Maniac puts Granby on the
GRANBY If there's a silver lining to
the story from Granby, where a manic bulldozer operator last week
crunched 13 buildings before shooting himself, it would be that
nobody will misspell the name of the town for a good many years to
come, as new reporters for Denver newspapers tended to
And from strictly a
mercenary perspective, the bizarre story that flashed around the
globe also put Granby on the map, a valuable accessory for those
hoping to sell several new projects of vacation and weekend homes
near Granby. They won't have to tell people where Granby is
Located about half-way
between the Winter Park ski area and Rocky Mountain National Park,
Granby started out as a railroad town, but for about a half-century
has been a service center and bedroom community for the resort
Lately, as land prices
skyrocketed hard along Interstate 70, developers have been
assembling projects around Granby, hoping to appeal to the middle
class from Denver and its suburbs. "Colorado as it Used to Be,"
some have called it.
And that is
fundamentally what Granby is and has been Colorado as it used to
be. The main street, called Agate Avenue, that Marvin Heemeyer
bashed with his 60-ton bulldozer fortified into a 75-ton tank, has
both a Chuck Wagon and a Longbranch Restaurant, as most Colorado
towns once did. It also had that relic of little-box retailing, a
Gambles store. All in all, the town hasn't changed much in 30 years
except to become more tired looking.
The Granby newspaper is
called the Sky-Hi News
, and editor and publisher
of the paper, Patrick Brower, was in the office trying to gather
news of the berserk bulldozer when it arrived, crashing into the
front of the building. Brower had sided with town officials in the
zoning dispute that seems to have been the pivot for Heemeyer's
Ironically, town voters in April had rejected a badly needed
streetscape beautification plan to give some lift to the downtown
area. Voters said they didn't want to spend money until they had it
in hand. Now, it looks like they will get some from state and
Runoff drips down Colorado
KREMMLING What a year it isn't. The
Colorado River as it flows through Kremmling, about 60 miles from
its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, was flowing at a
piddling 250 cubic feet per second during the early days of June,
shortly after the peak runoff.
Compare that to the big
water years of the early 1980s, when the river surged with up
The biggest part of the
story is the lackluster winter and the early runoff, about a month
early. The major reservoirs upstream, from Dillon to Granby, which
are used to divert water to cities and farms on Colorado's Eastern
Slope, are also part of the story. Those reservoirs are holding
back all they can.
Resorts go after heritage tourists
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS At two separate
conferences this year, first in Denver and more recently Steamboat
Springs, presenters have trumpeted the economic potential of
catering to tourists who might be interested in history or arts
instead of sweat and luxury.
Catherine Zacher, former
president of the chamber of commerce for 13 years in Santa Fe, said
these cultural or heritage tourists spend 8 to 10 percent more per
day than average travelers. These are not high-brows, she said, but
they do want to get more meaning out of their vacations.
"Baby boomers want to go
home from vacation with more than a tan," she said at the
conference in Steamboat. "They are looking for life-seeing
experiences, not sight-seeing experiences."
Anne Pritzlaff, a member
of the President's Advisory Council on History Preservation, said
historic buildings have economic value. They add authenticity to a
Who are these cultural
or heritage tourists? Pritzland said they are 45 to 64 years old,
predominantly female, and have higher-than-average levels of
income. They like to visit historical places and museums, attend
cultural events or festivals, and go shopping. Surveys show 62
percent stay in hotels.
Cultural tourists, noted
The Steamboat Pilot , are the sorts of people who,
when going to South Dakota, would not be content to visit Mount
Rushmore, but instead would also want to learn about the Sioux
Cultural tourism also requires more integration of offerings.
There must be a single marketing message that addresses the entire
region with one compelling voice, Santa Fe's Zacher said. "There is
no room for petty turf wars in marketing heritage tourism," she
said. "Heritage travelers must be given a guide map to the region,
not single attractions."
"If you have five communities, they can all advertise in
competition to get the same tourists," Zacher said. "But if you can
make sure the tourists find something in each of the five
communities, you will extend their visits."
The Summit Daily News notes that while Breckenridge has
always boasted of its mining history, the town lately has set out
to create an artist colony within the town.
Telluride named Slow Food City
TELLURIDE By now, most people have
head of the book Fast Food
Nation , the film
"Super Size Me," or at least heard talk of what burgers and fries
are doing to our health. All this was the subject of several films
shown this year at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival.
Town officials have
decided to become a "Slow Food City." The internal movement is
"dedicated to food appreciation and food activism; a combination of
the celebration of good eating with the protection of biodiversity,
preserving regional cuisines, food products, harvesting methods,
production techniques, and traditional ways of life threatened with
extinction by the big business of nonsustainable industrial
agriculture and global fast-food culture."
Telluride Mayor John
Pryor said he learned during a visit to Ecuador this spring that
more rain forest is clear-cut for cattle grazing than for timber.
In other words, burgers are destroying the rain forests.
Bird-feeders blamed for bear's death
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Wildlife officers
are blaming a resident who left bird feeders too close to the
ground with the death of a black bear.
The bear had become
habituated to human food, including the bird feeders. Thus
emboldened, the 120-pound bruin had become more aggressive,
squeezing through a pet door of a neighbor's garage. Once inside,
it scattered garbage and ripped out sheet rock and insulation. With
this aggressiveness evident, the bear was killed.
The neighbors, reports
the Jackson Hole News &
stored their garbage properly, but the feeders of birds had
previously been warned that their feeders were too low to the
LA to return water to
OWENS VALLEY, Calif. It's a story in
the West that is as big as Paul Bunyan. Early in the last century,
the population of Los Angeles stood at 200,000 and was poised to
double. The issue was water. A mayor proposed that the city do
something audacious build an aqueduct from the Owens Valley, on the
far side of the Sierra Nevada.
And that's exactly what
the city did. A small portion of that story is captured in the
movie "Chinatown." But, even though it was a matter of willing
sellers, the depletion of the water from the Owens Valley created
dust bowl conditions and left a residual bitterness that continues
to this day.
But several years ago,
the city agreed to return water to 60 miles of the Lower Owens
River, if still possibly diverting it farther downstream elsewhere.
After moving more sluggishly on the project than originally agreed,
state officials have pressured Los Angeles to begin moving more
rapidly. A restored river, notes the Washington Post , could bring recreational crows to
the Owens Valley for fishing, kayaking and bird-watching, in the
process improving the torpid local economy. The recovery is
projected to take seven years.
But where will LA get its water? The city currently relies on
the Owens Valley for about one-third of its water.
The answer, in part, is conservation. The city now uses roughly
the same amount of water as it did 20 years ago, even though its
population has grown by about 700,000 residents. As part of that
conservation effort, LA has enticed more than 1 million residents
to install toilets designed to use less water, and city officials
are giving away low-flow showerheads and even offering cash rebates
to families that buy water-saving washing machines.