Aspen Public Radio

Your Morning News - February 3rd, 2015

Feb 3, 2015

Aspen Talks Health & Human Services Funding

Aspen City Council continued a conversation last night about funding health and human service organizations. Right now, the City doles out $400,000 annually to various charities.

The council’s conversation centered around whether additional dollars should be pulled from another pot of money and if the method currently used for choosing worthy organizations should continue. Right now Pitkin County decides where the money goes.

Mayor Steve Skadron suggested pulling additional dollars from a tax dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House.

“This is how I think it should go: should new incremental money come into our pool of contributions, I believe that money should have a focused outcome. I think the focus should be on uniquely Aspen problems.”

He’d like to support seniors in need, substance abuse, mental health and suicide. The conversation will continue later this month, when councilman Dwayne Romero is present.

Your Evening News - February 2nd, 2015

Feb 2, 2015

Phone Scam Targets Aspen Residents

Aspen’s Police Department issued scam alert today. Law enforcement has heard from residents about calls from people saying they’re with federal agencies.

People running the scam say they are with the IRS or other offices. Some leave voicemails like this one received by an Aspen resident.

“This message intended to contact you regarding an enforcement action, executed by the United States Treasury. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid an issue of your appearance before a magistrate judge, or a grand jury.”

The scam is similar to one making the rounds across the country over the last year.

The Aspen Police Department is warning residents to be cautious about any calls that involve money and are allegedly from a government agency.

Residents in the El Jebel area reported a scam last month where a caller pretending to be with the Eagle County Sheriff’s office demanded money and promised to get rid of a fake warrant.

Your Morning News - February 2nd, 2015

Feb 2, 2015

Pitkin County Library Plans to Move During Expansion Work

Later this month the Pitkin County Library will begin its multi-million dollar expansion project. In order to save time and money, the plan is to move about one-third of the collection to the old Aspen Art Museum.

Head librarian Kathy Chandler is hoping that a new tenant for the museum space will not be ready to move in by April. That’s when she wants to move library operations to the empty building on North Mill Street.

“Possibly we will move everything out and then and let the contractor have at the building...because they will be able to do the work a lot more efficiently if they don’t have to work around the staff and the public and the collection...but a lot of it has to do with timing.”

Chandler is waiting to hear from Aspen City Council on when it plans to select one of five local nonprofits to become a tenant in the old museum space. If the timing works, the library would take it over temporarily. The remaining collection would be moved to storage possibly at the parking garage in Snowmass Village.

“So if things just go absolutely perfectly we would move part of the collection down to the art museum...we would bring a lot of the children’s collection and then the most popular, newest parts of the adult collection down to that building and... we are hoping we can store a lot of the rest of our materials in kind of dead storage.”

The existing library would be open in a limited capacity during construction. The expansion will add 5,108 square feet to the building. Chandler expects the project to be complete by the end of summer in 2016.

Your Evening News - January 30th, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

AVSC Ski Coach Charged with Child Sexual Assault

One of the alpine ski coaches at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club has been arrested. Bill Montage is facing multiple counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and aggravated incest. He was arrested yesterday. AVSC says the charges are not related to any minors at the club or in the Aspen area

Your Morning News - January 30th, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

Garfield County to Online Auction Surplus

Garfield County hopes to make some extra cash from surplus equipment like cars or furniturde. The County is in its first round of an online auction for no-longer needed items. Chief Procurement Officer Jamaica Watts explains that Eagle County and other comparable governments are already using the service.

“The public can go on and register, they can put in bids, they can put in proxy bids. We can actually watch it in real time and know what’s going on. It’s kind of like eBay.”

Garfield County can also make sure the price doesn’t go below what the items are valued at. Officials believe this will be more affordable, effective and transparent than the previous method of storing items for long periods of time, and selling at a regular auction.

Setting it up online is technically free, but does require staff time. Buyers also pay an additional 10% of the price to the County. Garfield County is in the middle of its first auction. Watts says the response has been bigger than expected, so far, with multiple bids for several vehicles.

Your Evening News - January 29th, 2015

Jan 29, 2015

Frisch Seeks Re-Election to Aspen Council

Adam Frisch announced yesterday that he plans to run for re-election this spring for a city council seat. Frisch, who is 47, first ran for the four-year term in 2009. He lost that election but won in 2011, garnering more than 45 percent of the vote. Nominating petitions, which require 25 signatures for a candidate to make the ballot, are available beginning Tuesday. Former housing director Tom McCabe also has announced his candidacy for a council seat. Current mayor Steve Skadron and former councilman Torre have said they plan to run for the two-year term. The election is May 5.

Your Morning News - January 29th, 2015

Jan 29, 2015

Petition to Control Aspen Development Gaining Signers

A group of Aspen residents gathered at a private home last night to sign a petition about controlling development in town. If it gets enough signatures approved, the proposal would go on the May ballot. It would require voter approval on any new development that doesn’t follow the land use code. Participant Doug Wilson explained why he believes it’s a good idea to keep exceptions to a minimum.

“In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we worked really hard to come up with the building code that we have today, and it’s made the town retain so much of it’s delicious nature and I’d like to maintain that in the future.”

Wilson is one of a small army of people gathering signatures around town to support the ballot measure. As of last night, they had about five hundred. Bert Myrin worked with about 10 people to put together the proposal. While hosting last night’s event, he said preventing exceptions would level the playing field for developers and residents.

“It’ll create a less divisive community, because everyone will know what the expectations are for the size of the box and the impact it’s going to have on the neighborhood.”

If it’s up to voters to focus on exceptions, Myrin believes that allow City Council to focus on other important issues.

Organizers hope to submit a thousand signatures next Tuesday. Election officials require about three hundred to put a measure on the ballot.

In response to the proposal, Aspen’s City Council is looking at whether to change the land use code before the election. Mayor Steve Skadron said in a heated discussion Monday that he opposes having voters decide what development is appropriate in town.

Your Evening News - January 28th, 2015

Jan 28, 2015

CMC Holds Local Associates Level Tuition to Zero Increase

Tuition for locals will be the same at Colorado Mountain College this academic year. The board of trustees approved a zero increase on associate-degree-level courses for those who live in the district. Those who are in-state but out of district will be an extra $6.50 per credit hour at the associates-degree level while residents of Chaffee, Grand and Jackson Counties will pay $6 extra per credit hour. The biggest increase comes for those paying out-of-state tuition, who will see a $56 per credit hour increase. A news release from CMC says the school remains one of the most affordable in the state. At the same time, the board of trustees are expected to work over the next few months on comprehensive and strategic plans to improve student access and achievement through changes to the school’s financial aid programs.

Your Morning News - January 28th, 2015

Jan 28, 2015

Glenwood Hot Springs Responds to Bacteria Complaint

The Glenwood Hot Springs says it is keeping up with making sure one of its pools is safe to use. The business told Aspen Public Radio last night that routine maintenance already does a good job preventing too much of a certain kind of bacteria.

Last summer, the therapy pool at the Hot Springs tested positive for a bacteria that can cause what’s called hot tub rash. It is dangerous only for people with weaker immune systems like cancer patients. John Bosco is Chief Operations Officer with the business.

“The levels shown in the test results are, it’s arguable, whether it’s a level that’s deemed very dangerous or whether it’s not. The state does not currently have any requirements for testing and monitoring.”

Garfield County officials agree that the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and Lodge has measures in place to keep the water clean. Josh Williams is Environmental Health Manager.

“I mean their monitoring and tracking of that is above and beyond the required testing is for bacterial contamination. Which is a good indicator that they take it very seriously.”

Garfield County says the bacteria are naturally occurring, though also the leading cause of hospital infections. The possibility of high levels at the Glenwood Hot Springs recently came to light after a local resident publicly complained this week saying government officials aren’t doing enough to prevent the bacteria from being dangerous. She had originally complained last year of ongoing severe intestinal sickness.

Your Evening News - January 27th, 2015

Jan 27, 2015

Customer Airs Concerns About Glenwood Hot Springs

Garfield County officials are not asking the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and Lodge to change sanitary measures after a bacteria complaint.

Last summer, the therapy pool at the hot springs tested positive for a bacteria that isn’t regulated by the state or federal government. It’s one of the causes of hot tub rash, but is dangerous only for people with weaker immune systems, like cancer patients. Josh Williams is Garfield County environmental health manager and explains his review of the hot springs’ regular efforts to keep facilities clean.

“I mean their monitoring and tracking of that is above and beyond the required testing is for bacterial contamination. Which is a good indicator that they take it very seriously,” says Josh Williams.

The possible issue of bacteria recently came to light after a local resident this past fall complained of ongoing severe intestinal sickness. She publicly complained this week, saying government officials aren’t doing enough to prevent it from happening again. Garfield County says the bacteria is naturally occurring, though also the leading cause of hospital infections. Aspen Public Radio is waiting for comment from the Glenwood Hot Springs.

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