Letters to the Editor: October 23, 2008

Dear Editor,
On Oct. 7, 20 members of the Meeker FCCLA chapter traveled to fall districts in Grand Junction. Attendees participated in three leadership workshops, one of which was organized by High Country District officers: Meg Nieslanik (district president), Megan Ridings (district vice president) and Morgan Neilson (district treasurer/secretary). In addition to these exciting workshops, participants had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker, Lt. Walker. Members also enjoyed a presentation by the American Red Cross Association and each chapter in the district presented the organization with a donation.
Meeker FCCLA would like to thank the town for its support in our annual Palisade Peach Sales! With your help, we were able to raise about $3,000! Our chapter would also like to express their gratitude to Mountain Valley Bank for its generous donation and for giving us the chance to promote healthy diet choices at their annual Fall Festival! The members had a great time running the Build-A-Healthy-Snack booth and felt they were able to benefit the community.
Meeker High School FCCLA

Dear Editor,
On election day I’m encouraging everyone to vote “yes” on Amendment 58. It’s time to end the subsidy Colorado has given to oil companies for the past 30 years. Amendment 58 will allow Colorado to collect 100 percent of taxes from oil and gas development and then invest those funds in education, wildlife, clean water and clean energy technologies.
The group opposing 58 is funded exclusively by oil and gas companies. Industry giants ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Anadarko Petroleum, BP, EnCana and Williams all contributed $1 million to the campaign. Their ads are attempts to frighten us into the belief that if we pass Amendment 58 our taxes, fuel, food and other household costs will increase. That’s not what’s going to happen.
Amendment 58 does not affect your taxes as it does not increase any tax. It does require industry to pay all of their taxes. Under Amendment 58 the oil and gas industry will still pay lower taxes in Colorado than in neighboring states like New Mexico and Wyoming. Colorado should not be the dollar discount store for big industry!
Amendment 58 offers ways to both support our state economy and invest in technologies that eliminate the need for foreign oil. It will not result in the mass exodus from Colorado of major oil companies. That is an idle and absurd threat. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that these companies are not going anywhere.
Amendment 58 will generate $250 million-$325 million a year, with 60 percent going to the Colorado Promise Scholarship Fund. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education will administer the funds and come up with the detailed rules to implement the program. The remaining funds will be split with 10 percent going to renewable energy projects, 15 percent to wildlife habitat and 15 percent to local communities for road and water projects.
Profits in the oil industry are at their highest levels ever. Let’s end the $300 million subsidy that oil and gas companies enjoy and at the same time promote educational opportunities and growth in Colorado’s clean energy economy. Vote “yes” on 58.
David Morris

Dear Editor,
This letter is in response to the illegible and inane letter to the editor your readers were subjected to this past paper on Oct. 16.
Yes, enough is enough. Enough race cards, victim cards and terrorist associations.
How disturbing is it when Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Aqsa and other terrorist organizations openly endorse Democratic candidate Barack Obama?
How disturbing is it when Libyan dictator Qaddafi refers to him as a brother? Yes sir, enough is enough.
Enough change mantras, meaningless slogans and feel-good promises. Enough crybaby politics, where questioning the judgment of a candidate is considered negative campaigning.
Don’t you want to know if your future president will man up and answer questions when it comes to his associations and ideas of right and wrong? If he will not man up now and just whines how unfair it is to even ask, better get used to a presidency where you are not allowed to question his authority at all.
You would be persecuted just like everyone who asks now.
For the record, Bill Ayers was responsible for bombing buildings and people died. To this day he does not regret nor apologize. As if this isn’t disturbing enough, you have his supporters so enamored of him, they are convinced as well that you must not question their golden boy, because surely that is wrong, racist and defamatory. Let me tell you what defamation involves firstly.
A false statement of malicious misrepresentation.
OK, so is Barack Obama associated with Ayers? Yes. He practically had his campaign kicked off in Ayers’ living room. They live in the same neighborhood. Barack Obama’s strategist David Axelrod said, “They’re certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together.”
When you cannot question the character, judgment or issues of a candidate, which is basically what makes them who they are. Where is the logic in that? How can you know a candidate without asking tough questions?
It’s our duty to fully investigate the presidential candidates and cast our vote for the one who is best for America.
Brian Pollock

Dear Editor,
There was a bad accident on RBC Road 4, the Mesa, as the townspeople call it, involving one car with two teenage girls. The driver, 16-year-old Vicki Lone, was thrown from the passenger van while Diana Smith rode out the near 50-foot drop over the embankment. Diana received a slight concussion and small lacerations. When the van came to rest with her friend underneath, Miss Smith walked up the hill and flagged someone down for help.
The alarms were sounded and rescue personal were dispatched to the scene. Bob Ruckman was one of the EMTs along with possibly Mike Washburn and Sherry Halandras. The fire and rescue team showed up at about the same time. Some of the firemen at the time that may have been on the scene, might include Rich Parr and Gary Merriam. The paramedics went to work assessing injuries and taking care of the patients while the rescue personnel got started stabilizing the scene and figuring out what equipment was necessary for extraction and safe removal of the victims.
The driver had been thrown from the vehicle through the windshield and was trapped beneath the door. The ambulance crew used the precautions they had been trained to use including backboard and neck brace and transport to the hospital for further treatment. When the doctor came out to give the first responders the initial report the crew member I interviewed said his stomach dropped and he felt a little sick. Vicki had a lot of serious injuries. Nine broken ribs, punctured lung, bruised heart, a big laceration on her upper right leg, and the one that hit Bob so hard, a broken back. The break was unusual in that it was a twisted break and yet Vicki still had sensation in all her extremities. Bob explained during the interview that this type of fracture had the possible consequence of affecting the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that works without our conscious influence of the action. For instance, many internal organs like the digestive system are included. The actions of the intestines would be messed up and this person would have many unending struggles and for a person this young it seemed like an excruciatingly painful and long journey ahead. Mr. Ruckman expressed to both Vicki and myself that he had wondered many times in the 26 years that followed what had happened with that young girl. It was early in his career and the case that stayed with him but he didn’t seem to be able to follow up even though it is a small community.
Fall, 2007
Vicki Crawford is employed by NC Telecom/UBET Wireless. Her boss Rick Hemming is a driver for the Meeker Ambulance Crew. He was no longer going to be able to do the driving and suggested Vicki get certified so she could take over when he could not do it anymore. Vicki, half joking, said “Yeah, I doubt my boss will be letting me close the shop to go on runs.” Rick told her he was serious and kept encouraging her to do it. Vicki got more enthused as she realized this would be the way she had been looking for to “pay the people who saved my life.”
The next step was talking to Kris Borchard about taking Rick’s place when he could no longer drive. Kris suggested Vicki go a step further and get certified as an EMT through the training offered in conjunction with CNCC. This seemed to Crawford an even better way to pay it forward. She took the training which started in February 2008 and was certified an EMT in April. She has permission from her boss to take calls Monday and Tuesday every week and if she gets called out she just posts a sign and says the customers have never complained and seem very supportive and understanding. She also works with the rest of the crew trading shifts as necessary.
On a recent run to Grand Junction, Vicki was with one of the more experienced (OK, old) paramedics and on the return trip, they were visiting and comparing stories. Ruckman was saying that one incident still haunted him because the girl was so young and he was afraid had dealt with some huge life issues from her injuries. As he explained the circumstances to Crawford she was amazed. The story he was telling was of her accident and the young girl whom he felt would have such limiting injuries was her. Bob had been unable to follow up on her progress because her mother and step-father had a different last name than she did and were new in town.
Vicki married Stanley Crawford and has one son which the doctors say is amazing given the injuries she suffered. After the accident she spent one day shy of a month in rehab and getting an infection in her leg cleared up. Vicki has wanted to give back to the community and is pleased she has found a way to do that.
Sherri Purkey

Dear Editor,
No one likes it when bad things happen to them, but it is nice to find that there are people out there that can make those bad things at least tolerable.
Our story all started when my dad flew to Oklahoma, so he could drive with me (and my two dogs) to my parents’ house in Oregon for summer vacation. We spent two wonderful weeks there — both dogs and I had a great time. The plan to get home was again for dad and I to drive back to Oklahoma, where he would then fly to Oregon.
Well, our trip did not go as planned. On July 30, we got as far as Rangely, Colo., when something horrible happened. I was driving, my dad was in the passenger seat and the dogs were in the backseat. I was driving on a rural two-lane road following a car. That car swerved and I saw a huge pothole taking up my whole land. Since the car in front of me swerved, my instincts were to swerve too, but it was too late. I over-corrected and then we rolled off the road. When the car came to a stop, thankfully on all four wheels, I looked over and saw that my dad’s head was bleeding, but his eyes were open. I looked in the back and saw that I only had one dog. The younger dog, Mackenzee, was so scared that she ran from the car and was already sprinting away as fast as she could. Luckily for us, a few cars stopped to help. Before we knew what had happened, there were people taking care of my dad, people telling me to sit still and people trying to find my puppy. One of the first responders on the scene stayed with my dad for over an hour while we waited for the ambulance from Rangely. He made sure that my dad didn’t move at all — and it turns out that were were extremely lucky that he was there. We didn’t know the extent of my dad’s injuries at the time, but we were lucky someone was there making my dad be cautious.
In our story there are many heroes. The heroes start with everyone who cared enough to stop their car and help us out. My dad would have been a lot worse off if it hadn’t been for the first responder and then later the fireman that held my dad’s head in place as they were getting him out of the car. When the Rangely EMT arrived they treated us with caution, care and understanding. While we were at Rangely’s hospital, everyone was extremely nice and extremely cautious. They ended up giving me the all-clear sign, but my dad unfortunately had a broken neck and had to be transported by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. Even though the ER doctor told me that Dr. Larry Tice, one of the best neurosurgeons in Colorado, was on duty at St. Mary’s, I was freaking out. I was scared for my dad, scared for my lost puppy, and I just didn’t know what to do. Rangely didn’t have a rental car place, so I had no idea how I was going to get to Grand Junction and what I was going to to do with my other dog, Jackson. The people at Rangely hospital just kept telling me not to worry and that they would figure it out. Well, they sure did. They contacted the Rangely Animal Shelter, who immediately volunteered to let Jackson stay there until I could come back for her. One of the EMT ladies, Brandy, found a ride for me. A pastor named David Morton ended up being my guardian angel for the night. He drove me to Grand Junction, which is about two and a half hours away. He talked to me the whole time about just about everything and anything, so I wouldn’t have to think about what was really happening. David was headed up to Grand Junction the next day anyway, but I just couldn’t believe that he just dropped everything that he was doing for a complete stranger! If it weren’t for him I would have really been a mess. David got me to St. Mary’s in time to find dad in the ICU with Dr. Tice. They had decided to do the surgery in the morning and to call my mom in Oregon and let her know what was going on. The surgery went well. Four and a half hours later dad had six fused vertebra in his neck and upper spine, but was out of bed and walking around. The next afternoon just after my husband arrived from Oklahoma after driving through the night to get to Grand Junction.
But my story doesn’t stop there. I could have — all of our helpers had already done so much, and both my dad and I were where we needed to be. But the citizens of this town wouldn’t forget about us. The town of Rangely kept fighting for us and helping us. Brandy, the EMT who had found me a ride, went in to check on Jackson before and after work and she would call me with updates. She also went out to the accident site and looked for my puppy Mackenzee. It meant the world to me and my family that she was looking after Jackson and trying her hardest to find Mackenzee.
She was not the only one. Word spread fast that my puppy was missing. The Rangely Animal Shelter not only let Jackson stay there for a few nights and spoiled her rotten, but they were putting the word out about Mackenzee. Fern, Jeannette and Kay (the first two are assistants at the animal shelter and the last the manager) made around a dozen trips between them out to the accident site looking for Mackenzee. They contacted the ranches near the accident site. They were also in contact with me on a regular basis. Just hearing their voices and reassurances was extremely important to us during this trying time. they also offered suggestions on how I could get the word out about Mackenzee. One of their suggestions was to go to the ranches near the accident site and leave them fliers with all of Mackenzee’s and our information on them. We left these fliers everywhere in hopes that someone would have seen her. They also contacted the mail carrier, Phyllis, who covered that area. She kept her eyes out for Mackenzee for many days. She also called us frequently with an update and to see if we had heard anything. The animal shelter also contacted the bus driver who drove that highway twice a day to take pipeliners to work. They went well above and beyond for us. It amazes me that so many people in this small town of Rangely bent over backwards to help complete strangers and a puppy who they had never met.
As irony would have it, my dad was released on Aug. 4 and flew back to Oregon soon after. My husband who had come out, Jackson and I drove back to Oklahoma that same day with heavy hearts, know that we were leaving a member of the family behind. We spent a day in Oklahoma in an all-too-quiet house (without a puppy running around) thinking about the events that had happened. On Aug. 6, I woke up to the phone ringing. This was one week and one day after the accident. It was a rancher named Reubin calling to let me know that Mackenzee was at his ranch. I cannot even explain the feelings and thoughts that were running through me. I called the Rangely Animal Shelter to let them know, along with the local police department. A sheriff went to Reubin’s house, picked up Mackenzee, and brought her to the Rangely Animal Shelter — making sure to call us and let us know that she had made the trip and was in good shape. The shelters in both Rangely and the nearby town of Meeker called to let me know that it was in fact Mackenzee — can you believe she still had her tags on? I called one of my friends and we were on the road within a few hours.
This whole crazy story has the word miracle written all over it! My dad had broken his neck, but the great doctors in Grand Junction performed surgery on him and he is now recovering. He is at home and making progress every day. And it’s a miracle that Mackenzee, gone for a week and a day in the wild, somehow found a person. It was like she was saying, “OK, I think it’s time to go home.” I think our story was pretty crazy, but I’m sure it doesn’t even compare to Mackenzee’s story.
Thank you Rangely! You were a major part in making a horrible day, a horrible week, tolerable. And thank goodness you all are animal lovers because it’s thanks to you that we have Mackenzee back on the couch where she belongs. Well, at least she thinks that!

Jill Whitacre
Stillwater, Okla.

Dear Editor,
Let me share a few words with you regarding a football player that played for the Cowboys 50 years ago. Offensively, I played running back on the left side of scrimmage. For several years (during this past time frame) it became expected that the Cowboys could readily score directly over the offensive left tackle. Time and time again, the left running back racked up touchdowns directly over the left offensive tackle. As I recall, we scored three touchdowns against the Rangely Panthers off the rear-end of that left offensive tackle. My baby sister could have easily have scored through those extensive gaps.
Further, one hot fall afternoon, the Cowboys traveled north to face the Craig Bulldogs. Unexpectedly, the day’s warmth was overwhelming for October. The Bulldogs elected to receive the ball that particular afternoon. The Cowboys (prematurely sweating as were the Bulldogs) lined up for the opening kick off. We kicked the ball to nearly the five yard line and the ball was caught by a Bulldog’s running back. As usual this specific offensive tackle took off (with considerable vigor) and rushed directly towards the Bulldog’s running back. This offensive tackle was the initial tackler to meet Craig’s running back; and expectantly, we all thought we were going to witness a head-on crash. To our surprise — and obviously premeditated — our offensive tackle (upon contact with Craig’s running back) reached in, wrenched the football from the running back and scored the Cowboys first touchdown. Offensive tackles seldom receive the deserving accolades so I took a few moments (albeit belated) to relay the aforementioned about our “left offensive tackle.” That guy was a genuine competitor and quality athlete. His name is Billy Dunham.
J. Patrick Sheridan
Kingman, Ariz.