11/16/2017

The Future of Transportation

Travel between Denver and Boulder in just 8 minutes?  It could become a reality.  Yesterday the Colorado Department of Transportation released plans to study the Hyperloop system, a high-speed track system where cars are loaded onto pods and pushed through vacuum-sealed tubes at a speed of 670 miles per hour.  CDOT says a half-mile test track will be built alongside E-470 near Denver International Airport.   You can read more about this futuristic transportation system in CDOT's Hyperloop One report/proposal.  See also this CDOT video about Hyperloop.

Autonomous vehicles are also on the horizon.  Over the past year CDOT has been testing self-driving work zone trucks and other innovations as part of its RoadX program.  CDOT put together this video demonstrating the world's first self-driving work zone vehicle.  Check out CDOT's RoadX webpage for more information and videos.

11/14/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Aviation

A jet crosses the runway over I-70 at Stapleton International Airport in 1969.  Photo courtesy History Colorado.
In honor of National Aviation History Month, this week's post takes a look at the state of aviation in Colorado fifty years ago.  In 1968, the Colorado House of Representatives appointed a committee to look at the growth, challenges, and future of air travel in Colorado.  You can read the committee's report online from our library.

The report discusses the planning and legislation needed to address the growing industry.  At the time of this report, aviation technology was rapidly expanding.  Many airports, including Denver's Stapleton, were constructed in the early days of flight.  But after WWII, air travel "took off" as technologies were expanded.  For the first time in 1959, a jumbo jet flew out of Stapleton Airport, a facility that had been designed for much smaller aircraft.  Smaller airports around the state were also being pushed to capacity as air travel in all forms became more widespread.  Safety had also become more of a concern, as the Denver metro area had experienced two major crashes in the 1950s.  In 1951, a B-29 bomber taking off from Lowry Air Force Base crashed into Denver's Hilltop Neighborhood; and in 1955, Mainliner flight 629 exploded over Longmont, the result of a bomb planted in a passenger's suitcase, killing 44.  It was the United States' first incidence of air sabotage and still ranks as the state's largest mass-murder.

So the need for space, safety, and adaptation to new technology led to the House committee's formation in 1968.  The committee suggested that the overcrowding at Stapleton be addressed by the construction of "new reliever (secondary) airports in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver." Stapleton would push on for another twenty-five years, but finally the expansion of air travel - including the addition of more international flights - as well as increased noise over Denver residential areas led to the construction of Denver International Airport. 

Other ideas put forth in the 1968 report included state aid for community airports; development of air commuter services; an expanded safety program, including "the widespread use of navigational aids throughout the State;" and using air travel improvements to attract tourists to Colorado, especially skiers.  The committee recommended "exploiting all of Colorado's natural resources through the media of air transport. Such potentials as the skiing industry should be fully supported by both communities and the State."  Was this initiative successful?  Ten years after the report, the University of Colorado published The Airline Skier, 1977-78 Season: A Comparison of the Skiers Traveling by Commercial Air in Five Skier Studies Conducted at Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Winter Park, and Copper Mountain.  This report is also available digitally from our library.  For other resources on the history of aviation in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.   


11/13/2017

Student Data Privacy

The Colorado Department of Education takes many precautions to protect students' privacy and limit the availability of personally identifiable information.  To learn more, check out the following resources outlining the steps CDE is taking to ensure your children's privacy:
Also, be sure and visit the following CDE webpages for updated information:

11/09/2017

CSU's National Western Center

Last week was the groundbreaking for the new National Western Center, a major project to revitalize the National Western Stock Show complex into a "year-round educational and entertainment hub."  The project includes both the construction of several new buildings as well as the preservation and restoration of several of the complex's historic structures, most notably the 1909 Stadium Arena. 

One of the major partners in the project is Colorado State University, which will have three new facilities at the complex: the CSU Water Resources Center; a facility for equine sports medicine; and the "CSU Center," which will provide classroom, laboratory, and art spaces as well as a "K-12 Food Systems Exploration Center."  For details on the CSU buildings see their program plan.  You can also find out more about the project at http://nwc.colostate.edu/ and at the City of Denver's National Western Center webpage.

A rendering of the site, including the historic Stadium Arena and the new CSU buildings.  Photo courtesy Colorado State University.

11/07/2017

Time Machine Tuesday: A Colorado Booklist from 1968

What were the popular books on Colorado, and by Colorado authors, half a century ago?  Find out by viewing the Colorado Booklist that was issued by the State Historical Society.  The list gives titles and brief summaries of fiction and non-fiction books for adults, young adults, and children, as well as Colorado-themed magazines.  The list is an excellent resource to use if you are trying to recall the name of a Colorado-themed book that you read as a child, or to get a sense of Colorado culture in the 1960s.  The list may also be of interest to book collectors and book sellers.  Some of the books on the list are still important reference books for today's local historians; others have been all but forgotten.

A few of the non-fiction books and magazines listed, such as the Colorado Yearbook, Colorado Magazine, and Colorado Outdoors, are available for checkout from our library.  Others may be available at your local public library or through interlibrary loan.  Search our library's online catalog or contact us for research help.

11/06/2017

Western Slope Colorado Wine

Colorado wine enthusiasts may delight in the book An American Provence, published in 2011 by University Press of Colorado.  In this book, author Thomas P. Huber examines the many geographic similarities between Colorado's Western-slope wine country and the Provence region in France.  From the book summary:

In this poetic personal narrative, Thomas P. Huber reflects on two seemingly unrelated places-the North Fork Valley in western Colorado and the Coulon River Valley in Provence, France-and finds a shared landscape and sense of place. What began as a simple comparison of two like places in distant locations turned into a more complex, interesting, and personal task. Much is similar-the light, the valleys, the climate, the agriculture. And much is less so-the history, the geology, the physical makeup of villages. Using a geographer's eye and passion for the land and people, Huber examines the regions' similarities and differences to explore the common emotional impact of each region. Part intimate travelogue and part case study of geography in the real world, An American Provence illuminates the importance sense of place plays in who we are.

An American Provence is available for checkout from our library.  Also, you can learn more about Colorado's wine industry in the following state publications, also available from our library:


11/02/2017

Governor's Budget

You've probably seen the headlines about the various budget proposals in the Governor's annual budget and the other state agency budgets, which were released yesterday.  You can examine any of the budget requests at our library; here you can also find past years' budgets, some going back several decades. 

You can also view online versions of the current budget requests at the Governor's Office of State Planning & Budgeting website.  Search our library's online catalog for online budgets from previous years.

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