In Brief: Boy rescued from hut; counties team up vs. opioids; CMC chooses book for group read |

In Brief: Boy rescued from hut; counties team up vs. opioids; CMC chooses book for group read

Staff Report

Boy suffering extreme altitude sickness rescued from hut

An 8-year-old boy from Boulder staying at the 10th Mountain Division Hut Betty Bear in the White River National Forest had to be rescued early Tuesday after suffering from severe high-altitude sickness, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The boy’s father activated the SOS feature on his Garmin InReach around 4 a.m. and sent a text message through InReach that the boy had pulmonary edema with a wet cough and was progressively getting worse. The father said they would start to self-evacuate.  

At 4:40 a.m., Mountain Rescue Aspen deployed a six-member team; the team was operating with four snowmobiles to rescue. Four more members remained at the Mountain Rescue cabin for the operational side of the rescue. 

At 6:15 a.m., the team made contact with the father and his boy on 505 road. The team met Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue ambulance and paramedics at the trailhead. The paramedics assessed the boy, decided further treatment was required, and transported him.

The whole team and patient were safely out of the field at 8:20 a.m.

Pitkin County partners with neighboring counties to combat opioid use

In an effort to reduce the number of substance use-related deaths, increase community awareness of substance use risks, and increase the number of people seeking help for substance use disorders, Pitkin County is partnering with neighboring counties on opioid-abatement services.

Region 5, which includes Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield, Lake, and Summit counties, posted a request for proposals for opioid-abatement services in January. Eagle County is the fiscal agent, and the deadline to submit a proposal is 4 p.m., March 10.

“We know opioid use in Pitkin County is a problem, but we don’t have data to show the extent of the problem,” said Laryssa Bonilla, planning prevention and partnerships manager with Pitkin County Public Health. “This effort will not only use marketing and outreach to address the stigma associated with opioid use, provide education, and direct people to resources, it will also help us gather data. Opioid use is a problem here that needs attention, and this will help us address it.”

The dollars being used for the project come from a national legal settlement with opioid makers and distributors. Colorado is receiving more than $300 million over 18 years to combat the state’s epidemic of substance use.

Pitkin County will receive $6,411.69 in the first year and $57,014.80 in total over 18 years, county officials said.

CMC chooses ‘Woman of Light’ for 2020 Common Reader

Denver native Kali Fajardo-Anstine is a nationally best-selling author whose second book, “Woman of Light,” was published in 2022. This historical novel has been selected as Colorado Mountain College’s 2023 Common Reader, which features a group read, an art and creative writing contest, lesson plans that interweave the book into CMC classes, and live-author presentations scheduled for March.  

Kali Fajardo-Astine
Courtesy Colorado Mountain College

Accolades for Fajardo-Anstine’s work include nominations for the National Book Award and the Joyce Carol Oates Prize. She’s received the American Book Award and is the endowed chair in creative writing at Texas State University. She also writes for numerous publications, including The New York Times and The Atlantic.  

Achievements and acknowledgments weren’t always part of the 36-year-old author’s life. As a teenager, she struggled with depression, and during her senior year in high school, a teacher told her that students like her couldn’t be successful. Shortly after hearing that, Fajardo-Anstine quit school.   

“I’ve known about CMC for a long time,” she said. “I know the value of CMC for students like I was. In high school, I was not a typical GPA star student. School was not for me, but I loved learning, and I loved books.” 

Aspen aims to end organic material in the trash

The first phase of Aspen’s new ordinance to take organic material out of the solid waste stream takes effect Oct. 15 and applies to restaurants and retail food operators, city officials said.  

In the coming years, all commercial businesses, multifamily properties, and every individual in Aspen will be required to separate organics from the trash, they said.

The City Council’s 5-0 vote on Tuesday is part of the city’s solid-waste diversion goals, which include reducing organic materials going to the landfill by 25% by 2025 and 100% by 2050. Those goals support the city’s overall greenhouse-gas emissions reduction targets of 63% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, city officials said.

Voluntary participation for composting is resulting in roughly a 3% or 4% diversion rate of organic material from the landfill.

Trash produced by restaurants is an average 60%-80% compostable, making them the largest generator of organic waste in the city, officials said.  

“This ordinance is the single largest action the city has taken to reduce organics from being disposed of as landfill trash,” said Ainsley Brosnan-Smith, the city’s waste diversion and recycling program administrator. “When food is buried in the landfill, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, adding to Aspen’s greenhouse-gas footprint. A 2022 study found 42.6% of the trash buried at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center was organic material that could have been diverted for compost, avoiding the associated methane emissions of burying food.”

The Environmental Health and Sustainability Department said it will educate and enforce the new law and will be available to businesses and individuals to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

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Grant program for wildfire mitigation efforts

The Colorado State Forest Service is accepting applications for a new grant program designed to assist local governments with their established forest management and wildfire mitigation efforts.

In its first year, the Incentives for Local Government grant program has a $9.5 million funding pool. Local government entities, such as municipalities, counties, cities, and special districts, are eligible to apply, the agency said.   

“Effective forest management and wildfire mitigation truly begin at the local level,” said Matt McCombs, state forester and director of the state agency. “Many towns, counties and municipalities across Colorado have already stepped up and dedicated funding and resources to activities like fuel breaks, forest thinning, and education and outreach. This new competitive grant program funded by the Colorado State Legislature helps sustain and expand this critical work.” 

The Colorado Legislature created this funding source in 2022, and qualifying projects target forest management or wildfire mitigation efforts at a local level, such as fuel breaks, forest thinning, reducing the amount of fuels contributing to wildfires, and outreach and education efforts. This program is one way Colorado works to reduce the potential risk of wildfire damage and limit the probability of wildfires spreading into populated areas.   

Application deadline is April 5 by 5 p.m. Awards will be announced May 3, and the projects must be completed by July 1, 2027, officials said. Applications and additional information about the ILG grant program are available on the state Forest Service website:

Vail has biggest ski day of season Saturday

The town of Vail allowed 541 cars to park for free Saturday on the South Frontage Road, the highest car spillover total yet recorded this ski season.

The next highest road count occurred on Jan. 28, when 461 cars were parked on the frontage road.

Saturday’s spillover was the third day in a row in which the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures had filled. It was a snowy day, with Vail Mountain reporting 6 inches of fresh snow at 5 a.m. Morning crowds, which were cued up in advance of Gondola One’s 8:30 a.m. scheduled opening, were lined up along Bridge Street all the way to the Covered Bridge in Vail Village.

Six inches of fresh snow had also been reported on Thursday, and Friday’s morning report showed 2 inches on the snowstake.

Park City electeds fight for local control of housing

There’s a housing crisis in Utah. State legislators and the governor have indicated they see increasing supply as part of the solution and implied Summit County doesn’t play well with developers. 

But the County Courthouse, arguing for local control, says those on Capitol Hill don’t understand what it’s like to live in the Park City area.

“It’s hard to really believe this idea of fixing Utah’s housing crisis, this notion that they had to pass this legislation, S.B. 84, to fix a housing problem is simply pretext,” Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong said in an interview after Wednesday’s work session with Dakota Pacific Real Estate developers. 

Craig lurches toward riverside rec project

The Yampa River Corridor Project has pushed back its timeline to break ground, but the delay is giving city officials more time to seek additional grant funding for the project, which aims to boost outdoor recreation in Craig and improve the city’s river infrastructure. 

The river project, which has been in the works for several years, was anticipated to break ground in fall 2022 after the city received a $3.3 million Economic Development Administration Assistance to Coal Communities Grant for the project. However, as a part of the EDA funding, additional approvals and permits were required, which delayed the project’s start. 

Melanie Kilpatrick, the city’s executive assistant who has been managing the project, said the delay has given the city more time to secure additional grant funding, as well as resources for grant administration. 

Spotted owl proposed for threatened list in Sierra Nevada

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the California spotted-owl population in the Sierra Nevada as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency has determined that the California spotted owl is comprised of two geographically- and genetically-distinct population segments, the Coastal-Southern California population and the Sierra Nevada population. The agency is proposing to list the Coastal-Southern California population as endangered and the Sierra Nevada population as threatened.

As part of this proposed listing, the Fish and Wildlife Service is including a rule for the Sierra Nevada owls that exempts the prohibition of take under the Endangered Species Act for forest-fuels management activities that reduce the risk of large-scale, high-severity wildfire.

“Our goal is to help the California spotted owl recover across its range,” said Michael Fris, field supervisor of the agency’s Sacramento Fish and Wildlife office. “Ongoing collaboration with a number of partners will result in positive conservation gains and put this species on the road to recovery.”


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