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Your Morning News - December 11th, 2014

Dec 11, 2014

RFSD Keeps Sirko & Stein Under New Contact Plan

The Roaring Fork School District will have the same Superintendent for the next few years. The Board of Education decided to extend the contract for Diana Sirko as well as current Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein. But there’s a twist. Once Sirko is done, Stein will take the reins as Superintendent for three years. Board President Daniel Biggs explains the reason for the unusual arrangement.

“We wanted to have this strong leadership team continue the great work that they’ve begun. We have so much ahead of us.”

Superintendent Diana Sirko echoed that description of keeping together an All-Star team.

“It was an atypical situation from the beginning, and I think the forward thinking of the board allows us to move forward and to assure Dr. Stein that he won’t be waiting forever in the wings, so to speak.”

Stein had been hired as Superintendent in 2012 but stepped down because of a family emergency. Sirko filled the position in Stein’s absence and has continued on following his return. 

Colorado Lowers Flags to Honor New Castle Airman

Flags will be at half-staff in Colorado for several days because of a New Castle resident. Governor John Hickenlooper issued the order to lower flags in honor of U.S. Air Force Captain William DuBois. He died on Nov. 30 in the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve – the fight against ISIS or the Islamic State. Early reports say died of injuries sustained when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed. Dubois was 30. A private memorial service will be held in Rifle on December 14th.

State Oil & Gas Task Force Meets in Rifle

A special meeting on drilling continues today. Colorado’s Oil and Gas Task Force is in Rifle for its fourth meeting. The group was created by Governor Hickenlooper as part of a grand compromise this summer over ballot measures and fracking. The task force is made up of representatives from around the state and is charged with delivering recommendations on any changes to oil and gas regulations. Last night’s portion of the gathering had public comment. The meeting is being streamed online.

Draft Colorado Water Plan Unveiled

Governor John Hickenlooper unveiled a draft of the state’s first ever water plan Yesterday. The goal is to protect rural farm economies and bring more water to millions of people along the Front Range.

Roaring Fork Valley journalist Brent Gardner Smith was at the capitol yesterday for the water plan presentation. He says the plan doesn’t point to specific new water projects, but some Eastern Slope officials would like to siphon more water from the Western Slope.

“They see that as the only way they’re going to meet their water gap without drying up the ranches and farms on the Eastern Plains and that’s where a lot of the water has been coming from in the last decade, or so. As you can imagine, there are a number of entities on the Western Slope saying, ‘Well, there is no more water to send to you and you’re going to have to find another way to meet your needs.’ So, the water plan hasn’t resolved anything, but it’s brought a lot of interests together to have somewhat painful discussions.”

Brent Gardner Smith is with Aspen Journalism. He attended the presentation in Denver yesterday of the Colorado Water Plan.

Sunlight Opens Again

Mother Nature forced Sunlight Mountain Resort to close this week. But the resort plans to reopen this weekend with hopes to stay open for the rest of the season.

The ski area had planned to stay open all week but warm temperatures forced managers to stop lifts until this Friday. A spokeswoman says some snow is in the forecast. If that doesn’t happen, and if temperatures get too warm again, Sunlight will likely close for next week.

In the Upper Valley, Aspen Skiing Company will open Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands on Saturday.

Aspen Death Under Investigation

Aspen’s Police Department is looking into the death of a 65-year-old man on Monday. Richard Joseph Nelson was found on a ramp leading into an underground parking garage in downtown Aspen. As of last night, foul play is not suspected.