Hits and Misses
Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included.
HIT: From reader Patty Hackman to “Tim O’Brien, of Shamrock Fine Custom Woodworking, for donating a beautiful 10-gun case to the live auction for the 4-H Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry on March 12. This was truly a kind and generous surprise. Thank you!”
HIT: To Hall of Fame coaches John Ramunno and Randy Rohweder, whose recognition from Eagle Valley High School was well deserved. Both made careers of teaching at the school, making a big difference in a lot of young lives.
HIT: To the Winter WonderGrass Festival. Sigh, even without Elephant Revival this year.
HIT: To the hiring process for the next Eagle town manager, though we still object to the current board making the decision ahead of the April 5 Town Board election. But the board chose its consultant for this wisely, and the candidates for the next Town Board will have their chance to vet candidates. Forty-eight people applied in an abbreviated application period, compared to other municipalities. More time might have netted more candidates, but of course it all comes down to the right one. The best decision in this whole stew was probably recruiting Eagle Chamber President Mick Daly to the selection committee. Daly has the trust of some of the most vociferous critics of the current Town Board as well as the board itself. This was a great move.
MISS: To the fur thieves who struck again this year in Vail and Aspen. Seems like this happens enough to catch ’em by now.
MISS: To rather silly exclamations of dismay over a business wishing to do what a business does: provide service for — gasp! — profit.
HIT: To Avon Councilwoman Sarah Smith Hymes reaching out to constituents through a Valley Voices column last week. Yes, this one is completely self-serving. But this is a great tool for communicating directly with the people a community leader serves, even in the Facebook age. We have a lot of “friends,” believe it or not.
HIT: To recently departed Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger Dave Neely, who (unbelievably) took a desk job in D.C., for the Forest Service Line Officer Wilderness Leadership Award. Name could use some work, but the recognition is well-deserved.
HIT: To the Vail Town Council taking on the ticklish problems surrounding drones. The flying machines present issues of privacy with incursions into private property space, along with the danger of interference with other flying craft. Council members are wise to think about guidelines now rather than later.
HIT: Heh, heh, to Lindsey Vonn taking out her frustrations with a hammer to her ski bindings last weekend. Head should be apologizing to her for having any hint of an issue with the ski racing machine being thoroughly human. Now we know she’s a genuine rock star.
HIT: To the Youth Foundation stepping up its services and shedding an ungainly name — The Vail Valley Foundation Youth Foundation. As leaders of the organization point out, the Youth Foundation never was actually a foundation anyway. To be honest, while we’re not enamored with the new style of naming organizations (Walking Mountains, Vail Valley Partnership, huh?), it is what it is and YouthPower365 is as fine as any.
MISS: To the Colorado primary “caucus.” Why not just have a simple primary election? That might actually mean something beyond a dwindling number of party insiders on each side of the aisle participating in an organizational process. Do the precinct stuff and insider politicking in some other gathering.
HIT: To Michael Stoughton of the Vail Chamber & Business Association for raising the idea of affordable housing at Donovan Park as a phase two to better employing the area. The neighbors surely will scream, but good on him boldly stating what others have been maybe a little reluctant to say out loud.
MISS: To fewer passengers flying in to Eagle County Regional Airport even as the local economy has rebounded from the Great Recession. Growth in sales tax revenue, building permits and real estate — not to mention plummeting unemployment rates and available rentals — suggests strongly that something besides economic woe in the valley is, ahem, driving this. Turns out driving up from Denver isn’t quite the perceived imposition community leaders like to declare it is, for one. The other is only half the major airlines that flew to our airport during ski season in 2008 do now. This looks like a business decision.
HIT: To ski patrol. The mountain is a long way from medical care and civilization. These men and women have saved a few lives over the years.
HIT: To the concept of the town of Avon and the Eagle River Fire Protection District collaborating to build a joint police and fire main station together. The need for both entities has grown great, and the station would be built to handle anticipated needs for at least the next 50 years.
HIT: To Avon putting its part of the venture to an election even though it doesn’t need to do so and the move would not entail an increase in taxes. The Town Council and other leaders have made a much bigger effort to reach out and engage the public with bigger issues over the past year.
MISS/HIT? To the Eagle River Fire Protection District turning early to a construction company that has somewhat controversially won an awful lot of jobs in Avon, including the infamous bandstand, after two members of the company joined the Avon Town Council. At times while on the council, the two touched on the borders of propriety between meeting at least once secretly against the law with a couple of other council members in a quorum, living outside the town (with permission) and touching on what critics viewed as conflicts of interest in taking on business while on the council. We get that engaging the same company early to help guide the fire district to better buildings and less expense is a positive. But it seems to stretch coincidence that it’s this particular construction company among several others that would be competent choices. There’s some baggage here, in other words, fairly or unfairly.
HIT: To surviving members of the 10th Mountain Division who fought in World War II still skiing Riva Ridge at Vail Mountain — in their 90s. Think about that for a moment.
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