Aspen Daily News Staff Report

GarCo to hold meeting on spill near Parachute

Garfield County has planned a community meeting as an opportunity for local residents and officials to visit with and ask questions of federal and state regulatory agency officials about the ongoing hydrocarbon contamination investigation and remediation efforts near a Williams gas plant north of Parachute. Hydrocarbons were first discovered in groundwater near Parachute Creek March 13.
A panel of representatives from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Garfield County Public Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will attend the meeting to answer questions, review each agency’s role in the investigation and cleanup process, and address potential public and environmental concerns.

The meeting will be Monday April 29, at 6 p.m., at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District Building, at 0124 Stone Quarry Rd. in Parachute.

Residents who are not able to attend may contact Garfield County oil and gas liaison, Kirby Wynn, at (970) 625-5905, and he will ask their questions of the panel and offer replies back via email the day following the meeting. A resource page is posted online at

Whooping cough cases increase to eight in GarCo

Garfield County Public Health has received information from doctors that the number of whooping cough cases confirmed in Garfield County has risen to eight.

The newest case has affected a Glenwood Springs resident, and is linked with a confirmed case in Carbondale, while the seven previous cases affected Carbondale area residents.

Information on controlling the spread of and prevention of whooping cough is available online at .

Community school fundraising enters final nine-day push

With nine days remaining until the BEST grant deadline, the Aspen Community School (ACS) says it is on pace to bring home the all-or-nothing grant, if the community continues to step up to the state’s challenge.

As of Sunday, the K-8 public charter school has raised $4.17 million for BEST with $730,000 to go. Reaching this goal will release almost dollar-for-dollar matching funds of $4.2 million from the state of Colorado. The BEST grant (Building Excellent Schools Today) requires the school to raise its match of $4.9 million by May 1. The challenge grant is part of ACS’ overall campaign goal of $11.6 million to be raised by 2014. BEST is Colorado’s competitive grant program to fund school construction and renovation projects.
Since the week of March 18, the campaign has brought in $2.6 million, or 61 percent of the current coffers, at an average of just over half a million dollars per week. There have 519 donors, including 81 “piggy bank” contributions from children. Donors include everyone from school families to neighbors to community-minded philanthropists; 38 percent are current ACS families, alumni, staff and board, while 59 percent are extended community members. The remaining 2 percent represents corporations and foundations.

Tom Clark of Clark’s Market pledged to donate 1 percent of total sales for purchases made at his Aspen store through Friday.
The school has launched an online funding project at IndieGoGo. With donation levels starting at $10, the project will run online at through April 26. Campaign donations, including those made through the website, are tax-deductible.

If the BEST grant is secured, the school will begin building in phases while fundraising continues. Site work has already begun to fulfill obligations to Pitkin County, including improved septic and water systems, as well as safety upgrades to the school’s driveway. After bidding out for a project manager and architect, the school will begin developing construction drawings and engineering. ACS will break ground on the main building in the spring of 2014 while classes continue in the original building. No temporary facilities will be required during construction. If all goes as planned, in the fall of 2015 classes will begin in the new school building and renovation of the original building will commence.