Greetings from Aspen Journalism on a glorious fall-color day in the high country. We are still catching our breath from last weekend, where we attended the 145th annual Colorado Press Association Convention in Denver. It was great to make face-to-face connections with so many colleagues and collaborators and we left the urban Front Range with four new awards for environment, agriculture and social justice coverage, as well as for a collaborative data reporting project. It’s an honor to be recognized by our peers for doing good work and we are grateful to all our readers and supporters for making our nonprofit, investigative model — and the unique stories it produces — possible. Read more about the awards and the reporting that went into them in our post below.
In between sessions at the downtown Curtis Hotel about the future of local journalism, ensuring equity in news coverage and what our state legislators are up to with amendments to the Colorado Open Records Act, we were putting the finishing touches on the latest investigation from our social justice desk. Written by John Stroud — a 35-year veteran of Roaring Fork Valley journalism who was at the Glenwood Springs Post Independent from 2009-2023, in his first assignment for AJ — our story published on Sunday examines growing concerns about corporate takeover and creeping unaffordability at the dozens of mobile home parks that make up a significant portion of our community’s affordable housing stock. Stroud also unpacks what state officials and community organizers are doing about these concerns, while addressing the challenges of a system that gives residents 120 days to come up with an offer to buy their mobile home parks if an owner moves to sell. Stroud’s dogged digging and interviewing of sources highlights many important points, but one I would call out here: Due to an exemption claimed by the Maryland-based corporate buyer of the Cavern Springs mobile home park between Glenwood and Carbondale, Garfield County public records do not yield a recorded sales price associated with the 2021 transaction where the park was sold, after residents who attempted to organize an offer were rebuffed by an asking price roughly double the property’s assessment market value.
Thanks to the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent for publishing our 4,000-word piece as a two-part series, with the closing installment slated for Monday, Oct. 2. The piece, including an interactive map showing each of the 50 or so mobile home parks from Aspen to Parachute, is up in its entirety at aspenjournalism.org.
Thank you for reading, and supporting, our nonprofit, local newsroom.
– Curtis Wackerle
Editor and executive director
Case study gathers resident sentiments about rents, rules, legislative remedies
By John Stroud | September 24, 2023
What Sullivan and his neighbors worry about — corporate ownership takeover, creeping unaffordability, the potential for the park to be displaced by redevelopment — is happening at an accelerating rate, both in the Roaring Fork Valley and across Colorado, prompting stronger policy prescriptions from elected officials and community leaders.
AJ staff members Laurine Lassalle and Heather Sackett honored, along with freelance writers Sarah Tory and Hector Salas
By Aspen Journalism Staff | September 27, 2023
AJ competed in circulation class two, opting to move up a category when in the 2021 contest we competed in class one.
Most streamflows are down from last week and are running below average.
By Laurine Lassalle | September 25, 2023
• The Fork ran at 362 cfs at Emma, or 81.7% of average, on Sept. 24. That’s down from 383 cfs on Sept. 17 and from 84% of average.
• Minimum air temperatures at ASE dropped from 40°F on Sept. 14 to 34°F on Sept. 20.
• The air quality in Aspen was “good” — except on Sept. 22 when the AQI index for ozone was “moderate,” reaching 58.
There are always stories that need a journalist to pursue them. These Aspen Journalism investigative stories are published for you, the community, and our collaborators as a public service, thanks to the generosity of our readers and funders.