Kudos & Kindness (June 20, 2021) | AspenTimes.com

Kudos & Kindness (June 20, 2021)

To the locals who showed they care

Thanks to a very small, but determined group of local volunteers our 6th Annual Pristine Riders Trash Crush community clean-up and environmental stewardship event on June 5 was a success.

On National Trails Day, our tight group of longtime locals performed almost all our planned litter removal and beautification in just three hours. In order to get all the roads and paths around Aspen cleaned, we needed a larger turnout from a town of over 7,000 residents and county of over 14,000 who enjoy the benefits of our natural surroundings.

Another surprisingly sad note, we had no volunteers under 50 years old. In a community that claims to be environmentally conscious, these metrics are food for thought. We realize many do their own thing in caring for the environment which is awesome!

We also recognize addressing the sources of litter including better management of construction sites acting like pollution zones is critical to reduce or eliminate the causes of litter pollution (and every other type of pollution). Although I’ve contacted Pitkin County repeatedly, county staff doesn’t seem interested in requiring a simple solution like requiring construction dumpsters being covered so construction waste doesn’t blow out. Every other home site under construction east of town and across from North Star Nature Preserve is a source of pollution. Just look at their overflowing dumpsters. Why is that allowed? We need to apply commonsense solutions and be more proactive, not just reactive cleaning up construction related pollution.

Pristine Riders expresses our deepest gratitude to some very caring people for supporting our annual litter cleanup along local roadways, including Highway 82 along North Star Nature Preserve, Maroon Creek Road, Castle Creek Road and Highway 82 to the Aspen Golf Course. Sincere thanks to our enthusiastic organizers, including Pristine Riders and Sun Dog Athletics and most of all to our hearty volunteers, including Susan Capiel, Ward Hauenstein, Kristen Henry, Bill Hodges, Chris McKelvey, Paul Shultz, Erik Skarvan, Ned Sullivan, Karin Teague and generous sponsors including Troy Selby at Silverpeak Grill for our volunteer lunch, Cathy Hall at Pitkin County Landfill for reusable “Trashy Awards,” and Samantha Johnston at The Aspen Times for ads.

Pristine Riders is a recently launched 501c3 nonprofit composed of passionate valley cyclists who combine cycling and cleaning up the environment. We advocate picking up “just one” piece of litter each ride and share the message to create the multiplier effect in exchange for a free Pristine Riders jersey featuring the Colorado flag and Maroon Bells. Like Pristine Riders on Facebook for more, including how to score a free bike jersey! If we all do a little for Mother Nature, it would make a big positive difference. Mother Nature gives us everything. The least we can do is give a little back. Then, share the love to inspire others!

Erik Skarvan

Executive director, Pristine Riders


A collaborative effort for fire mitigation

On behalf of Swiss Village subdivision near Redstone, we extend heartfelt gratitude for the collaborative efforts of Pitkin County Emergency Manager Valerie Macdonald, Carbondale Fire Department Chief Goodwin and U..S Forest Service manager Kevin Warner on a recent wildfire mitigation project near us.

Despite our best efforts at mitigating within our neighborhood, the reality is we are surrounded by forested public land. USFS land to our north (the project) was densely packed with aging and dead scrub oak, and contained a huge amount of standing fuel. If it burned, our neighborhood would burn.

Our neighborhood used to be mostly summer cabins. Now homes are selling in the $600,000-plus range, and most are occupied year-round, many with small children. The property damage and potential loss of life in a wildfire is now much greater than in decades past.

It is a privilege to live surrounded by so much natural beauty, and we recognize the biggest threat we face to our homes and lives is wildfire. We greatly appreciate these three entities (Pitkin County, CFD and USFS) working together to help protect us if/when wildfire strikes. Now that fire season has arrived, it’s a relief to know that the forest next to us is much less of a hazard. The more mitigation projects that can be done near neighborhoods like ours, the better prepared we all are for the inevitable.

Thank you for being on the cutting edge of collaborative effort, climate responsibility and forest management.

Diane Madigan

Secretary, Swiss Village HOA

Jon Amdur

President, Swiss Village HOA


Let’s celebrate the monks in Aspen

Tibetan Buddhist Monks will be in Aspen for the Fourth of July as a chanting stationary exhibit and on His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6. We invite you to safely gathering in Herron Park at 1 p.m. to celebrate and enjoy the sacred sounds of Tibet, while at the same time sponsors are still needed to fully bring these community events to light. Also, if you have old devices you would like to hand down to the monastics or a favorite shop you would like them to frequent, please leave items and gift cards at Jesse’s Barbershop at 400 W. Main St. They love visiting the thrift store and the coffee shops.

During their tour, these venerable monks are not only providing us with the renewal of deep loving kindness but also serving the 1,500 monks and the surrounding villages of southern India where they practice in exile. Our town is opening, and we are starting to feel the steps of positive change, while the poorest of the poor are getting hit hard. The monastery’s clinic and kitchen has been providing the surrounding civilians with care and nourishment while their shelves run bare. Let’s shine in the way our community knows how and gather our grassroots effort to send them with our loving gratitude and support.

Serene Washburn


Big thanks to town of Basalt, Skico

Thanks to everyone at the town of Basalt involved with creating affordable housing for child care teachers! Aspen Skiing Co. gets big thanks for including eight units in their new Willits building for people working in child care — it has changed lives and created a new community. This is such a powerful model for other companies and communities that struggle with housing and child care.

The housing has truly been life changing for four of the teachers at Blue Lake Preschool. It has not only allowed for teachers to be closer to work, limiting the time they spend on the road, but has already made a difference to their children as well. A 5-year-old no longer has to share a room with her mom, three kids no longer traveling from Rifle to the midvalley to go to school — they are able to live right here and spend time with their friends after school instead of being in the car for over an hour each way — what a difference this housing has already made in the lives of so many!

Thanks for the continued funding from the town of Basalt that helps families afford quality child care, increase teacher retention, helps early childhood teachers make quality improvements, and provides support to childcare programs as they recover from the effects of COVID-19 and continue to provide care the community so badly needs.

This is a big thank you to the town of Basalt for your continued support of the children in our community. Thanks to your recent grant-making our kids are getting more services than ever to build strong healthy lives.

Thanks to the town of Basalt, FocusedKids is able to expand its services this coming school year to support kids in resetting their neurosystems after a long, crazy year.

Our services would be much less effective and would reach far fewer people without your support, and we appreciate you!

The Basalt Early Childhood Coalition

Shirley Ritter

Director, Kids First, city of Aspen

Kelly Esch

Program manager, Early Childhood

Early Childhood Network

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