Citizen Telegram Community News Briefs – Dec. 19, 2013 |

Citizen Telegram Community News Briefs – Dec. 19, 2013

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Rifle awarded grant for backup water plant power

The City of Rifle has received a $735,212 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to purchase and install a natural gas generator to serve as back-up power for the new $25 million water treatment plant expected to begin construction in 2014.

The installation of the generator, with emissions controls, will allow the city to participate in Xcel’s interruptible service option credit program that will help the city cut water plant power costs.

“The city believes there are significant benefits to a natural gas generator,” said City Manager Matt Sturgeon. “It is a reliable secondary power source fueled by locally produced, less expensive, cleaner burning fuel, and will allow the city to have the lowest possible electrical demand charges.”

The grant was made by the department’s energy and mineral impact assistance program, which helps communities that are socially and/or economically impacted by the development, processing, or energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels. Funds come from the state severance tax on energy and mineral production and from a portion of the state’s share of royalties paid to the federal government for mining and drilling of minerals and mineral fuels on federally-owned land.

Library district tops 617,000 circulation

At the annual holiday party on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Silt Branch Library, Garfield County Library District Executive Director Amelia Shelley shared year-end statistics with staff members and their families.

The total circulation through early December at the six branch libraries in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Parachute, Rifle and Silt was 617,169 items.

The highest circulation at a single branch went to Rifle at 266,080 items, and the new Glenwood Springs branch had the best single month of borrowing in November with 28,719.

The district has 41,389 library card holders, with Glenwood Springs having the most registered borrowers at 10,300. Rifle had the highest visitor count so far this year at 177,314, and the total count for all libraries through October was more than 500,000 individual visits. New Castle saw the biggest increase in volunteer participation at over 100 percent (from 43 to 98).

Carbondale, in its new, larger location since July, had given out the most new library cards at 1,577 and had the best attendance at its 335 programs for adults. Parachute had the largest number of students reached through school visits at 9,385, and Silt was the most improved with a 57 percent increase in borrowing over 2012.

Ice safety tips

While Colorado’s early winter blast brought freezing temperatures and ice to the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials remind people that lakes, ponds and streams still may not be ready for winter activity. Here are a few basic safety rules to follow when enjoying winter adventures on the ice:

• Always assume that unsafe ice conditions may exist and remember ice thickness will vary from place to place and day to day. Four inches of ice is generally considered safe for ice fishing and ice skating. However, OHVs need at least five inches of ice thickness. Whenever there is any question about thickness or conditions the best advice is to stay off the ice.

Look for signs of unsafe conditions, including ice of different colors, water on top of the ice, cracks, pressure ridges, open water and bubbles in the ice. Also, beware of ice covered with snow. Sometimes the snow serves as insulation, keeping the ice from melting. Other times, the snow has the opposite effect, insulating the surface from freezing. Also be aware that water levels can fluctuate in reservoirs which can affect ice stability.

• Never go onto the ice alone. Having someone with you means your partner can call or send for help if you fall in.

• Remember reach-throw-go. If you are with someone who falls through the ice and you can’t reach them from shore, throw them a floatation device or rope. If you still can’t help the person quickly, go for help. Never walk out onto the ice to try to rescue your friend because you might fall through, too.

• Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol increases your chance for hypothermia, which is the loss of body temperature. It can also lower your inhibitions, increasing the likelihood that you might take risks you otherwise wouldn’t take.

• Always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device over winter clothing. Life jackets can provide excellent flotation and protection from hypothermia.

• Always wear a safety kit when going out onto the ice. Safety kits should include an ice pick, rope and a whistle to call for help.

• Always keep your pets on a leash. Never allow your dog to run out onto the ice and never walk your dog near a frozen lake or pond without a leash. If your dog falls through the ice, do not attempt a rescue. Go for help. If the ice couldn’t support the weight of your animal, it can’t support you.

If you do fall through the ice, remember to not panic. Try to remain calm to conserve as much energy as possible. Try to get your arms onto the ice and kick as hard as you can with your feet to help lift you onto the ice, and then roll to safety. If you can’t get out of the cold water by yourself, do not swim. Swimming will cause your body to lose heat much faster than if you stay as still as possible. Act slowly and deliberately to conserve heat. Expect a progressive decrease in your strength and ability to move. Make the harder maneuvers at the beginning, while you can. Keep your head and upper body as far out of the water as reasonably possible to conserve heat.

New Year’s library closures

All six branches of the Garfield County Libraries will close early at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, and remain closed Wednesday, Jan. 1, for the New Year’s holiday. The libraries will resume normal hours at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2. For more information, visit

Christmas tree permits

Personal use Christmas tree tags are available from the Rifle Ranger District office of the White River National Forest.

Christmas tree cutting is allowed in most areas on the forest, with these exceptions: wilderness areas, commercial timber sales, recreation and ski areas, administrative areas and Glenwood Canyon. Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of any road. Maps showing where Christmas tree cutting is allowed are available. Permits will only be sold at White River district offices, not at retail outlets, chambers of commerce, the White River supervisor’s office or the Bureau of Land Management office in Silt.

Permits cost $10 each and may be purchased with cash, check, money order or credit cards at the Rifle Ranger Station, 0094 County Road 244, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Permits expire Dec. 31. For more information, call 625-2371.

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