Top 5 most-read stories last week: minimum wage, I-70 crash and short-term rental conversion program

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

1. Local business owners say minimum wage increase for 2022 likely won’t affect their workers

When voters passed Amendment 70 in 2016, it effectively raised the minimum wage by $0.90 each year until it reached $12 per hour, which happened in 2020. Since then, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has adjusted the minimum wage each year to account for cost of living.

Right now, the department is collecting public input on the proposed new minimum wage that’s set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022. The department is proposing the new minimum wage be set at $12.56, which is a 24 cent increase from the current $12.32. Public comment will be collected through Nov. 3, and the final rules will be adopted Nov. 11.

For the most part, Summit County business owners say the proposed increase won’t have a large effect on their operations because most are already paying above this set standard.

Daymon Pascual, owner of P4 Window Cleaning in Frisco, said his nine employees are paid on commission, but that entry-level wages are usually broken down between $16 and $20 per hour. In his opinion, paying a higher wage is critical due to the county’s unique economy.

Jenna deJong

2. Driver who died in I-70 crash identified; injured construction worker in ‘good condition’

The driver of a semitrailer who was killed in a crash on Interstate 70 near Silverthorne on Tuesday, Oct. 5, has been identified as Vipan Kumar Mengi, a 43-year-old man from Jurupa Valley, California, according to Summit County Chief Deputy Coroner Amber Flenniken.

Late Tuesday, Mengi lost control of his vehicle and collided with four other vehicles in a construction zone, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis. The semitrailer caught fire as a result of the crash, and Mengi was declared dead on scene. Mengi’s cause of death is pending autopsy results, according to an email from Flenniken.

Construction worker Timofey Malyshkin was injured in the crash. GoFundMe spokesperson Jeff Platt wrote in an email that Malyshkin was working on his truck when the collision occurred.

Colin Remillard, spokesperson for Colorado State Patrol, said no other injuries occurred as a result of the crash and that Malyshkin is undergoing treatment. Malyshkin was brought to Saint Anthony Summit Hospital following the accident, and hospital spokesperson Brent Boyer reported via text message Friday that Malyshkin is in “good condition.”

Taylor Sienkiewicz

3. Summit County finalizes incentive details for its short-term rental conversion program

What’s been in the works since June is now finalized: Summit County staff recently wrapped up details on the county’s short-term rental conversion program that aims to transition units into long-term housing. The program officially launched Friday, Oct. 15.

The last of the details were wrapped up during a Summit Board of County Commissioners’ work session meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5. Summit County Housing Director Jason Dietz proposed various incentives for the first few phases of the program, all of which had unanimous support from the county commissioners.

The first phase of the program will last until Dec. 15 or until the program gets 15 conversions, whichever comes first. This phase offers the highest dollar amount in incentives, mainly because the county is striving to get units converted as quickly as possible before the beginning of ski season.

Jenna deJong

4. Country Boy Mine superintendent discovers historic artifact dating back to the mine’s original superintendent

Country Boy Mine has stumbled upon a previously unearthed historic artifact.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, Mine Superintendent Jonathan Bellew ecstatically recounted how he was patrolling the property with Mine Foreman Bridges Simmons when he noticed a bit of writing on a piece of timber in a pile of rubble at the mine’s old mill.

“I just caught (the edge of the writing) out of the corner of my eye because there was another plank on top of it, and I was like, ‘That’s not natural,’“ Bellew said. “I was like, ‘Bridges, no way. Come look at this.’”

The plank of wood was hand-painted with the inscription “​​C.M. Mullen Supt. Breckenridge, Colorado.”

C.M. Mullen refers to Charles Mullen, who was the first superintendent of Country Boy Mine. He was brought to the mine in 1888 to run the operation. Bellew noted that in addition to running Country Boy Mine, Mullen located several other nearby mines in the area. By 1892, Mullen had sold all of his property in Summit County and moved to Idaho.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

5. Summit County commissioners reject Keystone-area marijuana license

There’s no dispensary coming to Keystone.

The Summit Board of County Commissioners voted to reject the retail marijuana license for The Tree Line dispensary in the Keystone area during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12. The license was denied in a split 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence dissenting.

Applicant Zack Becker and his family proposed to build a 1,200-square-foot dispensary at the corner of U.S. Highway 6 and Rasor Drive, adjacent to the Mountain View Plaza and in close proximity to nearby residential neighborhoods.

The Summit County Planning Department rejected the initial application for a retail marijuana license last month, citing its perceived incompatibility with the nearby neighborhoods. The Becker family appealed the decision to the Board of County Commissioners, but the board ultimately decided to ax the concept due in large part to strong opposition from residents in the area.

Sawyer D’Argonne

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