Land owner tries to close Wilsons

TELLURIDE, Colo. Another land tempest is brewing near Telluride. There, a trailhead for those hiking up Wilson Peak and two other 14,000-foot peaks is being blocked by landowner, Rusty Nichols.

Nichols has said that if he can't get the U.S. Forest Service to give him 2,200 acres of land elsewhere in the region in exchange for his 160 acres along the trail, he will try to mine his land. The area is already heavily pocked by mining activity. Nichols told The Telluride Watch that he believes his land holds $300 million to $400 million in minerals.

Nichols, who lives in Texas, said he has tried to talk to land conservation organizations and the Forest Service and others for up to 20 years without interest. But a Forest Service land specialist told The Telluride Watch that Nichols' proposed land exchange was rejected "because the values are incredibly off."

The Forest Service has previously cowed to the bluffs of landowners who threatened development if land exchanges were not engineered. After much criticism in those cases, however, the agency has been more hard-nosed.

Michelle Shocked shocks Steamboat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. Promoters of a musical festival in Steamboat Springs called Strings in the Mountain were offering refunds to any offended concert-goers after Michelle Shocked lived up to her name.

Her concert, reported The Steamboat Pilot , was spliced with running political commentary in which she discussed injustice and racism and also made derogatory remarks about the two generations of Bush presidents. She comes from Texas.

"At least with Howard Stern-types, I know what to expect, but music versus hateful propaganda is unacceptable," said one concertgoer, a visitor from Florida.

Another concertgoer, a Bush supporter, told the newspaper that she disagreed with Shocked but wasn't upset. "She definitely knows what she believes in, which is more than I can say for some people. And she didn't use foul or offensive language like some performers," said the woman, who added that she found Shocked's music "fantastic."

A representative of Strings in the Mountains said Shocked's political commentary surprised concert organizers. "Strings is about music," said Betse Grassby. "We hired Michelle Shocked for her music and her song writing. We do not condone nor support political grandstanding from our stage."

If that was the case, suggested The Pilot , then the concert organizers didn't know much about her music. The cover of her first album, issued in 1984, showed her getting arrested at the Democratic National Convention.

Search on for Donner Party clues

TRUCKEE, Colo. Archaeologists have returned again this summer to the crest of the Sierra Nevada in an effort to get a better picture of the tragic tale of the Donner Party.

There is, reports the Sierra Sun , little to see and little new to report at the site where the 181-member party, having been overtaken by early and deep snows, was forced to spend four months during the winter of 1846-47. Eleven members of the expedition died of starvation and cold. Whether the starved members resorted to cannibalism to survive is still a matter of speculation, the newspaper says.

"We are dealing with just crumbs of artifacts," said Julie Schablitsky, a University of Oregon archaeologist.

It would seem that the only thing new established with this year's research is where the center of the camp was. "We are very excited to find what we think is ground zero for the campground," said Schablitsky. Archaeologists can perceive where melting snow ran off the tent of the travelers and hit the ground, leading them to the conclusion of where the center of the camp was.

Idaho wilderness plan compromised

SUN VALLEY, Idaho More wilderness compromises have been offered in Idaho in what some may well be calling Half-a-Loaf Wilderness.

Rep. Mike Simpson is proposing another 40,000 acres immediately northeast of Ketchum and Sun Valley to be called the Hemingway Wilderness Area. Hemingway, the author, spent a portion of his life in Sun Valley.

On the other hand, snowmobilers have said they couldn't tolerate losing access to another area, called the Fourth of July basin, which Simpson had previously targeted for wilderness. So Simpson proposes to allow snowmobiles in winter, but no motorized use in summer.

Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon told the Idaho Mountain Express that no one wilderness proposal will make everyone happy. "But as long as there's a continuing dialogue, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose."

Jackson Latino group reports success

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. The 3-year-old Latino Resource Center is playing a growing role in the interface between the estimated 2,500 Latin American immigrants and the broader community in Jackson Hole.

An attorney who is affiliated with the organization represents the Latinos based on a sliding scale. The resource center also attempts to help bridge the cultural and language gap in other ways. "If they don't understand the laws, that puts them at a disadvantage," Police Chief Peggy Parker told the Jackson Hole News & Guide .

An estimated 14 percent of Jackson Hole's residents last year were Latino, and only 10 percent of those Latinos were proficient in English.

An offshoot of the translation program is a culturalization class that will begin soon. Called "How to Live in America," the class will teach civil conduct. "Too often the Latinos are so busy with their work and everything else, they don't look beyond their own families," said Stuart Palmer, an outreach coordinator. "We want to empower them to look beyond just themselves, to start thinking community wide."

The center also offers forums on such things as banking; driving and auto insurance; domestic violence; and health. As well, special help is offered at tax time. Many Latinos have not realized they were overpaying in taxes.

Duffer sets world record in Banff

BANFF, Alberta A new Guinness record for continuous golfing was set at the Banff Springs Golf Course when Scott Holland played 221 straight holes. That's the most number of golf holes ever played in 12-hour period. The previous record was 218.

To achieve this superlative, the 48-year-old jogged about two-thirds of the distance. The heat of the day made that difficult, but on the other hand the heat allowed the ball to fly more easily through the air. "He was crunching drives up to about 380 yards long," a companion told the Rocky Mountain Outlook .

Base area may become new town

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. It's happened before. First there was Crested Butte, then also Mt. Crested Butte, a new town next to the ski area. At Telluride the Johnny-come-lately slopeside town is called Mountain Village.

And something strikingly similar could happen in Jackson Hole. There, the only existing municipality is Jackson, but another substantial economic and population center is at the base of the Jackson Hole ski area, 5 to 10 miles away. Owners of the ranch adjacent to the existing base area now want an upzoning of 510 acres of their land to yield a big grocery-store-sized amount of commercial space, plus 458 houses, townhomes and condos (some "affordable" and others high end), plus a golf course, playing fields and so on.

If you don't give us the upzoning, say the ranch owners, we'll subdivide into 40 ranchettes.

While some in the base village talk incorporation as a way of getting out from under the control of county government, at the other end of the spectrum is the no- or slower-growth segment of the community that is rattling the sabers of a public vote. Jackson has had several such referenda in the past several years, with the chorus being, "Just say no" to growth.

Towns report mouse infestation

ASPEN, Colo. Aspen, Snowmass and other mountain towns have been thick with mice this summer. Eric Duncan, owner of a pest control company, told The Aspen Times that he has never seen so many mice in the 30 years he's been in business. Others in the business seem to agree.

The large number is probably due to this spring's heavy rains, which caused an abundant food supply. Perhaps a quarter of the mice are of the deer mice variety, which are carriers of the hantavirus, the dreaded disease that leaves nearly half of its victims dead. Typically there are four or five infections per year.

compiled by Allen Best





News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index