News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

A chip seal will be applied from the Aspen city limits to Conundrum Creek Road on Castle Creek Road Monday through Thursday.The county recommends an alternate route for bicyclists due to loose chips, and everyone is asked to use caution when traveling on the road during construction. For more information, call the Public Works department at 920-5390.

A small army of doctors, nurses, technicians and other health care providers from Summit County and beyond are planning to make the community’s new hospital their home for the holidays.The St. Anthony Summit Medical Center (SMC) hospital, now in the final stage of construction, is scheduled to open its doors to patients Dec. 5.”There’s a lot of hard work to be done between now and the opening, but our goal is to be open for the holiday season – that’s really important,” said Paul Chodkowski, SMC administrator. “To have the medical community take this kind of leap forward in this amount of time is going to be a big benefit for this community.”The scheduled December opening will be the culmination of three years of planning, one year of design, more than a year of construction and the cooperation of myriad public and private entities.”The partnership with the county has been outstanding. It’s been a real symbiotic effort to make this medical campus come alive,” Chodkowski said.The 25-bed, 100,000-square-foot hospital will increase the menu of medical services available locally, including emergency services, which will double in capacity and upgrade to Level III trauma designation from the existing SMC emergency department’s Level IV designation.The labor and delivery department will likely handle 400 births per year – 100 more than the current center, which only accommodates low-risk births.The existing SMC employs about 80 workers, a staff that will grow to 120 by the time the hospital opens. SMC will begin advertising for the 30-40 new positions this week. (From the Summit Daily News)

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) – For 37 years, three Indian tribes have been waiting for Congress to make good on a promise to supply them with enough water to satisfy tribal claims in an increasingly thirsty region.Tribal leaders, local politicians and government officials led a ceremony Friday to mark the start of construction on the foundation of the Ridges Basin Dam, which is planned to hold 120,000 acre-feet to supply water to the Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute and Navajo tribes and to the cities of Durango and Farmington, N.M.”When they put us on the reservation, they promised that we would have water for the benefit of our people,” said Clement Frost, chairman of the Southern Ute tribe. “We went to Washington many times to ask ‘When is the time to make the promise come true?”‘Congress approved legislation in 1968 authorizing construction of the Animas-La Plata project, but President Jimmy Carter halted all Western dam-building projects in 1978 and an environmental lawsuit stopped work in 1992. Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation has worked for years to secure funding for the project in southwest Colorado.Originally, the dam was to impound a 191,200 acre-foot reservoir. An acre-foot of water equals 325,851 gallons, enough to serve one or two households for one year.That dam would have provided additional water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, said state Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, whose late father moved his family to the area in the mid-1940s because of the project.”This isn’t the project that we envisioned, not the project my dad worked for,” he said. “But even when water for agriculture was removed we stuck with our friends and the Utes. We’ll stand together now and get funding to see the project to the end.”On Friday, about 200 people gathered at the dam site southwest of Durango to watch as huge trucks spread a layer of compressed clay on the bedrock foundation of the dam, which will flood a valley to form Lake Nighthorse, named for former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Republican from nearby Ignacio.Water also will come from the Animas River through a new 2.1-mile pipeline and pumping system.The dam is expected to be complete in 2008 and the reservoir filled in 2011.