Roses and Thorns
December 23, 2016
Roses — 30 years after the fact — go to Mohamed Hadid for beating Donald Trump to the punch and acquiring 88 acres of prime downtown Aspen real estate in 1986. Hadid climbed the stairs of the Pitkin County Courthouse to hand the treasurer a $57 million check to buy foreclosed properties in the Hans Cantrup empire. He aced out the flamboyant developer who is now our president-elect. Hadid went on to develop the controversial Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which is now the St. Regis. Imagine what might have happened if The Donald had won out and built a Trump Resort. Aspen, a haven of liberalism and well-heeled Democratic party donors if ever there was one, might be White House West for the new administration.
Roses to the Pitkin County emergency dispatchers. There was a great reunion this week between a dispatcher and the 8-year-old boy she helped save by giving directions over the telephone on CPR procedures. Anyone who listens to a police scanner realizes the dispatchers do a heck of a job day in and day out, often under stressful circumstances. They are the definition of grace under fire.
Roses to the state and city crews who did a bang-up job dealing with 18 inches of snow in a town crammed with cars. And extra roses to those same plow drivers who had to move cars into their parking spaces to clear the main roads but who were happy to help pull or plow people out of their spots when they could.
Roses to Aspen Skiing Co. for the free powder pancakes, for ski patrol working double time to keep the mountains safe and to the grooming crew for making Saturday one of the sickest ski days ever.
Thorns to the Aspen post office, which knows this is the busiest time of year for mailing packages, yet still opens one customer service window with 18 people in line while the other postal workers do everything from cleaning up paper in the lobby to processing passports. Is this actually an approved workflow?
Roses to the Aspen Choral Society for its 39th annual performances of Handel's "Messiah" up and down the valley earlier this month. And an extra bouquet to choir director Paul Dankers for his heartfelt introduction to the gorgeous Aspen performance in which he urged the community to unite around art as this caustic year for America comes to a close: "Look around you and you will see people of every religion, every political persuasion. These are not your enemies."