From My Window: Don’t forget to vote and change your clocks; kudos to “The Tank” and Tasos

Sean McMahon, Editor
Sean McMahon, Editor
Let me start out with a couple quick reminders that are relevant this week throughout Rio Blanco County.
The first is that daylight saving time ends this coming Sunday morning at 2 p.m.

The good news is that we gain back the hour of sleep we lost early in the spring. The bad news is that it will be quite a bit darker earlier in the evening and we will lose an hour of deck time outside in the evening.
The other reminder is that it is only five days until Election Day.
Rio Blanco County Clerk Nancy Amick wants voters to know that all ballots must be turned in, not mailed, by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Postmarks will not be considered as state statutes call for the ballots to be in the county clerk and recorder’s possession by 7 p.m. Tuesday.
As an aside, voters are also urged to turn their votes in as soon as possible to give Amick’s staff a chance to start counting votes in advance of the polls closing—even though the office will not be releasing any voting figures before the polls are closed.
Voters in the Meeker area will also have the chance over the weekend to drop your ballot at the county’s clerk’s office in the county courthouse in Meeker. If you have any questions, please call the Rio Blanco County Clerk’s Office at 878-9460.

I want to give two big shout-outs to different entities in Rio Blanco—one is an individual and one may be on its way toward landmark status—for gaining publicity through a medium not located within Rio Blanco County.
First is “The Tank,” located just west of Rangely.
The old water storage tank was the subject of a segment on a Channel 9 television program called “Colorado’s Small Town Stories.” I saw it for the first time late Saturday night, but I understand the segment has been shown a couple of times previously on Channel 9. The Herald Times has also reported on the progress of The Tank during the 20 months I have been at the paper—reported on by Heather Zadra.
I believe the segment by Channel 9 failed to do any justice to the entire story and didn’t mention one single name nor address its history.
It did, however, afford me the first chance I have had to hear the sounds that can be produced inside the tank.
Absolutely amazing!
I will try to quickly capsulize the past history of the tank…
Apparently, local residents knew of the sound abilities of the old water tank for decades.
Bruce Odland, a sound artist who takes takes normal sounds and transforms them for artistic purposes, was in Rangely for the “Colorado Chautauqua Tour,” a traveling arts festival funded by the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities in 1976, when a couple of local men picked him up in their truck and took him to the tank.
They put him inside the tank with his music equipment, banged the side of the tank from the outside with a couple of 2×4 boards, and Odland heard what sounds the tank was capable of producing.
Odland, who installs sound systems around the globe, reportedly equated the tank to a Taj Mahal or Great Pyramid—The Sistine Chapel of the acoustic world.
After that, Odland would bring musicians to Rangely to try a variety of performances, techniques, etc., borrowing electricity from neighbors, off and on for 30 years.
In the late 1990s, the tank was deeded over to Michael Stanwood, who had recorded in and used the tank intermittently over the years. Liability became too much for Stanwood, the story goes, and he had an offer to purchase the tank.
Selling it would have meant that the tank would be disassembled and removed.
Next, Odland was having his 60th birthday party in Rangely, and he and a number of friends were discussing the tank.
At first, the group thought the space may have served its purpose and that perhaps the artists had completed this leg of their creative journeys. The group even discussed one last trip to Rangely to record in the tank.
But producer David Shoemaker flatly rejected the idea of a farewell.
“I’m not going out there for a funeral,” he said. “We have to save this thing.”
If that was going to happen, the musicians decided the effort should serve more than those who already understood the tank’s value. They believed it should involve the community, showing area residents a vision of the tank for local artists and future generations.
Enter Friends of the Tank, the non-profit group launched by Odland to secure the tank’s future. Hence, the group started the Kickstarter campaign on March 9, 2013, giving them three weeks to raise the group goal of $42,000.
If the full amount was raised by March 31, the tank could be secured and cleaned, then furnished with solar power and an Airstream trailer control room for future performances and education.
Community outreach would be a main focus, Odland said, pointing out that it wouldn’t be just for the musicians who would record there.
“There’s this gift sitting on the hills there, and the people of Rangely should be a part of it,” said vocalist Lois Lafond, who recorded with many of the tank musicians in the 1980s.
To make a long story short, more than 750 people from a dozen countries and a few Rangely donors raised more than $46,000.
The effort was conceived mostly by the group of artists most familiar with the tank.
Town and county officials lent their support, granted needed permits, and local support from Rangely residents is building as the principals are learning more about the project.
The Channel 9 segment talks briefly about the effort to save what has now unofficially become “The Tank,” which has been the subject of many stories and photos in the Herald Times.
I thought the studio/education/sound chamber was kind of a neat idea and I thought the concept was great. I thought it would be great if something were to come of it. But I wasn’t overly excited and didn’t quite see what they apparently heard.
Until l heard the tones produced in that tank on the television segment Saturday night. I am a believer now.
The spoken, sung and instrumental sounds from inside that tank were incredible. The depth, almost eerie, has to be heard to be believed.
I understand the tank is on its way to becoming a recording studio even though the program reported that it is being made into a “community meeting place.”
That makes no sense to me, but what do I know?
I am reminded of a ranch—sorry I can’t think of the name of it—in the mountains outside Boulder that during the 1990s and early 2000s played host to some of the top musical performers in the world, including Crosby, Stills & Nash, Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan—and hundreds more.
The segment, while quite brief and incomplete, certainly opened my eyes to the value of The Tank, and I wish the very best to those running the studio.
It is truly possibly that The Tank could end up being a diamond in the rough and could end up bringing some of the world’s best to Rangely, regardless of the musical genre.

The second shout-out is to 10-year-old Tasos Halandras of Meeker.
Tasos is the grandson of well-known Meeker resident and former sheepman Gus Halandras and his wife, renowned local chef Christine Halandras. He is the son of John and Tawny Halandras, and he has been around sheep, butchering and his family’s Greek heritage his entire 10 years.
Tasos was featured in the October edition of “Sheep Industry News” with three full-color photos of the sheep camp he built made entirely of Legos.
The magazine states, “In a tribute to his family’s sheep ranching heritage, young Tasos Halandras took to his Lego collection to construct a detailed version of a sheep camp.
“The 10-year-old boy from Meeker, Colo., explained that he ‘built a sheep camp for my Papou Gus. He used to herd sheep, but now he does not. My family (does) own eight sheep. I enjoyed building this because I can let my imagination run wild and it is part of my family heritage.’”
Tasos, well done and congratulations on the article.