News in Brief
Search effort amounts to nothingASPEN Mountain Rescue Aspen went on a bit of a wild goat chase Tuesday evening after a caller reported a rockslide and someone yelling near Grizzly Lake, east of Aspen.”It’s looking to be the wild goat chase,” said Anne Stephenson, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office patrol supervisor. “The distressing sounding yelling was probably goats bleating.”A woman hiked out three hours after hearing a rock slide and yelling, and called 911. The woman reportedly heard the rockslide from across Grizzly Lake and saw it roughly 1,500 feet above the lake. A seven-member team from Mountain Rescue hiked into the lake, near Independence Pass and above Grizzly Reservoir, around 6 p.m. Nearly 20 members of Mountain Rescue Aspen reported in for the search, and an airplane did flights over the area. By 7:30 p.m. Stephenson said the search had been called off, though members of the team were not out of the field until later. Basalt to host emergency drillBASALT Numerous emergency response agencies will send more than 100 staff members to Basalt Aug. 1 for a drill that simulates a “critical incident” at the high school, officials announced this week.The drill will include evacuation of the school and the treatment of various injuries, as well as a simulated public notification response that would be used to keep the community informed in the event of a real emergency. Above all, Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda said, the training will test the coordination, communications and teamwork of the responding agencies to improve future response capabilities.The training exercise will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be the first large-scale drill of its kind in the valley, officials said.Basalt police Sgt. Mark Langford said the exercise will test the emergency response plan for the Roaring Fork School District. Agencies from Aspen to Rifle will participate in the drill.The drill will employ many emergency services vehicles, and there will be a staging area near Basalt Avenue in the town’s Southside area. Ikeda says there will be efforts to maintain the flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area. A flier is circulating throughout the neighborhood to provide notification about the event and to ask people who live or work in the area to be cautious of more pedestrians and numerous parked vehicles, especially along Basalt Avenue near Highway 82.The Rio Grande Trail will remain accessible. However, Basalt High School and the area surrounding the school will be closed to civilian access.Officials from Basalt’s police and fire agencies, as well as the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, will lead the exercise. Changes coming to Willoughby WayASPEN Responding to public outcry, Pitkin County officials said Tuesday they want to decrease the slope at the intersection of Willoughby Way and Red Mountain Road, which is now under construction on the edge of Aspen.At an estimated cost of $65,000, county engineers said they could reduce the road’s slope from the current 9.4-degree grade to 8.1 degrees.”The flatter that we can get it, the better,” said county engineer G.R. Fielding.Commissioners will decide on the issue at their regular meeting on Aug. 8.
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Warm and dry conditions to start the winter have kept all but the higher elevation slopes free of snow. That is expected to change by the end of the week and the avalanche hazard could start to climb, according to Colorado Avalanche Information Center.