19-year-old Garfield County resident Gerardo Banda goes to prison for 6 years. That, for causing the traffic crash off a county road in Carbondale last May that killed 17-year-old Ayleen Alvarado. Banda pleaded guilty last month to felony vehicular homicide in the case, as well as vehicular assault and DUI. Banda had been illegally brought to the US when he was a baby, so the plea and sentence will probably end up with him being deported to Mexico, although he’s grown up only in the United States. Banda had 5 young people besides himself in the car, when he lost control on Thompson Creek Road and the car rolled down a 200-foot ravine and into a creek. Banda admitted in court that he realized what he’d done was horrible, telling the judge he accepted responsibility.

There’s still more going on with the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs, although it’s been open to traffic more than a month. Just opening at the south end of the new bridge, the north crosswalk at 8th & Grand. And there’s now public street parking along the east side of 7th Street, between Cooper Avenue and the pedestrian bridge. That had been the construction staging area, as the bridge went up. Some night work’s continuing from 8 in the evenings from 8:00 ‘til 6 the next morning, to take out old traffic signals on Grand, and replace them with new ones. And, the Hot Springs Pool parking lot has gotten re-paved a bit ahead of schedule, work that was expected to go on ‘til the end of the year.

More bridging to be taken care of soon in Glenwood… with the state now planning to chip in almost a million of the nearly $9 million cost of replacing the 27th Street Bridge. That’s a grant from the state local affairs department. Work to replace it is expected to go on next year. Other grants and payments are coming in to help the city out with that cost as well. State inspectors have called that short span structurally deficient and obsolete, just as the older former Grand Avenue Bridge was, before it was replaced. 27th Street’s structural sufficiency rating is only 42.2, lower than that of the old bridge. That one had been around since 1953… this one’s been carrying traffic for 48 years, since 1969.

It’s possible a little snow may fall tonight, but it probably won’t be enough to improve conditions on the local ski mountains much. The Aspen Skiing Company claims not to be too concerned… with 50th anniversary activities expected to go on as planned Friday at Snowmass. The resort sold more than 12,000 advance lift tickets at the 1967 price of $6.50 each, and those skiers and riders are expected to show up, where they’ll find only about 100 acres of terrain open, less than 3 percent of the surfaces on the whole resort. But Skico says the party will go on as scheduled. The company admits ski conditions won’t be the best, but it’s now trying to steer folks toward other activities, like the many parties that’ll be going on. Stay Aspen Snowmass reports some cancellations due to the snow conditions, but crowds are still expected to be large. That should still mean plenty of business for local restaurants and bars. Remember the new Breathtaker coaster is available for 19 dollars a ride from 11 ‘til 3 each day. Hours and that price are expected to change Monday.

And not so much fun– that controversial 2.3 acre chunk of land at Basalt that used to be a mobile home park is still presenting problems for the town. The Aspen Daily News reports the group that currently owns it, the “Roaring Fork Community Development Corporation” has sent a letter threatening to sue the town for not acquiring the acreage and developing it. Last year, the voters told town council not to spend 3 million taxpayer dollars on such a purchase, but this year council members have been trying to find ways to get around that election result and come up with other ways to acquire the land. So far, they haven’t been able to.