Visit the Byways with Books

In honor of Colorado Day, tomorrow, August 1, the Colorado Department of Transportation's Scenic and Historic Byways program is "encouraging tourists to supplement their byway travels with reading."  Colorado boasts a number of byways that, while notable for their scenery alone, can mean so much more when the stories behind them are revealed.  CDOT's press release lists a number of publications that enhance the byways experience.  Two of their suggested titles are Messages in Stone:  Colorado's Colorful Geology and The Western San Juan Mountains:  Their Geology, Ecology, and Human History, both available for checkout from our library.  Other publications about Colorado's byways are also available for checkout from our library, including Colorado:  The Official Guide to the Scenic and Historic Byways.  Search our web catalog for more great titles.


Understanding Property Taxation in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs' Division of Property Taxation publishes a series of brochures about property taxation in Colorado.  These easy-to-understand brochures cover such topics as property valuation and taxation for residential, commercial, and agricultural properties; property tax exemptions and rebates for seniors, the disabled, and military/veterans, and more.  Check our library's web catalog for previous years' editions of these brochures, as well as other helpful information on property taxes in Colorado.


Volunteer with the State of Colorado

The State of Colorado offers many volunteer opportunities in a variety of agencies and fields.  Some of these opportunities include:
  • Adopt-A-Highway.  The Colorado Department of Transportation says that control of roadside litter costs millions of dollars each year.  You can help by volunteering to pick up litter alongside Colorado's highways.  This program allows groups of volunteers to "adopt a highway" with a sign recognizing the groups' efforts.  CDOT takes care of supplying trash bags and hauling away the collected litter. 
  • Colorado Judicial Learning Center.  Those with an interest in the courts can volunteer to help both kids and adults learn about the Colorado justice system.
  • Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan.  The Colorado Department of Human Services needs volunteers to help at this hospital in a range of occupations including working with clients, fundraising, or helping in the gift shop.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Volunteers are essential to many natural resource programs, including wildlife habitat programs and State Parks.  If you enjoy being outdoors, there are many great opportunities.
  • Colorado State Capitol.  The home of our state government also attracts many visitors, and volunteers are needed to guide tours, answer phones, and otherwise help visitors learn about the Capitol, including as a Capitol Ambassador.
  • Colorado Volunteer Mobilizer.  Here you can sign up to volunteer during hazards and emergencies.  Those with experience as physicians, paramedics, nurses, therapists, and veterinarians are especially needed.
  • Environmental Leadership Program.  This program of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment matches volunteers with environmentally-focused projects.
  • History Colorado and the Colorado State Archives.  These agencies offer numerous volunteer opportunities for those interested in the history of our state.
  • Serve Colorado.  Overseen by Lt. Governor Garcia's office, this program coordinates several annual Days of Service.


Camping in Colorado

If you enjoy camping, our state offers some terrific options from the mountains to the plains.  Right now is an especially good time to head up to the mountains, as the wildflowers are in bloom.  The Colorado Tourism Office has recently put together a list of "10 Amazing Colorado Campsites."  Colorado Parks and Wildlife also has a helpful Camping website.  Here you can find out about camping in State Parks and reserve your campsite online. 


State Capitol Dome

The Capitol Dome is again being revealed as the scaffolding has been slowly removed over the past several months.  So what was this project all about, and what will be the final result?  The Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration, who is overseeing the restoration, has issued this Fact Sheet, which includes a brief description of the project and information on the color of the cast iron, which may look a little bluish for now, but will eventually patina to match the rest of the building.

The Colorado State Capitol Dome undergoing restoration. 
Photo courtesy Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration.
The dome is also being re-gilded.  According to The Colorado State Capitol:  Pride of Our People (1992; available for checkout from our library), the dome has been re-gilded several times, including in 1949, 1980, and again in 1991 following hail damage that caused the gold leaf to flake.  The dome was first gilded in 1908 at a cost of $14,680.  Prior to that date, it had been covered in copper.  For the current restoration, gold from the mining areas of Cripple Creek and Victor was donated for the project and first went to Italy to be formed into gold leaf (see this blog post from the Share in the Care Campaign, which raised money for the dome restoration).

The gold dome.  Photo courtesy Colorado Legislative Council.
Today visitors can tour the Capitol dome, which is no longer in danger of injuring tourists, as it was prior to the renovation.  Visitors can view Mr. Brown's Attic, an exhibit on the history and construction of the Capitol.  Click here for information about the free tour.  A virtual tour can also be accessed for those unable to visit in person.


Starting a Business in Colorado

The State of Colorado offers many resources for Colorado entrepreneurs.  One of the most helpful resources is an online tutorial from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, Starting a Business in ColoradoThis tutorial takes you step-by-step through the business registration process, starting with selecting and registering your business name.  You can also use the Secretary of State's website to check and make sure the name you have chosen is not already in use.  To do this, go to the Business Database.  The tutorial also includes a link to this database.  Continuing with the tutorial, you will find out how to secure your business record; then it outlines the next steps you need to take.

The State of Colorado has also set up another website to assist in the registration process.  This is the Colorado Business Express.  Although it is more complicated to use than the Secretary of State's tutorial, this website is useful by allowing users to customize their registration to their individual needs.  The site also offers links to various resources on starting a business.

Finally, be sure and check the Colorado Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) website.  Part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the SBDC offers locations around the state where entrepreneurs can access consulting services, attend training workshops and other events, and find helpful resources such as the Colorado Business Resource Book.


Fishing Guides

Planning on doing some fishing this summer?  If so, Colorado State University just made it easier to identify the fish you catch.  They have created the eField Guide to Western Fishes -- Colorado and Wyoming.  You can use the e-field guide on your phone or tablet as they are caught, or search on your computer to find out various fish facts, such as the difference between spiny rayed fish or soft rayed fish.  In addition to color photos of all fish species, the guide includes a glossary, checklist, family groupings, and more.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks & Wildlife) has also published numerous fishing guidebooks and other resources for anglers of all skill levels.  Their annual Fishing Guide, a supplement to Colorado Outdoors Magazine, has just been released -- check out a copy from our library.  Other helpful resources available for checkout include: 
The Arkansas Darter, a Colorado fish.  Photo by John Woodling, courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife.


Plague in Colorado

This morning the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced that plague had been confirmed in an Adams County resident and their pet dog.  Plague can cause high fever, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting in humans; it can be fatal to pets.  Plague is spread by fleas on rodents, especially prairie dogs.  The CDPHE advises avoiding handling rodents and keeping your dogs and cats away from rodents, alive or dead.  If your pet develops fleas, take them to a veterinarian for treatment.  And if you find dead prairie dogs, don't try removing them yourself -- call a professional.  Our library has several resources you can use to find out more about plague, including the differences between bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic plague (the latter being the type confirmed in the Adams County resident).  See the following fact sheets:
Also, be sure to visit the CDPHE's Plague webpage, which includes fact sheets, links to data from the Centers for Disease Control, and statistics on plague in Colorado.


Royal Gorge Re-opening

In June 2013, a devastating wildfire destroyed most of the buildings in the Royal Gorge Park and damaged some of the famous suspension bridge's wooden planks.  (See the Governor's original disaster declaration here.)  Now, a year later, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is set to re-open, most likely in August.  You can visit the Colorado Tourism Office's Royal Gorge Region website for details, including renderings of the brand-new visitor's center and other information on the anticipated opening, as well as information on other places to visit nearby.  The Royal Gorge region is also part of the Gold Belt Tour, a Colorado Scenic Byway.  For a map of the byway and more information, visit this website from the Colorado Department of Transportation.  Or, if you prefer exploring on foot, you can visit the Arkansas Riverwalk Trail.

Additional tourism resources can be found on the State of Colorado Tourism Office's official website, www.colorado.com.  This helpful website features ideas on things to do in all regions of Colorado.  Check the website for special offers on attractions and lodging, too.  Also, be sure to download a copy of the Official State Vacation Guide, or check out a paper copy from our library.

Royal Gorge Bridge. Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office.


Mother Cabrini

On July 7, 1946, a Colorado nun was canonized as the first American saint.  Mother Frances Cabrini, an Italian immigrant, came to Colorado in 1902 and in 1911 purchased a site on Lookout Mountain, near Golden, as a convent, shrine, and retreat.  Due to her work with the many immigrants that came to Colorado in the early twentieth century, Mother Cabrini is known as the patron saint of immigrants.  You can read more about her Colorado legacy at the State Library's Colorado Virtual Library website, which features biographies of famous Coloradans, and in the University Press of Colorado's book Colorado Catholicism, by Thomas J. Noel, available for checkout from the State Publications Library.


Cleaning Up and Returning Home After Floods and Mudslides

Last September's floods left many with difficult clean-up before being able to return home.  With the significant amount of burn areas in Colorado, floods remain a threat for this year, and Mesa County has already seen mudslides this spring.  If your home is affected, it can be overwhelming to think about all you need to do so that you can return to your home.  So, the State of Colorado has put together a new guidebook, After the Flood:  A Guide to Returning to Your Home and Cleaning Up from the Colorado Department of Public Health and EnvironmentThe guidebook addresses such topics as drinking water safety, mold prevention and treatment, sewage cleanup, food safety, debris disposal, well water, hazardous materials including asbestos, and more.  There's even a discussion on how to dispose of dead livestock.  Finally, the guidebook lists resources you can contact to get help.  This is a handy guidebook for those who are cleaning up from the current mudslides, and for those living in potential flood regions. 


Colorado Fireworks Safety, Rules, and Laws

This Friday will be the Fourth of July, and many people like to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks.  Be sure you know the rules about fireworks in Colorado, however, before you buy or use illegal fireworks.  It is also important to understand the fire safety risks of using fireworks. 

Fireworks sales and displays are regulated by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.  If you are or would like to become a fireworks retailer or a pyrotechnics operator for professional shows, you can find the applications here.  The site also includes a permit application for a site to display fireworks, and listings of the rules and statutes regarding fireworks in Colorado.

The State has published several helpful resources for Coloradans about home use of fireworks.  Be sure to check out the Colorado Legislative Council's Issue Brief, The Sale and Use of Fireworks in Colorado.  To find out about disposal of fireworks, click here for information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Finally, many pets have a fearful reaction to fireworks.  For more on pets and fireworks, see this article from Colorado State University.

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