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Letter: Local stores neglectful in enforcing masks

I have recently traveled to the valley and plan to be here for several months this summer. I am really appalled by how many people I encounter in stores who are not wearing masks, nor is there any enforcement by store owners of this. These individuals are endangering us all.

Stores need to post one employee at their entrances to insist that patrons wear a mask. If people get used to being denied entry, they hopefully will begin to comply with this important, necessary measure if we are to control the pandemic.

Andrea Klein

Edwards

Letter: Vote for Diane Mitsch Bush for Congress

I know that elections have taken a backseat in our minds with this horrible virus attacking so many (I have four nurses in my family). But, if we want to go forward after this pandemic is over, we need a strong, intelligent fighter and a true representative of western Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives. We cannot do better than Diane Mitsch Bush. 

She was elected a state representative for three terms where she worked across the aisle to extend the post-recession recovery to rural areas. She fought for family agriculture, transportation, sustainable water infrastructure, renewable energy,  public health, and the natural resources that sustain us all. 

Diane has done far more for Western Colorado as a state representative than Scott Tipton has done as U.S. representative. She is not wealthy, as Rep. Tipton is. She is not beholden to large corporations. Her intelligence, drive, and knowledge will help all of us in Colorado and the whole country in the hard days of recovery. 

For most of Eagle County, Diane Mitsch Bush will be on the ballot for the June 30 primary.  When yours arrives in the mail, please vote for her.

Kay Delanoy

Eagle

Letter: Thank you, Vail Health

Kudos to Will Cook and Vail Health as well as all the “powers that be” in Eagle County government for being preemptive in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus in our beloved valley. It’s only through your foresight and preparedness that our area has been spared so many hardships that other communities are, unfortunately, experiencing. I’m sure I speak for many others, as well. You have done an incredible job! Thank you all so very much. Stay healthy! 

Brenda Himelfarb

Avon

Armijo: How to overcome anxiety

Anxiety is a condition that many people are currently experiencing with all that is taking place in our world. Anxiety causes feelings of apprehension and worry. There is anxiety related to just about any human condition one could imagine, but this column will focus on a few for the sake of brevity.

Health-related anxiety is on many people’s minds these days with the current state of our health care system, the aging population of baby boomers, and of course the viral outbreak of COVID-19.

There is no shortage of reasons to experience anxiety due to health or aging or the current pandemic. The aging process creates plenty of health issues on its own, thus creating anxiety for the aging populations, but all of that gets exasperated when you add in a dangerous viral outbreak. However, experiencing too much anxiety will eventually lead to a victim mentality and a fear of progression in one’s life. When we give in to our anxiety we effectively become the victim.

As the victim, we are forever worried about all the outstanding viruses and disorders that most of us will never experience yet remain fearful of. The victim mentality does not allow for a comfortable life. It causes one to live from a place of fear and worry and when we live from a place of fear we usually end up with more things to fear and worry about.

Those with a victim mentality are the target audience of big pharmaceutical advertisements, shady investment brokers, and scam artists. The victim mentality increases one’s susceptibility to fear and worry and leaves them vulnerable to unscrupulous characters. Many retired individuals are experiencing anxiety around finances or their health which leaves them in the victim mentality and they are a favorite target of scam artists and snake oil salesmen.

Many in the aging population experience anxiety from witnessing the health struggles of their peers. The baby boomers sheer numbers are raising the cost of health care while increasing the need for health professionals to attend to them. As baby boomers experience a higher need for health care, many of them are leaving work and entering retirement further exasperating the anxiety they experience due to increased healthcare needs and rising healthcare costs.

The members of Generation X and millennials experience the trickle-down effect of rising health care combined with a workforce that many no longer see as secure or sustainable and experience a whole different type of anxiety. Millennials, in particular, get viewed in a negative light for not purchasing homes or cars but maybe this has much to do with the uncertainty that is happening at this time in our history and not the fact that they are lazy or entitled. Uncertainty is another big cause of anxiety.

The causes of anxiety in today’s world are much different than the causes of anxiety in past generations. We are no longer worried about being eaten by a predator. However, we are wondering how we will afford to pay back all the postponed and late payments we are incurring while waiting for the jobs to return. These fears may not be irrational but they are still not helping us to progress.

Anxiety can cause people to become stagnant in their lives. Anxiety is typically based on stress or fear and can cause people to become so overwhelmed they just stop living. They concede to their anxiety and stop trying to live the life they desire to avoid feeling any more anxiety due to failure or uncertainty they may or may not experience.

How does one overcome anxiety? The first thing is to realize that this life is yours and your alone. Stop giving energy to things that are not within your control. We waste too much energy being angry or worried due to things we cannot control. Stop comparing your situation to others, there will always be someone with better circumstances than us and there will always be those worse off than us. Stop trying to help others before you help yourself. We cannot benefit anyone until we are comfortable in our own lives, so get yourself to a good place before trying to help anyone else out.

Norton: We win when we expect more from ourselves

Have you ever wondered why sometimes we can get so frustrated and even angry at other people because they aren’t serving us fast enough, meeting our needs and demands, or just behaving in a way that we don’t agree with?

Maybe it’s our neighbor, our family, or a company representative who isn’t helping us fast enough. It could be a coworker, a customer, or even our boss. Maybe it’s the confusion and neediness of our pets and their inconvenient timing during our virtual meetings as they jump into the picture or bark or meow in the background. And maybe, it’s someone who is or isn’t social distancing the way that we are.

Here’s the harder question: When was the last time we held ourselves to that same standard? That standard that we hold everyone else on the planet accountable to comply with. For many of us, that look in the mirror is exactly what we need right now as we try and work through all the challenges we are facing today. Whether it’s within our homes, working from our homes, talking to friends and neighbors, or being a part of the community in any way, we should encourage one another to expect more from ourselves and maybe set the example for others.

Service will be slower, let’s expect that to happen. Confusion about the products we ordered and didn’t receive or when we received the wrong size or color can be controlled as we put ourselves in the headset of the customer service person on the other end of the phone or in your chat window. And as we walk together through the days, weeks, and months ahead, we will confront many moments where we will have a disagreement or a difference of opinion. And that’s OK, because as we begin to expect the best from ourselves, and make expecting the best from ourselves a habit, we really will not care how others choose to react, we only know how we will respond.

Success and winning are never measured in how we stack up against other people. Success and winning are only defined by what we did relative to what we are capable of doing and what we expect from ourselves each day, in all that we do, and in all that we say. Success and winning have a magical moment when we can look in the mirror and know the good that we did and also identified what we still need to work on in ourselves.

A good friend and mentor of mine, Dr. Denis Waitley, created a program called “The Psychology of Winning.” And in his program, Denis talks about positive self-expectancy. Here is what he says, “Positive self-expectancy is the first, most outwardly identifiable quality of a top achieving, winning human being. Positive self-expectancy is pure and simple optimism: real enthusiasm for everything you do. And optimism is expecting the most favorable result from your own actions.”

The inspiration for today’s column came from Jon, a member of our community who caught himself mirroring the bad behavior and harsh language of someone who he was interacting with during a recent disagreement. Jon said that he got caught up in the moment and felt like he reacted poorly. To quote Jon, he said, “It wasn’t until I got home and saw myself in the mirror, and I knew that I was better than that.”

I know Jon is not alone because I have found myself in the same situation. Have you? Here’s the thing, the best part is that when we start focusing our efforts on expecting more from ourselves and live daily with positive self-expectancy, we will minimize reacting poorly and maximize how we respond favorably.

How about you? Do you expect more from yourself? Do you hold others to a different standard than you hold yourself? I would love to hear all about your positive self-expectancy story at mnorton@tramazing.com and when we expect more from ourselves it really will be a better than good week.

Suszynski: Do not tread on the loaf

I have a lot to say about fairytales and I think fairytales have a lot to say to us.

Two years ago, I sat in on a panel about fairytales at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs in Tampa, Florida.

The panel was chaired by a small, elderly woman with large glasses. A young woman stood up during the questioning portion and asked about the binaries that are glaringly present in fairytales.

“Why should we be so invested in stories that tell of little boys that wear blue and little girls that are princesses and must be saved?” she asked rather angrily.

The old woman straightened up in her chair. I could tell that she was anticipating a question like this. In fact, her little frame seemed to spring forward.

“Think of fairytales as tales of wholeness. The prince is not a man, the princess is not a woman. Perhaps, the prince represents more male-centric characteristics and the princess represents traits associated with women such as sensitivity,” she said as she peered through her coke-bottle glasses.

“By the end of the story, we have a complete person.”

There is one fairytale that I have always been drawn to, titled “The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf” by Hans Christian Andersen. The tale is about a frustratingly prideful girl, Little Inger, who is ignorant of her actions. On the way to meet her mother, who she has not seen for a year, Little Inger wears her best dress and cleanest shoes to declare how “fine she had become.” She carries a loaf of bread that was gifted to her by her employer and once she comes across a stretch of mud on her journey, she throws the bread down and uses it as a steppingstone so as not to dirty her “fine new shoes.”

The weirdness of this story is the true hook. The young woman slips into a marsh of sorts: “She went down to the Marsh Woman, who brews down there. The Marsh Woman is an aunt of the elf maidens, who are very well known.”

Little Inger happens to visit the underground brewery when the devil and his great-grandmother are visiting (why Andersen chose the “great” grandmother is also beyond me). And lo and behold, “This Little Inger went to hell!”

After Inger arrives in that “endless antechamber,” she must listen to all the people she knows say nasty things about her; well, not necessarily nasty, but maybe just a little bit truthful. She is only struck by sorrow when somebody calls her “Poor Inger.”

I find it interesting to break down these moral tales. Here I am in my chair yelling at Inger that flour is in short supply, that food is more important than dirtying your shoes. But I can’t get through to Inger, I am just the reader, listening.

When Inger is alone in hell, stuck to the ground “as if fastened by a loaf of bread,” she is the one who must listen.

Sure, Cinderella or Snow White can be considered tales of wholeness. Snow White, “who was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood,” has a chance at being complete once she meets the prince. But how do you explain this strange story about a very pretty but awful little girl who, using her privilege, tramples a loaf of bread that “draws her as an amber bead on a slender thread” into a hellish brewery where she meets a Marsh Woman who makes “the meadows reek in the summer?”

I guess it’s sometimes easy to say that we can consider fairytales these wonderful stories of wholeness. There are times when I do feel whole. But right now, I feel quite the opposite. We must not accept that something will change as if we are Snow White, waiting in her tower for eternity. All this waiting, waiting to be whole, waiting for the prince; the waiting is wrong. If you took a bite from the poisoned red apple, figure out a way to come out of it.

Do not tread on the loaf. If you only hear your voice echoing in the antechamber with Little Inger, both of you looking up, stop waiting. Sitting idle down there, brewing, is not the right thing to do. Little Inger should have gotten filthy, to the point of being unrecognizable, crossing that marsh to her mother, carrying the loaf as if it were her own child. Instead of feeling bad for herself, instead of perking up at the mention of sympathy, then feeling angry: “They ought to have brought me up better,” Inger thought. “They should have beaten the nonsense out of me, if I had any;” Inger should have fought for her own awakening. Reading is not just reading, and Little Inger does not just exist on the page. Reading is a form of listening, and listening becomes awareness.

Curious Nature: Leave the dandelions be

With spring here, let us take a moment to learn about a plant you might not give a second glance. As humans, we may see the bright yellow flowers of the dandelion and consider them a noxious weed. Growing where many can’t, they find cracks in the sidewalk proving notoriously hard to get rid of. While we may try our hardest to eliminate the garden pest, many animals and insects rely on them to survive.

When the days turn longer and the snow starts to melt, dandelions are the first to flower. Capable of growing over a foot tall and having large jagged leaves they become a food source for many insects that are waking up from their winter slumber.

Insects such as bees, dragonflies and flies rely on the flowers as an initial food to survive until other plants bloom. Dandelions have one of the longest flowering periods of any plant, feeding many organisms during their life span. Mammals and birds are also seen grazing upon these plants. In the Rocky Mountains, many deer and elk graze upon these plants and if you took a trip to Yellowstone National Park, you may witness a grizzly bear gorging on their flowers.

Dandelions are widespread because of their seed dispersal mechanism. Each flower can produce 150-200 seeds. Once done blooming they create the iconic white puffball that is filled with seeds. Each seed is attached to a fluffy “parachute” that uses wind to move great distances. The seed can travel hundreds of miles away and as a result of this highly effective dispersal mechanism. Dandelions are able to colonize vast stretches of land.

Once the seed lands, it starts growing a long root called a taproot. This root can reach depths of up to 3 feet, allowing it to gather nutrients and water other plants are unable to reach. Once the taproot is established, it can be very hard to remove a dandelion because the plant can regrow even if the flowers and leaves are removed.

Dandelions commonly germinate in areas where the ground has been disturbed. Areas such as your lawn or garden are perfect habitats. They may not be your intended plant of choice, but dandelions can have positive impacts on the ecology of the environment. Their roots help to aerate the soil allowing other plants to grow.

While not native to North America, dandelions were brought overseas by early settlers and can now be found in all 50 states. They originated in Europe and Asia and have been documented being used medicinally.

Historically, tea brewed from the leaves were used to calm an aching stomach, prevent liver disease and reduce fever. In addition to acting as medicine, dandelions have also been used as a food source. The entire plant is edible, from the taproot to the flower.

If you are looking at expanding your palate, try a dandelion salad. If looking to harvest dandelions, look for young plants, which are generally less bitter than older plants.

Harvesting anything from nature should only happen if you are 100% confident in the identification of the plant and know the plant has not been exposed to pesticides. Even if you don’t plan on throwing them in your salad, when spring arrives and the dandelions start blooming, consider leaving them alone. You never know who might be relying on them.

Karen Woodworth is a Nnaturalist at Walking Mountains who enjoys prancing around the dandelion fields.

Letter: Oath vs vow

Does anyone else out there get sick and tired of the election year lies of incumbent politicians by both major parties in the far-off distant land of Washington D.C.? For the past four decades I’ve compared what they say to how they voted constitutionally; you know, the Constitution they swore an oath to, “serve and defend against enemies foreign and domestic.”  The historical, objective votes do not lie. You can decide for yourself by checking out the New American’s Freedom index at https://www.thenewamerican.com/freedom-index.

When you enter “Scott Tipton” you’ll find that his Constitutional votes have steadily declined over the past nine years in office starting in 2011: 80%, 68%, 56%, 57%, 66%.  The really cool thing about the website is that you will learn why the votes are right or wrong for our once strong nation. When I took the Army’s oath to serve the Constitution, they didn’t give me an option to defend less than 100%, nor did my son who is serving now. How serious should the oath to the Constitution be taken before the United States is on its deathbed like Greece and Venezuela? 

I certainly hope that all of the politicians listed on the website respect their wedding vows better than their wayward votes against the Constitution!  Check it out; a huge percentage of the politicians are 20% or less, meaning they spend more time with their mistress (Marxism), than they do with their spouse (Constitution)!

We already have U.S. Constitutional term limits every election depending on the office: two, four, or six years before they have to face the electors again. The challenge is that we need more educated, freedom-loving voters to elect Constitutionally obedient candidates. Tipton’s time has come to step down and allow Lauren Boebert the chance to turn our Republic around constitutionally by making the states strong again. She deserves the chance to represent Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives and if she can’t hit the 100% mark constitutionally, then you get to decide in two years if her term is up. Vote for Lauren Boebert when the ballots are mailed in early June.

Jerry Law

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Give Trump administration credit for coronavirus response

Responding to Jay Wissot’s column of May 22, we think it’s important to start with this statement from Fosters.com: “There is no indication that the Obama Administration took significant steps to replenish the supply of N95 masks in the Strategic National Stockpile after it was depleted from repeated crises. Calls for action came from experts at the time concerned for the country’s ability to respond to future serious pandemics.  Such recommendations were, for whatever reasons, not heeded.”

So, we go onto his opinion that the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus was “botched.” Allow us to remind Wissot of not only the above but the fact that China did not notify the World Heath Organization until December 31 about the cases of an unknown illness. President Trump in no way ignored this situation.   

On January 27, the Trump White House called together the Coronavirus Task Force. On January 31, in spite of the news media and the Democrats opposition, the President declared the coronavirus a public health emergency and suspended entry into the United States of Chinese nationals. The Texas Public Policy Foundation quotes Dr. Fauci, a scientist, physician, and key member of the coronavirus task force: “It was the right public health call …. if you look back early on, Chinese travelers who were infected seeded not only the United States, but countries in Europe, including Italy.”

The following is just a few of the steps the Trump Adminstration took concerning the virus, and a few dangerous and deadly suggestions offered the Democrats.

While Nancy Pelosi visited Chinatown in San Francisco on Feb. 24  and encouraged people, via media, to come and visit, which can be viewed online at NBC Bay Area website, President Trump sent a letter to Congress requesting $2.5 Billion to combat the deadly virus.

Dr. Fauci declares that the outbreak is reaching pandemic proportions on March 2.

Following the first U.S. death on February 29, President Trump signed an $8.3 billion dollar spending bill to fight the coronavirus on March 6. On that same day, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence coordinated with health insurance companies to waive co-pays for testing.

According to the New York Times, during the week of March 9, Mayor Bill DeBlasio, the democratic mayor of NYC, was urging New Yorkers to go about their daily lives. He stressed that the vast amount of people who contract the virus in New York would recover after a mild illness.

On March 11, travel restrictions were implemented, by the Trump administration, on foreign nationals who visited Europe within the prior 14 days.

Two days later, drive up testing sites were announced. Also, on this day the White House announced a pause on interest payments on federal student loans, and then a week later allowed student loan borrowers to stop payments for 60 days without penalty.

March 18, we saw the deployment of the USNS Comfort to New York and USNS Mercy Hospital ship arrived in Los Angeles on March 27 to aid these cities during the outbreak.

The list goes on every single day since that President Trump, Vice President Pence, the cabinet and the Coronavirus Task force has worked tirelessly to protect our country. Mistakes were made (the New York nursing home debacle is a big one) but consider, it is a full century-plus since anything like this appeared on our turf.  We could have had many, many more deaths if the country didn’t take the steps to stop the spread. 

It’s time we and the media stop the constant criticism and thank them for their early and continuous work to protect and move us forward in a safe way.

John and Joyce Chizmadia

Eagle

Ivie: Ask a question, save a life

Almost daily I get asked: “Has the suicide rate changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?”  In the early weeks there was no research or data to show that the suicide rate would increase or decrease because of the circumstances related to the pandemic itself.

However, a couple of weeks ago the Well Being Trust released an article stating we could lose 75,000 people to deaths of despair as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As I read this article I could not help but think that there has to be more to this. You see the article released was only a small portion of the actual research and report. I decided to dig a little deeper and what I found set me on a path to this column.  

In Eagle County we have had more deaths of despair — someone dying by suicide or substance abuse — than we have of the COVID-19 virus in the last five weeks. That may sound shocking, but I am here to tell you that if we don’t start taking action to decrease the deaths of despair, as we did to flatten the curve, we will continue to lose valued community members. I find it important to note here that suicide is complicated and there is never “one thing” that leads someone to suicide. There are usually multiple circumstances that contribute to their death. So what do we do?

As we move to the second phase on the county’s Transition Trail Map, find ways to connect with one another in person while following the recommended guidelines. Human connection is vital to our existence.  Continue to connect virtually with those who choose to stay at home and still need connection. 

Make sure you know how to look out for your loved ones. Just like we have learned to identify the symptoms of COVID-19 and refer friends to medical care, we need to learn the signs of suicide. We need to learn how to ask, “are you thinking of suicide?” and refer someone to support. SpeakUp ReachOut offers multiple free, online courses. It takes about one hour to learn the steps to save a life. 

Quite simply, pay attention to your family, friends, and coworkers. This pandemic has brought a host of new challenges to us all.  We are trying to navigate a new way and we will need each other’s support to be successful. We need to give ourselves and each other some grace. We all have different circumstances in our lives that drive our decisions as we move forward. Don’t judge and don’t assume. Let people know you care and continue to check in with them.

Having grown up in Eagle County, I have seen firsthand what this community can do when we rally together to support a loved one or a cause. Don’t let this be any different. Help us reduce the deaths of despair. Ask a question and save a life.  

Experiencing a crisis?  Please call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255.  

Other resources

  • Eagle Hope Center, 970-306-4673
  • NowMattersNow.org
  • SpeakUpReachOut.org
  • EaglevalleyBH.org

Erin Ivie is the executive director of SpeakUp ReachOut. Find out more at https://www.speakupreachout.org/.