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James Brown Soul Center saved

Allen Best

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS ” An otherwise drab, conventional bridge across the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs will officially remain the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge, as it has been since 1993.

That’s the year Steamboat Springs residents, in a dubious straw vote, chose the name to honor the famous singer and dancer.

That decision had been hotly contested, with an almost equal number of people favoring the simpler and more local name of Stockbridge, honoring its historical use for moving cattle and other livestock.



The Steamboat Pilot recalls that some 26,300 ballots were cast in a town that then had only 10,000 people.

In 2004, after Brown was arrested on charges of domestic violence, the name was revisited. More recently a group favoring the Stockbridge name petitioned the city for a change, but rather than provoke division within the community, pushed for a park near the bridge that would reflect Steamboat’s ranching heritage.



SILVERTON ” It’s one strike again Jim Jackson in his battle with Aron Brill, the developer of the Silverton Mountain Ski Area.

Jackson had claimed that Brill’s skiers trespassed on his mining claims. As well, Jackson had claimed trespass by the avalanches set off by Brill to make skiing safer at Silverton Mountain ” and to make the road leading to his ski area safer.

A judge in Durango, Gregory Lyman, agreed with Jackson, but the faint praise was damning. He ordered that Brill pay a paltry $1.



The Silverton Standard explained that while the judge agreed that trespassing had occurred, both by employees of Silverton Mountain and by customers, he said it would be almost impossible to discern whether ski tracks found on Jackson’s property had been made by avalanche control workers or recreation skiers.

And if it is for avalanche control workers, their work is that of “protecting the traveling public” on the county roads. Brill is paid by the county to control the avalanche threat. The traveling public consists largely of, but is not limited to, his customers.

Jackson’s next day in court is in April. The San Juan County commissioners, attempting the first condemnation ever in San Juan County, are condemning Jackson’s property that is located within the federal lands used by the ski areas.

Brill is paying for the cost of the condemnation ” raising questions about a too-cozy relationship between ski area developer and county government.

In interviews with papers in Durango and Aspen, Jackson ” who lives in Aspen ” lashed out at Brill. Jackson has the longer-term interest in San Juan County, as he staged speed-skiing championships near where Silverton Mountain is now located in 1980 and 1981, and he had talked about developing a ski area.

However, while not arriving until 1999, Brill rapidly got the job done and now has the permit to use the federal land.

Vail, Colorado


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