Bridge closure, I-70 detour next two nights |

Bridge closure, I-70 detour next two nights

Overhead utility work that Grand Avenue bridge project officials had hoped to accomplish during the planned Interstate 70 Glenwood Canyon closure this week will now take place overnight tonight and Friday because the canyon work was postponed.

As a result, the bridge will be closed to traffic from 8 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Friday, and again during the same hours Friday night into Saturday morning, bridge project spokesman Tom Newland said. I-70 traffic going in both directions will also be detoured onto Sixth Street at Exit 116 during the overnight hours, he said.

“We were hoping to do the overhead work during the day yesterday and today when the canyon was closed, but we didn’t get very far along before those plans changed,” Newland said.

Downdrafts in Glenwood Canyon on Wednesday forced crews to halt helicopter work on a rockfall mitigation project that was to have closed I-70 during the day today. Instead, the interstate was kept open today and the helicopter work is to be rescheduled by the Colorado Department of Transportation, probably sometime in August.

For the bridge project-related I-70 detour tonight and Friday night, traffic will merge into one-lane each direction and will detour onto Sixth Street at Exit 116 and near the Yampah Vapor Caves.

The detour is necessary for safety reasons while the utilities are being placed onto the new pedestrian bridge that is under construction over I-70, Newland said.

Due to the bridge closure, traffic looking to exit onto Colorado 82 should do so at Exit 114 in West Glenwood and take Midland Avenue to Eighth Street and back onto Grand Avenue via Colorado Avenue. U.S. 6 to West Glenwood will also remain open.

Pedestrian access on the Grand Avenue bridge will be maintained via the temporary walkway during the detour and vehicle bridge closure, Newland said.

There will be no parking from Pine Street to the Yampah Vapor Caves during the overnight detour. Next week, construction crews will continue utility work along Sixth Street between Laurel and the Grand Avenue bridge.

Manning tossing one-liners in TV commercials

Peyton Manning is everywhere.

Except on football fields.

Recently cleared by the NFL of any wrongdoing in an HGH investigation, Manning is back at his second-best pastime — comedy — with three new commercials for DirecTV titled “Peyton on Sunday Mornings.”

In one, he sits on a park bench in his bathrobe talking with an elderly man who advises him “to work as long as you can.” All the while, Lionel Richie is serenading them.

Richie’s singing is in the background in another ad. Manning, at home in a bathrobe, calls younger brother Eli, inviting him to come over and watch all the games. Eli informs Peyton of other plans: “I’m playing.”

In the other spot, Peyton, again in bathrobe, is doing some food shopping, handing the cashier crumpled coupons. He is checking out at Aisle 18, of course.


AP NFL website: and—NFL


Sopris swimmers compete at state meet

Competing at their first Colorado Swimming State Championships last weekend in Grand Junction, Amy Madsen, Jonus Ortega, and Maverick Gorla gained valuable experience against the fastest swimmers in Colorado for the Team Sopris Barracudas.

Madsen, an 11-year-old and competing in the 11-12 division, raced in seven events, compiled four personal records including a four-second drop in the 200-meter free (2:31.13), improving her ranking from 55th to 28th in the state in the age group.

Madsen’s highest finishes came on the third and final day of the meet when she dropped a second in the 50-meter backstroke (36.20) to improve her ranking from 31st to 19th and in the 100-meter freestyle, where she dropped a tenth of a second (1:08.72) to improve her ranking from 25th to 18th.

Ortega, competing in the open division, raced to a 23rd place in the 200 fly (2:39.21) and a 56th place in the 50 free 27.98).

Gorla raced to a PR in the boys 13-14 50 free, placing 54th in 29.53.

Federal fire restrictions in Garfield County start Friday

Federal fire restrictions will take effect in Garfield County Friday.

The stage 1 restrictions, which prohibit fires outside of developed areas, extend to Bureau of Land Management-administered lands in the county.

BLM is basing fire restriction decisions on local conditions, including moisture measurements in vegetation and other factors. The White River National Forest is not initiating fire restrictions, nor is BLM for lands in Eagle and Pitkin counties, although officials warn fire danger is still present in those areas.

“While we have received some moisture in this area over the past few weeks, we are drier than normal and fire danger has reached high levels at elevations below about 8,000 feet,” Karl Mendonca, field manager for the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office, said in a media release.

Fire restrictions have been in place since July 22 in the BLM Grand Junction Field Office and Mesa County, where crews on Thursday announced containment of the Gibbler Gulch wildland fire at 25 acres.

In Moffat County, two wildland fires started burning Wednesday afternoon, the Craig Daily Press reported. One of those fires, located south of Colowyo Mine, was burning at approximately 30 acres.

And in Dinosaur National Monument, crews continue to battle the Bench Fire, which was sparked by lightning Friday.

That fire is holding at 570 acres and is approximately 85 percent contained, according to a news release from the National Parks Service.

Under the restrictions taking effect in Garfield County Friday, campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds — fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable. Fires of any type, including charcoal, are prohibited outside of developed areas.

Smoking is only acceptable within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation.

Welding and use of an open-torch flame is prohibited outside of areas that have been cleared of vegetation, and all internal combustion engines must have a working spark arresting device.

Use of explosive materials also is prohibited.

The restrictions will remain in place until further notice from the BLM. Violating the restrictions is punishable by a fine of as much as $100,000, a prison sentence of no more than 12 months or both, according to BLM.

Violators responsible for starting wildfires also will face restitution costs for fire suppression.

Authorities withholding name of driver killed on I-70

Authorities are waiting until next of kin is notified before releasing the name of an Oregon man who died Wednesday after being ejected from his vehicle on Interstate 70 in Rifle.

Law enforcement is still investigating a possible cause, but it appears the vehicle, a 2013 Jaguar XKR, went off the interstate, then back on the interstate before rolling several times, Rifle Police Chief John Dyer said Thursday morning.

The driver did not appear to be wearing a seat belt.

Eastbound I-70 was closed for about an hour, ending shortly after 5 p.m., following the accident.

Rifle police, Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation responded the crash, and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office helped with traffic control.

The Post Independent will update this story as more details become available.

Wine Ink column: Drink the old stuff first

Due to the great largess of friends and people in the wine business, I have been afforded the opportunity to taste some wines that have a little age on them.

Not ancient wines, or even wines from, say, before I took my first steps, but rather some wines that had their genesis in the summers of my youth in the 1970s and 1980s.

First, let me say that when I can sniff, sip and contemplate a wine from a time gone by, I love to try to remember my personal state at that time.

For example, while once looking at the burnt-orange rim of a ’71 Domaine Gros, Richbourg, I recalled that I was entering high school as the grapes in that glass were being harvested. My go-to wine at the time, if you could call it that, was Mateus Rose, a slightly sparkling Portuguese number that I had read was popular with Rod Stewart, who had recently released his third solo LP “Every Picture Tells a Story,” with the hit “Maggie May.”

But I digress, as anyone who knows what an LP is will surely tell you.

Savor the past

The point is that for many of us, the opportunity to taste the wines from the historic vintages of the past is one that should be savored. Old wines — similar to old people — have achieved texture, character and beauty that is a result of having been afforded time to mature.

Not all old wines, of course. But there are special wines sourced from grapes born in vintages in which the sun and the seasons smiled softly upon them and were crafted by winemakers whose deft hands gently persuaded them to perfection. These are wines that have been nurtured by owners who kept them in pristine condition for decades — never too warm, nor too cold. Just right, as they awaited the moment when the twisting of the cork and the rush of air through the bottle’s neck would announce that it was time for the wine to be drunk.

My greatest old wine experience came from a bottle of Syrah from the Northern Rhone. Hermitage, to be precise. And it was not all that old. But the 1990 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave was one of those wines that demonstrated why having the patience to cellar and keep a wine for some time — in this case two decades — can be so rewarding. This was a wine from an outstanding vintage in a place that is as regarded as a mecca for lovers of Syrah.

‘The old is better’

J.L. Chave Hermitage is a family-owned Domaine based in Mauve, France, that has been growing vines and making wines in the northern Rhone since 1481.

Throughout those 500 years, the responsibility for the grapes and the fine wines that are made from them has passed from father to son, from one generation to the next.

The reins and that responsibility are now held in the hands of a brilliant winemaker named Jean-Louis Chave, who is widely regarded as the 21st century’s master of Syrah. This wine was made by Jean-Louis’s father, Gerard, who was the 15th generation of the family to be involved in the production of wines.

The Cuvee Cathelin is made in only exceptional years. I remember the nose was still fresh with floral notes, as though I were smelling a field at the base of the mountain where the fruit was grown.

It was complex, structured, fruity, leathery, smoky, spicy and rocky. There were berries, peppers, a little chocolate and a hint of vanilla. In short, there were all of those things that make great Syrah such a pleasure to drink.

The intensity and richness were overwhelming. For more than an hour, I savored my glass of wine and observed subtle changes with each sip.

I still have the empty bottle in my wine rack as a reminder of the experience, though the moment is etched in memory.

While I do not know the Bible well, I do know a passage or two that relate to wine. This one, Luke 5:39, kind of sums up the experience:

“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desires new: for he said, The old is better.”

Kelly J. Hayes lives in Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and black Lab, Vino. He can be reached at

Chamber Chat: A big week for Rifle

Greetings from your new interim president/CEO of the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce.

As we dry our tears from saying goodbye to Andrea Maddalone, we also are looking forward to an amazing Garfield County Fair and Rodeo week starting Aug. 1 through Aug. 7. This is a great opportunity to celebrate our community with events and activities for the entire family.

As your chamber, we will be hosting the Garfield County Fair parade on Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. The theme of the parade is “Back to Our Roots” and we are accepting parade entry registrations through Aug. 3. This a great, inexpensive way to get exposure to hundreds of people for you, your business or organization. Parade entries are $25.

Starting at 9 a.m. the morning of the parade at the chamber office on 11th Street and Railroad Avenue, we will have multiple vendor booths set up ready to serve you. If you are interested in being a vendor, please contact us — space is limited.

This year we will also be featuring an additional parade announcer booth at the chamber office for parade goers, in addition to the announcer at Heinze Park. Please come and watch the parade with us.

On a housekeeping note, we have been getting a lot of inquiries on road closures for the parade so I wanted to address those here. Road closures from 9:50 a.m. to approximately 11:30 a.m. are as follows:

Railroad Avenue from Third Street to 16th Street.

All Railroad Avenue through streets.

Whiteriver Avenue will not be closed, however, it is the back route for all parade floats returning from Railroad Avenue.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience these closures cause.

We are working closely with the city of Rifle and the Rifle Police Department to get the word out and make this closure as brief and safe as possible.

We hope you enjoy an amazing Garfield County Fair and Rodeo week in Rifle and you are able to take advantage of the great opportunities being provided to engage in and celebrate your community.

We encourage you to continue to shop local and support your local businesses by purchasing all of your needed items within Garfield County.

See you there!

Kasey Nispel is the interim president and CEO of the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce. To contact the chamber, call 970-625-2085 or visit

Grand Valley Days shortens to 1 day

One of the region’s longest running annual celebrations returns to Parachute Saturday with an abbreviated schedule.

The 108th Grand Valley Days celebration gets underway at 7 a.m. starting with a pancake breakfast at Grand Valley United Methodist Church on Parachute Avenue. A day filled with family fun, including a parade and rodeo, will follow the breakfast.

Unlike in previous years, this year’s celebration will be limited to one day. The change was made due to the loss of some experienced board members and difficult financial times, said Dave Devanney, with the Grand Valley Parks Association.

Organizers hope to return the event to its two-day format in the future and have no plans of dropping the “s” from days. However, this year the decision was made to cut the second day in order to try and focus on generating sponsorships.

Even with the programming change, there is still plenty to do, Devanney said.

Prior to the start of the annual parade at 10 a.m., Beasley Park will host a smoked turkey auction, sponsored by the Grand Valley Historical Society.

Speaking before Parachute trustees earlier this month, Devanney attested to the greatness of the turkeys, which are being donated by Rib City.

They “days of olde” parade will start at the intersection of Third Street and Parachute Avenue. Each year the parade honors a resident or group of residents for their commitment to the community by selecting them as grand marshal.

This year, Parachute Mayor Roy McClung, a lifelong resident whose great grandparents homesteaded on Parachute creek in the 1880s, will serve as grand marshal — a recognition that he said is an honor.

McClung, who works as a packaging supervisor at Natural Soda on Piceance Creek, said he loves living in a small town where his family has deep roots. Aside from aunts, uncles and cousins who live in or near Parachute, McClung has two daughters in high school and his eldest daughter lives in Rifle with her husband. His sister and her husband also live in Parachute and operate Old Mountain Gift and Jewelry.

“I love being in a small town in western Colorado,” McClung said. “The area is beautiful and it just feels like home to be here. … Knowing that my family has lived here for four generations and that my kids want to live here has a real sense of home to me.”

McClung, who handily won a recall effort earlier this year, also shared some optimism for the future.

“We live in an area with so much untapped opportunities for recreation and various businesses, it is exciting looking at what the area can become,” he said.

A bike rodeo and ice cream social will follow the parade. The rodeo, sponsored by the Parachute Police Department, will take place at the Grand Valley Center for Family Learning, and the social will be at the Beasley Park tent.

The rodeo gets underway at 7 p.m. in Cottonwood Park. General admission tickets are $10, while tickets for seniors are $5 and veterans and children 5 years old and younger get in for free. The evening ends with a street dance in Cottonwood Park from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Adding a twist to the fun, Shire of Draca-Mor, which Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur has described as a renaissance fair, will be in town Friday through Sunday.

After some initial confusion over scheduling space in Cottonwood Park, which also is hosting the renaissance fair, Devanney said he’s hoping the two events compliment one another and give the area a boost for the weekend.

“It’s going to be bigger and better with the medieval people and the cowboys and cowgirls,” he said.

Going ‘Beyond the Screen’

In the digital age, when most people can connect to others around the world using the phone in their pocket, it is all too easy to become distracted and disengaged. The tendency can lead to cyberbullying, digital dependency and other negative consequences.

Those are not the statements of a high school guidance counselor or college researcher; rather, they are the idea behind a new mural painted along the Rifle Creek Trail underpass near 16th Street.

A team of 12 young artists from area high schools have been working, under the guidance of instructors Mandy Klauck and Dylan Bentz, on Rifle’s newest piece of public art since early June. The mural, titled “Beyond the Screen,” will be publicly unveiled at a presentation Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The project is a joint effort between Youth Zone and the Bookcliffs Arts Center in Rifle.

It was made possible by a $75,000 grant from the Embrey Family Foundation, which cites “arts for social change” as one of its passions.

The money went toward paying the students and instructors, along with the supplies and the work of Susan Drinker, a Carbondale-based photographer who will produce a short video feature on the project.

The mural, which measures 68 by 9 feet and depicts open skies adjacent to bubbles filled with city-like skylines, is more a societal statement on how technology impacts our lives than a beautification project.

“There’s a balance,” Breanna Ballesteros, a recent graduate of Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs, said recently while pausing her work on the mural. She, like the other students involved, recognizes the role social media plays in people’s lives.

The point was made clear early on when the 12 selected artists were asked to come to a meeting with ideas of issues that effect teenagers. At least five of them brought up the idea of technology, said Klauck, who teaches art at Rifle High School.

From there, other issues, including dependency and depression, were woven into the piece and the team began sketching out the mural.

While it might seem surprising that a group of teenagers, who are part of a generation regularly criticized for their alleged smart-phone dependency, are aware of how big a role technology plays in their lives, Klauck said she is not surprised at all.

“Every person I’ve talked to in the community is surprised at how self aware the kids are,” she said. “I know about the self awareness … it comes out in art projects in school.”

Part of the goal of the mural is to spread that awareness in the community.

“There’s a lot of distractions,” said Savanna Fender, who will be a senior at Coal Ridge High School.

She noted the recent popularity of “Pokemon Go” as another example of how people can be consumed with technology.

Public art might seem like an unusual project for Youth Zone, a nonprofit that has provided services to area youth and families for more than 40 years, said Lori Mueller, executive director.

“It’s a specific project and we haven’t necessarily done a specific project like this,” but at the most basic level Youth Zone strives to engage children and teenagers, who might otherwise not be engaged, with their community, Mueller said.

As evident through watching the students work, the mural project accomplishes Youth Zone’s core mission, she added.

“They spoke to a social issue, and that first and foremost is what Youth Zone’s mission is.”

Silt to celebrate HeyDays

Silt HeyDays is almost here and organizers see this year’s event as an opportunity to showcase current happenings and what awaits the town in the future, all while paying homage to its history.

The annual event, which features live music, games and fun for both young and old, gets underway Friday night at the Stoney Ridge Pavilion with a performance by Blackout, a tribute-band performing hits by the rock group Scorpions. Rick Aluise and the Corporation Band will open starting at 6 p.m. Fireworks will follow the show.

Tickets for the Friday night concert are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children when purchased in advance at or Silt Town Hall, located at 231 N. Seventh St. Ticket prices are and additional $2 at the gate.

With a theme of “forging our future,” this year’s event — aside form offering a fun-filled weekend — will focus on efforts made by the town in recent years.

“As Silt continues to grow, the town has been striving to be proactive and provide amenities that not only encourage further growth, but that also provide its citizens a place to live that they can be proud of and that brings others to our town to enjoy,” organizers said in a release.

Some of that current work includes the ongoing beautification of Main Street, stadium lighting that will soon be installed at the Stoney Ridge baseball field, a revamped river park and the recently opened Interstate 70 pedestrian underpass trail, as well as other new developments and projects.

Saturday’s festivities gear up early with a pancake breakfast starting at 7 a.m. in Stoney Ridge Park. The Leonard Curry Trio will perform a blend of bluegrass, folk and more leading up to annual parade at 10 a.m.

The parade at last year’s HeyDays, which also served as Silt’s centennial celebration, drew hundreds of people, and led others to remark at the sizable crowds lining the streets, said Peggy Swank, a member of the Silt HeyDays committee.

This parade starts at Cactus Valley Elementary School and heads east on Grand Avenue to Ninth Street, where the route turns north and makes its way to Stoney Ridge Park, located at 648 N. Seventh Street.

Games, music and activities continue throughout the day both in Stoney Ridge and the Silt Historical Park, located at 707 Orchard Ave. Along with the horseshoe tournament earlier in the day, a corn hole tournament was added to the day’s activities. There is a $5 entry fee and the winner will take home a brand new corn hole set. Second and third place will bring home cash prizes, and a portion of the entry proceeds will benefit the Silt Historical Society.

Diamond Empire Band will close out the day with some country rock starting at 6 p.m. at the Stoney Ridge Pavilion. The concert is free.

Sunday starts at a faster pace — at least for some — with the seventh-annual HeyDay Hobble 5K race at 8 a.m. The race starts and ends at the Silt Historical Park.

The eighth-annual Silt Heyday Car Show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.