Elise Thatcher

Reporter

Elise Thatcher joined Aspen Public Radio in 2013. Previously she worked as a freelancer, covering Southwestern Colorado, as well as with Colorado Public Radio, National Public Radio, KBOO Portland, and KWCW Whitman College. Elise is an award-winning journalist who relishes digging deep into complex issues, as well as covering day to day stories. When away from the microphone, she enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and other outdoor opportunities.

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Elise Thatcher

Monday night, Snowmass Village Town Council will review the lease for Krabloonik Fine Dining and Dogsledding. It’s one of the final steps for new owners to officially take over from a previous operator, who’s charged with animal cruelty. 

aspensciencecenter.org

Aspen City Council is taking up what to do with Aspen’s former Art Museum. Council will be considering proposals in the coming weeks. There are five contenders vying for the city-owned building, also called the Old Power House. Council will be reviewing them in a series of work sessions beginning Monday and continuing through March 17th. Some meetings will include a public hearing. The City says its possible Council may decide not to go with any of the five.

Officials say radon has been detected in the Pitkin County Library in Aspen. A spokesperson said Thursday afternoon it was not found in public areas, but does affect a break room and office, as well as a storage room in the lower level of the building. Officials say staff do not spend much time there. The radon levels showed up in testing to get ready for the library expansion.

The Board of Education for the Roaring Fork School District met Wednesday night. Officials are tackling a contentious decision, about superintendent contracts for next year. 

Mountain Edition - February 26th, 2015

Feb 26, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

A warrant is issued this week for a Carbondale man accused of killing his wife.

A long-time local and avid skier dies in an avalanche outside the Aspen Mountain ski area boundary.

And, a popular watering hole is closing in Aspen this spring.

Bus drivers in the Valley are voting to unionize. They’re concerned about wages.

Governor Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force released its findings. They’re getting mixed reviews.

Roaring Fork Transit Authority

Full time bus drivers for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority are voting on whether to unionize. If approved, it would be the first time in more than a decade for drivers to be a part of a union. 

Ed Cortez was selected by other bus drivers to lead the union vote. He’s been a full time driver for two and a half years, and describes what it was like getting behind the wheel. 

“Well, initially I was very nervous, very intimidated. Slowly but surely I realized that I really loved driving.”

A big reason is getting to know riders from all backgrounds-- from regular folks to politicians.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) says there is an arrest warrant issued for Arturo Navarrete-Portillo (DOB: 11/14/68) of Carbondale for his alleged role in the death of his wife, Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya (DOB 05/26/1984), last week. Navarrete-Portillo faces charges of first degree murder for the crime occurring on February  16, 2015.

Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority

  A subcontractor has been dropped from a complex lawsuit over an Aspen affordable housing development. A judge has approved the change, because of the subcontractor's settlement with Denver-based Shaw Construction. At issue is faulty siding at Burlingame Ranch, west of Aspen. The condo association there sued the maker of that siding. Then other companies were brought into the suit, like Shaw Construction, who in turn sued the subcontractor, Studmaster Framing Incorporated.

Elise Thatcher

Memorial benches have been a long tradition in Aspen. But about a dozen that have been living in Galena Plaza now need a new home. The benches honor members of the community, whether they’re long time locals, part timers, or have otherwise spent time in Aspen. Thirteen benches need new homes because they’ll uprooted for a construction project on Galena Plaza.

Will Grandbois / Post Independent

Law enforcement has released the name of a woman who died in Carbondale earlier this week. Authorities say Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya died on Monday. She was thirty years old, and the victim of a homicide. Portillo-Amaya’s name was released after her family worked with the Garfield County Coroner. There was also forensic testing for fingerprints, carried out by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Department of Homeland Security. The man suspected of killing the victim is still in a hospital in Grand Junction, receiving treatment for injuries sustained in a truck accident in Carbondale.

Mountain Edition - February 19th, 2015

Feb 19, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

After a brutal car accident, a Carbondale man confesses to killing his wife. A homicide investigation is underway.

An Aspen teenager appears in court after a controversial arrest.

And that arrest sheds light on a radio communication problem for law enforcement around the Aspen schools.

Rafting companies praise the idea of a national monument along the popular Arkansas River.

The City of Aspen starts cutting down trees to fix a leaky parking garage.

Elise Thatcher

More than sixty five thousand people have visited the Aspen Art Museum since it opened last August. That’s more than the heavy-weight nonprofit expected. And about two hundred and sixty-two of visitors have taken the Museum up on free tours… to make the contemporary art a little more approachable. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher tagged along this Wednesday, and has this story

Elise Thatcher

Workers in Aspen are cutting down 25 trees on city property today. A subcontractor started removing them, partly to make room for a redevelopment. The spruce trees are planted on top of the city’s parking garage, which is leaking and needs repair, and have to be removed in order for that work to happen. Jason Jones is with Aspen Tree Service, and says there isn’t enough room for the 30-year-old trees to keep growing. 

Elise Thatcher

The Colorado Department of Transportation says the majority of the public comments about replacing the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs have been positive. A representative of the agency presented that and other details to Garfield County Commissioners Tuesday morning. The Colorado Department of Transportation is putting together the final environmental assessment for the new bridge. That includes getting public comments.

Randy Essex / Glenwood Post Independent

   A Carbondale man confessed to killing his wife while he was being airlifted to a hospital in Grand Junction on Monday, according to law enforcement. The Carbondale Police Department issued a press release that says the man was driving a Toyota 4Runner that collided with a semi truck on Highway 133 on Monday morning. While in flight to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction, he “allegedly told the flight crew that he had killed his wife” in an apartment building in Carbondale. Police investigated and discovered a deceased woman with knife wounds.

Elise Thatcher

Klaus Obermeyer is in his fourth hall of fame. The iconic Aspenite and ski wear entrepreneur was recently inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, for his decades long contributions to the ski industry. He is the founder of Sport Obermeyer. It informally started when Obermeyer moved to Aspen in 1947, and as he started finding ways to make skiing more comfortable. He came up with the first quilted down parka and made headway with high altitude sunscreen and a variety of other innovations. But Obermeyer’s tinkering with ski-related gear had begun long before.

Mountain Edition - February 12th, 2015

Feb 12, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

Once again, Aspen will play host to the First Lady. Michelle Obama is expected to be in town this weekend.

An Aspen teenager arrested and taken down by police officers gets an attorney. Police suspect the teen had marijuana.

Aspen City Council supports an affordable housing project from a prolific landowner. But, a tree nearly derails the approval.

The new Airport Director in Aspen talks about plans to improve the experience of flying into the Upper Valley.

Elise Thatcher

  Aspen will see its first new affordable hotel in many years. On Monday, Aspen City Council approved a proposal by Chicago transplant and major landowner Mark Hunt. But at literally the 11th hour, a tree came close to derailing whether the project could move forward.

Elise Thatcher

Aspen’s new airport director has been on the job for nearly two months. Since mid-December, John Kinney has had a chance to settle in—and experience the most consistently busy time in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. Lodging and air travel set records in Aspen during this winter’s Christmas through New Year’s week. Kinney was previously at LAX in Los Angeles and Denver International Airport. In Aspen, he’s taking the reigns as Pitkin County starts nailing down if how to revamp the airport to meet new federal regulations. Elise Thatcher talks with Kinney, and asked him what it’s been like on the job so far.

www.practicalpainmanagement.com

  Carbondale’s Police Department is reporting a suspected methamphetamine lab in the center of town. Police chief Gene Schilling said this afternoon that officers visited a house yesterday about a block from Main Street, and found what they say appeared to be a meth lab.

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