"The Storm Mountain Incident"
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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.
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.
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
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
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
Correction: Upon investigation of the
pony, while it is indeed seriously ill, it did not appear,
"near death", as previously reported. Please note also
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
50 -100 large mature trees
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
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
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.
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 .
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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