Pueblo took economical hits
Pueblo lost a total of 450 jobs this year. The Pueblo unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent in November, up from the 5.2 percent in October 2014. The RMS layoffs were due to “unforeseen business circumstances and the reduction of work from a major contract serviced from our Pueblo location.” While EVRAZ Steel Mill communicated that “Due to a declining oil prices and significant reductions in drilling programs, EVRAZ is making production adjustments and temporarily crewing down where needed,” commented Melodie Ruse, North American Communications Manager for EVRAZ. Employees were told that they would be call back as new orders come in.
Socioeconomic condition of Pueblo County
Studies by the city planning department and the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that less than 49 percent of Hispanics purchased or own their homes, compared to 67.6 percent for the white community. Less than 1 in 10 Hispanics had a four year degree and had a high school graduation rate of 76.9 percent. Those living in poverty registered at 27.4 percent, while for the state it was 16.8 percent. The births to single women for Pueblo County was 44.3 percent and the state of Colorado it was 23.4 percent. Pueblo County had 63 percent of children qualifying for free or reduced price lunch as compared to the state, which was 41.6 percent. Many Hispanic leaders in Pueblo have requested that additional research is required and using the latest technologies that can access data bases and use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), can give a much more defined picture of the socioeconomic condition of the community.
Pueblo City Council resignations
Pueblo’s City Council accepted the resignations of City Council members Chris Kaufman, Sandy Daff and Ami Nawrocki, who were targeted for recall by the city trash haulers. The city trash haulers were angry over council’s attempts to create a city-monitored trash enterprise. Kaufman, Daff and Nawrocki were replaced by Bob Shilling, Dennis Flores and John Cordova.
Bishop’s Castle took the crown
In March over 211 motorcycles visited the Greenhorn Valley South of Pueblo, on their way to San Isabel Lake and the world-wide tourist attraction Bishop’s Castle. The reason was to help raise a little over $3,000 for the builder of the Bishop’s Castle, Jim Bishop. Bishop had been diagnosed with cancer. Construction on Bishop’s Castle began in 1969 and has been under construction with the guidance of Bishop. Following a series of ownership issues and legal proceedings, Bishop’s Castle is once again a major tourist attraction and ownership remains with Bishop.
Hemp production in Pueblo County
In March, Pueblo County officially became the first Colorado County to adopt regulation for growing industrial hemp. The County Commissioners voted to adopt the rules on how hemp can be grown. Hemp is considered a cannabis plant with 0.3 percent THC or less. compared this to the 10 percent to 20 percent THC used in recreational and medical dispensaries. The economic impact hemp had on Pueblo provided our industry with a cash crop that can be grown countywide. Presently the marijuana trade in Pueblo County for recreational and medical use, generated $1.4 million in taxes and fees and has generated 1,500 jobs in Pueblo County, according to the Southern Colorado Growers association. Pueblo County in 2014 reported there were 62 marijuana-related commercial construction and remodeling projects with a value of $9.5 million.
Chile & Frijoles Festival
The annual event continues to draw tourism to Pueblo. The festival was founded in September 1995 and sponsored in 2016 by Loaf & Jug.