Commissioners holds first 2022 meeting

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Commission met Jan. 4 to encourage citizens to contact legislators about redistricting and hear a petition concerning the upgrade of playground equipment in the South Torrington Children’s Park.

The meeting began at 9 a.m. in the Goshen County Courthouse. Present were Commissioners John Ellis and Cody Cox along with County Clerk Cindy Kenyon. Commissioner Justin Burkart was absent.

Clerk of District Court Brandi Correa presented her department’s report first. Besides being short on staff, Correa said all is going smoothly in her office.

Ellis, who serves as chairman of the commission, presented his comments concerning the redistricting of Goshen County. He urged citizens to write to the Legislative Service Office in Cheyenne, asking legislators to accept the original redistricting map submitted by the Goshen County Clerk’s office and approved by the Goshen, Niobrara and Platte County Commissions.

Ellis said the Goshen County Clerk’s office put together a proposed map, ensuring the county was able to keep most of its current boundaries, after being requested to by the redistricting committee. After the commissions accepted the map and sent in letters approving the map, the committee made changes, taking much of Goshen County’s agricultural areas in the southern portions of the county and joining them with Laramie County.

“The only thing that can fix it now is a large part of the people,” Ellis said, also voicing his displeasure at the county losing any piece of itself to another county.

The Road and Bridge Department presented its report through Road Superintendent Valerie Hankins and County Engineer Bob Taylor. County Planner Gary Childs retired at the end of the year, and many parties present at the meeting expressed their admiration for him and the work he did as planner. The county is currently accepting applications for the open position but has yet to receive any.

Kenyon presented the report for her office, including $14,255.50 in earnings. She also said her office is 8% ahead of where it was last year in vehicle titles and other standard operations in her office.

“We are 8% more busy,” she said, presenting seven employment bonds up for renewal.

Goshen County Fire Warden presented his report to the commission. He said 2021 was the “busiest year ever” in his career as Goshen County Fire Warden. The county dispatched teams on 26 different missions, most of them outside the state of Wyoming.

Even on New Year’s Day, Law helped coordinate the dispatch of a Goshen County team to Boulder County in Colorado, starting the year off on yet another out-of-state fire. As reported by The Washington Post, over 6,000 acres burned in the Marshall Fire, raging through Boulder County over the holidays. The unit is still in Colorado.

Shelly Kirchhefer from Goshen County Emergency Management presented her report, which included upcoming grants and updates on current projects such as the generator for the Hawk Springs Fire Department, which has yet to arrive.

Goshen County Library Board President Ellen Creagar thanked the commissioners for attending the Nov. 16 kickoff party for the library’s 100th anniversary. She also told them about a new collection in the works at the library. New books and an activity kit aimed towards telling the stories and raising awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia form a new “robust” collection surrounding memory care.

Creagar also said the town of LaGrange has yet to decide if it wants a StoryWalk of its own, a feature built along public outdoor walkways. The stands built along the walkways house pages of different stories, making a place for kids and families to get outside and read at the same time. The stands, story and all other features of the StoryWalk are ready to be installed, should LaGrange officials give the go-ahead. An alternate plan is also in place should officials decide not to go forward with the StoryWalk in LaGrange.

Residents from South Torrington came to the meeting to petition the commission for permission to approach the Goshen County Rec Board concerning new playground equipment for the South Torrington Children’s Park. Resident Diana Garcia presented the request in tandem with former resident Albert Lira.

Garcia grew up in South Torrington and remembers much of the equipment from the time she was a child. Even then, she says, she and her friends preferred to go to the parks in town because the neighborhood park was not safe. Updating the equipment would be “a substantial improvement,” she said.

Garcia and Lira also asked the commission for the funds to install a new security camera near the park, a cost totaling approximately $900 to $1,100.

The commission granted them permission to put in an application to the Rec Board for the funds to remove and replace the equipment. The board will meet to discuss the application in March.

Many of the services necessary to install the new equipment are being offered at discounted rates by community members to help ensure the project moves forward.

The commission ratified a letter accepting the recent audit, which is available online to those interested in viewing it.

The commission accepted Resolution 2022-01, agreeing to the terms of the nationwide opioid settlement and approved the request to fix lights along the street and in the parking lot of the Goshen County Fairgrounds.

The meeting adjourned at 10 a.m. The next GCC meeting will take place Jan. 18 at 9 a.m. at the Goshen County Courthouse.


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