Grand County passes on FEMA flood program |

Grand County passes on FEMA flood program

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Grand County commissioners have arrived at the decision not to participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood program after an in-depth workshop on the matter on Monday.

Commissioner Nancy Stuart said only a “minute piece of Grand County” has been mapped, and there is a great expense to residents to find out whether they are in a flood plain. Maximum coverage on a house is $250,000, but does not cover interior walls or goods, Stuart said.

“A lot of things were brought out that were not discussed at the other meeting,” she said about the workshop.

“We see no detriment to the people of Grand County if the county does not participate in the program, financial or otherwise,” said County Attorney Jack DiCola.

Early childhood development pondered

Children’s’ brains are like sponges.

Early Childhood Education advocate Jeff Perry, superintendent of West Grand School District, told commissioners Tuesday that the reason is found in brain-development research proving that the average human has the most brain cells, about 1,000 trillion, at birth. By age 10, that number drops to half as many.

The experiences and environment of a young person prior to school age can shape him or her for the rest of life due to the vigorous process of cellular and neural pathway strengthening and pruning during childhood.

Perry approached commissioners to discuss the importance of pre-kindergarten education and determine if the county has an interest in developing a partnership for it. Commissioners indicated they’d entertain further talks on the subject.

The district is in the process of expanding its preschool program in spite of the state’s lagging support of early education.

Perry, who has become a qualified speaker on the topic throughout Colorado, says the state ranks low in education funding. Only recently has the state made steps toward full-time kindergarten funding, he said, and it does not financially support preschool.

“We know now from research, the brain does a lot of formation in the early infant years,” Perry told commissioners. Science of the brain shows one’s first few years in life are the most influential for development, affecting how one performs in school and throughout life on a social and cognitive level.

“A child learns 80 percent of social, intellectual and physical makeup before the age of 5,” he said.

Some other states are accepting the importance of preschool by integrating it into systems, but overall in the nation, education is “dictated by tradition and not by research or data,” Perry said.

Slash pile worries

Slash piles near homes posing potential fire threats should be investigated through a fire chief, said Grand County Natural Resources Foreman Jennifer Murray.

Because the county requires piles to cure for six months before burning them during winter months, piles are worrying some people , according to Commissioner James Newberry, who said he’s received calls from residents who are concerned their neighbors’ slash piles could catch fire from lightning.

Murray said such an occurrence would be considered very rare; regardless, concerns about burn piles should be handled through fire districts.

County accepts contributions for water storage

Upon invitation of the county, the national river advocacy organization Trout Unlimited and a private landowner Norman Carpenter of Gold Medal Ranch each contributed $1,000 toward the county’s effort to store 1,500 acre-feet in Lake Granby to be used for late-season 2008 Colorado River flows. In a recent deal struck with the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy municipal sub district, the county spent $57,500 toward powering pumps to let the water flow when needed.

Public hearings

Grand County accepted the renewal of special use permits for two log home operations Tuesday. The first was Grand Lake Log Homes, which was extended for 10 years, the other was Miller Construction Inc. d.b.a Colorado Pacific Log Homes, which a neighbor commended for its diligent efforts to clean up its property.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail