Bears continue to plague
ASPEN It's been a tough year for bears
in Colorado. Cold weather in June meant that few acorns and berries
were available. That has resulted in hungry bears trying to break
into houses as never before. It has also meant more bears being
killed than ever before in the broader Aspen area as of
mid-September, 10 had been killed by state wildlife officers, seven
had been struck and killed by vehicles, and two were shot by
In Redstone, a town
about 30 miles west of Aspen, some residents are outraged at bears
being killed. They say that two bears that were shot posed no
serious threat to humans, reports The
Aspen Times .
Wildlife officers counter that both animals had broken into homes
more than once during the summer. The real blame, they said, lies
with people who leave food outside.
Meanwhile, others in the Aspen area have called for artificial
feeding of bears, perhaps by setting aside food in an isolated
place like the county dump. A similar arrangement was used at
Yellowstone National Park in the 1950s and 1960s.
But like at Yellowstone, wildlife officials in Colorado see no
good from artificial feeding. For one thing, says state wildlife
officer Kevin Wright, it would take an awful lot of food adult
bears, who are now feeding up to 20 hours a day while trying to put
on fat reserves for hibernation, can eat up to 40 pounds a day.
Sows and cubs go to bed in mid- to late-October, while adults
normally feed until mid-November. For cubs who are still scrawny as
autumn comes on, the winter doesn't look good. As many as 75
percent could die during winter. For yearlings, wildlife officials
estimate 40 to 50 percent in the Roaring Fork Valley could die.
Vail woman freezes her
BEAVER CREEK How difficult is the bear
situation in Colorado this summer? So bad that at least one
resident of Beaver Creek reports keeping her trash in her freezer
until trash day. Keeping it inside the garage isn't enough, as
bears have routinely been breaking and entering garages.
In reporting her extreme
response to a year that has been extreme for bears, the Vail Daily didn't say what kind of freezer it is.
Presumably big, like the homes in the area where the greatest
problems seem to be occurring, a ritzy neighborhood called Bachelor
Meanwhile, a homeowner in that same neighborhood shot and
wounded a bear that he said had charged him as he was getting into
his car. The bear, said John Tietbohl, had earlier tried to get
into his house. As well, security personnel had sprayed pepper
spray at the bear.
These and other actions have some residents extremely
distressed. "We're privileged to live among the wildlife," resident
Betsy Hendrikson said. "Shooting a bear is a crime against
Dillon struck by major
DILLON It was among the most unusual
of burglaries, the 40 pairs of woman's underpants stolen from the
Summit Thrift and Treasure, a second-hand store in Dillon. The
garments were only valued at 20 cents to 79 cents each. Left
untouched were a computer, cash and other far more valuable items.
A far greater loss, reports the Summit
Daily News ,
is a broken window, which will cost $200 to replace.
Bill proposes use of local
SACRAMENTO, Calif. You've probably
noticed this. A lot of the ski towns and valleys have no end of big
houses made from lots and lots of wood. Yet the strongest
opposition to timber sales on public lands comes from people in
those ski towns and valleys.
In California, a bill at
the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger challenges that sort of
thinking. The bill would encourage state agencies to purchase more
wood grown in California instead of being imported from countries
where environmental laws are less strict. Currently, about 70
percent of wood used in California is imported.
A series of articles in
the Sacramento Bee called "State of Denial" inspired
the bill. The series linked California's consumption of wood and
oil to environmental degradation in Canada and South America. The
bill, said Bill Libby, a professor emeritus of forestry at the
University of California, Berkeley, is a step in the right
direction. "Wood grown in California is going to be better grown
than almost anywhere else," he told the Bee .
Sierra Club California once opposed the bill but is now neutral.
But logging interests in Canada, New Zealand and Chile don't like
it. Also disliking it is the California Department of General
Services, which buys supplies for the sate. "The bill would take
the state procurement efforts in the opposite direction of the
general economic trends for free and open trade in a global
economy," said Doug Hoffner, the department's assistant director
Retail trumps real estate
ASPEN Aspen has closed the door to new
offices on the ground-floor levels in its downtown area. The call
for the ban arose two years ago after two retail stores, Eddie
Bauer and Aspen Drug, became timeshare sales offices.
Vail first banned such
offices in 1973, although some real estate offices grandfathered in
still remain in its main business district, Vail Village. Other ski
towns, from Park City to Crested Butte, have also talked recently
about limiting the presence of real estate in retail districts,
although none of these discussions have yielded specific
In Aspen, the City
Council was divided on the proposal, reports The Aspen Times . Mayor Helen Klanderud argued that
there had been no evidence that a ban on new offices existing ones
will be grand-fathered in, as they were in Vail will help increase
sales at retail stores. Others at the meeting argued essentially
that real estate has become the new retail activity, but that's not
Meanwhile, Aspen also nudged zoning for its downtown area to
allow more density, in part to accommodate more affordable housing.
However, the changes were small buildings being allowed to go up 2
feet higher or, if they're set back 15 feet, 6 feet higher.
School board children go
SUMMIT COUNTY More and more students
from Summit County are commuting daily across Vail Pass to attend
Vail Mountain School, a private institution with 315 students in
kindergarten through high school.
Among the 32 students
from Summit County are the children of four former school board
members and two current board members.
"I don't see it as a
conflict," said Stuart Adams, whose daughter, a sophomore, began
attending Vail Mountain School this fall. "I didn't get onto the
school board to serve my daughter's best interest. I did it to
serve the public's best interest."
Another Summit County
parent, Tara Flanagan, said the community atmosphere at the school
was a major selling point. "There are enormous amounts of positive
energy flowing through the place," she said. "You have to walk in
the door to see what I mean. I thought for a second that maybe I'd
like to re-enroll myself in middle school, but I figured I'd have
some wardrobe issues."
Christmas light ban in the
BANFF, Alberta Everybody knows that
Santa and Rudolf get seriously stale about 20 minutes after
Christmas. Christmas lights aren't much better. But the twinkling
white lights that began as holiday lighting now seem more generally
reflective of winter. Should they be required to be removed
In Banff, there are some
arguments for doing so. They burn energy and, in a small way,
contribute to light pollution. But the Rocky Mountain Outlook , a reliable defender of environmental
standards, says the twinkle, twinkle of white lights during winter
should be left alone. "Let's be a little environmentally incorrect
for a few dark months of the year," says the newspaper, in synch
with many businesses.
Ballots to be offered in
EAGLE COUNTY Eagle County now has
nearly 49,000 residents, and about 25 percent of them are Hispanic.
While some come from families who have lived for several hundred
years in the region, most are recent immigrants to work at Vail,
Beaver Creek and Aspen.
To accommodate those for
whom Spanish is their first language, Eagle County this year will
print ballots in Spanish, as well as English, reports the Vail Daily . County Clerk and Recorder Teak
Simonton said this year will be a test to see how many
Spanish-speaking people are registered voters.