Editorials

Vail Daily column: Voyages of the Pursuit

August 28, 2015 — 

The 20-foot Pursuit (my old camera boat) was loaded to the Plimsoll mark as we moved away from the launching ramp in Anacortes, Washington. I didn’t know it at the time, but this exploration of the San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island in this small boat would change my life forever.

I had no idea whatsoever that such a wonderful geographical area existed. All you need is a small boat, an engine and the wonder at what is over the horizon.

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Vail Daily column: Vail should pursue quality over quantity

August 28, 2015 — 

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.vailhomeowners.com.

Perhaps Vail has reached a tipping point or turned a corner where opportunities to change its recession based economic policies are now opening. The Vail Homeowners Association has advocated for a “quality over quantity” approach that will continue to promote Vail but damp down the congestive effects of doing so. Much remains to be done in this regard.

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Vail Daily column: How we become better

August 28, 2015 — 

The message knocked twice in the same day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I think it might just be the key to everything.

Ah, this is why I go to workshops and presentations. Why I hardly ever watch TV anymore.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

August 26, 2015 — 

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 those cheatin’ spouses from the Happy Valley with accounts in the infamously hacked Ashley Madison website. A techie friend reported 2,277 of ’em. Sounds a little high even if frisky husbands and wives are hardly unheard of.

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Vail Daily column: Worthy education efforts

August 26, 2015 — 

Margaret Mead may have said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I’ve always loved this concept and am fortunate to have met several amazing locals who daily demonstrate Mead’s observation.

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Vail Daily editorial: A very big deal

August 25, 2015 — 

After years of planning, Vail Valley Medical Center on Saturday broke ground on its future — an ambitious expansion and renovation program.

The details are too numerous for this space, but high points include a new entrance, a new emergency department and an overall better use of space in the oft-expanded facility. Residents and tourists alike will appreciate the plan’s ultimate goal of getting the vast majority of vehicle traffic off West Meadow Drive.

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Vail Daily column: The value of public opinion

August 25, 2015 — 

This past week, two national organizations released opinion polling results on education policy. While the topics were quite similar and both polls were conducted using best practices around sampling and polling methodology, the results were quite different.

The first poll was conducted by Education Next, a think-tank and ed-policy journal housed at Harvard. EdNext generally sides with the education reform movement and favors more right-of-center policies like more testing, accountability, school-choice and vouchers. EdNext worked with Knowledge Networks, a professional polling firm, in sampling 4,083 respondents nationally.

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Vail Daily column: Civics 101: Cut the BS

August 24, 2015 — 

During a 16-year-run on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart taught Civics 101. Using a comic’s touch, he stayed on message. Our Republic can’t flourish if leaders don’t work with their rivals, he emphasized. Stewart lampooned political leaders who broke this rule.

He practiced what the Bible advises: “to shun profane and vain babblings” (II Timothy 2:16). Stewart crystallized quaint scriptural language to its core. “Cut the BS,” he declared.

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Vail Daily column: Hooray, we're all rich!

August 24, 2015 — 

Last Thursday I not only woke up in Homestead a year older but wealthy as well.

Ain’t America great?

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Vail Daily column: Expect the unexpected in this political season

August 23, 2015 — 

As expected, the Hillary Clinton email scandal is turning into a very partisan issue; and how could it not be? We’re entering the election season and candidates from both parties are getting their ducks in row as the jockeying begins to choose the standard bearers for 2016.

And before Republicans begin jumping for joy that Hillary Clinton’s antics may be damaging her chances for the presidency, the GOP is having significant problems of its own. The Republican Party may have the most qualified stable of potential presidential candidates than at any time in the last 40 years, yet it’s a billionaire businessman, who refuses to supply specifics, that is sucking all the oxygen out of the room. I choose not to diminish “the Donald” but allow me to ask rhetorically, would you trust Donald Trump with a nuclear weapon?

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Vail Daily column: Good to great schools

August 21, 2015 — 

School starts this week for kids across our community, but the teachers, administrators and support staffs of Eagle County Schools have already been on the job getting ready — many of them for weeks.

At one of our community schools, Gypsum Elementary, the staff took an unusual tack on the work of returning to school. While there was plenty to do around scheduling, coordinating and planning for teaching — the staff at Gypsum took to the streets to ask their community a simple question — “What makes a good school?”

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Vail Daily column: What is government's role in Vail's change?

August 21, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: The following is excerpted 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.vailhomeowners.com

With a great mountain, beautiful environment and outstanding cultural opportunities, growth and change for Vail are inevitable. It is folly to try to bring change to a halt or try to reverse course, but the inevitability of change raises the question — what should be the role of government in dealing with that change?

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Vail Daily column: Early days of the ski resort

August 21, 2015 — 

When I drove into the Sun Valley parking lot with Ward Baker in January 1947, I had no idea I would spend the next three winters there.

On the road from Ketchum to Warm Springs, there was only one building after the Bigwood River Bridge. There was no reason for anyone to live out there because there was no electricity or water beyond the bridge. The ground was pretty fallow and as they said, it wasn’t even good enough to grow potatoes in. The following summer, ski instructor Leon Goodman built what I recall was the first house out there. Prices of real estate were still working against moving that far out of town because you could still buy a vacant lot in Ketchum in the $500 range. I bought my first piece of property in Ketchum right on Trail Creek and the road to Hailey for $350 a couple of years later. There was only one motel in Ketchum, called the Bald Mountain Hot Springs Hotel. As I remember, they had built a wooden pipe from what is now the base of the Warm Springs lift to their hotel and sold the use of that hot water for heating for the houses that were later built along the route.

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Vail Daily column: The soul of the selfie

August 20, 2015 — 

A meeting in Aspen left me a little time afterward to run a trail in the Maroon Bells.

First time there, and boy was I impressed. All Ansel Adams, but in living, breathing color with a living, breathing moose in the trees as I puttered past. More dangerous than a bear, some rangers say. Big anyway.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

August 19, 2015 — 

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 “Jack Van Ens with his column on voter ID requirements. Low-cost or free photo ID cards are available to qualified citizens most everywhere.”

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Vail Daily column: Exercise gives hope to Parkinson's patients

August 19, 2015 — 

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive chronic disease in which dopamine-producing neurons, which influence body movement, gradually disappear from the brain, causing movement disorder as well as other less obvious symptoms. It is the second most prevalent neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s, and it strikes over 60,000 people in the U.S. each year. The Parkinson Association of the Rockies estimates that there are 17,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease in the Rocky Mountain region. As of yet there is no cure.

Most people receiving the devastating diagnosis of Parkinson’s are given few options to help control the symptoms and progression of the disease. Medication and deep brain stimulation as well as a healthy lifestyle are typically mentioned. Exercise is stated as being helpful, but most doctors do not explain why or the vital role it can play.

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Vail Daily column: Goodbye to a true gentleman

August 17, 2015 — 

As I am sure most of you are aware, Happy Valley lost a true giant last week.

He wasn’t in the ski industry, did not own hotels, restaurants or golf courses, and is not quoted in any of the popular tomes written over the years about Vail, yet the vast majority of those who have called this place home over at least a decade know the name: David LeVine.

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Vail Daily column: Skewed U.S. history cons conservatives

August 17, 2015 — 

Up-close, surface cracks mar Thomas Jefferson’s Mount Rushmore profile. Workmen in roped harnesses rappel down stony presidential faces to patch fissures in weather-beaten granite.

Tourists buy touched-up photos of Mount Rushmore’s presidents. They like ideal depictions of our national heroes, featuring unblemished stony complexions.

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Vail Daily column: Vail is at a tipping point

August 14, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: The following is excerpted 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.vailhomeowners.com

For most of its first 50 years, Vail has been a “transformational” community — one that was principally concerned with the quality of life and well-being of its residents; a community that rested on personal relationships and shared goals. But questions now are being raised whether Vail has shifted to a “transactional” community where pocketbook concerns predominate and the focus is on the efficiency of impersonal, monetized, person-to-person service transactions. In such a community there is less concern for the quality of life in the push to increase the bottom line or increase sales tax receipts.

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Vail Daily column: A lot to write about

August 14, 2015 — 

Since I got my first job writing a weekly newspaper column for the Vail Daily about 25 years ago ... 52 columns a year, for 25 years, 1,300 columns equals a lot of words!

One of those columns appeared soon after it snowed 99 feet at Mount Baker one winter. Another when it started to become a seven or eight hour drive to go the hundred miles back from Vail to Denver on Sunday night, with a car full of sleepy children and a very sleepy driver. A day in the local mountains skiing with the family is bracketed on each end, with rambunctious children or sound asleep children smelling of melted snow mixed with sweaty wool.

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Vail Daily column: The star of the show

August 13, 2015 — 

And the winner of the first Republican presidential candidate forum: Megyn Kelly.

Yes, the Fox News journalist. Sorry, Donald. This will prove out with time.

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Vail Daily column: Putting students in the center

August 11, 2015 — 

For most adults, the reality is we were passengers in our own education.

We were first sorted by age levels and sorted into grades and then into classes. Within these classes, teachers exposed us to different content — things like math, reading, science, etc. The pace was dictated by how much “stuff” (or facts) a teacher had to cover within the traditional school calendar and away we went. Some of us thrived in this structure, while others struggled.

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Vail Daily column: Uniting against ironic conformity

August 10, 2015 — 

“Just look at what the Republicans have done!”

“I think the Democrats have done more!”

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Vail Daily column: We live in very interesting times

August 9, 2015 — 

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has openly stated how proud they are to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever — 46 million people are recipients of this largesse.

Meanwhile, having just returned from a photo trip to several national parks, I can tell you there are signs posted throughout that read, “Please do not feed the animals.” The stated reason for this obvious and common sense policy is the fear the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to care for themselves.

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Vail Daily column: Kill adversaries with kindness

August 8, 2015 — 

Presidential contender Donald Trump is no Thomas Jefferson in political style. “The Donald” draws verbal swords to strike enemies. He’s a former reality show host whose sharp words bloody opponents.

Trump questioned whether Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War POW, was a hero and blasted the Arizona senator for failing veterans with scant legislative action on their behalf.

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Vail Daily column: Journeys in a Ford Pinto

August 7, 2015 — 

During the 1970s, as far as I was concerned, my life was in complete disarray. I was in the middle of an ugly divorce, my kids were all over the place with my son Scott just graduating from (Budget Busting) Art Center in Pasadena, my daughter Chris was going to college in Santa Barbara and my son Kurt had spent two full years plus the rest of his life racing sailboats and was attempting to make the Olympic team in a single-handed boat called the Finn.

There was a gas shortage, real or contrived, nevertheless there were gas station lines as long as an hour. In the middle of all of this, President Carter canceled America’s participation in the Olympics in Russia. For all the young men and women who had trained for years to make the team, there was no team.

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Vail Daily column: Generational shift?

August 7, 2015 — 

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.vailhomeowners.com.

For most of its history, Vail’s leaders have focused on providing a quality lifestyle for its full and part-time residents and visitors alike, an outdoor lifestyle, centered on the mountains, a pristine environment and cultural enrichment. Some now question whether that perspective is changing as in recent years the town leaders have spent a good deal of time and money researching how best to court the youth market (those aged between 20–35, millennials or Gen Xers) and those from 35 into their 50s, otherwise known as Gen Yers. A principle aspect of that effort has been an increasing number of special events aimed at those market segments, especially the millennials.

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Vail Daily column: The road not taken

August 6, 2015 — 

We compared knee braces, my friend and I. Noticed the other’s gray and how we’d each stayed reasonably thin while most peers have developed more, ahem, girth.

I probably talked too much, too rapidly. Had too much to share over beer on the roof of Ouray’s brewery that Saturday evening.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

August 5, 2015 — 

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 first Three Rivers Little League team to win the state championships and move on to the regional level. The junior girls softball team is dominated by eight Gypsum girls, which bodes pretty well for Eagle Valley High School’s softball team’s future.

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Vail Daily column: Setting the record straight

August 5, 2015 — 

Without any play on words with the title, this piece will attempt to approach the touchy subject (again, no pun intended) of the modern gay dilemma.

I belong to a men’s Bible study group each Friday morning in Edwards, at which we study and discuss the Old and New Testaments with modern day perspectives. The group is comprised of an MD, a photographer, Realtor, hotel concierge manager, electrician, insurance broker, banker and lawyer.

Within that context, each of the nine of us is asked to speak each week to the group on a topic related to literature, media, academia and philosophy, none of which being as complicated as it may sound. Topics have included sin, Jesus’ incarnation, eternity, heaven, hell and church disunity.

For years I have struggled to understand same sex marriage, gays in the military and all matters homosexual. As a Christian, I’m often confused with the disconnect between tolerance and discrimination by the Church, assuming as I did that the media’s version of the church’s stance on gays was harsh and non-inclusive. I couldn’t have been more mistaken, as you will see below.

I was charged with the task of presenting to my peers recently an examination of the relationship, or lack thereof between gays and the church at large, a daunting task, but the challenge intrigued me. The results surprised and embarrassed me given my own homophobia quotient, and clarified the issue for me beyond dispute.

Fast forward for now to Indiana and Gov. Pence taking severe heat for the public rebuke of recent legislation pointing to discrimination against gays and others based on religious convictions. Existing 22-year-old federal laws protected gays civilly as it turns out but the fracas was grist for the mill for leftist activists determined to create division, spawned by Al Sharpton, et al. There are thousands of florists and photographers that will service weddings in question — I’m sure of that.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians (6:9-11): “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters nor adulterers, nor make prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

In Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, one may read a more concise statement of traditional views and points to the core of my motivation to write this article; that the view of the church, most Americans, soldiers, priests, politicians and I feel no hate toward gays whatsoever. How could we, anyway, without meeting any of them? The prior list of folk, including the church, only have issues with gay sex, not gay people. There, I said it. Homosexual behavior (not people) is prohibited in Scripture (Leviticus 20:13) and led to divine judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:4-5, 12-13). Paul declared that God’s wrath stands against such behavior whether practiced by men or women.”

2. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, but in the New Testament did condemn all forms of sexual immorality. However, regardless of how we interpret the Bible’s teaching about homosexual acts, it is important to note that the Bible does not condemn people for being sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. It is sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex that is prohibited by Bible teachings. Celibacy is therefore assumed to be proper within same sex relationships, should the couple wish to consider themselves Christian, behaviorally speaking.

The doctrinal position taken by each of the churches below regarding homosexual behavior is as follows:

Catholics: “Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity, and cannot be approved. All are called to chastity by virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom. They must be accepted however, with respect, compassion.

Southern Baptist: “We affirm God’s plan for marriage and sexual intimacy ... one man and one woman for life. Homosexuality is not a valid alternative lifestyle. The same redemption is available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.”

Methodist: “Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality, incompatible as it is with Christian teaching, we affirm that God’s grace is available to all.”

Episcopal: “Homosexuals are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the church.”

In summary: The Bible accepts homosexuals, both men and women to the faith. They don’t, however, condone their sexual behavior. Churches welcome them willingly as they would adulterers, thieves and others seeking forgiveness. Outrage by those seeking tolerance on this issue should examine, it seems, their faith commitments, as the calling to Christianity is a choice, not a mandate, like Islam.

Note: Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Pat Mitchell lives in Edwards.

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