Telluride bailed out by Hollywood

TELLURIDE – Several weeks ago the effort to raise $50 million for purchase of land at the town’s entrance, to ensure it remains open space, seemed to be falling just a few million short. And, said the Town Council, there was no white knight waiting in the weeds, ready to ride to the rescue.

Well, in fact, there was. A Hollywood movie director and producer, Tom Shayac, contributed the final $2 million, allowing the town to complete its condemnation of the land. Shayac had first visited Telluride for Mountainfilm, and returned for that and other film festivals, although he owns no property there.

The community has collected everything from nickels to million-dollar donations since a jury in February ruled that the 570 acres at the town’s entrance was worth $50 million. Among those helping raise money was Meg Whitman, chief executive officer of eBay and owner of the Skyline Guest Ranch. While fund-raisers in most cases expect 15 percent of pledges not to be met, in this case virtually all the IOUs were collected.

Earlier this year, a jury ruled that a coveted parcel of undeveloped land at the town’s entrance is actually worth $50 million. The town had been moving to condemn the property, to prevent any development and estimates of the value had ranged from $25 to $60 million, with representatives of the town arguing for the lower figure.

The case has been in the works for about a decade. Last year, a compromise measure offered to Telluride voters would have allowed the owner of the 570 acres, Neal Blue, the right to develop some high-cost housing. In return, the town could have also built some low-cost affordable housing, but voters rejected the measure.

Blue, chief executive of General Atomic, continues to fight the condemnation and is appealing the case to the Colorado Supreme Court.


Steamboat explores sustainability

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Members of a “green team” within the Steamboat Springs city government are asking for a full-time sustainability coordinator. The cost of the proposition is $80,000 to $100,000 per year.

The new employee’s duties – if approved by the City Council – will include implementing the city’s new sustainability management plan.The Steamboat Pilot & Today notes a “momentum for conservation and energy-efficiency efforts” in Steamboat.

That momentum was reflected in a two-day conference, called “The Economics of Sustainability,” which was hosted by the economic development arm of the local chamber of commerce. Speakers talked about sustainable tourism, renewable energy and green-building techniques.

Among the speakers was Auden Schendler, the executive director of community and environmental responsibility for the Aspen Skiing Co. He recounted his efforts to “green” the company through efforts large and small. Ultimately, he said, resorts have a duty to be advocates of change in the face of increasing accumulations of greenhouse gases.


Senior sneak day confounds cops

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Alcohol at parties on senior sneak day is a tradition at Jackson Hole High School. So are attempts by local police to limit the alcohol consumption of minors and certainly to prevent drunken driving.

In past years, sheriff’s deputies have raided parties, and the kids fled into the forest, sometimes jumping into rivers. One year, explains theJackson Hole News&Guide, the local rescue squad had to be called to comb the woods for kids who ran away on a particularly cold night.

Deputies next tried a low-key approach, asking under-age drinkers at the senior parties to pour out alcohol but making no arrests. Then, they waited at the party’s perimeters, in an attempt to ensure nobody was driving drunk.

But after a student died because of drunken driving elsewhere during the school year, community members asked for stronger law enforcement. Last year cops responded by arresting 51 students. However, parents fought the charges – and won – because of Wyoming’s somewhat intricate liquor laws. The law requires the cops to ask the underage youth what

they drank, and the law will only punish the ones who cooperate.

“Kids, essentially, now can drink with immunity,” sheriff’s office Capt. Jim Whalen lamented.

What will happen this year? “We’re not all going to sit around and make s’mores,” said one high school senior. “Nice idea,” said another of the effort to quash drinking, “but it’s never going to happen.”


Aspen grafitti spurs racial tension

ASPEN – There’s been a lot of news in Aspen lately about scribblings on the walls of the portable toilets at construction sites.

What started the round of stories was a threatening message on a portapotty wall at Snowmass Village targeted at Latino workers. Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said interviews revealed members of The Aryan Brotherhood and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were also working in the area.

Latino workers were given a paid day off, andThe Aspen Times later reported tensions within the immigrant community.

A week later, a scribble on a toilet wall at a school construction site seemed to target whites. The contractor, G.E. Johnson, shut down the project for the day. Braudis toldTheAspen Times, he hopes that workers angered at the loss of a day’s pay will come forward with evidence that authorities can use to catch the perpetrator.


Military recruiters struggle in Utah

PARK CITY, Utah – Military recruiters are having a harder time getting students to enlist from the three high schools in Utah’s Summit County.

“I knew a few people who wanted to be pilots a while back, but they aren’t talking about it anymore,” said Adam Whitworth, a junior at Park City High School, who hopes to join the Coast Guard. “The war has really turned people off. The public view of the military has deeply changed.”

Sgt. Terrance Pohl, a recruiter for the Army National Guard, said students aren’t a hard sell, but their parents – who have the right to refuse a recruiter access to their sons and daughters until they turn 18 – are. “Mom and Dad are watching way too much TV. What they see is, ‘You’re going to Iraq, and you’re going to die,’” he toldThe Park Record.


Jackson Hole rejects smoking ban

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – The Jackson Town Council has refused to enact a ban on smoking in public places. The proposal would have included not only businesses but also all parks and outdoor facilities such as baseball fields, reports theJackson Hole News&Guide.

Councilor Meilissa Turley said she “votes with her feet” by not patronizing the three remaining bars in Teton County that still allow smoking. No restaurants allow smoking.

Larry Hartnett told councilors it’s also a matter of principles. “I am not a smoker, and I don’t like going into places where there is smoke, but one thing I am particularly fond of is freedom,” he told the council.

The Teton County Board of Public Health is mulling the idea of classifying tobacco smoke as a toxic substance. The legality of that declaration is being explored.


Crested Butte takes on black bears

CRESTED BUTTE – Town officials in Crested Butte have adopted several measures intended to make the town less attractive to bears. Trash bins can only be placed outside from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on days of scheduled pickup, unless in bear-resistant containers. The Town Council set aside $80,000 in its budget to purchase bear-resistant containers. Bird feeders ware allowed, reports theCrested Butte News, but only when suspended so as to be inaccessible to bears.

Similar measures in Colorado resort towns were first introduced in Snowmass Village, and since then have been adopted in Aspen, Vail and Steamboat Springs. The town of Mt. Crested Butte, which is located adjacent to the ski slopes, is considering similar measures.

– compiled by Allen Best

Telluride bailed out by Hollywood

TELLURIDE – Several weeks ago the effort to raise $50 million for purchase of land at the town’s entrance, to ensure it remains open space, seemed to be falling just a few million short. And, said the Town Council, there was no white knight waiting in the weeds, ready to ride to the rescue.

Well, in fact, there was. A Hollywood movie director and producer, Tom Shayac, contributed the final $2 million, allowing the town to complete its condemnation of the land. Shayac had first visited Telluride for Mountainfilm, and returned for that and other film festivals, although he owns no property there.

The community has collected everything from nickels to million-dollar donations since a jury in February ruled that the 570 acres at the town’s entrance was worth $50 million. Among those helping raise money was Meg Whitman, chief executive officer of eBay and owner of the Skyline Guest Ranch. While fund-raisers in most cases expect 15 percent of pledges not to be met, in this case virtually all the IOUs were collected.

Earlier this year, a jury ruled that a coveted parcel of undeveloped land at the town’s entrance is actually worth $50 million. The town had been moving to condemn the property, to prevent any development and estimates of the value had ranged from $25 to $60 million, with representatives of the town arguing for the lower figure.

The case has been in the works for about a decade. Last year, a compromise measure offered to Telluride voters would have allowed the owner of the 570 acres, Neal Blue, the right to develop some high-cost housing. In return, the town could have also built some low-cost affordable housing, but voters rejected the measure.

Blue, chief executive of General Atomic, continues to fight the condemnation and is appealing the case to the Colorado Supreme Court.


Steamboat explores sustainability

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Members of a “green team” within the Steamboat Springs city government are asking for a full-time sustainability coordinator. The cost of the proposition is $80,000 to $100,000 per year.

The new employee’s duties – if approved by the City Council – will include implementing the city’s new sustainability management plan.The Steamboat Pilot & Today notes a “momentum for conservation and energy-efficiency efforts” in Steamboat.

That momentum was reflected in a two-day conference, called “The Economics of Sustainability,” which was hosted by the economic development arm of the local chamber of commerce. Speakers talked about sustainable tourism, renewable energy and green-building techniques.

Among the speakers was Auden Schendler, the executive director of community and environmental responsibility for the Aspen Skiing Co. He recounted his efforts to “green” the company through efforts large and small. Ultimately, he said, resorts have a duty to be advocates of change in the face of increasing accumulations of greenhouse gases.


Senior sneak day confounds cops

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Alcohol at parties on senior sneak day is a tradition at Jackson Hole High School. So are attempts by local police to limit the alcohol consumption of minors and certainly to prevent drunken driving.

In past years, sheriff’s deputies have raided parties, and the kids fled into the forest, sometimes jumping into rivers. One year, explains theJackson Hole News&Guide, the local rescue squad had to be called to comb the woods for kids who ran away on a particularly cold night.

Deputies next tried a low-key approach, asking under-age drinkers at the senior parties to pour out alcohol but making no arrests. Then, they waited at the party’s perimeters, in an attempt to ensure nobody was driving drunk.

But after a student died because of drunken driving elsewhere during the school year, community members asked for stronger law enforcement. Last year cops responded by arresting 51 students. However, parents fought the charges – and won – because of Wyoming’s somewhat intricate liquor laws. The law requires the cops to ask the underage youth what they drank, and the law will only punish the ones who cooperate.

“Kids, essentially, now can drink with immunity,” sheriff’s office Capt. Jim Whalen lamented.

What will happen this year? “We’re not all going to sit around and make s’mores,” said one high school senior. “Nice idea,” said another of the effort to quash drinking, “but it’s never going to happen.”


Aspen grafitti spurs racial tension

ASPEN – There’s been a lot of news in Aspen lately about scribblings on the walls of the portable toilets at construction sites.

What started the round of stories was a threatening message on a portapotty wall at Snowmass Village targeted at Latino workers. Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said interviews revealed members of The Aryan Brotherhood and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were also working in the area.

Latino workers were given a paid day off, andThe Aspen Times later reported tensions within the immigrant community.

A week later, a scribble on a toilet wall at a school construction site seemed to target whites. The contractor, G.E. Johnson, shut down the project for the day. Braudis toldTheAspen Times, he hopes that workers angered at the loss of a day’s pay will come forward with evidence that authorities can use to catch the perpetrator.


Military recruiters struggle in Utah

PARK CITY, Utah – Military recruiters are having a harder time getting students to enlist from the three high schools in Utah’s Summit County.

“I knew a few people who wanted to be pilots a while back, but they aren’t talking about it anymore,” said Adam Whitworth, a junior at Park City High School, who hopes to join the Coast Guard. “The war has really turned people off. The public view of the military has deeply changed.”

Sgt. Terrance Pohl, a recruiter for the Army National Guard, said students aren’t a hard sell, but their parents – who have the right to refuse a recruiter access to their sons and daughters until they turn 18 – are. “Mom and Dad are watching way too much TV. What they see is, ‘You’re going to Iraq, and you’re going to die,’” he toldThe Park Record.


Jackson Hole rejects smoking ban

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – The Jackson Town Council has refused to enact a ban on smoking in public places. The proposal would have included not only businesses but also all parks and outdoor facilities such as baseball fields, reports theJackson Hole News&Guide.

Councilor Meilissa Turley said she “votes with her feet” by not patronizing the three remaining bars in Teton County that still allow smoking. No restaurants allow smoking.

Larry Hartnett told councilors it’s also a matter of principles. “I am not a smoker, and I don’t like going into places where there is smoke, but one thing I am particularly fond of is freedom,” he told the council.

The Teton County Board of Public Health is mulling the idea of classifying tobacco smoke as a toxic substance. The legality of that declaration is being explored.


Crested Butte takes on black bears

CRESTED BUTTE – Town officials in Crested Butte have adopted several measures intended to make the town less attractive to bears. Trash bins can only be placed outside from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on days of scheduled pickup, unless in bear-resistant containers. The Town Council set aside $80,000 in its budget to purchase bear-resistant containers. Bird feeders ware allowed, reports theCrested Butte News, but only when suspended so as to be inaccessible to bears.

Similar measures in Colorado resort towns were first introduced in Snowmass Village, and since then have been adopted in Aspen, Vail and Steamboat Springs. The town of Mt. Crested Butte, which is located adjacent to the ski slopes, is considering similar measures.

– compiled by Allen Best

The company was sold in 2005 to The Timberline, a Fortune 500 company, whose international distribution network has also aided sales.

Steamboat’s mountain lifestyle also explains the location of TIC, also called The Industrial Company. Founded in Steamboat Springs in 1974, the company initially built condominiums and pipelines but now has operations in 28 states and offices in two foreign countries. Headquarters remain in Steamboat Springs, as do 200 employees and a steady stream of the other 9,000 employees for training sessions, saysPlanning Magazine.

Canada’s native tongues vanish

CANMORE, Alberta – Only three of the 50 languages once spoken by aboriginals in Canada are expected to survive into the future. Those languages – Inuktitut, Cree and Chippewa – each have more than 20,000 speakers.

Some languages are already gone. Others have just a few hundred speakers and are likely headed to extinction. The language of the Stoney-Nakoda, who live at the foot of the Canadian Rockies, between Calgary and Banff, remains in doubt.

About 4,000 of the Stoneys remain, although even many of them do not speak their native language, reports theRocky Mountain Outlook. The language suffered after the signing of a treaty in 1877. Children were then put into schools and encouraged to forsake their language and culture.

In time, this thinking that pressured the Indians to melt into the mainstream slowed a bit, and in the 1970s the Stoney-Nakoda language became written.

Now, schools teach the language. But teaching the language, notes theOutlook, is only part of the equation. Like anything, it has to be relevant.

Black bear jumps onto Main Street

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – People strolling down Steamboat’s Lincoln Avenue, the town’s main street, were startled Sunday night when a bear jumped down from the roof of a diner.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today explains that the bear had been in an alley when a driver saw it, so the bear scrambled up a stairway to the roof. Before wildlife authorities could be called, the bear figured its own, unorthodox route of escape. Although the bear caused some excitement a block away, near another restaurant, there were no direct confrontations before the bear climbed a tree.

– compiled by Allen Best

 

In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down