Aspenites launch Newtown relief fund
Two former Newtown, Conn. residents who now call Aspen home are organizing a donation drive to provide various items to the school children affected by last Friday’s mass shooting.
Chaz Perry and Dave Marcucilli are looking for donations and supplies to provide the children, and compromised classrooms of Sandy Hook Elementary. All resources and personal items from the school have been taken and will never make it back into the hands of the rightful owners.
Drop-off and collection locations will be at The Gant and the Aspen Daily News office in Aspen, as well as the Challenge Aspen office in the Snowmass Village Mall.
Supplies needed include children’s books, jackets, backpacks and boots. Various donations will be accepted.
The town of Newtown is hosting a memorial dinner on Dec. 22. In order to provide the memorial service with the Aspen community’s contributions, the package needs to be sent out by today, Dec. 19.
The organizers will continue to accept any donations through the holiday season, however they would like to provide the memorial service with as much as possible.
For questions or concerns, call Marcucilli at (203) 788-2515 or email email@example.com .
Community school rises to top, again
The Aspen Community School has earned Colorado’s highest academic honors. The school was recently recognized with the John C. Irwin Award for Academic Excellence and as one of Colorado’s Top Performing Schools for 2012.
Aspen Community School (ACS) is a K-8 public charter school of the Aspen School District.
The John C. Irwin Award for Academic Excellence is awarded annually by the state of Colorado’s Department of Education. The awards are given to the top 8 percent of public schools in Colorado that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the state’s School Performance Framework, these schools “exceed” expectations on academic achievement, and “meet or exceed” expectations on academic growth gaps. Aspen Community School also won this award in 2005, 2007 and 2008.
This year, Aspen Community School was the only middle school in its region to receive 100 percent of the available points in academic achievement, growth, growth gaps and post-secondary readiness. The next closest school received 87.8 percent. ACS’s middle school students also exceeded state averages this year — by 24 percentage points in reading, 28 in math and 35 in writing.
These accomplishments have earned ACS recognition as one of Colorado’s Top Performing Schools, a distinction the school has received five times — in 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The finding, based on three years of sustained academic growth, maintains the public charter school’s standing in the top 5 percent of middle schools in the state.
Celebrity fundraiser being planned
Preparations are underway for the third annual Ajax Cup, Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s celebrity fundraiser that features a legendary apres ski party that’s open to the public.
Kalkutta, a New York DJ, will be spinning the tunes at the after-race party on Dec. 30 that runs from 2:30-6:30 p.m. at Aspen’s St. Regis Hotel. The tax-deductible ticket price of $500 per person includes a Spanish-inspired menu, drinks and the chance to mingle with racers and celebrities, including host Antonio Banderas. A ticket that allows entry for eight people also is available for $3,000.
The Ajax Cup, a dual giant slalom race on Aspen Mountain, takes place prior to the party Sunday on the Little Nell run. Seven-person teams will compete in the head-to-head, elimination format beginning at 9 a.m.
Teams are comprised of one ski pro, one AVSC racer and five others selected at the captain’s discretion. There are still team sponsorship opportunities available for $25,000. Or, those who would prefer to buy an individual spot on a team may do so for $5,000.
Confirmed ski celebrities include Chris Davenport, David Stapleton, Casey Puckett and Chris Klug.
Banderas will present the coveted Ajax Cup trophy to the winning team during the apres party.
Spectators are invited to cheer on the racers all day as they compete on Little Nell.
Tax-deductible tickets are available through AVSC’s website, teamavsc.org, or by contacting Hawken at (970) 205-5017.
Holiday cheer provided by Aspen kids
Students from the Aspen School District and Aspen Community School will be participating in a children’s tree lighting ceremony on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Wagner Park next to the playground.
The tree will be decorated with original, handmade ornaments that the kids created. Roasted chestnuts and hot drinks will be available for purchase. The event is sponsored and coordinated by the Aspen Commercial Core and Lodging Commission.
Energy upgrade contest underway
CORE’s Energy Smart Program will offer one house an energy upgrade this season, as a holiday gift to the community. One lucky home will receive up to $2,500 in materials and pro bono labor from the Energy Smart team and contractors.
In order to qualify, participants should describe in 500 words or less why their home needs an energy upgrade, including what type of work is needed to make the home warmer, safer and less costly to heat. Requests and contact information must be sent to Amelia Potvin at CORE by Dec. 24. The winner will be selected on Dec. 27.
Residents of Pitkin County are eligible for this offer. Residents of Eagle County within the Roaring Fork Valley, or Gunnison County within the Crystal River Valley, also are eligible.
For more information or to submit an upgrade request, contact Potvin at firstname.lastname@example.org  or (970) 925-9775.