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Things are tough all over

Allen Best

The cost of living in resort exurban areasJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Whether to be out in the country or to get more for their real estate dollar, people in resort towns are always pushing into exurban areas.That trend in the Jackson Hole has resulted in a larger number of people commuting across Teton Pass, which can be treacherous in winter, to Star Valley, as well as Idaho’s Victor and Driggs. The state line is straight, even if the geography is ragged.While there are local schools, some 40 Wyoming kids daily cross the pass – a journey of about an hour, to be safe – to attend schools in Jackson, which are generally considered superior to those in outlying areas. Still, it’s an expensive proposition. Some parents figure it costs them $1,200 per year to help pay the transportation costs of car pools.Why all this commuting when it costs so much? One of the parents, Erica Tremblay, tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that her family moved to Alta, on the far side of Teton Pass, for the lifestyle. “It’s so peaceful, so quiet, so beautiful,” she explained. But now, they can’t afford to move back to Jackson, where real estate prices have been rising more briskly. To get a home in Jackson comparable to their current home would require $1 million.The parents would like the school district to dispatch a bus or mini-van for their children, but the school district dislikes that idea. Teton Pass, among the steepest in the Rocky Mountains, has grades of 10 percent. By comparison, the steepest grades on Colorado’s Interstate 70, at Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel, are only 7 percent. Park City gets more parking, more ridersPARK CITY, Utah City officials in Park City have cut the ribbon on a new 305-space parking structure in the town’s century-old Old Town shopping district. With the new spaces, created at a cost of $5.75 million, the Old Town district now has 1,300 parking spaces, most of them free. It is, boasts the town in a press release, enough to rival any suburban shopping center.While Park City gets more parking spaces, it’s also getting more riders on its buses. The bus system, the second largest in Utah, two years ago got its first millionth rider of the year on June 2. Last year the millionth rider of the year was recorded on April 12. This year, say town officials, it was March 23.Ketchum extends ban on ground-level housingKETCHUM, Idaho Last October Ketchum’s city council enacted a moratorium that was intended to block the creation of residential housing on the ground floor of the downtown business district. The council has now extended that moratorium for a year.The first-floor residential units are “not in anyone’s best interest, so we took action,” explained Mayor Randy Hall. The ordinance explains that the city believes the displacement of retail shops by residential redevelopment is a threat to the city’s ability to collect sales tax, and hence will ultimately crimp the city’s ability to pay for essential services.Ketchum has been at work on a master plan that seeks to revitalize the downtown area. It has contracted with a consultant, Idaho-based Tom Hudson, to help formulate zoning changes, streetscape plans, and the potential transfer of development rights. Form-based zoning is being used. City officials hope they can get the new plans into place this summer, thus ending the moratorium. Soldier’s body emerges from California glacierBISHOP, Calif. A soldier from Minnesota who died during a training flight in the Sierra Nevada during World War II was finally buried last month in his hometown of Brainerd, Minn.Leo Mustonen was 22 when he boarded a navigational plane that took off from an airfield in Sacramento in 1942 for a flight in California’s Central Valley. The plan slammed into 13,710-foot Mt. Mendel, in Kings Canyon National Park, between Bishop and Fresno. Hikers in 1947 discovered plane wreckage.Two ice-climbers ascending Mt. Mendel last October noticed the body emerging from the ice. About 20 percent of the body was visible, as well as a parachute that had not been deployed. The body was 900 feet below the summit. Still unrecovered are the bodies of the three others aboard the flight.Why is the body now appearing? In an interview with the Fresno Bee last October, Park Service scientist Annie Esperanza said the snow and ice of the glacier creep slowly, shifting over time. The glacier has advanced and receded with weather changes during the past six decades.Many more World War II plane wrecks are believed to remain in the Sierra Nevadas and also in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.Vail, Colorado


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