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Mountain Town Roundup

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The song lyric “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” assumed new meaning last week for Beth Gilbertson of Salida when she unearthed an 8.66-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesburo, Ark.

Park interpreter Wayman Cox said Thursday Gilbertson found the nickel-size diamond late Tuesday as she helped park visitors learn how to search for the gems.

Cox said Gilbertson dug six buckets of dirt. She kept four for herself and gave two buckets to the visitors.

Using water, Gilbertson and the visitors washed their dirt through sifting screens, Cox said.

The instructor didn’t expect to find a diamond that big, Cox said, adding she started to discard it as a piece of glass.

“I find a lot of glass out there. It’s a habit to pick it out and throw it away,” Gilbertson said.

But as Gilbertson ran her finger over the object, she saw the unmistakable smooth, oily texture typical of diamonds and the lack of a sharp edge that would signify a glass shard.

Gilbertson said after she had it in her hand, she noticed the “distinctive silky feel. My brain couldn’t believe it.”

Realization the object wasn’t glass but was, in fact a diamond, prompted her decision to name it the Illusion Diamond.

Park interpreters describe Gilbertson as a “regular” who usually digs in a large trench called the West Drain. Diamond miners typically dig in low areas because heavy stones like diamonds settle, Cox said.

Tuesday, however, Gilbertson was digging an area dubbed “Beatty’s Hill,” for an “old regular” who, years ago, searched there for diamonds, Cox said.

He said she chose the hill because of recent rain and it was convenient for the visitors she was helping so they had a shorter route to carry dirt and gravel for sifting.

Usually, Cox said, one or two diamonds are found daily – usually about one-quarter carat. Visitors are usually realistic, he said, and don’t expect to find a diamond.

– Ericka Kastner/Mountain Mail

ASPEN – Pitkin County commissioners are reviewing whether they can regulate one problem that an Aspen-area resident says comes from her neighbor’s solar panels – glare.

The Aspen Times reports commissioners are reviewing proposed rules for development of solar power on homes and businesses but haven’t set a timetable for adopting any. One proposal would classify glare as a nuisance.

Sherri Spykerman says her neighbor placed solar panels on a sharply angled roof in 2007, leaving her family to stare into a blinding glare when the sun is low.

Commissioner Michael Owsley suggested the county could require that photovoltaic systems be adjustable.

Another proposal would limit the height of pole-mounted solar systems.

The commissioners said Wednesday they would take their time crafting final rules.

– The Associated Press

VAIL – While Nobuyuki Matsuhisa has dozens of his namesake Nobu restaurants around the world, his Matsuhisa restaurants can be found in just three cities – Aspen, Beverly Hills and Mykonos, Greece.

Now Vail will be added to that short list of exclusive restaurants – a sign in the window at Solaris shows Matsuhisa Vail LLC is applying for its Vail restaurant and liquor license and has a hearing scheduled for May 11, confirming rumors that have been circulating around town for months that the chef could soon open a restaurant in Vail.

Matsuhisa first arrived in the United States in 1987, when he opened his Los Angeles namesake restaurant Matsuhisa.

Zagat, the renowned restaurant review survey, calls Matsuhisa’s Los Angeles restaurant one of the most highly rated restaurants in the entire city. It’s where celebrities dine not just because they want to be seen there, but because the food is that good.

The Beverly Hills restaurant is tiny, and there’s always a long wait to get in, if you get in at all.

Matsuhisa, who moved to California from Peru, combines the South American country’s cuisine with Japanese cuisine. His Vail restaurant will take up the central restaurant space at Solaris, overlooking the public plaza with views of Vail Mountain.

Matsuhisa is scheduled to open this summer.

– Lauren Glendenning/Vail Daily


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