Roses & Thorns: Here’s to impromptu jam session; jeers to the ‘locals’ not representing

Aspen Times staff

Thorns to Colorado Parks and Wildlife regional manager J.T. Romatzke for forgetting who ultimately cuts his paychecks.

Romatzke was recently put on paid leave while the state investigated a whistleblower complaint that he worked in various ways to undermine the voter-approved plan to reintroduce wolves in Colorado. While some of the complaints about questionable behavior were found to be valid, Romatzke was reinstated to his position.

Romatzke is no stranger to people who have paid attention to the Basalt shooting range debate. Romatzke got upset with the Basalt Town Council in August 2018 when the board was discussing a resolution on recommendations on the shooting range.

An agitated Romatzke replied, “This is my shooting range, and all options are still on the table.”

Here’s our advice, cowboy — if you don’t like working with all the public of Colorado, don’t work for a state government agency.


Roses for the first local elected official who decides quality of life for existing residents should be an integral part of the review of land use applications. Local residents from Aspen to Glenwood Springs are raising alarms with increasing frequency about how growth is ruining their quality of life. Everything from our roads to our trails are overcrowded, yet we’re in a headlong rush to add more residences. Local residents need their elected board to integrate quality of life for existing residents into their review process. The real estate sales and development industry, the construction industry and the tourism industry are doing just fine without our elected officials tripping over themselves to help out.


A rose to the good Snowmass Village Samaritan who lent a hand and a tire lever to one of our staffers who found herself with her first flat tire while mountain biking on the Seven Star Trail on July 5. It takes a kind heart to cut the momentum on an uphill schlep and help the newbie figure things out, and a fixed flat made a big difference on what would have been a long hike-a-bike back to Town Park.


A thorn to the baskets on WeCycle e-bikes, which could use a better system to keep things intact. The bungees need more stretch and should have pegs for leverage, like the setup on the regular WeCycle bikes. At e-bike speeds, every bump in the road becomes a hazard for water bottles (or wallets and keys) to go flying at intersections and bridges and other places hard, heavy objects generally shouldn’t go flying.


Roses to local musician Damian Smith and Hazel Miller’s saxophone player Jeff Nathanson for scrambling after weather canceled the June 24 Thursday night Snowmass concert. Smith, who many folks know and enjoy, is a regular around the valley, and he was chilling at the New Belgium Ranger Station located at the end of the Snowmass Mall. Smith and Nathanson did an impromptu jam session inside the establishment, but the clear, sweet sounds wafted out the doors and into the surroundings near Fanny Hill. Not a bad little bonus for those who milled about the mall after the rains moved out.


Thorns going out to those drivers who think they are still in the state where their license plate says they’re from. Honking horns because of impatience, blowing through pedestrian crosswalks with lights flashing and folks in the strips, trying to sneak in a second vehicle in our alternate-merge way out of town, treating every 30 mph zone like it’s the Indy 500 … just a reminder: Relax, it’s Aspen.


Thorns to the group of people who don’t know proper sidewalk etiquette. If a lady approaches, don’t make her break through your group because you refused to get over. To compound the lack of manners, telling my girlfriend to get off her phone, go back to where she came from and then yell, “F— you!” after she informs you that she lives here is a great way to represent “locals.” Get a clue, pal, and stop screaming at random women because you don’t know how to navigate a sidewalk.

Have a rose or a thorn? Send them to with the subject line as: Roses & Thorns.