5.21.2015

Salaries of Elected Officials

SB15-288, regarding salaries of elected officials, is currently awaiting the Governor's signature.  If signed, it would allow a pay raise for the Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, members of the General Assembly, and some elected county officials.  The pay raises would not go into effect, however, until January 1, 2019, by which time the Governor and many of the current legislators will have been termed out of office.  Currently, legislators make $30,000 per year with an additional per diem; the Governor brings in $90,000 and the Attorney General earns $80,000.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the legislative salary is about average among the fifty states but the executive officials' salaries are on the low end of the fifty states.  SB 288, if signed by the governor, will change the salary structure for elected officials to make them adjustable for inflation, similar to the way Judicial Department salaries are currently structured. 

The bill was developed with recommendations of the County Elected Officials Salary Commission; see their January 2014 Report to the General Assembly here.  This is far from the first such commission -- over the years, the Colorado government has dealt with this issue a number of times.  In our library you can find historical reports of past commissions, including the reports of:
Search our library's web catalog for other reports on salaries and compensation.

5.19.2015

Time Machine Tuesday: 1965 Flood

September 2013 notwithstanding, springtime is generally the season when we are most prone to floods in Colorado.  In fact it was on this day, May 19, 1864 that Denver experienced its first major flood disaster.  Yet it was a century later that Denver and the eastern plains experienced another flood, one that many longtime residents can still recall.  The 1965 flood occurred on June 16 of that year, when four consecutive days of heavy rains caused the South Platte River to flood from Denver to the Nebraska state line.  Twenty-one persons were killed and many others injured.  The flood caused over $543 million in damage, destroying more than 5,000 structures.  During that same week, flooding also occurred along the Arkansas River basin. 

Flood damage at a trailer park near Bowles and Santa Fe Drive.    
That July, the state legislature convened a special session  to deal with the June flooding.  The cost to the state included not only the damage, but costs incurred by the calling out of the National Guard; highway safety expenses; health/environmental cleanup; and public welfare for those left homeless.  Therefore, the Legislature considered such measures as increasing the fuel tax to pay for repairs to highways; distribution of Federal disaster relief funds; flood plain regulation; and the establishment of a legislative committee to study how future disasters of this type could be prevented.  The report of this committee can be accessed online through our library.  It includes an informative description of the disaster as well as a summation of the steps taken by the General Assembly to deal with it.

Photo courtesy Colorado Water Conservation Board


5.18.2015

Animal Shelter/Adoption Statistics

Colorado is a state that loves its pets.  We have an "Adopt a Shelter Pet" license plate and the shelter pet is our "state pet."  So if you are looking for statistics on the state's animal shelters, or the number of dogs, cats, etc. adopted out, visit the PACFA Shelter Outflow Statistics available on the State of Colorado's Information Marketplace website.  PACFA, the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act, is a program of the Colorado Department of Agriculture that oversees the welfare of shelter animals.  If you are considering adopting a pet or farm animal, it is a good idea to check out the shelter where you plan to adopt from, so check out these statistics to find out more about the shelter or rescue that you plan to do business with, and contact PACFA if you have any concerns about a shelter you've visited.

5.14.2015

Morgan County Floods

Due to recent heavy rains the National Weather Service is carefully monitoring water levels in some areas of Colorado, particularly around Fort Morgan.  The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Morgan County EOC have been activated and potential evacuation zones have been established.  The weather is being monitored for continued rainfall, as well.  Morgan County and Fort Morgan have officially declared an emergency.  The Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (DHSEM) has set up a public information map which includes information on possible flood zones.  The map includes feeds such as river gauges, forecasts, radar, daily precipitation, public alerts, Red Cross information, and more.  If you live in the Morgan County area, keep checking the map for updated information.  Updates are also being posted on the DHSEM's blog, http://www.coemergency.com/.

For flood preparedness information, visit http://www.readycolorado.gov.  If you have had flooding on your property you may want to consult the State of Colorado's 2014 resource guide After the Flood:  A Guide to Returning to Your Home and Cleaning Up.


5.12.2015

Time Machine Tuesday: 1970s-era Clothing

Changing tapered pants to flares.
Ask almost anyone what they remember as being the top fashion trend of the 1970s, and they'll say bell-bottoms or flares.  They were so popular that in 1975 the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension issued a booklet Rags to Riches:  Recycle Your Clothes, which included instructions for how to turn tapered pants into flares.  It also suggested that, if not changed to flares, tapered pants should be cut to make shorts.  Pity the person who wore their old tapers in 1975!  The booklet also included numerous other tips on remodeling clothing that reflect the trends of the '70s.  Instructions can be found to create wool "knickers" for women to wear skiing.  Menswear ideas included how to piece together fabric to create a colorful contrasting shirt, or how to turn an old jacket into a vest.  The booklet's tips for remaking children's clothing focuses less on trends and includes practical ideas on how to lengthen hems and sleeves for growing kids, information that is still useful today for those who know how to sew.  Other tips on sewing and resizing garments are also still useful today. 
Rags to Riches suggested this for a women's ski outfit.