Longmont

Courtesy of Yard Dart Entertainment

Sometimes you want your music live, loud and local. Sometimes you want a Latin spectacle that merges Spinal Tap with Lucha Libre. This weekend - you can have both.

Jim Hill / KUNC

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the city of Longmont's hydraulic fracturing ban and the moratorium in Fort Collins Monday. The state's highest court said that Longmont's ban conflicts with state law and is invalid and unenforceable. The court ruled that state law also preempts the moratorium in Fort Collins.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Adam Lefkoff still remembers as a child going with his father, an attorney, to visit a client at home.

"He had three pinball machines in his house," Adam said. "And that - as a 5-year-old living in Atlanta - that just blew my mind. 'Oh my goodness, you can have pinball machines in your house?'"

The obsession had begun.

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Boulder County commissioners want to create a plan to remove genetically-engineered crops, commonly known as GMOs, off county-owned land.

Commissioners chose not to take a formal vote on the county’s cropland policy at a meeting. Instead the three-person panel directed county staff to write up a transition plan to disallow GMO corn and sugar beets from being grown on open space land within three to seven years.

Currently farmers grow GMO corn and sugar beets on about 1,000 acres of Boulder County open space.

Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

If you want a front row seat to the fight over GMOs head to Boulder County, Colorado.

GMOs, or more precisely, genetically-engineered crops, are lightning rods in discussions of our food. For the farmers who grow them and the scientists who create them, they’re a wonder of technology. For those opposed, the plants represent all that’s wrong with modern agriculture.

That theater is playing out in Boulder County, where an elected board of commissioners is considering whether to pull the plants off large swathes of publicly-owned land.

USDA's About-Face On Organic Hemp Leaves Growers In Limbo

Feb 19, 2016
Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reversed course on its organic certification of industrial hemp operations throughout the country.

A handful of hemp farms, including Colorado-based CBDRx, had secured, or were in the process of securing, certifications from third-party auditors following a directive from the USDA's National Organic Program staff allowing hemp to be certified organic.

"Organic certification of industrial hemp production at this time is premature and could be misleading to certified organic operations," reads a published instruction [.pdf] from the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

Courtesy of Fort Collins Symphony

Why rent when you can own?

That’s the question the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra is asking after spending decades renting several of its larger, more expensive instruments. In fact, the only instruments the symphony truly owns is a bass drum and a tam tam, said FCSO music director Wes Kenney.

“Anything else either belongs to (our venue), the Lincoln Center, or we're having to beg, borrow or rent it,” Kenney said.

A professional symphony renting its instruments may sound a little strange, but it’s not as uncommon as you might think.

Colorado is known as a craft beer haven, but the industry's boom inevitably gained the attention of what was once "the enemy": big beer. As consolidation starts to take hold, where does that leave one of the state's biggest success stories? [AP Video]

Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

Update 2.16.2016: The USDA has reversed its decision on certifying organic hemp, our original story continues below.

Colorado is now home to some of the nation’s first certified organic cannabis, which comes with a blessing from federal regulators. CBDRx, a Longmont, Colorado cannabis farm, has secured a certification to market its products with the organic seal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a major coup for the plant’s enthusiasts.

“As long as the industrial hemp is grown according to the Farm Bill, it can be certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program,” wrote Penelope Zuck, the agency’s organic program accreditation manager, in an email correspondence obtained by KUNC.

Catch that? We’re talking about hemp here, which is still considered cannabis under federal law. The distinction, and USDA’s decision to certify it, throw the plant into an even larger legal gray area.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether local cities in Colorado can either ban hydraulic fracturing or declare a moratorium. The chamber was filled with a who’s who in the energy world, from policy experts and state and city officials, to top attorneys and environmental activists, highlighting the importance of the cases.

“We’re very, very, serious about not wanting fracking anywhere near us,” said Kaye Fissinger with Our Longmont. She helped spearhead the ballot campaign which Longmont voters passed in 2012. “It was a landslide victory 60 to 40 percent. The people spoke. And the people should be heard.”

The seven justices heard an hour of arguments on the Longmont case, along with an hour of arguments on the five-year fracking moratorium passed by the city of Fort Collins.

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