Summer in the Rockies and along the mountains' Front Range brings many opportunities for fun in the sun. It also presents circumstances that require taking precautions to stay safe. But when citizens need more information about ways to stay healthy, they can reach out to area health departments, soon to include a new facility in Loveland.

Larimer County breaks ground on new Loveland campus

Larimer County recently broke ground at a new 46,000-square-foot campus at First Street and Denver Avenue in Loveland. The two-story facility will serve the growing needs of southern Larimer County citizens and replace a facility that had been outgrown and was no longer functional. The Clerk & Recorder, Health and Environment, Human Services, Workforce Center and Sheriff’s Office will occupy the new facility.

“We had some deficiencies in facilities in southern Larimer County and this new building will address those needs," says Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly. "What this facility represents is an opportunity for folks in south Larimer County to receive the same services as the folks in northern Larimer County."

A 229-space parking lot will help speed up the time getting in and out of the facility enabling citizens to conduct business in a timely manner. “Having this new building in southern Larimer County will be very crucial to meeting the needs of our citizens. I want to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the citizens of Larimer County," adds Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez.

Construction is planned for completion in late summer or early fall of 2018.

We're in the zone

It's ozone season along Colorado’s Front Range.  Ozone Action Alerts are issued on days when meteorologists from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) expect weather conditions that lead to increased ground-level ozone concentrations in the metro-Denver and Front Range region. The cities of Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley are included in the alert area.

Ozone that occurs at ground level is a dangerous air pollutant. Elevated levels can cause symptoms in people that include stinging eyes and throat, chest pains, coughing and respiratory distress. Those at highest risk of symptoms due to elevated ozone levels include the elderly, young active children, and anyone with a pre-existing respiratory condition, such as emphysema or asthma. Even healthy adults who spend a lot of time working or exercising outdoors may be affected by elevated ozone levels. During ozone alert days, people can lower their risk of developing symptoms by limiting prolonged outdoor exercise. Particularly sensitive individuals may even be advised to stay indoors.   

Because ozone formation occurs when air emissions bake in the hot summer sun, citizens can help reduce the ozone level by taking voluntary steps to reduce these pollutants. Some suggestions for individual action include:

  • Keep your car tuned and tires well inflated to increase mileage and reduce fuel use
  • Stop at the click when refueling your car or truck to limit vapors at the gas pump
  • Refuel after dusk to avoid releasing fumes into the air during the period of intense sunlight
  • Combine trips, take the bus, carpool, ride a bike, walk or postpone a trip during an alert if possible
  • If you use a gas-powered mower, delay lawn mowing until evening to avoid the period of intense ozone formation.

More information about ozone along the Front Range is available at www.ozoneaware.org. A link on that website allows individuals to sign up to receive a daily email ozone level advisory. Ozone air quality alerts also are published in most daily newspapers, on Fort Collins Comcast Channels 14 and 881, and on most metro-area news channels.

West Nile virus season is here

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were trapped in Berthoud recently and the presence of infected mosquitoes will likely increase in Larimer and Weld Counties in the coming weeks, as the hot weather speeds up both mosquito and virus reproduction. West Nile virus is most frequently transmitted locally in July and August.

West Nile disease is a viral infection that is spread to people by bites from infected Culex mosquitoes. Symptoms can range from none at all to severe illness. About 75 percent of people who are infected are asymptomatic; about 25 percent will develop West Nile fever. Less than 1 percent develop the more severe neuroinvasive form, which can lead to hospitalization, critical illness, chronic disability or even death.

“We encourage the public to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” says Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Weld County Health Department executive director.

West Nile Virus can be prevented. In addition to community efforts, such as reducing water where mosquitoes can breed and spraying for adult mosquitoes, individuals can remember to use the 4 D’s to help prevent West Nile virus disease:

  1. DEET or other effective mosquito repellent - Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent proven to be effective against West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes. DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD) and IR3535 are good choices.
  2. Dusk to Dawn - Avoid exposure during peak Culex mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
  3. Dress - Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
  4. Drain – Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize mosquito breeding areas.

For more tips on what you can do to prevent West Nile virus, visit www.larimer.org/westnile or www.weldgov.com.

Imagine Greeley invites community involvement

Imagine Greeley will hold community meetings on August 2 and August 3 to acquire public input on different policy directions the City and community might take through the updated comprehensive plan; evaluate different alternatives for growth and development in particular areas of Greeley and its Long Range Expected Growth Area; and explore trade-offs associated with these different choices. Feedback gathered during the events will help to determine which policy positions are supported through the updated comprehensive plan, as well as the plan's land use guidance map.

Since 1997, Greeley’s population has increased from 70,000 to more than 100,000. By 2040, it is anticipated to reach 150,000. Imagine Greeley was established to help answer the following questions: What do we want the Greeley of the future to look and feel like? What steps do we need to take to maintain Greeley’s quality of life for future residents—many of whom will be our children and grandchildren?

To learn more about Imagine Greeley and how you can get involved, visit http://imaginegreeley.com.