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After delay, Granby Ranch moving forward with sale; buyer’s identity remains confidential

GRANBY — Granby Ranch’s impending sale will be delayed a little longer, owners informed the Granby Board of Trustees at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Marise Cipriani, representing Granby Realty Holdings, updated the town board that the sale had been delayed by three months due to unrelated legal proceedings.

However, according to Cipriani, those issues have been handled and the sale is proceeding.

“We are back on track,” Cipriani said. “I don’t have a date yet, but we are working pretty hard on it.”

Cipriani told the board there is a buyer, but their identity has so far been kept confidential and won’t be released until the sale is finalized.

Cipriani and her husband also joined the town board in an executive session to discuss matters relating to the sale. Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty recused herself from this session due to a perceived conflict of interest.

Matt Girard, a representative of the Granby Ranch Municipal District, questioned the use of executive session during the meeting.

“Why is there any discussion, as a public matter that affects the residents, that cannot be had in a public forum,” Girard said.

However, the town’s attorney said it was within the executive session guidelines.

Granby Mayor Paul Chavoustie could not comment on what was discussed in the session, but explained that, while the town is not the buyer or seller in the transaction, it has many agreements with Granby Ranch.

“When you’re a large development and have critical impact on the community, it’s good for the town to be involved because of the amount of the agreements that are out there,” he said.

Brower: Watching the new documentary ‘Tread,’ seeing Heemeyer’s dozer rampage on the big screen

Granby, Grand Lake and Grand County are on center stage in the new documentary film “Tread,” which is about Marv Heemeyer’s bulldozer rampage that took place in Granby in June of 2004.

I attended the world premiere of the film at the South by South West (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas, two weeks ago. I saw the film twice, mingled with the producers, the director and other pertinent folks while there. I also digested the impact of the film.

Full disclosure here: I was hired as a “consulting producer” on the film. As well, I appear in the film, along with many other Granby notables including the Thompson Brothers, Casey Farrell, Glen Trainor, Dick Broady and others. And yet it wouldn’t be completely correct to say the film is completely based on my book “KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.” The terminology used is that the film is based on source material from the book by Patrick Brower.

So for those who have read my book there will be lots that was left out, which is almost always the case when films are made with a book in the background. As well, the film did have some interviews that I wasn’t able to get — mainly with one friend of Heemeyer.

The film is very well done. The production values are very high, particularly when it comes to the re-enactments of the early phases of the rampage at the Mountain Parks Concrete batch plant. Director Paul Solet was able to hire probably the best prop technician in Hollywood and they were able to make a very convincing-looking bulldozer-tank. Believe me — as the darn thing almost killed me — I can tell you that what they made looks very much like the real thing.

The re-enactments of the fight scenes at Mountain Park Concrete, when Marv was shooting at Cody Docheff and law enforcement officers, come across clearly and dramatically. Cody’s valiant fight against the dozer at the plant also comes across convincingly.

The narrative structure of the film is based, largely, on the two-and-a-half hours of tapes that Heemeyer left behind. At first the film sucks the viewer in to see and even believe the narrative that Heemeyer presents on his one-sided tapes. But as the film progresses, and as the dialogue from Heemeyer is subjected to scrutiny by many of the other players who were involved directly, the reliability of Heemeyer’s point of view sees the light of day.

That being said, the film does a very good job of presenting the event and its background in such a manner that the viewer is left to his or her own impressions on making any sort of value judgements about Heemeyer, the rampage itself, the town of Granby, the Granby Sanitation District and even me. The film is not spoon-feeding the viewer with any conclusions.

I spent time in my book writing about the phenomema in which Heemeyer has been made into what some call the Last Great American Folk Hero, based on false narratives about Heemeyer’s life and his interactions with the town and the community. The film does not delve into that aspect of the rampage, which is fine by me since it leaves my book as the unique voice that presents point of view.

In other words, both present unique products that are equally valid.

Reviews of the film have been positive. The SXSW reviewer states: “Many years after the fateful events in Granby have faded from the public conscience, Paul Solet revisits the killdozer incident in a fantastic documentary called “Tread.” Based on a non-fiction book by Patrick Brower, “Tread” is a substantive, visually rich doc with the dynamics of a narrative thriller.”

Another reviewer on the film blog Slash Film (/Film) states: “Director Paul Solet brings a polished cinematic edge to this documentary, which makes use of the typical talking heads as well as cinematic re-enactments that recreate key moments from throughout Heemeyer’s story. At times “Tread” plays like an audition for a Hollywood adaptation, with the undeniably well-made recreations suggesting that Solet could do the job as well as anyone.”

That reviewer gave the film an 8.5 out of a 10.

Does Granby come out OK or “good” in the film? The town isn’t made to look bad or corrupt in the film but the narrative approach leaves open to interpretation various aspects of the background leading up the Heemeyer’s rampage.

Many have asked when the world will be able to see the film. It hasn’t been purchased by any of the major film distributors yet (Netflix, HBO, Paramount Studios, Disney, etc). I was told it usually takes several months for that aspect of the release process to be completed. Once I know, I’ll tell the world and then maybe we can orchestrate local showings.

One reviewer, however, argued for a large format presentation: “It’s the reality of the current market place that most people who see documentaries catch them on video-on-demand or cable television. However, “Tread” is a documentary that really needs to be seen on a big screen for full impact.”

I agree. The film makes a real impact. Soon we’ll see how its presentation of our town and county gets distributed to the world.

Patrick Brower is the author of “KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.” He is the former publisher and managing editor of the Grand County Newspapers and he currently works as the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. The website for his book is killdozerbook.com.

Governor unveils new Colorado logo

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis revealed a new state logo Tuesday, replacing a green triangle with a multicolored one that incorporates the “C” from the state flag.
Anna Staver/The Denver Post

Say goodbye to Colorado’s triangular green mountain logo. Gov. Jared Polis has decided it’s time for a new look.

The governor unveiled a new state logo Tuesday. It has multicolored mountains housed within the “C” from the state flag. An evergreen tree is off to the side.

“We want to provide a fresh representation of the state brand,” Polis said during a press conference with reporters.

Each color on the logo represents a different part of the state. The red is for the red soil and rocks, the yellow is for the wheat field of the great plans and the blue base represents Colorado’s rivers and lakes. Polis said the old logo focused on the mountains, and while they’re great, there’s a lot more to Colorado.

Read the full story from The Denver Post.

Do you like the new state logo?

  • Yes, it's colorful and pretty like our state (57%, 113 Votes)
  • No, it's rubbish (43%, 84 Votes)

Total Voters: 197

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Police investigating vandalism at 2 Fraser businesses

The Foundry was one of two businesses tagged overnight Tuesday.

Police are investigating two instances of graffiti vandalization at Fraser businesses that occurred overnight Tuesday.

Owners at the Foundry, a movie theater and bowling alley in Fraser, discovered a red and yellow tag on the side of the building Tuesday morning. One of the box trucks at Grand Valley Flooring was also tagged with a similar logo.

Fraser Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor said they are still working on an estimate to how much damage was done.

It is unclear what time the vandalization occurred, except that it happened sometime during the night of March 25 or the morning of March 26.

Trainor said whoever committed the vandalization would likely be charged with criminal mischief, which, if the damage totals more than $1,000, is a Class 6 felony.

At this time, police do not believe these incidents are related to the vandalization of the Grand Park signs that occurred last fall.

Vandalism typically happens a handful of times a year in the Fraser and Winter Park areas, but isn’t very common, Trainor said.

Currently, police have no suspects and are asking the public to come forward with any information. Tips can be shared by contacting Officer Jeff Malchow at (970) 722-7779.

Grand County real estate transactions, from March 17-23

Transactions from March 17-23, 2019.

Elk Creek at Grand Park Filing No 3, Lot 23 – Grand Park Homes LLC to Jeffrey and Amanda Dembeck, $760,000

Shadow Mountain Estates TRT 10 – Kurt and Eve Pistorius to Donald and Catherine Eaton, $57,000

Summit at SilverCreek Bldg 4, Unit 4302 – Jeff and Karen Bixler to Steven and Amanda Buser, $220,000

Grandview Villas Unit 210 – Deborah J Boesche Trust to Paul and Dorothy Downing, $260,000

Winding River Villa Lot 4, Block 1 – Scott and Joni Walker to Attila Koreny, $102,500

Diamond Bar T Sub Exempt #2, Lot 3 – Gregory and Terri Olson to Spencer and Barbara Keller, $949,000

Clubhouse Cabins & Village at Saddle Ridge Lot C48 – Welcome to Realty LLC 401K Profit Sharing Plan to Rory and Bernice Korpela, $12,000

Kicking Horse Lodges Unit 4 203, Bldg 4 – Lauren Pappas and Mary Beth Edwards to Todd Sandin, $287,000

Granby Ranch Filing 1, Lot 16; Granby Ranch Filing 1, Lot GT16 – Ronald, Kay, Scott and Debra West to Todd and Leslie Truax, $599,900

Village at Buckhorn Grand Elk Ranch & Club Lot 9, Block 2 – DL Investment LLC to Cory Laughbon and Diem Nguyen, $470,000

Silverado I Condo Unit 301, Bldg C – Paul and Kimberly Rosswork to Ryan Ellis and Aliina Fowler, $325,000

Elk Creek at Grand Park Filing No 4, Lot 58 – Grand Park Homes LLC to Joshua Smith, $576,390

Granby Ranch Filing 8, Lot 30 – Icyyard7 LLC to Rory and Bernice Korpela, $42,000

Sawmill Station Townhomes Unit 9A – Terence and Kathleen Eschner to Ann Hill and Thomas Wilson Hill Jr, $620,000

Fairways at Pole Creek PH 1 & Open Space Lot 2 54 – Raj Chivukula to Nicholas and Danielle Quatrochi, $1,250,000

Pole Creek Timbers Subdivision Lot 40 – John and Susan Healy to Kimberly Hanna, $105,000

Sterling Pointe Condos Unit 405, Bldg 4 – Eric and Amanda Kuhl to Laurie, Katherine and James Fuller, $400,000

El Rancho Lot 1 – Motherlode Inc to Jonathon and Kristi Sokol, $150,000

Timbers Condominiums Unit 5, Bldg 5; Timbers Condominiums Garage Space No 6 – Brent Bialke and Lesley Philipps to Matthew Westlund and Kimberly Montgomery, $302,500

Arrow at Winter Park Townhomes Lot 7, Block 4 – Arrow Winter Park Inc to Jeffrey and Michelle Mullins, $665,000

Village at Elk Track #1 Grand Elk Ranch & Club Unit 4 – Keith and Paula Redmond to MMRSTT LLC, $570,000

Skyview at Waterside West Bldg F, Unit F12 – Julia Mannion to Matthew Gullicksrud, Matthew Melnicoff, Lindsey Jensen, $500,000

Fraser Crossing-Founders Pointe Condominium Unit 4369 – Platinum Dental Group LLC to Joseph and Joyce Dominguez, $280,000

Mountainside at SilverCreek B U 45 Timeshare 045140, 045142 – Charles Beers to Mountainside SilverCreek Timeshare Association, $500

Mountainside at SilverCreek B U 53 Timeshare 053115 – James and Teresa Goodman, Nora Totten to Mountainside SilverCreek Timeshare Association, $500

Mountainside at SilverCreek C U 97 Timeshare 097631 – Mountainside SilverCreek Timeshare Owners Association to Larry and Lela Hewitt, $500

Willows at Grand Park Filing 1, Lot 10 – Donald Jones and Christine Yount Jones to Jason and Bethany Kellogg, $679,000

Blue Valley Acres Lot 23, Block 4 – Joseph L Sweeney Revocable Living Trust to Andrew Watson, Andrew Biggs, Ryan Doell and Charles McClellan, $83,000

Zephyr Mountain Lodge Condo Bldg 1 & 2, Unit 2403 – Knowles Mountain Retreat LLC to CSCE LLC, $665,000

Silverstar Condominiums Subdivision Unit 1 – Rilark LLC to Kristin Lee, $232,000

Early morning home explosion results in death of 67-year-old Grand Lake woman

An early morning explosion Sunday inside a home near Grand Lake claimed the life of a local woman and resulted in serious injuries to another resident.

Authorities identified the woman who died in the explosion as Susan Ann McLean, 67, of Grand Lake.

At around 12:30 a.m., an explosion occurred inside McLean’s home, located on Mad Moose Lane, west of Grand Lake just off Golf Course Road, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

The explosion also resulted in serious injuries to the home’s other occupant, 63-year-old Mark McLean, who was transported to the burn treatment center at Swedish Medical in Englewood where he remains in serious to stable condition. Authorities said they do not believe his injuries to be life threatening.

Authorities said the man made it to a neighbor’s home shortly after the explosion occurred, but had no recollection of how he had gotten outside.

Lt. Dan Mayer, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said that a dog was also believed to be in the residence at the time of the explosion. It is believed to have died in the explosion.

Officials from the sheriff’s office said an investigation into the incident is ongoing and that no determination had yet been made regarding the explosion’s cause. Authorities from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were en route to Grand County Sunday morning to assist with the investigation.

Mayer said investigators believe the fire that claimed the home was initiated by an explosion. According to Mayer, debris that was not burnt was found as far as 150 to 200 feet away from the home.

Fire crews were still busy spraying water and cooling hotspots inside the gutted interior of the residence late Sunday morning.

Grand Lake home explosion overnight kills 1, another in serious condition

A home on Mad Moose Lane in Grand Lake catches fire and explodes early Sunday. Courtesy photo/Grand County Sheriff’s Office

A home in Grand Lake caught fire and exploded overnight, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, killing one person and seriously injuring another.

At 12:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities received a report of a structure fire and possible explosion on Mad Moose Lane near Grand Lake.

By the time emergency services arrived on the scene, they found the home was a total loss, according to local authorities.

One of the home’s residents was initially unaccounted for, but has since been considered a fatality, according to Lt. Dan Mayer, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. Another resident was found to be seriously injured and transported to a hospital in Denver.

Crews extinguished the fire at around 4 a.m. and are continuing an investigation into the cause of the fire and explosion.

This story is developing.

Mountain Parks Electric names new general manager, to transition in April

Mountain Parks Electric, the Granby-based electric cooperative, will be getting new management next month following the retirement of current general manager Tom Sifers.

Mark Johnston, current general manager of Municipal Light & Power in Anchorage, Alaska, will succeed Sifers on April 22.

“Mark’s background and proven leadership will be an immediate asset to Mountain Parks Electric and its member-consumers,” said Jeff Hauck, President of the Mountain Parks Electric Board of Directors. “We believe that Mark is the right person to lead us forward as the industry continues to evolve.”

Johnston has over two decades of experience in senior finance positions, including for the Alaska Public Utilities Commission, Alaska USA Insurance Brokers, Alaska Railroad Corporation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Prior to becoming general manager for Municipal Light & Power, he served as the company’s chief financial officer for two years. The company provides electric service to more than 30,000 customers in Anchorage, Alaska’s most populous city.

“It’s truly an honor,” Johnston said. “I look forward to working with the fine people of Mountain Parks Electric and its members in the days ahead.”

Johnston will become Mountain Parks Electric’s seventh general manager in its 73 year history.

Sifers, who was appointed to the general manager position in 2015, worked at Mountain Parks Electric for over 20 years, including as the chief financial officer. He is retiring to spend more time with his family.

“It is not easy for me to say goodbye,” Sifers said. “The thing I enjoyed most about working for Mountain Parks Electric all these years is its community support. (…) It’s rewarding to have been just a small part of an organization that gives so much back to the community.”

Most of Colorado is now drought-free after a few weeks of heavy snowfall

What a difference a few weeks can make. Over the past month, Colorado has gone from nearly 70 percent of the state in drought to less than 5 percent. That drenching happened over the past month, a four-week period that included the snowiest early March that most Summit residents can remember. Yet it remains to be seen whether the season’s precipitation will put much of a dent on the region’s near-20-year drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, which uses water flow levels and other data to assess drought conditions across the country, shows that only 6.4 percent of the state’s land area is experiencing drought conditions, with 46.1 percent being considered at least “abnormally dry.” Compare that to the middle of February, when 67.2 percent of the state was in a drought and 91.8 percent abnormally dry.

For Summit County, the difference has been especially staggering. Summit and 39.7 percent of Colorado were experiencing at least a “severe drought” on Feb. 19. Today, the county is back to normal conditions, with only 0.6 percent of the state experiencing severe drought or worse.

The reason for the striking drop in drought area is obvious: it’s all about the snow. The state now stands at 140 percent of normal snowpack. Southwest Colorado, which suffered the most from last year’s arid summer, is seeing anywhere from 150 to 157 percent average snowpack.

Government officials and conservationists worried about the impact one of Colorado’s driest winters on record would have on water levels in reservoirs across the region. The hot, dry spring and summer of 2018 was also accompanied by one of the worst wildfire seasons in state history.

And while the new precipitation is very promising, it is just one drop in the stream of time. According to the drought monitor, Colorado has been experiencing sustained dryness since the late ’90s. Since 2000, the longest duration of drought in Colorado lasted 395 weeks, or nearly eight years, beginning in October 2001 and ending in May 2009.

“The drought monitor is a snapshot of what’s happening now, and ramifications into this upcoming summer,” said Jim Pokrandt, director of community affairs for the Colorado River District. “But there’s a longer term picture, the long-term drought from the year 2000 through this year.”

Pokrandt said that since 2000, Colorado has only had four years at or above average levels. The 2018-19 winter will be the fifth, but he said one big year does not end a long-term drought.

“If we have three or four more of these years of average snowpack, we might talk differently,” Pokrandt said. “But I would not say the drought’s back is broken.”

County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier echoed Pokrandt’s words of caution, noting that the drought was so bad just last summer that remnants of Old Dillon resurfaced from the bottom of the lake. There is a lot of recovery left to go, she said.

“We’ve had very high temperatures for March, and the snow is already starting to melt off,” Stiegelmeier said. “Just because we have all this precipitation now doesn’t mean that in two months that we won’t be dry again, since we get most of our precipitation in March and April.”

Stiegelmeier said that this snowfall may be a “blip” in the long term, and if the summer is once again hot and dry, Summit might run into the same problems as last year.

“We’re all dealing with less water and higher temperatures because of climate change,” Stiegelmeier said, noting how 40 million people use the Colorado River across the West. “Higher temperatures create so much evaporation, that even with above-average precipitation we’re losing a lot of water to the air.”

Regardless of whether the long-term picture is made any rosier, this upcoming spring will be very muddy, at the very least. Dillon ranger Bill Jackson cautioned residents and visitors to not use muddy trails if at all possible, as they can be deceptively dangerous and use during mud season can contribute to long-term trail damage. Additionally, Jackson cautioned adventurers to avoid crossing creeks and waterways to get where they’re going.

“In the morning, water flows might be low, making creeks easy to pass,” Jackson said. “But in the afternoon, when the temperatures get higher, there’ll be more runoff from the mountains, and you might get cut off.”

Travelers in the area are advised to follow standard precautions in the spring, including notifying someone of where they are heading to and keeping an eye on weather forecasts for potential storms and flash flooding.

Weather service forecasting more snow for Grand County

While it’s nothing compared to last week’s “bomb cyclone” that blanketed Grand County and much of Colorado with deep snow and gusty winds, the National Weather Service in Boulder has called for several inches to fall across the area by Sunday.

According to the weather service, showers and scattered thunderstorms will develop and become more numerous over the mountains by late Friday afternoon. Across the mountains, including Grand County, moderate to heavy snow showers will occur resulting in some slush and snow accumulation on roads.

Total accumulations of three to six inches can be expected in most mountain areas above 9,500 feet, including Berthoud and Rabbit Ears Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park, by late Friday evening, according to the weather service.

An upper level storm system will move slowly east of the area on Saturday, with a good chance for snow showers across the mountains, possibly bringing a few inches of wet snow.

Drier weather is expected late Saturday into Sunday morning with more mountain snow Sunday afternoon into early Monday as another surge of Pacific moisture moves across the state.