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memories & Milestones

Earlene Mathias 80th birthday drive by parade/card shower/LIFTUP food drive

Earlene worked for Roaring Fork High School from 1978-1999 and retired after 20 years. She has been a part the Carbondale community for 43 years. 

She is nicknamed Earl The Pearl for a reason: She loved the students, and she was loved and cherished by the students.

The pandemic has kept her home, and this will be an awesome surprise … seeing old and new friends.

Earlene’s favorite charitable cause is (LIFTUP.org) to help the local community.

Bring your kids and grandchildren, dress up your car or truck, and make a fun drive out it.

Bring nonperishable food items. (No glass at this time, please.) There will be a dropoff along the way in front of the house. 

The parade will begin at 1 p.m. May 29 at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. It will continue to Earlene’s home at 108 Crystal Circle in the Crystal River Country Estates, approximately 9 miles on Highway 133.

— Tammy Mathias

Annual notice to all city of Rifle residents and property owners

Owners of property within Rifle city limits, having received a notice or not, are responsible for cutting and removing cuttings for:

• Weeds, dead or alive, over eight inches in height, as well as puncture vine (goat heads), regardless of height

• Weeds to the centerline of the alley and between the property line and the curb or edge of the road

• Weeds between yard fence and roadway/sidewalk

• Removal of all cut vegetation/grass clippings

• Vacant land/lots, owners are required to remove weeds and keep weeds below 8 inches

Weed abatement program begins May 1. If a violation is found, a notice of violation will be issued for voluntary compliance with no fine. If the weeds are not cut and removed, a citation will be issued and a fine assessed. If the violation is not corrected, the weeds and or rubbish will be abated at the property owner’s expense.

For more information go to:  library.municode.com/co/rifle/codes/charter_and_municipal_code?nodeId=CH7HESAAN_ARTIVWEBR or contact Code Enforcement with questions at 970-665-6500.

Garfield County rolls out ‘Safer at Home’ guidelines, launches recovery roadmap ahead of May 4 business reopenings

Garfield County Public Health has released its COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery document, which outlines a plan for implementing Colorado’s “Safer at Home” guidelines.

Colorado officially lifts the statewide stay-at-home order on Monday and replaces it with the so-called Safer at Home. That includes a phased reopening of various sectors of the economy, which in Garfield County will begin Monday, May 4.

“The Safer at Home phase is not a return to normal,” Gov. Jared Polis said last week. “This is merely transitioning to a more sustainable level of social distancing that we are going to have to maintain for the long haul — likely months … The next few weeks are even more important than the last few.”

In Garfield County, some businesses and agencies that were closed under the stay at home order may again reopen on May 4, provided they make all required public health accommodations and submit a “Garfield County Business Social Distancing Plan” to ensure a safe work environment.

Starting Monday, April 27, in-person real estate showings may begin, but open houses are prohibited, according to a late Saturday press release issued by county officials.

On May 4, “under strict social distancing precautions,” medical and dental offices can reopen; retail businesses can open to the public beyond curbside pickup and delivery; personal services, including salons, dog grooming, personal training, tattoo parlors; and large workplaces may return at 50% of the in-person workforce, with symptoms and temperature checks as employees enter.

“Social distancing is really contributing to the success of managing the outcomes of these COVID-19 cases,” Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said in the Saturday release.

Jankovsky said he is optimistic about flattening the curve of cases with the actions the community is taking.

“We haven’t overwhelmed our medical facilities,” he said in the release. “We now really want to start helping people get back to work, and are going to help businesses reopen as soon as possible.”

Garfield County’s “Safer at Home” order allows businesses to begin ramping up, while still protecting the well-being of its residents, according to the release.

Local businesses and agencies in Garfield County are advised to visit garfield-county.com and fill out the online “Garfield County Business Social Distancing Plan”.

This includes all businesses — regardless of whether they are currently in operation or not. Restaurants may continue curbside pickup and delivery services, but not provide internal dining until further notice.

The response does not need to be approved by Public Health, and businesses that have been closed may plan to reopen on May 4. The county isn’t conducting inspections, but will contact a business if it receives reports of an establishment out of compliance with public health orders, according to the release.

“We’re looking at this reopening process from an educational standpoint, not punitive,” Garfield County Public Health Director Yvonne Long said in the release. “We’re offering guidance on how to safely reopen businesses to both get people back to work and keep them safe.”

Public health experts and county staff are working with local elected officials, businesses, nonprofits and others to develop plans that will ease restrictions while limiting the potential spread of COVID-19.

For now, Garfield County is following the governor’s plan, with two notable differences:

  • Garfield County is already allowing retailers to provide curbside delivery and pickup. This is not changing.
  • Retail and personal services cannot reopen until May 4. The governor’s order states May 1. All businesses and agencies must submit a “Garfield County Business Social Distancing Plan.”

“Our orders will align with the governor’s orders,” Long said. “There’s really not a lot of difference there.

“What people may ask is, ‘why is Garfield County waiting to reopen until three days after the state order?’ To even be able to open the county to the level that we’re doing, we must be able to prove that we have had a decrease in cases over the past two weeks. We also have to be conscious of the hospitals, so they don’t become overloaded. We aren’t at the end of this epidemic yet, but there is a glimmer of light and hope.”

The Garfield County Road Map document aims to assist the community in entering into a stabilization phase, said Long, who will give an update and discuss the road map at a special Board of County Commissioners video-conference meeting at 9 a.m. Monday.

Indicators that must be met to move into this phase include a sustained decrease in COVID-19 cases for 14 days; hospitals able to aid patients without resorting to crisis standards of care; offering testing for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and actively monitoring all cases; and ensuring clear social-distancing protocols remain in place. A recovery phase requires that a vaccine is widely available.

In the coming days, Gov. Polis is expected to officially announce the parameters for personal service businesses to reopen, with strict precautions.

“Any governor’s order that eases statewide restrictions does not supersede compliance with local health orders; personal services should not reopen until these directives are officially conveyed and safety measures can be fully implemented,” Garfield County’s press release states.


Memories & Milestones

Welcome, Norah Moz Browning

Andrea Orrego and Cory Browning of Glenwood Springs are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Norah Moz Browning on March 27, 2020.

Norah weighed 5.24 pounds and was 45 centimeters long at birth.

Norah is welcomed by brother Ingle, age 6, and grandparents Betsy and Bryan Browning and Antenor. and Patricia Orrego.

Memories & Milestones

Thanks to Julie Olson

Advocate Safehouse Project would like to thank Julie Olson for her 25 years supporting our community and a very important cause. She has touched so many lives, and we sincerely appreciate her for that.

Pam Ruzicka

president, ASP board of directors

Mother and daughter earn black belts together

Recently Joanna Bartnik and daughter Gabriela or “Gabi” Bartnik earned their black belts in the Western Tang Soo Do Federation in a testing held at the Brian Mable Karate school in Glenwood Springs. The test was part of the spring gathering of clinics and tests held by the WTSDF each March in Glenwood Springs. Congratulations to Joanna and Gabi on a job well done.

Readers Say Thanks

Great experience in Glenwood

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Glenwood Springs, the owner and staff at the Caravan Inn, all the staff at Valley View Hospital with whom I interacted and especially Dr. Myers, my anesthesiologist during my unplanned overnight stay for surgery to remove a benign tumor from an unmentionable place. I’m sorry: I cannot remember all your names.

I would also like to generously thank my urologist, Dr. Aashish Kabra, and his nurse Breanna (1 ‘n’? 2? Anesthesia numbs my already somewhat feeble mind).

In 2000-1, I regularly walked out of medical situations and had flashback hallucinations due to medical-situation-induced PTSD. I sometimes went into blackouts while talking to medical personnel. I made some progress over the next decade. Still, in November 2009 and June 2010, I had two painful hernia surgeries in Craig that left me hesitant to have surgery. Now, after a pre-op visit to Dr. Kabra and Rocky Mountain Urology, and after this recent, very successful, non-traumatic surgery, I am much healthier, not just physically as a result of the tumor removal, but, mentally and emotionally, largely due to the excellent care from all the above over March 11-12.

Glenwood: You might, however, want to take a look at how long it can take pedestrians to cross Grand Avenue; 5-10 minutes waiting for a light to change and the walk sign to turn on is a bit excessive.

John E. Lawton


Readers Say Thanks

Bighorn Toyota is a big help to Garfield County Search & Rescue

The members of Garfield County Search & Rescue Inc. would like to thank Bighorn Toyota of Glenwood Springs for its continuing assistance and expertise maintaining and keeping our Team Toyota Land Cruiser in good working order.

This GCSAR Land Cruiser is a critical part of our ability to respond to back country incidents in the worst of weather and road conditions.

We really appreciate Bighorn Toyota teaming up with us to find the lost, rescue the stranded and injured and educate the public on wilderness and mountain safety.

Tom Ice

president, Garfield County Search & Rescue Inc.

Holy Cross repairmen did superior job

I want to express my neighborhood’s heartfelt thanks to the superior job and hard work Holy Cross repairmen perform in keeping our electricity online. Recently, in a wintry storm our neighborhood up the Crystal River by the KOA campground lost electricity as it was getting dark. We depend on uninterrupted service as my 97-year-old mother is on an oxygen concentrator, and our house is heated electrically. The phone responder at Holy Cross was extremely polite, and the service was restored in an hour-and-a-half, in the dark, while it was snowing.

Great work, guys. We really appreciate it.

Dean Pappas


LIFT-UP food pantries in Garfield County moving to drive-through format

Food pantries in Garfield County operated by LIFT-UP are moving to a drive-through format starting Friday to distribute food to those in need.

According to a Wednesday news release from LIFT-UP, items will be provided in a pre-packed emergency food box starting between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the following locations: 

  • Parachute — LIFT-UP Food Pantry, 201 E. First St.
  • Rifle — LIFT-UP Food Pantry, 800 Railroad Ave.
  • New Castle — Elk Creek Elementary School Parking Lot, 804 W. Main St.
  • Glenwood Springs — Glenwood Springs High School, south parking lot
  • Carbondale — Third Street Center parking lot

In addition, on Saturday beginning at noon, Food Bank of the Rockies, in partnership with Aspen Family Connection, will handle distribution of food for Aspen/Pitkin County residents at Aspen Middle School. For more information specifically on this distribution site, please visit www.PitkinCounty.com.

Also, the Extended Table soup kitchens are functioning as a grab-and-go bagged meal, from 5 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday in Rifle at the Rifle United Methodist Presbyterian Church located in the Lovell Building at 200 E. 4th St. 

In Glenwood Springs, look for posted updates on the Monday through Friday meal distribution at the First United Methodist Church, 824 Cooper Ave.

Meanwhile, LIFT-UP Thrift Stores will remain closed through the end of March so staff can assist with food distribution. 

Visit the liftup.org website or Facebook page for ongoing updates on food distribution dates, times and locations.

Help needed

LIFT-UP is also in need of reusable grocery bags and non-perishable food items, according to the release.

 Donors are asked to drop items to these locations:

  • LIFT-UP Rifle — Monday through Thursday between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Or, at any of the above food distribution locations on Friday.

“Financial support is needed as LIFT-UP has ordered $10,000 in food during the last two weeks and is already in need of more,” the release also stated.

Normal food needs run around $5,000 per month, according to the release, “but as the COVID-19 situation continues food distribution needs could more than double, resulting in needing more than an extra $55,000 for food alone.”

The public is encouraged to visit www.liftup.org or the LIFT-UP Facebook page for ongoing updates. Financial donations can be made on the website, as well.

Around the Corner: Things are a bit different this week

I’ve been in journalism for 20 years now, and this is a first for me.

I can’t recall anything that halted so many things and changed the daily lives of residents of a county, state, country and even the world.

The only thing that even comes close were the events of Sept. 11, 2001, which affected the whole country, but didn’t stop us from going to the newspaper office the next day.

I have spent the last five days working out of my home office, which also doubles as my garage.

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking over the news, many of the events and features I typically cover for the pages of the Citizen Telegram are postponed or even canceled.

If it weren’t for the occasional pedestrian and rush of cars down Railroad Avenue while I’ve been out walking the streets, Rifle would feel almost like a ghost town.

I’ve spent the last few days scrambling — I had already interviewed Suzy Bogguss for a preview of her scheduled show Friday, an event which is being rescheduled for later in the year after the order of no large gatherings from Gov. Jared Polis.  

Many of my sources are busy trying to set contingency plans for their businesses, schools and children as they get used to the new daily protocol in Garfield County.

I know my daily routine has changed drastically, as my daughter grows stir-crazy while she sits idle with no school or extracurricular activities to occupy her time.

Daily check-ins with my mom have been more regular, making sure she is feeling OK and the family back home is well.

As you have probably noticed with our sister paper the Post Independent, we have suspended the calendar during this time of social distancing.

This week’s edition will be a bit smaller than usual, and filled with press releases and schedule changes for the city and county.

I have been able to get out and shoot a few pictures to cover this week’s paper, of projects like the hospital expansion that pushes forward. 

With the lack of events taking place I would like the people of western Garfield County to reach out to me with story ideas or human interest stories as we navigate our new reality here in western Colorado.


Literacy Outreach and CMC Learning Labs present Spell Wars: Words Strike Back

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … teams of spellers fought a long, hard battle for supremacy. And now they are arming themselves once again in a new quest for spelling dominance.

Set your hyperspace coordinates for the Hotel Colorado on Friday, April 17, and punch it. The 27th annual Spellebration is guaranteed to be out of this world. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and spelling and the silent auction begin at 6 p.m.

Spellebration is an annual adult, costumed spelling bee and silent auction benefiting Literacy Outreach and the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Learning Labs in their fight against illiteracy in Garfield County.

May the force be with the 30 teams of one to three spellers who will dress as their favorite Star Wars characters and battle for the ultimate title of Garfield County spelling champions. Prizes are also awarded for best costumes and best fundraiser.

Teams raise funds by collecting word passes, which allow them to skip a word or purchase assistance from the spelling helper. The costumes, the spelling challenges and the antics of the spelling helper all make for an entertaining evening for spectators, who are not charged for admission.

One of the largest silent auctions in the area is an additional feature of Spellebration. Restaurants, service providers and local shops will offer items for bidding. Among the unique offerings are a stay in a London apartment, couple’s will preparation and one-of-a-kind jewelry.

For those interested in spelling, team registration deadline is April 10. Those who register early, by April 3, are privy to the “Special Pass” — five passes for the price of four. Visit www.LiteracyOutreach.org/Spellebration for the registration form.

The Spellebration volunteers are already collecting team sponsors, team members and silent auction donors. Anyone wishing to play any of these roles is encouraged to contact Literacy Outreach at 970-945-5282.

News and updates can be viewed online at www.LiteracyOutreach.org or on Facebook: Literacy Outreach.