Paul E. Anna: High Points
After a May that felt more like an April and an April that felt more like a March, let’s hope that the wind that’s been howling down the mountain slopes and up the valleys and gullies here this week blows in a new season. Specifically summer.It is Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of summer. And, frankly, things look a little weird. The buds on the trees are just breaking, the snow still stretches way down toward town, and the gardeners tell me that they are still hesitant to plant much. The sunshine the last couple of days has helped a lot as things, especially at the lower elevations where things are beginning to green up a bit. But I’m afraid the constant winds have dried the brush out and the mountains just might be tinder dry with fire season approaching. Already there has been a smoker down in the southwestern part of the state, and with all the dead brush from the pine beetle kill, this has the potential to be a tough summer for fireman.But enough of the negative. Summer is unofficially here and it will be official on the 21st of June, just three weeks or so away. For me, the opening of the highway over Independence Pass is always the best indicator of summer’s arrival and that happens Thursday. So bring it on.Things are pretty quiet in town and there will be an exodus Friday as campers, sun-worshippers and bikers hit the highway bound for Moab, Canyonlands and Lake Powell. But I’m guessing there will also be some inbound traffic as well, as folks take advantage of the offseason rates and come to Aspen for the long weekend.Summer this year ought to be hoppin’. After a couple of slow years due to the GEC – the Global Economic Crisis – folks are starting to feel a little better about getting away and an Aspen weekend has appeal for just about everyone. Food & Wine is right around the corner and the buzz is it will again be a hot ticket. And on the heels of that are the writers conference, Jazz Aspen, the Idea’s Festival, and other assorted events that will crowd the community. Personally I am looking forward to all of them.It is hard to pick the best season here in Aspen. Winter probably gets the most votes as we are a ski town, and spring and fall also have considerable charms. But if you were to ask folks who live here, especially if you were pose the question on a sultry Memorial Day weekend when the winds have died to a whisper, the trees are in full bloom and the town is just coming to life, I’m guessing there would be a fair number of folks who would say, “Summer. Yeah, summer is the best season.” Ask around this weekend. See what they say.
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Aspen School District is not the only district in the country facing teacher shortages as schools across the nation are struggling to find available staff to fill gaps in teacher positions, writes Teen Spotlight columnist Beau Toepfer. Still, the district has faced challenges with teacher retention and replacement this year.