Trash kills bears

As I left my house to go to work this morning, I observed – yet again – that a neighbor along my street had their trash can knocked over with trash strewn all over. With the many public information campaigns repeating the mantra that trash kills bears, I wonder how it can be that they have not gotten the message. Unfortunately, that one street in Satank is in Garfield County, which does not have a trash ordinance, so Colorado Parks and Wildlife can’t issue a citation. We have had sightings of a large sow and her two cubs along with another large bear. It is very frustrating to know there are people in the community that just can’t be bothered.

Kae McDonald


Thanks, Alpine Bank!

In our ad in The Sopris Sun’s Oct. 14 issue for the Summer Music Series in the Park, we neglected one of our biggest and longest standing sponsors: Alpine Bank. Alpine Bank, you have been helping us from day one. Sorry you were not included, but thanks for all you do.  

Marty Silverstein


R.I.P. Richard Compton

Richard Compton’s life will be celebrated with an informal gathering on Oct. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. All are welcome. Richard lived in Aspen, Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley for more than 40 years until his passing in December 2020. He was a consummate outdoorsman, volunteer and good friend whose quiet strength touched many. 

Please contact Sloan Shoemaker (970-618-6022) or Ned Ryerson (970-948-4907) with any questions and to RSVP.

Ned Ryerson


Ignorance is bliss

Here we are in a little slice of “paradise,” tucked snugly into a little mountain valley, like the mythical utopia called “Shangri-la” in the novel “Lost Horizons.” Or like Garrison Keillor wrote: “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average.”

In about 1747, English poet Thomas Gray wrote of Paradise (in the first known use of “ignorance is bliss”):

To each his suff’rings: all are men,

Condemn’d alike to groan,

The tender for another’s pain;

Th’ unfeeling for his own.

Yet ah! why should they know their fate?

Since sorrow never comes too late,

And happiness too swiftly flies.

Thought would destroy their paradise.

No more; where ignorance is bliss,

‘Tis folly to be wise.

As climate change rapidly gains strength, far too little is done to counter this disaster. Instead, the oft-touted goal of local community leaders is “vibrancy.” As in: “pulsating with life, vigor or activity.” What vibrancy really translates into is “growth.” The common credos of the promoters are: “growth is inevitable” or “if you aren’t growing, you’re dying!” 

But, let’s be honest. It’s about the money. There is a lot of money in growth. But what does it cost? A lot! Call it “growing pains.” Traffic is out of hand. Would-be employees are leaving in droves. Taxes are increasing to cover shortfalls in infrastructure. The stress of living in “vibrancy” creates a myriad of human problems, from shortage of food to substance abuse to mental health issues. My Carbondale native neighbor feels the difference; she said one of the things she misses most is “serenity.”

Carbondale is now updating the Town’s comprehensive plan. Such plans are done to guide development. One thing is certain, more buildings and more people will not help us make desperately-needed preparations for climate change. Nor do they improve the quality of life; even in Paradise.

Patrick Hunter


Buddy up

In December of 2020, with my only daughter thousands of miles away in her first year of college, I turned my goal of becoming a mentor with the Buddy Program into a reality. Now, almost a year into my match, I can wholeheartedly say it is one of the best experiences I have had. Often mentors step in with the desire to help a child in need; and, while there is nothing wrong with the aspiration of helping to support a youth, know that the youth engaged with the Buddy Program shouldn’t be seen as “at-risk” due to the experiences they are navigating in their lives. I want to share that the kids who the Buddy Program serves are smart, resilient, capable, creative, funny, compassionate and athletic, to name just a few of their assets. I can certainly say this is true of my Little Buddy and the hundreds of other youth participants at the Buddy Program. So please, consider taking this opportunity to apply to become a Big Buddy, but when you do, know that you are choosing to be a part of a meaningful developmental relationship that has as much to offer to you, as you do to your Buddy. Kids need adults in their lives who see them for the strengths, sparks and talents they already possess, as well as helping them to navigate the challenges that might exist or arise in their lives. Can you be that adult? If your answer is yes, please contact Laura at or call 970-317-2833.

Jill Gruenberg

Senior Case Manager, Buddy Program

Where eagles dare

I’ve always believed the blue jay, rather than the bald eagle, should be our national bird. This notorious nest robber would be a more appropriate symbol for the nation that was built with stolen labor on stolen land.

I’ve had a great deal of respect for bald eagles ever since one swooped over my car and scared the hell out of me. I swear, I thought he was going to pick up my Ford Escort with his crane hoist sized talons and carry me back to his nest with his seven-foot wingspan. Its nest, which sometimes weighs a ton, would’ve been big enough.

All of this has nothing to do with the controversy of whether the bald eagle nest protective zone at the Aspen Glen golf course should be removed because there is no nest there anymore. I’m sorry the video cameras placed there by residents and Parks and Wildlife scared the eagles away and a wind storm blew the massive nest down, but that’s not why I’m opposed to eliminating the protective zone. (

The purpose of abolishing the zone is to open up several parcels for development. That means more high rent townhouses and condominiums, just like we already have at Aspen Glen. The Roaring Fork Valley needs that like a hole in the 18th fairway.

We need affordable housing so those who work in Aspen don’t have to commute from Parachute. That may not fatten the wallets of the contractors as much as they’d like, but it serves the common good.

Fred Malo Jr.



A gift from a tree

Red leaf snagged in a long strand

As I brush my hair