Your Evening News - December 9th, 2014

Dec 9, 2014

Environmentalists Praise White River National Forest Drilling Plan

The White River National Forest released a “conservation-minded” plan Tuesday for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it protects much of the contested Thompson Divide. The long-awaited plan maps out where future oil and gas leasing can happen on the 2.2 million acre White River National Forest. It calls for closing more than 1.2 million acres to oil and gas leasing including much of the contested Thompson Divide area near Carbondale. The Thompson Divide Coalition is working to protect that area. Executive Director Zane Kessler calls the plan “a good step.”

“We’re excited that the Forest Service has taken a very strong, conservation minded lead on this.”

More work needs to be done, he says, because 100,000 acres already leased on the Divide won’t be affected by the Forest Service plan. The plan only applies to future leasing.

Work Help Coming to the Roaring Fork Valley

People looking for jobs in the Roaring Fork Valley could be eligible for paid work training.  That’s according to Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment which plans to channel money into local employers.  Workforce Centers in Pitkin, Eagle, and Garfield Counties are taking extra steps to tell would-be workers and employers that there’s money to help pay for on-the-job training. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and covers up to half of what it costs to train someone on the job. It’s not clear how long the training money will last. The idea is to help people get back into the workforce if their skills need some improvement.

RFSD to Discuss Sirko Contract Extension

The top job in the Roaring Fork School District will be up for discussion tomorrow night. The District’s Board of Education is meeting to decide whether to extend Superintendent Diana Sirko’s contract. Sirko has asked to stay on the job for three more years. Her contract is scheduled to run out in June. Sirko was originally hired as a temporary replacement in 2012. That’s when newly hired Superintendent Rob Stein stepped down because of a family emergency. Stein has since returned as Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer. The Roaring Fork School District went through something called a visioning process last year, to improve performance and student achievements. Earlier this year, reading scores were up over the previous year.

Snowmass Selects Shenk as New Council Woman             

After asking for applicants, the Snowmass Village Council members have selected their newest colleague. The council members unanimously selected Alyssa Shenk. A lawyer by trade, Shenk is a wife and mother and an active member of the Aspen Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization for several years. Snowmass Village Council member Bill Madsen says he voted for Shenk because she wants to make sure the base village development is a family friendly place.

“She represents the demographic that we need to attract to come to Snowmass Village and I think having that voice sit at this table is invaluable.”

Shenk fills the seat vacated by Markey Butler who was elected to Mayor of Snowmass Village in the November election.

JeffCo Rec Pot Moratorium Extended

While recreational marijuana is taking off in other parts of Colorado, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners passed an extension on the county's moratorium today until January 1st, 2016. The Denver Post says the commissioners want to give the county staff more time to study the issue and decide what to do on the topic. Although the commissioners decided on the first day of 2016 as the end date, there was an understanding that it could be extended or lifted before then based on the findings of the research.