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Papa’s coming home



SUN VALLEY, Idaho — At long last the people of Ketchum and Sun Valley will hold a festival for the writer who was called "Papa." For five days next fall there will be an Ernest Hemingway Festival, and there will be lectures and panel discussions, a tour of places where he hung out, and even a short-story contest.

The writer came to Ketchum just before World War II, not long after the Sun Valley ski area was opened, and he had some good years there. He hunted in the forests, and he cast his flies into the silvery waters of the Big Wood River, and he even wrote portions of several books, among them The Garden of Eden and A Moveable Feast. It was a good place to be when the monsoons were wreaking havoc on his other homes in Cuba and in the Florida Keyes, he said.

In all, he spent parts of 22 years in Ketchum until finally, in 1961, wracked by mental illness as well as other health problems, he turned a 12-gauge shotgun on himself in the front room of his house in Ketchum.

The Idaho Mountain Express says the festival has been in planning for some time. The festival would have been held last year, but the chamber of commerce organizers could not come to terms with the owner of the name Ernest Hemingway. Now they have.

Snowshoe spider captured

SILVERTON, Colo. — A century ago, newspapers in little mountain towns sometimes saw themselves as entertainers, where fiction was as much fair sport as was fact. Among the best in the old mining towns was Leadville’s Orth Stein, who offered fantastic tales of giant, glistening caverns, giant footprints found in the snow, and other such fare to tempt the gullible.

Carrying on that tradition is a story in The Silverton Standard, which reports of the capture of the reclusive snowshoe spider by a skier near the old Juan Mountain mining town of Eureka. And since a representative in Wyoming is trying to adopt the jackalope as Wyoming’s official mythical creature, San Juan County might try to do the same for the snowshoe spider, reports the newspaper.

Thinking inside the big box

EAGLE, Colo. — Eagle’s town leaders are thinking long and hard about the virtues of big-box retailers. The problem is that population growth, which hit nearly 16 per cent last year, is outpacing tax revenues.

Located 30 miles west of Vail, Eagle is something of a typical down-valley town. It had cattle drives on its streets even within the last decade, but today has a new golf course lined with massive neo-Victorian and Prairie Style homes and a few streets of New Urbanist-style homes. Out along the highway there are the fast-food joints. The population is still only 4,500, but at the current pace could hit 9,000 in a half-dozen years.