Letters to the Editor

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!

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Letter: Keep public lands public

January 31, 2016 — 

Here in Colorado, we know how important our incredible national public lands are to the lifestyles that we live and love every day. That’s why we regularly celebrate them with a great day of skiing or by hiking with our families rather than allow them to fall prey to a few fringe activists who seek to transfer them into state or private control, whether lawfully or unlawfully.

I want to thank Sen. Kerry Donovan for recognizing our love for national public lands and standing up to support them. She recently introduced a bill into the Colorado Legislature, Senate Bill 21 — Public Lands Day — aimed at designating a state holiday to celebrate the gift of our public lands. Unlike the outlaws in Oregon, true Westerners know that without access to our public lands, we’d lose a lot of what makes our region great: open access for recreation, a boon to our local businesses and rural economies, and backyards that are a treasure for the whole country.

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Letter: Martin Luther King's legacy

January 31, 2016 — 

“What are you doing for others?” This question, which Martin Luther King Jr. called “life’s most persistent and urgent question,” inspired the 238 students at Aspen Country Day School during a day of community engagement on Jan. 18. Children and teachers spread out all over town with projects that ranged from cooking for a dinner for the homeless to visiting with seniors at Whitcomb Terrace.

Activities spanned all grades; kindergartners baked dog biscuits for pets awaiting adoption, and eighth-graders met with Vince Savage at the Aspen Homeless Shelter. Seventh-graders spent time preparing for their June service project in the Sacred Valley of Peru with the World Leadership School. This initiative is part of the new “Learn Outside the Bubble” program at Country Day, which seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the responsibilities of global citizenship beyond our small community here in the Roaring Fork Valley. It was an important day of learning for all children and adults on our Castle Creek campus and beyond.

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Letter: No bikes in our wilderness

January 31, 2016 — 

Are you kidding? The Sustainable Trails Coalition wants to ruin our pristine but overcrowded U.S. Forest Service wilderness areas. Teddy Roosevelt would be turning over in his grave! Our beautiful Colorado high-country wilderness is a place where everyone can take a much-needed break from our fast-moving world by enjoying a walking hike or an enjoyable walking horseback ride. The principal word is “walking.” Peaceful walks in the wilderness are good for one’s soul. Can you imagine Snowmass Creek Trail being inundated with mountain bikes making daily trips to Snowmass Lake, up and back in one day? Our wilderness is the last bastion of moderately undisturbed, wild parts of our country. Our Forest Service forests are the only place where mountain bikes, motorized vehicles and chain saws cannot be used.

I applaud Mike Pritchard of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association and the National Mountain Bike Association for not supporting this grab at our last protected wild places. After all, the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association has extensive plans to develop a maze of trails across the 9,100 acres on the Crown, which is all the land just below Mount Sopris between Emma and Carbondale.

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Letter: Setting an example on climate change

January 30, 2016 — 

Aspen is regarded around the world for its natural beauty, cultural activities and access to the outdoors. Thanks to Mayor Steve Skadron’s attendance at the United Nations climate-change conference in Paris last month, the city of Aspen is now also known for our work addressing climate change.

Aspen has been resolute in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions locally, but climate change is a global issue. It is not enough for Aspen to implement solutions — we must share these successes with the world to help other communities transition. The Community Office for Resource Efficiency expresses our appreciation to Skadron for doing exactly that.

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Letter: A month for mentoring

January 30, 2016 — 

January was a fantastic, busy month for the Buddy Program! As the new recruitment manager at the Buddy Program, I was pleasantly overwhelmed with community support and interest in what we do. Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron and Carbondale Mayor Stacey Patch Bernot joined mayors from Orlando, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York City and Boston by proclaiming that January is officially National Mentoring Month in their respective cities. Ryan Koster at KSPN and Carolyne Heldman at Aspen Public Radio were gracious enough to have us on their radio shows to speak about the current volunteer needs at the Buddy Program while giving the community insight into the support offered from our case managers to all Buddy Pairs. Carbondale Beer Works hosted us as the nonprofit beneficiary of its first bingo night, which proved to be a full and intense house of bingo players and a wonderful way of showcasing the Buddy Program as a fixture in the Carbondale community. In addition to a social-media campaign, Mentoring in Real Life, we hosted our annual Mentor and Mingle event at BB’s Kitchen in its private lounge. More than 40 community members came in support of the Buddy Program and enjoyed delicious appetizers and refreshments, learned about our continued need for volunteers throughout the entire valley and even heard from two Buddy Pairs in our program. Our unique community verified once again that we have an abundance of caring, compassionate individuals, and we at the Buddy Program are constantly astounded and grateful to be included in so many of your lives. National Mentoring Month was a momentous success, and I’d like to thank our current Big Buddies, volunteers in the screening process and future volunteers yet to come. We currently have 37 kids on our valleywide waiting list, and I hope that you consider and take action in becoming part of the Buddy Program.

We’d like to thank Skadron, Bernot, KSPN, Aspen Public Radio, Carbondale Beer Works and BB’s Kitchen for your enthusiasm and collaboration. Thanks to you, the Roaring Fork Valley’s National Mentoring Month was impactful and effective.

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Letter: Unfair to Basalt voters

January 30, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to the Basalt Town Council.

Council,

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Letter: Memories of Glenn Frey and Grassroots

January 29, 2016 — 

Glenn Frey was a genuine friend and generous member of our Aspen community.

Glenn was an extraordinary songwriter and musician, but he was equally a genuine friend to so many. He was righteous and very candid, and damn, he was usually so “right on” about so much.

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Letter: Get it done already

January 29, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron and the Aspen City Council.

While Aspen has thus far failed to implement the Aspen Area Community Plan, adopted now over four years ago, you as its elected officials have an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and reform your land-use regulations so they actually reflect the community vision expressed through the adopted plan.

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Letter: What have they ever done?

January 29, 2016 — 

About a week ago, Ted Cruz stated that the Republican hero Ronald Reagan for the past 60 years did not believe in socialistic ideas! Cruz is either a liar or so amazingly ignorant it really makes one wonder. Reagan was not always a Republican. Pretty amazing, really.

Another Republican front-runner recently stated in Iowa that John Wayne was a strong man. I agree that Wayne was pretty strong, and as far as I know he fought in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean police action and Vietnam — all on the silver screen, though. I won’t pass judgement on Wayne, as I have never served. I will, however, pass judgement on Donald Trump, especially after he tried to sink John McCain’s war record. That was so amazingly childish, ignorant and just plain stupid — just as bad as the swiftboaters who tried to dis John Kerry’s record, all the while protecting the Champagne Unit that “W” sort of served with in the Vietnam era. I cannot stand chicken hawks unless they are the ones with actual wings. They are self-serving and are absolutely not heroes nor patriots. They act as if they are the only people who can protect the nation, especially Trump and Cruz. What have they done in that area, really? Cruz is a blockader who doesn’t work well with others, and Trump is a builder who wants to make Trump great again! These guys think they have what it takes to run the country and help people. Really. Their history is pretty much one of helping themselves.

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Letter: The sin of slavery: Neither original nor unforgivable

January 29, 2016 — 

In his letter “The triumph of abolition” (The Aspen Times, Jan. 25), Michael Malcolm rightly argues that there was nothing “original” about the sin of slavery in early America, as suggested perhaps by Glenn Beaton in his column “Still dreaming” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, Jan. 24).

However, Beaton may simply have meant that slavery was present at America’s “origin” — not that it was uniquely evil. Actually, there is another concept expressed by Beaton that is far more questionable, namely his fear that America may never be “redeemed” for having engaged in the practice.

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Letter: Why I am not running for mayor of Basalt

January 28, 2016 — 

I have decided not to run for Basalt mayor in order to allow the community to have a clear choice between a candidate who supports aggressive growth and development, Rick Stevens, and one who promotes low growth and slow development, current Mayor Jacque Whitsitt. When I announced that I would run for the position, I embraced a moderate growth position, which has gained no traction from the community. Rather than muddy the waters with a third candidate, I think it best for Basalt voters to cast votes for one approach or the other.

Both candidates have deep civic experience as Basalt mayors and council members. Their character and attitudes are well-known to the electorate. I have had a cordial working relationship with both candidates on the council, and I look forward to working cooperatively with the winner.

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Letter: Give Base Village to the town

January 28, 2016 — 

Mel Blumenthal, in a recent commentary, said Base Village should go back to Aspen Skiing Co. to fulfill its 2004 promises (“It’s all for your own good. Really,” Commentary, Aspen Daily News, Jan. 22). Remember me? I am the most experienced developer and builder in our little mountain village. Here is some thinking outside the box: Form a housing authority. Condemn Base Village as a nuisance. Buildings 7 and 8 are a joke and hurt business and values. Base Village should appraise for very little. Its concrete in place has deteriorated, and so have the incomplete Buildings 7 and 8.

Then put Base Village on the market for the very best proposal. The truth of the matter is that the Town Council really owns Base Village now. The Base Village mothership in New York knows that your first loss is always your cheapest loss. Related should give Base Village to the town of Snowmass Village and take a long vacation. The 2004 planned-unit-development ordinance is a loser. I am ready to go back into court to prove it’s useless.

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Letter: The formation of a star

January 28, 2016 — 

The X Games rock! I need to finally confess to almost ruining the career of Torin Yater-Wallace before it even began! When he was 15, he and his family lived next to us. He was always in the backyard doing incredible tricks on their trampoline with his buddies. The minute his parents left, Torin would grab a long extension ladder and put it up to the roof of the house and proceed to jump and flip from the roof! I was so worried, but for some reason held back from ratting him out, thereby doing my part for his future career. Good luck, Torin!

Dan Coleman

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Letter: World-class athletes, entrepreneurs together in one room

January 27, 2016 — 

On Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., we are incredibly fortunate to have Aspen’s most high-profile athletes in one room at the same time. Gretchen Bleiler, Chris Klug and Chris Davenport will share anecdotes on their entrepreneurial journey. Each individual has demonstrated incredible drive, passion and success in athletics and business in their own right. Come hear their inspiring stories, best practices and lessons learned in the Rio Grande Room on the third floor on the parking structure above Taster’s, and celebrate our entrepreneurial community with the Aspen Entrepreneurs and Investors Network.

Dave Mayer

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Letter: Protect your rights

January 27, 2016 — 

As responsible citizens, we need to guard all of our constitutional rights very carefully from all polidiots, right or left!

Michael Galvis

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Letter: Youth commission makes progress

January 27, 2016 — 

Dear friends and community members,

The Aspen Next Generation Advisory Commission, the newest commission of the city of Aspen, has been sending out monthly progress updates to community leaders for several months. We think it is appropriate to begin posting these letters publicly for your benefit and input.

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Letter: Affordable food in Aspen

January 27, 2016 — 

Someone proposed the idea of putting a fast-food mall in the mining tunnels under the town (“I’d drive 130 miles for a McNugget,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, Jan. 19), and while I thought it was a funny idea, I have an idea myself. How about converting the McDonald’s space into an affordable food mall? It would have a great selection of choices for the various fast-food and healthy eaters and keep in line with the “fast” food concept. The restaurants could share the rent and expenses and provide locals and visitors with an alternative. So, I am not, of course, a city planner, and I did understand that McDonald’s owns the building and it will negotiate the sale. It’s just an idea for a smart someone to buy this property up and provide food and places to eat, meet and sit. McDonald’s served a purpose here for many years. Many of us will miss it — maybe we can find a different purpose.

Karen Murray

Aspen

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