Tag Archives: Leadville

Latest News – April 1

“Lodging Tax” Sting Nets Dozens of Dirty Renters

“Why should they not have to pay, when we pay in thousands every year?” said one Leadville hotel owner, as word spread about  a two-month “lodging tax” sting that resulted in dozens of citations issued to “dirty renters” in Lake County yesterday.Rental_Sign

In recent years, county officials have put local property owners on notice about the fees associated with renting their homes out to vacationers. But the stack of tickets issued door to door to violators was proof that the situation is much more wide spread than originally thought. The new term “dirty renters” is used to describe those homeowners who rent their homes out without paying the mandatory 1.9% lodging tax.

“If you think your neighbors aren’t keeping an eye out, you’re wrong,” noted a law enforcement officer who made the rounds with the ticket book as the two-month undercover operation wrapped up on Tuesday, March 31.   It seems that local neighborhood watch programs included taking pictures of licenses plates from Texas to Oklahoma as Spring Break skiers flocked to the high country for some winter fun.

“Once they see the rotating Spring Break license plates, neighbors sit up, take notice and want to make sure that everyone is playing by the rules,” the man in blue added, as he made contact with yet another “dirty renter,” who was ratted out during the sting.

It was clear that there were some misconceptions about the local code, which was heavily monitored for a two-month period from February 1 – March 31, 2015. The undercover sting included tracking Craig’s List posts about vacation rentals in Lake County. If that homeowner wasn’t registered at the clerk and recorder’s office, then that property was put under top surveillance throughout the prime ski season. Unfortunately for many, their ignorance of the law may cost them more than they made in renting, as first time fines were intentionally high ($1500 and up) to dissuade future violations.Taxes_Lodging

 Here are the details of the Lake County Lodging Tax:

If you rent out your Leadville/Lake County home for the holidays, spring break, or events during the summer, you are responsible for paying the appropriate taxes. While some homeowners are under the impression that those guidelines are only applicable for rental periods OVER 30 days, that is not true, according to the Lake County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. These transactions are subject to lodging tax as well: 

If you rent out your home for under thirty days, under State law you are required to collect 2.9% state sales tax, 4% county tax, and 1.9% lodging tax and remit it to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Failure to do so will result in the seizing of your home by the Colorado Department of Revenue until payment is made or they auction off all of your belongings. 

If you do rent your home please contact the Clerk’s office at 719-486-1410 to begin the paperwork for this process.

“The whole thing is ridiculous!” screamed one homeowner as he glared down at the $1,500 ticket he was just handed. A full time resident, he also owns two other Lake County properties which he rents out “here and there” for supplemental income.

“Tell it to the judge,” stated Leadville Officer I.M. Kidding after issuing his 17th citation of the day.

No doubt, that should make for an interesting day in court, as dozens of “dirty renters” will all have their day in court, on the same day: Friday, April 31st.

“All of these new rules and taxes this county has come up with lately are a joke!” stated the man’s wife as she folded the last load of laundry from the Spring Breakers. “But we ain’t laughing!”

But let’s hope you are, if you read this far into the story: APRIL FOOLS! Gottcha!

In full disclosure, while there was NOT a “lodging tax” sting operation, there is a lodging tax which is factually represented in this story, so be advised! BTW, all you folks that use city streets as a campground for your RVs during the summer, you’re next! #CutTheCord.

Latest News – March 31

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Obit_Spacer_ThinShopko To Take Over ALCO Building, Open in June 2015

Yesterday, March 30, 2015 Shopko announced that it will occupy the former ALCO store at 401 US Highway 24 South.  As reported on Leadville Today on February 15, the Wisconsin-based retailer has been looking into its options and negotiating a deal for the retail space. Well, the transaction is complete and the opening date is scheduled for June 2015.

Coming Soon . . . .in June! ShopKo to Occupy the former ALCO Store in Leadville.

Coming Soon . . . .in June! Shopko to occupy the former ALCO store in Leadville.

Back on Nov. 21, the Leadville store was one of 198 ALCO stores, in 23 states which took a hit when the Coppell, Texas, based-company declared bankruptcy on Oct. 12, 2014. Since then, there had been a slow, seeping liquidation sale that lasted through the holidays and into the new year. At least the building didn’t sit empty all winter!

A store with a view! ALCO declared bankruptcy last November.

A store with a view! ALCO declared bankruptcy last November. The building at 401 Hwy 24 S with Colorado’s highest Mt Elbert looming in the background, will be the new home for Shopko starting in June

Over the next several months, local residents will see some changes underway. The conversion to Shopko Hometown will include new interior and exterior signage, carpet, paint, updated and supplement fixtures and lighting and a new easy to shop store layout.  

This new store will be part of the over 175 Shopko Hometown stores, making Shopko one of the nation’s largest retailers serving smaller communities. 

“We’re excited to bring Shopko Hometown to Leadville,” said Peter McMahon, Shopko CEO. 

Shopko CEO Peter McMahon

Shopko CEO Peter McMahon

“The Shopko Hometown store format, featuring our unique merchandising strategy and improved store design, is an ideal fit for the location with its exceptional service and community-minded approach.  We understand that consumers in smaller towns are looking for value and convenience without having to travel outside the community.  Customers of our Hometown stores tell us they appreciate the vastly improved shopping experience and access to a broad, differentiated selection of merchandise, including products and brands previously not available in their community.”

The Shopko Hometown retail format, developed to augment Shopko’s larger store model and focused on serving the needs of smaller rural communities, provides a broad and dynamic offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, home furnishings, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items, every day consumable items and lawn and garden products – all in an attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store format.   

About Shopko

Shopko is owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a leading private investment firm focused on leverage buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies. 

Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Shopko Stores Operating Co., LLC is a $3 billion retailer that operates 320 stores in 21 states throughout the Midwest, Mountain, North Central and Pacific Northwest regions. Retail formats include 133 Shopko stores, providing quality name-brand merchandise, great values, pharmacy and optical services in small to mid-sized cities; 5 Shopko Express Rx stores, a convenient neighborhood drugstore concept; 4 Shopko Pharmacy locations; and 178 Shopko Hometown stores, a smaller concept store developed to meet the needs of smaller communities.  For more information, visit www.shopko.com




Latest News – March 30

Cooper’s Final Hurrah: Cottontails and $25 Days!

As the 2014-25 ski season starts to wind down, Ski Cooper winds up the deals and fun for its last week of the season. Leadville’s ski mountain will close on Sunday, April 5.

There's only ONE WEEK LEFT in the 2014-15 Ski Cooper season. But lots of fun planned!. Photo: Claire Benton.

There’s only ONE WEEK LEFT in the 2014-15 Ski Cooper season. But lots of fun planned!. Photo: Claire Benton

But starting today, (March 30) thru April 5, Ski Cooper is offering $25 lift tickets (adult, child, senior). Spring s conditions are nearly perfect with sunny days in between several inches of fresh snow, which is exactly what the forecast calls for the next several days.

$25 tickets are available at the ticket window or online HERE

Ski Cooper also has a lineup of great live music to close out the season. All performance are approximate 2 p.m. – closing:

  • Thursday, 3/26 – Katie Rae
  • Saturday, 3/28 – Katie Rae
  • Thursday, 4/2 – Pete Albrecht
  • Saturday, 4/4 – Jazz Trio (piano, bass, sax)


And, of course, remember to bring the kids for Cooper’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt, starting promptly at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 4!

Ski Cooper's Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be this Saturday, April 4 at 9 a.m. - Sharp! Thank You Easter Bunny!

Ski Cooper’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be this Saturday, April 4 at 9 a.m. – Sharp! Thank You Easter Bunny! Photo: Leadville Today.


SOS is Changing Kids’ Lives One Ski Run at a Time

SOS Outreach is a national youth development non-profit which utilizes adventure sports to engage at-risk students in long-term mentorship relationships. The SOS curriculum encourages responsibility, self-confidence, service, and leadership skills by instilling five core values: courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and compassion. Since 1993, we have inspired positive decision making for healthy and successful lives.

SOS Youth skiers in SOS Programs at Ski Cooper. Photo: SOS Outreach.

SOS Youth skiers in SOS Programs at Ski Cooper. Photo: SOS Outreach.

This year, thirty kids from Lake County got to take advantage of the program thanks to generous contributions. Now here’s a way you can help at-risk youth, a fundraiser you can really sink your teeth into:  Yo Quiero Taco Bell.

That’s right,  Taco Bell and SOS Outreach have created an SOS Scholarship Fund that you can donate to the next time you’re at any of the Taco Bell locations in Eagle, Frisco, Glenwood Springs, and Rifle. From April 1 – 15, round your Taco Bell purchases up to the next dollar, and your donation will be added directly to the Scholarship Fund, plus Taco Bell will match your gift up to $3,000!

Every $180 dollars raised will enroll one at-risk child in SOS Outreach’s youth development programs for a whole year. Every child you help participate in SOS will get an adult mentor, learn how to snowboard, do service in the community, and learn about leadership, all thanks to your donations.

SOS operates at 37 winter resorts in 11 states, and serves over 5,000 at-risk youth annually over 20,000 program days. Learn more by visiting their website: http://www.sosoutreach.org .

SOS operates at 37 winter resorts in 11 states, including Ski Cooper, near Leadville, Colorado. Photo: SOS Outeach

SOS operates at 37 winter resorts in 11 states, including Ski Cooper, near Leadville, Colorado. Photo: SOS Outeach


Ski Cooper Requests To Build on National Forest

The following information was distributed by Forest Service Recreation Planner Michelle Mueggler with Leadville Ranger District.

See You Next Season!

Ski Cooper requests to build on forest land.

The Leadville Ranger District of the Pike and San Isabel National Forest is accepting comments on a proposal to build a 14 foot by 18 foot wooden race start building at Ski Cooper on the edge of Piney trail, located in Eagle County, Colorado. The specific location is the W1/2 Sec. 13, T8S, R80W.

Ski Cooper straddles the Continental Divide, with the portion to the south of the divide within the San Isabel National Forest, and the portion to the north of the divide within the White River National Forest.  The proposed Piney Race Start Building would be located on the White River NF side of the divide. The Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) administers the Winter Recreation Resort special use permit that covers the entire Ski Cooper operation, and will be taking the lead on this project. 

Ski Cooper has been staging slalom races on Piney trail for a number of years because the pitch of Piney is ideal for slalom racing, however, there never has been a building to base operations out of for racing events.  In 2015, Ski Cooper is adding more slalom races to their event schedule and hopes to improve the experience for racers, staff, and event coordinators in the future. The new building would provide a reasonable environment for timers and officials and would allow for the staging of race equipment and timing equipment, thereby decreasing the amount of snowmobile traffic to the finish area.Obit_Spacer_ThinSkiCooper_trailmap

Obit_Spacer_ThinDuring the summer of 2015, a 14’x18’ wood race building would be constructed on concrete pads along Piney trail in an area that has been disturbed with utility lines. The exterior finish of the building would be wood siding with a brown finish to match other buildings at the ski area. The site is adjacent to an administrative service road which would allow easy access for bringing in building materials.  A backhoe would be used to bury approximately 200 feet of electrical cables from the proposed Piney Race Building site to an existing power pole west of the building site. Concrete will be mixed by hand for the pads and no other ground disturbance would occur outside of the building footprint and the buried electrical cables. A vicinity map and a site map are available online: HERE.                       

The Forest Service will use comments received to identify any concerns about the proposed activities and to conduct the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. The project is consistent with categorical exclusion 36 CFR 220.6(e)(3) Approval, modification, or continuation of minor specials uses of NFS lands that require less than five acres of land, which will be documented in a Decision Memo. It is expected there would not be any significant individual or cumulative effects to resources from the proposed activities. The Decision Memo will not be subject to administrative appeal.

The President’s council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations at 40 CFR 1503.1 (a)(4) require that agencies request comments from the public. This opportunity to comment provides the public an opportunity to provide meaningful input prior to the decision on projects and activities related to implementing land and resource management plans.

Please be as specific as possible in expressing your comments so they can be effectively addressed. Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for this project, and will be available for public inspection. Comments may be submitted by email in word (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), or portable document format (.pdf) to mlmueggler@fs.fed.us. Alternatively, written comments may be submitted to: Leadville Ranger District, Attn: Michelle Mueggler, 810 Front Street, Leadville, CO 80461.

The comment period ends April 17, 2015. For more information contact Michelle Mueggler at (719) 486-0749.

Latest News – March 29

 Leadville Eateries: Trained and Ready to Serve 

The restaurant business is tough. So when you add 10,200 feet and a remote location to the equation, the odds get even bigger. The odds for success, the odds for finding decent employees, and the odds for customer loyalty.

Quincys Steaks and Spirits was first opened in October of 1997 in the heart of historic Leadville. Photo: Quincys Tavern.

Quincys Steaks & Spirits was first opened in October of 1997 in the heart of historic Leadville. Photo: Quincys.

So for all those Leadville restaurants who have stuck out the highs and lows, and continue to WIN against the odds, by merely keeping the doors open – Congratulations!

And, add to that sentiment, a hearty “Good Job!”  Because when it comes to a renewed commitment to food safety and staff training, your efforts are being realized.

“I am excited to report that as of today – March 26, 2015 – Lake County has 81 Food Safety Training Staff!” reported Jackie Littlepage, Director of Environmental Health/Health Inspector at the Lake County Public Health Agency (LCPHA), in a letter addressed to Lake County Retail Food Establishments.FoodSafety_LakeCounty

In fact, Littlepage has been the driving force behind local efforts to provide easy-to-attend, customized online trainings for Lake County restaurant employees. In November 2012, LCPHA partnered up with www.statefoodsafety.com to offer low-cost, engaging, online courses. Since then, 12 managers and 69 food handlers have completed the program.

Most recently, noted Littlepage in her report, High Mountain Institute was latest establishment to be awarded the Food Safety Trained Staff Decal by completing the requirements of the Lake County Food Safety Recognition Program.

As part of her job, Littlepage executes state-regulated health inspections for all food establishments in Lake County. And most would agree that in recent years under Littlepage’s direction, the inspections have been carried out in a more professional, standardized manner than had been in recent years.

Jackie Littlepage (back, right), Director of Environmental Health/Health Inspector at the Lake County Public Health Agency conducts the first ever Lake County Retail Food Meeting in February 2014.

Jackie Littlepage (back, right), Director of Environmental Health/Health Inspector at the Lake County Public Health Agency conducts the first ever Lake County Retail Food Meeting in February 2014 to a full class of local eateries. Photo: Leadville Today.

And while her initial enforcement of more stringent guidelines was met with the usual resistance, Littlepage has been able to balance that with a more invested approach toward local eateries. Part of that commitment, includes providing them with the resources for staff education and training. Prior to that, Leadville businesses encountered a more “figure it out, but you’d better comply” attitude from county health inspectors.

The current model which includes components from hosting regular Lake County Retail Food Meetings, to publicly congratulating local eateries with Excellence in Food Safety Awards, Littlepage’s approach brings an end result that is a shining WIN-WIN for the county.

So if you’re hanging close to home for Spring Break or perhaps visiting during yours, be sure to take in all the culinary enjoyment Leadville has to offer. Lake County has a staff of well-trained, food safety experts. Oh, and the grub ain’t bad either. Bon Appetite!

If you have any questions, contact Jackie Littlepage 719-486-7481 or 719-427-0179 or by email: jlittlepage@co.lake.co.us

Latest News – March 27

VICTORY! Mt. Elbert To Remain: Same As It Ever Was!

While most high-country residents are relatively peaceful folks, when “outsiders” start stirring up the pot, people sit up and take notice. And thanks to the efforts of Leadville businessman Eddie Camp, that’s exactly what happened when an application with the United States Board on Geographic Names was filed earlier this year, requesting that a 14,134-foot geographical feature, near Colorado’s tallest mountain, Mount Elbert be re-named “Mount William and Mary.”

Colorado's Highest Peak Mt. Elbert's adjacent 14,134-foot geographical feature  WILL NOT be re-named after local efforts blocked the application from the College of William and Mary. VICTORY!

Colorado’s Highest Peak Mt. Elbert’s adjacent 14,134-foot geographical feature WILL NOT be re-named after local efforts blocked the application from the College of William and Mary to have it re-named after the eastern college. VICTORY!

The result was a grass-roots effort to block the “re-naming” that lead to a letter-writing and social media campaign with a happy ending: Status Quo! Since the federal board’s decision relied heavily on local input, Camp initiated an online petition at change.org that kept local residents and interested parties apprised of the request, including links where folks could plug into the conversation and record opinions for the official record.

On Wednesday, March 25, Camp received an official response from the The U.S. Board on Geographic Names that the board denied the College of William and Mary’s application.Camp_Elbert 
Obit_Spacer_ThinI’m glad we fought this one!” posted Eddie Camp on the Leadville Today Facebook Page. So, it seems, are the hundreds of other Leadville and Lake county residents who stood behind his efforts. Thanks for leading the charge, Eddie!