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Your Morning News - December 12th, 2014

Dec 12, 2014

Parking Scam Investigation Nets Big Numbers, Many Cards

More than 4,000 debit cards were used in a massive Aspen parking fraud scheme between September 2013 and November 2014. Aspen’s Police Department has released an update on the case. According to a credit card processing company, nearly 200 of the cards had more than a $1,000 worth of charges used to get free parking in downtown Aspen. Police Spokeswoman Blair Weyer says investigators are using the new information to pinpoint who was gaming the system.

“If there are multiple cards that are associated with the same bank, they may be able to peg a few off of that list that are in the same range.”

Investigators will also be focused on what they’re calling the top tier of cards or those with the most transactions. First, that requires getting more information from banks.

“It will be very challenging, a lot of the cards are associated with a certain bank, based on their BIN number, the Bank Identification Number, so that’s where we’re gonna start, and see what information we can get from the banks, and that will really lead the rest of the investigation.”

More than a half a million dollars in parking meter revenue were lost in the scam, which prompted Aspen to install entirely new parking meters in November.

Aspen Seeks Input on New Bike/Pedestrian Plan

The City of Aspen is updating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and seeking public input. When the plan was conceived 20 years ago, several new trails were the result.

The original plan led to improvements like trail connections and new trails such as the East of Aspen trail and the Ute Avenue Trail. A lot has changed since the original master plan was drawn up, says City of Aspen Senior Project Manager Tyler Christoff. He says it’s time for a revision.

“We see based on citizen input, the need for more bicycle projects, and that combined with the time that’s elapsed since the last time that this has been looked at holistically, that led us to the conclusion that we should take a look and revamp the master plan.”

Already, citizens have made comments on a City website dedicated to the issue. Concerns are raised about things like a lack of signage and dangerous intersections. The City will also take comments at a public meeting at the Limelight on Monday afternoon.

“Thank You” for Colorado River Milestone

The Environmental Defense Fund wants to recognize thousands of officials who helped let the Colorado River flow to the sea earlier this year. It was the first time in about two decades that the river met the ocean. Today, the environmental group is sending out thank you notes to more than 15,000 water leaders in Mexico and the United States, saying this.

“Never before have two nations come together like this, for the sake of the health of a river and its delta. Your years of negotiating will ensure positive outcomes not only for habitats and species, but also for Colorado River communities on both sides of the border.”

The effort is being announced today at a conference for the Colorado River Water Users Association in Las Vegas.

Teen Actors Bring “Shrek” to the Wheeler

Young thespians from around the Roaring Fork Valley have begun their Winter Teen Conservatory performances with Theatre Aspen. More than thirty youth took the stage at the Wheeler Opera House last night in “Shrek: The Musical.” Graham Northrup is Director of Education and Outreach.

“This production is probably our most ambitious in terms of the size of the cast, the scope of the show, it’s over two hours, we have a huge set.”

Performances run through Sunday.