Can WE make 2014 Glenwood’s Best Year Ever?

Happy New YearI don’t know about you but I am not big on making New Year’s Resolutions. Honestly, the typical things, exercise more, lose weight, eat healthy, etc. don’t resonate with me for a number of reasons.  I simply don’t connect with them on an emotional level.  For that reason, in years past – many years ago –  when I have made such resolutions, my resolve fails in about a month . . . at the most.  Then I spend the rest of the year beating myself up for not keeping the resolutions.  So . . . I rarely make resolutions.  This year I am trying something different and setting some goals.  Yes – to me there is a difference and I may share why in a future blog.

 

ContributeHowever, there is one thing that has made a huge difference in my life in recent years: community involvement.  By nature, I tend to be a bit of an introvert. For years my life was work and family – a small circle.  But several years ago I stepped out of my little circle and volunteered for a couple of boards for the City of Glenwood.  In the years since I have made some wonderful friends and great connections because of this participation.  What an enlightening and rewarding experience this has been!

Whatever time you have, whatever your interests, there are opportunities to be involved, get to know your community and to meet some really great people.  What follows is a short list of volunteer opportunities that I would encourage you to consider in 2014.  Your assistance will be of great value to the community and what you get in return goes beyond words!

Let me know what your plans are for 2014.  What ideas – large or small – do you have to make 2014 Glenwood’s best year ever?

City of Glenwood Springs:

New appointments are made by City Council in February but applications should be submitted by January. Applications for current openings are accepted any time.  Application forms may be found on the City web site:  http://cogs.us/boards/applications.htm

  • Airport Board: 4 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Building Board of Appeals:  2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Financial Advisory Board:  2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Historic Preservation Commission: 1 opening now, 4 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Parks and Recreation Commission: 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Planning and Zoning Commission: 3 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • River Commission: 1 opening now, 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Transportation Commission: 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Tourism Board: 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Victims and Law Enforcement Board: 1 opening now, 3 seats due for appointment in February 2014

Downtown Partnership:

Frontier Historical Museum

Literacy Outreach

  • 970-945-5282

Advocate Safehouse

Valley View Hospital

 Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE)

High Country RSVP

  • 888-977-9220 contact Patty Daniells

Lift UP

 Feed My Sheep 

  •  970-928-8340

Salvation Army

  • (970) 945-6976

Habitat for Humanity 

  •  Geneva Farr at 970-309-3088

 

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays!

There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays!

I have some veAlbum Coverry warm and fuzzy memories of Christmas as a child.   My brother and I joke that we are both “only children” because of the age difference between us – 17 years.  Like Frosty the Snowman, there must have been some magic in the water in Leadville in the early to mid 1950’s as my Mom, and several of her friends found themselves expecting babies several years after their older children came along.  At any rate, even though I have a very dear sibling, my memories of my childhood Christmas’ do not include him as he was either in the service or in a warmer climate with his new little ones. 

 Thumbing through an old photo album might find a picture of me and my Mom decorating the tree while Charlie Brownlistening to Bing Crosby croon White Christmas and No Place Like Home for the Holidays on the record player.   There might be a snapshot of me in my brand new flannel nightgown, handmade by my aunt, munching Christmas cookies and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas on our black and white TV.  My Dad probably had an 8 mm home movie of me sledding, on my brand new Radio Flyer sled down the street in front of our home. 

My Dad alwaysSled 2 made sure our house was the best decorated in the neighborhood complete with a well lit, lifesize Santa climbing into our chimney.  I had a pink flocked Christmas tree in my bedroom that always had a little surprise under it on Christmas morning – mostly to keep me occupied for a few minutes and let Mom and Dad get some sleep.  Many Christmases I also had a little tree outside my bedroom window and in the morning, I could go outside to find reindeer prints and little foot prints of Santa’s Elves in the snow.   And snow . . . lots and lots of snow !  When you live at 10,200 feet, it is understood that you WILL have a white Christmas!

And there was always church.  Raised as a Catholic, midnight Mass was part of our Christmas, complete with the hymns, the candles and the incense.  When you are little it is hard to stay awake during midnight Mass.

Not all Christmas’ were perfect however.  One Christmas my Dad was very sick.  At that time children were not allowed to visit patients in the hospital and it seemed like he was in the hospital for a very long time.  I remember sitting in the waiting room of our very small hospital, surrounded by festive lights and decorations but feeling very sad and quite alone.   When my Mom finished visiting, she would take me to the window of his room so I could wave to him and throw him kisses.  Thankfully, due to our hometown doctor, Dr. Kehoe, taking a big chance to perform an experimental surgery, my Dad recovered and came home to us later that winter. Drew & Mac watching Fireworks BLT 2

Many, many years have passed.  I have children and grandchildren of my own. This year our family and extended family took a pre-Christmas trip to Walt Disney World.  I love WDW.  I enjoy seeing the wonder my grandkids eyes as they watch the nightly fireworks with my oldest granddaughter who is five declaring, “Its a miracle!”  I enjoy the fantasy, the rides and the warm weather!  Yes, we missed the 12 to 18 inches of snow and the deep freeze that followed.  While you all were shivering, we were seeking cool drinks and shade in 86 degree weather. But I especially love being surrounded by family. 

We are now home and preparing for Christmas.  We are running behind this year.  The intention was to get everything done BEFORE we left to go visit the mouse, but alas . . .” the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry” – especially when they involve a particular mouse.  This weekend is for baking cookies and finishing up things.  The tree and most decorations are up thanks to my son and his fiancé.   It will be a relatively quiet Christmas for us this year as another son, and his family, are staying in Texas to start some traditions of their own.   That is good.  Traditions are good. Memories are good.  Being home for the holidays is good!  And great things will be coming in 2014.

Here is wishing everyone a most wonderful Christmas season that is full of love, family, rest and renewal.  And as the Irish say to bring in the New Year, “may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.”

 

Affording to buy in: The challenge of retaining talent in desirable communities

The following is a reprint  – with permission – of a guest column that Jillian Sutherland of the Sonoran Institute wrote for the Aspen Daily News.  This issue is truly a “sticky wicket.”   The idea that one must live and work in the same community to have a true commitment to the community may be very valid.   How to get there is another story.    Is inclusionary zoning the answer?  How about incentives?  There are plenty of tools in the toolkit, but which ones work the best and do not overburden one entity? I would be very interested in hearing your ideas. Please leave us a comment.  Thanks!  Kathy Trauger

 

Affording to buy in: The challenge of retaining talent in desirable communities

 Jillian Sutherland

Special to the Aspen Daily News

A strong local economy needs strong business. Strong business needs a skilled workforce. That’s why a current hot topic in the economic development world is the importance of attracting talent for sustained economic success. For any community, attracting talent requires amenities, cultural identity, and placemaking, all of which are critical components of communities where people want to live.

But what happens when your community is pretty good at all of the above, but has become so desirable that very few can afford to live there? Call it what you want: gentrification, progress, displacement or affluence — the reality is, when a place transforms into something really special, real estate prices begin to soar beyond the reach of many.

I recently had a conversation with Don Ensign, one of the founders of Design Workshop, a landscape architecture and urban design firm that got its start in Aspen. He said one of the main challenges he faced as a business owner was retaining talent once his employees built up a few years of experience with his firm. Here’s what he had to say:

“The perilous economic upshot of disappearing affordable housing is the impact on public, non-profit and low-wage employee retention, key ingredients for a healthy local economy. Absent proximate affordable housing, employees are obliged to go ever greater distance seeking affordability. These folks sacrifice family life quality, incur additional commuting expense and endure unproductive commuting hours — the unhappy predicament resulting in high worker turn-over.”

To recruit and retain businesses (and the talented individuals that will make that that business grow) a community has to be special, but it has to be attainable. Plain and simple: If a person cannot afford to “buy-in” to the community where they work, they’re not going to have much commitment to that community.

That leads to Ensign’s next point: Recruiting and training new people is enormously expensive,” he said. “In addition, the new employees are the least experienced and most stressed, inevitably delivering less than optimum performance.”

This is a special concern for communities like Aspen, and others here in the Intermountain West, not only because of the high costs affiliated with being a resort community, but also because of the geographic restrictions caused by the mountainous surroundings. This makes new residential development difficult or impossible, which further drives up the cost of the existing housing stock.

If home ownership is an impossible expense for an average worker in a given community, getting them to stick around may prove to be a challenge and can negatively affect that community’s workforce. High transportation costs only add to this burden.

My point is that if your community is in the process of developing an economic development plan, affordability is a critical consideration — albeit a complicated one. Along with affordable housing, transportation alternatives are very important. Even if people can’t live in downtown Aspen, they need to be able to get to and from their jobs there with ease, and without great expense.

That means reducing commuting costs and providing a diverse housing stock are two cornerstone components of a community’s economic development strategy. A community should think beyond recruitment, and create a place that allows young professionals the opportunity to plant roots in town and make a commitment and grow there. Businesses — and community — will benefit greatly.

Jillian Sutherland is a project manager with the Glenwood Springs-based Sonoran Institute, a non-profit organization that seeks to inspire and enable community decisions that respect the land and people of western North America.