Summit nixes chopper tours
A proposal by a Summit County man to offer scenic helicopter flights in the local skies was not well received by area residents. At a recent hearing on the idea, locals filled a hearing room to overflowing to express their displeasure, the Summit Independent reports.Pete Pelayic wanted to base his helicopter near Farmer’s Korner, between Frisco and Breckenridge, but nearly everyone who commented on the proposal expressed concern about potential impacts, including noise and the possibility of a deadly chopper crash.Pelayic has withdrawn his proposal for now, but may still seek to offer the service from a base somewhere between Silverthorne and Kremmling.Smoking ban consideredAt least one Summit County commissioner supports the idea of a smoking ban in local restaurants and bars, but the other two commissioners believe the idea of a legal ban goes beyond the scope of government regulation.Commissioner Gary Lindstrom a former smoker triggered the discussion when he raised the issue during a public meeting. Since then, the ban has been the subject of heated discussions on the letters page of the Summit Daily News.Several letter writers supported a ban, but others think a law againstsmoking goes too far.The county and local town officials will continue to discuss the concept in an effort to gauge public sentiment. Any ban would likely come about only as result of a referendum.Copper, Winter Park offer joint ticketIndividual season pass holders at Copper Mountain and Winter Park can now ride both mountains on the same ticket, Intrawest announced recently. The Canadian resort development company has announced creation of a new entity that will oversee operations of its Colorado resorts, as well as at the Breeze/Max ski and snowboard rental shops.Early season pass deals are not available at this time, but a regular price pass for both mountains is available at $825 for adults, $595 for teens and $395 for children.Intrawest recently closed on a deal with the City of Denver to operate and develop Winter Park. Vail Resorts is suing Intrawest, claiming the deal violates a non-compete contract the two resort companies signed when they partnered on a development at Keystone.Students may be charged in anthrax hoaxA powdery substance found in a school in Norwood was not anthrax, but simply powdered milk, the Telluride Daily Planet reports. The substance was identified by an FBI team brought in from Denver. The ruse closed down Norwood schools for a day, and local law enforcement officials say the students may face federal charges.The Daily Planet reports that an envelope containing the powdered coffee creamer, along with a note reading, "Enjoy your anthrax," was found in a suggestion box at the school. The discovery led to a school lock-down.Redistricting for West Slope?Grand County’s Summit Daily Tribune reports that State Sen. Ken Chlouber, a Leadville Republican, wants to redraw the boundaries of the 3rd Congressional District to include Lake, Chaffee, Grand and Jackson counties, which were switched to a different district in a court-ordered redistricting. Lake and Chaffee counties were moved into Joel Hefley’s 5th District, while Grand and Jackson counties went to Mark Udall’s 2nd District.Chlouber, who lost a recent bid for a congressional seat, wants to run again in a district that might be more friendly to his political aspirations.Chlouber said those lines don’t make any sense, and that he’ll introduce a redistricting bill the Colorado Legislature if nobody else does.Winter Park to get affordable housingThe Winter Park Manifest reports that sales have commenced on Winter Park’s first and only affordable housing project. The project is managed by the Grand County Housing Authority, which is converting the units to deed-restricted condominiums.The idea is to provide housing for locals who earn less than 115 percent of the area’s median income of about $62,000 per year. Local officials say their community needs in-town affordable housing because enabling people to live near their work contributes to a town’s character and stability. According to the Manifest, the average home in Winter Park sells for about $400,000 to $500,000.Snowboarder dies in Teton Pass slideThe Jackson Hole Local reports that a 19-year-old snowboarder from France died Jan. 4 when an avalanche carried him over a cliff.The French snowboarder apparently triggered the slide himself. The death is the fifth avalanche fatality of the season, and an indication that the snowpack across the Rockies is weakening. Another serious avalanche injury also occurred in the Jackson Hole area when a snowmobiler suffered a broken femur while jumping a cornice on his snow machine. The local avalanche forecast center had rated the avalanche hazard as "considerable" that day, the Local reports.Targhee land swap faces appealA land swap that would put 120 acres of Forest Service property near the base of Grand Targhee ski area into private hands will most likely be appealed by a local environmental group, the Billings Gazette reports. In exchange, the Forest Service would get about 400 acres of prime grizzly bear habitat near Yellowstone.Citizen watchdog groups have long argued that the Forest Serviceunderestimated the impacts of the trade in its analysis. Critics of the trade say it will spur additional growth and drive up the cost of living, but resort officials say growth will occur in any case.Targhee is owned by Vail-based businessman George Gillett, former owner of Vail and Beaver Creek.– compiled by Bob Berwyn
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