Mountain News: Good news for one bea 

TRUCKEE, Colo. – The Sierra Sun reports a most unusual, maybe even unique, occurrence. A black bear was on the road of a bridge near Donner Summit on Saturday afternoon. Oncoming traffic pinched the bear’s route, so it hopped the guard rail, then became trapped on the concrete girders below, with no way to safety. Below it was 80 feet to a gorge strewn with granite boulders.

Rescuers bought a 20x40-foot nylon net from an Army surplus store and then, assisted by rock and tree climbers, strung the orange cargo mesh beneath the bridge. They shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart and then nudged it off the ledge.

The net was then lowered to the ground, and the groggy bear staggered out as 100 spectators lining the road cheered.

 

Aspen aims at 2-hour shuffle

ASPEN, Colo. – Both parking rates and voices are being raised in Aspen.

“Greed, greed, greed,” wrote one letter-writer to The Aspen Times, responding to a city government proposal to end free two-hour parking near the commercial core. Installing about 75 pay stations will cost $950,000, but the town expects to generate $340,000 a year in revenue.

The Aspen Times indicates the goal is to free up parking spaces and nudge people into mass transit. Currently, people move their vehicles every two hours, with some businesses even designating car-movers. City officials estimate 600 people move their cars during a day.

The newspaper doesn’t like the idea. “Aspen is expensive and exclusive enough as it is. The commuters who drive to and from Aspen everyday are the folks who make this town tick,” said the Times in an editorial. “It's easy for Aspen residents to sit on their high horses and expect all commuters to take mass transit, but that mindset is naive and fueled by false expectations. Whether it be for family, professional or other concerns, there are times when commuters must drive to work.”

Mike Ireland, the town’s mayor and once a reporter at the Times, saw it differently. “At a time when the planet and the resort are headed toward a climate change cataclysm, the newspaper asks that we continue down the same old path: taxpayer money to reward single-occupancy auto use through ‘free’ parking that really should be called ‘subsidized parking.’”

Ireland, who rides a bicycle and lives in deed-restricted affordable housing, concluded: “Paid parking is the one tool that has been proven to be effective in reducing single-occupancy vehicle traffic, reducing congestion and producing cleaner air.”

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