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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

Earlier this month, the Trump administration weakened the National Environmental Policy Act, a 50-year-old rule meant to limit the environmental impact of large development. Trump says rolling back the regulations will eliminate “red tape” and speed up infrastructure projects, but opponents of the move say it paves the way for big industry to get away with development that could harm the environment.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

LIFT-UP Food Pantry Continues Distribution Into August

LIFT-UP will continue to distribute food via mobile distribution using drive-thru sites in Carbondale, Glenwood, New Castle, Parachute, DeBeque and Rifle.  Some sites will be moving locations as schools begin to re-open.  The schedule will continue as one-day-a-week per community, with longer distribution times while rotating each week between mid-afternoon and early evening.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

When ski lifts in Aspen and Snowmass stopped spinning in March, so did the area’s economy. Pitkin County businesses went into an early offseason and have experienced a staggered reopening under new restrictions.

martinalonso4895 / Creative Commons

Aspen City Council considered allowing “marijuana lounges” at a work session last night, but councilmembers largely agreed that now is not the time to consider such a measure. 

Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital

Aspen Valley Hospital’s COVID-19 testing operation has been a key part of upvalley virus control plans. Dave Ressler, Aspen Valley Hospital CEO, explained how testing people without symptoms fits into those plans during Thursday’s livestreamed community meeting.

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County May Be Forced To Forfeit Public Health Variance

Friday, July 25 - Trends in the local spread of COVID-19 may threaten Eagle County’s ability to maintain its public health order variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Last week, the state health department notified the county that local disease rates were outside the levels allowed by the variance. 

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Cases of COVID-19 are steadily rising in all three Roaring Fork Valley counties. In a livestreamed community meeting Thursday, public health officials from Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties discussed increasing case counts and the hurdles they face in tracking and controlling the spread of the virus.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The City of Aspen is in a stage one water shortage, citing continued drought conditions. The city will make efforts to reduce water usage by 10%, but water-saving measures for residents are voluntary.

Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Pitkin County posted its highest single-week total of positive COVID-19 cases in the week ending July 12. Testing identified 28 new cases in the county. The two previous weeks held the old record, with 16 new cases each. 

Glenwood Springs Fire Department

Battling a wildfire is no small task, but coordinating response during a pandemic adds an extra layer of challenges. Sunday night’s two-acre blaze in the Three Mile area of Glenwood Springs was not big enough to bring about those challenges, but gave emergency officials a chance to assess what could have happened had the fire spread further.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County Updates Public Health Order

Friday, July 17 - Eagle County updated its public health order effective immediately Friday due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Under the new order, only ten people are allowed at private gastherings, indoor public gatherings are reduced to 100 people and indoor public gatherings will allow 175 people or less. 

Courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Updated Friday, 1:30 p.m. - The bear involved in the attack on an Aspen homeowner has been euthanized following a short pursuit, according to a release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Evidence has been collected from the bear and from the scene of the attack and will be forensically examined to scientifically confirm the bear’s involvement.

A bear struck a man around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The bear entered a home on Castle Creek road and swiped the homeowner with its paw. The homeowner confronted the bear after hearing noises.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Public Radio’s reporting project Rocky Mountain Why? starts with what you’re curious about when it comes to life in the Roaring Fork Valley. You submit questions, then our news team does the digging and shares the answers with our community.

 

Listener Esmeralda Osorio asked, “Is Mount Sopris a volcano or not?”

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

All three counties in the Roaring Fork Valley are under Stage 1 fire restrictions, which meant a prohibition on fireworks over Fourth of July weekend. Sheriff’s offices in Pitkin and Eagle Counties said they responded to a handful of reports involving fireworks, but they were all minor incidents and didn’t result in any citations.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County Adds Demographic Data To COVID-19 Statistics

Friday, July 10 - Eagle County has added demographic data to its publicly viewable COVID-19 monitoring dashboard. New data includes the age, gender and ethnicity of confirmed cases. The county said it is including this information to "better inform the public of the impact of the disease in particular on the local workforce, Latino community, older adults, and youth and young adults."

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Fourth of July weekend promises to be a busy one at North Star Nature Preserve, a popular spot for people to paddleboard and tube a section of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen. On June 24, Pitkin County approved a new management plan for the preserve, ushering in some rule changes. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

In a special meeting Wednesday night, Aspen City Council authorized a midnight curfew on retail businesses, restaurants and bars. Councilmembers hoped the order would prevent restaurants from evolving into bar-like atmospheres late at night. 

Alex Hager

A new reservation-based system for buses to the Maroon Bells began on Monday. Under new regulations, visitors must use a website to book tickets in advance for a specific time slot. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Graphic by Alex Hager (Aspen Public Radio) / Data from Pitkin County, Eagle County, Garfield County

Cases of COVID-19 in the Roaring Fork Valley are on the rise, and many of the new infections are in young people. Health and government officials say the uptick in cases among those under 30 could be a harbinger of increased hospitalizations and halt the rollout of reopening plans.

via United States Census Bureau

Only a third of residents in Pitkin and Eagle Counties have responded to the U.S. Census so far, putting them in the bottom 20% of all counties in Colorado. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The Trump administration extended a freeze on green cards and put a hold on a variety of temporary work visas this week, blocking them until at least January. Included in the hold are J-1 visas, temporary work permits that bring hundreds of seasonal employees to the Roaring Fork Valley every year.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Local governments have been hit hard during an economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Aspen projected a $25 million dollar loss in revenue. As cities and counties take a hard look at their budgets, climate experts are urging them to keep the health of the planet in mind. 

Christin Kay

LIFT-UP Releases July Food Distribution Plan

Friday, June 26- Next month, LIFT-UP Food Pantries will continue to distribute food throughout the Roaring Fork Valley via drive-through and walk-up format. LIFT-UP pantries are not open for food pick up or donations at this time. 

Courtesy of Pitkin County Public Health

Rates of positive COVID-19 tests are gradually rising in the Roaring Fork Valley. In Thursday’s Pitkin County Board of Health Meeting, officials said the rate of positive tests at Aspen Valley Hospital was increasing and that positive cases in neighboring Garfield and Eagle are being closely monitored. 

via Garfield County Libraries Carbondale branch

Plenty of people turned to books and movies to help pass the time while stuck at home during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Data from the Garfield County Libraries Carbondale branch shows that adult fiction was the most popular category for checkouts, and patrons chose a variety of highly-acclaimed recent films when it came to movies.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen’s Rio Grande Recycling Center will stop accepting cardboard on July 1. That alone will reduce the center’s budget by 50-60%, part of the city’s effort to slim budgets after financial losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center will continue to accept cardboard and residential trash services will still pick it up curbside.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

PitCo Says State Public Health Order Changes Won't Go Into Affect Here Until Later

Thursday, June 18 - Changes to Colorado’s statewide public health order to go into effect today, but any of those changes will not go into effect in Pitkin County until the local public health order is amended, according to a release from the county. Pitkin County could choose to be more restrictive or less restrictive with its next set of rules, as allowed by a variance. 

via United States Drought Monitor

Some portions of Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield Counties are experiencing moderate drought because of hotter temperatures and below average precipitation in April and May. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded Aspen and some parts of Pitkin County from “abnormally dry” to “moderate drought,” the second of five levels of drought severity. 

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