Dozer Days back on the table in Granby | VailDaily.com
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Dozer Days back on the table in Granby

Allen Best

GRANBY -The 70-ton armed and armored Komatsu bulldozer that Marvin Heemeyer used to crush through 13 buildings in Granby last year is now dead, having been recently dismembered. Heemeyer also is dead, having killed himself at the conclusion of his tantrum.But an idea that sprang up almost immediately after the dozer ended its rampage remains alive. That idea, called Dozer Days, is now getting a fresh hearing in the pages of the Sky-Hi News. The rough idea is to build a weekend festival around the event.Patrick Brower, publisher of the Sky-Hi News, has consistently discouraged the idea. He had the unfortunate experience of working in his office when the bulldozer began churning into the front of the building. Running out the backdoor, the frightened Brower then ran home to check on his wife and child.But now, Brower has relented. “It’s an idea that just won’t go away,” he writes. “The time has come to give the idea a full airing.”Among those supporting a Granby Dozer Days Festival is Hanes Dawson Jr., a former publisher of the newspaper. He points out that Nederland, a small community between Granby and Boulder, has been making hay with a festival called Frozen Dead Guy Days. The festival was sparked by an experiment in cyrogenics, in which a Norwegian immigrant is freezing the body of his dead grandfather in hopes that he can later be brought back to life.The three-day celebration in Nederland has parades of hearses and coffin races and other such frivolity centered on the theme of death. “With some clever thinking and planning, Dozer Days could do the same for Granby,” writes Dawson.The background for all this is a cartoon titled “Reinventing Granby” that appeared in Westword, a weekly newspaper in Denver. The cartoon by Kenny Bee, done the week after the rampage, noted that Heemeyer’s rampage “may just be the best thing that ever happened to Granby. In 90 minutes, he turned Colorado’s least interesting mountain town into what could be its No. 1 attraction.”Among Bee’s ideas: a rampage museum, a dozer diner, bumper bulldozers, and a disgruntled loner hall of fame.But other letter-writers published in the Granby newspaper steely reject Dozer Days. One writer, Bob Freeman, argues Dozer Days would trivialize a horrible event. Another writer, Bonnie Rozean, said, the “only way out of our troubles is through them, face-to-face, without medicating ourselves or distracting ourselves with frivolous, inappropriate events.”The mayor, Ted Wang, disputes the idea that “we’ve moved on.” He says Granby still has deep psychic wounds. “We have business owners who have not yet and may never fully recover from their losses,” he said. “Repaired buildings and reopened doors mask deeper hurts. Make an amusing festival of June 4th? Compassion should suggest not.”Vail, Colorado


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