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The Summit Foundation names Dr. Walter Briney Outstanding Citizen for extensive volunteer work

FRISCO — The Summit Foundation has named Dr. Walter Briney, vice president of Summit Habitat for Humanity, as Outstanding Citizen for the group’s annual philanthropy awards. 

As a lifelong volunteer, Briney has made a name for himself helping to reinvigorate the area’s Habitat for Humanity chapter and working with the Summit Community Care Clinic, along with a considerable amount of volunteer work on the Front Range. Still, Briney said he was surprised when he learned he’d won the award.

“I was really thrilled,” Briney said. “I do a lot of volunteering here and down in Denver, but I never expected anything like this to happen. … It’s a wonderful compliment, and it helps to make all the volunteer activities that I’ve carried on with seem really worthwhile.”

Briney said it was his parents who first instilled in him the desire to give back to his community. He grew up on a farm in southern Michigan, where his parents were schoolteachers.

“They gave their time to help children,” Briney said. “My father, in addition to being a teacher and administrator, taught baseball and basketball. They were just very involved in volunteer activities in our small community in Michigan. And that’s probably what got me started.”

Briney earned his undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University before taking on medical school at the University of Michigan. After he graduated in 1959, he moved to Colorado to continue his education, attending the University of Colorado School of Medicine for his internship and residency. He finished his residency in two parts, taking a two-year break in 1961 to serve with the Department of Internal Medicine and as the director of Professional Services for the U.S. Air Force hospital at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

In 1966, Briney began his private practice as a rheumatologist, while he also took on a role as an associate clinical professor of medicine at CU. He retired from his clinical practice in 1999 but continued to work part time for the next 15 years with Denver Health Medical Center and University Hospital.

Briney officially retired in 2014, and while he’d been a lifelong volunteer already — with roles at CU, and a number of arthritis and osteoporosis organizations, among others — he was able to jump into more volunteer opportunities in Summit County. Briney said his son, who was handicapped and died at 48 years old in 2012, also served as a major motivating factor for his desire to get more involved in volunteer work and help disadvantaged people.

Soul of the Summit philanthropy awards
If you go
• When: 5:30-8 p.m. Nov. 21
• Where: Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center
• Register: Contact 970-453-5970 or nicole@summitfoundation.org by Nov. 13

Award winners 
• Outstanding Philanthropist: Howard and Sue Carver
• Outstanding Board Member: Kim Dufty
• Outstanding Business: Omni Real Estate
• Outstanding Citizen: Dr. Walter G. Briney
• Outstanding Educator: Chris Hall
• Outstanding Professional in a Nonprofit: Noelle Sivon
• Outstanding Volunteer: Mary Anne Johnston
• Outstanding Youth: Summit High School Mountain Dreamers
• Outstanding Youth Mentor: Aaron Landau and EVO3
• Community Collaboration: Youth Empowerment Society
• Spirit of the Summit: Mark and Deb Spiers

In 2013, Briney joined the Summit Habitat for Humanity board, where he served as the executive director until recently stepping down to the role of vice president. At Habitat, Briney is credited as the driving force in revitalizing the group, particularly the ReStore program that sells secondhand furniture to help fundraise, as well as the A Brush with Kindness program, which offers necessary home improvements for low-income homeowners in the area.

Briney also began volunteering with the Summit Community Care Clinic in Frisco, where he’s put his experience to work consulting with other physicians in the field of rheumatology.

“Looking at what he’s done here in Summit County, he’s become a very active and cherished volunteer at the Summit Community Care Clinic,” said Dr. Don Parsons, who nominated Briney for the Outstanding Citizen award. “He’s brought his expertise pro bono to the Community Care Clinic. … But in addition to that, he is the heart and soul of Habitat for Humanity here in Summit County. He’s done a whole lot of wonderful things to bring that organization back to life. It’s a whole other dimension but equally impressive.”

Briney is not one to brag about himself, but The Summit Foundation’s award is just one of a number of accolades he’s received of late, including being named one of Summit County’s super seniors by the Summit Daily News earlier this year and receiving the Colorado Community Health Network’s volunteer award in 2018.

When he’s not volunteering, Briney said he enjoys spending time with his wife, Janie, whom he credits with always supporting him during his many professional and volunteer endeavors. As a family man, he said he and Janie like to get together with their four children and nine grandchildren along with taking advantage of all Summit has to offer, like hiking with their dog and going to performances of the National Repertory Orchestra and other shows at the Dillon Amphitheater.

Despite a successful medical career, Briney said his volunteer work still stands out as particularly special to him.

“I don’t feel like I need the recognition,” Briney said. “I’m very happy with my life. But it’s good to see people recognize what I’ve done and that they feel my accomplishments are worthwhile.

“Since I’ve been involved with the Community Care Clinic and with Habitat for Humanity, the biggest impact has been seeing the major problems that disadvantaged people have and what a wonderful opportunity we have to help them. The work I’ve done with these people has had probably the biggest impact of anything on my whole life.”

Photos: Children honor veterans at Summit County schools

Breckenridge and Frisco elementary schools were just two of the many places in Summit County that held special events and remembrances on Veterans Day to honor those who have served. Both schools participated in assemblies and invited veterans to join and share their stories with the children, some whom have been learning about Armistice Day and the origins of modern Veterans Day in class.

228 arrested across Colorado during Halloween DUI enforcement period

FRISCO — A total of 228 drivers were arrested for driving impaired during the state’s Halloween DUI enforcement period, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The enforcement period, part of The Heat is On campaign, ran from Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 with 91 law enforcement agencies taking part. The 228 arrests represent a considerable decrease from 378 arrests made during the same period last year across the state.

“Increased DUI enforcement is crucial over holiday weekends to ensure all Coloradans get to their destinations safely,” CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said in a news release. “If you choose to drink or consume marijuana, don’t drive. Any amount of alcohol or marijuana consumption can hinder one’s ability to drive.”

Throughout the state, the Denver Police Department recorded the highest number of arrests (25), followed by the Colorado Springs Police Department (23) and El Paso Sheriff’s Office (19). The Summit County Sheriff’s Office was the only agency in the county that submitted numbers for the enforcement period so far, recording six arrests.

The Heat is On will return Nov. 22 for a 10-day Thanksgiving holiday enforcement period. Last year, 593 drivers were arrested during that enforcement campaign.

“There is never an excuse to drive impaired with the many alternative ride options available,” Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Matthew Packard said in the release. “As we move closer to the 2019 holiday season, we will continue to stop impaired drivers to keep everyone on Colorado roadways safe.”

Red, White & Blue responds to diesel spill in Blue River

BRECKENRIDGE — The Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District responded to a diesel spill in the Blue River on Monday after a truck went over a bridge and landed in the river, according to Chief Jim Keating.

At about 8:20 a.m., a driver traveling on Broken Lance Drive in Breckenridge, near Now Colorado Court, lost control of their pickup truck and slid over the edge into the Blue River. Keating said the vehicle landed upside down and leaked about 25 or 30 gallons of diesel into the river. There were no injuries as a result of the crash.

Crews with the fire district placed containment devices in the river near the bridge at Valley Brook Street to attempt to collect as much of the fuel spill as possible. Keating said the crews are using hazmat booms — large devices that look like pool noodles and drape over the water — to help collect the fuel.

Keating said people in the area can expect to see the booms on the water until at least Tuesday as the district waits for the diesel to make its way down the river, but he noted that residents in the area shouldn’t be worried.

“It wasn’t enough of a product spill to cause any real concerns,” Keating said.

While the spill doesn’t appear to be a major concern, Keating did emphasize that drivers in the area should use caution as there’s been a number of other traffic accidents reported in Breckenridge on Monday due to slick roadway conditions.

Light snow dustings this week; potential for more snow next week

FRISCO — After a dry start to November with only a few flakes Sunday night, meteorologist Joel Gratz of opensnow.com reported there is a chance for one or multiple storms next week.

The only mountains that saw snow accumulation from Sunday night’s storm were near the northern Continental Divide and east of there, Gratz wrote in his blog.

Copper Mountain Resort accumulated 1/2 inch to 1 inch while Loveland Ski Area got 1 inch of snow. Other Summit County mountains saw just a dusting. Gratz reported that a weak storm would roll through the area Wednesday afternoon but little to no snow is expected. 

“It won’t be a big deal,” Gratz forecast in his blog.

National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Koopmeiners agreed with Gratz’ prediction for a light dusting but added that the most accumulation Summit County peaks could see would be 6 inches.

The extended forecast shows more potential for snow accumulation. Gratz reported that all weather models are showing a possibility for several storms next week.

Nighttime and morning forecasts for the week continue to show below freezing temperatures, so even if the ski areas don’t see much natural snowfall, they can continue to crank out snow via snow guns. Copper is forecast to see temperatures as low as minus 4 at the summit Tuesday with the forecast at Keystone’s summit showing minus 5 degrees.

Letter to the editor: Stories of funny bear behavior from times gone by

I’m with the bears. They were here first.

And they’re interesting: As a canoe guide at Camp Minogyn on the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, I sit up one morning to look out the window at a bear looking in. I never was very handsome, so I guess I scared the guy. He runs to the rim of the nearby garbage pit (everyone had them).

This caught the attention of the camp director’s chow dog, who started barking and chasing the bear. The chase continued with the huge bear ambling around the pit, and the mad dog not far behind. Then the bear starts to slow down. I could almost see him thinking: Why am I, a big black wild bear, running for a lap dog?

Finally, the bear turns around and starts chasing the dog around that pit. Funny

A funnier sight was at the bear pit near the lodge at Yosemite in 1994. Don Gipe from Iowa and I heard about the bear pit so ambled over just as the garbage trucks arrived.

A big tan and silver bear caught my eye. He wasn’t heading for the garbage; he was climbing atop a huge boulder that lay between the tourists and the garbage pit. Once on top, he lies down, props his head on his hands with his elbow on the rock and watches the tourists watching the bears.

Wildlife manager Del Piccola said, “Good bear habitat … is getting harder to find.” So what do we do when the snow gets too deep for the deer and elk? We air drop them food. Why can’t we air drop garbage miles from kitchens for the bears when foraging gets tough? And get one of those thingies to hover over the site to take pictures for us?

Opinion | Morgan Liddick: The fall of the Berlin Wall

In my china cabinet, there is a small tea service from a country that no longer exists. Four bone china teacups and saucers, four cake plates, a teapot, cream pitcher and sugar bowl. They are white with a dark blue stripe, and on the bottom is a trademark reading “Echt Kobol” and “GDR,” marking them as a product of the German Democratic Republic, a vanished country.

While most Americans celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, many have forgotten the momentous event of Nov. 9, the 30th anniversary of which occurred this year. On that day in 1989, a spokesman for the East German Communist Party announced that at midnight, East Berliners would be allowed to freely cross the border to the West. Crowds quickly gathered, and in an eye blink, it was over. Although it took two more years for them to realize it, the evil that was the Soviet Union and its puppet states in Eastern Europe died that night in Berlin. Today, millions of concrete fragments of the wall that separated East and West Berlin are in living rooms across the globe; physical reminders of the West’s victory in one of the world’s longest and most dangerous conflicts.

The Berlin Wall, called an “Antifascist Bulwark” by the Communist government of East Germany, was built in 1961 following the disastrous Vienna meeting between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. President John. F. Kennedy. Sold as a means to prevent Western “fascists” from undermining “the will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany, it was in fact meant to halt the tidal wave of Eastern Europeans fleeing the socialist paradise the USSR was establishing by force in the states it occupied during the second World War. Its official moniker is also a historical reminder that the left is endlessly inventive when it comes to misuse of language — as George Orwell noted more than once.

Kennedy accepted the wall, constructed in violation of the Potsdam Accords. Lyndon B. Johnson did, as well, and Richard Nixon after him. Jimmy Carter had public qualms about Eastern Europe’s human rights record but did nothing about them. Then history’s currents shifted, and the world changed.

A Polish cardinal became Pope John Paul. A grocer’s daughter became prime minister in the United Kingdom. And Ronald Reagan was elected president. The aging autocrats of the USSR and its European puppets were suddenly confronted by Western leaders who were united and outspoken describing the wrongs they saw in the USSR and occupied Eastern Europe. When Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” and the term resonated with Poles and Czechs, Hungarians and Armenians. Tellingly, it was rejected by the American and Western European left. If Western academics and intellectuals had had their way, the Cold War might still be ongoing, with the outcome between freedom and slavery still in doubt. But Reagan and his allies persisted, and the “prison-house of nations” is no more.

So why don’t we celebrate the momentous event that drew a bright red line under 50 years of peril? Probably for the same reason we don’t really think much about the original name of Veterans Day, which is what we’ve called the 11th of November since June 1, 1954. It used to be called Armistice Day because on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the most terrible war in human history until that date ended. But it was tedious being reminded that the veneer of civilization is thin and fragile, that technology — which offers wonders and eases burdens — also threatens horrors on an unimaginable scale because the humans who use it are weak and easily corrupted. So the name was changed to “honor living veterans,” and part of the history the holiday represented was erased.

We’re good at erasing history. One current example is the campaign to destroy monuments and markers that make a few of us feel uncomfortable. Another is the selective remembering and socially conscious editing that passes for teaching history in our schools today. Why do we do it?  In some cases because history disquiets: most don’t like thinking about the lessons of World War I, and some don’t like dealing with the complexities of U.S. society before the Civil War. Still others do it deliberately and with a plan because, to use Orwell again, “He who controls the past, commands the future; he who controls the present, controls the past.”

I hope your Veterans Day was enjoyable.

Morgan Liddick’s column “On Your Right” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Liddick spent 27 years working for the U.S. Foreign Service, primarily living abroad. He also spent 12 years teaching U.S. history and Western civilization at community colleges in Colorado and Texas. He lived in Summit County as recently as 2015. Contact him at mcliddick@hotmail.com.

Watch Teton Gravity Research’s ‘Winterland’ at Riverwalk Center

BRECKENRIDGE — Kick off the snowy season Thursday, Nov. 14, with Teton Gravity Research’s feature film “Winterland.” Screening at Breckenridge’s Riverwalk Center in partnership with Breck Film Fest, the movie showcases a multitude of young ski and snowboard pioneers like Angel Collinson, Ian McIntosh and Jeremy Jones.  

A celebration of snow culture, the athletes make a mark on the mountain and in history at Lofoten Islands, Norway; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Austria.

In addition to swag, the audience has the chance to win grand prizes, including trips to Sierra Nevada’s beer camp in California, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and more. A followup to the giveaway at the recent screening of “Roadless,” Mountain Outfitters will be giving away men’s all-mountain Faction skis.

When the film is over, head to Kenosha Steak House for the afterparty and a free HighSide Brewing beer with you ticket.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with giveaways, and the screening begins at 6:30 at the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave. The event costs $12 in advance and $10 for Vail Resorts employees with proof of employment. The price goes up to $14 and $12, respectively, the day of the film. Visit breckfilmfest.org to purchase.

Todd Ligare makes a tight turn in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the film “Winterland” by Teton Gravity Research. In addition to showing the movie, the event will feature giveaways.
Austin Hopkins / Teton Gravity Research

Best Dentist: Dr. Bryan Hilton and Dr. Corry Marcincin, Summit Dental Group

Dr. Bryan Hilton and Dr. Corry Marcincin have been voted Best of Summit dentists with their practice, Summit Dental Group in Dillon. Summit Dental Group is the oldest dental practice in Summit County, having been established in 1963. 

“We have a lot of patients who have been with us since the ’60s,” Hilton said. “We have generations of families who have stuck with our practice, coming with their kids and grandkids.”

Hilton and Marcincin are a married dentist team, having come up from Denver nearly seven years ago after both attending Temple University for their dental training.

Summit Dental Group’s staff also features five hygienists along with dental assistants. Hilton said one of the biggest challenges in sustaining a successful dental practice in Summit is retaining their skilled staff, which they do by working hard but also maintaining a fun atmosphere at the office.

Hilton said Summit Dental Group is investing in new technology and expanding its services, including the ability to create digital dental impressions at the office, doing implants and a lot more cosmetic work.

Summit Dental Group also has introduced an insurance alternative for patients, a membership club that covers cleanings, X-rays and emergency visits. Hilton said it is very popular with current patients and saves them money.

Olivero: From Sisters Cabin to French chalet, Summit ski mountaineers grow sisterhood (Podcast)

FRISCO — Of the 450 people — well, the one’s officially accounted for, at least — who piled into 10 Mile Music Hall, Sharon Crawford posted up in a corner adjacent to the stage. The eldest female finisher at the Imperial Challenge cycling and ski mountaineering race, Crawford looked on with a smile as her fellow Summit County skiing sisters premiered and then chatted about a movie simply titled “Sisters of Skimo.”

From Crawford to elementary-school-aged skiers, many of Summit County’s skiing sisterhood gathered at the sold-out Frisco music venue on Wednesday to watch the 20-minute documentary. It told the tale of Summit local Sierra Anderson and her fellow Team USA teammates’ pursuit last winter of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championships in Switzerland.

“I think it’s amazing to see so many different women from different reaches of life and different generations coming together over this one film,” Summit High School senior and Team USA youth ski mountaineer Grace Staberg said, “coming together over the sport and community we are building here.”

After the film was complete, during a Q&A session on stage, Anderson and Staberg shared that they both will spend this winter in Europe. There, Anderson and Staberg will live with the LeBron James of women’s ski mountaineering, recently-retired French star Laetitia Roux, in a French chalet.

A year after Anderson and Staberg joined their Team USA Summit County sisters — Kate Zander, Nikki LaRochelle, Jaime Brede and others — at a team-bonding backcountry ski tour trip to Sisters Cabin on Bald Mountain in Breckenridge, Anderson and Staberg will continue the growth of the Summit County skimo sisterhood at a similar place in the French Alps.

For Staberg, it’ll mean finishing up her Summit High School education remotely via online courses while continuing to strive to become the kind of American talent that can compete for Team USA if and when skimo debuts at the 2026 Winter Olympics. For Anderson, who in the past year has become like a big sister and mentor to Staberg, it’ll mean continuing to grow the camaraderie and team energy of some of the country’s best female ski mountaineers.

It’ll also give her a buddy to train and compete with. Last season after the World Championships in Switzerland, Anderson was the lone Team USA ski mountaineer to stick around Europe, competing at subsequent World Cup events. Though taking to the circuit for the first time was a great experience for Anderson, it was something she knew she’d need a teammate for the next time around.

“I was often the only American at these races,” Anderson said. “And that really kind of triggered in me the longing for team. I came back, I met with my coach, and I was like, ‘Gosh, that was so hard, I don’t want to do that again, but I want to do that again.’ And I just started putting my goals out there, and my goal of wanting to come back and do the whole World Cup circuit, something we’re unsure if any American has been able to do, just because of geographical challenges. And so Grace got wind of my goals, and she’s a brave ambitious cookie, and she was like, ‘Yeah, Sierra, if you’re going, I want to go with you.’

“‘Alright,’” Anderson remembers she thought. “‘We’ve got a team! All it takes is two.’”

This winter Anderson and Staberg will provide a Team USA contingent on the European circuit. Though they’ll don the red, white and blue, the duo joked that they’ll be “Team Laetitia” this winter, undertaking their own Rocky Balboa-like training camp in a foreign place under the tutelage of a skimo Mr. — rather, Mrs. Miyagi.

The duo connected with Roux thanks in part to Summit County locals Ram Mikulas and Joe Howdyshell, the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Federation’s president and head coach, respectively. In viewing the past, present and future of U.S. women’s skimo, Anderson compares the situation to that of U.S. cross-country skiing and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall. Anderson admires how Randall believes she’s at her best as an athlete when helping others to be at their best. Ultimately, Anderson is inspired by how Randall took the women’s cross country team from obscurity to Olympic champions over 15-or-so years.

LIVE: Q and A with Summit County ski mountaineering star Sierra Anderson and her fellow Team USA teammates and coaches at the premiere of Howard Head Sports Medicine’s documentary “Sisters of Skimo” at 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco…

Posted by Summit Daily News on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Anderson would like to do the same for U.S. women’s skimo. Both she and Staberg are not only hopeful, they are confident their beloved sport will be added to the Winter Olympic program come 2026. The recently-awarded Milan-Cortina, Italy, location for the Olympics is perfect for skimo, as Italy is one of the sport’s hotbeds. It just makes sense.

If and when it does occur, whether Anderson and Staberg are on the team or not, they’ll simply be proud that they not only helped themselves prepare for an opportunity that might one day become a reality. They’ll also be proud that they prepared their country for the opportunity of an Olympic dream.

“We are growing the sisterhood,” Anderson said, “as we speak.”