Mountain News: Ban on plastic bags accepted 

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe now bans the sale of plastic bags and requires that stores charge for paper bags. Judging from the turnout at a recent meeting, the public seems to be OK with the change.

The Lake Tahoe News talked with the four major grocery stores in South Lake Tahoe. They tell the News that the ban was unpopular at first, but people have gotten accustomed to it.

"It's working. People are slowly remembering their bags," said Victor Guerrero, of Raley's, a general store. (It has sundries, groceries, clothes, kind of everything.)

Wolves like new underpasses

RADIUM HOT SPRINGS, B.C. — Last fall, three new underpasses were installed under Highway 93 between the Continental Divide and the town of Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park.

Wolves, it turns out, have quickly learned to use the structures.

"Wolves elsewhere in the past have been wary of these structures, and this group appears to have quickly grown to utilize them," said Rick Kubian, resource conservation manager for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay.

Remote cameras recorded the wolves — sometimes a lone wolf, sometimes groups of up to seven — using the underpasses.

More than 5,000 vehicles travel that segment of Highway 93 on a typical summer day. In recent years, an average of 50 large animals have been killed on the highway every year. White-tailed deer compose more than 70 per cent of the roadkill, but wolves, grizzly bears, wolverines, and many other species have been killed.

In addition, roads create barriers to wildlife searching for food, shelter and mates.

Parks Canada built the three underpasses at a cost of $4 million after consulting with the Western Transportation Institute of Bozeman, Mont. The institute also recommended 60 per cent of the highways inside park boundaries be fenced to keep wildlife off the road, among other measures.

More cannabis shops to open

EDWARDS, Colo. — The Vail Bud Brewery has been licensed to sell recreational marijuana, but despite its name, it won't be located in Vail. Instead, it will be in unincorporated Eagle County.

The Vail Daily reports the business is licensed to Jim and Kristin Comerford, who already have a Subway sandwich shop, Qdoba Mexican Grill, and a real-estate development company.

"We believe it's the new frontier," Kristin Comerford told the Daily.

Vail, the town, doesn't want to be part of that new frontier. It said no to medical marijuana, and so far it has said no to recreational marijuana. Ditto for Avon, at the base of Beaver Creek.

Two valleys away, just two towns still don't allow sales of marijuana, and the Aspen Times says they're likely headed in opposition directions: Basalt in favor of sales and Snowmass Village keeping the door closed.

In Durango, city officials are futzing with the details of where, when and how cannabis entrepreneurs can sell their product. The Durango Telegraph explains will only allow stores that sell marijuana and testing facilities. No growing operations will be allowed.

Out in unincorporated La Plata County, however, everything approved by voters in the constitutional amendment of 2012 will be allowed.

Bookstore struggles

KETCHUM, Idaho — Iconoclast Books is in trouble, and the owner of what the Idaho Mountain Express calls an "iconic" bookstore says she owes $85,000 in back rent plus late fees. Owner Sarah Hedrick had pledged to answer questions about her troubles at a public meeting even as she seeks public support.

On the Idaho Mountain Express website, bloggers offered no encouragement. "A lot of bookstores are not doing well even in large cities, and Sarah thinks she can thrive in this tiny community?" said one writer.

"That is just downright denial. The future is here and it's e-books and online purchases of books if you really want a hard copy... Frankly, it's not the community's responsibility to keep a private business owner in business either because she's a bad business owner and/or her store is no longer relevant."

Said another: "I can download a book to my Kindle for less money and do it at any hour of the day in a process that takes seconds. Then when I'm done I don't have to store the book in a box in my garage for 20 years on the off chance I may want to look at it again someday."

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