Roses and Thorns
- A thorn goes to the property owners near Castle Creek Bridge who let their sprinklers spray water all over the sidewalk Thursday morning. The city is under stage 2 water restrictions for the first time in history and people need to heed the rules. We are short on water so stop moisturizing the concrete and asphalt.
- A rose goes to the Fraternal Order of the Eagles No. 184 for organizing its annual community picnic that’s open to the public on Labor Day. The private service club does a ton of work to put this event on. It benefits four worthy organizations — Mind Springs Health, Windwalkers, Patrick’s Place and Aspen Youth Football.
- A rose goes to the Colorado Department of Transportation for their work on Independence Pass this season and making the ride a lot smoother. While the agency still hasn’t addressed our thorn from earlier this year on the teeth-rattling expansion joints on the Highway 82 bridge over the Roaring Fork, the rides over the pass on the Pitkin County side are much more enjoyable.
- And speaking of Indy Pass, a community thorn to the drivers going over who, while being understandably safe going at a comfortable speed, don’t take advantage of the pullouts when you’re backing up traffic to a large degree. More than 10 cars behind you might be a good sign to take a break and regroup while the rest pass. Please.
- A thorn goes to those trying to get inside the Lake Christine Fire area when they know they’re not supposed to. It’s disappointing that the Forest Service has to hire private security to keep people at bay.
- Roses to the hardworking staff of the White River National Forest, which has been besieged this summer with tasks above and beyond their usual duties. Simultaneous fires in Basalt, Meeker and Rifle truly drained resources and piled on after a quick-hitting blaze in Silverthorne to start the summer. Forest staffers have filled in on duties ranging from assessing fire damage to providing public information as well as, in some cases, getting directly involved in firefighting. Even workers who haven’t been directly involved in firefighting have been affected as they took on more “normal” duties to cover for colleagues engaged with the firefighting efforts. Hang in there, folks, those fires can’t burn forever.
- A rose to the Aspen Music Festival for its free, all-ages performance of “The Carnival of the Animals” in Harris Concert Hall on Aug. 16. The short, very kid-friendly orchestral performance — with endearing narration from Theatre Aspen’s Graham Northrup and pre- and post-concert parties on the lawn — was a perfect introduction to live classical music for the youngest Aspenites. It got a big thumbs-up from a 1-year-old member of the Aspen Times family.
- A related thorn to the Music Festival, the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Meadows for the lack of changing tables on their shared West End campus. Neither the mens nor womens’ restrooms in the concert halls, auditoriums and related facilities have diaper-changing tables for babies. Cleaning a baby butt and changing a dirty diaper on a marble Herbert Bayer sculpture sounds romantic and all, but no doubt all parties involved would rather have the standard changing tables operating in bathrooms. Many states require them by law, as does the federal government in its buildings, so surely entities as progressive and enlightened (and well-funded) as the Music Fest and the Institute should have invested in this bit of bathroom infrastructure for parents and children by summer 2018.
- Roses to Basalt officials for finally completing a pedestrian path that eliminates the need for students to cross two busy streets while walking to and from the high school. It’s been a problem since the school was built in the 1990s. Students had to cross the street twice in a short stretch to use paths. Now a new, short path is being built on the south side of Fiou Lane, providing a missing link and making it much safer for the kids.
- Roses to the folks who installed new playground equipment and basketball courts in El Jebel across from the trailer park on El Jebel Road. Great job doing something nice for the community! (reader submission)
- Thorns to Eagle County officials for letting a community development director who had so few ties to Eagle County drive the revamp of the master plan for the Roaring Fork Valley sliver of the county. Damian Peduto was hired in June 2017. He quietly exited about one month ago under circumstances that aren’t entirely clear. In between, two of his primary accomplishments were overhauling the Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission — ousting two longtime members — and overseeing the update of the Midvalley Area Community Master Plan. It was a contentious process that left quite a few people with a bad taste in their mouth. Peduto’s footprints were all over the final product and he oversaw the process somewhat like an autocrat. And now he’s gone. One person shouldn’t have been allowed to sway influence so thoroughly.
Have a rose or a thorn? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org (with Roses&Thorns in the subject line). We collect and publish a fresh bouquet every couple of Fridays.
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Before the season winds down this weekend, I wanted to take the time to extend some appreciation to the Aspen Skiing Co. As always, the grooming has been exceptional and the ski patrol has done…