Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mountain Town News


By ALLEN BEST - MTN TOWN NEWS SERVICE

Mountain named but not everybody agrees

PONCHA SPRINGS, Colo. -- Several ceremonies have been held this year to formally dedicate the naming of an 11,293-foot peak in central Colorado as Mt. KIA/MIA.

The naming was the result of a passion by retired military officer Bruce Salisbury, who lives in northern New Mexico. Salisbury had originally proposed that the Sheep Mountain near Telluride, one of 29 so-named in Colorado, be renamed Kiamia, to honor those killed in action and missing in action -- the KIAs and MIAs, to use the military acronyms.

Salisbury's proposal was strongly resisted in the Telluride area, which caused a veto by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names. The federal agency demands proof of local acceptance when approving names for mountains.

Finally, after several other ventures, Salisbury found local consent for a name in the southern end of the Sawatch Range, near Marshall Pass. The pass is located southwest of the town of Poncha Springs. However, the U.S. Forest Service demurred about the idea of Kiamia, because it resembled a word in the written language of Southern Utes that means a place for departed warriors. What resulted was the more unconventional KIA/MIA.

Still, not every individual concedes the name. Slim Wolfe, a carpenter from the nearby hamlet of Villa Grove, he said that he has a "heap of planer shavings and sawdust out back, which I hereby dub 'Mount MODD." That is, he explains in a letter published in Colorado Central Magazine, an acronym for Mothers of Draft Dodgers, "to honor those mothers and fathers who explained to their kids that constructive solutions are more useful than gun-toting arrogance."

Telluride protestors stay on DNC sidelines

TELLURIDE, Colo. -- Telluride residents Phil Miller and his wife, Linda, have been protesting the Iraq War from San Francisco to Washington D.C. since before the United States invaded that country. Always, Phil has worn his uniform from World War II, when he was a soldier in the Philippines.

"It's hard for people to imagine what war is like," he told the Telluride Watch, describing instances of extreme hunger, great cruelty, and utter lawlessness still etched into his mind more than 60 years later.

They began protesting the testing of nuclear weapons in Utah during the 1950s when the couple lived, with their two children, in Wyoming. Linda did all the formal protesting, as Phil worked for the U.S. Forest Service, and because of federal laws that then existed, could not express his political feelings. Later, during the Vietnam War, Linda worked with conscientious objectors.

Phil continues to march with other veterans in parades, but not while wearing his uniform. "I'm never going to wear my uniform to a patriotic display again," he said. "I only wear it to antiwar functions."

That, however, will not include anti-war protests in Denver this week. While the Millers intend to be at the Democratic National Convention, they said they fear protests might harm the campaign of Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate.

Linda told the newspaper that she partly fears infiltration of the protest by those with the ulterior motive of harming Obama's cause. "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I don't put anything past them," she said, presumably speaking of Republican operatives.

This SUV of the sky gets bad mileage

ASPEN, Colo. -- Bummed about the 12 miles per gallon your SUV gets when gas is $4 to $5 a gallon? Think of what it's like to hurtle across the landscape in a Gulfstream, an airplane of choice for billionaires.

The newest iteration of the Gulfstream, a model called the G-V, burns 400 gallons of fuel per hour when in the air, but more when taking off.

The math of travel by this, among the most fuel-efficient of private jets, is staggering, points out the Aspen Times's Scott Condon. He interviewed Cliff Runge, the former operator of a business that serviced private aircraft at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

"On an average three-hour trip, a GV will burn 7,000 pounds of fuel and travel approximately 1,500 miles," Runge said. That works out to 1.5 miles per gallon.

The economics look better with eight passengers, with the Gulfstream getting about as good as a single-occupant Hummer or some other SUV that gets 12 miles per gallon.

All of this matters in that Aspen has staked out a path to shrink its carbon footprint.

An inventory conducted by the city government, as part of its Canary Initiative, found that 44 percent of the city's greenhouse gas emissions were caused by air transportation, with about half that as the result of private jets.

A new study conducted by the airport found a much smaller direct carbon footprint, partly because many people traveling to and from Aspen use other airports. As well, the airport figured only one part of a round-trip should be credited to Aspen, whereas the city's inventory figured both legs of the round-trip.




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