Microbrewer gets help from the king of beers
McCALL, Idaho – Salmon River Brewery, which is located in the Idaho mountain town of McCall, is on a roll. It has more than tripled its brewing, to 3,500 kegs a year, and hopes to expand more into Boise, Ketchum and Twin Falls.

The reason for this success, reports the Idaho Statesman, is the investment of a fellow named Adolphus Busch IV, of the famous St. Louis family that brought us Budweiser. Busch came across one of Salmon’s products, Udaho Gold, at lunch one day. “It caught my attention,” he told the Statesman. “I had it a few more times and pretty much thought it was the best beer I’d had in a long, long time.”

So he went to the brewery on one of his rafting trips to Idaho and decided to introduce himself. He now owns 49 percent of the brewery, providing money necessary for the expansion.
The Statesman notes that traditional beer sales have been flat during recent years, but craft beers have grown.

Silver mining to resume this summer
OURAY – The long-predicted return of hard-rock mining appears to be moving forward in Colorado. The Telluride Watch reports that 76 people have been at work just a few miles away, as the crow flies, in Yankee Boy Basin, to reopen the Revenue-Virginius Mine.

The operator, Star Mine Operations, now has a permit from state regulators. Workers have stabilized tunnels in the 125-year-old mine, working around the clock. Mining of silver could begin by summer, and owners hope for a decade’s worth of production, they tell The Watch.

Telluride plugs away at decarbonizing
TELLURIDE – Bit by bit, town officials in Telluride are plugging away at decarbonizing their electrical supply. The latest stride comes with purchase of 215 panels in a community solar farm in the Paradox Valley, 80 miles to the west, near the Utah border.

The town spent $187,000 for the panels, which will produce about $10,000 worth of electricity each, per year. Mountain Village, the municipality adjoining Telluride, has also purchased panels in the array, notes the Telluride Daily Planet.

Telluride and Mountain Village in 2009 called on their communities to do what’s necessary so that 100 percent of their electricity would come from renewable sources by 2020.

Fortune is all relative in Aspen
ASPEN – The Aspen Daily News this week provides two compelling testimonies that Aspen just ain’t like anywhere else.

Consider a local court case in which an heir to one of the continent’s great fortunes sought free legal counsel. The 25-year-old named Cargill says his mother and her boyfriend are blocking his rightful access to a $250 million inheritance.

And in the public schools, a $100,000 flight simulator has been ordered. Private donors are paying for this and other instruction. Still to be raised is money for an aircraft.

Jackson explores ‘Golden Girls’ model
JACKSON, Wyo. – Does being elderly necessarily need to be black and white? Either in your own home, or in some institution, usually a nursing home?

A project called Jackson Hole Elders aims for a more comfortable transition. “The standard model is that you’re in an institution with long hallways and there’s a structure for caring for people,” Sandy Shuptrine tells the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

But in a model being proposed in Jackson, a house would be shared by 10 to 12 people, each with private bedrooms and bathrooms. But the kitchen, dining and living rooms would all be shared space.

For each five to six residents, a caregiver would be available for cooking and supervising. A registered nurse would also be present for most of the day and on call at night.

The model has been pioneered in other parts of Wyoming, including Sheridan. There, four such homes have been built.

Shuptrine tells the Jackson Hole News&Guide that most of the people working on the project are at an age “where we have parents who need loving, personalized care.” But while parents want to stay in their own homes, at some point, friends and family are being called on to become full-time caretakers.

Pioneer of cheap lift tickets raises rates
BOISE, Idaho – Bogus Basin, the ski area that introduced the idea of discounted season passes, is finally raising its rates. Since 1997, the cost for a season pass has stood at $199. But next year the passes will cost $229.

“We need a little extra to pay the bills,” said Alan Moore, the general manager of Bogus Basin. “Everything has gone up, from diesel fuel to seasonal labor to operation of the high-speed quads.”

Speaker calls for sunshine in ski towns
PARK CITY, Utah – Smile, as there’s opportunity ahead for ski towns. That seemed to be the take-away message from a presentation by Andrew Busch, who does a CNBC show called “Money in Motion” and recently spoke to a business group in Park City.

As reported by The Park Record, Busch advised his audience to think of the big picture, including international markets. Japan’s stock market is hyperventilating, and China is starting to spend money.

“China is a perfect example. The growth of the middle class there is so enormous, so rapid, and those people want to travel. For Park City, the wealthy in China are already interested in coming here. When I look at businesses, this is a strategy that is often completely undeveloped. If it were me, I would be trying to find travel agencies in China, overseas partners that could help navigate tourists to this town.”

He also said that the United States will slowly grow jobs, but that the European debt crisis is still going to play a significant role in the global market.

Among his listeners, reports The Record, was City Councilman Andy Beerman, who also owns a local hostelry. He said he was encouraged by what he heard, noting that while Park City taps the wealthy, that still requires discretionary income. “Park City, even though we are insulated to some extent, is still tied to the national economy,” he observed.

Voices raise concerns about pipelines
WHISTLER, B.C. – Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are preparing to descend on Washington, D.C., this week in an effort to get Barack Obama to deny a permit. The pipeline would carry diluted bitumen, the oil extracted from Alberta’s oil sands, across the continent’s mid-section to oil refineries near Houston.

Canadian newspapers this week were full of opinions and analysis about what may come. The nation has become accustomed to rapidly increasing budgets, thanks to the handsome dividends of the oil sands. But current export capacity is now full, and creating additional export is a problem, whether through the Keystone XL or one of the other pipelines in Canada.

The pipeline to the west is called Northern Gateway, and it would deliver the bitumen to a seaport several hundred miles north of Whistler. Still, that’s too close for comfort to many in Whistler.

“What’s at stake? Our province’s Super Natural brand and the $14 billion a year it generates for communities,” said Bill Eisenhauer, a consultant who specializes in tourism, told a panel in January.

“You only have to look at the BP spill down on the U.S. Gulf Coast to see what effect a major spill will have on tourism here.”

Pique publisher Bob Barnett notes that the tourism industry in British Columbia has altogether been raising its voice in doubt. That raised voice, he says, may suggest an industry now seeking to become as powerful as the more traditional powerhouses of the province, mining and forestry.

Banff is pricey, but second to Whistler
BANFF, Alberta – In examining the housing needs for the next 10 years in Banff, consulting firm Housing Strategies has found that Banff is indeed an expensive place to rent a one-bedroom. The cost last year was $1,051 on average, higher than Jasper’s $1,003 or Canmore’s $934. But Whistler trumps them all at $1,168.

Of course, that’s a small cost if you make lots of money. But the fastest-growing employment sectors are – hold your breath – in service. The average wages for jobs in food and beverages, housecleaning and the like averages from $10.80 to $13.87 an hour.

– Allen Best