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05/16/05 -05/22/05
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Carrizo Plain, Trembor Range west of Bakersfield

Carrizo Plain, Temblor Range west of Bakersfield

Sunday, May 22nd - Photo Of The Week...  This week's photo, while not of our area, is so spectacular that it was our hands down favorite. The photo shows the Spring explosion of wildflowers on the Temblor Range in the Carrizo Plain west of Bakersfield, California. This amazing photo captured the brief, but extremely colorful wildflower display last week. Here in this remote part of California where ravens dip and rise with play of the wind and wildflowers color the hills each spring, it's still possible to look out over hundreds of miles of open space and to watch stars spread across a dark sky. Known to the Spanish as "Llano Estero," or salt marsh plain, this arid and treeless basin harbors the largest remaining example of habitats that were once abundant in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Most of the surviving habitat is protected within the boundaries of the 180,000-acre Carrizo Plain National Monument where an array of rare plants and animals, including the greatest concentration of threatened and endangered vertebrates in the state, continue to thrive. Physical forces began shaping the Carrizo into a distinct geographic feature about 30 million years ago. As the bordering Temblor and Caliente mountains were pushed upward, movements along the San Andreas and San Juan faults caused the land in between to subside, forming a closed basin. Runoff from the adjacent slopes collected there creating a vast lake which gradually filled with rich, soil-forming sediments that support life on the plain today.

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Friday, May 20th - Rescue At Lory State Park... Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services, Larimer County Search and Rescue, Poudre Fire Authority and Poudre Valley Hospital responded to the hiking trail at Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park on a report of an injured hiker at 1:00 P.M. on May 20, 2005.  A 13 year old female was on a field trip from Walt Clark Middle School in Loveland when she slipped on the hiking trail and tumbled approximately 30 feet. LCSAR brought her down to the waiting helicopter where she was air lifted out to Poudre Valley Hospital.  Paramedics on scene reported that she had cuts and bruises and a laceration to the head but that she appeared to be in good condition.

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Thursday, May 19th - Remembering Love Canal... With the current growing concerns over the chemicals being used on FDR 128, as well as several other roads throughout the County, we felt the following excerpt from a Special Report to the Governor and Legislature in 1978, by the New York State Health Department, quite appropriate. We would suggest that County officials, and others with sincere concern, consider reading the full report, which is available via a link below, and seriously consider how it applies to our situation in Larimer County.

 And Then The Rains Came... 

Love Canal is a name which until recently was relegated to the back pages of history along with the unspent dreams of a visionary for whom it is named.

Today, more than three-quarters of a century later, this 16-acre rectangular piece of land, located only a few miles from the world-famous waterfall which each year attracts thousands to the honeymoon mecca of Niagara Falls, has again become the focus of international attention, but not as the centerpiece for a dream city.

Instead the center of attention is an ominous array of chemicals buried within the boundaries of the unfinished canal for more than 25 years - toxic ingredients which are infiltrating scores of nearby homes, posing a serious threat to human health and upsetting the domestic tranquility of hundreds of families living in this middle class community.

Situated only a few blocks from the Niagara River in the residential southeastern section of the highly industrialized but tourist-oriented city, the Love Canal problem began to surface in recent years as chemical odors in the basements of the homes bordering the site became more noticeable. This followed prolonged heavy rains and one of the worst blizzards ever to hit this section of the country.

Thus began a series of events and momentous decisions involving city, county, State and Federal governments to cope with what can only be described as a major human and environmental tragedy without precedent and unparalleled in New York State's history.

Described as an environmental time bomb gone off, Love Canal stands as testimony to the ignorance, lack of vision and proper laws of decades past which allowed the indiscriminate disposal of such toxic materials.

The consequences of these transgressions are mirrored by the planned exodus of 235 families and the public monies and herculean efforts which now must be expended to contain the disaster and restore a degree of normalcy to the lives of those affected.

For those responsible for containing the problem and for government leaders in New York State and throughout the nation, Love Canal represents what may very well be the first of a new and sinister breed of environmental disasters.

The lessons we are learning from this modern-day disaster should serve as a warning for governments at all levels and for private industry to take steps to avoid a repetition of these tragic events. They must also serve as a reminder to be ever watchful for the tell-tale signs of potential disasters and to look beyond our daily endeavors and plan for the wellbeing of future generations.

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Wednesday, May 18th - Five Year Old Pony Seriously Ill From Suspected Chemical Exposure... This morning homeowners whose property was contaminated by road chemicals received a phone call from a neighbor informing them that their five year old pony was near death. The pony, along with four other horses, were heavily exposed to the chemical run-off in 2003 prior to the detection of heavy metals. The pony was in good health and showed no outer symptoms of any problems previously. He has lost approximately 100 lbs of weight in the last month. The food supply is plentiful with fresh grass in abundance.

Correction: Upon investigation of the pony, while it is indeed seriously ill, it did not appear, "near death", as previously reported. Please note also that no positive connection has been made between any chemicals and the pony's condition.

The homeowner stated, "We are 100% sure it is the chemicals killing Jack, our pony, and that is killing our dog, Ali. Their symptoms are almost identical with massive weight loss being the most prominent. One of our other horses, a four year old mare, has developed strange wart-like growths on her neck which we also suspect to be from exposure to the deadly chemicals now present on our land. Our vet also suspects they are either Arsenic corns or another type of growth directly related to chemical exposure."

To date the problems suspected to be a direct result of the chemicals used on FDR 128 is as follows:

50 -100 large mature trees killed
Liver failure in dog
Five year old pony seriously ill of unknown cause
Two cases of ovarian cancer
8 year old girl with unusual liver and kidney problems, constant low-grade fever
Numerous complaints of respiratory problems, unusual headaches, depression, and extreme irritability.

Several people have went to their physician seeking help, with the doctors being unable to find any cause for their problems. All of these health problems are symptomatic of Arsenic poisoning. High amounts of Arsenic, Barium, and Chromium IV were confirmed to be present in run-off from the road in 2004. It appears that effects of these chemicals are now showing up as health problems in animals and humans, in addition to killing the vegetation and trees. The effects on local wildlife and fish likely is just as devastating.

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Tuesday, May 17th - Water Main Break Closes Estes Park Middle School... Students arriving at Estes Park Middle School today were surprised to find that they were immediately being sent home. A water main break in the building forced the closing of the school for the day. School officials stated, "The break did not do much damage but it did put all restrooms out of service, leading to the closure". The break is expected to be repaired today with school once again open tomorrow. It was also stated by school officials, that the School Concert scheduled for tonight will be held in the Estes Park High School auditorium.


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Glen Haven Historical Society Program Tonight... National Forest Service Trail Volunteers, Howard Pomranka and Gordon Nuttall, will present a program, "Hiking Around Glen Haven", this evening for the Glen Haven Historical Society. The program which begins at 7pm tonight, will feature stories and information on various mountain trails in our area including Crosier Mountain, Danner Pass, North Fork, Miller Fork, Indian, West Creek, North Boundary, and Bulwark/Signal Mountain trails. The free event is being held at the Glen Haven Town Hall and the public is welcome to attend. For more information please contact Duke Sumonia at: 970-586-8505 .

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Monday, May 16th - New Property Assessments Anger Residents... By now most residents of Larimer County have received their new property valuation assessment. The new assessments have angered many residents County wide because of extreme changes in real property value. A report in the, "Fort Collins Coloradoan", cites one area, Terry Lake, as having properties previously valued a $60,000 jumping to an extraordinary $170,000. This is not based on actual improvements to the properties, but rather is a result of Larimer County's outsourcing the job of appraising County properties to an independent company called, ValueCheck, Inc. Many residents are enraged by the new assessments and not only because of radical increases.

In our more immediate area, property values have plummeted along FDR 128. One property is reported to have dropped over $63,000 in value after the use of chemicals for dust control on the access road, and the known presence of heavy, toxic metals on the property, left behind by run-off from the National Forest Service road. The entire front of the property has be devastated leaving a row of dead and dying trees and shrubs for curb appeal.

"This devaluation of properties was inevitable", states the angry homeowner. "I have expressed my concerns over how the use of chemicals would effect property values for nearly two years and nobody cared to listen. It appears I was again correct in my prediction of the chemical damage and it's lingering presence leading to lower values. Just look at my property when you drive by. It looks like a death zone from the damage imposed by careless use the road chemicals".

More reports of long time residents, some who have been here for over 30 years, selling their homes due to health concerns over the now chemical laced road dust, are floating around the mountain, with for sale signs now popping up in most unlikely places. Selling may not be an easy task as once word of the decreases in property values, and concerns over chemical use, reaches the real estate agents and title companies, the already slow sales of homes in the area is expected to drop off substantially. It would however make sense that very few want to take the risk of chemical exposure, or want chemically contaminated property as their investment.

More about the current property value dilemma in Larimer County can be found in two past articles in the "Fort Collins Coloradoan" via the link below.

News posts from previous weeks are located in our "News Archive" which can be found by clicking the button below:

Storm Mountain Net

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Last modified: October 11, 2005