News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Reminder: Keep mailboxes clearASPEN The Aspen Post Office is asking customers to keep their mail boxes clear of snow and ice following recent storms that have hampered mail delivery.Letter carriers are instructed not to deliver to mailboxes and locations they consider too difficult or unsafe to access.Basalt sales tax goes up Jan. 1BASALT The Basalt town government is reminding businesses that the town sales tax goes up Jan. 1.Basalt voters approved a tax hike for parks, trails and open space in the November election. That raised the municipal sales tax from 2 to 3 percent.Basalt business that are located in Pitkin County will now levy a total sales tax of 8.8 percent. That includes the 3 percent town tax; a 2.5 percent Pitkin County tax; a 0.4 percent tax for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority; and a 2.9 percent state tax.Businesses in the Eagle County portion of the town will levy a total sales tax of 7.8 percent. It is lower than Pitkin County because Eagle County’s sales tax is 1.5 percent.Anyone with questions about sales tax collection can call the Basalt finance department at 927-4701.Forest Service honors employeesThe U.S. Forest Service recently recognized several employees in the White River National Forest for outstanding achievements. The employees were recipients of the 2006 Forest Service Regional Honor Awards, which are the highest honors given in the region.Wildlife biologist Phil Nyland of the Aspen-Sopris District, was recognized for his “outstanding on-the-ground excellence,” according to the Forest Service.”Phil is a true leader in ecosystem stewardship,” said Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Bill Westbrook in a prepared statement.Some of Nyland’s projects include work in Canada lynx habitat enhancement, forest carnivore surveys, cave bat monitoring and wetlands protection.Several members of the Aspen-Sopris District’s recreation staff also received awards for their success in promoting partnerships. The team included Martha Moran, Brent Allred, Tim Lamb, Jim Kirschvink, Mateo Sandate, Peggy Jo Trish and Jon Thompson.The team has created partnerships which benefit the forest with groups such as the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Pitkin County government and others.”Partnerships are a fantastic way to care for the land in a way that does more work with fewer resources,” Moran said in a statement.Blanco District Ranger Glenn Adams received an award for his leadership in civil rights. Adams, based in Meeker, has taken “exhaustive efforts to leading a community effort to bring Ute Indians back to Rio Blanco County, and specifically the White River National Forest,” according to the Forest Service.The agency’s regional office also honored the Colorado ski industry for its “sustainability efforts.” The Aspen Skiing Co., Vail Resorts, Crested Butte, Wolf Creek Ski Area, Copper Mountain and Steamboat Springs were honored “for their leadership in thinking globally and acting locally,” according to the Forest Service. Each resort purchased enough wind power to offset 100 percent of its electricity use.