Letters to the Editor

Letter: Lack of oversight in ambulance district

February 11, 2016 — 

Is it OK for citizens of Canada to vote for the president of the United States? Is it OK for the residents of Utah to vote for a Colorado state senator? Of course not! Yet this is exactly what the Pitkin County commissioners are allowing to happen. The Pitkin County commissioners are voted on “at large.” This means that every resident of Pitkin County can vote in an election for the seats on the Board of County Commissioners. The commissioners are the same and only elected representatives for the Aspen Ambulance District Board of Directors. Residents of Snowmass Village, Redstone, Basalt and Thomasville all get to vote for the representatives of a taxing district they don’t even live in. This practice needs to stop immediately!

The care that the improperly elected officials of the Aspen Ambulance District provide is evidenced by how often they meet as a district board. They have only convened as the ambulance district board eight times in the past five years. In 2013, they never held a district board meeting! My tax money is being looked after by whom and how often? The folks who look after the stuff we flush down the toilet meet once a month. Yes, the sanitation district board meets monthly, and yet the representatives who are in charge of emergency care for our loved ones didn’t bother to hold a meeting for an entire year! This practice needs to come to light, and as residents we should demand more care, oversight and proper representation of our tax money.

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Letter: Hire locally for hospital

February 11, 2016 — 

I read your story this morning “Hospital to cast ‘wide net’ in search for CEO” (The Aspen Times, Feb. 10) with interest.

The experience of losing the past two CEOs to their home states — Dan Bonk to Wisconsin and David Ressler to Arizona — suggests to me that the search should be limited to Colorado.

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Letter: A mess at the museum

February 11, 2016 — 

I think the obstruction in the middle of the crosswalk in front of the art museum is far too understated.

Someone from Wiley should design a great big statue of Heidi Zuckerman and plant it in the middle of Spring and Cooper, creating a natural roundabout.

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Letter: Welcome to Construction Junction

February 11, 2016 — 

An architect’s dream is a carpenter’s nightmare.

Listen — it will be a sad day when they tear down the Skiers Chalet. First you see one of those white signs reading “Public notice,” and then, “Boom, beep, beep, beep, crash, boom.” You look up and, pow, half the building is gone. Bulldozers and backhoes are bringing it down.

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Letter: Black-skier dollars going elsewhere

February 11, 2016 — 

Around this time during the winter ski season, the Aspen-Snowmass combine salivates for and racks up substantial pecuniary gains from Judge Joe Brown and the National Brotherhood of Skiers — isn’t that right?

The National Brotherhood of Skiers is headquartered in Chi-Town. That’s Chicago.

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Letter: Throwing good money after bad

February 10, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to the Wheeler Opera House board of directors.

Dear Wheeler Opera House board,

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Letter: We need to solve our traffic and parking issues

February 10, 2016 — 

Much I see and read about Aspen these days points to more and more development, bringing more and more people into town. This results in more and more traffic and parking congestion. The only action I have heard of lately to “address” this problem is to dramatically increase parking fees downtown. It’s doubtful this will alleviate the problem, but it surely will put an additional burden on everyone.

Year after year, we go through the same problem with absolutely not even an attempt at a solution. During the seasons, traffic into and out of town is a nightmare. It is simply unacceptable to take a half hour or more to get from the airport to downtown. Finding parking is impossible. If Aspen is to grow, these issues must be addressed. Otherwise, let’s put a moratorium on any further development.

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Letter: A voice of reason

February 10, 2016 — 

It is so refreshing to read an analysis of our current political reality with such a high level of equanimity, fairness and even-handedness. Kudos to Rabbi David Segal for his column “Politics, in good faith” (The Aspen Times, Feb. 7).

Tom Mooney

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Letter: Thrift Shop gives back

February 10, 2016 — 

Every month, volunteers of The Thrift Shop of Aspen meet to continue to accomplish our mission: to make grants to other nonprofit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are grateful to all the community members who continue to support our efforts by donating and purchasing gently used clothing and household items.

For the month of February we are pleased to announce the following recipients: Aspen Elementary School Plays, Rock and Roll Academy, A Way Out, Aspen Parachute Dental Health Alliance, Aspen Motherpuckers, Family Resource Center, Basalt High School Musical, 5-Point Film Festival, Carbondale Community Oven, Aspen High School Engineering and Carbondale Trails

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Letter: Basalt needs to think different

February 10, 2016 — 

After having attended one of the meetings in Basalt concerning the proposed park, I have come to some realizations about this town that I have lived in for the past 25 years.

First, and I hate be the bearer of bad news, but small-town retail is over, done, kaput. You can see it in practically every small town in America including Basalt, Colorado.

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Letter: The diet of Lent

February 8, 2016 — 

Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert before launching his ministry.

But meat-free Lent is much more than a symbol of religious devotion to Christ. It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease, environmental degradation and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, caged, crowded, deprived, mutilated and shocked.

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Letter: Hockey time

February 8, 2016 — 

Saturday night is a huge night for the Aspen Skiers hockey team. Please come out and support your Aspen Skiers, and wear your red and black. Tickets are $5 for non-booster members and free to Booster Club members. Your Aspen Skiers need your support. Puck drop is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Lewis Ice Arena.

Hope to see everyone at the game Saturday night. Good luck, and go, Skiers.

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Letter: Gym superstar

February 8, 2016 — 

Since I walked into the Snowmass Village Recreation Center to do my gym workouts, the man from legendary Thunderbird continues to astound me. He’s tough. He’s a motivator. He proves why he commands leadership beyond the ordinary in my eyes.

The man from legendary Thunderbird is a local par excellence Realtor who competes in our American real estate, the upper pinnacles of the real estate industry.

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Letter: Hospital's bottom line trumps patient care

February 7, 2016 — 

It’s important that the acting CEO of Aspen Valley Hospital gets the facts correct before addressing the newspaper about the physical therapy rounds in dispute (“Unfounded accusations,” letters, Feb. 4, The Aspen Times).

Our services, as private practice PTs, never involved patient treatment. We were there to educate, assist the doctors with brace fitting, improve patient-doctor-physical-therapist relationships and overall care.

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Letter: Hospital alienates important group

February 7, 2016 — 

About a year ago, a local physical therapist in a practice outside Aspen Valley Hospital told me the orthopedic group was negotiating to become hospital employees and that the hospital would try to exclude outside physical therapists from treating patients of AVH’s employed physicians. I was skeptical, so I met with a member of the AVH board to ask whether this was true. I was told it was not good practice for AVH to employ doctors directly, and that there was no truth to the accusation that AVH would try to freeze out PTs who weren’t employed there.

A year later, all that was denied has come to pass.

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Letter: Volunteers needed for robotics event

February 7, 2016 — 

Saturday is the First Tech Challenge robotic event at Glenwood Springs High School. Twelve high school robotics teams from the region will be competing in this regional event. Event organizers are in great need of about six volunteers to honor the work of the students, coaches and mentors. The event this year is RES-Q, and the teams are designing and building robots that will simulate a mountain rescue situation: www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc/game-and-season.

We need six judges who can listen to the students share their ideas about robot design and game strategy and ask them questions about their engineering notebook and team efforts. We also need people to help with general flow of the event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will give you some good perspective on what high school kids are doing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Please contact Caroline Hanson at chanson@aspenk12.net if you are interested in getting involved.

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Letter: Stuck on stickers

February 7, 2016 — 

It’s embarrassing to admit that I read Roger Marolt’s last column (“Don’t relapse just because it’s Aspen,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, Feb. 5), but I have to come clean on this one. It was me that had the “Relapse it’s Aspen!” stickers made. I had a good laugh after reading the part about “intellectual property.” So go ahead and sue me, Roger! “Roger Marolt” and “intellectual” — those are two things you don’t often hear together.

Here’s a guy who has probably never even smoked pot in his life! The sobering irony here is that Roger knows as much about relapsing as he does about skiing: jack squat.

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Letter: Feels like home

February 6, 2016 — 

Roger Marolt recently spoke of the Aspen old-timers, the locals, the semi-locals and the trust-funders who join in for a while. Wait, there’s another group to include.

How about the wannabes? You know, fellows like me who came to Aspen to ski a few days and realized, “Wow, this place is really special.” It was and is special because the locals or semi-locals, whatever, treated us wayfarers almost like one of their own. And we, in turn, tried to be a part of the community: You know, like taking in a high school play at the high school (“Don’t Drink the Water”), participating in a writers’ workshop (headed by a published author!) at the Red Brick or just petting the old Saint Bernard at City Market.

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Letter: Unsung heros

February 6, 2016 — 

To the city of Aspen Streets Department: Thanks, guys! You are the best! Keeping Aspen’s streets open under the adverse conditions during this last epic snowstorm with the several feet of snow. We appreciate all of your efforts!

Jim Markalunas

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Letter: Kudos for snow removal

February 4, 2016 — 

Chapeau to the Street Department for their monumental efforts at snow removal (or rearrangement) in the past few days. What a snow cycle. El Nino has arrived.

Ward Hauenstein

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Letter: Accountability for safety

February 4, 2016 — 

Thank you, Roaring Forak Transportation Authority, and specifically Kent Blackmer, co-director of operations, for assuring me that every effort will be made to identify and rebuke the RFTA driver of the bus that nearly plowed into my vehicle at the intersection of Highway 82 and Upper River Road.

RFTA lists seven guiding “values” on its website. Among these are “accountability” and “safety.” Safety, RFTA says, is its “highest priority.” Every RFTA driver should embrace that philosophy. Those who violate safe practices when driving should be dismissed.

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Letter: Support your Skiers

February 4, 2016 — 

It’s another busy weekend for Aspen High School sports, starting tonight with both varsity hockey and basketball at home.

Come support your Aspen Skiers. Students and non-boosters are $5, and booster members are free. Come enjoy some hockey and basketball and some concessions. Hope to see everyone at the games today and Saturday.

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Letter: Online help for emotional abuse

February 4, 2016 — 

I would like to thank Meredith Carroll and The Aspen Times for Tuesday’s column “Breaking the cycle of emotional abuse.” Unfortunately, “Alice’s” story is all too real for many in our community who struggle with their partners’ emotionally abusive behaviors, which often can be more effective, lasting and damaging than physical abuse. The sad reality is that for those who share children together, when a survivor chooses to leave their abusive relationship, they are still left to navigate the same patterns of abusive behavior within their co-parenting relationship.

As described in the story, the very nature of emotional abuse makes it hard to recognize as abusive and to anticipate the damage it can cause, both to the receiving partner and to children in the home. In response to a growing number of reports of family conflict in Pitkin County in the past six years, a collaborative awareness and outreach campaign called “Stop Fighting! It Hurts!” was created. The campaign’s websites, StopFightingItHurts.com in English and PelearDuele.com in Spanish, provide useful information to help women and men recognize unhealthy relationships, learn how conflict in the home hurts their children and learn the difference between fighting fair versus emotional and verbal abuse.

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Letter: Unfounded accusations

February 3, 2016 — 

I would like to clarify some points made in the Feb. 2 Aspen Times article and letter to the editor about physical-therapy services at Aspen Valley Hospital (“Aspen Valley Hospital’s new orthopedic service squeezes out physical therapists”).

Most important to note is that private-practice physical therapists cannot treat Aspen Valley Hospital patients within our facility because they are not employed by the hospital, nor do they have privileges to practice at the hospital. Our patients entrust us with their care, and we have a responsibility to properly vet anyone who treats them. Not to do so places the hospital and our patients at risk. That a therapist in private practice has his or her own malpractice insurance is irrelevant.

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Letter: Too many buses

February 3, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to the board of directors of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and its CEO Dan Blankenship.

Dear Mr. Blankenship and RFTA board members,

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Letter: Hearing voices

February 3, 2016 — 

So the mayor is now hearing dark voices in Aspen? Well, if he and the City Council (not Bert Myrin) hadn’t stabbed local voters in the back three times, maybe the voices he heard would be bright and sunny.

Carl Heck

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Letter: Narrowing the field in Basalt

February 3, 2016 — 

This is why I chose to pull out of the race: Each voter gets three votes to cast among all the council candidates. The three winners will be those with the largest number of votes. As of Tuesday morning, there were eight candidates including myself and Bel Carpenter who would have been competing for the three open council seats and whose names would appear on the ballot unless they withdrew from the race. Carpenter and I discussed the risk of diluting the vote among those who understand the multitude of important topics including balancing the river-park opportunities as well as those of affordable housing and the pedestrian underpass, and we agreed that it would be best for us to withdraw to be make sure that Basalt got the representation it needs. Katie Schwoerer and Jen Riffle are without question what Basalt now needs. They are both young, smart, hardworking and energetic and will represent both the property owners, which they are, and those who need affordable housing well. They also represent a demographic that needs representation. Jen owns her own business. I am convinced that both Katie and Jen have the courage and the desire to stand up and listen to and represent the public, as they are beholden to none, other than the public at large.

Mark Kwiecienski

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Letter: The X factor

February 3, 2016 — 

In a recent letter to the editors of The Aspen Times (“A potential tragedy,” Feb. 2) and the Aspen Daily News (“A close call with RFTA bus,” Feb. 2), a Woody Creek resident had a bad experience with an outbound Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus. RFTA management is investigating the incident.

The X Games bring out the best and worst in everyone’s driving. Moving tens of thousands from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and back in a four-day period requires extreme experience, patience and coordination. This year we were also plagued with record crowds and record snowfall, creating the worst conditions one could imagine.

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Letter: A potential tragedy

February 1, 2016 — 

The story that follows in quotation marks isn’t real. No one died as described. But only a few inches separated what’s make-believe and what could have been:

“Bus slams into Subaru Outback; longtime local and 4-year-old granddaughter die

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Letter: Sacrificing the worker bees

January 31, 2016 — 

The front-page story “Aspen bus system goes on steroids to answer X Games call” in The Aspen Times on Jan. 31 was a fascinating read.

Just the day before, Saturday, the regularly scheduled local downvalley direct bus leaving the Snowmass Mall at 4:45 p.m. was nonexistent, with only the rapid-transit bus available. That bus does not make local stops on Highway 82, requiring someone living at Holland Hills to ride to Basalt and then take a local bus from Basalt back upvalley to Holland Hills. So while the X Games crowd enjoyed great bus transportation, Snowmass Village worker bees did not. Shouldn’t the regular valley ridership be at least as important as X Games viewers? Not all that well-done, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority!

Carmen Riley

Holland Hills

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