From my window… First week on the job interesting in county

Through my window, my first week working at the Herald Times was a most interesting time. Other than putting out my first newspaper edition in Colorado in more than 35 years, I had the opportunity to meet almost all county government leaders and department heads as well as several folks at the Meeker and Rangely city halls.
I haven’t been here long enough to judge how competent, knowledgeable or dedicated these folks are to their work, but I can assure you my first image is of a group of folks serious about their positions, committed to doing a good job and who present themselves as highly enthusiastic about doing whatever they can to make Rio Blanco County and the towns of Meeker and Rangely great places in which to live.

Looking out the windows wherever I have been this past week, I have seen lots of blue sky and great March temperatures. Last week was surely unseasonably warm, and, although the weekend cooled down a bit, it looks like a great forecast lies ahead for much of the month’s remainder.
The weather has made the transition from Arizona quite easy. In the 20s at night and up near the 60s during the day has had people I have encountered in quite a good mood.
The drive to Rangely on Friday was beautiful, sunny and actually warm. The short-sleeved shirt I wore was more than sufficient.
Most notable, however, was the appearance of the new calves intermingled among the herds lining the highway in the White River Valley. The cows and calves lined the road in large numbers, but while it is obvious calving season has begun, it is equally obvious that spring calving chores have not concluded.

Folks around here are more used to seeing elk and deer along the roadways than am I, but it is still kind of a thrill each time I see one and make certain I have avoided it with my car. When I last lived in Wyoming — 18 years ago — I had gotten used to the antelope, deer and elk in my Rawlins-area travels.
But seeing the dead deer and elk along the road to Rangely and back, all I could do was cringe because I know what these critters can do to a car, truck or the passengers.
I have had friends killed after colliding with elk in their vehicles and have seen a lot of trucks, cars and friends heavily damaged or injured from run-ins with wild game.
I would again urge caution when driving area roads, particularly in the mornings and evenings, throughout the county. They may not be the smartest critters around when it comes to vehicles, but we should all be smart enough to know that no one wins when an animal is hit or killed.
On the flip side, I must admit I feel like a kid again when I see deer wandering through the streets of Meeker.
I was startled when I left home one morning over the weekend. It was still fairly dark outside when I walked out the door. I had started around the back of my car when a small buck jumped from about eight feet away and ran up the hill. I am not sure which of us was more startled, but it was a great way to get the heart pumping in the morning.

I want to say a word of thanks to all the folks I have met this past week. You have made me feel welcome to Rio Blanco County.
I already have some invites to go fishing and join in other off-work activities, and I look forward to those as well as the many organized events that will be increasing as summer edges near.

When I was interviewing Rio Blanco County Administrator Kimberly Bullen last week, she offered some great words to live by.
We were discussing the the county’s upcoming strategic planning project, and she said she often recalls a certain phrase when there are questions in her mind about what to do next and the importance of having purpose.
She did not claim authorship nor does she know who coined the phrase, but she said she often remembers the adage, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
That is a sobering reminder regarding all goals — personal and professional.

About 60 Meeker residents took advantage Friday night of the free Lincoln Re-enactment presented at Meeker High School by John Voehl of Littleton, Colo.
The performance, sponsored by the Meeker Arts Cultural Council and the Rio Blanco Historical Society, was most interesting. Voehl did an excellent job during his storytelling performance and his question and answer session afterward. He told all of the stories well within character and continued as Honest Abe himself when audience members asked him several questions about his life.
Lincoln, whose life was the subject of the top film on the big screen last year, was an interesting man, and the community was well served by Voehl’s performance.

And lastly, I saw another St. Patrick’s Day pass by out my window over the weekend.
I am proud of my Irish heritage and so were my parents. The names of my siblings are (or were, in a couple of instances) from the oldest: Brian, Maureen, Sheila, Dennis, James Patrick, Kevin and then myself.
I had a difficult time Sunday finding corned beef and cabbage to dine on, but I was able to keep the life-long tradition of chowing down on the traditional holiday fare after all.
It is now a few days later, but I was asked by a resident if I knew the entire Irish Blessing, to which I replied, “Aye, I do.”
For those interested, it goes like this:
May the road rise up to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields;
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.