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Mountain News: Disrespect for the flag or the people?

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Tensions continue to be on edge in ski towns with large numbers of immigrants from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries.

In Park City, a small magnetic American flag slid down at a coffee shop, and an employee, who is Hispanic, pushed it back up, possibly leaving it upside down.

A customer saw the upside-down flag and accused the worker of doing so deliberately. The woman's husband and friends then spoke angrily to the employee. The store manager told The Park Record that the group told the employee to "go back to your country."

The employee had been born and reared in Park City, the store manager said. The group left by the time police arrived.

On the south shore of Lake Tahoe, immigrants are edgy as the result of vows by U.S. President Donald Trump to crack down on illegal immigration.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune gained an audience with a group of immigrant women. Luz Maria Zepeda, of the South Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center, translated for the women.

One woman, a resident of Lake Tahoe for 13 years, said that even a trip to the grocery store feels different. Mostly it is just stares, but there has been blatant hostility, they said, as someone told the group they should go back to Mexico.

The legal status of the women interviewed by the Daily Tribune was not disclosed in the story.

In Colorado, a new organization called the Latino Advocacy Committee has been formed in the Telluride area with the goal of connecting resources and services to the Latino community. The group has an employee, called an intercultural navigator, who previously worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Guatemala on projects relating to family health.

It's not clear from the report in the Telluride Daily Planet whether the Latino community being referenced consists of immigrants or others. Definitions vary, but Colorado has had Latinos — defined as people who moved northward from Spanish-speaking countries — for 160 years. Neighbouring New Mexico has had Latinos since the early 1600s.

The conversation is further confused when the subject explicitly is about those who are not in the U.S. legally. The New York Times last week published a story with a headline that used the term "illegal immigrants." The Times Insider, a weekend publication, reported that the headline drew criticism, as did the phrase, "undocumented immigrants," which was used within the story.

Vivian Yee, a national immigration correspondent for the newspapers, said readers' reactions tend to break along political lines. Conservatives, she said, often insist on using the term "illegal immigrants" while liberals tend to push for "undocumented immigrants."

The newspapers' style guide states "undocumented" has a flavour of euphemism, and "unauthorized" has a bureaucratic tone. Neither "illegal" nor "alien" can be used as nouns.

No death sentence for this grizzly bear

WEST GLACIER, Mont. – Last June, Brad Treat was riding a mountain bike near Glacier National Park when he rounded a corner at high speed, later estimated at about 30 km/h, and ran into a grizzly bear.

In the collision, he flew over the bear and landed on his hands and then his back, breaking his wrists and his left shoulder blade. Riding a short distance behind, Treat's companion arrived to see the bear standing over Treat, then left to seek help. When others returned with him an hour later, Treat was dead, the result of a mauling.

The Daily Interlake of Kalispell, Mont., reports that an inter-agency review board last week released its review, finding that the bear, having been surprised, responded with its "natural defense response."

The bear is among an estimated 1,000 grizzlies in the Glacier ecosystem. The review team recommended public lands managers better evaluate trails before opening them to mountain biking.

Aspen adopts regulationsto discourage chain stores

ASPEN, Colo. – After months of talk, Aspen has added a new layer of review that is intended to slow down the transformation of its downtown commercial core into chain businesses.

The regulations define "formula retail" as any business having 11 other stores in the U.S. with standardized characteristics, including product lines and trademarks.

The Aspen Daily News described the regulations as a watered-down version of those originally proposed by a citizens' group in November who are concerned that Aspen's retail stores are starting to look too much like the rest of America. Think Starbucks.

The added review does not apply to the 21 redevelopment projects in the pipeline.

Amazing snow depths, but what's responsible?

TRUCKEE, Calif. – By the time you read this, several ski areas in the Truckee-Tahoe area of the Sierra Nevada may have surpassed almost 18 metres of snow for the season.

As of Monday, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe had more than 1,700 cm inches — as did Sugar Bowl Resort, Donner Ski Ranch and four other ski areas.

Historically, the average annual snowfall upper elevations in the Tahoe-Truckee region is 1,100 cm, reported the Sierra Sun.

Again comes the question, is this big winter a result of climate change? And was the drought that preceded it also a result of climate change?

"You tend to see these kinds of floods and droughts anyway," Jay Lund, who directs the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California-Davis, told the McClatchy news service.

"But there is some reason to think that we might see them more frequently and in greater extremes in the future," he said.

A. Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University, was less cautious. "Current models suggest the dice are loaded toward an increasing probability of this kind of year," he said and estimated global warming has worsened California's drought by 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

Return of the record-breaking drought that has now subsided "is a real possibility" in 15 more years, he added.

After Stowe, what's nexton the Vail Resorts menu?

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – The buying spree by Vail Resorts may not be over. The company is scheduled to soon pick up Stowe Mountain in Vermont.

Sitting in on a recent conference call, the Denver Post reported that Vail Resorts chief executive Rob Katz said he expects to one day offer "multiple choices" for Epic Pass skiing in New England.

The company has reported revenue of US$725.52 million during the second quarter, up 21 per cent from the year-before period and topping expectations of investors.

The Post also points to the continuing strength of the Epic Pass. The sale of 650,000 of the passes minimized impact of a slow start to the ski season.

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