Long-time Rangely superintendent to get memorial

BurkheadImageUseThisOneBooks were a big part of Bob Mullen’s life, both professionally and personally.
So, it’s only fitting that a sculpture — in Mullen’s memory — will be installed in front of the Rangely Regional Library.
Mullen was the superintendent for the Rangely School District for many years, before retiring in the early 2000s. He passed away in 2005, soon after his 65th birthday.
“I think it’s really appropriate,” said RHS math teacher Jim Day, who worked with Mullen and replaced him as superintendent when he retired. “He was a gentleman who spent a lot of his career here and gave a lot to the community and to the children of the community. To honor him in this way is very worthwhile.”
The sculpture, created by Rangely artist Wendy Roberts, depicts two children reading a book. The models for the life-size bronze sculpture were Roberts’ son Ben and Mullen’s granddaughter Kaylee.
“He was always interested in books and really wanted to encourage people to read,” said Mullen’s wife, Celesta. “He read books all the time. He was always reading. He had two or three books going at the same time.”
A dedication of the memorial sculpture is tentatively planned for Saturday, Oct. 24. A time has not been confirmed.
“When Dr. Mullen passed away, the family set up a memorial fund at the library, in lieu of flowers,” said Amorette Hawkins, library director. “The Mullen family had almost enough in the memorial fund to cover the cost to have (the sculpture) molded and cast. The library kicked in for the difference and the supplies, as well as the installation.”
Roberts donated her time to the project.
“This was very generous,” Hawkins said of Roberts’ part.
Celesta Mullen, who now lives in Grand Junction, said the couple had fond memories of their time in Rangely.
“We loved Rangely. We made a lot of friends there, and we kept in contact with a lot of people there,” she said.
Celesta said her late husband would have been honored to have a memorial at the Rangely Library.
“I think he would be pleased,” she said.
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Colorado legislator Randy Baumgardner stopped by the Herald Times office last week to pay for his subscription.
Asked about the upcoming legislative session, Baumgardner said he anticipates it will be a difficult one, given the economic conditions.
“The money we used in the shell game last year, it won’t be there,” said Baumgardner, a Republican House member from Hot Sulphur Springs, whose district includes Rio Blanco County. “It will be an interesting session. There will have to be some tough decisions. Everybody’s going to feel the pinch.”
Adding insult to injury, Baumgardner is preparing to have rotator-cuff surgery on his right shoulder. Ironically, he injured the shoulder while visiting the doctor.
“I slipped on the ice in the parking lot of a doctor’s office,” he said. “If I hadn’t gone to the doctor, I wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Baumgardner said of the recovery time from surgery, it will be “four to six months when it’s all said and done.”
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Nick Goshe, chief executive officer of Rangely District Hospital, gave a presentation about the hospital’s plans to build a new facility last week at the Community Networking meeting at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
“I think it went well,” Goshe said. “There were several questions and mostly positive feedback about our plans.”
Goshe said the hospital has “engaged” the services of an architect, contractor, banker and project manager for the project. The architectural firm is Davis Partnership, the contractor is Adolfson and Peterson, the banker is Lancaster Pollard, and the project manager is Adams Management.
“All of them have done a great deal of work in Colorado,” he added.
Asked what’s next, Goshe said, “Developing a conceptual design plan and working on a realistic project budget. The architects have started working internally with department managers to begin the designing process of our new hospital and Adolfson and Peterson toured some of the local businesses to introduce themselves to the local market. One thing Adolfson and Peterson had stressed to us was they wanted to involve the local labor market early on in the process.”
The hospital plans to ask voters to support construction of a new hospital in a bond election in April.
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The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Oct. 20 in Rio Blanco County’s dispute with ExxonMobil over application of its use tax. Attorney Malcolm Murray of Denver will argue Rio Blanco County’s position.
“I feel very good about our prospects,” Murray said.
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Jeremy Simmons is Rio Blanco County’s new public health and environmental specialist. He started work Sept. 1.
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Rangely’s football team won its first game of the season Friday. Fifty years ago, the Panthers went through the season undefeated.
“Rangely defeated Meeker in the Rio Blanco County championship by a score of 9-7,” said Joel Hogan of Rangely. “The Panthers went undefeated beating Craig, Steamboat, Rifle, Meeker and Glenwood, to win their first conference championship in the young school’s history.”
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Avis Loshbaugh, who had been operating the Kava Café inside the Meeker Hotel, next door to the Meeker Cafe, has moved back to the Village Floral location. However, there won’t be room to move the antique soda fountain.
“The fountain won’t fit, so it’ll go back into storage, and I’ll probably try to sell it,” said Loshbaugh, adding she was glad to have the coffee shop and the floral shop under the same roof again.
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Phil and Vicki Cross are the new general managers of the Meeker Hotel and Meeker Cafe. Nancy Sturgeon will continue as the cafe manager.
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Last week’s Herald Times included a photo of a set of horns from a bull elk shot in Unit 22 in the Piceance Basin. The elk horns were later confiscated by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Although unrelated, the photo ironically appeared in the paper next to a story submitted by the DOW about hunting violations.
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When asked about the bow hunting season, which ended Sept. 27, local wildlife manager for the DOW, Bill de Vergie, said, “Actually, it was pretty good … I’ve seen quite a few bulls coming in … guys are generally finding them in most spots, but it’s not like they’re just concentrated in one spot. The harvest looks pretty good … in fact, a truck just went by with an elk rack in the back, just as I’m looking out my window.”
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Members of Meeker VFW Post 5843 volunteered to paint the flag poles at Meeker High School and the Meeker Chamber of Commerce. White River Electric Association provided the paint and supplies, while Mike Sizemore, George Howey and Leonard Thompson provided the man lift.
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Phan Duong is the new owner of Dinosaur’s Terrace Motel, which she bought from Vivian Gabrielson. Vivian and her late husband, Charles, bought the motel in 1964 and operated it together until his death in 2007. Vivian continued to run the motel, celebrating 45 years in business in July. Duong formerly managed the Craig Motel for two years.
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I was determined to wear shorts until October, but I have to admit the walk to work has been a chilly one on a few occasions. The temperature, on some of the chillier mornings, was in the mid 20s.
“Hey, you’re turning into a real Coloradan,” a co-worker told me.
Of course, on those cold mornings I was also wearing gloves and a hat. And I was walking as fast as I could.
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I was walking my dog last week when someone said, “Hey, did you know they’re offering another dog training class?”
Several other people lately have mentioned the same thing. I think maybe they’re trying to tell me something.

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