Year in Review, July-Dec. ~ Pt. 2

The Rangely Rock Crawlers were one of many entrees in the Septemberfest parade and car show in Rangely over the Labor Day weekend.
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The Rangely Rock Crawlers were one of many entrees in the Septemberfest parade and car show in Rangely over the Labor Day weekend.
The Rangely Rock Crawlers were one of many entrees in the Septemberfest parade and car show in Rangely over the Labor Day weekend.
♦ The Milk Creek Fire, 15 miles northeast of Meeker and 3.5 miles east of Yellowjacket Pass, was reported July 4. Attack resources responded immediately.

♦ The Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District (WRBM) ramped up its Fourth of July offerings for the second year running, coming away with definite winners and plans to change timing details in the future.

♦ The AT&T tower under construction south of Meeker on County Road 13 has been hit with a “stop work order,” which puts an instant halt to continuing work on the equipment building at the site. While the “stop work order” was revoked after only a few days when the problem was taken care of, the tower was still not working by late in the year.

♦ In a survey of county residents undertaken by the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners and then-County Administrator Kimberly Bullen in June, folks who live in the county are relatively happy living in the county and with county governmental operations.
There were some glitches along the way, however, as not everyone was happy with how the county government is run and with some other happenings within the county, many of which have little or nothing to do with county government itself.

♦ Firefighters had made progress as of July 24, in battling the Citadel and East Tschuddi fires in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, respectively. The fires were continuing to grow slowly, but containment has increased.

♦ Town and county entities have pledged to work with the Bureau of Land Management to clean up renegade dump sites around the county. A camera system scheduled to be fully installed by next summer will help identify dumpers and assist the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management in ticketing those who break the law.

♦ The BedRock Depot celebrated its official 10th anniversary, last summer. Owners Leona Hemmerich and Bill Mitchem have built the shop’s reputation on quality gift shop items and food offerings, among them fresh vegetables, homemade rolls and hand-dipped ice cream.

♦ Three Meeker High School students — incoming sophomore Jenna Walsh and incoming seniors Piper Haney and Aly Ridings — traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to compete in the National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition after earning top gold at the state competition in Denver in April. This is the third year Haney and Ridings have earned top gold at the state competition and gone on to nationals.

♦ The water slide saw heavy use on Saturday as the ERBM Recreation and Park District filled the park with events during its community appreciation day on the courthouse lawn in Meeker. The water slide offered fun, thrills and acrobatics on the way down and a cool pool of water at the bottom as Saturday was hot and humid for those who attended the event.

♦ Kyler Smith, a recent graduate of Rifle High School, won the two-day Lischke Memorial Golf Tournament in Meeker and will return Monday to play in his final Junior Golf Tournament on Meeker’s course. Smith, who recently turned 18, started golfing in the Meeker Junior Golf Tournament when he was 13 and he has won it every year since.

♦ Rangely racers competed at the Western Conference Finals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. With kids aged 8 to 17 from 15 different states competing, this is the toughest race of the year. Dylan LeBleu finished as a runner-up in the 10-year-old division, losing to a California racer in the finals on a break out. Whitney Rusher raced for her first time this year at the finals in the 8- and 9-year-old division and her brother, Justin Rusher ,raced in the 11-year-old division.

♦ A Colorado native born in Denver has accepted an offer to return to the state and take the position as principal at Meeker High School.
Dr. Kimberly L. Ibach, DE, who has been assistant principal for instruction at Ben L. Smith High School in Guilford County, N.C., will take over the position left vacant at Meeker High School due to the resignation of Jeremy Voytko.

♦ Twenty teams competed in the annual 27-hole, two-man tournament in two flights at Cedar Ridges Golf Course in Rangely with several players from out of town and more are expected to play in the couples tournament Saturday and Sunday.
“These are the two biggest tournaments of the year for us, back to back,” course manager Chris Hejl said of the one just played and the upcoming couples tournament.

♦ Feeling there has been little progress in the recent past, even on small projects, the Rio Blanco County Commissioners are looking forward to the work to be done by new county project coordinator Eric Jacquez, who has started work at the newly created job.

♦ U.S. Sen. Mark Udall congratulated nine of Colorado’s regional airports, including Rangely Airport, on getting a share of more than $6.1 million in competitive U.S. Department of Transportation grants. The grant for $329,050 is going to Rangely Airport in Rio Blanco County to improve its automatic weather observing system.

♦ The White River National Forest falls within Tier 1 and began implementation of the adaptive management strategy for Spring Cave on Aug. 1. Open and closed periods for Spring Cave were developed around seasonal bat activity including “swarming” and use of the cave during the winter months as a hibernaculum.

♦ For a sixth straight year, the Rangely Hurricane Swim team has won the Colorado Seasonal Club State Championship meet and also claim the state’s best 15-18 club swimmer. Swimming for the Hurricanes in Canon City were Timothy and Mary Scoggins, Timothy and William Scoggins, Andrew Morton and Korrynn Wenzel. Morton was the high point winner in the 15-18 division.

♦ Meeker played host to the Colorado OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) Coalition (COHVCO) 2nd annual White River OHV Rendezvous.
The Meeker Chamber of Commerce, Meeker downtown businesses and the Wagon Wheel OHV Club are working with COHVCO to organize this great event, showcasing the fabulous Wagon Wheel OHV Trail System.

♦ For the first three weeks of August, Armando Lopez and his team from Elite Environmental Services did asbestos abatement and demolition to clear the area of the last portions of asbestos in the Rector Building on the Colorado Northwestern Community College campus in Rangely.

♦ The plan by the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners to hire a full-time county administrator has officially be put on hold for now, commission Chairman Shawn Bolton said.
The county administrator’s position has been vacant since former administrator Kimberly Bullen resigned from the post in April. The commissioners did put out a call for resumes from those interested in the vacant position, and 10 people applied.

♦ Four plans were suggested for the new Rio Blanco County Justice Center on the old Meeker Elementary School site during an Aug. 13 workshop held by the county commissioners.

♦ Rio Blanco County’s first confirmed case of West Nile Virus was announced Aug. 20 with the word that a horse located along County Road 7 (Strawberry) had died following a bout with the virus.

♦ For the second year in a row, Encana Oil & Gas Inc. awarded the Rangely School District with a $10,500 grant dedicated to helping enhance the innovation and creativity in Rangely classrooms.

♦ The Bureau of Land Management announced that Phase 2 of the Jensen-Ute Park connection trail north of Meeker is complete.
The 4.5-mile trail across China Wall, overlooking Meeker, provides unique views while connecting Philip and Dorcas Jensen Memorial Park with Ute Park, west of the town. The Town of Meeker along with ERBM Recreation and Park District partnered with the BLM to construct the trail, which also provides access to other trails.