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FireKracker 4K kicks off Glenwood Springs July 4th festivities

“My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already.” — Milton Berle

Despite the running sentiments of the late comedian, Milton Berle, a gathering of 54 runners and walkers showed up on the morning of July 4 to take part in the 8th annual FireKracker 4K, sponsored by the Glenwood Springs Lions Club.

Each year, the Lions Club uses race proceeds to provide eye examinations and eye glasses for those in the Roaring Fork Valley who are in need.

The overall race winner was Coal Ridge High School senior Tyler Parker, who turned in a blistering time of 13 minutes, 42 seconds for the 2.5-mile course. Parker is in summer training mode for the upcoming high school cross country season, which begins practice the second week of August.

“I am just trying to get in some miles to build a solid base for cross country,” said Parker, who qualified for the state cross country and track meet as a junior for the Titans. “These races help to provide some speed work for me also.”

First place for the ladies, and fifth overall, was New Castle’s Kayla Toews who turned in a winning time of 17:51. Toews left the duties of pushing her two children in a stroller to her husband, Wesly, who despite his added workload finished just behind his wife in seventh place overall.

Of special note, 81-year-old Bob Albright of Basalt completed yet another of the many races he attends in the valley each year. Albright most recently hit the finish line at the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day, and the Strawberry Shortcut 5K on June 19.

Bob Albright crosses the Two Rivers Park pedestrian bridge en route to the finish of the Glenwood Springs FireKracker 4K run, part of Fourth of July festivities on Monday.| Mike Vidakovich photo
Mike Vidakovich photo

Next up on the local running calendar is Saturday’s 5K and 10K Maggie’s Mountain trail races at Argonaut Farm near the Sunlight ski area, as a benefit for a local young girl who is fighting cancer. The 10K will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the 5K to follow at 8:30 a.m. Registration is open at http://www.miraclesfrommaggie.org.

Top 20 overall finishers

*Denotes female (Due to a computer malfunction, times were not available for all runners at the conclusion of the event).

1. Tyler Parker, 13 minutes, 42 seconds; 2. William Froesto; 3. Rodrigo Marquez; 4. Ryan Piochini; 5.*Kayla Toews, 17:51; 6.Ryan Anthony; 7. Wesly Toews; 8. Robert Garcia; 9. Davin Morris; 10. Hank Zimmerman; 11. *Ryley Sutton; 12. *Lisa Anderson; 13. Tanner Shipman; 14. Pete Anderson; 15. Johnny Utah; 16. Brad Palmer; 17. Kevin Winmill; 18. Kevin Parker; 19. Calvin Swanson; 20. James Parker.

Obituary: Duane Guy Scott

July 6, 1939 – June 13, 2022

Duane Guy Scott passed away in the comfort of his own home surrounded by his loving family on June 13, 2022.
He was born July 6, 1923 to Author Guy (A.G) and Fay Lola Scott in Tempe, Arizona. To this union was also born an older brother and a younger sister. Duane was educated in Tempe public schools through his sophomore year in high school, and then the family purchased a cattle ranch on East Divide Creek in 1939 and moved north. It was at Rifle Union High School where he met his loving, life partner, the former Annie Keller. They were married November 21, 1942 and they shared a happy life together until Annie’s passing in 2001.
Duane and Annie purchased their own cattle ranch on East Divide Creek in 1947. Dad enjoyed many happy hours cultivating the grounds and raising their herds of cattle. The ranch is still in his ownership, and that was his favorite destination for an afternoon drive.
Duane was very active and proud of the community where he lived. He was a member of the first Christian church. He was proud to have been a Master Mason and was a member of the Rifle Lodge for over fifty years. Duane was a director on the Federal Land Bank board for fifteen years and was a member of the Larson District school board. You could find him often out at the Rifle Creek Golf Course; He finally put his clubs away at the age of 93. He belonged to the Rifle Creek Gold Club and served as its president for a tenure. Another favorite pastime of his was playing cribbage; even some of his great grandchildren were his competitors.
Duane is survived by his daughter Terry Snoddy Snow of Coto de Caza, California, his two sons, Duane Guy Jr. ( Judie) of Longview Texas, and Clark (Tina) residing on the family ranch, Duane had a special place in his heart for his five grandsons, Brian and Brad Snow, Eric, Todd and Tyler Scott. He is also survived by his four great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, son Stanley Keller Scott, son-in law Ronald Snow, Mother, Father, Brother A.Z Scott, and Sister Lola Brennan.
We wish to humble thank the caregivers from Roaring Fork Home Care who so loving cared for our Dad in these later years; Courtney, Alexa, Liz, Carmen, Carole, Lori and Dalton.
A private family graveside service is being planned. Duane was very thankful for the Rifle Senior Center; he enjoyed their senior lunches, and loved playing pinocle there on Friday nights. If you wish to make a memorial donation you may do so to the Rifle Senior Center, 50 Ute Ave, Rifle Colorado 81650 or to Meal on Wheels, GRHD 501 Airport Road, Rifle Colorado 81650. Who provide those daily dinners when he chose to no longer get out and about.

Hombre de Silt condenado por extorsión criminal y acoso contra hombre latino

Un hombre de Silt acusado de amenazar a un inmigrante latino indocumentado por dinero fue condenado el viernes por extorsión criminal y acoso.

Mark H. Aspiri fue acusado en el otoño del 2020 de amenazar con denunciar a la víctima a los servicios de inmigración a menos de que le pagara $1.000 a Aspiri. Aspiri finalmente fue acusado de intimidación étnica y extorsión criminal.

El delito de extorsión criminal conlleva hasta seis años de prisión y una multa de $500.000. El acoso, un delito menor, conlleva hasta 364 días de cárcel y/o una multa de $1.000.

El caso de Aspiri fue a juicio con jurado la semana pasada, presidido por el juez del distrito James Boyd. La fiscal en el caso fue Heidi Bauer. Chip McCrory fue el abogado defensor de Aspiri.

Aspiri, quien se postuló brevemente en el 2014 como candidato republicano para el Senado de los Estados Unidos por Colorado pero no llegó a la boleta electoral primaria, llamó a la víctima varias veces durante el 2020. Para diciembre del 2020, la víctima temía que la deportaran.

Mientras tanto, oficiales de policía de Glenwood Springs testificaron durante una audiencia preliminar en abril que Aspiri le dijo a la víctima que tenía el poder de terminar con las carreras de cualquier oficial de policía que se involucrara.

El jefe de policía de Glenwood Springs, Joseph Deras, dijo en el momento del arresto de Aspiri que la víctima buscó la orientación de amigos sobre las amenazas de Aspiri. Sus amigos lo alentaron a que simplemente le pagara a Aspiri para evitar ser deportado.

La sentencia de Aspiri está programada para la 1:30 p.m. el 23 de agosto.

CRFR Chief Leif Sackett works to keep the community safe from fire during summer season

Wednesday was an easier-than-some day extinguishing threats for Leif Sackett. Just a few small, potentially volatile brush fires on U.S. Highway 6 for the Colorado River Fire Rescue chief.

“We’ve had multiple of those kinds of fires this year already,” he said. “Whether it be a dragging chain or a cigarette thrown out, usually those spot fires are hard to pinpoint.”

Sackett sat in his office at Station 41 along Railroad Avenue in Rifle. It’s decorated in firefighter memorabilia, family photos and cooled by good air conditioning. Temperatures on summer days are usually a lot hotter outside Sackett’s office, serving as a constant reminder of the season’s greatest threat.

Wildland fires poses the No. 1 risk to Rifle, Silt and New Castle when the season changes, Sackett said, and CRFR is responsible for covering an 851-square-mile stretch.

Sackett remembers one vividly: a 2008 wildland fire that threatened structures consumed up to 30 acres to a smoldering crisp near Highway 13 north of Rifle. No one was hurt, but the situation could have easily turned out differently.

“The wind was blowing one way, and we were out fighting it, and the wind switched direction and blew the smoke back on us to where you couldn’t see where you were at,” Sackett reminisced. “It blew back on us for only a minute or two, but it was enough to where you had to cover your eyes, cover your mouth, because you couldn’t breathe, you couldn’t see.”

This year, the city of Rifle scheduled igniting live fireworks above Centennial Park. It’s the only live fireworks display in all of Garfield County for Independence Day celebrations, and should hopefully satisfy those looking for an aerial explosion or two over the holiday weekend.

“I hope people leave shooting fireworks to the professionals,” Sackett said, his arms folding on his desk. “To me, it’s all about the safety of the community.”


One could argue Sackett, 44, was exclusively put on this earth to be a firefighter. Both his grandfathers were volunteer firefighters. His father, Steve, was a volunteer firefighter.

Sackett is originally from Cope, Colorado, an unincorporated town less than 50 miles west of the Kansas border. Like many kids growing up in rural communities, he said he started driving around age 11. He also helped in his father’s chemical and fertilizer business.

Like grandfather, like father, like son: By the time Sackett graduated from Arickaree High School (class size 13) and went on to play college football at Sterling College in Kansas, he would come back home intermittently to volunteer at the local fire department. That was 1999.

“I can’t say there’s something that I have or haven’t done,” Sackett said of his career. “Each experience is a little different. But an accident out on the Eastern Plains is not much different than an accident here in western Colorado.”

Colorado River Fire Rescue Chief Leif Sackett drives a fire engine in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

In 2001, just after Sackett graduated college with a degree in business administration, he met his wife, Celena. In fact, they just celebrated their 20th anniversary in December.

By 2005, Sackett’s father had sold his fertilizer business, which prompted Sackett to enroll in a residency program offered by the Eagle River Fire Protection District in Eagle County. After he finished, Sackett was hired as a firefighter/EMT for the Colorado River Fire District in February 2006.

“Celena stayed home in Eastern Colorado for 18 months while I went through academy and got hired on here in Rifle,” Sackett said. “I don’t know many women who would put up with a husband being gone for that long and not helping with three young kids. She is an amazing woman.”

Sackett now lives in the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area. Celena and he have three kids: Ryley, 20, Kade, 17, and Kyson, 16.

He helps coach track and field and announces during athletics events for Grand Valley High School. He also admits to playing a lot of golf.


There’s a running joke aimed at any CRFR firefighter who can’t grow an impressive handlebar mustache. If the setup is shoddy, it’s considered “dirty,” Sackett said.

“That’s what it looks like,” he said mischievously. “It looks like dirt on their lip.”

In addition to razzing, CRFR firefighters have contests each year for unofficial holidays like March Mustache Madness or No Shave November to see who can grow the dirtiest mustache. The nastier the facial hair, the greater the chances of winning. 

Sackett himself sports quite a formidable handlebar mustache. PJ Tillman is a CRFR administrative director of six years, and she knows all too well how challenging it can be for Sackett to maintain.

“When he goes to lunch, he’ll get stuff in his mustache,” she said.

Occasional crumbs aside, Sackett’s dedication to CRFR is spotless.

“He is very driven and compassionate,” Tillman said. “He just gets things done and cares about everyone that works here in our community.”

Colorado River Fire Rescue Chief Leif Sackett in his office at Station 41 in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Sackett started growing a mustache when he started climbing the ladder. He became CRFR lieutenant in 2009 and later battalion chief in 2013 and operations chief in 2016. During this time, Sackett was under the tutelage of longtime CRFR Fire Chief Randy Callahan.

“Everyone has a few people in their lives that have made a difference in getting them to where they are today,” Sackett said. “My dad and Chief Callahan are two of those people.”

Sackett’s father taught him patience, leadership and too many life lessons to list, he said. Callahan broadened his horizons and opened his mind to leadership principles.

Callahan is a lifelong learner of leadership and how it plays into organizational development, Sackett said.

“He introduced me to the concept of courage and vulnerability being the biggest values all people in a position of leadership need,” he said. “He taught me how you can’t be in a position of trust/leadership without having the courage to know you don’t have all the answers yet being vulnerable enough to tell people you don’t have all the answers.”

Facing a budget crisis spurred by a dropping market in oil and gas revenues, Callahan volunteered to retire early in 2020. The same crisis meant CRFR sold off apparatus and closed down one of its stations.

“You’re taking safety away from the community when you do that,” Sackett said. “You’re taking livelihoods away from people if you have to do that.”

In 2020, the hum of bagpipe music serenaded Station 41 as CRFR held its first ever change of command ceremony. Callahan, a firefighter of nearly half a century, officially hung up the helmet, and Sackett became chief.

It’s a moment that continues to fuel Sackett.

“The biggest satisfaction I get from doing my job is seeing our crew smile and have a good time when they’re in the station,” Sackett said. “That translates to them providing a great service. They’re mission focused, they’re values driven.”

“That translates to a community that is safer as well as a community that trusts us.”

Familia de Eagle queda sufriendo tras el accidente del 17 de junio en Glenwood Springs

Una madre y su hijo de 3 años de Eagle permanecen hospitalizados en Denver con heridas graves después de que un camión chocara contra su automóvil estacionado en Glenwood Springs el viernes 17 de junio.

Patty Camacho estaba ingresando a su automóvil el viernes por la tarde con su hija y su hijo de 3 años cuando un Dodge Ram no logró pasar por la rotonda en 27th Street y South Grand Avenue, y voló antes de golpear el vehículo de Camacho.

La hija resultó ilesa, pero tanto Patty como Diego Camacho sufrieron lesiones graves y fueron trasladados de inmediato a dos hospitales diferentes en Denver, donde permanecen hasta hoy.

Según una fuente cercana a la familia, Patty Camacho se encuentra en coma y en estado crítico. Ha sufrido daño cerebral, fractura de cuello, lesiones en la médula espinal, problemas pulmonares significativos, múltiples huesos rotos y cuatro dedos parcialmente amputados. Los médicos han informado a la familia que si sobrevive, quedará paralizada del cuello para abajo y necesitará oxígeno y una sonda de alimentación por el resto de su vida.

Diego Camacho sufrió lesiones cerebrales moderadas y probablemente será dado de alta del hospital esta semana. Necesitará varias terapias para tratar sus lesiones tras ser dado de alta.

El conductor del camión, quien ha sido identificado como Juan Carlos Zavala Moreno, de 30 años, está acusado de delito grave de asalto vehicular, conducción temeraria y conducción bajo los efectos de las drogas.

La policía de Glenwood Springs informó en un comunicado de prensa que después de chocar contra los Camacho, el camión golpeó un árbol el cual cayó sobre cuatro vehículos estacionados, lo que provocó la hospitalización de cuatro personas más en el Hospital Valley View.

Juan Camacho, el esposo de Patty y padre de Diego, no ha podido trabajar por quedarse con los miembros de su familia en Denver. Los amigos de la familia organizaron una recaudación de fondos llamada “La familia Camacho” en GoFundme.com para ayudarlos.

“Los gastos médicos que tendrá esta familia estarían más allá de lo que podrían pagar,” dice la descripción de GoFundMe. “Por esta razón, nos gustaría pedirle a la comunidad que los apoye para que puedan cubrir la mayor parte de los gastos médicos y que papá pueda concentrarse en el bienestar y la salud de su familia.”

Una persona herida en incidente de propano en el mercado de agricultores de Glenwood Springs

Una fuga de propano se encendió en Seventh Street Farmers Market, lo que provocó que una persona sufriera múltiples quemaduras el martes por la noche.

El hecho ocurrió poco después de las 5 p.m. el martes, según un comunicado de prensa de la ciudad. Propano que se filtró de un tanque de 100 libras en uno de los puestos de proveedores, aunque una investigación dirigida por el jefe de bomberos Greg Bak no pudo determinar la fuente de ignición. La investigación de Bak concluyó que el incendio fue un accidente.

La persona lesionada fue transportada en ambulancia al Hospital Valley View, pero no se proporcionó más información sobre su estado.

Los vendedores del mercado pudieron extinguir las llamas y cerrar la válvula del tanque de propano antes de que llegaran los servicios de emergencia.

“Recuerde siempre usar, almacenar y manipular adecuadamente los tanques de propano. Consulte ‘Prevención de incendios’ en glenwoodfire.com para obtener consejos de seguridad sobre los tanques de propano,” escribió la coordinadora de servicios de emergencia del Departamento de Bomberos de Glenwood Springs, Mina Bolton, en un comunicado de prensa.

Los servicios de emergencia incluyeron un camión de bomberos, una ambulancia, un comandante de incidentes, cinco bomberos y el jefe de bomberos.

Meet the Post Independent’s new city reporter

Cassandra Ballard is no stranger to the Roaring Fork Valley. She started her college journalism career at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus before later transferring to Metro State University, where she graduated in 2018.

She most recently was working as manager of the Denver Press Club and freelancing on the Front Range. She spoke with Editor Peter Baumann about her path into journalism and what she’s looking forward to reporting on in the Roaring Fork Valley.

You’ve lived in the Roaring Fork Valley previously while you attended Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus. What is it about the area that you really enjoy?

What’s not to enjoy? This is the first place I ever saw the Milky Way in person, the first place I jumped off a cliff and the only place I ever swam next to a beaver while tubing the river.

I love the kind and laid-back people, the geology, wildlife and unique ecosystems, the outdoor activities and the fact that both the desert and snow-capped peaks are just a quick drive away.

What stories do you naturally gravitate toward as a reporter, and how do you think that will benefit our readers?

Personally, I really enjoy writing about science and the environment, but typically, I gravitate to what people in the community are talking about. If there are questions that people want answers for, I like to help people find them.

What is it about community journalism in Garfield County that you’re most excited about?

Hearing from all of the people from different walks of life. There is a lot of diversity in wealth, political opinion and personal interest, but the one thing that brings everyone together is their love of the valleys. People here truly care about their community, and I love watching people get fired up about the things they feel passionate about.

What are you most excited about in the coming year?

Definitely the snow. I’ve spent most of my life in Denver, where it never snows. I’m excited to be somewhere that actually dumps. I also miss the more relaxed mindset of the valley. Everything in Denver is a little more fast paced and angry. People seem a lot happier in the valley.

What are some ways you enjoy being involved in the community, and what are three fun things you’re most likely doing if not working?

I talk a lot, and I love hearing from strangers. I’m surprisingly pretty shy, but when I do connect with a stranger in the park or at the store, it can usually be one of the most insightful and fulfilling conversations I could find. I also miss the community activities in the valley like Summer of Music (which I previously knew as Jazz in the Park), and I will enjoy seeing the festive way people get involved with events like that. Outside of work, I will most likely be hiking, skiing and enjoying the river. Maybe biking, but I’m used to a flat city, and I’m not sure I’m ready to conquer steep hills.

Is there anything else you’d like the community to know? If a reader wants to reach out, what’s the best way to get a hold of you?
Although I didn’t grow up in Glenwood Springs, my family has been in the western states for many generations, and Glenwood Springs has always been the place that holds our hearts. Feel free to email me at the Post Independent at cballard@postindependent.com or call my office at 970-384-9131.

Glenwood Springs farmers market permit revoked, faces uncertain future

The future of the Glenwood Springs Farmers Market is up in the air as the manager says it is closing while the city attorney says the managers have stated they intend to appeal their permit revocation.

The revocation comes after an incident that took place on Tuesday when a vendor’s propane tank ignited and caused a flash fire, injuring another vendor, the release states.

Glenwood’s Downtown Market took place every Tuesday from June-September, starting in 2005 at Centennial Park. 

The city released an announcement Friday that next week’s market was canceled but did not address anything about the market closing for good. But a statement explaining as much came from the market manager over the weekend.

“After 17 years of providing a place for the community to gather, listen to music and buy from local vendors, Glenwood’s Downtown Market is closing,” organizer Cindy Svatos said in a statement Saturday night. “The City of Glenwood Springs notified the Market that their special use permit was revoked on June 30, 2022.”

In a Sunday news release, City Attorney Karl Hanlon and City Manager Debra Figueroa said that staff are working on options to present Glenwood Springs City Council at Thursday’s meeting.

“Safety has to be our top priority and the City is hopeful that an absence of a farmer’s market downtown event is temporary,” Hanlon and Figueroa said in the release. “City staff is preparing options for the continuation of the market to present to City Council.”

The release states there were multiple violations following the June 28 incident, which led to the revocation. In a Facebook post since taken down, the Glenwood Springs Farmers Market shared a copy of the letter of revocation, which included:

  • Providing notification and updating the permit with new vendors;
  • Adequate space for the emergency access lane;
  • Updated Fire Department Permit with inspection of all temporary structures and vendor setups by the Fire Marshal;
  • Unpermitted/unsafe structures on site;
  • Compliance with weighting down popup tents;
  • And all items for market must be removed from downtown except for city provided traffic control devices between events.

The letter states the permit will be suspended until June 9, 2023 but that the decision can be appealed if notice is provided within 14 days of the letter.

Market managers have emailed the city about their intention to appeal, the city’s Sunday press release states.

“At this time the City is waiting for clarification from the Downtown Market or their attorney on the status of the appeal,” the release states. “The City anticipates that will be after the holiday weekend.” 

To reiterate, following the incident on June 28, 2022, the City became aware of several safety violations occurring at the Downtown Market. After further review the City revoked the Facility Use Permit issued to the Glenwood Downtown Market.” 

In her Saturday statement, Svatos said the entire community was wishing the injured vendor a swift recovery.

“Our thoughts are with the injured vendor and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Svatos said in the release. “It was a regrettable and unfortunate incident and the result is we have lost this incredible asset for our community.”

New truck stop coming to Parachute

After meeting several environmental, safety and infrastructure requirements, Parachute is slated to have a new truck stop open later this year, an official said.

Depending on factors like weather, Oklahoma-based Love’s Travel Center and Country Store is set to open near the intersection of County Road 300 and Cardinal Way on Christmas Eve. 

The completion date, which is tentative, could be pushed back to Spring 2023, Parachute Town Manager Travis Elliot said.

“It’s an aggressive project schedule that will be contingent upon weather and whether or not they got some of the hard-scaping done before colder weather arrives,” he said.

Love’s original proposal to build came in 2020. But the project had to meet requirements through entities like the Colorado Department of Transportation, which oversees the nearby bridge over Interstate 70, instead of the town of Parachute. Things like road and parking plans had to be submitted and approved before construction, which broke ground June 23, could begin.

Town ordinances also played a factor, Elliot said. For instance, town code doesn’t allow for 350 feet continuous parking stalls, which forced Parachute City Council to approve a variance of up to 450 feet to get the project underway.

Construction activity underway in Parachute on Saturday morning. The site is being developed into a Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

The location of the new truck stop parallels the Colorado River and the adjoining recreational rental service, TOPS. Since this area is currently a three-way intersection, Love’s is putting in new infrastructure to create a four-way intersection by extending Cardinal Way toward the east side of CR 300.

Elliot said the hope is for the new Love’s, and the newly established infrastructure, to attract more prospective businesses to the lot.

“I think it will be a draw to the community, and we think it will be a benefit to Parachute and Parachute businesses,” he said.

The new truck stop will consist of several truck parking stalls, overnight parking options for recreational vehicles and truck and passenger fueling canopies. It will also include the center itself, a Chester’s Chicken and a McDonald’s restaurant.

Elliot also said the city will monitor increases in traffic to the area.

“Having more passersby to visit Parachute benefits us and the region,” Elliot said, “including Battlement Mesa.”

Glenwood Downtown Market closed next week

The farmers market in downtown Glenwood Springs will be closed Tuesday, the city announced in a Friday news release.

The event is being reviewed by city officials following last week’s incident involving an individual who suffered multiple burns after a leaking propane tank ignited.