Vail’s seasonal residents may get vote

VAIL– Colorado voters in November will be voting on a provision called Amendment 60. Just what the proposal would accomplish, however, has been disputed.

Proponents say that it would allow second-home owners – actually, any property owner – to vote on property tax issues where they own property.

The Vail Daily reports that some opponents say the language of the proposed amendment is vague and sure to trigger litigation.

Don Cohen, who heads a local economic development council, said property owners should have a say, even if they do not live in a place. But the proposal now before voters isn’t necessarily the way to go about it. He fears that out-of-town property owners might be inclined to vote against things they don’t need, such as schools, but which the local community needs.

Telluride survives the Phish invasion

TELLURIDE – Phish came, plays two shows in Telluride, each of them drawing 9,000 “phans,” and a good time was had by all. Or mostly that was the case, reportsThe Telluride Watch. Certainly, there was no Armageddon – although law enforcement and medical officials had prepared for the worst.

The Watch notes that preparedness began last winter, and not entirely without cause. Phish shows have a history of attracting hallucinogens, much as Grateful Dead shows used to.

As such, Telluride created its first ever “trip tent” to provide a soothing, calm sanctuary where the “phans” could ride out bad trips. In fact, while LSD, mushrooms and other drugs were certainly in evidence at the show, the trip tent was just as helpful to nursing mothers wanting privacy or parents trying to entertain small children.

“It was very, very mellow the entire festival,” said Emil Sante, chief paramedic.

At the medical tent, insect bites and coughs were the big problems.

“Maybe the hype got the better of us, but we really planned for a lot worse event than it turned out to be,” said Bill Masters, San Miguel County sheriff.

Carbon monoxide deaths go to court

ASPEN – The morning after Thanksgiving in 2008, a family of four died of carbon monoxide in a vacation house near Aspen. It was a snowy night, and an outdoor sensor detected the snow, activating a gas-fired boiler to melt the snow on the outside walkways and patio. The malfunctioning boiler was located in the home’s mechanical room, underneath the guest suite occupied by the parents.

In recent weeks, charges were filed by the district attorney against the plumber who installed the boiler and two building inspectors. In addition, relatives of the dead family have now filed a lawsuit, reportsThe Aspen Times.

The family members were “innocent victims of so many problems and failings by so many people,” said Dr. Frederick Feuerbach, the father of the Caroline Lofgren, 42, one of the victims.

The suit names the plumber and also building inspectors for the city of Aspen and Pitkin County.

The suit claims five missteps by contractors, inspectors and the homeowner led to the deaths.

Truckee invests in Idaho wind power

TRUCKEE, Calif. – The Truckee community several years ago had an anguished discussion about whether to invest in a new coal-fired power plant in Utah. Despite the lower cost, it chose not to. Instead, it has bumped up investment in renewable energy. From 8 percent in 2006, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District achieved 31 percent last year.

Now, it’s preparing to own more renewable generating capability, reports theSierra Sun. District board members are buying 9

megawatts of generating capacity in a wind farm in Idaho called Horse Butte. Studies have shown that the Idaho turbines will spin about 30 percent of the time. The district also owns a portion of a plant in Utah that harvests methane from a landfill.

Tahoe real estate starting to stabilize

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Echoing reports from mountain resort communities elsewhere in the West, real-estate sales from communities along the shore of Lake Tahoe have increased and sales prices stabilized.

Total sales volume for the first half of 2010 was $306 million, a 47 percent increase. While those numbers look strong, said Sue Lowe, vice president of Chase International, she cautioned that compared to 2009, a bleak time for real estate agents, any numbers could look positive.

“We’re optimistic that the market is starting to stabilize.” She also noted “some significant activity in the ultra high-end sales” of over $10 million.

Landslides new and old get attention

WHISTLER, B.C. – From the report in Whistler’sPique Newsmagazine, it was a miracle that nobody died when a landslide thundered down a nearby mountain, creating a flowing wall of mud that had campers in their pickup trucks gunning their motors to escape to higher ground.

The landslide was the second largest ever recorded in Canada. It started with an avalanche near the top of Mount Meager, then streamed down Capricorn Creek.

The Jackson Hole News&Guide also had news of a landslide, but it occurred in 1925. Called the Gros Ventre Slide, on the east side of Jackson Hole, it had been preceded by many small earthquakes. That same general area this year has again had a surge of seismic activity, 160 smaller quakes since Aug. 4, six of them somewhat larger in magnitude.

Breck hopes to jack up marketing

BRECKENRIDGE – Town voters in Breckenridge likely will get a hatful of proposals in November that would collectively serve to pump up the lodging tax 1 percent in order to fatten marketing efforts.

The Summit Daily News reports that if the current lodging tax brings in $1.7 million this year, as expected, the new tax could harvest $2.5 million. That’s still short of the $3 million spent by Steamboat and the $4 million or more spent by Aspen, Park City and South Lake Tahoe.

Councilman Mike Dudick said he wants the expanded marketing to focus more on groups and well-heeled visitors from outside of Colorado.

In a compromise to get the lodging community’s support, the town council agreed to increase money from town coffers spent on marketing.

Aspen pitches concert to liven up March

ASPEN – March isn’t what it used to be in Aspen, says the Aspen Skiing Co., which wants permission from town authorities to host outdoor concerts that might attract 3,000 to 5,000 people. The goal of the concerts, explained Jeff Hanle, spokesman for the company, would be to draw “people who would not have come here otherwise.” March, once the busiest single month at most ski resorts, “is not what it used to be,” Hanle toldThe Aspen Times.

Truckee takes on backyard chickens

TRUCKEE, Calif. – There wasn’t much clucking about a proposed code revision in Truckee that would allow backyard chicken coops in larger-lot homes.The Sierra Sun says the proposed code now going before the town council would allow up to six hens on lots larger than 10,000 square feet.

– Allen Best


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows