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Wal-Mart rumor sparks worries

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PAGOSA SPRINGS – Worries about Wal-Mart moving in to do business has caused existing businesses to push for, and get, a moratorium in both Pagosa Springs and surrounding Archuleta County on new retail superstores. Set in the San Juan Mountains, Pagosa Springs is located halfway between Durango and the Wolf Creek ski area and is among Colorado’s most rapidly growing second home areas.The moratorium even more specifically targets Wal-Mart, capping stores that are 18,000 square feet and larger unless they are principally food retailers, reports the Durango Herald.Meanwhile, a task force called the Pagosa Springs Alliance for Responsible Growth has been appointed to evaluate the pros and cons of superstores. The process will include research to evaluate the impact of superstores on tourism in similar communities, and to also assess the benefits of having lower-priced goods that many believe Wal-Mart offers.Dozer maniac still seen as a martyrGRANBY – Marvin Heemeyer, the guy who dozed his way through Granby’s main street before putting a bullet through his own head, was almost immediately glorified as a martyr by many who, devoid of facts, concluded he had been the victim of an unyielding government bureaucracy.This phenomenon is dissected in an article in the Los Angles Times under the headline of “The Man, The Myth, The Bulldozer … How the Struggling U.S. Patriot Movement Conjured a Western ‘Hero’ from One Man’s Sad Tantrum.”The reporter, Martin J. Smith, found no evidence of any bureaucratic tyranny, and newspaper publisher Patrick Brower, who had been chased out of his office by Heemeyer’s bulldozer, says Smith got the story right and the “patriots” have it wrong.”Heemeyer was treated fairly by the town, even with deference,” says Brower, writing in the Sky-Hi News. “He just didn’t get his way.”

Silverton locals lose discount on grave bizSILVERTON – One of the fringe benefits – sort of – from living in Silverton was that when you died, you were eligible for a free cemetery plot. No more. The town board has imposed a price of $250 for plots in the town’s Hillside Cemetery even for locals, reports the Silverton Standard.A town official explained that the cost remains much less than at other locations. Maybe that’s because the money is earmarked for maintenance. With snow lying on the ground at Silverton about seven months a year, not much maintenance is necessary.Fence may be built to keep humans outCANMORE, Alberta – By standards of Colorado, developers in the Bow River Valley of Alberta have to jump through all manner of hoops in order to reduce their impact to wildlife species, many of which are in decline anyway.The extent of Canadian concerns is illustrated in a case reported by the Rocky Mountain Outlook. The newspaper reports that Michael Raine of Golder Associates has recommended that a development proposed for wildlife habitat be enclosed in a fence. “There are negative wildlife-human interactions occurring currently, and the fencing will substantially reduce impacts of human use adjacent to the hamlet on surrounding wildlife habitat,” Rain states in his report.

Kerry and spouse Ketchum up on restKETCHUM, Idaho – Presidential candidate John Kerry and his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, were back in Ketchum, this time for some rest and relaxation. Both had vacation homes in the Ketchum area even before they married.Last month, though, it was a business trip for Heinz Kerry. She spoke at a fundraiser that raised $300,000, a record haul in Idaho politics. The previous week, Democrats in Jackson Hole, Wyo., set a state record by flipping $410,000 into the kitty. Also, singer and composer Carole King, who lives in the Ketchum area, has been stumping the region for Kerry.Heinz Kerry, as heiress to her late husband’s catsup fortune, has given generously to local causes, notes the Idaho Mountain Express. She gave $750,000 to upgrade emergency services in the area, $325,000 to help Blaine County buy a popular cross country ski lodge, and has contributed to other medical and cultural projects.Bears at Crested Buttegetting more aggressiveCRESTED BUTTE – Bruins are getting unruly in the Crested Butte area in what officials say is fast becoming one of the worst bear seasons on record.A bear in the town of Mt. Crested Butte charged a police officer, who had been shooting at it with rubber bullets. Elsewhere, a shed door was torn off by a bear after garbage that was being stored.While it’s not unusual for bears to descend to residential areas, they’re doing so early this year because their traditional food sources such as berries have been inadequate due to the cool summer, reports the Crested Butte News.So far, nobody has been hurt in all this, but officials suggest it could be just a matter of time. Unlike in the old days, the bears don’t seem to scamper off when they see people. Police are considering responding to complaints as a team because of this new aggressiveness.

Still, the situation does not seem to be as frayed as across the Elk Range at Aspen, where wildlife officers have suggested that people put bells on their doors to alert them when bears invite themselves in.Sierra Nevada forests are driest in 30 yearsLAKE TAHOE, Calif. – It’s snap, crackle and pop time in the Sierra Nevada, where weather stations are reporting the driest forests in 30 years.The Tahoe Daily Tribune also notes that Lake Tahoe will probably drop down to its natural rim (it also has a dam) by the end of September, something it did not do last year until shortly before Thanksgiving. Like elsewhere in the West, it’s the fifth or sixth years of drought for the Sierra Nevada. At least some experts are predicting another one. I do, I do, I do, I’m due, says oft-married coupleSOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A couple from Nashville, Tenn., got married for the 81st time at the Hard Rock Café in South Lake Tahoe. Already in the Guinness Book of World Records, David and Lauren Blair are shooting for 100. Leaving Tahoe, they planned to get married again in Reno.”The first time I saw her, it was love at first sight,” David, 51, told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “He loves honeymoons,” said Lauren, 53.They first married 20 years ago, and have traveled at various places in the English-speaking world to get their nuptials renewed. They estimate they have spent $50,000 on wedding trips.


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