News in brief |

News in brief

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – A former Snowmass Village resident pleaded guilty Monday to one felony count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Vaughn Barnett faces a state prison term of two to six years for his conviction. Sentencing is set for Feb. 6.

Snowmass police arrested Barnett, 28, in December 2010 after he and another man were suspected of having 11 pounds of pot mailed to a post-office box in Snowmass Village.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutor Arnold Mordkin agreed to drop one felony charge of Barnett violating conditions of his bail bond by skipping a previous court hearing for the marijuana case.

Barnett, who is in Pitkin County Jail, is represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

ASPEN – Aspen elementary and middle school students can show off their Lego-building skills Tuesday during Aspen Middle School’s Lego Showcase Event.

The expo is an opportunity for kids to build Lego models that fit the theme, “Thoughts on the Future.” The theme was chosen to highlight the Aspen School District’s move into robotics and engineering in the schools, among other things.

“By hosting a Lego Education Showcase event, we are offering students and community members the opportunity to work together to explore and build our thoughts about the future,” said Aspen Middle School teacher and event organizer Caroline Hanson.

Today’s event also will include Lego NXT robotics exhibitions, such as a Sumobot competition. “Dancing with the Robots” also will be on display, in which community members can try their skills at programming and directing the autonomous robots used at the Aspen schools.

The Lego showcase, scheduled for 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Aspen Middle School, is being funded by a Lego Education Showcase grant from the Education Blueprints Association. Only 100 of these grants were offered nationwide.

ASPEN – Aspen Mountain will be the site of a torchlight descent and fireworks display on Saturday as part of Aspen’s Wintersköl celebration. Skiers and snowboarders are invited to participate in the torchlight descent.

Interested participants should meet at the bottom of the Little Nell lift at 7:30 p.m. As many as 150 people can participate on a first-come, first-served basis. Children are welcome; those 12 and younger will receive battery torches. All participants must sign waivers.

Organizers recommend that snowboarders and skiers wear old clothing, as real flares will be distributed to those 13 and older. The torchlight descent begins at 8 p.m. on the Little Nell run and will be followed immediately by a fireworks display. Aspen Skiing Co. also recommends helmets.

ASPEN – Pitkin County and the city of Aspen are offering free radon test kits throughout January, which is National Radon Action Month.

The kits will be given away until they’re gone. Pick one up at City Hall at 130 S. Galena St. City residents may pick up a kit at the Environmental Health Department on the second floor. Pitkin County residents can get one at the Community Development Office on the third floor. Radon kits normally sell for as much as $40. Several hundred of them will be distributed.

“We want to encourage property owners to take this threat very seriously. Radon gas buildup indoors causes cancer, and there are simple things people can do to ventilate their homes if they test and discover radon buildup,” said Jannette Whitcomb, the city’s Senior Environmental Health Program coordinator, in a statement.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is not harmful at outdoor levels but can build up inside homes. The Aspen area has a high potential for rocks that produce radon.

Testing involves placing a test kit in a lower area of the house that is occupied (not a crawl space) for a few days and then mailing the kit away and waiting for the results. City and county environmental staff will be available to assist those who need help interpreting their test results, and information will be provided to homeowners who want to have remediation work done.

NEW YORK (AP) – Nick Cannon is out of the hospital after battling what wife Mariah Carey called “mild kidney failure.”

The entertainer was hospitalized in Aspen last week after he fell ill while the couple was on vacation there. He was transferred to a Los Angeles hospital a few days later. Carey said he was suffering from a form of kidney failure, but no further details were released.

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