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WG school board approves contract offer with Principal York

by Marissa Lorenz

The regular April meeting of the West Grand School Board continued the recent trend of strong decision making by the Board and solid community turnout and interest. The meeting was held Tuesday night in the district’s Cathy Shipley Community Room and was packed with teachers, parents and students wanting to follow and engage in support of a successful future for all West Grand stakeholders. Over a dozen community members, including three teachers and three students, took advantage of the public address period of the meeting to express their views on teacher placement, program support and effective leadership in the district. Of particular note were the expressed concern of teachers to be placed where they have the greatest knowledge and passion . . . and therefore effectiveness and for any decisions to take into account the importance and relevance of maintaining a strong vocational /Ag-ed program at the high school. Teachers expressed shock and distress over staffing decisions that they had not been involved in. Students spoke on the extent to which the vocational programming had helped them both personally and in their potential school and career decisions. And parents echoed an expressing desire for a safe, supportive and collaborative district so that their students would be “proud to have graduated from West Grand schools.” The student happenings portion of the evening saw a presentation by seventh grader Jonathon Belcher who recently won first place at the Western Regional Middle School Science Fair with his “Musical Robot” and who will take his project to the state fair this weekend. Belcher explained his goal of developing the design criteria and successfully writing and implementing a pseudo-code that would program a small robot to play a recognizable piece of music. The board and community watched an impressive video of the robot playing the first few bars of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Addressing agenda business, the Board held several unanimous votes approving the submittal of the 2014 Unified Improvement Plan to the state and the currently proposed timeline for the Superintendant search. Other discussion and business centered around school curriculum, personnel and salaries. There were unanimous votes in support of purchasing “Treasures,” a comprehensive K-5 Core reading curriculum and in approving Hilary Welch in the position of a K-3 Literacy Lead, a part-time position with committed BOCES funding for the coming year. The Board approved an increase to the base salary schedules for teachers, principals and other staff. The raises will equate to about $600 more a year for teachers, $500 for classified staff and less for other support staff. The school board of directors accepted the resignations of Lucas Taylor (middle school science teacher), Melissa Cholewa (kindergarten teacher) and Hillary Welch (third grade teacher who accepted the parttime literacy position mentioned above), the high school girls basketball coach Davin Bodystun and custodians Paula Noonen and Beth Smith. The discussion of staff placement and possible rearrangement was tabled, to be taken up at a board work session on April 22. In the final vote of the evening, the Board approved a contract with current middle/high school principal Kyle York to serve as principal to grades K-8 for the 2014-15 school year. Meetings of the West Grand School Board are open to public attendance and are held at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month in the district community room. A work session will be held on April 22 and the next regular meeting is scheduled for May 13.

 

 


Tickets for beef raffle are available

The West Grand Community Educational Foundation is hosting a beef raffle in which there will be four prizes of one-quarter of a processed beef awarded as prizes. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or $20 for five tickets. The raffle drawing will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 25 at the Educational Foundation Banquet and Talent Show. Winners need not be present to win one of the four prizes. There have been several donations to make the raffle happen. Ritschard Cattle Company donated the animal and the hay to raise the animal, Northwest Ranch Supply donated the feed to raise the animal, Brothers Processing in Craig donated the processing of the animal and Middle Park Meat donated cold storage to keep the beef frozen until the winners pick up their processed beef. Tickets are available from any of the following Educational Foundation members: Mike Ritschard, Teri Tanton, Sara Rosene, Kendra Jones, Dave Hammer, Karen Hammer, Linda Haynes, Stuart Heller or Larry Banman. The money raised through the raffle will be used by the Educational Foundation for its scholarships

 

Letter to the Editor:

The Aerial Clover Seeding project by the Middle Park Conservation District and its Partners is a current and newsworthy topic. The following is a response to a letter to the editor featured in last week’s Gazette. It is the first in a series to come over the next few weeks highlighting different aspects of the project.

Dear Grand Gazette Editor:

This letter is in response to Ms. Nicol’s submission in last week’s Grand Gazette regarding the aerial clover seeding by Middle Park Conservation District. The Middle Park Stockgrowers Association would like start by saying that we FULLY SUPPORT the Middle Park Conservation District and Partners in their initiative to seed sagebrush-meadow interfaces with a mix of Mammoth Red and Alsike clover. The Middle Park Stockgrowers Association was formally established in 1874 with the mission of working to enhance agricultural lifestyles, and more specifically beef production, in Grand and Summit Counties. We believe that “Together, Stockgrowers can accomplish things no one individual can do alone.” Furthermore, we trust that the aerial clover seeding project will prove to be effective, efficient and beneficial to all. Ms. Nicol stated in her letter, “Modern farming often sees short-termed goals, runs after them, realizes too late the amount of damage caused by them, and, upon realizing, hardly cares.” Speaking as the real-life farmers (ranchers) in the area, we beg to differ. Wendell Berry once said, “Good farmers contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.” We know that if we do not care for our land it, in return, will not care for us. Thus, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our land, and livelihoods, in perpetuity. Much of the pasture/hayland in Middle Park consists primarily of only three dominant grass species, timothy, brome and meadow foxtail. While the forage/hay may grow tall, it lacks species diversity. By interseeding with Mammoth Red and Alsike clover, two broadleaf legume species are added to the system and contribute much needed nitrogen to the soil. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient required for all living things to survive; it aids in growth, metabolic processes and overall vigor. The nitrogen fixed by bacteria in the roots of legumes, such as clover, is one of the most natural forms of nitrogen you can get. Furthermore, that nitrogen will be effectively cycled through the root zone for several years to come, thus improving soil health over time. Furthermore, increased protein (from the added nitrogen of the clover) will result in improved feed quality and quantity for livestock. By increasing feed quality and quantity, ranchers can get more bang for our buck. Not only will we get more hay off our land, we can also feed less of it because it is of higher quality. Increased feed quality and quantity also highly correlate with increased body condition scores, birth rates and weaning rates. Ranchers are not usually paid bi-weekly, like most citizens; we wait all year long for one big check from the sale barn in the fall. All of these factors combine to make a better payout at the end of the year. Lastly, Ms. Nicol commented about the lack of data collection and analysis. Granted, hard core scientific data may not have been collected (due to time and budget constraints), but those of us who were lucky enough to partake in the 2007 seeding saw the benefits firsthand. There was more clover in our fields afterward and our forage quality did improve (as seen through hay analyses). If we saw catastrophic damage to our land, and consequently to our livelihoods, do you think we would be voluntarily signing up to do it again?

Sincerely, Middle Park Stockgrowers Association


 

SEND US YOUR PET PHOTOS - Trace Lewis captured this photo of his baby Easter rabbits earlier this week. They are Dutch bunnies.

Send us your pet photos, and we will use them to accompany the Pet Pals’ column.

 


Kremmling Farmer’s Market Are you interested?

If you are interested in forming a Farmer’s Market please e-mail rachellemcmanus@yahoo.com. Currently the proposed plan is to use the Town Square for space rentals on Sundays so that local artisans, merchants and producers can sell their wares. The hope is also to capture traffic that is passing through Kremmling at the end of the weekend and create more commerce for Kremmling. Once interest is determined a meeting will be set to finalized the details and plans

Public invited to night of music and food

The Kremmling Rotary Club is sponsoring an evening of music and food starting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15 at The Square on The Square (Bumgarner Building) in Kremmling. The Blue River Band will be providing the music. The Rotary Club will provide the meat and the beverages. Those who attend are asked to bring a side dish, salad or dessert. There will be no cover charge for the evening. Any donations will be accepted by the Rotary Club to help support their community projects. For more information, feel free to contact Larry Banman at  (970) 217-6298.