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Mountain News: One big box sold, another one planned



CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Big houses produced by fortunes derived from big oil were in the news this week.

In Aspen, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the United States, has sold his 56,000-square-foot house and 95-acre property. The house and property, located in unincorporated Pitkin County in the Starwood neighborhood, was originally listed for $135 million, but the selling price was $49 million, reports the Aspen Daily News.

About 60 miles away, billionaire Bill Koch, who gained his wealth in the oil refineries of Kansas but now owns a coal mine near Paonia, has plans for a 22,712-square-foot house. This house is on a mesa below the Raggeds, a ridge of mountains that looks pretty much as the name implies.

Reporting on a county planning commission meeting, the Crested Butte News says that the house is to be used primarily during summer, two to three weeks during winter, and occasionally during hunting season.

"Fido" probably not name for this canine

KETCHUM, Idaho — A couple picked up the pup from the Sawtooth National Forest, thinking it a lost dog. But, in fact, it's at least a wolf-dog hybrid, and perhaps a wolf.

DNA testing was planned to determine the family tree for the pup, which weighed 20 pounds.

Defenders of Wildlife, which was tapped for its expertise in wolf matters, thinks that if the wolf can be returned to its pack within a week or so, the wolves will accept it. "Wolves are very bonded to their young. If they are alive, they will be trying to find him," group spokeswoman Suzanne Stone told the Idaho Mountain Express.

In the meantime, the wolf or hybrid was at a zoo in Boise to be nurtured back to good health. Apparently, it didn't take well to dog food.

Foodie come-hithers just all right in Banff

BANFF, Alberta — Restaurateurs in Banff will be able to hand out food and drink freebies in front of their businesses without question. New wording in the municipal bylaws bestows the right without question, as long as they don't wander onto public property.

A planner for the community questionned where this will all lead, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook. For example, will T-shirt proprietors be out asking passersby if they want to try on T-shirts?

But councillors indicate they don't think that's a problem. "I don't think McDonald's should be able to give out free smoothies in front of The Keg, or Starbucks give out free coffee in front of the Cake Company, but I think they should be able to give free samples," said Mayor Karen Sorensen.

Insuring cattle drive pricey in Steamboat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Ed Quillen, the long-time columnist for the Denver Post, who died on Sunday, once described the themes of the various ski towns in Colorado. Keystone was amenityland, Vail was transplanted Bavaria, of course, and Steamboat was cowboyland.

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