News in Brief
L’Hostaria illness still a mysteryThe initial batch of state health department tests of samples from victims who became ill last week at L’Hostaria turned out negative for common food-borne viral and bacterial illnesses. A second round of tests came up negative for common viral infections. Results will be available this afternoon from bacterial testing on the second sample. If all samples come up negative, the investigation will go on to the state center for epidemiology, which will examine case studies and make a determination next week.”There is not a specific bad food product or sick employee tied to the illness,” said C.J. Oliver, environmental health specialist with the city of Aspen. Test results can rule out common food-borne illnesses such as E. coli, salmonella or norovirus, a tenacious strain that has plagued cruise liners. But negative test results do not preclude diagnosis of a less common form of virus or bacteria. Oliver said that without a positive test result, there can be no exact diagnosis or remedy.There have been no further reports of illnesses at L’Hostaria. Oliver asks anyone who came down with symptoms to call his office at 920-5039.City invites comments on Canary InitiativeThe City of Aspen is holding two sessions for citizens to learn about and comment on the Canary Initiative. The meetings, at noon and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, will include a half-hour of information followed by an extensive comment period. There will be a very brief description of the Canary Initiative and a short talk about the key findings of the Climate Impact Assessment to bring everyone up to date at the beginning of each meeting. Then meeting organizers will ask three main questions: How aggressive should the city be with goals? What sectors – building, transportation or waste – should be the city’s priority? Are there specific suggestions for what to do? Depending on the number of people who attend, everyone will likely break up into smaller groups so there can be more input. The noon meeting will include lunch, while the 5:30 p.m. meeting includes snacks. Vrany eviction hearing continuedA hearing in Pitkin County government’s eviction case against 87-year-old Lada Vrany was postponed Wednesday.Vrany’s attorney, Mara Kleinschmidt, had a death in her family and was unable to appear in court. The case went before a Garfield County judge Aug. 16 but was continued to Aug. 23 to give the sides more time to negotiate a settlement.Pitkin County owns the ranch where Vrany, a native of Czechoslovakia, has lived since 1958. Vrany initially rented the property on Owl Creek Road from Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke. The county bought the ranch in 1988.The county offered him a new lease this summer and gave him a deadline of July 27 to sign it or face eviction. Vrany claimed the lease placed too many restrictions on him, so he refused to sign it. The two sides have discussed a compromise, but the county filed the legal proceedings in case the talks fail.No information was available Wednesday on the next court date.
Next Monday, Feb. 13, the council will host a work session on the results of the city’s outreach on the aging New Castle Creek Bridge. Next-step recommendations are expected to be announced at the meeting.