It’s been a grim week and summer for the volunteers of Mountain Rescue Aspen… Late Monday morning, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a local couple who’d been hiking in the Capitol Creek area were overdue. They’d planned to summit Capitol Peak Sunday, and get home the same day. The sheriff’s office noted that the report included only tentative plans, and no confirmed medical emergency, so it didn’t seem all that urgent. It became more that way when the couple still hadn’t been heard from by Monday night. Then just before 8 Tuesday morning, Mountain Rescue volunteers were sent into the field, along with a Rifle-based CareFlight helicopter, and the National Guard was notified and standing by. Authorities talked to other hikers who’d been on Capitol Peak when the couple was known to be, learning that no one knew for certain where they’d been headed. The couple might’ve summited, but could have used some non-standard route to come down. Unfortunately, as aerial searches continued, the pair were spotted a bit after 2 Tuesday afternoon at the base of Capitol. Rescuers on the ground were sent to them, and determined they were both dead. The Aspen Times reports it appeared they’d fallen from somewhere near the summit. The couple were confirmed late Tuesday night to have been locals Carlin Brightwell and Ryan Marcil. They’d been together about half a year, according to local friends.

The White River National Forest has proposed new rules to prevent the ecologically-delicate Hanging Lake, a National Natural Landmark, from being “loved to death.” Crowding at the site near Glenwood Springs has sharply increased in recent years, along with waste management issues, people and pets going into the water, and more. District Ranger Aaron Mayville on one of the key proposals…

Mayville’s office is also recommending visitors to Hanging Lake not be allowed to park cars there anymore, given backups onto I-70 and arguments over parking spots. There’d be a mandatory shuttle, probably from Glenwood Springs, implemented to solve that problem, and there would be a fee charged to visit. A 30-day comment period is now open. Mayville says if approved, the new restrictions aimed a preserving the site could take effect by next May. An informal poll the Post-Independent’s conducting showed as of last night, 81% of those voting favor the new rules in order to protect nature. Only 12% say they’re unnecessary.

Basalt’s Planning & Zoning Commission’s OK’d 3 major new buildings the owners & developers of the Willits Town Center have been wanting to erect for a while. A big one that would have about 49 residential apartments in it, would also be some 47 thousand square feet. The 2 others would be commercial, totaling about 15 thousand. The developer says the new structures on Willits Lane will be meant to welcome folks into the Town Center. The new construction could begin as soon as this fall.

Didn’t think because of the odd number you’d have anything to worry about as far as having an election this year? Guess again, Aspen! In November of this year, not next, you’ll be asked to decide whether or not to add $3 to the price of every locally-sold pack of cigarettes. That would be a new tobacco tax, designed to make the price of cigarettes so high as to discourage people from smoking. The specific ballot language will be gone over at a council work session next week. City Council’s decided a 40% tax on other tobacco products will also be part of your local ballot issue. Just this June, council raised the minimum age to buy cigarettes in Aspen from 18 to 21. That change doesn’t take effect until New Year’s Day.

Tonight’s the final performance of this summer’s 44th annual Snowmass Village Rodeo! Gates open at 5 and they rodeo at 7 rain or shine. If you’d like to go see the cowboys, cowgirls, and livestock for free, keep listening all day as we give away family 4-packs of rodeo tickets, whenever I ask you to call.

Today’s the start of the MountainFilm In Aspen Festival… 20 amazing movies now ‘til Sunday, at the Wheeler Opera House! Get tickets now at wheeler opera house dot com.

And this should be the last day for now, of those Colorado River rafting put-ins, due to construction of the new Grand Avenue Bridge. Get on this afternoon’s 3:00 conference call to know for sure. You’ll find the number and access code on ksno dot net.