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Abstract Adirondack: New Geurtze exhibit opens Sept. 24

SARANAC LAKE — The Abstract Adirondack gallery will display a retrospective exhibition and sale of artwork by Saranac Lake painter and printmaker Deborah Geurtze over the next few weekends.Her works will be on display in the gardens and on the porches of the Historic McClellan Cure Cottage, 391 Park Avenue in Saranac Lake, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 24-25, Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 8-9. This retrospective exhibition features paintings and etchings produced over her 40-year career and includes recent works. Three areas of imagery wi...

SARANAC LAKE — The Abstract Adirondack gallery will display a retrospective exhibition and sale of artwork by Saranac Lake painter and printmaker Deborah Geurtze over the next few weekends.

Her works will be on display in the gardens and on the porches of the Historic McClellan Cure Cottage, 391 Park Avenue in Saranac Lake, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 24-25, Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 8-9. This retrospective exhibition features paintings and etchings produced over her 40-year career and includes recent works. Three areas of imagery will be featured: the Adirondacks and North Country region, Gloucester and the northeastern seacoast and Cooperstown and central New York.

Of Hudson River Dutch ancestry, Geurtze is descended from a long line of draftsmen, engravers and painters who immigrated to Albany in the mid-19th century. Geurtze, whose intricate etchings reflect a deep connection with nature, got her start in high school, preparing printing plates for her uncle, a newspaper publisher in Canajoharie. That experience led Deb to the Rhode Island School of Design. An internship at the museum in Blue Mountain Lake the following summer rekindled her love of the Adirondacks.

“I was the assistant to the curator and lived in a lean-to down by the lake,” Geurtze said.

That fall, she stayed behind, hiked the High Peaks and enrolled as a painting and printmaking student at SUNY Potsdam under Robert Bero. Another summer was spent in central Arizona helping build Arcosanti, an early experiment in sustainable architecture and urban planning.

After graduating, Geurtze attended the Lake Placid Workshop program, refining her printing skills, and worked for the Adirondack Park Agency, identifying and mapping vistas as well as rare wetland and alpine plants for the Master Plan.

She then spent a year teaching at the American School of Tangier, in Morocco. Deb’s studio, on the roof of her house in the Casbah, overlooked the harbor and, in the distance, Gibraltar. That was followed by a stint teaching at the Vail Mountain School in Colorado, living on the edge of the National Forest amid the Rocky Mountains. Returning east, she settled in Cooperstown and began her printing career in earnest.

“I bought a 1,500 pound printing press and hauled it up to a little cabin in the woods overlooking Otsego Lake,” Geurtze said.

Along the way, she started a gourmet market near the Baseball Hall of Fame, was president of the Cooperstown Art Association and restored several historic buildings, including two behind the center field fence at Doubleday Field. Much of her early artwork reflects the village, the Susquehanna and Mohawk River valleys, the Catskills and Adirondacks. Geurtze’s love for the sea also led her to Gloucester, a fishing town in northeastern Massachusetts which had attracted generations of artists to its rocky shores and vibrant harbor. Over an eight-year stint, she explored the area’s trails and vistas while living in and restoring an early 19th-century house on a high-tide island in the historic harbor.

However, her deep love for the Tri-Lakes area and long-time Adirondack Park Agency friends drew Geurtze back to the North Country. Four years ago, she moved to Saranac Lake where she now produces hand-colored and multi-plate etchings, monotypes and paintings in a studio overlooking the McKenzie Range.

Geurtze’s work has been shown throughout the northeast and across the country. She has received numerous honors and awards and is represented in many personal, corporate, university and museum collections. Geurtze’s recent exhibitions include a 2019 solo show at the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie. She received the Blue Ribbon at the 2020 Tupper Lake Plein Air Festival. Her painting “Tumble Down” recently won two awards at the 87th Annual National Juried Art Exhibition in Cooperstown. Also, two of her prints have been selected for exhibit in New York City this fall.

Abstract Adirondack is an art gallery in Saranac Lake which features exhibitions in the gardens and on the porches of the Historic McClellan Cure Cottage as well as other locations in the area.

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Saturday roundup: DHS volleyball and soccer shine on busy day

Saturday was a busy day for teams from La Plata County and, unfortunately, many came up short in their contests.The Durango High School volleyball and boys soccer teams were the exceptions.DHS volleyball won its second Southwestern League game in two days, beating Fruita Monument in straight sets at home, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-19. Three Demons recorded double-digit kills against the Wildcats, including Leah Wolf (14), Aava Dreger (11) and Sarah Somrak (10).The Demons are now 6-2 overall.The DHS boys soccer team, mea...

Saturday was a busy day for teams from La Plata County and, unfortunately, many came up short in their contests.

The Durango High School volleyball and boys soccer teams were the exceptions.

DHS volleyball won its second Southwestern League game in two days, beating Fruita Monument in straight sets at home, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-19. Three Demons recorded double-digit kills against the Wildcats, including Leah Wolf (14), Aava Dreger (11) and Sarah Somrak (10).

The Demons are now 6-2 overall.

The DHS boys soccer team, meanwhile, followed its 10-0 rout over Grand Junction Central on Thursday with a 2-0 win over Grand Junction on Saturday to improve to 7-0. Charles Gleason scored three goals for DHS in its win over Central while Lucas Foster and Teryk Webber scored against the Tigers.

On the football field, Fort Lewis battled Arizona Christian University to start its season at home. After ACU jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first, FLC fought back and made things interesting for a bit. Quarterback Braden Wingle threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Zach Russell.

Then, after Max Hyson sacked Arizona Christian’s quarterback, the Skyhawks blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety, making the score 21-9.

Later in the first half, lineman James Reyes intercepted a pass after a teammate tipped the throw, giving FLC the ball at Arizona’s 9-yard line and a chance to make it a one-score game.

Unfortunately for the Skyhawks, Wingle was picked off on third down and Arizona Christian pulled away to eventually win the game, 52-12.

In Bayfield, the Wolverines welcomed Moffat County’s football team to town. Quarterback Deegan Barnes scored on Bayfield first possession to put BHS up, 7-0. Moffat scored the next two touchdowns and led 12-7 at halftime. The Wolverines, however, marched 74 yards down the field to start the second half. Barnes completed a 33-yard pass to Granite Truby and scored a rushing touchdown on the next play. Keaton Pickering caught the two-point try in the end zone and Bayfield surged back in front, 15-12. Later in the third, Moffat answered with a 10-yard rushing touchdown to go ahead, 18-15, and the score stayed there.

The Bayfield volleyball team traveled to Monument for the Lewis-Palmer Invitational. BHS played Ralston Valley first, but came up short, 25-15, 25-20. The Wolverines then faced Platte Valley (Kersey), but fell again, 25-14 and 25-18. Bayfield then lost to Coronado (Colorado Springs), 3-1, and were set to play in the tournament’s 11th-place game.

Ignacio was also playing in a tough volleyball tournament at Denver Christian, but lost its first two matches. IHS fell to Holyoke, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-19. IHS then lost to Vail Mountain, 25-18, 25-22 and 25-20 to dip into the tournament’s seventh-place game.

The Fort Lewis College volleyball welcomed fourth-ranked Metropolitan State University Denver to town and swiped a set from the Roadrunners on the newly redesigned court at Whalen Gymnasium. After losing the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-11, the Skyhawks rallied and won a set against the perennial power for the first time since 2014, 25-20.

MSU responded with a 25-13 win in the fourth set to take the match, 3-1.

Vail School District bus drivers training for new school year

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Students in the Vail School District begin heading back to school Monday, July 18, following months of preps from teachers and staff.Students in Pre-K through eighth grade begin on Monday; high schools start on Friday, July 22.Ahead of the big first day, school bus drivers are also doing their part to be prepared for whatever this school year brings.Transportation Supervisor Joshua Wilson said over the past week drivers have been training to make sure they’re prepared for any situatio...

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Students in the Vail School District begin heading back to school Monday, July 18, following months of preps from teachers and staff.

Students in Pre-K through eighth grade begin on Monday; high schools start on Friday, July 22.

Ahead of the big first day, school bus drivers are also doing their part to be prepared for whatever this school year brings.

Transportation Supervisor Joshua Wilson said over the past week drivers have been training to make sure they’re prepared for any situation that might break out.

“It’s important because the drivers receive training to get their certification and to get their CDL, but we feel it’s important to give them something beyond that,” Wilson said. “When they’re out there on the road, they have to be able to think and put a plan in place for if something happens and be prepared if something does happen.”

The transportation department put together obstacle courses, team-building exercises and brought in public speakers to get drivers ready and excited for the year.

Although some activities went over daily situations such as bus inspections, loading wheelchairs into buses and everyday routes. Wilson said the district really went the extra mile to make drivers prepared for those scary situations that might happen on the road.

Active shooter training, bus evacuations and health emergencies were big topics this year. Building professional relationships was another training, to ensure students feel safe and comfortable going to drivers if they need help.

“We encourage our drivers to establish professional relationships with students and parents so they can notice when something is going on that’s a little bit off. Having that necessary observation to know that something funny is going on today, I need to pay a little bit more attention to this situation,” Wilson said. “Also having that good rapport with our community, so when there is an issue we can communicate that issue to them effectively.”

Drivers have also been going through vision screenings, making sure they can eliminate distractions and focus on the road.

Wilson said the district is hiring more drivers to ensure they have enough staff in case drivers get sick or take time off. They currently have around 60 drivers with more than 70 routes. He said they are interested in hiring ethical people with credentials needed to keep students safe.

“We’re looking for the highest quality people that we can get to train them to drive a school bus,” Wilson said. “That way our taxpayers are provided with the best possible staff, the most highly trained staff, the most ethical and friendly staff to our community.”

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

VAI Resort: the 60-acre entertainment resort coming to Glendale in 2023

Copy This Embed Code: Ad GLENDALE, AZ — Previously announced as Crystal Lagoons, the city of Glendale announced Tuesday that VAI Resort is set to open in late Spring of 2023 in the West Valley.According to the city of Glendale, a 52,000-square-foot island will still be the center point of the 60-acre entertainment resort.“From the ...

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GLENDALE, AZ — Previously announced as Crystal Lagoons, the city of Glendale announced Tuesday that VAI Resort is set to open in late Spring of 2023 in the West Valley.

According to the city of Glendale, a 52,000-square-foot island will still be the center point of the 60-acre entertainment resort.

“From the vibes of Mykonos and Tulum, to the beaches of Miami, to the concerts and parties of Las Vegas, to the ultra-modern attractions of Dubai, we’re bringing the best of the best to VAI Resort right here in the heart of Glendale,” said Grant Fisher, President of VAI Resort, in a press release sent to ABC15.

According to a press release, here’s what VAI Resort will feature:

The resort not only promises to bring an unforgettable experience to the Valley, but it plans to create more than 1,800 new jobs in Glendale.

COMING SPRING 2023 -VAI Resort will be the largest hotel and entertainment destination in Arizona. Who’s ready to visit VAI Resort?Click for details: https://t.co/XRbgycwFDB@vairesort @glendaleaz #arizonaresort #youbelonghere #luxuryhotel #beachvibes #experientialentertainment pic.twitter.com/8G7t6qjY06

— Glendale, Arizona Economic Development (@GrowGlendale) April 26, 2022

MATTEL ADVENTURE PARK STILL IN THE WORKS

VAI Resort will also be home to the Mattel Adventure Park.

Mattel plans to open an adventure park with a Hot Wheels-themed roller coaster in the city of Glendale. It’ll be located on the southwest corner of 95th Avenue and Cardinals Way.

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Flash flood warnings continue into the week after weekend of storms throughout state

Arizona saw rain, thunder and dust storms and flash flooding this weekend and meteorologists say to expect inclement weather to continue into the week.Western Maricopa County received heavy rain early Sunday and showers continued moving northwest into La Paz and northeastern Yuma county, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix. The storms brought winds of 30 to 40 mph, according to Bianca Feldkircher, a meteorologist for the weather service.Feldkircher said some areas near Casa Grande got up to 2 inc...

Arizona saw rain, thunder and dust storms and flash flooding this weekend and meteorologists say to expect inclement weather to continue into the week.

Western Maricopa County received heavy rain early Sunday and showers continued moving northwest into La Paz and northeastern Yuma county, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix. The storms brought winds of 30 to 40 mph, according to Bianca Feldkircher, a meteorologist for the weather service.

Feldkircher said some areas near Casa Grande got up to 2 inches of rain. There was also flooding in some areas of southern Maricopa County.

State Route 238 closed about 10 miles west of State Route 347 between Maricopa and Gila Bend due to flooding, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. It was still closed as of 3 p.m. on Sunday and there was no estimated time for reopening.

Dust storm activity was seen in south Phoenix, Mesa and Buckeye. In Goodyear, visibility was down to half a mile, according to Feldkircher.

As showers moved through the metro area Sunday morning, the temperature at Phoenix Sky Harbor dropped to 80 degrees and the humidity increased.

Southern Arizona saw strong thunderstorms develop overnight near Vail, over the Sonoita area and in Fort Huachuca, where 0.82 inches of rain were recorded in 11 minutes with wind gusts over 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Tucson. West Graham County and west Cochise County received strong thunderstorms overnight as well.

The storms also moved towards the Tucson metro where there were "cloud-to-ground strikes " and light showers.

In Pinal County there was heavy rain, strong winds and blowing dust early Sunday, according to the weather service.

The thunderstorms in southern Arizona caused rockslides north of Bisbee, according to Rob Howlett, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Tucson. That area received heavy rainfall of up to 3 inches as of Sunday afternoon.

Howlett also said they had received reports of 1-2 inches of flooding as well as washes running in that area and in mountain areas, including Madera Canyon.

In Flagstaff there was flooding on Saturday across U.S. 89 and in Doney Park associated with the Pipeline Fire burn scars, according to Cynthia Kobold, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

She said some areas had 1 to 2 feet deep of accumulated water. There were also reports of flooding in some apartments in north Flagstaff.

About 1.7 inches of rainfall fell over the course of two hours on top of the mountains in the burn scar, which contributed to the flooding, according to Kobold.

“So it was coming down pretty hard, pretty fast, which is part of the reason why that flooding ended up occurring,” Kobold said.

What is a monsoon? Here's the definition

Active monsoon pattern continues past the weekend

An active monsoon pattern is expected to last until late Tuesday or early Wednesday in La Paz, Yuma, Maricopa, southern Gila and northern Pinal counties, according to the weather service.

Scattered storm activity might arrive to the Phoenix area after 7 p.m. on Sunday, so not everyone will see rain, according to Feldkircher. She said the chance of severe thunderstorms is about 10%.

On Tuesday, the low temperature is expected be around the 80s and there might also be scattered showers.

Flooding is going to be a possibility with any storm through at least the middle of the week, according to Feldkircher.

“There's a significant amount of moisture in the air right now. So any storm that develop has the potential to dump about like two inches of rainfall in an hour. So that's why the flood watch is out,” Feldkircher said.

A flash flood watch that was issued for southeast Arizona was extended through Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Howlett said in Tucson there is a 70% chance of thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday, and the temperatures are expected to drop below normal to the 90s.

In Flagstaff, there is an 80% chance of precipitation on Sunday afternoon, which is expected to continue overnight, according to Kobold. On Tuesday, those chances will go up to 90% during the day and drop to 70% at night.

“These storms can be so small in nature, but so powerful that it's kind of hard to tell exactly where those are going to set up,” Kobold said. “So there's definitely a threat of flooding. I know we are messaging that for the community to be prepared. So we just have to hope that it doesn't fall on those mountains.”

Reach breaking news reporter Angela Cordoba Perez at Angela.CordobaPerez@Gannett.com or on Twitter @AngelaCordobaP.

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Feeling the pull of the earth: 4H archery fun shoot draws crowd in Parks

PARKS, Ariz. — As the sun began to rise up over the ponderosa pines, young archers stepped up to the line aiming for targets scattered across the forest. They nocked their arrows and set their sights on the rings of their targets.Arrows whizzed toward hay bales, as the young archers looked to their instructors for feedback. The archers quietly drew again from their quivers, lining up once more on the yellow center of the target face.Approximately 150 youth from across the state of Arizona were expected at the 4H archery s...

PARKS, Ariz. — As the sun began to rise up over the ponderosa pines, young archers stepped up to the line aiming for targets scattered across the forest. They nocked their arrows and set their sights on the rings of their targets.

Arrows whizzed toward hay bales, as the young archers looked to their instructors for feedback. The archers quietly drew again from their quivers, lining up once more on the yellow center of the target face.

Approximately 150 youth from across the state of Arizona were expected at the 4H archery shoot near Parks, Arizona July 30.

Parks in the Pines 4H Archery Shoot

“This is a statewide event,” said Josh Farella, Coconino County 4H youth development agent. “It’s a great event, because we get to teach safety to the kids and the parents are right along with them.

Farella said about 15 different 4H groups from nearly every county in the state had signed up for the event.

Hosted by Tom Gardiner, leader of the Parks in the Pines 4H Club, in Parks, Arizona, the archery fun shoot brought youth together for a day of outdoor fun and mentorship.

“I’ve been doing it for about 10 years,” Gardiner said. “I began shooting myself at 14 years old, and when my children were young I began teaching them.

Gardiner previously hosted the event in Vail, Arizona, but brought the event to Parks this year.

“This is the fifth year of this event. I think we have a better turnout here in northern Arizona with the advertising Josh has done,” he said.

Gardiner’s children joined 4H in 2010, and Gardiner began teaching archery to the group at that time.

Athough Gardiner’s children are now grown, he continues to teach archery to others.

“I just love kids,” he said. “I love watching them grow up and teaching them a new skill. It’s great to get them away from their phones and video games and get them outside.”

Although most people are familiar with the agricultural side of 4H, Farella said there are many other activities hosted by the program.

“The roots of the program are definitely agricultural, but shooting sports is a quickly growing program,” Farella said. “We like it because it’s a way to connect kids to good caring mentors and teach them the right way, the responsible way to do all these things.”

Farella said there are about 40 volunteers in Coconino County who manage programs that bring in about 200 youth.

“Across the state, that’s about 1,000 volunteers and 7,000 to 8,000 kids,” he said. “One of our main goals is connecting youth with those caring mentors because we know that will have a big impact on their future - positive life outcomes.”

Gardiner said one draw for him is the sense of community.

“4H is great because it really teaches them community and being responsible,” he said. “Kids need to stay in good standing with the club; they have to give presentations on their projects and more. Many of these guys have animals and participate in the fair (Coconino County Fair), but this is the other side of the club that doesn’t get advertised as much.

Another draw to the event, is the opportunity to socialize and camp in the woods.

“Even my own group, many of them just live 3 miles from here but they all showed up to camp, he said.

Gardiner said he was grateful for the support of Coconino County 4H, many sponsors and the volunteer instructors who came from Tucson.

Anyone interested in Coconino County 4H programs, or the Parks in the Pines 4H can contact Josh Farella at (928) 773-6106 or email at farella1@email.arizona.edu

“They are safe” : Vail woman is thrilled to be reunited with her Ukrainian family

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A local woman is excited to be living with her Ukrainian family after navigating a confusing immigration process.On March 2, our KOLD News 13 crew first sat down with Ayna Kekilova in her Vail home. She was filled with despair. USCIS had rejected Kekilova’s request to expedite a petition to sponsor her son and his family....

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A local woman is excited to be living with her Ukrainian family after navigating a confusing immigration process.

On March 2, our KOLD News 13 crew first sat down with Ayna Kekilova in her Vail home. She was filled with despair. USCIS had rejected Kekilova’s request to expedite a petition to sponsor her son and his family.

Aman Babanyyazov, Anastasiia Kunchenko and Jasmine Babanyyazova were living in a southeastern city of Ukraine when Russian troops invaded. They hid in an underground train station for eight hours while bombs rained down. In the first week of the war, the family fled to Germany.

“There’s is no way back,” said Kekilova. “Their home town is occupied right now.”

When the ‘Uniting for Ukraine’ program was established in April, Kekilova submitted an application.

“They approved the baby and wife, but not my son because he has a Turkmen passport,” said Kekilova. “I already had tickets for them and they didn’t have his travel authorization approved. I was constantly calling and emailing Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. If it wasn’t for her office, my son would probably be somewhere in Europe right now.”

On June 17, Kekilova was reunited with her family at the Tucson Airport.

Now, her home is full of life.

“It’s a happy hassle,” she joked. “It [was all] worth it, at least we know they are safe.”

Kekilova is overwhelmed by the opportunity to hold 10-month-old Jasmine, knowing she is far away from falling rockets.

However, half of her heart will always be in Ukraine. Kekilova’s older granddaughter, 13-year-old Leily Babanyyazova, is still living in the war-torn country.

“We are still worrying about Leily,” she said. “I told her mother they can come here, too, but they wanted to stay. They are in a safer part of Ukraine, they have a little farm with chickens.”

Art sometimes expresses what words cannot. Leily titled her first drawing ‘Ukraine is for Peace’ and the second ‘We Want to Live.’

“When your granddaughter draws this … yeah, it’s just sad,” Kekilova teared up.

Little Jasmine is also the face of the innocent caught in a brutal war.

As Americans celebrate freedom this week, Kekilova reminds Southern Arizonans that Ukrainians are still fighting to keep their independence.

“Every day kids are dying and elderly people who cannot escape,” she said. “People of Ukraine need help from the world.”

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

Queen Creek named best city to raise a family in the West

Dwellics, the authority in U.S city data and personalized advice on where to move, today unveiled the 2022 reports on the Top 100 Best Cities to Raise a Family in the Midwest, ...

Dwellics, the authority in U.S city data and personalized advice on where to move, today unveiled the 2022 reports on the Top 100 Best Cities to Raise a Family in the Midwest, Northeast, South, and West. And Metro Phoenix did very well as Queen Creek was named the best city to raise a family in the West.

Dwellics analyzed data on over 50,000 U.S. cities to compile the report, with a focus on the quality of education, community, climate comfort, infrastructure, safety, and finance.

READ ALSO: Fulton Homes breaks ground on Barney Farms in Queen Creek

The highest-scoring city nationally is the town of Fort Mill, South Carolina, achieving a near-perfect score of 99.99 out of 100 total points. The best cities to raise a family in each region include the following:

• Best Place to Raise a Family in the West: Queen Creek, Arizona (97.68) and Vail, Arizona (97.32)

Best Place to Raise a Family in the Midwest: New Albany, Ohio (98.23) and Dublin, Ohio (98.11)

• Best Place to Raise a Family in the Northeast: Limerick Township, Pennsylvania (94.96) and Murrysville Municipality, Pennsylvania (94.35)

• Best Place to Raise a Family in the South: Fort Mill, South Carolina (99.99) and Lucas, Texas (98.66)

1. Queen Creek, Arizona

2. Vail, Arizona

3. Chandler, Arizona

4. Catalina Foothills, Arizona

5. Folsom, California

6. Gilbert, Arizona

7. Clovis, California

8. Sheridan, Wyoming

9. Irvine-Lake Forest, California

10. Powell, Wyoming

The highest-scoring cities in each region share several common characteristics. Top cities have an exceptionally low risk of natural disasters (including earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and wildfires.) The highest-ranked cities also have a high percentage of workers in the industries of educational services, healthcare, and social assistance, which reflects the importance of those professions to families with children. In reference to population, the top cities in each region are small to mid-sized, suggesting that large cities lack the characteristics beneficial to raising a family.

Nationally and in the west, the best state to raise a family is California, which scored forty-two entries on the list. Ohio is the top state in the Midwest with thirty-six cities; in the South and in the Northeast, Virginia and Pennsylvania get top marks, with twenty-six and thirty-three cities, respectively.

According to a report released by Upwork, the world’s largest work marketplace, America’s shift to remote work will drive a significant increase in migration; this surge in the numbers of households planning to relocate overwhelmingly affects those living in major cities, with almost 55% of people planning to move more than two hours away from their current location. As more parents and families are finding, being untethered means being able to relocate to seek out the best for their families.

Vail Valley Partnership receives honors from the chamber industry

Three Vail Valley Partnership team members were recognized for their work in the chamber industry at the Western Association of Chamber Executives annual conference in Glendale, Arizona earlier this month.Chris Romer, the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, was named the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Russell E. Pettit Memorial Award. This award is given annually to a chamber executive in the West in recognition for a career of assisting those in the chamber business to attain higher professional standards and capabil...

Three Vail Valley Partnership team members were recognized for their work in the chamber industry at the Western Association of Chamber Executives annual conference in Glendale, Arizona earlier this month.

Chris Romer, the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, was named the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Russell E. Pettit Memorial Award. This award is given annually to a chamber executive in the West in recognition for a career of assisting those in the chamber business to attain higher professional standards and capabilities.

Romer is passionate about inspiring the next generation of chamber leaders, encouraging participation in local, regional and national associations, and leading by example. He is in constant communication with colleagues about the issues communities and chambers are facing. Keeping his finger on the pulse drives him to create meaningful content shared industry-wide.

Romer encourages the VVP staff to try new ideas, take risks and embrace change. He has spearheaded an organizational culture where the team feels safe to share ideas without judgment and to openly express one’s unique perspective. He leads by example in always thinking outside of the box and allowing VVP staff the freedom to take calculated risks.

Maren Cerimele, director of Membership at Vail Valley Partnership shared, “I recently saw a quote stating that leadership isn’t about having all of the answers, but is about having the confidence and courage to ask questions. This quote encompasses Chris’s leadership style, and I can safely say that each of us at VVP has learned this skill from Chris.”

Erik Williams, the director of Community Development at the Vail Valley Partnership, was named the recipient of the Gerald W. Hathaway Staff Person of the Year Award. This award is given to an outstanding chamber staff member for contributions made to specific chamber goals and for personally designing innovative new programs and systems that contributed significantly to the chamber’s development.

Since joining the chamber, Williams has embraced the idea and concept of using his role as a way to help local businesses and the workforce. He has led the efforts to implement the CareerWise Youth Apprenticeship program, which has resulted in a wholesale change in the way the Vail Valley community views talent pipeline development and growing our own workforce.

His efforts are not limited to workforce development programming. He helped to develop a workforce housing coalition, which used a variety of meetings to increase awareness not only of the community’s workforce housing challenges but also the solutions available at a regional and national level. He also started and leads local economic development programming such as our Community Resiliency Bootcamp and VVP’s trailing spouse program (MyPartner Career Network). He helped start The Partnership Podcast and serves as host for the podcast program.

Anna Robinson, program Manager at the Vail Valley Partnership, was announced as one of six new members of W.A.C.E’s Emerging Leaders Council. The Council was formed to identify and recognize future leaders (all under age 40) in W.A.C.E. and the chamber of commerce industry. Members of the Council will be asked to provide program feedback and ideas for the good of W.A.C.E. and will serve as advisors to the association’s board and president.

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