Baking Bread at High Altitude

High altitude baking can be a challenge for newcomers to Colorado and other mountainous states, and bread can be one of the more tricky items to bake at high altitude.  Altitude affects baking because of a change in barometric pressure.  Since some adjustments need to be made at these altitudes, including adjustments in temperature and amounts of flour, the Colorado State University Extension has released a number of publications over the years to help bakers achieve the lightest, fluffiest, tastiest bread possible.  The publications listed below, available from our library, include some historical publications that are not only fun to read, but contain some time-tested tips that can still be helpful today.  They also shed a light on the cultural importance of baking that has waned over the years as food staples are easily available in grocery stores.  Be sure to check out:
And, for more nostalgia, check out this 1924 publication: 
Cleaning the Cupboard and Bread Box


Campus Architecture

The Summer 2014 issue of Mines magazine features a story on the campus's historic architecture, "Building History:  Campus Structures Reveal Mines' Past."  Campus structures include buildings by famous Colorado architects Robert Roeschlaub and Temple Hoyne Buell.  The article features some excellent photographs of the buildings around campus, from the 1870s to the present day. 

A history of the campus architecture can also be found for the University of Colorado.  William R. Deno's Body and Soul:  Architectural Style at the University of Colorado can be checked out from our library.  Check our library's web catalog for more resources on Colorado historic architecture and college and university histories. 


Agricultural Chemicals and Water Quality

The Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have teamed up to bring you the Agricultural Chemicals Groundwater Protection Water Quality Database.  This database and accompanying map feature provide "groundwater quality monitoring results by year and geographic location for pesticides and inorganic compounds including nitrate–nitrogen. All reports are printable summaries of the requested information. Because the program focuses on geographical areas with extensive agricultural chemical use, the data does not represent typical groundwater quality in Colorado."  Data can be searched and sorted by geographic area, well type, chemical type, and date. 


Crime Statistics

Each year the Colorado Bureau of Investigation publishes a report on their website, Crime in Colorado, with statistics on crime for the past year.  The reports are interactive rather than book-form, to make searching for specific stats easier.  Each year's report is archived online so that researchers can go back and compare statistics from year to year.  Among the statistics included in these reports are crime trends, arrests, and statistics by type of crime (homicide, theft, arson, etc.)

The Colorado Department of Public Safety's Office of Research and Statistics also publishes crime statistics on their website.  This site illustrates with graphs such information as arrests/crimes based on total population; county and statewide crime rates; arrest rates; and incarceration statistics. Criminal justice agencies such as law enforcement agencies and district attorneys can also obtain up-to-date statistics by contacting the CBI's Colorado Crime Information Center.


Squirrels in Colorado

January 21 has been designated Squirrel Appreciation Day (I don't make this stuff up).  The cute, fuzzy creatures with their amusing acrobatics are a common sight in Colorado.  Squirrels live in Colorado year-round, gathering up food and making nests.  So if you find leftover food littering your neighborhood, don't assume your neighbors are piggy -- it's most likely the work of squirrels.  Squirrels often live near bird populations, especially if bird feeders are present, and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish bird nests from squirrel nests.  Squirrels also make a chattering call that can be confused with birdcalls.

Colorado has two categories of squirrels -- ground squirrels and tree squirrels.  There are several species of ground squirrels in Colorado, ranging from the spotted ground squirrel on the Eastern Plains to the rock squirrels in the mesas and canyons of Western Colorado.  Some species also live in the mountains.  Some interesting historical information on ground squirrels can be found in the publications Life-History Studies of the Wyoming Ground Squirrel (Citellus elegans elegans) in Colorado (1931), The Ground Squirrels of Colorado (1924), A Contribution to the Life History of the Wyoming Ground Squirrel (Citellus elegans) in Colorado (1920), The Striped Ground Squirrels of Colorado (1914), and The Wyoming Spermophile or Ground Squirrel, Citellus elegans (1913), all available for checkout from our library. 
The fox squirrel is common in the
Denver metro area.  Photo courtesy
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Tree squirrels include the fox squirrel, which is the species you are most likely to see in your backyard if you live in the Denver metro area.  Fox squirrels are not native to Colorado.  The other two species of tree squirrel found in Colorado, Abert's and pine squirrels, live in the mountainous parts of the state.  For in-depth information on the pine squirrel, see The Influence of Population Density and Body Size on the Behavioral Ecology of the Pine Squirrel, a 1988 publication of the University of Colorado-Boulder available for checkout from our library. 

Basic facts on all of these squirrel species, including range, habitat, reproduction, scientific names, and tips on living with wildlife can be found on the Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife's species profile page.  Search our web catalog for more resources on Colorado wildlife.


I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane

Tired of being stuck in traffic on I-70 as you head home from the mountains?  The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been working on constructing an eastbound I-70 peak period shoulder lane that should help ease some of the congestion along the interstate as skiers, trucks, and others make their way toward Denver.  Construction of the lane is supposed to be completed this month.  For more information on the construction, including a project schedule, public meeting information, videos, and project benefits, see CDOT's project webpage.


Answers to Common Tax Questions

2014 W-2s are headed to a mailbox near you, so it's time to start preparing for tax season.  The Colorado Department of Revenue has set up a helpful webpage with quick answers to many of the most common tax questions, with special reference to Colorado's specific tax laws.  Here you can find information on such varied topics as tax forms, income tax credits, military filing information, direct deposit of refunds, part-year or non-resident filing, amending a return, tax refund interception, extensions, and more.  Tax forms and instructions can be found here on the Department's website.  Further information on tax topics can also be found in the Department's FYI series of fact sheets.  These fact sheets are also available from our library, including back issues.  Finally, if you still need help, the Department of Revenue has created a series of instructional videos and a taxation blog, which can both be found here.


Inaugural Speeches of Colorado Governors

Governor Frederick W. Pitkin,
1879-1883.  Courtesy Colorado
State Archives. 
Today is Inauguration Day in Colorado -- the governor's swearing-in.  In our library you can find the inaugural addresses of many of Colorado's past governors, all the way back to Governor Frederick W. Pitkin in 1881.  In fact, we have Governor Pitkin's inaugural address in German, along with those of several other early governors.  Colorado had a large German-speaking population in the late nineteenth century, so state documents were printed in three languages -- German, English, and Spanish. 

Through the years, Colorado governors' inaugural messages changed with the times, as state and national events made their impact on our state.  Yet as the times changed, the optimistic, can-do attitude of the speeches did not change.  Pitkin's successor (and predecessor), John L. Routt, discussed state lands, irrigation, mining, and the construction of the State Capitol in his January 1891 inaugural address.  Thirty-six years later, in 1927, Governor William H. Adams also addressed agriculture and mining, but focused heavily on a new issue unforeseen in Governor Routt's day -- state highways.

Governor John C. Vivian,
1943-1947.  Courtesy Colorado
State Archives.
Governor Ralph L. Carr noted in his 1939 inaugural speech, "Can we not unite in a common cause for the good of Colorado? Our goal should be the establishment of economy and efficiency in state government."  While Carr served as the state's chief executive at the outset of WWII, John C. Vivian presided at the time of its conclusion:  "Colorado is about to enter one of the most important epochs in its history.  We are preparing, in common with other sovereignities, to emerge from the state of war and plan for peace and peace time pursuits.  We have given to the war effort, all that has been asked of us.  We shall continue this policy until hostilities cease, even to the last dollar in our treasury and the last vestige of manpower," he remarked in January 1945. 

Governor James Peabody,
1903-1905. Courtesy Colorado
State Archives.
Perhaps the most interesting of the inaugural speeches in our library's collection is the joint message of Governors James Peabody and Alva Adams, two of Colorado's three governors in a day in 1905.  In the 1904 elections, Adams, a Democrat, won the vote, but his opponent, incumbent Republican Peabody, sued the state claiming that the election was fraudulent.  Two months into Adams' term, the Republican-controlled legislature favored Peabody and declared him the winner, on the condition that he resign within twenty-four hours.  In our library you can find a 1905 copy of Alva Adams' concise remarks preceding his resignation, bound with Governor Peabody's long, detailed inaugural speech covering many points of state government.  Following the speech he, too, resigned, and his lieutenant governor, Jesse F. McDonald, took the reins.  I was unable to verify the existence of an inaugural speech for McDonald; likely, he didn't need one, as his predecessor so exhaustively covered so much.  However, our library does have a copy of McDonald's "biennial message" (today known as the State of the State speech) from 1907, two years later.  Check our library's web catalog for these and other historic Colorado documents.


Teen Drivers: Resources for Parents

Parents, is your teen anxious to get in the driver's seat?  The requirements for driver's ed have changed a lot since we got our licenses in the '70s, '80s, and '90s.  Colorado now requires permitted drivers to log practice drive time, and new drivers to use a Graduated Drivers' License (GDL).  The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has developed a new Online Parent Course on the GDL.  The website in the link above also provides other parent information such as the licensing process and teen driving laws.  Parents looking for information to give their teens about topics such as districted driving, drinking and driving, seat belts, and winter driving, may want to check out the Driver's Seat Tool Kit, also available from CDOT.  Finally, the Colorado Driver Handbook, produced by the Colorado Department of Revenue, is available online from our library. 


Carbon Monoxide: Be Aware of the "Silent Killer"

Carbon monoxide (CO) is often called the "silent killer" because it is a colorless, odorless gas that causes oxygen to be depleted from the bloodstream.  To avoid carbon monoxide poisoining, it is important to make sure your furnace, water heater, and other gas appliances are in good working order.  Don't leave your car running in a closed garage.  And make sure you have plenty of ventilation when using wood or coal burning stoves.  One of the smartest ways to protect yourself is to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.  Often these are sold in combination smoke/CO alarms.  (New homes are required by state law to have CO alarms installed when constructed).  The Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management has released a new blog post with tips on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and how to recognize the symptoms.  For more on the dangers of carbon monoxide and the importance of CO alarms, see the following resources available from our library:


Rockfall Mitigation Video

How does the state transportation department (CDOT) clean up the roadways after a major rockfall?  CDOT has created a video to show you.  Just shy of a year ago, on January 12, 2014, a major rockfall on Red Mountain Pass in southwestern Colorado kept the Million Dollar Highway closed for a month; the governor declared it a "disaster emergency."  The video that CDOT made of the cleanup project is entitled Rocks on Red Mountain Pass:  An Event that Tested Community, Commitment and Courage and is available to view online.

For basic background information on rockfall (also known as rockslides), see the Colorado Geological Survey's publication Rockfall in Colorado.  Search our library's web catalog for more resources, including technical studies from CDOT.


Colorado's Jewish Pioneers

This week's episode of the local PBS show Colorado Experience will feature Jewish pioneers.  Colorado's history has been shaped by many notable Jewish persons, including Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, who lived in Denver as a teenager; Frances Wisebart Jacobs, who founded National Jewish Hospital and is memorialized with a stained glass window in the state capitol; Dr. Charles Spivak, who revolutionized care for consumptives; and many more.  For more on National Jewish and the Jewish community's assistance of consumptives (tuberculars), see this blog posting from the Colorado State Library's Yesterday's News Blog.

Many resources on the history of Colorado's Jewish community can be found in our library.  Selected titles include:
  • Pioneers, Peddlers, and Tsadikim:  The Story of Jews in Colorado by Ida Libert Uchill, University Press of Colorado, 2000.
  • Dr. Charles David Spivak:  A Jewish Immigrant and the American Tuberculosis Movement by Jeanne E. Abrams, University Press of Colorado, 2009.
  • "In Search of Wealth and Health:  Denver's Early Jewish Community," by Jeanne E. Abrams, in Denver Inside and Out, History Colorado, 2011.
  • "The Guggenheim Family in Colorado," by Donald Popham, Colorado Magazine, October 1950.
  • "The Jewish Colony at Cotopaxi," by Dorothy Roberts, Colorado Magazine, July 1941.
  • "Rabbi Charles E. H. Kauvar," by Michael Rubinoff, Colorado Magazine, Summer 1977.
  • "Suffering from Want:  The Jewish Colony at Cotopaxi," by Andy Stine, Colorado Heritage, Autumn 2003.

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