SHERIDAN — The Board of County Commissioners approved an agreement with a logging company out of Buffalo for a fuel treatment project on Stumpy Ridge that will reduce the likelihood of another forest fire in the area that burned in 2006, forcing evacuations and destroying three cabins.
The agreement states that JL & Sons Logging will remove 25 to 35 percent of live and dead standing trees in approximately 43 acres along Red Grade Road. The company will be paid $485 per acre in an amount not to exceed $20,855 using State Forestry grant funds. The estimated 1,130 tons of logs will become the property of JL & Sons Logging.
Removal is scheduled to begin on May 1, 2014, and end by Sept. 18, 2014.
In 2006, a fire blew up out of Little Goose Canyon, burned over Stumpy Ridge and came down the face of Red Grade Road into the Red Grade subdivision and into the meadows behind Little Goose Ranch, County Commissioner Bob Rolston said. Houses and cabins were evacuated, and a foam gel crew from Rapid City gelled the area to save the cabins that could be saved.
“In the process of that, there were a lot of slash piles left and dozed up there, and now this whole concept is to go in there and clean that up and thin out those trees. It’s a fire mitigation plan to save the forest. It’s a healthy forest initiative,” Rolston said.
Commissioners also approved a resolution sponsoring an application for a Community Development Block Grant by the Sheridan Senior Center. The resolution was approved pending receipt of needed documentation stating all matching funds are in place.
The grant will request $500,000 to be used to build a new facility for the Senior Center’s “Day Break” program, which has outgrown its current space in the Senior Center. The program offers adults who can’t be home alone or who prefer to be with others a safe place for the day where they receive needed care and socialization, Senior Center Executive Director Carmen Rideout said.
“It’s really important in helping people stay at home and outside of skilled nursing facilities. It’s a good thing cost-wise because it’s a more affordable way to take care of those who need extra support,” Rideout said. “It’s our first step in a bigger plan to expand and renovate our facilities to meet the needs of the growing numbers of older adults in Sheridan County.”
The new facility will offer approximately 3,800 square feet of space and will free up space at the Senior Center to meet the needs of other programs. “Day Break” is growing and currently serves more than 100 people per year, Rideout said.
The project is estimated to cost $$873,000, and the Senior Center is securing matching funds before submitting the grant application in January.
County commissioners approved an amendment to Sheridan County’s agreement with Johnson County to terminate the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition. The amendment moved the deadline for termination of the coalition to March 1, 2014, from Dec. 1 of this year.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is expected to make a decision on a lease with Johnson County that will secure a majority of the shoreline and surface area of the lake for fishing and boating activities at its meeting in January. Once the lease is approved, the coalition can be dissolved.
Commissioner Mike Nickel said the government shutdown in October put the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service behind on an appraisal of the value of the water in the lake, which delayed the process.
“The sequestration and government shutdown sort of put it on the back burner, but we’re moving forward. We’re in good shape. We’re looking forward to Johnson County owning a really great lake in their county,” Rolston said.
In other business:
• Sheridan County residents Mitch Cangiamilla, Mark Steingass and Vicki Taylor were present at the meeting to inquire about BOCC plans for voting on proposed rules and regulations governing flood plain management in Sheridan County, which were rejected by the commissioners Nov. 5 pending further revision. Steingass said he’d like to see more public education efforts about the issue. Cangiamilla said the commissioners should contact members of the agriculture community directly to let them know they are not exempt from the rules and regulations as he said many believe they are.
Commissioners said they will renew the motion to consider alternatives to the rules and regulations at their meeting Dec. 3 and plan to formally adopt the regulations Dec. 17, pending a successful resolution Dec. 3.
• Commissioners approved a permit request by Bruce Burns and Ed Salvatore to publicly display fireworks at Ucross Dec. 14.
• Commissioners announced the County Courthouse will be closed Nov. 28 and 29 for Thanksgiving.