Editor’s note: This is the inaugural editorial page feature in which we recognize the good and not-so-good things happening in the Grand Valley and throughout the Western Slope. We received good reader feedback on what to call it and “Applause and Pause” won out. This week, it’s all good news.

One of the city’s more exciting developments in 2019, in our view, involves the vacant former StarTek property on South Seventh Street.

Last month, a Canadian developer announced plans to convert the property into multi-family apartments.

This is the spark that lower downtown needed, but it wouldn’t have happened if the owners of the property, Doug and Jamee Simons, hadn’t put some thought into the implications of selling the property.

Had they sold to a buyer interested in commercial or light industrial use for the property, this project, which we think will be transformative for the downtown area, would never have had the chance to germinate.

Kudos to them for seeing a bigger picture and waiting for the right project to come along before selling.

The Bureau of Land Management is still ramping up its new headquarters at 760 Horizon Drive, but got things rolling Jan. 2 on a positive note.

The new headquarters will be known as the Robert F. Burford BLM headquarters.

Burford was a Grand Junction native and a local rancher who went on to become a state lawmaker and speaker of the state House of Representatives before being appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to be BLM director. He was the agency’s longest-serving director, staying on the job until 1988.

It was a nice and fitting gesture for the bureau to honor a native son who played a significant role in the agency’s history. Bravo.

In the past 10 years, the Grand Junction Lions Club has given nearly $2 million to the local community from funds raised through the sale of raffle tickets.

This year, the club is giving away $118,000 to 15 local nonprofits from a pool of 50 applicants.

We can’t imagine how difficult it must be to sift through the community’s needs.

“It’s a hard process, but a good process,” said Brian Hollingsworth, chairman of the Lions Club Community Betterment Committee.

Karis Inc., an organization that helps homeless youth, received the largest grant of $17,500. The money will go toward furnishing a new 34-unit apartment complex that’s under construction for homeless youth. The project should be finished by late summer or early fall.

The Lions Club seems to have a soft spot for kids. The overwhelming majority of grantees are schools, camps and youth sports organizations. Well done.

One of the unsung heroes serving Mesa County’s elderly population is Meals on Wheels.

The program (formerly known as Gray Gourmet) has been operating in Mesa County since 1970. In 2019, the program delivered more than 127,000 meals to seniors, most of whom are frail and elderly. There are nine dining sites and more than 300 home deliveries five days a week, serving more than 1,800 clients every week.

The program has grown every year, and volunteer drivers are always needed. Delivering a route takes a two-hour commitment once a week. If you are interested in being a part of the program, contact Adrienne Carlo at 243-9844, extension 5.

Congratulations to CLAWS Cat Rescue for being chosen by the Arni Foundation as its shelter of the year.

On Saturday, the Basalt-based foundation delivered more than $10,000 worth of cat houses, furniture, toys and supplies to support CLAWS new adoption center, which opened last October.

The foundation’s director, Nikki Linn, visited shelters around the state anonymously, not telling them what she was up to. She said she fell in love with CLAWS due to its grassroots nature and it housing less desirable cats.

The foundation award is recognition of the tireless work CLAWS takes on to rescue cats — even old and disabled ones — until they can be placed in homes. CLAWS takes on an average of 800 cats a year.

CLAWS Adoption Center is open Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m., Fridays from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit clawsgj.org or the CLAWS Facebook page.

Recommended for you