ATM:Crested Butte hopes to see fewer ursine
CRESTED BUTTE – Town officials in Crested Butte have adopted several measures intended to make the town less attractive to bears. Trash can be placed outside from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only on days of scheduled pickup, unless in bear-resistant containers. The town council set aside $80,000 in its budget to purchase bear-resistant containers. Bird feeders ware allowed, reports the Crested Butte News, but only when suspended so as to be inaccessible to bears.Similar measures in Colorado resort towns were first introduced by Snowmass Village, and since then have been adopted in Aspen, Vail, and Steamboat Springs. The town of Mt. Crested Butte, which is located adjacent to the ski slopes, is considering similar measures.Jackson refuses ban on public smokingJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – The Jackson Town Council has refused to enact a ban on smoking in public places. The proposal would have included not only businesses, but also all parks and outdoor facilities such as baseball fields, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide.Councillor Meilissa Turley said she “votes with her feet” by not patronizing the three remaining bars in Teton County that still allow smoking. No restaurants allow smoking.Larry Hartnett told councilors it’s also a matter of principles. “I am not a smoker, and I don’t like going into places where there is smoke, but one thing I am particularly fond of is freedom,” he told the council.The Teton County Board of Public Health is mulling the idea of classifying tobacco smoke as a toxic substance. The legality of that declaration is being explored.Grand Lake continues work on evac planningGRAND LAKE – Cloaked in a blanket of lodgepole pines, Grand Lake is painfully vulnerable to the potential for catastrophic forest fires. With half or more of those trees now dead or drying, the result of an epidemic of bark beetles, the local fire department has assembled an evacuation plan.But problems remain. One is access. The only paved road is Highway 34, which extends from Granby and then continues into Rocky Mountain National Park, and that road is lined with tall and dead — trees. In response, the Colorado Department of Transportation has appropriated $1 million to cut the trees, beginning after Labor Day. The other problem, explains the Sky-Hi News, is figuring out how to alert resident and visitors if the area is to be evacuated. Many people now use cell phone exclusively, and there is no way yet to supply a reverse 911 to cell phones. Fire chief Mike Long says methods of alerting people are being explored.Naming rights for gondola up for bidWHISTLER, B.C. – Sports stadiums have the names of corporate sponsors, so why shouldn’t ski gondolas? That’s the thinking at Whistler, where ski area operator Intrawest has retained a company to find a sponsor for the $51 million gondola that will bridge the Whistler and Blackcomb ski areas, setting several records for length and height in the process.”In our mind, the Peak to Peak Gondola will be recognized as an engineering marvel and a true landmark, much like a Golden Gate Bridge or CN Tower,” said Brad Pelletier, vice president and managing director of IMG Canada, the firm hired to find a sponsor.Ginn Co. promises to keep night skies darkMINTURN – The Ginn Co. promises it will minimize lighting if it gets approval to build 1,700 housing units, plus a golf course and a small ski area. The project location is between the towns of Minturn and Red Cliff, on the southwest side of the Vail ski area.Ginn Co. officials tell the Vail Daily that state-of-the-art lighting fixtures would focus the light toward the ground, and computers would be programmed to limit the amount of that time that light shines from homes. “People come to Colorado for the environment, and we want them to be able to see the stars,” said company spokesman Cliff Thompson.Nancy Clanton, a lighting designer from Boulder, says development is compatible with dark skies. She cited Bachelor Gulch, located at Beaver Creek, as an example of how dark skies can be preserved.Real estate taking a breather in DurangoDURANGO – Falling real estate prices in the major metropolitan areas are starting to affect the market for housing in Durango and La Plata County. The Durango Area Association of Realtors reports the median price of homes sold there dropped 1 percent in the year’s first quarter.Don Ricedorff, a real estate broker at The Wells Group in Durango, told the Durango Herald that the local market was being influenced by weakening markets in Phoenix, Southern California and other places. Many homebuyers must sell their houses elsewhere before buying in Durango, he explained.Real-estate brokers believe that prices will soon begin marching upward again, partly because of more restrictive development policies expected of new city and county officials.County government lays off 22 employeesPAGOSA SPRINGS – Officials in Archuleta County have laid off 22 employees in an effort to balance the books. In addition, 17 county employees have agreed to take lesser salaries or work fewer hours. One county commissioner gave up 20 percent of her pay, and the other two commissioners forfeited all of their salaries. The Durango Herald explains that the county government has spent more money than it has gained in revenues every year since 1999. The county administrator told the paper the crisis was the results of frequent turnover among administrators, an inflated payroll, and lower-than-expected sales-tax revenue. Last month, the county was forced to obtain a $500,000 lien of credit from a local bank to help cover payroll and other expenses. One of the laid-off employees, Sam Matthews, accused former county officials of “deficit-spending like drunken sailors.”Steamboat exploring sustainability planningSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Members of a “green team” within the Steamboat Springs city government are asking for a full-time sustainability coordination. The cost of the proposition position is $80,000 to $1000,000 per year.The new employee’s duties if approved by the city council will include implementing the city’s new sustainability management plan. The Steamboat Pilot & Today notes a “momentum for conservation and energy-efficiency efforts” in Steamboat.That momentum was reflected in a two-day conference, called “The Economics of Sustainability,” which was hosted by the economic development arm of the local chamber of commerce. Speakers talked about sustainable tourism, renewable energy, and green-building techniques.Among the speakers was Auden Schendler, the executive director of community and environmental responsibility for the Aspen Skiing Co. He recounted his efforts to “green” the company through efforts large and small. Ultimately, he said, resorts have a duty to be advocates of change in the face of increasing accumulations of greenhouse gases.Revelstoke company consolidates operationsREVELSTOKE, B.C. – Developers of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort have purchased Selkirk Tangiers Heli-skiing. The Revelstoke Times Review notes that the company has also acquired CAT Powder Skiing, the main cat-skiing operation in the area.
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