By Allen Best
Steamboat is gold
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Steamboat Springs has been bumped up to gold status by a group called Bicycle Friendly Community.
It joins 13 other communities with a similar distinction, including Breckenridge and Fort Collins, which are also in Colorado. Another Colorado town, Boulder, is one of just three platinum-level cities – a distinction that Steamboat bicycle proponents would also like.
Some of the local bloggers, however, were unimpressed. Maybe the award will provoke Steamboat to create a reality that matches the materials that had been submitted, said one.
Fire greatest threat to Aspen
ASPEN, Colo. – By the odds, fire is the single greatest threat to Pitkin County, where Aspen is located, more than floods and landslides, and certainly more than tornadoes and earthquakes.
That’s according to a new report prepared by county emergency personnel. The study reports a 23 percent chance in any given year of a wildfire that spreads across 75 acres or more. Less likely, but with far greater consequences, is a wildfire of catastrophic proportions.
“Depending on the size of the wildfire, and its location, the loss of life and amount of damage could be catastrophic,” says the draft report.
The report credits Pitkin County with “taking great leadership in mitigation and prevention of wildfires,” but notes the lingering possibility of a “fire that quickly burns out of control.”
About 58 percent of all structures in the county are located in what is often described as the wilderness-urban interface, and of those structures, 77 percent are located within higher-risk areas.
Small-time growers beaten, robbed
TELLURIDE, Colo. – It may not compare to the drug war in Mexico, but the Telluride community was unsettled by a home invasion in a rural areas to the west, near the town of Norwood, by two men wielding guns that looked like AK-47s.
The two men seized several thousand dollars of cash, a gun, and then cut down and hauled off a large amount of marijuana growing on the property.
Bill Masters, sheriff of San Miguel County, said he was surprised at the violence, but not the theft.
The two inhabitants of the house were both men who had medical-marijuana cards, allowing them to possess marijuana and grow up to three plants each. They had exceeded that limit, but Masters told The Telluride Watch that theirs was still a non-commercial operation.
The intruders beat the two residents and forced them to the ground at gunpoint, then bound their hands and ankles with duct tape. They were then pitched into a shed, beaten again and threatened if they did not reveal the location of valuables. Later, a neighbor stopped by, and she was also taped, pistol whipped, and tossed into the shed.
“It was basically 12 hours of terror,” Masters told the Telluride Daily Planet. The victims finally freed themselves by chewing through the duct tape.
Masters, long an opponent of the War on Drugs, said he believes that Colorado’s more liberalized laws governing growing and selling of marijuana will likely produce more reporting of these kinds of incidents.
In at least one sense, the armed bandits were bunglers. They made the raid when the marijuana plants were still eight weeks from maturity.
Gas rigs to rock the ‘Boat?
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Steamboat has had coal-mining camps south and west since long before it had ski lifts, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that oil and gas drillers are now approaching, too.
The Steamboat Pilot reports mineral leasing – and well-drilling applications – to within eight miles of the resort town. Royal Dutch Shell intends to bore down to nearly two miles underground to test the prospects for natural gas and oil.
The newspaper talked with the owner of a 35-acre ranchette, who bought the property in 2009 and knew that it did not include the mineral rights. Still, she never imagined that drilling rigs might arrive so soon.
Right-wingers at Beaver Creek
AVON, Colo. – It’s well known that some of the nation’s leading politicians and business interests meet behind closed doors in ski towns, but usually it’s in Aspen and involves liberals.
Now comes a report, courtesy of Mother Jones, a magazine, which reported that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie met with billionaires and arch-conservatives David and Charles Koch. Citing a clandestine recording, the magazine quotes Christie introducing David Koch at a gathering of conservatives this summer in Beaver Creek. “I said to myself, ‘I’m really impressed and inspired by this man. He is my kind of guy,’” said Christie in introducing Koch.
The magazine insinuated that the Kochs influenced Christie to drop out of the 10-state pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Christie denies he had a conversation about RGGI with the Koch brothers.
The billionaire brothers made their fortune as oil barons from Wichita, Kan. They are noted for their rejection of the science that finds great potential risk as a result of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.