The Forest Service isn’t hiring as many firefighters this year, compared to years past. That’s according to the agency’s top official. Tom Tidwell testified before Congress earlier this week. He said there will be five hundred fewer firefighters this year. That’s because of sequestration, or mandatory budget cuts. Bill Kight is with the White River National Forest. Aspen Public Radio asked whether those budget cuts will mean fewer firefighters for the Forest.

“Uh no, not really, we’re in good shape this year. We’re about the same number of folks we had last year.”

Two speakers from the upcoming Aspen Ideas Fest:

Heather Smith, President of "Rock the Vote"

Dr. Mitch Besser, Founder/Medical Director of "mothers2mothers"

Aspen Elects Steve Skadron as its New Mayor

Jun 4, 2013
Marci Krivonen

 After months of campaigning and build-up, the City of Aspen finally has a new mayor. The results of yesterday’s run-off election tipped in favor of current council member Steve Skadron. Skadron was one of two slow-growth candidates that advanced to the run-off after winning a municipal election in early May. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.  Current City Council member Steve Skadron received the news of his win in the room where he’s spent many long evenings: City Council chambers.

Farther down valley, the Basalt Police Department is still trying to reach someone who may have been one of the last people to see a man who died in Basalt last month. Daniel Perez Mejia was found in late May in a ditch near Big O Tires in Basalt. Police say Mejia got off a bus operated by the Roaring Fork Transit Authority late in the evening on Saturday, May 25th. There was another man who got off the bus at the same time.

Marci Krivonen

Water managers, users, and other decision makers from across Colorado are meeting today in Keystone. It’s part of ongoing efforts to make sure water’s being used in a smart way across the state. And now officials are starting to put together a statewide water plan, as ordered by Governor John Hickenlooper. John Stulp is the governor’s water advisor--and he’s overseeing Wednesday's meeting.

Steve Skadron Is Aspen's Next Mayor

Jun 4, 2013
Roger Adams

Steve Skadron has won Aspen's mayor's race.

As of tonight’s results, Skadron won 52% of the vote.

That’s compared to 47% for the other candidate, city councilman Torre.

There are several dozen outstanding ballots, but not enough to change the results in the coming days.

Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen will have a full report during tomorrow’s morning news.

That’s at 6, 7, 8, and 8:30am tomorrow morning.

You can also follow our coverage on Twitter and Facebook.

Festival Showcase - June 4th, 2013

Jun 4, 2013

In preparation for this season’s Aspen Music Festival and School, we’re running some of the “best of” interviews with festival artists.  On today’s archive program of “Festival Showcase,” listen to conductor/early music specialist Nicholas McGegan discuss Baroque interpretation and compare and contrast different recordings of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”  Also, the busy cello-piano duo of David Finckel and Wu Han talk about chamber music and plans for the future. 

Courtesy Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

There are new restrictions for food and related items in all developed recreation sites on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. The Forest Service announced what it calls a food storage order yesterday. It requires that all food and refuse be kept in bear-resistant containers. Bill Kight is with the White River National Forest.

Elise Thatcher

The fire season is underway, with evacuations near Denver for what’s being called the Bluebell Fire. The blaze started yesterday in the Evergreen area, just west of Denver.

Two much smaller fires were reported in the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend. One was up Thompson Creek, near Carbondale. The other was in Aspen City limits, next to Aspen Mountain. Right now, fire danger varies a little along the Roaring Fork Valley. In the Carbondale area it’s moderate, it is low in Aspen.  Ron Leach is Chief of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District.  Leach is advising caution.

Teaching the Nation's Future Engineers and Pilots

May 31, 2013
Marci Krivonen

  As schools across the country work to improve students’ comprehension of math and science, one district in the region is taking those lessons to the sky. A new after-school program at the Aspen School District is using hands-on learning to churn out a new generation of aerospace engineers and pilots. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more. 

Mountain Edition - May 30th, 2013

May 30, 2013

Aspen’s mayoral run-off election is next Tuesday.  We’ll check in with candidates Steve Skadron and Torre on some of the top issues the next mayor will likely face.

Aspen Mayoral Run Off - Torre Interview

May 30, 2013
Roger Adams

Torre - My Birth name is Ronald Wayne Maranian III. I was named Torre a week after I was born, now my license, passport and ssn all read, Torre.

Age: 43

Where are you from originally? Born in Silver Spring, MD. Grew up in St.Pete, FL. 

How long have you lived in Aspen? 20 years

Aspen Mayoral Run Off - Steve Skadron Interview

May 30, 2013
Roger Adams

Steve Skadron

Age: 50

Elise Thatcher

There were about 4400 more jobs last November than previously thought. That’s according to the latest numbers from Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment. Chief Economist Alexandra Hall says the update doesn’t increase the overall average number of jobs during the fourth quarter of 2012. But the update does show Colorado's job numbers appear to be accurately reflecting the state's economy.

Marci Krivonen

The summer season is beginning, and with it comes river recreation of all kinds in the Roaring Fork Valley. In our area, we’re used to roaring rivers and thrilling rapids. But, in other communities, rivers that once roared are still and quiet now. And, it’s a problem. An engineering firm in Glenwood Springs is working to put the rapids back in rivers damaged by human intervention. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

Courtesy University of Colorado Boulder

The FAA is expected to decide whether to allow people to fly drones in certain parts of Colorado. That would be in a proposed FAA test site in this state... and it’s part of a larger effort to better understand whether the remote controlled, unmanned planes can be safely used in the airspace above communities - like airplanes or other aircraft.

Two more speakers from this year's Aspen Ideas Fest:

* Cassie Conley, Planetary Protection Officer with NASA

* Dan Gross, President of Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Colorado River Water Conservation District

Water officials are laying out a plan for meeting the growing demands of the Colorado River in the future. The group met yesterday in California. The meeting was prompted by a study out last year. It predicts looming shortages on the River, which supplies water to 40 million people, as well as farmers and ranchers in Western states. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

Courtesy Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority

In Aspen, the city council has approved more flexibility for retirees who own affordable housing units. Starting June 30th, residents can leave for six months at a time--and they can rent out their homes while they’re gone.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority recommended the change for retirees. Tom McCabe is Executive Director.

Elise Thatcher

Memorial Day weekend brought luscious green views for drivers along Independence Pass. And there was an extra dash of color along Highway 82. Less than ten miles east of Aspen, large yarn creations appeared in a grove of Aspen trees.... looking like giant socks or leg warmers, wrapped around the tree trunks.

On Monday, two women were among several who pulled over to look more closely.

“At first we were really confused about what they were because we had never seen them before. But we knew we had to stop and check them out.”