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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. 

Screenshot from Pitkin County Board of Health

Pitkin County Public Health released a set of amendments to its standing public health order on Thursday. They will remain in effect until July 3. The changes provide updated timing and clarity to the particulars of industry-specific reopening plans. Below are the latest dates and rules. Full details can be found here.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Tourism is returning to Pitkin County, and short-term lodging, like hotels and condos, can operate at 50% capacity each day. In a recent Board of Health meeting, Snowmass Village Mayor and board chair Markey Butler said that isn’t the best fit for her town. She spoke with reporter Alex Hager about why she's pushing for a different plan.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s gradual reopening is underway. Hotels and restaurants have plans to field guests at partial capacity, using guidance from county public health officials to help suppress the spread of COVID-19. Those plans rely heavily on personal responsibility, according to Jordana Sabella, manager of planning, prevention and partnerships for Pitkin County Public Health.

Screenshot from Wildfire Adapted Communities Project

The Aspen Fire Protection District has a new online tool to help residents find out how vulnerable their houses might be to wildfire. An interactive online map rates areas for their general wildfire risk and structures for their individual fire vulnerability.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Glenwood Springs Extends Public Face Covering Rules, Announces Reopenings of Parks and Playgrounds

Friday, June 5 - The Glenwood Springs City Council today voted to extend its public facemask ordinance. The public health order will remain in effect until state and/or CDC guidelines change, or a vaccine becomes available to the public. The city's Parks and Recreation department also announced that it would be reopening playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities, but with social distancing guidelines and a maximum of 10 people at playgrounds, and 25 people at sports courts and fields. Spectators are also discouraged at pick-up sport events. More information about current public health orders can be found on the city's website.

Courtesy of Tracy Doherty

When the pandemic took hold, Tracy Doherty kept going to work as a pediatric nurse at Valley View Hospital. Her line of work usually comes with some stability, so she was surprised when she was laid off earlier this month. 

 “Being a nurse you kind of never expect to lose your job,” Doherty said. “I knew they were going to be cutting staff, but I didn't think it would be nursing staff.”

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio (Data via Aspen Police Department)

Data from the Aspen Police Department shows a significant decline in police activity from last spring. In March and April, there were 40% fewer total calls for service than the same period in 2019.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Reopening Plan Includes Industry-Specific Dates

Thursday, May 28 - Phase two of Pitkin County’s reopening plan includes a step-by-step schedule with reopening dates for different industries. County officials say reopenings come with strict regulations and health guidelines. The planned dates could change if the county sees indications that the presence of COVID-19 is increasing. 

Tammy Terwelp / Aspen Public Radio

State Officials Encourage Residents To Celebrate Memorial Day With Safety In Mind

Friday, May 22 - Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, public health officials are asking Coloradans to keep the following in mind to slow and limit transmission of COVID-19. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Garfield County recently adopted a new set of regulations that could be applied to mining projects. The new rules – called 1041 regulations – could shape the development of the controversial Rocky Mountain Industrials (formerly Rocky Mountain Resources) expansion near Glenwood Springs. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is now home to the shortest commercial flight in the nation offered by a major carrier. The flight from Eagle County Regional Airport to Aspen takes about 30 minutes and only exists as a temporary fix during the COVID-19 pandemic.

via City of Aspen

The City of Aspen is asking for input on a plan that would allow local businesses to operate on sidewalks and streets in the downtown core. In a press release, the city said doing so would “increase physical space to facilitate social interaction, community connection and commercial activity while adhering to Pitkin County Health Order gathering guidelines.”

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials said they are on track to move to phase two of a reopening plan as early as May 27. The county needs to see certain patterns in health data to enter that phase. In Thursday’s board of health meeting, county officials and Aspen Valley Hospital staff said they have not seen a new COVID-19 case since early April, neighboring counties are posting low case numbers and the staff at the hospital is almost entirely healthy.

via Pixabay

Kurt Dahl’s job as Pitkin County’s environmental health manager sometimes feels like detective work.

“You're trying to identify who could have gotten something from where,” he said. “And that really gets into that case investigation and that detective type of work.”

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Skiing Company is giving credit to 2019-2020 passholders after this winter’s season was cut short due to COVID-19. Passholders can receive up to $250 in credit for a non-chamber premier pass, but credit value is tiered for different passes, according to a release.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Get Glenwood Going Grant (G4) Applications Available 

Friday, May 15 – The City of Glenwood Springs, Downtown Development Authority and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Foundation are announcing the Get Glenwood Going Grant for business relief. The G4 program was created to provide rent, utility or mortgage interest relief for businesses. Businesses within the city limits of Glenwood Springs can qualify for up to $4,000. 

via Pitkin County

Pitkin County’s next public health order goes into effect on May 9 as part of a three-phase plan to return to normal life. Thursday, the county board of health said it could move to the second phase as early as May 27, if certain criteria are met.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s plan to gradually return to normal life relies in part on adequate testing for COVID-19, which will be carried out by Aspen Valley Hospital. The hospital is cooperating with the county and using nasal swab tests to identify new cases of the virus. 

Sue Sharpe

Colorado is slowly lifting restrictions on retailers, salons and other businesses. It's part of the state's transition from Stay-at-Home to Safer-at-Home, a move that Governor Jared Polis said is meant to help the state enter a more sustainable, long-term phase of social distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Glenwood Springs Opens Tennis and Pickleball Courts, Skate and Whitewater Parks

The City of Glenwood Springs has opened public tennis and pickleball courts, the skate park and the whitewater park under Safer-at-Home guidelines. The city said those facilities will be closed if people do not adhere to specific regulations, which can be found here.

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials laid out the specifics of the next public health order and the county’s contact tracing operation in an emergency public health meeting on Thursday. The next public health order will closely align with the state’s latest policies, but include a few specific exceptions.

via City of Aspen

Tuesday night, Aspen City Council will review a set of zoning guidelines for wireless facilities. Federal and state rules do not allow local governments to exercise much control over the installation of “small cell” infrastructure, which is a component of 5G technology. Aspen’s guidelines are designed to control the aspects of size, design and location that are within the city’s purview.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The first rollbacks to restrictive statewide orders go into effect on Monday, April 27. Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced a transition to a new “Safer-at-Home” policy. The measures include a gradual return normal life, with a timeline for retailers and other businesses to reopen with specific precautions in place. Some rules will differ by county as local governments set their own pace for a return to normal life.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Operations are more or less normal at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff are wearing extra protective equipment, but they are not overwhelmed. David Brooks, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said the fact that things are relatively calm is a direct result of people staying home. 

Courtesy of Kyle Nelson

As a 911 dispatcher, Kyle Nelson is used to busy days. But Thursday was an unusually hectic one at the Pitkin County Incident Management Team headquarters, where he’s working during the pandemic. The team had planned to participate in a livestreamed public health meeting and roll out plans to start testing residents for COVID-19. What they didn’t plan for was a heavy snowfall – at one point 1-2 inches per hour – that led to messy roads and a flood of calls to emergency dispatchers. 

Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

Glenwood Springs Extends Public Building Closure and Face Mask Requirement, Reinstates Bus and Airport Services

Friday, May 1 - Glenwood Spring's city council voted unanimously today to require face coverings be worn in public; that order is now set to expire on June 4. City Manager Debra Figueroa also extended to closure of public buildings within the city until May 27.

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Pitkin County officials laid out a new plan to find COVID-19 cases and slow the spread of the virus in a virtual community meeting Thursday. Karen Koenemann, the county’s director of public health, outlined the “Box it in” strategy, which will use testing, quarantining, contact tracing and isolation as a means of combating coronavirus. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

During the first week of April, new unemployment claims across Colorado were up 3836% from last year’s average. According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, nearly 200,000 new claims have been filed statewide since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Garfield County Asks Businesses To Complete Social Distancing Plan

Saturday, April 25 - In order to reopen on May 4th, 2020, businesses and agencies in Garfield County should determine if they are high, medium, or low risk, and complete and submit the “Garfield County Business Social Distancing Plan.”

Courtesy of Pitkin County Incident Management Team

Pitkin County is running a small-scale pilot program of its COVID-19 antibody testing on Friday at Aspen Village fire station. Testing is not yet open to the public; the county says Friday’s trial run will be used to gauge the accuracy of its blood tests and the efficiency of its mobile testing operation.

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