Sheriff cracks down on streaking

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – In Jackson Hole, it’s official public policy that violent ramming of cars is good, clean, family fun, but naked bodies are not.

The ramming of cars occurs at the Demolition Derby, the concluding event in the Teton County Fair that is held in early August. In recent years, anywhere from one to 10 people have chosen the occasion to doff their clothes and “streak” in front of the alcohol-fueled crowd of 3,000.

Last year, a sheriff’s deputy used a Taser to fell a streaking man who was carrying a fire extinguisher. The act had Jackson Hole in an uproar for a month as to whether the use of the electrical device was warranted.

But the sheriff’s department isn’t backing down, reports theJackson Hole News & Guide. Instead, it’s upping the ante. This year, say the authorities, displays of nudity will result in misdemeanor charges of child endangerment. That stiffens the potential punishment to a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in jail.

The sheriff, Bob Zimmer, said several families have told him they don’t go to the Demolition Derby anymore because it’s so rowdy and because of the streaking. “Their kids can’t enjoy one of the main attractions at the county fair,” he complained.

Female arm-wrestling hits Aspen

CARBONDALE – Female arm-wrestling seems to be the rage in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“Forget mud wrestling,” saysThe Aspen Times. “Forget a wet T-shirt contest. For contestants, women’s arm-wrestling is more empowering. For spectators of the opposite sex, it’s arguably just as arousing.”

The Times attended a fund-raiser in Carbondale. The wrestlers all had catchy names, like La Gata and Cleavage Crusher, even if their day jobs were sometimes more mundane. The Croatian Princess, for example, was a 46-year-old architect.

The event was primarily for 20-somethings and 30-somethings, although there were some notable exceptions. A 70-year-old woman called Western Woman lost to her 24-year-old opponent called Streak of Steel. “When I was younger, I would have kicked her ass,” the older woman growled.

“Who knew women’s arm-wrestling could be this intense?” wonderedTheTimes correspondent. “Who knew it could be this fun to watch?” The newspaper reported that an earlier bout of bicep flexing, held in Glenwood Springs, “attracted people to the bar the way Paris Hilton attracts camera lenses.”

Telluride sets new emission goals

TELLURIDE – Telluride continues to plot how it can reduce its carbon footprint. The town has set a goal of reducing Telluride’s carbon emission levels 15 percent by 2010, and an additional 15 percent by 2015.

The Telluride Watch reports the plan focuses on the town government’s direct role. For example, the plan proposes that the town encourage buildings that face “the sunny side of town” install solar panels. Because generating wind power may not be feasible, the plan suggests the town buy wind power elsewhere.

The plan also recommends that, in addition to monetary costs, the town include carbon emissions as a cost in its financial impact statements. It also advocates quantifying the effect of open space land and trees in town on water and air quality – as plants and trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – and including that number in decisions about open space.

Much of the rest of the plan falls under the heading of education: Working with the hardware store to stock energy-saving devices, schooling local students in climate chemistry, and educating businesses in the virtues of “green.”

Just how the town will reduce its carbon footprint while more and more workers commute longer and longer distances apparently was not addressed in the document.

Real estate relaxes in Mammoth

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – The bulls have slowed their stampede in the streets of Mammoth Lakes. But Rusty Gregory, the revered chief executive officer at the Mammoth Mountain ski area, says the locals should use the opportunity to get ready for the next real estate boom.

“There’s no question in my mind there’s been a flattening of demand in the real estate market,” he toldThe Sheet. “And at the end of these periods of prosperity, the problems become more noticeable.”

One problem he sees is the absence of a vision for the town’s Main Street. To that end, Mammoth Lakes has appointed a task force to address how to make Main Street more functional but also more aesthetically pleasing. It has been described as a 1950s-style collection of suburban-type mini-shopping malls.

The Sheet observes that it’s been nine months since Starwood Capital purchased 77 percent of the equity in the ski mountain and associated holdings, and that Gregory had predicted an immediate expectation of results. Still, pushiness from the new owners hasn’t been apparent. The paper speculates that the success of skiing last winter – Mammoth got 670 inches of snow and 1.5 million skiers – may have been a satisfying change.

New jets a big hit in ski towns

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – A new type of plane, called a VLJ, which stands for very light jet, is expected to be a hit among people who live in affluent mountain towns.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today explains that the VLJs will have four to seven seats, about the size of a large sports utility vehicle. They cost between $1million and $4 million. More important, operating and maintenance costs are expected to be low.

This means that a company could charter one of these planes for the same cost as a full-fare commercial ticket. The planes will be purchased mainly as corporate “limos.”

The planes will have speeds of 400 mph and capable of reaching altitudes of up to 35,000 feet. They have ranges of 1,600 nautical miles. Important, at least from the perspective of Steamboat, is that the planes can land on short runways. Steamboat has an airport on the town’s edge too small for conventional, wide-bodied jets.

Frisco joins climate change pact

FRISCO – Frisco has put energy and climate on center stage with its latest move. It is joining a variety of other ski towns – Park City, Aspen, Telluride, Gunnison and Ruidoso, N.M. – in the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

It pledges to reduce carbon dioxide pollution emitted by the town to 7 percent below 1990 levels. This is to be done by 2012. But to do so, it must document what those 1990 emissions were.

Frisco is already applying some of its focus to reducing emissions from buildings. Mark Gage, the town’s director of community development, notes that while much has been made about energy use of cars, in fact more than 50 percent of energy consumed in the United States goes to the heating and lighting of buildings.

Copper thieves start to hit job sites

SUMMIT COUNTY – The booming world economy that has stirred talk of reopening mines in the Rocky Mountains is also causing problems for building contractors.

Among the commodities with sharply increased prices is copper. As such, thievery of copper is becoming rampant. Contractors called Breckenridge police five times within 10 days about missing copper wire, roofing and fittings, reports theSummit Daily News. Across Vail Pass, police in Vail reported a $5,000 copper theft.

Banff baby boom linked to housing

BANFF, Alberta – Banff is having a baby boom. The number of births has increased by 25 percent this year, and this is after a 15 percent increase the year before.

What’s happening?The Rocky Mountain Outlook points to two things. First, it used to be that couples, when they got ready to create families, moved down-valley to Canmore, which was less expensive. But lately, Canmore and Banff are in the same price range. Second, Banff has been aggressively building affordable housing.

Steamboat seeks underground heat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Steamboat Springs is looking into installing an extensive snow-melt system in the redeveloped base area that is now being planned. Conventionally, the energy for melting the snow would have come from a natural-gas fired boiler. But Steamboat is looking into the potential of drawing upon heated underground water sources, as the region has at least two hot springs. A geologic study is planned.

– compiled by Allen Best