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History: Potatoes pop early near Snowmass

Auzel H. Gerbaz, a resident of the property now known as Aspen Village, wrote an article called, "Potato Digging started in valley; Spuds Bring $1.65" that ran in The Aspen Times circa Sept. 24, 1936. The story details the intricacies of potato harvesting. "The first killing frost on this ranch came September 15, nearly two weeks earlier than the first killing frost in 1935. This was a light killing frost, nipping the top of the potato vines. Several other light killing frosts have followed the first one. Crop reports around the first week in September showed prospects for 30,000,000 to 50,000,000 bushels more of potatoes in the United States. This had the effect of depressing the price of potatoes. Within the past two weeks, several carloads of potatoes have been rolling from the lower valley at around $1.65. The price will be further depressed until October when the peak in potato shipments will have been reached. There has been talk of $3.00 potatoes by spring. … In the upper Roaring Fork Valley potato digging starts earlier than in the lower valley on account of frosts which get heavy by the middle of October; also deer and elk hunting season opens October 12, and many farmers take part in the hunt both in gunning for the big game and transporting hunters. Speed always counts in digging and picking. A digger should be in first class shape before it is run out into the field. A number of farmers have been buying new diggers for this fall. Worn out diggers will cause bigger losses in a season when potatoes are worth more than usual. There are a number of good makes of potato diggers on the market. Before a new digger is bought it pays to see one in operation under conditions which the diggers work better under certain conditions than others as for example: hillside fields. Width of diggers is also important according to the width of potato rows usually planted. A digger blade should always be sharp and when worn, replaced by a new one. The right operation of the digger will save money; if set too deep, potatoes are buried; If too shallow; potatoes will be cut. A good potato digger operator can save potatoes from being sliced or buried."

Snowmass to extend marijuana moratorium a third time, pot shops still on target

In an effort to buy more time to figure out where pot shops belong in Snowmass, the Town Council is extending the town's moratorium on marijuana sales for a third time.

The council voted unanimously at a meeting Sept. 17 to prolong the moratorium until April 30, 2019. Town Councilman Bob Sirkus was absent.

The discussion was brief, as the council had established at the meeting less than a week prior that it would need to push the moratorium, which otherwise would have expired Oct. 31, again in order to reach a consensus on how the town should regulate dispensaries. Reviewing such terms was the purpose of the divided council's work session the week before, and ultimately what led it to realize that it would not agree on a scheme by the end of next month.

"With these kinds of discussions, I'm going to be presumptuous and say it's going to be difficult to get the regulations in place before the moratorium ends," Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney said Sept. 11.

While the Town Council has moved in the direction of allowing pot shops since late June, the final green light came at a meeting Sept. 4, when the council majority voted against taking the question to voters in the upcoming election. With the deadline to submit ballot language passed, the council's next step is develop the framework.

The tone at the work session Sept. 11 was lighter than the previous pot-related meeting, which at times grew heated. While differences in opinion remain, the council members seemed more agreeable and willing to work together to determine Snowmass' regulatory scheme.

During its first discussion of the regulatory scheme Aug. 13, Mayor Markey Butler and Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk — both strongly against pot shops in Snowmass Village — asked town staff to incorporate child care and educational facilities zones into the plan.

Consequently, the second draft included "youth location restriction buffers" that would restrict dispensaries from operating "in close proximity to these sensitive areas," the proposal states.

At the request of Butler and Shenk, town staff also created a zone district overlay that identified Aspen School District bus stops for additional regulatory consideration.

However, the town council majority — Bob Sirkus, Tom Goode and Bill Madsen — voted the school bus stops out of the picture.

A council majority also agreed that it would like to see more restrictions placed on Fanny Hill and along the Skittles gondola route — an area that sees a high volume of children.

Other key points of the proposed regulations to date include a ban on dispensaries along the main pedestrian level of the Snowmass Mall between Daly and Elbert Lane, a 4.5-square-foot cap on a pot shop's main sign, the creation of a new zone-district overlay, maximum operating hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and odor enforcement.

To regulate the number of pot shops in Snowmass, Town Manager Clint Kinney said it makes more sense to enforce the distance between dispensaries rather than limit the number of licenses the town distributes. The council is currently exploring 300 square feet to 500 square feet as distances between shops.

Butler said Sept. 11 that Aspen City Councilwoman Ann Mullins in a recent conversation advised Snowmass to cap the number of dispensaries allowed.

"(Mullins) wishes they would have limited the number of pot shops in Aspen to four versus letting the economy" dictate, Butler said.

Town attorney John Dresser said the staff "is recommending a spatially based scheme … to try and dial in the right density the market will support without getting into picking individual operators."

The elected officials attempted to hash out details such as what type of educational programming Challenge Aspen, located on the upstairs of the Snowmass Mall, provides and whether it should boast its own set of protections from dispensaries.

Further, council members requested the scheme's next iteration include a buffer shielding the Base Village plaza and ice-skating rink.

Dresser agreed to add a 100-, 200- and 300-foot circle around the area to draft three of the framework.

Dispensaries have been under a moratorium in Snowmass Village since 2013, after Colorado voters approved recreational pot sales in November 2012.

Along with prolonging the moratorium, Dresser advised the council on more than one occasion to craft the scheme based on the "broader picture" and not by seeking to predict what commercial owners may develop in the future or to which businesses they will lease.

A moratorium can be set for any amount of time and lifted before the imposed deadline. Butler on Sept. 11 had proposed an extension of three to six months, to which Goode countered, "I think we're stalling with six months."

The council vote on Sept. 17 was the first reading to extend the moratorium. As part of the two-reading ordinance process, the Town Council is expected to vote again at a meeting Oct. 15.

erobbie@aspentimes.com

Sean Beckwith: Snowmass After Dark

Welcome to Snowmass After Dark, a place where you get a parking spot but not a bar stool to watch football before 3 p.m. The ostensibly family-friendly resort village turns into a weekend-only resort in September before becoming a life-sized walking-mall model until ski season. For all of the fuss over everything — from pot shops to the bathroom tile at Base Village — the town seems to be OK being irrelevant during potential busy times in order to keep the residents happy and the unsavory element away.

What if, though, the town took a heal turn. Instead of trying to be the Wilson to Aspen's Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, they acted more like Tim "The Cocaine Dealer" Allen. Instead of yelling, "Think of the children," they yelled, "Think of the money." What if they ripped the freak flag from its Gucci-designed flagpole in Aspen and flew it high atop Club Commons?

The only way to make all of this new development worthwhile is to utilize it. Limelight in Snowmass is building a climbing wall, which will double as exercise and as a vantage point to scout empty patios for a drink afterward. Fake rocks and a pizza don't make a community center, but you know what will definitely attract people? Casinos. "Twisted" your knee skiing? No problem, take a seat at the tables. As far as I can tell there's minimal environmental impact from a few decks of cards. The town is already ground zero for Mardi Gras and spring break and, with a few more ticks on the fun dial, could capitalize on the best part of the worst part of society.

Instead of trying to complement Aspen, Snowmass should compete with it. Let Aspen have the Food & Wince Classic because Snowmass is bringing the Cheetos and Cheeba Carnival to town with enough bongs and Birkenstocks to give Mayor Markey Butler a panic attack.

What's the point of building all of this development if the only time locals use it is when they remember "Oh, hey, we could go to the new Limelight," before realizing it offers the same fare you can get in Aspen. The mall is there but I couldn't find a place to watch football before 3 p.m. even with Cidermass, Septemberfest and the hot air balloon festival in full effect a couple of weeks ago.

The family-friendliness of Snowmass has the town in a rear-naked choke but the hand wringing isn't stopping. The odds of any of what I proposed happening is zero, but what if a marijuana organization wants to put on an event in town. Snowmass has the space and infrastructure to do so in the summer, especially.

The backlash would be astronomical. I can see the letters to the editor headlines now: "Satan seeps into Snowmass," "The delight of the darkside: Devil's lettuce takes over Snowmass" and "Hippies: An epidemic." This isn't entirely about marijuana; it's more about acknowledging this facade of wholesomeness. There are bras and panties right off the Village Express lift. The Venga Venga patio looks like a scene out of "Bad Mom" during apres. Church groups and families alone aren't enough to vindicate the Base Village development, just like this op-ed isn't going to spontaneously combust — even though the people, who want both to happen, want it very bad.

If you're willing to spend millions of dollars on Base Village, wouldn't you want some aspect of enjoyment for adults without children beyond the three times a year when Base Camp is popping. Those in charge surely know that bars remain open after kids go to sleep. Despite popular opinion, sunset is not the formal curfew of Snowmass. No one is advocating for casinos and strip clubs — well not realistically, at least — but some restaurants and bars in Snowmass might like a little business past 9 p.m.

One of the most popular acts in Snowmass during ski season is magician Doc Eason at the Stonebridge Inn. I know because guests constantly ask me about him. Grown folks, desperate for something to do, laud his adult-friendly routine that comes out after children are put to bed. While he's fantastic for parents handcuffed to the hotel lobby, magic isn't exactly catnip for young people.

Dinner and a movie is impossible in Snowmass as currently constructed. East West Partners, the developers and operators of building six in Base Village, proposed an exhibit for fossils; rows of theater seating for concerts, speakers and movies; and a restaurant and bar space on its property. That, along with the new Limelight, is seemingly a step in the right direction.

It will be interesting to see how the space is used. Will there be any effort to create this alleged community space or will it be a multimillion-dollar, misguided monument to family values? Because there's more than just families in a community and it's hard to turn a profit on chicken fingers and Cherry Cokes.

Sean Beckwith is the designer of the Snowmass Sun. Reach him at sbeckwith@aspentimes.com.

Letter: A shift in values over the decades

Editor:

The Aspen Idea 1949: Body, Mind, Spirit

The Aspen Idea 2018: $

Jeff Kremer

Snowmass Village

Marolt: Making a case for political correctness

Why has political correctness become a bad thing? Or, to the point, how did it ever become political correctness? I think it used to be called "manners."

At any rate, I will use the label "it" instead of "political correctness" or "manners" so as not to offend anyone.

The problem with political correctness, obviously, began when someone made "it" political. Contrary to popular belief, this was not bleeding heart liberals.

While it is true that this extremist branch of mostly over-intellectualized Democrats might have been going way out of their ways to not offend others by addressing women as "Miss" and using gender-neutral pronouns, they certainly weren't doing it to be cruel. The same could probably be said about using festive greetings like "Happy Holidays" instead of "Santa Clause is coming town."

No, politicizing these random acts of trying not to offend others came from grumpy people with zero tolerance for anyone who does not conform to their narrow worldview. It has become a political movement to take away our Constitutional right to be nice and to neutralize our biblical directive to treat others the way we would like to be treated (with dignity and respect, for those of you keeping score at home).

Just watch now, somebody will assuredly try to argue that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is it mentioned that we have the inalienable right to be nice. I will counter that argument by saying that, if the right to be kind was not assumed by our Founding Fathers to be implicitly embedded in the Constitution, then the entire work is seriously flawed and we, as Americans, are dutifully bound to scrap it and start again from scratch.

It was either this or that bullies needed a way to make fun of polite people. It is a lot like their successful movement in ancient times to relabel the smart kids in school as "nerds." It is all about taking somebody's virtue and redressing it as a vice in order to justify hanging them from the flagpole by a belt loop or stuffing them into a gym locker.

When it comes right down to it, the anti-political correctness movement is manners-shaming. It is a convenience for self-important people who simply don't have the time or patience to be considerate.

As a point of clarification, we do need to agree that not all things lumped into "political correctness" by some have anything to do with manners. Some things are just plain "wrong" no matter how you categorize them.

For example, somebody brags that he "grabbed a woman by the p—-y." Using the word "p—-y" is politically incorrect and rude per this discussion. Grabbing a woman against her will in this manner is sexual assault.

Sadly, we have to make this distinction so that people can't then make the argument that, as another example, refraining from using the N-word is only a matter of good manners.

On the other hand, we can see that taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem is actually nothing more than a rude gesture in the opinion of some Americans. It is not against the law, it does not go against anything written or implied in the Constitution; it is not, as some claim, disrespectful to any race, creed, gender, or those who have served our country in the military. My guess is that it offends the same proportion of soldiers as it does the general population. Is that being too politically correct?

So, how about this: Instead of burning perfectly good Nike T-shirts in public, hoping to incite a civil war in the process in retaliation for a shoe manufacturing company supporting what they believe is a person's right to protest in a peaceful, non-threatening manner, why don't those who are offended by the act simply call it what it is?

A professional football player taking a knee during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner is, at worst, a politically incorrect action, or bad manners — much like a baseball player adjusting his cup at this time or fans using it as an opportunity to duck into the restroom before the kickoff.

I think our country can find some common ground in this. If all those who claim to be against political correctness can look at something that other people are doing to annoy them and bring themselves to recognize it as being politically incorrect rather than a crime punishable by expulsion from the country, then we will all be on the same page. Once we are there, we can change political correct back to manners and agree that we should all be more polite and use them.

Roger Marolt apologizes to all offended by his words today. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

East West inches forward with plans for Building 6 of Snowmass Base Village

About a year after the town of Snowmass solicited the community for ideas on what should occupy Base Village Building 6, what the community-use space will look like inside remains largely unknown.

After exploring other possible avenues and tenants, the town formally decided in May that Base Village developers East West Partners, under the limited liability company Snowmass Ventures, would operate the 8,701-square-foot building.

Village Hall is the working title of Building 6, which must be substantially completed by Nov. 1. Upon its completion, the developers will grant the building to the town.

The town of Snowmass Village and East West are currently working through the lease agreement, Town Manager Clint Kinney said.

East West executives Andy Gunion and Will Little appeared before the Snowmass Town Council at a meeting Sept. 17 to offer an update on Building 6.

Gunion said that East West is still seeking an operator for the building's food and beverage component, which consequently will drive the design of the kitchen space.

The developers were recently "headed down a path that looked really promising," Gunion said, but the operator "backed out for a variety of options."

Currently, East West "has three or four decent conversations going on" with prospective restaurant tenants, Gunion said.

The company has run ads in the Denver Post and "locally" over Food & Wine and Labor Day weekends, according to the memorandum from Kinney.

"East West and town staff agree that the Food and Beverage operation will be critical to the operations of the building," the memo states. "Hence, finding the 'right' operator is imperative and is taking a considerable amount of time."

Gunion admitted that the process "has taken longer than we wanted it to." He said that East West hopes to finalize an F&B operator "in the next month or two."

With regard to finding a restaurateur, Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler asked, "Is there a hang up?"

"Overall, it's just concern about economic viability in the restaurant business, and (in) these resort environments is very difficult," Gunion said. "And I think Base Village has had successes and failures of different restaurants in the past and I think some people are a little nervous about that."

While Building 6 will sit mostly vacant this winter season, in an effort "to activate that space," Gunion said, plans are underway for a temporary bar and food service on the building's deck.

Gunion told the Sun on Sept. 18 that East West is "working on a local operator that will be really cool." Because the deal is not yet final, he declined to reveal the interim tenant.

The idea is for the short-term food and bar service to be up and running in time for the Dec. 15 grand opening of Base Village, Gunion said, pending that East West receives licensing from the town in time.

Another unresolved piece of the Building 6 puzzle is the status of Snowmass Discovery and what role the nonprofit will play in helping execute the town's vision of displaying the Ziegler Reservoir finds.

The Snowmass Discovery board is currently "intact but inactive," Kinney said, with chairman John Rigney still at the helm.

"We met with some (board) members last week, and I think there's a recognition that there needs some love, there needs to be some energy pumped back into it, there needs to be lot of effort put in by the board," Kinney explained, primarily in the way of fundraising.

The town of Snowmass is expected to contribute $767,000 toward the completion of this building, the memo states. Of this amount, $350,000 is earmarked to complete the discovery area and the remainder will go toward the other three "sections" of the building.

As the developer, East West was required to construct the building at a cost of approximately $6 million to $7 million. East West also committed to finance an additional estimated $2 million of tenant finishes for the building.

While the town is investing in what it hopes will showcase the largest fossil discovery in Colorado, Snowmass Discovery is responsible for "the gravy on top," Kinney said.

Butler expressed concern with the nonprofit's ability to raise the funds necessary to carry out this concept and asked what the town can do to "help create some enthusiasm."

"I see some red flags with Discovery, … There's not a lot of people on that board that are fundraisers that I know of," she said.

Kinney assured the mayor that after recent conversations with the Snowmass Discovery board, "I think everybody understood that in order for them to pull off what needs to be pulled off, they need to step up a little bit."

Rigney did not return a call seeking comment by the Snowmass Sun's press time.

The Ice Age Discovery Center will either relocate to another comparably sized space on the Snowmass Mall or remain in its current pedestrian level storefront, Romero Group president Dwayne Romero said Sept. 18.

Either location would be through the 2018-19 ski season, Romero said. The Romero Group purchased the bulk of the Snowmass Mall, including the Discovery Center space, in late June.

The town of Snowmass in the past has leased the area from the mall owner on a yearly basis at a "deeply subsidized" rate, which Romero said he would continue to offer.

Romero said the group is in negotiations with a retail tenant for the storefront that houses the Discovery Center.

The town expects to learn this week whether the Ice Age Discovery Center will be able to remain in it same location, the memo states.

erobbie@aspentimes.com

Parents demand change at Aspen School District, fill school board meeting

A spillover crowd of parents packed the Aspen Board of Education's Monday meeting in what signaled their first public salvo to remove Dr. John Maloy as superintendent.

Their claims of a campus where teachers are afraid to speak their minds because of a so-called toxic culture, however, didn't resonate with the only two teachers who spoke during the public-comments portion of the meeting.

"As an employee and as a parent, I am proud of the collaboration that exists between the faculty and the administration and the school board, between our Aspen Education Association and its faculty, and the community at large," said Julie Markalunas Hall, a speech pathologist at the elementary school.

Likewise, Jared Thompson, a physical education teacher at the elementary school, said he also hasn't experienced the teacher climate of fear that has been alleged.

"It's a very positive atmosphere at the elementary school," he said. "The kids are happy, the teachers feel confident and supported. … To me, it's a positive place to work. I've enjoyed my 17 years here."

The parents' concerns were enough, however, for board President Sheila Wills to say the board would look into the culture that appears to be paining some faculty members. A work session addressing the issue could be scheduled for October, she said.

"We are a board that cares," she said. "We are a board that listens."

Wills said the board is familiar with teachers' concerns, and "we've been concerned about it for a while."

No teachers spoke negatively about the district because they are fearful of repercussions, said those behind Aspen Parent Action Committee, a newly formed group that began meeting last week in private.

"Our schools aren't performing, they're spending more money, making questionable hires and fires, and there's no transparency with the parents and the community," parent Bettina Slusar said. "It's not OK. We believe it has to change. And we're here as a group and as a community call to action.

"The teachers have been silent because they're afraid, but the data tells the story."

Slusar and other parents presented data showing the high school has slipped from third to 20th since 2010 in the Colorado Department of Education's ratings. The elementary school, once ranked 61st, now is 344th, Slusar said.

She also made a not-so-subtle suggestion about where the problem lies.

"I don't come from the academic world," she said. "I come from the business world. And we have a saying, and it's not polite but it's true: 'Fish rots from the head down.'"

Maloy did not publicly address the criticism that was levied his way. His annual performance review is set for next month. In October, the school board extended his contract through June 30, 2020. Wills told the audience the board will independently review his contract in executive session. Some parents suggested that Maloy undergo a 360 review by having colleagues and peers assess his job performance.

"We've had conversations about that," Wills said.

Maloy left his previous superintendent job in Indiana under the same conditions that are currently plaguing the Aspen School District, parent Patsy Kurkulis said. She referred to quotes from teachers in Indiana who worked under Maloy. The common thread among the Indiana and Aspen teachers is Maloy's unsettling management style, she said.

"The fear of these teachers is real, and it's trickling down to the test scores and performance of Aspen students," Kurkulis said.

Parents also accused the administration of engaging in nepotism; Maloy's daughter is the district psychologist, while another parent criticized Maloy and Wills for supporting Elizabeth Hodges, the district's human resources director who was disbarred in April from practicing law in Missouri for her estate-planning work for an elderly couple. A grand jury also indicted her for a felony related to the same work; she pleaded it down to a misdemeanor in December 2016 and is currently serving two years of unsupervised probation.

"Criminality has infected the working environment," Butler said. "Does your staff feel safe knowing the HR director has been disbarred, accused of stealing money from dead clients and charged with a felony, all in a work setting? She has access to all of their private information.

"How does the staff feel when the chairman of the board and the superintendent both voice their strong support for this criminal? Once again, to whom may teachers and staff voice their concerns?"

Wills cut Butler off from remarking more on the matter.

"We all know who bears the responsibility for hiring and firing," Butler responded.

Kathy Klug, who retired earlier this year from her full-time position as the lead college counselor but still helps the school district, spoke highly of Maloy and his ability to keep the district on solid financial footing.

"I commend our superintendent on those kind of practices that keep us stable enough to talk about innovative programs," she said.

Conflict goes with any organization, but cries of a toxic culture serve only to divide, Klug said, adding that school data can be looked at many ways.

"You need to look carefully before you say we are a diminishing school district," she said.

Parent Bill Carlson said the parent committee plans to keep a presence.

"We're not a bunch of softies," he said, "saying 'Oh, my god, we're afraid.'"

He added: "We look forward to participating at every meeting until things begin to change."

Roughly 70 to 80 parents attended Monday's meeting.

The 2018 results of the Teaching and Learning Conditions Colorado Survey, formerly known as TELL Colorado and administered by the Colorado Department of Education, show that 77 percent of Aspen School District staff members were confident in district leadership, which was below the state average of 79 percent. The results were made available in January.

One of statements in the survey, "Staff feel comfortable raising important issues with school leaders," yielded 70 percent in agreement, with 28.1 percent saying they strongly agreed and another 41.9 percent saying they agreed. The remaining 30 percent were in dissent, with 16.8 percent replying they did not agree and another 13.2 percent saying they strongly disagreed.

Another 78 percent of the respondents agreed that "this school is led by an effective team," which also was below of the state average of 82 percent. The answer "strongly agree" generated 30.5 percent in responses, while 47.9 percent reported that they agree. The response "strongly disagree" saw 6.6 percent in favor, and "disagree" registered 15 percent.

Surveys were sent to 187 Aspen School District employees for the 2018 results; 138 teachers, or 77 percent, responded, another six responses came from school leaders, and 22 were from education professionals and service providers, according to the survey.

The survey can be found at https://tlcc-reports.cedu.io/​​reports/​401808/surveys/0/modules/0/constructs/02-SCHOOL-LEADERSHIP.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

Snowmass bear killing prompts state investigation after neighbor confronts hunter

A Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer is investigating the shooting of a bear and its unusual aftermath a week ago on a private ranch near Snowmass Village, officials said Friday.

The focus of the investigation, however, was not exactly clear because Kurtis Tesch, CPW's Roaring Fork Valley wildlife manager, said the bear was killed legally and the hunter doesn't appear to have done anything wrong.

"Hunters have every right to be out there like everyone else," he said Friday. "If what they're doing is right, there's no reason for anyone … to go off on them."

Tesch declined to specify the nature of his investigation, saying he still needed to visit the scene and interview the parties involved.

As it stood Friday, 68-year-old Thomas Andersen, a neighbor of the ranch, was facing charges of felony arson for allegedly trying to retaliate against the hunter and misdemeanor disorderly conduct for allegedly yelling and cursing at a kindergartner and a second-grader who were present at the ranch, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff's Office report and officials.

Andersen's son, however, told The Aspen Times on Friday his father did nothing wrong and said his dad was merely watching out for his mother's health. Loud bangs, like those from the muzzle loader used, cause her heart to race, he said.

"He got so mad about it because he's trying to protect my mom's heart condition," Michael Andersen said. "God forbid my mom has a heart attack."

Thomas Andersen declined to comment on the record Friday, while his Denver-based lawyer did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The incident occurred Sept. 7 at Brush Creek Ranch — owned by the Droste family — off Lower Brush Creek Road in unincorporated Pitkin County. Emergency dispatchers received a call about 7:50 p.m. from a person alleging that more than one bear, including cubs, were being illegally hunted and killed.

A ranch caretaker told a deputy he had given his friend permission to hunt for bears on the property. The friend admitted to killing the bear, and another deputy was able to confirm with CPW that the man had a valid permit to hunt a bear and that the time, day and location were legal, the report states.

But after the killing, the hunter told deputies that Thomas Andersen came over to the property "in a rage" and began screaming at him, his two sons and the ranch caretaker, according to the report by Deputy Michael Buglione.

Andersen told the boys their father "is a murderer" and a "dumb f—," and called the boys "sons of bitches" and "little bastards," the hunter told deputies, according to the report.

The man's sons are ages 5 and 7, Buglione said. Andersen's "rage lasted several minutes," the report states.

Buglione and another deputy went to Andersen's home and told him the bear was killed legally.

"At that point, Andersen went into a rage that seemed to have lasted two minutes or longer," Buglione wrote in his report. "He was screaming loud, his face was red and at times spit was coming out of his mouth. Andersen would not let me get a word in."

Andersen said he and his wife were watching the bears and saw the shooting, Buglione said. But Buglione eventually left the property after Andersen allegedly made derogatory statements about Italians, saying he'd return when Andersen was calmer, according to the report.

Both the hunter and the caretaker said they didn't want to pursue charges at the time.

But later that night, about 11:05 p.m., the situation took a darker turn when Buglione received another call from the hunter, according to his report. He said he'd found what appeared to be gasoline poured on the ranch driveway, along with a red plastic gas can nozzle and pieces of a brown paper bag.

"I honestly believe that when we pulled up to the driveway he ran away and that he was in the act or process of lighting the fire," the hunter wrote in a statement, according to an arrest warrant filed in Pitkin County District Court.

Buglione arrived and noticed a strong smell of gas just outside the ranch gate and a 6-foot-by-3-foot outline of fluid that had soaked into the gravel and dirt driveway, along with the nozzle and paper, according to his report. One of the papers appeared to have the name of Thomas Andersen's wife written on it, the report states.

The deputy again approached Andersen's front door and noticed a gas can without a nozzle, his report states. He knocked on the door and Andersen came out, according to the report.

"I asked Andersen about the gas, nozzle and paper and he said, 'At least I didn't start the fire,'" Buglione wrote in his report. "I asked Andersen if he poured gas on the driveway and left the nozzle and paper there in retaliation to (the hunter) legally shooting a bear and Andersen's reply was, 'Yeah, but I didn't light the fire.'"

Buglione did not arrest Andersen immediately because he needed to research the applicable charges in the case, the report states. He said Friday that it took some back and forth with the District Attorney's Office before a District Judge signed the arrest warrant Thursday.

Buglione said Friday that the shooting happened "several hundred yards" from Brush Creek Road, the hunter shot away from the road and that he didn't feel the situation was dangerous.

It also was not clear what Andersen allegedly might have been trying to set afire, Buglione said. The gas spill was not near a structure, though it possibly could have ignited grass or brush, he said. Buglione said he did not recover an incendiary device.

"I did not feel that Andersen was in any danger at the any time," Buglione said. "I think it was total retaliation for the bear hunter, based on his statements."

Michael Andersen, who was not present at the home during the incident, said in a phone interview from Miami that his father had asked the caretaker the day before to stop shooting on the property because of his mother's heart condition.

"(Shooting at the property) seems like a malicious act," he said. "You're messing with someone's health."

He also said the gasoline was on the Andersen property and was the result of his father carrying a gas can and accidentally spilling it. The family has four-wheelers and other motorized vehicles on the property, he said.

"My dad is an older man and the 5-gallon jugs are heavy," Michael Andersen said.

Asked if his father was attempting to light a fire, he said, "No way. That's not possible at all."

He denied that his father cursed at the young children or admitted attempting to commit arson to Buglione. Also, the family has been watching two bears — one of which was shot Friday — all summer and his father is a fan of wildlife.

"He's a big animal lover," Michael Andersen said. "I really do feel he's been falsely accused."

Tesch, the valley's wildlife manager, said it is legal to hunt 50 feet from the center of any road in Colorado, provided the hunter has permission to be on the land. In addition, a bear can be killed from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, he said.

Asked what he thought was unusual about the situation, Tesch concentrated on Thomas Andersen's behavior.

"As far as hunting, nothing," he said. "Mr. Andersen … the way he handled the situation is kind of unusual.

"There was no reason for him to go on that property and yell at (the hunter). It was legal."

jauslander@aspentimes.com

Snowmass sees record occupancy in August, up 22% over last year; Aspen also up

Snowmass' occupancy spiked to new heights in August, while Aspen was up slightly over the same time last year, according to Stay Aspen Snowmass' report released Thursday afternoon.

Paid occupancy in Snowmass Village hit an August record of 61.8 percent last month — a 22.9 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello attributed the town's major gains to the return of Tough Mudder, the first of Jazz Aspen Snowmass' Labor Day shows falling on the last day of August, and visitation to Aspen Skiing Co.'s debut Lost Forest.

The town traditionally sees a dip in occupancy between schools starting and Labor Day weekend, Abello said, and therefore scheduled Tough Mudder — which drew to the village several thousands of visitors — during this late August lull "so that it would do exactly what it did."

Abello said the JAS Labor Day Experience "always (produces) strong bookings" in Snowmass Village, so capturing even one night of the festival increases August's numbers.

Skico Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle said the Lost Forest, which opened to the public late June, "proved to be extremely popular with our guests, (and) from what we can see, appeared to drive business.

"The numbers exceeded our expectations, in a challenging summer when we had the airport closure and the fires, Snowmass had a massive increase in business."

Skico does not release numbers per company policy.

In Aspen, occupancy last month reached 73.2 percent, which is up 1.8 percent from August 2017. Altogether, this was Aspen's second-busiest August on the books, behind 74.8 percent occupancy in 2016.

Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich noted in his report the continued trend of last-minute or month-of bookings.

Tomcich said in an interview that Stay Aspen Snowmass first noticed an increase in late bookings last winter; however, "It's continued month after month" at both destinations.

Data for Stay Aspen Snowmass' report is provided by Destimetrics, a Denver-based research firm that tracks occupancy and bookings trends for resorts in a number of mountain states.

"We're super excited. We always say, 'It takes a village'," Abello said of Snowmass' August record. "It's not just what (Snowmass Tourism's) doing; it's what the properties, Skico, restaurants (and) retailers are doing to continuously make Snowmass an exciting and enticing summer destination."

erobbie@aspentimes.com

Snowmass history: Prelude to a classic

"Wine classic is a taster's delight," The Aspen Times wrote on June 27, 1985. "Wine lovers came from far and near to enjoy the pride of the vineyards at the third annual Aspen/Snowmass International Wine Classic held last weekend. Over 500 persons, including vintners and volunteers, attended the three-day event which took place at the Snowmass Conference Center and the Inn at Aspen. Fifty-six domestic and foreign wineries were represented at the Classic. Highlighting the weekend were lively speaker presentations, panel discussions and five wine tastings. Many attendees admitted their favorite event took place on the final day of the Wine Classic. A full house packed the Inn at Aspen Sunday for the 'Dessert Extravaganza,' and normally calorie-conscious people indulged in the orgy of sweet and sparkling wines to complement the desserts."