Top 5 most read stories on, week of Aug. 8

A pair of wild horses in the West Douglas herd area on Saturday, July 31. Land managers in the area are trying to remove all wild horses from the herd area, which is located south of Rangely on land managed by the BLM’s White River Field Office.Photo by John LaConte / Vail Daily

The following stories were the most well-read on from Aug. 8-14.

1. Letter: If CDOT doesn’t fix it, US 40 at Red Dirt Hill is going to get someone killed

Every day I successfully make the left turn to my house on CR 88 at the top of Red Dirt Hill, I think to myself, “Hurray, I didn’t get killed!”

Last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation painted new merge arrows into the left lane instead of the traditional “Keep Right Except to Pass” traffic pattern that has always existed.

This now puts cars going 65-70 mph in the left lane, where me, my family, and about 100 other neighbors are at a complete stop waiting to turn left — with no turn lane!

2. Largest wild horse round-up in Colorado history underway

RANGELY — The largest wild horse roundup in state history is underway in western Colorado, with helicopters chasing the animals into a trap set on land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management’s White River field office.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 4, the roundup had removed 303 horses over the course of nine days, making it the biggest in Colorado history. The next closest was 10 years ago in a roundup east of Highway 139 in the Piceance East Douglas Herd Management Area, in which 276 horses were gathered, according to information provided the BLM.

In addition to BLM land, the horses currently being rounded up in western Colorado also range on state-owned and private property. The horse habitat is known as the West Douglas herd area, and has long been considered to be outside of the areas identified for the management of wild horses by the White River field office.

3. Grand Park sues Fraser over easement

Grand Park is suing the town of Fraser, asking the court to force the town to accept an easement for Elk Creek Meadow and resume entitlements the town is currently withholding as part of a dispute over the easement.

On Aug. 5, Grand Park filed a lawsuit against the town of Fraser, the town manager, the town attorney, the town planner and a building official, claiming the town’s decision to withhold entitlements to construction projects in the neighborhood is causing the company financial damage.

Fraser Town Manager Ed Cannon said he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit while legal proceedings are ongoing.

4. CDOT: US 40 closed between Kremmling, Steamboat due to crash

The Colorado Department of Transportation has reopened the route following a road closure at mile marker 165 on US Highway 40 between Kremmling and Steamboat Springs on Tuesday.

According to CDOT, the highway was closed in both directions shortly after 11:15 a.m. Tuesday after a vehicle went down an embankment on the highway.

5. Tearful and apologetic, man gets two years imprisonment for firing gun during standoff

A man about to be sentenced for firing a gun twice during a police standoff broke down crying and had to pause a few times throughout to gather himself when he addressed the court.

On Thursday, Stephen Branstetter, 42, told Grand District Court Judge Mary Hoak that he accepted responsibility for the Dec. 1 police standoff at his Hot Sulphur Springs home and wished he had asked for help when he needed it. He insisted that he discharged his gun by accident when police used flash grenades.

“I asked to speak because I feel horrible about this situation I caused,” Branstetter said. “I never meant to hurt anyone. I’m so sorry to have scared everyone. I myself was so scared … I never aimed my gun and I never barricaded. I was not suicidal — I was scared and in distress.”

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.