Heemeyer’s rage started during Grand Lake gambling furor; Hatred of newspaper predated town tiff | SkyHiNews.com

Heemeyer’s rage started during Grand Lake gambling furor; Hatred of newspaper predated town tiff

By Patrick Brower / Sky-Hi News

(Originally published June 10, 2004 in the Sky-Hi News)

Why was Marv Heemeyer so mad at the Granby Sky-Hi News and the Grand Lake Prospector?

Why was he so mad that he drove an armored and armed bulldozer through the Sky-Hi News building in Granby, stalling the structure?

It all came down to differences of opinion on two unrelated topics.

Heemeyer’s first run-ins with the newspaper took place in connection with the controversial attempt to bring gambling to Grand Lake 12 years ago.

Heemeyer signed on as an enthusiastic supporter of gambling in Grand Lake and he was even the editor of a pro-gambling newspaper launched in Grand Lake, called the Grand Lake Gazette. The paper touted the financial benefits of gambling in Grand Lake in its only two issues.

The Grand County Newspapers and particularly the Sky-Hi News and Grand Lake Prospector came out strong opposed to gambling in Grand Lake, putting Heemeyer and the newspaper on opposite sides of the political fence.

Heemeyer even resorted to shouting matches with a reporter for the Sky-Hi News and Prospector during the heated political campaign. When Grand Lake voters turned down gambling by a four-to-one margin, Heemeyer’s anger intensified, said Cece Krewson, the reporter harangued by Heemeyer.

Then came the concrete batch plant of the Docheffs’ a full eight years later in 2000. The Docheff family owned Mountain Park Concrete and it wanted to move the location of its batch plant to a new location adjacent to Heemeyer’s Mountain View Muffler shop in western Granby.

That move required a zoning change and extensive governmental and public review. The Sky-Hi News covered the batch plant hearings extensively, publishing many letters to the editor on both sides of the issue. Some of the letters were even penned by Heemeyer himself.

Heemeyer visited the editor Patrick Brower twice in his Granby office during the batch plant debate, discussing letters to the editor and debating the merits of the proposal.

The newspaper then came out with an editorial urging approval of the batch plant request, with conditions. This move, clearly at odds with Heemeyer’s intentions, must surely have heightened his anger with the newspaper and its editor, Patrick Brower.

Heemeyer was not able to persuade the town of the merits of his side and the batch plant was approved despite Heemeyer’s lawsuits against the town and the Docheffs.

The newspaper continued to cover, but with minimal emphasis, the continuing tiffs between Heemeyer and the town. In all those conflicts, heemeyer ended up on the “losing” side, being told to hook up to a sewer line and being found in contempt and fined $2,500 when he didn’t. The reporting of those facts, perhaps, heightened even further Heemeyer’s ire toward the Sky-Hi News and Patrick Brower.

Patrick Brower’s name ended up on two lists of apparent targets found on Heemeyer property after his rampage on the bulldozer had ended. Heemeyer’s final contact with the newspaper took place June 4 at about 3:30 p.m. when he plowed into the front office where Patrick Brower and Winter Park Manifest Editor Harry Williamson were attempting to cover the story of the rampaging bulldozer.

Brower and Williamson escaped from the building, but the structure was totally destroyed by Heemeyer.

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