In Brief: Pitkin County has new county engineer | AspenTimes.com
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In Brief: Pitkin County has new county engineer

Staff Report

Pitkin has a new county engineer

Andrew Knapp, who was previously a resident engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, started his new job as Pitkin County’s engineer this week. He replaces G.R. Fielding, who served as county engineer for nearly 16 years. Fielding is now the engineering and construction director for the county.

Andrew Knapp, County Engineer for Pitkin County
Andrew Knapp

Knapp will play an integral role in projects such as a capital replacement plan for county roads; a possible pedestrian crossing at Highway 82 at Buttermilk Mountain; and improvements to the Brush Creek Park and Ride, according to the county. The county engineer, a position required by the state, also fields calls from the public. Along with the Road and Bridge Department, the engineer maintains the structural and functional needs of county infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and drainage structures.

“A lot of what I did at CDOT applies to the county engineer position. At the county, I will be doing roadway construction projects and working with stakeholders, like the municipalities in the county. I’m looking forward to delivering great infrastructure to the community,” said Knapp.



His experience includes designing highway construction projects, managing CDOT’s construction program in the region, and leading the engineering response and repairs to crises like 2020’s Grizzly Creek Wildfire and resulting debris flows in Glenwood Canyon.

He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from CU Boulder. He lives with his wife and dog in Glenwood Springs.




Carbondale to remove a few downtown trees

Carbondale’s town arborist has suggested the removal of select trees at the newly acquired 4th Plaza Park and one tree next to The Launchpad in downtown Carbondale. This removal is scheduled for Dec. 8 and 9 and will be carried out by Aspen Tree, town officials said. 

They said there are three larger Siberian elm trees that, over the years, have been growing aggressively along the shed foundation and two medium-sized Siberian elms along the sidewalk on the west side of the park. All these trees grew up as sprouts in undesirable locations, they said.

For comments or more information about the specific trees being removed, contact Town Arborist Carl Meinecke at cmeinecke@carbondaleco.net.

Wheeler, Aspen Film put on holiday movie

The Wheeler Opera House and Aspen Film are teaming up for a screening of the 2000 holiday film How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m.. 

Admission to the film is free, but advanced tickets are required. Patrons can also enjoy complimentary cookies and hot cocoa donated by Paradise Bakery. Organizers asked for attendees to bring a non-perishable item to donate to the food drive to help neighbors in need this holiday season. Tickets can be reserved at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (970.920.5770/ aspenshowtix.com). The Wheeler Opera House is at 320 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen.

CMC Aspen Ceramics Club holds holiday sale

Colorado Mountain Club Aspen Ceramics Club is having its annual holiday sale on Thursday and Friday at the Aspen campus.

The sale will feature ceramic artwork created by local artists, students, and faculty of CMC and provides an opportunity to support local artists and to find one-of-a-kind gifts for family and friends, club members said. 

The sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 1 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the CMC Aspen Campus Gallery, 255 Sage Way, at the Aspen Business Center. The event is free and open to the public, as is a reception during the event from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

For more information, contact Lauren Mayer, CMC associate professor of art and gallery director, at 970-360-0435 or lmayer2@coloradomtn.edu. More at https://coloradomtn.edu/campuses/aspen/.

CPW finds little sign of wolves in cattle deaths

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have little explanation for why as many as 40 cattle near Meeker have shown up dead in recent months in a situation described as “perplexing” to the agency’s governing board this month.

While wolves were an early target for blame, CPW’s Northwest Regional Director Travis Black said just “a handful” of the dead cattle have any signs that could be consistent with a wolf attack, there was no sign of feeding, and they haven’t found any evidence of wolves in the area.

“It’s perplexing; it’s confusing; it’s frustrating, trying to figure out exactly what occurred in this incident,” he told the CPW Commission on Nov. 17. “We have no evidence of wolves in that area. That doesn’t mean they are not there.

“We’re going to continue to work with the livestock producer to investigate this,” he continued. “In time, we may find other evidence to help support one way or another.”

The livestock deaths come as CPW has been working to craft a plan to re-introduce wolves in Colorado by the end of next year after voters narrowly approved bringing the killed-off carnivore back to the state in 2020. That plan will be presented to the CPW Commission on Dec. 9.

Initial reports from early October blamed wolves for the death of 18 calves on White River National Forest land where cattle were grazing, which, if confirmed, would have meant there was another wolf pack making a return to Colorado ahead of schedule.

But, Black said trail cameras, howling surveys, and aerial flights haven’t located any trace of wolves — “We have no tracks.”

Rancher Lenny Klinglesmith told The Fence Post in October that all 18 of those calves had “trauma indicative of a wolf-pack killing,” but Black said the investigation has only found “injuries, some contusions, some hemorrhaging that were somewhat consistent with wolf depredation,” on as many as five calves.

As more cattle were gathered from the range, Black said more were found dead, though few of the 40 show signs of wolf killing, and there was no sign of wolves feeding on any of the dead animals.

Beaver Creek pounded ahead of Birds of Prey

While skiers and snowboarders were out enjoying the powder, the Vail Valley Foundation’s Talon Crew was hard at work on Tuesday morning clearing off the Birds of Prey Alpine ski race track at Beaver Creek.

The Birds of Prey World Cup races are scheduled to begin on Friday, and, while snow is never a bad thing at the ski area, there’s a common saying among the Talon Crew: “You don’t have to shovel sunshine.”

On Friday and Saturday, the Birds of Prey track is scheduled to host downhill races — the longest and most exciting of the World Cup disciplines, with skiers reaching speeds in excess of 70 mph. Given the high speeds and the danger, the course preparation requires mountains of work from volunteers.

The resort reported 9 inches of fresh snow at 5:32 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and more continued to fall after that.

Fed up with tagging, reward offered for capture

The Silverthorne Police Department is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the individual responsible for the “KURE” graffiti popping up in town over the past few months. 

Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor said his department has documented graffiti on bridges near Interstate 70, Xcel Energy properties, and on personal property, like a moving van that was tagged. He said the issue extends into other areas of Summit County along with places on the I-70 corridor, like Clear Creek County. 

“Even though Silverthorne is a safe community, we have better things to do with our time,” he said. “But, it comes to a point where this person is being really annoying, so we are going to probably dedicate resources to find out who you are.”

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