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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. 

Courtesy of Sylvia Johnson

Carbondale-based visual storyteller Sylvia Johnson spent part of the pandemic working as a contact tracer in Garfield County. Her conversations with people who had COVID-19 became a source of inspiration, which she has now turned into a storytelling project. “La Vacuna es Para Nosotros,” or “The Vaccine is for Us” highlights the voices of Spanish-speaking Garfield County residents to share their stories and encourage more people to get vaccinated. 

 

  

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Last year saw vicious wildfires tear through Colorado. That included the three largest blazes in the state’s history and the Grizzly Creek Fire, which burned more than 30,000 acres near Glenwood Springs. This year, with much of the area in drought and summer right around the corner, experts say conditions in the Roaring Fork Valley are again ripe for wildfires.

 


Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital

It’s no secret that the Roaring Fork Valley’s three counties are interconnected and frequented by seasonal visitors, and those factors show up in the latest COVID-19 vaccine data. In the four months since vaccine rollout began in the area, more than 40% of all doses administered in Pitkin County went to people who reside outside of the County – and health officials say that is by design.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and skis are getting shelved in favor of hiking boots and mountain bikes. But in some parts of the Roaring Fork Valley, hikers and bikers will have to wait a little longer to venture out on certain trails.

 


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s COVID-19 incidence rate is the highest in Colorado by a wide margin. As a result, businesses are operating under “orange” level restrictions – a more stringent set of rules than anywhere else in the state.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

When it comes to water in the West, a lot of it is visible. Snow stacks up high in the mountains then eventually melts and flows down into valleys. It’s easy to see how heavy rains and rushing rivers translate into an abundance of available water. But another important factor of water availability is much harder to see. 


Aspen Public Radio has compiled the following list of local, state and national resources that are providing current coronavirus information and resources. You can also follow our updates for the most recent coronavirus news. Información para hispanohablantes

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

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

Los latinos de los condados de Pitkin, Eagle y Garfield se vieron particularmente afectados por la pandemia. Si bien ellos representaron una cantidad totalmente desproporcionada entre los casos de COVID-19 durante el año pasado, se están realizando esfuerzos para asegurar que tengan acceso equitativo a las vacunas.   

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Latinos in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. While they’ve made up a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases over the past year, efforts are underway to make sure they have equitable access to vaccines.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

There were a few days during the second week of Mar. 2020 when the coronavirus started to feel present and immediate in Aspen. Like it was no longer a distant problem. Like there was a pandemic knocking on the front door. 


Grassroots TV

Ballots have been mailed to most Aspen residents who will elect their next mayor and fill two city council seats in the municipal election on Tuesday, March 2. There are eight candidates running for the two open council seats. Incumbent Mayor Torre is running for a second, two-year term and faces a single challenger, artist Lee Mulcahy. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Cuando una operación minera se extiende a través de centenares de acres, un cierto impacto medioambiental es inevitable.  Quienes se oponen a la expansión de la mina de piedra caliza de Rocky Mountain Industrials (RMI, por sus siglas en inglés) cercana a Glenwood Springs, dicen que su propuesta de abarcar más de 400 acres llevaría ese impacto más allá de lo que ellos consideran aceptable.   

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Transformar una mina de piedra caliza de menos de 20 acres en una de más de 400 acres no es tarea sencilla.  No solamente se requiere maquinaria costosa y pesada para mover tierra, también implica dinero y persistencia para despejar un largo trayecto de obstáculos regulatorios antes que la expansión sea permitida legalmente. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

When a mining operation spreads out across hundreds of acres, some environmental impact is inevitable. Opponents of the Rocky Mountain Industrials limestone mine expansion near Glenwood Springs say its proposed footprint of more than 400 acres would push that impact beyond what they consider acceptable.


Bruce Gordon/EcoFlight for Aspen Public Radio

Taking a limestone mine from less than 20 acres to more than 400 is no small feat. Not only does it require expensive and heavy machinery to move the earth, it also takes money and persistence to clear a long road of regulatory hurdles before an expansion is allowed in the eyes of the law.

 


Almost half a million Coloradans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While that number indicates a promising start on the road to the state’s pandemic recovery, advocates say vaccine distribution has been marred by inequity. 


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Pitkin County has dropped sharply over the course of the past two weeks. That number is steadily declining from a peak on Jan. 15, when the county’s two-week incidence rate was the highest in the state by a significant margin. 


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County has the highest incidence rate of COVID-19 in all of Colorado, nearly double that of the next highest county. Those alarmingly high numbers have sparked strict public health measures and strained contact tracers – but experts cannot pin down what’s driving the spike.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The pandemic took a heavy toll on Aspen’s tourism industry during the December holidays, usually the airport’s busiest time of year. In the two-week period around Christmas, the number of arriving passengers at Aspen-Pitkin County airport was down 53% from the year before. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

A new health order in Pitkin County will ban indoor dining and tighten restrictions on hotels and rental units beginning Sunday. The new rules, voted into effect by the Board of Health on Monday, come as the county’s soaring coronavirus rates rank second-worst in Colorado. 

Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital

Roaring Fork Valley health leaders say high levels of local demand for coronavirus vaccines are outpacing new shipments of doses from the state. That is partially due to recent and sudden changes to the state’s priority guidelines, which made people 70 years of age or older eligible for the vaccine.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Months of dry weather have left much of the Roaring Fork Valley in critical levels of drought, even after snow in December. The region has not been so dry this time of year since 2002. The Roaring Fork River and many others across the state are below normal levels of flow, which is unlikely to change without an extraordinarily wet winter.

Kwon Juhno / Unsplash

Updated at 8:40 a.m. Thursday

As of Wednesday night, less than 100 homes remained without natural gas following a widespread outage that began Sunday night affecting 3,500 customers. More than 170 technicians with Black Hills Energy spent the last several days restoring service and relighting appliances.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Snowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley is particularly ripe for avalanches this year thanks to an abnormally dry spell. Colorado is already considered the nation’s most dangerous state for avalanches, and unstable snow across the state has already led to a number of deaths this year. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County moved to "Red Level" restrictions Tuesday after exponential increases in local rates of coronavirus. Under the new rules, personal gatherings can only happen with people in the same household, offices and gyms are capped at 10% capacity and restaurants are limited to 25%. Last call is at 9:30 p.m. and they must close at 10 p.m. 

Courtesy of Valley View Hospital

The first batch of coronavirus vaccines has arrived in the Roaring Fork Valley, heralded by many as the beginning of an end to the global pandemic that has infected thousands in the area, and created nearly a year of frustration and hardship for local businesses and their employees.

Courtesy of Dr. Brooke Allen

Throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, rates of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise. New cases transmitted over Thanksgiving are just beginning to trickle into county data, exacerbating virus rates that were already higher than any other point in the pandemic.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

J-1 visas, which normally bring more than 800 seasonal workers to the Roaring Fork Valley each year, are still on hold following an executive order from President Donald Trump in June. Some local businesses were holding out hope that J-1 workers could come at the beginning of the new year, as the order was originally set to expire at the end of December.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Karen Koenemann, Pitkin County public health director, will spend her last day in the position on Friday, Dec. 4. She has held the position since the department's inception in early 2017. Koenemann spoke with Aspen Public Radio about the ups and downs of guiding the department through the pandemic. 


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Coronavirus rates appear to have slightly slowed their breakneck rise in all three Roaring Fork Valley counties, but local health experts say it may only be a momentary blip amid virus levels that are still worse than any other phase of the pandemic.

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