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Bookstore no more?

Sarah L. Stewart
Dominique TaylorA mountain chick-adee takes flight after grabbing a snack at a bird feeder in Minturn. Snow and fresh food brought the birds out to feed.
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Vail – You can buy plenty of ski gear and fur in Vail Village, but before long you might not be able to find some slightly more average merchandise: books.

Verbatim Booksellers, the only bookstore in Vail, is up for sale. Owner Robert Aikens is selling the store for $250,000, after competition from online and big-box stores has made it too difficult for him to stay in business.

“I just personally can’t afford to take out any more loans or put in any more money myself,” Aikens said. “I’m not going to go on and continue running a store if it can’t survive on its own.”

Aikens, who will keep the store open until a buyer is found, is hoping a wealthy booklover will take it on as a pet project. If it doesn’t sell within a year, the store likely won’t be here anymore ” and neither will Aikens.

“I couldn’t live anywhere that doesn’t have a bookstore,” he said.

Minturn – After voters choose their new town councilors in April, those councilors will select the person to lead the town into the future.

The new Minturn town manager, which will be named by a council committee after the April elections, will head up a town in transition, as the nearby 1,700-unit Ginn development appears increasingly more likely to be approved. The initial field of 35 applicants for the position has been narrowed to seven.

“It’s absolutely critical right now,” said Andy Kaufman of the Minturn Community Fund, which raises funds for projects in Minturn. “We’re going through a time of great possible change down here, and hopefully they bring in somebody with prior experience with annexations and developments.”

Gary Suiter has served as the temporary town manager since Ann Capela resigned in June.

Vail – Backyard swimming pools might be hard to come by, but Vail has something most other communities don’t: backyard moose.

The Division of Wildlife removed a 700-pound moose from behind a home in the Sandstone area last week. The male moose got stuck on a patio, unable to climb the patio walls or surrounding steep slopes.

In a project that took the entire day, wildlife officials tranquilized the moose, carried it down the home’s stairs and out the front door, later releasing it north of Wolcott.

Eagle County – They may not be as nationally important as the presidential race, but local elections are starting to heat up.

This week, Debbie Buckley, a former Avon town councilmember, announced she will run for Eagle County Commissioner.

Buckley’s announcement follows term-limited Commissioner Arn Menconi’s recent decision to run for Eagle mayor, as well as Eagle Mayor John Stavney’s bid for Menconi’s seat.

Eagle Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Woodland has also entered the race for Eagle mayor.

Loveland – Think you’ve got the answer to the High Country’s transportation woes?

Sen. Chris Romer, whose recent suggestion to charge drivers using Interstate 70 at peak hours was rejected, now wants input from the public, the Associated Press reported.

Citizens who think they can solve the interstate’s ski traffic problems can submit ideas to a Web site set up by Romer’s staff at http://groups.google.com/group/fixI70now.

Most weekend travelers polled thought a train would be the way to go.

Denver – If Gov. Bill Ritter gets his way, the state could get permanent help cleaning the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel.

Ritter wrote Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne a letter this week requesting that the Bureau of Reclamation take over treatment of the tunnel’s contaminated water indefinitely. The water, which is located in an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site, will be pumped and treated by the EPA and Bureau of Reclamation in the coming months. Ritter wants to secure perpetual federal help with the site.

Denver – Sunday-afternoon parties could require a little less planning, if the state Senate’s decision is upheld by the House, the Associated Press reported.

A bill allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays passed the Senate 23-8 this week and is now headed to the House.

Liquor-store owners have changed their tune this year, after protesting previous attempts to change the state’s blue laws. Many now support the option of doing business on Sundays, since lawmakers have taken supermarkets’ request to sell full-strength beer and wine off the table.

– Compiled by Sarah L. Stewart


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