Kudos & Kindess (Jan. 24, 2021)

Basalt teachers show up during hard times

It has been over 300 days since COVID-19 impacted our schools.

To the teacher who received an email Sunday evening informing them that the learning model would change the next day. You called your team, made a plan, and reassured your students that things would run smoothly the next day. You showed up.

To the teacher who tested positive for COVID-19, self-isolated to protect their loved ones, and kept teaching. You showed up.

To the teacher who received a call in the middle of class that a student in their room tested positive for COVID-19. You assured students that everything would be OK, while also fearing for the health of your students and yourself. You showed up.

To the staff member quarantined due to exposure who could no longer work their second and third jobs to make ends meet. You showed up.

To the staff member who received a call to pick up their child due to exposure. You showed up.

To the staff member who learned Sunday night that their child will be learning remotely and must scramble to care for your family while also teaching remotely. You showed up.

To the teacher who faced the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. You showed up.

To the teacher who spent hours creating an interactive virtual lesson, only for the site to crash during class. You showed up.

To the teacher who was scared to send their own children to school due to safety concerns. You showed up.

To the staff member who was asked to supervise lunch or recess at the last minute, giving up the only time you had to eat or plan. You showed up.

To the teacher who juggled students in multiple grade levels. You spent every night working to ensure students are getting the supports they need. You showed up.

Thank you for showing up on days when it didn’t feel possible; when it would have been easier not to. You showed up, and our students are so lucky you did.

Adrienne Nelson



Food distribution an Aspen-wide effort

I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to Rev. Nicholas Vesey and the board of trustees of the Aspen Chapel for providing a home for our weekly mobile food distribution between November and January. They are wonderful friends to our community.

We were in a bind, needing a new distribution site, and the chapel wholeheartedly welcomed us. It was a great pleasure to meet a number of the Aspen Chapel’s congregation who came along as volunteers and brought food donations. The Aspen Jewish Congregation has provided funding, and we are also grateful to the Meadowood HOA, whose residents were very understanding. Our community continues to sustain and inspire our efforts to support locals experiencing hardship during the pandemic.

The Aspen weekly mobile food distribution is now on a larger site (easier for our truck!) at the Aspen Golf Course, from noon to 2 p.m. every Wednesday, and our new hosts are the city of Aspen and the Ute Mountaineer’s Cross County Center, who have been extremely helpful.

Any member of the public is welcome to come along, and thanks to the Food Bank of the Rockies and other partners, we have plenty of food to distribute.

Thank you, friends!

Katherine Sand



Let democracy reign

In celebration of the inauguration, I am sharing a few words I weaved together as my vision for our beautiful America …

‘Democratic Freedom’

Blossoming transition

We can now let go of fear

Dear souls, let us look to the future

For our new beginning is here

Growls we see abound

The wedge of doubt around

May our hearts be clear and our minds sound,

Witness reconnection, our shared beautiful truth in peace and possibility now found

50 stars stand strong

Red, white and blue

300 million souls along

Beautiful hearts wild and true

Our United States of America

Courageously, we can be one

In conflict, power, pain and love

50 stars, we will stand strong

Divided by words

We have felt the upheaval

Feeling the pain, united by love

Our time dear souls, is now to heal

Seek not to blame,

For the mirror reflects us all

Look deep into your spirit and heart

Loves wondrous flame awakens your call

Compassion is our path

Wisdom a miraculous guiding light

Forgiveness is our freedom

To unite us all now is our shared fight

Your heart is our shared spark,

Igniting the strength of unity,

Truth is our guiding light,

Together we celebrate our Democracy,

50 stars stand strong

Red, white and blue

300 million souls along

Beautiful hearts wild and true

Our United States of America

Courageously, we can be one

In conflict, power, pain and love

50 stars, we will stand strong

God bless our beautiful USA!

Shaine Ebrahimi



Aspen comes together

Wow! Aspen is still a small town and caring community!

Kenny and Robin Smith, the owners of Meridian Jewelers, and their staff have come up with a plan that not only gives our restaurants some financial relief during these troubling times of the pandemic, but also allows the community to participate and take some ownership in helping out the restaurants to be able to stay afloat. This effort will help out approximately 3,400 people.

When our restaurants are able to reopen, let’s support them in anyway we can, and while we are at it, let’s buy some jewelry.

Thank you, Kenny and Robin Smith and your team, for working to keep our small-town spirit alive.

Patty Spilsbury

Old Snowmass


Vaccinations given proficiently and efficiently

We recently received our first COVID-19 vaccinations at the Benedict Music Tent. We thank and congratulate Pitkin County Public Health, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen Ambulance District, city of Aspen, Pitkin County and any others we may have omitted for efficiently and cheerfully providing us with this opportunity.

From the very beginning with the preregistration through appointment assignment to the actual administration of the vaccination, there was a high level of proficiency. All our electronic experiences with the website and emails were seamless and precise. At the vaccination site everything went smoothly and all the staff members were cheery, upbeat, and professional. Thank you so much, you should be proud of what you are doing. We certainly are proud of you.

Judy Kolberg and Griff Smith



Roaring Fork Schools grateful for school board volunteers

January is School Board Recognition Month, and the Roaring Fork Schools want to thank our board of education members for their commitment and contributions to our schools. Our board members volunteer countless hours to learn about big and small issues so that they can make critical decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect our entire school community. The board is charged an important and incredibly tough job — a job that doesn’t come with any compensation. Their decisions directly impact our 5,300 students and 1,000 staff members.

The current board has faced unique challenges as they have had to navigate the pandemic. Our three new board members had only been in the role a few short months before the Roaring Fork Schools had to respond to COVID-19. Each board member has found herself facing unprecedented challenges, forced to make decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions — all the while facing the same challenges personally as parents, family members, and community members. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom, and compassion.

Being a board member is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t in 2020. We appreciate our board members for stepping up; we are grateful for their service and leadership. If you see a board member, please remember to thank them for all that they do for our school community.

Executive team

Roaring Fork Schools


Pigskin appreciation

I wanted to thank the people and organizations that supported Aspen Flag Football this fall. Thank you to: Alexander Schrempf and Desiree Whitehead with the Aspen Recreation Department, Aspen Elks Lodge #224, Aspen Youth Football and Gridiron Golf Tournament.

I also wanted to thank our coaches — Bryan Welker, Chip Fuller and Todd Hoeffner. I was really disappointed when tackle football was canceled this fall, but I really appreciated that the town ran a flag football program.

Henry Klumb



A well-oiled vaccination program

Others have commented too, but I was blown away by the smooth efficiency of the drive-through vaccination program at the music parking lot.

When a number of different agencies can cooperate and come up with a system so seamless and upbeat, it does make me feel that 2020 is over!

Marina Rainer



But what about the lollipops?

Praise and kudos to the tenth power to the hearty crew at the Aspen Music School parking lot managing the COVID-19 vaccinations. The drive-up was well managed, the instructions simple and easy to follow, the greetings pleasant, the reception from those with the needles providing a calming welcome for nervous recipients (such as yours truly.) Fundamentally, the entire community came together. My thanks to the county health officials; to Aspen Valley Hospital, to the Aspen Police, to the paramedics; I think I even saw an Aspen fireman helping out and I even got to kibitzing with an Aspen snowplow driver during the waiting period. I do have one complaint: They didn’t pass out lollipops after the shot.

Tom Korologos


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