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News in Brief

ASPEN ” The Taster’s pizza and sandwich joint in Aspen closed down over the weekend because of financial difficulties but will reopen later, according to co-owners Stacy Forster and Katie Clapper.

The eatery, which has been open about a year, will reopen “no later than April 1,” said Forster. The restaurant will reopen with half its staff but the same hours of operation and perhaps some specials to entice more customers in through the doors.

Taster’s, which is a satellite of an identical business in Snowmass Village also owned by Forster, is located in the old Aspen Youth Center, now known as the Rio Grande Building, across the street from Rio Grande Park and next to the Aspen Parking Garage.

A sign on the door last weekend announced, simply, “Sorry, We are closed.”

“It’s not a permanent thing, it’s just kind of a reorganization thing,” Forster explained. “Our winter numbers have been so low we’ve been losing money on a daily basis. In the summertime, we do a great business, because there are a lot of people in the park all the time.”

Clapper said she and Forster have cut their workforce from nine to four, adding, “It’ll be Stacy and me most of the time, in order to get money flowing again.”

She said the plan is to offer specials and other deals to customers, as a way of boosting business.

ASPEN ” A man suspected of swindling an Aspen builder of nearly $1 million is to make his first court appearance next month in Pitkin County, authorities said Tuesday.

Thomas Andrew Kiplingbaugh, 54, stands accused of 28 felonies ranging from theft to unauthorized use of a financial transaction device. He was arrested Feb. 24 in Newport Beach, Calif., on a warrant issued out of Pitkin County.

Kiplingbaugh was released from jail after he posted $50,000 bail.

The warrant alleges Kiplingbaugh cheated Wodehouse Builders in Aspen out of $990,000 between September 2007 and March 2008. He was a manager for the builder at the time the alleged misdeeds took place.

Kiplingbaugh made a number of cash transfers to pay for items, including a home on Sierra Vista Drive. The ill-gained money was also used to allegedly buy cars, pay for private schooling and other personal use, the warrant alleges.

Kiplingbaugh is to appear April 6 for an advisement hearing in Pitkin County District Court.

BASALT ” A Basalt man died Tuesday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Basalt Police Department.

The man was identified as David S. Behr, 54, of Basalt. Police and medics were dispatched to Behr’s residence on River Cove Court at about 1:20 p.m. Tuesday. He was determined to be dead at the scene. His body was recovered from a treehouse at the property.

The police department and Eagle County coroner’s office are conducting an investigation, as is standard when there is an unattended death. The cause of death won’t be formally released until an autopsy is completed.

ASPEN ” LJ Erspamer has officially announced that he is running for mayor of Aspen.

Erspamer, 64, said last week that he was considering a campaign but wanted to see if he could garner enough support. He told The Aspen Times on Tuesday that he is ready to run for the two-year term.

The Minnesota native is the third person to announce candidacy for Aspen’s highest-ranking elected office; incumbent Mick Ireland announced last week that he is seeking re-election, and TV talk show host Andrew Kole announced earlier this month.


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