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Invasion of the rich people

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In Grand County, where Winter Park, Granby and Grand Lake are located, the newspaper chain has started a page written in Spanish. There was some local grousing, expressed loudly by at least one long-time local resident, who believes in English immersion to the hilt.

But the translator of the page, Evelyn Ramo, defended the page: "The Spanish page is just a window to the American culture, not an English/Spanish dictionary," she writes in the Winter Park Manifest. She says she helps immigrants understand snowboarding and snowmobiling, and how to dress for the cold, among other things.

Miners weigh comebacks

SILVERTON, Colo. — The startling prosperity of China and India continues to reverberate in mountain towns and valleys of the West. Those surging economies of Asia have caused heightened demand for all manner of minerals, which in turn is producing some attention to the potential of renewed mining.

Molybdenum mining at Fremont Pass, between Copper and Leadville, which has mostly been dormant since 1981, is almost certain to reopen in 2009. Phelps-Dodge is similarly showing renewed interest in new molybdenum mining on the outskirts of Crested Butte. And in San Juan County, where Silverton is located, owners of mining properties are examining the economic landscape.

"I don’t look for mining to make a quick comeback," said Larry Perino, reclamation manager for the Sunnyside Mine, which is located adjacent to the Silverton Mountain Ski Area. He said environmental regulations are extensive, the permitting process lengthy, and both labor and affordable housing now in short supply in Silverton. "You would have to see metal prices stay high."

But Todd Hennis, who owns a variety of mining properties near Silverton, seems more optimistic. The Silverton Standard reports that Hennis, who lives in Silver Plume, between Denver and Summit County, has been attending mining conventions in Canada in recent months in an attempt to probe interest.

Working in the favor of renewed mining near Silverton is the high content of zinc among the ores. Zinc was recently selling for $1.44 per pound in London, almost tripled from just a year ago. It sold for 45 cents a pound when the Sunnyside Mine closed in the early 1990s. Also a factor is whether prices for gold and silver, also common in the ores of the San Juan Mountains, continue to rise. Gold is now at $626 per ounce and silver at $14.10 per ounce.

Density the key

KETCHUM, Idaho — Bracing for an influx of new residents that is expected to double the population of the Wood River Valley in the next 20 years, local officials are continuing to look at a program to transfer development rights to Ketchum, Sun Valley and other towns.

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