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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.

Today on CrossCurrents – Sallie Bernard, founder of Extreme Sports Camp, an athletic camp for kids with autism, on Light it Up Blue Aspen, a fundraiser at the Hotel Jerome on Sunday February 15th.

And classical music contributor Chris Mohr with world renowned pianist Conrad Tao who is playing a house music concert for Aspen Public Radio on Wednesday, February 11th.

http://lightitupblueaspen.org/

http://www.extremesportscamp.org/

Your Morning News - February 4th, 2015

Feb 4, 2015

Spring Elections Starting to Ramp Up

Municipal election campaigns in towns on both ends of the valley are in full swing. In Aspen, yesterday marked the beginning of election season. It was the first time nominating petitions could be picked up by potential candidates. They need 25 signatures from registered city voters to make the ballot.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, only city planning and zoning commissioner Keith Goode had picked up a petition. He will run to fill one of two City Council seats that are open. They are currently held by Adam Frisch and Dwayne Romero. The mayor’s seat, held by Steve Skadron, is also up for grabs. Frisch and Skadron have said they plan to run. Romero is still considering it.

Aspen City Clerk Linda Manning explains why the dates for submitting petitions changed this election.

“The nominating petition period has been extended to longer than what is normally expected. In the past elections, potential candidates wouldn’t pick up their nominating petitions until April. For this election, because it is a mail ballot election, all of the dates get pushed forward. So the nominating petitions starts today, Feburary 3, and at council’s direction, will be extended until March 9.”

In Glenwood Springs, the ballot has been finalized for this spring’s election. It includes eight candidates. Two out of four open seats will be contested. Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Kathy Trauger, former Aspen Councilman Tony Hershey and West Glenwood resident Kathy Williams have declared their candidacy for the at-large seat. In addition, there will be a three-way race for the Midland Ward 1 seat currently held by Ted Edmonds, who is running for re-election. He is being challenged by Steve Davis and Rus Arensman.

The other two seats that are up, in Wards 3 and 4, look to be uncontested. The incumbents are Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba.

The election in Glenwood Springs will be held April 7th. In Aspen, ballots will be counted on May 5.

Your Evening News - February 3rd, 2015

Feb 3, 2015

Lance Armstrong Cited for Hitting Parked Cars

A former pro cyclist is expected in court soon following two tickets issued for allegedly hitting two parked cars on Aspen’s west end in December, leaving the scene and trying to get his girlfriend to take the rap. The Aspen Police Department says Lance Armstrong concocted the story because he didn’t want to attract media attention. Anna Hansen is not expected to be charged after recanting her false statements to police. The Aspen Daily News reports Armstrong has hired Denver attorney Pamela Mackey. She represented NBA star Kobe Bryant in the 2003-04 sexual assault case he was facing in Eagle County. Armstrong has not spoken to authorities about the incident. It happened after he attended a party at the St. Regis, where he reportedly consumed alcohol.  Armstrong is expected in court on March 17th.

Your Morning News - February 3rd, 2015

Feb 3, 2015

Aspen Talks Health & Human Services Funding

Aspen City Council continued a conversation last night about funding health and human service organizations. Right now, the City doles out $400,000 annually to various charities.

The council’s conversation centered around whether additional dollars should be pulled from another pot of money and if the method currently used for choosing worthy organizations should continue. Right now Pitkin County decides where the money goes.

Mayor Steve Skadron suggested pulling additional dollars from a tax dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House.

“This is how I think it should go: should new incremental money come into our pool of contributions, I believe that money should have a focused outcome. I think the focus should be on uniquely Aspen problems.”

He’d like to support seniors in need, substance abuse, mental health and suicide. The conversation will continue later this month, when councilman Dwayne Romero is present.

Your Evening News - February 2nd, 2015

Feb 2, 2015

Phone Scam Targets Aspen Residents

Aspen’s Police Department issued scam alert today. Law enforcement has heard from residents about calls from people saying they’re with federal agencies.

People running the scam say they are with the IRS or other offices. Some leave voicemails like this one received by an Aspen resident.

“This message intended to contact you regarding an enforcement action, executed by the United States Treasury. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid an issue of your appearance before a magistrate judge, or a grand jury.”

The scam is similar to one making the rounds across the country over the last year.

The Aspen Police Department is warning residents to be cautious about any calls that involve money and are allegedly from a government agency.

Residents in the El Jebel area reported a scam last month where a caller pretending to be with the Eagle County Sheriff’s office demanded money and promised to get rid of a fake warrant.

Your Morning News - February 2nd, 2015

Feb 2, 2015

Pitkin County Library Plans to Move During Expansion Work

Later this month the Pitkin County Library will begin its multi-million dollar expansion project. In order to save time and money, the plan is to move about one-third of the collection to the old Aspen Art Museum.

Head librarian Kathy Chandler is hoping that a new tenant for the museum space will not be ready to move in by April. That’s when she wants to move library operations to the empty building on North Mill Street.

“Possibly we will move everything out and then and let the contractor have at the building...because they will be able to do the work a lot more efficiently if they don’t have to work around the staff and the public and the collection...but a lot of it has to do with timing.”

Chandler is waiting to hear from Aspen City Council on when it plans to select one of five local nonprofits to become a tenant in the old museum space. If the timing works, the library would take it over temporarily. The remaining collection would be moved to storage possibly at the parking garage in Snowmass Village.

“So if things just go absolutely perfectly we would move part of the collection down to the art museum...we would bring a lot of the children’s collection and then the most popular, newest parts of the adult collection down to that building and... we are hoping we can store a lot of the rest of our materials in kind of dead storage.”

The existing library would be open in a limited capacity during construction. The expansion will add 5,108 square feet to the building. Chandler expects the project to be complete by the end of summer in 2016.

Your Evening News - January 30th, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

AVSC Ski Coach Charged with Child Sexual Assault

One of the alpine ski coaches at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club has been arrested. Bill Montage is facing multiple counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and aggravated incest. He was arrested yesterday. AVSC says the charges are not related to any minors at the club or in the Aspen area

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