Fri July 31, 2015

Philosophically Speaking, Allen's 'Irrational Man' Is Asking All The Right Questions

Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in 'Irrational Man.'
Sabrina Lantos courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

In Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, a couple of space creatures ask Allen's character Sandy Bates why he isn't funny anymore. You see, Allen stopped giving dazzling belly laughs a long time ago. He offers chuckles in his last dozen films or so, but his latest, Irrational Man, doesn't even do much of that.

It's a moral and intellectual drama that casts a clear and sometimes amused eye on human self-delusion and hypocrisy. Yet, when I think back on Allen's career, these are the best qualities in his movies, and that moral voice is what's been missing since the '90s.

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Thu July 30, 2015

Drifting Pesticides Threaten Organic Farms

Farmers Margot McMillen and Julie Wheeler check on their tomato plants, which they moved into a greenhouse to protect from unwanted pesticides.
Kristofor Husted Harvest Public Media

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don’t plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

“We’ve traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it’s a very productive acre and a half,” Eric Reuter said. “We’re really into cropping things.”

Their neighbors grow acres of corn and soybeans and they mostly got along. That is until one July evening in 2014. Joanna Reuter was transplanting some broccoli when a sound caught her attention.

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Thu July 30, 2015

Colorado's Water Plan Lays Foundation, But Is It Strong Enough?

The Colorado Water Plan aims to balance the competing water needs of cities, agriculture, and the natural environment.
buoybarrel Flickr-Creative Commons

Colorado's statewide water plan has been criticized for failing to make tough decisions about the state's biggest water issues: how new growth uses water, a new transmountain diversion from the Western Slope, and how to balance urban needs for water with a desire to preserve agriculture, which uses the majority of the state's water.

In response, those involved with the plan say that's not the point. The plan, by gathering input from across the state, is bringing together people with very different perspectives on water. By getting them to discuss the biggest issues around water in the state, it lays the foundation for better water management.

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Wed July 29, 2015

Jeffco School Board Recall Is A Microcosm Of Polarized Politics

Political gridlock on the state and federal levels has changed the focus for many special interest groups to once sleepy school board elections for a simple reason. They can get more done a lot faster.
Grace Hood

Critics of three Jefferson County school board members have turned in double the amount of signatures needed to force a recall election. If the signatures are valid, voters will decide on the November 2015 ballot whether to remove the three conservative members.

Many special interest groups will be watching.

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Wed July 29, 2015
American Graduate

One Way To Fight The Dropout Crisis? Make School A Summer Job

Missael Villareal spending some summer vacation hours in a University of Northern Colorado computer lab
Courtesy of the Student Recovery Program

Even with falling dropout rates in Colorado, thousands of high school students are still slipping through the cracks each year. One program in Northern Colorado is fighting the dropout crisis a few dozen students at a time, by paying some of the most at-risk young people to attend classes over the summer.

The Student Recovery Program operates in Greeley-Evans District 6, focusing exclusively on low-income Latino males, who are statistically more likely to drop out of high school than almost any other demographic group in Colorado. It's funded with private donations as well as state and local grants.

So how does paying students to stay in school work?

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