Editor’s notebook: Slippery when icy
March 14, 2012
Many readers were no doubt somewhat taken aback by some of the recent letters on our opinion page from folks who’d slipped and fallen on Breckenridge sidewalks and wanted to castigate the town (or whomever) for not doing a better job keeping sidewalks clear of ice and snow.While I have plenty of sympathy for anyone who falls and seriously injures himself, the notion that a town at 9,600 feet in the Colorado Rockies can keep all of its sidewalks clear of snow and ice all winter long is ridiculous. The added assertion that if the town would just cut all those pesky child care and housing subsidies they could afford to do a better job making Breck more like Miami is equally absurd. Flatlanders fall more around here because they’re unfamiliar with how to walk on ice and snow; the same reason they tend to get in more trouble driving. It takes time and experience to learn how to navigate an icy path, although the basics are simple enough: more slowly, and flat-footed, with your weight over your feet. Shoes with decent treads doesn’t hurt, either. And yes, locals may fall once in a while, but we keep it to ourselves and hope like hell no one saw.Right now it may seem a receding problem, what with these eerily sunny (albeit enjoyable) days as of late. Don’t forget March and April are statistically our snowiest months, so don’t break out the beach chairs and flip-flops just yet.***Recently I joined Silverthorne reporter Janice Kurbjun on a visit to the Silverthorne home of Charlie and Ginny Crowley, two of the homeowners currently embroiled in a civic battle with the town over whether a paved recpath should run through part of their property. I wanted to see first-hand what their concerns were and the proximity of said path to their home. It’s tempting to look at holdouts like the Crowleys and the neighbors joining them as simply spoilsports who won’t yield an inch for the greater good. After all, Summit County is known for its excellent system of recpaths, and Silverthorne has been a notable gap in that system for years. It’s right for the town to pursue completion of the path, and understandably frustrating that a handful of homeowners are holding up the works.On the other hand, it’d be hard to find anyone who would happily go along with a government taking of their property if it was counter to their desires. Looking at the Crowleys’ backyard and at the simple dirt path that wanders past at the bottom of the hill, I can understand how having a much wider, paved path full of cyclists would concern a couple who worked hard and was able to retire to a peaceful home along the river. And as property owners, shouldn’t it be their call?It’s not clear how this will end up, but one thing seems clear: By taking the more aggressive path of eminent domain, the town increasingly looks like the bully. It’s simply not how a government, large or small, should treat its citizens.***Here’s a question: How does training in criminal justice and years of police work qualify you to be a town manager? Presumably the latter requires training and experience in planning & zoning, civic infrastructure, long-range planning, public works and the like. With the exception of basic management tasks like budgeting, hiring and firing, etc., it seems the chief wouldn’t have many of those qualifications.This is an interesting question locally since Dillon’s police chief Joe Wray is in the running for town manager there, while Breck’s chief, Rick Holman, is moving into the assistant town manager slot being vacated by long-timer Kate Boniface. Of course, as men who know the towns in question very well, they would certainly have a leg up on some things, and who knows – maybe someone outside the typical manager profile would come with some useful, fresh insights. It’ll be interesting to see, but it’s also something those towns’ citizens should be asking about.***On a personal note, the Summit Daily family is sad to see our longtime A&E and special sections editor Kimberly Nicoletti moving on. Friday is her last day, and Kim plans to stay in the county and pursue some freelance and creative writing projects – including occasional stories for us. She is planning her own farewell for tomorrow’s Scene section, so I’ll be brief and simply note that Kim’s been a key member of our team over the last decade. She’s the kind of writer who always looks for a more creative way to express a thought while also being a highly successful word technician – rarely a comma out of place.We’ll miss you Kim, and we wish you the best in whatever you do.Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 668-4618.