CoCoRaHS: The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network

2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS. The network began on June 17, 1998 with just a handful of volunteer meteorological observers and has grown to over 20,000 volunteers across North America. Each time it rains, hails, or snows in their area, volunteers take measurements of the precipitation and the data is posted to the CoCoRaHS website. Current and historical data and maps about weather, climate, and precipitation can be downloaded off the site. Apps, publications, webinars, and educational tools are also available.
CoCoRaHS Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network Anniversary

CoCoRaHS is sponsored by Colorado State University's Colorado Climate Center. View their website for even more meteorological data. The Climate Center has also issued numerous publications which you can find in our library's web catalog.


Workforce Supply and Demand Data

What are the most in-demand occupations in Colorado? The State's Talent Found Dashboard uses current job posting data to measure demand, and presents interactive maps and tables that you can use to find out the state's hottest jobs.

Talent Found Colorado
The data on the website supplements two 2017 state reports, the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report and Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development. The former report analyzes workforce supply and demand in Colorado while the latter report examines Colorado's higher education and training needs in order to meet these demands. Search our library's online catalog for further resources on jobs and the workforce in Colorado.


Time Machine Tuesday: Historical Population Trends

In a recent Time Machine Tuesday I wrote about some of our library's digital documents that tell the story of population changes - and the need for water - over the last twenty years. This week, our digital documents go back quite a bit further, to examine population trends back to Colorado territorial days.

In 1940 the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and the Rural Section of the WPA Division of Research teamed up to explore population growth and change since 1860, especially in regards to agriculture and the ability for ag workers to find jobs in Colorado. They published their findings in Population Trends in Colorado, which you can read online from our library.

This publication shows that concerns over population growth are nothing new in our state. The 1940 publication emphatically states that "there is evidence to indicate that Colorado is approaching its population saturation point under its present economic and social structure." The report suggests that unless more water could be found for irrigation, farming would diminish and "perhaps the additional population must look to industry or mining for sufficient employment to insure an adequate standard of living." Otherwise, "it appears probable that any future increase in the population of the State will add to the relief burden already in existence." As the state was just emerging from the Great Depression, the ability to find jobs for a growing population was a significant concern.

Population Trends in Colorado provides an in-depth look at the ups and downs of Colorado population growth from 1860 through 1930, before the Great Depression. (The author notes that a separate study was being undertaken to analyze the effect of the Depression on Colorado's population after 1930.)  The document takes a look at historical population growth factors and explains why, "while there has been a constant gain in Colorado's population since the first census of 1860," some decades' gains were smaller than others. Maps and charts showing migration rates, population density, and future estimates are shown. The publication also discusses differences between interstate and international migration to Colorado; differences between urban, farm, and village population rates; trends in family size, marital status, etc.; and education and employment growth and trends. This publication is a valuable resource for anyone researching the history of population change in Colorado; however, readers should be warned that it does include several racially insensitive comments and illustrations. 

Our library has numerous additional publications that examine historical population trends in Colorado, including A Century of the Colorado Census (University of Northern Colorado, 1976), and Population Trends in Counties of Colorado, 1900-1957, published by the State Planning Division. We also have many additional resources on population growth and change in more recent decades; for these and more, search our library's online catalog.

Crowds on Denver's 16th Street circa 1940. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


Researching the Hispanic Experience in Colorado

Hispanic Colorado Resource GuideIf you're researching the history of Colorado's Hispanic community, the University of Colorado Denver has put together a helpful resource that can serve as an excellent starting place for your research. The Hispanic Colorado Resource Guide "identifies resources providing perspectives on the diverse experiences of Hispanics in Colorado -- who they are, where they came from, how they lived, and what they contributed." The guide was produced in collaboration with some of the state's top Hispanic, Chicana/o, and Latino/a scholars and professors.

This resource guide identifies various types of publications useful to researchers and genealogists, as well as specific county and regional information and places to go - churches, museums, and historic sites - to find out more. The guide even includes an appendix on Hispanic Colorado legislators and another appendix on researching photograph collections.

Some additional resources, available from our library, that are useful in researching Colorado's Hispanic history and culture include:
  • Colorado Heritage, issue for March/April 2015, in conjunction with History Colorado's "El Movimiento" exhibit.
  • Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Borderlands (University Press of Colorado, 2011).
  • El Pueblo History Museum: A Capsule History and Guide. (Colorado Historical Society, 2006).
  • Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies (University of Colorado at Boulder, published 2003-2009).
  • The Life and Times of Richard Castro (Colorado Historical Society, 2007).
  • The Culebra River Villages of Costilla County: Village Architecture and its Historical Context, 1851-1940. (Colorado Historical Society, 2002).
  • La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado (Colorado Historical Society, 1998).
  • The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado (University Press of Colorado, 1997).
  • Confluencia (University of Northern Colorado Department of Hispanic Studies, published 1985-present).
  • The Hispanic Population in Colorado: Survey (Colorado Department of Education, 1978). 
  • The Status of Spanish-Surnamed Citizens in Colorado (Colorado General Assembly, 1967).
  • Americans with Spanish Names: A Review (WPA, 1942).
  • The Spanish-Speaking People of the Southwest (Colorado Department of Education, 1938).

Also see the Hispanic History Resources webpage from History Colorado as well as the Colorado Encyclopedia. Search our library's online catalog for more titles, including resources on Hispanic health, population, workforce, and more.


Wildfire Information

Here's where to go to get the latest on the multiple wildfires burning across the state:
Additionally, here are some helpful publications and websites:

Spring Fire, July 3, 2018. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Fire Protection & Control.


Time Machine Tuesday: Postcards from Southwestern Colorado

Bird's-eye view of Durango, circa 1907-1914.
In today's world of social media and instant communication, the postcard has become a lost art. But the basic idea is the same - the desire to share pictures and updates with friends and family while you're apart. A century ago, postcards were a popular and cheap way to send a quick greeting. The United States first passed a law in 1861 allowing the sending of cards through the mail, and America's first postcard was copyrighted that year.

Postcards really gained popularity after 1907, when US laws began to allow the "split-back" postcard - the familiar postcard style with the address on the right and the message on the left. Prior to that time, messages were not allowed on the same side of the card as the address, meaning most postcards were simply a picture on the front and the address on the back. Postcard styles evolved over time, but their popularity began to decline around the 1990s.

During the heydey of postcards, senders all over the country could choose from a variety of pictures of notable local buildings, parks, scenery, or streetscapes. Some picture postcards used actual photographs, while others featured illustrations done from photos. Postcards have become amazing historical resources for two reasons: one, if they contain messages, we're provided with a glimpse of everyday life in the past, and two, the postcard images are a unique view of scenes of the past - especially the illustrated color images from before the days of color photography. They highlight the places that the city, town, or area believed to be important, the buildings they were proud of, the natural wonders that excited viewers. It's little wonder that postcards are a popular collector's item today.

If you're studying the history of Southwestern Colorado, postcards are a great way to to peek into the region's past. The Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College has digitized a large collection of postcards from places like Durango, Mesa Verde, Silverton, Telluride, Ouray, and other locales, along with a number of postcards from the area's narrow gauge railroads. Postcards also featured significant local events, like the 1916 Durango blizzard.

Beaumont Hotel, Ouray, circa 1907-1914.

In 1925 - during an era when postcards were especially popular due to the growth of automobile tourism - the State Board of Immigration published Colorado: The San Juan District, which is available online from our library. This illustrated booklet makes an excellent companion piece to the postcards because it provides context for the places and people of the southwestern Colorado counties. Geography, climate, industry, history, natural resources, education, transportation, businesses, and tourist attractions are described for each of the seven counties in the region, accompanied by photographs. Search our library's online catalog for more resources on the history of southwest Colorado.

Front and back views of a postcard printed in 1906 and mailed in 1907,
just before "split-back" postcards became legal.


Marijuana Facts for Parents and Caregivers

Last month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched a new awareness campaign, Responsibility Grows Here, for teaching parents and caregivers about the responsible use of marijuana, including information for pregnant and breastfeeding women, responsible use around children, and how to talk to youth about marijuana. From the CDPHE's press release:

Trusted adults ― parents, family, teachers and others ― can have an enormous influence on whether a young person uses marijuana. Health department surveys show young people with parents who feel marijuana use is wrong are four times less likely to use it. Those young people who have family rules about marijuana use, parents they can talk to and supportive teachers are much less likely to use marijuana.
To take advantage of these strong relationships, the health department’s trusted adult campaign shows these role models how important their voices can be and provides them resources they need to talk to their kids about marijuana. Responsibility Grows Here has tips on how trusted adults can start a conversation about marijuana; listen to the concerns of their children; and share information about the health and legal consequences of underage marijuana use. It also provides tips on discussing how marijuana use can get in the way of finishing school, building a career or pursuing other life goals. 

Parents and caregivers can find additional marijuana information by viewing the following resources:


Denver Landmarks & Historic Districts

Over the last few months you may have read the news articles about the proposed development of Larimer Square, Denver's first designated historic district. This week, it was back in the news when the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Larimer Square to its annual list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places."

For the story behind Larimer Square, its buildings, and why it was preserved, check out Dr. Thomas J. Noel's Denver Landmarks and Historic Districts (University Press of Colorado, 2016). This book takes a look at how, and why, Denver established its Landmark Preservation Commission in 1967 and has since designated over 50 historic districts - beginning with Larimer Square - and over 300 individual landmarks. Each of the districts and landmark structures is examined in the book. In our library you can also check out the first edition of the title, published in 1996 - which, in comparison with the new edition, can show how the program has grown in the last twenty years.

For more information about current issues in historic preservation in our state see Preservation for a Changing Colorado (History Colorado, 2017).


Time Machine Tuesday: Water and Growth

In 1999 the Colorado Legislative Council published an Issue Brief entitled Finding Water for One Million New Residents. It reported that in 20 years the population of the Northern Front Range - including the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and Larimer - would grow to 3.5 million people, and that one of the major issues associated with this population growth would be how to supply water to all the new people moving in.

So before we get to the water issue, let's take a look at the population figures. Were the 1999 predictions accurate?  Using population figures from the State Demography Office, we can see that in 1999 the combined population of those six counties was 2,311,420, and their combined population in 2016 (the most recent year available) was 3,066,923 - a difference of 755,503. Not quite a million. However, given the intense growth that has happened since 2016, if we look at the Demography Office's projected populations for those counties in 2019 - the 20 years since publication of the Issue Brief - the six counties' combined population is expected to be around 3,217,133. That's 905,713 more people in the Front Range than in 1999. And if we count Boulder and Broomfield counties into the mix - which were not counted in the 1999 report, but today considered by most to be a part of the Front Range - we're definitely on track to have a million new residents between 1999 and 2019.

Now to the water issue. David Beaujon writes in the 1999 Issue Brief that "of Colorado's seven river basins, only the Colorado River Basin has a significant amount of surplus water that could be developed for use in the Denver metropolitan area," but cites possible federal policy changes, water projects, and transbasin diversions as potential challenges to obtaining this water. Another possible source, the Denver Basin Aquifer, "offers protection against extended droughts and a temporary water supply for rapidly growing municipalities until other supplies can be developed." However, water in the aquifer "is essentially nonrenewable, and well pumping can exceed the natural rate of recharge from rain and snow, which is often less than an inch per year," cautions Beaujon. Finally, other options are discussed, such as water reuse and transfers of agricultural water rights. Both of these options, however, present challenges to the agricultural economy, either by reducing the amount of lands under irrigation, or by reducing streamflow, explains the Brief.

Colorado's Water PlanSo how has the state dealt with these challenges since 1999, and what does the future hold? In 2015, the state issued its official Water Plan. The nearly 600-page document (which you can also check out in print from our library if your eyes can't take that much screen reading) discusses the supply and demand challenges for each of Colorado's seven basins and how the state is planning to address future need.

Here are some other helpful publications that address the issues of water supply and population growth in the Front Range:


Health First Colorado Member Information

If you are one of the 1,276,946 members of Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, there are many resources available online to help you understand your benefits and services under the program. For an overview, see the Member Handbook, available in both English and Spanish. You can also view a benefits and services chart and FAQs, and visit their page for contact information and where to get help. The Health First website also includes a series of videos which cover topics such as teen depression screening; substance use disorder benefits; and how to keep your information up to date. On this page you can also subscribe to the Health First e-newsletter.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which administers the Health First program, has a variety of other resources on their website to help you navigate the program. If you're searching for a provider, they offer a Find a Doctor database on their website.

Colorado's Medicaid program turns 50 years old this year. Learn more about Medicaid in Colorado, including statistical information, on HCPF's Fifty Facts webpage. For more detailed statistics on enrollment, see the Medicaid Client Caseload by County monthly statistical summaries or view HCPF's annual report.

Finally, you can go to HCPF's website to download a mobile app for managing your benefits.

Health First Colorado

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