Editor’s Column: How about an indoor beach?

With all the turmoil surrounding the Meeker Adventure Center, I think I’ve stumbled across an alternative that might

Niki Turner

appeal to everyone. Well, everyone who craves the beach during our nine months of winter. Which is everyone, right? (We only have three months when it doesn’t snow, if we’re lucky, so I only count those three months as not-winter.)
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Ocean Dome in Japan is the world’s largest indoor beach, measuring 300 by 100 meters. It comes complete with a retractable dome, artificial sand, and a simulated fire-spitting volcano. The water temperature is maintained at a comfortable 82 degrees, and the air temperature at 86 degrees.
Right now you’re thinking, “Ew, 86 degrees?” But come January that will sound wonderful, not only to you, but to hundreds or thousands of our frozen neighbors desperate for a warm weather vacation.
If we tapped in to our local geothermal hot springs to heat the water, added solar panels on the dome to power the heaters and run the mini-volcano, and—let’s dream big, here—found a way to cure the algae and diatom blooms in the river by treating the water and returning it to the river in better condition, it would be a feat of modern technology. And if the Chinese want to come build a power plant at the junction of Hwy. 64 and CR 5, maybe the Japanese would like to come build a Meeker-sized version of the Ocean Dome. We could always offer them the opportunity.
It can’t hurt to dream, right?

 

Everyone is griping about those pesky millennials (people born between 1977 to 1995, give or take a few years). Thirty years ago those same people were griping about Generation X (born 1965-1976ish), which is my generation. I’m beginning to wonder if the Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964) are just  unusually grouchy. But who knows, maybe the so-called Silent Generation (born before 1945) complained about the Boomers, too. Or maybe they didn’t, and that’s why they’re called the Silent Generation.
Personally, I think we better start being nice to the Millennials. Why? First of all, because there are more of them than there are any of the rest of us (that includes you, Boomers) and we’re going to need them to take up the mantle of leadership, of service and of care for the future. There are an estimated 76 million Baby Boomers, and 86 million Millennials, many of whom are just now entering the workforce after college. For small, rural communities like Meeker and Rangely, attracting and keeping Millennials is going to mean the difference between having a workforce to keep our businesses, service industries and infrastructure alive, or not, as the rest of us retire and enter old age. How can we attract them to our communities to settle down and stay? Maybe we could start by being nice to them.

Don’t forget, Tuesday is the annual National Night Out. The first Tuesday in August (or October, if you’re in Texas) is set aside as a “community-building campaign that promotes police and community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.”
Meeker will celebrate National Night Out on Aug. 1 with a free barbecue at 6 p.m. at Paintbrush Park followed by a free movie (“Zootopia”) at the Meeker High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. sponsored by the Meeker Police Department. Come out and say hello, and thank you, to our local police officers.

The Rio Blanco County Fair, which starts today, is seriously old-school—no carnivals, no fancy concerts. Instead, our fair offers the genuine labor, talent and sometimes tears of our local youth, the exhibition of creative skills by our local citizens, and a host of other family-friendly events and contests and activities, from the peewee rodeo to the pet rock contest to the talent show to the livestock auction. Many of our local young people have been working for almost a year toward these events. Let’s support them; pick up a fair book, or download one here: bit.ly/2uuhviy, and figure out how you can get in on the fun.