Retailers confident in box boom

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - As the economy has drooped and new big-box retailers have come on line this year 80 miles south in Avon and Silverthorne, there has been a pronounced concern in Steamboat Springs about leakage of retail money.

But retailers contacted by The Steamboat Pilot (June 8) seem to think the concern may be overstated. For example, Steve Kennedy, who runs a high-quality kitchen equipment store, says they're prospering precisely because they sell wares different from those of the big-box retailers, Furthermore, he says he can compete with Bed Bath and Beyond and similar stores in price.

A shoe retailer similarly says it can compete - but not at the low end. They are aware of the need for shoes in the $30 to $65 price range, but they go for a higher end, and then must turn over their inventory rapidly in their small store.

A Consumer Preference Survey shows that 55 percent of Steamboat money spent on housewares is spent locally, while 32 percent of money on women's clothing is spent locally, and 40 percent for cars and trucks.

Rainbows select Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah - The Rainbow Family of Living Light intends to gather this summer in Summit County, and Sheriff Dave Edmunds warns of problems ahead, citing gas theft, shoplifting and sexual assault among the problems at past gatherings. The group meets at various spots across the West each summer to promote peace, care of the earth and alternative lifestyles.

A local resident, Ginger Tolman, questioned whether the sheriff had facts to justify his alarm, while a member of the Rainbow Family told The Park Record (June 11) that problems are few and generally caused by younger, hangers-on from troubled families.

County gets behind gold mining

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. - Until World War II, Summit County's meal ticket was almost exclusively gold mining. Clearly, much gold remains. Could modern mining methods, in which cyanide is used to separate gold from vast quantities of soil, be used there? Possibly, agrees Gary Lindstrom, Summit County commissioner. But he emphatically refused to support new statewide land-use regulations that would ban cyanide use at gold mines in Colorado, or at least raise the burden of proof on the mining industry, reported the Summit Daily News (June 10).

"It is now, never has been, and never will be an issue here," he bluntly told Clear Water Action representatives. Despite several widely known cases of considerable pollution caused by cyanide leaching in Colorado and elsewhere, Lindstrom said he's comfortable with existing environmental laws. "I have a very high comfort level with environmental laws and mining practices," he said. Apparently, so do Summit County's other two commissioners.

Colorado going smoke free

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. - Smoke-free bars and restaurants are proliferating in Colorado. In Crested Butte, 26 bars and restaurants were smoke-free as of June 1. The co-owner of one bar that has gone smoke-free told the Crested Butte News (June 11) that he hoped the smoke-free policy would bring back drinking nonsmokers. Even some smokers welcome the change.

Meanwhile, in Telluride, the New Sheridan Bar is now smoke free. And in Eagle, a 20-lane bowling alley scheduled to open next winter will be free of fumes, except in the patio area. This is the first bowling alley in the Eagle Valley since the early 1980s.

Woman stymies Aspen officials

ASPEN, Colo. - The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority is seeking to force a woman to sell her deed-restricted affordable housing condo because she does not spend sufficient time there. But first, they have to find her.

The Aspen Times (June 19) explains that owners of publicly subsidized housing must live in their units at least nine months each year and work in Pitkin County at least 1,500 hours per year. Two years ago, the woman took a job with a federal agency based in Maryland but did not sell the condo. Instead, authorities said she rented it out. The housing authority has started legal action, but the process server hasn't found her at the condo and has been unable to contact her through her employer.

Woman to run Everest marathon

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. - A 49-year-old personal trainer has been notified that she will be permitted to compete in a marathon that begins near the base of Mount Everest. It's the highest elevation marathon on the planet.

"It was something I had in mind for the past 10 years," Jo Gathercole told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (June 11). "When I was there two years ago, I decided I wanted to do it before I turned 50."

The 26.2-mile race starts at 17,000 feet and finishes in the village of Namche Bazaare at 11,300 feet. In training for that race, Gathercole intends to compete this summer in two Colorado races, at Leadville and Pikes Peak, followed by a race at Logan, Utah.

Affordable homes popular in Vail

EAGLE VALLEY, Colo. - Affordable housing is being erected rapidly this year in the Eagle Valley, an area that includes Vail. Between 800 and 1,000 "affordable" homes may be built during the next several years.

The units are being snapped up rapidly. At the 282-unit Miller Ranch, in Edwards, there's still a waiting list of buyers. Nearby at Avon, the 244 apartments in the Buffalo Ridge complex seem to get rented as rapidly as they are offered.

Still, reports the Vail Daily (May 30), Eagle County has only a 2 percent vacancy rate, compared with 6.9 percent in Pitkin County (Aspen) and a statewide average of 11.6 percent. A vacancy rate of 5 percent is considered normal. It also has among the highest-priced rentals, with the average cost of $982 for a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment, second in Colorado only to Pitkin County's $1,028.

In this supply-demand dance, more than 7,000 households still can't afford housing at free-market prices, according to a study released in March. As they have been since 1996, county officials are still considering inclusionary zoning and employee linkages, two ways of requiring developers to build affordable housing.

Finances force doctors out of Taos

TAOS, N.M. - Taos is wondering exactly what it will take to retain full-time obstetric and inpatient pediatric services. Two obstetricians recently announced they were leaving the Northern New Mexico Womens' Health and Birth Center after six years, primarily because of money.

"The pressures of inadequate reimbursement, increased insurance costs and decreased charitable giving became overwhelming for our nonprofit women's health center," said Rudy Fedrizzi. The Taos News (June 12) notes that many of the same issues are present across the country as small-town hospital and delivery departments are being closed down.

Fraser shuts down gas station

FRASER, Colo. - Fraser town trustees unanimously voted to deny a permit to Safeway, which wanted to build a gas station at its store, which is adjacent to the Fraser River. The Winter Park Manifest (June 11) says trustees cited such factors as inadequate storage for contaminated snow; extreme cold temperatures that would affect underground tanks; and the station's proximity to community water wells.

Particularly at issue was the storm center, which locals found wanting. In response, Safeway officials said such storm centers are used at 28 stations in cold climates in Canada, and the technology is tried and proven. That evidence, however, didn't turn the debate.

Company buys resort stations

ASPEN, Colo. - A Denver-based broadcasting company is buying nine radio stations in the resort areas of Colorado in a deal reported to be worth nearly $16 million. Among the investors is Colorado's best-known billionaire, Phillip Anschutz.

Included are three in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, two in the Yampa River Valley near Steamboat Springs, two in Vail and the Eagle Valley, and one in Summit County.

- compiled by Allen Best





News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index