3.31.2011

Dining Out in Colorado

Dining out is a fun treat that many people enjoy. But did you know that there are several state publications that can enhance your gastronomic experience? We also have some handy resources for restaurant owners, too. For consumers: Small Steps for Healthy Leaps, from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment, can help you make healthy food choices at restaurants. Taste Colorado is a publication done yearly by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. It's a restaurant guide that tells you where you can find restaurants who use ingredients grown or raised right here in Colorado. For restaurant owners: Colorado Restaurant Sales is a quarterly publication from the Colorado Department of Revenue listing Colorado restaurant profits and expenditures. This is a helpful resource for determining the current economic climate for restaurants. The Tourism Business Entrepreneurial Handbook, published by CU-Denver, is a helpful resource for those starting businesses in the hospitality industry, including food service. Although it is not available online, you can borrow it from our library.

3.30.2011

Balance the Budget

Want to try your hand at balancing the state budget? Take a stab at solving the state's revenue shortfall using a budget simulator created by Engaged Public. The Joint Budget Committee is currently in deliberations over the FY 2011-2012 budget. Their documents reveal the issues on the table this year -- take a look -- the briefing documents and figure setting recommendations can be quite interesting.

3.24.2011

Tourist Mines

Colorado has a rich history of mining and mineral extraction; in fact, if not for the 1859 Pikes Peak Gold Rush and silver boom of the 1870s and 1880s, Colorado might not be what it is today. Some of these mines still operate to this day, but many of the boom years' mines and mine shafts have been left abandoned, played out or no longer useful. While it is fun to see the rickety old shafts clinging to the sides of mountains, and tempting to explore the secrets within, visiting an old mine is both dangerous and illegal - you can be cited for trespassing...if you make it out alive, that is. Abandoned mines present multiple hazards from risks of cave-ins to poor air supply. Therefore, if you want to visit a mine, it is best to do so by visiting one of the state's specially designated tourist mines. The Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology has put together a brochure listing sixteen mines that you can safely tour; many of them are close to the Denver metro area. For more information on tourist mines, visit the Division's website.

3.22.2011

Wildfire information

The wildfire burning west of Golden has grown to 1200 acres. As the wind picks up, the smoke is being carried across the Front Range. If you are worried about the smoke inhalation and exposure, take a look at the Front Range Air Quality Forecast and Colorado Smoke Outlook from the Department of Public Health and Environment. You can check the air quality in your area and find tips on what to do if smoke is affecting you or your family. Information on the status of the Indian Gulch fire can be found through links on the Division of Emergency Management site. If you live in a fire prone area, you may want to read this guide from the Colorado State Forest Service: Protect your Home, Property and Forest from Wildfire. Two homes were saved from the fire last night thanks to fire mitigation.

3.17.2011

Colorado and U.S. Constitutions

Yesterday the Colorado House of Representatives decided to do a reading of the entire U.S. Constitution. Colorado's state Constitution, however, is even longer, and has been amended many times. The Colorado Secretary of State's Office periodically prints a booklet combining both the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions in their entirety. You can also find the "Colorado and United States Constitutions" book on the Secretary of State's webiste.

3.10.2011

Possible Merger of State Agencies

Governor Hickenlooper's office announced on Tuesday a plan to combine the state's Division of Wildlife and the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation as a cost-saving measure (read the Governor's press release here.) CDOW currently receives its funding from hunting and fishing licenses while Parks uses state funds, so in the event of a merger the financing structure for the two divisions will change dramatically. Our library retains copies of the annual Budget Request for each state department. To see the Department of Natural Resources' annual Budget Request and compare the funding for the two divisions, you can visit our library or view the budget online.

3.09.2011

Library Use up during recession

The Library Research Service has just released a new report,“The Impact of the Recession on Public Library Use in Colorado.”

The study examines use of Colorado public libraries (measured by visits, circulation, program attendance and Internet computer use) both prior to and after the onset of the recent recession.

Visits, circulation and program attendance all increased during the recession (from 2007 to 2009) by at least 11 percent for libraries serving large communities (populations of 25,000 or more). Higher use during this period was also seen in resort communities. Visits, circulation, program attendance and Internet computer use all increased by between 6 percent and 28 percent in public libraries serving these communities. Libraries serving small communities (populations under 25,000) were not included in the study because of missing and anomalous data.

Public libraries have been a key resource for Coloradans during both the recession and the post-recession recovery period, providing community gathering space, access to entertainment and educational resources, and information about job hunting, economizing and other topics that are particularly relevant during this time.

The complete report as well as a research brief (“Fast Facts”) are posted on the Library Research Service’s Web site at: http://www.lrs.org/recession.php.

3.04.2011

Influenza

Spring may be on its way, but flu season is still in full swing. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issues weekly statistics on the number of cases of influenza in Colorado reported by doctors. So far this season, 660 persons have been hospitalized for flu as of February 26, and a total of 9 deaths have been reported. Visit the CDPHE's Influenza Surveillance page for more detailed statistics along with graphs and charts, flu shot information, and news and statistics from the CDC.

3.02.2011

First Legislation of 2011

Yesterday Governor Hickenlooper signed the first bills passed by the 2011 state legislature. Seven bills were signed:
HB11-1023 continuing the foreclosure deferment program
HB11-1015 changing the requirements needed to receive CPA certification
HB11-1001 endorsing the printing of the Colorado Revised Statutes
HB11-1006 creating new rules for Regional Tourism Authority board members
HB11-1009 clarifies provisions for compliance with the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision
HB11-1022 regarding financing of property and the Dodd Frank Act
HB11-1037 extending the military checkoff on Colorado tax returns

Audio of Tuesday's bill signing is available on the Governor's website.