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Snow in your stocking

compiled by Sarah Stewart
Kristin AndersonFilemon Jimenez, right, and his son Jesus work on their snowman named Frosty at their home in Minturn.
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Vail – Santa brought a treat for skiers and snowboarders who had fresh powder on the top of their wish lists this year.

Vail received 22 fresh inches during Christmas week; Denver recorded its snowiest Christmas Day ever, receiving nearly 8 inches. Statewide, snowpack was at 107 percent of its 30-year average by the end of December.

Avon – Public transportation just got a little greener for residents and visitors in Avon.

The town has added two new, more fuel-efficient buses to its fleet, as part of an effort to reduce the town’s carbon footprint. The buses, one electric-diesel hybrid, the other a high-efficiency diesel, could be 80 percent more fuel efficient than their predecessors.

The town paid just 20 percent of the $855,400 tab for the new buses, the rest being paid for with a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

A recent assessment showed that 23 percent of Avon’s energy use and carbon footprint came from transportation.

“We’re just a small town trying to do our part,” said Jenny Strehler, director of public works and transportation.

Minturn – Some Minturn residents want to vote whether Ginn Development Co. should be allowed to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, a private ski resort and a golf course on and around Battle Mountain, just south of the town.

Ginn already owns the property, and town councilors are expected to vote by April to decide if the land should be annexed for development.

“I would be surprised if a project this big wouldn’t go to a vote,” said Minturn resident Liz Campbell.

Others question if Minturn residents are informed enough about the project to make a good decision on a referendum.

Summit County – Researchers are hopeful that the state’s rainbow trout population could soon make a big comeback, 15 years after a parasite largely wiped out the species in Colorado’s lakes and streams.

Starting in 2008, state wildlife officials will restock rivers and lakes with rainbow trout that are resistant to whirling disease, the spore that deforms and kills young fish. The method has shown success since it was attempted in 2006 in a stretch of the Colorado River.

The resistant fish are expected to breed with the wild population, introducing the resistant genes to other rainbow trout.

“There’s a lot of potential for re-establishing wild populations of rainbow trout,” said George Schisler, a Colorado Division of Wildlife biologist.

Grand Junction – Could a little bit of Las Vegas be headed to Colorado?

State Rep. Al White has proposed Vegas-style, no-limit gambling for Colorado, a move he says would bolster tourism and funding for higher education in the state, according to the Associated Press.

The restricted gambling in Black Hawk, Central and Cripple Creek currently generates $100 million for the state. White says that amount could double by lifting the restrictions, such as $5 per-game betting caps and casino closures from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

White said the measure would require voter approval.

Vail – Vail Valley Medical Center recently got a clean bill of health from the Colorado Hospital Association, which grades the state’s hospitals in areas such as patient safety and mortality rates.

The hospital scored average to above average on most of the report card’s 34 indicators, although for some indicators, the hospital did not have enough cases to earn a rating.

“Still, we always want to improve, we can always do better,” said Linda Brophy, senior vice president of clinical operations at VVMC.

To view the report, visit http://www.cohospitalquality.org.

Denver – The Colorado Conservation Voters gave Gov. Bill Ritter an A-minus in environment for his first year in office, the Associated Press reported.

Promoting renewable energy and stewardship of natural resources earned him the high scores. He did, however, receive an incomplete on growth issues, mostly pertaining to his lack of action to prevent drilling on the Roan Plateau.

Vail – The year came to a frustrating close for travelers throughout the High Country, as high winds and blowing snow closed Interstate 70 from Vail to the outskirts of Denver earlier this week. Bad weather prevented crews from clearing areas with high avalanche risk.

The closure began Sunday afternoon and continued throughout New Year’s Eve, stranding thousands of travelers in towns along the I-70 corridor, including Vail, Frisco and Silverthorne. Shelters opened in many towns, including Vail’s Town Hall, where about 100 people spent the night on Sunday.

“Beats sleeping in a cold car,” said John Zerr of Colorado Springs. “I had a good little sleep.”


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