Pushing the reset button on city’s Canary Initiative

It’s been one month since Ashley Perl became the new director of the city of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, and she plans to breathe new life into the little yellow bird. From its inception in 2005, the program has aimed to reduce the Aspen community’s carbon footprint. The Canary name likens Aspen’s role as a mountain town in an age of climate change to the canary in the mineshaft, warning miners of danger. Perl, a five-year veteran of the city’s environmental health and sustainability department (where the Canary office is now located), plans to broaden the Canary mission from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to also preparing the city and the region for the realities of climate change. The 30-year-old Perl refers to this new, related mission as “resiliency planning” or “preparedness planning.”

“We’ll continue to reduce greenhouse gases but we also need to realize that we need to prepare for a different future because of greenhouse gases,” Perl said.

City approves 2013 grants to arts and community nonprofits

The Aspen City Council approved its 2013 budget Monday night on second reading and in so doing approved $756,200 in grants to over 50 local arts and community nonprofits. The city also approved another $106,250 worth of in-kind grants, mainly to sports-centered nonprofits, such as ice time for Aspen Junior Hockey and the Aspen Skating Club. The city’s grants to arts, community, open-space and sports-related nonprofits are separate from its funding of health and human services organizations, a process it shares with Pitkin County. The city is discussing revising its funding of those organizations, according to recent stories in the Aspen Daily News and The Aspen Times. At the City Council meeting on Monday, former Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud asked about the amount of funding in the 2013 budget for health and human services organizations.