News in Brief
Downed tree branch caused Carbondale blackout A fallen tree branch caused a July 16 blackout in Carbondale, according to Xcel Energy. The power outage left 2,000 Xcel Energy customers in the south part of town without power for several hours.High energy use, most likely from air conditioners in the middle of a heat wave, was originally thought to have caused the power outage. That is still believed to be what caused an outage in Denver around the same time as Carbondale’s that Sunday; the outage in Denver left 12,000 people without electricity.But the power failure in Carbondale was caused by tree branches that needed to be trimmed, Xcel Energy spokeswoman Ethnie Groves said on Tuesday. Maintenance efforts have been stepped up since the incident, she said.Blackouts have been in the news of late as thousands have gone without power in the Bronx, N.Y., and in St. Louis. And more than 300,000 Xcel Energy customers in the Denver area were briefly left without electricity and heat on the coldest day of winter in February, The Denver Post reported at the time. That was due to a rolling blackout.With much of the Western Slope baking in near triple-digit temperatures, some may wonder if more blackouts are on the way.”While I can’t predict the future, I can safely say that [rolling blackouts] will not be a problem” as the summer progresses, Groves said. Highway 133 resurfacing work continuesMaintenance crews will continue chip-sealing a section of Highway 133 north of the McClure Pass summit this week.The work planned for Monday – between mile markers 43 and 47 – has been postponed to today, weather permitting. Highway 133 heads south out of Carbondale.Today and Wednesday, Colorado Department of Transportation crews will be on the highway between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., with sweeping being done at night. The speed limit is reduced to 35 mph and will be enforced 24 hours a day through the work zone to ensure the new highway surface will set properly and to help motorists avoid cracked windshields. Motorists are urged to drive slowly through the section of single-lane, alternating traffic.Highway 82 bridge work continuesMotorists continue to encounter Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews at work on replacement of an expansion joint on the Highway 82 bridge near Basalt.Work is under way Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., in the eastbound (upvalley) lanes. The project will continue through July and possibly into the first week of August. Then, crews will be shift onto the westbound (downvalley) lanes; work is to be completed by the end of August.CDOT has adjusted the timing of some stop lights on the highway near the work site to help ease traffic congestion caused by the project, but motorists should expect slowdowns while the crew is at work.Hearing on Jerome Professional Building set for Aug. 1The Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 1, for an application to demolish and replace the Jerome Professional Building at 201 N. Mill St.The Jerome Professional Building Condominium Association is proposing a new, mixed-use building with subgrade parking, commercial or office space, three affordable-housing units and six free-market residential units.At the Aug. 1 meeting, the P&Z will discuss approvals that are part of the standard review process for items such as affordable housing, floor area ratios, subdivision and commercial design review.According to Jennifer Phelan, senior planner with the city’s community development department, the applicants are not requesting any special variances or exemptions from the city’s code.
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Three longtime residents of the lower Roaring Fork Valley talk about the sinking feeling that built Monday and Tuesday as the Grizzly Creek Fire grew. They are hoping the threat to their neighborhoods has passed.