September was a very busy month. There seems to be no real offseason anymore.Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany and Aspen celebrated their 40th anniversary as sister cities with a week of festivities in late September. The first Sister City celebration between Garmisch and Aspen was held in 1966 and organized by Aspenite Gretl Uhl, a Garmisch native. The Sister Cities now have school student exchanges, visitor exchanges, worker exchanges, and each city sends representatives to the other city during the year.
A new organization in town is the Aspen Young Professionals Association (AYPA), which includes many of the young working people in Aspen. The group meets once a month, picking another organization to visit so members can learn all about Aspen. In September the young professionals met at the Aspen Historical Society, and director Georgia Hanson and marketing director Tom Egan told them about all the programs the society offers and about the photography and antique collections and archives at the Wheeler/Stallard House museum.On Thursday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. the Aspen Historical Society will hold its annual book-signing and cookie exchange at the Wheeler/Stallard at 620 West Bleeker St. Local authors will be on hand to personalize their work, and guests are asked to take a dozen cookies and take a dozen home that others have baked.Attending St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., is Aspenite Katrina DeVore. Katrina is a graduate of Aspen High School.
Danielle Ingram of Basalt is a freshman at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill. Danielle is a graduate of Basalt High School.The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation will hold its annual “Celebration of Giving” and holiday party on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the Hotel Jerome. The event starts at 4 p.m. with the annual meeting and will be followed by the party with musical entertainment provided by Aspen locals Jeannie Walla, Walt Smith and Tom Paxton.The hills of northern Tuscany welcomed Aspenite Mabel Macdonald and friend Ida Mae Johnson for a stay with longtime Aspenite and former owner of Kindersport Priscilla Berry. Over the past 10 years that she has lived in Tuscany, Priscilla has thoughtfully and deliberately restored a 200-year-old stone farmhouse, a “rustico.” She has created an eclectic and comfortable atmosphere, completing an addition that serves as a bed-and-breakfast, which she has named the Folly Guesthouse and Lodge. This two-person self-catering apartment, warmed by a wood-burning stove, is surrounded by Priscilla’s small vineyard and vegetable/flower gardens. Her hamlet is at 2,000 feet and is circled by a national park with forests of chestnut trees, fields of porcini mushrooms (our boletus) and wild boar. This part of Tuscany is peppered with tranquil medieval towns sheltered in the deep valleys of the Apennine Mountains. Priscilla enlivens her quiet retreat with travels back to the U.S.A., England and Africa. Upon returning home, she settles once more, with a cup of tea, watching the sunset from her Tuscan terrace.The 10th Annual Winter Words will be given by the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and will present Yusef Komunyakaa, on Jan. 8 at the Sky Hotel, Ana Castillo on Feb. 13 at the Given Institute, Lisa See on Feb. 20 at the Given, Colum McCann on March 8 at the Given and Alexandra Fuller on March 14 at the Given. Yusef is the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet known for his “jazzy and improvisational pieces.” Ana is author of “Peel My Love Like an Onion,” Lisa is author of “Snow Flower” and “Flower Net.” Colum is an Irish Writer of the Year, and Alexandra wrote “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight.”Did you know that longtime Aspenites John Doremus and Pam Toon are now living on Nob Hill in San Francisco?The Hyatt Grand Aspen will present a holiday celebration at the Silver Circle Ice Rink on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. with an ice-skating performance and holiday lighting, free open skating after the performance and servings of holiday sweets and hot chocolate and hot cider.Home for the holidays in Aspen is Lt. Col. Janis Nark, who was an Army nurse during both Vietnam and Desert Storm. Janis has recently been to London where she visited an old school buddy, then spent Veterans Day attending a ceremony at the Vietnam Wall and the opening of the Marine Corps Museum.Undercurrent … no sooner is the upstairs at Carl’s emptied of Halloween items than it fills up again with Christmas things.
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Aspen School District’s younger students will return to class next week, but that’s not the case for those in the seventh through 12th grade, who will continue to take courses from home.