| AspenTimes.com

Kudos & Kindess (Jan. 24, 2021)

Basalt teachers show up during hard times

It has been over 300 days since COVID-19 impacted our schools.

To the teacher who received an email Sunday evening informing them that the learning model would change the next day. You called your team, made a plan, and reassured your students that things would run smoothly the next day. You showed up.

To the teacher who tested positive for COVID-19, self-isolated to protect their loved ones, and kept teaching. You showed up.

To the teacher who received a call in the middle of class that a student in their room tested positive for COVID-19. You assured students that everything would be OK, while also fearing for the health of your students and yourself. You showed up.

To the staff member quarantined due to exposure who could no longer work their second and third jobs to make ends meet. You showed up.

To the staff member who received a call to pick up their child due to exposure. You showed up.

To the staff member who learned Sunday night that their child will be learning remotely and must scramble to care for your family while also teaching remotely. You showed up.

To the teacher who faced the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. You showed up.

To the teacher who spent hours creating an interactive virtual lesson, only for the site to crash during class. You showed up.

To the teacher who was scared to send their own children to school due to safety concerns. You showed up.

To the staff member who was asked to supervise lunch or recess at the last minute, giving up the only time you had to eat or plan. You showed up.

To the teacher who juggled students in multiple grade levels. You spent every night working to ensure students are getting the supports they need. You showed up.

Thank you for showing up on days when it didn’t feel possible; when it would have been easier not to. You showed up, and our students are so lucky you did.

Adrienne Nelson



Food distribution an Aspen-wide effort

I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to Rev. Nicholas Vesey and the board of trustees of the Aspen Chapel for providing a home for our weekly mobile food distribution between November and January. They are wonderful friends to our community.

We were in a bind, needing a new distribution site, and the chapel wholeheartedly welcomed us. It was a great pleasure to meet a number of the Aspen Chapel’s congregation who came along as volunteers and brought food donations. The Aspen Jewish Congregation has provided funding, and we are also grateful to the Meadowood HOA, whose residents were very understanding. Our community continues to sustain and inspire our efforts to support locals experiencing hardship during the pandemic.

The Aspen weekly mobile food distribution is now on a larger site (easier for our truck!) at the Aspen Golf Course, from noon to 2 p.m. every Wednesday, and our new hosts are the city of Aspen and the Ute Mountaineer’s Cross County Center, who have been extremely helpful.

Any member of the public is welcome to come along, and thanks to the Food Bank of the Rockies and other partners, we have plenty of food to distribute.

Thank you, friends!

Katherine Sand



Let democracy reign

In celebration of the inauguration, I am sharing a few words I weaved together as my vision for our beautiful America …

‘Democratic Freedom’

Blossoming transition

We can now let go of fear

Dear souls, let us look to the future

For our new beginning is here

Growls we see abound

The wedge of doubt around

May our hearts be clear and our minds sound,

Witness reconnection, our shared beautiful truth in peace and possibility now found

50 stars stand strong

Red, white and blue

300 million souls along

Beautiful hearts wild and true

Our United States of America

Courageously, we can be one

In conflict, power, pain and love

50 stars, we will stand strong

Divided by words

We have felt the upheaval

Feeling the pain, united by love

Our time dear souls, is now to heal

Seek not to blame,

For the mirror reflects us all

Look deep into your spirit and heart

Loves wondrous flame awakens your call

Compassion is our path

Wisdom a miraculous guiding light

Forgiveness is our freedom

To unite us all now is our shared fight

Your heart is our shared spark,

Igniting the strength of unity,

Truth is our guiding light,

Together we celebrate our Democracy,

50 stars stand strong

Red, white and blue

300 million souls along

Beautiful hearts wild and true

Our United States of America

Courageously, we can be one

In conflict, power, pain and love

50 stars, we will stand strong

God bless our beautiful USA!

Shaine Ebrahimi



Aspen comes together

Wow! Aspen is still a small town and caring community!

Kenny and Robin Smith, the owners of Meridian Jewelers, and their staff have come up with a plan that not only gives our restaurants some financial relief during these troubling times of the pandemic, but also allows the community to participate and take some ownership in helping out the restaurants to be able to stay afloat. This effort will help out approximately 3,400 people.

When our restaurants are able to reopen, let’s support them in anyway we can, and while we are at it, let’s buy some jewelry.

Thank you, Kenny and Robin Smith and your team, for working to keep our small-town spirit alive.

Patty Spilsbury

Old Snowmass


Vaccinations given proficiently and efficiently

We recently received our first COVID-19 vaccinations at the Benedict Music Tent. We thank and congratulate Pitkin County Public Health, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen Ambulance District, city of Aspen, Pitkin County and any others we may have omitted for efficiently and cheerfully providing us with this opportunity.

From the very beginning with the preregistration through appointment assignment to the actual administration of the vaccination, there was a high level of proficiency. All our electronic experiences with the website and emails were seamless and precise. At the vaccination site everything went smoothly and all the staff members were cheery, upbeat, and professional. Thank you so much, you should be proud of what you are doing. We certainly are proud of you.

Judy Kolberg and Griff Smith



Roaring Fork Schools grateful for school board volunteers

January is School Board Recognition Month, and the Roaring Fork Schools want to thank our board of education members for their commitment and contributions to our schools. Our board members volunteer countless hours to learn about big and small issues so that they can make critical decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect our entire school community. The board is charged an important and incredibly tough job — a job that doesn’t come with any compensation. Their decisions directly impact our 5,300 students and 1,000 staff members.

The current board has faced unique challenges as they have had to navigate the pandemic. Our three new board members had only been in the role a few short months before the Roaring Fork Schools had to respond to COVID-19. Each board member has found herself facing unprecedented challenges, forced to make decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions — all the while facing the same challenges personally as parents, family members, and community members. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom, and compassion.

Being a board member is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t in 2020. We appreciate our board members for stepping up; we are grateful for their service and leadership. If you see a board member, please remember to thank them for all that they do for our school community.

Executive team

Roaring Fork Schools


Pigskin appreciation

I wanted to thank the people and organizations that supported Aspen Flag Football this fall. Thank you to: Alexander Schrempf and Desiree Whitehead with the Aspen Recreation Department, Aspen Elks Lodge #224, Aspen Youth Football and Gridiron Golf Tournament.

I also wanted to thank our coaches — Bryan Welker, Chip Fuller and Todd Hoeffner. I was really disappointed when tackle football was canceled this fall, but I really appreciated that the town ran a flag football program.

Henry Klumb



A well-oiled vaccination program

Others have commented too, but I was blown away by the smooth efficiency of the drive-through vaccination program at the music parking lot.

When a number of different agencies can cooperate and come up with a system so seamless and upbeat, it does make me feel that 2020 is over!

Marina Rainer



But what about the lollipops?

Praise and kudos to the tenth power to the hearty crew at the Aspen Music School parking lot managing the COVID-19 vaccinations. The drive-up was well managed, the instructions simple and easy to follow, the greetings pleasant, the reception from those with the needles providing a calming welcome for nervous recipients (such as yours truly.) Fundamentally, the entire community came together. My thanks to the county health officials; to Aspen Valley Hospital, to the Aspen Police, to the paramedics; I think I even saw an Aspen fireman helping out and I even got to kibitzing with an Aspen snowplow driver during the waiting period. I do have one complaint: They didn’t pass out lollipops after the shot.

Tom Korologos


Grateful for Boebert

All the liberal letters denigrating Lauren Boebert’s Second Amendment support are mere extensions of Trump Detangement Syndrome. Gun-haters believe limiting law-abiding citizens’ gun rights will decrease crime.

These same naive souls ignore the tens of thousands of murders that have been happening in Dem-controlled hell holes for decades.

I greatly appreciate the breath of fresh air Lauren brings to the stinking swamp that is Washington.

Bruno Kirchenwitz


Aspen Skico workers getting unfair shake

I was going to address this letter to Aspen Skiing Co. for their movements against the young kids that make it roll on for a lot of spoiled adults.

These kids come out and make crap money to ski and have fun. You move to threaten young kids to eviction. Sad. You’re the only big business to keep rolling. But every private business and restaurants are toast.

They are simply young adults. So why does anyone think twice that young adults have been burning down cities all summer? You all have chosen to tell the great outdoor kids to fall in line for what. If you evict any liftie or on-mountain restaurant worker, shame on you and all the people that might cry the blues.

Micheal Depamphilis

Snowmass Village

A better way to vaccinate in Garco?

I got on the Garfield County COVID-19 vaccine list early, and I was pleased — not to mention grateful — when I received a call on Jan. 19, telling me to come in at noon the next day and roll up my sleeve.

When I arrived at Valley View Hospital, the scene was well organized and orderly. Helpful volunteers and staff members got the crowd of masked inoculation candidates socially distanced in a long line extending down one hall and then another.

Finally we were admitted to a large room filled with registration tables and nurses with needles. Everything proceeded smoothly, and after I got my shot and a Tweety Bird Band-aid, I was directed to a waiting area at the far end of the room, for 30 minutes of “observation.” And it was at this moment that it hit me: I was in a roomful of people, in the middle of a pandemic. I didn’t want to catch the virus while I was getting a vaccination for it.

I stepped outside onto a patio and sat down in the warm sunshine, reflecting that it would have been possible to conduct this whole exercise outdoors. While COVID-19 numbers are down somewhat locally, new cases and deaths nationwide continue to increase at an alarming rate, as new, more infectious COVID-19 variants emerge. My group was mainly seniors, which is to say individuals at a greater risk from the corona. Why would you administer these vaccinations inside a closed building?

Maybe there’s a better way.

Ed Colby

New Castle

3rd district will feel consequences of Boebert

On the very night of President Biden’s inauguration, I see Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson (sounds like a bad ’70s cop show), bashing the new president for rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

Carlson was arguing that President Biden was more concerned about the people of Paris. He doesn’t understand that Paris is just the city where the agreement was signed by 174 other countries. The very next morning , the very first letter to the editor reads “Lauren Boebert Deserves deserves your respect.“

Hypocrites. The letter actually goes one to call Boebert a patriot. That’s not only hypocritical, it’s dead wrong. Caring only about the Second Amendment doesn’t make you a patriot. Nor does tweeting about the House speakers’ location during the Jan. 6 attempted coup. Which are the only two things Boebert has done so far in office. Oh, and she voted against impeaching the guy who incited the riot that led to the attempted coup.

You’re right, Roger, elections do have consequences, and those of us who live in the Third Congressional District are going to have to live with Boebert and her Qanon conspiracies for the next two years.

Jeff Limongelli


‘Welcome Strangers’ showing Sunday

Two Rivers Unitarian-Universalist Church, in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Valley’s Interfaith Council and Sanctuary Unidos, is showing a Zoom presentation of the documentary “Welcome Strangers” at 10 a.m. Sunday.

“Welcome Strangers ” is a compassionate look at the trials and tribulations faced by immigrants and asylum seekers released temporarily onto the streets from the Aurora Detention Center. They have no idea where they are, often don’t speak English, as they wander around in an unfriendly industrialized district.

There’s hope there’ll be some humane immigration reform with the new administration in Washington, but the wrath heaped upon those who’re only seeking a better life for themselves and their families by the previous federal government persists. “Welcome Strangers” describes how bad the situation is and suggests a path to reconciliation.

Sarah Jackson, founder of Casa de Paz, a Denver-based immigrant support group, searches the streets for these people and invites them into her home. Jackson will speak following the screening. The Zoom meeting ID is 828 7946 5444 and the pass code is chalice.

Fred Malo Jr.



Brown-Schirato for Aspen City Council

I am writing to enthusiastically endorse Kimbo Brown-Schirato for Aspen City Council in the forthcoming election. She is a working mother as a client service manager and planner with one of the most respected financial firms in Aspen and helps her husband run a small local business. I met Kimbo many years ago when she helped form the Next Generation Advisory Commission.

She is thoughtful, knows how to listen and is willing and able to make good decisions once all the relevant information has been presented. Those skills have been honed through her role as a member of the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission, the Aspen Community Foundation board of directors and a host of other local organizations. She will bring meaningful experience on day one of being a City Council member, and I encourage you to learn more about her and support her candidacy.

John Sarpa


Making sense of it all

I was sitting down to write a scathing letter about Donald Trump, and how through his lies and deception he had led us to where we are. I wanted to castigate and attack those who had the audacity to believe him and attack our Capitol.

I, luckily, watched a documentary on Apollo 8. I was reminded of the bravery of Frank Broman, James Lovell and William Anders, and the inherit bravery that they represented. I was spell bound at William Anders’s photo, “Earth Rise,“ taken Dec. 24, 1968, as the Apollo 8 capsule rounded the moon during their epic journey, they, the first people of Earth to be under the influence of a heavenly body that was not Earth.

I had forgotten the power of the image. As I viewed it again, I was reminded and transfixed by both its beauty and symbolism. Our fragile beautiful blue planet, the planet that we call home, our Earth shown rising above a desolate and inhospitable lunar surface, and in the background, the vastness of space.

This, this is the way we must view our home, our place in the universe. We float together in the void of space; we have nowhere to go. We have to, and we must, work together to solve our differences. We are in this together, like it or not, we must, no, we have to rely on each other. What choice do we have? “Earth Rise” is an image that should be looked at every day; it should be our screen saver, it should be the image we carry in our minds, always, of where, and whom we are. I look at “Earth Rise “ and am reminded that I call Earth home and how fragile my home is and how important it is to save it.

Richard Hampleman


Sam Rose has my vote for Aspen City Council

Aspen City Council is in need of a member who wants to be there for the love of this city and community — not because of anger or a special interest in one particular issue.

We need to elect someone who is civic-minded, empathetic and willing and able to lead. Sam Rose is all of that, and he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is. If elected, he has pledged to donate his first year’s council salary to the Aspen Community Foundation to benefit local service industry workers adversely affected by the pandemic. Sam has already proven to be a vital part of Aspen’s heartbeat: He is a volunteer firefighter prepared to help you at a moment’s notice. He is a Response advocate taking calls from those that have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. He has been in close touch with so many members of our community through his work as the lead case investigator for Pitkin County’s COVID-19 response team.

Sam Rose has and continues proving he is an incredible asset to this city and that we all would benefit from his love, enthusiasm and dedication. We can trust he’s coming at this from a place of humility and respect, and we’ll all be proud to have his critical thinking skills and good heart represent us.

Michelle Stiller


Lauren Boebert deserves your respect

You have recently included, in letters to the editor, several letters from obvious liberals who complain about Lauren Boebert and her patriotic and conservative approach to our national issues.

How naive they are! Did they expect Lauren to get elected and then turn on her constituency who elected her by a 10% margin? As Barack Obama said, “Elections have consequences.” So put on your big-person pants and respect Lauren, her honesty, her dedication to her country and her support of conservative values.

Roger Nicholson

Old Snowmass