Letters to the Editor: July 17, 2008

Dear Rangely,
I would like to go on record saying I love the wall on South White Avenue. And do you know why I love the wall? Because each figure represents a living, breathing child that lives in Rangely. They are so proud of what they have done. Years from now they’ll go up there and stand against the figure that is them and say, “Wow, mom, I remember the summer we did this. Look how much bigger I am now.”
I think the Hickmans did a wonderful thing in sponsoring this project and should be thanked and congratulated and not criticized and ridiculed. It must take a person with a very small heart to drive by a group of children at work and yell insults and criticisms. It must take a person with a very small heart to renege on a commitment to support the project.
I’m glad I didn’t grow up in any of your homes if the expectation is that you will paint like Monet by the time you are six.
Paula Davis

Dear Editor,
I know several very nice, hardworking families that have relocated here from Texas and beyond to work in the Piceance Creek area. They were “lucky” enough to find apartments and houses to rent. The rent was raised about 300 percent to “help them out.” They are decent people who take part in this town and contribute to the community. Still, they pay extra for everything! From Rec. Center dues to golf course lessons! They are treated like second-class citizens. I have heard comments from all over town about “those construction hands” or “those Texas people.” There is a tremendous need for rental properties right now for everyone. They spend their money here in town — on gas, groceries, dining out, at the post office, the rec. center, the convenience stores, etc. Almost every business in town, including mine, has money from these folks! Don’t be surprised if sales are down in the coming months as the town tries to get the “undesirables” outta here. There are bad apples in every barrel. Even the long-time Meeker barrel has a few. You can’t group these people all together either!
God bless free speech and the right for everyone to have their own opinions! My nephew is in Iraq fighting for these rights as you read this so say what’s on your mind!
Kristine Frantz

Dear Editor,
I would like to respond to Bubba in last week’s letter to the editor. Bubba, please remember that you’re a visitor in the Town of Meeker, so that means you must follow the rules that make sense to the well being of this town. I know as a property owner in this area I don’t want a sea of motor homes and trailers covering the landscape. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a great need nationwide as well as Meeker for R.V. parks, but not as permanent living spots. It seems if the few parks we have in Meeker can’t accommodate everyone it might be time to look to rent or buy a home for the remainder of your stay here in Meeker. As I recall, you said it yourself, you have a nursing degree and your husband makes $60,000 annually, I don’t think you are in the category of being homeless. With income like that you are doing better than most, so quit your complaining and be glad for what you have. I would like to add one more idea, why don’t we let this issue be the problem of your husband’s employers that are making billions of dollars, and leave the Town of Meeker to worry about the important issues that need its attention.
Josh Halstead

Dear Editor,
We had our annual yard sale on Saturday, June 28. A big thank you goes out to all who donated your special items for our fundraiser. You are greatly appreciated.
We would also like to thank Norma Hood for donating some authentic Zuni and Navajo rings to sell in our gift shop. We have several new items, come and check them out.
The Rangely Museum is also starting to gear up for this year’s ice cream social on Sunday, Aug. 31 during the Septemberfest weekend. If you have a special recipe for homemade ice cream, remember we give out prizes in our homemade ice cream contest. Rules for the contest are: At least one gallon of ice cream, enough for all to taste. No mixes, prepackaged or artificial flavors. Use fresh ingredients only.
We are also looking for volunteers to help out on our day of fun. We need servers to dish up the ice cream and deputy’s to haul those “wanted” people to the jail. For information please call the museum at (970) 675-2612.
Brenda Hopson
Dear Editor,
Eyesore? Graffiti? The ability to lower property value? Our beautiful wall that the children of this community and many adults who put hard work, heart and thought into, has fallen under scrutiny. If there are those who are worried about the values of property in Rangely, or how people perceive this community, they need not look any farther than their own back yard or front in some cases. What about the apartment complex across the street from our wall? It’s in shambles and has been for more than two years and let’s not ignore the house across from that, which looks like they spend more money on junk left in the yard than maintaining the lawn! Let’s focus on the real issues of this community! I personally take pride in the wall. Seeing people stop and admiring the art work and smiling. Seeing the children who participated in this project point themselves out as they go by. If anything, this wall has enhanced the beauty of Rangely, which is more than I can say for a lot of the “scenery” in this town which has left me feeling more embarrassed than proud. For those of the community who oppose this project… shame on you!
Diane Wilson

Dear Editor,
I am writing to let the Rangely Town Council know how sad I am at its non-support of the Hickman’s effort to repaint the wall. It is not my style of painting, but that does not make it bad. Whenever anyone involves children in such projects they should be applauded. I don’t like Van Gogh’s style of painting, but his work is pretty famous. I am sure he wouldn’t like my style either, but some people do — just as I am sure that many in Rangely think the wall looks great. Especially if one of their kids are on it.
Dawna Wardell

Dear Editor,
I would like to offer just a view, a view that I am sure is not of the popular kind, but one I feel I need to extend. I was born and raised here as were many generations of my family before me. I, like many, left Meeker to find work, raise a family, and finally come home. In saying this, I came home because my family was drawn back due to oil shale. My father was a coal miner for more than 40 years, as were my grandfather and my great-grandfather. So energy consumption has been a part of our life for many generations. Another great-grandfather came to this country to work in the oil fields when the rigs were made out of wood, and the men of iron, my father even rough necked. I married my husband, also a local who worked in the oil field as well. We were always at that time the minority. This was ranch land!
Living in the land of ranchers all political outcomes were attached to that life style. This has been the reasoning of most decisions of this town. It is a major reason why we all live here and love it here. However there are some poor choices in my view, and some hypocrisy in this way of thinking. Please let me explain why I see it this way.
It appears that the powers that be are catering to the multi-million dollar crowd, in hopes not to see things overdeveloped. And let’s be real, there is some greed involved here as well. I would ask for those who think this is a good idea to take a good look at what has happened on the Elk River, Steamboat, Aspen, Carbondale, Vail, Glenwood Springs and the list goes on. By catering to the rich and removed, you raise the tax base to where the very ranchers who hope to stay here will be forced to subdivide or sell out. Major land developers have done this for years, I know, I have worked for these groups for the past 30 years. This vicious cycle has begun upriver, and I can say that in my view it is poorly handled, unattractive and very little thought has been given to the impact of both environmental, developmental and social impact.
When it comes to the energy the microscope is turned on and up. Fear-based talk of how everything will be overdeveloped, the town will grow too much, there will be too many people, and the list goes on. All I have to say is this “baloney.” What all of us who live here need to fear is what is being allowed to be done upriver. This is what will ruin the town. This will be done by pushing up the tax base and pushing others out. There is little to no impact money for the county, money for schools, infrastructure or anything to secure work for the local population.
The most important thing any town has is its children. For many years and many generations the children have left because they have no work. Maybe if they were lucky they could go to work in a mine. Or really lucky find some kind of work in the county, but far too often this was not the case. It will continue to be this way if the county caters to the short sighted development upriver.
I am not speaking from an uneducated back ground in this. I started working for developers in 1978, that is 30 years of knowledge or the old saying “been there, done that, bought the shirt.” There is a right way to address all of the growth issues that will come, and I hope do come. This is not the time to fight development that energy could bring, but time to plan for controlled growth, not selling out to those who don’t care, and have money enough not to. I, too, remember the “last oil shale boom.” I was forced into bankruptcy, and we left town to find work. The day I went to bankruptcy court, there were more than 150 people going in the same day I did. We were run through like cattle, a name called, judge asked how much, granted … next. I wish this on no one, but I also wish to see a working community. There were short sighted views on things in the 1980s as there are now. No, oil shale did not collapse because of Meeker, but if it had been embraced a little different it sure could have been a lot less painful for many.
Growing up here, there were far more businesses than there are now. At one time we had three grocery stores, two drive-ins, five restaurants, two barbers, a movie theater, Montgomery Wards store, Gambles and I could keep going. Oscars Pool Hall was both a watering hole and a good place to play pool. There was more to do for entertainment for families, and children. There were two clothing stores, two fabric stores, and you were not forced to travel 40-plus miles to get groceries that you could afford. Rent did not require you to give over your whole paycheck due to nothing but greed. There are landlords here in this town that should be ashamed of themselves; $2,000 a month is nothing but being a thief. These are families who want to call this their home, but will not be able to, they can’t afford it. Sad part is, if the development of the multi-million dollar homes is not managed, that shoe will be on everyone’s foot.
These are some questions I would like to pose. What kind of environmental impact study has been done on the water? Damage by homes being built on the river both below ground and above? Is this not one of the concerns of the temporary RV Park? Were there soil studies and samples taken? What kind of grading plans have been put in place for water run off this close to the river? Both during, and after construction. I have not seen a SWPPP plan posted, yet it is required by the federal government. I have not seen cobblestone wash outs on turn outs, or silt fence or lined wash out pits for concrete trucks on job sites. Nor do I see any OSHA rules being followed on scaffold, equipment and other. I wonder are their MSD sheets or labor postings! Yet anyone who works in the oil field know about all of this. I know the county and feds breathe down the neck of the oil shale companies and are holding their hands out. What about upriver? What about development of homes and subdivisions? Double standards have no place in today’s world. It does not say anything positive about this community, or its people. I also fear that by overview of one, the county is getting back-doored by the other. Much like an ostrich, if your head is in the sand, your backside is exposed.
I pose this as something to think about, and out of true concern. I know and understand development, I have worked on the very large scale projects to the small home. I can tell those of you who read this, you should be concerned, and you should raise your voice. I would also add to push these questions toward the county commissioners or those who are running for office: Where do their interests lay and why? Are they in the construction field? Or are they in the corner of the average working Joe? Is it the county’s best interest or of their own? Just some things to think about.
Michelle E. Hale

Dear Editor,
Ode to the crabapple tree at the Rangely Library

Once there was a tree, a decade-old crabapple tree,
A tree that made a lot of messes bearing its fruit
One that leaned forward so that all could see
The beauty of its imperfection.

Scores of folks walked past the crabapple tree each day
In winter when the snow was piled in big high mounds
In summer when in its branches the wind would play
Children laughed and sang making happy sounds.

Then one day, the thought was spoken aloud
That the tree was twisted, gnarled and no longer stood proud
It was time to get rid of it, dig it up or cut it down,
In a moment the beauty of its imperfection ceased to be.

I know that I and so many others will miss the beautiful old crabapple tree that once graced the entrance of the Rangely Library.
Maggie Long