News in Brief
An Aspen man died at his 324 W. Main St. apartment Monday night after his girlfriend found him unconscious. She went to a neighbor, who then called Aspen police, and medics pronounced him dead after arriving a few minutes later. Michael Dolle, 43, had been a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley for more than 20 years and worked at City Market in Aspen. The Pitkin County coroner is awaiting autopsy and toxicology results before determining the cause and manner of death. Head Coroner Steve Ayers said the tests could take two to four weeks. Aspen police found no illegal drugs on the scene and said suicide was not likely.Dolle’s father, Don, of Carbondale said Michael had pain from an injury and that he had been talking about getting surgery. Don suggested the death may have been the result of taking too many pain pills. Don said his son moved here about 23 years ago from his home state, Ohio. He helped out with the Snow Queen Lodge, which Don and his wife own. He said Michael lived there for some time and worked various jobs in Aspen.
The Aspen City Council has added two initiatives to the November ballot.The first asks voters to accept or reject final land-use approvals, including rezoning, for the recycling center near the Rio Grande Skate Park. The council approved the changes earlier this summer, but local Toni Kronberg circulated a petition to challenge that approval. Although Kronberg’s petition fell short by several signatures, she is allowed an extension to garner the remaining few. Assistant City Manager Randy Ready said it’s likely Kronberg will collect the signatures, but those signatures might come too late to include the referendum on November’s ballot, forcing a special election at a later date. With that in mind, he said, the council decided to put the question to voters in November without the petition.The second question before voters will be whether to raise the city’s sales tax from 0.25 percent to 0.45 percent. The city is seeking the increase to cover projected deficits in its parking garage and transportation funds. The increase would take effect in September 2009, when the current 0.25 percent tax expires. Without the increase, the city is projecting shortfalls of $300,000 and $1.2 million in the parking garage fund and the transportation fund, respectively.
The city of Aspen will hold a pair of meetings today to solicit public input on its global-warming initiative, formally known as the Canary Initiative.Specifically, officials want to know just how aggressive citizens would like their city government to be with regard to global warming. The meetings will feature a presentation on the Aspen Climate Impact Assessment by John Katzenberger, director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. The assessment illustrates the various consequences of global warming in Aspen. Participants then will discuss how they would like to see policy shaped on such issues as transportation, building codes and energy use. Citizens are welcome to attend either session – from noon to 1:30 p.m., or 5:30-7 p.m., in the Rio Grande Room (the meeting room in the former Aspen Youth Center.) Food will be provided.
On Monday night, the City Council listened to ideas for each old building. However, nothing laid out what the community space would actually entail — only aspirations and gathered community comment.