Adam Rayes | KUNC

Adam Rayes

Reporter, Rural and Small Communities

Credit Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

As KUNC’s rural and small communities reporter, I help further the newsroom’s efforts to ensure that all of Northern Colorado’s communities are heard. These communities have so much to tell us about themselves and Colorado as a whole. They’re all unique and simultaneously a crucial part of a bigger picture. Many of these communities exist in a news desert; their stories aren’t being told and they’re disconnected from each other and the rest of the region. I hope to bring more stories and voices from these places to elevate the conversation.

Before coming to KUNC, I worked at Michigan Radio where I was a production assistant for the statewide newsmagazine, Stateside. I graduated after just three years at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is where I fell in love with journalism.

I love cooking my dad’s traditional Syrian recipes, even though my attempts are never up to his standards. I enjoy gaming, running, tasting new beers, watching anything Sam Esmail makes and I hope to gain new hobbies here in Colorado, like skiing.

The main downtown strip of Sterling, Colorado. Taken from across the street, with a statue of a man giving a boy food in the foreground.
Adam Rayes/KUNC

Why does a population number matter?

Take a place like Sterling in Logan County. Nestled into the northeast corner of Colorado, the small city serves as a hub for the agricultural communities surrounding it. It's got a Walmart, a few blocks worth of downtown, Northeastern Junior College and the state's largest prison, Sterling Correctional Center.

Now what if Sterling was given the wrong population number?

Brett Levin / CC BY 2.0

Rocky Mountain National Park is closed until further notice because of the outbreak of COVID-19. This comes after a request from the mayor of Estes Park, a nearby small town that is extremely dependent on the national park’s tourists. 

“We wouldn’t be able to handle the crowds in Estes Park, because of our limited resources, at this time,” said Mayor Todd Jirsa.

Mark Jarvis / Flickr Creative Commons

Rocky Mountain National Park is shutting its gates to visitors to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the first of Colorado’s national parks to take the step.

The closure started on Friday at 7 p.m. and will remain in effect “until further notice,” according to a statement from the National Park Service. The closure includes all visitors at all times.

Guy Montag / CC BY 2.0

Texas-based dairy giant Dean Foods has announced layoffs at its Meadow Gold Dairy plant in Greeley.

The job cuts will begin on March 13 and affect 82 workers, including cheese makers, drivers and packagers. The company plans to end production at the plant around April 17.

Black Hawk City
Jeffrey Beall / CC BY-SA 2.0

Welcome to the town of Superior, a "friendly" and "quaint" community nestled into Colorado's front range. At just over 13,000 people, it is also larger than half of Colorado's cities.

If population size doesn't set "city" apart from "town" in Colorado, what does?