Monday, December 17, 2007

Two Easy Things to do to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Thousands of families have one or more rooms in their homes ruined and their lives disrupted each winter by water pipes freezing and breaking, warns the nation's largest insurer of homes, State Farm Insurance.

According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, claim payments by all insurance companies over the past decade for these kinds of losses have exceeded $4 billion.

When the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 degrees Celsius), water pipes in homes with little or no insulation are likely to freeze and break. In fact, a one-eighth inch (3-millimeter) crack in a pipe can spew out more than 250 gallons of water a day, destroying floors, furniture, appliances and personal items.

Homeowners can avoid frozen pipes by having adequate insulation where pipes run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. They can disconnect outside garden hoses, wrap exposed pipes with insulating sleeves or tape, and seal foundation cracks that let arctic air freeze pipes in crawlspaces.

Additionally, there are two simple tasks homeowners can do in about two minutes that can help protect pipes and homes when a severe freeze is predicted: open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls, and run a small trickle of water at vulnerable cold and hot faucets.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eagle County Water Deal Could Affect Summit County

A recent deal between Denver Water and Eagle County won't have any immediate effect on reservoir operations and trans-divide diversions in Summit County.

But the agreement could increase the pressure to export more water from Summit County in the long run - or it could provide impetus for an overall settlement that balances West Slope and Front Range interests.

"Anytime something like that happens, it puts a bigger bulls eye on Summit and Grand County," said County Commissioner Tom Long. "It's just a matter of time before they Denver Water) look to start maximizing and exercising their water rights here," Long said.

Under the agreement, Denver Water relinquished long-held rights to water from streams flowing out of the Eagles Nest Wilderness, on the Eagle County side of the Gore Range, including the Upper Eagle River, the Piney River and Turkey Creek.

Plans for developing that water included a pipeline through the Gore Range to North Tenmile Creek and into Dillon Reservoir, for export to the Front Range via the Roberts Tunnel.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Silverthorne Annexes More Land

The Silverthorne Town Council annexed another small portion of South Maryland Creek Ranch on Wednesday adding 61 more acres to the 355 that was included into the Town two years ago.

Ranch owner Tom Everist is developing a high-end subdivision on a portion of his ranch on the northern end of town.

He requested the second annexation in May in order to create 12 additional home sites, but still stay within the ranch’s rural residential density of one home per five acres.

With Wednesday’s approval, the subdivision will now include 82 single-family lots and one caretaker unit spread over 416 acres. The ranch development will also include a 61-acre meadow, a 120-acre nature preserve, a 50-acre private lake area and a 20-acre town park.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Breckenridge Increases Mill Levy

With a 5-2 vote, Breckenridge Town Council passed the second reading of a ordinance that sets the Town’s 2008 mill levy at 7.52 mills, an increase of 1.45 mills from 2007.

The increase will go to pay the debt related to Breckenridge Recreation Center and Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

As a result, money will be freed up from other funds so the Town can continue to work on its vision plan for a sustainable community, council members said.

A mill is $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Silverthorne to Underground Utility Lines

Residents of Silverthorne’s older neighborhoods have asked the Town, for years, to underground unsightly utility lines.

The Town is offering to subsidize the high-priced project at $4,000 per lot.

The Silverthorne Town Council cemented its commitment this month by passing a resolution outlining the terms of its contribution. The money would come from $225,000 the Town set aside in next year’s budget for neighborhood improvements.

That same money has been earmarked in the 2009 and 2010 budgets.

The Town’s contribution will likely be about one-third to one-half of the overall cost per lot for undergrounding, said Silverthorne public works director Bill Linfield.

Citizens would only be eligible for the money if their neighborhood petitions the Town to form a special improvement district to pay for the rest of the project.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Frisco Museum Undergoing Evaluation

The Frisco Historic Park and Museum is one of 111 museums around the country that will go through an in-depth assessment by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Those organizations use a guided self-study process and on-site consultations with museum professionals to evaluate its current practices and establish priorities to achieve professional museum standards.

The idea is to help the Frisco museum plan how to best and most effectively serve the community."We welcome these museums into a process of self-reflection and improvement and congratulate them on their commitment to field-wide excellence," said Ford W. Bell, President of AAM. "Our nation's museums are already high performing and strong organizations.

The Frisco Historic Park and Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Closed Mondays. A self-guided tour of 12 original historic buildings lets visitors explore the park at their own pace. Admission is free, however donations are appreciated.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Backcountry Huts Open for the Season

Francies's Cabin, Janet's Cabin, Ken's Cabin and the Section House all will open for the season on November 21.

These are backcountry huts, availabe for rent for an overnight stay. Accesable by snowshoe or backcountry skis.

For more information call 970-453-8583 or log onto

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dog Park Discussions

The Town of Breckenridge will hold a public comment meeting next Tuesday on the future uses of Carter Park. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at Breckenridge Town Hall.

Throughout the past several months, residents have met with Town staff regarding the current seasonal dog park plan at Carter Park. Out of those discussions, they arrived at two options for a permanent dog park. Now, the Town is seeking input regarding each plan at the meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“This has been a collaborative effort fueled by concerned citizens from the beginning when we came up with the seasonal plan,” Chief of Breckenridge Police Rick Holman said in a press release. “Citizens have told us that the current seasonal plan doesn’t work so we went back to the drawing board with those same citizens and are ready to present some new solutions. With the input that we will gather during the November meeting, we feel confident we will arrive at a plan that meets the community’s needs.”

For more information, contact Holman at (970) 547-3163 or e-mail

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Keystone Opens for the Season

Keystone Resort will open for the season a week earlier than anticipated due to October snowfall and favorable snow-making conditions.

The county’s largest ski area will open tomorrow (Friday) with a 12-inch base, according to Keystone communications coordinator Lindsey Fussenegger.

Copper Mountain Resort is also set to open Friday morning.

Keystone will start the season with service on the River Run Gondola delivering skiers and riders to the intermediate Spring Dipper trail. Limited beginner skiing will be available in the designated learning area on top of Dercum Mountain. The Summit Express Chairlift will also be operating, as well as the mid-mountain Montezuma Express.

Skiers and riders will need to download on the gondola or the Summit Express at the day’s end. All skier access and services will be provided in the River Run Village base area.

The A51 Terrain Park will be open, offering 20 rails, boxes, walls and other features.

The mountain will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and adult lift tickets cost $59.

Keystone’s season opener festivities continue next week with a special one-day sneak peek of night skiing and riding on Friday, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The resort’s fourth annual 36 Hours of Keystone returns Nov. 30 through Dec. 1. For more information, visit

Monday, October 29, 2007

Blue River to Vote on Tax Increase

Blue River voters will decide on November 6 whether to raise their property taxes by $100,000 per year to pay for road improvements and maintenance and to build a second bridge on Mountain View Drive for emergency access.

If the ballot question passes, the town’s mill levy could be raised up to three mills to a maximum of 15.29 mills.

“This gives us the ability to use some of the money should we need it. That doesn’t mean we’re automatically going to raise it. It’ll be there if we need it,” Blue River Mayor Lindsay Backas said.

The Town of Blue River doesn’t have any commercial businesses, and therefore is not supported by sales tax. Instead, it relies almost solely on property taxes to pay for services for its residents, Backas said.

The town spends a third of its approximately $690,000 budget on public safety, a third on snow removal and plowing and a third on road grading in the summer, leaving little room for larger projects, she said.

One of the town’s priorities is fixing Blue River Road, which needs new culverts, that cost about $250,000. Another is building a new bridge to connect the subdivisions on the east side of the Blue River to Highway 9 to provide a second route for emergency access.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Construction of New Roof for River Walk Center Underway

The Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge must have its hardshell cover and sides done before the National Repertory Orchestra musicians show up in early June of 2008, and they’ve hired a construction company with the capability to get it done, Kim DiLallo, director of communications for Breckenridge said.

The town is taking things slow to start to work out the kinks, but DiLallo is confident the facility will be well-utilized.

“It’s important to provide an incredible home for the Breckenridge Music Festival and National Repertory Orchestra, our two anchor tenants. We want to make sure we get it right and good for them first and then fill in programming as we can,” DiLallo said.

At this point, the town is not actively seeking more programming for the winter seasons, instead focusing on use issues for this winter while construction is taking place.

DiLallo said the construction schedule has been worked out to accommodate the International Snow Sculpture Championships which take place in the Riverwalk parking lot for a week in January.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

BOEC Seeks Volunteers

Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) is seeking ski and snowboard volunteers.

Assist on adaptive ski and ride lessons, working with individuals with disabilities and special needs.

Join them for an open house at our Breckenridge ski office on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Village Base Area, Maggie Pond level.

Or, learn more at the Keystone Adaptive Center (a program of the BOEC) on Thursday, Nov. 1 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Mountain House Base Area, Guest Services Building.

Must be an intermediate level skier or rider; three days/month equals opportunity for a season pass.

For more information contact Jennifer Schappert, Volunteer Coordinator, at (970) 453-5633 or email Or visit http://www.boec

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Sign Winter is Just Around the Corner

Trail Ridge Road across the high tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park closed for the season on Monday.

The road reaches more than 12,000 feet above sea level.

It's the highest continuous paved road in the nation, and winter wind and snow make it impossible to keep open.

Park officials say it closed Monday. The road connects Estes Park on the east with Grand Lake on the west.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Snow Hits Summit County

The latest storm has brought snow, icy and snowpack conditions to most of the roads in Summit County.

Chain restrictions are in effect on US 6 Loveland Pass, Interstate 70 Eisenhower Tunnel Eastbound, Interstate 70 Vail Pass East and Westbound, and Southbound Hwy 9 from Frisco to Hoosier pass.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. this evening as snow will increase in intensity across the mountains this morning and then diminish during the late afternoon hours.

Total accumulations of 6 to 14 inches can be expected.

North winds of 15 to 25 mph gusting above timberline will produce areas of blowing and drifting snow.

Highs today will be in the mid 20's with the wind chill making it feel like single digit temperatures

.As of 5 a.m. this morning, both Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area reported three inches of new snow.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Two Ski Areas Open, More to Open Soon

Arapahoe Basin, had one run open as of yesterday, the beginner level High Noon, which winds down to the base from the Exhibition Lift.

The High Divide Terrain Park is also open.

A total of 20 acres is open at the hill with an 18 inch base.

Over the pass at Loveland Ski Area, Spillway, the short intermediate trail under Chair 1 opened on Friday, and Lower Richards Run, another intermediate was set to open today, according to Loveland marketing director John Sellers.

That's in addition to the beginner Mambo and Home Run trails that opened on Tuesday, Loveland's first day of the season.

Sellers said that with snow in the forecast Saturday and Sunday, more trails should be opening soon. Loveland also has an 18-inch base.

The other resorts in the area are gearing up for their respective seasons to start. Copper Mountain Resort is next in line, with a scheduled opening date of Nov. 2. Keystone and Breckenridge will follow on Nov. 9.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chamber Generates Dollars

An evaluation done by the Breckenridge Resort Chamber found the group's marketing efforts in 2006 generated anywhere from $39 million to $63 million in tourist spending in the town, representing at least a 166 percent return on investment for the BRC's budget.

The BRC's efforts to quantify its contributions to the town won general praise from Breckenridge officials, and because of the strong performance the study shows, the group is asking for more than $600,000 in additional funding next year from Breckenridge.

But Town officials are split in both their support for more BRC funding and their reactions to the evaluation's findings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Home Depot for Silverthorne?

Home Depot has purchased land in Silverthorne and is exploring the possibility of building a store in town, according to Mike Ciletti, a principal with Denver-based Phase Line Strategies, a consulting firm hired by Home Depot to look for alternative store locations to Frisco.

The land, three parcels in total, is located just south of Interstate 70 on S. Adams Avenue near the fairgrounds.

Ciletti said the purchase was a joint venture between the land owners and Home Depot.

Part of the reason the company purchased the land was because of the positive state of the real estate market in Summit County, Ciletti said

All three parcels are already zoned light commercial, and a Home Depot would fall into the use-by-right category, said Silverthorne town manager Kevin Batchelder.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Second Ski Area in Colorado Opens for the Season

Loveland Ski Area opened this morning - the second ski area in Colorado (and North America) to open for the 2007/08 season.

An 18 inch base, supplemented by a weekend snowfall that measured 10 inches in my back yard, gave Loveland a great start to the ski/snowboard season.

We will see many more ski areas open in the next few weeks. Tomorrow's forcase is for more snow. It looks as though winter has begun in Colorado.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Summit Foundation Philanthropy Nominations

The Summit Foundation is accepting nominations to honor and recognize outstanding philanthropy in Summit County. This year's event will be held on Friday, Nov. 16, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Keystone Conference Center.

Deadline for receipt of nominations is noon on Monday, Oct. 15.

Since the inception of the program in 1991, 169 individuals, organizations and businesses have been recognized for their outstanding philanthropic efforts in Summit County.

This year's awards will be presented in recognition of outstanding contributions in nine categories: Outstanding Philanthropist, Outstanding Volunteer, Outstanding Board Member, Outstanding Citizen, Outstanding Youth, Outstanding Professional in a Nonprofit Organization ("seasoned" and "novice"), Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Business and/or Corporation and Outstanding Nonprofit/Community Organization.

Nominations will be accepted for Summit County individuals, organizations and businesses only but may be submitted for more than one nominee in more than one category. You will be notified if your nominee is selected to receive an award.

For more information about making a contribution to the foundation or to obtain Philanthropy Day nomination forms, please contact The Summit Foundation office at (970) 453-5970 or at, and click on the "About Us" and "Philanthropy Day" tab. Completed nomination forms should be received in the Foundation office, 108 North French Street, (P.O. Box 4000), Breckenridge, no later than noon on Monday, Oct. 15.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Opens

Arapahoe Basin ski area officials announce that its opening day for the 2007-2008 ski season will be tomorrow, Wednesday, October 10, 2007. This marks Arapahoe Basin’s earliest opening in its 61 years of operation. Last year the ski area was the first to open in the nation and this year A-Basin continues that trend.

The Exhibition chair will open to the public at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. Skiers and riders can look forward to an 18-inch base on the intermediate High Noon run and some features in the High Divide terrain park. The will be no beginner skiing at this time.

New this season, A-Basin will introduce Montezuma Bowl, 400 acres of lift served groomed runs, glades, chutes and wide-open bowl skiing. The new expansion is expected to open sometime in late December, snow conditions permitting.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Silverthorne Updating Height Restrictions

Silverthorne is proposing new height restrictions in different parts of town as part of its comprehensive plan update.T

he height limit for all commercial buildings in Silverthorne is 35 feet, although builders are given some leeway for architectural features.

The new proposal would allow buildings up to 50 feet on either side of Interstate 70, where the La Quinta is already 76 feet and the Day’s Inn reaches 52 feet and around the Summit Place Shopping Center and the Red Village of the Outlets at Silverthorne.

The two hotels are considered legal, non-conforming projects because town records don’t show how their respective heights were approved, according to town planner Mary Devlin.

The height limit would taper down to 45 feet around where the Silverthorne Pavilion is located, as well as the Blue Village of the Outlets at Silverthorne. The east side of the Blue River from Tanglewood Lane down to 6th Street would lower to 40 feet, as well as the commercial area west of Adams Ave. behind the Outlets’ Blue Village.

Most of the other commercial areas would remain at 35 feet and the residential height limit of 25 feet wouldn’t change.

Devlin said the proposed numbers came from the community development department, as well as suggestions from the town council, on where best additional height could be accommodated and still maintain the character of the town.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Breckenridge Discusses more Main St. Restrictions

After passing an ordinance restricting residential development on Main Street and some surrounding areas, the Breckenridge Town Council is discussing similar restrictions for office space.

The concern is that offices on Main Street take spaces away from retail businesses, which council members said are the main tourist attraction for downtown.

Town Manager Tim Gagen said real estate offices - by far the most common office use on Main Street - account for about 20 percent of Main Street businesses. Many towns with a similar percentage in retail districts have imposed office development restrictions, he said, because some studies show that at that ratio the prevalence of offices starts to reduce pedestrian draw.

As with the residential ordinance, the council expressed support for a grandfather clause for any office space restriction to protect current businesses.

Recently retired realtor Bob Girvin, who owns an office building on Main Street, said he worries that some spaces will remain vacant if office space is restricted. He'd like to see the Town encourage retail instead of discouraging other uses.

I'm with you Bob, let's encourage retail instead of discouraging other uses.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Aspens in their Autumn Glory

The Aspens are in their full Autumn Glory. Just look at the photograph Michael took yesterday near Silverthorne.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Colorado’s favorite annual autumn show is getting good reviews even before it opens.

The aspen leaves are beginning to change color.

The late moisture we have received lately has delayed the change of colors and should make it a spectacular year, says Clare Sinacori, spokeswoman for Colorado State Parks.

But don’t get impatient. “We are pretty darn green, still,” Kyle Patterson of Rocky Mountain National Park told the Greeley Tribune. “There is a little tiny bit of color changing at higher elevations, but it’s not really noticeable yet.”

Next week should be the start of the good viewing with the peak following closely thereafter.

That’s of course if wind doesn’t blown them off, or snow cover them.
The photograph above was taken last year by Michael.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Breckenridge Town Council Supports Child Care

The Breckenridge Town Council continued it's support for more quality childcare options in the town when it approved a grant to aid Breckenridge Montessori at a recent council meeting.

The grant gives the chlidcare provider $32,000 to pay off its mortgage debts and more than $40,000 for salary supplements and scholarships in 2007.

Breckenridge Montessori's grant comes after the council approved similar grants for Little Red Schoolhouse and The Carriage House last month.

Breckenridge events and communication manager Kim DiLallo said the grants fulfill the Town's goals to encourage quality, affordable childcare in the community.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Interstate 70 Now Has a Web Site

A website created by the I-70 Mountain Corridor Coalition will help everyone who wants to stay informed about planned improvements along the state's main east-west highway corridor.

"We're really trying to be friendly to the public and help people understand what's going on and who the players are," said coalition director Flo Raitano.

Along with providing timely I-70 information for travelers, also includes a link to sign up for the coalition's e-newsletter, to be published throughout the year to inform people about coalition activities and transportation issues under discussion at the state level.

Timely notice about any upcoming public involvement opportunities is a key part of the e-newsletter, Raitano said.

The site also includes tips for avoiding highway congestion and links to live highway web cams.

The redesigned website contains information tips for avoiding traffic congestion on I-70, the latest news about the coalition and its history, vision and strategy for the future. The site also includes a link to the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) live Web cams where users can preview traffic along the corridor 24 hours per day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stan Miller Property Public Hearing Set

The Breckenridge Town Council recently approved a resolution about the potential annexation of the Stan Miller property located approximately 3 miles north of town.

The petition met the Town's requirements and a public hearing has been set for September 25.

In recent months, the Town has reviewed the proposal for the 40-acre property along Highway 9 near the Town's Block 11/ McCain property.

The design plan includes about 100 affordable housing units, a public trail along the west side of the river, open space and Blue River restoration. The development would be phased in gradually as construction operations that have taken place there for 35 years wind down.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Be Aware of Bears

The Breckenridge Police Department is cracking down on violations of the town's trash ordinance in an effort to keep foraging bears out of garbage cans around town.

The police department has noticed an increase in the past week of bears coming to feed in local garbage cans, according to a press release from Breckenridge Police spokeswoman Crystal Dean.

"This is unhealthy for the bears, problematic for the community and could result in a ticket for the homeowner," Dean wrote.

So far this summer, the police department has issued 200 to 300 warnings to property owners for violating the trash ordinance and will start handing out citations, which require a court appearance. The ordinance, passed in 2001, addresses placement and use of garbage cans and similar receptacles.

All households are required to store garbage cans inside a home, garage, building or shed. Garbage cans may be placed at the curbside on the day of pickup only and must be removed by 10 p.m. that evening. The only exception to this requirement is if the can is equipped with some type of latching mechanism that will hold the lid securely to the can.

Some bears actively feed for 20 hours a day and ingest as much as 20,000 calories to prepare for winter hibernation. If natural foods are not readily available, bears will travel over 60 miles to find other food. Once bears know where to find a non-natural food source they will return again and again.

Some things you can do to help keep the bears in the woods, and trash in the cans:

• Keep your garbage secured inside until morning of trash pickup

• Ensure you have a locking lid on any garbage stored outside - call your carrier on how to obtain a wildlife-proof receptacle

• Ensure bird feeders and other sources of food are not bear-accessible

• Keep your grill clean of any food debris

The Breckenridge Police Department will be working with the local Bear Aware group to identify trash violations in the community and strict enforcement will be taken.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Breckenridge Music Festival Wraps up the Season

The Breckenridge Music Festival’s 27th Season Finale will feature BMF Orchestra members John Macfarlane, violinist, Timothy McFadden, trumpet and Kenneth Krause, clarinet, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.

The evening will feature Rossini’s Overture to “Cenerentola,” Hummel’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra, Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra and Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Purcell.

Tickets are $22, $27 and $32 (including a $2 box office service fee).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alliance for Historical Preservation - Frisco

It’s going to be a busy summer for the newly-formed Alliance for Historical Preservation, thanks to the energy and hard work of president Charlotte Clarke and vice president Peggy Alexander.

Clarke has planned two Frisco events during the coming months to benefit the Alliance. The first, on Sunday, is a Ten Mile Canyon Bike Tour of Frisco’s historic mines. The two-hour tour will include a look at the famed Juno, King Solomon, Curtin, Kitty Innes, Mary Verna, Monroe and Admiral mines, with historical facts provided by Clarke, who is well-known as a local authority on Frisco’s mining history.

The second event takes place on Aug. 19, when the Alliance will host a free tour of historic Frisco Cemetery as part of the Frisco Founder’s Day Celebration. Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen, as well as locals Bill Kossian, Sally Roscoe and others, will lead the tour by impersonating costumed characters from Frisco’s past — characters such as town founder Henry Recen, town pioneers Jane Thomas and Bill Thomas, and Susan Badger.

The Alliance for Historical Preservation was formed after the Frisco Historical Society disbanded in 2006. Along with Peggy Alexander, Charlotte Clarke decided to take up where the society left off by forming a new organization dedicated to preserving Frisco’s historic structures, as well as educating others about the town’s rich historic past.

During the first week of July, Clarke sponsored a successful show geared toward local crafters and artists. The show raised $7,000, of which $5,000 went toward saving the Susan Badger house on Galena Street from destruction.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Breckenridge Restricts Main Street Development

The Breckenridge Town Council recently passed the first reading of an ordinance restricting future residential uses on the ground floor of Main Street and some adjacent streets.

"The real issue is the vibrancy of Main Street which is what this ordinance is trying to protect,” one councit member said.

Previously, the council studied other communities that put similar restrictions in place and saw the benefit of doing so. Last April, they reviewed recommendations by the Breckenridge Economic Development Advisory Commission (BEDAC) about limiting first-floor residences, sending those recommendations on to the planning commission that explored the issue at meetings in May and June.

At the time, councilmembers said they wanted to protect the core shopping and dining area from becoming condos in the future since there is a high demand and a high price for in-town condos.

Three years ago residential space could be purchased for $300 per square foot — a number that has climbed to almost $1000 today.

The ordinance that passed first reading included revisions the council discussed earlier. The revisions that took place came from councilmembers’ concerns about making sure residential uses currently in place are protected even in the case of a fire so they can rebuild. Another revision included the Wellington lot in the restricted area. As a result, the Downtown Overlay District included is Main Street from French to Ridge streets, properties backing the Riverwalk, one-block sections of Lincoln, Ridge and Washington streets, and the Wellington lot area.

Thehe ordinance is expected to come back to the Town Council for a second reading vote in August following a public hearing.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Volunteers Needed for Meadow Creek Trail

Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness is looking for volunteers to help work on the Meadow Creek Trail on Saturday, July 14.

They will supply a light breakfast and tailgate party at the end of the day.

Interested volunteers should meet at the Dillon Ranger Station in Silverthorne, a half-mile north of Interstate 70 on Highway 9 at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Please come prepared for a day on the trails with lunch, raingear, water, gloves and long pants.

Contact Jonathan at (970) 262-2399 or to RSVP or with questions.

Go to for information.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dillon to Improve its Marina Park

The Town of Dillon will move forward with plans to improve its popular Marina Park in spite of losing out a grant that would have paid for half of the project.T

he town planned to spend about $410,000 to revamp the existing playground into a destination playground, replace and enlarge the picnic pavilion and build new restrooms. The hope was to cover half the pricetag with a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, which funds parks, trails and open space projects with state lottery funds, but town officials learned last week that it didn’t win one of the competitive awards.

Now, to make the project more affordable, the town has decided to eliminate the new restrooms from the plans, said town manager Devin Granbery.

“The thought was that we have fairly readily available bathroom facilities that aren’t too far away already, so if we needed to cut something out, let’s cut that out,” Granbery said.

Marina Park already has restrooms, but during busy times, such as the summertime Saturday night concerts at the amphitheatre, additional portable toilets are necessary to handle the crowd. Also, the town is looking to improve the green room at the amphitheatre and may explore the possibility of adding new restrooms there, said Dillon town planner Melissa Wyatt.

The council previously set aside about $201,000 for the park improvements, and recently decided to pad that budget with another $130,000 from a portion of the proceeds from a $1 million it took out last year to pay for capital improvements and economic revitalization projects in town, Granbery said.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for this fall for the new pavilion and next spring for the playground, Wyatt said. Preliminary plans for the new pavilion call for picnic tables, benches, a skylight and a duel-faced gas fireplace under an A-frame roof.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Breckenridge Round-a-bout to get Landscaping?

After the Breckenridge Town Council heard about plans to landscape the round-a-bout starting after the July 4 holiday, they discussed alternatives to reduce the impact to traffic as much a possible.

"For me this is a low priority," said Council member Jeffrey Bergeron, who voiced the most conservative opinion about the project. "It seems every summer we're just doing something in this area."

Other council members commented that the lack of landscaping at the town's entrance is "embarrassing" and discussed the possibility of reducing traffic impact by splitting up the work so the planting is done in the summer and rock work takes place in the fall - each part makes up about half of the expected two month project.

Councilmember Dave Rossi said he agreed that it would be a "harassment of construction," but with one-lane closure it would have only a minimal impact and it needs to get done.

The work will take place during the week and be cleaned off by Friday afternoon so it wouldn't impact weekend traffic. Also, the lane closure that would be necessary to house the equipment for the work would not impact the part of the round-a-bout that only has one lane, staff said.

The town staff is currently assessing options and will get back to council to determine what to do.

"We don't want to start right after July 4th without thinking this through as much as we can," said Mayor Ernie Blake.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge Campus

The new Colorado Mountain College project is designed with a stone base that will be made from Summit County rock and dark brown brick from Denver, the 33,500-square-foot building will serve as a new facility for Colorado Mountain College's Summit Campus in Breckenridge.

"We're trying to use all local, Colorado materials," said Dan Miller, senior associate with Oz Architecture, who recently presented the design to the Breckenridge Town Council. The two-story building will measure 44 feet to the top of the light monitors and has a variety of architectural features to break up the mass of the building.

It will sit on the Block 11 property near Coyne Valley Road and Highway 9 that the college purchased from the town through a Memorandum of Understanding for $1 in March. The color will be similar to the new Breckenridge Police Station, except more brown and less red, he explained recently. Another feature that is key to the design is that, "we're trying to make the lobby space as transparent as possible. There is a lot of glass. ... The intent is to blend the boundary between indoor and outdoor," Miller said.

Kelly Yamasaki, principal with Oz Architecture, presented the preliminary plan for landscaping which will be installed in three phases. The whole process of landscaping is likely about three years out, Yamasaki said.

Currently, the groundbreaking for the facility is planned for spring2008, and the first class to use the new building will likely be in the fall 2008 or spring 2009 semester

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Seeking Volunteers for Easement Stewardship Day

Continental Divide Land is looking for volunteers for Easement Stewardship Day to help monitor our conservation easement properties.

Easement Stewardship Day is on Saturday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting at the Senior and Community Center in Frisco.

The day begins with a morning of education and training on easement monitoring and an afternoon in the field and on-the-ground for open space protection. Volunteers will be divided into small groups led by experienced Land Stewards.

Monitoring consists of walking the property, taking photos and documentation. We will provide volunteers with materials, tools, morning snacks and a bag lunch. Please bring sturdy walking shoes, water, sunscreen, hat, rain jacket and dress for weather.

Conservation Easements to be monitored during Easement Stewardship Day include Fiester open Space Preserve (Frisco), McCullough Gulch Open Space (Blue River), Wetlands at Water Dance (Frisco), Overlook at Piney Acres (Dillon Valley), Willow Grove Easement (Silverthorne), and Iron Springs Easement (Farmer’s Corner).

Please sign up in advance if you are interested in attending Easement Stewardship Day. To sign up or for more information please contact CDLT at (970) 453-3875,, or visit for volunteer opportunities.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Construction in Silverthorne

The Town of Silverthorne and Columbine Hills Concrete are scheduled to begin work this week on the Lagoon Lane, Ptarmigan Trail and Tanglewood Lane Roadway, a project the town hopes will help pedestrian areas and slow down traffic.

The contractor hired by the Town will have 60 days to complete the work, which is scheduled for completion by late August.

There are three main components to the improvements scheduled for this area:

• The construction of a new sidewalk on the north side of Ptarmigan Trail, which will provide a safer route for pedestrians who wish to walk to amenities in this area.

• The reconfiguration of the Ptarmigan Trail, Tanglewood Lane and Lagoon Lane intersection, which will remedy the awkward existing flow with a more standardized alignment, including the introduction of a four way stop.

• Two traffic calming speed humps will be installed on Lagoon Lane and two on Tanglewood Lane to encourage reduced vehicle speeds appropriate for residential streets.

If you have questions about this project contact the Silverthorne's Town Engineer at (970) 262-7354.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Water in the Blue

Recent warm temperatures have boosted runoff in the Blue River Basin, leading to the highest flows in 10 years in the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir (just north of Silverthorne).

This week, the Bureau of Reclamation ramped up from Green Mountain Reservoir from about 1,800 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 2,700 cfs, just above the 2,600-cfs flood threshold for the river.

Water managers with the Bureau of Reclamation are warning anglers and boaters that high flows could persist for a week, or until inflows subside.

Water levels in the Lower Blue haven't been that high since 1997, when flows reached 3,200 cfs..

And with Green Mountain's junior refill call satisfied, the Blue River above the reservoir is now a "free" river, with all upstream users free to divert water for irrigation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Breckenridge to Annex Stan Miller Property

The Breckenridge Town Council recently gave an approving nod to the annexation proposal of the Stan Miller property which would create 100 affordable housing units.

It was the third review of the proposal on the 40-acre parcel along Highway 9 near the town’s Block 11/ McCain property. And since the last review in March, a commercial aspect was removed from the plan, said Don Nilsson, agent for the property. With the commercial removal and the 75 percent deed-restricted units, “we now believe that this annexation is substantially similar to other annexations that included substantial affordable housing components, such as Wellington Neighborhood, Vista Point and the more recent Vic’s Landing annexation,” Nilsson wrote in a letter to the council.

Within the 100 affordable units in the proposal, 21 are single family houses, eight are duplexes, 31 are townhomes and 40 are condominium units. Also, the 33 market units are blended in with the affordable units on the parcel that includes 6.5 acres of open space. And while the project falls slightly short of the 80 percent affordable housing guidelines the town has, it includes public benefits such as Blue River restoration, a public trail along the west side of the river and open space.

During last week’s presentation to the town, Councilmember Jennifer McAtamney commented that she would like to see that 5 percent more affordable housing, but she didn’t have a problem with the proposed density and this project is a logical place for housing. Overall, the council said they “feel a lot more comfortable with it.”

The next step will be to petition the town for annexation using the plan they’ve presented to the council as framework for the project. Following the petition, a resolution will come before council and a month later the ordinance can be adopted.

The development would be gradually phased in as the construction operations there that have gone on for 35 years wind down. Stan Miller, Inc. estimates that it will need another 10 years to continue operations on the southerly portion of the property, the letter to council said.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Summit Foundation's Annual Golf Tournament

Jay Cutler and Jesper Parnevik are coming soon to Summit County for The Summit Foundation's annual golf tournament.

With the recent additions, this year's field of sports celebrities is as eye-catching as ever.

"It's one of the strongest groups we've had," said Åsa Armstrong, The Summit Foundation's special events and business development director. "It's right up there with when we had John Elway, Ed McCaffrey and Steve Watson.

"The Broncos' quarterback and the Swedish PGA golfer will join, among others, NHL hockey players Adam Foote, Ken Klee and Chris McAllister at the 20th annual event.

The four-person scramble will take place June 25-26 at both the Breckenridge and Copper Creek golf clubs.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Breckenridge's "Kingdom Days"

Kingdom Days, Breckenridge’s inaugural event celebrating the town’s rich history, is named for an incidence of Breckenridge being left out. In the mid-1800s the U.S. map forgot to include the town, and so it was dubbed “Colorado’s Kingdom” until the mistake was corrected in 1936.

The event is being held this weekend - June 16 and 17.

Outhouse Races highlight the weekend of events: At 2 p.m. on Sunday on the 100 S. block of Ridge St. (between Lincoln and Washington) homemade outhouse vehicles will race from one end of the block to the other for a prize of $500.

Voting for the best outhouse will take place from noon to 2 p.m.Saturday and Sunday in the Blue River Plaza and Riverwalk Center, there will be gold panning and mining demonstrations, interactive kids activities like making homemade root beer and a build-your-own-log-cabin project.

Also downtown, there will be old-time photo opportunities at the Briar Rose Restaurant, as well as a Western Photography Exhibit at Abby Hall and the Breckenridge Theatre Gallery.

Saturday and Sunday the Breckenridge Festival of Film will host a “Best of Fest” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Breckenridge Theatre, showing films of historic Breckenridge and films from the last 27 years of the festival.

All museums and historic tours are free during the weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ride the Rockies in Frisco

More than 2,000 cyclists have entered the week-long Ride the Rockies, that starts and ends with parties in Frisco.

The route is different than last year and it will be a bit more difficult.

After Steamboat Springs, the tour goes to Craig, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Aspen and Leadville before finishing June 23 at the Frisco Bay Marina. The first day will be the longest, and the shortest will be the 36 miles from Rifle to Glenwood Springs. The elevation gain for each day ranges from 700 feet during a ride from Steamboat Springs to Craig the second day to a steep climb of 5,700 feet over Independence Pass Friday.

This is the 11th time in the 22-year history of Ride the Rockies that the town has been a host community. In the past, riders have varied in age from 8 to 92, representing all 50 states and 18 countries, a press release said. This year’s participants, who registered during the allotted time in February, will kick-off the tour Saturday at Boogie Downtown with Barbecue Challenge goers. Staring at 3 p.m., Frisco restaurants on Main Street offer free live music until midnight. Riders will be wearing wrist bands that entitle them to special drink and food prices at participating places. That night, many riders will be camping at Summit High School.

The town is still in need of volunteers to help with Ride the Rockies. Anyone interested can call Linda Lichtendahl at (970) 668-5276 ext. 3037 or visit a volunteer link on

Friday, June 08, 2007

Premieres at the Breckenridge Film Festival

Breckenridge Film Fest 2007 premieres

• Friday 6 p.m. at Summit High School“I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Weisenthal.” A documentary on the Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who became a Nazi hunter after surviving the Holocaust. Written by Richard Trank. 105 Minutes. Documentary. Narrated by Nicole Kidman.

• Friday at 9 p.m. at Summit High School“September Dawn.” A story set against the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the film is based upon the tragedy which occurred in Utah in 1857. A group of settlers, traveling on wagons, was murdered by the native Mormons. All together, about 140 souls of men, women and children, were taken. Amid this, two young lovers-to-be, one a Mormon and the other one of the doomed settlers from Arkansas, develop a relationship in an atmosphere of suspicion and rancor. Directed by Christopher Cain. Opens in theaters June 22. Drama, Romance and Western. Stars Jon Vioght, Trent Ford and Tamara Hope.

• Saturday 3 p.m. at Summit High School“Rocket Science.” A teenage boy with a horrific stuttering problem joins his high-school debate team in an ill-fated effort to win the girl of his dreams. 101 Minutes. Teen Comedy/Drama. Opens in theaters Nov. 8.

• Saturday at 6 p.m. at Summit High School“La Vie En Rose.” The life story of iconic French singer Edith Piaf.• Saturday at 9 p.m. at Summit High School“Black Sheep.” An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm. 87 minutes. Comedy/Horror.• Sunday at 6 p.m. at Summit High SchoolClosing Night Premiere, “Rescue Dawn.” A U.S. Fighter pilot’s epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War. 126 Minutes. Action/Drama/Adventure. Opens in theaters Aug. 23. Written and directed by Werner Herzog. Stars Christian Bale.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Summit Foundation Needs Volunteers

The Summit Foundation is seeking volunteers to help with events.

Listed below are some of the events in need of volunteers.

Christel House Open - Charity Golf on a Global Scale. June 11, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Location: Breckenridge Golf Club.

Grand Timber Lodge Adam Foote Celebrity Golf Tournament. June 24 - 26, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Location: Breckenridge Golf Club and Copper Creek Golf Club.

Mountain Art Gathering. July 27 - 29. Location: Pavilion at Keystone in River Run.

20th Annual Rubber Duck Races. Date: September 1, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Location: Breckenridge Riverwalk Center.

Summit County Parade of Homes.Dates: September 8 - 9, 15 -16, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Location: Homes around Summit County

Contact Juli Rathke or Åsa Armstrong at The Summit Foundation at (970) 453-5970 or email or

Visit for additional information on The Summit Foundation or any of the above events or for sponsorship information please call (970) 547-5970.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Breckenridge Festival of Film this Weekend

The Breckenridge Film Festival takes place this weekend - June 7 - 10.

While this year's festival takes place during a different time of the year, the Festival’s essential character will remain the same. Festival President Karin Penegor said,

“June is equally well-suited to the casual and interactive atmosphere that has made the Breckenridge Film Festival special. The Festival has always been enhanced by its beautiful mountain environment and June will provide as perfect a setting for the event as September always has.”

There are several reasons for the new date, Penegor explained. “The fall season is saturated with film festivals – not only in Colorado, but nationally and internationally; in the spring, Breckenridge will provide a better opportunity for filmmakers to present their work…and for film fans to attend the Breckenridge Film Festival.”

Furthermore, she noted that, “As September, in general, has become a busier time, the choices for potential audiences have multiplied…and have become harder to make. The spring is, by comparison, relatively open. Our sponsors, lodging partners, event venues and the Town are all looking forward to hosting a spring Festival, so it will benefit our audiences and guests, as well.”
Vanessa Flaherty, Facilities and Events Manager for the Town of Breckenridge, confirmed that assessment, saying, “This type of event is very welcome during June which has typically been a slower time of year.”

Penegor emphasized the new date does not mean a change in the Festival’s fundamental goals of hosting stellar guests, presenting exceptional premieres and independent films, and creating an event to be shared by filmmakers and film-goers alike. “We are pleased there are no red carpets, no velvet ropes at Breckenridge…and that tradition will continue,” she said.

The Festival has welcomed some 80 luminaries of the cinema world including Donald Sutherland, Jon Voight, Eva Marie Saint, Sydney Pollack, James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Irvin Kershner, Alan Arkin, Jonathan Demme, Jon Favreau, Michael York, Lou Diamond Phillips and the late Rod Steiger; it has premiered such acclaimed films as The Shawshank Redemption, L.A. Confidential, American Beauty and Motorcycle Diaries; and it has presented hundreds of new independent films in many genres with filmmakers attending to discuss their work with audiences. The 2007 Breckenridge Film Festival will feature forums, panel discussions and seminars throughout the weekend and continue its educational programs in association with the University of Colorado Film Studies Department.

Jeffrey Lyons, NBC Film Critic and co-host of ReelTalk, and Ben Lyons, Movie Correspondent for The E! Network, host the Festival each year and conduct interviews with special guests at the open forums and post-screening Q&A sessions. Representatives of production companies and agencies will again be on hand to consult with filmmakers…and enlighten audiences…on the ‘behind-the-scenes’ processes of film production and distribution.

Director, and 2006 Festival guest, Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back, The Eyes of Laura Mars, The Film-Flam Man, A Fine Madness) observed that, with its growing emphasis on film arts development and its commitment to screening high quality independent films, the Breckenridge Film Festival “recaptures the early days of Sundance.”

For more information go to

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ski Season is Over - Really!

It was not exactly a day at the Beach Sunday during closing day at Arapahoe Basin, but plenty of locals and visitors alike ventured to give it a try.

Snow, clouds, rain and a little bit of sunshine greeted skiers and boarders, as the last ski resort open in Summit County — and Colorado — closed for the season.

All the Summit County golf courses are open, though. It's time for a beautiful summer in the Rocky Mountains.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Snake River Clean-up

State and federal water quality experts will take a close look at the polluted water leaking from the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine into Peru Creek this summer, eying designs for a treatment plant that could remove some of the toxic heavy metals.

Zinc and cadmium leaking from the mine taint the creek all the way to its confluence with the Snake River and beyond - creating a dead zone, where trout don't survive for long.

The collaborative Snake River Task Force has been working for years to develop a cleanup plan for the drainage. The biggest question marks include what sort of technology is best suited for the remote site, how to fund construction and operation, and how to deal with potential Clean Water Act liability of taking action, said Summit County environmental planner Brian Lorch.

Along with treating the water coming out of the mine, state experts will also try to determine other ways of improving water quality in Peru Creek and the Snake River, maybe by moving some of mine waste material or re-routing surface flows away from the polluted tailings piles.

Similar tactics were used at the Shoe Basin Mine last summer, where the county completed a remediation project that will reduce the amount of zinc reaching the water.

Snake River cleanup plans have started to look more promising since Trout Unlimited, a cold-water fisheries conservation group, took a lead role in the process. Fresh from a model mine cleanup in Utah, the organization hopes to bring a similar approach to table for Peru Creek.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Silverthorne Approves Blue River Crossing

The Silverthorne Town Council approved the initial plans for the Blue River Crossing development recently.

The company developing the project - the Greenwald Group - presented plans for the Blue River Crossing, a three-story mixed-use building proposed between the Blue River and Rainbow Drive next to the Alpen Hutte Lodge.

The project is a scaled back version of the developer's first attempt, the Blue River Lofts, which the council flatly denied last December for its 50-foot height and overall mass.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Frontier Airlines to Select Eagle Airport?

Lynx Aviation, a new division of Frontier Airlines, may fly into the Eagle County Regional Airport. The airport is just west of Vail and approximately 50 miles from Breckenridge. Frontier will choose nine to 12 regional airports that Lynx will connect with Denver, said Joe Hodas, spokesman for Frontier.

Sixty-two airports have applied to be selected, and a decision will be made in the next week or two, Hodas said.

Kent Myers, an airline consultant who is helping with the bid, said he was confident that Frontier would select the Eagle County airport.

“It’s not a question of if, but when,” he said.

Service could start this winter but may be delayed until next summer, he said.

“I would say that I’m confident that Vail will have service on Frontier in the next 12 months,” he said.

The Eagle County community has put together an incentive package to woo the airline. The package is probably worth about $180,000, Robinson said. Glenwood Spring has contributed $40,000 in “in-kind” services to help the airport. Aspen has offered $100,000 if its airport is selected.

But the incentives aren’t a primary factor in the decision, Hodas said.

“The incentive package is one of those pieces that can be a tiebreaker between a couple of markets,” Hodas said.

“Our goal is not to take money. It’s to create a route, a service that’s profitable from itself.”

The addition of Frontier would bring a low-fare carrier to the Eagle County airport, said Ian Arthur, vice president of marketing and sales for Vail and Beaver Creek mountains. It would also make Eagle County’s ski resorts more competitive in the West, Arthur said.

“Frontier’s planned West Coast routes include L.A., which is a top skiing market and obviously a large population base,” Arthur said.

Lynx Aviation will operate 70-seat Bombadier Q400 turbo-prop jets.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Blue River Lofts Project Gains Initial Approval

A scaled back version of the Blue River Lofts project in Silverthorne gained initial approval this week from the Silverthorne Planning Commission.

Florida-based developers Greenwald Group are proposing the Blue River Crossing at 421 Rainbow Drive, a 1.29-acre lot nestled against the Blue River.

After the town council denied the Greenwald Group’s 50-foot tall, 92, 917-square-foot mixed use Lofts proposal last December, the architects went back to the drawing board and came up with a plan that’s 13 feet lower and 30,000 square feet smaller than the previous plan.

“We think that this can really be the impetus to get a lot of development started here in the town center around the river,” architect Michael Houx said.

The town has identified the land on either side of the Blue River in the heart of Silverthorne as the ideal location for a town center.

Greenwald Group’s new plans call for an underground parking garage, 25 studio, one- and two-bedroom units spread throughout three levels and 4,645 square feet of commercial space on the bottom floor. Developers also plan to offer two large lawn areas next to the river and a connection to the pedestrian bridge that takes people to the Silverthorne Pavilion.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Independence Pass Designated Scenic Byway

Independence Pass, which starts at 9,200 feet and rises to 12,095 feet, has been added to the Top of the Rockies scenic byway.

The pass (open only during the summer months) is southwest of Breckenridge and a great scenic drive.

The Colorado Transportation Commission recently approved a recommendation by the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway Commission to extend the route from south central Colorado near Leadville along Colorado Highway 82 to the west side of Aspen.

The 122-mile scenic byway now includes Fremont, Tennessee and Independence passes on the Continental Divide.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Breckenridge Riverwalk Center to get Roof

More than $600,000 raised in the last 12 weeks has sealed the fate of the Riverwalk Center's "Madonna" tent in Breckenridge:

The tent will be no longer.

In September, after the tent is taken down, construction on the new hardroof shell and side-walls will begin immediately. Town spokesperson Kim DiLallo said the new facility will include garage-like doors out to the lawn and improved acoustics for the National Repertory Orchestra and Breckenridge Music Festival, and will be open by May 2008.

The fundraising effort included a more than one $100,000 donation — including one from Vail Resorts — which prompted the Breckenridge Town Council to approve the project.

The latest cost projection is just under $2.8 million.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mine Waste to be Moved

A controversial plan to move several thousand cubic yards of tainted mine waste to a managed storage site in French Gulch got a conditional approval from the Breckenridge town council Tuesday.

Several mine waste piles on the national forest Claimjumper parcel - some with concentrations of lead as high as five percent - will be removed this summer and piled atop similarly polluted material near the abandoned Wellington-Oro mine, then capped, re-vegetated and monitored.

In their current location, next to the Claimjumper condos, the piles have been deemed a direct health risk, especially for any children playing outside. The main threat is through ingestion, EPA toxicologist Susan Griffin said at the council meeting.

"The soil easily sticks to hands. It's available for hand-to-mouth contact," Griffin said.

Next, the county commissioners will take a look at the cleanup, while the EPA, Forest Service and local planners develop a specific action plan and timeline.

Local residents still had plenty of questions, but after several public information meetings and town council hearings, it appeared that many had their most serious concerns allayed.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Backcountry Re-zoning

A county plan to re-zone several hundred mining claims in the Snake River and Tenmile basins would result in new rules on development of backcountry parcels, including limits on house sizes and changes to road standards.

Based on master plan language that emphasizes preservation of the rural, natural characteristics of the backcountry, the county wants to reclassify 275 properties in the Snake River Basin and 66 properties in the Tenmile Basin into a backcountry zone.

The proposal is up for a public hearing today in front of the countwide planning commission.

Since a large number parcels, totaling 3,615 acres, is up for re-zoning, the application is being processed as a "quasi-legislative" action, with multiple public hearings scheduled.

At the same time, the planning commission will consider changes to backcountry zone district regulations that are related to the rez-oning move.

Based on public feedback from a previous Snake River planning commission meeting, county planners will revisit the proposal to specifically address concerns of a few property owners who said their parcels shouldn't be subject to the new rules.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

National Repertory Orchestra Hires New Director

Kerry Farrell, the National Repertory Orchestra’s new executive director, has known about the organization since college.

Although he never made it into the summer festival that works to prepare musicians under 30 for careers with a professional orchestra, he’s now heading up the organization.

Farrell is from California, where he worked for the Henry Mancini Institute.

In discussing his philosophy on orchestral music in today’s world, he said,

“I think that the place for orchestral music in our culture has been diminished a lot in the last 50 years or so. This summer institute that is the NRO is a great opportunity to strengthen the place of orchestral music in everyday culture, and help people to connect with a wide variety of musical opportunities.”

Farrell replaces Terese Kaptur, whose contract the NRO board of trustees decided not to renew in March.

The NRO's 2007 season debuts on June 16.

Visit for the full schedule.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hybrid Buses coming to Breckenridge

Thanks to a $303,000 federal and state grant, Summit County’s first hybrid buses should be rolling through downtown Breckenridge by sometime next winter.

“We’re optimistic they will save gas and cut emissions,” said transit director Jim Benkelman, explaining that he eventually plans to have four of the high-tech vehicles operating in his fleet.

The exact timing depends mostly on how and when future grants come through, he said.

The 40-foot hybrid buses cost about $500,000 each compared to about $330,000 for the standard 30-foot all-diesel buses.

“This is the first chance we’ve had to do a grant-funded bus replacment,” Benkelman said, explaining that the transit department was directed some time ago by the town council to look at options for replacing its diesel buses with cleaner vehicles.

“Our intention is to do the right thing for the environment,” he said.

General estimates of fuel saving range from 12 to 28 percent for hybrids versus standard diesel buses, but there is only limited data from high elevation operations, so it’s not clear if Breck’s new buses will reach those benchmarks.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Frisco's Revitalization of Main Street

The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Town of Frisco are working on an agreement to begin the revitalization of the west end of town.

A meeting with CDOT is scheduled for May 24 to go over the plans for West Main Street, said Tim Mack, public works director for the town.

After that, the design, which is being finalized now, will go to bid.

"We expect to go to bid the middle part of June. ... If all If works out, we would like to see construction beginning after the Fourth of July holiday," Mack said.

Engineers estimate the project to take 120 days so it would be near competition by the first part of November, he added.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Re-zoning Mining Claims

The County is proposing to rezone about 300 privately owned mining claims in the Snake River and Ten Mile basins.

The backcountry zoning changes the rules for building on mining claims, reducing setbacks from 50 feet to 25 feet. It allows property owners to access their lots via existing roads, even if they aren't up to county standards.

Structure size is also limited in the backcountry zone, ranging from 900 square feet on a typical five-acre lot, up to 2,400 square feet on a 35-acre parcel, as well accessory structures like garages and sheds up to 500 square feet.

The move to rezone the private properties is in keeping with county and basin master plans, which aim to "ensure that growth occurs in appropriate locations and that our rural mountain character is maintained."

The basic idea is to limit backcountry homes and steer development toward areas deemed more suitable for development, while still leaving room for development of smaller cabins on backcountry parcels. The backcountry zoning works in tandem with a transfer of development rights (TDR) mechanism that enables owners of backcountry parcels to sell development rights at about $40,000 per unit, explained county planning director Jim Curnutte. That gives owners another option, he explained.

Similar zoning has been in place in the Upper Blue Basin for about six years, where about 60 development rights have been sold out of the backcountry to a TDR bank, Curnutte said.

"It's worked so well in the Upper Blue to maintain the desired backcountry feel," Curnutte said.

The number of requests for minimum lot size variances dropped, and there have only been two building permits issued in the backcountry zone, both for smaller sized homes, he said.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Property Taxes Going Up

County Assessor Beverly Breakstone is expecting many locals to be surprised at news they will soon receive about large increases in property taxes.

Breakstone presented a number of figures to the Summit Association of Realtors recently, explaining that the actual value of all real property in the county has increased since 2005 from $10.9 billion to $14.02 billion.

“The first misconception people have is that we appraise properties arbitrarily,” Breakstone said.

This is not the case, she explained. “We value fairly and uniformly.”

The 28.4 percent increase is mostly due to the amount of open space and government-owned land, according to Breakstone. Vacant land only makes up 6 percent of the county, while commercial property uses 7 percent. Plus, two-third of property owners do not live full time in the county, and only half of the second-home owners live in the state, a statistic often attributed to increased housing prices.

This year is a “reappraisal” year, Breakstone said, which is set by state statute, meaning the assessor will reappraise all parcels in the county. All notices of valuation will be sent out to all real property owners on May 1.

The residential property assessment value this year is 7.96 percent, while commercial, vacant and mining claims are at 29 percent.

Taxpayers can appeal the value throughout the month of May. Appeals must be done in writing and can be delivered in person, by mail, fax, e-mail and online.

Taxpayers can appeal the assessor’s determination by filing an appeal with the County Board of Equalization by July 15.

The assessor’s office analyzes the following data to determine the contributors of value: Inflation/deflation; location; size of land and structure; view; quality of construction; and special features.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Local Author Wins Awards

Books by well-known local author Mary Ellen Gilliland captured three awards at the recent Colorado Independent Publishers Association 2007 Evvy Awards in Denver.

Gilliland's local history, "Rascals, Scoundrels and No Goods," earned the competition's Legacy Award. This book features the antics of shysters and shady ladies, swindlers and rogues of the mineral rush. The book offers a look backward at the brazen seizure of 1860s claim jumpers who not only took possession of prospectors' claims but "jumped" whole towns.

"SUMMIT, A Gold Rush History of Summit County, Colorado, 25th Anniversary Edition," received two awards. They included an EVVY history-category second place and a Tech Award for the book's antique photographs and illustrations. The book details Summit County's history and also offers hands-on field trips, including historical bike, jeep and auto tours.

Colorado Independent Publishers Association is the largest independent book publishers association in the country. Now in its 27th year, Gilliland's publishing company, Alpenrose Press, has published more than 20 books on Colorado history, hiking and the outdoors. Her books are available at most Sujmmit County bookstores.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Vail Resorts Pass Pricing

Vail Resorts has announced spring pricing for its Colorado Pass, Buddy Pass and the new Colorado Pass PLUS.

The Colorado Pass offers unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with no restrictions, plus 10 restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek. The pass is offered at $419 for adults, $319 for teens, ages 13-18 and $199 for children, ages 5-12. That’s $40 more than last spring’s prices, but the same as the pass cost last fall.

The Buddy Pass provides unlimited lift access at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with no date restrictions at $379 for adults, $299 for teens and $189 for children — a $30 increase over last spring.

New for next season is the Colorado Pass PLUS, which features six unrestricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, plus four additional days to which restrictions apply, and unlimited lift access at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. The pass is priced at $519 for adults, $379 for teens and $239 for children

When purchased by May 6, the Colorado Pass and the Colorado Pass PLUS include four unrestricted $45 lift tickets valid all season at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. People who purchase their passes by May 6 will also earn unlimited skiing and riding at Vail and Beaver Creek during the month of April 2008, and receive a one-year subscription to SKIING Magazine.

Vail Resorts season passes can be secured at the current prices for $29 down and the balance of the payment will be deferred until September 2007. The prices are guaranteed through May 6.

Pass renewals are available online at . New passes will go on sale on April 13 at select Front Range locations including Boulder Ski Deals, Colorado Ski and Golf in Aurora, Arvada, Colorado Springs and Littleton, and REI’s Denver flagship and Fort Collins stores from Friday through Sunday during store hours.