Near New, old story
I came to Carbondale in 1961 with my husband who was hired to teach at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, a fledgling college preparatory school founded on the Bar Fork Ranch in 1953. Salaries were skimpy and we depended on the Near New for clothing and a few household items. We could also meet community members there.

Without the existence of the Near New, sponsored by the Seven Stars Rebekah Lodge, I could not have provided clothes for my growing family. Today, as a member of the Rebekahs and among an outstanding team of volunteers, I am privileged to serve on Saturday afternoons.

But what could cause us to close?

Not the abundance of donations, clothes and items for all ages and households and explorers of all kinds. We could close if useless or broken items are left on the sidewalk which faces the Smithy.


We are staffed by volunteers, some of whom spend more than 40 hours a week sorting what is donated and can be repurposed, recycled and sold from what is … trash. Instructions about leaving donations appear outside the building.

Our operating expenses include standard utilities, weekly cleaning and delivery of items which could be used in other thrift operations. Our “profits” go to a variety of community organizations. Rebekah members meet twice monthly to determine gifts.

Information on where our profits go and items we cannot take is posted in the store. One person’s trash is not always another’s treasure. Sometimes, it is simply trash. With the cooperation of our community we can keep this vital resource operating. Step one is not donating useless or broken items. Step two is coming to shop and participate in a win-win sustainable solution as well as real thrift. Many thanks to numerous people who donate and even ask ahead if something can be used. 

The Near New is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays but will closed will be closed Nov. 20-28.

Mary-Ann Sands, Carbondale

On Thanksgiving, when I was a boy, I asked my dad, “What are you thankful for?” He said, “I’m up to a billion blessings and I’ve lost count.”

How lucky are we to call the Roaring Fork playground we love home?

Whether it’s fishing, boating, rafting, kayaking, camping, wildlife viewing or gazing at the Crystal, Roaring Fork, Fryingpan, or Snowmass Creek — every day waking up in our valley is a gift. Mt. Sopris, Sunlight Peak, Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Missouri Heights, Red Hill, Basalt Mountain, Marble, Treasure Mountain, Mt. Justice or any of our high places, give us a challenging invitation to explore.

People choose to live in this valley because we are filled with a passion for life, exploration and exercise. Many of us work in the valley but we work on “the mountain” or are involved in the service industry allowing everyone to appreciate eating, skiing, sleeping, moving and enjoying life which is accessible to us all. We all know someone who is proud to be a ski instructor, yoga instructor, river guide, bike mechanic, restaurant or hotel owner, preacher, teacher or chef and they are proud of the work they do!

Our lives are so intentional and filled with joy! Home is where the heart is and our hearts are all right here, right now. Happiness reigns on our mountains, bike paths, trails and the rivers of the valley.

We greet each other with a smile because we are happy, healthy and whole. In addition to those who teach us to fish, ski and explore, there is a entire health care industry who, when we need it, give us physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, nursing, hospitals, ambulances, doctors, pharmacies, etc., so we can get back outside, enjoying life in the Roaring Fork Valley, ASAP.

We must be appreciative, we owe teachers, supermarket workers, restaurant servers and all the people who take care of the necessities of life for us, housing and pay that allows them to enjoy this beautiful place and live here happily ever after as well.

How lucky are we? We are lucky because we choose to live and enjoy our spectacular valley with lots and lots of other healthy and happy friends.

Abbott Wallis, Carbondale

Squash Auction invite
This Thursday, Nov. 17, all are invited to the second iteration of the Squash Auction & Variety Showcase Fundraiser, hosted by local farming nonprofit Seed Peace! Starting 6 p.m. at Craft Coffeehouse, this is an opportunity to celebrate Roaring Fork Valley agriculture, dine on delicious seasonal produce, drink some amazing local beers donated by Casey Brewing and Ball Brewing, check out local squash art, and win great prizes. $30 tickets get you plenty of food and beer, and can be purchased at under the “11/17 Event” tab. And if you grabbed seeds from Seed Peace earlier in the season and grew Desert Spirit squash, bring your most unique squash for a chance to win great prizes! Contact with any questions.

Graham Ward, Glenwood Springs

Celebrating 2C
Mountain Voices Project (MVP) leaders celebrate the passing of Question 2C in the Glenwood Springs ballot, which will create the city’s first workforce housing fund through a lodging tax increase, paid mostly by tourists. The fund will begin to address the deep shortage of affordable housing for the local workforce, which threatens the local economy and quality of life.

MVP, a broad based organization of faith, education and nonprofit groups along the Roaring Fork and Colorado river valleys, had several members in the initial “Ad Hoc Housing Committee” that formed in mid-2021 and included business, public and education leaders. 

Our group, which was later named the Glenwood Community Housing Coalition, “met for months to listen, explore, deliberate and chart out a workable solution,” said Maria Tarajano Rodman, executive director of Valley Settlement and MVP leader; “we finally agreed on and recommended to the city council a ballot initiative that would increase the lodging tax to create a dedicated workforce housing fund.”

“I know how difficult it is to find a good, safe, affordable place to live here,” said Judith Alvarez, a St. Stephen Catholic Church member and MVP leader; “my neighbors struggle every day, living with the fear that they may lose their home. So this is personal to me.”

“I am proud to have been part of shaping a solution, gaining the support of the council to send it to the ballot, and then making sure it passed,” added Brianda Cervantes, an organizer with the Roaring Forks Schools and MVP leader. “We called voters, knocked on doors, shared information in congregations and schools — we reached hundreds of voters in the last few weeks!”

Mountain Voices Project leaders will continue to partner with other community leaders to ensure all funds generated by 2C are used for workforce housing in Glenwood Springs, providing solutions that fit our community, like incentives for Accessory Dwelling Units, motel conversions, public private partnerships, down payment loans and more.

Mountain Voices Project

The Boomerang
As we all notice, our roundabout gets busier by the day. A great part of that traffic comes from businesses at and around City Market, especially the gas station. Virtually every patron uses the roundabout to return back to our streets and to Highway 82. I would like to name the roundabout “The Boomerang.” I propose the present sculpture (can you tell me what it is?) be replaced with a very large and colorful boomerang for symbolism. You go out to come back. Something to think about as we drive in circles.

Patrick Hunter, Carbondale


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