Could Sun Valley celebs be next on terrorist agenda?

SUN VALLEY, IDAHO – In the wake of 9/11, Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling says his and other law enforcement agencies are more attentive to security in the Sun Valley and Ketchum areas because of the celebrity residents and high-ranking corporate executives and government officials who meet there.

Visitors to the area have included the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and top echelon U.S. military figures, notes the Idaho Mountain Express (Aug. 14- 20). Also, some of the world’s major media and entertainment executives meet at Sun Valley every summer, including Bill Gates. This year, host Herb Allen, of the New York investment firm Allen & Co., hired members of the New York City SWAT team to provide additional security.

“Some of the homeowners, the people who come here, they’re very high profile,” and tempting targets for any group “if they’re after headlines,” observed the sheriff.

Motley Crue singer stomps off stage after just three songs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Vince Neil, the singer for Motley Crue, delivered very little to the 250 people who had paid $25 to see him.

Although what The Steamboat Pilot (Aug. 16) describes as a small yet raucous crowd of head-bangers cheered him, the 41-year-old singer cursed and insulted them
repeatedly after his third song because they didn’t seem to know the words to his classic songs. Some audience members yelled back, and so he threw the microphone into the audience and stomped off.

His backup band tried to coax him back on stage, even playing Motley Crue’s classic, “Girls, Girls, Girls,” but to no avail. Thirty minutes later the band’s bus drove off, leaving
erstwhile fans annoyed. “Vince Neil sucks,” said one.

Gondola at Mammoth Lakes a monster in its own right

MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. – Gondola cars capable of handling up to 15 people each are expected to be going up Mammoth Mountain by Christmas vacation, part of
a $24 million construction budget for the ski resort.

The gondola was envisioned as long ago as the 1960s by Dave McCoy, the ski area’s founder. As development occurred along the route from 1973 forward, a right-of way
was carved out, and home owners alerted to the fact that someday gondola cars might be swaying overhead, reports the Mammoth Times (Aug. 15).

Intrawest joined the ski area operator in the 1990s, bringing in new ideas as well as the cash necessary to develop old ideas. Among those ideas was a pedestrian
village linked to the slopes via a gondola.

Although in the planning stage for 12 years, there was no real ground work until last summer, says the newspaper. The gondola has 19 towers, and the cars will be 100 feet above the ground. This has required some tree trimming and also ultimately the planting of 80 trees. Resort officials suggest that the operation caused so little disruption that at least one nearby homeowner asked to be notified when work would occur – unaware it already had.

The Mammoth Village Gondola is said to be unlike any other resorts’ gondolas, going across a mile-long route of homes and condominium complexes. Heavenly Valley’s
gondola covers just a few backyards (and so, for that matter, does Telluride’s). The gondola can accommodate 3,000 passengers per hour.

For sale or rent: Cheap housing, bring your own nose plugs

CRESTED BUTTE – Every ski town needs affordable housing, and every ski town has sewer plants. Often, they end up in relative proximity.

That’s the case at Crested Butte. But before pulling the trigger on an affordable housing project, town officials have decided to spend $30,000 to see if the odor can be
quelled, at least to an acceptable level, reports the Crested Butte News (Aug. 16). Since, to paraphrase an old saying, all sewer plants stink, the ultimate decision here may be to define what level of stink is acceptable.

Sluggish economy seems to hurt lower end of Park City tourism

PARK CITY, UTAH – More anecdotal evidence is arriving that the nation’s economy is hurting tourism in ski and other resort towns. A case in point is Base Camp, a new
hotel in Park City.

The new hotel, which formerly was a hostel, is charging $25 per person, or $80 for a private room. It’s set up for teens as well as travelers on a budget. But with other
hotels dropping their rates, the new hotel has decided to close early this year, not reopening until winter. Proponents of dormitory-style lodging are said by The Park Record (Aug. 10-13) to be disappointed.

Steamboat hopes to shift tax burden onto property owners

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – For two decades, the City of Steamboat Springs has had no property tax, allowing the sales tax to do the town’s heavy lifting. But with sales tax
collections leveling, the City Council is asking residents in November to approve two property taxes totaling 7.8 mills.

One rationale for the taxes, reports The Steamboat Pilot (July 21), is that it will hit nonresident property owners, sometimes called second-home owners. “People who live here part time are getting a free ride on the backs of the people who are living here full time,” says Bud Romberg, a city councilman. “(More than half) of residences are registered to nonlocal addresses. Our city is run on sales taxes, and so those people are not paying for the support they receive such as fire, police and maintenance of streets.”

Foreigners imported as rugby team ringers

PARK CITY, UTAH – Everybody knows that Australians and Mexicans are being imported to drive buses and clean hotel rooms in ski towns of the West. But rugby
clubs have been recruiting foreigners, too.

the Park Record (Aug. 3-6) reports that the local rugby club advertised for foreigners in a world-wide rugby magazine, and, from among hundreds of applications, recruited two New Zealanders and two Brits. Town businesses and individuals pitched in to host the ringers. The rugby team, called the Muckers, in recognition of Park City’s mining roots (a “mucker” shoveled ore), plans to import more players and coaches next summer.

Drought leaves Colorado ski towns scrambling for buckets

WINTER PARK – With most mountain towns growing rapidly, many were already looking to build reservoirs, to ensure year-round water supplies, even before this year’s drought hit.

In Winter Park, town officials are talking with the Forest Service about the possibility of buying up to 640 acres of national forest land, where a reservoir that could hold 3,000 to 8,000 acre-feet might be built. The town’s water-treatment plants are already located there, notes the Winter Park Manifest (Aug. 14).

“Having 5,000 acre-feet of water located above our heads would ensure our future, especially in terms of the shortages we are seeing now,” said Vince Turner, a town
councilman. The Forest Service is authorized by the federal Townsite Act to make such sales at a fair-market value when community interests served would outweigh loss of federal ownership.

Gypsum, located 37 miles west of Vail, has filed requests on two sites in the national forest that town officials have identified as possible reservoir sites. However, those sites are within a section of the national forest that is recommended for wilderness.

In the land where man bites dog, dad sues son

Park City, Utah – This isn’t quite in the realm of man bites dog, but it’s close. In Park City, a 53-year-old man has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against his 29-year-old son,
saying the younger man punched him and then hit him on the head. The elder man claims that his behavior and state of mind have changed and that his memory has
been affected.
“Dad is quite upset with the son,” said an attorney for “Dad.” However, according to The Park Record (Aug. 10- 13), police records show it was Dad who was arrested and
charged with domestic violence on the date of the alleged attack.

– Compiled by Allen Best




News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index