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Hallelujah

Vail Trail staff
Kristin AndersonJason Platt sells cow bells at the Birds of Prey World Cup at Beaver Creek. A portion of the proceeds from the bells will go to Meet the Wilderness.
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Eagle County – The snow gods have answered the valley’s prayers.

Last weekend’s snowstorm dumped a foot or more of snow on local ski resorts, putting to an end (temporarily, at least) the dry autumn that had been the talk of the valley.

Beaver Creek received the most of any local mountain, with 15 inches. Vail and Breckenridge each got 11 inches, and Keystone saw 7. With more snow in the forecast this weekend, residents are hopeful that the weather has turned the corner from November’s sparse snowfall.

Vail – Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition says Vail Resorts could do a little better in the environmental department, but they’re definitely improving from previous years.

The coalition, a group made of environmental nonprofits, grades 77 ski resorts in the western United States on environmental impacts.

Vail scored 53.9 percent and a C grade last year and improved to 55.6 and a C this year. In past years, Vail has scored as low as D and F. Beaver Creek scored 48.8 percent and a D, same as last year.

The coalition scrutinizes things like how much new terrain a resort opens, how sensitive it is to wildlife and what steps it takes to minimize pollution.

The point system used by the report gives the most weight to ski resort development ” meaning ski resorts that are adding terrain and lifts have their grades lowered because of potential damage to wildlife and forests ” a tactic many critics say isn’t an accurate representation of a resort’s greenness.

Eagle County – Those looking to spread some charitable Christmas cheer have the opportunity to do so with the Vail Valley Salvation Army.

The organization is looking for bell ringers to work two-hour shifts through Dec. 24 at grocery stores throughout the valley. Help is also needed on Dec. 15 at Avon Elementary School to help assemble and deliver Christmas food baskets.

For volunteer information, call 926-3704 or visit http://www.salvationarmyvail.org.

Vail – A scam artist with expensive taste hit Vail Village last week.

A man who said he was a doctor from Omaha, Neb., called the Alaska Fur Gallery last week and gave a credit card number to buy a $26,000 chinchilla fur coat for his son.

When the card was declined, the store’s owner smelled something fishy. He called American Express and was told that the real credit card holder’s identity had been stolen. Vail police are investigating the credit card fraud. The owner also reported receiving fraudulent checks, and later that week a $21,500 sable coat, “the elite of furs,” also was stolen from the gallery.

Denver – They’re less worried about who the next president is than what he or she does.

The Presidential Climate Action Project offered its two cents for what the next president should do in his or her first 100 days to combat global warming.

More than 100 recommendations included a 30 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 and independence from Persian Gulf oil.

“Some of the nation’s leading scientific experts collaborated to start formulating an agenda for the next administration of whatever party and whatever candidacy,” said former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, the group’s co-chair.

Eagle County – Hosting a dinner party might not require trips to two different stores if Colorado’s legislature approves some booze-related legislation.

Bills to change several Colorado laws are currently in the works that would allow liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays and allow grocery stores to sell stronger alcohol.

Local liquor store owners don’t really think the law would do much for sales, since people typically stock up on booze on Saturdays. Stores tell out-of-towners that they’re closed on Sundays so people aren’t shocked when doors are locked. Small stores could actually suffer, say some critics, because the extra day of business would mean higher costs for additional employee hours, among other costs.

The other proposed law that would allow grocery stores to sell more than beer could hurt smaller liquor stores, too, since grocery stores, as bigger corporations, could buy alcohol at much lower prices.

There have been several unsuccessful attempts to lift the Sunday ban in the past, most recently in 2005.

Vail – The town of Vail is dangling the $250 million Arrabelle at Vail Square project over Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz’s head by threatening to keep the project closed until the corporation details a specific plan for more employee housing.

The town of Vail says it wants Vail Resorts to build housing for 120 workers at a parking lot in Lionshead. Arrabelle is billed as the centerpiece of Lionshead’s renewal, but the town doesn’t care until Vail Resorts coughs up more than just swanky luxuries for rich out-of-towners.

The stores, which include Burton, Quiksilver, Patagonia and Vail Sports, are supposed to open in the next three weeks.

The town wants the housing built on the so-called “North Day Lot,” which is owned by Vail Resorts, near the Landmark Condominiums.

Still, Vail Resorts disputes the contention that it needs a plan before the Arrabelle can open. Vail Resorts must also post a $17.3 million letter of credit under the town’s plan. The town could cash that to buy employee housing if VR doesn’t meet its obligations.

Denver – Eagle County congressman Mark Udall calls the Democrats’ federal energy bill a “trifecta” by increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, power from renewable energy and ethanol for motor fuel.

Udall added that Colorado and other states with renewable energy standards provided an example that helped Democrats and Republicans reach a compromise on the bill last weekend.


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