Low Vail voter turnout in Hitt victory
Only 13 percent of voters, or 555 people, went to the polls to vote in the Vail Town Council special election Tuesday, Jan. 27, compared to a 31-percent turnout for November’s general election.Fourteen-year resident Farrow Hitt came away with the open council seat, which was vacated by term-limited former Vail Mayor Ludwig Kurz. Hitt, who garnered 227 votes, will be sworn in Feb. 3 for a term that lasts until November of 2005. He beat out Mark Gordon (174 votes) and Lou Meskimen (154 votes).”I’m very excited, and very glad I won,” Hitt said. “All three (candidates) stood out there (at the polls) from 6:50 a.m. to five in the evening, and I got to know those guys pretty well. It became clear to me that everybody ran for the right reasons.”My heart goes out to Mark (Gordon). He worked really hard through both (the general and special) elections, and he should be very proud. He’s only been here a little more than three years, and I’ve never seen anybody make inroads like that in such a short time.”The voter turnout was higher than the last time Vail held a special election, which was in January of 1996. Kurz won his seat in that election, when 362 votes were cast for a 10 percent voter turnout.Kurz could have decided to step down this past November, but he chose to stay on until January and fulfill his term. The cost of the special election was estimated at more than $6,000.With completion of the special election, Vail’s leadership on the Town Council will remain in place until the next election in November 2005, when the terms of Hitt, Dick Cleveland and Diana Donovan will expire. Newcomers Kent Logan and Kim Ruotolo joined incumbents Rob Slifer and Greg Moffet in winning election to the Town Council this past November.”I think Farrow will be a really good council person,” Slifer said. “He’s level-headed, he’s in the lodging business, and I think it’s good to have someone from that sector because it’s such a big part of our community, and I think his personality will fit with our council.”Slifer added that he though all three candidates were more than qualified to be on council, and that he hopes Gordon and Meskimen stay involved in local politics.The seven-member council will conduct a goal-setting session facilitated by Town Manager Stan Zemler on Feb. 13, followed by a report to the community at a town meeting on March 18. Council members receive a salary of $500 per month; the mayor receives a salary of $1,000 per month.Police search for links in robbery spreeThe Vail Police Department, Avon Police Department and Eagle County Sheriff’s Department are jointly investigating three recent armed robberies in the Vail Valley. The three agencies met Jan. 27 to discuss the facts of the cases and the current leads.On Jan. 25, the Burger King in Avon was robbed by a man who threatened the clerks with a pistol. Both incidents occurred on a Sunday morning and both suspects were wearing ski masks and dark clothing. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the two businesses. Investigators have not determined if the incidents are connected and are looking at the similarities of the cases, as well as a third robbery at the Colorado Business Bank in Edwards on Jan. 6.Anyone with information pertaining to these crimes or any other crimes in the Vail Valley, should call Avon Police Detective Mike Leake at (970) 748-4026.
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