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Fragment "B" of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 early Tuesday  morning.

Fragment "B" of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
early Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, May 10th - Comet Brightens In Midnight Skies..

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is continuing to brighten and is now visible to the unaided eye in the eastern skies after midnight.

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (S-W 3) has now broken into over 60 fragments which are currently racing towards a close encounter planet Earth next week. Two of the fragments have brightened substantially with Fragment "B" (pictured above) now visible to the unaided eye.

S-W 3 is expected to brighten even further over the next few days with the closest approach occurring between May 12th thru 16th, when the comet will be approximately 6,000,000 miles from Earth.

Fragments "B" and "C" of 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann on Tuesday morningComet S-W 3 can be found in the eastern sky after midnight (locator map). Best viewing is after 3AM MDT when the comet is higher in the sky and the moon further west. While Comet S-W 3 is visible to the naked eye, binoculars and backyard telescopes will provide the best views of this rare and beautiful event.

Long exposure photographs of 30 seconds or more will also show the comet. Use a tripod and shutter release to avoid camera shake. High speed film or ISO settings of 800ASA or more are recommended. 

Weather this weekend should be good for viewing with moderate nighttime temperature making this a great opportunity to see one of these mysterious visitors from space.

A S-W 3 resource page, including a gallery of photos taken from Storm Mountain, is available via the link provided below.

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

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Gas prices top $3.00/gal in Estes Park on Tuesday afternoon

Gas prices top $3.00/gal in Estes Park
on Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday, May 9th - Gas Prices Top $3.00 Mark In Estes..

The price for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel has now topped the $3.00 mark in the tourist resort town of Estes Park.

Prices throughout the area are continuing to rise with a gallon of regular unleaded fuel ranging from $2.74 in Loveland to a whopping $3.04 in Estes Park.

Overall prices are appearing to be leveling out with a drop expected by early September. This drop however is too late for many vacationers across the country who will hit the highways beginning on Memorial Day.

Several local business owners have expressed concerns over the rising gas prices affecting travel to the area and in turn their summer revenues. It is being reported that some travelers are changing their travel plans to more local destinations to avoid the huge fuel expense of cross-country vacationing. 

No actual figures showing any drop in revenue or visitor numbers have been reported.

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Larimer County News Release

Larimer County News Release

Thursday, May 4th - Fugitive Arrested In Loveland..

A fugitive was arrested Thursday morning as a Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputy enacted a routine traffic stop near the intersection of Highway 402 and St. Louis in Loveland.

During the contact it was discovered that Gregory Gavaldon, 44, had an outstanding warrant since August of 2005 out of  Adams County for two counts of  Cruelty to a Child, a class 3 Felony,  Manufacture of Schedule II Controlled Substance, a class 3 Felony and Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance, also a class 3 Felony.

During the search incident to arrest, deputies located drug paraphernalia consistent with that of a methamphetamine lab.  The Larimer County Drug Task Force was called at that time.

Gavaldon of Fort Collins, was transported to the Larimer County Detention Center.  In addition to being held for the warrant, Gavaldon was also booked on the following charges:

  1. Unlawful manufacture of Schedule 2 Controlled Substance, a class 3 Felony,
  2. Unlawful Possession of Schedule 2 Controlled Substance, a class 4 Felony,
  3. Driving under Revocation and
  4. Various other traffic charges.

Gavaldon is being held at the Detention Center on a $20,000 bond for the Adams County warrant and $25,000 for Larimer County charges.

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Female Hairy Woodpecker

Female Hairy Woodpecker

Sunday, April 30th - Photo Of The Week..

Taken on Thursday morning, this week's photo features one of our area's year round feathered residents, the Hairy Woodpecker.

The Hairy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos villosus) is a medium sized woodpecker fairly common throughout the United States. Recognized by the vertical white stripe on its back and long bill, the Hairy Woodpecker is sometimes confused with the Downy Woodpecker which is smaller and has a shorter bill.

The Hairy and Downy woodpeckers occur together throughout most of their ranges. The Downy Woodpecker uses smaller branches while the Hairy Woodpecker tends to spend more time on the trunk. It might be thought that the larger woodpecker excludes the smaller one from more productive foraging spots, but it appears that just the reverse is true. In the Bahamas, where the Downy Woodpecker does not occur, the Hairy Woodpecker uses the branches more frequently.

The Hairy Woodpecker shows a great deal of morphological variation across its broad range, with more than 17 recognized subspecies. Northern birds tend to be larger than those farther south. Western birds are dark underneath and have few spots on the wings, while eastern birds are white underneath and have extensive spotting. Hairies in the Rocky Mountains are white below, but have few spots on their wings. Populations on islands often are distinctive. Sexes are similar, but the female does not have a red patch on the back of its head. Their call is a loud peek, and also a loud Kingfisher-like rattle.

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Larimer County Sheriff's News Release

Larimer County Sheriff's
News Release

Friday, April 28th - Two Juveniles Missing From Loveland..

Two juvenile boys were reported missing from Prairie View, a Reflections for Youth group home at 6:45 P.M. on Thursday evening. The two juveniles left the home located at 8233 East County Road 18 in Loveland and headed east to Weld County Road 13 then south. The two boys left on foot.

Jeremy Shawn Keith, age 12, is described as 5’ 7”, 160 lbs., brown eyes, and short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a white sleeveless shirt, blue jeans, and a dark gray long sleeve shirt tied around his waist.

Ryan Rouston, age 17, is described as 5’ 11”, 260 lbs., brown eyes, and short brown buzz-cut hair. He was last seen wearing a red short sleeve shirt with blue horizontal stripes, blue jeans, and brown tennis shoes. Ryan has a scar on his left eyebrow from a piercing, a pierced left ear with a gold hoop, and wears a plain silver band on both ring fingers.  Ryan left with a light gray and black backpack.

No photos are available at this time.

If anyone has information on the location of these two juveniles, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office at 970-416-1985.

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