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Movies no more

compiled by Sarah L. Stewart
Theo StroomerChristmas arrived in Minturn this week, as the Dickens Carolers, directed by Marsha Marshall, sang at the Minturn Market.
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Vail – Let’s make it a… Netflix night?

Blockbuster Video in the West Lionshead shopping mall, Vail’s last full-fledged video store, closed last month. Vail Resorts, which owns the space, plans to make it a sales center for the Ritz-Carlton residences being built across the street. Though videos can still be found in the valley, at the self-service kiosk at City Market and the library, some business owners in the area were sad to see the change.

“The traffic will be completely different,” said Rae Madison, owner of Hothouse Flowers. Blockbuster brought customers past her store “all day, every day,” she said.

Other businesses now wonder how long they will be permitted to stay in their spaces if Vail Resorts wants to make further changes.

Eagle County – Turns out this valley isn’t as pristine as we’d like to think.

Drug and alcohol use among the valley’s teens is much more widespread than many thought, according to some parents.

“It’s excessive,” said Margaret Olle, a Battle Mountain High School parent. “My kids don’t really know anyone that doesn’t use something.”

The school has begun looking at options to counteract the problem, including random drug testing for students involved in extra-curricular activities. It has also stepped up investigating where students caught with drugs obtained them.

“The best thing we realized is to get together and talk about it and to not be judgmental,” said Janet De Clark, another Battle Mountain parent. “Even if you have a child that is not a partier, they’re facing this every single day at school. They sit next to kids who do party and use drugs.”

Olle and others are also joining forces to bring the nationwide “Safe Homes Network” to Eagle County. The program gets parents to sign a pledge that they will closely supervise parties at their homes and won’t allow youths to have or use tobacco, drugs and alcohol there.

Vail- The Vail Town Council recently defeated a proposal that would require developers to put art in their buildings. But even without the legislation, projects like The Arrabelle at Vail Square, the Vail Front Door and Solaris have each pledged at least a million dollars in public art.

“It adds texture, character,” said Bob McNichols, a local developer. “It increases people’s appreciation for the interior and exterior.”

Those who were in favor of the measure felt the public art would add to Vail’s appeal to visitors and residents.

“It’s a mind-expanding opportunity, whether you like it or not,” said art board member Doe Browning. “It should make people stop and say, ‘What is this about?'”

Eagle County – The Eagle Valley Library District is asking local towns to impose an impact fee on new residential construction in its service area to pay for library expansions.

The public denied a request last year that would have expanded and upgraded local libraries, leading to the district’s proposal of a $700 one-time impact fee on new homes less than 3,000 square feet, and more for larger homes.

“The fees would go a long way toward the capital improvements we will need for youth centers, teen centers and historical documentation of our county’s development ” and just the overall adult services,” said Eagle Valley Library District Director Charlyn Canada.

About $5 million is needed to expand the Eagle Library and another $5 million to expand and possibly relocate the Avon Library.

Summit County – A recent study shows that the filth coating your car during the wintertime might be more than just an annoyance.

The University of Colorado study found that magnesium chloride used as a winter road de-icer and summer dust suppressant causes extensive damage to roadside vegetation. Mag chloride has been the de-icer of choice for the Colorado Department of Transportation, which used about 9 million gallons of the stuff last year.

“It acts like an herbicide,” said researcher Nicole Trahan. “It shuts them down physiologically.”

Cars and trucks can spray it as far as 300 feet from the roadway, endangering a broad area of vegetation. The chemical was found to be less harmful to air and stream quality than the older salt-sand mix, however. CDOT says it is looking for ways to mitigate the damage and has looked for alternatives to mag chloride, but hasn’t yet found anything that works as well.

Basalt – It might be the most popular non-existent store in town.

Whole Foods Market in Basalt isn’t scheduled to open for two more years. But already the 150 positions at the 44,000-square-foot store are expected to be coveted, given the company’s reputation for being a good employer. It ranked fifth in FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” last year.

Excellent benefit packages and competitive pay number among Whole Foods’ employee perks, and the company is also known for contributing funds back to the community.

Regional President Will Paradise says he isn’t worried about finding enough people to fill the positions at the store, despite the tight labor market.

“I think that’s a big advantage for us,” he said of the company’s socially conscious activities. “People want to work for us.”

TAOS, N.M. – Snowboarders got some good news last weekend, with one of four holdout skiers-only resorts in North America deciding to let ’em ride.

The family-owned Taos ski area announced it will allow snowboarding in March. Three other resorts, Alta and Deer Valley, Utah, and Mad River Glenn, Vt., cling firmly to their snowboarding bans in the belief it better suits their clientele.

Taos made the change for the same reason.

“Taos has a long-standing tradition of being family oriented, and now with so many young people snowboarding, we are turning away more and more families, particularly families that traditionally come to Taos,” the heirs of the ski area’s founder Ernie Blake said in a statement.


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