• Authorities said restaurant owner, Francisco Peralta-Cabral, 44, of Meeker, known as “Pancho,” was the U.S. head of the drug-dealing operation with tentacles across the Western Slope, including ownership of the Los Koras Mexican restaurant in Meeker.
Meeker Police Chief Robert Hervey said Tuesday that for several months the Meeker Police Department had been working with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency on a major drug investigation. He added that on April 23 that investigation resulted in the arrest of Peralta-Cabral.
• A John Deere 350D excavator tore down the old Rangely District Hospital and Rangely Family Medicine building at South White Avenue and Eagle Crest Drive. The demolition began last week and will continue for the next month, Alpine Demolition owner Steve Mitchell said. The company is taking the debris, some of which Mitchell said will be recycled, to the Meeker landfill and will use dirt from a local ranch to fill in the holes.
• After 17 months, the project to increase access to recycling in Rio Blanco County is a reality at the newly improved Town of Meeker Recycle Center.
Residents are urged to bring recyclables to the newly remodeled center, which now accepts No. 1 and No. 2 plastics along with cardboard, newspaper, white paper and aluminum cans.
• Sarah Ward of Rangely crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon with an unofficial time of 4:03.16 and an official time of 3:57.46. She finished the race several minutes before two bombs detonated near the finish in Boston. She was five blocks away at the time and described “booms” that sounded like thunder.
• More than 70 residents filled the Meeker Town Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night to voice concerns at a public hearing about the town turning over the old elementary school to Rio Blanco County for use as the new justice center. It was nearly unanimous among audience members that they didn’t want to see the old under-used building torn down and removed from its location.
However, Town Administrator Scott Meszaros stated that asbestos problems and structure deficiencies would mean millions of dollars in expenditures just to bring it up to current code without any remodeling, something town officials are reluctant to do.
• Upgrades at Ute Park and sidewalks for east Market Street are the two chief projects planned by the Town of Meeker in the next several months. First is a new stone monument planned for Ute Park that will identify the park and contain a wooden attachment that identifies the park as “Home of the Meeker Classic” sheepdog championship trials, which occur annually over Labor Day weekend.
• Rangely District Hospital is cutting employee hours, leaving positions vacant and increasing marketing efforts for long-term care and assisted living facilities after a four-year recession and an energy industry bust cycle continue to drive admissions, out-patient procedures and clinic visits down, CEO Nick Goshe said. Hospital statistics, which have been steadily declining for more than three years, were projected by feasibility studies to have emerged from recession numbers by the time the hospital’s new building opened. Goshe said the impending move and implementation of an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system made cutting back impossible before now.
• Teachers at Meeker High School are not particularly happy with teaching, preparation and discipline issues at the school, according to the 2013 TELL Colorado survey, yet they are satisfied with other issues. The Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Colorado survey is an anonymous statewide survey of licensed, school-based educators regarding teaching, preparation and discipline conditions at their school.
• Teachers at Barone Middle School are considerably happier with conditions at that school than teachers were in last week’s look at Meeker High School. In fact, Barone (BMS) teachers were happier with teaching, preparation and discipline issues at the school than at many Colorado middle schools represented in the 2013 TELL Colorado survey.
• Rio Blanco County operator Ron Willey uses an 872 John Deere, all-wheel-drive, fully-chained, road grader with an A-plow to break through the snow on the Colorado Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway at approximately mile marker 44 on Monday. “This is the best part of the job,” Willey said. County Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan said the “goal” is to have Ripple Creek Pass open by Memorial Day weekend. Willey broke through and over the top Tuesday, then was headed to do the same on Burro Mountain.
• A piece of Rangely history came down when the structure popularly known as the “Peacock Building” was demolished last week. Another form of history, a car museum, will take its place.
• Eight current teachers were issued class reassignments at the Meeker School Board meeting on May 14, and the trustees also announced there were two new hires in the district for the 2013-14 school year.
• Meeker’s T.J. Shelton flew across the finish line to win the 100-meter dash Saturday in Denver at the 2013 Colorado State Track and Field Championships, held in Jefferson County Stadium. Rangely senior Colton Coombs (second from right), who ran against Shelton all season, finished fourth. Shelton finished second at the state meet in the 200 and anchored the 4×100 relay, which earned a bronze medal.
• Teachers at Meeker Elementary School are very happy with some aspects of working at the school, yet equally upset with other conditions, stating notable dissatisfaction with leadership and chances for professional development.
• After resigning from his position last week, Rangely School District Superintendent Todd Cordrey said he and his family will return to Brighton, Colo., where he will consider whether to continue in K-12 education or further his real estate business.
Cordrey was the RE-4 superintendent for two years.
• Joseph Duane “JoD” Stults was presented with the Eagle Scout Award, which is scouting’s highest honor, at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor on May 18 at the Rangely First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Stults is a member of Boy Scout Troop 189, sponsored by the Rangely LDS Church.