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Times explores hybrid sport of sleds, skiers

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Still, only 8 micrograms are allowed to qualify for "pristine air sheds’ in and around national park areas. To keep the air that clean, Gebhart told the commissioners that scrubbing technology would be required, at a cost of $75,000 to $100,000.

The plume from the dual "smoke" stacks rising former the biomass plant would be barely visible. Water vapor, however, is another matter. While harmless as a pollutant, vapor can be more visible in colder climates and higher altitudes. One example is a wallboard factory at the town of Gypsum, between Vail and Glenwood Springs, which has a large, industrial-looking plume of water vapor for about half the year.

Elevated levels of mercury are also considered to be very small.

Still, at least some neighbors in Frisco are concerned. "Most of us have moved here because the air is pristine, and any degradation, even if it meets EPA standards, is just not acceptable," said Philip Sanderman. Said another a neighbor, Mike Wood, "It sounds like a good thing to me, but you don’t necessarily want it blowing into your back yard."

Representatives of Vail, Avon, and Beaver Creek, meanwhile, recently went to Austria to study biomass plants in operation in high-end resort communities. "It was beautiful in its simplicity," said Stan Zemler, Vail’s town manager.

Driving these concerns is a desire to rid the forests that edge the resort communities of the combustible dead trees of recent years caused by the beetle epidemic. In most cases, the aging forests are expected to become even more problematic in coming decades.

‘Global warming’ misleading

MAMMOTH, Calif. — A climate scientist from San Diego says he wishes that the phrase "global warming" had never been introduced. It’s a misnomer, said Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, because the effect is broader and more complex than mere elevation of temperatures.

Speaking at a conference of meteorologists held at Mammoth, Somerville pointed out that "global warming" is thought to increase cloud cover, which in turn reduces daytime temperatures. But that same cloud cover increases nighttime temperatures.

What’s wrong with that? Among other things, explained The Sheet, which covered the meeting, this shift provides the optimal temperatures for growth of a certain fungi that lives on the skin of amphibians. Harlequin frogs in Central and South America are thought to have become extinct as a consequence of this fungus.

Uzbekistanis arrested

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Six people from Uzbekistan were arrested for overstaying the limits prescribed by their H-2B immigration visas. They entered the United States last April on visa valid through October 2005. Their sponsor was AA Janitorial. The summit daily news reports that two of three others from Uabekistan who had been sponsored by AA Janitorial who were arrested in St. Louis, Mo., last week apparently on the same charges.