March 31st - Fire Danger Creeping Upward...
The fire danger across eastern
Colorado is again creeping slowly upward with
parts of southeastern Colorado already reaching
extreme danger levels.
While recent precipitation
across the area has brought temporary relief from
the previous high fire danger, in the long term it
will help the area situation very little. Should
soaking rains not develop this spring, Coloradoans
across the plains and foothills could be in for a
very active fire season.
March, one of our two snowiest
months, provided little in the way of heavy
precipitation and lasting relief. Current forecast
models are predicting lower than average
precipitation and warmer than average temperatures
in upcoming months, further increasing the threat
of a dangerous fire season across the area.
As is always suggested, area
residents should take steps now to make their
homes and property as fire-safe as possible.
Wildfires will occur this year, that is a fact.
Preparedness is a homeowner's number one defense
against these wildfires. Helpful information and
recommended steps that you can take to make you
home safer from wildfires can be found at www.firewise.org.
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placed "Von Kaenal Way" sign.
March 30th - Name Changes Confuse Area
Several road names in the Cedar
Park/Cedar Springs Subdivisions have recently been
changed both confusing and angering some residents
in the area.
These name changes were
reportedly unauthorized by Larimer County and
could potentially cause serious problems for
emergency services responding to 911 calls in the
area, as the new road names are not found on any
area maps or in any current databases.
The road signs are reported as
have being changed by members of the homeowners'
association and SMERT
(see update below). However, it is also being
reported that this action was not voted on and
approved by a majority of homeowners.
Unofficial statements from
Larimer County Officials are that no sign changes
have been authorized by the county, no new names have been decided on, nor has any entity yet
been chosen to perform any changes, if and when
any were to be be approved. We are currently
awaiting an official statement on the issue from
Current changes include the
renaming of portions of Palisade Mt. to Von Kaenal Way, after a
former association board member, who is currently
living in Fort Collins. This may be in violation
of County regulations, as it was reported that at a recent
meeting at Big T Elementary School, County Commissioner
Glenn Gibson clearly stated, "no road may be
named after a living person."
The filing of formal complaints to
the County and State are reported as being
considered by some area residents challenging the validity of
the name changes, and also alleging that those who
changed the signs without proper authorization
are guilty of impersonating a government official, now
possibly a Federal crime under the Patriot Act.
and official comments on this important community issue will be posted
as it becomes available.
UPDATE: As of 8Am
Saturday the official response from Larimer
County is none. We will assume this is another
case of ignore the problem and it will just go
away, as has been the case in previous issues
concerning the county. And we will remember the
lack of concern for our community shown by the
current County Officials at election time.
received a statement from SMERT
denying any involvement whatsoever in the
changing of any signs or renaming of any roads.
As quoted from the statement, "Our
only concern is that whatever road name changes
are made that we be made aware of them so we can
continue to assist in getting authorized
personnel to their destination without
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March 28th - Proposed Land Use Changes Voted
In a unanimous decision the Larimer County Board of
Commissioners on Monday evening voted down the
proposed changes to the land use code by a vote of 3 - 0.
The proposed changes would have
limited the number of livestock and other animals
permitted on properties in Larimer County. These
changes were opposed by many county residents and
animal organizations including the Larimer County
Official information regarding last
night's decision and what will happen next is
expected to be released shortly.
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Candidate for Larimer County Assessor,
March 27th - Liebler Announces Candidacy For
Long time Larimer County
resident and businesswoman Barbara Liebler has
officially announced her candidacy for the Office
of County Assessor, as a Democrat on this
In a letter to Storm Mountain
News, Liebler stated the
"The Larimer County
assessment process has big problems. Larimer
County had the highest number of 2005 property
assessment protests of any county in Colorado.
Larimer County's protests were nearly 15,000 while
the next highest was Adams County at 9,000. We had
even larger protest numbers under the previous
assessor's 2003 numbers.
I am a candidate for Larimer
County Assessor, and these two ineffective
assessors are my opponents in this race. I can do
better for the property owners of Larimer County.
We need Fair Value --
fair not only to those nearly 15,000 protestors
but also to the frail, the timid, or the
overworked who did not protest their high
valuations. We need to be fair also to the
schools, human services, county services, and
county infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) whose
funding suffers when property is undervalued.
We need Responsive
Government -- an assessor's office that
explains the process, makes it easy to research
other comparable property sales, and welcomes
citizen input in improving the assessment process.
We need Good Management
in the assessor's office, smoothing the way for
the appraisers to be out in the county looking at
properties, improving the computer program used in
assessments, and keeping all of the work flow
aimed at the goal of fair value.
I can provide good management
in this office. I know how to get things done in a
government setting: I've served on the city
councils of both Fort Collins and Loveland and,
among other activities, was the Vice-Chair of
Loveland Planning Commission and served on the
Fort Collins Downtown Development Board. I was the
founder and, for 11 years, the president of a
successful Colorado corporation. I have experience
with citizen participation, both as a citizen and
as chair of the citizen input meetings for
Loveland's 20-year planning effort.
While most area residents were
asleep, Venus and the crescent Moon made a
wonderful early morning appearance, rising over
Palisade Mountain on Saturday just before sunrise.
the jewel of the sky, was once know by ancient
astronomers as the morning star and evening star.
Early astronomers once thought Venus to be two
separate bodies. Venus is named after the Roman
goddess of love and beauty.
A Venusian day is 243 Earth days
and is longer than its year of 225 days. Oddly,
Venus rotates from east to west. To an observer on
Venus, the Sun would rise in the west and set in
Venus is the brightest object in
the sky other than the Sun and Moon. This level of
brightness is due to a dense layer of clouds
surrounding the planet, reflecting nearly all of
the sunlight that reaches Venus back into
This dense atmosphere also
produces a run-away greenhouse
effect that raises Venus' surface temperature
by about 400 degrees to over 740 K (hot enough to
melt lead). Venus' surface is actually hotter than
despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun.
Often know as our "Sister
Planet", Venus will remain visible in the
eastern sky from our area until late summer.
path of Venus through the morning sky in 2006.
Venus will remain a brilliant morning star until
autumn. Credit: Terri Field of Astronomy