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Thursday, May 8,2014

news briefs

Lyons Historical Society announces flood history project

While it seems like none of us will ever forget last September’s flood that changed so many lives forever, the truth is our memories will fade and the facts will be lost along with the many amazing stories of fear, joy, sadness and heroism.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

The Lyons Historical Society (LHS) is on a mission to collect flood information from all those impacted by this historic event in whatever form it now exists. According to the Historical Society, their collection “will include: recorded stories, written accounts, emails, texts, photographs, newspapers, videos and artifacts.” In short, if it is about the flood in Lyons, they want to make it a permanent part of their collection.

In order to accomplish this goal, the LHS will be holding flood collection days every Sunday between May 18 and June 22. To drop off a contribution, just bring your flood story by the Walt Self Center, 335 Railroad Ave., Lyons, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

LHS says that if you have photos, emails or videos you can visit their website at www.lyonsfloodhistory.org. Just fill out the online submission form and make sure they know who is giving them the item. We may want to forget the flood, but someday people will need to remember it and this is a great way to make sure that happens.

State investigation concludes birth anomalies not linked to a common cause such as oil and gas development

Earlier this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the results of its investigation into 22 reported anomalies in unborn children in Garfield County.

The cases had been reported to CDPHE by two Glenwood Springs clinics, “A Woman’s Place” and “Women’s Health,” which found this relatively large number of rare congenital anomalies while examining prenatal ultrasounds of mothers living in various parts of Garfield county during 2013.

According to the CDPHE report, no common underlying cause for the birth anomalies could be determined.

According to the CDPHE’s May 2 press release regarding the report, Dr. Larry Wolk, department executive director and chief medical officer, said, “There is no state or federal registry of pre-birth anomalies that would show whether the cases referred to the department are greater or less than the number of cases occurring in the general population. While some may have expected the investigation would identify one or two risk factors that link these cases, no such link was found. It is natural to look at even a single birth anomaly and ask why. But sadly, birth anomalies do occur.”

The release went on to describe the state’s investigation. “Department epidemiologists looked at more than a dozen factors including each mother’s place of conception and current address; drinking water source (municipal and well); proximity to active oil and gas wells; proximity to each other; the age, health, and family history of the mothers; the mother’s use of medications, supplements, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and other substances; each mother’s prior pregnancies and deliveries; and ethnicity. While there were different risk factors identified for individual cases, no pattern emerged to suggest a common risk factor for the reported anomalies.”

Following the research released earlier this year out of the University of Missouri, which found endocrine disrupting chemicals in Garfield County ground and surface water in areas near where oil and gas industry spills had occurred, many area residents had voiced their concern that the anomalies could have been the result of oil industry contamination.

In many areas of Colorado where oil and gas development including hydraulic fracturing has become a major controversy, the CDPHE is viewed skeptically by activists who believe it is merely doing the bidding of Governor John Hickenlooper, a major supporter of the oil and gas industry. For that reason it seems unlikely that the state’s investigation into Garfield County’s birth anomalies will be the final chapter of this sad story.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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