The Silver Pen Award
The Aspen Times Editorial Board has awarded Aspen resident Tim Cooney the monthly Silver Pen Award, for writing the best letter to the editor in June. The board chose Cooney’s letter from 10 nominees.One board member who voted for this letter said, “in the spirit of Freddie Fisher (who wrote many letters to The Aspen Times in his day) the letters should be judged on humor and the kind of things going on in town that he would make fun of. This letter fits that bill.” Another member said, “Cooney likes to write letters – not often – but he’s been writing for decades after he sees a wrong not being righted.”Congratulations to Tim, and here’s his letter from July 9:Too much glossy garbageDear Editor:These days even Dick Cheney is going green; so why can’t our humble real estate community, which celebrates one record year after another, rethink their pesky, high-gloss, nonrecyclable, real-estate-ad inserts in the daily newspapers?These bird-cage floors (Aspen Canary Initiative) assail us during the Aspen business cycles, especially when the people whose lifestyles we are fighting in Iraq to preserve are here visiting. But what I don’t understand is why, with the market so giddy, a full page recyclable newspaper ad, featuring the faces and intimate details of each salespersons’ lives, couldn’t land the commission just as well.And let’s not forget that those who can afford the price of a house here have someone to read the newspapers for them, stock the fridge, trim the Christmas tree, etc.Each morning at the news boxes, I leaf through my papers and pull out the real estate inserts and stuff them back into the box like every other Aspenite. If you’re unfortunate enough to go for a paper later in the day, you’ll have to root through wads of the glossies in the box to find an actual paper. I suppose, like spam, one in a million of these might find the eyes of a cash-paying hedge fund manager strolling by in tasseled loafers, but the rest of these high-end handbills litter a wide radius around every newspaper box in town and blow into the streets. A friend said she sometimes gathers them up and leaves them on the steps of the offending real estate office.But on July 4, the perps took the cake. Scrummed up in a glossy, faux Aspen Times front page jacket that tacoed the actual newspaper, three real estate companies, along with the Times editors who analyzed their carbon foot print in the recent weekly, fooled me into thinking the artful front page was some kind of special edition. Low and behold, when I flipped to page two, I choked on my Zélé. Instead of a chatty mountain ditty column top left, I found a full page owner-selling ad for “Beaver Run Trout Ranch.” Ouch, talk about mixing your metaphors.Worse, though, leading page one and two with such a littersome hoax is an insult to good journalism.In short, too much waste is chasing near-zero handbill readers and creating a wide swath of trash all over town.Hello, real estate, get green. Think eco-McMansion. You can even brag about it in your recyclable ads.Tim CooneyAspen
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