Train horns to cease in
WINTER PARK This December, some people
should be sleeping better in Winter Park, a town and resort
bisected by transcontinental railroad tracks.
The town is really a
product of the railroad, but as in such things many newcomers never
quite got accustomed to the sound of trains blaring a few dozen
yards away. Several years ago, the Town Council got national
attention when it passed a law prohibiting the blowing of horns by
trains within the town limits. Citing concerns about the safety of
motorists at crossings, the railroad ignored the law.
But new regulations from
the Federal Transportation Department allow concrete medians that
make it impossible for impatient drivers of cars and trucks to
wheel around the cross-bars at railroad crossings, exposing
themselves to risk. Their construction will allow the locomotive
engineers to lay off their horns beginning in December, providing
locals with what the Winter Park
Manifest describes as "sweet
Wolves considered for elk
GRAND LAKE The number of elk in Rocky
Mountain National Park is hardly natural. Population growth is
unchecked by wolves, who long ago were exterminated, and by human
hunters, who are banned from the park. The elk are now causing
damage to vegetation, thus affecting other creatures.
The National Park
Service is considering several options for reducing the elk herd,
one of them reintroducing 14 to 20 wolves. Also being considered is
shooting some elk or conducting fertility control.
In reporting the story,
the Sky-Hi News explained that a "reversible fertility
control agent using a time-released compound to effectively inhibit
reproduction in cow elk for multiple years" could be
Aspen nears its housing
ASPEN Aspen is within striking
distance of its affordable housing goal, reports The Aspen Times .
There are currently
2,528 affordable homes in a mixture of sizes, including for-sale
and for-rent. Of those, 548 have been added in the last four years.
If everything now being planned is actually built, including a
major 330-unit project, then conceivably the involvement by Aspen
city and Pitkin County officials could wind down.
The community has
several times tried to quantify how much housing it needs to retain
a critical mass of residents who live and work there. In 1993, a
community plan identified the threshold at 60 percent of the local
workforce that should live in the upper valley.
Telluride vet tells a
TELLURIDE The presidential election
this year has special reverberations in the mountain towns of the
West. Dick Cheney has a home in Jackson Hole, while John Kerry
hangs out at Sun Valley. And, it turns out, one of Kerry's fellow
sailors from Vietnam, Jim Russell, has been living in Telluride
since the late 1970s.
Russell, a restaurateur,
was in the national news in August when he broke his self-imposed
silence about Vietnam to defend Kerry's version of his courageous
action when his swift boat came under attack. A group of Vietnam
veterans who have ties to President George W. Bush have questioned
both his injuries and also the danger Kerry was in.
"Anyone who doesn't
think that we were being fired upon must have been on a different
river," writes Russell in The Telluride
recalling the event of March 13, 1969. "The picture I have in my
mind of Kerry bending over from his boat picking some hapless guy
out of the river while all hell was breaking loose around us is a
picture based on fact, and it cannot be disputed or
Russell decried the version disseminated by "Swift Boats
Veterans for the Truth" as an "evil extreme right-wing attack."
Bryant trial readies for
EAGLE Jury selection for the Kobe
Bryant trial began last Friday in Eagle. It would be, you might
suppose, impossible not to be aware of the hubbub, with 300
potential jurors and another 600 journalists in the town, which was
described in early press accounts as "tiny."
Not so. "What happened
today?" answered a woman when asked if she had noticed anything
unusual. The Eagle County Justice Center, the center for the legal
drama, is located about a half-mile from her home.
The woman, a school
teacher consumed with a new school year, later learned what was
happening in her neighborhood after listening to a National Public
Radio report broadcast from Washington, D.C.
For those who did happen
by the justice center, rows of white tents make it look like the
county fair is going on. All that is missing is the ferris
RV noise stirs up national
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK Not only
snowmobiles should be regulated in national parks, says William
Sarokin of Mount Cisco, N.Y., after returning from vacations from
two parks located in Colorado, Rocky Mountain and Mesa
"Hundreds of people were
quietly enjoying two of the most beautiful campgrounds in the world
but the experience was marred by a few people with recreational
vehicles constantly running their generators so that they could
watch TV," he writes in a letter published in The New York Times . "They made the parks seem like bus
Gunnison enacts big box
GUNNISON Another Colorado mountain
town is putting out a no-vacancy sign to Wal-Mart. Earlier this
summer Pagosa Springs and surrounding Archuleta County imposed a
moratorium on big-box retail stores. Now, Gunnison has done the
same for stores of more than 50,000 square feet.
Wal-Mart already has a
store in Gunnison, which is located about 27 miles from Crested
Butte, but it's a smallish affair. Wal-Mart wants a store more than
triple the size, at 150,000 square feet.
It's been a heated time,
with council members who didn't adopt the moratorium being
threatened with recall. Among the few vocal supporters of the
Wal-Mart expansion, reports the Crested
Butte News ,
is local businessman, Jim Pike. He said he supports shopping
locally, but when he goes to Wal-Mart's big store in Montrose, 60
miles away, he always sees people from Gunnison shopping there.
Ergo, they might as well shop at a big Wal-Mart in Gunnison,
keeping the sales tax dollars at home for construction of a
swimming pool and other community improvements.
Olympian joins opposition
INVERMERE, B.C. Beckie Scott, an
Olympic gold medalist in Nordic skiing at the 2002 Winter Games,
has joined public opponents of a proposed ski resort at Jumbo
Glacier. A decision on the $450 million project is several weeks
"I have had the good
fortune to travel the world through my sport," she told the
Invermere Valley Echo . "The one thing we have in Canada
that is so rare everywhere else is wilderness and wildlife
Instead of trying to duplicate the highly developed European Alps,
we should be protecting the natural resources that differentiate
SuperNatural B.C. from the rest of the world."
Local communities, which
already have a variety of resorts, including Panorama, seem to be
largely opposed to Jumbo Glacier. An exception is the village of
Radium Hot Springs.
Frost strikes Minturn corn
MINTURN The evidence on behalf of
global warming is starting to come in, with most of the highest
mean average temperatures on record having been recorded since
1990. Mountain towns have been no exception.
That has led to some
rather daring adventures. In Minturn, an old railroad town located
around the corner from Vail, somebody's garden included a row of
corn plants. Alas, when the first hard frost of the season stalked
Minturn on Aug. 27, the corn was not even waist-high. A true farmer
might say there was no shock that came out of this experiment, only
a kernel of truth.
compiled by Allen