Around Town 8

Roaring Fork High Students Dedicate Solar Array

Students in the Rams Energy Club, led by Fiona Laird, Emily Mata and Tavia Teitler, dedicated the new 385-kilowatt solar array at Roaring Fork High School (RFHS) in late January. The 1,242 solar panels will provide for all of the high school’s annual electric needs and will also feed extra electricity into Xcel Energy’s grid. Over the course of a year, the array is expected to produce nearly 613,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s comparable to the electricity used in a year by 85 homes.

Katharine Rushton, who supported the RFHS Energy Club students through the multi-year project, said, “This was not an easy project to pull off and it took a tremendous amount of time and commitment to overcome all of the obstacles. There were times when I thought it might not happen, but the Energy Club students had such determination and tenacity that failure was not an option.” Rushton works in sales and marketing for Sunsense Solar, the company that installed the panel array.

Marble Distilling Wins National Award

The family-recipe coffee liqueur Moonlight EXpresso, created by Marble Distilling Company (MDC) in Carbondale, was the only Colorado spirit to win a 2016 Good Food Award. The Good Food Awards recognize that producers of truly good food—the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities—recognize both responsible food production and superior taste.

“What an honor it is to be included with this amazing group of producers who, first and foremost, believe in quality, taste and sustainability. Many of the people we met have spent years and years perfecting their craft to a higher level for the good of humanity,” says MDC founder and head distiller Connie Baker.

Moonlight EXpresso is a modern take on an Old World and recipe from Baker’s family. Inspired by the coffee brewed by the Italian craftsmen who worked long hours in the Marble quarry, Moonlight EXpresso is a complex dark roasted coffee liqueur that blends the sweetness of vanilla bean and natural cane sugar. MDC is collaborating with Bonfire Coffee of Carbondale to create a true local spirit.

Dance Initiative Announces Residencies for 2016

The 2016 Artist In Residence program, sponsored by Dance Initiative, has announced the names of three arts groups who will be in residence at the Launchpad in Carbondale this year. In April and May, Denver-based dancers Meg Madorin and Laura Ann Samuelson will collaborate with artists from local dance company CoMotion. Madorin has been an artist-in-residence at the Colorado Conservatory of Dance and at Skogen arts in Gothenburg, Sweden. A three-time recipient of the Encore Performance Award at Boulder’s International Fringe Festival, Samuelson was named one of Colorado’s most creative minds by Westword magazine.

From July 11 through 16, Hewman, a collaborative, unconventional dance project from New York City, will stage an open rehearsal, a presentation for youth, a workshop and a performance of work in progress. In October, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, former Merce Cunningham company members, will create a new work. Finally, in November, Carbondale’s own Alya Howe will create an original work involving multi-media and the community.

Local Gatherings Seek 
Housing Solutions

In February, the commissioners of Eagle County—which includes El Jebel and some of Basalt—sponsored a community forum on affordable housing, preceding it with a column in the Aspen Times. They wrote, “Rental units are 99 percent occupied. County-owned housing units for low-income families and seniors have a wait list of two to four years… The median home price has increased 17 percent over the past 21/2 years to $586,250. This is out of reach for many who could afford to buy on the Front Range—our workforce competitor—or in other areas.”

Another forum, sponsored by the Carbondale Creative District, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Third Street Center and Community Builders, focused on Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, towns that have similar issues. At that gathering, Amy Kimberly, executive director for the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, highlighted one possible avenue for relief: a new state initiative called “Space to Create.” The initiative aims to provide affordable housing for artists and others in the “creative industries.” Kimberly says it “would be perfect for our community, and our whole valley.” She explains, “I would say that about 75 to 80 percent of people here are engaged in a creative industry” which includes people in the design and construction trades, sewing, culinary professions and even teachers.

Kimberly, who is leading Carbondale’s move toward becoming an official Colorado Creative District noted, “We’ve noticed that where artists congregate tend to become desirable places, which drives up housing costs and then the artists get out priced and can’t live there.” Out of the Carbondale meeting, working committees are being formed to envision a development that addresses multi-use, affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley region.

State Prioritizes Building of Two Local Trails

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently listed a 74-mile trail between Carbondale and Crested Butte as one of 16 trail-building projects that are a priority for the state. A few stretches of this trail have been completed, including a five mile segment linking Carbondale to the existing Rio Grande trail.

The 74-mile Crested Butte to Carbondale Trail was first envisioned in 2004 to provide paved and natural-surface trails for Carbondale, Redstone and Crested Butte residents. The next step is to complete the 17-mile Crystal Valley segment, linking the trail to Redstone and McClure Pass.

The Lower Valley Trail out of Glenwood Springs also made the governor’s list of priority trails, part of the “Colorado the Beautiful” initiative. The effort, started in 2015, aims to encourage Coloradans to participate in healthy outdoor activities. Colorado the Beautiful hopes that within a generation, every Coloradan will live within 10 minutes of a park, trail, or vibrant green space.

Andrea Palm-Porter Named 
”Sweetest Person”

Frequent Roaring Fork Lifestyle contributor Andrea Palm-Porter was named “Sweetest Person” by Grand Avenue Sweets and featured on KSNO radio in January. In addition to being a wonderful writer who has contributed multiple outdoor and sports stories to this magazine, Palm-Porter is executive director of Roaring Fork Center for Community Leadership, a nonprofit that develops local leaders. Its annual program entails taking 40 community members through more than 100 hours of training and dialogue critical for personal, professional and community problem-solving and effectiveness. Program participants adopt civic projects to provide a laboratory for practicing new ways of being a leader.

“One of the main qualities that comes from leadership is integrity. Living in integrity, being true to yourself and true to others. What integrity is to me is your word, honoring your word and that really defines who you are as a person and what you give back as well,” Palm-Porter said.

Old Glenwood Library to Become Senior Center

Garfield County commissioners have approved purchase of the old Glenwood Springs library at 413 Ninth Street with the aim of turning it into as a senior center. Inspections and final approvals. The library building is about 5,000 square feet and comes with seven, off-the-street parking lots. The building’s restrooms, doors and entries already meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Garfield County Senior Programs Director Judy Martin has envisioned classes for exercise, continuing education and book clubs at the new center. A planning committee, working with Health and Human Services, will consider what kind of remodeling or repair the building might need. The country already has plans to replace the building’s roof.