Wildfire Information

High temperatures, drought-like conditions, gusty winds and lightning strikes have made Colorado a virtual tinderbox. It seems like every day more fires are added to the list. For up to date information about the wildfires burning in our state, visit the Colorado  Office of Emergency Management at http://www.coemergency.com/. Besides posting fire updates on their blog, they also have links to local information sources. Our "Quick Guide to State Fire and Drought Information" will lead you to resources on wildfire prevention, air quality and fire-related health concerns. Travelers who are concerned about how the fires will affect their visits to the state can find information on a wildfire resource page developed by the Colorado Department of Tourism.

Colorado libraries have stepped up to help those displaced by fire in their communities. Library staff have set up computer labs and provide story hours and research services in evacuation centers. For more information on library services for evacuees, visit  http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/wildfires.htm


Non-Resident Tuition at Metro State

Last week the Colorado Attorney General released a formal opinion on Metropolitan State College's decision to allow a discounted tuition rate to students without lawful presence in the United States.  For background on Metro's decision, see their recent press releases.  To see the "public benefit" law cited in the AG's opinion, see 24-76.5-103, Colorado Revised Statutes.


Title IX

The 40th Anniversary of Title IX has been getting a great deal of press this week (see the feature article in Denver Post).  The 1972 law took a big step in women's rights by barring sex discrimination in
"any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."   In our library we have a number of interesting historical publications that demonstrate the early use of the Title IX in the 1970s and '80s, including Why Title IX?, which gives a good explanation of the reasons behind the law, and a number of teachers' manuals and workbooks on sex equity in schools and sports.  (Search our web catalog for titles).  We also have an interesting 1978 publication from the University of Colorado at Denver, Eliminating Sex Bias in Texbooks and Educational Materials, that can still be useful todayCurrent information about Title IX can be found on the Colorado Department of Education's Title IX webpage.


Colorado's State Symbols: The State Folk Dance

Did you know that Colorado has a state folk dance?  It's the Square Dance, and was designated by the Legislature in 1992.  Square dancing, which is a dance where steps are called out by a caller, was especially popular in the 19th century, but continues to be practiced by many today.  The best-known square dance is the Virginia Reel.  Colorado children often learn to square dance as part of their 4th grade Colorado history studies.  For more about dance instruction in schools, see the Colorado Department of Education's Academic Standards for Dance.


Ban on Fireworks, Open Burning

With the 4th of July right around the corner, Coloradans should be aware that an Executive Order has been issued declaring a ban on private fireworks and open burning such as campfires.  The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division is not issuing any permits during the ban (see their website for detailed information on the ban).  The need for the ban resulted from very dry conditions and the recent disastrous High Park Fire.  According to the Governor's press release, "The ban does not apply to campfires in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed camp and picnic grounds or recreation sites; liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves; fireplaces contained within buildings; charcoal grills at private residences; or specific prescribed or controlled burns for agricultural or irrigation purposes.  Commercial, professional and municipal fireworks displays are allowed when written approval has been granted by the sheriff of the county in which the fireworks display is to occur."


School Discipline

In the wake of numerous incidents of school violence in the U.S. many schools and districts have adopted zero-tolerance policies.  If you're looking for information on these or other school discipline laws, regulations, and policies, the Colorado General Assembly has studied the issue and has published some resources you may find helpful.  These include the reports of the 2011 Interim Committee to Study School Discipline.  This web link goes to the Committee's home page, which includes the reports as well as memorandums and presentations about the issue.  Be sure to talk to your principal or local school district to find out more about your child's school discipline policies. 


Colorado's State Symbols: The State Flower

Since 1899 the Columbine has been the state flower of Colorado.  The distinctive lavender, white, and yellow flower has been under the protection of law since 1925, so that it is unlawful to dig up the flower on public lands, and no more than 25 buds can be picked on a single day on public lands.  Although Columbine is a wildflower, you can purchase seeds to plant in your yard so you don't have to uproot the wildflowers.  While the lavender blossom is the official state's flower, Columbine is also available in a rose-and-white version.  For more on this flower that has become one of the most recognizable symbols of our state, check out the Colorado Flora books, published by University Press of Colorado and available for checkout from our library. 


New History Colorado Center

Colorado's new history museum has been open for about a month, to great reviews.  You can read about the brand-new History Colorado Center in a new commemorative publication of that title available from our library.  The new museum at 12th and Broadway is the fourth home for the Colorado Historical Society and its museum.  They were originally located in the basement of the State Capitol; in 1912 the Society moved into a brand-new museum building at 14th and Sherman, across from the Capitol, designed by the great architect Frank Edbrooke.  That building still stands today and is used as the Legislative Services Building, although you can still see the words "Colorado State Museum" on the facade.  In the 1970s, the Historical Society built a new building at 1300 Broadway known as the Colorado Heritage Center.  We have several historical publications in our library that highlight this "new" modern building (see our web catalog for titles).  In the early 2000s, the Colorado Judicial Branch, which shared the 1300 block of Broadway with the museum, decided it needed to expand to an entire block.  So, the 1970s building was demolished, along with the judicial building next door, and the brand-new Ralph Carr Judicial Complex, which will eventually house both the Colorado Judicial Branch and the Colorado Attorney General's staff, is currently under construction and nearing completion.  Interestingly, what goes around, comes around - the new Judicial Complex with its neoclassical architecture more resembles the style of the 1912 history museum than it does the modern, angular style of the 1970s structures!

The new Colorado History Center, a block south of the old site, features some great exhibits on different aspects of Colorado history and life, including mining, life on the eastern plains, an exhibit on the Japanese relocation camps, and much more.  New exhibits will be added as well, including a Denver exhibit coming up later this year.  For interesting information from the History Center staff on the process of moving the collection and the building of the new structure, see the last several issues of Colorado Heritage, also available from our library.

Photo courtesy Histoy Colorado


Public vs. Private Health Insurance

A new publication from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment's Health Statistics Section, Public Versus Private Health Insurance in Colorado at a Glance, offers consumers a look at the various aspects of both types of health insurance.  Specifically, the publication gives the results of a study to "1)identify the proportion of the population reporting varying types of public versus private health insurance and 2) Examine selected risk factors and health outcomes for people who are uninsured, on public health insurance, or private health insurance."  You can also find a great deal of information on this topic by visiting the Colorado Division of Insurance.


Colorado's State Symbols: The State Fish

Colorado's state fish is the Greenback Cutthroat Trout, Oncorhynchus clarki somias.  Colorado's waters are filled with many kinds of trout, such as Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout; however, the Greenback Cutthroat is special because by the late 20th century it was on the brink of extinction.  Then, in the 1990s, scientists discovered a few small populations of the fish in Rocky Mountain National Park and were able to protect it and reintroduce it to other parts of the state.  You can find out more about the story of the state fish in the video Incredible Journey of the Greenback Cutthroats, available in both DVD and videocassette from our library.  Also, be sure to check out Life-History and Ecology of the Greenback Cutthroat Trout; Greenback Cutthroat Trout Restoration; and Greenback Cutthroat Trout Recovery Project Progress Report, all available from our library.  See also the Colorado Division of Wildlife's species profile


More on Kinship Care

After my previous posting on kinship care, I was contacted by the kinship care program coordinator from the Colorado Dept. of Human Services, who let me know about their great website, Colorado Kinship Connection.  The site has everything you need to know about kinship care in Colorado, including a Navigation Guide, a Toolkit, a program brochure, news and events, a discussion forum, and much more.  This is a terrific resource for anyone who is taking care of grandchildren or other young relatives. 


Kinship Care

A new study, according to an article in this weekend's Denver Post, says that the number of children living with adults other than their parents has grown by 18% in the last decaede.  Many of these children live with relatives in situtations known as "kinship care."  If you are a grandparent or other relative who finds yourself raising a grandchild, sibling, niece or nephew, etc., our library has several publications that may be of interest to you, particularly the Colorado Dept. of Human Services' Colorado Kinship Care Resource GuideSee also Grandparents as Parents and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, both from Colorado State University.


Colorado's State Symbols: The State Bird

The Lark Bunting was designated Colorado's State Bird in 1931.  It is a black and white bird that makes its home on the plains of Colorado from April to September, then flies south in the winter.  In the past it was sometimes referred to as the bobolink.  You can find more about lark buntings from the Colorado Division of Wildlife's lark bunting page, including where to look for them.  Check out some of the publications from our library for more information on this and other Colorado songbirds:
  • Colorado Breeding Birds Atlas
  • Wonders on the Wing:  Colorado's Migratory Songbirds
  • Colorado Wildlife Viewing Guide
You might also enjoy The Birds of Colorado, a historical publication from 1897 which includes some information on the Lark Bunting.

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