The Bears open their playoff run with a runaway 48-15 victory over the Englewood Pirates last Saturday at Bears Stadium
Photo Essay: Rifle rolls in their playoff opener
The Bears open their playoff run with a runaway 48-15 victory over the Englewood Pirates last Saturday at Bears Stadium
Rifle Masonic Lodge looking to renovate aging structure along Railroad Avenue with help from State Historical Society
One step into the Masonic Lodge on Railroad Avenue is like a trip back in time, turning the clock back decades.
Craftsmanship and ornate wood details surround the old stairway and wrap-around the doorways. Two large classic Westinghouse stoves fill the small kitchen on the main floor.
For nearly a decade now Ron Roesener, a 32nd Degree Mason from Parachute, has been working to save the home to the Freemason Lodge No. 129 in Rifle.
“I’ve spent since 2011 working with the Colorado Historical Society to get recognition for our lodge,” Roesener said.
The Rifle Masonic Lodge, which dates back to 1912, originally met above what is now the Smoke Shop at the corner of Fourth Street and Railroad Avenue.
“Our original meeting room was upstairs in that building,” Roesener said.
“The Masonic organization had grown so much that they moved down valley and opened their next lodge in Rifle.”
Roesener said at one point in time the lodge had 378 members.
“We currently have about 50 members, a lot of whom are in nursing homes right now,” Roesener said. “We have enough that we can have bi-monthly meetings.”
With membership dipping over the years the lodge, which operates with the help of membership dues, has not been able to keep up with regular repairs.
Like many structures that are over a century old the building that houses the Masonic Lodge has fallen on hard time and is in need of updating and restoration.
“All the background and historical work I’ve done on it, at one time we owned most of the block the building is on,” Roesener said. “Having been opened in 1914 and in use since then on a regular basis, there has never been a time when it was shut down.”
A fourth-generation freemason, Roesener considers this a passion project.
He fought for two years to get historical recognition of the building from the city of Rifle.
Roesener is currently working with the Colorado Historical Society to secure grants to help with the project.
A year ago Roesener received a grant from the Colorado historical society totaling $35,000 to engage an architectural firm and construction analyst to look at the lodge and see what exactly it needed.
He found an architect, Jessica Reske who specializes in historic preservation.
Roesener said the architectural firm found that there are four different types of electrical wiring.
“If we don’t maintain what we have, eventually there is going to be a problem,” Roesener said.
Two industrial-sized furnaces, one for the first floor from 1951, heat the building and the other is for the second floor from 1952.
Roesener said If you sit in the lodge on a windy day you will see the sheer curtains sway back and forth as the air passes through the original single pain windows.
“I have a passion for this place, it is part of my life, its part of my ancestry,” Roesener said.
Roesener just learned two weeks ago that he would be receiving another $34,000 from the historical society to help with planning for the restoration.
He said he has been able to raise an additional $12,000 – some of which has to go to replacing the water heater recently.
“My greatest supporters financially have been the Garfield County Commissioners. They have given us their discretionary funds they can award twice a year, and twice they’ve given checks for the lodge for $5,000,” Roesener said. “What we are shooting for is once we get all the approval through the state, they will cut us our first check for $250,000 to go towards the refurbishment of the lodge.”
Roesener said he will know for sure within the next 6-10 months if the state will be funding the restoration.
“My goal is to get the lodge completely redone and made safe,” Roesener said.
Immigration reformers rally for permanent solution amid continued DACA limbo
Karla Reyes and Martha Nila were both just 2 years old when their families brought them to the United States. Although several years separate them in age, their stories are similar.
Neither knows a home other than the United States, but both now face an uncertain future — again.
Reyes, a preschool teacher from Carbondale who’s now studying at Colorado Mountain College, was able to benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) six years ago.
The executive order by then-President Barack Obama allowed her to get a Social Security number and work legally in the United States without facing deportation.
Her ultimate hope was permanent legislation that would give her a clear path to formal citizenship.
That never happened.
Now Nila faces similar worries that it will not happen in time to help her before she graduates high school next year.
Unlike Reyes, Nila, a senior at Glenwood Springs High School, will not be able to apply for DACA protection when she turns 18. The program was suspended when President Donald Trump moved to rescind the order in 2017.
Previous DACA recipients can renew their status, but no new applications are being taken.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments related to DACA on Tuesday, and is set to decide by next summer whether Trump has the authority to rescind the order. That would effectively end the program, leaving nearly 700,000 young immigrants in limbo.
“If DACA’s gone, then I would definitely not be able to continue working,” said Reyes, who joined a rally in Glenwood Springs Tuesday night sponsored by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition in support of continuing DACA and passing permanent legislation to protect so-called “Dreamers.”
“Dreamers” is the name given DACA-eligible immigrants — younger immigrants who came illegally to the United States as children — who would benefit under the proposed Dream and Promise Act that would provide a path to citizenship.
Reyes teaches in the Valley Settlement Project’s El Busesito mobile preschool program, which helps Latino children who don’t have other preschool options.
“It makes me feel fulfilled, and if I don’t have the opportunity to do that I don’t know what I’ll do,” Reyes, 24, said.
“I was brought here when I was 2, and have lived here 15 years now,” Nila, who was invited to speak at the rally, said. “From the beginning, I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work to have a dream to have a home here, or anything.”
Without legislation to provide citizenship for Dreamers, ending DACA would be devastating, Nila said.
“I don’t want to complain about any disadvantages I might have because of my immigration status, but I know that having DACA would have opened a lot of doors for me,” she said.
Mateo Lozano, mountain regional organizer for Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, led the rally.
“I’m a DACA recipient myself, and so many of my family members and friends are affected by this situation,” he said. “We need politicians to act and to pass legislation that gives us something permanent.”
Glenwood Springs immigration attorney Jennifer Smith noted that three-quarters of Americans indicate they support legislation to provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.
“We need our legislators to stop using these young immigrants as political tools for election talking points, and do their jobs to pass laws that their constituents support,” she said.
Opponents of the proposed legislation say the law rewards people for breaking the law, encourages illegal immigration and decreases wages of American workers. Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017, but federal courts in different states blocked him from ending it immediately. The Trump administration argues the program is unlawful because former President Barack Obama did not have the authority to adopt it in the first place.
Video: Live from the Glenwood Springs rally
Glenwood Springs High School inspires students while honoring veterans
Steve Beattie brought three visual aids to Glenwood Springs High School’s Veterans Day assembly Monday.
Students cheered from the gymnasium’s bleachers as the Class of 1964 graduate worked to get his red and white Glenwood Springs High School letterman jacket over his shoulders.
“Back in the day, when this thing fit me, I guarantee you I had absolutely no thought of going to war,” Beattie said. “That just wasn’t on the radar. A small-town guy in a small town in western Colorado.”
Next, Beattie put on the same U.S. Army jacket he wore in April 1971 when he departed a Trans World Airlines flight in San Francisco following his service in the Vietnam War.
“I remember where I was. I remember the pride that I felt in doing what I did,” Beattie said. “It makes me feel awfully good to be able to wear this jacket and to be a veteran.”
The final jacket Beattie wore was plaid and from the 1970s.
“You got to believe that any country that would allow you the freedom to make a fashion statement like this has some pretty great freedoms,” Beattie joked. “I got this [jacket] in the early ’70s when I got back from Vietnam. …By gosh I was back doing my life.”
At Monday’s assembly, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard veterans stood as the high school’s choir sang a medley of U.S. Armed Forces tunes.
Another one of those veterans, Dan LeVan, served eight years in the Air Force, six years in the Army National Guard and for the last 18 years has worked in the Roaring Fork School District.
“It touches me very much so,” LeVan said. “I have worked hand in hand with the Junior ROTC and am so proud of them.”
In addition to honoring veterans like Beattie and LeVan, Monday’s assembly also included drills from Glenwood Springs High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Senior Davy Stanfield Brown said her own family’s long line of veterans inspired her to join the Junior ROTC program.
“My grandfather was a colonel in the Air Force and my sister was in the Marines,” Brown said. “I want to fly fighter jets in the Navy or the Air Force.”
Cadet Major Brown said that joining the Junior ROTC program motivated her to apply to both the Air Force and Naval Academies.
“When I see all of these service members, current and past, it reminds me of just how humble and brave they are,” Brown said. “They put their lives on the line for our freedoms and I see it as one of the most honorable things you can do as a person.”
The high school program was one of several school-based Veterans Day events on Monday. Others included Glenwood Springs Middle School, Sopris Elementary School, Carbondale Middle School and multiple events in the Garfield Re-2 schools.
New Carbondale restaurant brings family together
Patina Bar and Grille, Carbondale’s newest restaurant, is a family affair.
Jeff and Jessica Hale took over the space next to Sopris Liquor and Wine in July, and brought in their son Hunter to run the kitchen. The restaurant had a soft opening in October, and is now fully embedded in the Carbondale restaurant scene.
“My concept for this was to create a neighborhood spot,” Jessica said. “Someplace where the food was moderately priced, a place where someone could come twice a week for good, honest food.”
Jessica said she wants Patina to fill the friendly, neighborhood food gap left by downtown restaurant Russets, which closed in 2013.
For Hunter, it’s an opportunity to shine by leading his own kitchen, after working in restaurants from Aspen to Arizona.
Opening a business with your parents might not seem like a frictionless proposition, but they’ve found a way to make it work.
“When they first brought it up, I thought ‘this could get hairy.’ But it’s been really good,” Hunter said.
The family found a way to blend Hunter’s diverse chef background, which included sous chef for a Tempe, Ariz., fusion bar that served “pizza, sushi, ramen, bento box and wings,” and the parents’ vision for approachable food.
“The bistro concept gave us some flexibility in what we want to serve,” Jeff said.
For example, Hunter wanted to incorporate Asian flavors into French techniques.
“We butted heads on some stuff, but found good happy mediums,” Hunter said
What draws them all together is a shared vision and love of food. Jessica said she always wanted to own a restaurant, but her career took a different path. For many years, she created dishes and photographed them for magazines.
Hunter also found his passion for cooking at an early age.
“Other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday morning, and I was watching Food Network,” Hunter said.
Right now, the starters on Patina’s menu include fried duck wings, calamari and house-made chips with unique jarred dips. Hunter is proud of his coffee-rub pork chops, but his favorite dish is one that’s been in the family for decades.
“The halibut (dish) has been in our family for years. I remember asking (my mother) if I could have halibut for my birthday,” he said.
Patina’s lunch menu includes sandwiches, fish tacos and salads.
When Jeff and Jessica applied for their liquor license with the town in September, the board of trustees asked if they were concerned about the location.
“Obviously, downtown Carbondale has been where the main restaurants are, but I’m really not to concerned with (our location),” Jessica said. “I’ve seen in the last couple months, as we’ve worked on the place, a ton of traffic is going through there.”
Sunday Profile: ‘Thank you for your service’
Garfield County Veterans Service Officer Lisa Reed-Scott had a busy day Tuesday.
She, along with members of the Western Slope Veterans Coalition, celebrated the third anniversary of the Jesse Beckius/Casey Owens Veterans Resource Center in downtown Glenwood Springs with an open house to the community.
The location is named after two local veterans who died by suicide in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The alarming rate of suicides among veterans is one of the many challenges Reed-Scott hopes to combat by raising awareness.
Reed-Scott was named Garfield County Veterans Service Officer (VSO) in February, after working at the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center in Rifle for 11 years.
Although the Rifle resident is still settling in to her new position, helping local veterans in need has been a longtime mission of hers.
“I’m here for them,” she says. “I need to make sure that I listen to every veteran that comes through this door and help them in any way I can.”
Some of the veteran services Reed-Scott provides include assistance with paperwork for disability claims, education benefits, health care, and Veterans Administration appointments.
“When you go on the military, they train you to be a soldier, but no one trains you to be a civilian,” said Charles Hopton, Board President of the Western Slope Veterans Coalition. “Our job is to provide that information and help.”
Reed-Scott and the Western Slope Veterans Coalition share offices and efforts at the Resource Center building located at 803 Colorado Ave. in Glenwood Springs.
She also works part-time from the Garfield County office in Rifle.
Something Bigger Than Herself
The sole woman to serve in a family with three generations of veterans before her, Reed-Scott enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 at age 20.
“People thought I was crazy.”
“I wanted to do something bigger than myself,” she said. “Because of Desert Storm, the Marine Corps was the only branch allowing women to go in at the time.”
The Marine Corps has the lowest ratio of women among all of the U.S military branches. Even though that didn’t stop Reed-Scott from enlisting, it was a constant challenge throughout her service years.
“There were not a lot of women,” she said. “I had to do it better because it was so difficult to gain their respect.”
Reed-Scott served as a communications operator, MOS 2542. She was stationed in Japan and California and was close to being deployed to Somalia.
“I was on-call 24 hours a day,” she recalled. “We were preparing, that’s what our job was.”
The Michigan native got emotional when remembering her time in service.
“My favorite part was the camaraderie with the other Marines,” she said. “You learn not to take life for granted.
“It’s a tough experience, but it’s worthwhile. You are doing something bigger than yourself.”
After being honorably discharged in 1995, Reed-Scott moved to Parachute before settling in in Rifle — a city she hopes will be her forever home.
“I wanted to raise my kids here.”
No One Left Behind
According to Reed-Scott, the majority of veterans who seek help from the Garfield County Veterans Services are Vietnam veterans, followed by those who served in the Korean and Gulf Wars.
She continues to point out that female veterans are a rarity.
“Getting through to a woman can be 10 times harder than getting through a man,” she says. “They just put their walls up.”
She affirmed that until recently there were no services or groups focused on women veterans in the Western Slope, which made it difficult for those seeking specialized assistance.
“If a woman was assaulted in service, do you think she would want to discuss that with a group of men?” Reed-Scott said. “It makes it harder for them to reach out for help.”
Housing, substance abuse, homelessness, mental health and suicide are the main issues affecting Garfield County veterans of all ages, the VSO reports.
But she believes everyone can find their own way to help, and a simple way to start is by showing appreciation.
From making financial donations to the Coalition, which Alpine Bank will match up to $5,000, to more local businesses providing special military discounts — Reed-Scott said just listening to veterans or offering a simple “thank you for your service” can go a long way.
“These men and women are fascinating and have so many amazing stories to share.”
For more information on veteran services provided by Garfield County, contact the VSO Lisa Reed-Scott at 970-948-6767 or email@example.com.
“The first step is contacting us, we can get help,” she says. “I’m a Marine and I don’t leave anybody behind.”
The Tuesday event also celebrated the United States Marine Corps’ 244th birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony led by Lt. Col. Dick Merritt.
Glenwood City Council to take a closer look at A&I fund
In 2016, Glenwood Springs voters renewed the city’s Acquisitions and Improvements (A&I) sales tax as well as a companion, bonding authority question.
At its regularly scheduled meeting, Thursday, city council hopes to solidify where to allocate those remaining bond funds.
“The voters approved this three years ago. And, at the time, we did not have a clear understanding of the costs or necessary scope of the projects that were listed,” Jonathan Godes, Glenwood Springs mayor, said. “There was an overwhelming desire from council to stick to what the voters in 2016 said when they approved this ballot language.”
In addition to the 30-year extension of the 1-cent A&I sales tax, voters also approved a $54 million bonding authority question in 2016.
Per the bonding authority’s ballot language, its intent was to finance “one or more” capital projects including: South Bridge, South Midland Avenue, the 27th Street Bridge, the Sixth Street corridor, a river walk and other infrastructure at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.
“I would be very, very disappointed as a citizen if I thought that this money was going to be used for a purpose other than what was outlined,” Godes said.
The city has already issued $22.2 million in bonds to fund projects commencing in 2019.
The non-binding resolution for council consideration earmarks how to spend the remaining bond funds and revenue generated from the A&I tax.
Four of the resolution’s eight bullet points include South Bridge, which would provide an additional access between State Highway 82 and the west side of the Roaring Fork River in south Glenwood Springs.
Specifically, the resolution outlines reserving $20,000,000 in bonding capacity for South Bridge and spending $2.25 million for its completed design and necessary land acquisition.
The city would also tap $250,000 annually from its A&I sales tax revenue for the project.
“South Bridge is just a huge need of the city and we need to spend the money there,” Councilor Charlie Willman said.
Should the city not begin construction on South Bridge by 2025, it risks losing a $5 million congressional earmark for the project, too.
In addition to South Bridge, the reconstruction of Midland Avenue between 27th Street and Four Mile Road remains a top priority.
Current bond proceeds as well as a $7 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant will fund the project, likely to begin in 2020.
According to the resolution for council consideration, $1.75 million of the current bond proceeds will go toward the Sixth Street corridor.
“I think that is roughly what it is going to cost to do the Laurel to Pine streetscape,” Willman said. “We are not talking about doing something like Seventh Street, and the degree of amenities there.”
Additionally, roughly $7.8 million has already been allocated for the completion of the 27thStreet Bridge and $3.1 million for Two Rivers Park’s restoration.
“I think we have to, as a city, carry out the intent of the voters, which was to spend the money on these projects,” Willman said. “I think we are carrying out that intent by the way it is being expended.”
Photo Essay: A parade of candy during Rifle’s Halloween
Investigation into the Carquest Auto Part fire continues
Two weeks after a structure fire gutted the multi-use commercial building at 1000 Railroad Ave., Fire Chief Randy Callahan is thankful no one was injured.
“I’m sad for the business loss, but I’m thankful we didn’t lose citizens or firefighters in that building,” Callahan said.
“I think our firefighters served the community very well.”
Crews from Colorado River Fire Rescue responded to the fire at 9:14 a.m. Oct. 23 in Rifle.
“When we pulled up on that fire in the morning, that fire was already into the structure and compromising it. It was into the walls, attic and floor,” Callahan said.
“What we were able to do is get the fire knocked back and knocked down to do high risk primary searches for occupants. It was a very difficult search for the resources we had on scene — large building.”
Callahan said incident priorities are life safety (both the occupants and the responders), incident stabilization and property conservation.
“When we engage we have a risk profile that we align with incident priorities. Our risk profile is what risk we will take to ourselves to effect these incident priorities.”
CRFR were able to complete secondary searches as well to make sure the structure was empty before crews were removed due to its being compromised.
All occupants were evacuated from the upstairs apartments with no major injuries.
After the risk level dropped on the fire CRFR needed to get crews back in service and give staffing a much-needed break after fighting the fire all morning.
Units were put back into service on the already busy day and with the property already lost CRFR decided to patrol the building and return for hot spots.
Callahan said the next hot spot was a significant one.
“It was a risk profile deal. Once we took care of the life safety the building was too compromised with both structural integrity and toxins to put our folks back in it,” Callahan said.
“We patrolled the building, we were putting our rigs in service, we were servicing our people, who were exhausted and that’s when we went back. In my opinion, the folks did an incredible job within our risk profile of life safety.”
Callahan said its not unusual for fires like this one to reignite. The fire was a metropolitan fire in a rural setting, and the outcome would have been the same in either setting whether CRFR showed up with 100 people or 20.
Twenty-two personnel were on scene at the fire for the duration, from early Oct. 23 until Oct. 24, when investigators arrived.
Mutual aid from Grand Valley and Glenwood Springs helped CRFR handle staffing throughout the day.
Callahan said GSFD helped cover stations and responded to calls during the structure fire, while Grand Valley responded to the scene.
“It was a challenging day in the valley,” Callahan said.
Callahan said the Garfield County investigation team that is investigating the fire is made up of law enforcement, fire department and insurance officials.
Prevention Division Chief and Fire Marshall Chief Orrin Moon with CRFR is the primary lead for the department.
“We all work together to try and find the cause. The challenge we have is the building is structurally damaged so we can’t go in it,” Callahan Said.
“The investigation is ongoing. Hopefully more information will be available soon.”
Fighting for the Pingle family
Rifle High school senior Garrett Robinson didn’t hesitate at all when asked if he had any ideas to help out a member of the RHS family.
During homecoming this year Robinson, the student body vice president, was approached by teacher and student council advisor Jenny Peed about ways the students could help support Assistant Principal and fellow student council advisor Jacob Pingle, whose wife, Serene, is battling breast cancer.
“I told her OK, I would think about it, and I decided we should do a T-shirt sale,” Robinson said.
Working with the booster club and the T-shirt company that designs apparel for the school, they came up with a design they all liked.
Robinson said they ordered 200 shirts, and so far they have sold close to 100 of them at $15 a piece, with the help of his mom, Jennifer Robinson, who works for the district office, and Rifle Police Sgt. Kirk Wilson.
“Sergeant Wilson has been coming up here to fill in for our resource officer, and offered to buy one,” Robinson said.
Wilson took it back to the police department, and Robinson said it was kind of a domino effect and everybody at the department wanted one.,
“It’s been an awesome effect. That was my goal to have local school officials wanting them, and creating a chain reaction as people saw others wearing them around town,” Robinson said.
“Sergeant Wilson has helped out a lot selling our shirts. A lot of people are just donating now, which is awesome.”
Robinson hopes to raise at least $2,000, all of which will go to the Pingle family.
The idea and the shirts remained a secret to Jacob Pingle until one day he was called to the lunchroom by Principal John Arledge and noticed Garrett selling T-shirts.
“I actually had no idea all of this was going on,” Jacob Pingle said.
“I’ve just been trying to balance everything that is going on at home with everything that is going on here.”
Staff members tipped off Jacob Pingle that Garrett had really spearheaded the whole T-shirt venture.
“They turned out great, and I can’t say how much it means to me,” Pingle said. “To feel the support of somebody who is all of 17 years old, to care about me and my family is truly a humbling experience, and it has just led to a gratitude and appreciation of who he is. I do and will respect Garrett for the rest of my life.”
Pingle said through everything he has been trying to balance and juggle, it definitely has thrown their lives out of balance.
“All of our normal routines have been thrown off, and so trying to adjust for all of that isn’t easy,” Pingle said.
“Whether it had been one shirt or a bunch of shirts any bit of help in that regard, helps me to be able to not stress about the financial burden on us — it allows me to focus my attention on the emotional support I need to provide my wife and kids through all of this.”
Robinson said he plans to continue to sell the T-shirts until they sell them all, including this Saturday at Rifle’s state football playoff game.
“It’s provided a wonderful perspective on how loving and embracing this community can be,” Pingle said.
Garrett said if people are interested in donating or buying a shirt they can contact Rifle High School and let them know they would like to buy a student council breast cancer shirt that benefits the Pingle family.
Robinson is thankful for the booster club, student council and the Rifle community for helping out.
He said if there is still a demand after they are gone he would order more.
“The more, the better for the Pingle family, because cancer is a tough and expensive battle to fight,” Robinson said.