News in Brief
ASPEN ” St. Mary Catholic Church will open its overnight homeless shelter Nov. 19, two weeks ahead of schedule.
In response to falling temperatures and the needs of a handful of homeless people in Aspen, the Rev. Michael O’Brien will allow overnight visitors to bunk on cots in first-floor classrooms early, according to members of the Aspen Homeless Coalition.
“It was mainly because we have a group of people that are already cold outside,” said Nan Sundeen, director of Pitkin County Health and Human Services. “Father Mike was amazingly receptive to the idea as long as he has the staffing and the volunteers.”
Overnight visitors can stay at the church from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day until March 30.
Aspen Valley Hospital will provide a free breakfast at the shelter, as well as lunch and dinner at a day room for area homeless people at the Health and Human Services building near the hospital on Castle Creek Road.
Sundeen, whom Gov. Bill Ritter recently appointed to the Interagency Council on Homelessness, said the shelter and the day room are an opportunity to connect those in need with mental health and substance abuse case management, as well as other services.
The coalition is seeking volunteers to help staff the shelter and day room, and will hold volunteer training sessions in coming weeks, Sundeen said.
ASPEN ” The defense attorney for Moses Greengrass said Monday that his client intends to plead not guilty, though a motion will be filed for a change of venue.
Greengrass, 26, of Aspen, faces charges of felony possession of more than 25 grams of cocaine and possession with intent to sell.
Defense attorney Garth McCarty did not give a reason for the motion to change venue.
District Judge James Boyd ruled that affidavits to support the motion must be filed by Nov. 9 and the district attorney’s office must file a response by Nov. 16. Oral arguments on the motion will be heard at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 19.
ASPEN ” A man who police arrested for allegedly trying to sell hair oil as liquid acid was denied a reduced bail on Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols argued that bail should not be reduced from the current $ 2,500 because of Russell Surgeon’s significant criminal history.
Surgeon, 22, is charged with possession with the intent to sell an imitation substance. He is in the Pitkin County Jail, and defense attorney Garth McCarty said Surgeon could not post bond.
McCarty complained that Surgeon has been “getting the runaround” and subject to harrassment by valley police, though he did not provide evidence to support his claim. McCarty also said Surgeon’s mother would take him in if his bond were reduced, though he said Surgeon had been transient. Nichols said Surgeon had three juvenile felony convictions and two adult felony convictions as well as numerous misdemeanors including carrying a concealed weapon and trespassing.
District Judge James Boyd denied the motion to reduce bond and said it was low, considering Surgeon’s lengthy criminal record. Surgeon is set for arraignment at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 3.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Verizon Wireless has failed a second time to win Garfield County approval for a new cell phone antenna site south of Glenwood Springs.
A vote by county commissioners on the plan Monday resulted in a tie, which spelled defeat for the proposal. Commissioners heard from residents concerned about the facility’s possible effects on property values and health.
Verizon wanted to place two sets of four 4-foothigh antennas on a building under construction at the Glenwood Commercial LLC site on the east side of Highway 82. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)
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