Roses and thorns |

Roses and thorns

A rose to the Gonzo Gallery for sparking meaningful local political debate and conversation through its Liberty Salon series, D.J. Watkins’ new book, “Freak Power,” and the complementary art show on Hunter Thompson’s 1970 campaign for Pitkin County sheriff.

Roses to the residents of Aspen who organized the petition drive that ultimately derailed developer Mark Hunt’s plans to build a lodge on Main Street. Hunt was simply acting on advice of the Aspen City Council to build an affordable lodge at the spot where the Conoco service station sits, but the City Council granted the project so many variances that it defied the will of Aspen voters who passed a home-rule charter amendment in May to prevent such land-use concessions without taking them to a vote. Ward Hauenstein and Marcia Goshorn organized the effort, and they’re to be commended for their successful exhibit of citizen democracy.

Thorns to the two teenage boys accused by authorities of setting bales of hay on fire near Basalt on Tuesday night. As of Friday, there had been no arrests. Boys will be boys, but setting hay on fire could have had disastrous consequences. Roses go to the firefighters who put out the fire, which ruined 100 bales.

Roses to the owner of the GMC Yukon with Colorado plates spotted driving in the midvalley this week with the personalized plate that says “Nobody.” We like that sense of humor.

A rose for everyone who left their cars at home and enjoyed the USA Pro Challenge on foot or on two wheels. We’ve all learned from the past, and this year the roads were quiet, fun and safe on both race days.

Roses to pro cyclist Tejay van Garderen of Aspen for his public letter, published in The Aspen Times, thanking the Aspen community for its support as he recovered from illness suffered in the recent Tour de France. Van Garderen explained the team decision for him to race in the Spanish Vuelta starting Saturday. He also encouraged the Aspen community to turn out and support the USA Pro Challenge, which he had won the previous two years.

Thorns to knuckleheads who insist on talking on their cellphones as they check out at the grocery store, oblivious to the other folks waiting in line while the distracted patron yaks away on the phone.

Future roses to the downtown Basalt property owners and elected officials who can figure out how to incubate something like the Roaring Fork Beer Co. that exists in Carbondale. You want vitality? Go to the young company’s tasting headquarters at 6:30 p.m on a summer Friday. Chances are you will see a bunch of people you know or people you wish you knew. The cool thing is that it’s in a light-industrial section of town that is well off the main drag. Definitely a lesson in if you provide something good, people will find you. Don’t wait for Willits to catch on, downtown coalition.

Thorns to the Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Co. for failing to alert anyone that it was flushing Grizzly Reservoir. Given the timing of the Gold King Mine disaster in Silverton, failing to notify the city of Aspen, Pitkin County, the U.S. Forest Service, the Roaring Fork Conservancy or the Independence Pass Foundation about the work on Grizzly Reservoir was, at best, an unbelievable oversight or, at worst, an extreme sign of hubris. It’s little wonder that people were concerned that the river was running thick with sludge. The folks at the diversion company have talked about being good neighbors in the past, and their actions have shown they are sincere. We’ll write this one off as an oversight.

An unknown bouquet of roses and thorns for the partisans on both sides of the Pan and Fork debate in Basalt. There are definitive differences in opinion over how to proceed with the development part of the former trailer-park site, but lately it’s been getting personal, with people on both sides slinging arrows at opponents for no good reason. Everybody has the right to their opinion. They shouldn’t be demonized. Let’s hope this doesn’t get ugly, because that in no way benefits Basalt.