9/28/2017

Executive Clemency

The governor's power to grant or deny pardons has been in the news recently.  How does an offender apply for a pardon or commutation of sentence?  The answer can be found on the Colorado Department of Corrections' Clemency Requests webpage.  Here the steps for applying for clemency are outlined, along with facts about the process:

The governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after conviction, for all offenses except treason, and except in case of impeachment, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law relative to the manner of applying for pardons.  Clemency in Colorado has two types: commutation and pardon. A pardon may be granted after a conviction and is a public forgiveness for a crime after completion of the sentence. A commutation modifies a sentence. The procedure the Colorado Legislature has enacted for the commute and pardon process is found in Colorado Revised Statutes, §§ 16-17-101, 102. There are no fees required to apply for executive clemency and no time constraints under which any application for executive clemency must be processed.

See the webpage for guidelines and for a link to the application, which must be completed under the advisement of the offender's case manager.





9/26/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: Rydberg's Flora

One of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century America's greatest botanists extensively studied the flora of Colorado, and left us what is still one of the most important works on the state's flowers.

Per Axel Rydberg (1860-1931) emigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1882.  His career as a botanist came somewhat by accident.  Upon moving to the United States, he planned to become a mining engineer, but while working in the iron mines of Michigan he suffered a serious leg injury that left him with a lifelong limp and closed the door on a mining career.  Instead, he turned to intellectual pursuits, paying his way through the University of Nebraska by teaching mathematics.  After receiving his M.A. Rydberg was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the botany of Nebraska and South Dakota, publishing his first work in 1895.  He then when on to earn his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1898, and two years later, Rydberg first came to Colorado to study the state's flora.  Over the next three decades of his life Rydberg would specialize in studying the flora of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, discovering several plant species and publishing numerous works.  He also continued his connection to New York, serving as the first curator of the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium. 

Rydberg's publications include studies of the botany of Nebraska, Utah, Yellowstone National Park, and even the Yukon, but one of his most significant publications remains his 1906 Flora of Colorado, published by the Colorado Agricultural College's Experiment Station.  This nearly-500 page book has been digitized and is available online from our library.

Also from our library you can learn about some of the plants and flowers that Rydberg studied and discovered, which bear his name.  Some of these species are now rare or imperiled.  You can read conservation assessments from the Colorado State University's Natural Heritage Program on the following species named for Rydberg:

9/25/2017

Mantherapy: A Resource for Men-tal Health

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), "Colorado's suicide rates are among the highest in the country, and males in Colorado are four times more likely to die by suicide than females."  CDPHE is working to combat this trend with an online resource called Mantherapy.  Originally launched in 2012, the site has recently been revamped, according to a news release from CDPHE.  New features of the site include resources for military/veterans and first responders, videos, and a new personal assessment tool called "head inspection."  The information is all presented in a friendly, humorous way that can help men deal with anger, depression, anxiety, grief, and more.










Image courtesy Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

9/21/2017

Butterfly Migration

If you love butterflies, this week has been an absolute delight along the Front Range as the painted lady butterflies migrate south.  Conditions this year have caused an explosion of the numbers of painted ladies, which is why we are seeing so many more than usual.  The orange butterflies, which are commonly mistaken for monarchs, are headed to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico for the winter, according to an article in the Denver Post.  They enjoy a variety of flowers, especially asters, which are in bloom right now.  Last weekend was the peak for the migration through the Denver area, although many can still be seen.  The butterflies will also pass through on their way back north in April and May.

Colorado has many other butterfly species, as well.  Those who enjoy butterflies should see the CSU Extension's publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, which offers tips on creating a butterfly habitat along with lists of the best types of flowers to plant for attracting butterflies.

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies enjoying the asters at my home in Park Hill, September 16, 2017.


9/19/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Agricultural Society

Colorado Territory had barely been established when a group of leading farmers, agriculturalists, and promoters got together and formed the Colorado Agricultural Society in 1861.  Society founders included such notables as William N. Byers (Denver promoter and founder of the Rocky Mountain News), Richard Sopris (future Denver mayor), William Gilpin (territorial governor), and William Larimer (founder of Denver).

The organization was already ten years old -- and Colorado hadn't even attained statehood yet -- when they kicked off their annual agricultural exhibition in Denver 146 years ago today, September 19, 1871.  In his newspaper Byers wrote that "the fair which opens to day will be the most extensive ever witnessed in Colorado."  (You can read the full article online via the State Library's Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.) 

The exhibition, on the eastern outskirts of the city, boasted a fairgrounds of forty acres with a mile-long racetrack and "an elegant new grandstand...with orchestra for musicians, and seats for the accommodation of 3,000 persons" -- especially interesting since Denver's entire population in 1870 was only 4,759.  The fairgrounds also included stock pens, a 2-story building with "a large and commodious dining hall," a 150-foot circular pavilion for agricultural displays, "ladies' and gentlemens' saloons," and "a large hall for minerals, fine arts and fancy goods."  This description comes from the Agricultural Society's biennial report and report of the exhibition, which you can view online from our library.  The document also includes a history of the Society and a report of the previous year's (1870) exhibition, as well as the society's annual reports for both years. Detailed "programmes" for the 1870 and 1871 exhibitions can also be found.  The lists of all of the prize winners are also included.  Mrs. H. B. Bearce must have been especially talented; she won first prize in three categories: "best worked pair slippers," "best display bead work," and "best embroidered chemise."  It might have helped, though, that her husband was President of the Society!

The Colorado Agricultural Society was dissolved in 1873 and the task of promoting agriculture in Colorado went to the Colorado Industrial Association.  Smaller, local fairs such as county fairs were held in lieu of the territorial fair until 1882, when Denver constructed a huge pavilion for a major Mining and Industrial Exposition.  Although mining was the major focus of this exposition, it did include large displays devoted to agriculture and other industries.  This exposition was located near South Broadway and what is now Exposition Avenue.  It was only held for three years; a major decline in attendance at the 1884 fair spelled the demise of the exposition.  Later, in 1901, the Colorado State Fair was established in Pueblo, where it is still held every year.


9/18/2017

College and University Veteran Services

Colorado's state-funded colleges and universities support veterans and active-duty servicemembers in a variety of ways, from tuition benefits to job placement assistance to mental health services.  If you are a servicemember or veteran who is thinking of applying to a Colorado higher education institution, the following list provides links to the different veterans programs offered by each college or university:

Adams State College:  Veteran's Educational Benefits
Colorado Community College System:  Veteran Education & Training
Colorado Mesa University:  Veteran Services
Colorado School of Mines:  Veterans Services
Colorado State University:  Services for Veterans at CSU
Colorado State University - Global Campus:  Military Tuition Assistance and Benefits
Colorado State University - Pueblo:  Military and Veterans Success Center
Fort Lewis College:  VA Educational Benefits
Metropolitan State University of Denver:  Veteran and Military Student Support Services
University of Colorado - Boulder:  Office of Veteran Services
University of Colorado - Colorado Springs:  Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs
University of Colorado - Denver: Veteran & Military Student Services
University of Northern Colorado: Veterans Services
Western State Colorado University: Veteran Educational Benefits


 

9/14/2017

September is National Preparedness Month

The recent hurricane events have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for disaster.  Even though we don't get hurricanes in our state, there are a number of other disasters to prepare for -- including both natural disasters (floods, fires, tornadoes, storms, avalanches, rockslides) and manmade disasters (terrorism, active shooters, power outages).  There are many personal incidents to prepare for as well -- illness, identity theft, personal safety, home protection, and more.  ReadyColorado.com, sponsored by Colorado's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can help you prepare for hazards large and small. 


On the site you can find resources on how to create a preparedness plan for your home or office; how to stay informed of emergencies in your area; a calendar of events and training; 8 signs of terrorism; a natural hazards map; pet safety; resources for educators; resources for people with disabilities; and a blog.  Recent entries in their blog include a wide variety of topics including pedestrian safety, business continuity planning, bears, immunizations, heatstroke prevention, campfire safety, internet safety, and drone safety.  Before the next disaster - personal or community-wide - affects you, check out this informative site.

9/12/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: Trappers, Traders and Mountain Men

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, French, English, and American fur trappers came to Colorado, living a rugged existence in the mountains.  They traded with -- and often married into -- Indian tribes, and sent pelts back to "the States," where beaver hats were fashionable.  James Baker and Leroy Hafen, in their 1927 History of Colorado, reported that the first recorded trapper-trader in Colorado was James Purcell in 1802, a year before the Louisiana Purchase.  In the book the authors provide a detailed history of the fur trade and of the men who trapped and traded in what was to become Colorado.  The full 5-volume history has been digitized by our library.

The Colorado Magazine, published by the Colorado Historical Society from 1923 to 1980, also detailed the lives of several mountain men.  Articles include:
Born into slavery in 1805, James P. Beckwourth became one of Colorado's most famous mountain men.

9/11/2017

Colorado and the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace has been designated by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade as one of Colorado's fourteen key industries that "drive our state's economy through innovation and growth."  Colorado has several large aerospace companies, and the Governor's Office has identified aerospace as one of the industries they want to see grow in Colorado.  Partnering with the Brookings Institute, the Governor's Office in 2013 issued Launch! Taking Colorado's Space Economy to the Next Level, which details "a forward thinking business strategy to support the Aerospace Industry in Colorado.  This report affords us the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of Colorado's Aerospace sector and develop strategies to collaboratively address the challenges facing the industry."  For this and other reports on the aerospace industry in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


9/08/2017

West Nile Virus

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) reminds us that "summer may be waning, but West Nile Virus season isn't."  According to their press release, August and September are the months with the highest occurrences of the mosquito-transmitted virus, and "transmission to people is on the rise." 

The CDPHE gathers data on West Nile cases and is the state's main resource for information on the prevention of human cases of the virus.  See their West Nile Virus webpage for resources such as FAQs, prevention tips, data and statistics, and resources for health care providers.  You can also find reports and data from CDPHE by searching our library's online catalog.

Animals, especially horses, can also be affected by the virus.  Refer to the Colorado Department of Agriculture for information on equine West Nile Virus.  Also be sure to see their publication West Nile Virus Encephalitis: A Guide for Horse Owners, available from our library.

Finally, be sure to visit the state's Fight the Bite Colorado website for more resources.

9/06/2017

Hurricane Information

2017 is turning out to be a historic year for hurricane activity in the U.S., as the Gulf Coast works to recover from Hurricane Harvey and the Atlantic Coast braces for Hurricane Irma.  While we don't have to worry about hurricanes in Colorado, our state's two largest universities both engage in significant research on hurricanes.

At Colorado State University, the Tropical Meteorology Project predicts Atlantic hurricane activity and landfall probability each year.  The project was founded by renowned scientist Dr. William Gray, who passed away in 2016.  Gray began his annual predictions in 1984, and they are continued today by his mentee, Dr. Phil Klotzbach of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Science.  So what did Klotzbach predict for this year?  You can find the 2017 (and previous years') predictions available online from our library.  The reports contain lots of stats and data supporting the predictions, but the bottom line is, on August 4 Klotzbach and associate Michael Bell predicted that "the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States Coastline and in the Caribbean is above-normal."  Given what we are seeing right now as Irma gathers speed in the Caribbean, it looks like the researchers were spot-on.

A different kind of hurricane research takes place at the University of Colorado.  Instead of predicting hurricanes, researchers at the university's Natural Hazards Center study the aftermath of the events, how they affect the people who live through them, and how emergency responders can learn from the events.  While the Center researches all kinds of disasters, hurricanes make up a significant part of their research because there have been so many devastating ones in the last several decades.  You can find the Center's reports in our library; some particularly apropos titles include: 
Check out the Natural Hazards Center's website for preliminary resources on Hurricane Harvey.


*As of this writing the possibility exists for Hurricane Irma to exceed Hurricane Andrew in intensity and damage in Florida.  This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.

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