Friday, June 11, 2010

Mountain Town News


Self-defense no alibi in grizzly killing

JACKSON, Wyo.—The 41-year-old hunter said he shot the bear in self-defense. Standing up next to the moose carcass, the grizzly had looked at him hard.

"My instincts were telling me that bear was going to kill me and I had to act," said the hunter, who lives in Jackson.

Jurors concluded otherwise. In what experts tell the Jackson Hole News&Guide will be an important message to hunters and others, the man was found guilty of the misdemeanor crime of killing the bear.

"Under the circumstances, we feel the defendant acted out of fear instead of self-defense," the verdict said.

The punishment, however, was nominal.

Prosecutor Steve Weichman told the newspaper that it was one of the first cases in the United Sates of a person being convicted of taking wildlife when claiming self-defense.

"You are not going to be prosecuted if you killed a bear in self-defense, but you need to be prepared to establish reasonable grounds for your claim of self-defense," Weichman said.

Vail to host world ski event in 2015

VAIL, Colo.—Vail and Beaver Creek have won the right to host the 2015 World Alpine Skiing Championships. This will be the third go-around for the resort complex, which also hosted the championships in 1989 and 1999—the first time since Aspen hosted the ski-racing championships in the 1940s that a U.S. resort had had that distinction.

Indicators suggest a quickened economy

JACKSON, Wyo.—Economic indicators suggest a quickening pulse in Jackson. Airline bookings have increased 10 percent over last summer.

Development, however, will continue to lag. There's not much in the pipeline.

The Jackson Hole News&Guide also tells of foreclosure proceedings filed against a multimillion-dollar parcel at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Two years ago, local authorities had granted approval to build an 182,000-square-foot hotel. The developer, Rob DesLauriers, told the newspapers that the project was put on hold 18 months ago when construction financing was not available. DesLauriers said he hopes to find a lender willing to rewrite the loan or a buyer for the property.


Telluride likely to tax plastic bags

TELLURIDE, Colo.—Telluride and the adjoining town of Mountain Village appear ready to assess a tax on the use of plastic shopping bags. The Telluride Watch reports unanimous support in a recent working session of the Town Council.

Because of its tourist trade, Telluride believes an outright ban on plastic bags would prove unworkable. Instead, activists and town leaders think a tax on single-use plastic bags handed out at grocery stores will be most effective.

Activist David Allen, who began lobbying for a disincentive three years ago, warns that Telluride may be lobbied by national trade groups. In Seattle, he said, opponents spent $1 million in helping persuade voters to overturn a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic bags that the city had enacted.

Rivers howl with runoff

VAIL, Colo.—Spring runoff hasn't roared quite so loudly in the Vail area since at least 1994 and possibly not since 1983. Unusually hot weather of late May and early June this year has eviscerated the lingering snowpack, causing Gore Creek to pound through Vail. One bike and pedestrian path was destroyed and water was crowding homes and businesses, causing an undetermined amount of damage.

Where Gore Creek flows into the Eagle River, just west of Vail, a rafter from Aspen died after being thrown into the trashing waters. On Sunday, organizers of the Teva Mountain Games called off the whitewater competition, saying the dangers were just too high even for experienced and adventuresome kayakers.

Bears don't really prefer garbage

ASPEN, Colo.—Do bears get addicted to garbage? That's been one common belief. Allow bears to get a taste of human food, went this line of thinking, and no way will they go back to eating berries, nuts and other victuals from the backcountry.

But a new study of bears in the Aspen area led by a doctoral candidate from Colorado State University finds this thinking has been wrong. Sharon Baruch-Mordo, after several years of study, finds that bears will seek human sources only when nature's bounty turns thin, as in drought years.

In a presentation covered by the Aspen Times, Baruch-Mordo used the example of one bear tracked since 2005. In years when nature supplied abundant berries and other food, the bear got no closer to Aspen than its periphery. When natural food supplies were poor, she was "all over town," Baruch-Mordon said.

Baruch-Mordo's team concluded that the key to reducing conflicts between bears and humans is to ensure that garbage remains secured at all times, particularly when natural food sources fail.

Do working people need big boxes?

CANMORE, Alberta -- Canmore continues to debate whether it wants to accept additional big-box corporate retailers in its midst. Those opposing argue that such retailers represent homogenization and will defile Canmore's individuality.

Balderdash, say supporters. They argue that Canmore's existing stores lack items needed for everyday living. And what items the stores do have carry inflated prices.

"Maybe we should just toddle up town and buy a $300 jacket or a pair of shoes for $200," one letter in the Rocky Mountain Outlook sarcastically said.

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