Columns

Vail Daily column: Time to get out of your adjustable rate mortgage?

April 24, 2015 — 

The turmoil of the world’s economy has had one little heralded beneficiary, albeit many of these people might debate that designation. While governments have teetered on collapse, gold soared and plunged and oil prices collapsed, the one group who benefited were borrowers whose interest rates were tied to the demand for U.S. treasury bills.

The largest single group were homeowners who had adjustable rate mortgages. These loans, while often fixed for the first five or seven years, adjust annually thereafter in relation to a set interest rate (often the LIBOR, or London Interbank offering rate) plus a margin or markup between 2 and 3 percentage points.

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Don't let Fido blow an ACL in Vail this spring

April 24, 2015 — 

Humans aren’t the only animals with tendons and ligaments just begging to be thrown out of whack.

I know that sounds like common sense, but pet owners occasionally forget that our dogs, cats, horses and other active animals are prone to the same injuries and ailments we face in the high country. When you get a side cramp from drinking too little water on a hike, chances are your dog is feeling the same effects of dehydration. If you huff and puff up steep pitches on a skinning trek, again, then chances are your pup is dealing with the same muscle and cardio fatigue. Well, that would be true if there were any snow to skin on, that is.

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Vail Daily column: Time to clean up our highways

April 23, 2015 — 

This spring marks the 15th anniversary of the Community Pride Highway Cleanup on Saturday. Organized by the Eagle River Watershed Council, and presented by Vail Resorts EpicPromise, the event will gather more than 100 teams with over 950 volunteers in total. These teams will clean up trash and debris that has accumulated along Eagle County’s interstate and highways over the past year.

This is the largest annual volunteer event in Eagle County; it’s a testament to the community’s commitment to maintaining the beauty and health of our valley and watershed. It’s especially important to us at the Watershed Council because it prevents trash from migrating into and harming our rivers and streams. And the best part is that we’re not alone in our efforts.

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Vail Daily column: Forty thoughts on turning 40

April 23, 2015 — 

Assuming all goes according to plan and barring any unexpected and unwelcomed occurrences, I’ll turn 40 shortly after this column runs.

Professionally speaking, they (whoever “they” are) say your 30s are the time to find yourself and make progress along your chosen career path. I’ve realized that, against all odds, I’ve managed to learn and grow both personally and professionally, and actually accomplished this goal. I was also fortunate enough to have found my dream job as president of the Vail Valley Partnership (it’s not that great a job, you’d never want it).

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Vail Daily column: Enjoy your trails — forever

April 22, 2015 — 

As the snow melts away and our amazing trail systems and river accesses thaw, we’ll all be taking to them in our hiking boots, walking and trail running shoes, mountain bikes, fishing gear and boats. Take a moment to reflect about how these trails and river access points came to be and how they will be used in the future.

The West Avon Preserve, Miller Ranch, East Vail Waterfall, Duck Pond, Eagle River Preserve and the Horn Ranch properties, for example, were purchased either by the nearby town or Eagle County as open space amenities for our communities and our visitors. Using our tax dollars, our communities and the county have wisely and carefully invested in our future by investing in open space.

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Vail Daily column: Setting aside a judgment

April 21, 2015 — 

We’ve all learned that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. The problem is, sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly when the score ends. What if she keeps singing when it runs out? Who’s going to run up with a Vaudeville theater hook and haul her off? Well, there’s a law for that.

Let me set the stage.

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Vail Daily column: Becoming 'aware' is not easy

April 21, 2015 — 

There are many trends that have come and gone addressing mental peace and concentration exercises for the mind. Yes, there is an app for this. Perhaps you may have heard or seen ads for Lumosity, Clockwork Brain and Elevate. All are “based on extensive scientific research” and promise to improve one’s ability to improve their cognitive skills and awareness. In time, when new apps, books and corporate speakers have come and gone, mindfulness may still be around as it has for thousands of years.

One of the latest mind awareness training concepts is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a meditative practice with roots in Buddhism. The concept is taken from the first of Buddha’s teachings, the Four Noble Truths.

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Ask a Vail sports medicine doc: Tibial plateau fractures a common skiing injury

April 20, 2015 — 

Question: My wife recently sustained a tibial plateau fracture while skiing. Can you tell us more about these injuries?

Answer: Tibial plateau fractures are common ski injuries. On a given winter weekend of taking orthopedic emergency room call, I will see several of these on average. Patients usually describe a sudden twisting type force to the knee while skiing and may also report hearing or feeling a pop and having swelling and pain.

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Vail relationship deserves a second chance

April 19, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. This is from “The Best of Neil Rosenthal.”

Dear Neil: Recently I ended a promising relationship with a man. He was solicitous of me: What did I want? How was I feeling? No man has ever been so attentive to my feelings or wishes, and it made me uneasy.

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Vail Daily column: Delivering a tough message

April 19, 2015 — 

During a recent coaching call, one of my business owner clients, Bill on the East Coast, shared with me a challenging situation he was facing with one of his longest tenured employees. It seems that after 19 years of loyal service, Claudia’s performance had been slipping for the last 18 to 24 months. Bill tried a number of things to help Claudia but she repeatedly missed deadlines because she was either overwhelmed or couldn’t prioritize her work. As the backlog of work grew, his frustration had reached a point where something had to be done. His clients were being affected and beginning to call in with complaints. Watching from the sidelines, Bill’s team was wondering when he would step in and address the situation with Claudia to stop the bleeding.

During the course of the last 20 years, Bill’s service business had quadrupled in volume and so had his team. Along with all that incredible growth, Claudia’s role had changed quite a bit over that time as well. What had started out as purely an administrative assistant role for Claudia now included handling payroll, managing an office staff of 12 and bookkeeping for the business. Out of ideas on how to help Claudia get a grip on her role, Bill was afraid to give her any more responsibility and thinking about how he could begin taking things off her plate; maybe even reducing her role in the business and replacing her with someone more qualified.

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Vail Daily column: Watch for raccoons to emerge this spring

April 18, 2015 — 

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) have been a part of our livelihood and pop culture for a while — Meeko was Pocahontas’s faithful sidekick; Rocket Raccoon is one of the Guardians of the Galaxy; anyone who’s played Nintendo’s hit game Animal Crossing has a love/hate relationship with the raccoon shop keeper, Tom Nook; and what child hasn’t begged their parents for a subscription to Ranger Rick to learn all about nature’s coolest animals? Equally described as “cute” and as a pest, these furry bandits are a common sight here in Colorado.

“Ain’t no thing like me, except me!” — Rocket Raccoon

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Vail Daily column: Local teen is a positive peer leader

April 17, 2015 — 

Young leaders have great foresight and are a tremendous inspiration for the next generation. They have the ability to see with a couple of year’s hindsight the challenges that their young peers face and what supports they need to become the next moral leaders. This is exactly what Riley Birdsong Rowles, a senior at Eagle Valley High School, has done. Riley has incredible direction for his future and has set very high expectations and goals for himself. He has received his senator recommendation to hopefully enter the Naval Academy this fall with a longer term goal of becoming an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and eventually to become a pharmacist. Riley takes this responsibility seriously, knowing that strong moral character is a part of his future and has made it a significant part of his present.

Riley lives a life focused on honor and loyalty. He sees lying as stealing the truth from someone else. He also sees loyalty as being honorable to friends and others; an important part of the military. Riley has been honorable and loyal to the many groups he is involved with — Eagle Valley football, track and field, Link crew, Devils Against Destructive Decisions, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, DECA/Future Business Leaders of America, Youth Leaders Council, and the Victim Impact Panel. Riley puts his all into these activities and has little time left at the end of the day. He is currently trying to set two records in track and field that include the long jump and hang clean records. Furthermore, important to these programs and to Riley is service. He has helped out at Round Up River Ranch and Calvary Chapel with chores, cleaning, and events. Riley enjoys the looks on others’ faces when service projects are done and how happy it makes others. Riley believes the community does so much for youth that it’s essential to give back to such a giving and tight-knight community.

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Vail Daily column: What does it take to buy a home?

April 17, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

What does it take to buy a property? How much money​ do you need to put​ down and do you have to have a year-round job? A friend and I have lived in the valley for over five years now and we have always rented. We have steady winter jobs and​ steady​ summer jobs, but they are ​each with different employers. I have been told you have to have 20 percent down and have a year-round job to qualify. We are sick of renting and make good money but have not saved very much yet. Is there anyway we can buy before we are too old to care?

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Vail Daily column: One late payment can make a difference

April 17, 2015 — 

Now that we are in the offseason (though it’s a shadow of its former self many years ago, when literally the valley did shut down for a couple of months), many locals are finding themselves a bit short on cash, and for many the easy answer is to just skip a few credit card payments. The thinking is that, “Hey, I pay on time the rest of the year, so the credit card companies can just get over it.”

While it is true years ago this might not have made much difference, it’s a very different story now, as a few potential clients have found out lately. The reason is a tool used by creditors called FICO scoring, and everybody has a FICO score or several of them depending on who is checking.

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Vail Daily column: How to be an "environmental" investor

April 16, 2015 — 

Next week, we observe the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has inspired millions of people to take action to improve the environment. But the lessons of environmentalism can also be applied to other areas of life — such as investing. Specifically, as an investor, you may well want to follow the “three Rs”: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Let’s see how these environmental themes can be applied to your investment habits:

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Vail Daily column: Vail Valley means business

April 16, 2015 — 

The mountains — and certainly the Vail Valley — attract a certain type of person. Our local population comes from everywhere, and a few are fortunate to have been raised here. Collectively, we’re drawn to the mountains and to the quality of life that exists in the Vail Valley.

We know that living in the mountains can be challenging, and we accept that doing business in a seasonal rural resort economy presents even more challenges. Business success requires patience and resourcefulness. Of course, a certain amount of hard work and connectedness to the community is required as well.

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Vail Daily column: Our attitude at work

April 15, 2015 — 

Have you ever noticed the people who love what they do? I mean, they are usually smiling, happy and seem like they could spend all day and night working. They are doing what they love and loving what they do.

The thing that always gets me is not so much that they obviously enjoy their occupation, it’s their overall attitude toward life that is at work that impresses me the most.

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Vail Daily column: What the Constitution says

April 14, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the 16th part of a series.

So here we are. We have reached the end of the Constitution. For now at least. For as you know, there are other amendments lurking out there which will one day join the pantheon of the United States Constitution.

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Vail Daily column: Depression common among those with dementia

April 13, 2015 — 

Research has not made a definitive connection between depression and dementia. However, a tremendous amount of research and a number of clinical studies have been done that indicate people 50 years of age and older who have depression have a greater likelihood of developing dementia.

The connection between depression and dementia has a biological relationship. There is data that suggests elevated levels of the hormone cortisol have a greater presence in persons with depression.

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Stay focused on the big picture

April 13, 2015 — 

It is easy to lose perspective of the big picture of our lives because we tend to get caught up in the day-to-day roller coaster of events, emotions, challenges and problems that we face. Therefore, every so often, it’s useful to stand back and evaluate how your life is going in the overall big picture.

I personally do this exercise twice a year. Once around Jan. 1, and the other time around my birthday in October. It’s a way to make sure I am holding myself accountable for meeting my own personal goals and for accomplishing what I want. It keeps me focused and gives me a way of measuring how I am doing.

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Vail Design at Altitude column: Get ready, get set, get outdoors

April 12, 2015 — 

We are so ready for spring, and maybe even summer, that we are going to take a little creative license today. We are going to soften the lines and think outside the box — or the patio, as the case may be. With the past few weeks of ridiculously warm and lovely spring-like days, we’re ready to move our lives outside.

However, we’re not so naive as to think winter is really over. So although we pine to dine al fresco and listen to concerts under the stars, we know we’ll be stuck indoors for a little while longer. How do you meld the indoor with the outdoor? It’s pretty easy, actually.

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High altitude gardening column: Start a compost pile

April 12, 2015 — 

Everyone should have a compost bin, including property owners, condo buildings and even restaurants. There are some horrific statistics going around recently about the huge quantities of waste — compostable waste — that ends up in our landfills, taking up space, never to be reused again. Something like one third of all the trash at the landfill could be composted and reused.

Composting is nature’s magical system for returning all materials to the cycle of life. When we take all of our compostable waste to a landfill, especially our kitchen waste, we strip our land of valuable nutrients and dump them with our toxic waste, sludge, household chemicals, plastics, etc., where they can never be used again.

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Vail Daily column: Do it for the right reasons

April 12, 2015 — 

Clad in a sports coat and bowtie, I strolled expectantly into high school. I was not present in a recurring nightmare, but for the annual Career Fair at Battle Mountain High School. A truly spectacular affair, it brought out over 100 local businesses to talk to more than 400 (and it seemed like so many more) local high schoolers about their prospects for the future. The organizers, particularly the Vail Rotary Club, the Vail Valley Partnership and Eagle County Schools, all deserve kudos for working to groom the next generation of the Vail Valley’s workforce. As a representative of the legal profession, I had an excellent chance to evaluate what it was about lawyers that piqued the kids’ curiosity.

Armed with questionnaires, the students ambled around the gymnasium, inquiring about the particulars of the businesses. One of the questions on the sheet prompted them to ask about potential incomes for the various professions. Certainly, the financial prospects for a job are an important consideration. Many of the kids with whom I spoke were particularly interested to hear my answer to that question. It was a bit awkward at first, but I realized that I was provided an opening to share an important thought. Yes, the law can be a lucrative career, but those attorneys that make millions often do so at the expenses of their families, their health, their sanity and their souls. I explained that it was possible to make a good living while still maintaining the balance that is going to be key to their happiness.

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Vail Daily column: Taming the wild pea

April 11, 2015 — 

Some of my best memories from childhood are of sneaking into my mom’s garden to gorge myself on sweet peas. As I now watch my own children doing the same thing, I smile secretly to myself as it occurs to me that my own mother probably realized exactly what I do. That it doesn’t matter where or how their kids eat their vegetables, just that they eat them. This early love of things tiny, sweet and green was probably what started me on this crazy path that I’m on, to discover new plants and understand them, and I’ll always appreciate the time I had in my mother’s garden, with the plants of the pea family.

Wild Pea Danger

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Vail Daily column: Stick with Denver Realtor or go local?

April 10, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My husband and I have a real estate agent in Denver that we really like. He helped us find our home and now he is helping us sell it and doing a​n excellent​ job​,​ in our opinion. We thought we would like to use him to help us find a great home in Eagle County. He seems eager to help us but has said he will need to get cooperation from the listing brokers in the Valley, as he is not a member of the Vail Board of Realtors. We have started looking online, and he has encouraged us to do so because he said he will have no inside access to listings other than those posted on the public websites. Now, we are starting to rethink our decision and wonder if we should look for a Realtor that is local in Eagle County. Any advi​c​e on what to do and were to find an agent equally as good, but more familiar with our new area?​ And do we have any obligation to work with our Denver Realtor since we originally said we would?​

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Vail Daily column: Reverse mortgage rules changing

April 10, 2015 — 

In the never ending tradition of fixing what’s not broken (and probably screwing it up even more), the Feds have found time to tinker the rules on reverse mortgages.

For the uninitiated, a reverse mortgage is a loan product for those over age 62 to allow them to tap equity in their homes and never make a mortgage payment. It can also be used to purchase a home. The older the borrower, the more they can borrow.

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Vail Daily column: Membership has its privileges

April 9, 2015 — 

Remember the old American Express advertising campaign “Membership has its privileges”? “Membership has its privileges” appeared from 1987 to 1996 and was a successful campaign as it convinced consumers there was a benefit and meaningful advantage to carrying their card as opposed to (or in addition to) no fee cards such as Visa and MasterCard.

Membership in Vail Valley Partnership, much like being an American Express card member, has its privileges.

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Vail Daily column: Protect seniors from financial abuse

April 9, 2015 — 

It’s unfortunate but true: The elderly population is targeted for financial abuse and/or exploitation. In fact, by some estimates, this type of targeted abuse results in billions of dollars in losses each year. If you have elderly parents, then what signs should you watch for to determine their vulnerability? And what can you do to help protect your parents from being victimized?

In regard to the first question — signs of vulnerability — the most important thing to watch for is your parents’ mental state. As you know, many people go through their entire lives with their faculties intact — but even if this is the case with your parents, you still may want to be on guard against them falling prey to unscrupulous operators. And if you have noticed your parents becoming forgetful, confused, overly agitated or showing any other signs of possibly diminished mental capacity, you may want to be particularly vigilant for the appearance of financial irregularities.

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Vail Daily column: A tale of two businesses

April 8, 2015 — 

No doubt there is some heavy duty competition taking place these days. Many businesses are fighting for a little bigger piece of the pie each and every day. And this holds true for the single entrepreneur, the small- and medium-size businesses and the large enterprise organizations.

We see the competition play out in marketing campaigns, advertising, social media and through intentional word-of-mouth battles as we all talk-up our favorite products and businesses and talk-down their competitors. I mean, we will share posts and “like” pages on Facebook for the companies we love and support and then we will jump on the bandwagon of negativity when it comes to those products and businesses we do not like or where we had a bad experience.

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Vail Daily column: What the Constitution says

April 7, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: This is the 15th part of a series.

With the 25th through 27th Amendments, we come to the end of the Constitution. But it is an end with a postscript — one day, it will almost surely change. At some point in the near or distant future, a 28th, then 29th, then 30th Amendment will be teed up and adopted by the states. What those future amendments may be are anyone’s guess, and in the last part of this series, we will look at how the Constitution is and has been employed, how it is sometimes deployed and what the future of an amendment might hold. For now, though, with a bank shot to the corner pocket of this opus magnum of American jurisprudence, this rock upon which the nation and its freedoms and perspectives were based, let’s look first at the last additions.

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