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Special to the DailyIt is Justin Fackler's 16th birthday. Please wish him a happy birthday ... and everyone on the roads watch out!! Love Mom and Cody

From time to time floating holidays will float to the same place at the same time.

That happened yesterday, when the first day of Lent ” Ash Wednesday ” coincided with the Chinese New Year.

Most of us know about Lent, the 40-day period of pentitence and contemplation that precedes Easter, the date of which is determined by an ancient formula only slightly less complicated than the National Football League’s playoff position tiebreaker system. The formula for Easter is complicated enough that even a lot of people in the clery aren’t exactly sure how it works.

The Chinese year isn’t much easier to figure out, since it’s a combination of lunar and solar calendars, which means New Year’s Day is always on a differenct date in the Western Calendar. Next year, it falls on Jan. 29, and on Feb. 19 in 2007.

Regardless of how it’s figured, this is the Year of the Rooster, and we’ll thank you to keep your barnyard euphemisms for male poultry to yourselves.

According to our friends at, the Chinese believe that people born in a particular year of the 12-animal calendar cycle possess certain traits. People born in the Year of the Rooser are purported to be hard-working and definite about their decisions. Roosters are not afraid to speak their minds and can therefore sometimes come across as boastful. They make good restaurant owners and world travellers

Well-known roosters include:

– Eric Clapton

– Yoko Ono

– Rod Stewart

– Mia Farrow

– Britney Spears

– Anna Kournikova

– Osama Bin Laden

About all we know is that if you saw someone with an ash-marked forehead carrying a chicken yesterday, you either saw diversity in action, or someone who just walked out of the Home for the Massively Confused.

The Eagle County Volunteer Center’s fund-raising drive for the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia is almost finished, but there is still time to make tax-deductible contributions to the American Red Cross,

Project coordinator Gail Cameron-Britt said WestStar Bank will accept donations for the “Superbowl of Caring” through Monday, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. Donations are accepted at any WestStar Bank branch office. Checks made out to the American Red Cross can be sent to WestStar Bank, c/o Superbowl of Caring, 108 S. Frontage Road, Vail, 81657. Write “Tsunami Relief” in the check’s memo line. The Red Cross will send a receipt.

The Volunteer Center will release the final tally of the effort the week of Feb. 14. Watch these pages for more.

It’s that time of year, when great academic performances around the country come sailing in through the Town Talk Towers transom (we don’t actually have a transom, but wouldn’t it be cool?) Anyway, the following local kids have a little extra sheen on their report cards:

– Former Avon-ite Brandon Meyer has made the Dean’s List at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Making the Dean’s List at Roger Williams requires a grade point average of 3.4 or higher.

Brandon, who is a senior, is studying architecture, and yes, his parents are very proud.

– Washington and Lee University in Virginia sends word that former local kid Kaitlin Virginia Abplanalp, a senior, landed on the honor roll for the fall term. Landing on that esteemed list means a student has earned a grade point average of between 3,75 and 4.0.

Kaitlin is the daughter of Vail’s own Art Abplanalp and Anne C. Lane of Charleston, West Virginia.

The above item just set a modern record for the use of the word “Virginia” in three sentences.

Ms. Abplanalp has also been inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, a co-ed “leadership” fraternity at the school.

– Colorado Timberline Academy in Durango sends word that Samantha Russell, daughter of Avon resident Deborah Cavaliere, has made the school’s “high honor roll” for the last two four or five-week “academic blocs,” and the regular honor roll for another. The high honor roll is all A’s. The regular honor roll has a B or two in the mix.

Colorado Timberline is a private boarding school in Durango that stresses college preparation and outdoor education.

– Megan McGee, a student at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., has landed on the Dean’s List there. That distinction will be noted on her permanent record, which is a much better thing to be remembered for than, say, putting plastic wrap over toilets, not that any of us ever did anything like that.

Megan, by the way, is the daughter of Mke and Carol McGee of Eagle.

– In Maine, Whitney Simmonds, a sophomore at Colby College in Waterville, has been named to the Dean’s List. Whitney, a Vail Mountain School grad, is the daughter of Randy and Clare Simmonds of Edwards.

– Slade Cogswell, son of John and Patrice of Vail, recently earned the Dean’s Award for academic excellence at Colgate College in Hamilton, N.Y.

Slade, a 2001 graduate of Vail Mountain School, is a senior studying economics and art.

Good work, future leaders!

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