Happy over fall, mine progress, bathroom love and Dick Eflin

It’s hard to not be happy during these peak fall days. The changing leaves, the perfect light, the space to breathe. There’s time to reconnect with people in the community and find isolation on the trails if you desire. These are the good weeks and let’s hope you are getting out to experience what are some of the best days on the planet, ever. Seriously. And with the moisture flowing in for a few days this week, it adds a dramatic look with low clouds popping the colors and framing the mountains. It is the next indication there is no turning back to summer.

I can report that we should be happy with the progress being made toward the withdrawal of unpatented mining claims on Red Lady. The town attorney says he is working with his counterparts at Freeport-McMoRan on language that will put a finite end to any threat of an industrial mine on Mt. Emmons. The players are engaged and productive and appear to still be holding hands and marching in the same direction. The citizens of Crested Butte should be happy to pull the lever in favor of Crested Butte ballot initiative 2A that will commit open space funds to the project but not raise any taxes.

Those who want some regulation of short-term rentals in Crested Butte should be happy, since the council has picked up the ball again and will hold a special meeting to discuss the issue next Monday. Frankly, my eyebrow is raised a bit over the sudden re-emergence of urgency expressed at the meeting on Monday. I mean, the council rejected the idea of imposing a moratorium so they could deal with the issue without distractions. Five of the seven council members actually have short-term rental licenses themselves—and two rushed in to get them when the issue started to get real in August. That all took some steam out of the process. But the citizens’ committee spent a lot of time hashing over the issue from every angle and it deserves a hearing. Given the makeup of the committee I will wager they have some good ideas that should be discussed. That discussion begins in earnest Monday at 6 o’clock.

On the other hand, it’s not all Champagne and unicorns out there. For that we are reminded pretty much hourly because of this weird presidential election where few are enthusiastic about the two main choices. While the majority of people seem to want to blow up the current flawed political system, there is a real fear that Donald may literally blow up the world if elected and Hillary may sloppily focus on blowing up her bank account. Neither candidate option brings great joy for a great many people.

And then there’s the email we got Tuesday from U.S. senator Cory Gardener lambasting the recent projection that health care premiums in Colorado for the individual market will increase by 20.4 percent on average in 2017. That makes me want to blow up the world. It is becoming ridiculous and untenable and I can see why people will grasp at any straw, including the idea of a new amendment to the Colorado constitution that says all medical services will be free for every resident. Something has to change with the current health care system and that will take cooperation between political parties. So, yeah, good luck with that.

And let’s not even get into Brad and Angelina. Angelina is filing for divorce? Weren’t those two just here in Crested Butte a couple of winters ago with their six kids? Maybe they should pop back in for Friday’s handfasting ceremony at the community feast and give it another go. Give the world some hope, Brangelina!

As we move toward ski season, we received the latest press information from the ski area and it sort of made us happy in the office. It starts out: “While many ski resorts are focused on bigger, newer, faster and more, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is working harder to simply provide guests with the best experience at the ‘Last Great Colorado Ski Town….’”

And after touting a new coffee place in the Treasury Center and bragging on the Umbrella Bar as something new, the next highlight was a promo for the new bathrooms and “hydration station” (a water fountain?) in Paradise Warming House. “Looking for an upgraded experience, but burned by restrooms in the past, guests at Crested Butte can leave their wounded hearts behind and take another shot at finding love… The pursuit of happily-ever-after just got a whole lot easier,” the CBMR press release stated.

Connecting love and new bathrooms made me happy.

And finally, I have to mention the passing of a true Crested Butte pioneer. Actually the true Crested Butte pioneer when it comes to the current ski area in this valley. Dick Eflin, who was a founder of the resort that began the turn of this little mountain village from a quiet former mining community to a (sometimes) bustling ski mountain, moved to the great powder run in the heavens last week. His family did not want a formal story or “in memory” in the paper and we respect that. But we must note his contribution to all of us here.

Eflin was one of those fellows that, to me, always struck a Euro ski vibe that I love in these hills. His grace, the way he carried himself, his sweaters all provided a dignity that represented his vision of a joyous alpine retreat. His tales of the old days and of trying to make this place a real resort were wonderful and funny. Dick’s flair for telling his stories made me smile. Heck, just the fact that he envisioned this valley as a ski resort in the early 1960s shaped my life and yours since without his vision 99 percent of us wouldn’t be here today and our lives would be very different. In that sense, Dick has made me very happy. Thank you sir.

—Mark Reaman

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