In Tuesday’s Aspen City Council runoff election, a 29-vote margin put Ward Hauenstein on council, instead of the former member who only uses one name, “Torre.” Hauenstein drew 928 votes to Torre’s 899, unofficially. He’d come in 3rd behind Torre in the main election in early May. Historians point out it’s the first time an Aspen candidate has ever made up a deficit to win in a runoff, after getting fewer votes than the opponent, in the general. Incumbent Councilwoman Ann Mullins was re-elected in that race, leading the vote totals. Before becoming a candidate, Councilman-elect Hauenstein had been critical of the panel for holding too many executive sessions and being less than transparent in other ways too. He’ll be sworn into his new post next Monday, the 45-year-old Wesley Bright has been identified as the homeless man killed in traffic late last Saturday night. He was hit by an SUV as he tried to cross state Highway 133 in Carbondale, a little before 11 that evening. No criminal charges are expected against the driver. Bright had been in the unique position of having been a longtime Carbondale resident, yet also homeless for years. Police say he’d also been hit by cars but survived, in nearly the same spot, late at night, at least twice in recent years. The local homeless assistance office says its personnel are devastated by the loss of Bright, someone they say was always friendly and polite, and watching out for his fellow homeless. They say Bright had also always appreciated what he was given. His next of kin were notified of his death Monday. The homeless assistance group is working to put a memorial service together.
A woman was killed in a boating/kayaking accident late Monday afternoon. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office reports that its rescuers responded a little before 4:00, along with counterparts from Grand County, to reports that several boats and people were pinned in the “boneyard rapid” between Yarmony and Rancho Del Rio on the Upper Colorado River. They’d been part of a big private group from Edwards, several boats and kayaks included. Approaching that notorious rapid, one boat got high-centered on an already abandoned raft that was pinned on a rock. As several of those in the boat started to swim out of the rapid, one woman in her early 30’s got trapped. The woman was recovered from the water by 5:00, but responders report she couldn’t be revived. Authorities ask that if a member of your party gets into a dangerous situation, call 911 right away, and don’t put anyone else’s life in danger trying to rescue them.
The prediction from all the scientists is that river flows across the high country should peak for the summer this week, with some rain in the forecast providing a bit of a boost. Over in Summit County, streams could get as high as they’re going to this year today. Denver Water’s ready for that, preparing to increase flow into the Lower Blue River from its dam that creates Lake Dillon by several hundred cubic feet per second. The Colorado River District’s Jim Pokrandt says with so much snowpack from the hillsides melting, water will be fast the next several days, but he doesn’t expect any flooding. While flooding isn’t the danger, Jim and other officials remind you the strength of the fast-moving current is a potential problem, as you heard in that last story.
The now-complete Aspen Council has many issues before it, of course… one of the biggest being the building of the “Gorsuch Haus” hotel, the “Lift One Lodge,” or both, and where to place the base of a new Lift 1A to replace the one that’s inadequate for today’s skiing and riding, since it went up in 1972. While it doesn’t appear there’ll be an election on these issues, the backers of the Gorsuch Haus plan have recently sent more than 2700 fliers out to registered local voters. Its supporters claim they’re just “gauging public support” for their plan. Some locals favor one lodge or the other, but a lot worry that one or the other will have the base of a new lift installed on their property, essentially making it a private chair for hotel guests or condo owners at those properties.
And again the Broncos, their cheerleaders, and Miles The Mascot are coming to Aspen this weekend, Saturday afternoon from 1 to 3:00. That’s a rescheduled appearance, after a cancellation for the May 18th snowstorm.