Wrecking Ball Party
At one of those memorable small town events, the firefighters of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department and the ladies of The Thrift Shop held a Wrecking Ball party on April 26 in front of their establishments on Hopkins Avenue.In the crowd were firefighters, Thrift Shop volunteers and many townspeople, all enjoying camaraderie and refreshments. It made you feel good to see how much these volunteer organizations are revered by the community. It was a sad, yet happy time; the Fire Station and The Thrift Shop are being torn down and will be replaced with larger and more functional buildings. Its just a sign of the times bigger seems to be better. However, I believe these two organizations will really be able to use the extra space.The offseason is a time for many to escape from Aspen. After selling their Sopris Restaurant in Carbondale and Buffalo Valley Restaurant in Glenwood, Kurt and Elsbeth Wigger first traveled to Hawaii in January and this week left for travels in their native Switzerland, and then on to Vietnam and Singapore. Kurt, before buying the downvalley restaurants, was chef at Aspens Red Onion for many years.John Black went to Michigan to attend the graduation of his son, Ian Black, from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Ian earned dual masters degrees in finance and with the ERB Program. His mother, dancer Dee Black, is now living in Argentina. Tamas Bates has been accepted to the Google Summer of Code 2008, which pairs mentors with students on Open Source code projects. Tamas is one of three students assigned to The WorldForge Project, which creates multiplayer online role-playing games. He will be working on improving the terrain modifiers for WorldForge.org, which is the original Open Source MMORPG project. Tamas mentor is Kai Blin, who is currently working on a degree in computational biology at the University of Tubingen, Germany. Tamas is currently a student at Western Washington University, majoring in computer science and math. He is the son of Jess Bates of Aspen and Maui, Hawaii, and Steven Bates of Seattle.
The May 2008 issue of Town & Country magazine includes articles about Aspenite Dena Kaye and part-time Aspenite Denise Rich. It is a special philanthropy issue with Dena being recognized for creating the Panchachuli Women Weavers in Almora, India, with an Indian woman, Mukti Datta. The weaving project began with eight women in 1997 and today it is owned by its 750 female employees and has transformed the local economy and thousands of lives. Dena wrote the article, explaining that, as president of the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Kaye Foundation, she decided to make a grant in Dannys name to UNICEF and in 1996 she dedicated it to a project to be created in India. Datta, whom she met through UNICEF, became her partner in the project and together they founded Panchachuli, which has enabled the women in the town of Almora to become self-sufficient and able to care for their families. The success of Panchachuli has led Mukti and Dena to introduce other life-improving institutions to the people of Almora. So far the women have overseen the establishment of eight educational facilities, such as a girls high school and the Dena Hospital.Denise is being recognized for raising funds for cancer research. Her daughter, Gabrielle, died of cancer at age 27. Before she died, Gabrielle, along with her husband, Philip Aouad, her mother and her two sisters formed the G&P Foundation for Cancer Research (named for Gabrielle and Philip). Denise is a songwriter and has also been politically involved. So, when she decided to raise cancer research funds, she tapped into her formidable connections and has made the Angel Ball her fundraising centerpiece. Since 1998, the ball has helped Denise raise nearly $21 million. Undercurrent…All around Aspen there are broken fences and mailboxes…knocked down by the deep, deep snow of this past winter.
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