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Democrat debate was a disgrace

I am sickened and disgusted with the total lack of civility in our government and in the presidential race. I thought maybe, somehow, the Democrats would rise above the brutal attacks and name calling.

Thursday night’s debate proved otherwise. The man in our highest office, and those seeking that office, are an embarrassing disgrace. What are we accomplishing by this. What are we teaching our children. This must be stopped.

Eric Simon

Snowmass Village

It’s cleaning time at the Aspen Thrift Shop

The Thrift Shop will be closed this Saturday, Feb. 22, through Wednesday, Feb. 26, for our annual deep clean. Donations may be dropped off during this time, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. (excluding Sunday). We look forward to reopening our sparkling clean shop on Thursday February 27. See you then!

The Ladies of the Aspen Thrift Shop

No justification for Pitkin County Courthouse parking proposal

I would like to commend Rachel Richards for her comments at the Feb. 10 Aspen City Council work session on Galena Plaza in defense of the iconic and historic Pitkin County Courthouse and her advocacy to consider other locations for law enforcement parking other than by adding new spaces directly in front of any of the historic courthouse.

An entire new underground parking garage for law enforcement was included in the new Aspen Police Department building. Sheriff Joe DiSalvo subsequently voiced his desire to have the parking remain on Galena Street in an Aspen Times article of Feb. 13. Surely there are more appropriate sites for this parking, including Galena Street, than placing it directly in front of one of our most important historic buildings.

To think that City Council would support the destruction of the beautiful lawn and flowering trees in front of this iconic and historic building for parking replacement is a disgrace to Aspen’s history and sense of place. To consider eliminating these mature trees in favor of parking spaces and 4 feet of lawn with new, but undoubtedly small, non-fruit crab apple trees that will take years to mature, will do little to serve the building setting, prominence and beauty of the Pitkin County Courthouse. These trees should only be replaced as they die or deteriorate from significant branch breakage. We have only the placement and replacement 20 years later of the street trees around Matsuhisa to remind us how unsuccessful tree replacement efforts have been.

With regard to bear habitat, if we continue to destroy the bear’s natural food sources, how can we fault them for eating our garbage?

Lisa Markalunas


Construction vehicles a safety mess up Highway 82

While we probably need some new parking rules for the North Star Preserve due to crowding, safety and preservation of our natural land, does anyone care about the multitude of worker vehicles parked along the east part of Highway 82 (toward Mountain Valley) this winter that crowd the road and impede driver safety?

Oftentimes, two vehicles can’t even pass each other due to the plethora of construction vehicles parked for hundreds of yards along Highway 82 that essentially narrow the road down to one lane. Perhaps those engaging in residential construction should be required to provide a place for their employees to park just as commercial construction is required to provide employee housing. The road is a sludgy mess of icy ruts and coupled with the parking mess, it’s a miracle that no one has been injured or killed, especially those on bicycles or walking to the East of Aspen trail head.

Diane Spicer


Trump continues to astound

Donald Trump and his orgy of pardons and clemency toward absolute criminals is simply astounding. I wonder what the rule-of-law moderate Republicans think of this. If there are any left.

Miles Knudson

Aspen Village

Redstone/McClure bike path not environmentally feasible

The proposed Redstone to McClure Pass bike path is another example of recreation at all costs with very little regard to the impacts placed on wildlife and their habitat.

The Hayes Creek Canyon Bypass departs from the highway and would create immutable changes to our national forest. In a time of increasing recreational pressure, we should not be reclaiming and redeveloping abandoned railroad grades which last saw use in 1941. This action directly increases the human imprint on the land. This action disrupts an elk migration corridor, winter range, and calving grounds. This action threatens a peregrine falcon eyrie. Wild lands are an enduring resource, and wildlife will endure as long as we act on their behalf.

Howie Kuhn


Basalt developer’s last request tough to digest

The 11th hour request by a Basalt developer to delay construction for up to seven years of a restaurant and patio overlooking the Roaring Fork River on the old Pan and Fork site is threatening a years-long community process.

The process resulted in consensus for small-scale development, a large city park and a restaurant to stimulate social vitality and economic activity.

The developer has told the Town Council and the planning commission all along that the project, including the restaurant, as illustrated in the plans, could be completed within three years.

That tune changed abruptly at the first reading before the council, leaving the council two weeks to decide before the second and final reading on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Similarly, Basalt mayoral candidate Bill Infante would throw out the years of public meetings, during which time he was not even a resident, discussions, past council directions and the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon citizens committee. That process approved of the city buying an extra acre of parkland, small-scale development and a restaurant.

Neither the developers’ last-minute about-face — nor Bill’s intent to scuttle what the town put so much time and effort into — should be tolerated by the Town Council. Bill’s claim is that because he handpicked supposed experts, without naming them, and they told him to ditch the extra park, “I would have to defer to those experts.”

That is nonsense, considering that none of these unidentified “experts” has ever made a presentation to the Town Council, the public, or been subject to questioning or debate.

The council should not be hurried into a final decision on Feb. 25. It should negotiate with the developer and develop several options, including buying the restaurant site, building the patio and allowing local restaurants to run food carts and trucks there all summer.

Bernie Grauer


Let’s save Aspen Public Radio’s soul

I’m afraid that if Aspen Public Radio’s decision to eliminate volunteers and music is allowed to stand, the community will have forever lost yet another piece of its soul. The founding principle of the station was to combine programs of global origin with the creative expression of community members who choose to live and work in this unique place.

Under the current plan, the station will be reduced to the role of a delivery system for programs that are widely available over the internet, presenting not a trace of Aspen’s special character as the cultural and intellectual Mecca that it is.

This decision by the APR board deserves to be protested in the strongest possible terms. Such a public challenge is especially justified by the fact that the station receives major support from Aspen and Pitkin County tax dollars.

Valley residents can express their views at the next APR board meeting, which will occur from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the conference room of the Aspen Square Hotel on Cooper Avenue.

We don’t have to take this lying down.

Sy Coleman

Founder, Aspen Public Radio

Make some noise about KAJX programming

We encourage all members, listeners and concerned residents of our community who wish to voice their opinions concerning the recent cancellation of locally hosted music programs at KAJX Aspen Public Radio to attend the station’s board meeting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Aspen Square Condominium Hotel Conference, room 617, East Cooper Avenue, Aspen.

Thank you, and we hope to see you there!

Neil Jung, Scott Harper, Stu Huck, Jeannie Walla, Stan Bialek, Andrea Young, Arlene Guillen, Sandy Sattler, Dan Sadowsky, Cheryl Koehne and Ned Cochran

Former APR KAJX music hosts

What are we celebrating?

Considering the current occupant of the White House, I find it ironic to celebrate Presidents Day.

Grant Amundson

Aspen Village