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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.

Aspen Schools Hold Assembly to Talk About Teen’s Arrest

Roughly 560 Aspen high school students gathered today to discuss last week’s controversial arrest of one of their classmates. The hope is students received a better understanding of the law, and how to deal with law enforcement.

Principal Kim Martin says some students are fearful of the police after the arrest and she hopes it will help rebuild trust.

“You know, they are very shocked like “oh, something like this isn’t supposed to happen in Aspen”. So, my hope is that through expressing their feelings, asking questions, through dialogue with the police officers who are going to be present we can just attempt to heal and move beyond this for the kids who really need to have a space to have their voice heard.”

The 16-year-old junior who was arrested a week ago for allegedly having pot and resisting arrest is scheduled in court on February 17th. He could face charges for both incidents.

Report: Colorado Sheriff’s Misspent Victims Fund

Sheriff’s offices around the state misspent about $700,000 that was supposed to go to helping victims according to a U.S. Department of Justice audit detailing the problem.  

The grant money had been for something called VINE – short for “Colorado Victim Information and Notification Everyday”. It’s an automated service that tracks criminals in jail and alerts victims any changes in an offender’s status. Sheriff’s offices in parts of Colorado spent the money on unrelated items, like promotional T-shirts and meals for spouses.

A spokesman for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s office told Aspen Public Radio this afternoon, the agency just heard about the statewide problem. It will be following up to see if there’s any impact to the notification service. Pitkin County does use VINE, but also calls victims with a personal update on criminals in in the judicial system.

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.