Aspen Times Roses and Thorns (June 15, 2018)

• Roses to Sloan Shoemaker for fighting the good fight for so many years as the executive director of Wilderness Workshop — an environmental group born and bred in the Roaring Fork Valley. We didn’t always agree with Shoemaker’s stances but we admired his steadfast defense of wild things and wild places. His voice will be missed.

• Roses to Pitkin County and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office for enacting stage 1 fire restrictions before we have a major incident. The real rose will be if people can follow the rules.

• Thorns to Eagle County officials for their general stance on growth and development in the Roaring Fork Valley portion of their kingdom. The faces change at the staff level and on the Board of County Commissioners, but the outcome remains the same. For reasons we can’t fathom, the staff refuses to take on a regulatory or oversight role on behalf of the public. Instead, they appear to go out of their way to find ways to partner with developers. The commissioners go along for the ride.

• A rose goes to the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and the upper valley governments — namely the city of Aspen — for being the state’s first ski resort to invest in battery-powered electric buses.

City Council this week made a commitment to invest $1.8 million toward a fleet of eight, zero-emission buses. RFTA is putting up the same, and another $500,000 is coming from the Elected Officials Transportation Committee (representing Pitkin County, Snowmass and Aspen).

But what is more notable is the work that is put into pursuing federal and state grants to make up the difference in the cost of these buses.

The public is probably not aware of how difficult it is to wrangle up cash from the feds and the state. Through lots of diligence, follow-up and dogged determination, city and RFTA staffers were able to get over $4 million for this new fleet.

In a time when competition for this money is fierce, we give credit where credit is due. We look forward to seeing these environmentally friendly buses on our roads next year.

• Roses to the early-arriving crowd Saturday at the Snowmass beer festival. More people came toward the start than in the final hour like last year, giving the out-of-town brewers a greater appreciation for coming, some mentioned.

The S-curve redo came out smooth, but thorns for not extending the painting to the second half of the inbound S-lanes so we don’t get floaters taking up both lanes on the turn onto Main Street.

• Thorns to the people urging Lee Mulcahy to leave town. While we don’t condone his tactics, we also don’t condone the elitist message from those imploring him to relocate to such places as Grand Junction, as if that town is inferior to Aspen and is where Mulcahy should reside.