Elise Thatcher

Mountain Edition - September 25th, 2014

Sep 25, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

The Roaring Fork Valley is awash with fall colors this week.

Basalt puts together a commission to decide on a way to revitalize old town.

Health insurance rates are going down next year for some residents in the Glenwood Springs area. And that’s partly because some doctors and hospitals have agreed to get paid less.

U.S. Senate candidates in Colorado battle it out for the women’s vote in the November election.

And we look at the 35th annual Aspen Film Fest, opening this weekend.

Colorado Medical Society

Health insurance in the Roaring Fork Valley will be cheaper next year for some residents. The average premium will cost about seven percent less. For someone paying three hundred dollars a month, that’s about twenty dollars less for each payment. One reason for that is some doctors and hospitals are treating patients for less. And the state’s top association for physicians is worried that may have unintended consequences.

Colorado Division of Insurance

Health insurance in the Glenwood Springs area will go down by nearly ten percent next year. That’s on average, and it’s compared to an overall average increase of about one percent across Colorado. State officials gave final approval for the lower rates this week. This comes after concerns about especially high insurance in the Roaring Fork Valley, and an earlier flawed attempt to let consumers review rates beforehand. 

Elise Thatcher

The Colorado Department of Transportation has gotten a lot of attention for asking for money. The agency’s put in requests to local governments up and down the Roaring Fork Valley in recent weeks, all for raising funds to replace the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs. Although only Garfield County has fully committed chipping in a certain amount, the promise of some kind of help from Pitkin County, Glenwood Springs, and others has made a difference. CDOT recently checked in with the main funders of the project, and got the green light to keep moving ahead, in part because of that local support. CDOT Program Engineer Joe Elsen is leading the effort, and talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Mountain Edition - September 18th, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Ahead of the mid-term election in November, polls differ on who’s ahead in Colorado’s most contested races.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is asking local governments to help pay for Glenwood’s Grand Avenue bridge. Garfield County has agreed to contribute millions.

Colorado Mountain College administrators are turning their focus to what kids are learning before they walk in the door.

And, a new preschool program serving low-income kids is using lessons about the brain to encourage learning.

Elise Thatcher

The Aspen Community Church has a new leader. Reverend Mike Nickerson has settled in after about two months on the job, and is excited to be in the Roaring Fork Valley. Nickerson, who goes by "Pastor Mike," has lived in a variety of places, most recently on the Front Range and the Pacific Northwest. At previous churches, he’s been successful at bringing in new members, and he says he’s already noticed there’s a spiritual undertone to the Valley. Nickerson talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Elise Thatcher

Colorado Mountain College is turning its focus to what kids are learning before they walk in the door. Right now more than half of incoming students are severely lacking in certain subjects, usually math and English. So now the community college… the largest such network in the state… is working on finding a way to improve what kids are learning in elementary, middle, and high school. It’s part of a larger effort to better serve mountain communities.

CDOT

A new Grand Avenue Bridge is one step closer to becoming a reality. Garfield County Commissioners have voted to contribute three million dollars towards the project -- the first big check from a local government. The support is becoming essential for the project-- and Commissioners were quick to say the Upper Roaring Fork Valley should also pitch in. 

Christopher Mullen/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

   Valley View Hospital issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying doctors are treating a number of patients with symptoms similar to a virus making the rounds in Denver.  Valley View Executive Director Stacey Gavrell released the statement, which says, quote: “While a number of patients have had respiratory symptoms that could be the EV-D68, they have not been confirmed.”

Mead & Hunt, 2013 Fly Green/Fly Quiet Annual Report

There more newer, quieter private jets touching down in Aspen compared to ten years ago. That’s part of an ongoing, and unusual, effort by the airport to cut down on plane noise. And private pilots have played an important role.

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners

Mental illness is a major issue in the Roaring Fork Valley, and around Colorado. As part of his administration’s plan to help more people get help for untreated illness, Governor John Hickenlooper announced a new statewide mental health hotline last month. Bev Marquez is the CEO of Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, the organization running that new hotline. Marquez talks with Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher about the response so far—and whether residents in the Roaring Fork Valley should call the statewide hotline or a local hotline first.

    

Mountain Edition - September 4th, 2014

Sep 4, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

As community leaders look ahead to the ski season, they’re thinking about marijuana now and how to keep tourists from overdosing.

The State of Colorado is also planning education campaigns around legal pot and using tax revenue from marijuana sales to fund those efforts.

A new report shows students in Colorado are missing too many days of school and it’s reflected in their test scores.

We get the latest numbers on just how busy Aspen was this summer was, business and traffic in town were up.

There’s been an uptick in concerns about a plan to replace the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs, we’ll find out why.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Elise Thatcher

Replacing the Grand Avenue bridge in Glenwood Springs is at the top of the list for state highway projects next year. The state has allocated almost a hundred million dollars. As Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher reports as the project draws near, not everyone in Glenwood is happy about it.

Roaring Fork Transit Authority

Bus service in the Roaring Fork Valley will be less frequent starting next Tuesday, September 2nd. It’s part of the usual fall calendar switch for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, but the agency is also having its first anniversary with the VelociRFTA bus rapid transit service, or BRT. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher spoke with President and CEO Dan Blankenship.  

Elise Thatcher

If you have health insurance, you can now look up how much it might cost you next year. Colorado's insurance office has posted all rate changes for the coming year, to make sure residents know whether their premiums are going up--and why. But actually finding that information can take hours, and may not turn up results at all. 

Mountain Edition - August 21st, 2014

Aug 21, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Cycling fans lined the streets of Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale this week for the USA Pro Challenge. The riders are making their way to Denver...we’ll have an update.

As of this morning, Aspen’s Tejay Van Garderen has the overall lead in the Pro Challenge. We spoke with him before the race started.

Candidates running for state and federal office made a stop in Snowmass Village this week...to talk about water.

Electric rates in Glenwood Springs are going up this month...just before colder weather gets here.

And, the Roaring Fork Valley has a problem...with substance abuse. Now, a sober society is springing up in Carbondale.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN)

  Starting this month, Glenwood Springs residents are paying 12% more for their electricity. The City of Glenwood Springs buys power from publicly owned Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, or MEAN, and the co-op gets most of its energy from coal power plants. Andrew Ross is Manager of Engineering for MEAN, and he says the co-op had to increase its rates for several reasons. One of them is complying with nation-wide rules to shift away from coal power. Ross talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Valley Roundup - August 15th, 2014

Aug 15, 2014

Welcome to Valley Roundup a review of the top news stories in the valley.

This week - development plans up and down the valley.  The character of Aspen could be altered by a massive new ordinance passed by city council.  It will allow new and taller buildings

In Glenwood the future includes a big new bridge.

The bike race is back and so is the political junkie…at least on valley roundup.  Ken Rudin looks at the elections.

And on the Download with Rob St. Mary – recording sound without a microphone.

Arizona Public Media

Ken Rudin is a political reporting veteran. He’s keeping keen eye on this fall’s elections--including the battle Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat, and governor’s race. Formerly with the NPR, Rudin was perhaps best known for his segment called Political Junkie, on Talk of the Nation. Rudin continues to report on politics. He was recently in Aspen for an event with Aspen Public Radio, and he took a few moments to talk with reporter Elise Thatcher. 

    

The American Renewable Energy Day, or AREday, continues in Aspen. Participants are exploring all manner of angles about clean energy… and also what tactics to take against oil, coal, and other fossil fuel development. 

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