Authorities botched case

The Grand County Sheriff’s Department and the Grand County District Attorney’s Office both ultimately did not consent to repeated requests as reported by Sky-Hi Newspaper staff to be interviewed regarding the reported physical abuse and exploitation/theft experienced by a Grand Lake woman 71 years of age on September 10, 2017.

Fractured bones, bruising, bleeding or tissue edema are not required elements under Colorado law in order to substantiate that an at-risk adult/elder [Age 70 plus] has sustained a “bodily injury.” C.R.S. 18-1-901(c) states “Bodily injury means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical or mental condition.” Any “bodily injury” to an at-risk adult/elder from physical abuse is because of their age, vulnerability and physical frailty a serious medical and legal issue which should never be discounted or minimized by authorities.

A total of sixteen (16) days transpired before the Grand County Sheriff’s Department finally made an initial police report regarding the physical abuse that Ms. Simon was subjected to on 9/10/2017. Colorado mandatory reporting requirements of mistreatment to an at-risk adult/elder under C.R.S. 18-6.5-108 (VII) (b), require that a law enforcement agency shall not more than twenty-four hours after receiving a report of mistreatment to an at-risk adult/elder provide that report to the County District Attorney’s Office and the County Department of Social Services.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Department on 10/09/2017 declined to enforce a lawful temporary civil protective/restraining order issued by the Grand County Court on 10/05/2017 after being notified that the alleged perpetrator involved in the incident on 09/10/2017 and named in the protection order had violated the restraining order by residing within 100 yards of Ms. Simon’s residence.

Grand County District Attorney Mr. Barkey maintains there was insufficient facts and evidence to sustain a charge of assault in this case because of the legal burden of substantiating “criminal intent.” Although a lesser charge of Criminal Negligence resulting in bodily injury to an at-risk adult/elder [C.R.S. 18-1-501-(3)] a class 6 felony could have been filed in this case, the District Attorney declined to file charges.

District Attorney Mr. Barkey also made the decision not to file theft/exploitation charges in this case when the alleged perpetrator had admitted to Sheriff’s investigators that he had taken without the knowledge or permission of Ms. Simon her personal property (armoire) valued at $1,200. I would like to emphasize that the District Attorney was provided with an interview audio recording made by the Sheriff’s Department wherein the alleged perpetrator admits to law enforcement officials the theft of her property.

The apparent reluctance of law enforcement officials and the Grand County District Attorney’s Office to enforce and prosecute crimes committed against at-risk adults/elderly clearly sends the wrong message to perpetrators and places in jeopardy the public safety of all seniors residing in Grand County.

The Grand County workshop held in April on “Elder Abuse” identified several services provided by different agencies in the county and was a good initial step, but the specific current issues and resolution of those problems facing our at-risk adult/elder population in Grand County were not addressed.

Adult Protective Services estimates increases in the Colorado elderly population to exceed 1.2 million individuals over the age of 65 by the year of 2030. Adequate planning and decisions implemented now by our Grand County officials will determine what the present and future holds for Grand County’s elderly population.

Please support a request that a Grand County Citizen Oversight Board be started by Grand County Commissioners modeled after the Denver Citizen Oversight Board.

Ms. Francesca “Jo” Cowgill, Grand Lake


Letter to editor:

I take exception to a statement in your article. “What it Takes to Brew Up High”. The water used by COORS is from an aquifer between the table mountains and is pumped to the surface for use in brewing. It is not running down 70 and picking everything up along the way. I love how reporters repeat false statements from the craft brewers and think they are fact. I would suggest you do a better job in checking your information.

Thanks Terry Walker, Westminster, CO – Coors employed for 41 years and a knowledgeable brewer


MPE is Proud to Force Members to Subsidize Internet Service

I suspected a year ago that Mountain Parks Electric (MPE) decided to build a fiber-optic backbone system for broadband internet service and to charge all costs to electric customers based on their bragging announcement at the annual meeting in May 2017 that recent construction cost estimates were down to only $3.8 million.  Now of course they admit the 2018 estimate is only the “insignificant” amount of $6 to $7 million and they are proud to proceed to subsidize broadband internet service for rural areas. Too bad all of us 20,500 electric customers will have to pay several percent more in our electric rates to pay off the loans from RUS over the next 35-years.  I also heard the GM of MPE admit at their recent annual meeting that they would probably have to hire a couple of new employees to operate and maintain this system. Not to worry, the electric customers can foot the bill for that too along with all the other unknown costs in the future. They will hope for some revenue from leasing capacity but know full well there is no realistic market to pay the costs.

I do not dispute MPE’s claim that they will use this backbone system, only they already built one that provides all the requirements for future “smart grid” technologies!  It just doesn’t support broadband internet too. They have already deployed smart meters although they have not capitalized on the main benefits, e.g. providing hourly load data to customers and to customer service reps.  They have also deployed SCADA to substations and to distribution devices, but still cannot remotely transfer load from one substation to another. I doubt they have added enhanced capabilities including outage management and automated vehicle location, but they do not need a fiber-optic backbone to add those.  They already have 2-way communication to smart meters and could do load control or even real time pricing if they wanted. It will take smart decisions and good management to successfully deploy “smart grid” technologies that might actually benefit all customers.

Nope, the entire project is only needed to support broadband internet in rural areas and is a bad business decision.  I will feel extremely honored to pay more for my electric service so that some rural customers might have future access to subsidized internet service.  What a sad corruption of the cooperative business model this project reveals. No hard feelings, just the inconvenient truth as I know it.

Les Shankland, P.E., Grand County



Most Winter Park Planning Commissioners just rolled over for the Zephyr Express Upper Terminal Building, and approved the project without any architectural conditions  this morning. Barely any questions or concerns were expressed by the Commissioners. Although this is an exciting much needed project, I was disappointed in the quality of the Architecture that Winter Park Resort presented and the response of the Planning Commission.

Look for yourself at the plans and renderings  on the Town’s web site  May 22,2018 Planning Commission meeting, and see if you think this is a World Class facility, or just another mediocre building.  The building is unattractive, and uninspired. One of the first things that visitors will experience as they ride up the Zephyr will be this huge, windowless, brown, hardie board, “Tuff Shed” type structure, 70 feet by 50 feet, 51 feet high. They will be invited to see the two diesel generators and  a transformers as they disembark the Zephyr. They will also have to maneuver, around all the maintenance workers snowmobiles parked in the area. This is not the visitor experience that I would expect in Winter Park.

The Architect explained that costs and function were reasons they could not make changes, add windows, or add visual interest.  But, I doubt that. Clerestory or opaque windows could be added, which would add interest and would add to the operators work space by letting in natural lighting in the maintenance area.  The long flat blank walls need visual interest and articulation. The material palette is bland, and should relate to the Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge. The visual difference between the Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge  and this building is dramatic, not in a good way. The architecture of this building is unfair to the other Developers in Town that have spent money to construct buildings like the Marketplace, and the Headwaters Center and have met the Town’s Architectural Standards.  

This is a jewel of a location that should give visitors a wonderful, awesome, visual and emotional experience.  I agree with the staff’s report that a higher standard of design should be requested, and expected, from the Resort. Unfortunately, the Planning Commission didn’t ask.

Gary Behlen, Winter Park