January 2017 Around Town

Birds, Mastodons and 
Climate Change

Each winter, Wilderness Workshop, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), and Roaring Fork Audubon co-host a popular Naturalist Nights speaker series. Offering free presentations on topics ranging from wildlife biology to geology and from climate science to environmental policy, the series runs for 10 consecutive weeks starting in January. Lectures take place on Wednesdays at the Third Street Center in Carbondale and on Thursdays at ACES.

On January 4 and 5, the series opens with April Long, stormwater manager for the City of Aspen, who will present “Mimicking Nature: Engineering for the Environment.” Long’s presentation explores how local engineers have created features such as bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, and engineered-wetlands to slow water down and allow it to sink into the soil or to be absorbed by plants, rather than speeding away over hard, man-made surfaces.

On January 11 and 12, Stephanie Lukowski, a paleontologist for the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center, will present “Beyond Mastodons and Mammoths: The Latest Scientific Understanding from the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery”. Lukowski will take an in-depth look at the geologic history of the Ziegler Reservoir and its fossils, plants and animals. Ziegler Reservoir was featured in a recent paleo-environmental reconstruction which will be used to explain how, in the past, Ziegler’s ecosystem altered to respond to climate changes.

On January 18 and 19, John Marzluff, PhD, professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington, presents “Welcome to Subirdia” and looks into the surprising diversity of bird life in suburban habitats. On January 25 and 26, Jeff Luckas, a research integration specialist at the University of Colorado Boulder, presents “Warmer—But to What End? The Past, Present and Future Climates of the Roaring Fork Valley.” Learn more about Naturalist Nights at WildernessWorkshop.org.

Basalt Breaks Ground on Affordable Housing

A crew of dignitaries hoisted seven golden shovels on a gray December day to break ground on 56 affordable housing units in Basalt. Located just beyond the Basalt roundabout, the Roaring Fork Apartments are rising on foundations begun for a proposed hotel that stalled out and went belly up in the 2008 economic downturn. The apartments are being built by RealAmerica, an Indiana company that specializes in developing and constructing apartments that take advantage of federal Low-Income Housing Credits. After praising the mid-valley public/private partnership that put the project together, RealAmerica President Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright said that Basalt Mayor Jacque Carpenter Whitsitt, who drove all the way to Denver to present the project to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), “put the project over the top” in competition against other projects vying for funding.

Jaime Gomez, chief operating officer of CHFA, noted that while Denver’s housing crunch tends to get all the headlines, Colorado’s “mountain valleys are the place where affordable housing is needed the most.” Mike Kosdrosky, executive director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) praised the project for turning a “vacant hapless site” into a prime example of the “benefits of regional cooperation.” The Town of Basalt and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) both contributed funds to the project, and APCHA is serving as a partner to make the project exempt from property taxes. Basalt Mayor Jacque Carpenter Whitsitt noted that it took more than three years to put the project together, and laughingly said that presenting to CHAFA was a bit daunting, “like facing friendly fire.”

The groundbreaking, sponsored by RealAmerica and the Basalt Chamber of Commerce, kickstarted construction for units which should be ready for occupancy in 15-18 months. Equipped with balconies, ski lockers, and washers and dryers, the units will be both ADA compliant and pet-friendly.

Dorothea Farris Honored with Historical Society Award

Mt. Sopris Historical Society (MSHS) recently tapped Dorothea Farris for its third annual Hattie Thompson Award. MSHS Executive Director Beth White explains that the award recognizes a local woman who is “bold, industrious and daring and who possesses a true love of the land.” Farris, a former teacher and a community activist, is a founding member of both the Thompson Divide Coalition and the Colorado West Elk Loop Scenic Byway.

Farris serves on the Town of Carbondale Preservation Board and is an active member of both the Mt. Sopris Historical Society and the Thompson House Museum board of directors. Farris served 12 years as a Pitkin County Commissioner and 19 years on the Aspen school board. She also served on the Colorado Wildlife Commission. She was a board member for the National Association of Counties and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

Lately, Farris has focused her volunteer work on the 130-year-old Thompson House, a Carbondale landmark. The Thompson house was the homestead of Hattie Thompson, the namesake of the MSHS annual award.

Moonlight EXpresso to be 
Featured in National Magazine

After receiving a high rating from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in a November competition, Marble Distilling Company’s Moonlight EXpresso coffee liqueur will be featured in the February issue of that magazine. A 52-proof liqueur, Moonlight EXpresso is dark and rich; it uses locally-roasted Guatemalan coffee and Ugandan vanilla beans mixed with cold brew made in-house at the Marble Distilling Company in Carbondale. “I’m humbled by Wine Enthusiast’s 92-point rating for my Mom’s (Eleanor Jane Baker) recipe for Marble’s Moonlight EXpresso,” said Marble Distilling’s co-founder and Head Distiller Connie Baker. “My childhood memories of her espresso liqueur, made with love for homemade holiday gifts, inspired me to create this incredible artisan spirit to capture the heart and soul of a true family recipe.”

Meet Signa Strom, Founder of Buy Nothing Roaring Fork

A photo caption in last month’s Roaring Fork Lifestyle contained mistaken information about the founding of the Facebook group Buy Nothing Roaring Fork. Signa Strom, who lives in Snowmass, founded the group in 2015. Strom says, “Part of the reason I started this group was to help people in our valley connect on a deep and personal basis. As a society, we spend so much time talking over other people, and telling them what they really need, or how they really should feel, or what they really should do. I wanted a space where we could help each other, face to face—not with advice, but with our own resources. When I ran across the Buy Nothing movement, I knew immediately that it was the model for what I wanted to see in our own community.”

Sarah Rankin Gordon is the administrator of the 400-member local Buy Nothing group, which is in turn part of a worldwide network that counts 1,500 groups in 17 countries. Roaring Fork Lifestyle apologizes for the captioning error.

Three Upcoming Glenwood Concerts

The Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, strives to provide an affordable world-class concert experience for the community by presenting four or five concerts each year. Concerts provide a variety of musical experiences, often including performances by classical, folk, jazz, international, broadway, pop, instrumental or vocal entertainers. The Concert Association is a membership organization, and concert admission is by membership ticket only. (Once members are seated, non-members may offer a $20 donation to attend a concert. But non-members are allowed to attend only if there is room in the audience.)

Three upcoming concerts are being offered. They are: Russian Quattro, at Mountain View Church on February 20; A Band Called Honalee, at Glenwood Springs High School on April 9; and New Odyssey at Glenwood Springs High School on April 30. Those interested in attending the concert series should visit GSConcertAssn.org or call 970.945.8722.