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Weighing in

There is no doubt that corporate executives who cooked the books were dishonest and guilty of completely disregarding the interests of their employees and of their shareholders.

But we have another “corporate” problem also – that of exporting jobs in order to reduce labor costs and improve the “bottom line.” While it is not a new phenomena, it is now especially counter productive – and even unpatriotic. It is happening at the same time that our unemployment rate is 6.1 percent and we have 9,000,000 unemployed Americans. And it’s happening at the same time that taxes are being reduced in the hopes of stimulating the economy and creating jobs.

The very same folks who have applauded Mr. Bush for his tax policies are undermining his announced goal by sending jobs overseas. Unfortunately, it’s a perfectly legal practice, and other than the outrage being expressed by our labor unions, it is happening without penalty or protest.

Mr. Bush gave a speech on Labor day and told us how he would resolve what is one of the nation’s most serious problems. In order to “provide a focus,” he would appoint some underling to the secretary of commerce; he would create a job and then go find someone to fill it.

Considering the importance of the problem, I think that he should have said that he would speak to the CEOs himself – some individually and some in groups. Admonitions by the president would carry considerable weight, and additional pressure from his secretaries of commerce and labor would also be effective.

Maybe the guilty executives are not really thinking and a simple reminder about patriotism would have some effect; certainly a threat of publicity would deter others. I am certain that by exercising all of its influence, this administration could make a considerable difference.

David Le Vine

Let them eat cake

The following is an open letter to Adam Aaron:

Dear Adam,

Like many in the Vail community I am always concerned that someone who lives here might endure a financial hardship due to a medical emergency or just being unable to make ends meet due to the often high cost of living here.

Certainly the impact of Vail Resorts recent cuts in health insurance could well adversely impact many of your employees, and that is certainly a very real concern to everyone in the valley.

I for one prefer to take a proactive stance against any impending problems and be prepared. I would thus propose organizing a fund-raising activity to set up a fund do help any of your employees in need due to medical expenses.

What I would propose would be a bake sale and silent auction called “Let Them Eat Cake” with all proceeds going into a fund to be managed by some local charity (yet to be determined) for the benefit of VR employees and their families in meeting any uncovered medical expenses. I would expect we could raise several thousand dollars.

I think it would add to the event if perhaps you and some of the board members of VR would act as celebrity chefs, donating their own creations for silent auction items. Creations such as “Adams’ $8,000,000 triple chocolate fudge brownies” or perhaps “Leon’s signature recipe for “Let Them Eat Angel Food’ ” would certainly command attention, perhaps even national publicity and help raise funds for needy people. You could probably even write off the cost of the ingredients as a donation to charity!

As for a location, I think we would need a very accessible spot, perhaps in front of your office on Thanksgiving weekend would be a possibility. Of course if we had it on the lawn of your Beaver Creek home, it would make a nice backdrop for the TV cameras, but would not be as accessible and could create parking issues.

Perhaps this action would help spread the word on your frugality campaign throughout the financial world and the stock price might even rise for a change! People would say now there’s a smart CEO. He helps his employees hold a bake sale to make up for their benefit cuts!

If you’d like to help, please respond via a letter to the editor encouraging this effort to help the needy. The community would love to hear your support of this idea. At least you’d be doing something for the valley.

Chris Neuswanger

Incredible people

My younger brother has lived in Eagle County in Vail and Edwards for the past 20 years. Brian, or “Schrenk” as everyone called him, was always in debt with over due bills.

On several occasions I tried to encourage him to move back to Denver. I would tell him “the cost of living is lower,” it just makes sense.

He would never consider moving back. In the past few weeks I have began to understand what he was telling me.

In July I received a call from the assistant county coroner, Mike Kerst. He informed me that Brian had died in his trailer. It ended up being from a heart attack, which caught us totally off guard since he had never shown any signs of heart problems. I told Mike I would come up the next day and he offered to meet me at Brian’s trailer and arrange for me to get access. This is as much as he or anyone else is required to do.

That’s when I started learning what your community was all about. Mike Kerst had talked with Mike Thul and Mitch Bradford, two friends of Brian’s, and the three of them met my wife, older brother and me the next morning.

To understand the next few weeks you need to understand that Brian never threw anything away. Everyone who had been in Brian’s trailer said they had never seen so much stuff in such a small space. Much of it was organized, but there was no more than a 24-inch-wide walking space at any place in the trailer. This meant going through Brian’s belongings was going to be a major project. Coupled with the two brothers living hours from Vail, I could visualize many problems on the horizon.

None of the three left when we arrived. Rather, all three stayed for the day and helped us go through parts of the trailer and two full storage sheds. At that time we realized it was going to take many days to remove everything from the trailer, and it would require a massive amount of trash to be taken to the dump.

The following day I called Mike Thul and asked him if he could arrange to have a truck-size Dumpster taken to the trailer. I gave him a credit card number. He arranged to have it delivered (eventually it took two), but we were never charged. In addition, we later learned that Mr. Thul had been helping Brian with his rent for many months when he needed assistance.

For the next two weeks, Mitch came to the trailer every day and went through Brian’s belongings, throwing away mounds of trash. He was very careful to set anything that was valuable or personal aside for me.

I was able to come up to Edwards three more times. On every occasion, both Mike Kerst and Mitch came over and assisted my wife and me. I believe that between the two of them there were over 100 hours of assistance given. Neither would take pay. Mike Kerst also asked a fellow fireman, Paul Stolman, if he would assist. Paul put in several hours of work and would not accept any pay.

Selling a small trailer in Edwards when you live in Longmont might have been very difficult had it not been for Tracy Bossow. Even though this was much smaller that any of her normal listings, as soon as she heard the circumstances she came to the trailer and helped us to get it sold.

Next was Brian’s funeral. Brian was buried with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver. This was not convenient for anyone living in the Vail area, but it was important to his family that he be rested with the honors he had earned. I was amazed at how many people for Vail came down for the funeral.

When I see the generosity and caring of the small town environment it overwhelms me. This is something our society seems to be losing. It is now easy for me to understanding why “Schrenk” would never consider moving back to the big city.

Please let me thank all of you who cared about and helped my younger brother though his life.

Kevin Schrenk


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