County Beat: October 24, 2019

RBC | Bringing broadband internet to some of the more remote areas of Rio Blanco County via wireless towers is in its final testing phases.

“We’re looking to go live Nov. 1,” said Communications Director Cody Crooks. The secondary towers will provide high-speed internet access to areas not supplied directly by fiber optic cable. Wireless access requires line-of-sight to one of the 10 towers and some equipment installed by a broadband provider.

The county will need to fence the secondary towers to ensure they aren’t damaged by livestock or wildlife. “It’s cheaper to fence them than it is to bring the tech guys back to retune them,” said Commissioner Gary Moyer.

One change in plans was approved at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting in Meeker. The Monument tower, which would have “lit up” Hwy. 13, is being replaced by the Prather Pit tower, across from Oak Creek.

The county was unable to come to an agreement with Garfield County and BLM. Garfield County owns the existing Monument tower and has its own agreement with BLM.


The commissioners heard from the Economic Development department Tuesday in a work session. Economic development director Makala Barton and economic development specialist  Carly Thomson shared their plans for marketing Rio Blanco County by increasing awareness of the county on social media and web traffic, and by “intentionally telling the story of life in Rio Blanco County.” They plan to use social media primarily.


A nationwide delay in the shipment of flu vaccines has created a temporary shortage for the county’s public health department. Public Health Director Alice Harvey said they anticipate having vaccines available in November.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control that’s still enough time,” Harvey said. Residents who haven’t gotten their flu shot yet are encouraged to schedule an appointment.

In the regular meeting, the commissioners:

  • Received one bid for liability insurance at both county airports. That bid is expected to be awarded at the next commissioners’ meeting in November.
  • Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Eastern Rio Blanco Health District (PMC) for an emergency operations plan. Commissioner Jeff Rector said it was a good example of agencies working together, according to Emergency Manager Ty Gates.

By Niki Turner|