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Vail conference centre going to voters again



VAIL, Colo. — Come November, it’s sink-or-swim time for Vail’s long anticipated conference centre.

Two years ago, town voters approved an increased lodging tax with the idea that the money would be used to build a $45 million conference centre. Further study predicts much higher co-operating costs than was originally expected. Costs are now estimated at $65 million. To cover that increased cost, the town wants to know whether the lodging tax should be boosted once more.

There is some speculation the tax will have a tough time. Two years ago, Vail – like most resorts – was struggling. Now, tourist visits, real estate sales and tax sales are all up, raising the question of whether a conference centre is really needed to spur the economy. Opponents fret that the nation’s conference market is so saturated that residents of Vail will end up missing other revenues to subsidize the convention centre.

Despite a mid-sized airport only 35 miles away, the closest airport with year-round regularly scheduled flights is at Denver International Airport, 120 miles away.

Jackson tries to cut garbage

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — While what happens in Las Vegas may stay there, that’s not true of the trash in Jackson Hole. Like many resort areas, the trash is exported – in this case, to a landfill in neighboring Sublett County.

While the ethics of that exportation could be challenged, the more immediate issue is the cost. Running garbage trucks long distances (in Wyoming, all distances are long) costs good money – and that was before the price of gas began escalating.

With that in mind, many efforts are underway in Jackson Hole to promote the mantra: "reduce, reuse, and recycle." The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the effort is succeeding. Recyling increased 10 to 19 per cent this summer. People increased purchases of wind and other "green" electricity sources by 21 per cent. Traffic into a reuse business called the ReStore rose 8 per cent.

Organizers in three environmental organizations credit a catchy advertising campaign that that ran on 267 cable stations, backed up by print and radio ads. The Teton County Board of Commissioners is backing that effort up with a $10,000 commitment toward public awareness.

Now, workers have been digging through a residential trash container, sorting out what could be diverted or recycling. The research will provide county authorities with a better idea of what items could be recycled – and hence generate income for the county, to be applied against the cost of exporting the trash.

More business-like and boring

ASPEN, Colo. — Once upon a time, it was easy to keep Aspen and Vail straight. Aspen got the movie stars, Vail the corporate moguls. Aspen had a two-lane highway, Vail an interstate. Aspen said "stay out" to population growth, while Vail – or last least Eagle County, where Vail is located – say "c’mon in."