| AspenTimes.com

Bear attacks Aspen-area homeowner early Friday morning; officials find, euthanize bruin

An Aspen-area homeowner had to undergo surgery after being attacked early Friday morning by a bear that broke into his house through the front door, according to officials with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department.

Wildlife officials were able to locate and kill the bear they believe to be involved on the backside of Aspen Mountain.

A team with tracking dogs located the bear and treed it on the backside of Aspen Mountain around 8 a.m., but the bear then escaped from the tree and found its way into a mine shaft at around 10 a.m., according to CPW officials on scene.

Officers were able to euthanize the bear and are sending DNA from the animal to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife lab for testing fully verify it was the bear that injured the man, CPW area manager Matt Yamashita said Friday.

“Based on the direct and clear trail that tracking dogs quickly followed, along with the physical description of the bear from witnesses, we are certain that we got the offending animal,” Yamashita said. “We never like to have to put an animal down, but the protection of the public is paramount once a bear begins entering homes and responding aggressively toward people.”

The dogs were able to track the scent of the bear down Castle Creek Road toward town, he said. The dogs then tracked the scent up Aspen Mountain, according to another wildlife official.

The bear was located in a mine shaft on the north-facing side of Aspen Mountain, just below Upper Roch Run trail off the Ruthie’s lift.

The bear attacked the homeowner with a paw swipe, which resulted in severe cuts to the victim’s head and neck, CPW officials said in a news release.

“The injuries are pretty significant lacerations to his face, neck and head,” CPW spokesman Randy Hampton told The Aspen Times on Friday morning. “We’re worried about his eye and his ear.”

Hampton said the victim was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital and then transferred by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction and is undergoing surgery. He was stable and the injuries are not life threatening, he said. No other updates on his condition were available by Friday afternoon.

Hampton said the incident happened at a house about 2 miles up the Castle Creek Valley.

The bear matched the description of a bear that has been frequenting the Castle Creek neighborhood for several days, according to officials, and it may be the same bear that has been reported for getting into trash in the area for the past couple of years.

Past attempts to haze or trap and relocate the bear have been unsuccessful, they said. 

This is the first bear attack in Aspen this year. In 2019, wildlife officers responded to three bear-human attacks in the Aspen area. 

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Pence is drinking it up

I believe Vice Mike President Pence drank the Kool-Aide!

Ruth Harrison


No mask police and no leadership

Elizabeth Millas is correct that we do not need vigilante mask police (“Aspen’s vigilante mask police: Just stop”, Aspen Times, July 5, 2020). Unstated between the lines is the critical point that everyone must take personal responsibility during this crisis. But absent from the commentary is what is got us here, the Trump administration’s head-in-the-sand approach, spinning the facts for perceived political gain instead of following science during this public health crisis. The inability of this administration to provide a scintilla of common sense policy, like mandating that everyone on a commercial flight wear a mask has only exacerbated the problem. So, yes, the entire country is now the Wild West.

Perhaps it is too obvious to waste ink for Elizabeth to single out Il Duce 2 as a primary reason for any mask controversy. He who ridiculed a reporter for wearing a mask as an attempt to be “politically correct” has purposely fanned the flames. And most recently having tried one on, our vain immodest divider in chief pronounced he looked very handsome in a black mask, “like the Lone Ranger.” Query, what would Tonto think of all this: he would certainly not refer to that racist as kemosabe.

Neil B. Siegel


Eagle County should honor Tom Stone

My condolences and prayers to Henri and Tom’s kids. Former County Commissioner Tom Stone and I fought often over our different political leanings when we sat on the Eagle Board of the County Commission for six years together, but if it wasn’t for Tom, Miller Ranch, home to thousands over the years, would not have ever happened. Crown Mountain Park would not have been built and most of the improvements at the Fair Grounds. Places so many families love to spend time at.

I called a past commissioner, Peter Runyon, to ask if he would join me in asking the sitting Board of County Commissioners to discuss the possibility of naming Eagle River Station after Tom Stone, or encourage them to host a Memorial. He was not interested. I called Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry and left a similar message. I haven’t heard back yet. I hope something is done for Tom. I’m sure he would have appreciated it.

Most politicians don’t get things done, because they want to be liked. Tom Stone got a lot of things done. Rest In Peace, Tom.

Arn Menconi

Former Eagle County Commissioner

‘Stick to the Task’ motto getting some traction

For those of you not on a short-term memory drug, last week I suggested a new replacement motto for Aspen’s pathetic, poorly considered, obviously not researched, nor followed motto that was so bad I won’t repeat it. My replacement, “Stick to the Task — Wear a Mask.” The response from fellow residents and tourists has been gratifying.

There were, of course, a few, “we’ll bury you in a mask,” “how dare you suggest anything without going to the City Council, City Manager, and committees,” and one, from someone under 30, “we’ll find you whatever it takes.” Otherwise, kind words and compliments, “I understand that.” “Now I get it!” “Oh, that’s what the city wants!”

Now, let’s continue, let’s move forward. Let’s let visitors, tourists, Aspenites together “Stick to the Task” and defeat this enemy. I suggest a T-shirt campaign. Our police department print and hand out T-shirts with “Stick to the Task” on front, “Wear a Mask” on the back, or any variations. For the elitist among us, they can have the seal of the Aspen Police Department also imprinted. Kind of similar to being in possession of crime scene tape. Eventually organizations could print and sell the T-shirts retail $15, cost $3. Not bad.

Maybe even a “sticker” could be created and distributed. I will donate the first $1,000 to the Aspen Police (unfortunately they know how to reach me), if they are willing, to have the first of hopefully many T-shirts printed. The T-shirts should be colorful and imaginative.

Close your eyes. Imagine the colors when traveling American, Cathedral, the Rio Grande trail. Each of us transmitting the message, rather than the virus, “Stick to the Task — Wear a Mask!” Aspen, let’s dress for the occasion.

Jeffrey D.J. Kallenberg


Keying cars? Not a golden moment for Aspen

Keying cars? Not a golden moment for Aspen

It seems some people have decided to get rid of the tourists. There have been several reports (on the app Next Door) of keyed expensive out of town cars in the West End.

It is possible to kill the goose who laid the golden egg.

Donna Thompson


Cheers to those who help preserve our valley’s resources

Cheers to those who help preserve our valley’s resources

Sitting beside the Roaring Fork river the other day I saw a blue heron fly by a group of cottonwoods with its prehistoric shape and rhythm. A few moments later I saw an American Dipper doing its overly dramatic dip and then a green drake landed on my arm.

Everywhere I looked on the river there was extravagant life — cottonwood seeds drifting down to the water, mallards in the eddies, two or three species of willows, reeds and raptors. Say what you want about this valley but it still has a lot of wildlife and healthy plant communities. And one thing we can be proud of and gather around in an unhappy time is the conservation ethic in this community.

Sure, we’ve done some stupid things, built some unnecessary golf courses, lost some prime habitat, missed opportunities, but we’ve also laid aside a lot of public land, done some good partnerships in the private sectors, built some outstanding outdoor education and nature programs, and have tried to keep our rivers clean and flowing.

The conservation ethic is perhaps the most enduring and binding force in this valley (even ahead of pushing real estate, perhaps). Hard to argue against the peace, joy and sanity it brings, especially in a time when the whole country wants to fly off the tracks. Conservation work is sometimes thankless, tedious, unsexy, grinding toil. Odd then that it attracts such intelligent, energetic, and lively people to its battlefront.

I’m glad for those types who just don’t ever stop the fight to preserve what we have and even make it better, richer, greener. When all about us seems grim, it’s a shining quality and something to admire about this unusual valley.

Mark Harvey


Don’t be self-centered: wear a mask for everyone

Don’t be self-centered: wear a mask for everyone

Social intercourse in the time of corona is like Russian roulette. We know that some of us are infected but unaware that they are transmitting the virus. Could be me, or it could be you.

Epidemiologists tell us that wearing a mask dramatically restricts the spread of the disease. This gives us, the good citizens of Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties, a better opportunity to reopen our schools and our economy, and reduces the likelihood that many of us, especially seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions,

will wind up on a ventilator, or 6 feet under.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but a significant minority of our citizenry objects mightily to the requirement, or even the expectation, that they wear a mask. Their belligerence threatens the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of their fellow Americans. Why would anyone refuse to perform this simple act of goodwill?

Surely you’re not so self-centered as to think only of your own personal comfort. You might survive the corona with few or no symptoms, but what about dad, or your dear sweet granny? Your insistence on exercising your “rights” could put someone you love in an early grave.

While we wait for an effective vaccine, please don’t stand in the way of reopening our economy, our schools, our public institutions, by refusing to wear a mask. Show respect for the essential workers who put their lives on the line for us every day. We can live with this virus and still function as a society, but only if we all do our part.

Ed Colby

New Castle

Hickenlooper and Gardner: Any way you look at it you lose

Hickenlooper and Gardner: Any way you look at it you lose

I’ll vote for John Hickenlooper with all the enthusiasm I’ll cast my ballot for Joe Biden. My hand will quiver as I fill in the horizontal oval. The two-party system has let us down again. There isn’t that much difference between Hickenlooper and Cory Gardner. They’re both far too heavily influenced by large corporations.

We need more choices. The Democrats should divide into the liberals and the progressives, just as the Republicans split the conservatives and the fascists. All I can do now is wait for Hickenlooper to vote against the Green New Deal or Medicare for All, then get all over his ass.

Fred Malo Jr.


The ticking bomb of Aspen’s COVID response

The ticking bomb of Aspen’s COVID response

As I went into town for my weekly grocery run, I was horrified to see packed parking spots, vacationing families, and business as usual for the most part. While I applaud the local government for their attempt at balancing business and safety, COVID-19 numbers are not getting better, and half measures put the community and others at substantial risk. Tourists, while the lifeblood of this community, are currently its most significant threat.

Any data scientist, epidemiologist or doctor can tell you that allowing any disease to travel from place to place, and interact with numerous potential hosts is a bad idea. We are allowing COVID-19 the opportunity to do precisely this through the vector of tourism. Masks and social distancing will slow the spread, but we need to enact extreme and concise measures to keep the community safe. Think I’m wrong? Look at the 150,000 dead and explosion of COVID-19 in California, Texas and Florida. Those states and their cities have similar guidelines to ours, but made the critical mistake of opening too early and have paid dearly for it.

Again, while I understand people need to make a living here, how many of their deaths are going to make that worthwhile?

Tanner Cook