CNCC works on its own ‘Field of Dreams’

Tom Cassera, Colorado Northwestern Community College’s first-year baseball coach, had never met Julius and Lomell Poole.
That is, until about two weeks ago.
Cassera met the Pooles for the first time during a recent doubleheader at the CNCC ballpark in Rangely.
“They seem like very nice people,” Cassera said of the Pooles, a long-time Rangely family. Julius owned his own oilfield drilling and service business for many years. He’s retired now.
Cassera first found out about the couple when he received a nice donation from the Pooles, in support of the baseball program.
“It just came out of nowhere,” Cassera said. “But before I got that check in the mail, I had never heard of them. I think they just caught wind (of the direction the baseball team is headed).”
Cassera’s efforts to improve the CNCC program — and its facilities — have not gone unnoticed by the Pooles or others in town.
“From the first time I went out there (to the ballpark), it has turned around 180 degrees,” said Scott Dembowski, who, along with his parents, Curt and Susie, and his parents’ business, C&J Field Services, have been big supporters of the program.
“They’ve done quite the job with it, that’s for sure,” Scott said of the improvements made at the CNCC ballpark. Thanks, in large part, to generous donations from C&J Field Services and the Pooles.
Susie downplayed her and Curt’s contributions and said others deserved more of the credit.
“We furnished supplies, but Paul (Fortunato) and Scott put in a lot of time, burning the midnight oil and working weekends (at the ballpark),” Susie said. “They deserve the credit. But I think the young boys are appreciative.”
Scott’s connection with CNCC baseball came through Fortunato, who, like Scott, works for Williams. Fortunato, whose father used to be the baseball coach at CNCC, is an assistant coach on Cassera’s staff and used to be the baseball coach at Rangely High School.
“It’s a good start,” Cassera said of the progress at the CNCC facilities.
The Pooles’ connection to CNCC baseball goes back to the early 1970s, when their son Kevin played.
Kevin played for what was then called Rangely College in the fall of ‘71 and the spring of ‘72. In fact, during the spring campaign, he pitched a no-hitter.
“I can’t tell you where it was,” Lomell said of her son’s pitching gem. “I probably have the clipping of it somewhere. It was an out-of-town game. The team was on a road trip. The only reason we first knew about it was one of our friends read it in the Rocky Mountain News.”
Needless to say, Kevin couldn’t wait to tell his parents about the no-hitter when the team returned from its road trip.
“He was excited when he told us about it,” Lomell said of Kevin, who also played football and wrestled at Rangely High School.
Kevin was all set to attend the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley in the fall of ‘72. That is, until … “he lost his life later that summer,” Lomell said.
On Aug. 21, 1972, Kevin was involved in a one-vehicle accident on Douglas Pass, 30 miles south of Rangely. He was 19.
“Kevin was driving,” Lomell said. “The passenger with him was one of his good friends. He was injured, but he survived. They were going to Grand Junction. They had been bow-and-arrow hunting, and they were on their way to buy more arrows. Baseball was probably the love of his life, but hunting was another big love that he had.”
The Pooles, who have three other children, including a daughter, Julianne Belland, who lives in Meeker, found out about the accident when a local police officer came to the house to deliver the news.
“It’s absolutely your worst fear,” Lomell said. “It was a hard thing to live with, but you do it.”
So, when the Pooles — who have been in Rangely since 1948, when Julius came here looking for work and found it in the oilfield — heard about the efforts to rebuild the CNCC baseball program, they decided to contribute.
“We’re glad to do it” Lomell said of the Pooles’ sponsorship. “I think that’s very good (what Cassera is doing with the baseball program). We definitely used to go the ball games when Kevin was playing. It’s good for the community and for the school and for the young men who participate.”
For Cassera, the support of families like the Pooles and Dembowskis and businesses like C&J Field Services is critical to the success of the program.
“It means the world,” Cassera said. “It’s not just about wins and losses, but being part of the community. It creates a tighter connection between the community and the school. That’s why they call it community college, right?”

Rangely’s Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new vice president to replace Phyllis Henley, who resigned.
“They may be relocating, so she thought she would resign, and we could begin looking for someone,” said Beverly Gibbs, who is the chamber secretary.
Henley said she enjoyed her time with the chamber.
“It was a fun job,” she said. “I enjoyed meeting different people. I really enjoyed being involved with the Rangely booklet. And as long as I’m around, I’ll still be connected with Holidayfest. We started that a couple of years ago. The community really needed something like a Holidayfest.”
As far as her future plans, Henley was unsure.
“We just don’t know,” Henley said. “If my husband can find a job around here, we’ll stay. But he may not find anything.”
Besides Gibbs, the other chamber officers are Jane Miller, who is president, and Tim Webber is treasurer. Nominations or applications for the vice president’s position should be submitted to the chamber office by April 6.
The requirements are: to be a member of the chamber, to have a willingness to promote Rangely and the chamber, and to participate in events related to the chamber, including monthly meetings.
The Rangely chamber meets the second Thursday of the month at noon at Town Hall.

Another coffee shop will open next month in Meeker, giving coffee drinkers another place to get their caffeine fix.
Located in the historic Meeker Hotel and Cafe, Avis’ Kava Kafe will open April 1, said Avis Loshbaugh, who is partnering with Kim Ritchie. Kim and her husband, James, own the hotel and cafe.
Kava Kafe will be open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and hopes to eventually serve breakfast, Loshbaugh said. The gourmet coffee shop will be in the dining room, next to the hotel lobby, and will feature the old soda fountain, which used to be part of Avis’ on the Corner, when it was located behind Wendll’s.
“I’m really excited about this,” Loshbaugh said of the joint venture with the Meeker Hotel. “Kim and I have been working on this for a while.”
Avis’ Village Floral celebrated its 10th anniversary two weekends ago.

Dr. Debby Salter, who operates Columbine Medical Associates in Rangely, along with her husband, Dr. Wallace Salter, recently was the victim of an Internet scam.
I happened to be one of the people who received this curious e-mail, supposedly from Debby, with the subject line: I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE URGENTLY!!!!!! The e-mail, when I first noticed it in my inbox, appeared to be from Columbine Medical Clinic, or so it said.
When I opened the e-mail, I knew immediately it was a scheme. Here’s what it said:
“I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to Europe for a program called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, and Lack of Education. The program took place in three major countries in Europe which are Austria, Spain and England. I am presently in England.
“I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept, but I still have a valid ID that is valid in the UK. I will like you to assist me with a soft loan urgently with the sum of 2,500 U.S. dollars to sort out my hotel bills and get myself back home.
“I will appreciate whatever you can afford. I’ll pay you back as soon as I return. Below are the informations to transfer to the money through Western Union money transfer.”
Soon after, I received an e-mail from Debby, the real one, with this warning:
“Everyone Beware!! Under a Windows Live update in my account with their logo and in my non-junk mail account, I was asked to confirm active use of my account or it would be closed. This allowed a hacker to access my e-mail, and now they have changed my password, and are sending e-mails under my name and asking you to send me money to a “UK” address. Please do not ever open any more e-mails from our Columbine Hotmail address. We will be using columbinemedical@gmail.com instead. Thank you, and I hope this does not cause any of you any problems. The FBI and local authorities are working on the case for now. Watch your own accounts as well for Windows Live scam pieces!”
You hear about these Internet schemes happening out there in cyber world, but here’s an example of one that hits close to home.

The Meeker group Foods-Are-Us is moving forward with its plans to start a farmers’ market, which will be held Saturday mornings, starting in June. The new group, which is in the process of drafting rules and regulations for the market, recently appointed as board members: Katie Day, Connie Hughes, Dr. Albert Krueger, Paul Peterson and Jason Taylor. Members of the group are asking for people to let them know of producers and vendors they would like to see at the market.
The start-up group’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. April 15 at the Hugus Building. To learn more about the group, visit its Web site at www.foods-are-us.com.

Tax day, April 15, is approaching, and organizers are planning a tax protest the old-fashioned way — with a tea party. A group in Grand Junction is behind the event, and has posted information on the Web at www.gjresult.com.
Gordon Byers of Rangely said a contingent from the group will be in Rangely on Monday to promote the event.
“As of now, the plans are to spend a couple of hours on Main Street, waving signs advertising the GJ (Grand Junction) protest,” Byers said. “I will be posting fliers in some of the businesses here in town this week. From the feedback we are getting, at this point, there will be participation from all over the Western Slope.”
For more information about the tax protest, contact Byers at gbyers@centurytel.net.

Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at jeff@theheraldtimes.com.

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