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To Haiti instead of Oscars

Daily Staff Writer

ASPEN – Susie Krabacher was supposed to be rubbing shoulders with the movie stars at the Oscars Sunday night. Instead she was trying to make sure thousands of children would survive the turmoil in Haiti.

While most foreigners were fleeing Haiti as political upheaval degenerated into near anarchy last week, Krabacher traded the comfort and safety of her Aspen home for the risks of the island country.

Krabacher flew to Port-au-Prince via Miami last Monday to try to protect the six schools and three orphanages run by a foundation she co-founded about a decade ago with her husband, Joe Krabacher. She made the trip despite travel warnings from the U.S. State Department and intimate knowledge of the dangers in the country.

“She is fearless – there’s no question,” said Joe Krabacher from his Aspen law office yesterday. “You couldn’t stop her.”

When reached by telephone in Haiti this week, Susie Krabacher said she had experienced some life-threatening situations during the last week and suffered the heartbreak of seeing where looters broke into a warehouse where food is stored for some of her facilities.

Survival is more than a matter of finding enough food. Krabacher said a 12-year-old girl from one of her schools was shot three times by accident when she got caught in crossfire between forces loyal to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and armed insurgents. The girl is expected to live.

Krabacher had her own close call while traveling and getting stopped at roadblocks set up by the chimere, armed mobs of Aristide supporters.

“We were ordered out of the car at one point,” said Krabacher. She feared her group may be shot but said they got through by saying things “flattering to Aristide” and by promising to pray for the people confronting them.

More information about the Mercy and Sharing Foundation can be found at its Web site – haitichildren.org. There is a link on the site where people can contribute. All donations go directly to aiding the children. Administrative costs are covered by the founders.

– Aspen Times

Painting swiped from Aspen gallery

ASPEN – “Geza’s Wife,” a painting worth $275,000, was stolen last week, and if you know where she might be, your help is worth a $5,000 reward from the David Floria Gallery in Aspen.

The 1964 painting by Alice Neel was stolen from the Mill Street gallery last Monday. The oil-on-canvas painting depicts a woman in a vibrant red dress, David Floria said. It measures 40 inches by 30 inches.

Yesterday, Floria released information about Neel and the painting’s importance. The artist was born in 1900 in Marion Square, Pa., and died in 1984 in New York City. In the 1920s she left the “insulated safety of middle-class Philadelphia to lead an unconventional and bohemian life,” Floria said, “surviving heartbreaks, suicide attempts and early dismissal by the critics.”

He said Neel called herself “a collector of souls” and said she was able to sense the character of her subject. She captured the essence of Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara and Ed Koch.

“Geza’s Wife” was painted when art dealer Geza de Vegh showed Neel’s paintings in the 1960s in his New Jersey gallery. It features de Vegh’s “very sexy, much younger second wife, Suzanne,” Floria said, adding that while Neel’s paintings are often brutally honest, “this one is quite complimentary and beautiful.”

Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley said he is following some leads in the case.

Anyone with information about the painting is asked to call Aspen police at 970-920-5400.

– Aspen Times

Two snowslides near Aspen

ASPEN – Two natural slides ran near Aspen Monday. It was one of a number of slides past two days.

The most significant was a large natural release that destroyed power lines outside Ophir, near Telluride. Control work there Monday released very large slides that sealed off the town from the outside world.

Backcountry travelers who tour near steep terrain must use good route-finding techniques to avoid the potential of triggering and getting caught in an avalanche. Human-triggered avalanches are possible to probable in all mountain areas on slopes steeper than 30-35 degrees.

The backcountry avalanche danger in the central mountains is considerable below tree line; near and above tree line, the danger is considerable with areas of high danger on all aspects.

Avalanche danger details provided by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.

– Aspen Times


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