Aspen Public Radio

Your Evening News - February 13th, 2015

Feb 13, 2015

Aspen Student Charged Following Rough Arrest

Four charges were filed today against a 16-year-old Aspen high school student. The charges are Resisting Arrest, Obstructing a Peace Officer, Underage Possession of Marijuana and Underage Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The charges follow a controversial arrest on February 6th. Police say the boy resisted arrest after an officer allegedly saw him with marijuana at a bus stop near the school. He was taken down forcefully by two officers and a civilian. A video taken by a student shows the altercation. A second video showing the officer’s initial contact with the student was released Friday afternoon. The student is due in court next week.

Your Morning News - February 13th, 2015

Feb 13, 2015

Less Snow Means Less Green for Businesses

Aspen saw its second driest January in nearly a hundred years. February so far has also been dry and warm. For businesses who make a lot of money on snow, it’s been a tough go of it.

 

“I’ve been in the snow removal business for 28 years, and really never seen this long a dry spell before,” says Will Vannice.

 

He owns Daly Properties in Basalt. He and his workers usually remove snow and ice for commercial properties, and business is down about 350 percent. Vannice says the company will probably make it through OK, as long as he keeps spending to a minimum. But it’s harder on the workers.

 

“We have 6 salaried positions here and they just cut 30% of their salary out until the first of April,” he says.

 

Further up valley, Glenn Loper is owner of Groundskeepers of Aspen. The company also does snow removal and landscaping.

 

“At this point we’re on an “on call” business for our employees, about fifteen or eighteen of them that are in limbo right now.”

 

Loper also has about a handful of salaried employees and they’re staying busy down in Carbondale. That’s because Groundskeepers is now operating Planted Earth nursery there. Like Will Vannice, Loper has to make sure he keeps an eye on spending this spring to make it through OK. And they’re both waiting out February before switching over to spring landscaping.  

“I was kind of excited the other day when I saw that the weather pattern had shifted and we’re possibly gonna get more snow now,” Loper says.

 

Aspenweather.net is forecasting snow for this Sunday and Monday. Corey Gates, co-founder of the hyper-local forecasting website, says the rest of the month looks stormy.

He guesses that 28 inches of snow will fall by the end of the month.

Your Evening News - February 12th, 2015

Feb 12, 2015

First Lady to Visit Aspen this Weekend

Local law enforcement is preparing for a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama this weekend, according to sources. This will be her third President’s Day Weekend visit in Aspen. The past two years, the First Lady has brought her daughters, Sasha and Malia, to Aspen for a ski vacation. The Obamas stayed at the home of Jim and Paula Crown, friends of the First Family and the owners of the Aspen Skiing Company. The home is located on the Tiehack side of Buttermilk. That is the ski area where Michelle and the girls made turns in prior years.

It is unknown whether the Mrs. Obama’s daughters will come on this trip or whether the Crown’s will be hosting. The President is not expected to join his family in Aspen over the holiday weekend.

Your Morning News - February 12th, 2015

Feb 12, 2015

Lawyer for Aspen Teen Delves into Details

The Aspen high school student who was forced to the ground and arrested by police [last] Friday, is working with a lawyer. Trial Attorney Ryan Kalamaya will represent the teen who police suspect had marijuana.

Kalamaya says he was contacted by the teen’s family after the incident happened at a bus stop near the Aspen school campus. Video footage taken by a student on the scene and then widely shared on the internet shows two officers and a civilian taking down the screaming boy. One officer uses a pressure-point compliance tactic. Police say the boy resisted arrest. Kalamaya says the incident raises issues around marijuana and the use of police power.

“The reason I wanted to take it on was because this issue of the role of law enforcement in our society is obviously a hot topic. It’s a healthy dialogue to talk about the role of police here in the Roaring Fork Valley.”  

The teenager will appear in court on February 17th, where he will face possible charges.

Ryan Kalamaya is a member of Aspen Public Radio’s Citizens Advisory Board.

Your Evening News - February 11th, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Carbondale Fire Meets Tonight on Future Funding

The future of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District is slowly inching closer. The Board of Directors for the sprawling, struggling district is meeting tonight. Board members are finalizing the contracts for two consulting firms. Their main task is to help put together a master plan for Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, which could run out of money in two years. Gene Schilling is President of the Board.

“We believe that once the master plan’s done, there will probably be some recommendations on the funding that we need to go forward with, to get the Fire District’s level of service back up to what it was before.”

The District covers more than three hundred square miles, and provides ambulance service along a busy stretch of Highway 82. It lost more than half of its budget in late 2013, when a big chunk of mill levy funding ran out. A ballot measure to reinstate that money failed.

A Conversation on China with Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan, and NPR's former China Correspondent, Louisa Lim. Moderated by Loren Jenkins. 

CRMS Barn, 500 Holden Way, Carbondale

Wednesday, March 4th, 5:30pm - 6:30pm. Doors open at 5pm. 

Your Morning News - February 11th, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Aspen Development Proposal to Go to Ballot

The Aspen City Clerk says a proposed charter amendment about development in Aspen will be on the ballot this Spring. That follows the collection of enough signatures by Aspen residents. Ballots for the mail-in election will go out in the spring. Election Day is May Fifth.

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.

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