Sep 19

Who Let the (Police) Dogs Out?

Posted on September 19, 2019 at 11:01 AM by Michael Churchill

Corporal Garrett Duncan of the Rifle Police Department is letting the dogs out in a must-attend event for the entire family. Thanks to the efforts of Corporal Duncan, the Rifle Police Department was selected to host the 2019 Colorado Police Canine Challenge. This event will be part of the City of Rifle Western Adventure Weekend and is scheduled for September 21st from 10:00am until 2:00pm at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, 1001 Railroad Avenue. It will take place in the indoor arena so weather won’t be a factor. Admission is free (of course, donations are always welcome) and there will be a raffle with terrific prizes.

Police dogs provide a wide variety of services. They sniff out drugs and assist in apprehending suspects, but they also serve a less recognized function. According to Corporal Duncan, “dogs can ease people during police contacts. People tend to be comforted and more likely to talk when they have contact with a dog”. Duncan emphasizes that this aspect tends to be overlooked. To counter this, the Rifle Police Department brings their dogs to schools, other organizations and events to educate the public and help citizens familiarize themselves with the roles canines play in law enforcement.

The Rifle Police Department K9 program began in 2010. Most Rifle residents know the first police canine, Tulo. Tulo and his handler, Corporal Duncan, were a team until Tulo’s retirement this past January. The department currently has two new dogs, Jax and Makai. Jax is partnered with Officer Jared Bartunek and Makai with Corporal Duncan. Both teams will be participating in the challenge. 

The K9 Challenge will feature law enforcement K9 teams from all over the state. The teams compete in four categories: agility, obedience, apprehension and narcotics detection.  It is extremely entertaining to watch what these dogs can (and sometimes can’t or won’t) do. Not all dogs are trained to perform the tasks which comprise the competition, but many will attempt some of the challenges outside their comfort zone and skill set.  It is a great opportunity to see not only impressive skills, but personalities as well. After the demonstrations, citizens are invited to meet select handlers and their canines and get pictures. 

This year’s K9 challenge is raising money for the Colorado Police Canine Association. This organization is instrumental in providing funds for retired police dogs. Corporal Duncan explains that caring for a retired dog can become quite expensive. Things such as hip replacements, medications and even vitamins can be costly. These four-legged heroes deserve to live out their lives as happy and comfortable as possible. 

Mark your calendars now for this free family event. A fun day is guaranteed. You have will have a great time watching the dogs perform some amazing feats.  

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

K9 Challenge Flyer

Aug 22

Time to Vote! Your Ballot is on its Way!

Posted on August 22, 2019 at 9:56 AM by Michael Churchill

You may think of July as the most patriotic time of year. But as the leaves fall and football season begins, the autumn breezes also usher in your opportunity to play a critical role in making decisions about your government. Nowhere do you have more say than with municipal elections. Issues ranging from who governs the town to spending decisions are made by the voters and are often decided in margins as small as a few votes. So yes, your vote really matters!

The City of Rifle Municipal election is September 10, 2019. Not October. Not November. Official ballots were mailed on Tuesday and should be hitting your mailbox any day now. Inside your packet you will find your official ballot, a secrecy sleeve with instructions and an official return envelope. 

Rifle citizens will be voting on who will obtain or retain seats on City Council and two ballot questions. There are seven candidates running for three Council positions:

Brian Condie

John Max Doose

Joe P. Elliott

Ed Green

Clint Hostettler

Raquel Mendizabal

Dana Wood

All Rifle City Council seats are at-large positions and the top three candidates receiving the most votes will be elected to serve four year terms.

The two ballot questions voters will face relate to procedural provisions of the current Rifle Municipal Code. The first is an effort to move the municipal elections to November to coordinate with the State of Colorado elections. 

The exact wording of the question is:

Ballot Question B

Shall Section 2.3 of the City of Rifle Home Rule Charter be amended to read as follows:

Regular City Elections shall be on the State of Colorado Coordinated Election in November in odd numbered years.

YES _____                                                           NO _____

The second ballot question addresses the issue of the commencement time for newly elected Councilmembers. The current Charter provision mandates that the term for each newly elected Councilmember shall begin at 8:00pm on the first Monday following the municipal election. The new language would move that date to the first City Council organizational meeting which is set by ordinance. The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

Ballot Question A

Shall the first sentence of Section 3.4 of the City of Rifle Home Rule Charter be amended to read as follows:

Terms of the newly elected Councilmembers shall begin at the organizational meeting of the City Council following the Regular Municipal Election.

YES _____                                                           NO _____

Election Day is September 10, 2019. Ballots must be RECEIVED by the City Clerk by that date. POSTMARKS DO NOT COUNT AS RECEIVED DATES. Submissions can be made by mail (you will need to put adequate postage on the envelope) or dropped off either at City Hall during normal business hours or by using the new 24 hour drop box located at the Police Department, 201 East 18th Street. 

Remember, every ballot counts! If you have any questions about the ballot or the process, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 970-665-6405.

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

Aug 02

WANTED: 50 Years of Pool Memories

Posted on August 2, 2019 at 10:53 AM by Michael Churchill

Were you living in Rifle in 1969 when the pool was built? Did you take part in the planning or construction? Do you have photos from the past 50 years? As the Art Dague Pool heads toward its half-century mark and significant renovations, an effort is being made to create and preserve a record of this amazing amenity. A search through local records reveals surprisingly limited coverage of what must have been a significant event for the town of 2,000 people. 

Parks and Recreation Director Tom Whitmore wants to change that. He is hoping to compile memories and photos of the past 50 years and create a permanent record of the history. A public reception will be held at the Ute Theater on Thursday evening, August 8th at 6:30. Hors d’oeuvres will be available and the concessions will be open.

According to Whitmore, “[w]e are hoping to gather former employees, former Metro Park District Board members and /or their family members, and anyone who has fond memories of days at the pool.” He notes that “the existence of Metro Park was due to the efforts of volunteers and collaboration of community members. It is important to gather history and acknowledge those who contributed. This should be a fun event where we can pass the microphone, hear some history about the pool and hear stories from people who were involved with the pool through the years.” So come out and share your stories and bring your pictures! Help preserve Rifle’s past for future generations.

No New Taxes

During the event, attendees can also view the final images for the renovations scheduled to begin next month. So how are these improvements being funded?  The answer goes all the way back to a very forward-thinking 2005 1% “Penny Working for You” sales tax which led to the creation of the Parks and Recreation Fund. That fund was utilized, in part, to assist in the construction of the Parks Maintenance Facility. A loan obtained for that was paid off in 2018. In 2017, voters approved a ballot question which authorized the City of Rifle to borrow money for the pool project. 

“We are very successful at paying off our loans,” commented Whitmore. Money being used to pay that loan will now be available to make payments on the pool with help from the City’s Capital Fund and other funding sources including a $500,000 grant from Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District and a Great Outdoors Colorado grant for $217,500. Taxpayers will not be affected.

Citizens are encouraged to come to the celebration on August 8th. It will be a fun evening for the entire family. And of course, don’t forget to bring those old Polaroids or Super 8 films of you in your 1960s swimwear. 

Rifle Pool opening paper cliping

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

Stay up-to-date on your City happenings and alerts by signing up for either email or text notifications!
Visit: or, follow the onscreen steps and subscribe to one or both of the Alerts and Announcements news lists under the News Flash category.