Watch for more Elks roaming midvalley
The Elks are shooting for a third lodge in the Roaring Fork Valley.The Aspen and Glenwood Springs Elks lodges are heading an effort to create a branch somewhere in the midvalley to serve Basalt and Carbondale, according to Dick Miller, an Aspen Elk.Miller is in a great position to assist that process. He is the chairman of the membership committee in Colorado, and he’s on the new lodges committee. “I’m hoping it will happen,” he said. “I’m going to work like mad on it.”Many midvalley residents belong to the lodges in Aspen and Glenwood Springs. They wouldn’t be forced to join a new midvalley lodge, but the demand appears to be there for a new chapter, Miller said.It takes at least 150 members to qualify an area for a new lodge. New members must be citizens of the U.S., be older than 21 and believe in God, Miller said.”We want to make sure they understand it’s not just a social thing but a service organization,” Miller said of prospective new members.The Elks already have a big presence in the Basalt area. The Aspen Elks gave out $96,000 in scholarships to kids in Aspen and Basalt. Their youth fund also spent $50,000 on Aspen and Basalt organizations ranging from baseball programs to 4-H, Miller said.The Elks lodges in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Leadville are known as some of the most progressive in Colorado, Miller said. They have successfully recruited new members and come up with innovative service programs. The Elks lodges in Aspen and Leadville were established more than 100 years ago. The lodges in Glenwood Springs and Rifle have been around for 40 to 50 years, by Miller’s estimate. There are 54 lodges in the state.Along with finding enough new members, the Elks face the challenge of finding an affordable place to rent in the midvalley. The organization of a new lodge won’t happen overnight, Miller cautioned.”It may take up to two years,” he said.
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RFTA has a bit of a paradox on its hands. The public bus agency doesn’t anticipate it will haul as many passengers this winter but it needs more buses and drivers than ever. Only 15 people are allowed per bus, so that saps resources.