Welcome to the Week in Summit
This is the first installment of the Week in Summit, a new Sunday roundup of the top stories from the previous week, give or take, in the Summit Daily News. Been away for a while? Don’t pick up the paper every day? Or maybe you’re just too busy shreddin’ freshies. No worries. The Week in Summit will get you up to speed so you can act like you know.
Summit gumshoes were busy on Tuesday last week, as two financial officers — both of them long-timers in their respective organizations — were arrested that day and charged with various flavors of financial misappropriation.
First was Sue Ann Frank, the CEO of the nonprofit Summit Association of Realtors, who was charged with felony theft and forgery by the Dillon Police Department. Investigators say Frank stole more than $415,000 from the association, which she has led for nearly 20 years, by forging checks and making unauthorized fund transfers.
Frank was hired to lead the association in 1996. At the time, she was touted as a reformer who would clean up an organization that had recently fired a CEO caught embezzling funds and was lauded for her efforts to clean up messy financial records and fix a dysfunctional billing system.
Also on Tuesday, Robert Dwight Polich, 62, the financial administrator for a Keystone homeowners association, was arrested and charged with embezzling about $160,000 from the HOA.
Polich served as the Enclave Homeowners Association’s financial manager since 1986, when the neighborhood was founded.
According to the arrest affidavit, the trust Polich built up over decades was destroyed when an external audit last month revealed that $160,000 in Treasury bills was missing from the HOA’s surplus funds.
The association pays for an external audit every year, but this was the first year the missing funds were detected. Polich appears to have doctored the annual budgets to show the $160,000 in the association’s accounts.
If you’re thinking these cases have a familiar ring, you’re right. In June, Dawna Foxx, executive director of what was then the Breckenridge Festival of Film, pleaded guilty to theft and forgery in a case that included allegations that she stole close to $250,000 from her ex-husband, his business partner and the film festival, a Summit County nonprofit.
File all of the above under “What Were They Thinking?”
HIGH COUNTRY HURLER
In far more pleasant news, Summit High School baseball player Mitchell Gray landed a spot in the pitching rotation on the 21-and-under New Zealand national team for the recent Baseball World Cup in Taiwan.
His dad, Martin, a New Zealand native, reached out to the New Zealand coaches and sent them clips of Mitchell pitching.
“I didn’t think it was possible” to get on the team “because I was a 17-year-old kid,” Gray said.
When the call came, the reality set in, Gray said. He’d be going up against college-age players who included some minor-league level talent.
How did he fare?
New Zealand bench coach, Los Angeles Dodgers scout and former major league catcher Josh Bard said Gray rose to the occasion.
“We had to go from zero to a hundred in a hurry,” Bard said of the four days of practice before the tournament started. “I thought he did great. It was interesting to see one of our youngest guys show that much courage.”
Gray got a couple of chances to throw, the first coming in the third game of the five-game opening round — three days after his 18th birthday — and the second in a 9-8 loss to Venezuela.
With a 2-5 record and a number of close games, New Zealand fell one win short of making it to the elimination round of play, and finished 10th. Chinese Taipei won the tournament in a final game against Japan.
Gray called the tournament the “experience of a lifetime.” He’s hoping to play in college.
On Wednesday, Nov. 26, Vail Resorts opened its Epic Mountain Gear store in the Basecamp shopping center next to Whole Foods Market in Frisco.
The luxury gear and high-end clothing store — brands will include Stockli, Kjus and Mountain Force — is the first to align specifically with Vail Resorts’ Epic brand.
The 10,000-square-foot store, at 223 Lusher Court, will offer year-round biking and skiing sales and rentals as well as a full-service shop with tuning and fitting, said Scott Leigh, Summit County regional manager for Vail Resorts Retail.
Epic Mountain Gear is the second Vail Resorts retail store in Frisco; the other is the Breeze at Antlers ski rental store. The grand opening is in January.
FACE-LIFT AT THE LODGE
The Lodge at Breckenridge recently got a face-lift inside and out — to the tune of $3.7 million.
The lodge is situated just off Boreas Pass Road southeast of Breckenridge town center, with a full-service spa and 45 guest rooms. As part of the work, the rooms were completely transformed, with new energy-efficient windows, carpet, paint, furniture, lighting fixtures, electronics and appliances. Beetle-kill pine was incorporated into the room interiors, and a gigantic new fireplace greets visitors in the entryway of the lobby.
“The fireplace is a big thing,” Profaizer said. “It was a huge undertaking for us; it almost doubled in size and really made it a huge welcoming attraction when you first walked in. Now it’s the grand fireplace that sets that ambiance for our guests when they are checking in.”
The fresh look extends to the restaurant and bar, a space that hadn’t been used since 2006, when the previous establishment was shuttered. What was once called Top of the World has been reopened as Traverse Restaurant & Bar under new executive chef Brent Turnipseede, originally from Texas and most recently chef at Sweet Basil in Vail.
Guest Services Inc., a private hospitality company and National Park Service concessionaire based in Fairfax, Virginia, bought the lodge last summer with plans to create a “boutique luxury hotel,” said Rhonda Profaizer, general manager.
“The property was built in the ’70s,” she said. “It was built more as an athletic area for this community up here on Boreas, and then they expanded it into a hotel and kept expanding through the early ’90s to get us where we are now.”
The grand reopening event was on Friday, Dec. 5.
WHERE’S THE FIRE?
Lake Dillon fire chief Dave Parmley has announced his plans to retire by mid-year in 2015 after 36 years in the Summit County fire service.
Parmley made his announcement early to provide the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District board with adequate lead time for seeking his replacement and to establish a timetable that will allow for transition to the new chief.
“It has been an honor — as well as personally and professionally gratifying — to serve as the fire chief for both entities during a time period of significant changes, growth in the county and transition from a volunteer staff to a full career department,” Parmley said in a written statement.
Parmley’s career in the fire service began in 1979 as a volunteer firefighter with Keystone Resort’s own private fire department. Having been asked to be involved with the initial formation of the Snake River Fire Protection District in 1981, he served as the district’s only fire chief for 24 years before continuing in that position with the inclusion into the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District in 2005.
The board has begun outlining its process for selecting a replacement and defining qualifications.
Parmley, 62, said his decision to retire was not easy, but the timing was right to hand over the reins and begin enjoying other activities such as family, some travel and service opportunities.
SOCHI COMES TO COPPER
Some of the world’s top superpipe skiers and snowboarders started their seasons this very weekend at Copper Mountain Resort in the annual U.S. Grand Prix, which ran Dec. 3 through yesterday.
Sochi gold medalist David Wise topped the field in Friday’s freeski finals. Torin Yater Wallace, of the U.S., was second and Venoit Valentin, of France, was third.
On the women’s side, Janina Kuzma, of New Zealand, was first; Davin Logan, of the U.S., was second; and Ayana Onozuka, of Japan, was third.
Turn to page 17 in today’s paper to see the complete results of the men’s and women’s snowboard finals.
This story includes reporting by Summit Daily News staff and The Associated Press. Contact Kevin Frazzini at email@example.com.
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