Keeping Kids Safe on the Road

This week is both National Teen Driver Safety Week and National School Bus Safety Week.  Our library has many resources that can help you learn about and bring attention to both of these important causes.

Teen drivers:

School buses:

Search our library's web catalog for more resources.


Dial 511 for Road Conditions

Winter driving season has arrived!  The Colorado Department of Transportation offers several services to help you be prepared and aware of road closures and weather conditions.  Log on to cotrip.org, or simply dial 511 from anywhere in Colorado.  511 works with both cell phones and land lines.  You can also sign up for email or text alerts from CDOT, or download the CDOT mobile app.


Time Machine Tuesday: An Economic Profile of Denver in 1974

Recently the Denver metro area has been experiencing unprecedented economic activity and growth, with hundreds of people moving here each month, new businesses coming to the area, and housing prices skyrocketing.  How does this compare with the Denver of the 1970s?

In 1970, the Business School at the University of Colorado established the Denver Urban Observatory "to perform urban research." Four years later they issued a major study, The Economic Base of Denver: Implications for Denver's Fiscal Future and Administrative Policy.  "A primary purpose of this research," states the report, "is to provide the Denver Mayor with an appraisal of policy alternatives applicable to future regional development in the city and county."  Statistics and analysis on population growth, business and employment, taxation, land use, and housing prices  provide insight on the city's growth.  (In 1970, the Denver metropolitan area's median housing value was just $23,058!).  The report also examines the process of attracting and locating industry in Denver -- once again a hot topic.

The findings of the 1974 study can teach us some valuable lessons and provide perspective on the economic development of Denver in the past, today, and in the future.  The study authors conclude that "in the final analysis the city does have a choice, however. It can govern the city more or less passively letting private market forces largely determine its socio-economic and financial fate. Or it can govern actively, using the policy tools at its disposal to shape and form the economic base to conform to its view of what the city should be." This report is an excellent resource for policymakers, economists, and journalists to use in researching the history of Denver's growth and economic development.

Blocks and blocks of downtown Denver were demolished in the name of economic development in the 1970s as part of the Skyline Urban Renewal Project. This view shows construction at 18th and Arapahoe in 1979. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Department.


Educator Talent

The Colorado Department of Education recently reorganized all of its educator services into a new unit called Educator Talent.  This unit now has a website that contains a wealth of information on the teaching profession in Colorado, including resources on the educator shortage; licensing; performance management; educator preparation programs; resources for districts and BOCES; and much more.  Check out the Department's new Educator Talent webpage today.  For reports and publications, search our library's online catalog.


Protect Your Investments

Whether you are just getting started in the world of investing, or are looking to protect the investments you have, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has established a website that provides a "wealth" of consumer information on how to manage and protect your investments.

Money: Safeguard Your Hard-Earned Assets includes many consumer tips on money management as well as how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.  The site provides a link to DORA's Investor Education site, where you can find consumer alerts, FAQs, and helpful links.  You can also learn about DORA's $ecure Colorado for Seniors initiative, a program designed "to help prevent financial fraud against senior citizens."  The webpage for this program includes printable brochures, powerpoints, and a link to request a live presentation from a DORA staff member at your senior center, library, or other community facility or group.

Be sure to check out the other Ask DORA webpages as well, providing consumer education on insurance, home repair, civil rights, utilities, and licensing.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Lost Town of Caribou, Colorado

It can't really be called a ghost town, because there's almost nothing left to mark the location of Caribou, Colorado, a silver mining town once located in Boulder County near Nederland.  Yet despite being nearly forgotten, the town of Caribou and its associated silver mines were a shining example of the boom-and-bust cycle of the mining West.

The silver mines at Caribou were established in 1869 and by the following year a townsite had been platted.  It was a cold, windy place to live, but nonetheless the miners and their families made it their home.  Historian Duane A. Smith, in his highly readable Silver Saga: The Story of Caribou, Colorado, points out that the people of Caribou were civil and law-abiding; this was no rowdy Leadville or Deadwood.  Many of Caribou's inhabitants were families, and the schoolhouse was one of the town's most prominent and recognizable buildings.  A significant number of Caribou residents were Cornish miners who brought their mining and cultural traditions from their native Cornwall in Britain.

The silver mines that gave rise to the town were initially very productive, but as time went on, the best ore was tapped out.  A host of well-known individuals were associated with the ownership of the Caribou mines, including Jerome Chaffee and David Moffat.  One longtime owner was New York financier R. G. Dun, best known today as the Dun of Dun & Bradstreet.  By the time Dun died in 1900, he had experienced major financial losses from the mine.  The mine had already been decreasing in production by the time of the Silver Crash in 1893, and several times over the years it had been closed and re-opened.  Financial problems, water issues, and low-grade ore all contributed to the mines' performing less than expected.

Caribou's population, at its height in the mid-1870s, steadily dwindled as the decades passed.  In the mid-1880s, several especially hard winters and even an earthquake challenged the residents' resolve.  After the 1893 panic, even more residents left.  Finally, in 1905, a major fire destroyed most of the town's buildings, and the few that remained were abandoned.  The high winds and heavy snows eventually toppled these few reminders that a thriving town had once been there.
Even though the town was gone, mining at Caribou wasn't completely dead.  The Biennial Report of the Bureau of Mines of the State of Colorado for 1917-18 reported that "in the Caribou mining district there has been a great revival in 1918."  Apparently this "revival" didn't last long, and there wouldn't be another one for several decades.  The 1952 report noted that "Boulder County's production of silver, the largest since 1917, came mostly from the Consolidated Caribou Mines, Incorporated."  The district saw a second, smaller revival in the 1970s when a gold mine was opened but, in keeping with its history, troubles still plague the mine today.

 Smith's Silver Saga, which can be checked out from our library, tells the whole story of the ups and downs of the mine and the town.  Ghost town enthusiasts should also read Waldo R. Wedel's "Visit to Caribou, 1963," in the Summer 1964 issue of Colorado Magazine.  In the 54 years that have since passed, very little of what Wedel describes can still be found.  And while human inhabitants may have long since left the area, Caribou is still home to a number of species of rare plants and animals, as detailed in a 1999 report from Colorado State University's Natural Heritage Program and Boulder Open Space.    

The town of Caribou, Colorado circa 1880s.  Courtesy Denver Public Library.


Online Career Help

Are you looking for a new job, or thinking of taking your career in a new direction?  The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment can assist.  Their Career Help webpage is a great resource that can help you find a job, training, or education.  You can use this site to link to a workforce center near you, where you can take a skills assessment and find information about the job market in your area.  Career Help also includes information specifically for youth and for veterans, links to labor market information, networking and job fairs, interviewing tips, and much more. 


Executive Clemency

The governor's power to grant or deny pardons has been in the news recently.  How does an offender apply for a pardon or commutation of sentence?  The answer can be found on the Colorado Department of Corrections' Clemency Requests webpage.  Here the steps for applying for clemency are outlined, along with facts about the process:

The governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after conviction, for all offenses except treason, and except in case of impeachment, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law relative to the manner of applying for pardons.  Clemency in Colorado has two types: commutation and pardon. A pardon may be granted after a conviction and is a public forgiveness for a crime after completion of the sentence. A commutation modifies a sentence. The procedure the Colorado Legislature has enacted for the commute and pardon process is found in Colorado Revised Statutes, §§ 16-17-101, 102. There are no fees required to apply for executive clemency and no time constraints under which any application for executive clemency must be processed.

See the webpage for guidelines and for a link to the application, which must be completed under the advisement of the offender's case manager.


Time Machine Tuesday: Rydberg's Flora

One of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century America's greatest botanists extensively studied the flora of Colorado, and left us what is still one of the most important works on the state's flowers.

Per Axel Rydberg (1860-1931) emigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1882.  His career as a botanist came somewhat by accident.  Upon moving to the United States, he planned to become a mining engineer, but while working in the iron mines of Michigan he suffered a serious leg injury that left him with a lifelong limp and closed the door on a mining career.  Instead, he turned to intellectual pursuits, paying his way through the University of Nebraska by teaching mathematics.  After receiving his M.A. Rydberg was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the botany of Nebraska and South Dakota, publishing his first work in 1895.  He then when on to earn his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1898, and two years later, Rydberg first came to Colorado to study the state's flora.  Over the next three decades of his life Rydberg would specialize in studying the flora of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, discovering several plant species and publishing numerous works.  He also continued his connection to New York, serving as the first curator of the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium. 

Rydberg's publications include studies of the botany of Nebraska, Utah, Yellowstone National Park, and even the Yukon, but one of his most significant publications remains his 1906 Flora of Colorado, published by the Colorado Agricultural College's Experiment Station.  This nearly-500 page book has been digitized and is available online from our library.

Also from our library you can learn about some of the plants and flowers that Rydberg studied and discovered, which bear his name.  Some of these species are now rare or imperiled.  You can read conservation assessments from the Colorado State University's Natural Heritage Program on the following species named for Rydberg:


Mantherapy: A Resource for Men-tal Health

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), "Colorado's suicide rates are among the highest in the country, and males in Colorado are four times more likely to die by suicide than females."  CDPHE is working to combat this trend with an online resource called Mantherapy.  Originally launched in 2012, the site has recently been revamped, according to a news release from CDPHE.  New features of the site include resources for military/veterans and first responders, videos, and a new personal assessment tool called "head inspection."  The information is all presented in a friendly, humorous way that can help men deal with anger, depression, anxiety, grief, and more.

Image courtesy Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment


Butterfly Migration

If you love butterflies, this week has been an absolute delight along the Front Range as the painted lady butterflies migrate south.  Conditions this year have caused an explosion of the numbers of painted ladies, which is why we are seeing so many more than usual.  The orange butterflies, which are commonly mistaken for monarchs, are headed to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico for the winter, according to an article in the Denver Post.  They enjoy a variety of flowers, especially asters, which are in bloom right now.  Last weekend was the peak for the migration through the Denver area, although many can still be seen.  The butterflies will also pass through on their way back north in April and May.

Colorado has many other butterfly species, as well.  Those who enjoy butterflies should see the CSU Extension's publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, which offers tips on creating a butterfly habitat along with lists of the best types of flowers to plant for attracting butterflies.

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies enjoying the asters at my home in Park Hill, September 16, 2017.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Agricultural Society

Colorado Territory had barely been established when a group of leading farmers, agriculturalists, and promoters got together and formed the Colorado Agricultural Society in 1861.  Society founders included such notables as William N. Byers (Denver promoter and founder of the Rocky Mountain News), Richard Sopris (future Denver mayor), William Gilpin (territorial governor), and William Larimer (founder of Denver).

The organization was already ten years old -- and Colorado hadn't even attained statehood yet -- when they kicked off their annual agricultural exhibition in Denver 146 years ago today, September 19, 1871.  In his newspaper Byers wrote that "the fair which opens to day will be the most extensive ever witnessed in Colorado."  (You can read the full article online via the State Library's Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.) 

The exhibition, on the eastern outskirts of the city, boasted a fairgrounds of forty acres with a mile-long racetrack and "an elegant new grandstand...with orchestra for musicians, and seats for the accommodation of 3,000 persons" -- especially interesting since Denver's entire population in 1870 was only 4,759.  The fairgrounds also included stock pens, a 2-story building with "a large and commodious dining hall," a 150-foot circular pavilion for agricultural displays, "ladies' and gentlemens' saloons," and "a large hall for minerals, fine arts and fancy goods."  This description comes from the Agricultural Society's biennial report and report of the exhibition, which you can view online from our library.  The document also includes a history of the Society and a report of the previous year's (1870) exhibition, as well as the society's annual reports for both years. Detailed "programmes" for the 1870 and 1871 exhibitions can also be found.  The lists of all of the prize winners are also included.  Mrs. H. B. Bearce must have been especially talented; she won first prize in three categories: "best worked pair slippers," "best display bead work," and "best embroidered chemise."  It might have helped, though, that her husband was President of the Society!

The Colorado Agricultural Society was dissolved in 1873 and the task of promoting agriculture in Colorado went to the Colorado Industrial Association.  Smaller, local fairs such as county fairs were held in lieu of the territorial fair until 1882, when Denver constructed a huge pavilion for a major Mining and Industrial Exposition.  Although mining was the major focus of this exposition, it did include large displays devoted to agriculture and other industries.  This exposition was located near South Broadway and what is now Exposition Avenue.  It was only held for three years; a major decline in attendance at the 1884 fair spelled the demise of the exposition.  Later, in 1901, the Colorado State Fair was established in Pueblo, where it is still held every year.


College and University Veteran Services

Colorado's state-funded colleges and universities support veterans and active-duty servicemembers in a variety of ways, from tuition benefits to job placement assistance to mental health services.  If you are a servicemember or veteran who is thinking of applying to a Colorado higher education institution, the following list provides links to the different veterans programs offered by each college or university:

Adams State College:  Veteran's Educational Benefits
Colorado Community College System:  Veteran Education & Training
Colorado Mesa University:  Veteran Services
Colorado School of Mines:  Veterans Services
Colorado State University:  Services for Veterans at CSU
Colorado State University - Global Campus:  Military Tuition Assistance and Benefits
Colorado State University - Pueblo:  Military and Veterans Success Center
Fort Lewis College:  VA Educational Benefits
Metropolitan State University of Denver:  Veteran and Military Student Support Services
University of Colorado - Boulder:  Office of Veteran Services
University of Colorado - Colorado Springs:  Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs
University of Colorado - Denver: Veteran & Military Student Services
University of Northern Colorado: Veterans Services
Western State Colorado University: Veteran Educational Benefits



September is National Preparedness Month

The recent hurricane events have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for disaster.  Even though we don't get hurricanes in our state, there are a number of other disasters to prepare for -- including both natural disasters (floods, fires, tornadoes, storms, avalanches, rockslides) and manmade disasters (terrorism, active shooters, power outages).  There are many personal incidents to prepare for as well -- illness, identity theft, personal safety, home protection, and more.  ReadyColorado.com, sponsored by Colorado's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can help you prepare for hazards large and small. 

On the site you can find resources on how to create a preparedness plan for your home or office; how to stay informed of emergencies in your area; a calendar of events and training; 8 signs of terrorism; a natural hazards map; pet safety; resources for educators; resources for people with disabilities; and a blog.  Recent entries in their blog include a wide variety of topics including pedestrian safety, business continuity planning, bears, immunizations, heatstroke prevention, campfire safety, internet safety, and drone safety.  Before the next disaster - personal or community-wide - affects you, check out this informative site.


Time Machine Tuesday: Trappers, Traders and Mountain Men

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, French, English, and American fur trappers came to Colorado, living a rugged existence in the mountains.  They traded with -- and often married into -- Indian tribes, and sent pelts back to "the States," where beaver hats were fashionable.  James Baker and Leroy Hafen, in their 1927 History of Colorado, reported that the first recorded trapper-trader in Colorado was James Purcell in 1802, a year before the Louisiana Purchase.  In the book the authors provide a detailed history of the fur trade and of the men who trapped and traded in what was to become Colorado.  The full 5-volume history has been digitized by our library.

The Colorado Magazine, published by the Colorado Historical Society from 1923 to 1980, also detailed the lives of several mountain men.  Articles include:
Born into slavery in 1805, James P. Beckwourth became one of Colorado's most famous mountain men.


Colorado and the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace has been designated by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade as one of Colorado's fourteen key industries that "drive our state's economy through innovation and growth."  Colorado has several large aerospace companies, and the Governor's Office has identified aerospace as one of the industries they want to see grow in Colorado.  Partnering with the Brookings Institute, the Governor's Office in 2013 issued Launch! Taking Colorado's Space Economy to the Next Level, which details "a forward thinking business strategy to support the Aerospace Industry in Colorado.  This report affords us the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of Colorado's Aerospace sector and develop strategies to collaboratively address the challenges facing the industry."  For this and other reports on the aerospace industry in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


West Nile Virus

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) reminds us that "summer may be waning, but West Nile Virus season isn't."  According to their press release, August and September are the months with the highest occurrences of the mosquito-transmitted virus, and "transmission to people is on the rise." 

The CDPHE gathers data on West Nile cases and is the state's main resource for information on the prevention of human cases of the virus.  See their West Nile Virus webpage for resources such as FAQs, prevention tips, data and statistics, and resources for health care providers.  You can also find reports and data from CDPHE by searching our library's online catalog.

Animals, especially horses, can also be affected by the virus.  Refer to the Colorado Department of Agriculture for information on equine West Nile Virus.  Also be sure to see their publication West Nile Virus Encephalitis: A Guide for Horse Owners, available from our library.

Finally, be sure to visit the state's Fight the Bite Colorado website for more resources.


Hurricane Information

2017 is turning out to be a historic year for hurricane activity in the U.S., as the Gulf Coast works to recover from Hurricane Harvey and the Atlantic Coast braces for Hurricane Irma.  While we don't have to worry about hurricanes in Colorado, our state's two largest universities both engage in significant research on hurricanes.

At Colorado State University, the Tropical Meteorology Project predicts Atlantic hurricane activity and landfall probability each year.  The project was founded by renowned scientist Dr. William Gray, who passed away in 2016.  Gray began his annual predictions in 1984, and they are continued today by his mentee, Dr. Phil Klotzbach of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Science.  So what did Klotzbach predict for this year?  You can find the 2017 (and previous years') predictions available online from our library.  The reports contain lots of stats and data supporting the predictions, but the bottom line is, on August 4 Klotzbach and associate Michael Bell predicted that "the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States Coastline and in the Caribbean is above-normal."  Given what we are seeing right now as Irma gathers speed in the Caribbean, it looks like the researchers were spot-on.

A different kind of hurricane research takes place at the University of Colorado.  Instead of predicting hurricanes, researchers at the university's Natural Hazards Center study the aftermath of the events, how they affect the people who live through them, and how emergency responders can learn from the events.  While the Center researches all kinds of disasters, hurricanes make up a significant part of their research because there have been so many devastating ones in the last several decades.  You can find the Center's reports in our library; some particularly apropos titles include: 
Check out the Natural Hazards Center's website for preliminary resources on Hurricane Harvey.

*As of this writing the possibility exists for Hurricane Irma to exceed Hurricane Andrew in intensity and damage in Florida.  This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.


Colorado's Labor History

This coming Monday is Labor Day.  Because so much of Colorado's development was tied in with mining, transportation, and other industry, and because of events like the Ludlow Massacre, the state has been a significant part of the history of the labor movement in America.  Here are some resources, both current and historical, available from our library that tell the story of labor Colorado:

Agricultural and migrant workers:

Child labor:

Immigration policy:

Labor Movement and the Progressive Era:

  • The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado's Company Towns, by Rick J. Clyne, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood's Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America, by F. Darrell Munsell, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • The Gospel of Progressivism:  Moral Reform and Labor War in Colorado, 1900-1930 by R. Todd Laugen, University Press of Colorado, 2010
  • The Great Coalfield War, by George S. McGovern, University Press of Colorado, 1996
  • Industrializing the Rockies:  Growth, Competition, and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado and Wyoming, 1868-1914 by David A. Wolff, University Press of Colorado, 2003
  • The Lessons of Leadville, or, Why the Western Federation of Miners Turned Left, by William Philpott, Colorado Historical Society, 1995
  • Making an American Workforce:  The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow, by Fawn-Amber Montoya, University Press of Colorado, 2014 
  • Persistent Progressives:  The Rocky Mountain Farmers' Union, by John F. Freeman, University Press of Colorado, 2016 
  • Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920: Socialists, Populists, Miners, and Wobblies, by David R. Berman, University Press of Colorado, 2007 
  • "Remember Ludlow!" by Joanna Sampson, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • Representation and Rebellion:  The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914-1942, by Jonathan H. Rees, University Press of Colorado, 2010 
  • Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing, Colorado Historical Society, 2004
  • A Wide-Awake Woman:  Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform, by Elinor McGinn, Colorado Historical Society, 2002 
  • Working in Colorado:  A Brief History of the Colorado Labor Movement, University of Colorado, 1971


Statistics and studies:


This is just a small sampling of the many resources on this topic available from our library.  For further resources, including current labor trends, employment statistics, guidance on labor laws, state labor and employment programs, and more, search our library's online catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: Teaching Colorado History

Anybody who attended elementary school in Colorado remembers learning about the state's history -- the colorful characters, the miners, the Native Americans, the politicians, the pioneers.  We learned to sing songs like "Where the Columbines Grow" and recite the rags-to riches-to rags story of the Tabors.  We stumbled over the pronunciation of "molybdenum" and traveled to the State Capitol to see the artworks depicting the colorful characters.  Over time, however, the resources used to teach the story of our state changed significantly, and you can see the progression of these resources through documents at our library.

If you went to school in the 1950s and '60s, you might remember using a textbook called Colorado, The Land and the People.  Issued by the State Department of Education, this book for young readers told the story of Colorado for use in the Colorado history curriculum.  The book has been digitized by our library so you can now view it online for a blast from the past.

Kids going to school around 1976 experienced a time of special emphasis on the state's (and nation's) history -- the Centennial-Bicentennial celebrations.  The state's official Centennial-Bicentennial Commission issued a teacher's guide that included lesson plans and book and film suggestions for teaching various aspects of the state's history.  The illustrated guide also included "Heritage '76" and "Horizons '76" questions and ideas to help get kids thinking about how to relate the past to the future.

By the late 1990s and into the 2000s, it was all about standards.  The Colorado Department of Education released academic standards for all subjects, including history, and in conjunction released such publications as Making Standards Work!: HistoryAlso, the University Press of Colorado issued three elementary school textbooks, Colorado:  Our Colorful State (1999), Colorado:  The Highest State (1995 and 2011), and Discover Colorado (2016), which aligned closely with the standards.  (All can be checked out from our library).  You can see the progression of the standards in the Department of Education's official publications of the Colorado Model Content Standards for History from 1995 and 2001, and the current Colorado Academic Standards: Social Studies, adopted in 2009.  For more information on the Colorado Academic Standards see the Colorado Department of Education's Standards and Instructional Support website.

The standards make numerous references to what are called "21st century skills," and today's students have a variety of resources available to them that we pre-Internet kids didn't have, including Colorado State Library-sponsored resources like the Colorado Encyclopedia, the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, and the Colorado Virtual Library's kid-friendly biographies of famous Coloradans.  An exciting result of the availability of digitized resources means that today, compared with when I was in elementary school, much more emphasis is being placed on teaching kids how to use primary sources.  And our library has many, many primary sources on Colorado history readily available online -- just search our digital repository and web catalog.


Preventing School Violence

A new school year has begun, and students deserve a healthy school experience free from violence, crime, and bullying.  Several state agencies are working to help prevent school violence and provide all children and youth with a safe place to learn and grow.

The Colorado School Safety Resource Center is the state's main agency for all matters of school safety.  They have published numerous resources on school violence prevention including
The University of Colorado's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) administers programs such as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, which provides resources about evidence-based programs to prevent bullying, violence and delinquency, youth substance abuse, aggressive behavior, and more.  Publications from the CSPV include
The Colorado Attorney General's Office provides victim assistance resources and guidance on violence and disciplinary issues.  See their Colorado School Violence Prevention and Student Discipline Manual for more information.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's Prevention Services Division has a Violence and Injury Prevention Program with a number of resources geared toward children and youth.  They have also developed a new Positive Youth Development Tool.  See also their report Bold Steps Toward Child and Adolescent Health:  A Plan for Youth Violence Prevention in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Education has also published several resources on school violence prevention, such as 
Safe2Tell is a state-funded program that provides a hotline for students to anonymously report school safety issues and concerns, not limited to violence but also concerning substance abuse, suicide, and more.  Their tagline is "anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens you, your friends, your family, or your community."  Their website also includes resources for students, families, and communities.

State reports on specific incidents include
Finally, for more resources and links see our library's Quick Guide to Safe Schools and Youth Violence Prevention; you can also search our web catalog. 


The Colorado State Fair

The Colorado State Fair begins today and runs through September 4.  This annual event began in 1869 -- before Colorado even was a state -- with a horse show in Pueblo.  148 years later Pueblo still hosts the fair.  The State Fair includes a variety of contests and entertainment, including rodeos; livestock and animal shows; concerts; carnival rides; a 5K run; cooking, baking, and brewing contests; arts and crafts judging, and more.

What does the State Fair bring to Colorado?  A 2011 economic impact study of the fair reports that the fair brings about $29 million of economic activity into Colorado.  Our library also has annual financial audit reports for the State Fair back to 1990; see our library's online catalog for these and other resources.


The Buildings of Auraria

The Auraria Higher Education Center (or Auraria Campus, as it is often known) is quite unique among Colorado's college campuses.  This inner-city campus is home to not one, but three separate higher education institutions: the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver.  Auraria is also unique for its history, as more than a century before the campus was built, Auraria was a separate town that competed with Denver.  Eventually, it became a middle-class Denver neighborhood that was home to many diverse ethnic groups.  Today, a few of the buildings from the old Auraria neighborhood remain to tell the story of the people who made Auraria their home. 

The Auraria Campus is a prime place to experience the evolution of Denver's architectural styles, because the historic buildings that have been preserved coexist with forty years of evolving campus architecture.  Among the repurposed historic buildings on campus are several churches, the old Tivoli Brewery, and the 9th Street Park, one street of old Auraria homes and businesses that was preserved to commemorate the pre-campus neighborhood.

You can learn more about Auraria's architecture in the following resources, available from our library (publications without hyperlinks can be checked out in print):

The Auraria Neighborhood:

The Auraria Campus:

Old and new coexist on the Auraria Campus.  Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Time Machine Tuesday: Highway Safety

Certainly a lot has changed in the last fifty years regarding vehicle safety!  Consider this excerpt from Highway Safety in Colorado, a 1966 legislative research report:

Seat belts have reduced deaths and injury on the nation's highways and have long been utilized by racing car drivers.  Many states have adopted legislation requiring the installation of seat belts in passenger vehicles; unfortunately these mandatory programs have not been successful in developing a high degree of utilization by persons riding in private vehicles.  For this reason, the [Legislative Committee on Highway Safety] is reluctant to recommend mandatory legislation for passenger vehicles.  On the other hand...the committee urges the State Department of Education to take action to encourage installation of seat belts in school buses.

Today we still struggle with making sure private vehicle passengers use their seat belt, but it is difficult to imagine that we would not have seat belt laws just because some people won't buckle up.  Conversely, we still don't have laws requiring seat belts in school buses, despite the legislative committee's suggestion fifty years ago.  (See the Colorado Department of Education's publication The Issue of Lap Belts in School Buses for information on current law and practice).

 Here's another excerpt from the 1966 report:

Nationwide, highway safety officials have been unable to cope with the problems posed by the drinking driver. ... Enforcement officers, licensing officials, and the judiciary have been relatively successful in fining, jailing, and suspending licenses of persons driving while under the influence of alcohol.  However, all three of these penalties have not proved an effective deterrent to the alcoholic driver.

Doesn't sound too much different from today, does it?  But consider this -- in 1966, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15, almost double what it is today.  The committee recommended "a lesser charge of drinking and driving for persons with a blood alcohol level of .10 per cent and over but less than .15 per cent.  Although an individual may not be under the influence of alcohol, his reflexes, judgment, ability to make quick decisions, etc., can be impaired."  Compare this to today, where .05 is considered "ability impaired," and .08  is the legal limit for driving under the influence -- two percentage points below what was only "impaired" in 1966.

For more comparisons between yesterday and today, you can view Highway Safety in Colorado online from our library, along with thousands of other publications that tell the story of life in Colorado.


Safe Routes to School

This month kids are heading back to school, but the weather is still nice -- so why not let them walk or bike to school and get fresh air and exercise?  The Colorado Department of Transportation has a program that encourages just that.  The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program helps schools and communities provide a safe environment for students while also encouraging physical activity:

SRTS programs can improve safety, not just for children, but for the entire community. It provides opportunities for people to increase their physical activity and improve their health. It reduces congestion and pollution around our schools and encourages partnerships.

According to the SRTS website, in 1969 about half of all schoolchildren walked or biked to school; today, 90% are driven by auto or bus.  Accordingly, today's childhood obesity rates are much higher than they were fifty years ago.  The SRTS program is available to help schools and communities in a variety of ways, whether it be to paint crosswalks, hire crossing guards, provide educational programs, or set up groups known as "walking school buses," where large groups of students walk together.

If your school or community is considering partnering in the SRTS program, or you just want to provide education on safe walking and biking, our library has some helpful resources, including


Time Machine Tuesday: Increasing Farm Production in Wartime

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, ever-increasing numbers of Americans were joining the armed forces.  Whether they were training stateside or had been shipped overseas to fight in Europe or the Pacific, the huge numbers of soldiers, sailors, nurses, and others involved in the war needed to be fed.  Luckily, the United States had millions of acres of farmland to grow crops and livestock to feed the hungry soldiers. 

A USDA poster promoting wartime farm production.
There was one problem, however.  Throughout the 1930s farmers on the Great Plains had suffered through drought, dust storms, and the Depression.  Agricultural production had declined as a result, and many wary farmers were reluctant to increase production.  By 1942, however, rising farm prices and a push by government agencies to encourage farm production helped to reverse this trend.  Among the agencies here in Colorado working to help farmers increase production was the Colorado State Board for Vocational Education.  A forerunner to today's community college system, the Board worked to improve education in vocations and trades.  In 1942 they teamed up with the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (today's Colorado State University) to offer a Rural War Production Training Program. 

The program offered 20-hour courses designed to help farmers increase the production of specific commodities most needed by the war effort (beef, vegetables, wool, etc.).  The courses also encouraged home vegetable gardening due to shortages of imported foods.  "The main purpose of the war production courses is to discuss with producers ways and means, and to assist them in outlining plans of action, by which the production goal can be reached in the shortest possible time and with the greatest efficiency," wrote the Board in one of their course manuals.  These manuals, which you can read online courtesy of our library, were issued for the course instructors to help them develop syllabi. They included teaching tips, discussion questions, sample course outlines, and suggestions for film strips and reference material.  These manuals offer an interesting look at the teaching methods of the past as well as of the importance of farming during wartime.  The manuals available from our library are:


Alcohol and Impaired Driving

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more than 26,000 people are arrested for a DUI each year.  This includes both drunk driving and drugged driving.  CDOT conducts numerous public awareness campaigns as well as their "high visibility enforcement" campaign known as "The Heat is On," which include checkpoints and increased police presence during holiday celebration periods and other times throughout the year when drinking tends to increase.

CDOT's Alcohol and Impaired Driving webpage provides numerous resources including public awareness campaign materials; breathalyzer information; links to alternative transportation sources; statistics; grant information for local agencies; and more.  Here you can also download CDOT's free "R-U Buzzed" app for calculating your BAC.  (If you don't want to download an app, you can also print out CDOT's handy wallet-sized BAC chart.)  "R-U Buzzed" can also connect you with other sources of transportation if you are impaired.

Sample screen for CDOT's R-U-Buzzed app.

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