Year in Review – Pt. 4

Heavy snow in all parts of Rio Blanco County was a newsworthy subject throughout 2013.
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Heavy snow in all parts of Rio Blanco County was a newsworthy subject throughout 2013.
Heavy snow in all parts of Rio Blanco County was a newsworthy subject throughout 2013.

• Musicians are working to save “the tank,” an unused water storage tank west of Rangely near County Road 41. The space, which musician and composer Bruce Odland calls “a sonic wonder of the world,” has captured unique reverberations of sound for more than three decades. If Friends of the Tank can raise $42,000 by the end of March, the group will restore the tank for community use and education and as a recording space for musicians around the world. To find out more or donate to the cause, search “Save the Tank” at

• Meeker’s Steve Harman won the annual Carl Rector Memorial Cribbage Tournament sponsored by Silver Sage RV Park. The tournament was held at the Elks Lodge in Rangely and featured 17 players. Harman defeated Tim Webber in the championship game. NAPA Auto Parts and Rangely True Value Hardware were the prize sponsors for the tournament.

• Approximately half of Rangely’s new town banners have been installed along Main Street while the rest will be placed during the next week, Rangely Town Manager Peter Brixius said. The new year-round banners, designed by Northern Lights Display, were a $7,500 capital project paid for by the town’s economic development fund. Weather damaged many of the seasonal banners previously used, Brixius said.

• Starting April 8, Meeker Airport will be closed for approximately seven months while Rio Blanco County carries out two projects to widen the runway and increase the size of the apron for the larger planes using the airport.

• When Pastor Jasper Whiston of Bible Baptist Church in Rangely left the parsonage the afternoon of March 17, he didn’t expect to return and see a 3×16-foot chunk of the church’s metal roof lying in the parking lot. High winds tore the section from the roof and rolled several other pieces up, damaging some of the fascia and drip edge. Whiston said he was thankful the roof didn’t fall during or after the church’s morning service. Bible Baptist will obtain an insurance adjustor’s report before moving forward with necessary repairs.

• When the Meeker Town Board next tends to business on April 4, the face of long-time Meeker resident Bryce Ducey will take his seat for the full meeting as the newest member of the board of trustees.

• A new tanker/pumper truck for structure fire suppression and rescue is in active service after passing its final inspection at the Rosenbauer manufacturing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., earlier this month.
The truck’s arrival at the Rangely Rural Fire Protection District (RRFPD) preceded a ceremony on March 20, formalizing Shell Oil Co.’s $150,000 donation to help pay for two new district fire trucks — the tanker/pumper and a ladder truck. The second truck will arrive from the Rosenbauer plant in May.

• It was recently announced by the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), Colorado Section, West Chapter, that local golf professional Jim Cook will be awarded the 2013 Warren Smith Award at the annual spring meeting in April in Grand Junction. Cook will start his 21st season as a golf professional when the Meeker course opens April 1.

• Congressman Scott Tipton lent a sympathetic ear to environmental concerns voiced by board members of the White River and Douglas Creek conservation districts on Thursday.

• Snowpack and precipitation levels are low in the White River Basin and there is some concern at this time, a local U.S. Forest Service official said Friday
“We are paying attention closely,” said Ken Coffin, the district ranger in Meeker for the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest. “The snowpack and precipitation have a huge impact on us. We are deeply concerned about the growth of the trees and the upcoming fire season. A dry spring could mean big trouble for summer.”

• Dave Satterwhite and Jason Steiner shook hands on Monday to close the deal on the sale of Stage Stop Meat Market & Deli in Meeker. Steiner opened Stage Stop in 2006, and he sold the operation to the Dave Satterwhite family of Craig.

• The “Save the Tank” campaign may be over, but the task of saving the tank is just beginning.
One year ago, the empty 60-by-30-foot water tank west of Rangely, a recording and performance space for musicians and composers for more than three decades, looked like it would be sold and taken down.
By Sunday night, the three-week Kickstarter campaign launched by several of those musicians had raised $46,126 donated by 751 supporters worldwide. The initial fundraising goal was $42,000.

• The Rio Blanco Historical Society’s “Pioneer Women of Rio Blanco County” program drew more than 70 persons Sunday to enjoy the telling of tales dating back at least decades in county history.

• Rainy spring weather didn’t keep Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) bull riders from earning top honors at the inaugural Spartan Showdown Rodeo over the weekend. Freshman Brice Osborne (Rifle, Colo.) and sophomore Coty Cornia (Woodruff, Utah) split for first place in the long go competition before tying for first place overall, CNCC head rodeo coach Jed Moore said. Osborne and Cornia, who are currently in the running for two of three College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) qualifying seeds, learned this week they rank first and twenty-first in the nation in bull riding based on current points standings at

• The board of trustees of Rio Blanco RE-1 Meeker School District voted unanimously after an executive session on Thursday night to offer current superintendent Susan Goettel a new one-year contract. Goettel was appointed acting superintendent of the school district from 2010 to 2011 and was named superintendent in 2011. She was administrative executive assistant in the Meeker School District from 2008 to 2010.

• Colorado Northwestern Community College President Russell George recognized Rangely sculptor Kyle Stewart at the culmination of CNCC’s 50-year anniversary celebration Tuesday afternoon. The ceremony dedicated Stewart’s Spartan sculpture, the time capsule and pedestal, and four benches in honor of the college’s history and future. CNCC Student Government formally named the sculpture “Agesilaus” and the surrounding space “Sparta’s Walls” after the Spartan king’s response that Sparta’s walls were its soldiers, much as CNCC’s students are its “walls.” The time capsule will be placed and sealed in the pedestal later this week.

• Not without controversy, all three of Meeker’s school principals received offers for one-year contracts Tuesday night from the Meeker School Board.

• Joshua Cochran, an eighth-grade student at Barone Middle School has been chosen for a rare opportunity to meet U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be addressing students, and Cochran will be among 100 students invited to meet and greet with the Sotomayor prior to her keynote address that evening.

• Roughly 170 people attended the annual Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation fundraising dinner Saturday at the Weiss Activities Center on campus. The amount of money raised at the event, which included dinner, a no-host bar and an auction, was $39,646, which goes to the foundation. Several awards were presented and gifts given by CNCC President Russell George, who emceed the event.

• Just short of two years on the job, Rio Blanco County Administrator Kimberly Bullen turned in her resignation to the county commissioners on April 8 in Rangely, with the resignation becoming effective Friday. “I gave my two weeks notice, and I will be leaving here proud of some things that have been accomplished and frustrated over some others,” Bullen said. “I suppose I could say I felt very frustrated knowing that the commissioners and I had the same vision for the future, just a disagreement on how fast to move forward and the manner in which to move in that direction.”

• The After Birth Ball was a great success Saturday night in Meeker as the Freeman E. Fairfield Center was filled with people partying and dancing to the country-western sounds of Coy Keithley and the band Straight Shot. The event was hosted by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Shell Oil, Williams Energy, Enterprise Products, WPXEnergy and Encana Natural Gas.

• Meeker School District (MSD) began in January to develop a new strategic plan aimed at attaining academic excellence, improved facilities and gaining an inventory of available resources.