News in Brief
Big Burn finally readyThe Big Burn at Snowmass is finally expected to make its 2006-07 debut today, although it might not be when the lifts first open in the morning, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.The Burn section of the ski area couldnt open on Thanksgiving because there was a lack of snow between the top of that chairlift and the one at Sams Knob. The Skico couldnt get people across the flats even though snow conditions on the Burn were bueno.So, the snow-covered, inaccessible Burn tempted and teased skiers and riders throughout the holiday weekend like a pastry on display for a devout Catholic during Lent.Well, its goodbye to the fast and hello to the feast. Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said there will likely be a delayed opening for the Big Burn today. No precise time was available. Hanle hedged just a bit and said the opening would occur Wednesday if something went haywire with preparations for today.Crews were able to make snow on Saturday and Sunday nights to cover the flat area between the chairlifts. Weve got the snow made and pushed around, Hanle said. Were about there.Mother Nature is expected to add to the manmade stuff. The National Weather Service forecasted 3-7 inches of snow for Aspen today and another 2-4 inches tonight.When asked Monday about the conditions on the Big Burn, Hanle said: It was really good before the wind.Wind gusts of up to 40 mph plagued the ski area Monday. It blew snow off some of the Burns sections and loaded it on others. Overall, he said, it remains in pretty good shape.
City Council to discuss Isis agreement todayThe Aspen City Council agreed Monday night to table until 5 p.m. today talks about the pending agreement to preserve the Isis Theatre, ostensibly to allow public input.A memorandum of understanding would allow the Isis Group LLC and Aspen Filmfest (now Aspen Film) to redevelop the building as a combination of midlevel commercial space and four movie theaters. The city would issue certificates of participation to help fund the project, although those certificates do not involve the city putting up any money. Proceeds from the certificates would fund roughly $8.9 million of the renovations, with another $850,000 coming from the Isis Group and $350,000 from Aspen Film.The Isis Group and Aspen Film would have 30 years to repay the debt, after which they would own their respective shares of the building. Deed restrictions on each owner would require that the commercial retail space remain midlevel and the theater space remain theaters as long as cinema is a viable national industry.The council originally was scheduled to vote on the memorandum at Mondays meeting, but in light of a packed agenda, Councilwoman Rachel Richards suggested moving discussion to today.Although the parties involved the city, Aspen Film and the Isis Group have already engaged in extensive discussions, Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss noted that the majority of the negotiations have gone on in closed-door executive sessions. Richards, too, would welcome citizen comment on the agreement.
Prostitution suspect won’t face jail timeProsecutors don’t plan to seek jail time for a woman accused of committing prostitution in Glenwood Springs.Deputy district attorney Katie Steers said a jail sentence doesn’t appear to be warranted if Hui Jun Mu is convicted of the charges against her.Jun Mu appeared in Garfield County Court Monday on misdemeanor charges related to her arrest in a police undercover operation Oct. 5 at A-1 Chinese Health Care Massage on Grand Avenue.She is charged with prostitution, which is punishable by up to six months in county jail and $650 in fines, and unlawful sexual contact, punishable by up to two years in jail and $5,000 in fines.Her case has been complicated by the fact that she speaks Mandarin rather than English. She was aided in court Monday by one interpreter who appeared in person and a second who spoke via a conference call.During Monday’s hearing, Jun Mu, who is unemployed, said she wanted a public defender. Public defender Garth McCarty said normally that service isn’t available when prosecutors aren’t seeking jail time, but he was willing to make a rare exception because of her situation, and the language barrier in particular.Steers said it appears Jun Mu wants to go to trial on the charges. Jun Mu on Monday indicated her desire to give her version of events at the time of the arrest.”Do you want me to tell you what happened that day?” she asked via a translator during Monday’s court appearance.Judge Paul Metzger, Steers and McCarty all immediately answered by saying no.”This is not the time to get into the facts of the case,” Metzger explained to Jun Mu as she peered over his desk and listened to his words being translated via speaker phone.She is scheduled to enter a plea in the case Jan. 29. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)
BLM sets Dec. 1 road closuresThe Bureau of Land Management will close several gates to backcountry areas for the winter season beginning Dec. 1, to protect critical big-game winter range and prevent road damage.These seasonal closures occur annually from Dec. 1 to April 30 at several points in the Castle Peak area in Eagle County, East Elk Creek in Garfield County, and on Light Hill and the Crown in Pitkin County.All of the areas continue to be open to nonmotorized recreation such as hiking, snowshoeing, horseback riding and skiing.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.
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Officials are investigating the source of a loud explosion at Smuggler Mine on Saturday morning.