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Vail, CO, Colorado

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October 3, 2012
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Developer misses deadline, again

Since Oct.14, 2011, the Avon Town Council has been waiting for Traer Creek LLC's proper planned unit development application reflective of the Settlement Term Sheet that everyone told Judge Moorhead they'd make good faith efforts to implement.

Yes, that's 2011! The Lindholms have delayed everyone for nearly one year.

Finally, the Avon Town Council mustered the strength to yell, "Enough is enough!" when they firmly drew the line at 5 p.m. last Friday evening for Traer Creek's resubmission of an application containing only the 11 land use matters of the Settlement Term Sheet.

But Traer Creek did not resubmit last Friday -- by its absence giving the Avon Town Council the biggest finger I have yet seen in this mess.

Does anyone really think Traer Creek intends to settle the lawsuit? They do not.

Recall that the litigation only arose because Traer Creek Metro District, the Lindholms' mini government that owes about $43 million in bond debt that's backed by a very nervous French bank, simply stopped paying its bill to the town of Avon for snow removal, police protection and other obligations. The metro district owes Avon about $3.5 million already.

It's clear that Magnus Lindholm's Traer Creek and the metro district are more comfortable litigating than settling the lawsuit, paying bills or responsibly developing the Village at Avon land.

I agree that enough is enough. Avon's Town Council must send the final message even more loudly and clearly: by voting "no" 7-0 at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Tamra Nottingham Underwood

Avon

Working hard

An open letter to the Avon Town Council: I don't think any outsider can fully comprehend the amount of time and effort you have put in (and agony endured) to try and resolve the Traer Creek mess you inherited. But I have some idea.

As a part-time resident (and full-time taxpayer) of Avon, I want to say thank you and let you know how much I appreciate all you are doing in service to your town.

I have always had full confidence that you would continue to make those decisions that you sincerely believe are in the best long term interests (both financially and developmentally) of the town, its residents, and its taxpayers.

I realize it's a long way from being over. Hang in there. Thanks again.

Tom Hix

President, Canyon Run Condominium Association

Momma bears dangerous

As a resident of the local mountain communities and in light of the black bear situation in Eby Creek Mesa, I would like to voice my opinion on the matter.

While living in a mountain area as people, we need to understand that this was the wild animals' home first. We have encroached on their home.

With the very dry summer we had, there is not much forage for the bears outside of town. So that forces them to enter the communities looking for food. They choose trash, freezers, anything that smells like food they will go for.

It is our job to protect our property by following simple rules to keep bears away from our homes (trash in the garage, no pet food outside, bird feeders put away).

But as human beings, we do get lazy or push the limits in order to see the wild creatures, this is not good. This brings the animals into our communities, and they soon get used to humans and lose their fear of us. This is when people get attacked, charged or chased by the bears.

In most cases, if a male bear comes into your vicinity you can simple scare them off. But when a female with cubs comes up, they will become aggressive. Simple as a mother protecting her child, they will usually collect their cubs and leave, but when they don't they are very dangerous.

This is the part that people do not understand: The sows with cubs are way more dangerous. If you were jogging down the street and a sow was on the left side of the road and her cubs on the right and you are in the middle, you are the threat whether you are walking along, riding a bike, jogging, anything. You are keeping that mother from her babies, and she will attack in some cases.

After reading of the sow being shot and personally knowing the victim, I feel his actions were of the right choice. He was a father and husband protecting his family, as the sow may have been doing with hers.

When a bear comes into a lighted area or porch and is within arm's length everyone would act the same. Joe was acting upon his instinct to protect his family and other neighbors in the area.

The question is what if your young child, wife, husband, grandparent wondered onto your porch, your driveway or yard that the bear was on? How would you react?

This sow had become unafraid of humans and someone could have been seriously injured by her. Joe's actions to protect himself, his very young son and girlfriend were right in my book as a self-defense matter.

This is a price we must pay living in a mountain community. You're going to see bears, mountain lions, elk, deer, all the animals, somewhere. We are also a hunting community and you will see dead animals, and it is our job to protect these animals, as well, in our community.

Josh Wamboldt

Gypsum

Penalty too light

I believe the fine issued to the Eby Creek resident that shot and killed a female black bear earlier this week was not appropriate.

I understand that the Colorado Division of Wildlife is constrained under the laws established by the state of Colorado and am therefore not arguing with how the Division of Wildlife handled this case.

However, I do believe that Mr. Giegling was not cited for the full extent of his crime.

Black bears are considered by biologists as an animal with a low reproductive potential as they do not mate until they are 5-7 years old, mate at the most every other year (if summer and fall food conditions are good), and only produce an average of two cubs per litter. In addition, cubs remain with their mothers until 17 to 18 months of age. Therefore, Mr. Giegling killed three bears (one sow and two cubs).

The typical black bear can live up to 20 years old. Therefore, according to my mathematical calculations, Mr Giegling should be held responsible for the killing of not one, but at the very least 13 black bears (mother, her two cubs, plus 10 more years of producing at least two cubs every other year; that's 10 cubs).

These calculations do not include the reproductive contributions of the two cubs killed. (They cannot make it through the winter alone.) Nor do these calculations include the reproductive contributions of cubs the sow would have produced.

At the very least Mr. Giegling owes the state of Colorado $17,842.50. I also believe Mr. Giegling should have gone to jail and had his hunting license revoked permanently, as his lack of wildlife and hunting ethics and his inability to make sound decisions with a firearm makes him not worthy to be a part of the hunting community.

If he was not ticketed for discharging a firearm in close proximity to homes, thereby endangering his neighbors, he should have been.

In addition, Mr. Giegling's letter of apology is beyond understanding.

Mr. Giegling had the cover of his home to remain "safe" from the bear, not that the bear would have harmed him or his family (I do not believe it would have).

In fact, if the wildlife officer believed that Mr. Giegling was truly in danger, then the officer would not have given him a ticket. Game rangers are well trained in law enforcement practices and procedure, and if a ticket was issued, then it was deserved.

Mr. Giegling chose to react to a perceived threat in a very irresponsible manner.

Cindy Ticer

Retired Wildlife Management Biologist, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Voted with my feet

I first visited Vail in 1974, at Outward Bound in the Gore Range, trucked from Piney to start a final expedition at Gore Creek Trail. Just finished solo, three days alone, fasting and self-reflection, we saw the opportunity to hit the golf course snack bar, hot dogs and hamburgers. Yes, with upset stomachs we struggled through the next day.

Periodically I visited Vail, enjoying skiing. Summers staying east on the ocean. In 1990, eight months in Vail. 1998, full time, raising two kids, enjoying all activities offered.

I recently relocated to the seaside town of Sag Harbor, N.Y. Friends in Colorado, long-time friends, new friends and family ask, "Are you OK with the move?"

I remind or explain how fortunate I am to have lived in many interesting and wonderful places. Sag Harbor, like Vail, is a great place to live, but different, trading mountains for ocean. I get out on my boats often. My kids are extremely water capable. The road biking is varied, the choices of routes numerous. Mountain biking is good, too, exchanging uphill grinds for sandy single track on bluffs overlooking the ocean. Camping, waking up on the beach or a boat is as special as waking up in a bowl at 10,000 feet surrounded by peaks. Herds of elk swapped for dolphins and whales.

There is a stark difference. The education system. Facts on education data are easily found on the web. A quick search yielded : www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/11/state-education-rankings-_n_894528.html

New York state ranked fifth in the country for math/science. Colorado ranked 15th. Battle Mountain High School was in the bottom third statewide. Pearson High School, Sag Harbor, ranked in the top 500 public high schools in the United States. There are approximately 18,500 public high schools in the country. Pearson is in the top 3 percent nationwide.

My daughter is not continuing at Battle Mountain. She is attending Interlochen Arts Academy. Carrying a full math and science course load, she consistently says Interlochen is extremely hard versus the cruise at t Mountain. I support her, emphasizing this will better prepare her for her college experience and to do her best. I know she will.

My son is in Sag Harbor Elementary. The Sag Harbor Elementary School is a school that demonstrates it is proud to be an American school. The school has high teacher retention, good pay and benefits, and like the high school, it performs very well academically.

What stands out, unlike my Vail Valley public school experience, is they promote being an American school. Unlike the valley's schools, which seem to have lost their compass to being politically correct, this school does say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in the morning assembly and then sings one of our great patriotic songs. Throughout the school's philosophy is respect for all, personal responsibility, an embracing of the multicultural fabric of the community within the American culture. Religion is embraced, not shied away from or pushed aside as I saw in the public schools in Vail.

I do not know the compensation of the schools here and do not feel a need to find out because these schools deliver.

According to the Colorado Department of Education:

• Local teachers earn less than the state average, $46,398 versus $49,228.

• Local principals, administrators are paid more: $86,283 in Eagle County and $81,196 statewide.

• Eagle County Superintendent Smyser, paid $184,124 last year. Average statewide base salary is $111,362 for districts (1,200 and 6,000 students) and $124,054 (6,001-25,000 students). I ask, how well have your tax dollar been used in the education of your kids? The leadership appears to be grossly overpaid on average and your teachers underpaid.

Colorado as a state is in the upper third of the country, but Battle Mountain is at the bottom of the state's ranking. I recall alarming figures that the number of Battle Mountain students who had to retake high school courses in their first year of college was significant. I am quite sure there will be a strong reaction and I will not respond. I have voted for change with my feet.

My parental responsibility is to provide the best education for my children. I found Vail public schools deficient.

Michael Hayes

Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Great job hosting race

My hearty congratulations to the organizers, sponsors and the community of Vail for the excellent job in hosting the Tour of Vail criterium pro cycling race.

I have been to criterium races all over the country, and this event was as well run as any I have seen. The venue of Vail Village was extraordinary.

The pro race, with a peloton of about 150 impressive athletes, was extremely exciting. Kudos to all involved! I look forward to returning next year.

Peter Brown

Decatur, Ga.


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The VailDaily Updated Oct 3, 2012 05:08PM Published Oct 3, 2012 05:06PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.