Michael de Yoanna

Director of News Content

Since 2016, I have led KUNC's newsroom of 15 talented journalists. I was a fan of the station before joining. KUNC is where my first-ever radio story ran. So being here is a homecoming in many ways. Before my radio days, I darted up and down Colorado's Front Range -- and out of state when I could -- as a scrappy, resourceful newspaper reporter. I freelanced for several years after that, working for a long list of news organizations (and editors!), including my own, now-defunct failed new blog that ran rejected New Yorker cartoons to Salon.com and 5280 magazine. I made a move into broadcast with CBS's "48 Hours Mystery" and "60 Minutes" and then directed my own documentary film, "Recovering," about war veterans healing their wounds through bicycling. After serving at an investigative unit in Denver's commercial TV market, I found a home reporting for public radio, where I picked up on a theme in my stories over the years -- the mistreatment of combat troops with mental wounds by the military they serve. I shared a national Edward R. Murrow award for that work in 2011 with KUNC and, in 2017, a national Columbia-duPont award, the broadcast equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize, which I share with NPR. I believe that great journalism is essential to our democracy, but it should also be fun and interesting. Excellent journalism takes a team and KUNC is, in my humble opinion, the best news team in Colorado. I'm proud to be part of it.

Walker Stapleton and Jared Polis are on their final push in the battle to become Colorado's next governor. They're in the middle of a series of debates around the state, just in time for ballots to start arriving in mailboxes next week. Many Republicans and Democrats may have already made up their minds, but there are wild cards still in play, including the impact of unaffiliated voters and fallout over the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

KUNC

Robert Wideman adjusts his glasses and runs his hand through his gray hair. He's sitting at his desk in his Fort Collins home looking at a grainy, sound-less film.

"I've never seen this," Wideman said. "Never."

It's from March 4, 1973. That's the day that Wideman and dozens of other prisoners of war were released in Hanoi, North Vietnam. KUNC found the rare historical footage in reporting this story.

Department of Veterans Affairs

A worker with the Department of Veterans Affairs has been arrested in an alleged bribery scheme that federal authorities say targeted a program meant to help disabled veterans, women and other small business owners become successful contractors.

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

Cliff Redish is a political exile. He lives in a world that's colored Republican red and Democrat blue. He used to be a Democrat, but now he's unaffiliated. Perched on a barstool in a pub in Carbondale on Colorado's Western Slope, he's hesitant to even talk about it.

"We're so divided," Redish said. "It's just unbelievable. It's hard to even bring this up in a bar right now."

Polis for Colorado

When Club 20 holds its gubernatorial debate on Sept. 8, just one of the major candidates will be there: Republican Walker Stapleton. That's triggered a different debate: How much does it matter to Colorado's Western Slope voters that Democrat Jared Polis won't be there? One local Democratic leader says it matters a great deal.

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

This year's governor's race is like no other in Colorado history -- at least in terms of money. The $29 million contributed so far to candidates shatters prior records. A large chunk of that money comes from millionaires, spending big in hopes of being elected to a job that pays $90,000 a year.

"There actually are no limits to what an individual can contribute to their own campaign," said Steve Bouey, a manager with the elections division of the Secretary of State's Office.

Jacob W. Frank / Rocky Mountain National Park

Before sunrise on a cool fall day, Jacob Job and Carlos Linares woke up, packed up their bags and headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. Job, a researcher at Colorado State University, and Linares, his student assistant, are hunters.

Their weapons: microphones. Their prey: the sounds of the elk during the fall mating season.

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

Brant Porter, the supervisory ranger at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, is contending with a very Colorado kind of problem: people, a lot more of them than in years past.

So far this year, the park has attracted 55 percent more visitors compared to the same period a year ago. The park isn't alone. That trend is taking place at most of the state's national parks, monuments, historic sites and other areas.

Courtesy National Park Service

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top places in the country for search and rescue operations, logging an incident almost every other day last year. That's according to a KUNC analysis, which found that the costs of incidents in National Park Service areas across the country hit a three-year high in 2017. In the same period, visits rose by about 8 percent.

pixabay.com

Each day about 20 veterans and active-duty service members take their own lives. It's a stubborn number that hasn't changed much since 2005. If the trend continues, 100,000 veterans and troops will have been lost to suicide by the end of this year.

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