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County voters by a 2-to-1 margin last year asked for county commissioners to ban smoking in places used by the public. The countys five towns are not bound to the decision, but most are expected to adopt parallel bans. Only one, Frisco, appears headed in a different direction, as it is entertaining the idea of allowing designated smoking rooms that must have separate ventilation systems.
First Kobe Bryant book issued
EAGLE, Colo. The first book about the Kobe Bryant affair has been released, months ahead of a possible trial. The writer, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, is covering the case for a national television station program, CBSs 48 Hours. He covered the JonBenet Ramsey case for a grocery market tabloid, notes the Vail Daily, which is also a tabloid but with a different flavour of news. A tabloid is a size of paper.
Exploding off-road use hot topic
THE WEST Off-road vehicle use has become the most politically volatile land-use issue in the country, reports the New York Times. A new front in this "war" is conflicts among off-roaders themselves.
The Times traces the dispute to the end of World War II, when jeeps and dirt bikes first became available to general consumers. But it wasnt until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to regulate the activity on federal lands, that the government took an active role in managing its impact.
Meanwhile, the popularity of off-roading has exploded. The number of off-highway motorcycles increased 146 per cent from 1998 to 2002, while Americans purchased almost double the number of ATVs in the same time frame.
The latest chapter is the friction between self-styled responsible off-roaders, usually members of local clubs that promote adherence to existing land-use rules, and the renegades who see that as an environmental appeasement.
One example among the latter is Loren Shirk, a networking engineer in Duarte, Calif., who drives his Chevy Blazer over the sand dunes near Barstow, Calif. "I think my right to go where I want should not be hampered by the whims of somebody else that wants to leave the world looking like it was 4,000 years ago," he said. "The way you succeed in life," he added, "is to go outside the lines."
Another example is Brad Lark, publisher of extreme44.com, a Web site devoted to off-roading. The Tread Lightly program, he said, is "just a veiled form of extreme environmentalism. They spend more time supporting the land closures than they do keeping the land open and opening up closed lands."
The mainline off-roading organization, the BlueRibbon Coalition, estimates that illegal riders accounted for 1 or 2 per cent of all off-road activity, but some law officials and most environmentalists put the figure at much higher somewhere in the 15 to 20 per cent range, according to a BLM ranger in the desert outside of Barstow.
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