Columns

Vail relationship deserves a second chance

April 19, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. This is from “The Best of Neil Rosenthal.”

Dear Neil: Recently I ended a promising relationship with a man. He was solicitous of me: What did I want? How was I feeling? No man has ever been so attentive to my feelings or wishes, and it made me uneasy.

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Vail Daily column: Delivering a tough message

April 19, 2015 — 

During a recent coaching call, one of my business owner clients, Bill on the East Coast, shared with me a challenging situation he was facing with one of his longest tenured employees. It seems that after 19 years of loyal service, Claudia’s performance was had been slipping badly for the last 18-24 months. Bill had tried a number of things to help Claudia but she repeatedly missed deadlines because she was either overwhelmed or couldn’t prioritize her work. As the backlog of work grew, his frustration had reached a point where something had to be done. His clients were being affected and beginning to call in with complaints. Watching from the sidelines, Bill’s team was wondering when he would step in and address the situation with Claudia to stop the bleeding.

During the course of the last 20 years, Bill’s service business had quadrupled in volume and so had his team. Along with all that incredible growth, Claudia’s role had changed quite a bit over that time as well. What had started out as purely an administrative assistant role for Claudia now included handling payroll, managing an office staff of 12 and bookkeeping for the business. Out of ideas on how to help Claudia get a grip on her role, Bill was afraid to give her any more responsibility and thinking about how he could begin taking things off her plate; maybe even reducing her role in the business and replacing her with someone more qualified.

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Vail Daily column: Watch for raccoons to emerge this spring

April 18, 2015 — 

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) have been a part of our livelihood and pop culture for a while — Meeko was Pocahontas’s faithful sidekick; Rocket Raccoon is one of the Guardians of the Galaxy; anyone who’s played Nintendo’s hit game Animal Crossing has a love/hate relationship with the raccoon shop keeper, Tom Nook; and what child hasn’t begged their parents for a subscription to Ranger Rick to learn all about nature’s coolest animals? Equally described as “cute” and as a pest, these furry bandits are a common sight here in Colorado.

“Ain’t no thing like me, except me!” — Rocket Raccoon

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Vail Daily column: Local teen is a positive peer leader

April 17, 2015 — 

Young leaders have great foresight and are a tremendous inspiration for the next generation. They have the ability to see with a couple of year’s hindsight the challenges that their young peers face and what supports they need to become the next moral leaders. This is exactly what Riley Birdsong Rowles, a senior at Eagle Valley High School, has done. Riley has incredible direction for his future and has set very high expectations and goals for himself. He has received his senator recommendation to hopefully enter the Naval Academy this fall with a longer term goal of becoming an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and eventually to become a pharmacist. Riley takes this responsibility seriously, knowing that strong moral character is a part of his future and has made it a significant part of his present.

Riley lives a life focused on honor and loyalty. He sees lying as stealing the truth from someone else. He also sees loyalty as being honorable to friends and others; an important part of the military. Riley has been honorable and loyal to the many groups he is involved with — Eagle Valley football, track and field, Link crew, Devils Against Destructive Decisions, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, DECA/Future Business Leaders of America, Youth Leaders Council, and the Victim Impact Panel. Riley puts his all into these activities and has little time left at the end of the day. He is currently trying to set two records in track and field that include the long jump and hang clean records. Furthermore, important to these programs and to Riley is service. He has helped out at Round Up River Ranch and Calvary Chapel with chores, cleaning, and events. Riley enjoys the looks on others’ faces when service projects are done and how happy it makes others. Riley believes the community does so much for youth that it’s essential to give back to such a giving and tight-knight community.

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Vail Daily column: What does it take to buy a home?

April 17, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

What does it take to buy a property? How much money​ do you need to put​ down and do you have to have a year-round job? A friend and I have lived in the valley for over five years now and we have always rented. We have steady winter jobs and​ steady​ summer jobs, but they are ​each with different employers. I have been told you have to have 20 percent down and have a year-round job to qualify. We are sick of renting and make good money but have not saved very much yet. Is there anyway we can buy before we are too old to care?

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Vail Daily column: One late payment can make a difference

April 17, 2015 — 

Now that we are in the offseason (though it’s a shadow of its former self many years ago, when literally the valley did shut down for a couple of months), many locals are finding themselves a bit short on cash, and for many the easy answer is to just skip a few credit card payments. The thinking is that, “Hey, I pay on time the rest of the year, so the credit card companies can just get over it.”

While it is true years ago this might not have made much difference, it’s a very different story now, as a few potential clients have found out lately. The reason is a tool used by creditors called FICO scoring, and everybody has a FICO score or several of them depending on who is checking.

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Vail Daily column: How to be an "environmental" investor

April 16, 2015 — 

Next week, we observe the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has inspired millions of people to take action to improve the environment. But the lessons of environmentalism can also be applied to other areas of life — such as investing. Specifically, as an investor, you may well want to follow the “three Rs”: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Let’s see how these environmental themes can be applied to your investment habits:

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Vail Daily column: Vail Valley means business

April 16, 2015 — 

The mountains — and certainly the Vail Valley — attract a certain type of person. Our local population comes from everywhere, and a few are fortunate to have been raised here. Collectively, we’re drawn to the mountains and to the quality of life that exists in the Vail Valley.

We know that living in the mountains can be challenging, and we accept that doing business in a seasonal rural resort economy presents even more challenges. Business success requires patience and resourcefulness. Of course, a certain amount of hard work and connectedness to the community is required as well.

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Vail Daily column: Our attitude at work

April 15, 2015 — 

Have you ever noticed the people who love what they do? I mean, they are usually smiling, happy and seem like they could spend all day and night working. They are doing what they love and loving what they do.

The thing that always gets me is not so much that they obviously enjoy their occupation, it’s their overall attitude toward life that is at work that impresses me the most.

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Vail Daily column: What the Constitution says

April 14, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the 16th part of a series.

So here we are. We have reached the end of the Constitution. For now at least. For as you know, there are other amendments lurking out there which will one day join the pantheon of the United States Constitution.

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Vail Daily column: Depression common among those with dementia

April 13, 2015 — 

Research has not made a definitive connection between depression and dementia. However, a tremendous amount of research and a number of clinical studies have been done that indicate people 50 years of age and older who have depression have a greater likelihood of developing dementia.

The connection between depression and dementia has a biological relationship. There is data that suggests elevated levels of the hormone cortisol have a greater presence in persons with depression.

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Stay focused on the big picture

April 13, 2015 — 

It is easy to lose perspective of the big picture of our lives because we tend to get caught up in the day-to-day roller coaster of events, emotions, challenges and problems that we face. Therefore, every so often, it’s useful to stand back and evaluate how your life is going in the overall big picture.

I personally do this exercise twice a year. Once around Jan. 1, and the other time around my birthday in October. It’s a way to make sure I am holding myself accountable for meeting my own personal goals and for accomplishing what I want. It keeps me focused and gives me a way of measuring how I am doing.

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Vail Design at Altitude column: Get ready, get set, get outdoors

April 12, 2015 — 

We are so ready for spring, and maybe even summer, that we are going to take a little creative license today. We are going to soften the lines and think outside the box — or the patio, as the case may be. With the past few weeks of ridiculously warm and lovely spring-like days, we’re ready to move our lives outside.

However, we’re not so naive as to think winter is really over. So although we pine to dine al fresco and listen to concerts under the stars, we know we’ll be stuck indoors for a little while longer. How do you meld the indoor with the outdoor? It’s pretty easy, actually.

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High altitude gardening column: Start a compost pile

April 12, 2015 — 

Everyone should have a compost bin, including property owners, condo buildings and even restaurants. There are some horrific statistics going around recently about the huge quantities of waste — compostable waste — that ends up in our landfills, taking up space, never to be reused again. Something like one third of all the trash at the landfill could be composted and reused.

Composting is nature’s magical system for returning all materials to the cycle of life. When we take all of our compostable waste to a landfill, especially our kitchen waste, we strip our land of valuable nutrients and dump them with our toxic waste, sludge, household chemicals, plastics, etc., where they can never be used again.

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Vail Daily column: Do it for the right reasons

April 12, 2015 — 

Clad in a sports coat and bowtie, I strolled expectantly into high school. I was not present in a recurring nightmare, but for the annual Career Fair at Battle Mountain High School. A truly spectacular affair, it brought out over 100 local businesses to talk to more than 400 (and it seemed like so many more) local high schoolers about their prospects for the future. The organizers, particularly the Vail Rotary Club, the Vail Valley Partnership and Eagle County Schools, all deserve kudos for working to groom the next generation of the Vail Valley’s workforce. As a representative of the legal profession, I had an excellent chance to evaluate what it was about lawyers that piqued the kids’ curiosity.

Armed with questionnaires, the students ambled around the gymnasium, inquiring about the particulars of the businesses. One of the questions on the sheet prompted them to ask about potential incomes for the various professions. Certainly, the financial prospects for a job are an important consideration. Many of the kids with whom I spoke were particularly interested to hear my answer to that question. It was a bit awkward at first, but I realized that I was provided an opening to share an important thought. Yes, the law can be a lucrative career, but those attorneys that make millions often do so at the expenses of their families, their health, their sanity and their souls. I explained that it was possible to make a good living while still maintaining the balance that is going to be key to their happiness.

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Vail Daily column: Taming the wild pea

April 11, 2015 — 

Some of my best memories from childhood are of sneaking into my mom’s garden to gorge myself on sweet peas. As I now watch my own children doing the same thing, I smile secretly to myself as it occurs to me that my own mother probably realized exactly what I do. That it doesn’t matter where or how their kids eat their vegetables, just that they eat them. This early love of things tiny, sweet and green was probably what started me on this crazy path that I’m on, to discover new plants and understand them, and I’ll always appreciate the time I had in my mother’s garden, with the plants of the pea family.

Wild Pea Danger

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Vail Daily column: Stick with Denver Realtor or go local?

April 10, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My husband and I have a real estate agent in Denver that we really like. He helped us find our home and now he is helping us sell it and doing a​n excellent​ job​,​ in our opinion. We thought we would like to use him to help us find a great home in Eagle County. He seems eager to help us but has said he will need to get cooperation from the listing brokers in the Valley, as he is not a member of the Vail Board of Realtors. We have started looking online, and he has encouraged us to do so because he said he will have no inside access to listings other than those posted on the public websites. Now, we are starting to rethink our decision and wonder if we should look for a Realtor that is local in Eagle County. Any advi​c​e on what to do and were to find an agent equally as good, but more familiar with our new area?​ And do we have any obligation to work with our Denver Realtor since we originally said we would?​

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Vail Daily column: Reverse mortgage rules changing

April 10, 2015 — 

In the never ending tradition of fixing what’s not broken (and probably screwing it up even more), the Feds have found time to tinker the rules on reverse mortgages.

For the uninitiated, a reverse mortgage is a loan product for those over age 62 to allow them to tap equity in their homes and never make a mortgage payment. It can also be used to purchase a home. The older the borrower, the more they can borrow.

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Vail Daily column: Membership has its privileges

April 9, 2015 — 

Remember the old American Express advertising campaign “Membership has its privileges”? “Membership has its privileges” appeared from 1987 to 1996 and was a successful campaign as it convinced consumers there was a benefit and meaningful advantage to carrying their card as opposed to (or in addition to) no fee cards such as Visa and MasterCard.

Membership in Vail Valley Partnership, much like being an American Express card member, has its privileges.

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Vail Daily column: Protect seniors from financial abuse

April 9, 2015 — 

It’s unfortunate but true: The elderly population is targeted for financial abuse and/or exploitation. In fact, by some estimates, this type of targeted abuse results in billions of dollars in losses each year. If you have elderly parents, then what signs should you watch for to determine their vulnerability? And what can you do to help protect your parents from being victimized?

In regard to the first question — signs of vulnerability — the most important thing to watch for is your parents’ mental state. As you know, many people go through their entire lives with their faculties intact — but even if this is the case with your parents, you still may want to be on guard against them falling prey to unscrupulous operators. And if you have noticed your parents becoming forgetful, confused, overly agitated or showing any other signs of possibly diminished mental capacity, you may want to be particularly vigilant for the appearance of financial irregularities.

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Vail Daily column: A tale of two businesses

April 8, 2015 — 

No doubt there is some heavy duty competition taking place these days. Many businesses are fighting for a little bigger piece of the pie each and every day. And this holds true for the single entrepreneur, the small- and medium-size businesses and the large enterprise organizations.

We see the competition play out in marketing campaigns, advertising, social media and through intentional word-of-mouth battles as we all talk-up our favorite products and businesses and talk-down their competitors. I mean, we will share posts and “like” pages on Facebook for the companies we love and support and then we will jump on the bandwagon of negativity when it comes to those products and businesses we do not like or where we had a bad experience.

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Vail Daily column: What the Constitution says

April 7, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the 15th part of a series.

With the 25th through 27th Amendments, we come to the end of the Constitution. But it is an end with a postscript — one day, it will almost surely change. At some point in the near or distant future, a 28th, then 29th, then 30th Amendment will be teed up and adopted by the states. What those future amendments may be are anyone’s guess, and in the last part of this series, we will look at how the Constitution is and has been employed, how it is sometimes deployed and what the future of an amendment might hold. For now, though, with a bank shot to the corner pocket of this opus magnum of American jurisprudence, this rock upon which the nation and its freedoms and perspectives were based, let’s look first at the last additions.

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Vail Daily column: Gum disease often accompanies arthritis

April 6, 2015 — 

Most of us have seen television commercials in which a senior citizen promotes a medication that helps relieve an issue the pharmaceutical industry wants publicized. This past week, I saw a commercial that was intended for people who have rheumatoid arthritis. This particular commercial and its timing interested me. Recently, I accompanied a client to a medical appointment for their rheumatoid arthritis. Sitting with my client and their doctor during the appointment proved to be quite educational. Prior to this medical appointment, I had no idea that there exists a connection between rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease.

CAUSED BY INFLAMMATION

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Vail Daily column: Time to dance

April 6, 2015 — 

The oldest residents of Colorado, the Ute people, are Native Americans who roamed the mountains and vast areas of not only Colorado but also Utah, Wyoming, Eastern Nevada, Northern New Mexico and Arizona. Today, the Southern Utes that inhabited Colorado have broken up into units called bands. The Caputa band and the Mouache band comprise the Southern Ute tribe. Since 1895, members of these bands have resided on the Southern Ute Reservation in southwestern corner of Colorado, mostly along the border of New Mexico with headquarters in Ignacio.

The Utes are proud people, handing down tribal history from generation to generation. Before the convenience of horses, Utes lived off the land, with a unique and strong relationship with the environment. By traveling to familiar places, they established well-traveled routes such as the Ute trail, which can still be explored. In all their travels, the Utes heavily relied on the natural resources directly around them for survival. They hunted and gathered plants to make the food, tools and medicines they needed, intertwining tribal traditions and connections to the natural world in order to survive.

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Vail Daily column: Set goals to achieve success

April 6, 2015 — 

We all know it’s important to have goals. Small goals keep us on target, shaping our daily lives. Big goals determine the course of successful careers. Goals give credence to what is necessary, and help us determine what we value, and what we don’t. When we know goal setting is beneficial, why is it, that so many goals are never achieved? Let’s examine why some people are successful in achieving goals while others are not.

Having a goal is actually just one part of the process. The first thing we should do when formalizing an idea, is write it down. Putting goals in writing has numerous benefits. First, it gives clarity to your projected outcome. Clarity leads to action. Action takes you from Point A to Point B. A written goal keeps you on course so you don’t veer off on rabbit trails or tangents. It’s all about keeping focused.

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Just the Facts column: What's makes Colorado's snow special?

April 3, 2015 — 

Spring is the zenith of our snow cycle. It’s when the Rockies brim with our most essential economic ingredient — water, in the form of snowpack. The distribution, amount and melting of this snowpack bodes boom or bust for skiers, snowboarders, fishermen, farmers and frackers alike — in Colorado and beyond.

It all starts with the snow. And our snow is special.

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Biff America column: Youth, strength and stupidity

April 3, 2015 — 

In order to climb that tree in Boston Common you had to place one foot on the “do not climb this tree” sign. Pleading ignorance was not an option.

“Summer Thing” was a series of free concerts in the ’60s and ’70s around the Boston area. Rudy Giamarco and I took the subway to Park Street to see Bo Diddley. I think we might have been juniors in high school but, with the confidence of youth, we were intent on hooking up with any college coeds who we might meet.

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Vail Daily column: Is it time to downsize?

April 3, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My parents live in the Vail Valley in a large home, and we three adult children have been talking to them about downsizing. Our parents have their master bedroom upstairs and they also have a finished basement. They say they really don’t need their big house anymore, but then they turn around and say how great it is when we all come home together with their grandchildren, which is very seldom now. Although our parents are both in good health, we think that this is a great time for them to make their move and find something with a main floor master and not have so many stairs to contend with. Do you see this happening a lot in the valley as the Baby Boomers age but still want to stay in the area? Any words of advice to encourage them to make their move now?

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Vail Daily column: Can co-signers be brought in the loan process?

April 3, 2015 — 

What if I have a “co-signer” on the loan with me? I get this question quite frequently and with good reason. Applying for and obtaining mortgage financing can be difficult in the current lending and regulatory environment. Combined with the fact that property values and prices here in the Vail Valley are perhaps greater than those of many metropolitan areas, it is a natural question for buyers to ask whether or not they can bring a co-signer in on the loan application to help with qualification.

Doing so can be difficult, but the answer is yes, it can absolutely be done. I have successfully structured transactions where the primary borrower(s) was assisted in qualifying for and closing the loan by a parent, brother or another such acceptable interested party. To be expected, there is specific criteria that must be followed when bringing in a co-signer to the loan.

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Vail Daily column: Control your emotions in volatile markets

April 2, 2015 — 

For the past few years, the stock market has moved up fairly steadily, with no major “corrections.” But thus far in 2015, we’ve already seen periods of volatility — enough, in fact, to make some investors jittery. Nervous investors may be more prone to make decisions based on short-term market movements — so how can you stay calm?

First of all, when evaluating your investment decisions, stay focused on those factors that have historically driven stock prices. The U.S. economy is growing at a reasonably good pace, and corporate earnings remain fairly strong. Plus, stocks may not be as undervalued as they were a few years ago — as measured by the price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) — but they still aren’t overly expensive, either. Things can change, of course, but when market volatility seems to be primarily caused by short-term events, such as plunging oil prices, it’s important to look beyond the headlines to these less glamorous, but probably more important, fundamentals of good investing. By doing so, you can help avoid making fear-driven investment choices.

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