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Study aims to determine if seeding clouds works

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This comes in the wake of an avalanche toll last winter in Canada, including the death of seven high school students in Banff National Park near Rogers Pass.

How Wal-Mart in Denver affects Telluride pastures

TELLURIDE, Colo. — One of the big stories in Colorado this past year has been the willingness by municipal governments, particularly in Denver and its suburbs, to use their power to condemn private property in order to clear ground for sales-tax generating Wal-Mart.

But in the general outrage to curb the perceived abuses of these local governments, the state legislature may also crimp the ability of local governments to condemn private property in order to preserve it as open space. Specifically at issue is the effort by Telluride to condemn a 570-acre cow pasture at the town’s entrance, reports The Telluride Watch.

This additional step has been linked to Tom Ragonetti, a savvy and powerful Denver-based attorney affiliated with land-development interests in several Colorado resort areas. Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, called Ragonetti’s proposal a "pure and simple special-interest sleaze."

The bill could also affect a contemplated condemnation by Pitkin County of private land on Smuggler Mountain, located near Aspen, in order to keep it in open space.

Carl Miller, an ex-miner from Leadville who has represented Aspen, Vail, and Summit County in the legislature during recent years, says he believes local governments should be able to condemn private lands only for roads and similar public facilities. "I don’t see open space as being in that category," he told The Aspen Times.

Enviros say no problem with fuels reduction plan

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Environmental activists say they see no problems with the U.S. Forest Service plans to reduce fuels near Crested Butte in what is called the urban-wildlands interface, a.k.a. the red zone. Elsewhere, activists have called the "fuels reduction" projects an excuse to open public lands to logging.

Wood from the projects is small, mostly four inches and smaller. These downed trees will likely be made available to the public for firewood, unless a better use for the small-diameter trees can be found.

Push nearly to shove for Winter Park water

WINTER PARK, Colo. — Push is getting close to shove at Winter Park, Colorado’s largest boom area. By all accounts, the water glass there is at least half empty.