Telluride immigrants rally for rights

TELLURIDE – In rallies in Telluride and Edwards last week, immigrants and their supporters spoke in support of immigration reform – and for their rights to fully become Americans.

In Edwards, 2000 people gathered from Vail and the Eagle Valley to chant, “Yes We Can” – but with a twist, says theVail Daily: it was in Spanish.

“We need reform so we can work here,” said Teresa Paz, a spokeswoman for the Hispanic Movement of Eagle County. “We want our children to be able to go to the university. We want to be able to contribute everything economically that we can to this country,” she added, speaking through a translator.

In Telluride, the translation went the other way. Raul Toledo, a student at Telluride High School, crossed the border with his parents more than a decade ago. As he has no papers, he will have to pay out-of-state tuition to go to a state university, but theTelluride Daily Planet notes that he needed a translator to put his English speech into Spanish before the crowd of 100 people. “My dream is to go to college like anybody else,” he said.

Another speaker was Miguel Alvarado, a house painter in Telluride, who thePlanet says testified eloquently that “helping this place is part of my job.”

“I came just as many of you, and I don’t need to repeat what kind of endeavor that was, but it was a horrible endeavor,” he said in Spanish. All he wanted, he said, was “to be part of a place, part of a family, part of a community.”

Another speaker asked of the crowd: “What do we do?”

“Pay rent,” came one answer.

“Pay taxes,” said another.

“Have weddings,” said a third, producing laughs.

ThePlanet noted that marriage is sometimes the quickest path to citizenship.


Whistler survives Olympics in style

WHISTLER, B.C. – After seven years of planning, the Olympics are now history in Whistler. From the outset, one of the greatest worries was whether the transportation plans were workable.

They were, reports Bob Barnett, publisher ofPique Newsmagazine, particularly in Whistler. Despite some inconveniences, people left their cars at home and used public transportation.

“As a temporary measure in extraordinary circumstances, it worked,” he wrote. Similar to what is common in congested Manhattan and London, daytime commercial deliveries were confined to the middle of the night. Again, it worked.

Perhaps the greatest surprise during the Olympics, he says, was the atmosphere in Whistler Village, the community’s commercial hub. “We’ve learned that thousands of people streaming through the village day and night don’t have to be wild or scary. Sure, it helps when there is a $900 million security budget, but it isn’t the police presence that kept people from causing trouble. People came to celebrate.”

Many Whistlerites had been skeptical or even cynical about the Olympics beforehand. But Barnett seemed to say that the spirit of the moment prevailed. He says: “New standards have been set for ‘fun’ and ‘busy’ in Whistler.”

Summit County boosts energy efficiency

BRECKENRIDGE – A home in the high-rent district of Breckenridge is taking shape that will, at least after construction, have a small carbon footprint. It’s big – 8,000 square feet – but will employ technology to reduce energy use and create some of its own.

TheSummit Daily News explains that high-density foam insulation, engineered wood and lighting controls will contribute to efficiencies. Photovoltaic panels that produce 10 kilowatts of electricity are being installed. Also, 19 boreholes have been drilled 300 feet deep to transfer subterranean heat, which stays a constant 50 to 55 Fahrenheit, into the house to heat or cool it.

Appliances will be designed to use little energy, and motion-sensing occupancy detectors will shut off lights when a person leaves a room.

Meanwhile, town officials continue to puzzle over how to best encourage low-impact housing, knowing full well that many residents don’t want to be told what to do. They are thinking both sticks and carrots, but for the moment are favoring the latter. A kitty of $1 million has been assembled to loan for energy-efficiency projects. But they are also thinking about methods of discouraging heated driveways and outdoor gas fireplaces, such as have been adopted in adjacent Eagle County, but also Pitkin County and a number other jurisdictions in Colorado.

The Carbon Action Plan adopted by Breckenridge has a goal of reducing community energy use 20 percent below 2007 levels by 2020.

The newspaper also reports a variety of loan programs in Summit County intended to encourage homeowners to improve energy efficiency and install renewable-energy fixtures. As well, a new group called the Resource for Sustainable Building has formed. The group plans monthly meetings on such topics as responsible remodeling, water conservation, and environment-friendly building and design.


Recession hits Aspen job market hard

ASPEN – Statistics have now begun to define the recession in Aspen and Pitkin County, where roughly one in 10 jobs was lost between 2008-09.

Citing Colorado Department of Labor and Employment figures,The Aspen Times reports that the number of jobs fell to 14,670 during the second quarter of last year, down 1,804 from the same period a year prior. Jobs were shed somewhat equally in the construction, retail and restaurant/bar categories. Tourist accommodations, however, stayed about the same.

Wages also fell, reports the newspaper. Retail sector workers lost $60 per week on average. Real-estate support staff lost more, $174 per week, but still earned more than retail workers. Construction workers, those who still had work, were earning the most to begin with and lost the least, just $16 per week.


eBay exec buys ranch in the San Juans

TELLURIDE – Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay and one of the richest women in the world, with a worth estimated by Forbes at $1.2 billion, has purchased property above Telluride.

The land, near the old mining town of Alta, has vested property rights for construction of 28 houses of up to 12,000 square feet in size plus 20 caretaker houses. Environmentalists in the Telluride area vigorously opposed the development, but San Miguel County planning director Mike Rzycki tells theTelluride Daily Planet that he believes Whitman may not execute those rights.

“I’ve been given the impression that they’re going to be a conservation buyer,” he told the paper. A spokeswoman for Whitman could not confirm plans.

Whitman, who is running for governor of California, several years ago donated $1.15 million to preclude development of land at the west entrance of Telluride.


Park City to save mining artifacts

PARK CITY, Utah – Park City officials intend to preserve more of the infrastructure lingering from the silver-mining era. Already, city officials have given protection to six structures erected for the extraction of silver in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Now, a city group proposes to mandate preservation of six other structures, including a headframe, a tunnel entrance and an aerial tramway.

Rory Murphy, a real estate developer who owns one of the mining relics that would be affected by the proposed decree, concurs with the proposal. “They’re trying to further cement what I’m already doing,” he toldThe Park Record. The site he owns that would be protected is called the Spiro Tunnel.

“The intangible value of the historic structures and history of the Spiro site is so obvious to us,” he said. “There was never a question with us that we would restore them.”

Ski run renamed to honor Lindsey Vonn

VAIL – A prominent run on the face of Vail Mountain that was long called International now has a new name: Lindsey’s, after Olympic gold-medal downhiller Lindsey Vonn. Vail Resorts, the ski area operator at Vail, announced the name change at a reception in Whistler, B.C. Although born in Burnsville, Minn., Vonn began trekking to Vail with her family after showing early signs of promise. She moved to Vail in the late 1990s to better be able to train. Obviously, it paid off.

– Allen Best




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January 26, 2024
Paper chase

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January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows