From My Window… Congrats MHS cagers; A busy week regarding justice center

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Congratulations go to the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams at Meeker High School, both of which made it to the Colorado Class 2A State Basketball Championships in Pueblo over the weekend.
The girls finished third in the state, missing the championship game by a one point loss to the eventual No. 1 team.
That is a pretty staunch accomplishment and everyone on the team deserves credit for it. It was a total team effort that brought them to No. 3 in Colorado.
The boys also made it to the state tournament. While they came up short in both of their games, they were one of only eight teams to make it that far. That is a huge accomplishment as well, and the team should be proud from the top scorer to the bench as, again, it was a team effort that brought them there.
The girls’ coach Greg Chintala and boys’ coach Klark Kindler did great jobs this past season, and they should be congratulated as well for doing great jobs.

While I have no problems with the Rio Blanco County commissioners’ concept for the new justice center in Meeker, I do think it was a bit tacky to hold the vote for the center in Rangely.
Certainly, the justice center is a county facility, and that includes Rangely, it was demonstrated by the attendance at the hearings on the justice center held in both towns, the main interest remains in Meeker, where the building will be located.
It seems only right that the commission could have held off long enough to vote on the issue during one of their two monthly meetings in Meeker instead of their meeting in Rangely.

On Tuesday evening, the Meeker Town Board, with the absence of Katelin Cook, gave approval to the closing of Fifth Street between Main and Park streets at the request of Rio Blano County to consolidate the county courthouse and old elementary school into one large property.
That vote may have closed the door on the discussion of the old elementary school for a community center, an arts facility, senior housing, a performing arts theater, etc., all part of the ideas that have been tossed around for the past year.
The hopes for such things in downtown Meeker need not be dashed. There are still buildings in the downtown area that can be utilized for some of these visions and certainly there are buildings—historic buildings—such as the Meeker School District administrative building, that can be considered for some of these other ideas. It will require some more research to find out what can be done where, but none of the ideas that were proposed for the old school were bad ideas.
Three enlighteners have become immediately obvious to me regarding the fight over the past year.
1. While those who wanted to keep the school intact were dedicated to their cause, they couldn’t or didn’t get enough people involved with their cause. If we count those who were physically and visibly involved with saving the school at 50 persons, that is not much of a significant number to represent the entire county. Remember, this was never just a town decision.
2. To quote Rebecca Goodwin of LaJunta, chairman of the board of Colorado Preservation, Inc., “I hope the people of the Town of Meeker maintain a sense of community. Don’t let this issue tear the town apart.”
3. I don’t believe those who tried to save the school were spinning their wheels on ice. They have offered good ideas, good plans and should continue their efforts toward the same accomplishments in other parts of Meeker and possibly joining efforts with those of the same thinking in Rangely.

I want to clear up one thing.
I received a phone call Wednesday morning from a Meeker woman who was quite a bit upset. She said she sat behind me last Wednesday night, March 12, as the Rio Blanco County commissioners set out for the public their plans for the new justice center that is likely to go in downtown Meeker.
She said she was really angry that since I had been there at the meeting that she thought it unconscionable that there was nothing in last Thursday’s edition of the Herald Times.
Then I told her that the Thursday edition had gone to press about six hours before the Wednesday night meeting even began at the Fairfield Center.
So, just to clarify for the readers, the Herald Times is printed on Wednesday afternoons at a printing plant in Gypsum, which is well on the other side of Glenwood Springs. That printing plant publishes a number of the newspapers between Glenwood Springs and Silverthorne, and we have the Wednesday afternoon printing slot.
After the paper is printed, the entire printing job has to be driven back to Meeker so the people who take care of the Herald Times circulation have the paper on the streets and to the post office by early morning. That means that after a couple-hours drive they have to work early mornings or very late nights to get the newspapers ready and on the streets in Meeker as well as deliver papers to Rangely and other drop spots by sunrise.