Pitkin County

EcoFlight

The Pitkin County Commissioners are unhappy with what they’ve seen so far in a BLM plan for existing oil and gas leases on the Thompson Divide. They’re crafting a letter to the agency. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Pitkin County gets an early look at the BLM’s preliminary draft Environmental Impact Statement because it’s a cooperating agency. A public version will be released in November. It’ll decide what to do with more than two dozen undeveloped oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale. Pitkin County wants the leases canceled.

Short-staffed Aspen 911 call center looks to Vail

Aug 12, 2015
Creative Commons/Flickr/ICMA Photos

Pitkin County is looking to share 911 dispatchers with the Town of Vail to deal with a shortage of workers. 

Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan told county commissioners Wednesday the dispatch center is in “crisis mode.” 911 call centers typically experience difficulty in hiring, but for Aspen it’s especially tough because of its small staff. Just eight people are fully trained. That's about half of a full staff.

Could a Gold King Mine spill happen in Aspen?

Aug 11, 2015
Bruce Gordon/Ecoflight

There are differing opinions about whether a Gold King mine disaster could happen in Aspen’s backyard. The spill, accidentally triggered by an Environmental Protection Agency team, let loose 3 million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River in southwest Colorado. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explored whether such a catastrophe could happen here.

The spill turned the Animas bright orange and halted river access in an area known for rafting.

When it comes to health, communities in the Midvalley struggle with binge drinking and, just slightly, with obesity. Public health officials are sharing results of a survey with local governments. Jordana Sabella is the Public Health Planner for Pitkin and Western Eagle Counties. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen.

Jordana Sabella is Public Health Planner for Pitkin and Western Eagle Counties. 

A significant chunk of workers in Aspen have high blood pressure.That’s according to data from health fairs last fall, coordinated by the five biggest employers in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley. They’re part of the Valley Health Alliance, a new nonprofit aimed at improving health in the Upper Valley.

County commissioner fights "land transfer movement"

Jul 28, 2015
Facebook/Rachel Richards

In June the Pitkin County Commissioners sent a resolution to Colorado’s congressional delegation, decrying a national effort to transfer federal lands to state ownership. Advocates say it would improve access, environmental health and productivity on land managed by the Forest Service and BLM. Commissioner Rachel Richards told Marci Krivonen the effort would spell trouble for Pitkin County.

Rachel Richards is a Pitkin County Commissioner. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen. In future weeks, we’ll air the other side of the argument.

Elise Thatcher

To replace the aging Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs, the Colorado Department of Transportation needs more money. On Thursday (7/16) CDOT will request funding from the Elected Officials Transportation Committee. 

Marci Krivonen

The Castle Creek valley just outside of Aspen is becoming increasingly popular to recreationists like hikers and cyclists. Pitkin County and the White River National Forest are taking comments from the public on how to best manage the area. 

Medicaid visits up at area hospital emergency rooms

Jul 13, 2015
Creative Commons/Flickr/Zdenko Zivkovic

The number of low-income Medicaid patients accessing care in area emergency rooms is on the rise. The increase - seen at Aspen Valley and Valley View Hospitals - follows a national trend in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

In 2014 the amount of business Aspen Valley Hospital did for Medicaid patients was triple the number in 2013. Hospital officials attribute the rise to Colorado expanding its Medicaid program.

Mountain Edition - July 9th, 2015

Jul 10, 2015

Good afternoon, it’s Mountain Edition. 

A Snowmass Town councilman faces a felony charge after allegedly trashing a jail cell.

Aspenites will probably vote on a proposed affordable lodge.

A judge considers whether the Aspen Skiing Company is at fault for a mudslide that damaged a home.

We take a look at diversity in the Roaring Fork Valley arts community.

We also get a tour of an innovative marijuana grow facility in the Valley.

Many Pitkin County residents living in poverty

Jul 8, 2015
Creative Commons/Flickr/Paul Downey

The Great Recession may be in the rearview mirror, but it left poverty in its wake. Pitkin County’s Health and Human Services Department reports more people living in poverty. Director of the Department Nan Sundeen says a quarter of residents earn slightly more than federal poverty wages. So, many single adults are making just $23,000 a year. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen.

Nan Sundeen is director of Pitkin County Health and Human Services. Next week, we’ll examine access to health care for the poor.

Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is fighting a national effort to transfer federal public lands to states. The county plans to send a resolution to congressional representatives in Washington DC. 

One group advocating for state control of federal public lands is the American Lands Council. It argues state control would improve access, environmental health and productivity on land managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Marci Krivonen

A Midvalley marijuana grow facility is walking a fine line with Pitkin County. After much discussion, the county commissioners agreed Tuesday to give High Valley Farms more time to tackle its odor problem.

Neighbors and business owners in Holland Hills say their quality of life and property values are sliding because of the smell. The 25,000 square foot greenhouse facility grows plants for the retail pot shop Silverpeak in Aspen.

Kent Schuler lives in Holland Hills. He says he’s had it with what he calls a “stench.”

Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County elected leaders are sending a letter to Colorado’s congressional delegation, urging them to support an effort that would preserve the Thompson Divide. One county staffer calls it “the most promising proposal to date.”

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

A couple that lives in a penthouse in downtown Aspen now has to share the building’s entrance with their neighbors. As a result, their property value decreased $1.3 million, a judge has ruled.

There’s more debate around the live debate that Aspen Public Radio broadcast with city council candidates Bert Myrin and Mick Ireland.

Pitkin County explores solar power

May 21, 2015
Creative Commons/Flickr/Oregon Dept. of Transportation

Pitkin county staff will explore using rooftops and other government property to install solar panels. County commissioners this week approved a funding request for a feasibility study. 

The county will spend between $15,000 and $25,000 to locate beneficial sites for solar and find out how much electricity could be generated. Right now, the county consumes 1.3 megawatt hours per year and it’s not offset by any significant renewable efforts. County Engineer G.R. Fielding says now is a good time to pursue solar.

Pitkin County holds open house on North Star plan

May 18, 2015
Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is taking public comments on a draft plan for managing the North Star Nature Preserve, east of Aspen. On Monday night, an open house will be held, where people can learn more about the wetlands and meadows. 

You drive by the North Star Nature Preserve on your way toward Independence Pass from Aspen. It’s a 285-acre open space parcel with deer, elk, black bears and the one of the highest elevation Great Blue Heron rookeries in the state.

Facebook/State Rep. Millie Hamner

State Representative Millie Hamner is back home in Summit County after a busy legislative session. The former school superintendent sponsored several education measures including one that will reduce testing. Hamner’s district includes Pitkin County. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen.

Millie Hamner represents House District 61 at the Statehouse, which includes Pitkin County.

New building planned behind courthouse

May 13, 2015

  Pitkin County plans to expand its office space with a new building behind the courthouse. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason sat down with County Manager Jon Peacock and undersheriff Ron Ryan about the project.

That was Jon Peacock and Ron Ryan, Pitkin County’s manager and undersheriff. They talked with Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason.

www.birchills.net

Reliable internet service in parts of Pitkin County is a problem officials have heard about from their constituents, and an overall broadband plan is getting closer to reality. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

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