Mountain News: Skier numbers point to minorities 

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Jail close but no cigar

KETCHUM, Idaho – County commissioners in Blaine County have been considering whether the new county jail can be built to receive accreditation in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. The bottom of four levels of designation requires 26 points, and commissioners agreed to several design changes — energy optimization, reduced ozone depletion, and use of local materials — to give the project a score of 19. All this cost the county an extra $150,000. The Idaho Mountain Express suggests the commissioners may yet make the changes necessary to get the LEED designation.

 

County still studying biomass

LAKE TAHOE, Calif.—Placer County officials want to build a biomass plant at Lake Tahoe. There’s plenty of old, dying, and dead trees in the basin, and burning the wood in a confined area, while producing 3 megawatts of electricity, will result in improved air quality.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget has $3.5 million in it for a Tahoe biomass plant. The plant is projected to cost $7 million to $8 million.

“We’re hoping this will be the model for the rest of the country,” says Brett Storey, Placer County’s biomass program manager. He said the county optimistically is hoping to have the plant on line by 2010.

The Sierra Sun notes that an existing biomass burner, built in 1989, is operating north of Truckee, at the community of Loyalton. There, the burner produces 850 degree heat that generates enough electricity to power 7,000 homes.

The burner consumes about 280 tons of wood chips per day. Trucks bring the wood from as far away as Klamath Falls, Ore., and Stockton, Calif., more than 100 miles away. Much of the wood comes from forest thinning operations, but some is diverted from landfills.

The Loyalton plan emits carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, but much of it is captured within the plant by various air-cleaning devices. New biomass plants use a process called gasification, in which the wood is heated to extremely high temperatures while oxygen is withheld.

 

CB takes up main street office ban

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – The town council is revisiting the idea of making ground-floor locations along the town’s main tourist-friendly shopping area off-limits to real estate and other offices. But unlike a year ago, when the law was first passed, the new law would allow existing uses to be grandfathered, reports the Crested Butte News. The new regulations being considered would also allow street frontage to be allocated for personal service.

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