Roses and Thorns: Cheers to Sheldon; jeers to Eagle County’s lack of efforts in the RFV
Roses to Sheldon Wolitski for taking on the financial responsibility and probably a few headaches to add an amazing outdoor ice rink this winter at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. It’s been an overwhelming success for hockey and free skating.
There has been a lot of criticism about the types of people who are moving to the Roaring Fork Valley, especially during the pandemic. While some of that criticism is well-earned, Wolitski proves that “newcomers” cannot be stereotyped. He has selflessly given time and a substantial amount of money to bring a much-needed amenity to the midvalley without expecting anything in return.
Thorns to those folks, the majority from out of town, who continue to dismiss our mask law and then badger or complain to the front-line service workers who have the very unenviable task of reminding these folks of the sign on the door they walked past that says masks are required.
It’s all getting really old — wearing masking, listening to people bitch about their personal liberties, like they are exempt from it all — but that doesn’t make you a bigger person because you feel the need to come to our town and then bitch at our workers about our rules. Get over yourself and wear your mask, and take your complaints to Pitkin County, since they are the ones who are supposedly stomping on your freedom to get others sick — not our friends and family who are trying make your trip enjoyable.
Rose to the midvalley middle school kid who was overheard at a popular sledding hill encouraging his friend to go for it. “Just go fast enough, and you won’t get hurt,” the kid said. Well done, young man. That’s the spirit.
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Thorns to Eagle County Road and Bridge Department and a few private snow removal companies. Eagle County’s plowing strategy has left residents scratching their heads and cautiously negotiating streets in places such as Sopris Village, Summit Vista and Blue Lake. The plows were no shows on days with a few inches of powder.
We are sympathetic to organizations, both public and private, that are facing worker shortages. And Lord knows workers of all types are working their tails off with staff shortages. But, come on, this is a basic health and safety responsibility of our local government. If Eagle County Road and Bridge cannot fill its ranks in the Roaring Fork Valley to adequately plow the road, maybe the county needs to outsource it to a private entity.
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Roses to the front-line grunts at Aspen Skiing Co. — such as patrollers, groomers, snowmakers, lifties, mountain ops and restaurant workers — for making the holiday season a success with hard work and determination. Mother Nature gave a major assist with steady snowfall, but it was smooth sailing at the slopes thanks to the hardworking employees.
Roses to Amtrak’s California Zephyr train, which continued to reliably transport holiday travelers — many of them feeling perhaps a bit world-wearied by storm-induced airline headaches — to and from the Roaring Fork Valley via a stop in Glenwood Springs.
On a week that all but a handful of flights each day were canceled, delayed or diverted, the Amtrak chugged on, albeit with some snow delays, ensuring a certain if not swift return to the valley for one Aspen Times reporter. She spent nearly 26 hours in a bubble of sleeper car bliss, complete with a hearty breakfast, savory lunch and rich three-course dinner. What’s that they say about airplane food again?
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