Mountain News: Bad real estate loans lead to bank closure 

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Forest work to continue

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo.-The chain saws will be busy around Breckenridge this summer as efforts continue to thin forests and remove trees killed by bark beetle in 70 areas of open space. Local officials tell the Summit Daily News that they hope to create buffers around homes and businesses in the event of wildfire.

Efforts to merge dropped

KETCHUM, Idaho - An effort to merge the towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley has been abandoned. Two councilmen, one from each community, had issued a call several months ago for a November referendum on the consolidation, which they said is needed to save taxpayer money. The two communities exist side-by-side, although Ketchum is by far the larger of the two.

Charles Conn, the councilman from Ketchum, admitted to mistakes. The proposal for a November election came too soon, he said, and didn't allow people to get comfortable with the idea.

As well, significant opposition arose in Sun Valley. A group called Save Sun Valley called a meeting that drew 200 people to rally against the merger. Speakers claimed a difference in culture between the two towns and also argued that Sun Valley would lose out financially.

As well, Sun Valley - the town, but not the ski area - would have lost its name. Under Idaho law, the smaller municipality is subsumed in a merger. Ketchum is the older and larger town.

"We're better off with a small, flexible, responsive government," said Wayne Willich, mayor of Sun Valley.

But there was some support even in Sun Valley, as suggested by a 3-2 vote. Conn said the idea will inevitably return, because of the operating efficiencies that would result.

Idaho towns hear advice

KETCHUM, Idaho - Ketchum, Sun Valley and other communities in the Wood River Valley may have something to learn from Denver. The Idaho Mountain Express reports that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper recently spoke at a conference in Idaho, and his message resonated. "There's no profit in having enemies," he said.

What Hickenlooper meant was that he sees Denver as part of a greater whole, both of a metropolitan area and of Colorado. As such, he sees no advantage to competing for businesses. Some consolidation has occurred, and Hickenlooper helped rally support for a metropolitan light-rail system.

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