More women political leaders step forward

I heard from a couple of women, both are in important positions, who chided me about being omitted from the list of names I mentioned in last week’s column about the prominent role women play in Rio Blanco County politics.
I should have known writing such a column might get in trouble.
In both cases, the women I heard from were not angry. They were only joking when they claimed to be upset about not making the list. At least, I think they were joking. However, they shall remain anonymous. Or I fear I would find myself in more trouble.
At the risk of upsetting even more women, I did want to point out there are plenty of examples of women who definitely would be considered movers and shakers, but do not hold an elected office. They, too, are making a difference in their communities. Women such as Suzan Pelloni and Phyllis Henley, who run the chambers of commerce for Meeker and Rangely. As well as Margie Joy, who is the development manager at Pioneers Medical Center and involved in just about every major volunteer effort, at least so it seems. I don’t know how she does it.
Also, I stand corrected: Kris Borchard is chairwoman of the board of directors at Pioneers Medical Center, not Dondi Glasscock, who used to be the chairwoman. My apologies to both. That will teach me to trust a company Web site.
By the way, none of the women I have mentioned contacted me after last week’s column ran. Nevertheless, they play an important leadership role in their respective communities and are deserving of recognition.
Obviously, the list could go on. But if I kept going, I would be sure to leave someone else out and get myself in even more hot water.
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Last week must have been a week for goof-ups. When I saw Steve Allen on Friday at the Meeker homecoming barbecue. I asked him, “Was that you I said hello to the other day?”
“No,” Steve said. “That must have been my brother, Tom.”
I was afraid I had mixed them up. I had a sinking feeling after I waved and said, “Hi, Steve,” that maybe I had confused the brothers.
I told Steve, “You know, for newbies like me, if you could wear name tags, that would sure help.”
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I stopped by Wyatt’s Sports Center the other day — while I was waiting for my clothes to dry at the laundromat — and met owner Stan Wyatt. I was surprised to learn he has a Kansas connection. He told me he’s from a small town in the central part of the state. And, come to find out, I knew a cousin of his who had been a grade-school principal in a southwest Kansas town at the same time Mitch Bettis and I worked together at the newspaper there. Small world.
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I was up early one morning last week, like always, and looked out the window and saw this strange dark shadow in the front lawn. I had no idea what it could possibly be, so I turned on the porch light, and relaxing there in my front yard, just minding its own business, was a deer, a doe, not quite full grown.
Even after I turned on the porch light, the doe stayed right there. Eventually, it got up and slowly walked over to the neighbor’s yard. A short time later, it was back, plopped down in my front yard. It was the strangest thing. Or so I thought, anyway.
I went to the office that day excited to share the news with my co-workers. They all just shrugged and said, “Oh, that happens all the time.”
At least my kids thought it was a big deal when I told them about it.
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Nancy Amick, county clerk, reports more than one third of active voters — 36 percent, to be exact — have requested a mail-in ballot. “That’s the highest mail-in ever,” Amick said. “And we still have two weeks to go to the election.”
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This is my first hunting season in Colorado, so it’s all new to me. With all of the sour economic news and gas prices being what they are, though they have been dropping, I was curious how locals thought the hunting season was going. Here’s a sampling of what some of them had to say:
Tawny Halandras with H&H Processing and Outfitting: “The first season seems to be going very well from a meat-processing standpoint. Our numbers through the processing plant are above average. We are seeing many of our repeat hunters as well as a few new faces. The reports from hunters are that the elk are not moving like they typically do and they don’t seem to be seeing as many. However, those with perseverance are filling their tags.
“I will be interested to see how the second season shakes out. It is typically a larger season, due to the fact that it is an elk and deer season and some of the tags are available over the counter. I know that the number of deer tags given out in the draw was less than normal and will surely have an impact on the kill numbers. The economy is changing how groups travel and choose their lodging, but I think many are still making the journey to take the annual hunting trip to Meeker. The thrill of the hunt, fun and camaraderie that most hunters experience is a high that is not easily given up.”
Steve Allen, avid hunter and guide (Or was that his brother, Tom?): “As far as how it (opening weekend) went, overall, I don’t know; it was fine where I was (guiding around Hayden). I don’t want to seem pessimistic, but you will find that if it is too warm, the DOW will come out with a statement saying it was too warm. If it is too snowy and cold, they will say the same. Basically, in our country, if you have private property to hunt on, you will do fine. If not, then it can be real tough.”
Suzan Pelloni, Meeker Chamber of Commerce executive director: “This year, wrapping up first season, it has been very slow (as far as hunters stopping by the chamber office needing directions or information). Our numbers for last October were over 800 (visitors to the chamber). During the summer, we average about 200. This has been more like an average summer month.”
Shawn Welder of Welder Outfitting Services: “I don’t think the numbers affect the (local) economy as much as limiting the number of out-of-state hunters. Out-of-state tags bring in 10 times the dollars to the DOW, and out-of-state hunters are more likely to spend more money on lodging and food service. I see draw hunts with five times the out-of-state interest, but only 35 percent or less of the tags. The numbers for the first season are about the same as we have seen in the past.”
Bill de Vergie, DOW area wildlife manager in Meeker: “Basically, the first rifle season is a limited draw. So, we knew how many people, roughly, were coming. Now, for the second and third rifle seasons, we don’t know yet. With the price of gas and the economy, until we get through the season, it’s hard to tell whether we will have a decrease or not. I don’t anticipate a large decline in hunter numbers this year. We might lose a few of those who have to scrape together money every year to get out here and back. For most hunters, it’s a big part of their year. They come from different states in large groups and share the costs. We haven’t had a lot of phone calls, people saying they’re not coming. We just haven’t heard that. From what I can see, for most of these guys, this is one of their big vacations of the year. After they leave here, they’re already starting planning for next year. They’re going to do what it takes to get here.”
If you have a perspective on how the hunting season is going, and whether you think the economy is having an impact, I’d like to hear from you.
Or, if you’re a woman and I left your name off the women-who-are-making-a-difference list, feel free to call or e-mail me and give me grief. I’ll try to take my punishment like a man.

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

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