Pitkin County

Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

A loophole in Pitkin County’s land-use code allowed a huge wedding on the backside of Aspen mountain last weekend. The size of the ceremony angered area residents. Now, Pitkin County Commissioners are scrambling to close the loophole.  How they plan to do that is still up in the air. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen attended their meeting yesterday and filed this report.

Creative Commons/Flickr/Mike Johnston

State Representative Millie Hamner carried three times the number of bills this legislative session, than she did in the previous session. The democrat, who represents several Western Slope counties including Pitkin County, chairs the House education committee. She told Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen that she's most proud of two measures that bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Colorado schools.

Pitkin County To BLM: Cancel Thompson Divide Leases

May 14, 2014
Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is reiterating its opposition to drilling in the Thompson Divide area through a letter to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is taking comments on its review of 65 oil and gas leases that stretch over the White River National Forest. Twenty-five of those leases are in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale.

Oil, Gas Advocates: Leases Should Not Be Cancelled

May 6, 2014
Bureau of Land Management

A set of meetings on how to manage dozens of oil and gas leases in Western Colorado wrapped up last week, and opinions vary wildly. The Bureau of Land Management held the meetings in April and May to solicit public feedback.

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.

Marci Krivonen

Even though there’s still snow on the ground, local planning is already happening around wildfires. Prompted by large and destructive fires in recent years, the City of Aspen, Pitkin County and the local fire protection district are working together to make neighborhoods safer. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s lightly snowing in a neighborhood east of Aspen as firefighter Parker Lathrop makes his way up a winding, paved road.

Elise Thatcher

To sign up today, Monday March 31st:

To apply for Medicaid: http://coloradopeak.force.com/

To purchase insurance via the Colorado exchange, Connect for Health:www.connectforhealthco.com

For help, try...

Mountain Edition - March 13th, 2014

Mar 13, 2014

Residents in Pitkin County are mostly satisfied with how their tax dollars are being spent. Still, there are some concerns.

Models in Aspen are showing off the latest in outdoor fashion this week. Aspen International Fashion Week starts today.

Whiskey sales are surging for the first time in 30 years...and one local whiskey-maker is jumping into the action.

In a recent federal crackdown on Aspen businesses, restaurants were found to be the biggest violators of not paying workers enough in overtime.

The Paralympics are underway in Sochi and eight athletes who train in Aspen are competing. We highlight one skier who was born without a femur...and another who races in a mono-ski.

Pitkin County

Residents of Pitkin County have given a thumbs-up for county government and services. That’s according to a survey done by a private firm, which presented its findings to Pitkin County Commissioners on Tuesday, March 11th. The survey had residents fill out a questionnaire. It covered a wide variety of topics. And despite overall satisfaction, residents say there are some issues they are concerned about.

Pitkin County

 

Pitkin County wants to know what residents think about a variety of issues, such as rural internet access. Several hundred locals received surveys in the mail in recent weeks, the county will make results public tomorrow, Tuesday March 11th. To learn more, Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher spoke with County spokesman Pat Bingham. She started by asking  Bingham what the main goal of the survey is.

Google Images

It’s a mid-term election year and the race is already underway. Tuesday night, Democrats and Republicans in Aspen and around the state held their caucuses.  The local parties gathered to assess which candidates could win primary elections later this year. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports on the republican caucus.

More than 70 Pitkin County Republicans gathered at Aspen High School last night. Frieda Wallison is Chair of the local GOP and she says caucus turnout can vary widely depending on how important the elections are in the fall.

Pitkin County Sees Spike in Medicaid Enrollees

Feb 26, 2014
Creative Commons/Staff Sgt. Bernardo Fuller/U.S. Army

The Affordable Care Act is helping low income residents in the Roaring Fork Valley get health insurance. That’s according to officials who oversee programs for the poor. More people are signing up for Medicaid and others are purchasing insurance plans from the state exchange. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

In Pitkin County, the number of Medicaid patients jumped 20 percent since October. So, 90 more people are seeking care from doctors who will take them.

Phil Nyland/White River National Forest

Officials at the White River National Forest are anticipating significant cuts to their noxious weed management program. Funding to fight invasive species on the Forest has declined in recent years and it’s beginning to impact the land. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

The White River National Forest is expecting a 15 to 25 percent cut in the program that includes the management of rangeland and noxious weeds. Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams will get a final budget later this spring.

Martie Edwards

Five big employers in Aspen are joining forces to improve health care in the Valley. They’re part of a new group, the Valley Health Alliance, which enlists the help of doctors, hospitals, and other health-related professionals. The idea is to help bring down skyrocketing costs--while making sure employees get better care than before. To learn more, Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher spoke with Martie Edwards, Interim Executive Director of the Valley Health Alliance, and Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock.

 

 

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

Pitkin County is leading an effort to explore the development of new trails in the Upper Valley. At issue is whether new trails are needed for users like mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians. The effort is also meant to stop illegal trails from being built.

The County is focusing on a 125,000 acre swath of public land that covers areas from Woody Creek to Independence Pass, and acreage in between.

Gary Tennenbaum with Pitkin County Open Space and Trails said the Upper Roaring Fork Trails Plan will guide trail planning for the next 10 to 20 years.

tipton.house.gov

In a meeting with Pitkin County Commissioners last week, U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton said he doesn’t support legislation to protect the Thompson Divide from oil and gas drilling. Instead, Tipton wants negotiations between conservationists and energy companies to continue. For years, the sides have been working on an alternate plan to protect the area. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

If you’ve had your holiday lights for a while… especially if that’s more than a couple of years  … Pitkin County and the City of Aspen are hoping you’ll consider buying new, more energy efficient lights to put up over the coming weeks. It’s part of an effort to lower energy use in the Aspen area… and make some cash, too. APR’s Elise Thatcher has more.

Reporter:  Let’s get to the money first. Liz O’Connell is with the City of Aspen.

Design Workshop

Now that the Basalt Town Board has green-lighted a senior housing facility, marketing efforts to reach area seniors will ramp up. The non-profit behind the Continuing Care Retirement Community wants to start building in 2015. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Climate Change Measured on Open Spaces near Aspen

Nov 11, 2013
Marci Krivonen

In the future, the forests surrounding Aspen will look different. Already, mountain shrubs are replacing some Aspen stands and changing the complexion of the area.   This is likely due to due a warming climate.

Why did the ballot measures fail?

Nov 8, 2013

Traveling throughout the Roaring Fork Valley in the days leading up to the November 5 election, I was impressed by the slick signs trumpeting two of this year’s ballot issues in Pitkin County: “Vote YES on Amendment 66” and “Vote YES on Questions 4C and 4D.”  Amendment 66 was, of course, the statewide financing proposal for public education that would have raised the income tax rate for all Coloradans, by 8% for those making $75,000 or less a year and by 27% for people making above that amount.  Questions 4C and 4D were about a new recreation center in the mid-valley Crown Mountain Park and

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