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Banff hospital hopes to explore ‘wellness’

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Squaw Valley agrees to fine

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Squaw Valley Ski Corporation has agreed to pay the state of California $900,000 because of construction work that violated local, state, and federal environmental laws.

California officials claimed that Squaw Valley built ski lifts and ski trails without permits, and that the company illegally dynamited an area to create a ski trail. The various activities caused the discharge of soil into a creek, altering two of its tributaries.

The Sierra Sun reports a decade of bad blood between the ski area managers and government water-quality watchdogs. Since 1994, the company has been raided by armed federal agents, sued by the Sierra Club and the late billionaire William Hewlett, and repeatedly penalized by a regional water quality body. In 2002, that group, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board partnered with state government to take legal action against Squaw Valley. That action, which is rare, was provoked by what governmental officials said was a pattern of violations.

It’s not clear where the $900,000 will be used, although the Sierra Sun suggested it could be used for water quality projects in the Squaw Valley and Truckee areas.

The agreement further outlines a schedule of fines if the ski area operator fails to monitor water quality and revegetate the resort.

Cops need affordable housing

MT. CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — The real estate market is going crazy in Crested Butte. Agents are making money hand over fist. Town governments are ladling in transfer taxes.

And now comes the other side of that sword – the affordability of housing for key personnel, like town cops. Hank Smith, who is the police chief in Mt. Crested butte, the slope-side town located two miles from Crested Butte, the old mining town, told his town council that people making $30,000 to $45,000 per year – the pay range for cops in the two towns – cannot afford to move there. "When you hire an outside person, he can’t come here and buy a $600,000 home," he said. The alternative is to hire people already living locally, and then train them – an expensive proposition in its own right.

Chris Morgan, the mayor of Mr. Crested Butte, told Smith that the town council is aware of the problem and may earmark some of the 16 units of affordable housing being built in conjunction with a new second-home project to be set side for crucial town employees.

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