some excavation and different food service equipment while the other change order eliminated the need for some steel fencing which actually cut $5,745 from the cost.

In other business at the December 13th meeting the commissioners:

  • Adopted a proclamation declaring December 15 as Bill of Rights Day;
  • Adopted a proclamation declaring 2017 as a Year of Celebration for the United Presbyterian Church of Cañon City in its’ 150th year of ministry;
  • Reappointed Mark Masar to the Fremont County Planning Commission for another three year term ending January 1, 2020;
  • Reappointed Dennis Wied as the Cañon City representative to the Fremont County Planning Commission for a term ending December 31, 2018;
  • Approved adoption of the Fremont County Evacuation and Re-entry Plan along with a Fremont County Debris Management Plan as developed by Emergency Management Director Steve Morrisey;
  • Approved a consulting agreement with Forest Stewardship Concepts to help develop another Community Wildfire Protection Plan;
  • Approved a subdivision exemption for the Union Pacific Railroad which actually benefits the Arkansas Headwaters State Park.   The exemption allows Colorado Parks and Wildlife to purchase 2.05 acres from the Union Pacific on the northwest corner of the Texas Creek bridge over the Arkansas River thus restoring river access on the property for boaters and anglers.
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