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Glenwood Springs conducting online survey to guide comprehensive plan update

An ongoing Glenwood Springs resident survey could help guide updates planned for the city’s comprehensive plan, said Trent Hyatt, Glenwood Springs senior planner.

“It’s intended to serve as a precursor, allowing us to understand the issues the community sees as priorities now and in the near future,” Hyatt said.

Conducted online and via text, the survey throws a wider net than a poll of Glenwood Springs voters earlier this year.

“That poll was specifically concerned with potential ballot issues,” said Bryana Starbuck, the Glenwood Springs public information officer. “Whereas the poll targeted a relatively small number of voters, this is a much broader survey, and it is open to everyone who is a resident.”

In an effort to ensure the entire community has an opportunity to be heard, Starbuck said the survey is also available in Spanish.

Survey participants will have the opportunity to weigh in on local issues, the quality of city services and future budget priorities.

“This will help us establish a benchmark of where we are at now, and establish where we want to go,” Starbuck said.

To participate in the survey, go to the city of Glenwood Springs’ website, and follow the link at the top of the page or go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLENWOOD_SPRINGS_LIVE_WEB.

For questions about the survey, contact Starbuck at 970-384-6441 or by email at bryana.starbuck@cogs.us.

Hyatt said the survey is the first of many opportunities for the public to provide feedback guiding the comprehensive plan update.

“This is just the first step of public input in a lengthy process,” he said, explaining the city could host town halls and provide other public feedback avenues in the future.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

South Midland project on track for summer 2022 completion

A significant portion of the South Midland Avenue project could be paved by the first week of October, Gould Construction Superintendent Dave Metrovich said.

During a community update meeting Wednesday, Metrovich told members of the South Midland Community Communications Coalition that Gould’s crews graded and cured half of a new roundabout on South Midland Avenue.

At the intersection of South Midland Avenue and 4 Mile Road, traffic is reduced to one lane 24-hours a day through the roundabout construction zone for the next two weeks. Metrovich said his crews will be able to grade and cure the second half of the roundabout, install storm drainage and utilities, then pave the roundabout and Midland Avenue up to Old Cardiff Bridge Road.

Installing utility upgrades, such as increasing the area’s water lines from 12-inch pipes to 18-inch pipes, new storm sewer drainage and some sanitation sewer lines was a significant portion of Gould’s contract, said Kathleen Wanatowicz, a spokesperson for the city. Gould completed about two-thirds of the utility work so far, allowing the contractor to move forward with paving plans, Wanatowicz said.

Construction on the project began in 2020, and despite challenges with global supply chains, Metrovich said his crews are on schedule to complete the project by June 2022.

The city deemed rebuilding the South Midland Avenue corridor as a priority for a number of reasons, including the prevalence of potholes along the avenue, poor sight lines at the intersections, the persistence of hazardous rockfall events, gaps in pedestrian infrastructure and rising traffic volumes.

Glenwood Springs Assistant City Engineer Ryan Johnson said about 7,000 vehicles travel the corridor daily.

Wanatowicz said potholes continue to plague the project’s temporarily paved lanes as a result of heavy rains and concentrated traffic.

“We’re doing our best to patch the holes as they appear,” she said.

Members of the coalition noted Gould’s effort to complete a number of 10-feet wide sidewalks near Sopris Elementary School before the new school year began in mid-August.

“We’re a local contractor, and we’re really involved in the community,” Metrovich said. “It’s important to us to get things like the school sidewalks done before the kids return.”

Crews are slated to pause work on the project in December in lieu of winter weather, and Metrovich said work will pick back up in the spring.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Glenwood Springs city staff collects public input on paid parking proposals

Paid parking in Glenwood Springs’ downtown core could help fund parking enforcement and traffic management, but the path forward requires public input, according to city staff.

During an open house Wednesday, city staff presented residents with several options for improving traffic and parking conditions throughout the downtown area.

“The problem we’re trying to solve is we hear from our residents, businesses and visitors that we have a parking problem downtown,” said Debra Figueroa, Glenwood Springs city manager.

Figueroa said complaints about parking and traffic predate her tenure with the city, but were highlighted by recent research collected in the MOVE study.

Bryana Starbuck, the Glenwood Springs public information officer, told about a dozen attendees Wednesday that one of the challenges to managing downtown traffic is a lack of revenue.

The city typically employs one full-time parking enforcement officer, but Glenwood Springs has struggled to fill the now-vacant position in recent months. When the position is filled, it typically generates about $40,000 in parking violation revenue annually; however, the employee costs the city about $50,000 a year, creating a $10,000 deficit.

If some form of paid parking were implemented by City Council, Figueroa said the position could become self-sufficient and generate revenue for additional traffic management.

During the summer, downtown parking is typically at 100 percent capacity, with many vehicles parking in the downtown area throughout the day, rather than for short increments of time, according to data collected by the city.

Starbuck said the city’s goal would be to maintain about 85% capacity, leaving 15% — or about 1-2 spaces per block — open. This strategy could increase downtown parking capacity by penalizing people for parking in one spot for too long.

Attendees were encouraged to use a voting system to highlight their preferred approach to addressing the city’s parking and traffic issues as well as leave feedback on several proposals.

Some of the proposed solutions included:

Paid parking throughout the downtown core, including the parking garage, with the ability for some residents and businesses to apply for long-term parking permits

On-street paid parking only, off-street paid parking only, or a mixture of both

Seasonal paid parking, in which paid parking would only be enforced during certain times of year

Limited paid parking from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Developing a truck delivery plan, specifying when truck deliveries can be made to downtown businesses

Restricting employees and residents from parking in certain parking lots and areas downtown

Paid or free residential parking permits for downtown residents

Free short-term spaces for errands like food delivery

Rob Gavrell, a Glenwood Springs Transportation Commission member, said he had hoped more people would attend the open house.

“Transportation is a big issue for our community,” he said. “We have two rivers, five bridges, a railroad and two highways. We have traffic going through. We have traffic coming to, and there’s a highway down our main street.”

The transportation commission recently recommended the city council follow the MOVE study’s parking and traffic recommendations, Gavrell said.

Some of those recommendations include improvements to parking enforcement hours and technology and expanded residential permit system. Additionally, the adoption, funding and implementation of paid parking of some form in the next few years should be a top priority for Glenwood Springs, city documents state.

Glenwood Springs resident Kevin Brady said he was still digesting the information presented by the city and wasn’t yet prepared to form an opinion on the proposals. But, he said the open would ignite a public discourse.

“I think this gives the community a lot of opportunities to pitch in their ideas for solving the parking problem,” Brady said.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Community profile: From dishes to development — Roaring Fork Valley real estate broker began career in uncle’s kitchen

Mike Mercatoris inside CoVenture in downtown Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

A young man working in his uncle’s pan-Asian restaurant around the turn of the millenium, Mike Mercatoris was prepping to-go orders and listening to his headphones when the kitchen’s head chef nabbed his attention.

Mercatoris pulled back his headphones, and in broken English, the chef said, “You, me, we’re going to start our own restaurant.”

“I was just like, ‘OK, man,’” Mercatoris recalled, explaining he blew it off as kitchen staff banter.

But, true to his word, Chef Ming “Henry” Zheng opened the first Zheng Asian Bistro with Mercatoris in a little El Jebel strip mall nearly a decade later.

“We had no idea if it was going to work,” Mercatoris said. “But I saw strip mall restaurants work in Florida, so I believed we had a chance.”

The strip mall wasn’t their first choice. Initially, the pair looked at a riverside location. Their real estate agent said he could probably get them the picturesque spot but not without a caveat.

“He had us stand outside the riverside building at 6 p.m. on Friday for about 10 minutes,” Mercatoris said. “Maybe three people passed by.”

The agent then took them to an available strip mall location, and repeated the experiment.

“Forty or so people passed by in 10-20 minutes,” Mercatoris remembered, his eyes lighting up as he retold the story.

“I was like, ‘We can do this.’”

Zheng Asian Bistro, which later opened a second location in Glenwood Springs, was just one stone on Mercatoris’ path to commercial real estate and entrepreneurialism, but more importantly, it was the first.

Summer job

Born in State College, Pennsylvania, Mercatoris, 49, grew up near a lake and still nurtures a love for water.

“It was my junior year of college, and I was looking forward to one last summer on the lake with the boys,” he said.

Although his uncle, Doug “Merc” Mercatoris, 71, offered Mike a job working in Snowmass Village at Merc’s pan-Asian restaurant, Mountain Dragon, Mike initially shot the idea down.

Arriving home from Mount Union University on a Wednesday, Mercatoris’ dad asked if he was ready for a great summer.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I can’t wait to see everybody,’” he recalled. “My dad said, ‘Great, here’s your plane ticket. You leave for Colorado on Saturday.’

Mercatoris’ mirthful laughter filled his sparsely decorated office Thursday as he conjured memories from his first summer in Colorado.

“They literally shipped me out,” he said, smiling. “They knew I was going to be all trouble that summer.”

Previously, Mercatoris had only visited his uncle’s place during the winter for family ski trips. Having never viewed the Roaring Fork Valley in the summer, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I mean, I just fell in love with it,” Mercatoris said. “I went back to college and graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in business management, then I packed my things and came back as fast as I could.”

Leaving the nest

Even with a degree in Mercatoris’ hand, his uncle Merc wasn’t going to just hand over his business to the young upstart.

“When he came back, I realized he might be serious about pursuing a career as a restaurateur,” Merc said. “So I started him out in the kitchen, because every successful restaurateur should know their business back to front.”

It was during Mercatoris’ time in the kitchen that he struck up a friendship with Zheng, who, at 21 years old, was Merc’s head chef.

“I don’t know if it was because we were the same age or what, but we hit it off,” Mercatoris said.

For the next eight or nine years, the pair discussed plans for their own venture. Mercatoris, the charismatic businessman, would work the front, and Zheng, the ambitious chef, would work the back.

Merc and other restaurateurs from around the valley helped the two get their plans off the ground, but that’s where Merc drew the line.

“I told them I wanted to be the uncle who helped with the kids, not the uncle who helped with the bookkeeping,” Merc said.

Mercatoris and Zheng opened Zheng “One,” as Mike called it, around 2000. Business picked up, and they opened a second location in Glenwood Springs around 2007.

“We got to this point where we wanted to do more, but we had surrounded ourselves with people like us — people with their own ideas,” Mercatoris explained.

Rather than expanding Zheng into more stores, they explored partnerships with their employees, which led to creation of Grind and the revitalized Riviera Supper Club between 2014 and 2016, Mercatoris said.

Business was good, if not a little too good.

“I worked myself out of a job,” Mercatoris said, grinning as he shrugged his shoulders.

Finding his niche

With about two decades of restaurant management and entrepreneurship under his belt, Mercatoris turned to consulting.

Rather than building new restaurants from the ground up, he wanted to help others learn how. He created ZG Consulting, an ode to both the Zheng and Grind restaurants as well as a clever throwback to the license plate prefix “ZG,” which denoted a person’s local status.

During one consulting project, Mercatoris said he was approached by a friend who worked at Sotheby’s International Realty. If Mercatoris were to secure his real estate license, he would have a job with the company.

“After we sold the Riviera Supper Club in 2018, I did have time (to pursue real estate licensing),” he recalled.

Mercatoris enjoyed the work, but Sotheby’s was focused on luxury residential real estate, and Mercatoris discovered his interest centered around commercial ventures, specifically in the restaurant industry.

“There wasn’t a lot of people in brokering that knew both sides of the business,” Mercatoris said. “I had written checks for 90 employees across four restaurants, and I had that inside knowledge that I could use to help both tenants and landlords. I saw a niche that I could fill.”

In 2019, another acquaintance from the valley, Krista Klees, introduced Mercatoris to Slifer, Smith and Frampton Real Estate, and asked if he would like to head up the company’s new commercial division.

“I said yes, so long as we could re-imagine it as the commercial and entrepreneurship division,” Mike said.

Mentoring the next generation

Several people approached Mercatoris over the years with questions about how to start their own restaurants, including Altai Chuluun, who later partnered with Mike Lowe to create GlenX, a co-working space and business incubator.

Mercatoris followed Chuluun’s and Lowe’s project with interest, and after the idea was rebranded as Coventure, Mike said he convinced Slifer, Smith and Frampton to sponsor the initiative.

In a small office tucked into a back corridor on Coventure’s third floor, a sign with Mike’s name is set atop a mostly empty bookshelf.

“I work out of my backpack most of the time,” he said, throwing up his hands at the office’s lack of decoration.

Nowadays, Mercatoris handles commercial transactions across the valley, advises and mentors new entrepreneurs at Coventure and helps the next generation negotiate and understand lease terms, helping them avoid the pitfalls his uncle once pointed out to him.

“I think it is incumbent on every generation to help the next find their place in the world,” he said.

It’s been a long journey away from the lakes of his youth, but when the workday ends, he still finds his way back to the water.

“I was big into kayaking when I first got to Colorado,” he said. “But now, my wife and I own a Centurion wakesurfing boat. We spend every weekend we can out on the water with our two kids.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

Wussow column: Recognize the hard and invaluable work of Glenwood Springs’ law enforcement community

Ingrid Wussow

Timing in life is so often serendipitous. Case in point: I spent last Saturday night in a police cruiser as part of Glenwood Springs City Council training, since then I’ve been singing the praise of the Glenwood Springs Police Department and then coincidentally, saw that National Peace Officers Memorial Day is Saturday, May 15. It seemed appropriate to share with the community my experience while simultaneously encouraging some well-deserved recognition for our local police department.

My “ride-along” started at 8 p.m. May 8. After five hours of eye-opening experiences and thoughtful conversations with the officers, I drove home (at the speed limit of course) at 1 a.m. That is so, so late for me. For the officers at our local department, 1 a.m. is mid-shift.

These officers are the heroes that arrive at emergencies any time, day or night, in your homes, on our roadways, Christmas, Easter, their birthday, their kids’ birthdays and every other day of the year, because they are always on duty. They’re also the officers that remove drunk drivers from the roads so you and your loved one can travel safely. Often the first to arrive and the last to leave as they provide support in all types of emergency situations.

While the feeling of being pulled over is unpleasant, I saw firsthand how vulnerable a police officer is walking up to a car not knowing who or what they may encounter. My guess is that when you send your spouse to work, the potential for their bodily harm is relatively low. That’s not the case for the spouses, parents, children and family of our law enforcement family.

I have always had respect for this industry, now I have even more admiration, awareness and an incredible respect. I wish you all could do a ride-along. The amount of training every officer has is significant. Those on the force for any length of time, that amount of training would shock you. I met an officer who has a log book with almost 4,000 hours of training. That’s not rare. These guys are so incredibly educated, intelligent and on point. Meaning at 12:30 a.m. when I was hours past my bedtime and my eyes wanted to close, they’re wide awake and with an attention to detail that anticipates, identifies and resolves concerns before they become a problem.

We have the luxury of feeling safe in our small town. That’s not because crime doesn’t happen here; we are not immune to the ugly results of choices made by others. That feeling of safety and security is maintained and nurtured in large part by our police and emergency services.

I hope this illustrates that while the news sources share stories that cast doubt on law enforcement, I have zero doubt that with few exceptions, we are fortunate to have these quality humans. Professionals who have careers filled with the worst humans have to offer. They are fellow community members who stay in their jobs not for the money, and certainly not for the fanfare (that’s lean these days), but for what they’re able to give to their communities and the impassioned desire to serve, protect and do what’s right.

Please take the time to teach your children respect for law enforcement, while you’re at it, reinforce right and wrong. It’s time we all take accountability and responsibility for the problems within the system. Don’t pass the buck, identify your part.

I’ll leave you with a thought, especially for those formulating a response to counter my perspective with an alternative perspective or potential negativity: pause. Instead, take that same energy and reflect on the positive or work on a solution. Our society has more than enough negativity at the moment, more than enough polarity and enough opinions to last a lifetime. Let’s use our energy wisely, use it building up our fellow person, being an example to be proud of, teaching respect by demonstrating it.

Be that change in our community, starting today, and in particular on May 15. Let’s show gratitude to our officers, be it a wave out your car window, a kind word when you see them on foot or something that resonates with you. Thank you all for being my community.

Ingrid Wussow is a Glenwood Springs city councilor.

Glenwood Springs council slated to discuss Colorado Open Records Act policies this summer

 

Discussion over Glenwood City Council’s Colorado Open Records Act policies will be continued in a city council work session later into the summer.

City staff and council members want to meet in-person with members of the local news media — including the Post Independent, KDNK and more — to dig into their concerns over the city’s proposed policy to log all CORA requests which would be made available to the public to view on the city’s website. Anyone can make a public record request, including corporations or individuals of the general public.

CORA provides that all public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times, except records otherwise exempt by law or deemed not in the interest of the public.

City Attorney Karl Hanlon asked the council if they wish to post the CORA request log online, noting that the log is already maintained by the city.

“If you’d like, we could post who asked for it, what it was for, and when we fulfilled that request so people can go online and look at it and see what they’re able to download,” Hanlon said.

Federal government agencies provide a Freedom of Information Act request log that is made publicly available online.

Hanlon said such logs are a way to hold governments accountable and prove that a response was made to a request, and if that request was denied, the reasons why.

Glenwood Springs Post Independent Publisher Bryce Jacobson spoke in opposition of keeping a CORA request log, as well as city policy that requires notifying the impacted party of who requested the public records.

“That log is a terrible idea. I think that’s a bad policy, I don’t know of any municipalities that do it. I’d like to know who does that,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson said that in certain situations, notifying the impacted party of someone who has requested certain public records, such as a contract for a past project that was bid out could give the impacted party an unfair advantage.

For the contractor requesting the project contracts for jobs that have been bid out in previous years, being able to see the proposed prices submitted by their competition from previous years gives them an idea of how to structure their prices in an open bid.

However, under the city’s CORA policy, the contractor who would be the impacted party of the request now knows is looking at their previous bid submissions and may retaliate against the requester competing against them.

“The fact that you have a CORA request policy that says you will notify the impacted party is just counterintuitive to the CORA request policy,” Jacobson added.

Amy Marsh, KDNK Carbondale Community Access Radio news director, said notifying impacted parties seems to set a dangerous precedent, opening up the possibility of retaliation.

Marsh asked if the request forms included in the proposed CORA request log would redact the name of a requester.

Hanlon said he didn’t know and that was not outlined in policy to his knowledge, but could be at the discretion of the city’s chief operating officer Steve Boyd, who handles CORA requests.

Mayor Jonathan Godes paused the discussion as the back and forth between council members and members of the public fits a work session format more so than a city council meeting discussion where public comments are typically limited to three minutes.

Godes and the council did open up the conversation and allowed both Jacobson and Marsh to speak more than three minutes and actively engaged in the discussions.

Continuing the discussion in a work session also affords everyone the ability to meet in person, if desired, and discuss the issue in depth to ensure the transparency and accountability in the CORA process.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

Primary hunting draw applications, park visitation up statewide

Primary draw applications in Colorado are up by 74,593 applications from last year, according to data from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“What I can tell you is hunting applications were up, hunting license sales last year were up,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

“Everything in the COVID era, from a wildlife standpoint, is up.”

Hampton said the state is also seeing a 30% increase in park visitations over the last year.

“We continue to set a record for the number of people applying for licenses,” Hampton said, noting that what those applications translate to for the actual number of hunters in the field won’t be known until for several months.

Hampton surmised that some of the increases in primary draw applications could be due to Colorado hunters applying in-state versus going to hunt in other states with family due to COVID-19.

“Some of these increases could be due to other states restricting access for hunters,” Hampton said. “Hard to say if one thing is pushing the numbers or if all factors are driving it.”

In a more localized update, Hampton explained the impacts the Grizzly Creek Fire could potentially have on Glenwood Canyon’s wildlife.

“Fires have an impact, but the impact of fire in terms of big game hunting tends to be access not animal mortality,” Hampton said.

Hampton explained how wildlife in the western United States has evolved a resiliency to wildfires.

Hampton said the state was able to track collared elk during the Cameron Peak Fire.

“We were able to work with the firefighting groups and forest service and (Bureau of Land Management) to bring in their mapping and overlay the fire progression maps with the elk movement data from these collars,” Hampton said. “It was fascinating to watch. But these animals move out of the way of the fire and move right back behind it.”

During the Grizzly Creek Fire, Hampton said Glenwood Canyon’s bighorn sheep hung out along closed sections of Interstate 70 during the fire, in addition to seeking refuge in the Colorado River.

The burned areas left behind by the Grizzly Creek Fire may seem scorched, but Hampton said fire left behind an ideal setting for vegetation growth in those areas.

“If people go up in that burn area there’s a lot of green up,” Hampton said. “The canopy is gone, the sun is hitting those areas and what grows there is extremely nutritious for those big game animals that work their way back in there. There’s some long term benefits for big game.”

However, there are negative implications for the canyon’s aquatic life.

“There are some very big concerns for fisheries in areas where that ash drains into rivers and streams,” Hampton said.

Depending on how quickly the snow melts, ash can either absorb into the ground or run into the drainages, creeks and streams.

“Ash can contain both toxic chemicals, especially in areas where homes and outbuildings may have burned,” Hampton said.

“Anything with chemical composition, or even some bushes when they burn will have toxic elements in terms of being a fish.”

Hampton explained how fine ash particles in heavy quantities can cement in water beds, killing off the invertebrates and insects in the rocks that fish rely on for food.

“If it’s thick enough, if the water becomes muddy, the fish can suffocate from it,” Hampton said.

The ash’s impacts on the rivers and streams in Glenwood Canyon are something the CPW is watching very closely.

Hampton said the CPW is working closely with a team that includes area water managers, utility providers and federal agencies that’s monitoring the aftermath of the fire and making sure water sources are being protected as much as possible.

“That muck can clog diversion structures and irrigation structures,” Hampton said.

“It can be a real problem for municipal water supplies. We’re king of working to take care of all those things too.”

Primary Draw Applications
2020 2021 Percent Increase
Pronghorn 86,913 91,540 5.32%
Elk 215,207 246,602 14.5%
Deer 211,968 228,087 7.6%
Goat 23,388 27,338 16.88%
Sheep 31,192 35,919 15.15%
Moose 45,412 52,823 16.3%
Desert Bighorn 4,398 4,917 11.8%
Fall Bear 30,873 36,718 18.93%
Overall 649,351 723,944 11.48%

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

Personal Finance: Spring cleaning

Between putting the winter toys away and anticipating upcoming COVID-19 freedoms, now is a great time to freshen up your finances.

Clear out the clutter: I recently helped my dad clean out his office. He still had the paperwork from my Blue Lake home that he co-signed with me back in 1989. Wild to see a 14% interest rate. He also had credit card statements for the past 15 years. Do you have old tax returns, brokerage statements or other financial documents? With cloud storage, eliminate or minimize the paper. Financial institutions, CPAs, financial advisors and brokerage firms keep secure copies, so many times you don’t need to. Review for accuracy and intent, but don’t stockpile paper. Make sure your cloud storage is secure, and any private information passed back and forth between professionals is encrypted.

Prior to 2011, you were responsible for keeping track of stock or mutual funds purchases and tracking your cost basis information. With securities bought before then, get your purchase confirmation history to your current custodian. Your brokerage firm or custodian is now responsible for keeping track of what you buy, sell, when and for how much. You are now free to pursue the “why” of your investing and determine the best tools and techniques for accomplishing your goals.

Do keep the receipts for improvements on your home as it increases your cost basis, which you will need if you decide to sell. Scan them into a computer file, back it up then shred.

Make sure you dispose of old documents safely. There are several shredding services in the valley as well as businesses and fundraising efforts that provide opportunities a couple of times a year.

Expunge your spending plan: Are you paying for services or products you no longer want or need? Reviewing your cable, internet, insurances, cell and other bills will allow you to reconnect with the value they provide or changes that can be made. Those apps and subscription services add up and need to be purged at least once a year.

Consolidate your investments: Career changes, physical moves, retirement — a lot has changed in the past year. Consolidating accounts or rolling old employer plans into your own IRA or new employer plan will simplify your life. Several custodians does not equate to “diversification.” Rules for distribution and roll over vary, so consult your financial advisor on how this would affect your individual situation before moving forward. Look at your investment strategy, current economic and tax environment and make sure your money is working efficiently for your needs.

Explore with a spring scavenger hunt: Check out www.colorado.gov/treasury/gcp to see if you have any financial “treasures” that have gone unclaimed. There are treasure troves in every state you have lived in. All states have rules around abandoned or unclaimed property. Usually, after five years, if a financial institution hasn’t heard from you, this property “escheats” to the state, and you have to reclaim it. Make sure you have current online access and set up three-factor identification with your financial institutions.

Look around the house for items that don’t serve you or are a money drain. Donate or sell them. You get a tax deduction for donated items. The cash from a garage sale or consignment store can be put into savings, pay down debt or support a local business.

Finally, tear down mental monetary cobwebs: Do you have money mindsets that entangle you? What negative financial scripts keep repeating themselves? ‘The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge: 5 Principles to Transform Your Relationship with Money’ by Drs. Ted and Brad Klonz, will help you become the master of your money, instead of its servant. You can refresh or replace belief systems and behaviors in all areas of your financial life.

Freshening up your finances won’t take long. With my home spring cleaning, I make my list, and systematically check it off over several weeks. More than you want to tackle? You may find someone to clean your windows or manicure your yard. Same can be true with your financial spring cleanup. There are organizers in the valley that will help you with paper or household clutter and financial professionals to walk alongside you with the investments or financial tools. Picture how good it will feel to get it done.

Danielle Howard is a CFP® and CKA® with Wealth By Design LLC in Basalt. Check out her retirement podcasts and blogs at daniellehoward4u.com.

On the Fly column: April showers? Fishing power hours


April means many things to fly fishers. For most, it rings in the fair-weather fishing season, as the first waves of blue winged olives and caddis arrive with those April showers. If you’ve ever experienced one of our blizzard caddis hatches on the Colorado or Roaring Fork rivers, you know what I’m talking about. This is a true “breathe through your teeth” hatch, complete with bugs crawling up your nose and between your eyes and polarized lenses. And it’s all starting right now.

Afternoons and early evenings can be magical, as adult female caddis come back to the water to lay their eggs on the water’s surface. Good patterns to carry are Missing Links, Pearl and Elks, and the E/C Caddis. Suggested caddis nymphs are the Z-Wing, soft hackle Hare’s Ears, and the ever-popular beaded Prince Nymph. Remember this — sunny days should favor caddis, while overcast days result in heavier mayfly hatches.

Blue wing olives, or baetis, are the most prolific mayfly in our valley, even though they get second billing behind our world-famous green drake hatch. BWOs are already hatching in good numbers along the lower Roaring Fork up to Basalt, and your best bet to catch this hatch is in the afternoon. Carry a few different patterns, and determine which fly the fish want on that particular day. We strongly suggest the Perfect Baetis, No-Hackle BWOs, Parachute Adams and Roy’s Fryingpan Emergers in sizes 20-22.

BWOs will be slightly larger on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, (size 18-20) and are smaller on the Fryingpan (size 20-22). Many of us fish a dry fly followed by an emerger or nymph, as many of the naturals get caught in or below the film. The preferred emergers for the Fryingpan are Mayhems, Chocolate Thunders and black RS2s, in addition to Roy Palm’s Biot Baetis, Sparklewing RS2s and Jerome Baetis for the Fork and Colorado. These hatches are directly related to water and air temperatures, and with the warming trends of April, the fishing action only gets better.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.