Editorials

Vail Daily column: Creating career pathways

February 5, 2016 — 

In a recent column, I wrote about one of our valley’s crown jewels of educational partnerships, the dual-enrollment program. Partnerships such as these can be both effective and sustainable for just about any agency looking for solutions.

Another problem that we are wrestling with in our valley is the increased pressure for affordable housing and filling the resort staffing needs every season.

Learn more »

Vail Daily Hits and Misses

February 3, 2016 — 

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 a recent letter writer trashing snowboarders. “As a skier, I ask that you replace ‘snowboarder’ with a few other words: Jew, African American, homosexual, female. These are a few I came up with. Now, please rewrite your letter to the editor with one or all of these words and tell all of us how it sounds. Haven’t we moved on from this?”

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: The art, science, and judgment of the snow day

February 2, 2016 — 

For school superintendents across the country, there are few decisions that create more angst and result in more lose-lose options than the call that has to be made for school snow days.

On the surface, the decision seems simple enough. Evaluate the weather and road conditions and make a definitive determination based on that information. In reality, the factors are complex and involve more human judgment than anyone would like.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Finally having a daughter

February 1, 2016 — 

It has taken 56 years, three boys, two wives and two vasectomies (I’ll explain some other time), but I am finally going to have a daughter.

Yes, try to hold back your ecstatic enthusiasm, but it’s true.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Cruz gives God a cold shoulder

February 1, 2016 — 

The presidential campaign has taken a wicked turn. Despite nasty retorts that lack Christian graciousness, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gets endorsed for president by most evangelicals in Iowa and Texas.

Recently, Cruz bagged Phil Robertson’s vote, head of the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV clan. In a video, Cruz crouches with Robertson in a duck blind, aiming to clip a mallard’s wings with a shotgun blast. Decked out in camouflage overalls, Cruz woos prey, blowing a duck whistle.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: All aces

January 29, 2016 — 

I was fortunate it was only a $20 buy-in. The hold 'em crew I was playing with were a hodgepodge group of seasoned professionals, most who had been around the game for most of their careers. We sat around the worn card table focusing mostly on the drinks and the company. As I was the only truly inexperienced player there, I was disproportionately mocked for using tequila to mix my mojito. Laughs rolled around the table as each of us took shots back and forth, and I watched the hands of some of the men grasping at the ghosts of the cigarettes that they could no longer smoke inside.

The cards go out and conversation instantly stops for a few seconds.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Ever more frontage road parking forevermore?

January 29, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a Vail Homeowners Association Visioning Vail Report. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.

If the town moves forward with acquiring locations for affordable housing outside of the town, then it will need to provide either more parking spaces in town or enhanced bus service from these new neighborhoods. Is it a wise investment for the town to build parking for commuting workers when the cost of a structured parking space can rival the cost of a new affordable housing unit? Or, would the taxpayers’ money be better spent in augmenting the existing regional and in-town bus system, so that it meets the needs of Vail’s workforce, residents and guests?

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: A sane choice just in case

January 28, 2016 — 

A guy who knows Vail well may run for president.

No, no, no. Not Ross Perot. Sheesh. Been there, done that.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Don't give up on purchasing your own home

January 28, 2016 — 

If you would like to live and work in our wonderful community long term, and you’re getting hammered by your landlord — high rent in relation to the property’s location, features and benefits — don’t quit on your home ownership aspirations. At a minimum, get up to speed on what’s going on in the local mortgage lending environment, how to enhance your credit score and the financial benefits of home ownership. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back.

Attractive loans are available for as little as 3 to 5 percent down and closing costs can often be built into the loan amount and we continue to experience historically low interest rates.

Learn more »

Vail Daily Hits and Misses

January 27, 2016 — 

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 for “allowing your dog to chase wildlife.”

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: A model to transform education

January 26, 2016 — 

The term “transformation” has been thrown around so much in education reform debate that it has become irritatingly cliche. Too often, these so-called transformational reform efforts fail at even bringing about incremental changes in schools. Tougher tests that are taken on a computer instead of on paper, Byzantine evaluation systems and accompanying performance pay schemes, school choice systems designed to have schools compete against one another in a sort of Darwinian race for survival — all of these approaches have been called transformative by those advancing them.

Depending on the context, there might be a place for each of these reform elements where their implementation would bring about some positive change. However, they all fail to bring about a real educational transformation because they do not provide clarity as to how the experience of the student will be radically different, or genuinely transformed, as a result of the reform.

Learn more »

Vail Daily editorial: Yes, we're affected

January 26, 2016 — 

People in the eastern United States continue to dig out from a very large winter storm that hit the region last weekend, a storm that sent economic ripples across the nation. Our valley caught a couple of those ripples, too.

Flights into the Eagle County Regional Airport were among the thousands of flights airlines canceled last week. The people who were supposed to be on those flights represent a good number of hotel and restaurant reservations, as well as equipment rentals and ski and snowboard lessons. That lost business is unlikely to be a season-killer for anyone, but bottom lines will be affected.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Our Colorado

January 26, 2016 — 

I feel so fortunate to have grown up in Colorado. I spent my summers hiking in national forests and my winters skiing in them. I went jeeping with my grandfather to explore the canyons and mountains that dot our beautiful state.

Every fall, the family loaded up the mules and escaped the comforts of our modern world for a week of hunting elk. I chased grasshoppers as my dad wished for the trout to bite. I slept under the stars countless nights on a Bureau of Land Management back road or in a sub-alpine mountain meadow. I watched the sun rise over the prairie, where you couldn’t tell the pink tan of morning from the land I walked on. All of these experiences are thanks to the public lands that shape the Colorado I know and love.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Xenophobia reaches a new low

January 25, 2016 — 

After all this time, I finally get it.

Yes, I am accused of being slow every so often, but I swear to Allah this time I understand what’s going on right alongside our plethora of Happy Valley intellectuals.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Picture this

January 24, 2016 — 

I’ve never been a “joiner” per se. In fact, given my druthers my preference is to be alone; or when I do spend time with people, I much prefer small groups or one-on-one situations. While many see me as gregarious, I usually don’t seek out unfamiliar settings with large groups of people.

So when local photographers Rick Spitzer and Rachel Brockey of the Vail Valley Arts Guild — Photography invited me to tag along on a photo shoot to Rifle Falls State Park, I was hesitant because the thought of taking pictures with 15 or 20 other people milling about doesn’t float my boat. But photography is a very important part of my life, so I decided to take a flyer and join the group, at least for the day.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Do Muslims, Jews and Christians worship the same God?

January 23, 2016 — 

Muslims direct prayers to whom? Is Allah different from the biblical God Jews implore at the Wailing Wall? When a Christian prays to God, is he the same deity to whom Muslims and Jews direct their supplications?

A theological donnybrook rages at evangelical Wheaton College, outside Chicago over these concerns. In the run-up to Christmas, called Advent season, Dr. Larycia Hawkins, the school’s first tenured black female professor, wore a hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf. She posted the picture on Facebook with a note saying the God of Christians and Muslims is the same.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: What to do about parking?

January 22, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a Vail Homeowners Association Visioning Vail Report. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.

A goal of sustainable tourism is to get arriving consumers out of their cars quickly and into the shops, restaurants and attractions. Vail has successfully done this for 40 years, through its strategically- located parking structures in the heart of the community’s commercial town center.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: The teaching students

January 22, 2016 — 

“I love respecting nature at Walking Mountains!” one fifth-grader from Avon Elementary School enthusiastically remarked to his classmate as they headed out for their first Walking Mountains Science Center field lesson of the day. Our educators often hear comments like this and many school field days begin with stories from past field trips, “Last year, we got to use the stream table and we hiked all the way to the top of a mountain!” “When we came in second grade, at the end of the day, we got to throw a snowball at our teacher!” The stories flood in and the Walking Mountains educators learn about the bigger picture of how Walking Mountains’ programs impact their students.

Walking Mountains provides quality science education in an outdoor setting, which allows for place-based learning and hands-on experiences. The idea is to connect young children with nature so that as they mature, they become environmental stewards. Through a partnership with Eagle County Schools, we served over 3,500 students last year, and our goal is to grow that number every year, until we serve every student in Eagle County. As a former graduate fellow, I feel so lucky to see some of same students year after year and to have witnessed their growth as young scientists and to then pass the torch to the next group of fellows.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: What the lottery teaches

January 21, 2016 — 

Oh those saintly lottery winners. Gonna keep going to work, giving to their church, stay in their modest middle-class digs in the ol’ familiar neighborhood, stay with familiar things.

Maybe buy a pony for the adult daughter who always wanted one but couldn’t afford the extravagance all these years.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: The Kochs' biggest sin: Disagreeing with liberal narrative

January 21, 2016 — 

Jane Mayer of The New Yorker has a new book out: “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” It’s mostly about those old devils the Koch brothers.

Charles and David Koch are billionaires. They own a very big company. They also are very prominent philanthropists, giving hundreds of millions to cancer research, concert halls and other worthy causes. But what makes them hated and feared by progressives such as Mayer is their political work. They help fund some organizations and foundations, some purely educational, some partisan.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: River park could be Eagle's calling card

January 20, 2016 — 

For better or worse, most of us don’t remember the Eagle River Valley before Interstate 70 ran through it. Beyond all the talk of Vail, Beaver Creek and the surrounding attractions, that ribbon of pavement is what physically brought almost all of us here.

The reality is the highway brought some baggage along with it as well. Roads, like railroad tracks, tend to run alongside rivers in the mountainous terrain of Colorado, where the valleys are broader and the ground more level. But of course, that’s not always the case. Sometimes even rivers need to be rearranged in the name of progress.

Learn more »

Vail Daily Hits and Misses

January 20, 2016 — 

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 reader Jackie Cohen to the Vail Daily for not mentioning Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Jan. 18 edition. “I scoured (the paper) and didn’t see a word about Martin Luther King Day, not even in Across the Wire. It’s a national holiday for a national leader and I expected at least a wire service article.”

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Working together to succeed

January 19, 2016 — 

The term collaboration has become quite a buzzword in education circles when it comes to teachers and what they need to grow professionally and succeed with their students. We hear the term bandied about by all sorts of people as the cure-all for what ails the teaching profession.

Professional collaboration is indeed the stuff that raises educator effectiveness. However, we must understand how collaboration leads to increased educator capacity and better performance if we want to employ it as a driver for system success. Otherwise, it’s merely another edu-buzzword that is poorly understood and weakly implemented.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: You can never really 'retire' from skiing

January 18, 2016 — 

It’s hard to give up something you’ve spent literally one half of your life doing, but especially if that something is a sport you love and have loved from the very first time you tried it.

And even more so if you’re just about to turn the ripe old age of 17.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Martin Luther King Jr. mixed faith and politics

January 18, 2016 — 

Balancing the Constitution in one hand with the Bible in the other, Martin Luther King Jr. connected faith and politics. He challenged citizens to help what politics often neglects — the poor left behind in our society.

Critics scorned MLK. They chanted: “Don’t mix politics and religion.” They refused to admit that the cross-over of religion with politics is unavoidable.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: The case for Israel

January 17, 2016 — 

Joel Rosenberg, modern-day Christian-Jew evangelist, author and speaker, has both strong opinions and prayer for solidarity behind both Jews and Arabs in all regions of the Middle East in these troubled times. His dad was of Jewish descent, and Rosenberg became Christian when he turned 17.

Joel started his crusade as a political consultant, and is now friends with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who shared information that he has used in his books. I went to Denver late last year to listen to a seminar he gave prior to the Iran nuclear deal, exhorting all to understand the negatives.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: What do hyenas laugh about?

January 17, 2016 — 

If you read the heading of this commentary and asked yourself, “What the hell is Mazzuca referring to?” you wouldn’t be alone, because the title was meant to draw the readership’s attention to a concept defined by the word “frustable.”

So what is a frustable anyway? Frustables are imponderable questions that are impossible to answer with certainty, i.e., why do clocks run clockwise? Why do we so often see only one shoe lying on the side of the road? Why do we rarely see purple Christmas lights, and why do people bite their fingernails?

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Vail seeks answers for worker housing

January 15, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association Newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vail homeowners.com.

Vail affordable housing: The town of Vail, some believe, has set an unrealistic goal of providing 30 percent of its work force housing needs within the existing town limits. There are few, if any, sites within its existing boundaries to add the number of housing units planners say that are needed. There is little discussion about the future needs of an expanding cohort of retirement-aged local workers who already occupy an increasing proportion of affordable housing.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Ideas for a safer mountain

January 15, 2016 — 

The Jan. 6 Vail Daily had a letter titled “Imagine” by Joyce Chizmadia on the usual boring subject of safety on the mountain. But she brought life to the subject in a poignant way. Paraphrasing her article, she imagined a new buzzword of courtesy among skiers and riders. Imagine parents being able to take their little ones out on the slopes to have fun and admire the mountain beauty without the fear of their being run over. Imagine seniors gathering for lunch without the main topic of who had the best story of almost being run into. Imagine a world where skiers and riders of all ages and abilities took a moment to think first before their next movement or path taken — all without sacrificing fun and enjoyment.

Now imagine a series of perhaps crazy but related reminding steps that might just help moving toward an imagined perfect world:

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: A flame still burns

January 14, 2016 — 

I began each of my careers at the bottom.

While a teenager, even McDonald’s wouldn’t have me. I bore this wound mowing lawns, helping people move, clearing weed-choked land, digging ditches and similar labors. Me, unworthy of a job everyone else I knew landed with ease. How embarrassing. Scarring, even.

I made do stringing together enough odd jobs to keep myself in movie, gas and 8-track money. It turned out better than working fast-food shifts, for sure. Looking back, I can count all the useful lessons far beyond what I would have picked up at McDonald’s.

But what I carried with me was this: I wasn’t good enough for them. They must have seen deficiencies, which must be obvious to everyone. I’d probably never be able to land a “real” job. What was wrong with me that everyone but I could see?

Ah, ain’t adolescence great? Some schlep made a mistake, had enough punks on staff, filled the openings. And so he lighted a fire in at least one of the kids he didn’t take.

I had enough going to build a business I didn’t realize I had developed. I could even put away a little for college. Ah, but I had something else in mind.

I saved enough to fly to Hawaii within a week of graduating from high school. My dad lived there. My mother had scooped up her little kids during a big rainstorm in Honolulu and flown out of a marriage gone wrong back home to Southern California.

I was just retracing the route a decade later. Figured it would be good to get to know this stranger, my father. Besides, dude lived in Hawaii. Not sure I would have quite mustered the will for, say, New Jersey or Illinois.

The first “real” job came along following another string of odd jobs and a short stint selling sandwiches downtown that came to crashing end when worms began showing up in them.

The Hale Koa Hotel, built on the military’s Fort DeRussy on Waikiki Beach, hired me as a bartender’s assistant at the ripe age of 19; the drinking age in Hawaii was 18 then. My big break. I even punched in and punched out. So cool.

I step-’n’-fetched with such enthusiasm and tirelessness I made full bartender within the year, with my own bar on slow weeknights and Sundays. And learned enough about girls to have one to chase to the mainland soon after that.

The relationship once I arrived in Santa Barbara lasted about as long as a wave breaking all at once. Guess I didn’t know what I thought I knew about women, something I’ve learned persists to this day. And I was too young at 20 to practice my proud craft behind a bar in California.

If anything, I started my next career even below the bottom. I caught on with the Forest Service as a seasonal wildland firefighter on an engine crew stationed next to Ronald Reagan’s ranch. Thing was, all the other rookies were hired as GS-3s. I was the only GS-1 in the district, and probably the forest, too.

I also seemed to be the only one who practiced in his off-hours. I shouldered hose packs and ran hills with them after work, and tried to perfect deploying and packing them. I read everything on firefighting, especially the reports following fatalities on the line. I did that tireless and enthusiastic thing again, though I muted the enthusiasm outwardly because this was a cooler, tougher, more growly crowd.

So it happened that I finished out this career as acting foreman on a vaunted hotshot crew, getting easier shifts on the line as superintendent while the real one took higher responsibilities. I found the woman I would marry by then, too.

And I had a blown-out knee. Here we go again.

Seems straightforward and predictable looking back. Where else would I start in the next career but the bottom, even below the bottom?

I lucked into a job as cub reporter at a California mountain town weekly before I could type. I made $10 a week less than I got in unemployment doing nothing. I worked my weekends, all of ’em, trying to learn this thing before getting canned for not being able to keep up.

I did what I did as McDonald’s reject, bartender’s assistant and GS-1 firefighter. The reporter became the editor and eventually dragged his growing family to daily papers across the country, finally landing and sticking here. Whew.

I don’t know that I’m mature yet enough to toss off helpful lessons for a successful working life. I’m still outraged at McDonald’s, I guess. Bent on proving the poor schlep who passed me up all wrong.

Oh yeah, the spark he touched off still burns as hot as ever.

I’d love to get my hands on that guy.

Just so I can thank him.

Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2920.

View 20 More Stories in Editorials »
Back to Top