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Your Evening News - January 13th, 2015

BLM Seeks Bigger Burns

The Roaring Fork Valley could see one of the biggest prescribed BLM burns yet. That’s if a project by the Bureau of Land Management gets approved. The agency wants to do larger scale controlled burns. The agency sent out 700 mailers, and just twelve people showed up to a public meeting on the matter yesterday.

The BLM wants to burn more than 900 acres next to El Jebel and is taking comments on the proposal. Like similar projects, the goal is to minimize fire hazard by burning trees and bushes in a managed way. Courtney Whiteman handles Public Affairs with the BLM.

“There’s a lot of mature plant growth up there, which happens as we control the fires, and last night most of the discussion centered around the safety of the burns and how they’re conducted.”

Whiteman and a BLM fire expert say at Monday’s meeting they answered common questions about planning and safety. The agency is taking comments through part of February. The earliest the burn could start is this spring, and would be done in increments.

City of Aspen to Mail Ballots for Next City Election

Voters in Aspen will use mail-in ballots for the next election in May. Aspen City Council decided to make the switch to automatic mail-in ballots.

A majority of council members voted in favor of the mail ballots, saying allowing more convenience and expanding voting participation is a good idea. Council Member Ann Mullins was one of those voting in favor of expanding beyond a polling center.

"Things change, people, they’re traveling, their schedules are different. It is a small town, but it’s not a small town while everybody’s here, on that day, able to go to the polls.

Voters can still cast a ballot early or on Election Day at City Hall. That will be the only vote center in Aspen. If a runoff election is necessary, it would also be based on mail-in ballots. The State of Colorado moved to all mail-in ballot elections starting last year. Those are carried out by county election officials. Cities and special districts can make their own decision on whether to follow suit.

Denver Patient Does Not Have Ebola

A patient who was running a fever at a Denver hospital after visiting countries with a history of Ebola does not have the disease. Colorado health officials say the patient was tested and the results came back negative. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials say the test was given out of "an abundance of caution." The name of the patient has not been released. Based on the latest data from the World Health Organization over 20,000 people have been infected with the disease and over 8,000 have died mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.