Leon Fell, promoter of that longtime Aspen Labor Day fixture, the Motherlode beach volleyball tournament, is getting sued by some of the competitors of the last couple years.
Those volleyballers claim they haven’t been paid prize money they believed they’d won for this past September’s 2017 tournament. The Vail Daily reports some say Fell took much too long, as much as 7 months, to pay winners of the 2016 Motherlode as well. Denver-based player Liz Card, Aurora Santos of Summit County who coaches at Summit High School, and others were in court Friday morning regarding their action. Despite verbal promises he allegedly made to the players, Fell claims there is no contract guaranteeing them prize money from his tournament. In an affidavit, Card and New Mexico resident Cassie House say they were told they’d get between $2000 and $2500 for winning the women’s division last Labor Day. The 2nd-place men’s pro team from southern California says it was promised $1500 and hasn’t seen a dime yet, either. Fell claims in court documents he wants to pay the players something, an undefined “reasonable amount,” even if he has to sell valuable possessions. The next court hearing is set for the 16th of next month.
We’ve worked with Aspen transportation officials the last couple years, urging everyone to “drive less” in the city, emphasizing various ways to help you do that. According to the Aspen Times, some services are now finding they’ll have competition if they want to keep offering those rides. One has been the Downtowner shuttle, that uses 6 to 8 passenger electric vehicles to pick up and drive those who ask for a ride on an app. Downtowner’s contract with the city ends in April, after seeing nearly 80,000 riders in less than 2 years. For last month, its use was reportedly up some 39% over January of last year. The city has spent more than half a million dollars on the service. There are proposals now from at least 3 other companies to take over what the Downtowner does, and a selection committee’s currently deciding whom that contract will be offered to. Downtowner CEO Stephen Murray tells the Times in an email, his company would work to increase its efficiency if it’s allowed to continue, and would put more vehicles on the street to handle all that growth. Murray says in a community survey, more than 91% of the 400-plus locals who responded said they’d used the Downtowner instead of their personal cars at least once.
The unsolved 1981 drowning death of actress Natalie Wood is back in the headlines, after the CBS News show “48 Hours” aired a new report on the incident Saturday night. In it, 87-year-old Aspenite Robert Wagner was newly called a “person of interest” by investigators. Wood died at 43, on Thanksgiving weekend of ‘81, in the Pacific Ocean off California’s Catalina Island. Although the circumstances have been considered suspicious over the years, her death was thought to be accidental for a long time. Police started digging again into what happened in 2011, and now say there’s new evidence. The captain of the boat the couple had been on with actor Christopher Walken was interviewed by CBS, along with the lead detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. The captain, Dennis Davern, says he heard the Wagners arguing the night Wood died. People who’d been on other nearby boats have now reportedly come forward saying they also heard an argument. One of the detectives told CBS the body looked like Wood had been assaulted. The Aspen Times reports Wagner’s spokesman wouldn’t comment late last week.
A huge weekend for the winningest World Cup women’s alpine ski racer ever… Vail’s Lindsey Vonn won her 80th and 81st World Cup career victories within 24 hours Sunday, in a pair of downhills at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. Lindsey beat Italian Sofia Goggia, who ran 2nd, with Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein coming in 3rd. The 32-year-old says she feels really good going into the South Korea Olympics this week, with a lot of confidence in her skiing and equipment. She says she plans to go all out at PyeongChang and see what happens. In that Sunday race, Americans Breezy Johnson came in 8th, Laurenne Ross 23rd, Alice McKennis 29th, and Alice Merryweather 31st.
The kids’ advocates’ group YouthZone has come to agreement with Glenwood Springs officials to buy the city’s former library at 9th Street & Blake Avenue for $900,000. YouthZone will offer a $100,000 deposit at the sale’s closing later this month. YouthZone’s been on School Street near city hall for several years, but its current location is due to be part of the area the city wants to re-develop. There’s no timeframe set for a move to take place, but YouthZone says it’ll hold fundraisers to come up with several hundred thousand dollars in renovations that’ll needed in the building, as well as the rest of the purchase.