News in brief | AspenTimes.com

News in brief

Aspen Times staff reportAspen, CO Colorado

Local retailers and tourism-related companies did brisk business in June, with sales reaching $37.2 million, an 8 percent increase compared with the same month last year.Aspen’s accommodations sector – hotels and lodges – experienced a 6 percent boost over June 2010’s total, according to the city’s monthly consumption report. Restaurants and bars saw a 7 percent increase and general retail was up 18 percent, the report shows. The city hosted two significant events in June that might have contributed to the sales jump: The 2011 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen took place in the middle of the month, and the weeklong Aspen Ideas Festival got under way near the end. June collections from the city’s 2.1 percent sales tax totaled $713,804 – a 9 percent increase compared with the previous 12 months. For the six-month period from January to June, the sales tax has garnered $4.9 million, a 4 percent increase over the same period in 2010. Finance director Don Taylor, in a memorandum to the City Council, noted that Aspen’s portion of Pitkin County’s sales tax is up 7 percent for the January-to-May period this year, compared with the same five months last year. Real estate transfer tax (RETT) revenues dedicated to the local affordable-housing program are up 20 percent through July this year, compared with collections in the first seven months of 2010, his memo added.

ASPEN – The American Renewable Energy Day Summit, set Aug. 17-21 in Aspen, has landed two high-profile speakers.AREDAY organizers recently announced that Thomas Steyer, the billionaire philanthropist and renewable energy proponent, and Texas billionaire businessman and alternative energy advocate T. Boone Pickens will attend the event. Steyer helped to defeat California Proposition 23 last year, a ballot initiative aimed to suspend the state’s 2006 global-warming law, which intends to reduce the state’s emissions of greenhouse gases down to 1990 levels by 2020.During the AREDAY Summit, Steyer will have an evening conversation with Ted Turner on “The Business of Philanthropy” from 8-9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. Steyer also will join Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation, in an armchair conversation titled “Lessons from Prop 23” at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.Pickens will be part of an armchair conversation on national security and clean energy that also includes retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark and Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn. The Aspen Institute’s Jim Calaway will moderate the talk, set for 1-1:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. Pickens also will participate in the panel, “The Natural Gas Transition,” moderated by Timothy E. Wirth of the UN Foundation. That panel, at 2:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, includes former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, as well as Fred Julander of Julander Energy, Tisha Conoly Schuller of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, and Rich Ward from the Aspen Science Center.For more details on AREDAY, or to buy tickets, visit http://www.areday.net.

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