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Eleanor Bennett

Morning Edition Host/Reporter/Producer

Growing up in the valley listening to KAJX in her parents’ car on the way to school, Eleanor learned the power and urgency of community storytelling. She was further captivated by the medium while interning at APR after graduating from Middlebury College in 2015.

From there, Eleanor moved to New York where she covered issues of climate justice and women's empowerment for SiriusXM Radio and launched several podcasts from soup-to-nuts. Eleanor recently finished a project interviewing hundreds of New Yorkers about their dreams and fears for an interactive audio-visual exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum by the photographer and muralist, JR.

Making these kinds of personal connections with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work. Eleanor is delighted to be back home in the Rocky Mountains working with the Aspen Public Radio team and local residents to shine a light on the critical issues that shape our valley.
 

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. 

Mike Tierney

Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol Director Mac Smith passed the baton on Jan. 31 after 42 seasons on the job. Though, he will remain on the patrol during the winters and help as needed throughout the next several years. 

He first stepped foot on Highlands when he was only 8-years-old, and got his start on the mountain washing dishes at the Merry-Go-Round restaurant after graduating from Basalt High School in 1971. 

Dennis Brendel / Unsplash


One way to take care of yourself during the coronavirus pandemic is to stay connected to your loved ones, but what happens when you have a disagreement or a falling out with the people you’re supposed to feel most connected to, and how does that affect your mental health?

Courtesy of Susan Sekaquaptewa

With the ongoing drought in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties and across most of the West, growing food and raising livestock is becoming more difficult. At the same time, the pandemic is exacerbating inequalities in the Roaring Fork Valley and many locals are still out of work, making it hard to access fresh, healthy food. 

Cat Palmer

 

In a normal year, local musician Shea Freedom can be found tearing up the stage at Belly Up in Aspen or performing for passersby on main street in Carbondale, but when the pandemic hit, his gigs were cancelled. 

As protests and social justice movements spread across the country, that forced free time gave Freedom a moment to reflect on what he was seeing and he used his creativity as a way to process everything. 

Courtesy of Aspen Chapel

Traditionally on Martin Luther King Day, the Aspen Chapel invites locals to cook a special dinner for people who visit the Aspen Homeless Shelter. Last year, nearly a hundred adults and children gathered for the annual meal at the chapel. 

“It’s always a lovely experience of doing everything together, but this year with COVID-19, we obviously couldn’t have a hundred people in a room together,” said Nicholas Vesey, the minister at the Aspen Chapel. 

COURTESY OF THE COMMUNITY OFFICE FOR RESOURCE EFFICIENCY (CORE)

The Community Office For Resource Efficiency (CORE) is launching a valley-wide art installation to tell the story of climate change, in partnership with a host of local organizations, including Colorado Mountain College. 

The community mural project “Stories of Climate Change/Historias del Cambio Climático” is a part of both CORE’s third annual Imagine Climate series and the Inside Out Project created by renowned muralist JR

Cortesía De La Oficina Comunitaria Para La Eficiencia De Recursos

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

La oficina comunitaria para la eficiencia de recursos (CORE, por sus siglas en inglés), en asociación con diversas organizaciones locales entre las que se encuentra Colorado Mountain College, está organizando una presentación artística en todo el valle para contar la historia del cambio climático.

Dale Armstrong / Courtesy of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

On a recent morning, local naturalist Rebecca Weiss led a small group of amatuer birders through the frozen cattails near the John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen. Dawning binoculars and masks, they stood at the edge of the Roaring Fork River to get a closer look at an American Dipper bobbing in and out of the frigid water as it foraged. 

“We heard this gorgeous singing and we were all looking and listening as hard as we could to try to pinpoint the sound and who was making it,” Weiss said. “And finally, we got a line of sight on the dipper.” 

Space Encyclopedia 2nd Edition by David Aguilar / National Geographic Kids Books

The year 2020 might feel like the year that never ends, or the lump of coal in Santa’s stocking that keeps on giving, but fear not, the stars are aligning just in time for 2021. Or, rather, the planets. 

Monday night, Saturn and Jupiter are going to draw so close together in the sky it is going to look like they are actually colliding. 

Kim Zimmer / Aspen School District

For many of us, the ongoing pandemic has impacted our mental health in surprising ways, and this includes young people.

In the latest conversation from our “High Risk At High Altitude" series, Aspen Public Radio talked with local behavioral intervention specialist Sonja Linman about what she’s learned from her work with local kids and their families.

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.

Walter Gallacher

The “Promotora Program,” created by Voces Unidas de las Montañas, is meant to assist Latinos in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The Latino-led group, which is based in Glenwood Springs, is hiring two bilingual promotoras, or “trained community navigators,” to lead the initiative until the end of March. Local linguist Liz Velasco, who runs her own language translation company and is certified in medical interpretation, will be the lead promotora and they’ll be announcing the candidate for the second position later this week.

Heidi Vargas / English In Action

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

Sin poder visualizar el fin de la pandemia y con un aumento de casos en el valle Roaring Fork, muchas organizaciones sin fines de lucro han tenido que mudarse a internet y repensar la manera en que operan.   En algunos casos, esto ha significado descubrir un inesperado lado bueno dentro de la situación.

Heidi Vargas / English In Action

With no end in sight for the pandemic and cases surging in the Roaring Fork Valley, many nonprofits have had to shift online and rethink the way they operate. And for some, that’s had an unexpected silver lining.

That’s the case for the local English tutoring and cultural exchange organization, English In Action. They help match adult immigrants with trained volunteer tutors in the Roaring Fork Valley. The program is so popular there’s about 170 people on the waitlist and some participants wait up to a year or more.

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui.

Allison Johnson / Roaring Fork School District

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the valley, local schools are having to rethink their plans for the winter months. As of last week, nearly 250 students were quarantined in the Roaring Fork School District and the entire Roaring Fork High School moved to online learning for the week after several staff were exposed to the virus. 

“It’s very disruptive, the pivoting back and forth between distance learning and in-person learning,” said the district’s superintendent Rob Stein.


Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

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

 

A menos de dos semanas del día de la elección, muchos en Colorado están enfocándose en un grupo creciente de votantes latinos que podrían ser una gran parte de la decisión del resultado. Según el Centro de Investigación Pew, los votantes latinos son el mayor grupo demográfico de votantes no blancos este año, constituyendo el 16% de los votantes de Colorado en 2018. Y sin embargo, los latinos han estado históricamente subrepresentados en los cargos políticos en los valles del Roaring Fork y del Río Colorado.

Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

 

With election day less than two weeks away, many in Colorado are looking to a growing group of Latino voters who could be a big part of deciding the outcome. According to the Pew Research Center, Latino voters are the largest non-white voting demographic this year, making up 16% of Colorado voters in 2018. And yet, Latinos have been historically underrepresented in political office in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys.

David Hiser

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of Hunter S. Thompson’s historic race to become sheriff of Pitkin County, the new documentary, “Freak Power: the Ballot or the Bomb,” debuts on Friday, Oct. 23. While the film chronicles the gonzo journalist’s 1970 campaign in Aspen, parts of it feel eerily similar to today.

Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

As temperatures rise and wildfires continue to burn across the West, many in Colorado are turning their attention to fire prevention. There's a woman who comes to the Roaring Fork Valley every year known as the "goat gypsy." Lani Malmberg and her herd of 1,200 Spanish cashmere goats help with fire mitigation, land restoration and weed control on private and public lands across all 13 Western states. 

Voces Unidas de las Montañas

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

Todos los votantes registrados en Colorado recibirán por correo el “libro azul” oficial.  La guía bipartidista se usa para ayudarle a los votantes a descifrar los problemas complejos y a veces confusos de la papeleta.  Pero si su primer idioma es el español puede ser que no corra con suerte.

Voces Unidas de las Montañas

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui

 

All registered voters in Colorado will receive an official “blue book” in the mail. The bipartisan guide is used to help voters decipher complex and sometimes confusing ballot issues. But if your first language is Spanish, you may be out of luck. 

  • Independence Pass Closed Near The Summit For Rockfall Safety Work On Sept. 30 And Oct. 1 
  • The Red Brick Center In Aspen Has A New Exhibition Featuring Works By Local Artists
  • Colorado’s Recent COVID-19 Spike Appears To Be Leveling Off, But It's Too Early To Celebrate 
  • Public Land Use Decisions Are Under Scrutiny Following The Removal Of The Director At The Bureau Of Land Management

  • Colorado’s Colleges And Universities Will Allow Students To Apply For Free On October 13
  • It's Especially Important To Get A Flu Shot This Year, But Less Than Half Of Americans Typically Get The Vaccine
  • Drug Overdose Deaths Have Increased In Colorado During The Pandemic
  • Colorado Continues To See A Surge In People Wanting To Sign Up To Be Poll Workers

Mateo Lozano / Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition

Efforts to wind down the 2020 Census by Sept. 30 have been blocked for now as a federal judge in California has ruled that the U.S. Census Bureau must continue through October. Though, the Trump administration is appealing the order to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Bryan Alvarez-Terrazas is a program associate at the Aspen Community Foundation (ACF), which is part of the Aspen to Parachute Complete Count Committee (A2PCCC). He said the once-in-a-decade population count has a huge impact on the Roaring Fork Valley and the state because it’s used to determine federal funding for local schools, hospitals and nonprofits as well as to divvy up the number of seats Colorado gets in the House. 

  • Recent Wildfire Smoke In The Roaring Fork Valley Has Been Coming From Out-Of-State Fires 
  • The Westbound Deck Of I-70 Reopens Friday, Sept. 25 In Glenwood Canyon
  • The State Is Winding Down A COVID-19 Health Equity Initiative Governor Polis Formed To Tackle Racial Disparities
  • A New Study Suggests Wildfire Smoke Is More Dangerous Than Other Air Pollutants For Asthma Patients         
     

  • Colorado Is Bringing Nearly 400,000 Fish To Alpine Lakes, Including Some In The Roaring Fork Valley
  • Some School Districts In Colorado Struggled To Balance Their Budgets Even Before The Pandemic
  • Hotels In Colorado Saw Occupancy Rates Increase Again Last Month
  • The State's Emergency Rent Fund Has Paid Out About $7.5 Million To Cover Housing Costs For People During COVID-19

  • Registration Is Now Open For The Aspen Music Festival And School’s After School Music Classes
  • Colorado Health Officials Say COVID-19 Cases Have Increased For The Third Consecutive Week
  • Many Colorado Workers Will Be Forced To Take Days Off Without Pay Because Of Budget Shortfalls Due To The Pandemic
  • Large Numbers Of Migratory Birds Have Dropped Dead Across The West.

     

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