Chinese steel impacts home
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS A butterfly flapping
its wings in Beijing can affect the weather in California, it is
sometimes said. Now, preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics in
Beijing are being partly credited with driving up home prices in
The Steamboat Pilot reports that building materials for
large homes cost $40,000 more this year, but even average homes
cost $4,000 more. The cost of steel products imported from China is
the largest single factor.
For example, a modest home might require 300 sticks of rebar,
explained Ty Steward, assistant manager of Steamboat Lumber. Last
summer, a stick of half-inch rebar cost $2.89. This year, it costs
$5.77. That's $800 alone for rebar. Meanwhile, the structural steel
needed to create a vaulted ceiling in a spacious great room last
year cost 21 cents a pound. This year it's 40 cents a pound.
In addition to gearing up for the Olympics, China is also
building a huge dam as well as new factories, all of this making
everything from 16-penny nails to circular saw blades in the United
States more expensive.
Something else the newspaper did not explain why is driving up
the costs of oriented strand board, which is sometimes sold under
the brand name of Waferwood. The cost of a plank has tripled in 18
Reservoir proposed west of
WOLCOTT It looks as though life will
become a beach in the Vail area. The reservoir being planned 20
miles west of Vail by the City of Denver would be about half the
size of Dillon Reservoir, which is another Denver
Denver began buying
property for the reservoir site in the 1980s, but showed no hurry
to do anything until the drought of 2002. A study due next month
projects building costs much less than had been expected, reports
the Vail Daily .
The reservoir would swamp habitat for the dwindling sage grouse
but would provide water for several endangered species of fish in
the Colorado River.
Utah beats old skier-days
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah As expected, Ski
Utah is reporting a record number of skier days, nearly 3.4
million. That's a 3 percent gain on 2000-01, Utah's previous record
Utah's Summit County ski
areas (Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and The
Canyons Resort) saw a combined record for the second year in a row
with visits totaling 1.4 million.
remains open through Memorial Day.
West faces hard drought questions
POWELL RESERVOIR, Utah The development
of the modern urbanized West one of the biggest growth spurts in
the nation's history may have been based on a colossal
miscalculation, says The New York
Blue skies and meager snowpacks may be the harsher climactic
norm for the West, and not the relatively wetter hydrological cycle
that was used in drawing up principals for sharing the Colorado
The focal point for all this speculation is Powell Reservoir,
which has been sinking dramatically and would now require 10 years
of normal precipitation levels to refill. The lack of water has
states plotting for shortages for the first time since Hoover Dam
was built in the 1930s. The period since 1999 is now officially the
driest in the 98 years of recorded history of the Colorado River,
according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The prospect of a waterless Powell draws up all sorts of
fascinating and disturbing images. For example, notes the
newspaper, the mud flats could become a vast environment for
noxious weeds like tamarisk and thistle. A drained Powell could
mean decades' worth of agricultural chemicals at the lake bottom
mixing with the lingering river to poison the Grand Canyon, which
lies downstream. And without water, Glen Canyon and other dams
cannot generate as much electricity. Hence, the Western Area Power
Administration plans to reduce by about 25 percent the amount of
electricity it can promise in future years. If the drought
continues, water providers in the Las Vegas area may ban new
There is some concern that if this drought becomes a crisis on
the Colorado River, 100 years of water law will be upended. "The
law of the river is hopelessly, irretrievably obsolete, designed on
a hydrological fallacy, around an agrarian West that no longer
exits," says Professor Daniel McCool of the University of Utah. But
other individuals, according to the Times , say that this drought just proves
the value of Lake Powell in stretching limited water
Aron Ralston continues to
ASPEN Aron Ralston gained
international attention last year when he severed his own arm after
being stuck in a Utah canyon for five days.
Since then, he has
changed his ways. He tells people where he is going, and he also
carries a cell phone. He is now equipped with a prosthesis, to
which he can attach an ice ax for his mountaineering adventures.
Some say he hasn't missed a beat.
For example, during
March he scaled two of the 14,000-foot peaks near Telluride. It's
part of his six-year bid to solo climb all 59 by Ralston's count of
Colorado's Fourteeners during winter. (Most peak baggers consider
54 Colorado peaks to be Fourteeners).
It hasn't been easy, he
admitted to The Aspen
Mutrie, who was writing about Ralston's extraordinary hunger for
adventure long before Ralston became a celebrity. "Other people had
a lot more confidence than me, saying I'd be back soloing
Fourteeners in winter, no problem. But honestly, I had my doubts,"
Ralston told Mutrie.
For example, setting up a tent by himself requires more
forethought. So does operating a stove. And he has to think
beforehand about which coat pockets he puts things in while out on
adventures. "Everything's in my left-side pockets now," he
explained. takes up so much brainpower when you've got to think
Ralston went through five surgeries and eight weeks of monitored
rest and intravenous drug cocktails before returning to his life of
hiking and skiing. But he says he didn't get closure for six
months, until he went to Bluejohn Canyon with television news
anchor Tom Brokaw and friends. There, by himself in the slot where
he had been stranded for five days, he spread the cremated ashes of
his hand, then cried all the way back to Colorado.
flouridation of water
TELLURIDE Thirty-five years ago
dentists were urging that flouride be added to municipal water
supplies as a way of protecting the teeth of youngsters.
Traditional right-wing groups said it was a Communist plot.
Fluoride continues to be added to municipal water supplies. But not
There, reports The Telluride Watch , medical doctor David Homer persuaded
the Town Council that there is "some evidence that too much
fluoride can be toxic or even carcinogenic." Just as with
immunizations, he told the council, parents should be allowed to
freely choose as to whether or not fluoride should be administered
to their children.
Park City burglaries drop
PARK CITY, Utah Often, when crime
statistics in resort areas rise, police warn the local citizenry
that it's because happy valley is becoming a city or otherwise
being influenced by city ways.
So, how do they explain
that the number of burglaries in Park City last year dropped by
nearly half? Police Chief Lloyd Evans says he doesn't know. "I'm
not sure what this indicates other than we had fewer burglaries,"
Evans told The Park Record
But Evans thinks he can explain the growing number of abuse and
domestic violence complaints. People are increasingly willing to
report it, whereas once it was a "silent" thing.
Resorts thinking about
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Governments in the
ski valleys of Colorado are bracing for arrival of mosquitoes
bearing the West Nile Virus.
Last year the virus
killed 55 to 65 people newspaper accounts vary in Colorado, mostly
along the Front Range. However, nearly 3,000 people had the fever,
including nearly 400 who developed meningitis and 233 who had
encephalitis. Most of the cases in Colorado were among baby boomers
aged 45 to 49.
Only a few cases were
reported among ski-valley residents, although a few horses
From newspaper accounts,
there seems to be no worries that West Nile will hurt tourism in
Vail, Steamboat and other resort towns. However, long sleeves and
pants may well start selling better, and surely the sale of
insecticides containing DEET.
compiled by Allen