Making a stink over pot grows

GUNNISON – Two and a half years after pot became legal in Colorado, governments haven’t fully gotten their arms around all the implications. One of them has to do with the odors from grow operations.

Colorado’s constitutional amendment gives state residents the right to grow up to six plants for personal consumption. In addition, medical marijuana providers can have up to 99 plants each.

What this means in practice is a rapidly expanding cannabis canopy in some homes, including one in Gunnison County. The Crested Butte News reports of a case where the sheriff’s department found more than 300 legal plants under one roof. Three of the people living in the house were medical marijuana providers, and they all had employees to tend these plants.

It’s legal, but is there harm? Cannabis plants give off an odor that many people find objectionable. The sheriff’s department gets two or three complaints a day in Gunnison County during growing season.

Denver has already been addressing this with what the Crested Butte News describes as a bizarre-looking telescope called the Nasal Ranger. The portable device can measure ambient odor, and fines can be levied.

Doing Leadville at 83 years young

TELLURIDE – Telluride is no stranger to hosting world-class athletes. But Fred Schmid is a special case. He’s 83 and recently completed the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in under 12 hours.

Schmid’s story of becoming a pro rider is like many others, says the Telluride Daily Planet, with one exception: he began this odyssey at age 61. His wife, Suzanne, noticed him peering longingly into the window of a bike shop in Texas, much like a kid at a candy store. Knowing he was getting worried about losing fitness with age, she bought him a Cannondale mountain bike for Christmas.

That was 1994.          

He started riding the local singletrack in a park near his house, then befriended other riders, going on group rides, night rides, all kinds of rides, nearly every day.

Before he knew it, at age 67, he had won the master’s XC World Championship in the 60-plus category.

He has now completed the Leadville 100 five times, is the current cyclo-cross national champion in his age group, and has won major competitions in road riding and marathon riding as well, the Daily Planet reports.

Schmid is humble about his achievements. He doesn’t, he told the newspaper, have a lot of competition in his age group.

Suzanne Schmid speaks more plainly. “He wouldn’t say that he has a natural gift for it, but I would,” she said. “He came into it very quickly.”

Plus, she added, he is competitive. “He hates to see anybody go ahead of him,” she said. “He’ll go after anybody.”

Taos, C.B. mull plastic bag bans

TAOS, N.M. – Add Taos to the towns that have banned or are considering a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores.

Nearby Santa Fe instituted a ban in 2014. But most shoppers just shifted to paper bags instead of taking their own, reusable bags to stores. So elected officials added a 10-cent fee for paper bags. Merchants share in the revenue.

Whatever heartburn customers felt as a result of Santa Fe’s municipal edicts, they came to terms with the changes, grocers tell the Taos News.

Crested Butte, meanwhile, is now looking to ban plastic bags with some exceptions, such as for books and periodicals, some food products, and artwork. Under this proposal now being formally prepared for consideration, there is to be a 20-cent fee for each paper bag distributed by local retailers. Papers bags can contain no old-growth fiber and must be at least 40 percent recycled content.

Former councilman Dan Escalante told the council he supported the more restrictive measures. “I think in the big picture we will look back at plastic bags like spraying DDT on children. It’s important, he said, and added this: “If you pass something tonight that you are totally comfortable with, you’ve probably missed the mark.”

The council didn’t adopt anything, reports the Crested Butte News, but will rehash this in coming weeks. Several council members believe it’s important this not become a way to generate revenue for the town government.

Keep it together in electric storms

JACKSON, Wyo. – It’s summer, and especially those of us who go near high places, we worry about getting struck by a bolt of lightning. Jim Woodmencey, who writes a column called “Mountain Weather” in the Jackson Hole News&Guide, cites a different danger. He says 50 percent of people who die from lightning do so as a result of high-voltage current that runs through the ground.

Because of this, the absolute best thing you can do to prevent injuries from lightning striking nearby is to keep your feet together. “Standing with both feet together will help prevent dangerous ground currents from running up one leg and exiting the other. You may feel a bump under your feet as the ground current passes, but it is unlikely that you would receive a serious electrical injury.”

Staying off mountain tops or away from trees is also a wise thing. A picnic shelter, gazebo or dugout at a ballfield are not good places either.

Jackson has ‘End White Silence’ event

JACKSON, Wyo. – About 30 people gathered in Jackson last week in an event called “End White Silence,” held to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Jackson event, one of hundreds across the United States, was organized by Sarah Ross, who grew up in the valley before leaving and then returning recently.

“I felt this void of conversation about racism and social justice,” Ross told the Jackson Hole News&Guide. “This is one of the most economically stratified communities in the states, and there’s a huge amount of privilege here, and I think we like to act like that isn’t having an impact nationally, but it is.”

No go for Pokemon in Yellowstone

JACKSON, Wyo. – Gen Xers seem to be everywhere, their faces intently peering into smart phones, playing the new Pokemon Go. But there is little of this evident in Yellowstone National Park.

A reporter for the Jackson Hole News&Guide ventured through a portion of Yellowstone, including Old Faithful, and found too little cell phone coverage to permit a good go of Pokemon. That may be good, as there’s less cause to wander off a boardwalk into a hot spring or to stumble onto a grizzly bear.

Idaho town takes aim at cell phones

HAILEY, Idaho – In Hailey, located down-valley from Ketchum and Sun Valley, police say that 12 to 15 accidents each year can be attributed to drivers distracted by cell phones.

In response, the city council has taken the first steps to prohibit motorists from using their hands while operating phones. The law would exempt technologies such as Bluetooth for dashboard-mounted or other hands-free phone operations.

Should tourists be given a one-time exemption? No, said the mayor and council.

Latest housing study mirrors many before

VAIL – The latest news out of Vail and the Eagle Valley is a familiar story, says the Vail Daily. As occurred previously in 1972, 1984, 1990 and 2007, a new study finds that there’s not enough workforce housing.

The latest assessment estimates that Eagle County needs 4,466 units right now, both rentals and owner-occupied. By 2025, that number skyrockets to 11,960.

The newspaper reports that Eagle County commissioners are considering asking voters for a sales tax increase to pay for workforce housing, child-care programs, or both.


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