Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor


What would you do, if at a conference with your number one health care professional, you were confronted with an opinion that the disease within your body was going to take your life? Fainting or delirious anger are not options, since you were told on the day of your positive diagnosis that your chances were never more than 50 percent.During silent moments while thinking of the future, thoughts of the end of life have not been a major subject, but have been there. Shortly after the original and never-changing diagnosis, your spouse took over the responsibility for outside and personal affairs. No need to spend your precious time worrying. But what now? Today, tomorrow, next week? How long did they say it would be? Two weeks, three weeks. The kind of news that conveys the message of limited time on earth is shocking and confusing.Other details such as advice don’t come through loud and clear. There was something about hospital and good care. Surely they didn’t mean to go to a hospital to spend the last day or hours. We’ll call and get a clear answer. No, they didn’t say hospital, they said hospice. A home-like facility for the care of the terminally ill. Thanks to some extremely dedicated health care professionals at all levels, the facility is now your own home.The items that you will need according to your illness and condition will be brought to your home. Whatever you need for your final time will be available and may have been anticipated.Not only care and comfort is at hand, but maybe the most important for many is to have intelligent conversation. Hospice can bring you a minister, priest or rabbi; doctor, pharmacist or experienced counselor. Want to talk to a longtime friend, next door neighbor or your spouse’s boss? Ask hospice.Today’s society is more open to the subject of death than in yesteryear. It isn’t that we have more deaths now than then. It’s that we see and hear more of the thousands of deaths occurring daily.For years hospice care has been a sure sign of the end of life. Today is no different. Death was a hush-hush subject. Death was a fearsome thing. Many thought the pain and hurt to be unbearable. The thought of such a thing would cause people to walk an extra block to avoid seeing your home or a hospice center.There are so many who don’t know that the only mission of hospice is to make the experience of dying as easy as is humanly possible. If your thoughts of dying are too much, maybe they can turn your thinking toward something else. If you fear dying, they will do what is possible to allay your fears. Most of us won’t turn down a cake for a biscuit; we probably won’t turn down a car for a wagon; you won’t turn down a bed for a blanket on the floor. Why not choose hospice for the best of care during your last journey in life?This is not an advertisement for hospice. This is the result of my own experience a little more than a year ago. Choose wisely and calmly and without fear.Frank DollAvonBad informationVoter information and ballot measure analyses were mailed last week. Comments for and against the Open Space Initiative (Referendum 11H) were included. It would be negligent not to call attention to comments against the proposal, those that are blatantly untrue whether by misinformation or misunderstanding. They’re called spins. Let me explain.Spin 1 – “Proponents want to raise $7 million each year from 2004 through 2005.” Not so. Seven million dollars is the maximum that this tax can raise, based on continued growth and increasing property values. If or when the total tax revenues generated by this initiative reach $7 million, the per property assessment could actually decrease to stay within the $7 million cap.Spin 2 – “With a $7 million per year tax, the cost to residential taxpayers is $32.50/$100,000 of market value.” Wrong. The tax rate is $14/$100,000 of home value. And this ratio will not change during the life of this measure. It could actually decrease if the $7 million cap is reached.Spin 3 – “This should not be an indefinite tax.” Well, it isn’t. It sunsets in 2025 as is clearly stated in the ballot language.Spin 4 – “Proponents refuse to identify potential parcels to purchase.” Not so. In public meetings the Eagle Valley Land Trust has suggested four parcels as possibilities for open space designation. Bair Ranch, Squaw Creek, Berry Creek (a 640-acre State Land Board parcel) and Arrowhead. But it’s up to the Eagle County commissioners to make the choices, not the Eagle Valley Land Trust.Spin 5 – “The proponents do not need $157 million for the very few parcels available.” Even in the best of times we would not achieve that figure. (See Spin 1). There are MANY parcels throughout the county that are desirable and available for open space. A few of them are mentioned in Spin 4.Spin 6 – “The county, without a tax increase, has arranged for three large parcels to remain open space: State Park (Kummer property), Berry Creek 5th (120 acres) and Miller Ranch (120 acres).” The county funded $1.5 million and the town of Eagle funded $500,000 of the $14 million Sylvan Lake State Park project. Of the 225 acres regarded as “open space” in Berry Creek 5th and Miller Ranch, the vast majority of the land is for active recreation (e.g. ball fields). Only 50 acres is set aside for honest-to-goodness open space which is protected as open space only by deed restriction (that could change with the next elected county commissioners) rather than with a conservation easement held by a third party, such as a land trust, that assures that the land stays as open space permanently.What is not a “spin”: “There is already an organization in this county for acquiring open space.” That’s true, but what is not said is that the Eagle Valley Land Trust relies on private, philanthropic support. 1H will give EVLT a means to help it in its efforts to protect land. Often, funders such as Great Outdoors Colorado require significant public support and this type of fund will enable EVLT to apply for large grants to help in its efforts to protect large tracts of land.How could anyone who loves and respects open space be against this?Tom SteinbergVailBottom line on 31The person responsible for the tipsline comment “Pro 31” published on Oct. 16 is laboring under some common misconceptions that I believe the following facts will help clear up.First, the “bottom line” of any good bilingual program, and that of every program in the Eagle County School District, is that non-English speaking students learn English. They are exposed to English on their first day of school, and are given content (history, science, etc.) in English as soon as it can be made comprehensible.Second, Spanish is not the “only language we teach in the schools.” There are bilingual programs in scores of languages all over this country. Bilingual programs are primarily Spanish/English in Colorado because the vast majority of second language learners in this state speak Spanish. The caller might be interested to know that many schools in the United States were bilingual schools until the 1930s, when anti-immigrant sentiment made them unpopular, and most were, in fact, German bilingual schools.The caller may also take comfort in the fact that according to the latest census bureau data, Hispanics are learning English as fast as any other immigrant group.Finally, we must remember that teaching English is not the only important task schools have. They also teach math, science, history, geography, art, music, social studies and, most importantly, critical thinking skills.Learners of English as a second language who do not receive additional assistance with these areas as they are learning English fall further and further behind their peers, and often never catch up.This results in a whole segment of the population that is undereducated. This is not good for any society, and that is truly the bottom line.Heather GoodrichEagleShe’d be greatAlthough we’re no longer full-time residents, Eagle County still feels like “home” to us, especially after the great reunion Vail’s Pioneer Weekend turned out to be. It was certainly a privilege to have been part of the building of a community like this one.And that’s why it’s so gratifying to have our daughter-in-law, Teak Simonton, running for the office of Eagle County clerk and recorder. We’ve come to know her not only as a loving wife and mother, but also as a capable manager and business woman.We feel she would be a great county clerk, and we want our friends to know our feelings.Don and June SimontonHillsideA big inequityI am writing this letter to inform the public of the great inequity being proposed by the Avon Town Council in the form of a “use tax.” There exists a budget shortfall stemming from Eagle County Transit not willing to subsidize the town shuttle buses anymore.After considering and rejecting a fee to ride the buses, and have them pay for themselves, the Avon Town Council has decided to have the builders of the existing town of Avon pay for the shortfall.This tax won’t affect the developer of the Wal-Mart/Home Depot since they are working on a sweetheart deal almost tax-free.Who will pay for it are the builders working in “old Avon,” of which there are less than 30 with permits. This small group would be saddled with paying for the $700,000 shortfall. Being a small builder in the town of Avon for the past 10 years, I feel cheated that the town can foot the bill for construction of multi-million dollar projects such as the Avon roundabouts with million dollar bronze statues, the Swift Gulch maintenance facility, and the current road improvements in the center of Avon, and yet when a budget shortfall comes up, it is the building community that must cover the cost.Small builders buying property, building unique homes and selling them are what give our neighborhoods diversity compared to the cookie cutter homes seen across the sea of beige in Denver and other big cities.The use tax will come right out of the pockets of builders even before they have the chance to sell the homes being constructed, thus interest costs on the prepaid tax will worsen the situation.My business is building one duplex each year and paying attention to detail. Three of the current Avon Council live in homes I built. Their homes have doubled in value since closing and are now worth $600,000 to $800,000. Yet these same council members (Howard McDevitt, Debbie Buckley) voted to increase my taxes by approximately $6,000 per year where their increase is nothing.Most people won’t see any tax increases, but the builders will and you think a little $50 property tax increase gets people mad, how would you like a $6,000 hit?Most builders will pass this tax on to their clients and a home worth $500,000 will cost $4,000 more.An average person building their own home will feel the increase just as bad and there will be a 4 percent increase in materials for remodels or additions. Older homes needing more renovations than newer ones will feel this bite just when affordable housing for locals is becoming a reality.I don’t mind paying my fair share and do so each April, but don’t make 30 or 40 builders pay for this mismanagement of our city.If we all share the service (buses) then let’s all share the cost. Avon residents, please join the builders and your friends and vote no on the Use Tax Referendum in November.Tripp PlavecTerramont Building Contractors Inc.Kudos to AvonOn behalf of the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau and our member businesses in Avon, I would like to thank you for the wonderful improvements now complete in east Avon.The pedestrian and vehicular flow in and around City Market and Wal-Mart is much improved. In addition, the new landscaping is eye-catching with the addition of the beautiful bushes and trees.After a long summer of construction, we are thrilled to have such a successful finished product!Our kudos to Bill Efting, Norm Wood, the Avon crew and all the subcontractors involved.Robin LittDirector of Chamber ServicesVail Valley Chamber & Tourism BureauDomestic violenceThe 5th District Probation Department is dedicated to upholding the Victims Rights Amendment. It is through a philosophy of restorative justice that the 5th District aims to repair the harm through its interventions on behalf of the victim, offender, and community.The 5th District Probation Department is often involved in domestic violence cases when the offender has been sentenced to probation. When this occurs, victims have a right to be kept informed as to certain aspects of the offender’s case. For example, victims have a right to know if the offender is compliant with the terms and conditions of their probation, if any violations have occurred, and when they terminate from probation.Following sentencing, victims will receive a letter in the mail from the District Attorney’s Office notifying them of the outcome of the case. If the offender is sentenced to probation, the contact name and number of the victim coordinator for probation is provided. The Probation Department’s victim coordinator also sends out a letter and information packet to victims letting them know about their rights along with a form to complete and mail back if they wish to be notified.One of the problems with victim notification at the probation level involves victims’ understanding that they must request notification. Unlike other areas of the judicial process, notification must be requested. Otherwise it will not be provided. This request can be either verbal or written. They try to make the request process as simple as possible.If you have any questions regarding your rights, you may contact the 5th Judicial District Probation Department victim coordinator, Bretta Kennedy, at 970-453-9292, ext. 16. She is available to answer any of your questions or to hear your concerns.They would also like to thank the volunteers who helped make posters, cut purple ribbons and distribute them throughout our community in an effort to raise awareness of domestic violence issues.Please wear a purple ribbon during the month of October in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.Bretta Kennedy

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