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Woman completes her around-the-world walk

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VAIL, Colo. — Five years ago Polly Letofsky walked out of Vail and vowed not to return until she had walked around the world.

On July 30, she delivered on her promise, arriving in Vail having walked through 22 countries, worn out 29 pairs of shoes, and covering 14,124 miles.

Letofsky had dreamed of walking around the world since she was 12 years old. The idea of walking into and through different cultures captivated her, she explained. And that’s exactly what she did.

Along the way, she spread culture herself. Armed with an infectious smile and ebullient spirit, she spread the cause of breast cancer awareness, promoting the need for mammograms and lending support to the breast-cancer victims she encountered along the way.

Her favorite country? Turkey, with its blend of East and West, old and new.

But now comes the hard part. What do you do for an encore once you’ve done something no woman has ever done before?

"I’m scared for you," a man told her in Ontario last year. The man had taken a five-month bike trip across America, but found that getting settled afterwards was the toughest time of his life. He plugged himself into his old life, but he was different person. He didn’t belong anymore.

Gunnison mulls whether to let Wal-Mart in door

GUNNISON, Colo. — Wal-Mart wants to get into Gunnison in a bigger way. It is negotiating to buy land on the edge of the town, along the road to Crested Butte, to build what the company calls a supercenter, which includes a large variety of food as well as the company’s more traditional goods.

But Gunnison is hesitant, in part because of the precedent it would set with other big-box retailers, reports the Crested Butte News, and so is talking about a moratorium while a community consensus is achieved. To help expedite that discussion, the city recently held a community meeting that was attended by 200 people.

Those favoring an open door say local residents are shopping at Wal-Mart anyway, but they’re driving an hour east to Salida or an hour west to Montrose. In either case, they’re paying sales tax to other communities. Furthermore, they say that Wal-Mart has shown a willingness, when pushed, to erect better-looking buildings than the bland, faintly depressing rectangles for which the retailer has become notorious.

Two speakers from nearby Delta County said they chose to work with Wal-Mart rather than fight it. " We have to pick our battles," said Deana Sheriff, executive director for Delta Area Development. "We are a poor community, and we knew that Wal-Mart had the dollars to fight us."

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