update on Gros Ventre Butte landslide

By Jim Stanford on April 10, 2014

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Update 6:30 p.m.: We received good news from George Machan, the landslide consultant. Based on a preliminary survey of the site and related data, he estimates the chance of a sudden, catastrophic failure at about 5 percent. Also, the area most at risk may be limited to Walgreens and the east portion of Budge Drive, he said. Wet weather may accelerate movement, he cautioned, and further monitoring is necessary.

Businesses in the Hillside Building will be allowed to reopen, except for Sidewinders. The evacuation order for Budge Drive will remain in effect.

There will be a community meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at Jackson Elementary School gym (next to the rec center) to give an overview of the East Gros Ventre Butte landslide.

George Machan, a landslide expert from Oregon, has been on the butte today and will give an assessment of the geology and slide risks.

The Jackson Town Council also will meet at 5 p.m. at Town Hall, mainly to authorize the emergency command team to expend funds and take appropriate response steps. The meeting should be streamed online.

The ground continues to move on the butte. Power lines were being stretched, and a 2-foot sinkhole opened near the bottom of Budge Drive. Lower Valley Energy was working to release tension on the lines.

There are propane tanks buried beside homes on Budge Drive and gas lines in the vicinity. Also of concern is a town water main fed by a 2-million-gallon storage tank on the butte. Emergency responders are planning for the worst should these utilities be affected.

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Walgreens closes for landslide danger

By Jim Stanford on April 9, 2014

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Update 7 p.m.: The advisory has been upgraded to an evacuation order. All residents of Budge Drive and the Hillside Building are being asked to leave as a precaution. A geologist has detected several inches of movement since February about 40 feet below the surface of the ground, raising the possibility of a larger slide. More information follows after the jump.

The new Walgreens store on Broadway sits beneath an old cut on the hillside. Extensive earth removal and grading were done before the store was built last year. The slope is collapsing above the building.

With a potential landslide looming, the Walgreens store on Broadway has closed, and the Town of Jackson has issued an evacuation advisory for residents of Budge Drive.

The ground continues to move on East Gros Ventre Butte, and that movement has accelerated, said Roxanne Robinson, assistant town manager.

Walgreens closed voluntarily in the interest of safety, she said. An evacuation advisory is a cautionary move and not mandatory for residents. The last time one was issued was during the Little Horsethief Fire in 2012.

A crack runs through a driveway and home on Budge Drive.

An arc-shaped crack has formed in the butte above Walgreens. The crack runs through a driveway and house owned by a member of the Budge family. The home has sustained tremendous damage in recent months as the ground has shifted beneath it.

At the bottom of the cut slope, that shifting has caused the Walgreens parking lot to buckle in places. The foot of Budge Drive also is buckling, just a few feet from Broadway.

Movement of earth farther up the hill, beyond the houses, also may be occurring. Geologists and engineers are monitoring the slope with town staff.

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Targhee: Tedeschi Trucks, Chris Robinson

By Jim Stanford on April 1, 2014

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Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi perform with their band at Center for the Arts in Jackson on the summer solstice last year.

Once again, the strains of Southern rock will reverberate through the hills surrounding Grand Targhee this summer.

The lineup for the 10th annual Targhee Fest on July 18-20 features Tedeschi Trucks Band, whose guitarist is Allman Brothers protege Derek Trucks. A pair of Black Crowes will perform with side bands: singer Chris Robinson with his Brotherhood and drummer Steve Gorman with Trigger Hippy.

Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools returns in Hard Working Americans, fronted by crooner Todd Snider (auteur of this patriotic hymn). Royal Southern Brotherhood, featuring another Allmans scion, guitarist Devon Allman, also will play at the Alta, Wyo., resort.

Rounding out the lineup are Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, The Wood Brothers, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers, The Hooligans, and Big Head Todd.

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Franti serenades Jackson Hole tram

By Jim Stanford on March 30, 2014

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Before performing a free concert last night at Teton Village, Michael Franti played an intimate set aboard the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort aerial tram.

Franti and guitarist J. Boogie strummed two acoustic songs as they rode partway up and down Rendezvous Mountain. About 50 lucky riders enjoyed the show, which the resort announced via Twitter.

On the way up, Franti sang “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like),” from his latest album, All People. The resort used the song in a promotional video this winter. On the way down, Franti invited riders to join him on a new song he’s working on, “Smile All Over Again.”

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airport shuttle to continue through summer

By Jim Stanford on March 28, 2014

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Jackson Hole Airport is the only commercial airport inside a national park, and parking is limited. The shuttle costs $8 each way, compared to $10 per night for parking at the airport. To reserve a seat, call 307-733-3135.

Those on spring break or planning an off-season getaway will continue to have a cheap, easy way to get to and from Jackson Hole Airport.

The Ride2Fly shuttle has been extended through the spring and summer, serving every departing and incoming flight. The shuttle picks up and drops off at the town parking garage and costs $8 each way.

Since launching before Thanksgiving, the service has been a resounding success, with an average of more than 300 riders a month (total for both directions). The shuttle was particularly valuable over the holidays in December, when the airport ran out of parking.

With only two airlines serving Jackson Hole for April, the shuttle will pick up less frequently. But once the full flight schedule resumes in late May, shuttles will run accordingly. The off-season schedule follows after the jump.

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