Mountain News: Aspen swarmed by bears 

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But, for tapping renewable energy, one of the quickest paybacks on investments comes from ground-source heat pumps, also known as geoexchange. The idea is to use the residual heat of the ground eight to 10 feet below the surface through winter months. In summer, if air conditioning is truly necessary, the reverse can be done.

The Park Record reports about 12 such geoexchange systems have been installed in the Park City area.

In Idaho, planners in Blaine County - home to Ketchum and Sun Valley - have been reviewing a proposed law that would govern the placement of wind turbines on exurban lots. The general proposition, reports the Idaho Mountain Express, is that the larger the lot, such as 5 or 10 acres, the taller the permitted tower. Towers need to be above surrounding trees and buildings, as that's where the wind blows.

In Colorado, officials in Eagle County hope to get federal stimulus money to map potential for wind turbine power generation in Eagle County. County officials also have applied for federal aid to install solar thermal panels that can harvest heat from atop the county's justice centre in Eagle, located 30 miles downvalley from Vail. The county also hopes for another wad of cash for erection of photovoltaic panels at a community center in the Eagle Valley.

Trees coming down

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. -- The U.S. Forest Service hopes to begin removing trees within 200 feet of transmission lines and 75 feet from distribution lines in northwestern Colorado, where 95 per cent of lodgepole pine forests are expected to die because of fungus spread by bark beetles now in an epidemic population. The Forest Service estimates it has 500 miles of such power lines on its lands, including 40 miles of power lines in designated roadless areas.

Officials ready for nasty flu

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Doctors and public health officials in San Miguel County continue preparations for the swine flu. Dr. David Homer, the San Miguel County health officer, said officials walk the line, wanting neither to cry wolf nor be unprepared.

This year, reports The Telluride Watch, people at high risk of contracting the swine-flu virus will be advised to get three vaccinations, one of the regular seasonal flu, and then two for the swine flu, but in doses a month apart.

But there won't be enough to go around, so those at highest risk will get first priority. Counterintuitively, those aged 19 to 24 will be at the first of the line among healthy people, and those who are 52 or older will go to the back of the line. That's because anyone alive in 1957 was likely exposed to a similar strain of swine flu circulating that year. That exposure gave them higher immunity to recurrent strains of the same flu.

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