2006 Newsmakers of the Year | AspenTimes.com

2006 Newsmakers of the Year

This is the third year in a row for our Newsmakers of the Year feature. It’s our way of looking back as Aspen closes the book on another year and recalling not only the events and news stories that characterized that period of time, but also the people who created and animated those events.Needless to say, 2006 was an interesting year for Aspen. Locals argued bitterly over growth and change, from real estate sales and development to the proposed renaming of a cherished local gathering place. The environment is a long-standing common cause in Aspen, from preservation of open space to particulate air pollution, but the fight against global warming assumed an even higher profile in 2006, thanks to both the city of Aspen and the Aspen Skiing Co. The economic landscape of Snowmass Village changed drastically, as Base Village began to rise from the ground and new owners assumed control of most of the commercial property in town.Aspenites hotly debated law-enforcement policies, from stun guns to drug raids to traffic stops, and experienced some strange collisions of art and politics in the Pitkin County sheriff’s race. We swelled with ski-town pride when snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler won silver at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy.Giving rise to all of these debates and events were people – Aspenites who made us think, who made us mad, who won our admiration or who challenged our values and assumptions. As we’ve said before, Newsmakers of the Year isn’t a popularity contest or an expression of support or derision for anyone; it’s merely our view of the people who influenced the local news, and thus the local populace, deliberately or not.Looking back, we’re reminded of what a lively, strange and dynamic place we live in. Read on and enjoy!