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News in Brief

A Pitkin County man charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl appeared in District Court on Monday.

Shaun Van Dyke, 24, sat next to his lawyer, John Van Ness, who requested a preliminary hearing from Judge James Boyd.

Van Dyke, an employee at the Aspen Recreation Center, is charged with sexual assault on a child, a felony. He allegedly met the victim at the recreation center ice rink where he worked. The girl’s mother told investigators she believed her daughter was having an affair with Van Dyke.

Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols told Boyd that she had no objections to setting a date for a preliminary hearing.

“Discovery is fairly complete, but the investigation is continuing,” she said.

Boyd set the preliminary hearing for Jan. 10.

Colorado Mountain News Media, the company that owns The Aspen Times, announced Monday that it has purchased Grand Junction’s Free Press.

Colorado Mountain News Media, which also publishes daily newspapers in Vail, Glenwood Springs and Summit County and weeklies in Snowmass Village, Carbondale, Eagle, Leadville and Rifle, said it is delighted the Free Press is joining its family of Colorado papers.

“We intend to maintain ” and strengthen ” the unique editorial voice of the Free Press,” said Robert Brown, chief operating officer of Colorado Mountain News Media. “We know that the Grand Junction community has welcomed this brand-new newspaper and we want to continue to earn that welcome ” every day.”

Bob Lombardi has been named publisher of the Free Press. Lombardi has a long and distinguished career in Colorado journalism, working with community papers on the Front Range and Western Slope and serving a term as president of the Colorado Press Association.

For the past two years, Lombardi has worked with Colorado Mountain News Media, publishing the Bargain Hunter.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS ” A backcountry skier died Monday after being buried under 3 feet of snow in an avalanche on Buffalo Pass.

The 26-year-old man from Steamboat Springs had been skiing with friends who had been taking turns driving up Soda Mountain on snowmobiles and skiing down, said Scott Havener of Routt County Search and Rescue. The man, whose name has not been released, was wearing an avalanche beacon and his friends were able to find him and dig him out about eight minutes after the slide.

Havener said the man’s companions administered CPR, but he was pronounced dead after rescuers arrived.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said Monday’s death was believed to be the first avalanche death of the winter season in Colorado and the ninth in the United States.


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