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Writers on the Range: Sometimes, poison is the only thing that works

Three percent of Earth’s land mass is comprised of islands, but 95 percent of all bird extinctions have occurred on them. Main cause: Mice and rats introduced by humans.

Only 10 percent of the world’s islands are rodent-free, but a rodenticide called brodifacoum is changing that. On hundreds of treated islands recovery of native plants and wildlife has been swift and spectacular.

Ted Williams

Consider rugged, 1,450-square-mile South Georgia Island in the Subantarctic. Before mice and rats disembarked from whaling vessels it had been Earth’s richest seabird rookery. For three years it’s been rodent free thanks to a $13.5 million project in which brodifacoum was applied by helicopters. All 33 bird species are surging back. South Georgia pipits, for example, had been virtually eliminated; now their vocalizing drowns out the roaring of elephant seals.

On the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge of Palmyra in the South Pacific, rats killed millions of seabirds representing 10 species, decapitated hatchling sea turtles, decimated 10 species of land crabs and consumed seeds of imperiled Pisonia trees, halting all reproduction. Today the entire ecosystem has recovered thanks to brodifacoum treatment in 2011.

In 2012 the estimated rat population on the Galápagos island of Pinzón was 18 million. All Pinzón giant tortoises hatched there were at least 150 years old because rats had eaten juveniles. In December of that year brodifacoum killed every rat. Within months hatchling Pinzón tortoises appeared for the first time in a century and a half — produced by animals raised and repatriated by the Santa Cruz Tortoise Center.

On the Farallon Islands National Refuge, 27 miles off San Francisco, mice introduced by sealers threaten to extirpate 4000 ashy storm-petrels — half the planet’s population. In autumn the ground undulates with mice. Sit down, and they crawl all over you.

Before mice infested the refuge burrowing owls rested briefly on their fall migration. Now they linger into winter, gorging on mice. With seed shortage mice turn to cannibalism, then starve, so owls switch to ashy storm-petrels. Enough mice survive that their population explodes again when new seeds appear.

Meanwhile mice expose sea lions and seals to deadly pathogens, spread seeds of invasive plants, devour pollinators of native plants and consume two rare species found nowhere else — Farallon camel crickets and Farallon arboreal salamanders.

Since 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has tried to restore ecological health to the Farallons, but it’s continuously intimidated by opponents of all poisons in all situations.

To restore island ecosystems, brodifacoum applied by trained wildlife professionals is an absolute necessity. But brodifacoum abused by the public is an absolute disaster for mainland ecosystems. These are two thoughts opponents of island recovery can’t grasp simultaneously.

Animal-rights activist Maggie Sergio proves the old saw that one concerned citizen can make a difference. She proves also that this isn’t always a good thing.

Sergio has whipped the City of San Francisco, the California Coastal Commission and the public to a froth of fear and loathing. Her online petition against the project has 39,000 signatures.

Sergio’s screeds in the Huffington Post and elsewhere include such fiction as: “1.3 metric tons of brodifacoum” will be dropped by helicopter. There isn’t enough brodifacoum in the world to drop 1.3 metric tons; 1.54 ounces would be dropped, this to be mixed with 1.3 metric tons of grain. And: “The pesticide label for ‘Brodifacoum 25’ indicates that up to 24 pounds per acre will be applied.” No, “Brodifacoum 25” contains 25 parts brodifacoum per million parts grain.

These and other untruths are recycled by the media, the Coastal Commission, the city, WildCare and the Ocean Foundation. One might suppose that the foundation would defend ocean mammals and rare ocean birds. Instead it frets about imagined cruelty to mice and possible by-kill of super-abundant western gulls.

The Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t need permission from state bureaucrats to manage wildlife belonging to all Americans. But scolded by the Coastal Commission, it’s re-revising plans it has revised and re-revised for 17 years.

Zach Warnow of Point Blue Conservation Science retains hope: “I don’t think we’ll win over opponents; but we’ll get this message to the undecideds: We’re in a time when people are doubting scientists, and we need to get back to trusting the scientific process that’s been so well represented in this project.”

The Service will again plead its case to the Coastal Commission at a hearing tentatively scheduled for May. Comments should be sent to: farallonislands@coastal.ca.gov.

Ted Williams is a contributor to Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, a nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. He writes about wildlife for national publications.

Goldberg: CPAC shows there’s no Republican civil war

Greater Orlando, Fla., hosts several of the most visited theme parks in the world. At the Magic Kingdom you can dress up like a princess, pretend you’re a pirate or just act like you’re a kid again. Universal’s Islands of Adventure lets diehard Harry Potter fans pretend they’re students at Hogwarts. At Epcot you can visit Future World or the make-believe re-creations of other countries. At the Canada Pavilion, for example, you can let your imagination whisk you away to that fantastical land of romance and adventure to the north.

So, it’s somewhat fitting that the Conservative Political Action Conference decamped down to Orlando this past weekend. The official motto of the confab was “America Uncanceled.” But if you actually followed the conversations, the real theme was the stuff of make-believe: imagining a world where Donald Trump really had won the 2020 election.

On the official agenda there were seven separate “Protecting Elections” panels and two “Save Our Elections Call Center” sessions. Other panels included: “Shining a Light on the Left’s 2020 Shadow Campaign,” “Fraudulent Elections in South Korea and the United States — Lessons Learned and Warnings for the Future,” and “The Voter Files: The Truth Is Out There: Ask Your Questions to the Election Lawyers.” Needless to say, the question for this audience wasn’t whether the election was stolen, but what to do about the fact that it was — and where to place the blame for the cover-up.

All this make-believe was necessary because, as former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said prophetically in 2017, CPAC would become TPAC, or “Trump PAC,” and it has.

The one thing Trump and his biggest fans will not stomach is the suggestion that he’s a loser. Moreover, as Andrew Egger notes at The Dispatch, “there’s ostensibly nothing modern conservatives hate more than a loser — Sen. Mitt Romney, after all, was once a CPAC darling too.”

The combined need to salve egos — on the stage and in the audience — and protect the new TPAC business model made questioning Trump’s “victory” as productive as telling the Harry Potter fans down the road that their $55 magic wands aren’t really magic.

To this crowd, Trump won and anyone who says otherwise is peddling fake news. The real fake news, however, is the idea that the CPAC crowd is actually opposed to cancel culture. They oppose — often with good reason — left-wing cancel culture. But Trump himself is among America’s foremost would-be cancelers. And pro-Trump cancel culture is alive and well, as countless efforts to censure Trump critics attest.

Matt Schlapp, the leader of CPAC, often says things like, “Open discussion of legitimate points of view is what separates conservatives from the left in America.” But he saw no reason to acknowledge Trump’s defeat, never mind that Trump shouldn’t define conservatism or the Republican Party. And conservatives who might speak up on the alternative facts — the truth in this case — weren’t technically “canceled,” they simply were not invited. (One invitee, Young Pharaoh, was actually booted because of anti-Semitic tweets.)

In his closing peroration before the faithful, Trump ran through many of his greatest hits and recycled the usual fake evidence that he won, except for claims about Dominion voting machines being rigged. Apparently losing an election isn’t nearly so reality-affirming as a potential billion-dollar lawsuit.

He also took time to call for the cancellation of every Republican who voted for impeachment or conviction, including “the warmonger” Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. “Get rid of them all,” he demanded. The clear message: Unity in the GOP is defined by blind loyalty to him and his lies.

CPAC has never been the political bellwether its promoters claim, but at this stage in the 2024 presidential cycle it’s the best we’ve got. It doesn’t tell us what will really matter in the years of jockeying ahead, but it does tell us what very ambitious politicians think is important. And, going by the speeches, it seems that rumors of a GOP civil war are greatly exaggerated. In a civil war, at least two sides need to show up. This looked more like the victorious Bolsheviks trying to round up the last of the Mensheviks.

Speaking for many, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas declared, “Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere.” He’s right, of course. As always, Cruz would rather bend the knee to the man who attacked his wife and accused his father of being involved in President Kennedy’s assassination than stand and fight.

Robbins: Finders keepers? The law of lost and found

Suppose commercial jet parts begin to rain suddenly from the sky. Suppose too that the jet has begun to disassemble itself over a quiet suburban neighborhood and, instead of petunias and garden gnomes, what begins to plant beside the picket fences are jet nozzles, turbines, and compressors.

If they landed in your yard, could you keep them?

This was the question that a general circulation magazine writer wrote to ask me after United Airlines flight 238 began to self-vivisect above a sleepy Broomfield neighborhood on Feb. 20. Why, he didn’t share with me, might he, his readers, or anyone else for that matter, want to keep a 10-foot-tall engine cowling or a thrust reverser? Maybe, I suppose a nacelle was a slightly more interesting ornament than a gnome.

Instead of grilling him, I segued to the law of lost and found.

No doubt, you’ve heard a zillion times that possession is nine-tenths of the law, so often, in fact, that it’s become a bit of a meme. But, you ask yourself, like the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, and rainbow-colored unicorns, could it really be true? If a Pratt & Whitney 5-stage low-pressure compressor tumbles from the blue into my yard, can I make it mine, all mine?

Well, sorta.

First of all, just because you possess something doesn’t necessarily mean you are entitled to it. Well, shucks!

Say you stole it in the first place. Well, um … that doesn’t make it yours. The law says it isn’t yours because you came into possession of it wrongfully. The nine-tenths stuff applies only in the way of a presumption that must be disproved in order for someone else to claim and obtain ownership. OK, that’s sort of lawyer talk, so allow me to explain.

What it means is that, contrary to countervailing evidence — such as the rightful owner’s initials engraved on the inside of a five-karat engagement ring that you insist is yours — the law will presume — initially at least — that the person in possession is the rightful owner. Accordingly, your interest in the thing, whether it be a sparkly engagement ring or a still-smoldering jet oil pump, will be superior to all other interests to all the world.

But, like life itself, the law of lost and found is not all skittles and beer.

In the presence of countervailing evidence, like the initials engraved in the ring that is too small to skootch down even over your pinkie, or the jet engine part imprinted with an identifying serial number, the presumption or your superior ownership may be squashed like a June Bug beneath your clogs.

To establish rightful ownership, then, it is important to determine, first of all, how you came into possession. In the case of the Pratt & Whiney engine parts, well, just watch the videos. Like manna from the heavens, if not quite so nutritious, they landed in the lap of your front yard without you so much as you lifting a finger.

Check. You came into possession rightfully, through no wrong-doing whatsoever.

Lost property — truly lost property — is that of which the owner has lost possession involuntarily, by accident, through his or her own negligence or forgetfulness, and when he or she is ignorant of its whereabouts or cannot recover it by an ordinarily diligent search.

Say what?

Common sense helps here.

Lost property is that which is misplaced by the act of the person whose property it was and not because the thing was filched. It is gone by chance, caprice, karma, dunderheadedness, or whatever else may rightfully apply. So long as the “whatever” is not the wrongful act or conduct of another.

The second part of the equation now kicks in.

If you know the engine casing is, um … United’s, then you must return it. Or at least, you must allow United or the FAA to come pick it up. It is United Airlines’ property and United — and not you — is legally (to say nothing of morally) entitled to it.

But what if you came into possession of a thing and had no idea in God’s good name whose it was? While pretty far-fetched in the whole United Airlines raining metal from the sky thing, it happens all the time. Say, you find a pair of Bolle Snow Carve goggles on the mountain. How would you ever find out who belongs to them?

That’s where the Uniform Disposition of Property Act comes in.

What you’re supposed to do is this; take the darn things to the authorities (read, this as the local constabulary) and turn them in. Yep. The law doesn’t care how sharp you look in them. What the law says is turn them in. The police will take down your relevants: name, address, telephone number, etc. and wink at you, sharing with you what a good citizen they think you are. If someone doesn’t come along to claim the beauts within the statutory time frame (for small personal items like this, usually six months in most jurisdictions), bingo, they’re yours. They’ll look great on you next ski season!

Plane parts? Well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. And, come to think of it, the garden gnome has grown on you and with Spring coming and all, wouldn’t a bloom of tulips and daffodils look better anyway?

Haims: Feeling fit and ready for a bathing suit?

Not too long ago while having some drinks with friends after a mountain bike ride in Fruita, a couple sitting nearby struck up a conversation with the group of people I was with. Seems that the wife, Lisa, is a dietician at National Jewish and her husband Jim is an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical.

“If you’re really looking forward to putting on a bathing suit and sitting poolside with your wife in Mexico, you may want to switch from those Long Island iced teas to something with less sugar.” This way Lisa’s opening line to my friend John as he headed to the bar for a refill.

Hearing this comment, the rest of us busted out laughing at John’s expense. John being one of the funniest and most affable people I know returned from the bar with his Long Island, a couple of beers for Lisa and Jim, and an invite to come sit with us.

Over the ensuing couple of hours we all laughed, shared biking stories, and for my friends and me, got educated on many of our misconceptions of exercise, diet, and alcohol consumption.

Our first misconceptions was that while we were all aware that alcohol is full of “empty calories,” we assumed that our workouts for the most part offset a lot of our alcohol consumption. Figuring that we rode fairly vigorously for about two hours, Lisa guesstimated that at best we may have burned between 1,500 and 2,000 calories.

Considering John’s three Long Islands have about 600-1,000 calories in each, he was very upside down. Me on the other hand, drinking double vodka sodas at about 250-300 calories each, almost completely negated my workout.

Lisa explained that alcohol:

  • Decreases the rate of protein synthesis, a process that assists muscle growth, healing, and repair
  • Slows down metabolism.
  • Dramatically reduces endurance for a number of days after an intense bike ride/workout

At some point during our conversation, Jim left and came back with a little black pouch and rested it on the table. Once we all finished our lunches, Jim asked who among us knew if they had higher than normal blood sugar level (prediabetes) or had been diagnosed with diabetes.

Only my buddy Joe fessed up that his doctor had told him his levels were “on the higher side” and suggested he keep an eye on it. However, his doctor never went into detail about how to monitor his levels, so he never bothered checking.

Jim opened the black pouch and asked if Joe wanted him to check his A1C glucose levels. After we all teased Joe and goaded him on, he let Jim test his levels. As Jim tested Joe, he explained he himself had adult onset of diabetes and has monitored it for years. He explained that he checks his levels regularly and that was why he had the test kit in his truck.

A minute or two later Joe’s score came up. We all got quiet. Jim’s facial expression as he looked at the reading said it all. “Joe, your levels are really high.” Joe’s reading was 207 which Jim explained corresponded to an A1C level of 8. We stared incredulously at Jim not knowing what that meant. Jim explained that a “somewhat safe” level should under 160. Joe’s result was obviously not great.

My friends and I are all in our early to mid-50s. While we all know alcohol is not great for our health and our diet is not optimal, we all kinda figured our year-round level of exercise compensated somewhat. Not so much.

After returning from our weekend ride, Joe made an appointment to see his doctor. After discussing the weekend’s events, his doctor had Joe tested and confirmed Joe was at risk. They discussed options and Joe has since made changes to his lifestyle.

I share this story because I saw Joe recently while watching my son’s hockey in Denver. Joe explained that since our ride he has made changes to his lifestyle and the results have been noticeable. He has lost 7 pounds and his estimated average glucose levels are now about 10-13 points better.

I asked him what some of the changes were that lowered his levels. Joe said it wasn’t much and it wasn’t too hard. He avoids sodas, eats fewer turkey subs (processed meat and bread), switched from fruit yogurts to plain or vanilla, and skips the Starbucks flavored coffees.

Joe and his wife take off soon for Mexico. While he didn’t say anything to me about it, I know he’s feeling better and looking forward to putting on his bathing suit.

I’ve written about diabetes and having your blood work checked. If you have not read the articles, search my archive on VailDaily.com. Or, if you want more professional information, make time to go online and educate yourself on the valuable insight a blood test can provide about your health.

If you believe that changing the oil in your car or truck is a good idea, then it shouldn’t be a far stretch to understand your blood may provide a reading for the health of your body.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. He can be contacted at visitingangels.com/comtns or by calling 970-328-5526.

Welby: Education coming back to life

This is the shift we have all been waiting for. The demise of a broken system. The shedding of old skin to make way for the new, stronger, more refined product — the evolution of public education.

Adriana Welby

This new hybrid system has challenged not only students, but everyone involved. We all knew education wasn’t sustainable and inequitable. We all knew that the high-quality human resources were not there, but now we have hit a turning point, and hopefully, we will never go back.

From an outsider’s perspective, this new hybrid system- that has been adopted by many schools across the country- can seem, for lack of a better term … ugly. But the benefits of this new system are being overlooked. New skills, talents, and out-of-the-box thinking is required, and it is what our children desperately need, because being a digital native does not mean digitally literate.

One benefit of this new system includes student accountability — teaching students to be in charge of their own learning and taking responsibility in a way that better prepares them for university life. Another major benefit from this hybrid system is the students have the freedom to adapt education to what works for them.

Students, as well as educators, have access to tools that aid student growth and foster their talents to the best of their abilities. The interweb is a vast solar system of knowledge that is available to be used as a vital instrument in education. Never in history has the potential of education been so great. So why are we so quick to go back to the past?

Of course, though, with any great change that comes within a society there will be roadblocks, bumps, hardships and challenges.

It’s difficult learning something new, but knowing how to learn is an essential and necessary skill. So it is understandable when students are struggling, parents are at a loss and educators are overwhelmed. How could it not be difficult when a shift so great happens so rapidly?

Therefore I propose we don’t give up on this new education system — the one that has been formed from the ashes of the world’s shift, but rather see it as a phoenix that has no limits. The old school skills, and learning are all still there, they are just wrapped up in a different presentation, and must be reached through a different portal.

Of course we will struggle. Of course we will stumble a bit, but this is the reform to education that has been so desperately needed to save our failing school systems. Smaller class sizes, more individualized education, more flexibility, more responsibility and personal growth.

As Toni Morrison once wrote, “Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”

The five-day-a-week, one-size-fits-all education plan has been dead for a while. Thank you to everyone (students included) who has been bringing it back to life.

Adriana Welby is a teacher at Battle Mountain High School who has been studying pedagogy for several years and received her masters in education from the University of Colorado.

Carnes: Can one cancel a canceler?

If a group known for canceling things they don’t like or agree with gets canceled, does that mean the canceler has been canceled or should we be upset with the ones canceling the canceler?

It gets so confusing from time to time.

This newly coined “Cancel Culture” apparently has no borders either, as it appears to be uniformly applied across cultures of all colors, creeds and political persuasions.

Last week’s QPAC event in Florida, in what used to be an annual conservative conference until the ‘Q’ infestation, canceled one of their own speakers for saying something they did not like.

The theme of the conference was “America Uncanceled.”

Go figure.

This canceling nonsense is really nothing more than another form of boycotting, and always ends with similar results, yet we see it everywhere these days.

Republicans want to cancel the booming renewable energy industry, Democrats want to cancel the fossil fuel industry and each want to cancel the other from existing.

Some Republicans even want to cancel the 2022 Summer Olympics in China.

Fox News keeps canceling media members, especially pretty blondes, when they refuse to toe the company line (some say tow, I say tomAto, not tomahto).

Same for NBC canceling Matt Lauer and the soon to be canceled Gov. Cuomo in New York.

The golf industry has been canceling tournaments at courses owned by that one guy (I forget his name) and an entire nation canceled that same guy from pretending to be a leader just last fall.

Sanctimoniously “woke” liberals attempted to cancel anyone from purchasing any products from Goya Foods because the owner dared to support a politician while the “My Pillow” guy has been canceled by dozens of retailers for the same grievance.

Whichever deity loaned him talent apparently canceled Rush Limbaugh’s racism, bigotry and misogyny from ever being heard again, as well as the cancellations from sponsors of Limbaugh wannabes Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

“The Mandalorian” actress Gina Carano lost an acting gig because she posted something stupid on social media, “The Bachelor” guy is on hiatus because of what some deemed an insensitive comment while some are even trying to cancel the Whos down in Whoville from indoctrinating children.

Talk about being a Grinch.

Christians want to cancel Muslims, Muslims want to cancel Christians and religious extremists want to cancel anyone (aka: murder) who doesn’t believe the same mythologies they do.

Admittedly I am happy to cancel the Proud Boys and all other white supremacy groups, and the idiots who blame anyone of Asian ancestry for COVID-19 all because that one guy (still can’t recall the name) kept calling it the “Chinese Flu.”

The town of Vail (along with the Forest Service) canceled the BB&B back in 2003, voters in the town of Avon recently canceled a barn and locals up and down the valley are still trying to cancel a paved road north of Edwards.

The Vail Daily canceled online comments, which has been a boon to my email numbers, and I would bet good money that a few of you (at least two or three) would like to see me canceled now that I’ve written this column once a week for 22 years.

But this is still America, dadgummit, the land of the kinda free and usually brave, so in spite of our occasionally obvious hypocrisy, attempting to cancel things we do not like is what we do.

One would think we’d be used to it by now.

Mazzuca: It’s human nature

The expression “close enough for government work” is an idiomatic, humorous and disparaging way of saying that something isn’t worth investing the time to do correctly. For example: “The fence posts aren’t quite perpendicular, but they’re close enough for government work.”

It’s human nature to put one’s own interests before someone else’s. And while that may seem obvious, we should find it curious how so many people fail to understand that very basic aspect of human nature when it comes to government; some people actually believe government bureaucrats have the citizenry’s best interest at heart.

People are people everywhere, and those in private industry are pretty much the same as the people who run government bureaus. During the Cold War, citizens of the former West Germany were not very different than the citizens of the former East Germany. Yet the results of their respective economic systems were light years apart. Why?

The answer can be found in the fact that interests are served by a different set of actions in the private sector than they are the public sector because the consequences for failure in the private sector are far greater than those in the public sector.

Let’s assume Mr. Smith opens a business in the private sector, he understands from the get-go there are no guarantees his business will be successful. And if the business fails, he will lose his money and will be left with a choice. “Close up shop” and start looking for a job, or if he wants to keep the business going, he will either have to borrow money or dig deeper into his own pockets.

But borrowing money in those circumstances may prove difficult and digging into one’s own pocket may include siphoning funds set aside for his children’s education or monies he’s allocated for retirement or any one of a number of things that will restrict his and his family’s future activities. When considering the foregoing it should be obvious that Mr. Smith has the strongest of incentives to do whatever it takes to make his enterprise a success.

But that’s not the case in the public sector. Let’s assume for a moment that Mr. Smith’s neighbor, Mr. Jones, is operating a program in the public sector and the program fails to deliver as promised. The consequences for Mr. Jones are very different from Mr. Smith’s because Mr. Jones doesn’t have to face the reality of his decisions.

All Mr. Jones needs to do is convince the people who hold the purse strings, i.e., the politicians who legislated the program into existence in the first place, that the program would have been successful had it been tried on a larger scale, at a different location, with special staffing or any number of other “logical reasons” all the while knowing that his or her own personal resources are never at risk.

And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that once a government entity undertakes an activity some legislator deemed beneficial, regardless of outcome, the chances of its continued existence are high. And once having committed themselves publicly to an idea, such as the government-run worker training programs that have long outlived their usefulness, ensconced bureaucrats have little incentive to admit they were wrong and every incentive to minimize any subsequent negative outcomes.

As a sidebar, we should find it interesting that only later generations of politicians and bureaucrats ever admit to the mistakes of their predecessors — and even then, only when there’s no jeopardy to their own careers.

The reality is clear, human nature dictates that people will always be more careful with their own money than they are with someone else’s, and people will always act in ways they perceive as being in their own best interests.

And seldom are the best interests of the citizenry the same as those running government bureaucracies whose raison d’être isn’t to benefit the masses, but rather to continue the existence whatever government program they happen to be operating.

In one of the more striking examples of this phenomenon, after 50 years and more than $22 trillion in taxpayer dollars, the much heralded “War on Poverty” didn’t come close to eliminating or even reducing the causes of poverty in this country. This isn’t to demean government actions to improve the lives of its citizens; rather it’s a reminder that far too many government programs, while noble in intent, fail to take human nature into account.

Quote of the day: “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program,” — Ronald Reagan.

Norton: Hope, habits and happiness

There is a popular statement among business professionals, owners and salespeople, and it is based on the book by Rick Page titled “Hope is Not a Strategy.” In this context, hoping to grow our business or hoping that we will make a sale without a solid strategic and tactical plan is true. Hope is not a strategy.

However, there are times where hope is the absolute best strategy and approach. The business owner without hope to better serve their customers or community will settle for the low hanging fruit and more than likely accept mediocrity from themselves, their employees, and the products or services they provide. The salesperson who only focuses on making a deal, with no focus on developing winning relationships is likely operating without the proper context of hope. Hope in business and in selling eliminates a “one and done” or “one hit wonder” mentality.

Conversely, the business owner, the salesperson and each one of us who has hope, works with hope and lives with hope, is more likely to move from the simple practice of “hoping” and into the planning, doing and achievement required to reach our dreams and goals. Hope drives change. Hope adds the “will” to our “skill.” Hope powered by encouragement creates a completely different mindset.

Here is another phrase we are all probably familiar with, “kick the habit.” What if the habit is a good and productive habit, should we still try and “kick the habit”?; or should we “keep the habit?” Ask 10 people to describe or define the word habit, and eight out of 10 will use negative wording or descriptors. Why is that? Why do we see the word habit with such a pessimistic outlook? It is because we typically associate habits with something that we need to break instead of build or keep.

If bad habits can quickly become terrible habits, then it must hold true that good habits can become great habits. And what if we allowed ourselves to make hope a strategy that included a tactical plan and approach? Would we break bad habits before they become worse, build new and productive habits, and turn our existing good habits into amazing habits that lead to the achievement of our goals and dreams? Of course we would.

Do you see the connection yet? If not, I encourage you to read just a little bit more.

We all have hope for something. We hope for good health, loving family and friends, a job or career that fulfills us, a better tomorrow, peace, healing, unity and so much more including our hope for happiness. And here is where it all comes together for us. When we have hope, we are more likely to make the necessary and positive changes in our lives. Once we identify the changes that need to be made, we will become inspired to break our bad habits that hold us back and form the good habits that propel us forward. When hope is part of our foundational attitude toward life and we create habits that fuel our journey, we will move one step closer to achieving the happiness we desire.

Here are a few questions that I get when I speak on this topic. Is hope nothing more than a wish that has no plan? Are bad habits so ingrained that they are unbreakable? Is happiness possible without hope? Depending on who you ask, you may receive a different response or guidance than mine. But I would say that hope is more than a wish, there are no habits that cannot be broken or built upon, and at times happiness is possible without hope, but the odds typically favor the hopeful.

So how about you? Is hope a part of your strategy and approach to life? Are you on your way to breaking bad habits and forming better ones? As always, I would love to hear your story at mnorton@tramazing.com and when we see hope and habits through the lens of helping us achieve happiness, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

Peterson: The right to be forgotten

The internet never forgets. That maxim is too often reinforced in our newsroom each time someone emails or calls with an appeal to have a name removed or a mug shot pulled from an old story that continues to follow them around as they try to move on with their lives.

For the past couple of months, we’ve been having high-level discussions as a newspaper group about the right to be forgotten — a movement that started in Europe and has begun to gain traction in newsrooms across the United States.

The focus of our discussions has centered on this question: How long should you be penalized for minor crimes you committed years ago?

Basically, should you have the right to be forgotten by Google when those old stories are blocking you from landing jobs? How long should you have to pay for an old mistake?

Trust us, for editors who take very seriously the role of leading the papers of record in each market, it goes against instinct to go back and rewrite that record. We’re in the business of getting it right and standing by the reporting we do. Reporting on crime, especially violent crimes and sexual assaults and rapes, is also one of the core tenets of community journalism.

That said, we can’t ignore this truth: While we live in the day-to-day world of reporting on our communities, one story deemed worthy for that day’s paper lives on in perpetuity for the charged and/or convicted long after that person has paid their debt to society.

So, we’re launching a new process across Colorado Mountain News Media’s chain of papers in which people can request to have their names removed from old stories. And we’re leaning on a model that has been established at other news organizations for making those decisions.

That process starts with the admission that, as journalists, we’re not in the position to judge who gets clemency and who doesn’t. That’s why we will rely on the courts and the legal process that people use to clear their records: expungement.

People who have committed non-violent crimes who successfully petition the courts to permanently delete records of their criminal cases will be able to send us a request. After filling out a form we’ve created, along with proof of the expungement, we will, in most cases, remove names and photos from stories on our websites.

Who doesn’t get clemency? Well, for one, elected officials and other notable community leaders or public figures.

The emphasis with this policy is on victimless crimes. We won’t be removing names from stories about violent crimes or sex crimes or major felony cases that drew considerable community interest. It’s also not a black-or-white policy, and there may be other reasons that the editor in a specific market decides to preserve a story, despite an appeal from someone who’s had their record expunged. We still reserve the right to publish or not publish.

To go along with this new initiative, we’re also having a company-wide conversation about best practices for crime reporting going forward, which includes limiting use of mug shots to high-profile cases and eliminating the arbitrary nature of just scouring the courts and arrest logs for something that can fill a news hole. Instead, we’ll only be reporting on arrests in serious crimes like murder, attempted murder, drug distribution, armed robbery, rape, kidnapping or crimes involving a high-profile person. For lesser crimes, names will be withheld unless the accused have been formerly charged.

Going forward, we will also only commit reporting resources to following a case through to its disposition if the accused’s name is published.

We will stop naming most people accused of most minor crimes and, as a general practice, we will effort to get our own photos of an accused criminal at a court appearance rather than relying on mug shots.

As we launch this initiative, we’re certain that we’ll run into questions we don’t have answers to right away. There will be cases that will certainly test the spirit of this new policy and will spark heated conversations. We don’t know exactly what to expect.

But we are committed to changing the status quo and taking a more humane, logical approach to how we cover crime and how we assess requests to rewrite the record.

To submit a request to have your name and/or photo removed from a story, please go to https://www.vaildaily.com/submit-a-request-to-update-a-crime-story/. You can also begin the process of expungement by finding information and the necessary forms at: https://www.courts.state.co.us/.

Nate Peterson is the editor of the Vail Daily. Email him at npeterson@vaildaily.com.

Inside the Chamber: Silver linings for Glenwood Springs tourism

Lisa Langer

During the past year, destinations across the nation and around the world have seen a huge decline and in some cases a halt to travel. Although this community took a big hit in terms of visitation in 2020, Glenwood Springs fared better than many destinations across Colorado.

According to Cathy Ritter, executive director of the Colorado Tourism Office, the following occurred statewide during the 2020 pandemic:

• Traveler spending went down 50.1%.

• Hotel occupancy averaged 44% in 2020, down from 69.7% in 2019.

• Hotel rates were reduced to an average of $133.16 in 2020 vs. $160.21 in 2019.

How did destination Glenwood Springs compare with the statewide travel landscape?

• Traveler spending reduced by about 30%. That’s 20% better than Colorado overall.

• Glenwood’s hotel occupancy averaged 57%, down from 65% in 2019.

• Hotel rates in 2020 were at $131.58, slightly less than the state average.

The good news is we are already transitioning into recovery. The recent announcement that Garfield County has moved to Blue on the COVID-19 dial has been well-received, and more positive changes are in the offing. 

Immediate changes for Colorado and Glenwood Springs include:

• Easing of restrictions on dancing, masking for performers/athletes

• Parity with restaurants for parties of 10 — to be included in major update of the public health order this week

• Last call at midnight under Blue

Future changes for Colorado and Glenwood Springs venues, based on expected 250,000-400,000 vaccine inoculations by mid-March and 70% of 65 and older vaccinated by March 31:

April: 50% capacity with no caps; 6-foot distancing

May: 60% capacity with no caps; 6-foot distancing

July and on: 70%-80% capacity with no caps; perhaps 3-foot distancing

Here are a few upcoming silver linings, specific to Glenwood Springs:

March 5 – announcement of the opening date for 2021 Hanging Lake reservations.

May 18 – Citywide customer service training has been scheduled.

Mid-August – Start of the Rocky Mountaineer’s new U.S. route “Rockies to the Red Rocks,” featuring four weekday, overnight stays in Glenwood Springs.

As “stay at home,” “wear a mask” and the “new normal” become catch phrases of the past, Glenwood Springs tourism will look to the future with brighter hope. The fact that we are stronger together has certainly brought us through a year for the record books.

Lisa Langer is director of tourism promotion for Visit Glenwood Springs, a department of
Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. For more information checkout VisitGlenwood.com.