February 28th - Fire Watch In Effect Through This
National Weather Service in Denver has issued a Fire
Weather Watch/Red Flag Warning for the north
and central foothills below 8000 feet, including
the Drake, Glen Haven and Storm Mountain areas.
DOWNSLOPE SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WILL
DEVELOP IN THE FOOTHILLS TUESDAY MORNING AND THEN
CONTINUE THROUGH THE EARLY EVENING HOURS. PEAK
GUSTS OF 40 TO 50 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED IN WIND
PRONE AREAS. THE STRONG WINDS WILL COMBINE WITH
LOW HUMIDITIES BETWEEN 10 AND 15 PERCENT TO
PRODUCE CONDITIONS FAVORABLE FOR THE RAPID SPREAD
OF ANY WILDFIRES. A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT
CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE.
complete text of this official watch can be found
via the link provided below.
February 27th - Fire Danger High Throughout
temperatures, low humidity and moderate to high
winds are raising the fire danger throughout
Larimer County to critical levels.
National Weather Service in Denver is expected
shortly to issue a Fire Statement for front range
areas below 8000 feet, due to high winds expected
across the area on Tuesday, creating conditions
favorable for the rapid development of wildfires.
are advised to use extreme caution when using any
type of open flame outdoors including grills,
campfires, etc. DO NOT throw lit cigarettes from
warm weather makes this a perfect time to clean up
any debris and/or brush around your homes that
could be a fire hazard. More information on what
you can do to keep your property as safe as
possible from fire can be found at www.firewise.org
February 26th - Photo Of The Week...
keeping with the recent trend of photos of
local birds, this week's photo features one of our
area's less common birds, the Red
stocky finch of mature coniferous forests, the Red
Crossbill (Loxia Curvirostra) is dependent on the
seed cones that are its main food. Its peculiar
bill allows it access to the seeds, and it will
breed whenever it finds areas with an abundance of
cones. It may wander widely between years to find
a good cone crop.
crossbill's odd bill shape helps it get into
tightly closed cones. A bird's biting muscles are
stronger than the muscles used to open the bill,
so the Red Crossbill places the tips of its
slightly open bill under a cone scale and bites
down. The crossed tips of the bill push the scale
up, exposing the seed inside.
a resident from southern Alaska to Newfoundland,
southward to northern United States and farther,
mostly in mountains, to North Carolina and Central
America, the Red Crossbill occasionally wanders
into our local area.
February 24th - Accident On FDR 128...
Friday afternoon shortly after 12PM, a grey Nissan
slid off of FDR 128, coming to rest against a tree
on the opposite side of the road. No injuries were
accident occurred approximately 1/2 mile below
Railsback Hill, in the "S" curves. These
curves are notoriously icy and remain frozen when
the majority of FDR 128 is clear and dry. Due
to the steep hillsides blocking sunlight, this
section of road is often icy until late Spring.
air temperatures like those experienced on Friday can cause
top of the ice to melt creating a layer of water
on the ice, and a very slick situation.
accidents are reported in these curves each
winter. Downhill travel is the most dangerous.
These are blind curves also. Residents are advised to use extreme caution in
this area and to reduce speed, stay alert for other vehicles
that may be sliding on the ice and be prepared to
stop should another vehicle be obstructing the
February 22nd - Steve Miller Announces Candidacy
For County Assessor...
Miller announced that he will run for the office
of Larimer County Assessor as a Republican. Miller
held the office from 1989 through 2002 when he
left the office because of term limits.
was honored by his peers as the first Assessor
of the Year in 1992 for ‘his
interpretation of the effects of Amendment 1 on
property tax administration and for helping
simplify the appeal process for property
owners.’ He served as President of the Colorado
Assessors Association in 1997 and chaired that
association’s legislative, finance, audit, and
assessment issues committees at different times.
asked about being the assessor, Miller said,
“The assessor stands between the taxpayers and
the government entities that spend property tax
dollars. It’s a unique position. And since the
assessor is elected by the people, he is wholly
accountable to the people. Obviously, there is a
duty to the government entities to deliver a tax
roll that is as clean as possible, but the tax
roll is what it is once it is run, and the
Assessor’s focus always has to be on fairness to
the taxpayers.” Miller added, “That focus is
not what guides the assessor’s office these
days. I’m not sure what the focus is. It seems
to be way too introspective; like the assessor is
somehow disconnected from what he’s supposed to
his plans for the office if elected, Miller said
he wants to put Larimer County back up higher on
the technology curve. “At one time, we were one
of the first Assessor Offices in Colorado to offer
real estate professionals 24/7 access to our data.
We did that in partnership with the Clerk’s
Office. That was before the internet took hold. We
had a bank of very bulky and slow modems, but it
worked. As for office’s website as it is now; it
hasn’t changed much for quite a long time. It
was pretty good when it first went up, but that
was a long time ago. It looks pretty stale. I’m
not sure why that is. I know there was a
comparables module with hooks into the mapping
system being designed when I left office. It
should have been up and available on the internet
in some form by now.”
asked his thoughts about the ill-fated citizens’
taskforce, Miller explained that he attended both
citizen meetings even though no one from the
Assessor’s Office attended either. “I didn’t
attend either of the administrative matters
meetings with the commissioners, though. I
listened to the recordings of them on the
internet. That was an Olympic caliber flip-flop
that Larry did. It shouldn’t have turned out
that way. I think it was probably a mistake to go
straight to the commissioners. That’s not what
commissioners do – they don’t oversee the
Assessor’s operations. The Assessor is
independently elected for a reason. The Assessor
has to be independent. Larry should have shown
some leadership and organized the taskforce
without the commissioners."
idea of organized citizen guidance is a good one;
like for the website design – that’s a natural
for citizen involvement. It’s the citizens who
use the webpage, not the Assessor’s Office.
Protest traffic flow and protest materials is
another area where citizens know what they need
and what they haven’t been getting. Or giving
citizens lists of proposed valuations in their
areas and letting them go out and look around –
that would be great feedback, I think.
any event, Larry got it all wrong when he talked
to the commissioners about the taskforce idea. The
stuff the people were talking about in those
meetings were not things that would take much or
any money to fix. Not most of the issues, anyway.
Now, tearing down the whole property tax system
and building a new one would not be an easy thing
to do – and there is quite a lot of interest to
do that very thing; but that lies far outside the
province of the Assessor.
would be so much easier for everyone right now if
Larry had just shown up at the meetings, taken a
few lumps, and explained to the people there what
was going on. An assessor has to be able to take a
punch without punching back. That’s part of the
deal. And the Assessor always has to show up.
know, it made no sense at all for him to spend
$156,000 on an outside consultant to help him do
his job and then for him to turn down free help
from the citizens who live here. There’s a
was born in Salt Lake City, UT, and grew up in
Colorado Springs and Littleton. He received his
Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of
Denver and his Masters of Science degree from
Colorado State University.
is a Certified Public Accountant and in the past
has held a Certificate in Data Processing, been a
Licensed Appraiser, and a Certified Valuation
served as a US Naval Officer from 1973 to 1978 as
a bombardier/navigator in A-6 “Intruders”
deployed onboard the USS Independence and the USS
is married to Cheryl Miller who works at CSU in
the Animal Sciences Department. Steve and Cheryl
have a combined family of four sons: Allan Miller,
who is a student in Construction Management at CSU;
Matt Buster, who works in the retail furniture
business in Fort Collins; Ehren Miller, a Sergeant
in the Marine Corps stationed in Shanghai, China;
and Kelly Buster, a Lance Corporal in the Marine
Corps stationed in Okinawa, Japan
February 21st - Assault/Kidnapping Suspect in
On the evening
of February 18th, deputies in Hallsville, Texas
located and took into custody Craig Davison.
Davison was wanted in Larimer County in connection
with an assault that occurred on the morning of
February 17th. Davison reportedly assaulted
a 43-year old Fort Collins female and fled the
scene in her car.
provided to Harrison County Sheriff’s Office
deputies by Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
deputies lead to the successful location and
apprehension of Davison in Hallsville, Texas.
Davison was found hiding under a bed in his
currently being held by the Harrison County
Sheriff’s Office on five misdemeanor warrants,
one felony warrant, and revocation of probation.
Colorado, Davison will be facing felony charges of
kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated motor vehicle
theft as well as misdemeanor charges of assault
Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered the
victim’s vehicle on the evening of February 18th.
County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the
Harrison County Sheriff’s Office for their
assistance in this investigation.
February 19th - Photo Of The Week...
photo, taken on Saturday morning, features one of
our area's larger year round winged residents, the
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia).
Magpie is a large black and white bird with long
tail and dark bill. Bill, head, breast, and
underparts are black, with green iridescence on wings
and tail. With a white belly and shoulders; the white
primaries are conspicuous as white wing patches in
Magpies are common throughout or area. Magpies
generally nest individually but can sometimes be
found in loose colonies; they are social when
feeding or after the breeding season.
Since the most
important items in their diet seem to be insects
and small rodents, they are more beneficial than
destructive to agriculture. In captivity a magpie
may be trained to imitate the human voice.
frequently associate with cattle and sheep,
perching on their backs and picking off ticks and
maggots. Those living in western rangeland appear
shy of humans, but their behavior in the Old World
is very different. In northern Finland magpies
live in the middle of settlements and place their
Magpies can be found in open woodlands, savannas,
brush-covered country and streamside growth. Their
range extends from Alaska and western Canada south
to east-central California and east to Great
Plunge Below Zero...
awoke this morning to sub-zero temperatures across
the front range. This morning at 4:57AM,
Storm Mountain News recorded a temperature of
-14°F. A new official record low of -13°F was
recorded at Denver International Airport.
temperatures have made area roads extremely slick
with moderate to severe icing being reported.
Several problems were reported Friday evening on
FDR 128 including one incident that closed the
road for over an hour after vehicles slid and
collided on the switchbacks below Combat Rock.
expected to moderate somewhat during the day with
a high of near 20°F predicted. Wind chills
however could make it feel closer to -20°F.
We would like to
remind residents to keep a close watch on pets and
livestock during this extreme cold as they can
quickly get frostbite. Small animals are
particularly at risk due to their low amount of
overall body heat. Cold breed dogs such as Huskies
and Malamutes are also at risk when left out
without proper shelter for extended periods.
Drinking water for pets and livestock should also
be maintained and prevented from freezing.
assure that children are dressed appropriately if
going outdoors to play. Frostbite can occur very
quickly at these temperatures. Care should be
taken to cover all exposed areas of skin. Ears,
face, fingers, toes, ankle area, wrist area and
waistband are potential problem areas.
occur, slowly warm the affected area. DO NOT USE
DRY HEAT OR HOT WATER! Apply sterile dressing to
the affected area and seek medical care if
indicated. A complete frostbite information sheet,
including detailed first aid procedures, is
available via the link provided below.