Pitkin County

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.

pitkincounty.com

The Pitkin County dispatch center is experiencing a staffing crisis following the exit of several employees this spring. Just seven full time workers are taking 911 calls. That’s less than half of full staffing. It’s a high turnover job across the country but Aspen has unique challenges. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Bruce Romero, the Emergency Dispatch Director for Pitkin County.

Bruce Romero directs the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center in Aspen. The center is taking applications for eight job openings until May 10th.

Marci Krivonen

The management of a nature preserve east of Aspen is getting an update, in part, to address overcrowding. The section of the Roaring Fork River that runs through the North Star Nature Preserve is busy in the summer and traffic piles up along Highway 82. Aspen resident Phil Dwyer has seen it first-hand.

"It’s amazing how much traffic is out here. It’s great that it’s popular. But, the parking has been long and lining the highway for quite a ways."

Although the Aspen to Parachute Dental Health Alliance is young, they have a handful of successful projects that are helping to bring education, prevention and access to oral healthcare from Aspen to Parachute. Carrie Godes is a member of the Dental Alliance board of directors and works for Garfield County Public Health. She shares the organization's history and programs. 

Learn more about the Aspen to Parachute Dental Health Alliance at www.mygreatteeth.org

Pitkin County

The radio system used by public safety agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley is encountering problems and Pitkin County is considering a multi-million dollar fix. 

Law enforcement and fire agencies have complained of interference, signal distortion and the inability to communicate with regional and state agencies that use a different system. For example, Pitkin County’s snow plow drivers can’t communicate with the Colorado Department of Transportation. And, the bus system’s radios don’t communicate with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Creative Commons/Flickr/madeleinehearn

The Pitkin County Commissioners aired several concerns about a plan to make the Aspen Valley Hospital and Pitkin County Health and Human Services campus smoke and tobacco free. 

The policy would apply to outdoor areas around the sprawling campus off Castle Creek Road. Besides the hospital and county building, the ban would apply to Whitcomb Terrace, hospital employee housing and Senior Services. Right now, most areas allow smoking 15 feet from a door.

Marshall Hall-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.

The Castle Creek Valley is a well loved recreation corridor, and local and federal officials want to make sure it’s being managed properly. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has an update on those efforts.

Pothole problems pronounced in Colorado high country

Apr 1, 2015
Marci Krivonen

It’s that time of year...when the weather’s freeze-thaw pattern causes deep caverns to form on city streets and state highways. Potholes are ubiquitous almost everywhere but in the high country, the weather’s more extreme so the roads are ripe for ripping open. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s the morning rush hour on West Main Street in Aspen. Buses, cars and construction vehicles stream into town.

Reporter: "So this is the problem area?"

Creative Commons/Flickr/photosteve101

Residents frustrated with slow internet speeds in Old Snowmass showed up to a Pitkin County Commissioner’s meeting Wednesday. 

Katie Murch is co-director at the Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Old Snowmass. Through an interpreter, she told commissioners slow internet makes the organization look unprofessional. An online service that video streams her signing barely works.

Intepreter Kyle Larson: "Because of the internet service it’s blurry, it freezes. A one minute conversation can take ten minutes because of the internet service and it looks bad."

Facebook/U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security confirmed special agents with the department were in the Mid-Valley this week. Federal vehicles were seen in the Willits and El Jebel areas. 

Employees in the District Attorney’s office have relocated offices after high levels of radon were detected in the basement of the courthouse. Routine testing revealed elevated levels of the naturally occurring gas where the DA’s office and Aspen Police Department are located. Office space on the 2nd floor of the Pitkin County Courthouse Plaza building has been made available while testing and mitigation are underway.

Town of Basalt

An elected board that makes decisions on local transit considered a series of funding requests Thursday. The Elected Officials Transportation Committee approved 3 of 4 requests for projects from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.

The board is in charge of a fund that collects money from Pitkin County half-cent sales and use taxes. Much of the money funds the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. Those behind last night’s proposals were hoping to get some of the remaining dollars.

Local agriculture proposals up for review

Mar 5, 2015
Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails Board will look over recommendations Thursday that would allow agricultural producers to work county land.

Pitkin County purchased the Glassier Open Space near Emma for $10 million. Now, the county is offering up about half of it to local farmers and ranchers for a nominal fee.

pitkinostprojects.com

Pitkin County is considering management changes in its latest update plan for the popular Rio Grande Trail. The plan examines the upper half of the 42 mile trail, from Emma to Aspen.

Under the plan, signs would be updated, trail connections, such as from the Aspen Village neighborhood to the trail, would be improved and a policy for special events may be developed.

thebittenword.com/Flickr/Creative Commons

A local Epicurean group is researching what kind of “food hub” is right for the Roaring Fork Valley and now Pitkin County is chipping in. 

The Roaring Fork Food Policy Council is the behind the food hub idea. Food hubs strengthen regional food systems by simplifying the way producers get their products to consumers. A hub could include an online farmers’ market, a small demonstration farm or an online information sharing site that links consumers with local food.

Scott Davidson/Flickr/Creative Commons

On February 10th, law enforcement responded to a domestic violence call at a residence near Parachute. They discovered a woman whose face was bloodied from being struck repeatedly. Later, the suspect - her husband - was shot to death by authorities after a high speed chase on Interstate 70. The fatal incident was one of two in Garfield County in February, where domestic violence played a role. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, the problem of domestic violence is growing in parts of our region.

Pitkin County launches domestic violence website

Mar 1, 2015
stopfightingithurts.com

Pitkin County’s Health and Human Services Department is launching a new website Monday meant to help with domestic violence. The site is called stopfightingithurts.com. It was designed to educate the community about the problem, and how it impacts children. Health and Human Services Director Nan Sundeen says it’s meant for neighbors, family and partners in relationship.

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