New restaurant, saving the springs: Most-read stories at this week |

New restaurant, saving the springs: Most-read stories at this week

A new sign hangs above Stonewall Steamboat Springs Thursday, March 9, 2023. The new restaurant, which will bring an upscale ranch-to-table dining option to Steamboat Springs, is slated to open Wednesday, March 15.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

1. Kratom is legal in Colorado, but its use is hotly debated

The use of leaves of plants for therapeutic purposes stirs up controversy, and kratom is one of those plants that brings out passionate opinions.

The herbal supplement kratom, derived from leaves of a tree found in Southeast Asia, is more potent than more well-known, plant-based products such as matcha and kava. Yet, kratom is lesser known than marijuana. The wisdom of use of kratom is debated among pain patient advocates, support organizations, doctors and regulators.

Discussions of kratom came to the forefront in Routt County this month when a former coach was accused of distributing kratom to high school athletes in Hayden and Steamboat Springs.

2. Stonewall brings ranch-to-table experience to Steamboat, featuring fresh Colorado food

Christopher Stackpole and Kell Kaiser want their new restaurant, Stonewall, to offer guests a ranch-to-table dining experience that showcases small-batch Colorado producers.

“We’re thrilled to be opening our doors and to have this opportunity to share our passion for Colorado’s amazing culinary heritage and the abundant variety of quality ingredients that it affords all of us,” Stackpole said. “It’s such an honor to introduce our guests to ingredients from their backyard that they may never have had the pleasure of enjoying.”

The Steamboat Spring, the namesake of the town of Steamboat Springs, was surrounded by deep snow Friday, March 10, 2023. The Parks and Recreation commission directed staff to pursue local and state historical designation for the mineral springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

3. Saving Steamboat’s springs: City wants to protect the ski town’s namesake

The railroad arrived in the Yampa Valley in 1909, bringing a boom in commercial industry with it. Construction disturbed the natural plumbing of Steamboat Geyser, leaving the gurgling pool in the form in which it exists now along the railroad tracks near 13th Street. Soda Spring also fizzed out during construction on U.S. Highway 40.

Officials are trying to make sure Steamboat Springs won’t lose any more.

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4. Person of interest in double homicide arrested in Grand County after phone pings in Steamboat Springs

Deputies from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office arrested a person of interest in a double homicide that occurred in Spanish Fork, Utah, on Tuesday night, March 14. 

news release from the Spanish Fork Police Department states one of the victims’ phones pinged in Steamboat Springs around 5 p.m. Tuesday. Because police thought the son of the deceased and person of interest, Tryston Robert Erickson, had allegedly taken one of the victims’ cars, it was suspected that the phone may be in the car with him.

5. Forecasters predict storm will bring lots of snow, moisture to Steamboat area this weekend

Blue sky dominated the horizon Thursday afternoon, March 9, but weather forecasters are predicting a return of wet, snowy conditions over the next several days that could result in several feet of snow at higher elevations.

“In downtown Steamboat Springs we’re looking at four to six inches, and then higher up it goes up quite dramatically,” said Brianna Bealo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “We’re looking at anywhere around 20 inches, and then at the very highest points along the Park Range predictions are upwards of 26 to 30 inches.”

6. Big Pivots: What will this three-wire winter do for Lake Powell?

During early March I traveled to Colorado’s Yampa Valley to see, hear, and feel what a big-snow winter looks like and to ponder the implications for the Colorado River. This has been an epic winter, both wondrous and awful.

Ranchers in that valley have long measured snow depths against three-wired stock fences. In Steamboat Springs and along flanks of the Park Range, it’s three wires and more. Nearing Hahns Peak, only dimples in the snow marked the tops of fence posts.

7. Routt County Search and Rescue credits preparedness, experience for smooth weekend mission

Routt County Search and Rescue President Jay Bowman understands accidents will happen, but the importance of being prepared when things go wrong was evident after a call Sunday, March 12, about a snowmobiler who broke his leg on Rabbit Ears Pass.

“Accidents happen,” Bowman said. “They happen to experts and professionals all the time, so we recognize that accidents are going to happen, but if you’re prepared to deal with those things, it makes everybody’s job and the outcomes much easier.”

8. Obituary: Nancy Westphale

Our Beloved, Nancy Krstich Westphale, 72, passed away peacefully with family by her side in the early hours of Monday morning, March 6th, 2023, after a long and courageous battle with ovarian cancer.

9. North Routt explosion left hole in the ground across from historic cabins

North Routt Fire Protection and the Routt County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of an explosion shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, at the corner of Routt County Road 129 and Forest Service Road 490.

Little remained of the unoccupied 3,000-square-foot building across from the Historic Cabins at Columbine when first-responders got there, according to Paul Rose, a North Routt firefighter.

Max Sauerbrey and Juliette Benedetto work on a project together. The two have directed and collaborated on a variety of projects, from commercials to documentaries and everything in between over the past two years with their company 2.39 Projects.
2.39 Projects/Courtesy photo

10. Steamboat Springs graduate, filmmaker explores his family ties for latest project

Max Sauerbrey, a young filmmaker from Steamboat Springs, has set out to document the trials, tribulations and the memories from a lifetime of adventures in Alaska, as seen through the eyes of his grandfather, Chuck Wirschem.

“He had so much passion for exploring outdoors, hunting, fishing, skiing, mountaineering and all of that,” said Sauerbrey, a 2018 Steamboat Springs High School graduate. “But then he lost it, just from getting older basically. I guess what’s most interesting about him now is he still has that spirit and that freedom of the hills, seeking that, but he just doesn’t have the outlet anymore.”

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