Married couple Charles Farris and his wife Charla are accused of embezzling big bucks– more than a million dollars over a 5-year-period– from the man they used to work for, Joe Rogers, Junior. The Farrises had been caretakers at his Bear Wallow Ranch, a 2600-acre spread west of Glenwood Springs. Rogers is the former CEO of the Waffle House restaurant chain. Preliminary hearings in the case had been set for this week to see if the matter should go to trial. But it turns out some of the couple’s defense lawyers had personal things come up, so now the matter’s been put off until mid-May. The defendants’ hearings will be separate on the 14th and 15th. The Farrises’ 2 adult sons are also accused of helping their parents steal from Rogers. They’ll be arraigned separately next month. Meantime, Rogers has some other legal issues of his own. Just last month, his former housekeeper and her 2 lawyers got charged in Atlanta with extortion, for videotaping Rogers having sex with the housekeeper. His wife seems to be defending him, despite that encounter.
We’ll keep reminding you about that Castle Creek Bridge project at the entrance to Aspen, where work to make everything safer on the bridge itself and heading into town on Hallam Street begins Monday. The work to improve bus stops, widen sidewalks, patch the road surface on the bridge, and more will go on from next week into June, and then again in the fall, August to October. Some local business people claim they didn’t know, and weren’t consulted about the city’s improvement plan, despite numerous public meetings and more info being available. And the Aspen Times reports a cautionary story, that with the ongoing question of how to improve access into Aspen having smoldered the last, oh, half-century or so, this work could enflame the whole thing. And it’s not some local who could have an agenda that’s saying so– it’s the state highway department, CDOT. Its regional director David Eller notes Castle Creek’s going to have to be replaced in the coming couple decades anyway, and that may force the issue, since a totally different entrance to the city would be needed for traffic, in order for that work to be done. Lots of various proposals have been suggested the last few decades– light rail, different road alignment, etc.– and various groups of locals haven’t liked this one or that one for one reason or another. What’s next? Check out the paper’s big story on the potential futures, at aspen times dot com.
Re-zoning of a chunk of land west of Silt has been unanimously granted by the Garfield County Commissioners. That should clear the way for the Denver firm Micro-Grid Energy and its Peregrine Solar Energy System to move ahead. What they’ll be moving on, is bringing solar energy to quite a few local Xcel Energy customers. Microgrid will be using about 6 of 42 acres it owns, to build a 1-megawatt solar operation. Just that small one will serve between 175 and 200 local homes, and a lot of users have already signed up to get the new energy at their homes in DeBeque, New Castle, Silt, and Carbondale. State Parks & Wildlife is offering some tips to avoid electrocution of animals, including birds of prey, and local firefighters are being consulted on fire prevention around the new facility.
From the crime blotter, this Aspen crime seems to live down to the city’s global reputation. Both the Times and the Daily News report the arrest over the weekend of 24-year-old Memphis resident David Lee. Pro tip– don’t lie to the police, about your obvious party. Lee reportedly told the officers that a bunch of cocaine found on a table in his room at the Little Nell wasn’t his. OK… guess what was found in his personal effects Saturday when Lee got to the Pitkin County Jail? You’re right– More than a gram of cocaine. Police were first summoned to the Nell shortly after 4 Saturday afternoon. A housekeeper had found a woman unresponsive under a blanket on the room’s floor. Once she woke up, that woman ran off. Officers found cocaine on that table, along with straws, metal spoons, rolled-up bills to substitute for the straws, and lots of bottles and cans of alcohol. Lee returned to the room while the cops were there. He claimed they weren’t his drugs and didn’t know who the coke belonged to, but he’d invited about 10 people to the room Friday night. His charges– felony cocaine possession, and a misdemeanor for the paraphernalia.
Your news this morning is being sponsored by that big event we’ve been telling you about for a few weeks– the upcoming Castle Creek Bridge/Hallam Street Improvement Project at the entrance to Aspen, that starts work Monday the 2nd. If you don’t think you know enough about the project, look it up at castle creek bridge dot com… then next week be sure to do things to make it easier on yourself by being cautious in the area, and maybe riding RFTA. Again that site with the info is castle creek bridge dot com.