Summit County bans smoking

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. - By nearly a 2-to-1 ratio, voters in Summit County gave authority to the county commissioners to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. If the county commissioners do ban smoking in unincorporated areas, as is expected, Keystone and Copper will be affected.

The six towns in Summit County are not obligated to follow suit, and from comments made by several mayors to the Summit Daily News , some of them may not. "I am not a smoker. I intensely dislike smoke, but I dislike the idea of legislating smoking even more," said Silverthorne Mayor Lou DelPiccolo. Other mayors made similar comments.

But council members polled by the newspaper suggested otherwise. "The citizens of Frisco have clearly spoken on this issue," said Bernie Zurbriggen. "We should not waste any time." A council member in Breckenridge had similar sentiments.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom rejects the idea that government shouldn't legislate smoking, pointing out that one existing law found almost everywhere is the requirement that restaurant workers wash their hands before working with food.

Glacier melts into icy torrent

PINEDALE, Wyo. - "The day the Grasshopper burped," is how the Jackson Hole News & Guide headlined a story about a glacier in the Wind River Mountains that melted sufficiently to allow rapid drainage of a 650-million-gallon lake.

The lake had been located above 12,000 feet about 2.5 miles north of Gannett Peak, Wyoming's highest mountain. Temperatures have been mostly rising for the last 150 years, and on Sept. 6 enough of this glacier - called Grasshopper Glacier - had melted that the lake water created a ditch from which the lake waters rapidly flowed.

For several days the water drained, gouging a 30-foot-deep trench. Hydrologists, who love nothing more than to see the power of big water, were suitably impressed. "I was just so excited because it was such an event - huge," said Liz Oswald, of the Forest Service.

Charlie Love, a professor who has studied glaciers in the Wind River Range for 20 years, said such outbursts from glacial-formed lakes are normal. However, what is notable is that the floods are becoming more common.

Second-home owners denied vote

TELLURIDE, Colo. - By a 74 to 26 percent margin, Telluride voters rejected giving nonresident property owners the right to vote in municipal elections.

The Telluride Watch did not endorse the measure, conceding that the proposal was sure to be defeated because it seems to be an issue of wealth outflanking the basic democratic principle of one-person, one-vote. After all, they can register to vote in Telluride if they want - but not other places.

But Telluride is sometimes adventurous in its politics, the newspaper noted, as evident by its willingness to let residents who are not American citizens vote in municipal elections. Perhaps residents should rethink the issue at some point, said The Watch , because what Telluride increasingly lacks are "full-time, permanent residents with an economic stake in the community. This is another way of saying that our middle class is shrinking; another way of saying that our community is threatened."

There are no easy answers to this shrinking community, conceded the newspaper, which also argued that there is "real logic" to the idea of "enlarging the community by extending the vote to nonresident property owners."

Telluride votes in airline subsidy

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Voters in Telluride and Mountain Village agreed to levy a 2 percent tax on restaurants and another 2 percent tax on lodging, with the money allocated to secure airline flights in winter and summer.

The taxes are projected to raise $2 million annually, eliminating the need for direct-flight promoters to pass the hat on an annual basis. The money is used to guarantee costs to airlines of providing flights if there are insufficient passengers to cover the costs.

Timeshare spreads to ski lodges

ASPEN, Colo. - Timeshare, dusted off and given the new name of fractional ownership, has been the rage for a decade. Now in Aspen, old-style lodges are jumping onto the bandwagon. The latest is the Little Red Ski Haus.

A group of investors led by a Chicago attorney bought the 22-room (with bathrooms down the hall) lodge, then created a 13-room-with-bathrooms bed-and-breakfast. But a year later, it remains unprofitable. As such, the owners want to sell shares good for three weeks each year. Average price will be $84,838.

Some planning commissioners worry that this idea will spread to other lodges, further reducing Aspen's number of available beds to tourists. But others praised it as a bold step, one that makes real estate available in Aspen to a market segment that canafford other projects.

One twist at the Ski Haus is the proposal to keep four weeks open each year at peak times, when the lodge tends to fill up with guests anyway and at premium prices.

8 moose killed in Grand County

GRANBY, Colo. - With not quite a month of rifle hunting season completed, eight moose had been illegally killed in Grand County. This is up sharply from years past, reported the Sky-Hi News . Although not indigenous to Colorado, the moose were transplanted from Utah to an area east of Grand Lake in the late 1970s and later to an area near Creede.

- compiled by Allen Best





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