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Your Morning News - February 10th, 2015

Feb 10, 2015

Basalt May Take Out Loans for New Underpass

The Town of Basalt may take out short-term loans in order to pay for a new underpass at a busy Highway 82 intersection. A pedestrian underpass is planned at Basalt Avenue, near RFTA’s Bus Rapid Transit stop.

The project is projected to cost $4.8 million with contributions from CDOT, RFTA and possibly other local governments. Basalt plans to go before the Elected Officials Transportation Committee next month. Town Manager Mike Scanlon says the project has been on Basalt’s radar for years.

“It was the number two project in 2004 and I think it’s always been that high. It’s just that nobody’s put the effort and financing together.”

He says the underpass will improve safety and provide a better connection between Old Town and southside Basalt. Construction could start this fall. Basalt Town Council will consider using loans or “certificates of participation” at its meeting tonight.

Aspen Police Chief Responds on Teen Arrest Video

A video of a student being arrested Friday has gone viral throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. Police say the juvenile had marijuana, and resisted arrest. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason spoke with Aspen Police chief Richard Pryor about what happened.

A 16-year-old was taken down by two police officers and a civilian in a bus shelter near Aspen High School on Friday. That was after Officer Adam Loudon says he observed that the student had marijuana. He allegedly resisted arrest. The incident has some in the community saying it was excessive force. Chief Pryor defends his officers’ actions, saying officer Loudon attempted to talk to the boy but his behavior led to an elevated response.

“I can understand the angst in the video creates amongst some in the community. In terms of the contact, there’s no cooperation, there’s no willingness to engage in dialogue, there’s nowhere to go. That’s where things start to get really difficult for both sides.”

Pryor says his office is looking into revealing more information about what happened before the altercation.

Carbondale PD Issues Warrant in Meth Lab Case

Carbondale’s Police Department has issued a warrant for a man suspected of being involved with a methamphetamine lab.

Chief Gene Schilling issued a statement today that there is a warrant for Chad Boulter. He’s listed as being from Carbondale. The warrant is for Possession of Chemicals or Supplies to Manufacture Methamphetamine, a Class 3 felony”, and “Attempt to Manufacture Methamphetamine, a Class 4 Felony.”

Boulter was a suspect in the alleged meth lab found at 410 Garfield Avenue in Carbondale. That was last Thursday. As of this morning the suspect had not yet been arrested.

Elk Hunters Given Opportunity, Notice

Those interested in taking part in an elk hunt at Sky Mountain Park this fall need to apply for two different licenses. Pitkin County Open Space and Trails officials say there will be a limited hunt for cow elk in November. But to take part, sportsmen will have to win a lottery for licenses and have proper state cow elk tags to hunt in Colorado Game Management Unit 43. Open Space officials urge hunters to apply for the state tags early because last year several hunters were approved for the Sky Mountain Park hunt but could not take part because they waited and couldn’t get state approval. Hunting is prohibited on Pitkin County Open Space and Trails properties with an exemption to allow elk hunting as part of a wildlife management plan at Sky Mountain Park between Snowmass Village and Highway 82.

BLM Reviewing Comments on Leases, Thompson Divide

More than 32,000 people commented on a BLM plan reviewing oil and gas leases on the White River National Forest. The Bureau is looking over 65 leases in Garfield, Mesa and Pitkin Counties including some are in the controversial Thompson Divide.

The BLM collected comments over 30 days last spring. Most were “form letters” from outside of Colorado. Many referenced the Thompson Divide and hundreds of commenters listed concerns about socioeconomics, water resources and wildlife. Courtney Whiteman is a BLM spokesperson.

“We do want to make sure that we’re considering public input as we move forward with the EIS. Sometimes the public can shed light on some things that the BLM may not have considered.”

The BLM is analyzing whether the 65 leases should be voided, reaffirmed, modified or subject to additional mitigation measures. The environmental review follows a decision from a Land Appeals judge who ruled the BLM didn’t do an adequate job when it first issued the leases. A draft environmental analysis will be released this summer for another round of public comment.