May 20

Hail the Heroes of Spring Clean Up!

Posted on May 20, 2021 at 12:54 PM by Michael Churchill

~ 684,719 Pounds of Junk Hauled Away ~

Every year, Rifle residents look forward to spring. Sure, we like putting away the snow shovels, leaving the house without multiple layers, and smelling the blooming flowers, but the big event each spring is Spring Clean Up. A chance to get rid of that old dresser that’s been relegated to the garage and is too big to fit in your car and take to the dump.  All you need to do is lure a few friends with the promise of a beer and pizza to help you drag it to the curb. And since you are “paying” them anyway, they can help with the old couch and the ancient metal filing cabinet. Then, one day while you are at work, your old junk miraculously disappears and you promptly forget it ever existed.

But there is one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten. Behind that almost mystical disappearing act is an amazing crew of City of Rifle workers. 

Due to the pandemic, there was no Spring Clean Up in 2020. Stay at home orders provided ample time to notice everything wrong with your abode. Home improvement projects ranging from simple painting to complete remodels were the norm. There was finally time to clear out the junk. And it accumulated. A lot.

Ordinarily, Department of Corrections inmates assist the City with the annual project. Due to COVID restrictions, that wasn’t allowed this year and it didn’t appear the event would be possible. Enter City staff. Employee duties were shuffled to allow people from different departments to spend their regular work day picking up the trash and hauling it away. According to Community Service Officer Alan Lambert who coordinated the effort, “it was actually a great teambuilding activity for us. I was able to work alongside people I had never even met. And the sheer amount of work was incredible. These guys were wiped out every Friday.”

It was a monumental effort. There were 191 trips to the landfill with 524,000 pounds of trash and 122 trips to the scrapyard with 160,719 pounds of scrap metal. The workers also hauled away 178 refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners which the City paid $15 each to dump.

All this work was accomplished in a nine day period using 21 City employees from five departments and two drivers from a private contractor.  Personnel included:

  • OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE: Colton Secary, Shawn Wade, Mitch Walpole, Andy Frantz, Danny Wisdom, Pedro Gonzalez, Dominick Guadagni and Eddie Meza.
  • PARKS AND RECREATION: David Lowery, Ronnie Chick, Austin Rickstrew, Colby Rennie, Albert Keller, Dan Goebel, Bill Leigh and Ryan Wright.
  • RIFLE WATER: Trish Fettig, Willians Alcerro and Jeremy DeBell.
  • RIFLE WASTEWATER: Bryce Heinecke.
  • RIFLE POLICE: Alan Lambert.
  • DOUBLE TROUBLE TRUCKING (private contractor): Tom Rice and Skip McDonald.

The 2021 Spring Cleanup Planning Committee included: Scott Hahn, Brian Prunty, Tom Whitmore, Tommy Klein, Robin Steffen, Colton Secary, David Lowery, Shawn Wade, Mitch Walpole and Alan Lambert.  Thanks goes out to Kathy Pototsky and Salvador Tovar-Guzman for getting the word out to Rifle citizens and Michelle Duran for crunching the numbers to make this happen.

A SPECIAL THANKS goes out to the Garfield County Commissioners who agreed to pay ½ the cost of each load taken to the West Garfield County Landfill. 

Most of all a THANK YOU to the Rifle residents who helped the cleanup crews by following the rules.  This makes it so much easier on the personnel on the ground loading the trucks!

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

Oct 08

The City of Rifle wants to be a Ghost Town (At least for a month!)

Posted on October 8, 2020 at 9:10 AM by Michael Churchill

As soon as the first leaves start to fall, they begin to appear. Ghosts and ghouls in trees. Skeletons on porches. Witches with cauldrons on the front yard.  Frightful or delightful? Either way, we can’t wait to see them!

The City of Rifle Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a Halloween House Decorating Contest! With aspects of the holiday still shrouded in uncertainty due to the pandemic, this is a great way to safely have a fun Halloween season.

“Since many things are being canceled this year, this is the perfect way to keep people in the Halloween spirit while helping to keep them safe,” states Keirstin Pierce, Recreation Coordination Assistant for the City of Rifle. “I love seeing the excitement and I definitely can’t wait to see the creativity.”

A spreadsheet will be compiled of all of the entrants so that citizens can drive or walk their neighborhood to see the decorated homes.

Registration is free and there will be prizes for first, second and third place. The registration deadline is Wednesday, October 28th

The contest complements efforts by the City to reconnect people with one another. The recent creation of the Rifle Humanity Restoration Crew emphasizes a return to friendliness. Saying “hi” as you walk by or giving a wave or friendly smile. Small gestures that City Manager Scott Hahn says have slowly deteriorated over the past several years. A common mission of getting people out to see cleverly decorated homes and promoting the fun of the Halloween season is one step in that mission of unification.

So what are waiting for? It’s time for the spirits to be freed.  

Signing up for City email or text notifications!  Visit:, and subscribe to the Alerts & Announcements lists under News Flash.

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

Apr 06

Meet Rifle’s New Police Officer (Uhernik)

Posted on April 6, 2020 at 10:35 AM by Michael Churchill

At first sight, Josh Uhernik looks like he walked straight off of the cover of a body building magazine. Physically imposing, you might be inclined to attribute certain stereotypes to him and assume that his personality is gruff, unsociable or swaggering. Or that his only interest is in the gym. You would be very, very wrong. 

Josh grew up in western Pennsylvania. He attended college in West Virginia receiving bachelor degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. Yep, you read that correctly. Josh Uhernik was a special education teacher. The job was extremely rewarding, but his last teaching job was in a very bad neighborhood. He noticed that his students had a very difficult time readjusting to school after the weekend.

“I was seeing firsthand how crimes were affecting my students. I thought that there must be something more I can do for these kids.”  That insight led Josh to decide that he could make a greater impact by becoming a police officer. In 2008, he was accepted into the police academy.

After working as an officer outside of the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Josh decided that he needed a change. He had always wanted to live in Colorado and moved straight to Rifle, sight unseen. After working in both Aspen and Silt, he jumped when the opportunity arose to work in the town where he resides with his wife and three kids.

“I’ve had family and neighbors who have been victims of crimes so I really wanted to be able to patrol where I live,” he explained. “It is very rewarding being able to interact and protect the community and be a role model for kids. It’s great to know that you are making a difference. Working with smaller agencies is more family-like.” 

This dedication to kids and community began back in 2009 in Pennsylvania when he founded a junior police academy, Camp B.A.D.G.E. ( B.A.D.G.E. is an acronym for BRAVERY, ADAPTABILITY, DETERMINATION, GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION and EDUCATION.  The goal of the camp is to counter any bad publicity about police officers and create strong connections between officers and citizens. The camps, which have spread nationwide, focus on grades 3-9 which Josh explains is a great age to have some influence. Participants are taught the qualities which will make them good citizens or police officers. 

The camp is held in two separate sessions, each one week long. The kids get uniforms donated by Under Armour, 511 Tactical and Relentless Defender.  There are sessions of both physical fitness as well as classroom time. Topics range from gun safety and first aid to how to recognize dangerous situations. They often take field trips to the jail and gun range and have the opportunity to see helicopters and other police equipment. Graduates receive a certificate.

When Josh talks about Camp B.A.D.G.E. his entire face lights up. He gets a huge genuine smile and a twinkle in his eye.  You can tell that this is a labor of love and a great source of pride. He is hoping that he will have sessions in both Silt and Rifle this year. 

In his free time, he enjoys fishing, camping, working out and spending time with his family. It’s easy to see why he came to Rifle. His new family of Rifle police officers agree.

Officer Uhernik comes to our team with a great deal of law enforcement training and experience.  He has worked in law enforcement for over 11 years, beginning his career with agencies in Pennsylvania and most recently serving with the Silt Police Department where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  We are very fortunate to have him on board,” stated Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein.

When you see Josh Uhernik patrolling our city, be sure to say hello. He would love to meet you. But you may not want to challenge him to arm wrestle!

 Josh Uhernik

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