Top 5 most-read stories last week: Oktoberfest concerns, former teacher acquitted, development news and leaf season

Lines for the beer tents stayed constant during Breckenridge's Oktoberfest on Sept. 16. Some town officials and business owners have voiced concerns about the local impact from the event.
Kit Geary/Summit Daily

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on from Sept. 24-30.

1. Breckenridge officials, business owners voice concerns about Oktoberfest aftermath

While described by some as one of the more “tame” Oktoberfests in recent memory, some business owners on Breckenridge’s Main Street still say they were negatively impacted by the festival.

Once the event ended, those who participated flowed out into downtown Breckenridge, many of them intoxicated, some causing issues for local businesses. At Wednesday’s town council meeting Mayor Eric Mamula, a business owner on Main Street, told the Council something had to be done. 

After Oktoberfest ended, attendees were throwing up and breaking things near establishments downtown, Mamula said. He said one person even defecated near his business. 

According to Mamula, this has always been a bad event for retailers downtown, with some closing their doors early the day of the event due to previous negative experiences.

Kit Geary

2. Jury acquits former Summit Middle School gym teacher of all sexual assault charges

A jury found former Summit Middle School gym teacher Leonard Grams not guilty Wednesday, Sept. 27, of sexually assaulting three of his students when they were about 13 years old.

The jury deliberated for just over three hours, before finding Grams, 62, not guilty of five Class 4 felony charges of sexual assault on a child and three Class 3 felony charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

“Mr. Grams is very grateful for the people of the jury for listening and considering all of the evidence He’s always had a deep faith in the justice system,” said defense attorney Jake Lilly after the trial’s conclusion.

Ryan Spencer

3. Summit County officials lose confidence in proposed Breckenridge-area housing development

Six years after Summit County officials approved the rezoning of a 23-acre parcel near Breckenridge for mixed-residential development, county leaders are pessimistic the project will ever come to fruition.

The Trails at Berlin Placer was meant to be the site of 14 market-rate single-family homes and 22 deed-restricted multifamily housing units east of Breckenridge. After rezoning the area to allow for the development in 2017, county officials said there has been little movement on the project. 

Three market-rate homes have been constructed under “various conditions,” said county community development director Steve Greer during a Monday, Sept. 25, Summit Board of County Commissioners meeting. 

“However, the road and utility infrastructure has not been completed or has failed inspection and needs to be reconstructed to meet minimum construction requirements,” Greer said. 

Even if the infrastructure needs are met, the county cannot issue certificates of occupancy to any of the three market-rate homes until the first 10 deed-restricted units have been built, due to a provision of the rezoning, Greer said. 

Robert Tann

4. A peek inside Kindred Resort, Keystone’s $300M residential and commercial project

In Keystone’s River Run Village, hundreds of workers toil under towering cranes on a 320,000-square-foot development that project leaders hope will be the ski area’s new centerpiece. 

Kindred Resort, a more than $300-million-dollar project set to open in 2025, will house 95 luxury condominiums, a 107-room hotel, restaurants, ski school, event space and more, all steps away from the River Run Gondola. 

When completed, the resort will consist of three, 52-foot-tall towers, making it an area landmark on a site that has been undeveloped for 50 years. The third company to attempt such a project, Kindred Resort has been a vision nearly 10 years in the making, said Shervin Rashidi, a co-founder of the development team. 

Robert Tann

5. Colorado’s fall leaf-peeping season could be one of the best in years

The 2023 leaf-peeping season has officially kicked-off in Colorado’s High Country, bringing pockets of fall color to mountainsides across the state. 

Thanks to above-average precipitation in past months, forest experts say this year’s ephemeral event is likely to be one of the best in years. 

“This year, aspens are just proliferating with all the successful moisture we had over the winter,” said Dan West, entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service. “I expect the color to be more than we’ve seen in the last few years.”

West, who recently completed an aerial observation of the state’s 24 million acres of forest, said aspen trees haven’t looked this good since 2018, which he called the last great snow year prior to 2023. 

Robert Tann

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