Editors note: This column was already written and in the works when we learned of the death on Wednesday of Bob Lewis. What a busy, busy summer!These are just a few of the events of the past couple of weeks.Local environmentalist Bob Lewis celebrated his 84th birthday with a reception and dinner at his Aspen Field Biology Laboratory, located on his two acres of land at the base of Independence Pass.Bob built his first biology lab and home there in 1962 at the edge of a meadow under a canopy of cottonwood and aspen trees. Last year Bob turned it into the Aspen Field Biology Laboratory, which brings scientists each summer to do research in the biological sciences. He is the director and Fadia Middlebrook is the associate director and registrar. Scientists will come from around the country to study the Elk Mountain birds and mammals and the ecosystems that serve as habitat for the creatures.At the birthday reception, guests viewed the areas where proposed laboratories and housing will be built. In preparation for the new institution, two field books have been written and photographed by Paul Andersen and David Hiser. Already in print is “East of Aspen” about Independence Pass, and “The Tale of Two Valleys,” which will be published soon, about Castle and Maroon valleys.Every summer the Aspen Music Festival puts on Volunteer Sunday, honoring all the volunteers in the Roaring Fork Valley. The event includes a free concert in the music tent followed by a community picnic, which this year was hosted by Community Banks of Aspen and Basalt. Also part of the celebration was the presentation of the Greg Mace Award, which this year was given to Scott Messina for his years of volunteer work with Mountain Rescue. Greg Mace was committed to Mountain Rescue for 15 years and served the organization as director, president, rescue leader and state mission coordinator. Raised at Toklat in Ashcroft, he devoted his adult life to making the Elk Mountains a safer and more enjoyable place to live, work and play. He was killed in a climbing accident on the Maroon Bells.
There have been book signings by local authors all summer long. Martie Sterling came from Tucson to sign copies of her historical novel, “Pearly Everlasting,” which is set in Aspen in the 1880s and 1890s during the silver-mining boom. Janet Guthrie had book signings at Explore Booksellers and at Vectra Bank for her memoir “Life At Full Throttle,” which recounts her life as an Indianapolis 500 race car driver. James Salter gave a book signing for his new book of stories, “Last Night,” at Explore Booksellers. And Bistro Books gave a book signing for me in Redstone. Since I needed a getaway, I spent the night at The Redstone Inn, a charming Victorian-era hotel set at the end of Redstone Boulevard. The town was built by John Cleveland Osgood, who owned the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and, as a social experiment, built 84 Victorian cottages as homes for his workers. The Inn was built for Osgood’s bachelor employees. For himself, Osgood built Cleveholm Manor, a 42-room Tudor-style mansion, farther up the valley.The September issue of Cowboys and Indians magazine is the annual Indian Art issue but it could also be called the Aspen issue. The cover photo and story are about movie star Antonio Banderas, who has a home with wife Melanie Griffith on the back of Aspen Mountain. An interview with former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell covers his jewelry designing, his spot on the U.S. Olympic judo team, his training of championship quarter horses, and his career in politics. A very long feature story covers the city of Aspen, focusing on last September’s Jazz Festival … but also covering activities such as river rafting, hiking, exploring the ghost town of Ashcroft and shopping and eating out in local restaurants. Last, there is an educational article about the Paniolos of Hawaii, the cowboys of the islands, which was written by Aspen journalist Jay Cowan, who is now the editor of Aspen Sojourner magazine.Faculty members of the Aspen Music Festival Per Brevig and Darrett Adkins will be performing in a stellar event on Nov. 6 at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, when the Edvard Grieg Society presents a concert of Norwegian music in celebration of the 100th year of Norwegian Independence. Per is the founder of the Edvard Grieg Society, and he will conduct the concert while Darrett will perform a solo work on the cello. For more information, call (201) 750-0526.Sorry to report the death of writer Polly Chandler in Georgetown on July 6. In addition to writing columns and stories for The Denver Post and other newspapers, she owned and operated the Polly Chandler’s Book Store in Georgetown, a folksy and charming place that many of us Aspenites visited when driving to Denver. Polly was 91 years old. Julia Ritchie, an 11th-grader at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., earned honors for the spring term. She is the daughter of Robert Ritchie of Aspen.Celebrating the 20th year of art shows at the Aspen Chapel Gallery will be a Watercolor Flower Garden exhibition featuring the paintings of Sistie Fischer, June His, Jennine Hough, Charlotte Jones, Sandy King, Linda Loeschen, Laurie McBride, Cornelia Madsen (who curated the watercolor show for the 20th time), Fay Peck and Ruth Stone. The show opens Wednesday, Aug. 3, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.Every Saturday until Sept. 3 the Aspen Historical Society is offering “A Taste of the Past,” with participants meeting at the Hotel Jerome at 3:30 p.m. and walking and tasting goodies in downtown Aspen restaurants. To sign up, call 925-3721, ext. 109, or do so at the Saturday Farmers’ Market.Undercurrent … Downtown Aspen is a veritable flower garden with all the beautifully planted window boxes and little gardens in the sidewalks.
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