Staff Report
Rifle, CO Colorado

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October 31, 2012
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Community Briefs - Nov. 1, 2012

As of today, Nov. 1, the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is available for eligible households through April 30, 2013. Qualifying limited-income households may receive help to pay a portion of their home energy bills.

For the 2012/2013 heating season, Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties have contracted with Discover Goodwill of southern and western Colorado to administer the program. The arrangement should help households seeking assistance get their benefits more quickly and at a lower cost to the county, said Tricia Murray, economic security division manager for Garfield County Department of Human Services.

Households may qualify for LEAP assistance if anyone within the home is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, heating costs are paid directly to an energy provider or are included in the rent, and gross monthly household income is within income guidelines.

Another resource for those struggling with high heating bills is the Governor's Energy Office Energy Management Program, also known as the Weatherization Program. The program helps low- and moderate-income households reduce heating costs through insulation, caulking and weather-stripping, the installation of new storm windows and new energy-efficient furnaces and refrigerators. Those who qualify for LEAP, Temporary Aid to Needy Families, Old Age Pension or Supplemental Security Income automatically qualify for these weatherization services.

For more information on LEAP and other available resources, call Discover Goodwill at 1-888-775-5327 or Heat Help at 1-866-432-8435. For more information on the Weatherization Program, call 1-800-332-3669 or visit www.nwccog.org and click on "Weatherization Program."

The annual "Night of the Arts" exhibit of student art work will precede the opening performance of the school play, "Super Freaks," on Thursday, Nov. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Along with student art work on display, the high school band and choir students will perform, "pumpkin installations" will take place, along with live wheel throwing demonstrations.

Along with "Night of the Arts," advanced pottery student Jazz Figueira will sell pottery to help support the hungry for his senior seminar. With the purchase of a bowl, a dinner of soup, stew, and other refreshments will be provided by the art department.

The Bureau of Land Management and Xcel Energy will host open house meetings Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 7-8, concerning a new proposed 230 kilovolt transmission line between Rifle and Parachute.

The transmission line would connect the Rifle Ute Substation, about 1.5 miles southeast of Rifle, with the Parachute Substation, about one mile northeast of Parachute. The estimated length of the route is 18 miles, of which approximately six miles could cross BLM lands. The routes being considered generally follow designated corridors with existing facilities. The permanent right-of-way requested averages 150-feet wide.

The new line is needed because the current transmission system in the area does not have the capacity to meet the needs of anticipated natural gas activity. As more gas operations, such as compressor stations, move to electric power to reduce cost and air emissions, demand for electricity has increased. The new line will also help ensure reliable electric power to central Garfield County communities.

The public is invited to stop by either of the two open houses anytime between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to learn more about the proposal and have their questions answered. Written comments will be accepted at the open houses as well.

The first open house will be Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Rifle Public Library, 207 East Ave. The second will be Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District Station #1, 0124 Stone Quarry Road in Battlement Mesa.

The BLM will prepare an environmental analysis of the proposal. The detailed proposal, including maps, is available at www.blm.gov/co/crvfo.

Written comments and questions should be directed to the Colorado River Valley Field Office at 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO, 81652, or e-mailed to BLM_CO_SI_CRVFO_Webmail@blm.gov. Comments will be most helpful if received by Nov. 30.

LIFT-UP now hosts an Extended Table Soup Kitchen in Rifle each Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. at the Rifle United Methodist Presbyterian Church in the Lovell Building, 200 E. 4th St. The church is located one block east of Railroad Avenue, on the corner of Fourth and East streets.

The Extended Table started in 1995, and has served nutritious meals each Monday through Friday for the past 17 years in the basement of the First United Methodist Church, at the corner of 10th Street and Cooper Avenue, in Glenwood Springs.

Meals at both sites are prepared and served by volunteer groups. Last year, the Glenwood Springs location served 13,400 meals. This year, about 1,200 meals have been served each month, to roughly 60 people each weeknight.

Tami Griffith, a family nurse practitioners, has joined the staff at the Grand River Medical Clinic in Battlement Mesa. Griffith began seeing patients this week.

She comes to Grand River from St. Mary's Family Residency Clinic in Grand Junction, where she served for the past two years. Prior to that, she practiced in Grand County at the Granby Medical Center.

Griffith received her medical education at McNeese State University in Louisiana, and her masters degree from the University of South Alabama in 2002.

Griffith is originally from Fairhope, Ala., a town of about 8,000 people. When asked why she chose Grand River, Griffith said, "Rural health is what I love. Working in smaller communities, you have the opportunity to build strong connections with your patients and their families. That's so much more difficult to do in larger areas and cities."

Griffith and her husband, Jeff, currently live in Grand Junction. They plan to relocate to Mesa this summer. They both enjoy mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.


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The Post Independent Updated Oct 31, 2012 05:26PM Published Oct 31, 2012 05:22PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.