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Grand Lake is an ideal getaway for family and friends

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Denver weather: 90s, clear skies return Wednesday

The afternoon thunderstorm built slowly, starting as a gray cloud cover as my family and I stepped aboard the tour boat for our immersive lesson on Grand Lake. Soon, a soft drizzle settled in as Captain Rick motored us around the lake’s edge, telling tales about the many impressive vacation homes and antique boats, and about Grand Lake’s history. The Ute called it Spirit Lake. Later, white settlers built a stagecoach supply station here that became the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Today, it’s often referred to as one of the most beautiful towns in the country.

If you go

Grand Lake Lodge (rooms from $175) is an iconic Colorado mountain lodge atop a hill above town; it closes for winter in October, but you can book a cabins or Jupe Tent for next spring or summer. If you prefer to stay lakeside, the Western Riviera (rooms from $99 Oct.–May) has rooms and even homes and a tree house. For regional information check out the Grand County tourism page.

I had driven through Grand Lake once before, stopping for a breakfast picnic with my kids after camping on nearby Lake Granby, but that was years ago. I’d always wanted to come back and stay a few nights and, after the town’s near destruction in the East Troublesome fire last October, I decided it was finally time to make this trip happen.

That’s how we came to be cruising through the late summer rain, which was growing in intensity. Suddenly, it was a “take cover!” situation as we ducked under blankets and the boat’s shade canopy. Captain Rick steered us back to the little marina, where the passengers scattered to their hotels or coffee shops.

I was in awe that the village of Grand Lake was still here at all, after seeing how close the flames came to the edge of town. It had been nine months since the East Troublesome fire raged through these mountains and into Colorado’s record books as one of the largest, fastest-growing fires in state history. Standing on Main Street you can see some of its charred path in the hills surrounding town, but the sidewalks were full of visitors who were now shaking off their umbrellas after the storm, happily shopping for ice cream and walking in and out of art galleries.

The 101-year-old Grand Lake Lodge sit on a ridge overlooking Grand Lake, Colorado, in summer 2021. (Joshua Berman, Special to The Denver Post)

Captain Rick had told us there are about 500 year-round residents and close to 2,500 during the summer season. At nearly 9,000 feet of elevation, it was cool out, even cold in the morning, but days were warmed by the strong mountain sun. The kids spent some time on the playground, then checked out the Juniper Library, a community gem with free popcorn and kids crafts. The building is made of stone and soaring timber and the staff was super friendly with our daughters.

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Japan needs a lot more tech workers. Can it find a place for women?

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Japan needs a lot more tech workers. Can it find a place for women?

By Malcolm Foster, The New York Times Company

TOKYO — If Anna Matsumoto had listened to her teachers, she would have kept her inquisitive mind to herself — asking questions, they told her, interrupted class. And when, at age 15, she had to choose a course of study in her Japanese high school, she would have avoided science, a track that her male teachers said was difficult for girls.

Instead, Matsumoto plans to become an engineer. Japan could use a lot more young women like her.

Despite its tech-savvy image and economic heft, the country is a digital laggard, with a traditional paperbound office culture where fax machines and personal seals known as hanko remain common. The pandemic has reinforced the urgent need to modernize, accelerating a digital transformation effort promoted by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, including the opening Wednesday of a new Digital Agency intended to improve the government’s notoriously balky online services.

To narrow the gap, Japan must address a severe shortage of technology workers and engineering students, a deficit made worse by the near absence of women. In the university programs that produce workers in these fields, Japan has some of the lowest percentages of women in the developed world, according to UNESCO data. It also has among the smallest shares of women doing research in science and technology.

Improving the situation will depend in part on whether Japanese society can be nudged away from the mindset that tech is a strictly male domain. It’s an attitude reinforced in comic books and TV shows and perpetuated in some households, where parents worry that daughters who become scientists or engineers will not get married.

As Matsumoto sees it, keeping women out of technology is wasteful and illogical. “Half the world’s population is women,” said Matsumoto, 18, who will attend Stanford University this fall and intends to study human-computer interaction. “If only men are changing the world, that’s so inefficient.”

With its shrinking, graying population and declining workforce, Japan has little room to squander any of its talent.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry projects a shortfall of 450,000 information technology professionals in Japan by 2030. It has likened the situation to a “digital cliff” looming before the world’s third-largest economy.

In the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking compiled by the International Institute for Management Development, Japan ranks 27th globally and seventh in Asia, behind countries like Singapore, China and South Korea.

Japan’s new digital push could offer an opportunity to elevate its women. But it could also leave them further behind.

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Victorian bed and breakfast in Denver hits market for $4 million

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Victorian bed and breakfast in Denver hits market for $4 million

Milan Doshi had initially planned to sell The Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast after 10 years when he purchased it with his parents in 2008.

But 2018 came and went, and he said he didn’t have the heart to let it go.

“When we crossed that 10-year threshold, business was great as far as sales and repeat customers, and I really still enjoyed it, and still do to this day,” Doshi said. “So, we kept plugging away.”

Fast forward three years later, and the Doshi family is finally ready to sell the historic bed and breakfast, which is a nationally registered landmark, at 2147-2151 Tremont Place across the street from Benedict Fountain Park in Five Points. This week, they listed the property for $4 million.

Lily O’Neill, BusinessDen

Milan Doshi, owner of The Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast, has put the property and business up for sale for $4 million.

“It was my legacy to run this place for the years that I did, but it feels like it’s time for that next chapter,” Doshi said. “We’re not in a desperate situation like last year when there were a lot of question marks surrounding what the market would look like. It’s back in a place where whoever wants to take this property over, whether to run the bed and breakfast or not, there’s so much potential. If there’s another mission someone else has for that space, then it might be that time, too.”

Doshi purchased the 13-unit bed and breakfast with his parents Arvind and Bharti in 2008 for around $1.4 million, according to property records. He operated the business over the last 13 years and his parents provided financial support.

Doshi said the bed and breakfast has seen 90 percent occupancy since reopening for full capacity in May this year after the pandemic. He plans to keep operating until he finds a new buyer.

Growing up, his parents owned a group of commercial hotels across southern Missouri, where Doshi is from, and they wanted to find another hospitality investment, but one that was more community-centric this time.

The Augusta Tabor room

Provided by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

The home was built for Augusta Tabor’s brother, and her wake was later held there. This room is inspired by her.

“We looked at about 150 properties across the country before closing on The Queen Anne,” Doshi said. “The idea was trying to find the right community for this anti-franchise business model, where we’re mindful of where we source our food from, have a deeper connection with the people around us and make sure those who stay at our establishment feel they’re staying at a place that’s a better representation of the city, rather than another cookie-cutter hotel.”

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In northern Colorado’s strained hospitals, ongoing COVID fight is “three-dimensional chess, all day every day”

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In northern Colorado’s strained hospitals, ongoing COVID fight is “three-dimensional chess, all day every day”

If the previous waves of COVID-19 in Colorado were a sprint, the current “high plateau” the state is experiencing is like trying to run a marathon at close to a full sprint, hospital leaders in Larimer County said.

This week, Larimer became the second county along the Front Range to reinstate an indoor mask mandate in an effort to reduce the burden on hospitals whose intensive-care units already were full. Boulder County had reinstated its mandate in early September.

Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales briefed Loveland City Council members Tuesday, telling them he had hoped the era of mask mandates was over, but with hospitals at or above capacity for at least six weeks and the pace of new vaccinations slowing down to fewer than 100 per day, the county was out of options.

Hospitals in the county are putting two patients in ICU rooms designed for one, and less severely ill patients are stuck waiting in emergency rooms for beds to open somewhere, he said.

“What I saw (visiting in September) was what I saw back in December,” he said.

About 16% of people currently hospitalized in Colorado are residents of Larimer or Weld counties, though only about 12% of the population lives there, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Thursday.

Hospital capacity is especially strained in northern Colorado, but it’s been a growing issue statewide, with COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing since late July. This week they reached a level — 1,132 confirmed patients — not seen since Christmas as only about 120 intensive-care beds were available statewide. Nearly 80% of COVID-19 patients in Colorado hospitals are unvaccinated.

As of Friday, 100 people were in Larimer County hospitals with COVID-19, as intensive-care units expand to care for more patients than their normal capacity. At the previous worst point, in early December, 122 people were hospitalized in Larimer County with COVID-19, according to the county health department.

In some ways, the situation is worse than it was in December, said Dr. Steven Loecke, chief medical officer at Banner Health. Hospitalizations rose and fell quickly in previous waves, whereas the current “high plateau” has lasted for weeks. The leaders of the nursing team are meeting four times a day to try to find beds for everyone and staff to take care of them, he said.

“It’s three-dimensional chess, all day every day,” he said.

Frontline staff are tired and emotionally drained this far into the pandemic, especially now that so many of their patients are people young enough to have children at home, said Margo Karsten, CEO of Banner Health’s northern Colorado region, which includes Banner Fort Collins Medical Center and McKee Medical Center in Loveland.

Hospital leaders are also worn out from managing a long surge, she said.

“Over the last nine weeks, none of them (the nursing and medical leaders) have gotten a full night’s sleep,” she said. “They’re on call, 24-7, managing the pandemic.”

Despite the perception that Colorado hospitals are being overrun by out-of-state transfers, that’s not the case, Karsten said. The vast majority of patients in the Larimer County hospitals are from northern Colorado, with transferred patients in the single digits, she said at the council meeting on Tuesday.

COVID “just part of the story”

Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, said the two hospitals have postponed non-emergency surgeries for the past nine weeks because they don’t have intensive-care beds available if a patient needs one while recovering. The average non-COVID patient stays in the hospital about three days, while COVID-19 patients who don’t need intensive care stay five to six days. The sickest COVID-19 patients can stay 25 days or longer, he said.

“That’s where we’re starting to get into trouble,” he said. “We’re not able to turn those beds over.”

Unger said COVID-19 patients are using about half of the intensive-care beds in UCHealth’s northern Colorado hospitals, which is a problem because hospitals also have to treat people who’ve had accidents, heart attacks or severe cases of another virus.

“The COVID volume is just part of the story,” he said.

It’s not just a Larimer County problem, said Dr. Diana Breyer, chief quality officer of UCHealth’s northern Colorado hospitals. Systemwide, UCHealth had 311 COVID-19 patients as of Friday, which is about the same number as in late December 2020.

“We’ve been at this since August,” she said. “We are full everywhere.”

The UCHealth hospitals have started using a “team” approach, where nurses without ICU training work under a specialized nurse, helping with routine tasks like managing catheters and repositioning patients to prevent bedsores, Breyer said. They had done that to extend staff in previous surges, she said.

Some hospitals have started putting intensive-care patients into rooms on the “progressive care unit,” which is designed to be a step-down phase between the ICU and an ordinary floor, Breyer said. Since those rooms are set up with the equipment needed in an intensive-care unit, the main difference is bringing in more staff to handle less-stable patients, she said.

“It’s a long haul”

This wave has been particularly difficult for staff, both because it has lasted two months and because the general public doesn’t seem to understand how dire the situation is, Breyer said.

“It’s not just a sprint, where everyone chips in and we get through it,” she said. “Everyone’s chipping in, but it’s a long haul.”

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