For Meeker banker, humor is serious business

BurkheadImageUseThisOneMoney and banking are serious business.
But for Todd Young, he can see humor, even in the financial world.
“I was co-president of my banking school class at CU (Colorado University) and both of us got to make a commencement speech. The one guy’s was just like the typical commencement speech. We learned so much, blah, blah, blah. I was like, good for him. I’m not taking away from that, but when you go to school, that’s kind of a given. My speech was, ‘You might be a redneck banker if …,’” Young said in his Tennessee drawl. “After I told a couple of little stories, I got a standing ovation. That was pretty cool.”
Young, manager of First National Bank of the Rockies in Meeker, will try his hand at stand-up comedy.
“In April, I’m going to New York,” Young said. “I’ll be at either one of two comedy clubs, Gotham or Caroline’s. I will be like a five-minute opening act. I will spend a week there prior to the show, working with a coach and a writer. I will be opening, myself and a couple of others will warm up the crowd for a big name (comedian). It should be kinda fun.”
Asked what he would do if heckled by the crowd, Young said, “That won’t be a problem. I can handle a heckler. I’d probably just grab them and pull them on stage.”
Young was encouraged by friends to take his act on the road.
“For years, I have been told by people that I should do this, so I’m going to try it,” Young said.
The idea of being on stage at one of the best-known comedy clubs in the country doesn’t faze Young.
“I am quick-witted. I’m not very intimidated speaking in front of crowds of people,” he said. “I thrive on people. I really enjoy talking to people. That’s what turns me on.”
Young has made some contacts in the business, including Jim Norton, a comedian who has appeared on “The Jay Leno Show” numerous times.
“He’s a friend of mine,” Young said. “He’s a funny guy.”
Young has also been a guest on “The Opie and Anthony Show” on XM Radio.
“I’ve been around quite a few professional comedians,” Young said. “I’ve dabbled a little in comedic humor. It’s not something that’s totally foreign to me. I enjoy it.”
Humor runs in Young’s family.
“My family is hilarious,” Young said. “My family are funny people. When I go home to visit, I’m laughing by the time I walk in the house.”
Young said he “sees humor in about everything.”
Asked what his New York act will be about, Young said, “It won’t be super off-color. It’ll just be about life experiences that you laugh about. It will be my comical interpretation of life events.”
Does he see comedy as a second career?
“If it works out, I wouldn’t mind doing some standup in Denver or Vegas. But I just like to make people laugh and enjoy themselves,” Young said. “Especially with the economy and all, people need to laugh.”
Spoken like a true banker. And a funny one at that.
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Dave and Enid Steffen, owners of The Bakery in Meeker, will be honored by Channel 9 News of Denver as part of its 9 Who Care program, which recognizes people who volunteer to improve the lives of others.
“I’ve seen the program on television,” Enid said. “So I kind of had a clue what was going on when they called. They’ll be out within two weeks to interview us and take pictures and terrorize me, because I don’t like cameras.”
Dave and Enid, who have operated The Bakery for almost 30 years, will close the doors to the business on Christmas Eve day.
“She said when she called this morning that I understand you’ll be closing your business at the end of December,” Enid said.
Molly Theos nominated The Bakery for the 9 Who Care award.
“It was last year I nominated them, but they said if we don’t get back with you it means you haven’t been rejected,” Theos said, adding she nominated The Bakery, “Just because they donate tons and tons to the schools. They’re always the first to donate. They’re just nice people.”
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With the Meeker football team playing a home playoff game Saturday, Enid Steffen came up with an idea to show support for the Cowboys.
“I thought it would be fun for a bunch of the businesswomen around town to dress up and get pompoms and go up and do a cheer,” Enid said. “I probably have three or four or five other people lined up. We’ll wait until a little after 11 to make our grand entrance.”
Enid’s sister Zina Eliasen will be one of the guest cheerleaders.
“It doesn’t have to just be women,” Zina said. “We could ask Bobby Gutierrez, because Bobby was a cheerleader in high school. He was one of the first male cheerleaders in the area. I bet he has pretty good legs. Better than the rest of us.”
“Zina thinks we should be there in formation when the boys come out (on to the field),” Enid said.
“Maybe we should stand over there by Yuma and scare them away,” Zina added.
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In the future, the town of Rangely will begin posting names of registered sex offenders who live in the area on its Web site.
“Our town attorney said we could not post names and photos in the paper, so we’ll have to post the information on our Web site, once we redesign it,” said Peter Brixius, town manager.
The town of Rangely is in the process of redesigning its Web site.
“At a minimum, we’ll post the site where you can find this information,” Brixius said. “It’ll be within (the town’s) main site, under the PD (police department) section.
“We’ve had a few (citizens ask for information about registered sex offenders living in the area) and some (town) council members have expressed concern when we’ve had an incident,” Brixius added.
The city of Delta has a sex offender listing under its police department heading on the city’s Web site.
“That will be similar to what we will pattern ours after,” Brixius said.
A check of the Delta Web site revealed names, photos and addresses for 41 people on the city’s sex offender listing.
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Democrat Michael Bennet, U.S. senator from Colorado, will be represented by staff at a community meeting today from 2-4 p.m. in Conference Room A in the Johnson Building on the Colorado Northwestern Community College campus.
“All constituents who would like to communicate information to the senator or who need assistance with a federal agency are welcome to attend,” according to a message from the senator’s office.
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Lynn Barclay, fire mitigation/education specialist for the Bureau of Land Management office in Craig, said she wasn’t able to disclose a final tally on expenses in fighting the Spring Creek fire, which started July 28 and burned 1,349 acres, all in Rio Blanco County.
It was determined the fire was caused by a “human act.” The fire started on private land and then burned on to BLM public land.
“Our process hasn’t been completed yet,” Barclay said. “Nothing has been issued from us, and as such, I’m not at liberty to release any information. The federal system can be a more lengthy procedure to work through … it may be some time before anything can be released from BLM.”
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Rangely volleyball and basketball coach, Jimmie Mergleman, who is a new mom, said of son Cutler Owen, “He’s growing. I usually get three hours of sleep at a time. So that’s pretty good.”
As a parent of four kids, I remember those days — and sleepless nights — well.
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Drs. Wallace and Debby Salter, who recently sold their medical practice in Rangely, have relocated to the Conifer area, west of Denver. Debby will be medical director for a number of urgent care/primary care centers, while Wallace will work in urgent care. The Salters said they will also continue their humanitarian work.
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Congratulations to Matt Scoggins of Colorado CPA Services, which has offices in Rangely, Meeker and Craig. Matt was recognized last week at the CPAs Make A Difference celebration.
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Speaking of congratulations, new Meeker postmaster Caryl Meitler — the town’s first woman postmaster — will be officially installed in her new position at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the post office. The public is invited to attend.
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Sorry, dear readers, I was told to no longer write a personal note on the newspaper.
There’s a group of three or four of us who get up early on Thursdays to insert the paper and attach the mailing labels. Occasionally, when I’d come across the label of someone I knew, I’d write “Hi” or “Congratulations” or “Happy Anniversary,” or some one- or two-word personal note. Apparently, that was in violation of some post office policy.
“When the post office sees that, it changes the papers to 1st Class and we need to pay extra postage for that,” I was told.
Come on, it’s not like I was writing some long-winded message — like my column.
Oh, well, so much for adding a personal touch to the newspaper, I guess.
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L.D. Grove of Meeker is a better man than me. He’s still been wearing shorts, even though it’s November. However, with last week’s warmer temperatures, I actually thought about breaking out the shorts again. But it wouldn’t have been pretty. My skinny white legs haven’t seen the light of day since I stopped wearing shorts at the end of September.
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There was a lot of talk this week about the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which ranks as one of the most momentous events of modern history.
Because of my job as a journalist, I’ve been afforded numerous opportunities to attend events or meet people I would have never had the chance otherwise. I’ve covered two presidential speeches — by former Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. I wrote about then Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to a Kansas farm. I witnessed Barry Sanders during his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma State University when he averaged more than 200 yards a game.
But I would have to rank seeing the Berlin Wall — and signing my name on it — as one of my greatest memories.
It was 1986, and I was part of a tour group that visited West Germany. We also went through a checkpoint and crossed over to East Berlin. The contrast between East and West, at that time, was palatable. I remember armed guards glaring down from the tower as we went through the checkpoint. East Berlin was subdued and had an eerily oppressive feel, like we were being watched, which we probably were. West Berlin, on the other hand, was all bright lights, filled with the sights and sounds of a city that was alive.
Signing the Berlin Wall, I felt a sense of camaraderie, adding my name to all of the other names and graffiti that covered the wall — this was on the West Berlin side, of course. The simple act of signing my name on the wall was like joining hands with the countless other dissenters who had signed the wall in opposition to what it represented.
Three years later, the wall came down. Who could have known?

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