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Seniors have a ticket to ride

Heidi RiceWestern Garfield County Staff
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson City of Rifle senior activity and ski bus driver Lynn McConnell poses in one of the traveler buses Thursday. McConnell has been driving the senior activity bus on and off for the past three years.
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RIFLE – The wheels of the bus are going ’round and ’round for Rifle Recreation’s senior programs.The city purchased the used bus late last month for $9,500 from Colorado Mountain College’s The Traveler senior transportation program immediately following the passage of a 1-cent sales tax increase for parks and recreation.The bus, known as the “Rickshaw,” is a 1999 mini-bus equipped with wheelchair access and a lift, padded seats, air conditioning, heat and first-aid equipment. It can seat 14 passengers, or 12 passengers and one wheelchair or 10 passengers and two wheelchairs.

“We love it,” said Marie George, director of the city-operated Rifle Senior Center. “It’s a lot more comfortable than the old bus, and the seniors have a familiarity because they’ve ridden in it before.”Because it is both more comfortable than the city’s old school bus and familiar to the riders, more seniors may participate in the programs offered by the city.”We’re excited for Rifle,” said Deb Stewart, executive director of CMC’s Senior Programs. “This is a golden opportunity. This bus is easier to ride in, and I think they may get more seniors out.”

The bus has already been used for the annual Fall Colors trip over McClure Pass and to the Grand Mesa in late September, and the Grand Junction Cabaret dinner theater trip in October. It will also take the seniors on the monthly Dinner in the Valley outings to various restaurants from Grand Junction to Carbondale.Lynn McConnell drives the bus as a volunteer and says the seniors seem to be liking their new wheels.”They’re really enjoying it so far, and they’re familiar with the bus,” she said. “I’m ecstatic.”



The next senior trip planned is the Empty Bowls fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, to support Senior Programs in Garfield County. Select your own hand-crafted pottery bowl made by local potters throughout the valley and sample fine soups contributed by local restaurants.The fundraiser will be at the Lucy Huntley Senior Center at CMC, 1402 Blake Ave. in Glenwood Springs. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at any CMC senior programs office or by calling 945-9115 or 625-1366.Dinner in the Valley will travel to Dos Hombres restaurant at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Cost of the bus ride is $4.For more information about the city’s senior programs, call the Rifle Recreation Department at 625-2151 or the Rifle Senior Center at 625-1877.


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