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The U.S. Census Bureau has announced it's ending the 2020 count a month early, a move that's likely to have a big impact on Indigenous communities in the West.

 


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Thursday night, Pitkin County commissioners discuss the future of Aspen-Pitkin County airport in a special meeting. They will review recommendations set forth in the final report from the ASE Vision Committee, an advisory group of experts and community members. 

New leadership is cutting costs at the U.S. Postal Service in a way that's backing up mail around the country, and many are concerned that could impact mail-in ballots ahead of the election on November 3. In the Mountain West, how your ballot could be affected depends on where you live.


Kirsten Dobroth / Aspen Public Radio

The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers Memorial Day weekend sparked protests around the country, including in the Roaring Fork Valley. Dan Richardson, the mayor of Carbondale, said those events inspired him to explore racism in the town and find ways to build a more equitable Carbondale. 

martinalonso4895 / Creative Commons

Aspen City Council considered allowing “marijuana lounges” at a work session last night, but councilmembers largely agreed that now is not the time to consider such a measure. 

Protests are unfolding across the country over the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of police in Aurora, Colo. Now, frustration is also building over local law enforcement’s use of force this past weekend at a vigil in Aurora honoring him — frustration that was visible at a city council meeting Tuesday night dedicated to the response. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

In a special meeting Wednesday night, Aspen City Council authorized a midnight curfew on retail businesses, restaurants and bars. Councilmembers hoped the order would prevent restaurants from evolving into bar-like atmospheres late at night. 

Aspen Public Radio

Former Governor John Hickenlooper will challenge incumbent Republican Senator Cory Gardner in November. After a record voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election, Hickenlooper scored a commanding win against former house speaker Andrew Romanoff about 20 minutes after the polls closed.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Carbondale is one of many towns in Colorado putting plans in place to help local businesses adjust to the economic effects of COVID-19. The town closed Carbondale’s Main Street between Third and Fourth streets so businesses can give customers space to safely shop and dine. 

Some local business owners said the closure is helping, while others said it is bad for business.

This week's Supreme Court ruling shielding LGBTQ employees from discrimination effectively evens out a patchwork of protections in the Mountain West.


Town of Basalt

Basalt officials are looking for public feedback on updates to the Arbaney Pool.  Improvements spread out through four years include improvements to the main pool and creating a robot-shaped children's pool, as well as making the facility eco-friendly.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen’s Rio Grande Recycling Center will stop accepting cardboard on July 1. That alone will reduce the center’s budget by 50-60%, part of the city’s effort to slim budgets after financial losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center will continue to accept cardboard and residential trash services will still pick it up curbside.

After a failed attempt last year, Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill that would make it harder to get a vaccine exemption for school children. 

Screenshot from Pitkin County Board of Health

Pitkin County Public Health released a set of amendments to its standing public health order on Thursday. They will remain in effect until July 3. The changes provide updated timing and clarity to the particulars of industry-specific reopening plans. Below are the latest dates and rules. Full details can be found here.

Weekend protests drew crowds across the country including in the Mountain West, from hundreds in Boise and Reno to thousands in Denver. Some city leaders now worry such gatherings could lead to new outbreaks of COVID-19.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced Sunday that the city will be offering free tests to demonstrators. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Garfield County recently adopted a new set of regulations that could be applied to mining projects. The new rules – called 1041 regulations – could shape the development of the controversial Rocky Mountain Industrials (formerly Rocky Mountain Resources) expansion near Glenwood Springs. 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's Cinco de Mayo in Sandpoint, Idaho, and a downtown pub is giving away free meals to families in need. Not many people are out. A few are wearing masks. Outside the pub, a teenager is playing the Beatles' song "Yesterday" on his violin.

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials said they are on track to move to phase two of a reopening plan as early as May 27. The county needs to see certain patterns in health data to enter that phase. In Thursday’s board of health meeting, county officials and Aspen Valley Hospital staff said they have not seen a new COVID-19 case since early April, neighboring counties are posting low case numbers and the staff at the hospital is almost entirely healthy.

via Pitkin County

Pitkin County’s next public health order goes into effect on May 9 as part of a three-phase plan to return to normal life. Thursday, the county board of health said it could move to the second phase as early as May 27, if certain criteria are met.

This week the governors of Colorado and Nevada joined West Coast states in something called the Western States Pact. Its stated aim is to bring together states with a “shared vision for modifying stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19.” 

The U.S. now has at least three such regional collaborations. 

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials laid out the specifics of the next public health order and the county’s contact tracing operation in an emergency public health meeting on Thursday. The next public health order will closely align with the state’s latest policies, but include a few specific exceptions.

via City of Aspen

Tuesday night, Aspen City Council will review a set of zoning guidelines for wireless facilities. Federal and state rules do not allow local governments to exercise much control over the installation of “small cell” infrastructure, which is a component of 5G technology. Aspen’s guidelines are designed to control the aspects of size, design and location that are within the city’s purview.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The first rollbacks to restrictive statewide orders go into effect on Monday, April 27. Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced a transition to a new “Safer-at-Home” policy. The measures include a gradual return normal life, with a timeline for retailers and other businesses to reopen with specific precautions in place. Some rules will differ by county as local governments set their own pace for a return to normal life.

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Pitkin County officials laid out a new plan to find COVID-19 cases and slow the spread of the virus in a virtual community meeting Thursday. Karen Koenemann, the county’s director of public health, outlined the “Box it in” strategy, which will use testing, quarantining, contact tracing and isolation as a means of combating coronavirus. 

Courtesy of Pitkin County Incident Management Team

Pitkin County is running a small-scale pilot program of its COVID-19 antibody testing on Friday at Aspen Village fire station. Testing is not yet open to the public; the county says Friday’s trial run will be used to gauge the accuracy of its blood tests and the efficiency of its mobile testing operation.

There was the hiker who broke his leg, then refused to put on a mask before the alpine rescue team helped him down the mountain. There were the snowboarders and skiers packing together into cars to drive up to a closed ski area. Or the people howling at the full moon, over open flames.

Bruce Snelling, undersheriff with Clear Creek County in Colorado, said all of these incidents have happened in recent weeks. And until Saturday, there wasn’t too much he could do about it. But now, the county’s public health order lays out some harsh penalties for non-residents using county roads to get to the backcountry: a fine of up to $5,000 or up to 18 months in the county jail.  

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Pitkin County has received its shipment of 1,000 new COVID-19 blood tests. Officials said they “still have a bit of a process” before the tests are released for use by the public and did not specify who will be eligible for testing. In Thursday's online community meeting, the county said does not plan to charge for the tests and will use them to gather data about the presence of the virus in the community.

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

Results from Basalt's Tuesday election are in...mostly. Bill Kane won the mayoral election by 381 votes and the town clerk is waiting to announce the winners of the council race. 

Basalt town clerk Pam Schilling said there are 56 ballots that are either remaining to come in from overseas or need signature verification. Once those are in on or before April 15, town officials will announce the new council members. 

Elise Thatcher / Aspen Public Radio

Basalt voters may have to wait a bit longer than usual to find out the results from Tuesday's election, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill Infante, Bill Kane and Rob Leavitt are running for Basalt mayor. Glenn Drummond, Tiffany Haddad, Elyse Hottel, David Knight, Jennifer Riffle and Kirk "Dieter" Schindler are vying for three open town council seats. 

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Aspen Valley Hospital is only seeing a “slight volume” of patients with symptoms of COVID-19, according to an update from CEO Dave Ressler in Thursday’s Pitkin County virtual community meeting. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the hospital has admitted 18 patients. One is still in the hospital, and “all but two” of the other patients were discharged to recover at home.

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