Letters to the editor
As recently reported in the Vail Daily, the Children’s Garden of Learning began operations in the new Middle Creek Early Learning Center on Jan. 24. This 4,600-square-foot facility was constructed as part of Middle Creek at Vail on town of Vail-owned land along the North Frontage Road in Vail. After all remaining site work and landscaping is completed this year, the Learning Center, together with its driveway and parking lot, will be deeded free and clear to the town of Vail. The Learning Center represents approximately $1.5 million of construction and design costs contributed by the Middle Creek developer, Coughlin & Company, as part of their contract to construct the Middle Creek property.In addition to the building and site improvements, some additional equipment, such as cubbies and a playground fence, was added to help the Children’s Garden of Learning to get started in their new home. The Vail Local Housing Authority would like to acknowledge the generous donations of the following community members toward the additional improvements: Vail Resorts, Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, FirstBank of Vail, The Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation, Alpine Bank, the Dauphinais family, and Shaw Construction.Middle Creek apartments opened in several stages in November and December 2004. This three-building complex consists of 142 rental units and 247 parking spaces (mostly underground). The apartments are operating at 97 percent occupancy, and are now home to over 300 people. Like many large developments in the mountains, Middle Creek experienced its share of challenges. The Vail Local Housing Authority would like to commend Coughlin & Company for their professionalism and perseverance over the past four years.We would also like to acknowledge several members of the town of Vail staff who went beyond the call of duty: Matt Gennett (Planning), Leonard Sandoval (Public Works), Tom Kassmel (Engineering), Mike Vaughn and Mike McGee (Fire) and Greg Denkla (Building), and Nina Timm (Housing).Middle Creek at Vail, consisting of the apartments and the Early Learning Center, all constructed to Built Green Colorado standards, is a cooperative public-private effort. The land under Middle Creek was provided by the town of Vail (the apartments revert back to the town after 50 years), while development efforts and capital participation were spearheaded by Coughlin & Company. Eagle County and state of Colorado Departments of Housing and Local Affairs provided financial grants. The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District provided tap fee assistance.We believe Middle Creek at Vail is a wonderful addition to Vail’s community infrastructure, providing housing for both long-term and seasonal employees and the Children’s Garden of Learning. Thank you to all participants.Vail Local Housing AuthorityMark Ristow, ChairmanSally JackleSteve LindstromEthan MooreKim RuotoloTipsline a disgraceOnce again, the Daily has disgraced itself by allowing its pages to be used to broadcast an anonymous attack on named county commissioners. This time, an unidentified caller asks whether one of the commissioners engaged in what could be criminal activities by taking a taxpayer-financed trip to Las Vegas.It would be a simple matter for the Daily to find out if there is any truth whatsoever in such charges BEFORE you recklessly broadcast them to your 15,000 readers. Instead, the Daily seems to stand for the proposition that anyone can say almost anything about someone else without identifying themselves, and you will pass it on to the entire valley. What’s the point? To spread ill feelings and intolerance? To promote wanton gossip? To character assassinate public servants and other members of our community? Or simply to increase your circulation National Enquirer style? One of the hallmarks of a decent and civilized society is self-restraint. We may all have angry thoughts or feelings towards others at times, but a sense of decency and accountability to the community usually prevents us from vocalizing them in public. If that did not occur, society would quickly degenerate into name calling and chaos, as happened in Nazi Germany and elsewhere. By providing a forum for people to anonymously attack others in Tipsline, the Daily removes accountability and self-restraint, and contributes to ill will in our community. So, once again, I ask the Daily to stop further publication of “Tipslines” which involve attacks on named individuals unless the accuser identifies themself. In short, if someone doesn’t have the guts to say who they are, they shouldn’t be allowed to personally attack or demean another human being and have it broadcast to the entire community. If the Daily can’t agree to do that, you should write a column explaining to us why you think allowing anonymous personal attacks on your pages is a good policy. That doesn’t seem to be too much to ask from a newspaper whose masthead slogan is “Bringing Communities Together.” Maybe the most embarrassing thing of all is that our community lets you get away with “Tipsline.”We should be organizing a boycott of the paper until you show some accountability by discontinuing unidentified personal attacks.Andy WiessnerVail Great supportWe appreciate this community so much. During our 2004-05 wrestling season we received enormous support and help. We recognize how fortunate we are to live among such caring people. A huge thank you to everyone for pitching in and cheering us on.The Devil mat men would like to give a special thanks the following businesses/individuals: Tommy Archibeque, John and Cindy Ramunno, Mark Strakbein, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, Matt Westenfelder, Eagle Valley Medical Center, Dr. Drew Werner, Bald Eagle Wrestling, the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Kurt and Penny Harvey, Lars Lueders, Dave Scott, Steve Jaramillo, Gypsum Fire Department, Jeff Lueders, Steve Ellicker, Joel and Susan Best, Al Asmussen, Katie Jean Ewing, Adi Andree, Crystal Atencio, the National Guard, Kevin Kottenstette and Mary Kate Ewing. Look for Eagle Valley High School wrestling again in about eight months. We cannot wait!Coach Luke CrossCoach Ron BeardEagle Valley High School Devil WrestlersGive him timeI want to defend my fellow newly elected official, Peter Runyon. Peter and I both attended the Jan. 27 meeting of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. Peter was asked for an update on the issues facing his government. The issue highest on Peter’s list was making Eagle County a home rule county. Peter told the group that one reason he wants home rule status with five commissioners elected from districts is to give a voice in county government to citizens from the Roaring Fork corner of Eagle County. I don’t think the home rule issue is dead. It just takes us newcomers a little while to figure out the system. Kristi FerraroAvonA better dealMany seem confused about See Letters page AXXPresident Bush’s proposal for private social security accounts, partly because the Democrats insist on calling them the “privatization of Social Security” and pepper-spray the idea with alarmist untruths. The president’s plan would allow an individual to invest only 4 percent of their current 12.2 percent payroll tax in their individual account, and then only if the individual wishes. The government isn’t going to force you to do anything. Go ahead and opt for the piddling 1.5 percent or so that Social Security pays on your money, or lots less than that in years to come when this leaky ship capsizes. I would personally go for the private account, where even the safest corporate bonds pay 3.5 percent or more. Even the much-maligned and sometimes volatile stock market itself has historically made about 10 percent over the decades of time younger workers have to invest their money. The government would allow only a few select and broadly diversified stock and bond funds, so nobody would be gambling their social security money with pork belly futures as the nay-sayers like to shriek. These accounts are not gambling, not unless you would call gambling the similar accounts of federal employees, who now have $152 billion invested in something called the Thrift Savings Plan. It was established nearly 20 years ago to allow any federal employee, including senators and armed service members, to place up to 14 percent of their salaries in one of five funds. One is a common stock fund, the kind of chancy investment that inspires rampant terror among certain politicians, but not, apparently, senators. According to a George Will commentary in a recent Newsweek, in only four of 17 years has this stock fund’s rate of return been negative. In eight years, the return has been greater than 20 percent, and – listen up, you faint of heart – over the entire 17 years the compound annual rate of return has been over 12 percent. The pension and profit sharing plans of America’s largest and most successful corporations use similar stock as well as bond funds for the billions they lucratively invest in worker retirement funds. No wonder when younger workers are polled, the majority – sometimes over 70 percent of those asked – demand the option to invest their hard-earned funds in these personal accounts. On Feb. 16, no less a financial guru than Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan endorsed these funds, citing another important plus – the wealth-building factor. Telling the Senate Committee on Banking that he has always supported moving to Social Security private accounts, he testified, “I think when you have assets which you can bequeath to your children and which have your name on it, I think that is a highly desirable thing because you give wealth basically to people in the lower and middle income groups who have not had it before.” Makes you wonder if the Democrats truly do want to see the working poor and middle class thrive and succeed as as they are always quick to contend. Then why are they so rabidly against these wealth-accumulating accounts? Once millions of people are building up their own hefty accounts for retirement and growing generational wealth, they will no longer be dependent on promises from politicians for more subsidies, welfare, and entitlements. No more victim mentality, no more rich versus poor class warfare. Instead, growing prosperity for all. Whatever will they have left to fulminate about in their convention speeches? Joy Overbeck Edwards Illegal village parkingI am pleased to see that a parking ticket in Vail Village has finally gotten someone’s attention. I understand that 90 percent of such tickets are thrown away, meaning that said tickets are ineffective in controlling parking, drop-off, or blocking traffic.After 10 years of begging the police department to control truck and car gridlock on Hanson Ranch Road, we finally have some control at least for four days of the week. Unfortunately, it required financial support from Vail Resorts during this construction period to provide the four days of assistance. So, if Kaye is patient she may be able to resume illegal parking in the not-too-distant future.Paul JohnstonEnough already!In less than two weeks it will be March. My small opinion is that it is either 1) way too late or 2) too … early to be playing Christmas music every hour of the day from the Clock Tower. Now everyone who knows me knows I am no Scrooge, I love all those Christmas Classics, such as “Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire” or “Osama got Run Over by a Reindeer,” but enough is enough. Think of all those Texans that come to visit have a great ski vacation and go home telling their friends, “I skied Poppyfields, ya know, in China Bowl. WOW what a run. But I gotta tell ya’ll those folks up there doní’t know what time it is. They still got Christmas Music playin’ from that there Clock Tower they got. Hey, Betty May, get me another can a Lone Star beer, will ya.”I can’t believe it is a matter of money to program in a dozen or so different songs. And if it is a matter of licensing, there are a few thousand tunes in the public domain. I know. I Googled it. Heck, having a BA in music and being moderately computer savvy, I would even be willing to give it a try myself if no one else can do it.But for now, I’ll just keep cringing at my desk in Crossroads every hour on the hour.Craig JonesVailVail, Colorado
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