Y2K panic slow to hit Craig

Y2K paranoia hasn't hit Craig, if it ever will.

Some residents are stocking up on essentials for the possibility of Y2K complications, but there weren't any long lines at the grocery stores or gas stations Thursday afternoon.

The commodity that has had the most significant increase in sales is propane. Propane sales shot up in the last month, according to Steve Cless, plant manager of the AmeriGas plant in Craig.

"People are getting their bulk tanks for their home topped off," said Cless on Thursday. "Sales are up 100 percent. We currently are out of cylinders."

While AmeriGas may be out of cylinders, it is making sure there is plenty of propane. AmeriGas has the 30,000-gallon and 18,000-gallon tanks on site filled and ready to go in case of a last-minute rush. The company also has made sure it will be able to pump gas in case of a power outage at all stations, including Craig, Baggs and Meeker.

It hasn't been easy keeping the tanks full. The number of transports of propane in the last month has gone up significantly. Each transport carries 9,000 gallons of propane. In a normal month, the Craig plant receives eight transports of propane. This month it received 12 an extra 36,000 gallons of propane. According to Cless, some significant preparation has gone into making sure customers will have propane on New Year's Eve.

"We started planning this summer for Y2K," said Cless. "We have taken the necessary steps to make sure we can get gas to our customers."

There are those who are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. People can be found making final preparations throughout town.

A man who works as a builder, who asked to remain unidentified, bought a 100-gallon cylinder of propane and a 210-gallon tank of water Thursday. He believes things may not go smoothly at the stroke of midnight today. According to the man, he has researched the outcome of Y2K for three years. The man bases his predictions on knowledge received from his brother, who worked for a microchip manufacturing company in Hong Kong. According to the builder, the microchips in everything from power plants to cars won't be able to cope with the change in dates.

"It won't be a software problem, it will be a hardware problem," said the man. "I want to make sure I can cook and that I will have water and heat. We are on the California power grid and if something does happen the demand for power is going to be huge; I want to be prepared. It is a tremendous time."

Others in Craig aren't buying all the hoopla surrounding this New Year's Eve.

According to Safeway Manager Chuck Sadvar, food sales have remained normal for a pre-holiday week.

"It is always busy on a holiday," said Sadvar. "I haven't seen anything radical."

The special water display at the front of the store is not necessarily Y2K-related, according to Sadvar.

"We always sell a lot of water," said Sadvar.

Water isn't as hot of a Y2K item as propane. According to Brian Herring, owner of Colorado West Ice and Bottled Drinking Water, he has only seen a slight fluctuation in business.

"We have noticed a few new customers, but I haven't seen a great increase," said Herring.

There has yet to be a big run on gasoline .

Debbie Knez, assistant manager for the MiniMart gas station and convenience store, believes sales have been slightly higher than normal, but there hasn't been a mad rush.

"None of the customers have really mentioned it," said Knez. "We just got an extra big fuel delivery and we will have someone coming down here to help in case something goes wrong with the computers."

Banks in Craig haven't experienced a rush of customers coming in and taking out cash.

Cody Fullmer, Bank of Colorado president, hasn't seen the number of customers he expected in the last few days.

"We have prepared for an onslaught of customers coming in and taking out cash, but that has not been the case," said Fullmer. "There have been a few customers coming in and asking for printouts of their accounts and some people asking questions, but not as many as we anticipated. For right now it is business as usual."

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