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Mountain News: Aspen museum examines the ’70s

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ASPEN, Colo. - You just know that this exhibit has some jungle-like shag carpet as well as macramé plant holders - and a bong. The Wheeler/Stallard House Museum in Aspen now has an exhibit devoted to Aspen in the mid-1970s.

"Think crimes of fashion, public nudity, and a freewheeling party town where anything went and everyone played on a softball team," instructs the Aspen Times .

One part of the exhibit documents what the Times described as the "not-exactly-accredited Aspen State Teachers College," which offered classes in Advanced Hustling 401, Sub-Letting 104, and Drinking 205.

"It was irreverent. That was a big part of what we wanted to talk about. There was such a sense of fun," said curator Lisa Hancock.

 

Economy shows signs of growth

JACKSON, Wyo. - Taking stock of local economic indicators, analyst Jonathan Schechter concludes that the economy in Jackson Hole during the last three months has more or less found its bottom, providing a platform for future growth.

The one glaring exception to that generality is construction. As well, sales tax revenues have declined to levels from about 2005 and continue to decline.

But real estate sales have been starting to move, both in Jackson Hole and the adjacent Teton Valley of Idaho. Classified ads suggest a slight hiring trend. Rental housing is being absorbed.

 

Spooked bear smacks worker

VAIL, Colo. - Justin Young now has quite a story to tell. The 25-year-old was working on a construction job at a house in Vail when he went behind the house and saw a bear that he estimates weighed 400 pounds. Caught by surprise, the bear reacted defensively, hitting Young on the side of the head and on the side of the body. Young fell down and was smacked again before he lost consciousness.

Young told the Vail Daily that co-workers might have suspected a tall-tale to conceal a stumble down stairs had it not been for all the bear hair on him. He was left with an exceedingly black eye, some scratches on his arm that kind of look like the bear claws you see on aspen trees, and assorted other bruises and scratches.

As for the bear, his days may be numbered. As per Colorado policy when a bear physically attacks a person, state wildlife officials set out with hounds to corner and kill the bear.

Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said bears attack or charge people several times per year. There were three such cases of physical injury to people in the Aspen area last year.

But Hampton also said that people will more likely be attacked by a neighbour's dog than a bear.

 

Vail couple get footnote on Everest

EDWARDS, Colo. -Brandon and Kristine Chalk have become the youngest American couple to summit Everest. He is 32, and she is 31. They have now climbed the highest peak on three of the world's seven continents, and they hope to climb all seven.

Money, though, is an issue. It cost $50,000 for the Everest trip, which they paid through cash presents from their wedding last October, as well as fundraisers, sponsorships and savings.

Brandon told the Vail Daily that they almost didn't go. "But who knows if you'll ever have the chance to do it again."

Of course, it wasn't easy. The climb tested not only their motivation and endurance, but also their relationship. "If we can survive this in our first year of marriage, then we can survive anything," Kristine said.

She also noted that the climb wasn't all of their own will-power. She credited the local Sherpa people who work as guides and porters. "Without the Sherpas, you couldn't do it," she said.

 

Tiny ranches with big price tags

JACKSON, Wyo. - Two ranch parcels that together total 102 acres will be sold at a live auction in mid-July - provided that the minimum bids of $15 million are received. The Jackson Hole News & Guide says that the asking price just a year ago was $47.4 million.

Why the big drop? Laura Brady, vice president of marketing for Concierge Auctions, told the newspaper that the seller was "not distressed and made a business decision to sell it this way."

The property includes a 10,000-square-foot main residence described as "castle-like" in promotional material, with materials imported from Europe used throughout its construction.

 

Cheap housing razed

KETCHUM, Idaho - Easy come, easy go. Bavarian Village in Ketchum was constructed in the early 1970s, and the units served their purpose, says landowner Dennis Hanggi. They always provided inexpensive housing.

But only four of the 17 units were occupied, and there was a reason why. Sometimes when he'd drive prospective renters for a look-see, they wouldn't even get out of the car, Hanggi told the Idaho Mountain Express .

 

1910 Big Blowup fires remembered

WHITEFISH, Mont. - In August, communities in Montana, Idaho and Washington will remember the great fires from a century ago, what is called the Big Blowup. It leveled forests, towns and homes, killing 85 people.

Writing in the Whitefish Pilot , the local fire-safe council notes that the destruction was not caused by a single-source blaze. Instead, thousands of melded fires resulted from dense forests and underbrush, dry conditions, violent weather and human carelessness.

The council was hosting a wildfire preparedness mixer that was being called "Don't Burn the Fish." The wet spring produced an abundant crop of fine fuels that, when cured by heat, could become dangerous sources for wildlife ignition this year.

 

By definition, extreme sports risky

BANFF, Alberta - Last winter, two snowmobilers died while high-marking on the west slope of the Canadian Rockies, near Revelstoke. The high-marking, while always dangerous, was done just days after warnings of high avalanche danger.

So, were the snowmobilers engaged in a form of extreme sports? The Rocky Mountain Outlook , reporting on a panel discussion held in Banff, doesn't say whether that question was addressed. But the panelists agreed that, by definition, extreme sports entail risks.

Will Gadd, an extreme ice climber and X-Games gold medalist, says he has counted more than 30 friends who have been lost to extreme pursuits over the years. He said those endeavours are indeed fun, but also risky. But child-bearing itself is also risky, given the high mortality rate of mothers.

Kyle McLaughlin, an emergency room physician, said he was concerned that the term "extreme sports" has been sensationalized. He pointed to ESPN and the X-Games as examples. "There is a counter-culture ambiance with this term," he said.

Should those engaged in risky activities be reined in? "Why do we think we can lay moral blame on people for being irrational?"

 

Reservoir to finally spill water

GRANBY, Colo. - The drought of the early 21 st century seems to have ended. The year started off dry but it was a wet, cool spring, and the reservoirs in Colorado have filled. At Granby Reservoir, located along the spine of the Continental Divide between Winter Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, water officials expected to spill water over the dam's spillway and into the incipient Colorado River. The last time the reservoir was full enough to require spilling extra water was in 2000, officials tell the Sky Hi Daily News .

 

Barbecuers must compost/recycle

FRISCO, Colo. - The Colorado Barbecue Challenge has been held in Frisco since 1993, but this year will have something new. The town will require all vendors to do without plastic utensils, plastic bowls and plates, Styrofoam and plastic beer cups.

Those items and others can't be recycled in Summit County. Instead, vendors must offer knives, forks, plates and cups that can either be recycled or composted.

The Summit Daily News explains that the current requirements have been five years in the making. The municipal government in 2005 began tackling waste at smaller events sponsored by the town. Then, the town began offering reduced registration fees for event organizers who voluntarily adopted waste-reduction strategies. This year, going green has become mandatory.

Getting it all right has not been easy. Last year, for example, participants mistook the composting bin for a trash container. Steps have been taken to prevent such recurrences.

Organizers tell the Daily News that the mandate hasn't dampened enthusiasm for the Barbecue challenge. This year there is a waiting list of 20 teams who want to get in on the ribbing.

 

 

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