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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

UPDATE: We've moved to doing weekly updates since information is changing rapidly. Find them here.
 

Updated: Saturday, March 21, 3:30 p.m. 

Eagle County Public Health and Environment has confirmed the first death of an Eagle County resident from COVID-19. The patient was a male in his 60s with underlying health conditions. He died at a Denver-area hospital. 

 “It is with a heavy heart that we are confirming the loss of one of our community members from COVID-19. We are extremely saddened by the news and extend our deepest condolences to the family,” said Heath Harmon, Director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment.  “The news of this loss in our community serves as a solemn reminder that COVID-19 can pose greater risks to some members of our community, in particular older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions. We must all take steps to protect our families, ourselves, our friends, and our community.”

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Updated: March 20, 2020

The Aspen Skiing Company has announced that they will close all mountains for the remainder of the 2019-2020 ski season. 

The company says this is in response to Governor Jared Polis extending an order that closed all Colorado ski resorts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Polis announced Wednesday that resorts were to remain closed through April 6. 

via United States Census Bureau

The census is underway across the nation, taking a headcount to determine how resources, funding, and congressional seats are allocated. Due to coronavirus, some in-person counting efforts will be put on hold, but online, mail and phone responses are still going on as planned.

Tammy Terwelp / Aspen Public Radio

Governor Jared Polis has issued a public health order with new, aggressive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 Gatherings and events are now limited to no more than 10 people.  Retail stores are allowed to remain open with fewer than 10 people in the store at once. Restaurants can still have take-out service, but only five or fewer people can wait for food at a time.   The new order will run through April 17. 

via Pitkin County

Health officials and community leaders livestreamed answers to questions from residents about COVID-19 during a Pitkin County community meeting Monday. Local leaders emphasized the importance of social distancing to stem the spread of the virus, and they provided updates on topics ranging from testing for coronavirus to getting food to people who need it.

reid.neureiter / via Creative Commons

Vail Resorts is suspending operations at all of its North American mountain resorts and retail stores from March 15 to March 22. That includes Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Keystone. A statement from the resort company said it will be using the time to “reassess [its] approach for the rest of the season.”

 

C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus control strategy at state and county levels is moving toward social distancing, a practice focused on limiting contact between people in efforts to stem transmission. 

That marks a shift away from the previous approach of contact tracing, which aims to identify people who have been in contact with known positive cases of the disease.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority says it does not expect to completely suspend bus service amid concern over COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. RFTA is sanitizing buses, expanding sick leave for drivers and drafting contingency plans should a reduction in service prove necessary.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Across the country, events have been cancelled and people are pulling back on travel in response to the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus. For more on how the disease is affecting the tourism industry here in Pitkin County, Jeff Hanle, communications director for Aspen Skiing Company, weighed in.

Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

 


As of Wednesday afternoon, Pitkin County had the most presumptive positive coronavirus cases in Colorado. The total currently stands at nine, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All of the cases are connected to a woman from Australia who visited Aspen and tested positive upon return to her home country. 

 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado currently has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but Pitkin County Public Health Director Karen Koenemann said officials are taking precautions should the illness arrive in the area. 

“We really do believe it's not if, it's when, we will have cases in Colorado,” Koenemann said. “We may have cases in Pitkin County. And so I think just being aware and being prepared for that is where we're at right now.”

 

 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

On Tuesday, voters in fourteen states will pick their preferred democratic candidate to face off against likely GOP nominee President Donald Trump in November’s general election. Colorado is among the states holding a primary on Super Tuesday.

Aspen Public Radio analyzed a year of individual contribution data from the Federal Election Commission, a government agency that keeps track of campaign finance information.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Housing can be tough to find in the Roaring Fork Valley, and the list of properties gets shorter when it comes to finding places that accept pets. 

Charissa Carvell, a dog trainer at Colorado Animal Rescue in Glenwood Springs, knows this situation all too well. People will come to the rescue to surrender their cats and dogs because they can’t find housing that will take their pets.  

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

As of Wednesday, this winter’s snowpack is nearly exactly the same as it was last year. 2019’s skyrocket in snowfall totals did not begin until the first week of March. Russ Schumacher, a climatologist at Colorado State University, says that jump isn’t likely to repeat.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says it received 5,369 total bear calls from April 1 through Dec. 31 of 2019. On Wednesday, the agency released the latest statistics from its modernized tracking system. CPW said there are likely an equal number of human-bear interactions that go unreported.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Firefighters say a falling ice dam was likely to blame for a structure fire in Aspen last weekend. Ice dams tend to form in the late winter when snow on rooftops melts and refreezes near the edge of the roof, creating large, heavy chunks of ice.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Tuesday night, Snowmass Town Council discussed the latest plans for a redevelopment of Snowmass Center. This week’s meeting focused largely on parking. Some council members, including mayor Markey Butler, said current plans don’t include sufficient parking. 

Courtesy of Pitkin County

Work begins Monday to hold back erosion along a stretch of the Crystal River, where Pitkin County Open Space and Trails says the river is undercutting the Crystal Trail.

The construction site is at highway 133 and Thomas Road, south of Carbondale, where the Crystal River bends toward the highway. The project will see heavy machinery in the river to modify the river channel, stabilize the bank and plant native vegetation.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Presidents Day weekend marks one of the busiest on the calendar for Roaring Fork Valley hotels, and this year is no exception.

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association says the long weekend lines up with Valentine’s Day and attracts Front Range visitors looking for a romantic getaway. Lisa Langer, the chamber’s director of tourism promotion, says she heard from about nine hotels that plan to be at or near capacity for part of the weekend.

 

via Google Streetview

 

Carbondale is moving forward with plans to reduce traffic and improve bike and pedestrian access on 8th Street, which intersects Main Street near the end of downtown. The town says people raised concerns about narrow sidewalks and limited access for bikes on a street with plenty of car traffic in residential areas.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

In the Roaring Fork Valley, it can be tough for people to find a place to live. Finding a place that is affordable and close to their workplace is harder still. That housing crunch means that businesses can have trouble retaining workers.

City of Glenwood Springs via Facebook

Glenwood Springs holds a ribbon cutting ceremony for the 27th Street Bridge at 2 pm. Wednesday. The bridge reopened in late December after months of construction and delays. Now, the city says things are running smoothly so far, and all that remains are a few finishing touches.

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Novel coronavirus, a respiratory illness, has been making headlines around the world, leading to fears about its spread. Pitkin County health officials say risk of contracting the virus is low, especially for those without a history of travel to areas where it is being spread.

Danny Eastwood via Creative Commons

The Town of Snowmass Village signed a resolution in support of a state bill that would repeal language banning local governments from regulating plastics. 

Existing language, signed into law in 2017, preempts local governments from requiring or prohibiting “the use or sale of specific types of plastic materials or products or restrict or mandate containers, packaging, or labeling for any consumer products.”

Creativity103 via Creative Commons

A recycling dropoff center in Basalt shut down on Friday after Pitkin County pulled funding, and Basalt and Eagle County couldn’t pay new higher rates to keep it open. Now, the town and Eagle County will host a pair of events where people can bring hard-to-dispose of items, such as large electronics, paint, motor oil, tires and yard waste. 

 

Wyatt Orme / Aspen Public Radio

Before the 2020 census opens for online responses in March, local officials are making an effort to reach the Valley’s Latino community. 

According to estimates from a 2017 census survey, almost a quarter of people in the Roaring Fork Valley said they were Hispanic or Latino. That study shows 28% of the population in Garfield County as Hispanic or Latino, 30% in Eagle County and 10% in Pitkin County.

City of Aspen

The City of Aspen is moving forward with an updated budget and timeline for the next phase of affordable housing at Burlingame Ranch. The planned development would include 79 affordable condos adjacent to the existing Burlingame Ranch, which is across from Aspen Pitkin County airport.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen native Alex Ferreira repeated as champion in the men’s ski superpipe at X Games on Sunday night. The 25-year-old has now won five total medals at X Games Aspen. He said skiing in front of a hometown crowd helped push him to victory.

“Everybody wants me to win and wants me to do well.” Ferreira said. “And I can feel the energy. I can feel the aura. I can feel my mom and my friends and they just want me to do well. It rubs off, it really does.”

 

 

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