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

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

Elise Thatcher

World renowned artist Christo still hopes to do an ambitious art installation in Central Colorado. Well known for The Gates, a New York City Central Park installation in 2005, he’s now proposing a project called Over the River. In it, fabric panels would be suspended over sections six miles of the Arkansas River. Christo’s work is often controversial, so it’s no surprise the proposal has met stiff opposition here.

Note: Want to hear Christo's entire talk at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center? Scroll the bottom of this post for full unedited audio.

Mountain Edition - August 29th, 2013

Aug 30, 2013

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced it won’t try and stop Colorado and Washington State from allowing recreational marijuana.

Basalt officials say they’re on track to move nearly forty families living in a trailer park. It’s part of a redevelopment plan… and some of the families say they can’t afford to stay in Basalt.

We’ll find out what the reaction in Aspen was to the USA Pro Challenge, which took over parts of the Upper Valley last week.

And, what the latest is on what cycling officials are doing to catch doping… turns out they don’t necessarily agree with each other.

A Glenwood Springs teacher is teaming up with NOAA to chart the ocean floor. She sets sail early next month.

An accomplished local author is taking readers across the world. Her latest novel will be published soon. It chronicles an early feminist in the 19th century Ottoman Empire.

And, The Colorado State Fair continues in Pueblo through the weekend… we have an audio postcard.

Elise Thatcher

Early in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, Aspen Public Radio spent some time with the official drug tester for the International Cycling Union.  You can hear that story here. New testing procedures are in effect in an effort to show the sport is trying to clean up after years of doping scandals.  In the second report, we take a look at the competing agencies tasked with making sure the athletes are clean. [Note: see above for photos of drug testing chaperones during the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.]

Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge finished up in Denver on Sunday. After a week crossing Colorado, competitors in the international bike race made several laps in the heart of Denver. In the end though, it was a far different finish than a year ago.

It was a moment three years in the making. After two near misses, pro cyclist Tejay van Garderen finally clinched the yellow winner’s jersey.

Announcer Brad Sohner: “These folks love seeing Tejay van Garderen win, you gotta feel the love in Colorado!”

Tejay van Garderen: “Yeah, let me feel that love one more time!”

Elise Thatcher

All week, the USA Pro Challenge has flashed across TV, computer, and mobile screens… thanks to a film crew on motorcycles. Now we bring you what it’s like to be, literally, in the middle of the peloton. On Stage 2 of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher rode in a team car with the Champion System pro cycling team.

  

Every day, before a race begins, the Champion System team meets in their RV. A handful of cyclists sit quietly, suited up in racing jerseys, looking pensive. General Manager Ed Beamon lays out the strategy.

Elise Thatcher

Cycling is trying to prove it’s clean. The sport has had a public relations disaster as one after another rider has admitted to doping in years past... including icon and superstar Lance Armstrong. But organizers and younger athletes maintain the sport is far cleaner now, partly because of the kinds of tests used to catching athletes cheating. Aspen Public Radio took a look at what that actually involves.

Elise Thatcher

Today's Stage 2 of the  USA Pro Cycling Challenge takes riders over Independence Pass and over to Breckenridge. The riders will zoom through Buena Vista, Fairplay and Alma before they reach the finish line. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher is getting an insider's glimpse. She's riding in a team car for Team Champion System. She's been giving us updates from the road. Here she's passing through Twin Lakes...

Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge kicks off in Aspen and Snowmass Village today. More than a hundred and fifty top cyclists will compete in the third edition of the race. Many explored the Roaring Fork Valley on two wheels this weekend... and all of them were within arm’s reach during Saturday’s opening ceremonies.

<<Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines”>>

GasLand II/HBO

Since our report on the documentary film "Gasland II" aired on Monday, August 12th, the story has generated online buzz.  We’ve received emails and tweets from people across the country as well as Facebook posts and online comments.

GasLand II/HBO

Residents and visitors of the Roaring Fork Valley have a chance to see the latest from controversial filmmaker Josh Fox. The man behind "GasLand," which galvanized and focused an anti-fracking movement and was nominated for an Oscar. Now, "GasLand II" is showing tonight in Aspen. 

“My name is Josh Fox. It’s been five years since the first proposal to drill thousands of gas wells came knocking at my door...”

Elise Thatcher

A Texan stole the show at the Pitkin County Democrats’ annual fundraising dinner last night. State Senator Wendy Davis gained national attention earlier this year when she held an all-night filibuster in the Texas legislature, over the issue of access to abortions. Last night Davis held the floor for a much shorter period of time at the Lazy T Seven Ranch.

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