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Nellie Elvira (Medlock) Klipfel (December 13, 1918–November 8, 2019)

Nellie Elvira (Medlock) Klipfel passed away on November 8, 2019 at her home in New Castle, Colorado. She was 100 years old, being one month and 5 days away from her 101st birthday. Nellie was born on December 13, 1918 in Darien, Missouri. Her parents were Henry and Daisy Schafer of Salem, Missouri. She had one brother, Frank Schafer and two sisters, Dorthy Klipfel and Lillian Merritt.

Nellie was married to Donal Medlock on September 10, 1939. They enjoyed life together for 34 years until Donal passed away in November, 1973. Nellie remarried to Vester Klipel of Benton, Missouri on July 31, 1976 They were happily married about 26 years before Vester passed away in January, 2002.

She is survived by her daughter, Donna Scarlett, son-in-law John Scarlett of New Castle, Colorado and by her granddaughter, Ambra Scarlett, who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Nellie had a large and loving extended family which includes many nieces and nephews and even great, great, great, nephews and nieces. She loved them all and was well loved by all.

Nellie had a long, active and happy life. She loved baseball and basketball, especially her St Louis Cardinals and Denver Nuggets. She was an avid fisherwoman and loved being on the lakes around her home all year round. Nellie was often at the Hot Springs Pool where she had many friends. They could be seen and heard singing together in groups, walking back and forth to the ropes or doing exercises in the hot pool almost every morning for many years. She will be greatly missed.

Memorial Service will be held November 30, 2019 in Salem. MO.

Thiessen column: Ronald Reagan’s policies helped bring down the Berlin Wall. Now he’s not even welcome there

WASHINGTON — In June 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate and uttered those iconic words that shook the world: “General Secretary Gorbachev … come here to this gate … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” They had been repeatedly removed from his draft speech by nervous State Department bureaucrats, but Reagan kept putting them back in. And just 2½ years after Reagan spoke them, that wall came down.

We speak now of the “fall” of the Berlin Wall, but in truth the wall did not just fall. It was pushed. It was the policies of Reagan — his insistence on speaking truth about the evils of Communism, and his support for anti-Soviet freedom fighters, increased defense spending, the deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe and the Strategic Defense Initiative — that bankrupted the Soviet Union and brought about the peaceful collapse of the wall and the Evil Empire that built it.

So it comes as a shock to learn that today Reagan is not welcome in Berlin. To mark the 30th anniversary of the wall’s collapse, the United States tried to get German agreement to erect a statue of Reagan in a public square in Berlin. Berlin officials refused. John Heubusch, head of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, said that “we were told it would be near impossible to make such a statue in Berlin.”

Faced with German rejection of a Reagan statue on German soil, the Trump administration decided to erect it on U.S. soil — on the embassy terrace overlooking the Brandenburg Gate where Reagan delivered his fateful call. In an interview, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell says, “We decided we were going to take matters into our own hands and put a statue up on the top of the U.S. Embassy.” Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Berlin to unveil it.

Germany’s ingratitude is stunning. Perhaps no country on Earth owes more to the American people. It was the United States that rebuilt postwar Germany with the Marshall Plan. It was the United States that saved Berlin from Soviet domination with the Berlin Airlift. It was the United States that stationed tens of thousands of troops in Germany to prevent a Soviet invasion across the Fulda Gap. The threat of such an invasion was real. The Washington Post reported in 1993 that after East Germany’s collapse, the German military found that the communists had “prepared a detailed plan for the takeover of West Berlin” in which “Soviet forces and East German army, border police and local police … would storm through the Berlin Wall.” The planning was “so detailed and advanced that the communists had already made street signs for western cities.”

Without the United States, without Reagan, the wall would have been brought down — smashed under the treads of Soviet tanks.

It is not simply Germany’s refusal to honor Reagan that rankles. Grenell points out that Foreign Minister Heiko Maas “wrote a definitive opinion piece that was produced in more than 20 papers across Europe … about the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall and how far Germany is coming … and he didn’t mention the United States.” Indeed, his only reference to America was bemoaning how Berlin’s exhortations to address issues such as climate change “fall on deaf ears in Moscow, Beijing and, unfortunately, to an increasing extent also in Washington, DC.” He thanks “Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost and perestroika” but not a word of gratitude for Reagan or the United States.

This from a country that is failing to meet its financial obligations to the NATO alliance that secured its freedom. Germany is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, which sends billions of dollars to Russia for natural gas in Germany. Yet it spends just 1.24% of its gross domestic product on defense, among the bottom of the NATO allies. This month, Germany’s defense minister called for raising its defense spending to the required 2% of GDP … by 2031.

In the 20th century, Americans sacrificed their lives and treasure to liberate Germany first from National Socialism and then from Soviet socialism. When the world wanted peaceful coexistence with Soviet communism, Reagan declared his policy toward the U.S.S.R. was simple: “We win, they lose.” Lose they did, without a shot fired. And today, the United States still has 50,000 troops stationed on German soil. Germany owes its freedom and prosperity to America and specifically to Ronald Reagan. The least they could do is say thank you, and put up a simple statue.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

Roaring Fork boys soccer team bounces back to advance to first state championship

DENVER — As time dwindled in the second half, the Roaring Fork High School boys soccer team had a strong sense of deja vu.

The fifth-seeded Rams were tied at 0 with No. 1 Salida in the Class 3A state semifinals Wednesday night, and it looked like they were heading to overtime.

In the same round of the state championships last year, Roaring Fork battled to a shootout but fell 2-1, ending its season.

But the narrative changed dramatically this time around at All City Stadium.

The Rams came from behind late in the second half to tie the game. And in overtime, they were finally victorious.

Roaring Fork (15-2-1 overall) scored with 3 minutes, 32 seconds left in the extra period to upset the top seed 2-1 and secure their first bid to the championship game in school history.

“To tell you the truth, I was kind of consigning to another semifinal exit,” coach Nick Forbes said. “And then Ross (Barlow) pulls out a special moment.”

With 7:14 remaining in regulation, Salida (17-1-1) deflated the Rams’ hopes as junior Kai Brown scored on a wide open shot to take a 1-0 lead.

RF junior goalkeeper Noah Wheeless had come out of the goal to help defend, but Brown slipped by him and sailed the ball into the net.

“Once they scored I felt the whole team just come down,” said Wheeless, who had five saves on the night. “I felt terrible. I was like ‘that was my fault’ and everyone (said) ‘no, we’re a team. We’re gonna win and we’re gonna lose together.

“And then that magic just happened.”

The Rams began to push hard on offense and had a couple of opportunities, but they couldn’t capitalize. Then, sophomore Barlow was left open in the back post and he slipped the ball past the goalie into the right corner with 1:20 left to tie the game at 1.

As the overtime period began, both sides played with urgency to start, but Barlow said he and his teammates began to slow down and play smarter.

Roaring Fork started controlling the ball and opened up a couple shots on goal. After a shot by sophomore Jose Mercado Jr. missed, the Rams got a corner kick. While battling for the ball, a Salida player committed a penalty right outside the net.

Barlow got set up for the penalty kick in the box and with 3:32 left on the clock, he knocked the ball into the left corner for the win.

“I just took a couple deep breaths before that PK and put it in,” Barlow said.

Now, despite playing in their first championship game, the Rams are feeling confident, especially since they have only allowed one goal in the postseason and took 14 shots on goal against Salida.

Roaring Fork will take on defending 3A state champs Kent Denver — 6-1 winners over Atlas Preparatory School in the night cap Wednesday — at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

“I think our defensive collectiveness is really strong, and you can see it when we play,” Forbes said. “They kind of had a little dip right at the end of the season, (but) right now they’re finding their best form and that’s all you can ask for as a coach is (to) find it when it matters.”


Thursday letters: Tobacco tax, checks and balances, the Electoral College, and mansplaining

City will lose on tobacco tax

Regarding the recent election, I was quite disappointed in our electorate approving the tobacco tax for the City of Glenwood. My disappointment is not at all related to the cause that inspired the ballot measure or the virtue behind the inspiration. Rather my disappointment is in the recognition of the lack of scrutiny that voters apply to issues.

I predict that the result of the additional tobacco tax in the City of Glenwood will result in lower revenue rather than additional revenue. I also predict that the projected additional revenue will be spent before it is realized. In the end a large portion of the current revenue generated by all of the tobacco sales will be lost to sales outside of Glenwood Springs and the additional tax added after Jan. 1 won’t replace that loss.

Ray Schmahl
Glenwood Springs

Checks and balances protect American people from a tyrant

What is reality (truth)? According to many of those who are running the federal government in Washington, it is whatever they want it to be.

Those who wrote the U.S. Constitution established a system of checks and balances. One purpose of this system is to protect all the American people from a tyrant. Remember George Washington did not want to be a king.

Perhaps the only thing that matters to many in Washington is staying in power, so they will accept lies and say whatever they must to do so.

To quote Jimi Hendrix: When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

Let us hope that those who truly care all Americans prevail.

Nancy Hess
Glenwood Springs

Electoral College balances inequities in human nature

You can’t beat public opinion, but it isn’t infallible. Witness the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s. With the Electoral College, a balance is created between tyranny and tradition. Today the inference is that there is tyranny in the Electoral College. No such formal charge has been made.

In place of real charges, the “red herring” proposal is that since the Electoral College is an anachronism that dates from a less technological age at the formation of the republic, it should be amended to a national winner take all. This is a false argument.

An alternative as stated on 270towin website: “Maine and Nebraska have adapted a different approach. Using the congressional district method, these states allocate two electoral votes to the state popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district.”

Why is this important? It would give people in lessor-populated areas who have a different view, representation. We are Americans. We can’t lose the voice of the minority. The Electoral College was introduced to balance the inequities in human nature.

Fred Stewart,
Grand Junction

Insulted by manslplaining

I can handle and respect most of the opposing views expressed daily in the opinion section, even if  I disagree.

Mansplaining? I read it twice, considered each example, and reflected. I was insulted, twice.

I kept hoping this would be a tongue-in-cheek observation that would be a friendly reminder to look straight ahead, utter nothing (including a friendly greeting) and mind my own business at all times.

Being a mostly-white Boomer (OK), who like most men and women contributed to society over several decades, being dismissed and derided in public and now in the newspaper is the new norm.

Would the Post Independent print an opinion if the author was a male and wished to marginalize the entire female population?

Don Moore
New Castle

Glenwood High senior finds ‘deeper meaning’ with capstone film project


Who: Glenwood Springs High School student A.J. Adams, filmmaker

What: Senior Capstone project, “Connections — A Deeper Meaning of Cancer”

When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17

Where: The Orchard, 110 Snowmass Drive, Carbondale

Cost: Free by signing up via Adams’ EventBrite page

A Glenwood Springs High School student’s family cancer experience has turned into an extra-special — and extra-personal — senior capstone project.

When A.J. Adams’ mother, Catherine, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, he wasn’t sure how to deal with the news. What he did know is that he wanted to be part of his mom’s journey.

“I started doing some of my own research to try to understand the process my mom was going through,” Adams, who was a sophomore at the time, said.

When Catherine began cancer treatments at the Calaway Young Cancer Center at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, A.J. and his sisters were given a tour of the facility.

“It showed me how positive and upbeat everyone is, and it changed my whole opinion on it, so I decided to get more involved,” he said.

That fall, he formed a Rally the Valley team, the GWS Ballers, inviting some of his GSHS basketball teammates to help raise money through the annual event for the integrative therapy services offered to cancer patients at the center. 

This fall marked Adams’ third year organizing a Rally the Valley team. During that span of time they’ve raised over $3,000.

Last year, during a visit to the Cancer Center, A.J. befriended Tom Sullivan, who was going through chemotherapy treatments.

“I started talking to him about what he was going through and just trying to get his mind off the whole cancer thing, and bring him into a more positive light,” Adams said. “That helped me a lot, because I learned what it’s like to connect with someone and have them open up their life to me.”

He decided to build on that experience and turn it into his senior capstone project. 

The Roaring Fork School District requires all seniors to complete a capstone — a type of hands-on, experiential, real-life project — as a requirement for graduation.

A.J. Adams and Michael Taylor, who graduated from high school last year and one of the people interviewed in the film.

The final product, a 17-minute film documentary titled “Connections — A Deeper Meaning of Cancer,” will be screened for free at 2 p.m. Sunday at The Orchard in Carbondale.

Adams started working on the project during his junior year, lining up interviews and following cancer patients and their caregivers through their cancer experience.

A necessary aspect of a capstone project is to work directly with community experts for guidance. Adams worked with Jo Bershenyi, manager of the integrated therapy services at the Cancer Center, and Rodney O’Byrne, who joined in to help with the technical details.

Bershenyi said it’s rare for children of cancer patients to show the level of interest Adams did.

“When he asked me to help, the answer was ‘absolutely, yes,’” Bershenyi said. “But I also told him we would need to have some pretty brutal conversations about cancer.

“I’m in it every day, and not everyone gets out of it,” she said. “That’s part of it, and he’s seeing that in his journey.” 

A.J. Adams and Tucker Stinson. Tucker was diagnosed when he was an infant and is a survivor.

Among the patients Adams engaged with for the project was a young boy named Tucker Stinson. Immediately, there was a connection, Adams related.

“He’d had cancer since before he could really remember, so I talked to him and his dad about it together,” he said.

The caregiver stories are equally compelling, he said.

“It definitely helped me process it, because I was able to learn about how other people handled things,” he said. “Every person I interviewed was super positive, and they were all continuing on with their lives and still making a difference in the community.”

“I want people to leave with the idea that cancer isn’t life-defining,” Adams said of the Sunday film screening. “It doesn’t shut down who you are and doesn’t stop you from being you — as long as you find support, connect with other people, keep humor in your life and always find a way to smile.”

Several survivors are included in the film, including his mom. Some of the subjects have terminal diagnoses. And one, longtime community organizer and cancer support coach, Nancy Reinisch, died earlier this year.

The screening is free, but Adams asks that people sign up at his EventBrite page: https://connectionsadeepermeaningofcancer.eventbrite.com

He also has a Facebook page, connectionsadeepermeaningofcancer, as well as a website: www.aaronjamesadams.com 


27th Street Bridge Project to conclude early next year

On Nov. 14, 2018, the city of Glenwood Springs held a ceremonial groundbreaking event for its 27th Street Bridge Project.

One year later, the estimated 14,000 vehicles that cross the 27th Street Bridge daily no longer do so over one of the worst-rated bridges in the state.

Structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, the old 27th Street Bridge earned a 10.5 out of 100 rating from state inspectors before its replacement earlier this year.

According to public information officials, although significant milestones have been completed on the 27th Street Bridge Project, significant work remains.

In addition to completing a retaining wall on the south side of the bridge, crews need to finish masonry and utility work as well as the roundabout’s construction.

“Right now crews are working on deep utilities that are in the roadway and that includes some sanitary sewer and irrigation lines,” Bryana Starbuck, 27th Street Bridge Project public information manager, said. “That is what crews will also be working on during the eastbound and south leg intersection closure that begins on Thursday.”

Beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday and lasting until 6 a.m. Monday, 27th Street between Midland Avenue and State Highway 82 will close to eastbound traffic.

“[During the closure] the 27th Street Bridge itself will only allow westbound traffic. So, that is traffic coming from Highway 82 and going toward Midland Avenue,” Starbuck said. “Traffic coming from Midland Avenue wanting to cross the 27th Street Bridge will be diverted down to Eighth Street.”

Between 9 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Monday, the south leg of the intersection at 27th Street and South Grand Avenue will also close to traffic.

According to Starbuck, with the exception of minor landscaping work in the springtime, the 27th Street Bridge project will conclude, likely, at the end of January.

“We have a stellar safety rate on this job,” Jessica Bowser, assistant city engineer, said. “It’s been great. I don’t think we’ve had any slips, trips or falls.”

However, because the project’s timeline was delayed, city council amended the construction management contract last week.

“We’ve had extended work weeks and working hours,” Bowser said at the Nov. 7 council meeting. “A lot of overnight shifts that have had to be facilitated for our utility installations and things like that in order to try and reduce traffic impacts.”

The amendment adds an additional $164,851 to the construction management contract.


Rabbit restriction in Carbondale farmer’s crosshairs

Matt Kennedy knows he has too many rabbits.

Kennedy’s quarter-acre Carbondale lot has pens housing dozens of rabbits. He also has a greenhouse, gardens, beehives, and coops for poultry.

But when Kennedy, a chef and entrepreneur, started his urban farm and began raising rabbits over a year ago, no one had told him about an old rule in Carbondale’s code that limits households to three rabbits.

“I wanted to demonstrate sustainability through rabbits,” Kennedy said. “Rabbits happen to be the most sustainable meat source on the entire planet.”

Matt Kennedy and his daughter Aberdeen hold two of their rabbits in the backyard of their home in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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After being cited for too many rabbits, Kennedy wants to start a conversation about urban farming, and, hopefully, find a way to continue his work.

“When I started the project I did not know there was a limitation,” Kennedy said. He found out when code enforcement gave him the ticket.

Nearly a year ago, Kennedy had a fox kill three rabbits. He discovered it in the morning, but because he had to work in Aspen, he left the bodies on top of his compost bin. That triggered a complaint from a neighbor for violating another portion of Carbondale’s code.

“It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy worked late that night and said he went straight to bed when he got home. The next morning, he had a note from code enforcement for violating the rabbit limitation.

Chapter 7, Article 6 of Carbondale’s municipal code states: “No rabbits in excess of three shall be kept by any one household within the town limits.”

Matt Kennedy walks out of the greenhouse located in the backyard of his home in Carbondale.
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That part of the code dates back to 1948, and was updated in 1972 and again in 2015, but it’s unclear if the number of rabbits has been adjusted.

When he went to the town for business license, his application specified that he’d be raising rabbits for meat.

He wishes someone might have directed him to the rabbit ordinance.

“I’m just as guilty for not going looking for it, but I didn’t know about (the ordinance),” Kennedy said.

The violation doesn’t have any fine specified, and Kennedy’s case hasn’t been heard in municipal court.

Matt Kennedy talks about the number of rabbits he owns.
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The Carbondale board of trustees agreed to consider changing the rabbit ordinance, but hasn’t set a date to discuss it.

“The board agreed to discuss that,” Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson said. “We have not set an agenda for that yet, but we will.”


Vail to open Friday with 70 acres of terrain

On the heels of the largest snowmaking expansion project in Vail Mountain’s history and in North America, Vail is set to open on Friday with a reimagined opening day terrain experience, offering skiers and riders approximately 70 acres of terrain accessed via Gondola One in Vail Village starting at 9 a.m.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to kick off the 2019-2020 winter season at Vail on Friday,” said Beth Howard, Vail Mountain’s new vice president and chief operating officer, in a company news release. “Thanks to our enormous snowmaking expansion project, we have an entirely new early-season terrain package available this year, and we can’t wait for our guests to experience the difference. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to our mountain operations teams for their hard work this summer and fall to make it all possible.”

New for this season, Vail will open skiing and riding out of Vail Village, with upload and download access to the Mid-Vail area via Gondola One. The resort will offer skiing and riding terrain for all ability levels on trails accessed by Mountaintop Express Lift (No. 4) out of Mid-Vail including Swingsville, Ramshorn, Slifer Express, Cappuccino, Upper Powerline, Lower Meadows, beginner terrain out of Golden Peak’s Gopher Hill Lift (No. 12) and Sherry’s Carpet (No. 33), and the connector trail between Golden Peak and Vail Village.

As part of the Opening Day festivities, Vail’s COO Beth Howard along with snowmaking project leaders will perform a celebratory ribbon cutting on one of Vail’s new state-of-the-art snow guns at the base of Gondola One at 8:30 a.m.

This year’s Opening Day will unveil Vail Mountain’s entirely new and enhanced early-season ski experience, made possible by this summer’s massive snowmaking expansion project — the largest in Vail Mountain’s history and the largest one-year snowmaking expansion in North America. Nearly 200 acres of new and enhanced snowmaking terrain this season, in addition to the previously existing 431 acres of snowmaking terrain, provides guests with access to higher elevation terrain, a broader variety of trails, and improved early season ski school terrain. Vail will continue to make snow across the mountain at every opportunity as weather and conditions permit, and look to expand open terrain as soon as possible.

Complimentary breakfast burritos and hot cocoa will be provided in Mountain Plaza at the base of Gondola One for early risers on opening day, while supplies last. Express Lift Bar will be open in Mountain Plaza as well. For dining on the mountain, Look Ma at Mid-Vail and Buffalo’s at the top of Mountaintop Express Lift (No. 4) will be fully operational starting at 9 a.m.

In support of its major snowmaking investments on the mountain, Vail will also be kicking off exciting new traditions in the early season this year:

Vail Après

Beginning on Opening Day and continuing every day throughout the season, bells will be rung at 3 p.m. throughout Vail Village, Lionshead Village and on the mountain, signifying the start to après-ski: a time to celebrate the day’s achievements on the mountain and come together with the community to enjoy the post-skiing experience. During Vail Après, guests will enjoy unique offerings such as champagne toasts, signature food and drink specials, and retail promotions. Vail Mountain and the Town of Vail have partnered to bring this experience to life, distributing bells to local merchants and community partners to ring each day at 3 p.m., in homage to Vail’s European Alpine heritage.

Revely Vail

This Thanksgiving, Vail is debuting its new holiday tradition: Revely Vail, a week-long celebration to kick off the holiday season and the 2019-2020 winter ski season. From Nov. 23-30, Revely Vail will offer family-oriented activities throughout Vail Village, including cooking classes, ice skating, a Gingerbread Contest, Explosion of Lights and a Kris Kringle Market. A signature 10th Mountain Legacy Parade will also take place along the streets of Vail on Friday, Nov. 29, honoring veterans and commemorating the unique legacy of Vail’s founders.

Early season and uphill access

All guests are reminded that they must observe all posted signs, closures and slow zones, especially during the early season. Closed trails may contain hazards due to early snow coverage. Accessing closed terrain is a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act and will result in the loss of skiing privileges and could involve prosecution and a fine.

During the early season, uphill access routes will be very limited and are subject to change and/or close on a daily basis. Uphill access is currently closed. For the safety of guests and employees, all uphill access users are required to call the Uphill Access Hotline before accessing the mountain at (970)-754-3049. For more information on the resort’s uphill access policy and guidelines, including designated routes during winter operations, visit our Safety Info page here.

Lift tickets

The ticket and season pass offices located in Vail Village, Golden Peak and Lionshead will be open daily beginning on Nov. 15 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about Vail Mountain visit http://www.vail.com, stop by the Mountain Information Center, or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).

Vail Ski & Snowboard School

Beginning Friday, the Vail Village and Golden Peak Ski & Snowboard School will be open. Walk-ins are accepted. For the best price guaranteed, guests are encouraged to book in advance online at http://www.vail.com or by calling (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).

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)

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.

“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)

“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.

“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.


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

“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.


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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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