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News in Brief

Ski season is over, but for the first quarter of the year, the rental vacancy rate in Aspen was among the state’s lowest, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing.

The overall average rent per square foot ranged from a low of 46 cents in Sterling to a high of $1.47 in Aspen, according to the division’s report, released Tuesday.



Mountain and rural areas continued to show the lowest vacancy rates. Rental units in Aspen were particularly tough to come by last winter, and plenty of seasonal workers wound up sleeping on floors and sofas.

The overall composite state vacancy rate for the market areas surveyed and the metro Denver area decreased to 7.7 percent, down from 8.6 percent in September 2005. It is difficult to generalize, but a 5 percent vacancy rate is considered to be an “equilibrium rate,” according to the Division of Housing. Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and Eagle and Summit counties were among the areas with a rate of less than 5 percent. Durango, Lake County, Montrose, southeastern Colorado, Sterling and Steamboat Springs had a rate of more than 5 percent. Colorado Springs had 10.6 percent; Fort Collins, 8.8 percent; Greeley, 8.1; and Pueblo, 8.7 percent.




Highway 133 at Paonia Reservoir remains closed while crews work to mitigate the potential for additional rock fall.

After crews cleared rocks that came down onto the highway on April 24, geologists determined that another large rock slab over the highway is loose and needs to be brought down, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. After briefly reopening, the highway was closed to traffic again on April 26.

This week, drilling and blasting operations will commence, and the additional debris hauled away. Crews will then scale the rocks above the highway again to make sure it’s safe.

CDOT hopes to reopen the highway this weekend or early next week.

Highway 133 links Highway 82 in Carbondale to Highway 92 in Hotchkiss.

County road crews will be working on dust control on West Sopris Creek Road all day today and Thursday.

The county road and bridge department is reminding drivers to be aware of workers and equipment. Call 920-5390 for more information.

DENVER (AP) ” For the second year in a row, Colorado third-graders’ reading-test scores declined slightly, according to preliminary results from the state Department of Education.

Statewide figures showed 70 percent of this year’s third-graders scored at the proficient or advanced levels on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, compared to 71 percent of third-graders in 2005.

“This is not of profound significance,” said Education Commissioner William Moloney.

He said local school-district officials around the state will examine individual schools’ and students’ scores to determine the real meaning.

There were some notable differences between this year’s third-graders and last year’s, officials said. For example, more Hispanic students took the CSAP, but a smaller percentage of students was eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches, an indicator of poverty.

In August, the Education Department will release scores of all CSAP tests for students in grades three through 10 this school year. Students are tested in reading, writing, math and science. Third-grade reading results are released early to allow schools to begin planning for fourth-grade reading programs.


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