Time Machine Tuesday: The Rocky Flats Fires

The Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant experienced two large fires, in 1957 and 1969, that resulted in the release of plutonium contaminants into the environment.  In the 1990s the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
conducted public exposure studies on these events and other instances of potential public exposure.  These studies are available from our library, and those with links are also available online:
Cleanup after the 1969 fire.  Photo courtesy CDPHE.
In our library we have around 150 documents related to Rocky Flats, so the above is just a sampling.  Documents range from the 1990s CDPHE studies to the reports of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel and other citizen committees.  Also in our collection is a 1979 nuclear emergency plan.  For these and more resources search our web catalog.


Colorado Women's History Month

Today the Legislature is considering SJR15-020, which designates March as Colorado Women's History Month.  In our library collection you can find many resources on the contributions women have made to our state's history, including:

  • Colorado Women:  A History
  • Colorado Women's History:  A Multicultural Treasury
  • Directory of Women's History Sites in the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties
  • Women's Gold:  Prominent Women in Colorado History (videocassette)
  • Women's Clubs of Denver 
  • Summary Report of the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women, 1965
  • Pioneer Potluck:  Stories and Recipes of Early Colorado
  • Junior League of Denver
  • Colorado Profiles:  Men and Women Who Shaped the Centennial State
  • Hell's Belles:  Prostitution, Vice, and Crime in Early Denver
  • Tell Me, Grandmother:  Traditions, Stories, and Culture of Arapaho People
  • Long Vistas:  Women and Families on Colorado Homesteads

 Also, you can find biographies on Colorado women such as:
  • Irene Jerome Hood:  A Victorian Woman and Her Art
  • A Wide-Awake Woman:  Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform
  • The Ballad of Baby Doe
  •  Helen Ring Robinson:  Colorado Senator and Suffragist


Time Machine Tuesday: 1950s Comic Books

No, we don't have comic books in our collection.  But we do have an interesting document that deals with them, and gives some fascinating insight into 1950s culture. 

In 1956, Colorado actually had an interim committee in the Legislature to deal with the "problems" brought about by comic books!  The 1956 Report of the Committee on Comic Books is available online from our library and provides an intriguing look at the morals and attitudes of the 1950s.  According to the report, the committee met to discuss "allegations...that such publications...may tend to provoke acts of juvenile delinquency or crime," and whether comic books that were "inherently objectionable should be made unlawful...or should be so regulated as to eliminate their evil." 

Check out the full report to find out what the Committee decided.  In our library you can also find the related legislation that was developed by the Committee.  



Railroad Crossing Safety

A recent news story offered a history of recent incidents of rail crashes resulting in death, citing 29 deaths in Colorado in the last 5 years, including both heavy rail and light rail incidents.  Last week the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a press release to bring awareness to this issue and provide safety advice for railroad crossings.  The PUC offered the following tips:

Rail Crossing Safety Tips for everyone:
· Always expect a train at a railroad crossing at any time, on any track, from any direction;
· Always look both directions for a train at any railroad crossing.

Rail Crossing Safety Tips for drivers:
· Don’t drive around crossing gates – it is both unsafe and illegal to do so in Colorado;
· It is both unsafe and illegal in Colorado to stop or allow yourself to become trapped on tracks. Proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping;
· Always obey warning signs at a railroad crossing whether they are passive (signs) or active (flashing lights, gates, bells).

Rail Crossing Safety Tips for pedestrians and bicyclists:
· Be alert and aware when you are around railroad tracks and at light rail and commuter rail train stations;
· Don’t wear headphones or stare at your phone when you are around railroad crossings;
· Always obey safety warnings whether they are passive (signs) or active (flashing lights, gates, bells, pedestrian swing gates);
· Don’t trespass on railroad or light rail tracks.

 For more in-depth information see the PUC's Three Year Safety and Security Audit Summary of the Metro Denver Area Regional Transportation District (RTD) Light Rail Operation 2008 through 2010, available online from our library.  See also the Colorado Department of Transportation's State Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, also available online from our library, which addresses some safety issues.


Hunger and the Elderly

An article in this month's State Legislatures magazine cites a study that says the number of elderly who are going hungry is rising.  Seniors with low or fixed incomes can often not afford to eat as well as they should, and those elderly who are ill or on medication often do not regain their health as quickly if they do not have a proper diet.  The high cost of medications also causes many low-income seniors to have to choose between medications and food, according to the article.

Yesterday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a press release stating that their Healthy Food Assistance for Seniors program is underutilized in Colorado.  The program "reimburses care providers for serving healthy meals and snacks based on the income of the participants' families."  Adult day care participants who are beneficiaries of Medicaid and/or Supplemental Social Security are eligible to receive free meals through caregivers participating in the program. 

For more information on CDPHE's program see the Child and Adult Care Food Program Manual and Colorado Older Adult Resource: Implementation Guide for the Colorado Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan 2010, available from our library.  Also be sure to check out Nutrition and Aging, a Colorado State University Extension fact sheet also available from our library.  More resources for and about seniors can be found by searching our web catalog or our library's Quick Guide for Seniors and Caregivers.


Holding a Raffle

It is important to be aware that raffles must be licensed in Colorado.  According to the Colorado Secretary of State,

ONLY a licensed organization may hold a raffle.
The only organizations qualified to be licensed are: bona-fide religious, charitable, labor, fraternal, educational, voluntary firemen’s or veterans’
organizations, and only if they:
•    have an organization in Colorado
•    operate without profit to their members
•    have been in continuous existence for 5 years immediately prior to the application for a license
•    have a membership engaged in carrying out the purposes of the organization during the entire 5 year period
•    have at least one member who is currently certified or will be certified as a games manager at the time of the issuance of the license

The Secretary of State's office has a number of resources that can teach your organization how to hold a raffle legally.  First of all, check out their Planning a Raffle guide for the basics.  If you still need more help or information, check out the office's Bingo and Raffles webpage, which includes a link to consultation services as well as financial information and the state's official rules. 


Bicycling in Colorado

The weather is warming up, so many people are getting back on their bikes after a long, snowy winter.  The Colorado Department of Transportation offers several helpful bicycle maps for planning your routes.  They have developed an interactive Bicycle & Byways Map app that uses geolocation to find bike routes near where you are located.  If you prefer an old-fashioned paper map, we have the  Bicycle Colorado set of regional maps available for checkout from our library.  We also have a 2004 Colorado Bicycling Map that is also available for checkout.  Other resources include the Colorado Bicycling Manual and a video, Share the Road.  Find more resources from our library by searching our web catalog.


Healthy Kids Colorado Survey

Over the past decade, various state agencies have partnered to conduct the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, an anonymous survey that collects data on health-related behaviors of children and youth.  The survey provides data on physical activity and nutrition, injury and violence, mental health, sexual health, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, and more.  Because some of these are controversial topics, Senate Bill 15-077, known as the "Parent's Bill of Rights," calls for parental approval to take the survey.  Opponents argue that if this passes, the survey will be skewed and will not have the intended effects such as grant funding, according to an article in today's paper.

Whatever your view on the parental issue, the survey reports provide helpful data on child and youth health and behaviors.  The most recent report, with data from 2013, is newly available in print and online through our library. Search keyword Healthy Kids Colorado Survey in our library's web catalog for reports from previous years.


Colorado's K-12 School Funding Rankings

School funding is a hot topic in Colorado, so the Colorado Legislative Council recently published a new Issue Brief examining Colorado's K-12 school funding rankings.  According to the Brief, "public schools in Colorado are funded from a combination of federal, state, and local sources, totaling approximately $8.9 billion in FY 2012-13."  Using graphs and charts to illustrate, the Brief reports that Colorado ranks #39 in per-pupil funding as of 2011-12, the most recent data available.  However, this ranking may have changed since then as a result of the changing budget situation.  The Brief also points out that some differences in states' rankings depend on the cost of living in various states and regions.  For further resources on school funding in Colorado, see the following publications, available from our library:


Littleton Turns 125

Credit: Wikipedia
In case you missed the story in Saturday's paper, Littleton is celebrating its 125th birthday this year.  With an 1890 population of about 1000 and a current population of over 44,000, Littleton isn't so little anymore.  (Actually, the name comes from founder Richard Little).  The city was able to grow thanks to two rail lines that ran through.  Littleton is proud of its history, showcasing a historic main street and a terrific museum.  The photo at right shows the Littleton Town Hall, designed by famed architect Jacques Benedict in 1920.  

In our library you can find a number of helpful resources from the State of Colorado about the history of Littleton, including planning documents from 1958 and 1967, geology information, and Columbine High School reports.  Also be sure to check out Leroy Hafen's 1927 History of Colorado for historical information on Littleton, and Guide to Colorado Historic Places, available for checkout from our library, which explores some of Littleton's historic buildings.  Search keywords "Littleton" and "Arapahoe County" in our library catalog to find more resources.

Several smaller Colorado towns -- Windsor, Sheridan, Elizabeth, De Beque, Walden, and Cheyenne Wells -- are also celebrating their quasquicentennial this year. 


Vesicular Stomatitis in Livestock

Vesicular Stomatitis is a virus that affects livestock, particularly cattle, horses, and swine.  The Colorado Department of Agriculture has been monitoring the virus, which can be highly contagious among livestock populations.  The Department's Vesicular Stomatitis website has a wealth of information for farmers and ranchers regarding the virus and how to prevent it.  The website contains current statistics on the number of affected premises; virus occurrences and quarantines by county; situation reports; prevention flyers; guidelines for shows and fairs; various articles and technical reports; and a link to a facebook feed with the latest updates.  If you own livestock, check out this website to help prevent your animals from becoming affected. 


Consumer Protection Week

This is National Consumer Protection Week, and two state agencies that deal with this issue have both released new resources to help consumers.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) announced today the release of a new website, Take 5 To Get Wise.  The website and ad campaign aim to get Coloradans to "take 5 minutes" to check out the companies and individuals they are doing business with before they become a victim.  The website includes articles and resources on consumer protection as well as quick links to databases of licensed professionals in Colorado.

The Colorado Attorney General's Office has released their annual list of the top consumer complaints for 2014.  The number one complaint, regarding debt collection companies, had nearly twice as many complaints as the number two complaint!  This week the AGO also released tips on IRS scams as tax day approaches.  Finally, the AGO has a new website, http://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/, with tons of helpful information about many types of fraud, from scams to identity theft.


Liquor Licenses

Today the state House passed HB15-1204 on second reading; if passed on third reading tomorrow, it will move to the Senate.  This bill creates a new type of liquor license in Colorado - the Distillery Pub license.  This license is similar to the State's current Brew Pub license, but concerns the production of spirits rather than of beer.  Similar to the Brew Pub license, the new license requires an establishment to serve meals, with at least 15% of its gross income from the sale of food.

Colorado has a number of different types of liquor licenses, and for those opening a new establishment, it can be confusing to decide which type of license best fits your business.  The Colorado Department of Revenue offers a very helpful website with answers to many common liquor licensing questions.  You can also download lists of all currently licensed establishments, recently expired licenses, new licenses, special events permits, tasting rooms, and more at their liquor license webpage.  The lists are updated monthly.  The Department of Revenue also produces an annual report of violations and enforcement actions against licensed establishments; it is available online from our library.

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