Friday, April 12, 2002


To my out of town readers who might not find all of this Green Mountain stuff all that fascinating, my apologies.


A rumor began circulating around Saratoga and Encampment that is so far from being true as to be hilarious, except for in what it represents.

The rumor is that Sand Creek, the Ranch Preservation Company and the Grand Encampment Mountain Resort withdrew their loan application from consideration by the Wyoming Business Council.

I’ll quote Sand Creek’s marketing manager, with whom I spoke this morning (Friday), directly:

“The rumor is categorically FALSE,” he told me.

“We are continuing to work with the WBC staff and Board to supply them with whatever additional information they request as they continue to evaluate the project and the $15 million loan that’s been proposed and previously recommended by the WBC staff.

“I can honestly tell you I have ZERO idea where such a rumor would come from.”

Burger also said that he had checked with Sand Creek CEO John Jenkins, and that he “100% confirmed the above and is equally in the dark as to the rumor’s origin.”

In addition, the Wyoming Business Council has confirmed Burger and Jenkins’ statements.

The application is still active, and will be discussed at the Council’s August Board meeting, WBC Executive Assistant Linda Hollings said.

Both the Tuesday (4/16) meeting in Saratoga and the Thursday (4/18) meeting in Encampment will proceed as scheduled. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. and will take place in each town’s respective town hall.

Thursday, April 11, 2002


I have a number of friends to whom I regularly refer on this website by amusing nicknames – Obie the Artist, the Fat Cat Republican Bastard, Tad the Grocer, the Maitre d'Marquee, the Chicken Lady, etc.

There is also the man I refer to as The Sewer King. He gave himself this nickname several months ago at coffee.

Well, I had a bit of downtime this afternoon while waiting for the operating system to re-load on one of my office's computers (trashed to an astonishing degree by a self-proclaimed masters degree in computer science who still didn't know how to find a command line interface on a Mac), and for some reason I did a Google search on some of my friends' nicknames.

The best result by far can be found by clicking HERE.

I just want to remind everybody once again that he did pick his own nickname.

Explains a bit about his minions at the store, too, doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 10, 2002


I'll return to ordinary blog posts soon, but since my favorite local newspaper did not deign to announce this anywhere but in a teeny blurb in the bloated community calendar (though they did make this meeting look more important than the town council meeting which precedes it by placing it above the council meeting notice), I want to make sure that my readers in Saratoga, Encampment and the surrounding areas are aware of an important opportunity.

At 7 p.m. this coming Tuesday, April 16, representatives from Sand Creek, the Ranch Preservation company and the Grand Encampment Mountain Resort project (also known as the Green Mountain ski area, and other names) will be on hand at the Saratoga town hall to do a short progress report and answer your questions and address your concerns about the project and its loan application to the Wyoming Business Council. The project leaders will then be present at the Encampment Town Council's regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at the Encampment Town Hall.

It's time everybody in the valley made the effort to get the facts about this project, which really shouldn't be as divisive an issue as it has become. For instance, no Wyoming taxpayer money is at risk: the loan the group is applying for would come out of the state's Permanent Mineral Tax trust fund, which represents revenues generated by mineral companies digging stuff out of the ground in Carbon and other counties, not by property or sales or lodging taxpayers. Some of this fund has been set aside for economic development projects, of which this is the first in Carbon County to seek this funding (and the first project in I don't know how many years to get beyond the bullshitting stage and into action). All of it is invested in overnight deposits back east in big financial companies that fund projects all over the world. In other words, our mineral tax monies are being used to prop up poorly privatized companies in Russia, new construction in Malaysia, wiring the Phillipines for better internet service... but all we, the citizens of Wyoming and Carbon County are getting out of it is some interest, the proceeds of which we then squabble over through our elected legislators.

Why not take some of it and use it to back people who are trying to get at least something started here where we live?

That's my take on the matter at hand – and make no mistake; the loan application is the matter at hand. The land swap is accomplished; the section of land the Grand Encampment Mountain Resort company plans to turn into a ski area and real estate development is private property and as long as they obey the law, satisfy the Carbon County Planning and Development Office's and the County Commission's zoning requirements, and find capital, the project is a go. The land is theirs to do with as they see fit as long as they operate within the law, which they are doing.

The only question on the table now is if they will be able to proceed with help from the Wyoming Business Council and the economic development funds it administers. A no from the WBC will not necessarily put an end to the project; it will just force the company and its supporters to try some other way to get it off the ground financially, which, by the way, could result in changes to the project that there is no guarantee any of us will like.

I know there are lingering concerns about the project, especially regarding housing for staff and the development's impact on local water resources, to name two.

People, THE TIME TO AIR THESE CONCERNS AND DISCUSS THEM WITH THE PROJECT LEADERS IS NEXT WEEK. The people putting this deal together are reasonable folks just like you and me, who love this land and the people who live here just as we do, and want to see us all be able to maintain, and maybe even improve, the quality of life we have enjoyed and which our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents came here to enjoy. And they want, as much as they can, to incorporate our input into their ultimate plans for that beautiful spot so that it's attractive to US as well as to the people whom they ultimately convince to buy property up there.

I do urge everyone who wants to see this happen to make the effort to share your support for the GEMR's loan application with the WBC by notifying WBC CEO Tucker Fagan by e-mail (click on the highlighted text to send a message) or, better still, by postal "snail" mail at: 214 West 15th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002.

And even though nobody likes a lot of meetings, if there's something about this project that you really want to know about or a concern that you really think needs addressed or a rumor that you really want confirmed or denied (and there are some doozies, like the truly hilarious one that this loan money is going to be used to pave the road to Steamboat!), make the effort to be at one of these meetings. It's a much better use of your time than is gossiping about the project on a barstool or fretting about it with people who "live" here for only two weeks out of the year and don't care about those of us who have made the commitment to really be here (until they need ambulance service or get asked to pay their fair share for maintaining the water lines).