Utah county sees dark sky
Park City, Utah A group formed to
minimize light pollution in Summit County is claiming some
successes even while it calls for stiffer regulations.
In several calls,
reports The Park Record
, the group had worked with
county planners in getting commercial developments to change-out
their offending lights. At the same time, they think the existing
laws give developers a "little too much wiggle room," in the words
of Don Brown, co-founder of Utah Skies. Also, they would like to
see the provisions extended to residential development.
The group planned to team up with a responsible-growth
organization to put on a forum about light pollution. "People come
here to get away from the things that spell urban, and light
pollution is one of them," said Brown. "If things continue in this
way bad lighting at night we're going to lose that aesthetic."
Coyotes attack dog in
TELLURIDE Coyotes are being fingered
in the attack of an 80-pound dog on the outskirts of
A woman said the dog
suffered puncture wounds and a gash while she was walking the dog
off-leash at the town park. Coyotes had been heard in the
A veterinarian told
The Telluride Watch that coyotes don't often attack
large dogs and speculated that the coyotes had cubs in the
SILVERTON What is happening in
Silverton is not in anybody's wildest imagination to be confused
with the building booms of Vail, Jackson Hole or
Still, by standards of
Silverton, the flurry of building permits being filed is the stuff
of front-page news in the Silverton
Standard & the Miner . "Silverton can probably expect to
see seven new houses on the slopes overlooking town in the near
future," reports the newspaper. "And more may be on the
The slopes in question are devoid of avalanche danger, something
of a rarity in the rural precincts around Silverton, but there are
questions about access by emergency vehicles as well as concerns
about risk of future wildfires. Fires have been scarce in recent
years, but a 20,000-acre fire raked the area 125 years ago.
Elsewhere, the newspaper reports a general surge in the economy.
Local employment has increased 23 percent in the last three years,
and winter sales tax revenues have climbed, owing probably to the
opening of a new ski area, Silverton Mountain. The ski area in late
April was reporting a base of 107 inches in the final week of
Steamboat preps for water
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Winter is undeniably
the high season for visitors in ski towns. You might think water
use peaks then.
In fact, water use peaks
during summer in many towns, including Steamboat Springs. A water
official there recently reported 70 million gallons a day peak use
in winter compares to 180 million gallons a day in summer,
two-thirds of that attributed to irrigation of lawns.
With drought continuing
in Colorado, Steamboat city officials wonder if existing
regulations there unnecessarily encourage water use for
landscaping, reports The Steamboat
Pilot . There
is even some talk of requiring xeriscaping, or planting of grass
and other species that require less water, as well as application
of mulches, to retain moisture. As well, the city is to review an
incremental rate structure that penalizes larger-volume water
Ski patroller retires
after bad omen
ALPINE MEADOWS, Calif. Ray Belli is
retiring as ski patrol manager after 34 years at Alpine
The official story is
that his rescue dog fell 30 feet from a chairlift, and although the
dog didn't break any bones, Belli took it as an omen. Less
officially, he admits to tiring of 4 a.m. awakenings on storm days,
and he no longer skis on his days off, unlike when he was young.
He's now 58.
Belli was a seasonal
logger in the late 1960s when he joined Alpine Meadows. He wasn't a
very good skier, he confided to the Tahoe
World , but
he figured it was better than drawing unemployment. He moved from
lift operator to snow groomer to patroller, and five years ago he
became manager of ski patrol.
Alpine Meadows has a major avalanche control problem, as
witnessed by two disasters. In 1976, an avalanche killed four
people. Then, in 1982, an avalanche destroyed the main lodge,
killing seven people.
Alpine is one of only eight ski areas in the United States to
use military equipment for control of avalanches. The cache
includes both 105mm and 75mm howitzers, which are cannons that fire
explosive shells, plus an Avalauncher, which is a compressed-gas
cannon, and finally high-explosive hand charges. In a single day,
ski patrollers have thrown up to 360 hand charges in an attempt to
dislodge unstable snow.
Almost the entire base at Alpine sits underneath a slide path.
Other resorts with similarly dicey avalanche control problems
include Alta, Snowbird and Mammoth.
Canine survives deadly
LEADVILLE Occasionally, there is good
news amid the bad. The bad news occurred April 9 when a 25-year-old
man from India, Jigmet Dawa, died in an avalanche in the Sawatch
Range southwest of Leadville.
After being swept by an
avalanche that broke at the 12,600-foot elevation, Dawa was found
pinned against a tree under 3 feet of snow on Brown Peak, which is
located about a mile from one of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, Mt.
Huron. Unharmed were two human companions and three
But still missing was a
fourth dog, called Tiga, a Burmese mountain dog. So, in mid-April,
six searchers set out to find his body. In digging through the
avalanche debris they found nothing. So, after hanging a prayer
flag on the tree where Dawa died, they set back down the mountain.
But the dog, famished and limping, showed up at the trailhead.
Nobody seems to know how the animal escaped the avalanche, reports
the Summit Daily
Synagogue seen as new
ASPEN A substantial chunk of property
along Aspen's Main Street has been purchased by a Jewish
organization that intends to build Aspen's first synagogue. Getting
city approval to build will take from six months to two
The center will be run
by a New York-born rabbi, Mendel Mintz, who says the center's
construction will boost tourism. "There are a lot of Jewish people
around America and the world at large who would like to come to
Aspen but who are inhibited," Mintz told The Aspen Times . "The center will provide access to
Kosher food and to Jewish services. We really think it will bolster
Utah towns compete for
MOAB, Utah Moab has bested Park City
in an intra-Utah rivalry regarding renewable energy. The two had
vied to see who would have the most residents sign up to buy wind
In Moab, 1.85 percent of
total electrical use comes from the wind. In Park City, it's 1.09
percent, despite the involvement of all three ski areas there (Deer
Valley, Park City and The Canyons). Apparently, however, the
citizenry has been somewhat less than enthusiastic.
Still, Park City Mayor
Dana Williams tells The Park
this push for renewable energy won't go away. "People want us to be
on the vanguard of things, whether the issue is tourism, whether
they are environmental issues or housing issues."
Economy revived in Eagle
EAGLE COUNTY The economy seems to be
back to its old, vigorous, almost hyperventilating self in Eagle
The Vail Daily reports passenger counts at Eagle
County Regional Airport were up 12 percent for the winter. Sales
tax receipts have been up 18 percent this year, after being down 5
percent last year, reflecting in part the opening of new big-box
retailers, Home Depot and Wal-Mart Supercenter. In Vail itself,
sales tax receipts were up 10 percent in mid-winter.
Only in building does the pace seem to be slower. Building
permits issued by county government are up, but the dollar volume
down by more than half. Construction expected at Vail may well
change that. Plans call for $1 billion in redevelopment to get
launched this summer.