cars targeted by activists
TELLURIDE – Telluride’s Town Council has made it
against the law to let cars and trucks idle more than 30 seconds.
Cars have a maximum of three minutes to warm up, although proponents
of the measure cited sources as diverse as General Motors, the
Sierra Club and NPR’s Car Talk Guys in saying that only
30 seconds of warm-up time is needed for vehicles manufactured
since 1985. Driving slowly at first is the better way, they
Representatives of the Sheep Mountain Alliance, which proposed
the Telluride law, cited reports that found idling cars put
lots of gas and not much air into the cylinders, which is bad
for cars, as well as the environment. Even most trucking companies
do not advocate idling, even in cold climates.
At issue primarily is the pollution caused by idling cars,
explains The Telluride Watch (March 21). Emissions from diesel
engines contain formaldehyde, benzene and other harmful substances.
Moreover, diesel and gasoline engines emit carbon dioxide, a
greenhouse gas, which is believed to contribute to global warming.
Each gallon of gas burned produces between 20 to 25 pounds of
CO, more than the weight of the gasoline.
Skier caught in slide at Whistler
WHISTLER, B.C. – A skier was caught by a small avalanche
while skiing in-bounds on Whistler Mountain and taken for the
ride of his life. He lost his skis, surfed on the debris feet
first and ended up buried up to his waist.
“At the end of it, you are exhausted, shocked and humble,”
the victim, David Harkley, western manager for Ski Canada magazine,
told the Whistler Question (March 27).
Avalanche forecaster Jan Tindle described it as a size-one
avalanche on a scale of one to five. Such avalanches occur at
Whistler-Blackcomb four or five times a year, she said. She
said the area had been thoroughly checked by avalanche control
teams earlier in the day.
War and peace activists square off
RED LODGE, Mont. – For a small town, there were sizable
groups on opposite sides of the same street at the outset of
America’s war against Iraq.
On the eve of America’s war against Iraq, 200 boisterous,
flag-waving people turned out for a rally in downtown Red Lodge.
They chanted “USA, USA, USA” as a Vietnam veteran
who organized the rally read a prepared address. Across the
street, opponents of the war held a candlelight vigil. When
one of the peace advocates crossed the street, to show support
for the troops (but not the cause), she was told to “get
back on your own side of the street,” reports the Carbon
County News (March 9).
Child skis through slopeside condo
CRESTED BUTTE – A child skiing at Crested Butte skied
out of control and through the window of a slopeside condominium.
The child, whose age was not given, suffered minor injuries,
says the Crested Butte News (March 28).
Spring thaw floods cars and trucks
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – The March thaw in Jackson Hole was
so substantial that 45 vehicles stored in an abandoned gravel
pit in Grand Teton National Park were flooded. A park spokeswoman
told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (March 19) that the pit
had been in use for 40 years with no similar incident. Damage
was estimated to be between $1 million and $1.5 million.
Latino television hits Park City
PARK CITY, Utah – Park City’s Leadership 2000 program
helped motivate Dana Williams to become mayor of Park City.
Now, it has given Claudia Mejia the confidence to create a television
program called “Contigo en Mente,” which is broadcast
The show is described by The Park Record (March 5) as a variety
show that also features entertainment. It has local talent,
i.e. singers and what not, but it also has representatives of
local organizations that provide aid to or want to appeal to
Spanish-speaking people. The program, however, is bilingual,
and also has English subtitles.
“The thing that inspired me was that there were a lot
of Hispanic people who didn’t know (English),” she
told the newspaper. “There was a barrier there, and they
didn’t know a lot about the nonprofit and service organizations,
like medical and emergency services. The show is largely a fruit
of voluntary efforts.”
Mejia was among the 25 selected to go through the leadership
program from 75 applicants. She comes from Mexico City by way
of Boston and Provo, Utah.
“State of the Cities” report given
BLAINE COUNTY, Idaho – Sales tax revenues have been flat,
car noise and air pollution are fouling the air, and the resort
sector needs a short-term bed base, i.e. hotels, to sustain
the tourism industry.
Sound like any ski valley you know?
In fact, this was the synopsis given in Idaho’s Blaine
County, where mayors of Sun Valley, Ketchum and three others
towns plus the county commissioners’ chairman spoke at
something called “State of the Cities Breakfast.”
The valley’s hub is Ketchum, where a hotel built 30-odd
years ago was recently torn down, with no replacement in sight.
Mayor Ed Simon said that the town’s “biggest failure”
was its inability to foster development of hotels in the city’s
downtown core. Ketchum, he said, must make greater strides to
nourish its tourist-based economy.
Sun Valley Mayor David Wilson said the most consequential issue
facing Sun Valley will be handling development applications
expected from the ski area operator, the Sun Valley Co. The
company has an abundance of undeveloped land.
Wilson had called for a summit meeting in December of city
and county officials to address common issues. Little cooperation
has ensued, he told the Idaho Mountain Express (March 12), but
he cautioned that it’s a “long process.”
Aspen tries to define redevelopment
ASPEN – Aspen is struggling with defining the acceptable
rules for redevelopment of its commercial and civic core, and
the issue promises to become the pivotal one this year in City
At the heart of the dispute is recognition that runaway growth
is no longer the town’s greatest problem. Indeed, while
Aspen has a 2 percent cap in growth, which nobody is proposing
to alter, the city has had only 1 percent growth of late. Most
of the talk, even before the nation’s economic recession,
has been about how to juice up business.
To that end, proposals have been formulated over the last three
years. According to The Aspen Times (March 25), they collectively
amount to a vision of greater density and taller buildings.
In calling for sweeping changes to the city’s land-use
code, the proposal contemplates mixing housing and commercial
uses, making lodging redevelopment easier, and excluding houses
in those areas that are zoned for other purposes.
But all this has struck fear in the hearts of those who worry
that Aspen’s small-town and sunny ambiance will get smothered
by canyons of buildings. Connie Harvey, one of Aspen’s
longtime residents, argues that it is a quick fix that unrealistically
intends to prevent urban sprawl, but in fact cannot achieve
that because it contains no restrictions on sprawl. Another
critic, lawyer Doug Allen, told the City Council at a recent
meeting that the proposal “started out with increased
vitality and has become increased growth.” And a prominent
building owner, Harley Baldwin, lamented it as an over-reaction
to the national malaise. “It’s not solvable solely
Wyoming’s sage grouse disappearing
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Biologists aren’t entirely
sure why sage grouse have been disappearing across the West.
It could be fire suppression, which in turn results in trees
displacing sagebrush. But the greater reason may be habitat
Indeed, the loss has been so severe, says Clait E. Braun, a
biologist who headed up Colorado’s sage grouse recovery
program for many years, that even Wyoming, which has the strongest
sage grouse population in the world, could lose its sage. “Fragmentation
of the habitats upon which this population depends will slowly
unravel the entire presently linked sage grouse population in
Wyoming,” he said. “This has already happened in
most other states with disastrous results and has already started
Braun was hired by conservation groups to review the Bureau
of Land Management’s plan for the Pinedale area, south
of Jackson Hole. Braun, says the Jackson Hole News & Guide
(March 19), found the plan wanting.