12.30.2016

Mule Deer and Predator Control

Recently Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that they would be embarking on a $4.5 million predator control experiment aimed at reviving the state's declining mule deer population.  The experiment calls for mountain lions and bears to be euthanized to help reduce predation of mule deer.  The plan has sparked controversy, however, over animal rights and over the question of whether the dwindling mule deer population is a result of human over-development, not predators.   You can read about the plan at CPW's Mule Deer Strategy webpage, which includes numerous publications on the topic.

For background information on mule deer and other resources, see these publications available from our library.  Publications without hyperlinks can be checked out in print.


12.29.2016

Jack Langrishe: An 1860s Celebrity

Jack Langrishe.
If you attended the theater in the 1860s and 1870s, you probably knew the name Jack Langrishe.  Born in Ireland in 1825, John S. "Jack" Langrishe moved to New York at age 20 and began appearing on stage as a comedic actor and magician.  His theatrical troupe, Langrishe and Company, originally toured New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even into Canada; in the 1850s they began moving westward, performing in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Kansas City.  Among the players in his troupe was his wife, Jeannette Allen Langrishe.

The Langrishes found a new audience when the mining boom hit the frontier.  The troupe arrived infant city of Denver in September 1860, and also performed in Central City, Georgetown, Fairplay, other mining towns.  In Denver Langrishe took over Apollo Hall, Denver's first theater, located at 14th and Larimer (now demolished), renaming it the People's Theater.  Like many early mining town theaters, the venue was located upstairs from a saloon.  Denver historian Jerome Smiley wrote in his 1901 History of Denver that plays were often interrupted by "the clinking of glasses, rattling of billiard balls, and boozy attempts at vocal melodies from the uproarious regions below."  Feeling that the hubbub disturbed his performances, Langrishe soon opened a new, saloon-free venue known as the Denver Theater, bringing a new respectability to the performing arts in the young city. 

After a decade in Colorado, Langrishe and his company "remained loved and respected by Denverites because of his personal magnetism and professional ability," as well as the way he gave back to the community by holding monthly benefit performances to raise money for the poor. His charitability was returned when, in 1871, while touring in Chicago, his troupe lost all of their equipment in the great Chicago Fire.  Langrishe's many Denver fans raised money to help the troupe get back on its feet.

Langrishe's troupe eventually made its way to Helena, Montana, in 1870 and then to Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1876 (Langrishe is portrayed in the tv series Deadwood, although some liberties have been taken with his character).  Langrishe returned to Colorado in 1879, moving to Leadville to take advantage of the silver boom there.  He performed at the famous Tabor Opera House in Leadville and then at the elaborate new Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver in 1881.  Retiring from the stage in 1885, Langrishe and his wife moved to Idaho, where he served as a state senator, published a small newspaper, and occasionally wrote plays.

You can read about Jack Langrishe in the Fall 1969 issue of Colorado Magazine.  The issue features not only a biography of Langrishe ("Jack Langrishe and the Theater of the Mining Frontier," by Alice Cochran), but also an article by Virginia McConnell entitled "A Gauge of Popular Taste in Early Colorado." It continues the Langrishe story by examining the fads and popular entertainments of the 1860s.  McConnell writes that "Contrary to the belief held by many historians that Shakespeare (and even opera) was common fare in frontier theaters, the theatrical productions in early Denver and Colorado's mining camps indicate a strong preference for melodrama, low comedy, and farce."  This preference can be seen in such titles as The Drunkard; His Last Legs; Why Won't She Marry?; Hole in the Wall; Dead Shot; Pikes Peak Gold Fiend; and Uncle Pat's Cabin.  The two Colorado Magazine articles offer an interesting account of mid-nineteenth century popular culture.  For more detail, see the book Orpheus in the Wilderness:  A History of Music In Denver, 1860-1925 by Henry Miles, published by the Colorado Historical Society and available for checkout from our library.     



  

12.27.2016

Time Machine Tuesday: Leadville Metals Exposure Study

Leadville is one of Colorado's most historic mountain towns.  Though a small mountain town today, in the 1870s and 1880s Leadville rivaled Denver for the state's most prestigious city and many millionaires were made through Leadville's silver mines.  Following the Crash of 1893, most of Leadville's silver mines were abandoned, although other mining activities such as molybdenum mining did continue in Leadville through the twentieth century.

Because of the sheer volume of mining near Leadville, the entire town is included in the 18-square-mile California Gulch superfund site.  While much of the site has been cleaned up, there is still continual monitoring of the site and cleanup of some areas is still ongoing.  Much of the cleanup work began after the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and federal partners undertook a major study of the area in 1990.

The Leadville Metals Exposure Study, available digitally from our library, reported that "soil surveys done in connection with a remedial investigation of [the site] found elevated levels of lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and Cadmium (Cd) in surface soils in residential areas.  A study of heavy metal exposure to individuals living in Leadville, Colorado is described in this report."  The report especially focused on the exposure of children to toxic lead.  "Studies have linked lead in the blood of children to lead in dust on children's hands to lead in floor and sill dust in houses and to lead in the soil outside the children's houses."  The study presents detailed data on the lead exposure to humans in Leadville, including comparisons to other places in the United States.

The following year, another study, this one by the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute at Colorado State University, measured the effects of the metal contamination on the water quality in the California Gulch site.  Entitled Fate and Effects of Heavy Metals on the Arkansas River, this publication is also available online from our library.

Twenty-five years later, the site is still undergoing remediation.  The EPA website reports that the "human exposure status" is still "not under control," although the "contaminated ground water status" has been controlled.  For more documents relating to mining, hazardous waste, and public health, search our library's online catalog.

The effects of mining are visible in this EPA photo of the California Gulch superfund site.

12.22.2016

Holiday Food Safety



Don't let food poisoning spoil your holidays!  Check out these resources from the Colorado State University Extension that offer tips on staying safe while enjoying some of our favorite holiday treats.


 Do you make your own eggnog?  The raw eggs used to prepare eggnog can be contaminated with Salmonella.  Follow the tips in Holiday Food Safety:  Safe Handling and Preparation with Eggs to avoid a health hazard.

The holidays can be so busy, that sometimes it is easiest to throw a meal in the crock pot and forget about it.  As convenient as slow cookers can be, the food -- especially meat -- still needs to reach a certain temperature before consuming.  Learn about the minimum safe temperatures and how to avoid heat loss in Crock Pot and Slow Cooker Food Safety.

If you're expecting a guest who is expecting, or if you yourself are pregnant, be sure to read Food Safety During Pregnancy to learn what foods to avoid.  Also, if you'll have little ones at the kiddie table, see Serving Children Safe Foods.

Many families enjoy making candy together during the holiday season.  Candy requires temperature adjustments for Colorado's altitude, so to make sure your candy turns out right, see Candy Making at High Altitude.

Plan on having your buddies over for the New Years' bowl games?  Check out Game Day Food Safety:  Ensure a Safe, Tasty, and Winning Combination When Gathering with Friends and Family.

Got leftovers?  See Food Storage for Safety and Quality to find out how to keep your food fresh, and when to throw it out.

While we humans certainly don't consider poinsettias as food, your pet might.  While there has been some debate over whether the red holiday flowers are poisonous, the Extension still recommends that poinsettias be placed out of reach of dogs and cats.  See their Poinsettias fact sheet for more.

 Finally, the following publications offer useful tips on specific food hazards and how to avoid them:
 The State Publications Library wishes you a safe and happy Holiday Season! 

12.20.2016

Time Machine Tuesday: The White Ash Mine Disaster

This fall the Colorado School of Mines unveiled a new memorial dedicated to the victims of the White Ash Mine disaster of 1889.  Ten miners lost their lives in the accident near Golden, Colorado. 

The White Ash Mine was located adjacent to the Loveland Mine, which had been shut down in 1881 following a fire.  The fire had damaged the 90-foot pillar that separated the two mines.  Meanwhile, water from nearby Clear Creek had been seeping into the Loveland Mine, and after eight years the damaged pillar finally broke, unleashing water into the White Ash Mine and drowning ten workers. 

In the 1889 report of the State Coal Mine Inspector, which is available online through our library, inspector John McNeil recounts how he immediately responded to the disaster, which had occurred at about 4pm on September 9, 1889.  In attempting a rescue effort, he found that water had reached a height of 100 feet above the shaft, making survival impossible.  McNeil and White Ash foreman Evan Jones and mine manager Paul Lanius worked all night in the hope of reaching some survivors.  Water was not the only deadly issue they had to contend with, however.  "By three o'clock on the morning of the tenth instant, I lowered a light with a hand line to a depth of 530 feet, at which point it was extinguished by the carbonic acid gas."  McNeil was also "astonished to find that the water had a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit."  McNeil and Jones descended the mine in a bucket with a hoisting cable.  They "found that a portion of the old workings on this level were on fire, and judging from the intense heat...felt satisfied that the fire itself would soon reach the shaft timbers, [which were] already smoking."  Coming back up to the surface, McNeil ordered the two mines be sealed up in order to keep the fire from spreading.  Later in the month the mines were reopened and water pumping and debris clearing began, which took several months.  It was during this cleanup period that the bodies of the ten men were found.

The 1889 report is of enormous historical value relating to this incident, because it not only gives us McNeil's eyewitness account, but also contains copies of correspondence; information on the investigation; a fold-out illustration of the underground workings of the mine, showing the conditions for the accident; and a list of the names of the deceased.  All other mine fatalities occurring that year are also listed in the report.

Starting in 2009, Golden citizens and civic organizations raised money for the memorial statue, which replaced a small memorial plaque that had been dedicated in 1936 by Golden Mayor Albert Jones, son of foreman Evan Jones. Colorado School of Mines donated the land for the new memorial, which was dedicated on October 29, 2016.

The new memorial commemorating the White Ash Mine disaster.  Photo courtesy Colorado School of Mines.

12.19.2016

New Email Scam Affecting Home Buyers and Sellers

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies warns of a new scam affecting home buyers and sellers: 

Consumer Alert: Division of Real Estate urges Colorado home buyers and sellers to be on alert for email scams with fraudulent wire transfer instructions
Cybercriminals targeting home buyers and sellers nationwide.
Tips on how to protect yourself.

DENVER - The Colorado Division of Real Estate at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) warns Colorado consumers to beware of a national cyber-scam currently taking place that steals money directly from home buyers and sellers.
The Division continues to receive information about this cyber scam in which cybercriminals hack the email accounts of real estate brokers, title companies, and consumers who are in the process of buying or selling a home. In other instances, they create alternative email accounts with just minor changes to the name of the email account, which typically goes unnoticed by the recipient of the email... 

Buyers and sellers can take just five minutes by reading the below tips to protect themselves from becoming a victim of wire fraud:
·         Verbally contact your broker:  Prior to wiring any money, you should always verbally contact your real estate broker to confirm that the wiring information is accurate. Do not rely on telephone numbers or website addresses provided within an unverified email.
·         Do not email financial information:  Emails and texts are not secure methods to transmit financial information.
·         Keep a record of websites that hold your financial information:  And before providing that information, confirm that the  websites in which you input financial information are secure. Look for the URL to start HTTPS, the “S” stands for secure.
·         Don’t click on links:  Don’t use links in emails to get to websites. Instead, search and find the company and directly link to their website from your search.
·         Update your computer:  Keep your operating system, browser and security software up-to-date.

Click here to see the full press release.  You can find information on this and other scams by visiting the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies; the Colorado Attorney General's Office, or by searching our library's online catalog.  If you are a victim, be sure and consult the Attorney General's Identity Theft Repair Kit.
 

12.15.2016

Colorado Newspapers

In the days before social media and instant online news, the newspaper served as a vital community link and source of not only news, but entertainment, advertisements, and more.  The earliest Colorado newspapers even posted alerts for persons who had mail to pick up at the post office, or snippets on who was traveling where, and even gossip -- the social media of the 1860s!

Newspapers were so important to Colorado -- and throughout the U.S. -- that even the smallest towns had papers (often reprinting stories from the bigger city papers), and newspapers were printed in dozens of languages for all different ethnic groups.

Even with the development of radio, then television, and then online news, printed newspapers continued to be published and are still surviving today.  Denver's first newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, closed two months short of its 150th anniversary.  In the 1890s, Denver had four major dailiesOf these, only The Denver Post survives.  Throughout the 20th century the rivalry between the News and the Post was a major part of the culture of Denver.  Several great books have been written about the two papers and their antics, including volumes by Gene Fowler, Robert Perkins, and Bill Hosakawa.  One of the books that has been written about the Post is Voice of Empire:  A Centennial Sketch of The Denver Post, by William Hornby, was published by the Colorado Historical Society and is available for checkout from our library.

The Historical Society's magazine, Colorado Heritage, has also published several interesting articles on Colorado newspapers (or incidents involving newspapers), including "The Annoying Gene Cervi: A Terror of Colorado Journalism," by Lee Olson, in the Spring 2000 issue; "The Day Little Miracle Died," by Dick Kreck, in the Summer 1998 issue; "Growing Up Together:  LoDo and Westword," by Clark Secrest, in the Winter 1998 issue; and "Bloody August:  The Denver Tramway Strike of 1920," by Stephen J. Leonard, in the Summer 1995 issue.  All issues of Colorado Heritage are available for checkout from our library.

If your interest is the Western Slope rather than Denver, be sure to see Historical Sketches of Early Gunnison, published in 1916, which includes a chapter on "The Newspapers of Gunnison." 

Are you interested in reading the actual newspapers themselves, not just reading about them?  Then head over to the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) where you can search through more than 880,000 digitized pages from 200 Colorado papers published between 1859 and 1923.  A service of the Colorado State Library, CHNC is a valuable tool for both researchers and history enthusiasts.


Since Colorado did have so many different newspapers, it can be difficult to know where to start.  A helpful guide is Colorado Newspapers:  A History & Inventory, 1859-2000 published by the Center for Colorado and the West at the Auraria Library and available for checkout from the State Publications Library.


12.13.2016

Time Machine Tuesday: Education Standards, Yesterday and Today

The Colorado Department of Education issues academic standards, or descriptions of what should be taught in Colorado schools in each grade level.  These standards are a key component in curriculum development and student assessment.  They are nothing new, however.  A century ago, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (the old name for the department) issued their Course of Study books that outlined -- sometimes in great detail -- what should be taught in each subject at each grade level.  

In our library you can trace the evolution of public school curriculum in Colorado through the Course of Study and, later, Academic Standards publications issued by the state education department.  While reading, writing, and math have always been important, it is fascinating to see how other subjects are emphasized at different points in time.  For instance, the 1912 Course of Study includes subjects such as agriculture, cooking, hygiene, industrial arts, nature study, sewing, and even "humane education" and "good roads" ("...the school boy and girl should be impressed with the importance of good roads, and be given an understanding of the elementary principles of road administration and construction."). 

You can view many of these publications online:
For background information see Colorado Academic Standards:  History and Development, which examines the standards since the passage of the standards-based education law in 1993.

Excerpt from the 1893 Course of Study

12.12.2016

Mental Health and Crisis Services

The State of Colorado has many resources for those who are in crisis, and those who serve them.

If you are a Coloradan experiencing a mental health, substance abuse, or emotional crisis, you can dial the 24-hour Colorado Crisis Services Hotline, 1-844-493-TALK(8255).  The hotline provides immediate, confidential support from a licensed counselor or other mental health professional.  Translation services are available for non-English speakers.  The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), which administers the hotline, also offers eleven walk-in crisis centers across the state.  These services are free.
http://coloradocrisisservices.org/

If you are a mental health professional or are looking to become one, you can find a number of resources in our library that offer information on licensing, education, best practices, and other mental health topics.  Some helpful resources for professionals include:

12.08.2016

Online Schools

Are you considering enrolling your child in a K-12 online program?  If so, there are many resources from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) that you can use to find the right school for your child's needs.  CDE's Blended and Online Learning webpage offers a wealth of information on the topic, including lists of programs, FAQs, research studies, technical assistance, and other information.

Our library also has many resources on the topic.  Some helpful publications include:

12.06.2016

Time Machine Tuesday: Pearl Harbor

It was "a date that will live in infamy" -- December 7, 1941 -- and to this day we still commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor as one of the most significant events in our country's history.  Tomorrow, December 7, 2016, will be the 75th Anniversary of the historic event that brought America into WWII.

Here on the homefront, Americans were quick to mobilize and respond.  In Colorado, the Extension Service at the Colorado State College (now Colorado State University) that same month issued their Agricultural Planning Handbook, first in the new Colorado Farm Defense Program series of brochures.  In May 1942 the series was renamed the Colorado Farm Victory Program.  Search our library's online catalog to view all of the publications in the series and see what Colorado was doing on the agricultural front throughout the war.

Two months after the attack, in February 1942, Governor Ralph Carr convened an assembly of over 250 Coloradans at the State Capitol to discuss "a plan for a statewide program of community civic adult education and information" regarding the war effort.  The report of the assembly, entitled Civilian and Community Morale Through Understanding and Participation, has been digitized by our library and is available to read online.

For an additional perspective on Pearl Harbor's impact on Colorado, read the article "Pearl Harbor and One Mother's Heartbreak," by Clara May Morse, in the anthology Western Voices:  125 Years of Colorado Writing, available for checkout from our library.


12.05.2016

Main Street Revitalization Act

In 2014 the Colorado Legislature passed HB14-1311, the "Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act," which provided tax credits for Colorado communities to use to boost economic development -- including job creation and tourism -- while preserving the community's unique historic commercial structures.  So how has it been doing so far?  According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), which administers the Colorado Main Street Program, the Act led to the creation of "266 full-time jobs, 111 part-time jobs and 98 new businesses throughout the 14 Colorado Main Street communities."  In addition, "The Colorado Main Street program helped reinvest in physical improvements from public and private sources during 2015. These improvements included 17 façade updates and the rehabilitation of 98 buildings in all of the 14 Colorado Main Street communities."


Are you interested in getting your town involved in the Main Street initiative?  Check out these resources from DOLA, including the official manual and a downtown planners' guide. When your community has decided to join, go to the Join Main Street page to sign up.

12.01.2016

Conserving Colorado's Rare Plants

Endangered species conservation isn't just about animals -- plant species often become rare and endangered as well.  Colorado is home to a number of rare plants that various state agencies, including the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and Colorado State University's Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) have been working to conserve.  In our library you will find a number of resources that detail what Colorado is doing to conserve rare plants.  (Publications without hyperlinks can be checked out in print).
In 2008 the CNHP held a series of Rare Plant Conservation WorkshopsReports on the workshops, and their resulting Conservation Action Plans (2011), are available for our library for
Action plans for other areas include:
CNHP has also conducted many Rare Plant Surveys for locations around Colorado.  Survey reports are available from our library, including:
Reports of specific rare plants have also been prepared by CNHP:
For basic reference on Colorado plant species, see these books from University Press of Colorado:
  • Catalog of Colorado Flora:  A Colorado Biodiversity Baseline, 1992
  • Colorado Flora:  Eastern Slope, 2012
  • Colorado Flora:  Western Slope, 2012
  • Rocky Mountain Flora, 1967
And finally, for a comparison and to see how plant species may have changed over time, see the 1906 Flora of Colorado from the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station.