Letters to the Editor

Letter: Embarrassing terrain

July 25, 2016 — 

So Lo thinks I want them to extend Lift 1A down toward town because I like beginner terrain, huh? Well I know he supports the construction of the Gorsuch Haus hotel blocking Norway Slope at the base so that he doesn’t have to embarrass himself trying to ski possibly the best run on Aspen Mountain anymore.

Roger Marolt

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Letter: 21st century entrace solution

July 25, 2016 — 

Innovations from technology companies like Google and Tesla will soon deliver “robot” vehicles that will drastically increase the capacity of current roadways while improving speed, convenience, safety and fuel efficiency. With technology like Uber, fewer people will need to own a vehicle, drastically reducing parking needs. Technology entrepreneurs can solve our entrance problem. Spending another $500k of taxpayer money to study an 18th-century technology solution just keeps us stuck in the past. Instead, encourage free-market solutions without wasting precious taxpayer dollars. Likewise, I suspect that a creative use of technology could reduce the amount of people and square footage necessary for government offices in the valley, and save a fortune of taxpayer money building the Taj Mahal.

George Robinson

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Letter: What is community?

July 25, 2016 — 

According to Google/Merriam-Webster: “Community” is defined as:

A) A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

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Letter: Thank you, Boogie

July 25, 2016 — 

The fantastic success of the pop-up sale exceeded the most optimistic expectations! A tremendous amount of money was raised, all due to the generosity of Boogie Weinglass.

The ladies of The Thrift Shop of Aspen are thrilled to thank everyone who helped make the sale an unprecedented success. Ruth Kruger, Charlie Weaver, JP Nevada’s Trust and Bob Langley donated and secured the venue for the event. Victoria and John donated all profits from coffee and lemonade sales. Shoppers were patient and tenacious as they cheerfully joined the mayhem to find the perfect designer jeans, boots and t-shirts. An army of Thrift Shop volunteers worked tirelessly and even brought husbands, grandparents and children to help set up and organize.

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Letter: Longstanding pothole

July 25, 2016 — 

I know Related with its unfunded subsidiary SAC is anxious to get out of here ASAP. But would they please fix a pothole in the driveway to the Snowmass Center that has been there for years? It’s about 200 feet up from Brush Creek Road. Small but deep.

Richard Goodwin

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Letter: Keep Hillary out at all costs

July 24, 2016 — 

Melanie Sturm’s article was a reflection of the thinking of many Americans (“My delegate dilemma: To be conscientious, in good conscience,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 18). If you attended the Ideas Festival, the many thinking people of America were not present. It was mostly a body of people mirroring a Hillary Clinton bias. Many gooed at the mention of her name and booed at the mention of Donald Trump. Discussions of substance were lacking as the entrenched expressions, more an excuse, to have the first woman Democrat for president stirred me to refer to her lemming contingency as Femocrats.

The point you make, though, recognizes her character was created not from the DNA basis of life but from the malignancy of the Clintons. The dilemma: If not her, then him? It is a lip-biting ballot frustration. Now consider your own words: “Most importantly, it’s about defeating Clinton, the most corrupt and deceitful presidential candidate in modern American history, thereby dismantling the two-tiered justice system before it’s entrenched.” Where does that leave us? After the crash there will be a survivor. Trump has yet to be the most corrupt and deceitful of the two. And if preserving our Constitution is essential, then we all must have the Supreme Court in view when we check the top lines of our ballots.

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Letter: Discharged and dangerous

July 24, 2016 — 

In two separate incidents in recent weeks, police officers have been ambushed and some killed by former U.S. Marines. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump responded to these events by saying that no more discharged Marines should be allowed back in the country. All ex-Marines must be brought in for questioning and detained when necessary. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was mentioned as a site for the ex-Marine detainees.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the nation needs to be very, very afraid of these ex-Marines. The nation is sitting on a powder keg. No one should feel safe.

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Letter: Music is alive and well in Aspen

July 24, 2016 — 

When Andy Stone asked himself whether Aspen has lost its musical Eden (“After the fall: Has Aspen lost its musical Eden?” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 20), he should have visited the new campus, spoken with students and attended one of this summer’s concerts. The answer is obvious. The Aspen Music Festival and School is alive and well — continuing to realize its place in the Aspen Idea of body, mind and spirit. Instead, Andy chose to revisit the board fight of yesteryear and misconstrued the cause and outcome of the decisions to reduce the number of students attending the school and revitalize the faculty. Alan Fletcher was not doing the bidding of cost-cutting businessmen on the board. He was catching up on implementing long-overdue reforms to be sure the festival and school could face the challenges of thriving in the 21st century.

Today, the festival and school are blessed with a board populated by thoughtful philanthropists, dedicated faculty members and members of the Aspen community. Andy’s belief that “hard-nosed businessmen” have changed the character of the festival and school is simply not correct. The new campus and the “Where Dreams Begin” fundraising campaign were designed to benefit the music school and provide endowment funds for faculty salaries and student scholarships.

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July 24, 2016 — 

Letter: Team players

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Letter: Blast from the past

July 24, 2016 — 

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could renovate the original historic Lift 1 and use it to transport skiers from Dean Street to the next Lift 1A? We already have the lower bullwheel and two towers; all that’s needed is the upper bullwheel, a cable and a bunch of single chairs. What a great way to honor Aspen’s skiing history!

Robert Scherer

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Letter: Great art can be transformative

July 24, 2016 — 

Too often, “art experts” make remarks that confuse the public about the nature of art. I was annoyed to read critic Jerry Saltz’s recent quote at an Anderson Ranch lecture, stating: “No one in the art world can prove that Vermeer is better than Norman Rockwell.” I know Jerry and suspect he said it to be controversial. However, it implies there is no specialized training or knowledge to determine quality in art, and he knows better!

Vermeer was the most brilliant painter of light who ever lived. His works are extraordinary examples of imagery that transcends time with no clear message or story. Vermeer’s paintings are loved by all who see them, whether “art educated” or not. In part this is because of the incredible nature of his brushwork and because the works convey an intimacy to each viewer that reaches across the centuries. It is impossible to imagine a future time when Vermeer’s work will not be considered masterpieces of wonder and brilliance. As with all masterworks of art, each viewing reveals something new and different in the work.

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Letter: Fewer studies, more solutions

July 24, 2016 — 

I can’t believe that the Elected Officials Transportation Committee approved a $500,000 study of light rail and bus rapid transit for the entrance into Aspen. There is no way this will ever come about, and this is a total waste of money. All there is are studies after studies of the problem with no hope of any solution. It’s time for action, not studies. The traffic situation into and out of town is ridiculous.

I believe the best solution is to provide a one-way straight shot into Aspen from Highway 82, starting from a point between the roundabout and Cemetery Lane, over the Marolt Open Space and coming straight in through Main Street. Then the existing road could be changed to a one-way out of town. This would provide separate two-lane roads into and out of town, which should solve the problem. In addition, a parking area could be provided in the open space with shuttle service into town. If there is a better solution, I would like someone to present it.

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Letter: Don't even think about it

July 23, 2016 — 

Recently, The Aspen Times printed a letter suggesting that our surrounding national forest be opened up for public (employee) housing (“Put employee housing on federal land,” Letters to the editor, July 20). I reply with a resounding “no.” Our forests were created not for private dwellings but as a preservation of our national heritage and for the recreational use of all people. Were this concept cracked and privately or publicly funded usage be permitted in the form of housing, the floodgates would open, and there would be no end to the demand and spread in the years ahead. Perhaps the most compelling factor in the popularity of the town of Aspen is its size, determined in large part by surrounding federal land.

Start populating federal land with houses and people, and both town and residents would suffer.

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Letter: Self-serving bureaucrats

July 22, 2016 — 

I read your article in the July 12 Aspen times about the Wells Fargo drive-thru being closed. I was wondering why the senior environmental health specialist, Jannette Whitcomb, doesn’t take a walk around town at lunchtime and see the smoke and fumes coming from all the restaurants downtown. The CP Burger joint spews smoke and burger fumes at a rate that makes my million-mile Freightliner look like an environmental milestone.

If this bureaucrat was to take a walk around town, or in the West End, she would have to go home and take a shower because of the dust the street sweeper blew all over her dress. Or she may have run into one of those pesky gas-powered leaf blowers run by one of the Mexican lawn armada. Maybe she would only be blasted with concrete and dust created by yet another curb replacement caused by the winter snow-clearing grader blade against the curbs. She probably thinks she can solve all of these maladies by removing the one thing that really benefits seniors and businesspeople in their daily chores.

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Letter: Thrift Shop thanks

July 22, 2016 — 

Aspen Camp of the Deaf would like to extend a huge thank-you to the Thrift Shop of Aspen for its incredible Community Grant Program. As a past grant recipient, we were able to utilize the funds provided to enhance the experience of young campers from all over the nation. We appreciate the caring and engaged residents and volunteers who contribute to a community of generosity and compassion. The Thrift Shop of Aspen truly embodies what makes the Roaring Fork Valley exceptional. On behalf of the board, the staff and the children of Aspen Camp of the Deaf, thank you for your support!

Annie Henderson

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Letter: Wildfest was a smashing success

July 22, 2016 — 

On July 2, more than 500 people showed up for Wilderness Workshop’s first sold-out Wildfest at Owl Farm in Woody Creek! We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the many supporters, sponsors, vendors and volunteers who came together to make the day a success. Wildfest is a special kind of celebration. We keep the ticket affordable and cut the silly frills to give this valley all it needs to party like it used to: good music, great food and the finest people. It’s for all ages and backgrounds, bringing everyone together to take a step back and celebrate our wonderful public lands that we are so lucky to call home.

Many people made Wildfest a success, starting with Anita Thompson and Owl Farm for providing a fantastic venue. Thanks to Gravity Productions for organizing the event and keeping everything running smoothly. Thank you to our sponsors and businesses in the community that made this happen, especially our key support from Sopris Liquor and Wine, Alpine Bank, The Agency, Xssentials, The Aspen Times, Aspen Sojourner magazine, Bristlecone Mountain Sports, Reese Henry and Co., and Ken Ransford, P.C. Thank you to the professional musicians, performers and chefs who made Wildfest a day to remember. And thank you to all who attended. It’s you, the public, who allows Wilderness Workshop to protect and conserve public lands. And only with your contributions can we bring Wildfest to the valley next summer. We are sustained by community support, and we always welcome new members. Join us today, and find out more about what we do to keep wildlands wild at www.wildernessworkshop.org.

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Letter: Vegetarian for a day

July 22, 2016 — 

I would like to thank Aspen Valley Hospital for hosting the Aspen Meatless Monday Garden Party Community Dinner on Monday. Members of the community attended and enjoyed a delicious, meat-free menu created and prepared by Katey Bates, registered dietician and food services director, and Sandy Holmes, registered dietician. Along with dinner, we enjoyed a presentation by Mitzi Ledingham on “Hunger Through My Lens,” a project by children about poverty and hunger in Colorado. Eden Vardey and Cooper Means of Aspen TREE gave the group tips on how to grow vegetables at altitude and how to compost. Jack Johnson was also at the event and talked about Scraps, a community compost-collection program, and gave out free composting buckets. I think I speak for all of the attendees when saying how much we appreciate how much Aspen Valley Hospital supports and promotes wellness and good health in our community. Thank you so much!

Meatless Monday is a nonprofit public-health initiative in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Launched in 2003, the goal of Meatless Monday is to cut saturated-fat intake, which in turn reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Going meatless one day a week also decreases our carbon footprint and saves precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Aspen Meatless Monday has been in existence for five years. We get together regularly to share ideas for meat-free meals, listen to speakers, view documentaries and participate in cooking classes and demonstrations.

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Letter: America's Brexit vote

July 22, 2016 — 

Following the Brexit vote, Roger Marolt’s rant in his column “Follow the Brexit sign to a darker world” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, June 30) about “Britiotic” “racism” and “religious intolerance” was an embarrassing display of the politically correct rot that has afflicted our minds.

I have been enormously heartened, therefore, by the rebukes that have followed, first from Martin Cooney in his guest column “With Brexit, the shackles of EU tyranny are severed” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 13) and now by George Russell’s letter “Write what you know” (Letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, July 20).

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Letter: A bloated pork-barrel park not the answer

July 22, 2016 — 

Last week the Basalt financial consultant finally offered up what the park supporters had been asking for the past year. He presented many different ways to finance the river park without raising taxes.

A bloated pork-barrel improvements plan was presented two weeks ago under the guise of being the “Citizens River Park Plan” for a staggering amount of $7.97 million, which equals $2 million per acre of the Pan and Fork site! Most of the expenditures have nothing to do with the public’s vision for the park and the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. parcel, as it includes many items lobbied for a year ago by the same architects who represented the proposed developer and then the town. The plan does not represent current public sentiment that put the pro-park Town Council in place.

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Letter: Aspen's second-most notorious weed

July 22, 2016 — 

As the monsoonal moisture surges back into the state, plants are getting ready to seed before our all-too-short summer wraps up its third and final act. If you hike, bike, run or walk any of our backyard trails, you’ve no doubt seen Aspen’s second-most notorious weed growing in abundance. This one doesn’t help generate tax revenue or make your ride up the gondola a little more interesting. This is the one that chokes out native vegetation and quickly colonizes areas, infesting them with sharp, nasty, unsightly thistles. Most commonly, you can see musk thistle growing abundantly in the Hunter Creek Valley, Moore Open Space (right by the Aspen Recreation Center) and along the Rio Grande Trail. This plant is most often introduced by us. You’ve no doubt seen this unpleasant fact if you’ve ridden the Hummingbird Traverse or the Airline Trail anytime in the past month. I’m saddened to see these thistles colonizing new areas and trails, spreading more each year. If you are out hiking any of these trails, bring along some leather gloves to pull out a couple of these buggers, knowing that you are enlisting in part of the resistance that wants to keep our native vegetation intact, ensuring that our fragile mountain ecosystem maintains a healthy balance. A couple of local pro tips: 1) Pluck the purple-flowering seed heads off the plant. 2) Pack them out in a free doggie bag like you would your pooch’s waste. It’s a collective effort, and if every outdoor user put in a couple of minutes of work each time they went recreating in our incredible backyard, we would be eradicating these plant pests in no time! Spread the word, join the weed resistance, and make a difference in your backyard before this becomes the No. 1 weed in Aspen.

I would like some more taxpayer dollars from the city and county to go toward fighting the largest and nastiest infestations. I have rarely seen any paid staffing going toward mitigating this problem.

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Letter: Columnist's double standard

July 21, 2016 — 

I just read Glenn Beaton’s silly article (“Reform the Supreme Court,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, June 17). He almost makes it sound like only left-wing Supreme Court justices should retire at a certain age. He also does not mention any of the stupid things Justice Antonin Scalia said. Almost on a daily basis. The things that Ruth Bader Ginsburg said last week were way out of line. But she did apologize. She may be way older than I am, but I am betting in a lot of ways she is way more qualified at her current job than I and Beaton put together.

Miles Knudson

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Letter: Too many hoops

July 21, 2016 — 

I was trying to read an article in the online edition of The Aspen Times and had to answer nine questions to get to it. Nine! I mean, I’m trying to keep your paper out of the landfill by reading it online, and I’m being punished for it. Give me a break.

Sheldon Fingerman

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Letter: Wonderful renovation

July 21, 2016 — 

Congratulations to the city of Aspen and Parks Department for a wonderful renovation of Galena Plaza.

The plaza’s lovely expanse of grass and soft contours, mirroring the new addition to the library, along with the plaza’s uninterrupted, panoramic view of Red Mountain, makes it a crown jewel in Aspen’s park system.

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Letter: Clash of the columnists

July 21, 2016 — 

Please tell your columnist Roger Marolt that he best refrain from writing any more gibberish about Lift 1A until he learns how to ski the terrain over there properly. His selfish motivation for wanting the lift to come down lower is clearly to provide him with sadly needed beginner terrain.

Lo Semple

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Letter: An acceptable compromise for City Hall

July 21, 2016 — 

The City Council is seemingly deadlocked over the direction forward for new city office space. The diverse, well-meaning and soundly based views present starkly different visions. One reason for the quagmire is that the staff has presented a decision matrix containing a complex blend of objective and subjective criteria such that any number of paths exist. But even the most severe critics acknowledge that doing nothing is not a path forward but rather a blind alley.

How then to reconcile the competing positions and get on with the task? Here is a suggestion built on the comments of the mayor on July 19.

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Letter: Keep government under one roof

July 21, 2016 — 

Tuesday at City Hall was “Veep” worthy.

Councilman Bert Myrin suggested we turn the Wheeler Opera House into City Hall offices because — I kid you not — it’s also historic.

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Letter: Blissful bus to the Bells

July 21, 2016 — 

Blissful bus to the Bells

I have talked to several visitors who have told me they drove to the Maroon Bells before 8 in the morning or after 5 in the afternoon so they would not have to take the bus. These people are missing the bus in more ways than one.

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Letter: Character assassination

July 20, 2016 — 

It is becoming tiresome to again read John Colson and his constant attempts at character assassination. A week or so ago it was defamatory remarks about Joe Walsh, who is a gun collector and a fine guitarist (“It’s simple — lots of guns means lots of shootings,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 12). On Tuesday, it was more of the same about Donald Trump and Mike Pence (“The GOP ticket — a troll doll and a religious zealot,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 19). This is lazy and sleazy journalism. In fact, I am not sure we can really call it journalism. Possibly Colson could be given an assignment to report on Edward R. Morrow or perhaps William F. Buckley.

Descriptions like “troll doll,” “religious zealot,” “carnival huckster” and the like could easily be left out of opinion pieces rather than becoming bylines. Please try to set a good example for young writers and bring readers insight, not examples of ridicule. This devisiveness is at the heart of the cancer that keeps hatred and bigotry alive in our country. Please be better than that.

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Letter: Traffic problem, a partial solution

July 20, 2016 — 

Mr. Mayor and City Council, please do your job and read this.

Traffic going into and out of Aspen is a problem.

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Letter: Put employee housing on federal land

July 20, 2016 — 

Why should taxpayers pay for expensive land for affordable housing when we own the forest?

As a candidate for state representative from Colorado House District 26, which consists of Eagle and Routt counties, I have a partial solution to help provide affordable housing for hundreds and hundreds of ski-area employees. Let’s put pressure on our federal officials to designate free forest land on Vail, Beaver Creek, Steamboat and all Aspen ski mountains for ski-area employee dormitory housing. Remember, the Forest Service works for us. And we granted the ski-area operators a virtual 50-year monopoly to manage our land for our recreation purposes!

Vail Councilman Greg Moffet, a moderate Republican, called the idea “genius.”

Vail resident Stephan Connolly, who is registered unaffiliated, said the idea was “the most novel idea presented” at a recent Vail housing meeting.

Avon Mayor Pro Tem Jake Wolf, a Democrat, said there are more than four win-wins available.

Clearly, this is a nonpartisan issue and emblematic of my campaign to be your state representative to try to help fix problems.

The following are the four win-wins available:

1) Young, 21-year-old winter workers would not need to bring their cars to our counties, thereby helping to alleviate a parking problem, because they can walk or ski to work.

2) Young workers tend to enjoy happy hour after work. Remember when you were 21? Happy hour sometimes doesn’t end until 10 p.m. or midnight. Heavily imbibed young people wouldn’t have to take the county bus home and can’t be drunk and disorderly if they don’t need to ride it! Also, taxpayers may not be paying the subsidized approximate $6 per bus ride, and there would be less wear and tear on our buses.

3) Young workers who have cars couldn’t drive home drunk, and our roads would be safer — therefore fewer DUIs. The courts wouldn’t be as clogged, meaning less work for judges’ case loads.

4) Hundreds and hundreds of employees who could live the dream of skiing to work wouldn’t be needing the already existing housing throughout the rest of our counties and wouldn’t need to lie to landlords by signing a year lease when they knew they would only be there for ski season. Less hassle for landlords — more units available for year-round employees!

In my own survey, 95 of 100 people asked about this proposal support this effort. They come from all political persuasions. Let’s return the Colorado House back to common-sense decision-making that doesn’t raise our cost of living.

Michael Cacioppo

Avon

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