Nothing’s unidentifiable here |

Nothing’s unidentifiable here

UFOs are hovering over Happy Valley, Strom Thurmond finally succumbs to reality, affirmative action becomes the new “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and homosexuals can now do their version of the “dirty deed” in Texas – legally.

And some of you thought things were going downhill around here.

Anyway, this is the special week that comes but once a year.

Yes, it is time for all those annual hearty Fourth of July revelers and visitors alike to mingle through the shops, gorge through the restaurants, and stumble through the bars while enjoying our beautiful scenery and attempting to ignore the cacophony of local political issues running amok through these pages, as well as a few others.

Not to worry, ladies and gents, for the valley as you know it may continue to change with the regularity of local elk on all-fiber diets. But even with all those changes “things” pretty much seem to stay the same anyhow.

So, being that nobody wishes to be classified as an outsider, I offer a brief update on what’s happening in and around the valley of late, the knowledge of which can and should be used to influence friends and impress relatives who never get a chance to visit.

To begin with, if you talk to the “right” people (which may or may not have anything to do with political ideologies), not only does the Vail Valley no longer exist – it never did. Those with more local longevity than Strom had annual Senate Building parking passes insist it should still be called the Eagle Valley, while those still claiming connections to the Ute Indians simply call it “home.”

However, for the time being, referring to it as Happy Valley seems to cover most bases.

On the economic front, total revenue for Vail Resorts has increased 9 percent, Beaver Creek set a new record for skier visits, Vail Mountain skiers were up 5 percent, and daily lift prices are now somewhere in the vicinity of a Tiger Wood’s scorecard on a bad day. Yet now they must tighten the belt of profitability once again and ax another $25 million from their budget.

Again, not to worry, as this happens every year, and we are used to it.

Retail sales in Vail are up one month, down the next, while, depending on what agent you talk to, real estate sales are either tumbling into a gaping pit of despair or reaching up to the Red Sky heavens of happiness.

Local merchant groups are claiming autonomy from other local merchant groups in their attempts to secure local tax dollars for marketing collected by local merchants, while local politicians are creating an “economic master plan” to try and help the local economy without further taxation amid plans being “under way” to build a conference center with tax dollars.

I-70 is now the highest profile speed trap in the West, giving new meaning to the word “sinkhole,” while Highway 6 is under construction for the 47th year in a row. And in setting yet another trend for traffic flows, we now have an eggabout in Eagle-Vail.

In the reality bites department, a trusted local property manager has pleaded guilty to embezzlement while a former cop has pleaded guilty to porn charges.

Media speaking (no pun intended), being mentioned in Town Talk (think Warhol’s 15 minutes in print) is now considered derogatory by those who evidently feel more worthy, while local columnists are criticized and praised as idiots and saints on the same page on the same day.

Granted, these same pages made saintly singer Michael W. Smith looks suspiciously like the lead singer of Los Hermanos de Doobie, Michael McDonald, one day last week.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

So have a safe and happy Fourth, and please remember that coffee shops don’t do well during chili cook-offs and therefore could use your support throughout the holidaze.

But most of all, don’t you go worrying at all about those rumors of UFOs and whatnot hovering over the town of Vail, as most around these parts know it’s just a guy named Cacioppo keeping tabs on our tax dollars.

Everybody’s already aware that he’s from another planet.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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