January 27, 2023

Part of the quarry closed after a slide

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has shut down much of the Glenwood Springs limestone quarry, operated by Rocky Mountain Industrials, following a large rockfall last week.

Eric Coulter, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Upper Colorado River District, said Monday that a BLM geologist and MSHA inspectors visited the Transfer Trail site after the Jan. 18 incident to assess the situation.

No one was injured in the slide, which caused a 200-foot section of the quarry’s high wall to collapse and a mass of large rocks and earth toppled down where several pieces of mining equipment were located.



“BLM continues to coordinate with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Colorado Division of Reclamation and Rocky Mountain Industrials (RMI),” Coulter said. “Security and asset protection remain top concerns for BLM.”

In response, MSHA issued a cease and desist order on operations on the production bank and the highwall where the rockfall occurred, Coulter said.



Agencies will continue to evaluate and determine next steps, he said.

“We will keep the public informed of any changes in BLM management of permitted operations at the quarry,” Coulter said.

RMI officials did not respond to a second request for comment on the incident, made Monday.

Meanwhile, the Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance, which organized a few years ago against a proposed major expansion of the quarry, sent a formal letter to state and federal authorities on Friday, calling for a full investigation into the incident. The group also called for the mine to be closed, noting that the BLM has already issued a notice of non-compliance as the mine is operating outside of its various permit permits.

Aspen gets a promotion in the supply department

The City of Aspen on Monday announced Justin Forman as its new director of utilities. Forman’s hiring comes after Tyler Christoff, the former director of utilities, was promoted to assistant director of public works.

“Justin’s skills will bring us vision and momentum as we continue to deliver our essential services to the community,” said Christoff. “My intention is to remain committed to supporting Justin in this transition, while allowing him the space and time to make his own mark on leadership of this department.”

Forman began his career in the city eight years ago as a civil engineer. In recent years he has served as field manager for the supply department. He received his civil engineering degree from West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

Aspen Valley Hospital Receives National Honors

Aspen Valley Hospital was named a 2022 Human Experience Guardian of Excellence Award Winner in Press Ganey’s annual ranking of the nation’s best hospitals and healthcare systems.

Press Ganey, an Indiana-based healthcare company that conducts patient satisfaction surveys, based the ranking on patient experience performance.

The award places Aspen Valley Hospital in the top 5% of healthcare providers who have delivered patient experiences over the past year. The ER reached 95th Percentile or higher for a number of specific survey measures, including “likelihood of recommendation”, “overall rating” and “teamwork,” according to a hospital press release.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our physicians and our staff and their determination to provide our patients with the best possible care experience,” Dave Ressler, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This is an impressive achievement at a time marked by numerous challenges. Our team has responded with overwhelming resilience while fulfilling our mission to provide exceptional healthcare to members of our community.”

CMC General Counsel retires

Richard Gonzales retired after serving as Colorado Mountain College’s first in-house counsel for more than eight years. Gonzales’ last day of college was Friday January 13th.

The College’s new General Counsel is Lucia Padilla, who takes up her post this month. Padilla most recently served as assistant attorney general in the office of Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

An integral member of CMC’s senior leadership team, Gonzales has served at the college’s central administrative offices in Glenwood Springs since November 2014, overseeing the college’s legal interests across all 11 campuses and college locations.

In 2017, Gonzales received the additional title of Senior Inclusivity Officer, in which he assumed an expanded portfolio of responsibilities that included diversity, inclusivity and equity.

CMC officials said Gonzales’ role became particularly relevant when CMC was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2021, meaning the college’s student population is over 25% Hispanic. In this position, Gonzales was responsible for developing university-wide diversity and inclusion programs, collaborating with recruiting to develop student and staff pipelines, diversity metrics and reporting and return on investment, and overseeing training and development programs.

Vail prepares to pay employees

The City of Vail is preparing to introduce a new compensation and benefits program and strategy in February.

“You’ve all heard from us the challenge of recruiting and retaining employees in today’s very rapidly changing environment,” said Krista Miller, the city’s human resources director, at the Jan. 17 city council meeting.

Last year, the City of Vail commissioned a team of OneDigital consultants to conduct an independent review and research of its compensation plan with the goal of developing a compensation philosophy that:

  • Increases his pay mid-range between the 65th and 75th percentile to align with the Vail brand
  • Is effective in attracting, motivating and retaining employees
  • Based on data and annual evaluations of the market
  • Is flexible and able to respond to changing employee demographics

As summed up in a memoThe study is designed to “create a multi-year plan to achieve compensation levels above market averages, to help us encourage and motivate great work, foster long tenure and, when we need to look outward, to attract candidates.” who are fit with our culture and can be great employees.”

The OneDigital consultants introduced themselves their poll results and findings, and their recommendations at the Vail City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 17.

The plan was originally scheduled to be rolled out in two phases, the first in 2023 and the second in 2024. However, given the current workforce environment as well as financial savings starting in 2022, the City Council directed employees to implement the plan in full in 2023.

The city plans to implement this budgeted $2.8 million plan beginning February 1. The majority of the program’s costs will go toward pay raises, Miller said, adding that 20% of the funds will be used “to cover related benefit costs.”

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