25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com

25-50-100 years ago

Like the statue of Justice gracing Pitkin County Courthouse, the eyes of Judge Shumate were not blindfolded in 1907. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)

Before District Court Judge John T. Shumate discharged the jury after completing his schedule of trials, he lectured those assembled in courtroom. The paper published his remarks.”There would seem to exist among us moral ulcers that strike at the very heart of the efforts of the court [see photos] and the jury to carry out the business of the people and to prevent criminal prosecutions. The court must be sustained by the people and the executive officers of the court. To allow such things to go on, the court may as well quit the trial of causes.”The paper responded,

The Democrat believes Judge Shumate is correct when he says there are people in this community who will resort to almost any means to paralyze the actions of the courts and to make of no avail the efforts of the officers of the law in the prosecution. It is almost an impossibility to convict a person of a serious offense in Pitkin county, and this is true for a number of years past. Alibis and bearing false witness is the stock of trade of these people, and now it seems a resort is had to still more radical measures for the clearing of those charged with a crime.A mistaken idea of economy by our county officials in refusing or withholding sufficient funds for the proper prosecution of cases in the courts has encouraged the criminally inclined and smoothed the way of corruptionists. …The people of Pitkin county are law-abiding citizens and while perhaps they have grown somewhat careless and thereby permitted the lawless element to run things as they would, Judge Shumate may rest assured they are behind the courts, and they will see to it that the courts shall be free and untrammeled in the enforcement of the law.The reported minutes of the City Council meeting reflected the moldering state of affairs in the community.On motion the buildings reported five weeks ago as being in bad condition were condemned and the marshal instructed to notify the owners or agents to repair same or they would be torn down.Alderman Wagner stated there was considerable debris left on the lot opposite the Star Bakery. The marshal was instructed to notify the parties who removed the building to clean up the wreckage as it constituted a nuisance.

The burning of rubbish on lots and in the streets within the city limits was discussed. On motion the fire chief was instructed to publish a notice warning all persons the ordinance forbidding the building of bonfires in the city limits would be rigidly enforced and those guilty of such offense would be prosecuted.Microfilm of The Aspen Times 19041909 is missing from the Colorado Historical Society’s archives. These 1907 excerpts are from The Aspen Democrat.

A creative recycler (see his letters on page 7) announced in The Aspen Times,Four new apartment units {see photo] will be added to the local housing scene by Thanksgiving, it was announced by local entrepreneur and promoter Ken Moore. …Located behind the Towne House, a housing unit on Durant Street, the new building will hold two, two-room apartments and two four-room apartments.The apartments will use old panels and timbers from the Durant Mine ore bin as interior finish, and are being built by the Alpine Construction Co.Aspen was seen on the tube by a wide, wide world, the paper reported.Forced by snow flurries and fog to use postcards for scenic shots, NBC’s “Wide Wide World” program last Sunday was nonetheless judged successful and created some of the best publicity ever received by Aspen or the state of Colorado. …Called “Men Against the Mountains,” the program featured Dave Garroway in New York as host … and four of the seven featured mountain men were in Aspen … industrialist, humanist and experimenter Walter Paepcke; pioneer, dog-trainer and idealist Stuart Mace; mountaineer, doctor and philosopher Dr. Charles Houston; actor, musician and comedian Fred Fisher. Following an introduction by Garroway in which he explained, “In all our land there are just 67 peaks over 14,000 feet tall, 52 of them are in Colorado,” then asked, “Do mountains have a special meaning in the lives of men?”

A former city councilman and longtime resident appeared before the Aspen City Council, the paper reported.Francis Whitaker … let council members know how he felt about the proposal to use city fees to finance the proposed Aspen Chamber Resort Association. …”I am absolutely appalled by the proposal that the city of Aspen act as licensing and collection agent for the new Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA). … The goals, enhancing Aspen’s image, a marketing plan, a sales office and reservation system, are clearly for the benefit of a special interest group, commercial and not municipal.”As to Aspen’s image, it would be far better to improve Aspen, and let its image take care of itself. A million-plus dollars a year would go a long way to improve the city, cleaner streets and alleys, more sidewalks for pedestrians, more trees planted, more parks and open space. Those are municipal purposes.”

Loren Jenkins, editor in chief of The Aspen Times from 1991-95, talked about his experiences in Lebanon as a correspondent for the Washington Post to Times reporter Stewart Dobson in 1982. Jenkins’ stories won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for International reporting, as did Thomas Friedman’s writing for The New York Times.As Jenkins tells the story, he walked into the Shatila refugee camp about an hour and a half after the Lebanese forces withdrew.”It was an empty, empty camp of rubble, pillows, piles and piles of bodies. There was a baby in diapers lying between two middle-aged women. When I saw those bodies, I said I’m going to find out who did this.” Jenkins believed he did find out who was responsible, and he wrote about it from Beirut, but not long after the story appeared, he was contacted by the U.S. ambassador who advised him not to return to his room.Intelligence sources indicated that orders for his death had been issued, the embassy told him, and the best course to pursue was out of the country. …Apparently, Jenkins’ investigation and subsequent stories incurred the wrath of Elie Hobeika, the 28-year-old chief of intelligence for the Lebanese Forces, a private 20,000-man Christian army trained by the Israelis. … [Jenkins’ stories] accused Hobeika of leading the raid on Shatila and said the Israelis who let his troops in the camp knew what he would do because he had done it before.”

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