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Mountain News: Bus ridership surges



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“Resort economies have different needs than those based on agriculture, mining, logging and high tech,” says the Express. “They operate under worldwide economic pressures that most Idaho legislators apparently cannot imagine, let alone respond to creatively.”

Indeed, until 1992, Colorado did allow real-estate transfer taxes, which were commonly collected by towns to fund open-space transactions. Imposition of new fees can no longer be imposed by cities, towns or counties, although private developers can incorporate such fees into their projects. Such is the case of Beaver Creek, for example, and in Steamboat Springs there are two such projects.


Carrot for energy efficient homes

HAILEY, Idaho – Town officials in Hailey, located about 15 miles downstream form Ketchum and Sun Valley, are looking to offer carrots, not sticks, in their goal of reducing energy. One proposal now before the city council would defer building-permit fees for homes built to Energy Star standards. Such homes almost always have more efficient water heaters and furnaces, and are also built more tightly, to avoid heat loss. They are at least 15 percent more energy efficient than those built to uniform building code standards. In Boise, they would also add a cost of $2,250 to $3,750 for a 1,5000 square-foot home to the sticker price, although the presumption is that the money would be returned in the form of lower natural gas and electricity bills within just a few years.


Prescribed burns upset officials

BANFF, Alberta – Three wildfires near the Banff townsite in the past three years, one of them unnervingly close, have caused local fire managers to start plotting deliberate fires, to prevent out-of-control fire.

Parks Canada, which administers Banff National Park, is planning to burn 1,330 hectares (2,226 acres) during the coming decades, most lasting for just a few hours in spring months. Still, the idea of smoking up the Bow River Valley has some tourism officials sounding alarm bells, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Smoke in the valley would be “disastrous for the tourism industry,” said Julie Canning, president and chief executive officer of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.


Proposed resort has April deadline

LASSEN, Calif. – Would-be developers of a real-estate, golf, and ski resort northwest of Truckee have until April 8 to come up with the $16 million that would preclude foreclosure. The Sierra Sun reports that financial troubles led the lender, California Mortgage and Realty, to issue a foreclosure sale notice originally slated for Feb. 4 to recoup nearly $16 million in debt. Opponents of the project, who say it would sully a large undeveloped area, have been fighting the project for seven years.