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Mountain News: When should store doors be closed?

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The forum is sponsored by the resort association and the Aspen Institute and hopes to have speakers from Congress and the White House.

Something called the Colorado Compact, which was put together by Colorado Sen. Mike Bennet, has drawn broad support, including both the Aspen and Vail skiing companies, but also agriculture interests.

towns strategize on throwaway bags

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — After months of preparation, Breckenridge's town council this week was scheduled to again take up a proposal to levy a 10-cent fee on all plastic and paper bags issued at stores in Breckenridge.

Similar to Aspen, Telluride, and several other resort communities, Breckenridge had first talked about a full ban of plastic bags issued by grocery stores. But a task force that included retailers came up with different ideas. Big grocery stores won't be singled out. Only restaurants will be exempted.

Too, the bags are not banned, only taxed. The money — technically a fee — is to be split between retailers and the town government. The town's logo would be used, in part, to create reusable bags with the Breckenridge logo. Currently, merchants in Breckenridge distribute more than three million plastic bags each year, notes the Summit Daily News.

In Whistler, officials remain intent on reducing distribution of plastic bags. "The problem (on a global scale) is getting catastrophic," said councillor Jayson Faulkner.

The councillors have given grocers and drug store retailers until June to find a way reduce plastic bags. "We're going to do something," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "Let's give private industry an opportunity to make some recommendations to us. Hopefully they're good enough for us and we can move forward."

The Alliance of Grocery and Drug Stores in Whistler submitted a letter that fretted about degrading the shopping experience and pushed back at some assumptions. "The available science indicates that paper and cloth have a greater negative impact than degradable plastic, and the reusable bags retailers have been using for years are risky at best," said the letter.

But the council is just as firm. "The statistics really are staggering, and we have to do something," said the mayor.

More embarrassing riches

JACKSON, Wyo. — Sifting though data about enplanements and such, number-cruncher Jonathan Schechter at the Jackson Hole News&Guide finds that Jackson and Teton County are uncommonly blessed for those who just want to get away.

The valley's airport, located in Grand Teton National Park, recorded 279,000 enplanements in 2011, the most recent year for which numbers are available. This compares with airports serving Missoula, Mont; Medford, Ore.; and Augusta, Ga. All serve areas with three to 20 times as many full-time residents.

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