How to Become a Notary Public

Are you interested in becoming a notary?  Notaries are overseen by the Colorado Secretary of State's office.  Their website has all the info you need to apply to become a notary in the State of Colorado.  The website includes training and testing information, laws and rules, a notary handbook, a sample notary journal, statistics, and more.  Anyone can also use this site to find out how to verify a notary public.  The site also links to a "become a notary" page which includes a list of documents which must be filed with the Secretary of State's office in order to become a notary.  Part of the documentation required is a training certificate.  There is also an exam that must be completed.  This exam is available to be taken online.


Chain Laws

A bill being heard in the legislature today could change chain laws for mountain driving, and should this law pass, drivers will need to be aware of the new requirements.  House Bill 15-1173, which is being heard in the House on Second Reading today, would require ALL vehicles traveling on the I-70 Mountain Corridor during wintertime to carry traction equipment.  According to the bill summary,

The bill requires all motor vehicles driving on interstate 70 between Morrison and Dotsero during the snowy season to:
  • Have tires with the mountain-snowflake symbol and a tread depth of 1/8 inch; or
  • Have tires with the M+S or M/S symbol and a tread depth of 1/8 inch;
  • Carry tire chains or an equivalent traction device.
The penalties for a violation are a $100 fine and $32 surcharge. The department of transportation is instructed to erect signs at appropriate places, notifying the public of this requirement. The bill also rewrites the chain law to clarify its provisions.

For information on Colorado's chain laws as they stand today, head to the Colorado Department of Transportation's Travel Center webpage.  Here you will find information sheets on chain laws for commercial vehicles (in the Commercial Vehicles box) and passenger/small commercial vehicles (under the heading Other Information, on the right).  This website also includes information on road conditions; alternative transportation methods; lane closures, construction info, and cone zones; maps of rest areas and welcome centers; travel alerts; tourism; tolling; tunnel information; express lanes; trucker information; and much more.

Photo courtesy CDOT


Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

Under Colorado law nearly 40 different professions are required to report cases of child abuse and neglect.  However, many people in these professions have reported not receiving the proper training on mandatory reporting.  To find out if you are in one of the professions that is required to report, see the list posted at the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)'s website.  If you find your profession in this list and feel that you need additional training, you can access a free online training course from CDHS.

For more resources on this topic see the following resources, available from our library:


Feeding Birds in Winter

Winter can be hard on everyone, including our feathered friends, who sometimes have a hard time finding food during the winter months.  February has been designated National Bird Feeding Month to bring awareness to birds' needs.  To find out how you can help the birds in your backyard, and learn more about them in the process, check out the following publications available from our library:
  • Attracting and Feeding Birds in Winter
  • Denver's Winter Birds
  • Feeding Birds 
  • Guide to the Winter Birds of Colorado 
  • How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
You can also learn more about Colorado's birds at the Colorado Parks & Wildlife's Winter Wildlife Viewing webpage.

Photo courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife.


New Report on the Health Effects of Marijuana

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has just released a new report discussing the potential health effects of marijuana.  The report, Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado, reviews the findings of recent literature on the topic to outline the likely health effects of the substance, and offers recommendations for future data collection and response measures.  Additional state reports on marijuana can be accessed by searching our library's web catalog.


Real Estate Scam Warning

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has announced that a new scam is targeting those involved in real estate transactions.  In this scam, cyber-criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate brokers and sending fraudulent emails to their clients with instructions to wire money.  Because the emails are coming from brokers and the recipients of the emails are currently engaged in the buying and selling process, victims may be fooled into thinking the emails are legitimate.  Therefore, DORA recommends anyone currently involved in a real estate transaction check with their broker, lender, and/or title insurance company before wiring any money. 

If you are a victim of this or another scam, notify the Colorado Attorney General's Office at their website http://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/.  This website is also a helpful resource for learning about how to prevent fraud and what to do if you have been victimized.  The site covers not only internet fraud but also identity theft, creditor fraud, mortgage fraud, telemarketer fraud, and much more. 


Rio Grande Compact

The Rio Grande Compact is an agreement signed in 1938 between Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas to equally apportion and administer the waters of the Rio Grande River.  Approved by Congress in 1939, the Compact includes provision for a Commission made up of the State Engineers from each of the three states (or their designees), and a fourth, federal appointee who serves as Chair.  The Commission publishes an annual report, and our library has recently posted online the full set of these reports going back to the first in 1939.  You can read the full Compact on the Colorado State Engineer's website.  The State Engineer's Office has also published a report summarizing Colorado's interstate compacts, A Summary of Compacts and Litigation Governing Colorado's Use of Interstate Streams, available online from our library. 


Measles and Immunizations

A hot topic this week has been immunizations for children, after news of a recent measles outbreak alongside a continuing debate over whether parents should be able to opt out of vaccinations over concerns of possible connection to conditions such as autism.  Recently the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) posted a news release regarding measles and the importance of

In our library you can find many resources on these topics.  Some recent resources from CDPHE include:

Also be sure to check out the CDPHE's immunizations webpage.  Here you can find out about school and childhood immunizations; where to obtain your immunization records; immunization schedules; state rules; and locations of public health clinics where vaccines are administered.    


New App from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has just released a new app for Apple and Android.  The app presents avalanche danger levels by area and by elevation.  As Colorado experiences a dangerous avalanche season, this information is essential for skiers and others visiting the backcountry during the winter months.  To download the app, click here for Apple and here for Android.

Sample screens from the new app.


New State Health Plan Released

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has just released a new state health plan.  Entitled Healthy Colorado:  Shaping a State of Health, the report details the CDPHE's/State of Colorado's public health improvement efforts planned for the next five years.  According to the CDPHE's press release, the new report brings together the suggestions outlined in "Colorado's 10 Winnable Battles" and Governor Hickenlooper's 2013 "State of Health" report, along with recommendations from the CDC.  It is the state's second public health improvement plan, following the 2009 plan

Previous plans can be accessed from our library, including:
  • Healthy Colorado 2010 (published in 2005)
  • Healthy Colorado:  A Report on Colorado's Efforts to Achieve the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for the Year 2000 (published in 1994)
  • Colorado State Health Plan (published in 1980, 1982, and 1985)


Winter Driving Preparedness

We may have had a few warm days here in the Denver area, but winter is still in full swing, and it is important to be prepared for winter driving, particularly if you are planning on doing any driving in the mountains.  Even if it is sunny here at lower elevations, drivers heading to or over the Rockies should be prepared for ice, snow, and surprise winter weather.  The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has prepared a winter driving preparedness webpage which includes a helpful checklist of items that drivers should have on hand.  CDOT also offers a winter driving webpage that includes information on chain laws (not just for truckers!), avalanche hazards, and safety tips. 

CDOT's suggested winter driving kit.

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