Portrait 2010

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On the right track: Kelley Schweissing lives life on the edge with help from his snowmobile

By Emily Shockley

Kelley Schweissing’s training to become a member of Mesa County Search and Rescue Control’s snowmobile team began 14 years ago atop
 Grand Mesa. That’s when the then-4-year-old Schweissing enjoyed his first snowmobile ride. Visits to the family cabin on the mesa, only reachable by snowmobile in winter, fueled his passion to keep riding. He gradually learned more riding techniques, got his own snowmobile in the family caravan of 10 snowmobiles and built his own ...


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A passion for detail

By Emily Shockley

Fighter pilots and financial advisors have three things in common: a passion for detail, a willingness to spend hours planning, and a love for tackling challenges. Grand Junction resident Tim Sewell pinpointed these parallels after working both jobs. He has served as a financial advisor at Sewell Mendenhall Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors for eight years and spent an equal amount of time as an F-16 fighter pilot. In-between these jobs, he worked for five years as a United ...


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One dedicated rider

By Amy Hamilton

Seeing a girl ride her bike around the neighborhood recently was a thrill for Amy Agapito. Why the fuss over such an ordinary, everyday occurrence? While the sight may seem commonplace, the truth is the girl may not have learned how to get around on two wheels without Agapito’s prompting. A member of the nonprofit group Grand Valley Bikes, Agapito worked to bring a bicycling demonstration to students at the nearby Tope Elementary School. She was surprised at how many fourth ...


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Must love dogs

By Dennis Webb

When Seth Sachson slips you a business card, the grin on his face tells it all. This is no ordinary business card, but a bone-shaped dog tag imprinted with Sachson’s title: executive director of the Aspen Boarding Kennel and Aspen Animal Shelter. And Sachson’s grin says he knows he’s got no ordinary job. Rather, it’s simply an extension of a life centered on a passion for dogs and other creatures. Sachson loves the work he does and the life he ...


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Couple shares passion for art, music, freedom

By Dennis Webb

After escaping Poland while it was under communist rule and then leaving Florida because of the recession, artists Kristof and Noemi Kosmowski made their way about three years ago to Glenwood Springs. It turns out that they feel right at home. And like a new homeowner grabbing paint and brush to spruce up the place, they’ve done the same around town. They have painted animal scenes on utility boxes and other unorthodox public canvases for free, to jazz up the look of the ...


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Mr. Lacrosse

By Nick Walter

Lenny Lang calls it the “fastest game on two legs,” and from the fields at Colorado Mesa University to those at local high schools, and on all the back fields around the valley, lacrosse has taken hold. Lang essentially is the “Godfather of Lacrosse” in the Grand Junction. But really, the godson started it all. Seven years ago, after playing lacrosse in New York for one year and returning to Grand Junction, Lang’s son, Cameron, told his father, “Dad, ...


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Four decades under the hood

By Allen Gemaehlich

Stevan Bennett was working part-time at a restaurant in town and looking for something different. He met Nancy Wagner there, who told him of an opening at her father’s garage. “I had a love of cars, even as a small kid,” Bennett said. “I knew whatever it was I was going to do in life, I wanted to have some involvement with vehicles.” He started working at the garage part-time while going to school with the plan of finding something else to do full-time when ...


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Tally’s make a dream come true

By Staff

When most people reach their 70s, they’re ready to wind down and retire, but Richard and Jean Tally feel like they’re just getting started. The Tallys, both 73, have spent the past five years making their dream of owning an agricultural-based hotel business come true. “This was our mutual dream,” said Jean, while sipping coffee inside the Wine Country Inn in Palisade. “To bring it from concept to fruition was a lot of work.” The design for the ...


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Helping building businesses

By {screen_name}

It won’t come as any surprise that Rich Umbel, who heads up United Companies in Grand Junction, first took to the construction industry as a kid with a Tinkertoy set. Umbel still likes the business of pouring concrete, paving roads and growing houses, but he’s added another skill — that of building people. Or, perhaps more appropriately, helping people build themselves. Umbel is more precisely the president of Oldcastle SW Group Inc., which owns United Companies in ...


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A jack of all trades

By {screen_name}

If there is a simple explanation for how Steve ErkenBrack’s career path veered off the trial-attorney path and into health insurance, it is this: advocacy. ErkenBrack, who served as Mesa County district attorney before serving as chief deputy attorney general under Gale Norton, and then represented clients on both sides of the Continental Divide as a private attorney, also has some hidden skills, among them: expertise in one particular game of chance. Before he took up law, ...


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Italian food with a passion

By Charles Ashby

Enzo Favali has the perfect Italian name. You’d think he was born to be the owner and chef of a pizzeria and restaurant. Al contrario. The Canadian-born, Miami-reared Grand Junction resident grew up helping at his father’s hair-salon business and later became an information technology specialist for a couple of Florida law firms. Though they often visited the state, primarily to ski, he and his wife, Kelly, had never lived far from the Atlantic seaboard. The two ...


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One cartoon at a time

By Paul Shockley

Laughter served Gil Stone well as a boy, one cartoon at a time. The same was true for three decades in law enforcement. In the cubicles of Mesa County law enforcement agencies, don’t be surprised to find Stone’s spur-of-the-moment drawings: black ballpoint pen applied to white paper. “I’m very quick as far as reducing a concept to drawing, then putting on a caption,” said Stone, 68. An investigator with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, ...


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For the love of food

By Melinda Mawdsley

Sherri Gregersen remembers her first time cooking. She was 8 years old, and her family was floored. After spending hours in the kitchen, Gregersen served her first from-scratch item to such positive response she was afloat with joy. Although she doesn’t remember what she made — pudding, maybe? — her family’s reaction showed her how good food could affect the people eating it. She belonged in a kitchen. “That there was the hook, line and sinker,” ...


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A love for hockey & history

By Bob Silbernagel

Just because he hasn’t been working since he moved to Grand Junction last November, it wouldn’t be fair to accuse Tim Winegard of skating. Except for the fact that he actually has been skating, as often as possible, engaging in his sports passion: hockey. Winegard, 34, is Canadian, a native of Sarnia, Ontario, a city similar in size to Grand Junction, just east of Detroit, Mich. And, while he’s enthusiastic about hockey, he’s also passionate about history — ...


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Woman of many trades

By Emily Shockley

A more easily frazzled person would turn green at the sight of Tracy Arledge’s schedule. But the Palisade High School teacher, coordinator of the school’s International Baccalaureate program, cheerleading coach, wife and mother of a blended family of five children handles long days and an even longer list of duties with a smile and equal doses of patience and dedication. In the mornings, she teaches an Advanced Placement English class and two International Baccalaureate ...


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