What’s cooking? Not much for single guy

As a single guy, my dinner “menu” rotation consists of such hearty meals as chips and salsa, soup or salad, the ever-popular PB&J sandwich and, my personal favorite, a bowl of cereal.
So, when I saw the ad in the newspaper last week for the annual Harvest Festival at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Meeker, I knew I would get a good meal.
And it didn’t disappoint.
Sunday’s church dinner offered some of the best home-cooked food I’ve had since I moved to Colorado. I even had two pieces of pie. The pecan pie was the best I’ve ever had. I wish I knew who made it, and I would order a whole one for myself.
With my ever-expanding cooking skills, I did branch out last week and made burritos. They actually turned out pretty well, I don’t mind saying so myself, and I do know how to bake brownies, a staple at my house.
But I have a ways to go, as far as my cooking skills.
Sitting across the table from Joe Sullivan and Ethel Starbuck at the church dinner, I was telling them about the kinds of “meals” I typically have for dinner. Joe looked across the table at me and said, “You had better learn to cook, young man.”
Hey, I’m trying.
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Dave Morlan, Rio Blanco County road and bridge director, has been going door-to-door, like a traveling salesman.
Morlan has been “selling” the improvement project on County Road 5, in the Piceance Basin.
“In order for the consultant and his sub-contractors to do the preliminary survey and geo-technical work, we need to obtain permission from all landowners along County Road 5,” said Jeni Morlan, office administrator for the road and bridge department. “Dave felt that it would be best to contact most of the owners in person, so that he could explain the whole process, rather than sending a form letter. This worked well, as he has most of the needed permission forms.”
A informational meeting about the project was held Tuesday at Rock School, along County Road 5.
The 42-mile County Road 5 corridor is a heavily traveled stretch of road, due to the oil and gas development in the Piceance Basin.
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The future use of the Fairfield Community Center is still uncertain. One thing for sure, it most likely won’t be used as a senior center or as a new home for social services.
“I think there has been a proposal for turning the (former) library into a senior center,” said Bonnie Ruckman, director of the Rio Blanco County Department of Social Services as well the senior nutrition program, which operates in both Meeker and Rangely. “The commissioners are working on that (future use of the Fairfield), but I’m not sure what they are planning. I haven’t been part of that discussion. I think the conclusion would be we need more space than that.”
Ruckman said the social services department would also require more room than what is available at the Fairfield. The Meeker Library moved to its new location down the street in September, leaving a vacancy in the Fairfield.
“We’re too big,” Ruckman said of the social services department, which is now located on the second floor at town hall, along with county nursing. “There would not be enough room for us.”
County Administrator Pat Hooker said commissioners are undecided on what to do with the space available in the Fairfield.
“There’s nothing new to report,” Hooker said. “The commissioners were planning on doing a walk-through last Monday, but it was delayed as all three commissioners were not available. That walk-through will hopefully happen in the next couple of weeks.
“The commissioners want to review the space, so they will have a better idea of what’s available,” Hooker said. “Remodeling may be necessary, depending on the potential uses for that space.”
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Speaking of a senior center, Ruckman would like to have a facility in Meeker, like the Radino Center in Rangely.
“It would be great to have a senior center (in Meeker),” Ruckman said.
The senior nutrition programs in both towns — it’s called the Chuckwagon in Meeker — are operated by the county. The Chuckwagon uses a dining room in the Fairfield to serve meals to seniors. Chevron donated the building for the Radino Center in Rangely.
“It’s all one program,” Ruckman said. “It’s called the White River Roundup. One is Radino, and then there’s the Chuckwagon, but they are the same program.”
Ruckman said both programs serve lunch to about 20 to 25 seniors four days a week.
“The people who come really enjoy those programs,” Ruckman said. “I just wish we could get more people to come. We’ve tried various things, like face-to-face outreach. But people between the ages of 60 and 70 are more active, and less likely to attend a program. But we’re always looking for ways to increase participation.”
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While the Chuckwagon and Radino Center take care of providing lunch for seniors, more restaurants in Meeker and Rangely are now serving breakfast, to accommodate the early morning work crowd, many of them headed out to the oil fields.
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Walking home for lunch Monday I went past St. James’ Episcopal Church. I thought about checking to see if there were any leftovers from Sunday night’s Thanksgiving dinner, but thought better of it.
Well, I had better sign off. All of this talk about food is making me hungry.

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

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