In Brief: Squirm Night on Wednesday; community building conversations in Carbondale; Bike to Work festivities Friday |

In Brief: Squirm Night on Wednesday; community building conversations in Carbondale; Bike to Work festivities Friday

Staff Report

Squirm Night for Aspen candidates Wednesday

Squirm Night gets the election season off and running Wednesday evening as the local news media teams up to ask the candidates for the Aspen City Council and mayor questions, some pointed.

It begins live at 5:30 p.m. in Grassroots TV’s studios at the Red Brick Center for the Arts on, as well as GrassRoots TV cable channels 12 and 880HD. Aspen Public Radio’s website will have a link to the forum, and the papers will cover it, as well.

Three City Council candidates are running for two open seats: incumbent Skippy Mesirow and challengers Bill Guth and Sam Rose. They will answer questions from hosts Kaya Williams of Aspen Public Radio; Andre Salvail, editor of the Aspen Daily News; and Don Rogers, editor of The Aspen Times.

At 6:30 p.m., incumbent Mayor Torre and challenger Tracy Sutton will take their turn under the klieg lights and field questions for up to an hour.

There is (very) limited seating for spectators at the Grassroots studios, and questions will not be taken from the audience.

Community conservation series in Carbondale

Residents from all backgrounds are invited to participate in a series of community conversations aimed at creating deeper connections and strengthening community.

Roaring Fork Leadership and Safe & Abundant Nutrition Alliance are hosting these conversations for the Rural Action Project — a partnership between Colorado State University and communities across the state designed to help rural communities thrive.

Community meetings are scheduled for Feb. 21 and 28, and March 7, at 5:30-8 p.m. at the Third Street Center in Carbondale.

Organizers said residents from the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys will have a chance to learn about ways to build robust rural communities and an opportunity to share their own experiences and ideas for creating a healthy community. The intent is for residents to work together to develop and implement a local project to improve community, organizers said.

“Civic building is one the best investments communities can make to support long-term resilience for a thriving community,” said Patti Schmitt, community development director for the Office of Engagement and Extension at Colorado State University. “We have to invest in processes that bring community members together, help to create new and strengthen existing relationships, and build towards the vision we have for our local areas.”

The registration deadline is Feb. 20 at

Winter Bike to Work event Friday at Paepcke Park

Aspen residents and commuters are invited to celebrate Winter Bike to Work Day on Friday, presented by the city of Aspen Transportation, Parks, and Police Departments. 

Organizers encourage leaving the car at home and riding or walking to Paepcke Park in Aspen from 7-10 a.m. to celebrate with food and prizes. Riders with helmets receive a free gift, and participants can register to win bike gear, bike tunes, hydro flasks, gift cards, and more.

For more information, visit www. For more information about year-round commuting options, visit or call 970-920-5042.

CORE hires new energy manager

The Community Office for Resource Efficiency has hired energy efficiency expert Mary Wiener as the nonprofit’s new energy manager. She will work with individuals and organizations throughout Pitkin County and the Basalt portion of Eagle County to reduce polluting emissions from homes and commercial buildings.

“I am so passionate about the work CORE does,” she said. “We really make a difference for everyone. I may be helping one individual or one building owner, but the actions we take to create energy savings and reduce or totally eradicate polluting emissions makes life better for everyone in the valley. We are leaving a better legacy for future generations because it’s not just about us but also about the next several generations.”

Mary Wiener

The energy manager delivers energy assessments for community and private buildings, helps advise customers on incentive and money-saving programs, and facilitates the completion of significant energy saving and electrification projects that help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to bring cleaner air and less pollution to our region and world.

“Mary brings a wealth of expertise to CORE, and we are so lucky to have her on our team,” said Ryland French, senior director of climate strategy.  “Our organization is leading the way in the Roaring Fork Valley toward a future where manageable energy bills and a reliance on only renewable energy will be the norm. Mary’s dedication and knowledge to help the community realize energy savings is an essential part of achieving our vision. To add her passion, experience and network to the CORE team is a win for our community.”

Before joining CORE, Wiener worked for more than a decade on energy efficiency and electrification projects in the region. She created a variety of rebate programs for Holy Cross energy that instigated energy savings. She also volunteered on the state’s Energy Code Board and helped create, a resource to help Coloradans lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide improved health and comfort in their buildings by choosing heat pumps for space and water heating. 

For more information, visit

Winter bonfire at Coffman Ranch

Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers and Aspen Valley Land Trust will host a social gathering Thursday, Feb. 23, from 4-7 p.m. at Coffman Ranch outside of Carbondale.

Organizers said the evening will begin with a short guided hike before sundown, followed by snacks, warm drinks and lively conversation around the fire. Attendees will have the chance to learn more about how the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers and Aspen Valley Land Trust work together to conserve and restore local lands. There is no cost to attend, and all ages are welcome.

Limelight in Boulder breaks ground

Aspen Hospitality and the University of Colorado Boulder announced that construction is beginning for the on-campus Limelight Hotel Boulder.

The conference center hotel property is expected to open in the summer of 2025. This groundbreaking is the culmination of years of collaboration among the city of Boulder, CU Boulder, and numerous other stakeholders. Plans for a topping-off ceremony and celebration will be announced as construction progresses.

The project website includes renderings and FAQs, and will provide ongoing updates on construction.

As Boulder’s largest meeting and events facility of its kind, the conference center hotel has long been viewed as an important project for the community that will create economic vitality and play a key role in the revitalization of the University Hill business district, officials said.

“This irreplaceable project, at the intersection of Broadway and University, will provide a cornerstone to the university’s campus and catalyze the University Hill neighborhood, becoming a landmark in the area,” Aspen Hospitality CEO Alinio Azevedo said. “Our firm is focused on expanding the Limelight portfolio in the best locations within the best markets, and this project will reinforce the high-quality, sustainable approach to development for which the brand is known. We look forward to creating a focal point for the community and are excited about our commitment to Boulder for generations to come.”

The Limelight Hotel Boulder will include 250 rooms, along with a ground floor restaurant and an outdoor plaza that are both envisioned to be public gathering spots for the local community. The conference facilities offer a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, along with an additional 10,000 square feet of meeting space capable of hosting everything from academic and research conferences to small community gatherings, keeping local organizations from needing to leave town to host larger events. 

The city will create a fund out of the accommodations tax generated by the hotel to provide financial support for use of the conference facilities by local not-for-profit organizations and civic group uses.