Top 5 most-read stories last week: Snow forecast, district employees charged, chicken protestor and Copper Mountain parking
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com from Feb. 26 to March 4.
1. Colorado to see six straight days of snow, but which areas will get the most powder? Meteorologists take their best guess.
While Summit County won’t be missed by the upcoming string of storms that could drop powder across Colorado for six days straight, the southern mountains are favored this time around.
Silverton Mountain Ski Area, Purgatory Resort, Telluride Ski Resort, Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort and Steamboat Ski Resort have the highest chances for deep powder in the next week, according to stats compiled by OpenSnow.com.
— Summit Daily staff
2. Summit Middle School principal, counselor on leave ‘until further notice,’ district says
In a letter to district parents on Feb. 28, Summit School District Superintendent Tony Byrd stated that Summit Middle School Principal Greg Guevara and counselor Maureen Flannagan have been “placed on administrative leave until further notice.”
Byrd, in his letter, stated that the district is “making plans to support students” on Flannagan‘s caseload and told parents to contact assistant principals Nelle Briggs and Jeff Chabot for further questions.
“We will keep you informed with more updated information as we are able,” Byrd wrote.
District spokesperson Andrea Ridder said, “right now, we really can’t share any information” beyond that the district is complying with a law enforcement investigation.
3. Several Summit School District employees charged with failure to report child abuse
A grand jury has indicted three Summit County School District employees and one former employee for allegedly failing to report allegations of child abuse, according to a news release from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Summit Middle School Principal Greg Guevara, 45, of Breckenridge; Summit Middle School counselor Maureen Flannagan, 48, of Kremmling; human resources specialist Amanda Southern, 48, of Breckenridge; and former human resources director Grant Schmidt, 55, of Parker, each face one count of failure to report child abuse or neglect, a Class 3 misdemeanor, the release states.
The grand jury issued the indictments Feb. 23, according to the 5th Judicial District. The four defendants reportedly turned themselves in to law enforcement between Monday, Feb. 27, and Tuesday, Feb. 28. All four were released on personal recognizance bonds of $500. The first court hearing related to the case is scheduled for April 19 at 8:30 a.m., the release states.
4. Why did the chicken cross the road in Summit County? To protest Vail Resorts
Passersby on U.S. Highway 6 in Keystone may have caught an unusual sight early Thursday morning: A 6-foot-tall chicken wielding a sign about J-1 visa employees who’ve been “mistreated or lied to” by Vail Resorts.
The person behind the beak, Avon resident Tim McMahon, has been demonstrating on or near Vail Resorts’ property with provocative signs for the past three years. In recent months, he’s opted to do so in a chicken costume to draw more attention to what he said is unfair treatment of employees and the community by Vail Resorts.
In particular, McMahon said he was raising awareness of J-1 visa employees who he said have faced struggles securing housing and have seen their hours cut, making it difficult to contend with the area’s high cost of living. McMahon’s demonstration, his first in the Keystone area, comes after reporting by the Summit Daily News found that international student employees working for Keystone Resort on a J-1 visa received as little as six hours of work in a week.
5. Copper’s Alpine Lot could charge for parking next season following a land use change by Summit County officials
The days of free parking at Copper Mountain Resort’s Alpine Lot could be numbered after Summit County officials agreed to a land use amendment for the site.
During a Summit Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Graeme Bilenduke, Copper’s director of development, and Elena Scott of Norris Design — which partnered with the resort to build an 80-unit workforce housing complex next to the lot — made the case that charging skiers and boarders at the resort’s largest parking site next season would help incentivize carpooling and alternate modes of transportation in a bid to reduce traffic congestion.
At the heart of the request to commissioners was the removal of a prohibition on paid parking for the Alpine Lot, which can house roughly 1,700 vehicles, which was outlined in the site’s planned unit development that dictates land use.
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