Leadville News – September 19

Sweet Carolin-a! Leadville Has Arrived To Help

Catastrophic. Historic. Unprecedented.

For many living in Leadville Today, the best thing to do for friends and family in the areas ravaged by Hurricane Florence is to make donations to the American Red Cross, and pray for its victims. However, there is a small group from this mountain community who have arrived in North and South Carolina to help with the recovery efforts.

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KW Restoration work crews prepare for their cross-country trip to assist in recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence came ashore on the east coast last week. Photo: Nathan Fisher

“We have six guys and three trucks down in the area right now,” said Kyle Welch, owner of KW Construction and Restoration (KW) in an interview with Leadville Today this morning.  

The KW crews will be working to restore a number of Dollar General stores throughout the region so that they may restock their shelves and help rural communities get back up on their feet after the historic flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence since it made landfall last week. For readers unfamiliar with this retailer, it also acts as the primary grocery store for residents in the region, so food supply is a key factor in getting these stores back open.

“We had a hard time getting into the area, the flooding is pretty bad: ten feet in some places.” said Nathan Fisher KW Project Manager from the work crew’s temporary office in Dillon, S.C. located 125 miles west of Wilmington, N.C. which saw a direct hit from the storm last weekend.

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KW Restoration crews encountered many flooded roadways as they made their way to the Carolinas to help in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence. Photo: Nathan Fisher

Fisher reported services are limited if available at all, indicating that the small Mom-and-Pop shops are generally the first to re-open, even if half-stocked and staffed. However, the bigger retail giants like Walmart are still closed due to flooded roads.

“Yesterday, there were nine ways into where we needed to get to, but all of those roads were flooded – except for one, eventually – by the return trip. We were nearly isolated.” Fisher’s reports line up with what forecasters have been predicting: that while Hurricane Florence may have left the region, the rising flood waters remain, and could for a while. It will be days before we can even get into some of these businesses, Fisher concluded, adding that the entire KW mission could be weeks on the road.

But this kind of work is not unfamiliar to the Leadville company, and it’s not the first time KW has left the beautiful Rocky Mountains behind to head towards the disasters, towards the people who so desperately need help. They went down to help after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston just last year and after Superstorm Sandy pummeled the east coast in 2012.

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Most services in the Hurricane Florence affected area – from hotels to grocery stores – have water damage and are closed. Photo: Nathan Fisher.

“What we do on the road is generally flood mitigation,” explains Kyle Welch, President of KW. “We go in and make the building safe by cleaning and drying it out.”  

K.W. CONSTRUCTION & RESTORATION has been in business in Lake County since 1988. While locally, they provide a variety of services, out-of-town jobs focus primarily on restoration, something that will be sorely needed in the Carolinas for months to come. Once the KW crews have finished the restoration job, the construction companies can come in and put the business back together again – safely.

In addition, when you’re operating in extreme conditions, you never know what you may run into on-the-job.  And while this trip, the crews haven’t had to perform any of their own emergency efforts as they did during Hurricane Harvey, Fisher reported that they did see plenty of folks being rescued from their cars and homes, after ignoring officials’ warnings about the hurricane’s predicted impact in the region.

Of course, the KW crews are prepared with enough personal and work supplies to last as long as it takes to get these businesses up and running. “Gas, ice and coolers,” is how Fisher puts it. But no doubt, KW’s cargo loads can be sizable, including generators (with enough gas needed to operate them) and dehumidifiers which create dry air, accelerating the process of drying out the buildings. In addition, the KW crews bring their own protective gear that is used in this type of mitigation work, as well as food and personal supplies.  Remember, the basics are scarce in hurricane tattered communities. 

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KW Project Manager Nathan Fisher is looking for some higher, drier ground in flood ravaged South and North Carolina. The restoration crews from Leadville are there to help in recovery efforts.

KW Construction and Restoration works with many people and businesses from around the country who face devastation from damaging flood waters. However each situation is assessed carefully before Welch allows his crews to go into possibly dangerous situations, as well as staying out of the way of emergency services efforts.

“It takes a lot of money and man power to go out on the road,” explains Welch. “So you need to determine if there’s anything you can do in relief areas, are there enough people to take care of it, to help with the work?”

The crew’s initial reports from South Carolina indicate pretty challenging conditions just to get to the areas in need of help, however they are prepared and ready to assist: from rescues to restoration. And while the life-safety rescue efforts are always a priority, eventually businesses and homes will need KW’s services. If you – or someone you know in the region – have a need for their services, please contact them via their Facebook Page or call 719-486-0553.

Stay safe and thanks for representing Leadville’s heart in the midst of an American crisis!

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KW Construction and Restoration crews are on the east coast in North and South Carolina assisting the victims of Hurricane Florence. Thank you and stay safe!

 

Leadville News – September 17

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Rankin

Colorado Board of Education Rep. Joyce Rankin

School is underway and a highlight of the August State Board of Education meeting was to review students’ achievement measures from last year and to assess how teachers might proceed to move forward this year.

Preliminary results from the 2018 assessments were revealed to the public in August. All of the school and district scores appear on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website. You can review all of the district and school results and results broken down by a variety of sub groups.  Overall students in Colorado are continuing to improve although, according to Commissioner Katy Anthes we continue to see wide achievement gaps among sub groups.  The department is discussing how best to support districts and schools to ensure that our education system reaches all students.

Reviewing all of the 178 school districts and approximately 1800 schools in Colorado one can quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available. In order to gain a better understanding of Western Slope schools, I focused on the school Frameworks for the area I represent, the 3rd Congressional District.  The school frameworks are a way to hold schools accountable for performance on a consistent set of indicators and measures and allow the department to understand how and where to provide support for the lowest performing schools. Key indicators include academic achievement, growth, and postsecondary workforce readiness.

The school plan categories include, from high to low in this order, Performance, Improvement Plan, Priority Improvement and Turnaround. After the preliminary results are released schools have an opportunity to meet with the Colorado Department of Education for a “request to reconsider”. This allows schools to adjust for incorrectly submitted information or those that have questions and need additional time to meet with CDE to refine their effort.

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Leadville’s Little Red Schoolhouse located south of Leadville Today at the Malta Curve is framed by a rainbow during a recent mountain storm. Photo: Danny Buck.

 

Because Frameworks have been recorded since 2010, we now have information to compare schools over time which is valuable for schools, districts and the Department. In the district I represent eleven schools have moved into the top two performance plan areas. Thanks to our teachers, parents and students, schools in our district are moving in the right direction. The request to reconsider process is extremely important in determining the FINAL ratings which are scheduled to be made available in November.

I encourage taxpayers to visit the website and learn more about their local schools. And parents, you have specific student related test scores and important information that you can receive directly from your child’s school.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you on the State Board of Education.  It’s an honor to serve the 3rd Congressional District.

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Leadville and Lake County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.