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Fire Weather Watch

Fire Watch Thru This Evening

Tuesday, February 28th - Fire Watch In Effect Through This Evening...

The 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.


The complete text of this official watch can be found via the link provided below.

Fire Weather Watch

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National Weather Service Fire Weather

Fire Danger High

Monday, February 27th - Fire Danger High Throughout County... 

Warm temperatures, low humidity and moderate to high winds are raising the fire danger throughout Larimer County to critical levels.

The 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.

Residents are advised to use extreme caution when using any type of open flame outdoors including grills, campfires, etc. DO NOT throw lit cigarettes from vehicles!

The 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

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Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Sunday, February 26th - Photo Of The Week... 

In 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 Crossbill.

A 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.

A 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.

Primarily 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.

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Accident on FDR 128 on Friday afternoon.

Accident on FDR 128 early Friday afternoon

Friday, February 24th - Accident On FDR 128... 

On 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 reported.

The 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.

Warm air temperatures like those experienced on Friday can cause the top of the ice to melt creating a layer of water on the ice, and a very slick situation.

Numerous 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 road.

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Newly Announced Candidate Steve Miller

Newly Announced Candidate Steve Miller

Wednesday, February 22nd - Steve Miller Announces Candidacy For County Assessor... 

Steve 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.

Miller 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.

When 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 do.

About 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.”

When 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."

“The 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.

“In 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.

“Life 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. Always.

“You 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 disconnect somewhere.”

Miller 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.

He is a Certified Public Accountant and in the past has held a Certificate in Data Processing, been a Licensed Appraiser, and a Certified Valuation Analyst.

He 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 Eisenhower.

He 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

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Larimer County Sherrif's Report

Larimer County
Sheriff's Report

Tuesday, February 21st - Assault/Kidnapping Suspect in Custody... 

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. 

Information 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 mother’s home.  

Davison is currently being held by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office on five misdemeanor warrants, one felony warrant, and revocation of probation. 

 In Colorado, Davison will be facing felony charges of kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated motor vehicle theft as well as misdemeanor charges of assault and menacing. 

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered the victim’s vehicle on the evening of February 18th.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.

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Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)

Sunday, February 19th - Photo Of The Week... 

This week's photo, taken on Saturday morning, features one of our area's larger year round winged residents, the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia).

The Black-billed 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 flight. 

Black-billed 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. 

These birds 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 nests low.

Black-billed 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 Plains.

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Looking towards Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday Morning

View from Storm Mountain News
at 6AM this morning

Temperatures Plunge Below Zero... 

Area residents 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.

The sub-zero 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.

Temperatures are 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.

Parents should 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.

Should frostbite 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.

Frostbite Information Sheet

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