News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

WOODY CREEK ” The body of a Woody Creek man found on Sunday afternoon has been identified as Thomas Morrell, 64.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation Tuesday and have ruled the death a suicide by a single gunshot wound. Investigator Ron Ryan said the autopsy supported the conclu­sion of suicide.

The body was found at approximately 4 p.m. Sunday.

ASPEN ” The Aspen Skiing Co. and an association for its ski patrollers negotiated a new two-year labor contract last week without the difficulties that plagued the process in the distant past.

The agreement covers a multitude of issues such as pay, overtime and contributions to retire­ment plans.

“We just changed some of the numbers and that was it,” said Doug Driscoll, secretary for the Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association. In recent years, he said, the two sides “knock out the contract without the difficulties of the past.”

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Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the negoti­ates were amicable. “We’ve got a good relation­ship with them,” he said.

The association was formed in 1986 when relations between the patrol and Skico manage­ment were sour. Patrollers at Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass teamed for collective bargaining. Aspen Highlands was independently owned at that time.

The effort to negotiate a first contract hit an impasse at the beginning of the 1986-87 season. Some patrollers picketed at the base of Aspen Mountain that season. A federal mediator was called to help broker the agreement.

The labor contracts often were negotiated for only one season, but they have been extended to two and sometimes three years as relations warmed over the years, Driscoll said.

The association legally represents about 150 patrollers at the Skico’s four ski areas. It legally represents them in collective bargaining, but there isn’t a closed shop that requires patrollers to par­ticipate in the association as due paying members, Driscoll said. About 90 percent of patrol members choose to belong to the association.

BASALT ” Two longtime Basaltines were enlisted Tuesday to help shape the town’s future.

Rick Stevens and Lis Conners were appointed to serve on the Basalt Planning and Zoning Com­mission for three-year terms. Stevens was appointed by the Town Council as a voting mem­ber, while Conners will begin as an alternate, according to Town Manager Bill Efting.

Both new members of the commission are well acquainted with town issues. Conners has been a Basalt resident since 1983; Stevens since 1977.

Stevens served as Basalt’s mayor from 1994 to 2004. He was initially elected to the council but appointed as mayor to fill a vacancy. He easily was elected to two four-year terms before getting forced out of office by term limits. He had previ­ously served on the planning commission.

In one capacity or another, Stevens participated in the creation of the town’s land-use master plans in 1989, 1994 and 1999.

Conners is a supervising broker with Chaffin Light Real Estate and has been a full-time real estate broker since 1983. She said her experience with contract language and legalities as well as an understanding of the complexities of development would help her as a planning commissioner.

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