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Pitkin County

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.

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.

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