Letters to the Editor

Letter: We all want to achieve the same goal

March 6, 2015 — 

We all want to achieve the same goal

As I listened to both the Red Brick and Science Center presentations, it occurred to me how similar our ultimate goals are: To help create thoughtful, imaginative, curious citizens with enough skills to foster confidence in their decision-making and approach to life.

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Letter: Not rocket science

March 6, 2015 — 

Not rocket science

Aspen can’t seem to get its climate-change position right. The “micro hydro” project on Castle Creek should never be abandoned to Koch and “fossil fuels.” The 51 percent vote against it was engineered by Koch, SOB (stupid, old billionaire.) But, he’s selling his $87 million “spread” on Castle Creek.

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Letter: Let’s give the gift of science

March 6, 2015 — 

Let’s give the gift of science

I am sure we all remember the great loss of the Given Institute to private interests, but despite that setback, Aspen has had a strong tradition of supporting the scientific community over the past 50 years. Providing a home for the Aspen Science Center at the Old Power House would not only continue that tradition but expand upon it for both children and adults for years to come. Let’s feed the “Mind/Spirit” component of the Aspen Idea with the gift of scientific curiosity that will certainly be provided by the Aspen Science Center!

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Letter: Let’s encourage entrepreneurship at the old museum space

March 6, 2015 — 

Let’s encourage entrepreneurship at the old museum space

I’m writing in my support of the Old Power House’s shared and affordable workspace in the former home of the Aspen Art Museum. Among all proposals for this facility, I see the one presented by Aspen 82 and Aspen Brewing Company as the most effective and essential for our community. These two locally owned and emerging businesses truly are pioneers with their vision for the facility: To create a contemporary, inspiring center for their operations and to provide daily, weekly and long-term workspace leases available to all. This keeps and encourages entrepreneurs to thrive here in Aspen, benefiting the community at large as a result.

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Letter: No more of the same-old for Power House

March 5, 2015 — 

No more of the same old for Power House

When I heard the woman from the Aspen Science Center say, “There is nothing to do here in the winter,” I thought this woman does not know how scientists often like to do their work here.

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Letter: A remarkable plan for the old art museum space

March 5, 2015 — 

A remarkable plan for the old art museum space

I want to share that this past week I had the pleasure of attending my first Aspen City Council meeting. Not my typical idea of Monday night fun, but I attended to show support for some close friends who are trying to do some really remarkable things here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Duncan Clauss and Willis Brown of the Aspen Brewing Co. along with Dave Cook and Spencer McKnight of Aspen 82 have put together a compelling presentation for the council to consider for the old Aspen Art Museum building. You can check it out at http://aspenpowerplant.com/ (watch the video, too).

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Letter: Science Center committed to working with schools

March 5, 2015 — 

Aspen Science Center committed to working with schools

The article in The Aspen Times on March 4 about the Old Power House finalists implied that science centers, including the Aspen Science Center, choose not to collaborate with the local schools. Nothing could be further from the truth, so I write to correct this.

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Letter: We need to put more toward education

March 5, 2015 — 

We need to put more toward education

I have been involved in educational nonprofits in the Roaring Fork Valley for 20 years and have been teaching English composition for Colorado Mountain College for the past six years on campuses from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.

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Letter: Poor misunderstood murderers

March 4, 2015 — 

In Kellie Carpenter’s “Don’t clear a path for war” Feb. 26 letter, she states, “The brutal murders, child recruitment, sexual enslavement of women and girls and other violence perpetrated by the Islamic State are sickening, and I believe the U.S. must respond. However, we must not act in ways that fuel more violence.”

When she is done drinking her Kool-Aid, maybe she should watch “Taken.” Don’t ever mess with a little girl. Big mistake. Maybe she could sit down with Delta Force, Marine Recon and the Navy SEALs to try and find a peaceful way to stop the kidnappings and God knows what else these poor misunderstood murderers want.

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Letter: Lucky to have freedom of speech

March 4, 2015 — 

A sad article about Boris Nemtsov, who was critical of Vladimir Putin’s mad and aggressive policies and hoping to say a word about the Ukraine predicament. An amazing political advocate. That Natalya Estermiro, Alexander Litvento, Stanislav Markelov and Anna Politskaya preceded him, probably in government-orchestrated deaths, is a very sad thought. We are fortunate to speak our piece here without the thought of retribution. Or let’s hope.

Colleen Scissors

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Letter: 20 years of English in Action

March 4, 2015 — 

English in Action just celebrated its 20th anniversary with a fantastic party. The Wyly Art Center in Basalt was filled with tutors, students and friends who came to celebrate the people who have made our organization such a success.

English in Action works to strengthen our diverse community by helping adults learn English so that they may participate more fully in our community. Last year, more than 234 students were taught by 172 tutors who donated more than 3,300 hours of time. These hours add up to learning, friendships and a greater understanding among people in the Roaring Fork community.

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Letter: The core of Shakespeare

March 4, 2015 — 

We are lucky to have so many very talented people in our valley, but once in a while we come across an extraordinary artist. In this case, he is a maker of magic, a theatrical genius. Most of us know Lon Winston, founder and director of the Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale.

To experience the wonder of his vision for live theater, you only need to catch the production of “Hamlet” now being performed. It’s “Hamlet” as I and my husband have never before experienced. It’s not a “let’s just change the location and time period.”

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Letter: The power behind the Power of Four

March 4, 2015 — 

This past weekend’s Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race and Uphilling Festival was a huge success with fresh snow and record-breaking attendance numbers. A race of this size, 27 miles and more than 12,000 vertical feet of climbing, plus a festival could not have be accomplished without major help from local partners and businesses, volunteers and skiers. Specifically, Daragh Kneeshaw, Aspen Snowmass’ marketing and event coordinator, and his dedicated team managed the registration, timing, start and finish-line coordination, and award ceremony at the Limelight Hotel; Dirk Bockelmann, chief operating officer of Aspen Expeditions based at Aspen Highlands, plus his team, managed backcountry protocol and course marshaling for racers as they made their journey from Snowmass to Buttermilk while traversing across Burnt Mountain’s infamous terrain traps; Max Taam, Aspen Mountain ski patroller, local ski-mountaineering racer and winner of the Power of Four, spent countless hours setting the great course from Midnight Mine Road to the top of Aspen Mountain and its entire downhill to Gondola Plaza; Randy Young, owner of Cripple Creek Backcountry, took several days off to set a unique skin track up Aspen Highlands; Jamie Starr of Dynafit USA, Sam Killgore of SCARPA North America, Everett Russell of LaSportiva and the mayor of Aspen, Steve Skandron, organized the uphill manufacturer demo. Lastly, to the ski patrols at Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain, which offered their support and assistance during this race to all who participated and volunteered, we truly could not have pulled off this event without you.

Thanks, and see you next year!

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Letter: Aspen lacrosse team kicks off season

March 4, 2015 — 

The season’s first boys lacrosse game will be played at either the Aspen High School field or at Iselin Field by the Aspen Recreation Center, depending on snow-clearing projects.

Varsity is set for 6 p.m. Friday. Junior varsity is at 4 p.m. Come support your Aspen Skiers.

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Letter: Bring brewery to Old Power Plant

March 4, 2015 — 

I’m writing to express my enthusiastic support for the Aspen Power Plant proposal put forward by the Aspen Brewing Co. and Aspen 82. As an 11-year resident and young professional, it is my hope that the Aspen City Council will listen to the Aspen Power Plant’s thousands of supporters, including many key community leaders. As Aspen’s population ages, the possibility of an incubator with office and conference room space that can be affordably leased in the short term so that visitors and locals can work remotely is incredibly appealing. This type of space will put Aspen on the map as a community that nurtures entrepreneurship and values collaboration. We don’t currently have a space where visitors can work remotely and interact with locals, and that disappoints a lot of people. The brewery is quickly outgrowing its current home, as anyone who’s been there on a Friday night can attest. Having a brewery on the banks of the river where visitors and guests alike can enjoy a locally crafted beer is the perfect use of that sunny, beautiful space. Let’s choose a group that will bring year-round vitality to the old Aspen Art Museum’s location. With small nonprofits and Aspen 82 based there, alongside the brewery (which happens to be packed throughout both the spring and fall offseasons), the Aspen Power Plant proposal is the obvious choice.

Beth Slater

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Letter: Science — you know, for kids

March 3, 2015 — 

As someone with an engineering and physics education and a Master of Business Administration degree, and having spent many years in corporate America, I can attest to the need not just for a better understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics but for critical thinking, as well, in all career paths. Learning the scientific method teaches kids and adults to think critically about what they are told in education, business, government and life.

The Buddy Program served 1,098 youth and families in 2014, 70 percent of them with household incomes of less than $50,000 per year, which is below the “living wage” of $56,000 required to live here. They don’t have extra cash to spend on tinker toys, erector sets or 3-D printers. The Aspen Science Center wants to turn the Old Power House into a place where kids and adults can explore their passions through hands-on, experience-based learning.

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Letter: Opt out of standardized tests

March 3, 2015 — 

Great news! The Colorado Board of Education voted last month not to penalize our schools and school districts whose standardized-test-taking participation rates drop below the state’s preferred 95 percent threshold. Now there is nothing holding parents and students back from opting out of these ridiculous tests. Despite the coercion and hype, there is no way the districts can force your child to take these tests. They cannot disobey a parent’s request to opt out. Remember — you are the parent, and you know what’s best for your child. My daughter, an A-plus student, will not be taking the standardized Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test this month. The Opt Out movement is growing by leaps and bounds. If you truly care about your child and their education, you should opt your child out. Go to www.thecbe.org and click on the “Opt Out” link to find a letter to give to your school principal this week.

Opting out of the tests sends an important message of support for our local teachers, who are miserable (and powerless) under the weight of the oppressive teach-to-the-test state and district mandates. Opting out will send a clear message to the Aspen and Roaring Fork school administrators and school boards that you don’t want your child’s precious learning time and your hard-earned tax dollars wasted anymore.

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Letter: A victory for freedom or an attack on liberty?

March 3, 2015 — 

Jared Wlater, of Glenwood Springs, avers in a long letter that can fairly be described as an angry rant (Feb. 28, The Aspen Times) claiming that the recent Federal Communications Commission Internet ruling for Internet neutrality is an “alarming milestone” threatening our “supreme right,” which, he goes on to say, is “liberty,” without specifying liberty as to what. As to speech or voting or researching whatever we wish online or moving wherever and whenever we wish or marrying whomever we wish? Perhaps also as to shooting whomever we wish — getting more popular, these days, that John Wayne/Clint Eastwood/Billy the Kid sort of liberty to whip out a six-shooter and fire at whomever we choose, standing immediately ready to fire again at any counter-shooters. Jihadists in Iraq and Syria enjoy this Wild West liberty today. Their faith is in Muhammad. As to Wlater’s unspecified “liberty,” I’m guessing his faith is in Ayn Rand.

Wlater says the FCC vote marks a “total sea change” in which neither we ourselves (each or together) nor our elected officials in proxy for us any longer get to decide the rules by which we collectively live. He fears that regulators instead, somehow outside of our democratic control, rule us — diminishing our “liberty” so much as to make it effectively or imminently lost.

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Letter: Craving some controversy

March 3, 2015 — 

I have a great idea how to use the Old Power House. How about a nice art museum?

Carl Heck

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Letter: Aspen poised to add new education resource

March 3, 2015 — 

I’ve been actively engaged in the science-center field since the early 1980s, which is also when I accepted an invitation from George Stranahan to teach local educators and youth about science through a series of weeklong summer camps at the Aspen Community School in Woody Creek. I’ve been returning to Aspen annually ever since.

The things that bring me back to Aspen each year are the well-known hallmarks of the Roaring Fork Valley — world-class music, art, outdoor recreation and intellectual stimulation, plus a strong sense of community. But in spite of all the many opportunities for experiential learning available in the valley, one thing that has been absent is a place where families — residents and visitors alike — can personally and frequently be engaged in science.

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Letter: A wonderful group of women

March 2, 2015 — 

A wonderful group of women

“What do you ladies do in those ski clinics?” That’s a question I get quite often on the gondola. I normally respond with a quick “We quilt” or “Exchange recipes,” but the truth is much deeper than that. I’ve never laughed so hard as in a gondola filled with our ski ladies or watching our own 82-year-old Jane demonstrate Zumba in her vintage Obermeyer red onesie at the top of the Cloud 9 lift (she’s still crushing the bumps). We do exchange recipes, but we also get together off slope and cook for one another, we go to opera at the Met and birdwatching owl prowls in Fruita. We recognize each other on the street, we chat, we socialize and we become part of one another’s lives. And ski — yep, we ski together even when there isn’t a clinic. It’s a rare thing to be part of a group that spans ages, nationalities and backgrounds and still shares a common passion. That’s what the Locals Women’s Ski Clinic is — it’s the glue.

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Letter: Time to ban fracking

March 2, 2015 — 

Time to ban fracking

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Oil and Gas Task Force was an exercise in corrupt politics to stall the ultimate ballot initiative of banning fracking in Colorado. In August, Hickenlooper, with the help of the natural-gas lobby, negotiated a back-room deal with Rep. Jared Polis to sidetrack oil-and-gas ballot initiatives for the 2014 election. Last year, thousands of people in Colorado signed petitions to get ballot initiatives such as extended setbacks from homes, the statewide fracking ban and the environmental bill of rights locked into the November election. Hickenlooper and the natural-gas lobby stole these initiatives from the people of Colorado by illegally negotiating a governor-appointed oil-and-gas task force to study oil-and-gas drilling issues in Colorado. This task force was the bullet that Hickenlooper and the gas lobby wanted to prevent Colorado residents from having the power to oppose fracking and abusive drilling practices by the oil-and-gas industry.

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Letter: Wide opposition to Netanyahu visit

March 2, 2015 — 

Wide opposition to Netanyahu visit

Review of major news organizations’ coverage of Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress reveals that a majority of U.S. and Israeli citizens reject Netanyahu’s cry for war with Iran and promotion of a militarily aggressive Israeli state.

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Letter: A Moscow maneuver

March 2, 2015 — 

A Moscow maneuver

I wonder if Vladimir Putin’s condolence letter to the family of murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was written before or after he was shot.

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Letter: Civilian deaths on Putin’s hands

March 2, 2015 — 

Civilian deaths on Putin’s hands

In response to Stefan Edlis’ Feb. 28 letter to the editor in The Aspen Times, “In defense of Putin,” Edlis claims Vladimir Putin’s a good guy. Eh, OK. A chum? A pal? A straight shooter? Well, for sure a straight shooter! Just ask the Russian-made, Russian-fired, surface-to-air missile that blew a commercial, civilian, nonmilitary jet out of the sky. Stefan, how many people were murdered with that Russian missile? You talk of “think of rocket technology.” So sad. So very sad. They never had a chance.

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Letter: Keep light-rail option alive

March 2, 2015 — 

Keep light-rail option alive

Articles in both of Aspen’s Sunday papers on March 1 illustrate the great importance that two railroads have had on the history of the Roaring Fork Valley and its future.

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Letter: Making strides for mental health

March 1, 2015 — 

Making strides for mental health

I want to thank John Stroud, Andrew Travers, Marci Krivonen, KDNK and all the reporters who over the past several months have covered the topic of mental illness in the news and media. This week’s series had our phones at the Aspen Hope Center ringing off the hook with questions, praise and comments. It is not the accolades we seek but the spread of the simple phrase “We Can Talk.” By Sarah, Kim, Trish and others sharing their positive and hopeful stories, a conversation is snowballing and people are starting to better understand mental health. When we talk and share our stories of struggles and pain and admit that the path is difficult to walk, though absolutely possible, we give hope to others and we make huge strides in eradicating the stigma that surrounds our industry and many people who live in heartache. Each conversation takes us one step out of the darkness. I want to thank the community for stepping up and having courage. Thanks to the agencies and businesses that support our work and collaborate with us, and mostly, a heartfelt thank-you to the private practitioners who openly take our clients who are in the highest need and stick with them day after day until their minds are quiet and their outlook more hopeful. They are the silent heroes, the skilled individuals in our community who make change in someone possible. Thank you for your compassion and dedication.

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Letter: Sheriff’s good deed

February 28, 2015 — 

That is so compassionate of that sheriff to go through the trouble to help that homeless person. There are a lot of people in law enforcement who do the right thing. You just don’t hear about it all the time.

Miles Knudson

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Letter: Take away the ammo, take away the guns

February 28, 2015 — 

So, the president and his shlumps are at it again. (Do they ever quit?) Messing with the Constitution. Bill of Rights? Maybe for the Islamic State. For sure with Iran nukes. They can’t take away the guns, so they are now trying to ban some types of commonly used ammo. In this old piece of paper that is still important to some of us, there is a Second Amendment that so happens to enforce all other amendments. Try and ban “high-capacity magazines” (they are standard capacity) for modern sporting rifles. They are not “assault rifles.” An assault rifle has to have the ability to fire fully automatic. Ain’t gonna happen in Colorado. The law is unenforceable.

The news — yes, even Fox — portrays modern sporting rifles as mass-murder black guns of death. I’ve got a World War II Springfield Amory M1Garand that can knock down steel plates at 600 yards all day long. Not black. Not “high cap.” Just a steel-and-walnut chunk that saved the world.

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Letter: A friend in need

February 28, 2015 — 

Dear friends and neighbors,

Many of you know Jill Pomeroy. She is a longtime Aspen resident and is married to an Aspen native. Many also know that for years Jill has been suffering from the pain of migraine headaches. What many do not know, however, is that over the past year, her suffering has become much worse. What was once a few headaches a month has become every single day! Currently Jill suffers every day from crippling chronic migraines that often last most, if not all, of the day. She cannot work and is forced to spend her days suffering in bed.

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