ATM: City of Aspen hopes to walk its ambitious Canary talk
ASPEN – Can you have your cake and eat it, too? That’s the task for budding technologists in Aspen, where town officials are trying to achieve a balance in their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases while also preserving amenities of a modern resort.Among those amenities is a hearth located in an outdoor downtown mall. Designed to resemble a bonfire, it is fueled by natural gas. As such, it produces a significant amount of greenhouse gases – although a trifle when compared to the jet planes that are at the foundation for Aspen’s economy. Still, through its Canary Initiative program, Aspen has vowed to reduce its greenhouse gases.Still, the hearth is a symbol, and so city officials have issued a challenge to the public to come up with a design for a hearth that emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to provide a “quality experience.” A cash price of $500 plus a $450 gift certificate toward purchase of an energy-efficient home appliance is being offered to the winning design.Teva Games hitting a sweet marketing sport VAIL – The Teva Games, Vail’s answer to the X Games held in Aspen, was held for five days during the last week. While kayakers were shooting down some of the steepest, most difficult rapids in the West, the numbers were also impressive: some 1,600 athletes, an expected attendance of 30,000, and prize money of $100,000.The event began as a Memorial Day kayak festival in Minturn, around the corner from Vail, but was transformed into an early-June event called Teva Mountain Games. Teva wanted to peddle sandals, and Vail wanted a big spring event, broader than just kayaking. Organizers, explains the Vail Daily, target 21- to 45-year-old “weekend warriors” with household incomes of $90,000 or more. Joel Heath, whose company, Untraditional Marketing, organizes and promotes the event, says that’s a coveted demographic for advertisers. “We’re definitely in a sweet spot now for a lot of brands.”While Heath maintains the festival remains true to its roots, Teva marketing executive Adam Druckman acknowledges a “constant worry” of creating an event that is so heavily commercialized it is shunned by competitors. He noted similar concerns about commercialization of the X Games.Vail ‘neighborhood’ project accepted into LEED programVAIL – A $1 billion slope-side real estate project called Ever Vail has been accepted into a pilot neighborhoods’ program under the aegis of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Rob Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, the developer, said the company will seek a silver designation, which is the second highest of four potential designations. The project is scheduled to start in 2009, although it must first get town approvals.Teton County reverses ban on body piercingsJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Teton County has lifted its ban on tongue and genital piercings. Teton County Public Board of Health members were persuaded that the ban might have an unintended consequence of sending customers to back-door practitioners who are less likely to do the job right, leading to infections.”Piercing is here to stay,” said Susan Woodward, owner of a shop called Sub-Urban Tattoo. “We want regulations that will protect our community.” The state, however, has no licensing or training program for piercers, and neither does the county.Meanwhile, advocates of completely smoke-free communities have vowed to continue to press local officials to mandate a ban on public smoking. Jackson town officials recently refused to enact a ban, and a similar effort failed in broader Teton County. Julia Heemstra, program manager for the Teton County Anti-Tobacco Coalition, said she believes getting a total ban will “be much more a marathon than a sprint.”Why the ban matters isn’t clear. Only two businesses in both the town and county will still allow smoking after mid-June.Starwood buys hotel at Steamboat ski areaSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Not unexpectedly, Starwood has expanded its grip at the Steamboat ski area. Earlier this year Starwood, operating through its subsidiary, Intrawest, bought the ski area for $265 million. Now, it has purchased the 315-room Sheraton hotel at the ski area base for $57 million. In addition, several key base-area parcels were sold earlier this year at a cost of $43.9 million. This comes as Steamboat begins redevelopment of its base area, which largely dates to the 1970s. Neck-tied editor visits Cheney in WashingtonWASHINGTON D.C. – An old saw of mountain towns is that suits and ties are worn only at weddings or funerals. Anybody otherwise caught in such uncomfortable clothing is a traveling salesman or lawyer, or at the very least an eccentric character.But Thomas Dewell, co-editor of the Jackson Hole News & Guide, got his suit out for business recently when he visited the office of Jackson Hole’s most famous resident non-resident, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.Dewell had 15 minutes to chat with Cheney about war in the Middle East, energy extraction in Wyoming, and global warming. While born and reared in Wyoming, Cheney has spent most of the last 40 years in Washington. He maintains his primary residence in Jackson Hole.The newspaper also snagged an interview with Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives. As a Democrat, she is a leading critic of the Republican administration. Still, author and musician John Byrne Cook said he said he felt like disinfecting his hands after reading the interview with Cheney. “It’s about time the News & Guide showed some editorial guts and stated its position on this carpetbagging disgrace to Wyoming and the United States….” he said in a letter published the following week.
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