Trustees sworn in

RANGELY I Town of Rangely staff swore in Andy Shaffer as mayor and Alisa Granger, Todd Thayn and Kyle Wren as trustees on Tuesday, April 26.

The board heard from Dr. Lisa Jones and Keith Peterson with updates from CNCC. Dr. Jones wanted to dispel rumors and inform the board accurately about changes in the athletic department. Dr. Jones has worked with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to create a scheduling dynamic that is more efficient for students and that will cut the travel budget by one-third, allowing the school to reinvest that funding into scholarships, nutrition and training programs. The current region that CNCC plays in includes seven institutions with one in Las Vegas and one in California. The regional schedule increases travel costs and takes students’ time from classroom instruction. Dr. Jones cited that students could be traveling twice during the season for a week at a time or longer, which can impact their academic success. The region will stay the same at this time. As an additional resource, they have created a student success assessment and updated coach job descriptions to ensure they are more engaged with their athletes and their progress. 

Dr. Jones provided an update on the women’s soccer team, which will be playing in Rangely this fall, and the rodeo team, which will move its base location to Craig for access to the indoor arena. This does not prevent Rangely students from participating, but will require additional travel and organization. Dr. Jones is hopeful these changes will increase student retention and increase their success at CNCC. 

Peterson joined Dr. Jones to update the board on the reinvigoration of the aviation program. Nathan Hardin, a graduate of the program, was brought on last year as the aviation program director. Kat Treadeau transferred from recruiter at the college to coordinator at the airport and helped with coordinating and recruiting for the program. Big news included booth reservations at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh annual air show held at Wittman Regional Airport and neighboring Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. “If you know how to fly a plane, you’ll probably be there,” Peterson said. 

CNCC’s summer plans include applying for a U.S Economic Development Administration grant to increase recruitment abilities. These funds will invest in the human resources side of the aviation program so the college can hire and retain talented pilots. The program is currently seeking a full-time chief flight instructor and maintenance team. Another high profile program at the college, the dental hygiene program, will become CNCC’s first bachelor’s degree program in 2023. A capstone course has been developed to allow students to travel to other countries and do philanthropic work as part of their degree.  A new sports medicine program of study is not a degree program, but is designed to transfer into a degree program through specific electives available in the fall. Peterson also shared the cyber security program will be available at the Rangely campus this fall.

Next, the board discussed appointments to Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado and Club20, and appointed the mayor and two council members to the following committees: utilities, finance, HR and public safety. These committees meet to have smaller discussions before resolutions are brought before the Board of Trustees. Lisa Piering was appointed as the AGNC representative. The representative for Club20 was postponed until the next meeting. Trustees Don Davidson and Kyle Wren volunteered for the public safety committee. Trustee Todd Thayn volunteered for utilities. Trustee Alisa Granger volunteered for finance and HR. Trustee Tim Webber was assigned to finance and HR. Trustee Trey Robie was assigned to utilities. Mayor Shaffer volunteered with Trustee Davidson to be appointed to the Rangely School Foundation Board. Trustee Thayn was appointed to the Western Rio Blanco 911 board. 

Mayor Shaffer updated the board on a visit that he, Jeannie Caldwell and Lisa Piering had with Senator Hickenlooper along with a few other towns in the area. They hoped to inspire Senator Hickenlooper to understand the importance of the oil and gas industry to the Rangely community. Shaffer and Piering shared it was clear that Hickenlooper is focused on green energy and was not receptive to their advocacy. 

Trustee Don Davidson volunteered information regarding the Colorado Resiliency Infrastructure Board bill. The board would consist of people from small communities to protect legacy fuels in an effort to keep them available in the event they are necessary. This is a bill that will hopefully be signed by the governor. Davidson also shared updates from the State of the River conservancy meeting.

Kelli Neiberger from the Rangely Gas Department updated the board with good news that despite volatility in natural gas prices Rangely has remained relatively stable. Progress on the natural gas installation in Dinosaur is moving forward with positive support from DOLA. The installation process is in progress by the Town of Dinosaur, which is organizing grant applications. The board and Neiberger had a lengthy discussion about the logistics of Rangely’s support to Dinosaur for the natural gas installation. The Gas Department has new meter reading equipment that posed a challenge to implement but Neiberger is hopeful that it will be helpful in the long-term processes. The department is working on annual valve inspections above and below ground . Several surveys are on deck, including atmospheric corrosion and leak surveys.

Town Manager Lisa Piering said raw water has been turned on and entities are starting to water. The town is hopeful to add a connection to the raw water line for East Park (next to the Rangely Outdoor Museum) this year. While most parks were designated for the Park and Rec District, East Park is town-managed  and is watered with potable water. Jeff LeBleu is working on filling in potholes around town. The town was unable to collaborate with the county when they were around town paving. Piering hopes to collaborate more effectively in the future. 

The town has the go-ahead to begin repairs on the water treatment plant roof that was damaged in the recent winds. 

Crosswalks and curbs around town will be repainted to improve visibility. 

Piering and Town Engineer Jocelyn Mullen attended the energy symposium in Garfield County. Piering shared that it was very informative and there were quite a few advocates for the oil and gas industry that “clarified truths and falsehoods” about how they operate. She feels as though there is an increasing awareness that oil and gas are necessary for energy functions and cannot just be replaced by green energy methods. 

Shaffer proposed a work session with new trustees to help familiarize them with the Board and processes. 

The board discussed the March 2022 financial summary with an explanation for the new trustees, the board approved the liquor license renewal for Perry Investments dba Main Street Pub. Discussion and action to approve continued fiscal oversight of the Dinosaur Welcome Center with the Colorado Office of Economic Development in consideration of $70,860.00 coming from the State of Colorado. Piering explained the logistics and history of the relationship.

By KATIE KING | Special to The Herald Times

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