A day in the life
“Woke up.”Got out of bed.”Dragged a comb across my head”The Beatles are playing on KZYR. Paul McCartney shuffles through his imaginary day while John Lennon’s voice, in interludes, lulls me back into dreamy sleep. The insistent day is nagging on the lapels of the night, pulling me from the world of dreams and prodding me into the light of morning.When the cacophony of “A Day in the Life” comes to a close, Steve Lee informs me that nine inches of snow have fallen at the ‘Beav.Good news on a ski day but today’s not a ski day for the staff of the Vail Trail today’s a work day. The paper, as they say, must be put to bed. In order for this to happen, I must get OUT of bed.Ah, the irony.So, rather than burnin’ turns through nine inches of snow, I’m left to the less-glorious task of wiping it from my windshield and driving through it on the way to VT headquarters.On the way, I discover my column topic for the week: “A day in the life,” I’ll call it: a mosaic of the issues a ski-town weekly faces in a day.Instantly, I have material.8:45 a.m.: A splash through the slush on I-70, creeping past an electric sign entering Dowd Junction: “CAUTION,” it reads, “WILDLIFE ON ROAD.” I am reminded of the photographs from our, “Road Kill,” cover story from last week (see “Road Kill” at vailtrail.com, Jan. 6 edition), and I ease my speed. The gore of these photos startled a few readers, and they remind me of the sorry side-effects of our asphalt ribbon. The truth about I-70, it seems, is a bit more than weak-kneed readers are prepared to confront.The Department of Transportation, on their part, was gratified to have us bring attention to one of their biggest problems, especially since it coincided with a region-wide effort to inform the public. Their signs and our paper will, we hope, put the issue at top of mind for winter drivers.9 a.m.: A snowplow driver is tearing around the parking lot in his pickup truck, ripping through the parking lot backward, forward, backward, forward. Tell me, on three hours sleep and at the end of a 16-hour shift, how long will it be before one of these guys clips someone with their plow blade, leaving a half-moon chunk missing from their corpus? Slow down, guys. It’s not worth it.10 a.m.: After years of political haberdashery in our Eagle County chambers, it appears a new leaf has been turned. Peter Runyon has been sworn in as a new county commissioner and the balance of power has shifted. Tom Stone made a very strong, but largely symbolic, gesture Jan. 11, finally recommending that Arn Menconi take up scepter as “Chairman” of the Board of Commissioners. Although the title is essentially meaningless, it indicates that Stone and Menconi have called a truce in their silly wars of attrition. So, how will the year go? Hmmmm, let’s give these boys a call.Stone, for his part, has said he will never talk to me because he perceives me to be pernicious and biased. So we’ll cross him off the list.Menconi tells me he is “extremely optimistic,” about the upcoming year and says he honestly feels that he and Stone will begin getting along famously.Runyon, to be frank, sounds a bit shell shocked. He will have an immediate opportunity to satisfy voters who elected him based on his “smart growth” platform. The Board will soon vote on how much funding to award the Eaton Ranch plot, now called the “Eagle River Preserve,” in the effort to create open space in the heart of Edwards.Pledging the open space tax money sits well with Runyon, Menconi, and Stone. Pledging more is a different question.The Board is being asked to bring $6 million to the table, $3 million more than the open space tax, alone, would bring.Runyon, I believe, has a creative solution to this problem: The county will pledge their $6 million, but on certain conditions. Rather than dedicate the whole lot to pure open space, some segment of it could be zoned for the future development of a public building or amphitheater. Something that would benefit and enhance the community, or, as Runyon puts it, “not a bus barn.”We’ll see how popular that idea is with the fundraisers at the Vail Valley Foundation.Noon: A delectable concoction of noodles, chicken, pears, and peanut-sauce, created by our own Amanda Swanson, lifts the moods and fills the bellies of the staff. The pears are a nice touch. Now, to fight the natural inclination toward siesta, a little coffee is in order.1 p.m.: With great regret, I was unable to attend one of the most bizarre events of the year. A real estate bonanza lighted financial fires at the Lodge at Vail Jan 10. Just the sight alone would have been phenomenal. Imagine over $1 billion in earning power gathered in one room, with as many as 150 all bidding for one piece of property, 67 units up for sale with prices ranging from a mere $1 million all the way up to $14 million and all those real estate agents hoping to make their 3 percent commission.So I make some calls, talk to some friends in the business, and discover (not surprisingly), that things got pretty wild (don’t laugh, those real estate agents know how to party!). The action lasted well past midnight, alcoholic beverages got the better of a few people, several unprintable expletives filled the air when one buyer or another didn’t make the cut.Think about it. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent hoping to broker a deal for one of the $5 million units. If your guy gets the chance to buy, you stand to make $150,000: but only if your number comes up. If it doesn’t, well, who can blame you for letting loose with an F-bomb?2 p.m.: Thoughts of the real estate industry have me thinking of the Vail Resorts, Town of Vail, Slifer Smith and Frampton triangle. Rod Slifer is mayor of Vail, the entire town is going through a real estate renaissance, and Vail Resorts is a limited partner with Slifer, Smith and Frampton. As VR CEO Adam Aron said on KZYR the other night, the town and the VR are working very well together. I think all of us need to be aware that, yes, we want our town and our largest company to get along well, to cooperate on a major project. But we need to keep a watchful eye on these two entities as Vail’s “New Dawn” progresses.I fully believe that Slifer is an honest, upstanding man, and it would be difficult to find someone to disagree with that. But business is business, and it’s very important that Slifer, the Town of Vail, and Vail Resorts go out of their way to make sure every local entity is treated fairly as things progress in the TOV.The recent Arrabelle sale is a good example of fairness at work: now it’s imperative we continue with similar methods in the future. 4 p.m.: It’s time to read and respond to the growing list of emails piling up in my inbox. Some people are searching for old friends, others are selling something, and many folks are submitting news for our Community Notebook.All too often, I don’t share some of my most interesting email with readers because I don’t have enough information about the person who wrote it. The Vail Trail has a longstanding tradition of identifying those who write letters before we print their message.And that will continue.But, as of now, we’re going to print emails from anonymous sources as well placing them in a different category of messages we’ll call the VT Inbox. Much like Tipsline, the inbox will allow people to vent their frustrations, share their ideas, and ask questions they might not otherwise want to tack their name to.So, before I end my day, I’ll ask you to write in, let us know if you found one of our stories interesting, entertaining, or just plain wrong. Write us, tell us anything, at email@example.com p.m. When the day is done, I end with my customary game of chess. A French girl, I think, is playing me from an internet caf somewhere in Europe. We meet at the Yahoo site and, I’m sorry to say, she cleaned my proverbial clock in under four minutes. Next time I’ll try an e4 opening, and leave the queen’s gambit to the masters.On the way home?More powder on the roads, which means more powder on the mountain.But this time, me thinks, my paper will already be to bed. Our staff can poach a quick morning up on the hill before coming back to the office, where the weekly miracle starts again. As for me, another day in the life will end with a pheasant dinner (baked in white wine sauce, no less), a bit of reading, and another night full of dreams John Lennon and his Lucy would be proud of. VTTom Boyd wants to hear about a day in your life. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.