Networking group shares project updates, plans

The Rangely Community Networking Group, founded on the idea of cooperation and designed to open communication among all parts of the community, met Tuesday at CNCC to share project updates. In this time of economic difficulty the group provides collaboration for the best approach toward economic development and overall community improvement.
As Russell George, president of CNCC said, “It makes sense to talk together.”
George opened the meeting by offering well-wishes for co-chair Peggy Rector. He then turned the discussion to Rangely District Hospital CEO Nick Goshe for an update on the hospital’s construction plans.  Goshe said the project should begin in July, although it’s possible some dirt work may start earlier. He mentioned some technicalities the hospital had with the lease, which is now an outright purchase of the land.
Tim Webber, WRBM administrator, reported that the Elks Park remodel is already underway and should be finished by Septemberfest. The project includes new bathrooms, concessions and a memorial for the Elks Lodge, who turned the park over to the recreation district.
The recreation district and the RE-4 school district will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. to discuss funding for the athletic programs WRBM would assume responsibility for. The school district is trying to work with extreme budget cuts.
CNCC Foundation director Becky Niemi encouraged people to buy tickets for the CNCC Foundation dance.
Rangely’s town manager, Peter Brixius, has been busy with a variety of projects. A planned project at White River Village received bids from 16 contractors, significantly cutting the cost. The town is testing an in-stream diffuser which would save the town from having to build a $12 million water plant in the near future. The diffuser study is funded by two grants. The water plant master plan identified the need for a major renovation within five years. The renovation is an estimated $6 million project, compared to the cost of building a new plant for $9 million.
Brixius said the town is replacing the water and gas lines in some areas beginning May 1 and lasting about a month. They are looking at bids for the flowers that will be placed around town this summer and applicants for summer employment.
Brixius also addressed the trails plan. Phase one of this trail will be from the college to Main Street so students do not have to walk or bike with traffic and will provide better lighting to improve safety. The project is the result of a Great Outdoor Colorado grant.
Brixius finished by introducing the idea of an energy interpretive center under discussion between gas and oil companies, the town and other interested parties.
Paula Davis, Rangely mayor, said the Main Street entrance and Town Hall remodel is going well.
County commissioners Ken Parsons and Kai Turner reported on their recent trip to Washington D.C. They said there is a well-organized group of Colorado legislators and it was important for them to attend. Topics like re-districting, wildlife use, EPA requirements for extra licenses for pesticides and oil shale were discussed.
Current county projects include land use regulations to follow the master plan, fire use, building permits and weight restrictions on Rio Blanco County roads 7 and 5.
Parsons is also the chair of the Rangely Junior College District and said, “It is great to have Russell George as president.” He reported that they are working on their budget and that the aviation program has requested additional funding to attend the national event.
Henry Hames, president of the Rangely Chamber of Commerce said, “We have been playing catch-up since the first of the year.” They have rewritten their bylaws, updated the email list, created a new website and look forward to recruiting new businesses to the chamber.
Representatives from Chevron and  Shell Oil also attended the meeting. Shell representative Carolyn Tucker, said their research continues and they have had some success with the freeze wall study, which is part of the in situ conversion process. Scaling up their successes remains the challenge. They also have a new research project starting in 2012.
The next networking group meeting is scheduled for April 26. Kate Nowac will be the guest speaker, discussing the regional energy education plan. The meeting will be held at noon in the Weiss Conference Room at CNCC.