8.31.2007

State Fair

This is the last weekend of the State Fair and Rodeo. The state fairgrounds are located in Pueblo, Colorado, so head that way if you want to do something fun this weekend. There are livestock shows, a farmer's market, pig racing, music, not to mention a carnival, and rodeo ---on Sunday is the Celebracion de losCharros, and exhibition of original Mexican rodeo events. Check out the State Fair website, for a schedule of events and directions to the fairgrounds.

8.27.2007

Hummingbirds

This is the season for hummingbirds to visit metro Denver. You can attract hummingbirds by placing a feeder in your yard. Hardware and garden stores sell special red-colored feeders specifically for hummingbirds. The Colorado Division of Wildlife publication, Summer's Hummers, gives a recipe for what to feed hummingbirds:

"The decision to feed hummingbirds carries along the responsibility to offer them fresh, healthy food and a safe, clean feeding station. Forget the commercial nectars or red dyes. Plain old sugar dissolved in water at a ratio of one part sugar to four parts water is best. This approximates the sweetness of flower nectar. Use only white table sugar. Honey and artificial sweeteners have been shown to be harmful to hummingbirds. Because of the high sugar level, hummingbird nectar may sour and mold may grow in the feeder in warm weather. When preparing your sugar-water, boil the water for a few minutes, stir in the sugar and let it cool, then fill the feeder and refrigerate any excess solution. Keep your feeder clean by rinsing it out between fillings. If you see spots of mold, scrub with a brush. If the mold persists use a 5% dilute bleach solution, then rinse thoroughly. Replace old nectar with fresh sugar water every week in spring and fall, every two to three days as it warms up, and daily if the temperature rises above 85 degrees."

This publication also offers facts on Colorado hummingbirds, including their coloring, flight, and their enormous appetites - they eat up to five times their body weight each day!

If you don't have a feeder, the Division of Wildlife's website lists places you can go to view hummingbirds.

Lead-Based Paint and Poisoning

With the recent recall of toys containing lead-based paint, you may be wondering where you can get more information about lead, its effect on children and adults, sources, clean-up, and more. The following online resources contain helpful information:

Lead Services Directory, July 2007 – lists such resources as home test kits, blood lead analysis labs, certified contractors, and a dozen other categories

Lead-Based Paint Abatement and Waste Management, 2002 – excellent overview on exposure, effect on children, abatement, disposal, soil contamination, and more

Childhood Lead Poisoning in Colorado, 2005 – data, screening guidelines

Denver Childhood Blood Lead Survey, January 1996

Lead-Based Paint Hazards and Regulation Requirements, Division of Housing

Lead Poisoning Prevention web site, CDPHE– lists sources of lead

Lead-Based Paint Compliance web site, CDPHE -- approved encapsulant products, statutes, and regulations

A search in our online catalog turns up additional titles available for loan.

8.24.2007

New resource guide for Colorado research topics

Bells are ringing and students are filling the hallways. The new school year is fast upon us. To help prepare for homework and research assignments this year, the State Publications Library has released an updated edition of "School Research Topics: Notable Internet Resources from State Government." A great resource to find quick links to information on the environment, driving, Colorado history, wildlife, weather and much more.

8.22.2007

Bears

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has issued an alert that there may be an increase in human-bear conflicts. Bears foraging in preparation for surviving the winter have been entering populated areas in search of food. Natural food supplies, like nuts, berries, and flowering plants have been scarce this year due to a combination of hard freezes late in the year, and dry summer conditions. The most important action you can take is preventing bears from eating human food. According to the DOW, bears that eat human food and become conditioned to it are the same bears that become dangerous and aggressive toward people. For tips on keeping food out of reach, guidelines on bear encounters, and general information on bears check out the Living with Wildlife in Bear Country website.

8.17.2007

New Drivers

Now that summer is nearing its end, many teenagers have completed their driver's education courses. The Colorado Department of Transportation has a great website for new drivers and their parents called "The Driver's Seat." Information is available for teens and parents on all sorts of driving topics including the Graduated Drivers Licensing program, driving tips, and driving safety.

In 2006 the General Assembly passed several new measures applicable to young drivers. An issue brief, "New Driving Laws for Minor Drivers", from the Legislative Council provides a nice overview. Other materials on driving and driver's safety are available from the State Publications Library. Use the keyword "driving" in our library catalog for a list of titles.

8.14.2007

Navigating State Government

One helpful aspect of our Colorado documents collection is that it pulls together the work of various agencies on a common topic. For instance, the Department of Public Health and Environment’s State Water Agencies website describes 7 state agencies involved with issues relating to water. It’s not often that such a handy list is provided online. That’s where a search in our catalog can help. As an example, searching our online catalog using the word “drought” brings up the work of at least 10 agencies. This is a great tool in navigating state government.

8.10.2007

Bridges

The bridge collapse in Minneapolis last week makes us question the safety of our local bridges. There are several reports on the Colorado Department of Transportation website that examine bridge construction and evaluate the state of bridges in Colorado. In addition, the CDOT Design and Construction Support page has manuals for bridge design, bridge ratings, and the "Bridge Field Log of Structures" which includes a list of all the bridges in Colorado with location, span information, and other data. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also released a report: "2006 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance" which may be of interest.

We also have a very interesting book in our collection available for loan: "Spanning Generations: The Historic Bridges of Colorado" (TRA1.2/B76/2004) from the Department of Transportation that contains a pictorial history of Colorado bridges, including a chapter on bridge types. If you feel like a drive in the high country, we have a pamphlet for "Driving Tours of Historic Bridges in Fremont County and near Interstate 70 west of Denver." (TRA1.2/B76/2004/2)

8.06.2007

Planning the West Corridor of I-70

News sources are reporting that talks and meetings have begun regarding the future of I-70's western corridor, regarding whether rail lines or highway widening (or both) are the answer to the heavy congestion along the interstate, particularly in Summit and Clear Creek counties. The CDOT-sponsored website, http://www.i70mtncorridor.com/, has a wealth of information on the planning. Also, in our library collection, we have the Urban Maglev Technology Development Program Final Report, which was recently published by CDOT; and various planning documents for I-70's earlier planning stages, dating back to 1971. We also have the Colorado Rail Study and other regional transportation documents. Search our library catalog for more I-70 and CDOT publications and reports.

8.03.2007

Update on West Nile Virus

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s press releases of July 2 and July 13, this may be a banner year for West Nile virus, due to the cool, wet weather in early spring followed by hot summer temperatures. The department has a hotline (1-877-462-2911) to answer questions about the virus and to advise anyone finding a dead bird. We all need reminders to take preventive measures, so check out the following sites for topics such as animal infections, mosquito repellant effectiveness by product, symptoms, avoidance tips, statistics, and more:

Fight the Bite Colorado
West Nile Virus, Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division

8.01.2007

Colorado Day

Today is the 131st anniversary of our state. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the proclamation admitting Colorado into the United States on August 1, 1876. To celebrate, the Colorado History Museum will have free admission today, and there will be a celebration at the Capitol from 10am - 6pm. While many people celebrate Colorado Day on August 1st, the official holiday according to Colorado statutes is actually the first Monday in August (CRS 24-11-111). In years past Colorado Day was a holiday for state employees, and in 1967 the state legislature changed Colorado Day to the first Monday in August, creating a three day holiday. In 1986 the state began observing Martin Luther King day as an official state holiday in lieu of Colorado Day. Colorado State Parks will celebrate Colorado Day by waiving admission fees at all 41 parks on Monday, Aug. 6.

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