It is almost time to ring in the New Year. With 2024 right around the corner, Sky-Hi News decided to take a look back at our most popular stories published from Jan. 1 to Dec. 27, 2023.
1. Airbnb names this Colorado town as the most popular family summer destination in the state – Sept. 09
Summer means a lot of things for families, and for many it means vacation time in a short-term rental. Recently, Airbnb named Granby as the top destination for families this summer.
Family trips increased in popularity towards the beginning of 2023 in comparison to 2022. Families are specifically booking Airbnb homes that offer two or three rooms while traveling.
Short-term rentals are defined as nightly or weekly rental of dwellings where people stay less than 30 consecutive days. These short-term rentals are subject to lodging tax. This includes vacation rental hosting sites like Airbnb, Vrbo and Trip Advisor.
Colorado remains one of the most popular travel destinations for guests. It has some of the most nights booked in the first half of the year, according to Airbnb representative Nicolette Velazquez.
“We need more affordable housing” is a long-standing mantra in Grand County. This mantra comes from all sides – from state legislators making campaign stops, to town trustees, to residents working to make ends meet.
Yet affordable housing projects can’t keep up with demand, notably for the lowest wage earners. The Mill Apartments near Fraser is one of the few low-income housing projects in Grand County since 1995.
Just as affordability is a challenge in the county, The Mill Apartments project has faced its own challenges. Community members have encountered difficulties during the application process. On the other side of the coin, the developer and property management company have struggled to fill units reserved for those at the lowest incomes.
Here is an explanation of the project and how the application process – designed to ensure the most vulnerable receive housing – can sometimes hit roadblocks.
3. Watch live: Grand Lake osprey camera – April through September
Our readers anxiously awaited the annual arrival of Grand Lake’s mating osprey pair. Sky-Hi News followed the pair from their arrival to the nest in Grand Lake to the hatching and development of two osprey chicks. Local resident Kent Roorda set up the camera so people can watch the raptors, and keeps a close tabs on the couple every year.
Check out the articles our newsroom wrote about the ospreys this year, and check back in this upcoming spring for their arrival when the live osprey feed will return to SkyHiNews.com.
Ten wolves are set to arrive in Colorado this month. On Nov. 9, wildlife officials prepared local residents for wolf reintroduction during an open house at the Colorado State University Extension Hall in Kremmling.
The meeting was led by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff: Jeromy Huntington, area wildlife manager; Ellen Brandell, wildlife research scientist; and Adam Baca, wolf conflict coordinator. USDA wildlife specialist Lauren Emerick and past Colorado Cattlemen’s Association president and Walden rancher Philip Anderson also led the meeting.
After Huntington and Baca gave presentations, a panel of speakers addressed the crowd. The panel discussion was moderated by Jonathan Boydston, CPW’s public involvement specialist. Each speaker had their own unique perspective on wolf management.
Less than two months after graduating from Middle Park High School, Landon Arriaga, 18, was on his way to San Diego to start United States Marine Corps boot camp. By the end of boot camp, he was awarded the prestigious “Chesty” Puller Award at graduation for his exemplary performance and leadership skills.
Landon went from graduating high school to graduating again with 600 other Marines. The “Chesty” Puller Award is given to one Marine in each graduating class. Landon’s willingness to lend a hand to his peers caught the eye of the higher-ups.
His boot camp graduation was an emotional time for Landon’s supporters. Stephine Arriaga, Landon’s mother, recalls hardly being able to control herself when she saw him walking with the other new Marines. She ran straight towards Landon and hugged him, overcome with emotions.
Landon’s father, Carlos Arriaga, also felt overwhelmed by the sight of his son. Landon remarked that this was the first time he had seen his father cry.
“I’m just so happy that I made him proud of me,” Landon said through tears to his mother.
6. Wildfire starts near Devil’s Thumb area – July 4
A wildland fire is burning east of the Devil’s Thumb area, which started at approximately 2:30 p.m. Currently, there are no evacuations in place.
United States Forest Service, East Grand Fire Department and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office are on the scene.
First responders are requesting that residents and visitors in the area do not call 911 regarding the fire.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overruled the Surface Transportation Board’s approval of the Uinta Basin Railway project Friday morning. The court ruled that there were numerous National Environmental Policy Act violations surfacing from the environmental impact statement for the project.
“The deficiencies here are significant,” the ruling stated.
The railway project would have permitted Utah oil producers to transport waxy crude oil through Colorado, allowing tanker cars carrying 350,000 barrels of waxy crude to rumble along the Colorado River.
The crude would have traveled through Gore and Byers canyons and followed the Colorado and Fraser rivers in Grand County. The trains then would have passed through Winter Park’s Moffat Tunnel towards Denver and eventually down to gulf coast refineries. Every town in Grand County would have experienced an increase in train traffic.
Rep. Joe Neguse and Sen. Michael Bennet expressed their gratefulness for the ruling in a joint press release.
Today the Grand County Coroner’s Office released the causes of death for Theresa O’Neill and Christopher Sanguinette after completing the autopsies. On July 10 the deceased were found in a Kremmling residence.
O’ Neill’s death was ruled as a homicide from a single gunshot wound to the head. Sanguinette’s cause of death was ruled as a suicide from a single gunshot wound to the head.
On Sept. 10, at around 8 p.m. Granby Police Department responded to a call about an older female patron who was causing a disturbance at the Dollar General and refused to leave. When the officer arrived at the scene, he found three people standing near the entrance of the Dollar General.
Upon entering the store, he made contact with the customer and another Dollar General employee. Before the officer had entered, the three individuals were involved in a chaotic disagreement. Ice cream, Coca-Cola and a handicapped parking spot were the catalysts.
According to a police report, earlier that evening an elderly customer had parked her car illegally between two accessible parking spaces. The orientation of her vehicle was also blocking portions of the access aisles that are designated areas used by people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. This space allows people with disabilities to get in or out of their vehicle. The space is usually marked with stripes to discourage people from parking in them.
The woman’s vehicle was also blocking the entry ramp onto the sidewalk, allegedly. When Sky-Hi reporter, Emily Gutierrez visited the Dollar General, she did note that the paint distinguishing parking spots was faded.
When the officer arrived, the manager of Dollar General was accusing the customer of hitting him twice, once with her bag. To this, the woman turned to the manager and said, “What bag, this wallet with pennies?”, according to the incident report.
There’s a new fish in Grand County – 13,500 of them actually. It is the tiger muskie. The 7-9 inch fingerlings were released Sept. 14 into Mountain Shadow Reservoir.
Tiger muskies have never been stocked before in Grand County and the process to get these little fish into water here has been a long process for Jon Ewert, an aquatic biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and his team.
Shadow Mountain Reservoir has a surface area of 1,337 acres and an average depth of 13 feet with a maximum depth of 37 feet, which perfectly suits the tiger muskie, according to a proposal submitted by Jon Ewert, Jesse Lepak and Lori Martin.
Tiger muskies are a sterile hybrid fish bred from northern pike and muskellunge also known as muskies. The fry were transported from fish hatcheries in Nebraska and Pennsylvania to a fish hatchery in Wray, Colorado. One of the reasons for their long journey is simple: Colorado isn’t home to muskellunge. So, Colorado Parks and Wildlife relies on coordination with other states in order to stock these fish.
On Sept. 14, a hatchery technician drove the 13,500 tiger muskies from Wray to Grand County. After their five-hour trip, the fish were released into Shadow Mountain Reservoir by hand to meet their new roommates, the white sucker.