I have waited and waited for someone to make these observations about mountain lions, to no avail, so I have decided to make them myself. Back when I was a girl, dogs ran loose in town. In those days there were no deer in town, primarily because the dogs chased them away. After years of dogs being penned up and the deer becoming familiar with the town, they began coming in — especially at hunting season. Now, we have mountain lions coming close to and entering into town. Why does that astonish anyone? The mountain lions are just following the food.
This country is mostly high, dry desert. That is a description of mountain lion country. I suppose you could say that the first people who settled this land moved into mountain lion country. I am not saying we should have cats in town, but maybe people will understand it better if they realize we have always had mountain lions around here. So, if you are going hiking, climbing or riding, just be aware; look for tracks, at places where the cats can ambush and also on ledges for cats and rattlesnakes. And if you are a woman going running on your own, don’t go at the wrong time of the month, take a companion and keep alert. Don’t be like a deer — look up! Mountain lions are dangerous, but they are also shy. Never run from a mountain lion, after all they are cats, and if you encounter one try your best to make yourself look larger by holding a jacket, your shirt or whatever over your head, the mountain lions are looking for food, not a fight with something bigger than they are.
I do believe if we allow mountain lions to be near town we are asking for trouble. I don’t know the answer, but, I think the game and fish people are doing the best the can.
Two weeks before the season, the Rangely Panthers girls’ volleyball team found out they did not have a coach. Jimmie Mergelman agreed to coach as the district could not find anyone else willing to take on the responsibility at such a late date. She knew the girls deserved the opportunity to play. We now realize what a gift we have been given.
Jimmie, a Rio Blanco County native, grew up in Meeker. This will be her third year teaching and coaching basketball at RHS. Jimmie is married to Crandel and a has a young daughter Rian. Crandel is an RHS teacher as well as the FFA and STUCO advisor. Both Jimmie and Crandel sacrifice a great deal of family time for the students. Not only does Crandel attend the volleyball matches when he can, they have filled the bleachers with many different family members as often as possible.
The transition to a new coach is often awkward. Practices are run differently. Expectations change. The girls have had to make some adjustments. But in the end Jimmie is greatly appreciated by her team. With the win at regionals and a berth at state this weekend at the Denver Coliseum everyone is impressed with the new combination of coach and players.
The parents want the Mergelmans to know how much they are esteemed not only for volleyball but for all they do at RHS. We wish them well at state. We were hoping for a Rio Blanco sweep at the regional tournament so that Meeker and Rangely would be in Denver together. We congratulate our friends in Meeker for a great volleyball season.