Time Machine Tuesday: Public Welfare and Institutions, 1939

Our library collection contains many state reports about public welfare in the Great Depression.  Among these is a report from 1939, addressed to the Governor and State Legislature, regarding corrections and institutions.  The report examines "the functions, the internal organization, and the more important procedures of the welfare institutions of the state."  These institutions included the Colorado State Hospital; the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital; the two branches of the State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives; the Colorado General Hospital; the State Reformatory; the State Industrial Schools, which included one for boys and one for girls; the State Penitentiary; the State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children; and the Soldier's and Sailor's Home.  The report details results of a study and recommendations to state leadership regarding state oversight of these institutions.

Among their recommendations was the establishment of a state Department of Institutions. Prior to the Great Depression institutions had been overseen by a Board of Charities and Corrections, but as the population grew and many suffered the economic effects of the Depression, the need for a larger state agency became apparent.  The State Department of Institutions was officially created about a decade later, in 1951, and lasted until 1994, when its functions were split between various new departments including the Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services.

Researchers can learn more about all of the institutions examined in the 1939 report by consulting the many reports on each individual institution, available from our library.  Among those accessible online are
There are many more reports on Colorado's early state institutions available for viewing in print from our library.  Search our library's online catalog for titles.


Preventing Identity Theft When Filing Your Taxes

Tax season has arrived, and filing your taxes requires the disclosure of a significant amount of personal information -- making it a target for thieves who want to steal your identity, or your refund.  The Colorado Department of Revenue has issued some helpful tips, reproduced below, to heighten awareness and help protect yourself during tax filing season:

 • Protect personal information. Treat your Social Security number, driver license number and other personal data as you would cash – don’t leave it lying around. Don’t overshare on social media.

• Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use automatic updates. Encrypt your tax returns and other sensitive data. Use strong passwords.

• Beware of phishing emails during this time of year. Are you expecting a message from your bank or tax software company to update your account? A link may take you to a fake website that is designed to steal your log-on information. The attachment you open may include a program that allows a thief to get into your sensitive files.

•  Beware of phone scams referencing a tax filing or tax payment. If you get a call from an aggressive or belligerent person who says you will be sued or jailed if you don’t make an immediate payment, know this: that person is a fraud. Clever criminals pose as trusted organizations. While the Colorado Department of Revenue may contact taxpayers by phone about their Colorado tax account, the fraud review section will only contact taxpayers by U.S. Mail. If Department staff call you for official business, they will provide their name and office name.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind as you begin filing your taxes.  For further information, the Colorado Department of Revenue has set up a couple of very helpful websites:  Taxpayer Security Awareness and Reporting Identity Theft, and Taxpayer Identification VerificationYou can also find helpful information about identity theft on the Colorado Attorney General's Stop Fraud Colorado consumer protection website.


Medication Take-Back Programs

Beginning this year the State of Colorado has expanded its efforts to encourage consumers to "take back" their unwanted medications.  Take-back programs help the environment by keeping unused pharmaceuticals out of the water supply and the landfills.  Flushing or throwing away medications can harm wildlife and even get into our own drinking water supply.  According to one source, "there is genuine concern that [pharmaceuticals in the environment] could be causing impacts to human health."  Antibiotics, hormones, and other pharmaceutical compounds have been detected in drinking water across the United States.

So what can you do to help?  If you have medications you no longer need, including expired medications or leftovers from old prescriptions, do not flush them or throw them away.  Instead, bring them to one of Colorado's many permanent drop-off sites, typically located in drugstores and other convenient sites.  According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state plans to have drop-off locations in every county by the end of 2017.  You can learn more by visiting takemedsseriously.org, a consumer-directed website developed through a partnership between the Colorado Governor's Office, the Colorado Attorney General's Office, and the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.  In addition to the information on medication disposal, the site also includes resources on safe use, safe storage, and more.

For further data, see Unused Medication Disposal in Colorado, a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.


Time Machine Tuesday: Old School Images

If you're looking for early photos of Colorado's schools, you may not think to look in government documents.  But in fact the State of Colorado in the late 1800s/early 1900s often included images in its biennial reports of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the School for the Deaf and the Blind, and other child-serving agencies.  And since many of the reports are dated before 1923, it is easy to find images that are in the public domain.   Here is a sampling of some of the great education-related images that can be found in old Colorado documents:

Denver's Manual High School, from the 1891-92 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

The Hale Scientific Building at the University of Colorado, Boulder, from the 1891-92 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction 
Floorplan of Denver's Emerson School, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  From the 1883-84 report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

The Girls' Industrial School, near Morrison, from the 1907-08 Biennial Report of the State Board of Charities and Correction 

Administration Building, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, from the school's 1905-06 Biennial Report.

The "yard crew" at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, from the school's 1899-1900 report.

Montrose County High School soon after completion, from the 1909-10 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

Ashland School in North Denver; from the 1899-1900 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

A rural school in Larimer County, from the 1899-1900 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

A rural school in Clear Creek County, also from the 1899-1900 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A rural school in Phillips County, from the 1895-96 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Georgetown School, from the 1895-96 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Students on the playground at Norrie School, Pitkin County, from the 1901-02 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

State documents are good places to find other photos and architectural drawings, as well; for instance, many reports contain photos or drawings of the State Capitol, such as the image below from the 1892-94 report of the State Board of Health. Search other reports for institutions, penitentiaries, and other state buildings.


Animal Health

Did you know that Colorado has a State Veterinarian?  The Colorado Department of Agriculture's Animal Health Division, of which the State Veterinarian is a part, work to ensure the health and safety of livestock, horses, pets, and other domesticated animals.  Helpful information you can find on their website includes
  • Bringing pets to Colorado from other states or countries
  • Emergency preparedness and response for livestock
  • Health certificates and ear tags
  • Laws and regulations
  • Notification of disease outbreaks
  • Registering dangerous dogs 
  • Reportable livestock diseases
  • Reporting suspected animal abuse
  • Tips for keeping horses healthy at fairs and events
For further resources, search our library's online catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: Avalanches

Avalanche danger is nothing new in Colorado.  Forty years ago, the University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research issued their publication Century of Struggle Against Snow:  A History of Avalanche Hazard in San Juan County, ColoradoThe publication, which can be viewed online via our library, examines avalanches and avalanche disasters in the San Juan region of Colorado from 1875-1975.  "San Juan County was a booming gold- and silver-producing area, reaching its peak in population, mineral production, and, correspondingly, avalanche deaths and destruction of property during the period 1880 through World War I."

According to the publication, major avalanche disasters occurred in March 1884, February 1891, and March 1906.  The latter avalanche took the lives of twelve men employed by the Shenandoah Mine.

Using weather data, photographs, newspaper stories, personal interviews, and other accounts, the publication tells a fascinating story about the danger of avalanches -- their causes, geographic areas, case studies, and human stories.  Century of Struggle Against Snow gives the historical background on avalanches while the companion reports Avalanche Release and Snow Characteristics, San Juan Mountains, Colorado and Avalanche Atlas: San Juan County provide further data and technical information.

For more on avalanches yesterday and today, search our library's web catalog.


Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals

The State of Colorado has found a clever way to encourage health care practitioners to move to rural and underserved areas where their services are badly needed.  It is called the Loan Repayment Program.  By agreeing to practice in underserved areas for three years, new health care professionals can receive repayment funds for their student loans.  This month, 33 new health care providers received nearly $2 million in loan repayment in exchange for their agreement to practice in places like Burlington, Rifle, Holly, and Monte Vista.  Other practitioners will stay in the metro area but will practice at community clinics, homeless services, and other agencies providing healthcare to underserved and impoverished populations.  To view the list of the 33 providers and where they're heading, see the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)'s February 8 press release.  To learn more about the program,visit the CDPHE's "Health Professional Loan Repayment" website.


Special Education Resources

Students with disabilities, gifted students, and culturally/linguistically diverse students are among the populations served by special education.  Whether you are an educator or a parent/family of an exceptional/special needs student, the Colorado Department of Education has many resources on their Special Education website that can help you navigate the special education process.  Our library also has a number of resources on special/exceptional education.  Some highlights include:
Publications listed above that lack hyperlinks can be checked out in hardcopy from our library.  For more resources search our web catalog using keywords such as:
  • accommodations
  • child identification; early intervention; intervention
  • culturally or linguistically diverse 
  • exceptional children; exceptional education; exceptional students; exceptional student services 
  • Exceptional Children's Education Act (ECEA); Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • gifted; gifted and talented; gifted students; twice exceptional
  • handicapped children; handicapped students (if searching for older information)
  • learning disabilities; students with disabilities
  • special education; special needs
  • specific disabilities, i.e. autism; deaf; deafblind; dyslexia; speech-language pathology; visually impaired
  • transition planning; transition requirements


Time Machine Tuesday: Sugar Beets

A century ago sugar beets were one of Colorado's most important agricultural industries.  More than twenty sugar refineries could be found in Colorado in the first half of the twentieth century, according to an article in the Colorado Encyclopedia.  Many of these were located in Colorado's South Platte River Valley, but factories were located in various parts of the state.  The first sugar beet factory, in fact, was located in Grand Junction.  This factory was established by Charles Boettcher, and eventually Boettcher's Great Western Sugar grew to ten factories in the South Platte and Arkansas river valleys.  Although Great Western (or GW) was the largest, there were other companies as well, such as the American Beet Sugar Company.     

A sugar beet worker, circa 1920s.  Courtesy Denver Public Library.
The growth of the sugar beet industry after 1898 was spurred in part by the Spanish-American War and Americans' wish for local, rather than Caribbean-produced, sugar.  Sugar beet cultivation also benefited the ranching industry, as beet parts not used in sugar making were fed to livestock.  The increased production of sugar beets and the refining of sugar from beets created the need for many agricultural workers.  The industry employed numerous workers from various ethnic groups including Mexicans, Native Americans, Germans from Russia, and Japanese.  During WWII, Japanese-American internees from the Amache relocation camp were often put to work in the beet fields, as were German and Italian prisoners-of-war. 

Because sugar beets were such an important part of the agricultural industry in Colorado in the early twentieth century, the Colorado Agricultural College (today's Colorado State University) published numerous agricultural bulletins with research results, worker information, and growing tips for sugar beet cultivation.  These bulletins provide an interesting look at the culture and operations of this important part of Colorado's agricultural story.  Some titles available from our library include:
Although sugar beet production reached its height in the early decades of the twentieth century, production continued throughout the century.  Today, there is still one sugar beet refinery, in Fort Morgan.  Great Western Sugar has morphed into the grower-owned Western Sugar Cooperative, which runs the Fort Morgan facility and a handful in other western states.  For more about the sugar beet industry today, see CSU's Estimated Economic Impact of the Colorado Sugar Beet Industry.

*Charles Boettcher, Colorado's pioneer sugar beet industrialist, also founded the Ideal Portland Cement Company.


Charities and Fundraisers

The Colorado Secretary of State's (SOS) office is the agency that oversees charities and fundraising in Colorado.  Whether you are organizing a charity or are a citizen wanting to give, the SOS's Charities and Fundraisers page offers a wealth of information, including legal requirements for excepting charitable donations and how to protect yourself against charitable giving scams.

www.checkthecharity.comUnfortunately, sometimes generous givers can become scam victims.  Coloradans wishing to donate to a charity should always make sure they are familiar with the charity before giving their money.  If the charity you wish to donate to is not one you are personally involved with, then it is wise to check the SOS's Charities Database to make sure the charity is legitimate and in good standing.  Be sure also to view the SOS's Ten Tips on Wise Giving and Internet and Social Media Wise Giving Tips, which gives helpful information on keeping your money safe from scammers when participating in crowdfunding and other online giving.  Finally, the SOS has partnered with the Colorado Attorney General's Office and the Colorado Nonprofit Association to offer CheckTheCharity.com, a consumer education website "to inform and protect donors."  However, if you do become a victim, you can file a complaint to either the Secretary of State or the Attorney General.

If you are running a charity or fundraiser in Colorado there are rules you need to be familiar with, such as registration of your charity.  There are also different procedures for charitable organizations, paid solicitors, professional fundraising consultants, and public benefit corporations.  You can find out what you need to know at the Charities and Fundraisers page.

Finally, anyone can also use this link to find data on charitable giving in Colorado.  Here you can find financial data, registration data, news, FAQs, and more.  The SOS's annual reports on charitable solicitations are especially helpful resources.  Reports back to 2003 are available from our library.  You can also get the financial data from 2012 to the present in .xls format via the SOS's website.


Colorado Missing Persons Day

Today has officially been declared Colorado Missing Persons Day.  If you are looking for statistics on missing persons in Colorado, our library can help. 
  • The Colorado Bureau of Investigation publishes an annual report on missing children.  Our library has issues from 1985 to the present on our website.
  • CBI has also put together a list of Colorado's missing persons and how many years they have been missing.
  • CBI's annual report also contains missing person statistics. You can find reports back to 2011 online via our library.
  • Crime in Colorado is a CBI website containing crime statistics for each year.  
  • Finally, the CBI's Cold Case Database "features unsolved homicides, missing person, and unidentified person cases."  The files include photographs, physical descriptions, and "last seen" information on each person.


Colorado Potatoes

February is National Potato Lover's Month.  Did you know that more than 70 kinds of potatoes are grown in Colorado?  You can learn more about Colorado's potato industry in numerous publications from the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Potato producers can find growing tips and resources on pest control, marketing, varieties, fertilizers, and more by visiting our library catalog.

A helpful publication for consumers is the Extension's Potato Facts, which gives a brief overview of how to select potatoes in the grocery store; storing and cooking with potatoes; nutrition information; and food safety tips.  

Finally, just for fun, the Colorado Department of Agriculture is celebrating National Potato Lover's Month with a new recipe for Smoky Gnocchi.  Potatoes + bacon + mushrooms + Gouda = yum!

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