No birthday is complete without a birthday cake, and Kari Gutierrez showed off her creative side with this mock front page of the newspaper. The photos and the newspaper clipping that adorned the front page were actually made out of sugar and were edible. Besides being most creative, the cake was delicious, once RBCHS President Ellene Meece decided she couldn’t wait any longer to cut it.
James Lyttle started the Meeker Herald in 1885, and the Rio Blanco County Historical Society threw a 130th birthday party on Sunday at the Old West Heritage Culture Center. The first speaker was Annette Lyttle, wife of Bill Lyttle, who is the great-grandson of the founder. She told several anecdotes involving the paper and shared a a slide of the first editorial, seen on the right, in which Lyttle wrote that the newspaper won’t be controlled by anyone but him and that it will be run “as a business.”
Kim Cook spoke of the many years his family spent as publishers of the newspaper. His parents, James and Leota Cook, bought the paper from the Lyttles in 1964, and they and the whole Cook family pitched in as needed, including stepping in to save the paper when one owner left town suddenly. Leota, now 92, was also present for the event.
The last speaker at the Herald Times’ birthday party was current owner Mitch Bettis, who lives in Little Rock, Ark., and who was both editor and publisher of the paper until 2006, when he moved to Arkansas. Bettis spoke kindly of the Cooks and several other folks and area residents who are now friends who helped him better get to know and appreciate the community.
Quite a few people took part in the potluck luncheon held between the White River Museum and the garrison building in honor of the Herald Times’ 130th birthday. The RBCHS furnished hamburgers and visitors brought salads, side dishes and desserts.