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Mayoral candidate sets record

ASPEN, Colo.- Business may be down, but spending is up in this spring's mayoral election in Aspen. Incumbent Mick Ireland has raised $17,875, but his challenger, Marilyn Marks, raised nearly $40,000. The previous record of $30,000 was set two years ago, notes The Aspen Times .

Lovins shows off home

OLD SNOWMASS, Colo. - You would not find the house of Amory Lovins in Architectural Digest. It has no cavernous great room, no massive brick fireplaces, no half-acres of plate-glass windows.

But Lovins, a physicist by training and energy activist since the 1970s, has a house that is marvelous in a different way. The house, built on a small acreage about 20 miles from Aspen, efficiently uses energy, almost none of it obtained by burning fossil fuels.

The remodeled house, in addition to photovoltaic solar collectors, now has solar thermal panels. The hot water is delivered not only to showers, but also to pipes within the floor, for radiant heating. Lovins told The Aspen Times that he hopes the new heat source allows him to retire his two wood-burning stoves, currently the only traditional source of heat in the house.

New Solatubes allow a dark hallway to be lighted with sunshine. A new data collection system uses 170 measuring devices to gather and analyze data, allowing Lovins to adjust the home's systems when needed.

Lovins last week was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. Also named to the list this year was Daniel Nocera, a solar researcher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nocera has spoken to energy groups in both Aspen and Telluride in recent years.

Windy, dusty spring hastens melt

SILVERTON, Colo. - It has been, reports the Durango Telegraph , an unusually windy, dusty year in the San Juan Mountains. Chris Landry, director of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, says 13 dust storms as of late April left dust on the snow of the San Juans, the most since he began monitoring the dust storms seven years ago.

The dust absorbs the solar radiation, causing the snow to melt more rapidly. Tom Painter, a research scientist with the University of Utah, estimates the snowpack melts several weeks earlier as a result of the dust.