Unaffiliated Legislators

Yesterday's announcement that a key Democrat in the Colorado House of Representatives switched to Unaffiliated (see Denver Post story) brings up many questions about how to deal with a Representative who is neither Republican or Democrat. According to the Colorado Legislative Council's Legislator Biographies database, the last time an Unaffiliated member served in the House was in the 1960s, with Reginald L. Howard serving 1963-64. (Another House member, Bud Edmonds, who served 1967-74 as a Republican, lost the 1974 Senate race when he decided to run as an Independent). The Colorado Legislator's Handbook and the online House and Senate Rules can give some insight into Legislative proceedings when a member is not a part of either party caucus.


Wildlife Viewing.

Winter in Colorado provides many opportunities for wildlife viewing. The Department of Natural Resources has a great website on wildlife viewing, with information on places to go, tips for viewing specific species, and a listing of events. We've recently received a couple of publications that may be of interest:


SPL's Most Popular Items

For something different I thought it would be fun to search and list our top-ten most frequently checked out items:

10. The Incredible Years: Parent, Teacher and Child Training Series. Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2001.
9. (Tie) Instructionally Differentiated Programming: A Needs-Based Approach for Students with Behavior Disorders, Colorado Department of Education, 1993; and Establishing a Shared-Use Commercial Kitchen, University of Colorado at Denver, 1997.
8. Trials & Triumphs: A Colorado Portrait of the Great Depression, University Press of Colorado, 1993.
7. (Tie) Insects & Disases of Woody Plants of the Central Rockies, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, 2000; and Colorado: A History of the Centennial State, 3rd edition, University Press of Colorado, 1994.
6. Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing. Colorado Historical Society, 2004.
5. Down to the Bone: Quick and Easy Method for Deboning an Elk in the Field, DVD, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2006.
4. Best Perennials for the Rocky Mountains and High Plains, Colorado State University Experiment Station, 2003.
3. (Tie) Fly Fishing Colorado, DVD, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2008; and Messages in Stone: Colorado's Colorful Geology, Colorado Geological Survey, 2003.
2. Elk-Hunting Colorado, DVD, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2006.
1. And the number-one most frequently checked-out item in our collection: Colorado, A History of the Centennial State, 4th edition, University Press of Colorado, 2005.

Other frequently-checked out titles include Gold Panning and Placering in Colorado: Where and How; Synopsis of Colorado Water Law; Sacred Objects & Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions; and Big Game CD.


Scenic & Historic Byways

Colorado has 25 scenic and historic "byways," routes designated for their extra-special scenery or historical value. The Colorado Dept. of Transportation oversees the byways program, and you can see photos and information on each byway at the program website. This year, the program celebrated its 20th birthday.

Our library has a number of resources on Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways, including:
  • Colorado: The Official Guide to the Scenic and Historic Byways
  • Discover Colorado: Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways
  • Colorado Byways: A Guide Through Scenic and Historic Landscapes

The Byways are located all over the state - not just in the mountains - showcasing the many varied landscapes across our state.


Made in Colorado

As you shop for gifts this holiday season, consider buying Colorado commodities. The Department of Agriculture has put together a Colorado Food and Agriculture Gift Guide. The guide includes a list of companies with items made in Colorado -- including meats and cheeses, desserts, fruits and vegetables, as well as non-food items. Links to retail websites are included, so your Colorado gift is just a click away. Support the state economy, and buy Coloradoan this year.


Holiday Stress?

Although they are supposed to be a time of relaxation and togetherness, the holidays often become the opposite - hectic and stressful. If you need help managing an extra dose of stress this season, the State has several publications that you may find beneficial. First, the CSU Extension has published a fact sheet, Happier Holidays, for dealing with stress during this time of year. On a more general level, the Dept. of Human Services has a Stress Management brochure. Their website also offers a tip sheet on 26 Ways to Manage Stress, from the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. Finally, check out this fact sheet from the Colorado State Employees Assistance Program.



According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the number of active hunters in Colorado has been on a steady decline since 1996. Sixty seven percent of funding for the Division of Wildlife is dependent on revenue generated from hunter's licenses. Understandably, the decline in active hunters is a concern -- the reduction in revenue means that funding for wildlife conservation programs may be in danger. In response to this concern, the Division has developed outreach programs to generate interest in hunting. The Hunter Outreach Program trains citizen volunteers as certified Huntmasters. Huntmasters attend a formal course of instruction provided by the Division of Wildlife, then upon graduation are charged with planning, coordinating and running youth and novice hunts throughout the state. The Huntmaster teams are responsible for all elements of the hunt from safety, to education, to cultivating participation by landowners in their regional areas.

In addition to the "Huntmaster" program, the Division provides educational seminars for hunters and the general public across the state. Instructors and state biologists provide hunting seminars on elk, deer, grouse, pheasant and waterfowl. They also have hands-on skill clinics covering anything from duck-calling to shooting.

For more information on the Hunter Outreach Program, take a look at the "Youth Outreach and Women Afield Report", "Huntmaster Manual", or visit the Hunting portal of the Colorado Division of Wildlife website.


Holiday Plants - Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Evergreens

If you're getting ready to decorate your home for the holidays, you may be considering some festive holiday red-and-greenery. If you plan to bring in live plants, you may be interested in some of the fact sheets produced by the Colorado State University Extension.

Did you know that poinsettias were first cultivated by the Aztecs in Mexico? Poinsettias are a traditional and beautiful holiday flower, long thought to be poisonous - however, according to the Poinsettias fact sheet from CSU, poinsettias were tested in 1995 and found to be not poisonous. This fact sheet will tell you all about care of these festive plants.

Chances are if you have the always-romantic mistletoe in your home, it's just a cutting. However, if you're curious about where it comes from, check out the CSU Dwarf Mistletoe Management fact sheet, where you will learn that mistletoe is not a plant, but is a parasite of trees!

Finally, the most famous Christmas decoration of all is the Christmas tree. You can learn all about evergreen trees from CSU's Evergreen Trees fact sheet.

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