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Christmas workshops

Some Craig residents on duty during holiday

David Pressgrove

On Christmas day Santa Claus may be the only one riding behind a red-nosed reindeer, but he won’t be the only one working on the holiday.

At several Moffat County businesses the show must go on.

For the Christmas tree lights to work, the power plant must be monitored; to make sure Santa doesn’t get stuck in the chimney, the public safety center must remain on call; last second cookies and milk are available at Kum & Go and to provide families something to do after the presents are all open, look no further than J.C. Flicks.

“This will be my first Christmas to work,” said Patty Wille, assistant manager at J.C. Flicks. “But it is a short shift and pretty easy to plan around.”

Esther Camp, the manager of the Craig J.C. FLicks said the decision to stay open on Christmas is a corporate one, but she can see why they remain open.

“If it were up to me we’d be closed,” she said. “But Holidays are our busiest time and it is probably a very profitable day for them.”

Wille said she expected to be busy during her shift.

“If it is anything like Thanksgiving, we’ll be packed,” she said. “I think families like to get a movie and take it easy after everything is over.”

Camp said that she had all of her staff that wasn’t on vacation assigned to work a shift sometime during the noon-10 p.m. hours that the store is open, but they are shortened shifts that also pay time-and-a-half.

“I try to make it as easy as I can so they can plan around it,” she said. “Most of them are working three to four hours.”

Kum & Go district supervisor Marcia DeWall said that the 24-7-365 service from her convenience stores is understood by her employees and that they are prepared to work on that day.

“We shorten the shifts from a normal eight hours to four, which means we’ll have more employees assigned on the day,” she said. “We have to keep the doors open and they understand it is a team effort.”

While Kum & Go and J.C. Flicks are open to maintain a profit, other people are employed to provide community necessities.

The dispatchers at the Moffat County Public Safety Center have responsibility for answering calls from nine counties each and every day.

“We are here to take care of others first and foremost,” said regional manager Lynette Stieb-Sorensen. “So sometimes our personal lives are put on hold even on Christmas.”

For the dispatchers Christmas is just a normal Wednesday. The employees who aren’t coming in have the day off as a normal day and nine of the 16 employees will be on duty.

“We’re understaffed at the moment so it means less time off for others,” Stieb-Sorensen said. “But they are working around it by celebrating the holiday on a different day or planning it around their shift.

“We have three dispatchers working each shift on the day which is reduced but the supervisors are on call in case of emergency.”

Stieb-Sorensen said it is hard to keep employees because of the 24-7-365 schedule.

“It is hard to keep workers because it is an unforgiving job on holidays,” she said. “We have to be there every minute of every day no matter what and while it isn’t fun sometimes it’s part of the job.”

Electricity is also a necessity for a majority of the world to run smoothly in the 21st century and while the power plant reduces its staff on Christmas, employees are still asked to come in.

“There are jobs that need to be done around the clock,” said Jim Van Someren, communications director for Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

The Tri-State managers will not be at the power plant but will be on call to aid the reduced staff.

“Coal handling, maintenance and technicians will all need to be there,” Van Someren said. “They will be compensated extra for working.”


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