Aspen Public Radio

Your Morning News - January 14th, 2015

Jan 14, 2015

Accident Leads to Contaminated Water

A truck accident has led to diesel in drinking water for some residents in the Rifle area. Garfield County officials said last night they were notified by the Colorado Department of Public Health about the problem. According to the county, a truck rolled in the area, leaking sixty gallons of diesel into an irrigation ditch. Although an environmental clean-up crew is on-site, possibly fifteen gallons escaped farther downstream where the Cottonwood mobile home park is. As of Monday, three to four residents there reported diesel in their drinking water. The Colorado health department is handling the incident.

Your Morning News - January 13th, 2015

Jan 13, 2015

City of Aspen to Mail Ballots for Next City Election

Voters in Aspen will use mail-in ballots for the next election in May. Aspen City Council decided to make the switch to automatic mail-in ballots.

A majority of council members voted in favor of the mail ballots, saying allowing more convenience and expanding voting participation is a good idea. Council Member Ann Mullins was one of those voting in favor of expanding beyond a polling center.

"Things change, people, they’re traveling, their schedules are different. It is a small town, but it’s not a small town while everybody’s here, on that day, able to go to the polls.

Voters can still cast a ballot early or on Election Day at City Hall. That will be the only vote center in Aspen.  If a runoff election is necessary, it would also be based on mail-in ballots. The State of Colorado moved to all mail-in ballot elections starting last year. Those are carried out by county election officials. Cities and special districts can make their own decision on whether to follow suit.

Your Evening News - January 12th, 2015

Jan 12, 2015

State Health Officials Observing Possible Ebola Case

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says a person who traveled to an Ebola-affected country in Africa is under observation following fever symptoms in Denver. Doctor Larry Wolk is Executive Director of the state department. In a news release he says the person came to Denver Health overnight and will be monitored and evaluated. The person is believed to be at low-risk for ebola, but they will be tested for the disease. Health officials say they are exercising extreme caution.

Your Morning News - January 12th, 2015

Jan 12, 2015

Basalt Police Seek Suspect in Robbery

Basalt Police are looking for a man who robbed a liquor store in Old Town. Jimbo’s Wine and Liquor on Basalt Center Circle was robbed just before 10 o’clock Friday night. The suspect was wearing a stocking cap and a black ski mask. He took out a knife and told a store employee to open the cash register then left with the cash.

Police describe the suspect as a white male, about five-foot-eight with a medium build and brown eyes. The department is reviewing video surveillance and encouraging anyone with information to contact them.

Your Evening News - January 9th, 2015

Jan 9, 2015

Easier Complaint System for Oil & Gas Operations

It’s now easier to file a complaint about oil and gas operations. Colorado regulators today announced a streamlined complaint system they say is more transparent.

Regulators say the previous process wasn’t transparent enough and that translated into wasting staff time. Workers were focused on filling out forms and sometimes multiple staff members were working on the same complaint without even knowing it. Dave Kulmann is Deputy Director of Field Operations for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. He says with the tremendous boom in oil and gas activity on the Front Range, there’s been a change in the kind of complaints, too.

“The complaints are more complex. They’re multiple issues within one complaint, so it’s taking longer for us to actually process and resolve a complaint and communicate the results back.”

Kulmann describes the new complaint process as part of the agency’s evolution to do a better job keeping an eye on the industry.

Your Evening News - January 8th, 2015

Jan 8, 2015

Environment Foundation Awards Over $95,000

A non-profit connected to the Aspen Skiing Company and aimed at environmental causes is releasing over $31,000 in grants to local efforts.

A news release from the Environment Foundation says the money will be split between six groups working on youth education. Those receiving the grants include the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Basalt Middle and High School and the Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork.

An additional $64,000 is being sent to seven additional organizations focused on energy efficiency, limiting the impacts of drilling on the Western Slope and maintenance and expansion of trials in the Roaring Fork Valley. In total, the Environment Foundation is donating more than $95,000 to 13 projects. The money was raised by Ski Co employees and was matched by various companies and area non-profits.

Your Morning News - January 8th, 2015

Jan 8, 2015

RFTA Looks to Expand Parking for Riders

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is trying to solve the problem of overflowing parking lots at its bus stops. RFTA’s Board of Directors will consider possible solutions at its meeting today.

Parking lots for bus riders fill up fast in the Roaring Fork Valley. By 8am on weekdays lots in places like El Jebel and Carbondale are packed.

RFTA officials point to positive growth in ridership since the Bus Rapid Transit system started in 2013. Three new parking lots - in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and New Castle are planned. In the meantime, RFTA must find a way to free up spots for transit users. Michael Hermes is Director of Facilities for RFTA.

“There are activities going on at the park and ride’s not related to transit such as ridesharing and patrons of adjacent businesses parking there. So, other uses are taking up spots that are intended for transit users.”

The board will discuss whether RFTA should take enforcement measures to keep drivers out who aren’t intending on taking the bus. RFTA manages more than 800 parking spots in its system from Rifle to Aspen.

Your Evening News - January 7th, 2015

Jan 7, 2015

Explore Offer Comes from a National Nonprofit Group  

A collection of national nonprofits that fight for such causes as the environment, social justice and consumer protection might be the new owner of Aspen’s Explore Bookstore soon. The Aspen Times reports the group known as the Public Interest Network has a contract to buy Explore Booksellers and the attached restaurant for $5 million. In order for the deal to go through a Texas bankruptcy judge must approve it in the case of Samuel Wyly who owns the store. Over the past 30 years, the Public Interest Network has held events in Aspen and been fans of Explore. Officials with the group say the survival of an independent bookstore meshes with its mission. The Texas judge is expected to review the offer today. If approved, the sale of Explore is expected to close on January 16th.

Your Morning News - January 7th, 2015

Jan 7, 2015

New Healthcare Enrollment Numbers

More than 3,000 people in Pitkin, Garfield, and Eagle counties have signed up for private health insurance since November 15th.

3,330 residents of the three counties signed up between November 15th and December 15th. That’s for health care coverage starting in 2015 according to the online health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health. Megan Burch is overseeing the effort to help residents in the Roaring Fork Valley and Eagle County sign up for health insurance.

“We’re really thrilled with the enrollment numbers to date, and they’re tracking very closely to our goals for this second enrollment period.”

The difference is Garfield County is about seven hundred people short of that overall goal. So Burch’s office is planning more outreach and events there to help residents sign up for health insurance.

Your Evening News - January 6th, 2015

Jan 6, 2015

Climate Report: Temperatures Rising in Aspen

A new report on climate change in the Aspen area shows an increase in temperature and a rise in the number of frost-free days. The report was compiled as part of an effort to prepare the resort town for a changed climate.

The Climate Resiliency Plan looks at Aspen’s climate history. It shows Aspen saw a one-degree Fahrenheit increase from 1940 to 1979, and since 1980 a 1.5 degree increase. The report also shows a steady increase in the number of frost-free days. James Arnott with the Aspen Global Change Institute authored the report.

“This is one of the pointers that gets us to thinking about recreational seasons, such as a shortening of the winter and a lengthening of the summertime season.”

The plan pinpoints where Aspen may be vulnerable to climate change in the ski industry, for example. The report is a first step in an effort to engage community members in building a plan that finds ways to adapt to warming in the future.

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