Editor’s Notebook: Zooming into August
With acquisition of school supplies in high gear in our household, it’s a sobering thought to realize that the bulk of summer is already behind us. On the other hand, I’ve always maintained the best part of a Summit County summer is from August until early October – although after our rainy start in May and June, July has been pretty exceptional. I try never to get blase about where I live, and it’s easy to be awed by our surroundings when out on a hike or a bike and the weather is just about perfect; breeze blowing, sun shining and all that.
It’s not easy to say where things are in terms of the economy. We’ve certainly seen some pretty good traffic through the county on the weekends and even during the week. Realtors tell me things are ticking up, but still nowhere near where they were at this time a year ago. And it may be that while we see a lot of “staycationers” from around the state visiting the high country, they’re keeping their wallets and purses close to the vest and not springing for a lot of extras. As sales tax numbers emerge for July and August, we’ll have a better idea of how the county did. At the very least, though, it seems we can say things are looking up – if ever so slightly.
We haven’t made too big a deal of it, but this Aug. 21 marks the 20th anniversary for the Summit Daily News. Yep, it was in 1989 that Jim Pavelich, who started the Vail Daily in ’82, came over the pass to challenge the Summit Sentinel, which was a twice-weekly. I was in New York City at the time, but those in the know tell me the Sentinel just never took the Daily seriously. In 1994, the company that owned the Sentinel sold the whole kit-and-kaboodle to our parent, Swift, and the Sentinel Building became the Summit Daily Building.
I had the weird distinction at the time of being the ?undertaker editor? for the Sentinel. We put out a few more issues of it that summer of 1994, then ceased publication in favor of a weekly artsy-alternative style thing called ?Altitudes.? That only lasted about a year, but the Daily has soldiered on through good times and bad. I still keep in touch with some of the old Sentinel, Journal and Daily folks, and enjoy seeing where people end up. Former Sentinel and Journal reporter Joe Cochrane, for example, wound up on Guam working for an English-language newspaper, then went on to report for Newsweek International based out of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. He even spent some time covering the Iraq War. He’s married now and is deputy editor at the Jakarta Globe.
Of course, former Sentinel photographer Matt Lit is still around, as is former reporter Jane Van Baren, who works at the Frisco library. Another Sentinel reporter, Scott McIntyre, e-mailed me out of the blue just the other day to comment on something I had in my blog. He does PR for the Iowa Hospital Association.
Anyway, look to October for a very cool photography exhibit being put together by Daily shooter Mark Fox, who was here at the very beginning. The show will be at the Silverthorne Pavilion and will feature 20 years of SDN pages, giving us all a look back at our county’s recent history.
At the Keystone Conference Center today at 5 p.m., Summit County will celebrate the life of an exceptional young man who died in a kayak accident last weekend. Derk Slottow was 21, a student at the School of Mines and Summit High grad and, from all accounts, one heck of a guy. I’d never met Derk, but my wife and I recently had dinner with his folks, Luke and Annie, and we had a great time swapping tales about all our wonderful children. We were heartbroken to hear about Derk’s death and offer our deepest condolences to the Slottow family.
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