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Alex Hager

Reporter

Alex comes to Aspen from KDLG, the public radio station in Dillingham, Alaska. There, he served as a “fish reporter,” producing nightly broadcasts for a fleet of boats in the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. 

Before his time in Alaska, Alex spent four years at Elon University in North Carolina. There, he was a reporter for Elon News Network, where he covered just about every beat for just about every medium. While at Elon, Alex also worked as a sports correspondent for the Burlington Times-News, covering ACC football and basketball as well as Carolina Panthers NFL football. 

When he’s not in the office, Alex enjoys hiking, practicing Spanish, playing basketball, and reading poetry. He was born and raised in Connecticut. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

For the first time since Coronavirus ended the season early in March, lifts will be taking skiers and snowboarders up Aspen Mountain and Snowmass this week. Both mountains are set to open on Wednesday, but pandemic safety measures will make the experience look a bit different.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

New cases of COVID-19 continue to stack up in all three Roaring Fork Valley counties, making the pandemic more intense now than at any other point since it began. The area is creeping closer to new mandatory restrictions handed down from the state.

Screenshot from Governor Jared Polis on Facebook

In a speech Friday afternoon, Gov. Jared Polis delivered some stern warnings  for the state as it goes through its most challenging throes of the pandemic. 

Garfield County Public Health

All three counties in the Roaring Fork Valley are experiencing their highest rates of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. Public health officials and hospitals are concerned about a grim winter ahead, with holiday gatherings and travel threatening to worsen already-unprecedented levels of the virus.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

 

All three counties in the Roaring Fork Valley are experiencing their highest rates of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began about nine months ago. Area hospitals are worried that increasing spread of the virus could bring an overwhelming burden in the coming months and bracing for a grim road ahead.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Public Health director Karen Koenemann announced plans to resign, effective Dec. 4. She has served as director since the department’s creation in early 2017, and is leaving this job to work for a health nonprofit in her home state of Alaska.

Lauri Jackson / Aspen Public Radio

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5

State Sen. Bob Rankin has won his reelection bid after a close content between him and Democratic challenge Karl Hanlon. Hanlon called Rankin to concede Thursday morning. There were about 1,000 votes separating the two men, according to the latest, unofficial returns. 

This summer in Colorado was the driest on record. But forecasters say weather patterns during the hotter months aren’t a predictor of what winter might bring.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

In a normal year, a foot of snow in late October would mean the end of fire season. But with Western Colorado experiencing its driest summer on record, this year is anything but normal. As a result, the last remaining vestiges of the Grizzly Creek Fire are still smoldering.

Downtown Basalt after the weekend snowfall
Kirsten Dobroth / Aspen Public Radio

Updated at 2:45 p.m. Power has been restored to the 21,000 Holy Cross Energy members. It took roughly three hours for everyone to get their service back. HCE spokeswoman Jenna Weatherred says the company's continuous loop system usually provides a failsafe. 

"We ran into trouble on that backup loop as well, so that kind of compounded the problem," she said.

Weatherred says early-season power outages are not unusual, when heavy, wet snow causes problems on above ground power lines.

Bureau of Land Management

You can find an English language version of this story here.

 

Más de un tercio de Colorado está formado por tierras públicas y controlado por agencias como la Oficina de Gestión de Tierras (BLM). Las decisiones sobre cómo usar esas tierras pueden ser polémicas, ya que los conservacionistas y la industria privada compiten por los usos preferidos en esos millones de acres.

Bureau of Land Management

 

More than a third of Colorado is made up of public land and controlled by agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management. Decisions about how to use that land can be contentious, as conservationists and private industry vie for their preferred use on those millions of acres.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

You can find an English language version of this story here.

Es imposible pasar por alto las señales del cambio climático, ya que el estado ha experimentado cientos de miles de acres de incendios forestales esta temporada, junto con la sequía por doquier en Colorado. ¿Pero cómo se manifiestan los problemas del cambio climático en la votación? Para responder a esta pregunta, Aspen Public Radio habló con Max Boykoff, profesor de la Universidad de Colorado en Boulder que estudia la política cultural y el gobierno ambiental. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

It’s impossible to miss the signs of climate change as the state has experienced hundreds of thousands of acres of wildfire this season, along with drought in every part of Colorado. But how do issues of climate change manifest on the ballot? For the answer to that question, Aspen Public Radio spoke with Max Boykoff, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies cultural politics and environmental governance. 

Courtesy Office of Gov. Jared Polis

Concerned by a recent spike in coronavirus cases, Governor Jared Polis says he will extend the statewide mask mandate for a third time. That means residents will be required to wear face coverings in public at least through mid-November.

Polis says the rise in cases and hospitalizations is the most concerning uptick he has seen since early July. He's also spending an additional $15 million of federal money to help the overall state’s economic recovery. The money will spent on small business loans and food and housing assistance.

Courtesy of Roger Campos

This winter in Aspen will look a lot less international. Every year, more than 800 seasonal workers come to the Roaring Fork Valley as part of the J-1 visa program. After the Trump administration put a hold on the cultural exchange program in June, local businesses are scrambling to hire enough people for peak season, and hopeful workers are left stuck abroad.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County is seeing a slight uptick in new COVID-19 cases among residents, the first steady increase since a spike in late July. The county has recorded fourteen new cases in the past fourteen days. Aspen Valley Hospital posted a fourteen-day positivity rate of 3.11%, well below the hospital’s threshold for concern, but the highest positivity rate in over a month.

Kirsten Dobroth/Aspen Public Radio

Governor Jared Polis Extends Colorado Mask Mandate

Monday, Sept. 14 - Governor Jared Polis extended Colorado's statewide mask mandate for another 30 days over the weekend. The extension is set to expire on Oct. 12, but could be extended again, as it has been twice since it was originally adopted in July.

Courtesy of Roaring Fork Transportation Authority

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is receiving a $13 million grant toward the construction of its new regional transit center in Glenwood Springs. The grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is the second batch of federal funding RFTA has received this year, following $11.48 million from the Federal Transit Administration.

 

 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

More than a million federal dollars could be sent to Glenwood Springs for emergency builds around watershed infrastructure. The National Resources Conservation Service approved the first batch of $5 million in Emergency Watershed Protection funds last week, with funding headed to Garfield, Mesa, Larimer and Grand Counties. 

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

Garfield County Encouraging People To Get Tested After Labor Day Weekend

Wednesday, September 9 - Garfield County Public Health is emphasizing the need for people with one or more COVID-19 symptoms to seek testing as soon as possible. In a release, the county said many people traveled or were exposed to visitors over the long holiday weekend.  

Courtesy of Anto Sweetapple

The scheduled start of the Colorado ski season is only about three months away – and with snow falling on the tops of nearby peaks just this week, it’s hard not to wonder what a winter on the slopes is going to look like during a pandemic. 

Katalin Domoszlay

COVID-19 Case Numbers Remain Low, But Fall And Winter Bring Uncertainty

Friday, September 4 - New cases of COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties are among the lowest they have been since the beginning of the pandemic, according to local health officials. Online COVID-19 status trackers for both Aspen Valley Hospital and Valley View Hospital said they are at "comfortable" levels of virus activity.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Imagine you’re sitting at home one day and the notice comes in – a wildfire is bearing down on your house and you have to evacuate. In the course of the next few minutes, you have a to pack a bag and hit the road. What do you bring? 

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

Colorado Rolls Out Enhanced COVID-19 Data Website  

Monday, August 24 - Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) rolled out a new COVID-19 website. The site features an enhanced data dashboard, which includes information about hospital bed availability, demographic breakdowns of COVID-19 cases in the state and percentages  of patients needing hospitalization, ventilation or ICU treatment. The new website can be found here.

U.S. Forest Service

You can find an English-language version of this story here.

El Incendio de Grizzly Creek es más de 29,000 acres y sigue creciendo. Un incendio forestal de tal tamaño requiere una gran cantidad de gente y equipo, pero con docenas de incendios que arden a través del oeste, ¿cómo se dividen los recursos de las agencias nacionales de bomberos para las personas que los necesitan?

U.S. Forest Service

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui.

The Grizzly Creek Fire is more than 29,000 acres and still growing. A wildfire that size requires a lot of people power and equipment, but with dozens of fires burning across the west, how do national fire agencies divvy up resources to the people who need them?

U.S. Forest Service

It’s been a week since the Grizzly Creek Fire first sparked in Glenwood Canyon. In the last seven days, the fire has burned 25,007 acres and is 0% contained. There were no new evacuation orders announced over the weekend, and as of Sunday, nearly 650 people were battling the fire. 

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

Friday, August 21 - Governor Jared Polis announced updates to the state's online COVID-19 data dashboard, including simplified navigation and the addition of datapoints involving hospital bed availability. Polis also announced Friday that the statewide "last call" for serving alcohol at bars would be extended to 11 p.m. starting Saturday night. Previously, Polis had set a statewide last call at 10 p.m. in an effort to limit late-night coronavirus transmission at bars.

Grizzly Creek Fire

The Aspen Public Radio news team spoke with Grizzly Creek Fire Public Information Officer Jennifer Russell and Renelle Lott of Garfield County, and compiled a list of resources and answers to listeners' questions regarding the Grizzly Creek Fire, which sparked in Glenwood Canyon on Monday, August 10. A time-stamped updates page regarding the fire can be found here.

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