News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Aspen Times staff reportAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – More than 11 merchants will be part of the first Noel Night from 4-8 p.m. today.The event, organized by city of Aspen and Aspen Retail Association, will take place on the Cooper and Hyman walking malls, with participating retailers creating their own Noel Night celebration with discounts, raffles, holiday refreshments and more. Carolers will kick off the evening with some holiday favorites, and Santa Claus will be at Aspen Sports with Mistletoe the Elf from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mayor Mick Ireland will read some classic children’s holiday readings upstairs in Aspen Sports at 6 p.m. Participating merchants include Aspen Carriage & Sleigh, Mark Richards, Koto Aspen, The Sports Center, CB Paws, Parallel 15, Harmony Scott, The North Face, Aspen Sports, Elliott Yearly Gallery, Aspen T-shirt Co. and Aspen Style.

ASPEN – The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation will distribute more than $400,000 to 31 not-for-profit health and human service agencies in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley at its annual Celebration of Giving at 5 p.m. today in the Hotel Jerome’s Grand Ballroom. The grantees provide family and children’s support services, counseling in mental health and substance abuse issues, and programs for seniors, among others.The event honors everyone who contributes to the work of the foundation, including donors and volunteers, and those who benefit from the work, as well as health care scholarship winners and other projects sponsored by AVMF, such as the Aspen Homeless Shelter and Aspen Hope Center. AVMF has also provided more than $47,000 in direct assistance this year to nearly 400 individuals and families in need of dental, prescription, vision, medical and mental health assistance, as well as $80,000 to health care professionals for educational opportunities.Attendees of Wednesday’s event are asked to bring gifts of grocery cards to help those in need this holiday season.For more information on AVMF or to RSVP to the Celebration of Giving, call (970) 544-7371, e-mail info@avmfaspen.org or visit http://www.avmfaspen.org.

EL JEBEL – The U.S. Forest Service will hold an open house from 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Eagle County building in El Jebel to outline habitat improvement projects on 50,000 acres of the White River National Forest around the Roaring Fork Valley.Forest Service personnel involved in the planning and analysis of the proposed project will be available to discuss the project and answer questions from the public.The proposal includes using prescribed fires on about 26,200 acres; using fires and mechanical treatments on 19,400 acres; and cutting individual trees or small clusters on 4,300 acres.The projects are in 24 “treatment units” scattered throughout the forest in five general areas: Woody Creek, Basalt, Fryingpan Valley, Crystal River and Glenwood Springs. The single biggest project will be in the Collins Creek area of Woody Creek, where almost 10,000 acres will be treated.Another big project is planned in the Cattle Creek area of Basalt Mountain, where 7,349 acres will be targeted to benefit big game. In other areas, projects will improve habitat for bighorn sheep and raptors.For more information about this proposal, including a map and a full description of the proposed action, go to the Forest Service website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver, then navigate to Land and Resources Management/Projects. The Forest Service has set up a blog for this project at http://roaringforkhabitat.blogspot.com/ to serve as a forum for sharing information and encouraging dialogue.Public comments on the proposal will be accepted by the Forest Service until Jan. 18.