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Ariel Van Cleave

News Director

Ariel most recently served as the senior editor of audio news at WBEZ in Chicago before coming to Aspen Public Radio. She boasts sixteen years of experience in public media. Prior to her time with WBEZ, Van Cleave worked as the producer of Morning Edition at KNKX in Seattle, and also served as Morning Edition host and reporter at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio. 

She has also served on news teams at public radio stations in Homer, Kenai, and Dillingham, Alaska. She received her Masters degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois and also holds a journalism degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Van Cleave also serves as the Small Station Representative on the Public Media Journalists Association Board.

As a new resident, Van Cleave is looking for recommendations for the best karaoke spots in the valley.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Gov. Jared Polis is extending a statewide mask mandate for another thirty days as coronavirus cases continue to surge. More than 1,000 people were in the hospital with the virus as of Monday. Polis is also asking residents to step up their social distancing efforts.

"As long as Coloradans are cancelling their social interactions the next few weeks with those outside their household, together we can save Christmas," the governor said.

Courtesy of Valley View Hospital

Colorado is now seeing its highest coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic, but Gov. Jared Polis is not issuing any new restrictions.

Instead, Polis is urging residents to do three things this month, including wearing masks, staying six feet apart and only visiting with members of their own households.

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. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The Pitkin County Board of Health has announced stricter limits for gatherings, compared to the statewide order Gov. Jared Polis put in place last week. Gatherings in the county can be no more than five people from two households.

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.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Gov. Jared Polis announced new orders Friday afternoon limiting gatherings to 10 people from no more than two households in all counties at all three “Safer at Home” levels. The announcement comes after weeks of increased cases of COVID-19 across the state.

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.

Voters will receive the 2020 Blue Book in the mail, along with their ballots for the Nov. 3 election.
Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

U.S. Senate
Republican: Cory Gardner (incumbent)
Democrat: John Hickenlooper

U.S. House
Republican: Lauren Boebert
Democrat: Diane Mitsch Bush

State Senate District 8
Republican: Bob Rankin (incumbent)
Democrat: Karl Hanlon

USPS

The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to give Colorado the ability to review national media related to voting procedures and processes ahead of the November election to prevent future voter confusion as part of a settlement with the state. The Postal Service will also destroy remaining mailers that a federal judge previously banned the Postal Service from sending to voters in Colorado. 

"Ballot Box" by wtfcolorado is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Colorado is expanding its mail-in ballot tracking app so that all voters in the state can use it. Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Monday that voters in all 64 counties will be able to check the status of their mailed ballots for the 2020 election and receive notifications by phone, email or text. Enrollment is automatic for voters whose emails are registered the countries.

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.

"Ballot Box" by wtfcolorado is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Denver judge has rejected a lawsuit that tried to delay the distribution of the state voting guide known as the blue book.

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.  

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

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.

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.

Grizzly Creek Fire Facebook Page

Wednesday, September 9 3 P.M. Moisture has helped further moderate the fire. Personnel are mostly away from fire lines until conditions on the ground dry to allow better access. Suppression and suppression repair activities will resume as conditions dry. Managers anticipate those conditions to happen over the weekend.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

No New Cases In PitCo In Last Six Days, But Epidemiologists Warn Against Complacency

Friday, August 14 - There hasn’t been a new coronavirus case reported among Pitkin County residents for the past six days. New case numbers in Eagle and Garfield counties are also down. In Thursday’s Pitkin County community meeting, epidemiologist Josh Vance said those decreases are in line with national and statewide trends, but no reason to get complacent.