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Your Evening News - January 15th, 2015

Jan 15, 2015

Glenwood Considering New Meadows Development

Tonight Glenwood Springs Council will take an early look at a proposed development at the Glenwood Meadows Shopping Center. It would add nearly two hundred housing units and commercial space to the bustling shopping complex.

The new development proposal includes 174 residential units and nearly 6,000 square feet of commercial space as well as amenities like a coffee lounge, business center, and gym.

Andrew McGregor oversees Community Development for the City of Glenwood Springs. He says City Council must keep in mind the area has been assessed for mudslides.

“We’re very in tune with the geologic environment out there, and of course very concerned with making sure that all construction is done taking that into full consideration.”

McGregor says the Meadows has structures in place to help prevent slides. The business and energy of the shopping center, which includes stores like Target and Lowe’s, is one reason McGregor thinks the development will be a good fit.

Your Evening News - January 14th, 2015

Jan 14, 2015

Aspen May Have to Build More Government Office Space

The City of Aspen is trying to decide where to put its workers. There’s not enough existing space for them including the police department. Tomorrow, the City is holding the last in a series of open houses on the issue.

Workers are severely cramped, plus Aspen is losing lots of office space due to rental agreements. City employee Jack Wheeler is overseeing how to solve the problem. He says there isn’t enough office space for the City to rent in Aspen. So, building is the only viable option.

“We went through several different iterations, we presented them to Council, Council and the public pointed at two distinct options. Both options that we’re pursuing include police facility at 540 Main.”

That’s city property next to the Pitkin County Plaza Building.

The difference in the plans lies in whether to renovate and expand city hall or effectively create a new city hall near the Pitkin County library by renovating and expanding existing city buildings there.

Either wouldn’t be in place until sometime 2018. So, Wheeler is also juggling an interim plan.

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.

Your Morning News - January 6th, 2015

Jan 6, 2015

Snowmass Considering Krabloonik Transfer

The Snowmass Village Town Council is considering amending the lease for a dogsledding operation. The town owns land where Krabloonik Fine Dining and Dogsledding is located. A Snowmass couple purchased the company late last year but still needs to have their names formally added to the lease. The changes come after the original owner of Krabloonik was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. Last night, the Town Council discussed ways of changing the lease to make sure dogs are treated properly now. Snowmass Village Mayor Markey Butler.

“We must demonstrate that we are doing the best that we possibly can to assure not only the local community but the entire community of those who come as our guests, and who appreciate dog sledding that we’ve got the best in class.”

The Snowmass Town Council will take up the matter again later this month.

Your Evening News - January 5th, 2015

Jan 5, 2015

2 Elk Resuced, 1 Dies in Icy Pond

Law enforcement and firefighters responded to a call Monday morning, of three elk trapped in a frigid pond near Aspen.

Rescue crews in wetsuits worked for over two hours using chainsaws to cut a wide escape route in the ice. The elk were trapped in a pond on private property off of McLain Flats Road. Eventually two elk, a bull and a cow, were able to escape. The third elk drowned.

Kevin Wright with Colorado Parks and Wildlife says he’s concerned about the health of the bull elk that didn’t scamper off, but rather sat along the pond once he was freed.

“They expended so much energy just swimming around in circles and trying to get out - just basically pure exhaustion. He looks awfully “shocky” to me. We’ll see if he’s able to get up, move off and make it.”

Parks and Wildlife will continue to monitor the two elk. Meanwhile the property owner was fined for placing two bales of hay next to the pond where the elk were feeding before they broke through the ice.

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.

Your Evening News - January 2nd, 2015

Jan 2, 2015

Basalt & Development in 2015

2015 promises to be another action-packed year for development planning in downtown Basalt. Town officials say last year was about “setting the base.” Now, things may start taking shape.

Town officials and community members have been envisioning what may be built on about thirteen public and private acres downtown. Last month, a committee charged with coming up with ideas presented its findings to Town Council.

Now the elected leaders will consider next steps. Town Manager Mike Scanlon says there’s a lot to go over.

“What do we want to do in terms of formalizing all this work that was done in 2014, into a planning district? Do we want to go to a form-based code for the downtown area? Do we just want to establish a special downtown area district? And then, how do we start taking some of those public pieces and work on them? So, getting the parks to a standard and a quality that we would expect.”

Already, a development group has shown interest in building on 2.3 acres downtown. Lowe Enterprises told town officials it envisions building a boutique hotel and some residential units.

Your Morning News - January 2nd, 2015

Jan 2, 2015

Lift 1A Closed for Up to 10 Days

The Aspen Skiing Company has closed Lift 1A at the base of Aspen Mountain for repairs. The Aspen Times reports the 43-year-old lift will be shut down for a minimum of eight to ten days while the company deals with a broken part in the lift’s gear box.

The International Ski Federation has asked the Ski-Co to upgrade the chairlift and surrounding base if it wants to continue to host World Cup races. A company spokesman told the paper the latest mechanical problem does not give credence to calls that the lift is antiquated. In June the Federation announced Aspen will hold the World Cup Finals in March of 2017.

Your Evening News - January 1st, 2015

Jan 1, 2015

I-70 Closures Start Tonight

The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin a series of closures on Interstate 70 starting tonight. The agency will close the road in both directions at Idaho Springs from 9pm to 6am for the next four nights.

The closure may slow travelers either leaving the Roaring Fork Valley or heading this direction. Motorists will use the on and off ramps in both directions at Exit 240 to detour around the closure. CDOT is completing abutment work and initial girder setting for a new bridge over the Interstate.

The work was originally scheduled for last week, but winter storms postponed it. The agency is looking to take advantage of favorable weather this week to do the work. A CDOT official says the main goal of the closure is to ensure traffic is flowing freely during peak travel times. There may be some traffic delays.

Your Morning News - January 1st, 2015

Jan 1, 2015

Except Airport Delays

For lodging, tonight is the last of the busiest seven days of the year for Aspen and Snowmass bookings. That means people flying out of the Upper Valley could see long lines starting tomorrow.

Once the New Year’s Eve celebrations are over, travelers hit the road or the airport to return home. Bill Tomcich is President of Stay Aspen Snowmass, the resort’s main booking company. He says New Year’s Day through January 5th will be a mass exodus.

“You can actually check in as soon as four hours before your scheduled departure, you can go out to the airport and check your bags, and then come back into town for lunch and don’t worry about cutting it close for your flight if there’s a large line.”

Travelers catching the first flights of the day are recommended to arrive when the airport opens at 5am. The last seven days have had several flights canceled or rerouted because of winter weather. Tomcich says airlines have been better equipped this year to make up for those hiccups, by adding ground transportation and diverting more often to Grand Junction instead of Denver.

Your Evening News - December 31st, 2014

Dec 31, 2014

New Year’s Fireworks

It is New Year’s Eve. That means fireworks in Aspen. There will be two shows – 8pm and Midnight. The City of Aspen is reminding pet owners that if your dog is afraid of loud noise that you keep them indoors during the fireworks. The displays will light up the sky above Aspen Mountain for about 15 minutes both times this evening.

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