Time Machine Tuesday: Memorial Day

Before 1972, when Memorial Day began being celebrated on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day was traditionally held on May 30.  The holiday was established by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War, in 1868 to commemorate and decorate the graves of deceased Union soldiers.

Major Gen. John A. Logan, chief of the GAR, led the effort to create Memorial Day.  Following his military service, in which he was a member of Gen. William T. Sherman's staff, Gen. Logan served as a U.S. Congressman and later a U.S. Senator from Illinois. Although he never lived in Colorado, Gen. Logan has many Colorado connections, mainly due to his investments in Colorado mines.  Coloradans also revered him as a war hero, and many came to see him when he came to Denver with the GAR Encampment, an annual reunion of over 25,000 Union veterans.  Logan County as well as Denver's Logan Street and Fort Logan National Cemetery are named for him.  A 12,870-foot peak, Mount Logan, also bears his name.  You can read more about Gen. Logan and his Colorado connections in Robert Hartley's article "General John A. Logan:  A Name Remembered and Honored in Colorado," in the Summer 2007 issue of Colorado Heritage magazine, which you can check out from our library.

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally known, has grown to memorialize all of America's fallen soldiers, not just those from the Civil War.  An interesting look at how Memorial Day was celebrated a century ago can be found starting on page 105 of the State of Colorado's 1913 Spring Holiday Book, issued by the Department of Public Instruction to help teachers plan lessons for the various holidays.  The section on Memorial Day includes quotations, poems, essays, and songs that were originally used to teach youngsters about the holiday, but can now be used to teach us about an element of American life and culture over 100 years ago that we still celebrate today.


Developmental/Remedial Education

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) has just released a new publication, Legislative Report on Developmental Education for the High School Class of 2015As defined by the report, developmental education "includes traditional remedial education, assessment of a need for remediation education, and participation in Supplemental Academic Instruction."  The purpose of the report, which was mandated by the Legislature, is "to inform the ongoing dialogue regarding preparation for college and the effects of developmental education."  According to the report, 36.1% of -- or more than 1 in 3 -- 2015 high school graduates who went on to attend college were placed into developmental education in at least one subject.

The new report is the latest in the series of annual statistical reports on remedial education; past years' reports are available online from our library.  So what do these statistics mean?  CDHE has prepared a quick video entitled Understanding Remedial Rates in Colorado that provides some helpful information. 


Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Conservation Commission

"It is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals -- not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening."  -- Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt
After decades of mining, logging, extracting, and building, Americans in the first decade of the twentieth century began to realize that the American wilderness was a finite resource.  The "Conservationist President" Roosevelt and other conservationists like John Muir helped to call Americans' attention to the rapid loss of America's wilderness.  Numerous National Parks (including Colorado's Mesa Verde) and National Monuments were designated during Roosevelt's presidency (1901-1909).

In 1906 President Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, the first federal law passed for the purpose of protecting natural and cultural resources, including archaeological sites.  The designation of Mesa Verde as a National Park in 1906 was a direct result of the Act, as were such sites as Devil's Tower in Wyoming; Chaco Canyon in New Mexico; Arizona's Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon; and Washington's Mount Olympus, among others.  Colorado's U.S. Senator Thomas Patterson was among the sponsors of the Antiquities Act (you can check out his biography, Tom Patterson:  Colorado Crusader for Change, from our library).

Amidst the legislation occurring at the federal level, the state government here in Colorado was also working to address environmental concerns. Governor Henry Buchtel established the Colorado Conservation Commission following a 1908 White House governor's conference called by President Roosevelt.  Governor John Shafroth (whose biography, Honest John Shafroth:  A Colorado Reformer, can also be checked out from our library) expanded the Colorado Conservation Commission, and in 1910, the commission issued a report to Governor Shafroth which is now available online through our library.  The report includes the official proceedings of the commission; resolutions they adopted and state legislation they suggested; and several essays from local notables advocating for conservation.  This publication is a significant primary source document that can be useful to students, historians, and policymakers who are researching the history of the conservation movement in Colorado and the United States.

Roosevelt's Colorado hunting license, reproduced in the 1905 Report of the State Game & Fish Commissioner.


Job Hunting for People with Disabilities

Many Colorado businesses offer opportunities for persons with disabilities to become employed, a situation which can greatly enhance the person's life.  If you or someone you know is disabled and looking for employment in Colorado, be sure to view A Job-Hunting Guide for Colorado Citizens with Disabilities, produced by the Colorado Career Web of the Community Colleges of Colorado and available online from our library.

State publications of possible interest to employers include Colorado's Disability Program Navigators and Systems Change Employment Initiatives:  An Evaluation Report and Final Report on Employment and Community Participation Recommendations.  For further resources visit our library's online catalog.


New Senior Financial Fraud Hotline

Senior citizens are frequently targeted as victims of financial fraud.  So to help curb this worrisome trend, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies' Division of Securities has recently established a new hotline that seniors and/or their relatives or caregivers can use to report fraud and scams directed at the elderly.  The number for the hotline is 720-593-6720.

Several state agencies have set up websites that can help seniors -- and anyone -- who has been victimized by fraud, or to help educate the public on how to avoid becoming a victim.  If you are a senior or caregiver be sure to check out the following state websites and publications:


Time Machine Tuesday: The Arkansas River Compact

The Arkansas River Compact is an agreement between the states of Colorado and Kansas to avoid disputes over water usage rights and to "equitably divide and apportion" the waters between the two states.  The agreement, signed in 1948, further specifies the use of the waters in John Martin Reservoir.  You can read a copy of the compact at the Colorado Division of Water Resources website, along with other compact documents.

After the compact was negotiated and signed by the compact commissioners in 1948, they forwarded their recommendations to the governors and legislatures of the two states for review ratification.  Our library has digitized the report sent to the Colorado lawmakers, which you can read here.  The commission included nine members, four from each state along with a federal representative, Gen. Hans Kramer, a retired Army Corps of Engineers Officer, to serve as chair. (Read President Truman's letter appointing Gen. Kramer to head the compact negotiations here.)  Colorado's representatives included former state Attorney General Gail Ireland; Charles Patterson of the Colorado Water Conservation Board; Henry C. Vidal; and Harry B. Mendenhall.  The Colorado and Kansas legislatures approved the compact in 1949 and on May 13 of that year, it was approved by Congress.

The need for the Arkansas River Compact came after a long history of disputes and lawsuits between the two states.  The Colorado Water Conservation Board has put together a helpful timeline of the events leading up to the development of the compact.

For further resources on the Arkansas River, interbasin compacts, and water usage rights in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


Colorado's Left Lane Law

It's a frustrating situation:  you're driving down the highway and come upon a slow-moving vehicle in front of you, so you wish to pass.  But you can't...someone is driving slowly or "hogging" the left lane, impeding your ability to pass the other vehicle.  It happens every day, but it's illegal.  Since the passage of Colorado's Left Lane Law in 2004, law enforcement officers have the ability to cite a driver for impeding the flow of traffic in the left lane.

The above excerpt of the Left Lane Law is from the Colorado State Patrol publication Colorado's Left Lane Law:  Understanding How the Left Lane Law Affects Your Driving, available online from our library.  The full text of the law can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes, which are also available online.  Original legislation for the law can be found here.  For more information on this and other Colorado traffic laws see the official Colorado Driver Handbook.


Colorado Farm to School Program

Colorado's Farm to School program was started in 2010 with funding from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  Under the motto "growing local markets, nutritious food, and healthy children," the program works to provide locally-sourced food products to school lunchrooms.  The program works with both schools and with agricultural producers to bring the two together.  The program's website includes many helpful resources, including how students, parents, and the community can get their local school involved.

Additional resources on the program and its benefits can be found in our library, including the program's biennial legislative report and the Colorado State University study Understanding the Effectiveness of Farm to School Programs Through Food Service ProfessionalsFor more resources on agriculture and local foods search our library's web catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: Severe Storms

Yesterday the Colorado front range was hit hard with a storm producing heavy rains, hail, lightning, and high winds.  The months of May and June typically see the most severe thunderstorm activity on the Colorado plains...in fact, Colorado also experienced a severe storm exactly sixty years ago, May 8, 1957.  I found this factoid by viewing the Colorado Extreme Storm Precipitation Data Study, published exactly twenty years ago, May 1997, by the Colorado Climate Center.  A division of Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science, the Colorado Climate Center keeps volumes of data on Colorado weather, which can be accessed on their website.  Many of their studies and reports, like the one referenced above, have been digitized and are available online.

One of the Extreme Storm report's co-authors, Dr. Nolan Doesken, still heads the Climate Center and is Colorado's official State Climatologist.  In his forty years with CSU, Doesken has published dozens of reports, many of which you can find in our library, both online and in print.

The most notable aspect of yesterday's storm was the extensive, damaging hail.  In 1969, CSU's Atmospheric Science Department published two technical studies on Colorado hailstorms, The Influence of Vertical Wind Shear on Hailstorm Development and Structure and Stability and Dynamic Processes in the Formation of High Plains HailstormsBoth reports are available online from our library.  Also available online is the report of another year's severe spring weather:  Numerical Simulation of the May 15 and April 26, 1991 Tornadic ThunderstormsFor more Colorado meteorology resources, search our library's online catalog.


Image credit:  Wikipedia commons


Colorado Libraries Collaborate for 25 Years

This year the Colorado Libraries Collaborate (CLC) program is celebrating its 25th year!  Originally known as the Colorado Library Card program, CLC was launched in 1991 as a way for registered library users across Colorado to gain free access to materials in libraries across the state, therefore not limiting them to only the materials available in their own town, county, or school.  Today, all of Colorado's public libraries participate in CLC, as do most school and academic libraries, and even some special libraries -- greatly expanding the number of resources available to Coloradans.  For more information, see the program's website.

You can learn about the history and implementation of the CLC program through several publications available from our library:
Also, for background on the need for the establishment of the CLC program, see Resource Sharing in Colorado, a 1988 study done by the State Library.  It is available for checkout in print.


Colorado Governors: Alexander Cummings

After the resignation of John Evans, Alexander Cummings (served 1865-1867) was appointed Territorial Governor of Colorado by President Andrew Johnson.  Cummings had previously served as a special purchasing agent for the War Department during the Civil War and, after being discharged from this post, had in February 1864 attained the rank of Brigadier General and Superintendent of Troops of African Descent for the State of Arkansas.  Originally from Pennsylvania, Cummings' pre-war career had been as a newspaperman.

In Colorado, Cummings differed markedly from his predecessor.  Although both governors were Republicans, Cummings -- unlike Evans -- opposed statehood, and caused a deep divide between himself and those Coloradans working toward attaining statehood.  Amidst this and other controversies, Cummings left Colorado after less than two years to return to his native Pennsylvania, holding several posts with the federal government.  He died in 1879.

In 1957 William Hanchett wrote an article for Colorado Magazine about the turbulent governorship of Alexander Cummings, who Hanchett called "the villain of Colorado's territorial history."  You can read the article online or check out a copy from our library.


Time Machine Tuesday: Public Health in Colorado, 1937

You can learn a lot about American life and culture in past decades by viewing public health reports.  Here in Colorado, the State Board of Health began serving -- and keeping statistics on -- Coloradans in 1876.  Today, the agency now known as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment still maintains the state's vital statistics office (birth, death, etc. records) along with studying and reporting on communicable diseases, epidemiology, healthcare practices, health trends, needs of special populations, and more.  Today let's look at the state of health in Colorado 80 years ago, as seen through the Annual Report of the State Board of Health, which has been digitized by our library.

 Back in 1937, the state's public health agency focused on various topics, some of which are still important to us today, such as Maternal and Child Health, and some which are no longer as much of a concern, such as tuberculosis.  In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, tuberculosis was a major public health issue throughout the United States, and thousands flocked to Colorado for what was known as the "climate cure."  Scientific treatment methods for tuberculosis, however, didn't really become successful until after WWII.  Therefore, the 1937 report includes considerable discussion on efforts to control tuberculosis.

The report also shows that wastewater was a significant public health concern in 1937, especially in rural areas where plumbing standards were still low.  In 1937 the health department included both a "Division of Sanitary Engineering" and a "Division of Plumbing," the latter division working to "raise the standard of sanitation and thereby protect the public against installations which are a menace to their health and safety."  They investigated 104 complaints that year.  

A young patient at Children's Hospital in Denver circa 1930s.
Another area of emphasis in the 1937 report was what they then referred to as "crippled children."  This was, of course, prior to the development of the polio vaccine and other medical advances; therefore, 1,332 children were reported as being "crippled" in Colorado in 1937.

Much of the 1937 report contains statistics, such as morbidity rates; health services provided to the public; communicable diseases; birth and death data; and more.  For additional reports and statistics on the state of public health in Colorado throughout its history, search our online catalog.  

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department


Caring for Storm-Damaged Trees

Spring snowstorms and freezes like those experienced in Denver metro area this weekend can cause significant tree damage, due to the cold in combination with the weight of the snow on trees that have already leafed out.  If you experienced tree damage this weekend, the Colorado State University Extension and Colorado State Forest Service have several publications that offer helpful tips on caring for storm-damaged trees, and how to prevent damage before a storm:

Photo courtesy Colorado State Forest Service

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