Roses & Thorns: Cheers to those going out in style; jeers to the maskless officials |

Roses & Thorns: Cheers to those going out in style; jeers to the maskless officials

Roses go to Tiziano and Enrica Gortan for their gracious finale to an epic 25-year run in the Aspen restaurant scene, an effort in which their poured their hearts and souls. The positive energy and love felt in the final week of L’Hostaria Ristorante will be remembered as much as all the laughter, camaraderie and excellent (and affordable) food we’ve enjoyed for so many years. Best wishes and good luck to you and your family, Tiziano.

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A thorn goes to every government and elected official who wears their face mask on their chin while in a public meeting, or in a municipal or county building. More times than can be counted, public officials remove their mask to speak, which is exactly when they are supposed to be protecting others around them from — because their droplets spew from their mouths and spread the COVID-19 virus.

Elected officials are the ones who made this mandatory rule so we expect them to lead by example and cover their pie holes. They also look ridiculous wearing chin diapers.

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A rose and a fond farewell to Pitkin County Judge Erin Ely, who celebrated her retirement in the district courtroom on Oct. 29 with a costume party, a live band in the jury box, libations and Chinese food.

Ely was known as the people’s judge and cared about every single person who came before her on the bench, no matter how troubled they were or how many times they’d been there. She embodied the Aspen way of acceptance and tolerance. Enjoy traveling and family, Erin.

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Thorns to the state for the confusion and delays at the mobile vaccine bus that has been touring the area. Those who had scheduled appointments had to wait for an hour or longer in some instances and the walk-up scene was maddening. Understaffed and underorganized seemed to be the theme. Let’s hope they get the kinks worked out as every now is open to a booster or those first rounds of shots.

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Roses to the developers of a worker-housing project pegged for 1020 E. Cooper Ave., the neighbors who came out in opposition. and the Historic Preservation Commission for carefully examining the proposal.

The outcome of this disagreement could have been much worse. But instead the development team’s modifications to the application resulted in Tuesday’s unanimous 3-0 approval by the HPC board. As well, an attorney for the next door condominium association said they too were satisfied with the latest proposal — the development of four deed-restricted employee units — and would not contest it.

The outcome of this is what the town needed: more housing to house our workers. And it shows that parties can work out compromises for the overall good of Aspen. We’ll take it.

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A rose to the Pitkin County Clerk & Record’s office. The Election Night went smooth and results were updated in a timely fashion for the electorate to find. So, cheers to keeping us updated and doing the job as should be done around the country.

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A mix of roses and thorns to Aspen Skiing Co. Roses for the company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In their annual preseason meetings with local elected officials, Skico officials are stressing the company’s dedication to tolerance and diversity, social justice and engagement.

But let’s be real: The four Aspen Snowmass ski areas as well as the entire Aspen ski vacation experience are for those of wealth and privilege. Yes, Skico helps make skiing somewhat affordable for youth in the valley through cooperation with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and there is no doubt that it provides some lift tickets to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it. But the company still earns thorns for pricing policies that not only make it difficult for people on the lower socioeconomic rungs of our society to hit the slopes, but also the middle class.

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Roses to all the military veterans who have served our country and for the young men and women from the Roaring Fork Valley who have enlisted to serve. And special recognition to Dick Merritt, Dan Glidden and the other organizers of events over the years to honor the veterans.

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

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