NoCo communities demonstrate how it's done Northern Colorado communities strive to help its residents live healthy, safe and fulfilling lives. Here's the latest…

Loveland babies can come with instructions

Loveland Public Library has teamed up with The Baby Box Company and has "Baby Boxes" available for new and expecting parents who complete the Baby Box University free online course (complete the online course at www.babyboxuniversity.com/login, then print out or take a screen shot of your certificate and take it to the library to receive your free baby box).

Baby Boxes started in Finland as part of their Universal Health Care for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) prevention. They provide a safe sleeping environment for infants for the first five to six months of age and meet or exceed all applicable tenets of the CPSC, Health Canada and European Standards. The boxes also come with diapers, breast pads and an age-appropriate book provided by Bright by Three.

'Tis the season for diverse music

The Fort Collins Symphony, under the direction of Maestro Wes Kenney, has begun its 68th season titled "A Season of Diversity." From culturally diverse symphonies to a violin concerto featuring 16-year-old Japanese-American pianist and violinist Ray Ushikubo.

The symphony will also perform African American composer Adolphus Hailstork’s moving hymn interpretations in Three Spirituals for Orchestra. The vibrant Cubanesque rhythms of Mexican composer Arturo Marquez’s Danzon No. 2 will conclude the exciting kick off of the season.

For more information about the upcoming Fort Collins Symphony Season, visit www.fcsymphony.org or call 970-482-4823.

Gastrointestinal disease spikes in Weld County

From January to the end of August 2017, there were 167 confirmed cases of enteric disease in Weld County compared to 138 cases during the same time period in 2016. The month of August saw nearly a doubling of cases of campylobacteriosis (32 cases), E. coli (seven cases), and cryptosporidiosis (six cases). Local health officials say the enteric disease cases are widespread throughout the county, and nearly all were contracted where humans and animals interact, such as where people work with or near animals, and even on outdoor sports fields where geese tend to congregate—and poop.

In general, diseases that cause severe stomach distress, including cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea are on the rise. The illnesses, also known as enteric diseases—include campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, salmonellosis, and others. The microorganisms that make you sick enter the human body via swallowing contaminated food, water or exposure to the bacteria from feces or urine from animals, but there's a simple way to prevent getting sick.

“Proper handwashing is your best defense against many diseases and illnesses,” says Mark E. Wallace, Weld County Health Department executive director. “It’s essential to wash your hands before eating, drinking or touching your face.”

Prevention of enteric diseases include the following:

  • Again, wash hands with soap and water after working with or near animals, using the bathroom, changing diapers, working outside or caring for someone who is sick.
  • Always wash hands before preparing food, eating, drinking or touching one’s face.
  • Use a hand sanitizer product when soap and water are not available, but remember ands must be clean from dirt for the sanitizing product to be effective.
  • Do not drink untreated water, even if it looks clear, such as from a mountain stream or lake.

For handwashing fact sheet, visit www.weldgov.com (click on Health Hot Topics).

Drive Smart in Weld County

Weld County-DRIVE SMART Weld County (DSWC) recently received a grant from State Farm to support its Teen Driving Program for Weld County high schools.

The overarching goal of DSWC is to reduce motor vehicle related injuries and deaths among teens. Weld County continues to rank as one of the counties in the state with the highest rates for motor vehicle related injuries and death. The State Farm award will allow DSWC to increase levels of coordination among community partners and educate the community on the risks and protective factors associated with teen motor vehicle injuries and deaths.

The State Farm award also will provide funding for the Parent of Teen Driver Classes (PTD), which teaches parents and teens about Colorado’s Graduated Driver’s License laws. PTD encourages parents to design contracts with their teens to establish acceptable boundaries and consequences for their young drivers.

For more information on DRIVE SMART Weld County and its community programs visit: www.drivesmartweldcounty.orgor call 970-400-2325.

Fire on the plains

The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, in coordination with The Nature Conservancy, will be conducting several prescribed fires within Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in the fall and winter of 2017-2018.

The Natural Areas Department conducts prescribed burns to accomplish a variety of management goals including reducing weedy vegetation, improving plant community composition for habitat goals, or to reduce the presence of hazardous fuels. This season’s efforts will focus on improving habitat for migrating birds and rare plants. Additionally, burning will help to diversify the grassland habitat promoting native grasses, such as buffalo grass and blue grama, which are adapted to fire and respond well to conditions created following a fire.

Prior to burning, information about burn-related trail or area closures will be posted on the trails conditions webpage (www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/status.php) and on NOCO trail report (www.nocotrailreport.org). Smoke advisory signs will be posted along any potentially affected roads. Officials will closely monitor smoke dispersal to avoid impacts to motorists and residents. To mitigate concerns, the Natural Areas Department will burn only under conditions that promote good smoke dispersal. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area is closed in December, January, and February.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see: www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health. Concerns or questions regarding this prescribed burn can be directed to Jennifer Roberts, Natural Areas Environmental Planner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 970-221-6584 or the Natural Areas Department at (970) 416-2815.