Aspen Public Radio

Your Morning News - December 12th, 2014

Dec 12, 2014

Parking Scam Investigation Nets Big Numbers, Many Cards

More than 4,000 debit cards were used in a massive Aspen parking fraud scheme between September 2013 and November 2014. Aspen’s Police Department has released an update on the case. According to a credit card processing company, nearly 200 of the cards had more than a $1,000 worth of charges used to get free parking in downtown Aspen. Police Spokeswoman Blair Weyer says investigators are using the new information to pinpoint who was gaming the system.

Your Evening News - December 11th, 2014

Dec 11, 2014

Aspen Seeks Input on New Bike/Pedestrian Plan

The City of Aspen is updating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and seeking public input. When the plan was conceived 20 years ago, several new trails were the result.

The original plan led to improvements like trail connections and new trails such as the East of Aspen trail and the Ute Avenue Trail. A lot has changed since the original master plan was drawn up, says City of Aspen Senior Project Manager Tyler Christoff. He says it’s time for a revision.

Your Morning News - December 11th, 2014

Dec 11, 2014

RFSD Keeps Sirko & Stein Under New Contact Plan

The Roaring Fork School District will have the same Superintendent for the next few years. The Board of Education decided to extend the contract for Diana Sirko as well as current Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein. But there’s a twist. Once Sirko is done, Stein will take the reins as Superintendent for three years. Board President Daniel Biggs explains the reason for the unusual arrangement.

“We wanted to have this strong leadership team continue the great work that they’ve begun. We have so much ahead of us.”

Superintendent Diana Sirko echoed that description of keeping together an All-Star team.

“It was an atypical situation from the beginning, and I think the forward thinking of the board allows us to move forward and to assure Dr. Stein that he won’t be waiting forever in the wings, so to speak.”

Stein had been hired as Superintendent in 2012 but stepped down because of a family emergency. Sirko filled the position in Stein’s absence and has continued on following his return. 

Your Evening News - December 10th, 2014

Dec 10, 2014

State Oil & Gas Task Force Meets in Rifle

A special meeting on drilling convenes in Rifle today. Colorado’s Oil and Gas Task Force will be taking public comment in Rifle. The group was created by Governor John Hickenlooper as part of a grand compromise this summer over ballot measures and fracking. It has representatives from around the state, and is meeting for the fourth time. The Task Force is supposed to come up with recommendations on any changes to oil and gas regulations or how they’re carried out. So far there are no formal recommendations, but the task force has until the end of February. Today’s Rifle meeting is being streamed online and continues through tomorrow.

Your Morning News - December 10th, 2014

Dec 10, 2014

Aspen Hires New Executive Director of the Housing Authority

The City of Aspen is naming a new Executive Director of the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority. Michael Kosdrosky of Denver was named to the post. He will start in mid-January. Kosdrosky has a B.A. in Political Science from Ashland University, and a MPA from the University of Colorado School Of Public Affairs. Kosdrosky stated his career in the public sector as a Legislative Manager and Policy Advisor in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Your Evening News - December 9th, 2014

Dec 9, 2014

Environmentalists Praise White River National Forest Drilling Plan

The White River National Forest released a “conservation-minded” plan Tuesday for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it protects much of the contested Thompson Divide. The long-awaited plan maps out where future oil and gas leasing can happen on the 2.2 million acre White River National Forest. It calls for closing more than 1.2 million acres to oil and gas leasing including much of the contested Thompson Divide area near Carbondale. The Thompson Divide Coalition is working to protect that area. Executive Director Zane Kessler calls the plan “a good step.”

“We’re excited that the Forest Service has taken a very strong, conservation minded lead on this.”

More work needs to be done, he says, because 100,000 acres already leased on the Divide won’t be affected by the Forest Service plan. The plan only applies to future leasing.

Your Morning News - December 9th, 2014

Dec 9, 2014

Lodging Discussion Continues at Aspen City Council

Aspen City Council has decided to move forward with considering changes to the city’s lodging regulations. The agreement took place last night, during Council’s last regular meeting of the year. Like a similar meeting last week, council members decided to continue looking at some affordable housing or fee flexibility for small lodges. Again, controversial changes for square footage, building height, or free market residency, were left by the wayside.

Your Evening News - December 8th, 2014

Dec 8, 2014

Eagle, Pitkin Counties See Fewer Assistance Fraud Cases

Officials say they are already seeing success in stopping residents from taking advantage of social services in Eagle and Pitkin Counties. This comes after a new focus on reviewing public assistance cases. In January, Eagle County dedicated two employees to review cases where residents are getting certain benefits. It’s modeled off of programs elsewhere, like Garfield County and the Front Range. The workers review every qualifying case in Pitkin and Eagle Counties. Rita Woods is Fiscal and Operations Director with Health & Human Services. She says most people on assistance do need it.

“But it’s our job just to insure that taxpayer confidence, in our fiscal fiduciary, that we’re checking to make sure the right people are receiving the right benefit at the right time.”

Her office points to a recent fraud case as evidence of the program’s success. An Eagle resident has pleaded guilty to using food and medical assistance even though she didn’t qualify.

Your Morning News - December 8th, 2014

Dec 8, 2014

"Summit for Life" Raises at least $172K

The Chris Klug Foundation has raised more than $172,000 in the Summit for Life fundraiser this weekend. The organ transplant awareness organization says a record number of participants were on Aspen Mountain, Saturday night. Though soft snow made walking more challenging at times, the number of people hiking and skinning on skis was significantly more than last year. Final fundraising totals won’t be out until late this week.

HWY 133 Construction Coming to an End

Your Evening News - December 5th, 2014

Dec 5, 2014

ACES is Aces with Charity Reviewer

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has gotten more phone calls and emails than usual today. That’s because the charity has been chosen as one of the best of its kind in the country. The national nonprofit reviewer Charity Navigator has listed ACES as the top botanical garden, park, or nature center. That’s in an online Holiday Giving Guide, put together by the well-respected charity review. ACES CEO Chris Lane found out about the accolade from a reporter with the Aspen Times.

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