Grand County 2010 Year in Review |

Grand County 2010 Year in Review

Charged with cutting $1 million out of the 2010 budget and another $1 million the following year, members of the East Grand School District Accountability Committee were feeling the burden.

After being in Las Vegas for 37 years the SnowSports Industries America moved its annual trade show to Denver, adding a new On-Snow Demo component at Winter Park Resort and Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Organizers anticipate that Winter Park Resort lodging is sold out for the event, which brought about 3,000-4,000 people to town. The event reportedly will be lengthened by a day in 2011.

The Grand County Administration Building remodel was completed. It was the second major renovation the building has undergone since it was built in 1937.

Grand County held a meeting called “Understanding the Moffat Firming Project/ NEPA process” at the SilverCreek Convention Center in Granby. About four years ago, in preparation for water firming projects, the state’s largest water users started asking Grand County what it wants in return for firming projects. “It’s really a question of trade-offs,” said Grand County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran.

Just days before athletic action heated up in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, the town of Grand Lake stoked Olympic fever of its own stripe with an Olympic-themed Grand Lake Carnival.

Byron Hetzler of the Sky-Hi News was one of 2,800 accredited journalists recording moments of the 2010 Winter Games, and one of about 800 photographers.

Grand County officially presented its Stream Management plan at the SilverCreek Convention Center in Granby. The plan focuses on the river habitat health.

Olympic aerial freestyle skier Ryan St. Onge just missed medal contention, placing fourth in the aerial competition at Cypress Mountain in the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Seven athletes claiming Winter Park as their home competed in the Paralympic Games in Vancouver. Another 23 athletes were connected to Winter Park through their training at the National Sports Center for the Disabled. NSCD athletes earned more than half of the alpine medals garnered by Team USA. Among them were Alana Nichols, Danelle Umstead with guide Rob Umstead, and Adam Hall.

Now Colorado Governor-elect John Hickenlooper visited Granby during a four-day campaign tour of northwest Colorado. The visit consisted of stops in Kremmling, Granby and Fraser.

Aron Rhone of Grand Lake opted not to run again for trustee after public service to the town for 24 years. “It’s time,” he said, to pass on the baton to someone else.

Communities weighed the pros and cons of reopening Rollins (Corona) Pass, the 32-mile road that passes through three counties, two U.S. Forest Service districts and federally protected wilderness lands. Users haven’t been able to follow the route to the other side since 1990.

Intrawest, the company that operates Winter Park Resort and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp, announced in April that it “successfully completed the refinancing of its corporate debt.” A missed $524 million loan payment by Intrawest’s parent company, Fortress, in December 2009 fueled rumors that Intrawest’s properties were headed for the auction block in February.

The town of Granby started its successful process in snuffing out “Smoker’s Corner,” a gathering place at Christianson Avenue and Second Street in Granby, just outside of the limits of Middle Park High School, where for decades students have loitered during smoking breaks.

Only 24 voters, or 5.5 percent of the electorate in Grand Lake, voted in the municipal election, during which two questions on the ballot were passed.

A Parker women was kidnapped by an ex-boyfriend and brought to Granby, where the man killed the woman in a Granby Ranch home, then committed suicide hours later. He was later identified as long-suspected serial killer Michael McCormick, 53. The woman had a 4-year-old son.

A new $1 million trash-transfer station opened in Granby, replacing a long reign of government-run trash removal in Grand County at area landfills.

Grand Lake Mayor Judy Burke was named to a national committee appointed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The National Park System Advisory Board is made up of 12 members that represent a cross-section of the nation. Burke is the sole representative of local government on the board.

The East Grand Board of Education approved fee hikes. Each student attending East Grand School District would be required to pay a new $70 fee for classroom materials and technology. The board also increased activity and extra-curricular fees.

Principals of ADS Builders, James Barnett of Westminster and Christopher Foster of Parker, were arrested and booked into Grand County Jail on suspicion of alleged fraudulent activity surrounding the building projects in the Colorado Anglers Club subdivision across Highway 34 from Lake Granby.

Colorado River Basin snowpack levels were reported 77 percent of average, in line with statewide averages.

The town of Granby hired a firm to prepare a Parks Master Plan on which to base any future development decisions.

Residents along the Fraser River awoke to the highest water levels seen in roughly two decades. Flooding in some areas was within reach of condominium buildings and lodging units, and the river was expected to rise another 8 inches.

Lake Granby was projected to crest the dam for the first time in a decade.

The medical clinic that provides urgent care at Winter Park Resort changed hands and expanded its mission in 2010. Denver Health East Grand Clinic now offers medical services to resort employees, guests, skiers and tourists as well as year-round family health care to the entire community.

Those affected by an 8 percent unemployment rate in Grand County were leaning heavily on public services, with Social Services reporting increases in need across its menu of offerings.

John Waller’s 2,800 square-foot storage shop went up in flames, causing the death of a pet bird and at least one individual to lose his property in an attached apartment. In two more days, the town of Grand Lake’s fireworks for the Fourth of July show would have been stored in the shop, creating a much worse scenario for firefighters.

The dormant Grand Lake Lodge had a soft reopening after a multi-year attempt to sell the business.

A Pay-As-You-Throw trash facility became the town of Grand Lake’s newest endeavor. Town officials hope the facility will answer second-home owner demand for a convenient alternative to regular trash service in the Grand Lake area. The Pay-As-You-Throw Dumpsters only accept special trash bags sold at Grand Lake businesses for $4 apiece.

Because it relies heavily on revenue from in-county property taxes, the East Grand School District braced for a possible cash-flow shortage pending the outcome of three tax measures on the November ballot.

The Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce was teetering on the brink of collapse due to reported incidences of fraud, theft and failed event sponsorships.

West Grand High School said farewell to principal Phillip Bonds after seven years. Todd Bittner replaced him.

Spencer James Nelson, 20, of Winter Park, died after falling during a climb on the Maroon Bells near Aspen. He was a graduate of Middle Park High School and the son of Peggy Smith, realtor and Fraser town board member, and architect Peter Nelson.

In the wake of a May jury conviction, Brian Wilson, 53, of Denver, was sentenced to 32 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on 24 charges , including five counts of attempted 1st degree murder and five sentence enhancers for committing crimes of violence. The conviction and sentence stemmed from a Thanksgiving 2008 incident during which Wilson held police officers at bay near Winter Park for more than three hours with a loaded .45 caliber pistol, which he shot four times as officers attempted to subdue him.

Local governments began jumping on board with a Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) initiative to crack down on illegal vacation rentals through a software program that will track down vacation rental violators on a scale that has not been possible before. The program, towns say, will help recover lost tax revenue.

8-man football

West Grand High School moved to an 8-man football team after dropping below the 126-student cutoff for the 1A Football Conference, which fields the traditional 11-man team. Following a stellar season, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

A state audit discovered a Granby vendor mistakenly had been reporting wrong percentages in the span of five years. The mistake ended up in the town’s favor, when the state returned $800,000 sale tax revenues.

A Grand Lake restaurant worker was confirmed to have Hepatitis A and was hospitalized at St. Anthony Central. No other Grand County individuals had been confirmed to have Hep A, according to health officials.

The YMCA of the Rockies, Tabernash, celebrated its success of putting 2,800 acres into a conservation easement.

A Granby mother, Adala Sanders, gave birth to her third child in an ambulance at mile marker 128 on Highway 9.

The Onahu Fire burned 40 acres on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Another fire, the Willow Fire, burned 3 acres of Bureau of Land Management land roughly 6 miles up Colorado Highway 125 from U.S. Highway 40.

Two horses grazing in a pasture at the end of County Road 41 were killed by a downed power line. A beetle-kill tree had fallen on the power line and was balancing on the live wire. A caretaker found the horses lying under the power line that dangled about 4 feet off of the ground. One of the horses was a filly, an investment with rare Arabian blood lines.

Counter to the economic state of gloom in the construction industry, Grand County property tax assessments reflected an ever-so-slight increase due to condominium units that were started before the recession but after the previous reassessment.

A Grand County jury found Beau Grega, 25, not guilty of negligent homicide in the death of Kevin Gilbert, 44, who had died of hypothermia upon spending the night outside in the freezing cold in downtown Winter Park.

A wildfire that burned 190 acres in Parshall was ignited by a tracer bullet shot at the rifle range. The fire was stopped just before reaching heavy timber.

The largest Grand County fire to break out in decades, the Church Park Fire scorched some 470 acres of forest land south of Sheep Mountain, 5 miles west of Fraser. No residences were lost and there were only minor injuries during the effort to keep the fire from spreading.

County officials learned the Windy Gap and Moffat Tunnel firming project proposals would be considered in tandem. The news was considered a small victory for West Slope residents, who’ve feared either project could be approved without factoring in the river depletions from the other.

A $1 million bond was set for a woman who led police in a high speed chase and then shot at them. Katherine Anggelos, 53, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was charged with 1st degree attempted murder after being treated for a gunshot wound to the arm at a hospital in Denver after the incident.

The civil rights lawsuit against the Grand County Sheriff’s Department and one of its former deputies, filed by the man the deputy shot, was settled. Just four days after a federal judge ordered a jury trial for the case of David Christopher Dalgarn, the then-23-year-old man who was shot in Tabernash on Oct. 6, 2008, the parties reached an agreement. Terms were not disclosed at the time, but it since was revealed that Dalgarn was awarded $3.5 million for the alleged violation of his civil rights when former Grand County Sheriff’s Deputy Rochalle Rooks rammed Dalgarn’s car, then shot him, rendering Dalgarn paralyzed for life.

Work started on the new $20 million Middle Park Medical Center in Granby.

Voters in November approved medical marijuana centers for Town of Fraser and unincorporated Grand County. Fraser voters also approved a new tax on medical marijuana products sold within town limits.

The foreclosed on and stalled Shorefox Development has a new owner, CNL Lifestyle Property, which contracted Resort Ventures West to manage the project. Resort Ventures West announced plans to change the name and change the destiny of the Granby development.

Hot Sulphur Springs residents recognized the completion of the Hot Sulphur Springs Water Project during a ribbon cutting. The $3.3 million ARRA project brought Hot Sulphur a new state-of-the-art water treatment plant, a new clear well, a second 230,000-gallon storage tank, a new intake system and related river restoration work.

With the help of the Sprout Foundation and other supporters, the Advocates of Grand County are opening the area’s first safe house to protect victims of domestic violence in times of crisis. Obtaining a local safe house had been a longtime goal of the organization.

Grand County opened the door to exploring policies to better regulate vacation by owner rentals in the county. Nightly rentals are widespread throughout the county, but enforcement of residential-zoned properties and tax collections for such commercial uses has long been ignored.

Most departments in Grand County government are cutting their budgets by 10 percent in response to a county directive this 2011 budget season.

Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District is finishing up work on a $1.6 million sports complex project that includes a new covered, regulation-sized ice rink, concession stands and infrastructure. The ice rink, which opened in November, will provide a place for organized hockey leagues to play, as well as offering a potential training ground for professional athletes and recreational opportunities for residents and tourists.

The Town of Granby budgeted for 3 percent merit raises for its employees and budgeted to provide a $25,000 trophy purse for a Memorial Weekend SolVista bike race. The town also budgeted to hire a part-time employee charged with boosting economic development in the town.

The long-established James family of Colorado sold the historic Grand Lake Lodge to a subsidiary of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Regency Hotel Management for $4 million. The sale took place on Dec. 21.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more