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Utes accused of not playing fairly

CORTEZ – Across the West, there’s lingering friction between Indians who have been aggressively developing businesses, particularly casinos, and other, European-based peoples. In Eldorado County, Calif., county officials are threatening to take action against a casino being built by Indians that could compete with casinos at nearby Lake Tahoe. Meanwhile, in Alberta’s Bow River Valley, a tribe is also planning a casino, although no particular friction seems to be present.

At the Four Corners, this friction has become evident in funding for an interpretative center planned where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. Congress has allocated half of the $4 million cost, provided each state chips in $500,000. Only Colorado has not.

In Colorado, reports the Durango Herald (May 29 and 31), state legislators want the Ute Mountain Ute tribe to pay $200,000, but the tribe doesn’t seem to want to. Now, a state legislator from that area is withdrawing his support. “The tribe is wanting the state to contribute, yet they’re not wanting to contribute to the state,” said State Rep. Tony Larson.



Larson accuses the Utes, who have a casino, RV, and truck stop, of not playing fairly. He is unhappy that the Utes don’t pay state sales taxes (nor are they required to), and he accuses them of “predatory practices targeting local non-

reservation businesses.”



To wit, the tribe offers free meals to truck drivers to attract them to its truck stop. Larson, a Republican says his complaint has nothing to do with the truck stop, located 10 miles away, that he owned until last year.

The Utes don’t deny that they get some preferential treatment by the U.S. government as a result of their semi-

sovereign status, but they argue that they attract tourists who benefit the businesses of their Anglo and Hispanic neighbors. As for predatory business practices, they say they’re doing nothing out of the ordinary.

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Second home market strong

BANFF, Alberta – Housing prices in Canmore are soaring, while up valley in Banff, the slumping real estate market is slowly beginning to recover.

Banff’s slump was attributed to an oversupply created by the Banff Housing Corporation. Also, because it is within Banff National Park, Parks Canada requires that people who own homes in Banff must live in them more or less year round.

With Banff off-limits to second-home investors, many are buying down-valley at Canmore, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook (May 22). One real estate agent thinks that about half the purchasers of single-family homes are second home buyers. Prices have increased anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000 ($22,000 to $54,000 U.S.) during the past 12 months. In areas, such as the exclusive SilverTip neighborhood, the asking price for single-family homes have hit $2 million ($1.4 million U.S.).

The usual reasons are given for this hot market: urban escape, lifestyle, and a safer place to invest than the stock market.

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Seeds sown for cloud-seeding

CRESTED BUTTE, – Livestock growers, water districts, and others in the Crested Butte-Gunnison area have found religion.

After last year’s drought, they invested $75,000 in a cloud-

seeding operation for this past winter. Whether by coincidence or by cause-effect, this past winter produced at least so-so snowstorms. Based on that turnaround, the various organizations are now planning on a bigger, better cloud-seeding operation.

Next winter, North American Weather Consultants intends to use up to 28 ground generators, compared to 18 last winter. The generators disperse silver iodide into the wind and to the

moisture-laden clouds. Presumably still coming is evidence that cloud seeding actually works. A report is scheduled for July, according to the Crested Butte News (May 23).

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Candidate can’t control emotions

ASPEN – Incumbent City Councilman Tony Hershey didn’t get the Aspen Daily News endorsement in a runoff election. But the newspaper didn’t entirely dismiss his qualifications.

“Some residents don’t like his Republican politics; others just find him utterly rude,” said the newspaper. “We know Hershey to be a thoughtful and caring lifelong resident who admits he does not always keep his emotions in check.

“But we feel it is time Hershey put his knowledge and skill toward other causes in the community. Maybe he could represent developers at City Hall, a vocation many of his critics might say he began when he was voted into office four years ago.


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