12.31.2013

Mesa Verde

The ruins at Mesa Verde were home to ancestral Puebloans (or Anasazi) from A.D. 600 to 1300; it is today a National Park, protecting the approximately 600 cliff dwellings along with thousands of artifacts and archaeological sites. 

The November/December issue of Colorado Heritage, which you can check out from our library, features Mesa Verde.  One article highlights the early archaeological collections at the History Colorado museum.  Archaeological sites are protected today, unlike a century ago, when explorers and fortune hunters collected artifacts to sell or give to museums.  The article highlights the history of the museum's archaeological collections as well as society's changing attitudes toward the removal of artifacts and repatriation.

A second article examines how the ancestral Puebloans lived.  They had a thriving agricultural society, in which they cultivated beans, corn, and squash; they even kept domesticated turkeys.  They were accomplished in pottery and weaving, and built homes that have stood for more than half a millennium.  Yet they abandoned their cliff dwellings -- most likely, the article explains, due to severe drought that has been documented as occurring in the late thirteenth century, about the time the ancestral Puebloans disappeared from Mesa Verde.  Their ancestors are today's Pueblo people.

You can read more about Mesa Verde in two books available from our library, Mesa Verde National Park:  Shadows of the Centuries and The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners, or check out the Park's website.

12.30.2013

Lowry Landfill Superfund Site

Several opinion articles referencing the Lowry Landfill in East Denver have appeared in the Denver Post in recent weeks.  Our library has several publications from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that offer background and analysis on the superfund site.  These include:

Also be sure to visit the CDPHE's Lowry Landfill website, which includes maps and current information on chemicals, environmental cleanup, and potential development.

12.23.2013

Colorado Capitol Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree adorning the foyer of the Colorado State Capitol was provided by CSU's Colorado State Forest Service this year, as it has been for the last two years.  The 32-foot tree is decorated specially to commemorate military service members who have lost their lives since September 11, 2001.  The tree is known as the "Gold Star Tree of Honor" and is done in red, white, and blue.  Click here for more about the Capitol Christmas tree and the Colorado State Forest Service.
2013 Capitol Christmas Tree.  Photo courtesy Colorado State Forest Service.

12.19.2013

Lane Closures and Travel Info

Traveling by car for the holidays?  Be prepared and avoid being stuck in traffic by checking the Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT)'s Scheduled Lane Closures website.  Here you will find a map where you can click on any part of the state and receive updated information on lane closures and road construction, including specific dates and times for closures.  For more helpful resources, visit CDOT's Travel Center website.  Here you can sign up for free email and text message alerts.  You can also visit www.cotrip.org for updated traffic and road conditions, or call 511 for travel information. 

12.17.2013

Economic Impact of Colorado Airports

A lot has changed since the Wright Brothers made their historic flight from Kitty Hawk 110 years ago today.  Aviation has become and continues to be an important part of the economy.  This fall, the Colorado Dept. of Transportation's Aeronautics Division released a new study on the economic impact of airports in Colorado.  The report contains some interesting facts about airports and air travel in Colorado.  For instance, did you know that Colorado has 265,700 jobs connected to airports, with a $12.6 billion payroll?  Additionally, the study looks at tax revenues generated by airports, benefits to other businesses, and more. 

12.16.2013

Winfield Scott Stratton

Yesterday's Denver Post ran a column by Tom Noel on the generous philanthropy of Winfield Scott Stratton, a late-19th century mine owner.  The article mentions Dr. Noel's book Colorado Givers, which you can check out from our library.  We also have back issues of Colorado Magazine, which has included numerous articles over the years on the history of Cripple Creek, where Stratton made his fortune. You can also learn more about Winfield Scott Stratton in Colorado:  A History of the Centennial State, also by Tom Noel and available from our library.  

12.12.2013

New Version of the Backseat Budgeter

This fall Colorado State University released a new version of their interactive tool, Colorado Backseat Budgeter.  Developed in part by CSU's Colorado Futures Center, the online tool allows citizens to participate in a simulation of the state's budgeting process.  According to a media release from the center, "the online tool displays the 2013-14 Colorado general fund budget and highlights the impact of two important issues on the November ballot: Amendment 66 (school finance reform) and Proposition AA (marijuana taxation). ... [Coloradans can] set their own priorities, save their budget, view others’ budgets, and discuss ideas through online posts.  In addition to helping voters better understand the impact of upcoming ballot initiatives and gain a better understanding of the Colorado general fund budget, the new version of Backseat Budgeter also includes a section that considers the costs of the state’s disaster response to fire and flood damage, as well as a robust healthcare section that helps users examine the costs associated with Medicaid expansion."


   

12.10.2013

Statewide Transportation Plan

The Colorado Dept. of Transportation is currently formulating its new Statewide Transportation Plan and seeks YOUR input.  So why should you get involved in the plan?  Transportation is part of all of our lives.  According to CDOT, "If you use transportation, you should get involved. CDOT is making it easy to shape the Statewide Transportation Plan by offering this user-friendly interactive website, regional outreach meetings, and variety of feedback tools." 

You can also view past versions of the Statewide Transportation Plan, including current plans covering to 2035, by searching our library's web catalog.


12.09.2013

Front Range Blizzards

This month marks the 100-year anniversary of Denver's worst-recorded blizzard, the blizzard of December 1-5, 1913.  (Read the 1913 newspaper story and view photos here).  The blizzard dumped 45.7 inches in Denver, and piles of snow moved to Civic Center didn't melt until the following July.

Ten years ago, in March 2003, Denver's second-worst blizzard (in terms of snow totals) hit the Front Range, with 31.8 inches of snow, well shy of the 1913 record.  You can find very interesting comparisons of the 1913 and 2003 storms in two periodicals available from our libraryThe 2003 issue Colorado Climate contains a comparison in terms of water measurement, while the Autumn 2003 issue of Colorado Heritage includes a historical comparison, "Colorado is Snowbound -- the Great Front Range Blizzard of 1913 (and its 2003 Counterpart)."       

12.05.2013

Pet Safety During Cold Weather

It's important to remember your pets' needs during this week's below-freezing, single-digit temperatures.  (Brrr!)  The following tips are from a Colorado Dept. of Agriculture media release:

Ø  Keep pets inside. If animals can’t be inside, provide a warm, comfortable place. Face shelter away from wind and provide a flap or door to help keep the animal’s body heat inside.
Ø  Bedding is essential. It insulates the animal from the snow and ice underneath the body and allows the animal to retain heat within the bedding.
Ø  Cats may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. If you have outdoor felines in your neighborhood, check under the hood before starting your car.
Ø  When walking your pet, keep them on leashes; they can’t rely on their sense of smell in the snow and may become lost.
Ø  Wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach after being outdoors to remove any ice, salt or chemicals. 
Ø  Outdoor pets need more calories to produce body heat so extra food and water must be provided. Devices are now available to keep water dishes from freezing; if one is not available, fill and replace water frequently.

The CDA also warns that pets are also susceptible to hypothermia, so be watchful for signs including shivering, listlessness, and body temperature below 97 degrees, followed by collapse and coma.  If your pet shows signs of hypothermia, see a vet immediately.       

12.03.2013

Alcohol and Impaired Driving

According to the Colorado Dept. of Transportation, "more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI and over 150 people are killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes" each year in Colorado.  Alcohol is not the only problem, however -- many fatalities occur as a result of drug-impaired driving as well.  CDOT has many resources on alcohol- and drug-impaired driving on its website.  Here you can find information on the Heat is On high-visibility enforcement campaign; DUI information; statistics and data; law enforcement info; a public service announcement; and even a downloadable smart phone app that lets you calculate your blood alcohol level. 

12.02.2013

Plug-In Electric Motor Vehicles

Laws are changing for plug-in electric motor vehicles in Colorado.  Starting January 1, 2014, owners of such vehicles will be assessed a $50 fee as part of their registration and will be required to display a decal showing that the fee has been paid.  For information on determining whether you have a qualifying vehicle, what to do in cases of change of ownership, and where the money goes, see this brochure from the Colorado Dept. of Revenue.