| PostIndependent.com

Grand River Health is expanding for the future and keeping care local

With the red iron growing into the skyline above Graham Mesa many Rifle residents have noticed the new Grand River Health care center project near East Fifth Street and Ute Avenue.

The footprint of another GRH project, which began a few months later, is taking shape behind Grand River Health on south Rifle.

With the growth of the community in mind and the need to expand services, Grand River Health is undergoing the largest project since opening in the spring of 2003.

“We are currently at capacity here at the hospital, and having to divert people because we didn’t have enough beds,’ Grand River Health CEO Jim Coombs said.

“So we are expanding the bay capacity from 12 to 25 beds, and undergoing an expansion on services as well.”

Grand River worked with western Garfield County residents on the community-driven project, for which services they would like the hospital to offer in the future.

Excavation of the site for the Grand River Health expansion is near completion. General Contractor FCI will soon start work on the foundation for the three-story, more than 100,000-sqaure-foot additiong to the hospital. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
GRExpansion-rct-111419-3

In November 2017 Grand River Hospital District voters passed an $89.4 million bond issue to cover a three-story approximately 100,000-square-foot hospital expansion and new 110,000-square-foot care center which will replace the existing E. Dene Moore Care Center.

The new hospital expansion, which is located on the south side of the existing 162,217-square-foot campus, is the largest single expansion in the facility’s history.

“The ground has been cleared, most of the excavation is done. All the utilities have been moved and placed.” Coombs said.

“We had to relocate our backup supply of propane, the oxygen tanks that supply the hospital for patients rooms, that also had to be moved. They are just about ready to start digging the holes for the piling that the foundation will go into.”

Combs said it is a huge project for the hospital.

A rendering of the expansion of Grand River Health.
GRExpansion-rct-111419-4

“It will give us all private rooms, and over the coming years there is going to be a domino-effect for areas to get backfilled and remodeled. There will be a host of smaller projects over the next number of years as capital comes available,” Coombs said.

The expansion will include an intensive care unit, cardiac rehab center and infusion center for cancer services.

“We won’t have a full-blown cancer program, but we will have that ability for providing weekly chemotherapy so you don’t have to drive a long ways. People can stay close to home and get that, especially afterwards when your not feeling well,” Coombs said. “We will have an ICU and be able to keep higher acuity of patients here.” 

Grand River Health is also planning for the future, with the third floor being shelled space to complete later.

Construction crews are working on excavating the sight forthe new three-story expansion to Grand RIver Health in south Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
GRExpansion-rct-111419-2

“It will create the capacity of this hospital for the next 20 to 30 years. The expansion has a little bit of shell space for additional capacity to expand down the road. We would be able to add more beds beyond the 25 at some point in the future as the community grows without having to build a completely new space.” Coombs said.

Due to a groundwater issue the patient wing expansion project is 4-6 months behind schedule.

Annick Pruett, administrative director and community relations with Grand River, said the water issue was discovered as they were excavating.

“There was a lot of groundwater, and they were trying to find out where it came from. Turns out it was the irrigation water from our neighbors that had not been flowing properly,” Pruett said. 

With the help of FCI, the general contractor on the project, new trenches were built for the neighboring farm and Grand River Health offered to feed their livestock during that time.

A rendering of the expansion of Grand River Health.
GRExpansion-rct-111419-5

“You’re always nervous when you ask someone to turn off their irrigation water when they are in the middle of growing hay, but they were open about it. FCI, general contractor, was great about saying they would do whatever it takes. They were able to mitigate that and plan for the future and moving forward.

Pruett added over time that the expansion will create about 200 jobs in the community.

The patient wing project is slated to be completed mid-summer to early fall of 2021.

“There are still a few variables to put an exact date on it,” Coombs said.

A CARE CENTER FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Opened in 1968, E. Dene Moore Care Center currently has the capacity of 50 beds in the 27,000-square-foot facility.

The facility offers skilled nursing services, physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Spaulding said that 60% of the care center population comes in for care after knee and hip replacements before returning home.

Currently, 40% percent are full-time residents.

“The care center is very similar, we are at capacity, it’s an old building and we were really at the point if it didn’t pass we were going to have to shut it down” Coombs said.

“We’ve been using a lot of duct tape the last couple of years.”

The new care center will have 87 private rooms for residents and a town square feature that will have a café, gathering area for music, a general store, spa and salon.

Offering a “neighborhoods concept” at 110,000-square feet, the new facility will triple the size of the existing care center.

Iron workers piece together the structural beams for the Grand RIver Health Care Center in Rifle Wednesday morning. The 110,000-square-foot structure will replace the E. Dene Moore facility and is slated to open in 2021. The Bears open their playoff run with a runaway 48-15 victory over the Englewood Pirates last Saturday at Bears Stadium
A4Standalone-gpi-111419

“Each neighborhood will have 18 beds; there is an option of one shared room in each neighborhood. The rest will all be private, which will be incredible for residents,” GRH Patient Experience Officer Kenda Spaulding said.

Currently, there are four residents to each bathroom; in the new care center each resident will have his or her own private bathroom.

“I marvel that originally the care center had three people to a room. It kind of shows you how much long-term care has progressed. It’s not your grandmother’s nursing home anymore, it’s really come a long way, much more person-centered,” Pruett said.

New to the care center will be a fifth section dedicated to memory care, which will have 15 rooms.

The residents are incredibly excited they have a viewing area. They watch everything that is happening through a big window,” Spaulding said. “I’ve yet to hear a single complaint about noise or vibration, because they are so excited.”

Grand River Health officials expect a certificate of occupancy to be obtained by Nov.-Dec. 2020, with residents able to move in January of 2021.

“Once we open those three neighborhoods, that would allow us to tear down the old building, which I’m sure will have some mixed feelings because it has taken care of a lot people and been a part of the community for so long,” Spaulding said.

kmills@postindependent.com

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

Hand in hand the Rifle Bears take the field for their first round game against Englewood last Saturday at Bears Stadium. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
RifleFBPlayoff-rct-111419-1
Buy Photo
Rifle’s Ethan Mackley tries to rip the ball away from Englewood’s Yakes Daughtry during first quarter play last Saturday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
RifleFBPlayoff-rct-111419-4
Buy Photo
Rifle’s Carter Pressler snags a pass from Holden Stutsman out of the air beating Englewood defender Reuben Saucedo for a big gain in the second quarter. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
RifleFBPlayoff-rct-111419-9
Buy Photo
The Rifle High School student section cheers on their Bears during last weekends game at Bears stadium in Rifle. Rifle travels to Basalt for the second round of the 2A Football State playoffs. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
RifleFBPlayoff-rct-111419-11
Buy Photo
The Bears celebrate their 48-15 victory over Englewood last Saturday in Rifle. Rifle willl travel to Basalt to take on the Longhorns this Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
RifleFBPlayoff-rct-111419-3
Buy Photo

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.

For over 100 years the Free Mason’s of Rifle and the surrounding area have been meeting at the lodge located on Railroad Avenue. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
MasonicLodge-rct-111419-1
Buy Photo

“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.”

Ron Roesener looks at one of the windows in the lodge, all the windows are original to the building. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
MasonicLodge-rct-111419-3
Buy Photo

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. 

Ron Roesener looks at the pictures of leaders of the Freemasons that line the Masonic Lodge meeting hall going back to 1908. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
MasonicLodge-rct-111419-2
Buy Photo

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.

The meeting hall for the Masonic Lodge members in Rifle remains mostly the same since the buildings construction in 1914. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
MasonicLodge-rct-111419-5
Buy Photo

“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.” 

One of the intrecate door knockers upstairs in the Masonic Lodge meeting hall. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
MasonicLodge-rct-111419-4
Buy Photo

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.

kmills@postindependent.com

Garfield School District Re-2 improves security with new Air Phone system

Community members, parents, students and staff in the Re-2 school district will notice a change to security at schools next week.

On Monday, all 10 Re-2 schools and the district office will begin using the Air Phone security systems at the main entrance. 

The Air Phone has a video camera, a speaker and a door lock release system. The main entrances for all schools will be locked, and the front office staff will be able to welcome guests and partners. The new system helps to protect schools from unwanted visitors.
“One of the points that our schools board wanted as part of our facilities master planning document was an emphasis on safety,” Director of Communications/GrantsTheresa Hamilton said.

“This one of the items that was identified in the plan as a recommendation to be accomplished.”

According to a release any person coming to Re-2 schools after the tardy bell must use the Air Phone security system for entry. The front door will be locked from the tardy bell to the end of the school day – including lunch.

Hamilton said the system will be controlled by the school secretary. Visitors needing to enter the school will push a button. They will be on video camera so front office personnel can see them, talk to them, and determine the nature of their visit before releasing the door locking mechanism so they enter.

The district applied for a Colorado Department of Homeland Security grant in April, and was awarded $141,000 for three different security projects across the district.

Approximately $60,000 of the grant paid for the cost of the Air Phone System.

Other upgrades included in the grant were the replacement of 1950s-era classroom doors at Rifle Middle School, and also some barrier doors at Highland Elementary.

“We were fortunate to apply and receive a grant for this and a couple of other projects,” Hamilton said.

The new Air Phone system was installed through the month of October.

“We are just trying to make sure we are doing the best job we can communicating with our parents, staff, delivery people and all the folks that help support a school district, that things are going to be handled a little bit differently,” Hamilton said.

With the district office located at Whiteriver Avenue and Eighth Street having two entrances, the district is converting the east entrance (Whiteriver Avenue) to primarily delivery and handicap entrance only, and general public will enter on the west side (East Avenue).

“We want our community, our parents, and our stakeholders to come into our schools and feel welcome, we also want to provide all of our students and staff with as much security as we can,” Hamilton said. “It’s a fine balance of being able to create a warm and welcoming environment that is as safe as you can make it.”

The Re-2 school district currently has approximately 4,700 students in Rifle, Silt and New Castle.

“We are trying really hard to make sure that everybody is well aware of this transition in advance, and there will be a learning curve for community, parents and our staff, and we just ask for patience and know we all have the safety and security of your kids at heart,” Hamilton said.

kmills@postindependent.com

Two RHS Bears recognized as National Hispanic Scholars

Rifle High School senior Mariana Sauceda wants to work in a body shop — a human body shop of the future.

“I want to focus on biomedical engineering. What interests me is the idea of creating artificial organs,” explained Mariana.

When she was younger, her grandpa became sick and spent quite a bit of time in the hospital.

“I remember he got diabetes towards the end of his sickness. The idea of creating an artificial heart, artificial lungs, or an artificial liver is motivated by my grandpa. At the same time, it would help a lot of people by reducing the wait on our transplant lists,” she explained. 

Her classmate, Andres Guerrero, plans on becoming an engineer, but he is still undecided on what specialization — mechanical engineering, software engineering or specializing in robotics.

“I want to program robots and create and design the technology,” said Andres. “I’m considering Colorado School of Mines, and they are very focused on being environmentally productive through technology, but I’m still kind of exploring my options.”

Both will receive some assistance as they begin their bold plans, and their career exploration. Mariana and Andres have been recognized as scholars in the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program based on their NMSQT scores from last year.

According to the Compass Education Group’s web site, The National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes approximately 5,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors each year from among the more than 400,000 juniors who take the PSAT, placing them in the top 2 percent of all PSAT takers nationwide. The NHRP program requires a minimum of a 3.5 GPA, and although it does not come directly tied to financial awards or scholarships, earning the designation does open doors with colleges and universities for financial aid.

Both Andres and Mariana are diploma candidates in Rifle High School’s International Baccalaureate program. As part of the IB program, diploma candidates complete an extended essay. Andres wrote his essay on the comparison of a Japanese book, “The Woman in the Dunes” by Kobo Abe to “1984” by George Orwell. Mariana’s extended essay examined the different sugar concentrations of food by ethnicity and the impact on diabetes. 

Financial aid will be helpful for both as Mariana is considering Colorado schools such as Colorado State, CU-Boulder and options in Utah and California while Andres is considering Cal Poly, several Ivy League schools in addition to Colorado School of Mines and CU-Boulder.

Mariana Sauceda
NationalHispanicScholars-rct-110719-1
Andres Guerrero
NationalHispanicScholars-rct-110719-2

Meet Rifle’s new community service officer

If you were to take a survey around town, there is no doubt that most people have heard of Alan Lambert. But for as many people as you polled, you would get an equal number of answers as to how they know him. 

It’s hard to dispute that he may be one of the most interesting and diverse people in Rifle. Describing himself as having lived “too many different lifetimes,” there are few things Alan hasn’t done.

Professional journalist? Check. Country western dance instructor? Check. Rodeo rider? Bus driver? Hunting guide? Check, check, check. 

And, of course, he lived in a cabin for three years with no running water, a 19th century wood burning cook stove and an outhouse. Presumably, this rugged period helped shape his mellow personality and quick wit. In fact, his sense of humor becomes evident when he describes what he refers to as the three stages of cabin living. 

“The first is, ‘Oh cool! I live here!’ The second is, ‘Why am I here?’ and the third is resignation — ‘This is life,’” Alan stated with a chuckle and a gleam in his eye.

Growing up mostly in Conifer, Colorado, Alan’s curiosity and work ethic began at a young age. In 1976, he became the city of Conifer’s first Eagle Scout, initiating a tree planting project. Many of the trees he planted are still there today. He attended the University of Northern Colorado earning an astounding three degrees (one in journalism, one in photojournalism and a third in industrial arts) as well as a teaching certificate. He funded his own education doing woodwork. 

Alan’s post college career began in journalism writing for newspapers in Winter Park and Fairplay before he put another degree to use becoming an industrial arts instructor at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey. Teaching everything from architectural drafting to mechanics, his students won first place in a graphic arts competition. Summers were spent working as a cowboy before he decided to pursue that full time, becoming the head wrangler at Rocky Mountain National Park. 

A job at Coulter Lake is what brought Alan to Rifle and is where he pursued his woodworking career in earnest and met his future wife, Patty, at a dance club in Grand Junction. After leaving ranching, Alan did woodworking full-time for 18 years. It was a skill he learned from his dad. He put in long hours working art shows and keeping up with demand. His creativity and business acumen led him to help found Midland Arts Company.

Never one to sit around, Alan got very involved in the Rifle community right from the beginning. He became a member of the chamber of commerce, eventually becoming president and spent time on many local boards. While serving on the planning commission, he noticed some policies he thought needed to change. A run for City Council landed him a seat where he was re-elected three times and served 12 years. Alan was also one of the founding members of the Energy Advisory Board and has been involved with the Museum board and the Senior Center advisory board. Currently, he is serving as board president for the Colorado River Fire Protection District.

“I was able to take the knowledge I learned from my time on City Council and apply it to the fire district,” he says. He is currently in the middle of a two-year term serving in that capacity.

After several part-time jobs to supplement his income, Alan applied for a position with the city of Rifle Parks and Recreation Department. He became an integral member of the city team handling everything from mowing the parks to general building maintenance. City employees knew they could count on Alan to fix just about anything and always have a positive disposition. He really seemed to care about his job and his colleagues.  So it wasn’t really a surprise that Alan threw his name in the hat when a position opened for community service officer.

“I get the opportunity to use my brain instead of my back. It’s the challenges in life that keep you going. You always need positive challenges. Plus, I’m moving up in the world!” he jokes. “I can make a difference again in a different way. Many of the laws I approved while serving on City Council I can now make work.”

Helping people is second nature for Alan, and these new responsibilities provide him plenty of chances.

“The other day I found a stolen vehicle that had been taken from an 83-year-old lady in Grand Junction. The fact that she got her car back is one of the reasons I do this. Plus, the people I work with are phenomenal.” 

The sentiment seems to be mutual. According to Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein, “Alan is dedicated to Rifle. He is now part of the Rifle Police Department team, and we could not be happier to have a member of our community that clearly cares about the quality of life and the direction of our city. In addition to serving our community, he is an exceptional artist, and his woodwork can be viewed at local craft fairs and at the Midland Arts Company. Alan knows the history of our area, and if you want to know about Rifle’s past, take a few moments to speak to him.”

When not at work, Alan has numerous hobbies including hunting, fishing and travel. He can often be seen in the summer on his pontoon boat up at Rifle Gap or Harvey Gap. He and Patty have traveled all over Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. They are planning a trip to New Orleans in the spring.

Alan will now bring his diverse life experience to a new job enforcing the Rifle Municipal Code. His focus is on educating citizens about laws that may affect them. He can be seen on any given day walking or driving around town. If you see him, be sure to say “hi.” And if you have a minute, ask him for the story of how he met his wife or his tales of skiing backwards through groups of wealthy Texans on the slopes. His amiable nature will surely bring a smile to your face (even if he’s giving you a warning about shoveling your sidewalk!).

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the city of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact city of Rifle Public Information Officer Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or kpototsky@rifleco.org. 

Photo Essay: A parade of candy during Rifle’s Halloween

Children are all smiles as they make their way to the annual Trunk or Treat and Halloween parade at the Rifle City Hall and Library last Thursday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
HalloweenEssay-rct-110719
Buy Photo
A Rifle Police Officer hands out candy as trick-or-treaters make their way through the Trunk or Treat event last week. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
HalloweenEssay-rct-110719-3
Buy Photo
A trick-or-treater is all smiles as she gathers candy during halloween festivities in Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
HalloweenEssay-rct-110719-1
Buy Photo
Tricker-or-treaters stay buddled up, but didn’t let the cold weather stop them from taking part in Halloween events in Rifle last Thursday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
HalloweenEssay-rct-11071-6
Buy Photo

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.”

kmills@postindependent.com

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.

kmills@postindependent.com

Changes coming to Third Street and Railroad Avenue in Rifle

The city of Rifle released design concepts last week for proposed projects for Third Street and Railroad Avenue in downtown Rifle.

More than 50 people filled the upstairs meeting room at the Rifle Library to hear the proposals on the three concepts,which are slated to begin in 2020.

The project includes Third Street from West to East avenues and Railroad Avenue from Second to Fifth streets.

Officials said that the current streets, sidewalks, landscaping and utilities need improving, which the projects propose to do.

Craig Spaulding, city of Rifle civil engineer, said the project would help alleviate the groundwater issues that are causing premature failure on Railroad Avenue.

Working with downtown business owners, the city is hoping to enhance the downtown area and make it more inviting for the public and visitors as part of the project. 

Three concepts were presented each with varying degrees of differences for citizens to look over and give feed back.

Planning Director Nathan Lindquist said the concepts are a preliminary design and the final concept will likely be different.

“There’s ways to keep adjusting everything, so don’t look at these as any of the details are set. It’s very much still flowing and so we can mix and match different things,” Lindquist said. “If there’s an idea you like then keep that and fix everything around it. Keep that in mind. It’s more important to get this right and take a long time do it, than just do it fast and get it done.”

Each concept adds permanent outdoor dining space for downtown restaurants.

Lindquist said that the downtown is changing and entertainment and restaurants are the future of the Third Street and Railroad corridor.

During the meeting officials pointed out a few cons to the project including reducing parking on Third Street.

Currently, there are 35 parking spots on the east block of Third Street; with concept one parking would be reduced to 25. Both concepts two and three would take 13 parking spots away.

The lost parking spots are due to changing parking angles and the addition of patios.

“Currently it’s 60-degree parking, and we have all seen the trucks sticking out a little bit, and when you back out you have to back into the other lane,” Spaulding said.

“To remedy that you can go to the 45 degree, which make the parking more convenient both in and out.”

Spaulding said it also gives you two more feet of street or sidewalk you can use. The downfall is you lose about two spots for every 11 spaces.

With the proposed loss of downtown parking the city is currently looking at managing parking better and how to add more public parking to the area.

“Parking is extremely important to the success of businesses, and I think regardless of what happens on Third and Railroad its probably overdue for us to do a larger parking plan and really thinking about parking downtown as a whole,” Lindquist said.

With a limited budget the city is applying for grants that will pay for the project, which is slated to begin later in the summer next year.

Both Spaulding and Lindquist said that depending on funding the project could be stretched over two summers until it is complete.

The city is looking for feedback of which concept the public would like to see, and which ideas will work best for the future of Rifle. 

A Third Street Design Survey survey will be hand delivered to business in the downtown. Use the following link to take a survey on the planned Improvements: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/862RTFN.

kmills@postindependent.com

Third Street and Railroad Avenue concept one.
Concept 1 24×36
Third Street and Railroad Avenue concept two.
Concept 2 24×36
Third Street and Railroad Avenue concept three.
Concept 3 24×36