2/27/2018

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Vote Against the Olympics

The 2018 winter games have come and gone, and once again Colorado's leaders are looking to the future and hoping to get the Olympics to come to Colorado.  What many newcomers may not remember, however, is that Colorado was once awarded the Olympic games -- and the people said no.

In 1970 the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1976 winter games to Colorado, which would have coincided with the centennial-bicentennial celebrations that would take place that year.  After being awarded the games, however, Coloradans started to examine the huge financial burden that the Olympics would create, along with concerns over its environmental impact.  Richard Lamm, who would later be elected governor, led the charge against the Olympics. Lamm was one of the major forces behind a 1972 ballot initiative which asked voters to decide on whether to amend the state constitution "to prohibit the state from levying taxes and appropriating or loaning funds for the purpose of aiding or furthering the 1976 Winter Olympic Games." 

To help voters prepare for the election, the Colorado Legislative Council issued -- as it still does today -- their statewide non-partisan ballot analysis book, or "Blue Book," which included fiscal analysis along with lists of the pros and cons of each ballot measure. You can view the 1972 Blue Book online courtesy of our library. Among the arguments against the measure was a moral one: "the International Olympic Committee ha[s] every reason to rely on the state's commitment to funding the Olympics. It would be very bad faith on the part of the state if it were to back out of its commitment."  Arguments in favor of rejecting the Olympics, however, included the debt aspect and the state's obligation to pay "unforeseen costs," as well as the idea that "... national and international ... publicity could further stimulate Colorado's population growth, which is one of the highest in the nation. Unmanageable growth places an economic burden on a community that must expand facilities and services to meet the needs of new residents."

59% of the voters agreed with these arguments.  According to the state's official tabulation of votes, the measure passed with 514,228 "yes" votes to 350,964 "no" votes.  By prohibiting the state from collecting taxes to fund the Olympics, the passage of this measure made it impossible for the games to be held here.  Colorado was forced to reject the 1976 Olympics, which instead were awarded to Innsbruck, Austria.  Innsbruck had previously hosted the games in 1964, so they were able to re-use many of their facilities.

Bumper stickers for (top) and against (bottom) the 1976 Colorado Winter Olympics.  Courtesy History Colorado

2/26/2018

National Invasive Species Awareness Week


Here in Colorado we have a number of invasive species that are causing problems because they can harm the environment and put native species at risk.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife defines invasive species as "plants, animals, insects or diseases that are not native to Colorado."  CP&W explains that "because they are not native to Colorado habitats, they have no natural competitors or predators.  Without these checks and balances, the invaders are able to reproduce rapidly and out-compete native species."

How do these invasive species get here?  They mostly arrive by accident, "hitching a ride" on products being shipped into the state, or from human travel.  But some introductions can be avoided.  For example, bullfrogs, who occur naturally in the eastern and midwestern US but not in Colorado, were introduced here in part as discarded lab animals.  The bullfrogs are a problem, according to CP&W's species profile, because "bullfrogs eat anything that moves and will fit into their mouths including fishes, frogs, birds, bats, snakes, tarantulas, small mammals, and a variety of invertebrates. They out-compete and eat native amphibian species and are a factor in native species population declines."  Another example is the piranha, introduced into Colorado waters as unwanted pets.  For more on these and other Colorado wildlife, both native and non-native, check out CP&W's species profiles page.  For more on the problem of releasing non-native species into the wild, see CP&W's Don't Turn it Loose webpage.  Invasive plants such as purple loosestrife have also been introduced intentionally (though likely unknowingly), introduced for use in gardens but quickly reproducing and spreading.  Finally, you can avoid transporting invasive insects by not moving firewood out of affected areas.

As our world becomes more connected invasive species are becoming a greater problem, not just in Colorado but across the nation.  Therefore February 26-March 3 has been set aside as National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Here are some of the most problematic invasive species in Colorado, and state publications and websites that can help you learn more:

Emerald ash borer:

Field bindweed:

Gypsy moth:

Japanese beetle:

Meadow knapweed:

Mountain pine beetle:


Purple loosestrife:


Rusty crayfish:


Waterflea:


Yellow starthistle:


Zebra and quagga mussels:  

For general information on invasive species in Colorado, see the following state publications:

Photo credits:
Colorado Department of Agriculture:  Emerald ash borer, field bindweed, meadow knapweed, purple loosestrife, yellow starthistle
Colorado Parks & Wildlife: Rusty crayfish, waterflea, quagga mussel
Colorado State Forest Service: Gypsy moth
Wikipedia: Japanese beetle, mountain pine beetle

2/23/2018

Influenza: It's Not Just for Humans

As you work to protect yourself from the flu this season, don't forget about your pets and livestock.  While animals don't get our human strains of flu, there are separate strains that can affect different species:

Avian influenza, or bird flu, most often affects waterfowl such as ducks and geese, but these birds can transmit the disease to poultry flocks.  Some strains of bird flu can be transmitted to humans and other mammals, so the disease is closely monitored.  The Colorado Department of Agriculture has information on avian influenza on their website.  You can read more about avian influenza in these publications available from our library:

Canine influenza, or dog flu, was first found in the United States in 2015.  Don't be fooled by the name; according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats can also be susceptible to dog flu.  Dog flu can be highly contagious so many kennels and pet care facilities now require canine flu vaccinations.  Dog flu is not transmissible to humans.

Equine Influenza usually isn't fatal to horses, but can still be a problem especially for competition and show horses, who would have to miss events if ill, according to Colorado State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.  They have posted equine vaccination guidelines on their website.

Swine Influenza affects pigs but is also thought to be the type of flu that caused the 1918 influenza epidemic.  You can read about it in the article The Zoonotic Potential of Swine Influenza, from CSU's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.  Also see the fact sheet H1N1 Influenza and Pigs and the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Swine Emergency Disease Response Plan.

2/22/2018

Financial Protection for Marijuana Businesses and Investors

In 2014 the Colorado Legislature passed the Marijuana Financial Services Cooperative Act, which allows for the creation of what are referred to as "cannabis credit co-ops," defined as "a cooperative association incorporated...for the twofold purpose of providing specified financial services to its members and creating a source of credit for them."  According to the Act, the creation of these co-ops was necessary because, since growing, possessing, and selling marijuana is still illegal under federal law, many financial institutions are reluctant to provide financial services to marijuana businesses. With co-ops, marijuana businesses have access to legitimate financial services, thereby discouraging black-market financial dealings and reducing the need for businesses to keep large amounts of cash on premises.  Co-ops also give the state greater "ability to track and independently verify the accounting of licensed marijuana businesses' revenues."

Cannabis credit co-ops are overseen by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)'s Financial Services Division.  More information on the co-op program, including bylaws and how to apply for membership, can be found on the division's website.  You can learn more about the Division of Financial Services in their annual report.

DORA also works to help consumers become educated on how the can protect their finances.  For those considering investing in the marijuana industry, this brochure from DORA explains how you can better protect your finances by understanding the risks and benefits of marijuana investing.  DORA's Division of Securities also has a great deal of helpful information on their For Investors website, including tips on spotting and avoiding fraud, how to file a complaint, and much more.

To read more about the state's regulation and oversight of the marijuana industry in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


2/20/2018

Time Machine Tuesday: Income Tax Statistics

Income tax filing season has arrived.  How do today's incomes compare with those in the past?  It's hard to believe that just forty years ago the average annual household income in Colorado was only $13,214!

In 1977 the Colorado Legislative Council issued their tax study Colorado Statistics of Income: Individual Income Tax Returns, Fiscal Year 1977, which contains lots of data on Coloradan's incomes and how much of it went towards taxes.  Similar reports were issued for 1975 and throughout the 1980s and 1990s to help lawmakers determine state tax policy.  If you're researching the history of salaries and income in Colorado, these reports are a very helpful tool which have been digitized and made available online for easy access.  Our library also has many other reports on income taxes; search our online catalog for titles.


2/16/2018

Colorado Digital Learning Day

Governor Hickenlooper has declared today, Friday, February, 16, as Colorado Digital Learning Day.  This day highlights the important role of technology in today's learning landscape.  The proclamation states in part that "Digital Learning Day will encourage teachers, students, schools, parents, policymakers, and the public to participate in activities that promote discussion about innovative learning practices."
To find out more, see the Colorado Virtual Library's blog post about Digital Literacy & Learning Resources.  Our library also has many helpful resources on digital learning and educational technology; search our online catalog for titles such as
The Colorado State Library Professional Collection also has numerous resources on this topic, available for check-out.


2/15/2018

School Safety Resources

Sadly, there has been another school shooting, and our thoughts are with Florida during this difficult time.  The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and other state agencies have many resources on school safety available to students, schools, and parents, such as

2/13/2018

Time Machine Tuesday: The Sweeter Side of Colorado History

This Valentine's Day you may find yourself the recipient of candies or cupcakes, or might be planning a special dessert to go with a romantic dinner.  Today is also "Fat Tuesday." Desserts and sweets have long been a part of American culture.  But how has our sweet tooth changed over the last century?  The following publications from the Colorado State University (formerly Colorado Agricultural College) Extension offer a look at desserts through the years.  Which of these do we still make today, and which have fallen out of favor? (hint: do you even know what a junket is?  I had to look it up.  It's a custard made from curdled milk).

2/12/2018

Junior League of Denver 100th Anniversary

If you've lived in Colorado for any length of time, chances are you own a copy of the Colorado Cache Cookbook or one of the other cookbooks issued by the Junior League of Denver.  But what exactly is the League?  The JLD is a women's volunteer and charitable organization that was founded in Denver in 1918.  (The first Junior League was in New York, founded in 1901).  During the JLD's earliest days the organization's charitable endeavors included a children's tuberculosis hospital; the provision of food and clothing for the needy; a traveling children's theater; and volunteer efforts related to WWI.  Over the years, they added many more charitable contributions to this list, along with fundraising through their many social events and, of course, their famous cookbooks.

Check out the Colorado Historical Society's book Junior League of Denver: Leaders in Community Service from our library to learn the history of the JLD and their many projects over the last century.

The Junior League Follies, shown here in 1926, was a major fundraiser for the JLD in the 1920s.  The Follies was a musical revue performed by members and their families. Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.

2/08/2018

National School Counseling Week

"School counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success," says the American School Counselor Association, whether they're helping a student find a good college or making sure the school is a safe learning environment.  Colorado has a grant program called School Counselor Corps that awards funds to schools and districts to "increase the availability of effective school-based counseling."  The program's annual report and impact summary offer information and statistics on the Counselor Corps program in Colorado.

Our library also has some historical resources that can provide perspective on how the role of school counselors in our state has changed over time:
  • Assessment of Guidance and Counseling Services in the Public Schools of Colorado, Colorado State University, 1975
  • Colorado Elementary Counseling and Guidance Handbook, Colorado Department of Education, 1970
  • Colorado Guidance and Counseling Handbook for School Counselors, Colorado Department of Education, 1978
  • Crossing the Cultural Bridge in Counseling, Colorado Department of Education, 1980
  • Legal Aspects of Guidance and Counseling in Colorado, Colorado Department of Education, 1976

2/07/2018

Understanding Colorado School Finance

As one of the largest portions of our state budget, school finance is something that the Legislature keeps close tabs on.  There have already been a number of school finance bills introduced in the first month of the 2018 session.

Because of the number of laws that govern school finance in Colorado, such as the Public School Finance Act of 1994, marijuana revenue, and the State Education Fund, understanding how it works can be very complex.  So the State has issued a number of resources that can be helpful for navigating the complex web of school finance laws.  For starters, the Colorado Department of Education publishes an annual brochure entitled Understanding Colorado School Finance and Categorical Program FundingAlso, each February, the Colorado Legislative Council (the nonpartisan research office for the legislature) publishes their Report on the State Education Fund.  The new edition was just released; previous editions can be accessed from our library.

Here are some other helpful resources for understanding Colorado school finance:
Data on Colorado public school finance can be found in the Department of Education's annual data spreadsheets and on their Office of School Finance website.

We have many, many more resources available as well, including historical information.  Search our library's online catalog for more resources.


2/06/2018

Time Machine Tuesday: Creative Spaces

As housing prices go up and more and more people want to live in the city, the space available to artists has become scarce.  In the mid-twentieth century, however, things were a little bit different.  After WWII, the flight to the suburbs left many inner-city apartments, warehouses, hotels, and other structures cheaply available, and artists, musicians, and writers were able to move in to these spaces.

Brinton Terrace in 1919.  Photo courtesy Denver Public Library.
One such place was Denver's Brinton Terrace.  Located just off of 17th and Lincoln behind Trinity Methodist Church, Brinton Terrace was an upscale Victorian rowhouse structure constructed in 1882.  Designed by well-known Denver architects Varian & Sterner, the building originally contained six spacious, three-story apartments.

In 1947, Edgar McMechen wrote an article in Colorado Magazine profiling Brinton Terrace, which many people called "Denver's Greenwich Village."  Significantly, McMechen notes that Brinton Terrace actually became an art center early in the century.  In 1906, artist Margaret Van Waganen rented space in the building, and she encouraged her friends to come and join her.  Soon the terrace was home to the architecture studio of Biscoe & Hewitt, as well as the Boutwell brothers' art gallery and studio.  This space also hosted the Denver Arts & Crafts Club, reflecting the popular style of the time.  Several other artists followed, and then in 1909 a piano school was opened in the building, attracting a number of musicians to the site.  One of the best-known musicians to reside in the building was the well-known British organist Dr. John Gower.  Gower's wife had an interest in poetry and started a poets' club, thereby adding a literary element to the scene.

At the time McMechen wrote his article, several photography studios were also located in Brinton Terrace.  Famed female conductor Antonia Brico resided in the building; as did Allen Tupper True, whose murals adorn the Colorado State Capitol and Brown Palace Hotel.  Finally, in 1939, the Rocky Mountain Radio Council opened a recording studio at Brinton.

McMechen concluded that Brinton Terrace had, for half a century, been one of the most significant centers of Denver's cultural scene.  "The association of creative minds, operating freely in that congenial atmosphere, has produced results...of undoubted significance in the development of cultural ideals."  You can read more about Brinton Terrace and its many notables in the 2015 book The Denver Artists' Guild, available for checkout from our library.

Unfortunately, Brinton Terrace's story does not have a happy ending.  Just a decade after McMechen wrote his article, the terrace was demolished to make way for a parking lot.  Now, in 2018, as artists' spaces are encouraged as a driver of economic development, we can only imagine what Brinton Terrace would contribute to today's creative culture.


2/01/2018

February is American Heart Month

One quarter of all deaths in the United States occur from heart disease, and it remains the leading cause of death for both men and women.  Yet there are many things you can do to help prevent heart disease and stay healthy.  Each February the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month to bring awareness to heart disease and related conditions, including educating Americans on signs of heart disease as well as how to help prevent it.

Here are some resources from the State of Colorado that describe local efforts to track and prevent heart disease, along with tips for keeping your heart healthy:

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