Real estate and expansion key to Crested Butte sale
Compiled by Allen Best
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. In buying the Crested Butte ski area, a key consideration for Tim and Diane Mueller is the potential to expand the ski area and sell real estate, like most of the other ski areas.
The purchase by the Muellers, who own Vermonts Okemo ski area and who had one time had a deal to buy Steamboat, is expected to be consummated by around Christmas. In turn, they are expected to bring to the table the substantial money needed to more fully develop the resort.
Crested Butte locals were famously opposed to both ski area expansion and real estate development, but after several years of hard-rock times, opposition has softened. Some of the hard times were caused by drought, but Crested Buttes relative isolation its three or four hours from Denver and other metropolitan areas has made it vulnerable at a time when all destination resorts are scraping. Even Aspen and Steamboat are close enough to Denver to battle for day-skiers.
Pat Crow, a long-time local, told The Denver Post that the depressed economy "made us realize we have to diversify, and we have to help the ski area. Its not us against them."
Deal for 25-bed hospital in Summit County closed
FRISCO, Colo. A Denver-based hospital chain, Centura Health, has agreed to open a 25-bed hospital in Summit County. The $51 million medical campus at Frisco is to open in a little more than two years.
Currently, there are two hospitals within a 30- to 45-minute drive of most communities in Summit County, but county and hospital officials agreed the population now at 24,000 full-time residents, but several times as large at peak periods would support a local hospital.
Crested Butte council defines locals in Paradise
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. Who qualifies as a local in Paradise? That was the rather blissful question facing the Crested Butte Town Council recently.
Paradise, in this case, is a government-subsidized affordable housing project, with the name borrowed from an above-timber bowl in the adjoining Elk Range. The town council has decided applicants to this project must prove they earn 80 per cent of their income in Gunnison County, work at least 1,400 hours a year locally, and dont own any land with residential housing on it in Gunnison County, reports the Crested Butte News.
Meanwhile, in Jackson, the town council plans to make employment the only criterion for eligibility for 18 new units of affordable housing. Eligibility based on income, as opposed to employment, eliminates some people who cant afford free-market housing from getting subsidized housing, reported Bob McLaurin, the town administrator. He said hes not worried that "trust-funders" will buy up the valleys hard-won affordable housing.
"If youve got that much money, youll buy something in the free market," he said. He suggested a deed restriction limiting appreciation upon resale to 3 per cent simple interest, compared to 3.5 per cent compounded annually at other affordable houses built in Jackson Hole. The local housing authoritys executive director, Forrest Neuerburg, said he supports the new restriction, which has been used widely in Colorado.
Vegan telemarkers eating pork and going downhill
TELLURIDE, Colo. In a way, Telluride seems to be converging with the mainstream. Vegans, who are vegetarians who shun even animal byproducts like milk and eggs, are becoming carnivores.
Thats the report in The Telluride Watch from a Mexican restaurant that, after six years in the business, now offers pork. Not just any pork, however. The clincher was finding a supplier of pork that is free of hormones and antibiotics.
"The town has changed," shrugs Lucas Price of La Cocina de Luz. "People are eating more meat, less cheese and less carbohydrates.
Are more changes astir? Maybe. "The vegan telemarker of six years ago today is eating meat and has his downhill skis on," says the restaurateur with a laugh.
Prices stay the course for Vail Valley locals
AVON, Colo. Prices for skiing by locals in the Vail Resorts kingdom is holding steady. A Merchant Pass good for the companys four resorts in Eagle and Summit counties costs $720, and the Merchant Pass good for only Eagle County Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas costs $649. Thats about the same as what it was 15 years ago.
To qualify for these passes, however, a business operator must go through a class in customer services provided by the ski company. And from comments by anonymous commentators in the Vail Daily, some locals think even minor price increases are a slap in the face.
Latex penis causes some hurt feelings
LEADVILLE, Colo. A latex penis thrown on his front porch caused city council candidate Steve Prestash to file a report with police, saying it was part of harassment that had been going on for seven years.
The cop taking the report assumed a facial expression that Prestash didnt like, and he said so it was not, he said, funny. Then Prestash pulled the bars from the frame of the police stations front window, according to police, who then arrested him. He later told the Leadville Herald-Democrat that he had not knowingly done so, but that he had kind of blacked out.
As for the latex penis, it was logged into the evidence locker.
Grizzly team urges end to spring hunt
CANMORE, Alberta Albertas grizzly bear recovery team is recommending an end to the spring grizzly bear hunt.
This past spring, 18 grizzlies were killed, and another 44 grizzlies died from other causes. The total grizzly population in Alberta minus Jasper, Banff and Waterton Lakes national parks is now estimated at only 500, only 300 of them adults. Any population of less than 1,000 mature breeding individuals is a threatened population, says the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Noting all this in an editorial, the Rocky Mountain Outlook says that those absent degrees in rocket science should be able to figure that 10 per cent mortality means "that in our lifetime the bears may be extirpated from this part of the world and this part of the world is among the last wilderness refuges left for the species." The provincial government should listen to the bear biologists, not the hunters and guides "for whom the bears are future rugs and trophies on the wall," said the newspaper. "Were not talking a food supply here, were talking bragging rights. This seems pretty darned simple."
Forest Service reins in campers at Lake Tahoe
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. The U.S. Forest Service is reining in campers in the Lake Tahoe Basin, which has as many annual visitors as Yosemite National Park but is only one-fifth the size.
The agency has reduced the stay permitted at any one free site from 14 days down to five. At developed campgrounds, people are still allowed to stay 14 days, but no more than three consecutive days at any one site, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Its Bump and Grind time in the Vail area
MINTURN, Colo. The Daily Grind, a java beanery near Vails ski lifts, closed earlier this year. But Harry Gray, a former building contractor, is opening up a coffee-and-sandwich place around the corner from Vail in Minturn. The name of the business: Harrys Bump and Grind.
Truckee has lost half of its fast-food joints
TRUCKEE, Calif. Unlike most places, Truckee is losing fast-food joints. Burger King is gone, while Taco Bell is closed while looking for digs with lower rent. That, says the Sierra Sun, leaves only McDonalds and Dairy Queen.
20 th anniversary of major Idaho quake
KETCHUM, IdahoTwenty years ago this autumn, an earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter Scale rumbled about 50 miles east of Ketchum, causing the earth to shift almost 9 feet in the blink of an eye, inducing rockfalls, landslides, even water fountains and a temporary lake. Only two people died, as the epicenter was in an unsettled area.
Idaho may not be considered an earthquake-prone state like, for example, California, but the Idaho Seismic Belt in fact is one of the largest earthquake zones in the United States in terms of energy, notes the Idaho Mountain Express.
Meanwhile, to the east in Jackson Hole, theres more concern about earthquakes, including the potential to shake loose the dam built to create Jackson Lake. In Colorado, earthquakes have been few and slight in the area around Vail and Aspen. However, geologists warn of a significant fault line along the Williams Fork Range, north of Dillon, that someday theyre not making predictions will cause rocks to roll.
Electric fence to deter grizzly bears invented
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Backpackers in grizzly bear habitat should be able to sleep a little better if the U.S. Forest Service succeeds in creating a lightweight electric fence.
Outfitters, who have horses to haul around the 12-volt car batteries that provide the jolt that keeps the bruins at bay, already use such fences. Now, in a project with the National Outdoor Leadership School, the Forest Service is hoping to create a lightweight version of the same. The fence line would be of particular use in above-timberline areas where there are no trees for stringing up lines from which to hang food, notes the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
However, such fences should be a last resort, and used only when storing food above treeline.
No evidence for volcano to erupt soon in Yellowstone
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. Doomsdayers this year have made much of new hot springs, picked up geyser activity, and a bulge in the ground at Yellowstone National Park. A volcano, they predict, will soon erupt.
But scientists consulted by the Jackson Hole News & Guide say this prediction is way overblown, so to speak. They admit that there is much that they dont know about Yellowstones subterranean, which in geologic times has erupted three times, as recently as 640,000 years ago. And should it erupt again now, it could destroy huge portions of the United States.
But will it erupt soon? Not necessarily.
Apparently bolstering the case of the chicken-littles is a documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation. That program correctly noted interesting evidence of change. For example, a survey on the bottom of Yellowstone Lake identified a bulge that is about 2,000 feet long and 100 feet higher than the former lake bottom.
But the area of the volcanic caldera, an area of 3,000 square kilometres has been swelling for a long time a metre since 1923. New hot springs have emerged before. And that bulge underneath the lake may have been around for a while but gone unnoticed, as measuring techniques have improved in recent years.
The BBC program, if well done, painted the worst-case scenario and voided more conservative views, said one scientist, Bob Smith, of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
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