Top 5 most read stories on SkyHiNews.com, Jan. 16-22 | SkyHiNews.com
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Top 5 most read stories on SkyHiNews.com, Jan. 16-22

A few of the horses seized by the Grand County Sheriff's Office last week from Snow Mountain Stables during an animal abuse investigation at the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown on Monday. Granby veterinarian Mike Brooks disputes that the horses were abused by the stables.
Mike Brooks / Courtesy photo

1. Veterinarian accounts clash in animal abuse investigation at Snow Mountain Stables

Several complaints about poor living conditions and dead horses preceded the seizure of 144 horses from Snow Mountain Stables last week, according to a search warrant for the property.

Over the course of Jan. 11-12, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Humane Society transferred 144 horses to the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown for rehabilitation. Another 38 horses were released back to the owner.

One horse, which the sheriff’s office described as being severely emaciated and having untreated injuries, was euthanized after veterinarian Dr. Courtney Diehl with the Dumb Friends League determined the horse couldn’t safely travel.



2. Rogue snowmobiler fined $10,000, sentenced to 160 hours of public service

A federal judge sentenced self-styled bad boy David Lesh to $10,000 in fines and 160 hours of useful public service Wednesday for his conviction on two petty offenses for illegally riding a snowmobile at a Keystone terrain park in April 2020.

Judge Gordon Gallagher put the sentence on hold for 14 days to see if Lesh carries through on a vow to appeal the conviction. If his attorney files a notice of appeal within two weeks, Gallagher said, the sentence will be stayed longer to let the court process play out.



U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers cited Lesh for entering Keystone ski area while it was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and jumping his snowmobile over features in a terrain park. He was also cited for posting images of his tricks on social media to benefit his business. Use of national forest for commercial gain is prohibited without a permit. He was found guilty in October after a one day trial in August.

3. West Grand High School switches to remote classes

Citing staffing concerns and the high rate of illness, West Grand High School will switch to all remote learning for the remainder of the week.

In a letter to the district on Monday, Interim Superintendent Liz Bauer explained 30% of students are out of class for various illnesses, as well as a number of staff, rendering the school unable to cover all of the classrooms.

Classes will move online beginning Tuesday and after school activities on Monday and Tuesday are canceled. High school students will return to in-person learning on Jan. 24.

4. Four COVID outbreaks reported at Grand County schools

Four of the six public schools in Grand County have reported a COVID-19 outbreak this week.

According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reporting, Granby Elementary, East Grand Middle School, Middle Park High School and West Grand K-8 have seen COVID-19 outbreaks. All outbreaks were reported to the state on Friday.

An outbreak is defined as five or more probable cases of COVID-19 in a facility or non-household group within a 14 day period.

5. 15th COVID-19 death reported in Grand

Grand County has reported a 15th resident death due to COVID-19 as cases continue to spike in the county.

In a Tuesday update to Grand County commissioners, Grand County Public Health Director Abbie Baker said there have been 324 resident cases of COVID-19 in the last week, equal to a case rate of 2,061 people per 100,000. The county is averaging 46 new COVID-19 cases a day.

“Grand County is in an extreme COVID transmission situation right now,” Baker said.


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