By Allen Best
Going to the mats
JACKSON, Wyo. – In the continuing effort to keep critters and cars apart, wildlife researchers are suggesting the possibility of electrified mats on a section of road in Jackson. The segment of road has the most wildlife-vehicle collisions in Jackson Hole.
The optimal solutions are wildlife overpasses and underpasses, such as are found in Banff National Park. Some of those are being proposed in the heavily traveled section between Jackson, the town, and the hamlet of Wilson, at the foot of Teton Pass.
But those bigger structures are unrealistic for the segment in Jackson, says wildlife researcher Marcel Huijser, of Montana State University. In that case, one option might be erecting fences with gaps, to funnel elk, deer and other animals into narrow bands of road. Motion-sensor devices could alert drivers to the presence of animals.
And what would keep them in these critter cross-walks? Huijser tells the Jackson Hole News&Guide electrified mats on either side would keep them from straying. They’ve worked quite well in other places, and they stand up to snowplows.
One of the places they are deployed along the railroad tracks at Lake Louise, which is otherwise surrounded by fence.
But pedestrians and bicycle riders might not like getting a jolt in such places. “It’s not going to be easy to make everyone happy,” he said.
How Isaacson corralled Jobs
ASPEN, Colo. – In 2004, Walter Issacson had just completed his biography of Benjamin Franklin and was at work on a biography of Albert Einstein. In his spare time, he also runs the Aspen Institute, which is based in Washington D.C. area but operates various forums in Aspen.
He reached out to Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, to speak. Jobs said he’d be happy to come speak, but not in public. Rather, he wanted to go on a walk with Issacson.
At the time, Issacson did not know that Jobs had been diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer that claimed his life last week. What he heard from Jobs on that walk took him a aback. Jobs asked him to write his biography. Issacson, the former managing editor of Time Magazine from 1996 to 2000, wondered if Jobs saw himself as fitting logically in the sequences of Franklin and Einstein.
He agreed, and over the years since then Issacson interviewed Jobs more than 50 times, along with hundreds of relatives, friends, colleagues and competitors, notes The Aspen Daily News
In an essay in time, Issacson reports that he asked Jobs last month, in what was obviously a last visit, why Jobs – so notoriously sparing of interviews – had wanted a no-holds barred biography. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs replied. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”
Aspen Skiing likes it hot
ASPEN, Colo. – Apparently without mention of any specific project, the Aspen Skiing Co. has let it be known to city officials that it wants an expansion of so-called “hot” hotel rooms.
Competitors to Aspen and Snowmass have added more than 1,300 hotelrooms in the last two years, representing more than 3,000 pillows, said chief executive Mike Kaplan in the annual meeting with the city council. That expansion has occurred primarily at Park City and Vail. He noted that “fractional units” are hot now.
While Aspen was a hotbed of construction work in recent years, it held back on one key piece of slopeside redevelopment called One Lift Lodge, which was first proposed in 2006. There were many areas of contention, including size and mass.
Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland suggested that the development applications that have come before the city in recent years have been for “cold” hotel rooms, meaning that the units would not have likely been put into rental pools.
Cheap, drug-free ski pass
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – After a lapse of several years, Crested Butte Mountain Resort this winter will again offer a $99 season pass to students who, with their parents, agree to participate in activities intended to foster good decision making. The original program was called the Drug Free Ski Pass, but it has now been retitled The Choice Pass.
“Since its discontinuation seven years ago, we’ve received an abundance of feedback from parents, school staff and students saying they would like to see the program in operation again, as it helped mitigate our above-average youth substance abuse rates through an avenue that would reach a large student population,” said Brooke Harless, director of the Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project.
According to the Crested Butte News, students who participate must sign an oath pledging to remain drug free, and take the kickoff drug test. Students and parents must also attend orientations.
Can a little college expand?
GUNNISON, Colo. – In fact, Western State College has a fine faculty and many hard-working students. Still, it’s probably fair to point out that the school’s major attraction is its mountain-town setting and the proximity of Crested Butte’s ski slopes, about 30 miles away.
But would the school do better if it got a new name? Administrators at Western State College are starting that conversation, suggesting something along the likes of Western Colorado University.
The Crested Butte News reports that many people at a recent gathering said they believed a name change will attract more international students, but there are doubts that a new name will change the actual product.
Schools in Colorado have been burnishing their names for decades, with most colleges now elevated to universities. Mesa State College recently morphed into Colorado Mesa University.
Tahoe eyes commercial flights
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe Airport already has charter air service, and is eyeing regular commercial flights in and out of the airport within two years. Tahoe Air runs charter flights to and from Orange County, Las Vegas and the Bay Area.
“People who want to go to Tahoe won’t have to fly to Reno and bus it,” said Tahoe Air founder Mike Zeid.
Zeid has a long history in Tahoe. He lived here for 15 years in the 1970s. From 1973 to 1975, he operated Ram Air, which flew in and out of the Lake Tahoe airport to Carson City, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco and Las Vegas. In its first year, Ram went from one plane to 11, Zeid said. And the company had some well-known passengers, including Frank Sinatra Jr. and Wayne Newton.
“They used to come in the cockpit with a cocktail and have fun,” Zeid said. Ram Air ended after Zeid’s partner swapped their small plane fleet for fewer, larger planes. The operating costs went up and the business couldn’t sustain, Zeid said.
Meanwhile, improvements for commercial service are being contemplated to revamp the terminal to make room for airlines, and align the tower technology to Federal Aviation Administration standards. Airport director Sherry Miller said 50,000 passengers per year is a reasonable expectation for a facility the size of Lake Tahoe Airport. In 1978, 294,188 passengers took off from the airport. The airport stopped running commercial service in November 2000. “We get calls daily from people in the Bay Area and LA, asking what airlines fly here,” she said. -Tahoe Bonanza/Nevada Appeal