Top 5 most-read stories last week: A John Doe is finally identified, why Summit County isn’t a hotel hotspot and Colorado counties most at risk for wildfires

The sun sets over the Blue River Arm of Lake Dillon Reservoir Recreation Area on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
Liz Copan/For the Summit Daily News

Stories in this list received the most page views on in the past week.

1. A John Doe who died in 2012 and was found in 2016 on the Tenmile Range has, at last, been identified

A hiker trekking up a game trail in a chute along the western face of the Tenmile Range stumbled across a human skull on the forest floor. That was in 2016.

Sept. 12, the Summit County Coroner’s Office announced the positive identification of the remains as Jeffery Peterson, of Virginia. According to the Coroner’s Office, Peterson had been dead for four years when his remains were found. He died in 2012 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at the age of 53.

It was about 10 years before his family could be notified of his death, due in part to difficulties identifying the body.

— Luke Vidic

2. Why isn’t Summit County a hotel hotspot? Visitors and residents give input on their lodging preferences

Residents, visitors and even officials have said that Summit County is not a hotel destination. 

With its beautiful scenery and multiple ski resorts established within the county’s jurisdiction, visitors flock to Summit County every year to ski or ride, hike, climb, mountain bike and more.

These visitors, however, need a place to stay. Hotels are not the No. 1 option for many, based on input from vacationers in Frisco. Likewise, there are only three hotels in Breckenridge, according to the Breckenridge Tourism Office, and about 46% of Breckenridge’s occupancy was utilized in 2021. 

So where are people staying? 

In the past few years, short-term rentals have increasingly become an option for those visiting the region. So much so that about a third of all homes in Summit County have a short-term rental license, according to Summit County Housing Director Jason Dietz.

Eili Wright

3. Ruling in Louisiana court halts Frisco’s plans for a locals-only short-term license type; officials will likely increase cap to 25%

As Frisco officials continue to evaluate short-term rental options, a proposal to provide a short-term license category for residents has gained some traction. However, a recent decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals may prevent a locals-only rule.

“The only federal case law is very much against us,” Frisco Town Attorney Thad Renaud said.

The decision, issued Aug. 22 in the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, ruled a New Orleans residency requirement to short-term rent was unconstitutional. Judges determined it violated the commerce clause in that it discriminated against out-of-state property owners, and thereby regulated interstate commerce which is the realm of the federal government.

— Luke Vidic

4. These 5 Colorado counties face the highest risk of losing homes to wildfires

Nearly 320,000 single-family homes in Colorado are at risk of wildfire damage with potential losses highest in El Paso County, according to CoreLogic, a property information firm that prepares an annual wildfire report.

California, Florida, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico are the top five states in terms of the number of homes susceptible to wildfire damage, CoreLogic estimates. But given their much smaller populations than the first three states, Colorado and New Mexico are more vulnerable on a percentage of homes basis.

— The Denver Post

5. Friday’s drowned men identified as brothers from Mexico

The Summit County Coroner’s Office identified Sept. 9’s two drowning victims as residents of Oaxaca, Mexico.

The two decedents were confirmed to be brothers Rigoberto Martinez, 28, and Alejandro Martinez, 23. The final cause and manner of death are pending autopsy results, Summit County Coroner Regan Wood reported Sept. 10, but it looks like an accidental drowning.

— Luke Vidic

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