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Eagle-based author’s book at The Bookworm

The Bookworm of Edwards and Matt Solomon have announced the release of Solomon’s upcoming book, “Fortunate Accidents.”

“The Bookworm has been a staple in this community. I am excited to work with them for the early release of this book,” Solomon said.

In addition to the local effort to offer early access, the foreword of the book was written by long-time local, and retired Vail Daily reporter Randy Wyrick.

“I’m honored that Matt asked me to be part of all this,” Wyrick said. “The timeless lessons he learned about mindfulness and resilience are important for everyone. In this book, Matt helps us understand how to see and apply those lessons.”

Using the platform of Solomon’s life and experiences to teach lessons on awareness, mindfulness, resilience, and emotional maturity, the book shares a formula, or philosophical belief, for manifesting Fortunate Accidents in one’s life.

In addition to lessons learned through athletic pursuits in college and as a professional whitewater kayaker and raft guide, Solomon draws from decades of experience working on the local ambulance service, working with Eagle County Coroner’s Office, instructing with Colorado Mountain College, collaborating with military contractors, and lessons learned while serving on Eagle’s Town Council. Through a lifetime of successes and failures, the book explores the mindset that leads to success.

Both residents and visitors of the Eagle River Valley will relate to the stories described in this book.

“Fortunate Accidents” can be summarized as meetings or events that contribute something positive to a person’s life.

All accidents can be fortunate. They contain the seeds of fortune. We water the seeds with resilience when an accident takes us on a downward spiral. We water the seeds with awareness when we are on an upward spiral. In either case, our attitude provides the water that makes our fortunes grow. By remaining mindful of ourselves and aware of the events of our life, we can continue to learn as the process repeats and as we grow.

The timeliness of the message is underscored in this excerpt from the book’s final chapter:

“Without distraction, it seemed that people had to face their demons and were having trouble navigating their way through the five stages of growth. The pandemic gave everyone an opportunity to become better individuals for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. Some took advantage of this opportunity. Others did not. We all made mistakes. The choice at hand was to blame others for the mistakes we may have made or to accept responsibility for our errors, moving forward in a peaceful, loving manner.”

Solomon is an entrepreneur, an accomplished waterman, paramedic, educator, businessman, and former member of his local town council. He has traveled across the country and around the world in pursuit of experiences, fun, and employment. Each of these experiences contributed to adventure and success, yielding a uniquely balanced and well-rounded perspective. As an educator and a leader, Matt inspires his students and associates to challenge themselves in an empowering environment that strives to achieve mutual success and maximum benefit. In his words: be safe, have fun.

The paperback edition ($19.95) of “Fortunate Accidents” is available at The Bookworm of Edwards. The paperback, hard cover ($24.95) and Kindle ($9.95) editions will be available on Amazon and elsewhere Nov. 22. For questions or comments, Solomon can be reached at www.FortunateAccidents.com.

Polis, in Beaver Creek, says state income tax should be zero

Gov. Jared Polis at the Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference and Festival in Beaver Creek on Friday. Polis attended a panel with Dr. Art Laffer, who phoned in, and moderator Hadley Heath Manning, right.
Screen grab

Could Colorado become the 10th state in the nation to go without income tax? Gov. Jared Polis says if income taxes are lowered in accordance with a raising of taxes on carbon and pollution-producing industries, it can and it should.

Visiting the Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference and Festival at Beaver Creek on Friday, Polis was asked a simple question by moderator Hadley Heath Manning: What do you think the state income tax should be?

“It should be zero,” Polis said. “We can find another way to generate the revenue that doesn’t discourage productivity and growth. And you absolutely can, and we should.”

Polis, Democrat who represented Vail and parts of Eagle County in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming governor, received a round of applause for the statement from audience members who would be seeing mostly conservative speakers at the event. The Freedom Conference headliner was Mike Pompeo, former director of the CIA and Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, and Carol M. Swain, the vice chair of Trump’s Advisory 1776 Commission, also spoke.

Laffer score

Steamboat Institute CEO and co-founder Jennifer Schubert-Akin described the event as a celebration of freedom and American exceptionalism in a beautiful mountain setting.

In her letter to attendees, Schubert-Akin said “Over the next two days, we will discuss why the U.S. Constitution and rule of law have been central to America’s surviving and thriving for 245 years. We will have robust discussion of the truth of America’s founding and will expose the dangers of theories which would pit us against one another based on the color of our skin. We will hear from Colorado’s governor and one of the great free market economists of our time on how states can unleash prosperity with policies that encourage entrepreneurism and creativity. And we will recognize the courage and leadership of brave young men and women who stand strong for individual liberty and free enterprise, even in the current atmosphere of cancel culture, media bias and free speech suppression on college campuses.”

Polis received praise from Manning for attending the event and joining on a panel with Dr. Art Laffer, a former Reagan administration official and conservative whom Polis has known for decades.

Laffer is part of a group which compiles a leaderboard of U.S. governors, grading the state leaders based on policy performance, results and executive leadership before and after the start of the pandemic. Laffer said Polis was “the highest ranked Democratic governor in the United States,” according to his ranking.

Polis and Laffer were in agreement on the premise that eliminating the state income tax would make Polis “rank No. 1, and beat Utah all to heck” on Laffer’s ranking, Laffer said.

Income tax, air quality down

When Polis was elected in 2018, Colorado’s income tax was 4.63%. Next year, it will go down to 4.5%, something Polis described as a small victory.

“We celebrate every step of progress along the way,” he said. “It’s not zero or nothing.”

Polis said his administration would be “very interested in finding out, in a revenue neutral way, how to go from taxing income to taxing something we don’t like, and I usually put the word pollution or carbon emissions in there,” describing it as something that would be “a very pro-growth policy.”

Polis referenced poor air quality in Colorado from reasons more localized than the wildfire smoke that’s being experienced across the West.

The Front Range is currently experiencing the worst ozone pollution the state has seen since record keeping on ozone air quality began in 2011. Since May 31, the state has issued 64 ozone action day alerts for the Front Range.

Polis said the idea is “easier said than done, but in effect, when you tax something, you penalize it. And there’s things you actually want to penalize in society, like pollution might be one of them … if you want to move away from taxing something that you don’t want to discourage, because we want everybody to make income, we want companies to make income, that’s a great thing, to basing it on taxing pollution or carbon or something that we fundamentally don’t want, we’ll have a more pro-growth tax structure that gets the right incentives in place to help grow what you want to grow, and penalize things that are negative externalities.”

Huskies hockey celebrates title with parade

Battle Mountain cheerleaders get the crowd pumped as the Battle Mountain hockey team raises the sate championship trophy in the air in the background Wednesday in Eagle. The boys won the 4A state championship three weeks ago by beating Crested Butte in overtime. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com

Wednesday was parade day for the Battle Mountain hockey team in Eagle as the Huskies rode down Broadway and Capitol in Eagle. For the complete story, please go to www.vaildaily.com.

Photos by Chris Dillmann

The crowd cheers the Battle Mountain hockey team during the parade Wednesday in Eagle. The parade went down Broadway and Capitol and ended in Eagle Ranch. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
From left, Declan Miner, Jensen Rawlings and Scott Suhadolink share a moment with the state-championship trophy before the parade on Wednesday in Eagle. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
Here come the boys.Crowds cheer on the Battle Mountain hockey team Wednesday in Eagle. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
The Eagle County Sheriff's Office leads the way for the Battle Mountain hockey parade Wednesday in Eagle.for the state-championship win last month. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
Kids and adults cheer on the Battle Mountain hockey team during the parade Wednesday in Eagle. Those youngsters look like future Huskies to us. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
Despite spacing out the parade as a precaution for COVID-19, Wednesday’s parade drew a nice crowd. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
The Battle Mountain hockey team, yes, is pretending that it’s holding up the Stanley Cup as the squad celebrates its state championship. (Chris Dillmann
cdillmann@vaildaily.com)

Aspen leads state skiing with Alpine on deck

The state-ski meet Nordic results are already in the books with Alpine comining up during the next two days. (Daily file photo)

Welcome to Day 5 of the state-skiing meet, a meet being held in Steamboat Springs and Loveland.

Consider it an appropriately wacky format for wacky season. Say goodbye to the traditional two-races-per-day, two-day state meet on a Thursday and Friday and say hello to Nordic races that have already been completed on Saturday, a new state Skimeister competition and condensed Alpine races Thursday (boys giant slalom and slalom) followed by the ladies on Friday at Loveland.

By the way, while CHSAA has issued a contingency plan for the state-wrestling tournament in Pueblo because of the storm bearing down on the Front Range this weekend, the organization has no such contingencies for skiing, so Alpine will ski through whatever weather is at the top of the Continental Divide.

The only certain thing in uncertain times seems to be Aspen. The Skiers cleaned up on the Nordic side on Saturday up in Steamboat and hold the advantage going into the Alpine competitions Thursday and Friday.

Surprise, the state-ski meet is halfway done with the Aspen boys taking a commanding lead on the Nordic side. (Screen grab, Colorado High School Ski League)

The Aspen boys and girls swept the classic and the skate. The Skiers boys lead Eagle Valley, which had a tremendous showing up north, 338-301. Vail Mountain is tied for third (Middle Park) with 291 and Battle Mountain sits sixth with 279.

No, we didn’t just run the same results. The Aspen girls are off to a quick start at the state meet. (Screen grab, Colorado High School Ski League)

For the girls, Aspen leads with 333 points. VMS is fifth (261), Battle Mountain eighth (249) and Eagle Valley 10th (214).

Skimeister

Traditionally, the Skimeister, the award given to the state’s best all-around skier in Alpine and Nordic, is contested during the entire regular season. Because of COVID-19, teams only raced against regional opponents during the regular season, so there was no formal Skimeister chase.

Instead, they did it all in one day on and around Howelsen Hill up in Steamboat on Tuesday. About 50 athletes did the following in one day:

  • A 3K classic
  • Two giant-slalom runs
  • Two slalom runs
  • A 3K skate

That’s a busy day that started with an opening ceremony and impromptu national anthem performance by VMS senior Quinn Kelley. (Just competing for Skimeister shows one’s versatility, and singing should count for extra points in the competition.)

“They were pretty beat at the end of the day,” VMS coach Shawn Ellenbaum said. “But it was well worth it. You could see the camaraderie getting going. It was a good scene.”

Steamboat’s Zoe Bennett Manke and Aspen’s Christian Kelly are the Skimeisters for 2021. Battle Mountain’s Seamus Farrell was the runner up on the boys’ side with VMS’ Will Brunner in fourth.

As for VMS’ Kelley, she finished fourth, the top local result among the girls.

Nordic

Give it up for Eagle Valley boys Nordic. This has to be the Devils’ best showing as a team at the state meet. Eagle Valley’s Ferguson St. John smashed 15 minutes in classic with a time of 14 minutes, 49 seconds, to finish second, two spots ahead of friendly rival Sullivan Middaugh, of Battle Mountain (15:06).

Vail Mountain’s Cole Flashner broke into the top 10 in seventh (15:19). Eagle Valley’s Lukas Bergsten (15:50) and Aidan Duffy (15:53) ended up in 14th and 15th, respectively, to stake the Devils to second place.

Since the athletes had two races in one day, the classic side was a 3K sprint. St. John led the Devils again in second with Cole Weathers in 14th and Bergsten in 27th. VMS also had a strong showing with Flashner sixth, Brunner 12th and Mason Cruz-Abrams 13th.

For the girls, Vail Mountain’s Izzy Glackin (third), Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair (14th) and Battle Mountain’s Molly Reeder (15th) were the stars in the classic.

VMS’ Elliot Pribramsky lit it up in the skate, finishing fifth.

Alpine

OK, Aspen is leading both title chases with good-sized margins after Nordic and the Skiers are traditionally sound as a pound in Alpine, so there’s really no point of holding the GS and the slalom, right?

Tread carefully, people.

The Alpine always provides drama at state. Athletes pop their skis in the start house. Skiers miss gates and DNF. Weather moves in. Watch this, folks. Yes, the incoming storm is meant to hit the Front Range, but it will catch Loveland in all likelihood. Does the weather roll in, particularly on Friday when the girls race?

All it takes is a few top-seeded racers to DNF in either GS or slalom to throw the entire competition into delightful chaos.

Colorado’s governor wants a big, fast coronavirus stimulus package. State lawmakers worry about the details.

As the Colorado legislature returns to work on Tuesday, the No. 1 priority for Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers will be passing an economic stimulus package to help lift the state out of the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

But the question of how big the package should be and how fast the General Assembly should move to pass it remain sticking points. That’s not to mention questions about where the money should be spent.

Polis wants lawmakers to act fast and allocate at least $1 billion to the recovery in a way that “builds Colorado back stronger” through “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects. That includes repairs to the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels, building new wildlife migration corridors and expanding rural broadband access.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” said Polis, a Democrat, promising that thousands of jobs would be created.

On the flip side are lawmakers who are anxious about how much money will actually be available to spend. They are advocating for more of a wait-and-see approach, anticipating that a congressional aid bill could change their plans.

Read more from Jesse Paul and Thy Vo, The Colorado Sun.

Despite low snow and reservations, Vail had a busy December holiday

A crowded liftline at Beaver Creek on Dec. 29, 2020. Snowy conditions brought out crowds for the week between the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays
Chris Dillmann cdillmann@vaildaily.com

While things were different this holiday season, the town of Vail was still busy with full parking structures and crowded lift lines.

Vail raised day-of lift ticket prices to $229 per day for Sunday, Jan. 3 and Monday, Jan. 4, a new record in the U.S. Day-of lift ticket purchasers do not need a reservation to ski, and ski reservations were indeed full most days throughout the holiday. For pass holders trying to access the slopes, Vail issued a reminder that if at first they don’t succeed, try again.

And more reservations did become available on a daily basis. Many guests who weren’t able to book ski reservations in advance were able to day-of.

But that didn’t stop some from thinking twice about visiting. Local ski rental shop owner Jay Lucas said while his business was busy, he did have cancellations due to the reservations system.

“I know one guy from Mexico City who didn’t come because his brother was having trouble getting a reservation,” Lucas said.

Lucas said his family-owned shop, Ski Base in Lionshead Village, had a lot of customers from the Midwest and Texas, and knew of a few regular customers from California who didn’t visit this year due to travel restrictions.

“It was busy, not as much as a normal Christmas, but still busy,” Lucas said.

Lucas’ son Halsey, who also works in the shop, said low-snow conditions, surprisingly, didn’t contribute to a lack of interest in skiing at Vail as much as he had assumed.

“Even with low snow before Christmas, people were still coming,” Halsey Lucas said.

Parking structures full

The town of Vail reported six days of full parking structures, with both the Vail and Lionshead structures filling every day from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3. On Dec. 29, 180 cars lined the road; 326 on Dec. 30; 242 on Dec. 31; 405 on Jan. 1; 388 on Jan. 2; and 289 cars lined the road on Jan. 3.

The 2019 holiday saw only two days of full parking structures – 171 cars were parked on the Frontage Road on Dec. 27, 2019, and on Jan. 2, 2020, the street was lined with 402 cars.

Ski rental shops reported steady business, and restaurants – operating at a limited capacity – were forced to turn away guests during peak hours.

Local resident Sam Otteson said dining out on New Year’s Eve, “during the peak times, everywhere was pretty much filled.”

Otteson was able to get a reservation at Yama Sushi, and said he watched person after person turned away at the door for not having a reservation. He said it was hard to watch, knowing the restaurants could use the business, but also was accepting of the fact that COVID-19 spread can be limited by preventing dense crowds at restaurants.

“Most people were fortunately understanding, but some people were confused or expecting, it seemed, to get seated,” he said.

Vail Mountain’s reservations calendar is currently showing full reservations for Saturday, Jan. 9.

“Always check back to see if more reservations become available,” said company spokesperson John Plack.

More positive cases, more quarantine notices for schools in Eagle County

A COVID-19 diagnosis at Homestake Peak in EagleVail has sent students and staff members into quarantine.

Eagle County Schools announced Thursday that COVID-19 notifications were sent to families with students at Avon Elementary School, Brush Creek Elementary School, Edwards Elementary School and Homestake Peak School.

At all four schools, quarantine notices were sent after a single positive case. At Avon Elementary and Brush Creek, the positive case was last in school on Tuesday. Contact tracing determined that those in close contact with the positive cases should quarantine. Those needing to quarantine were contacted directly and provided with quarantine orders from public health officers.

Avon Elementary School families were informed of a positive student case Wednesday night. Thirteen students and three staff members will quarantine, with an additional three students transitioning to remote learning. Brush Creek families were notified Thursday afternoon that a student tested positive for COVID-19. Twenty-two students and one staff member will quarantine.

At Edwards Elementary, a staff member tested positive and was last in school on Tuesday. Four staff members, including the principal, will quarantine through December 15.

At Homestake Peak, a student tested positive and was last in school on Monday. Seventeen students will quarantine. However, three staff members and 21 students in an 8th grade pod will transition to remote learning for the length of the quarantine. The quarantine runs through December 14, with all students and staff returning to school on December 15.

In addition to the school cases and quarantine orders, a positive case in the transportation department has resulted in three transportation staff members in quarantine. Consequently, Bus Route 2 has been canceled until December 14. Bus Route 2 serves Red Sandstone Elementary School, Battle Mountain High School, and Homestake Peak School. Families of students who ride this route were notified via telephone calls and through the SmartTag app.

Public Health notifies the school district of a positive case with ties to the schools, either as a student or staff member. Working collaboratively, public health officials and the district pull relevant schedules and seating charts, and begin interviewing the positive case and those who might have been in close contact with them while infectious. A careful list is developed of those students or staff who need to quarantine to contain the potential spread. Those needing to quarantine are called and emailed promptly, including in the evenings and over weekends.

Quarantine orders protect the broader population from those who may be contagious, asymptomatic, or most likely to develop symptoms. The layers of protection at schools, mainly wearing face coverings and social distancing, help significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus. So far, only a few cases have developed from those directed to quarantine.

As positive cases mount, the challenge of keeping schools operational in-person also climbs. Staff members may be out due to a positive case in their household, their child being on quarantine, or because they are positive or in quarantine themselves. System-wide staff absences can strain the district’s ability to remain open.

Eagle County election results certified

Eagle County’s Nov. 3 election results have been formally certified, Clerk and Reporter Regina O’Brien announced Tuesday.

“Once again, Eagle County passed the post-election risk limiting audit with zero discrepancies,” O’Brien said. “A big thanks goes out to our voters, our citizen election judges, my elections team, and the Eagle County government departments that support elections. We could not do this without all of them.”

The final numbers showed an 86.14% turnout with 29,506 residents casting ballots. There were 34,255 registered voters for the last election.

The final Eagle County numbers in the presidential race show 18,588 (63.79%) votes for Joe Biden and 9,892 (33.95%) for Donald Trump.

A complete list of the county’s certified election results can be viewed here.

 

 

Eagle Valley High School transitions to remote learning for remainder of the week

Eagle Valley High School notified parents, students, and staff Tuesday that learning will transition to full remote for the rest of the week. Students and staff will learn online and follow their normal schedules from home beginning Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 20. The following week is a holiday, so in-person learning on the hybrid schedule will resume on Monday, Nov. 30.

The school district cites steady increases in the number of quarantined staff and students as causing the shift. It created a scenario where Eagle Valley High School ran short on teacher coverage for classes because teachers are out. In addition, many classrooms had a majority of students joining online because they are either quarantined or being cautious.

The transition also means Eagle Valley High won’t play Friday’s football game with rival Battle Mountain High School. With Eagle County now in the orange, high-risk category of the state’ COVID-19 dial, the last game of the season was going to be played without any spectators.

Battle Mountain has resceduled and will play Summit County with the game starting at 6 p.m. Friday in Edwards. No spectators will be allowed to attend.

Students of Eagle Valley High School are expected to continue with their regular schedules, logging into classes from home for the rest of this week.

Since before the Halloween weekend, incidents have continued to rise and force more quarantines at schools across the district. Most schools are fearful of staffing shortages if case counts continue to rise.

“The second layer impact of rising cases in the community is tripping us up. We have teachers who have to quarantine because of a positive household member, or stay home with their children who are quarantined,” said Superintendent Philip Qualman. “We’re hopeful the holiday break and increased restrictions will help the community fight back the virus one more time so we can continue to safely keep students in school.”