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Parents petition for Aspen School District superintendent’s removal

An Aspen parent group's effort to oust Superintendent John Maloy has taken form through a petition drive that went online this week.

"We respectfully request the school board fulfill their elected duty to serve the people and oversee the district," concludes the petition's message from the upstart Aspen Parent Action Committee. "We no longer have confidence in Superintendent John Maloy's ability to lead our district, and we ask that you immediately take the steps necessary to bring new leadership to the Aspen School District."

Posted on the website Change.org, the petition drive marks the committee's latest pressure play on the Aspen Board of Education, a board of five publicly elected members, to not renew Maloy's contract when it comes up for review in October.

"There's a real gap between who knows what's going on and everybody else," said Bettina Slusar, a member of the parents group, on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, the way that Maloy has run things, it's just created a situation where the people who are most affected are afraid to speak out."

Slusar said the goal of the petition drive is to collect at least 1,000 signatures and present them to the board at its next meeting Oct. 1.

Maloy did not respond to email and telephone messages Tuesday or Wednesday, and he didn't publicly address parents who spoke critically about his performance as superintendent at the Board of Education's meeting Monday.

Maloy became superintendent of the Aspen School District in March 2010, originally signing a three-year rolling contract that is subject to review and renewal each year by the school board. His current contract, approved by the school board in October 2017, is good through June 30, 2020, with a base salary of $183,403.

The superintendent was made the center of attention of the beginning of Monday's board meeting, when its public-comments portion was seized by a spill-over crowd of parents decrying the state of affairs at the school district.

With about 75 parents in the crowd, some of the chief concerns expressed included sliding academic performances, turnover among teachers and low teacher morale. No teachers spoke publicly to affirm the conditions those parents alleged; however, parents said that was because they were afraid to air their grievances. Two teachers spoke favorably of the district, while former college-counselor director Kathy Klug, a supporter of Maloy's, and her husband, Warren, urged parents to take a positive tact.

"I think if there are legitimate concerns, and obviously there are, if you're unhappy with your teachers or what's going on, there are ways to present those issues positively, and I have to believe this board, this administration, including our superintendent, are happy to listen to input," Warren Klug said. "But let's make it positive, and let's remember that the picture is much, much better than looking at schools that are rated way, way down the list."

The call for positivity, Slusar said, "is great but I'm not sure how you do that."

She said the petition's intention is to show the Board of Education that "this isn't just a bunch of senile vigilantes making up these accusations."

"Teachers and faculty who have expressed their concerns have been reprimanded and/or fired," the petition reads. "School performance is down, morale is low and the free exchange of ideas is nonexistent. Having a healthy, positive, and respectful working environment for our teachers and staff is the foundation of providing an exceptional education for our children. Given the superintendent's history (a reference to Maloy's former superintendent job in Indiana) of dividing the schools he has led, we have come to the conclusion that the situation is beyond repair."

At the meeting, board President Sheila Wills said she would call for a work session in October to address the perceived morale problem among staff members.

"There were some great comments about collaboration and keeping it positive," board member Dwayne Romero said at the meeting, "but there is clearly enough body of evidence here … to see that there is something amiss.

"And I appreciate the president's recognition and the willingness to conduct a work session. I want to make sure (the parents committee) understand that this is not a one-and-done. And when the community gets engaged, I think that's super important. We serve you, not the other way around." The divide has taken on a war of words, as well. The Parent Action Committee's flier for its first meeting, which was held Sept. 11 at a private residence, accused the district of engaging in self-interest and nepotism, among other allegations. Another flier, in an apparent attempt to mock the parents group, said, "We must empower ourselves to speak out and demand more problems. Life in this valley might seem like a fairy tale, but we know better!"


Aspen’s $20,000 bike lockers gain no traction with commuters

The rollout of the city of Aspen's bike lockers at Buttermilk has been a bust so far this season.

The city's Parks and Open Space department spent close to $20,000 for 20 bike lockers that were installed in the Buttermilk parking lot in July.

Not one of them has been rented.

"The Parking Department got 10 calls of interest and no one popped for them," Brian Long, the city's trails field supervisor, said Wednesday.

The lockers are being offered for a $25 rental fee for the rest of the season, which is through Nov. 15. That has been the rate since the rollout earlier this summer.

"I didn't have gigantic expectations that a ton would be booked at the second half of 2018, but I thought some," Long said.

The lockers were purchased with the idea that they would be useful to commuters who take the bus or drive upvalley to switch to bikes for the last few miles into town.

"I would think they would be very attractive to Snowmass Village commuters," Long said.

City officials were hoping people would take advantage of the lockers during the Castle Creek Bridge construction, which began in April and is scheduled to end Oct. 31.

"The whole idea came about in a brainstorming meeting during this project," Long said, "but now they are permanent and an amenity in and of themselves."

The lockers, which will be put in storage for the winter in mid-November, are meant to complement the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which in part aims to expand bicycling opportunities in Aspen, officials said in July.

Available through the city's Parking Department, the lockers will be available again next year. The rental cost for an individual locker for the full season, from April to November, is $40.

Bike lockers are popular in other cities, although most are metropolitan areas. Long said his colleague, Lynn Rumbaugh in the city's Transportation Department, used to work in the Seattle area, where there was a significant waitlist for bike lockers.

In Denver, the RTD has them available along its routes for $30 per locker for a six-month lease and a one-time $20 padlock fee.

Long said he and his colleagues will rethink how to get the message out next year that bike lockers are available to the public.

The outreach this year was a news release and a post on the city's Facebook page.

"We definitely want people to use them," Long said. "I have high hopes in 2019 that people take advantage of them."


Mandatory curtailment of water rights in CO raised as possibility

A state-imposed mandatory curtailment of water in the Colorado River Basin within Colorado was discussed as a looming possibility during a meeting of the Colorado Water Conservation Board on Wednesday in Steamboat Springs.

Representatives from the Western Slope told the statewide water-planning board that while they favor creating a new legally protected pool of water in Lake Powell and other upstream federal reservoirs to help prevent a compact call on the river, they have significant concerns about the pool being filled outside of a program that is "voluntary, temporary and compensated."

However, Front Range water users told the board that a voluntary program may not get the job done and that a mandatory curtailment program, based on either the prior appropriation doctrine or some method yet to be articulated, may be necessary to keep Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam functioning so Colorado, Utah and Wyoming can deliver enough water to California, Arizona and Nevada to meet the terms of the 1922 Colorado River Compact.

"With the repeat of historic hydrology beginning in the year 2000, Lake Powell will be dry, and when I say dry I mean empty, within about three years," Jim Lochhead, CEO and manager of Denver Water told the CWCB board.

Lochhead said that while a voluntary demand management program might help bolster water levels in Lake Powell, "it doesn't necessarily solve the problem."

"So we may need — I know we don't want to implement — but we may need other mechanisms to accelerate the creation of water into Lake Powell in the event of an emergency," Lochhead said. "This is not something that Denver Water wants, or is asking for. What we are asking for is that the contingency plans be put into place. We need to have those plans in place before the system collapses."

On Wednesday, staff at the CWCB said that neither they, nor the state attorney general's office, is at this point "assessing, pursuing or recommending to the CWCB board any type of involuntary or 'anticipatory' curtailment scenario."

And yet, it's on a lot of people's minds.

Lochhead said Denver Water wants to see a voluntary, temporary and compensated program created as a "first priority," but also said "I also don't think that by not talking about mandatory curtailment we can pretend the problem will go away. We need to be thinking about it, and we need to be thinking about it proactively."

However, Western Slope water interests as represented by the Colorado River Water Conservation District and the Southwestern Water Conservation District are concerned that if a new storage pool is created in Lake Powell, and a mandatory curtailment program is used to fill it, it could have dire consequences for agriculture on the Western Slope.

"This is our livelihood," Kathleen Curry, a rancher in Gunnison who serves on the Gunnison River Basin Roundtable, told the CWCB. "This water is what we depend on. If we move in the direction of mandatory curtailment, and it isn't equitable, you are going to have significant impacts to the water users in the state of Colorado, especially on the Western Slope."

The two regional Western Slope water conservation districts had drafted a resolution they wanted the CWCB to adopt Wednesday, which did not happen, as the CWCB declined to vote on it.

The resolution stated that any mandatory curtailment program would be developed on a "consensus basis" with the two districts at the table, and not just be a directive of the state.

However, Bennett Raley, the general counsel for the Northern Water Conservancy District, which provides water to nearly a million people in northeastern Colorado, said the state, as a sovereign entity, should not be constrained by consensus.

He also said that mandatory curtailment may well be necessary in Colorado.

"If the drought continues, there are two paths," he told the CWCB board. "If there is an infinite source of money, then voluntary works. Great, we're all happy. If the drought continues and there is not an infinite source of money, then the state will go to mandatory. The Supreme Court will ensure that, sooner or later, it's not a question."

Part of the fear of such a mandatory program is that hardly anyone, outside of perhaps the state engineer, knows what it would look like.

"Ultimately it's a state decision, it's a decision of the state engineer as to how water rights would be curtailed to meet the state's obligations under the Colorado River Compact," said Lochhead, when asked after the meeting how mandatory curtailment would work. "The short answer is, I don't know. There are a lot of questions and viewpoints."

Lochhead did say Denver Water is willing to "work with the state and with the West Slope to ensure that any curtailment doesn't disproportionally impact any region of the state, whether it's on the West Slope or the Front Range, and that essentially the same rules apply to everybody."

Editor's note: Aspen Journalism is collaborating with The Aspen Times and other newspapers in the Swift Communications group in Colorado on the coverage of rivers and water. More at http://www.aspenjournalism.org.

SKI Magazine names Aspen-Snowmass inaugural ‘resort of the year’ in west

Aspen-Snowmass is the No. 1 ski "resort of the year" in the West, according to SKI Magazine.

SKI Magazine will unveil its debut "Resorts of the Year" issue in October, with categories featuring "Best in the West" and "Best in the East." Smugglers' Notch in Vermont is ranked the top ski resort of the East.

These two resorts garnered editor and reader praise for offering skiers the best overall vacation experiences, according to a statement from SKI Magazine.

"With its variety of terrain across four resorts, family-friendly offerings and virtually unmatched dining, lodging and apres in the vibrant town of Aspen, Aspen Snowmass delivers the whole package," SKI Magazine content director Samantha Berman said in the statement. "Add to that the resort management's forward-thinking attitude toward the environment and its inclusion in the industry-changing Ikon Pass, and we feel that Aspen-Snowmass is the destination generating the most buzz going into this season."

Berman said the inaugural issue was developed based around the question, "Where should I ski this winter?"

"Our audience is hungry for insights and intel," she said. "They want to plan vacations and craft experiences to remember for years to come."

SKI Magazine's Resorts of the Year edition will hit newsstands Tuesday.

Pitkin County to prompt valley-wide recycling changes, looking to end drop-off sites

Changes coming to Pitkin County's recycling program likely will have a ripple effect on communities throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and businesses in Aspen.

A new county waste ordinance that commissioners could address next month will require all county residents to pay for curbside recycling, said Brian Pettet, the county's public works director, and Cathy Hall, county solid waste manager.

In theory, that ends the need for drop-off recycling sites such as the Rio Grande Recycling Center in Aspen and others in Redstone and the Basalt area, they said. It also would end the need to subsidize Snowmass Village's recycling efforts, Hall and Pettet said.

"If the board approves (mandatory recycling), the need for those drop-off facilities goes away," Pettet said. The money to operate them would likely be better spent on other diversion programs that focus on things such as food waste and construction debris, he said.

The drop-off recycling sites are expensive to operate and aren't as efficient as curbside recycling, so county staff are recommending that commissioners stop funding them by next year, Hall and Pettet said.

If Pitkin County goes to mandatory curbside recycling — which may occur as soon as January — other valley communities are likely follow suit, Hall said. Glenwood Springs is looking at the idea, Basalt will likely follow Pitkin County's lead and Carbondale has already adopted a curbside recycling ordinance, she said.

"You will start seeing it down the valley," Hall said Tuesday. "Everybody will require curbside recycling."

Pitkin County's current waste ordinance only requires trash haulers to offer residents the option of paying for single-stream, curbside recycling, Pettet said. Between 70 percent and 75 percent of county residents currently opt to recycle, Hall and Pettet said.

"The board has given a philosophical thumbs-up to pursue the mandatory program," Pettet said. "Whether you recycle or not, you will still pay the fee (if the ordinance changes)."

In addition to requiring all residents to recycle — or at least pay a recycling fee ­— the new ordinance probably will charge residents by volume for landfill garbage, meaning that the more trash generated the larger the trash bill, Pettet said. That is meant to incentivize recycling, he said.

The county currently pays or co-pays for recycling drop-off sites in Aspen and Basalt, while the Redstone site is staffed twice a month by volunteers, Hall said. Pitkin County pays for all recycling in Snowmass Village, she said.

Hall and Pettet recommended Tuesday that commissioners transfer responsibility for the Rio Grande Center in Aspen to the city and completely stop paying for the operation of the site by 2020. In addition, they proposed closing the Redstone site in February, stopping the recycling subsidy to Snowmass Village in 2019 and phasing out the county's financial responsibility for the Basalt/Willits site in 2020.

Hall said the national increase in single-stream, curbside recycling has triggered a decrease in the number of recycling drop-off centers. Glenwood Springs, for example, closed its drop-off center last year, she said.

Particularly irksome for commissioners Tuesday was the Rio Grande site located next to Aspen's skateboard park.

The county paid $213,000 to operate the site in 2017 and the city paid nothing. And while city staff help operate and clean the site, a 2015 informal county survey indicated that 57 percent of Rio Grande users are city residents or businesses, Hall said in a recent interview.

The city has had a mandatory curbside recycling program since at least 2012.

Between 100 and 200 people a day use the Rio Grande center, which is located on city-owned property, during the busy season, Liz Chapman, specialist with the city of Aspen's Environmental Health Department said recently. And while she cast doubt on the accuracy of the county's survey three years ago, she said a 50-50 split between city and county users was a "reasonable" estimate.

Businesses in Aspen's downtown core, in particular, appear to use the site frequently, along with property management companies, so something would have to be done about commercial recycling for Aspen if Rio Grande closes, Pettet said.

"Every year, Food & Wine is a problem," Hall said Tuesday. "We have to call Waste Management to empty the bins. Each bin is $50 a trip."

Commissioner Rachel Richards said it's time for Aspen businesses to chip in for recycling.

"Times have changed," she said. "I don't think the county can subsidize city businesses that don't want to schedule recycling pickup at their businesses.

"People need to take responsibility for their own waste."

Commissioners have tried repeatedly over the past few years to get the city to help pay for the recycling center to no avail, said Pettet and Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock. Specifically, the Aspen City Council has twice declined to contribute in the past seven years, Pettet said.

"We are not able to have a conversation with them," Peacock said Tuesday. "We haven't been able to get on (the City Council) agenda for five years.

"It's a challenging issue. We are struggling with how to move forward."

The contract with Waste Management, a private hauler, for the Rio Grande is set to expire in February and a new contract could be in the $300,000 to $400,000 range or higher, Pettet said. That's partially because recycling is an expensive process and partially because China just banned imports of most mixed paper and plastic recycling, he said.

Pettet told commissioners he'd like to see the city take the lead on negotiating that new contract, which the county would pay 50 percent of in 2019. The city would take sole responsibility for the site in 2020, according to Pettet's recommendation.

If the city again declines to help pay for Rio Grande, the county would then have to reassess its options, including possibly closing the site, Clapper said in a recent interview.

"That would be a tough thing to do … when you're a county that's been as pro-recycling as Pitkin County," Clapper said. "I want to push a serious discussion with the city of Aspen on this."

On Tuesday, Clapper reiterated that request for a discussion with the city, saying it was clear that downtown Aspen businesses are significant contributors to the Rio Grande.

Commissioner Rachel Richards said she'd also like to see the city start paying for at least part of the Rio Grande.

"If they don't want it to remain, they should give us a clear message on that," Richards said.

She also suggested extending the life of the Redstone drop-off site for six months to see how the new curbside recycling program is working.

Commissioner George Newman feels there's enough time before the Waste Management contract expires in February to bring the city, county and public together to deal with the Rio Grande Center.

"I think we need to begin and get some decisions made," Newman said.

Aspen council members heard from Chapman, who helps manage the Rio Grande site, about the county's plans for Rio Grande on Monday during their regular work session.

"It will significantly impact us," Chapman said.

City Manager Steve Barwick told the council the issue is complex and expensive and that he thinks a work session with county commissioners on the subject should happen.

"It will be a large hit to the general fund," Barwick said. "It took us by surprise."

Commissioners on Tuesday asked Pettet to bring them the new waste ordinance so the first step in the process could begin. That ordinance is currently undergoing review by the county lawyers and may be ready by next month, Pettet said.


Aspen on the Hill: Zombie people of the Rio Grande Trail

People-watching is a time-honored tradition in Aspen, where man furs and high-heel hikers are seasonal species. But a mystery presented itself to me in recent months, as I found myself people-watching at sun-up on the Rio Grande Trail.

This summer I got in the habit of going for a dawn run. I'd wake up at 6 a.m. and brew coffee and quite literally run out the door of my Centennial apartment to jog the Hunter Creek Loop, or wheeze up and down Smuggler or do a few miles out and back on the Rio Grande Trail. Basically, I'm aiming to get outside and squeeze in something I can do in about 45 minutes — getting me back home before my baby daughter wakes up and in time to have breakfast with her and my wife.

While Hunter Creek and Smuggler at this ungodly hour are populated sparsely with the usual crowd of dogs and humans and the spandex-clad, the upper stretch of the Rio Grande — in addition to the usual trail-pounders — is a weird wasteland filled with the dead-eyed, dragging themselves through this aspen-lined trail at dawn.

Just about every morning I'd see bleary-eyed couples in pajamas, yawning and pushing astoundingly perky toddlers in strollers. Many mornings, I'd pass weary packs of men and women in suits or buttoned-up business casual dress. And every morning, I'd spend my run wondering what they were doing out there and how this bizarre high-country version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video came to be. So tired, so defeated, why go for an amble down Aspen's most popular and easily accessible trail?

Eventually, I put together that these folks are sort of time zone refugees. In town from the East Coast and finding themselves unintentionally awake, they're just strolling along the Roaring Fork River until the rest of town rises. The dressed-up folks, I figure, are attending Aspen Institute conferences and doing semi-productive early morning walk-and-talks connecting to the Rio Grande from the Meadows Trail. Those sleepy stroller-pushers, I've deduced, found themselves in hotel rooms with toddlers still on Eastern Standard Time — wide-eyed at 5 a.m. and jostling their parents from bed.

I feel their pain. But after the mind's fog clears and as the first sun rays splash on Bell Mountain, it is a hell of a place to find yourself waking up.


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.


Aspen thief has tough road ahead, judge says

A 19-year-old local man who racked up three felony convictions in two jurisdictions in about a year deserved more than just a probationary sentence, a district judge said Monday.

"You know the cliché, 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?'" Judge Chris Seldin asked Kaden Gustin.

Seldin pointed out that when Gustin was first arrested for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise while working at an Aspen retail store, he let him out of jail on bond only to have Gustin go out and allegedly commit more felonies in Pitkin and Eagle counties. And that was despite the fact that he'd been in trouble as a juvenile and should have known what was in store if he kept committing crimes, Seldin said.

"Evidently those efforts made in the juvenile system were not enough to keep you out of the adult system," Seldin said. "You have entered the adult system in a fairly spectacular way … kind of like a cannonball landing in a pool. You made quite a splash."

After the first arrest, Gustin was later picked up and charged with stealing cash from a friend's mother, who let him borrow her car. He also was charged in Eagle County with unspecified charges that led to a recent felony conviction in that jurisdiction, prosecutor Don Nottingham said.

Gustin pleaded guilty in early August to two felony counts of theft in Pitkin County.

On Monday, Seldin gave Gustin the same sentence he received in Eagle County — four years of probation — though with one significant difference: Gustin must spend nine months in a rigorous halfway house-type environment called Garfield County Community Corrections. That program — which is notoriously difficult to complete — will teach valuable life skills Gustin doesn't appear to possess, Seldin said.

The three felony convictions on his record are going to make the rest of his life — in particular getting a job — difficult, Seldin said.

"Man, that's tough," the judge said.

The two four-year probation sentences will run concurrently, Nottingham said.

Gustin apologized to the court for his actions and said he began making poor decisions when he moved to Aspen from Vail, where he's from.

"I was raised by my parents to have a better set of morals than I have shown," Gustin said. "I want to be somebody my little brother can look up to."

In other court news Monday:

• A California man pleaded guilty Monday to felony failure to register as a sex offender and public indecency, a petty offense, in connection to a bizarre incident May 2017 in Aspen.

At that time, Michael Webber, 55, was found walking naked down the street in downtown Aspen with white powder caked in his nose and complaining of seeing snakes. He was later found to be a registered sex offender in California and had been required to register in Colorado because he'd been living in the state for 14 consecutive days out of 30.

Webber attempted to fight the charges until earlier this summer when District Judge Chris Seldin ruled that the arrest by Aspen police did not cause him cruel and unusual punishment or a lack of due process.

As part of a plea deal, Webber is expected to receive a one-year deferred judgment and sentence when he is sentenced in November. That means the felony offense will be wiped from his record if he successfully completes a year of probation.

• Two Carbondale residents are facing significant prison time for allegedly assaulting and stabbing another man who may have stolen marijuana from them.

Lily Snyder, 19, and Israel Carreno, 23, have each been charged with two counts of first-degree felony burglary, one count of second degree burglary and felony assault. They also face violent sentence enhancements because they allegedly used a weapon, Nottingham said.

That means they each face between 29 years and 82 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

The couple and another unidentified man allegedly assaulted another man in front of his home in July, then followed him inside when he fled and beat him up with brass knuckles or another weapon. Carreno allegedly stabbed the man with a screwdriver.


Aspen man accused of killing pedestrian on Highway 82 makes initial appearance

An Aspen man who police say struck and killed another man late last month in Basalt is facing two felony charges and one traffic misdemeanor in connection with the incident, according to court documents.

Christopher Fish, 49, made his initial appearance in Pitkin County District Court on Monday on charges of felony vehicular homicide, felony leaving the scene of an accident and misdemeanor careless driving.

None of the charges require mandatory prison time.

Pamela Mackey, Fish's Denver-based attorney, said the District Attorney's Office has not yet received Fish's toxicology report from blood tests taken the night of the accident, which should be back in two weeks. Prosecutor Don Nottingham later confirmed that statement.

Mackey defended former NBA star Kobe Bryant on sex-assault charges and former Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy on domestic-violence charges. She also has ties to Aspen, having represented current Sheriff Joe DiSalvo on an assault charge when he struck a man in an Aspen bar while head of investigations for the Sheriff's Office in 2004, and local developer Nikos Hecht, who was accused of domestic violence in 2015.

Fish was allegedly at the wheel of a Ford F-250 pickup that struck Aspen Village resident Michael Campion, 54, at the intersection of Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue the night of Aug. 24, according to court documents. A witness told The Aspen Times that it looked like Campion jumped out in front of Fish's truck.

Fish's truck stopped about a mile up the road, where police contacted him. A portable breath test indicated Fish had no alcohol in his system after he stopped, though he failed roadside sobriety tests, court document state. A Basalt police officer and drug recognition expert also examined Fish and believed he was under the influence of marijuana, the documents state.


Glenwood Hot Springs to add new water attractions

For the first time in a decade one of Glenwood Springs' oldest attraction and the world's largest hot springs pool will undergo a major makeover.

The 130-year-old Glenwood Hot Springs Resort announced an extensive, multi-million-dollar renovation of the west end of the property. The resort will begin adding new aquatic features, which will replace the old water slides, kiddie pool and miniature golf course.

With plans for the project to begin in January, the old attractions will be removed starting this fall to make way for an all-new updated and integrated water park that will include an adventure river, interactive water features and more.

The key feature and main attraction will be an adventure river, which will twist and turn with some surprises along the way.

At a little over three minutes long, the adventure river will give visitors the feel of floating down a mountain creek, complete with lush landscape, cascading tiers and boulder features, according to pool officials.

"The new Adventure River is a custom-designed tube ride in keeping with the family-oriented Colorado outdoors experience," Glenwood Hot Springs CEO and President Kjell Mitchell said.

Integrated near the adventure river will be the addition of a children's play area, which will include mini water slides, shallow play areas and a new kids pool, with shade structures for sun protection.

"This addition serves a key niche to offer an expanded experience for those wanting extensive play opportunities beyond the current 1978 vintage kiddie pool." said John Bosco, Pool COO and Vice President.

The expansion will improve guests' comfort, as well, with the addition of new restroom facilities on the west end of the pool area.

Plans include an interactive fountain that will act as a kid-friendly splash pad during the day and a lighted fountain for pool visitors and passing tourists on the pedestrian bridge at night.

"We are always seeking ways to elevate the guest experience," Mitchell said.

For the past two years, the resort has been in the planning and design process for the new water park and associated features. The final price tag for the project has yet to be determined, according to Bosco.

Hot Springs management has been consulting with two firms, DHM Design in Carbondale and Cloward H2O based out of Provo, Utah.

Both firms specialize in hot springs and aquatic park design.

Negotiations on terms with contractors are still pending, but Mitchell and Bosco are optimistic those will be forthcoming. The estimated completion of the new attractions is slated for July.