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Mountain News: The funeral of Hunter S. Thompson

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Still, the idea of a toll road from Denver to Eagle remains an iffy proposition, explains the Vail Daily. In Aspen, Pitkin County Commissioner Mick Ireland points out that the revenue bonds required of toll roads would require higher interest rates than state financing. Ireland said he also believes toll roads would represent a major shift in public policy, in that it would require some communities to pay for their road systems while others are state-supported through tax revenues.

Gary Lindstom, a state legislator and former Summit County commissioner, noted that any such toll road would require large swaths of U.S. Forest Service land – a dubious proposition. He labeled the toll road a "pipe dream."

However, state authorities are not turning their shoulder on toll roads in the mountains. A state transportation planner told the newspaper that toll roads should remain in the mix of options

More elk, more problems

EAGLE, Colo. — By 1916, Colorado had fewer than 2,000 elk left, the result of over-hunting. Elk were transplanted from Wyoming and Utah, and with hunting regulations carefully enforced, the population began climbing again.

Now, there are too many elk, at least in some portions of the state. The Flat Tops area northwest of Eagle and southwest of Steamboat Springs has what is estimated to be the largest elk herd in the United States. The herd has increased 40 per cent in just the last 15 years.

What is happening? Some think that elk are better generalists than deer, whose herds continue to decline. With more development of human activities, generalist species generally do better. But whatever the cause, ranchers in the area would like to see fewer elk, because the elk get into hay stacks, fouling the food so much with their urine and feces that cattle won’t even eat it. As well, some people believe there are too many elk collisions with cars.

Colorado wildlife officials are looking at issuing more hunting permits, but Sinapu, a group that advocates restoration of carnivores, believes that wolves should be reintroduced to thin the elk herds.

While most ranchers oppose wolf reintroduction, there has been some support along the way. One of Colorado’s leading ranchers, George Coleman, a fourth-generation rancher who created the organic beef bearing his name, speculated in 1997 that wolves were needed to keep the elk at bay.

Outpatient care increased

ASPEN, Colo. — Last year, Aspen Valley Hospital was on the ropes, reeling from financial troubles. Those problems seemingly now addressed, the hospital is looking forward to expansion.

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