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Crested Butte bog claims draft horse

CRESTED BUTTE – A 1,700-pound Belgian draft horse somehow got stuck in a bog near Crested Butte, and arriving rescuers found all but a few inches of the horse’s head and shoulders were submerged.

There is, reports the Crested Butte News, some speculation that the horse had been in the bog 12 hours or more. It took just a few frantic hours to get the horse out on the afternoon of April 21.

First, rescuers dug around the bog to lower the water level. Then, after an unsuccessful effort to leverage the horse out of the mud using planks, they tied slings around the horse’s shoulders and belly and dragged it with a truck.



The horse, named Sparky, was so spent by the ordeal that it couldn’t stand and died several hours later, despite the efforts of a veterinarian called to the scene.



Ban on butts soon to include bars in Banff

BANFF, Alberta – For Banff businesses that currently allow smoking, Aug. 1 will be the cold-turkey day.

A new municipal ban authorizes several exemptions: Smoking will still be permitted in outdoor patios or decks where staff does not provide service, and smokers will be allowed to congregate in designated smoking rooms that are fully enclosed and ventilated, although they will not be serviced.

“As usual, when things are designed by a committee, it looks a bit like a camel,” observed the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Although generally supportive of the ban, the newspaper noted the hypocrisy of “forcing bars, which are in the business to peddle alcohol, to forbid their patrons from consuming another, equally harmful substance, tobacco.”

To that, ban supporters would no doubt note a difference. Heavy drinkers, unless they drive, are menaces only to themselves. Tobacco smoke, by its nature, knows no boundaries.

Much ado in Ketchum about Hemingway house

KETCHUM, Idaho – A proposal to allow public access into the Ketchum home where the author Ernest Hemingway committed suicide is drawing opposition.

Hemingway’s fourth and last wife, Mary, willed the house to the Nature Conservancy with the understanding that it not be open to the public, explains USA Today. But Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel, an actress, thinks that times have changed.

“It doesn’t have the same validity that it used to, worrying about whether he committed suicide,” she says.

“It’s a fact of life that he did. It’s part of the tremendous color of his existence.”

Hemingway began spending time at nearby Sun Valley in the 1930s when completing “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

He bought the house in 1959, and two years later, when he was 61, shot himself with a 12-gauge shot gun.

Among those opposing the opening of the house to the public are neighbors. The house is not currently identified. Doing so, say some, will cause a public distraction. “It’s a land-use issue, not a Hemingway issue,” says one neighbor.

But a Hemingway scholar from South Carolina told the newspaper that the neighborhoods have it backwards.

“It’s too bad about these people who don’t want the peasants parking in their streets,” said Matthew Bruccoli. “But the claims of literature override anything else.”

Other Hemingway homes, in Cuba and in the Keys of Florida, are already open to the public.

Tax-increment financing proposed for Steamboat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Several business and property owners at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area, including the ski area operator, are assembling a proposal to use tax-increment financing as a way of financing public improvements such as roads and pedestrian paths.

A similar but more ambitious plan was rejected in 1999, notes The Steamboat Pilot. That plan envisioned steering $150 million in property taxes back into improvements. This one, in a bar-napkin estimate, would divert $5 million to $10 million in tax money that would otherwise go to county and other property-taxing governments. School taxes, however, would be exempted.

Paul Hughes, Steamboat’s city manager, suggested city council members would be receptive to the proposal.


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