Ear to the ground

“Could you imagine being that motivated?”

-Local commenting on the drive

to run for public office

The wealth

of the West

While it’s no secret that wealth congregates around ski resorts, mountain towns were well represented inFortune Magazine’s recent list of the 400 richest Americans. Not surprisingly, most of the bucks congregated around the burg of Aspen.

No. 68 on the list was the Crown family of Chicago, with a fortune estimated at $4.5 billion. They own the four ski areas in and around Aspen, as well as The Little Nell Hotel and the Snowmass Club.

But in the context of Aspen, billionaires are by no means unique. A college dropout by the name of Michael Dell, who is the eighth richest American, with $17.2 billion, has parents who live in Aspen, and hence he’s a frequent visitor. He left college, of course, to make computers.

Next on the list, in the ninth spot, are David and Charles Koch, who have side-by-side homes in Aspen’s West End. Then at No. 12 are Rob Walton and his former wife, Carolyn, and then there are the Ziff brothers, followed by … You get the idea. Listing Aspen’s billionaires is a bit like going through the local telephone book.

To get on the Fortune 400 list this year required a minimum wealth of $1.3 billion. So it’s no surprise that none of Durango’s hundred-thousandaires made the cut.


on the move

It may still be “Durango” in name, but the annual songwriter’s expo is now hundreds of miles away.

The Durango Songwriter’s Expo, a top national event that networks hundreds of songwriters from throughout the world with industry professionals, took place for its first eight years at Tamarron. Each year, the event also put on a free concert for the community with the likes of Rickie Lee Jones, Rodney Crowell and Leroy Parnell performing.

However, the Expo pulled up roots in 2005 because of increases in the cost of accommodations and a new charge for convention space. At the time, the expo relocated to the much more affordable climes of Telluride. The following year saw the Durango Songwriter’s Expo being staged in Park City, Utah. And this year, Durango has again proved to be too pricy for the Expo. The Durango Songwriter’s Expo meets this weekend, Oct. 4-6, at the Esplendor Resort at Rico Rico in southern Arizona.