News in brief | AspenTimes.com

News in brief

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office has issued a news release identifying the hiker who died Saturday near Pyramid Peak as David Morano, 41, of Dillon.

The incident is still under investigation. Recovery efforts are due to resume on Wednesday.

ASPEN – The nation’s recession and streak of bad news – hurricanes, European defaults and stagnant employment, to name a few – has only encouraged more vacations to the Aspen and Snowmass areas, according to MTRiP, which collects and tracks regional mountain travel data.

Snowmass Village lodging operators reported a 24.8 percent increase in occupancy year over year in August, according to MTRiP’s monthly report. Year to date, Snowmass is reporting a 22.2 percent improvement in occupancy, at a slightly lower average room rate of $110 per night.

In Aspen, the occupancy rate jumped 9.1 percent this August versus the same month in 2010, while the city saw a huge increase in bookings in August versus the same month last year – which traditionally means a stronger winter season. Snowmass Village saw a 20 percent increase.

The increase in Aspen bookings was mostly due to short-term, same-month bookings, which were up dramatically 28.7 percent compared to the same period last year, reported MTRiP. This is most likely the result of the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge, an international bike stage race through Colorado, which filled the downtown with spectators on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

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EL JEBEL – The Eagle County commissioners will continue their review of a midvalley recreation center at a meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in El Jebel.

The recreation center is planned for Crown Mountain Park. It requires the county commissioners’ approval of a master plan amendment for the county-owned property.

If the commissioners approve the concept, the recreation center would still need voter approval for funding. A property tax increase would be necessary to raise funds for construction and for operations. The Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District board of directors decided in June not to place a funding question on the November ballot because of concerns about the economy.

Tuesday’s meeting will take place at the Eagle County Building and Community Center in El Jebel; the public hearing began on June 28. The commissioners raised concerns at that hearing about traffic at the intersection of Highway 82 and El Jebel Road, and about the amount of parking proposed for El Jebel. Planners for the recreation district will get the opportunity to address those issues.

ASPEN – The Roaring Fork Valley chapter of 100+ Women Who Care will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Aspen’s Limelight Lodge to determine its next benefactor. All women are welcome to attend.

The local branch of 100+ Women Who Care was founded in spring 2011, and has since donated more than $12,000 to two local charities – English in Action and Childhelp.

The concept is simple: A group of women commit to donating $100 each four times a year, or a group of four women join together as a team to reach the requirement by donating $25 each time.

The group meets quarterly, checkbooks in hand, to decide the beneficiary. Any Roaring Fork Valley nonprofit is eligible; the process of choosing the charity begins with members placing their anonymous suggestions in “the hat.” Three are chosen at random. At which point, the member who nominated the drawn charity gives a brief explanation of why she chose it. The membership then votes, a beneficiary is selected, and dozens of $100 checks are written out. At the following meeting, a representative from the winning charity tells the group how it spent the money.

For more information, visit http://www.100wwcroaringforkvalley.com.