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

Jesse Lujan

Colorado is one of nearly twenty states putting together a kind of cooperative health care purchasing program. It’s called an exchange, and it’s starting under the recent health care overhaul often called "Obamacare". Enrollment starts in October and it could mean big changes for Native Americans in Colorado. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher recently spoke with Ernest House Junior. He’s Executive Director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. House started by explaining what health care options Native Americans have now.

Elise Thatcher

The City of Aspen wants to know what “environmental sustainability” means to people here. Does it mean cleaner air or making sure there’s enough water to go around? Or maybe there’s another description It’s part of Aspen’s new effort to find out exactly how well the city is meeting its own sustainability goals.  Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher filed this report.

Courtesy Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife is still searching for who killed and dumped a female adult bear earlier this month. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher checked on the latest in the investigation.

EcoFlight

The Aspen Skiing Company has given a combined fifty thousand dollars to organizations working to prevent oil and gas drilling in the Thompson Divide. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has more.

Elise Thatcher

It’s easy to not think about wildfires just yet. But local officials in the Roaring Fork Valley are working together to make sure you’re getting ready for fire season. Fire departments, the red cross, and other emergency services are trying out a way of getting the word out. It’s part of a new national and international effort, to make it easier for people to understand how to get ready for--and survive--wildfire season. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher went to the first meeting in the series, to find out what’s new this year.

Elise Thatcher / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen residents cast their ballots for the city council and Mayor’s seat yesterday. The two council spots were easily filled, by Art Daily and Ann Mullins. But the mayor’s race is still too close to call. It’s not the first time the city’s had a run-off, although more unusual for it to happen with a mayor’s race. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports.

City Clerk Kathryn Koch runs Aspen’s elections. On Tuesday night, she described what happened when none of the mayoral candidates had enough votes to win outright.

Photo by Colorado River Water Conservation District

As the demand for water grows in the West, there may come a day when water rights at ski areas will be worth more than lift tickets or real estate. Forest Service officials want to make sure those rights aren’t sold--but a previous attempt was struck down in court late last year. A judge decided, among other things, the agency didn’t get enough public input. This week saw the first of three public meetings... it’s the only one in Colorado. Denver Post reporter Jason Blevins was there.

Photo by Elise Thatcher

Most residents in the Roaring Fork Valley probably won’t be surprised to hear

there’s more snow in the mountains. Drought conditions are in the area again this year... but while the snow is helping... it’s cold temperatures that are making the biggest difference.

Wendy Ryan is with the Colorado Climate Center. She says the snowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley is at 87% of what’s normal.

"It’s way better than we had been just a few weeks ago, so April has brought us some really good moisture, mainly along the northern tier of the state."

Residents in the town of Parachute, and other area communities, are angry and worried about a nearby hydrocarbon spill. That’s a word for a substance like light natural gas, that seeped out from a pipe valve earlier this year. Officials say there isn’t any more leaking out, and they feel like they’ve got a good handle on the clean up. But many at a public meeting on Monday, April 29th, were skeptical. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports:

More details are available on what happened during the April 20th deadly avalanche on Loveland Pass. It was the worst accident of its kind in more than a half a century. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center released their final report on Wednesday April 24th. In it are some painful details--like the lone survivor waiting four hours to be dug out, and the slide being powerful enough to wreck car. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with CAIC Executive Director Ethan Greene.

Photo by Dale Atkins/RECCO

This week is a tough one for many in Colorado’s backcountry community. Friends and family are getting used to the idea that five men died in an avalanche near Loveland Pass last weekend. Its the worst event of its kind in Colorado in a half a century.

Adam Schmidt is editor in Chief at Snowboard Colorado Magazine. He was good friends with one of the victims, Gypsum resident Joe Timlin. Schmidt got the call Saturday night that Joe was gone, killed in the avalanche.

“My first reaction was disbelief. Um. I was hoping it was a terrible joke.”

Aspen Skiing Company

Business leaders, including more than a hundred ski resorts, want Washington to do something about climate change. That’s the message signed by business heavyweights like Nike and Starbucks, as well as Aspen Skiing Company and smaller outfits like Monarch Mountain. And it comes after athletes delivered a letter to the White House with a similar theme.

 

 

"Climate change is the biggest economic opportunity, and it’s the right thing to do."

Photo Courtesy of USA Pro Challenge

Colorado sporting events may see more security after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th. One of the biggest events in Aspen this summer is the USA Pro Challenge. The road bike race in its third year. Now, state and local officials are looking closely at whether to beef up security.

Photo by Elise Thatcher

Part 3 of a 3 part series.

Pitkin County residents are making less money than ten years ago. That’s one of the findings in a recent economic sustainability report released by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. One of the reasons could be that paychecks aren’t keeping up with inflation. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports.
 

Photo from John Fayhee

“When in doubt, go higher.” That’s the motto of the Mountain Gazette, the Colorado-born magazine that’s documented the slings and arrows of mountain living here and across the West.

Usually at the heart of the publication are long tales by the colorful and often curmudgeonly editor John Fayhee. He helped the resurrect the Gazette thirteen years ago. That was in collaboration with well known Aspen figure. Well, Fayhee’s in serious doubt... and deep regret... about the future of the magazine--so he’s saying goodbye. Fayhee recently spoke with Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher.

Photo from Aspen Police Department

Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened at several Aspen ATMs in late March. The criminals withdrew thousands of dollars with fake debit and credit cards. But the big question remains... how were they able to make the cards in the first place? Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has this report.

Hunters in Colorado are threatening to boycott the state this year over new gun laws... and if they make good on their promise the protest could end up hurting wildlife across the state. The fees hunters pay make up more than half of the state’s wildlife budget. 

Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story:

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