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Last message from the editor’s chair

Tom Boyd

This is my last column as the editor of The Vail Trail.

For the past three years or so, I’ve written a column almost every week for this paper, more than 150 in all.

It’s time to let this paper enter a new chapter. In February of 2004 we were purchased by Colorado Mountain News Media. I worked for the former owners, the Knox Family, and I helped guide The Vail Trail through the transition. I did my best to tie the new owners to the old history of the paper, which has been around since 1965. Now it’s time for CMNM, which also owns the Vail Daily, to have free reign to apply its philosophy to Vail’s oldest paper.

In the coming years the valley will be facing some major issues. My hope is that The Vail Trail will not shy away from covering these issues as they unfold.

– The Ginn Company: All of my research, on-the-record and off, has indicated that the Ginn Company is made up of fairly well-meaning people. That does not, however, mean that their development will be 100 percent good for the valley. The Gilman/Minturn development would increase the load of people in the county and create yet another set of Lord-and-Serf social circumstances here in Vail. The one untold story left to tell in that entire development is the impact upon the wilderness, which would be much more catastrophic than most people yet understand. I encourage everyone to take a hike through that wilderness this summer.

– Open space bonding: After you take that hike through “Ginnturn,” remember that it is, in fact, within your power to save that land. I predict the development will not happen. For all the ridiculous grumbling about “wasting” open space money on “a gravel pit” at the Eagle River Preserve, I predict the people will come together and support an open space bonding issue, thereby providing the valley with the funding needed to create a small-but-decisive preserve of land on Ginn’s property.

A new golf course? Perhaps.

A new ski area? Not a chance.

A couple hundred homes? Perhaps.

More than 1,000 homes? No way.

If it does go down, however, I’m going to sit at the bottom of the hill and sell oxygen masks to all the new homeowners who have no idea the conditions above 10,000 feet in Colorado’s Rockies.

– Lindholm: If you think Mr. Lindholm is finished devouring the valley with development, think again. The Village at Avon’s expansion will blow your mind as it unfolds, but remember – Lindholm has been waging a quiet war against landowners north of Wolcott. He’s pushing for a dam to be built there so he can control the lakeside property and build yet another of his “dream villages.” I’m sure this one will be as much “for the people” as Village at Avon. I have one request: don’t let him destroy Colorado River Country, our county’s last hideaway for the sane.

– Pine Beetle: Sadly, our trees are going through a massive death cycle. If you’re looking to point a finger, blame Smokey the Bear, whose fire protection methods were more about protecting large logs for the timber industry than protecting the health of our forests. Now we’re paying the price. However, there are some creative solutions, as our airships story on page 9 indicates.

– Senior Center: If this valley is to become a city, which in my mind it already has, then we need to offer the same services as a city. We cannot selfishly build money-making projects over and over again. We must think of our elderly, who, in many societies, attain a great respected status. If we listened more to our elders, we would be a wiser society. Right now our elders are demanding a new senior center.

– Ethics at local newspapers: Quis costodiet ipsos custodes? For many years now my ear has been the receptacle for hundreds of stories of neglect and mistreatment from and by the Vail Daily. Many of these are simply born of bitterness, but a few have foundation. Everyone must understand that journalists are the guardians of justice, even in this fair valley. So, as I quote above in Latin, “Who shall guard the guardians?” You, the reader, have that responsibility. Read carefully, do not lapse into lethargy, and speak up about the smallest of ethical infractions.

And finally, thanks for reading all these years, through the few good columns and the many odd ones, weird ones, and bad ones (which failed to qualify even as bird-cage lining). Your comments and encouragement have been ubiquitous and overwhelming.

” Tom Boyd can now be reached for comment at (970) 390-1585 or tboyd@solmediasyndicate.com. His work will continue to be seen in regional and national publications. Letters to the editor or comments on this column should be directed to tboyd@vailtrail.com.


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