Ruedi Water and Power Authority

An effort is underway to get people to conserve water across the Roaring Fork Valley. On Tuesday a public meeting will be held in El Jebel on the Regional Water Efficiency Plan.

For more than a year, major water suppliers in the Valley like the Cities of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, have been creating their own water efficiency plans. Those plans make up a larger effort. It lays out ways to use less water.

Courtesy Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority

On Tuesday, Aspen City Council will consider whether to change affordable housing requirements for certain residential development.  The City hired a Boulder consulting firm to review affordable housing requirements triggered when someone tears down a house, or duplex, and builds a new one that has more square feet of residential floor area. It’s the first review of the housing requirements since 1990.

Edward Carey

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of five books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry (stories), the novels The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, the memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and the forthcoming Thunderstruck & Other Stories.  She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

She has taught creative writing at Western Michigan University, the University of Oregon, the University of Houston, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  She holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin, and boy are her arms tired.

Marci Krivonen

Hundreds of disabled veterans are in Snowmass Village this week for the National Disabled Veterans Sports Clinic. The vets arrived in droves over the weekend at the Aspen airport. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Crystal Hughes stands on the tarmac at the Aspen airport. She’s wearing military fatigues.

Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District

The fire department for Carbondale, and a wide swath of the surrounding area, is holding public meetings in the coming weeks. The meetings are part of a Master Plan for the Carbondale & Rural  Fire Protection District. It’s been struggling since losing more than half of its budget in recent years.

aspenpowerplant.com

Negotiations begin this week over the lease for Aspen’s Old Power House. The Aspen Brewing Company and local TV station Aspen 82 won a competitive bid to move into the space, located off Mill Street. The proposal also has incubator space for new businesses. The City of Aspen owns the building, and because the new tenants include private companies, they are likely to pay more than the previous rent of $1 a year.

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers made a needle’s-eye leap onto the national music circuit in 2012, bringing with them a refreshing sound, spirited stage show and wellspring of good vibes, along with a turntable and milk crates stocked with their favorite vintage vinyl for backstage sustenance.

Now, the San Francisco-based band and its striking front woman with a girl-next-door demeanor step out with Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, a luminous, heartfelt patchwork of California folk-rock, brisk Americana and show-stopping soul, punctuated with fresh four-part harmonies, crisp rock guitar and Nicki’s soaring, nuanced vocals that some critics say remind them of Linda Ronstadt. The first record under the banner of the full band, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers is very much a family album, featuring 11 new songs penned by the band members, arranged and produced by Nicki’s husband and the band’s musical director, Tim Bluhm, and recorded at the Bluhm’s Mission Bells studio in San Francisco.

The lead single “Little Too Late” kicks off the proceedings with a fun and funky punch of soulful rock and an anthemic quality to the lyrics that quickly made the song a fan favorite at live shows in the months prior to the album’s release. Also released in advance of the album, “Ravenous” marks a departure for the band as Nicki flirts with her dark side, urged on by haunting echoes of classic Fleetwood Mac. Tim and Nicki’s great love of country music and Americana storytelling takes center stage in the sparkling “Till I’m Blue”, an enchanting ode to lasting love, as well as in “Deep Water”, Nicki’s endearing telling of life lessons learned. Bluhm family friend Steve Poltz, best known for his collaborations with the singer Jewel, contributed the coaxing soul waltz “Check Your Head”.

There is an evergreen quality to the band’s music that resonates with music lovers across ages and time zones, fans who are touched by the band’s natural, bright-eyed charm and timeless expression of life and love. “We make music that generations of friends and families can share,” Nicki offers with a quiet confidence. “For me, there is a tenderness, a humanness. It’s about getting down to the basic level of bringing joy. We’re a fun, honest group of people who love traveling and seeing the country. I’m with my husband and my best friends, we’re so lucky to be doing this, and we’re so grateful for those coming out to visit with us.”

With such an earnest appreciation for every moment of the grueling work and endless hours required for touring “uncharted waters,” as she puts it, one can imagine Nicki almost pinching herself to prove that this really is her life -- and rightfully so. She never saw any of this coming.

Tim and Nicki’s paths first crossed at a house party, when someone passed a guitar to Nicki. Though she’d never before sung in front of a crowd, she took a chance and belted out an impromptu blues number, immediately catching Tim’s ear. It was a spark-plug moment that evolved into the two playing music together, followed by Tim mentoring Nicki as she developed into a career singer/songwriter. As love blossomed and marriage ensued, the couple created and released Nicki’s debut solo album, Toby’s Song (2008).

The formation of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers happened in similar organic fashion, when Nicki recruited her childhood friend, Deren Ney, to play lead guitar in her new band. Dave Mulligan accepted an invitation from Nicki to join the Gramblers on guitar and vocals while out hiking with the Bluhms one day. Bass player Steve Adams and drummer Mike Curry each got the call from the Bluhms and agreed to double-time it with their existing musical commitments. When not working with his own band, the Mother Hips, Tim takes his place on guitar, keyboard and vocals. Nicki’s second album, Driftwood (2011), earned numerous positive reviews and put Nicki and the Gramblers in front of a wider swath of show goers across the western U.S.

It was during this time that the band’s “Van Sessions” video for Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” went viral and introduced Nicki and band to the world of their endearing, stripped down versions of classic songs as well as to an existing catalog of original tracks from Nicki’s two previous solo albums. They went back on the road and quickly developed into a tight knit, six-piece headlining act, logging over 200 dates in 2012. In 2013, Nicki and the Gramblers’ touring schedule has included auspicious sets at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Hangout Music Festival and Mountain Jam, as well as being featured on network television by veteran journalist Anthony Mason for “CBS This Morning”.

Bureau of Land Management, White River Office

The Bureau of Land Management has released its proposed changes to an oil and gas management plan that would affect part of northern Garfield County. The BLM’s amendment to the White River Field Office Resource Management Plan aims to reduce the impact of increased oil and gas production. That would be for an area spanning 1.7 million acres. Besides Garfield County, the area includes parts of Rio Blanco and Moffat Counties. 

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

The Obama administration is requiring oil and gas companies to disclose what’s in their fracking fluid. How is that going to shake out in Garfield County?

Did a town hall meeting hosted by this station on the controversial and confusing charter amendment known as “Keep Aspen Aspen” shed light on the issue enough that voters are convinced one way or the other?

Meanwhile, down in Carbondale a woman who used to co-own a NBA basketball team is suing the IRS for $21 million.

Kathy Williams

Today we wrap up our series profiling the candidates running in contested races for Glenwood Springs City Council. Kathy Williams is running for an at-large seat. Her big issue is the heavy traffic moving through downtown. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Kathy Williams has had a difficult life. In the 30 years she’s lived in Glenwood she’s dealt with cancer and divorce. She’s held a variety of jobs and currently works at a drugstore downtown. With her life experience, she says she brings a unique perspective to local politics.

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