Apr 11

It’s Spring Clean-up Time!

Posted on April 11, 2019 at 10:51 AM by Michael Churchill

Attention City of Rifle residents! Here comes your chance to rid yourself of that clutter you have been tripping over for the past year. That pile of junk will be picked up by City crews right in front of your house. It’s the 12th Annual Spring Cleanup!

This event has been very successful in Rifle over the past several years. Nearly 450,000 pounds of trash was disposed of in 2018. This is almost 100,000 pounds more than 2017! 

Spring Cleanup is organized by Rifle Community Service Officer Sara Flores and carried out by an army of City employees from various departments. Since her job is Code Enforcement, Officer Flores is no stranger to finding illegal dump sites. 

“People would be surprised by how much trash we find on City open spaces and public lands. This event helps put a dent in that,” says Flores. This is your opportunity to have that hard to get rid of item picked up at your curb.

The collections will start April 22nd and run through May 2nd. Where you live determines the date of pickup. If you live EAST of Railroad Avenue and Highway 13, you will need to place your items curbside on Sunday night, April 21st. If you live WEST of Railroad Avenue and Highway 13 OR anywhere south of I-70, please have your items out Sunday night, April 28th. City crews will only make one trip through your neighborhood. Do not put items out more than 72 hours ahead of time.

You should be aware that there are some rules for placing items out for collection. The most important is no hazardous materials or electronics. So don’t put out your old computer and printer. Brush and tree limbs must be neatly stacked and tied. Further, absolutely no loose trash. Small trash items and leaves should be bagged.

According to Mike Altman, City of Rifle Operations and Maintenance Supervisor, “Everything has gone really well in past years. Putting stuff out there loose is the only problem we run into. We have to shovel it up or pick up individual pieces. Metal should also be separated out since it is disposed of at a different location.” So please be considerate of the men and women doing us this favor and make it as easy for them as possible.

People attempting to sidestep the rules also became an issue in 2018 and officers would like your help to curb this behavior. As Officer Flores explains, “We had a huge problem last year with people adding unacceptable items to other people’s piles. Please help by keeping watch for this. It is common for people to go take some items from piles and since they are piles of presumably unwanted items this isn’t necessarily an issue. However, if you see anyone adding to the pile who does not appear to be from the adjacent home, please call the non-emergent dispatch number immediately at 970-625-8095. Please try to supply us with a license plate number and description of the vehicle, suspects, location, and items being placed. If the opportunity arises to safely take photographs or videos, please do so.”

So how much stuff can you get rid of? The limit is less than 5 cubic yards per residence. To help residents put a visual on what constitutes 5 cubic yards, Altman says it’s 8’x 5’x 3.3’. 

There is also a big bonus for residents who act quickly. The Rifle Police Department will be handing out a very limited number of free TV disposal coupons you can take to the dump. These will be distributed on a first come, first served basis and are available Monday through Friday at the Police Department. There is a limit of one per household and you will need to bring proof of residency to receive a coupon.

So start rifling through your garage citizens of Rifle! It’s time to get rid of that broken high chair now that your youngest has just left for college. Most important, be respectful of City crews. This is a great service and well worth the 5-second delay you may experience when driving past. Perhaps you could even say “thank you” as you cross paths on your way to your now clutter-free home.

For more information, call 970-665-6525, check the City websites, Facebook or Twitter pages or pick up a flyer at the Rifle Police Department, 201 East 18th Street.

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 Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or kpototsky@rifleco.org.

Feb 08

Stop! New Stop Signs Coming!

Posted on February 8, 2019 at 12:40 PM by Michael Churchill

There will soon be some significant changes for commuters who regularly drive along 16th Street here in Rifle. At the February 6th meeting of City Council, councilmembers voted unanimously to convert two major intersections into 4-way stops. The intersection of 16th and Whiteriver Avenue and the intersection of 16th and Birch will soon require drivers approaching from any direction to come to a complete stop before proceeding. 

The measure, put forth by Councilman Joe Elliott, was the result of input from City staff and citizens regarding the safety for both drivers and pedestrians and the congestion that occurs in those two areas. 

During Council workshop that evening, discussion centered on what was referred to as “rush hour”, the time before and after school where the students and staff are all heading to class. It was noted that the backups on 16th Street get extensive due, in part, to what was referred to as “hesitation traffic” where drivers coming down the hill on 16th Street heading west are reluctant to enter the intersection at Whiteriver due to difficult visibility.

 “This will allow people to enter the intersections with confidence that [opposing traffic] will stop,” stated Elliott. “It will improve safety and traffic flows.” 

Rifle citizen Melissa Burrows is an advocate for stop signs at these two intersections. Her drive to work entails going through both intersections every day.

“These intersections are complicated for adult drivers, not to mention our young drivers. This solution will help with everyone’s morning commute creating safer intersections and less congestion. Traffic will run more smoothly.”

According to Rifle City Planner Nathan Lindquist, at least two new residential developments are being added to the area around the 16th and Birch intersection. This increase in population will result in a significant uptick in traffic which also poses a greater risk for pedestrians. Students who take the school bus in the morning are picked up in the parking lot of the Mormon Church which is across 16th Street from the large residential area. As a result, students must cross 16th Street with no pedestrian crossing or stop sign to get to the bus. In the winter, this is often in the dark on icy roads.

There is similar concern for the 16th and Whiteriver area since the City Skate Park is located right near that corner. Children utilizing this amenity are a near constant.

 on weather conditions. Director of Public Works Brian Prunty and Chief of Police Tommy Klein want to assure citizens that there will be plenty of advance notice. Informational signs and flags will be posted in the weeks preceding the change. Electronic signs are already in place informing travelers on both north and southbound Whiteriver of the future 4-way stop.

 Updates on the progress of the project can be found on the City website, Rifleco.org, and on the City Facebook and Twitter pages.  

16th and Whiteriver16th and Birch

Jan 25

Meet Kelli Litzau, Rifle’s Newest Police Officer

Posted on January 25, 2019 at 10:15 AM by Michael Churchill

For the City of Rifle’s newest police officer, law enforcement is a family affair. Born an identical twin and raised in Southern California, Kelli Litzau always knew she wanted to be a police officer. She attended Mt. San Antonio College where she received an Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.  Kelli continued her education in California’s bay area where she met her husband, Timothy.  They added two boys to the mix, Owen and Cole, before relocating back to Tim’s home state of Colorado.
Following their lifelong dreams to become police officers, the Litzaus began their careers in law enforcement on the western slope. Tim recently celebrated five years as an officer with the City of Grand Junction. Kelli served two years as a civilian with the Grand Junction Police Department before accepting an officer position with the City of Carbondale. 
Kelli has a passion for taking impaired drivers off the road. Over the course of only one year (2018) while with the Carbondale Police Department, she had an amazing 35 DUI (driving while under the influence) arrests. Litzau says she looks forward to continuing her passion for drug and alcohol enforcement on the streets of Rifle as well as educating youth on the risks of drugs, alcohol and addiction in the Rifle school system. 
Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein was impressed with Kelli from the start. He gave her accolades for not only her DUI arrests, but her community service and bright personality.
“We are very excited to have her as part of the City of Rifle family,” stated Klein. It’s a sentiment echoed by Kelli’s fellow officers.  
“We are very happy to have her on board.  We are looking forward to sending her to Drug Recognition School this spring.  She has proven herself to be a very effective DUI enforcement officer,” commented Sergeant Kirk Wilson.
Given her skillset and sunny disposition there is no doubt she will be an asset to Rifle’s police force. So if you see her out and about, be sure to say hello and welcome her to Rifle. 

Rifle Rapport is a periodic column featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or kpototsky@rifleco.org. 

Kelli Litzau