Officials investigate stolen truck, multiple break-ins | SkyHiDailyNews.com

Officials investigate stolen truck, multiple break-ins

A sudden rash of vehicle thefts and break-ins has county investigators searching for clues as they gather details on what appears to be a series of connected property crimes that occurred in the Fraser Valley over a single night last week.

County officials are still in the thick of investigations related to the crimes but the tentative hypothesis is the crimes are related. The incident was initially brought to the attention of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) early Tuesday morning Aug. 16 when the Thornton Police Dept. contacted the GCSO about a 1999 Ford F-350 pickup truck registered in Grand County that was involved in a traffic accident early that morning at approximately 5:20 a.m.

Thornton authorities found the truck’s ignition had been punched out, a typical tactic employed by car thieves, and contacted the GCSO. As GCSO Deputies headed to the vehicle’s registered address the owner of the pickup called the GCSO to report his truck had been stolen overnight. The truck was stolen from the Meadow Ridge area, on County Road 838, west of US Highway 40 in Fraser.

Shortly thereafter the Fraser/Winter Park Police Department received calls about a vehicle in the Winter Park area that had been broken in to during the previous night. Officials were looking into the possibility of a connection between the vehicle in Winter Park and the stolen truck in Thornton when they received a report that several additional vehicles, stored at Miller Storage in Tabernash, had been broken in to overnight.

At Miller Storage authorities found three more pickup trucks had been broken in to. The ignition in two of the vehicles had been punched. Investigators also found someone had broken in to three campers at the storage facility. Additionally a van was stolen from the premises but was crashed into a nearby ditch and was abandoned when authorities arrived. The van had been hotwired and was still running when Deputies discovered it.

Vehicle thefts in Grand County are rare, according to GCSO Public Information Officer Lt. Dan Mayer, as are vehicle break-ins. The comparative nature of the multiple crimes and the short timeframe in which they occurred has prompted local investigators to surmise the incidents are related. The investigation is ongoing at this time.

EGSD Admin, Board get down to work

The new school year for the East Grand School District (EGSD) starts on Monday August 29. Teachers and school administrators throughout the District have been busy over the past several days and weeks attending staff meetings and preparing classrooms for the arrival of students.

On Tuesday August 16 the EGSD Board of Education held a Business Session meeting, their second formal meeting as a Board after returning to work for the school year in August. The EGSD Board does not conduct formal Business Sessions during July, rather the Board holds an annual Board retreat to review and discuss broad board policies for the coming academic year.

The beginning of the new school year also heralds the start of Frank Reeves tenure as District Superintendent for the EGSD. Reeves’ contract with the EGSD began on July 1. “Since early in July I have been looking forward to having the staff and teachers back,” Reeves stated. “Today (August 22) we kicked off a new year with enthusiasm and excitement towards making East Grand the best district in the state.”

Reeves replaces former EGSD Superintendent Jody Mimmack who retired this summer after serving as District Superintendent for three years. Reeves comes to Grand County from the Genoa-Hugo School District, located on the eastern plains of Colorado.

While classes for the EGSD start next week student athletes have been busy getting into sporting shape for the past two weeks with team training camps for the fall. Reeves expressed his excitement about the start of fall sports and the character he is already seeing in the young athletes of East Grand.

“Having the high school students start practice last week, and having games this weekend is a sign that we are back in session,” Reeves stated. “Meeting a few of our student/athletes was awesome as they presented themselves as polite, mature, hard working young adults.”

WP’s second TRO denied

District Court Judge Mary Hoak denied the request by the town of Winter Park for a second restraining order against the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

The town of Winter Park submitted a second restraining order against the BOCC regarding the application of Serene Wellness, a retail marijuana store proposed for Winter Park.

Judge Hoak signed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Monday, August 15. The TRO was requested by Winter Park and was directed at the BOCC and prevents the BOCC from holding additional Public Hearings related to the proposed marijuana retail business in a portion of unincorporated Grand County contained entirely within the borders of Winter Park.

At their August 16 meeting the commissioners moved to approve the retail marijuana license for Serene Wellness, LLC in Winter Park in a 2-1 vote. Commissioners Linke and Manguso moved to approve the license while Commissioner Tollett voted against approving it. At the beginning of the application discussion at that meeting County Attorney Alan Hassler asked if any of the commissioners had been handed a restraining order, summons, or complaint of any type. All commissioners responded no, and determined they could move on with deliberations regarding the license application.

Winter Park then filed for the second restraining order on August 16. According to the second restraining order, the issuance of the retail marijuana store license will likely cause “real, immediate, and irreparable harm to the Plaintiffs (Winter Park), since the Plaintiffs may have had the right to be heard and participate in the Public Hearing in a more meaningful way, that may be prevented only by a restraining order.” The restraining order restrains the BOCC from issuing the actual retail marijuana store license to Serene Wellness as described in the Verified Complaint.

The order denying Winter Park’s motion for a second TRO states, “the Plaintiffs have failed to show that they will suffer an irreparable injury, loss, or damage. In their request for their first temporary restraining order, the Plaintiffs alleged they had been denied their due process rights because they had not been allowed to participate in a hearing before the BOCC and, absent that participation, the BOCC would make a potentially invalid decision. The BOCC, however, held the hearing in question and decided the question before it at the end of the hearing, prior to the Plaintiffs serving the BOCC with the Court’s TRO. The Plaintiffs fail to elucidate in their second motion what, if any, immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage will result to them absent a TRO, now that the BOCC has rendered its decision.”

Winter Park is currently pursuing a preliminary injunction regarding the dispensary application.

Obituary: Timothy Jay Adams

Timothy Jay Adams, 50 of Hot Sulphur Springs, passed away unexpectedly August 19, 2016. He was the son of Ronald “Ron” Adams and Marilyn Kay (Wheeler) Adams, born November 6, 1965 in Denver. Tim worked every night in Grand County delivering papers throughout the community. He also helped keep Grand County clean having worked as a trash truck driver and more recently as a hauler of scrap and metal recycling. He enjoyed nothing more than taking his son fishing to his favorite spot in Grand County, Williams Fork Reservoir. He loved his son dearly.

Tim leaves behind his seven-year-old son Timothy Arthur and Timmy’s mom Laurie Trujillo. He also leaves behind his father Ron Adams of Texas, sister Tanya Castillo and her husband Carlos of Texas, his nieces Belinda, Veronica, Kayla, and his nephews Brian and Brandon. Tim was preceded in death by his mother, Marilyn Kay Adams. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, August 24 at the Hot Sulphur Springs Community Church with a pot luck reception to follow at the church.

Firefighters make progress on western blazes

August is nearly over and big game hunting is right around the corner but this year’s wildfire season is still blazing with conflagrations burning throughout the western US and across portions of Colorado.

Most of the wildfires that have affected Colorado this summer have been fully suppressed or more or less brought under control, including the Cold Springs Fire that threatened Nederland and the Hayden Pass Fire burning near Coaldale, but there are a few uncontrolled wildfires still burning up the Rocky Mountain State.

BEAVER CREEK

The Beaver Creek Fire north of Grand County in Jackson County is still burning. The fire has expanded to 37,170-acres as of Tuesday afternoon August 23. Containment on the Beaver Creek Fire stands at 53 percent with a total of 30 personnel actively battling the blaze.

The fire was sparked just a short distance north of Walden in North Park not far from the Colorado/Wyoming border. Since the initial detection of the fire on June 19 fire officials have worked to contain the conflagration as flames spread through heavily timbered forests of beetle-killed lodgepole pines.

The beetle-kill pine poses a significant risk to firefighters because the relatively weak trunks make them susceptible to being blown over at any time. The downed trees also create additional fuel piles, contributing to extreme fire behavior.

As a result officials have focused much of their effort on the Beaver Creek Fire on establishing fire lines in less heavily timbered areas. The official estimated containment date for the fire is Oct. 21. Over the past several weeks the fire has burned numerous structures including one cabin, eight outbuildings and three historic outbuildings.

Officials do not know the exact cause of the fire but the US Forest Service is investigating the fire as possibly human caused. Local firefighting assets from the Grand Lake Fire Protection District and the Grand Fire Protection District provided assistance on the Beaver Creek Fire shortly after the initial fire outbreak.

LAVA MOUNTAIN

Firefighters from Grand Lake and Granby also assisted regional firefighting assets on the Lava Mountain Fire in west central Wyoming in late July and early August. The Lava Mountain Fire was nearly fully contained, at 95 percent, as of the last fire update provided by the Federal Government’s Incident Information System InciWeb filed on Monday morning August 15.

The Lava Mountain Fire has so far consumed 14,644-acres in the Shoshone National Forest just south of US Highway 287 between Dubois and Moran Wyo. Firefighters continue to mop up and secure containment lines on the fire while working to repair damage from suppression efforts. Officials expect little perimeter growth from the Lava Mountain Fire.

SILVER CREEK

The Silver Creek Fire was first detected on Saturday August 20. The fire is burning in the swath of forest land located between Wolford Mountain Reservoir to the east, Phippsburg to the west, Rabbit Ears Pass to the north and US Highway 134 to the south. The fire grew by about two-acres Monday August 22. So far the fire has burned approximately 10-acres within the Routt National Forest in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness.

A total of 45 personnel have been assigned to the Silver Creek blaze as of Tuesday morning August 23 while press releases from the US Forest Service state containment stands at zero percent. Firefighter activity is focused on structure assessment, developing contingency plans and identifying areas where fire lines and fuel breaks can be built to protect structures. The Silver Creek Fire is burning primarily in live and dead lodgepole pine stands.

SPRING CREEK 2

The Spring Creek 2 Fire is a relatively small fire burning just a short distance south west of I-70 between Parachute and De Beque. The Spring Creek 2 Fire was discovered on private property in Garfield County on Friday August 12. So far the fire has burned 621-acres but despite is comparatively diminutive size to other major wildfires this summer the Spring Creek 2 blaze has done significant damage to private property.

According to InciWeb, “The Spring Creek 2 Fire moved rapidly into Mesa County narrowly missing homes in its path. Fire crews were able to save multiple primary residents but four out building, three trailers and three vehicles were destroyed.”

Containment on the Spring Creek 2 Fire stands at 100 percent. There are a total of six personnel still assigned to the fire according to InciWeb.

GCLD proposes mill levy increase to BOCC

At the August 23 Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting the Grand County Library District (GCLD) proposed an increased mill levy for the November election to pay off their debt, balance their budget, and maintain services and branches. If approved, the mill levy would increase from 2.41 mills to 3.36 mills, a .95 increase. According to the GCLD, this results in a property tax increase of $8 a year on a $100,000 home.

According to the GCLD, the mill levy increase will raise enough money to pay their $4.5 million debt 10 years early, and by paying off the debt in 10 years, they will save Grand County tax payers $1.2 million in interest payments—money they will not have to pay out in the end. By using money from the mill levy to pay their yearly debt payments they will be freeing up cash to run the district. According to the GCLD, getting rid of the debt as quickly as possible is the fiscally responsible thing to do to help them move towards a balanced budget. The mill levy sunsets in 10 years when the debt is paid, so this way the GCLD will not be asking for more from tax payers than absolutely needed.

Mary Chance, GCLD board member pointed out that this does not ultimately mean that they will never have to cut services again, but by increasing the mill to pay off the debt early the GCLD can focus on their future and the library users when property values recover or the Henderson Mill picks back up again. According to a slide show presentation from the GCLD, they have crunched the numbers, and by taking care of the debt payment, tightening the budget, and cutting central services they can maintain their branches for the immediate future.

One concern about the proposed ballot question, raised by Commissioners Linke and Manguso, and County Assessor Tom Weydert was the wording, which was written by an outside law firm hired by the GCLD.

The original question states what the money from mill levy can be used for including: “to pay off the district’s outstanding lease-purchase financing; to operate, maintain and improve library facilities and library services; and for any other uses permitted by law.”

The phrase in question was “any other uses permitted by law.”

Weydert and Commissioners Linke and Manguso agreed that if the GCLD could make the phrase more clear as to what the money would be used for, it may be more palatable for voters.

The GCLD plans to return the question to the firm that wrote it and represent the mill levy proposal at the Tuesday, September 6 BOCC meeting.

Chance said the library district will be coming up with two budgets in October: one for if the mill levy passes, and one for if it does not.

Commissioners Manguso and Linke also said they are willing to help the GCLD store belongings in the Administrative building if the GCLD central services building, which is currently listen on the market, sells.

Val Lind accepts Therese McElroy Award for Excellence in Healthcare Service during fundraiser

The Grand County Rural Health Network hosted its 4th Annual Bulls, Boots, and BBQ fundraiser on Friday, August 19 at Strawberry Creek Ranch 9N in Granby.

The Olde-Fashioned Barn Dance honored the past, present, and future of healthcare in Grand County, while raising money for a local nonprofit that improves the future of our healthcare by educating the community on health issues and ensuring accessibility and efficiency of the healthcare system.

Jen Fanning, Executive Director of the Grand County Rural Health Network presented the Therese McElroy Award for Excellence in Healthcare Service to Val Lind, RN. during the fundraiser. Included in the night’s festivities was a live auction and a sillent auction. Attendees could ride a mechanical bull and the local band, Red Dirt Hill played under the tent. Despite a rain and hail storm, the night went off without a hitch with excellent food, drink and entertainment.

The Sky-Hi News invites participants to submit their photos from the evening to be posted on the Sky-Hi News website. Please view videos of the event on the Sky-Hi News Facebook page.

On the Pitch

Walking jukebox

Gary Key, known as the “Walking Jukebox” performed a myriad of requests and originals for Sunday Funday at the Winter Park Pub (requests included Paul McCartney’s “Let It Be”). He can also be found playing regularly at the Tabernash Tavern, and at Brickhouse 40 and Mackinaw’s, and is set to entertain at Advocates’ Taste of Fall Sept. 10.

Out Numbered show at Elk Horn Gallery

Left Pem Dunn, Stacey Peterson, Karen Vance, Cydney Springer and owner of Elk Horn Art Gallery, Tom Coblentz. They are standing next to a newly unveiled original Karen Vance painting. Show will hang until Sept 1.