Columns

Vail Daily column: Changing your name in Colorado

February 9, 2016 — 

OK, so you want to change your name. That ugly moniker your parents stuck you with no longer fits. Or, maybe, it’s just time to upgrade your tarnished image. Maybe that appellation reminds you too much of the spouse you left behind and would just as soon forget. Or, perhaps, you like your name, have gotten sort of cozy with it, only to learn that in Urdu it means “bitchy old woman with lice in her ears,” and you’d rather not be thought of that way on your next sojourn to Hindustan.

Whatever the reason, how do you go about it? Not forgetting the old spouse, but changing your name? What legal steps are required and what, precisely, are the consequences.

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Vail Daily column: Finding better measures

February 9, 2016 — 

Last week, Brandon Busteed, executive director for Gallup Education (an extension of the famous public opinion polling and research organization) spoke to a group of school administrators in the Denver area. The gist of Busteed’s remarks was that many of the measures we’ve come to rely on so heavily in rating and evaluating schools, teachers and students actually turn out to be pretty worthless when it comes to linking them to actual outcomes or things that really matter.

Conventional wisdom has led us to believe that a 4.0 GPA, a top class ranking and high test scores are the keys to a great job and future.

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Secret life of pine martens

February 8, 2016 — 

If you’ve had the opportunity to explore the trails this season, then you have probably seen a network of footprints decorating the blanket of snow around our valley. Although winter can seem quiet and lifeless, these footprints remind us that the winter environment is thriving with life, out on the hunt to find their next meal, searching for a springtime mate or simply enjoying a playful afternoon in the snow. With every footprint, these animals share a piece of their adventure with us.

But even in the open canvas of a fresh snowfall, there is one animal that rarely leaves a track—the American pine marten, or Martes Americana. About the size of a mink, the elusive pine marten has a long, slim body, pointy face, rounded ears and a large bushy tail. Like the other members of its family (weasels, fishers, mink), the pine marten wears a luxurious coat of fur and was nearly trapped to extinction for its fur during the 19th century. Luckily, due to successful reintroduction programs in various parts of the United States, pine martens have made a positive comeback through much of the U.S. Today, they are widely distributed through northern North America, with smaller populations stretching as far as northern New Mexico.

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Vail Daily column: Caring for aging parents

February 8, 2016 — 

The premise of reversing roles as our parent’s age is simple: Parents’ decline in their ability to perform certain activities of daily living and we, as their adult children, step in to perform those functions for them (or have a caregiver handle that role). However, if we look a bit closer at this topic, that simple premise is loaded with serious issues that need to be dealt with in order to make the role reversal transition smooth.

The easy part to this is understanding that as we age, we lose functionality in a number of areas such as memory, physical strength and declining senses of hearing and sight. Typically, we won’t be able to bend down and play with our grandchildren as easily as we did with our own children. Perhaps we’ll forget why we drove over to the drug store, and then possibly even forget how to drive back home.

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Vail Daily column: Time to shake up the routine

February 7, 2016 — 

As we officially enter the second half of the winter season, I am reminded of how quickly the weeks and months go by here in the Vail Valley. Both in our personal lives and in business one can easily get sucked in to the routine of the ski season. Our days and weeks start to blend together. Start the week, welcome a new group of guests, run hard and fast at work, run hard and fast at home, fill every open opportunity with an escape to the mountain, finish the week and then start again. It is fast, it is furious and if you aren’t paying attention, then it is over before you know it. And, though there is nothing wrong with routine, especially when considering a typical routine here in the valley, it is also important to step out of it from time to time to assure that our routines do not become a rut — for ourselves, for our businesses and for all of those that work within them.

Coincidently, it is also this time of year that discussions begin to turn to our Closing Day and the celebrations that go along with it. And with the juxtaposition of the two, something occurred to me. Perhaps the best way to refresh and shake up our routines at this mid-season mark is to stop postponing the celebration. Don’t get me wrong. I am always a fan of a good end of season celebration, but why wait? Why not also celebrate every day between? After all, those days are why most of us have chosen Vail as our home.

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Vail Daily column: Good debt vs. bad debt

February 5, 2016 — 

Under the right set of circumstances, I am not opposed to increasing the loan amount on a particular mortgage. In some instances, I recommended that clients borrow as much as they are able, per lending guidelines and equity requirements. This may contradict much other advice. But when it comes to analyzing what I refer to as good debt vs. bad debt, the recommendation is easily justified and explained.

It is best to understand early what I mean by good and bad debt. Debts, or credits that pay high interest and are not tax deductible, are what I refer to as bad debt. This debt could be identified as high interest credit cards or personal loans. In many circumstances, the borrower is simply trying to make the minimum payments each month.

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Vail Daily column: Will the presidential election affect investment outlook?

February 4, 2016 — 

We’re now at the beginning of the first caucuses and primaries, so presidential election season is in full swing. As a voter, you may be keenly interested in the election process. But as an investor, should you be concerned?

If you take a look back, then you might be somewhat encouraged about the prospects of the financial markets this year. In the last 12 presidential election years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been up nine times and down just three. So, election years must be good for the financial markets, right?

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Vail Daily column: Keep Colorado Local effort important to small businesses

February 4, 2016 — 

I like beer. I especially like Colorado beer, and I’m afraid the success of microbreweries throughout Colorado (as well as local wineries, craft distilleries and locally owned liquor stores) is being put at risk.

What could possibly derail the massive growth of craft beer, wine and spirits we’ve seen in Colorado? Colorado, after all, has a vibrant entrepreneurial culture that allows small businesses to flourish. Coloradans like our local products, and we like our hometown brews; craft beer leaders including New Belgium Brewery, Avery and Oskar Blues call Colorado home, and closer to home here in the Vail Valley, we’re fortunate to have Crazy Mountain Brewing Co., Bonfire Brewery, Vail Brewing Co. and 7 Hermits.

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Vail Daily column: Just one more

February 3, 2016 — 

The other day, I left my condo and headed for the gym. It is a short walk from my building to the gym, and the back door of my building usually sees a lot of skier traffic returning from a day on the hill. That afternoon was no different as I found myself holding the door open for guests and neighbors who had their hands full of skis, poles, boots and kids.

And then as I made my way up the path, I saw an amazing elderly woman who was carrying her skis on her shoulder like a pro and was making her way down the path toward the condo slowly but solidly. I would never venture a guess as to her age, but her spirit and energy was that of an 18-year-old. I stopped to ask the woman if I could help carry her skis into the building, and still wearing her ski boots, she smiled brightly and said, “Thank you very much, but I think I have at least one more walk in me.” Then she laughed and added this, “Plus, I have to show my husband I still have one more in me, too.”

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Vail Daily column: What's on your roof does matter

February 2, 2016 — 

Q: Why am I being denied homeowner’s insurance for a 21-year-old roof?

A: Throughout recent years, the claims paid out for roof replacements due to wind and hail losses have increased substantially nationwide. Many older homes have their original roofs and the likelihood of damage is greater due to older materials that are not as resilient as newer materials. For this reason, many insurance companies require that any roof older than 20 years be replaced unless they have a lifetime roof material such as tile or slate roofs.

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Vail Daily column: Statutes of limitation and statutes of repose

February 2, 2016 — 

Somewhere along the road of life you’ve likely stumbled across the term “statute of limitation.” A statute of limitations is a law that states that, in order to be actionable, a matter has to be brought within a certain time or else the opportunity to bring it before the court expires. It’s sort of like a legal parking meter; once your time runs out, no pleading to the meter maid.

In most, but not all, matters (capital murder is an example of an exception to the rule), there is a set time to either bring a case or not. The concept is you snooze, you lose. In most cases, statutes of limitation run either two or three years after the offending event occurred or after one reasonably became aware of the offending event. In at least some circumstances, the statute of limitations may be much longer. Both criminal and civil actions have statutes that limit how long after the event an action may be brought.

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Vail Daily column: Incentives for land conservation increase

February 1, 2016 — 

What will our valleys look like 100 years from now? For decades, many ranchers and other landowners have permanently conserved some of the important land in Eagle County. Some of our elk calving grounds, native cutthroat trout habitat, golden and bald eagle roosts, and mule deer critical winter range have been forever preserved in the process. Hunting and fishing, wildlife viewing, pristine scenic vistas and ranching as a way of life have all benefited, as has our tourist-based economy.

However, much more critical land remains to be preserved. Relatively little of our county’s vast public lands contain this extremely important wildlife habitat, which is typically found in our lowest river valleys. Such land is virtually all privately owned, relatively level and accessible and, therefore, vulnerable to being someday subdivided for development.

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Vail Daily column: Be proactive in dealing with neuropathy

February 1, 2016 — 

Neuropathy in its simplest definition is nerve disease or damage. It is a relatively common condition and is not isolated to any particular part of the body. Injury, infection, exposure to toxins, alcohol and drugs can all contribute to neuropathy.

Neuropathy affects the following:

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Vail Daily column: Snow takes a nearly infinite variety of forms

February 1, 2016 — 

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another. So says the all-powerful, all-governing and all-encompassing first law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of conservation of energy. There is a limited amount of energy in the world, and only a small portion of that energy is actually in a form that we can use. The forms that energy takes, and the transformations that it goes through, have dramatic impacts on living and nonliving things. This law is always relevant and important, but during the winter, it is critically important to organisms living in the cold.

Here in the Rocky Mountains, we have a great appreciation for snow and all of the recreation and adventure it offers. And many of us are guilty of having stopped for more than a moment to gaze at the perfectly stellar crystalline structures of snow — be it snowflakes falling delicately from the sky, or giant surface hoar crystals growing like feathers. Snow is fun and beautiful, these things we know, but it also has some amazing and very interesting physical properties.

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Vail Daily column: Out of futility springs hope

January 31, 2016 — 

The new year has brought with it some unexpected burdens to balance out the joys of friends and family. Illnesses, injuries, a hospital trip, a canceled birthday party (for my wife); all have conspired to make the first month of 2016 more challenging than anticipated. Generally an optimistic sort, my physical toll has been trailed by a psychological shadow casting life in a more grim light than usual. Through this darker lens, my crusade to reform a broken system seems an increasingly futile endeavor. That sense has been heightened in the face of recent absurd behavior from opposing counsel and the maddening inaction of certain judges. After a few days of wallowing in that mire, I emerge energized by the catharsis of writing about my frustration. Viewing the legal system from such a nadir has given me new appreciation for the law’s more charming aspects. Apropos of my current mood, I immediately thought of the futility doctrine.

Predictable Practices

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Vail Daily column: Fix Colorado roads

January 28, 2016 — 

“Colorado’s roads must be fixed.

“Our state’s population is growing rapidly. Road congestion and travel times — to work and to play — are increasing with it.

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Vail Daily column: Put your financial "puzzle" together

January 28, 2016 — 

Today is National Puzzle Day, with puzzle celebrations and events taking place at museums, libraries and other venues across the country. Why this date was chosen – or why National Puzzle Day even exists – is something of a mystery. But as an investor, you can find value in the concept of a puzzle – specifically, in putting together the pieces of your financial puzzle.

What are these pieces? Here are the

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Vail Daily column: Good news for skiers, and good news for rivers

January 27, 2016 — 

An assumption could be made that Coloradans are more attuned to their weather surroundings than most other people in the country. That’s why the words “El Nino” inspire such a sense of hope and anticipation when uttered to the wishful ears of ski-hungry Colorado residents.

Instead of visions of sugarplums, it’s visions of snow days dancing around in our Coloradan heads in the latter part of December. There are also water quantity issues that have many who live in this state looking for hope wherever they can. But does El Nino really have a significant effect on Colorado’s weather? The answer is a bit more complicated than you may think.

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Vail Daily column: Why does this keep happening to me?

January 27, 2016 — 

Typically, when we are having a conversation and the question, “Why does this keep happening to me?” pops up, it is regarding something negative or a bad situation. Most people neglect to contemplate that same question when things are going well.

We all have those people in our lives who lament or dwell on why bad things happen to them, and although some of them just think it to themselves over and over again, others will make sure they continue to ask you, me and anyone else who will listen that same question. “Why does this keep happening to me?”

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Vail Daily column: The marijuana conundrum

January 26, 2016 — 

You may have heard that marijuana is legal in Colorado. Yeah, I know ... no big news flash. What may surprise you, though, is that marijuana — at least for medical use — has been legal for more than a decade and a half.

In 2000, Colorado voters ratified the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. By virtue of this legislation, the medical marijuana industry was born but was, at first, low key and largely under the radar. In the early days following voter approval of medical marijuana, the cultivation and legal distribution of pot for such purposes was entirely caregiver-based; that is, marijuana was cultivated and distributed in very small operations to a very limited clientele.

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Vail Daily column: Merger helps grow Vail business community

January 24, 2016 — 

In the words of the late, great David Bowie, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes ... turn and face the strange.” The local chamber makeup in Vail is changing. It isn’t that strange, but it is different. But change is good, and I am happy to announce the merger of the Vail Chamber & Business Association and the Lionshead Merchants Association. The strategic goal of this merger is to foster and grow a strong Vail business community and to create one unified voice for Vail business from East Vail to West Vail and beyond. The two organizations have been talking for the past few months aligning goals and missions to help facilitate the merger. At the same time, the Vail Chamber & Business Association has committed to take special care to recognize the uniqueness of Lionshead Village, and will be sure to represent the area and its businesses and to help fund and promote certain Lionshead Village specific events and activities. To this end, the Vail Chamber & Business Association has added several new board members, including Ryan Kelsey from the Antlers, Sarah Franke from Group 970/Blue Moose, Dave Portman from Firstbank Vail, and me (Pat Flynn from The Arrabelle at Vail Square).

The Vail Chamber & Business Association board of directors is aware (as I am sure are longtime business owners and those involved in the community) that similar mergers have been tried in the past without tremendous success. This board is convinced, however, that with new blood, renewed enthusiasm, a strong executive director and careful strategic planning this coming together provides the best opportunity for local businesses to unite and be heard. With a recharged focus on growing membership and increasing involvement, the Vail Chamber & Business Association hopes to grow into even more of a voice within the community and leader for local business.

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Vail Daily column: Stories in the snow

January 23, 2016 — 

We have all seen them. Sometimes we see them as the chairlift steadily climbs up the mountain. Other times, we might see them during a snowshoe hike or even in our own backyards. Animal tracks are everywhere in the Eagle River Valley, and there is no better time to start paying attention to them than right now. Snow is a wonderful substrate that lets us see evidence of wildlife in a way that remains hidden from us in the absence of snow. What kind of stories can tracks tell? Just like a good bookstore, the animal tracks in the Eagle River Valley boast stories of romance, action and adventure, and even comedy, all while hooking us in with their mystery.

Romance

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Vail Daily column: Is it time to buy?

January 22, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

Ever since I went to see my grandmother last month, I have been rethinking my plan to rent my housing for my whole life. I am in my 20s, and people in my generation doesn’t really talk about buying a home. We like to stay mobile and free to spend our money on trips and concerts and exciting recreation adventures​ that are great fun.

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Vail Daily column: China economic meltdown helping US homeowners

January 22, 2016 — 

I am often asked what makes mortgage rates go up and down. The answer is pretty much anything having to do with global economics, including the price of tea in China, and now it seems like the amount of tea the Chinese drink might have some impact as well.

In fact, the much-talked-about recent Federal Reserve hike to short-term rates probably has far less to do with mortgage rates than the consumption of Chinese tea, or to be more accurate, the consumption of all things Chinese.

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Vail Daily column: What expenses will you incur when investing?

January 21, 2016 — 

You invest so that you can achieve a variety of goals, such as a secure retirement. It’s inevitable, though, that you will incur some costs when investing, ranging from payments to a financial professional to costs of educational materials. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these expenses.

If you work with a financial professional — and you should, because the investment world is complex — you will need to compensate this individual for his or her expertise and guidance. Financial advisors get paid in several different ways, including the following methods:

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Vail Daily column: Finding the center of our community

January 20, 2016 — 

Editor’s Note: The Vail Valley Foundation submits this monthly column from a community leader, partner or member of its organization on the topic of “Making It Possible.”

In the next few weeks and months, this valley’s spectacular natural beauty will be in the mid-winter form that brings us worldwide recognition as a top ski destination. But it is what happens off the slopes — in a community that is alive with arts, culture, entertainment, debate and discussion — that I believe sets us apart.

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Vail Daily column: Changing who we are

January 20, 2016 — 

The recent Powerball drawing of $1.6 billion had a lot of people talking about what they would do with the money. Reporters were visiting different cities and interviewing hopeful winners and asking the question, “How would you spend the money?” Social media was buzzing with tweets and posts about how to spend the money or making sure their causes were represented in the event that someone won and would be willing to share some of those winnings.

I happened to be traveling that week and spent time on airplanes, taxis, shuttle buses and in airports. I overheard many of the same conversations taking place and some of the answers were self-serving, with some people listing all of the luxury items that they would buy for themselves. Others talked about eliminating debt, helping friends and family and supporting their favorite cause.

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Vail Daily column: Plain meaning

January 19, 2016 — 

If I wrote, “the dog is red,” you’d probably assume I meant the color rather than Fido being a devotee of Karl Marx. If I spoke it, rather than wrote it, you would likely continue to believe that the pooch might tend toward russet rather than having mastered a college curriculum in fine literature. Well, duh. That’s just common sense.

And yet ...

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Vail Daily column: Consider long-term care insurance

January 18, 2016 — 

Over the past few months, I have not only been assisting a number of clients with their long-term care insurance but my office has received a number calls inquiring about this type of insurance.

Long-term care insurance is often overlooked when seeking a plan for retirement. Unfortunately, many of us incorrectly assume that health insurance and/or Medicare will assist in providing long-term care solutions. This is a common misconception that may end up causing great amounts of stress and anxiety.

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Vail Daily column: Embrace serendipity, yet be wary

January 17, 2016 — 

The window of time during which it was possible for me to have met my wife was approximately three minutes. I was traveling one proverbial path, she another, and our journeys overlapped for a brief and unexpected moment. We have been walking side by side ever since. Viewing one’s life as an unspooling ball of yarn, it is fascinating to trace the thread as it pushes forward, gets tangled, loops for a bit, doubles back on itself and then jumps forward again, relentlessly in motion. Our individual threads join with the human collective to weave intricate patterns reflecting our existence. We cannot predict the way in which our narratives play out or intersect with others. Thus, we must embrace the beauty of serendipity: those chance encounters or staccato bursts of inspiration that define the long arc of our lives. Serendipity being so fickle but so influential, I am often stymied by people’s choice to press their luck with lawsuits. Sometimes the loom of the law churns out an exquisite rug, but often it jams.

Gift of Free Will

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