Columns

Vail Daily column: Is your spoken word as good as written?

September 23, 2014 — 

It has been said that oral contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. But hold on a sec. In the main, oral agreements are as valid and enforceable as any other. But they can be harder to prove.

The virtue of a written agreement is it’s … ah … well, written. One can point and gesture, and say, “See, I told you so; it’s right there! In black and white even!”

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: The power of focused attention

September 21, 2014 — 

Have you ever heard the phrase “We become what we think about”? Or, “People who think more positively are typically more successful”? I’ve heard both and yet wondered in the past how, if most of our thought is unconscious, do successful people purposefully think more positively?

Though it may seem contrary, the answer actually can be found in questions. Yes, the questions we ask ourselves, our team, our families and organizations actually discover answers as they help focus our attention and thought.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Pronghorns: Speedsters of the Colorado high plains

September 21, 2014 — 

Colorado is home to one of America’s fastest land mammals, Antilocapra Americana, better known as the Pronghorn. Pronghorns are often referred to as pronghorn antelope, which is misleading as a pronghorn is not related to the antelope family (much like our state bird, the lark bunting, which is actually a sparrow).

Pronghorn are a unique family of ungulates endemic (native) to North America. These majestic bullets of the plains are identified by their tan bodies, white throat bands and white rump. The giveaway is obviously their unique horns, which harbor a prong-like branch partway up the horn on bucks. Females can also have a short horn, never exceeding ear length. Like most horns, they are made of keratin (like our hair and nails). Unlike most horns, however, pronghorn actually shed the outer keratin sheath annually.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: World events are helping homebuyers

September 19, 2014 — 

Once upon a time, many years ago, mortgage rates were reflective of what was going on in the U.S. economy. News of economic events in other countries was slow in coming to impact the well-being of things here at home. At some point the whole world seemed to become one big global economy, and things changed and global economics became the new standard.

These days, a spat between Russia and one of its neighbors can send shock waves over the possible price of oil and gas to Europe six months from now; and the actions of a few thousand religious zealots in the Middle East can cause investors sleepless nights wondering what will happen to the public persona (as opposed to the substance) of the companies they have invested in if there were a successful terrorist attack. This can sometimes impact mortgage rates several times a day depending on what news channel investors are trusting at the given hour.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Is becoming a Realtor a good career move?

September 19, 2014 — 

Dear Joan,

I have been thinking about a career change and someone suggested I go into real estate. I had never thought about it, but I like people and I am always interested in what properties are on the market and what they are selling for. Can you give me some criteria on what it takes to be a successful Realtor, and tell me if you think the market is already saturated with Realtors so I would not stand a chance as a new Realtor?

Learn more »

Pet Talk column: Take an active role in your pets health

September 19, 2014 — 

This is a difficult article and subject to broach, but it has been brooding in me for a while. And this week’s cases reminded me of its importance.

If you are going to own pets in Colorado’s high country, then you need to be a tough cookie.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: How are time off and health connected?

September 18, 2014 — 

As a concept, health and wellness has been on our radar screen in the Vail Valley for years, yet it still remains an elusive idea outside of the clearly understood traditional medical and orthopedic realm.

There are a number of programs that have been implemented throughout the county stressing workplace wellness during the past few years. Our annual workforce survey recently included items to capture the percentage of businesses across the county that have adopted each program. Employers are increasingly offering flextime benefits, opportunities for fitness during the workday, education on wellness and incentives for healthy behaviors.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: What’s smarter — paying off debts or investing?

September 18, 2014 — 

It probably doesn’t happen as much as you’d like, but from time to time, you have some extra disposable income. When this happens, how should you use the funds? Assuming you have adequate emergency savings — typically, three to six months’ worth of living expenses — should you pay off debts or fund your IRA or another investment account?

There’s no one “correct” answer — and the priority of these options may change, depending on your financial goals. However, your first step may be to consider what type of debt you’re thinking of paying down with your extra money. For example, if you have a consumer loan that charges a high rate of interest — and you can’t deduct the interest payments from your taxes — then you might conclude that it’s a good idea to get rid of this loan as quickly as possible.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Tough questions, simple answers

September 17, 2014 — 

So the other day, I was part of a circular conversation. You know the kind I mean, right? The conversations that go round and round, circling the airport but never landing. The conversations where people jockeying for position, taking conversations down a rabbit hole or go so far in an attempt to be politically correct that there is never really any clear outcome from the discussion.

And sometimes, maybe even more than sometimes, in those circular conversations, the toughest questions are avoided and actions are taken so that we do not have to respond. We avoid the awkwardness through nimble and precise evasiveness.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Mediated divorce

September 16, 2014 — 

Rhymin’ Simon famously advised that there were 50 ways to leave your lover. Like a locomotive loaded for bear, Train concurred, holding that there were 50 ways to say goodbye. Perhaps I’m less creative. I can think of only four ways to get divorced: Traditional (“adversarial”) divorce where each party gets a lawyer and slugs it out; do-it-yourself divorce where the intrepid souls try to slug it out on their own; collaborative divorce where each side hires an attorney but agree to do less slugging and cooperate to work things out; and mediated divorce which, as it is the subject of this column, I’ll explain more fully in a sec.

Traditional (adversarial) divorce can — but doesn’t have to be — what you are familiar with in TV dramas and the movies. Each party “lawyers up” and launches headlong into the legal fray. The Fray, by the way, as far as I know, has not yet had a thing to say about divorce. While traditional divorce does not have to be bloody, as the knives are already sharpened, it often is. But sometimes, where things are difficult, complicated, emotional or contentious, one has simply got to do what one has got to do to protect oneself.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: How we grow old

September 15, 2014 — 

With an increased awareness of eating better, physical activity and medical technology, there is little disputing that the average human lifespan has improved. Nonetheless, how we grow old is far more important than how old we grow.

Before Baby Boomers can embrace the possibilities of life after 65, I believe that they must rid themselves of the cultural stereotypes of aging. Those who are, or soon to be, 65 years of age or older are a very different group of people than those people who were 65 and older a generation ago.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Election season fables

September 15, 2014 — 

We will be voting this November on not only national and state representatives (Senate, House, Governor, state Senate, etc.), but also a variety of local elections including two board of county commissioner seats, county sheriff, town council representatives and more. The barrage of television advertising and automated phone calls have begun — and we have another seven weeks of them before the elections.

Election season, in many ways, reminds me of the fable of the elephant and the blind men. As a refresher for those who might not be familiar with the story:

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Prepare yourself for the unexpected

September 15, 2014 — 

Are you ready for this? September is National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Preparedness Month seeks to educate Americans on preparing for natural disasters and other types of emergencies. But you’ll also need to prepare for unexpected events in many other areas of your life — particularly those events related to the financial security of you and your family.

Here are some of the most important of these events, along with possible preparations for them:

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Local grad committed to keeping her community safe

September 14, 2014 — 

Given recent tragedies including local drunk driving fatalities and a suicide that has rocked the nation, it might not come as a surprise that some young people are more motivated than ever to make a positive difference by keeping neighbors and loved ones safe. Yet it’s an incredible inspiration to grasp the story of a young local woman who decided at the age of 16 to commit her life to building trust and ensuring safety in her community through law enforcement.

Battle Mountain graduate Norma Camunez was headed down a gray path when a productive encounter with her school resource officer, Eagle County Sheriff Deputy Megan Richards, known as “Officer Megan” by her students, encouraged a complete refocus. Camunez recalls Richard’s influence in the community helping to win over several young people who previously had bad experiences with the police and were not necessarily on track to graduate high school.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Always worth it in the end

September 14, 2014 — 

I wear the conflicts like a cloak with a clasp that will not unlatch. The cloak is fabricated from the taunts of bullying lawyers, the fusillade of barbs that pass for litigation communication, the laments of obstinate clients, the sheer futility of working within a broken system. In moments of levity, the cloak flutters off my shoulders in the manner of a superhero’s cape. When times are low, the cloak is weighted as if by a torrential downpour. Whether or not I feel its presence, it is there, conspiring to trip me up when my defenses are down. And yet I press forward, entranced by the possibilities and the process of helping those who need it. It is the service component of my job that makes it all worth it in the end.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Plants are casting seeds all around us

September 13, 2014 — 

Maybe you’ve been counting down since the summer solstice, or maybe you felt it in the rainy chills last month while watching the USA Pro Challenge or maybe you are still waiting for the aspens to boldly state it: Fall is coming. Duh, you say. So what?

Fall is a time of harvest and anticipation. Even in the mountains we celebrate the bounty of our summer gardens at events like Oktoberfest, but we also stock the pantry, uncover and wax our skis, and change wardrobes. Most of us anticipate only the winter snows to come and the big blank white canvas, but fall can mean so much more.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Who pays fees in real estate transaction?

September 12, 2014 — 

Dear Joan,

We just chose a property to purchase and we are working on making a written offer with our Realtor. Our Realtor has asked us a lot of questions and given us suggestions on how we make the offer. My question is about all of the little (yet significant) fees in the contract. She has said we need to pay for some and some we can ask the seller to pay. Why would we offer to pay any of them? Why wouldn’t we ask the seller to pay for every fee?

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Reverse mortgages can work for purchase or refinance

September 12, 2014 — 

While I have written about reverse mortgages a few times in the last year, I thought I would touch on the subject again as it seems to be a popular topic recently.

It has often been said getting a mortgage is the most complex financial decision most people make in their lives. Actually a reverse mortgage is in many ways even a more complex decision, but one that can be hugely beneficial to many older Americans (at least one spouse must be over 62 to qualify).

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Setting the stage for success

September 10, 2014 — 

Whenever we give someone a task or project to complete and we don’t provide them with the right tools, support, environment or expectations, it can be said that we are setting that person or that team up for failure.

This happens in the business world just as much as it happens in our personal lives, doesn’t it? We see it happen when we make rash decisions, hire staff without providing the proper onboarding or training and when we set unrealistic goals. As a matter of fact, setting people up for failure has become so commonplace that we now look at it frivolously or use the failure as the brunt of our jokes and usually at the expense of at least one person or team.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Understanding venue and jurisdiction

September 9, 2014 — 

Venue is where it’s at. Quite literally. When lawyers speak of “venue,” what they are talking about is location, location, location.

Formerly referred to as visne (no, not Visine, the stuff you put in your eyes), the term derives from vicinage which, in antiquity, stood for “da hood,” as in da neighborhood. Vicinage, in turn, meant the area nearby, that is, “in the vicinity,” and in modern usage means the county where a trial is had, a crime committed or a similar locational designation.

Learn more »

Vail Daily health column: Stem cell therapy and the spine

September 8, 2014 — 

“Although not yet widespread in orthopaedics, the use of adult stem cells to address musculoskeletal conditions is an intriguing concept,” states a recent article by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Regenerative medicine specialists, like myself, have been seeing profound results using stem cell treatments for musculoskeletal pain, similar to the results we have seen in joint disease, and feel that it is far more than an intriguing concept. It is a reality that’s already showing great promise for many patients, including Vail resident Steve Jemison, who says he believes the discs in his lower back will be as good as new by the 2015 ski season based on his three-month recovery since having the procedure.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: The 80/20 rule: A good way to conduct your life

September 7, 2014 — 

The 80/20 rule, known as the “‘Pareto Principle” named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, is a principle that states, for many phenomena, 20 percent of invested input is responsible for 80 percent of the results. We live with this rule/principle whether we are aware of it or not, so why not use the percentages to our benefit? This percentile ratio can be a good rule of thumb when used as a guide in making choices that improve the quality of our lives.

Think about it. Take a close look at your finances, for example. Accumulated debt is probably not caused by excessive spending on the majority of your purchases. It narrows to 20 percent “messing up” leading to 80 percent adjusting and budgeting, to make up for it. Why not make efforts to concentrate on, and target the 20 percent, thus getting better results in the 80 percent. Focusing on the 20 percent area of struggle, avoiding temptation and staying on track will consequently produce positive results in your budget and your lifestyle. It won’t be easy — exercising discipline never is — but self-control in vulnerable situations makes sense. The payoff of purposely applying the Pareto Principle can reap multiple rewards.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Migratory birds travel through Colorado

September 7, 2014 — 

Have you ever had the urge to court the great unknown — to sail or fly to lands you’ve only dreamed of? For many animal species, this is their reality. Migration, or the act of moving in order to escape changing seasons, or to find food or a mate, is still one of nature’s most alluring mysteries. Migration leaves us humans asking, how is it possible for the Arctic tern, a small sun-loving bird, to fly 22,000 miles nonstop from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again? How do red crabs, born just off the coast of the Indian Ocean and barely the size of your pinky fingernail, know how to return to their mothers in the hills — even though they’ve never been there before? Unfortunately, these questions do not have one simple answer, yet, thanks to the work of willful scientists, our curious nature can be contented.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Decorate your space for the season

September 7, 2014 — 

Technically summer isn’t behind us till mid-September, but with the already-cooler nights and days, it feels like autumn is nigh. The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder-than-normal fall and winter for us. Autumn in the Rockies is splendid, but there’s no need to rush the cold weather. But as the days shorten and the air crisps, it’s a perfect opportunity to revamp your house for the season.

Here are a few tips to keep your home cozy and ready for fall festivities.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Forum continues dialog of modern food renaissance

September 5, 2014 — 

There’s just something about sitting down for a meal that allows people to automatically peel back the first couple layers of their personal onion. When you meet someone at a business meeting, on the street or at an event, it’s a very civil interaction of, “Yes, pleasure to meet you … this is what I do … OK, that is what you do … here’s my card.”

But when you sit down at a table and you add the elements of beautiful lighting and enticing smells, with some sort of chatter in the background — chairs shuffling, music playing and people interacting — I think it helps people relax, unfolding like the napkin they so naturally rest on their lap.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Adjustable rate mortgages coming back to marketplace

September 5, 2014 — 

Adjustable rate mortgages. ARMs. Hybrid loans. However or whatever you want to call them, loans that do not have a fixed rate for their full term are starting to come back in to the market. With good reason, I might add.

By an adjustable rate mortgage, I am referring to loans that have a fixed rate for a certain period or portion of the loans’ entire term. After this pre-determined period of time has elapsed, the loan will begin to adjust for the remainder of the term. In most instances the loan will adjust one time per year based upon a current market index (i.e., the LIBOR Index or U.S. Treasury Index) added to a margin or markup from the lender.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Better to live upvalley or downvalley?

September 5, 2014 — 

Dear Joan,

I am trying to make up my mind if it is worth sacrificing overall square footage, at least one bedroom and a garage, to own a property closer to Vail. In Eagle and Gypsum, in my price range ​of ​$450,000 to $550,000, ​we​ can get a single-family home with a two- or three-car garage, new or newer home ​with four or more bedrooms and around 3,000 square feet. In Avon ​to East​ Vail, all I can get is ​two or three bedrooms, none or one-car garage and under 2,000 square feet. If it is in the town of Vail, it is under 1,000 square feet.​ We​ work in Vail and love to ski, so ​we are​ agonizing over the short​ drive, ​the ​feel of the ​community and ​the ​convenience ​versus​ what I would call luxurious ​accommodations. Is there more to consider? Can you help me out with some long-range ​vision​ with things to think about for value in the future?

Learn more »

Biff America column: A fall from (lack of) grace

September 5, 2014 — 

My friends have been dropping like flies this summer.

Broken bones, deep cuts, fractured feet and concussions have been sustained and suffered by more than a few of my pals. That does not include the numerous stress fractures, planta fasciitis and various over-use injuries.

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Make the right moves to leave a legacy to grandchildren

September 4, 2014 — 

On Monday, we observe National Grandparents Day. If you have grandchildren, they will hopefully mark this occasion by sending a card, making a call or, best of all, paying a visit. But however your grandchildren express their feelings for you, you undoubtedly have a very big place in your heart for them. In fact, you may well be planning on including your grandchildren in your estate plan. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to do the best you can to preserve the size of your estate — without sacrificing the ability to enjoy life during your retirement years.

Here are a few suggestions to help you achieve this “balancing act”:

Learn more »

Vail Daily column: Big issues impact your business

September 4, 2014 — 

As a society, we are captivated with big ideas. Last week in this space, I shared the story about the Eagle County road and bridge crew that didn’t just plow snow — they helped our economy work by getting people to work. This way of thinking about our daily jobs and tasks expands our view to encourage big thinking and avoid being mired in the day-to-day small tasks that fill all of our schedules.

The road and bridge crew viewing their jobs as a way to ensure that our economy works (and not as just snowplowing) is an example of thinking that empowers individuals — regardless of job title — to be involved and engaged in solving the big issues facing our community.

Learn more »
View 20 More Stories in Columns »
Back to Top