News in Brief

EAGLE COUNTY – Police got a call from the weirder side last Friday when some Aspen tourists got stuck on Cottonwood Pass and broke into a house to stay warm, according to an Eagle County Sheriff’s report. The North Carolina family had checked the website Mapquest and found that the pass was open year-round, according to the report. But their vehicle quickly became stuck in the snow on the closed pass. The three adults in the car and a 6-year-old then walked a half mile to a house.Armin Ghazi, described as one of the motorists in the report, knocked on the door and found no one home so he kicked in the front door. An Eagle County deputy who responded when Ghazi called law enforcement, said he saw no damage other than the door. He did mention that one of the motorists, Anna Dubovskova, had used a hair dryer. While at the house, the 6-year-old watched television. According to the report, Ghazi left a note for the owners of the home on their refrigerator. The Eagle County deputy mentioned he will leave it up to the homeowners whether or not they want to pursue criminal charges and consider Ghazi’s offer of restitution. The incident report listed the crimes of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and first degree criminal trespass, a felony. By the time the sheriff’s deputy got to the scene, Ghazi’s vehicle had already been pulled out by a tow truck. The report states that a dog in an outside pen at the house was unharmed.

CARBONDALE – A dispute between a 79-year-old Carbondale woman and her landlord at a low-income housing project is so contentious that they cannot even agree about what happened in a closed-door meeting Wednesday night.Lea Cano claimed the Carbondale Housing Authority board of directors upheld a decision by the management at the Crystal Meadows Apartments to not renew her lease. Cano said she was given until Monday to decide if she will vacate her home of eight years or fight the non-profit housing authority in court.Cano said she was given no option to stay at Crystal Meadows.Tim Whitsitt, the attorney for the housing authority, disagreed with Cano’s interpretation that the board upheld the management’s action. There has been “no final decision” and discussions continue, he said.Cano said she is uncertain what she will do. She fears that if she fights an eviction attempt in court and loses, she will be barred from living in any other housing affiliated with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”I’m just devastated at this point,” she said.HUD provided funds to help build the low-income housing project in Carbondale for the elderly and disabled. It also subsidizes rents.Cano is on a fixed income and pays $124 per month for her one-bedroom apartment. She is uncertain how she will stay in the Roaring Fork Valley, with its notoriously high rents, if she is forced out of Crystal Meadows.Cano was notified on Jan. 22 that her lease wouldn’t be renewed and she was ordered to vacate her apartment. The notice said Cano had repeatedly violated her lease in ways that “disrupted the livability of the project, have adversely affected the health or safety of others and the right of other tenants to the quiet enjoyment of their premises and related project facilities and have interfered with the management of the project.”Cano insisted that she be given more information about specific violations. The response from the housing authority executive director Jerilyn Nieslanik cited 26 incidents. Of those 12 involved disputes with the management or maintenance department. Other alleged violations included “confronting residents and upsetting them by talking about management.”Cano said she was targeted because she complained about management practices. She said the charges have been trumped up.Whitsitt declined to offer details about the alleged lease violations. The housing authority cannot disclose information about a tenant’s lease or non-renewal of a lease without a privacy release by the tenant, he said.”It’s simply an issue of confidential information,” Whitsitt said. Even if Cano provides that release, Whitsitt was uncertain the housing authority would discuss the matter.