Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of July 7 | SummitDaily.com

Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of July 7

Pictured from left are Idaho Springs Mayor Michael Hillman, Colorado Department of Transportation executive director Shoshana Lew, Federal Highway Administration division administrator John Cater, CDOT commissioner Kathy Connell, Gov. Jared Polis, regional transportation director Paul Jesaitis and Clear Creek County Commissioner Randall Wheelock as they break ground on the Westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane Project in Idaho Springs on Thursday.
Sawyer D’Argonne / sdargonne@summitdaily.com

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.

1. Hunt on for noxious weeds in Summit, Eagle counties

Seeds of a few dozen different invasive weed species from across the country or world may be hiding between the treads of a shoe or hiking boot. Once these aliens land in the forests, they may spread out and never leave. To combat the growing infestation of noxious and invasive weeds in Summit and Eagle counties, the Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness received a $16,000 grant from the National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund to conduct weed mitigation projects in the area. Invasive weeds do their damage by getting a foothold and spreading into the local biosphere, taking away food and space from native plants, which eventually disappear and get replaced by the invasive plants.

— Deepan Dutta

2. Peak 8 hotel developer takes aim at visitors seeking lavish stay in Breckenridge

Developers are hopeful the proposed hotel and condominium project on Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8 will help to draw a more diverse crowd to the mountain, attracting individuals seeking a higher-end experience. In April, Vail Resorts announced the sale of 4.1 acres of Peak 8 real estate to Lionheart Capital, a Miami-based investment and development firm with plans to construct a 150-room luxury hotel on top of 35 residential condos. The unnamed development, adjacent to One Ski Hill Place, will serve as a ski-in, ski-out site managed by Vail Resort’s hospitality division and will feature a spa and fitness center, restaurant, bar and lounge, meeting space and parking among other amenities. Developers are interested in attracting new clientele to the resort, particularly those looking for a more opulent stay. Assuming final design plans will be approved later this year, Dunin said Lionheart is trying to begin construction during a window in late summer 2020. Construction is tentatively expected to take about 28 months to complete.

— Sawyer D’Argonne

3. 13 years after her father’s death, Missouri woman looks for good Samaritan in Breckenridge

The Summit Daily News received an email in hopes of finding a good Samaritan who helped out a Missouri family 13 years ago. It left such a lasting impression on St. Louis resident Colleen Hogan that she wanted to find the man and let him know how much his kindness still resonates. A photo of the man in question was taken the day he helped the family change a flat tire on the top of Boreas Pass in Breckenridge on a family vacation. The photo featured the mystery man with his arm around Hogan’s father, Richard Lake, who was 70 at the time. Lake died four days later in a car accident after the family returned to St. Louis, and the picture has been hanging above Hogan’s desk at work, and in her home, for the past 13 years. Keep an eye out for further updates on this story, as we have a lead as to who the mystery good Samaritan might be.

— Heather Jarvis

4. CDOT breaks ground on westbound I-70 mountain express lane, which will widen interstate for 13 miles

Front Range motorists soon may have an easier time making their way up to the mountains as the Colorado Department of Transportation kicks off its Westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane Project. Dozens gathered Thursday morning along Interstate 70 in Idaho Springs as officials from around the state broke ground on the project, which aims to reduce congestion and improve safety for drivers along the mountain corridor. The $70 million project will convert a shoulder into an additional lane on westbound I-70. The extra lane will open as a toll lane during peak travel times, effectively widening the highway for about a 13-mile spread between the Veterans Memorial Tunnels and Empire Junction, one of the more congestion-heavy stretches of the interstate.

A similar express lane project opened on the eastbound side of the road in 2015 and has been widely considered a success by state officials. The eastbound lane opens about 100 days per year during peak transit times — primarily weekends and holidays. Officials are hopeful the westbound lane will make a similar impact.

— Sawyer D’Argonne

5. Four men wanted for allegedly transporting cockfighting roosters through Summit County

Arrest warrants have been issued for the four men caught transporting roosters across state lines and through Summit County earlier this year, alleging the birds were raised for cockfighting. On May 15, three of the men were pulled over by state patrol along Interstate 70 near Silverthorne due to driving with unreadable temporary tags on their truck. State patrol troopers discovered something suspicious almost immediately. The men had packed 33 roosters inside the truck in homemade wooden boxes, stacked on top of each other, and there was no food or water for the birds in the vehicle. State patrol troopers also noted that the truck’s trunk was covered in the roosters’ feces and urine, and they called the stench “overwhelming.” The birds were looked over by a veterinarian, and it was discovered that 17 of the roosters had clipped or missing spurs — a defensive claw-like growth consistent with fighting roosters.

The men have been charged with animal fighting, a class 5 felony, and misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The felony charge is punishable by up to three years in prison. Once arrested, the men will be able to post a $5,000 bond

— Sawyer D’Argonne


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