Columns

Vail Daily column: Where your boot meets the road

November 24, 2014 — 

As winter has now fallen upon us, many of us have put snow tires on our cars. Researching the best tires for our particular car is often an interesting process. There seems to be so many variables when choosing just the right winter tire; all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, SUV, cross-over, sedan. Then, there are additional choices of winter-specific, studless, studs and all-season. Sifting through all the choices and cost variables takes time.

However, this article is not about tires. I mention tires because we place so much importance on the proper tires that keep ourselves and our families safe yet many of us don’t have the same consideration for the shoes we wear in the winter. Falls due to ice and snow are one of the most common injuries causing people to visit the hospital. Proper choices in our winter footwear are as important as our winter tire choices.

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Vail Daily health column: Enjoy the holiday season and stay healthy

November 24, 2014 — 

The holiday season is often the busiest time of year for many Vail Valley locals. It is also a time of financial importance to our community and local businesses. This snapshot of our community coincides with studies done on the rest of the country. Americans typically gain more weight from Thanksgiving through the end of the year than the other 10 and a half months combined. Studies also show that Americans consider the holiday season the most stressful time of the year.

Here are some helpful tips to enjoy the holidays, and even improve upon your health and well-being.

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Vail Daily column: Naked greed affects us all

November 23, 2014 — 

Greed is an emotion that we are conditioned to abhor and rightly so. But it is a complex part of our humanity that touches even the most saintly among us. Snowsports enthusiasts (I hesitate to use the overarching term “skier” so as not to exclude the more diverse community) are particularly guilty of this sin. An 18-inch powder dump is not enough to satisfy — we are almost biologically compelled to need more and more and more.

This is a species of avarice that is outright celebrated, not just by Gordon Gekko-types but even by those identified as liberal, or socialistic, or communal. Yet the same cupidity for snow that is so championed is derided when in the form of capitalistic plundering of the natural and human resources upon which ski resorts are built. Therein lies the contradiction of greed.

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Vail Daily column: Hail to the turkey

November 22, 2014 — 

Each state has its symbols: state bird, state tree, even state dinosaurs. These are often indicative of a common inhabitant or visitor, but they don’t really carry much weight. No one says to me, “Oh you’re from Kansas? You must love to sing like the meadowlark, and stand firm in water like the cottonwood!”

But when it came to representing an entire nation, our founding fathers had a clear intention. This would be a symbol recognized across the globe that embodied the power and spirit of a people. Only something brave, bold, courageous and graceful would suffice. For these reasons it was clear which animal they had to choose: the wild turkey.

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Vail Daily column: Charitable giving pays off — for everyone

November 21, 2014 — 

Americans are pretty generous — in fact, 83 percent of us donated money to charitable organizations last year, according to a Gallup survey. And now that we’re entering the holiday season, charitable giving well may be on your mind. Your key motivation for making charitable gifts, of course, is to help those organizations whose work is meaningful to you. However, by supporting these groups, you can also make life less taxing for yourself.

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Vail Daily column: Global economics benefiting mortgage borrowers — kind of

November 21, 2014 — 

The US and the global economy as a whole is facing a unique situation that, depending on your view point, is either the best of times of the worst of times, or a bit of both.

When the great recession of 2007-08 barreled down on us, the federal government responded, in part, by having the Federal Reserve Bank purchase about $4 trillion of long term debt, primarily mortgage backed securities. This tamped-down long-term rates for not only homebuyers but also for the government deficit and, I think even the most hawkish economists would have to at least grudgingly agree, kept things from getting a whole lot worse than they did.

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Vail Daily column: The dream will soon be real

November 20, 2014 — 

Early on in the process of building the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, we created the theme of “Dream It. Live It. Share It.” For the first 1,500 days, we’ve been dreaming it, wondering what our championships should be like, look like and feel like.

What did we want the world to see of our dream, our community and our sport? We’ve developed that dream with all of you. So many in this community and state have been engaged in the process of helping to dream what the 2015 World Championships will be.

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Vail Daily column: Should I ask seller to fix more items?

November 20, 2014 — 

Dear Joan,

My Realtor is warning me about possibly losing the house we have under contract by writing up items on the inspection objection report. We are under contract with a home that is 15 years old. The sellers have done a fair job, but I feel, after looking at the professional inspectors report, that there are numerous items you could call “deferred maintenance” ... things they just have neglected over the years that are very important to me. We are paying a more than fair price for the home and I want to write in the inspection objection report that the sellers are to fix all of the items. Our broker is warning us against doing that for several reasons that don’t make much sense to me. What would you do?

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Vail Daily column: Trying hard vs. getting things done

November 20, 2014 — 

Managing a team or a project at work is much like parenting.

Let me explain. My biggest challenge as a leader of a team and as a parent is one and the same: Teaching that no one cares how hard you try, but rather what results you deliver.

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Vail Daily column: Holiday magic and mayhem

November 19, 2014 — 

Here comes Hanukkah and here comes Christmas. Wait ... first we get to enjoy Thanksgiving, don’t we?

Studies show how much better retailers do when they begin promoting the holidays sooner. However, I wonder how we all do as consumers during the rush and crush of the holiday season. Do we focus on the magic or do we get swallowed up by the mayhem?

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Vail Daily column: Jury nullification

November 18, 2014 — 

A friend and client recently sent me an email. He said that he and his wife had recently been watching a TV drama and the matter of jury nullification, something he had never heard of, popped up.

Being the diligent fellow that he is, he advised that he doesn’t take legal information from a TV show as being anything more than entertainment but thought the concept interesting enough that he Googled it and found out there actually appears to be such a thing. He correctly noted too that the legality of jury nullification seems rather vague and, like many things in law, varies from state to state. He said it interested him the powers a jury might have that the court might not tell it about.

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Vail Daily column: Be proactive in your medical needs

November 18, 2014 — 

“No one is big enough to be independent of others” is a statement made by Dr. William Worrall Mayo, of the Mayo Clinic. Perhaps it is this philosophy of cooperative, team-based, multi-disciplinary physicians that has made the Mayo Clinic world renowned.

The Mayo Clinic model is so well respected that it has developed an organization called the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The Mayo Clinic Model of Care is “defined by high quality, compassionate medical care delivered in a multispecialty, integrated academic institution.” As a part of it, medical professionals practice medicine as an integrated team focused on the needs of patients.

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Vail Daily column: Journey to the North Pole

November 16, 2014 — 

A few weeks ago, after a few busy days in Minneapolis, I was returning back to Denver on an early 6 a.m. flight. Normally at that time of the morning, because I’ve been up since 4 a.m., I don’t pay much attention to those sitting next to me. Flying for me (and for many of us) has become like riding a bus — you just get on and go, hopefully on time and headed to the right place. About halfway through the flight, I noticed the guy next to me working on a presentation with some stunning photos of what appeared to be the Antarctic. The pictures piqued my curiosity so I struck up on a conversation and asked where they were shot. The photos were of the North Pole and my seat mate turned out to be none other than Eric Larsen, polar explorer. Polar explorer? That profession is up there with race car driver, bull rider and astronaut for me. Aren’t polar explorers just people we hear about on Discovery Channel or National Geographic?

In March of this year, Larsen and his partner, Ryan Waters, completed the 480-mile, 53-day, unassisted and unsupported (that means you’re on your own) expedition to the North Pole. The expedition required them to ski and even swim in open water towing 325-pound sleds behind them. Of the expedition, Eric summed it up as “Easily, one of the most difficult expeditions in the world. This may realistically be the last opportunity anyone has to complete a journey of this type in this region.”

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Vail Daily column: Don’t just stand by

November 16, 2014 — 

Did you know that you probably talked to someone today who has been a victim of sexual assault? Maybe it was a family member, a friend or a cashier at a convenience store. If not today, then at some point in your life, you’ve met someone that has dealt with the pain, the emotional distress and countless other long-term effects of sexual abuse. You might not know this about them; they might not ever tell you. But we know that one in two women and one in four men in Colorado have experienced sexually violent crimes in their lifetime.

You’re out, and you think you saw something. You’re not sure; maybe it was nothing. So, you simply keep walking. The next day you hear the news. Someone needed your help, but you didn’t know what to do. As a bystander, you can safely change the outcome — prevent an assault by stepping in when something doesn’t look right.

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Actively Green 2015 ambassador profile: Corinne Hara

November 16, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is a weekly spotlight that celebrates a local person who works for an Actively Green 2015 participating sustainable business.

Name: Corinne Hara

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Vail Daily column: Look up and discover something new

November 15, 2014 — 

Without having thought much of it, I’ve spent a lot of my life looking down. For the things which I love to do most, looking down isn’t so unreasonable: I’ve always needed to see what’s downhill of the tips of my skis, which hazards await my feet on the trails and where I should direct the front wheel of my bike. Plenty of people do the same, and there isn’t anything wrong with it.

But recently, I started looking up.

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Vail Daily column: Should I sell before I buy?

November 14, 2014 — 

Dear Joan,

I want to look at homes in the Vail Valley to buy, but I am not sure if I should start yet. My house is ready to go on the market (in another ​area​) but it is not listed yet, nor do I know when I would ​find​ a buyer. I ​don’t​ have to sell ​my home​ to be able to make an offer on another ho​use​, but I would feel much more comfortable if it were sold and I wouldn’t be having to deal with two mortgages. On the other hand, I am afraid to put it on the market for fear it will sell soon and I don’t have any place to move to. Any suggestions on which comes first and how to navigate this uncharted territory?

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Vail Daily column: You can manage your credit score

November 14, 2014 — 

These 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 might reflect 100 points of more difference?

Credit scores have also 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 like to 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. There are even more companies who will sell you a score, which is also often worthless.

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Vail Daily column: Focus on things that matter

November 13, 2014 — 

It is easy to fall into the busy trap — completing tasks, answering emails, running from one meeting to the next — and to forget to focus on the things that matter. Days pass by, weeks and months go on and before we know it, another ski season is quickly upon us.

We’re all reminded of this each year in mid-November as we’re busy staffing our operations, training employees to provide the highest level of service and generally getting ready for the winter months to maximize our business operations.

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Vail Daily column: IPO hype can lead to risky investing

November 13, 2014 — 

All investors probably wish they had gotten in on the “ground floor” of Apple or Microsoft or any other big success story. And, in fact, you can indeed “be there from the beginning” by taking part in a company’s initial public offering (IPO). However, the ground floor of many IPOs may be shakier than you’d think — and might not provide you with the solid footing you need to invest wisely.

Of course, not all IPOs are the same. Many large, profitable companies, seeking to raise capital, have gone public in recent years through IPOs. However, IPOs of newer, unproven companies share some characteristics that should give pause to serious, long-term investors. Consider the following:

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Vail Pet Talk column: Knowledge comes at a price

November 12, 2014 — 

“Knowledge is good.” It is ironic that this inscription on a statue in the movie “Animal House” inspired my veterinary career back in 1978 when I was a freshman at the University of Florida. And it is a truism in my profession and medicine in general.

But knowledge comes at a price and since veterinary bills are largely paid “out of pocket” rather than through third party insurance companies, we need to be careful and diligent in our quest for it.

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Vail Daily column: Local teen gives back to the community

November 11, 2014 — 

During this month of giving, our local youth are expected to put down that turkey leg, serve the community and place others’ needs before their own. Hurry to the Avon Salvation Army, pack those baskets full of cranberry sauce and stuffing, lace up your boots and drop them off to specific homes, all with a smile and a sincere heart. Most teens generate a feeling of self-worth, pad their college resumes, and come Dec. 1, settle back into their busy lives.

Luke Vickerman, a junior at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, is the exception to this general behavior and dedicates his time helping others without seeking personal recognition or fame — a rare, special and mature attribute for a 16-year-old. These sorts of characteristics are not typically considered cool, but Luke’s friendly demeanor and grace entices other teens to follow his lead. His passions revolve around rivers, ski racing gates, mountain-biking trails and other outdoor endeavors. An avid rafter and flyfisherman, he dedicates numerous hours to Trout Unlimited’s Eagle County chapter, promoting water conservation and fish preservation. As a member of VSSA’s Environmental & Sustainability Club, the student-led group monitors the school’s energy consumption. In the classroom, he is challenging himself by taking three advanced placement college preparatory courses. A difficult task for an 11th grader at VSSA, who may miss a minimum of 30 classroom days due to the rigorous alpine ski racing travel schedule. In the summer and fall seasons, Vickerman can be seen highlighted in the Vail Daily for his top finishes in the Vail Mountain Bike Town Series and Vail Valley Mountain Bike Club Circuit.

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Vail Daily column: The Uniform Code of Military Justice

November 11, 2014 — 

He claims to be the shooter. He claims he is the ex-Navy SEAL who fired the fatal shot that killed bin Laden. He claims he placed a bullet in bin Laden’s forehead and then a second one as he was crumpling to the ground.

Others aren’t so sure.

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Vail Daily column: Is living longer better?

November 10, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: The first part of this column appeared Oct. 21.

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Actively Green 2015 ambassador profile: Greg Ziccardi

November 10, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is a weekly spotlight that celebrates a local person who works for an Actively Green 2015 participating sustainable business.

Name: Greg Ziccardi.

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Vail Daily column: Defeating that dastardly deadline

November 9, 2014 — 

Lazing in a hammock with a pina colada in hand, the tropical sunlight glitters off the azure sea. Over the soothing sounds of the onshore breeze, a faint whistling grows louder. The interloping sound rises in volume to such an extent that, reverie interrupted, one looks up to the source of the scourge and sees a cluster of bombs descending from the heavens. Immediately, the world switches from Technicolor to monochrome as the sandy idyll becomes a battleground. Such is the life of a litigator, peacefully attending to work in one moment and thrust into (thankfully not mortal) combat in the span of a single phone call.

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Vail Daily column: Asking the hard questions

November 9, 2014 — 

Have you talked to your children and teens about Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus? If not, you should. Here’s why ...

Timing is, in fact, everything: Most parents wait for an incident or negative event to occur before they broach difficult topics with their teens. For example, most parents do not speak with their children about having sex until they suspect that their child may be sexually active. This incident-based approach to conversation often leads to defensiveness on the part of the child, accusations on the part of the parent, and is often “too late” to prevent unwanted behavior.

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Vail Daily column: Prepare far ahead for long-term care costs

November 7, 2014 — 

November is Long-term Care Awareness Month — a month dedicated to educating the public about the need to prepare for the potentially significant costs of long-term care. And the more you know about these expenses, the better prepared you will be to deal with them.

To begin, just how expensive is long-term care? Consider this: The average cost for a private room in a nursing home is more than $87,000 per year, according to the 2014 Cost of Care Survey produced by Genworth, a financial services company.

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Vail Daily column: Election results impact on mortgage rates remains unclear

November 7, 2014 — 

Most people know mortgage rates go up and down a lot, but few understand the reasoning behind why they do. The answer is that there are dozens of factors out there influencing the global economy, and they all trickle down to the cost of money. When people, institutions, big corporations and individuals decide what to do with their cash they always weigh two things: Return on their money and the likelihood of return of their money. Ideally, everyone would like the best of both worlds, a high return and very low risk but it always seems to be one has to win out. Return of the money is more often than not the deciding factor.

When obligations, such as mortgage backed securities, are guaranteed by the U.S. government, or at least implicitly guaranteed if not clearly guaranteed in writing, there is very little perceived risk and as a result offer a lower return. In times of uncertainty investors flock to low-risk investments regardless of the fairly low rate they pay on returns.

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Vail Daily column: Land Trust provides stewardship tools

November 6, 2014 — 

We live in a beautiful, wild and accessible place. All who spend significant time in Eagle County can agree with this claim. We are so fortunate to be able to walk, bike, or take a short drive from our offices and homes and immediately be immersed in a gold medal fishery, a flowing sagebrush single-track, elk roaming grounds, a shimmering aspen grove, an expansive pasture or a deep, sub-alpine forest.

Over 7,000 acres of these pristine and wild places in Eagle County have been conserved forever by the Eagle Valley Land Trust and its many partners. These places are what define our community, our economy and our way of life.

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