MEEKER I Janell Oberlander is the new vice-president of the Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) Craig Campus.
She came to Craig from Rapid City, S.D., where she had served as the dean of student services, admissions coordinator and career services coordinator and veterans affairs representative for Western Dakota Technical Institute.
On March 30 she was treated to a day-long tour of Meeker. College president Russell George of the Rangely CNCC campus accompanied Oberlander on the tour.
Meeker CNCC Center coordinator Iris Franklin and CNCC Foundation Board members Dave Cole and Reed Kelley organized and led the tour for Oberlander and George.
The purpose of the tour was to familiarize Oberlander with Meeker as a community and to explore ways the mutually beneficial ties between the college and Meeker might be strengthened, how Meeker can better participate in CNCC programs and courses and how CNCC can better serve Meeker.
The tour started at the CNCC Meeker Center office and proceeded to the Meeker Fire District for a discussion hosted by new Meeker Fire Chief Richard Cook and administrative assistant Vicki Crawford.
The group then gathered for discussions with Wendy and Bobby Gutierrez over fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, muffins and hot coffee at Wendll’s Wondrous Things and Cuppa Joe. Topics included the importance of dual enrollment classes (high school and college) for Meeker students and the general business environment in Meeker currently.
The group journeyed to the new Pioneers Medical Center, still under construction, where hospital administrator Ken Harman, after properly outfitting everyone in bright yellow safety vests, safety glasses and hard hats, led an hour-long tour of the new facility.
Harman announced that the construction would be completed by June 5 and the grand opening dedication would be held the afternoon of June 13.
Lunch was provided through catering by Holliday’s Bar and Grill at the current Pioneers Hospital. Discussion continued about how the hospital might participate further in CNCC Allied Health curricula, the importance of nurse training in the region and hospital personnel needs.
Following lunch, the tour group ventured into Meeker High School to be greeted by Principal Kim Ibach, counselor Amy Chinn and head secretary Mandi Etheridge, herself a former long-term Meeker mayor. Chinn escorted folks to the classrooms of dual enrollment teachers Kathleen Kelley, Cheri Robinson and Ben Quinn where some interaction with students was appreciated.
After driving by the Meeker Elementary School, the group was greeted by new Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan and Park District Director Sean von Roenn at the Recreation Center. Von Roenn, aided by assistant director Dondi Glasscock, oriented Oberlander and George on the Center’s amenities.
It was a surprise to find out how much use the center is getting from Craig residents who do not have such a facility. George thought it was the first time he’d ever seen a moving river as part of a swimming pool complex.
Leaving the recreation center, the group traveled downtown where Meeker Library District Director Mike Bartlett led a library visit, especially of the new addition on the facility which has tremendous potential for technological, meeting and entertainment venues for the community and college programming. Books, the library cat, enthralled the entourage as did the collection of historic photos Bartlett has lining the library walls.
At the Meeker Work Force Center in town hall, director Cathy Caldwell focused the group on a serious discussion of work force issues—discussions ranged from the need to find, help and hold students to the aid they can receive through work force programs that are tied to college coursework and degrees. A spontaneous visit to the old drive-through bank and residence at Third and Main streets, now the new home of the VFW, American Legion and Meeker Lions Club, was led by Dave Cole who regaled the group with veterans’ stories, memorabilia, memoirs and plaques. Again, this remarkable accomplishment of the combined organizations holds great potential and promise for the community.
The tour group’s day then resolved to a social hour and dinner at the Mexican House with owner, and Meeker Chamber of Commerce board member, Arturo Rodriguez.
Trina Zagar-Brown, representing the White River Electric Association, joined the discussions, as did Meeker school board president Bill deVergie, Meeker Mayor Regas Halandras and student parent Michele Morgan, also an owner of Meeker’s Elk Mountain Inn.
The dinner was focused on Meeker High School’s dual enrollment teachers: Cheri Robinson, Kathleen Kelley, Bob Dorsett, Ben Quinn, Don Cameron, Trina Kennedy Smith and high school dual enrollment coordinator, Amy Chinn.
Herald Times editor Sean McMahon participated as did the Craig CNCC Dean of Instruction Donna Theimer.