12.31.2014

10th Mountain Division

Today came the news that Earl Clark, who served with the 10th Mountain Division in WWII and organized a national association for veterans of the 10th, has died.  Clark was also inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. 

The 10th Mountain Division was organized during WWII as the "soldiers on skis" who were specially trained for mountain fighting.  Much of their training took place at Camp Hale, near Leadville.  The Division, including Mr. Clark, fought in northern Italy in WWII and helped to force the Nazis out of that region.  The 10th Mountain Division still exists, though no longer based in Colorado, and has recently trained soldiers for the mountains of Afghanistan.

The Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department and the Colorado Historical Society (History Colorado) both have extensive collections of 10th Mountain Division archives and artifacts.  One interesting artifact held by History Colorado is the 10th Mountain Division diary of Dan Kennerly. This diary of the Italy campaign has been published in the Spring 2004 issue of Colorado Heritage magazine, which is available for checkout from our library. 
 

12.30.2014

Candy Apple Recall

Several brands of candy apples are being recalled due to possible listeria contamination.  At least four people have died from eating the contaminated candy apples.  For specific information on which brands are being recalled, see the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)'s recalls page.

Everyone should be aware of basic food safety guidelines.  Several publications available from our library contain important food safety information.  Be sure to check out Bacterial Foodborne Illness from the Colorado State University Extension and CDPHE's Listeria webpage for helpful information.  Search the term "food safety" in our web catalog for more publications, including information on other conditions such as botulism; how to keep your food safe during warm weather or a power outage; farmers' market food safety guidelines; and serving safe foods to children.

12.29.2014

Colorado's Water: Online Exhibits



Dot and Delph Carpenter and Ralph Parshall,
from the CSU Water Resources Archive
Colorado State University's Water Resources Archive is a treasure trove of digital documents relating to the history of water and water rights in our state.  Materials include theses and studies from CSU as well as the Western Waters Digital Library, which includes materials from 20 universities.  Also of interest on the Water Resources Archive website is a series of virtual exhibits featuring documents and photographs highlighting select persons and events in Colorado's water history.  Right now you can view exhibits on Delph Carpenter and Ralph Parshall, two of the most important names in Colorado's water history.  Dot Carpenter, Delph's wife, is also featured in an exhibit highlighting her contributions.  Another exhibit covers 110 years of water rights in Colorado. 

To locate even more resources on Colorado's water history, visit our library's web catalog.  Two of the resources available from our library are Delph Carpenter, Father of Colorado River Treaties and The Parshall Measuring Flumeboth publications discussing the work of the two men highlighted in the online exhibits. 





12.24.2014

Nonprofit Board Member Course

Don't let this be your Board!
With the new year often comes new board members for nonprofits.  If you are joining a nonprofit board this upcoming year, or just want a refresher, check out the Colorado Secretary of State's Nonprofit Board Member Course.  This helpful online tool can give you tips on board governance, personnel issues, financial responsibilities, and much more. 

12.23.2014

Economic Forecasts

The quarterly economic forecasts were released yesterday by the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) and the Legislative Council.  The December forecasts are important because they are the forecasts referred to for much of the legislation that is introduced from January, the beginning of the legislative session, until March 20 when the next forecasts are released.  The OSPB and Legislative Council forecasts often have slightly different predictions, so it is helpful to compare the two and not just rely on one or the other.  The good news is, both forecasts are showing economic growth in Colorado. 

Back issues of the forecasts are available from our library.  Click here for the OSPB forecasts and here for the Legislative Council forecasts.  Additionally, at the end of each year the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business publishes the Colorado Business Economic Outlook, which also contains economic forecasting for the year ahead.  View the just-released 2015 Outlook here, and see back issues here.  If you need an issue of any of the publications listed above and it is not online, check with our library as we have older issues in print. 

12.22.2014

Help for Rural Colorado Job Seekers

Finding a job can be difficult enough, but if you are a job seeker living in a rural area, it can be even harder.  That is why the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) developed the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium.  Check out the CRWC's website for helpful information on finding a job in rural Colorado, including notices about upcoming classes and trainings; locations of Workforce Centers; veterans' information; employment projections by region; information on the Workforce Investment Act and the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act; and more.  For more job seeker resources see the CDLE's Find a Job webpage.

12.18.2014

Teacher and Principal Evaluations

SB10-191 set forth new laws requiring evaluation of teachers and principals, otherwise known as educator effectiveness.  The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has created a state model evaluation system based on recommendations in SB-191.  There are many components to the system including rubrics, determination of ratings, and teacher quality standards.  All the information can be found on CDE's respective teacher and principal model evaluation system webpages.  Other school service specialists, such as school counselors, school nurses, etc., also need to be evaluated.  Information on evaluation of specialists can be found here.

A number of resources on educator evaluations are available online from our library.  Helpful resources include:

TEACHERS
PRINCIPALS
SPECIALISTS

12.17.2014

Colorado Cottage Foods Act

It is becoming increasingly popular to produce one's own food or buy products directly from farmers and other producers.  Many cities such as Denver now allow residents to keep chickens, goats, and bees, to produce fresh eggs, milk and cheese, and honey.  Others have signed up for cooperatives where they can buy fresh milk direct from the farm.  There are health concerns to be aware of when buying or producing such items, however; for example, the milk is unpasteurized. 

To address the safety concerns stemming from the increasing popularity of home-produced foods, the Colorado legislature passed the Colorado Cottage Foods Act in 2013.  If you're interested in either buying or selling these types of products, it's important to become familiar with the rules set forth by this law.  The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has produced a Fact Sheet on the Colorado Cottage Foods Act that contains answers to many common questions, such as labeling, and lists what foods can be legally bought and sold under the Act.  The CDPHE has also issued a producer brochure and an eligibility checklist.  

12.15.2014

Colorado the Least Obese State

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued a press release stating that Colorado is the least obese state in the nation, being #1 in the U.S. for fitness and having the lowest prevalence of diabetes.  Colorado took top honors last year as well.  The CDPHE has published a number of studies on obesity and diabetes in Colorado.  Check out the following resources:

12.10.2014

Emissions Testing

Colorado's emissions testing laws are changing beginning January 2015.  The most significant change is that newer vehicles will need to be tested after seven instead of the current four model years.  This law was changed because new vehicles are being designed to stay efficient for a longer amount of time.  For information on the new laws and what they mean for your vehicle, whatever its age, see this information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Emissions testing in Colorado is overseen by CDPHE's AIR Program.  The program's annual reports are available online from our library.  For further information including locations and hours of testing stations and information on RapidScreen roadside emissions testing, see the CDPHE's Automobile Emissions Inspection webpage.

12.09.2014

Preparedness Factsheets

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and www.readycolorado.gov, the State's official preparedness website, are offering a set of fact sheets or "preparedness bulletins" on the Division's website.  Intended for general audiences, the bulletins are quick summaries on how to prepare for a variety of disasters, including avalaches, earthquakes, electrical outages, fires and floods, landslides, winter storms, and more. 

One particularly timely fact sheet is about holiday cooking safety.  Check out this quick two-pager to find out about how to safely prepare your holiday meals.  The fact sheet offers tips on food safety; cooking with children; and how to avoid burns and cooking fires.  For example, did you know that it is dangerous to use extension cords for cooking appliances?  The fact sheet tells us that they could overload electrical circuits and cause fires.  More about home fires can be found in the bulletin on that topic.


12.08.2014

Flu Season

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is warning that this flu season could be more severe than recent years.  According to the Department's press release, the H3N2 strain of the virus is predominating this year, which in past seasons has been responsible for more severe cases and hospitalizations.  The CDPHE warns that, although the strain is different from that which had been distributed in most flu shots, getting a shot is still your best defense against the flu.  The CDPHE posts influenza data, updated weekly, on their website

If you or a family member does get the flu, be sure to consult the CDPHE's Home Care Guide for information and tips on how to treat the flu at home.  A print edition of the guide is also available from our library.  And although influenza can affect people of any age, young children and the elderly are the most at risk.  For helpful information on protecting the elderly in nursing facilities see the CDPHE's Prevention and Control of Influenza Outbreaks in Long-Term Care FacilitiesSearch our library's web catalog for more influenza resources.

12.05.2014

City and Town Incorporations

Recently the story of the small Colorado town of Bonanza brought the issue of city and town incorporations to our attention.  According to the Secretary of State's office, which oversees town incorporation and abandonment in Colorado, the tiny town did hold a special election regarding whether to un-incorporate the town, and although the majority (11 votes!) did vote in favor, it was not the required two-thirds majority to allow the abandonment (see the Secretary of State's press release for more on Bonanza).

Given the state's mining, railroad, and agricultural heritage, there are hundreds of small towns across Colorado that have been abandoned or un-incorporated through the years.  Some remnants of ghost towns remain, but most of these towns are long forgotten.  Researchers looking for information on town incorporations in Colorado can find records for 1876-1977 at the Colorado State Archives, and from that date to the present at the Secretary of State's office.

Ghost towns can be found both in the mountains and on the plains, and are fun places to visit.  If you'd like to check out some of Colorado's ghost towns, see the Colorado tourism office website's Colorado Ghost Towns webpage or visit the Colorado Department of Transportation's www.ColoradoByways.org, which include several ghost towns along the routes.

The ghost town of St. Elmo, near Buena Vista.  Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office.


12.02.2014

Data Breaches and Identity Theft

Several high-profile data breaches of retailers have occurred recently, so this holiday shopping season, be aware of how to protect yourself and your money.  Several state publications can help you prepare or recover from data breaches and/or identity theft.

What should I do if a data breach occurs at a place I have shopped or done business?
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has prepared a fact sheet, Tips Following a Data BreachHere you can find out about who to contact, whether you should opt for a credit freeze, and what kinds of suspicious activity to look for.  You can also find out more about credit freezes in CBI's fact sheet How to Place a Freeze on Your Credit.

What can I do to protect myself from identity theft?
Carefully monitoring your credit and bank accounts is the best way to detect identity theft.  The CBI suggests you obtain and check your credit reports annually; they explain how in their Credit Reports fact sheet.  Also be sure to monitor your bank statements and your credit card transactions for any suspicious charges or withdrawals.

I own or manage a business.  How can I protect my customers' or clients' information?
The Colorado Attorney General's Office has published two helpful guides on identity theft for businesses:  Protecting Personal Information:  A Guide for Business and the Business Identity Theft Resource Guide.

My identity has been stolen.  Now what?
The Identity Theft Repair Kit from the Colorado Attorney General's Office gives step-by-step instructions for what to do if your identity is stolen.  The kit is available online in both English and Spanish and can also be checked out in hard copy from our library.  The AG's office has also issued a new website, www.stopfraudcolorado.gov, which includes an Identity Theft page with links and steps to take if you have been victimized.

How do I protect myself when doing business online?
The Stop Fraud Colorado website also includes a page on Digital Fraud, where you can find information on how to know if your account is in jeopardy; protect yourself against phishing and other email scams; protect yourself on Facebook; reduce spam; report digital fraud; and secure the data on your smart phone. 

12.01.2014

Fire Safety Laws for Schools

Following a tragic fire that took the lives of 92 children and 3 teachers on December 1, 1958, building codes and fire safety laws for school buildings were greatly expanded and new safety requirements have continued to be added over the years.  The 1958 fire, at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, remains one of the nation's most disastrous fires in terms of lives lost.  Some of the  basic precautions that seem so obvious today, such as doors in stairwells, could have saved numerous lives had they been used in that school. 
 
Here in Colorado, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control oversees fire-safe construction and safety inspections for Colorado public schools.  On their website you can find links to Colorado school construction codes and safety laws, as well as FAQs, forms, and other helpful resources.  School administrators can also request an inspection for their school by visiting this site.  The Division has also teamed up with the Colorado School Safety Resource Center to bring you the School Safety Assistance Guide, which outlines the role of the Division in keeping schools and students safe from fires.