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Condado de Garfield ve aumento en hospitalizaciones por COVID-19 y nuevos casos de variantes

La directora de Family Birth Place de Valley View Hospital, Michelle Zywiec, administra una vacuna COVID-19 en la clínica de vacunación del hospital en esta foto de febrero de 2021.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

De acuerdo con Salud Pública, el condado de Garfield está experimentando un fuerte aumento en las hospitalizaciones debido a casos de COVID-19 en el área y recientemente ha confirmado más casos locales de la variante renombrada “Delta.”

“Este es un recordatorio de que el virus no ha desaparecido y de que no todos reaccionan al virus de la misma manera,” afirma un comunicado de Salud Pública del miércoles. “Algunas personas tienen un riesgo mucho mayor de sufrir una enfermedad grave.”

Según las estadísticas más recientes del condado, de los 49 nuevos casos de COVID-19 confirmados entre el 4 y el 10 de junio, el 15% requirió hospitalización. Tan recientemente como el 1 de junio, la tasa de hospitalización local era del 4%.

Sin embargo, no todos esos pacientes están en hospitales del condado. El hospital Valley View en Glenwood Springs informó el miércoles que ha admitido a tres pacientes con COVID-19 desde el primero del mes.

Grand River Health en Rifle no ha admitido a ningún paciente nuevo con COVID-19 en la última semana, pero transfirió a cuatro pacientes a otros hospitales el lunes, incluido uno a Denver, según la portavoz de Grand River, Annick Pruett.

“No representaríamos los cambios en nuestras hospitalizaciones por COVID-19 como significativos o dramáticos,” dijo la portavoz de Valley View, Stacey Gavrell. “Nuestra capacidad de atender a los pacientes, con COVID o de otro tipo, sigue siendo sólida.

“COVID todavía está impactando negativamente a nuestra comunidad al causar infecciones leves, moderadas, y graves,” agregó. “Los números son manejables, pero no ha desaparecido.”

La directora de Salud Pública del condado de Garfield, Yvonne Long, dijo que su departamento sigue los casos de residentes del condado hospitalizados, sin importar dónde estén hospitalizados.

“Este número puede fluctuar a medida que los pacientes son dados de alta, pero se ha mantenido estable ya que tenemos algunos casos que están siendo tratados fuera del condado con síntomas severos,” dijo Long en un correo electrónico el jueves, añadiendo que su personal actualmente está siguiendo cinco casos hospitalizados.

A pesar del aumento de las hospitalizaciones, la incidencia y las tasas de positividad de las pruebas del condado de Garfield se mantienen estables, incluso cuando la gente está saliendo más y más. Hasta el jueves, la tasa de incidencia era de 78.1 por cada 100.000 personas y la tasa de positividad de la prueba se había reducido a un 3.7%.

Las tasas de vacunación contra COVID-19 para el condado son del 57.4% para los pacientes con al menos una dosis, con 48.7% completamente vacunados, según el comunicado del condado.

Ha habido 49 nuevos casos durante los últimos siete días. Desde el comienzo de la pandemia, se han registrado 40 muertes por COVID-19 en el condado de Garfield, incluida una nueva muerte en el último mes.

Mientras tanto, funcionarios de salud del condado informaron el jueves que ha habido seis nuevos casos confirmados de la variante Delta COVID-19 en el condado de Garfield durante las últimas tres semanas.

“No todos los casos positivos se secuencian para las variantes, lo que significa que el número real de infecciones es mucho mayor,” afirmó un comunicado de prensa del jueves.

La Organización Mundial de la Salud ha incluido la variante Delta, que se originó en India, como “variante preocupante,” y los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) han clasificando a Delta como “variante de interés.”

“Se ha descubierto que la variante Delta es más contagiosa, particularmente entre jóvenes de 12 a 20 años,” de acuerdo con el comunicado.

Según Salud Pública de Garfield, cualquier persona en el condado de Garfield que ahora dé positivo por el virus COVID-19 probablemente tenga una cepa de la enfermedad.

“Las áreas de Colorado con tasas de vacunación más bajas tienen más probabilidades de verse afectadas por la propagación de las variantes,” afirmó el comunicado. Salud Pública del Condado de Garfield le recuerda al público que debe observar precauciones de salud, especialmente los que no están vacunados.”

Para más información sobre clínicas de vacunación, visite el sitio web de Salud Pública del condado de Garfield o la página de Facebook.

Puedes contactar a John Stroud, Reportero Sénior/Editor en Jefe, al 970-384-9160 o en jstroud@postindependent.com

How’s business? Things heating up for Glenwood Springs clothing store

Ivy Rattet, owner of The Fourth Dimension in Glenwood Springs. Shannon Marvel / Post Independent

Business is heating up at The Fourth Dimension in Glenwood Springs. Ivy Rattet, who owns the clothing store in downtown Glenwood Springs with her husband, Miles Rattet, said the store was able to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of a loan from the Small Business Association.

Back in March of 2020 the store closed down for four months due to COVID-19.

“The only thing that was a huge stress for us was when we shut down we had a store full of winter clothing,” Rattet said.

“We always do a big sale to push out the winter stuff so we can bring in summer clothing. So when we reopened we had a store full of winter clothes, which was kind of tricky.”

The Rattets also welcomed a newborn baby in February of 2020.

“We had a corona silver lining. We had a baby that was born Feb. 22, so we got to hang out at home being new parents,” Rattet said.

“So it was a silver lining for us with the timing. But once we reopened we were slammed.”

Rattet said Glenwood Springs businesses have been extremely busy since restrictions were lifted.

“When we opened our doors people were wanting to get out, which was nice,” Rattet said. “People are still wanting to get out. I think we’re going to have a crazy, busy summer.”

Rattet does want to thank the local customers, saying their business is what keeps the clothing store going and thriving.

She also noted that business is good thanks to an influx of visitors.

“The tourists are coming in hot from Denver. So, I think we’ll have a good summer,” Rattet said.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

How’s Business?

Every week, we’ll check in with a Garfield County business to see, well, how business is going. Through these stories we hope to share stories of challenge and success and help our community gain a more qualitative picture of how our local economy is faring. Have a business you think we should check in with? Contact reporter Shannon Marvel at smarvel@postindependent.com.

 

Triumph on Track: Coal Ridge junior looks to state after dominating performance in Grand Junction

Peyton Garrison leans across the finish line in the 400-meter final.
Cody Jones/Post Independent

Peyton Garrison is dominant on the track. The Coal Ridge High School junior displayed that at the Multi-League Championship meet on Thursday and Friday at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.

The conditions were far from ideal as temperatures peaked at around 90 degrees, with the track surface and infield turf feeling much hotter. Along with blazing sun, there was a haze in the air from the onset of smoke rolling in from fires in Utah and New Mexico.

While waiting to line up for another one of her three final events of the day, Garrison sought refuge from the heat by huddling under the only source of shade on the turf: the water cooler table. Draped with a cold wet towel and already perspiring, Garrison’s 400-meter dash final was called to the line: go time.

Garrison didn’t allow the heat to play a role in her physical performance as she would go on to capture league titles in all three of her events despite the adverse conditions.

“I was kind of worried that I [Garrison] wouldn’t be able to win all three but when I got to the meet I got confident,” she said afterward.

Coal Ridge Track head coach Ben Kirk said Garrison is the quintessential resilient competitor.

“Garrison is a workhorse and a special type of athlete,” he said.

Garrison is currently qualified for the Colorado State Championship Meet in four events ranging from the 100-meter dash to the long jump. Garrison will continue to display her hard-working personality in the last few practices leading up to the state championship meet June 24-26 at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood, Colorado

When asked if she will compete in all four of these events at state, Garrison said she was unsure but wants to do everything she can to help her team end the season as strongly as possible.

Garrison also touched on one of coach Kirk’s main philosophies, saying, “every practice we try hard and keep trying to get better.”

UPDATE: Latest Garfield County COVID-19 statistics and risk level

Latest Garfield County COVID-19 statistics and risk level

AS OF SATURDAY, JUNE 12

Cumulative cases: 6,140 (18 new since Thursday)

Deaths since outbreak began: 40 confirmed

Current Risk Level: Blue (Cautious)

Recent 7-day case totals: June 6-12 – 51; May 30-June 5 – 51; May 23-29 – 51

Two-week daily case average: 7.29

Single-day high: 101 on 12/10/20

7-day incidence rate: 83.1 per 100,000 people

7-day test positivity rate: 5.9%

7-day hospitalization rate: 14%

Vaccines administered (as of 6/7): 53,274 (29,689 first doses; 23,585 second doses; 51% of eligible population fully vaccinated; 59% have first dose)

Source: Garfield County Public Health

HOSPITAL STATS

Valley View Hospital, as of 6/1/2021

Specimens collected through Valley View: 27,389 (+382 since 5/25)

Positive results: 2,163 (+15 since 5/25)

Note: Valley View is updating its reporting software and will provide new figures for specimens collected and positive results when that update is complete.

Hospitalizations since outbreak began: 267 (3 new since 6/1)

Grand River Hospital, as of 6/8/2021

Specimens collected through Grand River Health: 8,440 (+104 since 5/25)

Positive results: 1,334 (43 new since 5/25)

Hospitalizations since outbreak began: 52 (0 new since 6/1); 4 transfers since 6/1

Source: Hospital statistics released weekly on Tuesday

ACTIVE OUTBREAKS IN GARFIELD COUNTY

(Updated 6/9)

AeroCare Holdings, Inc., Silt: Date determined, 5/5 (updated 6/9); 4 staff cases.

Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home, Rifle: Date new outbreak determined, 4/9 (updated 6/9); 5 resident, 7 staff cases .

Garfield County Detention Center, Glenwood Springs: Date determined, 4/7 (updated 6/9); 21 inmates, 14 staff cases

Heritage Park Care Center, Carbondale: Date determined, 5/20 (updated 6/9); 5 resident, 6 staff cases.

New Creation Preschool, New Castle: Date determined, 5/28 (updated 6/9); 4 staff, 4 attendee cases.

Source: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Covid-19 outbreak data page

Low water volumes due to drought could affect Colorado River recreational activities

Water volumes along the Colorado River are 55% of average for the amount of volume that would normally be seen from April to July, according to Aldis Strautins, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

That’s due to drought conditions that have persisted over the last year.

The Eagle River’s water volume is also at 55% of the average, and the Roaring Fork River is at 51% of the normal average volume, Strautins said.

“They’re really well below average and a lot of that has to do with last year and what happened going into the snow accumulation period,” Strautins said. “We were really dry last year — soil moisture levels were exceptionally dry. The soil took a lot of that runoff and that’s what we’re seeing here is the combination of below normal snowback for a good portion of the Colorado basin.”

Without the spring rains and kinds of storms the Colorado River Basin would likely have in the springtime, the area will continue to stay dry and below normal, Strautins said.

“We’re hoping for some monsoonal rains that might help it. The climate prediction center is predicting a higher probability of below average precipitation through the summertime,” Strautins said. “So, that’s not good.”

Meteorologists are also expecting a higher probability for higher temperatures,” Strautins said.

“We do see some slight indications that there might be some moisture coming into Arizona in two weeks out or so.”

Strautins said moisture could be pulled up to Arizona that could come close to Colorado.

“Whether it makes it to the Colorado basin, it’s hard to tell,” Strautins said.

“The outlook is that even if we do get that it won’t bring above average precipitation. It’s a bleak outlook right now.”

Paula Stepp, executive director for the Middle Colorado Watershed Council, said the drought will likely impact the Glenwood Springs area in many ways.

Stepp said there are concerns about how the drought and lower water volumes along the Colorado River will impact agriculture, recreation and aquatic habitat.

Water use by agricultural producers is already stressed by the drought, Stepp said.

“There was already a lot going on with the historical users pool. When I sat in on those calls in April there were already concerns about low water. Who needs the water and where that water is going to.”

Stepp said she’s already heard that there’s not a lot of water available and there’s a need to be conservative with water usage.

On the recreational side of things, Stepp said there could be a much shorter rafting season.

“We’ve already passed the peak from what I understand,” Stepp said.

Stepp explained that conditions one would experience while rafting in August may be the kind that appear in July.

“Angling and fishing will also be impacted probably,” Stepp said. We might end up seeing where we have to stop fishing in the middle of the day because the water is too warm because it’s too low. Those are the concerns that have been expressed.”

Stepp said there’s a need for rain, but a deluge could result in debris slides within the Grizzly Creek burn scar.

“Post-fire means that if there’s a huge rain storm, or the wrong kind of quick rain, we could see some debris flow,” Stepp said. “So we’re concerned about that as well and how that might impact downstream.”

Currently, Stepp said the best thing local residents can do is to conserve their water.

“It’s that kind of year,” she said.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

Fast times at Coal Ridge High: Titans win boys, girls 3A league championships

Coal Ridge junior Peyton Garrison leads the way in the 100-meter dash oin Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Both the Coal Ridge boys and girls teams won their respective divisions to crown themselves 3A Multi-League champions at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction on Friday.

To add the cherry on top, head Titans track and field coach Ben Kirk was named “Best Coach for the 3A Division of the Western Slope and Southwestern Track and Field League Championships.”

Pretty much every single female event had a Coal Ridge individual or relay team either nab first place or make the top three. They would end the blistering hot day’s action with a total of 10 first-place finishes, which elevated them to a 239-point team finish.

To put things in perspective, Moffat County scored 139 points to take a second-place team finish.

The Titans’ team prosperity in the boys’ division came from grinding it out for a plethora of silver and bronze finishes. Though Coal Ridge collected three total golds, their three second-place, five third-place and even four fourth-place finishes helped accrue 167.5 team points.

Moffat County came in second place in the boys’ division, scoring 149 points. Rifle came in a respectable third place, collecting 144 points.

Leading the charge on the girls’ side was junior Peyton Garrison, who collected three individual golds in the short dash events.

Titans senior Raeanna Nelson competes in the 100-meter hurdles in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

She’d win first in the 100-meter dash by finishing the race in 12.29 seconds. Keeping up the pace in the 200-meter dash, her 25.36-second finish landed her second first place of the day. She’d end the day in her individual performances with a 57.46-second finish in the 400-meter dash.

Titans junior Lydia Karren had herself a phenomenal showing in the 300-meter hurdles, nabbing a 50.38-second first-place finish. She’d outrun senior teammate Raeanna Nelson, who finished second in 54.98 seconds.

In the field events, Titans senior Marin Simons took first place in high jump via a height of 5-2.

Senior Taylor Wiescamp throws discus in Grand Junction on Friday.
Cody Jones / Post Independent

Senior teammate Phoebe young, who competed in the Multi-League Championship pole vault event held at Coal Ridge earlier this week, hoisted herself to a 10-04 inch first-place finish.

Finally, junior Natalie Smythe achieved success in triple jump. Her 33-11.25 was good for first place.

Titans junior Railey Largent takes off during a medley event.
Cody Jones / Post Indepndent

But perhaps the biggest feather in the Titans’ cap came from their relay events.

The 4×100 team finished with a time of 52.59-seconds for first place. Then the 4×200 relay team came back and nabbed another gold via a 1:50.27 finish. Not to be outdone, the Titans’ 4×400 relay team nabbed first place with a 4:07.31 finish.

The Titans’ 800-sprint medley capped off the dominance with a 1:53.39 first-place finish.

On the boys’ side, the Titans ended top dogs in the triple jump, pole vault events and the 4×200-meter relay.

Titans senior Moises Contreras leaps in the air during a long jump event in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

The Titans’ 4×200-meter relay team secured a 1:324.15 for a first-place finish. Meanwhile, senior Shayne Sandblom took first in pole vault via 11-04.5.

Finally, Titans junior Eddie Salazar took first place in triple jump with a 38-03.75.

The Coal Ridge track and field team celebrates their multi-league championships in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Roaring Fork and Grand Valley also manufactured some stellar performances during the Multi-League Championship.

RIFLE

Rifle, one of the other Garfield County teams competing in the 3A division, didn’t see too much gold but boy did they capture their fair share of silver and bronze.

For the boys, the 4×100-meter relay team took first place via a 45.36 finish.

Rifle senior Embrey Marantino competes in a relay in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

From there the boys were responsible for amassing eight second-, two third- and five fourth-place finishes on the day.

The Rifle girls major triumph came in the 800-sprint medley relay, gaining third place with a time of 2:01.97.

ROARING FORK

For Roaring Fork High School, the boys took seventh place overall with a score of 40, while the girls took eighth place overall with 19 points.

Senior Lily Nieslanik triumphed in girls long jump, nabbing a 16-09.50 for first place.

Roaring Fork junior Cole Pargiter-Walker lands in the sand during a long jump event in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

For the boys, senior Ross Barlow took first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.37 and was second in the 1600 meters at 4:50.74. The boys also saw gold in the 4×800-meter relay after locking down a time of 8:48.47.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS

In the 4A Western Slope League, Glenwood Springs took third place in the male division with a score of 96. In the female division, the Demons placed sixth with 51 points.

Major highlights for the boys came from senior Brian Delgado, who nabbed a first-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a final time of 51.09.

Senior Taber Uyehara also triumphed in the 110-meter hurdles, notching a first-place finish with a time of 16.65. The speed Demon then nabbed his second gold of the day with a 41.44 in the 300-meter hurdles event.

Glenwood Springs senior Senior Taber Uyehara competes in the 110-meter hurdles event in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

The Demons captured their final first place of the day in the 4×400-meter relay via a time of 3:33.16.

The highest honors the Demons nabbed in the female division came mostly by way of individual events.

Senior Sophia Vigil took first place in the 300-meter hurdles event with a time of 48.20. She also took third place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.87.

Glenwood Springs junior Reid Swanson competes in a high jump event in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Meanwhile, junior Ella Johnson’s 11:19.7 in the 3,200-meter run was good for third place.

The 4×400 girls relay team capped the day off with a third-place finish with a time of 4:14.45.

GRAND VALLEY

In 1A-2A Western Slope League, Grand Valley’s boys took third place overall with a team score of 74.5, while the girls took 11th overall with 23 points.

 

Grand Valley freshman Kaylay Medina lands in the sand during a long jump event in Grand Junction on Friday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Major triumphs for the girls started off with senior Alex Mendoza. Her time of 16.7 in the 100-meter hurdles was good for a second-place finish. She’d go on to win second place in the 300-meter hurdles event with a time of 49.68.

The biggest win for the Cardinals boys came in the relay events. Grand Valley nabbed first place in the 4×800-meter relay with a time of 9:04.58.

Grand Valley junior Alex Mendoza finishes up a hurdles event.
Ray K. ERku / Post Independent

The boys also collected four second-, two third- and one fourth-place finishes to end the day.

Of those second-place finishes, senior Tyler Boger nabbed two — in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles events.

Up next, runners prepare for the June 24-26 Colorado State Championships in Lakewood.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@postindependent.com

Born this way: members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Garfield County share what pride means to them

Friends Web Heyliger and Travis Wilson hang out at a coffee shop on a warm day in Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Francisco Muneton-Germano said he doesn’t feel safe showing affection for his husband in public, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it.

“I might be at risk holding my husband’s hand in public, we might be in danger, but that risk exists already, so why not do something about it. … If you have the opportunity to make someone reflect and think, take it,” Muneton-Germano said.

A 24-year-old medical assistant in Parachute-Battlement Mesa, Muneton-Germano is also actively involved with nonprofits in Garfield County, including Voces Unidas. He and his husband are coming up on their second anniversary, but living where they do he said they feel isolated more often than not. Because Muneton-Germano is Latino, he said the machismo and masculine expectations for men — what some call the “norm” — has caused pushback on who he is from other members of the Latino community and his family.

“I love my Mexican heritage, my Mexican roots. But our culture is very against the gay community,” Muneton-Germano said. “In my religion specifically, too, it’s been really hard for me to open up and have that sense of community in my family. So, I really, really depended for a long time on my friends and I love the word ‘chosen family,’ because to me it means I get to choose the people that I get to call family. I have my biological family and who I grew up with, but at the end of the day there’s only so much support that they can give me because I am gay.”

June is Pride Month, but it holds a different meaning to every member of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) community. Web Heyliger for instance doesn’t hesitate to pop on a pair of high heels and bring out his J. Lo Barbies, but he said he knows that because he was homeschooled he didn’t experience the bullying he would have been faced with otherwise.

Web Heyliger wears a pair of his favorite high heels while holding the rainbow gay pride flag.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“There’s bullying for gay people, sadly we’ve lost a lot of them because they’ve (died by) suicide for being bullied, especially on the internet,” Heyliger said. “But I think now the majority of the young people thrive and get it. Everytime I post a picture in heels with Barbies I get the most likes. … Why? Because I’m being myself.”

Michelle Marlow is an event planner by trade and merged Carbondale’s annual Family Block Party with a Pride Parade in 2019, a decision that was backed by the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club at Carbondale Middle School. After the 2020 pandemic, they’ll be hosting the combination of events for the second time this September.

“We’re just all excited that we are going to be doing this, we’ll be able to gather as a community and celebrate seeing everybody together again, everybody,” Marlow said. “The whole concept of the GSA is they all wear shirts that say ‘be you’ and that’s really what it’s all about.”

Travis Wilson said living in Glenwood Springs feels a lot more diverse than the town in Western Georgia he grew up in. Even though he’s found more of a community here, especially in the local theater scene, Wilson said during the Black Lives Matter vigil in Rifle last summer it became even more apparent of the racism that still exists among LGBTQIA+ folks.

“If you want a diverse community, you accept all walks of life. We’re white cis gay men. I have friends who are non-binary and people of color. You need to include everybody because there is a whole spectrum,” Wilson said. “I feel like a lot of the time there are these cliques, and if you just have these little cliques you’re not going to have a community. … I would say to young people, be friends with everyone. Everyone. As long as they’re not being mean to you, be a friend.”

In Heyliger’s experience, he said older generations, in and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community, need to come to terms that there isn’t only one way to be gay. He added that he’s been told he should repress parts of his personality to a certain extent, but to repress even part of himself feels like he isn’t allowed to be himself at all.

“I certainly didn’t expect that from gay people. … Like I thought this was the whole thing, I thought this was the safest place and then it ended up really not being. … For the older men it’s definitely just that they need to listen more because they’re not doing it. And they think being gay is this one way and no other way,” Heyliger said.

Although Pride Month is in June, it doesn’t mean LGBTQIA+ individuals aren’t living out their identities every other day of the year as well. Some spaces are more accepting than others, some communities more encouraging, but when it comes down to it, Muneton-Germano said he made the decision to not live his life in fear and instead be authentic and work to challenge preconceived notions others may have just by choosing to not suppress himself or his love.

“It really went from being fearful to being unapologetic, and just embracing who I am as a person. Being a person of color, being a gay person, all of that,” Muneton-Germano said. “Pride is not a one-size fits all. It really does vary because it’s those experiences that shape us and make us who we are, the way we think, the way we live our lives. What pride means to me is not the same thing that pride means to someone else, and I think that is what’s so cool about it.”

 

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or jpeterson@postindependent.com.

Glenwood Springs service clubs help remove old insulation from Windwalkers arena

Members of the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs helped remove insulation from the Windwalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center in Carbondale. Submitted Photo.

The Glenwood Springs Kiwanis and Rotary clubs recently completed a major job for the Windwalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center which involved removing the roof insulation from the nonprofit’s 200 foot-by-110 foot arena.

The insulation removal project required over 25 people over two full days, where volunteers used three manlifts, which were donated by Aspen Rent-All.

“I would say they probably saved us $25,000 to $30,000 at the end,” said Gabrielle Greeves, Windwalkers executive director.

“That partnership between Kiwanis and Windwalkers has been going on since our inception in 2005,” Greeves said. “They’ve built sensory trails for us. Without volunteerism as such I’m not sure if we could do the service that we do here. It’s so impactful.”

Greeves said sensory trails are ones that use all five senses, worked into the natural environment.

Greeves said Windwalkers helps over 725 unique individuals.

“Windwalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center helps people with physical, mental and emotional disadvantages,” a news release states.

“The Kiwanis Club of Glenwood Springs, established over 75 years ago, focuses on helping the youth of our community and has partnered with Windwalkers for the past 15 years, helping to build and maintain facilities. The Rotary Club of Glenwood Springs has served the local community for over 50 years.”

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

Man injured in Thursday morning rollover just east of West Glenwood Springs exit on I-70

A man was seriously injured in a rollover crash on Interstate 70 through Glenwood Springs on Thursday.

The crash briefly closed one westbound lane on I-70 from around 8 a.m. to 9:24 a.m. Thursday, according to Glenwood Springs Police Sgt. Dan Scott.

“We were called to an indecent exposure at Kum & Go east involving an adult male with no pants on and stumbling,” Scott said. “We got in the area and saw the vehicle, but I don’t believe the vehicle saw us and he took off on the highway. By the time we caught up to it, it had rolled.”

Scott said the man was ejected from the vehicle and taken to the hospital before being taken to another facility via Flight for Life.

Scott said the man’s name could not be released at this time since the man has not been charged yet.

The Glenwood Springs Police Department, Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Colorado State Highway Patrol and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

‘It had to be theater for me:’ Carbondale actor uses the stage to process, share experiences of loss

Voices Program Director & Lead Teaching Artist Cassidy Willey and her three-year-old son Elliot hang out in Sopris Park in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Cassidy Willey exhaled deeply before taking center stage and guiding the audience back with her to one of the most challenging years of her life.

“I lost my mom in 2018, and after going through that year, there were so many moments where I felt like I had to tell this story. Some of this is so unbelievable and beautiful and devastating, and surprisingly funny in the midst of all of it,” Willey said.

Willey is used to juggling roles — as an actor, director, educator, writer and mother — but in her play “As Close As I Can,” she’s created a one-woman show based on the true experiences spotlighting different moments of vulnerability, grief and joy. The only other voice besides Willey’s heard in the 45-minute production is that of Missy Moore, who narrates the second half to several conversations while tucked backstage.

“New play development is a great passion of mine, because I find it to be the future of our craft. … The trust that (she’s) putting into us and the way in which we develop and create new pieces is just astounding. It’s not only (her) story, but to take (her) story and dramatize it to a place where it resonates is just an amazing journey,” Moore said.

Cassidy’s father, Bob Willey, passed away in 2014 from a stroke combined with his ongoing battle with lung cancer. Willey has a moment in the play where she’s 9 years old and acting alongside her father in a production of “Annie” before she moves into the next scene retelling the suddenness of his death.

Michele Willey, Cassidy’s mother, would work the sound booth or manage the stage for her husband and daughter, intertwining her passion for theater with her love of her family. Michele passed away from ovarian cancer in January 2018, which is the year that inspired Willey to share her experience in the first place.

Voices Program Director & Lead Teaching Artist Cassidy Willey and her three-year-old son Elliot hang out in Sopris Park in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“It didn’t just fall out as a play. And now kind of coming back it feels much closer to what I wanted to write … it had to be theater for me, and I wanted the audience in on it,” Willey said.

Along with Moore, Renee Prince is directing the production, Brendan T. Cochran is stage manager and Kristin Carlson is a script consultant. All of them are helping Willey to refine her story as a play and really immerse her audience into these moments that contained laughter as well as pain.

“Theatermaking feels a lot like midwifery to me, … and this project in particular feels like so much of it is just being there to help guide. It’s fragile and delicate and gutsy and strong, it’s all those things,” Prince said. “Because it’s a group of women here, and it’s a play about being a mother, motherhood and being mothered and mothering. That’s all in the room with us. And we don’t get to be in those spaces all the time.”

Originally slated to premiere in the Denver Fringe Festival of 2020, Willey had to put her production back on the shelf for a long, unexpected year. But for this year’s Fringe Festival, she’ll be performing the world premiere of a play about her, in-person every night of the fest June 24-27.

“There’s an emotional journey here in this rehearsal room every night. I would say we cry most days, which is hard, but also … for me it’s been helpful to process my own grief through telling this story and through reliving it. Not to be in pain, but to find the love, find the acceptance within it is really important,” Willey said.

Carlson, Price and Moore all expressed how honored they were to be trusted with Willey’s story and helping her tell it. While coaching someone on lines in a scene that actually happened to her isn’t easy, Carlson said there’s trust in the process that if they give a note that Willey disagrees with, she’s the ultimate expert in how these experiences played out.

“Cassidy is one tough cookie. It is excruciatingly vulnerable to write, period. Let alone to write one’s own story as a play and to do it with such integrity, ferocity of spirit and generosity to include us,” Carlson said. “And to take to heart and believe that it’s all about shining up who she is. It is about making sure she feels good about this sharing. That she gets to the place and that it’s what she really envisions. And with theater we can’t do that alone, none of us.”

Because Willey grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, and the theater community knew and embraced her and her parents, she said she hopes to bring the show back to the Western Slope after taking it to the Denver Fringe Festival. While she doesn’t know when that will be or what it will look like, Willey said her most important audience is the folks out here who watched her grow up and survive the loss of her parents yet continue their legacy through her own talent and affinity for the stage.

“That’s the only way with grief is through, you can’t just skip over it, you can’t put it away, you have to go through it, and every day the themes, the moments in here, are present with me. … It’s something that’s at the core of my center right now and will be for the rest of my life,” Willey said.

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or jpeterson@postindependent.com.