Moutain News: Graffiti stops work 

By Allen Best

ASPEN, Colo. – There’s been a lot of news in Aspen lately about scribblings on the walls of the portable toilets at construction sites.

What started the round of stories was the message on a privy wall at Snowmass Village. The message seemed to target Latino workers. Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said interviews with workers there revealed that expert workers imported from elsewhere in the country include some who are members of The Aryan Brotherhood and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Latino workers were given a paid day off, and The Aspen Times later reported tensions within the immigrant community.

A week later, a scribble on a toilet wall at a school construction site seemed to target whites. The contractor, G.E. Johnson, shut down the project for the day. Braudis told the Aspen Times, he hopes that workers angered at the loss of a day’s pay will come forward with evidence that authorities can use to catch the perpetrator.

 

Franchise retailers debated

BANFF, Alberta – Banff continues to debate whether to enact regulations limiting franchise retailers. The current debate was spurred by the announcement that a national franchise bookseller planned to set up shop in Banff, causing fears that it will elbow out a long-time local dealer.

Some residents believe that franchises weaken Banff’s individuality as a resort. “The homogenizaton of the western world has been evolving for the better part of 40 years,” writes Grant Trammell of Banff in the Rocky Mountain Outlook. “Banff is feeling the weight now, more than ever.”

While some favor a blanket ban, others urge review on a case by case basis, based on the track record of the candidate franchise. But Don Kendal, one of Banff’s most prominent landlords, urges no restrictions. Already, he said, businesses are favoring the down-valley town of Canmore, 15 miles away.

 

The cost of sustainability

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Members of a “green team” within the Steamboat Springs city government are asking for a full-time sustainability coordinator. The cost of the position is $80,000 to $100,000 per year.

The new employee’s duties — if approved by the city council — will include implementing the city’s new sustainability management plan. The Steamboat Pilot & Today notes a “momentum for conservation and energy-efficiency efforts” in Steamboat.

That momentum was reflected in a two-day conference, called “The Economics of Sustainability,” which was hosted by the economic development arm of the local chamber of commerce. Speakers talked about sustainable tourism, renewable energy, and green-building techniques.

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