Top 5 most-read stories last week: Summit Middle School teacher faces felony charges of sexual assault, Breckenridge passes new short-term rental regulations, developers impacted by economy woes |

Top 5 most-read stories last week: Summit Middle School teacher faces felony charges of sexual assault, Breckenridge passes new short-term rental regulations, developers impacted by economy woes

A lockbox is pictured at the Winterpoint Townhomes in Breckenridge on Thursday, May 14, 2020. The townhomes are one of many short-term rental properties in Summit County.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

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

1. Some Breckenridge property owners concerned about what’s to come from new short-term rental ordinances

Property owners and managers gathered at Breckenridge Town Hall Aug. 9 to express concerns about the town’s new ordinances, which would divide the town into tourism, downtown and residential zones for short-term rental licensing.

Of the speakers, many were owners in Zone 3, which has the lowest allowance for short-term rentals. Over the past few weeks, the council has discussed protecting the character of neighborhoods that are traditionally for the workforce. Passed at first reading, the map uses the town’s land-use districts and guidelines to designate what neighborhoods go into their respective zones. Others were concerned about future legislation that would impact fees put on rentals.

— Eliza Noe

2. Summit County developers struggle in light of economic complications

Tony Mathison, the owner and creator of Mathison Custom Building, said the past few years of economic strife have been enough for him to lose joy in his work. 

“I would say it’s been taxing and telling on everybody in the industry,” Mathison said. “We don’t enjoy our job like we used to. It’s a lot more difficult to build, and it’s not as fun as it used to be.”

Mathison said nearly every factor that goes into construction has had some kind of economic complication, from materials to delivery to securing employees. 

“It’s, I think, a little bit of a pullback due to the entire economy,” said Marilyn Hogan, the executive officer of the Summit County Builders Association. 

Mathison said the COVID-19 pandemic was the start of serious setbacks in the construction business. Materials to construct a home or business come from all over the country, and some appliances can come from around the world. Production and shipping of both were halted when COVID-19 began, and contractors are still feeling the effects.

— Eili Wright

3. Summit Middle School teacher faces multiple felony charges of sexual assault following investigation into student allegations

A Summit Middle School physical education teacher was arrested Aug. 9 on multiple felony counts of sexual assault of a child, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

The teacher surrendered himself to detectives at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility and was taken into custody without incident.

The Sheriff’s Office said school district officials identified the teacher as Leonard Alan Grams, 61. Grams taught physical education and was a project initiative teacher at Summit Middle School. Grams’ counsel said Tuesday he has been a Summit County resident since 1997.

The Summit County School District could not comment on the situation due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Luke Vidic

4. Breckenridge passes first reading of short-term rental regulations

After 10 months of research and discussion about how to handle short-term rentals in the town of Breckenridge, council members unanimously approved the first readings of two bills that creates a map that is intended to keep more short-term rental units in tourism areas rather than neighborhoods. 

Dozens of property owners and workers in the real estate and property management industries signed up to speak during public comment for the vote.

— Eliza Noe

5. Court records detail seven students’ sexual assault accusations against Summit Middle School teacher

Accusations of inappropriate contact from seven students sparked an investigation into a Summit Middle School teacher who had been with the Summit School District for 28 years, according to the 47-page affidavit released by Clear Creek County Judge Cynthia Jones Aug. 9.

Leonard Grams, 61, was arrested Tuesday morning. His advisement hearing was held at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, and the affidavit was released shortly thereafter.

According to victims’ accounts detailed in the affidavit, Grams allegedly touched female middle school students inappropriately, stared at sexual aspects of their bodies and made comments about their appearance.

— Luke Vidic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.