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New in Brief

The Aspen Police Department reports that bike theft is a growing problem.

There have been 17 cases of unresolved bike thefts so far this year, a value of $26,100. Many of the bikes stolen this year were locked, sometimes right outside a residence.

There are 45 open bike theft cases, with a total value of $43,557, from 2005.

The police department recommends:

– Store bikes inside houses or workplaces.

– Lock bike and wheel to immovable object, not a sign or something easily unbolted.

– Use a heavy U-lock.

– Do not leave accessories on a locked bicycle.

– Be clear that insurance from a lock manufacturer covers your bicycle.

– Register your bike with the police department.

The Freddie Fisher birthday bash ” and all the ensuing irreverence ” shall return from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Red Onion.

That night would be the bandleader’s 102nd birthday. Although he died nearly 40 years ago, his musical talent and quick wit has made him a legacy in Aspen.

The second annual Freddie Fisher Irreverent With Prize, also known as the Fishwit Prize, will be awarded to a local newspaper columnist. To qualify, the writer must be both irreverent and entertaining. A secret panel of judges will select the winner.

“They will certainly have failed at political correctness, been vulgar and unfair on occasion, shown serious flaws, but somehow maintained a sense of humor and wit ” and contributed to our social fabric through letters,” organizer Greg Poschman wrote in an e-mail to the Times.

Fisher sent many an off-color letter to The Aspen Times, and he received the Colorado Press Association’s first and only Letters to the Editor award in 1964.

He led his band ” Freddie Fisher and the Schnickelfritz Band ” with his talents on the clarinet in the 1930s and ’40s, with more than 200 recordings and at least 15 Hollywood movie appearances to his name.

DENVER (AP) ” Term-limited GOP Gov. Bill Owens signed his last bill from a regular session on Wednesday, a package of bills to protect children that included a measure cracking down on sexual predators on the Internet.

Other measures he signed by Wednesday’s deadline include a bill that creates a fund for child abuse intervention, financed by surcharges on people convicted of crimes against a child, and a bill that imposes tougher penalties on people who abuse children.

“All of these bills I signed today combine to make sure that criminals feel the consequences of child abuse and exploitation. These steps are necessary. They’re common sense. And they send an instant message to sexual predators online: Tangle with children on the Web, and you’ll be weaving your way to prison,” Owens said.

Owens also signed several bills supported by environmentalists, including a measure that requires environmental review of any proposed private toll road projects; a bill that protects private property owners from eminent domain condemnation for private development; a bill to allow for the development of a state-of-the-art coal project featuring lower pollution emissions, and the first-ever Colorado legislation aimed at combating global warming.

Owens noted that they were his final bills as governor, unless he calls a special session, which isn’t likely.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, said the Republican governor deserved a passing grade for working with Democrats, who control the House and the Senate for the first time in 42 years.


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