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.

Ways to Connect

Penguin Group

A veritable avalanche of information has come out about cyclist Lance Armstrong doping during his career. The iconic athlete even confessed to it in an Oprah interview early this year. But the details keep coming, now in a book by two Wall Street Journal reporters. Vanessa O’Connell and Reed Albergotti explore the financial underpinnings of how and why Armstrong cheated, in the book “Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever.” Armstrong is a part-time Aspen resident. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher recently spoke with O’Connell and Albergotti.

Elise Thatcher

Two weeks ago, the coal mine near Paonia owned by billionaire Bill Koch laid off more than half of its employees. The Koch owned Oxbow Mining company hopes to expand operations again in the future and rehire some of the workers.  In the meantime the layoffs are creating hardships for a number of communities.

Mike Ludlow: “It’s very sad time around the mine, you know to lose your income and lose your job is real traumatic, so it’s very painful decision for us.”

Elise Thatcher

Colorado has a problem with air pollution… levels of ozone have been going up, and that can cause health problems. So the state is taking a look at tightening up air regulations for drilling companies. But, some say much is being done already. 

Mountain Edition - October 10th, 2013

Oct 10, 2013

The government shutdown trudges on but Pitkin County is working to alleviate the pain by increasing access to a local attraction on federal land.

A proposal for funding public education has been called historic by Colorado’s governor. But, the ballot measure could stretch wallets.

The Aspen Skiing Company hopes to catch the eye of up and coming skiers from certain Asian countries.

And, changes may be in store if the USA Pro Challenge bike race returns to the upper Roaring Fork Valley next year. We talk with an economist who says big sporting events may not mean more money for the towns hosting them.

Finally, we get an update on local athletes training for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia.

Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge finished just over a month ago, and planning for next year’s edition has already begun. Aspen plans to apply to host the race again in 2014... and officials have started looking at whether to improve on how things went during the 2013 edition of the race. Discussions range from road closures to conversations with international cycling officials in Europe.

Elise Thatcher

Officials are pushing to rebuild the Front Range after devastating floods That includes a direct line to the Roaring Fork Valley… a railroad line, that is. Tracks west of Denver were washed out-- and that means changes for Amtrak service to Glenwood Springs. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has more.

Reporter: Jeff Hershenson, who lives in Snowmass Village, is at the Glenwood Springs Amtrak station on a recent gorgeous fall day. He says the competitive fare prompted him to buy a ticket to Denver.

Mountain Edition - October 3rd, 2013

Oct 3, 2013

It’s been a big news week and one story with big impacts locally is the federal government shutdown. We take a look at what it means for the Roaring Fork Valley.

Obamacare hit the internet on Tuesday, turns out, health care plans coordinated by Colorado are way more expensive in mountain towns.

After massive floods walloped oil and gas operations, we hear ideas about making sure oil and gas operations are better protected down the road.

Local officials had to decide by Tuesday whether to take steps to allow retail marijuana in the Roaring Fork Valley. Many have decided to delay their verdict.

We get an update from one of the ten Aspen-area athletes hoping to compete in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia.

And finally, tamales are a humble Latin American dish with deep, historical roots. They’re the main fare at an upcoming Roaring Fork Valley event.

Some of the effects of lawmakers’ continuing impasse on the federal budget are easy to see in the Roaring Fork Valley. The government shutdown has affected federal offices that handle outdoor recreation and other agencies. And as Elise Thatcher reports, it's not clear what effect it could have on social services.

Reporter: The government shutdown is visible along Highway 82. Traffic signs flash warnings to drivers, saying the road to the Maroon Bells is closed to cars and busses.. And if you poke around, there are other indications, too.

Peter Holy/University of Michigan

For several years, researcher Tom Painter has been examining what happens when dust gets on snow. At the same time, on a much larger scientific level, there research on European glaciers… and why they started melting in the mid 1800’s.

Tom Painter: “It’s funny on public television I heard somebody talking about the end of the little ice age in the Alps around 1850 and that’s when temperatures started going up. And I was yelling at the television ‘NO! That’s not when temperatures were going up!’ ”

http://kotaku.com/5605942/gamer-with-stolen-credit-card-leads-cops-to-parents-pot

Today, Tuesday October 1st, marks one of the first deadlines for communities in how they choose to regulate retail marijuana. Colorado towns and counties are supposed to decide whether they’re going to allow the growing, buying and selling of recreational pot next year… And many communities around the state have decided to put their decision on hold.

Valley Roundup - September 27th, 2013

Sep 27, 2013

President Barack Obama made an announcement today about the battle in Congress.

One of the first deadlines for so called retail marijuana is fast approaching. By next Tuesday, October 1st, local communities are supposed to decide if they’re going to allow the pot to be grown, sold, and otherwise available in the community in the coming year.

“It’s pretty much going to be clustered in just a handful of areas. Denver and Boulder I think are the big cities, and then there’s mountain communities as well.”

John Ingold is a reporter for the Denver Post.  He’s keeping an eye on how the state is getting ready for retail marijuana and says even pot-friend places like Denver questions remain.

“There is concern about advertising, distances from schools, zoning, those kinds of things.”

Aspen Public Radio takes a look at a unique documentary showing at the Aspen Filmfest. It takes viewers inside one of the nation’s busiest emergency rooms where patients often wait hours for care.

And on the Download this week, we explore glitches with new iPhones, brainwashing kids to pay for movies & music and other unusual ventures in education.

Mountain Edition - September 26th, 2013

Sep 27, 2013

Heavy flooding on the Front Range has resulted in a mess. Oil and animal excrement from feedlots have spilled into or near rivers. The flooding put dams on the Front Range to the test as walls of water rushed down canyons and into towns. We’ll talk to the chief of dam safety for the state. The Roaring Fork Valley deals with suicide often more than other Colorado communities. One local non profit is trying to change that. Federal health care reform kicks into high gear next week when people can shop online for insurance. But, even with insurance, some patients struggle to get care. And, every month a Ute Indian spiritual leader leads a sweat in a cavern in Glenwood Springs. We’ll take you to the healing ceremony. And finally, we’ll introduce you to a local winter Olympic hopeful who learned to ride horses before she got on skis.

Aspen Hope Center

Suicide is a real problem in the Roaring Fork Valley… this year nine people have died by suicide, normally a year’s total. Statewide, more than a thousand people died by suicide in 2012. An Aspen organization is trying to tackle the problem in the Roaring Fork Valley. One of their methods is training locals to act when friends or family might be at risk…. The Hope Center held a training in Aspen on Tuesday, September 24th.

Sandy Iglehart: “So tonight you’re gonna learn how to possibly help someone that’s in crisis.”

Buildearth.org

Officials are also reviewing dams along the Front Range. The state agency in charge of dam safety says all of the high risk ones did well during recent flooding -- those are dams where a lot of people could get hurt if they fail. But several smaller dams weren’t able to handle the record amount of rain. Bill McCormick oversees dam safety for Colorado. He says this could end up affecting how dams on the Western Slope are managed.

Mountain Edition - September 19th, 2013

Sep 19, 2013

Floodwaters in the Front Range are receding and the number of missing people is going down. Residents of flood-ravaged towns are returning home. We’ll bring you an update on the floods and let you know how you can help. Some from the Roaring Fork Valley have been helping Front Range residents get back on their feet and seeing just how devastating flooding can be. The state’s climatologist says what’s strange about last week’s weather is its pattern. Simultaneous, powerful rain storms hit multiple Front Range areas at one time. Also today, men are still making more money than women in Colorado – we’ll break down the numbers, county by county. And finally, imagine flying 80 miles an hour down Aspen Mountain on skis. One Aspen ski racer could be an international champion, if she can land a spot with the Olympic team.

Mountain Edition - September 12th, 2013

Sep 12, 2013

Many Coloradans on the Front Range have moved to higher ground, they’re working to stay safe in the middle of dangerous floods. Three people have died, and some communities are evacuating. One is Jamestown, northwest of Boulder. But there are major complications.

In other news, there’s been a few notable meth-related incidents in Rifle in this week...We’ll talk to the police chief there. And, Pitkin County is one of the last counties in Colorado figure out early plans for so-called “retail” marijuana.

Plus, when it comes to tiffs over real estate, a dispute in downtown Aspen is very unusual.

Elise Thatcher

Colorado is the first state to finalize the details on how to regulate recreational marijuana. The rules came out Monday, September 9th.  Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Pitkin County Commission is taking some early steps for figuring out how to work out recreational… or so-called “retail”... marijuana. They met yesterday, Tuesday September 10th, to explore what comes first.

University of Denver

There’s a battle happening in downtown Aspen. It has to do with noise complaints filed by the owners of a penthouse against neighboring bars and restaurants.   And, it’s headed to the courts. So too is an earlier issue involving access to the penthouse building. The condos' owners, a builder, and the City of Aspen are suing each other. It’s an unusual real estate dispute.

Stephen Ausmus / US Department of Agriculture

Bees around the world have been having a rough time for several years. Populations are going down, even completely disappearing in some places. Researchers haven’t fully figured out what’s wrong; pesticides are among one of the possible culprits. 

Now some good news from the Front Range about what’s called the Western Bumblebee. More and more are showing up in a multi-year study near Boulder. CU Boulder Professor Carol Kearns says it’s easy to spot them, because they have, well, white “butts,” or part of their abdomen. Kearns talks with Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher.

Mountain Edition - September 5th, 2013

Sep 5, 2013

As the offseason begins, Colorado’s elected leaders are deciding whether to support a U.S. led military strike in Syria. President Obama wants a green light from Congress before any action is taken.

After a summer chock-full of events, things are quieting down in Colorado’s high country… unless you’re a sheepdog herder. The annual sheepdog trials in Meeker are underway… and there’s some serious cash on the line.

In other money matters, we find out who paid to put out the Red Canyon Fire. The blaze near Glenwood Springs racked up a bill quickly--and other fires in the state already burned through the first source of funding.

We’ll find out what it takes for an Aspen coffee shop and roaster to make what they say is the best cup of coffee ever...even after life throws you a curve ball.

And, we have the latest from the artist Christo about the installation he wants to do in Colorado… as well as what opponents are saying.

Finally we’ll introduce you to an event with new roots in Aspen…but a deep history that hearkens back to 18th century Paris.  Details about Sunday's (9-8-2013) Salon at Justice Snow's:  www.anniversarysalon.eventbrite.com

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