Letters to the Editor
This is a time of synthesis — a time of coming together as the heart of humanity opens to the sacredness and oneness of all life inspired now by the crises that separation and the negation of life have brought forth onto the world stage.
The three-day harvest celebration at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 and the 54 years of peace and friendship that followed between the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Pokanoket Wampanoag Indians was an extraordinary exception to human behavior before or since. It was the First Great Synthesis that gave birth to American democracy and the American mind and spirit, an inspiring origin story of what has yet to become a great nation that lives up to its vision and its promise.Learn more »
I’m grateful for this community — the promise it has held for decades and the promise it continues to hold for the future.
My wife, Jaelin, and I met while she was living in Carbondale seven years ago. Thank goodness for online dating, because I met my best friend and the person who would ultimately show me how amazing Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley are.Learn more »
GasBuddy reports that Mark Hunt is charging $3.54 per gallon at his Conoco station on Main Street. The price would be $2.32 per gallon if historical pricing relationships held. The gouge is $500 per person.
In the past, gasoline in Aspen would sell for 30 cents more than at the Glenwood Sinclair station, which has almost always offered the lowest price of gasoline around. Today, the Sinclair station is charging $2.07 and making a good margin because the cost of supplying the Glenwood station is around $1.65.Learn more »
With the passing of Mary Jane Garth last week, Aspen lost one of its most remarkable and generous women of the past half-century. As her obituary detailed, she was a longtime living symbol of the maxim that “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” Her support for everything from Aspen Valley Hospital to all of the arts was inspirational and too often unremarked, as with many of her friends, because it was just what they were supposed to do: Rich people are supposed to give.
However, many of them don’t give at all. And if they do, it’s only to whoever can help them politically, socially or with their business. But Mary Jane didn’t attach any strings to her giving and didn’t just donate to those whose friendship she wanted to curry. On a personal level, she gave just as freely and unreservedly. I saw her reach out and help time and again in every direction — not just cutting checks and giving to faceless organizations but working hands-on to help friends, neighbors, the hospital blue ladies, her church, those who worked for her and those whose lives touched hers.Learn more »
I’d like to thank Dawn Shepard for graciously and diplomatically showing me the dark truth about the candy-coated marketing ploys that intoxicate the oblivious consumer into thinking they are being humane, ethical and sustainable in consuming “organic,” “free-range” and “cage-free” poultry and livestock.
As a “conscious consumer,” I was as insensible and arrogant as my dog-loving neighbor — choosing not to feel compassion for the beautiful creatures we exploit, humiliate, torture and murder. For over 30 years, I strutted my non-mammal, pesco diet while turning the other cheek to the barbaric practices of all other animal-product or -byproduct industries (leather, wool, milk, dairy, seafood, down, cosmetics and entertainment) that inflict pain, fear and humiliation on animals. What’s more, and can no longer be ignored, is the horrific environmental impact of the agriculture industry and what it means for the future of our planet.Learn more »
Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley have many drivers who transport the rich and the famous.
There is one driver named George Lemon who has gone through much in the past few years, including a misdiagnosed heart condition that resulted in unneeded surgery. He forgave his doctors — no medical-malpractice lawsuit. This year he had two different types of cancer successfully treated.Learn more »
Can Republicans be Christians? Many Republicans consider their party the defender of Christian values, yet whenever there is a crisis, Republicans ignore Christ’s teachings. Remember ebola? The Republican response was to shut down flights from West Africa despite an effective screening process and only three Americans deaths. They self-centeredly ignored the needy. Thankfully, our president is more level-headed, and he prevailed.
Today, Islamic extremists are pushing Syrian refugees out of their homeland. Despite an excellent screening program, many Republicans fear terrorists will infiltrate the United States, and they want to shut down the refugee program. A “friend” recently posted on Facebook: “I have 10 snakes in a bag, 9 are garter one is a cobra, would you be willing to reach in the bag and take one out? The same goes for refugees, and if you don’t think the ISIS will take advantage of the refugee situation to infiltrate our country then see my first comment!” (which was that I was an idiot).Learn more »
Today, Nov. 24, the Basalt Town Council will address the issue of the amount of development on the former Pan and Fork parcel. This past summer, more than 700 residents of Basalt, through the petition process, strongly indicated their desire to have no more than 30,000 total square feet of development on this property. The Rocky Mountain Institute structure already has gobbled up approximately half of that square footage, leaving 15,000 square feet for future development. Some council members have expressed their desire to approve development of more than 55,000 square feet on the parcel, which would be the equivalent of three more buildings — each one equal to the size of the Rocky Mountain Institute. If such development were allowed to occur, it would totally dominate the landscape and turn a potential community river park jewel into just another commercial district.
All across the country, cities and towns are reclaiming their downtown squares for community gathering purposes. In our techno-centric world, what is missing from people’s lives are gathering places where they can interact with friends and family — across generations. This newly rediscovered space on the river is our opportunity to create such a gathering place in downtown Basalt. Please don’t squander this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by approving unnecessary development at the expense of community open space. More is not better, better is better!Learn more »
Three weeks have passed since the successful conclusion of the Bond Together campaign. Over the coming years, a number of critical infrastructure projects will be completed throughout the schools of the Roaring Fork School District. I want to extend my thanks to our community for their continued support of our schools. Winning any election is a team effort. No matter how small, your support was critical.
A special thanks to the following individuals who gave selflessly throughout the campaign: Debbie Bruell, Kimi Mischke, Doug Pratte, Colleen Barill, Rachel Schaefer, Carolyn Glasgow, Amelia Potvin, Audrey Hazleton, Julia Lang, Autumn Riviera, Karl Hanlon, Diana Sirko, Rob Stein, Jeff Gatlin, Nikki Jost, Shannon Pelland, Suzanne Wolff, Jen Rupert, Ellen Freedman, Ted Busch, Jonathan Lowsky, Phil Gallegos, Tom Penzel, Paul Freeman, Bill Anuszewski, Sheryl Barto, Cortni O’Brien, Linda Fiske and Kara Williams. Without the boundless energy of this group and so many others, we would not have secured our community’s support!Learn more »
The Jetson House on Owl Creek Road in Snowmass needs a modest makeover. I would like to ask the owners of the property to consider redesigning the roofline that in its current form stabs the sky with a double sword. The architectural plans were never vetted by the town planners, and so I feel it is incumbent on the owners of the property to hear the feedback from the community and manage their property with the community’s best interest in mind.
All that needs to be done is to pull in the dagger-like roofline in toward the body of the house. If those twin daggers that puncture the sky for all of us who drive on Owl Creek Road were scaled back so that they looked modest, rather than in-your-face outrageous, I think the property would fit in with the community in a much more peaceful way.Learn more »
I was surprised to see the board as well as The Aspen Times mention my name as a potential candidate for the open seat on the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District board. I apologize for talking it for granted that by not submitting a letter of application nor showing up for the last meeting I still might have been under consideration.
Though I had expressed an interest in the appointment due to my affinity for public service and a desire to contribute, I decided not to apply for the following reasons, all of which are equally important.Learn more »
When I retired six years ago, I began more actively using all of the services of our local senor services. I have continued to be amazed at all of the programs, help, activities and information that the wonderful staff there provides. As I wrote some years ago, Marty, Patty, Mary and Ruth deserve out utmost thanks and praise.
Recently, to add icing to the cake, the senior-service lunch program has had the wonderful experience of a new chef. Julie Bloomingdale has brought a refreshing new addition to our meals along with her assistant, Luciano. It just keeps getting better.Learn more »
I had been a bit perplexed at the un-Christianlike vehemence aimed at Sheila Wills and happy to see that I am not the only one. I agree with Anthony Rizzuto that if we are to accommodate one religion, we must for others, as well, including Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and so on (“All or nothing,” Letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, Nov. 17). We do acknowledge Christmas Day; that is one day per year. Perhaps other religions could be “granted” one day per year without school conflicts. If all sects desired six days per school year ...
I am distressed that Wills has been nailed to the cross, and I think it’s time to gently let her down in a spirit of community and tolerance. Perhaps we’d be better served by civil discussion than by shrill and entitled judgment.Learn more »
I am writing in reference to Meredith Carroll’s column of Nov. 16 (“Jews don’t need more lessons on sacrifice,” Commentary, The Aspen Times). I found it most objectionable. The idea that Carroll would compare statements made by Sheila Kennedy Wills to a “mindset more consistent with 1930s Germany or 1965 Alabama” is ridiculous, patently untrue if Sheila has been quoted correctly in the newspaper and far more offensive than Sheila’s statement that calendar conflicts might be a learning opportunity for students. To call Sheila “anti-Semitic, ignorant, insensitive and not very bright” is wrong. Clearly she doesn’t know Sheila and has no understanding of all the time and hard work she has put in on behalf of all the students of the Aspen School District for the past four years. If anyone is owed an apology, it is Sheila, who offered an apology at the meeting to those individuals whom she inadvertently offended. I, for one, will no longer be reading any more of Carroll’s inaccurate, hate-filled columns. Praise be God!
Roxanne WillskyLearn more »
While President Obama is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance that spares a turkey’s life.
And here are some good reasons: You can brag about pardoning a turkey — like Obama. You truly are what you eat — who wants to be a butterball? Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels. You won’t sweat the environment and food-resources-devastation guilt trip. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died. Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones. And you won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the emergency room.Learn more »
This past week, our congressional representative, Scott Tipton, voted for House Bill 4038: the American SAFE Act of 2015. The bill, in response to the horrific Paris terrorist attacks, should have been titled the American Xenophobic Act of 2015.
Within days of the attacks on French soil, the president of France announced that his country would welcome 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years. Germany will accept 800,000 asylum-seekers this year. Meanwhile, our own country — considerably larger and with more resources — has only committed to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. We accepted 1,682 last year. It will take an average of two years for a Syrian refugee to be vetted by the FBI and Homeland Security before they can make it to the sanctuary of our shores.Learn more »
We have been reading about the recent conversations regarding the Aspen School District calendar and the statements at the close of Nov. 12’s community meeting by our friend and school board member Sheila Wills. Sheila fully recognizes her poor choice of words at the meeting and has apologized for them. As people who know her well, know her compassionate heart and know the sincerity in her apology, we will continue fully to support her service on the Aspen school board, knowing that she will continue to be an outstanding member.
We have known Sheila for almost 14 years since we first moved to Aspen. Our sons attended the Aspen public schools, and we often crossed paths there. Additionally, we have served on task forces and committees with Sheila and know her to be a very bright, caring and compassionate person. She is an extremely dedicated, hard worker who has volunteered and contributed countless hours to many nonprofits in addition to her lengthy service on the Aspen school board.Learn more »
Big-money contributors are trying to get our House of Representatives to pass a bill that allows tens of thousands more unskilled foreign workers into the country.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies, “said the bill is designed to help industries that donate to lawmakers at the expense of American workers,” according to USA Today (“Congress considers bringing in more foreign workers to fill seasonal jobs,” Nov. 12).Learn more »
Did you see the recent article that more than 1,000 residential units and 350,000 square feet of commercial space either have been approved and are nearing construction or are under review by various governments between Basalt and south of Glenwood Springs (“1,000 residences planned along Highway 82,” The Aspen Times, Nov. 19)? That puts thousands of more cars on Highway 82. Our city and county officials had better do something quick to commit to a method of solving the Aspen traffic problem. Otherwise we will soon face total gridlock.
Eric SimonLearn more »
Letter: Why take chances?Learn more »
Another year gone by! I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the volunteers at the Thrift Shop. For over 26 years, the Thrift Shop has helped our Special Olympics athletes by donating a substantial amount of money! We appreciate it each and every year and feel they need the recognition that goes with being so generous. It’s so nice to know that the Thrift Shop continues its ongoing task of assisting nonprofits with important missions and projects.
The volunteers at the Thrift Shop make this donation possible with all their hard work. On behalf of our athletes, coaches and families in the Roaring Fork Valley, thank you!Learn more »
It is refreshing to see a community of faith exercising its voice, as in Adam Z. Cherry’s letter “Dysfunctional school board” in the Nov. 20 Commentary section of The Aspen Times.
However, as to his comment about Jewish students being allowed “to use the same bathrooms and drinking fountains as the Christians,” I would ask, “What Christians? Are there any?” Apart from the occasional “personal witness” by columnist Glenn Beaton, one doesn’t hear much from them in the pages of this paper.Learn more »
In response to your article titled “Aspen School District meeting with Jewish parents gets tense” (The Aspen Times, Nov. 12), let me first say that the community has already proffered its cogent and piercing response to the district’s callous decision-making process (see: articles by Meredith Carroll (“Jews don’t need more lessons on sacrifice,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, Nov. 16) and Zoe Cramer (“Ex Ed on Yom Kippur,” The Skier Scribbler, The Aspen Times, Oct. 21). So permit me another tack.
While the conflict of academics and religion notably weighs upon those affected, it is clearly trivial to members of the board, as evidenced by Sheila Wills’ appallingly bigoted commentary. Does Wills expect those in the Jewish community to be mollified by the fact that the board graciously allows their kids to use the same bathrooms and drinking fountains as the Christians? Though I hesitate to infer, Wills’ words were, nonetheless, inane if not actionable. Were the University of Missouri football team not back on the gridiron, she would already be packing her bags. And to cite conflicts with the International Baccalaureate exam docket and football schedule as the underpinnings for the particular timing of Ex Ed is both specious and illogical. First, the high school has more Jews than football players (40) — Cameron Seltzer and Roman Rosenthal might be double-counted; Michael O’Callahan not so much — and second, International Baccalaureate exams were already used as the rationale for shifting Ex Ed from the spring. So the next time the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars collide (2018), put the onus on the athletes or International Baccalaureate students, but as Moses beseeched, ”Let my people go” — wander the desert in Utah, or surf in San Diego.Learn more »
To the city of Aspen:
There is less than a month left to save Marble Basecamp, and there is still a lot of money to be raised. Dec. 15 is the deadline to make your donation in order to keep and maintain Marble Basecamp for future generations to learn, grow and create lifelong memories.Learn more »
Dear Aspen Elks Lodge:
Thank you for sponsoring my football team. Playing football was really fun and taught me about teamwork and responsibility. My coaches Scott Powell, Scott Russell and Justin Leonard did a great job.Learn more »
On Wednesday, the Aspen School District Food Service Department held its annual Thanksgiving lunch. This year, the lunch really became a true school community event involving students, parents, staff and community professionals to make it the most successful event ever!
The elementary school turkey was deliciously smoked and sponsored by chef Jamie Theriot of Smoke Modern Barbeque restaurants. The Aspen Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, led by the amazing Alyssa Genshaft, provided all the wonderful, helpful and fun volunteer team to serve the hungry students, parents and family members.Learn more »
In the Sept. 11, Nov. 10 and Nov. 18 editions of The Aspen Times, it was incorrectly stated that Federal Aviation Administration would cover most of the $145.9 million cost of the construction of a new terminal and runway and an above-ground parking lot. This is not entirely correct, as the parking lot and portions of the terminal-complex project are ineligible for federal airport-improvement funds. Depending upon the availability of funding and national priorities, the FAA anticipates only funding a portion of the terminal and runway projects rather than most of the costs associated with these projects.
Federal funds used for airport development are administered under the Airport Improvement Program. Federal law states that only a portion of the terminal construction is eligible for program funds (typically only common-use and public areas of a terminal building are eligible). In addition, the program’s authorizing statute limits federal participation in the construction of the terminal building to a total of $20 million of the program’s discretionary funds (see Public Law 112-95, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012). The airport sponsor may use its yearly Airport Improvement Program entitlement funds toward the terminal, which are approximately $1.95 million annually for the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.Learn more »
A special ceremony
What a great ceremony! Just when you think things couldn’t get any better, we have a ceremony like this one. A huge shout-out to the Aspen Fire Department for the use of its warm and dry fire barn and the participation of its honor guard; it was absolutely first-rate. Our intention was to honor and remember our veterans and then to recognize Aspen’s first responders, the Aspen Fire Department, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the Aspen Police Department. Many of our veterans now proudly serve our community in these public-safety organizations.Learn more »
A quick climate-change solution
A recent survey found two-thirds of Americans believe humans cause climate change. Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline. Coal consumption is steeply declining. Renewables are the fastest-growing segment of the energy industry. Shell Oil abandoned drilling in the Arctic. The world nations will soon sign a climate treaty. So why worry about climate change?Learn more »
Letter: Terrific Turkey BowlNovember 18, 2015 —
On behalf of the Basalt Recreation Department, thank you to all 12 teams that participated in our second annual Turkey Bowl flag-football tournament Saturday. Thank you to our great tournament sponsors: Bank of Colorado, Crawford Properties, Mountain Impressions Hardwood Flooring and High Tone Auto Body. Thank you to Basalt High School for the use of its football and soccer field, and a big “thank you” to Carl Frerichs and all of the Basalt High School football coaches and players who were excellent referees for the event. With the help of our sponsors and all who participated, we were able to raise more than $2,600 for the Basalt High School football program to help cover the costs of new equipment and gear for the upcoming seasons. This tournament was a huge success, and we can’t wait for Turkey Bowl 2016! Thank you to all involved for the unbelievable support of this big event in a small town.