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Aspen’s Adam Frisch likely winner of democratic nomination for CD3

With over 95% of votes counted, Adam Frisch led with roughly 1,300 votes over Soledad Sandoval Tafoya, meaning he will most likely be facing off against Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., this fall.

Frisch, a former Aspen City Council member, told the Post Independent on Tuesday evening that everyone in campaign hustled hard.

“I knew that there was going to be some skepticism from somebody coming from a mountain community and how they could relate to the rural parts of this district,” he said. “Once I had chance to get out on the road and meet people, they understood that I had sincerity and the issues that I think resonated with the voters.”

As of 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, Frisch led Sandoval by less than 3% with 96% of precincts reporting; Frisch had 22,211 votes while Sandoval had 20,883. Alex Walker was a distant third with 8,112 votes.

“My hat goes off to Sol and Alex, especially for bringing a spirited conversation in the Democratic primary,” he said. “They made me better.”

Frisch spent two terms on Aspen City Council, from 2011-18. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics, with an emphases in political science and art history, from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Now likely to face Boebert in the Nov. 8 General Election, Frisch said Boebert only nabbing 64% of the primary vote is a sign of weakness.

“Loud and embarrassing does not equal strong,” he said. “Lauren Boebert is weak and is going to lose. I think there’s a lot of people out there that want the circus to stop.”

Tuesday last chance to vote in June primaries

Those who have not voted in the Tuesday primary elections can still drop off their ballots in-person at the following locations.

  • Pitkin County Administration and Sheriff’s Office, 530 E. Main St., Aspen
  • Town of Snowmass Village Town Hall, 130 Kearns Road, Snowmass Village
  • Basalt Town Hall, 101 Midland Ave., Basalt

The ballot boxes will close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The Democratic primary ballot for Pitkin County includes contests in House District 57 (Cole Buerger and Elizabeth Velasco) and the 3rd Congressional District (Adam Frisch, Soledad Sandoval Tafoya, and Alex Walker). Incumbent Democrats Sen. Michael Bennet, Gov. Jared Polis, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, State Treasurer Dave Young and Attorney Gen. Phil Weiser are running opposed in the primary.

The Republican primary ballot for Pitkin County has Ron Hanks, Joe O’Dea and a write-in spot for U.S. Senate; Heidi Ganahl and Grez Lopez for the gubernatorial nomination; incumbent Rep. Lauren Boebert against Don Coram for the 3rd Congressional District; and Pam Anders, Mike O’Donnell and Tina Peters up for the nomination in the race for secretary of state.

Incumbent HD 57 Rep. Perry Will is running unopposed. Lang Sias is running unopposed for the GOP nomination in the state treasurer’s race, as is John Kellner in the contest for attorney general.

Voters in both the Democrat and Republican primaries also will have three choices in the Pitkin County sheriff’s primary contest. Challengers Michael Buglione and Michael J. Buysse are running against incumbent Joe DiSalvo. The top-two overall vote-getters will advance to the November general election.

More details at www.pitkinvotes.com.

Pitkin County commissioners ban concealed handguns at polling places

The Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder building on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Pitkin County commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve an emergency ordinance that will prohibit concealed handguns at and within 100 feet of all voting centers and polling places.

The Colorado Legislature previously approved a law to ban open carrying of firearms in and around voting centers. Pitkin County wanted to beef up the ban. The county government will have signs printed as soon as possible that say “No firearms, open or concealed.”

The concealed handguns ban is largely symbolic. After conferring with Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, the commissioners decided it would be too costly to install metal detectors at three polling places established for the current primary or the general election in November.

DiSalvo said the ban would still be worthwhile.

“I hate to say this, but we’re running out of safe places,” DiSalvo said. As national events have shown, gun violence can happen anywhere, he said.

He estimated there are “hundreds” of concealed handgun permits issued to residents of Pitkin County. Additional people are packing under permits from states with reciprocal agreements with Colorado. It will be virtually impossible to know if people are walking into a polling place with their handgun discreetly tucked away.

“We can’t find the concealed weapon unless we’re looking for it,” DiSalvo said.

The state ban on open carrying of weapons has been on the books for some time, and it’s never presented an issue, the sheriff said.

If election judges suspect someone of packing, discreetly or not, they will call 911 and seek help from the sheriff’s office. Someone violating Pitkin County’s new ban would be face a civil penalty of $50 for the first offense, according to County Attorney John Ely.

Commissioner Steve Child said prior to the vote he was struggling on the issue. “Good citizens” will leave their weapons at home while “bad actors” will still carry, he said.

“I’m not convinced passing this is going to make it safer in the polling place,” Child said.

The prohibition will be in place through the calendar year.


Yllanes appointed back onto Carbondale Board of Trustees

Newly reappointed Carbondale Trustee Luis Yllanes speaks during a March 2022 candidates forum at Town Hall.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Luis Yllanes’ break from serving as a Carbondale Trustee was short-lived.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees on Tuesday appointed Yllanes to serve out the remaining two years of a vacant board seat over two other applicants, Jess Robison, who like Yllanes was a candidate in the April election, and Carbondale native Kade Gianinetti, who sits on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Factoring heavily into the board’s decision was the fact that Yllanes was the fourth-highest vote-getter in the April 5 municipal election to fill three seats on the town board.

That election saw the reelection of Erica Sparhawk to another four-year term as trustee, along with newcomers Chris Hassig and Colin Laird.

The fourth trustee seat was left vacant after former Trustee Ben Bohmfalk was elected in the uncontested race for the mayor. Yllanes will serve out the final two years of Bohmfalk’s term.

“After serving one term, I thought it was important to continue some of the work that we have started,” Yllanes said in his interview with the board for the appointment during the regular BOT meeting Tuesday night.

“These next two years are going to be critical … and the town is at a crossroads now,” Yllanes said, referencing the recent donation of several undeveloped parcels of land in the downtown core to the town, general traffic and transportation infrastructure concerns, and issues such as securing more affordable housing and limiting short-term rentals of residential properties in town.

As the newly named executive director for the 5Point Film Festival within the last year, Yllanes said he now has a broader view of the outdoors culture and its tourism potential that has built up around Carbondale.

At the same time, “A lot of people see Carbondale as the last truly authentic place in the valley, and it’s important for the town to maintain that identity,” he said.

Although there were five candidates who missed the cut in the April election, only Yllanes and Robison put in for the vacant seat. Former candidate Zane Kessler lent his support to Yllanes, and candidates Colin Quinn and Frosty Merriott decided not to seek the appointment.

“We only have one spot, but I wish we had three,” Bohmfalk said in encouraging Robison and Gianinetti to stay active on the civic front.

Robison, who works in the construction business, said it was interesting to hear the perspectives of residents when she was out campaigning, especially on development and affordable housing.

“We need to find a middle ground, and have a collaborative approach to serve the town in a better way than we’ve done in the past,” she said.

Gianinetti is a multi-generational native of Carbondale from a longtime ranching family. He spoke in his address to the board about the need to balance development and growth with preserving the agricultural heritage of the area.

“At 18, I moved away and couldn’t wait to leave,” he said. “It took me 12 years in Denver, dealing with a lot of larger governments as the owner of several small businesses to make me realize I wanted to come back.

“We have to figure out how to grow and evolve in this community, and how we use the land. … It’s not an easy topic, and that growth changes a lot in the way Carbondale is seen,” Gianinetti said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Three new directors elected to Crown Park board

Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District elected three members of the board of directors Tuesday.

Heather Tattersall Lewin received the most votes with 108. There was a tight race among three candidates for the other two open seats.

Ted Bristol claimed one seat with 78 votes. Trevor LaLonde edged out Jerome Simecek 71 votes to 68.

All three winners will serve a three-year term. Bristol had been filling out a term after he was appointed to the board after a director’s departure.

Lewin has been in the Roaring Fork Valley since 2001 and in Basalt since 2013, according to candidate biographies on the Crown Mountain Park website. She is the science and policy director at the Basalt-based Roaring Fork Conservancy. She and her husband have two children and are frequent users of the park.

Bristol helped get the park started and previously served nine years on the board of directors. He said in his bio that he wants to work to acquire 9 acres of land adjoining the park that is being offered for sale by the U.S. Forest Service.

Bristol also outlined a plan to place solar panels on the roofs of the back maintenance buildings at the park. The solar garden would not be visible to any neighbors and wouldn’t take up an inch of parkland. The energy production would “totally eliminate” the electric bills for the park, he said.

LaLonde has lived adjacent to Crown Mountain Park for 11 years and is a frequent user of the facilities with his wife and two preschool-aged boys. He said he wants to maintain the positive momentum he has witnessed in the park. He also wants to work to retain the hard working staff in the tough labor market.

Two additional seats on the five-member board will be up for election in May 2023 for four-year terms.

Longtime volunteer firefighter, two newbies to join Aspen Fire board

One incumbent and two newcomers won three open seats on the Aspen Fire Protection District board of directors in Tuesday’s election.

David “Wabs” Walbert garnered 766 votes, Parker Lathrop came in second with 736 votes and Emily Taylor came in third with 537, according to unofficial election results.

Seven people were vying for three seats on the board, four of whom were challenging three incumbents.

Incumbents Denis Murray, Steve Wertheimer and Walbert were attempting to defend their seats against newcomers Charles Cunniffe, Ritchie Zah, Taylor and Lathrop.

The trio of winners will serve three-year terms on the board.

Another election is expected in 2023 for two seats that will be up.

The board oversees the fire department’s budget, which is largely supported by roughly $6 million annually in property taxes, as well as makes decisions about staffing and balancing a relatively new volunteer-paid firefighter model.

Over 8,200 ballots were mailed last month to registered voters in the district and those who own property in the district and are registered to vote in Colorado, according to Nikki Lapin, the department’s designated election official.


Aspen Fire Protection District board candidate vote tallies:

David “Wabs” Walbert 766

Parker Lathrop 736

Emily Taylor 537

Denis Murray 488

Charles Cunniffe 455

Ritchie Zah 427

Steve Wertheimer 203

Three incumbents return to Aspen Valley Hospital board

Aspen Valley Hospital.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times file photo

The three incumbents on the Aspen Valley Hospital board of directors retained their seats Tuesday night on the five-member board in the special district election.

David Eisenstat, Chuck Frias and Lee Schumacher will remain on the board for another three-year term as they beat out the one challenger, Michael Buysse.

Frias received the most votes with 1,153, followed by Schumacher with 1,108 and Eisenstat with 991, according to results provided by AVH election official Andrea Shaffran. Buysse was fourth with 372 votes.

The three incumbents also remained on the board in the 2018 election when they were incumbents and did not face any challengers for their seats.

The trio will continue to serve with board president Dr. Melinda Nagle and member Dr. Greg Balko, neither of whom were up for election this year. They both won reelection in 2020 when facing one challenger.

The AVH board typically meets the second Monday of each month. The hospital’s total operating revenue is budgeted at $103.3 million for 2022, and there are nearly 450 full-time employees on the campus.

Voters abolished term limits for board members in 2000.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct Michael Buysse’s vote total to 372 and terms are three years.

Voters strike down West Glenwood annexation

The 480 Donegan property behind the Glenwood Springs Mall in west Glenwood.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Nearly 16 acres in West Glenwood, aka 480 Donegan, will no longer be brought into Glenwood Springs city limits after residents voted Tuesday to repeal the City Council’s November annex decision.

The second question on Tuesday’s special election ballot, a referendum for annexation repeal, was brought to the city by a group of residents dissatisfied with the proposed development’s public engagement process, safety implications and potential density.

After months of concessions by the developers, R2 Partners, and conversations among council members, the public and the property owners, council voted 4-3, or about 57% in favor, Nov. 4 to annex the property.

In a stark reversal, about 60% of nearly 2,400 Glenwood Springs residents voted to repeal the council’s decision Tuesday.

Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Development spokesperson Laurie Raymond said she opposed the development from the outset, after attending the developer’s initial public engagement meetings in 2020.

“We’re hoping City Council learns from this experience that they need to listen to their constituents and trust the community,” Raymond said. “Affordable housing is important, but we don’t believe this was the right solution or the right time. We will really be engaged in this issue going forward.”

Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman was initially on the fence about the development, but after seeing the concessions made by R2 Partners in their final proposal, responding to public comment, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission suggestions and council members’ desires, Willman voted to approve the annex.

“I think it’s too bad,” he said. “I think the annexation was a good idea for the city. The voters didn’t think so, and it seems some people think we are growing too fast. We need to go back to the drawing board and decide how we move forward next.”

R2 Partners responded to the vote via email.

“(The Diemoz) family appreciates all the support we received,” R2 spokesperson Kathleen Wanatowicz wrote. “This property will be developed in Garfield County as a commercial park.”

Council Member Ingrid Wussow voiced concerns about the project’s density and impact on residents in both the city and West Glenwood throughout the annexation process.

“I’m disappointed it ever came to this,” Wussow said. “In an ideal world, we would have found a balance between fire evacuation, a need for housing and traffic safety. We gave the community a decision, a hard decision, a black and white decision, and they responded.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Three-way tie elects Striegler, Arthur, Balko to Snowmass fire board

Local Steve Kelly places his vote for the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District board in Station 45 in Snowmass Village on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. There were four candidates and three seats to fill. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Three was the magic number in a special district election for the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors election Tuesday night.

The election resulted in a three-way tie among incumbent Elizabeth (Ellie) Striegler and board newcomers Scott Arthur and Greg Balko, who will each fill one of three open seats on the board with a three-year term, according to the district’s designated election official Susan Herwick.

That’s “unheard of,” Herwick said in a phone call Tuesday night. Election workers even counted the ballots three times to check. Each time, Striegler, Arthur and Balko all received 73 votes in their favor.

A fourth candidate, Bill Boineau, was not reelected. Herwick did not disclose his vote count in the phone call. Boineau’s vote count was not included in an abstract of the election results that was posted at the Snowmass Village fire station Tuesday evening, according to Herwick and Boineau. Boineau said in a phone call that he went to the station to check the results and only saw the counts for the three top vote-getters.

Arthur, Balko and Striegler join Dave Heivly and Drew Detrick, whose seats were not up for reelection this year. The three seats up for grabs this year were previously filled by Boineau, Striegler and Donna Aiken. Aiken did not run for reelection this year.

The Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District and the Basalt and Rural District are both part of the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority that formed in 2018.

The districts both contribute money to the authority through property tax revenue and other sources; the districts share most resources, including funding and staffing, under the umbrella of Roaring Fork Fire Rescue. The authority services Snowmass Village, Basalt and the surrounding areas.

Three members from the Snowmass-Wildcat board and three from the Basalt and Rural board form the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Board of Directors, which determines how to allocate funding across the entire authority service area.

This was the first contested election for the Snowmass-Wildcat fire board since 2006. Arthur, a retired firefighter from the district, and Balko, an emergency physician at Aspen Valley Hospital, both have decades of experience in emergency services.

Both expressed concerns during their campaign about the allocation of resources between the Snowmass-Wildcat and Basalt and Rural districts and how that allocation could impact the level of service in Snowmass Village.

Arthur said in a phone call Tuesday that he was looking forward to working together with the other members of the board.

“I think we’re going to be able to deal with some of the issues we have concerns about and at the same time steer things in a positive direction,” Arthur said.

Boineau, who has been involved with the district for decades as a firefighter/EMT and board member, said he was “surprised” the low turnout and “disappointed” not to be reelected, but acknowledged also that “that’s the way the cookie crumbles and the votes count.”

“I’m a little hurt, but times change, and that’s OK,” Boineau said.

Striegler thanked voters in a statement sent via text message.

“I look forward to continuing my service on the Snowmass(-)Wildcat and RFFRA boards,” she wrote.

Balko did not return a phone message seeking comment before the deadline Tuesday night.


Tuesday is Election Day for special district boards in Aspen, Snowmass

Voters in Aspen and Snowmass are in the midst of special district board elections, and ballots are due by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Board seats are being voted on for the Aspen Fire District, the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District and Aspen Valley Hospital.

There are three seats up on the Aspen Fire Protection District board of directors, with incumbents Steve Wertheimer, Denis Murray and David “Wabs” Walbert running for another term. They face four challengers: Emily Taylor, Ritchie Zah, Parker Lathrop and Charles Cunniffe.

Ballots can be dropped off at the fire department’s downtown station on Hopkins Avenue. Ballots must be returned to the drop box inside the front door vestibule of the station, which will remain open until 7 p.m.

Ballots for the Aspen Valley Hospital board were mailed out last month and should be returned in person to the hospital administration office, which will remain open Tuesday until 7 p.m.

There are four candidates vying for three open seats: incumbents David Eisenstat, Chuck Frias and B. Lee Schumacher and challenger Michael Buysse.

Eligible voters for the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District bdoard of Directors election can vote in person any time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday at Station 45 in Snowmass Village (5275 Owl Creek Road). There are four candidates up for three open seats. Incumbents William (Bill) Boineau and Elizabeth (Ellie) Striegler and prospective board newcomers Scott Arthur and Greg Balko are on the ballot.

Anyone who owns property in the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District and is registered to vote in Colorado is eligible to vote, according to an email designated election official Susan Herwick sent in March. Poll workers will have a voter list indicating who is eligible, so voters don’t need to bring proof of property ownership, Herwick said Monday in a phone call.

For more information on the races and to see results Tuesday night, go to aspentimes.com/election.