News in Brief |

News in Brief

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen School District is considering changing calendars from a traditional school year to an “alternative/balanced” school calendar, and will seek the public’s input at a communication forum Tuesday morning.

The forum is yet another step in the process of possibly changing the local public school calendar. The Aspen Board of Education approved just a one-year calendar for 2010-11 school year to “allow stakeholders additional input while gaining awareness and education about an alternative/balanced school calendar,” states a memo sent to parents.

According to the memo, the goals in investigating an alternative calendar include: improving student achievement while reducing regression in students’ learning; addressing or meeting the needs of the Aspen community; and positioning the school district as a leader in the educational community.

The “balanced” calendar that will be presented during today’s forum comprises a nine-week on, two-week off schedule with a seven-week summer break.

If the school board decides to move forward with the new school calendar, further meetings with teachers, youth organizations, rec and club sports, businesses and others will be scheduled.

Tuesday’s communication forum is from 8:15-9:30 a.m. in the Aspen High School seminar room.

ASPEN – The Pitkin County Healthy Rivers and Streams Board announced Monday that it will produce a report by mid-January that will drive a mediation effort for Aspen’s Castle Creek hydropower project.

Board chairwoman Ruthie Brown said in a press release that a group of experts who will jointly produce the report has been identified, and the group is moving forward with its research.

The four-person team consists of hydrologist Lee Rozaklis, aquatic biologist Greg Esperin, energy specialist Kurt Johnson and water attorney Sarah Klahn.

The report will examine how the proposed hydroelectric plant would affect the Castle Creek and Maroon Creek ecosystems, which has been a subject of contention between city officials and a number of community residents who feel the project will be bad for the streams.

The rivers and streams board will not be a part of the mediation effort, Brown said in the release.

GARFIELD COUNTY – Seniors and disabled individuals in Garfield County stand to benefit from two programs run by High Country RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program).

A free handyman program, Helping Hands for Seniors, has been restarted and will be offered countywide. Program manager Tom Graham has lived in the valley since 1977 and spent eight years in the construction business before retiring. Graham’s volunteers can help with simple maintenance and repair projects, from yard work to basic energy assessments and home weatherization. Call 384-8746 for more details.

Medicare D Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment is from Nov. 15 until Dec. 30. Every senior who has a Medicare D drug plan should have their current plan assessed because costs and coverage have changed on all plans. High Country RSVP volunteers can help seniors and their families navigate the Medicare D system to select the best plan to meet their individual needs. Call 384-8744 and a volunteer Medicare Program manager will contact you.

RSVP can also help you if you are confused about your Medicare or need other kinds of help.

High Country RSVP is a national Senior Corps program and a sponsored program of Colorado Mountain College. It seeks to enrich the lives of men and women, age 55 and older, through meaningful volunteer opportunities. For more information, contact Barbara Peterson at 947-8462 or