Your Evening News - December 30th, 2014

Dec 30, 2014

Ski Co to Open Idaho Resort

The Aspen Skiing Company is expanding its operations to Idaho. The ski operator closed on a property in Ketchum and plans to build a new hotel, modeled after an existing one in Aspen.

The Ski Co will develop a new Limelight Hotel close to Sun Valley’s River Run base of the ski area Bald Mountain. The Limelight in Aspen features large guest rooms, an expansive lounge, a lobby restaurant, and adventure programming for guests.

In a statement, the Ski Co’s Vice President for Hospitality Don Schuster says the company feels the timing is right to grow the “Limelight brand” and that downtown Ketchum is an ideal location.

The hotel in Idaho will include more than 100 hotel rooms and eleven free market residential units. The Skiing Company purchased the Limelight hotel in Aspen in 2010 from the Paas/Woolery families.

Bennet to Reintroduce Anti-Drill Thompson Divide Bill

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet will reintroduce the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act when lawmakers convene in 2015. The bill expired when congress ended last week. The Bennet bill permanently prohibits future oil and gas leasing in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. The lawmaker’s reintroduction comes on the heels of a White River National Forest plan to temporarily close the Divide to future drilling. The Forest Service plan doesn’t impact existing oil and gas leases.

In an email, a spokesman for Bennet said, “The Forest Service decision is temporary. Our bill would offer a permanent solution. It would allow the energy companies to keep their leases, as well...and gives the community an avenue to buy back the leases from the companies.”

The Bennet bill was introduced early last year and was read twice before it moved to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Congress convenes on January 6th.

Strong Winter Tourism in Glenwood Springs

There are signs that Glenwood Springs is seeing strong winter tourism so far this season. Marianne Virgili is President and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

“We’re coming off the heels of a very strong summer that transcended into a strong fall, and before we knew it was Thanksgiving and we were still booked solid, so the snow that hit just in time for Christmas was a godsend for us.”

Virgili says it may have helped that Glenwood was listed as one of the most romantic places to spend Christmas by the website Impulcity.

Second Year of Colorado Teacher Results are In

The second year of results from the pilot testing of Colorado’s new teacher evaluation law shows 97% received a proficient or higher rating for mastering content and how they help students learn. The lowest rated standard was “facilitating learning” – defined as a teacher’s ability to use technology and hold high expectations.  Britt Wilkenfeld is with the Colorado Department of Education. She says while teachers in mostly poor and minority schools rated lower…

“Teachers with more years of experience and also with graduate degrees receive higher ratings than other teachers.”

While 35% of teaches improved from year to year, just over half of teachers received the same overall rating. Eleven percent of teachers received a lower rating in year two.

Colorado Public Radio contributed to this story.