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Your Evening News - January 14th, 2015

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Aspen May Have to Build More Government Office Space

The City of Aspen is trying to decide where to put its workers. There’s not enough existing space for them including the police department. Tomorrow, the City is holding the last in a series of open houses on the issue.

Workers are severely cramped, plus Aspen is losing lots of office space due to rental agreements. City employee Jack Wheeler is overseeing how to solve the problem. He says there isn’t enough office space for the City to rent in Aspen. So, building is the only viable option.

“We went through several different iterations, we presented them to Council, Council and the public pointed at two distinct options. Both options that we’re pursuing include police facility at 540 Main.”

That’s city property next to the Pitkin County Plaza Building.

The difference in the plans lies in whether to renovate and expand city hall or effectively create a new city hall near the Pitkin County library by renovating and expanding existing city buildings there.

Either wouldn’t be in place until sometime 2018. So, Wheeler is also juggling an interim plan.

Gay Ski Week Underway in Aspen

Aspen is holding its 38th Gay Ski Week, and this year an estimated 3,000 people are participating. The event is a week-long party with events like comedy and film. But, the event is a fundraiser, too.

Last year, the non-profit that holds Gay Ski Week - Aspen Out - raised $50,000 for charities that support the LGBTQ community. Local recipients include the Aspen Hope Center and Aspen Film.

This year some of the funds will go toward the Matthew Shepard Foundation that advocates for civil rights protections. Kevin McManamon of Aspen Out says Aspen is a platform for these causes.

“We’re lucky in that way. We have a board of directors at Aspen Out that cares and that’s why we give away the money that we make. It’s part of our cause. We’re not just a party.”

The group’s ticketed fundraiser for the Matthew Shepard Foundation is open to anyone. It’s tonight at 7pm at the Caribou Club. Aspen Gay Ski Week wraps up on Sunday.

Basalt Police Seek Help Finding Robbery Suspect

The Basalt Police Department continues to look for a suspect who robbed a liquor store with a knife Friday night. This week they released photographs.

Just before 10pm Friday night, a man robbed Jimbo’s Wine and Liquor downtown. Police report the man took out a knife and told a store employee to open the cash register. He got away with close to $1,400.

On Monday, the department released three images captured on a surveillance camera at Jimbo’s. Greg Knott is Chief of Police.

“The person was wearing a gray beanie-style cap, a black neoprene facemask and a very white puffy coat. On the back of that coat, it has quite a distinctive pattern, like a cinch-strap. And, the suspect was wearing black ski pants and dark shoes.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Basalt Police. Knott says armed robberies in the Roaring Fork Valley are rare.

Diesel Accident Contaminates Drinking Water

A truck accident last Sunday led to diesel getting into drinking water at a mobile home park next to Rifle. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports Sunday’s accident happened in the morning at the intersection of Garfield County Roads 293 and 294.

The County says the truck rolled, leaking 60 gallons of diesel into an irrigation ditch nearby. A clean-up crew was trying to contain the fuel but possibly 15 gallons escaped downstream affecting drinking water at the Cottonwood Mobile Home Park. As of Monday, several residents in the development reported diesel in their drinking water.

Today a spokesman with Colorado’s Health Department said he could not yet confirm how many people are affected or whether the agency is testing the Rifle area for affected drinking water. The agency could say the irrigation ditch is likely not one affected by an oil and gas accident two years ago.

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