by Larry Patrick
HUERFANO- Walsenburg might have a new health department building by late next year. The Huerfano County Commissioners voted to send a letter to the Department of Local Affairs to set the stage for attaining grants to study and build a new county Health Department building in Walsenburg. The commissioners have agreed to deed an acre of land in the Community Center area for the new facility. Mary Garcia and Terri Blessman of the Health Department asked for two letters from the commissioners, the first to DOLA showing approval for deeding the acre of land and another showing the commissioners’ willingness to continue funding the health department. The Health Department is a joint program of Las Animas and Huerfano Counties.
Garcia told the commissioners that Blessman will be the project coordinator for the new building. The plan is to “go green,” and monies are available to assist in building an energy efficient facility. Garcia says the cost is often higher up front but the costs are lower on the back end in energy savings.
The commissioners received an update report from Peter Gintautas of the Colorado Oil & Gas Commission on monitoring of water wells affected by gas drilling by Petroglyph. The project is still in phase 1 of 3 phases. Methane has been detected in varying amounts in 25 of the 65 wells that have been tested on a regular basis. The room was full of landowners with great concerns for their water safety in that area. Petroglyph cannot resume operation until approval is received by the EPA.