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Mintz: The meaning of Shavuot

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s Shavuot time. On June 5 and 6 we will celebrate the giving of the Torah, the Bible, at Mount Sinai. After hundreds of years under the Pharaoh’s tyrannical rule, Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt. Fifty days later, when they reached Mount Sinai, they were gifted a moral code, a guide for living that has been the foundation of positive human conduct ever since

The Midrash, oral Jewish tradition, tells us that when the Jews stood at Sinai, God asked them who would guarantee their observance of its 613 laws. The Jews offered up the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as the guarantors, hoping their piety would be enough for God. God didn’t accept. They offered up the incredible prophets and prophetesses of Judaism, figuring they’d be good enough for God. God said no. They said to God: “Our children will be our guarantors” and God accepted. God knew that if we are willing to teach our children the values embedded in his Torah, there would indeed be a reliable assurance that Sinai wouldn’t be just a great historic moment, but a living path for all who seek it for all eternity.

In the aftermath of the horrific murder at the Uvalde Elementary School in Texas, we ask ourselves: What can be done? Yes, we must have discussions about accessibility to weapons. Yes, we must discuss the violence on video games and TV. Yes, we must have frank chats about mental health treatment in our country.

Yet, we also must talk about a moment of silence. My mentor, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory, beseeched us in the 1980s to introduce a time each morning, in every school, private and public, in which each student can think about a higher power before starting their school day.

It isn’t a religious act; it’s a spiritual moment for every innocent American child to focus on something bigger, something brighter, something foundational and something inspiring. This will undoubtedly change the lives of our youth for the better. Florida recently mandated this in their state, and I pray that Colorado follows suit.

Please join us at the Jewish Community Center for a Shavuot Dinner Party on Sunday, June 5, at 5:30 p.m. and let’s band together to ensure our future is bright and the Torah’s values are the foundation of our lives.

Happy Shavuot!

Voboril: In search of chill

Chill I am repeatedly told as if

It were so easy to reduce the temperature

Of my emotions or to slow the kinetics

That propel me perpetually forward

I need space for the blazing heat

That warms and fires and

Combusts the engine revving and whirring

On the serpentine streets of my dreams

The machine does not have cruise

Control nor does it possess a speedometer

As such precision is unnecessary when

One travels in binary fashion stop or go

Top down along the coast with a

Partner alongside is a common idyll

That I share if we zoom curves and

Cackle as we narrowly avoid a seaward plunge

SCUBA provides a portal to a slower

Ecosystem shifting and adapting to the

Currents that I swim against and blow

Through my tank forced to surface

I aspire to the laconic gait

Of a surfer and would not mind

The hair either, those flowing

Golden locks signifying peace

The juxtaposition of a raging

Ocean and a sliver of fiberglass

Mounted by a preternaturally calm

Being is an engaging dichotomy

Usually I am the wave or at least

Being crushed by one as I grin

And choke and relish the saline flush

Of a solid lesson taught for eons

Frozen water being my milieu

I am nonetheless running hotter

Than Hades as the friction of my

Steeds melts the crystals beneath

Wind whips with a bite that excites

My smile and carries my proclamations

Everywhere and nowhere such that I

Speak louder and pretend that helps

Movement is a bulwark against the

Chill and a reason that I cannot embrace

It although I can avoid hypothermia

And the complacency that I fear more

Restless I still do not believe in resting

When I am dead because that seems like

Perhaps too late and a bit silly since it is

Likely that the afterlife is a helluva party

Searching for the yin to my yang may help

Slow me down but I also think it is possible

That I need another yang so that we can

Discover chill together or at least burn out trying

Financial Focus: How should you respond to a bear market?

So far, 2022 has not been a good year for investors. In fact, we’re moving into bear market territory. What should you know about bear markets? And how should you respond?

To begin with, a bear market occurs when a stock market index, such as the S&P 500, falls at least 20% from its most recent high point. You might think this type of drop is rare, but that’s not actually the case. Historically, bear markets have occurred every few years and are a normal feature of the investment landscape. We experienced a bear market fairly recently, from mid-February 2020 through late March of that same year.

What causes bear markets? Each one is different, but the current one is largely the result of several factors, including high inflation, rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine and global supply chain problems.

When will the financial markets again start moving in a positive direction? No one can say for sure, but in any case, it’s not really a good idea to make investment decisions based on what may happen next in the financial markets. Instead, consider these moves:

Be patient

It can be challenging to look at your investment statements during these days. But you’ll help yourself by taking a long-term view. Consider this: From March 2009 until the end of 2021, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 460%. So, if you’ve been investing for a while, compare where you are now to where you were 10 or 12 years ago.

You’ve probably made pretty good progress over this time – and 10 years from now, the current downturn may not look like such a big event, either.

Review your risk tolerance

If you’re having a hard time coping with investment losses — even if they’re just “paper losses” for now — you may want to review your tolerance for risk and see if it’s still the same as it was when you began investing. Even without a bear market, people’s risk tolerance can change, especially as they approach retirement.

Review your goals

A bear market is not meaningless, but by itself, it shouldn’t cause you to change your long-term goals. And if your goals haven’t changed, neither should your investment strategy.

Look for buying opportunities

During a down market, you can find quality investments at attractive prices. So, you could take this opportunity to fill gaps in your portfolio or add shares of investments that you already own and that you believe have good prospects for growth.

Get some help

When trying to navigate a lengthy market downturn, it can be useful to get some support and guidance. Consider this: Among investors who work with a financial advisor, 84% said that doing so gave them a greater sense of comfort about their finances during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey conducted in 2020 by Age Wave and Edward Jones. And getting professional help may provide the same type of reassurance during the current market turmoil.

A bear market is never enjoyable. But taking the long view and making moves appropriate for your needs can help you get through this period and look ahead to better days.

Romer: Unsolicited advice for graduates

My favorite column every year is the annual opportunity to share advice with our graduates. This isn’t a “first day of the rest of your lives” message as much as it is a gentle reminder of items that I find important to consider for people of any age as our graduates embark on their new journeys and look ahead to the future.

There was an amazing moment in this year’s NCAA national championship basketball game that wasn’t really talked about. But I think it should have been.

With less than a minute to go, with the game result yet to be determined, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot rolled his already injured ankle, lost the ball, turned it over to Kansas, fell to the floor, got back up, and began hopping on one foot to try to catch up to help his team. The commentator said that “Kansas should attack,” and that “you have to punish people when you get that opportunity.”

Kansas could have. With a five-on-four advantage, it would’ve been easy enough to hit the open man for an easy shot, and essentially win the game at that moment. But in a lesson in leadership and ethics, that’s not what the Kansas Jayhawks did.

They stopped, settled the ball, and waited for the referee to blow his whistle for an injury timeout to give North Carolina a chance to replace their injured player and get back to five-on-five basketball.

For every young player in any sport in any game — big or small — and for every sideline parent or coach who wants to see their kid step up on a podium and lift a big trophy, remember this moment.

The lesson for our graduates: No, you should not attack when others are at a moment of weakness. That is not a time to punish people. This is when you show your character and what you’re really made of.

Now, for some quick pieces of advice:

  • Be thoughtful and pragmatic in all that you do. You’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd.
  • Things never end up as good as you hope, but they never turn out as bad as you feared, either.
  • It is better to fail at something than to regret never trying.
  • No one is responsible for your happiness but you.
  • If all your relationships have the same problems … maybe you’re the problem.
  • You’re going to struggle. Don’t quit. Don’t give up.
  • You are free to make choices, but you are never free from the consequences of those choices.
  • Your lack of confidence holds you back as a leader. You’re so worried about making people feel “comfortable” that you don’t tell the truth and engage in the conversations you need to have.
  • Great leaders inspire, coach and cultivate a recognition culture. However, leaders balance that with being assertive when needed, loving people enough to tell them the truth, and holding people accountable.
  • Listening is a sign of respect.
  • You cannot raise your voice by silencing others.
  • Resiliency is a mindset.
  • Learn to navigate difficult conversations.
  • Don’t live your life in fear. Share the positives about your position rather than simply knocking down others.
  • Being “liked” isn’t always possible at every moment. You owe it to yourself (and to others) to be uncomfortable when necessary.
  • The world is changing. Always will be. The key to success is accepting this and not clinging to the past.
  • And maybe most importantly, you will never regret choosing kindness.

Best: How can a me-first terrorist be made into a hero?

A confounding aspect of the climate change challenge has been disagreements about the most basic of facts, namely human complicity. We had the same fact-based problem with the last presidential election. Then there’s what happened in Granby, the Colorado mountain town that continues to be at the center of alternative realities.

Allen Best

Granby lies between Winter Park, the ski area, and Grand Lake, the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It has changed little since I lived there 40 years ago. It has tried to be a resort town, but the DNA is different. It’s a commercial and services center. The mayor when I lived there was Dick Thompson, who owned an excavating business and showed up at town board meetings in a blue work shirt wearing suspenders to hold up his jeans.

Th sky was blue the morning of June 4, 2004, the day of the bulldozer attack. The Fraser River, nearing the peak spring runoff, rushed to join the Colorado River. At the newspaper office, Patrick Brower was mapping out the next week’s issue of the Sky-Hi News.

Brower, like many people in Granby, a town then of 1,500, wore several hats. Walking down Agate Avenue, the main street, you were likely to encounter town trustees and sewer board members in different roles as store managers and accountants. Brower was the newspaper’s publisher but also its editor and a reporter. He attended many meetings of the town board. A relatively minor issue of several years before had been a land-use dispute on the town’s industrial fringe, where a concrete batch plant was permitted on property adjacent to a muffler shop.

That afternoon, Brower heard somebody had gone crazy in a bulldozer on the town’s edge. The Komatsu was like no bulldozer seen before, the driver encased in concrete save for two rifle barrels and clearly bent on destruction. It first attacked the batch plant, then it rumbled up the road to attack Mountain Parks Electric, followed by the town hall and library.

People had been advised to stay indoors because the bulldozer operator — whoever it was — had shot at police and the batch-plant operator. Children had fled the library only a minute before the giant Komatsu crashed into the building.

At the newspaper office, Brower was trying to figure who the terrorist was. He was standing in the front of the office when the blade caved in the building’s two-story front. Bricks and concrete blocks fell like shattered glass. He ran out the back, the bulldozer roaring at his heels. He didn’t trip. Had he done so, he says, he would have died.

The bulldozer also ripped into the home of the former mayor. His widow had been sleeping until shortly before. Then came an attempt to create an explosion of propane tanks. Finally, the bulldozer overheated and got stuck in the Gambles store basement. The terrorist shot himself with a handgun. He was the owner of the muffler shop who thought he deserved special treatment. All of his victims played into that grudge-based narrative.

The strange thing was that almost immediately others made him into a martyr, a hero, the underdog getting back at a government elite. That’s laughable on the surface. I stress that the mayor when I lived there dug trenches. Nobody was wealthy. If anybody had a Ph.D., they certainly did not announce it.

Admirers of this terrorist pointed out that he killed nobody. It was a matter of luck. Dozens could have easily died from gunfire, explosions, or — like the children in the library — crushed by bulldozer treads.

Several years ago, Brower wrote a book about this. It’s called “Killdozer.” He lays out the facts. Facts don’t matter to many people. They want to believe in a little guy battling a big, bad government until he finally snapped.

Facts do matter, but so do broader truths that we agree upon, as David Brooks observed in a 2021 column. “It is a moral framework from which to see the world,” he explained.

Cooperation, not conflict, defines every successful community I have known. Violence achieved nothing for the terrorist in Granby, nor did it achieve anything on Jan. 6 in Washington D.C. Communities large and small are built on cooperation that dwarf narrow, short-term interests. Happily, American leaders have come together in bipartisan agreement in how to resist Russian aggression in the Ukraine.

Climate change poses a broader, more difficult and dangerous challenge. From my perspective in Colorado, sometimes I can be optimistic. I see bold policies, great courage and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

Other days, I see narrow me-first grievances and entitlement hold sway. I’m still mystified how people can look at the facts and reconfigure this petty terrorist into a hero.

Thistlethwaite: Sick of school shootings? Pray with your vote

I think God despises the “thoughts and prayers” rote responses to gun massacres by politicians who get donations because of their efforts to block common sense gun legislation such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

As a pastor, I could write a liturgy of lament with these school names: Oxford High School, Santa Fe High School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Umpqua Community College, Marysville-Pilchuck High School, University of California, Santa Barbara, Sandy Hook Elementary, Oikos University, Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech, West Nickel Mines Amish School, Red Lake High School, and Columbine High School.

But I won’t. Instead, I advocate for the “praying with their feet” (Rabbi Abraham Heschel) of the activists I have met through volunteering for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense here in Colorado. Some had children at Columbine during that mass shooting in 1999, when two students killed 12 of their peers and a teacher.

They and many others show up again and again, and advocate when the Colorado legislature is in session, pushing common sense gun legislation that is sorely needed around the country.

We’re making progress here in Colorado. It’s not enough, and there are loopholes that are exploited.

Schools are not the only locations of mass shootings. On March 22, 2021, in Boulder, a young man from a nearby town entered a King Soopers armed with an assault pistol with a large capacity magazine, shooting and killing 10.

As a result of the Aurora Theater Mass Shooting of 2012, Colorado had enacted a ban on large capacity magazines, but the Boulder shooter was armed with 10 magazines over the 15-round limit.

Some gun stores continue to break the 2013 law by selling these magazines, sometimes by breaking them up and saying they are kits (Colorado’s Attorney General has indicated such a practice is illegal). Nevertheless, the Boulder District Attorney could not find that the magazines were illegally obtained, although he did note it was illegal for the shooter to possess them.

Clearly, education is needed about the laws we already have, and there is a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention established in Colorado, that has increasing public awareness as one of its briefs.

Family members of the shooter had observed their relative’s paranoid and antisocial behaviors and had even at one time taken his gun from him when he was “playing with it,” but reportedly did not know about Colorado’s 2019 Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO or “red flag”) law, which enables family and law enforcement to remove access to firearms for someone dangerous to self or others.

Colorado schools are increasing security, and of course they should. But what about movie theaters, food stores, concerts, night clubs and other locations where mass shootings have occurred?

Increasing security for schools is at best a temporary measure, but that is not a solution. Arming teachers is ridiculous and should not even be considered.

What stops mass shootings is common sense gun legislation, an educated public, and widespread mental health services.

For us as a state and a country to stop the shootings, we must vote for people who will pass this kind of legislation.

I’m praying with my feet this year and getting to the polls.

Newmann: A time to bind?

So here we go again … another mass shooting, another round of “What are we going to do about it?”

The standard of “thoughts and prayers” for the victims has worn a bit thin. There have been way too many calls for thoughts and prayers over the past few years. For way too many victims … and their families … and their friends.

The problem is: there’s been no substantive action; nothing to even try to mitigate these horrendous situations.

The politicians spout out some rhetoric and decry the tragic loss of life. And then some of them say that, as horrible as that loss of life is, they still support the “rights” decreed by the Second Amendment. This is all well and good. But here’s a question: Do they also support the rights of little kids to stay safe (and alive) in their schools? Or the rights of folks to be able to shop safely in supermarkets? How about the rights of people to survive just going to church?

So we seem to be at an impasse, where one set of rights (the aforesaid amendment) versus another set of rights (“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”).

And, after all the hand-wringing, no solutions. And ever more carnage.

Perhaps, instead of just paying lip service to the nastiness of these events, which are occurring on an ever-increasing basis, and then moving back into their opposing camps, these politicos can actually take some positive action.

Ironically, in just the past few months, they’ve been able to earmark about $54 billion to aid Ukraine. And leaders in both parties have traveled to that country with delegations of their peers to witness the situation, to declare their support for the beleaguered country — and to denounce the atrocious killings of civilians.

Now very few folks would say that Ukraine is not worthy of our support, and many would applaud such an effort of bipartisanship — and financial aid — on behalf of a country many thousands of miles off our shores.

But maybe, just maybe, if we’re going to pledge that kind of unilateral political, let alone monetary, support for another country … we can put that same bipartisan political and monetary support into programs aimed at addressing the roots of all this unnecessary violence in our own country. One would have to imagine that such efforts might actually start to have an effect.

But, then again, that would require some sort of action.

And, as we’ve seen time and time again, the default is just a lot of talk.

School Views: Celebrating the school year that was

As we close out the school year, it’s time to take a moment and reflect on what an incredible year it has been. Through the ups and downs and continued navigation of uncharted pandemic waters, we’ve come out the other side stronger for what we’ve accomplished together.

As our students and staff head into their well-deserved summer breaks, I’d like to acknowledge them for their efforts in keeping us in-person for five days a week of instruction. After two-plus years of varying restrictions and protocols, in 2021-22 we took a huge step toward “normal,” and for that, I thank all who contributed.

Philip Qualman

Before touching on some highlights of the year, I want to congratulate our graduating Class of 2022. You all have lived through some extremely challenging high school years, and we are excited to see what your future holds. We’re incredibly proud of our students’ exceptional accomplishments this school year. To name a few:

On the field of competition our accolades were also many. We saw track and field records fall, skiers win state championships, and many teams reach state tournaments with a few of them advancing all the way to the state semifinals. Not to mention having a student Olympian representing Eagle County in Beijing, China.

In the classroom, CareerX continues to be one of the best apprenticeship programs in the state. While continuing to grow business partners throughout the community, our program has helped to place 110 students in internships and over 50 apprenticeships in 30 different areas of expertise, and assisted numerous graduates in gaining additional certifications layered on top of their high school diplomas.

We’ve also seen great strides in our Seal of Biliteracy program. This year we’re graduating our highest number of Seal of Biliteracy recipients yet. Included in their ranks is our first Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy recipient and our first student receiving this honor for biliteracy in French.

Operationally speaking, our excellence in financial accuracy and transparency continues to be recognized for the fifth consecutive year. We’re also making progress in our Housing Master Plan. We broke ground on a 37-unit employee housing project while planning others to move closer to our long-term goals and maintain housing as a top priority of the district.

Another top priority, the mental well-being of our community, also took strides forward as our partnerships with numerous community groups grew and culminated with the approval of Eagle County School District having a Your Hope Center counselor in each one of our schools starting next year. These efforts, along with the help of our staff working tirelessly day in and day out, led to our being nominated for Organization of the Year for Vail Valley Partnership’s 2022 Success Awards.

Am I bragging about my dedicated staff and amazing student body? Absolutely! What they’ve been through these past few years has been beyond challenging.

I’m proud that district and school leadership has been consistent and capable of guiding us through these challenging times. I’m proud of our Board of Education for ensuring that Eagle County Schools reflects the values of the community and supports public education. And I’m proud that I can look at the Eagle County constituency and say that your school district is in good hands, that we are acting responsibly with taxpayer dollars, and that we are moving in the right direction. While the path forward is never easy, we have countless reasons for optimism.

Sustainable Vail: Recycling, rebates and more

The offseason historically is popular time for many homeowners to start major renovation projects. There are several things that homeowners can do to make their renovation more environmentally conscious with rebates, recycling tips and much more. From recycling old materials to completing an energy assessment, there are great ways in which homeowners can upgrade their knowledge to lessen their environmental impact.

Home energy assessment

Conduct a home energy assessment through Energy Smart Colorado. The town of Vail has partnered with Walking Mountains to offer low-cost ($50) energy assessments to Vail residents (and businesses). An analyst will come to the home to conduct a robust evaluation of the building’s energy footprint. This evaluation will include energy efficient measures, insights into reducing emissions and how slight changes can positively impact a homeowner’s energy bill.

Recommendations often range from insulation improvements, HVAC updates, cleaning vents and other airways, purchasing new windows, caulking windows and more. Homeowners are provided with a robust report after the assessment to help them identify priority enhancements. If homeowners elect to do various upgrades, they may be eligible for rebates through Energy Smart Colorado and Town of Vail, which will match the rebate up to $1,000. For more information, contact Walking Mountains Science Center at WalkingMountains.org.

Consider solar

Now is a great time to invest in solar panels to help offset home energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On average, U.S. customers save about $1,500 a year by going solar or $37,500 over the course of 25 years. If considering solar, check out the Solarize Eagle County program.

The purpose of Solarize Eagle County is to provide a “market kick-start” in solar installations with long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the amount of energy storage in the county, expanding community access to solar options, and spreading energy efficiency and electrification knowledge throughout the community. This program is available for a limited time and includes predetermined tiered pricing and flat discounts to all participants. For more information visit Walkingmountains.org/solarize.

Recycle construction waste, furniture and appliances

When approaching a renovation project, consider where the waste is going to go. Homeowners, in partnership with their contractor, can develop a plan for recycling different materials. For example, clean dimensional lumber and concrete without rebar is accepted at the Eagle County Landfill for a discounted rate if separated out. Other items like cardboard can be brought to the Town of Vail Recycling Center at 111 S. Frontage Road.

Trinity Recycles is a great resource for scrap metal and old appliances. However, if appliances are still useable, homeowners might opt to check with Habitat for Humanity to see if they will accept appliances at the ReStore in Eagle. The ReStore, Thrifty Shop in Edwards, the Eagle County Classifieds Group on Facebook and Vail Daily also are great places to sell/recycle old appliances, cabinets, furniture and more.

Product selection

When selecting certain products for a renovation, consider alternatives. For a countertop, consider remnant pieces. Integrate bamboo into your design plans — it’s an easily renewable resource and has many benefits from durability to bamboo products weathering well. Use reclaimed materials such as beetle kill wood for various elements of the renovation. Consider using non-toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints.

Outdoor impacts

Don’t forget about exterior impacts. When renovating, consider reviewing the landscape design around the home. Consider the impacts of the lawn on today’s drought-ridden watershed. Think about integrating native species into the site design. Assess the chemical usage to keep the lawn and landscape thriving and the impacts these may have on the area’s water supply. If making changes to patios, walkways or driveways, consider integrating permeable pavers into impervious surfaces to allow for water absorption into the ground.

Town of Vail and Walking Mountains Science Center also offer a list of regional contractors who are intimately familiar with smart building practices and can help homeowners wade through the extensive process. For more information, please contact Cameron Millard, Town of Vail Energy Efficiency Coordinator at cmillard@vailgov.com or 970-477-3467 or the Energy Buildings Team at Walking Mountains Science Center at energy@walkingmountains.org or 970-328-8777.

Howard: Advocating for change at the state level

The 2022 legislative session was one of the most impactful I have seen. The state budget was bolstered by a one-time investment from the American Rescue Act Plan. The $3.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated to our state are a once-in-a-generation investment in Colorado. The investment will transform lives of Coloradans.

Roughly 650 pieces of legislation were introduced at the Capitol. Of those, Habitat for Humanity worked closely on six we felt would be most impactful to increase affordable housing options for Coloradans.

We have a massive housing supply problem in the United States — an estimated 5 million housing units short. While I worry about this staggering shortfall, I am excited to be in this moment where government, nonprofits and communities are coming together to create lasting, positive, transformational change to increase housing stock. State leaders allocated $400 million of ARPA funds for housing projects, with dedicated funds for rural areas like Eagle County that are most impacted by the housing crisis.

The State Transformational Housing Task Force started the discussion last year. It is a bipartisan panel of legislators, housing experts and local officials that were tasked with taking a deep dive into the housing needs statewide with the goal to provide policy recommendations on how to best use the $400 million in ARPA funding allocated for housing.

Habitat for Humanity catapulted into action, creating a coalition of home ownership organizations from across the state. This is the first of its kind — bringing together land trusts, nonprofits, government agencies and other shared equity ownership groups with the purpose of advocating for home ownership.

As we all know, home ownership is important to building a strong community and for families to build wealth and stability. Combine a severe housing shortage with the steep rise in inflation and low- to middle-wage earners are unable to gain traction to move into the housing market.

HB22-1304, known as “State Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing,” sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, is a direct result of the Task Force. Habitat Vail Valley and Habitat Colorado were very much in support of this bill and I was able to testify in favor of this bill.

HB22-1304 is unprecedented in that it provides $178 million in grant funding for nonprofits and local governments. This grant program will help nonprofit housing developers like Habitat to accelerate our construction pace and fill the gap between what it costs to build and the maximum affordable sales price. Building permanently affordable homes requires a subsidy — building costs, labor and materials have increased significantly. On average it takes approximately a $100,000 subsidy to build each affordable for-sale home across the state. HB1304 is key to decreasing the state’s housing shortage.

HB22-1117, known as “Use of Local Lodging Tax Revenue,” is promising because it gives local governments the ability to redistribute funds from lodging taxes “for activities related to workforce recruitment, management, and development housing.” Until now, there has not been an affordable housing development fund — this is how we got so far behind in the first place.

SB22-159 “Revolving Loan Fund Invest Affordable Housing,” creates a $150 million revolving loan fund program for affordable housing. The low-interest loans will allow affordable home developers the chance to do more and build more.

Finally, HB22-1282, “The Innovative Housing Incentive Program,” provides grants and loans for “innovative forms” of affordable housing, including modular housing. The goal is to have more homes ready faster, with a smaller price tag. We have watched this bill closely primarily because after more than a year of research, we’re moving forward with a modular project on a parcel of land on Eagle’s Third Street donated by Eagle County School District. We are committed to bringing innovation to the affordable home-building process.

These bills are testament that — together — we can be part of the change that will positively impact our community.

I’m proud to be involved in helping make a difference for hardworking locals in Eagle County. Bold initiatives like these take a commitment of time and dollars. Affordable housing is a worthwhile investment for our community. I am excited to be an advocate of these once-in-a-generation efforts to make long-term, positive transformational changes to housing at the community and state levels.

Do you want to do or learn more? Reach out to our elected leaders. They want to hear how to help make life here in Eagle County more attainable. Send me a note, I am happy to talk housing any time. Together we will find ways to innovate and collaborate to make a bigger impact on our community.