Aspen elementary may offer yoga

ASPEN, Colo. – Yoga may yet become a permanent fixture at Aspen Elementary School.

Launched last year, the program quickly became controversial when a handful of parents questioned its religious roots. Yoga was shelved temporarily while all references to religion were purged. Although the program is being suspended again as part of an overall review of health and physical education curriculum, supporters believe the program will be adopted permanently after the review, reports The Aspen Times.

While not calling it yoga, some teachers still use stretching and “creative visualizations” in their classes. For example, one teacher told of having students collect small stones and them let those stones symbolize worry in their lives. When the children were ready, they handed their “stress” to their teacher, thus relieving their burdens.

Summit flag burned in opposition

FRISCO, Colo. – What is terrorism? A burning cross on a lawn? A burning flag on a mountain?

In Summit County, Sheriff Joe Morales says a flag atop a 12,805-foot mountain that was set on fire constitutes terrorism. The case stems from 9/11. Several people afterward hiked up the mountain and planted a flag. On the two-year anniversary, they replaced the large flag.

However, hikers several days later rediscovered that the new flag had been cut and then burned. In the summit register was a note that inveighed against the U.S. war against Iraq, and also more generally lambasted the U.S. foreign policy.

It has not been determined who burned the flag and left the notes, but many people are outraged, and several flags have now been planted atop the peak. Both the sheriff and District Attorney Mark Hurlburt, who has become better known recently as the prosecutor of Kobe Bryant, suggested that the flag burning could indicate terrorist activity.

The flag itself had been illegally placed atop the mountain. Forest Service policy prohibits random flag plantings and other memorials, but the agency turned a blind eye in the case.

Aspen lodge on eBay for $3.4 mil

ASPEN, Colo. – When the owner of a swank eight-suite lodge in downtown Aspen decided to sell, listing agent Philippe Jacquot took a novel approach. He listed the business on eBay for an asking price of $3.4 million.

That price does not include a building, only the furnishings, but The Aspen Daily News (Sept. 15) describes them as well appointed. Room rates reflect the frills, ranging from $349 to $1,399 nightly during peak season.

Jackson Hole deals with parking

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Parking a car at the Jackson Hole ski area this winter will cost $5 where before it was free. It somehow seems un-American and perhaps, most of all, not Western, says the Jackson Hole News & Guide with an acerbic twist. Why, car drivers are the very backbone of society, proclaims the newspaper with intended irony.

In fact, there’s been some sourness since merchants and the ski area operator announced the plan, which is basically being pushed by the county commissioners. And the newspaper thinks that people have plenty of options for getting to the ski area other than driving solo.

Starbucks makes surprise departure

PARK CITY, Utah –Starbucks has been arriving in mountain towns in waves. But in Park City there’s a man-bites-dog story. The corporate coffee chain is not renewing its lease at a location in the city’s old town district for reasons that a Starbucks spokeswoman declined to disclose.

People addicted to a daily Venti of Starbucks will still have one Starbucks-affiliated pour shop and six restaurants in the Park City area that proudly proclaim they brew Starbucks beans, notes the Park Record (Sept. 13).

Steamboat a draw for physicians

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – With the addition of seven new physicians this summer, the active medical staff at Steamboat’s Yampa Valley Medical Center has hit 50.

That’s roughly one physician for every 200 people in Steamboat, although it should be noted that Steamboat draws patients from a much broader area and, at the same time, is far enough away from Denver (130 miles) to discourage patients from seeking big-city alternatives. A recent survey found that only 8.5 percent of Steamboat residents surveyed leave town for medical care.

Scott Ford, who chairs the local economic development council, told The Steamboat Pilot that the local medical industry could become almost as important to the local economy as coal mining and tourism. Paramount in his thinking seems to be the attractiveness of strong health-care in attracting second-home buyers. “It definitely is an asset in our community that weights heavily for them,” he said.

While Steamboat’s medical community is clearly much larger than for a typical smallish town, the newspaper did not compare Steamboat with similar resort communities or with urban areas.

Vail tries to ban use of jake brakes

VAIL, Colo. – After more than a decade of talking about it, the Vail Town Council has instructed lawyers to craft a law that outlaws jake brakes in the town, which includes a 10-mile strip of Interstate 70.

Noise from the highway more generally has become an increasing issue during recent years, but there are no easy solutions in sight. The one dissenting council member in this vote, Diana Donovan, thinks this solution is broken to begin with, says the Vail Daily (Sept 19). “This is an in-your-face immature proposal,” she said. “This is not enforceable.”

Jake brakes that are not mufflered generate 100 decibels of noise, while a muffled jake break produces 85 decibels. Colorado law requires mufflers, but some truckers have ignored them. Vail’s law would outlaw both. The town is located at the foot of a steep pass, and the highway loses more than 500 feet more while in the town.

Rare glacial flood closes railroad

YOHO NATIONAL PARK, British Columbia – A rare glacial flood occurred in early August in Yoho National Park, forcing the Canadian Pacific Railway to divert traffic to an alternative route. Unaffected was the Trans-Canada Highway.

Causing the quick gush of rock, boulders, and mud was something called a jokulhlaup, which is a large outburst flood that occurs when a glacially dammed lake drains. “There’s a basin, and that basin has filled up with water in the past, and we believe that it all of a sudden finds a way out onto the glacier and you get a massive discharge,” a research scientists with the Geological Survey of Canada told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Major slides also occurred in 1925 and 1978, and there have been other, smaller-scale slides since.

Lake Tahoe pollution study launched

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – A $2 million study has been launched to determine how air pollution is affecting the prized gleaming-blue clarity of Lake Tahoe. Among the sources of the air pollution are smog from Sacramento and the Bay Area, forest fires, and local cars, notes the Tahoe Daily Tribune (Sept. 3).

One study already completed by the University of California at Davis finds that lake clarity is not being affected by the pollution from the cities, but pollution from local cars is at least a small problem. Even so, Tom Cahill, a professor of atmospheric science and physics, says dirty air has little impact on the lake, because the concentration of pollutants is low and comprised of fine particles that don’t tend to settle on Tahoe.

Crested Butte takes softer jab at Vail

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Crested Butte is abandoning its unVail marketing campaign, at least sort of. Instead, the ads placed in Ski and Skiing, will be built on the theme of “180 degrees from ‘been there/done that.’”

Jane Chaney, executive director of Gunnison County Tourism Association, said the new and changed ads say that Crested Butte is “unique and different, real and authentic.” John Norton, CEO of Crested Butte Mountain, said the ads still follow last year’s theme, if not naming another resort by name. “It’s still drawing a comparison between us and the more industrial ski resorts,” he says.

-compiled by Allen Best





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