Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (Sept. 8, 2019) | AspenTimes.com

Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (Sept. 8, 2019)

Basalt losing tireless advocate for recreation

I recently learned that Dorothy Howard and her husband are leaving the valley. A note of gratitude and acknowledgement to Dorothy, who has been the long-standing director of the Basalt Recreation Department.

Hundreds of adults and children have benefited from her tireless commitment to bring recreational opportunities to the citizens of Basalt and the surrounding area.

Through her efforts, children have grown to love sports, arts and other activities. Her programs have assisted young people in our community to understand the benefit of being on a team and working toward a common goal.

Having had the fortune to work with Dorothy over several years and multiple sports, I have personally seen the care, concern and effort that she has put into our youth. I know that she leaves this valley a better place by having made such a positive impact on those that have participated in the Basalt Recreation Department programs. She will be greatly missed.

Bob Daniel


Hatem family thanks community

Jerome Hatem had many talents, but perhaps his greatest was that he built communities. And his community of friends in Aspen remains one of his greatest accomplishments. The entire Hatem family would like to express their gratitude to Jerry’s Aspen Community. You took us in, you fed us and drank with us, and you helped us remember and celebrate the essence of Jerry. For this we will be forever grateful.

And to forewarn you: If you should happen to see someone that “sorta” looks like Jerry at Ruggerfest this year, it’s some of his family. A few of his brothers and nephews will be returning to Aspen in September for this year’s event.

Thank you for everything, Aspen.

Barb Hatem-McGee

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Youthentity doles out appreciation

Labor Day 2019 marked the eighth annual Oyster Fest hosted by the Little Nell and Ajax Tavern, and the second year that Youthentity has been fortunate enough to be involved as a beneficiary of ticket sales and the silent auction. We’d like to recognize the hard work the Little Nell and Ajax Tavern teams put into coordinating this wonderful event and express our appreciation for their support of Youthentity’s efforts to provide financial education and career readiness skills to youth in the Roaring Fork Valley. To provide guests with a perfectly executed five-star event while giving back to their community, that is the definition of success.

Beyond the fresh food and bottomless bubbly, the team went above and beyond to offer superior auction items, raising over $7,000 for Youthentity programs. Jonathan Fillman, general manager of the Little Nell, is a Youthentity board member and incredibly passionate about providing career exploration opportunities and financial literacy education to our community’s kids. We continue to be impressed by his dedication not only to our organization, but to his community — Youthentity is one of several valley nonprofits who benefit from the Little Nell’s generosity.

Thank you to the Little Nell and Ajax Tavern, and all who attended the Oyster Fest to benefit Youthentity!

Kirsten McDaniel

Executive director, Youthentity.org

Thrift Shop awards promising students

Every spring the scholarship committee for the Aspen Thrift Shop is honored to select recipients for college scholarships. It is a nearly impossible task to choose candidates from the dozens of highly qualified and worthy applicants. This year we are proud to congratulate the following students:

• Aspen High School — Alex Ilic, Clara Maxwell, Fernando Zuniga and Henry Morrison

• Basalt High School — Christian Narby

• Roaring Fork High School — Ronald Clemente

We are able to continue to provide these generous awards due to the support of community members who donate gently used items and clothing and to the shoppers who purchase them.

Scholarship committee, Aspen Thrift Shop

Where everybody knew your name …

After hearing over the weekend that Union Kitchen in Willits (formally known as Smoke) was closing up shop, I made damn sure we made time to get over there one last time for brunch. As it turns out for me, it was two times, after a stop at the bar after the shows. Regardless, we all had a chance to say our goodbyes and mark the end of an era in the midvalley.

I first met owner-operator Jamie Theriot more than 12 years ago as he was just getting started in the front row center space across from Triangle Park. That time was full of promise and excitement in Willits when the first restaurants and shops made their debuts. As a former waiter and bartender, I was impressed with Jamie’s manner and enthusiasm. After frequent visits, I also made note of the consistency of the menu and service, and later, how he managed to hang on to so much of his loyal staff. It really was a place where everyone knew your name. For me it became a family of sorts — Andy, Ted, Rob, Skeeter and many others over the years — always making me feel welcome and providing a good story and loads of laughs. My son always ran to Memo to give him a hug!

And when the recession hit and dug in longer than any of us imagined, Jamie hung in there too and helped us forget about the trials and tribulations outside, with camaraderie and yes, a few tequila shots at the bar. The “Ol’ Smoker” was just one of those special spots where you saw everyone you knew and always made a new friend. That simply doesn’t happen everywhere. There was a bit of magic to it all. Maybe it was in the sauce.

In any case, I wanted to lift my glass to my friend Jamie and his staff. I wish him the best of luck in the future endeavor he’s hoping to launch in the same space around the holidays. I need another chance to earn that bronze plaque at the bar, buddy!

Scott Bayens


Valley lifts Earthbeat camp

The Earthbeat Children’s Summer Music Camp wants to send out a huge thank-you to the Aspen Elks Lodge and to the ladies of the Aspen Thrift Shop for their amazing support through their grants programs. Without their help, the Earthbeat Summer Music Camp Scholarship program and Teacher Appreciation program would cease to exist. Your generosity is inspiring.

It never ceases to amaze me how much our valley loves our children. Creating and supporting our children’s programs is a never-ending challenge for small nonprofits like Earthbeat. But the impact of Earthbeat and many other wonderful children’s programs on our kids’ growth and maturity is invaluable. To all of you out there, keep up the good work! The Earthbeat team looks forward to continuing to nurture and inspire young people through music, art and camaraderie for years to come.

To Karen D’Attilo, thank you for creating Earthbeat. And to our sponsors — bless you.

KC Johnson

Director, Earthbeat Summer Music Camps