Year in Review, July-Dec ~ Pt. 3

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An early October snow storm caused heavy tree damage around Rio Blanco County.
An early October snow storm caused heavy tree damage around Rio Blanco County.
♦ Ace Trucking of Rangely entered the 2013 Coed League tournament undefeated and the No. 1 seed, but lost in the semifinals, forcing them to come back and defeat the defending champs, Rangely True Value Hardware, twice in a row to win the title.

♦ A mural that now adorns the east side of Shepherd’s Office Outfitters was unveiled and dedicated after a torrential rain. The mural, drawn by well-known Glenwood Springs muralists Kristos and Noemi Kosmowski, won the honor by placing first in a contest sponsored by Shepherds and the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council (MACC) last year.

♦ The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded the Town of Meeker an $825,000 grant to assist with extending the water and sanitation utilities to the Curtis Creek Industrial Park and out to Thornburgh Road.

♦ After two weeks of two-a-day practices, the Meeker Cowboys played another team for the first time Friday in Grand Junction, then returned home to host the annual Cowboy Kickoff Classic golf tournament after a big win.
The Cowboys defeated the Central Warriors’ JV team, 50-22.

♦ The Meeker Town Board voted 5-1 to pass an ordinance making it illegal for the retail sales of recreational marijuana in town.
The vote of the board was not unanimous is its rejection of the ordinance as Trustee Regas Halandras voted against the ban.

♦ The annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials began with 125 teams of dogs and handlers taking part. Participants are from all over the United States as well as Canada, South Africa and Brazil. The classic continued toward the finals on Sunday. In addition to the trials, there are a number of vendors on the premises at Ute Park offering food and other goodies. Visitors are urged to take the trolley or shuttle from downtown Meeker to the site on the west edge of town.

♦ A local group of volunteers, Pioneers Medical Center and Pioneers Healthcare Foundation (PHF) are excited to announce a newly formed hospice-related partnership with HopeWest.

♦ Several hundred family members and individuals took part in the Rangely Museum’s Ice Cream Social at the museum on the east end of town on Sunday as part of Septemberfest.

♦ The final day at the 2013 Meeker Classic was spellbinding to the very end.
Dennis Gellings of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada, the winner of the 2008 Meeker Classic, had an almost flawless run first thing Sunday morning, posting a winning score of 139.

♦ Meeker Golf Course is absolutely beautiful this year, largely due to the endless time and effort Jim Cook has put in over his near 20-year career. It has been a family effort over the years for Jim, his wife Debbie, and two daughters Jennifer (Steve) Vandyke, and Wendy (Jason) Lay. Cook is retiring at the end of the season.

♦ White River Electric Association celebrated its annual stockholders’ meeting Sept. 11 at the Fairfield Community Center, also commemorating the Sept. 11 anniversary with a moment of silence and a patriotic theme.
In addition, the board and membership celebrated retiring general manager Dick Welle’s impressive 38-year career at WREA while welcoming new general manager Alan Michalewicz to the WREA family.

♦ Alyssa Mae Magalong, 19, the daughter of Maria and Felix Magalong Jr. of Colorado Springs and a sophomore at Colorado Northwestern Community College, represented Colorado as Miss Colorado Teen 2013 at The Pageant-US National, which was held in California on Aug. 13-18, winning the national title of Pageant Teen 2013-US National.

♦ Volunteers served up fresh-baked bread along with three homemade soups made from locally harvested vegetables and meat at Thursday’s Harvest Bowls Festival in Rangely. The event raised more than $7,500 for four local organizations and global relief organization Help One Now.

♦ Several hundred persons attended Saturday’s dedication of Sanderson Park in Meeker, where races, games, playground equipment and free food in the form of bratwursts, wraps, veggie burgers and other goodies were well utilized by those in attendance. The park is also the trail head for a 4.5-mile trail that unites Sanderson Park with Ute Park on the west edge of town in a joint venture between the Bureau of Land Management and the ERBM Recreation District.

♦ Mountain Valley Bank and co-sponsors White River Electric Association and the ERBM Recreation District combined efforts through the annual Mountain Valley Bank Fall Festival in Meeker on Saturday. The event affords non-profit organizations the chance to raise funds for their yearly projects. Several hundred area residents and tourists enjoyed the food, games, races, contests, food auctions and sunshine during the event.

♦ In a surprise move, Shell Oil announced it will be shutting down its research and development in the upper Piceance Basin area of Rio Blanco County, southeast of Rangely.

♦ There will be seven candidates vying for four seats on the Meeker School District RE-1 Board of Trustees in the Nov. 5 general election.

♦ The 8th Annual Scrub Shirt Classic Race on Saturday hosted almost 125 participants.
“We are thrilled to see so many people participate in the 5K walk, run or stroll event,” said Curtis Cooper, the event coordinator and Pioneers Medical Center IT manager. “We wanted everyone to have fun and to know that no matter what the fitness level, getting out and moving is a healthy choice.”
Tevin Pelloni ran the race with the best time of 24 minutes, 16 seconds. He led his sixth-grade teammates in the fifth grade vs. sixth grade challenge.

♦ An early fall storm dropped between five and eight inches of snow on Meeker and Rangely on Thursday night and early Friday, knocking out many county residents’ power for the better part of two days and severely damaging hundreds of trees and closing streets in both towns.

♦ The 2013 volleyball season is in full swing and every match counts.
Meeker Coach Christy Atwood said, “Getting wins and capitalizing on the game plans we have been working on are going to be critical.”
The Meeker girls did just that over the weekend getting two more wins, extending their winning streak and setting themselves up for a successful post season.

♦ Five candidates vying for two Rangely School District RE-4 school board positions discussed government control of education and the district’s challenges and strengths, among other topics, at a Meet the Candidates forum sponsored by the Rangely Community Education Association (RCEA) on Oct. 9.

♦ The middle school volleyball season came to a conclusion Saturday with Rio Blanco County sweeping the A-team brackets. The eighth-grade A-bracket and tournament were the final touches on a perfect season for the Panthers.

♦ At approximately 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 19, the Rangely Police Department responded to a call of a possible burglary and assault that evolved into an incident in which one man allegedly shot another.
The incident took place at the Buck ‘n’ Bull RV Camper Park, located just east of Rangely.

♦ The Rangely Panther football team will take a two-game winning streak into the Colorado State 8-man football playoffs Friday in Kiowa after whipping the Blue Jays in Mancos, 42-6, in its final game of the regular season.

♦ Caleb Lange, a senior at Meeker High School, and MHS freshman Julia Eskelson represented their school and town at the 2013 Colorado State Cross Country Championships in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

♦ Four county youths competed and placed in many classes at the recent Northern International Livestock Exposition in Billings, Mont., including Macy Collins, Destinee Bland, Tristan Hall and Trevor Austin.

♦ The Rangely Panther football team ended its season in the first round of the Colorado State 8-Man playoffs Friday with a 40-14 loss to the Indians in Kiowa.

♦ Tuesday was a bad day for those backing any kind of tax increase as Amendment 66 at the state level and Ballot Issue 3A in Meeker failed to carry a majority of voters. In addition, the Meeker and Rangely school districts picked their new school board members for four-year terms.
Rio Blanco County Clerk and Recorder Nancy R. Amick said Tuesday, before the election voting was complete, that this election had the best turnout in more than 20 years.

♦ Six students in Meeker High School’s 2014 senior class have already made up their minds that their future will involve the military and serving America through various branches of the Armed Forces.
The six future graduates headed toward military service of some kind after their graduation from MHS include Emilee Kohls, Kenny Kohls, Jordan Smith, JC Henderson, Torrie Gerloff and Kelly Denny.

♦ Chris Archuleta, a graduate of Meeker schools and a representative of Chevron, presented a check worth $15,000 to Iris Franklin, left, president of the Meeker School District Board of Education, on Tuesday night. Archuleta said Chevron’s only stipulation for the check is that the school has to use the money for educational materials with emphasis on math and science.

♦ Safety Specialist Ross Alire of Chevron presented a donation check in the amount of $5,000 to Rangely Elks Lodge No. 1907. The donation will go towards the Christmas basket program for the needy families of Rangely and Dinosaur.

♦ It was quite a diverse year in Rio Blanco County. The temperature from the year’s coldest to the year’s warmest, as recorded from Jan. 1 to the end of October, spanned 129 degrees.

♦ Ron Eye, a master carver from Vernal, Utah, commissioned to create three sculptures for Colorado Northwestern Community College, used a Stihl chainsaw to coax a Spartan from the stump of a Chinese elm tree. Eye, who completed a 16-foot sculpture for Meeker’s Highlands Cemetery last week, swept June’s “Whittle the Wood Rendezvous” in Craig, winning first place in the judge’s, artist’s and people’s choice categories.

♦ Joe Dungan of Meeker, the veterans’ service officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Meeker, spoke to roughly 150 people late Monday morning during the VFW’s Veterans Day service next to the Rio Blanco County Veteran’s Memorial in front of the Rio Blanco County Courthouse.

♦ The Meeker High School varsity volleyball team (above), which included freshman Jenna Walsh, seniors Aly Ridings, Taylor Neilson and Piper Haney, juniors Sydney Hughes, Reagan Pearce and Jamie McLaughlin and freshman Maggie Phelan, juniors Paige Jones and Megan Parker and freshman Lori Ann Klinglesmith, lined up twice on one of five courts in the Denver Coliseum for matches in the 2013 Colorado State Volleyball Championships. Meeker qualified as regional champions for the big show, which included championships in all five classifications, and they defeated Ridgeway for a second time in as many weeks, but lost to the eventual 2A state champions, Resurrection Christian, in pool play.

♦ A 28-year-old man with a Canon City address who has been living in Rangely for an undisclosed amount of time has been charged with felony assault in the first degree following a lengthy investigation into the alleged shooting of another Rangely resident early Oct. 19 at the Buck ‘n’ Bull RV Park, according to court records.
Gary Edward Newby was arrested and charged in the aftermath of what appears to be the alleged assault and shooting of Joseph Duncan, also 28, who is also a resident of the RV park.

♦ On Monday, the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners authorized County Project Coordinator Eric Jaquez to begin contract negotiations with the Denver-based firm of Reilly Johnson Architecture regarding design of the county justice center and remodel of the courthouse.

♦ The new Meeker Board of Education for the 2013-14 year was seated Tuesday night with those elected Nov. 5 and new officers. Bill deVergie was re-elected, and he will be the new board president; Dan Chinn, newly elected; Mindy Burke will be vice president; Bud Ridings, newly elected; Marnell Bradfield will be secretary/treasurer; Kurt Blunt; and newly elected Todd Shults.

♦ The two new members of the Rangely School District RE-4 elected on Nov. 5 are Annette Webber and Sam Tolley. The entire board was sworn in on Nov. 11 as new officers for the year were also elected in the special meeting. Jen Hill is president of the board, Leslie Nielsen is vice president and Annette Webber is secretary/treasurer.

♦ Morgan Neilson, an animal science major from Meeker, was selected as an Oklahoma State University Senior of Significance for the 2013-2014 academic year.

♦ With the pending retirement of current Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff, Anthony Mazzola announced Monday his intention to run for county sheriff in 2014.

♦ The White River Electric Association Board of Directors approved the 2014 Rate Schedule at its regularly scheduled November board meeting, and it was decided that there will not be an increase in residential power rates for the year.

♦ The newly reconstructed runway, taxiways and a new large-aircraft apron at Meeker Airport were dedicated Saturday morning to Gary Coulter, the man who has managed the airport since 1959, a total of 54 years.
The new airport opened on Nov. 27. Coulter piloted the first aircraft onto the new runway accompanied by his wife, Relda, his daughter, Samantha, and his son, Lanny.

♦ A 60-year-old Rangely man was killed in a single vehicle accident on Dec. 4, when the farm tractor he was using to plow his neighbor’s driveway slid, rolled over and pinned the man underneath.

♦ Santa and Mrs. Claus made their first stop of the season at Meeker on Friday night for Meeker’s Parade of Lights. The Jolly Old Soul and his wife just may be in Rangely this weekend, taking part in Christmasfest.

♦ Bonnie Ruckman, the director of the Rio Blanco County Department of Human Services, spent plenty of time cutting her retirement cake on Monday afternoon at Meeker Town Hall. Ruckman was a caseworker for the department for 13 years and she spent 24 years as department director.

♦ Tessa Slagle, a senior at Rangely High School, is one of two Colorado high school students chosen for the 52nd Annual U.S. Senate Youth Program set for March 8-15 in Washington, D.C. She is currently student body president at RHS and aspires to enter politics.

♦ Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Michael Joos has thrown his hat into the race for Rio Blanco County Sheriff after a 39 year career in law enforcement which began as a police cadet with the Federal Heights (Colo.) Police Department in 1975.

♦ The Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan (WRBM) Recreation District’s chili dinner and dance recital drew more than 100 people to Colorado Northwestern Community College on Saturday night, netting more than $500 to help a local family pay for their daughter’s health care expenses.

♦ On Dec. 10, during the annual Meeker Lions Club meeting at the Freeman E. Fairfield Center, Tom Allen presented the Lion of the Year Award to member Mark Rogers. The Fairfield Center had a full house of Lions, who gave Rogers a standing ovation for the coveted honor. Allen said the award was given to Rogers’ for his selfless dedication and participation at club events and meetings.


  1. Dear Tina,
    I believe MHS graduation is scheduled for Saturday, May 31 this year.
    Niki Turner
    Herald Times Staff

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