Roses & Thorns: Cheers to Skico crews spinning summer lifts, jeers to letting politics get in way of testing

Roses to the Aspen Skiing Co. workers who kept the gondolas spinning and the on-mountain restaurants operating this summer. From the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain to the Elk Camp area at Snowmass, the summer operations seemed to run smooth and their attitudes were upbeat. Both gondolas are open on the weekends through September, so cheers to a couple more rides up before we get to slide down this winter.

Thorns to Aspen Laboratories for refusing to give a COVID-19 test to Candace Owens, a conservative media personality who has blasted pandemic health orders and is an outspoken critique of vaccinations and mask-wearing. Aspen Laboratories, which runs Aspen COVID Testing, is a private business and can do what it pleases, but it also works in the arena of public health — unlike the wedding-cake maker and other specious examples used to support the company’s decision. If we’re really sincere about protecting our community’s public health, it should not matter who is seeking a COVID-19 test. Instead, Aspen Labs’ decision to deny Owens a test feeds into the rhetoric that has divided America and puts a black eye on Aspen. The far left is tickled with Aspen Labs’ decision to stick it — or rather, not stick — because of her views on the coronavirus. As for the far right, and even center right and center left, Aspen Labs’ denial only fuels the fire that the left preaches tolerance but doesn’t practice it. We should all try do better instead of shaming people who don’t walk in lockstep with our views, especially when it is to the detriment of public health during a worldwide pandemic.

Roses to Sheryl Crow, not only for putting on a good performance in Snowmass Village on Saturday evening but also for some comic relief. When she played one of her first hits, she said the song was probably older than a lot of people in the audience. Uh, Sheryl, I think you should have taken a good look around first. An audience member who is 50 was bringing down the average age.

Thorns to Lee Mulcahy who showed up to give public comment at Wednesday’s Pitkin County commissioners meeting and refused to keep his mask up while addressing the board because he said he was vaccinated. Those kind of stunts of defiance do nothing but hurt the community. If you don’t like it and feel like you have something to say, then do it virtually. But then again, craving attention is his M.O.

Roses to the Basalt Town Council members for willingness to swallow a little pride and reserve course on an important community issue. The council majority had voted in a straw poll early in August to pursue funding for a new town hall along with affordable housing projects and “green initiatives.” But after getting feedback from concerned citizens and talking through their own reservations, council members reversed course and decided recently to replace town hall with improvements to the Midland Avenue streetscape. Midland Avenue is the town’s main street and is overdue for sprucing up. A double batch of roses for councilwoman Elyse Hottel, who consistently said the council should follow the direction of the public. Basalt residents indicated earlier this month at an open house they preferred Midland improvements over town hall.

A thorn goes to the Aspen Ambulance paramedics who took almost nine minutes to get to a call of a man in a seizure outside of the lower library entrance on Mill Street. The man had fallen down, had blood coming out of his mouth and was convulsing. The ambulance sat at the Main and Mill streets stoplight, and then its slower-than-molasses paramedics parked at the top of the library and strolled casually down the sidewalk with one guy having his hands in his pockets. This is not how we should be responding to emergencies and people in distress here. It might not have been a big call for them, but it was for the bystanders who had to sit there and watch this poor man suffer, not to mention the victim himself foaming at the mouth and lying on the ground. Can you at least act like you care, Aspen paramedics?

Roses to Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefers for the show they put on Sunday at Jazz Aspen Snowmass. That was one folks around here will remember for a long while.