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Blame TAPNow that school is starting, it is time for an update on the state of our schools. This year, there were 80 or more vacancies to be filled, and of the six people I know who retired, TAP was the determining factor. At Gypsum Elementary, at least 12 of the 29 staff positions were open, although I heard that there were at least 18 to be filled. While some teachers seem to have left for other reasons, for many of them, TAP was the underlying cause. The majority of teachers leaving were not experienced teachers, but the younger teachers who saw no future with the schools in this county. Is there a problem here? Reasons for leaving vary. However, one couple who was to receive a bonus of $2500 each if they remained teaching in the county for one more year decided to forfeit this in order to get out from under TAP. How many families in this county would walk away from $5000? … How many good teachers do we have to keep replacing before people realize teachers deserve better than what they’re getting. Maybe we should think about what changes really need to be made. This is Norma Hurd, a retired school teacher and substitute teacher of Eagle County Schools.Don’t need itI’m really sad to see that this Christo over-the-river project is being touted as an artwork we need to have on the wonderful Arkansas River. Tell me, how will the birds, the deer, the animals and the people to whom the river is just fine the way it is respond to 40 miles of floppy material? There are some so-called aesthetic experiences we don’t need to waste time on. Time, money, or thought. This is truly one of those. Just imagine what great other deeds, would that we could, use that money for. Like dead tree removal in our forests. We need to stop saturating our lives with experiences only for the moment and produce some long term effective programs to improve our lives. We’re just going downhill fast because of want, waste, pollution, and disease, etc.Raccoon hellMy name is Jeff. I live in Sunridge and I have a 15-month-old problem of raccoons climbing in my attic. … I’ve paid over $3,000 since I’ve been here and there’s still raccoons climbing over. …Still barkingThe Vail Town Council’s decision on the Crossroads project is a complete embarrassment to all citizens of Vail. Mr. Knobel, I believe that land is still zoned for a dog kennel and I strongly suggest you find the meanest, biggest, loudest barking dogs and set up a dog kennel, since it’s zoned for that, and they have to approve that. Good luck.Had enoughI can’t believe that you would allow Mike Cacioppo to write a column in your paper. Haven’t we had enough of him? The only reason he’s opposed to more county commissioners and longer meetings is it’ll take him longer to be able to get to speak, and he’ll make meetings much longer, as he has in the past. Things have been good this winter without Mike. Can’t we continue?Vail, Colorado

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