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Can We All Agree – 11/15/15 edition

November 15, 2015

Can we all agree that maybe the Paris terrorists’ attacks will  create a unified world response, rather than an American response? The Russians certainly realize they can be targeted too.

Can we all agree that Hillary certainly did not ‘win’ last night’s Democratic debate, but it may not make any difference?

Candles honor the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks (NYT photo)

Candles honor the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks (NYT photo)

Can we all agree that every time we think the GOP Presidential campaign has reached a new low, the candidates take it down another notch?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump’s latest diatribes are really hurting his effort?

Can we all agree that the Koch Brother’s decision not to back any GOP primary candidates speaks volumes about the quality of the candidates?

Can we all agree that political junkies are salivating at the prospect of the first brokered convention since 1976?

Can we all agree that the most recent GOP debate at least contained some substance although the fact checkers were working overtime?

Can we all agree that, while there is room for debate about the cause of the economic calamity left over from the last President Bush, every time Job brings up the topic he just reminds people of the Great Recession Obama has had to fix?

Can we all agree that Marco Rubio is finding out why sitting on the fence can be so painful?

Can we all agree that with the debates we’ve already had, both Democrat and Republican, most voters have enough information to choose a candidate?

Can we all agree that while the opposition has officially won the election in Myanmar, Aung San Suu khi , is sounding a bit like a dictator?

Can we all agree that the Utah judge who first took an infant from a foster home headed by gay parents, he should not be congratulated for correcting his own ill-considered mistake?

Can we all agree that war journalism has entered  new phase when it means reports on downed airliners, drone assassinations, and attacks on outdoor cafes?

Can we all agree that it appears California will once again be entering the ranks of states which execute convicted murders?

Can we all agree that it’s good news that smoking in the United States has reached a new low?

Can we all agree that the Rose Bowl Parade will be much different this year now that it has the ‘Ken Burns effect?’

How the Sierra's should look this year

How the Sierra’s should look this year

Can we all agree that football programs all over the country are worried, now that players from the University of Missouri have forced the resignation of the school’s top administrators?

Can we all agree that the Starbucks Christmas cup controversy is beyond absurd?

Can we all agree that the President’s Supreme Court appeal of his immigration orders is a no-lose proposition for him? Either he wins, and immigrants have one more reason to vote for Democrats, or he loses and the public is reminded how the GOP has refused to deal with the issue.

Can we all agree that the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a Texas abortion case sets the stage for Roe v. Wade part II?

Can we all agree that Russian attempts to deny their Olympic athletes were using performance enhancing drugs, as part of a state sponsored program, are falling on deaf ears? Although the Olympic committee has already provided them with a roadmap to avoid disqualification from the 2016 Olympics.

Can we all agree that it’s good news when the California ski season opens early for the first time in years?

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Sun Valley Serenade

September 2, 2014

My wife and I closed another hotel this weekend. 

Well, I guess the Sun Valley Lodge was going to shut down for 9-month renovation, whether we stayed or not, but we were among the last guests to see the Lodge in its current incarnation.

The spa and apartment units

The spa and apartment units

The 124-room, 78-year old symbol of high-end fun in the snow will be converted into a 96-room playground for the rich and famous.

Big changes planned inside

Big changes planned inside

The Lodge will renovate every room, except one, expanding them to accommodate fireplaces, and updated bathrooms which will include Jacuzzi tubs and modern amenities.

The truth is the renovation is long overdue. While the Lodge, which bills itself as America’s first destination ski resort, is the priciest in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area, it fares poorly when compared to many budget priced hotel rooms. Where rooms are larger, and bathroom space for two people often included double sinks.

The Lodge was built in 1935 by the Union Pacific Railroad and has only had three owners. It’s only relatively recently that the current owner Carol Holding, who owned Sinclair Oil  with her late husband Earl, made the resort and the surrounding area into a year-round destination.

The Holdings also own a number of other five-star resort properties in the Western United States

Before Mr. Holding, began marketing the location to events such as the annual Allen and Co. technology and media conference, most of the private jets at the Blaine County airport, only came during ski season. Now it’s not unusual to see folks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mariel Hemmingway, or tech moguls wandering downtown Ketchum year round.

A Labor Day visitor

A Labor Day visitor

California’s former governor was there over the recent Labor Day weekend, with his current young honey, but that’s a story for another post.

For the last four months the Lodge has been the site of a major addition to accommodate a new spa and fitness center as well as several 4-bedroom apartment units designed for families or wedding parties.

You can find more details about the renovation at the Lodge website but you won’t be able to stay there until June of 2015 – just in time for the Allen and Company gathering.

A true sign of the year-round nature of the Lodge business, is the fact that they are closing for the what used to be high-season for The Valley ski industry.

Until next summer, you can stay at the Sun Valley Inn, the sister hotel barely 100 yards away, or at any of the many condominiums managed by the Lodge.

In general, locals are thrilled and seem genuinely happy that a new generation of the Holding family is taking an active interest in managing the mini-empire. Carol Holding, is in her 80’s, and has been largely a ceremonial leader since her husband died in 2013 but her son, Stephen, has apparently taken over and as the press release says, wants to guarantee another 75 years of ownership.

Ernest and Mary Hemingway

Ernest and Mary Hemingway

By the way, that lone room that will not be renovated? You guessed it – room 206, which hosted Ernest Hemingway and his lover in 1939, as ‘Papa’ finished “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Current hotel employees say the room has never been fully renovated and includes the original claw-foot tub- and can still be rented – although the plumbing apparently clogs frequently.

But the isolated cabin, where Hemingway lived during his Sun Valley years, and where he died, is on private land and not open to the public.

If my wife and I probably win the lottery by next year-  we’ll be  able to afford the rates at the new Lodge, since  the area is truly a beautiful destination any time of the year and we look forward to returning for the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival next May.

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