Completion of new church means demolition of old

As the finishing touches are being put on the new United Methodist Church in Meeker, the church’s 100-plus-year-old sanctuary will soon be torn down.
Despite efforts to find a new home for the old church, there were no takers.
“Unfortunately, I think it was a combination of economics and just what it would take to get it back to usable once it was moved,” said Johnny Arrington, the church’s pastor. “It was more than people were able to come up with.”
Arrington discussed the possibility of relocating the old church with members of the Meeker Town Board of Trustees and the Meeker Cemetery District, but to no avail. Mentioned as possible new sites for the old church were the grounds of the old Meeker elementary school, Ute Park west of town and Highland Cemetery.
But the cost to relocate the old sanctuary was prohibitive.
“Just a guess we’ve come up with is it probably would’ve been at least a $50,000 project to move it and close that back wall,” Arrington said. “We even had individuals who expressed an interest into trying to restore it, so it could be part of the greater community, but it just didn’t happen.”
Arrington said it will be sad to see the old church go.
“That’s the tough part,” he said. “There have been so many lives touched in this church, from birth to death. You just hate to see it torn down.”
But it appears inevitable now, Arrington said.
“We get closer every day (to the church being torn down),” he said. “It’s probably going to be sometime in October. There’s no definite time, but it has to go away.”
The church broke ground on the new sanctuary a little more than a year ago.
“It’s taken a little longer than we hoped, but we broke ground last September, so that’s not bad. Those boys (Renninger Construction) did a pretty amazing job,” Arrington said. “Our dream is to be in in October, but I’m guessing it will be November before we complete everything.”
Construction of a new church has been a leap of faith for the congregation.
“We’re looking at $900,000, that’s ballpark,” Arrington said. “We hoped it would be less, but such is life.”
While there is sadness over the loss of the church’s historic sanctuary, at the same time there is an anticipation and excitement about the opening of the new church.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunities that this will bring us to expand ministry,” Arrington said. “A new facility, that’s all good. The thing I’ve appreciated about the congregation is that their enthusiasm is for expanding ministry opportunities.”
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Johnny and Cynthia Weese of Silt, who were involved in a motorcycle-car accident Sept. 26 at the intersection of Highways 13 and 64, were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident. Johnny Weese was driver of the Harley Davidson motorcycle and Cynthia Weese was a passenger. A car driven by Lynne Fawcett of Heber City, Utah, reportedly turned in front of the motorcycle.
Cynthia Weese remains in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. Johnny Weese was treated and released.
“I have been told that neither were wearing helmets,” said Sgt. Scott Elliott of the Colorado State Patrol, which investigated the accident.
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After reading the story in last week’s Herald Times about the effort to identify a skull that has been in the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s evidence room for years, Wilbur Richardson, a former undersheriff, came forward to say he and then Sheriff Russell Harp collected the skull from George Evenson, who discovered it on a hillside upriver.
“Wilbur said he and the sheriff hiked up in the hills and met with Evenson where he found (the skull),” said Sgt. Roy Kinney, RBC Sheriff’s investigator, who is trying to solve the case of the mysterious skull.
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Two men — Hermie Parks and Lester Burns — disappeared in the early 1930s. Parks went missing in June 1930 and Burns about a year later, in August 1931.
Parks worked for Tom Graham, who leased the Dunn Ranch at Marvine. Burns worked for Paul Dunn at the 101 Ranch.
The areas where Parks and Burns disappeared were about 10 miles apart.
Sheriff’s investigator Kinney is hoping to find out if the skull that has been in the evidence room all these years may have been that of Hermie Parks, who was in his 20s when he disappeared.
“Hermie is the one who fits in the age range (of the skull),” Kinney said.
Kinney has sent the skull to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System for examination.
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Sam Love, a 2008 Meeker High School graduate and now a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, recently met former President Bill Clinton.
“I was fortunate enough to meet President Clinton on Sept. 26 at a rally in Portland, Maine, held to benefit the Maine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell,” Love said. “Some of my friends and I went down from Bowdoin to listen to the speakers which included former President Bill Clinton. We were lucky enough to have VIP tickets. … Once inside, my friends and I were able to stand directly in front of the podium where the speakers would stand, literally at the front of the room that would soon be filled with around 1,500 people. We were actually resting on the steel barriers that separated the crowd from the podium, so there was not a single person standing between us and the speakers. … Libby Mitchell and President Clinton came on stage together at the end of the event and Ms. Mitchell gave a quick introduction speech for President Clinton. His speech was incredible and it was immediately clear why many people were captivated by his intelligence during his two terms; also interesting was that unlike the previous speakers who looked out to the large crowd, President Clinton kept looking down at the people directly in front of him — this really showed how comfortable he was in giving speeches before large crowds, and was great for those of us up front who could make eye contact with him.
“After his speech, he and Ms. Mitchell walked down the stairs on either side of the podium to shake hands with those of us standing at the front and anyone behind us who could squeeze forward through the crowd. I spoke with both of them and congratulated President Clinton on an excellent speech and a prosperous eight years as president. He was very gracious and did not hesitate at all to stop and speak with everyone who wanted to strike up a conversation with him as he made his way across the front of the crowd. All in all, it was an amazing honor and a great experience I will never forget.”
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County Administrator Pat Hooker has resigned from the board of directors of Pioneers Medical Center.
“Just too many things going on here at the county for me to be able to dedicate the time I felt the hospital board deserves, so I stepped down,” Hooker said. “My decision had nothing to do with the operations at the hospital or the board. In fact, I think the hospital is making wonderful progress on several issues we’ve struggled with over the past several months. Now that a permanent CEO has been selected, I really think things will move forward for the hospital, although, Ken Huey, interim CEO, has done a wonderful job in the short time he has been here.”
New hospital CEO Ken Harman’s first day on the job was Monday.
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The pie and salsa auction, which was part of the Mountain Valley Bank Fall Festival, raised money for a good cause.
“When tallied, the pie and salsa auction raised $905,” said Trina Zagar-Brown of the law firm Cooley Zagar-Brown, which sponsors the event. “We donate the prize money and any other costs associated, so a check for $905 will be delivered to Meals on Wheels. I think the extra salsa entries made the difference as we were down on pie entries, but up on salsa entries. Thanks to MVB and WREA (White River Electric Association) for their support. A huge success by any measure.”
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Mike Applegate, the consultant for the Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District water storage feasibility study, gave a report Sept. 24 at the Northwest Colorado Water Forum in Craig.
Trina Zagar-Brown, attorney for the YJ Water District, offered this summary of the report:
“Due to scheduling delays, the YJ study has not begun, but it is anticipated to begin in mid November. The timetable will be delayed accordingly.
“My overall take on the meeting was that regional residents are trying to become more informed about the following:
1. General water issues in our area;
2. If and how West Slope water will be diverted to solve East Slope/Front Range water challenges;
3. How climate change is predicted to change historical water uses in our region and how to address that issue, and
4. How natural resource extractions will affect existing water uses today and in the future.
“My report to the YJ Board will be that this meeting greatly reinforced the need to properly analyze and plan for regional water storage in general and specifically emphasized YJ’s need to have a contemporary assessment of its conditional water storage rights, so that it can best determine how to proceed in the future. The Colorado River District uses the phrase that the Yampa White Green River Basin is ‘no longer a valley too far’ away, meaning that this region is blessed with an abundance of natural resources (minerals, water, wildlife, etc.) and it is no longer if the resources will be extracted, utilized, diverted, etc., it is a matter of when. That then begs the question of how will this region protect, utilize, divert, appropriate, manage, etc., its regional natural resources.”
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Kurt and Jackie Pozorski will take 4-year-old daughter Kacey, who has a rare inoperable brain tumor, to the University of Minnesota Medical Center this week.
“We were supposed to get on a clinical trial, but they are filled up,” Kurt Pozorski said. “We’re still going to meet with the doctor on the 11th, to see if she has any other options of where we can go from here.”
The Pozorskis recently learned Kacey’s tumor was growing.
“The tumor is coming back. It shrunk before and now it’s starting to grow again,” Kurt said. “This wasn’t what we expected. Just by the way she’s been acting, we didn’t think anything had changed. She doesn’t really have any symptoms or anything.”
The Pozorskis took Kacey to Denver for a checkup on Sept. 27.
“They said if we didn’t do anything, it would be six to eight weeks,” Kurt said. “So we’ll go to Minnesota to see what the doctor has to offer and if we can get on a study.”
Asked how Kacey was doing, Kurt said, “She’s fine. You can’t even tell she’s sick.”
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Seth Boesch, a 2010 MHS graduate, is recovering from a mountain bike accident. “He’s doing good with the pain, going to classes, and recovering,” said his step-mom Margot Robb. Seth is a student at Denver University.
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Watching the Monday Night Football game Sept. 27 between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, I was reminded of my college days in the mid 1980s when I worked for my hometown newspaper and was assigned to cover an area NAIA Div. II football team, Baker University. There was a tight end on the team named Mike McCarthy.
Today, he’s the head coach of the Packers.
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Pink is the color of the day, or the month.
For the 25th year, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month has special meaning for me as my sister is a breast cancer survivor.
I just wanted to say, sis, I’m proud of you.

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