In Brief: Food tax refunds leap; Dandelion Day; bill would raise wildland firefighter pay |

In Brief: Food tax refunds leap; Dandelion Day; bill would raise wildland firefighter pay

Aspen food tax refund applications rise

About a third more people applied this year for city of Aspen food tax refunds than last year.

The deadline to submit the Food Sales Tax Refund application was April 18. The city offers a food sales tax refund of $55 for those who qualify.

“This year, the city received approximately 1,425 applications,” Finance Director Pete Strecker said. “Last year, we had 1,030 approved applications to give you context to this year’s application submission volume.”

The program was introduced in 1970 with an initial refund amount of $7 for those who qualified.

“This is a longstanding program, and staff is not aware of any council action or sentiment to change this for future years. We fully anticipate this program to continue,” said Strecker.

To qualify for the annual program individuals must: 

  • Submit the Food Sales Tax Refund application on time.
  • Have resided within the Aspen city limits for the full year.
  • Have been registered to vote in the City of Aspen the full year.
  • Be able to prove residency within Aspen city limits and if still living within the City, provide proof that your current address is the same as your registered voter address.

Visit for more information.

— Julie Bielenberg, The Aspen Times

Dandelion Day on Saturday in Carbondale

Dandelions are in full bloom, and Carbondale is doing a full celebration for it. 

The town’s flower is the dandelion, and the theme this year is bees, which is a lot of yellow.

“Twenty-six years ago, Doc Philip, who is considered to be the founder of Dandelion Day, and a couple other parents started to advocate with the town to stop spraying pesticides in public spaces, and that’s how the Carbondale Environmental Board was born,” this year’s overseer, Quinn Port, said. “The next year came around, and Dandelion Day was founded.”

Festivities start at 9 a.m. on Saturday with some bee meditation since the frequency of the humming of bees is so soothing, Port said.

Then, the Species Parade begins at 10 a.m., where anyone can show up dressed up as their favorite species, real or fictional.

After the parade will be live performances from Bonedale Dance at 11 a.m., then the Sopris Soarers, The Queen Bees, Elk Range Bluegrass, and Grim Nymph.

Bill aims to raise pay, benefits for wildland firefighters

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, co-chair of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, introduced legislation to overhaul federal firefighter pay and benefits bolstering recruitment, retention, and well-being.

The legislation, Tim’s Act, is named in honor of Tim Hart, a smokejumper from Cody, Wyoming, who lost his life May 24, 2021, while battling the Eicks Fire in New Mexico. The bill is co-led by U.S. Rep. Katie Porter D-California, in the House.

Tim’s Act would increase base pay, improve deployment pay, support enhanced pay management oversight, and boost firefighter physical and mental well-being by ensuring firefighters receive paid rest and recuperation leave, Neguse said. Tim’s Act also aims to address many challenges that have plagued the wildland firefighter workforce for decades, he added.

“Wildland firefighters work long hours in harsh conditions to keep our communities safe,” said Porter. “But low pay, poor housing, and inadequate physical- and mental-health benefits, combined with worsening fire seasons, are pushing more and more talented wildland firefighters out of the workforce. Congress should have our firefighters’ backs, which is why I’m proud to reintroduce Tim’s Act with Rep. Neguse.”

Valley View adds radiation oncologist

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

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

Road between Gateway and Naturita expected to stay open

Highway 141 between Naturita and Gateway is expected to remain open Friday and throughout the weekend. Future safety closures may be needed as runoff levels continue to fluctuate, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said.

A safety closure is no longer necessary with cooling temperature trends projected to continue throughout the weekend, they said, as the Dolores and San Miguel rivers are not reaching the significant run-off levels predicted earlier this week. 

CDOT said it will continue to monitor the river levels and the bridge structure at Roc Creek for the remainder of the peak flow season. Future closures may be required depending on warming temperatures and fluctuating run-off levels, officials warned.  

Check for current road closures and conditions.