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Mountain News: Ski towns and valleys step up energy changes

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Breckenridge drawing defensible space line

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - There were many protests that personal freedoms were being abridged, but the Breckenridge Town Council now appears headed toward adoption of a law requiring that homeowners create a 30-foot defensible space around their homes, to discourage wildfires from spreading to the homes. Within 75 feet of the structures, crowns of trees need to be separated by at least 10 feet. The Summit Daily News says two council members voted against the measure when it was heard in the preliminary reading, arguing that the law over-stepped what the situation requires.

Food & Wine Classic tickets slower to sell

ASPEN, Colo. - Typically, the 5,000 tickets for Aspen's three-day Food & Wine Classic, scheduled this year for June 19-21, have all been sold by late winter. Not this year. A few tickets remained as June approached. Still, organizers were not dismayed. "Relative to what's going on in the world, we're doing really well," said Christina Grdovic, of Food & Wine Magazine. The Aspen Times reports that 70 percent of accommodations in Aspen and Snowmass have been booked.

Building contractors filing mechanic's liens

ASPEN, Colo. - Construction contractors and their subs have been filing mechanic's liens at a furious pace in Pitkin County. As of late May, 331 liens had been filed, triple the number of last year and more than five times as many as for the same period in 2005.
Construction firms or individual workers most commonly file the liens as a way to get paid for labor and materials.

Charles Plimpton, owner of a steel fabrication and ornamental metalworking company, told The Aspen Times that he suspects clients have been taking advantage of the recession to get contractors to reduce their bills. A project developer, however, reports a different situation, a squeeze at both ends.

Backpackers told to pack all wastes out

ASPEN, Colo. - Pack it in, pack it out. That rule applies beginning this summer for those skiing and backpacking to the Conundrum Hot Springs, which is located high in the Elk Range between Aspen and Crested Butte.

More bluntly, the hot springs have been getting wasted. Too much human excrement has been buried, or partially buried, given the fragile and often rocky tundra near the camping spots. About 2,000 backpackers hoof it to the heated water each summer, notes The Aspen Times.

With a grant of $3,000 from the Aspen Skiing Co., the U.S. Forest Service will be providing 2,000 human poop bags called Restop 2. The bags are double-lined, and those visiting the springs will be expected to take the bags home.