25-50-100 years ago | AspenTimes.com
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25-50-100 years ago

The Aspen Democrat editor was incensed in 1908 that The Aspen Times editor suggested evening skating at the roller rink was corrupting Aspen's young people. (Courtesy Aspen Historical Society)
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In comparing the rink to a dance hall Mr. Murphy offered a gratuitous insult to the ladies and girls and boys who find clean amusement and helpful exercise in skating.

In one part of the article Mr. Murphy said the rink was “not a fit place for boys or girls.” In another he said the rink “is conducted in an orderly manner and no rowdyism is tolerated.”

Mr. Murphy also said a few boys had stolen and sold things in order to obtain money to frequent the rink. This is rather a broad charge, but even so they would have done the same thing perhaps, did they need money for any other purpose.

The fact is the roller skating in Aspen is conducted with the same regard to decency as any first class place of amusement in this or in any other city, and it is but fair to the management to state the conduct of the place has been all that could be desired by any fair-minded person. …

Mr. Murphy should put it under his hat and keep it there, that he is not now affiliating with the class of people that he met when he may have been “running down a story” in the slums of Kansas City.

Out here in Aspen, Mr. Murphy, we try “to do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” and you should repeat this Golden Rule until you have committed it to memory, and when you “get mad” because people don’t advertise with you, you will forget and forgive.

The roller skating rink last evening contained the largest and best crowd since its opening, all seeming to be there to have a pleasant evening of good, clean, healthful exercise. Each vied with the other in producing merriment, the good skaters cutting up capers that would be impossible for beginners to duplicate without injury, and the beginners were there in large numbers.

The suggestion to open the rink to men one night and to ladies the next, is the thought of a mind utterly devoid of all love of nature and the teachings of God. It is going back to the heathenish idea of placing all men on one hemisphere, the women on the other ” letting the race die out because we are utterly bad.

It is to laugh, as you may depend on it some of these men would find some way to get over to the hemisphere where the women were ” and such men would indeed be the strongest, the manliest man.

At what was perhaps Aspen’s most momentous school board meeting, the five directors of School District No. 1 met last night, Feb. 26, in a special session before a crowd of nearly 100 people and accepted the resignation of Superintendent William Speer, then answered questions about their individual conduct. …

It was stated by members of the Board that since skiing was an individual sport the school had no real control if parents wanted to take their children from school to attend ski meets, and that school eligibility rules did not apply to such sports.

This was refuted by Superintendent Speer, however, who said that skiing had always been under the school eligibility standards and that it had a faculty advisor and had in part been supported by tax moneys.

Before we censure the school board for its actions in the recent eligibility dispute, how many of you really would have done differently had you been in their position? How many of you have written excuses for your children when you know the reason for their absence was invalid? I am not defending the board’s actions, but I am trying to point out that it is symptomatic of our age. We simply do not believe in the type of education we claim to as a nation, as a state or as a community.

What would you say, as parents, if the school proposed that we cut out eight half days from our academic work? Yet did you know that this has already been done? The team, the substitutes, the rooting section leave the school and travel by auto caravan to our neighboring communities on eight Friday afternoons during the football season. What happens to our educational program when this happens? Even more important, what happens to the minds of our students when they see the extent to which the school allows sports to come before learning? …

This is the fundamental concept: we want to play before we work. Is it any wonder that we as a nation should have such low regard for our educational program and our teachers?

It doesn’t hurt a world famous ski resort to have skiers on the police force, or to have those skiers chosen to represent the nation’s cops at an international ski race in Italy.

We are certain they will conduct themselves well, both on and off the slopes, and be a credit to the resort. Thanks to the various sponsors, their trip to Italy will not cost the city, their employer, anything, but will bring valuable publicity.

This editor is not among those who criticize the city or the officers for wanting to represent the U.S. and Aspen at the international ski race. In fact, we like many other Aspenites, envy them their good fortune.

However, there is a troubling aspect to the otherwise beneficial racing trip. If the city can spare five police officers during the very busiest time of the year, including the chief and assistant chief, is this an indication that the police department is overstaffed?

It is indeed difficult to view the APD as a serious law enforcement agency when the nucleus of its force can leave Aspen for nearly a month during the peak of the tourist season. …

First of all, who if anyone is left behind to man the Saabs? Secondly, is the format of the race a dual slalom, and if so does the Mafia have an entry?

I assume the city council will declare a moratorium on crime while the officers are gone, and that tourists and residents alike will therefore be reassured that the situation is OK. …

Finally, if we can spare these key personnel now during the crunch, it makes one wonder how crucial it is that they return within 30 days or for that matter if they return at all. Maybe they could get an extension and stay 40 or more days in Italy, Vail, or ” I’ve got it ” KEYSTONE.


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