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Letters to the editor

Jim Steinbach

I am writing to clear up some of the misperceptions outlined in Kaye Ferry’s column undermining the need for a new conference center in Vail. First, your readers should know there is a distinction between a convention center and a conference center. Conference centers host smaller group programs, generally less than 3,000 people, while convention centers are much larger and as such, market themselves to an entirely different segment within the meetings industry. Our proposed 40,000-square-foot facility compares in no way to the 1 million-square-foot facilities in Las Vegas or Orlando. Second, nationwide trends are compelling, but Vail, as a destination resort community, is an entirely different subject. Groups choosing to hold their conferences here are looking at Vail as a place to enjoy other activities such as mountain biking, hiking and golf. Corporations, associations and other groups who inquire about hosting their conference in Vail are not just shopping for a competitive bid. Our outdoor venues, restaurants and recreational activities are helping drive conference business here. Vail is a unique destination – a recognized product that sets us apart from other cities and towns.Third, demand is high for conference business during the non-winter time periods, specifically between the months of late May and early October. These peak “summer” time periods are traditional for hosting group business in Vail, as they appeal to attendees who are searching for multiple recreational offerings, not being driven to one specific activity. In addition, business programs during the summer often involve families, allowing the conference attendee to incorporate a family vacation with their business needs. In fact, corporations will on occasion, offer meeting dates where family members are encouraged to attend the event.I speak to the above from experience as a 17-year veteran of the conference and meeting business within the Vail Valley. As such, I am confident building a conference center is right for Vail. I am urging every Vail voter I speak with to vote YES on No. 1.Jim SteinbachVice President, Conference SalesVail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau Nature of riskIt’s always something …In his Oct. 7 commentary, Matt Z. asserts, “After Hurricane Katrina, some of us were aghast people built their homes in such low-lying areas of New Orleans and the surrounding wetlands.” In his relentless crusade to condemn and criticize everything America does, Matt misses the mark. Again. The issue is not that people built homes in a high-risk location, but rather that the people who built there now expect all levels of government to compensate them for the risk they themselves freely assumed! Risk is an essential component of freedom, but many people now want to blame government for their misfortune. What’s worse, many prefer to shift the blame from the local and state governments that actually bear some responsibility, to the federal government that bears none. Even more absurd, some people completely unaffected by Katrina (like Matt) have tried to do the same!In his most recent rant, Mr. Z. reveals his own hypocrisy. He condemns building communities in the mountains, yet he chooses to live and play here. (I wouldn’t call what he does for a living “work.”) Matt seems to think the government should do something about everything from beetles to the weather. A reality check is in order.Most cities and towns have some issue with their location, especially those situated in the most desirable locations. Does the Florida real estate market grind to a halt after each hurricane ravages the state? No! Will the real estate market rebound in Louisiana and New Orleans? Of course. It is the responsibility of home buyers to know what they’re getting into. Caveat emptor. Whether your location must deal with the threat of hurricanes, storm surges and floods, brush fires, mudslides, tornadoes, or volcanoes, from cold winters and heavy snows to oppressive heat and high humidity, it’s always something. Thomas AndersonEdwardsScandalous!Having been a reporter, an editor, and a communications company business owner in the past, I understand and appreciate the need for freedom of expression to bring balanced news accounts to the public to share facts and entertainment information. However, I was shocked and disgusted by the Vail Daily’s decision to publish the “naked chicks on bikes” photo in your Sunday newspaper. I am aware this photo was taken “for a good cause” – the concept of this calendar fundraiser is not my issue here. My issue is that this picture is totally inappropriate to publish in a community newspaper. If I wanted to see naked women while eating my breakfast with my children this morning, I would have had a copy of Playboy on my kitchen table. There are many other ways your Vail Daily staff could have promoted this upcoming fundraiser – much more subtle ways. How about a smaller picture, a picture of the fundraising group holding the calendars? Someone was not using their brain to make this editorial decision. I am afraid they were using another part of their body that is much lower. And again, if I want to support this cause and see these “naked neighbors” photos, I will purchase the calendar. Your Vail Daily staff showed very poor news judgment – and this is not art – it is simply obnoxious and insensitive. More conservative folks and children should not have to be subjected to “bare buns for funds” while we are drinking our morning coffee and minding our own business. If you want to rise above tabloid status in the eyes of your readers, you should respect your readers and put more effort into crafting an informative and entertaining newspaper that has class, too.Sherri StenmanEagleWool is goodI am writing today to comment on the “Safety in the World Above the Trees” article published on Oct 7. Although I felt the piece was indeed well written and the basic information educational, I must disagree with a comment made by Tim Cochrane.I do not know Mr. Cochrane personally, but understand and appreciate his reputation as a respected, experienced mountain man and the director of the Vail Mountain Rescue Group. I am confident that his knowledge in mountain rescue and survival are far surpassed my own. This letter is in no way an attack on Mr. Cochrane’s character or to question his abilities, rather to simply point out an inaccurate statement.My concern is directed to comments made regarding the appropriate clothing to pack/wear while experiencing the mountains. Mr. Cochrane was quoted to say: “With today’s technology, there’s no reason to have cotton or wool. Don’t skimp on body armor.” Yes, technology in clothing manufacturing has created many petroleum based synthetic fibers that are now used in a variety of “performance” fabrics trying to find a balance between moisture management, breath-ability and insulation. While I agree that cotton is not the ideal choice for any backcountry excursion, I must strongly disagree with his comments as it pertains to wool.Many technical clothing manufacturers are using wool fabrics as performance base and middle layers. Old school wool was heavy and itchy. Today’s wool (specifically merino wool) is soft, luxurious, lightweight and guaranteed prickle free. Because wool is keratin based (a protein also found in our own skin, hair, nails), wool has the natural ability to regulate your body’s temperature. It keeps you warm whether the fabric is wet or dry. Wool is incredibly breathable ensuring that you don’t overheat regardless of your aerobic output. You can wear wool for multiple days as it holds virtually zero body order. It’s machine washable for easy care, fire resistant for safety, and 100 percent biodegradable. Because of its high “warmth to weight” ratio, it packs down much smaller than most fleece tops; an added bonus for any backpacker. All performance characteristics of wool are designed by nature and utilized by athletes, mountaineers, ski professionals, weekend warrior’s and ski bums everywhere.I’m sure Mr. Cochrane has many more important things to be concerned with than some random quote he shared with a Vail Daily reporter and I agree 100 percent with him as to: “Don’t skimp on body armor.” Clothing selection is a vital part of comfort and safety in any mountain experience. It is not my position to degrade the many synthetic fabrics that do indeed work or to tell someone how to dress. Rather, it is my intent to rectify his statement specifically targeted at wool. Ultimately, wool will keep you warm, dry, odor free and comfortable regardless of the activity or the conditions.Mike StepanekEagleVail, Colorado


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