Columns

Vail Daily column: ARMs becoming viable options again

July 3, 2015 — 

Adjustable rate mortgages. ARMs. Hybrid loans. However or whatever you want to call them, loans that do not have a fixed rate for their amortization full term are starting to come back into the market — with good reason, I might add.

By an adjustable rate mortgage, I am referring to loans that have a fixed rate for a certain period or portion of the loan’s entire term. After this pre-determined period of time has elapsed, the loan will begin to adjust for the remainder of the term. In most instances, the loan will adjust one time per year based upon a current market index (i.e. the LIBOR Index or U.S. Treasury Index) added to a margin or markup from the lender.

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Vail Daily column: We should make it easy to get here

July 2, 2015 — 

We should all agree that making it easy for our visitors and second-home owners to get here benefits our community. The fact is, more visitors plus more second-home owners equals more money cycled through our economy. More money cycled through our economy equals higher sales tax collections for our municipalities, resulting in the increased ability to complete capital projects that benefit residents.

Yet we make things more complicated than they need to be, and continue to fail to recognize the impacts and importance of the Eagle County Regional Airport.

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Vail Jazz column: Was Sinatra a jazz singer?

July 2, 2015 — 

On July 13, Vail Jazz celebrates the centennial of the birth of Francis Albert Sinatra in a special show entitled “A Swingin’ Affair,” featuring Curtis Stigers and the H2 Big Band. Sinatra, variously known as “The Voice,” “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” “The Chairman of the Board,” “Frankie” and “The Sultan of Swoon,” was by most accounts the greatest entertainer in the history of American pop culture, with a career that spanned more than five decades from the late 1930s to the 1990s. Dropping out of high school with no formal music training, he couldn’t read music, but he went from a teen idol to a living legend. His first hit, “All or Nothing at All,” foretold his future and summed up his philosophy and the arc of his career.

Much has been written about him as a cultural icon and the public has had an insatiable appetite for the salacious details of his personal life and all his exploits, womanizing, connections to the mob, leader of the Rat Pack and much more. It should not be forgotten that he was the winner of nine Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal. In addition, he spoke out against anti-Semitism and was involved in the civil rights movement as well as being very philanthropic.

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Vail Daily column: Now that you're 18 ...

July 1, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the fifth part of a six-part series.

On turning 18, your rights and legal obligations change regarding matters revolving about sex, partnership and marriage.

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Vail Daily column: Dallas Symphony returns to the mountains

July 1, 2015 — 

The Bravo! Vail festival is very important to me and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The concerts we perform put a cap on the season just ended and look ahead to a new season next fall. The festival’s location here in Vail, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, provides a fresh perspective and allows us to focus intensely on the music.

In this way, the Bravo! Vail festival feels for us a bit like a tour. We are together as an orchestra, working in rehearsals and presenting concerts almost every day we are here. You can feel the camaraderie, the bond of music-making — all for the results we look to achieve for our audiences at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

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Vail Daily column: Are you almost there or are you there?

June 30, 2015 — 

“Almost” — it’s only a six-letter word, but it’s so very important. And its importance and relevance could be situational and maybe it even comes down to our own perspective and how we choose to view all of the “almost” events in our lives.

This past week while driving from Denver to Des Moines, Iowa, we “almost” made it into Des Moines in time to avoid the tornado warnings and storm. I mean we were about 25 miles from town when the radio alert interrupted our music and alerted us of a tornado warning and to seek shelter immediately.

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Vail Daily column: Hearing aids provide quality of life

June 29, 2015 — 

For anyone who suffers from hearing loss, you may be all too aware of the frustration caused to both yourself and the people close to you.

Understanding hearing loss may be the first step in making a choice to do something about it. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, “About 20 percent of adults in the United States, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.” Following arthritis and heart disease, the loss of one’s ability to hear ranks among the most common type of physical condition ailments among older adults.

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Vail Daily column: The wet 'n' wild West

June 28, 2015 — 

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. That’s the way it sometimes feels here in Colorado when the rivers are raging. Colorado’s mountains create the headwaters of four major U.S. river basins — the Colorado, Rio Grande, Arkansas and Platte. This means that we, as a state, have a great privilege and a great responsibility. We are entrusted with the source of these great life giving rivers that provide water for much of the country.

The waters in Eagle County make up numerous small watersheds that all drain into the larger Colorado River. In turn, the Colorado River and its tributaries provide a lifeline for nearly 40 million people in the west, who use it for drinking and other municipal purposes. Its waters also irrigate nearly 5.5 million acres of farmland, providing food for many of these same citizens. Hydropower facilities along the Colorado generate more than 4,200 megawatts of electrical capacity annually, helping to power the west and offsetting the use of fossil fuels. Its waters also support at least 22 federally recognized Native American tribes, seven national wildlife refuges, four national recreation areas and 11 national parks. That’s a lot of land, a lot of people and a lot of wildlife that all depend on the waters of the Colorado River.

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Vail Daily column: Knowing your niche — and expertise

June 28, 2015 — 

The other day, I came across an email from a well-heralded businessman in the valley, known most prominently for owning and operating several successful businesses in the valley. Let’s call him Dr. Paul. He is an incredible role model and an expert in his field, but rather than just listing out all the professional aspects of Dr. Paul, let’s first take a look into the DNA of a business. There are numerous challenges and decisions that businesses, both new and established, face on a daily basis. Whether it is identifying your target market, staying ahead of the competition, continuously analyzing your company’s strengths and weaknesses, improving customer service or managing proper employee training, all the while attempting to cut costs without sacrificing quality and service for the sake of the brand, this string of business DNA has more working parts than a three-ring circus.

Welcome Challenges

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Readers speak about a few lessons life has taught them

June 27, 2015 — 

A month ago, I invited readers to write about the lessons life has taught them. I received many email replies, including lots from people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. I will reprint as many as I can. Today, I will record the readers talking about overcoming obstacles. In a future column, I will give space to the readers who emphasize the importance of their relationships, of doing the right thing and who focus on the joy of being alive.

Regarding overcoming obstacles, one reader wrote: “When my wife and I married in 1946, we could not find an apartment in Iowa City, so we stayed with a lady who cleared out a corner of her basement. We did not own a car until I graduated. The lessons from this experience were: sacrifice now to help insure your future, think positive and remain determined.”

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Vail Daily column: Mortgage rates likely to increase this year

June 26, 2015 — 

Since 2007, the financial markets have probably seen more stress, challenges and creative Band-Aids and home remedies to cure their ills than any period in history. The success of all these efforts is something economic historians will debate for decades, vs. what might have happened if the free markets were left to find their own balance.

Many believe the pain might have been sharper but of shorter duration had governments not intervened, but there is substantial evidence that might not have been the case either, and things could have gotten a lot worse and recovery would have taken years longer.

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Vail Daily column: Does unusual floor plan harm home's value?

June 26, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My spouse and I have been looking at homes in mid-valley for over nine months. There is one home in particular that we like that has not sold in all of that time. We haven’t made an offer yet because we are concerned with the floor plan. We like everything else about this home, but the floor plan is unusual, and although we think we can easily make it work for us, we wonder if it will be harder to sell someday because it is obviously different. If the location is good and the finishes are great and the size is good, how important is an unusual floor plan in the future?

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Made in Colorado: Bricks, bowls and beer-gear

June 26, 2015 — 

Ever notice those fin-like walls of sandstone along the Front Range? They parallel the mountain foothills like our very own Great Wall of China. These fins are hallmarks of one of our most distinctive locally grown industries — clay mining for bricks, ceramics and china.

The clay-mining industry has existed since Colorado was still part of the Kansas Territory, and it not only fuels our local economy to the tune of 100 million bucks per year, but it has impacts local and nationwide. It even saved a brewery from bankruptcy.

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Vail Daily column: Our individual communities strengthen the Vail Valley brand

June 25, 2015 — 

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that there is no such thing as the Vail Valley. While geographically and technically true, it is undeniable that Vail plays an oversized role in our rural-resort economy. It’s also undeniable that we are much more than Vail and that we’d be shortsighted not to leverage the Vail brand to promote our valley as a great place to live, work and play.

The fact is, whether or not you embrace the term Vail Valley, it is a positive thing that our community is made up of individual communities. Each town and community in the valley can provide different services and fill different niches for our visitors, our second-home owners and our year-round residents. It allows each community throughout the valley to work together to address the critical issues (workforce housing, transit, environmental concerns, broadband access) facing us. It further allows us to all benefit from our primary economic driver of outdoor recreation and tourism, yet not necessarily have to deal with the impacts on each individual community. That’s the Vail Valley, it is a real thing, and the sum is greater than the individual parts.

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Vail Daily column: Conversation about finances is important for newlyweds

June 25, 2015 — 

June is a popular month for weddings. If you’re getting married this month, then you no doubt have many exciting details to discuss with your spouse-to-be. But after you get back from the honeymoon, you’ll want to have another discussion — about your finances. It might not sound glamorous, but couples who quickly “get on the same page” regarding their financial situation are actually taking a step that can help them immensely as they build their lives together.

As you start talking about your finances, be sure to cover these areas:

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Vail Daily column: Things are looking up

June 24, 2015 — 

While working in Houston this past week I found myself breaking one of my own rules — I caught myself looking down instead of up.

I was visiting a client and their building was located in a beautiful part of town and was part of a very large corporate and retail complex. Because I arrived early, I had the taxi driver drop me off at The Westin hotel, which was right in the complex, so that I could take a call and work from their lobby before going to my meeting.

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Vail Daily column: It's not raining, but you need an umbrella

June 24, 2015 — 

Here’s the latest question and answer from the experts at Wall Street Insurance:

Question: Do I really need a personal umbrella policy?

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Vail Daily column: Now that you're 18 ...

June 23, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the fourth part of six-part series.

In this part of this series, which focuses on the legal rights and responsibilities of turning 18, we focus on work and taxes. As with most aspects of turning 18 and being considered an adult for at least the majority of purposes, work and taxes have their up — and most decidedly down — sides.

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Vail Daily column: Frauds against the elderly

June 22, 2015 — 

Unfortunately, if there is an opportunity to scam someone, it most likely is happening. Yet why does it seem to be the elderly in our who country bear the brunt of such frauds against humanity? Well, if you were to spend just a few moments to consider the plight of our elderly population, the “why” becomes easily understood. Finding solutions, however, tends to be more difficult.

Our elderly live in a different world than most of the rest of the population: Most have fixed incomes resulting in the ever present need to increase this income in the face of annual inflation and price increases. They also have accumulated major assets to protect their futures, i.e., homes free and clear of mortgage debt, retirement assets and personal assets. These monies offer those committing fraud easy targets on which to focus.

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New Summer of Transformation program comes to Vail in July

June 22, 2015 — 

In summer, when the sun fuels growth and regeneration in nature, we are most fully supported in activating transformation in our lives as we enjoy the peak of our natural energy, insight and creativity. In six years of teaching yoga and its holistic sister science, ayurveda, at the Vail Vitality Center, I have discovered a powerful formula for enacting lasting, positive change: a pure diet, time spent in contemplation, healing movement and direct connection to nature. These are essential tools for reconnecting to your authentic self, cultivating health and awareness, and generating a healthy progression in your career, relationships and spiritual path.

Last year, I began to visualize a program that combines the above four tools for transformation, and I enlisted the expertise of some esteemed colleagues: USA Track & Field certified Level 2 endurance coach Ellen Miller and meditation teacher Karen Anderson, who is certified by Noah Levine in the lineage of Jack Kornfield.

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Vail Daily column: Trial by fire

June 21, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the third part of a series about the education of a lawyer.

Jet lag weighed down my eyelids as I donned a suit once again for the first time. This was no ordinary morning; it was my first day as an associate attorney and I was terrified. Fresh off a thrilling two-month trek through Oceania and Asia, I was suddenly confronted by the hard reality of my imminent legal career. Despite three years of law school and two summers as an intern, I felt woefully unprepared for the leap into actual practice. As the elevator doors opened to the 16th floor, I was inundated by the hustle and bustle of a swarm of paralegals and lawyers. Dumbstruck, I walked down the hall, acutely aware that my concerns were valid: I had so much to learn. And then Marbury walked into my office and my legal education began in earnest.

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Everyone deserves a little respect

June 20, 2015 — 

My mother said Dr. Saleem was a gifted surgeon and she was delighted I was dating his only daughter. My dad described him as “an old school A-Rab who would change me from a colt to a filly if he caught me fooling around with his little girl.” The year was 1972.

Ours was a Romeo-and-Juliet-like romance (except we didn’t like each other enough to kill ourselves). Ginny Saleem was a cheerleader for my town’s arch rival and I was the co-captain of my high school’s football team. I can’t remember how we met. I do remember that her dad didn’t like me — he told his daughter that I had “bad intentions.”

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Vail relationship column: Rebuilding trust after an affair

June 20, 2015 — 

Dear Neil,

Could you address how to rebuild trust after an affair?

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Vail Daily column: Ode to the sun

June 20, 2015 — 

Can you feel it? Can you feel the warmth? Traveling over 93 million miles through the void and darkness of space, the sun’s light brings warmth and life to our planet. Logically, we know that the sun is just another star, but that’s kind of like thinking of your mom as “just another person.” The sun is special to us, mostly through the accident of proximity; but whatever the rhyme or reason, the sun’s nearness to us means the difference between life and no life on our planet.

Today is a fitting day to honor the sun, as the Earth’s North Pole tilts toward its rays and we celebrate the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The summer solstice is famous as the longest day of the year, and the length of daylight depends on your latitude. Here in the Eagle Valley, we will experience almost 15 hours of daylight. The sun’s rising is scheduled for 5:38 a.m., with the first light of dawn expected to be visible beginning at around 3:36. Sunset is expected at a precise 8:37 p.m., with full darkness not descending until the late hour of 10:39. This means that, while actual day length is 14 hours and 58 minutes, we will have light for almost 19 hours!

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Vail Daily column: Condo or house for a young buyer?

June 19, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My daughter is considering buying her first home in the near future. ​She is set on getting a single-family home with a garage and a yard​. She is an adult, but she often comes to me for consultation and advice on important issues in her life. I usually​ am a sounding board and usually support whatever she wants to do.​ However,​ I am worried​ that she want​s​ to bite off too much this time and would be better off starting with a small condo or maybe even a town home. I would like to hear what you have to say.​ Don’t you think a young woman would be better off with a condo with no outside maintenance? Thanks for any words of wisdom.

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Vail Daily column: What it takes to get a credit score

June 19, 2015 — 

Once upon a time, a individuals perceived social standing was dictated by family ties, education, address, club memberships and occupation. As a result, many lending standards of bygone years were tilted towards certain social groups.

This resulted in a lot of discrimination when lending, which deprived a lot of groups of people from the benefits of home ownership and the financial and emotional security that in most cases comes with it. Granted, home ownership has been financially ruinous for many people in the past eight years, but historically homeownership has been overwhelmingly rewarding in many ways. There are many social benefits as well to having as many people owning a home as possible.

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Vail Daily column: A rare flower thrives in Eagle County

June 18, 2015 — 

When the Eagle Valley Land Trust conserves a property, we conserve not only the view, the agricultural heritage and the historical significance, but also the habitat for native plants and animals to thrive.

For many, summertime in Colorado evokes images of vibrant vegetation and beautiful flowering plants carpeting our landscapes. One of the rarest and most fascinating of these plants is Harrington’s penstemon (Penstemon harringtonii). Have you ever spotted one? If you haven’t, then please join Eagle Valley Land Trust for our free, guided hike July 11 to explore the 478-acre West Avon Preserve conservation easement to view Harrington’s penstemon.

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Vail Daily column: Celebrate Father's Day by investing in your children's future

June 18, 2015 — 

Father’s Day is almost here. If you’re a father, especially one with young children, get ready to add to your collection of homemade cards, ties, golf tees or other such gifts designed to please you. Your greatest gift, of course, is your children — and you would doubtlessly get great satisfaction from knowing that you’ve provided them with financial resources that will benefit their lives in many ways. So why not use this Father’s Day as a starting point for investing in your children’s futures?

Here are a few methods for doing just that:

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Vail Daily column: A case for charity

June 18, 2015 — 

Have you entertained the idea of leaving a sizeable gift to charity after you pass away? Consider using your life insurance policy to support your favorite cause. Here’s how:

• Name the charity as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy so the death benefit automatically gets paid to them.

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Vail Daily column: Now that you're 18 ...

June 18, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the third part of a six-part series.

In the first two parts of this series, we looked at matters relating to cars, driving and insurance, renting your first apartment and having fun as an adult. This included a discussion of drug and alcohol possession and abuse.

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