Aspen–A fire ban remains in effect in Pitkin County. Despite a recent spate of wet weather, officials with the Incident Management Team say the fire danger is still high in the upper valley. The ban prohibits open fire pits, firewoarks and smoking outdoors. Prescribed burns are allowed for agricultural reasons on a limited basis.

Carbondale/Aspen–Speaking of bans, plastic shopping bags are officially banned beginning today in Carbondale and Aspen. Local groups are providing reusable bags for free. Shoppers can use paper bags but will have to pay 20 cents a piece.

Glenwood Springs–Garfield County is buying property across the street from the courthouse for 2 and a half million dollars. The property on 8th street includes a law firm and an auto glass business. The plan is to build more office space and add more parking for county employees within the next couple of years.

Aspen–The Winter X Games will remain in Aspen for at least another two years. The Aspen Skiing Company and ESPN signed an agreement to keep the games in the valley through 2014.

In other news…

FRISCO, Colo. (AP) – Summit County is drawing up plans to deal
with a historically low snowpack combined with an
earlier-than-normal runoff that could force water restrictions.
The National Integrated Drought Information System has declared
a severe drought in Summit County and the Colorado River Basin.
The latest snowpack levels in the basin are 33 percent of average, which is below the last memorable drought year of 2002.
A meeting is being held May 8 to discuss options. The event is
sponsored by the Colorado River District and the Blue River
Watershed Group.

DENVER (AP) – About 6,000 unemployed workers are losing their
unemployment benefits because of Colorado’s improving economy.
Workers who previously qualified for 99 weeks of benefits will
soon see that drop to 72 weeks. The decrease in
benefits is coming because the number of people who are unemployed
has dropped from about 150,000 people at the height of the
recession to around 107,000.