Columns

Vail Daily column: What is your life expectancy?

August 29, 2016 — 

There is no getting around it, we are getting older. Like it or not, Father Time is pushing us forward so we may as well make the best of it. Therefore, aging is going to be far easier if our health is good.

According to the Social Security Administration, if you are a male in your 40s right now, your life expectancy is around be 82 years old. If you are a female in your 40s right now, your life expectancy is around 85.4 years old. For people in your 50s, the estimate raises a bit — four month or so — and for people in your 60s, the average is north of 84-years of age. This means that for those of us in these age groups, we may have passed the half-way mark already.

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Vail Daily column: God bless the child (in domestic law)

August 29, 2016 — 

Them that’s got shall get

Them that’s not shall lose

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Vail Daily column: Swallow your pride

August 29, 2016 — 

Throughout the spring and summer, you may see swallows darting and sailing overhead while singing out their favorite songs. The beauty of their flight and harmonious sounds are a treasure in the Eagle Valley, but come October, they are out of sight, flying south in search of insects, which make up 99.8 percent of their diet. As migratory birds, only visiting during the spring and summer months, swallows are tremendously important in helping to keep away pesky insects. These fast fliers are constantly chowing down, even while in flight. Not only are the sight of these swooping, flying marvels wonderful to see, but their insect-eating skills are also greatly appreciated.

Difficult to Identify

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Vail Daily column: Teen gives selfless service to community

August 29, 2016 — 

Katie Smith, a junior at Eagle Valley High School, prefers to put other’s needs before her own. This selfless, empathetic and compassionate young woman has already received many accolades during her short high school career. A talented student athlete, she has earned academic honors during her high school years. While a devoted teammate on the varsity track and field team and cross country team, she earned a Leadership Award and an Outstanding Performance Award.

Smith has dedicated her time to assisting others who need a helping hand or a slight confidence boost. She is a member of Eagle Valley High School’s Devils Against Destructive Decisions Club. This group encourages fellow students to make safe and responsible decisions. An avid skier, she volunteers for the Bright Future Foundation’s Buddy Mentor Program.

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Vail Daily column: With the benefit of hindsight

August 29, 2016 — 

Viewed clinically, life is nothing more than a series of decisions that begins once our conscious mind forms and ends corporeally upon our death. Every day is segmented into its own set of choices. We decide what to eat in the morning, what to wear, what to say, which music to which we will listen, the work we will accomplish or not, who we will marry, which job we will accept. Each decision, no matter its size or context, has its particular consequences. Most after-effects are so minor as to escape notice; some are so monumental as to be life-altering. Hopefully, the causes of one’s choices overwhelmingly lead to positive effects. When they do not, our decisions are subject to rebuke from ourselves and/or others. When we sit in judgment, we hold the power of hindsight; that distorting lens that makes every choice seem more poor than in reality.

Hindsight is the principle upon which our legal system is premised. The defendant engaged in a certain action or series of actions which, after the fact, the plaintiff or prosecutor believes to not be in accord with acceptable behavior. Theoretically, the standard for judging the defendant’s actions is codified in statute or is floating within the murky waters of precedent. But, due to the vagaries inherent in such a system, the ultimate standard is contained within the minds and hearts of the judge or jury hearing the case. Most often, this rubric can be reduced to the subjective concept of reasonableness. The trier of fact, imbued with the power to decide the fate of another, exercises such power by comparing the alleged behavior to what they would have done in the same circumstance.

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Vail Daily column: Home hasn't sold after a year

August 26, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

We have had our home listed for sale for a year with the same Realtor and it has not sold. We have had a few showings and no offers. We still very much want to sell and our Realtor is asking us to renew the listing for at least another six months.

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Vail Daily column: Lending rule could help locals in deed restricted housing

August 26, 2016 — 

It’s a towering challenge to many to afford a home in Eagle County, and the deed-restricted programs to keep a stock of housing available and affordable have been an enormous help to several hundred families.

However, one cost the county and local governments cannot make go away has been the cost of mortgage insurance. If a buyer has less than 20 percent down payment, then he will end up paying a monthly fee called mortgage insurance. What mortgage insurance does is provide a type of insurance policy for lenders so that if there is a foreclosure and the lender can’t recoup all of the money loaned, then the mortgage insurance company will step in with a check to make up the difference up to a certain limit — generally 30 percent of the original loan amount maximum.

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Vail Daily column: New air service brings positive economic impact

August 25, 2016 — 

Colorado’s continued growth and Vail and Beaver Creek’s continued tourism successes place rising demands on the Interstate 70 transportation corridor. Today’s increasingly challenging and increasingly crowded I- 70 corridor means that expanding air service into the Eagle County Regional Airport is essential in order for our community to make the most of our economic potential.

Enter the EGE Air Alliance. The EGE Air Alliance is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit entity dedicated to creating a vibrant flight service program at the Eagle County Regional Airport. The EGE Air Alliance is a public-private partnership with participants, including local municipalities and private business stakeholders.

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Vail Daily column: Investors can learn much from workers

August 25, 2016 — 

Next week, we observe Labor Day, a celebration of the American worker. And there’s a lot to celebrate, because our workers have accomplished great things — many of which also can be useful to investors.

For example:

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Vail Daily column: Pointing fingers and placing blame

August 24, 2016 — 

I am not sure if I can remember a time when finger pointing and blaming others has been more prevalent in all of society than it is right now. It seems easier to hide behind the mistakes of someone else or even create the mistakes of another person than it is to take ownership and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions and words.

I am not the first one to share this next bit of advice when it comes to pointing fingers and placing blame, and I am sure I will not be the last one to share it with you either. But we have to remember that when we point the finger of blame at someone else, there are usually three fingers on our hand pointing directly back at us.

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Vail Daily column: Heritage, legacy and local food

August 23, 2016 — 

Long before skiers enjoyed a Gore Range sunrise from the top of Vail Mountain, ranchers throughout Eagle County enjoyed the early-morning alpenglow from their fields and atop their horses and tractors. In a community where skiing often takes the spotlight, the second annual Eagle Valley Land Trust Ranching Heritage Tour connected guests with two ranching families that have worked on and cared for their land for many generations.

On a beautiful mid-July day, the Bair and Luark families hosted the Eagle Valley Land Trust and 74 guests on their ranches. We heard tales of success and of overcoming adversity and stories of change. We learned of the many creative ways ranchers adapted through the years in order to continue the work they love and deepen the ranching heritage of their families. We learned how they hope subsequent generations will care for the land as well as they have.

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Vail Daily column: Celebrating elders on National Senior Citizens Day

August 22, 2016 — 

While many may not have heard about it, this past Sunday was National Senior Citizens Day.

National Senior Citizens Day is time to celebrate our seniors and everything they’ve given to our country. Of course, seniors deserve to be celebrated 365 days a year — but it’s a blessing that we recognize our elderly population every August.

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Vail Daily column: A little healthy competition never hurt anyone

August 22, 2016 — 

As a child, I cherished the idea of being part of a true skiing community. After graduating Franklin and Marshall college in 1999, I packed all my belongings and traveled west from Pennsylvania. I knew nothing of the tangible issues facing an entry level “skiing professional”: housing shortages, strong competition, difficulty finding positions challenging enough for a self-assured college graduate and lower starting wages. Above all, I knew no one in the intermountain West. Luckily after a little research, I found that Colorado and specifically the Vail Resorts Inc. structure provided solutions for nearly all these woes.

For me, Vail Resorts offered the only well-known corporate brand and multi-resort portfolio, and therefore options. I assumed surely they had a need for a young passionate “skiing professional” whose hospitality and customer service background could serve them well. After reviewing my credentials, VRI’s Human Resources ushered me through a professional interview and vetting process that led to my first real job and a place to live that first year. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Vail Daily column: Horns vs. antlers

August 20, 2016 — 

Wow, look at the rack on that … elk, of course. But a rack of what? We tend to use the terms horns and antlers interchangeably, but they are really very different structures. A common misconception is that since they look similar and grow from animals’ heads, that they must be the same. They are actually quite different.

Let’s start off with antlers. We see antlers on the male of animals such as mule deer, elk and moose. Each one of these animals grows a set of antlers every year, but will shed them off after every mating season, generally between January and April. Antlers are grown in order to protect the animals from predators and other males during mating season. They are made from bone that is an extension from their skull. This will cause the animals a significant amount of pain during the summer months when the antlers are growing. Luckily male deer and elk have found a stash of natural aspirin in the bark of the aspen. While hiking around the Eagle-Vail area you might come across an aspen grove with large dark marks on them. These marks are from these animals chewing on the bark to get the natural aspirin which are supposed to help reduce these growing pains. Antlers grow back every year a little differently, and with age, antlers will grow larger as well. The older the animal, the longer the antler will be and the more spikes it will grow. By the age of 11 or 12, the antlers will be at their peak growth and will not grow any larger.

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Vail Daily column: Second-home owners should feel at home in valley

August 19, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

I have recently purchased a second home in the valley and my excitement was soon tempered by comments I read or heard about non-locals. I have always believed I will eventually spend at least half of the year here, but I am concerned that I might never fit in because I definitely am not a full-time resident. I love all of the recreation, cultural events and festivities and spend a lot of time working on being a part of this wonderful place. Am I overly sensitive to this issue, or am I dreaming if I think I will ever be totally accepted?

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Challenges of managing retirement funds

August 18, 2016 — 

When you retire, will your cost of living decline? Some of your expenses may indeed drop, but others won’t. Plus, you may have some new ones to consider. So, all in all, it’s a good idea to think about ways to boost your retirement savings now, before you’re retired.

Once you do retire, you’ll need to be adept at managing your income. But whether saving today or planning for tomorrow, you should familiarize yourself with the key financial challenges you will face during your retirement years.

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Make a point to always challenge the status quo

August 18, 2016 — 

One key to success I’ve learned in my career is to never stop challenging the status quo. Show me an organization where the stock answer to “why?” is “we’ve always done it that way”, and I’ll show you an organization that is going to be left behind by competitors who are more innovative.

Consider the window washers at the University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. If you’re not familiar, the window washers from Allegheny Window Cleaning rappelled down the front of the building dressed as super heroes. Imagine the children in their hospital rooms — likely scared, away from home, uncertain as to what might be next. And then they see Spiderman and Superman in their windows. This case study serves as a reminder that sometimes the smallest actions can make the biggest difference.

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Love and forgiveness reign

August 17, 2016 — 

Is it just me or are there more people asking to be forgiven and offering up apologies more than ever before? We are seeing it in the news, from the politicians, to athletes and we see it and hear it amongst friends and families. I have even found myself both asking for forgiveness more and more and certainly offering forgiveness more and more.

What is it that is causing such a surge of activity that calls for an apology? What is driving our behaviors, poor choices and our use of an unsavory and certainly an unhealthy vocabulary? Is it stress? Is it frustration? Could it be our environment or the people we are hanging around with? Maybe it’s a combination of all of it at some time or another.

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Vail Daily column: Jury selection and voir dire

August 16, 2016 — 

In the early summer, when the bike trails open, I like to pull my bike along a favorite trail and pick the wild berries that have benefited from the spring rains and the first long, yawning days of summer sun. I have a favorite spot or two, where the berries grown abundant. All are at high altitude after long, hard climbs that are rewarded with the fresh, sweet berries and the joy of sun glow upon the skin following the long, chill winter’s hibernation.

I should tell you where my favorite spots are. But I won’t. It leaves me feeling just a little guilty. But I’ll deal with it. And the friends I’ve shared my secret trove with will be pleased that I’ve preserved our private bacchanal of berries.

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Vail Daily column: Doctor-patient relationship has changed

August 15, 2016 — 

I’m an old enough to remember a time when doctors had time to care about my health. I remember doctor house calls. I remember a time when I would walk into the exam room and the doctor knew my whole medical history, and knew it well, without looking into my medical chart.

Shortly after moving to Colorado in the early ’90s, my pediatrician had to let me go as a patient. Yep, I felt I was officially fired. He explained to me that because I was in my 30s, living in another state and that it was impossible to diagnose me without seeing me — I had to find another doctor.

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Vail Daily column: It's the only self you've got

August 14, 2016 — 

History’s most brutal dictators, even if they combined forces, could not be harder on me than I am on myself. Glossing over successes, I concentrate predominantly on my shortcomings and failures. While this internal motivation has pushed me through schooling and a legal career, its benefits are significantly counterbalanced by the daily tortures of being within my own head. I am careful to treat my body right by exercising, eating well and getting a good night’s sleep. Yet I am not as conscientious about the attention that I pay to my psyche. I suspect that I am not alone in this imbalance. It is time that we start treating ourselves as well as we strive to treat others.

All conflicts begin with the individual. A person who is not at peace with themselves is much more likely to become embroiled in a conflagration with others. Our capacity to withstand adversity and our patience are both finite resources. If those reserves are depleted by our intrapersonal actions, then our ability to calmly interface with other people is severely diminished. To forestall disputes, we must begin at the source.

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Vail Daily column: Pikas are the princes of the mountain

August 13, 2016 — 

High up on a mountain, little furry animals run between rock crevices underneath the snow. They cheep to one another, emitting a high pitched call to send signals to their friends. After resting and conserving energy in their rounded bodies, these little mammals dip into their food stores, finally breaking into the dried grass, saved up from summer to give them the strength to make it through the winter. They spend their winters dreaming of running about and collecting wildflowers in the sun again.

If you have ever hiked above 11,000 feet, then you may have seen one of these creatures darting in and out of spaces between rocks. Perhaps you might notice that what you thought was a rock in the distance is actually a living being perched atop a boulder, or maybe you observed one’s home as I did — a pile of straw-like grasses a few inches from a pile of teeny tiny scat. This animal tends to prance around on the rocks, reminiscent of a tiny prince derived from its Latin name: Ochotona princeps. Princeps means leader, authority or chief — easiest to remember as a prince.

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Vail Daily column: Appraisal crisis impacting homeowners

August 12, 2016 — 

If you’ve had to get an appraisal on real estate lately, then you’ve probably been pretty surprised at the cost and the length of time it takes to get one.

During the meltdown of housing in 2007 and beyond, the appraisers became the target of a great deal of blame for apparently not standing up and proclaiming that properties were likely getting overvalued.

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Vail Daily column: How to find a 'non-luxury' Realtor?

August 12, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

I am not a luxury home-buyer, so how do I find a good real estate agent to help my wife and I find a home we like? It seems most of the advertising I see is all about luxury properties and agents who look like they would not talk to me since I want to buy a home around a half a million dollars. Is this true, that some agents would not want to bother with a purchase as small as mine?

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Vail Daily column: It's time for a solution

August 11, 2016 — 

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Vail Daily column: Consider all aspects of college savings options

August 11, 2016 — 

It’s almost back-to-school time. If you have young children going to public schools, then your biggest expenditures may be on pens, pencils and notebooks. But if you want those same kids to go to college someday, then you’ll eventually face consider-ably larger costs — so you may want to start preparing soon.

College is costly. For the 2015-’16 school year, the average expense — including tuition, fees and room and board — was nearly $20,000 at a public, four-year school, and more than twice that amount at a four-year private school, according to the College Board. Of course, cheaper alternatives are available – your children could go to a local community college for two years at a very reasonable cost, and then transfer to a four-year school.

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Vail Daily column: It's your reflection, who do you see?

August 10, 2016 — 

Growing up near the beach, I spent lots of time at the local boardwalk. Memories of the arcades, rides, games, pizza, ice cream and candy apples still bring me back to a very special place and time in my life. And one of my favorite things to do was to watch myself and others pose in front of one of the carnival mirrors or funhouse mirrors.

You know the kind I am talking about, right? Those are the mirrors that distort the image of ourselves as we walk by. There are even apps we can get now that take distorting our images on our phones or devices to a new level. We look at our reflections and we may see ourselves as short or tall, fat or skinny, stretched or compressed. Sometimes we see our faces become distorted or twisted as we try to make a really funny face or scary face.

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Vail Daily column: Waiver, subrogation and indemnity

August 9, 2016 — 

Perhaps the main thing waiver, subrogation and indemnity have in common is how frequently misunderstood they are. I often get a glazed-over “huh?” when I float one of them out before someone who rarely swims with sharks.

First things first; a waiver is not a friendly Walmart greeter though, indeed, Walmart greeters are known to be vigorous waivers. Instead, at law, a waiver is simply the voluntary giving up of a known right. If I am detained by law enforcement and, after being advised of my right to remain silent, I determine, instead to blabber, I have waived my fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

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Vail Daily column: Bone density is different for men and women

August 8, 2016 — 

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When bones are viewed under a microscope, healthy bones appear to look quite similar to a honeycomb. However, bones that are osteoporotic have often experienced a loss in mass and density. They appear to have larger spaces in the honeycomb. Consequently, bone fractures often result from falls and such innocuous actions as bending over or coughing can cause devastating consequences.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.”

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Vail Daily column: Embrace the opportunity

August 8, 2016 — 

As I sit here this morning and reflect upon potential topics to write about, several obvious options come to mind. With contention and unrest occurring all around us as of late, it is easy to have your attention naturally drawn to those topics. However, with all that is occurring, in my opinion these are the times it is most important to focus on the good and on the positive. And these are the times to embrace the opportunity to share that focus with others.

Abundance of Good

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