Letters to the Editor
Vail CO, Colorado
We would like to give our most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of the people who helped search for Jeff Nicholls on Labor Day weekend. The outpouring of support from the community was astounding, over-whelming and deeply touching.
There were more than 100 people searching for Jeff on Monday morning, some of whom had never even met him. The professional organizations that organ-ized and directed the search ” the Vail Police Department, Vail Fire Department, Vail Search and Rescue and Eagle County Sheriff’s Office ” worked through the night and were thorough and compassionate.
We owe a special thanks to the Vail Search and Rescue volunteer teams who interrupted their weekends to search through the darkness and the rain on Sun-day night.
To everyone who participated in any way, please know how grateful we are that Jeff is home safe and sound. Even though he suf-fers from a terrible disease, he recognized some of his rescuers and rewarded them with an ear-to-ear smile.
The next time you see him, even if you don’t know him, be sure to let him know that you were one of his amazing friends that cared enough to help bring hi m home.
Jeff Nicholls’ family
Restoring Trust, Building Community ” Step 8, Private Property Rights: Private property rights should be pro-tected from government infringement and eminent domain laws. Condemnation should only be used as a last resort after all negotiations have failed.
As an Avon Town Council member, I vot-ed against the condemnation of the private parking that is now the transit center, because I believed Avon did not try to work with the community member who owned the land before pursuing condemnation. Negotiating in good faith is important to building community.
Besides eminent domain, property rights can be reduced by regulations that affect every conceivable aspect of property ownership.
For example, local planning and zoning decisions and “over-regulation” can also endanger private property rights. Those methods are not as blatant as condemna-tion but it is still “taking.”
Restrictions that limit the ability of prop-erty owners to use their land in ways legal at the time they bought their property ” resulting in losses to private property values ” is another form of “taking.” Property owners should be compensated for the val-ue of their property that has been reduced by government regulations.
For example, a person who buys a 350-acre parcel that is zoned to have one house per 35 acres should not be forced to down-zone from 10 to 6 homes on the site without compensation.
On a smaller scale, if you live in a neigh-borhood that allows sheds and you have a shed you should not be forced to take your shed down by a new regulation that no longer allows sheds.
Government should not be allowed to take property without a compelling public-use justification and just compensation. Public use examples are expansion of roads and public transit corridors ” not uses like urban renewal, affordable housing or his-torical preservation.
As a leader, I will protect your individual rights, including that of private property ownership.
If you missed previous points of my 10-point plan for restoring trust and building community, you can find them on my Web site at http://www.electdebbiebuckley.com
Avon Candidate for Eagle County Commissioner
What an honor it has been to serve on the Avon Town Council for the past four years. Working with such smart and dedicated people on the town staff, Planning and
We’ve made tremendous headway on the goals I was elected to achieve four years ago, and I’m seeking re-election to make sure we complete our task.
My primary goal in running for Avon Town Council the first time was to create an inviting and energetic town core.
In the past four years, we have tak-en great strides toward a more vibrant downtown with our community-cre-ated Comprehensive Plan, as well as plans for the West Town Center and East Avon. We have funded the West Town Center plan, with no increase in taxes, via an urban renewal authority. We have already broken ground on Lake Street, the first phase. I want to continue to serve on council to make sure these projects stay on track and true to the community’s vision.
The Westin Riverfront Resort, the gondola and our new transit center have already amped up the energy in our town core and helped achieve my goal: to make the most of Avon’s prox-imity to Beaver Creek. We have also teamed with Beaver Creek on summer marketing, cross-selling both Avon and Beaver Creek to our respective summer guests.
Promoting open space, parks and recreational opportunities within Avon was another promise I made to voters four years ago. To this end, we have added bike paths in Wildridge, on Eaglebend Drive and near Swift Gulch Road making our streets and roads a friendlier, safer place for pedestrians and bikers.
In the past four years Avon has formed an alliance with Singletree and the Forest Service to maintain and enhance the trails between Wildridge and Singletree. The proposed land exchange involving the town of Avon, the Forest Service, the State Land Board and the county will be a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity to forever protect these trails and the critical open space on both the east and west ends of Avon.
I want to be on the Town Council for the next four years to see this historic land exchange through to completion and to continue to expand Avon’s trails and bike paths, as well as to implement the community’s vision currently being articulated in the Not-tingham Park master plan.
I came into office in 2004 deter-mined to help Avon better utilize its beautiful natural setting on the Eagle River. Now, instead of turning its back on the river, Avon has the new white-water park at Bob the Bridge, as well as new park land and an upgraded bike path along the Eagle River. Restaurant Avondale at the Westin will provide a scenic spot for our community to enjoy the Eagle River and a wonderful meal at the same time.
We have also taken real steps to pro-tect our natural environment and decrease our carbon footprint. By using hybrid vehicles and running the town on wind power, we have decreased Avon’s carbon footprint by 50 percent.
We are planning a revolutionary heating system that will use waste heat from the sewer treatment plant to melt snow and heat pool water at the rec center. I want to continue to serve on the Town Council to ensure that this innovative solution becomes a reality. This will move our town to the fore-front of energy efficiency and set an example for other communities around the world.
Finally, in 2004, I set a goal to strengthen Avon’s financial position. Four years later, Avon is in a smart financial position with sufficient reserves for the lean times that may lie ahead. My background as a lawyer and a CPA helped me gain the in-depth understanding of the town’s finances I acquired in my first term. My expertise will be critical in main-taining the town’s financial health today, next year and in the years to come.
While I want to continue the progress on the goals I set for our com-munity four years ago, I also want to ensure that Avon continues to be a town for people from all walks of life. We need to ensure that Avon always has housing that can be purchased and rented by locals. In addition, I’d like to enhance the sense of commu-nity in Avon, so that everyone can enjoy the feeling I get from our town ” no matter where I go in Avon, I always seem to bump into a friend.
I want to remain your representa-tive on the Avon Town Council, because achieving these goals takes hard work, intelligence, creativity and an ability to deal with complexity. My first term proved I am up to the task. I ask for your support and vote on Nov. 4 so that Avon can continue the signif-icant progress of the past four years.
Kristi Ferraro, candidate
Avon Town Council
Melanie Wong recently wrote an article entitled “Play Hard, Pay Dearly: Despite generous doctors, serious injuries can change locals’ lives.” The scenarios described occur all too often in our region, where even well-insured locals can find themselves in financial straits as the result of an acci-dent or other health care crisis.
I wanted to describe the work of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, an organ-ization that has been raising funds to help locals in situations just like those described in the article. Since its cre-ation in 1996, the Vail Valley Charita-ble Fund has raised and distributed millions of dollars to hundreds of indi-viduals who live or work here.
The fund accomplishes its work in two ways. First, the board of directors accepts and reviews applications for one-time grants ranging up to $5,000 to offset the costs resulting from an accident or illness. These funds can be used to pay outstanding medical bills or catch up on other monthly expens-es when one finds him/herself out of work for a period of time.
The board takes into consideration the number of years the applicant has lived in the valley, personal attempts to address his or her medical debt and community involvement. The board also considers the circumstances of the accident or illness and whether the individual had medical coverage prior to the event.
Second, individuals who find them-selves in need of greater amounts of money than a direct-aid grant can provide may work with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund to organize a com-munity fundraiser. These fundraisers present a means to raise more sub-stantial sums and have raised any-where from $5,000 to $200,000.
The funds can be applied to the cost of lengthy hospitalizations, serious injuries requiring extensive surgery or treatment for a serious illness over the course of many months. The recipient of such funds must, of course, consult with tax advisors as to the tax treat-ment of such proceeds.
Unfortunately, the VVCF does not have funds to help everyone who needs assistance, nor can they allevi-ate all debt. But each year, the board is able to allocate greater levels of fund-ing, largely as the result of generous donations from community members committed to our cause.
The VVCF does encourage every-one to obtain some type of health insurance. Though the cost of individ-ual health plans can be overwhelm-ing, even a lower-cost catastrophic health insurance plan can mean the difference between manageable debt and personal bankruptcy.
For more information about the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, or to obtain an application for assistance, please call 970-845-6339 or check us out on the Web at http://www.vvcf.org.
Karen Simon, executive director
Vail Valley Charitable Fund