The Colorado Department of Higher Education has teamed up with local businesses to create StudyColorado, an initiative to promote Colorado as a higher education destination.  The program especially focuses on encouraging international students to choose Colorado.  The program works to "create new economic opportunities for Colorado businesses through the influx of international students and their families" and "to foster lasting relationships between international students and Colorado that will benefit international trade and investment."  Member institutions include all state-funded colleges and universities as well as private schools such as Colorado College, Naropa University, Regis University, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and the University of Denver.

Use the website's Explore Schools tool to compare statistics on the 25 member institutions.  This is a great resource for anyone researching Colorado schools -- not just international students.  The StudyColorado site also includes information on how to obtain an international student visa, cost of living information, financial aid resources for international students, and more.


School Required Vaccines

Colorado law requires students to be vaccinated before attending school.  This includes day care and college.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has set up a webpage, School Required Vaccines, which explains all you need to know about back-to-school vaccinations.

Starting this year, parents who wish to exempt their children from vaccinations will need to fill out an exemption form.  The forms and accompanying information are available on the CDPHE website.

Finally, the state has a program to allow children from low-income families to receive their vaccinations free of charge.  For information, see the CDPHE's Vaccines for Children webpage.


Time Machine Tuesday: Wolf Creek Pass

August 21 marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Wolf Creek Pass road in Southwestern Colorado.  Proclaimed by the Durango Herald as "The State's No. 1 Dangerous Pass," the road is an adventure at 10,857 feet.  And as hair-raising as it is in today's modern vehicles, just imagine driving a Model T through Wolf Creek Pass!

Decision to build the Wolf Creek Pass road was made due to the need for a replacement for the old Elwood Pass road, which had been destroyed by a 1911 flood.  Construction began in 1914; you can read about it in the Biennial Report of the State Highway Commission, which our library has digitized.  This is a bound volume that includes the biennial reports for 1910 through 1916.  Pages 106-107 of the 1914 report describe the road's construction, and pages 108 through 111 of the 1916 report detail the construction expenses.  After two years and $100,000 the pass road opened on August 21, 1916 with a huge celebration.  According to the Colorado Department of Transportation's Highways to the Sky, "on completion of the road in 1916, drivers by the hundreds took the chance to cross the new pass."  The road has been rebuilt several times, but it continues in its legacy as one of the state's most beautiful -- and dangerous -- mountain passes.

Tourists on the Wolf Creek Pass road in 1916.  Photo by O.T. Davis, courtesy CDOT.


Amending the Colorado Constitution

The presidential election may be getting all the attention, but this November is going to be a very significant ballot year in Colorado.  Already there are four initiatives approved for the ballot, and five others are pending approval from the Secretary of State, who tabulates the signatures received on petitions.

According to the Secretary of State's recent press release, one of the issues approved to appear on the ballot this year is Initiative #96, which would make it harder to amend the State Constitution.  It would require that "any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least 2 percent of the registered electors in each of the 35 state Senate districts. The percentage of votes to pass any proposed constitutional amendment would be increased from a majority to at least 55 percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed amendment only repeals any provision of the constitution."

The ease of amending the Colorado constitution has long been debated in political circles, and constitutional conventions have occasionally been proposed in recent years.  In our library you can find numerous resources regarding the amending of the state constitution, including some resources from earlier decades that still capture the issue as it stands today, and offer a history of Colorado's constitutional amendments and attempts.  Selected resources from our library include:

See also our library's Blue Book Finding Aid, which includes links to Colorado ballot proposal analysis booklets back to 1954.

To view the Colorado Constitution as it stands today, along with versions back to 2004, see the Colorado and United States Constitutions booklets from the Colorado Secretary of State. The following historical publications include copies of the state constitution as they stood in that respective year:
  • The Compiled Laws of Colorado, 1921
  • The Revised Statutes of Colorado, 1908
  • State of Colorado Legislative Manual 
Publications listed here that do not include URLs can be viewed in or checked out from our library.  As always, for more resources, search our library's online catalog.


Tips to Avoid Roofing Fraud

Recent hailstorms in the south metro area have brought out roofing scammers.  Before you hire a roofer to fix your hail damage, be sure to follow these tips from the Colorado Division of Insurance:

1.    Don’t hire a contractor who knocks on your door following a storm. Most legitimate roofing contractors do not conduct business this way.
2.    Additionally, be wary of public adjusters who knock on your door. A public adjuster is generally not needed for simple roof damage claims. If you choose to hire one, verify their license with the Colorado Division of Insurance, as well as check for references and review and understand all documents involved.
3.    Be sure to get estimates from more than one contractor. Look for well-established, licensed, insured and bonded roofing professionals with a federal tax identification number and a permanent address.
4.    Ask for a contractor’s license number and confirm with your city or county building department that the license number was issued by them and is current.
5.    Require references that specifically include other homes in your area, and check them.  Be sure to contact the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints filed against any company you are considering hiring.
6.    Contact the Colorado Roofing Association (CRA), which maintains a current list of licensed, properly insured, professional contractors who have committed to abiding by the CRA Code of Ethics, and have passed a nationally recognized exam that addresses roofing work on residential and/or commercial property.
7.    Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away. Never sign a contract with blanks or statements like “see insurance estimate” - fraudulent contractors may enter unacceptable terms later.
8.    Contractors CAN prepare an estimate for you, discuss that estimate with you, and answer the insurance company’s questions about that estimate. They CANNOT help you adjust or prepare the claim for the insurance company, nor negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.  
9.    Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier.
10. Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until all the work is completed.

Check our library's web catalog or go to Colorado state websites www.askdora.colorado.gov and www.stopfraudcolorado.gov for more consumer and fraud prevention information.


Time Machine Tuesday: Rural Schools

Colorado's agricultural lands in the eastern part of the state and mountainous areas in the western regions may not have the population numbers that can be seen along today's I-25 corridor, but both regions were still home to many families and as a result, schools were needed.  We often associate one-room schoolhouses with the pioneer days, but in fact they persisted well into the 20th century.  Colorado still has many rural schools with far different needs than our urban schools (see the Colorado Department of Education's 2011 Rural Needs Study.  The State Publications Library's digital collections include several fascinating publications about the conditions, populations, and curriculum for Colorado's rural schools between the 1910s and 1970s:
Also be sure to view the reports of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which we have digitized for 1872-1940.

The first schoolhouse in Steamboat Springs, 1886.  Photo courtesy History Colorado.


Back-to-School Toolkit

Back-to-school time is upon us, and this year the Colorado Department of Education has released a new Back-to-School Toolkit full of resources for schools and districts to help them communicate with parents, or for parents to access themselves. These resources cover basic information on assessments, accountability, and educator effectiveness.  Presented in the form of quick and easy-to-read fact sheets, the toolkit includes topics such as:
  • What to expect for the 2016-17 school year
  • Understanding assessment scores
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Academic standards
  • Graduation guidelines
  • Teacher evaluation information
and much more.  For more resources for parents, see the department's Parent and Family Resources webpage.  


National Breastfeeding Month

August has been designated National Breastfeeding Month.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) encourages breastfeeding as the natural, healthy way to feed a baby, and they have issued a number of publications on this topic.  Their major report on breastfeeding is Getting it Right After Delivery:  Five Hospital Practices that Support BreastfeedingOther CDPHE reports include their Breastfeeding Promotion Resource Kit and Lay the Foundation for a Lifetime of Good Health -- Promoting, Protecting, Supporting Breastfeeding.  

Colorado statute specifies that accommodations must be made for nursing mothers in the workplace; see House Bill 08-1286 and the Colorado Revised Statutes for applicable state laws.

For further resources, see CDPHE's Breastfeeding webpage.  See also their webpage with information on the Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides qualifying low-income families with nutritious foods, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support.   


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Prison Populations

How much has Colorado's prison population grown in 40 years?  As of July 31, there are 17,497 inmates in Colorado public and private prisons.  This is quite an increase from 1976, when the incarcerated population was 2,260!  This info is detailed in a 1978 report from the Department of Corrections, which analyzed how prison population projections are made.  You can find inmate population statistics in a number of publications from our library from the 1970s to the present. Search the keyword terms "corrections and population" in our library's web catalog to find older information.  For current statistics, see the Department of Corrections' Departmental Reports and Statistics webpage.


New Rain Barrel Law Going Into Effect

Starting tomorrow, Colorado residents can now collect rainwater to use on their gardens and lawns.  Previously rain barrels were unlawful in Colorado due to complicated water rights and usage laws.  However, due to the passage of HB16-1005, Coloradans may now store up to 110 gallons of rainwater in up to two rain barrels.  For information and tips on how to collect, store, and use rainwater, see the publications Rainwater Collection in Colorado (new!) and Greywater Reuse and Rainwater Harvesting from the Colorado State University Extension.  Also from our library you can view a 2003 fact sheet from the Division of Water Resources that explains the previous law that outlawed rainwater collection.  Finally, for an analysis of the pros and cons of the law, see the Colorado Legislative Council's Issue Brief, Rainwater Harvesting in Colorado, which was prepared in 2009 in response to an earlier attempt at legalizing rain barrels.


School Transportation

Teachers and students aren't the only ones gearing up for back-to-school.  School bus drivers are currently training, testing, and brushing up their skills to keep kids safe during transportation.  The Colorado Department of Education (CDE)'s School Transportation Unit has recently released some new resources of interest to school bus drivers and district administrators.  See their webpage for several brand-new operating guides; rules from the Colorado Code of Regulations; presentations; review schedules; and instructions on how districts can access over 600 school bus training videos.  Also on the webpage is a link to the Colorado Commercial Driver's License manual.  Click on the navy-blue links on the left for information on transporting students with disabilities; bus dealer information; a terrain classification map for mountain driving; and a "technician's toolbox."

Our library also has a number of publications on school transportation, including CDE's First Aid Guide for School Bus Drivers and Bus Assistants. For more resources, search our library's online catalog.


Georgetown's Hotel de Paris

If you're headed to the mountains this summer and are looking for some interesting history, stop in Georgetown -- right off I-70 -- and tour the Hotel de Paris.  The hotel's founder, Louis Dupuy, was born in France and arrived in Denver in 1869.  He opened the hotel in 1875, and from that year until 1890 he made numerous expansions to the original building, which had started out as a bakery.  It soon became one of the most popular and elegant hotels in the Rocky Mountains.  Dupuy passed away in 1900, and new owners kept the establishment running as a boarding house until 1939.  In 1954 the Society of Colonial Dames purchased the hotel and turned it into a museum.  In 1978 it was returned to a more accurate representation of the Dupuy era, and since then has been giving visitors a look back into life in a late-nineteenth-century mining town.  Hotel de Paris is also Colorado's only National Trust for Historic Preservation site.  The museum's collection includes several thousand objects original to the hotel.

To commemorate the hotel's rich history and its purchase by the Colonial Dames, the Colorado Historical Society in 1954 published a book on Hotel de Paris.  Hotel de Paris and Louis Dupuy in Georgetown, Colorado:  A Fragment of Old France Widely Known Everywhere in the West provides a quick history for visitors, useful either before or after a visit to the hotel.  You can find resources on other Georgetown attractions, such as the Georgetown Loop Railroad and the Hamill House, by searching our library's web catalog.

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