News in Brief

Institute to host Gonzo symposiumASPEN The Aspen Institute will hold a symposium July 21 focusing on the writings and political leanings of Hunter S. Thompson.”The Hunter S. Thompson Annual Symposium” will feature discussions of one of Thompson’s more influential books, “Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,” an examination of the 1972 presidential contest from Thompson’s unique, gonzo-style perspective.Among the participants, according to organizer Juan Thompson, son of the late writer, will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Carl Bernstein and Loren Jenkins (former editor and publisher of The Aspen Times); historian and professor Douglas Brinkley; attorney Gerry Goldstein, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; writer John Nichols of “The Nation” political magazine; and sociology professor Audrey Sprenger, among others.The symposium will begin at noon and will include two sessions – a general discussion among the participants during the afternoon and a panel discussion in the evening. The goal of the event, according to a summary provided by Juan Thompson, is “to bring attention, through discussion, to the enduring qualities of Thompson’s writing … in terms of content, theme and style, to examine how these qualities might be relevant to the present, and to explore how they can be developed and encouraged in a new generation of writers.”Symposium details were still in the works this week, according to press liaison Matt Moseley, and more information will be available as the date approaches. (John Colson)County eyes parking restrictions at ButtermilkPITKIN COUNTY Parking at the base of Buttermilk will be more restricted if the Pitkin County commissioners approve a new ordinance Wednesday.Pitkin County and the state of Colorado have owned the lots at the base of Buttermilk, also called the Stapleton lots, since the widening of Highway 82 forced officials to condemn privately owned lands, according to Brian Pettet, public works director for Pitkin County.And during condemnation proceedings, officials designated the lots for carpool drivers and transit riders connecting with Aspen or Aspen Highlands as well as those using Pitkin County trails and recreation facilities, Pettet said.”The problem we’ve had is those lots have been used for a lot of purposes,” Pettet said, including skier parking at Buttermilk as well as for “nonconforming uses” such as truck and equipment storage by private contractors, Pettet said.The proposed ordinance would modify the 2006 Asset Management Plan and strengthen enforcement language to prohibit these other uses, Pettet said. Planners for events such as the X Games would have to apply for special permits to use the lots, Pettet said.”I expect that parking lot to be more utilized,” Pettet said, adding that with new bus lanes from Buttermilk to the roundabout, the tighter parking rules might encourage more commuters to park at Buttermilk and ride buses to Aspen. “That’s the whole goal is, to make transit more efficient than driving your car into town,” Pettet said.Law enforcement officials, already stretched thin across the valley, would not be checking whether skiers parking at the lot are going to Buttermilk or riding transit to other areas, Pettet said, but county crews have already hung signs designating the lots for transit riders and carpooling only.Aspen Skiing Co. officials have known about the restricted parking for some time, Pettet said, but representatives would not comment until after today’s meeting. (Charles Agar)