Whooping Cough is Back -- Get Vaccinated

This year, don't just stop at getting a flu shot -- make sure you're up-to-date on your vaccination for pertussis (whooping cough) too.  Whooping cough has reached its highest numbers in 60 years, says the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (see their press release here.)  The disease, which is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, is highly contagious.  So be sure and protect yourself and your family.  The CDPHE has a wealth of information on their pertussis webpage, including a fact sheet on the illness, resources for schools and childcare centers, manuals and best practices for health care professionals, and statistics by date, age group, and location.  Also, see the annual Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Colorado Surveillance Report, available online and from our library, for more information.


Colorado Architects

You may be familiar with some of the historic architecture in Colorado, but how much do you know about the architects who designed the famous buildings?  You can learn about Colorado's talented architects by visiting the State Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation's Architects of Colorado Biographical Series.  Here's some trivia with just a few interesting facts you can find in this helpful online resource:

1) Which future Colorado architect helped rebuild Chicago after the disastrous 1871 fire?
2) Which architect went broke in the panic of 1893 and died after being hit by a train?
3) Which architect is interred in the Fairmount Mausoleum, which he designed?
4) Whose building featured the "hyperbolic paraboloid" in front?
5) Who designed the State Office Building (where the State Publications Library is located), as well as the courthouses for Weld, Jackson, and Moffat Counties?

Click here for the answers.


The Early Denver Diorama Returns

If you've visited the new History Colorado museum since its opening last April, you might have wondered what happened to the Early Denver Diorama.  Among the old museum's most popular features, the large diorama with tiny details of 1860 Denver streets was always surrounded by viewers, and many have been asking where it is now.  Well, the answer is that it's been in storage since the move, and has recently been going through meticulous conservation...and, in February, will return to public view in the new museum.  (See the Denver Post article on the diorama's conservation). 

WPA artists and historians in the 1930s created this incredibly detailed diorama.  It was built as an exact replica of Denver near Cherry Creek and the South Platte in its earliest days as a pioneer town, before the great Cherry Creek Flood of 1864 wiped out many of the buildings depicted in the model.  Because photography was still not very common in the early 1860s, especially on the frontier, the diorama represents the best visual representation of the city at that time.  But the story of the creation of the diorama is as interesting as the model itself.  In our library you can find two articles detailing the creation of this and the Historical Society's other dioramas:  See "From Exhibits to Artifacts:  The Lasting Craft of the Society's Dioramas" in the Spring 1983 issue of Colorado Heritage, and a description of the diorama at the time of its creation in the July 1936 issue of Colorado Magazine.  For more on the History Colorado Center, visit www.historycolorado.org.


Energy-Efficient Lighting

If you have a lamp that requires 75 Watt incandescent bulbs, you'd better stock up now, because production will cease next month.  If you need 60 Watt bulbs, you've got another year to stock up.  And 100 Watt incandescents have already been phased out last January.  Why?  Federal Regulations are calling for new, energy-efficient lighting including CFLs (compact flourescents) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes).  These new types of bulbs are much more energy efficient than the old incandescents, which were first demonstrated by Thomas Edison on December 20, 1879. 

Installing CFLs and LEDs in your home or business can save you money on your energy bills.  As with any new technology, however, it is important to monitor potential health risks.  Energy-efficient light bulbs may have a "dark side":  mercury and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.  Click the highlighted links to read more about protecting yourself from these risks.  For more ways to save energy in your home, visit the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment's "What Can YOU Do to Save Energy?" tips.


Where is it Legal to Pan for Gold?

They say what goes around comes around.  The first great wave of settlers came to Colorado in the 1859 Pikes Peak Gold Rush.  Today, gold panning is seeing a resurgence, thanks to high gold prices and some popular tv shows that highlight the practice.  But if you're into prospecting, be careful where you pan.  Larimer County, for instance, is looking at outlawing gold harvesting from county property.  But the issue is not just limited to Larimer County. "On federal land or national forest land, the mineral rights would be owned by the federal government," Colorado School of Mines Professor Murray Hinzman told the Denver Post.  And if the land in question is private property, the issue of who owns the mineral rights must be determined before a prospector can stake a claim.  However, says the Post, "...in nonwilderness public areas, it is legal for an individual to stake a claim."

If you're interested in gold panning, it's best to consult the experts before heading out on your own.  One of the best sources is the Colorado Geological Survey.  They have published a popular book, Gold Panning and Placering in Colorado:  How and Where, which can be checked out from our library.  This guidebook "digs" further into the issue of where a prospector can legally harvest gold.  The Colorado Geological Survey website also warns,  "There are many opportunities for mineral collecting in Colorado but a person must be careful when evaluating a collecting site.  A given mineral locality may actually be a staked claim.  Collecting from such a site without permission is stealing.  Access to, and through, private land must be granted by the landowner prior to use.  Please be aware of all federal, state, and local laws; and be sensitive to the landowners wishes."


Colorado School Safety Resource Center

Tragic events like those at Sandy Hook Elementary this past week are becoming much too frequent, and Colorado has dealt with its share of school shootings, including Columbine and Platte Canyon High Schools.  So the Colorado Legislature created the Colorado School Safety Resource Center (CSSRC) to work with educators and Coloradans to help prevent not only these large-scale terrible events, but also more common problems like bullying and suicide.  The CSSRC website offers a wealth of information on school safety topics.  Here you can find a message from the CSSRC director regarding parents' response to traumatic events; tips for talking to children and youth after traumatic events; tips for teachers on listening and talking to students; and guidebooks such as Essentials of School Threat Assessment.  On the website you can also find information on school safety trainings, grants, and a behavioral health service locator. 


Colorado Lottery: Where Does the Money Go?

Did you know that the Colorado Lottery, a division of the Colorado Dept. of Revenue, is entirely self-funded?  That means that no tax dollars go to support the program - it is entirely supported by the sale of the product.  But the lottery is about more than just games and winning.  The Colorado Lottery supports keeping our state beautiful.  According to the Colorado Lottery website,

Every time you visit a park, walk on a trail, or paddle a kayak course, you’re seeing Colorado Lottery dollars at work. More than $2.4 billion has been returned to the state for parks, recreation, open space, conservation education and wildlife projects since the Lottery started in 1983.  Profits from the sale of Lottery products are mandated to be distributed according to this formula: 50 percent to the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Trust Fund, 40 percent to the Conservation Trust Fund, and 10 percent to The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. GOCO funds are capped at $35 million, adjusted for inflation (this translates to $59.2 million for FY13), and funds that exceed the GOCO cap go to the Colorado Department of Education, Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund.

For detailed information on these "dollars at work," see the Annual Reports from the Colorado Lottery, the Colorado Dept. of Revenue, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), all available online and in print from our library.


Cold Cases

The passage of HB07-1272 in 2007 created a Cold Case Task Force in Colorado in order to devote more resources to solving homicides and missing persons cases that have remained unsolved for a substantial amount of time.  To aid in the effort to solve these cases, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as created a Cold Case Files database, where the public can search for and read about unsolved homicides and missing persons.  Each entry in the database has information about who to contact if you have any information; also, most cases include photos and other descriptive information.  Another resource on unsolved cases is the Denver Post Cold Case Blog.  By putting their names and faces on the web, law enforcement is hopeful that a greater number of these cases will be solved.  For more information on the work of the Cold Case Task Force, read their Annual Reports, available in print and digitally from our library.


Wolves in Colorado

At one time, according to the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the gray wolf could be found in every part of Colorado, but over time, ranching and wolves' impact on livestock caused their eradication and the last wolves in Colorado were killed around 1940.  Now, there are proposals to bring the wolf back to Colorado, partly to help keep down elk populations; however, many livestock owners are opposed.  There have been some suspected sightings of wolves in Colorado, but none have been confirmed -- however, CPW district wildlife managers believe they sighted a wolf near Walden, along the Colorado-Wyoming border.  You can view a video of the sighting and learn much more about gray wolves at the CPW's gray wolf species webpage.  Also, visit CPW's Gray Wolf Management webpage for more technical information.  Finally, the CPW publication Wolves:  Knocking At Colorado's Door presents information for all ages on the controversy over gray wolf reintroduction in Colorado. 


Foster Families

"Colorado's County Departments of Human Services and Social Services are looking for some really special people to be adoptive and foster families.  Becoming an adoptive or foster parent is an important decision that will change your life and that of a child forever.  Hundreds of children in Colorado are waiting for a family.  One of them might be waiting for you."  -- Colorado Dept. of Human Services

An article in today's Denver Post, in conjunction with their recent investigative series on child abuse, reports that Colorado needs hundreds more foster families to meet the need.  If you're thinking about becoming a foster parent, the Colorado Dept. of Human Services' Foster Care Program can get you started.  They sponsor the website www.changealifeforever.org, where you can find out about foster parenting and adoption and take the first steps toward giving a child a better life. 


Colorado Gives Day

Mayor Speer said, "Give while you live," and Colorado has for the past several years designated Colorado Gives Day as a day for citizens to give back to the many charitable and non-profit organizations that make Colorado such a great place to live. 

If you're thinking about giving but aren't sure which cause you'd like to donate to, search the Colorado Secretary of State's Charities and Fundraisers Database, or check out the Colorado Combined Campaign Resource Guide for ideas. 

Once you've selected some options, be sure to read the SOS's How to Evaluate a Charity guidelines to make sure your money is going where you think it is.  It's also a good idea to visit www.ChecktheCharity.com, a partnership of the Colorado Secretary of State and the Colorado Attorney General, to be sure and avoid charitable giving scams, especially if you're unfamiliar with the organization you've chosen to help.

Finally, once you've made your donation, don't forget that many contributions are tax-deductible.  See the "FYI" tax fact sheet Charitable Contribution Subtractions from the Colorado Dept. of Revenue for tips and instructions.


Civil Defense in Colorado

One of the very interesting historical publications in our library is the Colorado Nuclear Civil Protection Plan, which was created in 1979 "to establish a state-level emergency organization...in the event of an international crisis that could result in a threat of nuclear war upon the United States."  Obviously, this publication is outdated and no longer used, but it offers an eye-opening historical perspective on the times in which it was written.

Today, we have the Colorado Office of Homeland Security, overseen by the Colorado State Patrol.  See Colorado's current Homeland Security Strategy document for what the state is doing now to help protect its citizens.  Other recent documents of interest include Governor's Office of Homeland Security Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan; Terrorism Protective Measures Resource Guide, Water Industry; Senate Select Committee on Homeland Security Report to the Colorado Senate; Homeland Security Research in Colorado; Water Supply Safety; Responding to Chemical Weapons Incidents; Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Terrorism Preparedness; Biological Threats; and Domestic Preparedness:  A Practical Guide to Help the Citizens of Colorado Prepare for Terrorism.

Finally, be sure to visit http://www.readycolorado.com, a state-supported website that gives Coloradans tips on keeping themselves and their homes protected from all kinds of disasters, whether they be natural or man-made. 


The History Behind the Fiction: James Michener's "Centennial"

One of the great novelists of the twentieth century, James A. Michener, set one of his best-known novels right here in Colorado.  Michener spent a great deal of time in Colorado researching Centennial, renting an apartment in Capitol Hill and also spending much time in the northern part of the state, where the novel is set.  Published in 1974, Centennial was adapted as a television mini-series in 1979.  Upon giving Colorado the national spotlight on prime-time TV, Centennial is considered to be one of the factors contributing to Colorado's population boom in the 1980s.

There is a city in Colorado today called Centennial, but this is not the place the novel was based on; rather, the Arapahoe County locale is fairly new and took its name from the novel.  Instead, Michener placed his Centennial in northern Colorado, mostly based on Greeley.  Many of the events depicted in the story, however, were inspired by true events in Colorado's history. 

The early portions of the novel look at the geological and natural formation of what would be Colorado.  You can learn more about this topic by visiting the Colorado Geological Survey.

Much of the book concerns the Arapaho Indians and their struggles through Colorado history.  The Arapaho and their allies the Cheyenne lived on Colorado's eastern plains.  The horrible Arapaho massacre and the character Col. Frank Skimmerhorn depicted in the novel are based on the true story of Col. John Chivington, the "fighting parson," and the Sand Creek Massacre, which actually occurred 148 years ago today.  You can read about Silas Soule, on whom the character Captain MacIntosh is based, in Western Voices, a Colorado Historical Society publication available from our library.

The novel is sprinkled with other characters based on our state's history.  The trader Levi Zendt is somewhat based on the real-life George Bent.  Hans "Potato" Brumbaugh may have been inspired by Rufus "Potato" Clark, a major potato farmer south of Denver who carved out a road to the city to sell his potatoes.  That road became known as Broadway.  Like Brumbaugh, Clark started out as a prospector and later became a pioneer in irrigation.  Other characters may not be so obviously based on specific historical persons, but all of the characters typify those who made the West what it was (and is) -- Indians and Mexicans, trappers and traders, settlers, soldiers, ranchers and cowboys, farmers and laborers, lawmen and those who didn't respect the law -- as depicted in Michener's classic.

The second half of the novel emphasizes Centennial's (or, northeastern Colorado's) heavy reliance on agricutlure.  The Venneford Ranch is probably inspired by Monfort, a major cattle marketing and distributing company near Greeley until 1987.  Another topic covered in Centennial is dryland farming.  The eastern plains of Colorado experienced the effects of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, so memorably depicted by the character Alice Grebe in the story.  The Grebes reflect many small farmers who struggled during the simultaneous Dust Bowl and Great Depression.  For a first-hand look at what dry farming was like in the early years of the twentieth century, before the Dust Bowl hit, see the 1917 publication Dry Farming in Colorado, published and circulated by the Colorado State Board of Immigration -- who sought to attract farmers to Colorado the same way Mervin Wendell did in Centennial. 

James Michener is no longer living, but his legacy continues at the Michener Library at the University of Northern Colorado, which houses many of his papers.  For an interview and in-depth look at Michener and the writing of Centennial, see "Colorado's People:  Through the Pen of James A. Michener" in the 1982 Annual issue of Colorado Heritage Magazine, available from our library.


License Plates

You may have noticed that Colorado has quite a few different license plate designs.  Motorists can choose a license plate that reflects their military status, heritage, alma mater, favorite sports team, favorite cause or charity, or just a special designer plate.  For all the available options, along with pictures, see the Colorado Dept. of Revenue's License Plates page.  Click on the category, such as Military, for all available plate designs.  Plates for sports teams, charities, etc. are listed under the "Group Special" category.  On this website you can also find out about personalized plates (or should it be PL8s?)  and motorcycle/scooter plates.  The website will also link you to all the other information you need about titling and registering a vehicle.  And, if you're curious just how many people have a certain design of license plate, check out the monthly statistical summary Registered Vehicles by Plate Type, available on our library's website.  You can find out how unique you can be with a certain plate (only 55 vehicles in Colorado carry the Alive at 25 plate) or other interesting facts (the statistics suggest that Colorado is home to at least 3 Medal of Honor winners and 44 Pearl Harbor survivors).  Finally, check out Colorado License Plate History.  Before 1978, when the validating stickers were introduced, license plates were replaced each year with a new color.  So, what does your plate say about you?


Swelling Soils: Homebuyers Beware

If you're looking at buying a home in the Denver Metro area, particularly in the area around C-470 near Bowles and Wadsworth in Jefferson County, or if you currently live in the area, make certain you read the Colorado Geological Survey's Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners, available for checkout from our libraryThis booklet contains everything you need to know about "Colorado's most significant geologic hazard."  The Colorado Geological Survey's Swelling Soils page explains how Bentonite clays expand when exposed to water, "more than enough to break up any structure they encounter": 

"Where the claystone layers turn up on end near the foothills, the effects of swelling are intensified and the phenomenon is called heaving bedrock, which causes heave ridges.  These ridges cause roads to ripple, including C-470 near Bowles Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard, a telling sign that extraordinary precaution is needed to prevent structural catastrophes in the area."

However, the Colorado Geological Survey assures us that "sound building techniques can prevent swelling-soil damage to homes, but it is crucial that builders follow these techniques faithfully." So be sure you know the facts next time you are searching for a new home, and check out this essential guide.  


Lincoln's Colorado Connection

Abraham Lincoln never visited Colorado, just a fledgling territory in the early 1860s.  But he did leave his mark on the state through the appointment of his friend John Evans as Colorado's second territorial governor.  Evans, who lived in Illinois (Evanston is named for him), vigorously campaigned for Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election, and as a result was rewarded with a political appointment as governor of the wild and woolly new territory.  Evans only served two years as territorial governor, but he and his descendants would leave an indelible mark on Colorado over the next century -- and all as a result of Lincoln's decision.

Born in Waynesville, Ohio, in 1814, John Evans, a physician specializing in gynecology, made his name teaching at Chicago's famed Rush Medical College and as the inventor of a number of surgical instruments, as well as helping to found the Illinois Medical Society and Northwestern University.  Evans was also interested in politics, and as founder of the Illinois Republican Party became personal friends with Abraham Lincoln. 

The President appointed Evans territorial governor of Colorado in March 1862.  He had previously been offered the governorship of Washington Territory but declined.  While governor of Colorado, Evans strived to bring the intellectual culture he had left behind in Chicago to his new home.  He founded the Colorado Seminary, which became the University of Denver.  With William Byers, Evans also helped found the Denver Board of Trade.  In 1864, Evans appointed John Chivington as Colonel of the Colorado Volunteers, whose task was to deal with "hostile" Indians.  Col. Chivington attacked a group of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapho on the banks of Sand Creek on November 28, 1864, killing over two hundred, mostly women and children.  For his part in the massacre, Evans was forced to resign in disgrace.

The former governor continued with public life, however.  He is perhaps most responsible for keeping Denver from dying out when a railroad was planned through Cheyenne, leaving Denver in the dust.  Evans successfully advocated for a spur to come to Denver, linking Denver with the rest of the country and making sure it remained and thrived as viable city that attracted new settlers.

Evans' children and grandchildren also played important roles in the development of Denver.  His son William Gray Evans served as president of the Denver Tramway Company and, although never holding political office himself, controlled Denver's political machine for many years.  On the more positive side, William's sister, Anne, devoted herself to arts and culture in Denver.  She served on the Denver Public Library Commission, donated her own art collection to help found the Denver Art Museum, and organized the Central City Opera Association, preserving the old Central City Opera House in the process.  Her nephew, William Gray's son John II, became president of the powerful First National Bank of Denver.  And Governor Evans' son-in-law, Samuel Elbert, husband of Evans' daughter Josephine, also served as Colorado governor.  Colorado's highest peak, Mt. Elbert, is named for him.

Of this influential family, however, it is still the gray-bearded Governor Evans who is best known.  Evans died in 1897 after a fall from a moving streetcar.  His home, at 14th and Arapahoe downtown, no longer stands, but you can visit the Byers-Evans House Museum, where William Gray Evans and his family lived.  In the home's library you can see chandeliers and other furnishings from Governor Evans' house.

The Colorado State Archives is home to Governor Evans' official papers.  On their website you can read a biography of the Governor and view several documents from the collection, including the letter requesting his resignation as Governor of the territory, and a letter from F.W. Seward (Assistant U.S. Secretary of State and son of U.S. Secretary of State William Seward) regarding the governor's appointment.  The State Archives also has railroad records and records on Sand Creek and the Colorado Volunteers.


Silver Mining

Colorado is famous for its gold - our State Capitol dome is clad in the precious metal, and the Pikes Peak Gold Rush was one of the major reasons settlers started moving to our state.  But did you know that in the 1870s through the early 1890s, Colorado's economy was much more dependent on silver than on gold?  Silver was a hot commodity during that time because it was purchased by the federal government for use in making coins.  Then, in 1893, Congress repealed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, sweeping Colorado into the Panic of 1893, one of the worst financial panics in the Nation's history.  Many mines were forced to close, and the great silver boom era was closed.  It was, however, a colorful time in Colorado's history, giving rise to a number of legendary millionaires and causing the birth of numerous towns, many of which are still thriving today, albeit through different industries, such as tourism.  You can read more about Colorado's silver mining towns in these books, available from our library:
  • The Rise of the Silver Queen:  Georgetown, Colorado, 1859-1896.
  • Silver Saga:  The Story of Caribou, Colorado.
  • Aspen:  The History of a Silver Mining Town, 1879-1893.
  • History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado.
  • Mining Among the Clouds:  The Mosquito Range and the Origins of Colorado's Silver Boom
Also see the following resources on silver mining in Colorado and its relationship to gold mining:
  • The Trail of Gold and Silver:  Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009.
  • The Quest for Gold and Silver:  Including a History of the Interaction of Metals and Currency.


Electronics Recycling

Today is America Recycles Day, so it's a good day to unload all of the useless old electronic equipment you have laying around the house.  Many times we hang on to these items because we don't know how to get rid of them.  Just recently I threw an old printer in the dumpster because I didn't know what else to do with it (I know, bad, bad, bad), but now, thanks to the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment, I know better - and by visiting their Electronics and Computer Waste webpage, so can you.  Here you can find out exactly how - and where - to dispose of your old computer parts, because, as I also learned, 

View detailsElectronic equipment like computer monitors, central processing units (CPUs), keyboards, mice, scanners, and cell phones contain a number of hazardous constituents such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium and silver. Many of these constituents are found on the circuit boards or in the glass. Computers also contain a battery such as nickel-cadmium, lithium or sealed lead acid. These constituents are not a concern while the equipment is in use, but if disposed of in a landfill, harmful chemicals could leach out and contaminate groundwater and soil.   ---CDPHE

In fact, starting on July 1, 2013, it will be against the law in Colorado to dispose of electronics in landfills, according to SB12-133, passed last session.  This includes not only computer parts, but also household appliances, televisions, and exercise equipment.  The new law also asks counties to hold more electronics recycling events. 


Child Welfare Investigation

Recently the Denver Post and 9 News commenced a large investigation of the state's child welfare system (read the Post series here.)  Currently the Colorado Dept. of Human Services (CDHS)'s homepage has listed all of the documents they provided to the two media agencies; also, you can find more at CDHS's Child Welfare Division website.  The media invesigatio focuses on the issues of child abuse and child fatalities.  In 2007 the CDHS published a Child Maltreatment Fatality ReportYou can find various other recent resources on child abuse and child welfare in our library, including:


Holiday Gift Ideas

Are you looking for a gift that says "Colorado"?  Are you shopping for someone who doesn't want more "stuff"?  Is there a gourmet food lover on your gift list?  Looking for a unique corporate gift?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then be sure to check out the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture's Colorado Food and Agriculture Gift GuideHere you will find listings, descriptions, and purchasing locations/websites for Colorado-made specialty food products and gift baskets.  Homemade jams and jellies, sauces and salsas, desserts and confections, honey, cider, chocolate, tea, sausage, spices, popcorn, cheese, and jerky, are just a few of the products made right here in Colorado that you can find by using the gift guide.  So give a unique gift this holiday and support Colorado agriculture and small business at the same time. 


Winter Driving Tips

CDOT imageAs fall moves toward winter, now is the time to get ready.  The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has all the information you need on their Winter Driving webpage.  Here you can find links to road conditions and travel advisories; chain laws and locations of chain up stations for commercial trucks; avalanche control near highways; and more.  You can also find several CDOT publications available from our library that offer winter driving information, including the I-70 Eagle County Winter Travel Guide and Slick Tips:  Colorado Winter Driving Handbook.  So whether it's a quick trip around town or a long drive to the high country, be sure and follow these tips, quoted here from CDOT:
  • Be sure to carry plenty of windshield wiper fluid as liquid de-icers may stick to your windshield
  • Let the snowplow drivers do their jobs by giving them extra room
  • Slow down!  Even roads that have been treated with liquid de-icers may be slippery
  • Don’t use cruise control when traveling in winter conditions
  • Be prepared.  Have a scraper, snow brush, coat, hat, gloves, blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, tire chains, matches and nonperishable food in your car
  • Make sure your tires have good tread


Votes for Women

It's hard to believe that, as we went to the polls yesterday, it was not all that long ago that women did not have the right to vote.  It was on this day 119 years ago, November 7, 1893, that Colorado women were enfranchised.  (A few other states passed women suffrage laws, but women did not gain the right to vote across the nation until 1920.)  Colorado was only the second state, after Wyoming, to give women the right to vote.  Visit the Colorado State Archives website to see the original Legislative bill giving Colorado women the right to vote.  For more information on the women's suffrage movement in Colorado, see articles in the July 1956, Winter 1964, and Winter 1967 issues of Colorado Magazine and the Spring 1993 issue of Colorado Heritage, all available from our library.  You can also read about several prominent Colorado suffragists -- Molly Brown, Elizabeth Ensley, Ellis Meredith, and Minnie Scalabrino -- at the Colorado State Library's www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org.


The 1876 Presidential Election

On this election day, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at one of the United States' more interesting and controversial Presidential elections - and one in which Colorado had a direct hand in the outcome. 

Colorado became a state just three months before election day, 1876.  That year, the Presidential race was between Rutherford B. Hayes, Republican, and Samuel J. Tilden, Democrat.  As a territory, Colorado had been entitled to one Territorial Delegate to sit in the House of Representatives; Delegates were allowed to sit on Committees and to take part in debate, but could not vote.  By 1874, Colorado leaned Republican, but a split in the party had resulted in Colorado's leading Democrat, Thomas M. Patterson, being elected to the position of Delegate.  During his two-year term, Patterson lobbied hard for statehood.  Finally, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Colorado Enabling Act so that Colorado could indeed become the nation's 38th state.  It was largely due to Delegate Patterson's efforts.

Part of the reason Patterson fought so strongly for statehood to occur that year was because he believed that, with Colorado's Republican party fighting, Colorado would give its three electoral votes to the Democrats.  But here Patterson made his error.  Because Colorado became a state in August, and election day occurred in November, the new state did not have time to organize a Presidential election, so the Colorado legislature selected the state's electors.  The Legislature was controlled by the Republicans at the time - so Colorado's three electoral votes went to the Republicans.

In one of the United States' closest presidential elections, Rutherford B. Hayes won the race - but by only one electoral vote.  If Patterson had held off his lobbying for just a few more months, Colorado would not have been a state yet - and Samuel J. Tilden would have been President. 

The election of 1876 was controversial far beyond just Colorado's role.  Fraudulent voting and political intrigue occurred in several states, leaving some 20 electoral votes hotly contested.  Even still, years later, after Patterson went on to be a successful lawyer, owner of the Rocky Mountain News, and United States Senator, "his speech reflected a note of pride that it was generally believed that a presidential election had been lost because of a lowly territorial delegate."*

For the full story with all the details, see Robert E. Smith's article in the Spring 1976 Colorado Magazine.  For more on Thomas Patterson, see also the Winter 1974 and Winter 1977 issues of Colorado Magazine; the Spring 2005 issue of Colorado Heritage, and the full-length biography, Tom Patterson:  Colorado Crusader for Change, University Press of Colorado, 1995.  All of these resources are available from our library.  

*Smith, Robert E.  "Thomas M. Patterson, Colorado Statehood, and the Presidential Election of 1976."  Colorado Magazine, v.53 n.2, Spring 1976.


Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month.  During this month, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and other cultural heritage organizations "join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans."  For more information visit www.nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov.

The State Publications Library has numerous resources on Native American/American Indian history, life, and traditions, including information on history, arts, language, material culture, and more.  Some of the highlights in our collection include: 

  • Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains. University Press of Colorado, 2009.
  • Denver:  An Archaeological History, University Press of Colorado, 2008.
  • Report of the State Archaeologist to the Commission of Indian Affairs.  Colorado Historical Society, 1999.
  • Archaeological Investigations at Wolf Spider Shelter, Las Animas County.  Colorado Department of Transportation, 1996.
  • Native American Ceramics of Eastern Colorado, University of Colorado Museum, 2002.
  • Tribal Paths:  Colorado's American Indians, 1500 to TodayColorado Historical Society, 2010.
  • Enduring Legacies:  Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Borderlands.  University Press of Colorado, 2011.
  • The Ute Indian Museum:  Capsule History and Guide.  Colorado Historical Society, 2009.
  • The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.  University Press of Colorado, 2000.
  • Cheyenne Dog Soldiers:  A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat.  University Press of Colorado, 1997.
  • The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners.  University Press of Colorado, 1996.
  • A Reference Grammar of the Cheyenne Language.  University of Northern Colorado, 1980.
  • A Guide to Colorado Legal Resources for Native Americans.  University of Colorado School of Law, 2005.
  • Report of the Native American Sacred Lands Forum, University of Colorado School of Law, 2001.
  • Indian Water Rights in the West:  A Study.  Western States Water Council, 1983.
  • Charters, Constitutions and Bylaws of the Indian Tribes of North America.  University of Northern Colorado, 1981.
  • Treaties Between the Tribes of the Great Plains and the United States of America, Cheyenne and Arapaho, 1825-1900.  University of Northern Colorado, 1977.
  • Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899:  The Creation of a Reservation.  Fort Lewis College, 1972.
  • Tell Me, Grandmother:  Traditions, Stories, and Cultures of Arapaho People.  University Press of Colorado, 2004.
  • Sacred Objects and Sacred Places:  Preserving Tribal Traditions.  University Press of Colorado, 2000.
  • Colorado Ute Legacy (video).  Colorado Historical Society, 1999.
  • Cheyenne Texts:  An Introduction to Cheyenne Literature.  University of Northern Colorado, 1980.
Listed above are just a few of the many resources we have available in our library; search our web catalog for more.

Also be sure to check out the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs' Resource Directory and the Auraria Library/Center for Colorado and the West's Native American Studies Resource Guide

Finally, November is also the month we remember the Sand Creek Massacre, an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village that occurred on November 29, 1864.  For more on Sand Creek see this entry from the Colorado Historical Society's blog; see also the chapter in Western Voices:  125 Years of Colorado Writing, also from the Colorado Historical Society (2004) and available from our library.


Election Day is Next Tuesday!

Don't forget to vote!  Election Day is a week away.  Today is the last day to request a mail-in ballot online - send this form to the Secretary of State's Office today if you need a mail in ballot.  If you already have your absentee ballot, be sure and mail it in time to be received on Tuesday - or, better yet, save a stamp and drop it off at one of the many drop-off locations around the state (click here to find your drop-off location.)  Absentee ballots must be dropped off by 7:00pm Tuesday, November 6.  For all general voter information, including how to find your polling place if you plan to vote in person, visit the Secretary of State's My Voter Information webpage.  For help understanding the various ballot issues and judicial retention recommendations, see the Colorado Legislative Council's Blue Book, which offers non-partisan explanations and pros/cons of each issue.  The Blue Book is available in English, Spanish, and audio versions. 


Hurricanes and Tropical Storms in the U.S.

As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Sandy, you can read about hurricanes and tropical storms in a number of documents available from our library.  Information about hurricanes in Colorado documents, you say?  The answer is yes.  Colorado's two major research universities both study hurricanes.  Colorado State University is considered to have one of the nation's foremost hurricane research programs, the Tropical Meteorology Project.  In August, CSU's Hurricane Forecast Team issued their predictions for the remainder of the 2012 season, which you can read here.  Their predictions include "a 48% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline." 

The University of Colorado's Natural Hazards Center, meanwhile, studies the human and sociological impact of all kinds of disasters, including hurricanes.  They publish a number of short research studies; some that relate to hurricanes in the area currently affected by Sandy include:
This is just a sampling; be sure to check our web catalog for more information.


New School Research Guide

 Are you looking for data on air quality? Need help finding information on the history of Colorado?

State agency websites and publications can provide the answers.

The Colorado State Publications Library has revised and updated "School Research Topics", a bibliography of notable Internet resources from Colorado state agencies. Librarians, parents, students and researchers alike will find this guide useful for locating authoritative information.

Check out these recent additions:

Search environmental and health data and learn about how the environment affects our health, using the Colorado Environmental Public Health Tracking system.

Find homework help, and learn about Colorado history using the new Kids and Students site from History Colorado.


Alternative Fuel: Compressed Natural Gas

In 2007 Colorado began it's "Greening Government" initiative, one of the goals being that 50% of the fuel bought for state vehicles should be alternative fuel. Our state is rich in natural gas reserves, and with that in mind, legislation was passed in 2009 requiring that state-owned vehicles operate on compressed natural gas (CNG) when possible, in the hopes of increasing the use of a transportation fuel that is clean, and locally produced. 

( From C.R.S. 24-30-1104 (2) (c) (II)) 
 Beginning on January 1, 2010, the executive director shall purchase motor vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas, subject to their availability and the availability of adequate fuel and fueling infrastructure, unless the increased base cost of such vehicle or the increased life cycle cost of such vehicle is ore than ten percent over the cost of a comparable nonflexible fuel vehicle.

In the last year there have been 2 recent studies analyzing the use of CNG as an alternative fuel:

More information on CNG vehicles can be found on the Colorado Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition website. The Greening Government Transportation Efficiency Audit report from the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration may also be of interest. General information on natural gas in Colorado can be found on the Colorado Geological Survey website.


Conservation Easement Audit Report

Yesterday the Denver Post ran a story about the State's audit of the conservation easement tax credit program.  Although the Post story did not provide a link to the audit report, you can view the report by clicking here.  It is currently online at the State Auditor's website and will soon be cataloged by our library.  For more information on conservation easements in Colorado, see the recent Issue Brief from the Colorado Legislative Council, the state's non-partisan Legislative research agency.  See also What Landowners Should Know When Considering Conservation Easementsa publication from the Colorado State University Extension.



A recent outbreak of fungal meningitis has affected over 200 people in several states across the U.S. (so far, there are no reported cases in Colorado).  According to the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment, "The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are coordinating a multistate investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who received epidural steroid injections (medication injected into the spine)."  For more information on this outbreak, visit the CDC website

There are several types of meningitis, including fungal, viral, and bacterial.  The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment has put together a website of information on meningitis, including resources on infectious diseases in school and child care settings; differences between the types of meningitis; letters and forms for use in case of an outbreak; and a link to the Colorado Communicable Disease Manual, which offers more in-depth information on meningitis and other diseases that can be passed on to others.


Wind Power and its Effect on Wildlife

You've probably seen the massive white windmill-like towers dotting Colorado's eastern plains, used for harvesting wind energy.  There's no question that wind is an important new source of energy for electric power generation.  But how do these giant propellers affect birds and other wildlife?  The Colorado Division of Wildlife held a three-day conference on this subject in 2006; you can read the report and abstracts from the conference here.  DOW also put together a helpful Informational Resource Guide on the topic, available from our library.  For more information on wildlife and Colorado's new energy sources, visit the Energy page on the DOW's website.


Colorado Literacy Month

Governor Hickenlooper has signed a proclamation declaring October 2012 as Colorado Literacy Month, because "understanding the written word is critical for successful communication." Literacy Month seeks to "encourage citizens, employers, government agencies, and institutions to share the importance of a fully literate community for economic prosperity, social cohesion, educational opportunity, and an enhanced quality of life."  This year, the Colorado Dept. of Education has developed a Comprehensive Literacy Plan and the Lt. Governor's Office has developed the Colorado Reads early literacy plan.  For more information on the state's efforts in promoting literacy for Coloradans, search our web catalog using the keyword "literacy."


Tax Increment Financing

Today's news that Walmart has pulled out of the old University Hospital site at 9th and Colorado in Denver, along with the city's search for a tax revenue-generating use for the property, has spotlighted the issue of tax increment financing (TIF).  So what are TIFs?  A memo from the Colorado Legislative Council provides an explanation of TIFs and how they work, as well as background on how Colorado law authorizes downtown development authorities to use TIFs to finance their projects. 


Auto Theft Prevention Tips

The Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority have put together a helpful webpage with tips on preventing auto theft and vehicle break-ins.  They suggest using different "layers" of protection, the simplest layer being practices such as locking doors and closing windows.  More advanced layers include theft alarms, steering wheel locks, etc.  So how many layers of protection do you need?  The site can help you determine this through a link to a "prevention checkup" list from the National Crime Bureau.  It helps you determine your risk factors based on what kind of vehicle you have, where you live, etc.  The link also gives tips on preventing break-ins; protecting yourself when buying or selling a car; protecting yourself against insurance fraud; and and other crimes to be aware of that stem from auto theft.  This is a handy guide that every Colorado driver should become familiar with.


Dinosaur National Monument

On this day 97 years ago, October 4, 1915, Dinosaur National Monument in western Colorado and eastern Utah was established.  Dinosaur National Monument is so named because, says the National Park Service, "[d]inosaurs once roamed here.  Their fantastic remains are still visible embedded in the rocks."  But there is more to Dinosaur National Monument than prehistoric fossils.  The area is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, some great scenery, and even petroglyphs from long-ago humans.  You can learn more about the historic and cultural resources of Dinosaur National Monument in a publication available from our library, Dinosaur National Monument Multiple Property Listing, from the Colorado Historical Society.  Other publications of interest include Dinosaur Planning Study and Dinosaur Community Survey Report, University of Colorado at Denver; Dinosaur Remains in Colorado, Colorado Historical Society; and Dinosaurs in our Backyard, Colorado Geological Survey.

Dinosaur National Monument is also home to the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic Byway; check out Colorado:  The Official Guide to the Scenic and Historic Byways and Discover Colorado:  Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways, available from our library.  (Photo of Dinosaur Diamond courtesy CDOT).


Disabilities and Employment

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  Colorado has the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, a division of the Colorado Dept. of Human Services, which works to help persons with disabilities on their path to -- or back to -- employment.  On the DVR's website you can find a list of providers; information on the rehabilitation process; links to information on the associated Boards, including the Statewide Independent Living Council and the State Rehabilitation Council; reports; and some great success stories of Coloradans with disabilities who have found successful employment.  In our library you can find the Annual Reports of the DVR back to 2007.  Also, be sure and search our web catalog for more publications on employment for persons with disabilities. 


Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is set aside as the month to recognize and bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence.  The problem is often kept quiet but it is very real.  The State of Colorado has a Domestic Violence Program that is a valuable resource both for those needing help and those researching the issue.  On their website you can find emergency information and a crisis line, information about the address confidentiality program, and the Program's annual reports, which are also available in our library. 

A helpful resource on the treatment of offenders is Standards for Treatment with Court Ordered Domestic Violence Offenders, Colorado Dept. of Public Safety, 2010, also available in our library.  Search our web catalog for more publications on this topic.

Finally, if you or someone you know needs help but isn't sure where to go, be sure and visit the Colorado Dept. of Human Services' Domestic Violence Assistance Search, which can link you with help throughout the state. 


Voter Registration: Time is Running Out

If you haven't yet registered to vote in the November 2012 election, you only have until October 9 to submit your registration.  Registering is easy - simply go to the Online Voter Registration page on the Colorado Secretary of State's website. 

If you aren't sure whether your registration is currently active, be sure and check before October 9.  Simply go to the Colorado Secretary of State's My Voter Information, a secure site.  On this site you can also submit name changes, withdraw a registration, request a mail-in ballot, and find resources on overseas/military voting, identification requirements, county election offices, accessibility, and more. 


CSU Football Stadium Study

An article in today's Denver Post references a feasibility study done last month and presented to Colorado State University regarding the possibility of building a new football stadium.  You won't find it in the newspaper article, but you can find the feasibility report in our library collection:  Colorado State University On-Campus Stadium Feasibility Study, dated August 9, 2012. 


Ike Liked Colorado

So far, no U.S. President has hailed from Colorado, but one of the first ladies has - Mamie Eisenhower.  As a result, the President who spent the most time in our state was Dwight D. Eisenhower; he even established a "Summer White House" at Lowry Air Base during his presidency.  It was on this day 57 years ago, September 24, 1955, that Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while visiting Colorado.  According to Colorado:  A History of the Centennial State (University Press of Colorado, 2005), which you can check out from our library, Ike's heart attack came after eating a hamburger and playing twenty-seven holes of golf! 

Eisenhower's Colorado legacy also extends to transportation.  Colorado describes how one of his fishing buddies, a developer, helped convince the President to support the construction of I-70 running east-west through Colorado.  As a result, the Eisenhower Tunnel was named for him.  (A bit of trivia:  Only the westbound tunnel is the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel; the eastbound tunnel is the Johnson Memorial Tunnel, named for Colorado Governor and U.S. Senator Edwin C. Johnson.)  Learn more about the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels on the Colorado Department of Transportation's website, which includes a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the operation of the tunnels. 
Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels.  Courtesy CDOT.


New Resource for Military Servicepersons in Colorado

The Colorado Attorney General's Office has just released a new guidebook, Consumer Guide for Military Personnel and their Families.  This helpful guide gives service members and their families information on topics such as predatory lending, debt collector scams, foreclosures, identity theft, fraud prevention, and more, all written specifically for those serving our country.  For more information on consumer protection and fraud in Colorado, or to report a fraud, see the Colorado Attorney General's website's Consumer Protection Section.



According to an article in today's Denver Post, some experts are predicting that by the year 2030, obesity rates will reach 50% or more in 39 of the 50 states.  Colorado has long had a reputation as one of the healthiest states, mostly due to the many outdoors-loving people who choose to live here.  However, that doesn't mean we don't have a problem - although Colorado is not predicted in this study to be one of those 39 states with 50% obesity, it is predicted to have a 45% rate by 2030.  So what are the facts about obesity in Colorado right now, and what can we do about it?  The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment has published The Weight of the State, which reports that as of 2009, the combined number of obese and overweight persons in Colorado was 55% of the state's population.  (The 2030 predictions cited above only measure those who are obese, not including those overweight but not obese).  Interestingly, the report finds that since 1995, obesity rates have increased from 10.1% to 19.1%!  For interesting facts on overweight and obesity rates by demographic characteristic, as well as statistics on Coloradans' physical activity and nutrition, check out this interesting report.  For more resources on Colorado health, search our web catalog.


Colorado's State Symbols: The State Amphibian

Colorado's newest state symbol, designated just this year, is the State Amphibian, the Western Tiger Salamander.  This small amphibian can be found in ponds and lakes statewide; also look for them near rodent burrows and on ground surfaces at night during damp weather.  For more information, see the Tiger Salamander page in the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Colorado Herpetofaunal Atlas.  You can find other resources on Colorado's amphibians in our library, including Quick Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of Colorado (Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2008); Hip on Herps:  Colorado's Reptiles and Amphibians (Colorado Division of Wildlife, 2004); and Colorado's Underworld (Colorado Division of Wildlife, 1994).  The latter two publications are especially written for kids.  You can find more on the designation of the State Amphibian in this article from the Denver Post.

Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Widlife


Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Saturday and continues through October 15.  Hispanos have been an important part of Colorado history since the sixteenth century, when Spanish explorers roamed the Southwest in search of gold.  Ever since, the Hispanic community has made many contributions to the history of our state.  If you are researching Hispanic history in Colorado, our library has many resources that can help you.  Some of these include:
  • Colorado Hispanic Studies Resource Guide, Center for Colorado and the West, University of Colorado Denver.
  • Hispanic History Resources, History Colorado.
  • Enduring Legacies:  Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Border Lands.  University Press of Colorado, 2011.
  • Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies journal, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • The Life and Times of Richard Castro, Colorado Historical Society, 2007.
  • El Pueblo History Museum, a Capsule History and Guide.  Colorado Historical Society, 2006.
  • The Culebra River Villages of Costilla County, Colorado Historical Society, 2002.
  • The San Luis Valley:  Land of the Six-Armed Cross.  University Press of Colorado, 1999.
  • La Gente:  Hispano History and Life in Colorado, Colorado Historical Society, 1998.
  • The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado, University Press of Colorado, 1998.
  • Race and Hispanic Origin for Colorado Counties and Regions, Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs, 1990.
  • Confluencia journal, University of Northern Colorado
  • The Status of Spanish-Surnamed Citizens in Colorado: Report to the Colorado General Assembly, 1967.
We also have much more, so be sure to check our web catalog for additional resources, including information on the contemporary Hispanic community. 

Finally, check out the Colorado Virtual Library, a project of the Colorado State Library, for biographies on famous Hispanic Coloradans, including:
  • Felipe Baca, rancher and town founder
  • Casimiro Barela, state legislator
  • Rudolfo "Corky" Gonzalez, activitst
  • Federico Peña, Mayor of Denver
  • Teresita Sandoval, early settler
  • Juana Suaso Simpson, early settler


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Recent diagnoses of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in campers in Yosemite National Park have brought national attention to the dangers of this respiratory disease carried by mice, which can be deadly to humans.  Even though Yosemite is far from Colorado, the possibility of contracting HPS in Colorado is very real.  In fact, as of July 2012, Colorado had the second highest number of cases of HPS of any state in the union, after New Mexico.*  It was first found in the four corners region in 1993; since then, cases have been diagnosed in nearly every part of the state.  Humans can become infected through direct contact with mice or their nests or droppings.  To protect yourself against this often-fatal illness, be sure to visit the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment's HPS webpage, where you will find FAQs and an illustrated guide on how to safely clean up rodent droppings, dead rodents, and nests.  The site also contains HPS information for health care professionals and maps and statistics on outbreaks.  Remember, be safe - mice might be cute, but they can also be deadly.

*Source:  http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/surveillance/state-of-residence.html

Photo courtesy Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment


Colorado's State Symbols: The State Reptile

Like many of our other state symbols, schoolchildren petitioned the Legislature for the designation of the State Reptile.  In 2007 the distinction went to the Western Painted Turtle, a small, multicolored turtle found in ponds and lakes around the state.  Check out the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife's website for a species profile of the Western Painted Turtle. 

Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife


Colorado Proud Recipes

Colorado's Department of Agriculture (CDA) promotes locally-grown agricultural products through its Colorado Proud campaign.  Buying products that come from Colorado's own farms and ranches helps our state's economy.  Every month, the CDA features one product grown in Colorado along with a scrumptious recipe.  (This month it's pears - yum.)  You can find this and all of the past Colorado Proud recipes collection on the Colorado Proud webpage, classified by recipe type (appetizers, desserts, etc.).  Best of all, the recipes are submitted by some of Colorado's top chefs and restaurants.  Finally, if you're not much of a cook yourself, but still want to enjoy Colorado-grown foods, check out Taste Colorado, the Colorado Proud restaurant guide.


"Be Bear Aware"

Bear-human interactions have been in the news lately, as they often are this time of year, as bears go on a feeding frenzy before settling down to hibernate for the winter.  I've written previously about the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife's publication Living with Bears, but CP&W has recently produced some new publications on the topic, all of which can be found on their website, Be Bear Aware.  On this site you will find information such as Bear Proofing Your Home; Attracting Birds, Not Bears; Building a Secure Beehive; Bear Resistant Trash Containers; Camping & Hiking in Bear Country; Bear Encounters; and even Be Bear Aware information for children.  All of the information on the site is quick and easy-to-read; if you are planning on spending time outdoors or live near bear country, you may be glad you did.

Make sure your bird feeders are bear-proof!  Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.

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