Mountain News: 

Sun Valley wants flights from Denver

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Congress approved a bill that theoretically earmarks $128 million for the system; the actual appropriation has yet to be made. However, Dan Blankenship, CEO of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, told The Aspen Times that this step will make the ultimate appropriation easier. After that, his organization must still get $64 million in state and local funds.

As proposed, the system would upgrade buses to those with low floors and wider doors, to allow for quicker loading and unloading, as well as a fare system that won’t cause delays. Fewer stops are also envisioned with the goal of dramatically reducing the time it takes to move up and down the valley.

Glowing highways?

GUNNISON, Colo. — Going to Salida, Crested Butte or Telluride? If so, you could be sharing a highway with a truck carrying uranium. Activists are not speaking glowingly about the possibility.

They point out that the steepening uranium prices have provoked renewed mining west of Telluride. From there, the ore is trucked to a processing mill about 300 miles to the east, near Cañon City. Two activist groups based in Grand Junction are protesting, partly because they claim that 44 per cent of uranium is being used in production of new weapons.

But a representative of the Cotter Corporation dismisses the threat to public safety as broadly overstated. The amount of radioactivity in the ore is minimal, said the company’s Jerry Powers. "We had one accident years ago in Colorado Springs," he told the Gunnison Country Times. "Basically, we used a front-end loader to get the ore back on the truck. That was that."

Helicopter tours offered at Lake Tahoe

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A helicopter pilot has begun offering scenic tours from the Lake Tahoe Airport. The cost is $89 for 20 minutes, while the hour-long sunset flight costs $259.

"We had never flown with the doors off. It’s nothing to be afraid of," said one customer, Gail McKay, who proclaimed the cost was well worth it as a way to celebrate her 56th wedding anniversary.

The helicopters are required to stay below 80 decibels, which is roughly the sound of a pickup truck driving by on a highway. The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports that the operation has resort owners and environmental groups concerned, because of the intrusion of the helicopters into otherwise serene places.

A similar proposal for helicopter tours over Colorado’s Summit County was denied several years ago after a surge of opposition from people who believed it was plenty noisy already.

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