Letters to the Editor

Letter: Share the road with cyclists

July 23, 2014 — 

Share the road with cyclists

My apologies to the commuters who drive to Aspen on 82. I’m the cyclist that you see riding along the side of the highway many mornings. When you are flying by at 60 to 70 mph, I want to be as far from you as I can be. What you may not realize is that there is also a fair amount of debris in the shoulder that I am also trying to avoid. If you see me riding close to the left edge, it’s because I have no choice. Please don’t swerve into me for giggles (white box truck, I’m talking to you!) it’s unnecessary and frightening. Until the Rio Grande is paved in it’s entirety, I’m stuck on 82, and I don’t like it any more than you do. Please share the road and be respectful.

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Letter: Woody Creek lost another longtime Woody Creature

July 23, 2014 — 

Woody Creek lost another longtime Woody Creature

Gaylord’s “The Sage of Woody Creek”, longtime companion, Buckwheat the dog passed away. Most of us all knew Buckwheat very well, we will miss him, like we did when Biff the Cat, the Tavern’s mascot, passed away. May they both rest in peace!

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Letter: Aspen is losing parking

July 23, 2014 — 

Aspen is losing parking

Where are the residents of Aspen supposed to park? The new art museum has been given all the parking spaces on both sides of their new building in perpetuity for a sculpture garden, and the residents of Aspen have lost 16 to 18 parking spaces forever. This morning, and for the past several weeks, they have posted no parking signs for six spaces on 600 E. Hyman Ave., Four spaces on 600 E. Cooper Ave., Eight parallel-parking spaces on East Spring Street and eight angle parking on the west side of Spring Street. That totals 44 spaces of town parking that are unavailable for tourists, locals, shoppers, patients, clients — for several weeks and 18 parking spots lost forever. There is even a nasty sign in front of the museum across from Sandy’s that says, “No Stopping or Standing to let people off.” Instead they are to walk several blocks or waste gas circling for a parking spot instead of paying for parking spots and construction spots and fines and fees the museum paid for “storm water project.” The city planners say they never realized that the Art Museum would be taking so many spots! Another good deal for the art crowd. Across the street is the Crandal Building that at one time housed seven physicians, and now it is down to two pediatricians. What is the plan? Mom drops off her 5 year old while she looks for parking. She schleps the two kids and a newborn in the winter from Rubey Park. The skier/hockey player with a sprained ankle hikes in from the high school. Fortunately, the kids in wheelchairs can park in the handicapped parking in front of the office. It isn’t just sick kids, but every business around needs some way for people to get to their business. I love the bus system, the bike stations and parking garage, but they don’t work for many people and all situations. In a few weeks it will be done and things will be better, but there was a major lack of planning, thinking of consequences and to have given the Art Museum permanent control over 18 parking spaces to use for a sculpture garden is difficult to comprehend. Aspen as a local community is truly slipping away. There is very little or nothing that can be done at this point except roll over. This is not the council that voted for the project and Mayor Skadron was the no vote. We need better planning; involve more of the impacted neighbors and ask more questions. Just because someone owns the ground (paid too much for it), it is not the city’s responsibility to make it possible for the developer to make a huge profit.

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Letter: A front page full of drivel

July 22, 2014 — 

Excuse me while I wipe off the spray. I’m just finishing Sunday’s front-page story in The Aspen Times, “Lewis remains an icon for human and civil rights.”

The article extols Congressman John Lewis, who is currently in Aspen “promoting his latest book,” as I read. Lewis also has been pushing a very partisan political agenda, as I do not read.

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Letter: Congratulations, Lo Semple

July 22, 2014 — 

I want to congratulate Lo Semple for writing a letter to the editor (The Aspen Times, “A milestone acknowledge,” Commentary, July 12) congratulating Aspen Skiing Co.’s Mike Kaplan for congratulating him for skiing 100 days last year, and then Semple finished by congratulating himself for being a true local. Once again, congratulations!

Roger Marolt

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Letter: Immigration problem stems from misguided policies

July 22, 2014 — 

The open-border advocates can now see first hand what their misguided “humanitarian” policies have created.

They say we can’t deport the 11 million illegals hiding in this country. By presidential fiat, Obama gave the “dreamers” de facto amnesty. And for goodness sake, we can’t break up any illegal families, the bleeding hearts cry.

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Letter: Too hot to handle, too hard to hear

July 22, 2014 — 

On July 9 at 5 p.m., I attended a Historic Preservation Commission meeting in the basement of Aspen City Hall. I went hoping to better understand the controversy between the Lundy structure renovation and the home owned and lived in by Martin and Beate Block.

Hearing what was discussed by the commissioners was not possible; there was no audio system. I asked to have the sound amplified and was told I could not hear because people in my row were talking. True, people were asking each other what was being said. No one could hear. Microphones were in front of each commissioner. Each speaker needed to hold the microphone directly in front of his or her mouth when talking. After a few spoken words they no longer spoke directly into the microphone and, despite the fact the sound was set at its highest level, the sound did not resonate.

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Letter: Who bears the majority of the blame?

July 20, 2014 — 

Melanie Sturm’s column (“The era of intended adverse consequences”) in Thursday’s edition of The Aspen Times contained much to praise, particularly regarding Washington’s current legislative impasse and appalling lack of leadership.

As a centrist, however, I like to spread the blame around fairly. Thus, I missed in Sturm’s commentary any acknowledgment of Republican responsibility for the immigration-reform mess. It seems to me that the stalling tactics of the Republican-led House are at least as responsible as any failings on the part of the Obama administration. In this election year, Republicans seem bent on not offending powerful tea party interests opposed to meaningful immigration reform. Thus, meaningful compromise seems, for now at least, dead in the water.

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Letter: Look carefully at Maroon Creek Valley proposal

July 20, 2014 — 

We are writing in regards to the current pending land-use application being submitted by Celestial LLC for development of a lot within the Maroon Creek Valley. The proposal requests permission to use transferable development rights to build a 13,250 square-foot structure on a 35-acre lot with a 3-acre building envelope that is compromised by two avalanche paths and an alluvial fan.

We have serious concerns because of the size of the home as well as the significant environmental risks. This application should be of concern to not only residents of the Maroon Creek Valley but to residents of the Roaring Fork Valley who value the corridor that provides entrance to the Maroon Bells and the Snowmass Maroon Bells Wilderness Area.

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Letter: Good job, Pitkin County Sheriff Department

July 20, 2014 — 

I would like to thank the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department for patrolling the ramp at the airport heading to Aspen. Every morning I witness grown-ups driving to Aspen and turning at the lights to the airport, then going down the ramp, in order to get ahead of the bottleneck traffic going into Aspen. They proceed in the bus lane to Buttermilk, going at a good clip, and they are three minutes ahead of everyone else.

Pitkin County can make a little extra cash by charging the stray traffic $20 a pop at the booth leaving the airport ramp. Maybe it’s worth it to the folks who can’t wait their turn in the traffic to Aspen, and Pitkin County can make a good sum of cash on the side due to commuter’s impatience.

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Letter: Give seniors priority

July 19, 2014 — 

Give seniors priority

How ironic that I am waiting in line to renew my driver’s license at the Glenwood Springs motor-vehicle office while reading about long lines and understaffing in The Aspen Times newspaper.

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Letter: Speak out on Woody Creek post office

July 19, 2014 — 

Speak out on Woody Creek post office

The federal government’s cutting of the open/business hours of the Woody Creek post office will be the first step in the eventual attempt at closing not only the Woody Creek post office but many of the others on its list! Woody Creatures need to be sure and come to the Woody Creek Community Center on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. to a meeting with a post office administrator to discuss this issue. Please attend if you can. Your voice needs to be heard loud and clear!

Michael Galvis

Woody Creek

Letter; Thanks for supporting The Buddy Program

July 19, 2014 — 

Thanks for supporting The Buddy Program

The Buddy Program would like to acknowledge the generosity of all those who contributed to the success of this year’s Honky-Tonkin’ Bash for the Buddies. Over 400 guests and volunteers came out to support the Buddy Program and the 1,000 youth who are empowered through mentoring experiences in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are very grateful to all the loyal Bash patrons, donors, volunteers, restaurant contributors, silent-auction and volunteer coordinators, live-auction and silent-auction contributors as well as our corporate and in-kind sponsors. This event would not have been so successful without the generous support of our sponsors: Boogie’s Diner, Prada, Aspen Magazine, The Aspen Times, Alpine Bank, Meridian Jewelers, Premier Party Rental, Aspen 82, Gold Leaf Event Design and Production and Escobar Bar. Many thanks also to our generous host committee: Richard Jelinek, Tony Mazza, John Phelan, Richard Rogers, Lew Sanders, Daryl Snadon and Gary Stewart.

This year’s Honky-Tonkin’ Bash was held at Marolt Open Space under the big top where guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a silent and live auction, live music by Bobbie Yang and his band, lots of dancing, a delicious dinner and a beautiful performance by our own Buddy Band — comprised of six very talented Little Buddies. As always, the Bash featured signature dishes and cocktails by many of Aspen’s favorite restaurants, including Asie Restaurant, BB’s Kitchen, Cache Cache, Caribou Club, Conundrum Catering, Escobar, Fusion Catering, Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, Hickory House, Hops Culture, In the Soup, Jimmy’s, L’Hostaria, Matsuhisa, Randy Placeres’ Aspen Culinary Solutions, Resqwater, Rustique, Whole Foods and Zeno. A big thank you to Bash Event Planners Chelsea Dillon, Kate Ryan and Barbara Platts with Gold Leaf Event Design and Production as well as Volunteer Coordinators Erika Leavitt and Natasha Lucero. We are fortunate to have such a strong team!

We also would like to extend our gratitude to our Board of Directors, led by Adam Goldsmith, our Bash Committee, comprised of Diane Anderson, Mona Look-Mazza, Albert Sanford and Angie Stewart, our Leadership Development Board led by Jim Palardy, our very generous National Council donors, led by Mona Look-Mazza and Angie Stewart, and of course our wonderful Chairman of our Board, Lenny “Boogie” Weinglass, who has been a tremendous champion of our cause for so many years!

Thanks to the generosity of our community, the Buddy Program is able to provide critical services and programs to our local youth including individual mentoring, group mentoring, Lemonade Day, scholarships and therapeutic counseling at no cost to them. Your support allows our children to grow happier, healthier and to their full potential. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

With deepest gratitude,

David Houggy

The Buddy Program, executive director

Letter: Thanks to the Elks

July 19, 2014 — 

Thanks to the Elks

Basalt Recreation would like to extend a big thank you to the Aspen Elks Lodge for their generous support of our programs and our scholarship program. With their help, we certified our new lifeguard staff at the Basalt Pool, and we were able to replace some worn-out lifesaving equipment to improve our pool. The Elks Lodge also helps with our scholarship program so we can help families enjoy many programs that they may not be able to otherwise. We are very fortunate to have the support of an organization like the Aspen Elks Lodge who really cares about the youth of our community!

Dorothy Howard

Basalt Recreation Department

Letter: Excess supply for unlimited demand

July 18, 2014 — 

Excess supply for unlimited demand

Andy Stone certainly gets one thing right — we have no control over the law of supply and demand.

Or, viewed another way, we do have control if we want to unleash growth and thus create excess supply to satisfy unlimited demand.

But that is akin to destroying the village to save it!

By limiting growth — a desired public goal — we limit supply, and that causes land and home prices to rise. We have offset some of the undesired consequences by creating affordable-housing programs, and those have largely worked. But, if that’s the case, why the absence of Stone’s cited “swingsets in backyards”?

The answer is that choosing a place to live involves more than just a house price. Families also need to buy school supplies, get cars serviced, get shoes repaired — and none of those things can be readily done in Aspen. We have groceries and Gucci and not much in between. In addition to housing, we also should be investigating how we can expand services to local residents. And that is a whole different set of policy dynamics, indeed.

But Stone also addresses the lodging question and takes issue with us “falling behind Vail.” Well, we not only are falling behind Vail, we are falling behind most resort locales in the Mountain West. Our lodging stock is decreasing and aging, and we certainly lack anything even modestly “affordable.” And that speaks to our core industry — tourism. It is in that category that we are falling behind and losing ground to the competition and thus a lodging incentive ordinance to facilitate a refurbishment of our needed lodging stock. And we can control that refurbishment. We are not seeking to recreate Vail, heaven forbid. But that does not mean that we cannot and should not expand and upgrade our hotel offerings in order to sustain our tourism industry.

Things change, and we need to change with them. That is all that is being facilitated by City Council with this new ordinance. We will not be Vail, and don’t want to be Vail or anybody else. But improving our hospitality offerings helps keep us who are.

James DeFrancia


Letter: Clarifying nonprofit expenses

July 18, 2014 — 

Clarifying nonprofit expenses

A recent article in The Aspen Daily News (“The Bash for the Buddies,” July 13) sets out to “follow the money at one of Aspen’s top fundraisers.” We at the Buddy Program appreciate the coverage of The Bash for the Buddies and of the great work that we do. However, I feel that the emphasis on “following the money” misses the mark and needs clarification. In particular, the statement that, “only about 4.5 percent of the nonprofit’s revenue went directly to youth,” needs to be addressed.

The 4.5 percent figure represents what we allocate for scholarships and counseling. While we are thrilled to be able to provide approximately $70,000 to these two important areas each year, this is not our primary mission. Our mission is “to empower youth through mentoring experiences in order to achieve their full potential.”

We provide and facilitate mentoring and various programs and experiences for our mentors, mentees and many other children in the valley. We are a quasi-social service organization with case managers and support staff who are necessary to accomplish this. So, yes, many of our expenses are related to paying the people who do such an amazing job, and that is just how it should be.

The true impact of the Buddy Program should be measured in what we have and continue to accomplish. We have grown from serving a handful of youth in the early years to nearly 1,000 today. The continued financial support we receive from our very generous donors is what has enabled this growth. As importantly, there is an incredible amount of time and energy contributed by our many supporters including our Big Buddies, Race and Bash volunteers, over 150 Silent Auction donors, sponsors, media partners and many others.

The Bash is not just a fundraiser. It and the Boogie’s Buddy July 4th Race are important marketing events and “friendraisers.” In order for this organization to flourish, we create relationships and inspire all types of support within the community.

Yes, it’s true that fundraisers are not cheap to put on, but they are an integral part of fundraising for us and most of the nonprofit organizations in the valley — and the country, for that matter. We at the Buddy Program are proud of our efficiency in this area. In 2013, our event expense ratio was 33 percent, significantly lower than the national average of 50 percent. In other words, for every dollar we raised at events, we kept 67 cents, whereas most charities only keep 50 cents. It is important to note that this is only the ratio for events; for other fundraising activities like appeals, our expense ratio is much lower.

The accounting of most businesses and nonprofits, ours included, can be difficult to follow, and certainly cannot be summed up in an attention grabbing headline. The bottom line is that in one form or another, 88 percent of our revenue net of fundraising costs goes toward helping our youth, and this compares favorably with the national average.

We are always available to answer questions concerning the important work we do and how we do it.

Thank you again to our community for all of your support — without you we could not have such a positive effect on so many youth in our valley.

Adam Goldsmith

The Buddy Program, President of the Board

Letter: It’s invasion, not immigration

July 18, 2014 — 

It’s invasion, not immigration

We are all so much more enlightened by the idiotic cartoon to which you devoted half a page in your July 16 “Commentary” section, depicting a heartless Republican elephant on the border denying “refuge” to Jose, Maria, and their “so-called child” Jesus, who are riding on a Democratic donkey.

Is there supposed to be an analogy here? Joseph and Mary were not migrants, refugees or aliens, but citizens who were being ordered around by big government to report to Bethlehem for a census.

They were also a family, not parent-less young men bearing disease, crime and a host of other social needs and problems into communities that will be forced to absorb them.

Let’s get real here. We are no longer talking about “immigration,” but about invasion, brought on and abetted by the same big government that’s forcing the rest of us into Obamacare and debt.

Whom, exactly, does this benefit? Certainly not middle-class white taxpayers and their unemployed family members. Certainly not African Americans, whose jobs are being stolen by cheap migrant labor, and who themselves are seeking asylum from Detroit-like inner cities. And certainly not Latinos, whose neighborhoods will be among the first to feel the degradation of their standard of living as uneducated, religion-less dependents and predators show up in their neighborhoods.

Why is this happening? It is hard not to conclude, along with Dinesh d’Souza, that progressives in the Democratic Party desire nothing more than to take a Saul Alinsky, Cloward-Piven wrecking ball to American society. It is not Jesus who is being born on the Donkey’s back, but Satan.

Chad Klinger


Letter: Put the beast to sleep

July 18, 2014 — 

Put the beast to sleep

Matt A’Hearn’s letter (The Aspen Times, Commentary, “The Beast of Basalt,” July 16) was spot on. Today we shall be awoken again because for some reason the street needs a weekly sweeping. You cannot shut out the noise of the beast. With all windows closed and earplugs in, the high-pitched whine penetrates your skull until you start thinking dark thoughts of sabotage. Sleep deprived, you stagger through the day.

Sensible towns prohibit parking for a period of time on one side of a street a specific day of the month so that the sweeper can work at a reasonable hour.

I guess when you spend a huge sum on a street sweeper, you feel obligated to use it. How many man-broom hours could be bought with that sum? What does the street sweeper operator do in the winter when there is no snowfall to plow?

Gerry Terwilliger


Letter: Deaf Camp Picnic on Saturday

July 18, 2014 — 

Deaf Camp Picnic on Saturday

One of the great things about living in the Roaring Fork Valley is that our summers are just crammed with great festivals, concerts and events, but there’s one coming up this weekend that you shouldn’t miss. It’s the Deaf Camp Picnic in Snowmass Village.

The picnic is a Roaring Fork Valley tradition, sure to bring out a whole bunch of your neighbors and friends. Join us at the base area in Snowmass Village starting at about 4 p.m. Saturday for good food, great music and all kinds of fun, all in support of one of Aspen’s treasures, the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The good news is that it is free.

While you’re enjoying the music, if you see a donation bucket, drop in a portrait of a dead president as a thank you to the Aspen Camp School and Snowmass Village for hosting the event, and you can feel good about the fact that you’ve helped to ensure the ongoing good work at the Aspen Camp School.

Tim Whitsitt

Basalt, Aspen Camp School Board of Directors

Letter: Support the Woody Creek post office

July 16, 2014 — 

I am writing to encourage all community members to support keeping the Woody Creek post office open. The current threat is to lower the number of hours the window is open, making it a part-time post office, which then will leave it vulnerable to eventual closing altogether.

It’s understood that the U.S. Postal Service runs at a deficit, but rural parts of the country rely on their small post offices to a greater extent for mail delivery, shipping and community communication because of distances traveled to obtain services. I currently pay almost $1,000 per year to get adequate Internet access. It’s a lot of money, but because we run a business, we see it as a necessity. For many, that is a prohibitive expense. The post office still serves a very important function.

The Woody Creek post office has a wonderful, friendly postmistress who makes it a pleasure to buy stamps, ship a box and get a friendly greeting. I know many people go there despite having a post office closer just because of its attributes. There will be a caucus meeting at the Woody Creek Community Center next to the Woody Creek Tavern on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. with a post office administrator to discuss the issue. Please attend, if you can, to voice your support. Please fill out the survey form available at the Woody Creek post office with the request not to reduce the window hours. Anyone with a mailing address anywhere can fill out the form. Please write your county commissioners, state legislators, and congressional and Senate representatives encouraging support for keeping our rural post office open.

We will lose so much more than convenient hours if the Woody Creek post office closes.

Thank you.

Valerie Braun

Woody Creek

Letter: Religion through a grown-up’s eyes

July 16, 2014 — 

Israel is doing a great job of turning the rest of the world against it for occupying foreign territory, human-rights violations and military interventions that violate international law (just like we do). The Palestinians have been evicted from their homes, they have watched them be demolished along with their wells, and they have no access to water and no civil rights to assemble or vote. And the Gaza Strip has been sealed off and effectively turned into the world’s largest open-air prison.

It’s encouraging to see so many Jewish-American citizens and organizations speaking out against this genocidal policy, where millions of Palestinians live in conditions not unlike South Africa’s apartheid: arrest and imprisonment without charge or trial, searches without warrants and torture. (Sound familiar?) Our corporate media support one side of the story, but if you want the facts about this conflict, from a true “insider,” listen to the talks by Mika Peled (“The General’s Son”) on YouTube. Enlightening and worth your time.

However, maybe we should all be talking about the real root cause of this problem: religion! Stupid religions, written thousands of years ago by Bronze Age cretins who believed God told them it was OK to eat locusts but not shellfish, that women should neither be seen nor heard but definitely stoned to death if they fooled around, and that God preferred one tribe of primitive halfwits over another. “Hey, guess what, everybody: We’re the chosen people! Yeah, God told me so last night. Yes, he did!”

Perhaps we should reconsider the wisdom of our founding fathers, intelligent and well-read men who understood that the Bible stories were lifted from other religions that were around 1,000 years before Christianity. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find, in our superstition of Christianity, one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology.”

Yeah, these guys were pretty much on the same page, and it wasn’t from a holy book. Benjamin Franklin: “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” John Adams: “The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.” Thomas Paine: “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.”

The founders were actual grown-ups. They knew that religions were scams, and they wanted nothing to do with them. Again, from Jefferson, never one to mince words: “If one wishes to know more about the caliber of people who serve this Christian god, they are always of two classes: hypocrites and fools.” Maybe it’s time for us to grow up and do the same.

Steve Saylor


Letter: Traveling in gonzo style

July 16, 2014 — 

From Aspen and Woody Creek, knowledge and understanding of the world once emanated from the tip of Hunter S. Thompson’s pen. Now, a new Aspen resident is attempting to build on that tradition.

“GoNE GoNZo,” a travel TV show, takes viewers to one unexplored country each week and finds its origins right here in Aspen. The pilot episode, taking us from border to border of Laos, is airing Saturday on Channel 82 at 7 p.m..

The creators are looking for volunteers to be part of focus groups (one in Aspen and one in Snowmass Village) that will help gather feedback to use during the production process, moving forward into a full season of production!

The Aspen connection runs deeper than residency. It’s conceptual, too. In the 1960s and 1970s, Aspen local Thompson pioneered a style called “gonzo journalism.” Spending months living with his subjects, he wove firsthand experience into a larger narrative to transcend the moment and bring deeper understanding and perspective to a changing America. “GoNE GoNZo” takes this style and applies it to the international scene. Traversing the globe, country by country, two young hosts use local means of transit, food, shelter and customs to try to understand the complexity of individual countries and their connection to us back home.

Expect a 2.5-hour time commitment (roughly 6:30 to 9 p.m.), free food and drink and an opportunity to be one of the first to see and give feedback on this exciting new pilot. We have 22 available spots and need to be sure we fill various market segments: ages, genders, income brackets, family histories and professions.

For more info about the show, visit


To RSVP (and an RSVP is mandatory), please email skippy.mesirow@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there!

Skippy Mesirow


Letter: In search of a holy grail

July 16, 2014 — 

For years, the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association has been seeking a “holy grail” trail alignment that will connect cyclists from the White River National Forest lands of the Hunter Creek Valley down to the city of Aspen and the Rio Grande Trail. Most cyclists currently finish their rides in the area by descending over a mile and 400 vertical feet on paved roads. We advocated for the acquisition of the Lindsay Parcel and urged the city of Aspen to strongly consider implementation of the Portal Trail alignment during the management planning process.

While approvals for the trail alignment have seemed imminent at times, in recent months, it became apparent that intersecting the very upper portion of the proposed alignment with the existing Verena Mallory Trail would require approval from the Aspen Valley Land Trust, as it is entrusted to hold and protect the parcel of land that the trail resides upon. We are incredibly disappointed to learn that the Aspen Valley Land Trust has decided that abiding by the parcel’s deed restrictions will require it to close the trail and rehabilitate the route.

The Verena Mallory Trail has served as a highly valued, jug-handle-shaped, alternate route to the adjacent Hunter Creek Trail, just above the Benedict Bridge. Hikers, runners, cyclists and those simply sitting down to enjoy the views available along the trail will truly lament the loss of this community asset, which has been in continuous use for more than 20 years. We anticipate emotional responses to the loss of this trail, including anger and confusion. While the Aspen Valley Land Trust has identified a remedy to maintain its legal stewardship of the land, we will continue to advocate for common-sense solutions that take into account the history, provenance and function of this trail within the context of the overall system.

While we disagree with the current chosen direction, we must respect the Aspen Valley Land Trust’s decision in this matter, just as we must respect the land-use decisions of all private landowners and public land managers. The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association is heartened to know that city of Aspen and Pitkin County staff fully understand the critical importance of the proposed Portal alignment to the overall trail system. Alternate alignments for the upper portion of the Portal Trail will be under serious consideration, and major improvements to the steepest, rockiest section of the Hunter Creek Trail will likely be undertaken in order to safely accommodate the increase in two-way traffic that this stretch of trail will receive. While the quest for this holy grail continues, we will remain focused on achieving the best possible trail system and experiences throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

Mike Pritchard

Executive director, Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association

July 16, 2014 — 

Our grandchildren will pay

What are the current and future costs of global warming to private property and public infrastructure? After reading former secretary of the treasury Henry M. Paulson’s June 21 piece in The New York Times, “The Coming Climate Crash,” it is pretty easy to conclude that it will be trillions of dollars. Who will pay for this?

The Republican Party is committed to denying that there is even a future financial cost to our collective use of fossil fuels. What craziness; what insanity. They have become the Alfred E. Neuman political party on this issue, and they should change their slogan to “What, me worry?” If you don’t know who Alfred E. Neuman is, you can read Mad magazine at our library; it is great satire.

Our grandchildren will pay trillions for our unsustainable ways.

Tom Mooney


July 16, 2014 — 

Thrift shop grant recipients announced

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

Earthbeat Summer Music Camps

Growing Years Preschool

Aspen TREE

Homecare and Hospice of the Valley

Children’s Rocky Mountain Preschool

Colorado Western Slope College Fair

Marshall Direct Fund

Special Olympics Colorado

Access Roaring Fork

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Walbert

Thrift Shop of Aspen, PR Committee

July 16, 2014 — 

The beast of Basalt

July 10 timeline

4:40 a.m.: All is quiet in Basalt. The good residents lie in their slumber with no idea what their town government has in store for them this night.

4:45 a.m.: The Beast of Basalt roars to life with glaring lights flashing, a jet engine with brushes, proceeds down Midland Spur and does two turns around Lions Park and then heads off up Midland Avenue to terrorize another part of the town.

4:46 a.m.: The good residents slumber no more.

5:45 am.m: the Beast of Basalt returns to Midland Spur and does a victory lap around Lions Park.

The good residents of Basalt have two questions:

“Really?” — How could anyone with the town of Basalt think that it was a good idea to trot out the beast at such an un-Godly hour? Are you trying to show off your expensive new toy? Do any of you live within earshot of this?

“Why?” — The good residents of Basalt, so rudely awakened in this manner, can only wonder why the town is perpetrating this horror upon them. Are the streets really that filthy to warrant such harsh action against the people of the town? Do the town council and town manager think this is Calcutta?

The good residents of Basalt are pissed off at this punishing abuse meted out by its own town government and demand that it be stopped immediately. Put the beast away and have a couple of guys with a broom and a shovel do the job and let good people get some sleep!

Matt A’Hearn


July 16, 2014 — 

Praise to Aspen Valley Hospital

After eight seasons of teaching skiing at Snowmass Ski Area, I thought I had experienced all the best Aspen has to offer. The skiing, the people, Aspen Skiing Co., the cooperation and the smiles are all as good as it gets.

However, when I needed a hip replacement in May, I did not think Aspen. My wife and I had benefitted from several orthopedic surgeries at the renowned Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. This was our Gold Standard. Though each visit required a six hour drive from our home in Saranac Lake and an expensive stay in New York, optimal health is priceless.

Since we had moved permanently to the valley in 2013, I explored other treatment options from Denver to Utah. Each choice came with some reservation — too far away, too impersonal — based on individual experience. Having been a small-town dentist, I felt that the best medical care and expertise may not be consistent with just reputation or “number of cases.”

Real people do surgeries, deliver anesthesia, organize the operating room, monitor vital signs, give medications and serve meals. Since I know and like the real people of this valley, I chose to have joint replacement surgery at Aspen Valley Hospital with D. N. Lindsay Harris.

The entire experience could not have been any better. Everyone I encountered was extremely caring and competent. Since I was walking after only two days, I reluctantly left the womb of the hospital.

Thank you Dr, Harris, Dr, Beck, registered nurse Gena Hatcher, Laura Pritchard and the entire team at Aspen Valley Hospital. If anyone is considering medical tourism for joint replacement surgery, the people, the MakoPlasty instrumentation and the facility at Aspen Valley Hospital are second to none.

Paul Ericson


July 16, 2014 — 

Save the bookstore

When I heard that Explore Booksellers was on the market, I realized that I wanted to express my appreciation for this wonderful bookstore and Aspen treasure. Explore is an integral part of the fabric of our community and an important Main Street presence. So many residents and visitors are grateful that efforts are being made to save Explore.

Barbara Reid


Letter: Slanted facts

July 15, 2014 — 

On Sunday, both the Times and the Daily published the same article about the Hamas/Israeli conflict in Gaza attributed to the Associated Press. The Daily’s headline read “Security Council urges Gaza truce; no sign of lull,” a pretty accurate description of what’s going on despite the text of the rather one-sided article.

The Times headline over the very same article read “U.N. Security Council urges Gaza truce; Israel ignores request, keeps bombing.” Putting an entirely one-sided and erroneous slant on the facts.

If the Times is brave enough to print this, I think they should also be wise enough to know that if they want to editorialize they should it on the opinion page and not on the world news page.

Buster Feldman


Letter: Being American means speaking out

July 15, 2014 — 

I feel it is my duty as an American who loves my country to speak out when my country supports unjust policies. I was told by second-generation Palestinian refugees, while visiting Jordan and Syria, that the U.S. had a pro-Israel bias. To educate myself, I went to Israel and the West Bank and met with the wonderful Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Rabbis for Human Rights, David Wilder, Hebron (West Bank) Settler leader, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions representative as well as many others on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian issue.

I continue to receive almost daily emails about what is happening in Israel from Dorothy Naor, Ph.D., an Israeli Jewish women who moved her family to Israel more than 50 years ago to bring up her children in a Jewish state. You can Google her and see an Aug. 4, 2009, letter she wrote giving her thoughts on living in Israel.

There is no excuse for Gaza rockets being shot at Israel or the tragic deaths of the three Israeli teens. Likewise there is no excuse for the collective punishment of Palestinians and the U.S. support for it.

From reports now coming out, the Israeli government knew more than two weeks before the bodies of the three teens were found that they were almost certainly dead from the phone call one of the teens made with gunshots in the background and the cry of someone wounded followed by celebratory singing. The two alleged Palestinian killers were identified. The Israeli government blamed all of Hamas even though these two alleged killers were considered “rogue” elements in Hamas who frequently defied Hamas leaders.

The Israeli government whipped up support for their current bombings and destruction of Gaza. Sounds like how we were misled into supporting the invasion of Iraq. I believe the U.S. policy of “Israel has a right to defend itself” and more than $3 billion in annual military aid is a biased policy and needs to end.

Cathleen Krahe


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