Columns

Vail Daily column: Real-life 'whack-a-mole'

April 28, 2016 — 

You remember the old arcade game in which players use a mallet to hit randomly-appearing toy moles back into their holes? So much of running a chamber of commerce is similar to the old Whack-a-Mole game.

Let me explain. Much like Whack-a-Mole, chamber professionals never know where the next opportunity is going to be, and to be successful you have to be ever attentive and vigilant. Specifically, government can be a partner or an obstacle to business; the role of the chamber is to help ensure that local and state government is a partner, not an obstacle. It is a role that chamber groups are uniquely positioned to fill.

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Vail Daily column: Understanding recusal

April 26, 2016 — 

I went to law school in southern California. Not surprisingly, so did my law school classmates, every one. Southern California being… well… southern California, most of them stayed there after law school and hung out their shingles. Even most of the hardened New Yorkers and Jerseyites who claimed they would never, ever stay in the land of fruits and nuts ultimately did. Only two of us, so far as I know, ventured to the Colorado Rockies. And one of them—the one other than me — is now a judge, and a respected one at that.

I’ll come back to that in a moment.

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Vail Daily column: Youth leader helps improve school system

April 26, 2016 — 

Bella Rubis, 15, wasn’t sure what to expect when she was selected to be one of several student representatives for the Eagle County Schools District Accountability Committee earlier this year. Going to a meeting with a bunch of parents and Superintendent of Eagle County Schools Jason Glass once a month is a daunting proposition for any teen. However, after several meetings, Bella was pleasantly surprised to learn she could share ideas, respond confidently to questions and that her voice mattered.

“Everyone is open to what I have to say,” said Rubis. “I feel important when they ask me to give input.”

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Vail Daily column: Show you care by advocating

April 26, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: This is the second column of two parts.

Many adult children take it for granted that their parents and/or elder loved ones are currently living independently. However, it can come as quite a surprise and be rather shocking when the time comes to reevaluate that plan.

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Vail Daily column: Options exist for hormone treatment

April 25, 2016 — 

There are many reasons that hormone levels in men and women may become imbalanced. Unfortunately, such changes are not isolated to old people. Changes in hormonal levels are seen in people as early as their 30s and occasionally earlier.

For women, the 40s are often when changes in hormones occur. As women age, the ovaries produce less of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. This decrease in hormone production often leads to unpredictable menstrual periods, irritability, anxiety, changes in mood, tension and feeling overwhelmed.

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The rebukes of hazard today

April 25, 2016 — 

After a long slog into the hut, we had exchanged soggy gear for warm, dry duds and were sipping on well-deserved beers. Suddenly, the radio crackled.

One of our crew had, against all protestations, gone out into the evening to rendezvous with friends that he thought were still making their way up the skin track. Now, not 20 minutes later, his voice pleaded for help with what was believed to be a broken ankle.

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Vail Daily column: Making a difference in education and lives

April 25, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: Each month, the Vail Valley Foundation submits a column on the topic of “Making It Possible.”

In the past few weeks, you may have heard about YouthPower365, the new name for the organization formerly known as Youth Foundation. Some of you are probably very familiar with what YouthPower365 does, as we have more than 4,000 local kids in our programs — maybe yours — and the rest of you may not be certain about what we do.

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Vail Daily column: Teamwork necessary for survival in nature

April 23, 2016 — 

Parasites. When most people think of a parasite, it often brings to mind images of worm-like creatures infesting other animals. While that is one correct perception, there is a lot more to these creatures than most commonly imagine.

So what exactly counts as a parasite? A parasite is anything that lives in or on another organism (the host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense without providing the host with anything for compensation. Due to this fairly broad definition, parasites appear in many different ways, shapes and forms. Despite parasites having a bad rap, their goal is not to kill their host. Without a host, the parasites will not survive either.

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Vail Daily column: Upcoming elections loom large

April 21, 2016 — 

We had a number of elections earlier this month. A belated thank you goes to the candidates who ran for office in Minturn and Eagle, and a belated congratulations to those who were elected to serve. It’s among the greatest honors that your peers in the community can bestow, and it’s important work.

We have more elections coming. It’s your opportunity to be heard, to hold elected officials accountable for their decisions and to have a say in important issues that affect your community. On Election Day, every vote matters. This is true in November during the presidential election and it is equally important in the upcoming May elections.

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Vail Daily column: Why Uber isn't a taxi service

April 19, 2016 — 

Uber, that innovative transportation company, is not a taxi service. Neither is Lyft or whatever of their brethren may be out there prowling our streets.

“Hmmm,” you say, “Why not? Doesn’t Uber pick me up the way a taxi does, and drop me off, and charge a fare for taking me where I want my sloshed or unsloshed self to go?”

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Vail Daily column: Closures protect sensitive wildlife habitat

April 19, 2016 — 

Spring is here! This is a busy time of preparation for people and wildlife alike as we all get ready for summer. At Eagle Valley Land Trust, we are getting ready to meet with landowners of conservation easements for our annual visits. Landowners give or sell a conservation easement in order to ensure future protection while maintaining their property under private ownership. Many of the conserved properties in Eagle County include wildlife habitat. Wildlife closures protect sensitive wildlife habitat during important times of the year.

Thank you to the town of Avon for installing closure signs on West Avon Preserve, and thank you to the public for honoring these closures. It can take quite a bit of self-control to stay off of a trail that looks dry and ready to go in the spring, and the wildlife really appreciate your efforts. While it is extremely important to stay off of wet trails to prevent damage, it is also very important to honor wildlife closures, even if the trails look dry. If your favorite local trail is still closed, now is a great time to head west to Eagle, Fruita or Grand Junction to enjoy the warm early-season weather.

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Mud beneath snow — it's spring

April 18, 2016 — 

Spring is like a scavenger hunt for the senses. Each spring, I find once again my nose being tickled by sweet smells, my ears filled with melodies I haven’t heard in months and I revel in the warming temperatures by swapping out my ski boots for hiking boots. Nature stimulates our minds with the return of fragrant tree buds, melodious feathered friends and mud that seems to coat everything which was once before covered in snow. These signs of spring (and many more) are often welcomed, for their presence beckons the summer season right around the corner.

Can’t avoid the mud

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Look inside this spring

April 17, 2016 — 

It is spring in the Rockies, and we are all about looking back on the winter season, identifying what worked, what didn’t and taking notes of what we might consider doing differently next fall.

Most of us are also looking forward to summer and getting ready to usher in that next season. I have spoken of this self-awareness and how in achieving optimal, sustainable performance is a function of self-management and how self-management begins with self-awareness. In short, taking your business practices back to where it all began, with you. Every decision, reaction or inaction affects our employees, our families and pretty much anyone around us. It’s the proverbial “the buck stops here” scenario. This can be a mind-blowing revelation for some. For others who live by the mantra “do as I say, not as I do,” the meaning behind self-awareness and its importance in our lives both personally and professionally is lost. It takes courage to look inside oneself and identify those things about us that work and the things that don’t. But, it is also liberating in that it opens up more possibilities for success that we would not have been able to find otherwise.

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Vail Daily column: Good Samaritan laws

April 12, 2016 — 

The biblical parable of the good Samaritan goes like this: As recounted in Luke 10:25-37, an expert in law stood up to test Jesus. He asked, “What must I do to earn eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

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Vail Daily column: Show you care by being an advocate

April 11, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part column.

An advocate is someone who acts or intercedes on the behalf of someone else.

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Vail Daily column: Stories in the trees

April 11, 2016 — 

Aspens form the backdrop to so many of our recreational activities here in Colorado. Hiking, skiing, camping and snowshoeing seem to be much more enjoyable when done in the shade and beauty of our famous aspen groves. But this tree provides much more than aesthetic scenery. Considered the largest living organism in the world, a single aspen grove can cover over 100 acres of land, providing invaluable habitat for wildlife of all types. Whether they climb, gnaw, burrow or nest in the protection of the aspens; all creatures leave their mark. Like ink on paper, the scars left behind tell unique stories of Colorado’s wildlife. This article will give you the inside scoop on how to find and read the stories carved in the bark of the aspen trees.

The introduction of our story in the trees is told by the red-napped sap sucker. Small deep holes drilled in straight lines around the tree; they look straight enough to be human made, but this is the all you can eat buffet made by the local sap sucker. Drawn to aspens because of the softer wood, the sapsucker drills holes and lets them fill with sap. These sappy holes attract all kinds of insects that inevitably get stuck. The sapsucker returns later to slurp up the insect sap soup that’s an important part of any woodpecker’s balanced diet.

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Vail Daily column: Small steps will get you there

April 11, 2016 — 

As a youngster, Neil Armstrong developed a love of flight. He read everything he could find about flying. He ate, slept and dreamed of flight.

At 16, Armstrong got his pilot’s license. In college, he studied aeronautical engineering. As a naval pilot during the Korean War, Armstrong flew 78 combat missions. In civilian life he became a test pilot, eventually entering NASA. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. As he stepped off the lunar landing module, Eagle, Armstrong spoke these words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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Vail Daily column: Wait until trails are dry this spring

April 11, 2016 — 

Spring is here. Pack the powder skis, grease the sprockets and oil the hiking boots because it’s time to hit the trail. As Eagle Valley residents, most of us are chomping at the bit for the next season of fun in the outdoors. But before we officially make the transition from ski boots to trail runners, it is important to understand that waiting a few more weeks for the trails to dry and harden can make generational differences to the ecology and sustainability of our local trails.

We’ve all heard the adage, “Take only photographs and leave only footprints.” However, not every footprint is the same. This time of year, it is possible to not only leave footprints, but also to take a fair amount of the trail home with you on your treads. This season, make a change for the better by playing your part in helping to reduce erosion on the 2,500-plus miles of trails on the White River National Forest and local systems, including the heavily traveled West Avon Preserve and The Vail Trail.

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Vail Daily column: Planning for the perils of partnership

April 10, 2016 — 

When potential business partners first meet, any negative thoughts about the nascent partnership are drowned out by the hum of the dollar signs that each is sure will be earned. Birds chirp, children laugh, it is a dream that nobody wants to think can transform into a nightmare. Our budding entrepreneurs are youths in love, blissfully ignorant and happier for it. This combination of myopia and exuberance is powerful and a critical instrument to success. But it should be counterweighted with prudent planning. Enter the attorney, playing the role of buzzkill.

Maligned though they may be, lawyers have knowledge and experience that is directly relevant to businesses in their infancy. When getting together to start a company, a small investment in an attorney’s advice is the proverbial “ounce of prevention” to forestall the “pound of cure.” The lawyer will help the partners craft an agreement governing how the partnership will be run. It will explicitly set forth each party’s responsibilities, the capital they are expected to contribute, the parties’ respective shares of profits and losses, how decisions are made, how new partners can enter or old ones exit, how the business can be terminated and any number of other items relevant to the particular business and partners. Can a partnership run smoothly without an agreement? Maybe. Should it? Not unless one really enjoys being a party to litigation. Let us not be so naive as to believe that a handshake will cure all ills.

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Vail Daily column: Are open houses useful for sellers?

April 8, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

I have my home listed locally and my listing agent has asked me if I will let them have an open house at my home. I am not very anxious to have a bunch of “looky Lous” wandering around my house. Plus, I have heard the statistics that very seldom does an open house sell a home; rather, it brings possible clients for the Realtor holding the open house. Is that true? Am I missing an opportunity I should be considering? My wife has said I need to consider what the Realtor wants to do. What do you think? Thanks.

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Vail Daily column: ID theft can take many forms

April 8, 2016 — 

When traveling cyberspace, it is impossible not to leave a trail of breadcrumbs along the way, and if you are not careful, then you might leave your PIN codes, Social Security number and passwords out there as well.

Identity thieves were previously content with getting their jollies off of ordering a couple of $500 pairs of shoes and a new TV and charging it to your credit card or cleaning out your brokerage account, but it seems that got old and many have moved on to more sophisticated undertakings involving using Social Security numbers to commit tax fraud.

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Vail Daily column: While paying off student loans, don't forget about retirement

April 7, 2016 — 

Even if you’ve been out of school for a few years, you may still have a vivid reminder of college: your student loan debt. Since you’ve joined the workforce, you might be paying back your loans as best you can. But can you gradually reduce your debts while still putting money away for your long-term goals — such as retirement?

Of course, you might think it’s premature to even think about retiring, since you probably have decades to go before you say goodbye to the working world. But the sooner you begin saving and investing for retirement, the more time you’ll have for your money to grow. Plus, your early start will help you avoid having to play catch up later.

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Vail Daily column: Colorado Blueprint 2.0 aligned with Eagle County goals

April 7, 2016 — 

The Colorado Blueprint is the statewide strategy to spur Colorado’s economy, help businesses grow and attract new jobs to the state. The priority is the creation and retention of jobs and the expansion of companies throughout Colorado. This strategy was developed through a bottom-up process and focuses on growth in our key industries across all regions.

The Blueprint has given Colorado a framework to build a comprehensive economic development plan that aligns existing efforts and identifies opportunities for growth and focused investments.

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Vail Daily column: Getting a client to 'yes'

April 5, 2016 — 

When I was a young lawyer, a favorite mentor of mine once said to me, “Your job as a lawyer is to say ‘yes.’” He went on, “Clients do not want to hear you say ‘no’.”

Rather than “yes” or “no,” I thought the proper response was “Okay?” So that is what I said.

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Vail Daily column: Let's put a stop to 'ageism'

April 4, 2016 — 

Many of us are all too aware of certain “isms.” Sexism, for example, is focused on biased opinions or discrimination based on gender. Racism is discrimination against a person based on skin color.

These are two of the many directions that discrimination can be categorized, and yet they are significantly different than ageism in two areas. First, ageism is limited by your age whereas sexism and racism are there from birth. Second, we will all experience ageism. So, let’s take a closer look at today’s increasingly poignant discrimination: ageism.

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Vail Daily column: More options exist for structuring loans

April 1, 2016 — 

LPMI is a mortgage industry acronym for “lender paid mortgage insurance.” While the option to use lender paid mortgage insurance to one degree or another has been around for some time, mortgage lenders and mortgages banks are now offering more enticing and viable options for structuring loans where they pay the mortgage insurance premiums. In order to fully understand the option, it is best to start from the beginning, if you will.

mortgage insurance

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Vail Daily column: What is a Realtor 'team'?

April 1, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

I have recently been interviewing Realtors to list my home in the resort and I have a question for you. The term “team” has come up and I am not sure how that works or if it is an advantage for me as a seller. Can you please enlighten me? Thank​ you.​

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Vail Daily column: No joke: State legislative issues impact our community

March 31, 2016 — 

Colorado’s economy is on quite the roll. A quick review of AdvanceColorado.com, the state’s economic development website, shows high rankings for Colorado’s workforce (best state for labor supply, Forbes; highest number of people with bachelor’s degrees, U.S. Census Bureau), our business environment (4 of the top 10 cities for tech startups, Entrepreneur; top state for high-tech share of all businesses, U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and of course, the advantages of our lifestyle.

USA Today notes that Colorado’s business climate is among the best in the country, largely due to a strong labor market and an especially strong and progressive technology sector. These features are interwoven, as a highly educated workforce is essential for innovation. Nearly 38 percent of adults in Colorado have at least a bachelor’s degree, the second highest rate nationwide, and 14 percent of adults have completed a graduate or professional degree, a higher percentage than in all but a handful of states. The state’s population is projected to grow by 13.4 percent from 2010 through 2020 compared to an estimated national growth rate of 7.1 percent, which also contributes to a strong labor market. Nearly 22 percent of all jobs in Colorado were STEM positions, the seventh-highest proportion in the country.

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Vail Daily column: Which IRA is better for younger workers?

March 31, 2016 — 

If you’re at the beginning of your career, then you might not be thinking too much about the end of it. But even younger workers should be aware of and saving for their eventual retirement. And since you’ve got many years until you do retire, you’ve got a lot of options to consider one of which is whether an IRA may be appropriate for you and, if so, what type.

Essentially, you can choose between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. (Other types of IRAs are available if you’re self-employed.)

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Vail Daily column: Apple and the All Writs Act

March 29, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: This column was written before the FBI announced Monday that it had “successfully accessed the data” on the iPhone of the San Bernardino killer.

What’s old is new again.

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