Letters to the editor
Driving by on I-70 as you approach Edwards at Exit 163, along the Singletree development, the Sonnenalp Golf Course appears as a verdant green gem of perfectly manicured lawn, a meticulously landscaped contrast to the spectacular high mountain scenery that surrounds the town of Edwards.
Some may even envy those lucky enough to own homes perched at the edge of this luxuriant playground. Unfortunately, those “lucky” people are living in constant danger from flying golf balls. Errant golf balls travel onto, over and even into some of those homes on a regular basis, putting the safety (indeed, the lives) of residents, their children, their guests and their pets at risk the moment they step outside.
Recently, my wife was hit with a golf ball while standing inside our living room, feet from an open doorway! It is easy to foresee the tragic consequences should a small child be hit in the head. Golf balls shatter windows, smash flower pots, dent parked cars and break windshields and sunroofs, damage walls and interior furnishings. Golf balls have turned relaxing on the deck, grilling on the barbecue and working in the garden into dangerous ventures.
Repeated complaints to Sonnenalp’s management have been met with smug indifference and a categorical refusal to even consider suggested safety precautions such as installation of net fencing in the affected areas. If “fences make good neighbors,” what does that make Sonnenalp Golf Course?
November is National Hospice Month. In communities like ours across the country, hospices are honoring and supporting their patients and families who are coping with terminal illness and recognizing the professionals and volunteers who provide high quality care to those who need it most. National Hospice Month also provides an occasion to prompt extremely important discussions with our loved ones and our health care providers about end-of-life wishes.
Hospice offers the end-of-life care settings and services that Americans want. Considered to be the model for high quality, compassionate care at the end of life, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to care that encompasses expert medical care, pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.
Based on current trends, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization projects that more than three quarters of a million U.S. patients will receive hospice care this year-certainly a large number, but only a fraction of those who could benefit. Unfortunately, many will receive the care only in the last few weeks of their lives.
This means that a million Americans a year are missing the chance to treat pain, give compassionate care, maintain individual dignity and provide a comfortable environment among loved ones-precisely when every day and every connection counts most. The impact of this messes opportunity is profound. For instance, research has shown that while 80 percent of Americans wish to die at home, but less than 25 percent actually do.
There are no barriers to receiving hospice care other than an understandable fear of discussing death. We plan for weddings, the birth of a child, college, retirement. But rarely, if ever, do we talk about how we want to live in the final phases of our lives. We’re more willing to talk to our teenage children about drug abuse of safe sex than to discuss end-of-life care options and preferences with our parents.
It’s not that we Americans don’t make end of life decisions. We write a will, but we don’t prepare or plan for the actual process of dying. No society has ever dwelled more on a “quality of life” concerns. Yet “quality end-of-life” may be our only remaining taboo subject.
Hospice can help you and your family have the conversation. It can empower you and your family to take control when you feel most powerless. Please call Mountain Hospice at 569-7459. Mountain Hospice is located in the Edwards Medical Center and shares the office with Home Health.
Begin the conversation. It’s the best way to ensure that you, your family, and your loved ones meet one of the most difficult times in life with grace, dignity, comfort, and compassion.
Mountain Hospice Advisory Committee
I would like to thank Brian Nolan on behalf of the Avon Business Association for his continued support in our newly active organization.
Brian not only became a member promptly after becoming an Avon business owner (his new restaurant is Mountain Burger, located in the Seasons building, formerly Camp Cafe), but has also given us much insight through his experiences in Beaver Creek.
The ABA just held our first shindig for our current members and new members at Mountain Burger – and it was quite successful.
The ABA’s mission is to “create an independent and unified voice in protecting the interests of the Avon Business Community,” and to “provide a line of communication between the town of Avon and the Avon business community. Our goal is to preserve and enhance the economic vitality of the Avon business community.”
Brian is helping us accomplish this. Thank you again, Brian, for all of your insight and support!
Avon Business Association
A rising tide
In an earlier, unpublished letter to the Vail Daily, I expressed concerns that exploding tax assessment evaluations in Eagle County assured all entities funded by mill rates (property tax) were likely to enjoy a windfall of revenue without any additions to their rates.
When the assessment of our home in Eagle-Vail was increased 47 percent without any changes of any kind to the property, inside or out, except for watering the flowers on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, it seemed there must have been an error.
When our appeals, first to the Office of the Assessor and then to the Office of the County Attorney, were rejected out of hand without explanation, there seemed to be something amiss.
After all, the Assessor’s Office had advised the Vail Daily, which published the statement, that this round of reassessments resulted in minimum increases. Whether this was a fabrication for publication, or the result of selective, egregious increases on some properties to enable reductions on others, I cannot say. I do know that 47 percent by almost any standard is anything but modest or minimal, and defies all real estate data.
I also know that TABOR imposes limits on tax rate increases, not assessment increases. I believe our property tax will increase by 47 percent, and the property tax bill of every other homeowner will increase by whatever the percentage increase of their assessment. The result of this whole process, assuming the same assessment standards applied to all properties and taxpayers, will be an enormous revenue windfall for Eagle County without any mill rate adjustments.
For that reason, an increase in school mill rates to expedite projects is entirely unnecessary. No tax rate increases of any kind can be justified.
When this is all over, I submit that the Vail Daily owes it to the citizens of this county to examine the available data to determine whether or not the Office of the Assessor misrepresented to the newspaper and its readers the results of this year’s assessment program.