Mountain News: Snowmobilers died high-marking 

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Now, with federal stimulus money beginning to spread out, there may be federal help, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide . Energy officials believe that a retrofit could reduce electrical consumption at the sewage treatment plant by 40 per cent, saving the community $100,000 a year. Cost of the upgrade, however, has not been calculated.

Already, the community has installed 25-kilowatt solar panels at the sewage-treatment plant, and it is now seeking federal stimulus funding for another 90 kilowatts.

Hockey player to undergo counseling

SUN VALLEY, Idaho - A 52-year-old woman has agreed to undergo counseling and donate $1,000 to a junior hockey program for having clubbed an opposing player in a coed, no-check hockey game.

The victim had fallen to the ice when the woman rapped his leg with her hockey stick hard enough to leave a bruise and break the stick, reports the Idaho Mountain Express. "She definitely blew a gasket," the victim said.

Methane: from mines to market

PAONIA, Colo. - Methane is a dastardly gas to coal miners. It can suffocate or, if combusted, is quite explosive, and has killed perhaps thousands of miners in Colorado alone.

At the West Elk, a mine near Paonia, located west of Aspen and Crested Butte, methane wasn't a problem until about five years ago, when the coal near the surface was exhausted and shafts were dug farther underground. The new excavations unleashed the methane, requiring that ventilation shafts be drilled, to allow the gas to escape.

But that makes it a global problem. Methane is a greenhouse gas, far shorter lived in the atmosphere than the more common carbon dioxide, but with 23 times the heat-trapping properties. For that reason, many environmentalists believe that capturing methane from the West Elk and other coal mines is among the most important short-term actions in forestalling global warming.

The West Elk Mine alone emits an estimated 7 million cubic-feet of methane a year, and two other nearby mines emit just as much. Altogether, this represents 1.3 per cent of the total greenhouse gas footprint of Colorado.

"It's a major issue," says Steve Wolcott, the chairman of Western Slope Environmental Resource Council's Coal Committee. "It's also a major opportunity, a pretty easy way to make a big impact on the state's carbon footprint in one spot - and potentially make money doing it."

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