Aspen Times Roses and Thorns (July 20) | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Times Roses and Thorns (July 20)

Roses to plenty of people during the Lake Christine Fire, but today we'll award two people for special acts of kindness.

Laura Riegel earns roses for organizing the thank-you rally for firefighters on July 10. Her suggestion on Facebook for a rally at Crown Mountain Park went viral and exploded into a community outpouring of love for the firefighters 24 hours later. Her actions proved something doesn't have to be fancy to be effective.

Additional roses go to Sarah Woods and Roaring Fork Conservancy for converting one of the activities at their annual fundraising party to collect funds for the Basalt fire and police departments. They had raised more than $100,000 at last word and the amount was growing. That was an act of true community spirit.

A thorn goes to the detail assigned to national dignitaries at the Aspen Security Forum. We know a lot of them come from the big city, where idling vehicles is as second nature as breathing in the smog.

But here in Aspen, we are a bit more sensitive to our environment and air quality. We are already breathing in smoke from the Lake Christine Fire that has been raging on Basalt Mountain for more than two weeks. So do us all a favor, turn off your engine while you are waiting for the VIPs.

A rose goes to the group at the Little Red School House who are taking on the tough issue of child care in the valley and thinking to the future. We're glad to see someone putting together a project to address the growing problem for young, growing families. Hopefully Snowmass Village officials continue to help the issue and move a bit quicker than they are on the whole marijuana issue.

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A thorn for Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt, who seemed to infer that area residents should have had the foresight to make more of a fuss over closing the Basalt shooting range before the Lake Christine Fire started there July 3. While it's true citizens at large making a lot of noise "gets the attention of elected officials," the mayor came off as callous by suggesting disaster could have been prevented if everyday people had whined more.

A rose to the Mountain Rescue Aspen crews with the hiking season in full gear and they get called on more. Just this week they saved the life of an experienced climber from a near-fatal fall and barely a day later worked into the early hours to help find a 9-year-old boy who wandered off. Be careful out there, folks, and let's try to keep MRA as bored as possible.

Thorns to the Aspen Parks Department for failing to pay enough attention to one of its most popular destinations

The condition of the bathroom at Herron Park on Monday morning was nothing short of gross negligence, with the operative word being gross. We will spare readers the nastiest details but will share that the toilet paper was out, desperate people took desperate action and the vault was in dire need of getting pumped.

By 11:30 a.m., the park was quickly filling with moms or nannies with young kids. It's tough enough to get some kids to use porta-potties. The one at Herron Park would have definitely scarred them for life.

C'mon Parks Department, up your game. Get your service provider out there quicker after a busy weekend to either replace or pump the porta-potties on a Monday morning.

Thorns go to all of the locals who continue to say: "Is there a new fire, where is all of the smoke coming from?" Live in a slightly bigger world than your own bubble. Basalt is still living in the thick of a fire that isn't 100 percent contained and extremely smoky air. That community can use all of the love and support it can get. It's not all about you, people.