Erin OToole

Assistant News Director

I started my career in Cincinnati, Ohio where I was a traffic reporter by day and a volunteer public radio music host by night.  Although I spent almost nine years in commercial radio, I have always had a passion for the creativity and intelligence of public broadcasting.

I moved to Colorado in 2009 from the San Bernardino/Riverside area of California where I served as Morning Edition host and reporter for an NPR member station. During my six years there I covered a broad variety of topics including healthcare, immigration and clean energy.  In 2008 I was selected as a USC/Annenberg Health Journalism fellow, studying and reporting primarily on healthcare reform, domestic violence and health awareness media campaigns.

I graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University, San Bernardino.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, reading (science fiction or politics – or any combination of the two), listening to and creating music, and watching my dog chase squirrels for the first time in his life.

Please feel free to send me story ideas… or just suggestions for your favorite things to do in Colorado!

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park

A late spring weather system dropped snow and rain on Northern Colorado in mid-May, leaving many trail goers and campers without their usual haunts for Memorial Day weekend -- including the iconic North Ridge Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“As far as the snow coverage up there – they’re dealing with 4 to 6 feet of snow, and now we’re dealing with high winds,” says Kyle Patterson, the park’s spokeswoman. “And so it does not look probable that Trail Ridge will be opening this weekend.”

Ron Knight / Flickr

Around the end of April, a small, brown and white bird arrives on Colorado's eastern plains. The mountain plover may not seem like much to some, but it draws dozens of bird watching enthusiasts to the tiny community of Karval -- midway between Limon and La Junta -- for the annual Mountain Plover Festival.

For the festival, now in its 11th year, many of Karval’s farmers and ranchers do something rather unusual – they open up their land and their homes to host festival attendees.

courtesy of Library of Congress

Finding relevance in history isn’t always easy, but the wave of social activism and political reform that took place in the early 20th century -- later known as the Progressive Era -- is one that rings familiar.

You may have noticed a new voice hosting Morning Edition recently. As of last week, I have stepped away from my role as Morning Edition host to become KUNC’s Assistant News Director. I’ll primarily be responsible for shaping our newscasts and working with on-air hosts.

I’ve been hosting Morning Edition here at KUNC (minus a few months here and there) since July 2009. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long! Time really does fly when you’re having fun – and hosting Morning Edition here has given me great enjoyment over the years.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

Last year was one of the worst years ever for anti-mosque incidents, and 2017 isn’t looking any better. The Islamic Center of Fort Collins is one of the latest sites in this trend after an incident of vandalism on March 26.

Boulder Office of Emergency Management

Final update 7:30 a.m. 3/21/17:

The Sunshine Fire now 100 percent contained. Wonderland Lake is now open, as aerial fire operations and bucket drops are no longer needed.

Firefighters will continue to work overnight on hotspots and flare-ups; mop-up operations will continue Tuesday.

Inside Energy / Rocky Mountain PBS

Native American tribes continue to fight the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline -- even as the company that owns it says they expect oil to begin flowing within a few weeks.

Last year, thousands showed up to protest the pipeline, which would cross near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Many stayed in camps through the winter and hundreds were arrested.

A new documentary, Beyond Standing Rock, explores this story and other recent fights over land and energy development in the U.S.

Photo by Jeremy Swanson, Colorado Ski Country USA

The avalanche danger in Colorado's mountains is very high as more snow falls, blown by gusty winds. Crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation are out in force, working to reduce the danger for motorists traveling in the high country.

WyoHistory.org

Coloradans voting in the 2016 election have an opportunity to remove a reference to slavery from the state constitution. The language, written in 1876, says, "There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime." Amendment T seeks to remove that exception.

This language got KUNC wondering about African-American history in Colorado. So we asked state historian Patty Limerick for her reflections. Limerick, who is also the chair of the board at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center of the American West, was reminded of the story of a group of barbers in Denver who fought for the right of black men to vote.

A woman holding a sign that says "The White House is not a locker room - stay out."
Erin O'Toole / KUNC

As Donald Trump campaigned in Colorado over the weekend, he questioned the integrity of the state’s mail-ballot elections. He first raised the issue during a rally in Golden on Saturday and then continued during a 45-minute speech Sunday in Greeley, at the University of Northern Colorado. 

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