Sunday, September 27, 2009

A very busy week and a bike ride

This week was extremely full of important things.

Monday started with the "Bringing Health Home" conference in Pueblo sponsored by The Colorado Health Foundation and The Adams Group. The conference brought together several best practice examples of many communities who have managed to tackle the health care issue in very creative and successful ways. There were several teams from many different areas across Colorado. I had the privilege of attending with Julie Thompson, Missy Rodey and Karen Zink. It provided us with even more ideas of what might further advance the work of the Health Services Steering Committee (HSSC) and other groups that have been working on health care in our community. Julie Thompson, who has been compiling data and taking surveys should be close to a recommendation of action steps for our community. I am certain it will be a multi-pronged approach and will involve community desires as well as proven models. It will provide us with some clear direction for moving forward in addressing our primary care needs, as well as other areas in need of improvement. There is some great information available via the Colorado Health Foundation's website: This organization is a huge asset to our state and has not only provided our community with great resources through research and funding, it also works to promote the important role of public health in our communities.

The conference ended on Tuesday, which gave me just enough time to get home to welcome folks to our first annual breakfast report of 4CORE (The 4 Corners Office of Resource Efficiency). LPEA graciously hosted us and Aileen Tracy, the Executive Director did a great job of presenting the first-year of success for this important organization. We had members of the Durango City Council, the Board of Directors for LPEA as well as all three county commissioners and representatives from BP and the town of Ignacio. Southwest Sustainability Alliance have been strong advocates for more energy efficiency in our community and continue to be very active in the work of this diverse board of directors. We feel very fortunate to have a group of committed people who are all interested in hearing the various ideas and opinions about ways in which we can balance the energy needs as well as increase efficiencies in our region. In fact through 4CORE's great collaborative approach and direct funding awards from the Governor's Energy Office as well as others, at least 65 new jobs will be created and more than 2 million dollars have been brought into the region. This plus all of the amazing returns on the initial investment made by our community in a number of ways. Check out more at:

Wednesday morning lead into a meeting with CSU Extension Director, Darrin Parmenter as we have been working hard to make sure that we have the staff and resources available to help continue the great 4-H program and other extension services that we have in our community. We have some good news in that we have come up with a good compromise and will retain our local collaborative effort. We will hear in the next few weeks about a funding agreement to find a replacement for Bob Salzar (he is already missed as he heads into the sunset of retirement), It looks like we have a good proposed plan in place to be considered. I am sure that we will see an agreement before the BoCC for consideration in the coming weeks. You can find out more about extension programs at:

Thursday started with a breakfast with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ( as they held their regular meeting in Pagosa Springs on Friday. We met with several of the commissioners prior to their tour of the area that included a visit to the Southern Ute Reservation and their "picket fence" along the outcrop of the San Juan Basin.

I then headed over to the Durango Recreation Center for a pep rally for our local "It's About Kids" Network. There were many partnering organizations and agencies represented in attendance as well as a letter read on behalf of State Representative and State Senate Candidate, Ellen Roberts who has been a strong advocate. This organization does a stellar job of working to increase the for the the kids of Colorado. They keep folks updated on potential legislation that may be beneficial and or potentially harmful to our youth. Our local organization has seen many accomplishments as they partner with the Colorado Children's Campaign (

Their mission:
  • Represent the needs of children at the state capitol
  • Build public awareness about key issues
  • Gather and analyze data to support local needs and coordinate a statewide grassroots
    advocacy network to influence legislative decisions
  • Develop coalitions of diverse groups and help them create a shared vision
It was great to hear about their success and plans for this legislative session and to see the many supporters. I know that they have just hired a local coordinator and are always interested in finding more people to work with them in their grassroots advocacy network.

Later on Thursday, we had the board meeting for the San Juan Basin Health Department in Pagosa Springs. We continue to hear about the planning efforts for H1N1 and ways that our community is preparing. You can find out how you can prevent the spread by going to: There you can also see the many other programs that they provide in our community. We have set up two subcommittees, one to work on the budget needs as well as one to work on strategic planning and the community assessment. We have accomplished much, but are still in the process of finding a better way to break down the programs into how much they cost, who benefits and what the results are related to improving the public health in our community.

Friday was the COGCC meeting that I mentioned earlier in Pagosa Springs. There were many in attendance and the commission discussed the statewide permitting process and methods for tracking as well as new water studies and other issues relating to oil and gas development in the state. We are fortunate to have many people in our local community who are experts in this field and do a good job of always trying to balance the economics and benefit of extraction with the public health and safety as well as our environment. We know it is a benefit to our community to have this huge resource and must continue to find balance in this often complex, technical and specialized arena of our county. I listed the website earlier in my comments for the COGCC and here is our local Natural Resources team within the Planning Department. There are some good resources available on this site as well.

Phew! I really needed that bike ride up La Plata Canyon today! The fall colors are spectacular and it reminded me of why I love to work as a county commissioner---one of the reasons is: I truly love where I live.

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