Northern Colorado strives for all

Thompson School District receives grant to address behavioral health

Kaiser Permanente is awarding Thriving Schools behavioral health grants (https://thrivingschools.kaiserpermanente.org) to advance social and emotional wellness and mental health in school districts across the state, including Thompson School District, which serves more than 16,000 students in the communities of Loveland, Berthoud and Fort Collins, and Weld and Boulder counties.

  
TSD's Lincoln Elementary School, Monroe Elementary School, and Truscott Elementary School are using the Thriving Schools grant to support In Focus, a training program that helps teachers and staff to recognize their own emotions and limitations to help their young students manage their emotions, improve their focus, and gain self-control. 

“A child’s mental health is greatly influenced by their experiences at school,” says Douglas Newton, MD, Kaiser Permanente Colorado psychiatrist. “With these grants, we hope to support more Colorado teachers and staff as they continue to learn skills to identify mental health and wellness needs for themselves, their students and the school community." 

New garden to benefit homeless individuals

What started as a simple service project in March has since turned into a community-wide initiative that combines the efforts of numerous businesses and organizations. Through his Leadership Fort Collins team, Audubon Rockies’ Deputy Director John Kloster-Prew is leading the planning and implementation of Project Habitat Heroes, which is a garden for the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope. 

The garden includes vegetables, fruit plants and trees for guests to cultivate and eat, as well as native flowers that attract birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The revamped garden will further feature a 10 ft. x 15 ft. shade sail and seating area with a swing and boulder seats for guests to enjoy. 

“The Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope does incredible work to help struggling individuals in northern Colorado,” says Kloster-Prew. “We are fortunate to have the support of so many philanthropic businesses to make the garden more enjoyable and inviting for the Center’s guests and wildlife.”

The Center offers an array of services that help individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The organization provides immediate relief but also addresses underlying causes of homelessness to assist guests on their journey to self-sufficiency. More information on the Center’s mission may be found at www.murphycenter.org.

All Terrain Landscaping is donating all the irrigation for the garden and labor to install the system. Other supporters of the garden include UCHealth, Brinkman Construction, Blue Federal Credit Union, Thrivent Financial, City of Fort Collins and The Growing Project. 

Larimer County open space, parking camera, traffic report

The public can look forward to enjoying another 358 acres that will be added to the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space (HTMOS) area. The Board of Larimer County Commissioners recently approved the purchase of property adjacent to HTMOS with open space tax dollars in a proposed partnership with the City of Fort Collins and Great Outdoors Colorado [GOCO]. 

The land abuts Horsetooth Rock and shares a common boundary of approximately 1.5 miles with HTMOS and also is located near Lory State Park. The transaction is split into two areas. The largest area immediately adjacent to Horsetooth Rock consists of 281.32 acres with the north area consisting of 77.52 acres and is located atop the ridgeline, and overlooks portions of HTMOS, as well as providing views of Wyoming, Fort Collins, Loveland and Horsetooth Reservoir.

Both areas consist of rolling foothills, rock outcroppings, ridgelines and forested hillsides. Redstone Creek, flowing north-south through a portion of the property for about 4,000 feet, contains Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse habitat.

The property also provides an east-west migration corridor for large mammals, including mule deer, black bear, mountain lion and bobcat while also providing good habitat for turkey and grouse. 

The most important purpose of this purchase is the protection of wildlife habitat and the elimination of potential fragmentation of the landscape.

At the Devil’s Backbone Trailhead, a new webcam has been added to provide real-time parking conditions for this popular destination west of Loveland.

The trailhead, located off of U.S. Hwy. 34, is the main access point for Devil’s Backbone Open Space, one of Larimer County’s most visited open spaces. According to data gathered from trail counters, 106,130 people visited Devil’s Backbone in 2014. With that amount of traffic, it’s difficult to find a parking space at Devil’s Backbone Trailhead on weekends and holidays, especially when weather is favorable for hiking.

The webcam can be viewed at www.larimer.org/naturalresources/bbone-webcam.cfm.

“We want people to know before they go,” says Chris Fleming, Big Thompson District manager, who oversees operations at Devil’s Backbone Open Space. “This new webcam should help reduce the frustration of driving all the way to [the area] only to be turned away because the parking lot is at capacity.”

The webcam is part of several recent enhancements at Devil’s Backbone Open Space, based on feedback from the public and the updated Devil’s Backbone Management Plan. Last year, the trailhead was remodeled to include more single-vehicle parking spaces and enhance traffic flow. In addition, to reduce visitor conflicts, the Wild Loop Trail was designated as hiking only and the new Hidden Valley Trail was built and designated as biking, horseback riding and trail running only.

For questions or more information, please contact Fleming at 970-214-6083 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Larimer County Engineering Department recently released its 2016 Traffic Safety Report.

Highlights include:

  • Driving under the influence [DUI] crashes were down seven percent in 2016, while distracted driving crashes increased four percent. 
  • The five Larimer County roundabouts in use have reduced the number of overall crashes, and a drop in fatalities and injuries at these locations to zero. 
  • Unincorporated Larimer County has more than 900 miles of roadways – 80 in urban areas and 820 in rural portions of the county.

View the full report at: http://larimer.org/engineering/Transportation/AnnualReports/LCSP_2016_Annual_Report.pdf.