Bill Jordan is the man behind the curtain.
As the Rio Blanco County fairgrounds manager, Bill does most of his work behind the scenes. But people who are involved with the fair, which is one of the county’s premier events of the year, as well as the many other activities that take place at the fairgrounds, know and appreciate Bill for what he does.
“He’s a good son of a gun, that Bill,” said Ed Coryell, who has served on the Rio Blanco County Fair Board of Directors for 20-plus years and is the longtime “voice” of the fair, serving as the event’s announcer. “He will do anything for anybody, it seems like. He goes well above and beyond what’s required of him, especially with those 4-H kids and around the fair. He’s just as accommodating as a guy can be.”
For his efforts, Bill was honored earlier this month, by the 4-H Councils in both Meeker and Rangely, with the Friend of 4-H Award.
“He’s really great to work with,” said Carla Slagle, a 4-H leader from Rangely. “He’s always very agreeable. He’ll do anything he can to help us. If I have a question about how to do things, he’s more than willing to drop what he’s doing to help you. And, from our side (of the county), he doesn’t treat us one bit different from anybody on their side.
“He even lets everybody share his pot of coffee,” Carla added with a laugh.
For his part, Bill said of the Friend of 4-H Award, “It makes you feel good that young people recognize what you do.”
Adding to what already was a big month for Bill, on Nov. 7 he was presented a Hall of Fame Award by the Colorado Association of Fair and Shows at its annual conference in Colorado Springs, becoming just the seventh person to receive the award.
“It’s been a good month, I guess,” Bill said in typical modest fashion.
The Hall of Fame Award came as a surprise to Bill, though his wife, Debbie, was in on it.
“I’m a good secret keeper,” Debbie said. “They called to let me know what they were doing, and I said OK.
“(Bill) was shocked,” said Debbie, who was with him when he received the award. “He was very surprised, but it was a good surprise for him. He was pretty excited.”
Debbie, who knows how hard Bill works at his job and how much time he devotes to it, was happy to see her husband recognized.
“I was tickled for him,” she said. “You know, he works pretty doggone hard. I think, personally, he deserves it. I have a very deep appreciation (for what he does). They get more of him than I do, but that’s OK, because that’s what he likes to do.”
Bill, who was born and raised in Meeker, grew up spending his summers at Rio Blanco Ranch, which his parents managed, starting in 1936.
“That’s where I spent the first years of my life,” Bill said. “I spent all my summers at the ranch.”
Following in his folks’ footsteps, Bill ran things at the ranch, which is what he did until he became the fairgrounds manager in 1985.
He loves what he does.
“Oh, it’s something different every day,” Bill said. “It’s been interesting. I like the variety.”
This time of year, things slow down at the fairgrounds, though there are still activities going on indoors at the exhibit halls.
“Yes, it’s a slower time,” Bill said. “But things will start getting busy again in early summer.”
Asked how long he planned to continue in his role as fairgrounds manager, Bill said, “I don’t know; I guess until I play out. I get frustrated because I can’t do what I used to do. But I still enjoy it, or I probably wouldn’t be there.”
Congratulations, Bill, and thanks for taking such good care of the fairgrounds and the many people who use the facility.
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Rangely residents have been without a local place to have medical prescriptions filled since a fire at Meeker Drug in May closed down the county’s only pharmacy.
Meeker Drug operated a satellite store in Rangely, but there wasn’t a pharmacist on site.
The pharmacy in Meeker — now called Meeker Drugs, with an “s” added on to the end of the name — reopened two weeks ago under new ownership.
In the meantime, Rangely District Hospital has been making plans to open a pharmacy on the west end of the county.
“We don’t have a date yet,” said Nick Goshe, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “We’ve started down the road to apply for a license to have a retail pharmacy. While we don’t have a timeline yet — it will depend on licensing and how quickly we can get it set up — we’re hoping sometime early next year, hopefully in the first quarter.”
A location for the pharmacy in Rangely has been selected and “We’ve actually hired two pharmacists,” Nick said.
The pharmacy will be located in the space formerly occupied by the Columbine Medical Clinic in the building owned by the Rangely School District. The building, the former Early Education Center, is located on the west end of Main Street. The school district leases space in the building to other businesses.
“That’s where we’re looking at putting it,” Nick said “The space requirement looks like it will work. Ideally, we’d like to have (a pharmacy) in the clinic, but we don’t have room in the hospital.”
Erin Graden, whose husband is a student at Colorado Northwestern Community College, has been hired as a pharmacist, while Debbie Peterson was also hired as a consultant and to work in a fill-in role.
Goshe said many people will remember Peterson.
“She was the last pharmacist we had in town,” Nick said. “Having someone who has already set up a retail pharmacy in Rangely will make this process a lot smoother.”
Goshe said Peterson currently lives in Jensen, Utah, and works in Vernal, Utah.
“That was a big plus, that she was willing to help us out,” Nick said.
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Congratulations to Julius Poole of Rangely, who, along with family members, recently attended the commissioning of the USS New York on Nov. 7.
Julius served on the former USS New York during World War II.
The new USS New York was forged, in part, by 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center.
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Plans are moving ahead on the road for the new elementary school in Meeker.
“The board directed staff to move forward to the design phase. The governmental entities met with Stantec last week and the town is waiting to receive the scope of work and cost estimates for design. The work will begin once the contract has been executed,” said Sharon Day, Meeker town administrator.
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County Treasurer Karen Arnold reported, “We had twice as many accounts as last year, and four times the amount of money offered for (the tax) sale. The investors helped by purchasing almost $74,000 in taxes and fees, while almost $10,000 remained on the tax roll books as unpaid — no one bid on them.
“In looking at history, all minerals have sold since 2003. This has been the highest dollar sale since we started tracking facts in 1995. The actual auction (Nov. 18) took less than one hour. The paperwork (certificates of purchase and receipts) will be processed before Thanksgiving.”
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Jeff Devere, dean of academic support at CNCC, was instrumental in the initial effort to pursue an energy efficiency upgrade at the Rangely campus. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $6.5 million project was held Nov. 12. Chevron Energy Solutions partnered with CNCC on the project.
“I promoted an idea that all the public institutions in Rangely should do a communitywide program,” Devere said. “Out of that, a number of feasibility studies were done. The college’s program was a direct result of that idea.”
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Rangely’s School Board has recently had two new members added, though one is not so new.
Rebecca Rector was elected to the school board during the Nov. 3 election, while Matt Scoggins, who was term limited and thus prohibited from running for reelection, was appointed Nov. 16, replacing Teri Holcomb, who resigned.
Adair Norman, who was reelected Nov. 3, is the board’s new president, replacing Scoggins.
“As long as the appointment is made after the term has commenced, so that it is a partial rather than a full term, the constitutional term limits provision does not apply,” said Barry Williams, Rangely’s school superintendent.
Others who had applied for Holcomb’s seat on the board were Sharon Briggs, Charleen Brown, Kurt Douglas, George Fortunato, Connie Mick, who also was on the ballot in the November election, Carla Slagle and Scoggins.
“I was pleased with the interest from the community to serve on the school board,” Williams said. “I have had discussions with other superintendents that the level of interest is very disappointing. We have good people in the community who care about our school district and the clients we serve — the students.”
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In my line of work, I have the pleasure of dealing with a great many people. At this time of year when we reflect on what we have to be thankful for, I’m thankful not only for my job and for living in what I think is a beautiful part of the world, but for the opportunities afforded me to get to know so many fascinating and good-hearted people.
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And, if you are reading this, I am thankful for you, too. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.