Aspen Times editorial: Roses and Thorns

A rose: to the funky guitar shop Two Old Hippies, for having a nearly five-year presence in Aspen after the departure of The Great Divide. Two Old Hippies was a groovy oasis in a community that has lost much of its flower-power soul in recent years. Yes, many of the acoustic guitars and much of its apparel it sold was as expensive as it gets, but discounts, especially to locals, always have been part of its daily operation. The staff at the company’s Monarch Street shop always has offered friendly assistance in a welcoming environment. The owners, Molly and Tom Bedell, say they want to concentrate on their much larger operation in Nashville, Tenn., which has one of the strongest music scenes in the world. Aspen’s loss is Tennessee’s gain, and we wish them well in that venture and with other expansion plans. Their decision not to renew a lease in Aspen is saddening, but understandable. The big question is this: Where will Aspenites and visiting musicians go now for their last-minute music-equipment needs?

A thorn: to Pitkin County government, for deciding not to contribute toward an affordable-housing project in Eagle County (Willits). A good many residents of the project are expected to be employees in Pitkin County. We need all the affordable housing we can get.

A rose: to Mother Nature, for giving the upper Roaring Fork Valley some much-needed moisture over the past six weeks. The hills and mountains haven’t looked this green in years. Though the area still is officially in a state of drought, the threat of wildfire has been significantly reduced. Bears have plenty of natural sustenance and aren’t feeling the need to roam the downtown alleyways for restaurant scraps. The near-daily dose of afternoon rain cools the air and keeps temperatures from rising into the 80s. Perhaps we can start having holiday fireworks shows again soon.

A thorn: to Aspen Times arts and entertainment editor Stewart Oksenhorn. While generally a pleasant, peaceful person, Oksenhorn asked several staffers to help move a couch down three flights of staris and haul it across town to his apartment (another steep flight of stairs) the other night. Yes, friends lend friends a helping hand, but Stewart failed to participate in the actual moving of the sofa, instead sitting by idly and telling his on-demand underlings, “See? This was easier than you thought.” At least he provided free beers after the ordeal.

A rose: to the Snowmass Village Town Council standing its ground on the urgency of completing the Wood Road/Brush Creek Road roundabout, a major safety issue as more people and cars start flowing into and out of Base Village. Hopefully next week they can focus on that and other issues related to 13B and save the big-picture questions for when Related presents that plan.