Vail Daily column: The annual Christmas poem

December 22, 2014 — 

’Tis the day before the night before Christmas

And throughout our great nation,

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Vail Daily column: The conversation that’s going nowhere

December 21, 2014 — 

“A nation of cowards” was the phrase used by Attorney General Eric Holder to explain America’s inability to have an open discussion about race. He went on to urge the attendees at a 2009 Black History Month event to open up and be honest with one another even if it was uncomfortable.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

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Vail Daily column: Perils of popularity

December 20, 2014 — 

Popularity is a dynamic servant but a devious master. Blessed by fame, some preachers share convictions with quiet confidence. Others, however, inflate big egos because their popularity rules them. Stuck on themselves, they destroy their mission of helping others.

Dec. 16 marked the tercentennial (300th) of evangelist George Whitefield’s (pronounced “Wit-field”) birth. His popularity made him an 18th century religious rock star.

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Vail Daily column: Amateur’s guide to skiing

December 19, 2014 — 

I once heard Warren Miller say that there was no such thing as an amateur skier. With all due respect, Miller (and much, my friends, is due), I would like to invite you out for a ski day. For you readers, please know that I am not suggesting that Miller and I will be commenting on all of you. No, I’m talking about myself. It’ll be the best ski film ever. From personal experience, please allow me to now delineate how you can know that you are clearly an amateur.

First of all, you ensure that when you park your car that you lean your skis as precariously as possible on your vehicle. This way, when you sit back down in the car to put on your boots, your skis will slide sideways, appropriately scratching your car, and quite possibly breaking the window of the car next to you. Further, the noise of skis falling on concrete in the parking lot will let everyone else know that you are coming.

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Vail Daily column: Will global economics slow down the U.S. recovery?

December 19, 2014 — 

This week has been a bit like the old days (note I’m leaving “the good” off) of the past five years in terms of interesting news to write about. During the height of the economic meltdown, governments were tottering on default, markets swinging wildly and currencies fluctuating. Working in the mortgage industry was a bit like being in Iraq; we seemed to have to duck incoming rockets and invisible bullets were flying everywhere as companies imploded and long-time industry icons seemed to vanish in a cloud of dust.

The only thing good about those days was it was always easy to write this column because there was no end to shocking economic news. The past few weeks have been chock full of shocking developments, and it’s hard to know what might happen next with mortgage rates.

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Vail Daily column: Life strays off script

December 18, 2014 — 

I’m working on a scene in a silly piece of fiction I’m writing for the pure act of writing. Actually, I’m stumbling and bumbling and learning while exploring a form of this high art alien to my career.

This is what I do around 5:30 most weekday mornings, after letting the dogs out, feeding the cat and piling more wood on the last orange coals in the woodstove. Oh, and pouring the cup of coffee that makes this all happen.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

December 17, 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 what looked like a successful World Cup stop in Beaver Creek this year. It was important as a dress rehearsal for the championships coming in February. Didn’t hurt for Ted Ligety to grab a win, either. Sign of things to come, maybe.

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Vail Daily column: The goose is getting fat

December 17, 2014 — 

You would think that we get the Christmas bug early, living here in the Valley. Vail’s lights are up well before Thanksgiving (maybe they never take them down, now that I think about it) and Santa comes to Beaver Creek the Friday after Turkey Day to help kick off the season. He and a few of his elves have even been known to parachute into Copper Mountain’s village at night, complete with twinkling beacons so that we can see them in the frozen sky.

And yet, Christmas has a way of sneaking up on me every year. What is it about this place? Maybe it’s because it gets dark really early, so in the evenings I just want to curl up on the couch rather than make Christmas cookies. Or maybe it’s just my annual denial that time marches on without a care as to how much I have to do to get ready for the holidays.

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Vail Daily editorial: Supply and demand

December 16, 2014 — 

This has been the year when carefully crafted, well-researched construction cost estimates have been blown to smithereens by the law of supply and demand.

The latest estimate to fall apart is the one for the proposed underpass in Vail that would link the north and south frontage roads under Interstate 70. The project would be a good one, taking traffic out of the main and west Vail interchanges. Town officials say the underpass would help the bus system create more efficient routes and would speed response times for ambulance crews, police and firefighters.

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Vail Daily column: Our generous valley

December 16, 2014 — 

The holidays are traditionally a time of giving and consideration of others. That’s why I wanted to take a few moments with this week’s piece to point out some of the tremendous generosity right here in Eagle County.

With so many generous individuals and organizations in our community, I’m more than a bit hesitant to name names and organizations — out of the fear that I leave someone out! While our “cup runneth over” in terms of community giving, a few key players deserve special mention.

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Vail Daily column: Beware of traveling Grinches

December 15, 2014 — 

When it comes to finances, I am what some would refer to as frugal or perhaps thrifty.

That female person I’m married to calls it “anal.”

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Vail Daily column: Michael Brown, Eric Garner and civil unrest in America

December 14, 2014 — 

You’ve seen it everywhere lately. Unless you’ve been hiding under an incredibly immense boulder, you’re aware what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri. You’re aware what’s going on in New York City. You’re aware that widespread protests, riots and general civil unrest are permeating the streets of American cities and towns from coast to coast.

You know the material facts — that two unarmed black men are dead, killed by police officers. You know that there are two sides to the issue — one side defending the police officers’ actions as justifiable, and the other side condemning the men in uniforms for committing what amounts to homicide.

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Vail Daily column: An unforgettable adventure

December 12, 2014 — 

In January of 1946, I was skiing at Badger Pass and staying at the Yosemite Lodge 12 miles away, down in the valley. The accommodations were quite nice. They were 16-foot-tall tents with community showers down the way. It was there that I got the motivation to travel the world with my skis and then later with skis and camera.

I had met and skied with a man named Pat Gould from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he told me the following story: He was in the Army and stationed in New Delhi, India, when he heard about a ski resort up in the Himalayas. Investigation revealed that by taking several different buses he could get to that resort in 24 hours. However, during the trip, two of the four different buses he had to take had flat tires, so the trip took over 30 hours.

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Vail Daily column: Restoring the American Dream

December 11, 2014 — 

The term “American Dream” was first used by historian James Truslow Adams in his book “The Epic of America.” Adams was attempting to describe the complex beliefs, religious promises and political and social expectations of the American people.

Adams felt America was a land where life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. He described the ideal that every U.S. citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.

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Vail Daily column: The comeback kid

December 11, 2014 — 

Well, I’m just a fan. I try not to let it show, though. Being a journalist and all.

Rod Slifer didn’t just help start Vail from the beginning. He stayed engaged through the twists and turns of the town and valley-long community’s development through generations, right up into the 2000s in his encore tenure as Vail’s mayor at a crucial time.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

December 10, 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 Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, a great chance for donors to provide more dollars for their donation. It appears that the giving day was a big hit with donors, too. Congratulations to the organizers of the event and to the community service groups that raise our standard of living and standard of community spirit so high.

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Vail Daily column: Things we must not pass on

December 10, 2014 — 

Parents say the darnedest things.

“You know how ______ people are.” In the blank my mom inserted any manner of people she possessed strongly held stereotypes about: Poles, Jews, Italians, Protestants.

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Vail Daily editorial: A welcome gift

December 9, 2014 — 

This has been a weird, unsettling year. But as we look toward 2015, most of the civilized world has received a welcome Christmas present — plummeting fuel prices.

According to AAA Colorado, the price of regular fuel in Vail as of Tuesday was about 50 cents per gallon lower today than it was on the same date in 2013. The spread was even more pronounced in Glenwood Springs — a whopping 69 cents per gallon.

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Vail Daily column: Quality options for students

December 9, 2014 — 

Eagle County Schools boasts a number of quality and innovative school choice options. We’re committed to having a quality school in every community and to giving families the opportunity to find an option that’s right for their needs.

That’s why I’m pleased to announce that Eagle County Schools will launch a new online open enrollment system on Monday. This open enrollment system will allow families who wish to enroll in a school other than their community school to choose up to three choice options for enrollment.

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Vail Daily column: Preparing for procrastination

December 8, 2014 — 

Two weeks from tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

“Well duh, genius, thanks for the heads up.”

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Vail Daily column: Council helps improve Leadville community

December 7, 2014 — 

Given the fact that I grew up in Boulder, I am sort of a let-down when it comes to most outdoor sports. I am a day-hiker at best, and my bike serves only as transportation from Point A to Point B. It is not something I do for fun. Really, in most ways, you wouldn’t know I spent most of my childhood in Colorado.

Until I hit the ski slopes.

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Vail Daily column: Victories disguised as defeats

December 6, 2014 — 

When telling a story, do you use a zoom lens that focuses on a compelling character? Or, do you step back to gain broad perspectives and shape a story by peering through a panoramic lens? Looking through lens that zoom in or expand determines how we interpret history.

Luke employs this telegenic dynamic to heighten the Christmas story’s tension. He views the Roman emperor as a colossus bestriding the ancient world. Using a zoom lens, Luke tells how Jews and Romans knuckle under to Caesar’s taxing power. “In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all in the world should be taxed,” he relates. (Luke 2:1).

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Vail Daily column: Skiing the world

December 5, 2014 — 

The 1950-’60s marketing director for Pan-American Airways was also the inventor of a ski-training balancing board called the Bongo Board. Arguably, as many people got hurt trying to balance on that board as the number of weekend ski accidents in Vermont.

In New York City one afternoon, Stan Washburn suggested that I ride Pan-American Airlines around the world and take my skis along and call my next movie “Around the World on Skis.”

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Vail Daily column: Justice and ham sandwiches

December 4, 2014 — 

Here it is, in black and white:

White people: The grand jury considered the facts in the police shooting of that unfortunate black teenager and on that basis did not indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. Case closed. The system worked.

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Vail Daily column: Bah, humbug

December 3, 2014 — 

I make sure the heat is turned down in the office so that I can clearly see my breath gently billowing over the stacks of gold coins and my giant ledger as I scribble away the latest line item:

“Olsen, Brandt — For set of skis purchased — ($1,123).”

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

December 3, 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 town of Avon. “What happened to the nice bronze ‘Checkmate’ statue that was in Avon’s fourth roundabout? What did they put in its place, a stainless steel ‘@’ sign with some decorative crating around it? Is this supposed to be an improvement?”

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World Cup appetizer

December 2, 2014 — 

The traveling circus that is FIS World Cup ski racing is in the valley this week for the annual Birds of Prey races at Beaver Creek. The races are always exciting, but this year’s Birds of Prey is a bigger deal, since it serves as prologue to ski racing’s biggest show outside of the Olympics, the Alpine World Ski Championships, coming to Beaver Creek and Vail in February.

As a rule, Americans don’t much care for ski racing outside of Olympic years, but ski racing is a very big deal elsewhere. We always welcome a good-sized contingent of foreign teams, media and fans for Birds of Prey, but this year, there’s more than the next stop on the tour on their minds. Racers, coaches and ski techs will be studying the course with February in mind, and the traveling media will be looking for stories to tell when the Big Show returns in a scant 60 days.

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Vail Daily column: Celebrate World AIDS Day

December 2, 2014 — 

World AIDS Day (today) is a day to promote awareness of the ongoing fight against the AIDS epidemic around the world. This day should serve as a reminder to everyone that we must continue to work together to overcome the challenges and keep the world focused on the achievable goal of solidarity and an AIDS-free generation.

Perhaps you can recall reports of AIDS in the 1980s? The death toll was skyrocketing and the political response in America was founded on fear-based policies. HIV activists know all too well the dire consequences of a public health response based on fear and stigma instead of scientific evidence. The evidence became clear that HIV could not be transmitted by casual contact, yet politicians called for unnecessary quarantines and spread information that HIV could be spread by sharing a glass. In fact, three weeks ago Pat Robertson stated on his 700 Club TV broadcast in response to whether a trip to Kenya would be risky “You might get AIDS in Kenya. The people have AIDS in Kenya. The towels could have AIDS”.

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Vail Daily column: Lessons from Ferguson

December 2, 2014 — 

One would need to be living under a rock not to have taken note of the tragic shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

Complete and reliable accounts of what occurred are non-existent, but the basic facts are clear enough: A theft was followed by a confrontation ... and ultimately a deadly shooting.

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Vail Daily column: Violent vandalism changes nothing

December 1, 2014 — 

Michael Brown is not dead because of the color of his skin.

The 18-year-old is no longer living because a trained officer of the law was forced into a position where he had to use his training and his instincts, making a quick judgment call that tragically ended the young man’s life.

Neither is he dead because the color of the officer’s skin. That’s as irrelevant as saying the first snowboarder to die on the mountain this year will be because they were not on skis.

This is no civil rights issue. Michael Brown is no “martyr for the cause,” whatever the hell that actually means.

And the rest of us must stop thinking we have no choice but to “pick a side” on this issue.

Wrong, we do not.

No one does.

The social media morons making it a liberal/conservative/political issue are nothing more than self-serving buffoons using circular logic to rationalize conclusions that were reached a long time ago, never to be changed in spite of updated information.

Might as well be debating religion on Facebook.

“Yeah, well, a white kid was shot and killed by a black cop not too long ago! Where’s the outrage?! Where’s Al Sharpton!?”

You’re missing the point, but then again you just made one of mine.

Al Sharpton is an opportunistic clown who belongs in the same class with Sarah Palin. They both need to be sent back to grade school.

A great deal has been written during the last week claiming violence is what causes change in a society.

Wrong again.

How is throwing a rock through a window to steal a TV going to help “the cause”? How about turning over a police car, a stranger’s car or burning a store to the ground? Torching cars at a dealership teaches a lesson to whom exactly.

It makes as much sense as an angry mob marching up Bridge Street, throwing Molotov cocktails into Pepi’s and Gorsuch because there’s not enough snow on the hill.

Information is what causes change, not senseless vandalism.

Physical violence only leads to more physical violence (see: history of the world), but information, whether new, old or simply more complete, is more often than not the impetus for change in a society.

And understand I am not attacking Darren Wilson one iota more than I am defending Michael Brown or vice versa, as to do either is an insult to both.

Every law officer faces the potential of death every day and does so for a paycheck and at least some sense of responsibility to the community.

Every parent faces the potential of harm to their child every day and does so because they are 100 percent responsible for bringing that child into the world in the first place and thus owe it to that child to raise them with a proper sense of right and wrong.

Both sides make mistakes, however, and tragedy sometimes follows.

It’s up to those remaining to make the necessary changes, but beating each other over the head with a stick, metaphorically or literally, will never be the solution.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.

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