CoCoRaHS: The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network

2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS. The network began on June 17, 1998 with just a handful of volunteer meteorological observers and has grown to over 20,000 volunteers across North America. Each time it rains, hails, or snows in their area, volunteers take measurements of the precipitation and the data is posted to the CoCoRaHS website. Current and historical data and maps about weather, climate, and precipitation can be downloaded off the site. Apps, publications, webinars, and educational tools are also available.
CoCoRaHS Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network Anniversary

CoCoRaHS is sponsored by Colorado State University's Colorado Climate Center. View their website for even more meteorological data. The Climate Center has also issued numerous publications which you can find in our library's web catalog.


Workforce Supply and Demand Data

What are the most in-demand occupations in Colorado? The State's Talent Found Dashboard uses current job posting data to measure demand, and presents interactive maps and tables that you can use to find out the state's hottest jobs.

Talent Found Colorado
The data on the website supplements two 2017 state reports, the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report and Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development. The former report analyzes workforce supply and demand in Colorado while the latter report examines Colorado's higher education and training needs in order to meet these demands. Search our library's online catalog for further resources on jobs and the workforce in Colorado.


Time Machine Tuesday: Historical Population Trends

In a recent Time Machine Tuesday I wrote about some of our library's digital documents that tell the story of population changes - and the need for water - over the last twenty years. This week, our digital documents go back quite a bit further, to examine population trends back to Colorado territorial days.

In 1940 the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and the Rural Section of the WPA Division of Research teamed up to explore population growth and change since 1860, especially in regards to agriculture and the ability for ag workers to find jobs in Colorado. They published their findings in Population Trends in Colorado, which you can read online from our library.

This publication shows that concerns over population growth are nothing new in our state. The 1940 publication emphatically states that "there is evidence to indicate that Colorado is approaching its population saturation point under its present economic and social structure." The report suggests that unless more water could be found for irrigation, farming would diminish and "perhaps the additional population must look to industry or mining for sufficient employment to insure an adequate standard of living." Otherwise, "it appears probable that any future increase in the population of the State will add to the relief burden already in existence." As the state was just emerging from the Great Depression, the ability to find jobs for a growing population was a significant concern.

Population Trends in Colorado provides an in-depth look at the ups and downs of Colorado population growth from 1860 through 1930, before the Great Depression. (The author notes that a separate study was being undertaken to analyze the effect of the Depression on Colorado's population after 1930.)  The document takes a look at historical population growth factors and explains why, "while there has been a constant gain in Colorado's population since the first census of 1860," some decades' gains were smaller than others. Maps and charts showing migration rates, population density, and future estimates are shown. The publication also discusses differences between interstate and international migration to Colorado; differences between urban, farm, and village population rates; trends in family size, marital status, etc.; and education and employment growth and trends. This publication is a valuable resource for anyone researching the history of population change in Colorado; however, readers should be warned that it does include several racially insensitive comments and illustrations. 

Our library has numerous additional publications that examine historical population trends in Colorado, including A Century of the Colorado Census (University of Northern Colorado, 1976), and Population Trends in Counties of Colorado, 1900-1957, published by the State Planning Division. We also have many additional resources on population growth and change in more recent decades; for these and more, search our library's online catalog.

Crowds on Denver's 16th Street circa 1940. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


Researching the Hispanic Experience in Colorado

Hispanic Colorado Resource GuideIf you're researching the history of Colorado's Hispanic community, the University of Colorado Denver has put together a helpful resource that can serve as an excellent starting place for your research. The Hispanic Colorado Resource Guide "identifies resources providing perspectives on the diverse experiences of Hispanics in Colorado -- who they are, where they came from, how they lived, and what they contributed." The guide was produced in collaboration with some of the state's top Hispanic, Chicana/o, and Latino/a scholars and professors.

This resource guide identifies various types of publications useful to researchers and genealogists, as well as specific county and regional information and places to go - churches, museums, and historic sites - to find out more. The guide even includes an appendix on Hispanic Colorado legislators and another appendix on researching photograph collections.

Some additional resources, available from our library, that are useful in researching Colorado's Hispanic history and culture include:
  • Colorado Heritage, issue for March/April 2015, in conjunction with History Colorado's "El Movimiento" exhibit.
  • Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of the Colorado Borderlands (University Press of Colorado, 2011).
  • El Pueblo History Museum: A Capsule History and Guide. (Colorado Historical Society, 2006).
  • Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies (University of Colorado at Boulder, published 2003-2009).
  • The Life and Times of Richard Castro (Colorado Historical Society, 2007).
  • The Culebra River Villages of Costilla County: Village Architecture and its Historical Context, 1851-1940. (Colorado Historical Society, 2002).
  • La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado (Colorado Historical Society, 1998).
  • The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado (University Press of Colorado, 1997).
  • Confluencia (University of Northern Colorado Department of Hispanic Studies, published 1985-present).
  • The Hispanic Population in Colorado: Survey (Colorado Department of Education, 1978). 
  • The Status of Spanish-Surnamed Citizens in Colorado (Colorado General Assembly, 1967).
  • Americans with Spanish Names: A Review (WPA, 1942).
  • The Spanish-Speaking People of the Southwest (Colorado Department of Education, 1938).

Also see the Hispanic History Resources webpage from History Colorado as well as the Colorado Encyclopedia. Search our library's online catalog for more titles, including resources on Hispanic health, population, workforce, and more.


Wildfire Information

Here's where to go to get the latest on the multiple wildfires burning across the state:
Additionally, here are some helpful publications and websites:

Spring Fire, July 3, 2018. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Fire Protection & Control.


Time Machine Tuesday: Postcards from Southwestern Colorado

Bird's-eye view of Durango, circa 1907-1914.
In today's world of social media and instant communication, the postcard has become a lost art. But the basic idea is the same - the desire to share pictures and updates with friends and family while you're apart. A century ago, postcards were a popular and cheap way to send a quick greeting. The United States first passed a law in 1861 allowing the sending of cards through the mail, and America's first postcard was copyrighted that year.

Postcards really gained popularity after 1907, when US laws began to allow the "split-back" postcard - the familiar postcard style with the address on the right and the message on the left. Prior to that time, messages were not allowed on the same side of the card as the address, meaning most postcards were simply a picture on the front and the address on the back. Postcard styles evolved over time, but their popularity began to decline around the 1990s.

During the heydey of postcards, senders all over the country could choose from a variety of pictures of notable local buildings, parks, scenery, or streetscapes. Some picture postcards used actual photographs, while others featured illustrations done from photos. Postcards have become amazing historical resources for two reasons: one, if they contain messages, we're provided with a glimpse of everyday life in the past, and two, the postcard images are a unique view of scenes of the past - especially the illustrated color images from before the days of color photography. They highlight the places that the city, town, or area believed to be important, the buildings they were proud of, the natural wonders that excited viewers. It's little wonder that postcards are a popular collector's item today.

If you're studying the history of Southwestern Colorado, postcards are a great way to to peek into the region's past. The Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College has digitized a large collection of postcards from places like Durango, Mesa Verde, Silverton, Telluride, Ouray, and other locales, along with a number of postcards from the area's narrow gauge railroads. Postcards also featured significant local events, like the 1916 Durango blizzard.

Beaumont Hotel, Ouray, circa 1907-1914.

In 1925 - during an era when postcards were especially popular due to the growth of automobile tourism - the State Board of Immigration published Colorado: The San Juan District, which is available online from our library. This illustrated booklet makes an excellent companion piece to the postcards because it provides context for the places and people of the southwestern Colorado counties. Geography, climate, industry, history, natural resources, education, transportation, businesses, and tourist attractions are described for each of the seven counties in the region, accompanied by photographs. Search our library's online catalog for more resources on the history of southwest Colorado.

Front and back views of a postcard printed in 1906 and mailed in 1907,
just before "split-back" postcards became legal.


Marijuana Facts for Parents and Caregivers

Last month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched a new awareness campaign, Responsibility Grows Here, for teaching parents and caregivers about the responsible use of marijuana, including information for pregnant and breastfeeding women, responsible use around children, and how to talk to youth about marijuana. From the CDPHE's press release:

Trusted adults ― parents, family, teachers and others ― can have an enormous influence on whether a young person uses marijuana. Health department surveys show young people with parents who feel marijuana use is wrong are four times less likely to use it. Those young people who have family rules about marijuana use, parents they can talk to and supportive teachers are much less likely to use marijuana.
To take advantage of these strong relationships, the health department’s trusted adult campaign shows these role models how important their voices can be and provides them resources they need to talk to their kids about marijuana. Responsibility Grows Here has tips on how trusted adults can start a conversation about marijuana; listen to the concerns of their children; and share information about the health and legal consequences of underage marijuana use. It also provides tips on discussing how marijuana use can get in the way of finishing school, building a career or pursuing other life goals. 

Parents and caregivers can find additional marijuana information by viewing the following resources:


Denver Landmarks & Historic Districts

Over the last few months you may have read the news articles about the proposed development of Larimer Square, Denver's first designated historic district. This week, it was back in the news when the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Larimer Square to its annual list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places."

For the story behind Larimer Square, its buildings, and why it was preserved, check out Dr. Thomas J. Noel's Denver Landmarks and Historic Districts (University Press of Colorado, 2016). This book takes a look at how, and why, Denver established its Landmark Preservation Commission in 1967 and has since designated over 50 historic districts - beginning with Larimer Square - and over 300 individual landmarks. Each of the districts and landmark structures is examined in the book. In our library you can also check out the first edition of the title, published in 1996 - which, in comparison with the new edition, can show how the program has grown in the last twenty years.

For more information about current issues in historic preservation in our state see Preservation for a Changing Colorado (History Colorado, 2017).


Time Machine Tuesday: Water and Growth

In 1999 the Colorado Legislative Council published an Issue Brief entitled Finding Water for One Million New Residents. It reported that in 20 years the population of the Northern Front Range - including the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and Larimer - would grow to 3.5 million people, and that one of the major issues associated with this population growth would be how to supply water to all the new people moving in.

So before we get to the water issue, let's take a look at the population figures. Were the 1999 predictions accurate?  Using population figures from the State Demography Office, we can see that in 1999 the combined population of those six counties was 2,311,420, and their combined population in 2016 (the most recent year available) was 3,066,923 - a difference of 755,503. Not quite a million. However, given the intense growth that has happened since 2016, if we look at the Demography Office's projected populations for those counties in 2019 - the 20 years since publication of the Issue Brief - the six counties' combined population is expected to be around 3,217,133. That's 905,713 more people in the Front Range than in 1999. And if we count Boulder and Broomfield counties into the mix - which were not counted in the 1999 report, but today considered by most to be a part of the Front Range - we're definitely on track to have a million new residents between 1999 and 2019.

Now to the water issue. David Beaujon writes in the 1999 Issue Brief that "of Colorado's seven river basins, only the Colorado River Basin has a significant amount of surplus water that could be developed for use in the Denver metropolitan area," but cites possible federal policy changes, water projects, and transbasin diversions as potential challenges to obtaining this water. Another possible source, the Denver Basin Aquifer, "offers protection against extended droughts and a temporary water supply for rapidly growing municipalities until other supplies can be developed." However, water in the aquifer "is essentially nonrenewable, and well pumping can exceed the natural rate of recharge from rain and snow, which is often less than an inch per year," cautions Beaujon. Finally, other options are discussed, such as water reuse and transfers of agricultural water rights. Both of these options, however, present challenges to the agricultural economy, either by reducing the amount of lands under irrigation, or by reducing streamflow, explains the Brief.

Colorado's Water PlanSo how has the state dealt with these challenges since 1999, and what does the future hold? In 2015, the state issued its official Water Plan. The nearly 600-page document (which you can also check out in print from our library if your eyes can't take that much screen reading) discusses the supply and demand challenges for each of Colorado's seven basins and how the state is planning to address future need.

Here are some other helpful publications that address the issues of water supply and population growth in the Front Range:


Health First Colorado Member Information

If you are one of the 1,276,946 members of Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, there are many resources available online to help you understand your benefits and services under the program. For an overview, see the Member Handbook, available in both English and Spanish. You can also view a benefits and services chart and FAQs, and visit their page for contact information and where to get help. The Health First website also includes a series of videos which cover topics such as teen depression screening; substance use disorder benefits; and how to keep your information up to date. On this page you can also subscribe to the Health First e-newsletter.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which administers the Health First program, has a variety of other resources on their website to help you navigate the program. If you're searching for a provider, they offer a Find a Doctor database on their website.

Colorado's Medicaid program turns 50 years old this year. Learn more about Medicaid in Colorado, including statistical information, on HCPF's Fifty Facts webpage. For more detailed statistics on enrollment, see the Medicaid Client Caseload by County monthly statistical summaries or view HCPF's annual report.

Finally, you can go to HCPF's website to download a mobile app for managing your benefits.

Health First Colorado


Summer Wildlife Viewing

yellow-bellied marmot Colorado
Check out Marmot Fest at Staunton State Park this weekend, June 23-24, 2018 and maybe you'll spot a yellow-bellied marmot!
Summer is officially here, and with it comes great opportunities for viewing wildlife in all parts of the state. Some species, like hummingbirds, are only here in the summer. Others, like mountain goats, live in alpine areas inaccessible to people except in summer. Still other species hibernate during the winter. So if you're interested in viewing Colorado's many amazing wildlife species, summer is your best bet.

Wildlife viewing is also a great activity for families while the kids are out of school. For a number of years the Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks & Wildlife) published Colorado's Wildlife Company, a series of illustrated booklets for all ages to learn about the watchable wildlife in Colorado. The booklets have been digitized by our library and provide fun facts and wildlife viewing tips. Several titles were written especially for summertime wildlife viewing, including the following:

Watching Wildlife provides a simple introduction to wildlife viewing - when and where to go, what tools and techniques to use, and a code of ethics.

Summertime Reveals Secrets of the Alpine Tundra. Check out this fun brochure to learn about species that live at elevations above 11,000 feet, such as mountain goats, marmots, pikas, and ptarmigan. Included are suggestions for places to drive to see alpine wildlife, including Mount Evans, Trail Ridge Road, Independence Pass, Pikes Peak, and the Million Dollar Highway.

Summertime, and the Livin' Ain't Easy. What do animals do to protect themselves from the heat of summer? How have they adapted to our dry climate? Along with tips on viewing animals in summer, this edition tells about the many fascinating adaptations animals have made to survive and thrive in summertime. Download this title to find out what "daily torpor" and "gular fluttering" refer to!

Summer's Hummers is all about hummingbirds. Learn about their amazing acrobatics and flight mechanics, and the innovative ways they search for food. You can also find out how to attract hummingbirds to your garden.

The Hawks of Summer profiles a very different kind of bird. Learn about the many different types and sizes of hawks found in Colorado and how to identify them. Many Colorado hawks, such as red-tailed, Cooper's hawks, and prairie falcons, live in Colorado year-round. But some species, like Swainson's hawks, spend the winters in South and Central America.

Listen... Wildlife viewing isn't just about what you see with your eyes -- it's also about using your ears to locate and identify wildlife. From birds to frogs to elk, species have unique calls and sounds. And learning about animal sounds isn't just about who's making the sound, but why. Many of the birdcalls you hear in your neighborhood every day are actually alarm calls, warning of danger. Prairie dogs, marmots, and other rodents also sound alarms. Animal calls can also be about mating, or territory, or babies asking for food.

Photo by David Iliff, License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Yule Marble

Lincoln Memorial.
Did you know that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. are constructed of marble quarried here in Colorado? The stone comes from the Colorado Yule Marble quarry in the Crystal River valley near Marble, between Aspen and Carbondale. Colorado Yule marble, named for nearby Yule Creek, is a special variety of marble found only in Colorado. Yule marble has been used in buildings and monuments across the United States. Here in Denver it's also been used in many state government buildings, including the building that houses our library.

The Yule Marble quarry. Courtesy Colorado Geological Survey.
The Colorado Yule Marble Company was founded by Channing Meek in 1905, although marble had been discovered in the area as early as the 1870s. The town of Marble was founded in 1881. It was after the turn of the century, however, when marble became especially fashionable. With financial assistance from the Rockefellers, Meek spent $3 million establishing the quarry and building a power plant and a railroad to the quarry site through Marble, where the processing mill was located. During its first few years the operation employed nearly 900 workers, many of them Italian immigrants. "Colorado Marble and Building Stone is the Finest in the World," proclaimed the 1909-10 report of the state's Bureau of Labor Statistics in a profile of Yule Marble, which you can read online from our library.

In 1912 an avalanche destroyed the quarry, which is cut into a steep mountainside. It was soon rebuilt and back in operation. That summer, Meek, the founder and superintendent, was killed in a trolley accident in the quarry. The operation continued with new leadership, however, and between 1914 and 1916 supplied stone to Washington, D.C. for the Lincoln Memorial.

Over the next few years, fires, floods, the coming of WWI, and labor troubles tested the company. It was foreclosed and split into two companies and sold; however, in 1924 the two companies merged to form the Consolidated Yule Marble Company. It was sold again in 1928, and in 1930, it was chosen to provide the stone for the Tomb of the Unknowns. "The company was chosen because it had the only quarry capable of cutting a single block of marble large enough for the proposed design," according to an article in the Colorado Encyclopedia.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A building in Los Angeles constructed of Colorado Yule Marble.
By 1941, demand for marble had decreased as cheaper building materials were being introduced and modernist styles favored steel and glass. The quarry was shut down in the fall of that year, just prior to America's entry into WWII. During and after the war, the quarry site sat mostly vacant until 1990, when it was finally reopened. A series of different owners have operated the site since that time. In 2004, marble was declared the State Rock

If you're out exploring the Crystal River valley this summer, you can visit the Colorado Yule Marble site. While the quarry itself is closed to tourists, you can still hike near the old Crystal Mill and see scattered marble remnants and rejects. The town of Marble also has a history museum.

Marble remnants can still be seen while hiking around the area. Photo by Alan Levine courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Video Resources from the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) not only provides services to students enrolled at the school, but also provides "outreach programs [that] serve students, staff, and families in communities throughout Colorado." One of the ways CSDB reaches out to the community is through the many video resources they offer. Some of these provide helpful information for teachers of deaf and/or blind students. Others help the community understand these disabilities and how students are overcoming them and thriving.

On the CSDB website, you can find links to these videos. An introductory video about CSDB includes an audio-described version. CSDB has also produced a number of videos on American Sign Language. These include quick videos that anyone can use to learn sign language, and are also useful to sign language instructors. One of the highlights is their "Signs of the Month" series of short videos that teach a few sign words to go with the month or season. For example, in the June video you can learn about signs for flowers and gardening.

CSDB also broadcasts community segments on cable TV. To learn more about these segments or to view them online, click here. Finally, to view all of CSDB's videos, including webinars, instructional tools, a series of "role model" interviews, technology information, provider information, employability resources, and "Voices of CSDB" interviews, visit the CSDB YouTube channel.

To learn more about CSDB, view their annual reports available online from our library.


Summer Ozone and Pollution

Wondering what you can do to help reduce ozone and improve our summer air? The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council have launched a new campaign that can help Coloradans take simple steps toward better summer air. In fact, that's the name of the campaign and its new website - SimpleStepsBetterAir.org. Check out the website for tips on what you can do. For instance, while "take fewer car trips" might be fairly obvious, there are probably some things that you're doing that you're not even aware are affecting our summer ozone. For example, do you know which household products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? Which man-made activities produce the highest levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx)? And what ground-level ozone can do to your health? In addition to learning all about summer ozone, you can also use the website to download interactive tools such as the OzoMeter for logging car trips, and sign up for real-time ozone and air pollution updates.

Want to learn even more about ozone and summer air quality? You can find many helpful resources in our library, including
Items listed above without URLs can be checked out in print from our library or on Prospector. For lots more titles on ozone and air quality, search our library's online catalog.


Public Transit in Colorado

With so many people moving to Colorado, and with so much development, transit has become an important issue. Transit, or public transit, refers to multi-modal transportation systems that can move large numbers of passengers - i.e., buses or passenger rail.

The state's two major planning documents for transit are the Statewide Transit Plan, which "identifies local, regional and statewide transit and passenger rail needs and priorities," and the Colorado State Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, developed "to provide a framework for future freight and passenger rail planning in Colorado." Learn more about the two plans, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)'s other transit policies, on their Division of Transit and Rail webpage.

Additional documents relating to Colorado's transit and rail planning include:
To learn about Colorado's safety laws for rail and transit, visit the Colorado Public Utilities Commission's  Rail/Transit webpage. The state also recently conducted an audit of bus and light rail operator safety practices.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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