News in Brief |

News in Brief

SNOWMASS VILLAGE Jazz Aspen Snowmass concertgoers fretting over the potential for afternoon rainstorms can be thankful it isnt 1961.Summer ended abruptly when 10 inches of snow blanketed Aspen and the surrounding area on Labor Day weekend 46 years ago, Jim Markalunas said in a chance encounter and conversation this week. Markalunas is Aspens unofficial historian and weather watcher. His weather records stretch back more than 50 years.Markalunas said the freak storm caught elk and deer hunters off guard. Many hunters were stranded in the Flat Tops north of Glenwood Springs.The early blizzard also knocked out Aspens electricity. Markalunas, who worked for the city of Aspen at the time, had to fire up the old power plant. The plant was decommissioned in 1958 and only occasionally fired up to exercise it in the following years, he said. That weekend was the last time it was used, according to Markalunas.The best thing about the snowstorm was it created a particularly special Indian Summer.Concertgoers and outdoor adventurers wont have to worry as much about the weather this Labor Day weekend. The National Weather Services forecast for Aspen showed a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and mostly sunny skies on Monday. Highs were forecast between 76 and 81 degrees.

BASALT Basalts sales tax revenues were flat during the first seven months of the fiscal year, but thats not all bad since 2006 established a record pace.At first glance, the towns sales tax revenues look like they jumped this year. Theres a catch. Voters approved a 1 percent sales tax hike that went into effect Jan. 1.Basalt is now collecting a 3 percent sales tax. Last year the total tax was 2 percent.Town finance director Judi Tippetts said an apples-to-apples comparison shows revenues are up only 1.8 percent from December through June. The town collected $1,254,539 for that seven-month period in fiscal 2006. Collections nosed up to $1,277,558 in 2007. The towns fiscal year begins in December.Sales tax revenues from retail food establishments fell slightly during the seven months. That slide coincides with the remodeling of the El Jebel City Market. Some observers believe the stores sales slumped during its massive remodeling last spring and that revenues have picked back up.The general retail store, restaurants and lodge categories all reported increases in revenues from 2006 to 2007, Tippetts report showed.The towns overall sales tax revenues from the 3 percent tax were $1.92 million from December through June. Revenues from the additional 1 percent are reserved for open space and trails projects.Tippetts said 2006 was an extremely strong year for Basalt sales tax collections. Revenues from December through June were up 8 percent last year over the same period in 2005, she said. For the entire year, sales tax revenues were up 10 percent.Continued growth on top of those numbers will be difficult, Tippetts said.

BATTLEMENT MESA A Battlement Mesa man is the first confirmed human case of the West Nile virus in the county.On Thursday, Garfield County Public Health reported the man became ill July 31. He is no longer suffering symptoms or showing signs of having the virus.This is the last big weekend of the summer and its winding up, said Mary Meisner, public health director for Garfield County. We havent had a killing frost, so there are still more mosquitoes out there. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS The Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission does not want to see a large retail building between the community center and Glenwood Meadows.The commission on Tuesday recommended denial of a major development subdivision and variance request by Miller Weingarten Realty. Glenwood Springs community development director Andrew McGregor said there were a number of issues raised about variances and technical aspects of the project.I think the larger issue in [the commissions] mind was that the retail development was not consistent with the intent of zoning on that property, McGregor said. The zoning encourages a more diversified set of land uses.He said the application included one large, prominent retail building with an indeterminate number of tenants, and also a small restaurant on the lot on Glenwood Meadows property.When Glenwood Meadows was originally envisioned, that property was zoned with hospitality uses, he said. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)