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Your Morning News - November 28th, 2014

Nov 28, 2014

Sunlight Opens Early for Ski Season 

Sunlight Mountain will be officially open for turns today. The area just outside Glenwood Springs is dropping  ropes early.

Sunlight was planning on opening next week, but decided to get going sooner thanks to Mother Nature’s generous amounts of snow. Jennie Spillane is Marketing Manager.

“It’s also great that we have snowmaking at Sunlight too, because without the snowmaking, the lower part of the mountain probably wouldn’t be ready. Been staying cold, and we’ve been able to blow as much snow as possible, so.”

Sixty percent of the mountain’s terrain will be accessible today, with all three lifts running. Season passes apply this weekend along with discounted day tickets. Sunlight will be closed during the week starting next Monday but will reopen full time on Friday December 5th.

AVH Earns “Gold” for LEED

Aspen Valley Hospital received a LEED “gold” certification for its new hospital construction. The designation is awarded to buildings that are leaders in energy and environmental design.

The parts of the hospital that earned the recognition include a new inpatient unit, the oncology and rehabilitation areas and medical office space. The addition opened in 2012.

It’s rare for a healthcare facility to earn LEED “gold.” In a statement hospital officials said only one other hospital in Colorado has achieved such recognition.

EPA Issues New Rules on Ozone

On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules around ozone, a pollutant linked to asthma and other health problems.

The draft document calls for lowering the current standard for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 ppb. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the new standards will “clean up our air and protect those most at risk.” Opponents say the new rules will hurt jobs and the economy.

In Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment hasn’t yet taken a stance on the measure. But, its Air Pollution Control Division has calculated its impacts.

Right now, just the Denver/North Front Range area doesn’t meet the current threshold. But, if that standard changes areas on the Western Slope could be in violation including the Rangely area, Mesa County, the Four Corners area and possibly Gunnison County. Gordon Pierce is with the state.

“Once you’ve been designated as non-attainment, the State has develop what’s called a state implementation plan, which outlines measures that would be taken to get an area back into compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.”

The State says oil and gas, traffic and power plants are the three biggest contributors. In Western Colorado, much of the ozone pollution is coming from states to the West. So, if the standard changes, Pierce says regional work will need to be done to lower emissions.

CDOT Extends Glenwood Bridge Comment Period 

If you have an opinion about the new Grand Avenue Bridge, now there’s another month to let officials know. The Colorado Department of Transportation has extended the comment period for the Glenwood Springs project.

CDOT has gotten a lot of feedback already about the proposal...specifically the Environmental Assessment released at the beginning of the month. Spokeswoman Tracy Truelove says at a recent public hearing, some people were asking for more time to consider the bridge replacement.

“One in particular came from the Mayor of the City, Leo McKinney, and in looking at it further, we figured we’d really like to collaborate and work with that group, because they’re very vested in the project.”

That’s the City of Glenwood Springs. Trulove says comments so far have been equally critical and in favor of the project. The comment deadline is now December 31st.