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News in Brief

Local adults will pay $407 for an annual pass to the Aspen Recreation Center next year, up about 7 percent from the current fee of $380. Aspen youths will pay $330, up from $309.

The cost of a family pass for a local family of four will increase to $890, up 7 percent from the current $832. Additional family members can be added for $15 per person.

The cost of monthly and six-month passes and 20-punch cards at the ARC will also go up roughly 7 percent in 2005.

Aspen residents are offered one rate to use the ARC; Roaring Fork Valley residents are offered passes at slightly higher prices.

The daily rates for Aspen and valley residents will go up 50 cents ” from $8 to $8.50 for local adults, for example.

The daily fee for visitors will be $13 for youths and $15 for adults. A 20-visit guest card for visitors will cost $225.

Vail’s collection of October sales tax flattened to a 0.3 percent increase over last year despite healthy increases in lodging and food, and beverage sales.

It follows a booming September that saw the town’s collections of its 4 percent tax increase nearly 11 percent.

The sales tax collections indicate there were $12.7 million in taxable sales in town ” the collections are generally viewed as a barometer of business activity.

But there’s a Jekyll and Hyde-ish nature to the collections between Vail Village and Lionshead. In September, Vail Village posted solid gains while business activity in Lionshead slumped. In October, however, the trend reversed itself with Lionshead up 7.4 percent and Vail down 2.9 percent.

Collections for the summer in Vail were flat, with a 1.3 percent increase ” less than inflation ” but collections are up a healthy 5.5 percent year to date, reversing a decade-long trend of flattening or declining sales tax in Vail.

Aspen saw a 5 percent increase in October sales compared to 2003, with sales for the first 10 months of the year up 7.5 percent over last year.

Phone lines went dead across the Roaring Fork School District on Monday.

Teachers, principals and staff couldn’t call out of the schools, and no one was able to call in. People calling the phone lines got a busy signal.

“They were just deader than a doornail,” said Judy Haptonstall, assistant superintendent for the district. “They’ve been working frantically to get it fixed.”

The district didn’t know if the problem was inside its system or outside; Re-1’s technology people, Qwest and outside groups were working to diagnose the problem. It turned out that the problem was in the district’s system.

A controller card that handles the connections to the buildings failed, said David McGavock, the technology director for the district.

The district hasn’t had any complaints from parents about not being able to get in touch with the schools, Haptonstall said.

“I think every other kid in the schools has a cell phone, so there’s been no lack of communication,” she said. District administrators and building administrators all have cell phones as well, she said.

In an emergency, schools wouldn’t be totally isolated, she said. Each school has a regular phone line that doesn’t go through the district’s phone system and is used only in emergencies.


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