Time Machine Tuesday: Property Tax

Unlike income tax, Colorado has had a property tax since the state was founded -- provisions for a property tax were made in the original state constitution.  In 1877 and 1899 the Legislature tweaked the property tax laws to equalize values.  Then in 1902, a major property tax law was passed, resulting from the significant economic depression of the 1890s.  A special session of the legislature was held in 1902 to address the issue and it established the law requiring all properties to be assessed annually.  Then, in 1910, during an era of reform, a Tax Commission was established.  You can find the annual reports of the Tax Commission in our library. 

Laws were continually tweaked over the years, but the next major property tax law overhaul came in 1964.  A dozen years later, Colorado State University held a tax law symposium, "Property Tax:  Why, Where, and What Next?"  The "primer" for the 1976 program, available in digital form from our library, discusses the history of property tax in Colorado and major legislation, along with a discussion of the property tax in our state.  This is an interesting snapshot of tax laws as they stood nearly 40 years ago and provides an interesting comparison with today's property tax laws, many of which are rooted in the laws passed during the early years of statehood, one hundred years prior to the report.     


Colorado Literacy Week

Lt. Governor Garcia has declared this week as Colorado Literacy Week.  "The goal of this program is to encourage families to make books part of their summer activities to help keep children at grade level when school begins each fall," according to a media release.  Throughout his term, Lt. Gov. Garcia has championed early literacy.  To find out more about the Lt. Governor's early literacy initiatives, see the publication Colorado Reads, available from our library.  See the Colorado Reads program website for more information about the initiative.  Visit our library's online catalog to search for more resources about early literacy in Colorado.


Pollution Prevention Week

This is national Pollution Prevention Week (September 20-26).  There are many things that all of us can do to help our air, land, and water stay clean.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has a number of resources on its website regarding pollution prevention, including on the webpages of the Air Pollution Control Division and the Pollution Prevention Advisory Board.  To learn more about how you can do your part, search the keyword "pollution" in our library's web catalog.  Resources such as Developing a Successful Pollution Prevention Program for Your Small Business and Pollution Prevention in the Home:  A Home Audit Kit can help you learn about what you can do to make changes in your own environment.


Colorado State Forest Service - 60th Anniversary

 The Colorado State Forest Service is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month.  Headquartered at Colorado State University, the Forest Service has spent its six decades educating Coloradans on issues from wildfire to insects and diseases.  The CSFS also issues numerous helpful publications on forestry-related issues, many of which can be found in our library.  Some of the highlights of the CSFS's publications include:


Colorado's Centennial Farms

History Colorado's Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) oversees a unique program celebrating Colorado's agricultural heritage.  The Centennial Farms program recognizes farms and ranches that have been operating for a century or more and whose owners have preserved the farms' stories and structures.  New farms are inducted each year, and History Colorado recently announced the 2015 honorees.  For photos and stories from the 2015 honorees, see OAHP's recent blog post.  Search our library's online catalog for more resources on Colorado's farm and ranching heritage.


Protect Yourself from Credit Card Scams

Any time you use an ATM or pay for gas at the pump using a credit or debit card, you are at risk.  Criminals install "skimmers," or card readers, that get your information off the card's magnetic strip.   Today the Colorado Division of Banking released some tips on how to avoid having your credit/debit information stolen through "skimming":

1. Check for Tampering 
At any ATM, check for signs of tampering or remote installations that don’t appear part of the machine (such as a small camera or wires that appear to be out of place). Look on the card reader and near the speakers. The keyboard should not have a film or cover on it or be more than one piece. There shouldn’t be any loose parts if you give a pull on something that protrudes, like the card reader. Even if these are in check, if something just doesn't feel right about an ATM, don't use it. 
2. Wiggle and Cover
A good practice to get into is to wiggle your card a bit as you swipe it or push it into the reader. Skimmers reportedly have a harder time collecting the data because of the wiggle motion. You can also give a wiggle to the card reader mechanism, keypad and other parts to make sure nothing is loose. Additionally, always use a cover – your hand, your phone, a piece of paper – as you type in your PIN.
3. Use Indoor ATMs
High traffic areas with ATMs inside banks and grocery stores are typically safer than outdoor terminals. Also, the risks for skimming are higher on the weekends because criminals will install the skimmers on Saturdays or Sundays and then remove them before banks open on Monday. Be aware that today’s criminals are sophisticated and no ATM is completely safe.
4. Always Report It
Reporting suspicious activity or theft to your card issuer or bank as soon as possible is paramount to not being held liable to the amount you might lose if you fall victim to an ATM skimming attack. Most financial institutions have a zero liability policy that protect their customers, but there is still a process that needs to be followed. The sooner you report fraudulent activity the better!

You can find more about protecting yourself by checking out the Colorado Attorney General's tips on preventing identity theft and, if you find that your personal information has been stolen, be sure to consult their Identity Theft Repair Kit, available online or in print from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Average Annual Precipitation, 1951-1980

In 1984 the Colorado Climate Center, part of Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science, conducted a study of the average precipitation trends for Colorado for the years 1951 through 1980.  They found that statewide average precipitation for the period dropped from previous studies. Their report includes maps, graphs, and calculations on factors such as snowpack.  The report also examined changes in precipitation levels in certain areas of the state over time.  For example, Longmont and Greeley became wetter over the study period, while the San Luis Valley became drier.  The information presented in this report can be compared with current and recent years' precipitation levels available from the Colorado Climate Center.


Assisted Living

Did you know that September 13-19 is National Assisted Living Week?  The State of Colorado has a number of resources that can help you find information on assisted living facilities in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has a database of facilities in Colorado, with information on the facilities' licensure.  Also, be sure to check out CDPHE's Assisted Living Residence Consumer Resources page for more information.

The Colorado Department of Human Services can also offer assistance on the topic through their Office of Aging and Adult Services.

For additional resources, see our library's Quick Guide for Seniors and Caregivers, offering links to resources as well as search tips for finding inf
ormation in our library.


Saving for College

September is national College Savings Month.  The State of Colorado has several programs that can help you learn how to save for college.
  • College in Colorado, a website developed by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (DHE), has a helpful Money 101 website that walks prospective students through the maze of saving and paying for college, including guidance on income, money management, spending, saving and investing, credit, insurance, taxes, and more.  Information on financial aid is available on College in Colorado's Financial Aid Planning page.
  • CollegeInvest is Colorado's "tax-advantaged 529 College Savings Program" that allows families to begin early investing for their child's college future.
  • The Colorado Challenge, a DHE program, offers counseling for prospective college students from low-income families.
  • The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, another DHE program "aims to...provide financial support to students helping to reduce the unmanageable amounts of student loan debt by graduates today in Colorado.  Scholarships will be available to students through community partnerships beginning in 2016."


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Industry - 1955

Industry in Colorado changed, and grew, significantly following WWII, according to a 1955 publication in our library collection.  "Since World War II, some 300 new industrial and processing firms have entered active production in Colorado," and industry "voluntarily began decentralizing its production and distribution facilities," remarks the report, An Analysis of Industrial Colorado and Its Potential for Industrial DevelopmentThe report starts out with some background on Colorado, such as climate and population.  It then moves into a discussion of the state's industry, including how by that time the economic importance of metal mining had been replaced by extractive industries (coal, oil, natural gas).  The report also discusses the importance of agriculture to the state's economy.  Various types of industry, and their potential for development in Colorado, are discussed at length in the remainder of the report.  This publication gives valuable information on the state of Colorado's industrial economy following World War II, and how it changed over its first century of growth.


Vote for Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts

Now through November 30, you can vote for Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts.  This is the second annual campaign by Colorado Collections Connection (formerly Colorado Connecting to Collections, and of which the Colorado State Library is a part) that seeks to bring awareness to the unique treasures held in Colorado's libraries, museums, and archives.  The artifacts are nominated by their owning institutions; this year, artifacts and documents come from a wide range of institutions including Colorado State Archives, Denver Public Library, Steelworks Center of the West, Pueblo City-County Library, History Colorado, and small museums around the state including Montrose, Gold Hill, Littleton, Estes Park, and others.  The nominated items include those telling the story of Amache relocation camp; the 1955 United Airlines crash over Longmont; the Cheyenne tribe; Colorado's participation in the Civil War; mining history; and more.  Anyone can participate -- vote for your favorite item today!

For information on last year's (2013/14) inaugural contest, read the final report available from our library, or check out the winners here.  For more about Colorado Collections Connection, visit their website.

                                           Colorado State Archives' collection of mugshots of Colorado 
                                                  inmates dating back to 1871 is among the artifacts competing 
                                                                 in Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts.


Time Machine Tuesday: First Report of the Colorado Geological Survey, 1908

The very first report of the Colorado Geological Survey covered the activities of the year 1908.  In addition to giving some information on the geological landscape of Colorado, the report also offers a history of the agency up to that time.  According to the report, the Territorial Legislature had established the office of State Geologist back in 1872; the first person to hold that position was J. Alden Smith.  The laws of the territory signified that the State Geologist would serve a two-year position without compensation.  The Geological Survey itself was created by an act of the Legislature in 1907.  They established an Advisory Board and allocated $5000 to the survey per year.  The report describes the agency's field work, maps, library, and plans for the future.  The remainder of the report includes specific discussions on survey work including tungsten in Boulder; mining in Summit County; the Foothills Formation in northern Colorado; and a survey of the Hahns Peak Region in Routt County.

For many years the Colorado Geological Survey was located within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.  Currently it resides with the Colorado School of Mines.  In 1988 the state published a History of the Colorado Geological Survey that discusses the agency's history including research accomplishments, staffing, and mineral resources.  The CGS-published book Messages in Stone:  Colorado's Colorful Geology also includes some historical information on the organization.  Search our library's web catalog for additional publications from the Colorado Geological Survey. 

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