Editorials

What a fine fair

July 29, 2014 — 

The Eagle County Fair & Rodeo last week wrapped up its 75th celebration of life as it once was in our fair valley, and, it seems, a good time was had by most.

The annual rodeo was a big hit, and despite less-than-perfect weather for the Saturday performance, the grandstands were packed by the time the national anthem was sung by local high schooler Jett Quealy — who did a fine job, by the way.

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Vail Daily column: Fault lies with GOP

July 29, 2014 — 

Butch Mazzuca’s comment of June 27 that Iraq was “moving in the right direction” (“How safe do you feel?”) when Barack Obama took office in 2009 and that Obama is somehow responsible for today’s evolving train wreck is simply and transparently ludicrous. As you read Mazzuca, please remember that he has been a tireless cheerleader and apologist for the Republican policies of fraud and deception that have led to this unspeakable disaster. Let’s go back and take another look at the facts.

In 2002-03, a devastated and deeply angry American public was told repeatedly and in great detail by the Republican administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney that, one, Iraq had amassed weapons of mass destruction, which posed a clear and present danger to our republic and, two, that the terrorist group al-Qaida had gained a foothold in Iraq and would absolutely be using their new sanctuary to further threaten American soil. In addition to harboring personal vendettas against Saddam Hussein, the Republicans were relying on at least one forced (and false) confession obtained through torture, lies by known liars with transparent personal agendas and an utter contempt for and disregard of the mass of intelligence they were receiving from their own and Saddam Hussein’s people stating that neither of the propositions they were presenting to the American public as the basis of their effort to get to war as quickly as possible could possibly be true.

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Vail Daily column: Silliness of movie myths

July 28, 2014 — 

“The average person uses 10 percent of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100 percent ... ”

And thus begins the trailer for the new movie “Lucy,” with the popular voice of Morgan Freeman selling the myth to the gullible public as if it’s an actual fact of which we are all aware.

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Vail Daily column: Should U.S. stick to helping its own?

July 26, 2014 — 

Flag-waving patriots protest against thousands of children illegally crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. Tea Party activists, some who are also conservative Christians, slow traffic at overpasses. Their placards wrapped in Old Glory instruct passers-by to stand against immigration policies that allow homeless Central American children to border-cross. Some Tea Party Christians criticize the Obama administration for not deporting almost 50,000 children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who aim to cross U.S. southern borders.

What protesting conservative Christians ignore is a biblical perspective on immigration. The Bible is composed of a series of migration stories, from Abraham to Jesus. Scripture swings on two hinges: the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt, which tells of an odyssey in which God’s nomadic people were refugees from Pharaoh; and, Jesus’ migration into Egypt with his parents.

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Vail Daily column: American innovation

July 25, 2014 — 

A general characteristic of the Model T now generally forgotten is that it was the first motorcar of consequence to put the driver’s seat on the left. Prior to this, nearly all car manufacturers (of which there were perhaps a thousand) placed the driver on the right side. The rationale being that it would be easier for the driver to step out of his conveyance directly onto a dry sidewalk or grassy border and not into a muddy street. (Few, if any, paved roads existed in those days.)

Ever the innovator, Henry Ford reasoned that the fair sex might appreciate this feature more than the driver (almost exclusively men in those days) and arranged for the driver to sit on the left side for benefit of the lady of the house.

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Vail Daily column: What ever happened to what’s-his-name?

July 25, 2014 — 

During the past several years as my eyesight has diminished, when I go to my address book with a magnifying glass, I come across the name of someone I haven’t seen or heard from for a while, even though they used to be someone I spent a lot of time with.

As a result, every time I look for a phone number and see someone I haven’t seen or heard from, I pick up the phone and call them to say hello. Unfortunately, the last four old friends I called were living somewhere else because of the same reason. I’m pretty sure all four of them are living in heaven because they died, and it’s really hard to reach them up there, even by cell phone.

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Vail Daily column: A hole in the bucket

July 25, 2014 — 

There’s no way around it — my generation of baby boomers is growing older. In Eagle County alone, the number of adults aged 75 and older is projected to increase by 222 percent between 2010 and 2020. Without appropriate care, many could potentially leave our community — and leave a gaping hole in our local economy.

A recent study by an economist at Colorado State University projects an annual $43 million loss to the economy of Eagle County if baby boomers and others in their 70s and 80s leave the area. In more tangible terms, the loss would equate to 1,185 people vanishing from Eagle County by 2020. What would that look like on the ground?

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Vail Daily column: Stars align for Youth Foundation

July 24, 2014 — 

Sarah Will wheeled as gracefully as any footed dancer and captured her audience completely.

Standing ovation.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

July 23, 2014 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

MISS: From a reader to the Vail Daily for choosing “to put in the sports section in regards to the ESPY awards a photo of Richard Sherman, an athlete who screamed on air and scared the wits out of the reporter about his defensive play and handshake vs. Michael Crabtree, and a photo of a gay football player who’s only in the news because of his choices. And not printing a photo of Peyton Manning, who won an award, and Mikaela Shriffin, local Olympian, although Mikaela was the cover photo, in the July 17 paper.”

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Vail Daily column: Lasting effects of bullying

July 23, 2014 — 

Practically everyone has been damaged by bullying in some way. Victims, bystanders and even those who bully carry the harm and heartbreak of bullying out of adolescence and into adulthood.

Since the first step to wisdom starts with calling things by their right names, it is important to understand what bullying is and isn’t. This is especially true in our current day and age, when practically every negative behavior is called bullying.

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Vail Daily editorial: Weeds, words and failure

July 22, 2014 — 

How is the Village at Avon like the Colorado Rockies? Both give us lots of words, with few results.

The town of Avon and the Traer Creek Metropolitan District — which operates the Village at Avon property — are supposed to be on friendlier terms these days after years of legal disputes. But evidence of that detente is scant.

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Vail Daily column: In the dragon’s seat

July 22, 2014 — 

I sat somewhat disengaged in the audience the first time I agreed to hear Scott speak. The room was full of chairs, and although they were offset so I could see the make-shift stage, I still had to crane my neck over several dozen rows of people to see the young man introducing Mr. Ross. I am a very sales sensitive person, and after years of personal practice, both on the receiving and the presenting end, I can usually tell when I’m about to hear from a pro. There’s something in the walk, the tone of voice and the level of passion. Hint: The very best salespeople in the world are generally consultative and proud of their role. They believe in themselves and their product, and will only sell in the presence of the tailwind of true value to their clients. I was impressed as Scott spoke to note that he fit the mold perfectly.

Scott then did something on stage that literally made me sit on the end of my chair in excitement. You see, many professionals will draw a border between themselves and their audience. They create a line of separation. You can see it with sweeping gestures, pacing or even turning themselves completely sideways on stage. Scott placed his chair in the middle of the stage and then proceeded to pivot his body and his gestures around this particular point. Whether intentional or not, he had found the dragon’s seat and had claimed it for the presentation.

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Vail Daily column: Our summer of (dis)content

July 21, 2014 — 

While we’re in the midst of yet another glorious summer in Happy Valley, humanitarian conflicts continue unabated around the globe.

Kind of makes you want to puke, doesn’t it?

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Vail Daily column: Going the extra mile

July 20, 2014 — 

Attitude can be defined as the position or bearing as indicating action, feeling or mood. And it is our actions, feelings and moods that determine the actions, feelings or moods of others. Our attitude literally tells the world what we expect. What follows then are several true account vignettes that reveal the attitudes of several of the businesses in the valley.

Homeowners know there’s always something on the to-do list when it comes to home maintenance. And when the list grows even longer because of a breakdown or damage to something it can be exasperating at times trying to find the right person or persons to handle it.

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Vail Daily column: A week at the cottage

July 20, 2014 — 

Last week, we traveled to Michigan to gather with my family members to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. My parents spend half of the year, including the summer months, at a cottage in northern Michigan. The cabin holds lifetimes of memories, stories told and retold, expanded upon with little additions, much like the cabin has been.

My grandfather built the original tiny cottage for his wife as she was dying of cancer at a very young age. My father spent time here as an adolescent, helping to build it with his father and uncles, hauling water up from the lake, running around with other boys vacationing with their families and getting into trouble. Years later, he brought my mother to see the cabin and she fell in love with it. Eventually, every summer, my mother, brother, sister and I stayed at the cabin from early July through Labor Day. My father would join us when he could get away from work. As kids, our days were long and unencumbered. We slept late, wandered through the woods, hunted turtles, swam in the lake, made fudge and played games late into the evenings.

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Vail Daily column: True leaders speak up to defend what’s true

July 19, 2014 — 

A half-century ago, hysteria gripped the U.S. when the 1954 Presbyterian General Assembly met in Detroit. The General Assembly acts like our government’s legislative, executive and judicial branches rolled into one for Presbyterians.

Anti-communists warned that Communists infiltrated the Beltway, controlled Hollywood and roused sympathies among progressive-thinking preachers. In the 18th century, James Madison warned that free speech would be sacrificed when popular hysteria ran roughshod over “parchment barriers,” such as the Bill of Rights. An alleged Communist spy network growing in the U.S. terrified many Americans. They clamped down on free speech in order to capture sellers of national military secrets to Russia.

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Vail Daily column: Looking to the past, preparing for future

July 18, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is the second of two parts.

Could or can big unfortunate or challenging happenings in our nation be predicted and/or prevented? Or is it only with 20/20 hindsight that we can see things clearly? I will finish examining a dozen —past and present — where origins, assessments of predictability and prevention, coupled with outcomes, may provide lessons learned. This first part covered Prohibition and the Great Depression, wars and military interventions, the Great Recession, student loans, wealth gap and violence in our society. Part 2, starting with No. 7, includes the last six, in no particular order.

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Vail Daily column: How we see our world

July 17, 2014 — 

Stories shape our lives.

The stories we tell others. The stories others tell us. The stories they tell about us. The stories we tell ourselves.

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Vail Daily column: 20/20 hindsight?

July 17, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is the first of two parts.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

July 16, 2014 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

HIT: To Vail Valley Medical Center and the town of Vail working together to improve parking for the hospital. Another structure off the frontage road by Town Hall makes sense, and certainly would be a big improvement over the traffic and crowded conditions at the entrance to the hospital.

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Vail Daily column: How we spend our time

July 16, 2014 — 

“I would rather earn 1 percent of 100 people’s efforts than 100 percent of my own efforts,” — John D. Rockefeller.

“ ... For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,” — Matthew 5:45.

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Vail Daily editorial: Vail housing should be ‘family-friendly’

July 15, 2014 — 

Vail has spent a lot of time and effort to create, and maintain, an image as a “family-friendly” place for guests.

The effort may have started several years ago when it imposed youth curfews during events including New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. Those curfews, in case you’ve forgotten, were largely successful in getting underage partiers off the streets during times the town was already packed.

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Vail Daily column: Running schools like a business

July 15, 2014 — 

Over the course of my 18-year career in education, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard someone make the statement that schools should be run like a business. And, of course, well managed businesses have a lot to teach any organization, be they governmental, not-for-profit or for profit.

The statement usually comes in the context of discussions around concepts like efficiency, strategic planning, human capital, performance management, innovation and return on investment — and these are certainly important ideas for any organization to monitor closely.

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Vail Daily column: These boots are made for walkin’

July 14, 2014 — 

With apologies to Nancy Sinatra’s one-hit wonder (she was known for one other thing, too), I recently had two pairs of boots re-souled.

Doing so is not really much of a big deal, but to me it was another rite of passage for formidable footwear that are spending their fourth decade in my closet, no matter where that closet has resided.

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Vail Daily column: Do religious freedoms trump contraceptive rights?

July 12, 2014 — 

What’s the proper balance between citizens’ religious liberties and contraceptive rights?

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit businesses have religious rights to curtail medical benefits to women of child-bearing age. They can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide employee contraception coverage.

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Vail Daily column: Experiencing the wilderness with our families

July 11, 2014 — 

This is the first of two columns on wilderness to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

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Vail Daily column: A very gentle place

July 11, 2014 — 

Orcas Island, where we live for the spring, summer and fall, is only about 85 miles north of Seattle, and yet an estimated 90 percent of the people in Seattle haven’t taken the ferryboat ride from Anacortes to Orcas Island. This is just fine with my wife and me because we like the quietness of it. Orcas Island is the same size as New York City’s Manhattan Island, where they have 14 1/2 million people and we have 4,500.

On the last Saturday in June every year, about 1,000 of those people all visit the oldest and best hardware store on the island. It is the only place in America where you can buy biodiesel or Passing Gas at a hardware store.

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Vail Daily column: The Vail holy grail

July 10, 2014 — 

Current U.S. primary energy sources, predominantly non-renewable fossil fuels, present a host of tradeoffs. Nuclear energy, starting with much promise and support, was crippled by the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents, and perhaps decisively sidelined by the Fukushima reactor meltdowns. Clean coal and natural gas still have major advocates as cost-effective and environmentally preferred energy sources and may have a supplementary role. Up to now, has it been more convenient and less costly to go with fossil fuels than with other sources? Perhaps. Have we created a legacy of environmental impacts and financial dependencies? Yes, no question. Lots of pros and cons up to this point, but little consensus about the best way forward.

Developments of the past few years and even months have quietly presented a new path for the U.S. generally and the Vail Valley as well. Quietly, because many entrenched energy interests may not be enthused. The installed price of solar photovoltaic systems has dropped dramatically in the past 36-48 months as a result of technological and manufacturing advances and large increases in global manufacturing capacity. Module prices, representing almost half the cost of a total solar system on average, have been dropping by more than 10 percent per year since 2010. The total installed cost per watt for solar energy has dropped from over $80 per watt in the early 1980s to below $4 per watt for most residential and $3 per watt for most commercial installations today. These are pretty dramatic changes but common in a historical context as solar PV technology travels along an innovation curve experienced previously by the semiconductor, automobile and railroad industries, among others.

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Vail Daily column: Dad, what’s a gas station?

July 10, 2014 — 

Oops, that bridge to the bright renewable energy future looks a little shaky.

Natural gas, after all, still is a fossil fuel — a source we’ll soon enough view as primitive as whale oil and dangerously polluting.

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Vail Daily column: Business of knights

July 9, 2014 — 

In 1565, being on the small island of Malta in the Mediterranean meant the possibility of war. The Ottoman and Christian empires were scrambling for position. Frequent raids on trade routes and territory battles were commonplace. For the Knights of Malta, war was business as usual. Little did any of them know that their preparations for war in the spring of 1565, and the way they fought through the summer, would define the outcome of one of the greatest territorial battles in medieval times. Jean Parisot de Valette, grandmaster of the Knights Hospitaller (later to be known as the Knights of Malta), was given the terrifying honor and opportunity to lead the knights.

They did their research: War took a long time to get off the ground in 1565, and Valette, a seasoned and dynamic leader, knew this. He sent his spies into Constantinople (not Istanbul) in the fall of 1564 and received intelligence well in advance that the Ottomans were amassing a force and planned to assault the Mediterranean. Although historians are unclear on the exact number, it is estimated that more than 48,000 men in 193 ships launched from Constantinople to attempt to take territory, including Malta. The Knights of Malta: 500 strong.

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