APR Local News

Local news from the Roaring Folk Valley

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

Business is booming this winter season. Occupancy is up in local hotels and so is the average room rate - surpassing $500 a night.

Carbondale saw its first murder in 12 years and the murderer confessed to killing his wife while being airlifted to a hospital in Grand Junction.

The Aspen community continues to debate constitutional rights and excessive force after a teenager was taken to the ground and arrested for suspected marijuana possession.

Elise Thatcher

Memorial benches have been a long tradition in Aspen. But about a dozen that have been living in Galena Plaza now need a new home. The benches honor members of the community, whether they’re long time locals, part timers, or have otherwise spent time in Aspen. Thirteen benches need new homes because they’ll uprooted for a construction project on Galena Plaza.

Will Grandbois / Post Independent

Law enforcement has released the name of a woman who died in Carbondale earlier this week. Authorities say Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya died on Monday. She was thirty years old, and the victim of a homicide. Portillo-Amaya’s name was released after her family worked with the Garfield County Coroner. There was also forensic testing for fingerprints, carried out by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Department of Homeland Security. The man suspected of killing the victim is still in a hospital in Grand Junction, receiving treatment for injuries sustained in a truck accident in Carbondale.

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

After a brutal car accident, a Carbondale man confesses to killing his wife. A homicide investigation is underway.

An Aspen teenager appears in court after a controversial arrest.

And that arrest sheds light on a radio communication problem for law enforcement around the Aspen schools.

Rafting companies praise the idea of a national monument along the popular Arkansas River.

The City of Aspen starts cutting down trees to fix a leaky parking garage.

Kerry Donovan Campaign

Colorado State Senator Kerry Donovan will be in Aspen on Saturday talking about her time at the State Capitol, so far. The Freshman Democrat has gotten behind measures to aid rural economies and one to overturn a ban on larger gun magazines. I spoke with her yesterday.

Elise Thatcher

More than sixty five thousand people have visited the Aspen Art Museum since it opened last August. That’s more than the heavy-weight nonprofit expected. And about two hundred and sixty-two of visitors have taken the Museum up on free tours… to make the contemporary art a little more approachable. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher tagged along this Wednesday, and has this story

Marci Krivonen

Many immigrants in the Roaring Fork Valley are impacted by a court battle being waged at the federal level. A ruling from a Texas judge this week forced the Obama administration to halt executive actions on immigration. They would have provided legal protection and work permits.

Aspen Whitewater Rafting

The expected designation of Browns Canyon as a National Monument will have an impact in the Roaring Fork Valley. Tomorrow President Obama plans to give added protections to 22,000 acres near Salida.

The local impact centers around whitewater rafting. The area’s known for its rapids and some commercial companies in the Aspen area offer trips to Browns Canyon. Jim Ingram owns Aspen Whitewater Rafting. He says the Browns Canyon trip is one of the company’s best offerings. He’s happy to see the area protected.

Elise Thatcher

Workers in Aspen are cutting down 25 trees on city property today. A subcontractor started removing them, partly to make room for a redevelopment. The spruce trees are planted on top of the city’s parking garage, which is leaking and needs repair, and have to be removed in order for that work to happen. Jason Jones is with Aspen Tree Service, and says there isn’t enough room for the 30-year-old trees to keep growing. 

Outside Magazine

Disgraced Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has pleaded guilty to hitting two parked cars in town late last year. Armstrong paid the fine via mail on Friday. The guilty plea closes the case and also keeps Armstrong from a court appearance in Pitkin County.

On December 28th, Armstrong's girlfriend, Anna Hansen, originally told Aspen police she was driving and that icy conditions caused the accident on the city’s west end. She later confessed to lying to police in an effort to avoid media attention.

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