It’s your chance to be part of the Olympic effort, this afternoon…

You’ll want to be at Gondola Plaza in Aspen at 3:30 this afternoon… that’s where Aspen will stage a big send-off event for half a dozen Roaring Fork Valley athletes who are on the way to PyeongChang, South Korea for the Winter Olympics. Torin Yater-Wallace and Alex Ferreira, the halfpipe skiers who did well at this past weekend’s X Games, will be there themselves. Family members will represent alpine skiers Wiley Maple and Alice McKennis, and cross-country skiers Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton. There’ll also be speeches from city council, the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, and the Aspen Skiing Company.

This is a lot more serious– we’re talking crime. Prosecutors from the 9th Judicial District DA’s office may charge a Carbondale 13-year-old boy with another juvenile felony, on at least 2 counts. That, for allegedly shooting another family’s dog to death a week ago today. The Aspen Times reports the boy was arrested in Pitkin County, but will be in Garfield juvenile court on Valentine’s Day. He may be accused of the misdemeanor being a juvenile in possession of a handgun, class 3 felony burglary, and class 6 felony animal cruelty, and the DA might add theft of a firearm. He won’t be charged as an adult, because he’s not old enough, and even if convicted wouldn’t be going to state prison, only to juvenile corrections. The teen’s being housed at a Grand Junction detention center, so prosecutors say he’s not a further threat to the community. The boy had already been in trouble, and had been at the Garfield County courthouse to answer other charges last week when he took off, and police say broke into a Glenwood Springs house. That’s where they say he stole at least 1 gun, then hitched a ride upvalley, into the 7 Oaks area of the Crystal River Valley. The teen’s then alleged to have fired 2 shots from a trail, one with a revolver, the other from a rifle with a
scope, at the Tom Friel family’s yellow lab Otis. He’s said to have died a short time later inside that family’s home, the whole incident recorded on a security camera. The boy was later arrested at a friend’s house in that area, initially charged with skipping out on that hearing he was at the Garfield courthouse for earlier that day.

The Post-Independent of Glenwood has a new editor, that title beginning tomorrow. It’s veteran reporter John Stroud. He’ll succeed former Editor Randy Essex, who left last month to return to the Detroit Free Press. The publisher of both the PI and the Aspen Times Samantha Johnston says Stroud was the clear choice for the job, given his 30 years in the area, passion for the local community and his vision for the future of the paper. He says its job is to educate readers on issues, so they can form their own opinions. Congratulations to Post-Independent editor John Stroud.

The Times and the Post report as many as 8 duct-taped bottles, that may have been used to make meth, have been found in and near Basalt in the Roaring Fork River, just in the past week. Basalt Police say more have been recovered in recent months, too. They ask if you find one or more, take good note of the location, and call police. Don’t open those bottles yourself, because they could still contain dangerous chemicals. The phone number you can reach Basalt Police on is 927-4316.

The Aspen Daily News reports Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt is so upset about spotty, iffy Verizon cell service in the Willits Town Center area, she plans to present a letter to fellow council members at her town’s next meeting, suggesting Basalt reach out to neighboring governments to consider jointly sending a message to Verizon over the issue. Whitsitt says some online posts suggest a class-action lawsuit as well. There was reportedly supposed to be a new cell tower erected to boost service around Willits last fall, but Verizon claims permit problems have forced them to put that installation off until sometime this year.