Top Summit County stories from September and October 2012 |

Top Summit County stories from September and October 2012

Daily News staff report
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a six-part series highlighting the top stories in the Summit Daily News in 2012.

Those who knew and worked with Mark Gage say Frisco became the town it is today in part through his work and dedication.

Now, members of the community he helped shape are saying goodbye.

Gage died after experiencing a “medical event” while riding his bike in Breckenridge. He was 53.

Summit Stage summer ridership is up significantly over last year, something officials attribute to good tourism and lowering unemployment in Summit County over the past few months.

July saw an increase in riders of 9.63 percent compared to 2011, almost 15 percent in June and nearly 12 percent for May, according to John Jones, director of Summit County Government Transit and Fleet Services.

A bear cub reportedly drowned in Dillon Reservoir. Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers were misinformed on the age of the bear which affected their response to the situation.

“If we would have known that the report of a bear in Dillon Reservoir was a cub, we would have responded differently,” said Mike Porras, parks and wildlife spokesman.

Denver Water hosted a 50th anniversary celebration of the Roberts Tunnel, one of the Front Range’s most important water resources, Wednesday near Grant, which remains one of the largest water diversion tunnels in the world.

The tunnel was designed to bring water to Denver across the Continental Divide from Summit County to the large, concentrated population of the eastern side of Colorado.

Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District Boardmember Jim Keating will be taking over as fire chief later this year ahead of current chief Lori Miller’s retirement in December.

Keating is set to take the reins as interim chief Nov. 1.

Gregory Scott Gavin submitted a guilty plea to the charge of second-degree murder, heat of passion, in court Wednesday for the killing of Karl Kohler in May.

The charge, a Class III felony, carries a presumptive penalty of four to 12 years in prison.

In court, prosecutors said Gavin killed Kohler by beating him on the head and body with a baseball bat. The defense attorney added that the heat of passion classification stemmed from the fact that Kohler arrived at Gavin’s campsite unannounced and an altercation occurred.

Judge Mark Thompson sentenced Wesley Wilson, the driver who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide after he hit and killed a pedestrian on a Keystone crosswalk in March, to six years in community corrections Friday.

Wilson, 20, was found to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash that killed 33-year-old Mircea Basaram, of Romania, on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Mountain water has a reputation for its freshness and Silverthorne water proved this to be true when they placed first among 16 cities in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico in the Best Tasting Water competition Tuesday.

Silverthorne’s water comes from six different wells called the Blue River Alluvium, which sits at a lower elevated valley near Silverthorne, according to Kevin Batchelder, Silverthorne town manager.

Breckenridge is again looking to host a start or finish in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, town officials confirmed.

The town is 2-0 in the bidding process to become a host city for the 600-plus-mile bike race, after winning a race stage finish in 2011 and a start in August.

“It’s a great event, we want to be a part of it,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said. “We’ll probably put in a bid every year.”

Starting every shift as a rookie cop on the violent streets of Los Angeles, Jamie FitzSimons faced the possibility that he might not make it home to his family.

But he didn’t do it alone.

He shared a squad car and an understanding with his partner, Darryn Dupree.

“We’d get in the car together … and you go over certain things,” said FitzSimons, now a captain with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “You acknowledge the most important thing is that we go home at the end of watch. No matter what, we go home.”

That promise and the still-strong friendship between FitzSimons and Dupree were the inspiration for director David Ayer’s “End of Watch,” a film that pushes past the violence of traditional cop dramas to tell a story about the human beings behind the badges.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala, secretly filming their daily lives patrolling South Central L.A.

Summit County commissioners voted unanimously to appoint local physician Tim Keeling to the role of coroner at a special meeting Tuesday.

Keeling takes over the elected office vacated by Joanne Richardson, who resigned in the middle of her third and final term of office to move to Basalt with her husband.

Breckenridge’s first rodeo, hosted for five weekends on a trial basis this summer, went off with hardly a hiccup, according to a recently released report from town staffers.

Organizers now want to continue the event for an 11-week run next summer.

The decision by the U.S. Forest Service to approve the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge Ski Resort has received two appeals and endorsements by 45 individuals and environmental groups.

The Forest Service has 45 days from today to submit a final written decision on the expansion.

Xcel Energy and the Summit Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual COO Breakfast at Keystone Conference Center with ski leaders to discuss trends affecting the upcoming ski season.

Coming into the ski season after a bad snow year, COOs from Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin greeted the crowd with optimism.

SKI Magazine’s annual reader poll results of the top 30 ski areas in North America placed three Summit County resorts among the rankings.

Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain and Keystone Resort were all voted in the top 30 with Breckenridge, topping the Summit County ranking at 14th place.

The winner of the ranking was Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, with last year’s winner, Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, ranking second.

Joining the list of ski areas open in Colorado, Loveland Ski Area kicked off its season opening with chairlifts.

“We know there are a lot of really anxious skiers and riders ready to get this season started,” said John Sellers, spokesman for the ski area. “Our snow quality is great and our team has been working really hard to open with these conditions.”

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