Columns

Vail Daily column: The DeBeque milkvetch struggles for survival

August 1, 2015 — 

Today, I would like to draw to your attention the DeBeque milkvetch, the elusive, and hopefully not soon-to-be evanescent, seemingly humble nitrogen-fixing powerhouse of a plant. The DeBeque milkvetch is an endemic species. Endemic means that the species only occurs naturally in one place. The DeBeque milkvetch is endemic to Garfield County, a mere 2,956 square miles. To be clear, there are less than 3,000 square miles on this planet where an entire species can occur naturally. This plant is hyper-endemic.

Becoming Increasingly Rare

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Vail Daily column: Another chapter for historic Camp Hale

July 31, 2015 — 

Most residents and many visitors to Vail and the Eagle River Valley know of Camp Hale as a former World War II mountain warfare training camp and current recreation mecca. Thousands of visitors flock to the area each year to enjoy camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, ATV riding, snowmobiling and skiing.

Fewer visitors, however, know that this area — Eagle Park — was once a pristine, high-elevation wetland complex that contained over 450 acres of wetlands and seven to eight miles of the Eagle River headwater’s meandering stream channels. When the U.S. government constructed Camp Hale to train mountain soldiers in the early 1940s, over 340 acres of wetlands were filled and over five miles of stream channel were lost as the Eagle River was channelized into a linear ditch.

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Vail Daily column: Community collaboration makes anything possible

July 30, 2015 — 

Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce representing business interests from Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon, is invested in helping to build a business-friendly Eagle County. This has long been tied to our mission, and it is spotlighted as the first goal in the Eagle County Economic Development Plan.

Challenges to our long-term economic sustainability include a reliance on a single sector driving a majority of primary dollars into the local economy, highly seasonal business and employment cycles, environmental hazards such as a lack of snowfall or wildfire danger, and a reliance on “service sector” jobs that may not be sufficient to support the cost of living. Anyone doing business in Eagle County knows these challenges all too well.

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Vail Daily column: Rebuilding your financial confidence

July 30, 2015 — 

Don’t let financial fears paralyze you into a state of indecision; it’s time to take the reins and regain control of your financial future.

As the economy starts to recover and jobs may not be quite as hard to come by, it’s time to regain a sense of purpose and empowerment when it comes to your finances. Here are some practical steps that may help you recover and begin getting your fiscal future back on track:

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Vail Daily column: What should you know about establishing a trust?

July 30, 2015 — 

You don’t have to be a CEO or multimillionaire to benefit from a trust. In fact, many people gain advantages from establishing one — so it may be useful to learn something about this common estate-planning tool.

Why would you want a trust? For one thing, if you have highly specific wishes on how and when you want your estate to be distributed among your heirs, then a trust could be appropriate. Also, you might be interested in setting up a trust if you’d like to avoid the sometimes time consuming, usually expensive and always public process of probate. Some types of trusts may also help protect your estate from lawsuits and creditors.

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Vail Daily column: Pushing past the finish line

July 29, 2015 — 

Have you ever been on a long hike or maybe a good run or walk where you know you are getting close to the finish and you either slow down to ease through the end? Have you ever become even more energized and powered through the finish line?

Maybe you have experienced this same feeling at work or in other situations and projects. You know that feeling right? That feeling when we have been working hard at something or for someone and we are nearing the point of frustration and perhaps even exhaustion. The feeling of quitting or giving up is palpable and could temporarily make things so much easier on us if we could just stop right where we are.

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Vail Daily column: Comfortable with who you are

July 28, 2015 — 

Chances are if you are not yet comfortable with who you are, you may not be old enough. Sometimes, with age comes the discovery of knowing who you are and what truly makes you happy and content. Getting old is not all bad.

I recently read an article in the science journal “Nature” about a clinical trial utilizing a diabetes drug called metformin. The article was about how “doctors and scientists want drug regulators and research funding agencies to consider medicines (metformin) that delay aging-related disease as legitimate drugs.” According to the article, researchers want to prove that a drug can delay aging.

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Vail Daily column: Bill Cosby and the Fifth Amendment

July 28, 2015 — 

What were they thinking?

“Who?” you may reasonably be thinking.

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Vail Daily column: Tips for easy workouts

July 27, 2015 — 

Embrace easy workouts. This is a theme that I revisit with students on a regular basis. Why is it that we feel like we must enter the torture chamber every time we hit the pavement, climb the mountain or lift weights in the pursuit of fitness? Last week, I discussed the importance on why we must consider the alternative to bone crushing workouts. Let’s investigate ways to go about taking it easy while increasing fitness along the way.

The simplest advice is to consider taking a week off every four to eight weeks. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys pursuing the mountains, consider flat road rides, downhill only mountain biking, taking short hikes and skiing green cruisers in lieu of traditional harder pursuits that might consume most of your activity. For the gym-goer, cut the amount of weight by 30 percent and continue going through the motions. Or, keep the loads equally high, but cut the reps and sets in half. Your body will thank you for the downtime.

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Vail Daily column: Behold, bountiful berries

July 27, 2015 — 

As summer presses on, some of nature’s sweetest treats are ripening for the picking. As with all of our interactions with nature, wild berry harvesting should be done wisely and with as little impact as possible. These berries are a delicious and nutritious staple to both humans and animals alike. A good rule of thumb is to only take what you will eat or use in the next two days, or less than 25 percent of the visible berries. Especially in populated areas such as Vail, it’s important to be conscious of our fellow creatures and let everyone enjoy these delectable delights.

The thimbleberry is a delicate treat found locally this summer. Rubus parviflorus, if you prefer the Latin, is not a true berry. Much like the raspberry, the fruit is considered to be an aggregate, meaning it is made up of a group of druplets centered on a core. These can be removed very carefully, leaving an indentation on the berry similar to a thimble shape. They begin to make their appearance in late July, notable from the fragrant smell of the berries and the flowers. Large, fuzzy, palmate leaves with white flowers give the plant away. The berries will be a bright red by the end of summer, and are best for eating straight from the plant. Due to the delicate nature of the berries, it is uncommon to find jams in the stores. However, there are some refreshingly simple homemade thimbleberry jam recipes out there. Mix one part sugar and one part berries over medium heat until boil, let cool, and enjoy on anything and everything.

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Vail Daily column: Teen leader is enjoying the journey

July 27, 2015 — 

Finding balance and time for self-care is a leadership trait that many overlook, so it is doubly impressive when a high school leadership youth can articulate its importance and make it a goal. Anabel Johnson is an entering senior at Battle Mountain High School and is not only involved in many activities on and off campus, but also pursues her many passions and goals. For Anabel life is about enjoying — it’s about not only doing everything you need to do but getting time for yourself as well to be able to enjoy what you’re doing. She wants to be known not only as someone who always worked her hardest at everything but at the same time was there for others and made a difference in her community and to her peers.

Balancing Act

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Vail Daily column: Summer is in full swing

July 24, 2015 — 

This summer really seems to be flying by. The construction to get into/out of Vail and in-town remodeling has kicked into high gear and the business people that I talk to are in high spirits. In my walk-abouts, I have seen the streets, stores, hotels and restaurants bustling with guests anxious to enjoy our mountain home. Lucky us!

Guide to Vail

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Vail Daily column: Congress proposes another hidden tax on homeowners

July 24, 2015 — 

It is the duty of Congress to try and make the country function and to levy taxes and fees to fund the government. In general, they are a desperate crowd who try desperate measures and seldom accomplish much more than mucking up what was not already broken. Politically to call a new tax a tax is something few politicians have the nerve to do. They also seldom have the nerve to say no to building bridges to nowhere or subsidizing otherwise profitable companies to make them even more profitable.

As such, Congress is forever on the prowl to find new ways to generate revenue, and for the past few years a popular target is what are called G-fees. The term comes from levying a fee on certain activities of what are called government sponsored entities, or GSEs. The two best known GSEs are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which supply most of the nation’s home mortgage money.

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Vail Daily column: Is building better than buying?

July 24, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

We have been looking for what seems to be the impossible dream. We think our wants and needs for a home are very simple, but we have been unable to find exactly what we want, even though we have greatly increased our price range. So we are now considering building a home. Our search has gone on for two years and now we are very serious about getting what we want as soon as possible. Our Realtor originally told us not to build, as it would most assuredly cost us more than buying an existing home. Do you think that is true? What do you recommend?

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Vail Daily column: Thanks to Colorado Tourism Office

July 23, 2015 — 

You may have seen the recent announcement from the Colorado Tourism Office showing that Colorado set all time records in terms of visitor volume, visitor expenditures and tax revenue in 2014.

As we know in the Vail Valley, tourism is big business; the CTO announcement showed that Colorado welcomed 71.3 million visitors to the state who spent $18.6 billion and generated $1.1 billion in tax revenue. This is the fourth consecutive year the CTO has seen record-setting growth. The announcement came as part of the release of several studies detailing visitation and spending in Colorado, as well as the effectiveness and impact of the state’s Come To Life marketing campaign.

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Vail Daily column: What happens to my IRA after I'm gone?

July 23, 2015 — 

Contributing to an IRA can help you build some of the resources you will need to enjoy a comfortable retirement. But what happens to your IRA if you don’t use it up in your lifetime?

You can still put the IRA’s assets to good use — as long as you’ve made the right moves and communicated your wishes clearly to your family.

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Vail Daily column: It's time to speak up about drugs

July 22, 2015 — 

Maybe it’s you, perhaps it’s a child of yours or a neighbor, or a neighbor’s child, or maybe it’s just someone you know or who you have heard about. And in any case, the problem isn’t only theirs; it’s all of ours. That’s the bad news. The good news is that part of the positive solution is also ours.

What I am talking about here is the pervasive and epidemic opiate and pain medication drug problem that is plaguing our nation and our local communities right here in Colorado. This drug problem is leading to addiction and unprecedented rates of heroin use leading to overdose and death.

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Vail Daily column: Eagle Valley Land Trust hosts Legacy Festival

July 22, 2015 — 

With summer in full swing, locals and visitors alike are enjoying many activities in our beautiful high country setting. We are fortunate to have access just out our back doors to hiking, camping, rafting, fishing, biking and so many more activities. Understanding that the natural environment in Eagle County is what draws visitors and residents who choose to live here, one can appreciate the importance of maintaining the integrity of our mountains and streams. We also have an ethical responsibility to manage our resources and preserve enough natural habitat that our ecosystems remain intact to support future generations.

Landowners who have chosen to forever conserve their land by working with the land trust maintain important habitats, vistas and heritage in and around Eagle County. They carefully maintain the beauty and vitality of the land under their care by mitigating invasive plants and weeds, maintaining trail networks, conserving soil fertility and more. Their efforts benefit us all as we enjoy the pristine landscapes and habitats which thrive under their care. By protecting agricultural lands, we are fortunate to have a glimpse into our community’s ranching heritage while also ensuring the rural character of our community and its ability to provide locally sourced foods for future generations.

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Vail Daily column: Gay marriage: More work for lawyers?

July 21, 2015 — 

A very old joke goes like this:

Two guys are talking. And the subject turns to gay rights. One guy asks the other if he thinks that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.

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Vail Daily column: Embrace easy workouts for long-term fitness

July 20, 2015 — 

I train a handful of tough characters. I am often criticized by these students that I am too easy on them during the workouts. It’s a good affirmation that the programming is just right when I hear these snide remarks. Please learn to embrace easy workouts, folks. I wish I had learned earlier in my career that the process of training is vastly different from exercise, even within the context of non-athletes.

Exercise is what most healthy adults participate in, ideally each day. By the way, there is nothing wrong with vanilla exercise. Exercise is the productive application of movement to invoke a stress response in the present time to raise the heart rate, increase blood flow, sweat and burn off energy. Exercise has great benefits that are beyond the scope of training. The implication with exercise is that it doesn’t take any long-term specific goals into consideration. Exercise is a means to become vaguely “healthier or more fit.”

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Vail Daily column: Coping with aging parents

July 20, 2015 — 

Very few people relish the idea of getting older. The losses one must deal with are certainly difficult: Our bodies become less physically able to handle activities we once never even gave a second thought to performing. Our minds seem to slow down. More and more of our friends and colleagues become seriously ill and/or pass away. For most of us, watching those we love lose their ability to manage daily activities that used to be very mundane can be heart wrenching.

It is so hard to see our parent’s age. Those once invincible, ageless parents of ours are now becoming more and more dependent on us for support — that’s certainly a role reversal for both of you. Yet there are a few simple ideas that if acted upon can make all the difference in our parent’s world, as well as ours, when it comes to coping with the aging process.

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New Vail barre rhythm classes fuse pilates, yoga, weight training and ballet

July 20, 2015 — 

Barre classes are all the rage these days. It seems as though specialized studios and classes are popping up everywhere! If you haven’t yet tried a barre class, you have probably at least heard the word.

There are several different methods of barre currently in the mainstream that share one main goal: to help you achieve strength and that oh-so-desired sculpted body by using light weights, minimal props and small isolated movements.

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Vail Daily column: Literature is a gateway to understanding

July 19, 2015 — 

I devour books with the gusto of a great white. It is as if I live parallel lives. One existence is confined to the boundaries of our alleged reality and the other explores the imaginations of the world’s great and not-so-great writers. My reading list is non-discriminatory: I have read the vast majority of the canon, but I am certainly not above a “beach read” either. Reading not being a competition, I have no score to consult for the amount of books I have read in my 34 years, but a thousand would be a conservative estimate. In this genre- and centuries- spanning endeavor, I have learned more than in all of my years of formal schooling. Literature has provided an insight into the human condition that is absolutely instrumental to the successful performance of my jobs as an attorney and mediator.

Missing the Bigger Picture

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Vail Daily column: Consider business income coverage

July 19, 2015 — 

Question: What is business income coverage and why does a business need it?

Answer: Most people would never consider opening a business without buying insurance to cover their property. But too many business owners fail to think about how they would manage if a fire or other disaster damaged their business premises so that they were temporarily unusable. A typical property policy will cover the cost of repair or replacing buildings or equipment, but it will not cover the loss of income a business is likely to experience during the time period from the occurrence of the loss to the resumption of the business operation.

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Vail Daily column: Help support development of women in science, tech

July 19, 2015 — 

Close to 30 years ago, I received a stark reminder to always check myself for implicit biases — stereotypes that we may not realize we have. I was the only out-of-town member of a good friend’s bridal party. Upon climbing into the limo with the other bridesmaids, I sat down next to a beautiful woman. Wanting to be friendly and engaging, I asked her what she did.

“I’m preparing for flight,” she said.

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Vail Daily column: Mountain goat kids kick up their heels

July 18, 2015 — 

Mountain goats were first introduced to Colorado in the Collegiate mountain range in the 1940s and have had a stable population ever since. Originally, there was concern that these animals were exotic and might compete with the native bighorn sheep, but the two species have been peacefully coexisting ever since the introduction. Researchers recently have debated that mountain goats might have been native to Colorado once before. Regardless of their past, wildlife enthusiasts and common passersby who get a glimpse of these animals have welcomed their presence for many decades.

Braving Harsh Environment

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Vail Daily column: Is it time to buy?

July 17, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My husband and I own ​a​ home outside of the U.S. and one home in the U.S. on the ocean. We love to come to Vail to ski in the winter, but like most​ other​ people, we rent. This year, we came out for the Fourth of July and stayed with friends who own a home here. I was not looking for a third home, but my whole family has now really fallen in love with Vail this summer. They already loved it in the winter. Would it make any sort of economic sense for us to buy here? Since we would be here less than six months, more like four months, would we be better off renting, financially​?​

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Vail Daily column: Reverse mortgages can be used to purchase a home

July 17, 2015 — 

Many homeowners over age 62 find that they want to downsize, and may have a substantial amount of equity in their current home when they cash out. At that point, they often are also facing the dilemma of should they pay cash (and tie up liquidity) but not have a mortgage check to write or should they take out a loan and face mortgage payments on what will likely be a reduced income after they retire.

There is a solution that can work well for many people, and that is a reverse mortgage to purchase a home with. Many are familiar with the concept of reverse mortgages to stay in the current home, but a lot of people don’t realize a reverse can be a good financial tool for planning your retirement.

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Vail Pet Talk: What you need to know about heartworm disease

July 17, 2015 — 

Imagine a vice grip placed on the right side of your heart that causes a sustained pressure so strong and severe that breathing becomes an excruciating exercise, resulting in fatigue, anxiety, coughing and even tearing of blood cells as they try to innocently pass through the heart to bring invaluable nutrients to the rest of your body.

The situation continues to progress to such a severe and critical state that your urine is marked with blood and the lack of blood flow to your organs begin to cause failure, in the most extreme cases, even death.

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Vail Daily column: The importance of being business friendly

July 16, 2015 — 

The first objective in the Eagle County Economic Development Plan is to “build a business-friendly Eagle County.” The goal, as developed with insight and feedback from a variety of stakeholder groups and both public and private partners, is to make Eagle County an attractive place to conduct business by creating solid lines of communication to and between local governments and a network of easily navigable support resources.

Frankly, we already do a pretty good job of this in Eagle County. Our special districts and local governments are typically responsive to the needs of the business community; these same entities recognize the need to create a service-driven culture in order to help provide a foundation for businesses to succeed and grow. Many of our communities have economic development workgroups that focus on improving communication between the business community and the local governments, and many are invested in creating a vibrant economy by bringing events and visitors to their communities.

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