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. 

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