Mackenzie Holtz of Rifle and her parents are in Florida for Thanksgiving week, as the 7-year-old second-grader at Highland Elementary School competes for the title of 2012 Miss American Princess at Disney World.
Holtz, daughter of Darin and Tina Holtz of Rifle, was selected to represent the Centennial State at the pageant and will compete for the title and thousands of dollars in cash awards, prizes and scholarships.
Miss American Princess Pageants, organized by American Coed Pageants of Pensacola, Fla., holds annual state pageants to recognize and reward outstanding young women between the ages of 3 and 22 for their past and present accomplishments, and to encourage them to set and achieve high goals for the future.
Contestants take part in talent, speech, academic achievement, community service, photogenic, personality, most promising model, best actress and national cover girl and hostess contests.
Holtz raised $1,300 from area businesses and individuals in order to participate in the contest.
Garfield County government offices will close Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23, for Thanksgiving. All county administrative offices of elected officials and county departments will close. The county landfill will also close those two days, but will reopen Saturday, Nov. 24 with normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Offices that respond to emergencies or offer 24-hour services will remain open, such as the sheriff's department, the coroner's office, and criminal justice services. The Garfield County Regional Airport will be open for general aviation, although the airport's administrative offices will close.
County offices and service will resume at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov, 26.
MEEKER - The Bureau of Land Management has extended the public comment deadline for its Draft White River Field Office Oil and Gas Resource Management Plan Amendment an additional 45 days, to Jan. 28, 2013.
In August, the BLM released a draft plan outlining multiple alternatives for managing the expected increase in oil and natural gas development on the 1.7 million acres of federal mineral resources it manages on the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County, southern Moffat County, and a very small part of northern Garfield County.
"Public involvement is a key part of this process, and we have received a number of requests for additional time to review this draft," said Kent Walter, White River Field Office manager. "This additional 45 days will extend the amount of time the draft will be available for public review and comment to 160 days."
The BLM will also host an open house on Monday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the White River Field Office in Meeker, 220 E. Market St., to specifically discuss and answer questions about wildlife protections proposed in this draft.
"We have proposed a number of incentive-based protections to minimize impacts from oil and gas development to wildlife," Walter said. "We know there is a lot of interest in these proposals, and we want to give people a chance to learn more about what is specifically being considered as they develop their written comments."
Written comments will be accepted at the open house as well.
The majority of acreage within the White River Field Office is already leased for oil and gas development. This plan proposes a number of possible mitigation measures, including an incentive-based approach that recognizes the valid existing rights of leaseholders while minimizing impacts to wildlife and other sensitive resources.
The plan projects as much as 878 million cubic feet of natural gas could be produced annually, resulting in as many as 8,000 new jobs in the region.
Copies of the draft and information about how to comment are available online at blm.gov/co, click on "White River."
Before including physical address, phone number, email address, or any other personal identifying information in your comments, commenters should know their entire comment, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While individuals may request the BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public view, the BLM cannot guarantee it will be able to do so.
American Shale Oil, a research and development company with offices in Rifle and a research, development and demonstration 10-year lease for 160 acres from the Bureau of Land Management in the oil shale rich section of the Green River Formation, presented a $2,000 check to Colorado River Fire Rescue on Friday, Nov. 16. The money will help the agency, which includes the Rifle Fire Protection District, with wildfire costs.
"Everyone in the community, including us, might have to deal with a wildfire at one time," said AMSO deputy project manager John Foulkes. "We hope this is a start of a new partnership."
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class David A. Klenda, a 1998 graduate of Rifle High School, along with sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11, were welcomed home by family and friends after a successful seven month deployment to Afghanistan. Klenda joined the Navy in June 1998.
Among numerous missions, the battalion conducted a large-scale road construction project in southern Helmand Province, in which they partnered with the Afghan National Army; a village stability platform mission in support of Marine Special Forces; construction of helicopter landing zones, in partnership with the Italian army, to facilitate timely medical evacuations; and construction of buildings and facilities for an Afghan National Army recruit training command.
Despite being faced with the dangers of operating in a combat zone for the length of the deployment, the Seabees are fortunate to have all returned.
Following a brief stand-down period to allow sailors time to rest, spend time with family, and take care of personal matters, the battalion will reorganize and begin a homeport period filled with training and tactical exercises designed to prepare them for the next deployment and increase their knowledge and skills.
Personal use Christmas tree tags are now available from all offices of the White River National Forest, including the Rifle Ranger District, 0094 County Road 244. Permits are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Maps showing where Christmas tree cutting is allowed are available at all offices where permits are sold. Permits cost $10 each and may be purchased with cash, check, or money order.
Christmas tree cutting is allowed in most areas of the White River National Forest, with the following exceptions:
• wilderness areas,
• commercial timber sales,
• recreation and ski areas,
• administrative areas,
• Glenwood Canyon.
Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of any road and must be less than 15 feet tall from the stump, with a maximum of five trees per individual. Trees are for personal use only and cannot be resold. The tags must be attached to the tree prior to cutting and must be left on the tree until it arrives at its final destination. Permits expire Dec. 31.
Call 625-2371 for additional information.
For 50 years, Jack Roberts worked as an illustrator depicting the history and spirit of Western life, in his own distinctive style. In his studio located one mile south of Redstone, Roberts created as many as 40 paintings a year.
The public has the opportunity to see a collection of his paintings at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle, in an exhibition narrated by his son, Gary Miller, and sponsored by Judith Hayward.
A free opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the campus. The exhibit will be on view through Jan. 25, 2013.
Public collections of his work can also be seen at the Museum of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, the Leanin' Tree Museum in Boulder, the Colorado Press Association in Denver, the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and Spa of the Rockies, U.S. Bank and the Redstone Castle.
The Rifle campus of Colorado Mountain College is located at 3695 Airport Road.
The pottery classes at CMC in Rifle have been busily preparing for their annual Christmas Show, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the gymnasium of the former college building, 703 Railroad Ave.
Many potters will show their works, a wide selection of styles, from hand-built to wheel thrown, from functional to decorative. All of it will be for sale.
A salt-soda kiln was built by one of the classes during the summer of 2009, and there will be examples of work fired in that kiln, as well as pieces fired in a gigantic gas kiln, Raku and saggar work, and electric kiln fired pieces.
A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to a worthy cause. In the past, donations were made to various local charitable organizations, such as the Rifle Animal Shelter.
There will be opportunities to meet and visit with the artists, have a hot drink and a home-made treat and enjoy the creativity of the students.
For more information, call 625-2030.
We would like to give a very special thank you to all of our fire fighting entities for such a speedy and professional response to the home fire that occurred at Kings Crown during the early morning hours of Nov. 9.
To see the efficiency in which you all performed your profession was amazing and reassuring not only to me, but all the surrounding home owners that were in harm's way. Thanks so much to all the men and women of Rifle Fire and the other departments that were there, and also to the Rifle police officers that responded and helped evacuate the area so fast that no one was harmed during this frightening time.
From myself and other management of Kings Crown Mobile Home Park, thank you so much for all that you do and God bless.
Stewart Mall, Gail and Shirley Parks
Kings Crown Mobile Home Park
The Sunlight Winter Sports Bus, sponsored by Grand River Hospital and Medical Center, runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Dec. 15 through March 30, 2013.
$15 gets you on the bus for the entire season. The bus is limited to 47 riders per trip, so reserve your spots soon. No one will be allowed on the bus without a reservation and signed registration form.
To reserve your spot, call Rifle Recreation at 665-6570 and leave your name, phone number, pick-up location, date of ride and any special instructions (not returning on bus, etc.) Go online to rifleco.org/recreation.
The Bureau of Land Management's Hubbard Mesa Trailhead off of County Road 290 north of Rifle is closed so a number of improvements can be installed.
The Hubbard Mesa Open Area is a 2,460-acre multiple-use recreation area with 50 miles of single-track, ATV, and four-wheel-drive trails. It's a popular area for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts.
Improvements include two shade structures, picnic tables, a kiosk, a vault toilet and fencing around an area where a developed track will be built in the spring.
Construction is funded through a $89,000 State Parks grant as well as a $40,000 BLM challenge cost-share grant. Work should be completed by the beginning of December.
In the meantime, people using the area are encouraged to park across from this trailhead in the "Ant Hill" area, or at the JQS/Government Creek Trailhead off of Colorado Highway 13.