Man gets another hole in his head |

Man gets another hole in his head

TRUCKEE, Calif. – The construction accident was described as “horrific,” and the -ray printed in the Sierra Sun provides the testimony: An 18-inch long drill bit, an inch and a half in diameter, augered through a man’s skull.

The man, Ron Hunt, had been drilling while standing on a 6-foot-tall ladder. When the ladder wobbled, he lost his balance and threw the drill down. All of this apparently happens often enough at construction sites. What happened next does not.

Hunt fell down face-first onto the drill, which went through his right eye and out his skull just above his right ear. The bit managed to shove aside his brain, causing no apparent damage. Arriving at the hospital, he was telling jokes, a nephew told the newspaper.

“It didn’t seem possible for him to be alive, seeing him with a drill bit through his head,” the nephew said.

He lost his eye, but he’s getting titanium plates installed inside his head. Alas, while he had insurance, on this particular job he was listed as a sub-contractor, and hence was not covered.

New twist in mountain biking is a very old one

DURANGO – The world of mountain biking continues to surge ahead into the brave new world of air-loaded, spring-oiled, titanium-forged, ultra-lightweight technology. But in Durango there’s a small but articulate community of those who like to keep it simple. They are, reports the Durango Telegraph (Aug. 15), the single-speeders.

“I love how quiet it is,” said the owner of Durango Cyclery, Russell Zimmerman. “No chatter, no clatter.”

John Bailey, a bike mechanic, also favors the simplicity of a single speed. A regular on the extreme adventure racing circuit, he says that riding single speed helps riders improve and concentrate on form. “It teaches great technique,” he said. “You learn to work the terrain.”

While some single-speeders are using their antique bicycles, manufacturers are also introducing the no-frills models as well as conversion kits.

Architect seeing mining trails as bike/hike paths

SILVERTON – San Juan County, where Silverton is located, is crisscrossed with 750 miles of four-wheel-drive roads plus easily as many trails that lead to the thousands of mines and prospector holes. Now, some are looking at this backcountry network and wondering if Silverton won’t become the Moab of the high country.

The visionary here is John Carroll, a landscape architect who has lived in Silverton on and off for the past 12 years. A graduate of Auburn University in Alabama, he came to Silverton to measure the impacts of development on biodiversity. But seeing the trail system, he realized how accessible it made the backcountry.

He thinks quantifying and then mapping those trails will induce broader use of what is described as some of the most extreme hiking and mountain biking in the region. The Durango Telegraph (Aug. 14) says you can have your cake and eat it, too – this is economic development for the down-on-its-luck mining town of Silverton, but development with a benign environmental impact.

Sacramento pollution blows over the Lake Tahoe Basin

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Pollution from Sacramento, which has the fifth worst air quality of any metropolitan area in the nation, is reaching Lake Tahoe, about 100 miles to the east. However, scientists aren’t sure if it’s enough to damage the lake or cause health problems in people.

Evidence of the pollution is found in at least two ways, explains the Tahoe Daily Tribune (Aug. 28). Mercury has been found in lake-bed sediments, despite the absence of activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin that could have put it there. Scientists assume the mercury was air borne.

Second, ozone generated by day in California’s Central Valley, where Sacramento is located, blows by night across Lake Tahoe, at strongest concentrations 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the lake.

“As far as we know, it’s not polluting the lake, and it’s not having a big impact on people,” said Tom Cahill, a professor of atmospheric science and physics at the University of California-Davis. “But it is a cautionary tale, because it shows how efficiently ozone can be transported.”

The majority of pollution in Lake Tahoe Basin is locally generated, by either wood-burning stoves or diesel engines.

“Shadow population’ now 18 percent of Canmore

CANMORE, Alberta – In most places they’re called second-home owners. Others prefer “non-resident property owners.” But in Canmore, the non-permanent residents are called the “shadow” population.

This shadow population has been growing steadily and substantially, and now represents 18 percent of the town’s overall population of 14,221. This growth, say Canmore officials, has many and varied effects.

“The social fabric of the town is impacted, and that probably takes an essay to define and touch on all of the nuances,” the town’s chief administrative officer, Bert Dyck, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook (Aug. 28).

Mayor Glen Craig said he was surprised the shadow population hadn’t grown more rapidly, given how much newly constructed housing is marketed to out-of-towners. As in the U.S., there’s a broad expectation that many of today’s part-timers will become full-timers in the future.

Five or six communities all residing in one town

ASPEN – “A sense of community” is an often-used phrase in many mountain towns. But when five former mayors of Aspen were asked about what “community” means in the Aspen context, they seemed to agree there are several.

“I think there are five or six communities in Aspen, and somehow they manage to stick it out,” said Eve Homeyer, who was mayor from 1970 to 1973.

The former mayors, reported The Aspen Times (Aug. 21), agreed that the people in Aspen who are there for classical music may share very few interests with the extreme athletes, “but nonetheless share a deep sense of appreciation for the place.”

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