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Invasion of the rich people

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The Idaho Mountain Express reports that 70 per cent of people participating in a planning process called Blaine County 2025 want to see population directed away from rural areas and to or near existing towns. The cities, says the newspaper, do not want more density, but had better "rub the sleep from their eyes" and face the need to accept higher density developments and to develop affordable housing."

Red Lodge waits for highway

RED LODGE, Mont. — Red Lodge is located at the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. Although it has a ski area, summer is somewhat the livelier season, partly because Red Lodge is along the Beartooth Highway that is among the most scenic ways to see Yellowstone.

But last year, just before Memorial Day, that highway closed for the season even before it opened. Rock and mud slides clogged the highway, and then a $14 million road repair project kept it closed.

The Associated Press explains that the closure was tough on the economy of Red Lodge, with the resort-tax income down 11 per cent. That was less than what had been expected, however. The closure "helped us understand we’re more of a destination than we thought we were," said Denise Parsons, director of the Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce.

Water district elections a sign of times

VAIL, Colo. — It used to be that elections for the various water and sanitation districts were ho-hum affairs in Vail and other Eagle Valley towns, with just enough candidates – virtually all men with ties to development companies – to fill the slots.

Not now. Water has become a going concern, and so have the elections. Eleven candidates were vying for five seats on the board of directors for the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.

Partly at issue, reports the Vail Daily, is how the water rights belonging to Denver in the Eagle River Basin are to be accommodated. One proposal is to create a reservoir near Wolcott, about halfway down the valley, to benefit both Denver and local interests.

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