Columns

Vail Daily column: Edwards river project enters final year

May 26, 2015 — 

With the help of schools, businesses and community groups, the Eagle River Watershed Council is in the eighth and final year of community-based restoration along the Eagle River west of Edwards.

Beginning in 2008, the Eagle River Restoration Project in Edwards set out to improve the health and function of the aquatic and riparian habitat of a 1.6-mile stretch of river. The ultimate goal was to reconnect higher quality aquatic systems above and below this section.

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Vail Daily column: How to be a witness

May 26, 2015 — 

When you are a witness at trial, the way it works is this: you’re called to the witness stand and sworn to tell the truth. You state your name, address, etc. You adopt an earnest look. Someone in a sharp dressed suit squares at the lectern as you take in your surroundings. You, perhaps, fidget a bit.

The guy (or gal) at the lectern is a lawyer. Let’s presume that he is your attorney. If so, the questioning, while perhaps pointed, will likely be benign, at least in its delivery. Attorney A (the good guy in your estimation), will ask a bunch of questions that you are under oath to answer truthfully. If he’s worth his salt, the good guy lawyer will lead you with his questioning to where you need to go to prove your case.

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Vail Daily column: Nearing 50 without a plan?

May 25, 2015 — 

Managing your money at any age is difficult. When we were young and living at home, it was easier to save money. At this phase of life, bills such as rent, mortgage, telephone and utilities were usually paid by someone else. If we had a job, often our income was for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, as we got older, things changed.

Once we left home and got that first job, learning to budget and save was difficult. That old budget and the discretionary funds that were manageable when we were young and single changed as we got older. With age, our perceived needs and responsibilities changed. Deciding to pay for things like rent, mortgage, transportation, food and entertainment took on new levels of importance.

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Vail Daily column: What is a nup?

May 21, 2015 — 

What, exactly, is a “nup?” Well, “nuptial,” actually.

The dictionary defines the word as, “of or relating to marriage.” Black’s Law Dictionary concurs, defining it as, “pertaining to marriage; constituting marriage; used or done in marriage.” So “nup,” it seems, pertains to the state of wedded bliss.

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Vail Daily column: Legislature increases incentives for conservation

May 20, 2015 — 

Eagle Valley Land Trust anticipates an increase in private land conservation in Eagle County due to increased incentives signed into law last week by the state Legislature. For the last 13 years, since the initial state incentives were put into law, Eagle Valley Land Trust could offer private landowners only up to $375,000 (in the form of marketable tax credits) to permanently remove development rights from their land. The new law increases this funding to up to $1.5 million. Land conservation has proved to be so popular with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that they overwhelmingly (59 to four) agreed to increase the state incentive for conservation because it is good business for our tourism and agriculture-based economy.

Do you know of a parcel that could be conserved? While the land trust can’t conserve every parcel proposed for conservation, the new legislation creates great opportunities. There is no formula for which parcels are preserved. Parcels that make excellent candidates for conservation exhibit any of the following attributes or a mix thereof: They are greater than 70 acres, adjacent to public lands, resolve a significant recreational access issue, contain ecologically sensitive attributes, contribute significantly to landscape-scale conservation, protect a valuable scenic area, contain significant water rights and/or conserve significant agricultural land.

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Vail health column: Focus on foundational movements to help youth athletes improve

May 18, 2015 — 

The Vail Valley provides a great environment for young athletes to be active and healthy. Our terrain is suited to developing skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and trail runners. We have wonderful organizations for youth soccer and lacrosse. But what are the important training aspects that help our children succeed in their sports? What training protocols are essential to propel them to become better overall athletes and minimize injury?

Foundational movement development should be at the core of any young athlete’s approach to training. These fundamental athletic movement patterns are essential in nearly every sport. Athletes who learn and master these at a young age have a much higher degree of success and have better awareness of their bodies and lower incidence of injury.

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Vail Daily column: Smokers have higher risk of dementia

May 18, 2015 — 

Smokers have a 45 percent higher risk of developing dementia than non-smokers (World Health Organization). People concerned about the possibility of developing dementia because of age and family history can minimize the potential by stopping smoking.

While the effects smoking has on our heart, lungs and vascular system have been known for quite some time, studies now confirm that smoking also increases the potential for Alzheimer’s disease.

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Vail Living With Vitality column: Relaxing is different from collapsing

May 18, 2015 — 

Retreat: To withdraw to a safe, quiet or secluded place.

After two centuries of industrialization, we are finally seeing a rise in the value of taking the time to go on a retreat, practice yoga, learn meditation, invest in ourselves and rest.

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Vail Daily column: 'Shun' your way to an effective meeting

May 17, 2015 — 

Meetings are an essential part of running any business, team or organization. Businesses today find themselves with team members stretched across the country making virtual meetings commonplace. Whether the group resides in the same location or is geographically dispersed, pulling team members together remains a critical part of keeping people focused, on the same page and improving teamwork and synergy. Unfortunately, as many firms may see the number of meetings increasing, in my experience, their effectiveness has not.

Throughout the years, we’ve all been a part or maybe even led meetings that:

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Vail Daily column: The wonderful, wild strawberry

May 16, 2015 — 

Backpacking the steep and rugged trails of the Gore Range my first summer in the Vail Valley, I recall my feet aching from the blisters forming on my heels, cold drops of rain penetrating my so-called rain-coat, and my belly grumbling with cheeseburgers and beer on my mind. My PMA (positive mental attitude) had taken a turn for the worse. Then it happened. My fellow backpackers discovered a sizable patch of what appeared to be tiny strawberries. Although they were pretty sure we had just stumbled across a bounty of edible, wild strawberries, we double checked the field guide to be confident.

Blueish-green leaves 2-4 inches in size and comprised of three sharply toothed leaflets, check! Small clusters of white flowers with five broad petals that surround a yellow center, check! Reddish, slightly hairy, long and slender stems, check! Small, reddish fruits that resemble tiny strawberries, check! Sure enough, we found the mother-lode of Frigaria virginia. As I popped one of these small red berries in my mouth, I discovered the attitude-adjusting deliciousness of a wild strawberry. The incredible sweetness found in each tiny berry from just off the trail far surpassed that of its perfectly ripened and much larger cultivated cousin purchased at the grocery store. I later discovered that 90 percent of all cultivated strawberries were derived from the wild species (Kershaw, 2000). The wild strawberries we stumbled upon reminded me of how wonderful nature’s bounty truly can be. Eight years later, my heart still sings with delight at the first signs of the distinctive wild strawberry, whose leaves typically emerge in May, followed by flowers in June, and berries a bit later in the summer depending on the conditions.

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Vail Daily column: You can manage your credit score

May 15, 2015 — 

hese days, we all have a credit score, and how can you improve it if you have a low one, and did you know there may be a dozen versions of your credit score that could be 100 points of more different.

Credit scores have evolved into a consumer product, and there are many companies who will offer you a free look at your score. Unfortunately, most of these scores are what I call “cotton candy scores”, which means they might look cool, taste sweet but don’t have much value when it comes to determining your credit worthiness.

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Vail Daily column: Is now the right time to buy?

May 15, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

My wife and I are finally feeling confident enough about the economy and our income that we are ready to buy a home in the valley. However, there seems to be very little available in a mid price​ range that is​ within​ easy​ bus ​access​ ​for​ skiing. Do you think there will be a lot more ​properties​ ​come​ on the market starting in June or July? I have heard that ski area sellers often wait until the first of July​ to list, as they consider that the start of summer. Should we wait and see what comes on the market or just look harder and/or expand our budget​ and radius of our search​ right now?

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Vail Daily column: Unsolicited advice for graduates

May 14, 2015 — 

It’s that time of year when we celebrate our high school and college students graduating and moving on to their next great life adventure. Every student at this age thinks they have all the answers. Those of us who have been there and done that know that in reality — as our students venture out on their own, ready to rule the world — they know nothing.

And that’s OK because they’ll learn as they gain life experience (and we’ve all been there). As someone with a bit more experience (i.e., I’m old), I’m able to offer helpful (?) advice to our graduating students and future community leaders. Advice they’ll likely ignore and learn on their own in due time. But I regress. With that, some unsolicited advice for graduates:

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Vail Pet Talk: Spend wisely on pet care

May 13, 2015 — 

Ever wonder why fees are different at different animal hospitals? I will try to explain but remember these words: caveat emptor, or buyer beware.

Let me start with the good news! A report released last month showed that, according to the Nationwide Purdue Veterinary Price Index, the cost of taking a pet to the veterinarian has actually decreased over the past five years. This groundbreaking study refutes the U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index, which holds veterinary inflation at 15 percent, nearly double the average inflation rate for all consumer sectors.

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Vail Daily column: Love in the time of the Internet

May 12, 2015 — 

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it?”

— Terry Britten and Graham Hamilton Lyle

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Vail Daily column: Millennials take the torch

May 11, 2015 — 

A couple weekends ago, I attended a health fair in Glenwood Spring. While there I had struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers from the Lions Club, P.J. I came to learn that P.J. was a Vietnam veteran and a retired social studies teacher with a 26-year-old son who does not share his work ethic. This gentleman was a bit despondent that his son had chosen a life direction so different from that of what was role modeled to him.

The Millennial generation — ages between 18 to 34 — now represent the largest generation in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this year, there will be about 74.9 million Baby Boomers while Millennials may number 75.3 million.

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Vail relationship column: Cell phone addiction ruining relationship

May 11, 2015 — 

Dear Neil: My wife is beyond obsessed with her iPhone. It is 24/7 with Facebook, video games and messaging apps, and she clearly prefers her phone to spending time with me and the kids. I assume she is downstairs with the kids, but when I go downstairs the kids are getting into all sorts of things. She is there but not there, immersed in her social media fantasy world. It’s ruining our marriage. Even late at night, she would rather play with her phone than be with me. If we didn’t have kids, I would have called it quits already.

— Fed Up With Wife’s Cell Phone Addiction

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Vail Daily column: Northern Flicker: An exception to the rule

May 9, 2015 — 

If you have heard the drumming in the past month or seen the swooping flight of this brown and red woodpecker, then you know it’s true: the Northern flicker has returned to the Vail Valley! Northern flickers are common throughout the valley but their commonality should not be mistaken for ordinariness: These woodpeckers are truly extraordinary birds!

Northern flickers are in the woodpecker family yet they seem to be the exception for several generalizations about this group of birds. First, unlike other woodpeckers in the area, Northern flickers are not black and white but brown with small black spots on their body and flight feathers. They all have a distinctive white rump patch that can often be observed in flight and while perched.

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Vail Daily column: Help Mom with her retirement income strategy

May 7, 2015 — 

Mother’s Day is Sunday. This occasion may have special significance for you if you’ve been fortunate enough to have your mother around for your adult life. So naturally, you’ll want to bring Mom some flowers or another gift. But if she’s planning to retire soon, then you may want to think about a longer-term way to improve her life — namely, by initiating a conversation about her retirement income strategy.

Of course, she may already have matters well in hand. But a great many people on the verge of retirement have not planned for those years, so you may be able to provide some valuable suggestions. Here are a few ideas:

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Vail Daily column: Happy Valley a fitting moniker

May 7, 2015 — 

Spring is a good time to take a moment to realize that our business community is a bit different than others. Maybe it’s because we choose to be here — very few of us end up in the Vail Valley by accident. Maybe it’s because we share a common passion for the outdoors and recreation — time on the mountain (or trail, or river) define us much more than time spent in the office.

Regardless of the reasons, the fact is that we’re a bit different than many business communities. A recent blog and Facebook post by Rob Levine from the Antlers at Vail, who shared the following story, reinforced this fact.

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Vail Daily column: Guilty but insane?

May 5, 2015 — 

Words matter. Concepts matter, too. Even, sometimes, when the outcome is the same.

As you no doubt know, the Aurora shooter trial has begun, and the case brings one such concept to mind. By the way, it is my policy, never to name the shooter in mass killings as the focus should be, instead, on the victims.

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Scenic vistas vs. critical habitat

May 2, 2015 — 

When you look at the mountain landscapes around you, what do you see? Most everyone sees a view worth appreciating, but not everyone sees what the conservation-minded individual sees—a home and a community. We are fortunate in our valley to be surrounded not only by beautiful vistas, but by abundant wildlife habitat. Unfortunately, landscape changes brought on by human land use are a significant factor in habitat destruction. As growing populations encourage development and industry to encroach upon our open spaces, policy makers are making important decisions that affect our local wildlife.

What makes a stretch of land an important habitat? Critical habitats are not always the most scenic areas of land. In fact, it is often the most overlooked ecosystems that can be of the most importance to wildlife. A riparian corridor along the stream in your backyard or a sagebrush community along the highway could rival the significance of a pristine mountain vista when it comes to an animal’s habitat needs. If a federally endangered or threatened species is found in a particular area of land, then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service can designate that area as a critical habitat and set it aside for protection. But what about species that are not federally endangered or threatened? There are countless efforts toward protecting important wildlife habitat across Colorado.

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Vail Daily column: How can you become a 'healthy' investor?

April 30, 2015 — 

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This “month” is designed to encourage people to follow a healthy, active lifestyle. You can take steps toward this goal, of course, but why not carry the concept of improving health to other areas of your life — such as your investments?

Toward that end, consider these suggestions:

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Vail Daily column: Economic indicators remain positive

April 30, 2015 — 

To paraphrase Francis Bacon, knowledge and information are power. Understanding our local economy — trends, metrics, population forecasts, demographics and more — helps our business community better understand our resort economy. In turn, this helps our municipalities and special districts better serve their citizens.

Knowledge and information on our economy are available to our community through the research output from Vail Valley Partnership and Vail Valley Economic Development (formerly Economic Council of Eagle County). It is important for decision makers at the community and the individual business level to understand the impact of change on our local economy. It’s equally important for everyone in our community to understand this impact.

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Vail Daily column: Am I invisible?

April 29, 2015 — 

So this past Sunday before heading to church we decided to go out to breakfast. And as we entered the restaurant, the staff was happily greeting each guest who arrived and let them know they would be right with them. However, for whatever reason, when we walked in, there was dead silence as they busied themselves with the work immediately in front of them.

Now I get that they were very busy, yet when the people behind us walked in they also received the warm and courteous greeting. I didn’t take it personally, as I am sure we were just caught in a moment of the staff being super busy. But I will share that for a moment it felt like we were invisible.

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Vail Daily column: The symbol of justice

April 28, 2015 — 

In one incarnation or another, Justitia has been around since ancient Greece. Themis was the guardian of divine law and order. She was also the goddess of prophesy and of oaths. With Zeus, her offspring included the Fates and Dike, goddess of mortal justice. In Roman mythology, she was named Justitia.

Even if you don’t recognize the name (or names), you likely know her. She may be found adorning the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and perched above the lintels of federal buildings, county courthouses and law schools all across the nation. The old girl plainly gets around.

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Vail high altitude gardening: Adjust your garden's soil pH

April 27, 2015 — 

Many gardening fanatics are already starting summer vegetable gardens in Eagle, Gypsum and Carbondale. The lower elevation in these places add an additional month or two to the growing season compared to places above 7,000 feet.

But it’s never too early to start cultivating healthy garden soil for spring planting. That can be done in the fall or in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked and frozen ground has melted. To speed up the melting, you can spread dark compost over the snow. This will absorb more heat. Or cover the garden area with clear plastic visqueen to create a greenhouse effect. While you’re at it, cover the planting area with 2-3 inches of fully composted material and mix it in to the top 6 inches of garden dirt. Good organic compost can be purchased in bags at any garden center, or you can make your own.

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Vail Daily column: Optimism is good for you

April 27, 2015 — 

If we asked most people on the street if thinking positively generally will help improve their health, I believe many would agree. There are many incredible stories of how individuals diagnosed with fatal illnesses flatly refused to give up hope of recovery. Sometimes, to the sheer amazement of many (including their doctors), many ultimately recover from their particular illness.

I grew up seeing optimism change the lives of a dear family friend and the lives of her husband, children and all who knew her. My mother’s best friend developed a rare form of cancer that doctors thought would take her life within six months. This lady who my brothers and I grew up calling “Auntie” had a never-give-up attitude that helped her survive nearly 13 years of life. She rarely, if ever, complained — to anyone. When asked how chemo was going or about how any of her many treatments were going, she always responded with a positive statement. This is just one example of how a positive attitude can be the most incredible tool to a healthier life.

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Vail Daily column: Perception is a flawed reality

April 26, 2015 — 

My brother Dane has a color defect in his vision. He is not colorblind, but he sees the world in different colors than the rest of us. It is not an oppressive handicap, although it does prevent him from being a fighter pilot, which was once devastating to a boy of a certain age. Dane’s condition has always captivated me. I wonder whether he sees the world in neon, but thinks that it is normal as that is his only frame of reference. Is what he perceives as red actually blue when viewed through my eyes? It is a question of no little importance as our respective loves for those colors have defined us from early childhood. In my line of work, Dane’s color defect is a poignant reminder that every individual sees the world, literally and metaphorically, through a different lens.

Each person’s views are comprised of overlapping strata: observational, socioeconomic/political and moral. The former comes into play often when investigating the facts of a case. My first year criminal law professor ran a startling experiment on us one morning that illustrates the fallacy of relying too heavily upon eyewitness accounts. In the midst of a lesson, a person burst into the lecture hall, ran down the stairs, stole something off of the professor’s desk, and then retraced their steps and exited the classroom. While we were still reeling from the interruption, our professor began asking us to describe the intruder. In a class of approximately 100 students, there were just as many descriptions. We could not agree on whether the interloper was male or female, black or white, what clothes he/she was wearing, whether he/she said anything in the midst of the “robbery.” Thus, basing a legal claim on what a witness thinks he saw is a flawed endeavor, particularly if the witness is also the claimant and necessarily tainted by an agenda.

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Sabotaging the relationship you want

April 25, 2015 — 

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

Do you have a pattern of choosing an emotionally unavailable intimate partner — a person exceedingly difficult to get close to, someone who is emotionally protected, insulated or standoffish — while rejecting the people who are available, caring, responsive and who are easy to be close to?

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