Meet the boss & get a free lunch
Editor’s note: As most of you may know, The Aspen Times was bought by Swift Newspapers in December. In one of the few changes resulting from that sale, the Times now has a full-time publisher, Mitch Bettis. He has written the following letter to the community:It seems trite to put it this way, but it really is an honor to be the publisher of The Aspen Times.It’s a thrill for me to be a part of this city, this valley and this newspaper because each is steeped in so much history – and I love that.As you may be aware, The Aspen Times is the valley’s oldest, continuously operating business. Founded in 1881, the newspaper has been a mainstay in a community that has seen a myriad of changes. Being a part of that legacy is something I take very seriously. Any viable business that predates the Ford Model T, General Motors, Rotary Club and the S.S. Titanic is something special.This publication has played an important role in most every important decision this community has made. Even though I’m not a longtime Aspenite, it’s evident as I read through editions from days gone by that this paper has served the community well.Another intriguing aspect of being at The Aspen Times is the head-to-head competition from another daily paper in the market. That’s a rare thing these days. It’s also a good thing. Competition is certainly good for the soul and it is also good for readers. Competition keeps you on your toes and forces you to do your best every day. I love that, too.I’ve read what the competitors have written about the big, corporate behemoth taking over the valley’s historic newspaper. Though many of the amusing commentaries likened the business transaction to the evil empire swooping in and defeating Luke Skywalker and the forces of good, I don’t think you’ll find me or Swift Newspapers quite so menacing.By way of a brief introduction . I started in the newspaper business as a reporter 17 years ago. Through the years, I’ve worked in about every department a paper has and, most recently, I was the publisher at a newspaper in northwest Colorado. My wife and I have been married for about 18 months and she teaches elementary school. I have always contended that her ability to work with 8-year-olds has equipped her well to live with me and tolerate others in the newspaper business. She has a real gift.In general, I have two rules of thumb: Tell the truth and treat everyone fairly. Both have served me well when reporting on activities of people in the community, working with local businesses and working with people on the staff.I recognize it’s difficult in just a few paragraphs to really get to know each other. So, in an effort to get to know more of you, I’d like to take to lunch the first 10 people who give me a call. To be honest, this is really a selfish act on my part. Not only is it a way for you to get to know me better, but it’s a way for me to learn about you, this community and issues with which you are concerned.There aren’t any ground rules for this lunch. This is your chance to bend the publisher’s ear about any topic (like corporate behemoths purchasing local newspapers), any issue (transportation, housing, etc.) or any area of personal interest. Even if you want to spend the hour telling me how much you don’t like the paper, I would like to hear it.I look at this as a way to get a crash course regarding the local way of life. This is also your way to disprove the old theory that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.Please give me a call at 925-3414. I look forward to meeting you.Mitch Bettis
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Just in time for Halloween, the Pitkin County Board of Health voted 4-2 to reduce the size of informal gatherings from 10 to five for at least the next two weeks starting Friday. According to the public health director, officials are currently investigating 11 outbreaks in Pitkin County.