In Brief: Aspen Words residencies; Community School musical; Aspen Public Radio awards

Aspen Words writers in residence beginning in May

As part of its Writers in Residence program, Aspen Words, in partnership with the Catto Shaw Foundation, will host five writers in Woody Creek starting in May.

The resident authors will read and discuss their work at free community events in May through October at venues throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

This year’s residents are Jean Chen Ho, author of ”Fiona and Jane,” named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and one of TIME’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2022; Gina Balibrera, author of the forthcoming novel, “The Volcano Daughters,” from Pantheon Books; Brittany Penner, an indigenous Métis writer and family physician working on her first memoir; Nadia Davids, author of “An Imperfect Blessing,” named one of This is Africa’s best African novels and featured on Lonely Planet’s 2020 reading list; and Miles W. Griffis, an award-winning independent journalist based in Los Angeles. The residents’ bios are available here:

Since its inception in 2013, the Writers in Residence program has enabled authors to work on a project-in-progress for three weeks “in a beautiful, rural setting. Free from obligations and surrounded by the inspiration that abounds in the Roaring Fork Valley, residents are able to focus on their work,” according to the organization.

“Our family believes hospitality is  a verb, and that the exchange of diverse views is essential to human evolution and potential,” said Isa Catto Shaw, who hosts and sponsors the Woody Creek residency with her husband Daniel Shaw. “Aspen Words brings countless perspectives to this valley and keeps us all listening in an increasingly polarized world. To stories. To excellent journalism. To sublime poetry. Hosting this residency with Aspen Words is a classic example of how giving ultimately rewards the giver. Monocultures are lethal to the human spirit, so sharing our small farm to a broad range of writers not only enriches our family, but also the community at large with each free authors’ talk.” 

The schedule:

  • Jean Chen Ho, in conversation with Mitzi Rapkin on Wednesday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. at TACAW in Basalt.
  • Gina Balibrera, author talk details to be announced.
  • Brittany Penner on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Village Smithy in Carbondale.
  • Nadia Davids, author talk at a Roaring Fork Valley school.
  • Miles W. Griffis on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at TACAW in Basalt

For more information, visit

Community School musical at Wheeler this week

The Aspen Community School will be performing their annual spring musical Hop on the Magic School Bus on Thursday and Friday at the Wheeler Opera House. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 each night. 

The play is based on the 1990s animated television series. Follow Miss Frizzle and her class as they adventure through historical scientific discoveries. Explore Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic and observational curiosity, Galileo’s and Robert Hooke’s discoveries through lenses, Jennifer Doudna’s recent discoveries of CRISPR technology, paleontology discoveries at Ziegler Reservoir in Snowmass, the progression of fossil fuels, and the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

This annual production returns in its 36th production on the Wheeler stage. The original stage production is the culmination of a month’s work combining the creative process of teachers, parents, and students.

Tickets are $18 adult, $12 children 13 + under.

Aspen Public Radio wins journalism awards

Aspen Public Radio has been recognized for outstanding journalism by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Both the CBA and the SBJ’s Top of the Rockies contest awards were announced Saturday, honoring work done in 2022.

In the CBA contest, Aspen Public Radio was recognized with top honors, or first place, in the following categories:

Additionally, Zander received Certificates of Merit as honorable mentions in the following categories:

In the SPJ contest, Aspen Public Radio was recognized with four awards overall with first, second, and third-place awards in the following categories:

Aspen streets chief to retire Friday

Jerry Nye, streets superintendent for the city of Aspen, is retiring after 33 years of service. He began at the city in 1989 as an equipment operator and was promoted to assistant superintendent in 1997. 

In 2001, then-Assistant City Manager Randy Ready appointed him as superintendent. Nye and the Streets Department have provided the city with street sweeping, snow removal, asphalt overlay projects, storm water inlet, and pipe cleaning services, among many other services. 

“The residents of Aspen are my customers, and these tasks were completed by very dedicated individuals. I was very fortunate to have a very hard working and competent Streets and Fleet crew that made it a privilege to do my job,” he said.

Nye and his wife, Rita, will move to Grand Junction, where you can find them camping, fishing, spending time with their grandchildren. His last day on the job is Friday.

During the recruitment process for a streets superintendent, Assistant Streets Superintendent Daniel Maldonado will serve as interim streets superintendent. 

Roadwork to start up again on I-70 at Vail

Work is resuming this month on the I-70 West Vail Pass auxiliary lanes.

The project enters its third season with an early focus on the construction of the Mile Point 185 westbound I-70 bridge, among other improvements to Interstate 70. This year’s work will involve narrowed lanes and shoulders along I-70, lane closures, and temporary traffic holds along the recreation trail.

Starting May 1, rock-blasting work and light evening delays are also expected. During these short blasts, I-70 traffic and recreation trail users will be stopped in both directions for up to 30 minutes. The blasting and limited delays will be similar to blasting that took place on the project last summer. Motorists and stakeholder partners will be able to sign up for day-of notifications about blasting and travel delays. More information about the rock blasting is available below. 

Conservation districts offer financial help with noxious weeds, trees

Garfield County and the Bookcliff, Mount Sopris, and South Side conservation districts are again offering landowners financial assistance for controlling noxious weeds and trees on their properties.

Cost-sharing is available for all state of Colorado listed noxious weeds and watch list species, including Russian olive, tamarisk, and Siberian elm trees.

Conservation district officials advise landowners to prepare for weed treatments in early spring. White top and biennial thistles are the first noxious weeds to appear and can be difficult to spot before flowering, at which time it is too late for many treatments.

Applications for the Noxious Weed Cost-Share program are available online at or at To arrange a mandatory on-site visit, call Garfield County Vegetation Management at 970-945-1377, ext. 4305 or 4315 or the conservation districts at 970-404-3438. This visit is required before the application is accepted.

El Pomar gives Music Associates of Aspen a grant

El Pomar Trustees approved $7,500 allocated to two nonprofit organizations in the High Country region at the Foundation’s March Trustees meeting. Through the Foundation’s grant making process, the following organizations were awarded grants: 

  • Music Associates of Aspen Inc. — $2,500 for youth programs.  
  • Smart Bellies (Breckenridge) — $5,000 for the kids weekend food program.

Founded by Spencer and Julie Penrose in 1937, El Pomar Foundation has a legacy of general purpose grant making. The competitive process remains the foundation’s primary vehicle for organizations to receive funding.

To view a full listing of El Pomar’s funds and grant making areas, please visit our website at

Big employers partner for Local Living Guide

In partnership with, the Aspen Local Living Guide, which launched this week, is a web page designed to help locals navigate their way through the various places to work and how to tap into jobs that provide benefits (housing, retirement, insurance, and more) that make living here possible, according to Mountain Careers.

“Many locals are unaware that local government and hospitals offer such great career opportunities and the benefits you need to make life possible in the mountains. We want to uncover some of the resources to make it easier for more people to access.” said Aryn Schlichting, founder of Mountain Careers.

The guide features videos from the city of Aspen, Aspen Valley Hospital, and Pitkin County government with detailed descriptions about what each employer has to offer.

Aspen Valley Hospital is one of the largest employers in the city; it employs over 1,500 people in a variety of positions, ranging from nurses and physicians to administrative staff.

The city of Aspen boasts an abundance of employment opportunities, with over 1,500 positions available across a range of professionals, from public safety and public works to administration and finance.

Pitkin County government is another major employer in the area, offering a broad range of opportunities including positions in public safety, recreation and leisure services, transportation and infrastructure management, library services, health care, and social services.

Mountain Careers is a regional job board, newsletter, and network.

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