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Your Morning News - January 5th, 2015

Jan 5, 2015

Avalanche Injures Aspen Mountain Guide

A skiing tour guide for Aspen Mountain Powder Tours will not be returning to work today. The employee injured his knee when he was caught in an avalanche just outside Aspen Mountain’s ski area boundaries on New Year’s Day. That was in a location where the cat skiing operation is allowed to operate. Jeff Hanle is spokesman for the Aspen Skiing Company which owns and operates the powder tours. Hanle says the company does not plan to release the employee’s name.

“We don’t ever release an injured person’s name. There’s HIPAA laws and rules that don’t allow us to do that in most cases. And in this case the employee did not want to be identified. So we’ll respect his decision.”

Hanle says he’s not aware of any similar accidents in previous years.  Aspen Mountain Powder Tours will operate as usual today. The area of the avalanche had been closed after the incident last Thursday, but could be in use this week or later in the season as avalanche conditions permit.

Governor Launches Statewide Child Abuse Hotline

Governor John Hickenlooper’s office has launched a statewide child abuse hotline. The effort may help with a rising number of child abuse and neglect referrals in Pitkin County.

The hotline is the latest in a series of efforts to help improve child welfare in Colorado and improve the delivery of such services.

In addition to the statewide hotline, there’s a local Pitkin County phone number ensuring the call will be received. Pitkin County has seen a dramatic rise in the number of abuse and neglect cases. In 2008, the county had 60. Last year, it dealt with 250 referrals.

Director of Health and Human Services Nan Sundeen says it’s because Pitkin County added Basalt and El Jebel to its service area and law enforcement is referring every domestic abuse case where children are present.

“There’s a lot of domestic violence in our community and we’re working pretty rigorously to support families in understanding how domestic violence impacts children.”

In addition to the new hotline, the County will launch a website next month aimed at stopping domestic violence, particularly around children.

Flu Season is Here

An already bad flu season got worse in the last full week of December. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports nearly 400 people statewide were hospitalized with the flu during that week alone. So far this season, nearly 1,300 people from 40 counties have gone to the hospital with the illness. People 65 years and older account for the largest number of hospitalizations, and the second pediatric flu-related death of the season was reported in late December.

In Pitkin County, there have been no hospitalizations for the flu. But, the number of people visiting their local health care clinics increased around Christmas. Health care providers recommend visiting a doctor for residents who have developed symptoms that can include getting testing and possibly getting treated with an antiviral medication.