Letters: March 26 Edition

Dear Editor,
First of all, I’d like to begin by saying congratulations to the Meeker boys’ and girls’ basketball teams for an outstanding showing at the 2A state tournament recently held in Pueblo.
As a former Meeker girls’ coach (1991-1994), it was awesome to see some familiar faces and watch a former player coach.
The reason I’m writing this letter is to address a problem that seems to be all over the country, but it seems intensified in Meeker. The problem is parents. Parents who believe their kid is always the best. Parents who believe it isn’t about the team, it’s about their child. Parents who always second guess the coaches. Parents who express their distaste for the coach in front of their child, so in turn the child feels it is acceptable to disrespect the coach.
I’ve been teaching and coaching for 17 years. Coaches today are hard to find. It isn’t because there is no one out there qualified, but they’d rather not put up with the issues that come along with coaching. Coaches get paid very little if you calculate their hourly rate. The hours people don’t see are the hours spent watching film at home; meeting with the coaching staff preparing for the next opponent and the time spent planning and organizing their summer schedules.
Few people have careers that “showcase” their work in front of a whole community on Friday and Saturday nights. Few people have careers that put their livelihoods in the hands of teenagers. High school sports are a great venue to teach kids many things about life. But anytime you deal with high school kids there are a lot of variables that come with the package. All the fans see is the performance on Friday night. They don’t see the effort or attitude the coach saw all week in practice. They don’t see the factors that affect kids like disrupted relationships, struggles with academics, family problems, etc. Fans take it upon themselves to “grade” coaches when they only see the performance.
I wouldn’t trade my profession for any profession in the world. I left the Meeker School District after a three-year stint. During that time, my basketball team was state runner-up in 1992 and state qualifiers in 1993 and 1994; for some people that wasn’t good enough. I was young and naive, and I succumbed to the pressure of a small group of parents. They wanted me out, so I left. The lessons I learned in Meeker have never left me nor has the betrayal of a few parents. The relationships I’ve formed with countless girls over my coaching career are some of my most treasured memories and as I watched one of my former players walk in the same shoes I walked in 15 years ago, it broke my heart.
I’m not trying to say that coaches are perfect and that we don’t make mistakes. But I will say that the majority of coaches try to make decisions based on what is best for the kids. We wouldn’t put in all those hours if we didn’t truly love the kids, because believe me the paycheck isn’t worth it. Wake up; appreciate the people who work with your kids. They may not always be right, but I don’t know any parent who is always right either. I commend both Meeker coaches and their assistants on a job well done this weekend. They represented your community in an outstanding manner; you should be proud.
Tammy Van Oort
Rye, Colo.

Dear Editor,
I received a note from the Sierra Club. I am very upset over this. Granted we do make money on tourism, but the oil and gas industry is the second largest income in the state of Colorado. I know of more than one person who is upset by this Bill 1292. If passed it will cripple what is left of this industry. Oil and gas is the second largest economic base in this state. The Sierra Club is a large powerful lobby group. They have sent out millions of e-mails all over the nation and Colorado. I too believe in green energy, but what are we going to do during this transition? It is estimated that it will take more than 10 years to get green. Keep giving money to foreign oil companies when we need jobs? Why take money out of the state when we need it here, and have it?
One of the things that upsets me on a personal level is, I am sick to death of the East Slope making policy that affects the west side of the mountains. I often wonder how many people from Boulder have even been to Roan Plateau. I wonder how many have been to a rig location during working hours or after the site has been reclaimed. I wonder if they have given thought to the tax dollars they take from our side of the mountains, and the direct effect it will have in getting their roads paved to their favorite ski areas.
I ask that if you are passionate about this, write the governor and representatives and encourage them to vote “no” on 1292. A vote yes will have more negative impact on our county, and surrounding counties. We already see the effect of this as property prices fall, and unemployment goes up. It is my own personal opinion that the attitude toward the one strong economic base needs to be embraced. We were the one spot in the nation that was not feeling the effects of the down turn felt everywhere else. Why? Because we had the oil and gas industry. We had jobs and income coming in.
Do you know that for every rig that is running, it effects 100 people directly for work? All of the people who work directly for a rig contributes on average to 10 different businesses. They buy everything from a cup of coffee to a house. Why would we shut the doors on this? Nothing is ever made right by slamming doors on opportunity. We must communicate on all sides to find a happy medium. I for one would like to see the children of this area have a chance at a future here. I hope that they are not like so many graduating classes that leave and only come back for class reunions. Why? There is no work here. There is no economic base to stand on. Past and some present leadership, have discouraged, fought, overcharged and mistreated many outside businesses that wanted to call this area home. The most valuable thing any area has is it children. Due to lack of opportunity we lose them every year. I moved away in 1985 and came back to the same old thing. How sad, when there is a chance for so much more. The choices of a few, or of an opposite side of the state have such a devastating effect on positive chance for more.
If you are affected and concerned, write a letter, make a phone call, raise your voice. We can do better I think the future of our side of the state depends on it.
Write to: Gov. Bill Ritter, 136 State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203 or call (303) 866-2471.
Thank you for your time,
Michelle E. Hale
Democratic chair Rio Blanco

Dear Editor,
On March 4, the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Parks District hosted the Harlem Ambassadors professional show basketball team for a night of high-flying slam dunks, hilarious comedy and feel-good family entertainment.
The Harlem Ambassadors would like to extend a special thank you to event organizers Nicole Dupire and Kari Stevens, who planned and promoted the game. The Meeker Underdawgz proved to be an energetic and enthusiastic challenging team and we thank all of the players for their good sportsmanship. The event would not have been possible without the support and generosity of local community sponsors, the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Parks District committee members, and the event volunteers.
The Harlem Ambassadors thank the community of Meeker for its warm hospitality and look forward to returning to Meeker in the future.
Best regards,
Ashley Eich
Harlem Ambassadors

Dear Editor,
I would like to extend a hearty thank you to the town maintenance crew. A week ago, I thought about writing when I saw that Larry Hatch and Ty Osborne looked like they were doing more street sweeping than normal. I see plenty of folks enjoying this spring weather by starting their walking campaigns. I know that it is appreciated. This morning the town crew was mucking out the long accumulated dirt in the drainage ditch down the middle of Morrison Avenue Then I caught them cleaning other accumulated dirt at other intersections. Yahoo! It’s an inspiration to us all.
Kelvin White