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PHOTOS: Remembering the Storm King 14

Monday, July 6, 2020 marked the 26th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain that took the lives of 14 wildland firefighters in 1994. Every year on this day firefighters from across the state and nation climb the steep mountain through dense oak brush and over rugged terrain, often in the heat of the day, to honor the Storm King 14 who died battling the fire.

The firefighters who died are: Kathi Beck, Tamera Bickett, Scott Blecha, Levi Brinkley, Douglas Dunbar, Terri Hagen, Bonnie Holtby, Rob Johnson, Jon Kelso, Don Mackey, Roger Roth, Jim Thrash, Robert Browning, Jr. and Richard Tyler.

A charred tree rests along the Storm King Trail as a reminder of the fire that ignited 26 years ago.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A few of the crosses memorializing the 14 wildland firefighters who lost their lives battling the South Canyon Fire in 1994.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Memorials for fallen wild land firefighters Jon Kelso, Tami Bickett, and Levi Brinkley sit on the side of Storm King Mountain.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A tree at the top of Storm King Mountain is used as a memorial for people to leave hats, shirts and other mementos in honor of the Storm King 14.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Members of the Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew hike the steep trail to the top of Storm King Mountain while passing the crosses of the fallen Storm King 14 firefighters who lost their lives fighting the South Canyon Fire in 1994.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew firefighter takes a moment to catch his breath and look at the memorials at the top of Storm King Mountain on the 26th Anniversary of the Storm King fire that took that lives of 14 firefighters in 1994.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew firefighter takes a moment to catch his breath and look at the memorials at the top of Storm King Mountain on the 26th Anniversary of the Storm King fire that took that lives of 14 firefighters in 1994.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew firefighter takes a moment to honor the 14 wild land firefighters that lost their lives battling the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain 26 years ago.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A burn scar shoots up the side of a tree as a stark reminder of the South Canyon Fire.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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PHOTOS: Glenwood’s Downtown Market

Tuesday evening was the second week of Glenwood’s Downtown Market. This year the market moved to it’s new location along Seventh Street utilizing downtown’s “festival street”.

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An estimated 15 vendors set up to sell produce, hand made items, ice cream, elk sausage, mini donuts, and more. The downtown market will continue every Tuesday evening starting at 4 p.m. through the summer months.

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People pick out produce at one of the vendor booths at the Glenwood’s Downtown Market on Tuesday evening.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A bucket of tomatos wait for buyers at a produce vendor at Glenwood’s Downtown Market.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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People meander through the downtowm market on Tuesday evening along Seventh Street.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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This year the Glenwood Downtown Market was moved to the new festival street along Seventh Street under the Grand Avenue Bridge.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A vendor helps a customer at one of the produce stands during Tuesday evening’s downtown market.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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People meander through the downtowm market on Tuesday evening along Seventh Street.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A woman and her dog walk down Seventh Street through the downtown market on Tuesday evening.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Photo Essay: Hearts for Rifle

Last week, the efforts of two local women covered the exterior and windows of the Rifle Police Department with hearts to show local officers some love.

Co-organizer Jessey Yeager said she saw a post on social media in which a group of citizens got together and decorated the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in Grand Junction.

Rifle Police Cpl. Jared Bartunek receives a big hug from his daughter when he arrived at the police department during last weeks event. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“They had posted hearts all over the building and I just thought it was a great opportunity for the Rifle community to come out to show support for the Rifle PD. Just give them some love and support,” Yeager said.

During the heat of the afternoon parents and children took a few moments out of their day to write a message on a heart and tape it to the windows in front of the department.

Families gather in front of the Rifle Police Department to share their support to the local officers. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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One by one the windows and doors filled up with personal messages of how the department has helped and drawings inspired by local officers.

“We just thought this was a good way to give an opportunity to the community to show their support for law enforcement in general,” co-organizer Kelly Bartunek said. “Our police department has a really good reputation in the city; we wanted to give the time in light of recent events that have been really tough on police officers.”

Rifle Police Officer Kelli Litzau talks with a few of the children as they write messages for local law enforcement officers during the event last week. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Bartuneks has first-hand experience of what it is like for law enforcement officers. Her husband Jared Bartunek, is a corporal and K-9 officer with the Rifle Police Department.

In conversations at home her husband has told her about all the positive feedback he has received while in uniform and on duty.

A community member writes a personal message to Rifle Police Officer Josh Uhernik. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“His morale has been boosted by members of the community really stepping up and showing support,” Kelly said.

The kindness didn’t go unseen as several officers on duty either stopped by while on patrol or stepped out of the office taking a break from their reports.

Community members add more hearts to the exterior of the police department. More than 400 hearts were placed on the building last week. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“It’s fantastic to know that we have the support of our community, a lot of time on the news we don’t see it that way from the mainstream media,” Cpl. Jared Bartunek said. “It feels good.”

kmills@postindependent.com

Photo Essay: March on Rifle

Black Lives Matter and pro-police supporters were joined by a few other groups as they marched through Rifle marking Juneteenth anniversary.

Participants in the pro-police gathering hold american flags as thye wait for the march through Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in the Black Lives Matter march gather near city hall as they prepare to make the walk to the Police Department. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Peter and Dawn Hayes show their support for the local police department as they prepare to march down Railroad Avenue last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Black Lives Matter marchers begin the trek from downtown Rifle to the police department during last week’s event in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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A few of the younger members of the pro-police march wait along Railroad Avenue for the march to the police department to begin last Friday in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in last Friday’s march gather at the intersection of Third Street and Railroad Avenue. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Black Lives Matter participants walk by pro-police supporters as they march through the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Thurs Street Friday evening in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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A community member volunteering with the Farmers Market takes a moment to flash a peace sign as the march makes its way down Railroad Avenue. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants from both sides make their way past the post office as they march through Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Black Lives Matter participants walk by a mural of the Colorado River Valley as they march through Rifle to mark the anniversary of Juneteenth. Hundreds of BLM supporters and pro-police supporter gathered in Rifle for the event. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Members of pro-police group gather along Railroad Avenue during a march by Black Lives Matter supporter marking Juneteenth last Friday in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Two bikers rumble by the Black Lives Matter march down Railroad Avenue during last Friday’s rally in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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A biker shows his support for the police as the Black Lives Matter march makes its way through Rifle last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Pro-police supporter show their patriotism as they walk across from City Market on their way to the police Department last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Hundreds of Black Lives Matter supporters chant as they march towards the police department to mark the anniversary of Juneteenth. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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A group of bikers slowly ride down Railroad Avenue next to the Black Lives Matter march last Friday in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants from Black Lives Matter march are greeted with a peace symbol from a community member last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Wearing protective masks participants in the Black Lives Matter march file past the new swimming pool last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Wearing protective masks participants in the Black Lives Matter march file past the new swimming pool last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Law enforcement officers with Carbondale Police Department and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office help keep distance between both sides participating in last Friday’s march through Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Members of the Black Lives Matter march yell out chants as they gather in the parking lot of the police department. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in last Friday’s march gather near the fire department last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Members of the Black Lives Matter raise their fists during a moment of silence in the parking lot of the police department. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in last Friday’s march gather near the police department last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in the Black Lives Matter March walk in front of the Rifle Police Department after making the 16-block trek from city hall last Friday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in last Friday’s march gather for a prayer near the Rifle Metro Pool. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Participants in last Friday’s march through Rifle make their way back downtown. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Participants in last Friday’s march through Rifle make their back downtown.
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PHOTOS: Camping contentment

Last summer my boyfriend and I decided to explore the Meadow Lake area and camp out for the night. Every campsite leading to Meadow Lake was filled and because the two of us prefer seclusion rather than having neighbors, we decided to keep exploring.

Spring starts to set in with lush green fields surrounding Meadow Lake.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

After a bumpy drive down a dirt side road we found the perfect spot. We set up camp while the dog ran around and the sun began to set. The wildflowers were blooming in every direction and the quietness of the night began to set in.

Kiva the cattledog takes a quick snooze near the tent after a day of running through the meadows.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

It was at that moment we decided every year we would return to our new favorite little camping spot; we would make it a tradition. Two weeks ago we did just that. We did some hiking and fishing at Cliff Lakes, checked out Meadow Lake then headed to our spot.

Storm clouds fill the sky shortly after setting up camp on the Flat Tops.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Kiva the cattledog gets crazy eyes after discovering a pile of snow in the shade on a warm summer day in the Flat Tops.
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An aspen tree meadow sits quietly just behind our camp spot.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Bumping along the dirt road that has seen better days, we came up over the ridge to see the aspen meadow we recognized from last year. Several hundred yards away was a large herd of elk to welcome our arrival. Though they disappeared into the trees we heard their bugles and calls all throughout the evening and early the next morning. It was the perfect sound of solitude, the sound of the wild.

Kiva the cattledog sits majestically for a portrait as ominous storm clouds move in behind.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Photo Essay: Urban Oasis

With a loud cheer one by one patrons filed into the new swimming facility in Rifle earlier this week.

In under 300 calendar days the city of Rifle and FCI Constructors Inc. were able to transform the half-century old Art Dague Pool into the new state of the art Rifle Metro Pool.

The approximately $8 million facility boast a new 6-lane lap pool, a zero-depth entry pool with a play structure, a flow channel and family whirlpool in addition to the existing slide and plunge pool.

The pool is currently operating under state and county guidelines, allowing groups of 75 for a 1 hour, 45 minute session.

For ticket information and the pool schedule go to city’s website.

Tom Whitmore, Parks and Recreation Director, goes through his notes before a dedication ceremony for the new Rifle Metro Pool with members of the city council and city officials last Thursday.
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Members of the Rifle city council including, Councilors Joe Carpenter, and Sean Strode, Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Hamilton, and Mayor Barb Clifton take a tour through the new locker rooms with Austin Rickstrew, recreation coordinator of aquatics.
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Rifle city councilor Sean Strode, and Mayor Barb Clifton great the first visitors to the new Rifle Metro Pool Sunday. Winners of a drawing were able to get the first few laps at the new facility.
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Families enjoy the zero-depth entry pool during Sunday’s soft opening at Rifle Metro Pool.
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Aquatics Manager Jessica Wilson talks with the first pool patrons to test out the flow channel Sunday at the new Rifle Metro Pool.
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Swimmers climb up the climbing walls before plunging back into the new six-lane lap pool Sunday.
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Lifeguards keep watch during the soft opening event Sunday at Rifle Metro Pool.
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Rifle city councilor Sean Strode takes his son Julian around the flow channel at the new Rifle Metro Pool Sunday.
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Pool patrons enjoy the water that drops from the bucket in the new play structure in the zero-depth entry pool.
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A trio of lifeguards works to roll up the lane lines after the morning lap swimming session, preparing the pool for the afternoon open swim sessions to begin.
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Pool Manager Justin Bankey helps a prospective employee with his paper work Monday at the Rifle Metro Pool.
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Parks and Recreation Director Tom Whitmore leads a virtual ribbon cutting for the new pool Monday on the opening day of the facility.
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Testing the waters at the new Rifle Metro Pool

Residents passing through the intersection of Railroad Avenue and East Eighteenth Street might have noticed that hustle and bustle around the new Rifle Metro Pool has picked up in the last few weeks.

The approximately $8 million facility replaces the old Art Dague Pool, which served the western Garfield County community for a half-century, and is set to open to the public at limited capacity Monday with tickets available online at https://utetheater.simpletix.com/e/54543.

Ryley Sackett, Zoey Pierce, Taylee Richards, and Lydia Dye practice their CPR as they prep for certification as part of the lifeguard tests for the Rifle Metro Pool. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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The new facility adds a six-lane lap pool, zero-depth entry leisure pool with flow channel, and a family whirlpool to the existing water slide and plunge pool.

The city and county came to an agreement on guidelines to open the pool after the county was granted a variance from the state of Colorado, allowing outdoor pools to reopen with reduced capacity, timed sessions with rotations and proper social distancing.

Jessica Wilson, aquatics manager at Rifle Metro Pool, works with new lifeguards as they do through water skills tests. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Aquatics manager Jessica Wilson has been spending time running a new crew of lifeguards through training including instructional videos, water skills tests, written tests, advanced CPR classes and final scenario drills.

“Two weeks ago we started doing pre-course work and getting new lifeguards in the pool,” Wilson said. “We have about 25 potential new guards, due to social distancing we’ve had to group them out in groups of nine.”

Returning guards from last year will be back in the facility this week as they train new additions to the facility including the play structure and zero-depth pool. Wilson said one of the keys to this week’s training is finding any blind spots in the new facility from the seven different guard stations setup around the pool.

Crews work to install sod around the pool deck Wednesday morning at Rifle Metro Pool. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“We’ve added all the new structures that none of them have been trained on yet. We have never had a zero-depth entry, so now we have to add different certifications to all of the lifeguards,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of a whole new learning process right now.”

Austin Rickstrew, recreation coordinator of aquatics, is spending the crunch time getting the grounds prepped and ready for customers next week, training the staff on the systems it takes to run the new state of art facility.

Rifle Metro Pool management, from left, Colby Renoir, assistant manager, Tom Whitmore, parks and recreation director, Jessica Wilson, aquatics manager, Austin Rickstrew, recreation coordinator of aquatics, Shannon McKee, office manager, and Justin Blankey, pool manager. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“It is a curve ball because we have to train our staff on all of this new stuff, but we also have to learn it at the same time,” Rickstrew said.

Crews laid sod around the pool deck this week, and more than 200 deck chairs that were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are due by the end of the week.

With the reduced capacity Rickstrew said they will be limited to 75 patrons during each one hour and 45 minute session. Between each session staff members will disinfect the pool deck, chairs, and tables.

Luke Dunbar and Caleb Gieselman practice pulling a training manikin from the pool during lifeguard training at the new Rifle Metro Pool. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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The new pool’s maximum capacity is 550.

“The highest we can go under the current order is 175,” Rickstrew said. “That give us room to wiggle and we can add more people, but another thing that is going to be new for the public is they have to buy their tickets ahead of time.”

The new pool has state of the art light system for the facility to host events in the evening. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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With the limited time that patrons can enjoy the facility management has changed the operation hours of the pool, opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 9 p.m. with Monday through Friday. Daily schedules will include water aerobics, lap swimming, water walking, toddler time and open swim. Saturday hours will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and include lap swimming, water walking, and open swim. Sunday hour will run from noon- 6 p.m.

For a complete schedule and sessions break down visit https://www.rifleco.org/90/Rifle-Metro-Pool.

kmills@postindependent.com

CMC Rifle stages an academy in fire

The acrid smell of smoldering fire wafts into the brisk morning air just south of the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport as Lt. Denny Hostetler, with the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, fuels an intentionally set fire inside an old minivan.

While Lt. Hostetler ignites the fires, Battalion Chief Scott Van Slyke, with Colorado River Fire Rescue, talks with the nine cadets enrolled in Colorado Mountain College Rifle Fire Academy 1, as they prepare to suit up and learn how to safely extinguish car fires during Sunday’s burn day.

Fire engulfs a vehicle during last Sunday’s burn day in Glenwood Springs for the CMC Rifle Fire Academy. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“Historically in Garfield County people in this class have already been hired as a volunteer or are part time with an organization,” Van Slyke said. “Starting this year we were able to open that up to people that don’t have any experience. They can come take the class with us and hopefully it’s a stepping stone into a fire service career.”

Now in its second year, the 12-week spring program had to condense the academy after a nearly two-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smoke and water fills the air as a cadet uses a halligan bar to open the hood as they practice on car engine fires last weekend. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“After they restricted us because of COVID we talked it over with the class and decided to do a condensed program, and we’ve done 80 hours in the last two weeks,” Lt. Hostetler said. “It’s been really intensive.”

A typical academy, which takes over 200 hours to complete, meets three days a week. Typically the classes meet for 5 hours both Tuesday and Thursday, and 10 hours on Saturdays.

Scott Van Slyke, battalion chief with Colorado River Fire Rescue, talks with cadets as they prepare to participatein last Sunday’s burn day in Glenwood Springs. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“With COVID we had about a month-and-a-half to two-month hiatus where we couldn’t do anything,” Van Slyke said.

Cadets must complete the firefighter 1 skill set, and another 45 contact hours for HazMat Operations and Awareness.

During the shutdown cadets were able to do most of the bookwork for HazMat Operations training virtually, but many of the hours need to be in person. Most in-person days consist of burns  and drills to make sure cadets are using their personal protective equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus properly as they test their skills competency and progression in fighting and extinguishing fires.

Scott Van Slyke, battalion chief with Colorado River Fire Rescue, closely watches cadets approach a car fire during last Sunday’s burn day in Glenwood Springs as part of the CMC Fire Academy. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“CMC had to request an exception to run the course face-to-face, provide an extensive safety plan, and gain approval from the state,” CMC Vice President and Rifle Campus Dean Tinker Duclo said. “Numerous COVID-19 adaptations had to be made to enable the in-person burn days of the class. Stringent social distancing protocol has been in place, use of bunker gear which is cleaned after each use, masks, and hand sanitizer.”

The class spent more than 5 hours staging different types of car fires that they may respond to once they are on the job.

A cadet adjusts his air tank has he prepares to fight a car fire during Sunday’s burn day as part of skills training for the CMC Fire Academy. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Rifle resident Ambrose Menard, who is originally from Highlands Ranch, has been working as a wildland and volunteer firefighter with CRFR, which sponsored him to go to the academy. Menard works full time on a ranch in the Rifle area and has been logging 20 hours a week to earn his firefighter 1 certification in hopes of starting a career in fire service. 

“The academy is tough enough to start out, and then you throw in taking a month or so off, not being with the guys training and your skills get rusty,” Menard said. “Feels great to be back, and getting back at it.” 

Menard originally wanted to be a doctor when he was growing up, but fell in love with the possibility of being a firefighter.

CMC Fire Academy cadet Ambrose Menard watches other cadets battle a car fire during last Sunday’s burn day. Menard originally from Highlands Ranch, now lives in Rifle where he works on a ranch when he is not volunteering at CRFR. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Van Slyke said most of the cadets are working 40 hours a week, and spend an additional 20 hours in class.

Doss Coody, who is sponsored by Carbondale Fire and hopes to be hired on after certification, moved to Carbondale from Waco, Texas. As far back as he can remember he has wanted to be a firefighter and has been inspired by the staff of Carbondale Fire where he has been working as a seasonal wildland firefighter. 

Cadets take their positions as they prepare to attack a fully engulfed car fire during last Sunday’s burn day in Glenwood Springs. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“So far it’s been some solid work in the classroom. These burn days have taught me a ton — I’ve learned vertical ventilation, fire attack, and car fires today,” Coody said. “I thoroughly hope that I become a career firefighter through Carbondale Fire.”

Hostetler said GSFD has shifted over the years and is hiring non-certified part time employees and paying for their education in hopes they will stick around and work for the department when a full-time position opens up.

Terry Cox, division chief from Roaring Fork Fire Rescue debriefs CMC Rifle Fire Academy cadets after they extinguished a car fire during last Sunday’s burn day in Glenwood Springs. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“It’s worked pretty well for us so far. This is a new thing for the county, having all the departments working together, all the training chiefs and fire chiefs have been great about giving us the support we need to make this happen, and we’re hoping it continues to grow,” Hostetler said.

kmills@postindependent.com

Photo Essay: A peaceful stand

Jonathan Webster of Glenwood Springs hands out signs as he waits for the Black Lives Matter vigil to begin in front of City Hall in Rifle Tuesday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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As the sun faded over the Roan Plateau, people gathered.

What started as a small-town idea to support the black Lives Matter movement grew to a crowd of many more than 200 people filling the plaza outside of the Rifle City Hall on Tuesday.

More than 200 people crowded into the plaza in front of the Rifle City Hall Tuesday to mourn the lives lost due to racial injustice police, including George Floyd. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Organizer Rebecca Trent of Rifle said she was stunned by the turnout to mourn those who have died due to racial injustice in America.

One after another residents stood in front of the large crowd to talk during the vigil. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“Being in such a small town all the time, I was born in Glenwood and raised here in Rifle, seeing the inequality that is going on throughout our entire country is disgusting to me, I cannot even fathom it,” Trent said. “The passive racism that exists in this community as well is the reason we wanted to get together and do this. To show that all the people of color and of the black men and women that are here now, that we are with them and we stand for them.” 

Members of the crowd gathered for Tuesday’s vigil hold hands as people speak during the event in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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In a showing of uniformity and to ensure that no one was focused on them, but instead on the injustices that were talked about during the vigil, the organizers and many in attendance dressed in all black. 

Guilari Ruiz of Rifle comforts Zyanni Vandoren of New Castle as they observe a moment of silence during Tuesday nights vigil in front of City Hall in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Residents from Rifle, and nearby Silt, Parachute, New Castle and Glenwood Springs stood shoulder to shoulder together in support of the movement. Most wore masks — a sign of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. People from as far away as Grand Junction and Denver also came.

People begin to file into the plaza in front of the Rifle City Hall Tuesday for a Black Lives Matter vigil. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Led by Chief Tommy Klein the Rifle Police Department helped keep the large crowd safe as they navigated the traffic to cross Railroad Avenue as people headed home for the day Tuesday.

“The clear majority are very polite and respectful, one or two have been edgy, but that is to be expected, it’s just part of protesting your First Amendment rights. We understand that, and we understand that some people are not happy with us,” Klein said.

Members of the crowd sing an improptu version of “We are the World” to start the vigil Tuesday in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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After short speeches from the organizers, and several chants of support led by all in attendance, one by one people came forward and shared stories of inequality and offered support to family, friends and community members of color.

Candles were handed out for visitors to Tuesday’s vigil to hold they mourned for those who have died due to racial injustice. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“I feel it is important to always stand up for what you believe in, especially to stand and make a point. Just showing that all lives are equal, and trying to find the systematic racism happening in America for hundreds of years — just to try and support the people around us,” Glenwood Springs resident Jonathan Webster said.

More than 200 people packed the plaza in front of the Rifle City Hall Tuesday for a Black Lives Matter vigil. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Tuesday’s peaceful vigil is one of thousands that have been held across the country, sparked by the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day in Minneapolis.

Standing silent residents hold signs of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“I have two sons at home, we are Latinos, and I’ve talked to a lot of my friends. A lot of us have kids now, and I asked them. ‘How do you explain George Floyd to your child. At what age do you do that,’” Rifle resident Steven Arauza said. “For me it’s this tension you live with as a person of color in this country, and it’s not a safe assumption that white people around you understand that. That’s what drives me to be out here, to show some support.”

The glow of candles light up the faces of people attending Tuesday nights vigil in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Organizers closed the vigil with the lighting of the candles and a moment of silence for those who have died due to racial injustice. As the crowd dispersed some left their candles on a picnic table near a makeshift memorial with pictures of the fallen.

More than 200 people packed the plaza in front of the Rifle City Hall Tuesday for a Black Lives Matter vigil. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“We are just here to show our support, so they know they have support from across the country, from the capital to our little small town,” Trent said.

kmills@postindependent.com

Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein directs traffic as residents cross Railroad Avenue after Tuesday’s vigil downtown. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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PHOTOS: Roaring Fork High School class of 2020 graduation

Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
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Roaring Fork High School class of 2020 co-valedictorian Rex Hamilton addresses his fellow graduates during the drive-in ceremony Saturday morning in Carbondale.
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… Life is short, so be swift to love and make haste to be kind to those who travel the way with you.”

— rex hamilton, RFHS class of 2020 co-valedictorian

Diego Valdez plays the National Anthem on his guitar to begin the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony Saturday morning in Carbondale.

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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
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“I ask you to remain true to whoever you are by not falling into one single box … take control of what you can, and dive deep into all of your passions.”

— Lucia Penzel, rfhs co-valedictorian
Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
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Roaring Fork High School class of 2020 graduate Paola Felix Rochin poses for a photo before the Saturday morning drive-in ceremony in Carbondale.
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
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Roaring Fork High School Principal Lyn Bair addresses the class of 2020 graduates Saturday morning in Carbondale.
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent
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Images from the 2020 Roaring Fork High School drive-in graduation ceremony in Carbondale.
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Roaring Fork High School class of 2020 co-valedictorian Lucia Penzel and her mom Liz Penzel in the celebratory parade down Main Street in Carbondale Saturday morning.
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Roaring Fork High School graduate Mariana Cortes rides in the celebratory parade down Main Street in Carbondale Saturday morning.
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Roaring Fork High School class of 2020 co-valedictorian Rex Hamilton rides in the celebratory parade after the Saturday morning ceremony.
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Roaring Fork High School graduate Aiden Foote rides in the celebratory parade down Main Street Saturday morning.
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Roaring Fork High School graduate Frankie Harrington rides in the celebratory parade down Main Street Saturday morning.
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Roaring Fork High School graduate Emily Broadhurst rides in the celebratory parade of graduates down Main Street Saturday morning.
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