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Understanding the real estate economy

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TELLURIDE, Colo. — In mid-May, Jim Stewart was rafting a tributary of Idaho’s Salmon River when his boat capsized and he was killed by blunt trauma, from either a rock or the boat’s rowing frame.

A native of Nebraska, Stewart had had a broad and diverse background: education in music (specializing on the trombone) in Iowa, graduate studies at the Wharton School of Business, and then two decades in international investment banking before he moved to Telluride full time in 2000. While in Telluride, he was involved in many and varied pursuits, among them historic and architectural preservation.

One of his fellow board members, Chance Leoff, told The Telluride Watch that he finds it distasteful to exaggerate a person’s virtues after his or her death. "That won’t be necessary it his case," he said. "He really was an honorable, terrific guy. No one’s going to have to lie about him. It’s a big loss, it really is."

Mining icon may be saved

TELLURIDE, Colo. — In a sense, the history of mining is all around in Telluride. The magnificent homes and attractive storefronts are a testament to the wondrous mineral wealth that was extracted during the late 19 th century.

Still, a visitor to Telluride could be excused for not understanding the source of this Victorian architecture. The icons of the industrial activity are all outside of the town and even so steadily disappearing. To that end, Telluride and San Miguel County are debating what can be saved of the old Pandora Mill that remains at the end of the box-end canyon.

A permit was issued in 2003 for demolition of the old mill, which is a "very dangerous" place, in the words of a county commissioner, Art Goodtimes. It is home to some asbestos and showing the strains of eight decades of heavy snows.

But Johnnie Stevens, who grew up in a house next to the mill (his father was superintendent) before he eventually headed the ski area operations, is among those calling for its preservation. Just how it can be preserved, and more importantly, on whose dime, have yet to be worked out, reports The Telluride Watch. However, the Idarado Mining Co. remains agreeable to at least study the options.

First Lady gets whiff of LA

DURANGO, Colo. — U.S. First Lady Laura Bush was recently at Mesa Verde National Park, which is located in Colorado a day’s drive from the closest major city. Nonetheless, she got a whiff of several cities, notes the Durango Telegraph.

The air there, once considered among the cleanest in the nation, is now gunked up with pollutants from nearby coal-fired power plants as well as from pollution that has drifted in from Phoenix, Los Angles and other cities.

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