News in Brief |

News in Brief

Pitco housing survey under wayA random sample of Pitkin County residents over the age of 45 will receive a survey in the mail this month in an effort to help determine the long-term care and housing options for local senior citizens now and in the future. The Pitkin County Senior Council, Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, city of Aspen and Aspen Valley Hospital are collaborating on the effort. Survey recipients are encouraged to fill the survey out online or by using the hard copy they receive in the mail. Completed surveys are due back by Dec. 8. All survey responders will be entered in a drawing for prizes. Call Senior Services Director Marty Ames for more information at 920-5432.

Entrance video set to air on TVThe Entrance to Aspen: How Did We Get Here?, a video co-produced by the city of Aspen and GrassRoots TV, will air today at 7 p.m., Wednesday at noon, Thursday at 11 a.m., Friday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 6 p.m.It will be shown on GrassRoots TV, channel 12.The purpose of the video is to generate an informed civic dialogue, co-producer Ben Gagnon said in a press release. The entrance to Aspen issue has been a topic of discussion for more than 30 years and the video is intended to review historical facts, but also to delve into the values and motivations that have informed this debate in the past.The complex issue is brought to life with animated graphics, narration by Bennett Bramson and 12 other local residents who talk about the twists and turns of the entrance to Aspen issue. The hope is that the 40-minute video will foster community discussions that work from the same factual and historical context.

Governor backs protection of 4.1 million acres of forestGov. Bill Owens asked the federal government Monday to protect some 4 million acres of roadless national forest from development, mirroring recommendations from a statewide task force even as a court fight looms over managing the nations forests.The task force opposed building roads on most of the 4.1 million acres declared off-limits to development by the Clinton administration. Dan Hopkins, Owens spokesman, said the Republican governor didnt make any changes to the panels report.Few things are more important to Coloradans than the responsible stewardship of our National Forests, Owens wrote in his petition. The scenic landscapes, abundant wildlife and mountain vistas make Colorado such a wonderful place to live and raise a family.The fate of the petition and the forests are unclear because a federal judge in San Francisco recently reinstated a Clinton-era ban on new roads on nearly 59 million acres of national forests. The decision overturned a Bush administration rule, which potentially opened the land to development and which the judge said was illegal because it didnt require the necessary environmental studies.An appeal of the decision has already been filed by a timber company.The Bush administration gave governors 18 months to petition the Agriculture Department to protect the forest last year. Other states petitioned the government after public hearings, but Colorado was the only one to appoint a task force to recommend how the land should be managed.Task force member Steve Smith of The Wilderness Society said he was gratified Owens backed the panels recommendations.Its very important that he honor the work of the task force and that he did not weaken it, Smith said.He said even though the Clinton-era ban is the rule again, the task forces work is important.It affirmed the really, really strong support for roadless protections, Smith said.But the task force report and Owens petition dont reflect the overwhelming public testimony and comments in favor of strict protections for the land, said David Petersen of Durango, a task force member and Trout Unlimited staff member.(The Associated Press)The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.

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