August 17th - West Nile Meningitis Confirmed In County...
of West Nile meningitis in a Fort Collins resident
was confirmed today by the Larimer County
Department of Health and Environment. The
52-year-old woman was probably bitten by an
infected mosquito around July 20th, and her symptoms
appeared July 29th. After spending a week in
Poudre Valley Hospital, she is recovering at home.
only is this a reminder that West Nile Virus is
still very much with us, but also of its serious
consequences,” said Adrienne LeBailly, MD,
director of the Larimer County Department of
Health and Environment. “West Nile Virus illness
can be debilitating and its effects last a long
time. We all need to continue to be vigilant in
using insect repellents and taking other steps to
prevent being bitten by an infected mosquito.”
Nile illness is caused by the bite of a mosquito
infected with the virus. Symptoms may
include fever, muscle aches, and marked fatigue.
Sometimes these symptoms can progress to
neurological symptoms. In the most serious
cases, the virus can invade an infected person’s
nervous system and result in meningitis or
encephalitis. Symptoms include high fever,
neck and eye pain, headaches, dizziness,
sensitivity to light, tremors, difficulty walking
or slurred speech.
very important to see your physician if you have
neurological symptoms,” said LeBailly.
“Though there is no medicine to treat West Nile
virus itself, supportive treatment can be critical
announcement of the meningitis comes during a week
when the number of infected mosquitoes in Fort
Collins and Loveland suddenly jumped to the
highest level so far this year.
in Loveland and Fort Collins are at a higher risk
now of being bitten by an infected Culex mosquito
(the kind that carry West Nile virus) than at any
time this summer,” said Mike Doyle, West Nile
Virus Educator for the department of health and
notes that last week in Fort Collins there were a
total of 10 positive collective mosquito samples
in Fort Collins; this week there are an additional
8. Last week in Loveland there were a total
of 5 positive collective samples; this week that
number jumped by an additional 16.
mosquitoes were collected last week, so the number
of infected mosquitoes out there right now might
be even higher if the current trend continues,”
to Doyle, the largest concentrations of positive
mosquitoes are within one mile both north and
south of the Poudre River, from LaPorte all the
way to Windsor. “This doesn’t mean that
the rest of Fort Collins is safe,” he said and
added that positive mosquitoes might be found
anywhere the city.
mosquitoes are widespread in Loveland,” said
Doyle “especially east of 287 and south of Hwy.
34.” He also added that positive birds
have been found in both Fort Collins and Loveland
and positive mosquitoes were found in Berthoud
traps last week.
summer activities might be coming to a close, the
West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes will be active
for a while yet, according to Doyle. “As the
evenings start to get cooler in September,
mosquito activity will slow down, but for now,
stick with the preventive steps that have been
recommended all summer,” he said. These
include the use of an effective insect repellent
containing DEET when outside during
mosquito-active hours, from dusk until dawn;
eliminate standing water around your yard; and
water your lawns sparingly.
more information on West Nile Virus, go to www.larimer.org/health
or call the Larimer County Department of Health
and Environment at 970-498-6752.
August 16th - Wildfires Burning Near Cedar Cove....
Two wildfires are currently burning on
the east side of Palisade Mountain,
near Cedar Cove in the Big Thompson Canyon, not
Alexander Mountain as previously reported.
The larger fire is being
called the "Gulch Fire", and the
smaller blaze the "Cedar Creek Fire". Both
fires are at this time believed to possibly be the result of a lightning strike on Tuesday
evening. Fire crews are staged at the entrance to
Cedar Cove. Air tankers are in process of dropping
As of 5:00pm, the fires were
reported as 5 acres and 1 acre in size, with no
containment on either blaze. More information will be posted
as it becomes available.
7:30pm Update: It is now
being reported that both fires are now contained.
Charged In Carter Lake
Larimer County Sheriff Jim
Alderden has announced that charges are expected
to be filed with the District Attorney today,
against Gil Dwayne Smith, 46, for Child Abuse
Resulting in Death for the July 15, 2006, incident
at Carter Lake. Shay Smith, 2 years-old, was
lost and presumed drowned during a boating outing
with his father, his 3 year-old brother and friend
of the father at approximately 8:00 P.M. that
evening. Smith, a multiple-state offender,
is expected to be charged under Colorado Revised
Statute 18-6-401, Child Abuse, which reads,
“A person commits child abuse if such person
causes an injury to a child’s life or health, or
permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a
situation that poses a threat of injury to the
child’s life or health…” CRS further
states, “When a person acts knowingly or
recklessly and the child abuse results in death to
the child, it is a class 2 felony.”
Subsection (7) (a) states, “Where death or
injury results, the following shall apply: (II)
When a person acts with criminal negligence and
the child abuse results in death to the child, it
is a class 3 felony.”
It was originally reported to
Sheriff’s Office investigators that Shay had
fallen out of the boat and slipped out of his
lifejacket. However, after a lengthy
investigation and due to the inconsistencies and
contradictions reported to the Sheriff’s Office
by Gil Smith of Longmont and Robert Venegas, also
of Longmont, investigators now believe that Shay
was riding on a tow-tube called the “Super
Screamer,” behind the Smith boat at speeds of 20
to 30 miles per hour when Shay was lost in Carter
Lake. It is further believed that the
incident was not witnessed by either Gil Smith or
the passenger and therefore the location of the
accident is unknown. Shay, who weighed 25
pounds, was wearing a life jacket designed for a
30 to 50 pound child.
Since July 15, Shay Smith has
been the subject of an extensive search by Larimer
County Dive Rescue, Larimer County Sheriff’s
Office Emergency Services, Berthoud and Loveland
Fire Dive Rescue Teams as well as Coast Guard
Auxiliary out of Longmont. Later in the
search Lt. Tom Greenhalgh of the Billerica Police
Department in Billerica, Massachusetts and 20 year
veteran with the Merrimack Valley Dive Rescue Team
was brought in by Sheriff Alderden to help with
This past weekend, members of
the Seth Foundation of Columbus, Georgia, a
national nonprofit organization dedicated to
improving water safety in America and providing
support systems to families, communities, and
public safety agencies when an aquatic accident
occurs, were brought in by the Larimer County
Sheriff’s Office. The Seth Foundation is
comprised of volunteer men and women from all
regions of the United States who mission statement
reads, “We understand how important the recovery
of a drown victim is to bring about closure for
families, friends, and loved ones.”
As of 7:00 P.M. Monday, the
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office suspended the
search for Shay Smith until such time as new
evidence should present itself.
Sheriff Jim Alderden would like
to thank Larimer County Manager, Frank Lancaster
who has supported this extensive search effort by
approving expenditures above the current budget.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking
for anyone who may have seen the Smith boat (photo
above), or Shay riding the tow-tube behind the
Smith's boat to call Undersheriff Ern Hudson at
970-498-5103 and leave a detailed message.
August 15th - County Justice System Faces
Larimer County is facing a
crisis in their Criminal Justice System. The most
critical piece of the crisis is jail overcrowding.
The county's jail has more inmates than
regulations and capacity can hold on a regular
basis. This creates staffing problems, security
issues, and the early
release of offenders on a daily basis.
Larimer County is unique in that
it has several alternative programs that provide
lower levels of security for lower risk offenders
at a much lower cost to the tax payers. These
programs assist in keeping as many lower risk
offenders out of the jail to ease the overcrowding
problem. These programs include Work Release,
Workenders and Weekends, Pretrial Supervision, and
Electronic Home Monitoring. These programs too,
are over capacity and have waiting lists and
backlogs that sometimes force offenders to be
placed in jail.
Approximately three years ago, a
group of professionals in the Criminal Justice
System joined together to form the Criminal
Justice Advisory Committee (CJAC). The CJAC
focuses on elements of the criminal justice system
that are inter-agency in scope, to better
understand how changes in one part of the system
affect other aspects. This allows the team to
assess the most efficient use of overall tax
dollars from arrest to release.
The committee developed a plan
to address the jail overcrowding as well as other
inefficiencies in the system. The plan was
approved by the commissioners and is further detailed
on the Larimer County website. The proposal to
fund these programs and help solve the criminal
justice crisis will ask citizens for a 5 mill
increase in property taxes this fall.
August 13th - Photo Of The Week....
Commonly seen blooming
throughout our area during the summer months, this
week's photo features the showy and colorful,
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja
mutis) is a member of the snapdragon
family (Castilleja), which contains about
200 species of partially or wholly parasitic
wildflowers that obtain nourishment from the roots
of other plants.
small, tubular, two-lipped flowers are surrounded
by brightly colored upper leaves, giving the plant
the appearance of having been dipped in a pot of
red, orange, yellow, pink, or white paint.
Indian Paintbrush evoked the
Native American legend of a young brave who tried
to paint the sunset with his warpaints. Frustrated
that he could not match the brilliance of nature,
he asked for guidance from the Great Spirit. The
Great Spirit gave him paintbrushes laden with the
colors he so desired. With these, he painted his
masterpiece and left the spent brushes in fields
across the landscape. These brushes sprouted into
the flowers we now so wonderfully love!