Snowboarding bad for
COLUMBUS, Ohio John Kerry is not
getting the traction with the working class in Ohio that many
people think he should. Instead, the state is edging toward Bush.
It is, says one campaign consultant who has worked in Ohio for 30
years, a matter of presenting the wrong image things like
"I smell the same New
England genius that I smelled in the Dukakis campaign in 1988,"
Gerald Austin of Cleveland told The New
York Times .
"Kerry wants to run as a man of the people, and where do they put
him for photo opportunities? Snowboarding in Sun Valley, shooting
skeet in the Ohio Valley, and windsurfing off that great
working-class vacation paradise, Nantucket. Democrats at least Ohio
Democrats play softball and touch football."
Tellurider takes offense
to weed war
TELLURIDE In Telluride and the San
Miguel Valley, the invasion of exotic plant species is taken
seriously. The front page of The
Telluride Watch each week has an "invasive of the
week" featuring such plants as leafy spurge and musk
Invasives were brought to North American from Eurasia and are
now crowding out the natives. The problem, say some scientists, is
even more menacing than that of global warming.
But one Telluride resident says too much already! Ilene Barth
says a town employee informed her that neither the town nor the
county was happy about the tansy, an invasive non-native plant,
growing in her yard, and that the plant should be removed.
Well, said Barth, she is also non-native, and the peaches she
favors are non-natives. This drive to "erase the movement of the
last several centuries toward diversity" has gone entirely too far,
she contends. The authorities were so agitated about the sinner
plants that they were willing to take up herbicides!
Ecologists would generally say that Barth doesn't understand
what's going on. Instead of creating greater diversity, the
invasives are creating less diversity. Lacking the insects and
diseases of Eurasia that control their spread, these invasives are
choking out pre-existing vegetation in North America.
Park City impacted by
PARK CITY, Utah Summers have become
hotter in Park City over the years, but Roger Strand does not chalk
it up to global warming.
Strand, who has had a
heating and air conditioning business for several decades, says the
building of driveways, dark roofs, nonindigenous trees, golf
courses, lakes and ponds has changed the way the ground absorbs
heat. All of this adds up to a man-made heat wave, he told The Park Record .
While scientists have long recognized localized temperatures
increases due to changed land uses, they also say that the globe in
general has become warmer, more than a degree Fahrenheit during the
last 20 years. Some places, such as mountain tops and Alaska,
generally have become much warmer yet.
Golf courses spread in
JACKSON HOLE Expensive, private and
almost-private golf courses are proliferating in Jackson Hole.
There are two now, with three more planned. That means 900 more
memberships, some at a cost of $100,000 plus annual dues, on top of
the existing 920 memberships.
In reporting this, the
Jackson Hole News &
whether the market truly exists for this much private and high-end
golf? The newspaper found several reports from 2001 that of supply
outstripping demand, with the result of bankruptcies in beach
resorts. However, the newspaper cited no evidence of financial
difficulty in mountain resort valleys.
David Hutchinson, president of Valley Blue Sky Inc., a group of
investors from Aspen and Sun Valley who are buying a planned golf
course and real estate complex called Canyon Club, argues that
there will be demand for "things that are special and of high
The newspaper did find an expert who concluded that to make
private golf courses work in high-mountain valleys with their short
playing seasons that real estate has to be part of the proposition.
That's usually the case, although the Eagle Valley where Vail and
Beaver Creek are located has one course disassociated from real
Lake Tahoe continues to
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. Work has begun on a
new strategy to reverse the decline of Lake Tahoe, which has lost
one-third of its clarity since the late 1960s. Scientists say the
decline could become irreversible unless remedial steps are taken
during the next 15 to 20 years.
A consortium of local,
state and federal agencies are responsible for protecting the
1,645-foot-deep lake, which straddles the California-Nevada border.
The lake's quality is tied closely to the activities on land around
To reduce pollution, the
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has tightly restricted development,
allowing only 225 new homes per year in the basin. Local
jurisdictions are given permits based on their progress toward
achieving key environmental goals, explains the Reno Gazette-Journal .
The new strategy will be geared toward finding new ways to
control sediment and settling dust, reports the Contra Costa Times . Automobile driving in the Tahoe
Basin could be restricted, while property owners could see new
building limits. On the other hand, developers could be allowed to
pay fees that will be used to pay for pollution controls. That, in
turn, could loosen some construction rules.
Michael Donahoe, of the Tahoe Chapter of the Sierra Club, said
the project, called Pathway 2007, because it is to be complete by
2007, has "incredible potential" to help Lake Tahoe's future. He
warned against giving too much weight to local business interests.
"Most of the people in this basin want to protect the lake, but you
have a few that still see it as their own profit center. For them,
it's for sale," said Donahoe. "The preservation of this lake ought
to be primary."
California reports high
LAKE NATOMA, Calif. Some 150 years ago
the immigrant gold miners in the California foothills used an
estimated 8.5 million pounds of mercury to separate gold from
Now, new immigrants are
being warned not to eat the fish from some lakes and rivers east of
Sacramento because of dangerous levels of mercury. Preparing
brochures in several different languages, health officers are
targeting Asian, Russian and Latino anglers, people who tend to eat
a lot of the fish that they catch.
Tests show mercury
levels as high as 1.02 parts per million in bass and 1.89 parts per
million in channel catfish, reports the Sacramento Bee . That's three to six times the
threshold established by the Environmental Protection
Salmon and trout, two of the most popular local sport fish, tend
to accumulate relatively low levels of mercury, say scientists. As
a result, most people can safely eat those fish three times a week,
although women of childbearing age should eat them only once a
Gunnison County to seed
CRESTED BUTTE Gunnison County is
signing on to have the clouds seeded again this winter, the third
straight year. Cost is projected to be $92,000. The county
commissioners figured at the outset that they would do it for five
years, in order to measure the effectiveness of seeding, explains
the Crested Butte News
Cloud-seeders say they can boost precipitation from clouds 10 to
20 percent but also point out that if they don't have clouds, as is
common in cases of drought, then they can't produce snow from
How valid are the claims of 10 to 20 percent? That's hard to
answer, as there have been almost no double-blind experiments,
which scientists say is necessary to deliver unbiased results.
Results from operations have in-built biases. A national study
released last year said the best evidence for winter cloud-seeding
came from experiments done in the Leadville-Breckenridge-Vail area
in the 1960s.
Light pollution impacts
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. Climb the highest
mountain, and you still can't get away from light pollution. That's
the report in the Summit Daily
News , which
tells about an observatory atop Mount Evans, a 14,000-foot peak
about halfway between Breckenridge and Denver.
Among the observatory's tasks is to track near-earth asteroids,
which periodically in the past have crashed into the Earth. One
such collision about 65 million years ago caused the extinction of
most earthly life forms.