News in Brief |

News in Brief

Aspen Times staff reportAspen CO Colorado

Courtesy of the Denver Museum of Nature & ScienceFrom left, Josh Smith, Bryan Small, Becky Benzie, Joe Sertich and Steve Mohr work to move a mastodon pelvis at the Snowmass fossil dig. The massive bone is encased in a plaster jacket for protection.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, now half-way through its seven-week dig at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, has recovered more than 1,000 Ice Age fossils at the site this spring.The museum’s goal is to remove 50 percent of the bones by the end of the week, according to Dr. Kirk Johnson, leader of the museum’s excavation team.Five local volunteers and 10 additional people from Denver have joined the on-site crew of more than 40 people as the search accelerates, according to a museum update issued Tuesday. Two excavators, two track hoes and other machines are also involved in the work.Digging resumed May 15 and is scheduled to end July 1; then dam construction work is expected to begin at the site, owned by the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District.The fossil finds include 15 specimens of mastodon skulls and pelvises, jacketed in plaster for transport and weighing 300 to 700 pounds apiece. A team of 10 people is preparing them for conservation and research back at the museum.The excavation activities inspire an Ice Age Spectacular Weekend on June 18 and 19 at the Silvertree Conference Center in Snowmass Village. There will be opportunities to touch and see the teeth of mammoths, mastodons and other Ice Age animals, plus fun for kids, including sloth races (dress up in a provided sloth costume and race through an obstacle course).Live broadcasts from the dig will take place at 11 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m. on June 18, and at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on June 19.In addition, Johnson will discuss the latest news from the dig site at 7 p.m. on June 15 at the Spring Valley Campus of Colorado Mountain College (in the gymnasium). The campus is at 3000 County Road 114 outside of Glenwood Springs. His talk is free, but seating is limited.A June 23 talk at the Aspen Institute is also planned.

CARBONDALE – A few spots remain in this weekend’s fifth annual Free Range Open Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for Aspen-based GrassRoots Community Television.The action takes place Saturday at River Valley Ranch Golf Club in Carbondale, with a 10 a.m. shotgun start.This shamble-format tournament includes golf with a cart, light food on the course, beverages, prizes and a post-round barbecue with music. The contribution is $82 per player; call 925-8000 to register a foursome, or go to for a registration form.

ASPEN – Emergency management officials in Pitkin County are updating a plan designed to “reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural and manmade hazards”It is called the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan and it’s updated every five years. Among the potential hazards it addresses are wildfire, winter storms, avalanches, land and rock slides, and seasonal flash flooding. The update will assess natural and manmade hazards that pose the greatest risks to the county and its incorporated towns. “We have to be prepared in the event of emergencies like these,” said Emergency Manager Tom Grady in a press release. “We try to think through every possible emergency scenario, how we’ll respond to them and how we can avoid them altogether through proper risk assessment and pre-planning.”A kickoff meeting to discuss the process for updating the plan will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, downstairs at Aspen City Hall. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and offer input and feedback throughout the updating process. Pitkin County is required to have a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan under the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, and to be eligible for grant and claims programs. The county was awarded $60,000 in state planning funds to prepare the current plan update.Visit for more information.