Two former governors, Roy Romer and Bill Owens, joined current Gov. John Hickenlooper at the state capitol to urge lawmakers not to go too far in reducing the numbers of standardized assessments school children take. This comes as legislators are debating several bills to lower the number of exams.

Republican Bill Owens said it's important to have standards and test against those standards to see if students are learning what they should, and to evaluate schools and teachers.

"Our friends from the left and the right for differing reasons, don't want to test, don't want to measure, don't want to have accountability," said Owens. "This is stunning to me."

Today on CrossCurrents, 5 Point Film is Thursday-Sunday in Carbondale. Guests are the Executive Director of 5 Point Film, Sarah Wood and climber Jeff Lowe along with Connie Self, producer of Jeff's biopic, Metanoia.

http://jeffloweclimber.com/The-Movie.html

http://5pointfilm.org/

In anticipation of a ballot question getting passed this spring, developers are busy getting their land use applications on file in City Hall. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

Land use planners who represent Aspen property owners say Referendum 1 is spurring them to file development applications earlier than expected. If passed, the citizen ballot initiative would amend the City Charter to require a public vote on development projects with exceptions for height, size, parking, or affordable housing.

Creative Commons/Flickr/madeleinehearn

The Pitkin County Commissioners aired several concerns about a plan to make the Aspen Valley Hospital and Pitkin County Health and Human Services campus smoke and tobacco free. 

The policy would apply to outdoor areas around the sprawling campus off Castle Creek Road. Besides the hospital and county building, the ban would apply to Whitcomb Terrace, hospital employee housing and Senior Services. Right now, most areas allow smoking 15 feet from a door.

Marci Krivonen

The month of April is when the Greater Sage Grouse does an elaborate dance to find a mate. The chicken-like bird lives in northwest Colorado and other western states and it’s population is shrinking. The largest conservation effort ever is underway to improve the bird’s habitat and prevent a federal “endangered” listing. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen visited the largest breeding grounds in the state, where the birds gather each year for their courtship dance.

Family of Meleyna Kistner

  A Basalt woman will spend five years on probation for causing a fatal car crash on Highway 133 last summer. The accident killed a young woman who was traveling cross-country with her boyfriend. Note: this article includes Aspen Public Radio’s full interview with Christine Tinner.

A bill to expand farm-to-school programs in Colorado initially cleared the state House Tuesday, but it still faces objections from some lawmakers who call it unnecessary.

House Bill 1088 [.pdf] would set up grants to help farms and ranches meet federal safety standards to they could sell their locally produced food to schools.

"This program boosts our economy, it creates jobs, and we have schools right now who want to buy more local food from our farmers and the supply chain does not exist," said bill sponsor Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster).

Wikimedia Commons

There’s opposition to a smoking ban at a cluster of Aspen’s health buildings. Smoking bans in public places are common, especially in locations where people get medical treatment. Such a prohibition is proposed for Aspen Valley Hospital, a nearby Senior Center, and the Pitkin County Schultz Health and Human Services Building next door.

Aspen/Snowmass

The Aspen Skiing Company closed the last of its resorts Sunday. Thousands of skiers and riders flocked to Aspen Mountain for late season powder. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen got a debrief from Ski Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle.

Now that the season’s over, the Aspen Skiing Company's workforce will shrink from 3500 people to 600.

https://www.facebook.com/meleyna.kistner/photos

There may be resolution today in charges against a driver who caused a fatal car crash last summer. Basalt resident Christine Tinner is scheduled to have her say in court, wrapping up a delayed sentencing hearing. Tinner has pleaded guilty to two counts of careless driving, after causing an accident on Highway 133 last summer.

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