Valley Roundup - January 31st, 2014

Jan 31, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the week’s top news stories in Aspen and beyond.

We are joined today by the Aspen Times’ Andy Stone and Aspen Daily News’ Curtis Wackerle. This  Week, Garfield County officials said they are asking the state not to impose new air pollution standards on oil and gas drilling rigs in the county.

Aspen’s most famous downtown, Ukrainian, penthouse-owners have been told the city will no longer jump every time they complain about noise from bars and restaurants.

Now that marijuana is legal, the conversation about pot has shifted.  One new topic is; how potheads should behave in public.

And on the Download with Rob St. Mary – Big snow goes viral.  Also, break out the goldfish.  It might be Superbowl 48 in some quarters, to others its Weed Bowl 1.  Even Jello Biafra weighs in.

Its all on this week’s Valley Roundup.

Woo and Hoo!

Jan 31, 2014
Roger Adams

Longtime locals are saying this is the most snow to fall from a single storm in decades.  It might not even be hyperbole to say it is shaping up to be an epic powder day.  All of this was predicted two weeks ago by meteorologist Cory Gates , owner of  Gates focuses his forecasting skills on the hyper-local microclimates within the Roaring Fork Valley.  The really good news, says Gates, is that as February goes, so might go the rest of the winter; and February is looking good for snow.  He says we should all remember the number 140.  Gates spoke with APR's Roger Adams.

Winter Storm Closures

Jan 31, 2014
Roger Adams

As the snow continues to fall under this winter storm, the list of closures is starting to pile up:

* The Aspen School District has called a snow day for Friday. All schools in the district will be closed.

* The Roaring Fork Schools has called a snow day for Friday. All schools in the district will be closed.

* The Eagle County Schools has canceled all after school activities for today and there will be no school tomorrow.

* Ross Montessori Charter School in Carbondale is closed. 

A whopper of a snowstorm dumped more than a foot of white gold along the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Town of Basalt is facing angry residents who don’t want to be forced out of their homes.

South of Carbondale, citizen scientists are using backpacks to get more data on air pollution

And other residents there are grappling with more layoffs at the Elk Creek coal mine. It’s been all but closed up.

A New Castle native is hoping to overcome a big injury and make it to the Winter Olympics.

And we’ll hear from a seasoned athlete about what it’s like to compete in the Olympics and take home a medal.

Weather Closures

Dec 4, 2013
Rob St. Mary

* Aspen and Roaring Fork Public Schools are closed.

* The Garfield RE-2 School District that covers Rifle, Silt and New Castle is closed.

* All Colorado Mountain College campuses from Rifle to Aspen are closed today. That includes CMC learning locations in Rifle, the Glenwood Center, Carbondale, Spring Valley and Aspen. For more information, please call your local campus. The college's Central Services administrative offices in downtown Glenwood Springs remain open.

It’s election time and we’re taking a look at issues on the November ballot and what they could mean for a voter’s tax bill. First, there’s a statewide income tax increase for public schools.

And, there’s a local proposal to build a rec center in the Mid-Valley. Supporters say will enhance the community, while critics say it would mean hundreds more in property taxes for homeowners.

Basalt residents are being asked to redevelop land along the Roaring Fork River. The plan forces out more than a hundred people from a trailer park.

Finally, we’ll hear the latest weather forecast for the coming winter… there’s good news, and bad news.

Elise Thatcher

The winter outlook is mixed. Although some are saying the wet fall could mean lots of snow in the coming months, a National Weather Service forecaster says there might also be some dry spells. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with GJ National Weather Service forecaster Joe Ramey. He says this winter might be very familiar.

Recent snow showers have boosted local snowpack levels much higher than at this time last year. Yesterday the snowpack in the Roaring Fork Watershed registered 107 percent of normal. It’s good news for anglers who dealt with warm and dry conditions last year.

The latest “Fishing Report” on the Frying Pan Anglers website reads, “...this last week has put us in the best position all year, with the best water in the entire state.”

Owner Warwick Mowbray wrote that entry. He says recent storms paint a good picture for the upcoming fishing season.

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."

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.”