In Brief: Early entry in next 3rd District race; business hall of famer; app to find Tahoe Tessie |

In Brief: Early entry in next 3rd District race; business hall of famer; app to find Tahoe Tessie

Democrat announces early her bid for 3rd Congressional District

Oil and gas put food on Debby Burnett’s table. Her husband, Greg Roberts, worked two years on a rig in the Piceance Basin near Rifle.

Burnett currently also operates a small hay-baling operation down in Gunnison County. Roberts hauls the hay cross-county for his trucking business. In addition to ranching, Dr. Burnett operates Mountain Legacy Veterinary Center in Gunnison.

Why does any of this matters?

Burnett, a Democrat who plans to soon announce her candidacy for Colorado’s highly-contentious, high-profile 3rd Congressional District, aims to use her rural background to galvanize the same Western Slope constituents who feel their voices still turn mute, not just on the Front Range but on Capitol Hill.

“I think there’s such a disconnect between rich white guys who jump into races just to run for Congress and the actual voters,” she told the Post Independent on Thursday. “And the people that live in rural areas of America — but definitely here in western and southern Colorado.”

The November 2022 General Election was one for the ages. Former Aspen City Councilperson and Roaring Fork Valley businessman Adam Frisch almost unseated controversial two-year Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert. Frisch, however, was eventually overtaken in the vote count three days after election night.

But before Frisch conceded, final results showed him winning some swing Western Slope counties, like Alamosa and Huerfano.

Slifer Smith & Frampton co-founder makes state Hall of Fame

Mark Smith, a founding principal and managing partner of Slifer Smith & Frampton and a founding principal of East West Partners and Union Station Neighborhood Company, was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in Denver on Feb. 6.

The Hall of Fame honors outstanding individuals who have made legendary contributions to the free enterprise system and provide inspiration for the next generation.

“I couldn’t be more honored to receive this prestigious award alongside such a distinguished group of friends and colleagues,” Smith said. “It has been my life’s work and greatest pleasure to help shape the future of some of Colorado’s most iconic places and I appreciate this recognition tremendously.” 

The 2023 laureates were inducted on Feb. 6 at the 34th Colorado Business Hall of Fame Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Laureates are selected for their enduring and innovative professional contributions to Colorado, inspirational and ethical acumen, and philanthropic endeavors. The annual event, hosted by Junior Achievement – Rocky Mountain, Inc. and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, honored five of Colorado’s most distinguished and influential business leaders by recognizing their professional accomplishments and long-term impact on the state’s economy, and philanthropic contributions to the community.   

Ski town kid wins a Grammy

Tyler Johnson, a 2004 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, went into the 2023 Grammy Awards not expecting to win despite being nominated for three of the big four categories for his work on Harry Style’s album “Harry’s House.”

“I think that’s the correct way to go into those things,” he said. “We were up against incredible artists.”

Johnson was a writer and producer on the album alongside friend and colleague Kid Harpoon, or Tom Hull. The album, the second the pair wrote and produced with Styles, was nominated for Album of the Year, with single “As it Was” being nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year and a few other categories. Still, he didn’t expect to do well.

He didn’t have to sit with that feeling for long, though, as Harry’s House won the first televised award: Best Pop Vocal Album.

“I didn’t black out but I definitely shook. I got very excited,” he said. “You can see it on screen. I did a little shake.”

Where’s Tahoe Tessie? There’s an app …

Tahoe Tessie isn’t real, but climate change is.

That’s the tagline for “Find Tahoe Tessie,” an augmented reality game app developed by UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Players of the games become scientists in search of Tahoe Tessie. Throughout the game, players find scientific tools that can be used for lake experiments, explore Tahoe through local excursions, and apply scientific knowledge that will help find Tahoe Tessie.

“We worked with a technical advisory committee of ecology experts and education experts from various museums to come up with the best way to teach climate change at Lake Tahoe,” said TERC Education and Outreach Director Heather Segale. Segale served as team lead for the app development project.

They were looking for a way to teach about climate change that’s fun and approachable. 

Throughout the game, players can find and collect multiple Tahoe Tessies. Once she’s been collected, she can be placed anywhere in the real world, using AR technology.

Park City lodging forecast shows softening spring

Park City-area lodging numbers are projected to soften through the remainder of the ski season as compared to the numbers last year, even amid the snowy winter, as concerns about the economy appear to be starting to impact the tourism industry.

A lodging forecast prepared on behalf of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, dated Jan. 31, shows the 2023 projections consistently trailing the projections last year, as well as the actual 2022 numbers, through late March. The forecast is based on 22 properties representing a range of lodging options.

The stretch of the winter from the middle of February until the end of March is an important one for the ski industry, with the three-day Presidents Day weekend and the spring break weeks that follow normally being especially busy.

Close enough to share some NBA All-Star boon

The NBA All-Star Game is headed to Salt Lake City later in February, but the event might not deliver a rim-rattling slam dunk for the Park City tourism industry.

A simple off-the-backboard layup seems possible, though.

Park City oftentimes receives residual economic impact during major events in Salt Lake City, and the All-Star Game is an especially notable one for the state. The people traveling to Salt Lake City could see a day trip to Park City or a day or two on the community’s slopes as options during their stay in the state. And some All-Star Game-goers are likely to choose to stay in Park City with the city’s proximity to Salt Lake City.

Demand for food help grows in Summit

Six years ago, Brianne Snow would describe 24 visits to her nonprofit’s food market as a busy day. Today, busy looks more like 363 daily visits.

That increase exemplifies the pressure Summit County’s largest nonprofit, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, is currently facing as the need for vital services from food to healthcare to mental health skyrocket, staff say.

“The general consensus of feeling around (the resource center) is tired,” said Snow, the nonprofit’s executive director. “We have a lot of challenges.” 

In 2022, the resource center, based in Silverthorne, served 9,992 people — nearly a third of the county’s population, according to the nonprofit’s data. But its reach is likely even more than that, with data showing a 2.5 average household size for each client. 

The heightened demand has manifested throughout the various arms of the resource center’s health and social service programs in past months. For example, the nonprofit saw 1,817 visitors to its food bank this past December, up from 841 in December 2021, data shows. That’s a 116% increase year over year.