12/27/2006

Winter Weather Preparedness

If you live in Colorado, how did you fare during the recent blizzard? Are you ready for the next one? The Division of Emergency Management’s Winter Weather Preparedness web site has information on how to protect yourself and your family during severe winter storms. It covers preparations before storms and measures to take during storms. From there you can link to Winter Preparedness Safety Tips which covers additional topics, such as what to do if you are trapped in your car during a blizzard. You can also link to a site on Preparing Your Car for Winter – all good information and reminders for everyone.

12/22/2006

Avalanche Alerts

Thinking about skiing the back country over the holidays? You may want to check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for an avalanche forecast before hitting the slopes. Mouse over the map to see conditions for your travel destination. They also have current weather conditions by the hour for Colorado mountain passes. If you like statistics, the Information Center has avalanche accident statistics going back to 1997. They also offer avalanche survival classes and hold awareness sessions throughout the state. Go to: http://avalanche.state.co.us/Education/CAIC+Classes/ for a listing of upcoming events.

12/18/2006

Wilderness Survival

Recent instances of people trapped in the snows of the Pacific Northwest mountains serve to remind us that anyone venturing into the high country in wintertime should familiarize themselves with some important survival skills. The Colorado Dept. of Wildlife has produced an informational guide, The Art of Survival by 'Papa Bear' Whitmore. Available online and for checkout from our library, this guide explains wilderness survival tips such as what to do for food and water, and ways to signal rescuers. These tips are relevant not only for winter but for anyone in the mountains at any time of year. DOW also has an online article, Survival Tips for the Colorado High Country, which is mostly aimed at hunters but provides valuable outdoor survival advice for anyone heading to the mountains.

12/14/2006

Governor’s Advocate Office

Where to start? That’s the question many citizens have when needing to deal with Colorado state government. Our library can help with information needs; however, many citizens don’t know about the Governor’s Advocate Office for people having issues or concerns with Colorado state government. This office was created by Executive Order in 1993.

Go to the Governor’s Advocate Office website to see what kinds of complaints they handle, and review their list of referrals for those problems they cannot help you with.

An email link to the Advocate Office is on their site, through which you make your initial contact. Your concern will then be forwarded to designated advocate personnel in the appropriate state agencies.

12/12/2006

Online Education Performance Audit

On Monday the Office of the State Auditor released an audit report on online education in Colorado. The findings do not look good -- auditors found that online students performed poorly on the CSAP exams and were more likely to repeat grades, or drop out . The report states that the Department of Education has not be using the accreditation process effectively to improve the quality of education in online programs, and that there has been insufficient assessment of teacher qualifications and instruction practices. The document details several significant problems with the Hope Online Learning Academy Co-Op and illustrates the risks of having insufficient oversight and standards for online schools. The audit report is available online on the Office of the State Auditor's web site. Paper copies should arrive at the State Publications Library in a few days.

You may also be interested in the School Accountability Reports. Issued early last week, the reports include information on individual school's academic performance, CSAP scores, teacher qualifications and more.

12/08/2006

Children’s Literacy Resources

The Children’s Literacy Resources page published by the Colorado State Library, reports that 35% of U. S. children enter public schools at substantial risk for early academic difficulties because they lack readiness skills. Children, who start school behind, typically stay behind.
Children's experience with books plays an important role in readiness skills. Very young children DON'T need to learn to read or be forced to practice with pencils or memorize the alphabet. But from birth through kindergarten, they MUST take part in many activities to prevent later difficulties in reading, writing, and other tasks of formal schooling.
The Children’s Literacy Resources page provides information on who can and how to provide the kind of experience with books and words that will enable the child to succeed. It also provides several links for on-line resources for parents including:
Reading tips for parents and “Free resources on Early Childhood Literacy
Colorado State Publications Library catalog list several other items on literacy including a pamphlet entitled “Getting ready for kindergarten :bReady? Set? Go!” which can be checkedout.

12/07/2006

Capital Punishment in Colorado

Several state websites discuss capital punishment procedures in Colorado. The Dept. of Corrections has the webpage Capital Punishment in Colorado, which is a basic outline of information including privileges granted to death row inmates, procedures for execution day, and statistics. The Colorado Public Defender (which firmly states on their site that they are against capital punishment), has also prepared a webpage on the history of the practice in Colorado. In addition, the non-partisan staff of the Colorado Legislative Council has prepared two Issue Briefs. One, Colorado's Death Penalty - Back in the Hands of a Jury (2003), explains Colorado's death penalty's shift from being decided by a jury, to a change in law that gave the decision to a panel of judges, and then, when that was ruled unconstitutional, given back to the jury. The other Issue Brief, The Death Penatly - Who Decides, Judge or Jury? was published in 2002 during the time when the issue was being debated.

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