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Mountain News: Ski towns and valleys step up energy changes

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Energy plan done, but will it just collect dust?

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. - At great length, an energy plan has been assembled for Crested Butte. Among other measures, the plan calls for government-sponsored audits of homes to identify ways to improve energy efficiency. Another would have a local organization, the Office of Resource Efficiency, collaborating with the school district to develop an energy efficiency curriculum.

But hold on, says Susan Parker, the town manager. Adopt this and the public will have expectations to follow through, she said. "I encourage you to really review this and have a plan on how to deal if the money is not available to implement the projects," she added.

Alan Bernholtz, the mayor, does want to proceed. "I don't want to just pay lip service to the idea of energy efficiency in Crested Butte," he said at a recent meeting. "We have a chance to put our lips to the pavement and actually do something. This is a great thing for the community. It is an energy road map to follow."

Big power line needed for the Sun Valley area?

KETCHUM, Idaho - Another big power line to Sun Valley and Ketchum? Not so fast, writes Karen McCall in the Idaho Mountain Express . Maybe demand can be met by downscaling by improving energy efficiency, encouraging conservation, and developing renewable energy.

As economy slows, so does the crime rate

JACKSON, Wyo. - When the economy goes south, crime goes up. That's the conventional wisdom borne out by statistics.

But exactly the opposite has happened in Jackson and Teton County during the last year. Criminal court filings have dropped 30 percent and jail bookings are down 24 percent, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide . As well, arrests for driving under the influence have dropped 24 percent year to date.

"This is not normal at all, not even for the off-season," says Troy Sutton, the Teton County Jail administrator. "I haven't seen anything like this in the 15 years I've been here."

The jail can hold a maximum of 45 inmates. A year ago, officials were agitating for a jail expansion to hold 100. But in late May, the jail held only 16.

The newspaper's Amanda H. Miller points out that last year produced the biggest spike in crime that officials had seen. At the time, there was conjecture that the increase was due to Teton County pushing past 20,000 in population, which one study has found is a threshold for increased crime. There was also talk about Jackson Hole "losing its soul."