Mountain Town News | VailDaily.com

Mountain Town News

Allen Best/Colorado Correspondent

The forest there is ripe for fire, and so the U.S. Forest Service let a contract to have the forest thinned.

But what to do with all the wood?

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News reports that a small portion of the thinned forest is fed into a chip-fired steam-powered microturbine. When fully operational, the burner is expected to consume a ton of wood chips and generate 30 kilowatts of electricity every day. Meanwhile, steam from the boiler heats the 30,000-square-foot community center.

Electricity and gas bills for the community center and adjacent buildings have been running around $50,000 annually.

Still, it’s just an experiment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to assess the emissions produced by the burner to see if air quality is substantially impaired by carbon monoxide, particulates or nitrogen oxides, among other pollutants. “It looks to be burning clean, but we won’t know how clean until we run all the tests,” said a project manager for the testing company.

Ski company countersues director of housekeeping

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PARK CITY, Utah – Somebody’s lying here. Shortly after he was fired from his $60,000-a-year job as director of housekeeping at Park City Mountain Resort, Mario Escobar filed a lawsuit against the resort, alleging things that were illegal, unethical, or both.

For example, Escobar accused the company of knowingly recruiting undocumented immigrants so that it could pay lower wages. Also, he said the resort’s Hispanic employees were asked to clean the homes of senior managers, that they were required to eat in a separate basement lunchroom and that they did not receive the same privileges afforded non-Hispanic employees.

Wrong! says the resort in a countersuit. The legal counsel for the American Skiing Co., which owns the resort, told The Park Record that “for the most part the facts are different than he alleged, and in some cases they are the exact opposite.”

For example, Escobar had the employees cleaning his home, says the company. As for the separate lunchroom, there is a lunchroom that serves discounted meals, and it’s close to the headquarters of housekeepers, but it’s not a segregated lunchroom.