News in Brief

Give us your best shotsASPEN Capture a memorable image on the Fourth of July? It could be worth dinner for two at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant and Bar. The Aspen Times’ online photo contest is accepting entries through July 8. Visit and submit your best shots (look for the “Photo Contest” link below the “News” headlines). Several photographers, amateur or otherwise, have already posted their best efforts.Online readers can also vote on what they think is the winning photo. Readers will choose one winner, and the Times editorial board will pick one. Both will score free dinner at Jimmy’s.The Times will announce the winners July 13.No boom on SmugglerASPEN Because of current fire bans, the traditional 6 a.m. July Fourth cannon blast on Smuggler Mountain didn’t happen this year.Chris Preusch, president of New Smuggler Mining Co., said he talked with area fire officials in the run-up to the holiday and at the last minute decided not to set off the early morning blast.”When we rock the snot out of Aspen, then every amateur pyrotechnician decides it’s OK,” Preusch said. “It’s kind of like leading the way … giving the green light.”Preusch said it would have been safe to fire the cannon, but it sets a bad example, and Preusch did not want to add to the worries of area officials.”Given the way the summer’s going and with the fire ban, we’re finding it’s better to be a better citizen of the community,” Preusch said.And while it’s not the first July Fourth the cannon has gone silent, Preusch said it’s been five or six years. Former Smuggler Mine owner Stefan Albouy had the four-barrel steel cannon forged in Denver to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, Preusch said. Abouy began the practice to maintain the long-standing miner’s tradition of blowing up powder kegs to celebrate the holiday. (Charles Agar)Police: a relatively quiet FourthASPEN Police had very little trouble with illegal fireworks and only one rowdy crowd during Fourth of July festivities Wednesday. Sgt. Bill Linn said a fight broke out downtown Thursday morning, involving more than a dozen people after Club Chelsea closed at 2 a.m . “It was a pretty big fight,” Linn said. “We ended up with a couple of arrests.”Police arrested Roberto Hernandez Montoya, 22, of Basalt and Jose Hernandez Sanchez, 44, of Basalt and cited them for misdemeanor third-degree assault. Linn said witnesses identified the two as the aggressors of the incident. The two were allegedly trying to leave the scene in a car, but police pulled them over. There was only one detox and no DUIs on Wednesday. “People were very well behaved about fireworks,” Linn said. “I only know of a single incident [that] involved illegal fireworks. People were being smart because it’s so dry and dangerous.” Two men die in fiery I-70 crashWOLCOTT Two men were killed in the early morning hours of July Fourth in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 near Wolcott.Troopers did not know who the men were Thursday night because they had not been able to find anyone who knew them, said Sgt. David Kucera of the Colorado State Patrol.Paperwork in the vehicle showed the men were likely from a foreign country, said Kucera, who declined to reveal details of the paperwork or which country.Were pretty confident that they were foreigners, Kucera said.The crash occurred about 1:40 a.m. in the east lanes of I-70 about a half-mile east of the Wolcott interchange. The 1994 Toyota 4Runner went into the median and traveled about 194 feet before swerving back onto I-70 and traveling another 195 feet to the right shoulder.The car then flipped for about 275 feet, stopped on its wheels and caught fire, according to the State Patrol. Witnesses said the driver was speeding, Kucera said.Both men remained inside the vehicle and died at the scene.Fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze, according to the patrol, which is investigating the accident.Kucera has covered around 2,000 accidents in his career and had only seen 10 to 15 accidents like it.To have that kind of a fire, its kind of interesting, Kucera said. Its just not a very common occurrence to burn like that.Investigators are working to find out whether the fire was caused by a mechanical failure or something else, he said. (Vail Daily)Banging out the arrests in AvonAVON Police made 25 arrests during the concert and fireworks show and afterward in Avon, police Chief Brian Kozak said. Twenty of those arrests came after the concert and fireworks show, Kozak said.The 33 incidents included domestic violence, resisting arrest, minors in possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct. The concert and fireworks show went well, Kozak said. Three minors received tickets for possession of alcohol and two women were ticketed for a fight, he said. (Vail Daily)