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Timnath Reservoir splashes onto the 2014 summer fun scene

Timnath residents used to enjoying the irrigation reservoir northeast of town without getting a toe wet, now can use the stocked lake for boating and water skiing.

In March, the town board OK'd the use of kayaks, rowboats, and speed and pontoon boats 20-feet or shorter on Timnath Reservoir. Annual permits, available to town residents only, are required and range in price from $25 for non-motorized craft to $450 for motorized boats. Jet skis and inboard hydroplanes are prohibited, town manager April Getchius said.

From-shore fishing still is allowed and this season may be better than ever because the reservoir was stocked in April with about 800,000 walleye. These popular fish should provide eager anglers hours of summer challenges, as well as many tasty main courses, for years to come.

Timnath currently holds an annual lease on the reservoir, which continues to be a source of irrigation water for area farmland, town planner Matt Blakely said. The lease expires in August, but the town is negotiating a multi-year agreement with owner Cache la Poudre Reservoir Company, Getchius said. 

Recreational use of the reservoir isn't new. Blakely said previously a private boating club offered RV space and surface privileges. Once the town assumed control of the lake, the private club disbanded. Now all Timnath residents can enjoy summer water fun and explore the surrounding land's natural trails. Recently added picnic tables augment park-like amenities and an improved boat launch improves access, Getchius said. 

Blakely said planning is underway to make more improvements to the reservoir, including potable water, restrooms, primitive groomed trails and a small swim beach. These will make diverse activities, such as bird-watching, dog walking, bike riding and swimming highly user-friendly and encourage town folks to enjoy their lovely natural area, he said. When -- and if -- these improvements are made depends on public input and funding.

“We're very excited to offer this opportunity to Timnath residents and look forward to their ongoing enjoyment of the reservoir,” Getchius said.

Alcohol consumption is prohibited at the reservoir and an on-site monitor will patrol for signs of boating under the influence. The Larimer County Sheriff's department will handle enforcement.

Full rules and regulations are detailed in the Timnath Town Council Adopted Policy for reservoir use. Annual permits are subject to presentation of a signed Timnath Reservoir Boating Permit Application (available online), a signed Timnath Reservoir Permit Agreement and Waiver (available online), proof of residency in Timnath, a current and valid driver’s license (the number must be recorded on the permit application), current boat registration, and proof of insurance for motorized boats that include liability insurance in the minimum amount of $300,000 per accident and $100,000 per individual, including bodily damage. Permits are available at the Timnath Administration Building 4800 Goodman Street.

For additional information about the Timnath Reservoir, or for permit applications, visit http://www.timnathco.govoffice2.com/. You may also call the Town of Timnath at 970-224-3211.

Timnath council begins crackdown on Port of Entry dodgers

By Marty Metzger
Timnath News

The issue of semi-trucks rumbling — or roaring — down Main Street in Old Town Timnath is proving to be as weighty as the vehicles themselves. Size definitely matters in the ongoing debate over safety measures to protect vulnerable school-bound children, pets, pedestrians and private property from traffic some residents say is generated by truck drivers trying to avoid the Port of Entry on Interstate 25.

A 2002 ordinance prohibited vehicles over 7.5 tons on town streets. Emergency, government or farm equipment, as well as resident-owned or operated vehicles and vehicles doing business in the area bounded by Harmony Road, CR 1, I-25 and CR 44 were excepted.

In 2008, a new ordinance decreed a change from excepted “in the area bounded by…” to excepted “in the Growth Management Area” which allows vehicles on Main Street that have business in town or Growth Management Area.

Then in 2012 came yet another revised ordinance with exception that reverted back to the original bounded area, but further “Ordinance incorporated 2002 Ordinance limited area instead of 2008 GMA exception. Exempted Harmony Road to allow its use.”

And now in 2014, newly amended ordinance language regarding exceptions states: “Vehicles owned or operated by resident or vehicles doing business in GMA – allows vehicles on Main Street that have business in town or GMA. Main Street/CR5 south of Harmony. Exempts Harmony.”

On June 10, the complex issue was the second order of business on the agenda for Timnath’s Town Council. It was the second reading of the ordinance and included a public hearing. Eleven concerned citizens were in attendance.

Town Manager April Getchius explained the ordinance and its history. Effectively, local truck traffic is allowed, while through-only traffic is not.

Police Chief Sherry Wagner addressed concern that Timnath would be perceived as truck-unfriendly. She said, however, that hasn’t become an issue thus far, even though numerous trucks have been stopped to check documentation.

Long-time Main Street resident Diane Fusaro said she thinks trucks are cutting through Timnath to avoid the Port of Entry on I-25.

Denise Fisher related a story of a child chasing a pet dog darting into the street. She said an SUV barely stopped in time. However, she added, a loaded semi couldn’t possibly have stopped and would have struck the child. She talked about driveway access of Main Street residents. Also, Fisher believes Main Street north of Harmony Road should not allow any semi traffic whatsoever and that the existing speed limit of 25 mph should be better enforced.

A resident since 1987, Beth Butcher recalled that she always worried about large trucks on Main Street when her daughter used to walk to Timnath Elementary School. She told of numerous recent trips driving to the Post Office on which semis avoiding the Port of Entry followed her. She noted that many pieces of construction equipment without license plates of any kind drive through Old Town. She voiced great concern for the safety of students and pedestrians.

Norma Warren has resided on Main Street adjacent to Timnath Elementary School for decades. She asked who actually came up with the idea of allowing trucks to pass through town. She requested a comprehensive study of public comments prior to approval of the new ordinance. Regarding enforcement, she related how a loaded livestock truck drove straight through town without any interference and said the lack of enforcement is unacceptable.

Mayor Jill Grossman-Belisle shared residents’ concerns and agreed with a change to use an alternate route, as described in the ordinance, for through traffic. However, she said that the growing town requires some trucks in the GMA. She admitted that some time limitations should be enforced rather than allowing trucks 24/7, and believes police staff should make enforcement a priority. Police Chief Wagner agreed, but said that staffing limitations don’t always allow it.

Council member Bill Neal stated he has observed cement trucks using Main Street as a throughway. He asked if there is some type of pavement strip available to record vehicle weights. Several replies said there are not.

Getchius proposed improvements to speed-limit signs and asked about the cost of electronic monitors that clock individual vehicle speed. Police Chief Wagner replied that she believes the devices begin in the range of $15,000 each.

Mayor Grossman-Belisle then listed the suggestions made thus far in the meeting: communications with cement truck drivers via mailed flyers; prioritizing enforcement; a truck study/follow-up with a pattern of offenders; additional weight limit signage; get the message out to “local players”; investigate other agencies’ assistance with Port of Entry dodgers.

Councilman Bryan Voronin questioned any added value of GMA language in the ordinance. Town Manager Getchius addressed his inquiry and some public comment ensued.

Councilman Neal then discussed the dangers present on CR 40, including lack of a shoulder on that road and several near collisions he’s witnessed involving pickup trucks. He summed up his comments by stating that steps to insure public safety must be taken until completion of the bypass.

Voronin and Wagner briefly discussed the possibility of portable weigh scales to discourage Port of Entry dodgers.

Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance.

“Eager Beavers” guided hike at River Bluffs

Join naturalist and former veterinarian Bob at River Bluffs Open Space, located just east of I-25 between Windsor and Timnath, for a morning dedicated to nature’s most prominent and industrious architect, the beaver. Takes placeSaturday, August 2 at 9:00 a.m., approximately one hour program. Program is free, but registration is required. Please go to larimer.org/NRregistration to sign up. Please direct questions to Heather at 970-619-4489.

BBQ grill fire causes $50,000 damage

Four occupants escaped injury when their house caught fire in Timnath.  Poudre Fire Authority  responded to 5009 5th Ave. at 6:05 p.m. on June 2 for reports of a fire at the back of the residence. 

Firefighters arrived on scene to find a large portion of the back of the one story building in flames. An aggressive attack was able to knock down most of the fire in five minutes with full control coming in less than 30 minutes. 

A life-safety search was also performed while crews were working to contain the fire however no victims were located. 

The residence suffered heavy fire damage to rear portion with heat and smoke damage throughout. 

Assisting agencies included Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins 911, and PVH/UC Health Emergency Services. 

PFA investigators determined that grease buildup on a gas BBQ grill ignited causing the hose to the propane tank to fail. 

Members of PFA’s Customer Assistance Response Team assisted the residents with temporary housing and resources for cleanup. 

A festival to make a difference at Bethke Elementary

The students at Bethke Elementary School in Timnath presented a festival with a twist on the evening of April 25 in their school gym. Music, singing, dancing, art displays, a variety of food to enjoy, books to buy, demonstrations and videos made for a special evening for parents, visitors and students. Yet the “Kids Can Make a Difference Festival” aimed to do much more than provide an evening of food and fun entertainment.

A group of Bethke students have been working since last fall to create an event intended to reach out beyond their own community to acknowledge and address the needs of a wider world.

Technology teacher Brad Flickinger, commonly referred to as Mr. Flick, was one of several teachers committed to increasing the awareness of Bethke students concerning the needs of the world in which they live. More than that, the teachers hoped to provide their students with avenues to serve and to address real problems with workable solutions.

They elected to raise funds for Libraries for All, an organization based in Loveland that works to establish lending libraries in Nicaragua where they are often non-existent. “It’s a great cause and it’s locally based,” Flickinger said.

Since the first days of school last fall, the students at Bethke have been working toward the festival in a number of ways. After an introduction to the project, they began working to organize the event, along the way learning research skills, writing personal papers, and deciding what their roles were to be in the event. As the time drew closer, they began rehearsing the musical portion.

Some created art, in the form of T-shirts and posters to spread the word, others composed and selected music, created videos, and planned demonstrations. Flickinger said that planning for the event over an extended period of time has made it more meaningful to everyone involved.

Music at the festival was performed by the Totally NEON iPad Band made up of fourth and fifth graders who performed nine songs from the 1980’s using iPads to produce music from the era most familiar to many of their parents. Skillfully performed dance numbers brought back memories as well. 

Admission to the festival was free, but visitors were welcome to make donations. A portion of profits from the sale of books at the Scholastic Book Fair, included as part of the festival, went to the cause. Profits from an art auction and several food trucks contributed a portion of their profits as well. Flickinger said he was pleased to be able to keep admission free and still raise funds to support the establishment of libraries in Nicaragua. Two thousand participants were expected at the festival.

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