Opinion Columns, Columnists

Biff America: Hamming it up

August 22, 2016 — 

Unlike the rest of the media contestants of the ‘Celebrity Pig Stripping’ event at the Front Range Rodeo, Dashing Dave Dowd and I came, not to participate, but to win. This was evident by our outfits. While the other DJ’s, newsmen, weathermen and women dressed for fashion Dave and I came outfitted to pig strip. We sported old sweat suits, running shoes and I opted for a bike helmet.

We didn’t wish to win for bragging rights but rather for cash. Dave and I worked at a Denver radio station, ours and all the other stations put up a hundred dollars each to go to the winning team. There might have been 10 teams, so along with a trophy, we stood to make about $500 each.

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Subberwal: We cannot ignore climate change's role in LA. flooding (column)

August 23, 2016 — 

Disasters are a natural part of life.

When the fire starts, when the bank breaks, when the illness hits, we weather the storm, then try to move on. This is nothing new. The storms that we must weather, however, are becoming increasingly ferocious, as we have seen this week in Louisiana, and, unless we recognize and respond to this fact, they will become even more devastating.

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Gardner: On the rocky trail to financial security in Summit County (column)

August 23, 2016 — 

No doubt you have several bike or hiking trails you like to take on the weekends. You probably have also discovered some that are more difficult and too much work to navigate, so you bypass them. Likewise, the trail or path to financial security may also seem like it is too difficult, if not impossible, and you have procrastinated exploring it. Perhaps your thinking is “maybe next year” or worse, “someday.” The reality is that it is one of the most important paths you will ever take in your lifetime.

As a certified financial planner, I have probably heard all the excuses that you could possibly use and more for putting off planning and saving for the future. Those who do not give it any thought are focused only on the here and now. Months and years can slip by before you know it, so I encourage you not to put it off. That of course raises the question “when should I start planning and saving for the future?” Theoretically, as soon as you start working. As a beginning point, try to start taking money from your paycheck each month and putting it into a savings account.

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Nesse: Rural areas win with ColoradoCare (column)

August 22, 2016 — 

There are many reasons to live in rural Colorado: plentiful elbow room, tight-knit communities and gorgeous panoramas, to name a few. But easy access to doctors isn’t one of them.

People who live in places like Summit County already know this. The simple reality is that our state is big, our cities and towns are spread out and small populations can’t support the full range of complete, modern health care on their own. We can’t change those basic facts, but we can address the structural problems in our health-insurance system that make an already difficult situation much worse.

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Liddick: The natural laws of politics (column)

August 22, 2016 — 

Why does an apple fall downward? Because, as we have known since the Age of Enlightenment, there are natural laws which govern objects, which, as far as we can tell, apply everywhere in the universe with exceptions for “special cases” such as immediate proximity to black holes. Provided it could exist in both environments, an apple on Ceres or the Sun would behave the same: dropped, it would fall downward.

There are similar rules for human behavior, although exceptions and subtleties are more numerous. Our country’s Founders knew from history and their own experience that people tend to be self-serving: That one will not work harder for others than one works for one’s self and immediate family. That government tends to enlarge itself and, with that enlargement, tends to constrain the behavior of those it rules. That freedom is uncommon in human experience and that self-government is a rarity.

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Holbrook: A summer of anger (column)

August 22, 2016 — 

This has been a summer full of angry outbursts.

Back in July, as the US electoral landscape heated up, my sister and I got into a furious email debacle over a politically-charged YouTube video. My sister bolstered her side of the story with a barrage of links to articles on Breitbart News, while I staunchly defended my position with the help of experts at The New York Times. Thanks to the ever-narrowing filter of the internet, it seems that each of us today is living in our own private and separate world of news and information. My sister’s position was as incomprehensible to me as I am sure mine was to her. Currently, we are not speaking to each other.

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LaGreca: Is sustainability in the outdoor industry an oxymoron? (column)

August 21, 2016 — 

While it seemed from attending the outdoor industry’s premier trade show, Outdoor Retailer (OR), in Salt Lake City this month that the entire outdoor industry is so green it has sprouted, a majority of attending companies may have grown a larger marketing budget than a green thumb.

To say that cotton is a natural fiber is a bit disingenuous. Not only is it among the most chemical and water intensive crop to produce, it is among the most harmful to manufacture. To say that any leading apparel manufacturing company focuses on its environmental impact as much as its bottom line is simply untrue. Though manufacturing of outdoor goods has certainly come a long ways from the days of unregulated garage manufacturing and live plucking of geese to make the first down jackets, the industry has not yet caught up with its own eco self-righteous promotion.

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Littwin: The Donald, he has his regrets (column)

August 21, 2016 — 

Donald Trump regrets to announce that you should forget about the old Donald Trump, the one who won the GOP nomination by occasionally bringing you personal pain — the worst kind of pain, by the way — and not only when you were doubled over in astonishment at his latest insult-comic routine.

Forget that guy. This is the new, even classier version of Trump (And, for those of you old enough to remember the new Nixon, if it seems like deja vu all over again, that’s because it is).

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Walking our faith: Let us celebrate the people who make church happen (column)

August 20, 2016 — 

Last Saturday I arrived at Mass an hour early. It was my first time as a Lector (reader), and I wanted to make sure that I did it right. I went to the lectern, and read the Old Testament and New Testament readings that had been assigned to the Mass that evening. I’d been practicing all week, but I knew I would be nervous standing before the congregation for the first time.

Despite my introversion, I love God’s Word and enjoy sharing its beauty with others. As I was to learn, there is something special about reading it aloud during Mass.

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Subberwal: As school begins, we remember how lucky we are

August 18, 2016 — 

For the next few weeks, students across the country will be making the reluctant journey back to their classrooms, their dormitories and their lecture halls. The first week of school is always exciting: The reunion with friends, a week of nothing but reading syllabi and the refreshment of a change of pace.

Then the monotony sets in.

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Mountain Law: New law aimed at curbing abuse of immigrants by notaries (column)

August 16, 2016 — 

Notaries are occasionally asked to notarize documents that are in a foreign language. This is permissible under Colorado law because our notaries are not vouching for the contents of a document, but rather that the person appearing in front of them is authentic and acting willingly. (There are also requirements that the notary and person appearing in front of them must be able to communicate in the same language, and the notary certificate itself must be in English.) All of this is consistent with the nature of Colorado notaries as fulfilling a mere ministerial role, not persons giving legal advice. The law is similar throughout the United States.

In other countries, however, notaries are the equivalent of attorneys, or at least highly-trained legal professionals. In addition to authenticating documents, they are often authorized to prepare legal documents and advise clients in a manner that would require a law license in Colorado. As a result of this, people used to the system in other countries sometimes mistakenly go to Colorado notaries seeking legal advice. In turn, some unscrupulous Colorado notaries take advantage of immigrants seeking such advice by using titles or advertising that wrongly suggests expertise in immigration matters and promising benefits that are not available in exchange for advance payment. In the worst cases, such scams have broken up families.

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Kelley: Biking bill is a smokescreen for opening up wilderness (column)

August 16, 2016 — 

Are you ready for mechanized vehicles on every wilderness trail in the United States?

That’s what you’ll get if a deceptive piece of federal legislation becomes law. Portrayed as a “modest” proposal for mountain bike access, the legislation is a Trojan horse that would throw open all designated wilderness areas to bikes and prevent federal land managers from later excluding them.

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Liddick: Elephants, donkeys and the dancing Russian bear (column)

August 15, 2016 — 

Who is Anton Vayno, and why should we care?

Where is al-Zibdiye, and why should we care?

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Biff America: An open book of character (column)

August 13, 2016 — 

“Four legs good two legs bad.”

The above is a quote from the book “Animal Farm” written by George Orwell.

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Walking Our Faith: Better than Meditation (column)

August 13, 2016 — 

If you walk into St. Mary’s Church on any given Thursday between 5 and 6 p.m. you might be confused. In the dim light of early evening, you will find four to twenty people sitting in silence, at a polite distance from one another, heads bowed in prayer or gazing at the altar.

You might think they were waiting for something to happen. The start of a church service, perhaps?

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Subberwal: A world crisis finds its face in Olympic refugee competitors

August 11, 2016 — 

Once every four years, the world is plunged into a maelstrom of patriotism, competitiveness and enthusiasm for every possible kind of race, match, game, jump and routine. The Summer Olympics are a heady time, fueled by the adrenaline of competition, the ache of disappointment and the rush of triumph. One of the most lauded triumphs of Brazil 2016 has been the refugee Olympic team, a group of ten people from around the world who marched under the Olympic flag in the parade of nations.

The star of the team is undoubtedly Yusra Mardini, the eighteen-year-old swimmer from Syria who saved a dinghy full of refugees when the motor cut out between Turkey and Greece. Although she did not progress to the semifinals of the women’s 100m butterfly, she will go down in history as an Olympic hero from the world’s first refugee team, one who has used her Olympian strengths to save lives.

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Kerpen: Bureaucrats set to dump billions in student loans on taxpayers (column)

August 8, 2016 — 

Regulations are flying out the door in Washington, where an already hyper-aggressive Obama administration is looking at its last chance to move its agenda forward while sidestepping the Republicans in Congress.

Many of the expensive rules in areas like energy, health care and finance have drawn widespread public and media scrutiny – which makes it all the more curious that what is likely to be the single most expensive proposed regulation of the year — a Department of Education rule that would discharge billions in student loans — has gone almost completely unnoticed.

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Liddick: Presidential politics and the first-grader (column)

August 8, 2016 — 

“I hate Donald Trump. Nobody at school’s going to vote for him.”

An unexceptionable if typically hyperbolic statement coming from any college student say, in Boulder. From the mouth of my 7-year-old first-grade grandson, a little jarring. Taking a page from Socrates, there was a question: “Why do you hate him?”

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Heard around the West

August 7, 2016 — 

UTAH

Few Bureau of Land Management rangers patrol the vast Bears Ears region of Utah, so it hasn’t been hard for grave robbers to loot Native American artifacts or for vandals to carve their names on sandstone petroglyphs. But Utah Republican Rep. Mike Noel is a staunch opponent of any federal management of public lands, and he holds humanity blameless. The real culprit, he said recently, is the small but fearless badger: “All we can see today are badger holes,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We have to get a handle on these badgers because those little suckers are going down and digging up artifacts and sticking them in their holes.” The nonprofit Center for Western Priorities expressed no little amazement at this notion of badger prowess, observing that Rep. Noel seems to believe that badgers can “operate a rock saw to steal petroglyphs, spell and carve ‘F**k You BLM’ into rocks and shoot firearms into petroglyphs.” You’d think that, with talent like that, one of these days an ambitious badger might even run for the state Legislature.

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Biff America: Dying Of A Guilty Conscience (column)

August 6, 2016 — 

I put on a pair of pants because I didn’t want to be found both dead and naked.

This occurred almost 20 years ago and I will say, in all modesty, I would have made an attractive cadaver. I had just gotten a haircut, a spray tan and had lost a few pounds in order to look my best. But despite the fact that I’d be ‘looking hot’ yet feeling cold, no one wants to be found deader than Hendrix in a cheap hotel in London.

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Ojala: The commitments of a compassionate Summit County landlord (column)

August 6, 2016 — 

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on the One Man’s Junk Facebook page.

I have a confession. I am a landlord. (Please continue reading before you hate; then by all means feel free to troll.) Four days ago I posted one of my places for rent at 2 p.m. The next day I had 10 back-to-back showings. What was troubling to me was that every person was awesome. Not a shady person in the bunch. I desperately wanted to write people off so that I could feel less guilty when I had speak the dreaded words “sorry, the place is taken.” But I couldn’t. They are all amazing people. My heart sank as I heard story after story of not being able to find housing...any housing. One wonderful person even cried as she told me her struggle. That night I lost sleep over the decision (I know...poor landlord). But I know that I will not lose as much sleep as the 9 people that I have to say no to. You see I have a place to call home for me, my wife, and 3 children. I don’t have to worry about my mortgage increasing, my home being sold, or my landlord turning the place into a VRBO rental. But these other 9 wonderful people do. So today my heart is broken for them. The problem for me is that I don’t know what to do. As my junior high principal used to say, “If you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.” I want to be part of the solution. So here is my tiny little that way I can help.

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Walking our faith: In Dillon, a different kind of storefront church

August 6, 2016 — 

When I received the email from John thanking me for a recent column, he mentioned that he was the pastor of a church in Dillon. When I responded that I would be interested in visiting, he demurred that it was only a small storefront church.

I imagined a hipster church. Something out of Rachel Held Evan’s Searching for Sunday. A storefront church planted by a band of twenty-somethings eager to create a place of worship that reflected their vision of church. Perhaps motivated by a longing to re-discover the intimacy of the early church described in the Acts of the Apostles, where men and women gathered together in someone’s home to celebrate Communion and share the teachings of Jesus in a small group.

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Mountain Law: New act federalizes trade secrets law for first time (column)

August 2, 2016 — 

“Trade secrets” don’t have to be technical or complicated. They can include such things as customer lists, marketing information, unpatented inventions, formulas and recipes in addition to other types of information that could provide a company with a business edge. Indeed, they can be almost any type of information from which a company derives economic value by virtue of it not being publicly known or reasonably ascertainable by others — as long as reasonable efforts have been taken to maintain its secrecy.

While it’s possible for one company to misappropriate trade secrets from another company — e.g. by reverse-engineering a product — employers are also concerned about their own employees, or former employees, misappropriating trade secrets. This is often addressed by making employees sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

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Durst: Hillary Clinton, not insane (column)

August 1, 2016 — 

Striding onto the Philadelphia stage resplendent in a white pants suit like a heavenly sent business bride walking down the aisle to tie the knot with America, Chelsea’s mom jettisoned the “presumptive” and accepted the Democratic Party’s invitation to become their nominee in the 2016 race for the Presidency of the United States. And contrary to prior dire warnings, the gates of hell did not open up.

While red, white and blue balloons bounced off their heads, the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center cheered the former First Lady, former US Senator from the state of New York, former Secretary of State, former female, former human … Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, for finally breaking the glass ceiling. Beware of falling shards.

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Liddick: The knee-slapping hypocrisy of Hillary

August 1, 2016 — 

Last Thursday, Hillary Clinton channeled Franklin Roosevelt to reassert “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

Unfortunately, he was wrong.

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Young: Democrats' citizenship smackdown (column)

August 1, 2016 — 

“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country is not great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this, right now, is the greatest country on Earth.”

So said Michelle Obama in a speech so powerful as to have no rejoinder, aside from Bill O’Reilly’s attempt to commend slaves’ dining options during the time they built the White House.

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Sowards: Sometimes, the West must defend itself against itself (column)

July 31, 2016 — 

The more things change, the more those changes echo on into the future. Today, we need to listen more carefully than ever to a voice from the mid-20th century, that of the writer and Western historian, Bernard DeVoto.

At the recent GOP convention, the party faithful approved a platform that directs Congress to give “certain public lands” to the states. It’s an old strategy, trotted out like a broken-down show horse at a county fair.

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Lydon: The wrong quiet in the outdoors (column)

July 31, 2016 — 

I’ve worked in outdoor tourism for a quarter-century, as a guide or through a permitting agency, mostly in Alaska. I’ve worked with kayaking, hunting, fishing and hiking companies, and dozens of tour boats and cruise ships. People working in the industry radiate a genuine love for the natural world, and guides actively connect people to their public lands, often in life-changing ways.

But often I see the passion fizzle when it comes climate change. And if the silence I hear on climate translates across the West, the industry is short-changing millions of visitors at a time when dialogue is needed. Of course, there are plenty of reasons for holding back. Bringing up climate change can be a downer for clients simply hoping to fish a fabled river or see their first glacier. Scaring the kids or getting crosswise with Dad’s political views are also sure ways to blow your gratuity.

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Marston: Heard around the West (column)

July 31, 2016 — 

Heard Around the West

IDAHO

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Biff America: Wishes, fishes and aging (column)

July 30, 2016 — 

‘Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow.’ I never bought into that old adage of the ’50s; I have huge respect for gals who sweat. Case in point, the three young ladies I passed on the trail yesterday, looked fast, were sweating like stallions and one of them smelled like salmon.

I have found, since reaching middle age that I have become invisible to young people. I used to be the cool old dude in our neighborhood. Kids would come over to watch me work on bikes and ask me to fix theirs. Now they lean their bikes against my garage and leave a note. Later on their mothers will drop off cookies.

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