Your Evening News - December 2nd, 2014

Dec 2, 2014

Glassier Open Space Comment Deadline Approaches

The deadline is looming to comment on a management plan for a new open space parcel in the mid-valley. The Glassier open space near Emma will be used for recreation and agriculture.

Unlike most Pitkin County-managed open space parcels, the Glassier land will give agricultural producers a chance to grow crops. About half of the 282-acre land is irrigated and at one time, was used for ranching.

A draft management plan is up for public comment until Friday. It lays out where trails and parking will be and splits the agricultural land into six chunks to allow leaseholders to grow variety of crops. Gary Tennenbaum is Assistant Director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

“We’re pretty strong on trying to do natural, organic and sustainable agriculture and really trying to find ways to protect our water. And, we’re trying to provide people with an opportunity to grow things on land that would otherwise be too expensive.”

Once the management plan is approved, the county will start a bid process for agricultural producers. The draft plan will go before the County’s Open Space and Trails board on December 18th.

Colorado’s Aviation Chief Leaves Following Painful Financial News

The head of Colorado’s aviation department is stepping down. The move comes after painful financial news from the state’s Division of Aeronautics. The agency made a massive mistake, resulting in local airports missing out on millions of dollars of grant money.

Low gas prices mean the agency’s grant program brought in a lot less money than expected. About fifteen million dollars was supposed to roll in the door and be distributed next year. But only three million turned up in the accounts. Division Director David Gordon, based on the Front Range, is no longer leading the agency. A CDOT deputy director has taken his place. As of this afternoon, it’s not clear whether the dramatic drop in grant money will affect the Aspen Pitkin County airport.

Health Care Sign Up Deadline Approaching

Residents in the Roaring Fork Valley, and around Colorado, have had a little over two weeks to sign up for health care. That’s if they’re getting insurance through the statewide online marketplace, called Connect for Health. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has the latest numbers on how many people have decided to buy.

So far, about the same number of people have signed up for private insurance compared to the same time last year. Although last fall, there was more time to go online and find a plan. A lot less people have signed up for Medicaid this time around. In fact, fifty thousand fewer compared to last year. Since Medicaid clients don’t have to sign up each year the same way private insurance customers do, officials say it's likely those numbers are down because so many people have already signed up for the government funded health care plan.

Officials are trying to motivate residents who plan to use Connect for Health for private insurance. Shopping for a new plan, or renewing an old one, is most affordable if done by December 15th.

Semi Roll Over Closes I-70 Near Silt

The Garfield County Sheriff says a roll-over a semi-truck last night was behind the closure of westbound I-70 near Silt for about an hour. The accident occurred at around 8:30pm Monday night near mile marker 97 on westbound I-70. The road had to be closed so a Care Flight helicopter could land to help the injured. There were some clean up closures during the day today on I-70 in the area as the Colorado State Patrol, the Silt Police Department and The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department handled the accident.