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Chemicals being applied to LCR41H on September 12, 2007...

Chemicals being applied to LCR41H on
September 12, 2007

Thursday,  March 22nd - Road Crews Cited By State...

Roads crews from the Cedar Park and Cedar Springs subdivisions on Storm Mountain were recently cited by the State for violation of the Colorado Water Quality Act.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Water Control Division recently served the road crews who were responsible for the chemical application with a "Notice of Violation" and "Cease and Desist Order" for the negligent use of dust control chemicals on LCR41H, leading to contamination of State waters.

Residents have repeatedly complained about the applications of dust control chemicals running onto private lands and into the area streams since 2004. This runoff has reportedly killed many large, mature trees and various shrubs in its path. 

In 2005, an area dog was reported to have died from exposure to the road chemicals running through private property. Toxicology revealed the presence of arsenic in the deceased dog's liver and kidneys. Testing off the runoff in 2004 confirmed high amounts of arsenic, barium and chromium to be present in the sludge left on private land by the runoff from the road.

In addition to the roads crews, the chemical manufacturer, Enviortech, and trucking company which applied the chemicals were also cited for this violation.

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Earth's position on the Vernal Equinox...

Earth's position on the Vernal Equinox

Tuesday,  March 20th - Spring Begins Today...

This evening at 6:07PM MST The Vernal Equinox will occur signaling the the official start of the Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, and Fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Vernal Equinox is the first day of Spring and on this day the sun is directly over the equator (0º latitude). The lengths of day and night are about equal (hence Equinox), and the sun rises due east and sets due west.

Since the winter solstice the sun has been traveling northward. The days should now become longer and warmer in the northern hemisphere.

It is just the opposite in the southern hemisphere where it will be the autumnal equinox "down under." It will be Fall there and they are moving towards Winter while we are moving towards Summer.

Many of the ancient cultures made buildings or had stone calendars using shadows or a beam of sunlight to mark this day. The Mayans in Southern Mexico built solar alignments into their buildings. On the vernal equinox at Chichen Itz, Mexico, a shadow, in the form of a serpent will appear on the main staircase of the great pyramid. Then it will move down the stairs as the sun moves across the sky.

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Male Downy Woodpecker...

Male Downy Woodpecker

Sunday,  March 18th - Photo Of The Week...

This week's photo features a male Downy Woodpecker hanging from a branch, outside of Storm Mountain News' office window, on last Wednesday morning.

The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is the smallest woodpecker in North America. Adults are mainly black on the upper parts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above and below the eye. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head. The female is similar in appearance, but without the red patch on the head.

They are virtually identical in plumage pattern to the much larger Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus). These species are not closely related at all, and they will certainly soon be separated in different genera. The outward similarity is a spectacular example of convergent evolution. Why this is so cannot be explained with confidence. It certainly is interesting to note that the species exploit rather differently-sized foodstuffs and generally do not compete very much ecologically.

These birds are mostly permanent residents. Northern birds may migrate further south; birds in mountainous areas, like here in Colorado, may move to lower elevations. Downy Woodpeckers roost in tree cavities in the winter.

Downy Woodpeckers forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. They mainly eat insects, also seeds and berries.

They are often seen in the mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, creepers, and kinglets that gather in the woods during migration and winter. As with other woodpeckers, the male is larger than the female and chisels deep into wood with its longer, stronger bill, whereas the female pries under the bark with her shorter bill. Thus a pair is able to share the food resources without competing with one another.

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