News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

More snow, more terrain on Aspen MountainASPEN More snowfall and snowmaking allowed the Aspen Skiing Co. to open more terrain Wednesday on Aspen Mountain. The Skico said it will have 109 acres open at the ski area Thursday, or 15 of 76 trails.The open trails are Upper Bellissimo, 1&2 Leaf, Upper Copper, Silver Bell, Easy Chair, Pussyfoot, Silver Dip, Deer Park, Silver Dip Swing, Buckhorn, Buckhorn Cutoff, Gretls, Blondies, and upper Dipsy Doodle, North American, Midway Road and Midnight.As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Skico officials said no new terrain was scheduled to open at Snowmass.The upper slopes of Snowmass received about 10 inches of snow Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, while Aspen Mountain had six inches of fresh powder.The Skico urged customers in a statement to obey all closures. The mountains were blanketed in white [Tuesday] night and many closed runs look very inviting. However coverage is still early season, the statement said. Walshs slid today during control work, so there is also avalanche danger.

Pitkin County paving way for micro-hydro plantsASPEN Pitkin County commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved the first reading of a code amendment that would pave the way for micro-hydroelectric plants.With as many as 20 possible sites for small-scale power plants along area rivers, streams and agricultural ditches, commissioners gave a first nod to the code change, but not without heavy scrutiny.Bruce Fabrizio, a Woody Creek resident, proposed the change in the hopes of building a small hydroelectric plant next to his home on Brush Creek between Highway 82 and the Roaring Fork River.The code amendment would allow for building on steep slopes within stream setbacks, something prohibited in the county’s land-use code.But any project, including Fabrizios proposed plant, would have to pass a special review with the Pitkin County board not to mention the time-consuming and costly process of passing a proposal through state water court, wetland study and getting a special-use permit.Commissioners expressed concern over maintaining adequate stream flows and other long-term ecological impact, but supported the amendment.

Basalt to tidy up recycling centerBASALT Basalt officials have come up with a plan to tidy up their recycling center without creating the type of community uproar that divided Aspen last year.Basalts recycling center will stay in the same general area along Two Rivers Road, but get pulled back toward the intersection with Midland Spur and expanded. Lucksinger Park, which town officials said is seldom used, will be incorporated into the new design of the recycling center.The Dumpsters, where recyclers can place everything from aluminum to magazines, will be screened with a landscaped berm. A plan in Aspen to stuff the recycling center into new buildings was shot down by voters in November 2006. Critics claimed the plan was too grandiose.A one-way driveway will serve the center. Smaller bins for telephone books and batteries will be added.Various Basalt officials have complained over the years that the recycling is unsightly and dangerous. The large Dumpsters often overflowing with beer bottles and cans, cardboard and newspapers currently are jammed onto a wide spot in the road.The redesigned recycling center will also include one surveillance camera, and possibly a second, with subtle lighting so that people illegally dumping trash can be busted.This project will improve safety on Two Rivers Road, improve the appearance of the entrance to town, and help the town to prevent illegal dumping of trash, said a memo from the staff to the Town Council.The council on Tuesday gave unanimous direction to solicit bids from contractors for the job. The council already allocated $90,500 in the 2008 budget for the job.