Events, programs, safety tips keep residents and visitors loving life

Do you love to have fun? Read? Learn? Recreate? Would you love to have money for college? Do you have pets you love? Northern Colorado has much in store for lovers of all kinds.

Loveland Fire & Ice Festival adds heart to NoCo

Families and couples can celebrate Valentine’s Day in the nation's Sweetheart City at the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, Feb. 9-11, in downtown Loveland. The festival attracts more than 40,000 attendees, appealing to people from across the state, nation and world.

This year's festival will feature:

  • A Fire Sculpture People’s Choice Competition allowing attendees to vote on their favorite flaming art creations
  • Ice sculpting performances by nationally renowned artists, plus a People’s Choice Award
  • Live music
  • Nightly fireworks show
  • Brewing and Distilling Arts—an expo of local brews and distilled beverages from Crow Hop, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Verboten Brewing, Big Thompson Brewery and more
  • The Family Fair—a mini carnival with rides, face painting and games
  • The Marketplace, featuring artisan and local businesses
  • A Food Truck Food Court
  • Our Heroes Vehicle Showcase—a collection of vintage firetrucks and first responder vehicles
  • Romantic carriage rides

The festival is free and open to the public. Learn more at www.LovelandFireAndIce.com.

For the love of reading and learning

The Poudre River Public Library District revised its lending and service policies to reflect its commitment to early literacy development, academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Beginning last month, the District eliminated extended-use fees on overdue children’s and teens’ materials meaning children’s and teens’ books, audiobook CDs and DVDs will no longer accrue late fees. Library cardholders remain responsible for lost, unreturned and damaged materials following the District’s current lending practices.

Loveland Library patrons now have access to Lynda.com, an online learning platform that offers a vast array of online classes and videos, from business principles to computer coding to photography. The library offers patrons Lynda’s ‘Premium’ version, which opens Lynda’s entire catalog to users at no cost as long as they have a current library card. If users were to sign up independently, they would pay nearly $500 annually. 

To sign up, current Loveland Library card holders can go to www.lovelandpubliclibrary.org. A link to Lynda is available from the homepage. Residents wanting a library card can go to the front desk at the library, and present a current I.D. and be a Colorado resident. For more information about Lynda.com, call the library’s Adult Services desk at 970-962-2586.

College scholarships available online

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado has scholarships available for college-bound high school seniors, as well as enrolled college students. Opportunities range from $1,000 to full funding of tuition, fees and room/board. Students are invited to complete a brief general application online that will automatically match them to the scholarship awards for which they qualify.

Visit www.nocofoundation.org/scholarships for details. The application deadline is February 15.

Estes Park has a new rec center to love

Estes Park soon will have a new 70,000-square foot, multi-generational community center. The Estes Valley Community Center, which will open in late February, is a state-of-the-art facility that is envisioned to be a comprehensive destination with a robust schedule of classes, a multi-purpose gymnasium, indoor walking and jogging track, lazy river with interactive play features and a slide in a natatorium, group fitness facilities, large community room with kitchen, golf simulator, senior services area and drop-in childcare. The facility will be the ideal location for escaping the cold during a winter visit to Estes Park or for relaxing with the family during a summer vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park. For more information, visit www.evrpd.com/recprograms.

Weld County skunks test positive for rabies

In recent months, five skunks have tested positive for rabies near the towns of Severance, Pierce and Grover. Some animal and human exposures have occurred.

"Rabies can infect any mammal,” says Mark E. Wallace, Weld County Health Department executive director. “A regular vaccine is the best defense for pets and large domestic animals."

Rabies also can infect many wild animals, including skunks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes and bats. Signs an animal may have rabies include drooling, nocturnal animals seen out during the daytime, slow or difficult movement, and confusion or aggression.

Rabies is a viral infection that affects the nervous system, and causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It is nearly always fatal. It is transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal, but also can be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch or wound. If a person suspects they have been exposed to rabies, they should contact their medical provider immediately.

For an interactive map of identified rabies in Weld County, visit: www.weldgov.com/departments/health_and_environment/environmental_health/animal_related_diseases/rabies_surveillance/


Avoid the bite

To prevent exposure to rabies, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not feed, touch or handle wild animals
  • Exercise caution around stray dogs and cats
  • Have dogs, cats, horses and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian
  • Be cautious if wild animals suddenly appear friendly or are walking or behaving erratically
  • If your pet is in a fight with a wild animal, care should be taken in handling your pet until it is given a bath and any blood or saliva is washed off. Human rabies exposure may occur from the saliva left on your pet from a wild animal.