Editorials

Vail Daily column: Investment sets stage for Edwards project

September 18, 2014 — 

Over the past decade and with the support of the Edwards community, Eagle County and the Colorado Department of Transportation have made great strides toward improving vehicular and pedestrian access along the Edwards Spur Road. Phase I of a multi-year project included four roundabouts between Berry Creek Road and Miller Ranch Road. The results have provided a successful and sorely needed solution to traffic flow in the area, but there is more work to be done.

The effort to improve access in and out of Edwards began in earnest in 2003, when Eagle County entered into an agreement with the Department of Transportation to design improvements to the Edwards Spur Road, naming it the Edwards Interchange Upgrade Project. In 2004, a conceptual layout was developed and the project was divided into two phases, with Phase I encompassing the area just south of the Interstate 70 interchange to Miller Ranch Road and Phase II stretching from Miller Ranch Road to U.S. Highway 6.

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Vail Daily column: Making time for service

September 18, 2014 — 

The piles have grown piles, the plate loaded to spilling, the workday packed to the point a black hole might become a real possibility.

It’s always busy around here, one of the great charms of a career in news media, which tends to attract crazy ADD types who thrive on dealing with way too much all the time.

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Vail Daily column: Eagle County’s teacher leaders

September 16, 2014 — 

Eagle County Schools is an organization with a longstanding commitment and a lot of experience with teacher leadership. Specifically, over a decade ago Eagle County Schools began implementing a system to create leadership roles for talented teachers. These positions, called mentor and master teachers, came with added work days and responsibilities as well as meaningful pay bumps.

When the system was first implemented, it followed in the footsteps of a growing national program called the Teacher Advancement Program, or TAP. Here, much of the attention (and initial resistance) focused on the system’s performance-based compensation and evaluation approaches.

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Vail Daily editorial: A bit of good news

September 16, 2014 — 

Given the state of the world right now, we could all use a bit of good news, and there’s some wonderful news right here in our little valley.

The folks backing the Castle Peak Senior Care Community a few days ago announced they’d hit their fundraising goal of $4.4 million. That helps clear the way for construction to start this year on a senior care facility in Eagle, near Brush Creek Elementary School.

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Vail Daily column: Vail Resorts’ quest for world dominance

September 15, 2014 — 

Pinky: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”

The Brain: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky — try to take over the world!”

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Vail Daily column: The road back to State Bridge

September 14, 2014 — 

Highway 131 out of Wolcott rose north, twisted, then sank and there it was, the Colorado River, slipping through the valley like Father Time, silvery with sun twinkle and quiet as forgotten memories until I dropped the window and the babble and gush and chill rushed in.

I eased my pickup truck over the bridge then turned right, slowly crunching down the dirt road once home to State Bridge Lodge. The old structure was long gone now, burned down nearly a decade prior by forces undetermined, foul play suspected.

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Vail Daily column: Don’t strangle compromise

September 13, 2014 — 

James Madison believed congressional leaders’ most significant trip forced them to meet each other halfway. The Constitution’s architect framed the founding document so that mutual concessions resolved political debate. Former President Bill Clinton sounded Madisonian when he recently said, “If you read the Constitution, it ought to be subtitled, ‘Let’s make a deal.’”

In contrast, Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rejects going down the road of compromise. He tells congressional leaders to take a hike if they dare bend principles around public policy that works for both sides of the aisle. Cruz rarely stops at verbal yellow lights, which signal to proceed with caution. He acts as if he seldom needs to stop haranguing or listen to opponents and catch up with new insights. He sounds like Sen. Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) did in the 1970s, barring fresh views from disturbing their pre-conceived notions.

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Vail Daily column: Transparency needed in our food supply

September 12, 2014 — 

I am happy to announce that the hard work of over 500 grass roots volunteers across the state along with some paid circulators have been successful in placing GMO labeling on the ballot in Colorado this fall as Proposition 105.

It was at times a difficult task collecting signatures as our petitioners, exhibiting their First Amendment constitutional rights, were often asked or told to leave festivals, farmers markets, concerts and other events around the state by event organizers, local government officials and local law enforcement authorities.

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Vail Daily column: Planning a complete community of care

September 11, 2014 — 

What comes to mind when you think about Eagle County? Many tend to think of our community — and more specifically, the Vail Valley — as a destination resort, but that perception has changed since I arrived here in 1990. More and more people fall in love with the mountains and want to live here permanently. I think that’s a good thing — but we must now offer people something that allows them to stay.

Eagle County offers remarkable opportunities to live a well balanced life that includes hiking, biking, fishing, skiing and numerous other physical activities. We also have a thriving cultural community that celebrates the creativity of local residents. People here are in tune with nature and understand how mind, body and spirit are connected to health and wellness.

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Vail Daily column: Rivals for governor take ring

September 11, 2014 — 

Bob Beauprez won the show handily. No debate there.

Quip. Meat of the question. Quip. Delivered with the punch of complete certainty, in short sentences. Blue suit, red tie. No wasted movement.

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Vail Daily column: 13 years later

September 11, 2014 — 

I start getting the chills around this time every year. Part of it is due to the seasons’ transition; another element is also due to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. I was in the Washington, D.C., area during the event. It’s a day I’ll never forget. I will probably reflect where the world is and the status of the al-Qaida and jihadist movement around this time every year for the rest of my life — 2014 is no different.

The period between Sept. 11, 2013, and Sept. 11, 2014, was a transition period for al-Qaida, its affiliates, and the jihadist movement.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

September 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 the short, sweet leaf season. And then, and then, the season that attracted so many to begin with …

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Vail Daily column: Evaluation as the quality killer

September 10, 2014 — 

Fueled by federal grant money and state policy, education systems across the United States (including Colorado) are engaged in a large-scale effort to dramatically improve the quality of teachers and principals through evaluations.

These evaluations go where no school system has gone before in that they require the use of student outcomes (in many cases, standardized test scores) to be heavily weighted in the overall merit rating.

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Vail Daily column: Service in Harvey’s DNA

September 9, 2014 — 

Calling the police has usually never been a positive thing for me. The first time I was assaulted on the job happened nearly five years ago in Utah. I had been incapacitated by my attacker and was fortunate to have a well-trained staff that knew how to respond to the emergency. The local police department responded quickly, for which I was grateful. Associating the police with this particular event still raises my heart rate every time I see an officer. I was grateful, but also scared. That fear and memory of violence from this event and others largely caused me to avoid the police for several years. I know they are on my side, but it was the association with the event that made me cautious.

In fact, until I moved to the valley, I viewed the police with what I considered to be a healthy suspicion of authority. I, like many of us, had heard exaggerated stories of inappropriate policing and use of power. I had decided that I would only have necessary contact with the police as a result.

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Vail Daily editorial: When buffalo rumble

September 9, 2014 — 

We’ve been watching with somewhat detached interest the legal wrangling between Vail Resorts and Powdr Corp. over the fate of the ski area in Park City, Utah. But if your interests lie in that part of the Beehive State, then your interest, and concern, is very real.

The Associated Press reports that a Utah judge last week ruled that Powdr, which operates Park City Mountain Resort, must pay Vail Resorts a $17.5 million bond to continue to operate this winter. Vail Resorts holds a lease on virtually all of Park City’s skiable terrain.

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Vail Daily column: Round and round we spend

September 8, 2014 — 

Vail did “it” first.

The year was 1995, if I remember correctly.

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Vail Daily column: Does government mess up the works?

September 7, 2014 — 

Since our nation’s birth, Americans have debated what’s the right balance of citizens’ rights, states’ roles and the federal government’s responsibilities.

How does the federal government work for the common good without overreaching? President Ronald Reagan answered that “government is the problem.” A majority of the Greatest Generation, however, depended on government to lift them out of the Great Depression. Led by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, they believed capable government functions like grease on a car’s gears. It makes the motor of progress hum by filling human needs. Government is part of the solution, claimed FDR.

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Vail Daily column: A cold night in Boston

September 5, 2014 — 

It was a very cold, winter night in downtown Boston. It was 20 degrees out, to be exact, with the wind gusting about 20 miles an hour when I slipped and almost fell on the icy sidewalk. Years of experience showing my ski films in this part of the country had me prepared for the auditorium probably not even being half-full on such a miserable night as this, but much to my surprise, the high school auditorium was standing room only because of the hard work of my sponsor and his ski pupils.

He was running a ski program out of downtown Boston in a really tough part of town and most of the students were from single-parent homes. He had been able to scavenge, beg or borrow used or obsolete rental ski equipment from several of the ski shops in Boston. Armed with skis, boots and poles, he was then able to promote the use of several vans from a local automobile agency and an airport service company. Armed with such equipment and the cooperation of a small local rope tow hill, he could offer a rope tow ticket, a hot dog, a Coca-Cola and transportation to and from the ski area for $5. He was introducing inner city kids from very poor families to the greatest freedom sport in the world!

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Vail Daily column: The foggy path ahead

September 4, 2014 — 

Retirement has crept on cat’s feet, the faintest mist, into the conversation with my college classmates, and with it consideration of aging, mortality and youth.

Yes, youth. We’re firmly ensconced in the baby boomer breakaway generation that frankly none before and none after have quite emulated. X and Y and whatever comes next have progressed by degrees, shades really, along a path this generation broke.

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Vail Daily column: Lessons from my roomies

September 3, 2014 — 

Not too long ago I found myself in the fortunate position to purchase a home in Eagle. Priced at around $215,000, I think it is still one of the few homes that has appeared on the market under $250,000 in the past six months or so. That’s a whole other problem, but without revisiting that topic, I’d like to talk about the great changes that have occurred in my life since becoming a homeowner.

You see, I instantly knew that I had too much home to be there by myself. I opted to put up a few Craigslist ads, send out my networking feelers, and in less than a week, I had my other two bedrooms rented — rented, by the way, at rates that I paid nearly eight years ago for an 800-square-foot apartment in another state. Though I somehow managed to kill my yard during the first two weeks of May (always water profusely after you fertilize), I’m grateful for my roomies, and more than simply because they are kind enough to cover my mortgage.

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Vail Daily column: Reforms yield flat scores

September 2, 2014 — 

The recently released Transitional Colorado Assessment Program results landed across the state with a soft thud. While there were occasional bright spots, overall scores were flat or down in most subjects and grades. Even among charter schools, the ballyhooed darlings of the reform movement, results leaned toward disappointing, accented by wild fluctuation.

Reactions from pundits, state leaders and the Denver Post ranged from somber to puzzled, but ideas about next steps quickly emerged: Stay the course or even accelerate the hyper-accountability (more tests and punishments) and market-based reforms (more privatization) that have brought national attention to Colorado’s reform efforts.

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Vail Daily editorial: It’s that time again

September 2, 2014 — 

Buckle your seat belts and keep the channel-changer handy — election season begins in earnest this week.

Colorado has a handful of statewide races this year, including competitive contests for governor and the U.S. Senate. The Denver TV signals, already seemingly full of ads on one side or another of these races, will be positively choked with political ads during the next two months.

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Vail Daily column: Our turn to be extreme

September 1, 2014 — 

What’s the difference between ISIS, al-Qaida, Hamas, Boko Haram, Muslim extremists, Christian extremists, religious extremists of all flavors and terrorists?

Spelling.

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Vail Daily column: Thirty ways to simplify your life

August 31, 2014 — 

1. When reheating leftovers in the microwave space out a circle in the middle, it will heat up much more evenly.

2. Use a squeeze-ketchup bottle top (preferably a clean one) with your Shop-Vac to clean your keyboard, phone, microphone or other nook on an electronic device.

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Vail Daily column: Bite the hand feeding investors’ pocketbooks?

August 30, 2014 — 

Ironic that the higher the stock market soars, the more critics blame President Obama for a sluggish economy. The president counters, pointing to an overall fiscal trajectory on the right track. Factories reeling from the Great Recession now fill orders at a record clip. Apartments are hard to find. Office vacancies are rare. Unemployment continues to fall. Wall Street no longer sputters like a locked-up car motor damaged irreparably. Our nation has survived the 2008 financial crisis of the Bush II presidency.

Financier Roger Altman sides with President Obama against his critics. Seven years after the Great Recession, the national mood is still more sullen than sunny about the economy, Altman admits. General financial trends, however, are very encouraging, reports this former deputy secretary of the treasury during the Clinton presidency.

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Vail Daily column: Another Labor Day, lacking controversy

August 30, 2014 — 

One of the more curious holidays we celebrate in our country has to be Labor Day. It just hangs in there while other holidays search for identity or are continually fighting controversy.

For example, Columbus Day is nothing like Labor Day.

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Vail Daily column: The magic of wild places

August 29, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is the second of two columns on wilderness to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

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Vail Daily column: The sinking

August 29, 2014 — 

Everyone has a special event in their lives that is an anniversary especially for that person. I was very lucky, because I had a very special event occur at approximately the same time as one of the biggest events of my lifetime. Those two events happened very close to each other on July 11 and Aug. 6, 1945. In perspective, in 2 1/2 months I would turn 21 years old and could finally vote.

Our small sub-chaser was en route to Pearl Harbor from Guadalcanal via a small island in the central Pacific called Funafuti. And I really wanted to survive the next few months until I was of voting age.

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Vail Daily column: Envisioning Vail’s hospital of the future

August 28, 2014 — 

Vail Valley Medical Center has been a cornerstone of this community for nearly 50 years, and in that time, we’ve grown into one of the world’s most advanced mountain hospitals. While the care and services at VVMC are outstanding, the infrastructure is due for modernization. Fortunately, the hospital is in a position to address this opportunity, and we are at the brink of building a state-of-the-art medical campus to serve our community and guests for years to come.

As president and CEO of Vail Valley Medical Center, it is my privilege to share the news of our recent submittal of a master facility plan application to the town of Vail. Once approved, this plan will guide us in remodeling and building Vail’s hospital of the future. We are scheduled to break ground in the summer of 2015.

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Vail Daily column: Time to put an end to drunk driving

August 28, 2014 — 

Our community has recently experienced overwhelming tragedy related to impaired driving, greatly impacting our youth and their families, as well as youth-serving organizations that are focused on preventing such tragedies. Two amazing young people from our community lost their lives needlessly this summer because of impaired decision making and others have suffered serious injuries and have had their lives altered severely. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by these events. It’s unfortunate that such tragedies have to remind us that impaired driving is a community concern that needs to be addressed. Our youth are too important and the stakes are too high.

Over 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes every year in the United States. In 2012, the families of 10,322 people were devastated by the tragic, preventable death of loved ones in alcohol-involved crashes. Young drivers (18-34) represent the largest segment of drunk drivers in the United States; among the people killed in drunk-driving crashes over the Labor Day holiday weekend, for example, almost half (45 percent) were between the ages of 18 and 34. For those under the age of 21, it was illegal to consume alcohol, yet they did drink, and in addition chose to drive after drinking.

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