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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Alcohol could be a factor in a crash that claimed the life of a Colorado man Saturday on eastbound Interstate 80 about eight miles east of Coalville, authorities say.

Harold Rother, 78, of Cheyenne Wells, Colo., was pronounced dead at the scene of the traffic accident that occurred March 3 around 8:20 p.m., said Brian Hyer, a spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol.

"The driver attempted to pass two semi-trucks on the right. [Rother’s] vehicle left the roadway to the right, launched itself about 20 feet into the air and then went down an embankment and overturned in a river," Hyer said adding that Rother was driving a Ford F-250 pickup truck. "The driver side was the portion in the river."

The accident did not involve other motorists, he said.

"We’re looking at the possibility of excessive speed and alcohol as possibilities for the cause of the crash," Hyer said.

ASC closes on Steamboat sale

Last week American Skiing Company finalized the sale of its Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation to Intrawest Holdings and Steamboat Acquisition Corp.

Park City-based American Skiing Company used proceeds from the sale worth roughly $240 million to pay term loans with Credit Suisse, GE Capital and other lenders, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"[American Skiing Co.] does not presently anticipate a need for additional advances under the revolving credit facility prior to the end of the fiscal quarter ending April 29," SEC documents obtained from American Skiing Co.’s Web site state.

After Steamboat saw more than a million skier visits in 2006 American Skiing Co. announced last December its plans to sell the nation’s eighth most visited resort.

"There are buyers who are willing to pay premium prices for premium resorts," according to American Skiing Company President and Chief Executive Officer William J. Fair.

The Steamboat sale begins a downsizing of American Skiing Company’s assets that is expected to include the sales of other resorts including Killington, Pico Mountain and Mount Snow in Vermont and Attitash in New Hampshire.

Should those sales close next month as expected the publicly traded American Skiing Company would be left owning the Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA resorts in Maine and The Canyons in Park City.

In a surprise move in February American Skiing announced that it agreed to sell Killington and Pico Mountain to POWDR and SP Land Company LLC for $83.5 million. Killington is New England’s largest ski resort consisting of 1,200 skiable acres serviced by 33 lifts. Situated adjacent to Killington, Pico Mountain has about 50 trails on more than 200 acres of terrain.

It is Park City-based POWDR’s first acquisition in the East. POWDR Corp. currently owns six resorts including Park City Mountain Resort and Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Ore.

Last month American Skiing Co. announced also that sales are pending of its Attitash and Mount Snow resorts to Peak Resorts Inc., for $73.5 million.

The deal with Peak Resorts should close by April 30, according to American Skiing Company spokesman Chip Carey.

Included in the sale are the commercial cores of the Grand Summit hotels located at each resort, said Carey, who adds that Peak Resorts would assume $2 million in debt and other liabilities.

Oil and gas boom continues

Summit County is included among areas in the state that saw the number of oil and gas wells permitted in Utah in 2006 set another record, according to the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.

Permits were issued last year for 2,062 new wells, a 27 percent increase over the previous record set in 2005, a Utah Department of Natural Resources press release states.

"There’s no doubt that operator interest in drilling remains high," says Gil Hunt, the state’s associate director for oil and gas. "Despite reduced prices for a barrel of oil the demands on staff for processing permits remains high and I don’t see an immediate end to that."

The value of crude oil and natural gas produced in Utah in 2006 is estimated at $2.8 billion, the press release states.

Restaurant Tax grants

Organizations wishing to be considered for 2007 Summit County Restaurant Tax grants must apply by March 30.

Visit the Web site summitcounty.org for information about how to apply. The forms are also available at the County Courthouse in Coalville, the Kamas County Services Building and the Sheldon Richins Building in the Snyderville Basin.

Each year since 1992 a committee has recommended to the Summit County Commission how to distribute money generated by a 1 percent tax levied on sales of prepared food.

In 2006 non-profit groups that work in Summit County received Restaurant Tax grants worth more that $1.3 million.


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