Mountain town roundup: Aspen Time Tube mystery
ASPEN – The grounds of the Aspen Institute and Aspen Music Festival have welcomed the world’s leading thinkers, innovators and problem solvers, but one campus mystery has some great minds stumped.On a cool June day under cloudy skies 27 years ago, a host of locals gathered for the ceremonial burial of the Aspen Time Tube in conjunction with the International Design Conference.As reported in The Aspen Times on June 23, 1983, the capsule was stuffed with a mix of relics from the time – an eight-track recording of The Moody Blues, a Sears Roebuck catalog, a June 1983 copy of Vogue Magazine and a Rubik’s Cube, among other things.The late Nick DeWolf, the eccentric genius behind the dancing fountain in the Mill Street mall, also left its secret plans in the capsule. Architect Harry Teague’s contribution wasn’t as extravagant: a six-pack of beer for the “hot and sweaty” diggers who would uncover the capsule.But that moment has yet to arrive. In fact, the capsule was supposed to be ceremoniously unearthed in June 2000. The event was to be attended by the mayor of Aspen, who would deliver a proclamation as well.Tick tock, tick tock. Ten years later, time keeps passing for the capsule, and for a fairly simple reason: No one knows precisely where it’s buried.”I know in the general area where it is,” Teague recently said. “But if we want to find it we need to know exactly where it is.”Permission was needed from the Institute when the capsule was buried, because the Institute owned the Music Festival grounds at the time. Now the Music Festival owns it.”The grounds now belong to the Music Festival and they don’t want us digging around all over there,” Teague noted. “We need to know right where it is.”Much has changed at the area that’s home to the Institute, Music Festival, Aspen Meadows and the Aspen Center for Physics.In 1983 Harris Concert Hall, designed by Teague, was erected. The Benedict Music Tent, also a Teague creation, was built in 2000.Because of those changes, some markers for the time capsule might have been removed or relocated, making it even more difficult to pinpoint the location.- The Aspen Times
CRESTED BUTTE – An abundance of police will be in Gunnison and Crested Butte the last week of July but even more motorcyclists will be roaming the highways and streets in town. Local law enforcement is preparing for the arrival of hundreds of Hells Angels to the valley at the end of July. Crested Butte chief marshal Tom Martin gave the Town Council an overview of the situation last week, and he told them to expect about 200 police officers, 500 motorcyclists in the county and up to about $8,000 in expenses to the town during the motorcycle club’s U.S.A. Run.The Hells Angels are holding the rally between July 27 and August 1. Gunnison will be the main gathering place, with both the Days Inn and the Affordable Inn (the former Tomichi Village) booked up by the Angels. At a similar rally in 2002, some of the motorcyclists found their way up to Crested Butte.”The last time they came here they discovered Crested Butte at the end of the week and we had probably 40 to 50 of them in town on Saturday,” Martin said. “But we also had chip-and-seal road work going on Highway 135 and that deterred a lot of them from coming up here. This year we are expecting between 350 and 500 members of the Hell’s Angels, along with their entourage. There aren’t rooms booked up here from them but we expect we will see them.”Martin said that while there were few problems with the motorcyclists in 2002, he felt that was due in large part to the fact there was a large law enforcement presence. “In 2009 the run was held in Minnesota and there was a large police presence. There weren’t many problems. In 2008, it was held in Arkansas and the police took a laid-back approach resulting in more major incidents. We want to be prepared from the start.”We had heard that when they came here in 2002 that they were bored,” Martin continued. “They told us it was too cold, there weren’t any strip clubs or casinos and there wasn’t much for them to do. We were surprised to hear they were coming back. But apparently they are.”Martin said all local law enforcement officers would be on duty during the rally. – The Crested Butte News
Vail – Timber Ridge developer Darren Woody is finding out quickly that the town of Vail’s processes can drag on for longer than anticipated.Woody, of Texas-based C.F. Jordan Construction Services and the managing partner of Vail Timber Ridge LLC, the developer, said the town of Vail’s staff has been really helpful in leading the development team through the process. He feels like the project is getting closer to becoming a reality.”It has taken longer than I’m used to,” Woody said. “It’s part of a process, though, and at the end of the day I think we’re going to have a good product that will satisfy all the stakeholders’ needs.”The town of Vail bought Timber Ridge for $20 million in 2003 to preserve the property’s deed-restricted employee housing designation, and also with the intention of getting the property redeveloped. The town established the TImber Ridge Affordable Housing Corporation to operate and manage the property. Town Manager Stan Zemler serves as the president of that corporation.The project passed through the Planning and Environmental Commission and is now in the Design Review Board process. The Design Review Board plays a critical role in the approval process, as the board evaluates the application for compliance with the town’s architectural standards, said Community Development Director George Ruther.The Design Review Board looks for whether the building fits into the surrounding landscape and topography. The board determines if building materials and colors are acceptable – an authority that has caused much of the delays in the Timber Ridge approval process.”It really had to do with choices of building materials,” Woody said. “We wanted to use certain types of materials than they would like us to use. I think the end result is slightly more expensive, but a very good looking building.”The $60 million redevelopment means the eastern portion of the 10-acre Timber Ridge property will be demolished and rebuilt into 360 employee housing units, a five-story parking garage, clubhouse and fitness center.Ruther said he believes the Design Review Board is now generally comfortable with the architectural design of the proposed building, including the types of materials being proposed now.- The Vail Daily
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Steamboat Lake State Park reopened its swim beach Sunday after test results from a Friday sample showed E. coli levels that a park ranger called essentially zero. Senior Ranger Brent Lounsbury said Sunday morning that the results from Quality-Water Bio-Lab in Broomfield showed drastically reduced levels of E. coli bacteria, the presence of which closed the park’s swim beach Friday and Saturday.”The technician I spoke with advised that a spike with a rapid drop-off is typical. He said that the bacteria does not survive well in cold,” Lounsbury wrote in an e-mail. “While it remains a mystery as to what the source of the bacteria was, whether it was upstream or on the park, our swim beach is now 100 percent safe.”Friday, Lounsbury said the E. coli level was slightly above the limit that requires closure of the beach as a safety precaution. The park in North Routt County tests the water weekly for the bacteria, and twice a week on peak summer weekends, he said.Park Ranger Matthew Schuler said in an e-mail that the park is required to close the swim beach when E. coli densities reach 235 organisms per 100 milliliters. Park officials tested the water Wednesday and were notified Friday that E. coli levels were at 251.3. The lake is typically at less than one or zero, Schuler wrote.- The Steamboat Pilot and Today
DENVER – A wildfire is still burning in a heavily wooded part of Rocky Mountain National Park but hasn’t expanded its boundaries much.Fire managers on Monday estimated that the fire was burning on about 888 acres. That’s down from the 1,500 acres they estimated before mapping flights were done.The park remains open but two trails have been closed to make way for equipment and firefighters. Cow Creek Trial and North Boundary Trail are closed as is McGraw Ranch Road.Lightning is believed to have sparked the fire, which was reported Wednesday.In southern Colorado, a fire in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has burned 5,440 acres. Firefighters say higher humidity over the weekend helped hold down growth.- The Associated Press
ASPEN – Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley enjoyed nearly two straight weeks of sunshine heading into the work week. That means fire danger is on the rise.Fire danger in the Aspen area remains moderate, according to Fire Chief Darryl Grob, but at lower elevations, the danger tends to mount more quickly.Scott Thompson, Basalt fire chief, said the danger in the midvalley was high on Friday, and had been for about a week.”I get nervous when it starts pushing into the extreme,” he said.Still, Basalt firefighters were called to douse a grass fire in the Willits area Thursday that spread quickly even though vegetation was still green, Thompson said.With the July 4 holiday nearing, the use of fireworks can escalate the risk of grass and brush fires.”People need to let the professionals play with the fireworks,” Thompson advised.Grob said he’ll be monitoring conditions on a daily basis this week, and has asked the Aspen Skiing Co. to begin watering the lower slopes of Aspen Mountain in preparation for the town’s Fourth of July fireworks display.- The Aspen Times
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