Elise Thatcher

Courtesy Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

There are new restrictions for food and related items in all developed recreation sites on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. The Forest Service announced what it calls a food storage order yesterday. It requires that all food and refuse be kept in bear-resistant containers. Bill Kight is with the White River National Forest.

Elise Thatcher

The fire season is underway, with evacuations near Denver for what’s being called the Bluebell Fire. The blaze started yesterday in the Evergreen area, just west of Denver.

Two much smaller fires were reported in the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend. One was up Thompson Creek, near Carbondale. The other was in Aspen City limits, next to Aspen Mountain. Right now, fire danger varies a little along the Roaring Fork Valley. In the Carbondale area it’s moderate, it is low in Aspen.  Ron Leach is Chief of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District.  Leach is advising caution.

Elise Thatcher

There were about 4400 more jobs last November than previously thought. That’s according to the latest numbers from Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment. Chief Economist Alexandra Hall says the update doesn’t increase the overall average number of jobs during the fourth quarter of 2012. But the update does show Colorado's job numbers appear to be accurately reflecting the state's economy.

Courtesy University of Colorado Boulder

The FAA is expected to decide whether to allow people to fly drones in certain parts of Colorado. That would be in a proposed FAA test site in this state... and it’s part of a larger effort to better understand whether the remote controlled, unmanned planes can be safely used in the airspace above communities - like airplanes or other aircraft.

Courtesy Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority

In Aspen, the city council has approved more flexibility for retirees who own affordable housing units. Starting June 30th, residents can leave for six months at a time--and they can rent out their homes while they’re gone.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority recommended the change for retirees. Tom McCabe is Executive Director.

Elise Thatcher

Memorial Day weekend brought luscious green views for drivers along Independence Pass. And there was an extra dash of color along Highway 82. Less than ten miles east of Aspen, large yarn creations appeared in a grove of Aspen trees.... looking like giant socks or leg warmers, wrapped around the tree trunks.

On Monday, two women were among several who pulled over to look more closely.

“At first we were really confused about what they were because we had never seen them before. But we knew we had to stop and check them out.”

Courtesy Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife is still searching for who killed and dumped a female adult bear earlier this month. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher checked on the latest in the investigation.

Elise Thatcher

It’s easy to not think about wildfires just yet. But local officials in the Roaring Fork Valley are working together to make sure you’re getting ready for fire season. Fire departments, the red cross, and other emergency services are trying out a way of getting the word out. It’s part of a new national and international effort, to make it easier for people to understand how to get ready for--and survive--wildfire season. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher went to the first meeting in the series, to find out what’s new this year.

Elise Thatcher / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen residents cast their ballots for the city council and Mayor’s seat yesterday. The two council spots were easily filled, by Art Daily and Ann Mullins. But the mayor’s race is still too close to call. It’s not the first time the city’s had a run-off, although more unusual for it to happen with a mayor’s race. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports.

City Clerk Kathryn Koch runs Aspen’s elections. On Tuesday night, she described what happened when none of the mayoral candidates had enough votes to win outright.

Photo by Colorado River Water Conservation District

As the demand for water grows in the West, there may come a day when water rights at ski areas will be worth more than lift tickets or real estate. Forest Service officials want to make sure those rights aren’t sold--but a previous attempt was struck down in court late last year. A judge decided, among other things, the agency didn’t get enough public input. This week saw the first of three public meetings... it’s the only one in Colorado. Denver Post reporter Jason Blevins was there.

Photo by Elise Thatcher

Most residents in the Roaring Fork Valley probably won’t be surprised to hear

there’s more snow in the mountains. Drought conditions are in the area again this year... but while the snow is helping... it’s cold temperatures that are making the biggest difference.

Wendy Ryan is with the Colorado Climate Center. She says the snowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley is at 87% of what’s normal.

"It’s way better than we had been just a few weeks ago, so April has brought us some really good moisture, mainly along the northern tier of the state."

Residents in the town of Parachute, and other area communities, are angry and worried about a nearby hydrocarbon spill. That’s a word for a substance like light natural gas, that seeped out from a pipe valve earlier this year. Officials say there isn’t any more leaking out, and they feel like they’ve got a good handle on the clean up. But many at a public meeting on Monday, April 29th, were skeptical. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports:

More details are available on what happened during the April 20th deadly avalanche on Loveland Pass. It was the worst accident of its kind in more than a half a century. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center released their final report on Wednesday April 24th. In it are some painful details--like the lone survivor waiting four hours to be dug out, and the slide being powerful enough to wreck car. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with CAIC Executive Director Ethan Greene.

Photo by Dale Atkins/RECCO

This week is a tough one for many in Colorado’s backcountry community. Friends and family are getting used to the idea that five men died in an avalanche near Loveland Pass last weekend. Its the worst event of its kind in Colorado in a half a century.

Adam Schmidt is editor in Chief at Snowboard Colorado Magazine. He was good friends with one of the victims, Gypsum resident Joe Timlin. Schmidt got the call Saturday night that Joe was gone, killed in the avalanche.

“My first reaction was disbelief. Um. I was hoping it was a terrible joke.”

Aspen Skiing Company

Business leaders, including more than a hundred ski resorts, want Washington to do something about climate change. That’s the message signed by business heavyweights like Nike and Starbucks, as well as Aspen Skiing Company and smaller outfits like Monarch Mountain. And it comes after athletes delivered a letter to the White House with a similar theme.

 

 

"Climate change is the biggest economic opportunity, and it’s the right thing to do."

Photo Courtesy of USA Pro Challenge

Colorado sporting events may see more security after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th. One of the biggest events in Aspen this summer is the USA Pro Challenge. The road bike race in its third year. Now, state and local officials are looking closely at whether to beef up security.

Photo by Elise Thatcher

Part 3 of a 3 part series.

Pitkin County residents are making less money than ten years ago. That’s one of the findings in a recent economic sustainability report released by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. One of the reasons could be that paychecks aren’t keeping up with inflation. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports.
 

Photo from John Fayhee

“When in doubt, go higher.” That’s the motto of the Mountain Gazette, the Colorado-born magazine that’s documented the slings and arrows of mountain living here and across the West.

Usually at the heart of the publication are long tales by the colorful and often curmudgeonly editor John Fayhee. He helped the resurrect the Gazette thirteen years ago. That was in collaboration with well known Aspen figure. Well, Fayhee’s in serious doubt... and deep regret... about the future of the magazine--so he’s saying goodbye. Fayhee recently spoke with Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher.

Photo from Aspen Police Department

Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened at several Aspen ATMs in late March. The criminals withdrew thousands of dollars with fake debit and credit cards. But the big question remains... how were they able to make the cards in the first place? Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has this report.

Hunters in Colorado are threatening to boycott the state this year over new gun laws... and if they make good on their promise the protest could end up hurting wildlife across the state. The fees hunters pay make up more than half of the state’s wildlife budget. 

Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story:

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