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A typical night in final days of Hunter Thompson



ASPEN, Colo. — In April, The New York Times carried an account of what was described as a typical evening at the home of Hunter Thompson, the writer, who lived for several decades at Woody Creek, a hamlet near Aspen.

It was, said the essayist, Rich Cohn, about 5 p.m. one day last autumn, and Thompson had just gotten out of bed.

"‘Clear a path,’ he shouted. He stumbled across the kitchen and fell into the chair at the counter. He nodded to the man across the room, his friend, the local sheriff, who had shown me the way to the house. He reached out his right hand and the drink was there, just there, ice clinking. Thompson opened the drawer to his left. It was filled with narcotics. As he looked inside, the sheriff said, ‘I’ll go into the other room while you do your drugs, Hunter.’

"He sank a straw into a plastic container and took some cocaine onto his tongue. He returned to the drawer constantly in the course of the night, getting cocaine, pills, marijuana, which he smoked in a pipe – the smoke was soft and tangy and blue – chased by Chivas, white wine, Chartreus, tequila and Glenfiddich. The effect was gradual but soon his features softened and the scowl melted and his movements became fluid and graceful. By midnight, the man who had emerged a bleary-eyed ruin hours before was on his feet and swearing and waving a shotgun and another show had opened in the long run of Hunter S. Thompson."

Thompson killed himself in February, and in June, the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation announced a conference about what it considers to be the gravest threat to the Aspen-area community: alcoholism and substance abuse. The conference planning began well before Thompson’s suicide, which was among several linked – if perhaps obliquely in the case of Thompson – to drugs and alcohol.

The Aspen Times reports that, for all its wealth, Aspen has no "sober house," where people trying to get clean of substance abuse can connect with those who can guide them.

Costco gets thumbs up

EAGLE, Colo. — Is Costco any kind of business you would want in your neighbourhood? That’s the essential question on the table in Eagle, the town made famous for a sexual tryst involving a local girl and basketball star Kobe Bryant.

A developer has plans for 80 acres, probably including a Costco, and town officials are generally supportive. The town’s population has grown at 15 per cent annually for the last several years, mostly because of people commuting up-valley to jobs in the Vail Valley complex of resorts. The roads, bike paths and all the other wants and needs that come with population growth are now staring town officials in the face. In most Colorado towns, the property taxes do not come even close to paying the expenses of town governments. The money is in sales taxes.