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Letters to the editor

Cindy Penn

Wow! I just want to say thank you to the Vail Valley Foundation for stepping up to the plate on the Eaton Ranch/Eagle River Preserve project! I can’t imagine what an eyesore that area of land behind “old” Edwards would be like with the likes of a car dealership and other “big box” additions. I feel strongly about keeping that land for open space and other limited use projects. Can you imagine how cramped Vail would be without Ford Park? People, we don’t need to fill every square inch of land up with stuff. That’s called a city and I choose to NOT live like that. I think everyone in this valley should be supportive of this project. What a winner of an idea. The Vail Valley Foundation has always supported this community and now I stand behind you in this effort to SAVE our valley.Cindy PennAvonNot fairDear Mr. (Scott) Green (Eagle County School Board chairman):I am writing this letter in response to back pay denial from Eagle County School District regarding the recently overturned cost of living increase lawsuit.I was an employee of the district in the 2001-02 school year at Eagle Valley Middle and Gypsum Creek Middle School as their art teacher. In July of 2004 I received a letter from the district stating that the lawsuit had been overturned and that I would be receiving the back pay from this. I filled out the necessary paperwork and sent in my claim only to recently get a letter stating that because I wasn’t employed before March of 2001 and am no longer an employee that I wouldn’t be eligible to receive this money.I then sent a letter to Karen Strakbein at the district office to inquire about the reasoning behind this. She told me that the Board of Educators’ rationality behind this was simple – they compared it to a business that gives out end-of-the-year bonuses. If employees are no longer employed for a business at the end of a season, then they don’t receive the bonus.I feel that this is very faulty reasoning. First of all, the cost-of-living tax money was never intended as a bonus, it was intended as part of the teachers salary to compensate them for cost of living. I was a citizen of Eagle County for the year that I taught there and paid the same high rates of living as everyone else. Why then am I not entitled to this compensation now? Secondly, if Mike Cacioppo would have never filed the lawsuit, then I would have received that money monthly. The school district has $8 million to pay back to teachers of the district that were there when the money was tied up in the lawsuit. Why now shouldn’t I get the money that is rightfully due to me?Ironically, the reason that I was forced out of the valley was the high cost of living. I am a single mother of two small children and was simply too strapped financially to make it in Eagle County. This is unfortunate for me because I grew up in Eagle-Gypsum and would have liked to have stayed there because I have family in the area.What the Eagle County School Board has done to past employees is simply unjust. I hope that the school board will reconsider their position on this matter and refund me the due amount. Jacinda O’NeillLet’s built itI’m writing to show my support for the voter-approved Vail conference center. True to script, the bearers of negativity have started to squawk again. But this letter is not about them, or even about their criticism of the project. Things are just too positive right now to let them bring us down. I’m very optimistic about Vail’s future, so I’m just going to remind voters why we approved of this project in the first place. After numerous studies and restudies, the unbiased view is that our conference center is going to create 329 jobs in Vail. Let me repeat that, 329 Jobs. Many of these 329 jobs are the kind of jobs we need here in Vail. These jobs will be most plentiful when ski season is over. They will be flexible jobs – perfect to fit our flexible workforce. Our conference center is going to complement our already existing tourist infrastructure. I like to think that Vail will become the premiere business-tourism destination. People and businesses want to come to Vail. That is why we are here. Once we have a first class conference facility more of the people who want to come to Vail will be able to. I’ve spent some time talking to people in the conference industry. And every one of them is positive about the prospects for our conference center. Right now we are turning away groups that are too large for the existing infrastructure. Our conference center will put an end to that. Yes there is competition out there. But Vail isn’t Vail just because of our wonderful mountain. We are the number one ski resort because of our people. I trust the talent pool here in Vail. We won’t build a second-class facility. And we won’t build a first-class facility and let it be run by second-class management. We are the best at what we do, and our conference center will be the best in its class because of that. Healthy skepticism is important for any major project. I believe that the skeptics will ensure that our conference center will be successful. Ironic, isn’t it? Their negativity and their arguments will make this project better. Our unique regulatory process works, and it too will make this project succeed. Success in any endeavor is never a sure thing. But I strongly believe the deck is stacked in our favor. We have the best design team working on this project. We have the best business-tourism destination in the country. We have the best town staff and board members working on this project. We have the best talent and workforce staffing this project. I can’t help but conclude that our Conference Center will be another in the long line of Vail success stories. Mark GordonVail, Colorado


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