Around the Mountains: Steamboat Resort mistakenly sends out spreadsheet with personal information
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. mistakenly sent out an e-mail to an unspecified number of people that contained a spreadsheet. The contents of that spreadsheet contained addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for 399 customers, although no credit card numbers.The ski company was hard at work doing damage control, contacting each of the 399 customers, but did not immediately know what else may be done. One Steamboat Springs resident who is an expert on identity theft, told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that the ski company might consider offering a year of credit-monitoring to the individuals whose private information was inadvertently disclosed.Something new is also something old in GranbyGRANBY – Another case of forward into the past is being reported in Granby, where a drab building from the 1940s has a new face but a face modeled upon an even older time, during the 1900s.The builder, Les Watkins, studied old mining towns of Colorado, and at last decided he liked a building façade from the Old West replica of South Park City, located at Fairplay. He then obtained recycled 150-year-old wood from Nova Scotia to create the old-timey facade on the building, which is to be used for offices.Granby’s origins are more recent. The flash of mining wealth that yielded Aspen, Telluride, and Breckenridge with their gaudy Victorian cuteness missed the Granby area, which sprang to life as a railroad and ranch supply center in 1904. However, it never had the wealth that accumulated in Steamboat Springs, a similar town but about 120 miles farther along the same tracks in the more temperate Yampa Valley.Monitoring suspects power plant pollutionDURANGO – Potentially dangerous levels of mercury have been measured in predatory fish in the Pine River and Vallecito Reservoir. The river forms in the San Juan Mountains northeast of Durango and flows into the reservoir.Activists believe, but cannot say for sure, that the mercury is coming from coal-burning power plants in the Four Corners area. Josh Joswick, who looks after energy issues for the San Juan Citizens Alliance, points out that of the lakes in Colorado where state health officials have posted mercury warnings, a preponderance of them are clustered in southwestern Colorado downwind from the power plants. “That might be anecdotal, but it seems to me that there is something that needs to be watched there.”The Durango Herald says La Plata County commissioners have approved spending $25,000 to monitor the mercury and also the weather at Vallecito. Partly at issue is the potential for another coal-fired plant, called Desert Rock, located 60 miles away at Shiprock, N.M. But with a new California law sharply limiting new electricity supplies from coal-fired plants, the market for electricity from the plant is uncertain.Carbondale studying alternatives to big boxesCARBONDALE – Town trustees in Carbondale, located 30 miles downvalley from Aspen, continue to chew on alternatives to a big-box retailer. Among the ideas they’ve discussed is a cap of 60,000 square feet on stores.Still, they’re being courted by big-box retailers, among them The Home Depot. Company representatives will speak to the town board on Feb. 27, and presumably will predict a fortune in sales tax revenues.But Carbondale residents in a vote two years ago rejected one plan for a big-box retailer, fearing eventual homogenization of the town. Despite one of the prettiest settings of any resort valley in the West, it still has the feel and looks of the old potato-farming and coal-mining town that it once was.To bolster their case, those citizens have recruited Michael Shuman, an economist and attorney, who coined the phrase “small-mart revolution.” In this obvious play on words, he argues that local communities need not be reactive, but can aggressively create a more long-lasting healthy economy. To do this, he encourages they create malls anchored by local businesses, not by national retailers.In the case of Carbondale, he suggests the town buy the land in question, 25 acres, even if the price in question is well in excess of $8 million. “I’m suggesting that you just buy the land and other private entrepreneurs come in and decide how to use the land. Nobody is going to lose their shorts buying land in Carbondale,” he says.Why are local retailers better than national franchises? Schurman, an economist, argues an economic one: Only 10 to 15 percent of the revenue stream from a typical chain store goes back onto the community, compared to 30 to 40 percent for a locally owned and operated store.Jackson entertaining 46-foot-tall buildingJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – A four-story building proposed for the town square is before town officials in Jackson. The building would be 46 feet high altogether, but with the top floor stepped back, to avoid the full effect of the height. A mix of retail and residential is planned, including a large measure of affordable housing.Jackson town officials have been embracing density in the downtown core, partly as a way to avoid sprawl. But town residents have been less welcoming of building configurations that many believe belong in cities which many have fled. Some residents equate taller buildings with the loss of community character, explains the Jackson Hole News&Guide.Director of sustainability now on Targhee payrollDRIGGS, Idaho – Grand Targhee, the small ski area nestled into the west side of the Teton Range, recently adopted a sustainability charter. The document defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to thrive. It has now hired a director of sustainable operations, in addition to a previously hired resort naturalist.Grand Targhee has been “greening” up in other ways as well, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide. Last year it offset 100 percent of its energy consumption through the purchase of renewable energy credits. It has also increased its solid waste recycling levels by 20 percent in the last four years.Exurban ranchettes have new restrictionsTAOS, N.M. – Owners of a 5,000-acre ranch on the outskirts of Taos are planning the typical high-end, low-density exurban development: lots 11 to 22 acres in size for those wanting to get intimate with nature.But The Taos News reports that the developer envisions something other than typical ranchettes. Proposed restrictions would mandate use of alternative energy systems, water catchments, and xeriscaping. No individual horse pastures and little fencing would be permitted, although a horse-boarding stable might be allowed in a common area.Canmore partially backs off higher taxCANMORE, Alberta – The Canmore council has backed off its plan to tax all second homes 30 percent more. Renters said that the tax unduly impacted them. As such, the higher property tax will be applied only to those second homes that are used primarily for vacations or weekends. Second homes used as rental properties will stay the same.The part-time population last year rose 27 percent, while the permanent population rose 1 percent. In Alberta, town governments depend upon appropriations from the provincial government, and the Alberta government does not recognize part-timers in its calculations.The Rocky Mountain Outlook praised the council for its reconsideration. “No council can be expected to provide good government when they are constantly jerking their collective knees in the face of criticism, but responding to one’s critics when they have a valid point is the right thing to do.”
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