Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mountain Town News

Telluride calls for trial of Bush and Cheney

TELLURIDE, Colo. -- To the surprise of exactly nobody, the Telluride Town Council has passed, on second reading, an ordinance calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

At issue was the question of whether the council would adopt the ordinance that had been submitted to it or send it to voters for resolution. That is the mechanism stipulated by the town charter. The general thinking was that the outcome was a foregone conclusion anyway, and in the meantime Telluride would have to endure the abuse of the Bush supporters.

Even one of the more conservative council members, Stu Fraser, said he was infuriated by the name-calling and threats against Telluride posted on the town's Web site.

Jackson buys hydro electricity for 5 years

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. -- Jackson town official have committed to buying renewable energy for the next five years to satisfy all of the town's electrical needs. The renewable energy -- it comes from a nearby hydroelectric dam -- will cost the town $45,000 more than electricity created by burning coal and other fossil fuels. However, town officials believe stepped up efficiencies in electrical use, such as retrofitting lighting fixtures, will offset that extra cost. The town is currently using 8.5 to 9 million kilowatt hours annually, notes the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

Toyotas most common in Aspen & Pitkin County

ASPEN, Colo. -- Although a Ferrari coupe valued at $561,000 and four other cars valued in excess of $200,000 are registered in Pitkin County, Toyota is the most common make of vehicle, reports The Aspen Times after a factoid cruise through public records.

Not far behind Toyota is Ford, followed by Jeep and, more distant, Chevrolets and Subarus.

That said, new Toyotas range in price from $12,000 to $62,000. However, Prius has been the best-selling model at a local Toyota dealer in recent years.

The newspaper also noted that Pitkin County has 18,039 cars as compared to 14,872 residents. That's six times more vehicles per capita than the average for Colorado.

Some babies cannot tolerate the thin air

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Although adults typically get accustomed to the thinner air found at higher elevations, it's sometimes a problem with babies

Babies carried in wombs by mothers living at higher elevation have typically lower weight at birth. On average, every 3,300 feet of elevation gained reduces fetal weight by about 3.5 ounces, according to a 1997 study. Dr. Chris Ebert-Santos told the Summit Daily News that most newborns she helps deliver in Summit County arrive at 6 pounds, instead of the national average of 7 to 8 pounds.

It's not that the babies are born prematurely. Rather, it's just that the fetuses grow more slowly, said Lorna Moore, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. "The reason that babies grow more slowly, we think, is that there is less oxygen available in utero," she told the Daily News.

New quads eyed front and back on Vail Mtn.

VAIL, Colo. -- It was 22 years ago this November that high-speed detachable quad lifts débuted at Vail. Very few of the now old-fashioned fixed-grip lifts remain on the mountain, but one of those is Chair 5, located in Vail's signature Back Bowls.

Vail Associates, the ski area operator, has now decided it's time for change. The Vail Daily says the company hopes to get the old three-seater changed out with a four-seater quad within one to three years.

The newspaper reports that in the decade ahead, the ski company also plans a 500-seat fine-dining restaurant atop Vail Mountain, yet another lift in the Back Bowls, and a replacement of that original quad lift from Vail Village that was installed 22 years ago this summer.

Also planned is a new gondola, to service a new base area real estate development that is being called Ever Vail. Obviously, Vail isn't sitting still.

American ski exec calls Vail claim disingenuous

PARK CITY, Utah -- Recriminations continue in the case of a ski resort in Park City where two big-league developers, Vail Resorts and Talisker Corp., are legally jousting for The Canyons.

The current owner of the ski area is American Skiing, the skiing chain that at one time owned resorts from Appalachia to the Sierra Nevada. Now, with sale of The Canyons, the company will be no more.

Vail Resorts bid $95 million for it, but Talisker -- which is developing real estate at Deer Valley, another ski area at Park City, bid $100 million, the bid awarded by American Skiing. Vail Resorts has sued, and announced belatedly that it was offering $110 million.

"Disingenuous," responded Steve Gruber, chairman of the board for American Skiing, in a letter obtained by The Park Record. He claims Vail Resorts manipulated journalists.

Complicating the story are two other players, who are also involved in lawsuits. One of those protagonists owns a portion of the land used by The Canyons.

More beds found in Whistler attics

WHISTLER, B.C. -- Whistler's firefighters continue to find marginal living quarters situated within houses and condominiums. The most recent news is of six illegal crawl spaces in a complex called Nordic Estates. In one unit, built in the attic above a condominium bathroom, the ceiling was only three feet high. However, nothing has been found of late that rivals the discovery of five years ago. Then, a home was found to have 80 beds, 24 of them in the attic.

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