News in Brief |

News in Brief

ASPEN ” Who can produce the smallest amount of waste in one week?

In honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the Aspen Environmental Health Department and Pitkin County Solid Waste Center are teaming up with Aspen Elementary School to issue a challenge: each classroom will tally the amount of waste it produces, as well as the amount of waste the students produce at lunch.

“To win, each student needs to take steps to lessen the amount of waste he or she produces,” said Sarah Laverty, environmental project coordinator for the city.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 12, the students must separate their classroom’s trash from paper recycling, can and bottle recycling, and reusable items.

At the end of each day, the contents of each bin will be weighed and tallied. Each grade also will have designated trash, compost and recycle bins in the lunchroom.

The winners will receive prizes and learn more about being environmentally conscious in the process. On Friday, Nov. 16, the winners of both the classroom and lunchroom challenges will be announced.

In addition to the recycling challenge, Pitkin County and Aspen Elementary School will kick off a new composting program. For the first time, waste from lunchroom preparations as well as applicable cafeteria waste will be composted onsite at the elementary school.

The project, made possible by a grant from Aspen Skiing Co.’s Environment Foundation, is sponsored by Pitkin County, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Aspen Elementary School.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” After about a year and a half of uncertainty, Glenwood Springs learned that its fire department retained an Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 4 rating and almost made it to Class 3.

The ISO, which rates fire departments for insurers, threatened last year to downgrade the department from about a 4 to a 10, its worst rating. Some local insurers feared that would result in increases in insurance premiums for property owners, and, in some cases, make it impossible to find insurance. The ISO mainly was concerned with the department’s inability at that time to respond to structure fires with at least four firefighters.

City Manager Jeff Hecksel and Fire Chief Mike Piper have said that the department has maintained staffing levels able to respond to structure fires with four firefighters or more at all times for more than a year.

One of three additional planned firefighter positions was recently filled as part of the response to the potential ratings downgrade and concerns about staffing, bringing staffing levels up to nearly 60 with the ability to fight fires. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

Hecksel said that by the ISO’s raw score, the department should receive a better, class three rating. But the ISO subtracted about seven percent off the score, leaving the city just 4.38 percent short of the score needed for class three, he added.

It’s unclear exactly why the seven points were subtracted, Hecksel said, because the only reasons listed were broad headings like “Fire Department” and “Communications.”

Had the department achieved a class three, “It would have represented a reduction in insurance premiums for those people whose insurance companies use the ISO as their major rating agency.”

However, it’s still good to know the ISO is no longer actively reviewing the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and that the department has retained its class four rating, he said.

“We wanted to reach some kind of closure because this issue seemed to keep dragging on,” he said.

But what’s more important, Hecksel said, is that reviews of call and response documentation indicate responses that he considers good. The ISO had reviewed the department during a time when there were a few incidents that the department didn’t have four people responding, he said. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

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