Aspen Public Radio

Your Evening News - February 10th, 2015

Feb 10, 2015

Hotel Jerome Sold for $69.1 Million to Auberge Board Member

The historic Hotel Jerome sold for $69.1 Million on Monday according to Pitkin County assessor records. The sale makes it one of the largest commercial real estate transactions for a single property in downtown Aspen in recent years.

The new owner is Houston businessman Dan Friedkin. He also bought an adjacent property for $3.35 Million that was once the Aspen Times office. Friedkin is the majority shareholder of Auberge Resorts Collection – the company that manages the Jerome, along with other high-end hotels.

The seller was Chicago-based Don Wilson, the managing partner of DRW Real Estate. He bought the 93-room hotel on Main Street out of foreclosure in 2009 for between $25 to $36 Million, according to conflicting media reports. DRW then invested over $20 Million on a major renovation of the 113,000 square foot building in 2012.

Tony DiLucia is the hotel’s general manager. He says he couldn’t more pleased to have Friedkin as the new owner.

“So, here is a guy that truly wants to be in the hospitality, hotel business. Again, it’s handing over stewardship. Don did his magic with his team and re-did this whole hotel which we are so grateful for. They are into the whole what this hotel means to our community.”

All operations and staff will remain the same at the Hotel Jerome.

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.

Your Evening News - February 9th, 2015

Feb 9, 2015

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.

YouTube/Lauren Glendenning

Aspen Police say a routine patrol midday Friday escalated. An officer ended up calling for back-up and arrested a high school aged student. That was after the officer spotted the offender having pot in his possession. The student resisted arrest and a tussle ensued. A video captured by a nearby student went viral over the weekend. It shows two police officers and a citizen taking down the teenager who is screaming. Police stand by how the arrest was handled and want the community to know the use of force by the officer was appropriate.

West Slope Back On Drought Index

In the dry month of January, snowpack levels in nearly every river basin in Colorado declined. In the Roaring Fork Valley, not only did the amount of snow diminish but drought conditions returned. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday puts the Western Slope in the “abnormally dry” category, including the majority of Eagle and Pitkin Counties and all of Garfield County. “Abnormally dry” is the least severe of five categories.

Your Morning News - February 6th, 2015

Feb 6, 2015

Carbondale Fire Hires Former Board Member As Consultant

Carbondale’s fire department is hiring multiple consulting firms to help the cash-strapped district get back on track. 

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

With a measles outbreak in several states, more parents in Pitkin County are getting their kids vaccinated.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will consider making it easier to comment on a controversial access plan.

The starting bell rings for candidates and ballot measures in Aspen’s May Election.

Snowmass Village starts reviewing proposed changes for Base Village.

We tally up just how recreational pot shops are in the Roaring Fork Valley after a year of legal retail marijuana.

Your Evening News - February 5th, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Carbondale Fire District Hires Former Board Member To Do Consulting

Carbondale’s Fire department is hiring three consultants to help the district get back on track. The Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District is dealing with a rapidly dwindling budget. One of the consultants hired is a former fire board member who lost in the most recent board election.

Your Morning News - February 5th, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Calls Come for Increased Vaccination Rates

Pitkin County’s public health clinic is seeing a rise in the number of people requesting vaccinations for measles. The majority of calls are from parents checking on their children’s vaccine history and adults seeking vaccinations.

The local spike in interest comes after a measles outbreak started in California and spread to fourteen states. Pitkin County Public Health Director Liz Stark says she’s happy to see the uptick in interest.

“We are definitely being impacted by what’s going on in the country. And, the positive thing is that the calls we’re getting are from people interested in making sure they’re vaccinated and up to date on their vaccines.”

She thinks the Roaring Fork Valley is generally in favor of vaccines. Five percent of students in Aspen’s School District are not vaccinated.

“That means that only five percent of the children have opted out of vaccines for either religious or personal exemption. That’s really good compared to other communities around the country.”

But, Colorado as a whole has a low vaccination rate. The Denver Post reports, the state is dead last for vaccinating kindergartners for measles, mumps and rubella. The Roaring Fork School District with schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs did not respond to a request for vaccination rates.

Your Evening News - February 4th, 2015

Feb 4, 2015

Retail Sales in Aspen Up 10% in 2014

The city sales tax report for 2014 is in. It appears the Aspen economy has more than rebounded.

People in Aspen shopped more, drank more, ate more and consumed pot more in 2014 than the previous year.

That’s according a recently-released sales tax consumption report, which shows economic activity within the city of Aspen last year is up 10 percent over 2013. That amounts to nearly $624 million in commerce.

Sports equipment, clothing and luxury goods were up significantly for the year. Combined, those categories generated around $153 million in sales. Restaurant and bars were up 11 percent, bringing in about $111 million dollars. And with recreational marijuana coming on the scene last March, sales in that category spiked dramatically. The liquor and marijuana category saw an increase of 25 percent, generating more than $13 million throughout 2014. All of those industries posted increases for the month of December as well. Another big gain last year was revenue generated by accommodations up thirteen percent. That amounts to more than one-hundred-seventy-three million dollars that flowed into the local economy.

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