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Teachers always there for kids

Alice Pankey

We are joining the National PTA to focus attention on the outstanding work of our public school teachers. Their dedication and expertise form the cornerstone of our nation’s education system. They are there for our children, often under trying circumstances and with less than adequate resources and support.

Without the hard work of teachers, the scientists, artists, and political and social leaders in this country would not be among the best in the world. The Edwards Elementary PTA, with the help and generosity of local businesses, has planned special activities during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-11.

We invite everyone to join us in recognizing teachers for the significant role they play in our lives and in the well-being of our nation.

Let’s take time to say “thanks” to the teachers of our community and throughout the United States.

Alice Pankey

Edwards Elementary PTA

Too much

I just have paid my property taxes. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but it seems to be interesting that I pay now for only one year of property tax about times times more than my whole land costed to buy when I was here as a ski Instructor in 1965.

No, I do not disagree or protest, because I am here only on a visitor’s visa, and after half a year I have to get out again and to go back to Bavaria, Germany. I am only a guest and I try to behave like that.

I try to speak English as well as I can. I respect the lifestyle and also the politics of this country. And I pay my taxes.

But besides that, I still cannot avoid thinking and having sometimes a little different ideas. Last fall I went on a hiking trip in Chamoix, France, and I liked it there very much. The place is not as quiet as Vail is most of the year. It’s always full of people, locals and guests, poor and rich, mountaineers and travelers.

You find there almost everything and it’s fun to watch so much life around you. Noise, traffic, laughing, music, busy people everywhere, and if you put your head way back you may see the white tops of the mountain peaks which surround you.

Whenever I come to Zermatt, there is still my former roommate Ricky Andermatten. He and his family have lived there for generations. Ricky’s Ridge in Vail has his name and it’s never difficult to find him in Zermatt. Just ask some of the local people; they all know each other. But for somebody from “outside,” it’s almost impossible to get into their community.

The same happens in Lech, Austria. For example, ask for Arnold Beiser, an old friend of mine. His family has been there forever. In summertime he cares for his cattle and in wintertime he cares for his students in ski school. Sometimes I think he treats both the same way. He is a rough character and I remember when he kept telling his ski school class. “Look at this wonderful snow and this wonderful mountains. The way you are skiing on this is really a waste!” Everybody laughed, knowing also that somehow this was not quite wrong.

Go to Vail and compare. Ask for names of the old days; they are all gone. From all the ski instructors and the ski patrolmen of the ’60s, there may be 10 in Vail who have been able to stay. Who is able to pay property taxes of $10,000 every year? Not a ski instructor and not a ski patroller. But those are the guys which make a ski town a real ski town – not office people or all kind of help who are needed to keep the place running.

The empty homes which may be used four weeks a year don’t create “atmosphere” – fun – and business for Vail.

OK, those homeowners can afford to pay the property tax, but normal people can’t. OK, all of this created a great real estate business and second homes are bought and sold like the shares of the stock market. But can young people live and stay here? And can they afford to raise their children in Vail?

Take the stores in Vail. Some people may blame the employees that their service is not good enough. I have another explanation. If I buy a chocolate cookie (my favorite), I am always looking for the biggest one. But if the cookie is expensive and small, I get angry. Do you understand what I mean?

The higher the price, the more I expect to get. Things in Vail are expensive and sometimes too expensive. But how can things be less expensive, if the rent of the stores is so high that a lot of them go out of business every year? How can the rent be lower if taxes are so high? And how can property taxes be lower if the price of land is going up and up?

By the way, if you would try these taxes in Zermatt, I guess you would create a revolution. The real estate business can live well with that and as a result there seem to be about 500 real estate agencies in the Vail Valley. And what is the motor of this evolution? If you get a high tax bill, you think wow, that costs a lot of money and if I sell now I make a lot of money. So take the money and run?

Poor people have to sell and rich people can buy a second or third place. But there is also a bad side of the story. The problem seems to be that all the empty beds in those second homes don’t sleep enough skiers for VR to use their ski mountain. As a result, Front Range skiers are needed badly to come and fill for low prices the empty slopes. Also the town of Vail doesn’t get sales tax revenue from the stores, as empty beds don’t make turnover and Front Range visitors buy in Denver.

The difficulties to get employees in Vail are endless, but they simply can’t afford to live here. High rents for rooms are even worse, and no rooms make working in Vail difficult.

But the taxes cause expensive buildings and expensive rooms. The way how things are handled and organized, I expect that Vail can never become a real village or town. Vail is a resort and it will probably stay this way.

Otto Wiest


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