What a surprise! I happened to notice that you mentioned me in your Jan. 23 Pages from the Past. This 20th anniversary of becoming an Olympian did not go unnoticed by me, even though I thought I was the only one. Your brief mention of my struggle really brought back a flood of memories. I even went back and reviewed the Vail Trail article that you wrote about me on Jan. 8, 1988. It was the most accurate of all the many writings done about my saga.It is still hard to believe that I was part of the unbelievable series of events that unfolded there in Eagle County, then Europe and finally Canada. To say that it was memorable would be the ultimate understatement. For a boy born in Arizona, raised in Texas, from Puerto Rican heritage, living in Colorado, it was overwhelming when on Feb. 13, 1988, I entered the Olympic Stadium in Calgary. I knew that it would be remarkable, astonishing and all the other superlatives you can imagine. However, I was just not prepared for how it made me feel. As I looked around that beautiful, cold, clear day, I felt like every person in the stadium was greeting me personally. It was as if they all knew me and just wanted me to succeed. It was a once-in-a-lifetime situation.I have had a wonderful life! Many great things have happened to me during my 61 years. However, nothing outside my family can compare to Feb. 20, 1988, that clear, cold day that Jeff patted me on the back as I approached the starting gate in Canmore to begin the 20 km Individual. That day I became, forever, an Olympian!Please give my regards to the staff and how much it means to be remembered!Elliot Archilla
I support Ed Woodland to be Eagles next Mayor. Ed knows Eagles neighborhoods, families and schools. Ed respects the role the town board plays in community stewardship. He knows the challenges facing taxpayers and the need for local self-determination with regard to increasing sales tax generation and addressing regional issues. Eds perspective as a business owner and attorney on the role the town plays in managing the public interest is solid. Ed has lived in Eagle with his growing family for close to a decade now. He is a team player who comprehends the balance of government-directed development and conservation necessary to preserve our social fabric and community ethos. Ed is patient. He appreciates the historical trajectory of balanced decisions which have led to todays high quality of life in Eagle. Town politics are thankfully non-partisan, but as a lifelong Democrat, Ive been impressed by Eds ability to transcend ideology. As a Republican, he is very sensitive to government overstepping its bounds. More importantly, he and I both know that local issues are driven by community, not by party affiliation. In the next four years, the new board will likely face the challenge of high-level retirement turnover by staff. The town needs coherent leadership and an even keel to create a succession plan. Extremely significant decisions on major pending land-use projects will be decided by the new board. Eagles strategy for growth evolves through the citizens via the Eagle Area Community Plan. Ed respects the integrity of that citizen process. Eagle will have to face the matter of how to infill and redevelop, while addressing the affordable housing deficit in such a way that preserves and enhances community character. With this issue, and with regard to traffic solutions on which the town may be vitally dependent on funding from the county, the town and county must work very closely. There will be tensions between Eagle County, which controls (and is vying to purchase) a number of significant parcels within and at the edge of town. While I support affordable housing solutions, I respect that the town will have a more cautious view of how those increased densities may affect residents. Just like the B&B pit in Edwards, in how affordable housing is developed on the Forest Service parcel in Eagle, regional interests will not precisely align with local interests. They shouldnt.I feel strongly that preserving the integrity and balance of powers between town and county is significant enough that it is inappropriate for someone to hold an elected position at the county concurrently with holding the top position at the town. Though cooperation is more imperative than it ever has been, the stakes are too high to short-circuit the creative tensions between these entities outside of the public dialogue no matter how convenient that might be. Ed understands the challenges of funding municipal projects and is skeptical of easy solutions. Ed has no secret agenda for the town of Eagle; he understands us. For these many reasons, I strongly support Ed Woodland to be the next mayor of Eagle.Jon Stavney Eagle Mayor
It amazes me that the same county and city governments that bemoan the lack of affordable housing are the same ones that are doing their best to make housing unaffordable. Gypsum doubles its tap fees in 2007, charges a sales tax fee as part of the permit process and a 1-percent transfer tax. Taxes on empty lots are sky high while developers are waiting to build, thereby driving up the final sale price of a dwelling.Affordable housing requirements are essentially a tax for new projects as they drive up the costs of the other units to cover the return on capital needed to build the project. Then these same governments increase property taxes by 40 percent to make even more housing unaffordable.As taxes are continuously raised on non-subsidized housing, we are simply redistributing income from those who cant qualify for a subsidy to those who do qualify. Is it right for the county to increase taxes 30 to 40 percent for someone with a subprime loan who is barely making their payment so that they are forced to sell now that they cant afford both an interest rate and tax increase? And who is the grand enforcer of Peter Runyons plan to balance the number of second-home owners and local residents and who decides on the proper ratio? Also, where does it say that the county should be in the housing business in the first place?There is no constitutional right in this country to own a home and in fact only about 67 percent of the families do. Part of the current subprime mess is a result of people buying houses beyond their means when they should have kept renting, as it was cheaper than ownership. What the county should be doing is figuring a way to work with developers to build smaller, less costly rental units to handle the seasonal influx of employees. They should also be telling companies such as Vail, the Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Four Seasons that if they want employees, they need to figure out where they will live and not expect the governments in Eagle County to subsidize their labor costs by transferring money from the rest of us so they can pay lower wages.The citizens of this county need to keep these issues in mind as they prepare to vote in the next elections.Beric ChristiansenGypsum,CO
Reading Dick Hausermans book The inventors of Vail, I found there some interesting words which show very impressive and clear changes in Vail: the change of a colorful skiers village into a bombastic ski resort.Hauserman wrote about those early days: Wealth, for instance, was not a significant determining factor in the social structure, although many wealthy people were involved. How well you skied was just as important, or how interesting lives you led, or to help out a friend who was just learning to cut turns in the powder. … A Vail spirit evolved that was invincible, and it lasted for more then a decade. Sorry this decade seems really to be over now. Today the non-skiers have moved in, and I keep comparing them to vegetarians who run a meat company. Skiing remains a sport of the Vail employees, but not any longer a sport of the Vail employers. VRs Rob Katz has left Vail right away when he started his job. And he seems not to be interested at all in skiing Vail Mountain. Also many upper Vail people seem to understand more about money-making and dining than making a proper turn on the mountain. After Pete Seibert and Dick Hauserman wrote their stories, there is now one more book missing. It should be named The destroyers of Vail. I guess this book will become pretty heavy. Today, normal people get forced out of Vail, and Commissioner Peter Runyon wrote about it in the Daily: Most American homeowners have considered their houses not only homes but also their retirement investment. On this score the Wilsons have done very well. Great, if they sell their home and go to Montana ore somewhere else they have made good money. But, who wants to sell his home, if he is not forced to do so? Property taxes go up until finally the so-called economy class among the Vail people cannot afford anymore to stay so they have to sell their homes and move somewhere else. So Vail people are moving out, and new homeowners are moving in. They are here for two months, and the rest of the year the place is empty. Local business goes down and locals leave.When I started at Vail Ski school in 1963, we had about 40 instructors.? Today you may find five of them who are still around the rest have left. Why? Who lives in Vail? Some older people die, and the spirit of Vail is dying with them. All the others are downvalley. The Vail ski town has been turned into a showy resort. To compare a resort to a town is like to compare a robot to a human. A town has life, people, fun. A resort is dead. It is a money-making machine and that is exactly what Vail is expected to be. Raising taxes just helps perpetuate the whole thing. Growth costs money, but who wants the growth? The final result is that Vail is a ghost town. Those who want to live here dont have the money to stay, and those who have the money to stay dont want to live here! Sounds a little crazy, but seems to be true. Dick Hauserman wrote about the inventors of Vail: The lifestyle, however, and not greed, was the prime motivation for everyone!But that was 45 years ago.Otto Wiest Vail
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