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Roses and thorns

Roses: To those who participated in the Power of Four Mountaineering Race on Saturday. The amount of vertical these racers take on is a challenge enough; but Saturday’s brutal weather conditions — wind, sleet, snow and poor visibility — made the event worse. Good job, racers, and enjoy the well-needed rest.

Thorns: To Aspen-area businesses that have been running afoul — knowingly or unknowingly — of overtime provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Thirty-nine businesses, including Aspen Skiing Co., agreed to pay back $953,264 in back wages and damages recently following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation into their payroll practices (one of the 39 only had to pay back wages). Another company, representing four restaurants operated by Craig Cordts-Pearce and his wife, Samantha, has yet to settle with the department, which responded by filing a lawsuit against the couple. We understand that operating a business, especially a restaurant, is a difficult and risky proposition (ridiculously high commercial leasing rates don’t help matters), but the law is the law. Aspen’s service-industry workers might be seasonal in nature, but that’s no reason not to pay them time-and-a-half when they are on the clock for more than 40 hours a week. It’s not only the law, it’s the right thing to do.

A rose: To the Aspen Hope Center. In an area where the suicide rate seems to be getting worse, the Aspen Hope Center is a group attempting to address the issue and find answers. The month-long campaign kicked off Sunday at the Aspen Ice Garden with the third annual Hockey For Hope game between the Snowmass Fire and Aspen Police departments. At 3 p.m. Tuesday, the center will host a community discussion at the El Jebel Community Center, followed by a March 31 panel discussion at the Wheeler Opera House, in which locals and experts will share stories and insight into the issue.


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