News in Brief
January 25, 2007
ASPEN A Chicago woman who took ski lessons here is suing the Aspen Skiing Co. and one of its instructors, alleging she was injured after they took her down a black diamond run when she wasn’t ready. Agnes Mleczek’s lawsuit against the Skico and a number of other defendants was transferred from state court to federal court in Illinois earlier this month. She’s seeking more than $50,000.Mleczek’s 17-page complaint stems from a lesson she took Jan. 1, 2005. A Skico instructor, the suit alleges, “forced” her to ski down “an ungroomed and unsafe black diamond slope” on Aspen Mountain, even though the teacher knew Mleczek was an inexperienced skier. The suit makes claims for breach of contract, breach of duty and negligence.Mleczek declined to comment and calls weren’t returned from the Chicago law firm that’s representing her. Likewise, the Denver lawyer who’s defending the Skico wasn’t available for comment.
ASPEN The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation awarded more than $1.6 million in grants in 2006, including more than $1 million to Aspen Valley Hospital that has enabled the purchase of new imaging equipment.The hospital grants included $357,000 for a digital mammography machine described as “the gold standard of breast imaging” in a statement from the foundation, and $750,000 for a “64-slice” CT scanner.The mammography “offers excellent image quality and allows for manual manipulation of images to vary brightness, contrast and magnification.” The digital technology also allows a technician to look at the image immediately rather than waiting for development of film and makes it easier to archive and retrieve images for comparisons over time, the foundation maintained. The foundation also said that a patient’s exposure to radiation is lower than with previous technology.There were similar claims for the new CT scanner, described as “a breakthrough in medical technology.” The scanner provides quicker analysis of images, and greater detail in the images than previous technology. It also does cardiac CT scanning, allowing doctors to examine coronary arteries and other vascular organs, and it reduces a patient’s exposure to radiation.AVMF 2006 Community Grants amounted to $385,000 supporting 29 health and human-services agencies; $69,000 in scholarships to health care professionals; $38,000 in assistance to 280 individuals for medications, emergency medical services and dental care; and $10,000 each to 10 hospital employees, from the Dick Butera Distinguished Service Foundation. The employees are Chris Barbor, physical therapy; Melissa Scarlett Bland, ICU nurse; Ellyn Craven, central sterilization; Eric Gunthman, ER nurse; Sandy Klausman, surgery nurse; Janice Martin, ER nurse; Catalina Ruelas, central sterilization; Jeff Spiroff, kitchen chef; Lisa VanTine, radiology; and Erica Van Meter, pharmacy.In addition, the foundation gave $10,000 each to the Bariloche Project, an exchange program with Aspen’s sister city in Argentina, and $10,000 in financial and administrative support to the Pearlington Project, in which the Roaring Fork Valley helps the community in Mississippi, which Hurricane Katrina devastated in September, 2005.Funding for the grants programs comes in part from the Neighbor to Neighbor campaign, which solicits individual donations and payroll deductions through employers. Most of the money for the hospital comes from private donors with ties to Aspen.