Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (Nov. 11, 2017) | AspenTimes.com

Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (Nov. 11, 2017)

Grateful for Alpine Bank

I would like to take a moment to thank Alpine Bank for their radio advertisement about veterans in recognition of Veterans Day on Saturday. It is a pleasure to hear a community-based radio commercial in recognition of our veterans and their dedicated service to our country. No soldier comes back from battle unchanged. I am grateful to Alpine Bank for its call to action to give our vets respect and recognition by asking our community citizens to donate something of themselves as a way of saying thank you. I am proud to have Alpine Bank as our sponsor of Pitkin County's monthly Veterans Coffee and Donuts. Thank you Alpine Bank for your great partnership with Pitkin County supporting our veterans!

Janine Barth

Veteran Service officer, Pitkin County

Aspen community props up Olympic hopefuls

On Oct. 27, the Nordic community in the Roaring Fork Valley again came out in force to support me and Simi Hamilton as we each continue to pursue international success in Nordic skiing. This was the seventh annual Aspen Sendoff Party in support of Rocky Mountain Nordic Angel, and once again our families, friends and supporters showed us how lucky we are to be from Aspen. Without the sustained support of this amazing community, I would not have had the honor of competing at the Olympics in Sochi and would not be vying for a spot in my second Olympics in Pyeongchang. I can never say thank-you enough for the opportunities that this community has afforded me, and I know that the support has changed my life by instilling in me a desire to help others achieve their own dreams.

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With sincere gratitude,

Noah Hoffman

Aspen

ACES Harvest Party wildly successful

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies would like to acknowledge the generosity of all those who contributed to the success of this year's Harvest Party at Rock Bottom Ranch. Last month, nearly 1,400 community members from throughout the valley gathered at ACES' 113-acre ranch and wildlife preserve in Basalt for a seasonal celebration that included live music, delicious food, pumpkin carving, farm tours, apple cider pressing, games and more.

The Harvest Party benefits ACES Ed, our environmental science education program that includes full-time dedicated classrooms at Aspen Elementary School, Basalt Elementary School and Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, as well as field programs for 57 regional schools. ACES Ed serves more than 5,000 students every year from Aspen to Rifle.

Special thanks goes to our supporting sponsor, Smoke Modern Barbeque, which provided a delicious lunch for the event. Their sponsorship makes it possible for ACES to keep ticket prices low and affordable for families throughout the valley. The 2017 Harvest Party also was made possible by generous sponsorship support from Aspen Associates Realty Group, Outdoor Voices, Aspen Brewing Co., Of Grape & Grain, Whole Foods, The Aspen Times, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, KSPN and Gran Farnum Printing.

If you missed the Harvest Party, we encourage you to stop by Rock Bottom Ranch to experience the new eco-ed trail system and outdoor classrooms. Guided Farm Tours are offered throughout the winter at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.

With deepest gratitude,

Chris R. Lane

Chief Executive Officer, ACES

Aspen High sports gets a big autumn boost

On behalf of the Aspen High School Booster Club, we would like to thank the entire community for supporting all the high school events this fall season. Our fall sports teams have had incredible and gratifying seasons.

Much of our support comes from behind the scenes, and their assistance helped build the Aspen spirit. The AHS Booster Club would like to thank the following people and groups for all their energy and enthusiasm:

The sponsors who are the backbone of our support: The Aspen Store, Atlantic Aviation, the Carricarte family, Christ Episcopal Youth Group, Clark's Market, Elks Lodge No. 224, Farmers Insurance, Mountain Primal Meat Company, Mountain Temp Services, The Romero Group, Runaway Shovel and the Styslinger family.

The team behind our teams: city of Aspen, Aspen Rotary Club, Mark Lampe and Maroon Creek Golf Club, Mountain Flowers, Paradise Bakery, David Bach, Austin Colbert, Tharyn Mulberry, Sarah Strassburger, Paul Hufnagle, Celty Fitterer, Hannah Krewson, Adam Rinehart, Tenille Folk and her kitchen team, Gary Vavra and the Transportation and Facilities Team, Leah Moriarty and Jeremy Swanson.

Friday night crew: Tod and Karin Wehse, Diana Duffey, Lori and Brian Guilander.

Chain gang: Bill Moriarty, Roger Marolt, Dwayne Romero, Tim Fortier and Ken Johnson.

Congratulations to our athletic director, Martha Richards!

Go Skiers!

Kristen G. Fitzgerald

Aspen High School Booster Club

Community leaders connect with FIRST LEGO League

I want to share my deep appreciation for the work of a number of community leaders who have taken the time to work with 76 students in grades five through eight for the hydrodynamics season of FIRST LEGO League. Students are tasked with identifying a problem related to the human water cycle and proposing an innovative solution which can range from public service campaigns to engineered inventions. Eleven teams will compete Nov. 11 at Aspen Middle School, and they have had the benefit of support from a number of experts in town.

Rich Burkley, senior vice president of operations at Aspen Skiing Co., came in multiple times to discuss the economics of snowmaking and the value of high-altitude water storage. City utilities director David Hornbacher welcomed a group to the water treatment plant and came to speak with students about planning ahead for water needs and the components of water management. Nathan Nelson and Liz Mauro hosted students at the waste-water treatment plant so they could see how we care for our river system. April Long and Jordan Gray-DeKraai of the city Stormwater Department shared the city's programs and future plans, and Pitkin County Environmental Health director Kurt Dahl shared his expertise related to grey water systems and water regulations. Skico sustainability director Matt Hamilton is volunteering as a judge to support student efforts and will spend a Saturday listening to the culmination of their efforts.

All of these people have inspired students to think beyond the classroom and consider problems in our community and beyond. Their impact and influence makes a difference in our schools and for the community, and I am grateful for their support.

I am grateful for their time and expertise, and I believe their efforts will have a lasting effect on the students. These experiences enrich classrooms by showing students what kinds of opportunities exist for them in the future.

Caroline Hanson

Aspen

A powerful message at Basalt Middle School

I am writing to thank the Aspen Thrift Shop, the Basalt Education Foundation, the Basalt Regional Library and those who donated via DonorsChoose.org for funding an author visit to the Basalt Middle School Library by internationally recognized novelist Reyna Grande.

With this money, I purchased several sets of Grande's memoir, "The Distance Between Us," an account of her emigration from a small rural Mexican town to the United States. Young adult versions for students, and both the adult English and Spanish versions for our teachers and families, were made available and we were able to host a presentation both during school hours and after school in the Basalt Regional Library. Many students who heard her speak had already read her book and were prepared with questions ranging from inquiries about her writing process to wanting to know details about crossing the border at nine years old.

Students also heard her speak who had not yet read her book and became inspired to read it. What seemed to impact them the most was hearing someone speak who shared a common experience to someone they may know. Following her talk, a teacher emailed me with a student's reaction, "My dad crossed the border when he was 17, but I didn't realize how hard that must have been for him until I heard her talk today."

Another student tiptoed into the library after her talk when she was still there. He was especially hoping to meet her in person. I asked him what his take-away was from her talk and he said, "There are always hard things that we have to face in life, but we can get through them and even come out better off." I was impressed that Reyna Grande's message resonated so strongly and clearly with this fifth-grade boy. Thank you to these organizations for supporting this visit of Reyna Grande and her important story to build understanding and compassion within our school community.

Jane Douglass

Librarian, Basalt Middle School