Saturday, July 28, 2018

Conductor Carl Topilow closes out 41st season with National Repertory Orchestra

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summit Daily


Summit Daily Link

About to close out his 41st season as the principal conductor for the National Repertory OrchestraFriday, Carl Topilow says he's is looking forward to many more.
Founder of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Topilow is known for his exceptional versatility, which blends a wide variety of music genres. He began his career with the NRO as its assistant conductor from 1972-75. Technically speaking, that means he's been with the group for 46 years now.
He admits that sounds like "a substantial amount of time," but the more someone talks to him the more it seems as if he's not feeling it the least bit.
"I'm used to the altitude and attitude and everything it takes to make this program successful," he said. "I've enjoyed what I do very much, and I personally don't see any stopping."
Comprised of 89 gifted young musicians from around the world, the NRO is about to close out its 59th season and 26th in Breckenridge.
After tonight's season finale, they will have performed almost two-dozen full orchestral concerts and 22 free chamber concert series events within Summit County this summer alone.
The NRO will close out the season with "Symphony No. 2" by Sergei Rachmaninoff, the kind of challenging piece that the orchestra loves to perform.
But Topilow remembers the group's humble beginnings, when they were inside the Marshdale Lodge in Evergreen. Calling the lodge "rustic" might be an understatement, but somehow they made it all work.
"We had great musicians and we all managed," Topilow recalled.
In 1987, the NRO moved to Keystone and then Breckenridge in 1993, the same year the Riverwalk Center was built. In Evergreen, the orchestra had to play at a high school auditorium some years, but in moving to Breckenridge, it was a big leap forward for the group.
"Just to have our own space with the magnificent Riverwalk Center, it was a tremendous step up," Topilow said of the 750-seat venue.
Along the way, he's worked with some amazing talents, too. Trumpeters like Michael Sachs and David Bilger, who went on to become the principal players of the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, respectively, are just two examples.
Now the NRO puts on a minimum of two different orchestral programs a week, which is a high volume, especially for orchestra music, and unique among summer festivals.
Despite the heavy workload, the NRO remains in the top echelon of summer festivals, said Topilow, who every year looks forward to putting on a fresh lineup of concerts.
"It's pretty exciting stuff," he said. "I really enjoy it immensely."
To maintain such a feverish pace, the NRO relies on annually recruiting some of the top talent across the country, positioning representatives all over the U.S. and holding hundreds upon hundreds of auditions in places like New York, Los Angeles and everywhere in between.
They have NRO representatives at "all the big music sites" and at all the big music schools, Topilow said, which is one major reason he thinks the NRO has been so blessed to have such a high caliber of talent.
The conductor stands at the helm, but Topilow knows "it's a big team that puts us in the position to succeed."
With that, he's quick to credit to the board of directors, NRO staff and the audiences who've enjoyed so many of their shows. Without them, the NRO wouldn't be such a "top notch" summer festival, and people otherwise probably wouldn't be so interested in auditioning for the group.
For the principal conductor and music director, it always comes back to the talent they put on stage.
"We always have been blessed with a lot of very talented folks to join our orchestra and it's been quite something," he said. "The quality has been maintained over the years … It was never bad, but it's only gotten better and better. To do high-quality programing like this, it's important to have musicians who can handle all that's involved with it."
As for when he might consider retirement, Topilow isn't ready to even start thinking about it yet.
"Nope. How's that for an answer?" he said. "I feel great, my health is terrific, and I thrive on that mountain air."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Mini cell phone towers might be coming to Frisco

#Frisco #Colorado


Summit Daily Link

Overheard at the Summit County Commissioner's work session meeting on Tuesday: Small cellular facilities, basically mini cell towers, might be coming to Frisco. The facilities are meant to supplement cell coverage in a small geographical area. Verizon Wireless has started the process of applying for a license to operate several of these 17-cubic-foot facilities on Frisco's Main Street, which has become notorious for spotty cell coverage. The county commissioners gave planning staff approval to start working with Verizon to see what such an arrangement would look like, and there is no timeline for when or if the facilities will be installed
Other cities — like Denver and Longmont — are already using small cellular facilities to supplement tower coverage in areas of spotty or high data use.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Summit County denies rock-crushing permit on Tiger Road, but fears for future of river restoration

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summit Daily

Summit Daily Link


Summit County's Board of County Commissioners were stuck quite uncomfortably between a rock and a hard place Tuesday. They ultimately sided with residents of Tiger Road by denying a permit appeal that would have allowed Peak Materials to mill rocks on Mascot Placer into gravel for sale elsewhere. The decision may slow down or jeopardize the Swan River Restoration Project, as the Mascot Placer is a key portion of the project that needs to be cleared and restored.
The commissioners' meeting room ran out of standing space as residents waited for hours to voice their disapproval. Peak sought to open a new gravel operation concurrent with the county's operation at William Placer, which residents fear would prolong and exacerbate the truck nightmare they've been living with for two years.
The hearing began with senior county planner Dan Osborn recommending that the commissioners deny Peak a conditional use permit based on the uncertainty to the amount of truck traffic that would be generated by the milling operation.
In defending the recommendation, Osborn cited a portion of the county's land use code requiring existing infrastructure to support the use being applied for, or that the applicant provides it. In this case, Osborn said his staff believed that Peak's additional truck traffic would create a negative cumulative effect for Tiger Road, which is a "collector" road meant for residential use.
Peak, through its representative Joanna Hopkins, disagreed with the county staff assessment. Peak argued that the current truck traffic issue was caused by the county. The company said it would start with few trucks and gradually increase over time as county trucks going to the Williams Placer decreased, resulting in the same road traffic. County Manager Scott Vargo later pointed out that no timeline was guaranteed, and there was a chance that more trucks could very well wind up on the road.
Peak also introduced consultants to prove that Tiger Road can handle the truck traffic and that existing road damage was caused by weather, not trucks. Thus, there should be no cumulative effect on the road infrastructure.
Peaks' attorney, Bob Gregory, pointed out that the county has not imposed any limitations for its own conditional use permit for Williams Placer, allowing its own contractor's trucks to freely haul material. By denying Peak a permit, Gregory argued that the county would be choosing its own operation over Peak.
"Denial would be abuse of this board's discretion," Gregory said.
For the water conservation side, Jennifer Hopkins of the Blue River Watershed Group and Greg Hardy of Trout Unlimited both asked the commissioners to approve the permit, saying a denial would threaten the Swan River Restoration project and its grand ambition to rejoin two vital watersheds, as well as deny $1.5 million in in-kind donations promised by Peak to offset costs for the project.
However, that's all the support Peak had at the hearing. Over a dozen Tiger Road residents went to the podium to vent the frustration they've been living with for years.
Jerry Belver said that he "felt trapped in his own home" because he had to close his windows and not be able to use his deck from all the noise being generated.
Pamela O'Neill and her husband Jack echoed that sentiment, saying the 2,000 property owners near Tiger Road had a right to enjoy their property.
Deb Spears, a cyclist, said that the road doesn't have enough room for both trucks and cyclists. Anne Marie Chapin added that her grandkids biked down the road and she didn't think it was safe for them.
Laurel Harris said that she was delayed getting to the hearing because a truck hit her garbage can.
"I saw in real life what it takes a truck to stop," Harris said. "That truck had 140 feet to brake to a stop and it couldn't do it."
After the parade of comments ended, the commissioners had to come to a decision, and it was begrudgingly unanimous: the Upper Blue planning commission's denial of the permit was upheld.
Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said that despite how important the Swan River Restoration is, she could not feel comfortable allowing the permit given the cumulative impact on Tiger Road, as well as the impact on residents and the safety concerns they raised. She was also not satisfied with the mitigation strategy proposed by Peak.
Commissioner Thomas Davidson agreed with his colleague on upholding the permit denial, but did so very reluctantly. Davidson agreed that subjecting Tiger Road residents to the possibility of more truck traffic was unfair, but also expressed his dismay that the Swan River Restoration might be threatened, as it was a huge benefit for the community as well as Tiger Road residents.
"It's really painful to say no to this," Davidson said. "We're taking a risk that we'll never see the last reach restored the way we hoped."
Davidson added that the state's gravel operations would continue unimpeded, and the booming economy meant that material would be hauled out and cause an inconvenience anyway.
Commissioner Dan Gibbs put in the final "no" vote for the same reasons given by his fellow commissioners, the Upper Blue planning commission and county planning staff. However, he pointed out to Chapin, who was worried about her grandkids' safety with the trucks, about what the future stood to lose if the Swan River Restoration was halted.
"In a generation from now, people might think, 'Why didn't they finish it?'" Gibbs said. "Your grandkids would be missing out on that legacy."
In signing the resolution ending Pike's appeal process, Gibbs left on a optimistic note.
"I do think Swan River Restoration will go ahead, and that this is just a speed bump along the way," he said.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Western States Lead Single-family Residential Permits Growth, Northeast Lags

#Colorado


Western States Lead Single-family Residential Permits Growth, Northeast Lags

Over the first five months of 2018, the total number of single-family permits issued year-to-date (YTD) nationwide reached 363,327. On a year-over-year basis, this is an 8.0% increase over the May 2017 level of 336,410. The results from the SOC are similar, year-to-date single-family permits over the first five months of 2018 was, 363,700 which is 8.6% ahead of its level over the same period of 2017, 335,000*.

Year-to-date, across the country, single-family permits grew in all the regions except in the Northeast where it declined by 1.0% compared to May 2017 YTD. Out of the nine Northeastern states, only three, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania recorded an increase in single-family permit growth during this time while the other six states declined. Western region had the highest growth in single-family while South recorded the highest multifamily permits growth during the last 12 months.
Between May 2017 YTD and May 2018 YTD, 33 states saw growth in single-family permits issued while 17 states and the District of Columbia registered a decline. Colorado recorded the highest growth rate during this time at 28.7% while single-family permits in the District of Columbia declined by 72.8%, but from a small base, from 180 in 2017 to 49 in 2018. 
In the single-family sector, Texas led with 53,293 permits issued year-to-date in May 2018 and Florida came in second with 39,173 during this time. Meanwhile the lowest number came from the District of Columbia with 49 permits.  The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 61.0% of the single-family permits issued.
The 8.0% increase in the nationwide growth rate of year-to-date single-family permits, is largely due to the aggregate increase in single-family permits across the Western states. Out of the 13 which are classified as Western states, nine states recorded single-family permit growth exceeding the national average. A total of 20 states recorded growth rates higher than the national average. Nine of these came from the Western region of the county, seven from the South, and three from the Midwest. New Hampshire was the lone state to record single-family permit growth higher than the national rate from the Northeast region.
Year-to-date, ending in May 2018, the total number of multifamily permits issued nationwide reached 187,605. This is 13.3% ahead of its level over the first five month of 2017, 165,645. The increase in nationwide growth rate is due to the increases across Southern and Western states which posted growth rates of 17.9% and 17.0% respectively. The results from the SOC show an increase of 9.5% in multifamily permits over the first five months of 2018, 186,900 compared to the same period of 2017, 170,700.
Between May 2017 YTD and May 2018 YTD, 34 states recorded growth while 16 states and the District of Columbia recorded a decline in multifamily permits. Rhode Island lead the way with a growth rate of 365.2%, from 23 to 107, while Mississippi had the largest decline of 85.9% from 866 to 122.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mortgage rates remain "flat."

#Colorado

House keyMortgage rates remained flat this week, likely due to a lack of construction activity, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market survey.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said mortgage rates moved sideways, primarily because of the mixed bag of economic data released this week.
“Manufacturing output and consumer spending showed improvements, but construction activity was a disappointment,” Khater said. “This meant there was no driving force to move mortgage rates in any meaningful way, which has been the theme in the last two months. That’s good news for price sensitive home shoppers, given that this stability in borrowing costs allows them a little extra time to find the right home.”
“Unfortunately, don’t expect much relief from the tight inventory conditions plaguing many markets,” Khater added. “As seen again last month, new home construction is not picking up to meet demand, and as a result, home prices are still rising at double the pace of income growth.”
Freddie Mac, July 19
(Source: Freddie Mac)
According to the report, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.52% for the week ending July 19, 2018, down from 4.53% last week, and up from 3.96% last year.
The 15-year FRM fell to an average 4% this week, down from last week when it averaged 4.02%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM was 3.23%.
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.87% for this week, up from 3.86% last week, and up from this time last year when it was 3.21%



Mortgage rates remained flat this week, likely due to a lack of construction activity, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market survey.
Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said mortgage rates moved sideways, primarily because of the mixed bag of economic data released this week.

“Manufacturing output and consumer spending showed improvements, but construction activity was a disappointment,” Khater said. “This meant there was no driving force to move mortgage rates in any meaningful way, which has been the theme in the last two months. That’s good news for price sensitive home shoppers, given that this stability in borrowing costs allows them a little extra time to find the right home.”

“Unfortunately, don’t expect much relief from the tight inventory conditions plaguing many markets,” Khater added. “As seen again last month, new home construction is not picking up to meet demand, and as a result, home prices are still rising at double the pace of income growth.”

Freddie Mac, July 19
(Source: Freddie Mac)

According to the report, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.52% for the week ending July 19, 2018, down from 4.53% last week, and up from 3.96% last year.
The 15-year FRM fell to an average 4% this week, down from last week when it averaged 4.02%. This time last year, the 15-year FRM was 3.23%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.87% for this week, up from 3.86% last week, and up from this time last year when it was 3.21%

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Voluntary fishing closures in place for several rivers near Summit County

#Colorado
Michael Yearout Photography


Summit Daily Link

Due to high water temperatures and low flows, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is implementing voluntary fishing closures from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. on sections of the Eagle River, Colorado River, Crystal River and Roaring Fork River. The fishing closure is effective immediately, until further notice.
Although anglers are not legally prohibited from fishing in these stretches, CPW is asking anglers to fish early in the day and find alternative places to fish until conditions improve.
Sections for the voluntary fishing closures include:
Eagle River from Wolcott downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River.
Colorado River from State Bridge downstream to Rifle.
Crystal River from Avalanche Creek downstream to its confluence with the Roaring Fork River.
Roaring Fork River from Carbondale downstream to its confluence with the Colorado River.
CPW will place signs along the four sections of rivers to notify anglers and encourage them to consider fishing at higher elevation lakes and streams where environmental factors are much less severe, particularly during the afternoons and evenings.
If current conditions persist, CPW may consider further fishing restrictions which could include all-day voluntary fishing closures or mandatory fishing closures.
CPW recommends anglers contact their local CPW office for the most recent information relative to fishing closures, conditions and opportunities.
For more information contact the Glenwood Springs CPW office at 970-947-2920.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Summit County struggles to keep up with workload from chipping program

#Summit County #Colorado
Summit Daily

Summit Daily Link


Summit County's chipping program has become a victim of its own success, as the county tries to catch up with the sheer volume of wood left out by residents in the program's fifth year.
The program, which started in 2014 to encourage homeowners to create defensible space against wildfire, has the county sending chipping teams to pick up trees and branches cut and discarded by homeowners to chip them on-site and haul the material away.
Dan Schroder, director of the CSU county extension office overseeing the program, said that this has been the most popular year for chipping so far, seeing double the participation of years past.
"In the first week of the program, we had a 43 percent increase in chipping volume over last year," Schroder said. "But because of that increased initial volume and more homes to cover, we've fallen behind schedule."
The chipping program began on June 26. Crews have been doing the rounds, going to every residential street in the area looking for piles to pick up, process and take away. Some may have noticed their piles not picked up yet and Schroder assures residents that they will be eventually.
"We thank the public for their participation and are asking them to be patient," Schroder said. "We know there are slash piles out there and we will get to them as soon as we can."
Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said that the chipping personnel is being doubled on Monday from four to eight to deal with the workload.
"Our chipping contractor has been putting in a tremendous amount of work, with crews operating on evenings and weekends to address this incredible volume," Gibbs said. "We're in the process of adding more capacity, in the form of labor and equipment, so that we can get caught up."
Chipping programs have become increasingly popular in wildfire-prone areas around the country. Aside from the homeowner benefit of creating defensible space around their homes, firefighters have fewer homes to worry about defending if a wildfire manages to reach neighborhoods.
"We've been asking people for years to help with wildfire prevention by creating defensible spaces, and it seems there's now a widespread buy-in to this idea," Schroder said.
Gibbs thanked homeowners for their patience and the work they've put in to reduce fuels on their properties.
"We know the community is out there working hard too," Gibbs said. "It takes real elbow grease to get out there and remove that flammable vegetation from around your homes. We absolutely recognize that, and we salute everyone for their efforts."
For anyone who left their piles out on schedule, but never saw them picked up by the following Sunday, the chipping program offers a missed chipping pile form that can be submitted online. The form will note a missing pile's address and make sure it is hit on subsequent runs. The form is available at the chipping program's website, CO.Summit.CO.US/chipping.
The county reminds homeowners that improperly stacked piles and any piles stacked after 8 a.m. on Monday may not be identified or collected. The county will collect piles that meet the following guidelines:
Stack piles neatly (no bags), with the large ends of branches facing the road.
Place piles within 5 feet of the roadway, but not touching the road or in drainage ditches.
Maximum pile size is 5 feet high, 5 feet wide and 5 feet long. There is no limit on the number of piles you may put out. If you have more than 20 piles, please notify the county one week prior to your chipping week.
After crews have removed your pile, clear away any remaining branches, needles and debris.
Do not combine piles with neighbors' piles or place piles in other neighborhoods.
If you would like to keep your chips, tie a piece of red yarn or flagging in a prominent spot on the pile.