Ketchum hotel soars |

Ketchum hotel soars

Allen Best

If you’re feeling ill about the ever-increasing cost of health insurance or decreasing benefits, you may find some comfort knowing you’re not alone: affordable health insurance has become an oxymoron.

The city requires that the developer, Brian Barsotti, maintain at least 61 rooms as traditional hotels and can sell the other 19 rooms under fractional-ownership arrangements, as has become common at other resorts. But Barsotti said he has no such plans.

Forest fees protested

DURANGO, Colo. – The U.S. Forest Service is finding itself opposed in yet another plan to begin charging fees for use of public facilities.

The latest skirmish is between Durango and Silverton, in Colorado’s majestic San Juan Mountains. There, next to Molas Lake, the Forest Service plans to let a for-profit company charge $5 or $6 a day for picnicking, and $10 to $12 for camping. Several new toilets are among the improvements and rehabilitation, which altogether are expected to cost $700,000.

An appellant tells the Durango Telegraph (Sept. 5) that this site “is one of the last places where low-income and working people can still camp and picnic in such a beautiful place on their public lands for free.”

Buffalo annoying to neighbors

GRAND LAKE, Colo. – “Where the buffalo roam” isn’t just a line in a song to neighbors of Mary Baumberger, who has a small ranch among the vacation homes near Granby Reservoir. Her herd of bison seem to have roamed freely during the last two summers, to great annoyance in the neighborhood.

But Baumberger seems to have the law on her side. Colorado is a free range state, meaning that it’s the responsibility of landowners to fence livestock out if they don’t want them grazing on their property. As a practical matter, most ranchers do fence their livestock in, simply because they don’t want them hit by traffic.

In this case, the situation is further muddied by the contention of the state brand inspector that bison aren’t livestock, although there’s at least one trade organization that insists they are. That organization promotes buffalo as a healthy alternative to beef.

At any rate, the Sky-Hi News (Aug. 28) says that officials in Grand County are trying to figure out what local laws they can conceive that will target bison, yaks or other such hobby animals of the “New West” without stepping on the toes of state laws established in Old West days.

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