5/31/2011

Mental Health

Mental health is an important consideration in our society today. If you or a family member is struggling with depression, mood disorders, or other mental health issues, the Colorado Department of Human Services has many resources that can help you. Go to their Mental Health page to find information on Colorado support services, mental and behavioral health organizations, crisis services, help paying for medications, lists of clinics, wellness tools, and bibliographies of information on mental health and mood and behavioral disorders. The webpage also has directories and contact information if you need assistance or need someone to talk to.

5/26/2011

Vacation in a State Park

Colorado's 42 state parks offer excellent opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, and other outdoor activity. But did you know that you can also rent cabins and yurts in the park? Maybe you don't fancy yourself "outdoorsy" enough to want to camp overnight. Maybe you want a warm place to cuddle up by the fire after a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Or maybe you don't own any camping equipment of your own. Whatever the reason, you can find out about cabins and yurts here.

Now, how do you decide which of the 42 parks you want to visit? Try the Parks QuickFind feature on the State Parks' homepage. Using this feature you can search by park name, or use a map to click on the part of the state you are interested in visiting to receive information on parks in that area.

5/24/2011

Colorado Gemstones

Colorado is certainly known for mining gold, silver, and other minerals, but many people don't realize that Colorado is also the source of many beautiful gemstones. In fact, Colorado even has a state gemstone, aquamarine. According to the Colorado Geological Survey, more than 30 different gemstone varieties are found in Colorado. Some of these include agate, garnet, topaz, tourmaline, quartz, amethyst, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and peridot. Diamonds are also found in Colorado; in fact, the largest faceted diamond ever produced in the U.S., weighing in at an amazing 16.87 carats, was found right here in Colorado. You can learn all about Colorado gemstones, including how and where they are found, by visiting the Gemstones page on the Colorado Geological Survey's website.





Diamonds before and after faceting.









Aquamarine is the Colorado state gemstone.








Photos courtesy of Colorado Geological Survey.

5/20/2011

The Tall Chief

The next time you're enjoying a beer at the Wynkoop, how about raising a glass to the co-founder of the city of Denver. Edward Wanshaer Wynkoop was originally from Philadelphia. Seeing no future in the family business because of 3 older brothers, he decided to make a name for himself by heading west. In 1857 the President appointed James Denver to the office of Kansas territorial Governor to try and end the fight between free-soilers and pro slavery advocates. Wynkoop introduced himself and became an advocate for the new administration. Later he became sheriff of Arapaho County and set about securing legal authority over other perspective land owners. Later Wynkoop met up with a group led by William Larimer, the Arapaho County Treasurer, who urged him to forge on to Cherry Creek because of rumors that independent prospectors might take the land. When they got there they found Charles Nichols and William McGaa guarding the claim they staked out and named St. Charles. It was Larimer who negotiated a deal with Nichols and McGaa to to add their new partners to the original St. Charles incorporation. Even though McGaa objected, Wynkoop's party suggested that the new town be renamed Denver City. After a perilous 700 mile journey, Wynkoop and A. B. Steinberger arrived in Lecompton and convinced Governor Denver to intercede and the bill was passed. You can learn more about Edward Wynkoop by checking out The Tall Chief The Autobiography of Edward W. Wynkoop available at the Colorado State Publications Library.

5/19/2011

Police Week

This year, May 15-21 has been designated as Police Week (see Governor Hickenlooper's press release here). On May 15, fallen officers were recognized with a ceremony and lowered flags for Peace Officers Memorial Day. Colorado continues to remember its fallen officers through listings and memorial sites. Some of Colorado's fallen officers have worked for state agenices, including correctional officers and state patrolmen. Both agencies have lists of their fallen peace officers on their websites. For a list of fallen correctional officers, click here. For information on fallen State Patrol officers, click here. We honor those officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

5/17/2011

Honest John

In 1889 when it wasn't always popular to run for public office, it is said that the Republican machine paid two dollars per vote. John F. Shafroth, watched as Wolfe Londoner won thanks to some extremely dirty politics. Londoner was subsequently removed from office near the end of his term following a trial that uncovered gross voting abuses. Seeing this made the then city attorney, decide to run for congress. Winning a seat in the 54th Congress, he then went on to split from the Republican party to join the Silver Republican Party, and on their ticket went on to serve 3 more congresses. "Honest John" as he would come to be known, stepped down when he declared that his opponent had actually been elected to the 58th Congress. And by then, he had joined the Democratic party. In 1908 he was elected Governor of Colorado and set about reforming Colorado's campaign financing, coal mine safety and direct election of U.S. Senators. Read about his fight and eventual successes in Honest John Shafroth A Colorado Reformer available at the Colorado State Publications Library.

5/10/2011

Josephine Roche: A Woman Ahead of Her Time.

Long before Helen Reddy sang about feminism in the 1970's, Josephine Roche was leading the charge. Roche was born in Nebraska and attended college at Vassar and Columbia University. She moved to Denver in 1912 and became the city's first full-time female police officer. After inheriting her father's coal mining company, she purchased enough controlling interestto become it's president, and actually invited the United Mine Workers of America to come to Colorado to unionize her mines. After leaving the company, she ran for Governor of Colorado. She didn't win, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. In 1948 she began serving as one of three directors on the United Mine Workers welfare and retirement fund. You can read about this and the scandal that followed in A Wide-Awake Woman - Josephine Roche and the Era of Reform, available from the Colorado State Publications Library.

Wind

This year Colorado is experiencing a very windy spring, with stronger and more frequent winds than normal -- often 25 to 35 miles per hour, according to an article in the Denver Post. The article quotes CSU atmospheric science researcher Nolan Doeskin, who says, "Fast moving disturbances from the Pacific...leav[es] us with a bluster of wind." So what is the science behind wind? We have a number of publications in our library, many from CSU, that study and explain the phenomenon. Search our web catalog using keywords like wind, clouds, atmosphere, etc.

Wind is also a major part of the state's "new energy economy." For information on wind energy, here are a few titles available from our library:

5/05/2011

Floods

As the winter snows begin to melt, the spring runoff brings about the threat of floods. Fortunately, the Colorado Water Conservation Board is monitoring flood threats in Colorado. On their Flood Threat Information Services website, you can view daily precipitation maps as well as a daily flood threat bulletin and map. Also, twice a week they post a 7-15 day flood outlook for Colorado. So, if you live in a flood-prone area, these tools can be very helpful for preparing your family and property for possible springtime flooding.

5/04/2011

Did you know...

Did you know the Tabor Center is named for Horace Tabor? He was a prospector that came west to seek his fortune in the Colorado Gold Rush. Yes, the COLORADO gold rush. Ironically he made his fortune in silver, when a mine which he owned a stake in revealed massive amounts of silver. He went on to establish newspapers, a bank, the Tabor Opera house in Leadville, the Tabor Grand Opera house in Denver and the Tabor Block which is between Larimer Street and 16th Street. Tabor was also elected Lieutenant Governor of Colorado and was briefly a U.S. Senator. To learn more about this fascinating man and his fascinating life, check out: Horace Tabor His Life and the Legend from the Colorado State Publications Library.

5/03/2011

New Voting Study Released

As today is municipal election day in Denver, and Denver is conducting an all-mail election, it seems an appropriate time to discuss a new study published this year by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office. They teamed up with the University of Colorado at Denver's School of Public Affairs to form the Best Practices and Vision Commission. Their report, Changing the Way Colorado Votes: A Study of Selected Reforms, discusses the use of mail and absentee voting. The report also discusses possible reforms needed in the areas of voter registration deadlines, effects on voter turnout, and more. Primarily, the report focuses on the issue of whether or not Colorado turns to all-mail balloting for statewide elections. The report presents the pros and cons of all-mail balloting, including costs, urban and rural differences, and more. This report is an interesting and valuable look at a new way of voting.

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