Editorials

Vail Daily column: Fighting for our natural heritage

May 28, 2015 — 

You could say that serving my country is in my blood. As a third generation veteran, I always knew that I would follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather. You could also say that speaking out for the causes I believe in is also in my blood. Because with military service comes a deep love and respect for our country, and all that makes her great.

A big part of what makes America so special is our public lands. They are our natural heritage — an iconic patchwork of beauty dotting the country from coast to coast. They are lands that serve as home for wildlife, a recreation haven and an economic powerhouse. Our lands and waters are also a place where veterans can go to find strength and healing after coming home from tours overseas.

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Vail Daily column: The best gen yet

May 28, 2015 — 

I must have missed the memo. Apparently there’s a generation gap I haven’t paid attention to, been blissfully unaware of, and it’s right under my nose.

Silly me, thinking there would be a memo. News of this would have come by text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, maybe even Snapchat, although that would have been sent and snapped by now. Probably tucked in with a selfie, whichever the platform.

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Vail Daily column: Inside out

May 27, 2015 — 

I was 17 years old and working three jobs during the summer. At 7.30 a.m., the call schedule at the small telemarketing firm where I spent my waking hours would start. My team and I would call people on their landlines (this was 2001) in order to gain consent to ship them a free cell phone that had a two year contract attached. There was no training and the calls were grueling. The 10-minute break allowed by law consisted of every salesperson in the building walking onto a nearby patio and chain-smoking. I didn’t smoke, so I would take a lap.

After a month or so of calling for exactly eight hours a day, then going to one of my second jobs until 9 or 10 at night, I started to get bored. The only thing I could think to do was start to perform my calls in different accents. Incredibly, though my dialect impersonations were downright awful, this activity spiced things up. In addition, the engagement level from the people I called increased. My sales went up, but my conscience, and our call auditing team, eventually caught up to me. It just wasn’t authentic.

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Vail Daily column: Educators hone their skills

May 26, 2015 — 

A key part of Eagle County Schools’ organizational strategic plan is following what we call a “professional” model of teaching.

Implementing a professional model means focusing on quality before a teacher ever takes a job in one of our schools. Things like a high level of selectivity as to who enters the teaching profession, rigorous pre-service training that includes content knowledge (the subject to be taught), evidence-based pedagogical (how to teach) training, and early clinical (supervised, hands-on) experience.

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Vail Daily editorial: No 'buts' about this

May 26, 2015 — 

Here’s some sobering news.

A recent poll conducted by YouGov.com, a public-policy research group, shows that 41 percent of Americans support criminal penalties for so-called “hate speech,” defined as disparaging ethnic, religious or other groups. Only 38 percent opposed the idea.

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Improving women's lives

May 26, 2015 — 

Sharp, stabbing pain lanced through my abdomen, causing me to double over as I grit my teeth and muttered unprintable obscenities. After the birth of my son, these pains routinely plagued me. After a few months of hoping they would go away on their own I finally sought a doctor’s opinion. Eventually, several doctors weighed in on the probable cause of my distress. One sent me for a colonoscopy. I lived in Shanghai at the time, which meant my procedure was performed in a Chinese hospital. I have preserved that episode of my life in a chapter of my memoir titled “Up the Yin Yang.” Another doctor suggested the removal my uterus since that was “probably” the cause of my pain. I no longer intended to use my uterus, but that did not mean I was ready to kick it to the curb. Good thing, because the next doctor I saw proclaimed my uterus perfectly healthy.

Having been cramp-free for most of my life, I had not considered that these pains were cramps from my cycle and neither did any of the doctors I saw. I visited three doctors, and not one recommended changing my birth control. In fact, one doctor actively discouraged my interest in an intrauterine device when I expressed the desire to get one. I ignored him, went to another doctor and had a Mirena IUD installed. At the time, it was not covered by insurance so I paid for it myself. When it expired five years later I had it replaced with another. I have now been cramp-free for eight years.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

May 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.

HIT: To state Sen. Kerry Donovan concluding her first legislative session with a visit to Edwards with Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign three of her bills into law last week.

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Vail's summer projects

May 26, 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.

The town of Vail is moving toward installing the infrastructure and initiating the construction of between 30-50 units of deed restricted, owner occupied, affordable housing on its Chamonix site in West Vail near the new fire station. The council is also considering adding another 20,000 square feet to the project and increasing the unit count to nearly 70. The concept of using a portion of the Chamonix property to relocate the municipal office complex has been rejected. A town report provided a demographic profile of owner-occupied affordable housing units. The household profile is dominated by post-child-rearing unmarrieds with one cohabitant who is employed within the town of Vail. This data seems to indicate that Vail’s inventory of owner-occupied subsidized housing is on a trajectory over the next decade to be inhabited primarily by retired local workers. A side effect of an aging local population is that Vail may well have fewer children entering the Red Sandstone Elementary School. The Red Sandstone school is a symbol for many of the vitality of a growing local community. The town of Vail is looked to for financial and other forms of support to keep the school in operation.

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Pay tribute to fallen this Memorial Day

May 26, 2015 — 

Memorial Day started in the South to commemorate the many brave people who fought and died in the Civil War. In time, it became the day to celebrate all of the brave men and women who have fought the many wars since America’s independence. It’s celebrated on the last Monday in May every year.

Hundreds of thousands of men were killed in the Civil War; in World War II, America lost 4,000 Marines in just one day on Iwo Jima.

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Vail Daily column: McCain's battle to kill Americans

May 25, 2015 — 

I do believe it is time for Sen. John McCain to finally fade away into the Arizona desert with all the other warmongers who have worn out their potential worthiness.

Along with his hawkish sidekick sweetheart, Sen. Lindsey Graham, last week they demanded President Obama send 10,000 American troops to fight on the ground against ISIS in Iraq.

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Vail Daily column: Setbacks make us stronger

May 25, 2015 — 

President Obama likes basketball. He plays pick-up games with White House staff. Sometimes, competition stiffens when the president shoots hoops with a pro. The NBA star defensively over-plays the president on the left because he favors this lane to the bucket. The president, a southpaw, sometimes surprises a player guarding him by driving for a lay-up on the right side.

The president practices in politics what he’s learned playing basketball. With Republican defenses over-playing what they scorn as his “leftist policies,” Obama drives ahead. Although he suffered midterm election set-backs in 2010 and 2014, the president acts like an NBA team making a run after being far behind. During his final quarter in office, the president is scoring big time with political dunks over Republicans.

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Vail Daily column: Human displacement

May 21, 2015 — 

North Africa, Mexico, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Guatemala and to some extent, Australia, all have the by-products of colonialism in their histories, that which plagues them all today.

In the Mediterranean, we see tragedy unfolding, as poor, unskilled, desperate families and individuals flee Libya, Tunisia, Mali and Algeria, from the plague of both tyranny and religious zealotry. State and mosque-controlled thinking, economies and social order dictated fight-or-flight momentum, clearly.

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Vail Daily column: We've seen this movie before

May 21, 2015 — 

Now Hillary Clinton is a sweet grandma ready and remade for her next run at the presidency.

The tough gal who banished her Bubba to the sidelines and lost to that kid, Obama, now “mixes easily” in social settings and has lost the tightly scripted aloofness that took her from irresistible force to loser in 2008. Now it’s tightly scripted friendliness and empathy. (Either way, she’ll take as few questions from pesky reporters as possible, the regular playbook now.)

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A giant step

May 21, 2015 — 

Local high schools this weekend will hold graduation ceremonies for the class of 2016. And yes, that’s a very big deal.

For those of us who have been out of school for... well, a while now, it can be easy to forget how big a deal high school graduation is. Life is full of big moments and milestones — marriage, children and, inevitably, the death of someone we hold dear. For many of these young adults, though, graduation from high school is the first of the milestones to come.

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Vail Daily column: Gear up for the great outdoors this summer

May 21, 2015 — 

The Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District is gearing up for another busy field season, and I wanted to take a moment to address a few items before we all get out in the woods this summer.

In light of the relatively dry winter and early spring, the existing snow is melting ahead of schedule, and our district is being asked whether the road system will open earlier this year. The 2011 Travel Management decision analyzed historic weather trends across the district and set our road open dates at May 21, June 1 and June 21. While we understand that Mother Nature will never match perfectly with a date on a calendar, having consistent open and closure dates allows the public to better plan their motorized use each year, provides for protection of wildlife, water and soil resources and, importantly, keeps the road surface in better condition through the inevitable (and hard to predict) spring rain and snow events. It’s for all these reasons that we need to remain consistent with our closure dates and will not be opening roads early this year. I appreciate your understanding and patience over the next few weeks.

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Vail Daily column: The kids are all right

May 21, 2015 — 

For schools, spring is a time of recognition and celebration, with continuation and graduation ceremonies happening all over the community. With those celebrations in mind, I’d like to profile a couple of exceptional Eagle County Schools graduates: Rachel Weiss from Battle Mountain High School and Miles Peterson from Eagle Valley High School.

As an upfront disclaimer, I want to note that all of our community’s high schools have (collectively) hundreds of successful graduates to celebrate this spring and many of them are headed off to an amazing selection of colleges, universities and career/technical training opportunities.

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Vail Daily column: Two down, one to go

May 18, 2015 — 

Most families consisting of three kids make the above statement at least once in their lives.

Beginning with high school graduation, next comes graduation from college and then, if lucky (depending upon one’s perspective), marriage.

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Vail Daily column: A mess we can't undo

May 16, 2015 — 

I notice the U.S. has recently changed its Facebook relationship status with Saudi Arabia to “It’s complicated.” And therein lies the problem for the average American consumer of headline news. Even for the so-called well-informed, it’s no easy task to get your head around the Middle East these days. Mainstream and even independent media, along with the usual think tank suspects feed us the same old stories — witness the Brookings Institute’s recent headline: “Saudi Arabia to Washington: A royal snub” — that lead us to believe it’s all about being in the right clique. (And right now, I can assure you, we’re not in the right clique).

It’s not an easy task for today’s journalists, especially those who need to follow standard practice: Boil it all down to a one-sentence lead or at least make sure it’s all summed up in the “nut” paragraph. But it would helpful if this mess was put into perspective — you know, tell us (your readers) what’s really going down. We can handle it. Really. So-called independent media look down their noses at mainstream media as being too corporate. And think tanks act like PR firms for their moneyed interests. But I digress.

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Vail Daily column: Can God take an irreverent joke?

May 16, 2015 — 

Christianity, Judaism and Islam expect believers to reverently speak of supreme authorities and religions’ founders. These Abrahamic faiths condemn irreverent jesting of venerated figures.

Should organized religions loosen up and tolerate trash-talkers who blaspheme respected authorities? Or, should their hardnosed policy be like a government’s war against terrorists. By stealth drone attacks, the military erects a national “shield” against terrorists.

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Vail Daily column: Worlds' lasting effect

May 15, 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.

Alpine World Ski Championships: According to a preliminary report, the effect of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships on the town of Vail sales tax collections for February will likely be down 0.9 percent from its budget projections, even though February sales tax collections increased 1.6 percent over the previous year. The championships’ primary sponsor, the Vail Valley Foundation, reports that according to their calculations visitor attendance far exceeded projections. Expectations are for Vail to receive a bump in visitors and real estate sales over subsequent years resulting from the championships’ television and social media coverage.

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Vail Daily column: The law of the land

May 15, 2015 — 

The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land.

It is also a godless secular document. This was clearly the intent of many of the founding fathers and 100 percent of the intent of those who drafted the Constitution.

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Vail Daily column: Era closes with careers

May 14, 2015 — 

Vail Deputy Fire Chief Mike McGee’s recent retirement didn’t complete a changing of the guard, but close.

A couple of the pioneering professionals who evolved through the mostly-volunteer days to today’s modern fire department still hold down the fort. Fire Marshal Mike Vaughan and wildland firefighting and mitigation supervisor Tom Talbot can regale you at the firehouse with stories from the early 1980s from direct memory.

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May 13, 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 a Wilderness Bill adding 40,000 acres to the Eagle’s Nest and Holy Cross wilderness areas with support from cyclists and water providers. While much watered down from more ambitious efforts, perhaps this one will at least squeeze through the federal gantlet.

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Vail Daily column: Grading Capitol session

May 12, 2015 — 

Last week, the 2015 legislative session drew to a close. An unprecedented 119 bills related to education policy were introduced. However, and thankfully by some accounts, the vast majority of these never made it into law — mostly dying in committees as part of the process.

Our educators are very accustomed to being ranked and judged based on criteria imposed by some outside force, usually state government (doing the bidding of the federal government) or some “think tank” with a not-so-hidden agenda.

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Vail Daily editorial: In praise of gridlock

May 12, 2015 — 

The 2015 session of the Colorado Legislature ended last week. The results were generally positive, thanks to our old friend gridlock.

Partisans often decry gridlock, claiming that two parties at loggerheads over policy and legislation prevent them from doing “work” for voters. In fact, partisan struggle often prevents legislation aimed at special interests.

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Vail Daily column: Tea party embarrassing Texas, again

May 12, 2015 — 

Jade Helm 15 is the code name for a U.S. Special Operations exercise that will be held in Texas and six other states for eight weeks this summer. This joint training exercise of Special Forces with the Army, Navy and Air Force’s elite soldiers is spread throughout the Southwest to provide troops a wide variety of terrain to conduct the drills.

The uproar surrounding this exercise on public and private land (all pre-approved) began when an extremist’s website called Infowars acquired an Official Training Map (a public document) that had two of the states labeled as enemy: Texas and Utah.

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Vail Daily column: Stand to gain

May 10, 2015 — 

Loss is an everyday part of life for a banker. Risk of loss is part of the equation. One of the most heartbreaking things for me personally is witnessing a child experience loss. It doesn’t even have to be a major loss, like the loss of a family member. In most cases, in fact, I find myself feeling sad for things as simple as a child who lets their balloon go or drops their ice cream cone. I can’t even watch commercials on TV which show situations like these because it messes with my emotions so much.

It is not the loss itself which is so heartbreaking. Those of you who have witnessed situations like these likely know what I’m talking about. The child is experiencing legitimate and sincere sadness, regardless of the size or scope of the loss. Usually, fixing the situation for the child can be easily handled by an adult. A balloon costs a dollar, an ice cream cone about the same. We have the technology to rebuild said cone. The amount of personal resources required to replace a balloon or an ice cream are insignificant to most adults, but not to the child. Sometimes adults do a good job of sympathizing, and sometimes we’re not as engaged as we should be.

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Vail Daily column: President's faith shapes his patriotism

May 8, 2015 — 

President Obama practices tough love when speaking about our country’s achievements and mistakes. By transforming errors into excellence, the president expects the U.S. to improve.

He takes his cue from a quotation in Thomas Jefferson’s note pad, which colonials called a “commonplace book.” TJ copied Euripides’ formula for improvement, which works for individuals and nations. This ancient Greek philosopher observed, “For with slight efforts, how should one obtain great results? It is foolish even to desire it.”

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Vail Daily column: First turns

May 8, 2015 — 

The eastern city limits of Pasadena rise abruptly up to Mount Wilson where there is a 100-inch telescope that was a state-of-the-art telescope until sometime in the ’30s or ’40s. Driving by Mount Wilson on a winding narrow road will get you to Mount Waterman. There in the late 1930s, Lynn Newcomb and his son built the second chairlift in California.

In 1937, this is where I made my first wobbly attempt at traversing across a ski slope. My pine skis were 3 or 4 feet long, with leather toe strap bindings that when the heels of my boots would go out into a snow plow position, they hung out over the skis, while my skis remained side-by-side going straight ahead until I ran out on the gravel on the far side of the small patch of snow.

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In a word

May 7, 2015 — 

For my birthday, I stripped myself of a title.

I’m no longer editor & publisher. Just publisher now.

Managing Editor Ed Stoner has handled the full editor reins for some time — quite and ever more capably. Check that: Editor Ed Stoner.

My role doesn’t change. I’m still responsible for the news department, along with sales, distribution, marketing, magazines, the organization. The whole Vail Daily shebang.

So just a word change. No big deal. Right?

Well …

I joke I have the best job I never sought, never applied for, barely said yes to, and never wanted beyond doing my part to help get us through the Great Recession and then I’d decide what I really wanted to do after that.

I know. I know. Helluva attitude toward quite possibly the best job in newspapers anywhere. The envy of his peers — and the publishers of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today who should want to kill for this post if they only knew — all stand-offish and holding his nose.

But way, way back when, I signed up for journalism. That’s the career I craved. If I wanted to get in business, I’d have gone to, I don’t know, Wall Street. Worked at my dad’s blueprint shop in Honolulu. Or my uncle’s custom refrigeration company somewhere in the bowels of LA. Gotten an MBA. Franchised for Amway.

My fascination held for stories, not sales. Writing, not spreadsheets. Don’t even get started with marketing.

Delivery? I was the rare paper boy who got himself fired. My first job seriously hampered the grand plan to someday replace Merlin Olson as defensive tackle for our Los Angeles Rams, thanks to my dumb mom who marched me down and signed me up for after-school work just when I needed to develop my moves at the playground, telling me it was high time I learned responsibility. Delivery? You’re talking about delivery? Channel Allen Iverson talking about practice. Couldn’t let little things like this distract from the main mission at age 10. What didn’t she understand about the NFL?

Until a week ago, my last tenuous hold on my adult calling clung by a word. Ed had ripped away the work, run with the role, taken all the responsibility, called the shots down in the newsroom, while nodding politely at the old dodderer wandering occasionally through the department as if he still ruled. Hah.

No, Ed did pretty much everything I asked of him, and then a lot more. He’s also our reigning digital news genius with a knack for projects the advertising department can sell. He’s stepped into the role very, very well. Damn him.

So yes, it’s kind of a big deal.

I identified myself by “editor,” the role I had most often through almost three decades now at papers across the country. This “publisher” thing always smacked too much of suits, golf courses and cocktail parties. I’m still a jeans, noon hoops and beer kind of guy. I drive a pickup wearing all of its 200,000 miles instead of some low shiny sleek sedan, black no doubt.

“Editor” was my mental back door, my quick escape, my last tie to the world I know in case “publisher” got too fancy pants.

Now I’m up on the wire without the net. Publisher. Responsible for the business and the organization. Where the buck stops. Yikes. Now there’s expectations.

This is not actual reality, mind you. In fact, I’ve been the publisher at the Vail Daily longer than anyone other than Bob Brown. And I think it’s only months before I’ll eclipse his tenure like Kobe passing Jordan, the lesser outlasting the master.

With my birthday, I’m older and presumably wiser. Time to drop the crutch, let Ed be ed. He’s more than earned it. And I can’t keep fooling myself that I haven’t fully embraced my role by now. Might even have to trade in that pickup soon. (Golf? Never.)

Really, it’s no big deal.

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

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