Mountain News: Do gates deliver security or status? 

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Still, the Durango Telegraph finds several individuals who contend the winds do fit in with global warming theory. The theory maintains that weather events in a warmer environment will produce more extremes, with more ferocious storms as well as more prolonged droughts.

The upshot of all this, says Tim Foreman, former director of a United Nations environmental program, is that people downwind of deserts in the Southwest should expect more dust.

"If you have shutters on your windows, I suggest you make sure they're functional and not decorative," he said. "The winds aren't going to go away until you turn down the heat."

 

Co-op board tilting against coal power

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. - The electrical cooperative that serves the Aspen and Vail areas has been getting a new complexion. It has long been considered one of the more progressive co-ops. It encouraged production of renewable energy by members and adopted policies designed to reduce electrical demand.

Still, the co-op remains hitched to coal, and in 2004 agreed to become a partner in building a major new coal-fired power plant in Colorado called Comanche III.

But steadily, anti-coal activists have been chipping away at the co-op. They succeeded again this year when an energy consultant from the Aspen area named Dave Munk turned back a 25-year incumbent by garnering 62 per cent of the votes.

Munk wants to devote $5 million of the utility's annual operating revenues into "green" initiatives, compared to the existing $2 million, notes the Aspen Times .

Counting the noses of this new board, anti-coal activist Auden Schendler sees a slim majority of four votes for green initiatives, and five votes in some issues. The board has even members.

"I think it's a brand new day and Holy Cross is going to become, perhaps , internationally known for what it does in the next decade," Schendler told the Aspen Times . He is the executive director of sustainability for the Aspen Skiing Co.

But the newspaper also consulted an existing member, Tom Turnbull, a rancher from Carbondale, who sees change being more incremental - as it has been. When there are opportunities that make sense, "we jump all over them," he said.

 

Frisco building affordable housing

FRISCO, Colo. - Despite the slowdown in the economy, several mountain towns have continued their investment in affordable housing. Frisco, for example, has cut a deal with a developer named David O'Neil, who plans to build the first 12 units of what will ultimately be 70 townhomes and single-family houses. Families of four with incomes ranging from $68,000 to $136,000 will be eligible for housing. The units will range from 800 square feet to 2,000 square feet.

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