Letters to the Editor

Vail Daily letter: Bullies are dangerous

June 22, 2016 — 

I recall a candidate in Missouri’s last senatorial election who kept saying stupid things like women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. Now, I’m not from Missouri. And, normally, I wouldn’t have intervened in that election. But, a United States Senate seat is an important position and it affects me even though I live in Colorado. So, I did what I thought best. In all the news and social media in which my voice could be heard, I called him out every time he said something stupid. Eventually, he lost the election. I like to think I helped that happen in some small way. Call it a voice in the wilderness.

At a recent rally in Atlanta, this year’s presumed Republican Party nominee for president of the United States said, “And be quiet. ... Just please be quiet. Don’t talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet ... because they (the current Republican leadership — my parentheses) have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter. We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself.”

Stupid.

Call it “bullying.” Call it “bossism.” Give it a name if you must. Either way, I expect more from someone who will sooner or later ask me directly for my vote to put him in the most important public job in the free world.

I’m not talking about that everyone is entitled to their opinion. If he thinks Republicans are stupid, and that is his opinion, who am I to say? I’m talking about saying something stupid when you are trying to gain an important public office that affects my life and the lives of my fellow citizens and many people in the whole world. And, saying it in a way that shows me the limitations behind the intelligence behind the words. These are the words of a bully. A bully is a person who, lacking the intelligent force persuasion requires in getting people to see things his way, resorts to slurs, insults, railroading, threats, intimidation or going around or under the objections and concerns of others to achieve his ends. If you fact check that candidate’s track record and follow the trail of his deals, or lacking that, just his Twitter account, you’ll find these are all techniques he employs. I’m not making this stuff up.

I’m not saying he isn’t smart. Obviously, he is. But, let’s just say he’s not up to my standard for what it takes to get my vote for that office. And, if you argue to me, well neither is the other gal, I disagree. She’s smart, too. But, she has something he doesn’t have, the experience in a public job to know what her constituents and adversaries expect to be civil conduct in a modern democracy that doesn’t threaten the fundamental freedoms of the people guaranteed by that people’s governing documents, of which the presumed Republican candidate has shown a liberal, flagrant and consistent ignorance. Yeah, I know. You’ll argue she couldn’t be that smart if she used private channels for her emails connected to her public job, a clear violation of policy, etc. That’s an argument for another time. In fact, I expect, we could have a lot of arguments. I welcome a civil discussion of any and all of them. That’s what democracy is about.

But, bullies are another matter. Bullies are dangerous, especially to a democracy, because they make people afraid. And, when people are scared, the bully can do whatever he wants.

Gus Nicholson

Vail Daily letter: World-class quality

June 22, 2016 — 

The Vail golf course has had another level of challenges this season, and both the golf and the maintenance staffs have really stepped up. For those of us who have been here since opening day, take a mental picture what it looked like.

The maintenance staff has stepped up and continues to do so in world-class fashion by meeting headlong the challenges: course performance, grounds disruptions and of course the effects of the erection of the new club house.

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Vail Daily letter: Spinning the Constitution

June 17, 2016 — 

If I understand the gist of Arn Menconi’s rambling article in Thursday’s Vail Daily, he seemingly indicates that a “privilege” to bear arms is granted to an individual by a governmental authority, be it a municipality, district, a state or the federal government, and in alleging this, he cites that part of the Second Amendment which asserts, reaffirms and declares that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”; “infringed” by whom? Why government of course, since this was a specific and expressed limitation on the authority of governments in general by virtue of the Second Amendment in conjunction with that of the 14th.

I ponder how Menconi can spin, massage, and parse a Constitutional, recognized and expressed term such as a “right” into a “privilege” or “license” to be granted by a governmental authority to its citizens or some of them. A preamble to the Constitution (Declaration of Independence) pronounced in part that all men are “endowed by their creator (not man) with certain unalienable rights.” It all comes down to this question: Are rights man-made, the social creation of a particular vision of society as Marxists claim? Or, are rights a self-evident endowment of our creator as Jefferson asserted? I believe that Marx wrote the “Communist Manifesto” as Menconi endeavors to implant into the Constitution’s meaning, whereas Madison and Jefferson in fact patently manifested in that charter an indefeasible “right” that applies in full force in our times as well.

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Vail Daily letter: Misstatements on guns

June 17, 2016 — 

Arn Menconi made a number of misstatements in his column “Fighting for gun control” (Valley Voices, Thursday’s Vail Daily).

First, he claims that the US Supreme Court says that Second Amendment rights are reserved to the states and their militias. Of course, the decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago say the opposite — that there is an individual right to have guns under the Second Amendment.

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Vail Daily letter: Prevent elder abuse

June 14, 2016 — 

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On this day, communities across the country and all over the world will sponsor events to highlight the growing issue of elder abuse. Our community members — young and old — should know that the U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as one in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year. Older adults provide important contributions to our communities; their abuse diminishes our society as a whole. Elders who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes, and three times as likely to die as those of similar age or health who are not abused.

Elder abuse may be physical, financial and/or sexual. Elder abuse also includes those who neglect themselves. Research shows that most perpetrators of elder abuse are family members and/or trusted professionals, but complete strangers also perpetrate abuse of older adults. Abuse can happen in any setting: in the older adult’s own home, nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

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Vail Daily letter: Showing my age

June 13, 2016 — 

Modern-day electronic gadgets and changing contemporary habits have eroded some old-time traditions of grammar, spelling, enunciation, basic math and reasonability.

Different words:

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Vail Daily letter: Thanks for tennis courts

June 12, 2016 — 

Kudos to the new president of the metro district board, Chuck Toms, and the rest of the metro board for voting to replace our four neglected tennis courts with four state-of-the-art post tension tennis courts. Eagle-Vail’s tennis facility, long overdue for improvement, will finally be getting beautiful, new tennis courts to complement our beautiful swimming facility and outstanding golf course.

This new board is fulfilling its obligation and demonstrating its commitment to uphold its fiduciary responsibility by attending to and maintaining the recreational assets of this community. Once the tennis building and courts are repaired and replaced, youth tennis programs, adult league play and wonderful family opportunities will enhance Eagle-Vail’s community.

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Vail Daily letter: Danger on road

June 8, 2016 — 

Dressed in a power pedaler’s ensemble, she appeared almost out of nowhere. Fearful of the speed at which she approached, I jumped backwards into the closest yard. Holy Moses! “Slow down, girl,” I thought while silently dubbing her Eagle-Vail’s Lancaleah Armstrong.

I’d seen her before. A husky, middle-aged gal with blonde hair and the weathered face one would expect of a dedicated cyclist.

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Vail Daily letter: Thank you for your support

June 8, 2016 — 

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the following local businesses for all their hard work in helping to raise funds for the Vail Veterans Program over the Memorial Day weekend:

• Speckled Hound Racing — Valor Memorial Day Run.

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Vail Daily letter: Thank you, Rohn Robbins

June 7, 2016 — 

Rohn Robbins overstayed his stint as the chairman of the board of directors for the Vail Symposium for nearly an entire year. And for that we are very thankful.

While Rohn will continue to serve on the board and the Executive Committee (an error in our most recently printed brochure did not offer him this recognition), he will be succeeded by Dale Mosier on July 1. With the transition coming up soon, we, the staff, wanted to offer our thanks to Rohn for his leadership.

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Vail Daily letter: Privatize VA health care

June 6, 2016 — 

Our president has recently indicated that the VA health care system should not be privatized. I am a veteran with service-connected injuries and disabilities and my association with the VA is personal.

It is a mess and needs to be privatized or at least pared down to scale that is manageable. We have enough private healthcare available without another whole system, which I have found to be more management than actual care. By the way, this is nothing new. The VA has been problematic for 40-plus years via my experiences.

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Vail Daily letter: Thanks for support

June 6, 2016 — 

We at Food Rescue Express want to thank Elizabeth, Rebecca, Amy and Keith. Without their help, we could have not gotten our Food for Kids Backpack Program because they help back and deliver to the nine schools we worked with this year. We fed 2,506 kids and backed and delivered 15,036 meals. Also, a very special thanks to the employees at Arrabelle, Beaver Creek Marketing and the fifth grade at Vail Mountain School for your food drives. Eagle County Disc Golf Society, thank you for your continuous support for your food drives and fundraising. Foods of Vail and Village Market, thank you for your contribution of fresh fruit for our kids.

Eagle County, we could never do it without your continuous support when we do our annual food drive in September and your continuous financial support. Eagle County School District, thank you for letting us into your schools to help feed the kids who so badly need food for the weekend. School is out for the summer, but we still work on the backpack program to come with new menus and do our food inventory. We begin our seventh year and the need is so great in the valley and we are so thankful to help these kids. To learn more about our program, please visit us at foodrescueexpress.org.

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Vail Daily letter: Defining an 'American'

June 5, 2016 — 

Who and where are the “Americans,” other than those reposed at the likes of Arlington, Fort Logan or other domestic and foreign fields? Have we become a nation of such diversity, ethnic division, and racial discord that “an American” has lost his historic persona and very identity? Has the “rule of law” become as archaic and passé as the Constitution, what with the people’s representatives having matriculated from ”servants” to “career politicians” or worse — to “entitled elites”?

The very recent Rasmussen poll indicated that no less than 71 percent of Democrats polled indicated that they would still vote for Ms. Clinton, notwithstanding the fact that she would be indicted for criminal violations of federal laws, e.g., Espionage Act of 1917, obstruction of justice, destruction of federal property, etc. One of the time-honored indicators or attributes of an “American” has been his devout appreciation for the rule of law. Ergo, does the Democratic Party epitomize what and who an “American” is? Does the DNC have a different DNA gene pool that foments a modern day “ American”? What with the socialist/entitlementarian mindset displayed by the two Democratic candidates running for the CEO position, they, and each of them, are far and away estranged from the capitalistic and altruistic philosophies that made this country the envy of the world — Hillary a closet socialist/sociopath and Bernie an unadulterated, transparent and avowed socialist!

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Vail Daily letter: More needs to be done

June 2, 2016 — 

There is a missing piece in the current Senate Bill 169 on Gov. Hickenlooper’s desk: Psychiatric care.

Being placed in a hospital or a jail in the middle of a mental health crisis tops any person’s worst-day-ever list. None of us hopes to reach that point, nor do we hope our family members or friends suffer through such a time without proper psychiatric care.

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Vail Daily letter: Democrats get a 'D'

June 2, 2016 — 

We are all voters. In New Zealand you are fined $89 if you don’t. Voters are still given the benefit of the doubt when they vote for one party or another. It is assumed that each of us has done his or her homework about candidates, current parties’ “re-electability,” and coexistence with modern challenges.

To be fair, candidates face challenges for both re-election and consideration, like war, famine, debt and social change. It should surprise well-read and aware voters that this administration can still be taken seriously as an incumbent when the following happens:

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Vail Daily letter: Thank you, Sen. Bennet

June 1, 2016 — 

I am writing to thank Sen. Bennet for his new Camp Hale National Historic Landscape proposal. This is an exciting proposal for Eagle County that would provide 23,000 acres of land that would be protected from development. All of the recreation that happens on this land will continue to provide enjoyment for all Coloradans and our visitors. This area is incredible for hiking, mountain biking, climbing, hunting, fishing, camping, skiing, snowmobiles, ATVs and four-wheel drive vehicles.

Camp Hale has amazing historical value, where during World War II, 14,000 10th Mountain troops trained. Many of these courageous soldiers returned from World War II to start our ski industry. What a great way to honor their service by preserving the place in which they fell in love with the outdoors. This is an exciting proposal that will be a great addition to the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act proposed by Congressman Polis.

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Vail Daily letter: A long way to go

May 31, 2016 — 

Affordable housing has been a much debated topic for as long as I can remember. Given the current environment and the pressures it brings to bear on our businesses as well as many/most businesses in Vail, I felt that it was appropriate for me to add my two cents.

We are privileged to operate two successful restaurants in the Vail Village; however, conducting business in our valley can be extremely challenging. I won’t go into the other costs that continue to escalate (food inflation, health care costs, overall operating expenses, etc.) but am writing this letter to emphasize the pressures that the lack of affordable housing adds to this equation. We are fortunate to have many terrific employees, a great number who have been in the valley for years. I have heard more accounts in the past six months of even these tenured individuals losing their leases due to no fault of their own (sale of property, landlord choosing to put the residence up for Airbnb among others). When trying to find a new place, the story is frequently the same — few properties available to rent, dozens of prospective renters in queue for the ones that are on the market. And this does not even take into account any of the people who are new to town, desirous of making Vail their home. We have been able to secure a few properties for employee housing to help our own cause, but unfortunately this barely scratches the surface of the issue. It should be self-evident that without a quality workforce, continuing to provide a world-class experience with world-class products and service will be unsustainable for many businesses. I applaud the efforts the town of Vail has made and continues to make. I also believe that business owners need to do what we can individually to help find solutions. The bottom line, however, is that we have a long way to go.

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Vail Daily letter: Let us skate

May 29, 2016 — 

First, I don’t have any real facts. This is based on some conversations in the skate community here in the valley. I thought I remember an article in the Daily last year claiming some $1.6 million for building the new Vail skate park. I also remember reading the skate park was going to be finished last October. So how much did the skate park actually cost? When will the skate park actually open? When I think about the size of the Edwards skate park and the amount of excavation that went into building the bowls, I start to wonder where the money for the Vail skate park went. Edwards is at least three times the size of Vail’s. There was virtually no digging during the process of the Vail skate park — I watched them build it. Word on the street is both skate parks cost similar amounts to build? Where did the money go?

What about year round skating? I also remember talk about heating the cement. All the streets in Vail are heated, yet people building the skate park claim Vail backed out of this to save money. And the community is still waiting! The cement has been poured and ready since late October. Since then I’ve watched artwork go up, acid washing the cement, lights, and fences go up. This is taking longer than the actual building of the park. Trust me, no skateboarder cares about art being at the park. We want to skate.

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Vail Daily letter: Something has to change

May 29, 2016 — 

Aristotle said that A is A. Reality exists. The reality for Eagle-Vail has just come to light and it’s not pretty. The precarious nature of Eagle-Vail’s current financial situation was recently shown to be worse than we knew. In addition to the roughly $10 million in principal and interest payments still remaining on the pool bond and $750,000 in remaining certificates of participation payments, it was revealed at the May 5 Eagle-Vail Board of Governors meeting that over the next 20 years $22 million in maintenance expenditures are needed just to keep things as they are. Of that total, there are at present no funds to cover roughly $11 million of that total. Meaning that between pool bond debt and maintenance needs we have $32 million in payments to make without sufficient funds to pay for it all. This deficit would be even greater were it not for the inclusion of transfers of $200,000 per year of Property Owners’ Association funds to the Metro District reserve fund.

Thus, between present indebtedness and uncovered maintenance needs, Eagle-Vail is in a $21 million ditch and our previous board wanted to dig us another $23 million into that hole with their proposed new community center/clubhouse. It is past time for this community to take a new path. We need better management of our existing facilities (the Pavilion generates only about $40,000 in revenue vs. over 10 times that amount generated by Vail’s Donovan Pavilion.) The golf course green fees have not kept pace with other courses in the area. We also need to better control our costs. Budgets are exploding. Administrative costs have increased by 70 percent since 2009, we routinely overpay for goods and services and seemingly resort to consultants, facilitators and costly surveys at the drop of a suggestion. Major decisions as to what we can and cannot afford are long past due.

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Vail Daily letter: Offensive statements

May 27, 2016 — 

Fredric Butler (Letters to the Editor, Thursday’s Vail Daily), I found your letter to Mr. Glass, our superintendent of schools, and to the children of Eagle County to be offensive. You refer to the president of our nation as an “unnamed, unvetted, unelected and crony appointee of that party who happens to occupy the White House.” Let’s break that down: His name is Barack Hussein Obama. President Obama was subject to same process of examination by the people of the US during his election process as any other candidate. President Obama was actually elected by the majority of people in our great country twice. Obama was not an appointee to the Democratic Party, he was chosen twice as the delegate by the overwhelming majority of voting members of the Democratic Party.

This guidance is actually not “another social experiment of the liberal persuasion,” but a joint letter put out by the Departments of Education and Justice. Both of those departments are run by people approved by the US Senate. Mr. Butler goes on to refer to gender identity issues as “personal defects,” and says that children suffering with these issues should “live with the problem.” I believe, Mr. Butler, that we as humans have the right to explore our “selves.” There is no reason that our children must fit into any parameters set by you or any group of people attempting to control those around them. The belief that children who question their place in the world are suffering from a personal defect is offensive and contrary to basic humanity.

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Vail Daily letter: Yes, why close trail?

May 27, 2016 — 

I read with agreement Steve Katz’ letter of May 18 regarding the destruction by the Forest Service of the trail above Berry Creek that had long been enjoyed by our local mountain biking community.

A few weeks ago this was my destination for the first time this season.

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Vail Daily letter: Rushed process

May 27, 2016 — 

It appears that the Vail Town Council and the Vail Valley Foundation have had clandestine discussions to consider and rush to the approval of the proposed KAABOO Music Festival in August 2017 and thereafter without having properly informed the citizens of Vail and given them adequate time to consider the benefits and drawbacks of the proposed event, which might have serious adverse impacts for the entire town and its residents. The sub-rosa nature of the progress of these discussions and the rushed time table smack of under-handed dealing. Furthermore, it seems inappropriate for the Vail Valley Foundation, an alleged “charitable” foundation, to be partnering with the promotors of this event. It sounds like they are promoting a mega version of the Avon disaster of a few years ago.

Joe McHugh

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Vail Daily letter: Transgender decision

May 25, 2016 — 

Mr. Glass, as superintendent of our schools, it now has come to pass that you may be required to state your official position regarding the imposition and implementation of “transgender” bathrooms in our public grade, junior high and high schools pursuant to the edicts of the Departments of Education and Justice. Will you comply with this executive “legislation” and morality adjustment in order to keep the federal funds flowing? You may have a dilemma by giving this progressively driven mandate credence, and on the other hand defying it by not invoking another social “experiment” of the liberal persuasion.

Setting aside the politics of it all, consider the source from which this inane regulation emanates. It is not legislated by Congress, and therefore does not reflect the will and sentiments of the people through their elected representatives. Rather, it is a “creature” spawned by an unnamed, un-vetted, unelected and crony appointee of that party who happens to occupy the White House — a White House that has no legislative authority whatsoever under the Constitution. Here we simply have the bluff and bluster of a “regulation” being foisted upon the public under the guise of a “law” with political consequences attached upon our failure to adhere.

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Vail Daily letter: Energy Forum important

May 24, 2016 — 

Sarcasm can be fun, but in his good-bye to Don Rogers, Paul Kulas (Letters to the Editor, Saturday’s Vail Daily) took an unfair swipe of the Vail Global Energy Forum. It does tilt toward the drilling phenomenon that has yielded us cheap oil and natural gas. One of the primary enabling technologies is more powerful, multi-stage fracking.

It’s a big story, with many repercussions. One of them is the ability to shift production of electricity from coal to natural gas, as is occurring here in Colorado. This is helping us level off U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. We need to crank down on fugitive emissions of methane from the production and transmission of natural gas, and the new Environmental Protection Agency rules —based on those adopted in Colorado — propose to do so. We’re heading in the right direction.

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Vail Daily letter: Excellent care

May 22, 2016 — 

I’m reaching out to express my extreme gratitude for the care provided for my dad by the staff of Vail Valley Medical Center in 2015. My dad, Gary Brandenburg, incurred a heart attack on the ski slopes last winter. He is a healthy man and it was a shock to our family when we heard the news here in Dallas. Vail Valley Medical Center staff took swift action in saving his life. From our understanding, he would not have been saved if a few more minutes went by without action taken.

There have been many times over the past year where I am reminded of the staff and how appreciative I am for them. My dad is an amazing dad (of three), husband (of 37 years) and Papa to his three grandchildren (with two more on the way in the next four months!). While my family is comforted and rejoice in knowing this world is our temporary home, we are so grateful my dad did not move on to his permanent home that day. And we overjoyed by the extra memories we will be able to make with our dad until his final day in this life comes.

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Vail Daily letter: Forest Service priorities

May 20, 2016 — 

The U.S. Forest Service is citing poverty as a reason to close more of our already-neglected campgrounds, particularly the few remaining rustic, less-developed locations in the valley. This is a lie. The Forest Service has a perfectly massive budget already, except it is siphoned off into central administration, corporate subsidy, boondoggle facilities and firefighting. The methodical restriction of simple unmediated enjoyment of our public lands is a component of a deliberate multi-decade campaign to train the public to pay twice for its recreation, for shifting profit to private concessionaires, and coupled with typical out-of-control Washington bureaucratic bloodsucking.

The Forest Service’s first priority should be expanding its inventory of free, undeveloped public access to our lands. However, it has turned that priority backward, and spends its money ensuring corporate access to extractive resources, and mounting immensely expensive militarized assaults on wildfires. Meanwhile, the inventory of simple public access declines, leaving the only remaining option as fee-based parking permits and private-concession developed campgrounds. Do not be fooled into believing that rustic recreation is expensive, or that the neglect of those facilities was an accident. First, the Forest Service purposefully let some of our trailheads and campgrounds languish (only those that a private concessionaire weren’t interested in), and now they want to close them. This is a program of planned scarcity.

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Vail Daily letter: Bye, Rogers

May 20, 2016 — 

Top 10 reasons why (Don) Rogers is outta here.

10. The readers are dying.

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Vail Daily letter: Housing solutions needed

May 20, 2016 — 

The Vail Valley is a truly amazing place to live and work, except for one huge void: The lack of adequate employee housing.

I moved to the area in 2010 and have lived in six apartments in just as many years. Finding affordable housing in Eagle County is getting increasingly difficult. Not only does it affect my family’s living situation, but it affects my small business as well.

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Vail Daily letter: Successful event

May 19, 2016 — 

We would like to take a moment to sincerely thank the concerned parents and community members who attended the Eagle River Youth Coalition and Total Health Alliance of Eagle County’s May 3 Marijuana Forum at Battle Mountain High School. The panel of experts presented the latest information about marijuana products, health and other concerns, as well as provided information about consequences and potential solutions.

Of the numerous facts and trends shared by the professionals, Ryan McCay of Battle Mountain High School noted that teenage marijuana use is detrimental because the brain isn’t done developing until the mid-20s.

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Vail Daily letter: Great Avon cleanup

May 19, 2016 — 

Thank you to all the volunteers who came out on Saturday for Avon’s inaugural town clean-up. It was a beautiful day spent sprucing up the town and getting to know our neighbors. One intrepid resident — a new fan of the Avon West Preserve — even volunteered to spend the morning picking up dog poop on the trails!

Heartfelt thanks also go to all the sponsors. Lunch was donated by the Vail Valley Salvation Army, and great music was courtesy of the Tenth Mountain Division Band. Other essentials — Dumpsters, trash bags and safety vests — were provided by Vail Honeywagon, The Home Depot and The Eagle River Watershed Council. Town administrators and public works staff took care of the nitty gritty to make sure the day was a success for all involved.

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