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The Best of Aspen: People

BEST LANDLORD

Well, this category sounded fun at the time, but we got more than we bargained for. In fact, we got a long list of people whose names we’ve never heard. But they must be good landlords, so hats off to them.

The guy who really stood out was Klaus Obermeyer, the smiling ski legend with the on-mountain clothing line. Apparently Klaus’ tenants think highly of him. And we, too, applaud his efforts to redevelop his downtown land into Obermeyer Place, a mixed-use area with affordable rents for locals.



There was a tie for second place between former Aspen Times owner Bil Dunaway and “there are none.”

As many of us have lived in “Dunaway units,” we can’t agree more that he goes the extra mile to ensure people have an affordable place to live.




We half-expected “there are none,” given the litany of tales about local businesses falling victim to exorbitant rents. We hope a few of those landlords read this, because local businesses are vital to this town.

Our favorite answers: Well, a couple of people answered “a dead one,” which isn’t very nice. However, we did like “my mom.” Nothing beats a landlord who pays the rent, fixes the food and does the laundry … and even claims to love you.

BEST COLUMNIST

We also have a lot of columnists in this town, and just about all of them got a vote. But we must explain, since several reporters got votes for Best Columnist, that columnists write opinions and reporters write news stories. We hope this was a case of simple confusion on our readers’ part, and not a comment on our reporters’ objectivity.

It started out as a tight race, but in the end Steve Skinner ran away with it. The columnist for the Aspen Daily News has something to say about almost everything (Believe us, we know. He worked here once.) Now a popular voice on local radio, Steve has tried his hand at just about everything, especially in the music world. It appears his talents also extend to the written word. Congratulations, Steve, and stop by for a beer sometime.

Not far behind Mr. Skinner was Barry Smith, the longtime Aspen Times columnist who finds obtuse humor in just about everything. Anyone who can make audiovisual technicians seem funny deserves his own column. Which is why we hired him in the first place.

Our favorite answer: In a town well-known for bitching and arguing, columnists are expected to throw in their two cents. And they do. All the time. Which is why we like the answer, “anyone who isn’t bitching.”

BEST LETTER WRITER

Just as we have a lot of columnists, we also have more letter writers per capita than any town in America. And we love it. Reading letters in the local papers is a certain way to get a chuckle, or get hopelessly fired up.

This was another tight race, but newcomer Emzy Veazy III, Esq. landed top honors. Emzy’s letters, which seem to start in Aspen and inevitably end in Burbank, Calif., apparently make good reading for a lot of people. Several voters suspect he’s actually Roger Marolt, who has written letters under many pen names over the years. But we’ve met Emzy. He’s real, and he really likes to talk.

KNCB Moore and Roger Marolt tied for second, although we must give the title to Marolt since Lee Anne Marletts, one of his more controversial personalities, received a vote. Both are outspoken on all sorts of topics and have entertained us and chided us and lectured us for years. Only one, on the other hand, signs his actual name (well, until recently).

Our favorite answers: As stated above, the fake Marletts got a vote. We also appreciate the votes for May Rose Salkin, our summertime poet who announced recently she won’t be returning to Aspen. But our favorite is Sue Gray, whose unrelenting stance against the war in Iraq triggered a letter-writing war that rages still.

BEST NONPROFIT

There are many things that make the Roaring Fork Valley a great place to live. But one of the best reasons – perhaps an underappreciated one – is the valley’s nonprofit organizations.

Literally hundreds of valley residents give their time and money to worthy charities that help other people. To us, they are all the best.

However, since this is a contest, one has to be the winner, and The Buddy Program was clearly the most popular nonprofit in the valley.

The program, which matches adults with children who need an adult presence in their lives, has proven hugely successful over the years, for both the kids and the adults. And the program continues to grow each year. It would not be right to bestow this honor on The Buddy Program without also tipping our hats to Leonard “Boogie” Weinglass, who has dedicated countless hours and resources to the program over the years.

Coming in second was Challenge Aspen, another popular program that brings disabled children to the valley for a taste of the mountains. It, too, has made a difference in hundreds of kids’ lives.

Our favorite: While a bunch of nonprofits received votes, our favorite answer was “me.” We know how it feels.


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