KAJX

Garfield County

Your Morning News - January 19th, 2015

Jan 19, 2015

First Aspen Council & Mayoral Candidates Announce

The first candidate for an open Aspen City Council seat has emerged.

Former Affordable Housing chief Tom McCabe has confirmed he plans to run for city council in May. McCabe retired as Director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority last October. McCabe says he would bring his expertise on how the city operates and likely focus on housing issues. He served one term on Aspen City Council in the early 2000s.

It is also likely Aspen's Mayoral race will have a challenger in the ballot. Former city councilman Torre told Aspen Public Radio this weekend that his intention is to run in the May election. He plans to formally announce his candidacy next month. It would be Torre's fifth attempt at the Mayor’s office.

Elise Thatcher

This winter, Garfield County is partnering with doctors to get people to test their homes for radon. The naturally occurring gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and nearly half of Garfield County homes have levels higher than what’s considered safe. 

Valley Roundup - January 16th, 2015

Jan 16, 2015

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

The lodging review continues in Aspen and for the city council, this week, it was a mixed bag.

Meanwhile, the city employees reviewing those plans are looking for a new home of their own.

A proposed pot growing operation faces the NIMBY wrath in Silt.

Do we love the Maroon Bells too much and is that a problem?

Should Garfield County voters have the chance to vote for commissioners by district instead of at large?

Aspen and Glenwood Springs are going all mail balloting this spring

And what’s the lowdown on uphilling? That’s a conference coming on that topic.

Marci Krivonen

In one of the only contested Garfield County races, two candidates with different viewpoints are running for county commissioner. Incumbent republican Tom Jankovsky is seeking a second four-year term. He’s being challenged by Michael Sullivan, a democrat, who says he’d represent a voice that’s going unheard. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

District One in Garfield County covers Carbondale and parts of Glenwood Springs. Candidate Michael Sullivan says he typifies the values and concerns in this area.

Marci Krivonen

CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business released a study last week tracking how much money the oil and gas industry has contributed to the Colorado economy. Researchers found billions of dollars were generated over a four-year period.

The study was commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute and looks at energy development in each county from 2008 to 2012. During that time, the energy industry generated more than $126 billion statewide, the analysis finds.

Marci Krivonen

Same-sex marriage became legal in Colorado on Tuesday after the state supreme court cleared the last hurdle. Colorado’s attorney general announced clerks in all 64 counties were legally required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Kat Sing and Toni Grenko were the first gay couple to get a license in Garfield County. The couple, from No Name, has been together for three years.

Elise Thatcher

Garfield County is looking at how much money it can spend-- and save-- next year. Officials introduced the proposed 2015 budget… and it's a lot like the playbook officials had this year, in 2014. But there are some key changes. 

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.”

Centers for Disease Control

Health officials in the Roaring Fork Valley say they’re not worried about a severe respiratory illness making the rounds in Denver and other states. Doctors in Denver have treated thousands of patients, some of them confirmed cases of a rare virus called Enterovirus D68 (or EV-D68). 

As of Wednesday afternoon, representatives of Eagle and Pitkin counties said they were not aware of any cases.  Garfield County reported one case, but then said there wasn't enough information from Valley View Hospital to confirm. Requests to Valley View on Thursday were unanswered.

USGS

The area where the Collbran mudslide happened has seen similar slides in the past. Geologists say relatively weak rock and steep terrain create a recipe for such natural disasters. Still, Colorado in general is less vulnerable to slides than wetter areas, like the west coast. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

The Colorado Geological Survey began mapping landslides near Collbran in the 1980’s. They discovered the area where this debris flow happened was prone to slides.

Miller & Newberg/Colorado Division of Insurance

   Colorado residents can keep their previous health care plans through the end of 2015, even if they don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act. State insurance officials announced the decision last week. They also explained how health care premiums could change for residents in the Roaring Fork Valley.

www.garfield-county.com

Garfield County recently released a report showing air pollution is on a decreasing trend. County officials attribute the decline in part, to improvements in how oil and gas companies operate in the region. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, some county residents don’t think the numbers tell the whole story.

Coroner Election

Apr 22, 2014

  The Garfield County Coroner position is up for election this year.  As it stands now the current coroner will not be running and only one candidate has signed up to run for the post so far.    That’s Republican Rob Glassmire who for the past 12 years has worled as an investigator for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department.  APR's Roger Adams reports.


Pitkin County Tackles Pricey Health Insurance Problem

Apr 15, 2014
Creative Commons/Flickr/401(K) 2012

Pitkin County staff and elected leaders will meet with the State’s top insurance official this week about pricey health insurance. A Kaiser Health News report says Colorado’s “rating area eleven” that covers Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Summit Counties, is the most expensive insurance market in the country. Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock says they’d like to see solutions.

Garfield County

   The Thompson Divide Coalition announced yesterday that Garfield County is supporting proposed legislation to protect the Thompson Divide. Hours later, the County denied that description… and said Commissioners said no such thing. 

 It was a day of dueling press releases. Around eleven A.M., the Coalition announced that commissioners with Pitkin, Gunnison and Garfield Counties are making a plea... to Republican Representative Scott Tipton to support pending legislation that would limit oil and gas development on the Thompson Divide. 

http://justforthehealthofit9hf.blogspot.com/

    

Following complaints from customers and local officials about the high premiums for health care in resort mountain communities, state officials now say they will look into why health care prices are so high in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties. The Colorado Division of Insurance announced Monday, February 3rd it’s launching a study to get to the bottom of that big question… despite the announcement, they don’t plan to lower premiums soon.

Helicopter Crash Kills Three Near Silt

Jan 28, 2014
Holy Cross Energy facebook page

Update - Tuesday January 28th, 2014 at 10:34pm:

Holy Cross Energy releases a photo and name of one of their employees who died in Monday's crash south of Silt as Larry Shaffer.

Post from the Holy Cross Energy facebook page:

Office of Governor John Hickenlooper

    Governor John Hickenlooper says he could get involved with bringing down health insurance prices. That could have a real impact for residents of the Roaring Fork Valley and other mountain towns. Garfield County asked the state's top official earlier this month to intervene with high premiums. The County believes Colorado officials did a sloppy job earlier this year when coming up with prices. But some experts say the state didn't make any mistakes.

Rick Reinhard

  Healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act are more expensive in the Roaring Fork Valley than in many parts of the state. They’re high in other mountain counties, too. Governor John Hickenlooper may get involved in bringing down those prices. Garfield County has asked him to intervene, arguing state officials did a bad job earlier this year when coming up with rates. Aspen Public Radio asked a national healthcare expert if the state failed to follow the rules. Reporter Elise Thatcher spoke with Alan Weil.

Pages