News in Brief

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The Aspen utilities department will give the City Council a sneak peak of what Maroon Creek looks like when it is partially dewatered to its limited stream flow of 14 cubic feet per second (CFS) today and Thursday.

That’s the level the Maroon Creek’s sister stream, Castle Creek, would maintain for about six months of the year if council approves a controversial hydropower project that is expected to save the city from spending large amounts of money on coal energy.

The department is not conducting the experiment on Castle Creek because it is too high right now. The project will also take 27 CFS from Maroon Creek.

A group of residents who live off of Sneaky Lane, just downstream of the point where the water from the project would return to Castle Creek, say the project would harm the stream’s health.

Tom Hirsch, a member of the group, said that experiment would not be in the right context. He said he has been trying to show members of the City Council, specifically Councilman Dwayne Romero, the stream at its full flow.

Hirsch hopes to schedule such a meeting with the City Council before Monday, when it will review the proposal for the third time and possibly decide its fate.

The utilities department site visit will be at 3:30 p.m. at the existing intake valve, 2 1/2 miles upstream from where the proposed site of the hydropower plant is under the Highway 82 bridge that spans Castle Creek.

During this time of the year, the stream typically runs at between 50 and 60 CFS. But in the dry months of February and March, Castle Creek runs at about 14 CFS, which is the lowest level it can sustain, according to a city-commissioned study of the stream.

Federal fire officials plan to undertake a 100-acre prescribed burn in the Light Hill area of Old Snowmass in September or later in the fall, depending on conditions.

The burn is one of several treatment methods that will be used to reduce the buildup of fuels and improve wildlife habitat. The project is in conjunction with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

“Since these areas haven’t burned in a number of years, a large amount of debris and other fuels for fires have built up,” the Bureau of Land Management said in a statement. “This burn will decrease that fuel load, helping reduce the risk of a much larger, unwanted wildfire. This fire should also improve wildlife habitat by stimulating new, more nutritious plant production in the burned area.”

Once the prescribed fire is set, smoke will likely be visible from El Jebel to Aspen.

FORT COLLINS (AP) – Authorities say a University of Wyoming football player was killed and three teammates were injured when a pickup drifted off a Colorado highway and crashed.

The Colorado State Patrol says 19-year-old Ruben Narcisse of Miami was killed in the early Monday crash.

Nineteen-year-old Trey Fox of Glenwood Springs, 18-year-old Christian Morgan of Aurora, and 19-year-old J.J. Quinlan of Everett, Wash., were injured.

Troopers say Morgan’s injuries were serious but were not believed to be life-threatening. Fox had moderate injuries.

The nature and extent of Quinlan’s injuries weren’t known.

Colorado troopers say Fox was driving and apparently fell asleep. Investigators say alcohol and drugs aren’t believed to be factors.