In Brief: More acres to burn Wednesday; CORE talk about methane; pilot safety seminar |

In Brief: More acres to burn Wednesday; CORE talk about methane; pilot safety seminar

Staff report

Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire continues Wednesday

With favorable conditions returning tomorrow, firefighters are planning to burn an additional 300 acres at Avalanche Creek seven miles south of Carbondale following Monday’s completion of 313 acres. 

Firefighters are conducting the Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire on White River National Forest lands to reduce dense vegetation and other fuels, which improves wildlife habitat by stimulating new vegetation growth and lowers the risk from large wildfires. 

“We saw excellent results from our efforts Monday, and we want to take advantage of tomorrow’s weather to complete additional acreage,” said White River National Forest Fuels Program Manager John Markalunas. 

On Monday firefighters used a combination of aerial ignition from a helicopter and ground ignition from hand crews. Tomorrow’s burn will be mostly ignited by hand crews with the possibility of assistance from an unmanned aircraft system. 

The Avalanche Creek Prescribed Fire is a coordinated effort funded in part by Pitkin County and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District. 

Firefighters are closely monitoring conditions and will only ignite the fire if conditions are good for a safe, effective burn and good smoke dispersal to minimize smoke impacts to surrounding communities, officials said. Smoke may be seen from Carbondale, Basalt and El Jebel. Smoke should dissipate during the day but may remain on the valley floors as temperatures drop. 

Firefighters also completed 725 acres at the Collins Creek Prescribed Fire north of Aspen on Sunday.

Community discussion on Coal Basin Methane Project

The Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) invites the community to participate in two public discussions on plans for the Coal Basin Methane Project on Monday, May 8, at 6 p.m. at the Third Street Center in Carbondale and Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m. at the Church at Redstone.

The coal mines above Redstone in Pitkin County were once a significant economic driver for the local economy. Now abandoned, the mines are still venting significant amounts of methane annually.

CORE and its lead contractor, Delta Brick & Climate Co., have submitted a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service to study the climate pollution leaking from the mine, with the goal of providing eventual mitigation solutions. The new proposal is low-impact and includes detection of mine gas by surface instruments and aircraft.

In the meetings, CORE and DBCC will present their plans for this project and take questions from the public.

Light snacks and beverages will be provided.

Contact Mona Newton at with any questions.

Pitkin County freshens up website, the county’s main website, has been updated with a new look and improved functionality. Information — such as paying taxes, watching public meetings, seeking information about permits and motor vehicle registration and renewals — is still accessible on the newly-redesigned website.

The revamping of the website is meant to increase public engagement by offering more dynamic content and timely news; improve website accessibility for people with disabilities; simplify navigation; modernize graphics; and optimize the site for mobile users.

“ hadn’t been redesigned for nearly 10 years, so it was due for an update. This redesign includes a new homepage with more opportunities to learn about county services and subtle improvements to department pages that improve usability. Undoubtedly, this website will continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community,” said Carrie Fleischman, information technology director for the county.

The county partnered with CivicPlus, a web development company, on the redesign. The company specializes in websites for local governments and was the county’s website provider prior to the redesign. The county’s last major update to was when the website launched in 2014.

Snowmass Free Concert Series lineup

Celebrating 31 years of free live music this summer, the Snowmass Free Concert Series returns to Fanny Hill every Thursday evening, June 15-Aug. 24, 2023. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with shows starting at 6:30 p.m. Concerts feature a spectrum of sounds, from zydeco to reggae, rock to soul. 

“The Snowmass Free Concert Series is one of our most beloved summer traditions,” said Rose Abello, tourism director for Snowmass Tourism. “We are so looking forward to another summer of stellar music under the sky on Fanny Hill. This summer’s lineup is sure to please listeners of all genres.”

In addition to the Snowmass Free Concert Series on Thursday evenings, Snowmass is home to free live music throughout the summer at restaurants and venues around Snowmass Village, including a bonus concert on Fanny Hill on Saturday, June 10, part of Snowmass Rendezvous. 

The lineup:

  • June 15: Don Chicharron (Chicha)
  • June 22: Robert Jon & the Wreck (Rock)
  • June 29: Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble (Zydeco)
  • July 6: A-Mac & the Height (Reggae/Covers)
  • July 13: James Hunter (Soul)
  • July 20: Chicago Farmer (Country)
  • July 27: Emily Wolfe (Rock Guitarist)
  • Aug. 3: The Brothers Comatose (Bluegrass)
  • Aug. 10: LowDown Brass Band (Brass Band)
  • Aug. 17: Digging Dirt (Funk)
  • Aug. 24: Honey Island Swamp Band (Bayou Americana)

Alcoholic beverages can be purchased from the Snowmass-branded container bars, located inside the venue. Outside food and sealed non-alcoholic beverages are allowed. No glass bottles, open containers, or personal alcohol of any kind are permitted. No dogs are allowed. 

Attendance is expected to be high this summer and parking is limited. Tourism officials encourge using the free parking at Snowmass Town Park, carpool, or take RFTA or Snowmass Village Transit. For more information on the Snowmass Free Concert Series, visit

For the full Summer 2023 Event Calendar, visit 

Open studio event in Carbondale May 11

Studio for Arts and Works artists and creative professionals invite the public to join them on Thursday, May 11, from 4-8 p.m. for the spring open-studio event.

Attendees can visit with local artists in their studios and find handmade gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or other special occasions, organizers said. Live music will start after 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and this event is free and open to all. For more information, visit the S.A.W. website at, or find Studio for Arts and Works on Facebook.

Studio for Arts and Works is located at 525 Buggy Circle, Carbondale.

South gate parking area at North Star closed for work

Construction of a redesigned south gate parking area at North Star is underway, and the parking lot is closed to use, Pitkin County officials said.

East of Aspen Trail, users are being detoured around the project site. Work on parking areas at North Star will continue until approximately June 23, then resume in late August. 

W announces Aspen Pride and collaboration with AspenOUT

W Aspen announced it will launch Aspen Pride for the first year in the city’s history. The hotel has collaborated on this historic month of events with the longtime Aspen LGBTQ+ organization, AspenOUT, which is dedicated to promoting tolerance and understanding through education, community action, and service. 

“For 27 years, AspenOUT has been a part of the Aspen Community and is synonymous for hosting Aspen Gay Ski Week,” said Chris Jaycock, general manager of W Aspen. “Based on demand, W Aspen and AspenOUT partnered to create Aspen’s inaugural Pride event. We have a longstanding commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Ensuring that we are creating a safe and welcoming environment where all feel valued and accepted is at the heart of everything we do at the W, and we couldn’t be more excited to be the host hotel for Aspen Pride.”

Beginning in June, W Aspen will bring new programming and incentives to support the LGBTQ+ and greater Aspen community. Every Thursday in June, proceeds from cocktail purchases will be donated to AspenOut. W Aspen will also host a variety of events throughout the month, including mixology classes, and pop-ups by cocktail bars giving guests, visitors, and locals insights into the history and versatility of spirits as well as tips to create beverages. Additionally, wellness events will be open to guests and the public, hosted on WETdeck, throughout the month of June, including morning yoga sessions, stretching and meditation classes, sound baths, and other mindfulness programs. 

Snowmass shuttle to increase service during Brush Road work

The Snowmass Village shuttle will provide increased service to Route 8 to accommodate transit users impacted by the construction closure from Monday, June 5, to Sunday, Sept. 24, town officials said.

The Brush Creek culvert reconstruction project begins on May 15. Brush Creek Road will be closed immediately downhill from the intersection with Owl Creek Road for the duration of this project.

Due to the detour on Brush Creek Road this summer, the village shuttle will be providing increased Route 8 service to the communities along Brush Creek Road and to Town Park. During the closure, buses will be running every 15 minutes, with stops along Brush Creek up to Sinclair Road and ride request service to the Melton Ranch and Horse Ranch communities. 

Route 8 will serve these neighborhoods at 15-minute service intervals and will be available from 7:05 a.m.-8:05 p.m., with 30-minute service continuing to 9:05 p.m. and ride request service will be available until midnight.

For questions regarding village shuttle service, call 970-923-2543. Route information and maps can be found at

For more information on the culvert reconstruction project, visit

Aspen spring cleanup scheduled for May 15-19

The city of Aspen Street Departments annual spring cleanup event is taking place May 15-19.

Aspen residents who schedule an appointment with the street department can have large trash items picked up curbside at their residence, city officials said. Call 970-920-5130 no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, May 12, to schedule pickup.

According to the city:

  • Items must be sorted by type which includes branches and wood of eight feet or less in length, metals, trash, tires, and leaves in compostable bags.
  • All piles must be labelled “City of Aspen Spring Clean-Up”, or they will not be picked up. Branches and wood must be placed parallel to the street.
  • Items not eligible for pick-up include household garbage, construction debris, batteries, paint, oil, refrigerators, hazardous waste, televisions, and any electronics with a memory chip. If these items are left on the curb, they will not be picked up. Alley pick-up service is not possible.
  • Electronic waste can be recycled during the City of Aspen’s E-Waste Collection Event in the fall.

More information is available at

Nature journaling class at Carbondale Library

Adults who wish to explore, observe, and creatively document nature are invited to join Romana Davies for a two-part class at the Carbondale Branch Library on the different forms of nature journaling.

Minimal supplies are provided and attendees are encouraged to bring their own journals and drawing implements. The class will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. on the Fridays of May 19 and June 16. The class is free and open to all. For more information, call 970-963-2889.

Cancer center adds radiation oncologist

Board-certified radiation oncologist Lauren Kropp, MD, has joined the Calaway-Young Cancer Center, part of the Valley View health system based in Glenwood Springs.

When planning radiation treatments, she said she focuses on advanced technologies while developing individualized treatment plans in order to reduce the side effects of treatment. 

Dr. Kropp is a member of Radiating Hope, a non-profit organization that strives to improve radiation oncology care internationally. With the organization, she has traveled to Nepal and Chile on advocacy trips, supporting those nations’ radiation oncology practices.

I-70 roadwork near DeBeque starts this week

The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin resurfacing work Tuesday along Interstate 70 east of DeBeque for three miles. United Companies of Grand Junction is the contractor for the project.

“This project will create a smoother, safer ride for residents and commuters on this busy section of I-70 that is critical for the Western Slope,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “CDOT is committed to improvements along the entire I-70 corridor. These surface and safety improvements are part of that effort and build on efforts last year across the corridor, including in nearby stretches close to Rifle.

Construction will take place on I-70 east of DeBeque from Mile Point 65 to MP 68. Work will include the placement of a 2-inch hot mix asphalt overlay, striping, rumble strip installation, guardrail replacement, three culvert treatments, replacing bridge rail, and performing minor bridge repair. The HMA will add approximately 10 years of life to the interstate, provide a smoother road surface and will add durability by increasing the resistance of ruts and road damage. This will allow for a smoother and safer drive for motorists, officials said. 

“Like many parts of the state, the western portion of the I-70 corridor is an important part of the rural, local economies in Mesa and Garfield counties,” said Region 3 Transportation Director Jason Smith. “It’s important for such a key roadway to make business as easy as possible.”

Other benefits of the project include installation of new guardrail that will be 31 inches high, designed to meet new safety standard requirements. The higher railing will help veering vehicles remain on the road more effectively, making the highway safer for the traveling public. The former standard height of guardrail was 27 inches.

United Country Colorado Brokers & Auctioneers wins top company award

Gary Hubbell of United Country Colorado Brokers & Auctioneers, with offices in Hotchkiss and Carbondale, recently won received the top marketing award for all 550 United Country Offices, The Genesis Award. 

“To join this amazing fraternity of United Country’s Genesis Award winners is a true honor,” he said. “I started cashing checks as a professional photographer way back in the 1980s, so I’ve always understood the power of great imagery. … We just put a ranch under contract with a buyer who still has to come walk the property. He said he didn’t need to see it right away — our marketing explained the property so well that he felt comfortable putting it under contract before even seeing it in person.”

United Country Colorado Brokers & Auctioneers has expanded to cover a wide swath of western Colorado.

“We have 11 agents strategically located across the western half of the state,” Hubbell said. “From Loma to Grand Junction, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Basalt, and Aspen, and then over to Hotchkiss, Crawford, and Montrose — we help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.”