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Community News, Activities and Events

June 11, 2009 July 4th Parade & Picnic: Click here to view or print flyer.

May 9, 2009 Road Clean Up:
Thank you to everyone! Those that spent their morning picking up trash and those that donated to the landfill costs and SMERT. A special thank you to Don, Gina & Taylor Ellis for taking the trash to the dump. To Carol & Jim Whipple, Jill & Jim Eccleston, Doris & Dave Legits, Ron Hentges, Richard, Jayne & Rick Baumeister, Dennis & Jan Hudson, Jenn & Dave VanWormer, Pat & David Maslowski, Linda & Robert James, Teresa Murdock, Shirley Miller, Glenn & Sheri Scott, Brian New, Goran Rauker, Ed Haimes, Georgia Wilson, Zach Price and anyone else that may have been there that I did not see.

April 29, 2009 Roger Hunter Debenham--CLICK HERE:

April 18, 2009 Justin Charboneau's Song for SMERT:
Matt sure put the pressure on his son Justin to write a song for Roger's Appreciation Celebration but he was apparently up to the challenge. Click HERE to listen to Justin sing about SMERT.

April 22 , 2009 Stained Glass:
Cindy Nevins is happy to announce that she has re-opened her Blue Moon stained glass studio up here on top of Storm Mountain. With 7 years of experience in teaching, and more than 18 years of experience as a stained glass artist, she is offering the following classes beginning in May/June:

Beginning Stained Glass
Intermediate Stained Glass
Glass Mosaics
Fairy Gardens

At this time, she is interested in hearing from any of you who might be interested in receiving any more information regarding these classes, so that she can set the best dates and times for them.  Please email her at: or leave a message at 970-532-2843.

Also, she would like to let you know that she has placed several of her gift items in the newly re-opened Drake store called Riverbend Store and Campground. If you haven't already stopped in, you must, as the new owners Tim and Debbie O'Brien and son TJ and daughter Melissa are wonderful, friendly and very accommodating people anxious to get to know us locals. You may remember the store as a stinky, smokey, poorly-stocked "quick stop" that you wouldn't dare buy a bag of potato chips in, but they have gutted the place. It is totally new, immaculate, filled with fresh-only dairy, eggs, and other necessity items (as well as cards and gifts) that you will be so happy to have located so close to home.  Stop in, buy a candy bar, and tell them Cindy sent ya. They will love seeing you!

March 23, 2009 Chimney Fire:
Karen was contacted at 7:52 by Deb Green (who resides at 100 Snow Top) on Friday night, March 20th. Deb indicated she had contacted 911. Karen made phone calls and Roger proceeded to contact SMERT members via radio. Karen contacted the SMERT ETA Team Leader David Maslowski. He and Pat positioned themselves at the T and the 4-way at Palisade and Snow Top. Karen gave additional instructions to responders via radio while Holly assisted in making additional phone contacts with other volunteers.

Richard and Rick responded after receiving Karen's call and headed to the scene in Engine 62.

Matt and Kevin got the call from Roger and proceeded to the scene via the radio instructions provided by Karen and Holly.

Upon arrival on scene at 8:07 Kevin and Matt were met by the Greens who were waiting for us outside their home. Kevin (a retired police officer) entered the home with Mr. Green and examined the attic area while Matt waited outside the front door with Deb Green for Engine 62 and the BTC VFD/LFD to arrive. Matt gave status reports over the radio via Kevin's reports of the chimney and attic area. Kevin was able to detect a red glow from between a space in the flange around the stove-pipe at the ceiling. Smoke inside the home and second level was minimal at this time, with a bit more smoke accumulating in the attic.

Approximately 5 minutes later SMERT Engine 62 arrived and Richard and Rick began the process of preparing the engine to pump water. Via radio, Bill Powers instructed all SMERT members to park in an area where our vehicles would be out of the way of other responding emergency vehicles. Engine 62's water hose was able to reach the home while being parked off to the side of the main driveway. Deb Green and Matt assisted Richard with un-reeling the water line from the truck. Bill arrived about one minute later. Bill became the SMERT Incident Commander and took charge of the scene. Bill and Rick joined Kevin on the second floor of the structure and Kevin explained to Bill what he had observed. Bill checked the walls and chimney for heat. The chimney was extremely hot to the touch. Bill opened up a small hole in the sheetrock with an axe and knocked the fire down with a dry chemical extinguisher. Bill and Rick were able to flow a small amount of water from E62 until the nozzle malfunctioned. At this point Rick pulled down the rest of the sheet rock from around the chimney and proceeded to extinguish hot spots in the wall with a garden hose. At this point, visible flame was extinguished, however, some heat and smoke was still present.

At this time we were able to observe the flashing lights of the BTC VFD and LFD approaching the scene; however we knew their arrival was still several minutes away. Bill and Rick continued to work the fire until Big Thompson arrived first with the tanker and then Engine 9 from the upper fire house; then came two more engines, and a third pumper truck. James and Julie were the first BTC VFD volunteers to arrive. They were both in full structure gear, ready to take charge of the scene.

Upon arrival of BTC VFD, Bill Powers turned over incident command to Chief Dave Jiles.

Delbert Nussbaum of BTC VFD was the next to arrive on the scene. We then saw so many other volunteers that it was hard to keep track of how many, but a least 16 total other than SMERT team members. Loveland Battalion 3 also responded and stood at reserve near the “T” ready to respond further if needed. What a show of force it was!

Under the suggestion from BTC VFD personnel, Matt and Rick assisted in moving the furniture out of the Green's living room to prevent further damage to their personal property.

SMERT stayed at the scene to assist in BTC VFD with their equipment stowage. Richard, Matt, Kevin, Bill and Rick stayed on scene to assess damage and offer assistance. Kevin, a State Farm Insurance Adjuster visited with the Green's and provided information on filing their claim to State Farm.

Thanks to the quick thinking actions of the Green's to call 911 and SMERT. The timely response of SMERT, the leadership of Bill Powers and the massive show of force by BTC VFD and LFD definitely prevented more severe damage to the home and quite possibly loss of the entire structure and surrounding forest (worst case scenario). Had this fire gone more than just a few minutes more without action, smoke would have prevented access to the upper floor making it impossible for SMERT to enter the structure.

Thanks to the behind the scenes efforts of all the SMERT volunteers and the financial/equipment donations from local businesses and agencies and the community, SMERT was able to provide quick response with a successful injury free outcome.

March 22, 2009:
We want to thank all the Fire Fighters from SMERT, Big Thompson Canyon and Loveland for their quick responses and hard work at our house Friday, March 20. They contained the fire to a small area, limiting the damage and preventing what could have been a major disaster. They also worked hard to minimize damage to the house from water and equipment, hauled all the large debris out, and were generally very supportive.

This was not a typical creosote chimney fire, but was caused by excessive heat somehow escaping from the chimney box in the ceiling above the wood stove. Lesson… do not ignore unusual smoke or heat from your wood stove! Realizing something was wrong and calling right away also helped contain the damage.

Support your local Fire Fighters - they're great!
Deb & John Green

March 22, 2009:
SMOKIN' DUCK RACE Once again the little bunker-clad, smoke-eating ducks are practicing their swimming skills to tackle the North Fork of the Big Thompson River on Saturday, August 8th.  All ticket proceeds go to support your Big Thompson Canyon Vol. FD.  Georgia has a limited number at $12 each.  REMEMBER: Last year Storm Mt. residents bought 13% of total tickets and bagged 14% of the prizes, including the GRAND PRIZE of $1500 in cash!!!  Call 962-9740, evenings.

March 16, 2009:
I am sorry to say someone in a blue pick-up with matching shell was driving too fast on Snow Top Drive Monday afternoon. The Armfield's golden retriever, Izzie, got loose and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's hard to imagine someone not noticing they had hit and killed a dog her size so it makes you wonder why they didn't even stop to do whatever they could.

Our roads have always been and will always be the subject of conversation and controversy--but we all need to just slow down! Yes, dogs are not supposed to be loose and alone but we all know they can be escape artists at times and wander off for an adventure. Izzie (click here for picture) was a beloved family member.

March 1, 2009 Big Thompson Canyon Volunteer Fire Department:
Last night the Big Thompson Canyon Volunteer Fire Department held their 2008 Awards Celebration. After a delicious dinner we were entertained by a magician. Then Georgia Wilson recounted a summary of events in 2008. Chief Dave Jiles introduced each member of the department. Assistant Chief Bill Lundquist presented a 30 year service award to Dave Legits; the award for Top Training Hours went to Lani Vlaanderen. The Top Emergency Responder award went to Bill Lundquist. It helps that he works out of Station 8... EMS Provider of the year went to Julie Weber. The Chief's Merit Award went to Georgia Wilson and the Firefighter of the Year award went to James Weber.

Georgia Wilson introduced the next award. "If you think Elk Way is some sort of guarantee to bag your bull, and you believe Ghost Busters is who you call on Storm Mountain when a dispatch call was garbled, and 2200 has you on hold, then you haven't met the recipient of our next award. Karen Debenham is being honored tonight for her critical work in providing maps and information which have continuously assisted the BTCVFD in our work." The beautiful engraved, wood plaque reads "It is with great appreciation that the Big Thompson Canyon Volunteer Fire Department acknowledges this Special Award presented to Karen Debenham February 28, 2009 for her outstanding efforts in compiling and continuously updating maps and records of homeowners and residence information for the Storm Mountain Community. Karen's commitment to this vital task has resulted in lessened response time for both fire service and medical personnel, thereby contributing to the preservation of lives and property. Her volunteerism is applauded."

Animal Sightings

February 3, 2009 MOUNTAIN LIONS:
The Colorado Department of Natural Resources News About Mountain Lions in Colorado is an interesting read or you can print it.

February 1, 2009 FOREST ROAD 128 GATE:
On Friday Jan. 30 I noticed the gates were closed. Saturday Jan. 31 the gate into Galuchie was opened--it appeared that somebody rammed the gate and broke the lock. Jim and Lou Grieme also put out an abandoned camp fire in Galuchie meadows Saturday morning. The area of the camp fire is trashed with beer bottles, cans, shells from bullets, mufflers etc.  There is also a large cardboard box back there that has been being used as a toilet, such wonderful people come to the national forest.
Mary Hill PS: I closed the gate but it can just be opened because there is not a lock on it.

January 31, 2009 BINGO:
Big Thompson Canyon Association, located at 1479 US Hwy 34 in Drake hosts Bingo on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays of each month . The doors open 6:00 -and games begin at 6:30 p.m.

The cost is $8.00 for 11 games. Daubers can be purchased for $1.50 or bring your own if you have one. Snacks are available . There are cash prizes.

January 19, 2009 MORE ON BEES:
Everyone's e-mails got me thinking.  I was wondering if anyone who has a bee hive in surrounding trees or within their structures with a history of sending out yearly swarms, would be willing to allow me to set up a bait hive on their property.  The purpose of this bait hive is to attract a swarm to move in.  As soon as they do, I would remove it.  I am interested in seeing if the resident mountain bees have a genetic advantage that could help me improve my bee stock.  Carolina Nyarady,

I would like to thank you all for being so kind and taking the time to reply to my previous request regarding bees.  As you all know, the reason it arose is that my husband had a conversation with someone(?) about "bee problems". And as I wasn't there for the conversation, the parts that would have interested me about the bee situation wasn't talked about. Sorry for the LOOOOOONG reply.  But I hope this answers many of the repeat questions I got in the e-mails.

Many of you asked, and yes I am a beekeeper!! and thus a bee lover, so I had to follow up on my curiosity!  I don't keep bees up on the mountain at this time.  Bee keeping now a days, especially organically, as I do, is challenging.  There are a lot of problems that bees face and thus beekeepers.  And adding in the challenges of the longer, colder spells and short bloom season, is yet another challenge.  So my hives mainly reside in the flatlands!  I am planing on moving some hives periodically up the mountain to take advantage of various blooms.  I like varietal honeys for their various flavors! YUM!!!!!.  However I need to get my bear "deterrent" up first, The DOW has been very helpful! I also think that having the hives only there for short periods too, will make it less of an enticement to our resident bears, along with the deterrent.  I don't want to be a problem to bears.  As far as I am concerned it is their home, I am just a guest!

From all the e-mails, It seems that all were having problems with Yellow jackets last summer. I wish I had great suggestions, but I know lots about bees and not so much about yellow jackets. I would suggest that now is the time to remove any old nests, as during the cold they will be inactive! Otherwise they can be aggressive.

I am glad to hear that there is such a healthy feral bee population. And that so many of you expressed you love of bees and concern about the decline in bee populations (along with all other pollinators!) We really need bees as our pollinators! At least 1/3 of the food we eat requires bees for pollination!!!!  Also healthy feral bees and healthy kept bees are our future in terms of bee genetics!

Lots have expressed interest in knowing what to do, if bees or swarms appear. Swarms are the result of a bee colony dividing and proliferating. Swarms are a group of bees that leave with a queen to look for a new home.  Once they leave their nest, they will cluster as a group and send out some scouts to find a new home.  The hope is to do this within a few days, as they don't have much reserves with them, and they can perish if they hang outside too long and the weather changes.  Once they have found a new home, the whole swarm will "Un-clump" and fly as a group to their new home. Unfortunately, many swarms even when they find a home in time, don't make it to the following season! Swarms are therefore USUALLY nice and mellow.  As they don't have anything to defend!!.  If they can't find a home and the weather has been bad, and they start running out of the lunch they packed, then they can get a bit grumpy!!!

As a beekeeper, I love swarms. I collect them quite frequently! This way, I can ensure they make it, as I can give them a head start (food, combs etc). I also am of the firm belief that we must breed bees from the best to deal with some of the problems and NOT medicate them with various chemicals. As well as change some of our agricultural poisoning practices! (that's a whole other topic!) So swarms often times have great genes! Especially when they come from "survivor" colonies that swarm year after year!

Once bees move into a structure, we consider them hives.  This is a whole other matter.  For in order to remove them, there is usually housing structure to be removed and then the whole hive needs to be taken apart. Sections of comb with the bee larvae, as well as most of the adult bees and the QUEEN need to be re-housed.  The interior of the house structure needs to be washed, to get rid of the honey and wax residue.  In part because, now without bees, it will mold, and also it can attract other critters.  Then the house parts need to be put back together and the original crack/cracks needs to be caulked off WELL.  In order to remove hives and not kill off the bee colony, this needs to be done at best by mid summer.  As the bees need time to rebuild and get their stores ready for winter!  Because this is time consuming, people who do hive removals cost more than exterminators, which of course never works out well for the bees!

Although I have been a property owner on the mountain for more years than I can remember.  I still am just dreaming about living up there someday, and am saving my pennies!  (SLOW process!).  So for the time being, I am no help, I am afraid, for those of you who would be interested in my collecting your swarms, or helping with bee hive removals.  Especially since swarms only hang out sometimes for short time periods, so living nearby is a must!.

Keep in mind that I will talk your ear off about "THE girls". And yes, the bulk of the bees in the hive are girls. The queen and all worker bees are Girls. There are a few males from time to time, which are called drones. The drones don't have stingers, and they don't work. They beg the girls to be fed, and their job is to go out and try to mate with a virgin queen. If they are successful, they die in the act! So those boys that return home are virgins, and if they are still alive in the fall, they get kicked out of the hive to freeze to death. As the girls don't want to feed them over the winter (all you men reading this-keep reading!). The queen will raise new males the following spring! It's tough being a bee (boy or girl) all around!!!!! Aside from the queen, bees only live ~5 wks in the summer. They work themselves to death! So the girls aren't living the easy life either!

I will kept you all posted IF I have a SPECIAL mountain honey blend this upcoming year.  Otherwise, all the honey I sell is Mixed flowers/wildflowers from the flatlands! Thank you all again, Carolina Nyarady,

If you were not able to attend this fun gathering, you can check out these photos at the Kodak Gallery.

Jury Duty Scam (follow this link)
We're Living in Coyote Country(follow this link)
Don't Let Your Dog Chase Wildlife (follow this link)

The Big Thompson Canyon Volunteer Fire Dept. needs volunteer firefighters!!!

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